Swans, bikes and outdoor fun before 2014

31/12/2013

3 comments

toddler outdoors


So we managed to squeeze some more outdoor fun this week, even with the on/off rain showers. In fact we have a pretty action packed week, with bowling, games, feeding swans and discovering a new cycle path we have not let the weather stop us. We managed to borrow my mothers car and scooted over to Roath Park, which we have not been to in a while and is always a treat. This time round Mr A was not at all fazed by the huge swans and kept putting out his hand for them to peck (he had thick mitts on so found this very amusing)

Swans

It was one of those beautiful wintery days, very cold but we were wrapped up well and Mr A has been putting his Scandi Ocean waterproof suit through the run - I cannot recommend having one of these suits enough, the kindergarten Mr A goes to spend time outdoors no matter hat the weather and recommend getting one of these from waterproof world. It comes with fisherman style dungarees which adds extra warmth and fits over trousers and unlike snowboarding jackets is complete waterproof and doubles up as a windbreaker as well.

Natural childhood

I love outdoor spaces that offers a bit of everything - Roath Park has the lake, swans but also a lovely rose garden, a wild forest section with bird houses on the trees and of course a play park, but our favourite place is exploring the forest section of the park.

nature

We also had fun cycling on a new cycle path which was really fun as we love to explore new areas and this is not too far of a car drive from us and I am sure we will make full use of it's rural feel during the warmer months. It runs through fields and we managed to spot some ponies and sheep, which is always fun.


natural childhood




Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
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Classic Style for Your Home: Rustic Hardwood Flooring

29/12/2013

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With a head full of ideas for the new house, I want to share some of my inspiration with you, this week I am loving floors, especially wood floors, I grew up in a house that had beautiful wooden flooring throughout and the natural warmth you get from wooden floors is lovely under foot and something I miss and aspired to have in my home


wooden flooring

Style isn’t about current trends, it’s about classics that are timeless, attractive and guaranteed to never fade. From clothing, music and cinema to even the types of flooring we have in our homes, style is everywhere. If you’re considering a room remodel, and want to achieve a stylish and timeless aesthetic, consider sticking with a rustic theme. Rustic hardwood flooring is growing at a consistent pace in room design, and for very good reason. The rustic aesthetic is warm, timeless and just overall beautiful. Hardwood flooring is the perfect flooring option when hoping to piece together a rustic themed room. When deciding on the perfect rustic hardwood flooring, consider sticking with the following wood types:


Hickory
Maple
Walnut
Cherry
Ash

beautiful home


These specific wood types are designed to look more worn in, which is the largest characteristic of rustic design. It’s important to also concentrate on other elements of the room, like furniture and lighting fixtures. One of the coolest parts about rustic design is the ability to repurpose old items to add to your new room. Everything from mason jars to old doors can be refurbished into new furniture and d├ęcor pieces. The goal of rustic design is to create a lived in look that is both attractive and classic.

It's also really important when re-doing your flooring to get in professionals to do the job - unless you feel particularly equipped to do it yourself. New flooring is a real investment and if it's not laid correctly it can cause you a lot of issues, as well as cost more money in the long term. So make sure you use people like these Hardwood Floor Installation Milwaukee experts who know what they are doing.



inspired living


It is important to remember that rustic hardwood floors may be a bit pricier than other floors, but installing these beautiful floors is a smart investment for any homeowner. Hardwood flooring doesn’t only beautify any room, but it can add a significant amount to the resale value of your home.
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Home and style at Christmas

27/12/2013

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Christmas tree


So we have a new home and this is our first Christmas in it which has been very exciting. Everything was somewhat of a rush, having only moved in less than 3 weeks ago but we managed to get our tree up, decorated the house, make a gingerbread house and some homemade gingerbread cookie gift tags and get a very excited little toddler to sleep in time for the big day. It was a magical morning spent opening our stockings and gifts, we opted for less is more and picked some lovely natural toys for the little man. We had a champagne breakfast, which always goes down well especially on a lazy chilled out morning before walking over to spend the day at Mr A's grandmothers house.


Scandinavian christmas

I have also been keeping my beautiful East jumper aside for a special occasion and there is none more special than christmas day, I think my lovely doggy jumper beats any novelty one and captures winter and the Christmas feel while still being stylish and warm. I feel like such a lucky girl as John surprised me with these lovely Topshop boots and black jeans and paired with a knitted scarf and silver plated bangle also by east I feel comfortable but also chic for a family day filled with food, laughter and Christmassy fun.

Dog jumper
I love my jumper from East, pairs with Topshop jeans and boots 

silver bracelet

We have a bit of a fun tradition of picking a silly outfit for the little man, who loves to dress up, this time it was an Elf Suit, as well as a dinosaur suit from the grandparents which the little man didn't take off for the rest of the day and had a lot of fun running outside in the christmas sun.


toddler dinosaur suit

It was also lovely to see the two boys having so much fun together as in Johns line of walk the run up to Christmas is manic and full of very long working days so I know the little man has been missing boys time a bit but the past two days have made up for it.

street style

I have linked this up with Fridays Fab Favourites 
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Boys Club - 5 Ways to Keep Your Style Interesting

23/12/2013

6 comments

Classic suit


Many sartorially challenged men aren't even aware that they’ve entered a style stall. If you’ve fallen into a fashion rut, there’s no need to toss everything into the junk heap and start from scratch. These simple style tips rev up your creative engine and get the wardrobe wheels spinning. The result? Fresh, fearless fashion sure to make a winning impression.

1. Access(orize) Hollywood

If it’s good enough for Johnny Depp, it’s good enough for you. Captain Jack Sparrow is joined by countless other fashion icons, including David Beckham, Brad Pitt and the whole hip hop community, in embracing the power of the scarf. It doesn’t stop there, though. From belts to wristwatches, the right details have the unique ability to take any outfit from dull to dapper. And don’t underestimate the impact of the right pair of eyeglasses. Make a distinctive first impression in a pair of fashionable horn rimmed or classic tortoiseshell spectacles.


Bape Watch
it's easy to accessories your outfit with some interesting socks, shades or timepiece 

2. Get Your Kicks...And Your Loafers

While shoes are sometimes grouped with accessories, they deserve a category of their own. If sneakers are your go-to togs, then an easy upgrade awaits: invest in a pair of loafers which are appropriate for occasions ranging from casual to formal, and suit nearly every style. The more fashion forward can embrace the cowboy boots which debuted earlier this week in Chanel’s Pre-Fall 2014 men’s collection show. Whatever shoes you wear, tattered is a turnoff so shine them up or throw them out when age starts to show.



Loafers
John rocking his YMC loafers


3. Color Your World

The human eye can see millions of hues, so why is your closet limited to white and khaki? Don’t be afraid to experiment: whether it be a vibrant pair of orange corduroy pants or a yellow oxford shirt, color adds dynamic flair. If you’re looking for a touch of intrigue, stores like yd. offer unique designs that will make you stand out from the crowd. Even jeans offer the chance to mix things up: experiment with different washes -- from acid to dark denim -- to change your look. One rule of thumb: if you go bold on the bottom, balance it with something subdued on the top or risk looking like you got lost on your way to Sesame Street.

mens wear
YD Enterprise Shirt

4. The Fit Factor

Even a stylish wardrobe looks cheap if the fit isn’t right. While a trip to the tailor can mean the difference between frump and fierce, many men overlook its importance. Think of the best-dressed men you know: more likely than not, they have their local alterations shop on speed dial. Because off-the-rack clothing is sized long, unaltered clothing can have the unfortunate effect of making a grown man look like he’s wearing his father’s jacket. For a sleek fit keep these tips in mind: shirt sleeves should hit at the natural wrist with the jacket falling approximately half an inch higher. Pants break at the shoe or just below; if they bunch at the bottom, they're too long.

5. Step Away From the Fleece

Fleece is fine for a winter’s day walk, but other options abound for rounding out your wardrobe. James Dean immortalized the black leather jacket, but he also made a big impression in everything from a navy peacoat to a shearling trimmed ranch coat. As with the rest of the wardrobe, fit matters: a coat shouldn’t be too smug, but buying up a size looks sloppy. When it comes to outerwear, you can't go wrong with a smooth, clean silhouette, but even a streamlined version of a puffy coat offers interesting contrast when worn over a suit.



Street Style
John going for a classic Folk jacket

Incorporating these tips doesn’t mean casting off your old wardrobe. Instead, work with what you already have and gradually add in new pieces that complement and refresh your look. Take inspiration from friends and celebrities with well-cultivated fashion, and keep one basic rule in mind: fashion is fun! Fearlessly embracing this concept will have you on the road to style success.
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The Simple pleasures of outdoor fun

22/12/2013

6 comments
toddle boden jacket


So we are avid believers in spending time outdoors, even when it's cold and overcast , going outdoors and breathing in fresh air really lifts the spirits and best of all it's can be a great way to keep active and entertain a toddler in a natural, inspiring and often free or frugal way. Children need very little encouragement to enjoy the wonders of nature and even a short stroll to a local park or a bike ride can become a real adventure.

Our outdoor pursuits have slightly changed in routine since we have been without a car for nearly 3 months now, so we have been staying fairly local more than ever and relying on public transport which is really fun in it's own right. We have also been spending time exploring and playing around in our new garden, we have discovered that we have a bit of cat problem, don't get us wrong, we love cats, just not when they are using our garden at there own personal litter box, so every time we have spied them through our kitchen window we have run out and done a silly dance, yes they probably do think we are weird but hey we bought our house to play in the garden and not have to dodge cat poo every second step we make.

toddler swing
Mr A enjoying the swing in our new garden

We also managed to squeeze in a lovely bike ride this week in-between the downpours of rain, as well as a trip to the farm (next week's post). We are lucky enough to have a countryside park a 15min bus ride away and it has a great traffic free cycle track running through it as well as a large pond which normally has ducks, although on this occasion did not although we enjoying looking for them anyway.

active toddler

The countryside park also has a lovely play park area which we managed to get some climbing fun before the rain came in. I can't get over how much Mr A is growing and can use the rope bridge on his own.


Rope bridge

A always our favourite time of the day is the time we spend outside. We didn't spend any money this week on our outdoor adventures and we packed a little lunch to the countryside park. We have invested in a really good waterproof suit as well (we be featured soon) and this has helped tons on those wetter days - I recommend getting one.


outdoor fun


We have joined this post in with Country Kids linky - a great linky if you love spending time outside with your little ones


Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
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Date night at the Sherman Theatre

21/12/2013

4 comments
Fred Mello jacket


With the whole house move, Christmas, work as well as juggling parenthood, it's not left as much time to spend as a couple of late so when we were given the opportunity to have a night out at The Sherman Theatre in Cardiff we couldn't wait. With tickets in hand to watch the wintery themed "The Sleeping Beauties" and a little tipple from the bar on our way in, we really didn't know what to expect, especially when at least half of the audience was pre-teens in age we wondered if it was going to be like watching a children's performance, but we couldn't of been more wrong. The show started with a smokey stage, the witch of the forest singing in the corner and an eerie and enchanting atmosphere, any concerns we had drifted away immediately as we became mesmerised by the beautiful stage set and talented cast.


Sherman Theatre


It was one of those productions that had many levels to it and dealt with some serious subject matters such as the wheel of life and death, although it still manages to be very still palatable for the younger generation and is not only family friendly (around 7yrs +) but perfect for adults as well. The show very very loosely based on sleeping beauty and other such fairytales, and the basis of it being about good versus evil, as well as having a touch of magic and what would happen if we locked nature out of our lives altogether.


Wheel of life


Ever since I was young I have been going to the Theatre but since moving to Wales I have done very little and the more I visit The Sherman the more I truly love the place as did Johns whose this was his first visit to the Sherman and was impressed with the intimate atmosphere and high production level of the show.


first kiss


It was really nice to have an inspiring night out together and do something a little different. As John was coming straight from work I went for a casual evening outfit with a dress from topshop and my Clarks brogues paired with tights and my Fred Mello jacket. After the show we walked over to winter wonderland and enjoyed some mulled wine - the perfect way to end a Date night and I highly recommend going to see the show which is running until the 4th Jan.


Sherman Theatre

We were given complimentary tickets to review the show and provide an honest review, our thoughts and words are 100% our own.
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Swimming - the perfect family activity

19/12/2013

1 comment


seaside
Mr A enjoying running through the water at the seaside


As a family we love to keep fit and active, not only does it make you feel better about yourself but it's also a great way to bond as a family. We go out nearly every day except when it's really throwing down cats and dogs and for those days the pool is our place of sanctuary and it's an activity that truly is perfect for all ages from toddlers to grandparents.


swimming


Have you tried...

...spending a day at the pool by spending points with Nectar Swim? We all know the health benefits associated with a few regular lengths, and making a splash at the local pool can be brilliant fun too!

Now Nectar cardholders can redeem their Nectar points on a swimming session at hundreds of participating pools across the UK, whether you feel like some family fun or want a good underwater workout.

To help you enjoy Nectar Swim to its fullest, we've put together a few of our favourite pool based activities, perfect for water babies. Before enjoying any of our suggestions, please do make sure that children are supervised at all times in and around any pool area.


Piggy in the middle

This game is an age-old classic on land which is even more fun in the water. Two participants throw a ball back and forth while a third player takes the role of piggy. The piggy must stand (or swim) in the middle and do all he or she can to intercept the ball. If the piggy should succeed, they become a “thrower” and the person responsible for the catch becomes the piggy.



swimming lessons


Diving ducks

Are your kids talented divers? Well they soon will be. Test their skills by dropping an object to the bottom for them to fetch. Most pools have equipment for you to use, but a penny or a pair of goggles will serve just as well. It might sound simple, but children love to show off their diving abilities!

Water Marco Polo

Another classic game for landlubbers, Marco Polo becomes even more fun in the pool. With their eyes closed tight (no peeking!) “Marco” must locate the other players in the pool and catch them. Usually the players are located by the searcher shouting “Marco” to which the other players they must respond “Polo”. In the pool these calls can be substituted for splashing sounds or can be shouted underwater for an even tougher challenge!


Double decker dolphins

This is a great game which helps kids to develop stronger swimming muscles and better technique in the water. It's also brilliant for encouraging teamwork. You'll need two participants for each “dolphin pair”. One half of the dolphin kicks, the other swims using their arms. The kicking partner takes the back, holding the “arms” partner by the waist. Make sure the “arms” partner knows not to kick to make sure nobody gets hurt. Time your dolphins or organise a race with other pool goers, just be prepared for plenty of splashing!


outdoor swimming pool
My dog and I enjoying our pool in South Africa when I was young.


This post contains a supported link but views are 100% our own
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Our little gingerbread house

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traditional gingerbread


So normally around the festive season we either make gingerbread men, ginger tree decorations or a gingerbread house but with the whole house move and a lot of our things still in boxes and being somewhat disorganised at the moment, we still wanted to have the joy of making a house but in a more stress-free kind of way so when we were asked to take part in a fun competition to decorate and put together a gingerbread house for Sykes Cottages we couldn't wait. We got off a little bit late with our efforts due to our kit getting a little bit lost in the postal system and as mentioned before still unpacking/sorting out internet, but we got there in the end.

Traditional gingerbread house

This traditional gingerbread house kit is perfect for toddlers and if you don't want the hassle of cooking from scratch - which is equally as fun but can be stressful when dealing with delicate wall panels and a child with a penchant for sweet gingerbread. Basically you build the house using icing to stick everything together, it comes with some lovely and tasty decorations, some of which never made it on to the gingerbread house as we both had little nibbles while putting it together.


Mr A loved the fondant people and enjoyed put the sprinkles across the icing. With regards to design we went with some thing fairly traditional and kept with the whole german house theme, in fact it reminded me of the ski chalet I stayed in in Austria. I have to admit the actual gingerbread was not the same as freshly baked gingerbread and was overly sweet for our taste but it got us into the Christmas spirit and is a great crafty thing to do with young children.

gingerbread house

We were given the kit to take part in the gingerbread house decoration competition, all words are our own.
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Next season’s trends now: My top 5 transitional pieces

12/12/2013

4 comments

Well before we were plunged into the depths of winter, the world’s best-loved designers sent their models down the London, New York, Milan and Paris catwalks wearing what we’ll all be wearing when spring and summer arrive. But there’s no need to wait until then. Already, there are key pieces which are bang on trend for 2014, but you can already pick up now.


fashion trends

Katie the window shopping loving blogger behind delightso.me shares her favourite trends to invest in now and wear through winter, spring AND summer:

Collarless coats

While this winter, it’s all been about either a furry coat which looks a little bit like a teddy bear or an oversized pink duster coat, come spring, we’ll be switching to a lighter weight collarless cover-up. Rachel Zoe’s streamlined monochrome piece is stunning. But, I’ve slightly fallen in love with this completely kitsch number from Karl Donoghue’s eponymous label. It cleverly incorporates all of this winter’s trends with next spring’s – so, it has a clean, collarless cut, but it’s in the must-have hue of this season and the texture is absolutely now.



 Pretty pastels While once upon a time, warmer temperatures meant lighter shades and colder climes automatically meant we switched to darker, richer tones, now the colour rules no longer apply. This winter, the little black dress has very much been replaced by the little white dress. And, pretty pastels are set to continue being on trend well into next season. Designers have sent their models down the catwalk wearing matchy matchy pastel suits. Rather than a saccharin sweet pastel two-piece through, I’m going to be snapping up this cute peach jumpsuit, which could easily be worn with heels for the party season and then with flats and a blazer for a spot of retail therapy in the spring.

Mellow yellow

A key shade for spring/summer 2014 is yellow – whether you opt for a pale primrose, sunshine bright or mustard. And, with the grey skies of autumn and winter still upon us, yellow will add a touch of warmth to the dullest days. Designers including Prada and Roksanda Ilincic featured yellow heavily in their runway shows. I love this sleeveless shirt dress by Lovedrobe at La Redoute with its studded collar. I’m going to team it with coloured tights – not black as I don’t want to look like a wasp – along with ankle boots and a chunky-knit cardigan for winter before switching to bare legs and tan sandals when the mercury levels start to rise.


La Redoute


Wide legged trousers

After season upon season of squeezing ourselves into skinny jeans and tight-fitting leather leggings, the wide-legged look is making a come back next season. It’s an ultra-flattering style that can balance out a silhouette and can be dressed up for work by teaming with a tucked-in blouse. Or, you can dress them down when the time comes for that summer holiday, wearing sandals and a vest top for sight seeing. The hounds-tooth detailing on this pair from Wolf and Badger adds a touch of interest.


street style




The contrast collar

It’s long been the preserve of men in the city – the contrast shirt where the collar and the main body of the shirt are different but complimentary hues. And it’s a style that has now moved into womenswear collections. And while a shirt would look stunning with wide-legged trousers, I’m going to be wearing this trend in dress form. This dress from designers’ Helen Clinch and Myra Nigris’ Hemyca label is a beautiful feminine piece, with a retro edge. I’m going to wear mine with a classic pair of brogues.

They’re beautiful pieces that just go to show you don’t need to stick to one season when you’re investing in your wardrobe. There are lots of gorgeous trends out there now that will take you through several seasons.


This post contains a supported link but thoughts are 100% our own
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Easy party planning tips

11/12/2013

6 comments

John enjoying a drink last year

So there is no party season like the festive season, with so much to celebrate, Christmas, New Years and for us a house warming party, now is the season to be organised and on your game, although if your like me, super busy trying to sort out Christmas decorations, the house, being a mother and attempting look like an acceptable human being in the mornings (lots of unintentional late nights recently) I think everyone could do with a little bit of help. Having organised many a party in the past from gig nights to charity events to house parties and more recently birthday parties I wanted to put together my top tips for staying sane and organising a festival celebration to remember.


girl dancing
Enjoying a house party in our old house


1. Always have a pen and paper to hand for when you have a light bulb moment or simple need to remind yourself to pick up the mistletoe to hang over the door - this is a must when organising any event.

2. Enlist help - especially if your going to be doing snacks and light catering for a large number of people - don't be a saint, you can't do everything on your own so accept help when offered and ask family and friends to chip in by bringing something savouring and sweet or helping put up decorations.

3. Decide what theme your going for early on and stick to that, it's much easier once you are sure what look you want to achieve. There are so many fun choices and it adds an extra dimension to the party - with Christmas it's fairly easy as elf's and Santa's seem to be the obvious choice but at other times you could go for an around the world theme, fairy tales, gangsters whatever you want.

4. Food food food - you don't need to do anything too over the top and why not stay with something healthy and fresh like a Mediterranean spread, the BBC Good Food Guide has some great ideas and inspiration? Just because it's Christmas doesn't mean you can't have natural and delicious food that is also good for you, things like olives, hummus and pitta always go down well.

healthy party food
Party food can be natural and healthy too


5. Make sure you get your invites out in time - paper ones are always lovely and add a personally touch but if you don't have enough time you can send themed digital invite to all your guests and is a super easy and cost effective way to let everyone know your throwing the party of the year.

6. Don't leave things to the last minute - get all the non-food preparations up and ready first and than try and do all the food preparations done the night before so you have time to get ready and look your best on the day - the main thing of all though is to have fun!


Do you have any festive parties planned? What are you top tips for the throwing a great get together?


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Boots Boots Glorious Boots

08/12/2013

5 comments
Ankle boots

I really don't think there is a more perfect time to wear boots than Autumn and winter, from ankle to knee length boots, wellies and everything in between they are perfect for the colder seasons and are complemented by the autumn shades in nature, not only are they practical but also very stylish, a must have!

I always find I get a lot of use out of my boots so I usually go for fairly classic designs such as the chealse boot, which means I can wear them year after year and always look good wether I pair it up with jeans, a skirt or a dress. I am also a huge fan of flat heeled boots, that are comfortable and durable for all the outdoor adventures our family undertake.

The great thing about boots is that they are very much a unisex trend with John being a huge fan of heritage labels such as Redwings and Timberland Earthkeepers as well as up and coming brands like Vera's who make high quality and well design shoes that have a more fashionable edge when it comes to menswear.


We always believe in quality over quantity so try and pick something within your budget but you feel has some longevity, online stores such as Jones Bootmakers which have been around for years and have a good reputation but shoes for most budgets are a great place to look and I thought I would put together my top picks from their current range...


Jones Bootmaker - Louis Ankle Boot £99

Betsey Johnson Sadie Ankle Boot on sale £49

Jones Bootmakers Oslo ankle boots £89


Barbour Hoxton Knee length boots £149


What kind of style do you go for?
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