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Autumn is jumper time

create an autumn look with a jumper and jeans or a skirt and bootsI’ve made no secret about the fact that autumn is one of my favourite seasons, if not my favourite season of all. I have shared our autumn bucket list as well as 25 delicious autumn soups and broths and today we’re getting fashionable here on the blog, because let’s face it autumn is the time when we all go crazy for warm woolly jumpers and comfortable, but stylish outfits.

I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing quite as satisfying as gliding into a cosy jumper on a crisp autumn morning and getting ready for the day ahead. My Nan is somewhat of a knitting machine. There’s nothing she can’t knit and when the days get shorter and the evenings start earlier, she’s starts her mission to kit out the entire family with cardigans, jumpers and knitted socks and I promise, their not all Norwegian style. My Nan loves experimenting with different patterns, materials and stitches and in that past, has even taken orders from Ben and some of my friends.

Sometimes however, you just want something a little more elegant and these classic and chic jumpers from Wool Overs might be just what you’ve been looking for. With a great choice of designs and materials, you are bound to find something for everyone’s taste and style and the great thing is that you won’t break the bank either. The range is very affordable with offers such as 2  for £40 for cashmere, merino, silk or cotton jumpers and I think you really can’t go wrong picking up one or two of them. They’re very timeless, so will last your for a long time and you can easily dress them up our down with accessories to create a look that suits your needs.

Knitted jumpers don’t always have to be slouchy and look casual. Wear them with a chunky necklace and heels to create a more dressed up look or go for a comfortable pair of jeans and boots for a more leisurely feel. There are so many possibilities to make your jumper suit you.

How do you wear jumpers? Do you go for a leisurely feel or do you like to dress them up?

This is a promotional post with an image from Craig Morey via Flickr.

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A girly trip to London Designer Outlet

shopping at London Designer OutletYou know how much I love London. It’s one of my favourite places in the world. It’s not just full of history and culture, it’s also a great place to shop till you drop. With its famous shopping miles it’s popular with Brits and tourists alike and that’s not all that London has to offer for fashionistas and shopping fans.

The London Designer Outlet, a seven-storey shopping paradise just a stone throw away from Wembley Stadium houses 50 shops, 20 restaurants & coffee shops and offers the best of designer clothing in the UK. From fashion and lifestyle through to gadgets and gifts, you’ll find some of the best deals from top high street retailers and a 9 screen cinema and play park will keep husbands, dads and kids entertained while you shop for the latest trends and bargains or recharge your empty batteries over peaceful lunch in one of the outlets’ restaurants.

For some reason, I had never heard of the London Designer Outlet before, probably because I’ve got two big outlet centres reasonably close to me, but I would love to go for a girly trip with my sister. We’d leave Bristol on a Friday morning, arrive in London for lunch and then start the big city adventure. We’re both massive history fans, so there’d be sightseeing galore all weekend, lovely food in Soho and maybe a West End musical to make the weekend an extra special treat. Sunday however would be reserved for a massive shopping trip and the London Designer Outlet actually sounds like the perfect place to go.

It has all the brands you find on the high street under one roof, which is super handy because you don’t have to squeeze through masses of tourists on Oxford Street and can completely ignore the weather. I know this sounds like a stupid argument, but have you ever tried holding up an umbrella with half a dozen of shopping bags hanging from your arms? Believe me, it’s not much fun, so whenever I can I head for places that allow me to shop for everything I need in just one place. They also offer free parking when you spend £30 in store, plus there’s a Prezzo! What’s not to like?

Which shop would you pop into first?

This is a promotional post with an image from galleryhip via Tumblr.

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How to make the most out of your loft room

loft room conversion

A loft is great, if you don’t have enough storage space and want to hide unsightly clutter, your Christmas tree and more. An even better idea however is to convert your loft into an extra bedroom. A loft conversion is usually cheaper and less hassle than a traditional extension to your home and it can add between 10-20% of value to your property. But how do you make the most out of your loft room? Here are some ideas:

1. Windows

Roof windows such as these Velux windows here are a great way to bring light into your loft room without you having to reconstruct your entire roof. Velux windows often won’t even require planning permission as they generally fit into the line of the roof and make fittings relatively simple.

2. Storage

Use the space in your eaves to create storage space that you wouldn’t use otherwise. In-build drawers and wardrobes hide clutter and give your room a clean and open feel.

3. Colour scheme

Try and keep things light and airy. Loft rooms usually are relatively small and dark spaces, so work with light and reflective colours such as white and yellow tones to make your room appear both larger and brighter. Painting your slanted ceilings a lighter colour than the eaves also adds height to your room and gives it an airy, open and spacious feel.

4. Mirrors

Strategically placed mirrors can make a small room feel much bigger than it actually is. Turn long skinny mirrors on their side to elongate a short wall or install floor-length mirrors on your wardrobe to make your room appear higher and lighter.

5. Furniture

If possible, use in-built furniture in your loft room. If not, try and fix furniture such as bedside tables or shelves to the walls. This way, you are creating more floor space and give the room a more open feeling.

Have you got a loft conversion? How are you making the most of your loft room?

For more information on this post, read my disclosure

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4 Creative Ideas For Using Ready To Roll Icing On Cupcakes

Cupcakes continue to be one of the most popular cakes to make. The basic recipe is easy to remember and they can easily be modified with flavours to create new tasty treats. They’re quick and easy to make and who doesn’t love seeing a batch of freshly baked cupcakes all laid out and ready to be devoured?

Although many will choose to finish cupcakes with buttercream, ready to roll icing is definitely worth exploring. With a bit of creativity it’s possible to make some really beautiful cupcakes using ready to roll icing.

Quilted icing

quilted cupcake pattern, cupcake designs

The quilted effect on this ready to roll icing is classic and would be perfect at a wedding. It’s easily achieved, all you need to do is score a cross hatch pattern on the top with a scriber and then fix in place some dragées at the intersections. It’s a simple and effective decorative effect.

Flower toppers

Sometimes the best decorations for cupcakes can be the simplest. You don’t have much space and so they can quickly become cluttered if things get too busy and intricate. A plain disc of ready to roll icing topped off with some delicate flowers looks beautiful and works for pretty much any occasion. Flowers work well in icing because of the consistency of the material. Just grab some flower cutters and away you go.

Flat Icing Characters Topper

Flat Icing Character cupcake Topper

Ready to roll icing is such a great product for decorating cakes because you can easily layer colours together to create cute character toppers like these. All you have to do is cut the shapes from the ready to roll icing, which you can do with cutters or free hand if you’re feeling adventurous. To fix the icing to each other you simply use some cooled boiled water, which acts like a glue.

Figurine topper 

If you want to really challenge your ready to roll icing skills then create a figurine topper. There’s no secret to this, it’s the same as if you were making a topper for a normal cake, although you may want to constrain the size just so it doesn’t overpower the cupcake. If you want to keep your figurine totally edible fix the parts together with cooled boiled water or edible food glue. Otherwise you can use sticks of dry spaghetti to give support, especially on larger figurines.

So the next time you’re rustling up a batch of cupcakes and you’re wondering how to decorate them, grab a packet of ready to roll icing and try one of these creative decorative ideas.

Renshaw Baking have ready to roll icing in a huge variety of colours so you can create anything you can imagine to decorate your next cake.

This is a promotional post with images from Le Beau Cake and Renshaw. 

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25 autumn soups and broths

It’s less than two weeks until autumn officially starts and I can’t wait for those dark evenings that call for a warming autumn soup or broth followed by a cosy evening wrapped up on the sofa.  Autumn is probably my favourite season. I love the crispy cold mornings, red leaves dancing in the wind and the warm earthy scents lingering in the air when you step out of the house.

Amy and I have created our own autumn bucket list with activities and days out that we want to make happen this autumn and today, I want to share with you 25 autumn soups and broths that I have come across on my travels around the world wide web. Some of them are simple, others more indulgent. One thing, they all have in common: they looks seriously delicious and warming. Make sure to check some of them out!

25 autumn soups and broths, autumn recipes, recipes for autumns, winter soups and broths, soup recipes

Auntie Loulla’s Greek Lentil Soup

Mushroom & Cauliflower Soup

White Bean & Potato Soup with Garlic and Brown Butter Sprouts

Feel Better Chicken Soup

Potato and Leek Soup with Hazelnut Browned Butter Pesto

Spiced Lentil Soup with Frazzled Onions

Sweet Potato & Red Pepper Chowder

Pumpkin & Coconut Soup

Romanian Bean Soup

Cream of Kohlrabi Soup

Ham, Lentil & Kale Soup

Roasted Yellow Courgette Soup

Spicy Prawn & Noodle Soup

Celery & Leek Soup

Autumn Minestrone

Welsh Cawl

Puy Lentil, Tomato & Bacon Soup

Gluten-free Miso Noodle Soup

Loaded Potato Soup with Creamy Cheese, Bacon & Jalapenos

Kale Soup with Spicy Chicken Sausage & Sweet Potato

The copyright for all images used in the collage lies with the owner and author of the recipes featured in this post.

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Win a Cosatto Hootle Car Seat (from birth to 4 years)

Car safety is an aspect of parenting that is incredibly important to me. I see so many people whose children aren’t strapped properly into their car seat or even traveling on their parents’ lap an despite being quite a calm and collected person, this is something that makes my blood boil.

Keeping your children safe when traveling is not rocket science. There are so many easy to fit and great value car seats out there that work for a range of different age groups, that there really isn’t any excuse for putting your child in danger. Amy and I are currently reviewing the  Cosatto Scootle Car Seat in the Spectroscope design (pictured right in the image below) which is suitable for the groups 1,2 and 3 or children between 9-36kg, but we’ll tell you more about that very, very soon.

cosatto car seats

This blog post is all about giving you the chance to win a car sear that allows your little one to travel safely and in style. I have teamed up with Cosatto and this week, you can win a Cosatto Hootle Car Seat suitable for age group 0 and 1, e.g. newborns – pre-schoolers. How fantastic is that?

The Cosatto Hootle Car Seat can be used rear-facing in group 0+ (0 – 13kg or approx 0 – 15 months) and then turned into a front-facing car seat for group 1 (9 – 18kg or approx. 9 months –4 years). It has a universal fit, comes with a 5 point safety harness with quick release buckle and can be used in both front and rear vehicle seats. The Cosatto Hootle Car Seat is available in two designs: The Cosatto Hootle C-Rex and the Cosatto Hootle Poppidelic are both bright and colourful and come with washable covers and side impact protection.

Cosatto Hootle Car Seat Group 0+ and group 1, car seat that can be used front-facing and rear-facing

If you want to get your hands on a Cosatto Hootle Car Seat in the design of your choice, all you have to do is fill in the Rafflecopter form below following the instructions provided. Please don’t cheat as all invalid entries will be disqualified and not entered into the prize draw. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Fearne Cotton chats about her savings

It might sound corny, but it’s true: Parenthood changes your entire life as well as your views on financial security and planning for the future. Before Amy’s arrival, I couldn’t have cared less about saving money. I was young and lived from one day to another. Saving and financial security really weren’t on my priority list. I lived in blissful ignorance and thought that if I needed to make a big purchase, I’d just buy it and pay for it in monthly installments.

Once Amy came along, my opinion on savings changed drastically. I wanted her to be financially secure should anything happen to Ben or me. I wanted to build her a financial nest egg of savings that she could use for those things in life that your parents help you with when you’re growing up: your driving license, first car, your wedding or maybe even a deposit for your first house.

We looked into different savings accounts, ISAs and every other option under the sun. In the end, she ended up with an ordinary savings account. It was the easiest option for us as non-bankers, but I wish I has known about protected saving schemes like the ones from FSCS. No matter what happens to your bank, they will pay out savings up to £85,000 within 7 days without you having to do anything, which I think is very reassuring. We all know how much people lost when the banking system in Cyprus broke down and family’s lost their life savings and more.

Did parenthood change the way you think about saving and preparing for the future? Are you saving for your children and what do you hope they’ll spend the money on?

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Our Autumn Bucket List 2014

This summer wasn’t an easy one for us. It saw us go from a family of three to just Amy and myself and although Ben and I are trying everything to remain friends for Amy’s sake, it’s been a hard and emotionally draining time for all of us. I won’t go into any details or the reasoning behind our separation, but I know that it is for the better and to ensure that Amy has a happy and safe childhood and that will always be my priority, the most important thing in my life.

Autumn will be a new beginning for us as a duo, the time where we start enjoying life again and have fun and for that exact reason, I thought it would be a good idea to come up with our very own autumn bucket list – a list to remind us of the fun things that we want to do, to encourage and motivate us to move forward when we are having a bad day.

Our autumn bucket list is not stuffed full of activities and outings. We want it to remain a fun project, an inspiration with projects and days out that will be enjoyable and should we not manage to tick off every single activity then so be it. Life’s too short, the last couple of weeks and months have made me realise that.

Autumn bucket list 2014, fall bucket list 2014

What have you planned for autumn? Have you maybe written your own autumn bucket list? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love hear about your plans and ideas!

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Wot so funnee? I’ll catch him with a net

Amy with the spraying can attacking mum

Today, Amy and I took the bus to drive to our local retail park for a girly afternoon. We snooped around Tesco Home, ate frozen yoghurt and stopped for a pit stop at Costa before treating ourselves to some goodies.

On our way home, Amy kept “flirting” with a young boy. He was probably nine or ten and had great fun pulling funny faces and making Amy giggle until he got off three or four stops before us. Amy was not impressed and she didn’t hold back telling everyone:

Amy: He, come back boy!

Me: I think he’s got other plans. He’s going swimming.

Amy: No, I’ve got plans. I’ll catch him with a net!

I don’t know where that came from, but it had me in stitches and made we wonder, if Amy watches too much Jack and the Neverland Pirates!

If you want to share the funny things that your kids say and do, pop over to Actually Mummy’s weekly linky “Wot So Funee?”

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Win a £100 Google Play Gift Card with Three Mobile

I love using apps to keep me entertained, organised and informed while I’m on the go. Add educational and fun apps for Amy and keeping up to date with the latest app trends can become quite costly. I have teamed up with Three Mobile this week to make using your favourite apps and experimenting with new ones a lot more fun.

Three Mobile have added three fantastic new handsets to their range and to celebrate the addition of the Samsung Galaxy S5, the Sony Xperia Z2 and the HTC One M8 to the Three Mobile family, I am giving one lucky reader the chance to win a £100 Google Play voucher that allows you to buy apps, games, music, books or game currencies for your mobile phone, or tablet.

Three Mobile competition with Samsunf Galaxy, HTC One and Sony win a Google Play voucher

With almost 1.5 million apps available via Google Play, there will be a suitable app for absolutely everyone and everything. It doesn’t matter, if you are into photography, Ancient Greek history or you simply need an educational app to help your little ones to learn colours, letters or counting.

Apps can be everything you want them to be: fun, educational and all about you, so make sure you enter our fab competition to be in with the chance of winning this amazing prize.

All you have to do is fill in the Rafflecopter form below following the instructions provided. Please don’t cheat as I will double-check entries and disqualify invalid entries. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway