26.6.15

Long Bob Update #lob

A while ago I blogged about how much I loved the look of a long bob but totally I chickened out at the last moment when the time came to chop off my then long locks. Well if you follow me on social media then you'll know that I did eventually go for the Lob. I'm not sure why I've taken so long to blog about it though, I think I had envisioned myself photographing a beautiful post with mw modelling various Lob hairstyle options but being a busy mama, I just never have the time!! Despite being apprehensive beforehand, I loved my new cut right from the start. I think I wanted to get used to seeing myself with short hair, work out how to style it before telling everyone how much I love the Lob as it's affectionately known.



One day I was walking past the Richard Ward Metrospa on Duke of York Square, Chelsea. Richard Ward is said to be responsible for the Duchess of Cambridge's lustrous locks. A friend who has equally gorgeous hair had recommended them to me so I thought I would stop buy and see when the next available appointment was. Expecting to be told I'd have to wait at least 6 weeks, I was pleasantly surprised that they had a slot for me the next day, and one for my sister too. That was it, no chickening out this time!!

When I arrived I was given a tour of the Salon and then a consultation with my stylist Nando. He said that my hair was in good condition, especially considering the length and that I colour it regularly and asked if I was sure that I wanted to chop it all off. To which I replied 'No, I'm not sure but let's do this anyway...... '
I went off to get my hair washed and when I returned, my cheeky little sister had already had her hair chopped in to a Lob and she was only supposed to be having a trim!! Nando was absolutely meticulous in cutting my hair, the attention he paid to the detail was just astounding and I left with the best hair cut that I have ever had. As a result of his precision, my nightmare hair has been a dream to handle since cutting it, even if I don't have time to style it properly it still looks heaps better than before, mainly due to the great haircut.




I adore my new(ish) Lob, it's the perfect mummy haircut, without looking mumsy! I love how versatile my hair is, it's still long enough to wear up, I can of course straighten it or just blow dry it with my Babyliss Big Hair. I can now style my hair in a fraction of the time that I used to spend and the style tends to last longer too. The only disadvantage really is that I now need to go for regular trims, I'm due for one now and it's difficult fitting it in ( and also costly) if I don't have Gaga around to babysit whilst I pop to the salon. Other than that I haven't regretted cutting my hair one bit, I love it! My Rapunzel obsessed 3 year old on the other hand....... well she wouldn't talk to me for a while when I came back from the salon and her first comment when she finally did dare to open her mouth??

"Mummy, you're hair is NOT amazing"

Well that was me told!!



24.6.15

Britmums Live 2015 and a Whistle Stop Trip to Wales

This year marked my second year at Britmums live and I was super excited to be attending again! Last year's Britmums Live was really what gave me the confidence and motivation do make a lifestyle change and turn my hobby in to a career in blogging.

On both occasions however, Britmums has fallen on quite stressful weekends for me so I haven't really felt completely at ease or able to focus on the seminars. Last year my mum was having an operation on the first day of Britmums and I was at the hospital with her both before and after the conference. This year, we had a family party in Wales with my in laws, organised for the following day. This meant that I had to leave slightly earlier on day two in order to go home, pack, feed & bathe the kids and then pile everyone in the car and drive down to Wales for the party the following day.




Above me getting ready for Britmums live, with friends old & new, Lizzie and Diana of Lizzie Somerset and PaintSewGlueChew , Deliciously Ella, Breaking World Records, turning ladies in to mummies, silly photos, gorgeous gifts from Merci Maman and goodie bags,

Fortunately with this being my second Britmums, it was much less nerve wracking than before, being familiar with the process and the surroundings obviously helped. Ella Woodward of Deliciously Ella was the keynote speaker and I couldn't wait to hear her speak, I'm such a fan girl at the moment!

I was also incredibly moved by disability and face equality campaigner Victoria Wright who has a rare genetic condition called Cherubism what an amazing lady, I am completely in awe of her bravery!

Then, suddenly we were up on our feet, covering people in loo roll in an attempt to beat the world record for the most mummies in a room!! So bizarre but a great ice breaker and we can now all call ourselves world record holders!!

Then it was time for the party and the BIB awards and It was just fantastic to be able to catch up with some of the brilliant bloggers who I met last year, we'd kept in touch throughout the course of the year and it's always lovely to chat face to face. I also made some wonderful new friends who I have planned to meet up with over the summer. So once again I have left Britmums feeling inspired, upbeat and excited for what this year has in store ..... with a gorgeous new bracelet ( above) from Merci Maman one of the event sponsors!!

As for the family reunion-  well, it was a success. I come from a tight knit Mediterranean family where everyone knows what each other is doing at every minute of the day. In contrast, my husband's family is just huge, full of vibrant and animated characters  ( which lead in part to the title of my blog 'Keeping up with the Joneses' ) so I always get a little bit stressed beforehand because I feel as though we're all on show. Thankfully the whole event went well with E&R having a fantastic time playing with their cousins in their Auntie's enormous country garden. Got to love the Welsh summer!!




23.6.15

HelloHome StarBright Toddler Bed Review

Recently we'd been thinking more and more about moving Rufio from a cot to a 'big boy bed'. He's going to be 2 in a few weeks and he really loves his big sister's bed so we thought that perhaps he was almost ready to move up to a Big Boy Bed himself,  especially as he hadn't been all that keen on his cot lately. So when HelloHome kindly offered to send us a toddler bed to review, it seemed like the perfect timing to make the jump from cot to Big Boy Bed. We totally messed this process up with E so I really really wanted to get it right this time around!!






Rufio was born when E was just 22 months old and we moved her to a big best just a few weeks before he was born. At the time I didn't really feel that she was ready to make the transition but it seemed silly to buy another cot, so Big Girl Bed it was.

E is tall for her age so we agreed that a toddler bed wouldn't last long. This decision is something I really regret. Instead we put her straight in to a single bed, using a specially designed bottom sheet with built in cushions to stop her falling out and she absolutely hated it! I think it was just a step too far too soon for her and until recently she spent mosts nights sleeping in our bed.





We chose the StarBright Toddler Bed for Rufie and it is just absolutely gorgeous. The children's room is mainly white with a star theme so the moon & cloud design fits in perfectly with the decor.  Both the colour and the design is completely neutral so would work well for a boy or a girl. Our favourite thing about the bed is the moon nightlight which glows and projects tiny stars on to the well when the lights are out.

The bed feels really sturdy and has side panels to stop him from rolling out in the night. It's also really low down so even if they do fall out they won't get hurt. Rufie has rolled out once but he didn't even wake up!! There's also a little seat on the side of the bed for parents to sit on to read bedtime stories.  This is a really sweet addition to the bed but it does take up quite a lot of room so I do wish that there was an option for us to add this on later rather when we have moved house and Rufio finally has his own room.  Mr Jones ( DIY Dave as I affectionately call him) isn't the most efficient when it comes to assembling flat pack furniture but he did manage to put this together with out too much drama.




Rufio is thrilled with his big boy bed and likes to show it off to anyone who comes to our house. We let him chose his own bedding and he picked out Pirate and also the London themed bed linen from The Little White Company. We also bought him a book called Pirate Pete's big boy bed, a story about a little boy called Pirate Pete who also moves from a cot to a big boy bed. He really loves this book and asks for it most nights and I really think this helped him understand what's going on?

I'm so happy to say that the Starbright Toddler bed has been a complete success. He likes the freedom and independence of being able to get in and out of bed as he pleases, just like his big sis! I only wish that we had bought a toddler bed for E, she can still lie comfortably in it now so not only would we now have more space in their room until we move but I'm sure we would have had a happier sleeper too.

What age did you move your child from a cot to a 'Big Bed'?

17.6.15

House Hunting!!

I wrote a post a few months ago, discussing our thoughts on whether we should renovate our current home to maximise space or to move out of London entirely. So I thought I'd write an update on where we are with our decision and the truth is........

We haven't really progressed all that much. Ooops!! We've decided that adding storage isn't really an option so to move it is but:

I'm just not sure that I'm ready to leave London entirely!! There, I said it!!!

I know that I always whinge about the pitfalls of living in a city but I just love the convenience of having everything on our doorstep. There's also something that I find quite isolating about living outside of the capital city, I guess I'm just a city girl through and through. I have family close by, my parents place is just 10 minutes away and my sister isn't much further so moving out of London would mean moving away from our valuable support network.

Right now we live pretty much slap bang in the centre, so we've decided to search a little bit further out but still within the M25. The trouble is that whilst our tiny London flat will buy us a lovely and spacious family home elsewhere. If we were to buy in say Wimbledon or Richmond our budget would stretch to a small choice of fairly uninspiring terraced homes. Not that there's anything wrong with a terraced house but they tend to be quite small and I'm just not sure if it's worth the effort.

Basically I'm worried that in a few years time we'll regret having made the big move and we'll be house hunting all over again.


www.pinterest.com

Luckily, there still are some possibilities for us to put our stamp on a London home, if we were to go for a terraced house. I'd really love to find somewhere that isn't a complete renovation i.e. livable for the time being but perhaps requiring some extending. I would quite like to do our own loft conversion, and create a gorgeous bright space using skylights and I love VELUX to create that sort of effect.

Equally we could add some more space and light to a small kitchen area, adding a side return and by extending out in to the garden and using skylights and bifold doors. Basically bring the outside inside!

www.pinterest.com

For now I'm spending every spare second on Rightmove and Prime Location, enjoying house hunting. Everyone always says that when the perfect property comes up, you'll just instinctively know that it's the one for you. I'm hoping we find our dream house soon :)

*Sponsored


12.6.15

Cool Corals

Walking past the Phillip Lim 3.1 boutique the other day, I was stopped in my tracks by this amazing handbag in the window, which you'll probably have seen if you follow me on Instagram. The Quill triangle bag above is just everything! The colour, the shape, perfect! So here I am a few days later basing an entire style post around it!!



I'm in love with corals and peaches if you haven't already guessed by the blog layout and my regular blog posts about my quest for the perfect peachy toned nail polish! I love these shades all year round but especially in the summer as it looks amazing next to a light tan. The Baukjen dress works great for day & night and I have been obsessing over these rose gold Ancient Greek Ikaria sandals for sooooo long, I need me some!!

I have tried to include non toxic make-up brands in this set, the Priti NYC polish in Super Trooper Rose is 5 Free. The lipstick is called Voila by Ilia which is a gorgeous eco friendly brand. The blush is clementine by Delilah,  a brand which i discovered in my tour of Fortnum & Mason's new beauty department and the formula is paraben free. 

Ooooh and of course how could I forget the stunning tassel necklace from Hush which goes with pretty much everything!!

Obviously I wouldn't wear the entire outfit in one go but no prizes for guessing which colour my summer wardrobe will be based on this summer :) 

11.6.15

You know you're getting old when......

Aside from the fact that my husband and I are told by our three year old that we are positively ancient, pretty much on a daily basis ( she is convinced there were dinosaurs roaming the earth when we were born) i've been feeling pretty haggard since the kids arrived. Part of it is that I just don't have as much time to look after myself as I used to. I was erm pretty high maintenance before becoming a mama, with an eye-wateringly expensive beauty regime but now I just don't have the time and the finances are swallowed up by two tiny people instead!! The other side of it is obviously to do with the fact that the years are slowly slowly creeping up on us as I approach my mid thirties.

I'm not supposed to get greys, my Yiayia is 93 and still has her natural hair colour, my Father too and he's in his 60's but lo and behold they're sprouting up all over the place on my head. The odd wrinkle too, especially around my eyes. I've always worn sunglasses and sunscreen, what happened?? it's not fair!! So recently I tried Botox injections around the eye area, the difference wasn't huge but I felt a little fresher. Convinced that this was the slippery slope towards me turning in to the Bride of Wilderstein, my husband was absolutely furious with me!!

Below Mr Jones and I on honeymoon in Bora Bora a few years back, pre kids, wrinkles, greys and Botox!  and yes this is probably the only no make-up selfie I've had taken since I was 12!!



Wrinkles and greys aside, the one thing that concerns me the most is my eyesight. I'm finding it harder and harder to read the small print on the back of packaging and I've noticed that I'm holding books and my phone/tablet further away when I read. It suddenly dawned on me that I haven't actually had my eyes tested since I was at university and I finished my masters degree over 10 years ago!! I've been told that  Optical Express is the place to go for check ups, regular eye tests are essential and really should be part of my healthcare routine just like going to the GP or the dentist.

So over to you, how often do you get your eyes tested and where do you get it done?

*sponsored 



10.6.15

Non Toxic Nails of the week- Zoya Cole

As you know, I have been making a huge effort to cut down on the number of potentially toxic chemicals that we use as a family. Nail Polish is probably one of the biggest offenders when it comes to nasties, with many brands still using unnecessary and harmful chemicals.



Many nail polish brands seem to have moved towards being free of the big 3 or 3 Free i.e free from Dibutyl Phthalate or DBP, Formaldehyde and Toluene. However increasingly, there are more and more brands now which are actually 5 Free which is even better. This means that they have eliminated the 5 harshest chemicals which are Formaldehyde, Toluene, Formaldehyde Resin, Camphor and DBP .

I am so damn happy that Zoya thankfully is one of those brands. Zoya has an enormous collection of beautiful, great quality nail polishes in all the hottest shades and they are also pretty easy to get hold of. I snapped up this lil beauty in Wholefoods' beauty section but you can often find Zoya in nail salons and there are heaps of stockists online.



This polish is called Cole which was originally released for Peter Som's SS14 collection at New York Fashion Week. Cole is an extremely wearable warm peachy cream and the hint of peach makes it heaps more interesting than most neutrals. I think that this, along with the  Juicy from Kure Bazaar which I blogged about last month, are going to be my summer stapes. Although I'm pretty sure there's ALWAYS room for a few more......

9.6.15

Ugh, Potty Training time ( and Huggies Pull-Ups review ) !!

Yep, I can't quite believe it but it's almost that time once again. Rufio will turn 2 next month, 2!!! Where on earth is the time going!! I think summer seems like a good time to try to ditch the nappy. Potty training E was just horrendous, so I am dreading it somewhat. Back then I had a newborn and a toddler and for the first few weeks, it felt like I spent my whole life breastfeeding, cleaning up pee and changing nappies. My lasting memory of potty training was having an estate agent around to value our house, E having an accident and peeing all over the ladie's shoes!! Thankfully she was very polite but the memory has haunted me since!!



R seems to be giving us signs that he's ready though, telling us when he needs a new nappy, taking an interest in using the loo etc etc. So slowly slowly, I'm starting to take some steps in getting him prepared for potty training. For a while now we've been get him using the loo before bath time ( or whenever he expresses interest) and now we're introducing pull-ups. I know old Gina Ford says don't bother and drop them in the deep end with just pants but frankly I don't think I can deal with the stress all-round.  Plus, I prefer a kinder approach to parenting, so pull-ups it is! Aside from the fact that is almost impossible to get a regular nappy on him these days, he just won't keep still!


The people at Huggies very kindly sent us these Huggies Pull-Ups to try out and so far they have been a winner. Rufio loves the Disney Cars design and the fact that he gets to pull up his own pants, like a grown up- a very small thing for us but a huge step when you're not even 2. I have tried a few other brands of pull up nappies and I haven't been all that impressed, they don't tend to be that absorbent and you have to change them every couple of hours. I am pleased to say that this isn't the case with Huggies, they're not quite as absorbent as a night time nappy but not far off! They also have a handy little indicator so that you can tell if the nappy is actually wet and needs  changing. The only draw back with these is the price, they come in packs of 12 and they're quite expensive which limits them really to potty training times rather than a long-term solution to wriggly nappy wearing toddlers. We were also sent some Huggies Drynites for E which I would also recommend, they are so discreet and designed more like regular pants whilst giving them confidence at night time.

In the mean time, here's a list of our potty training must haves from last time:

Elizabeth Pantley - The No Cry Potty training solution.
Baby Bjorn Potty Chair
Potette Portable Potty
Koo-di car seat protectors
Tippitoes Toilet Trainer seat ( Just like the Baby Bjorn version but a fraction of the price!!)
Wine- for me obvs!!

5.6.15

My 1st Years - Personalised Toy Storage Bag

As you might have guessed from my previous blog posts, we're pretty big fans of the My 1st Years website. It's a fantastic one stop shop for that extra special baby gift, whether it's for newborns christenings or birthdays.  We love the personalised booties and the star jacquard blanket which we have reviewed before but up until now everything we have reviewed has been for very young children so this time the lovely people at my 1st years sent us something that would be ideal for a slightly older child.



This time we are reviewing this lovely personalised ditsy print toy storage bag. As with everything I have received from My 1st Years it is simply gorgeous, I love the quilted design and floral print. Of course it arrived in a giant turquoise Tiffany blue box, which is just amazing as you don't even have to worry about wrapping the gifts. The whole experience when ordering online with My 1st Years is just so straight forward and stress free, my gift arrived within 2 days!!



My daughter was thrilled with the toy tidy, it's so girly, cute and a really stylish addition to the room.  It is actually much larger than it seems on the website which is awesome as it holds a considerable amount of toys There's a choice of colours for the embroidery thread but I love the fuchsia pink as it really complements the floral print. I'm just so thrilled to know that they cater for slightly older children as my two grow up.

For more gift ideas check out www.my1styears.com 



2.6.15

Star Stable Review

There is little doubt that we are living in an era of technology, with ever evolving digital information at our fingertips. We can communicate with people from allover the world via Skype, social media, e-mail and by phone. We read our favourite magazines online and have access to instant breaking news updates throughout the day. We can shop for clothes and groceries and even buy a house or a car online so it should come as now surprise to equine enthusiasts that you can now choose and train your own horse via virtual games such as Star Stable.



Star Stable is a super fun virtual game which allows you to explore the beautiful island of Jorvik on horseback. It is a virtual game which means that you can play with your friends online, meet up and go for rides together. In star stable, you can take part in competitions, join and even run classes or just share stories in a cosy cafe with your friends. It is currently ranked number one in the virtual horse games ranking and has over 4 million online players. It is currently free to play up until level 5, which is awesome as it means that you get to have a good trial and see if you like the game before making any financial commitments.

Star Stable is the perfect solution for those horse lovers who can't get to the stables in person. Maybe you're a busy mama who only has spare time when the kids are in bed or maybe you're fascinated by horses but find them quite intimidating up close. It would also be a great introduction to horses for someone who is interested in getting in to horse riding but isn't quite sure what tending to a horse would entail. Full access Star Stable starts from £4.95 which is pretty reasonable when you think that real horse riding is a pretty costly pursuit.

For more info check out www.starstable.com

*sponsored




Could our lifestyle be harming us?

So, I had a bit of a health scare a few months ago. I found a large lump on my leg and after quite a few tests, scans and sleepless nights awake worrying I was told thankfully that it was nothing more than a fatty lump. Nevertheless, it sent me on a real downward spiral, I had not long been made redundant from my job of 10 years and the anxiety and stress of both events just put me in quite a dark place.




I obviously feel extremely fortunate that the lump was nothing sinister. However, it has made me really determined to clean up our lifestyle as a family. There must be a reason why so many people are getting sick with autoimmune diseases and cancers etc and I now believe that this is in part due to our western life style. Be that our dependence on technology, (as a blogger and social media manager this is something that really concerns me as I was convinced that the lump on my leg was caused by radiation from my laptop) our reliance on every day household products and cosmetics or the processed foods that we unwittingly purchase at the supermarket.

I have been trying to educate myself in all these areas by reading and doing some research online. It's such an in depth topic that it's going to take quite a while so for now I have decided to use up all the products that I am currently using and when it comes to purchasing new, I will research them individually. I will also blog about my findings as I learn more.

When it comes to cosmetics, for quite some time now I have tended to choose natural and non toxic products over everything else but there are a few bits & bobs that I have yet to find decent replacements for. I generally steer clear of parabens and SLSs are they are both possible carcinogens. Parabens are the preservatives in cosmetics and SLS's the detergents that make soaps, shampoos and washing up liquids bubbly and frothy but companies such as Aveda have been managing perfectly well without them for Eons!

For the food side I have been reading Amelia Freer - Eat Nourish Glow which is a really helpful insight in to all the foods that we eat and why they are good or harmful to us. Don't all pass out but I have also made quite a few recipes from Deliciously Ella, the cook book by vegan and clean eating blogger Ella Woodward. Everyone who knows me knows that I generally dislike cooking but I have found her recipes really inspiring and easy to follow. I made the cookies below and the kids told me that they were delicious, that's first for my baking!!




I have also discovered coconut oil - it is a wonder product both in the kitchen and in the bathroom cabinet but more about that later!

I realise that this is a slightly more serious topic than usual but it is something that I feel is very important to us as a family. If any of you know any resources, books or websites for cleaner, healthier, lifestyles or natural beauty products then I would love to hear your recommendations.


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