Beautiful Botanical Gardens, Oxford



outdoor learning

Last weekend John was away in Berlin so Mr A and I thought it would be fun to take a road trip of our own. As we had been invited to an event in Bicester we decided why not explore the beautiful town of Oxford as well and we are so glad we did as it's such a wonderful place and so visualising inspiring. As always whenever we go anywhere we always look for some kind of outdoor natural space and when we discovered that the Botanical Gardens were literally a stones throw from the Eastgate Mercure Hotel we were staying in it seemed like the perfect place to spend the mid morning.

climbing rocks

flower photography

growing pumpkins


It was really peaceful inside this walled garden and offered a lot of free range fun for Mr A as well as learning opportunities. We really enjoyed looking at all the late autumn crops they had growing including butternut squash, pumpkins, kale and brussels sprouts. There we also two large ponds filled with fish and ducks and two large greenhouses that had the biggest cacti we had ever seen.

free range fun

It was such a simple pleasure spending time in this gardens and a waterway also passes through the gardens so it was wonderful to walk along that and see the punting boats moored up. I highly recommended it if your visiting Oxford. We also spent some time in the Natural History Museum which I will share with you soon.
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Stylish dressing tables and makeup inspiration


makeup table
How beautiful is this dressing table (image)

Growing up I always had a dresser, a vintage one my mother had picked up from an Auction before I was born, it had little shelves on each side where I could store all my goodies. Even though I was never a pink girly girl I liked having a space I could customise and make my own, somewhere to organise my letters, diary or keepsakes. It's something I have really missed because as you get older you of course accumulate a lot more things, perfumes, makeup etc and now more than ever I would love to have a dresser to keep all of these things in some kind of organised manor because at the moment they are strewn over our chest of drawers with no real home to call their own.

You don't even need a lot of space and in fact you could make a custom dresser to fit into an alcove or even a solid wooden shelf with a nice chair underneath will do. I am currently on the lookout for a piece to up cycle or lovingly bring back to life, perhaps a car boot find, I have not had any luck of yet but I keep my fingers crossed.

Even though I don't wear the biggest amount of makeup I do like to have good quality products and believe a good skincare routine is a must plus a foundation that suits your skin shade and have recently become a huge fan of light powders. I have also been exploring a lot of different lipstick shades and honest feel more confident when I wear lipstick and I think that can be a powerful thing.
I love to be creative and I often wonder if I could go back in time if I would do anything differently or even if I had more time I would love to do a short make-up artistry course as there are a few looks I would love to achieve but feel I need some direction on learning how to do them successfully.

What would you do if you could go back in time? Would you consider training as a makeup artist? Well there are lots of interesting jobs available if you do and thats one of the positive things about receiving an education in makeup artistry at somewhere like Cosmix School of Makeup Artistry, you can truly pick from a wide range of jobs. I also know a few bloggers who are MUA and they always look amazing and you could also work in the following industries.

beautiful necklace
I love wearing a little bit of lippy 


If you’ve always wanted to work in the fashion industry, now’s your chance. The fashion industry is home to some of the best makeup artists in the world. This exciting and competitive industry offers a wide range of job opportunities for makeup artists, from doing makeup for catalogs and print ads to music videos and runway shows.


Makeup is essential in an industry that revolves around beauty. The beauty industry is also a great place to find work for makeup artists and recent graduates of makeup schools. You can do makeup for weddings and special events, own you own business, or even work with a dermatologists or plastic surgeon.

You could always give Cosmix a look at is one of the leading makeup artist schools and provides makeup classes in fashion, beauty and special effects makeup artistry.

This post contains a sponsored link but words and thoughts are our own

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Swimming in the sea and eating street food in Antibes

toddler holiday

So if you read the blog you will know we had a fantastic trip last month to Paris and the South of France, staying in a stunning James Villa near Cannes which was a perfect base for explore the French Riviera. There is so much to see and do along the coast line and we had heard of a wonderful public beach right next to the old town in Antibes and though it would be the perfect place to go swimming in the sea, as well as trying out some yummy street food.



French Rivera


The first stop we made before heading to the beach was at the popular Gelateria Del Ponto where they had a huge array of ice-cream flavours and choices and shaped the ice-cream into flowers, Mr A loved it and it seemed only appropriate with spending the day by the seaside. After that we headed to the beach, which lies just behind the old city walls for a few hours, enjoying the warmth and the sunshine.

Now we had a beautiful pool at the Villa but I have to admit I love swimming in the sea, it's one of my favourite things to do. Mr A was a little apprehensive but soon found his feet and really enjoyed splashing in the shallows and going out a little deeper riding on our backs. We stayed until the  early afternoon before heading to the old town in search of a falafel street bar we had heard about on Tripadvisor and had been given rave reviews for not only being reasonable but also incredibly tasty and we were not disappointed.



South of France

Street Food

My brother and I both went for wraps which were so fresh and delicious while John opted for a mixed plate of various delights while we all shared their amazing homemade hummus and warm pitta breads while Mr A dug into a falafel and rare plate of chips as a treat.

It was lovely walking past all the yachts in the harbour with the castle on this hill is the distance as well as watching some locals playing Boules. If I won the lottery this is the kind of place I would love to buy a bolt hole and visit every year near the end of the summer season when it's lovely and tranquil but still has enough going on to be the perfect place for families and exploring the outdoors. Until then if you are looking to head down to the South of France I would highly recommend trying out Wyndham Vacations and James Villas if your travelling as a family and want space to roam and explore the area.

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Must have style items for busy mums


mother and son

If you are a new mum, or expecting to be soon, and you are worried that your style halo might be about to loose its sparkle, here are five great maternity buys to ensure you will be in style heaven, even after the stork has made its delivery.

MY WINTER BOX from the fantastic Parisian maternity brand, Envie de Fraises, is a sleek collection of three maternity pieces that will see you through your pregnancy and into the months that follow. The kit includes a flattering, soft, long-sleeved dress with matching leggings and a contrasting wrap belt. The combination has that certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ that will add a touch of French chic to your maternity wardrobe.

maternity dress
My Winter Box from Envie de Fraises

The Babymel Big Slouchy changing bag looks as good on the outside as it is useful on the inside. Almost as cute as your new baby, this bag comes in a range of designs (including bang-on-trend tweed), has plenty of pockets inside and out and ingeniously tucks away a coordinated changing mat and insulated bottle cover.

slouchy mama bag
I love this Babymel sloughy bag 

If your new addition cries in the key of Hendrix, then the Super Cool Rock Star Baby Bib from Baby Moo’s could be just the job. With a black-and-white rock print front and a waterproof backing, your baby won’t lose style points when things get messy.

cool baby bib
How cute are these rockstar baby bibs from Baby Moo

There is always room in your home for design that makes you smile. The Lawn Countertop Drying Rack from innovative Australian brand, Boon, will bring a breath of fresh air to your draining board. Styled to look like giant blades of grass, this handy mat with incorporated drip tray will efficiently hold all your baby accessories so that they can dry thoroughly and safely, making sure you won’t lose all those fiddly lids and attachments. And it doesn’t even need mowing.

kitchen design
Literally the coolest drying rack I have ever seen from Boon

Snuggling with your new baby is one of the pleasures of being a new mum, and to bring a little luxury to your cuddle time, what better than the Knitted Merino Wool Baby Blanket from Baa Baby. Made with pure Merino wool that is smooth next to the skin, these light, warm blankets come in a beautiful range of colours with a delicate diamond pattern and scalloped edge. The open texture and soft knit will help to keep baby comfortable and cosy in timeless style.

baby blanket
This Knitted Merino Wool blanket from Baa Baby looks so lovely and soft

This list of must have accessories is a collaboration with Toothpick, another must have accessory for busy mums. Toothpick helps you find and book dentist appointments in London and around the UK and it’s free!
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Puddles, spotter sheets and autumn inspiration


free range child

So since Mr A is learning at home we try to keep things as flexible as possible - we love being outdoors and autumn is the perfect time for seeing the changes of the season first hand as well as spotting different leaves, berries and wildlife. There seems to be so much change going on and it's always wonderful to get out into the fresh air and see it for yourself. 

nature spotter sheet

Luckliy it was quite mild as Mr A seems to get warm very quickly, even though I remind him constantly to keep his jacket on he has hit that age were he is adamant to make certain decisions and one of those being what he wears. At least he is finally wearing socks again, after our trip to the South of France he refused to wear socks for a month, so that is some improvement.

free range toddler

St Fagans, Cardiff

We collected a lot of fallen Autumn leaves and I have been putting together a few ideas on what to do with them and how to bring more Autumn inspired nature into the home...don't you love these simple crafts?

leaf lanterns
I love these warming leaf mason jar lanterns (image)
Autumn crafts
How cute are these leaf crowns (image)
easy autumn crafts
Love this simple leaf mobile (image)

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
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Dutch Interiors and Travel inspiration



 So of you may already know but before having Mr A I lived and worked in the wonderful city of Amsterdam for a few months. I have always loved this city, especially since my best friend from school was Dutch and visited with her as well as my family on serrate occasions before moving there. Each at a different age in my life and seeing the city from different perspectives every time so I am over the moon to be going there again for a short break very soon with KLM and this time with John and Mr A in tow - it's going to be great showing them around this lovely city and walking past my old apartment which was a very small studio flat right in the centre. I always loved the interior and fashion style of the Dutch and really miss the view from my old tiny but character filled flat.

Dutch flat
The view from my Flat

The Dutch interior style is similar to that of the Scandinavian - less is more and well design pieces are a must with a splash of colour. The pair European style and practicality so well together. I also love the cafe culture of the city, the flower market and of course all the bikes (we love to cycle).

 We have a few things planned for our weekend trip - we want to do a lot of walking around the city and enjoy the outdoor places such as Vondelpark as well as all the lovely vintage and food markets. I hope to take the two boys to my favourite retro cafe Latei on the edge of the red light district and everything in the shop is for sale even the vintage chairs you sit on and they serve the most amazing Apple Pie. Opposite Latei is the Buddhist Temple - somewhere that has always intrigue me as it's a real oasis right in the heart of this vibrant city and I often would go there just to sit and reflect. Also we will be visiting the city Library as it's one of the tallest buildings in this rather flat city and the view from the top is amazing, we may also do a little canal tour as it's an interesting way to see the city. We are flying from out local Airport which should be a lot less stress and also allows us to get the most time out of our short break.

Amsterdam street art

A slightly younger me living in Amsterdam 
Amsterdam canal

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Tips to planning an Autumn and Winter wedding


vintage bride
Fritha looked stunning on her big day

A few weekends ago I attended what was one of the most heartfelt, beautiful and relaxed weddings I have been lucky enough to attend. I was kindly asked by the bride, Fritha (you may know her from her wonderful blog TigerLilly Quinn) to photograph her day and it was a real privilege to be apart of something so lovely. With so many homemade touches, getting all her creative friends to make things and a wonderful and mild autumn day you couldn't of asked for anything better. I am also going to be attending another wedding next month and it's made me think about what it takes when planning a wedding in the colder months, in fact the first wedding I ever shot was on a very crisp morning in January a few years back.

I have found lately that when you reach a certain age, weddings start to crop up left, right and centre, not to mention baby showers and christenings. Sometimes certain weddings can all look the same, the term ‘cookie cutter’ comes to mind, but there are so many options out there to make your day truly yours.

laughing bride
I loved the relaxed atmosphere filled with laughter

Just think of your wedding day as one big party full of food, laughter and love; the sort of event you can easily host on your weekends, just maybe on a slightly larger scale, and with the all-important declaration of love too. I always find the more intimate and simple gatherings the most enjoyable and less pressure for everyone. This not only makes the whole scary world of planning a wedding easier to cope with by simplifying it to the basic facts, but means you end up investing in items you can use again as well as keeping your budget at a more realistic amount (I'm personally not a fan of the over the top, "look how much we spent" type of weddings)

Planning your wedding is simple, and all the tools are right there at your disposal. Pinterest is a hub of visual wedding inspiration whilst online planners like allow your super organisational skills to shine. If that wasn’t enough, here is a step-by-step guide on planning the big day in the easiest way possible…

wedding celebrations

Be Prepared 

Every bride and her guests need to be prepared any time of the year, but this is even more paramount when it comes to a winter wedding. Why? The unpredictable British weather of course!

Whether it is snow and blizzards or rain and wind, the winter months hardly have the best weather especially when it comes to planning something as important as your wedding day. You can already look up the weather for the year online and this will give you a rough guess on what to expect, however, you won’t get anything in-depth until too late. The easiest way to combat the fluctuating forecast is always having a Plan B! Do the “what if” game with your other half to establish how you would deal with certain situation if they were to arise. Make sure you can get to your venue in any weather, including snow, and if you are hosting drinks before or afterwards at your home make sure you have a full yellow grit bin in case you need to grit your driveway, walkway, and parking.

Portuguese tarts
The lovely Lori handing out some delicious Portuguese tarts 

Dealing with the festivities

The weather, and the general festivities of this time of year, may also mean you get a few more “no’s” than what you were expecting. The easiest way to get those friends and family out into the cold and celebrating alongside you is to make your wedding as accessible as possible.

Keeping the location fairly local and easily accessible by many forms of transport will go a long way. Although remember, this is YOUR wedding. You shouldn’t need to totally change your ideas to cut off five minutes of a journey.

Another option is to head abroad. It isn’t as difficult as you think with more Brits than ever opting for winter sun. Many European destinations are pleasant this time of year going into winter with cheap and frequent flights and accommodation. Or why not considering further afield such as Asia, America and South America, with only your closest family and friends, this is also an easy way to combine your wedding and your honeymoon together, making it a viable and exotic option for some

handmade centrepieces
I loved these flower centrepieces made by Jess from Along came Cherry 

The little extras
Autumn and winter is a fantastic time of year in the UK. Yes, the weather might not be perfect but there is so much to look forward to. Embrace the festivities with warm seasonal drinks such as eggnog and mulled wine, hearty roast dinners reminiscent of Christmas Day lunch and music to delight even the grumpiest of uncle’s.

This is especially true for the decoration. Whether you decide to opt for a warm colour palette of reds and oranges, bringing nature in with some holly table decorations or a winter wonderland of blues and icicles, this can really make your big day extra special.

These three steps are a great starting point but above all, a winter wedding can simply be the most romantic out of the entire year. The festivities of Christmas and the celebration of

This post contains an approved link but thoughts are 100% our own and all photos taken by me (Laura)
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Street Style Sunday - Maternity Casual


casual street style

I have to admit this week has been a bit of a difficult one for me, my bump has suddenly had a growth spurt leaving me with very few clothes that fit well. I had a rare free day to roam the shops to look for something to wear and discovered Cardiff offers very little in terms of maternity wear choice and it's going to have to be an online shopping experience I am afraid. The only thing I managed to find was a pair of maternity jeans so at least that was something but at a time when so much is changing I think it's important to feel good with how you look and not being able to find something to accommodate my changing shape left me feeling a bit down.

Luckily I came across this stretchy grey maternity top from my last pregnancy and pairs it up with some leggings and my aztec cardigan and converse and it made me feel more like myself, casual and fun and a spot of lipstick to put the world to rights.

pregnancy style
Wearing RL Cardigan, M&S top, H&M leggings, Converse trainers

As always I have joined in with the lovely Natalie from Style Me Sunday to bring you Street Style Sunday - please come and join in with any fashion related posts from inspirational wish lists or outfits of what you and your kids are wearing anything goes

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3 Tips on Improving Your Smile


laughing in the street
Smiling really does make you feel better

If you ever wanted to do something positive for someone else, there is an easy solution. Smile. Very few things have the same impact as that of a bright beautiful smile. Your smile conveys warmth, happiness, and confidence, all of which are things that are worthy of spreading around.

Your smile says a lot about you and your personality, even to virtual strangers. After all, first impressions really do matter. Besides the way you dress and your overall appearance, people often judge you by your facial expressions. You've probably seen people smiling awkwardly or nervously betraying their lack of confidence. You don't want to be one of those people, do you?

Unless you've been blessed with naturally straight and white teeth which I am not, chances are you probably have something you want to change about your teeth. Are your teeth crooked? Do you have gaps in between them? Are they a little more yellow than you would like? Fortunately, these cosmetic dental problems can be fixed quite easily with at-home kits or a few in-office visits. Want to know more? Teeth whitening, veneers and braces are all effective and popular methods of enhancing your smile.

teeth and smile

My teeth to be honest are one of my biggest confidence knock backs, I have always had a few issues - the most recent is a crown that broke off and still needs to be repaired - I feel like everyone is staring at it even though I know that it's near the back and I am probably over thinking it, but in the next year I would like to make some improvements such as the following....

Teeth whitening

Your teeth naturally darken as you age, and they will darken even quicker if you have poor dental habits like drinking red wine, tea, coffee, and smoking. If you wish to have pearly whites but otherwise feel confident about your smile, teeth whitening is all you need. Teeth whitening is the most economical way to improve your smile in the shortest amount of time. You can either opt for an in-surgery treatment or simply use take-home kits to administer the whitening treatment yourself. Your dentist will discuss which is the best treatment option for you.


Veneers solve much deeper problems than simply darkened teeth. If your teeth are chipped, worn down, broken, uneven, strangely shaped, or have gaps in them, you can use veneers to correct them and make them look more attractive. Made from either porcelain or resin composite materials, dental veneers cover the front surface of your teeth. They are custom made and mimic the natural colour of your teeth.

Depending on the type of veneers, you will be required to visit your dentist two or three times for the initial consultation and the treatment process. Whether you have just one tooth that needs correcting or multiple teeth that need fixing, your dentist that specialises in veneers in Liverpool can help create the kind of makeover you desire for a more beautiful smile.


Your teeth can have structural issues that prevent you from feeling confident about your smile. Braces are often the preferred method that is used to straighten crooked teeth and the entire process, from start to finish, can take anything between 18 to 24 months. This might seem inconvenient, but it's a minor time investment considering the decades of confidence you'll incur.

London life

Besides going to a dentist or an orthodontist for professional treatments, you can do several things on your own to improve your smile. If you're a woman, wearing the right shade of lipstick can minimise the yellowness of your teeth. Needless to say, keeping your teeth clean with proper dental hygiene, daily brushing, and flossing always helps. Having a smile that you’re proud and eager to show off will undoubtedly make you feel more confident and happy in yourself and the importance of dental hygiene is also something I really want to pass onto my son.

Ralph Lauren trousers

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A little bit of instalife



Wow we have had tons of adventures lately all of which I have shared on instagram and thought it would be nice to do a little round up

From top, let to right

1. Hotel breakfast is always a treat - enjoying some Granola at Mercure Oxford
2. We had tons of fun at Forest School with the Wild Foresters in Bristol
3. Our very colourful hotel room in Oxford
4. A mini Eton mess at BlogCamp in Birmingham
5. I love this Grayson Perry Art Manifesto
6. The little man looking stylish in his new winter coat
7. Enjoying a day out at the fire station
8. Rocking some gold shoes
9. Indulging in some homemade milkshakes
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Divine black bean choc pot & kitchen loves


Chocolate fondants

Okay so stick with me on this one when I say the main ingredient here is black beans but oh do these chocolate pots taste so good and was huge hit with everyone in the house. I had seen a lot of people using black beans in desserts over the past year, especially with vegan baking but have always kept my distance until I came across a recipe in "Super healthy snacks and treats" and thought I would give it a go and I am so glad I did. I changed a few things to suit our tastes but Mr A loved making these with me and they are pretty low in added sugar are also gluten free and with low fat creme fraiche this is a light but decadent dessert with loads of depth. I would serve this up at a dinner party they are that tasty.

Makes around 5-6 ramekins

Around 200g Black Beans (half a can)
20g gluten-free flour - we used Rice flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
45ml maple syrup or argave
1 tablespoon sugar
25ml coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
70gm dark chocolate chips

1. Preheat Oven to 180c (350F) Gas 4
2. Drain beans and put them in a food processor and blitz until completely smooth. Add the remaining ingredients, including most of the chocolate chips (although keep some to scatter on top of the pots). Blitz again until everything is mixed in well.
3. Spoon the mixture into the ramekins until each one is about 2/3rd full. Scatter the remaining chocolate chips on top of each pot
4. Place the ramekins in the oven and bake for around 15 mins. Allow to cool for 5-10 min - best eaten as soon as possible although they do keep in the fridge for about 3 days - just heat before eating as this makes them nice and gooey on the inside. I added a dollop of Creme fraiche to mine.

I have ask been thinking about our kitchen and how I want to make it more colourful and personal and I am loving these little things from etsy

Kitchen is for dancing
Colourful print from Print Design Studio for £11.49
handmade wash cloths
How cute are these handmade towels from Black Bird tees for £24
hand painted kitchen utensils
So simple but chic hand painted wooden utensil set from Holly Horton for £6

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