Article
12 comments

Back to school with JD Sports

By now all school kids will have well and truly settled back into school, but as back to school offers aren’t only for kids who are already at school, we wanted to show you two items from JD Sport’s back to school range that Amy and I have been sent a couple of weeks ago.

The first item we picked was for Amy and it was a lovely pair of Adidas hi-tops from the Back to School range. They are the Adidas Original Nizza mid hi-tops in navy and I love the pink and white highlights on them as they make them a really fun and stylish shoe without it looking too colourful. Amy absolutely adores her new pair of shoes and believe me, she would wear them all day, if I let her. They are comfortable, well made and I like that the hi-top gives her ankles support when she’s jumping, running and exploring. At £30, they’re great value for money and I can see them lasting her well through the autumn and winter.

Amy wearing Adidas Original Nizza Hi Tops from JD Sport's back to school range

For me, I picked the Adidas Originals Classic Adi Airliner from the school bag range. Obviously, I don’t go to school anymore, but it’s a great messenger style bag that’s perfect for every day use, if, like me, you are a wearing quite casual clothes such as jeans and sneakers on a day to day basis. The bag is made of faux leather and has metal details on the zips and the adjustable shoulder strap. It also has two compartments, a smaller one at the front and the main compartment which gives you enough spaces for books, notebooks as well as an iPad or a laptop.

I used the bag on a day out and managed to store my big camera and lens in it, a book and teddy for Amy as well as my purse, a notebook and some snacks for the park. At £35 it’s not too expensive for an every day bag and I think, if you pick this bag up for your kids, they’d be rather happy with it. The coral/pink tone is really on trend and the design is really timeless, which means that you don’t have to worry about the bag going out of fashion after half term. All in all, I am really happy with my new bag. It’s sturdy, I love the coral colour as it’s a little bit different and it’s very comfortable to carry even if you are dragging half your household around with you.

adidas-messenger-bag-from-jd-sports-back-to-school-range

JD Sponsored By

Article
1 comment

Your finances – do you know everything there is to know?

do you keep an eye on your financesLooking after Amy is a full time job and I’m not the only mother who knows how hard it is to get a bit of alone time. Being a new single mum makes it even trickier, but luckily I still don’t have miss out on my beloved shopping trips because Amy loves them just as much as I do. I’ve trained her well, haven’t I? Whether it’s for clothes, food or just to occasionally splash out, I think it’s great to share these girly days with Amy. They’re always so much fun.

Sometimes however, it’s hard to switch off and not think about your financial situation. Being solely responsible for Amy is tough and although I know how important it is to have fun days out, I often find myself worrying that I’ve spent a little more than I should have, but I do like spoiling Amy a little. She really deserves it and she’s a great partner in crime. She’ll tell you straight, if something is “so pretty mummy” or “uhh ugly” and with her, I really don’t have to worry about buying 10 notebooks a month. She won’t judge me!

Ben however got the odd white lie from me when I’ve spent more than I probably should have. I’ve seen this video recently, and it’s a source that quite literally describes the tactics that I’ve used with Ben! A new pair of shoes or a pair of jeans that make me remember the days before baby sick stains have crept on to my bank statement once or twice, but I’ve always thought it was okay to keep some of your spending from your partner.

It’s not really though, is it? I would have been devastated, had I found out that Ben had been lying to me and maybe hidden a bad credit score or secret credit card. The video really made me think about honesty in a relationship and why it’s important to be transparent with each other about money and spending. Ben and I might not be together anymore, but it’s something to remember for future relationships and life in general. Secrets are hardly ever a good thing and I wouldn’t want a sneakily bought pair of shoes to jeopardise my relationship and future.

A great way to look into your credit history and making sure that you are both able to get credit in the future is regularly checking your credit score with an accurate and reliable source like http://www.creditexpert.co.uk/credit-score.aspx. The website is not only easy to use, it also offers great advice for those who need to improve their credit rating, as well as finance deals that best match your credit score. I wonder, if there’s one for handbags! I know, I know – a girl can dream, right?

In all seriousness though, I do think it’s okay to indulgence and treat yourself or loved ones once in a while, but it is important to keep a close eye on your finances, so you can made sure that you take no unnecessary risks for your financial future.

Do you keep an eye on your finances and have you ever checked your credit score? Did it surprise you or was it as you had expected?

Article
15 comments

Taking a family trip to Glasgow

things to do with children in Glasgow
Now that we can be sure that Scotland remains part of the United Kingdom, why not take a family trip to the most Northern part of the country? There’s plenty to do and see and if it was up to Amy, we’d be on the plane to Glasgow in an instant. You know, she’s been talking about Disney’s 100 Years of Magic, this year’s celebration of the popular ice-skating revue Disney On Ice, ever since the adverts on TV have started and the tour starts in Glasgow next weekend. We went to see the last show for Amy’s birthday earlier this year, but I have to admit that a trip to Glasgow excites me a little more than crossing the Severn.

There’s a direct flight from Bristol to Glasgow and with the HI Glasgow Airport a stone throw away, you’ve got the perfect starting point for your Glaswegian adventure. The centre of Scotland’s largest city is only a 20 minute bus ride away and after asking some friends and reading up on the city, here are the five things I’d love to do when taking a family trip to Glasgow. Things that are not only fun for Amy, but also me:

The Scottish Mask and Puppet Centre

This might not be for you, if puppets creep you out, but if you want to see puppet shows like Hansel and Gretel or fancy letting the puppets dance yourself, then The Scottish Mask and Puppet Centre will be a place you will definitely enjoy. With plenty of workshops from crafting teddy puppets to magic shows or an introduction to Indian shadow puppets, there is something for every interest and age group.

The Glasgow Science Centre

things to do for kids in Glasgow Glasgow Science centre
If you are into science and hands-on experiments, then you’ll love the Glasgow Science Centre. It’s situated on the south bank of the River Clyde and hosts over 250 science-learning exhibits, themed around three concepts, being ‘explore and discover’, ‘science in action’ and ‘science and you’ on three floors. Touching, playing and experimenting are strictly allowed, so this is a definitely plus point for everyone who has little ones in tow.

The Scotland Street School Museum

I love history and as Amy is still a little young for the really deep stuff, I thought the Scotland Street School Museum would be a great way to show her how school looked like through the ages. There is a Victorian Classroom, a World War Classroom, a 50s and 60s classroom, and a Cookery Room that has been restored to look as it did when the school first opened in 1906. What’s not to like?

Vikingar

things to do with children in Glasgow visit Vikingar in Ayrshire
Vikingar, a leisure centre in the beautiful coastal resort of Largs in Ayrshire (about 20 miles outside of Glasgow) has a swimming pool and soft play centre like many other leisure complexes up and down the country. That’s however not, why I would like to visit with Amy. No, the fascinating thing about Vikingar is that you get to experience 500 years of Viking history. Costumed story tellers tell the tales of Vikings in Scotland and you get to meet the Viking Gods and Valkyries in Valhalla when Viking history comes alive.

The Glasgow Spy Mission Treasure Trail

Another interactive experience in Scotlands’s largest city is the Glasgow Spy Mission Treasure Trail, a self-guided walk that let’s you explore the city on your own account and solve a mystery at the same time. You can find clues on sights, historic monuments of famous buildings of the town and once you’ve collected all clues and solved the riddle, you could even win a cash prize. I don’t know, if I can deal with that much excitement!

But now let me know what you think? Have you been to Glasgow before or are you local? What are your tips for a successful family trip to Scotland’s secret capital?

This is a promotional post with images from Glasgow Tumblr, Jean-Pierre Dalbéra and Jean Pierre Belot.

Article
9 comments

Get your home ready for autumn

I know, I know it’s all about autumn on the blog at the moment, but I’m just so excited about it and believe me, it’s not because of the big 30 next month. Autumn is just such a beautiful season. I love the crispy cold mornings and the warm sunlight shining through the leaves come lunch time.

The best thing however are the evenings. I love that it gets darker earlier. It really makes me look forward to spending time at home and getting comfy on the sofa and, of course, I love changing things around to get my home ready for autumn. It’s really simple to get your home ready for a new season by simple changing a couple of small things. There’s no need to paint walls and move furniture and these tips and tricks will quickly create a warm and autumnal feel in your home:

1. Cushions and throws

autumn cushions and throws
Swap bright summery cushions and throws around and use warm autumnal colours such as orange, red, brown to bring some warmth into your living room. Knitted throws or pillow covers can also add extra texture and cosiness. Esprit are having some super cute autumn cushions in their homeware section at the moment.

2. Flowers

autumn flowers
Flowers are a great way to bring autumn inside your home. Asters,  chrysanthemums, dahlias and gladiolas are colourful seasonal flowers that are widely available right now and if you arrange them with some leafy branches, berries or some rough sack linen, you will have a beautiful autumnal arrangement for your sideboard or dining table in no time.

3. Bring nature inside

autumn decorations
Use leafy branches, berries or pumpkins to create rustic centre pieces for your coffee or dining table or hang up autumnal decorations like wreaths. You can get most of them for free or very little money and you’ll have great fun creating a unique piece of decoration for your home.

4. Candles

autumn candle
Candles aren’t only great to heat your front room a little, they’re also the perfect way to create a cosy atmosphere and infuse your home with autumnal scents. Diffusers are a fantastic alternative, if you have little ones around and would rather not burn candles while they are awake. My favourite candles are actually Matalan’s glass jar candles. I’ve blogged about them before, but if you haven’t read the post, I can really recommend them. At £3 a candle, they burn for ages and their scents are really lovely.

5. Accessories

brassware for autumnal decoration of sideboard
Metallic or earthenware vases, bowls or candle holders add a rustic feel to your room and can be used to create great accents in your living space. Choose metals such as gold, copper or brass to keep within the autumnal colour scheme of your room. Wooden fruit bowls create a warm feel too.

How do you bring autumn into your home? Let me know in the comments below and then treat yourself to a lovely cup of hot chocolate, because that’s what autumn is all about!

For more details on this post, check out my disclosure. Images via thestyleandtrav (Tumblr), galleryhop (Tumblr), urumix wallpapers, lovethispic and galleryhop (via Tumblr)

Article
0 comment

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.

Article
0 comment

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.

Article
1 comment

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

Article
4 comments

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. 

Article
16 comments

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.

Article
333 comments

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