Our February…

Well February has been a pretty funny one weather wise hasn’t it. We spent the beginning of the month with everything crossed that the snow flurries were going to settle and give us a couple of ‘snow days’ and then the end of the month stripping back to T-shirts and eating ice cream in the park.

The beginning of the month was actually a cause for celebration in our house as we celebrated granddaughter number two’s imminent arrival with a baby shower for Alice. I haven’t quite got my head around being a nanny to Isla yet and we already have another one on the way to add to the madness of the family.

We also spend a good few hours in the garden getting it ready for the warmer weather. The boys have been really lucky to have a new playhouse, slide and sandpit and we can’t wait to find the perfect paddling pool to make us completely summer ready!

It’s not to often that I socialise in the evenings anymore and I decided this new year that I was going to stop being such a misery and get out with my friends more.

I had a lovely evening with the mums from Oscar’s class. Ate to much a drank more than I should which made for an all round great evening.

Getting back into my fitness has been a great success this month thanks to Jemma’s Heath Hub. Jemma and I had found each other though the wonderful world of Instagram and she asked me to trial her online fitness program which had seen me out of bed super early three times a week to take part in an online exercise session with a whole load of other likeminded women. Go and check her out if you are looking to get back into fitness and want something to do in your own home.

My husband is the romantic one in our relationship and my lack of romantic is something that really gets to him. So this Valentine’s Day we both took a few hours out of our day to grab some lunch and randomly walk around a local museum…not really his idea of a good day out!

One of my first real jobs was working in the food hall at Marks and Spencer. I still have fond memories of this and they were an amazing company to work for. So fast forward a good few years my new job has landed me back at Marks and Spencer…but behind the scenes at head office.

It really is moments like this that make me realise all the hours I put in are most definitely worth it and it was so amazing to be behind the scenes of a place that is so close to my heart.

The boys were gifted scooters from the wonderful Micro Scooters this month and they literally haven’t got off them since. They have always been my first choice for scooters as they are so easy to use and look amazing. They came with use on a trip to the park the other day where we all enjoyed our first ice cream of the year.

We get to explore many parts of London with my job but Battersea is someone I don’t I have ever been and the children certainly haven’t. We had a more than pleasant surprise when we went along to the power station during half term and got to witness what an amazing job they are doing there.

They have some great shops and restaurants and lots of bits and pieces to keep the children occupied along the waterfront. We were actually there to try out a class at the über cool Boom Cycle whist the kids were kept occupied at the lovely ladies from Kids Table. It is definitely one to put on your list.

We actually did a lot of eating in town this half term with a trip to Yo Sushi and Las Iguanas who both offer great deals during the school holidays so keep this in mind for Easter.

Half term was actually a pretty packed one for us and aside from duties of dog sitting at mum and dads we got to enjoy some great events, including a trip to Neville’s in Belgravia for the launch of the new range of hair care from Child’s Farm.

The boys thought they were super models and spent the morning requesting exactly how they wanted their hair styled whilst me and Izzy were treated to some braids and of course a bit of glitter.

The end of month saw an event just for me which is always a welcome change and I attended the launch of the Emma Willis Collection from Next.

It was an amazing evening where I got to see the whole range which was a stylish and gorgeous as Emma herself.

I spent the evening catching up with friends, drinking way to much Prosecco and fan girling Emma for most of the night!

Vertbaudet:Clothing, Homeware And So Much More

[AD] I first started shopping with Vertbaudet over twenty years ago now when I had my first. I loved that they offered something a little different to your run of the mill catalogues at the time and their clean and simple lines made for a range of childrens clothes that reflected their chic french background.

For some reason over the years they had fallen from my radar a little and when I was asked to work with then at the beginning of the year I was astounded at just how much they now offer and how the brand has grown into something pretty amazing.

They offer a huge range of clothing from babies to teens and even have a range of maternity and nursing wear which is something that is always tricky to find.

Not only can you find some great pieces for the little ones wardrobes but you can also get some gorgeous homeware pieces for their rooms that are as individual and beautiful as their clothing plus a fabulous range of indoor and outdoor toys.

The boys had great fun scrolling through their easy to use website and being the little fashionistas that they are selected a pair of skinny jeans each that is always their go to style. Their jeans were a brilliant fit, had plenty of stretch so that playtime wasn’t restricted and had plenty of length which is something I tend to find a problem when buying childrens jeans.

Giving the boys somewhat of a free rein  when it came to choosing an outfit can sometimes be a little dangerous and their faces immediately lit up when they saw some character sweatshirts. They are normally something I steer clear of but the retro design of the Mickey Mouse sweatshirt and the cool faded fabric on the Star Wars jumper was fabulous and they were definitely winners with all of us.

For me footwear is a tricky one to order online for children as getting a good for for them is so important. I needn’t have worried though as the suede boots that arrived for the boys were a wonderfully soft leather with good support for their feet and looked super stylish too.

All kitted out the boys were then ready to play with their new toy. I’m a sucker for wooden toys and their delightful wooden garage didn’t disappoint. It was easy to put together, looks amazing and has been one of the boys favourite toys.

I am yet to see what they have to offer by the way of homeware but it won’t be long as I already have a long wish list ready and waiting.

A Touch Of Velvet To Set The Mood

As many of you will know we have recently moved home and I am super excited about getting stuck into putting our…well my stamp on the house! I love to keep all the walls neutral and add colour with accessories as I am terrible for changing my mind about things and swapping a cushion cover is far less hassle and expense than changing a whole wall colour.

One thing I alway think you need to get right is the lighting in a room as I can have such a big impact on the way it makes you feel. We spend a lot of time in our living room and at different times of day it offers different ways in which we use it. In the daytime the lighting needs to be bright so the children can easily play with their toys and do their homework and then in the evening when all the paraphernalia from the kids has been put away it is nice to be able to set a calming mood to relax after a busy day and this is where for me the right lighting is really important.

My beloved cabinet that holds my oh so important alcohoholic beverages was crying out for a little something else and was really the perfect place for a side light, and when I was sent the Sarhita velvet lamp and lampshade from Pib I knew that it was the perfect place to showcase it.  The lamp is very reminiscent of the 60’s era which I love and the combination of soft velvet in the shade and the solid brass complement each other perfectly.

The minamislt look it gives means that it would work well in so many setting and for me it works perfectly against the regimented lines of the side board and brings something to the starkness of the wall.

Pib in fact has an amazing range of furniture, lighting and accessories that can bring a touch of shabby chic, scandinavian or industrial feel to your home at great prices so take a look now!

*I was given this lamp for the purpose of this post.

Transitional Dressing With Simply Be

Christmas is now all done and dusted and as always I’m onto the next thing and getting excited about the fact that spring shouldn’t be that far away. I love the cosiness of winter and wearing all those big chunky knits and heavy coats but I want a bit of brightness back in my life and am looking forward to introducing some colour back into my wardrobe, along with some softer fabrics.

There is actually no harm in getting ahead of the game buying a few key pieces that you can wear now and will take you right through to summer.

I have found a few of my favourite pieces here that are going to be perfect for layering up with whilst the weather is still cold as well as being perfect for wearing alone on those gorgeous spring days we are all so looking forward to.

T-Shirt Dress: Without fail there is always one of these in my wardrobe. I wear mine with chunky cardigans and jeans during the cold months and swap this for sliders and sunglasses as soon as the sun shows its face.

Maxi Dresses: These have been a favourite of mine for a while now as they are so easy to wear come day or night. They look great with knee high boots or trainers as well as sandals or a killer heel. I love wearing mine with oversized demin or cute leather jackets now and then letting them make a statement all on their own once spring is here.

High Waisted Shaper Jeggings: Shaper jeggings are my best friend at the moment as they allow you to create a smarter look than a conventional legging whilst giving you good shape and support after all those mince pies! They look great with oversized sweatshirts and trainers now and equally as good with a floating floral blouse come spring.

High Neck T-Shirts: A good quality plain t-shirt is a staple for any wardrobe as it is one of the most versatile items you can own. The possibilities are endless and it can be used as something as simple as a base layer in the cold to making a great background for a piece of statement jewellery during warmer times.

Zip Front Pinafore: I have so much love for a pinafore…although I am regularly told by my sister I am far to old to be wearing one! This zip fronted one is perfect to wear with a roll neck and tights right now and then with a plain tee and sandals in the summer months, I would even go for a vest top underneath if I was feeling brave enough.

Chunky Cardigans: We all know that even in the hight of summer the UK can throw us a curve ball when it come to the weather and things can be pretty nippy; so a good cardigan with splash of colour can brighten up an dreary day just like this gorgeous blue leopard print one that is certainly on my list.

Duster Coats: Now these are another item that I find a life saver and perfect for those time in the winter when I’m nipping on and off a hot tube and need something a little lighter than my big winter coat and great for slinging over a spring outfit when it gets a little nippy.

I hope you liked this little selection and I would love to know what pieces  in your wardrobe you rely on the get you through all the seasons.

*Collaborated post.

Adults Christmas Gift Guide

When it comes to Christmas presents in our house we kind of neglect ourselves and concentrate on the children, but isn’t it nice to be able to unwrap something a little special too or gift that special person in your life something lovely.

I’ve compiled a few gifts here that will be sure to bring a smile to anyones face this christmas.

Tipsy Treats – I’m sure you will agree by the end of the year and after all the stress of the Christmas preparation the treat of something alcohol related is always welcome and here are a few options that I would love to find under the tree.

The Duppy Share Rum: I have to say it was the beautiful bottle design that first drew me to rum. The Duppy Share is a blend of unique, premium rums from the Worthy Park Estate in Jamaica and the Foursquare Distillery in Barbados.

These tropical, fruity flavours make for a stunning combination, perfect for any Christmas party.

The English Drinks Company: I am ashamed to say I am a stereotypical blogger and love a good G&T. I also love a bit of variety and with this cute set of miniatures from the English Drinks Company you get the chance to try out a their gorgeous pink, orange and cucumber gins…and if you like them then why not treat yourself to a bigger bottle!

Monthly  Drinks Subscriptions: If you want a gift that keeps on giving then why not opt for a monthly subscription so that the receiver can enjoy a gift each and every month and who knows they might even share the love with you!

Pimp Your Gin: Move over ‘pimp you prossecco’ there is a new guy in town in the way of Pop A Ball. Pop A Ball are tiny, jelly balls that pop inside your drink releasing delicious flavours inside your favourite tipple.

Something Cosy: You can’t beat something cosy to get on your feet at this time of year and   here are a couple of things to keep those toes toasty.

Fluffy Slippers: Slippers are always a welcome gift and these supper fluffy slippers from Lazy Dogz are something a little special with their top quality material, memory foam footbeds and faux fur lining.

Got To Be Socks: Christmas lists always have to include a few pairs of socks, but they don’t have to be your usual run of the mill multipack. I’m sure something like the bold and colourful socks from the London Sock Company. Their vibrant colours, superior quality wool and hand finished gift boxes make for a very special way to receive those familiar Christmas socks.

A Litte Bit Of Self Care: We all need a logotype bit of self care from time to time and here are a few ways to help you make the most of it.

Bath Bombs: I Think when the word bath bomb is used the majority of people will automatically think of Lush. I know for me they are the epitome of bath time treats and their vibrant, gorgeous smelling gift boxes are always a wonderful gift to receive, just like this Snow Fairy gift set which is full to the brim with all kinds of goodies.

Sit Back And Relax: We could all do with a five minutes peace to relax and recoup sometimes and with the help of the amazing Spacemasks this can be the best five minutes you could take out of your day.

They have been created with a collision of intergalactic material mixed with some human imagination which together with give you a way to escape from todays hectic lifestyles and leave our problems behind. What could be better than

A Clean Shave – Razors have come a long way since the days of the throw away plastic style ones and can now make for a pretty stylish present. The limited edition Mach3 razor with its sleek design, razor stand and chrome handle in a gorgeous gift box would make a brilliant gift for the man in your life.

Something To Remember- Personally I love to receive a gift that has a little meaning behind it and something that I look back on and gain fond memories from. Here are a couple of gifts that will allow you to do just that.

Casting Experience: This is something I wish I had done when mine were little and this set from the Edinburgh Casting Studio offers a super professional set to do in the comfort of your own home. It enables you to create everlasting sculpture of your families hands or feet to cherish for many years to come.

Personalised  Jewellery: I don’t wear a lot of jewellery but I absolutely love the personalised range from Bloom Boutique. They have a fantastic range of jewellery that you can get personalised to suit whatever you want. I have given myself a little pressie with this gorgeous silver heart engraved with ‘Mum’.

Packing Things Up: My sister finds my love of a rucksack hilarious, and often asks me if I think I’m still at school, but for me the practicality they offer is so handy when you have kids.

We have loads of trips out with kids and instead of breaking my back with an over loaded handbag, spreading the load in a rucksack is the best option. MiPac are one of my favourite brands and offer something a little bit different such as this leopard print beauty.

Eating Out – We love eating out, either together as a family or sneaking out for some time on our own so anything to do with eating out would be a great gift.

Dining Out Card: Mitchells and Butlers off a brilliant dining out gift card that lets you add as such money as you would like to be used in a whole range of different restaurants such as Toby Carvery, Harvester, Miller and Carter Steakhouse and many more.

Something Techy – My husband loves anything techy and would be more than happy with a gadget to play around with over the festive period.

Dash Cam: The deluxe in-car dash cam from Next Base gives you security of being able to record important details of your car journey in Full HD. The SD card will never run out and space as the footage is automatically looped over unwanted recordings.

It is super easy to install and invaluable if you were to sadly get caught in an accident.

*I was gifted these products for the purpose of this post.

An Uber Cool Christmas At Winterville

Last year we had our first visit to Winterville on Clapham Common. We didn’t really know what to expect and we were pleasantly surprised with its calm, cool, festive vibe.

When we were asked to visit again this year we jumped at the chance and as soon as we got there we knew it was going to be just as much fun. The neon sign shone out across the park and welcomed us in with its pretty christmas lights, catchy christmas tunes and the smell of wonderful food.

I would actually sat that if you are  bit of a foodie then Winterville will be right up your street.  There is so much on offer with the Truck Stop and Street Feast areas homing the majority of the stalls. From crispy chips to sticky ribs, Baileys hot chocolates and warm cookie dough puddings.

Of course its not just food and drink on offer at Winterville. There is a whole plethora of amazing activities to join in with and the kids didn’t know where to start first!

The gleaming lights of the fairground rides were calling us and while Izzy headed to the bigger rides I stayed with the boys and took a ride on the train, span around in the tea cups and watched them as they bounced as high as they could on the trampolines.

It was now a bit of time for Mum so I grabbed a mulled wine and took a look around the Solo Craft Fair that had some amazing gifts for some amazing independent business which makes a very welcome change to some Christmas markets that are full of  mass produced items you can get anywhere.

Crazy golf is always something my lot love and the the UV – powered Plonk Golf course at Winterville was great fun.

Anything that involves being on wheels or blades draws my children in but is my worst nightmare! Winerville have both a beautiful ice rink and a roller disco on offer and i managed to persuade the kids to only try out the ice skating as I don’t think my nerves could take both.

All of the children could take to the ice and there are penguins to help the round the rink. We all did really well until the very end where Oscar took a tumble just as he was putting his penguin back. We ended up with a split lip and a very sad little boy and I have to say that in this moment of need we were confrunted by a surly and very unhelpful member of staff which was a real shock after having such an amazing experience with everyone we had come across.

We literally scrapped the surface of everything on offer at Winterviile. There are live DJ sets, cocktail bars, wrestling, Backyard Cinema, Big Fish Little Fish family rave, family shows on a double decker bus and so much more.

So if your looking for somewhere to kick off that festive spirit then this is the place to be!

*we were given tickets to Winterville for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

Learning More About Sustainable Food

Here in the UK we all love to eat, in fact over the year we consume tons of food that probably most of us don’t really think to much about.

We all want something that tastes good, is easy to get our hands on and quick to prepare but the back story behind how our favourite foods get to us is a pretty complex one and also something that we all need to give a little more thought and consideration.

Sustainable food is something that starts at the very beginning and over the past few years a lot of work has gone into getting the farmers, fishermen etc to change their way of working to make the detrimental impact on the environment far less.

The ethos behind sustainable food is taking into account the environment, health, social and environmental concerns.

Farmers are moving on from using conventional fertilisers and swapping over to an organic way of farming. This is one way in which this can help the environment, the animals and the workers.

There is still a lot of work to do in this area but with time and knowledge I am hopeful we will continue to see changes.

Back to use now as there are plenty of thing we can do to help in the home by following these guidelines and I have listed below:

Shop Local And Seasonally – Our high streets are sadly becoming a thing of the past with large supermarkets and internet shopping bringing us such competitive prices the pull is pretty great but taking things back to basics is what we need to do.

I also find that shopping locally and getting more hands on with your approach food is great for the children and gives them a far greater knowledge of where food comes from.

We managed to get some delicious apples from our local green grocer the other day and created some delicious deconstructed toffee apples that we all loved!

Shopping locally from the butchers and green grocers allows us to support small business and buy local and seasonal products that have a huge impact on the way we eat.

Buy Organic – Buying organic can put people off as the price tag is generally a lot heftier then ordinary produce. The benefits of the quality of the food and the impact on the environment are certainly worth those extra pennies though.

Promote Heath And Wellbeing – We are fast becoming a glutinous nation and steps need to be put into place now to educate ourselves and our children on healthy eating, balance and food waste.

Choose Fair Trade – Wherever possible try to keep an eye out for the fair trade symbol on packages. They go to great efforts to insure their producers get a good deal and put so much back into social and economic opportunities for people.

Cutting Back On Animal Origin Foods – My sister turned vegan a fair while ago now and a lot of her decisions were based on the impact on the environment eating meat and it’s byproducts have.

I don’t think this could ever be a move for me but I am certainly putting in place wats to cut down on meat a few timed a week and switch over to milk alternatives such as soya and oat milk.

We are also big fish fans in our house but we are opting to cut back on spies such as cod that are facing danger of being wiped out due to over fishing.

I hope this has given you all a little food for though…excuse the pun! I would love to know if sustainable food is something you already do something about and if you have anymore tips I could try out.

*collaborated post

Celebrating The Small Things:Week Thirty Two

This week one ‘celebrating the small things’ I really am talking about very little things that bring me lots of joy.

Tea – I think growing up with a father as a builder who drank ‘builders’s tea’ by the gallon it was instilled in me to become a tea drinker. Whilst I was out the other day have a delicious cream tea it made me realise just how much I love a good strong cup of tea and how it really is a cure for everything!

Stationary – Since I was little I have had a love for pretty stationary and I certainly share this love with Izzy. We love nothing more than walking round stationary stores, selecting our favourite shinny new pens and fresh pages in new note books. The only problem is I tend to hord notepads in fear of messy them up with my terrible handwriting!

Why, Why, Why – I have a love hate relationship with the relentless ‘why’ questions I still get from the youngest two. It can be massively draining when they are in full swing but equally as indering that they have such a thirst for knowledge and what to know about absolutey everything that is going on around them.

The Best Of British Summertime

This years summer has without a doubt been absolutely outstanding weatherise. We have had the opportunity to have so many outdoor adventures that have been blissfully sun drenched and have allowed us to to create some fabulous sun kissed memories.

Unfortunately though due to our perpetual bad luck the weather took more than a turn for the worst for our break at Camp Bestival when it brough us gale force winds and torrential rain. And then again when we had a week away in Chichester. Although it stayed warm…ish I could count on one hand how many times we saw the sun.

We filled our week with crabbing trips, cathedral visits, plenty of shopping, eating way to many fish and chips and spending hours at the penny slot machines. Paddling in the sea searching for fossils and cosying up to watch endless reruns of Mrs Doubtfire and Karate Kid.

But the day on Wittering beach really stuck in my mind. With my jacket tied up under my chin, makeshift barriers shielding us from the wind and towels on standby to ues as makeshift blankets I had a little giggle to myself at how typically British we all were.

Not one of those families on that beach was going to let the weather defeat them. They were going to see the day out with their sand filled sandwiches and flasks of hot tea, they were going to build sandcastles and search for sea shells and yes some of them were also going to face a dip in the sea.
And do you know what, they will all be talking about that day on the beach for years to come with fond memories and proudness of their grit and determination.

I myself look back fondly of trips to Devon as a child where we would be having car picnics to shelter from the rain and chattering teeth from the chill of the swimming pool, and do you know what I wouldn’t change those memories for the world and I hope my gang feel the same.

‘Tour De Trike’ With Little Tikes

Until recently I thought that we were passed the stage of trikes, but my mind since attending a fantastic event with Little Tikes when Oscar feel in love with their Pack n Go Trike.

So when we were asked to take part in the Little Tikes ‘Tour De Trike’ we absolutley jumped at the chance. We were send the Pack n Go Trike to try out and Oscar was keen to get out and about with it.

The Pack n Go Trike is new to Little Tikes and there are a whole host of features that I found so appealing.

The trike is suitable for ages 1-5 which makes it a great buy due to the years of usage you get from it. for little ones aged 1 – 1.5 the trike can be steered solely by the parents and the children can just enjoy the ride. Moving up to ages 1 – 1.5 the children can have a little more of a real of actually ring by using the pedals whilst being steered in the right direction. Finally little ones aged 2.5 – 5 can take the lead and ride the trike independently.

Although we are huge outdoor fans I find taking things such as trikes and scooters out with us a real faff and more often then not I talk the children out of it due to having a lack of space for everything in the car. The beauty of having the Pack n Go means that due to its unique folding design it can be folded down to half its size which makes it really easy to transport and store.

Although Oscar has reached the age where he is pretty good at riding when we are out and about he simply can’t be trusted to go it alone so we kept the handle on and headed out for our ‘Tour Le Trike’ to see if my fearcley independent child would be happy with this.

We mixed a little bit of shopping with a trip to the park and I can safely say it went really well. Oscar was more than happy to buckle up and pedal alone the road thinking he was in charge as he was peddling and steering the whole way and I still had the peace of mind he wasn’t going to be able to shoot off anywhere.

We explored the book shop, picked some flowers for his teachers and had a nosy around the shoe shop…well there had to be some perks for me.

The trike was easy to manuvoure both inside and outside due to its slim design and smooth steering.

After our shopping we stopped for and ice cream and coffee to refuel and then headed into the park. Oscar was also pretty taken with he handy drinks holder where he could stash his favourite drink.

Given the vast space in the park where there was no need for me to panic I asked Oscar is he would like to have a go on his own, but he was so taken with me helping him out when he fancied rising his legs he was more than happy to carry on as we had been.

Our tour saw us hit the High Street, navigate shop isles, cobbled streets and grassy turrsin and handled them all with no problem. look out ‘Tour De France’ Oscar is coming for you!