16.12.16

Christmas Grotto at the London Transport Museum

Only 9 sleeps until Christmas day, and yet I still have so many things on my to do list!!! Luckily, taking the children to see Santa isn't one if them!
If you still haven't managed to book your little ones to see the big guy himself, then fear not! Head on over to The London Transport Museum where the Children can meet Father Christmas in his Grotto and then explore the museum. The museum has also arranged plenty of Christmas activities such as elf trails, workshops and story telling to keep little elves busy. 


Tickets for the Grotto are £12 for one child, £20 for two and £25 for three, when visiting together. I think this is really good value, especially when you take in to account the excellent gifts that the children received. E was given a slap band watch and Rufio a little wooden tube train that fits perfectly on their Brio train set. Needless to say, they were both thrilled.


We had never been to the museum before although loads of our friends had recommended it to us.  Now I know why and I wish I had taken the children there sooner. It is absolutely brilliant, in fact the children both asked to go back again the next day!


Now that school has finished for Christmas, a trip to The London Transport Museum would make a perfect family day out. To book your tickets for the Grotto and for more information on Christmas activities at the museum check out:  www.ltmuseum.co.uk/whats-on/events-calendar/christmas

1.12.16

Gorgeous Gift Ideas for Natural Beauty Junkies with Beauty Kitchen

I love Beauty Kitchen as a brand, all their products are 100% effective, natural and affordable which is pretty much the criteria that I look for when buying new beauty products. They very kindly sent me over the two 'create your own' that you can see in the photos below and I think they would make amazing gifts for crafty kids and equally for any beauty junkie, so of course they were a winner all round in our house. 


One rainy afternoon, E and I decided to try out the 'Create your own lip balms'. The tin contained Cocoa Butter and Shea Butter which we needed to melt in a pan, so this is definitely not the sort of activity that could be done unattended. With adult supervision though it was great fun. We then added some sparkly natural mica powder and left the lip balms to solidify in the cute little lip balm tins provided. The finished product ( which I now carry around in my handbag) is a very moisturising balm with just a hint of shimmer. E was delighted with her lip balm, she loves to play around with make-up at home but she has super sensitive skin so I am always a bit wary but we have no such worries here with Beauty Kitchen as it's all paraben & sulphate free.


E adores Bath Bombs but generally we have to limit them because they tend to cause her irritation so she was overjoyed to be able to create and then use her own. We have used them a few times now and haven't had any problems with irritation.
The bath bombs were very quick and easy to make, dried and ready to use within 15 mins, which is a huge bonus if your kids are as impatient as mine!! The oil that comes with them smelled amazing and we added some food colouring just to make them a little more interesting. Come bath time both kids were super excited to watch our home made bath bombs fizz and dissolve.


For more Create Your Own kits and clean beauty goodness then check out www.beautykitchen.co.uk

29.11.16

Lapland UK Review



Last week, two letters arrived for my little ones from Father Christmas, inviting my children to Lapland UK to help him and his elves get all the toys ready for Christmas. To say that they were excited, would be an understatement. In the run up to our trip to Lapland, I have never known my kids to be so well behaved, it was like magic! E would help her little brother to get dressed in the mornings ( and this has NEVER happened before), they doing as they were told and E even told me not to wear make- up because I was far prettier with out it..... it was obvious they were on their best behaviour in case Father Christmas' elves were watching!! 


Lapland UK is based in Ascot, we drive this way quite often and it usually takes us around 45 mins from Chelsea but we got stuck in a huge traffic jam so we were cutting it fine. Our tour was booked in at 3.30 and we arrived at the car park at 3.25. We bolted over to the elf-check in, just as our tour was due to start and there was a queue in front of us. Fortunately, the 4pm tour wasn't totally booked up so the kind elf at the check in moved us up to the next slot so we didn't miss out on anything. 


In hindsight, I would say, make sure to arrive at least 20 mins before your tour is due to start. That way you would have plenty of time to make your way from car park, which is rather large, to the elf check-in. There is a cafe at the check-in and elves on hand to entertain the small folk so you won't be at a loose end if you arrive early.


The children were given, elf passports with stamps to fill in throughout the tour, it also contained words to the songs that the elves would sing later on. 


Whilst we waited for our tour, the children were entertained by a funny little elf called 'Porter' whose suitcase kept falling open to reveal presents, giant acorns and all sorts of bits and bobs. All the kids kept helping her pack her suitcase  only for it all to fall out again, they found it hilarious. 


The tour began with a short interactive play where we met two elves called Sage and Eeko. The play fun and yet informative, with a story explaining where elves come from and then teaching children the importance of caring for our environment. The elves then helped the children open up the doors to Lapland and we caught our first glimpse of the magic that awaited us. Tiny little elf cottages dusted with snow, nestled within Narnia-esque woodlands, I can imagine that as a child I would really have believed that we had been magically transported to a far away land. 


Our first stop was the toy workshop, Santa's good list is super long this year so the elves needed some extra help to get all the toys ready. 


The children helped the elves make a stuffed reindeer toy, which reminded me of 'build-a bear' and they also helped construct a teddy bear made from wooden blocks.


At the end they had to take the finished products back to the elves. I was a little concerned that we'd have a bit of a struggle handing back the toys but, miraculously there was no trouble.


Next we moved on to Mother Christmas' kitchen. The children sat and listened to magical stories told by Mrs Christmas and then they were asked to decorate gingerbread men.



We were then shown to the elf village where we had an hour and a half to entertain ourselves. The village is an adorable little square with christmassy shops and places to eat, all built around an ice rink which you are free to use for as long as you wish during your visit. We skated for a while and then explored the village, there were elves strolling chatting to the children and also very well behaved husky dogs. We found the elf post office and went in to write and post our Christmas letters to Santa. 



What truly amazed me is how the 'elves' are constantly in character. At one point I crept off to buy some Christmas pressies and I passed some of the elves chatting together.  I don't think they saw me and there wasn't really anyone around, yet they still kept in character! This authenticity is a theme that runs throughout Lapland UK and that's really what sets it apart from any other Christmas experience.


Our time at the elf village was up and finally it was our turn to meet the big guy himself. We set off on a path that took us through a winter wonderland, we even came across Santa's sleigh and some of his reindeer.  




We arrived at a little cabin, deep in the forest. We were greeted by an elf called Compass who told us that he was in charge of preparing the routes for Santa to take on Christmas eve. His desk was full of maps, globes and all sorts of fascinating equipment. He asked us to sit and wait our turn to meet Father Christmas.


After a short wait, a chatty elf named Bubbles came and showed us to Santa.


Father Christmas himself was brilliant and very patient with the children, who had so much to tell him! When I booked our tickets I was asked to give them some hints about things that the children had been up to which Father Christmas worked very convincingly in to the conversation, they were so excited that he knew what they had been up to! He checked his good list to see if they were on there and miraculously ( for Rufio especially) they were indeed. So Father Christmas asked us if they were allowed a small gift before Christmas and he gave them two soft and cuddly husky dogs.





I really can't describe to you how magical they whole day was, as we left my daughter said to me that it was the best day out that we have ever done as a family.
Yes, the tickets are eyewateringly expensive but when you break down all the activities through out the day then the price starts to make a bit more sense. I would find it easier to justify the cost if I thought of it as a theatre trip, craft, ice skating, family adventure day all rolled in to one, and on top of that you get to meet Father Christmas too.
The overall level of thought and care that has gone in to creating Lapland UK is just immense, with incredible attention paid to even the smallest details, making it a truly believable and magical experience.

If you do one thing with your children this Christmas then make it a trip to Lapland UK!

www.laplanduk.co.uk




2.11.16

Autumn/ Winter Style

For the first time this year, it really feels like Autumn today. On Monday we took the children 'trick or treating' around The Boltons and it was warm enough to walk around without a coat on but not today! Its the beginning of November and there is a distinct chill in the air and the perfect opportunity for me to share my favourite pieces with you from Kaleidoscope's AW16 collection:


My standout piece from the collection, has to be this faux fur jacket. It's just so versatile and easy to wear. It a great way to dress up an outfit but works equally as well for the school run. I love to wear it mixed with jeans, a denim shirt and trainers! Be warned, it attracts a lot of attention!


I'm loving the zip detail on this polo neck, open up the zips for a cold shoulder effect ( in more ways than one!)


This birkin-esque Italian leather grab bag is so buttery soft and just beautiful. It's a bit of a Mary Poppins bag too because it holds literally everything.


Oh and the jeans, love the jeans! They come in different leg lengths too, why doesn't everyone do this?



What I like about Kaleidoscope is the fantastic quality, investment pieces with out the high price tag. You're going to fall in love with this collection, www.kaleidoscope.co.uk

1.11.16

Finding a Good Plastic Surgeon

If you have decided to go down the route of having plastic surgery, this article is for you. Finding a good surgeon is very important, which is why I decided to focus on how to do so.

The right qualifications
Naturally, you do not want someone operating on you who are not properly qualified. Fortunately, finding a highly qualified plastic surgeon, in the UK, is not difficult. There are several medical associations that you can use to help you in your search. They all have websites, and maintain databases of qualified surgeons.
Look for the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) or the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS). In addition, the General Medical Council also maintains a specialist register for plastic surgeons. The leading plastic surgeon Gary L Ross is a member of all of these associations, so expect to see his name appear a lot, during your search.

The right experience
It is also important to look for a surgeon that has plenty of experience. Ideally, you want to find someone that has done the procedure you want done hundreds of times before. Therefore, if you are want breast enhancement or reduction surgery it makes sense to use the Association of Breast Surgeons (ABS) website to help you in your search.

Someone you can communicate with
Once you have narrowed down your options, and found a qualified and experienced surgeon you need to make an appointment. Before you visit the clinic, take the time to work out exactly what you want done. The clearer you are about what you want to achieve, the easier it will be for you to explain it properly.
If you do not feel comfortable while talking to your potential surgeon, it is usually best to continue your search. You are looking for someone that you feel listens to you, and clearly understands what you want.
A good surgeon will take the time to sit down with you and go through all of the options. He or she will be honest about what can be achieved, and explain the different procedures to you. They will explain the risks as well as the benefits, and give you a breakdown of the costs.

Practical considerations
When deciding which surgeon to use, you also need to think about practicalities. For example, how you will get to and from the clinic for the operation, and checkups. Opting to have plastic surgery done abroad is fine in theory, but if there were complications getting further treatment is likely to prove difficult.

Without a doubt, plastic surgery is not something you should rush into. It is important to bear in mind that the changes that will be made to your body are, for the most part, permanent. Of course, some of the procedures can be reversed, but this will be costly, and mean that you will have to undergo another operation. Therefore, it is wiser to take your time, do your research, find a good surgeon and be careful when deciding which procedure to have done.

25.10.16

Decorating Tips: Making Small Changes for a Big Impact

As someone who loves to shop, I'm always looking for an excuse to go out and purchase beautiful things, which is why I'm delighted that we have decided to do a little redecorating. The only thing I'm not too keen on is that my husband is insisting that we don't change too much while still trying to make an impact. As you can imagine, this suggestion was greeted with the disdain but after a while, the idea actually grew on me. Besides we don't really want to throw money at fads and décor when we intend to move in the next few years. The challenge of enhancing our home in simple, yet effective ways really appealed to me. I've already started my research and thought it would be handy to share some of my ideas with you, and maybe even get your opinion.

Give Your Rooms a Light Touch

Modifying the lights in a room can lead to a noticeable impact, whether its the installing a chandelier or a dropped light, or merely changing the lampshades on strategically placed lights. Dropped lighting over dining tables are exquisite as well as being practical. However, if you have small children, you may want to consider how low the lights can feasibly be without being pulled from the ceiling!



Dreamy Beds

Changing a single piece of furniture can change the look of a room and if you're fed up of the current decor, invest in the most spectacular bed you can afford. If its the children's rooms that are getting a make over, make a fun change and get bunk beds. When it comes to children, room decorating ideas need to be forward thinking. Even if you only have the one child, a bunk bed means that when they are ready to have sleepovers, your child's friend will have a comfortable place to sleep.

Go Door to Door

Replacing door handles throughout your home can add a touch of glamour without you needing to replace perfectly satisfactory doors. Again, you will need to consider the design to suit your family's needs, and if your eye has been caught by a beautiful, yet abstract and pointy handle, think about how impractical that would be in your home.

Switch it Up!

Have you ever looked at the switch plates surrounding the light switches? No? me neither! Imagine turning your switch plates into stand alone pieces of art. I was delighted to discover that there are all sorts of designs out there, to suit all tastes – even mine!

Tap into Design

Reclaimed taps, or modern designs are a beautiful addition to bathrooms and kitchens, so consider simply switching the taps to alter the theme of these rooms. Copper and nickel toned taps add a traditional touch to baths and sinks, while modern materials such as Chrome or stainless steel appeal to contemporary tastes.

Have you any more tips for styling your home without changing too much? It would be great to hear your ideas!

13.10.16

Memories of Growing Up

 When I was growing up, my mother used to measure my sister and I against a door frame to record our heights. As a London mum, my home feels quite transient, I know that our current home isn't forever so I've never been able to follow this tradition, until now. Memories of Growing Up, a local London brand founded by mum of three, Camilla Warren has just the solution. They have come up with Tall Tape- a roll-up height chart that is portable and can be passed on as a keep sake through generations. It's much easier to write on than a wooden door frame and it comes with it's own sharpie pen. Quite cleverly, Tall Tape could also be used flat on the floor to measure your baby, before they are able to stand up!



I'm all about creating and preserving memories for the children, they grow so fast and I try so hard to treasure every moment.  Memories of Growing Up also stock some gorgeous trinkets and keepsakes that would make amazing gifts to help us mamas preserve precious moments. One of my top picks has to be the beautifully designed memories USB stick and my absolute favourites - the bee design memories capsule necklace and charm bracelet. Both come with a teeny capsule that you could use to keep a lock of hair or a message close to you wherever you go.

www.memoriesofgrowingup.com

11.10.16

Keeping it Healthy

Today I've woken up inspired to make some changes. Since having children, I've never been able to loose the baby weight. The youngest baby is now three so I'm not sure I'm allowed to even call it baby weight any more. Either way, I feel like I'm deformed and I'd really like to do something about it so that I can wear the clothes that I want and be healthy role model for my children, especially my daughter. We have a big family event coming up in February, so i'm making it my goal to have lost weight by then and I feel that if I make things public on my blog then I have to follow through, right?



I've had enough false starts to be well aware that there is no easy way to loose weight. If I skip meals I find myself short tempered with the kids and often end up with a migraine which always makes me crave carbs afterwards so that definitely doesn't work. So for me I think that the some of the best ways to lose weight, through, cutting down the carbs, healthy eating, generally eating 'clean' i.e. reduce overall sugar intake. We don't really eat much in the way of processed foods anymore so that's not really an issue. Now that Rufio is in nursery in the mornings, the plan is to step up the gym sessions and then there's nothing like a yoga class for some indulgent 'me' time.

I've been reading The Louise Parker Method but honestly I haven't been following the plan meticulously so maybe now is the time to give this a proper go. The recipes are simply delicious and many of them actually feel quite decadent so you never really have the feeling that you're missing out on anything. I also love to follow Mel Wells on social media, she's all about inspiring us women to love and nourish our bodies rather than dieting. Finally I have my eye on the new cookbook from ' The Goodlife Eatery' which is packed full of healthy and clean recipes from my favourite local cafe, hopefully this will inspire delicious and nourishing meals for my whole family.

Finally, I promise to keep everyone posted on my progress....


5.10.16

JML Simply Straight Ceramic Hair Straightening Brush

I don't know about you, but recently my social media feeds have been inundated with sponsored videos of brands advertising ceramic straightening brushes. I'm always on a mission for something to tame my crazy hair and the results look amazing amazing but I'm always dubious about these ads, would the brush actually work in real life?

Ironically, a few weeks ago, I was invited to the launch of JML's Simply Straight ceramic brush at the super chic Me hotel on The Strand and I was really intrigued to see if this new gadget would work on my hair.  With breathtaking views of our city, we were treated to delicious cocktails and shown how to master the JML simply straight by award winning hairdressers, D&J Ambrose. 




There are two different temperature settings, 150 degrees and 185 degrees that you can choose. Ceramic hair straightens usually heat up to around 220 degrees so I like to think that this is slightly better for my hair. I also like how the ceramic bristles are protected at the front and sides by plastic parts, so there's less chance of burns. I love that it has an auto shut-off safety feature because I always  worry I've forgotten to switch mine off.


To style my hair, all I do is run the brush through, just as I would a regular hair brush.  If I want a more sleek look, I section off my hair, I hold on to the ends to create tension and pull the brush through slowly. The result is similar to that of straightening irons but I find it much quicker to use. What I love best though is that I still have plenty of volume at the roots instead of that flat atomic kitten look, circa 2003!


So the answer is yes, they absolutely do work a treat! If we're friends on Instagram then you're probably sick of hearing about how much I love my Simply Straight brush. I've been raving on about it on Instastories for weeks! It's so easy and quick too use and it's cut my hair styling time in to less than 5 minutes which is a godsend on school run mornings when literally Every.  Second. Counts!! If like me,  you're finding styling your hair a full time job then you NEED to check this out:
www.jmldirect.com

26.9.16

Year-Round Sporting Activities For Kids in London

Inspired by the Olympics last month, I have been thinking about sporting activities that my children can take part in all year round. My daughter will happily find something to entertain herself when she's at home but my son is a completely different story and I find myself constantly having to arrange activities to keep to stop him causing mischief. Here are some of our favourite year round sporting activities for children in London.



Trampolining
We're big fans of the trampoline parks that seem to be springing up all over the place. They provide hours of fun and are guaranteed to burn off tons of energy, yours included! Bouncing on a trampoline is the simplest thing and yet it's just so much fun for all ages.


Cricket
Inspired by our trip to the Oval last this summer my two are both really interested in cricket at the moment. Although it's often seen as a summer sport, there are plenty of indoor courses throughout the winter, whilst the kids are watching cricket, Dads could check out free cricket betting tips, cricket betting tips and CBTF on their phones whilst waiting.

Rugby
The boys on our house are rugby fanatics and when not playing Rugby they could happily watch it on TV all day long. Mr Jones has recently signed Rufio up to toddler rugby classes which they both really enjoy and it allows for some father son bonding time.

Ice Skating
We love all the outdoor ice rinks that spring up in the winter but thanks to indoor ice rinks, we can skate in London all year round. Skating is great fun and helps with balance and coordination.


Swimming
If you follow me on Instagram you'll know that we spent all summer long at the beach in Greece and my two little water babies had the time of their lives. Keen to maintain confidence that they have built up in the water and we've been taking them swimming every weekend. Swimming is such an important and potentially life saving skill for a child so do check out your local leisure centre kids swimming lessons.


Top Five Handbag Essentials No Girl Should Be Without

I always used to marvel at how well my mother prepared for everything. All those things that I seem to forget to take with me, she would always be able to produce from her handbag at any given moment. I remember her always having the right thing with her at the right time no matter what the occasion, from painkillers and an umbrella, to carrier bags and hair clips.
After growing up myself though, I’ve come up with my own list of handbag essentials for the modern-day woman…


  • Carrier bag… in a bag
This is an obvious one – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve needed a bag and not had one to hand. Whether you’re out shopping for the day and don’t want to be carrying multiple bags around with you, or you decide to pick up a few bits on the way home but have no way of carrying them back. These days, you can pick up canvas waterproof bags that are very hard-wearing, but equally convenient.
  • Medical supplies
I always keep specific medical items in my handbag, such as paracetamol and plasters. If you wear a new pair of shoes to work, you need to know that you have the tools for the job in case you start developing blisters. Similarly, if you get a bad strain of stomach cramps or headaches but you need to power through your next meeting, you have the peace of mind that you can top up your pain relief as and when you need it.
  • Mac in a Sac
These are a fantastic product, and do exactly what they say on the tin. Mac in a Sac make incredibly lightweight, unisex macs with a small bag attached, so that when you don’t need it any more you can scrunch it into its own little pouch and pop it in your handbag. Make sure you check out their full range of packaway jackets from macinasac.com, as they have some cute kid’s designs too if you have little ones – particularly handy if you get caught in the rain on the way home from the park.
  • Spare USBs
You’re on your way somewhere new, you have the directions in your phone or satnav, and then the unthinkable happens, you run out of battery! To avoid this kind of stress while you have screaming kids in the car, always keep a USB cable and USB port in your handbag for the cigarette lighter in your car. It will end up saving you from a lot of tight spots!
  • Make-up basics
 Aim to keep a spare foundation, powder and mascara in your handbag; my top tip here is to get sample bottles, or buy the pint-sized containers for airports, and refill them. This way, they won’t take up take up too much space, and whenever you’re running late for an important meeting, you’ll be able to give yourself that extra confidence boost when you get there.

What essentials do you keep in your handbag?

22.9.16

Introducing The Yummy's Club

Recently, I was introduced to Yummy's the brand new luxury members service which provides exclusive discounts to some of SW London's finest family friendly businesses. Yummies covers Fashion & Interiors, children's classes, bespoke party planners, nannies and tutors and of course my absolute favourite on treats for parents, i.e. spa discounts, woohoo! 



We're currently obsessed with kids fashion label Billieblush and I was really pleased to see that there's 20% off this brand from the Minimis website, when using your yummy's card. The other discounts that I would probably make the most use out of would be the the kids classes, I really like the look of Alice's Sushi Art, both my kids love sushi and cooking so this would be perfect for them. Also there's up to 50% discount on nannies, I'm thinking of going back to work soon so this would be super useful and money saved would easily cover the £50 membership fee to join Yummy's.

It's also great to see that Yummy's donates 5% of it's profits to Nakuru children's project, a charity that helps to feed and educate children in Kenya.


For 20% off very own exclusive Yummy's card, head on over to www.theyummysclub.com using the code mrsjones20

14.9.16

Garden Games

Here in London we're enjoying an incredible Indian summer, yesterday it was 33 degrees which my Father reliably informed me ( because he lives there) was hotter than Athens! We've had such a lovely warm summer this year and for once I don't feel at all short changed by the sunshine. What's more the children have had plenty of opportunities to make use of the fantastic outdoor games that Aldi very kindly sent us.


The overall favourite (deduced by the toy that causes the most arguments) has to be this remote control car. My three year old is obsessed with it! I didn't think that he would be able to steer it but he does, with ease! Definitely a winner!


The inline skates are a tiny bit so we haven't managed to try these yet. Given that my children are both super tall, I'm sure it won't be long until they fit. They are really great quality though and certain to provide hours and hours of fun.


Lastly we were sent this pitch pro baseball game which helps kids learn and practice batting, it's so much fun for the entire family.

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


Making Your Dining Room Family Dinner Friendly

How often do you eat dinner as a family? Research shows that a quarter of children regularly eat their evening meal in their bedroom with 78% of youngsters eating dinner while watching TV. This is of course in part due to the fact that many families have a daily routine that simply doesn’t allow everyone to gather together every evening.
If kids finish school at 3.30pm and either parent doesn't get through the front door until after 6pm or even later, it’s tricky to pin down a suitable time when you can all sit round the table. Then there’s the question of table space. Simply put, fewer homes are being built with dedicated dining rooms and those that are lucky enough to have one are not always accommodating enough to fit in a lot of furniture. If this sounds like your home, this post is for you, because today we’re looking at fixes to help make small dining rooms more family friendly!  


Colour

Does your dining room look a little too cosy? Rich, dark colours can have lead even larger spaces to look more confined, so if you’d like to use some interior trickery to make your dining room at least appear larger than it is, it’s time to reach for the paint pots and brushes and give things a refreshing lift. Paler, unfussy shades combined with clean lines can help a room to feel larger, though you don’t need to avoid colour completely. Colourful accessories and cut fresh flowers can add a welcome splash of colour and allow your room to be easily updated to match the occasion and the season. Whether you’re entertaining guests at a dinner party or sitting down for dinner on a Friday evening, dressing the room for the occasion can make things feel a lot more special.

Furniture and furnishings

Sometimes there’s just no getting round the fact you don’t have the square footage for the dining table of your dreams but that doesn’t mean you have to ditch the idea of family feasts completely. There are lots of clever furniture and furnishing combinations that can help you make best use of the space you’re working with, providing comfort and convenience to boot.
Extendable dining tables are the space saver’s friend, folding away to provide more floor area when not in use. So, if you tend to find your dining room doubles up as a play area or you use your dining room as a thoroughfare to the garden when you’re not eating, it could be your saving grace. Another option is to use dual-purpose dining furniture. If your dining room also happens to be used as a study, could you select a desk that could double up as a small dining table? Don’t dismiss small coves and corners, which can be used to house built in furniture that looks stylish and saves space. Could you build a dining booth complete with benches into an awkward corner or perhaps use the wall space for storage using floating shelves? Think about your seating arrangements too – stackable chairs can be put out of the way when not in use while benches can slot under tables and may even allow for built in storage too.

Dining tips

You might not always make it home in time to eat together, but setting aside at least one evening where you all sit around the table to talk through the week can actually make family life move more smoothly at other times. It may be that setting up a dining space for such an event is much more practical if done on a weekly basis too. Those pushed for space could consider spreading into other areas with the help of bi-fold doors to allow for outdoor dining or ease of movement between living room and dining areas. For external and internal folding door options, try the Vufold range – these can be fitted without a bottom track so that you don’t find yourself tripping over, dinner plates in hand. While you may want to place a ban on iPhones and iPads at the table, you could employ some old school gadgetry to help you serve things up more efficiently. For example, could a food or drinks trolley help you solve small table issues? Bar carts and trolleys are very much back in vogue and there’s no rule that says they can’t be used to serve up the kids’ milkshakes and desserts as well as martinis!

22.6.16

Kids for a Quid- Brilliant offer for T20 Cricket at the Oval

Right now all the school mums seem to be busying themselves with booking up summer activities  for their kids over the summer. I've held back a little, partly because not only are so many of the summer camps super expensive but it's lovely to be able to have the children around ( although I might not be saying that come August!) Well, Surrey County Cricket Club have got it spot on with their family friendly event.  Children can go to any of their NatWest T20 Blast matches for just £1. T20 is the explosive all action short form of cricket which has become hugely popular amongst younger audiences.





Children's tickets are in the family zone where Kia Oval ambassadors will be at hand to make sure that families get the most out of their day out. Alcohol is allowed for adults ( Mr Jones whoops with glee) but bad language is not tolerated ( guess it's just going to me me and the kids then). They have organised plenty of food outlets that will be serving fish n chips, gourmet burgers etc but you're also free to bring along picnics, there's also a sheltered concourse in case of rain.



There are also heaps of activities planned for the kids such as face painting, autographs with the players, free gifts and a chance for the children to play cricket against their parents.

The Kia Oval is one of the most iconic cricket grounds in the world and has been home to Surrey since 1845! They're going to be holding a few matches here over the summer and I have been warned that tickets sell out very fast!! For more info visit www.kiaoval.com

The remaining matches are

Saturday June 25: Surrey v Essex, 2pm


Friday July 8: Surrey v Somerset, 6.30pm


Friday July 22: Surrey vs Sussex, 6.30pm


Friday July 29: Surrey v Kent, 6.30pm

We can't wait, see you there!!


14.6.16

Afternoon Tea at the Conrad London St James

To celebrate the Queen's 90th birthday Sarah and I were invited to afternoon tea and royal etiquette class at the gorgeous five star luxury hotel, the Conrad London St James in St James' Park. The afternoon tea and etiquette class are both part of the Fans of London campaign, launched by Hilton, British Airways and London & Partners. 


As part of the royal experience, we were taken through an A-Z lesson on the ideal etiquette for an afternoon tea with the queen with etiquette expert William Hanson. William is a trusted authority on all matters of etiquette, manners and good taste who has worked within royal households and you would no doubt recognise him from his regular appearances in the media.


William presented the rules of etiquette to us which was very informative and interesting, he believes that good manners are not just part of a bygone age but are in fact timeless. He strives to make them accessible and comprehensive to everyone and this really came across during our class in the down to earth and humorous way in which he explained the origins of etiquette.


After the class it was time to enjoy our delicious tea. The theme was English county garden and we enjoyed delicious savoury pea and feta purees and salmon blinis.


Followed by an exquisite array of sweet treats. I loved the rose canapés made from apples and the butterflies. Even the soil in the pot was edible and made from chocolate!!





The Royal etiquette class followed by afternoon tea will run until July, and can be booked directly by contacting Conrad London St James on tea@conradstjames.com or 020 3301 1400


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