Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Buttercup Wool- Luxurious Merino Wool Camisoles

Brrrrrrr .... the temperature has suddenly dropped here in London and it is freezing!! Thank goodness for my luxurious Merino Wool Camisole gifted to me by Marianne of Buttercup wool!

I met up for coffee and cookies with Marianne and our kids at my favourite park, Chiswick House and she told me all about the amazing properties of merino wool. Did you know that it is antibacterial so you don't have to wash it after each wear, it is sweat absorbing and temperature regulating so it keeps you warm in winter and cool in summer, it's also machine washable and completely natural. I could go on because the benefits of merino wool are endless!

Marianne has designed these beautifully cut vest in super soft and fine merino wool, that work as the perfect undergarment to keep you warm or cool whatever the time of year. It's such a simple concept and it is something of a wardrobe staple in Marianne's home country of Norway but something that she that she has been unsuccessful in finding here in the UK and let's be honest, with our climate it's something we could all do with!    

One of my favourite things about the vest is the cut. It's longer length, on me ( I'm 5'3) it stops at the top of my thigh so it's great for layering. I couldn't photograph the full length of the camisole without showing off my mum-tum and I really didn't want to subject you to that :) I love the look of the satin edging peaking out from under a shirt so I've photographed that instead! I usually find wool itchy unless it's cashmere or a cashmere mix but Marianne has managed to source luxuriously soft merino wool which feels super soft against my skin. In short I'm in love with my Buttercup camisole and have pretty much only taken it off to wash it a few times, LOVE!

With Christmas coming these would make ideal gifts, especially for those ladies who are super difficult to buy for because they seem to have everything! The camisoles come already packed in a beautiful pink box, with a grey grosgrain ribbon so you don't even have the hassle of having to wrap them. 

For more info check out www.buttercupwool.co.uk


Thursday, 19 November 2015

Crystal Holidays Family Ski Day

This half-term just passed, we were invited by Crystal Holidays to their family ski day event at the Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead. Both Mr Jones and I love to ski but since we've had children it's kind of fallen by the wayside. We often talk about how much we'd like to take the children on a ski holiday but as they're both still very young, it would mean arranging childcare for the duration of the trip and if I'm honest it has always seemed like a bit of a nightmare. Unless you have your own nanny ( which we definitely don't!)  how do you find someone reputable at your chosen destination?

Well thankfully on this occasion, Crystal Holidays took care of this for us. They brought along their own team of trained and registered childminders to entertain the little'uns while the parents enjoyed the slopes!

Rufio has never seen snow, E has but she doesn't remember it. They are both huge Frozen fans and I'm certain E had visions of creating her very own Olaf. They were both extremely excited to say the least!! The Snow Centre has recently opened a Snow Garden section for young children, there's a little igloo to play in and two slides made from packed snow. Rather than leave the kids with the childcare team right from the start, we decided to accompany them to the snow garden and watch their first steps on the snow.

When it was time to leave them at the Creche, E just gave me a kiss and said 'You can go now mummy!' This never ever happens, even when I leave her at school, which she adores! The lovely childminder just winked at me and whispered, 'I'd make a run for it mama, go enjoy yourselves'!

The Snow centre itself is quite amazing. I didn't even know that such a thing existed in the UK until Crystal contacted me. It was so lovely to have a couple of hours skiing with the Mr, knowing that the kids were in good hands. Being something of a worrier though, every time I got to the top of the piste, I would try to look down to the creche window to see if I could spot my toddler throwing a tantrum. Rufio hasn't started nursery school yet and has only ever been left with family in the past.

Of course, I had no reason to worry! When we returned to the creche, I watched through the door for a minute before I went in and one of the nannies was cuddling Rufio and holding him up to the window to show him the slopes. When I rang the buzzer to go in the creche, she told that they'd both been absolutely fine and had enjoyed themselves. I later discovered that these ladies were actually part of the team of nannies who go out to the various destinations to provide childcare. I would be more than happy to leave my children with these ladies again, from the short time that I spend with them I could clearly see that they were all very safety conscious yet fun and engaging around the children.


We have used Crystal Holidays in the past to arrange ski trips and been very happy with them but I had no idea that they could cater for young families too.

Our day at the Snow Centre has definitely made us realise that ski holidays are still a viable option for families with small children. Crystal can even organise beginners ski lessons for kids when they're slightly older. So who knows, you might see me blogging from the slopes in the near future!!

To find out more visit www.crystalski.co.uk

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Aubergine Parmigiana- Annabel Karmel Family Cooking App

You know how I'm a huge fan of Annabel Karmel- I think I might have mentioned it just a few times!! Well last week, I was uber excited because she asked me to create and blog about, one of my favourite meals from her Family Cooking app. I often use this app for recipes and there are so many delicious and easy to follow dishes so it was difficult for me to choose just one. In the end I decided on Aubergine Parmigiana. I always order Aubergine Parmigiana whenever we go to Italian restaurants. I try to avoid pasta because it makes me feel bloated so this is a really good alternative. It's low in carbs but it's so delicious and warming so you really don't feel as though you're missing out!

As aubergine parmigiana is one of my favourite dishes I have tried out quite a few different recipes but up until now, nothing has come close to the dish that you get in a restaurant. Luckily, Annabel's recipe is a winner, it's really easy to follow and the results are super delicious!

My children often pick out any vegetables that look remotely healthy . This time though, I think they thought that they were eating some kind of lasagna or pasta and wolfed it all up. Aubergine is a wholesome, meaty vegetable and combined with the mozzarella & tomato sauce you get a lovely and rich dish.  Annabel takes an 'everything in moderation' approach to her cooking so the recipe does include a small about of sugar, I didn't add the sugar as we're trying to cut back and I also omitted the garlic as I have recently discovered that I'm intolerant. The finished dish was still really tasty and packed full of goodness, aubergines are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants!

 Aubergine Parmigiana is a delicious dish for the whole family and you can find the recipe over on Annabel Karmel's Family Cooking app which is half price on the iTunes app store this week!!


Monday, 16 November 2015

#CityCountryLife : Local & Seasonal Food

My #CityCountryLife co-host, Lizzie & I chose this week's subject because food was really the inspiration for #CityCountryLife in the first instance. Back in the summer when Lizzie & I met up here in London, she commented on how great it was to have so many amazing shops on our doorstep and I replied that London certainly is great for fashion but not when it comes to food shopping. Our main supermarket is 10 mins away.... when there's no traffic, it can take up to an hour on a bad day, meaning that we have to rely on online orders or something like Little Waitrose/Sainsbury's Local ( other brands are available!) 

Obviously, a blog post all about supermarket shopping isn't exactly inspiring so instead, Lizzie and I decided to explore what was available in the way of Local and seasonal foods in London for me and Somerset for Lizzie. I knew that there were quite a few farmers markets in Kensington & Chelsea on a Saturday so we wandered on down to Duke of York Square, just off the Kings Road for the weekly food market. The market was started by the infamous Partridges Deli back in 2005 as a way of celebrating the diverse and evolving range of food on offer in London and to give small local businesses and farmers a platform to share their expertise with the public. 

I immediately made a beeline for Souvlaki Street!!  Souvlaki is one of my favourite foods, it's always our first port of call when we arrive in Greece! There used to be a great restaurant in Earl's Court which closed a few years ago and I have been on the look out for souvlaki in London ever since. Judging by the queue of greeks waiting in line- Greeks don't do queues - I knew this would be good!!  The souvlaki itself was really delicious, light and authentic, I even got to order in Greek too!

As it was pouring with rain, the plan was to buy some food and take it home for lunch. Of course, the little people couldn't wait and wolfed down Argentine empanadas, in the middle of Duke of York square, in the rain......

Wandering around the market we came across a gorgeous stall called Cookies and Cream, that sold delicious home made English fudge. We're trying to cut down on sugar but we totally broke the rules on this occasion and it was SO worth it! There were so many delicious variations which we were able to sample and we decided on Raspberry & Chocolate, Rum & Raisin and Chocolate & Chilli. It was seriously they best fudge I have ever tasted.

There was of course some locally grown produce on sale but thanks to the rain and a hangry aka my grumpy hungry husband, I forgot to photograph it. So here are some scrummy olives....

...... and some decadent cupcakes from Crumbs & Doilies for you to feast your eyes on :)

Mr Jones finally staved off the hunger pangs when we stumbled upon these pies from Pieminister.

Although it was raining it was quite a good day to visit the Food Market as it wasn't too busy and E was able to explore a little whist Rufio chilled in the buggy. They both loved seeing the food being cooked in front of them and chatting to people at the various stalls. Visiting a food market is a great and educational way to get children interested in a variety of foods and it actually encouraged my two to try things that they would normally shy away from. There are a few farmers markets in our area, especially with Christmas coming so we will be making a point of visiting a few more in future.

If you have any Local & Seasonal food related blog posts then, please do share using the Linky below. Don't forget, sharing is caring peeps!

P.S. Next week's #CityCountryLife topic is Out and About - how do you travel around with kids, e.g. do you go everywhere by car, bus or even by scooter?


Friday, 13 November 2015

When do you start to teach children about money?

Recently, we have been thinking about how and when we should begin to educate our children about money. For example at what age do you introduce the concept of money, from pocket money through to savings and even credit ratings ( you can actually click here for your free credit report) when they are much older, of course.

As a nation, the British tend to be quite reserved when it comes to discussing money. Yet it is such an important subject and I actually think children should learn more about at school than they currently do.  Chinese children, on the other hand, will learn about money from family members from a very young age. Not just the maths side of money but more in-depth subjects such as the concept of taking risk, investing vs savings and even lending vs borrowing etc. Quite a stark contrast to the way British children are brought up.

I asked some of my mummy friends, an international group of ladies, how they approach teaching their children about money. Here are some of my favourite suggestions:

- Teach them about money as soon as they learn to count. This means actually counting things out rather than reciting numbers. E has just about got the hang of this, meaning that now would be a good time for us to start. So, whenever we're paying for things we try to talk about prices and how some items cost more than others.

- It's ok to say no! You know when you're in a shop and your little one is about to have a meltdown because you won't buy them that My Little Pony trinket. I've been there many a time and it's so easy just to relent and buy them whatever they want but actually when (and if) you've calmed them down you can use this as a good opportunity to explain to them why they can't always have everything that they want!

- Role plays - when we go to the local playground there's a section of the climbing frame that the children think looks like a shop. The children will pretend to sell me things from the shop and I have started to get the pennies out of my purse and I will ask them how much the various items cost in their shop and I pretend to pay them in coints.

-KidZania- Since KidZania opened in London earlier this year it has been a hit with children and parents alike. KidZania, is a child size town where children get to try various jobs and actually get paid for their work. The children love getting to act as grown-ups for the day and the parents find the lessons the children learn invaluable.

-Pocket money/ Money Jar-  with my two having just turned 2 & 4, I feel like they're still a little small for pocket money. So, instead we will be going with The Money Jar suggestion.  Whenever either child is particularly well behaved, kind to the other sibling, helps out at home or even does well at school, we will give them a coin to put in the jar. The jar will have certain levels and when they reach each level then they will get a reward. Once the jar is full they can buy something that they like, anything from a toy to a trip on the bus.

It's ok to say no! You know when you're in a shop and your little one is about to have a meltdown because you won't buy them that My Little Pony trinket. I've been there many a time and it's so easy just to relent and buy them whatever they want but actually, when (and if) you've calmed them down you can use this as a good opportunity to explain to them why they can't always have everything that they want!

How do you teach your little ones about money, I would love to hear if you have any helpful tips for me?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...