October 2014 | Modern Mummy

Friday, 31 October 2014

Hallowe'en, Modern Mummy Style

Happy Hallowe'en, kids! I hope you've all had a good one. I LOVE this time of year SO MUCH. Any holiday where it's perfectly acceptable to wear fancy dress and pig out on sweets is a-ok in my book!

Every year we pick out our pumpkins, decorate the house and stock up on sugary treats ready for the trick or treaters (and pop out to do some trick or treating ourselves). This year was the best yet!

Our pumpkins looked a little bit like this:

Our house looked a little bit like this:

We spent the afternoon having all sorts of Halloweeny fun at our local ice cream parlour, Dylan's:

(Yes, Daisy had her face painted twice today!)

We had a record number of trick or treaters too, before heading off up and down our road to do the same to our neighbours!

The celebrations aren't over just yet either. We're off to another party tomorrow night - and we can't wait!

What have you all been up to? xoxo

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Fantastic Mr Fox ♥

Fox jumper, £9-£10 - Nutmeg from Morrisons
Jeans, £5 - Nutmeg from Morrisons
Trainers - Converse

Remember earlier in the month I wrote about Nutmeg's AW14 collection? Well I totally went out and bought the girls those adorable foxy jumpers and a pair of the jersey jeans each! I think this might be my favourite outfit at the mo (I like it so much I bought it twice, haha). As per usual it was a nightmare getting the littlest ragbag to pose for the camera, but hey, these action shots are pretty cute right? xoxo

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Bucket List #2 & #3 - Pumpkin Pickin' & An Autumn Walk

We've been a bit quiet on the Autumn Bucket List front, but that's not to say we've not been enjoying this amazing time of year.

Today was one of the loveliest days I think I've ever had - and we managed to tick two points off our list too!

This morning we set off for Secretts Pick Your Own Farm and Garden Centre in Milford, which is about ten miles away from us, where they were holding a special pumpkin picking event in honour of Hallowe'en and Half Term. It included a free tractor ride up to the top field where all the pumpkins are, which I thought sounded ace! Turns out most of Surrey did too, as when we arrived at opening time there must have been 120-150 people already ahead of us in the queue!

We'd come without the buggy and I just knew Evie wouldn't be prepared to stand in a car park for an hour so we decided to cut our losses and pick a few pumpkins from the farm shop instead. In hindsight I'm pretty glad we did this as (1) turns out the pumpkin patch wasn't actually a pumpkin patch, it was a field, scattered with hay and lots of pre-picked pumpkins (something to do with health and safety, blah blah) and (2) some friends we saw in the queue on our way home had had to wait an hour and forty minutes! 

We ended up staying at the farm shop for ages; they had a giant pumpkin for the kids to play with and biscuit decorating too, so the girls had lots of fun and enjoyed eating their own creations. We bought one HUGE pumpkin (it's going to take some carving!) and two baby ones and a whole heap of picnicky goodies for lunch too.

Then we set off on the next part of our adventure - leaf kicking, puddle splashing and winter picnicking at Waggoners Wells with some friends of ours!

The sun was out, the sky was blue and we had a brilliant afternoon eating our freshly made sausage rolls and scotch eggs from the farm shop (and the ugly, oversized cake pops we made at the weekend) and running around enjoying the fresh air. The girls climbed trees, walked along fallen branches, slid down hills and fell over in the mud and I enjoyed taking photos of the scenery. If you haven't been to Waggoners Wells before and you live nearby then you really must as it's pretty special.

I can't wait to carry on working through our list and making more memories 

Monday, 27 October 2014

Cake Pop Fail

In order to celebrate National Chocolate Week, our friends at Rangemaster very kindly sent us out a hamper of goodies to make some super delicious - and super chocolatey - cake pops. We'd not made cake pops before so were pretty excited!

It was doomed from the start.

First of all we all had a sickness bug for the entire duration of National Chocolate Week, myself included. So we actually missed the boat with the official celebrations and had to put off our baking session until the week after.

Once we were fighting fit and raring to go, we got all the ingredients out and scanned the recipe card. We hadn't realised that you have to bake the cakes the day before you plan to make your pops, and we were off out for the next two days so we had to put our baking on hold yet again.

Then at the weekend we finally baked our chocolate cakes, and oh boy the cake mixture was good! We did as we were told and left them overnight in the fridge and came back to them the following day to get cake-popping. I took the cakes out of the fridge and left them on the kitchen table to return to room temperature. I then turned my back and pottered around before casting a glance back at the cakes.... one of which was being licked by Mabel Meatball the cat.

Now I'd like to say we disposed of the offending cake and only used the others, but in my shock and whilst shoo-ing Mabel away, I forgot which one was covered in cat lick and I'm slightly concerned it may have made it into the mix. I *think* I binned the right one but I wouldn't bet my life on it. But anyway. We'd got this far, we weren't letting a bit of cat lick ruin our cake pops.

Whilst rolling our mixture into balls, Daisy and I couldn't stop laughing about how much they looked like something else. Neither of us managed to get a perfectly round one. We carried on regardless.

After being left to set in the fridge for an hour, we got cracking with the frosting. This is where I actually got rather hysterical (the laughter kind, not the crying kind, although to be fair it could have gone either way).

We inserted the sticks into the cake pops and covered them in melted chocolate and sprinkles... And then watched as they slid down the stick. Every single one. We'd obviously made our balls too heavy (ahem) and it was just too much for gravity. We thought we were going to have to wave the white flag so ended up eating a few, breaking them up and dipping them into the warm chocolate, but then we got a second wind and decided to soldier on.

We smothered those cake pops in chocolate. We sprinkled them with sprinkles. And then we left them upside down on a plate, toffee apple style, and accepted that these just weren't going to be Pinterest perfect Cake Pops.

Our next challenge was to eat them. 

They were worth all the drama. And the fact it took us about ten days to make them. They really were pretty darn good, although I must confess after all that I won't begrudge paying £1.50 for a ready made one at the Farmers Market next weekend.

Thanks to Rangemaster for inviting us to be a part of this campaign - we had lots of fun! (Kind of).


Having Fun with the Canon PIXMA MG7150

Last week we completed our third and final challenge with Canon PIXMA. It was to:

Print your favourite family photo stored on Facebook for your desk/photo album, via PIXMA Cloud Link, using the PIXMA Printing Solutions App

Technology is so brilliant these days. It still amazes me that I can send photos that I've just taken on my phone back to my printer at home, even when I'm a million miles away!

The PIXMA Printing Solutions App (a free app, available on iPhone and Android) makes printing photos directly from the internet super easy. Printers that have the Cloud Link also allow you to view and print direct from the printer screen which is pretty cool (you can print remotely from your mobile device as I've done here too).

The photo I chose to print is one of me and the girls (a selfie of course!) which I took back in the Spring (LOOK! I'm still a blondie!!). It's a silly one but I love it.

The Canon PIXMA MG7150 really is so clever, and I'm so glad I was asked to work with Canon on this project. Having a printer at home has been incredibly useful over the past few months - and not just for our day to day printing requirements either. We have been printing photographs left, right and centre - for ourselves, our parents and our grandparents (all of whom have LOVED them) and the Creative Park software has been a godsend now that the weather has turned and we're spending more time indoors.

By the way, as I have now finished this series of printer related posts, I have to add that the Canon PIXMA has been brilliant for printing out my Instagram photos. Although they are square, and photo paper isn't available in a square aspect just yet, printing onto the 4x6 is easy and just means you have to trim off the excess paper. I've done this at photo printing shops before and for some reason the quality has always been really bad. The PIXMA print outs are perfect, the resolution doesn't seem to deteriorate at all. Hurray! xo

The Canon PIXMA MG7150 retails at around £150 and is available from all good stores, such as Argos, Amazon and John Lewis.

DISCLAIMER: We were sent a printer to enable us to take part in three printing challenges. All thoughts and comments are true and my own.


Sunday, 26 October 2014

Hallowe'en with Trollbeads

Oh gosh I'm more than a little bit in love with my trollbeads.

Since my original post about my bracelet I've had so many compliments on it. It's so special having a piece of jewellery that means so much to me. I've added a further couple of beads to my collection in the last couple of months; an owl symbolising wisdom and protection (on the far right) - which was a gift from my husband and daughters - and a super spooky upside down sleeping bat (on the far left) as a gift for myself in honour of Hallowe'en - and they're just making me want more and more. They're so darn PRETTY..... and so ADDICTIVE!

From L-R
Lucky Knot, £25
Owl, £60
All c/o Trollbeads (except for the Owl)

With Autumn being my favourite season, it goes without saying that Hallowe'en is one of our favourite nights of the year. Any excuse to wear fancy dress, make some punch and throw a bit of a party is a winner in my book. If making me think happy thoughts about spending time with friends and family isn't a good enough reason to add a new bead to my bracelet then I don't know what is!

Trollbeads have a pumpkin bead available too, which is equally perfect for this time of year. Which one do you like best? xoxo


Afternoon Tea at the Laura Ashley Hotel

Last week I was invited to the Laura Ashley Manor Hotel in Elstree for afternoon tea - and a chance to explore the beautifully decorated rooms and suites.

Afternoon tea has always been one of my favourite treats, but it's not something I've indulged in since my diet has become dairy free. The hotel were wonderfully accommodating to my dietary requirements and provided me with the most amazing dairy free spread of cucumber sandwiches, scones and cakes that I've ever seen!

The Laura Ashley Hotel (known as The Manor) is set in ten acres of gardens and woodland and has forty nine rooms, all individually designed by the Laura Ashley Design Service. All soft furnishings, furniture and accessories are from Laura Ashley (of course!) and it really was a great way to get ideas for styling certain items, and to see the quality of things in the flesh, such as the made to measure curtains and pelmets.

The main part of the hotel is Tudor style (there also is a modern annex, which is where the majority of the bedrooms and the conference rooms are) and it contains some utterly beautiful fireplaces, wood panelling, carvings and beams. The rooms are just breathtaking and by taking a look around I left with a pretty huge wish list of things for my house!

The view from the bridal suite is of the grounds (including a huge chess board which is certainly a talking point!) and you can see the London skyline in the background which is amazing.

I had an absolutely wonderful afternoon. If you fancy escaping London and having afternoon tea somewhere different, then The Manor should definitely be a contender! Prices start at just £19.95 per person. Likewise if you're planning a wedding or a weekend away, the hotel is well worth a visit, particularly the suites and deluxe rooms in the older part of the building.

For full details on the Laura Ashley hotel, take a look at their website here. For information on the Laura Ashley design service, click here.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

The AW14 UGG Australia Kids Collection

Last week I was treated to an afternoon of fizz, canapés and bowling courtesy of the team at UGG, who had set up a private viewing of their Autumn kids' collection at the Ham Yard Hotel.

I'm a huge fan of the UGG brand, for both myself and the girls. 

I love them because, all UGG products (and they do SO much more than the sheepskin boots that they're famous for) are comfortable, practical and stylish, which, if you ask me, is everything you could possibly want from your shoes, whether you're a grown up or a littlie. I also love that the kids collections are pretty unisex; I'd have no problem putting the girls in some of the cute boys boots on offer this season.

This A/W features lots of waterproof and water resistant materials, making much of the collection perfect for puddle splashing and a bit of mud!

I love dressing my girls in pretty dresses with woolly tights and boots, and I've got my eye on a pair for each of them this season. Here are some of my favourites from the AW14 collection, which you can view in it's entirety here. xo

1. Orin boots, £50 // 2. Hannah boots, £60 // 3. Kensington boots, £120 
// 4. Jayla boots, £90

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Bedroom Pretties from Jonny's Sister

I love pretty things around my home, and am a keen collector of all sorts of little one off bits and bobs that I come across. Some are vintage, some are handmade, most are mementos of trips we've made or people we've met. Chances are if I fall in love with something while I'm out shopping, it will come home with me! 

My bedroom is a funny room really. Because our house is so small, and I don't like the two downstairs rooms (there's a front/living room and an eat-in kitchen) to be messy, it tends to be a bit of a dumping ground for everything that is on its way to it's proper place, like toys that have been played with in the front room and need to go back to the girls rooms, piles of clothes to go away in various wardrobes and household papers that need to be filed.

It's my dream to one day turn it into a beautiful peaceful haven, somewhere toy and clutter free that I can retreat to when I need to. I have visions of a wall of framed photos, prints and mirrors, vintage floral bed linen and a slightly bigger wardrobe wouldn't go amiss either ;) As much as I love my daughters, they seem to magically make a mess wherever they go, and my bedroom definitely bears the brunt of it. My bedside tables have stacks of their books on them and I'm forever finding toys underneath my pillows and duvets. I really would love (and appreciate!) a little place just for me.

In an attempt to turn my room into this shangri la, one of my favourite things to buy is bedroom pretties - and my latest acquisition is my favourite one yet!

Hanging Love Letter, £29.95 - c/o Jonny's Sister
(It's in the Gifts for Babies section but hey! I loved it and wanted one for myself!)

These adorable Little Love Letters come from a company I have recently discovered called Jonny's Sister. If you're looking for beautiful, personalised goodies that are handmade in England, then this is definitely an online store to visit! They have a little fabric loop so that they can be hung on door knobs or bed posts, are 100% cotton and are a really decent size at 16cm high (the width varies depending on the letter chosen). They also come in 17 different fabrics so there is something to suit everyone and every room!

Don't you think one would make a beautiful gift for a new baby's nursery? (Or, if you're like me, as a treat for your grown up self!) 

I think my new collection is going to be of ornaments and trinkets in the shape of the letter 'K'. They'd look great in that picture/mirror wall I've been dreaming about too xo

Monday, 20 October 2014

The NutriBullet: A Review

As you all know, I'm a juicer.

Juicing has been a big part of my life for almost two years now; I juice daily and regularly juice fast too.

My brother, on the other hand, is a blender. He drinks daily smoothies and we regularly have 'discussions' (sometimes rather heated ones!) on whether juicing or blending is better for us. I've tackled this question in my FAQ in quite a well educated and diplomatic way I think ;) 

Juicing and blending are two completely different things - and both are great for you, for different reasons. The long and short of is it that juicing removes the indigestible fibre from fruit and veggies, which means the nutrients and vitamins are more easily absorbed and your digestive system gets a bit of a break too. Smoothies still contain all the fibre from the fruits and vegetables, which is a very important part of your diet, and this makes them a lot more filling (so they are ideal at breakfast time) and means they're much easier to make, with less wastage. 

I was given a Nutribullet to try recently and I have to say, it has revolutionised my life. I know that sounds stupid but it really has - and in so many ways too. I can't imagine living without one now!

First up is its size. It's really compact and can easily be stored away, unlike my juicer and Vitamix, both of which are beasts and would take up an entire cupboard each if I even attempted to take them off of the work surface. I keep the spare cups and blades to the NutriBullet in my tupperware cupboard and leave the base out at all times because I've been using it every day - but it's good to know it could be tucked away easily if necessary! The fact it's so compact also means it is easily transportable for nights/weekends/weeks away, so there's no need to stop juicing just because you're off on your jollies or a business trip.

I also love that it makes juicing (and cleaning up afterwards) completely and utterly effortless. With the juicer, even though you can just lob everything in, pips and all, it's still quite a mission to get everything cleaned up when you're finished. I don't object to doing it (in fact I think my juicer is one of the easiest models to clean!) but it can be a pain in the butt when you're desperate to rush out of the door on the school run. (Caked on fruit and vegetable pulp is a bit like caked on Weetabix.... It has to be cleaned straight away or it sticks like concrete!). Similarly, my blender requires prepared fruits vegetables - things that have been de-seeded and peeled in most circumstances. Cleaning the jug may be fairly easy afterwards but all that chopping can be time consuming. In both instances there is considerable amounts of waste.

One of my favourite features (silly I know) is that the NutriBullet comes with different sized cups, all with handles and lids - so if I'm running late I can just whack a lid on it and drink on the go (or I can just stick in a straw and enjoy at home if I have a lazy morning ahead).

Nutribullets don't juice, and they don't blend; they extract. They completely break down ingredients into their most nutritious and most absorptive state so you really are getting the best of everything; the fast goodness fix of juices, the fibre of smoothies - and no waste at all (yay!). I don't know the scientific details, but basically the NutriBullet blades completely pulverise the stems, seeds, and skins of fruits and vegetables, which is where most of the essential nutrition lies. Neither juicers nor blenders do this, so NutriBullets really are in a league of their own. 

Aside from smoothies, NutriBullets also make amazing soups, pasta sauces, dressings, all-natural ice creams, dips and they come with a Milling Blade that can mill brown rice into brown rice flour, almonds into almond butter, wheat berries into all-natural wheat flour and so much more. Pretty darn impressive, non?

Over the past fortnight I've had at least one meal replacement NutriBlast every day. Although it comes with a recipe book, I've been making my own depending on what I fancy and what I have in the fridge (top tip: fruit and veg taste COMPLETELY different juiced, so try everything, even if you don't think you're going to like it) and I also add linseed, dried goji berries, chia seeds and wheatgrass powder to my combinations for an extra boost. As with blenders, a small bit of liquid is required; the amount is dependent on taste. You can just use tap water, but I've been using coconut water, fresh juices and various dairy free milks! 

The NutriBullet costs just £99 and is such a good investment. My juicer cost almost £200 and my Vitamix almost £400 - so when you take those figures into account you could actually describe it as a bargain and, comparing it to the Vitamix, I would actually say the NutriBullet is better as it's smaller, easier to clean and a quarter of the price!

They are available from all good retailers but the best place to buy is via the official website - they also have a FlexiPay option too which is brilliant and only costs an additional £7 to spread the cost out over three months.

I'm obsessed with mine - have you seen my Instagram feed lately?! - and have been recommending it to everyone that will listen. If you have an interest in clean/raw eating and juicing then this kitchen gadget is definitely for you.xo

DISCLAIMER: I was gifted a NutriBullet for the purpose of this review.


Saturday, 18 October 2014

An Afternoon with The White Company

At the beginning of the month, to celebrate the launch of the new The Little White Company Autumn collections, Daisy, Evie and I were invited to a private screening of Frozen at the Electric Cinema in Notting Hill. 

I'd not been to the Electric Cinema before, but I will most definitely be going back! It's the most beautiful Grade 2 listed building (it's over 100 years old and one of the oldest working cinemas in the country) and the interior has been fully restored to its original glory. Inside there are sixty five leather armchairs, each with their own footstools and side tables, three 2-seater sofas at the back of the theatre and six double beds in the very front row!

The White Company had decorated the theatre with items from the latest Little White Company collection; there were blankets, cushions and teddy bears on every chair to make everyone's cinema experience super special - and comfy and cosy too.

We all snuggled down, with huge boxes of deliciously warm popcorn, and enjoyed watching Frozen back in the cinema. Movies are always so much better on the big screen!

All of the new Little White Company collections are utterly beautiful but it's this Circus bed linen set that I love the most. Isn't it just gorgeous? xo

Thanks so much to The White Company for a wonderful afternoon.

The highlight for me had to be getting this snap of the girls on the steps of the cinema. As you're probably realising from recent photos on this blog, Evie isn't a fan of having her photo taken! xo

Introducing.... Half Pint Chic

OK, so it turns out I must have been living underneath a rock for the last three years. I've only just discovered - and fallen madly in love with - online kids clothes retailer Half Pint Chic.

I have a real thing for designer kidswear. I love good quality children's clothes. I'm not denying that there is a time and a place for cheaper, supermarket alternatives, but those clothes never make it to hand-me-down status and, having two daughters, that's something I'm rather keen for my clothes to do.

Despite a penchant for lovely, well made clothes, I'm not a massive fan of huge price tags. I believe kids should be kids; running around, climbing trees, getting up to mischief. If something gets marked or torn in the process then I'll be a bit miffed, but so be it. I'd rather that as a result of them enjoying themselves than not letting them play out. This is the main reason I'm not prepared to pay huge sums for their clothes. God forbid I fork out £70 for a dress and it ends up stained as a result of a mud pie making party (special occasions are a different matter entirely, of course). Also, I don't believe in 'fashion' for kids. I hate seeing little children dressed as mini adults, which is probably why I go for a lot of vintage, or vintage inspired pieces for my girls. Something being current season is not important for me in the slightest. Anyway, I digress.

I was SO excited when I first discovered Half Pint Chic. They've been selling past season, designer childrenswear up to 70% off for the last three years, and they stock virtually ALL of my favourite brands!

My first order (I don't think I'm going to shop anywhere else from now on, so there will be plenty more orders in the future!) comprised a gorgeous Autumnal floral print smock from Theo & Rose for Daisy and a very festive (and adorably old fashioned) green, red and white dress from Little Ducking for Evie.

Both are 100% cotton and fully lined with utterly gorgeous detailing; buttons on the neck of the Theo & Rose and piping and cross stitch on the Little Duckling number.

Rose & Theo 'Valence Eve' Smock Dress - £24 (RRP £57) c/o Half Pint Chic
(Brown suede boots, past season at Clarks)

Little Duckling Heart Dress - £19 (RRP £43) c/o Half Pint Chic
(T-bar butterfly shoes c/o Clarks)

Turns out my nearly two year old doesn't like posing for photographs very much anymore. But grumpy face aside, how adorable are these outfits?! And what brilliant prices too. 

If, like me, you love designer togs but only want to pay high street prices, make sure you you pay the Half Pint Chic website a visit.xoxo
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