Monday, 16 December 2013

Blogger Challenge: Style Your Man’s Christmas Outfit

Blogger Challenge: Style Your Man’s Christmas Outfit

As I look at the pin board above I can only dream and hope that I can inspire some sense of pride in dress on my fashion disaster of a son.   My daughter is the teenage equivalent of Anna Wintour and spends hours deciding on what goes with what and carefully buying clothes and then I have Tom.  A clothes horse as far as shape and size goes, but more of a donkey when it comes to putting the look together. 

For Christmas I said I was going to buy him clothes and asked for his input; my major fear was that he would say "Shell suit"  and it was close.  His hearts desire is a new tracksuit!!!!  Before you think "oh he's a fitness nut", you couldn't be farther from the truth.  His idea of fitness is running for the bus to get to college, where he is a musician.  The only exercise he gets is carrying amps and playing guitar.

I've put together the look to showcase the idea that comfy doesn't need to mean slovenly and that looking smart can still be casual.   The Armani Jeans are fantastic and grey so he won't automatically think urghh denim jeans and fittingly are called Comfort Jeans.  Teamed with the gorgeous black Hugo Boss jumper, he could be warm and stylish without looking like granddad.   I've added a Superdry coat, for the British weather, which I know he would wear as it is de rigueur for all the boys on his college course.  The Superdry bag, looks stylish for carrying stuff to college and the Toy watch would hopefully mean that he'd not miss the bus home quite so often because he forgot the time. 

I'm a little bit in love with the Vans trainers.  I doubt that I will ever see him in a pair of shoes but they are a million miles away from his scruffy trainers.  The obligatory boxer shorts, have to be Calvin Klein so that they can poke above his jeans, in homage to his favourite film.  The little box of socks from Hackett are already sitting under our Christmas tree and are a must for anyone who finds it a nightmare to pair up socks that they have rescued from the sock monster who lives under the bed.

Now to go off and write his letter to Santa, fingers crossed he's not on the naughty list. xx

All the clothes above were sourced from Mainsline Menswear, who happen to be running a great bloggers comp to showcase gifts we'd like to give the men in our families and how we'd like to see them dressed for Christmas.  If I've been good perhaps they will let me win this??? 

You can find more details here...

Ann Summers: Underneath the Little Black Dress

Ann Summers have got a great competition on their blog to style a little black dress with some stunning underwear for that perfect Christmas party outfit.  I have to admit that now I'm a little bit older I still love Ann Summers underwear.   I know I'm wearing it, my husband knows I'm wearing it, but no one else does!  I love their undies, it's not all sex, sex, sex anymore, but some really gorgeous feel good items which make you feel really womanly. 
I absolutely adore this rose gold cami suspender set; it will help hold me in, in all the right places with no lines, whilst giving me a great cleavage for underneath this lovely black dress from Coast.  The dress has a cut out back, which makes finding the right bra more of a challenge, but this cami features adjustable straps which can be worn halterneck - so problem solved.
I feel the dress speaks for itself, so have kept accessories to a minimum, a gold cuff bangle and gold and black strappy sandals from  and a gold accented bag from Accessorize finish off my Christmas look.
This could be worn anywhere at Christmas, the works party, the girls night out and that all important New Year extravaganza where we push the boat out and make use of the grandparents for a whole childless night! 
If you like the look of my outfit, why not go and have a look at the competition yourself, which you can find here and style up an outfit of your own.  Who knows you could win some lovely vouchers to treat yourself at Ann Summers this Christmas.


Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Kids Capture the Colour

M was delighted to see a competition from Travel Supermarket for children to take photos over the summer focused on individual colours. She is such an avid photographer that she had to have a go.  We didn't get in quick enough to get a camera to take the photos with, so she used her little old Fuji film camera, but Travel Supermarket said that she could still enter the competition.  So below you will find M's attempts at capturing colour over the summer holidays.  M is 13 and has just started studying photography at school, so this was a great way to get her to focus on a task rather than just snapping away.
This is our friends little girl R, transfixed by a bright blue balloon
Our family dog, Maggie, it's not often you see her white as she loves mud.

    A peacock at Dartmoor Wildlife Park.  An amazing display of colour.

    M loves flowers and would have made the whole study one of flowers so she has chosen this yellow rose as her favourite.  As she says the arrival of flowers in the garden mean that summer is here!                                      
M's favourite shot of the whole set because it was her most fun part of the summer holidays.  We were lucky enough to stand on stage for Billy Bragg's set at Camp Bestival this year and she loved every minute of it. 

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Why walk when you can catch the bus! A pocket money tale of woe....

I used to love pocket money day, although there always seemed to be so much week left at the end of the money and my dad was a stickler for "when it's gone it's gone!".  It taught me the value of money  and budgeting.  I used to get a lot more money than my friends; £7.75 a week.  A figure decided not by my dad but the state as he used to give me the family allowance which he received for me.  Out of this princely sum, I was expected to buy everything I needed so clothes, makeup, going out and everything else was financed by me.  Needless to say, I supplemented my pocket money, with a Saturday job, babysitting and a paper round and am amazed looking back that I had time to spend any money, with the amount of hours I put into earning it.

With my own children I'm an abject failure when it comes to pocket money.  I give them money as and when they need it, I don't make them work for it, I don't even insist that they do "a chore" to deserve it... if they ask, and I've got it then as long as they aren't asking for the moon on a stick they get it.  They are the proverbial spoilt children.  I'm sure that in my own way I'm rebelling against having to work so hard as a child to finance everything I wanted by being completely the opposite.

I know all the advice is that it teaches you to budget, it teaches you respect and it teaches you to value the things you buy, but I also know that there is nothing worse than being a child who can't go out with her friends as dad won't give you £1.50 for the cinema because you've spent your pocket money on a new pair of school shoes.  He was too harsh and I am too soft and I should tread a middle line.  I am mentally scared by my pocket money dilemmas and can still remember 30 years later one day crying as he wouldn't give me the bus fare into town on a Saturday morning so I could get to work because I hadn't budgeted properly!  Not budgeting properly on that occasion was him deciding that the money for a school trip should come out of my pocket money and wasn't in the list of essentials that he would fund.  Apparently this was to teach me the value of keeping an emergency fund, when all it actually taught me was that a five mile walk to work is no fun. 

I was really interested therefore, to see the Roosterbank pocket money index.  It's a really fun interactive site which shows you how much pocket money others give/receive and what kids are spending their money on.  It also allows your children to track their money, make decisions about how to spend THEIR money and gives loads of hints and tips about getting it right!  Something I know I am very bad at doing.

I found the site by sheer chance through Tots100 as part of a blog competition but whether this post wins or not, I've joined the site and have sat down with the kids today and agreed a pocket money budget with them both, which they are going to manage until Christmas on Roosterbank.  I'm hopeful it will be a good thing for all of us.   I've told them that it is flexible until we are happy, (see even now I'm still being a wimp about when it's gone it gone!) and that when we get to Christmas we will set a formal amount based on the last three months spending.

If you too fancy having a look you can find the site here.  I'm determined to give it a go, who knows I may actually raise children who respect their things, grow up to budget well and never have to walk instead of catching the bus!

“This post is an entry into the Tots100/Roosterbank Pocket Money Competition”


Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Camp Bestival

This year I was lucky enough to win a family ticket to Camp Bestival.  It was a great fun competition where you had to complete various stages in a race to the finish line to the final prize of a family ticket.  I was lucky enough to complete all the stages and win the tickets, along with several other amazing prizes along the way.  The tickets were a superb win, having exhausted my festival budget earlier this  year with Glastonbury, Bestival and Camp Bestival were only a dream.

We arrived late on Thursday night, but luckily had friends (who had also won in the same competition) already pitched and waiting for us.  Trolley hire was a nightmare and the taxi service non-existent when we got there, so the first challenge was the slog to the pitch, but with perseverance and a knackering walk we made it just before 11pm and were pitched, air beds blown up and kids asleep before 2am.  This kind of bed time became the norm all weekend.

Friday, dawned bright and sunny and we had a morning exploring the site and marvelling at the amount of things to do for young kids....why didn't this exist when mine were this little. T is 18 now and M 13, so they were a bit old for the kiddie based activities but they loved just walking around soaking up the atmosphere. 

Then it was onto prize 1.

Front of stage tickets for two to watch Ash on the main stage.  Again, we were blessed here as another one of our group also won this prize, so we pooled prizes and myself and Lynn took the two teenage girls along.

  They were gobsmacked that they were allowed down the front to watch from the press pit.

Nothing was going to top this for the rest of the day, but the girls threw themselves into walking around, looking pretty, lazing at the tent and deciding which stall to eat from next with gusto.  While myself and Lynn looked forward to our evening treat. 
Yes, we were privileged enough to get tickets which allowed us to watch the Billy Bragg gig from the side of the stage.  I had one of the awful moments when I felt old, as I realised that I'd seen my first Billy Bragg gig 30 years ago!  The view from the side of stage was awe inspiring, with the crowd and the beautiful castle in the background as the sun set over Lulworth.
By this time, I had lost the boys (18, 18 and 23) to Bollywood, the bar and generally enjoying the festival on their own.  They didn't want to be with mum cramping their style, but such is the atmosphere of the festival that I didn't even worry heading off to sleep with them still out, something that I'd never dare to do at home.
Saturday arrived all too soon, with us up bright and early to meet up with Matt from Camp Bestival to claim yet another prize, in the form of a drink on CB.  This was gratefully received as the bar prices at the site weren't cheap and packing light had meant that alcohol was not on our packing list.  Armed with our vouchers myself and Lynn debated keeping hold of the blokes vouchers (they were too lazy to get up!) but were good and shared them out back at the tents.
Yet more wandering around marvelling at the sights and sounds, a visit to the Skylanders area for E&D, our 10  year olds and a mosey around the stalls led us to the Gabriel Aplin gig.  Again we had two tickets for front of stage here, so we sent in the girls.  They loved every minute of it and you could see that for them the festival was made.  Even joining the crowd myself, at a diminutive 5ft 2" I didn't feel crushed or over shadowed and could see the stage! 
Next up was a relax before I took myself off to see Mark Owen. Can you believe out of a group of 10 people I was the only one who wanted to see this gig.  Well it was their loss.

Then onto the Levellers which everyone headed off to.  We managed to get relatively near the front again and danced our socks off next to some really sprightly old age pensioners.
Sunday arrived even faster than Saturday had....and again after a leisurely morning we headed off to throw paper airplanes for a world record breaking attempt before a side of stage view of 1975 in the Big Top, (wow just wow!), a meeting with the band (wow and even more wow!) and a chilled evening of comedy with Alan Davies in preparation for Labrinth and the fireworks display.. 
The wonderful Matt from Camp Bestival was nice enough to swop one of our prizes, so the kids could all watch Labrinth from the front of the stage, so after rushing from the Big Top and the Alan Davies gig, we managed to get the kids to the front for the last surprise which was their seats for the last gig of the weekend.  This was followed by a wonderful spine tingling fire work display which was just the icing on the cake of a wonderful weekend.
I've read lots of reviews of this festival on other blogs, and seen the comments on facebook about the facilities but cannot believe these people were at the same festival.  The toilet facilities have been slammed everywhere I look, yet having attended hundreds of festivals and with Glastonbury still fresh in my mind these were heavenly.  I didn't even try the "posh loos" but the on site staff near our tent were constantly cleaning the loos, and not once did I open a door and run away.  The queues were always manageable and none of our group ever had a problem.  The showers were fantastic, of course, they are always going to be busy first thing in the morning but if you were prepared to pop over later then it was easy.
Food at these things is always going to be expensive, but we found some stalls that were very reasonable, The Soup Library and Tea & Toast as always delivered.  The Schuh welly exchange was fantastic and these proved to be life savers when the heavens opened as we packed up on Monday.
Fest-taxi were the only true disappointment.  On Thursday they had shut by 9pm and others told me that actually by 8.30pm you struggled to get one, which considering a lot of people don't get there until after work and the car park was rammed with arrivals at that time, made no sense.  On Monday getting hold of one was impossible.  We watched in dismay as one poor disabled lad was turned away and told that even if he waited they wouldn't be able to help him.  On site security were fantastic at this point as they carried his belongings to his car for him, but the taxi could easily have made just that one journey.
At no point did I feel anything other than safe, my children were safe and my belongings were safe.  Phone charging was hit and miss, so it was a good job my children were safe as I wasn't so worried that I couldn't reach them.  The phone charging point was £5 for half hour and three times we actually walked away with phones that hadn't charged at all, so I do wonder if it was working properly.
Camp Bestival is marketed at families and certainly lives up to that perfectedly.  That said, our group although a family were older, teens and young adults and oldies and we all came away happy and looking forward to next year.  Actually that's a lie, we all came away longing to go to Bestival but I need the comping fairy to reward me with some tickets before that one comes off.
Huge thanks go especially to  Matthew Sanger and all the team at Camp Bestival, they worked their socks off to produce a truly magical weekend.


Sunday, 18 August 2013

Holiday memories.

I grew up in a family that didn't travel abroad on holiday, the rise of the package holiday came after I left home, so holidays for us were far more the pack up the car and tent and travel for what seemed like hours in the car;  my brother, sister and me, all squished in the back, with sleeping bags under our bums and a suitcase under my feet.

I remember moaning all the way there, my children definitely inherited "are we nearly there yet?". I remember, I spy and the number plate game, from my own horrific holiday car journeys. I remember car sickness vividly and the smell of Brut 33 as dad frantically tried to remove the smell from the car when one of us didn't warn him in time. 

My memories of actual holidays mingle into one, but some things never changed.  Cheese sandwiches and warm lemonade as we stopped in a layby on the side of the road on the interminable journey down to Cornwall or Devon.  Dad and mum always fighting whilst erecting the tent over which pole went where and just how best to put the tent up.  Rain and bad weather seemed to dog our holidays, yet no matter how windy it was, I could never ever get the kite to fly.  I don't even remember why I bothered with it, but each year, I insisted that we buy yet another kite, which would end up in a bin at the end of the week, battered and broken from endless dives to earth.

I used to love collecting shells, spending hours picking them up from the seashore and each year, I insisted on bringing them home.  It's only now looking back that I think, why?  The smell in the car from the shells and seaweed always made me feel even more sick on the return leg and I had to hold the bucket filled to the brim on my lap all the way home.  Then within days the lustre had gone from the shells and mum would throw them away.

I look back with nostalgia on my holidays, hours spent looking through rockpools, playing crazy golf and eating ice creams, (normally in the rain) and think how little has changed.

Surprisingly not alot.  My early holidays shaped me into an avid staycationer and it's what I still do with my kids now.  I love holidays in the UK.  We live in such a beautiful country if we take the time to look around and visit it.

The campsites or holiday villages are much nicer; no longer the old huge frame tent that took half a day to erect or dodgy chalets. The sleeping bags are warmer and the term "glamping" figures high on our list.  We now camp on pitches with electric and have a fridge or stay in plush chalets, with showers and decent beds and facilities, but some things still remain true to my early holiday memories with my family.  We still love the amusement arcades, the penny falls still take coppers, fish and chips still taste best out of newspaper on the beach and nothing quite beats the feel of jumping the waves in the coldest of cold seas imaginable.

I look back with nothing but good memories and hope that my children will feel the same when they are older.  I can't find any photos of those times,  but I do have the shots from my son's first family holiday, he's threatened to kill me if I put them up on my blog... so I'm not going to win this competition, I'm going to die......(The things I do for my readers risking life and limb)

“Competition sponsored by Butlins Holiday Parks, helping your family make memories.”

Friday, 19 July 2013

Appliances Online Superheroes

Those lovely people at Appliances Online have got their happy faces on again and are running a best superhero competition for bloggers.   The prize up for grabs is the chance to take home this gorgeous Samsung Fridge Freezer to use and review... now that's my kind of prize...  it's just such a shame that my superheroes aren't really all that super or heroes.

I have Captain A... he doesn't even merit any further description and I couldn't take any more photos of him as I was laughing too much.

The Hulk.. who refused to rip her sweatshirt, or have green body paint applied so really wasn't getting into the spirit of this competition at all.
and the Iron Lady... actually I think it's more wavy hand lady, she's so wimpy I can't even see her managing to put up an ironing board, let alone get through a weeks worth of shirts!

Hey ho, they may not be super or heroes in the eyes of the rest of the world, but they are mine and I love them dearly, just not for reasons that are easily apparent.  If like me they've made you smile, then they've done their job well here today as the purpose of the post was to bring happiness and a smile.   I know I'd be smiling if Appliances Online like them and let us review the fridge/freezer.

You can see more of their range of Samsung fridges and freezers here


Wednesday, 3 July 2013

The Book That Made Me!

Pride and Prejudice

I love reading, I am one of those people who never seem to have their nose out of a book.  I read anything and everything, devouring words like food and drink.  Despite the fact that I tend to read two or three books a week, I still have favourites, those books that I return to time and time again,who give me comfort and solace, pick up my spirits, make me laugh or just remind me of good times.  They are like slipping into a hot bath, or a newly made bed, comforting and relaxing with the reassurance that they won't disappoint.  I have a multitude of these, dog eared old friends sat on my bookshelves.  Some are tatty and crumpled, with battered spines and well worn covers. If I needed to choose just one book to take with me to a desert island or that I knew I could loose myself in time and time again or that made me the person I am today, then it would be from this row of books that I would make my choice.

It's not an easy choice, I'm the sum of all my parts and my parts have been shaped by forty years of reading, from Shakespeare to Harold Robbins, Pinter to Stephen King and from airport terminal holiday reads to the huge tomes that I read for my degree.  Every single one of them has made a mark on me.

So what could be that one book.  One novel that stands head and shoulders above the rest and made me want to read and read and read. Influenced me into being a better person (I hope) and had a profound effect on the thirteen year old girl that first picked it up, in O level English, with a heavy heart because it wasn't about ponies, or Adrian Mole.  There can be only one and for me that one is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

I was transfixed by the end of the first paragraph and still to this day remain entranced, until the tears start at the end.  Actually that is a lie, I cry from about three chapters before the end because I know what is coming.  I know that this book made me a better person.  It taught me the fallacy of judging people on first impressions and of meddling.  Although life in 1980's Bristol was a far cry from the life of the Bennet's, it resonated with me and I could see even two hundred years later that actually very little has changed with relationships.  I dreamt of a Darcy of my own, he was my child hood pin up, the man with the morals that I wanted in my own future husband, and who can blame me for dreaming that he'd be just as rich.  But not only did it teach me so much about what was wrong with relationships, it also showed me that it was ok to change my mind.  That I didn't have to make a decision and stick with it to the bitter end. 

I have Jane Austen to thank for so much.  She made me a nicer person, shaping my attitudes at that impressionable age and more importantly, she made me realise that just because a book was old and huge, it didn't mean that it was out of my reach. Without this book, I would not be the avid reader I am today and I would not have the husband I have today because my first impression of him was "urgh, stuck up horrible man!".  If Lizzie Bennet could change her mind and see through to the inner person, then so could I and I'm glad I did.

If you too want to read my one book you can find it here at Waterstones.
This post was prompted by Waterstones Books That Made Me campaign.  Details of which are here.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Coast's little black dress in "A Day At the Races"

I absolutely love the clothes at Coast, so was inspired when they asked bloggers to style a dress from their range of LBDs for a day at the races. I've never managed to get to Ascot (although I did get to the Grand National last year), but its one of those dreams for anyone who loves dressing up. The challenge was to choose one of three little black dresses from their current range and using only Coast accessories style it for a day at the races; not as easy as it seems when all three dresses are gorgeous and the accessories this season are all so easy to wear.

I went with this striking maxi dress which at £220 for a fully lined dress with such a beautiful cut is a great price. I thought purple accessories would lift the dress for a summer day. I already own the shoes, (although I've got them in black) and they are so comfortable that I could quite happily wear them around a race course all day - they also make my ankles look fabulous!

Coast Little Black Dress in a day at the races.

The jewellery is classy and sophisticated and allows the dress to do the talking.  The fascinator complies with dress rules if you need to wear a hat, but aren't really a hat person (like me!). The wrap, is a necessity after all it is summer and although I'm determined that it will not rain, that doesn't mean it won't be windy or chilly.  I am definately of the opinion that  you can never have too many bags, and this bright purple clutch caught my eye, big enough to hold all my essentials but small enough that I'm not going to be weighed down by it all day.  A handy strap means that I can keep my hands free when I get too excited or want to hold my glass of champagne.

If I was lucky enough to win a few bets, this outfit would quite happily take me out for the evening to a nice resturant and certainly won't fall foul of the too short skirt brigade if I get invited into the Royal Enclosure. 

If you want to try and style your own outfit, then you can find all the details here .

I couldn't finish this post without showing you the other two dresses as well. As you can see choosing between the three lbds was the hardest part of this challenge!

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Wellies needed...

Wellies needed...

Wellies needed...

With festival season looming; is it really only ten days til I leave for Glastonbury? I am on the look out for my festival gear. The annual hunt for a new pair of wellies, (this is Glastonbury remember) led me to Charles Clinkard, who have a lovely little competition to style a festival look for their range of Hunter Wellies.
I love the classic blue hunter wellies as they go with anything. I need new wellies each year as after festival season is over, they become my mainstay down at the yard for the horses. The horses aren't really that keen on bright pink wellies, even if I quite like them.
I've chosen these lovely shorts from Bank, which I put together with a lacey top from TopShop, so that should a miracle happen and it actually be sunny, I'm sorted. I love the bright orange bag pack from Asos, which should make me stand out in a crowd if I get separated from my friends, the bunny ears are used for a similar reason. Holding out hope the sunglasses from TopShop are fun and quirky. The parka from Primark, will probably, alongside the Hunter Wellies, be worn every day and will go with any outfit.
Hopefully with this kind of outfit, no matter what the weather decides to throw at me, I shall be comfy and dry and as long as my feet are dry, I can handle anything!

If you like the boots as much as me you can buy them from Charles Clinkard here.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Budget Summer Dressing

Budget Summer Dressing

Dress £25.00 -  Denim Jacket £22.00  Shoes £8.00   Bag £9.99 -    Sunglasses £4.90 -, Jewellery £10.00 -  Total: £79.89

Inspired by to create a summer outfit for under £100, I've put together the look above.  I'm a huge fan of dressing cheaply and hunting out bargains.  I love this dress, which can take you from day to night with a quick change of shoes, and jacket.  These pretty ballet shoes from Bank, add just a touch of fun and as I'm styling this for a british summer, the jacket is a must have.  The Sunglasses are admittedly hopeful but at only £4.90 I thought I could afford the risk. 
If you think you can style a summer look for under £100, take a look here and have a go, I'd love to see what others come up with.  #StyleSaversChallenge

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Summer Festival Look

Summer Festival Look

I love summer, I love music festivals, I do not love rain, so I'm banking on a lovely summer this year for my festival going.  I'm off to Glastonbury in a fortnight and am determined that year I will not need my wellies, poncho and a boat.  I'm insisting on buying suntan lotion, after sun and sandals.  So above I've produced my dream Glastonbury look, without a welly boot or pac a mac in sight.   
I've gone for these denim dungarees, it's a huge look this year and very comfy.  I like the embroidery on the pockets of these.  I'm also a big fan of all the aztec prints that are showing up on outfits this season so plumped for this one from urban outfitters. 
The tights, add just a little touch of fun to the outfit and I adore butterflies.  I know how dreadful the ground can be underfoot but as I'm on an anti -welly crusade, I've gone for trusty converses, rather than sandals.  I'm also a great one for pony tails at festivals.  I have bum length hair which suffers from a lack of decent washing facilities so ponytails are the way to go, but I have invested in several of the hair jewels on Asos this season to bring my hair on trend.
Last but not least is my trusty rucksack for carrying all that sun tan lotion in.  I am so in love with this spider back pack from Surfdome.  I know it comes with a rain hood, (which I won't need), but I'm counting on it being my spider bodyguard and scaring away all the real ones when I'm asleep in the tent at night.  Hopefully, they will take one look at the massive spider in the corner and run away.
I created this board from things I found on Shopstyle, which is truly one stop clothes shopping paradise and am pleased to say that not only did I get a chance to get some last minute goodies for Glastonbury, I also get to enter their great competition which is hosted here by Natasha from Girl in the Lens to build a festival look for under £200. 
My entire outfit comes in at £155, which leaves me £45 emergency cash for an umbrella, wellies and a raincoat should the worst happen....

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Laura Ashley Spring Room Refresh


My daughter has a rather empty room waiting for her...

At the moment she thinks the only thing it is good for is for performing cartwheels as ably demonstrated.  It has great storage, but not a lot else. It is cold and unwelcoming and desperately needs some furniture. She's turning into a teenager who doesn't want to spend her time in her room doing cartwheels, but would rather relax in a more grown up room.  
So onto her vision... blues and purples and a comfy day bed.  Warmth and light to get out of the drudge of winter and rain with somewhere cosy to sit or lie while she dreams. 

Laura Ashley Spring Room Refresh

I am going to ignore the fact that she also wants to add lots of Justin Bieber posters as decoration to her beautiful room.

This bedroom design was prompted by the lovely Annie Bean, who has a bloggers competition at the moment here to refresh your room with items from Laura Ashley.  Luckily Laura Ashley happens to be M's favourite shop of the moment in honour of it's butterfly curtains.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Cocktails in New York

Cocktails in New York

For Cocktails in New York, I've gone down the classic little black dress route, but I loved the cut out detailing on this Top Shop dress, which makes it just that little bit different.  I've then added colour with these amazing shoes from Asos and the lovely earrings.  I think the outfit could be worn anywhere, be it a really posh upmarket wine bar to a hotel ball room, without looking out of place.  I have to admit to ordering the shoes myself because you can never have enough shoes, even if I don't get to wear them in New York.

Travel Supermarket have got a great little competition where you have to publish a Worldwide Wardrobe post on your blog including an outfit and accessories for the five different destinations, explaining why you chose each look. You can enter just one of the categories to be in with a chance of winning a holiday to that destination or enter an outfit for all five categories to be in the running to win all five holidays. - See more at:

Sightseeing in Paris

Sightseeing in Paris

Travel Supermarket have a great little competition running on their website to publish a Worldwide Wardrobe post on your blog including an outfit and accessories for the five different destinations, explaining why you chose each look. You can enter just one of the categories to be in with a chance of winning a holiday to that destination or enter an outfit for all five categories to be in the running to win all five holidays. - See more  here

This is my entry for Sightseeing in Paris:

For a day out sightseeing in Paris, I've gone for practical.  Jeans and a T Shirt, are wear anywhere clothes, which will cope with the dirty streets and hard graft of a day seeing the sights.  Much as I'd love to romanticise about Paris, it is in reality a grubby dirty city full of pickpockets and a lot of walking.  I've therefore, chosen a bag which has lots of buttons and an inner zip, and shoes which have lovely flat heels - although I couldn't resist these quirky little cat ballet flats from Asos to add a touch of style to the outfit... it is Paris after all.  Which despite my calling it dirty and grubby is my favourite city in the whole world and one which I love wandering around in discovering all the little side streets and cafes where I can sit and watch the world go by.

Clubbing In Ibiza

Clubbing In Ibiza

Travel Supermarket have got a great little competition where you have to publish a Worldwide Wardrobe post on your blog including an outfit and accessories for the five different destinations, explaining why you chose each look. You can enter just one of the categories to be in with a chance of winning a holiday to that destination or enter an outfit for all five categories to be in the running to win all five holidays. - See more at:

For Clubbing In Ibiza, I followed the Neon Trend that has really caught my eye this season.  I have to admit that I thought I'd never be caught dead in a bright neon sweatshirt, but that is exactly what I am wearing as I type this 
blog.  This beautiful dress from Jane Norman caught my eye, especially when you consider it's only £35.00, which left me enough in my budget to indulge in these amazing shoes from New Look.  I'm absolutely certain that they would kill me by the end of the night, but it would be oh so worth it and who needs shoes in the day time on the beach -  the blisters can then heal all day!  With open toes shoes like these, you'd need a good nail polish.  I'm torn here between sticking with the pink theme or opting to clash with the bright yellow, but whichever would be sure to make a statement with the rest of the outfit and I'd certainly be hard to miss in the a nightclub... just have to hope that I didn't sunburn to match.

Shopping in London

Shopping in London

Shopping in London 

Travel Supermarket have got a great little competition where you have to publish a Worldwide Wardrobe post on your blog including an outfit and accessories for the five different destinations, explaining why you chose each look. You can enter just one of the categories to be in with a chance of winning a holiday to that destination or enter an outfit for all five categories to be in the running to win all five holidays. - See more at:

This is my entry for the Shopping in London category.

London is at the best of times a wonderful vibrant city, at the worst of times, it's a miserable wet grey kind of place.  So I plumped for yellow touches in my outfit.  It's either going to fit right in or brighten up a dreary street, whichever its a win win.  Of course this is London so the obligatory umbrella is in there, who knows it may even be needed to ward off the suns rays and I am ever hopeful with these wonderful quirky top shop sunglasses.  

As London and shopping mean, for me anyway, lots of walking, pushing my way through crowds and standing on the underground, I went for comfort dressing, with this great t shirt and joggers from Top Shop.  Comfy and unlikely to crease, these should see me through a heavy day shopping and would be easy to whip on and off in changing rooms.    I love these bright Vans which should stay nice and comfy for a long day on my feet and the duffel bag hopefully would keep all my new purchases safely stored.

Thailand Full Moon Party

Thailand Full Moon Party

Thailand Full Moon Party 

Travel Supermarket have got a great little competition where you have to publish a Worldwide Wardrobe post on your blog including an outfit and accessories for the five different destinations, explaining why you chose each look. You can enter just one of the categories to be in with a chance of winning a holiday to that destination or enter an outfit for all five categories to be in the running to win all five holidays. - See more at:

This is my entry for the Thailand Full Moon Party.

I'm not a great one for partying in my swimming costume or bikini.  So I opted for these really great shorts.  The pompoms on the bottom look really fun, although I do worry how practical they will be, but who says you need to be practical on holiday.  I love the bandeau top from Jane Norman,which is in a lovely bright colour.  Matching the denim shorts, I've gone for a hardy little back pack to carry all my sun tan lotion, aftersun and mosquito repellant.  I love the hair jewels that Asos and lots of others are doing this year and I think that would look great worn in the evening and really suit Thailand.  The necklace looks fun and matches the outfit beautifully and the coral sandals from New Look, give you the height you need at a party, without being so delicate that you'd ruin them on the beach.  All in all a look that you could have worn all day but will slip seamlessly into a night out.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Pinching Pennies - 30 ways to try and save some....

A new site has got a lovely little bloggers competition running at the moment to see if we bloggers can give a few tips on how to save pennies.  I'm all to do with saving pennies or making my money work harder, basically because I always seem to have too much month left at the end of the money. 

I'm not a huge spender, but I'm not a  huge earner either and bills just seem to take up more and more of my income each month.  I should be really good at saving money, I'm married to a financial advisor and work for another one; my problem is that my talents lie in investing large sums of money or investing regular sums into pensions or inheritance tax avoidance schemes. My problems would be easy to solve if I was rich, so in my efforts to get there, here are some of my tips.

1. Don't shop when you are hungry or thirsty. You will only splurge on impulse buys.
2. Shop with a list. Again this will stop impulse buys and also should mean you don't forget something and have to go back. No one can ever really go to the shop for a pint of milk and just buy a pint of milk....
3. Use coupons. They are everywhere, cut them out, print them off, grab them off shop shelves when you see them and keep them in your purse. There is nothing worse than buying something to realise at the checkout you have a money off coupon for it at home on the pinboard.
4. Make use of cheap deals site like Groupon, but only buy things you really need.
5. Before you buy anything ask yourself "do I really need this?" "Is this worth me working for x minutes/hours?" Quite often you don't really need it at all.
6. Car boot sales are a great way to get rid of old stuff you no longer want and make some money in the process. If you haven't got much, grab a friend and share a pitch.. just don't spend all the money you make on someone elses stall.
7. Make use of free cinema ticket sites like seefilmfirst and showfilmfirst. Not only are the tickets free, you get to see the film before anyone else.
8. If you fancy eating out, check online for voucher codes. Large chains often offer really good discounts if you look on their websites before you go. Pizza Express, Bella Italia and Cafe Rouge always have some kind of deal on their website or for people who sign up to their mailing lists.
9. Don't be a lable slave... sometimes own brands are as good as named brands.
10. Shop around for discounts with your car insurance... NEVER take the renewal quote, even if you want to stay with that company.. they will always wiggle the price down a little bit.
11. Shop around regularly for your gas and electricity, it is so easy to switch nowadays and there is always a cheaper tariff if you look for it.
12. Don't be afraid to haggle with your mobile phone or TV company either. Threatening to leave may sound callous but they will normally offer a deal to stay with them.
13. Always pay your credit card bill off on time, unless you have a 0% deal. Otherwise when working out how much something has cost, remember to add on the interest you will pay on that purchase to your credit card company.
14. Take a packed lunch into work. Shop bought sandwiches are so much more expensive than home made, and probably laden with calories.
15. Use a library rather than buying a book. Ask yourself how many times do you read a book, if it's only once, then why pay for it?
16. Rent DVDs rather than buying the film, or if you must own a copy, wait a few weeks and watch it fall in price before you buy it.
17.Daytrips with the kids needn't always be an expense... a picnic on the beach is just as much fun as a day at a zoo, when you're little. Take a kite, or a ball and play with them rather than letting them be entertained by others. They will appreciate getting parent time so much.
18. Always feel like you are a taxi service,,,, why not see if other parents are travelling to the same clubs and events and car share.
19. If you must drive to work, why not see if there is a car sharing scheme in your area for other people doing the same journey. Devon has a fantastic one, which puts people in touch with other drivers, or just people after a lift willing to share petrol costs.
20. If you use public transport, invest in a weekly, monthly pass. It is always cheaper than individual journeys.
21. Send letters second class. Most of the time it will get there at the same time as a first class stamp anyway.
22. Turn off lights if you are not in the room
23. Learn to hate your standby buttons. Keeping that little red light on is costing you electricity... switch it off
24. Turn down your central heating by 1 degree and you won't notice the temperature change but you will see the electric bill difference
25. Don't use your dishwasher half empty, wait until it's full or better still wash up by hand.
26. Sales are everywhere, take advantage of them.
27. Empty the boot of your car, the extra weight uses more fuel.
28. Re-use carrier bags, it will save you 5p a go and the enviroment, so it's a win/win.
29. Not every sale is genuine or every discount a real saving. Double check first.
30. Use your freezer... stock up on reduced goodies at the supermarket and put them in the freezer. You can save a fortune on your shop that way.

If like me you like the idea of pinching pennies you can find them on facebook at  and on twitter at @Penny_Piggy.

Swimwear Style Blogger Competition

Swimwear Style Blogger Competition

I've found a really great bloggers competition on, to choose your favourite item from their range and style it.  I have to admit that I've completely fallen in love with this cute pink swimsuit.  It comes with integrated underwiring and an elasticated under bust.  It even comes with  removable pads to give you a few options if you need them.  Luckily for me it's underwired which is a major requirement for me in swimwear.  I'm not brave enough for bikinis (or even tankini's) anymore, I leave those for my teenage daughter, but still like to wear fashionable swimwear with a bit of style.  I'm  not quite ready for black complete cover ups just yet.  I swim on holiday, not just laze on the beach and so a swimming costume like this ticks all my boxes.
I love the bright neon colours that are so on trend for this summer - I'm still holding out hope that we will have a summer - and think these shorts from River Island which can just be pulled on over the top of the costume will be great. They have a bit of length to them, hotpants are not my thing anymore, I wore them first time round!.  The bright pink blouse from Dorothy Perkins, covers all the bits that WILL wobble and is such a lovely colour.  I'd be happy just to throw it over the costume and go. 
The sunglasses and shoes add another touch of colour and fun, and I'd be set, whether it be a day at the beach, a day at the pool, or even just walking around town.
 I can see this outfit being a staple of my summer.
If you want to have a go at styling your own outfit or just seeing the lovely costumes on their site then nip along here... 


'50 Shades Of Beige'

I'm not the worlds best DIYer.   I can decorate and I like to think I have a nice eye for colour and design but hammers, drills and suchlike are not quite my style. I'm more a  paintbrush and a pot of gloss kind of person.  I love looking round DIY shops and quite often have a project or two on the go in my head at any one time. I am also blessed with a husband  who is absolutely useless at anything remotely resembling DIY but when our washing machine exploded a few months ago, flooding our kitchen and ruining the worktop, a cupboard and my lovely floor in the process, I wasn't too worried as we were insured.

The insurance company however, claimed that they only needed to pay for the repair of the area directly affected by the flood water, which was seven strips of laminate and a kitchen cupboard, so sent us a voucher for £15.00 to spend at B&Q after deducting the £50.00 excess on the policy.

The offending exploding washing machine.  Shards of innards and lots of water are not good for a floor.

So we dutifully bought new laminate and tried valiantly to repair  the damaged area. 

Lessons we learnt.

1. Laminate is not easy to remove
2. Laminate is not a jigsaw, and taking out strips does not mean you can then switch another one into it's place.
3. Cutting laminate is not as easy as it looks.
4. Once down if you've not done it right, laminate moves.
5. If you want flooring fitted properly, get a professional in....

Now we have a floor that looks like something Frankenstein would have been proud of, but we hate.

The gaps are because the kitchen cupboard kickboard is so warped following the flood that it won't hold the laminate into place.  So the pieces keep slipping forward.  No matter what we try we can't get them to stay put, but that is probably because we had to force them into place next to laminate that had been down for a  year already when the accident happened.  We had to replace everything that  you can see and slot it into the boards behind.  Those boards are all still perfect and look like new.

I'm sure these are not supposed to have a gap between them!

I think the chips add character (at least that what I tell myself to stop myself crying)

As you can see quite a DIY disaster and one that ruins the entire kitchen.  We have real wood floors in the front room and hallway and the difference between the two areas is so marked it's unreal.  We invested in wooden floors as we have a severely asthamtic son, and carpets don't do him any favours at all, but cost meant that the kitchen which he uses least had to have the cheaper option.
I'd dearly love to be able to replace the entire floor, and repaint the walls in a fresh new colour so that I could have a kitchen that I could be proud of, instead of one that makes my heart sink everytime I walk in.  I used to love being in my kitchen and could quite happily be there all day, cooking and cleaning, now I get in and out as quickly as I can and try to forget about the disaster underfoot.

1926 Trading Co Ltd are currently running a competition for bloggers to tell them about their diy disasters and which room in your house is in need of a makeover and why.  You can find more details here.  Hopefully I've done enough to convince them that my kitchen needs major surgery.

Wood Flooring