SISTERHOOD OF THE WORLD BLOGGER AWARD

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A few weeks ago I was tagged by Jane at Maflingo to take part in ‘Sisterhood of the World Bloggers’, a series of questions set by Jane which I have finally gotten round to answering.(I’ll then tag 5 bloggers to take part with some questions of my very own). Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin…

 

Who would you most like to meet and why? Given the opportunity to meet anyone  I would choose my Granddad on my Dad’s side, who died long before I was born and never had a chance to meet. On a lighter note, maybe Greg Davis? I don’t know why but I find him weirdly fascinating!

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What’s your earliest childhood memory? I can’t remember much before about the age of 5. They’re all pretty random things that have stuck in my mind, more snapshots in time than actual experiences. An apron that used to hang on the back door, or a very specific bathroom tile that had a pattern a bit like a bird if you squinted. When we lived in Dublin my Aunt lived on the same street and I remember visiting her and discovering a big bar of chocolate in the kitchen drawer. Obviously I broke off a chunk and started scoffing only to discover that someone had created the most revolting tasting chocolate as some sort of sick joke! Diabetic chocolate has come a long way since 1984.

What’s your favourite film and why? I rarely have the inclination to watch a film these days unless it’s something really special but as a teenager I used to watch ‘Clueless’ over and over again, usually on a Sunday while doing the ironing in my parent’s living room -it still makes me smile.

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Name three of your ‘guilty pleasures. Just three?? OK Hagan Dazs straight from the tub with my favourite ice-cream spoon. Preferably on the sofa, in my jammies after the kids have gone to bed. Blogging (OK, reading other people’s blogs) when I have an endless list of jobs to do. Post-school run cake for breakfast – I’m not sharing!

Which superhero would you most like to be and why? I’m not up on my superheroes (sorry Jane!) but I had really vivid, recurring dreams of flying as a kid so any one that can fly would be UH-MAZ-ING.

What’s your proudest moment. Oh God as a parent I get ‘Proud Mum’ moments about the most ridiculously small things all the time. I rarely feel proud of myself, in fact it makes me uncomfortable just trying to think about it (hello Catholic Guilt!) Maybe the first time someone said they enjoyed my blog -writing is a totally new thing for me so it was like validation that I was doing alright.

What’s your most embarrassing moment (I’ve shared mine, you share yours!)? When I was younger my Mum would insist on calling me ‘Fanny’ – more ‘years of utter mortification’ than embarrassing moment.

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What or who makes you laugh and why? My family aside (hey, if you don’t laugh you’ll cry) silly humour really makes me laugh. The Inbetweeners, Alan Partridge, The Office, Man Down, Gavin and Stacey, Peter Kay – you get the picture.

Who’s your favourite character from a book and why? Easy. The Very Hungry Caterpillar: Stuffs face, sleeps for a fortnight, emerges a fabulous creature.

When was the last time you cried? Yesterday. Becoming a mother has turned me into a massive cry-baby!

My nominations for Sisterhood of the World Bloggers tag are:

Rhyming With Wine

Beauty Baby Me

Slouching Towards Thatcham (honorary Sister!)

Just Saying Mum

Pink Pear Bear

Here are my questions for you:

  1. What is your favourite thing about being a blogger?
  2. 10 minute sit down with a cuppa and an iPad, what’s your go-to blog/app/website of choice?
  3. Summer or Winter?
  4. If you could have any piece of art (money no object) on display in your home which would you choose?
  5. Who would play you in a movie?
  6. And which lucky actor gets cast as ‘Love Interest’?
  7. If you could return to somewhere you’ve visited before where would you go?
  8. What’s your favourite way to relax after a long week?
  9. What was your first ever concert?
  10. If you were invisible for the day where would you go?

Looking forward to hearing your answers. Remember to tag me if you tweet so I can re-tweet your post – enjoy!

X

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GLOSSYBOX AUGUST 2016 – QUICK NOSEY

I returned home from a few days in Norfolk with the family to find my very first Glossybox waiting for me (shout out to all posties who hide stuff behind the bin and save me a trip to the depot- I love you.) This is a VERY quick post just to show you the contents. I’m no beauty blogger but if you want a nice shiny review with pretty pictures a quick Google should bring up plenty of professional offerings, this is just for anyone who fancies a nosey.

I was quite looking forward to opening that myself actually.

I should start by saying I’m not particularly high maintenance when it comes to my beauty regime but I’ve always been tempted to give Glossybox, My Little Box or Birchbox a try. Last week I spied a code which bagged me “£20 worth” of extra booty with my order so decided to treat myself and see what all the fuss was about.

 

I paid £13.25 inc (very pretty) P&P, here’s what I got:

MUA Full Size Eyeshadow Pallette (£4): I was pretty happy to receive the ‘Heaven and Earth’ (bronzy browns) option as I’ll probably get more use out of that than the bluey grey alternative.

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Spa To You Deep Pore Facial Cleansing Brush Full Size (£6.99): Never one for creamy cleansers, I love a good scrub and am a devoted face wash and flannel user when it comes to cleaning my mush. This product is right up my street, you just apply your face wash as usual and use circular motions with the brush for a good ol’ exfoliation. It comes with a nifty little stand/cover which turned out to be not so nifty when it kept falling over backwards. I propped it up against the wall, the world went on, my face felt suitably buffed. I like it, I’d probably use it 2-3 times a week rather than everyday.

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Mudmasky Facial Detox Purifying Recovery Mask 20ml (£53) Their website states £60 per 60ml (!!) but currently offering 20% to Glossybox subscribers. At this price I’m going to enjoy every ml. I used it after the cleansing brush above so I’ve probably taken strips off my poor face but actually it felt really nice – tiny tiny ‘scrubby bits’ (how am I not a beauty blogger?) which I like, went on really easily and smoothly, smelt a bit like washing up liquid, made me look like Elphaba from Wicked (bonus points). Dried hard but as the layer is quite thin it doesn’t do that horrible crackling thing which freaks me out a bit. Washed off easily and left my skin feeling really soft and not at all tight or irritated.

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Cowshed Wild Cow Invigorating Body Lotion 30ml (300ml £20) Not sure I would spend £20 on a body lotion for myself but I have had a few Cowshed products in the past and really liked them. From the packaging I assumed it was going to be menthol/eucalyptus which I hate so I was very pleasantly surprised when I got my nostrils round it.This one smells so good, similar to the gorgeous Origins Ginger range or Champneys Citrus Glow range. Luxuriously thick but easily absorbed, this went on beautifully. I. Smell. Lush.

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GB Monogram Pochette designed by Rae Feather – Either you’re up to speed with this monogramming accessories brand du jour, or like me you’ve never heard of it because these days the closest you get to monogramming is scribbling your kids initials on their PE kit. Anyway, the inclosed newsletter informs me that the likes of Louise Redknapp, Poppy Delevigne and Coleen Rooney are big fans. Smallish but handy little zip purse useful for stashing bits and bobs.

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All in all I’d say I got my money’s worth. These are products that I can use and although I may not necessarily have bought them for myself, the whole idea is that the box is a little treat. I like nice smellies as much as the next person but in all honest beauty isn’t really my thing so while I may not seem over enthusiastic about my Glossybox, I don’t mean to sound negative. If beauty is your thing then I’d definitely give it a try, I think you’ll really like it. Me however, well my idea of a treat remains a (large) wodge of cake or a glass of red.

(PS below are the products I received with my code for a bonus gift worth £20)

A very wearable full size 10ml Nails Inc varnish  ‘Uptown’. This picture makes it look a bit more peachy than it really is, it’s more of a rosey pink. Really happy with this.

Eylure false lashes . I LOVE how pretty false eyelashes can look but I HATE  the feeling of them on my eyes and these are some chunky bad boys so if I ever did manage to apply them properly I’d probably have to walk around with my eyes closed.

Collection 2000 Teal Gel Eyeliner. Pretty sure the eyeliner will go to my makeup obsessed friend who can rock any look, unlike me who would look like a pantomime dame if I attempted anything remotely trendy.

Hope you enjoyed this sneaky peek into my August 2016 Glossybox!

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40 BEFORE 40

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Last week Stevie from A Cornish Mum set herself a ’40 before Forty’ challenge featuring a list of, you guessed it, 40 things she would like to achieve before her fortieth birthday. This is right up my street, I love a good list so I went to work on putting together my own ’40 things’ and in no particular order here’s what I came up with:

  1. Learn to play Poker (and win a game)
  2. Post more cards/letters/gifts
  3. Craft something functional, that actually looks nice.
  4. Learn to play the drums
  5. Learn a ‘proper’ dance.
  6. Learn to swim (yup!)
  7. Grow something, anything, successfully.
  8. Clear braces
  9. Visit Lake Bled, Slovenia
  10. Make my own jam
  11. Read more Oscar Wilde
  12. Take a hot air balloon ride
  13. Buy a proper grown up camera
  14. Learn how to use it
  15. Weekend away with the girls
  16. NYE fireworks in London
  17. Get a 6 pack
  18. Run the London marathon
  19. Family knees up with my cousins
  20. Learn (a lot) more about blogging
  21. Volunteer
  22. Afternoon tea at The Ritz (and Claridges!)
  23. Botox my 11s (the angry looking bit between the eyebrows)
  24. Learn to speak French
  25. Drive and Aston Martin on a racetrack
  26. Visit a vineyard
  27. Spend a day watching all those old movies I’ve been meaning to see forever
  28. Life drawing class
  29. Buy a piece of art
  30. Prettify the garden
  31. Go to the ballet
  32. Jump off a diving board
  33. Christmas Carols at The Royal Albert Hall
  34. Get a National Trust membership
  35. Drive a campervan around Ireland
  36. Visit a theme park
  37. Take the kids to see a West End show
  38. Go geocaching
  39. Cook every recipe in ‘Leon- Baking & Puddings’
  40. Quit stressing about turning 40

Given that I have a MUCH smaller time frame than Stevie to achieve the above (3 years in June!)  I probably need to start oooh about 6 years ago. I’ll also need to sell a kidney to fund it all but apart from that I’m good to go.

I’ll admit No.15 is a little bit cheaty because I do actually have a girls weekend away coming up but this is something I’ve never done, even before kids, despite wanting to for years so it’s staying.

NYE Fireworks in London I’d like to do just once because actually I secretly like staying in with Himself watching it on telly with a bottle of bubbles. Learning to play the drums is something I’ve wanted to do for so long, it’s only the teeny matter of actually needing to own a drum kit that’s been holding me back. There was a brief moment, student loan safely secured in my account, when I came close. Sadly I had to choose between that and food. Let’s just say I put on quite a bit of weight that term.

Abs?  Pahahahahahahahahahhah! Neevvver gonna happen. Marathon? Again,unlikely given my aversion to anything remotely athletic.

Even still, looks like I’m going to have a busy few years ahead, best crack on I suppose…

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MAGICAL RAINBOWS AND UNICORNS PARTY

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This week Flump turned 5 and we celebrated with a little party in the house, just a handful of her classmates and of course big bro, Spud. Himself was back to work after a lovely few days off for Easter but luckily I had lots of Mummies on hand to help out. Flump is big into unicorns at the minute so we went with a ‘Magical Unicorns and Rainbows’ theme which I have to admit I absolutely loved!!

 

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Notelets, Paperchase £3.50 for 8

I wanted to keep the budget fairly small for this one as it’s tempting to get carried away with party planning these days with so many gorgeous ideas and inspiration online (Pinterest I’m looking at you!!) I honestly think a lot of it is wasted on the kids who just want to be made a fuss of and run around with their friends like a bunch of loons. So on a mission to get the balance of fun and finance right, I started looking out for anything that might fit with the theme well in advance, picking up brightly coloured pieces here and there and stashing them away in preparation for the big day. I’ll try to note where everything was from if I can remember but if there is anything in particular you would like more info on just comment below.

The invites went out pretty early as the party was being held during the Easter Holidays so I needed to know if people were going to be away on holiday – luckily everyone was around that day – phew! I saw these notelets in Paperchase and although I know you can buy much cheaper ones these were so cute and perfect for the theme I just couldn’t resist them!

I found some party bags on Ebay and picked up unicorn trinket bracelets (also Ebay), a selection of pens/pencils (B&M)  individually wrapped sweetie necklaces and marshmallow twists (Poundland) as party favours.

Sticking with the theme I decorated the room with a unicorn helium balloon (Amazon) which turned out to be HUGE and some coloured paper decorations and balloons (both ASDA) which I tied together in rainbow colours.

Before the guests arrived I laid out a few crafts on the table (covered in this cute rainbow fabric available by the metre at The Range) to keep them occupied. ‘Make your own unicorn horn’ station with cones made from sparkly card and lots of jewels and stickers for them to decorate with – they loved this! We had colouring sheets, glitter tattoos, nail painting, glow sticks and some good old fashioned party games like pass the parcel and pin the horn on the unicorn (with some painful looking results!!)

I made this Rainbow Unicorn cake inspired by a YouTube video by My Cupcake Addiction although I used a few more colours and made them a bit less bright as I wasn’t so keen on the red buttercream used in the original, I also added a buttercream ‘cloud’ for the unicorn to stand in. The unicorn topper was made by piping white chocolate (using a template underneath some greaseproof paper) and sprinkled with a mixture of sugar and edible gold dust – BLING!! (Apologies for the rubbish shots, it was a bit of a manic day!) The usual triangle sarnies, crudités and cocktail sausages kept the girls happy followed by cookies and giant marshmallows (Tiger) on sticks which I dipped in pink candy melts and then into sprinkles – so easy and mega cool looking.

As you can see she seemed pretty happy as we all sang ‘Happy Birthday’ (accompanied by Spud on keyboard) as she was presented with her birthday cake adorned with FIVE (how is this possible??!) silver candles. Party bags distributed  and lots of kerfuffle with coats and shoes, the guests headed home and the birthday girl settled down to open her gifts – exciting! Mummy put the kettle on and cut an extra large slice of cake. Birthday party, done. Now I could do with a magical unicorn to tidy up this aftermath.

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DESIDERATA – A MODERN DAY TAKE

For anyone not familiar with the Desiderata, it is a poem written in the 1920s by American writer Max Ehrmann. As someone who has never had much interest in poetry I hold this particular piece of writing close to my heart. I first came across it at the age of about 6 while mooching around my Aunt’s house one weekend. She had a copy of it, with a colourful floral border (which is probably what really initially caught my eye) and it was sealed inside a hardback plastic cover with a hole at the top for hanging. Even at such a young age I knew there was something special, almost magical about the words, or at least the sentences I could understand! I was a very happy girl when my Aunt let me take it home with me that day.

Over the years it has been stashed at the bottom of drawers, packed away with a car boot load of university-bound belongings and stuck inside the wardrobe door of my London bedsit. And today? It hangs proudly in my downstairs loo (hey, some people keep their Oscar’s in the downstairs loo!). If you’re thinking that’s not a very salubrious spot for something I hold dearly, let me explain. Where else can you go everyday, anytime you like, even if the kids are home for a couple of minutes to yourself? See?

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Like me, a bit older and shabbier than when I first found it over 30 years ago! Pride of place in the downstairs loo.

Onto the poem in question, below you will see the beautifully written words by Ehrmann in bold italics, with my slightly less romantic interpretation below on how I apply it to my own life. If this is the first time you have read it I hope you enjoy and get a lovely warm fuzzy feeling inside (oh, and sorry if my bits spoil the magic, you may want to ignore those for the first read through!!)

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Don’t be a drama queen. Don’t take any nonsense from people. Don’t be a dic  treat others how you’d like to be treated.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Be honest. Be friendly.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

If someone winds you up, or drags you down you don’t need them in your life right now. You’re never going to have Kylie’s bum, get over it and remember there are a lot of people who would give anything to be in your state of health today.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Have something to look forward to but take time to appreciate the special moments in the day. We can’t all be chocolate tasters for a living, but whatever you do, give it your best.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Don’t be no fool. Recognise and appreciate small acts of kindness (and do the odd favour when you can).

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

As the man says, “Be Yourself”. Don’t be fake, you’re not fooling anyone. Love and know that will always be loved.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Ah, this one is particularly testing! Accept that ‘laughter lines’ are not the end of the world. Maybe leave the Jagerbombs to the 20 year olds, (apart from the odd particularly messy night out obviously, after which having been woken up by a small child playing the tambourine at 7am, you’ll wish you HAD done!).  What’s wrong with a nice glass of red on the sofa anyway, eh?

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Believe in yourself, you’re stronger than you think. Don’t over-think things or you’ll drive yourself mad.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

STOP BEING SO HARD ON YOURSELF! We’re all pretty awesome in our own way.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.

Take a walk, look around, watch your little munchkins when they don’t know you’re looking, appreciate the wonder of life. If that’s not always possible, (or you’re not feeling that Zen today), remember: grapes = wine = kind of amazing).

And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Life isn’t always easy, chin up and enjoy the good times.

Max Ehrmann, “Desiderata“.
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Every time I read this a different part resonates, depending on what happens to be going on in my head but one thing is for certain, I always carry on my day feeling just a little bit more chipper as a result.

On a few occasions I have printed a copy and framed as a gift and it has always been genuinely appreciated by the recipient. If you would like to do the same or have a copy for yourself you can find lots online, I like this one in particular, if you click on the link it will direct you to a free printable download.

I hope you enjoyed reading this – what do you think of the Desiderata then? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

x

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BOX ROOM BABY TO LITTLE LADY

When we moved into our current home just over 2 years ago our then 5yr old boy was lucky enough to get the biggest room, meaning he could have a midi bed in there with plenty of room for storing toys underneath and enough space for the kids to play together- happy days. As usual, at just 2yrs old, the baby of the family drew the short straw when it came to square footage and was assigned the box room. Actually, at the time she was delighted as the room happened to be painted pink, and her toddler bed fitted in there nicely leaving just enough room for her kitchen, dolly’s cot and other Very Important Princessy things.

Fast forward 2 years, the toddler bed had served its purpose and it was time to go ‘big girl’s bed’ shopping. After and evening spent searching online I soon realised that the beautiful, retro iron frames in pretty pastel shades that I had in mind were clearly not made with box room dimensions in mind! Bah! So on this occasion it was a case of functionality over form. I managed to find a slightly shorter than standard bed with drawers and shelving underneath which gave some much needed toy storage and the perfect place to keep Flump’s ever expanding dress-up collection. The princess pink walls were replaced by crisp white, leftover from another project (she still hates me for this).

In an attempt to make the transformation from Box Room Baby to Box Room Little Lady, while still  appealing to the tastes of a very girly 4 yr old, I added a few pops of her “still most favourite colour ever Mummy” pink, while also incorporating her current obsession, unicorns!

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Her much loved pink gingham toddler bedding was replaced with grey and white (mean Mummy!) and I found some cute unicorn fabrics online to knock up a couple of scatter cushions. Obviously even I’m not mean enough to get rid of Bunny who seems pretty happy on his new bed.

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There were literally millimetres at the end of her bed to allow for the door to close so in place of a headboard I hung a floating shelf above the bed, which gives the effect of a headboard with the added bonus of somewhere to hang fairy lights (no need for a bedside light/table!) and display special treasures! (A birthday card from Flump’s Grandad to her Grandma when they first started dating in the Swinging 60s, a Shakespeare quote which is most fitting for a certain person, a hand knitted toy made by her Great Grandma and her first pair of Cons -too cute to ever throw away!)

Storage, storage, storage. Bedtime stories are now all neatly on display at the end of her bed ready for her to choose from. I also attached this cute birdhouse display box to the wall next to the bed so her bedtime drink is within reach. (Mermaids and hairbands model’s own but I like it!!) Oh, and I added a background using a piece of card covered in toadstool print fabric, again bought online for about £4 for a selection of 4 fat quarters.

IMG_3281And finally, making the most of the wall space available behind the door, some hooks – every girl needs somewhere to hang her OOTD right??!

 

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SPRING HAS SPRUNG!

Yay! We can officially wave goodbye to Winter and look forward to longer evenings and finally ditching the thermals!! Although it was a very gloomy morning here in Bedfordshire, the sun is peeping through the clouds as I type so it’s all good.

I’ve been on a quick H&M run for kids joggers, tees etc this morning and decided to celebrate the new season by treating myself to a little something (any excuse eh?!). Nothing fancy as funds are low and I really wasn’t on the look out for anything in particular, just something to brighten my day. With my pale Irish skin and dark hair the gorgeous bright yellow and orange tops that scream Springtime are a big no no for me, what with them making me look like a zombie and all, same goes for scarves or basically anything above the waist. I did however spot this gorgeous bright coral nail varnish from Liz Earle, just the right amount of bright without being brash, and even change some from a tenner – perfect!

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I am definitely a low maintenance girl when it comes to beauty products, partly because I really can’t justify the cost of manicures, tanning, eyebrows, highlights, lashes, waxing, facials, etc etc and partly because I just cannot be bothered with the faff of it all. While I do wear makeup every day, it’s purely because it makes me feel more confident, and so not to frighten any small children on the school run but that’s about as much effort as I’m willing to put in on a daily basis (well apart from showering and a quick whizz with a Bic obviously!)

I have toyed with the idea of investing in a home kit for gel nails as I definitely do feel a bit more ‘done’ with polish on and am fed up with spending ages waiting for undercoats, varnish, top coat layers to dry only for my hard work to be ruined by the end of the kids bathtime. While I decide whether or not to buy a home kit though, its plain old off the shelf, old school nail varnish for now.

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It was my lovely Mum who first introduced me to the Liz Earle brand waaaaaaaay back before it became widely known for its now cult status Cleanse and Polish formula with muslin cloths and when you could only get hold of it via mail order catalogue. Today its available in John Lewis and Boots to name a few which makes shopping for birthdays and Mother’s Day a lot easier for me than it used to be! While the skincare unfortunately didn’t suit my skin, once I tried the nail varnish (in Knockout, a vibrant red) I was really impressed. It went on smoothly, dried quickly leaving a lovely glossy finish and best of all stood up to an impressive amount of abuse before chipping. It’s still the polish I use for a rare night out.

At £8.50 it’s more than I would usually spend on a nail varnish but given that I have already used it and been so impressed  with the results I was happy to pay this. It describes itself a Strengthening Nail Colour (bonus), claiming to last for up to 12 days, which I think is slightly optimistic but I would say in my experience, used without any undercoats or top coat it does last longer than any other mid range varnish I’ve tried.

I’ve applied two coats as per instructed for a lovely even finish –  at least this colour will last longer than the sunshine which already seems to be disappearing behind the clouds just in time for the school run!! x

 

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MOTHERS DAY – TOP SUPERMARKET PICKS UNDER £10

Time is money. So you’ll be glad to hear that this post is all about saving you time AND money. These are my top supermarket picks for Mother’s Day, all under £10 and all of which you can grab next time you pop in for a pint of milk.

 

Spectacles by Sue Perkins, £9, Tesco Who doesn’t love Sue Perkins? I mean if you don’t, then we need to talk. This #1 bestseller is top of my wish list this Mother’s Day (just above wine and chocolate). I’ll be factoring numerous ‘toilet trips’ into my day accordingly.

Spotty China Mug, 75p, Waitrose I’m a mug for a mug, and at 75p this little cutie is such a bargain you’d be a mug not to right? Fill it with smellies, fluffy socks or Mum’s favourite choccy bars for a cute personalised gift.

Lanolips Rose Lip Ointment, £8.16, Waitrose Made with medical grade lanolin and containing Vitamin E and SPF15 this hardworking treat for lips gives a hint of colour-perfect for everyday.

3 x Mini-notebooks, £3, Sainsbury’s These days if I don’t write something down you can guarantee I WILL NOT REMEMBER IT, hence the need for a notebook somewhere on my person at all times. I’m old school when it comes to note making, preferring actual pen and paper to anything remotely technical so these little A6 size notebooks are perfect for stashing in my bag, pocket, car or wherever inspiration might strike!

Champagne, was £24.50 now £10, ASDA This Louvel Fontaine Champagne Brut is currently just £10 at ASDA so it would be rude not to – no indication on how long this offer is running unfortunately until so GO QUICK!!

Large Trinket Box, £8, Sainsbury’s  I love the geometric shape of this bronze and glass trinket box, it would look great in the bathroom for cotton balls or as somewhere to store all the random bits of stuff that accumulate on the bedside table.

Rose Gold Frame - Sainsburys (3)Rose Gold Frame, £8, Sainsbury’s OK, now let me just say I am generally not a fan of most ‘Mummy’ specific tat gifts as I regularly remind my kids/husband. They know by now to keep walking past the gift section and straight ahead to the wine/confectionary aisle thank you very much. However, this frame caught my eye for three reasons. 1. It’s pretty to look at so I would actually consider having it in my home rather than immediately hiding it in the charity shop pile. 2. It allows your little cherubs to list the reasons you so are amazing to them which makes it much more personal and meaningful than anything Tatty Teddy could ever offer. 3. You could definitely use it to display cute prints, photos or future offerings from your budding artists if you’re a really nice mummy! (keeping your original list in the ‘special stuff’ box of course).

So there you have it, no excuses for anyone not giving/getting some well deserved treats this Mother’s Day – I hope you liked my supermarket finds and have a cuddle-filled day of celebrating Motherhood!

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WEEKEND BOX CLUB INDEPENDENT REVIEW *FREE TRIAL BOX*

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The house seems ever so quiet this morning following a week of half-term shenanigans! Trips to the park, playdates, cinema (followed by the obligatory half-term Happy Meal), baking and general  monkeying around made for a lovely week of family time; Himself even had a few days off work to join in the fun! I always factor a few lazy days in between plans for any school holiday as I think the kids do need a rest even though they will NEVER EVER admit to being tired. Their absolute favourite thing to do on our lazy days is craft. Anything involving paper, scissors and lots and lots of mess keeps them happy for literally hours. I recently discovered an online company called  Weekend Box Club who will post a selection of craft activities for you to enjoy containing everything you need to get going all in one little box! With half-term on the horizon I knew it would be perfect so I joined up and placed an order which arrived a couple of days later in time for me to stash it out of sight from little peepers.

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I ordered the Bumper Box which includes 4 activities and costs £7.50 per box but they also offer a Mini Box which includes 2 activities for £4.95. The Mini-Box is delivered fortnightly and the Bumper Box can be delivered fortnightly or monthly. They also offer gift subscriptions which I think is a really lovely idea and way more fun than a bunch more plastic tat for the toy box.

As you can see the packaging is pretty trippy which I love and as soon as the kids saw it they couldn’t wait to get inside and see what it was all about! You’ll be introduced to Hattie, Wooster, Sammy & Oswald and inside you will find your brightly coloured envelopes containing supplies, clear instruction cards for each activity, stickers and a certificate to colour in on completion of your masterpieces!

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Each box has a theme and we received the Native American themed box. Card, string, powdered paint, a paintbrush and even blu-tac were supplied to make a native American headdress modeled here by Flump (customised with insect doodles and stickers).

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Spud decided to make the dreamcatcher which is hanging proudly in his bedroom window and looks great, lots of beads and feathers in bright colours and he loves the idea that his bad dreams are now being captured by his creation! (Also customised with insects for some reason?)

The third activity was making your own totem pole, for which you needed to supply your own loo roll tube. The envelope supplied some sticky backed foam to make your totem pole animals with and crayons to decorate the pole. We found this one a little less exciting but still enjoyed thinking up our animals and the cutting and sticking of course.

Of the four activities one involves baking, on this occasion BBQ Baked Beans. The envelope included a sachet of sugar and one of spice. Unfortunately the kids weren’t impressed with this one and I didn’t have the ingredients required to hand  even if they had wanted to make them. I understand that the baking activity is chosen to fit with the theme and will always require some additional ingredients/equipment, which I would not expect to be provided by post, but I did feel this particular envelope was a bit disappointing given what was provided.

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Overall I would definitely give the Weekend Box Club a big thumbs up. We spent a total of 3 hrs (with a snack break for Little Bird and Big Chief Bear Catcher) happily cutting, sticking and painting and it would have been more if we had done the baking activity so in terms of entertainment this little box packs a big punch! For those on a budget you can easily add to the quite generous supplies provided using your own stash, as I did, to allow for two children to complete each activity; which works out considerably less expensive than most kids activities x2 or even a magazine each! I also think it would be a great treat for Grandparents to have up their sleeve for sleepover weekends, where they may not have quite the amount of crafty bits and bobs to hand as Mummy Maker does.

I will say that this is not something that can be used to keep the kids amused while you get on with the ever growing heap of laundry. Both Spud and Flump needed quite a lot of assistance along the way so make yourself a cuppa and set aside some time to enjoy this as a family activity. Personally speaking, my two just want my time and attention 24/7, which they don’t get because LIFE, but when they do it means a lot to them. In fact the Weekend Box Club sum this up perfectly in their own philosophy, “Enhancing You and Them time, not replacing it”.

If you would like to try the Weekend Box Club for yourself they very kindly offer a FREE first box when you join up using this link and you can cancel really easily through your online account should you wish to.

Let me know if you try it or if you are already a member of the club (my weekend club memberships have changed somewhat since becoming a mother, although this one costs a lot less and comes with a no-hangover guarantee!!)

Have fun!

x

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BARGAIN HAUL – WANNA SEE?

Now I love a bargain as much as the next (ever so slightly skint) person but personally I find the idea of rummaging through the January jumble-sale shop rails a thoroughly joyless exercise, so I tend to stick to online for any items I have had my eye on. HOWEVER, come February, once the madness had passed and we start to crave the promise of Spring that comes with the New Collections, this is my time. This is when I crawl out from my cocoon in search of that quiet little corner of the stores marked ‘Clearance’. Oh the joy of a 70% off label on something in your size! So here’s a peek at some of the purse friendly treasures I picked up yesterday.

I lucked out with this cute little necklace from M&S having my initial on it – so I took it as a sign I was meant to have it.

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Was £8 now £1.29!

I struggle to plan quite as far ahead as Christmas at this stage so I usually pass on festive items although there are great bargains to be had I know. I do try to hunt out good quality coats for the kids though, a size up, which can be put away for the next school year. Spud (my 7yr old) should get another year out of his Costco number (which by the way I would definitely recommend, it has a detachable inner section which can be worn as a light jacket and has fared well in the washing machine so far). Flump is almost 5yrs and a few growth spurts have resulted in her little wrists popping out of the end of her sleeves (diddums) so a new coat is definitely required. I visited a  Trespass  store which have big reductions both in-store and online, I’ve already ordered a few other styles online to try which should arrive this week. Her current coat is Trespass and it’s just the right amount of cosy with all the practicality of being windproof, waterproof, washable etc. I picked up these two but not sure which to keep- Practical Black or Pretty Print?

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Was £54.99  Now £19.99
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Was £69.99 Now £20.99

H&M is my go-to for good quality jersey basics so I nipped in to grab a couple of tube skirts and tees and spotted these bargainacious bobby dazzlers on the way to the till. Hard to see clearly in the photos but the lightweight navy cloud sweater is decorated with sequins and embroidery. I haven’t worn it yet so don’t know how well it will wash but for £10 I won’t be too devastated if I shed a few sequins here and there! The green cable detail sweater has a similar funnel style neck and the lurex adds a hint of shimmer without making me look like I should be hanging on a Christmas tree. Oh, did I mention it was down to a ridiculous £7?!!!

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Was £19.99 Now £10
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Was £29.99 Now £7

Housey things I do not need…Debenhams Blue Cross Sale is basically all the housey things I. DO. NOT. NEED. With 70% off.  I cannot defend this purchase on any level, and certainly not out of necessity; we have a fruit bowl, a perfectly lovely, relatively new and fit-for -fruit holding purposes fruit bowl. And yet somehow I find myself at the till purchasing a fruit bowl I DO NOT NEED.  It wasn’t even 70% off dammit but I did resist a whole heap of other lovely housey things I do not need. Nice though innit?

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Was £15  Now £9

 

Hand’s up who loves Tiger?? Yep, thought so. A treasure trove of things you never knew you needed, raging from wholly practical to completely ridiculous –  it never disappoints, and it’s pretty purse friendly to boot.

I spotted a cute little 2 sided mirror for £2, which will come in handy for showing Flump the back of her ‘hairstyle’ (ponytail, usually) in the mirror before school. Now she can stop pulling my vanity mirror down from the windowsill because I’m pretty certain one day she’s going to break it. The idea of looking into a magnifying mirror makes me want to cry a little bit but I was brave, I faced my fear and despite seeing every line, pore and pimple far too clearly for my liking, it’s upped my eye-plucking game no end and also reminded me to sort my tash out.

The little wire baskets were also £2 each, I grabbed a pink and a blue, I love a wire basket I do. Having the ability to make mess look instantly, well, less messy. I’m all for that and have a number of them stashed around the place. As you can see these one’s are the perfect size to use as a napkin holder too, which as luck would have it I do actually need and for £1 I thought these little heart napkins were a cute addition. The MASSIVE marshmallows (£3) were something I’d been on the lookout for and will be using next month at Flumps birthday party so they’ll probably make an appearance again in a future blog I’m planning.

I hope you’ve enjoyed a peek at my bargain haul -I know I LOVE seeing other people’s haul blogs – though they usually make me want to go out and spend, spend, spend! Thanks for reading and let me know if you found any treasures lurking in the Clearance section, I may need to go check them out for myself. X

 

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