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Articles tagged with: Reviews

Putting my Girls in a Joint Room- eBay Collections....

on Thursday, 18 December 2014.

I absolutely love to decorate and style my home.  No sooner have I done one project then I want to move on the next one as inevitably decor and paint starts to look tired when four people and two cats live in one little house.  This year we have done two quite large projects, in the form of our living room and a complete bathroom renovation, as well as re-decorating our bedroom.

However next year once we have saved up a little money there is another project I would love to do.   For ages now we have been toying with the idea of putting Mads and LL in a joint room.  Part of me thinks this is a bad idea, mainly because they sleep so well at the moment and I would be worried about that aspect of it, but we also are desperate for space.  Before the girls came along we had a spare bedroom and a lovely little study and we do miss having that space- at the moment our desktop Mac is in our living room which isn't ideal and I work from my laptop on the dining room table. 

Our ideal plan is to put the girls into LL's room together as it is a little bigger and get our study back- it would be great to have a space to do work during the day and the evenings as I work from home and we potential have exciting plans in 2015 for Mr E as well.   I have visions of creating a gorgeous little room for them, with a lovely bunk bed for them both and making it a great shared space that they will love.  However it all just depends on costs and time really, as at the moment LL is still in a cot and I am in no hurry to move her as she sleeps from 7pm until 8am the next day.

I have lots of ideas for their bedroom, but one theme I am thinking of is rainbow colours.  I absolutely love colour and our whole house is super bright and cheerful.  I look at this photo of them both and I wonder how I could incorporate rainbow colours into their new room.  

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Last week I mentioned how I am working with eBay again to highlight their fab collections tool.  I already have lots of collections set up from a few months ago, including my cosy living room inspiration one, but I also have now set up a rainbow bedroom collection.  It works in very much the same way as pinterest, I use it to collate items into my wish list and then use it as inspiration for when I am planning.  

I love some of the things I have on there so far...

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1.  I love Farg Form and Mads already has one of their lampshades in her current room, but I love the idea of getting them matching duvets but in different colours for their bunk beds- these ones are super cute and come in a variety of different colours.

2.  Who doesn't love the Care Bears?  Mads and LL already have a care bear each but I thought about getting a couple more so they can sit on the top of their wardrobe in the colours of the rainbow.  Although they have far too many stuffed toys as it is- the charity shop is going to be doing well off us this Christmas.  Mean Mummy.

3.  I have seen this cute rainbow ornament on Lucy's blog and also on some other cute blogs and shops- I think it would look great in their joint room!

4.  I had a night light like this when I was little and I just love this cottage one.  

 

Those are just some of the things on my rainbow collection but I am adding to it daily.  Does anyone else's children share a room?  Do you find they keep each other awake?  We are so torn about what to do!

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I have a competition running to win a £20 eBay voucher- it's so simple to enter, you just need to follow one of my collections, either my living room one or bedroom one, using the rafflecopter below!  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
NB: This Collection is part of an eBay competition that is running over December and if you Follow you will be in with a chance win an eBay voucher to the value of £20. The winner will be chosen at random from their eBay ID and notified by the 5th January 2014.

A Little Photoshoot and some Beautiful Dresses.

on Friday, 12 December 2014.

When my girls were smaller I used to get my little DIY backdrop out and try and take mini photoshoots of my them both.  I absolutely love taking photos of them (I think that's obvious!) but as they have gotten older and more mobile, I rarely try and take photos where they are actually posing, I actually don't get my 'big camera' out anywhere near as much as I used to as my iPhone is easy to take around with us- I much prefer being out and about and taking natural photos while they are having adventures or having fun.  They are less posed, the light is always better than indoors and I don't get those forced, fake grins that you inevitably get when you ask Mads to smile at nowadays.

However at Christmas we like to get the Grandparents and Great Grandparents a lovely photographic keepsake of our little ladies.  Whether that's a photo book or a framed photo, there is nothing they love more than getting a recent or up to date photo of them both.  Indeed my Mum's house is actually like a shrine to them both, my Stepdad jokes that we may as well move in as he see's them every direction he looks!

They all prefer the more traditional style of photo, rather than action shots, so around this time each year I do try and take some photos of them together, usually with varying success.  I decided the other day to have a little impromptu photo shoot of them both to try and get some nice ones for Christmas time.  It also seemed like a great opportunity to try out their new Poppy England dresses which we were kindly sent.  So armed with my camera and the dresses we headed off to my Mums house as the light in her house at 4pm in the afternoon is a lot better than at mine.

I actually adore all these photos I took.  Far from looking posed and unnatural, I think they look happy, smiley and full of love for each other.  I actually look at these photos and feel a lump form in my throat as they couldn't paint a more accurate picture of my girls at this present moment in time- they are the best of friends (most of the time) and they really are the most happy little souls.  What is it about putting on a traditional looking dress that makes them look so carefree, innocent and childlike?  

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 I'm just so pleased with these photos.  Technically if you look close they are quite grainy because it is just so dark at the moment but the girls were just so happy and loved putting on their dresses and being silly.  The Poppy England dresses are beautiful and we are going to wear them on Christmas Day as they are perfect for a special occasion.  The team there also very kindly sent us some cardigans as well but we forgot to put them on.  The girls are so lucky to have been sent such adorable dresses- we can't thank them enough.  

Here's hoping that the Grandparents will love their photos of our terrible twosome this year- I know I will definitely be framing one of these to go by my bedside table too! 

 

 

A Wet and Windy Trip To Scarborough...

on Tuesday, 18 November 2014.

When LL was just a few months old, we went on our first family holiday to Scarborough in North Yorkshire.  I randomly found via google a gorgeous cottage just outside of the little seaside town at a place called Humble Bee Farm.  We booked and paid for it before LL was born and when we eventually did visit we had a great time-  I have such fond memories of our first little break away as a family of four.  Humble Bee Farm is a working farm with lots of animals to see, it's perfect for little ones- you can even collect an egg for breakfast each morning from the hens which we did the first time we were there.  It's home to three amazing cottages, some pretty cool wigwams which our friend's have stayed in before, and also camping pitches too.  We really loved our adventure there back in May 2013.

Therefore a few weeks ago I was really excited to receive an email asking if we would like to go back to stay at Humble Bee Farm for a couple of nights.  We jumped at the chance to go back there but sadly due to Mr E having to work he wasn't able to come with us.  Still we got my second favourite big person in the form of my little sister Anna, who kindly said she would come along.  We were all really looking forward to our sisterly break.

We set off on Wednesday morning and didn't arrive in Scarborough until late afternoon as we unfortunately had car trouble- my car decided to break down on the side of the A1 in the pouring rain which was quite a scary experience.  Luckily a knight in shining armour (in the form of the RAC man) came to our rescue, and although the car wasn't completely better, he said it was ok to go on our merry way as long as we took it slow.  

Our cottage 'Merry Dale' was as gorgeous as I remembered- cosy, warm and inviting with a rather fabulous hot tub in the garden.  The girls were so excited to be there with their Auntie Anna and Mummy and after a dinner out at ASK, we all settled down in front of the fire for the evening.  We didn't actually end up doing all that much during our stay, it was just so wet and windy, so we spent a lot of time snuggling in the cottage and taking advantage of the 'bubbly swimming pool.'  In actual fact it was just what I needed- just to chill out for a bit and not rush around.

As usual, I thought because we didn't do that much, I hadn't taken that many photos but it turns out I still have a fair few that I love.

Here is our trip to Scarborough in photos and a little video...

 

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As soon as they woke up on our first morning they were straight in the hot tub- they loved splashing around- such a great idea for families as a little extra bonus to your stay at the cottage.

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There is nothing better than watching them giggle.

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They absolutely loved the bubbles.

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Funnily enough when we were here last time I got a photo of Mads in the hot tub that is one of my favourites of her ever, and this one is also now one of my all time favourites too- I think it's the fact she is completely happy and natural.  

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She was telling the duck off for splashing.

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LL is growing up so quickly all of a sudden- she still isn't talking much but is now saying about ten words.  I am willing time to slow down a little.

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Even though it was really cold we had to go out and visit these amazing rainbow beach huts again.

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I love this one of my girlies- I think I may get it framed for somewhere, although we are running out of space on our walls!

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Also looking rather grown up- and very, very cheeky!

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They had so much fun running up and down, playing games and being silly.  

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They are really playing with each other a lot at the moment, it's very sweet to see.

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 We went down on to the beach for a bit as quite frankly you can't go to the seaside without going and having a little paddle in the water.

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She always has a look of mischief on her face.

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It got so cold so quickly, our hands and fingers went so numb.  Why is the seaside in Winter always so cold?

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Writing their names in the sand.

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We had to go and warm up in a little tea room- and of course cake was compulsory too.

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We went back and had a snuggly afternoon back at our cottage- we got these cute little gingerbread snowmen to decorate as a little rainy day activity to do while away.

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Our creations.

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It was such a treat having the hot tub in the evenings when the girls were in bed- that really is the beauty of a cottage and the fact you don't have to hide out in the bathroom or go to bed at 8.30pm like you so often have to do in hotels.  One night we shared a bottle of bubbles in the bubbles. ;) 

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One great thing about Humble Bee Farm is how child friendly it is- they had a big box full of toys and books to keep them amused. 

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My children are like little magpies and are attracted to anything sparkly and bright- they love going to the 2p slot machines when we go to the seaside and to be fair I love it too, it reminds me of being little.

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Having fun even though it was pouring down outside.

 

Here is a little video of our adventures in Scarborough...

 

 

NB: We were invited back to stay at Humble Bee Farm free of charge for two nights after paying full price for a seven night stay the previous year.  Thanks so much to Humble Bee for inviting us- we loved our stay and will definitely be back again in the future.  Check out their website as they have some amazing winter rates if you fancy a little break away., especially in their wigwams.

 

A Day Shopping At Westfield London.

on Friday, 12 September 2014.

Since having my girls shopping is no longer considered as much of a treat day out as it once was.  While I still enjoy a good browse round the shops, it definitely isn't stress free now I have two small people, a buggy, all their paraphernalia and then shopping bags on top of that to carry around.  Actually Mads and LL are pretty good when it comes to shopping and I have no worries about taking them out on my own for the day, as long as we have 'sit in the buggy' snack bribes on hand.  But it definitely isn't as much fun as it was before children.

Therefore when the lovely people at Westfield London asked if I wanted to come and visit for a day of shopping (and a lot of eating) I couldn't have been more excited.  At first I thought about taking one, or both of the girls, before deciding that I needed some much needed 'me time'.  Entrusting Daddy to pick them up from nursery a little bit later than usual, my little sister and I headed off to Hammersmith for a day of sisterly bonding.

Having been to Westfield a couple of times before, the one thing that strikes me as I enter each time is just how big it is- it is literally huge and the design is beautiful- there are two floors of all the shops, boutiques, stalls and eateries you could imagine, and we were both in heaven as we contemplated where to go first.  If I lived any nearer I would definitely a) be broke and b) be the size of a house because all the food is just so good. 

All the main high street stores are there, plus the designer zone and a cinema as well, and you could easily spend more than a day there without running out of things to do.  Indeed we arrived at 10am and didn't leave until just gone 8pm as we were having so much fun we decided to stay for dinner.

Here is a little glimpse of our day in iPhone photos...

 

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We started off our day with a delicious juice from Tossed.  The most amazing thing about Westfield in my opinion is the dining options- it is literally full of everything you could imagine, including places I hadn't heard of before.  I went for a healthy detox juice, with kale, cucumber, mint, and apple.  

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Westfield from above!

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We decided on lunch at Byron as it's one of my favourites- who can resist a big juicy burger?  The Byron at Westfield was on the second floor and we had a window looking out over the shops below which was great for people watching.

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I went for my usual 'skinny' burger with skin on fries, washed down with a diet coke.  It was delicious and the lady who served us was so lovely.  I can't rate Byron highly enough and I did a little dance when they opened up in Cambridge a while ago.

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It was lovely spending time with my sister.  She is ten years younger than me but we get on so great as we both have the exact same sense of humour.

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I was really excited to visit Snog because it is yet another of my favourites that I haven't had for ages as they are only in London.  We took a mid afternoon shopping break and had a large frozen yoghurt each.

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My Snog would have been healthy until I added Oreos and white chocolate stars.  But it was delicious!  

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As this is a family lifestyle blog, I couldn't not mention the family facilities at Westfield.  I last went when LL was really tiny and I was still establishing breastfeeding so as such was a little unconfident at doing it in public at that stage.  They have pristine clean family rooms, with cubicles with comfy chairs to breastfeed in, plus lots of great changing facilities.  This time without children I may have looked slightly creepy taking photos of the family room but luckily no one was about to spot me!

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We did a lot of eating!  As we were having so much fun we decided to stay for dinner- we went back to Tossed where I had a delicious grilled chicken, halloumi and roasted pepper salad.  So good.

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Yum.

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We spent far too much money, here are a few of the things we bought- I was after some dark denim skinny jeans which I found in Topshop and I couldn't resist some little Converse for my LL.  My collar obession shows no signs of leaving this Autumn- so I bought a a cropped grey jumper and shirt for me and a shirt and sweatshirt for Mads.  I also was on the hunt for a leather jacket as although I have a perfectly lovely old one, since I lost weight it was a little too big. 

 

We had such a fantastic day at Westfield, it was great to have a day shopping without the girls, I don't think I have done that since before they were born.   It was also lovely to spend time with my sister as well, as normally when Mads and LL are about we don't get to chat as much as they won't leave their 'Auntie Annie' alone.  Westfield is amazing, and if you haven't been before I definitely recommend checking it out.  Just don't go if you are counting the pennies or on a diet as you will basically want to buy and eat everything!

 

 

NB:  Westfield very kindly gave me a £200 giftcard to enjoy our day out, but we also spent plenty more of our own money on top of that.  All opinions are are entirely my own.  We can't thank them enough for a lovely day together!

 

 

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