31.8.16

TSB & Dulux 'Amazing Space' Win two thousand pounds to spend on yours!

A couple of weeks ago the team at TSB got in touch to share with me their latest collaboration with Dulux and have commissioned me to mention this exciting new offer with you guys. As part of a current promotion anyone taking out a home improvement loan with TSB will also be able to use the Dulux 'Amazing Spaces' feature (worth £75) to have a one on one consultation about what to do with their space to make it perfect for them.

Don't forget to head to the bottom of this post to find out how to win two thousand pounds to spend in your home! You can also see some more photos of our home transformation over here. 


As many of you know we've been working on our home in bits and pieces since we bought it as a project about six years ago now. At the time we both had hardly any money and so our budget was tight and things took a long time to happen. A lot of the work was big jobs such a building walls or knocking them down and putting in french doors to our garden. Our garden actually has only really come about this year when we were finally able to afford to put fake grass down and tidy it up a bit to make it a manageable space for our family.


All our home improvements feel really personal as they are things we've really put our stamp on and to see our family home grow in this way has been so rewarding. Thats not to say it hasn't actually been pretty frustrating at times too as we waited to save the funds to complete them. Some of the projects were quite big and did need the money behind them before we could really start the work but some of our projects I wish we'd done quicker so we could have enjoyed our space sooner. Our living/dinning room is prime example of that really as adding french doors made such a huge difference that it's one of those things I wish we'd taken out a small home loan for to make use of it sooner and pay it back over that time period instead.

I don't think I've ever shared these pictures on the blog before but this is what our house looked like when we bought it (yikes!).


As you can see the living room was pretty laid out pretty oddly, there were actually two different levels to the rooms and then a small window at the back and a odd sort of arch where they had made them into one big room. We initially re-concreted the floor to make it the same level and then put floor boards down instead of laminate. We also took away the fake fireplaces and re-painted but thats where we ran out of budget. About five years later we did the renovations below which included adding french doors and closing off the rooms with partition doors and adding a stud wall. The french door part cost around two thousand pounds as did the wall and doors between the two. I really wish we'd done the french doors straight away and paid it back over time. This is what it looks like now, I think the doors make such a difference.


As you can see we've really put our own stamp on the space and it really feels like 'us'.


And this is what we've done with the garden space


The garden wall is *almost* finished painting at the top there ha!


A couple of months ago we decided to strip out the carpet I hated on the stairs and hallway and also knock down a inbuilt wardrobe that sat on the top of the landing. By knocking it down it made the space so much lighter and has given us some room to play around with. I wasn't 100% sure what would work best there and what colour schemes we should go for either. We're about to get it plastered and then will play around with paint and colours which is where the Dulux Amazing Spaces service comes in. Funny enough the cost to transform this space will come in just under two thousand pounds which I think it just the sort of budget that you often don't have to hand but is sometimes easier to borrow and pay back over the year.


This is what it currently what it looks like (it's about to be plastered so use your imagination when it comes to the brick wall!).



After I'd sent my pictures to the team at Dulux and told them a little about my space, the colours I like and the example pictures they showed me that I felt drawn to the team there were able to go away and take a look and come up with a plan for me. My consultation took place over video call two days later and I loved the ideas and colour schemes they pulled together for me.


I felt like they'd really understood my personality and had done the research really well to come up with some things I felt were my style but also some things I would never had thought of but immediately loved. Take a look at the plan and products they drew up for me, it's making me so excited to get this space finished!

Here comes the part I've been dying to share with you guys! When I started chatting to the team at TSB & Dulux about this collaboration and they told me I'd be able to host an amazing giveaway with my readers I was so excited. It really is a brilliant prize and one thats extremely easy to enter. TSB and Dulux are going to be giving away an Dulux Amazing Space Service and £2,000 worth of furniture and accessories (as chosen for the winner by the Dulux Designer) to sure that they can have an amazing space of their own.

To enter all you need to do it check out the TSB collaboration with Dulux here then come back and let me know in the comments what you'd spend your two thousand pounds on in your home. Full terms and conditions can be found here*.

Additional entries can be made after the above is completed by retweeting my tweet and also by tweeting using the hashtag #HomeImprovementHeroes. You can also gain additional entries by following on Instagram and Twitter and visiting the FB pages of both companies. The rafflecopter widget will record your visits and tweets and count them as additional entries but the only mandatory entry is the one commenting below this post on what you would do with two thousand pounds. Of course feel free to enter as many additional entries as you like to increase your chances of wining once you've completed the mandatory entry!

Winners will be pick at random using the Rafflecopter widget from all valid entries made before 23rd September.

I'll also be co-hosting a twitter party with @TSB @DuluxAmazing and @tots100 on Tuesday the 20th of September at 8pm so do pop over and say hello during that if you like too, it might give you some DIY inspiration.Representative APR 3.2% for loans between  £7,500 and £25,000. TSB Dulux offer ends 18 October 2016. Conditions apply.UK resident and 18+. Lending subject to status and the actual terms will depend on an assessment of your personal circumstances


a Rafflecopter giveaway


In association with TSB and Dulux


Me and Mine - August


August 'Me and Mine' the biggy, the one before school starts and all the change that brings. I'm emotional, part of me wants to change my mind and say 'nope sorry, I'm not ready to give up my little boy to school 5 days a week, we have important work building dens, pretending to be cats and going to the cafe for cake'. The other part of me knows, he is ready, he is exciting, it's going to be a massive adventure for him, he'll thrive. It's the start of me giving him up, he's not mine, he is his own person and I'm just slowly getting used to him growing up and supporting him in all he is until he's big and grown and leaves me (oh my god!).

Anyway, it dawned on me we had two weeks left and the panic set it. I started thinking 'I need to make these the BEST two weeks he's ever had!'. Then I calmed down and remembered that actually he'd be just as happy with an afternoon in the park then any fancy trip out. My dad came to stay (one of his favourite people ever in the whole world) and then we went to visit Tom's mum (another of Wilf's favourite people ever..actually I think my dad and Tom's mum are like his dream duo, we are totally forgotten about when either is about).

So anyway, we took a trip down to Dorset for a few days (post to come) and one of those days we decided to head to to Burton Bradstock beach. It was one of the days where I was like 'ah I won't put any make up on' and I just flung on some bits and bobs I'd brought with me. Then realised as I left the house that I looked very spotty! Haha!

So decked out in full polka dots head to toe, with Wilf clinging to me as if I've never picked him up before and I'm about to drop him and Mabli looking nowhere near the camera these are our pictures this month, and I think they are some of our favourites!



I know school is the next step in our adventures. It will mean play dates, new friends, learning to read and write and all the in-between. Independence from me, time alone with Mabli, a new structure to our days. I'm going to embrace it as much as I can even though I will be crying my eyes out on the walk home that first day. Next months Me and Mine will be full of tales how our first month went!

I know that for lots of you guys your kiddos are starting this year too so leave and comment to say hi if they are! 

Don't forgot to visit the other Me and Mine hosts Lucy, Katie, JennyAlex and Lucy. I can't wait to see all your posts!



29.8.16

The Freya Skirt - What Mama Wore

boden freya skirt

I often wonder if people think of bloggers as being nerdy antisocial people who sit behind their computers all day long and don't interact in the 'real world'. For me I'd say that stereotype is partly accurate in the fact that I am pretty nerdy, I love working out how to do things for my blog, be it editing video, learning code, creating graphics or all the other bits and bobs that come with running a blog. I have to say though blogging has forced me to become more confident and actually meet up with people and be social. Something 22 year old me would have been way to scared to do (I started blogging at 23).

Part of becoming more social has meant over the past six or years I've built up some amazing friendships with some super talented people. A lot of those people are women and mothers too. Although I met Nell about 4 years ago through blogging we were so busy in the midst of new motherhood that it took us another few years to reignite that friendship. However since she contacted me earlier this year to see if we'd like a family shoot we'd been chatting more and more and when I asked if she'd like to team up to do some fashion shoots I was so thrilled when she was up for it.

Nell is an amazing photographer and I can't wait to share a very special shoot we did together on a new fashion label that I know you are all going to love! These photos were taken as my third outfit look, I actually got changed in all alleyway just off from this door which really reminded me of being in university and modelling for photography students ha!

boden freya skirt

Top / Skirt / Shoes

boden freya skirt
boden freya skirt

I'm totally in love with these shoes and have worn them with pretty much everything since they are the perfect pop of colour for just about every outfit, skinny jeans, dresses, pencil skirts the list goes on.

I wasn't sure how well I'd squeeze into this pencil skirt but I alway find Boden fairy generous with their sizes. I was pretty chuffed to get into a ten though! I've never worn a shirt in this style before but it felt so fun and the perfect mix of modern and retro seventies vibe.

I feel like this would be such a colourful office outfit or just an everyday outfit too, for all you breastfeeding mamas it's also breastfeeding friendly by just lifting up the shirt as it's not at all tight at the top.

I hope you like this little collaboration! Don't forget to check out Nell's site and all the different sessions she does too.

#affiliatelinks

28.8.16

What you should be buying at..

OK that's a bit of a click bait title..I'm not going to tell anyone they SHOULD be buying anything but if you are looking for some inspiration I thought I'd put together a few selections from my favourite shops of some of my top picks!

First of all La Redoute, I've loved this brand since I was a child and my mum got the catalogue and if anything I've fallen in love with them all over again during the past year. I love their clothes but actually I think I love their homeware even more.

First up THE rug, this is the rug of the season. It's the bloggers rug, I've seen this rug so many times in Instagram and yep I even bought it myself. It's everything I wanted it to be and more, I love this rug. Did I mention it's a good rug? I picked up the middle size, it's so soft and I feel like it goes with my interiors even though most other things in our home are very bright.


Other La Redoute rugs I have my eye on (if only I had more rooms in the house) are this one, the perfect pastel colours as well as this one (so cute!). You can get 30% off this bank holiday with code BANKHOLL too. Typically I did a big spending spree there before the code went live! I bought this jumpsuit which is now only £22 and this top.


Also loving - this bed spread, these bedside tables, these metal cabinets and this hall stand

Moving onto Boden, I actually have a couple of outfits posts coming up featuring good 'ol Boden but I thought I'd share some of my current favs here too.

This photo is a sneak peek from a shoot I did with Nell Mallia, can't wait to share more with you! The  skirt is the Freya skirt and the top is the 'Carla'



I also LOVE this dress I'd buy it in every colour if I could! Team them with these shoes for a lovely pop of yellow.


For the mini's this pinnie is the cutest! Love these dungarees and this sheep cardigan is just gorgeous and lastly this hat! I'm not wishing on Autumn but if it means cute knitwear like this then I won't be too sad when it comes around.



Moving onto ethical shopping I'm obsessed with the Peter Jewel Shift Dress for People Tree! I think the Hester Stripped skirt would be so flattering and go with so many things too. The Cassandra shirt dress would go so well with crisp white trainers and the Alba trousers are currently on sale and such a fun colourful print. As usual you can get 15% off with TLQ15



For a pretty left field purchase I bought these boots from ASOS the other day and I LOVE them but I can't work out what to wear with them?? I'm thinking just jeans and grey marl top?

I picked up these high waisted 'mom jeans' too although I'm still waiting for them to arrive to see if they suit me but I love the height on the waist as I always struggle with jeans sitting too low, I also got these cute love heart jeans too.

Also cutest sunnies and Mickey Mouse Purse!

 OK I think I'll stop now or this post will be super long but I hope you liked some of my pics and you make use of some of the bank holiday sales too.

Have a lovely one!

*affiliate links

27.8.16

When my dad & brother came to stay / Walking babies and Life Lately

When my family came to stay :


I don't see my family much, in fact probably about once a year at best and with some of my siblings even two years can go by without us seeing each other. I'd love to say we are the family that FaceTime everyday or catch up without fail once a week, but we're not. Our family dynamic isn't perfect, sometimes it's downright messy and emotional but they do mean a great deal to me. I spent a lot of my life wishing relationships with my parents and siblings were picture perfect or 'perfect' in my idea of what parents were meant to be like or what sisters were meant to be like, or what I was meant to be like even.

What I've learnt as I grew older is that you cannot make people the way you want them to be, just like I'm sure I'm not always the sister or daughter they always want me to be. Accepting people how they are and hoping they will do the same for me. I'm just as flawed as anyone else for sure. One thing I know is that my parents are good people, they have morals and values that I respect immensely, they care a lot and they fight for what they believe in. We love each other, even if we see each other rarely or if only speak every few months. Relationships are messy often, they can be painful and wonderful and lonely and happy and lovely and sad and all the in-between. I can be as complicated as the next person, so can my parents or siblings or partner, I feel like relationships are never easy, are a constant work in progress.

One thing for certain though and that's how my dad loves being a grandad (or a 'grumpy'). The way he plays with my children, the same way I remember him playing with me. With so much love and enthusiasm that they are his whole world just the way we were when we were small. My dad was a stay at home dad, my childhood is full of wonderful memories of our time together.

When we picked Wilf up from nursery with my dad last week he literally leapt into his arms. It doesn't matter if it's been six months or a year, the love my son has for my dad and my dad for him doesn't know any time restrictions. It makes my heart swell and ache at the same time. Life is complicated and life is simple at the same time.


My dad and brother were only down for one full day and it was raining so we grabbed some lunch at Bambalan and went to the Bristol Museum to look at the dinosaurs, I always take for granted how lucky we are to have free things like this to take the kids too. I don't think we've ever got bored just wondering around taking it all in. This time I realised one of the fossils I'd looked at tons of times was actually of a pregnant dinosaur with her little baby found next to her, I found that really moving! 


Just as they left we started to organise Wilf's room in preparation for some plastering to be done on it this week. We brought his old walker downstairs and just LOOK at what this little girl is doing! Slow down little baby I am not ready for this..


Just as they left we started to organise Wilf's room in preparation for some plastering to be done on it this week. We brought his old walker downstairs and just LOOK at what this little girl is doing! Slow down little baby I am not ready for this..

(Mabli's dress is from here*)


I made a little video of our week as usual, I hope you like it. I'm trying to constantly upload every Saturday and have so far kept to it for the past three weeks! If you wanted to subscribe or like my videos then it would mean the world to me!


Thanks as always for reading xx 

26.8.16

A spot of Yoga with Bear Nibbles


We've been a fan of BEAR Yo-Yos since Wilf was a little toddler. I remember him pointing them out at a counter and asking for them, I initially mistook them for sweets and told him he couldn't and then realised on closer inspection that they were actually 100% pure fruit roll ups! They've been a constant in our snack cupboard ever since, they contain no added nonsense and I LOVE the fact Wilf still thinks of them as a special treat over something like chocolate or cake (long may it last whilst I'm sneaking biscuits in the kitchen ;)).

When BEAR Nibbles got in touch to ask if we would like to work with them throughout this year on a series of monthly posts I was really thrilled as I see them as such a good fit for our family and lifestyle.

Our 'Little Paws Outdoors' kit arrived full of Paws nibbles for Wilf, Outdoor Alphabet cards and also a wildlife magazine from The Wildlife Trusts. This month BEAR is working with The Wildlife Trusts to encourage kids to get healthier and happier by enjoying the great outdoors. In every pack of BEAR Paws there are a series of Outdoor Alphabet Cards, each with a fun task on for the little ones to complete'.


As you might be able to tell from these pictures our first challenge was 'outside yoga'! Wilf literally jumped up and down when he saw the card as yoga is something we both love doing together. We started when I was pregnant with Mabli and we got ourselves yoga mats to do in front of my DVD. Since then we've also been enjoying watching a kids yoga channel which teaches things like relaxation and yoga moves to children stories. We've only ever done it in our living room infant of the TV though so it was lovely to give it a go in our garden instead!

Time outdoors is really important for growing kids I think, getting back to nature makes them healthy and happier. There are three outdoor activity cards in every pack of BEAR Paws and what's great is they have no added sugar and never from concentrates, just 100% fruit.


Downward Dog (pretty much the only move I can ever do and so good to stretch yourself out!)


The BEAR Nibbles packs all include cards with activities to do, from jam making to building dens. Sometimes having a prompt is the nudge I need to actually do an activity with Wilf and I find afterwards that we've been learning all sorts of skills without really thinking about it, I'm not massively good at imaginary play so having a 'thing' to do is really helpful for us both.


 As you can see he had a blast and this was a great way to get him having fun outdoors!


You can see a fun little video we did with them below!



In partnership with BEAR nibbles, do your kids like these snacks? What do you think of outdoor yoga? Find out more at Bear Nibbles and follow @Follow_The_Bear
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