Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Mummy and Me June 2015

Little man is a blur in many photos at the moment but I do have a new Mummy and Me photo to share with you from June which - I actually have two, which is more than I have some months!

I'm all too often the one taking the photos, and seeing opportunities, so again, I'm reminding myself to get in on the photo action more.

Here's a photo from my Sister-in-Law's wedding last weekend. The quality may not be great but it's a lovely moment that a member of the family managed to capture. I hope that their official photographer managed to get one or two of me with Ethan, or us as a family, but I really do like this one:

And you may have seen this photo already as it's my new profile pic. It was taken on Father's Day and took a few attempts to make sure we both had our eyes open and that Ethan wasn't a big blur, and we are both putting on our very best cheesy grins:

Nicola... Life Through My Eyes


Me & Mine June 2015

Last month, our Me & Mine photo was taken at Ethan's second birthday party. This month, we took the opportunity on our day out to National Trust's Baddesley Clinton to take some family photos using our camera's remote control and with a lovely meadow as a backdrop.

It really is tricky for us to get a photo all together and the weeks just fly by so I'm glad that we remembered and had such a nice location for our photos.

They are by no means perfect but that's not really the point, is it? I want to remember us how we were, not try to emulate the look of another family or just capture stilted shots.

So, here's the latest additions to our family album...

dear beautiful

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Bath time fun time

Ethan loves bath time and we are very lucky that this has always been the case. We all know it's recommended as part of a successful bedtime routine and for our little man, it seems to work.

He can stay in the water, splashing around and playing with his toys for a long time, and when he comes out, his hands and feet are all wrinkly like prunes, which he finds most strange.

We won a whole hamper of bath toys this time last year, and these help to make bath time a fun time in our house, but I've also found something new.

Cussons Mum and Me has a new special bath time range called Little Explorers, which features gentle bubble baths and cleansers as well as a few clever additions that are designed to make things even more fun and to help little ones learn how to wash themselves.

Having received samples, I took my little explorer, a bath full of bubbles and his favourite bath toy, Putin the sea captain penguin, and had some splashy fun.

First of all, the Mega Mild Bubbly Bath. It has a nice, subtle scent and foamed quite quickly in th hub under running water.


Friday, 26 June 2015

Turning two - the story so far

Ethan turned two around six weeks ago now and as I missed writing my monthly letter at the start of June, I thought that it would be a good time to write about if the terrible two's are really so terrible... so far at least.

Whilst he didn't wake up on the morning of his second birthday a completely different toddler, Ethan definitely started to change. As is only natural and to be expected, for a small boy who is learning and developing all the time. There's been quite a few things we have noticed, both good and well, not so good, so there's no doubt that Ethan's been keeping us on our toes ever since he blew the candles out on his choo choo cake.

So, what's new with you, Ethan, now you're two?

* You may have liked the word 'no' before but you're really putting it to good use now, saying it before we even finish a question and then often promptly changing your mind.

You're really testing your boundaries now, getting quite forceful with telling us no when you really don't want to do something. It used to be mainly when we were getting you up or putting you to bed but your moods are more changeable now and with no warning, you can be really stubborn.

We've read that for children a little older, giving options rather than asking straight questions works best to help get rid of the word 'no', as it gives no other choice than a real answer, but you don't quite understand options yet. We'll keep trying though.

* We've witnessed a couple of tantrums now and they're usually triggered by something small. We went to Birdworld with Nanna a couple of weekends ago now and when we took you off the swing, you got very upset and threw yourself on the floor and refused to move. We had to leave you to it and start walking away to try and make you come around - I know you like swings but a little while later, you forgot all about them in favour of penguins. You like penguins.

* Bedtime is something you're still pretty happy about and between 7.30pm and 8pm, you'll ask to go to bed. You can take up to two hours to settle, particularly when it's Mummy's shift, but bedtimes are always a happy time in the day.

You take all your toys and put them under your blankets, only to take them out again a while later. You'll ask to read teddy book (Paddington) then we move on to putin (penguin, either Lost and Found or Up and Down by Oliver Jeffers) and we play music too to help you wind down. Oh, and you say 'Mummy, nnare' and point at your bottom, asking me to rock you to sleep! Cheeky boy.


Thursday, 25 June 2015

Creating a 50's look

I've always loved pin-ups and fifties influenced beauty so when my Sister-in-Law said that us bridesmaids would be wearing 50's style dresses at her wedding, complete with petticoats (it's this one from Lindy Bop), I wanted to try and perfect my 50's style make up.

I've worn black eyeliner, with a flick, for longer than I can remember and absolutely love lippie too, but I wanted to look different for the wedding and really take on the 50's theme. The wedding is this Saturday so I've been searching for the perfect red lipstick and practicing my make up look and on the day, I'll be having victory rolls in my hair too, which I'm very excited about.

I get to play pin-up for the day!

I've watched many a YouTube tutorial (I love Vintagious) and read several blogs about achieving the fifties look and when it comes to make up, the key points I've picked up on, and products I'm going to be using, are as follows:

* Blemish-free, luminous skin - think a blank canvas, with some clever contouring but a flawless, quite pale, base.

To start, I've tried the NYX HD Photogenic Primer (1) to even out my skin.

I've been loving Bourjois's 123 Perfect CC Cream (2) as an easy to blend base for a natural look, then using No7's Stay Perfect Compact Foundation in Calico (3) (as pale as it comes!) for more coverage. A touch of Touche Eclat under my eyes and a dusting of face power will finish things off, then I'm using the warm power from Bare Minerals (4) to try and contour my face, from the top of my forehead, sides of my nose, cheekbones and jawline.

To set my make up, I've found the NYX Matte Setting Spray (5) works well and has good reviews from fellow beauty bloggers. Hopefully this will help my make up last all day.


Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Tea time taken care of by Aunt Bessie

Known for her Yorkshire puds and frozen roasties, Aunt Bessie is back to lend a hand in the kitchen again - this time, with a range of tasty tea time treats and cakes that you could even pass off as your own. If you happen to be so cunning.

Show me someone who doesn't enjoy a slice of cake and a cuppa and that's someone who I just can't be friends with. I mean, who doesn't love cake?

Whilst I love to bake, I'm not particularly skilled and I just don't have the time, particularly of late.

That's why I relied on Aunt Bessie to serve up some treats on Father's Day. I did try passing them off as my own at first, the cake in particular... but it quickly became clear that I wouldn't have been able to make such a yummy cake myself.

Oh well! 

In the new range of traditional bakes, Aunt Bessie has tarts, cakes and loaf cakes. And I had a team of willing taste testers.

The loaf cakes - just what you need at 3pm on a Sunday with a mug of steaming tea. There's a carrot cake - which we tried, with a moist carrot sponge, real cream cheese frosting and a dusting of cinnamon - a moreish sticky ginger cake made with real stem ginger plus a jam and coconut cake which is a moist sponge, filled and topped with raspberry jam and coconut flakes. 

The carrot cake was rich so I found a slim slice to be enough and the sponge and icing were balanced nicely. Hubs isn't usually a fan of carrot cake but half the loaf had mysteriously disappeared before I got to have a taste, which is saying something.

The tarts hand-finished almond Bakewell tarts, raspberry and coconut tarts and tempting jam bakes. We tried the Bakewell tarts and they were super sweet, great for those with a really sweet tooth, and a nice treat, perhaps for a lunchbox or to put out if someone pops over for a coffee and a gossip.

The cakes - great for when you're entertaining or have a few mouths to feed, this range includes round cakes in three flavours; carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and finished with nibbed walnuts, a moist, lightly fruited cake packed with juicy sultanas and a rich chocolate cake, made with milk chocolate. 

Now, if there's chocolate cake on the menu, it's got my name on. This was the centrepiece of our Father's Day afternoon treat and was particularly well received by everyone, including Ethan (surprise,surprise).

It was quite the chocolatey hit, so hubs could only try a small piece, and Ethan managed to spill crumbs everywhere ('Oh no, mess!') but it got a big thumbs up from the chocolate lovers amongst us.

Serving eight, we still have some left. For now.

The new Aunt Bessie range starts from around £1.25 for four tarts so they're not only as good as or better than what you could make yourself, depending on what level of Mary Berry-like baking skills you happen to have, they're also cheaper and more convenient too.

Definitely worth having in the cupboard for when guests call. Or just because every brew deserves something sweet on the side.

Now, who's going to put the kettle on?

* Thank you to Aunt Bessie for taking care of the baking. The cakes might not have been my own but my thoughts are!


Tuesday, 23 June 2015

How to use up your leftovers

How much food do you waste in your house? Do you always have odd bits of cheese, a few pieces of chicken or a mix bag of veggies left each week that you don't know what to do with.

We all do. In fact, according to the Co-op and their latest Taste It Don't Waste It campaign this month to coincide with Food Wastage month, we waste £12.5 billion on food we buy but just throw away each year with fresh fruit and veg, bakery items and meat and cheese common culprits.

This can equate to as much as £60 a month for a family with children, just being thrown away, quite literally.


I try my best to use up everything we have in any way that we can. Be it using eggs to make a meal out of leftover bits and pieces or putting it all together for a pot luck slow cooker dish, I've shared lots of ideas on how you can turn food that might otherwise go to waste into a meal - read some of my top tips here if you'd like to find out more.

It's not always easy and quite often, if I haven't taken the time to check my cupboards or sit down and properly meal plan, I'll just go out and buy all new fresh food when here's probably plenty I could do with a bit of imagination and thought from what we already have in at home.

So, one of my best tips is to try and get in the habit of keeping a general list of what's in all your cupboards, fridge and freezer before you grab your shopping trolley - you'll be surprised at how few ingredients you might need to make enough for a few days.


Monday, 22 June 2015

The week that was #22

The past week, in my usual notes and photos...

DOING Oh, how I needed this past weekend. Various stresses, lots of travelling, a puncture to one of my car wheels when I was three hours away from home... it had been a looong week and I was exhausted. You could tell how much so by the 9.30am wakes ups I had on both Saturday and Sunday - most unusual and clearly very needed.

Hubs sent me this earlier in the week and it most definitely sums up how I've been feeling of late:

I hear that!

I worked all week through and had long days too so it wasn't until Saturday that I really had the chance to enjoy my family.

I decided a while ago that I wasn't going to attend Brit Mums Live this year - I enjoyed it last year but found it really intense, and it's just as well I didn't have tickets as I would have probably collapsed.

Saturday I was shattered despite the lie in but started busing myself with tidying the house. Off the back of busy working weeks and weekends out and about, the clutter had accumulated and I was desperate to try and put things back in their place. Which I did, for some five hours, and whilst there's lots more to clear, and cleaning to do, as always, I felt pretty pleased with what I achieved. I'm one of those people who is greatly affected by their surroundings so even when I'm at my most tired, I feel so much better for straightening things out when they've all become a bit of a mess.

A tidy house is a tidy mind.


Thursday, 18 June 2015

Sneak peak at hubs' Father's Day gift from Beaverbrooks

You may have seen my Father's Day gift guide last week but as the big day is just a few days away now, I thought you'd like to take a look at one of the things Ethan will be giving Daddy on Sunday...

(Look away now, hubs, if you're reading - spoiler alert!)

Stephen doesn't wear a lot of jewellery so what he does wear means something to him. His wedding band for instance, and a personalised set of dog tags I had engraved with Ethan's birth details for his first Father's Day present.

I was keen to find something special for him, as a gift from Ethan that he would love to wear and that would serve as a nice reminder of the special bond that they share.


So, I had a look in Beaverbrooks for some Father's Day gift inspiration and came across a new collection of leather and silver bracelets. Manly bracelets, not dainty little things. No, very manly indeed.



Ethan is so very lucky. He has a Nanna and Gramps (my parents) who love him very much. They may not get to see him as often as we would all like, but the time they do have together it precious and full of fun.

He also has a Nanny and Grandad who think he's the bee's knees and who live only 10 minutes away, so he's never too far from toast and Disney films at Nanny's house.

My Grandad, a dappy gent

I was lucky to have a wonderful Nanna and Grandad whom I adored. I have such fond, vivid memories of travelling to see them in Lincolnshire when I was young. Of visiting garden centres and only having a dessert if my Grandad had one first. Of creeping into their bedroom in the mornings and having a cup of tea in a big green teacup, with a Rich Tea biscuit waiting on the saucer. Of spinning around in their round rotating retro chairs, even though my Mum told me not to. Of Old Spice scented cuddles on the sofa on Christmas day.


Tuesday, 16 June 2015

The week that was #21

I don't know about you but I'm pretty worn out at the moment. Busy with work, busy with a toddler and busy catching up with family. Hence to the delay in this post.

I like being busy but I am very much looking forward to a week off the week after next, starting off with my Sister-in-Law's wedding - yay! - in which we are all playing a role. Can't wait!

So, what's new, what am I loving and what things have we been getting up to?

DOING I spent a lot of time in the car last week and also went to visit my parents at the weekend in Hampshire. We hadn't been to visit since March, as we were due to see each other after Ethan's birthday but then he had chickenpox, so we were long overdue some family time.


Saturday, 13 June 2015

Father's Day feast

It's the little touches that matter the most so whilst it's lovely to buy a special gift for your dad, making a nice meal, perhaps their favourite meal, is the perfect way of celebrating Father's Day.

A good place to start is with their favourite foods. What does your dad, or husband (if helping little ones make your other half's Father's Day special), like to eat? Are they a steak and chips kinda guy or does a nice roast dinner hit the spot?

And as it's a special occasion, a sweet treat is a must too. It could be something you make, if you have time and if you have some kitchen helpers to oversee the decoration, or you could pick something up ready-made at the supermarket.

I visited my local Co-op for inspiration, as when I popped in a few weeks ago for some BBQ ideas, I found there was a great selection of fresh food and meals to choose from. There's lots to choose from, for a three course meal or something more relaxed - say, pizza and a movie all sat together in the lounge.


Friday, 12 June 2015

How to make a baby bouquet

You've no doubt heard of, seen, made or even received a nappy cake as a gift for an imminent arrival but have you heard of a baby bouquet? No? Well, it seems to be the latest trend and it's the idea of creating a bouquet but instead of using just flowers, you use baby clothes instead.

Cute, huh?

It's been a while since I featured anything crafty on here - heck, it's been almost as long since I have done anything crafty at all - so when I saw M&S Baby's really clever how to guide to make a baby bouquet, I was keen to give it a go.

One of my best friends is soon to be an auntie (she's honorary auntie, and Godmother, to Ethan already) and I wanted to take a baby starter set of clothes and turn it into a super cute bundle - a present with a difference.

I like adding a personal spin to gifts, through handmade touches or personalised flourishes in the gift-wrapping, and the guide seemed really simple and straight-forward to follow.

So, here's how I did it...

I chose this one which includes 2 bodysuits, 1 sleepsuit, 2 bibs, 1 jacket, 1 pair of bottoms with 1 hat. For £20, this is a beautiful set that's super soft, has all the essentials and reminded me of just how small newborns can be. Swoon.


Thursday, 11 June 2015

Fun family activities

I'm always looking for new places to visit and fun days out, and I also like finding new ideas for fun activities to do together as a family.

Come rain or shine, we do our best as a family to enjoy different activities together. Ethan may only be two but I think visiting different places and trying lots of different things really helps encourage his curiosity. 

And it beats being stuck inside with just Peppa Pig on repeat, doesn't it?!

I regularly feature days out and our various adventures on here, big and small, but wanted to bring them all together as what I hope will be a helpful guide to fun family days out and activities.

So, here's some of my suggestions - look out for part two where I'm going to feature some of my favourite places in the Midlands to go for a day out...


* Visiting the local park - we're very lucky to have several great parks near us, all within a 15 minute drive time, and we're close to one of Birmingham's canals too so there's always somewhere we can go to get some fresh air.

It's really worth having a look online to find out what's near to you and keep your eyes peeled when you're out and about, as there can be some hidden gems and we quite often don't realise what's on our own doorstep.

Plus, it's free!


Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Fab ideas for Father's Day

Are you looking for some Father's Day gift inspiration? Well, so am I! I don't know why but I always find dads so hard to buy for but I've put together a few suggestions which will hopefully give you a some new ideas...

* The classics - What dad doesn't love / need socks, aftershave, slippers, PJ's or any other typical 'dad' type gifts? They're the kind of gifts that always come in useful... 

Don't forget a framed photo of yourself, and possibly any siblings too if you're feeling generous and want to share the limelight. Just to remind dad how wonderful you are, every dad has a special photo of you on their desk or tucked in their wallet. Might as well make it a good one! 

You could even have one made as a canvas to hang up at home - try taking a look through old photos and see if you can create a collage or bring an old memory back to life in a new way.

I even painted a portrait of my dad and myself as a baby, based on an old photo - although if you're not that good with a pencil or brush, why not frame a piece of artwork you did when you were young?

* A good read / new music - I used to pick out a new book by my Dad's favourite author or a celebrity figure he liked and a new CD was always a winner too, but nowadays (God, how old does that make me sound?!), an iTunes voucher is actually a really good and useful gift idea. Sure, it's not the most exciting thing to open, but it can be out to very good use on something that he will actually want and enjoy. 

Sometimes, I think us women worry too much about whether an idea is considered thoughtful or special enough.

* A hamper - Think of all the things your dad enjoys. What nibbles he likes, what tipple he sips. There's plenty of hampers out there you can buy (like this chocolate hamper we got last year) but you could easily put your own together. Just buy a wicker style hamper and fill it with things he might like - you could even include some of the aforementioned classics.

* Gadgets - Some dads like gadgets, be it a new power tool, something for the kitchen or something techy.

If your dad is into DIY, a power tool or measuring tool could be just the ticket, or if he likes cooking, perhaps take a look at a stand for his tablet that can be attached to the bottom of a kitchen cupboard so he can follow recipes without getting his tablet grubby (this is something I bought my Dad last year).

* Experience days - Sometimes, buying for Dad can be really difficult and if they have everything they need already, are hard to by for or, like my Dad, tell you they don't want anything and to save your money, then taking them somewhere different or buying them an experience day is a great idea.

If none of my other suggestions tickle your fancy, then perhaps think about what they enjoy, or what they would love to do given the chance, and see if an experience day voucher can make their Father's Day.

You could look at a brewery tour, skydiving, sports car racing or a day out and you could even book the experience for them in advance as long as you know a date they'll be free.

I've done this before for hubs' birthday and bought tickets from somewhere like Into The Blue for go-kart racing and my brother-in-law has bought driving experience days for my father-in-law before, which he's absolutely loved.

In fact, if you buy an experience day through Into The Blue between now and Father's Day, you could win one of 10 experiences to enjoy yourself in their prize drawer - just enter a personalised message to your voucher when you check out. Not bad, eh?

* Personalised cards - I love making cards but rarely have the time these days so tend to rely on Moonpig to help me make a personalised card when special occasions come around.

I remember Ethan's first card to my father-in-law on the first Father's Day after he was born (Ethan was just six weeks old); it was styled like a movie poster for The Godfather but titled The Grandfather and we uploaded a photo in he place of Marlon Brando. The card made me laugh so much, we also bought it in a mug! My dad still has his first and personalised Father's Day card on display in his kitchen and each year, Ethan has made one at nursery for Stephen which is always extra special.

What have I bought my Dad, you ask? Well, that would be telling and he's probably the biggest fan of my blog (hi Dad!) so I won't tell you but all I will say is my Dad is very tricksy to buy for so I've stuck with a classic. In the past, I've bought him albums of people I know he likes, DVD's in an attempt to get him into a TV series or film (with limited success!) and I've also made gifts, such as photo albums and picture frames.

Of course, I can't tell you what Ethan has got for his Daddy either, but again, we've thought about what he likes and have found a couple of quirky things that he won't have seen or thought of for himself but we know he will like.

Really, it's not what you spend but the thought that goes into it. Knowing what your dad likes and what will make him smile on Father's Day is the key - and showing him why you think he's the bee's knees so make sure you do something special for your dad or father figure. 

If they're anything like mine, or Ethan's, they deserve it.


Tuesday, 9 June 2015

A day out at Baddesley Clinton with the National Trust

I've always been interested in getting a National Trust membership as I love the great outdoors and have always been fascinated with history, so the idea of having a pass to visit so many great locations whenever the fancy takes us is one I rather like.

It's amazing how many things are just around the corner when you look for them and, at the weekend, we discovered another new place to spend a lovely day out.

National Trust property Baddesley Clinton, in the Midlands - To Become Mum

We visited Baddesley Clinton, a National Trust moated manor house built in the 1500's. Steeped in history and with acres of gardens and land to explore, we were looking to spend a nice day in the sunshine as a family.

We received a warm welcome and soon discovered that Baddesley Clinton had a lot to offer, for older couples looking for somewhere to stroll and a nice cup of tea to young families such as our, with children keen to run across fields and feed the ducks.

Ethan was kindly given a bag full of everything he would need to explore the grounds to the full, and more besides. From a compass and binoculars (which he is still carrying around the house, and uses back to front nine times out of ten) to a kite, fishing net and Frisbee, it was a bundle that any boy would go bonkers for and one that is going to give him a lot of fun for a long time to come.


Monday, 8 June 2015

The week that was #20

Wow, 20 weeks' worth of weekly round up posts! I have done well! I'm really enjoying it; it's a good way to document all the little things and it's fun looking back and seeing how things have changed through the seasons and all the things I've enjoyed, as Mum and as me, over the weeks.

So, what did the past week have in store?

DOING I've made a real effort this week to enjoy my family and not to let other worries and responsibilities get too much in the way.

I am going to be going back to work full time very soon, so I've realised that I really do need to make the most of every moment and every moment has to count. I have a few Wednesdays yet at home with Ethan and I'm trying to get out and about with him and make something special of these days. When it does become the time for full time work, I know I need to be a real plan into place on how to make sure the household keeps ticking along but without wasting a moment of us being together.

It's hard, juggling everything, no matter how many hours you have to work, but I'm hoping a family plan will keep us on track and that we can make the most of the time we have.


Sunday, 7 June 2015

#MySundayPhoto / #SilentSunday - 07.06.15

More often than not, when I take part in #MySundayPhoto / #SilentSunday, my photos are of Ethan. Well, he is photogenic (not at all biased here)!

This week however, I'm pretty proud of a photo I took when walking around the grounds of Baddesley Clinton, a National Trust property in Warwickshire. I'll be sharing more photos and details of our day in a post on Tuesday but for now, here's a photo from our day enjoying the sunshine and beautiful surroundings.

It was a photo just waiting to be taken. No editing required.


Friday, 5 June 2015

Birthday Wishlist

I've always been the kind of person who can rarely think of anything I'd like for my birthday just before it arrives.

A few months before or after, sure, I'm brimming over with ideas and things that have caught my eye.

I think I'm particularly easy to buy for, as I love quite a lot of things (anything from Cath Kidston, Paperchase, Accessorize, H&M or Next is a sure fire hit, I can promise you) and I appreciate anything someone has taken the thought and time to buy for me.

Honestly, anything that sparkles, a spot of stationery, some new smelly's... I'm pretty easily pleased. Although my friends say it's a nightmare to buy for me as they don't know what I already have.

My birthday is a month away and there's just a couple of things that are tickling my fancy right now. I don't really need them and I'm not expecting anyone to get them for me, but I thought it would be nice to spend a little time browsing and seeing what I might add to my wishlist.

From left to right, clockwise:

This is just so much fun and the colours are even more vibrant in real life. I'd wear with a coloured tee and a shrug if needed, plus ballet pumps or Converse.

I love the bold print and the yellow is so striking. I saw this in store and it's such a lovely cut and would be a stand-out addition to my wardrobe that would undoubtedly be a staple year after year.

I have a thing for elephants. They were a motif when we were expecting Ethan and this would be a lovely memento to symbolise my little man.

I've read so many great reviews of this and I like the emphasis on good food, mexican influences and street style cooking.

Always like a quirky beauty product, this has had rave reviews and I need a night-time treat for my skin - it's getting old and tired! This sounds pretty lovely so would love to give it a go.

It wouldn't be a wishlist of mine if it didn't feature Pandora. I started my collection many moons ago and every so often, on a special occassion, I add a new charm or piece. I love my jewellery, particularly rings, and think this new snake ring is ssss-mashing!

So, what do you think? What's on your wishlist at the moment?


Thursday, 4 June 2015

Cool coffee, courtesy of Orla Kiely

I love a pretty pattern or motif so it's no wonder why I am an avid Cath Kidston fan and it'll come as no surprise either for you to learn the lengths I went to, to collect these three limited edition Orla Kiely designed Douwe Egberts coffee jars.

Along with a couple of friends, I have scoured high and low in the Birmingham area to get my hands on one of these - and once we had one, we just had to find the second and then when that was also ours, it seemed absolutely crucial to snag the final design to complete the trio.

Yep, we became slightly obsessed with these coffee jars but our passion for print and a limited edition challenge spurred us on.

And on Wednesday, we completed our trios. And picked up the new Orla Kiely Tesco shopping bag (£4.50) too - her best design yet, if you ask me.

So why all this carry on about coffee jars? I do like coffee, but it will take be quite some time to work my way through all three jars (but I won't mind, it's pretty nice stuff!).

But in this particular case, it was what was on the outside that counted. I love Orla Kiely's designs - retro in feel and with bold shapes and use of colour - and snapping up one of these lovely jars for £5 (where on offer) or £7.99 (in the case of The Co-op) was an opportunity not to be missed.

I toured all the supermarkets in the area and found the yellow design to be the most common, followed by the green and then the orange I uncovered in Sainsbury's to complete my collection.

You may be thinking, what am I going to do with the jars once all the coffee has gone?

I have a few ideas...

- Sweetie jar for the hall, as a welcome for guests

- Dog treat jar, to be kept on the Welsh dresser in the dining room

-  Container for Ethan's colouring pens (the yellow one would look fab in our lounge plus Ethan wouldn't be able to get the pens or crayons out without help from us first!)

- Cottonwool jar on my dressing table

- A vase for flowers in the hall, lounge or dining room

- Or perhaps, to be controversial, I could use them to store coffee, tea and sugar, displayed together in the kitchen

Have you seen these Orla Kiely Limited Edition Douwe Egberts coffee jars? Are you trying to collect them before they're all gone?

And which is your favourite design?

Wednesday, 3 June 2015


You've probably noticed by now that my diet goes in peaks and troughs; I'm super good, with my clean eating books and a head full of inspiration then, as soon as life gets busy, my good intentions go out the window for the sake of easy options.

One thing that has stayed true is my love of juices and smoothies. I fell in love with juicing at home last summer and regularly, hubs or I will make us a smoothie packed with good stuff to enjoy in the mornings, usually at our desks or in the car.

They're easy to make, once you have the right kit. We bought a Nutribullet a while ago, even though our Kenwood Centrifugal Juicer does a great job, because the Nutribullet uses all of the fruit and veg you put into the blender, so you can get the very most out of your drink.

They really are a great way to get lots of good stuff in one hit, particularly if you're in need of a healthy boost. Just last week, I started to feel under the weather, starting with a sore throat, and knew that the right juice would really help me get through. I was out and about for work so I went to a juice bar and they whipped me up a juice called Go Away Doc, with the same ingredients I use at home.

For one healthy, immune boosting juice, blend two carrots, one apple (or orange), a handful of spinach, a knob of ginger, a squirt of honey and a squeeze of lemon. It's amazing stuff. Trust me.

We've also been looking at other ways to add more good things to my juices and smoothies and to give me a boost in general.

Hubs often buys sports nutrition supplements and protein powers such as Whey Protein to add to his shakes. So, I too have been looking at Monkey Nutrition, a leading supplement site, to see about adding a health supplement such as Moodulator, which helps to regulate hormone levels and promotes natural sleep patterns .

I've tried this for the past couple of weeks as this is an area I definitely need help with lately and it's got lots of good things in there including B vitamins, so I was keen to see if it could make a difference. As with anything, you have to give it a go and give it a chance, so we'll see!

A couple of food supplements I have read a lot about recently and have added to my smoothies are Maca Powder and Spirulina - all so called Paleo foods, which you can also buy from Monkey Nutrition.

Spirulina, for instance, is a blue green algae (yum!) one of the most nutritionally dense substances you can get and has more vitamin B12 than liver, more beta carotene than carrots and more calcium than milk.

I've also been adding raw cacoa, which is rich in antioxidants, to my smoothies for a healthy chocolate injection. De-lish!

When I'm good and make the effort, then I really do feel the benefit so I just need to keep up with the juicing, smoothie making and super supplements and I know I can boost my energy and immune system and make a real difference to my diet too.

* Thank you to Monkey Nutrition for suggestion Moodulator to me - all thoughts and suggestions in this post are my own.
Blogger Template by pipdig