Friday, 17 March 2017

The Perfect Personalised Gifts - in time for Mother's Day



I can't lie - I love buying gifts for people. As a mam, you can guarantee that I''ll spend all my money on cute outfits or toys for the boys, and if there's a birthday coming up I love taking the time to find that perfect gift. While I hope that someone will think of me this Mother's Day, I'm already planning what to treat my own mam and mam-in-law for Mothering Sunday. As they're also grandparents, I think a photo-gift is the perfect way to celebrate Mother's Day by giving them something they can keep and treasure forever. 

When Mr Nutcase got in touch to see if I'd like to create something special for Mother's Day, I couldn't believe their huge range of personalised gifts! From vases to candles, mugs and even door stops - there really is a gift for every mam out there! I picked a lovely latte mug, which I thought was a more interesting shape than a standard mug. 


I would really recommend Mr Nutcase - I found it really easy to design my mug, and it was delivered quicker than I imagined too, which is great. Plus - they also have a special discount on the website at the moment for Mother's Day - so you've got no excuse not to order something special for your lovely mam - or why not treat yourself?


*Disclaimer: This post is a collaboration with Mr Nutcase. Content written by myself.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Lee Stafford Coco Loco Irons - plus Giveaway!



I've got something a bit different on the blog today - a review and a giveaway of these amazing Lee Stafford CoCo LoCo Straightening Irons! Lee Stafford is such a big name in the hair business, and I've always been a fan of his hair products, so was keen to see how the straightening irons worked.
The CoCo LoCo irons are infused with coconut oil - hence the name - and this is said to help keep your hair looking sleek, smooth and shiny. I think it also helps the irons to glide through your hair effortlessly, which is a problem I sometimes had with my previous straighteners. I've used plenty of deep conditioners with coconut oil, so have known about the huge benefits of this for your hair, but this is definitely the first time I've ever heard of it being infused to straighteners! 
The CoCo LoCo straightening irons really are a thing of beauty, the pale pink and rose gold design is a bloggers dream - and are much more my style than a plain black style. The rounded curve design is not only good to look at, but practical too as it allows you to create beauty waves and cute flicks as well as the important sleek and straight style. 
Another great thing about these is the heat settings - it's really simple to turn it up or keep it low, which can help to minimise damage to your hair. If you've followed my blog for a while you'll know that I've been growing out a pixie cut I had two years ago, so this is something I really keep in mind when using anything on my hair. I also like that the irons have a little lock, which is definitely something I care about as a mum of two young kids. Of course, this would have been helpful in my own younger days as I had a horrible habit of leaving my straighteners on and burning the carpet! 
Now for the exciting part - you can a win a set of CoCo LoCo Straightening Irons for yourself! Simply fill out the widget below, and good luck! Please note the giveaway ends on 12th April 2017.
Win Lee Stafford CoCo LoCo Irons
*Disclaimer: This post was a collaboration with Lee Stafford. Content written by myself.*

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

I Want A Capsule Wardrobe - the basics

Being a busy mam of two young boys, I don't always have a lot of time to myself on a morning. The sacred time I do get is often allocated to having my only drinkable cup of tea of the day, and maybe a slice or two of toast if I'm lucky. One thing I really struggle with is finding something nice to wear. A lot of my wardrobe had been separated out into summer/winter, which is a bit ridiculous as in good old Blighty we don't really get the full range of the seasons - really I should have a rain/cold wardrobe with the odd vest top included for a rare sunny day. While browsing Pinterest, I stumbled across capsule wardrobes, which really seem like the most genius, and more importantly timesaving idea. 
If you're not sure what a capsule wardrobe is, it's reducing your wardrobe into a few key timeless items that you can mix and match, but all clothing you can wear every day. You can dress it up or down, but it will focus on the staple items that you love wearing. After deciding on the style of wardrobe you'd like to curate - be it boho, sleek or girly - you then focus on a colour palette. This is really key to the capsule wardrobe. Buy the basics in neutral colours, so that's black, white, grey and tan, and then add a few little extras in your chosen colours - so, that could be red and leapord print, or maybe blush pink and teal. If you prefer, you could even omit the colour and just pick on a great texture, like sequinned skirts or fluffy jumpers, if that's your style. I've added a little guide below if you need a little bit of help visualising what I mean. 
I think with a few more browses on pinterest, and a good hard look through my existing my wardrobe, I might one day embark on a capsule wardrobe - hopefully sooner rather than later. 

I thought I'd stop with just the basics for now, hopefully as we enter the Spring/Summer season, I'll be able to show how I'm planning on adding colour and texture to a simplified  collection. What do you think of capsule wardrobes? Great idea, or waste of time? 
 
 

Friday, 24 February 2017

The 30 Day Music Challenge



I love talking about music, and it's something I don't think I've shared enough on this ol' blog. When I saw that Jaki had posted a '30 Day Music Challenge' post on her blog, I just had to give it a go myself. I think it started life as something you'd share on social media, one of those sorts of challenges, but I think it works well as a blog post! 
I decided to make a little Spotify playlist with my song choices in them, and I've listed all the prompts below as well. Doing it this way sort of makes it difficult to talk about the songs, but ah well! 

Day 1: A song you like with a colour in the title 
Make Them Gold - I sort of struggled picking this one, as my mind went completely blank. Chvrches to the rescue! 
Day 2: A song you like with a number in the title
Fortune 500 - I could have picked pretty much every song off this album to put into my list, but I thought this was a great one to show off EE in one of my personally favourite songs. 
Day 3: A song that reminds you of summertime 
Beat Again - and yes, I obviously do the 'beat again' heart dance move. 
Day 4: A song that reminds you of someone you'd rather forget about 
Don't Bother - I can't tell you how many times teenage Chelsea cried and sang along to this song. 
Day 5: A song that needs to be played loud
Famous Last Words - if you were lucky enough to have me on Snapchat when I first downloaded it, you'll know I love lip syncing along to this at full volume. 
Day 6: A song that makes you want to dance 
We Have Love - I LOVE HOT CHIP. 
Day 7: A song to drive to
Sex, Power, Love and Money - although to be fair, you could pick any Manics song to drive along to. 
Day 8: A song about drugs or alcohol
Beetlebum - easily Blur's best song. No doubt, no doubt, no doubt. 
Day 9: A song that makes you happy
Born To Make You Happy - this just reminds me of practising dance moves with my cousins when I was 8 or whatever. 
Day 10: A song that makes you sad
Bear - The Antler's first album is just an amazing masterpiece, engineered to make you feel sad. 
Day 11: A song that you never get tired of
Apologize - it's too laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate
Day 12: A song from your preteen years
Caught In The Middle - I feel sorry for all these youngsters who don't know A1.
Day 13: One of your favourite 70s songs
One Way Or Another - we have this Blondie song on vinyl twice, so I thought it was only fair. 
Day 14: A song that you would love played at your wedding
Lovesong - this is really cliche, but I don't care. 
Day 15: A song that is a cover by another artist
Not In Love - a cover of some Canadian 80s pop hit, brought to the 21st century and turned into a banger. 
Day 16: One of your favourite classical songs
Nightbook - apparently a favourite of whoever picks BBC advert music. 
Day 17: A song that you would sing as a duet on karaoke
Too Lost In You - it's not really a duet, but I'd sing this with my bae Anth. 
Day 18: A song from the year you were born
Tainted Love - a grand song, if you completely erase the Pussycat Dolls cover from your mind completely.
Day 19: A song that makes you think about life
Stop Me... - this could have been any Smiths song, tbh. 
Day 20: A song that has many meanings to you
Always On My Mind - 🖤
Day 21: A favourite song with a person's name in the title
Sandy - could it be any other song? I think not. 
Day 22: A song that moves you forward
Fergalicious - I didn't understand the question. 
Day 23: A song that you think everybody should listen to
RUN - if you only listen to one song on this playlist, make it this one. 
Day 24: A song that you wish were still together
The Call - I think they might still be together, but aye. Tune, and that. 
Day 25: A song by an artist no longer living
Modern Love - a grand song from Bowie's weird 'car salesman' look. 
Day 26: A song that makes you want to fall in love
Dark and Stormy - I don't really want to fall in love again, but I love this song so... 
Day 27: A song that breaks your heart
Your Type - oh Carly Rae, it breaks my heart that this album didn't get you the recognition you deserve. 
Day 28: A song by an artist with a voice that you love
Reach A Bit Further - could have been any Wild Beasts song, really. 
Day 29: A song that you remember from your childhood
To The Moon And Back - I ruddy loved Savage Garden when I was a nipper. This song IS my childhood, and I did a dance to this song during my 11th birthday party. That should give you an idea of how cool I was. 
Day 30: A song that reminds you of yourself
Porcelain Heart - this song would remind me of myself if I had any singing abilities... 
Congratulations if you made it to the end! Let me know if you decide to carry out the challenge, or if you like any of my picks! 

Monday, 20 February 2017

Things I Have Been Doing Instead Of Practicing My Theory Test


So, I have my theory test coming up in the not too distant future and when I booked it, I felt like I had buckets of time to get some practice tests in. I felt inspired - I actually paid £2.99 for an official driving theory test app thing. Of course, my inspiration has waned since booking and now with the test around the corner, I've realised that I've spent most of my free time not practising. I'm a gal that loves a list, so let's see what's been taking up my time instead. 
  • Watching Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life. Luckily this has ended now, so I have a few more hours free...
  • Heading off to London for the day with the boys, and doing fun stuff with Becky
  • Writing this blog post *waves*
  • Going to a friends house for dinner one evening (who is actually also my driving instructor so if I fail I'm blaming that) 
  • Deciding (and then researching on Pinterest) that I need a capsule wardrobe
  • Meeting MPs as part of my role as a Women's Officer in my local political youth party. Check me out!
  • Trying to keep Dylan occupied during half term, usually with expensive lego bribes
  • Trying to tidy away all the mountains of lego even though it's half term and Dylan will just get it all out again
  • Looking at houses I want to buy with my nonexistent deposit and ready-to-go mortgage
  • Squidging Robin's cheeks and cuddling with him 
So, not a huge list, but all things that could probably wait - I'm sure you'll agree! Now I better head off and get some practice in before I wave my test fee money down the drain completely. If anyone has any tips for the clicky screen bit, let me know!

Update: you might be glad to know that I actually passed! Woo me! Clearly leaving your revision to the last minute is the way to go, ha!

Sunday, 5 February 2017

I Started a Bullet Journal!

Like many bloggers, I love being organised. Or at least, I love to think I'm being organised. Sure, it doesn't always go to plan but I feel good knowing the intention is there. Anyhoo - the latest organisational thing on the block is bullet journalling. It's not actually that new either, but a few months ago I decided to jump on the bandwagon. For those not in the know, a bullet journal is a diary, notebook and journal all in one. It uses spreads and collections to create the perfect journal for you - it's completely adaptable.  
I love being able to create my own lists of things I want to track or keep a record of - and you could track pretty much everything from how many episodes of Gilmore Girls you've watched to how close you are to your saving goals. My favourite lists, or collections as they're known, include keeping a log of the books I have read and tracking deliveries, which was really helpful on the run up to Christmas. 


You don't really need any particular items to start a bullet journal, just a notebook and a pen would do but I decided to buy a fancy yellow Leuchtturm notebook, which is the typical notebook of choice for bullet journal aficionados. I haven't bought a specific pen for my journalling, but I did buy some amazing highlighters for doing headers and decoration - the grey is my favourite!  


I've got to be honest and say that I don't actually use my bullet journal every day - which to some would be a bit pointless - but I'm not currently at a stage where I need to be. I'm hoping to have a more 'full' week soon by starting some baby classes with Robin, and I think that will mean I use my bullet journal more often on a daily basis. Even though this is the case, I've been able to create more unstructured collections - such as what I've read recently and tracking my 30 Before 30 goals - which don't really need to be within a daily, weekly or monthly timeline.

I'd really recommend bullet journalling to anyone who loves to be organised, or even if you're just a big stationery fan. Although I'm not really creative, I feel like it's let me access a creative side by being able to create my own layouts as such - so don't feel like you need an Art degree to give it a go!



My Petit Canard

Bullet

 

Thursday, 2 February 2017

A Kitchen Wishlist*



Despite mentioning on a semi-regular basis that I'm married to a chef, I don't think I've ever featured a kitchen-based wish list on my blog. I guess it's because I usually see the kitchen as solely Joe's domain, but I'm a pretty nifty baker so I spend my fair share of time in there too! I asked Joe what would be the top of his kitchen wish list and he practically gave me a list longer than my arm - so I won't bore you to tears with the entire list, just my top five! 

Joe is an excellent bread maker, and whenever he is off work, he'll make a fancy loaf or two. I, on the other hand, am a pathetic bread maker and pretty much had a breakdown when I attempted to make cinnamon buns recently. I would love this Bread Maker from Panasonic, as it just looks so sleek and easy to use! Perfect for a beginner like me! 

Next up on my list, we've been dreaming of warmer weather and therefore an ice cream maker seems ideal. If money were no object I'd love this Sage by Heston Blumenthal one, but I'd settle for any old thing if it could make me a delicious mint chocolate ice cream! Another somewhat essential for the kitchen is this cute little kitchen shelves. We have limited space in our kitchen and I'd love to be able to display all of our recipe books on these shelves. I've also got a gorgeous glass teapot which would look lovely on show instead of stuffed at the back of a cupboard. 

Speaking of recipe books, another essential for us would be Marcus Wareing's newest cook book, Marcus at Home. Joe and I love watching the professional version of Masterchef, and I've made it no secret that I think Marcus is a bit of a silver fox, so I'd gladly add this to our collection. 

Of course, the ultimate item in any kitchen wish list is going to be a KitchenAid food processor. We have a really good mixer at the moment, but a KitchenAid would make me feel like a proper grown up, if that makes sense? The red one would be perfect in our current kitchen as we have red 'accents' but I'd love a pastel shade, maybe the lemon or pistachio colour? Ah, a girl can dream! 

*Disclaimer: This post was a collaboration with Panasonic. Content written by myself.
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