Friday, 29 April 2016

#CityCountryLife Sensational Butterflies at the Natural History Museum

Every spring, The Natural History Museum re-lays the grass where the winter ice rink once was, a bright white tent goes up and before you know it, Sensational Butterflies is back in town. The butterfly exhibition has always been our favourite family activity for a lazy Sunday afternoon. We wander over the the Museum and then after we've seen the butterflies, we stroll down Exhibition road for an ice cream.

Unlike the Museum which is free you do have to pay a small fee to see Sensational Butterflies but it is are well worth it. The butterflies are housed in a climate controlled tent and it is hot hot hot,  you could almost kid yourself that you're in the tropics. Cool clothes or layers are recommended!

There are hundreds of different species of butterflies and moths fluttering about.

Including this enormous Atlas moth which is the size of small bird!

You can even see the cocoons lined up in a row and if you're really lucky you might see a brand new butterfly emerging. Rufio really liked this part, he loves reading 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar'  at the moment and especially the part where the caterpillar gets really fat and then makes a cocoon.

E's learning all about insects and creepy crawlies in school right now so she was super exited to see the butterflies this year. As soon as we arrived, her mission was for one of them to land on her, so she spent the entire time, willing them to fly her way. We were just about to leave and she was starting to get a little upset, then as if by magic, one landed on her hand. It stayed put for a few minutes while she marvelled at it's beauty and of coursed I grasped the opportunity to take a ton of photos!

In the past the children have been given activity sheets with stamps to collect as you move around the  exhibition. Sadly they had done away with the activity sheets this year which was a little bit disappointing. But there was still plenty to learn, did you know that butterflies absolutely love to eat fruit?

Aside from the lack of activity sheets, Sensational Butterflies is as beautiful as ever this year and I'm sure we'll be visiting again and again over the course of the summer.

Don't forget to pop over to Lizzie's blog Lizzie Somerset to link up your posts for #CityCountryLife

Keeping Up With The Joneses

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

How to apply eye make-up that lasts all day!

For years I've been using cream eye shadow as a primer to help keep my eye make-up in place. I have quite oily skin and by not doing so, I would almost certainly end up looking like an Alice Cooper tribute act. The problem was that most of these cream eye shadows are designed to be worn alone so by layering eye shadow on top, I'd end up with an intense look that would take a while to blend out.  

This Instant Light Perfecting Eye Base from Clarins really makes all the difference. It's designed to be worn underneath make-up so I get just the right intensity, making morning eye-make up application a lot quicker and far less messier. It also contains radiance boosting 3D pigments which brighten and illuminate the eyelid so it looks brilliant worn on it's own, great for when I just want to even out the skin tone of my eyelids without wearing eyeshadow. This principle also works really well for a quick cut crease look which I've tried out below. After applying the Clarins eye base, all I have to do is add and blend a smidge of eyeshadow to the crease. Then of course eyeliner & mascara et voila! Job done! The best part is that it lasts all day, without an oil slick in sight, LOVE!

I hate leaving the house without make-up on and with two little munchkins to get ready in the morning, every second counts. What make-up hacks do you have?


Wednesday, 20 April 2016


#CityCountryLife is a series run by myself and my gorgeous friend Lizzie. Living in the heart of London, I write about life with kids in the capital city and Lizzie writes about all the wonderful things that country life has to offer.

This week we've been busy settling back in to the school routine after the easter holidays. Last term E had a some separation anxiety when we dropped her off at school, by the end of term she seemed to have gotten over it. Now however, it's back with a vengeance, to the point where she was actually crying so much that she was sick. It's so strange because when I pick her up from school she's alway buzzing with excitement and doesn't want to leave her friends. At the weekend we decided to take the Children to Sensational Butterflies at the Natural History Museum, photos will be on the blog once I've edited them but for now here's my favourite photo of my girlie. She was desperate for a butterfly to land on her and just as we were about to leave, her wish finally came true and made her day!

My favourite post from last week was from this gorgeous new blog Half a Dozen for Dinner  I'm rubbish at baking but I really want to try her Lemon Courgette Cake, giving up sugar will have to wait a few more days.....

Don't forget to link up your City/Country posts with us via the link below:

The rules for #CityCountryLife:

Link up to two posts, new or old.
Put the City Country Life badge on each post that you link up.
Comment on the hosts post, share the link love and comment on other posts using #CityCountryLife
If you could follow us that would be marvellous,
Becca twitter/facebook/instagram
Lizzie twitter/facebook/instagram
We will also be pinning your posts to our City Country Life Pinterest Board, you can follow us on Pinterest Mrs Jones LondonLizzie Somerset

Keeping Up With The Joneses


Pearl Barley Risotto & Cuisinart Soup Maker Review

I never ever thought that the day would come when I'd get excited about kitchen gadgets but if that gadget means that I have to spend less time in the kitchen then I'm on to a winner!!
I have recently discovered the cleverest little machine, it's from Cuisinart and it's called the Soup maker plus, every mummy needs one! It's basically a blender and a soup maker all in one. I've used it every day since it arrived over the Easter holiday and we've made smoothies, almond butter and even risottos! 

The Pearl Barley Risotto above, is my favourite thing to make in my new gadget. It's so delicious, simple to make and it can be cooked entirely in the Cuisinart Soup Maker Plus (You can find the recipe here) Using the 'saute' button, cook the butternut squash and onions for 10 minutes to begin with. Then add the vegetable stock, pearl barley and the rest of the ingredients from the recipe and cook on high for 30 minutes, using the stir button occasionally.

The beauty of this machine is that you can set a timer and leave the food to cook without having to slave over a hot stove. The entire dish is then cooked in one pot, cutting down on the washing up and making it the ideal kitchen gadget for busy mamas.

My other favourite recipe is the berry breakfast smoothie which I found in the recipe book that came with the Soup Maker. All you need is:
1/2 Ripe Avocado
1 Ripe Banana
100g Frozen Berries
300ml Coconut Milk ( or milk of your choice)
30g Oats
1tbsp Maple Syrup

The smoothie is packed full of so many nutrients that I barely need to worry about what the kids are eating for the rest of the day. It was so delicious that my two downed theirs in record time, which is what you want on school run days!

The soup maker plus is a clever little machine, however there are a couple of things that I wish I could change about it. Due to the heating element at the base of the jug, you can't immerse the jug in water which means that it can't go in the dishwasher and has to be washed by hand which kind of defeats the object, given that it is geared towards time saving in the kitchen, To compensate, it seems that Cuisinart have added teflon coating to the bottom of the jug to make it non stick. Personally I tried to avoid non-stick kitchen wear, I'm always concerned that potentially toxic chemicals could leach in to the food. Although I can see why they have chosen to use non-stick, I wish I could chose not to have it there.

As a blender it is brilliant, it has four different speeds and a pulse function. It's also pretty powerful too, I managed to make almond butter in half the time that it took my old Kitchenaid blender. The heated element is ingenious and I've really enjoyed trying out different recipes and I love the fact that you can control the heat and the time so that I can go off and do other things while it cooks. The Jar is also thermal, so food stays warm if you're not ready to eat it straight away. There's also a little measuring cup in the lid of the jug so that you can measure out ingredients too add as you cook or blend.

Overall, I'm so impressed with this blender /soup maker. It is really thoughtfully designed and it's perfect for anyone with a busy lifestyle i.e. most of us parents! I'm all for spending less time in the kitchen, thank you so much Cuisinart!!


Monday, 18 April 2016

Mama Style: School Run to Gym

I'm on a bit of a mission at the moment to get fit. Not just because I'd like to be much slimmer ( although that would be lovely) but really because I'd like to set a good example and be a role model to my children. So, I thought I'd put together a School run to workout style post together with the lovely people from Helly Hansen who have a great selection of active wear that works equally well in the day as it does at the gym.

Honestly, I do find it really tough to fit a workout in to our busy schedule. Sometimes I wake up half an hour early and so some yoga, which I really really love. Yoga is so good both for your mind and your body, if I'm busy focusing on complicated poses then I tend to forget about whatever's bugging me for a few minutes. I also get a massive buzz from going to the gym, it's a tough workout but I feel so much better about myself afterwards. At the moment, I just duck out of the house whenever I have some time free and Mr Jones is around, usually while the kids are having their dinner & Bath. An outfit that can be worn all day as well as in the gym is a godsend when I'm in a hurry.

Helly Hansen sent me these amazing W VTR print leggings from their new collection. They're supposed to be cropped but I'm 5'3 so they're regular length on me. Nevertheless, the cut is great and I just want to wear them all the time. I was also sent the W VTR Strand SS T-shirt in sky high (below) which has a lovely loose fit and also the W Terrak trainers which I am obsessed with. I'm really not a trainers kinda girl so I never thought I would say this but I totally love the Violet & Lime green colour combination and they're so lightweight and super comfy.

I feel like a proper Chelsea mama, doing the school run in my stylish gym clothes, it's definitely a look I could get used to! Helly Hansen have a great selection on their website
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