For the Kiddo - Wishlist

I think I might actually enjoy finding kids clothes for these Wish Lists much more than my grown up ones! I would wear ALL of these if I could!

Dungerees & Spring Vibe jumper - Zara  
Rainbow Leggings 
Floral Coat 


A House Tour!

I've been meaning for ages to share a house tour over here, these pictures were taken almost a year ago now (whoops!) although we couldn't use them for a while anyway as they were being used for a magazine. Quite a few things have changed actually since then but I thought I should at least post them for now as it may be some time until our home is this tidy again ;)

(We actually have a different sofa in here now and got rid of having a second sofa - you can see a more updated version of our living room here)

The kids shared bedroom

The landing outside the kids room where we put a few more of their toys and bits and bobs

The kids share a room so Mabli is on the bottom and Wilf is on the top. Its an arrangement that goes OK-ish most of the time but they do tend to wake each other up a fair bit in the morning!

Some more details from the living room

Our kitchen is the part of our home that is kind of my least favourite, its SO tiny (these pictures might even make it look a little bigger than it is) and dark and hard to clean. We did plan to rip it out and have something designed that might be a better use of space but as it's not our 'forever home' we scrapped that idea.

 Some little details, from the dinning room and our bedroom

My shoe collection

Our walk-in-wardrobe and a bit of the bathroom.

Tom built me this 'walk-in-wardobe' a while back by sectioning off our bedroom. It's been brilliant for keeping clothes off the floor or bulging from wardrobes although I have to admit it doesn't always look this tidy ;)

The wallpaper in our bedroom is from Farrow and Ball and the tiles in the bathroom are Arabesque from Tons of Tiles. I get asked that question a lot over on Instagram so I wanted to preempt that. If you have any other questions about where anything is from just ask in the comments below and I'll get right back to you!

Photos by Viv Yapp 


Me Myself and IKEA - Why its such a part of our lives - A post from Tom!

Tom surprised me with this post today! 

'With the passing of Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad this week I have been thinking about my own relationship with the big blue furniture store and how it differs from most.

I mentioned recently in an instagram post that the trick to enjoying Ikea is to live close enough to go there with out ‘needing’ to buy anything. Living so close to Ikea has meant it has very much been part of mine and Fritha’s life for the past few (quite a few actually) years since we bought our first house together. Buying our first pieces of furniture (mostly from the bargain corner) and dragging them home on a trolley as we didn’t have a car. Eating our meals there when me and Rog ripped out and installed a new kitchen when Fritha was 8 months pregnant. Buying a cot for Wilf, and then him never sleeping in it. Playing games and treasure hunts with Wilf and now Mabli on days when it’s just too rainy for the park. Lying about Wilfs age so that he could go in to Smalland with his cousin at two and a half and him loving it. 

I do get why all the people dragging children around through the dense crowds of a rainy bank holiday hate it. But for me, despite a great dislike of crowds, knowing the layout in my head and all the little shortcuts, Ikea is my safe place. Where I go when I need space in my head to think. The hubbub, white noise to my worries. The reassuring auto pilot of following the arrows. 

When we suffered a miscarriage before Wilf existed I did my best to comfort a distraught Fritha. I’m not sure why, but I was determined not to let her see me cry. Not out of some sort of macho ideal, but I thought that I needed to be strong for her and show that life could carry on. So I went to Ikea on my own, got my free coffee, then sat in the cafe and cried more than I had ever cried before. To the people eating their dog balls*  whilst picking up a billy bookcase this must have seemed very strange. But this was my safe place.

So to Ingvar Kamprad I say, thank you for giving us affordable Scandinavian design and for all the great charity work done by the Ikea Foundation.'

*Back when I was a meat eater, my sister repeatedly said dog balls to me in the queue, so that when I got to the front I asked for dog balls instead of meat balls.


Wish List - Pink and Reds

I have all the things for pinks and reds right now so thought I would share some of my faves!

Faux Fur Jacket - http://bit.ly/2EbEaTK
Crocodile Jumper - http://bit.ly/2DAkR5L
Red Boots - http://bit.ly/2Ea5W3m
Peace Jumper - http://bit.ly/2E85LFs (take 15% off with code TLQ15)
Corduroy Trousers - http://bit.ly/2E7bVFT
La Femme Jumper - http://bit.ly/2EbV30U

*affiliate link

Anxiety and Me

(photos Lauren Jayne Hall)

A couple of days before the start of the year we were having a big 'ol clean out. We aren't they tidiest of people and with Christmas over we were all feeling like we needed to be a bit more minimalist (ha!). I started to feel a little short of breath a couple of hours into the clean and joked to Tom it was all the dust. Then shortly after I was walking along the landing and suddenly felt myself blacking out. Mabli was with me and Tom was downstairs and I shouted to him that I was fainting, I managed to get to the bedroom and lay down and the room was spinning and my hands and feet were tinging. I'd never felt faint like that before and was so so scared.

As I was trying to grasp back consciousness I felt like I was floating out of my body, I was panicking and couldn't breath. My arms and legs went dead so I couldn't move and I felt like any moment I would just see black and it would be the end of me. It sounds SO dramatic I know but I honestly thought I was taking my last breaths. The kids were on the bed with me and Tom was saying 'you're not dying' as I was grasping for air and begging him to call 999.

I've had panic attacks before but never been so sure that it wasn't a panic attack, never been so sure I was literally dying, like 100% sure that was the last time I'd look at my kids sure. After about 20 minute I could breath better, feeling came back into the limbs but I still felt like I was on the verge of passing out almost constantly. I was sobbing and shaking and eventually fell asleep (after being fed chocolate and tea). I spent the whole afternoon calming myself down mentally and after a night of normal sleep felt like tomorrow was another day. Apart from as soon as I walked downstairs there was the tingle in my hands, I couldn't hold the toy Mabli had passed me as my hands stopped working, I was losing breath again..little occurrences like this happened for the next two days although they didn't develop into a panic attack. I spoke to 111 on the phone and cried through the lovely lady assuring me it was anxiety and promised to get blood tests at the Dr's as soon as I could.

I held on to the option of blood tests because I was certain that this wasn't anxiety, it wasn't in my head I must be deficient in something. I wasn't even feeling stressed before it happened.

I downloaded the Mindfullness app and clung on to it as a lifesaver, running to the bedroom to slow my breath down when I felt it was approaching again. The day before my appointment I felt like my tongue was swelling in my mouth, that I had to think so so carefully to imagine it not swelling it was the only thing from it blocking my airways. I was certain they would find something wrong that they could fix with a supplement.

So when they didn't I was crushed. I don't want this to be in my head. I spent a whole week exhausted from mentally trying to stop myself fainting and hyperventilating and the idea of that being my life was too much. Thankfully I've found a few things that have really helped and since then I'm only finding myself feeling anxious about 20% of the week. I'm hoping to cut that number down a lot!

So here's a list of the things I think helped in an emergency. Obviously with anxiety you're going to need to work on those long term goals and if I'm honest with you I feel frustrated about that because I just want my brain to be chilled without me putting the work in, ha! When I really think about it my worklife last year was a bit intense, I basically gave myself very little downtime and let things overwhelm me a lot. Anyway I'll get to that..

Mindfulness app - I've got to admit I keep missing days but the three days in a row I used it during the worst times were literally a life line.

CBT oil - I'm using this daily and do think it's helping

Reading - I know I need to switch my brain off and even if I think I don't have time for it I know I need it.

Supplements - Although my bloods came back fine I'm making sure I'm also taking supplements just incase (especially on a plant based diet).

Decluttering - This one takes sometimes and we've not perfected it but we have really stepped up creating spaces in our home that are more calm and clutter free that definitely helps me.

Longterm -

One of my long term things I started this year is getting a life coach. I'm not recommending everyone should (or is able) to do that same but what I've learnt already is that I have values that make me me and if I don't meet them then I'm thrown off kilter. So for me I am a homebody, I need to not be socialising or traveling too much or if I do I need a day or two afterwards to recharge. I need to feel safe and secure and I need to feel like I'm doing something creative. When I think of those core values I know if I'm feeling anxious then I rethink what I'm doing and maybe change up a few things.

I'm also thinking about seeing someone about my anxiety in general to learn coping techniques and also to get down the root of why I'm feeling this way I guess.

Taking a yoga class. Genuinely think this will help just need the motivation to get myself there!

Less caffeine / Eating better - I drank no caffeine for three days after my most anxious but then developed the worst headaches ah! I think a balance is key so I'm down to one coffee..

Think that's it for now! Thanks for indulging me in this slightly different type of post. I had SO much help over on my Instagram when I posted about this so if you are in the same situation then do check out some of the comments here.

Likewise if you have any experiences you'd like to share I'd love to hear them! Thanks again xx


Forever a Parent - My Three important life lessons

My parents have taught me many brilliant life lessons, ones that I have carried with me to adulthood and ones that have helped me in parenthood myself.

(thats me at three-ish in the grey overalls, unfortunately I didn't inherit my mum and brothers curly hair!)

I can't imagine a time when my children won't feel like my babies, even when they are adults and parents themselves. I know that there are times when I still need advice from my mum (especially when I first became a mum) I hope that Wilf and Mabli will always feel able to come to me and ask for help and advice. I'm working with Legal and General in this post to share the advice I was given and the advice I want to instil in my children as part of their #foreveraparent campaign. Let's face it you never stop being a parent do you?

According to research, 90% of parents still feel responsible for their adult child's wellbeing, with 76% also feeling responsible for their adult child's financial security. I know my parents have done what they can when I've been in a tight spot, moving to a new city and struggling to pay the deposit for my first flat I was so grateful for their help. Whilst I want my kids to be able to look after themselves in the adult world I know if they needed our help we'd do what we could to support them. Its not surprising then that almost half (47%) of parents who said they felt responsible had taken out a life insurance policy.

When it comes to the pieces of advice I want to pass down to my kids, here are the things that I think are the most important :

  • To be kind always. The most important thing my parents ever taught me was that being kind is the most important thing you can be. To help others less fortunate than us and be thankful for all we have.
  • Have an opinion. A lesson I was so thankful for as a young girl especially. I want both my children to know that they have a right to an opinion and each will be valued as much as the other. 
  • That we can get it wrong and we can learn from it. I want my kids to know that we are not perfect, we can make mistakes and learn from others too. I hope my children know we are all flawed at times and all learning just as much as anyone else.

Legal & General's research has found that the adult children across the UK continue to seek advice from their parents on a range of matters, from financial planning to childcare and careers. Financial advice remains the most popular topic with more than a quarter of parents to adult children having given financial advice in the past two weeks.

I'd love to know what lessons your parents passed down to you or what lessons you feel are most important to pass down to your own children. I think we can probably all agree we'll never stop worrying about them or caring about their wellbeing. I really hope that the lessons I want to pass down to my kids are ones they will carry with them into their adult life.

Do you think you'd want to be able to help your children in adulthood too? 

This post in written in collaboration with Legal and General and their 'Forever a Parent' campaign. 


Life Lately

Is it just me or has anyone else totally lacked all motivation? I feel like I'm walking through glue sometimes! I just can't get it together to get anything done and then sometimes I'll have bursts of feeling creative or wanting to take photographs and once I've edited them I feel like the act of just uploading them and scattering some words around is far more than my brain can manage, ha!

Anyway, I have a burst of energy (thank you once daily cup of coffee caffeine buzz) so I'm sitting down to catch you all up on some 'life lately'. These pictures were actually taken a couple of weeks ago, thats how behind I am!

So whats new? As a family we've been doing 'Veganuary' and we are 95% sticking to it. I decided to not be super strict about it and if I'm traveling or at a restaurant where there either isn't a vegan option or the vegan option is really boring I'll go veggie. The kids are perfectly happy being plant based at home (they are actually eating there dinner much more than usual!) but at school Wilf is still having the veggie option for lunch.

This was me and this kids making Vegan chocolate cake, a recipe I've actually made a lot before but I totally burnt it this time whoops! We cut off the top and sort of crushed it up a bit, added some Oatly cream and it came out perfect haha

The past couple of weeks have all been about taking it slow, I'm relishing this time with my two together as I can see Wilf losing his 'baby-ness' and turning more and more into being a little boy. Phases in their life that I enjoy equally but at the same time my favourite time is definitely now... wait don't I say that every few months? ;)

Lately I've been working really hard on my values, I know that I'm a homebody. I love travel but I need downtime and if I go to a work event I need a day out afterwards to not talk to anyone. So I'm trying to make sure that I'm balancing working away with plenty of time after to recharge and regather. I know that my home and being with my family as much as I can is what I need to recharge. 

Slow home-days baking and painting and eating and generally staying cosy is literally my dream life. I don't mind the grey skies and cold as long as I know there is a family movie waiting for us to watch under the blanket just as soon as we get in. January isn't all bad! 

Hope you are all finding a way to enjoy the start of the year despite the rain, promise it won't be too long before I check in again this time! x

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