26 February 2014

Swimsuits for Summer

After having my two children I lost a lot of confidence when wearing two piece swimming costumes, so I brought one a few years ago with tummy control but after a few years wear and sun exposure it has seen better days.

So a little searching on the internet has led me to some gorgeous options…

I love this one from John Lewis, the floral print is bright and colourful, and very reasonably priced at £39.50 and on a plus side these would go with my Sun Jellies.


As is this one from Sea Folly also at John Lewis a little more expensive at £99.


This one from Boden is really lovely too, the colours and fit look great, only £59.


This one from Marks and Spencer is not only fashionable but has the tummy control I am looking for, only £39.50


And finally another from Marks and Spencer this gorgeous nautical stripe swimsuit which I think is fun and only £32.50.


As with most clothing I have no idea which will fit my body type so will need to go and try some on, although if I remember it like last time it won't be a pleasant experience…who designs the changing rooms in shops? Always rubbish lighting that makes me look like a lump!
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25 February 2014

Poddle/Toddle Pod Giveaway

They say that necessity is the mother of invention and with something like the Poddle Pod this sounds about right and I only wish it had been around when my two children were younger.

Instead of placing my children in a rickety old hand me down rocking chair that made a noise when you tried to place them in it, this would have been a soft less noisy place for them to sleep.  It may have also given my children somewhere to want to sleep with both of them never really napping in their bed.

So what is a Poddle Pod or from 6 months onwards the Toddle Pod…

What Is A Poddle Pod?

The Poddle Pod is a wonderful handmade baby snuggle nest... quite simply a safe, snuggly and very convenient place to put your baby down... anywhere and any time you need it. The Poddle Pod was designed to meet an infant's need to feel secure and a mother's need to know her baby is safe and comfortable.

When a baby is laid in the pod, the sides gently pull in to hug them, making them feel as if they are still being held or touched. This comforts the baby and ultimately makes them more content when parents need to lay them down. This design also helps prevent the baby from rolling or turning, easing your mind and giving you the confidence to take care of yourself.


What is A Toddle Pod?
Toddle Pods are designed to be used from approximately 6 months to around 3 years, although as they are unbreakable, your child can use them for as long as they wish.
Perfect for nap times, lounging, visiting friends and relations and for babies that suffer from reflux.

So a snuggly and perfect place for your children to rest and the best thing is I have one to giveaway. You can choose from either a Poddle Pod or Toddle Pod depending on what age your child is, for more information on which one to choose please see the Poddle Pod website.
Entry is via the rafflecopter form below so good luck, competition is open to UK entrants only. :)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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24 February 2014

Midlands Blog Meetup

This weekend I was lucky enough to meet up with some other Midlands bloggers, a gorgeous bunch of  lovely individuals who it was a pleasure to meet.

Organised by Kelly of To Become a Mum and Emma of Frugally Peachy the day was wonderfully relaxing and really well organized.


The food at The Malt Cross was amazing and it is a really lovely venue, I will definitely be taking hubby and the kids back at some point in the near future.



We also got to meet a couple of ladies from The Body Shop, they brought some new to the market items and some old favourites. We all got to try and ask lots of questions, it was really informative and great fun.


I brought a few things afterwards, including the most gorgeous smelling Chocomania™ Beautifying Oil and some Hemp Hand Protector, lots of people have raved about this and it seems to be working well after just a few days. I had forgotten about The Body Shop and I will certainly back for more goodies.

There were several great supporters to the day including Weleda, Swizzles Matlow, Poddle Pod, Baked by Me there was also a great bundle to win with lots of goodies which was won by Sarah of Seriously Shalow.



I am really excited to be able to offer a Poddle Pod to my readers soon so keep your eyes peeled.

All these pictures are courtesy of Emma at Frugally Peachy, I was too busy talking to really take any and for that I am not sorry. I really did get to talk to so many lovely ladies, and am now following loads more blogs too.

Till next time ladies x

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23 February 2014

Chocolate Chip Madeleines

Madeleines are my favourite and whilst I am never going to get them tasting the same way as my favourite ones from France these are a lovely substitute to whip up as a Sunday morning treat.

Ingredients:

100g Plain Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
75 g Caster Sugar
2 Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
90g Unsalted Butter (melted plus extra for buttering mould)
Icing Sugar to dust

Method:

1 Melt the butter either in a sauce pan or my preference in a microwaveable dish until melted (be careful not to heat to much or it will burn or worse splatter everywhere), leave to one side to cool.

2. Sift the flour and baking powder and set to one side.

3. Next either using an electric whisk or hand whisk, whisk the sugar and eggs together until thick and fluffy.

4. Gently fold in the flour mix and vanilla extract (you could also use orange water or almond extract if you'd prefer), keep folding until mixed.

5. Fold in the melted butter a bit at a time until well mixed and nice and shiny (if looks like it isn't mixing but it will just keep folding until smooth).


6. Cover the surface of the mixture with cling film and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 200c or fan 180c.

7. I use a silicone madeleine mould which are easy to use,  using the remains of the melted butter in the dish or melt a little more butter and with a finger just coat each shell in the butter (if using metal tins they might need a dusting of flour too to stop them sticking) and then place a heaped tablespoon (if you are using a large mould) of mixture into each shell.

8. Then sprinkle on a few chocolate chips or if you only have chocolate just add a sprinkle of some chocolate you have blitzed or broken up (use a rolling pin and bag to smash into smallish pieces) onto the top and place in the oven for 10 minutes.


9. Once cooled slightly remove from the mould and then dust with the icing sugar and serve, we all really like them warm with hot chocolate or coffee but these are equally lovely cold.


Bon appetit x
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22 February 2014

Sidneyboo! Coming Soon

Over on Instagram I have been chatting to a lovely lady called Sarah and she is soon to be opening a new online store selling gorgeous children's clothes for ages 0-5.

Supporting small businesses is what I like to do and so I wanted to help spread the word about her new store and the items she will be stocking.



So here is a bit about Sidneyboo! from Sarah:
"I was inspired to start my business after having my son in 2011. I found it frustrating that very few high street shops sell exciting and unique clothing for kids. I really believe kids clothes should have a sense of fun and reflect their playfulness, so when the opportunity arose I decided to search out brands that love to be creative with their clothing! I've worked hard to put together a collection of individual, fresh and exciting pieces - and all of them have a funky and fun twist to make you smile - the essence of Sidneyboo!  
My son, who is 3 next week (day before launch!!) is called Sidney and Sidneyboo! is a nickname I have called him it since he was a baby and having spent time thinking of different names, and wanting something that was personal to me but also doesn't limit me to just clothing so thought why not Sidneyboo! Plus he is the reason I am doing this so he should be involved in some way."
I love the choice of name and reason behind it and with some gorgeous clothing from companies such as Boys&Girls, Corby Tindersticks, Funky Legs, Gardner and the Gang, Indikidual, NUNUNU and Slugs & Snails to name but a few I can't wait to see the website and the items in all their glory.





The launch is on the 26th February and you can see more of what is to come over on the Sidneyboo! Facebook page and you can follow Sarah's progress over on twitter too.
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19 February 2014

Living Arrows 7/52

A mouse took a stroll through the deep dark wood. A fox saw the mouse, and the mouse looked good. "Where are you going to, little brown mouse?



This weekend saw us get out into the gorgeous sunshine and walk round the park, the sun shining through the trees was beautiful.
living arrows
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18 February 2014

Sun Jellies Review

A few weeks ago I was approached by the lovely people at Sun Jellies to see if I would like to review a pair of gorgeous Méduse jelly shoes.

Sun Jellies are a proud stockist of Méduse original French jellies. Based on the south coast of England they are the leading retailer of Méduse jellies.

Méduse is a French brand of jellies and wellies with a heritage dating back to 40's with the creation of the original fisherman Sun Jellies. Java jellies were created in the 70's. Both styles have been rockin' the same original designs for decades! They are the authentic retro classics. Much imitated but never bettered. All Méduse jellies are designed and made in France from 100% recyclable, soft PVC.

So what makes them great, first of all the colours, their website is like a rainbow of gorgeousness and with sizes up to 8 in most colours and up to 12 in the unisex colours there is something for everyone. If you have children they also do them from size 4 upwards so you can get all matchy matchy ;)



I went for the cyan in a size 8, normally finding shoes that fit my feet is a nightmare they are either too narrow or not long enough, these on the other hand were a perfect fit and comfy too which for a shoe made of PVC I think is pretty good going.

They also made my feet look all girly, another great bonus as far as I am concerned.



They are perfect for summer, autumn and spring. Here I have teamed them up with jeans and a long sleeved tee but with skirts, skinny jeans, 3/4 length trousers or tights they would work equally as well. You only have to look at their Facebook page for inspiration, so many ways of wearing them.


The Méduse range conjure up images of the 80s, especially the lattice jellies, they are gorgeous and I remember having a pair myself.

Best of all they are only £14.00 plus £2.00 shipping (for orders under £35), which I think is very reasonably priced so there is nothing stopping you having a pair in each colour.

I love finding a comfy pair of shoes that I look forward to wearing and I am so desperate for spring to arrive so I can wear these lots (it's just a little bit cold to go bare foot at the moment).

I'm also looking forward to getting me and my daughter a matching pair, she spent last year in 'jelly beans' as she calls them and so this year we can get matching pairs, i'll she'll love that.

So overall I love these shoes, I am waiting for pay day to buy my next pair….although I am not sure which colour to go for.

I think this could be the year of the jelly shoe, they are versatile, comfy, bright and easy to wear so which colour would you choose?

NB I was sent a pair free of charge to review, however all thoughts and words are my own.
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17 February 2014

Easy Peasy Treacle Sponge Pudding

I'm useless at steaming puddings and I have used the Be-Ro recipe book to try a microwave treacle pudding but it just goes dry and horrible, so this recipe is not only easy to make but tastes great.

First of all, you need to make a basic Victoria sponge to go on top of the golden syrup:

100g Self Raising Flour
100g Caster Sugar
100g Stork Margarine
2 Eggs

For this recipe I just bung it all in the food processor and blend until smooth and thoroughly mixed through.


Next in an oven proof dish add some golden syrup, for this square dish I used about 3 heaped tablespoons but make sure you have a good amount of golden syrup on the bottom of the dish.



Then add the Victoria sponge mixture onto the top of the golden syrup and spread gently until all of the golden syrup is covered.


Place in the oven (on 160c) for about 20-25 minutes, you can either check this is cooked with by pressing lightly on the cake and it should bounce back or you can use a skewer or cake tester to check it comes out clean.


What you have then is a gorgeous soft and moist sponge pudding, serve with cream or custard or whatever you prefer.


This all went in one sitting as everyone loves it so much, lots of hot warm oozing golden syrup is always a treat.


Next time jam maybe?

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Meet our New Family Member

As a child I loved my pets, it all started with a couple of pet goldfish (we won at the fair) then we had two mice and from then I had several hamsters. They are such wonderful little creatures that after careful handling can be loving pets

These small furry bundles make me smile and are such wonderfully endearing creatures, so at the weekend we decided to brush off the old hamster cage and get a new one for the kids.

Now I can't really show you any pictures of her being held yet as she is still very timid, but over time she should come out of her shell and be a great friend for my two children.

But so far my two children (3 and 5) adore her and keep waiting for her to come out and have a snuffle about the cage, in fact it is safe to say they are besotted by Peppa, as she has been named by said 3 year old.

Pets are great for children, they not only become a friend but I think having something to care for will show them how things life is for me at times.

I hope to share more of our journey with Peppa and the children, to show how wonderful a pet a hamster can be.

But for now this is me linking up to Magic Moments over on the lovely The Olivers Madhouse blog.




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16 February 2014

Hello Sunshine

Today saw the return of gorgeous sunshine, everyone was out in force at Rushcliffe Country Park and with the sun shining and only a few clouds in the sky it wasn't hard to see why.

Donning wellies and waterproofs we headed out, absorbing lots of sunshine and hopefully boosting our Vitamin D!

I have blogged about this great park before, it really has some great areas to explore. The music area was first on my sons list, always a big hit.

Making music
 There is also an area with some optical illusions, kinda lost on the really young but us adults had fun.

Flowers or a face?

Strange fork
The snowdrops were out in force, much to my daughters disappointment we didn't pick any.


More music making with Daddy


Off to find puddles


Found them


Walking through a rather muddy bit of forest, love the sun shining through the trees.


Looking for bugs under old logs


It was really lovely to get out into the sunshine, a stop at the playground and an ice cream made the day really lovely.

Linking up to Country Kids over on the Coombe Mill Blog

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
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12 February 2014

Living Arrows 6/52

Ten tiny fingers, that always want to play,
That never stop exploring that wonder of today,
Ten tiny fingers, that from the very start,
Will reach out for tomorrow yet always hold your heart



living arrows
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5 February 2014

Fruit, Nut and Seed Bites

I am currently suffering with all sorts of health problems, the doctor has diagnosed me with possible fibromyalgia and I have reduced kidney function so things are breaking all over the place.

On a mission to get healthy and to stop snacking on rubbish I spotted these over on Instagram and decided to give them a go with whatever I had in the cupboard.

I don't have any measurements it is basically a whatever you have in the cupboard kinda recipe and chuck in as much as you like of each thing.

These have raisins, dried cranberries, coconut, flaked almonds, brazil nuts, cashew nuts and some mixed seeds, 1 tsp cocoa and 1tsp of honey, all blitzed together until it becomes a sticky mess.


They don't look that attractive and even less so in ball form but you could put them in a baking tray and cut up if you so desired. Once rolled pop in the fridge to firm up and voila, Nakd style bites of loveliness.


Not only are these a healthier snack but they do seem to fill me up for longer to stave off the cravings till lunch and tea, plus they are really quick and simple.
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4 February 2014

My Judy Garland Life Review

"Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high  
There's a land that I've heard of once in a lullaby. 
Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue 
And the dreams that you dare to dream, 
Really do come true"

Above are the lyrics to the start of a song that most of us will have heard, a song that conjures up so many memories of one of the most loved films of all time. But behind that voice was a young woman who had already gone through so much, a life that to the outside looked like glitz and glamour. But as the story of My Judy Garland Life tells us, this wasn't how it was at all.



The story is told through the eyes of the author Susie Boyt, as a young girl she worships Judy Garland seeing so much of herself in Judy and so through the highs and lows of Judy's (and her own) life comes a story about love and loss, helping Susie through the darkest days of her life.

The play itself was divine, I have never been to see a musical before but I was transfixed, Sally Ann Triplett was truly wonderful as Judy Garland, bringing to life an idol of so many, her voice and mannerisms both exquisite.



With Faye Elvin playing Susie Boyt and the three fabulous members of the band who helped the story along it was a beautiful play from beginning to end, from the moment you walk in to a bright, colourful and spectacularly sparkly stage to the last song I was left wanting more.


As I tried to fight back the tears I realised how beautiful the words in the songs actually were and how little I knew about this hollywood star and her tragic life, I have spent a few moments this morning reading about her life and listening to her songs.


It isn't uncommon these days for stars of Hollywood to burn out rather than fade away, dying young as a consequence of fame and fortune and the constant scrutiny of the papers and public this is a reminder of that, how even the most 'perfect' of lives can be tainted by what happened in our past.

I am in awe of this story and and can totally sympathise with Susie's sensitivity, only last month was I looking at several unsold Christmas Tree's thinking how sad it was they hadn't made it in to a home to be adored!

Overall I have nothing but praise for this play, both the story and adaptation are wonderful I cannot commend the actors enough for what was a stunning and energetic performance.

My Judy Garland Life is currently on at the Nottingham Playhouse until 15th February.

NB: I was given 6 tickets for myself and friends to see this play, however all words and thoughts are my own.
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