Monday, 29 February 2016

My Heart-made cushion for Mother's Day with Cath Kidston

I wouldn't call myself an experienced sewer. I love using my machine to make and create but to be honest I am a straight line kinda girl. I use the simplest templates which allows me to get creative but in no complex way. When Cath Kidston offered me the opportunity to try some of their Mother's day crafts, I have to say, my head was secretly wanting the "easier" options, but telling them I had a sewing machine sealed my fate and I received a gorgeous blue box with fabric in to make my own patchwork cushion.
Reading the instructions on their blog calmed me somewhat. They are really clear but there is quite a lot of cutting prep work and all very accurate. Making sure each square was a certain size made me concentrate so hard. I have never patchworked before so I was really nervous but as soon as that first panel was completed and I saw how the triangles and squares came together I knew I would be able to complete it and that it would actually look good.

I used the Flower Pots Cotton Duck fabric which I thought was a perfect shade of pink and I just loved the soft shades in their print of the flowers. A perfect print for springtime.

The only reason this cushion came together so well was the fantastic instructions that Cath Kidston have on their blog. When it is clearly laid out for you I think it puts your mind at rest, it helps your imagination to work and you create that picture in your head of how the project will look.

If you feel like making something that truly is from the heart as a special Mother's Day gift I urge you to try out this pattern; it really is worth it!

Paired with this beautiful Hydrangea print cushion, both bring a blooming fresh look to any room.


*Post in collaboration with Cath Kidston.

NYJD jeans to make this Mama feel good!

Isn't the perfect pair something that we are all looking for? Recently I was asked to try out a pair for American brand Not Your Daughters Jeans who state that their jeans not only make you feel good by fitting well but they make you look a size smaller, smoother, more shaped and well, just amazingly good looking. I was unsure whether one product could do such a thing. Yes, we can often end up living in a pair of jeans if we like the cut of them but can one pair change your appearance so much?

As suggested by NYDJ I got a size smaller than what I would usually buy and chose a style that would work as everyday wear. These Jeggings are a lovely blue shade and go with most things in my wardrobe. 

These Jeggings were a surprise when I first pulled them on. As far as making me look a size smaller, I don't know, I am very critical of myself, but I do know that they fit me amazingly well and I love how nice they look across my hips and bum. These Jeggings are so soft, in fact the softest I have owned and they come up nice and high so I don't worry about my hips being pinched by them and I am more comfortable with them sitting across my tummy. 

You may have seen them popping up in my pictures recently and appearing on a few outfit posts. I am really loving wearing them and I find that I feel confident about my look when I step out in them.
Something that it is important to mention is that it isn't necessarily just the jeans as a product that make you feel good; the first instance of buying a size smaller will make all women feel better about themselves. I think that, in itself, gives you a confidence boost and makes you feel more comfortable when wearing them. 

NYDJ are already making women feel better with their starting point and as far as product goes they can't really disappoint. Obviously I haven't seen every style but if their jeggings are this good then their jeans and smarter trousers should offer the same response.

Dressing them up or down is going to be easy and these are fast becoming my "go to" for comfort and style.


In collaboration with NYDJ

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Cupboard Casserole

On a cold, relaxing Sunday having had a busy weekend and not really caring for going shopping, we all really fancied a nice warming casserole! Here is an easy solution with what we had in the house that really ticks the boxes.

1-1.5kg Potatoes, 1cm cubes
3 onions, chopped
2-4 apples, 1cm cubes
12 sausages (from the freezer, defrosted)
2tbsp flour
dried sage
150ml cream
250ml stock or potato water
250ml cider

Put the oven on full. 
In a separate pan, boil the cubed potatoes for a few mins.
In a casserole pot, brown your sausages and set them aside on a plate.
In the same casserole pot, soften the onions & apples in some oil. 
When soft, stir in the flour, then the stock & cider. Bring to the boil.
Remove from heat, add the sausages & the cream, cover with the potatoes (try to place them on the liquid). 
Pop it in the oven. It'll need an hour on full or if you can wait, turn the oven down to 180C and leave it for 2 hours. If it starts getting too brown on the top, pop a lid or foil on. 

Feeding the family wholesome food can be easy and is essential. Don't get me wrong, we love a burger as much as the next person but nothing beats home-cooked food which warms you from within!

What's your favourite warming food?


Wednesday, 24 February 2016

GLTC Testing Team - bright bold swimming bags.

In our family, being near water is a must. We have weekly swimming lessons and have done so since the children were very little. I find they are the most important thing that we have put money into. And both of them are now so confident in the water and just love being in it. 
Every holiday we have with them we take them to water. Having young children, we haven't spent much time swimming in the sea, but we spend a lot of time in the colder months in places like Center Parcs and Alton Towers Splash Landings. They are perfect for us, with two kids and bundles of energy, getting away in the quieter (and cheaper) months is amazing. 
You may know that recently we started working for Great Little Trading Co. as part of their testing team and one of the products we got to try out on a recent holiday (and every week since) is their swimming and wash bags.

In these beautiful bold prints, both our two were very pleased to receive something so exciting in the post! I was thinking " this is it, they may actually carry their own things!!" I was right, they both did extremely well and absolutely loved looking after their own things. Towels, suits, goggles and water toys all fitted into these generously sized bags making the amount of stuff that we cart around much smaller. Or rather there was a smaller amount for Rob and I to carry! Since our holiday our weekly swimming lessons have also allowed the children to be responsible for their things, these bags have been just perfect for them.

So, product details; the wash bag is the same materials as the swim bag only smaller. Both have a water resistant lining and have the drawstring pulls. We have put ours through the washing machine as they got dirty on holiday and they came out great. They are big enough for loads, a proper wash bag for children's toiletries and the swim bag will take all the paraphernalia they need.

As far as why I love these, well they are child centred with pretty images. They have made my children want to carry something which is always good and they make packing and sorting for holidays easy. A perfect set of bags.
They may also become a very special place for sewing certain achievements onto. I have been trying to decide what to sew Raph's swimming badges onto and these look like the perfect thing. 

If you fancy looking at the range then head over to the website.
Can't wait to share our next product test with you soon! 


*In collaboration with GLTC

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Why I married a hero.

It is so hard talking about love for another. I feel that it could come across as boasting but sometimes things just have to be said. I suppose recently a few things have got me thinking about our little family. We attended a wedding recently which I think makes any married couple think about their relationship and I suppose it really reminds you about your own marriage and what that means.
I first knew Rob through our church. His mother is in charge of the choir and I knew his face from the occasions when I saw him as a young teen. 
Our lives grew, I would see less of him at church and we didn't know each other, other than to say hello as we recognised each other if we ever crossed paths. 
We came to an age where parents would be celebrating milestone anniversaries and where 18th and 21st parties meant that we would cross paths, but still nothing more, until my younger brother's 18th when Rob came with his parents. That night changed everything. That night I was talking to a man who I'd had a crush on for as long as I can remember. That night was the night that all the teasing my mum had made about "one day you might get a date with the likes of Rob Inman" actually came true. We sat and talked all evening, his mum later said she knew something about us had changed, something she had never seen before. For me it just happened. We were there, we chatted, and about loads of things, what we were doing, do you remember that party, why is your cheating ex-boyfriend here; just loads of personal things that let us both connect in a way like no other. We exchanged numbers and said we would meet for a drink. A week went by and I sat glued to my phone, nothing came in and then on Sunday at church Rob was there (a very unusual sight at this time in his life) and he complained at me for not responding! I never received the message but it didn't matter, we met that evening at the pub. And that was it, from then it was a second date later that week which confirmed that we wanted to see each other and then, well, in a way, we are here. A wedding, a house and 2 children later has brought us to where we are today. This April we will have been together 9 years. 9, that seems crazy. I still can't believe I am with him, my crush, he picked me! It is a crazy feeling, one that makes me feel giddy when I sit and think about it. 

9 years of growing and learning about each other is a crazy thing to look back on. We have changed so much even from when we were first married. I remember one of our first arguments was when Rob and complained about how I put his washing away; he got a bunch of socks thrown at him and a few swear words and I told him that I would never put his washing away again! And I havent! And on a washing topic, Rob is now completely in charge of the washing and drying part, he is obsessed, Thank God, I hate washing!! 

It isn't the only thing that he does, he cooks, every meal, he is great at it, and an amazing cook delivering delicious food to our family table. He also constantly looks after me, buys me things and almost has become a real life heartthrob to friends. What does this man not do? 
He really is my hero, a man who adores me and our children so much that everything he does is for us. 
I just felt I had to say something, to honour him, Rob is just fantastic! Yay Rob!!


Monday, 22 February 2016

Mother's day ideas from Joules

When I realised that mother's day actually wasn't too far away I went into a bit of a panic. I was thinking I wanted to share some gift ideas with you all, I suppose I just hadn't thought about the time frame. Luckily these days it is so easy to buy until the last minute that it really doesn't matter but if you are like me and enjoy shopping for gifts for people it is nice to think about it early. 
One of my favourite stores of the moment is Joules. I find its newest collection for children one of the prettiest yet and I absolutely adore the styles they have produced with a lot of black involved. I am just loving the slightly darker shade in their classic cuts. You might have seen pictures of my black striped coat and dress which I am just loving wearing and there is loads more from the collection I would love to buy. Don't get me wrong, I love the colours, but there is something about just the monochrome spots, stripes and flower prints I really like. Back on task though and looking for ideas for Mother's day I saw that their Wensley scarf  has a beautiful white with black spot and stripe print version and thought it was a perfect gift that would go with everything. 

The Wensley scarf is £19.95 which is a good price for a fashion piece that isn't really going to ever become unfashionable. When do you never need a scarf? The range that Joules have out at the minute also would suit a range of tastes as well. If your mother would be more into Floral or animal print then there are plenty of them also. 

Floral prints and stripes are something that Joules are somewhat iconic for. In fact it is something that they don't really get wrong and the selection they have to offer always ticks the boxes.

Looking through the prints got me thinking about how I would wear them (if I were to hint for one from my children/husband) and I came up with these ideas.

I think these scarfs are beautifully refreshing and would make wonderful gifts for your mother, friend or just as a special treat to yourself.


*Post in association with Joules

Snowdrop Sunday

On Valentine's day we went along to a local village who were having Snowdrop Sunday; an afternoon for visitors to come and look around the gardens of an old village estate and enjoy the blossoming snowdrops and other early sightings of spring. It was such a cold day but once the sun hit, it basked its warmth on us which took the edge off.

Giulietta unfortunately slept through the whole walk but that in itself was a welcome rest, it allowed us to just walk and chat with Raph which we miss out on as he is at school now. 
Watching Rob and Raph off playing together was so lovely. They are inseparable, Raphael just adores him and I love watching them together, it really makes my heart burst.

Strolling around and enjoying the scenery was a perfect way to spend time on Valentine's. I felt really refreshed while we were out, like the air I was breathing was filling my lungs with clean goodness. The sun and the flowers just lifted me, almost infected me and I felt the winter blow away. I love that, the feeling of new, the feeling like what's coming is going to be beautiful and that everything is beginning to bloom inside and out.

Do you have any walks near you where you can really enjoy fresh bursts of beauty?

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