5 Positive ways to be happy in 2019



Well what a year, full of ups and downs and everything thrown in-between. 2018 saw a real movement to normalising things like Mental Health issues and getting more people sharing and talking about their own experiences, also the huge shift to Body positivity, owning your body and feeling less guilting about being a bit more selfish and making time for self care. Woman in general have also taken somewhat of a centre stage in standing up for our rights and using more platforms to have a voice and be heard. Diversity has also been key, what makes one person happy doesn't apply to others and that needs to be respected, health and fitness means different things to different people but doing what feels good is key and that is something that should follow through into 2019. With the world seeming more manic it's important to not get overwhelmed and to be easier on ourselves and not be too many things at once, which in turn can cause stress and a sense of failure. Here are a few positive ways to move forward with into 2019

1. Ditch the Diets, Nourish yourself & throw away the scales

Diets are fads! That is a fact! Any eating plan that means you are having to restrict what you eat or calories is not sustainable, meaning when you inevitably fall of the wagon you are destined to feel guilty and like a failure which frankly sucks and is no good for your wellbeing. If you are looking to overhaul your meals or simply improve your eating plan just making healthier choices, it's that simple. Add some more fruit and veg to your diet and make more homemade meals, drink more water and still enjoy the things you love. Drastic changes never work, simply be more kind and nourishing to yourself when your able too. Another thing we need to stop doing is daily weighing! Weight can fluctuate between 4-6lbs in 24hrs for all variety of reason that has nothing to do with health! Could be down to clothes your wearing, time of the day, how much water you have drunk etc and allowing your mood to be affected by weighing yourself just isn't good. Pack them away and out of sight!

2.  Celebrate your Unique quirks

What makes the world such a fantastic place is that we are all different! Differences can often be the focus of negativity but shouldn't be! They are what make us unique and we need to start owning that and cherishing our flaws and eccentricities. Once we learn to do this we start to developed a deeper love for ourselves and therefore value our own needs more. There are however some things that may need to be worked on, such as negative tendencies such as jealously or meanness and usually those who are closest to you can help you distinguish between flaws that need acceptance and flaws you need to work on as accepting ourselves shouldn't come at the cost of someone else's wellbeing. At the end of the day we need to be start looking in the mirror and feeling positive about ourselves and view ourselves with love not dislike and that takes effort and is something worth working towards in 2019

detox from social media

3.  Cut down on social media

I think deep down we all know that social media isn't always good for us. Yes there is so much positivity to be found in social media with so many empowering woman sharing their stories but there is also so much space for comparison and comparison is the thief of joy as they say. Social media also needs to be taken with a pinch of salt as so many people are simply sharing the best bits of their life, not the boring or mundane of when their kids are lying in the middle of a supermarket screaming or the bad skin days they are having or even the not so perfect moments of their picture perfect relationships. When we are feeling insecure we actively look for flaws and ways to back-up our views about ourselves and with so many people sharing Pinterest-perfect lives, even when you are aware that it's not always what it seems, it's time to step away from the phone, tablet or laptop and enjoy simple pleasures such as writing, reading, getting outdoors or being creative. Making sure you have a social media free day once a week can be hugely positive for your wellbeing. Here are 10 ways to help you wean off social media.

4. Learn something new or find a hobby that makes you happy

After a 10yr hiatus about 5 months ago I picked up my skateboard again and it's hands down the most positive thing I've done in the past decade. Through skateboarding I have met so many new people, woman of all ages, some just starting out and others having done it for years and it's been so supportive and enjoyable. Rediscovering something that makes me so happy, gets me out and being active and offers an array of social opportunities has really transformed my mental wellbeing and how I feel about myself and I truly feel everyone needs something like this. Something that offers a break from the daily grind, that has nothing to do with your work or relationship, something just for you. Whether that be taking up a language class, learning how to do printmaking, surf, cook or whatever takes your fancy and making it a priority.

girls skate

5. Treat yourself

Everyones entitled to spend a little bit of time and money on themselves in whatever what they choose. Like I said what works for some won't for others. If getting your eyebrows done or shopping for makeup will give you a massive boost then go ahead, if spending the day paddle-boarding does it for you then get out on the water. I do however feel with the whole body positivity movement that we feel bad in someway treating those areas that get us down. I remember being a little shocked when one of my friends said she occasionally gets botox, she explained that she naturally frowns a lot and it's the one thing that got her down and by getting botox is made her feel better and that is what it's all about. I mean I use cellulite cream not because I'm embarrassed about my cellulite but I like taking time out to try improve the circulation and skin tone in my legs and I'd be open to having some CoolSculpting treatment in London done for me and no one else.

As we move into 2019 I think making more time for the things that make you happy is key, cutting out what doesn't is also vert important. Not being to restrictive with yourself, dropping the guilt and simply looking after yourself better whether that means being a little bit more active or eating well  balance meals that will improve your mood are all positive.


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5 Travel Friendly Ethical Beauty Must-haves + Giveaway



Can you believe how fast this year has flown by and here we are in the festive season looking forward to a New Year. Many things have happened over 2018 but one of the biggest and most positive movements has been towards a more ethical and sustainable lifestyle wether that has meant moving towards a more minimalist home with lower waste and less plastic to including more vegan dishes and products into your life it's all positive in my books.

I thought I would share a 4 things I have tried and tested and give the thumbs up too with the aim of reducing waste as well as using more natural based products in your home and health and beauty routine.

ethical beauty

1. Intimina Lily Cup - More woman than ever are moving towards reusable menstrual cups as they are an eco friendly alternative to tampons and sanitary pads. Intimina's Lily Cup is really easy and comfortable to use and is spill-free and designed to fit your body's natural shape. These are also great when your on the go and can be used during activities such as swimming and running. These retail at around £24.95 and save you lots in the long-run

2. Vegan by Dr Botanicals Coconut Oil Exfoliating Bar - firstly this is bar is packaging in a cardboard which is ace uses natural, vegan and cruelty ingredients. I love this bar as it doubles up as a soap and cleanser when traveling as well as gently exfoliating. The uplifting coconut aroma is also perfection after a long day. These bars retail at around £18 and a little goes a long way.

3. Humble Brush - based in Sweden the Humble Brush is such an easy way to replace plastic toothbrushes with a more sustainable option made from biodegradable sustainably-grown bamboo, plus it's travel friendly too. Another massive positive is that each purchase goes towards funding projects for the benefit of children in need. They also make children's brushes making this a great family friendly option too. The brushes retail at around £4

4. Green People - Forest & Fruit Body Collection - whether at home or on the road it's easier than ever to make more ethical choices when it comes to skincare and I just love Green People and have been using their products for years. This fairly traded pack comes with Shower Gel & Body Lotion and are made with 83% organic ingredients and is vegan and cruelty-free. Plus a donation from the sale of each Modern Botanical gifts goes to Plantlife - a British conservation charity that works to save threatened wild flowers, plants and fungi, so not only will your skin feel great but you will too.

Green People

5. Organic Children - Fruity Favourites Collection - Made by Green People, again we use a lot of this in our house what I really like about this collection is that it comes with organic Hand Sanitiser which is made from 96% organic ingredients and is ideal for travelling. The Shampoo, conditioner and shower berry smoothie are all vegan, cruelty free, fairly traded and are also gentle on the skin and suitable for sensitive skin types and 10% of profits are donate to charity. This pack retails at around £35.

Ethical skincare

Best of all is I am running a giveaway for one lucky reader to win a little ethical New Years beauty hamper including a Intimina Lily Cup, A Vegan by Dr Botanicals Bar, 1 Adult and 1 Child Humble Brush and a Green People Fruit and Forest Gift pack worth around £58 . The giveaway ends on the 7th January 2019 and is open to UK residents.

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Why Car maintenance is so important over the festive season


winter roadtrip

Around this time last year my car broke down which is no fun when you have two small kids with you, in fact it's not the first time we had broken down during Winter and it was snowing so as you can image it was freezing. We were lucky that we didn't have to wait too long for the breakdown driver to reach us although saying that half an hour in a freezing car still isn't pleasant and could of easily been
avoided (well in the one case, the other was due to a faulty alternator that couldn't of been foreseen) as it was my car battery that had been long overdue a replacement. 

It's often the simple things that catch us out and with so much going on around this time of the year it's easy to forget basic maintenance BUT with more people around the festive holidays to visit family and friends the more vigilant we need to be with car maintenance as no one wants to miss out on a Christmas dinner because they are waiting in a lay-by for a rescue truck. 

Here are a few things you should really consider getting checked out it your planning on a little road trip this Christmas and New Year, or even if you’re not planning on going far the extreme weather and build-up of traffic on the roads means that now is the time to have your car running at its best. 


1. Have your tyres checked as well as the balance - not only is this important from a legal stand point as having worn tyres below the legal limit can mean the risk of a £2500 fine and three penalty points, plus it's very unsafe especially in icy weather. I recently had my tyres checked as the car balance felt really off, while my tyres were fine they rebalanced the car and it felt so much safer and made a huge difference. You can read more about tyre safety and requirements on the RAC website.

2. Have your car battery checked regularly in fact most manufactures recommend you should have it tested twice a year and by doing this you can avoid break down and also extreme weather are among the common things that can wear your battery down so popping down to places like Halfords which offer a free battery check it key, especially during winter.

3. Getting your car serviced at least once a year is really key to making sure that running efficiently and also gives you an idea of if there are any major issues you need to watch out for. Servicing isn't always that cheap but can save you money in the long-run and there are also different options, if you’re on a budget just opting for the interim 49-point check service is better than nothing as it checks for body damage, tyres, brakes, lights and things like the clutch and gearbox checks which are not cover in MOT's

4. Stay on top of your MOT - the most ideal thing is to have your MOT and then 6 months later a service, this way your car is being checked every 6 months. An MOT is all about being roadworthy and isn't as comprehensive as a full service but is absolutely essential and a legal requirement. There are loads of different MOT centres but it's really worth doing your research beforehand and knowing roughly how long it's going to take and places like Ossett Tyres house has state of the art MOT test centres and an excellent customer service, based in Wakefield and worth check out somewhere like that that has positive reviews.  

winter roadtrip

The thing with cars is they cost money, to run and maintain so it's always worth having a little savings pot put aside so you’re not caught out. Also it's always best to get things looked at straight away rather than ignoring a small problem that then turns into a big problem. If your heading off this season it should be a priority to get your car looked over and at a minimum the tyres, battery, oil and water checked.

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Tips for moving on from the baby to toddler stage with Little Freddie



As you may already know I am working with the awesome organic food company that is Little Freddie this year and recently told you all about the steps they are taking to be more sustainable by launching the UK first pouch recycling scheme, do read more about this positive initiative. Being a busy mum on the go I can say first hand how important it is for me to make sure I have some healthy snacks on me at all times to avoid those hangry moments but also so I know they are getting all their nutritional needs met.

Having successful weaned two children know I feel like I have something to offer in ways of practical advice for those parents out there who are juggling it all, working, parenting, school runs, play dates, weekend adventures, family trips and everything else life throws at you and at those times if often when we let things slip such as well balanced family eating. Little Freddie have recently launched their new range of healthy smoothies and finger food to help make sure no matter how busy you are you don't have to compromise on healthy eating. 


Here are a few foodie tips on moving on from the baby to toddler stage for busy parents

1. Don't get too caught up in what everyone else is doing and do what is best for you - With my eldest we weaned using mainly homemade purees & did struggle to move onto more solid food but with my second we did baby-led weaning from the get-go because it's what worked best for us at the time so just do what works best for your family dynamic.

2. Take your time it's a long process - Rome wasn't built in a day and children don't always move onto solids as quickly as you think they will. You will have up's and downs in your journey and even now my toddler refuses things he used to love, it really is all about trial and error.

3. Try avoid negative remarks about food - snack and meals times should be a fun and happy experience. Yes it's hard when your facing a very fussy eater or you have just made a lovely meal and most of it has been spat out or thrown on the floor but it's really important to make sure healthy food is encouraged and celebrated in a positive way.

4. Batch good and bake - if you are doing purees then batch make a whole lot of freeze them in ice cube moulds, or if your doing baby-led weaning then freeze small batches of your family meal so you have some on hand for quick lunches.

5. Pack the snacks! Organic brands like Little Freddie offer such well balanced and nutritious smoothies and finger food I don't feel at all bad about offering them to my children (as appose to home made snacks) especially when time short as they use such a great variety of ingredients. The smoothies for example which are 30% lower in sugar than similar products, contain things like coconut water, flaxseed flour, passion fruit while their finger food puffs are multigrain based, with wheatgerm and quinoa. All of their products having have no added sugar, additives or preservatives.

6. Avoid added sugar - it's just so easy for kids to acquire a sweet tooth very early on. We all know the fantastic benefits of having enough fruit and veg daily and while fruit is naturally sweet we really don't need any more than that. There are plenty of ways to cook and back without additional sugar and I have shared one of my favourite quick naturally sweetened Wholemeal Spelt banana muffins below which are great for on the go.

If your looking for very quick, easy and no added sugar muffins that are toddler friendly, here is my go-to recipe

Banana and raisin muffins

55g melted coconut oil ( you can also use unsalted butter)
1 free-range egg
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
125g Wholemeal spelt flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 bicarbonate soda
55g chopped raisins or apricots

This recipe makes for a very mild and mellow tasting muffin, if you are looking to sweeten it a little bit more but without using cane sugar then you can add 40ml Agave or Maple Syrup

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees or gas mark 4. Line a muffin tin - this recipe makes around 8/9 standard muffins or around 20 mini muffins.

2. Peel and mash the bananas and add the egg and vanilla and beat for 30 seconds before adding the melted coconut oil plus the agave if using.

3. Add the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and beat until all combined. Lastly stir in the chopped raisins/apricots

4. Full each muffin case with the mixture and pop into the oven. They should take around 12-14 minutes although do check and take out once golden, risen and firm to touch. Once cooled these can be stored in an airtight container for 3 days or freeze for a quick snack on the go. 


With a little bit of preparation and organisation you can move from that baby stage to toddler foods with ease even when your really busy and remember just have fun with it.

In collaboration with Little Freddie 
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5 things to do in Cheltenham with Kids



We recently jumped in the car for a little road trip to the regency town of Cheltenham. I have done a few day trips here many years ago, all sans kids so I was keen to see what this beautiful town had on offer for families. En route we stopped off at Chepstow Castle before heading up the Wye Valley (a more scenic route) before arriving into Cheltenham and checking into the Cotswolds Grange Hotel which has family rooms and were extremely accommodating so do check out my review. While Cheltenham isn't the biggest town it's fairly easy to navigate and explore on foot for both adults and kids, there is also plenty to do in the surrounding areas but I wanted to focus on what there is to do within walking distance of the town centre for those who are visiting by train or are short on time. 

1. Find Neptune's Fountain

It is said that Neptune's fountain was modelled on the Trevi Fountain in Rome and while this isn't Rome this fountain is still very impressive and captivating and can be found on Royal Well Rd which is lined with pretty boutique stores and quaint coffee shops and also just a short walk to the Imperial Gardens which is cute little green space and perfect for kids to have a little run around. The fountain itself is a very impressive piece of art with the Greek God Neptune being drawn by four sea-horses on his shell chariot while clasping a Trident. 

2. Ride the Regency Cheltenham Cycle Trail

The boys and I love heading out on our bikes as it's a great way to explore somewhere new and also means you get to cover more ground while enjoying the outdoors. We headed over to The Bicycle Hub which is only a few minutes away from both the train station and traffic-free cycle paths. The owner Steve couldn't be more helpful and sized up the right bikes for every member of the family before showing us how to use the Compass Holidays App. The Regency Trail is a circular route and you can do as much or as little of it as you want. We rode to Pittville park and back which is around half of the trail as 95% traffic free and perfect for families. I highly recommend doing this if your in Cheltenham. 

3. Pittville Park

Pittville Park has to be one of the highlights when visiting Cheltenham as this large ornamental park really offers everything you want for a fun few hours outdoors with kids. Besides historical gardens beautiful lakes, including one you can hire rowing boats there is also a skatepark, a large and fairly new children play area where you will also find the aviaries and small cafe. There is also a pitch and putt course, tennis courts and another nature based park in the western side of Pittville. You could literally spend hours here just enjoying all that is on offer, taking it easy with a cup of coffee watching the swans on the lake or working up a sweat in the skate park. We were also really impressed with how clean and well maintain Pittville is and has excellent facilities.

4. The Wilson - Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum

This free museum is small but perfectly formed and a great spot if you are feeling the cold or it's raining (although worthwhile visiting anytime) and after a recent boost in funding they now have a new family friendly gallery space called The Wow Gallery that encourages visitors to touch, play, sing and dance. There is a small buggy park for those with very young children as well as The Wilson Cafe which serves up some delicious cakes and light meals using locally sourced ingredients.

5. Paint it yourself Pottery

If you and your kids are into crafting or getting creative then it's well worth a visit to the Paint It Yourself Pottery Co on Winchcombe Street. You can choose an item of pottery that catches your eye from over 200 choices and have fun decorating, painting and getting creative with that piece using non-toxic ceramic paints. They then glaze and fire your piece and even though it usually takes around three to five days for your work t be ready for pick up they do offer an overnight service which is great for those who are only in Cheltenham for a weekend or overnight break with kids.

No matter if you are looking for an action packed break or just simply want to stroll around the town taking the atmosphere in you won't be disappointed, especially if your a lover of buildings and interiors as Cheltenham is well know for being the most complete regency town in England and is famous for it's Regency architecture. We had a fantastic time and thumbs up all round.

* We were kindly invited to explore Cheltenham with Visit Cheltenham, words and views 100% our own
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Losing friends to Cancer, New Alternatives & Immunotherapy




Cancer. The word no one wants to hear but will at some point impact our lives in one way or another.

My first realisation of the devastation that cancer can cause was when I was a teenager and a family friend, whose daughter was in school with me, fought hard against a brain tumour. She lost her fight. My mother and I visited her while she was ill, it was the first time I had seen what cancer does to a person and to a mother, and the effect cancer has on a family. When I was in my early twenties, my aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer. Again she fought hard, had endless bouts of chemo which made her incredibly ill from which she had very little rest. She unfortunately passed away.

With both of these there was a level of acceptance, they were adults in their 50's and 60's which, of course, is still very young but was slightly easier to understand. What really stopped me in my tracks was what happened last year, I lost my two longest friends to cancer within 10 months of each other. Two people who had always been there for me, who I have known from the age of 7 - both healthy, both active, and both taken way too young and, to be completely honest, I am still in disbelief they are no longer here.

Having two friends, both near to my age go through something like this was an emotional rollercoaster as well as an eye-opener into the reality of what cancer and going through gruelling treatment is like. They both passed around 18 months post diagnosis and had very different journeys. One tried everything from rounds of chemo and radiation to trial drugs, while my other friend didn't have any treatment at all except for some medication to manage pain - his peace and acceptance is something I will forever be in awe of.

Alternative cancer treatment

Of course, during this time I did a lot of research because when you’re in this type of position, you feel like you have to do something no matter how small that may be. It also made me reflect a lot on my own situation and what I would do if I was diagnosed with cancer. To be completely honest, I think this is something that has crossed most parents minds at some point or another. With anything in life I have always been a strong believer in a more natural approach while still remaining open minded in regards to medication as modern medicine is so innovative and advancements are being made all the time.

What I also learnt (and witnessed firsthand) was how destructive chemo and radiation can be as they are toxic for the body. Chemotherapy and radiation do not discriminate between healthy cells and cancerous cells, while reducing and killing the cancer, it also kills the immune system so while you have an initial reduction in cancer it often can come back and far worse, this is what happened to my best friend (of course this isn't always the case, I am only talking from my experience).

I would like to point out these are personal views, each person’s approach would be different and with anything in life, you have to go with what feels right with you and get as much advice as possible before making any decisions. If you read the news, however, you probably have come across the breakthroughs that are being made with Immunotherapy which is a treatment that uses certain parts of the person’s immune system to fight and attack cancer cells and according to the Cancer Research Institute it's already proven successful in treating some previously incurable cancers as well as being the first line of treatment for many others.

Wellbeing for cancer

I do, however, feel that when it comes to something like this, multiple approaches need to be taken which is what Akesis Life, an integrative oncology centre in Bangkok Thailand does, as they step away from the use of high-dose chemo and radiation, and offer Immunotherapy alongside other integrative cutting-edge science-based treatments. They design individualised wellbeing integrative cancer programmes that focus on being kind and restorative to the body while targeting and getting rid of the cancer cells.

When it comes to cancer and having witnessed friends endure horrible treatments which only offered small benefits (in their case's) I think as a society we really need to be more forward thinking. Chemo and radiation are often offered first even when the effectiveness is known to be low with certain cancers. But there are places like Akesis Life that rely on science, not chemo, to help patients enhance their immune system in a healthy and kind way.

cancer alternatives

This integrative cancer treatment centre is headed by Dr Thomas Lodi who is part of the American College for the Advancement in Medicine. Dr. Lodi s a true believer in integrative medicine and has helped educate thousands of doctors worldwide, especially those who are unsatisfied with the current cancer treatment system in hospitals today. You can see why people travel from around the world to Akesis Life and #SayNoToChemo. The integrative healing approach is the path I would aim to follow should it be a direction my life takes one day and I was in the position and had the opportunity to do so.

*Sponsored post. I was asked by Akesis Life to talk honestly about this topic and the words and views expressed in this post are my own.
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Gratitude and the Balancing Act


family adventures

So I've been a little quieter over on my blog for the past fortnight or so, there have been a few reasons for that, mainly I've been working on some great posts and projects coupled with the kids catching that awful stomach virus going around and also changing my youngest childcare, which in hindsight was not the best idea just before Christmas, my busiest time, as he is really struggling to settle, so much so that it's massively reduced my childcare at present.

Working from home as a freelancer as well as being the main carer to my two active boys it's an easy task and occasionally the routine does go a little haywire and with the additional stress and chaos of Christmas it's been a balancing act to keep all the balls in the air thats for sure (I've dropped a fair few too lately). So I think it times like these when it's been less than smooth sailing, it's really important to practice some gratitude especially when I am aware how lucky I am to be able to travel a lot with the kids.

Here are a few things I've been really grateful for the past two months

1. I've paired up with the fantastic JD Williams in the run up to Christmas, picking out my favourite pieces to make you look and feel good this festive season.

2. I've been making sure to have some individual time with my children, as much as we love being together as a group it's also really special to find an hour or so once a week to have some one to one time.

3. We headed off to Windsor and Lapland UK a few weeks back for a little mini break which was really refreshing and we enjoyed the beautiful Christmas lights as well as visiting the Castle.

4. I've also been making sure to find quiet moments just for myself and to recollect my thoughts especially in the run up to Christmas when my stress levels start to raise more than normal.

 5. The boys and I had a fantastic Glamping break away in Cwmcarn Forest on what happened to be the coldest night of Autumn. We managed to stay nice and toasty so do read my review of our little trip.

6. This past year I have been working with Little Freddie, a small organic food brand who have just released the UK first pouch recycling scheme, read more about it here.

7. We also where lucky enough to spend a weekend in Cheltenham at the end of half term and stayed at the gorgeous Cotswolds Grange Hotel.

8. I have also been getting back into Skateboarding, something I've done since my teens but due to having knee surgery twice and then kids it meant I had a 11yr hiatus so really happy to be back on my board.

9. Have been making sure to have my Keep Cup on hand at all times, not only does it mean one less single use coffee cup but at most coffee shops they also give you a discount for bring your own cup - win!
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Be ready for the outdoors with Simply Hike



I love getting outdoors, having always been active and one for an adventure I also know how important it is to make sure you have the right clothes for the occasion. Making sure your dress appropriately will mean enjoying what your doing that much more, no one likes being cold and wet on a hike or too hot for that matter so when it comes to outdoor pursuits investing in some decent clothing is key, also they tend to last much longer making it a much more economical choice long-term. I do think that outdoor clothing gets a bit of a bad wrap for not being cool, on trend or stylish and that simply isn't true! The people over at Simply Hike have asked me to put together an outdoor wish list of what looks great but will keep you outdoor ready this winter season so if you have some adventures planned to take a look.

One of the most important things if your planning on heading outdoors for a few hours during the colder months is a good jacket and fleece and opting for a decent jacket is an investment that will pay off. Here are 3 jackets and a fleece that I think are perfect for those who want to enjoy the fresh air but not the biting cold

1. Salomon Womens Icetown Jacket - If your looking for the Ultimate winter weather jacket then this down-insulated jacket that offers waterproof protection is great if your heading to the slopes or just hiking in the forest. Not only is it super cosy and comfy it's also pretty stylish too 

2. The North Face Womens Apex Jacket - This jacket offers you full protection from the elements with it's Gore-Tex shell which is both waterproof and breathable and the added bonus of a soft inner knit face that keeps you toasty.  

3. Roxy Womens Hoody - using Roxy Warmflight technology which helps keep body heat in and water out by replying water for a faster drying time. It also has an oversized hoody and cosy hand warmer pockets, perfect for under a winter jacket. 

4. Roxy Womens 3 in 1 Jacket - If your looking for something really versatile then this is it! This parker has an inner and outer jacket which can be worn separately depending on the weather. The outer is lightweight and waterproof while the inner is a warm fleece that will keep you warm in very cold weather.

Of course accessories are also very important and keeping ur extremities warm and dry so having a good set of gloves, scarf, hat and either warm hiking boots or Wellies with decent winter socks is key.
Here are a few accessories I am loving at the moment.

1. Evercreatures Wellies - I love the fun print on these waterproof and crack resistant wellies. They are durable with good outer grip and perfect for having fun outdoors.

2. Dakine Womens Beanie - really nice classic ribbed knit beanie to keep your head warm throughout winter. Fully lined with a soft warm fleece and finished with a cute faux fur pompom.

3. Womens Roxy Premiere Gloves - these are designed to be the best in waterproofing and warmth using Roxy's Hydrosmart Technology and they are also pretty good looking too!

So if your heading off on a city break to somewhere snowcapped or being more adventurous and hitting the slopes or even if your just exploring what is on your doorstep make sure your dress for the weather before heading out.

Associated Post  
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Getting Party ready with JD Williams



street style

Who else is starting to get really excited about the festive season and to many that means parties, events, seeing family and friends and socialising. Even for those who work from home like I do it's a time for meeting up with friends, enjoying good food and a time to step out of those day to day clothes and into something a little bit more special, I mean who doesn't love an excuse to dress up.

Long gone are my twenties however and I do sometimes struggle around this time of the year to find something that is fun, stylish and festive while still being a little bit more sophisticated and me. As I have aged my personal style and changes and developed with me so finding somewhere that captures my needs now is really important. JD Williams recently got in touch to see if I would like to work with them in the run-up to the Party Season and I have been extremely excited about this collaboration as their collections are so well curated and certainly tailor to the more refined woman who still wants to have fun and be on-trend but want clothes that are going to last more than one outing.

androgynous style

To many, the party season is all about dresses and sparkle although this year I have been channelling more of the feminine dinner jackets and a slight nod to the androgynous look but still with some pop of colour and fun. I do often struggle to find trousers that fit my petite frame as I am only 4ft11, it can be a struggle so I was really happy to see that JD Williams have a petit collection. I decided to go for these stylish chic deep red cigarette trousers and paired it up with a black sequin detail shirt which has that touch of glitter and glam that I want when heading out this time of the year but still feels smart and stylish. To finish the look off I am in love with the Boyfriend Tuxedo Blazer which fits like a dream and doesn't make me feel boxy and compliments my glitter lip clutch bag. Overall I am so happy with my outfit as it's exactly the look I am going for this festive season and I will be wearing out on the town this Christmas.

chic street style

I have been really impressed with JD Williams range and there is something for everyone's taste and offers clothes that are both on-trend but have longevity and best of all everything is true to size and fits perfectly. The main thing when it comes to putting an outfit together is finding something that makes you feel good about yourself, makes you feel empowered and this outfit certainly does that for me.

JD Williams also have some fantastic Black Friday deals with 50% hundreds of lines so it's really worth check it out!

lip clutch bag

This is a paid collaboration with JD Williams. 
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Our Stylish Family Stay at Cotswold Grange Hotel, Cheltenham



Beautiful window

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter you may have seen we headed off to the beautiful spa town of Cheltenham for a weekend break away. The last time I had been in Cheltenham was around 7yrs ago when I was shooting a wedding and it was as wonderful as I remembered. We took a slow drive from our home in Cardiff, first stopping off in Chepstow and visiting Chepstow Castle (which I highly recommend) and then driving up through the Wye Valley, along the Severn River to the historical town of Cheltenham on the edges of the Cotswolds.

While I know Cheltenham makes for a fantastic adult break away, with its boutique stores and stylish eateries, we were a little concerned there wouldn't be a lot for the kids to do but we needn't had worried as we had a great time from start to finish and I will be writing a separate post about family-friendly things to do there. For this post however I want to focus on our stay at The Cotswolds Grange Hotel as it was such positive experience and extremely accommodating when it came to travelling with two young children and is somewhere I would genuinely recommend for both single, couples and family getaway breaks.

Cheltenham Hotel

As you drive up towards the building, which has plenty of free parking right outside the front door, you just know it's something special. It's perfectly located in the historic and tree-lined part of Cheltenham between the Town Centre and the Racecourse and only a short walk to Pittville Park which is a must-visit for families. The hotel itself is a large period property which oozes character and charm, especially The Drawing Room Restaurant with subtle wall murals and modern lighting that compliments the traditional features of the building.

There is also a small but stylish bar where we had some pre-drinks before heading into The Drawing Room for supper. There is a bar menu for more casual dining, which can too be taken in the main restaurant, or you can choose from the Alfresco menu with modern British Cuisine with a twist. As I wanted to keep things simple for the kids we opted for the burgers and I never know what to expect with a vegetarian burger but this one was fantastic! One of the best I've had out in a long time and was followed by some Creme Brûlée and Ice-cream for the kids. The atmosphere in the restaurant was welcoming and relaxed, with another family sitting next to us who gave us some tips on the best places to take kids, it's a great spot if you're in Cheltenham regardless if you're staying at the hotel and are looking for a stylish and friendly place to eat.

Stylish bar

Huge bath

We stayed a Junior Suite which was large and spacious and perfect for the four of us with a super-king-sized bed which was bliss, alongside two single beds for the kids and a large sofa to relax on while letting the kids watch some cartoons. The bathroom however was the real highlight for me, soaked in natural light from a huge skylight and topped off with Orla Kiely toiletries this was the perfect place to soak away a long day of exploring.

After a peaceful night sleep we headed down for breakfast, which again was a culinary delight as the kids went for the buttermilk pancakes (of course) and I had the Eggs Florentine along with some freshly ground coffee, fruit and a cheeky pastry, but what makes breakfast really special is soaking in all that morning light from the huge floor to ceiling Georgian style window

Cotswold Grange hotel

Breakfast perfection

We really couldn't fault any part of our stay and any worries we had about whether it was family-friendly were quickly put to ease but the welcoming and attentive staff. Also if like me you appreciate period properties and interiors then this is a real gem with so many small details dotted around the place. The Cotswolds Grange Hotel is small but perfectly formed and gets the thumbs up from all of us. If your thinking of visiting Cheltenham then do make sure to pop by Visit Cheltenham website for loads of inspiration.

We were invited by Visit Cheltenham to spend a weekend exploring the town & hotel. 

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Little Freddie paving the way with Recyclable Food Pouches


Organic food

As you already may know I am working with a fantastic small family driven organic food company called Little Freddie. It's a dream partnership for me as I am passionate about providing my kids with healthy and nutritious food and being really busy and on the go Little Freddies Food pouches are just a great option for me as they are packed with the best ingredient with no preservatives, additives or any hidden nasties at all. I also feel reassured by their passion as a small company who have researched every flavour combination, have visited the growers of the fruit and vegetable included and have poured their hearts and souls into making the best pouches on the market. I have also been lucky enough to have attended a focus group earlier this year, try out some of their products right at the early stages and meet the founders and be able to put a face to a name and I am over the moon that they have been taking on board feedback from their customers, especially with regards to green and more sustainable options and making real changes because of it, which I will go into more detail about now.

Food pouch recycling

When I first started working with Little Freddie one of the first comments I had on my instagram after posting some photos about their organic pouches was from a mother who loved the concept but didn't like the idea of single use plastic. I like many other parents are waking up to the issues our world is facing and are trying to reduce our plastic use at every opportunity so I completely empathised with this concern. However again like many mothers today I work, I juggle school runs, parenting groups, outdoor adventures on top of cooking and life admin and pouches can be a real lifeline to keep those hangry moments at bay but still the idea of single use plastic is something that doesn't sit easy with many today including myself. So saying that I am extremely excited to announce that Little Freddie are rolling out the first innovative pouch recycling scheme where nothing and I mean NOTHING ends up in landfill as part of their Big Green Plan! A UK Game changer I know!!

organic food pouch

So to sum it up in a nutshell, when you order online a box of Little Freddies organic pouches you automatically get sent a recycling bag with pre-paid postage. Once you finish all of your pouches you simply put the lid in your normal recycling, pop the pouches into the recycling bag and send them for free in the post then each component of the pouch is recycled so the aluminium is reused into materials such as pouches and the plastic is recycled into oil. So easy so doable and just the kind of modern forward thinking we need to see in the baby market today

It just goes to show that smaller companies really can put plans in place to make a difference, be more sustainable and listen to the needs of their customers which is what Little Freddie are doing and because of this are now the first baby food brand to offer a sustainable and zero waste recycling scheme and a brand I am proud to be associated with.

You can also find more way on how this company is working towards being as sustainable as possible over on their website.

Recycling food pouches

Little Freddie recycling

I work as an Little Freddie Ambassador 
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5 Meaningful Gifts for Mothers this Christmas


mothers Christmas

Gender roles aside, Mother's or those who assume a mothering role,  are often the glue that is holding things together plays while we are often balancing work life, home life, family admin, school runs and everything in between. Personally, I know there are many times when we prioritise everything else before ourselves as long as our family is happy and healthy and it's true what they say I know appreciate my own mother a hundred times over seeing how many balls she had juggling in the air at all times. I think that it's really important for every role in the household to be celebrated although acknowledging everything a mother does really goes a long way, especially when parenting comes with so many highs and lows, even if it's just treating her to a cup of coffee & baked treat. Here are a few meaningful ways to show the woman in your life that you car.

1. Never underestimate the power of a homemade Card

It may be a little cliche and perhaps I'm just a sucker for anything my kids make but my mother still has all the homemade Birthday and Christmas cards I made her and they are just really lovely and meaningful keepsakes. Cards as simple as they may be are also the perfect way for both adults and children to express how they feel, plus is a great little activity for a rainy day. 


2. Share captured memories in Printed Photos

We live in such a digital world these days that we hardly ever get physical printed photos anymore yes they are some of the best ways to relieve memories, milestones and holidays away. Photobooks take a little bit of time and effort to put together which is why I would love my kids to do it for me! Even if you don't fancy making a big photo book then a few of your favourite family shots framed it equally special or you can even get photo boxes which keeps loose photos safe. 

3. Style that gives back

This Giovanna Fletcher collaboration with Selfish Mother is fair wear certified and made from 100% organic cotton and best of all is 50% of the retail price is donated to MOTHERS2MOTHERS a charity that empowers mothers to help break the cycle of paediatric aids. This is such a cool way to celebrate motherhood in a fun and stylish way but also give back, feel good vibes all round.

mama tee

4. Get baking

I love to bake with the kids but what makes it even sweeter is someone else baking for me (and tidying up the mess in the process)! Again another great rainy day activity and also a very budget friendly one. Nothing tastes better than a homemade cake!

5. Let her choose

As a parent, my free time is precious to me and I am a big believer in self-care so having the opportunity to treat myself in my own time with or without my partner is perfect, which is why I love the idea of vouchers such as One4All which is great for retail therapy or a nice meal out at a variety of restaurants. Another option is Virgin Experience Days, in fact a few years back just after having my youngest, I headed to a Babylon rooftop restaurant in Kensington for a delicious day out and was the perfect post-having a baby treat. 

virgin experience day

I always find the most special presents are the ones of sentimental value and that create lasting memories, it doesn't really matter about cost as many of these are free or budget-friendly, it's all about celebrating the ones you love and making them feel special and acknowledged.

This is NOT a sponsored post
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7 essential Family Travel hacks to reduce stress


kids on boats

Before I had kids I did a lot of solo travel, working in a variety of hotels, bars and backpackers across Europe, I could come and go as I pleased and when I felt like a change of scenery or simply wanted to move onto another city I could. I did learn a lot about making budgets stretch, staying safe while travelling, packing minimally as well as picking up a few hacks on saving money and making travel less stressful, these hacks I apply to our family adventures, even though they are vastly different experiences. While we all have the dream of picking a destination on a whim it is a little tricker (although not impossible) with kids bit if you don't do some preparation and research beforehand it could end up being costly.

1. Research your destination

Yes this is an obvious one but you would be surprised how many people don't do the basic research of what there is to see and do as a family. Now we don't particularly go to "family" focused destinations as even the most bustling of cities or rural retreats will offer something for all ages but knowing what those things are can be very useful especially if your short on time. Besides that having a clear idea of things like how long your transfer from the airport or train station will be, time differences, local climate, facilities at your hotel, local emergency numbers are all very useful.

2. Pack Practically & ahead of time

When you have young kids with you the last thing you want on top of that is lugging around really heavy bags so don't be tempted to take things your not going to use and be ruthless with what you do decided to pack. Make a clear plan of what you need and style your outfits before you leave, also allow for one pair of extra clothes for your kids incase of accidents. I always find that packing the bag, then going back through my items and seeing if there is anything I can leave behind and then re-packing means not only do I check I have everything but also allows me to eliminate non-essential items. Top tip - using vacuum storage travel bags will also save you so much suitcase space.


3. Be on top of Vaccinations and Official Documents

It's not only Exotic destinations you need vaccinations for but also parts of Europe such as Central and Eastern countries so do your research and give yourself enough time to sort this out as vaccinations often need to be given a few weeks in advance. Another key preparation you need to do is make sure your travel documents are all up to date, nothing is worst than having to cancel or postpone a trip because of an out of date passport.

4. Make copies and pack Birth Certificates

It's always worth having copies of your passport and insurance details just in case, you never know when you might need them. I once had my passport stolen while in South Africa, a week before having to return to the UK and having a copy on hand made it easier to obtain a temporary passport. Another big tip is carrying your child's birth certificate especially if you and your children have different surnames, which mine do and I was caught unawares before boarding a ferry in Holland as I didn't have proof my son was mine! Don't get caught out like I did, luckily it was resolved but still a stressful situation that could easily be avoided.

5. Sign up for a Free EHIC Health insurance card

While you should always take out travel insurance with every trip, I do highly recommend signing up for a EHIC card which is a free health insurance card for European citizens and allows you to have access to the same free or low-cost health care as local residents. While this card isn't a substitute for travel insurance is a good backup to have and costs you nothing. A few years ago I was working in Amsterdam for a couple of months I needed to see the doctor twice and because of this card I had free access to that so I know how handy it can be first hand.

6. Carry water bottles to refill after check-in & plenty of snacks

If you have read any of my other family travel posts you will know I often mention making sure kids are well fed and hydrated is key to low-stress travel and there is a reason for that - hangry! Kids can become very emotional, irritable and less flexible when hungry and it can cause so much extra stress you just dont need. Do check what food you are allowed to carry with you to another country and always have water bottles on hand which you can fill in after you have gone through security, thus avoiding expensive single use water bottles.

7. Pack some home comforts

Some children can experience moments of anxiety and home sickness on both short and long holidays so having one or two home comforts with you is a really good idea. This can help to reassure them and help settle them into their new environment, it could be something obvious like their favourite stuffed toy or something more obscure like their favourite mug or spoon, whatever you think will help.

Staying on top of the practical things in advance frees you up for more fun on your actually holidays. As much as we want to jump into a car and drive into the sunset some things do need to be sorted out and planned before heading off and these 7 essential hacks will help make sure you have got everything you need.

travel stress

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