Celebrating The Small Things:Week Eleven

This weeks ‘Celebrating The small Things’ has been a seen us doing a lot of catch up with the things that got cancelled and postponed due to the horrible snow. Did the bad weather mess up any of your plans?

World Book Day – World book Day came a lot later than expected this year due to it being way to icy for the little ones to get into school in their flimsy outfits.
Frankie was super excited to get all kitted out as Willy Wonka and got completely immersed into the character; it was a different situation with Oscar though who flat out refused to join in.
He has gone from being a little boy who lived in fancy dress and couldn’t even take a trip to the shop without some form of dress up to not wanting anything to do with it at all!
I was still desperate for him to join in through the worry that he would fill singled out, but he waltzed into nursery without a care in the world it was in fact him who was the odd one out and I have to admire him for that.

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Weight Loss Goals Being Achieved – I am a few months into my membership at David Lloyd Health Clubs now and I have really been keeping the benefits in so many ways, with the biggest of those being my weight loss.
For those of you that regularly read my blog you will know that my weight gain over the past few years has been a real problem for me and something I have been really struggling with.
Since joining David Lloyd at the beginning of the year I have seen a real change to my body shape and in turn a boost to my self confidence which I hoping will allow my to be a little braver in front of the camera soon!

Bridesmaid Dress Shopping – My lovely little sister is getting married this year and the bridesmaids dress have been a bit of a problem to say the least! None of us have been able to find anything we had all liked until the other day when we had a trip to Dig For Victory and found a whole shop of adorable dresses that can be made to measure and to your exact requirements.
In a few weeks time we will be getting measured up and ready for them and I literally cant wait.

Celebrating The Small Things:Week Three

Im a little bit late with this entry as life has got in the way and things have been sidelined. Last week was full of mundane tasks but I certainly have a few special moments to record.

Isla’s First Haircut: Being a grandparent is a completely new ball game to being a parent and one thing that I have found hard is bitting my tongue when Alice does things differently to I would. I have to hold myself back and remember all those times I got annoyed with my own mother for voicing her opinion so I told myself I wouldn’t be that fussing, interfering mother.
For months Isla’s hair has been growing out of control and I have wanted to take the scissors to it for so long.
Finally this week they decided it was time to be taken for her first haircut and I was so please to have been able to take her along for this experience.

Eyesight Improvement For Frankie: Last year Frankie was prescribed glasses and the vision in the right eye was a lot poorer than his left. The glasses alone hadn’t made any improvement so just over a month ago he was given a patch to wear for four hours everyday.
To be honest I thought we were going to have more trouble getting him to wear it then we have and apart from a few strops he’s been pretty good with it. This has paid off and he had improved by two lines on his sight test last week which was a big win for us.

Shopping With The Boys: Walking round the shops is somewhat of a distant memory for me since having children…well actually it’s only the last two that have put me off shopping with children for life.
All my shopping is done online and it wasn’t until we had a walk down Carnaby Street at the weekend that I realised now the boys are older they actually loved being able to walk around picking out things they like and trying the on.
They both certainly have and know their own minds when it comes to their style and Frankie was over the moon to be able to choose his first pair of ‘real’ trainers.

Tootsa MacGinty:Bold, Comfy and Perfect For Kids

‘I wanted to offer an alternative to the sea of pinks and blues, whilst also being practical, easy care, quality clothing. A unisex range which doesn’t limit a child and and lets a child be a child.’

These are the wise words of Tootsa MacGinty owner – Kate Pietrasik and are the exact thoughts that have run through my mind so many times whilst out shopping with my little ones.

As a mum of five I know how each and every child is so wonderfully different and not one of mine has fallen into a box that goes with those stereotypical tags that are in place when it comes to choosing clothing for girls and boys.

I have two little boys that have a huge love for pink and neither of my girls have been big fans of pink, frilly dresses so to find a brand that allows them to chose what they like without the worry of choosing something from ‘the wrong’ section is a breath of fresh air and this is exactly what Toota offer.

Their bold patterns and striking colours make this brand stand out from the crowd and the comfortable, wearable design and fit are perfect for active little ones.

My boys were lucky enough to be sent some items from Tootsa and they certainly put them through their paces.

The Newfoundland Lumberjack Jacket has been pretty much surgically attached to them since it arrived!

The bright checked print and cosy fluffy lining bring a more wearable addition to the usual denim jacket for this time of year and we have been stopped on more than one occasion to ask where they are from.

We love layering in this house as being on the go all the time and going from being cosy inside to hitting the great outdoors several times a day we need clothes to suit every eventuality.

Tootsa has a great collection of cosy sweatshirts to help with this. There is a whole host of different colours and patterns To choose from. The boys absolutely love their Toronto Sweatshirt covered in eskimos and totem poles that is perfect for this time of year.

Lastly we tried out their Classic Slimfit Jeans. This was a bit of a change for me as I always opt of super skinny jeans for all the children and I ordinarily don’t like the fit of any other styles, but I was very pleasantly surprised by these.

The looser fit that tapers in at the ankle was a great style and makes for a great wardrobe staple.

The thing that really draws me to Tootsa clothing though is their attention to detail and quality make in every piece.

From patches on the pockets to flashes of fabric in the turn-ups they have thought of everything to make for happy parents and happy kids alike!

* We were sent these items for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

Shop Small And Share The Love This Christmas

Christmas lists have been written and people are heading to the high street in droves and spending many an hour sat staring at a laptop filling their virtual baskets with very little thought behind where each of these presents is coming from…many will also think does it really matter?

We are all looking to get value for money and ease of purchase and very rarely take five minutes to search independent shops that offer so much more than the big chain stores.

Small business offer you something completely different to just a straight transaction. There is a little bit of love send with each order, a personal touch with each package and that warm feeling inside knowing the fact you are helping to build someones dream.

When they package arrives through your door beautifully packaged, usually with a little handwritten note inside it makes the experience so different and so worthwhile.

Over the past few years I have found a real love for many small business, most of which I have stumbled upon on scrolling through Instagram and not only do I get fabulous products with amazing customer service, I have built good friendships with many which makes a huge difference to my whole shopping experience.

I have listed a few of my favs below and I highly recommend you go and check them out:

Five Boys Clothing:Five Boys Clothing is an amazing online store that I came across a couple of years ago now. They turn the stereotypical thought the all boys clothing is boring on its head and offer an amazing range of cool clothes and quirky gifts that would bring a smile to any face if they were tucked under the tree this year.

My boys are absolutely in love with Lego and its the only toy they go back to again and again. However somethings they could do with something a little different to create and this is where the Brikkon Ninja Temple is a brilliant gift.

The easy to assemble wooden structure can be put together and then covered with Lego bricks from your own collections. It really allows children to use their own imaginations and create whatever they want.

Little Gnashers: Mine may be past the teething stage now but it dosent mean I can’t enjoy the contempery designs of Little Gnashers teething jewellery.

The fab necklace pictured here would be perfect to cheer up any outfit and still keeps my youngest one occupied whist out and about.

Handmade in London these necklaces come in a huge range of colours and shapes and can be mixed and matched to create the perfect combination for you.

Kids LDN: Kids LDN is a brand that is relatively new to me but has had me hooked since I first caught sight of them on Instagram.

Their bold colours and edgy designs give a quirky look that suits my youngest two’s personalities perfectly and certainly makes them stand out in the crowd.

Oscar and Frankie are both the proud owners of these super cool beanies that not only keep them toasty but also puts a smile on their face with every wear.

Sweetpea Pantry: Getting the kids in the kitchen is something that is very important to me along with trying my hardest to make good food choices.

Sweetpea Pantry have come up with a fantastic range of mixes that allow little ones to prepare delicious, nutritious goodies that are fun to make and soooo good to eat.

These mixes would be perfect to keep the children busy over the holidays and what could be better then getting them involved with the present giving by getting them to make some delicious gifts.

Sidneyboo: If you are looking for fun clothes for boys and girls under the age of 10 then this is the place to come.

Sidneyboo has been on my list of favs for a long time now as their clothes are so wearable which is a big must for my very active family. I love clothes that allow kids to be kids and Sidneyboo offer just this.

One item that I go back to time and time again are their Individual sweaters like the ‘trail’ footprint sweater.

Its cosy fit and fab colours make it a real favourite of ours.

Have you opted to shop small this Christmas? If so I would love for you to give a shout out to some of your favourite brands.

* I was given these items for the purpose of this gift guide and they are all my own, honest options and I’m sure you would share the same love as me too!

Pines And Needles:The Only Way To Pick Your Christmas Tree

I have always had an artificial tree until last year when Pines And Needles changed my way of thinking and now I am real trees all the way.

The colour, the smell and the chance to make the whole process a real family tradition has me hooked and Pines And Needles make this such a fun and easy experience that I would challenge anyone to go back to an artificial tree once they have bought from them.

They offer a huge range of services from going along to one of their pop up stores that cover many areas of London and taking it home yourself to the complete package of having your tree selected for you, delivered to your door and even decorated for you.

We are off to one of their Treetorial events in Wimbledon next week that are taking place all over London where we can spend the afternoon getting into the festive spirit and choosing our perfect tree.

If this sounds like something that would interest you then take a look at their dates ‘here’.

I also have a special code that will give you 5% off any tree purchase when you mention JOYOF5.

Family Friendly Shopping With Whitgift And Centrale Shopping Centres

I have had a love for shopping since before I can even remember. I loved trawling the shops with my Mum as a small child and spent every Saturday looking at the new clothes that were hitting the shelves as a teen.

As my family grew though my love for shopping dwindled.

The stress hits me as soon as we get in the car with the anticipation of how the children are going to behave.

They usual don’t disappoint and by the time we hit the first shop I have already had a toliet request, a need for imidiate food and the dreaded ‘how much longer’ question.

Last week we were asked along by Centrale and Whitgift shopping centres to see what they had to offer in the way of family shopping.

First port of call was Build A Bear which is always a winner with my children.

Children get the opportunity to select a bear of their choice from a huge selection, stuff them full of fluff using the super cool machine and dress them up in an outfit of choice.

This whole process is done with the help of the friendly staff that make it even more special by adding games and activities to do along the way.

Next stop was Zara which was always going to be a little trickier as it wasn’t going to be nearly as much fun as building your own bear.

Zara is my favourite high street shop as it covers something for the whole family, is bang on trend and is very reasonably priced. 

To take the boredom out of clothes shopping I let him have his own little catwalk show and have a hand in choosing an outfit for me too.

Kids need to feel included and I know how hard this can be but by giving them a little responsibility can go a long way.

The last treat was a trip to Weenies kids club in Whitgift Shopping Centre.

Right in the middle of the shopping complex was a whole area dedicated to littlies.

To join in with the activities you must be a member that is easy to subscribe to online and completly free. The sessions can then be booked within minutes by using the Centrale PLUS app.

Once they are signed up the have access to all the session that are put on during the holidays and on selected weekends throughout the year, plus discounts on a number of retail outlets for parents and children.

Frankie was able to get up close and personal with a huge array of animals from chicks to frogs, snakes to rabbits.

There were crafts to join in with, story competitions to complete and face painting fun.

I really was astounded by this event. The friendly staff keep the children engaged throughout the whole session and they got so much out of it and for absolutely no cost.

I came away from the day with a fresh new outlook on taking the kids shopping.

Whitgift and Centrale offer a complete package for families and with a little bit of forethought and planning it really doesn’t have to be the nightmare I always imagine it to be.

*collaborated post.

Boohoo Kids Spring/Summer 17

Around Christmas time last year I was introduced to the newly launched children’s wear range from Boohoo.

We reviewed some lovely pieces for number three who was really taken with the on trend, affordable clothes they had to offer.

Last week I was asked to the press preview of their spring/summer 17 collection that in my opinion has improved even more than last season.

My attention was immediately drawn towards the girls section that had a real festival vibe to it.

There were lots of floaty, floral prints, off the shoulder tops and dress and plenty of sparkle that always goes down well with the girls.

Embroidered pieces and lace detailing are key this season and Boohoo has incoperated this within their range alongside simple classics such as Breton stripes that are always a wardrobe staple.

My daughter has a real love for shoes…I can’t think where she gets it from!

Boohoo have a great range of strappy sandals that will be perfect for the much longed for warmer weather and sparkly pumps that will be real eye catchers.

Next up was the boys and they certainly haven’t been left out here.

Summer brights for the pool and stand out t-shirts and shirts for those long summer days are a plenty.

If your boys like something a little more neutral then there is a great range of cosy t-shirts and shorts in muted green and beige tones that are bang on trend whilst remaining wearable which is all that more important when thinking about boys.


The shoes range from more formal styles to everyday trainers that fit perfectly with the clothing that Boohoo have pieced together.

  

Number three was super excited to see all the new pieces and already has a long list for her summer wardrobe and j will certainly be trying out some clothes for the boys this time.

I would love to know what you all think!

Centrale And Whitgift Welcome The Chinese New Year

My local shopping centre holds a special place in my heart, not only for being somewhere I spend every weekend as a teen trying on clothes I couldn’t afford and whiling away hours with friends planning outfits for all our crazy nights out; but also because it was the the place I attended my first ever blogging event

Since then I have worked with Centrale and The Whitgift Centre in Croydon on several occasions from celebrating their Heritage Festival to picking out my capsule wardrobe at their fantastic ‘Your 5’ event.

Sadly I’m not going to be able to make their upcoming event on the 5th Febuary where they will be celebrating Chinese New Year that for those of you that don’t know is the year of the rooster.

It is set to be a fun filled event with lots of music, martial arts displays and plenty of dancing including the famous ‘dragon dance’.

If that’s  not enough there will be plenty to keep the children busy with face painting, calligraphy workshops and a zodiac sign stand.

So if you are looking for something to do between 1-5 this Sunday then this would be a great place to visit and educate you’re little ones on this fabulous time of year.

  

My Impulse Buying Sorted With ‘Your 5’

My Impulse Buying Sorted With ‘Your 5’

Last week I wrote a post about the ‘Your 5’ event that was being put on by the two main shopping centres in central Croydon – Centrale and the Whitgift Centre.

I was going along to this event with an open mind and not really knowing what to expect.

I was plesently surprised when I was greeted by a beeming smile and a group of super friendly and eagar ladies, all ready and waiting to help me get my clothes and make up sorted for this season.

I’m a bit of a magpie when it comes to clothes shopping and I’m always drawn in by that sparky item that I immediately fall in love with and then get home to find it goes with nothing in my wardrobe.

My personal stylist who was very personable and stylish herself explained to me the theory behind the event and how they have used the train of though of the French woman who all swear by the rule of only needing five key pieces in your wardrobe, that can then be mixed and matched with different items to create a perfect capsule wardrobe.

iPad in hand all my details were logged and I was walked around the five key groups of the boot, the knit, the coat, the wide legged trouser and the skirt.


Each section had clothes and boots pulled from a selection of stores across the two shopping centres and covered every base with the very young, the school run Mum and the older lady.

Cosy knits, slouchy trousers and structured office wear all featured and I could honestly say I would challange anyone to not find something that would suit their style and taste.

I always like something a little different from the norm and was really happy that there were a lot of edgy pieces in there and not just classic styles which is what I was expecting.

I spent a good twenty minutes looking at gorgeous embroidered details that were on the new favourite ‘Mum’ style jean, checking out the classic cosy parka that is a staple for any school run and a huge array of skirts with my favourite being a stunning gold pleated number from M and S, who along with Next will now be somewhere I shop a lot more since spotting some great pieces.


The magpie in me really came out when we got to the huge array of glitzy ankle boots, but I was steered in the right direction and opted for some beautiful grey ones that were equally as pretty but just a lot more wearable!


An item from each section was selected and logged into the iPad allowing me to have a print out of my favourite key items to take away and have an easy way to find the items in store.


Along with this printout there is also an easy to download app called Centrale PLUS that offers you lots of fabulous discounts at many of their stores.

With my mind buzzing from everything I had just taken in it was time to sit back and relax whist having a much needed update to my makeup.


In was safe in the expert hands of celebrity makeup artist Sally Rowe who gave me a real wake up to how quick and simple it is to create a bright and fresh look with a small amount of products and very little time.

My makeup had not changed since my teens and is really something they needed an overhaul, and Sally has given me the encouragement to do just that.

She even managed to create the perfect eyeliner flock that I’m now going to be practicing myself!


*I was a gifted Centrale/Whitgift voucher for taking part in this event and they are all my own, honest opinion.

Your Autumn Wardrobe Sorted With Your 5 Event

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For the past few years I have really struggled with my style and have moments of confidence that are then quickly overshadowed with a lot of self doubt regarding my appearance.

I will go out and pick random pieces that I love and then struggle to style with anything else in my wardrobe.

My makeup has not really moved on since my teens and this is another area that really need evaluating as my skin is getting older and more distressed due to the stress of all my little people!

I would love nothing more than someone else injecting their opinion into my style and creating a capsule wardrobe that will allow me to have some great key pieces to see me though the Autumn and winter season.

Thankfully Centrale and Whitgift have come together to offer their ‘Your 5’ event from the 7th-9th October, which enables you to book a slot for free with a stylist to select five key pieces for  you or a makeup artist to select the perfect makeup for your skin type and tone.

The first fifty people to book and download the Plus App will be gifted a goodie bag at their consultation and be in with the chance to win a £250 gift voucher.

If you fancy getting some advice from the experts and being in with the chance of grabbing some fantastic goodies then click ‘here‘ to book your space.

Im going to be popping along on Friday so keep an eye out for how I get on.