February 2013 | Modern Mummy

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Time to Start on the Garden!

APPARENTLY Spring is just around the corner. Rumour has it that temperatures are going to be on the increase from end of next week, although I'm not entirely sure I believe them.

I hope so though because the time has come for us to get cracking on our garden at the Cottage.

Since we moved in it has basically been a builders yard. Everything has been dumped out there (sorry to my neighbours for the horrific view!). But a trip to the tip has been penciled in for this weekend which means that it is most definitely time to start making plans, even if the mild weather isn't going to hit us for a while yet.

So. My garden. 

The Cottage is in a terrace of four houses so our plot is quite skinny, maybe 18 feet across. But the garden is long - at least 100 feet - which means we have a lot of space to play with. On leaving the kitchen you have a flat, concrete area, with some quite well established plants. Then you have a brick wall and brick staircase leading up to the lawn, which is on a slope. At the back of the garden are some huge pine trees which give us some privacy from the houses up the hill.

There is a lot that can be done but our plan for now is to concentrate on making the garden useable this Summer.

We're going to move some of the established plants if we can and create a patio (complete with pizza oven) directly at the rear of our house. The lawn will stay as is for now, but a picket fence (or similar) will be put up at the top of the stairs to stop small people taking a tumble. Inbetween the fence and the edge of the wall is going to be our vegetable plot, but thats a project for next year!

At the back we are planning on building a summer house and wooden play/tree house on decking.

Once I've cracked the whip and got Himself to do all the hard graft over the coming weeks it will be time for me to make everything pretty and I can't wait! We already have our garden furniture, which is rattan with a glass table top and cushioned arm chairs, and I've been looking at garden lighting that will compliment it - plus, of course, the girls will need some fun outdoor toys.

It's been such a long winter this year but the sun will be out soon. I can't wait!


This is a commissioned guest post.



Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Ruby and GINGER Giveaway: The Winner!


What an absolutely fabulous response to the Ruby and GINGER giveaway! Thank you to everyone that took part!

Rafflecopter has now worked its magic and the winner of the super stylish 'All Wrapped Up' set is.......

{drumroll please}

Vicky, please can you contact me with your address details so that I can arrange for Ruby and GINGER to send you your prize. Well done! :) 
If you haven't won, then all is not lost because Ruby and GINGER are very kindly offering all Modern Mummy readers a 10% discount on their products! Just enter the code MODMUM at checkout. Happy shopping! xoxox

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Barefoot Running

Once upon a time, many moons ago, I used to run. 

Yes you heard that correctly. I. Used. To. Go. Running. Proper running, in proper sports gear, covering long distances in reasonable times. I ran a huge number of 10ks, a fair few 10-milers and even took part in the Great North and South Runs for three years running.

That was pre-children of course. When I actually had time to myself. Going for a run was my favourite way to de-stress after a hard day at the office and, if I could drag my sorry arse off the sofa, a sure fire way to get rid of a hangover.

As a mum of two I don't get much time to myself. Mostly I don't mind, I love my two little monkeys to pieces. But I'm sure all you parents out there will agree that sometimes a little bit of me time wouldn't go amiss.

Which was why, a couple of months ago, I decided I would try running again. In fact I was DESPERATE to go running again. All of a sudden I just needed to do it.

All psyched up and ready to go, my Twitter friend Laurie (check out her brilliant blog here, it's one of my faves) inspired me to try something a little bit different.

Barefoot running.

Not quite what you're thinking, but pretty close.

Do you remember how running was always part of the games we played as children? It was fun! Running barefoot on the beach, around the house, in the garden. It was effortless, and being out of breath was something to laugh and smile about. You didn't need trainers or running shoes.

I wanted to feel like that again. I wanted to run and get fit and think and listen to music louder than I should on my iPod. And I wanted to enjoy myself.

So on Laurie's recommendation I got myself some of these bad boys. Vibram Fivefingers. Strange looking running 'shoes' that look, and feel, like gloves for your feet. Which is exactly what they are, I guess.

The science behind them is that they enable you to move in a more natural way, whilst simulating foot and leg muscles and improving posture. I'm still reading up about them but that's the long and short of it.

They're a bit difficult to get on at first but once you've got over that it genuinely does feel as if you're barefoot. The upper parts are a bit like a sock, they stretch over your feet and are held in place with a velcro strap - and then there is still a sole which offers you protection and grip.

I've had my Vibrams for a month and am already head over heels in love with them. I find running in them so easy, and I definitely didn't feel as if I needed to time adapt to a new way of running like lots of users said I might. (It had been almost four years since I'd last run though, which may have made the transition easier).

It has been freezing outside and most (sensible) people have swapped pounding the streets in their running shoes for staying indoors in their slippers. But not me! I keep finding myself desperate to get out there. 

I think a key factor is that this time I really am running for fun. No set distance to cover, no personal bests to try and beat. I'm just getting myself out there and going for it. No stop watches, not training for an upcoming event. And the feeling of freedom my Vibrams give me just adds to the enjoyment. It's still early days but I think I'm a convert. I'll keep you posted on how I'm getting on.


I would like to thank the lovely people at sportsshoes.com for sending me my Vibrams - they really have changed my life! You can view their entire collection of running shoes here.

Friday, 22 February 2013

The Tommee Tippee Big Reveal!

Today saw the launch of a brand new Tommee Tippee product - and I was one of the lucky few invited to the Big Reveal! Night feeds will honestly NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN.

Introducing the Tommee Tippee perfect prep machine.

Formula feeding mamas will all agree that making up bottles isn't always straightforward. Current guidelines recommend that each feed is made up as its needed, using water that has been heated to above 70c to kill any bacteria that may be present in the powder. The formula should then be served to your baby at room temperature. 

This involves boiling the kettle, leaving it to cool for twenty(ish) minutes, making up the feed, then letting it cool further (to room temperature) before feeding time can start.... a pretty lengthy process, and one which is particularly stressful in the middle of the night when your baby is hungry and you are tired.

Which is why every mama out there  NEEDS a perfect prep machine!

This super clever gadget makes a fresh bottle at exactly the right temperature in less than two minutes! Within that time it filters your tap water, delivers a small 'hot shot' of boiling water into the bottle to kill any bacteria in the formula (and ensuring the formula dissolves completely in the process) and then dispenses the correct amount of water to make up the feed. Pretty impressive, non?

At the demonstration today I couldn't help but think how perfect this would be for the nightfeeds when you need to feed your baby quickly and quietly so that you can both go back to sleep without fuss! You could even keep it in your bedroom at night to avoid having to go downstairs in the cold and turn lights on etc etc.

The perfect prep machine is part of the Closer to Nature range from Tommee Tippee (which I use and love!) but is designed to fit most bottle shapes and sizes.

Those of you heading to The Baby Show this weekend will be able to see the machine in action at demos held throughout the day at the Tommee Tippee feeding area, just behind the Tommee Tippee stand.

It will be available from Amazon and Babies R Us from the beginning of May but you can pre-order yours now. It is priced at £99.99 but readers of Modern Mummy have been offered a fantastic 33% off pre-orders through Amazon - just use the code 9DIC8VIU at the check out. Expires 3rd March 2013.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Ruby and GINGER - A Review & Giveaway!

I recently discovered a fabulous company called Ruby and GINGER. They appeared in my Twitter timeline one day, just as I was searching for a product that they happen to make. As far as I was concerned it was fate and, after clicking onto their website, a love affair began!

They sell a selection of super innovative baby items for families on the move, including changing purses, children's rucksacks and car seat covers. Not only are they really practical, they are also BEAUTIFUL and very affordable to boot! Needless to say I was dead chuffed when they offered to send me a parcel of goodies to review.


I was sent an 'All Wrapped Up' gift set as well as a toy tie (the product I was searching for!) and both are fabulous. 

The gift set is made up of a hooded baby towel and nappy purse (a matching changing mat is also available) and comes in a choice of three water and dirt resistant Ruby and GINGER fabrics. It would make a perfect present for a new mum or mum-to-be; it's a bargain at only £25.00, and comes beautifully presented, tied up with ribbon and wrapped in tissue paper.

The hooded towel is PERFECT. I had previously been using some from Mothercare but they were pretty tiny and didn't wash well. The Ruby and GINGER ones are a lovely big size, and made from 100% extra soft cotton. They are also available on their own (not in a gift set) here for £14.00 each.

I was so excited to be sent one of their signature changing purses. Having one has revolutionised my life and enabled me to take my beloved Mulberry Bayswater out again! They are super handy and extremely stylish too. In them you can fit three nappies and nappy sacks and they come with a small plastic wallet to hold wipes. There is also a pocket for a debit card and lipstick which means that the bag can be taken out on its own if you want to travel light, as well as being perfect for slipping into your regular handbag.

Then of course there is my beloved toy tie. My new favourite mummy gadget! Made from a choice of the three Ruby and GINGER fabrics, this simple idea enables you to take your child's favourite toy out and about with you, without having to worry about it being dropped or getting lost! It was spot on for what I had in mind for it - keeping Evie's rattle to hand when she is in her car seat. It has fallen / been thrown out of the seat on more than one occasion - this now means it can never go far! It is also perfect for attaching toys to her Stokke and pushchair and at only £5.00 is SO reasonable.

I'm very excited to be able to host this giveaway. Up for grabs is one of Ruby and GINGER's super handy and extremely stylish 'All Wrapped Up' sets as reviewed above, worth £25.00 and the winner can choose which fabric they would like their set to come in.

Entry is via the Rafflecopter widget below* and there are six ways to take part (which means a grand total of six entries per person!). You can leave a comment below, follow me and Ruby and Ginger on Twitter, like us both on Facebook and tweet about the competition too. The competition closes at midnight on 26th February 2013 and the winner will be announced on here, on Facebook and on Twitter on 27th February. This competition is open to UK residents only.

Good luck! xoxox 

*The giveaway starts at 12.01am on 20th February 2013.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ThePrizeFinder - UK Competitions

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Funky Giraffe Bibs - A Review

At three months old I do believe my poor littlest piglet has started teething. Cue the rosy cheeks, the ear pulling, the runny nappies, the constant chewing of hands and the dribbling that can only be cured with mummy cuddles (and perhaps a little bit of bonjela).

One thing I found absolutely essential when going through teething with Daisy was to have a constant supply of bibs to hand to stop the dribble causing rashes and so that she didn't have to go through hundreds of outfit changes every day. I bought a stash of plain white terry towelling ones from Mothercare and hated them even before I got them home! A few washes and they were grey and old looking, and as soon as we started weaning they all turned orange and ended up in the recycling!

This time round I was on the look out for something a bit more stylish. I recently tweeted a request for cool bib companies and Funky Giraffe's name came up LOADS. A quick click onto their website and I instantly new why - fashionable, affordable, comfortable, practical and ethical bandana style bibs. What was not to love?! I placed an order for five straight away.

They arrived just 36hrs later, which I was majorly impressed by, and the quality was fabulous. Made from soft, brushed cotton with a fleecy backing and popper fastenings, these awesome bibs are not only clothes and skin protectors, they are fashion must haves! 

I was delighted when they approached me and offered Evie some more in exchange for a review.

As you can see, my little style icon has amassed a pretty impressive collection now, and she is complimented on them wherever we go! 

The range available is phenomenal - there are literally hundreds to choose from - and prices start at £4.00 each. The best bit is that the more you purchase, the more money you save. 
1x bandana is £4.00 inc P&P
5x bandanas are £11.00 inc P&P (a saving of £9.00)
10x bandanas are £20.50 inc P&P (a saving of £19.50)

Now there's a good incentive to do some serious shopping this weekend!

Take a look at the Funky Giraffe website here.
They are also on Twitter (here) and Facebook (here).

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Red Juice for Valentine's Day

In honour of St Valentine's day I thought I'd treat myself to a red juice this afternoon!

I juiced: 2x apples | 2x pears | 1x beetroot | 1x handful spinach | 1/2x cucumber

It was divine, and super good for me to boot! Happy Valentine's Day everyone xoxox


World Book Day

Three weeks today is WORLD BOOK DAY - a huge charity event where children all over the world get together to celebrate just how brilliant books are. 

The aim is for children of all ages to share their love of reading and discover new authors and illustrators and stories in the process, and every child receives a book token so that they can go and buy a brand new book to read and enjoy too!

Over the past sixteen years (that's how long World Book Day has been going!) lots of nurseries and schools have also encouraged children to come dressed as their favourite book character. Daisy's nursery is no exception, and this year she has decided that she would like to dress up as Rapunzel!

..... Introducing our trusty friends at Jokers Masquerade

Being massive fancy dress fans, we have had lots of dealings with these chaps before and they very kindly sent madam her very own Rapunzel costume for the occasion.

The Disney Child Deluxe Rapunzel Costume consists of a long pink and purple dress with a floral pattern on the skirt, an attached character brooch and a gold braid and white lace trim. A looooooong blonde hair braid adorned with flowers is also included in the set.

Like all of the Disney princess fancy dress outfits, the material isn't luxurious but it is hard wearing and, being polyester, is wipe clean too (MAJOR selling point!). We opted for a size small (age 3-4 years - Daisy is a tall and skinny three year old) and it's pretty perfect. It fits fine now but there is definitely a bit of growing room!

Check out Jokers Masquerade's full range of World Book Day costumes here - there is a huuuuuuge amount to choose from, at prices for every budget, plus delivery options to suit the well organised mama and the last minute one too!

What are your children's favourite books and which characters are they dressing up as for World Book Day?


saxfordhawkins Giveaway - The Winner!

Thank you to everyone that took part in my saxfordhawkins giveaway! I am completely and utterly blown away by the response - you all obviously have exceedingly good taste in jewellery!

Rafflecopter has now worked its magic and the winner of this beautiful necklace, worth £95.00, is.......

{drumroll please}

Sally, please can you contact me with your address details so that I can arrange to send your prize to you. Well done! :) 

Happy Valentine's Day everyone xoxox

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Giving Up Supermarkets for Lent

Tomorrow is the first day of Lent and people across the world are giving up chocolate, booze and lots of other vices for forty days and forty nights.

I've decided to do something different this year. I've decided to give up supermarkets.

I'm incredibly passionate about supporting small and local businesses and I like to buy (and eat!) locally produced food whenever possible. The recent horse meat scandal has left me feeling incredibly relieved that I cook from scratch and know where my meat and fresh produce has come from. It has also made me want to try and encourage as many people as possible to do the same.

I've blogged about why I think it's so important to shop and eat local before - you can see that post here. This post is all about showing you that shopping local doesn't have to be more expensive or less convenient than shopping in a supermarket - these are the two main reasons people aren't prepared to do it! It just requires a bit more organisation and a lot less waste. 

Daisy at our local fruiterers

I find that greengrocers and markets are generally cheaper. Some artisan shops are more expensive than supermarkets, yes. But their prices aren't going to go down until we start shopping in them and others start opening, resulting in a little friendly competition. I appreciate that some people struggle financially, and I am by no means wealthy, but when it comes to the food we buy, it's all about priorities. I personally would rather pay a little bit more for locally reared meat (no horse!) and freshly baked bread that isn't pumped full of preservatives and additives to make it last seven days when it should only last a couple. I also want to keep my money within my local community whenever possible - and definitely within Britain. I can't understand why people would rather buy imported products that are readily available within the UK, putting British farmers out of business in the process, especially when the same people will happily pay 70p for a bottle of mineral water but think 70p is extortionate for a pint of milk!

We live in a throw away society - everything is available to us at such cheap prices that nothing is appreciated and nobody bats an eyelid at throwing things away. I really think that shopping locally and reducing food waste go hand in hand. You can read my guide to reducing food waste here

So for the next few weeks I am going to boycott the fat cats altogether and buy all my fresh produce from shops on my local high street. Why don't you give it a go?

My advice for shopping locally successfully is to be frugal, buy only what you need and then make the most of what you buy!

Shop Local. Eat Local. Live Local.

HelloCanvas - A Review

HelloCanvas recently approached me and asked whether I would like to review their photo canvases. "Send us your best photo," they said. "One which you think we can not match the quality."  

Of course I jumped at the chance, and seeing as Daisy and Evie had recently had a photo shoot with the brilliant Steph from SJS Photography (I'll be blogging all about it later in the week) I knew the exact photograph I wanted to use.

This one!

 SJS Photography ©

I just love it. Everything about it. I love that they're both smiling, and looking at eachother and holding hands (whilst wearing matching tops.... bad mama!). It's just so beautiful and so natural. Siiiiigh.

I really like the idea of having a photo wall in our hallway at the Cottage. I have had visions of a huge black and white professional photo of the girls, surrounded by lots of smaller, colour ones taken by me - so this offer of a review came at a pretty perfect time for me to get things started!

HelloCanvas are the largest canvas prints website in the United Kingdom and throughout Europe. They are also the cheapest! I've had quite a few canvases printed in the past so can happily confirm this - prices start at just £13 for an 8x8 inch canvas - and these are perfect for printing your favourite Instagram photos onto!

Delivery is guaranteed within three working days on items ordered before 2pm and shipping is free. The canvases are ready to hang and there is a money back guarantee if you aren't entirely happy with the finished product.

The only rule is that your photo should be a minimum size of 250 KB. (You can see the size of your photo by moving your mouse over the photo and selecting the right mouse button. Under properties you can see the size). If you have any doubts about the quality of your photo you can send it to the team by email and they will check it for you - what fabulous customer service!

My canvas arrived today and I LOVE it. I had it cropped into a 24x24inch square to match the other photos I plan to have printed. The quality is outstanding - the canvas is 100% cotton and stretched onto a very sturdy frame, 1.2 inches deep. HelloCanvas use the most advanced printing techniques around and the ink used is UV resistant so won't fade in the sun. You can see every tiny detail so, so clearly. It's wonderful. I couldn't wait to put it up, and now I can't wait to add to it with more photos of my own!

What do you think? 

I love photographs so much and in this digital age they aren't printed out nearly as often as they should be. If you have a favourite photo, why not have it printed onto canvas? Take a look at the HelloCanvas website here. With prices ranging from £13 to £99, there is something for every pocket. HelloCanvas are also on Facebook here and Twitter here.

They have also very kindly given readers of Modern Mummy an exclusive 5% discount code (which has no expiration date and can be used in conjuction with other promotions) for use on any orders. The code is: LBMAR2012. Enjoy!


Thursday, 7 February 2013

Bye Bye High Heels

This week I have had to come to terms with something. I knew it would happen one day, although I didn't expect it to be so soon. I'm only 32 29 for god's sake! But yes. It has happened. Already. It's official.

I can no longer wear high heels.


Before I got pregnant with Daisy, I was one of those women that had to wear them. I mean I really did. I physically couldn't walk in flats - they made my feet ache and I'd trip up over myself. In heels I could power walk through Mayfair like no-one's business (which was handy because I was late for my meetings 95% of the time). Four inch killer heels were a standard part of my daily attire.

When I found out I was expecting, I didn't stop wearing them immediately. In fact I carried on wearing my beloved heels until I was 7 months gone and started suffering from SPD. Even then I would still wear them to my meetings and would wear trainers for the walk to and from the tube and bare feet in the office. I thought flats made my calves look chunky, there was no way on earth I'd give in and start wearing them. Just because I was going to become a mother imminently, that was no reason to start dressing like one!

Fast forward three years and now, as a mother of two under three, I wonder how I ever managed to get the bloody things on, let alone walk in them! On a rare night out over Christmas I donned a relatively demure pair (only 2.5inchers - ones that were well worn in and 'comfortable' and had chunky heels too) and an hour into the evening I felt like my feet were BLEEDING. I spent most of the night sat down with my shoes kicked off. Most unlike me. This mama likes to DANCE!

I've tried a few different pairs of flats over the past few years but have never found a brand or style I liked. They have always pinched or I've had to cling on to them with my toes whilst I walk so they don't slip off. Or they've just been plain ugly! Plus there's always been the achey arch of my foot that has made me prefer heels to pumps in the past. I've spent a fortune trying out different varieties from different shops to no avail.

I bet you can imagine how over the moon I was to discover a pair of flat shoes that are stylish, comfortable AND affordable!

Introducing SHOEtherapy!

Quite possibly the most amazing shoes I have ever worn. And being a self confessed shoe addict, I have worn a fair few pairs.

These ballerina pumps and loafers have been clinically tested (after ten years of medical research, no less!) to correct your body posture, relieve back and joint pains and stimulate tired and aching legs.

Not only are they completely and utterly BEAUtiful, check out the uber innovative design!

I can honestly say that I was SO excited waiting for these to arrive and can confirm that they are the very first pair of flats that have got me all a-fluster. It's easy to see why though, eh? I opted for the purple leopard print ballerina shoes which are made and lined in top quality leather. I thought these would make perfect all rounders - smart with a work suit or party dress, or casual with leggings or skinny jeans. I needn't have worried about them working with every outfit though as I fully intend to purchase another couple of pairs, I adore them that much. No one would ever think that these gorgeous shoes are designed to better your health!

I have been wearing mine ever since their arrival. They are super comfortable and super supportive - I even wore them on a 5.5km round trip doing the school run and walking into town.

SHOEtherapy are available from Seraphine. There are heaps of styles to choose from and range in price from £65 to £85. If you are pregnant (these shoes are actually recommended during pregnancy), or running around after small children on a daily basis, and want some shoes that work hard to support your body but don't want to compromise on style then these beauties are most definitely for you. 


DISCLAIMER: I was given a pair of SHOEtherapy shoes in exchange for this review.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

saxfordhawkins Jewellery - A Giveaway!

With Valentine's Day and Mother's Day fast approaching, it's time for us ladies to start dropping a few hints to our loved ones! One gift I would absolutely l-o-v-e to receive is a handmade and personalised piece of jewellery from saxfordhawkins.

Sophie Axford-Hawkins is a bespoke jeweller who specialises in reworking vintage stones and antique pieces. She has a background in sculpture and fine art and uses exciting and innovative techniques alongside traditional craft skills when designing and creating her pieces.

Each piece of jewellery she creates is as individual, unique and as special as possible... I am totally in love with the idea that she is able to breathe new life into old, treasured items. Perhaps you have a pair of pearl earrings that used to belong to your grandmother that you are unlikely to wear as they are? Why not have Sophie transform them into a pendant perhaps, or something that is much more 'you'? 

Take a look at her gallery for some inspiration! If you are interested in commissioning a piece of jewellery of your own you can contact Sophie here. She will liaise closely with you to find out your exact requirements and you can rest assured that the finished composition will be both one of a kind and utterly exquisite.

As you've probably guessed, I am VERY excited to be hosting this giveaway! Up for grabs is this absolutely stunning saxfordhawkins necklace, worth £95, which has been handmade by Sophie using a selection of pearls, crystals, semi precious stones and glass beads. It is absolutely divine; a real statement piece that is superbly made and would make any outfit!

Entry is via the Rafflecopter widget below* and there are six ways to take part (which means a grand total of six entries per person!). You can leave a comment below, follow me and saxfordhawkins on Twitter, like us both on Facebook and tweet about the competition too. The competition closes at midnight on 13th February 2013 and the winner will be announced on here, on Facebook and on Twitter on 14th February. This competition is open to UK residents only.

Good luck! xoxox 

*The giveaway starts at 12.01am on 7th February 2013.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ThePrizeFinder - UK Competitions

The MADs 2013

MAD Blog Awards

Wow! I have been nominated for no less than FOUR MAD Blog Awards and I am completely and utterly chuffed to bits. Thank you so much to those of you that nominated me, I can't tell you how happy you've made me!

The categories I've been nominated in are Fashion & Beauty, Pregnancy, Family Fun, and Food - plus I'm a contender for the amazing Blog of the Year Award too.

If you haven't yet nominated, make sure you do. There are so many brilliant bloggers out there worthy of winning one of these awards. I've made my nominations and you can submit your votes here

Blogs that are nominated get whittled down to a shortlist of just five after nominations close on at midnight on 18th February. The four bloggers with the most nominations are automatically shortlisted, plus the judging panel get to choose one too!

*whispers* I'm not one to make public pleas but if you are a regular reader of Modern Mummy and think I deserve to be shortlisted then it would be very, very lovely if you could nominate me in one of the categories above. There will be big sloppy kisses and slices of chocolate cake {both of the virtual variety} for anyone that does!



Shop Local, Eat Local

Last weekend I visited Haslemere's farmers market for the first time. 

I'm a big believer in both shopping locally and eating food produced locally. Farmer's markets are a great way of combining the two!

There are loads of reasons for shopping and eating locally. These are mine:

The main reason for my shopping locally is to support and get to know my local community. Plain and simple. I can't tell you how much I enjoy getting to know my neighbours; the people who live and work nearby. It makes a walk into town so lovely, when you can stop and chat to people you know! 

Smaller shops are much more interested in looking after their customers and stocking products that they want and need. Smaller, specialist shops are also able to stock a much wider variety of products giving you, the customer, much more choice.

Shopping in a small, specialist shop, where the shop assistant is passionate and knowledgeable about their stock, is a much more pleasant shopping experience than being pushed and shoved around supermarket aisles by miserable fellow shoppers, made to queue for ten minutes plus, and being served by a completely disinterested teenager. 

Local businesses give so much more back into the community - not only financially (although lots of money is reinvested locally too and that is a major bonus of shopping locally) - but they bring people together too. 

Ultimately, shopping local is essential for preserving local character. If we don't, and we continue to shop at the massive superstores that are springing up left, right and centre, then our high streets are going to disappear altogether. I can't bear that thought.

Eating locally produced food is equally important to me. By buying food from local farmers, you know where it has come from; farmers markets are a great place to get to know farmers and ask them any questions you may have. 

Local food is also fresher and heaps better for the environment as it doesn't have to travel hundreds of miles over two, three - or more! - days to get to you. Greengrocers and market stalls don't use the ridiculous amounts of packaging that supermarkets do either.

Buying and eating local food supports the community and provides jobs - both for farmers and for the shops selling the produce.

Local food is seasonal food. Another passion of mine. Strawberries grown in December will most definitely not be British strawberries, and they are not such a delicious treat when you can get them all year round.

I think it is atrocious the way supermarkets are forcing farmers to sell their produce to them at ridiculously low prices. They are effectively blackmailing them - sell to us at this price or don't sell them at all! I have no objections to paying a premium for premium produce! The reason there is so much food waste at the moment is because people don't mind throwing cheap food away - plus it doesn't taste as nice so they are more likely to! See my post on ways to save food waste here.

Even better than buying local food is growing your own. You can't get much more local than that! There is nothing quite like eating a dinner made from vegetables that you've grown in your own back garden or allotment. Really.

At the farmer's market this week I bought fresh bread and meat - and also some wonderful jam and chutneys from Fruity Foods, just up the road in Church Crookham, Hampshire and some porridge oats from Haslemere's very own Imbhams Farm Granary!

Haslemere Farmers Market is held on the first Sunday of every month on the High Street. If you live locally and haven't been before, you definitely should xoxox

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Green Juice with Mango

My green juice du jour comprises of pretty much everything thats left in the fridge right now. Although fresh produce is best, juicing is a great way to use up fruit and veg!

1x mango | the stalk of 1x broccoli tree | 2x gala apples | 1x handful spinach | 1x handful kale

Health Benefits.
MANGO: Rich in antioxidants, enzymes and nutrients, specifically Vitamin A, potassium (which helps control heart rate and blood pressure) and copper (needed to produce red blood cells), the mango is known as The King of Fruits. Now you know why!
APPLES: Apples contain PECTIN which is known to lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels and VITAMIN C which boosts your immune system.
BROCCOLI: Contains even more potassium, Vitamins C and K, and calcium - so its great for the heart and for your bones!
SPINACH: The ultimate superfood, a handful of it contains over 300% of your RDA of VITAMIN A which promotes healthy skin and protects & strengthens respiratory, urinary and intestinal tracts. It is also rich in IRON which is great for white blood cells that fight infection.

KALE: Full of the anti-oxidant vitamins A, C and K!

This juice is thick, filling and heavenly! I ♥ Greenjuice!

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Green Juice ~ Pineapple Style

A perfect pick me up for a sunny spring day ~ and Daisy loved this one too. I can't wait for Summer so that I can make her green juice ice lollies!

1x pineapple | 2x apples | 1/2x lemon | 1x handful spinach | 1x handful kale  
Makes 375ml - fills a small Kilner jar

Health Benefits.
PINEAPPLE: Anti-inflammatory, an immune system booster and contains MANGANESE which is essential to develop and maintain strong bones,
APPLES: Apples contain PECTIN which is known to lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels and VITAMIN C which boosts your immune system.
LEMONS: Lemons have superpowers! They boost your immune system, aid digestion and cleanse the liver. The citric acid is also great for the skin.
SPINACH: The ultimate superfood, a handful of it contains over 300% of your RDA of VITAMIN A which promotes healthy skin and protects & strengthens respiratory, urinary and intestinal tracts. It is also rich in IRON which is great for white blood cells that fight infection.

KALE: Full of the anti-oxidant vitamins A, C and K!

♥ Enjoy ♥

Friday, 1 February 2013

Kids Pyjamas: My Favourites

Last week I posted about my quest for matching outfits for the girls (you can read my post here). I hit the high street at the weekend and discovered that Mothercare do some gorgeous matching clothes - and Jools Oliver's 'Little Bird' range in particular had some fab pieces, ranging in age from newborn to 5 years. Needless to say I am not in the good books this week after spending a small fortune - but that didn't stop me searching for gorgeous pyjamas so that I could let you see a selection of my favourites this week! At this time of year when it's snowing/raining/blowing a gale/grey/miserable, a pair of comfy PJs are essential! Here are my favourites.

Check out these Slim Jyms from The Bright Company! I LOVE THEM! They are hand made in the UK using a stretchy knitted fabric sourced from UK manufacturers and suppliers (brilliant) - and printed with eco friendly ink to boot. The bold pattern and colours are just amazing and at £17, they're a steal!


Next up are these awesome Ava & Luc pyjamas from KyNa Boutique. The butterfly pattern and bright pink background are a perfect combo (there is a heritage blue dog pattern for the boys) and they are made from 100% organic cotton!

The best bit? The girls' ones are in the sale at the moment at only £15 (that's £7 off). The boys' ones are full price at £22.


Last up are two pairs of pyjamas from Emma Levine (my favourite kids & baby wear designer at the mo!). These cute two piece sets are 100% cotton, available in Emma's orginal  "peace, love, calm" print (with pretty vintage lace trims) or black and white "bandit" stripe ~ and are priced at an extremely reasonable £22 a pair. I adore them both!



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