Pumpkin Fun



toddler craft

So this year we have had a lot of fun when it comes to Halloween preparations and the most enjoyable being carving pumpkins, now I know ours are not masterpieces but Mr A was very much involved and under guidance and supervision got to do some of the carving as well. So we opted for a large and small pumpkin with the larger one taking on the form of John - well sort off, it has a moustache instead of a beard but according to Mr A that is Daddy.

toddler nature

So we went for quite traditional carvings this year and I am sure with each and every year our designs will become more elaborate but for now it's very much a toddler craft. The magic came when we put the candle in the pumpkin, Mr A could of spent hours staring at it. We love crafts that involve nature and natural objects and this time of the year is perfect for it with Autumn, Halloween and Christmas, even though it's getting colder, these sort of activities make us forget the weather.

toddler craft

When it came to the bigger one we decided we thought he was missing something so to add that little bit extra Mr A strolled over to the vegetable basket and pulled out a carrot which he declared would be the pumpkins nose, and I think it actually really works, although it reminds me somewhat of a snowman.

carved pumpkin

This post is part of the Family Investment pumpkin carving competition, check out their website for some great advice on planning for your family future. They were also kind enough to send us some very yummy halloween sweeties.

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Hotter shoes getting hotter



street style

Recently I was lucky enough to be asked to review the Hotter shoe store in Cardiff St Davids, a fairly recent store to the city and not one I had shopped in before. I was familiar with the brand Hotter and had recently seen there latest campaign of surprisingly on trend and stylish designs, as most people when they think Hotter think orthopaedic shoes for the older generation but fear not this really is not the case as I found out. Being a busy mum I want a shoes that are not only going to be stylish but also durable, lightweight and fingers crossed very comfy, which at times can be a huge ask, but I am pleased to say Hotter really hit all of those on the head, especially the comfort side of things.

Monochrome style
Laura wears - Pure Collection capelet, M&S tee, Max Studio trousers, Hotter boots,  vintage bag and Linea necklace

The store was dynamic in layout and I love the green colour scheme and inspiring imagery on the walls. I also have to say how friendly, welcoming and knowledgable the staff were and I learnt a lot about the brand such as they try to keep production local with the majority of the shoes being made in the UK, which is always great to hear. Personally I was torn between the lovely patent style brogues and these cute Cornwall Suede ankle boots, which are perfect for Autumn/Winter and are perfect with leggings or skinny jeans. They literally at the most comfortable heels I have ever worn and it feels like I am walking on air.

Hotter shoes
The very stylish Cardiff Store

Here are a few pics of my season favourites from Hotter, which style do you like best?

Faith Boots £37 was £75

Cute heels
Riviera Heels £80

Somerley brogue
Somerley Brogues £79

I have joined in with Wardrobe Wednesday Link up

I was given a pair of hotter shoes to review. Words, opinions and thoughts are 100% my own
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Getting ready for Halloween with M&S



witches biscuits

So we are really excited about Halloween this year as it's the first year the little man it actually old enough to be involved and he has learnt a few tricks already. We don't like things to be too scary so we have gone light on anything with realistic skulls or scary motifs and have sticked to carving pumpkins (separate post to come) as well as enjoying making paper chains and playing with our shadow theatre from M&S.

We mixup home baking and crafting with little bits and bobs we pick up as with being in the middle of a house move it's much easier doing it that way and a lot of fun. We always make paper chains for christmas but I have to say for little ones the M&S paper chains is easier as it comes with a pre-glued area you strip off and stick together, perfect for a three year old.

paper chains
Having fun making paper chains

The puppet theatre has also provide a lot of entertainment and the little man has actually look forward to it getting darker so he can play around with the friendly little goals and ghosts. As well as munching on the crooked witches fingers and scorpion shapes crisps. We usually don't have that many treats in the house but we make exceptions for celebrations, festivals and special times of the year and Halloween is certainly one of those times.

Shadow fun

For the adults I am also very much in love with these cute little pumpkin cufflinks and boo socks from M&S - too cute. What do you have planned for this Thursday? For the actually night I think we are going to go traditional with some homemade pumpkin pie and a spot of bob the apple.

Pumpkin Cufflinks £6

Boo Halloween Fresh Feet socks £4.50

M&S sent us some Halloween treats to review, all words and thoughts and opinions are 100% our own
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Johns Big Night - NHF Wales



John and his work colleague Ieuan

Som of you may already know that John is a Barber, he works at the gentleman's retreat Bentley and Co, in the city centre and this year he was very lucky and honoured to be nominated for Wales Best Barber, something that came as a real surprise. He didn't win but it really was amazing to have his clients put him forward for the award and a great night was had at the sold-out red carpet event in Cardiff, part of Cardiff Fashion Week and organised by NHF - National Hairdressers Federation

Welsh barber
John in his element

 Unfortunately I was under the weather last week and could not attended but John reported back saying it was a great night with lovely food, friends and a catwalk show to start of the evening and a band to end it. It's always great to see Cardiff holding events like this and putting it's name on the map when it comes to retail/hairdressing and events sector and I cannot wait to go with my man next year, fingers crossed.

NHF awards

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Keep smiling with healthy gums



So I am going to put my hands up right now and say, I have problems, well had problems with my gums, especially during my pregnancy, I put up a real fight and it took a long time to win the battle but I can now say my gums are looking so much better. They took a real battering during pregnancy and I know I am not alone with around 1 in 2 two experience some kind of issues with their gums from bleeding to being swollen, it's not nice and can be unpleasant. After putting my mind to it and implementing a good dental routine, such a brushing, flossing and using an antibacterial mouthwash daily until it was under control was the easy part but after talking to my dentist he advised that using things like Corsodyl longterm was not a good idea and it stains your teeth - not a good thing. So when I got the chance to try out Oral-B Pro-expert premium gum protection toothpaste I could not wait. Now that my gums are healthy again I want to use a product that is going to keep them that way. Alongside visiting my hygienist I am looking forward to nice shinny teeth.

Now we really all should take care of our gums, as gum disease can effect more than just your gums, it can have an impact on your self-esteem but can also cause you to loose teeth - not a good look for anyone. So having a good dental routine is very important and at the forefront of that is the toothpaste you use. Personally I want something that is going to protect my teeth, reduce cavities and tartar buildup as well as have some kind of whitening properties and I am glad to say Oral B Pro-expert covers all of these areas and it has a real pleasant taste that freshens your breath without being over-powering. I found it very light and didn't irritate my sensitive teeth but best of all is over the month I used the product I felt it improved my gums, which is a huge thumbs up from my side!

Over the past few years I have found what has worked for me to get back to healthy looking gums - here are my tips

1. Flossing - so important and so worth doing daily!
2. Replace your tooth brush at least every three months
3. Cut down on anything with added sugar
4. Use decent toothpaste
5. Visit your Hygienist twice a year - VERY IMPORTANT!

Okay so my teeth are not fantastic but they are a work in process and after having my son I made the commitment to myself to slowly fix them and I have started having some crowns and veneer fitting for my teeth, as it's the one part of my body I would change and I am lucky that in todays society it's something you can improve on and now my gums are nice and healthy I have nothing stopping my from getting that perfetc smile.

This post is an entry for BritMums’ #ORALBLoveYourGums Challenge sponsored by Oral-B, promoting healthy gums – something especially important for pregnant women. Get tips and advice on www.oralb-loveyourgums.com.

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Puddle suit, wellies and Tractor Ted Giveaway


best friends

So there has been a lot of rain of late, which is all the more fun if you ask me, when the weather has broken we have made the most of it, although always going outside prepared in case the skies should open again, which has meant we have got a lot of use out of the puddle suit we bought the little man over the summer for the festival season. I recommend them as they go over the clothes and keep them dry as well as working as a wind breaker and Mr A loves putting his on

outdoor toddler
Well prepared for any weather

Since this is now the 5th or 6th week without a car, we have stayed pretty local and luckily we have a few decent parks and a bicycle track near us. I try to mix it up when it comes to outdoor activities, some days we take the bus into town and walk back through the park, or we go cycling or potter around in the garden looking for little beasties or maybe we just enjoy a little bit of puddle hunting, but we try to do something different each day

toddler gardening
Finding snails and digging in the garden

Autumn really is a great time of the year, I love the natural change in the air, watching the leaves turn from green to reds and browns and the beautiful autumn sun through the trees makes me very happy.

outdoor adventure
I love Autumn light


So getting to the really fun part I have an awesome giveaway for some lucky little boys or girls who love tractors, farm life and the outdoors, as I have 5 Tractor Ted Christmas Goody Bags to giveaway! Each bag is worth £35 and would make a perfect christmas present.

For those who don't know much about Tractor Ted, basically he is a farming superhero who captivates children with his books, DVDs and toys full of fun, adventure and discovery down on the farm and I can say from first hand experience it is a huge hit with children and toddlers and provides gentle, informative and interactive entertainment. We were also lucky enough to go to the Tractor Ted Farm show earlier this year and did a little write up about the event - which you can read HERE

Tractor ted giveaway

Each Christmas Goody Bag consist of the new Tractor Ted Dvd - All About Tractors which included a Christmas extra - meeting the reindeer, plus his Christmas Activity Book, thermal lunch bag and rucksack - worth £35

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
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Style and Parenting - what we have learnt so far



Joules jumper

So anyone will be able to tell you, as soon as you become parents your life changes forever, although personally my buying habits changed the first day I found out I was pregnant, I immediately went into budgeting mode. This however did not happen with John who until the day Mr A arrived didn't really have to justify his clothing purchases, although now his thought process has changed and he really takes his time to decide what he really wants each season rather than making purchases on a whim.

When you have a child your priorities change, you suddenly have a little one who depends on you and you naturally want to provide the best for them, you start to see the world in a different light and if you could see into the future, have a tarot reading or a crystal ball you may have some understanding on how to prepare for the most amazing life changing event - becoming parents. Personally I have always preferred natural products and grew up spending many hours outdoors and wanted to share my life of nature with the little man. Another thing we like to instil in him is less is more and when possible go for quality over quantity and try and support local business's.

London zoo
The two boys at London Zoo

In the beginning I use to feel guilt about buying myself anything, I felt like any extra money should go towards the little man, even when he had everything he needed, I went for months on end not buying even necessary items for myself but I also started to realise you need to make a balance, with yourself and make sure you are still happy with who you are and John was great with surprising me with little treats every now and than and making sure I knew I was also worth it.

With nearly all couples these days you need to budget, so here are some tips for keeping stylish when your a parent 

1. Look after your clothes and they will look after you - John has this down to a tee, I am still really unsure how he has kept his white converse white for so many years.

street style

2. Learn how to upcycle and customise clothing

3. Don't buy anything you don't really love or need, even if it's in the sale - rather put that money towards an item you know you will treasure.

4. Be open minded about where you shop, you never know what you may find in a charity shop, vintage market or places like TKMaxx.

5. Have fun, why not, you don't need to turn frumpy over-night.

6. Stay stylish but also practical, unless your having a child-free day. I always wear flats with my son during the day, as we love to run around, go for walks, hike and adventures.

Ralph Lauren chambray

It's so strange when you look back and reflect on your time before having children. We read lots of books about parenting and raising natural children when I was pregnant but it is still a lot different to what you would expected, all in the best way of course. I just thought life would slot back together very quickly but really your life is divided into two, life before and life after having children, the life after has been by far the most rewarding. The great thing is that as a family we are always learning and growing together, so it's going to be lovely to see were we are in a few years time.

beardy man
Two peas in a pod

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Spelt Muffins and Sponsor Love



healthy baking

Lately this healthy muffin recipe has really been hitting the spot with both Mr A and I, they are packed with carrots, apple, whole-grains and low in added sugar. We used nearly all organic ingredients although you can substitute various things to accommodate what is in your kitchen cupboard. I get the little man involved in the baking as much as possible although of course grating the carrot and apple is left to me, but as soon as these come out of the oven and cool down they disappear. So if your looking for a yummy healthy alternative give these a go

                                   100g Wholegrain Spelt flour                 1 medium apple, pealed, cored and grated 
                                   75g Plain Wholegrain flour                   2 free-range eggs
                                   1 tsp baking powder                              40g fairtrade soft brown sugar
                                   1/2 tsp ground cinnamon                       2 tbs Argave Syrup    
                                   1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda                    65g Vegetable Oil   
                                   135g coarsely grated carrot                   Dash of soy milk

1. Preheat the oven to 180C or gas mark 4 and prepare your muffin cases
2. Sift the first 5 ingredients into a bowl, stir and set aside
3. In a separate bowl whisk together the sugar, oil and eggs until fluffy, then stir in the apple and carrot.
4. Add the wet & dry ingredients together in one bowl, stir together until you get a smooth constancy, if you need to add a splash of soy or milk to get the right texture than do so.
5. Pour the muffin mixture into the muffin cases and bake for around 15mins or until the tops of the muffins spring back when you touch them.
6. Leave to cool

healthy muffins


We also wanted to introduce you to one of our wonderful blog sponsors - Jaclyn from the lovely lifestyle blog - Curious Jac and her beautiful jewellery Etsy shop Jac&Elsie. She is such a cool and creative girl and we are really excited to have her on our sidebar this month.

Blog sponsor

First of all introductions, tells us about yourself.  
My name is Jaclyn, I live in Indiana, and the last year and a half has been all about change for me. In that time, I got engaged, moved in with my now husband, changed jobs (and careers- from features reporter at a daily newspaper to assistant director of marketing for a community college) and got hitched. Whew!

wedding photography

Can you tell me about your jewellery business and what makes it so unique?  Jac & Elsie LLC is a space for handmade, upcycled and vintage jewelry. I specialize in adult friendship sets, because you're never too old to tell your bestie that you love her. The shop is full of one-of-a-kind treats and is something that brings a lot of joy to my life.

friendship necklace
Set of three friendship necklaces £18

What inspires you to be creative?  Hmmm ... I'm not quite sure how to answer this! Creativity is in my DNA. I'm a big-time reader, which I think helped inspire my love of writing. I write poetry and have just started on a fiction piece, which is kind of exciting. After writing for newspapers for eight years, it was a big change to move into fiction. Art museums have always been something of a muse to me in terms of poetry, and there's nothing like flipping through an issue of Harper's Bazaar or the fall fashion issue of Vogue to get some jewelry design ideas flowing.

Any pearls of wisdom for people thinking about starting their own creative business?  DON'T GET DISCOURAGED when you don't sell out of your items in the first week. Owning a business is about so much more than creating something. It requires photography, writing product descriptions and getting the word out there. Blogs like Side Street Style are a great way to get your products to people's eyeballs. It's shocking to say, but I'd creating my product is easily less than half of the work that goes into Jac & Elsie LLC. I feel lucky that I happen to enjoy the rest of the business, too.

friendship necklace
Spoon, Fork, Knife friendship necklace set by J&E £16.50

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?  San Diego. I've been there twice, and it's simply the most beautiful city I've ever seen in real life. But I'd only want to stay for a few years so I can end up near family, who is all in the Midwest. So after San Diego, I'd have to say Cincinnati. It's where I grew up, and it will always be home.

I heard you are a big reader, what are you reading at the moment and what is your all time favourite book?  I'm currently working on Stephen King's "Doctor Sleep," which is easily one of his best. My all-time favorite book is another King story, "It." He writes characters better than any other author I've read before, and at its heart, "It" is not a scary story but one of friendship.
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Christmas came early - John Lewis Press Day



Christmas tree

So last week both John and I were lucky enough to be invited to the John Lewis Christmas Press evening and what a wonderful evening it was. As soon as we stepped into the Kuku Club it was like being in a winter wonderland of beautiful settings, christmas decorations, wonderful nibbles, pick and mix and of course amazing christmas cocktails and mulled wine. If we were not in the Christmas mood before this night we both certainly are now, with so much inspiration I cannot wait to move into our new house and start getting the decorations up.

John Lewis Christmas

It was great to socialise with other bloggers, friends and creative people on the evening, with so much to do and see, we even got the chance to make our own Christmas card, although I have to say my favourite part was trying all the different dips, chutneys and nibbles and loved the big bowl of jellybeans, like being transported back to childhood. I also got to show off my new haircut and wore a cute little sixties style shirt from Zalando while John went more classic with a shirt and blazer.

I personally always know it's the Christmas season when the John Lewis advert appears on our screens, I simply love their well designed, unique and high quality decorations and hopefully we will be hanging a few of them in our new house before long. Unfortunately we had some camera issues on the night (long story but we lost all the images), hence the instagram shots, but do check out there range at John Lewis and here are three little tree decorations we are loving at the moment.

Union Jack Teddy
Tinker Tailor Union Jack Teddy decoration £12

London Sky
Bombki London Sky Glass Tree Decoration £35

Gingerbread man decoration
Best Years Crochet Gingerbread Man Decoration £6

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Best of British


stylish suit

So both John and I are really excited by the collaboration between M&S and the British Fashion Council to create Best of British, it's designs are modern but timeless and pulls on British culture to create an amazing heritage collection with a hint of the MOD era running through. The great thing is all the garments are made in Britain using premium fabrics such as Scottish cashmere to fine Yorkshire clothes with every piece being finished off to highest level. There really is nothing better than supporting the local textiles industry so we just had to share our favourite picks with you

Amazing isn't it? With prices starting form £25 for a belt right up to £799 for suit there is something for everyone's price range and I love how they have really drawn on iconic British Fashion to create such a sharp and stylish collection, another surprise from M&S, a brand that keeps us on our toes as they are really pushing there creative flair in the right direction.

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Conkers and a Slow worm



I never grew up with conkers and to my memory I don't recall ever seeing a conker tree in South Africa and with the little man really coming into his own now he is three we have had a lot of excitement over finding our own secret conker tree, which has yielded an abundance of amazing conkers of which no other child has seemed to have discovered, leaving us with the pick of the bunch. Last Autumn we were living in another village that had a huge school and although we knew where all the conker trees were we never actually even found one as all the school kids got to them first.

outdoor toddler

toddler and conker

As I have said the conker tree has been pretty much untouched - it actually makes me wonder how many local kids actually explore this pretty field which lies next to a river, a place we visit regularly, anyway back to the point we had found a few conker still in there spiky shell and have had a lot of fun getting them out. We have also been collecting leaves and acorns for our natural table as well as puddle hunting.

toddler fun

We have also been collecting leaves, acorns and various other find from our adventures for our natural table as well as puddle hunting, jumping and squelching in mud - something that is fun for all ages and yes I am speaking first hand here, I never grew up and don't plan to anytime soon.

toddler adventure

natural childhood

We also came across something really exciting (well to us anyway) on a recent bike ride, a slow worm! He was just in the middle of the cycle path, slithering along minding his own business. It was a great opportunity for the little man to see something so close to a snake in nature. The last time I came across something like this was when I was living in Cornwall.


We have joined in with Country Kids linky this week

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
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