Tuesday, 28 February 2017

*Trend Alert* G I N G H A M #Stealmystyle

If there is one print that seems to be popping up everywhere it is none other than the classic black gingham. We are all quite accustomed to this print in particular I am sure with many of us being dressed in it as children. Now it is a fabric that reminds me of summer time probably because I was often in a dress made of it and it almost is strange wearing it as an adult because it just feels so childish. That said it is literally everywhere and is being produced in some beautiful ways as tops, skirts and dresses. 
I picked up this cold shoulder blouse in H&M and it's a perfect little transitional blouse for the spring time. Worn with my pink suede jacket it perfectly complements the check.

There are so many items on the high street at the moment, these are a few of my favourite which I am sure will eventually make their way to my wardrobe.

Have you seen anything you like in this print?


Badges On Coats #Stealmysyle

When it comes to coats for Raphael I am becoming really picky. Practicality is obviously a very important thing, but he is a cool kid and I like everything to represent that! He has a brilliant traditional Gloverall duffle coat which is his school coat through the winter and is beautiful, warm and stylish. Then he has a Lighthouse Clothing mac that he has started wearing at school as it is light and rainproof, but for weekends and time at home I like him to have something different so that for him it is not 'Uniform', it is away from association with school.
Recently I got him a new gilet in a bright red colour from Next which is a perfect pull on if we are just popping out. Having it bright red also goes with a lot of his denim and blue based wardrobe so it is a real pop of colour for him. I recently got him a new coat for spring/summer adventures though that I just wanted to share as it is genuinely really cool.

Embroidered fashion is a huge trend this year with girls fashion having everything covered in embroidered flowers and patterns, but this Khaki Badge Jacket from Next is a perfect example of the trend for boys. Late last year a got Raph a tee with badge motifs on it and he loved the random little images. So when I saw this water-resistant, fleece-lined jacket come out, I thought it would be perfect for him. The darker colour will lend itself to not looking stained and he is almost proud of each badge like they were a swimming badge collected on the sleeves. The Khaki green colour is great for going with denim and cool kicks so for this boy, it will mix in perfectly with his casual style.

For him, pulling it on with a tee and jeans means he feels cool and I look at him thinking, wow that boy IS cool! This jacket is part of the younger section and the last size is 5-6 which is what Raph is exactly. This will easily fit him for the rest of the year which is ideal.

Here are a few pictures to show you details. 


Have you found any good coats for the new season?

Emily xx

Has Spring Sprung?

The answer is probably not in most places but I simply couldn't resist asking, as for me it isn't too far away. I saw my first blossom on a tree this last weekend in Chester Zoo of all places, but I couldn't resist taking a photo to share. Isn't pink blossom the most perfect thing? And on careful inspection of the picture after taking it I realised that there was a birds' nest in the background making this image even more fitting for spring, truly showing the possibility of new life and a new season.
I think when the blossoms and the Daffodil sprouts start to come out you know the warm breeze will be flowing through and that, in itself, can change our moods so dramatically. I am really struggling at the moment to step out of that darkness that winter leaves clinging on, but I know as each new sign I see for a brighter, lighter time of the year, I know I will soon feel more like my old self and full of the joys of spring.

Emily xx

Play with LEGO and new storage with GLTC!

When I look at our boxes of toys I find it really easy to see what is the most popular. As much as I pull out the boxes of barbies or cars, both our children have a huge love for Lego. Both love it for different reasons too and I find it really interesting. 
Raphael is a designer. Rob and I will build models to exact spec. from instructions, but within minutes Raph is improving them to suit his needs. Most of the time he is adding bits to make it better for his games, but you can guarantee whatever Rob or I make, it is never quite right. He is also a big destroyer. His sets don't stay as sets for long as he thinks of new ways to use the parts. He sees play with Lego very differently to his sister. Etta loves kits. She loves them to be how they are, like the pictures and wills them not to ever break. She loves the little princess castles and will play with the characters in the castles for hours much like you would with a dolls house. Everything is a specific game with the characters living in their perfectly built houses and that is how she plays. Both love building random things but Etta is quicker to recognise that parts go with specific sets. 
Buying Lego can be quite interesting though. As Etta's stay together, Raph is really happy to play with them as a unit and never tries to change them as they are hers and I think that he likes that. He will use the Frozen Palace, but of course in his head, that's not what it is. He doesn't change them though which I think is really respectful. Etta however doesn't get that same luxury as I think she just looks at Raphs creations and doesn't know what to do with them!

LEGO really brings our kids hours of enjoyment but the amount we have accumulated is quite gross now. We originally had one shallow box, but as Etta keeps her pieces intact we were ending up storing things separately which I hated as I always just want everything put away and clear due to the size of the house. But good old Great Little Trading Company has once again solved my home storage needs.

You might remember that last year we reviewed their Abberville Storage Bench and had some wonderful wicker baskets, but when I decided that this would be the new area for storing ALL the Lego we own, we were struggling as little bits would fall through or get stuck within the weave. Also as they were quite chunky we lost a lot of room which was desperately needed! 
However with the arrival of their new Rope Storage Baskets I realised that they would be a much better storage option. 
The thing is with toy storage is that you need it to suit you. We want the kids to be able to access Lego easily as it is what they love and I want it stored away nicely in things that suit the rest of the environment. This is a perfect option for us!

Not only has the Abberville Storage Bench been a great addition to our home, it has lasted well and is a great piece for storage (It is also on sale at the moment (28/2/17) so if you are thinking this would suit your home it might be worth looking at now!) 
The rope baskets add a new brightness to it as well and it fits all the Lego, even Etta's built castles, so for me this makes me win at life! The handles also are a little blessing as the children retrieve their baskets with ease meaning that playing is becoming an even more independent task for them. 
Once again GLTC has produced new products which take more into consideration than we would have thought. These baskets hide the contents from view while storing a multitude of different sized objects and I love that everything once again is hidden away nicely all in one place.

Check out our images and enjoy how these look in our home.

Emily x

*Post in collaboration with our role on the GLTC Testing Team.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Developing a love for the theatre FT. LPAC

I think as children grow up you become more aware of experiences you want them to have and their abilities to enjoy something more than they had done when they were younger. Raphael has been great a watching things from a young age. He has seen quite a few local performances and thoroughly enjoyed them, but at 5.5 he is a prime age for understanding entertainment. Giulietta on the other hand has struggled. Before this recent experience she had only been to one local panto and hadn't really found any interest in it. It was because she was young and well, simply wanted to explore rather than be part of the rapport older children develop with becoming part of what they are watching. Recently though we took the kids to the cinema and it was the first time Etta thoroughly was hooked, watching the whole film in her seat rather than the usual amount of movement. 

Since then, as a family we were invited to the Lincoln Performing Arts Centre {LPAC} which would have been her first proper theatre experience where she could fully be involved. We knew Raphael would love it and had every confidence that he would be ready to take part in any way he could. We went along to see Treasure Island which had performers in from familiar CBeebies shows, so it was a performance really aimed at younger children. Though if I am being honest, we do not watch CBeebies. I really dislike it and as it is actually adults who majoritively listen to the background noise of children's TV, we made a decision early on that it wasn't going to be the wonderfully energetic sounds coming from CBeebies that was going to be on. That said, I was fully confident that any company wanting to put on a performance using such familiar characters from TV shouldn't rely on the audience knowing who they are. Their show should stand alone from that due to its quality and I must say THIS SHOW DID! Regardless of our lack of association with the familiar faces, our kids felt that they were stars in their own right and that was clear at the end when they did a meet and great and both our kids were in awe of meeting these 'real' Pirates rather than them being famous from TV. But that is what I want. I want that magic of theatre to fill our children with amazement so that these actors are seen as stars in their own right because of the experience that they have had. 
The Treasure Island performance was brilliant also for Rob and I. A little ad-lib adds a huge amount of laughter to a play and due to an understudy taking the part of one of the main characters there were exceedingly funny moments of improvisation that really amused us. And I think that is important, for parents to be as amused as kids at theatre shows like this. The show was great and funny from start to finish. As there were only three actors, they played their parts and others so well with such well timed interventions of the characters resulting in a great retelling of a classic story.
 I know this is a touring company travelling around so it might be worth checking their F A C E B O O K page to see if any of their later performances are near by.

I don't think our experience of the show would have been so good had it not been the theatre we were at also being brilliant. It was Rob and my first time at the LPAC which is a theatre situated right by the University in the heart of the city. It is a great space which not only houses touring theatre companies but also open mic nights, music evenings, University and local drama and dance school performances as well. It also has a brilliant coffee shop which also is a bar, so socialising there is a big thing. In fact some fiends were telling us about their Friday night Jazz sessions and how entertaining they are. 
I was also super impressed by the main auditorium and by the seats of all things. They were fold down benches for 2 and were so roomy and perfect for parents and children as you could get really snuggled on them. Its always the little details that impress me!! But I just thought it was brilliant.

With our new found fondness of the LPAC now discovered I couldn't wait to book in a few performances of things coming up to help get the children into viewing more live theatre. I feel that they will benefit from it and we are quickly discovering that Etta is possibly going to be called to more dramatic hobbies due to her over acting behaviour that we seem to be experiencing! That said, taking kids to live performances is a great way to encourage them in developing their own style of performing and understanding other people's performances are great for this, so for us, our visits to the LPAC are really going to grow!

Some shows coming soon that we are really excited about are 

These shows in particular really appeal to us as a family and are aimed at young children and families so tick all the boxes for what I am looking for. 

Additionally, LPAC have story tellers session for little ones on a Friday morning in the Zing Cafe as part of the Lil' Pacs events which I hear are great, but we haven't got to one yet!

All in all, I wanted to share our experience with you because it was a fantastic new one for us. If you are local, this place is sure worth checking out!


*Thankyou to LPAC for allowing us to come and also for the use of their Photos regarding the building and cafe. 

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Little Girls In Little Frills #Stealmystyle

It's nearly spring and all any of us can think about is delayering a bit and wearing clothes that make us feel like we are not dressed in duvets. It appears that it is the same for the kids. Over the last year I have been really careful about what I buy the kids clothes-wise and I have actually picked trends for them specifically to follow so I buy similar styles that can completely interchange with each other rather than random things that I just like. For both kids it is heavily denim based, jeans, shirts and dresses, with Raph wearing more black denim and camo prints and Etta having a lot in blues teaming them with whites and pinks.

Today I wanted to talk about Etta's new style and how I am building her a bit of a casual wardrobe using 3 colours; White, Blue and Pink. I love nothing more than simple white dresses and blouses, blue striped tops and jeans, denim dress and pinky jumpers. These 3 colours all complement each other perfectly and I find they look great all year round.

 I think Denim is a fantastic fabric and one that is great to invest in. From jeans to tops I am finding that filling Etta's wardrobe with staple denim items really helps styles bounce from one season to the next. White blouses are also a great investment as they go with everything, and are perfect for summer cover ups. I find if they are just plain white too you can get most stains off as you can give them a good hot wash! Any kind of blue stripes are always welcome in our home, but this year I am loving all the blue frill blouses in cottons or chambray fabrics, soft and light for when it gets warm and great for teaming with long jeans, shorts or dungaree dresses!

Key summer trends this year and frills as well so I just wanted to share with you some new items from Next that I have picked up recently. As always, I am so impressed with Next's new season pieces that our kids have only really had clothes from there. Their spring/summer range is great and they have so much blue and white stuff, I fear Etta will be better dressed than me this season! 

What do you like to dress your kids in? Any particular colours?

Emily xx

Monday, 20 February 2017

My Realisation On Turning 30 This Year.

We all say it easily, but when it actually comes to thinking about it we would often quite simply forget to really think about it. It wasn't until last week when I was writing an Instagram post that it quite suddenly hit me. Seeing myself type out the words "It's my 30th birthday this year" actually filled me with horror. It hit me there and then that this is the year. I can't say I am upset or in anyway having a crisis about it. I am in a wonderful position where I am settled, married, have kids and have our own home. I appreciate that not all 30 year olds are in the same position which can cause some to panic about certain age milestones but for me it was more a realisation that I am moving away even more from my early 20s (Which I truly loved) to this unknown age where it is perceived you are an actual real life grown up! I think if you are in your 20s you are young and that is just the stereotype of that age and therefore things done in your 20s are kind of written off to just being a kid. But from 30, well, am I now a fully fledged grown up?
We all have our own ways of  dealing with getting older but landmark birthdays are a real thing to celebrate. My core friendship group all turn 30 this year which is really nice and fortunately I am the last one, making me the youngest of the group, which I do like to remind them! It is nice also having Rob a few years older than me so in our relationship I am always the youngest. Most people also can't believe I am married, let alone have kids, so as I look young and so as long as those compliments keep coming in then turning 30 ain't gonna be no bad thing!
A few years ago whilst sat watching Scandimania with Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall, I was totally inspired to plan a trip to Copenhagan for my 30th birthday. From watching his presentation on food and lifestyle I quite simply fell in love with it and announced to Rob that that was where I wanted to go instead of having a big party. To this day (we watched that in 2014) I have not differed from that plan at all. And I didn't want to go sooner, I am not one for necessarily rushing things so this was a plan that would come to fruition in my 30th year. 

One of the most important aspects of the trip was to dine in world number one restaurant NOMA. The TV show really sold this to me and the fact that it was the best restaurant in the entire world really sealed the fact that I wanted to go. However, Rob has each month been prepping himself for the booking of such an experience (you can only book on certain dates for certain times) only to find that in this last week they have announced that they are closing that restaurant as they go on tour to Mexico! Absolutely gutted (even though it will save us a few hundred pounds) to say the least but Copenhagen is renowned for its Michelin starred eateries so I am sure we will find some equally fantastic dining experiences to partake in. I don't need just fine dining though for this, it is all about the beautiful sights and the real heart of Scandinavian culture which I love. 
Recently my mum brought me one of the extremely stylish C E R E A L City Guides on Copenhagan and it is the most minimally beautiful book I own. C E R E A L obviously practise the art of ultra modern style and this city guide fully represents their style in a handy travel guide. Anyway, the book is beautiful and is full of all the 'cool' places to go and explore which is perfect as any kind of guide to this city is a help for me. There are places to go and things I want to see like The Little Mermaid StatueNyhavn QuayThe Botanical Gardens and Grundtvig's Church just to name a few.

For me, even if we just end up walking the streets that will be enough. I just love the idea of the city and am really looking forward to celebrating my birthday with such a trip. 
I would love any tips if you have some to share from your experiences to Copenhagan. Where to stay, good food, views, anything to make the trip really one to remember!
Let me know any thoughts anyway!

Emily xx

My Top 10 Travel Essentials; Part Of The #markwarnermum Movement

I must say, I am not one of these people who sits down and plans a holiday. To be honest, I would happily say that Rob and I are not eager to sit down in January like some and plan a trip in the sun, simple because we have never holidayed in that way. Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of a holiday in the sun, but in the last 5 years of having children we just have only done easy holidays abroad, and by easy I mean driving to France. For us, holidays in this country have sufficed and they have not needed too much forward planning. However, even though we wouldn't spend too much time planning the actual trip, I spend a huge amount of time planning the packing! Yep, that is my job whenever we go away, I am the packer and I leave Rob to do just his things and pretty much that is all. It isn't something I find stressful either, in fact I feel I thrive in getting organised and plenty of tick lists come out for me to sign off as things head for the bags.
It is during this time that I also usually start planning what we will be doing on the trip and I have learned how to pack more appropriate things as I used to be a 'pack everything for every eventuality' kinda girl.
I think as we obviously have to carry all the bags, I have learned to skim down and really think about what we need. Recently Mark Warner released their 2017 Ambassador Programme encouraging us to share our top 10 holiday essentials. I must say, it didn't take me long to start a list including some items which I know will be on lots of people's lists but it did make me think about what is important and genuinely what indeed an essential would be. 
The term essential means an 'absolute necessary' and when thinking about holidaying there are some items that must simply not be missed off the list. After speaking to Rob and the kidos about what they would take on holiday, we were able to come up with quite a concise list! 

The credentials for taking part in application for the programme is to come up with a mood board of essentials which I have been able to do. Here are our first 9 items, scroll down to the bottom to find out what all important number 10 is!

Writing this I am pretty sure that a few of you will all be nodding heads in agreement. There are just certain items that need to be packed, so let's break it down; Why are these important to us?

I think actually for every kind of holiday these can easily be an essential. Even the snowiest mountain peaks get brilliant sun, proving that whether you are at sea level or nearly touching the sky, a pair of sunglasses are going to be a common item you would reach for. I think there is nothing more frustrating than trying to walk or relax with the sun dazzling your eyes. I hate that blinding light which just makes your eyes go fuzzy, so our first essential is quite a protective piece.

 S N A C K S
I would encourage taking food everywhere on any occasion. Children who have food are happy children. There is nothing worse than a 'hangry' kid (or grown adult actually) so carrying plenty of snacks is vital. Whether you are driving, travelling on a plane or only heading out for a few hours, having a bag of treats will ease all levels of grumpiness. It is even a great distraction for boredom so if you know you have to sit around for a while a little floor picnic can be a perfect game change and make everyone a little less stressed out!

 B A B Y W I P E S 
I decided that this wasn't a ranking kind of suggestive list as I simply couldn't number order the items (apart from the last one, definitely most important) but I think baby wipes are up there as one of the biggest essentials for travels with kids. I mean what do they not clean up? There uses know no bounds and due to their size they are the easiest thing to sling in a bag and have with you everywhere. Let's just face it, wet tissue is no good for anything, but a pack of baby wipes will help you conquer the world!

I am only nailing down the 'modern' thing due to Rob refusing to own anything but a brick. He has no time for I-pieces and I can't blame him. I find I can't do anything without my phone and even travel comes easy as you literally have everything in the palm of your hand. The thing is; travel documents, map, booking information, it can all just be on one piece and access to maps, travel updates and general help of any kind is so accessible. I think it definitely helps calm worries. A phone that works overseas is a must and indeed an essential. 

For Rob this was actually his first choice of essentials. For him, over packing on socks and pants is a must. Cleanliness is key and to be quite honest, I agree with him. With kids especially, extra pants and socks are so important as they are usually the things that get dirtiest. They do in our house at the moment anyway so if there was ever something to pack, these would be it. Also how horrible is not being able to clean your teeth. I think I have only forgotten my toothbrush on one holiday, that was quickly replaced, but I absolutely hate the thought of not cleaning teeth and even more hate the idea of sharing!! 

Most children have one. That special toy that just cannot be left behind. We have found that as long as we have a certain comforter, children are happy at bedtime and settle much better. We all know what our children love and for Etta these blanket tags have always been her thing. She usually strokes her face with the silky tag so when she is hurt or distressed it is a good thing to have to hand ready to comfort her.
We actually own three of these blankets which means we can have a good rotation and also allow for backups if one is lost.

This is another item that will appear on a lot of people's lists. I simple must have a camera to capture all those perfect moments. There would be no way in fact that we could travel without one and I would probably be one of those people that if I forgot one, I would be buying one! I know phone cameras are good but for me I love the quality given from a proper DSLR camera and for us my one has captured so many memories so far, it would have to come on more adventures yet!

T O Y S { L E G O }
I don't think we ever leave the house without some of this in our pockets. Both of ours happily play with Lego and we are learning that taking a handful is great for entertainment. It also is great for light packing as it is so small and you can fit it everywhere (also not a good thing) but really small toys make our essentials list as kids can entertain themselves really well when they have items of interest.

If your feet hurt you can't do anything. It is debilitating isn't it. We all know how a blister makes us feel and how you end up hopping about trying to overcome the pain, but in reality, prevention is better than the cure. Whether you are on a beach, climbing mountains or skiing down them, if you are not dressed right then nothing is right. Comfort is the key and through many efforts of sometimes putting style over practicality I have learned that you need to look after your feet as they take you everywhere you want to go!

So our mood board of nine is explained. These are what I class as holiday essentials and these are what I would be packing for us all to have a happy holiday. But there is one thing that all should have on an essentials list. One thing that we easily overlook, but is indeed the most important of all because regardless of where we are holidaying in this beautiful world, if you have no other eyes to share it with what is the point? I really feel that sharing a holiday with others is vital to truly embracing the beauty that is around us. Experience that you can talk about with one another opens up journeys not just taken on foot, but deep within ones soul.
For me, there is no point in travelling if I don't have someone to share it with. That is my most important holiday essential!


I hope you have been able to find some help in this. We all have a very personal way at looking at holidaying but it is great to have the opportunity to share my thoughts on making travelling a little bit easier!

If you fancy pinning some of these essentials and also sharing with me yours why not visit my PINTEREST PAGE and hook up with my Travel Essentials board. 


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