Tuesday, 28 October 2014

.Autumn Delights...

Hello there!

I hope you are all keeping warm and snug now the nights are drawing in. I'm finding the days are definitely getting much cooler and therefore the heating has well and truly been switched on in this house! Although generally I do try my best to look on the bright side of life, and we are still in Autumn, a season I love, I am not really what one would call a winter person. I get a bit gloomy and probably should invest in one of those seasonal affective disorder lights. If you have ever used one I would love to know how you found it. I do like the excitement of Christmas though and that does help me get through :) 

Talking of Christmas I was so tempted to pick up this oh so cute Chrismas decoration from John Lewis, I think I shall have to make a little trip back there! 


I think its so sweet!

I did pick up this little trio of mini vintage style suitcases however from my favourite Home Bargains, and a bargain indeed for only £6.99 for the three. Perfect for all those little bits and bobs.


I just love home Bargains for its quirky, shabby chic finds. With the seasonal changes, I'm getting a little out of sorts with my sleep for some reason, I love to spray my pillow with L'Occitane pillow mist just before bed and I was beginning to run out. A quick visit to my nearest L'Occitane store revealed that they had discontinued my favourite (boo) and replaced it (yay) with this newer updated version so I decided to give it a whirl.


It still has a relaxing scent, which contains the essential oils of lavender, bergamot, mandarin, sweet orange, and geranium, and it certainly has a calming effect once sprayed. I am finding however that it doesn't drift me off to sleep as much as my old version which contains the essential oils of lavender, tea tree and geranium.


I think it's the tea tree that really does it for me and once sprayed I literally fall into a lovely sleep. So, although I'm reasonably happy with the newer mist, and it is also perfect for using as a room spray, I shall definitely be searching out my now discontinued favorite. I must like a challenge!


I'll be treasuring and use very sparingly that tiny bit left at the bottom!

As mentioned above I am quite a fan of Autumn, November in particular. Family birthday's, our wedding anniversary, the seasonal change all evoke happy memories for me and who cannot resist a little kick of those crunchy autumn leaves. Not me thats for sure!


I was a bit unsure of those 'autumn' coloured tights...but I thought at least they coordinated well with the leaves ;) Something that also coordinates very well with the tights is this lovely jumper for Master P I found in Sainsburys (TU brand). I thought it perfect for these Autumnal days and I love the flying ducks on it, very retro.


We picked up some burnt orange trousers to match and some other clothing whilst there, I was really impressed with the boyswear.


And here's the fella, all dressed up in his Autumn attire, looking very dapper. I think if Sainsbo's ever require an 8 year old professional model (he actually is) you know where to look, he's becoming quite the fashionista!


One other enjoyment of Autumn nights is our hot chocolate drinking, with of course an extra sprinkling of mini marshmallows.


I'm getting productive and preparing for the daughters 13th (teenager at last) birthday disco. Oh my goodness, its going to be a busy one so have begun the preparations in earnest.


I do love party planning, and all that attention to detail. I really enjoy helping to make someone's special day a day to remember. An avenue if I'm honest I wish I'd pursued. In fact, perhaps there's still time to realise a little dream?

I've also been shabby chicing a bit. I was kindly gifted an amazing mirror (is actually an Ikea Hemnes one) via freecycle. This particular mirror had been on my wishlist for a while so I jumped for joy getting it for free, thank you kind lady :) It had already been painted but unfortunately not in a colour suited to my bedroom theme, so I promptly got the paint out.


Here's a sneak peek of the mirror before I got painting it. Its great, and a full length size, perfect for just casually leaning against the wall like an oversized photo frame.


I just need to do one last wax and it's done, I'll make sure I share the final look :)

So busy, busy and I've also had an opportunity to give my little old blog a mini makeover too. I somehow lost my template I have had since I first began blogging way back in 2008. I pretty much wanted to jack it all in and say goodbye to blogger, but with some perseverance I created this new, more modern in my eyes little design.

Blogger I forgive you, and we are friends once more :)

Back soon lovelies!

X





Monday, 29 September 2014

Inspirational Catch Up...

Wow!! It's been a while since I frequented the blogosphere, so now the littlies (ok - I know I can't really call them 'littlies' anymore) have settled back into school etc, I thought it was high time for a quick bloggy catch up. Hope you are all well and happy and like moi enjoying the pretty things in life! Perhaps it is because I am getting older, my body a little slower, but I'm really beginning to appreciate and enjoy the teeny tiny things in my little world. I can be accused of taking life for granted in the past, but no more. The internet has been a wondrous thing, of course, but it has also got that side where one can easily get sucked into an online world and perhaps the here and now, the real stuff as I call it, get a bit forgotten. There's nothing quite so magical as picking a newly bloomed garden flower, taking in it's pretty scent, or having a bear hug with one's offspring, proper adult talking with loved ones. I get so much inspiration from t' interweb and I suppose it is just about moderation. Hopefully I can time manage the online world along with my day to day world so I can get enjoyment from both. Why I possibly love Instagram so much, perfect little bite sized snippets of life. 

So, whats has been inspiring me of late?

Having quite a collection of glass bottles at home that aren't really doing anything, I was very inspired by these simple yet very effective table displays whilst out for lunch one day. A little lavender, greenery and ribbon can make all the difference! 


This little display would be perfect for one or two of my bottles so on the 'to do' list its gone. Whilst out and about, of course a little moochy style shopping had to be done, and inspired by my favourite flower, the Daisy, I just had to get this pretty Daisy frame from a charity shop. It was brand new in the box too, such a bargain! I can't wait to get some of my favourite family photographs in there.


 I am forever in my flip flops - even in winter and being an avid bargain hunter, was so inspired by these really cute £2 cushions from the Tesco sale. For now they are residing on the bed, and as someone who doesn't really 'do' winter, I can't help but feel all cheery and summery seeing them.


One thing I do like about winter however, is sitting down to a hot home cooked dinner of an evening to warm me up. I love the idea of using a slow cooker so to inspire my cooking, I invested the princely sum of £12.99 on this Aldi slow cooker. I made some lasagne, which the family said was really nice!


Next up it had to be something sweet - and what better than this Toffee Apple Pudding (from Audrey Deane's slow cooker recipe book) which was delicious!


Yes, I may have helped myself to seconds, and thirds....and... ;) Being somewhat of a budget buy, I am not sure how long the slow cooker shall last, but for now we are enjoying many meals using it.

We've being having some beautiful sunny days, perfect for family walks. 


 Especially fun with a little den building along the way. No, we didn't really do all that building, but added a handful more discarded branches for the next family to have fun in. 


It's very inspiring to see Miss. Poppins indulge (mostly) and have fun with us at family time. Anyone else who is 'owner' to a near teenage girl, well it can be frustrating at the best of times. Mostly though she is of course adorable and growing up so fast! She was 7 years old, when I first started this blog, look at her now! 


So, age 13 is nearly upon us, and probably the last time I'll have any influence over her party plans *sob - we're going for a shabby/chicy/cool vibey disco type party to celebrate her new teenagedom. Sounds fab - I hope she invites me :) More things that I'm enjoying and one that quite surprises me, is my new love of coffee. I am first and foremost a tea drinker but when the husband bought this on a recent shopping jaunt, that tempting caramel just drew me in. Oh its delicious, and now I can't help knocking back a cheeky coffee along with my daily tea drinking quota.   


Sewing is also inspiring me somewhat and after a lack of my crafty mojo, it delighted me to get back making again.  


I really enjoyed making these little gifts for friends. 




There has been a much needed fabric sort out too, many fabrics I'd forgotten I had!


Nibbling on these little strawberry laces whilst de stashing/sorting out, made it a very enjoyable experience.


So, the time is nearly here to celebrate another wedding anniversary. 
How many years? 
Well, lets just say it's our crystal wedding anniversary! Go figure ;) I had a lovely morning not long ago mooching through all our wedding photographs and luckily they seem to have not dated and have stood the test of time. 

I especially like this one of moi stepping out of the wedding car arriving at church. Can you guess it was a very windy day!


Fun times! 

Lots of lazing weekend mornings have been spent having lie in's, Master P always makes a lovely early morning bed guest.


So, I have much there to inspire me, to keep me young at heart, treasuring all the special moments, and of course with a little shopping along the way to keep me happy. 

Talking of shopping purchases that keep me happy, look what the husband got me for my birthday, oh I just love it and it is SO comfy! I love that it was from Ikea's bargain corner too, nice to keep that bargain hunting gene in the family. Here's a little clue...


So a real treat from £185 to £75!

We haven't found its proper home yet so it is just kind of plonked in the bedroom. It is the perfect place to pop ones feet up, and have a little read, perhaps even a little snooze. 


It's an Ektorp chaise longue, with the floral cover, so a real bargain! No longer available I believe, and even though it's ex display, it's in pretty much perfect condition. Here is a stock image of what it looks like properly.  


Probably one of my favourite places to relax these days. In fact I may go grab my book and just have a quiet moment...

Back soon lovelies!

X


Saturday, 23 August 2014

M&S Sleepwell Bedding Review....

It has to be said I am not the best of sleepers, and often struggle to get a decent nights sleep. A good night for me would be a solid 6 hours sleep on an average night and I can at times wake up tired and unrefreshed. I strive to get a better sleeping pattern and am aware much of my habit revolves around things going over and over in my mind and staying awake when I should be fast asleep. I also have a shoulder complaint so it can get really tricky even getting comfortable. I love to search out products that could better aid my sleep and have used candles, pillow mists and various sleep inducing items along my path to getting better nights kip. I would say the husband is a pretty normal sleeper, whereas I flap around all over the place kicking off covers (and him at times) as I get too warm and stuffy.

I was recently offered the opportunity to review the Keep Cool bedding range from M&S that could hopefully help to create a better sleep environment in which to gain some much needed Zzzz's. I looked forward to trying it out as M&S are well known for producing some great, high quality bed linen and the Sleepwell range is climate controlled so its aim is to keep one nice and comfortably cool, which is great for me as someone who gets very hot and bothered! 

First up I made some simple notes of my sleeping habits a few days before trying out the range. 


 It soon became apparent why I may not be getting the sleep I so wanted...

* I was going to bed far too late - 10.30 - 11pm is my ideal go to bed time.
* Bedroom feels stuffy.
* I was nibbling on foods way past 9pm - not great for digestion.
* Struggled to 'switch off' my mind.
* Shoulder painful and I couldn't seem to get a comfortable position. 

So you can see not great, my plan was to improve these bad habits first before trying out the bedding range, go to bed earlier, maybe read a book. Open a small window, no nibbling after 9pm, and thankfully my shoulder is getting some professional physiotherapy so should be getting better. I have also read a small glass of water before bed can help so tried that too. 

Next it was time to get the bed ready using the Sleepwell bedding. There's something lovely about making a new bed using new and clean sheets and I soon wanted to dive in. One thing I noticed straight away was how silky soft to the touch, the Sleepwell range was.


Time to get the duvet in the cover! 


I was really looking forward to seeing what the sleepwell pillows were like. As well as having the natural fibre Tencel which is cooling, the Tencel mix inside filling is soft and supportive too. 


The pillow cases come in cute little buttoned up bags to keep them in - perfect for taking the pillow cases on holiday when there are hot balmy nights. Loving attention to detail I really liked this touch. 


Once the bedding was all on, which included a fitted sheet, it was time to get the candles out too, I love this Pea Pod scented candle, again from M&S. If you wish you can peel back the sticker to reveal the paint board area underneath to write your own chalk message, I have kept the original sticker on for now. 


 Yay!! Time to dive in...


I was feeling rather lazy so opted not to wash/iron the bedding before first use, so you can still see the fold marks, however I knew this would not compromise my sleep experience and was too eager to just climb in!  

Hmmmm, I think pretty and twinkling lights are required for this special occasion! We're in the middle of doing a makeover in the bedroom so please excuse the bare plastered wall which is soon awaiting some jazzy wallpaper.


Once in the bed, I stuck to my new regime and grabbed a little inspiring book I love to read...


And soon I was in the land of Zzzzzzz.

So, how did my night go? Well I can happily say I had a really decent nights sleep, and although I am sure the comfortable and cool bed linen helped, not sucumbing to my usual bad sleep habits had made a big difference too. I really didn't want to get out of my happy place.


I found the duvet the best I had ever tried and definitely helped to make for a comfy night - I didn't feel hot and bothered as usual which is probably down to the bedding being temperature regulated so kept me cool. With the bedding being white, and the softness, I did feel I was sleeping within a big squishy cloud! Soon it was time to make up the bed and I really looked forward to bed time again!


Both the husband and I have had some lovely night's sleep using this range and I'll have to wait and see if the bedding washes well, but I am hoping it is as good as other M&S bedding we have that seems to come out really well and is long lasting. In fact we were given some M&S bedding as a wedding gift nearly 15 years ago - and yes we still use it! 

Hopefully this shall last just as long.


X

Disclosure: We were provided with items from the M&S Sleepwell bedding range to review for the purposes of this blog post. All words and opinions are my own. 

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Netflix Review (Part 2)....



Having posted part 1 of our Netflix Review here it was time to get a better idea of why we love Netflix so much! Although individually we all look forward to some chill out time with Netflix on our own devices, its when we come together as a family that Netflix for me really comes into it's own. During this holiday season we've had no specific family holiday, apart from the occasional weekend away, so it has been nice to come back to that cinema experience that Netflix offers at home after a day out. Sounds a cliché - but yes we like to get the bowls of popcorn out to enhance the experience! We definately use Netflix to relax and unwind - the man of the house is not what one would call a film buff as it were, but he has really enjoyed some quiet time with us to watch a movie. Having a busy work life, and starting a new job it has been good for him to 'escape' for a short while. One film we enjoyed was Opal Dream, about a young girl, Kellyanne who has two invisible friends, Poppy and Dingan and soon becomes ill after they disappear one day. This film evokes lessons of family loyalty, faith and compassion and certainly got us all talking about it long after it had finished. I guess I'm naturally bit of a homebird so look forward to snuggling up on the couch and this family time. The children also see it as bit of a treat, especially when the popcorn gets in on the act!

Here they are sharing what they love about netflix.



We don't often get to the cinema, so the children especially enjoy their film watching at home and there is certainly an impressive choice of films for them to choose from. I really like that we can all set up our own profiles and although a little restricted, there are some simple parental controls one can set up for each profile. So for myself and my husband we have access on our profile's to all adult movies, Master P older kids, and Miss P the the 'teen' stuff. 


Of course you can't block certain profiles being seen by others on devices, however so far the parental controls on offer work for us as a family and the children like using their own profiles, which makes them feel quite grown up and they don't wander over to anyone else's. They understand what's meant for them to watch and what isn't and always use their own personal profile on devices. However perhaps settings could be set up on a device by device basis, or profiles be password protected. This is something Netflix could look into maybe, and that would make the current settings much stricter for parents who want to be 100% confident young viewers can only view age appropriate content on devices. Just to note it can take upto 8 hours for parental controls to take effect.

With all this in mind I think communication is the key and we have open discussions at home about what is suitable viewing. Miss P who is quite old for her years and mature minded, occasionally watches things that may not be available on her 'teen' profile but she always checks first and we both make sure is ok to watch.

Anything that makes me blub is always good viewing for me, I love a film that makes me cry - and here I am watching Ghost for probably the 100th time!! The dog also wanted to get in on the fun and games too!



So Netflix works for us in many ways, to bring us all together to help create some family time, for the pre - teen who loves to get her school friends around to watch a cheesy movie on sleepover nights, for when someone in the house is feeling a little under weather, lying on the couch with a little netflix time and chicken soup really helps to take some time out and recharge the batteries. For the busy husband who works, works, works and yet relishes a sit down with his wifey to watch a gripping drama series, for when the weather is rubbish and I have an 8 year old boy on my hands twiddling his little thumbs, only a sit down with Horrid Henry will do!

We plan to keep up our Netflix subscription for the foreseeable future and the fact that initially one sitting as a family in front of a 'screen' can perhaps not be seen as valuable time, it certainly is for us as things we watch evoke discussion, talk, chitter chatter, even a little romance! So as far as entertainment goes for us, Netflix gets a bit thumbs up!! 


X

Disclosure: I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network research panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services and events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or paid to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity.  


Tuesday, 19 August 2014

MU Cheese at The National Football Museum....

After our MU Cheese event that I blogged about here we were given an opportunity to take home some of the MU Cheese that is exclusively available from Tesco and see what we thought. I have to say I am a big cheese fan and there aren't many cheeses I don't like. We were all eager to tuck in and have a taste when we got home!


A favourite with the children was the 100% Medium Cheddar Discs - these are super handy to pop on pizza's, sandwiches etc but my two just liked munching on them as a little snack on the go. 

I loved the MU Mature Cheddar block, and found it perfect for grating on top of pasta dishes and we love it sprinkled on mash. Being a mature cheddar, it definitely adds a little more flavour to the dish, and it's also really convenient that it comes in a resealable pack! 


Of course, if I'm feeling a little lazy I can bring out the MU Grated Cheddar, and again that comes in it's own resealable bag. As we often like to have a little bowl of sprinkled cheese on the table at dinner times, it's so easy to grab a little from the bag, and voila all done! 


I think Mu Cheese is very reasonably priced, and we have picked up more on a recent visit to Tesco. The cheese definitely gets the thumbs up from us all, even the man of the house who isn't really a cheese fan! 

The event was held at the The National Football Museum in Manchester - and I think I would have had a very sad son on my hands if I turned this invitation down, he's just mad about football! OK, so even I was a little excited too. With no big summer holiday planned this summer, days out were always going to be the key with my family and after the cheese tasting and some groovy dancing with George Sampson, we were free to mooch around the museum. It was fabulous!!


With many people on a budget over the summer, it's great that the football museum is free, yes free!! You can experience Football Plus+ and purchase 'credits' that give you the opportunity to play certain football related activities as you walk around. But a little pocket money would definately get you some credits to have fun with. 


We arrived a little early for the event and the children enjoyed a little play time in the football themed park near the venue. 



It certainly got them in the football mood!


The football museum was super fun and I have to say I was intrigued by all the football facts I learnt walking around and even had a go at being a pretend football match commentator (credits required) - the children couldn't contain their laughter watching me really getting involved!


Using up some more credits Master P enjoyed his Penalty Shootout.


And there were games to play that no credits were required for which the children loved.


I would thoroughly recommend the Football Museum, it has much to offer and we look forward to going back.


A great day had by all!!

X

Disclosure : We received complimentary MU Chesse products to sample for the purposes of this review post. We also received credits to use at The National Football Museum. All words and opinions my own.