September 2015 | Modern Mummy

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Me & Mine ♥ September 2015



I've wanted to join in with Me & Mine, the family portrait project, for ages. Although I'm pretty much constantly snapping pictures of the girls (and taking selfies!) we never have photos taken of us all together - ever! - as I discovered earlier this month whilst looking for one of the three of us for a magazine interview I took part in.

I ended up getting my brother to take this quick snap of us at the weekend and, although it's far from perfect, I love it. It captures our characters perfectly; Daisy is shy and quiet and a real Mummy's girl, Evie is really cheeky and LOVES playing up to the camera and I just hate having my photo taken, hence there not being many of us together in existence - and me not looking into the lens in this one!

But I love photographs. I love looking back on old photos of me and my family and remembering the circumstances in which they were taken. On special occasions, at special places. I want my daughters to be able to do the same, for them to evoke similar memories, so I'm determined to take regular ones of us three. Starting now. And to spur me on I'm going to join in with this little project every month. See you in October, fellow Me&Mine-ers xoxo

dear beautiful
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If I went on Mastermind, my specialist subject would be Peppa Pig

Peppa Pig has seen me through some dark days. She really has been a good friend to me over the years; babysitting when I've felt under the weather or when we've had ridiculously early starts to contend with, helping me to encourage the girls to eat (using branded cutlery and crockery), sleep (pyjamas) and get dressed for nursery. She is a lovely little character and I can totally see why kiddos all over the world adore her and her cartoons so much.


We already have a huge collection of Peppa toys, some of which were bought new for Evie, but the majority of which are three year old hand-me-downs from when Daisy was little. I love them for this reason; they are very well made and robust, and they are timeless, so they can be played with year after year! Last week we got sent a selection of new toys from the Once upon a Time range to review; the Story Time Tea Set, the Pumpkin Carriage, the Story Time castle playset and a selection of characters to add to the mix too.

The tea set is very cute. It includes no less than three characters which are dressed as Little Bow Peep, a fairy and a king. I like this little detail a lot - we have quite a few Peppas and Georges as they seem to come with most of the toy sets, but they are all identical (and plain). The tea set also comes with a table, three chairs, a teapot and jelly! - lots of things to help encourage imaginative play amongst littlies. The pumpkin carriage is probably my favourite; the seats spin round as you push it along which is lots of fun! George comes dressed as a footman too. Lastly, is the Jack and the Beanstalk style castle which has a drawbridge that you can raise and lower, depending on who you want to let in!




These toys are brilliant and have kept Evie entertained for ages. She was also especially delighted to get a Candy Cat as that was the only character we hadn't already got one of!

Aside from the durability, I love that these toys are great for both girls and boys. Its always nice to have gender neutral toys around - in case you want to hand them down to a child of the opposite sex, or just to have at home for when friends bring their kids over. EVERYONE loves Peppa Pig!

You can buy all three sets direct from Character Online and other retailers. We were sent these sets in exchange for an honest review xo
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Tuesday, 29 September 2015

In case you were wondering, yes it *IS* possible to be in love with a vacuum cleaner



My house is dusty. It's old, we have open chimneys and exposed brickwork, we live close to the railway line and we enter it by going straight into the front room, plus Mabel Meatball the moulting fur ball lives here - so I find myself cleaning all the floors pretty much ALL THE TIME. For those reasons I decided to cover the whole of the downstairs floors with either wood or tile - so that I could quickly and easily sweep up mess and mop up spillages - and I'd never even contemplated using a vacuum on them, opting instead for a good old fashioned broom and dustpan. We do have carpets upstairs though, and for the last two years I've had a Hetty the Hoover to clean it which I bought without any research whatsoever; the pink, smily face won me over.

Hetty, although cute, turned out to be a complete pain in the butt to use. She was heavy (too heavy to carry whilst hoovering the stairs), couldn't be pulled along on carpet without tipping over and, although small, was an odd shape and really hard to find a home for when she wasn't in use.

Although we were all very fond of her aesthetics, there is no denying she was a rubbish vacuum cleaner, and I desperately wanted to replace her with something more streamlined and efficient.

Enter: Vax (the hero of this story).

The lovely people at Vax approached me on the same day I found myself contemplating doubling up my Tesco clubcard vouchers to spend on a new upright (which pained me somewhat as every year I save up all my points to spend on chocolate and wine little luxuries at Christmas!). Needless to say, I was pretty darn chuffed; the timing could not have been more perfect! After looking at my needs we decided the Vax Air Steerable Pet model was probably best for me, and one was winging its way to me that very night.

I won't bore you with a full list of its features and specifications (you can read them yourself over on the Vax website), but I will tell you what I, personally, love so much about it. Because I really do love it. In fact I've come over all precious and Monica-from-Friends about it and have even found myself cleaning it every time I use it.

First off, it is seriously lightweight. Even when lifting it in its entirety up and down the stairs, its so much lighter than Hetty. When you're actually cleaning the stairs it has a lift out cylinder which means it is even lighter.

It is super easy to steer. It literally GLIDES across wooden floors and tiles as well as carpet (and has a special setting for hard floors).

I hate it when you buy a product that has loads of additional extras that you have to put somewhere safe and remember where they are. Vacuum cleaners are particularly bad at this; Hetty and her Panasonic predecessor both had dozens of extra nozzles and brushes that had to be stashed somewhere or thrown away. All the bits on the Vax (and there aren't many - because you don't need many!) have a home on the main body of the vacuum. Thumbs up!

Lastly, this is my first ever bag-less vacuum cleaner and IT IS REVOLUTIONARY! Seriously a joy to use - and empty. I have no idea why people still buy vacuums that need bags? What is the plus to it? A quick empty after every use takes no effort at all. Even if you don't do it that frequently you can see when it needs emptying no problem, instead of having to wait til it stops sucking anything up to cotton on to the fact the bag is full. Also, on the subject of sucking stuff up - in this hoover's case, should you accidentally vacuum up a piece of lego or a Shopkin (yep, I've managed both) then you can see the little critter whirring round in the cylinder and rescue it! Hurray!

The Vax Air Steerable Lift Pet is available from all good retailers, or direct from Vax here. It is currently on offer at just £179.99. We were sent ours for the purpose of this review. (And we really really genuinely love it.... if you hadn't guessed already) xoxo

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Managing your finances, student-style


Drunk? Moi?

I graduated from University fourteen years ago. That officially makes me old, doesn't it?

The Class of '01 was the very first in the UK to have to pay tuition fees, and to help us pay them we were offered all manner of grants and loans from different official bodies. As well as that we had all just turned eighteen! That mean we could get overdrafts! And credit cards! And boy did I take advantage.

I'm not proud to admit that I racked up a lot of debt while I was studying. Of course I had my fees, accommodation and bills to pay for, but the majority of my money went on bottles of Hooch, shots of Aftershock and boob tubes and black trousers from Morgan and Karen Millen. Banks were very keen to lend in those days - which might have seemed great at the time, but ten years later, when I was still paying off a £30 TopShop dress bought with a store card, I realised I hadn't been bright at all.

With the benefit of hindsight, I think I'm a pretty good person to offer advice on managing finances while you're at university (or in life generally) so here are a few tips on keeping in control of your money:

(1) Do your research when it comes to banking. Read the Savvy Student Guide. Shop around for the best rates. Have you had a look at what the TSB Student Accounts have to offer?

(2) Budget. I know this sounds boring but if you know what you've got coming in, and what out of that has to go back out again, then you can keep on top of your disposable income. Almost twenty years too late I am now the QUEEN of budgeting.... and actually get quite a kick out of it (don't laugh).

(3) Meal plan. I hate food waste, not just because its so TERRIBLE for the environment, but also because when you throw away food you are literally throwing cash into the bin. Plan ahead, share cooking responsibilities with your house mates (its so much cheaper per portion when you cook in bulk) and use up leftovers! You can read my guide to reducing food waste here.

(4) Get a job! In my third year of university I worked 55 hours a week in my local pub. Everyone said it would interfere with my finals but it didn't at all. I had 10 hours of lectures a week and would have spent most evenings in the Student Union Bar anyway if I hadn't been working. It helped me out massively after I'd gone a bit credit card happy in my first two years and was fun and sociable too. If your course takes up a bit more time than mine did you can still supplement your income - why not sell your old course books, or your old clothes/furniture, on eBay? Or take part in mystery shopping or market research focus groups. Temping in the holidays is also a great way to earn extra money and if you can find work in the right industry, it can also be great experience when it comes to job hunting, post-studies.

(5) Shop around for bargains and use coupons, reward cards and your student discount cards. There will be times when you want to treat yourself and reward all your hard work. Rather than buying things on a whim, look around for the best deals and remember you've been given a discount card for a reason - don't forget to use it! Ditto using coupons and reward cards - you can save heaps of money doing this.

PS On the subject of universities in the nineties, if you want a laugh, take a look at this!

This is a collaborative post.
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Monday, 28 September 2015

Daily Outfit ♥ Right as Rain


If you want good weather, get me to buy a REALLY nice coat that I will be desperate to wear. Every.single.time I get a new coat the sun comes out and I don't get a chance to wear it for months. And that's exactly what happened when Joules sent me a new 100% waterproof coat as part of their Right as Rain campaign.

I chose the Storm Waterproof Parka in navy. I'd actually been eyeing this up online the week before, as I wanted something warm and waterproof for the school runs. This particular design is longer than average, and is PU coated with taped seams to ensure it is 100% waterproof. It also has a half fleece lining to make it warmer than your average rain mac - and I ordered a size bigger than I usually wear so that I will be able to layer up underneath it when the winter hits!

You'll be seeing lots more of this coat in my AW15 outfit posts, thats a sure thing!


Waterproof parka, £129 - c/o Joules
Jumper with shirt collar, £12 - Primark
Leggings, £16 - Boden
Riding boots - TopShop (similar here from Dune)
Sunglasses, £153 - retrosuperfuture



Edit 6th October 2013: I thought I'd come back to this post now that Britain has reached that lovely point in the year when the temperature has dropped a little and the weather likes to surprise us with torrential rain storms when we're least expecting it....

Today was one of those lovely days. Luckily it was chilly this morning so my beloved parka got worn on the school run (now would be the perfect time to let you all know that it really is VERY cosy). About three minutes into our fifty minute walk to school (two separate drop offs, then home), the heavens opened and we all got a soaking. Well I say that, but in actual fact we didn't at all. The girls were waterproofed up to the max any way (I am SUCH a British mum; always prepared for all eventualities) and I just had to zip up my coat and put my hood up and I can confirm I was drier than the sahara desert by the time I'd got back home (apart from the bottom of my legs which weren't covered and got splashed by no less than FOUR cars driving through puddles, grrrrrr).

Even better, I hung my coat up indoors and it was perfectly dry again within half an hour (there is nothing worse than having to put on a soggy coat if you're headed out on another excursion).

So there you have it; I am more than a little bit in love with my Storm Parka! View the whole collection of coats and jackets from Joules here, there really is something for everyone! xo


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#TheStyleProject - October 2015


Last month we brought back #TheStyleProject (formerly the #NYNYStyleProject) and I don't know about you but I have absolutely loved having a little bit of motivation every morning when it comes to picking out my clothes. I've also loved scrolling through all of your pictures at the end of each day.... you're a good looking and super stylish bunch, you know! It's so easy to get stuck in a rut with clothes, and throughout the summer I found myself wearing a uniform of cut off jean shorts and t-shirts pretty much constantly. It's nice to be excited by fashion again! 

The past few weeks have seen me rummaging through the deepest darkest corners of my wardrobe for forgotten gems, and trying on (and sometimes buying, eeek) new clothes too. That's the main aim of The Style Project; to get you thinking about what you are wearing, to glam up your day to day style, to introduce you to trends, shops and products you might not have heard of before and by sharing your own pictures you are inspiring and motivating others.

We've had so many people take part this month...... Here are 9 of my favourites!


Top-Bottom, L-R:


So with all that lovely inspiration fresh in your minds, now would be a great time for me to announce your prompts for October, right? Here they are!



Want to play? Here's what to do!

♥ Find the day's prompt on the month's list. We will publish these in advance, usually around the 25th day of the month.
♥ Interpret the prompt as you will - and incorporate your interpretation into your daily style. It can be an item of clothing you own, a piece you've seen and are lusting after, a beauty product, anything!
♥ Take a photo!
♥ Share it on Instagram or Twitter. Don't forget to use the hashtag #TheStyleProject so that other people can find your pictures.
♥ Search the hashtag yourself and check out other people's photos. Like what you see? Tell the photographer! It's a nice way to get to know eachother and a lovely confidence boost too.
♥ You don't have to join in every single day. Sometimes it's just not possible - and that's okay! Dip in and out whenever you like, and if you're not able to take your own photos, look at other people's for inspiration.

With our new, improved project, we also wanted to give our fellow bloggers the chance to share their style related posts - so if you blog about fashion, please do link them up below. Linkies are a great way of showcasing your own blog, plus you get to discover new blogs and meet new people in the process too!

This month I'm sending you all over to my Style Project co-host, Kara, of Innocent Charms Chats. Together with Alice and Carissa, we hope lots of you will join in this October - see you over on Instagram! xoxo



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Sunday, 27 September 2015

Coombumbers, giant spiders + shopping

Happy Sunday people!

I'm writing this while I watch Downton Abbey and eat dry Coco Pops out of the box. LIVING THE DREAM!

We had a great day today. We had a lie in! Til 8am! I got rid of a giant (and I really do mean giant) spider all by myself! We went shopping! We had sushi for lunch! We watched our first Hallowe'en film of the season!

So 'what the freak are coombumbers?' I hear you say. Ask Evie! She has been cracking me and Daisy up with her ever expanding vocabulary. She says 'coombumber' for cucumber, which I think is the best thing EVER, and 'nutnink' for nothing.

'What did you have at snack time at nursery today, Evie?'
'Coombumber, red sticks [breadsticks], daddots [carrots] and meese [cheese].'
'Yum! Anything else?'
'No, nutnink.'

Haha 

Onto the Traumatic Spider Incident, we had one of those horrible, giant house spiders in the bath when we got up this morning. Its body was ginormous - too big to even wash down the plug holes - and it had thick, hairy legs. Shudder. I thought long and hard about what to do about it. If you're my friend IRL you may have seen the plan hatching over on Facebook. I was given lots of tips for its disposal, some humane, some not. The problem was I couldn't even bring myself to get close to it. After a lot of psyching myself up I managed to get a glass over it (a PINT GLASS). Then after a brief sit down to get over the stress of being about 20cm away from it I went back and slid a piece of card underneath it and threw it out the stable door. ALL BY MYSELF! I will never venture out into the back garden ever again but, hey! I can have a shower!

We headed into Guildford today because I needed to take a couple of bits back. I'd ordered a denim shirt and a pair of brown Chelsea boots from Joules but neither were right. (FYI if you're considering buying this shirt from them, be warned there are polka dots on the collar and cuffs. Such a shame as it was the perfect colour, material and fit - but I am not a fan of polka dots on clothes. Ick).



Of course, while we were there we had to go to Yo! Sushi for lunch and the girls impressed (and almost bankrupted) me, eating about 25 million dishes each. They tried loads of new ones today and ate every single morsel. I tried the new 'Blossom rolls' too which are officially my new favourite thing on the menu (crunchy prawn rolls with spicy tuna topping and sweet, sticky soy sauce - oh my!).

On our way back to the car I was dragged into an ice cream parlour to get the girls some pudding. I agreed on the condition I could take this photo:


(TOTALLY worth the £8 I spent, PLUS I got to treat myself to this:)



Back home we watched Double Double Toil & Trouble (Olsen twins, 1993, BRILLIANT), at least the girls did while I caught glimpses of it whilst being preoccupied doing a spot of Internet shopping. Daisy presented me with the first draft of her Christmas list on Friday, and it was no less than three sides of A4 long. Admittedly she does have pretty big handwriting but still.

I managed to nab the Frozen lego castle for £25 from Tesco (it's usually £35, so a bit of a bargain) and also ordered the girls personalised mugs from Emma Bridgewater. I may have also bought myself  a new diary and address book. This is going to be the first year since 1999 I haven't used my battered old filofax! I have mixed emotions about it. It's seen better days thats for sure BUT IT'S MY BATTERED OLD FILOFAX! Also, I wanted to buy some DMs but I'm 35. What are peoples' thoughts on this?

Of course no great day is complete without a great soundtrack. Today we mostly listened to Taylor Swift (standard) and Gregory Alan Isakov. I'll leave you with this beaut of a song. Over and out.

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Thursday, 24 September 2015

Autumn Bucket List ♥


Well, it's started to feel chilly out there and there is a distinct (and lovely!) smell of bonfires in the air, which can only mean one thing. It's Autumn! My most favourite time of the year.

This time last year I came up with a list of twelve things that I wanted to make autumnal family traditions, to encourage us to make the most out of this gorgeous season year after year. We certainly had a good go at ticking them all off and my favourites were blackberry pickingpumpkin picking and an autumn walk in the beautiful end-of-year sunshine.

This year I want to do them all again and I've added a few extras too. If anyone else fancies joining in, please share any photos you take on Instagram using the hashtag #MMAutumn; I'd love to see pictures of you all enjoying this time of year with your friends and families xoxo
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Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Dear Diary #19

Sunshine AND muddy puddles at Cowdray Park

I know, I know, I've been TERRIBLE at keeping up with my 'weekly' diary entries. When was my last post? *dashes off to check* 30th June! Ooops.


Well we had a lovely week last week - but then it's bound to be awesome when it starts off with a fancy lunch at Villandry on Great Portland Street with two of your favourite people (I'm talking about you Alice and Ruth!) We met up with Tony Anscombe and the team at AVG to discuss child internet safety issues over some truly delicious food (the baked cod! Oh my!) and a glass of wine or two. If you're ever in the area I would totally recommend this restaurant - and we subsequently discovered that they do an all-you-can-drink prosecco lunch too (we are TOTALLY going back!). 

Mid week I got to help out on Daisy's school trip to Marwell Zoo, which was a really lovely treat for both of us. Being a working, single mum means I don't get many opportunities to help out at Daisy's school or Evie's nursery like lots of the other parents do and that makes me sad. We had such a fun day, and Evie got to spend some time with her dad too.


On Saturday we were invited up to London for an absolutely wonderful party to celebrate the launch of the new McDonald's Happy Readers campaign. This year, McDonalds will be bringing the extraordinary world of Roald Dahl to life for millions of children through an absolutely awesome partnership! Together with National Literacy Trust, Penguin Random House Children's UK and the Roald Dahl Literary Estate, they plan to distribute 14million books to kids across the UK over the next six weeks with their Happy Meals, and have also developed a free app to provide sound effects when reading these books aloud.

I grew up reading Roald Dahl and love his stories and his characters so much. I am so excited about this project; I think it's just wonderful that McDonalds are giving so many children the opportunity to read his books too.



The girls had a blast at the party, having their faces painted and getting tattoos, colouring in and listening to some superb interactive story telling!

We rounded the week off with a Sunday spent eating ice cream (the girls) drinking coffee (me) splashing in muddy puddles (the girls again) and picking blackberries (all of us) at Cowdray Park - one of our favourite places to visit locally. The sun was shining and lots of people were out enjoying the end of Summer. It reminded me of the Autumn bucket list we created last year, which I plan to revisit over the next couple of months. Bring on the smores and woolly hats.

One thing we did miss out on this week was the LittleLife Scootathlon but we heard it was a blast. Well done to all the children that took part!

PS THIS is my ear worm of the week. Youth by Fronteers. Gosh their fresh, stubble free faces make me feel old *insert weeping emoji here* but this song is totally awesome and I can't get enough of it.


 
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Divorce, Independence + Home Sweet Home


During the summer I got divorced. I briefly touched on it in various blog posts and photo captions on Instagram but I haven't talked about it in great detail because I don't I want something that personal posted all over the Internet. But the fact of the matter is that it happened; we separated last November and the Decree Absolute arrived in July. And the girls and I are doing OK.

The last eleven months have been a real learning curve for me. It has not been an easy or pleasant time but I've tried my hardest to be upbeat and positive for the girls' sake and to keep things as normal and familiar as possible for them both. Prior to the separation I was home alone with them the majority of the time anyway - so me suddenly being the only adult in the house 24/7 wasn't a massive change for any of us. Our days are busy and fast paced, but they always have been and we like it like that.

The biggest thing for me was becoming financially independent so that I was in a position to take over the mortgage on our family home. I wanted the girls to be able to stay in the house they have been brought up in, in the area they have grown to know and love, so with that in the forefront of my mind I decided to take on more work so that I could buy my ex-husband out. Before I started looking for mortgages, I used Experian CreditExpert to check my credit rating, firstly to check whether I would be able to get a mortgage at all - and then so that I knew the kind of rates I'd be eligible for. Then I got myself a mortgage broker and a conveyancing solicitor, and left them to do all the hard work. This has been such a huge thing for me - I had no idea whether or not I'd be able to do it on my own, and it has been a long and stressful process that is *hopefully* finally coming to an end now. We all love our house and I'm so happy that we are able to stay in it and the girls can have that stability in their lives.

The house still needs a lot of work doing to it, so I guess the next step in me becoming fully independent is learning some basic DIY skills (my current 'tool box' consists of a tape measure, an allen key from Ikea and a Philips screwdriver). So far my lovely Dad has been helping me out and to be honest that suits me just fine for now! ;) I have, however, mastered the art of going to the tip. Going to the tip is EMPOWERING! I LOVE filling up the car with recycling and throwing various bits and pieces into the relevant skips! I'd never done it until I got divorced (funnily enough, the first thing I had to dump was the frame of our matrimonial bed) and it is now one of my favourite things to do.

Yes, I know, I'm easily pleased. But I'm easily pleased and gaining my independence. And that makes me happy!


This is a collaborative post.
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Tuesday, 22 September 2015

It's all in the detail

This week sees fashion e-tailer Kaleidoscope launch a brand new TV commercial for AW15. The message behind the new campaign is that it's 'all in the detail'. I totally agree that it's the little things that make an outfit, whether it's tiny finishing touches, like pretty buttons or exposed zips, something simple like accessorising a plain t-shirt with jewellery, or adding a bright coat to a monochrome outfit, and I LOVE that this is one of Kaleidoscope's key brand values.

As part of their launch campaign, I was asked to pick a couple of pieces that feature in the television ad and style them myself. I chose the orange wrap coat and a pair of lace leather gloves (channelling my inner 80s Madonna).

The latter don't require much styling; they are the perfect smart, feminine accessory for any winter outfit! I love leather gloves, and particularly liked the added detail on these. And proving that it really is 'all in the detail' for Kaleidoscope - and not just the visible details either - I have to mention that these have the softest lining I have ever come across in a pair of leather gloves. I'm actually looking forward to the weather turning cold so that I can get some wear out of them! Another massive plus for these gloves is the price. They are only £25!

Then onto my beloved wrap coat, the coat that I loved so much I had to get in the camel colour too (to be fair I probably would have got it in the navy as well had I not bought myself the Boden Eliza coat in navy in the sale earlier this year). I love wearing simple, plain colours and dressing up the outfit with a splash of bright colour and a bold pattern, so that's exactly what I did with my wrap coat.



Black perfect pants - Me&I
Black batwing t-shirt - Me&I
Houndstooth scarf, £5 - Primark
Sunglasses - Walt Disney World, Florida
Orange wrap coat, £79 - Kaleidoscope

The new advert will be hitting our screens this week, so keep your peepers peeled if you're watching Sky or ITV! If you can't wait, then you can also take a wee look at it here, plus you can shop the TV ad right here too xoxo

   
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Monday, 21 September 2015

Daily Outfit ♥ Vintage Floral

It's always nice to bag a bargain in the end of season sales and this gorgeous denim look floral print dress was a bargain to begin with but is now HALF PRICE! I am in love with the sweetheart neckline and full skirt, now I just need an excuse to wear it!



THAT NECKLINE! Swoon.

Vintage style floral dress, £15 (in the sale!) - Apricot
Clogs, - Moheda Toffeln
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Sunday, 20 September 2015

Daily Outfit: Kids Edition ♥ Flower Power

Jools Oliver has done it again with her AW15 Little Bird collection for Mothercare. The bright colours! The bold prints! The timeless designs! What's not to love? These are my favourite outfits for the girls right now. I'm usually a mean mama that loves to dress them in matching dresses but they are starting to form their own opinions on my doing that now (booooo!) so this is the next best thing! That's one of the things I love about the little bird designs; each collection has a pattern running through it on a few key pieces - so the same print may appear in a skirt, on the collar of a blouse etc - just like in these two dresses! 



Evie wears: Orange floral dress, £16 - Little Bird by Jools
Purple patent T-bars - Clarks (hand-me-downs from AW13)
Daisy wears: Bold floral dress, £16 - Little Bird by Jools
Patent red shoes, £22 - Clarks
Socks - Marks & Spencer

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Friday, 18 September 2015

These boots were made for walking

I love lists. I'm forever writing them and usually have several on the go at the same time. I like feeling organised, knowing exactly what I have to do, even if I don't actually ever get round to doing any of it (which is what usually happens). But when I DO get round to doing stuff, ticking it off my list motivates me to do more... is that weird?

Right now I'm working on four; a list of DIY that needs doing, a list of things I need to buy for the house, a list of admin-y stuff to get through and, it goes without saying, there is currently a mega long wish list of clothes and accessories I've got my beady eye on. Some of these lists last forEVER, and of course it's the last, most FUN, one that just seems to get longer and longer before I manage to tick anything off at all.

So last month, said clothes shopping list consisted of:

Soft, pale denim shirt
Brown chelsea boots, preferably brogue
Thick woolly socks
Black & white stripy t-shirt
New bobble hat
Checked shirt
Parka
Houndstooth scarf
Biker boots

And I am very happy, nay DELIGHTED, to have managed to tick the last two off in the last few weeks.

First up you may have seen on Instagram that I picked up the most awesome huge, blanket-like houndstooth scarf in Primark. It was £5 so a mega bargain. They also had a reversible one with red tartan on the back for the same price. I nearly bought both but I bought a cashmere tartan one in the January sales earlier this year so figured I may as well go full houndstooth and spend the other fiver on a Starbucks.

And that brings us nicely onto the second and most important tick off the check list - the biker boots. These have been on my wish list for about five years, seriously, which is why I'm so freaking excited to have finally found The Ones. I'm so fussy when it comes to clothes, which is probably why they remain unpurchased on my wish list for such a long time, and my dream biker boots were no exception. I wanted wooden heels, a decent shaped toe (not too round, not too pointed), they needed to be slightly higher than average on the ankle and they had to be COMFORTABLE. I spend so much time on my feet, I need comfortable shoes.



And then the Hudson Tatham boot in black came into my life, courtesy of footwear company Cloggs, and they ticked ALL the boxes. Perfect size and shape, gorgeous wooden heels, made of excellent quality leather and with the added bonus of a faux shearling lining which pretty much makes you feel like you're wearing your favourite slippers all day. I've been wearing them with ripped skinny black jeans and white shirts/t-shirts a lot, but my favourite look is to team them with a floral dress, oversized cardie and thick tights. Whatever the outfit, biker boots are a great way to make it look like you've made an effort when you really haven't, and when you're in a rush to get out of the house every.single.morning like me, you need every quick fix you can get.

They cost £139.95 and are also available in chestnut. You can get both from the Cloggs online store here.
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Monday, 14 September 2015

Five

A picture of my faves, just because

Today is a bit of a milestone for me. It's five years exactly since I hit publish on my very first blog post. I'm not really sure whether celebrating blog birthdays is the done thing but it sounds a pretty good excuse to crack open a tub of Coconut Collaborative before lunch to me!

So much has happened in the last five years - for me personally as well as for this little blog of mine. I started writing shortly after Daisy was born, then Evie came along, we moved house three times, I changed jobs twice, I got married, I got divorced. It's been nice being able to share all these experiences on the internet, even when no one was reading about them at the very beginning. But then people did start to read and I was pleased as punch when I won my first award less than twelve months later. Since then I've had some amazing opportunities and I've made some incredible friends too.

But I digress!

Now isn't the time to go all soppy. It's a time of JOY! Modern Mummy is five! The Coconut Collaborative is OPEN! And I've been being all self indulgent this morning and reading through some of my favourite old posts. Like Daisy's and Evie's birth stories, the one where I 'fessed up about my imperfect parenting, and my rant about raisins (I freaking HATE raisins!). I feel a bit proud actually. It's been a great five years.

Blog birthday aside, I know I've been a bit quiet recently. The truth is, this whole back-to-school thing has totally floored me. All that new term prep, like shopping for stuff - and labelling EVERYTHING! The early starts! Making lunch boxes! The actual, physical school runs (17,000 steps a day, thank you for enlightening me Garmin Vivofit). The long days for the girls, and the delightful after school grumps and late afternoon naps and then the knock on effect of said late naps e.g. awful bedtimes. Aaarrrgh. 10 days in and I think we're finally getting back into the swing of things, back to routine. Thank God!


On a lighter, albeit completely random note, my parents found my old Ninetendo Entertainment System in the last week of the holidays. Remember those bad boys? The ones with the flip top lid and the cartridges you had to blow on to get to work, even when they were brand new. I got mine for Christmas in 1991 and spent most of Christmas Day playing Super Mario 3 (with short breaks to shovel handfuls of Quality Street into my mouth of course). When I went to bed and closed my eyes that night, all I could see were mushrooms and turtles and Koopas and I had the music on repeat in my head. I totally relived that entire experience earlier this week when we brought it home. Ever since, all the cheats have been slowly coming back to me and I've been getting way too competitive with the children. Ha! It's been awesome. (For the record I am not a gamer. The extent of my gaming over the past 24 years has been playing Snake on my Nokia 3210).

And here's another random thought for you while I'm being all reminiscent. I spent most of the nineties wishing I'd been around in the sixties. SERIOUSLY. Was that the best decade ever or what? I dressed in sixties clothes, I listened to sixties music, I idolised Patti Boyd and Elke Sommer and Marianne Faithfull (to be fair, I still do). But this past week I've been reminded about the ninetiesness of my nineties youth and how awesome they really were! I subscribed to Spotify Premium earlier this year and its one of the best things I've ever done. I've been listening to all the old albums that I originally had on cassette (yep, I'm THAT OLD) without having to re-buy them on digital. Remember 'Homegrown' by Dodgy? It came out in 1994! I've been playing it pretty much constantly since last Thursday.

Let me leave you with 'Grassman'. You're welcome!



PS One last random thought for you. In case you were wondering whether it is possible to ACTUALLY fall in love with a hoover, the answer is yes. But more on that later.
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Sunday, 6 September 2015

The LittleLife Scootathlon


Next weekend, Daisy and I will be making our way to the Olympic rowing venue, Dorney Lake in Eton, Berkshire, to take place in the Human Race Scootathlon. 

Our friends at LittleLife and Micro Scooter have teamed up with Human Race to make this year's Scootathlon bigger and better than ever before - and we are so excited to be taking part!

A super fun race for kids aged 4 to 8, made up of a 390m scoot, a 390m bike ride and a 250m run to the finish line, the Scootathlon is a great way to introduce children to triathlons - and looks set to be a great day out for all the family.

Fancy taking part? It costs just £19 to enter and you can read all about it here xoxo
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