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100 Years of Magic...

on Wednesday, 27 August 2014.

Mads is at an age where she is fascinated by anything that helps her use her imagination.  For ages we worried about taking her to the cinema, or to a show because we were worried that she would get bored and not want to stay in her seat, but now at nearly four (I can't believe it!) she loves to be entertained, so I am constantly on the look out for family friendly shows and attractions that we can go to together.  She is a typical little person who absolutely loves Disney so I was really interested to hear about Disney on Ice going on tour.

I know that she would absolutely love this- seeing Mickey, Ariel, Timone, Jasmine and her absolute favourite - the Toy Story characters.  She literally is obsessed with Toy Story.  I also think it would be something that LL would enjoy too, as well as something fun for the whole family.  

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Disney on Ice is touring Glasgow, Manchester and Birmingham over the next few months, before ending up in London at the end of the year.  I cannot decide which show to take Mads to as we thought it might be nice to make a weekend of it.  The IHG hotel group have hotels in Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow, Glasgow is a little far for us but I have stayed in the Manchester Crowne Plaza before and it is really nice.  If we did go to Manchester then we could go and see Mr E's Mum as she lives there too.  

Have a little look at the official video for Disney on Ice- doesn't it look amazing?

 

 

 

*In partnership with IHG*

I Love Leeds...

on Wednesday, 20 August 2014.

There's a place in the UK that holds a special place in my heart.  That might sound a little cheesy but it is entirely true.  And that place is Leeds.

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I can quite clearly remember the day I first arrived in Leeds.  I headed up there with my Mum and her then boyfriend, having never been before, our car all packed full to the brim of my prized possessions and belongings.  Heading up there for a new challenge, a new beginning and the start of a journey into becoming an adult.  I was eighteen heading up to university and I had no idea what to expect.  I remember being so scared and nervous about leaving my life behind.

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With scary blond hair in my third year at University.  

I soon fell in love with the city.  Leeds is relatively small as 'big cities' go, but it has everything you need and more.  The city centre is amazing, with every shop you could imagine including the gorgeous Victoria Quarter which has a large Harvey Nichols.  I spent so much of my much needed student loan buying things I shouldn't be!  And then there are the bars and clubs.  The Leeds nightlife scene is legendary, with so many cool independent bars.  My favourites at the time were Oporto, Jake's and Norman.  They are all in the Call Lane area of the city, and I spent almost every evening there. 

I was at university in Leeds for three years, but I ended up staying for five because I loved it so much.  It's where I grew up, became an adult, 'found myself' and found my future husband.  I made lifelong friends there and to this day even after living in many different places, I still haven't found a city like it.  There's something so special about it, and sometimes I wonder if we made the right decision in moving away. 

But alas we have, although we still visit regularly, there are so many gorgeous hotels that you can book through companies like Hotel Direct- we love the Malmaison and also the Park Plaza because they are right in the centre and near to all the places we love.  The last time we went up there was a couple of weeks ago, where we took our girl's for a 'walk down memory lane' visiting all the places that hold a special memory for us- the place along the canal we first kissed, our first home together and the bar we worked in.  

I still find it surreal to think that if I hadn't have put it down as one of my choices for university, then my life would have turned out very differently.  Therefore it will always hold a special place in my heart and I will always make sure we go there regularly to keep our memories alive.  However even if you haven't been before, it's definitely worth visiting- especially if you love great shopping, nightlife, culture, and the other beautiful parts of Yorkshire quite ilterally on your doorstep.

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The first photo of myself and my future husband, who I wouldn't have met if it wasn't for living in the wonderful city of Leeds. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding Cool Kids Clothes...

on Thursday, 31 July 2014.

I absolutely love dressing my little ladies up, and spending a little bit of time and effort on their outfits.  I think both of them actually have more clothes than I do, but I just find the cute and cool outfits for kids irresistable!  

Mads and LL have outfits and items from many different shops and brands but I always try and mix nicer, more expensive pieces with cheaper ones too.  They can't wear an outfit without it needing a wash, and to me there is just no point in spending a lot of money on something which gets filthy every time it is put on.  That said, they need to wear well as anyone with little people knows, they get climbed in during soft play sessions, messy at the park and covered in food!

I genuinely think you can't beat supermarket outfits- they are trendy, fashionable, wear well, yet also are really reasonably priced.  We buy probably 70% of the girls outfits from the supermarket.  One brand we love is ASDA George, they have some really cute things for little ladies.

Check out some of our recent purchases from there below-

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Cool Themes for Children's Bedrooms.

on Thursday, 31 July 2014.

 

If there is one thing that I absolutely love doing it's decorating our house.  I am so proud of my little home and while it isn't our forever house, it is full of love and perfect for us now.  I take a lot of pride in the way it looks and if I had an endless supply of money I would constantly update and change the rooms around. 

Themes are a tricky topic when it comes to children’s bedrooms, as their tastes and interests change so frequently you could end up changing the design every week if it was up to them!  Currently our girls have gorgeous little rooms- Mads has a woodland theme and LL has a pastel theme. Rather than going for the simple Disney Princess or Monster Trucks theme, how about trying one of the suggestions below and see how much your kids thank you after.

Treasure Island

This is a really fun idea as it can include everything and anything that comes to mind when you think Treasure Island: adventure, pirates, princesses, sword fights, other worldly beasts and of course… treasure! Furniture with lots of hidey-holes work well, such as a bunk from http://www.superamart.com.au/ with adjacent angles to create a fort-like hide-out. Include obstacles that require climbing like beanbags and large cushions, and include a printed treasure map on the wall.

Movie Magic

This is a great idea for all the storytellers, and it’s fairly straightforward to set-up. A neutral colour palette works best as the kids or movie stars will create the splash of colour. Add simple accessories such as a child’s size director’s chair, a spotlight/camera light (which can double as a floor lamp), and some kids movie posters. Then just have a large box or cupboard filled with dress-ups and costumes.

A Favourite World

Out of all the fantasy places in the world, where is their favourite? Is it Hogwarts from Harry Potter or Arendelle from Disney’s Frozen? This is a great idea as it’s not simply designing a theme around the characters, but is creating the world that their favourite characters live in! They will feel like they’ve literally jumped through the TV screen.

Complete Creation

Arts and crafts are popular at any age. Stick with neutral walls (make sure you choose a wash-and-wear paint though!), and then add bright colours in accessories. A beanbag would work with the chilled-out arty theme, and attaching a large blackboard to the wall is a fun way to really get creative. An art and crafts desk is an essential feature stocked full of paper, pencils and crayons, and add a cord above the desk, that sits against the wall, to peg all finished artwork on.

The Great Outdoors

Yes, it’s always a good idea to get the kids out into the real outdoors to play, but sometimes that’s not an option. Choose a ‘nature’ inspired colour palette that includes sky blues, greens and earthy browns. Do they like safaris? Include a few large prints of African animals. How about camping? Set up a small tent in the room, or put some glow-in-the-dark stars on the roof that will sparkle at night-time.

Children come in all shapes and sizes, personalities and temperaments, so it’s not easy trying to pick one perfect theme. But no one knows your child better than you do, so relax, and let their interests be your ultimate inspiration. Just remember to pick something that can easily be changed down the track – as you know they’re going to change their mind again by tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

Theme idea's for your child's bedroom

 

Weekends Away in the UK this Summer.

on Tuesday, 29 July 2014.

Now our holiday to Rhodes has been and gone (sob) we are planning lots of lovely little breaks in the UK.  Last weekend we went to our friends wedding weekend near Leeds, and this weekend we are off to Wales to try our first family camping experience.

When the weather is nice, as it has been recently, there is nothing I like better than staying in the UK and exploring our beautiful country.  We love to take trips to the beach, to new cities we haven't seen before, and making little day trips not to far away.

One area of the country that has defiinitely captured our hearts is the North.  I lived in Leeds for 5 years and it was where I met Mr E, who is originally from Manchester.  He still has his friends up there and so we try and go and visit regularly.  We love it there, the city is so vibrant and fun, and we always have a great time exploring.  We are huge fans of doing things on a budget- staying away from home doesn't have to be expensive, normally we will just stay at a Manchester Travelodge- meaning that the money we save on the hotel can go towards fun things to do while we are there.

So far this Summer, we have our camping weekend, a trip to Manchester, a trip to Alton Towers and a trip to London all booked in the diary.  We love being busy and enjoying adventures as a family.  Let's just hope the sun continues to shine for us!

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Do you know your hygiene?

on Thursday, 17 July 2014.

As parent's we try and do everything we can to protect our family from germs and bugs.  After all, no one want's their child to get sick.  Of course we can't protect them from every cold and cough, especially in nursery and school these things spread like wildfire.  But we can try and do the best we can to make sure that we teach our children clean hygiene practice.  It is so important to teach them basic things that will help them as they get older and go through life- silly things like blowing your nose and putting a tissue straight in the bin, or washing your hands before you eat a meal.

But how clean actually are you?  Here is a simple test you can do to see whether you know the answer's to simple hygiene questions.  I was quite surprised, I only got 6 out of 7!

 

 

 

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Protecting our family against germs and bugs.

Gorgeous Maternity Bits from George at Asda...

on Tuesday, 08 July 2014.

The one thing I miss about being pregnant is my bump.  Obviously bonding with your growing baby, feeling them kick inside you, is quite frankly the most amazing feeling in the world.  But yet there is a part of me that misses dressing my bump.  Until right at the end when you can't see your feet and start to get really uncomfortable, I always used to love showing off my big belly to the world.  I did a fair few pregnancy style posts when I was pregnant with LL, and it was fun trying to find stylish maternity clothes.

This is not an admission of pregnancy on my part (honest- we are quite happy with our two little ladies for the time being!) but I was really impressed to see the new George at Asda maternity range.  I did find it hard to find specific maternity items, usually just buying normal clothes that had a bit of stretch, as most of the maternity ranges are really overpriced considering you only wear them for nine months.  I was pleasantly surprised with the George range so just had to share a few of my favourite pieces.

 

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1.  How gorgeous is this floral dress- perfect for dressing down with gladiator sandals?

2.  Love this casual stripy dress and what a bargain at £8!

3.  Love this black kaftan- perfect for holidays this summer.

 

It's lovely to find a range that is stylish but also doesn't cost a lot, like a lot of other maternity ranges.  I will definitely be recommending it to some of my pregnant friends!

 

 

Great Gift Ideas for Your Man.

on Monday, 23 June 2014.

Gift shopping is like installing plumbing, in the sense that you’ll achieve much better results if you have a vague idea as to what you’re doing. So before you place an order for that 12-pack of business socks that he doesn’t really need and, let’s face it, doesn’t really want, check out this list of great gift ideas for your man. With online outlets like Uppercut Deluxe Shop providing an range of exciting gift options, there really is no excuse not to impress when you’re after that next birthday gift, Christmas present of little surprise just-because.

Styling Products

Here’s a cool gift idea that’s kind of like a present for him and you. Get your man some styling products so he looks a little bit less like the guy who lays the red carpet and more like the guy who walks down the red carpet. Some wax, clay, even some old school pomade makes a perfect gift (and also provides a subtle hint) that will have him looking and feeling like a million bucks.

Apparel

 

The Stone Cold Steve Austin t-shirt your man bought at age 15 might have a certain sentimental value, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay that he’s still wearing it. A new set of duds provides a cool, unique gift that help him look a lot better. You don’t have to break the bank, just grab him a couple of stylish t-shirts and show him that he doesn’t have to look like the yeti’s nephew.

Cologne

If your man smells like a guy who’s just ran a half marathon, but he’s been sitting on the couch all morning that’s a real problem. Again this is probably a gift idea that’s just as much a present for you as it is for him, but the right cologne can make a huge difference. You could turn a 5 into an 8.5. Help your man shoot for the stars with excellent, unique gift idea.

Experience

Sky Dived? Bungy Jumped? Paraglided? Well now is your chance to do so and the best part is you have got someone to come along with you.  A memorable gift idea that will give the two of you something to talk about for years to come.  You can't say that about a £5 lottery ticket! (unless of course you won!)

Alcohol

If all else fails go for booze! Use a little bit of discerning taste. Now’s not the time to present a six-pack of bourbon and coke. Grab a nice scotch, maybe even the right wine and show him how important he is. And hey, if he drinks enough of it he might forget that he didn’t get what he really wanted.

 

What do you think of this list? Do you know any other great gift ideas for men that I haven’t included? Is there anything you would’ve put on the list? Be sure to leave any questions or comments in the section below, and thanks for reading!

 

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Me and my lovely hubby- got to treat him well!

#MyRingsMyStyle with Pandora...

on Tuesday, 13 May 2014.

I am a huge fan of jewellery but when I am on my own all day with the girls I prefer not to wear lots as it gets in the way.  I am never without my engagement ring and wedding ring, and aside from that the only other piece of jewellery which I never take off is my Pandora bracelet.  I got the bracelet a few years ago as a present from my Mum and I don't think I have taken it off since.

I have quite a few charms nowadays, with family and friends buying me them for special occasions.  I love that I can look at the bracelet and remember memories through the charms- there is the little pram charm that I got when Mads was born, the diamond heart charm from my Grandma, the camera charm because my husband knows I adore photography and my most special one, a teeny tiny charm featuring Mads fingerprint that my Mum got made specially for me one Christmas.  

Aside from that, I wear a lot of cheapish, high street chunky necklaces, but my other most special item of jewellery is a set of stacking rings that Mr E bought me for my 30th birthday just recently.  They are silver and have his, Mads and LL's name on them, and they were the best surprise.  I love the look that stacking rings give you and they always make my fingers look that little bit more stylish.

Pandora make a variety of gorgeous stacking rings which I have subtly hinted about to Mr E for months now and they have teamed up with a host of celebrites and fashion bloggers to launch the #MyRingsMyStyle campaign.

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They are looking to find the most stylish and pretty fingers in the UK.  All you need to do for a chance to enter is to style and take a photo of your rings, then tweet your photo along with #MyRingsMyStyle to @PANDORA_UK. The most stylish shots will feature on Pandora's website and Facebook page, plus the best picture will win a photoshoot in London (plus a night's accommodation) as well as £500 of Pandora rings. Plus there's £500 worth of rings up for grabs for second prize and a third prize of £250 worth of them. 

The competition ends on the 19th May so be sure to tweet your rings soon to be in with a chance of winning this fab prize!

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 Jameelia rocking her Pandora rings.

 

 

What Spring means for my home...

on Thursday, 20 March 2014.

Although you wouldn't think it looking out my window at the moment, Spring is definitely on it's way. The sun is making an appearance more and more, and slowly my thoughts are turning to pastel colours, picnics outside and day trips to the beach.  I love Spring and the anticipation of it, and I am really excited to be able to put away my Ugg boots and dust off my sandals.

I don't know why, but every year when Spring arrives, I always feel the need to do things to my home.  It's almost like winter makes you feel a bit lazy, but when the lighter evenings and sunnier days come around, I get this sudden urge to sort out my home.  We have been living in our house for five years now, and it is definitely at the stage where it needs to have a fresh list of paint.

I have already tackled the living room, and I am thrilled with the results.  We decided on a purple and mustard living room (check out my living room makeover) and it looks great.  We have had so many lovely comments on it, especially where did we get our Orla Kiely wallpaper from, it's from John Lewis.  It was a bold choice going for such a strong pattern on the wall but I am really pleased with how it turned out.  It feels so much nicer to sit in it now and I have a huge list of other things I need to do. 

First up is our bedroom.  Having seen Charlotte's cosy bedroom with all it's lovely cushions I really want to work on ours.  It looks great, but we bought some gorgeous wallpaper a few months ago and haven't done anything with it yet.  I want to get that up and give it a whole new lick of paint.  The next job is a big one.  I want to completely rip out our bathroom and do it again.  It's going to be a bit of a stress with two little people but it will be worth it when it's done.  Time and money is the key with this one though and it is going to be a expensive project.  I really hope that we can get it done this year. 

We love our little home, and while it isn't our forever one, I am determined to make it as lovely as we can.  We are hoping to move in a couple of years, but I know that I will be sad to say goodbye.  This is the house where we got engaged, got married, had our babies and built our new family together.  It holds so many happy memories which is why I want to give it the attention it deserves.

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Our Living Room Makeover...

on Tuesday, 18 February 2014.

I am really excited as we are finally getting our living room done.  Having been in our house nearly five years, we haven't done much to it before now, bar giving it a lick of paint and changing the carpets.  Green shag pile is totally not cool. 

I am really pleased we are finally getting rid of our lampshades and getting spot lights.  We are also getting rid of the horrendous 80's style artex and getting it replastered and repainted.  Once that is done next week we can get down to the fun part- choosing the accessories!  Here are a few things on my wishlist.

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1.  Technically not on my wish list as we have already ordered it, but we have got this gorgeous mustard wallpaper from Orly Keily- our colour scheme is going to be the existing purple mixed with splashes of mustard.

2.  I would absolutely love to get rid of the carpet. While we loved it when we first moved in, two small people later has meant that it is really worn in places and is also starting to get stained.  I would love these vinyl tiles from CarpetRight, I wouldn't want wood as I would worry about it getting marked so this would be a good alternative while the children are young.

3. Love this cushion from Ferm Living as it incorporates all of our colour schemes together.

4.  I love this cat cushion from Howkapow as it is quite different and also Mads would love it too.

5.  Finally on my wishlist is this huge knitted letter cushion.  I would love to get one in purple and one in mustard, with one being the letter K and one being the letter J.  They are gorgeous but quite expensive as cushions go.

I cannot wait to start shopping for all the little details, and will be mixing slightly more expensive bits with more budget items as well.  But first we have to get through the ordeal of living in a building site with two small children for a week or so while the plasterer works his magic.

So excited and will be sure to show you all the finished result!

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