27.3.15

Tenby & Our Bluestone Adventure

Looking back at the photos from our Bluestone adventure recently, I realised that I haven't shared those from our day trip to Tenby. Tenby is such a beautiful town,  and the day we were visiting, the sun was shining ( even though it was freezing) and we had a gorgeous day out. We were very fortunate to have top tour guides with us who hail from the next village along, they made sure we saw all the best bits. 

We drove from Bluestone to South Beach in Tenby, the drive took around 30 minutes so it really is very close if you're visiting Bluestone National Park Resort and are thinking of doing some day trips. There is some parking at South Beach but I imagine that come summer, it would be packed! The beach itself is gorgeous with light sands and twinkling turquoise seas. Living in the UK, I often forget that we have such beautiful beaches on our doorstep.


We walked along the esplanade to a little playground for the kids. This surely has to be the playground with the best view in all of Wales but it was seriously cold so we didn't hang around for long and even the children didn't protest when we left!





We carried on along the coastal path, past the view of St Catherine's island and beautiful pastel hued town houses and in to the town itself.
As a family, we have travelled quite a bit around the world but comparatively we haven't seen all that much of the UK. Tenby really defies all the preconceived ideas I had of what a British seaside town would be like, it has some serious charm. We would love to go back in the summer when it's a bit warmer to enjoy the beach a little more.









Come lunchtime, we braved the windy walk back to South Beach and stopped for something to eat at South Beach Bar and Grill. With the sun streaming through the windows and the views of the beach, I found it hard to believe that we weren't in some far flung exotic location.

After lunch, sadly it was time to drive back to dreary old London Town. Bluestone & Tenby we had an amazing time and I hope we'll be back soon!!

25.3.15

GlossPod

I have had quite a few manicures in my time and I like to think of myself as a bit of a connoisseur, as you may well have guessed :) So when GlossPod contacted me a few weeks ago to review their new service, I was of course more than happy to offer my expert opinion! GlossPod is a genius new London service that delivers high quality nail treatments to your home, office or even hotel. You can book either online or via their app, it's like Uber but for nails!


Booking was really straight forward, I created an account and then selected a date & time. I was then shown all the nail technicians available along with a profile. GlossPod offers traditional manicures and pedicures either using Essie nail polish or Shellac long lasting gel. I chose a Gel Mani & Pedi, I wouldn't normally bother with gel on my toes as regular polish lasts really well on my toes but I couldn't find an option for that combination. So gel Mani & Pedi it was!



My manicurist was a lovely lady called Mo, she was absolutely meticulous and gave me a perfect manicure and pedicure. The nicest thing about having a nail treatment at home was that I didn't feel at all rushed as I often do in salons and consequently I found it far more relaxing. Mo brought a  great collection of Shellac polish with her, plenty of reds, nudes and some gorgeous unusual shades. I had difficulty choosing but in the end I plumped for a cool navy for my fingers called Indigo Frock and a deep red called Scarlet Letter for my toes.


As a mama of two small children, it's often hard for me to find time to go to the nail salon so I find at home treatments really convenient. I have tried a few at home beauty services before and I have found them a bit hit & miss but I was super impressed with GlossPod and was thrilled to get a good 2 weeks out of my Shellac on my fingers and my toes are still going strong. I found the booking system very straight forward and it's all paid for upfront so you don't have to worry about cash. I especially love the emergency button which allows for any repairs needed in times of a nail crisis.


Book your mani & pedi at home, at work and even at your hotel room if you're in town at www.glosspod.com

13.3.15

Vue Cinemas Family People's Pundit

Vue Cinemas are giving one person the amazing opportunity to go see an unlimited amount of family films for one year with their little ones! How cool is that? We've been taking my three year old to the cinema for about a year now and I just love seeing her face light up when the film starts and the discussions afterwards are adorable. 

This is a competition for all mummy’s and daddy’s to take part in, to become the official family film viewer and reviewer of the year. Vue want to give you and your family the chance to not only go see the new Disney Cinderella at the end of this month but any family film of your choice throughout the year. How amazing does the new Cinderella film look? the trailer reminds me of Stardust which is one of my all time favourite films!



To win the annual all you need to do is tweet or share a Facebook status  i.e.140 characters or less sharing your thoughts on family film of your choice? More information on their competition page here: http://www.myvue.com/film-news/article/title/peoples-pundit-for-family-could-you-be-our-next-film-critic. You can review any film, new or old just use the hashtag #vuepeoplespundit. e.g. you could post a brief status update on how you all loved Frozen



After the closing date, vue will then shortlist 25 of the best tweets or Facebook statuses to view an exclusive preview screening of Cinderella on the 27th March at a Vue cinema near you. Those shortlisted will be asked to write a short review of 250 words sharing their family's views on the film which will them be uploaded to their social voting platform. The person with the most votes on social media will become Vue’s Official Family Film Pundit and will win an unlimited pass for themselves and their family to see any film that they like, throughout the year.

*if you cannot attend the Exclusive preview screening of Cinderella on 27th March, they are happy for you to view it anytime at a Vue cinema near you.

11.3.15

Babysitters of Kensington & Chelsea

I have been a Mama for a little over three and a half years, and in that time I have never used a Babysitter, until now! When we have had nights off in the past, we have relied on Grandparents but as they all live out of town, date nights have been few and far between. Most of my friends use babysitters regularly and they all think I'm nuts for not trying this out before, and since we have found Bokac, in hindsight I was a bit crazy. My main reason for not using a babysitter was really that I was concerned the children might wake up and be frightened to find a stranger at home rather than Mummy & Daddy.



When Babysitters of Kensington & Chelsea (or BOKAC as they are know) contacted me to trial their service a few weeks ago, Mr Jones and I did have a good long think to weigh up the pros and cons. BOKAC is a clever local babysitting service that enables parents to book experienced babysitters online. 

After a few e-mails with Anna, the owner of BOKAC, we decided that the best way to go about this would to book the babysitter for just before the children's bed time. That way, they could get to know her and wouldn't be alarmed should they wake up when we were out for dinner. 

The next step was to book a babysitter on the BOKAC website. Each babysitter has a detailed profile on line, listing their qualifications, experience, interests and even languages spoken. Anna advised me to pick a few Babysitters and they then accept or decline your booking depending on their availability. The whole process is paid for online and the standard fee is a very reasonable £10/ hour, all babysitters live locally so no travel expenses are incurred. 

Our babysitter was Tiffany, she was very punctual and had a very friendly but no nonsense approach to the children, they both took an instant liking to her. Although Tiffany was quite happy to put the children to bed, Mr Jones and I didn't want to unsettle them too much so we tucked them in ourselves. I had planned plenty of activities to tire them out that day and thankfully they were both asleep in record time. 

Mr Jones and I snuck out of the house like naughty teenagers, not quite believing our luck that the children were both asleep before 8 and that we were actually getting a night off!!! I had always imagined that the first time we used a babysitter, I would be so nervous that I wouldn't enjoy myself but that wasn't the case at all. I felt completely at ease leaving the children at home in Tiffany's reliable care. 



We booked dinner at Bumpkin, it is one of our favourite restaurants but it is also quite close to home in case of emergencies. I did text Tiffany whilst we were having dinner and she reassured me that everything was fine. Typically we were served in record time and before we knew it, it was time to go back home. 

I have come to realise that whilst I adore my children, it is really important for my hubby and I to have some time to ourselves on a regular basis and I will most certainly be using BOKAC again. I found the whole process really efficient and stress free. The online booking system is really easy to use and I like the fact that it's all paid for via the website so you don't have to worry about cash. Importantly, the babysitter herself was absolutely fantastic and I would be more than happy to have her look after the children again. I only wish that I had come across Bokac sooner!

www.bokac.co.uk


10.3.15

Quick Mama Make-up & My First Ever Vlog!!!

This is my first ever YouTube video, I have wanted to try vlogging for such a long time and I finally plucked up the courage to give it a shot. I'm so nervous to share this with you but I do hope you enjoy it!



Since I returned to work from maternity leave, I managed to get my make-up routine down to about 5 minutes. I've taken slightly longer here in this video but I though I would share with other Mamas and busy ladies, how you can apply full make-up, that lasts all day in record time!




Products I used:

Nars All day luminous weightless foundation in Vallauris
Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder in Sandstorm
Bourjois Colorband 2-in-1 Eyeshadow & Liner in Brun Dadaiste
Sleek Eyebrow Stylist in Light
Bourjois Délice de Poudre bronzing powder & highlighter ( I only used the bronzer)
MAC Powder Blush in Foolish Me
Maybelline Babylips Electro in Oh! Orange




For me, one of the most important things about make-up now that I am a mama, is finding products that look good all day long. If you have any recommendations for good long lasting products then let me know. Application is also really important so I would also recommend investing in good brushes, but that's another blog/vlog post altogether!




9.3.15

To move or not to move?

We bought our home around four years ago, whilst I was pregnant with E. When we first clamped eyes on our little flat, we instantly fell in love with the location which overlooks a peaceful little park, a rare find in central London. The flat itself was in a bad way and it needed heaps of love and attention. We knew at the time that it wasn't going to be a forever home but the years have flown by and now that we are four, we're starting to feel a little bit cramped.

Fortunately, we do have a couple of solutions. One of course is to sell and upsize to a more spacious home for our growing family, but after all the work we have put in to our home it seems a shame to throw it all away.  The second, and considerably less stressful option would be to customise our home somewhat to incorporate some bespoke storage solutions for all the toys and clothes we have accumulated. So I have put together some fitted wardrobes and interior ideas  to inspire us to make a decision.

Because we are short on space, I prefer decor to be in white or neutral tones, to give the illusion of space and light. Most people think I am crazy, with two toddlers but I find white surprisingly easy to maintain, baby wipes clean off a multitude of stains and if all else fails you simply paint over things! All the storage options below would work well in our living room without making the area feel too cluttered.




The other area that needs work is the master bedroom. I dream of having a walk in wardrobe but that will definitely have to wait until we finally move to a bigger home. We do have a small dressing area though that could benefit from some clever storage solutions.


With spring on the way though, we have started to think more and more of moving out of London to somewhere with a little more space, with a garden of our very own for the children to run around in. It's such a tough decision to make as moving to a new area would mean a whole new lifestyle for us but if we were to move I would still love to put my own stamp on a new home and I live in hope that whatever we find has a walk in wardrobe for moi!!

6.3.15

My 1st Years Star Baby Blanket

My 1st Years  is fast becoming my go-to shop for baby and christening gifts. With two young children myself, it's not that easy for me to hunt around the high street for the perfect gift and thankfully My 1st years works as a perfect solution. Their fantastic website has a huge array of beautiful gifts from silverwear to clothing to toys and beautiful blankets.


My 1st Years kindly sent me this luxurious Star Jacquard blanket to review. It is 100% cotton, making it lovely soft and snuggly against the baby's skin. My daughter's name means star so we have a bit of a celestial theme going on in her room, when she was a baby the only star products I could find were blue-  (the shops seem to be blue stars for boys and pink heart for girls) so I was really pleased to find something neutral with this design. My 1st years also offer complimentary personalisation on this blanket, for that extra special touch.


One of my favourite things about a My 1st Years delivery, has to be the beautiful packaging. I love the gorgeous Tiffany-esque blue box & cream ribbon combination. 


With so many gorgeous gifts to chose from on their website, really the hardest part of the whole process is deciding what to buy!!

www.my1styears.com

4.3.15

#ARWOMAN


Atterley Road have launched their #ARWOMAN campaign and have asked me to tell my readers about a woman who inspires me. Well I'm going to bend the rules a little bit and talk about the two most influential female figures in my life ( aside from my daughter!) My Mama and my younger sister Ali.

Growing up, my father would often be away on business for long periods of time, so really my mother brought my sister and I up entirely on her own. Sadly, she lost both her parents quite early in life, with her in-laws across the continent in Greece and as an only child, she had no one to fall back on should she ever needed a helping hand. I can't imagine how exhausting it must have been for her and this was undoubtedly one of the reasons why I hoped that my firstborn would never be an only child. My mother would tirelessly drive my sister and I to the best school around which was an hour round trip, morning and night, followed by after school activities every night of the week. During the school holidays, my father would often summon us to join him wherever he was in the world, at a moment's notice and I can distinctly remember my mum up all making lists and packing for the three of us. Even though my sister and I have now left home, her dedication to our family continues- when I was working part time, she would travel up to London from Wales every week to look after E and Rufio to save me going to the expense and stress of finding childcare for them. She is undoubtedly one of the most organised people I know, we jokingly call her the family PA as she is always trying to plan and coordinate things for us.

In a similar vein, my sister Ali gave up her high flying career in Banking to bring up her young family and pursue her love of photography. She is the smartest, sweetest and kindest person you could meet, I often joke that if she wasn't my little sister I would probably detest her for being so perfect! Bringing up two girlies under four, being the main carer for our family's three wayward Boston Terriers, all whilst pregnant with no 3 is no mean feat! Housewife, Stay-at-home-mum, full time mum- what ever you want to call it, (I personally find all three titles slightly patronising for various reasons), It constantly irritates me to witness the derogatory way that people treat women who chose to focus on raising a family rather than going out to work every day. I myself have been in both positions myself and neither is easy, going out to work and leaving the children takes it's toll emotionally, particularly from a guilt perspective and although staying home with the children is wonderful, being able to be part of their lives day to day, it is physically exhausting as you never get time to switch off.

I firmly believe that it is high time us Mamas stopped judging each other for one minute and appreciate the wonderful job that we are all doing. Ultimately we all have the same goal - to provide the very best for our families.

I would love to know who inspires you, why not share a photo of them on Instagram using the #ARWOMAN hashtag, tag your friends and get them to join in!

www.atterleyroad.com

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