29 November 2012

Ethical Fashion and Clothing

I love a bargain as much as the next person, but something about fairtrade and ethical fashion appeals to me.

I would prefer to pay a a little more for an item of clothing that has been made ethically, from the farmers who grow the cotton to the people who make them.

I love this selection from some fabulous eco concious brands:

People Tree

For more on ethical fashion, news and links to eco fashion sites then visit Ecover's eco fashion news.

*This is a sponsored post, all words and opinions are my own.


28 November 2012

Local Craft Fairs

I went to a local craft fair on Saturday and was pleasantly surprised by the goodies on offer, perfect gift ideas that were very reasonably priced. Most were hand made and by buying from them I was supporting local small businesses.

So what did I buy, first up was this gorgeous button broach. Was thinking of giving it to my mum but I love it so much I might keep for myself.

Next were these quite frankly gorgeous gift tags, the lady was selling them at 25p each but said I could have the whole bundle for £1. There are about 30 in total and they are beautiful, think I might buy some brown wrapping paper and pretty ribbon to make them look simple and gorgeous.

And finally to make Christmas eve that little bit extra special some reindeer food, never done this before but since my son is really in to Christmas this year I thought I would give it a try. A fab little poem and bag containing 'food' will be perfect for spreading Christmas excitement.

So this year if you can make it to a local craft fair I highly recommend it, some great bargains to be had whilst supporting local businesses.

27 November 2012

Eco Friendly Cleaning Products

I am not sure why but something about pouring bleach down the toilet just seems wrong, especially when the eco friendly cleaning products I use are just as good.

The thought of more rubbish entering our drinking water has always been something that has bothered me, it's why the water we drink in our home is always filtered.

With a young family in the house I am also concerned that what I am spraying on surfaces or in the air could be ingested by them in some way or another, so wherever possibly I always try to use green cleaning products.

With so much going down the drain that can't be helped I feel that even small amounts of change can benefit the environment, the water we drink and the air we breath.

Next year I think my new years resolution will be to find even more eco friendly, green and natural solutions for my cleaning.

With four and a half years of using reusable nappies to help the environment, we may as well continue in the hope all will not be lost for our children and grandchildren.

*This is a sponsored post, all words and thoughts are my own.

Image courtesy of mack2happy / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of nixxphotography / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

23 November 2012

Supporting Small Businesses this Christmas - Colour Me Fun

So I said I would write about the small businesses I have found and love and this one is perfect if you have little ones who love to colour.

Colour Me Fun's crayons make perfect stocking fillers, they are unusal, reasonably priced and fun.

I really love these lego crayons, they are brilliant and would be great for any logo loving mini Picasso.
If you want to go personalised you can have your childs name in crayons too!

I went for the dinosaur set as we are going to the party of a dino mad little boy tomorrow, they look awesome and I just hope my son doesn't see them otherwise he'll want a set too!
So if you are looking for the perfect gift that you can't find on the high street head on over to Colour Me Fun, the delivery was super quick and I am really pleased with my purchase.

19 November 2012

Christmas Goodies

Ok, ok so I know it is still a little early for Christmas but I need to start thinking about it now otherwise I won't ever do anything!

Now, whether I decide to give these as gifts or offer them to family and friends at our annual Christmas Eve open house I am not sure.

So far we have Florentines, I have tried a couple of recipes now and I am not sure which I prefer so need to try them out on hubby when he gets home. Either way I am in love and I think this is my new fave over cupcakes!

Next is my husbands favourite, chocolate covered marzipan. Nothing say's Christmas more than marzipan right?

I really must get on and do the apple chutney so that will be next, watch this space.


My changing bag woes!

When I was pregnant I didn't really think about the importance of a changing bag.

I used the one you got free from Boots, but it wasn't very pretty and didn't stay clipped on my pushchair.

So I bought another one, not that attractive either but it hung on the pushchair so I forgave it.

At a year I sold the pushchair and gave this away too.

I bought a gorgeous new one, super expensive but oh so pretty. After a year it broke and I took it back, I bought another expensive one but it was heavy and only the pods inside it got used.

Then my daughter was born and that was that, I couldn't carry a heavy one so I only used the pods and sold the bag.

I have never had a changing bag I have loved, ever! And although I know there are bigger problems in the world, I feel like I have missed out on some part of being a mum.

Having a nice bag filled with mum bits and pockets for wipes and a bib. Oh well, I have become accustomed now to getting to work on a Thursday with a car or other random 'toy' floating around in my bag.

18 November 2012

17 November 2012

Supporting Small Businesses this Christmas - The White Approach

I wanted to highlight some fab businesses on my blog this Christmas, small businesses run by the loveliest of people.

Today is The White Approach, owned by the very lovely Karen Jones. I have mentioned her store so many times before and that is because I love everything Karen has in her shop. I only wished I lived in Exeter where she can be found at so many vintage fairs, she even has a space at The Vintage Trading Company too.

I bought this gorgeous bon bon dish from her a while back and it sits proudly in my display cabinet.

Why do I love her vintage items so much? One word 'quality', these pieces have already stood the test of time, they are well made and built to last. They are of the moment pieces, most of them very similar to what is already on the market, but these are more individual because they are so old.

Like this gorgeous Pink Pyrex Dish, with the beautiful snowflake design. Wouldn't it be perfect to serve your veg in on Christmas day.

Or how about this serving bowl, the colour is divine and look at the legs! Oh how beautiful this would be on a dining room table!

If you are in Exeter this weekend then there are several fairs she is selling at so please do go and take a look, think about who in your life would love something this gorgeous sitting on their dinner table this Christmas.

I have not received anything to write this, I just wanted to share the small business love.

16 November 2012

Love Is...

My son has been singing this song all week

'Love is something if you give it away,
Give it away, give it away.
Love is something if you give it away,
You end up having more.'

I remember singing it at school and in his beautiful innocent singing voice it makes me smile, an achingly please don't grow up too quick smile.

His innocence and pure heart on his sleeve attitude is what makes me want to get up in the morning.

To my little boy, don't ever stop being you and don't grow up too quick.

14 November 2012

A Hug a Day

This morning as my son's friends arrived in the playground they all gave each other a hug.

This was something I observed at nursery and it is so lovely to see that even though they are at school, they are still young enough to want to do this.

It is true to say my heart melted and for that moment the world seemed so innocent.

If only when I turned up to work someone would give me a hug, I think the world would be a nicer place.

12 November 2012

Dyslexia at 30

On Saturday I went to the opticians, nothing unusual, I just felt my eyes were getting worse and I was getting headaches at work when using the computer.

We sat and talked, I explained how difficult I found it to read a book because the words seem to split up and move. But it had always been that way, ever since I first went to the opticians when I was about 12.

We then talked about how reading son his books felt easier, possibly because the words are often on dark backgrounds and over the pictures.

He then told me it sounded like I have a form of dyslexia. I can read and write, however I have always just found reading books somewhat of a chore!

So at 30, after almost 18 years of finding it difficult to read, I finally have a reason and can hopefully find solutions to my reading difficulty.

If anyone has any experience of this I would love to hear from you.

11 November 2012

Lest We Forget

Today I remember my great grandad who was lost during the first world war, as well as the young family he left behind.

I also remember the other hundreds of thousands or service men and women who didn't make it home and those who are still out there fighting.

I leave you with a few pictures from my visits to two very poignant places.

Theipval Memorial to the Missing where my great grandad is named.

American Cemetery - Omaha Beach
One of the exhibits at the American Cemetery at Omaha
Wherever you are and whatever you believe is right or wrong, I hope you to stop and think about those who gave their lives so that we may live ours in freedom.


10 November 2012

My Favourite Bag

I won a Where's Wally Zatchel a few months back, it is my bag of choice when out and about on my own without the kids (nothing worse than a crushed rice cake or sticky raisin in the bottom of a bag).

It is a total ice breaker and I do adore it, the quality is brilliant and I just love the looks and comments it gets.

They currently have an equally amazing collection and if you love Hello Kitty you simply must go and have a look!

I love the barrel bag and may have to save my Christmas pennies to buy one as it would make the perfect just nipping out bag!

Or maybe the saddle bag?!? I simply cannot decide!

If you love satchels that are quirky and make you smile then Zatchels do just that, their range is vast and they are hand made in the England.

6 November 2012

Is a homemade Christmas ok?

The other week I posted about making some homemade gifts for people this Christmas, and I still want to do this but is it OK?

Do people really appreciate the things you spend hours making? Sometimes once you have bought everything you need to make said gift, would it have been cheaper to buy them?

I really don't want to spend a lot of money, not because I'm cheap but money is tight and most of our relatives don't 'need' anything.

We only have a few children in the family and for me that's what it's about, that and getting together.

So would you appreciate homemade gifts? Do you all need to do it for it to work?

5 November 2012

Teach Your Monster to Read

My son has just started school so reading and phonics are currently top of our agenda, our fridge is covered with magnetic letters and we have many books that we read every night.

I am always on the look out for other interesting ways to get him reading and making sounds so when I heard about a game that could help my son with his reading, I was keen to see how he would get on.

Teach Your Monster To Read is a free interactive game which allows your child to design their own monster and takes them on a journey finding letters, learning how to pronounce them and building words in a fun way that makes it seem like they aren't even learning.

The game itself is fairly easy to play, my son who is four can quite easily control the monster using the mouse, although he misses a few objects hopefully the game will improve these skills.

There are several levels too, so it doesn't get too repetitive and they are all fun games that keep my son engaged.

Teach Your Monster to Read has been developed for the Usborne Foundation - a charity set up by Peter Usborne (who also founded The Usborne Publishing company). There will be a series of games, all of which will be given away for free. The game has been featured in the Sunday Times, the Times Educational Supplement and recently won Gold in both the Practical Preschool and Primary Teacher Update awards.

Finally, the guys at Teach Your Monster to Read currently have a great competition running over on their blog, if you have a little one who loves to draw monsters then they can enter to win a first prize of £150. The competition ends at 5pm on Friday so get creative and send in your pictures.

Disclosure: We have been given three of the Usborne Young Readers books for reviewing the game. The game is available free. All views and opinions are my own.

2 November 2012

Technology or Paper?

With all the technology in my life I have been wondering whether there is still a place in my life for a diary or wall calendar?

I have had a couple over the years but have stopped using after a while because it was too bulky or just didn’t get updated , but what with party after party for my son and more dates in his diary for school than you can shake a stick at, I am now thinking I really need to get back to using one.

My phone is alright but only I can see it and it doesn’t get updated with hubbies dates of being away. The battery life on it is appalling so often in the evening when I am sat down to do anything it has died and I have to charge it back up to use it.

Part of me does like the idea of a diary and calendar but I just need to make sure I use it.

So what are my options, is there some magic diary or calendar that isn’t too bulky, something that fits neatly into my busy life and house.

Will be on the lookout and update you on what I go for.