Autumn Neutrals

Autumn has officially arrived but I'm not quite ready to dig out my dark winter clothes, Ecru, pale grey, taupe, fawn and rose gold hues are all on my autumn wish list.  I love wearing neutrals at this time of year to help, they help bring out what is left of my summer tan, showing off tanned shoulders with the cut out Merino Wool sweater from All Saints.

I am seriously coveting the Mansur Gavriel Bucket bag below, I feel like we're just about growing out of nappy bags now ( thankfully) but still in need of something large and chic to tote around all our toddler paraphernalia.  Loving the taupe tux slip ons from my favourite ever shop- Anthropologie- too!!

Ooooh and not forgetting the gorgeous 5-free Nail Polish from Nailberry in Almond ( helps hide the chippage too, shhhhh!!)

Autumn Neutrals


Case App iPhone 6

You know me, I'm a complete sucker for anything personalised so I am totally in love with this custom iPhone 6 case sent to me by Case App which I designed myself. I have chosen some of my favourite recent photos of E & Rufio combined with a drawing that E did of us as a family. She also helped me chose some cute little doodles from the clip art section of the Case App website. 

I treasure all the artwork that E brings us home from school but I never really know what to do with all her pictures because they just take up so much room! So, I think this is a really sweet way to preserve her drawings and have them with me at all times. I actually regret not using her drawings for the entire case, Case App actually do some really great Macbook Pro skins so maybe I'll create one using E's art. 

How do you display your little one's artwork without cluttering your home?

P.S. Follow me on Instagram for more photos!!

*The custom iPhone case was sent to me by www.caseapp.co.uk for review 


Is Four Too Young To Start School?

Earlier this month, just like pretty much every other mama of a four year old here in the UK, I took my little girl to 'Big School' for the first time. No doubt, just like everyone else I held back the tears as I said good bye and then sat in the car wondering where the hell the time has gone. It seems like only a few months ago that we brought her home as a baby from the hospital. I suppose the thing that bothers me the most is that just less than a month ago, my girlie was still 3! She is a summer baby so naturally there will be September born children in her class who will by turning 5 this month, they are a whole year older than her!! That's an entire year more to develop, learn skills at Kindergarten, make friends, explore... the list goes on. Tearing her away from all her friends at nursery school who were staying on another year was just heartbreaking and she cried herself to sleep on the last day.

E is a smart little girl and her Kindergarten teach assured me that she is more than ready to go to school and perfectly capable of keeping up with the other children in her year. However, a my motherly instincts kick in I think- why should she have to keep up with children a year older than her? What about those summer born children who late bloomers? It's a well known fact that summer children tend not to do as well at school as their older peers so surely they should all be allowed to develop at their own pace?

From a selfish point of view, I will miss spending the afternoons with her, accompanying her to play dates and exploring London. Kindergarten was only until midday so we still had plenty of time to hang out together. It seems tough to send someone so young to school for 8 hours a day, five days a week, by the end of the first whole week she was exhausted and run down! Equally selfishly and from a superficial stand point, I hate putting her in a stuffy old school uniform. I loved choosing outfits for her each day that were comfy and appropriate for whatever activity we had planned and now her wardrobe has remained untouched except for at weekends! Thinking forward to the future, E will finish school at 17 and no doubt she'll probably want to head off to university with her friends so she will leave home a year earlier than some. That's a year less I get to spend with my baby and I know it's way off but the thought makes me really sad.

We're the only country in Europe to impose such a young age for compulsory schooling, with some countries such as Sweden delaying formal schooling until age 7. Research has shown that education levels in countries where children start school later are equally as good if not better than here in the UK. I've seen this first hand having had quite an international upbringing myself, my friends in Greece who would have started school at six, left school with equally if not better educated that me.

So why do we insist on educating children from such a young age in this country? Well I guess from an economic aspect it makes sense. If more children are in full time education then it creates jobs for teachers and brings in tax revenues. Also from the point of view of the mothers, who would now be free to return to work and contribute to the economy.

So far, I have to say that E seems to be really enjoying herself, she is happy, her confidence has grown tremendously in only a week and people have commented on this! She has already made friends and is very buzzy and eager to tell us everything that she has done during the day. That said If I had the choice to not send her to school and keep her in Kindergarten for an extra year then I would jump at the chance. I believe that it's awfully unfair to send summer born children to school at the same time as those almost a year older and it feels as though she's been robbed of a year in nursery school! Just a few days ago there was once again a call to increasing the compulsory schooling age which is of course no good  for E but I wonder if anything will have changed by the time Rufio (who is also a summer baby) goes to school in two years time?

What about you, do you have a summer born child and how have they coped with school so far?

Top Tiki Bars in London

Autumn is on it's way but that doesn't mean we have to say goodbye for to Summer just yet. You can pretend you're sipping cocktails in the South Pacific and you don't even need to step on a plane, thanks to all the Tiki bars that have popped up all over town. Enjoy brightly coloured rum based cocktails, complete with a paper umbrella of course and take in the kitsch tropical inspired decor without even leaving London!

If you wish to experience the delights Hawaii wherever you are then head over to Bingo Extra , the mobile bingo site, where you will find Aloha Island. Aloha translates as hello or goodbye in Hawaiian and Aloha Island is a tropical themed slot game which uses symbols such as an oyster in a pearl, a blue parrot and tropical fish, the final touch is the amazing view of the lagoon along side the coconut trees/ let the beautiful part guide you to the wins which you take a spin on Aloha Island Slots at Bingo Extra.

For a tour of Polynesian cocktails and delicacies here in London, start with the uber cool Maliki on Dover Street, home of the infamous treasure chest cocktail- a brandy based drink for 8 people served in an real treasure chest and topped with champagne.

Head on down Piccadilly and stroll towards Hyde Park where you'll find Trader Vic's in the Hilton on Park Lane. Trader Vic's is one of the original London Tiki bars that has been around for over 50 years and has recently been remodelled!

Hop on the tube or a bus towards Portobello Road in Notting Hill, there along side all the amazing vintage shops and high end boutiques, you'll find Trailer Happiness- an intimate bar with a Tiki Twist. These are just a few of they Polynesian themed bars that London has to offer but there are so many more quirky and wonderful Tiki Bars to explore!



Super Healthy Chocolate Milkshake

Since I blogged about my mission to clean up our lifestyle as a family, I have been making a conscious effort for us all to eat better. We try to avoid processed foods and anything too sugary, although we have had the occasional ice cream treat over the summer holidays! 

One added bonus from 'eating clean' is that many of the recipes are plant based or vegan and are often a clever way to disguise greens and healthy foods from my children ( Cauliflower Pizza anyone?). My discerning food connoisseurs can usually sniff out a veggie from a mile away but they have yet to discover that the chocolate milkshake recipe below actually contains avocado!! I use avocado to help thicken the milkshake and it is also packed full of healthy fats and goodness, genius!! I also add organic Cacao ( not cocoa!) powder to make it chocolatey but you can skip this and have plain banana flavour if you prefer. However, the Cacao powder is also a source of magnesium, iron and antioxidants. That combined with the potassium from the bananas and vitamin E from the almond milk means that this chocolate milkshake pretty much guilt free!! 

Recipe ( serves 2):

2 medium sized Bananas
1/2 a ripe avocado
2- 3 teaspoons of organic raw Cacao powder
250 mls of unsweetened almond milk ( you can use cow's milk if you prefer!)
6 Ice Cubes

Throw it all in the blender and whizz away until you get a smooth but thick and creamy consistency, et voila! Pour it all in to a glass, add a straw and enjoy the goodness!

p.s. follow my Instagram feed for more healthy treats and our adventures in London.


Cricket Coaching at Lord's - MCC Mini Maestros Review

So my oldest has just started 'Big School' ( but that's another post) Over the summer, I had 8 weeks to keep her and her little brother entertained and out of trouble, hence my blogging hiatus over the last couple of months. Visiting Lord's cricket ground for a 2 day summer course was certainly one of the most exciting activities that we did over the summer!

MCC invited E to attend their Mini Maestro course, which is geared towards 4-5 year olds. Mini Maestros helps develop hand-eye coordination and key cricket skills through exciting and educational sessions. The course takes places in the training centre within the grounds of Lord's, we drove and fortunately there was plenty of availability to park that day.  E was super excited to attend, Mr Jones is a cricket fan and I had told her how much I had enjoyed learning cricket at school so she was eager to learn to play herself.

 However, as is often the case with children, I think the excitement often gets the better of them. When we arrived on day 1 she decided that she didn't want to join in. We sat on the side and watched the other children having heaps of fun,  the instructors were very encouraging and finally she decided to give it a go. The first half of the session was teaching the children various skills such as throwing underarm, through fun and games, using brightly coloured props and markers. After the break, the children actually got to play kiddie cricket, a simplified version of the game itself using cricket balls and giant foam balls on day 2.

That afternoon, I had a little chat with E about going again the next day and she said she'd like to try join in a little more. The next day however, she totally refused to join in! Her excuse was that there weren't enough girls in the class ( there were a few but yes it was mainly boys!) Again the instructors tried to get her to take part but she wouldn't budge. So my advice is, if your child can be shy around new people then perhaps arrange to attend the course with a friend or a sibling to keep them company.

Despite E's reluctance to join in, my two year old, Rufio, was desperate to join in and gazed longingly at the other children through the nets, when he wasn't trying to make a run for it in to the class! We'll definitely be back to try this out again when he is a little bit older.


Courses run from age 3-17, check out  www.lords.org for more information.

© Mrs Jones London . Design by Fearne.