Savouring Autumn at Insole Court & The Potting Shed, Llandaff


wild child

Insole Court is really one of those hidden gems that has such an exciting future ahead of itself as over the past year or so the National Lottery has funded this once dilapidated Manor house and outbuildings and have brought it back to life and provide a welcoming community hub in the heart of Llandaff City. Surrounding the Manor house is what I can only describe as a small secret garden, partly walled with lots of nooks and grannies to explore, perfect for families, dog walkers and those looking for a peaceful spot away from the maddening crowds of the city. There are also allotments on the site which while are private it's really nice to see keen green fingers folk going back and forth.

Insole Court gardens

fallen leaves

While parts of the main Manor house is still under construction and with it being a listed building these things do take time, many of the out-buildings are already up and running with daily Yoga, language and creative classes taking place throughout the week. One part of the stable block has been converted into a wonderful tea room called The Potting shed. It has a small but perfectly formed brunch menu with most of the ingredients being sourced locally including the bread which comes from Allen's Bakery in Roath as well as a locally roasted coffee. The staff are really friendly and welcoming and there are also dog friendly tables and a few vintage style kids toys and books which keeps my youngest happily entertained while I sip on my cortado and some warming homemade soup. 

Patagonia jacket

Insole Court

manor house

I have stopped in a few times while on our many walks through the gardens collecting leaves for our nature table but on this occasion John and I had a free hour and decided to treat ourselves to a mini lunch date. It has been a particularly biting week in terms of the weather, while it's dry it certainly does feel like winter is on it's way with the drop in temperature so sitting in a nice warm cafe was especially lovely. I usually go for the seasonal soup but decided to try the Goats Cheese and red pepper toastie with slaw and salad while John opted for the Beef Winter Stew with a Gluten free roll for which he gave rave reviews.

The lunch menu is again small but I actually prefer that because each dish has been well thought out and there is always at least two vegetarian options and simple seasonal dishes put together by the in-house chef. I also want to make a special note about the amazing homemade cakes with the extra chocolatey and gooey brownies being a favourite with all of us.

Once the Manor House has been fully renovated its going to be available for functions and weddings and part of it already houses Primo Piano School as well as a Dance school. To see so much life being brought back to Insole court is a fantastic thing and it's a great addition to Cardiff and Llandaff.


The Potting shed
Johns winter stew 

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Autumn Style - The Mini's edit



Northern lights

With so many wonderful jumpers, jacket and warm and cosy hats around at the moment I thought I would share a few of the kid's favourite autumn threads and many of them I wish they would make in adult sizes. One of our favourite British brands Tootsa MacGinty who make such wonderful and colourful ethical unisex clothing and these two Scandi inspired raglan t-shirts have become somewhat of a feature in their wardrobe. I love clothes that connect with nature as well as travel and culture and this Polar bear Northern light print does that perfectly as does my younger ones fjord print.

Tots MacGinty

We also recently came back from a wonderful break to Bluestone in West Wales (full review to follow soon) and we spent the majority of the time exploring the trails and spending many an evening around the open fire at Smokey Joes which mean the boys cute knitted jumpers kept them warm and cosy. The one thing I love about this time of the year is being able to wear layers and lots of different textures and colour and while my eldest is pretty bold when it comes to his outfits he puts together I am less so although I am trying to inject some colour into my wardrobe and have a little bit more fun with things, I mean if the kids can do it why can't we as adults?

Tots MacGinty

Having studied Art and photography I have always been drawn to unique and creative illustrations so when I found our Corby Tindersticks was collaborating with Mama and Papa's on a limited edition collection I knew I would love what they came up with especially this little chambray style jacket my youngest is sporting below. They also have some matching trousers decorated with pom poms as well as some very chic bedroom linen and homeware pieces. These superfine alpaca hats are also really soft and very warm and great for keeping little ones heads warm right through from autumn to spring.

stylish toddler

kids fashion

Thanks to Tootsa and Corby Tindersticks for sending these samples for an honest review - we truly love these beautiful clothes 

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Classic Reads - The Snowman and the Snowdog



Even though growing up in a warm southern hemisphere country meant that Christmas time was at the high of  summer and the concept of a white Christmas was something that never really featured. Although having a Welsh mother meant there was always a distant British influence in all our holiday celebrations . We always read the Snowman in the run up to the big day, we filled our home with the smell of a huge real Fir Tree and hung wreaths and ate Hazelnuts. We indulged in show from Wallace and Grommet and the BFG and had traditional carols playing continuously on the HiFi and despite the often 30+ degree weather we would craft paper snowflakes to hang up along with some mistletoe.

The snowman has been as much apart of my childhood Christmas experience than any others despite the thousands of miles distance from the UK and this story will always have a place in my heart. So when I was asked to take part in The Snowman and Snowdog Christmas Blog tour we couldn't wait to get creative and bring this beautiful story into our home in the run up to the festive period.

Paint your own

We were sent a little craft pack including a Paint your own snowdog and my eldest absolutely loved decorating his over breakfast one morning. He come up with this little colourful interpretation of the Snow Dog and it now sits proudly on our mantle piece. This year the people at Penguin Random house worked alongside Wild in Art to deliver two public art trails in Brighton and Newcastle and are encouraging others to get creative and pick up their own Snowdog to paint and decorate from Wild in Art.

paint your own dog

We also had a few more treats including a big snowman snow globe which we love, especially because it's so nice and simple. no flashing lights just the magic of shaking and taking it all in. Is there really anything more festive than snow globes - perhaps I love them more than others as we never had snow in Cape Town. 

The Snowman

This blog post is part of a Christmas blog tour and the next blogger up is Culture Baby so do go and check out their post. I am also doing a little giveaway below so enter to be in chance of winning some amazing Snowman goodies.

The Snowman

I also have a little pack of Snowman and Snowdog goodies worth more than £25 to giveaway to one of my lucky readers. The pack includes The Snowman Book and CD, The Snowman and The Snowdog wooden Dominoes, The Snowman and Snowdog Chocolate Muffin Kit, The Snowman and the Snowdog Gingerbread biscuit kit and a Thorntons Snowman white chocolate. The giveaway ends on the 7th Dec 2016

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5 small changes to rejuvenate your home




As most homeowners know big renovations cost a lot of money as well as planning and when your feeling like a change big is not always the way to go, in fact there are many budget friendly options to inject some life into your home and rejuvenate a space that may be looking a little tired or outdated.

Most of these suggestions are also doable in terms of DIY even if you have never picked up a paintbrush before with some simple instructions you could discover you have a new talent as well as save money hiring professionals. Of course if your nervous or short of time getting a carpenter in or a painter may be the best foot forward but make sure you get a range of quotes to find the best price.

stylish apartment

1. Declutter - It's so easy overtime to collect, accumulate and hold onto things that we don't actually need or hold that much of a purpose. When our spaces become cluttered so do our minds and often our own productivity can go down because of it. It's also hard to see the full potential of a room if there is lots of stuff lying around. The first thing you need to do is clear the space of everything that you don't hold dear or serves a purpose and immediately this will make a huge difference.

2. Repaint a room - you may decided you want to go Scandi and calm a space down with plain white walls which you can later decorate with prints. You could also think about bringing in block colours which are particularly good for children rooms, Pinterest is a treasure trove of ideas when it comes to redecorating your walls. Even if you just want to spruce up a room, with time paint can fade, get scuffed or just look tired so a fresh coat could bring that new feel back into a room.

front door

3. Update your front door - they always say first impressions count and that starts with the front door. I have a huge fascination with front doors and the more interesting the more intrigued I am about who live there. We will be moving next year and I know that I am going to invest in a beautiful door knocker, something classic like cast iron Lion head door knocker from E-Hardware, you can also pair it up with a letterbox and door knob. It's such a small change but can make such a huge impact and who doesn't want a lovely front door?

4. Decorate with Prints and Photographs - do you have a couple of bare walls that just feel empty and uninspiring? Then why not print some of your favourite family memories, pick up a few frames, they don't have to be all the same, in fact being different can be eye catching. Another option would be to purchase some Art prints and bring some inspiration into your daily space. This is a great low cost option that can create a feature wall and change the feel of any room.

nature in the home

5. Bring nature in the home - Fresh flowers, botanical brings, hanging baskets instantly bring colour into any room and really help to lighten the spirits. I your having guests over or some friends for lunch a fresh bouquets is such a simple touch and can really rejuvenate a room. I know it's not cost effective to do this every day but with places like Aldi and Lidl doing some wonder bouquets it doesn't have to cost and arm and a leg to have fresh flowers in the home.

If your feeling a little restless than start putting together a small snagging list of things you want to change, get excited about your home again and put some plans together for 2017 of how you want to improve your house and make it a place you love, it really doesn't need to cost a fortune.

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Baking, Flowers and Simple Pleasures



fresh flowers

As with each passing day and the closer we get to Christmas everything starts to get more and more manic, the shops are busier, more traffic on the road, people rushing around I think now more than ever it's important to just take a moment for yourself. Even if it's just five minutes a day will help you put things into perspective and you will feel more able to face the stresses that come with the festive period. It can be the smallest things such as a good cup of coffee or tea while paging through your favourite magazine or an extra long shower, making time to see friends or brisk walk in the fresh air. 

fresh flowers

At the moment working from home around two young children, one who is not sleeping very well means I am very short for time so I am trying to surround myself with things that make me feel calm and happy. One of those is fresh flowers, there is something about the scent and smell that seems to balance me when I am feeling a little overwhelmed. I had a beautiful bouquet delivered this week from Prestige Flowers and placed it in the kitchen so every morning I have a little pick me up from the beautiful array of white avalanche roses and purple lisianthus which have been arranged by one of their skilled florists. I am one of those people who are easily pleased with it comes to simple pleasures and nature, I much prefer a bunch of flowers over something that will collect dust and never be used and only cause clutter. If your a bit like that there are some beautify Christmas bouquets (that come with some delicious truffles for an extra treat).

fresh flowers

Another simple pleasure that involves the kitchen is baking healthy treats for my family, it's so therapeutic and something I have been doing ever since my youngest started weaning. What I love best is trying new recipes, sometimes they work sometimes they don't, it's all about trial and error. I am really happy that at my son's school they have a healthy eating policy, it's a very small school and they have a hot homemade meal every lunchtime alongside a fresh salad and on a Friday as a treat they have a fruit pudding. I know how important having a balanced breakfast is really important and you don't want anything that is going to cause to much of a sugar spike so when Bright Horizons who run a nursery in Fulham got in touch to ask me to try out one of the recipes from their Family cookbook I thought the Summer Fruit Muffins sounded like a great after school snake or breakfast on the go as it contains wholemeal flour and bran flakes.

baking muffins

These Muffins are super easy and rustle up and we all really enjoyed them and they are packed with fresh berries. I have followed the recipe loosely but this is still my take on it as I have made a few subtle changes with what I had on hand

50g low sugar Bran Flakes
250ml Milk or Milk Alternative
105g Wholemeal Spelt Flower
1 tsp Baking Powder
50g Butter or Dairy Free spread
40g Sugar
1 Free Range Egg
175g fresh Raspberries

1. Start by soaking the bran flakes in the milk and set aside for 10minutes
2. In a mixing bowl sift together the flower and baking powder.
3. In a separate bowl cream the butter and sugar together and next beat the egg into the mixture
4. Add the soaked bran flakes and milk to the butter and sugar mixture and then gentle add this to the dry ingredients. 
5. Then gently fold the fruit into the mixture
6. Place the paper cases in a muffin tray and fill each one half way.
7. Place the tray in a preheated oven and bake for around 30 minutes at 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4

simple pleasures

Thanks to Prestige Flowers for the beautiful flowers and Bright Horizons for asking to me try out their recipes. 
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Packing Lunch on the Go


Packing a lunch is not just a trend for school-aged children anymore. More adults are now packing a lunch for work as well and for a number of reasons, from making healthier choices to saving money on lunches out. Many are making this switch and the trend has caught on throughout the country. However, this does not mean that you have to carry your lunch in a plain paper sack. There are many fashionable lunch totes available today, in all sizes and colors, and carrying one comes with a few surprising benefits.  

Artic Zone make some amazing and stylish lunch bag totes which are all designed with built-in thermal insulation meaning you can pack a wider variety of foods that you would not be able to take with you all day in a plain brown bag. The thermal qualities of a line tote bag means colder and fresher food for longer.

Their handbag-type lunch totes for women are designed to be leak-proof and have liners that wipe clean which means if you do happen to spill something inside the bag it's not going to be ruined. Not only can this save you money in the long run, but when you have a lunch tote that is easy to clean, it can prevent the buildup of stains and odors as well.

The thermal insulation feature of fashion lunch totes can also keep you safe from the bacteria and germs that may be lurking in your office’s break room fridge. A study performed by the American Dietetic Association and Con Agra Foods found that over twenty percent of office refrigerators only get cleaned once a year and are usually filthy enough to harbor many kinds of mold and bacteria. Coming into contact with these could make you ill. Carrying an insulated tote means you can keep your lunch with you and avoid the horrors of the breakroom fridge.

Some Lunch Bags for Women are so fashionable that they look more like purses and come in a wide variety of shapes and colors. Some have longer handles that can make them easier to carry, especially when your hands are full, and others come with exterior zippered pockets that can hold anything from an extra snack to that paperback you plan to read while you eat. With so many different styles and designs available, you are sure to find one that suits your tastes and needs.

The question of how to pack and transport your lunch can be easily answered with a fun and versatile fashion food tote. If you are ready to buy a fashionable lunch tote for work, shop wisely and consider both form and function before making a final choice.

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High Street Fashion Today


bike style

Nearly everyone has some kind of interest in fashion or clothes as from a pretty young age we decided how we want to present ourselves to the world and this is often expressed through what clothes we wear. I always find it interesting to hear other peoples thoughts on this topic so when a fellow writer, Robert asked if he could share his views on the current state of our High Street fashion in the UK I was happy to accommodate.

What about the high street fashion? It is easy to guess that the high street fashion is the clothes that can be bought in the mass-retail chain stores, like H&M, Topshop and others. These stores sell casual clothes for the consumers of all age groups. You will find clothes for children, teenagers, young, mature and elderly people. The high street fashion is characterized with the clothes that are appropriate for different situations. One can find a good suit for business, conferences and other special occasions such as weddings and anniversaries. If your inspired by city living and street style than you may noticed a proportion of outfits are made up of High Street staples.

While the High Street aims to make comfortable, beautiful and affordable clothes many designers see fashionable clothes as pieces of art or part of a larger collection and aim to produce unique and authentic items with the use of their experience and creative approach to different fabrics and cuts, often combining classic and new ideas into something new.

At the end of the day Designers are at the forefront of fashion and in simple words create new trends. The high street fashion designers utilise different approach. Most often, they borrow the successful ideas from the ‘high fashion’ designers and simplify these ideas to make them more wearable and affordable. Because of this it means it's pretty easy to find something similar to the designer clothes seen in magazines on the high street.

flower fashion

There are however some downfalls to the high street with some having a negative experience. The main reason is the quality of the items sold there. If you purchase £10 jeans at a retail store, they will not serve you for years as modern retail-fashion industry is focused on the mass production. Every vendor expects clients to buy new clothes regularly and one of the biggest mistake is to buy low quality footwear as not only do they not last a long time but are also often impossible to repair.

Another problem of mass production is the huge amount of wastes with retail companies producing too many clothes too quickly, making them very disposable items. Consequently, there is another kind of wastes being created by people throw away millions of tons of clothes annually making it even more important to upcycle and re-cycle clothes while they are still in wearable condition. This additional pressure on the environment causes harm to the ecological situation of our planet so we need to bear this in mind when making any kind of purchase.

In spite of some of the disadvantages and negative opinions, the high street fashion has conquered the world because in reality the majority cannot afford high end and designer clothing. If you need a good-looking suit for the special occasion, not many people have a spare £500 to shell out so of course it's much smarter to spend £70 for the entire suit that looks practically the same even though the workmanship in the longterm will not hold up. The main thing to take away with the fast movement of current fashion on the world today is to spend within your means as well as investing in pieces that are going to last longtime and no accumulating excess waste.

About essay writer: Robert T., Smart Writing Service
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Styling the perfect White Shirt



Pixie cut

When it comes to classic style that never fades you really can't beat a well tailored white shirt, it literally goes with everything and can be styled up or down. They really are a staple for any wardrobe and investing in a few quality shirts is an investment well spent. So when I was recently invited by McArthur Glen in Bridgend to come and check out the American Heritage brand Brooks Brothers pop-up vintage truck store I couldn't wait. For those who have been hiding under a rock and have not heard of the Brooks Brothers, it happens to be one of the oldest clothiers in the US and was the first to introduce the concept of the button down shirt.

Brooks Brothers

Brooks Brothers

I was set the White Shirt Challenge to put an outfit together around the white shirt from some of the amazing shops in McArthur Glen. With so much choice it wasn't a quick decision, in fact I walked around the centre first, weighing up all the option and then decided to go back with fresh eyes after a delicious meal at Wagamamas. After lunch the first stop was back at the Jaeger store which had some amazing clothes from their current season as well as past ones and I cam across a beautiful camel jacket which I instantly fell in love with and pairs up so well with the white shirt.

Camel jacket

I am a big fan of black so went for my skinny Karen Millen black jeans and added subtle touches of colour with a grey jumper from Gap, the camel Jaeger jacket and more of a pop from my gold brogues and red lipstick, as well as the silver tote bag I picked up from Clarks store at McArthur Glen. I went back and forth with this outfit and I am glad I settled with what I picked as it's great for city jaunts and for upcoming trips to London as it's both casual for canapé events but smart enough for meetings.

Brooks brothers shirt

Even though Brooks Brothers is a very high end brand it's pop-up truck fit in perfectly into what McArthur Glen had to offer with stores such as Jaeger, Joules, Fossil, Calvin Klein and Osprey to name a few, as well as some fantastic food spots (highly recommend Wagamama). For anyone who is busy, on a budget but brand aware than this is a great spot especially with discounts as big as 65%.
How would you style a white shirt?

Mums That Slay

Thanks to McArthur Glen for inviting me to take part in this challenge 

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Autumn Style Inspiration


Autumn fashion

Even though it's been pretty mild we are very much in the heart of Autumn with Winter fast approaching. I don't know about you but I have packed away all my summer clothes and out have come the boots, jeans and an array of jackets from the waterproof ones suitable for our many weekly adventures or the more stylish ones for jaunts around the city. I really picked up a beautiful Camel jacket from Jaeger which I absolutely love and I am currently on the lookout for a new snood that will see me through the colder months.

The one great thing about this time of the year is being able to layer your clothing as well as indulge in cosy knitted jumpers and soft knitted gloves giving you the chance to get creative with a whole range of warm fabrics and textures.

Like most busy mothers I don't have much time to hit the shops these days so I order most of my clothes online, although it can be harder to see an outfit altogether before purchasing it so I like to put little mood boards together. I have put this Autumn inspired one together with my favourite pieces being the Fat Face Yoke pattern jumper and Pure Collection Cashmere Fair Isles gloves with the soft white detail. I found both of these on Octer which is a really good site when it comes to finding amazing fashion pieces from a range of high street and designer stores and best of all it's multi-channel platform mobile shopping meaning you can pick up what takes your fancy whether your using a mobile, tablet or desktop.

Another key item that you really do need to have in your wardrobe for Autumn/Winter is a good pair of boots especially the classic Chelsea boot such as the ones above from Daniel Footwear. It's such a go-to item and everything works so well with a good pair of Chelsea boots although always opt for quality as you want a pair that will see you through more than once seasons and Daniel footwear has a fantastic range and with more than 30 stores in the UK there is bound to be one near you. Pair the lookup with a tan bag for a real Autumn touch, I usually opt for large tote bags these days such as the one above as not only are they stylish and chic but also practical and can hold all your daily needs such as a diary, camera or extra scarf for especially chilly days.

On a last note how christmassy and cosy is this jacket below from Ted Baker. Love the two tone, simply and almost Scandi look of this coat.

What are you coveting at the moment?

Winter jacket

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Creating an Instagram Feed you Love


Instagram feed

With just under 5000 followers on my Instagram I don't have the biggest following and thats okay because I am sure it will come with time as my main focus has certainly shifted away from numbers and statistics and more towards creating a space and a feed that truly reflects my life as well as something I am happy with, that makes me smile and is a visually interesting daily diary that I can look back on in years to come.

I think when it comes to IG there are certainly two camps which have formed, those who try and play the algorithm game regardless (at times) of creating beautiful original content and those who are more interested in organic engagement, neither is "right" and it's okay to be in the middle, at the end of the day it is a marketing tool to some so taking a little time to create balance between both especially if it is connected to your work or livelihood is important but don't forget its not just a place for numbers but also for inspiration.

At the heart of IG is a community and I feel its important to encourage and support the part of the community you most relate too and it's always a good feeling when you get that support back. It's really made me feel like concentrating on creating good content has been the best idea as my images have been featured with #lifecloseup #CelebratingMotherhoodIG #Curiouslittleexplorers and #CapturingFatherhood, all users and hashtags I love and have a strong affliction with.

So putting numbers aside here are some tips on making an Instagram feed you love.

1. Chose your best captures to share, think quality over quantity.
2. Edit your images and make sure they are looking their best with regards to lighting and composure
3. Be Inspired by your community - I don't mean straight up copy your favourite IGers but collect ideas that you like and try implement them into your feed.
4. Plan your feed so it's somewhat cohesive, personally I use an app called Mosaic which allows me to see what an image looks like within my feed before posting.
5. Write insightful descriptions and use IG as a mini blogging platform as with every picture there is always a story to share.
6. If your IG feed is personal to your life than as above with writing a good description you need to share a little of you with your readers, it's a personal journey after all and get them involved (within reason).
7. Don't repose similar images over and over again, once or twice is great but you want IG to feel like a creative space and producing new content will make it feel fresh and visual inspiring.

At the end of each month I love to look back and see what adventures we have got up too and usually at the end of the year I get a few of my favourite pics either framed or printed into a little book. There is a fantastic site that allows you to download your IG images really easily through an instaport called  Vibbi, there is also a Web Viewer which allows you to find hashtags for your feeds theme.

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Journeying to the Isles of Scilly


St Martins

If you read my blog you will probably remember we spent an amazing week in the Isles of Scilly near the end of summer, I shared some snippets with you as well as ticking it off my 40 things to do before 40 post. So why so long to share what we got up to in more depth? Well to cut a long story short I had some major issues with my laptop this year, the hard drive failed twice and a virus pretty much made my external hard drive as useful as a brick so after many panic attacks I have finally managed to retrieve nearly all the images and videos *cue dancing in the kitchen*. What a better time to share this amazing trip when it's starting to feel cold and your dreaming of your future adventures, making plans for next year and looking for some inspiration, well I can tell you that the Isles of Scilly is by far the most exotic destination we have ever been to in the British Isles and I hope you enjoy me series of posts about this unique place.

I'm going to start at the beginning because as mentioned briefly before in previous posts we had a pretty eventful journey down to Cornwall. To get to the Isles of Scilly you need to either take the ferry from Penzance or you can fly with Skybus from either Exeter, Newquay or Lands End, we decided to fly from Lands End and take the ferry back, that way we would experience both. As it's a pretty long drive from Cardiff to Lands End we decided to split the journey and spend one night at a Travelodge in Tiverton, located just off the M5, meaning the next day wouldn't be too stressful and we should of arrived in Penzance and the stunning Godolphin Arms with enough time to walk across the causeway to St Michaels Mount and have some time to explore the fishing town of Marazion. Although as any seasoned traveller knows things don't always go to plan and thats okay, its all part of the adventure.

ont he road
My eldest and me enjoying our walk around Spreyton while stranded without a car

Everything was going fine as we headed down south past Exeter and we were making good time then suddenly there was a bang and that was it, our car was pretty much dead, we lost all power and the ability to change gears, we couldn't even make it to the closest services. So two hours later, after standing on a hard shoulder with two kids, whom initially thought it was pretty cool had now lost any novelty of the situation. The AA finally arrived around midday and towed us to a small village garage in the middle of nowhere, literally surrounded by farming fields and tiny country lanes and no shops in sight with four very hungry people (note to self, always have a day's worth of snacks on you at all times).

Spreyton village pub
The only pub in Spreyton, very pretty, but closed the day we were there.

It quickly became apparent the car could not be fixed so around 1pm we called a car hire agency who said they would be with us around 3pm, bearing in mind we had set off at 10am and had not yet had anything to eat for lunch we decided to walk a mile down a country lane into the small village of Spreyton to find somewhere to eat and came across a beautiful old pub which was unfortunately it shut as it was Monday. We did however find a small village store open and made the best of some bread and cheese with some local ciders, the owner was so helpful and let us borrow her knife to make some sandwiches and we sat outside among some beautiful flowers looking across open fields, it was actually quite lovely. We eventually got picked up by the car hire agency at 5pm and finally made our way down to Penzance and a lovely hotel room waiting for us after what was possibly one of the longest days ever, we opted for room service and crashed out, together and happy.

British Isles Cider

In the morning we visited St Michaels Mount (I've written about that Here) and then headed to Lands End airport for our quick flight with SkyBus over to the Isles. Unfortunately the weather was not in our favour with a heavy fog coming in and most of the flights being grounded, but even though the airport is very small there is a nice little coffeeshop which kept us going. We still had hope we would make it to the Isles as the flight before us took off a couple of hours later than planned, but then not long after we were all informed that that was to be the last flight of the day. Luckily the airport helped in finding us some very last minute accommodation - The Quay House in Hayle, so again with hours of waiting with two young children for the second day in a row we made our way to the hotel knowing that no matter what we would be getting the Scillonian in the morning and landing in St Mary's around lunchtime.


Even though we were getting to the Isles a day late we were really excited to board the Scillonian and happily waved goodbye to Penzance and headed out into the Atlantic ocean. Once we had set off my eldest was keen to explore the ship, which even though it's not very big it's really well equipped with two cafes serving up some good coffee and light meals as well as a quiet room at the bottom of the hull and a small gift shop with all things Scilly. For the first hour we all really enjoyed the trip, especially sitting up on deck and taking it all in, as we hit open water things started to get a little rough which was really initially was exciting and although I have taken many boat trips and been fine for some reason the rough sea really got to me on this trip, perhaps it was a bit of a chain effect 
among passengers feeling ill, so I would highly recommend taking anti seasickness tablets if you plan to visit the Isle by ferry. Regardless of that its a great way to travel and the view of the Isles as you get closer towards St Marys is truly magical. 

St Marys Scilly

Our holiday had only really just began but it felt like we had already gone on a mammoth journey, which to me is what travelling is all about, the adventure. Even though the Isles are only 28miles off the Cornish coast somehow this made is all feel further away and put into perspective how these communities at time can become quite cut off from the rest of the world during bad weather. Once we landed in St Marys we had a about 45mins to spare while our bags were transported of the Scillonian and put onto one of the small inter-island ferries as we were headed off the St Martins and The Karma Hotel. We made use of our time by picking up a map of the islands as well as stopping into the Quay cafe and having our first taste of some Scilly pasties (it is Cornwall after all!) I have to admit from the first moment I stepped foot on St Marys I was smitten, this archipelago was everything I thought it would be and more.

Isles of Scilly
The smaller inter-island ferry and St Martins in the distance 

Over the next few weeks I will be sharing posts about our amazing time on St Martins, our stay at The Karma Hotel, our day trip to Tresco Island and the stunning Tresco Abbey Gardens and what we got up to while staying on St Marys. We also managed to fly back to Lands end with Skybus which was an incredible experience in itself. If your looking for some serious staycation inspiration then do come back and check them out.

Thanks to the Isles of Scilly for inviting us to explore this magical place. 

Suitcases and Sandcastles
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Letting the Kids takeover our Sofa


living spaces

As some of you may already know we are gearing up to sell the house in the spring time so we are trying to make the most of every space we have in our home. We have done the renovations we felt where necessary to improve the property and have left some of the work done by the previous owners such as this glass brick feature in our lounge which allows light to come in from the hallway which is much needed as this is a low ceiling welsh cottage. It's not to our taste to say the least but it serves a really good purpose and offers a feature wall in our main social space. As it's quite "busy" we wanted to keep the overall interior of the room fairly minimal with well designed pieces that are timeless but stylish so when DFS got in touch over the summer asking us to take on a fun little challenge I couldn't wait, especially as our current sofa was being held up with my sewing box (seriously! Lets just say it had come to the end of it's life)

stylish sofa

scatter cushions

So what exactly was the challenge all about? Firstly we needed to pick a piece of furniture we felt would tie the room together and wow what a choice, it took us a few days but we settled with the stunning Zinc four seater sofa for French Connection in a Grey combination which also came with the two geometric scatter cushions and dark wood feet. What attracted us to this sofa was the it's simply but slightly retro design with a hint of Mad men to it but also the choice as it comes in 8 textured fabric colours as well as 3 choices of feet and 15yrs frame and frame spring guarantee which as you know if you have kids is fantastic to hear as I am sure they will really put it to the test.

So after the sofa arrived and we managed to squeeze it through our tiny little front door the second part of the challenge involved the kids! Yes thats right the Kids! We gave them free range to style the sofa to exactly how they would like it, queue all the toys, chaos and not exactly the calm and serene little nook I had envisaged for the sofa, luckily this was only temporary and we all had a lot of fun seeing what they would get up too.

messy sofa

So apparently it was a ship and we would be at sea for a longtime and therefore needed plenty of things to entertain us such as books, xylophone, soft toys and plenty of cushions to keep us comfortable, as well as a hand drawn map which my eldest proudly showed us. We pretty much had to leave it like this for 3 days as they were having so much fun role-playing and pretending they were at sea before reverting it back to a more family friendly sofa where I am sure we are going to be spending many an autumn evening cuddled up with my big soft throw a cup of hot chocolate. How would your children style your sofa if they had the chance? 

Thanks so much for DFS for asking us to be apart of this fun campaign 
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