RUNNING INTO SPRING WITH JOJO MAMAN BEBE

It’s no secret that I absolutely love dressing my children, so when the chance came up to collaborate with JoJo Maman Bebe I was over the moon. I’ve been a big fan of the brand for over 6 years; since Archie was a baby. Their clothes are always fun and pretty, and most important to me, age appropriate.

I love dressing the girls in matching outfits #twinningiswinning, but when they’re not matchy matchy I always try to dress the three of them in similar styles/colours. The new Spring/Summer range at JoJo Maman Bebe is full of beautiful, traditional pieces. After much deliberation I was able to pick out some favourite pieces for my three that were colour coordinated, pretty and smart … perfect for our recent trip to Orlando.

The girls received so many compliments wearing their smocked dresses. They’re soft, light and so comfy to wear. Ebonie’s dress can be found here. It’s a blue stripe fabric with smocking across the chest and embroidered bees and daisy details. Ebonie has just turned two, and wears size 12-18m at the moment in JoJo Maman Bebe – I always find their sizing to be generous.

Millie’s dress is my absolute favourite; it’s flowery, colourful and summery, and can be found here. It’s a style that can be dressed up or down, and the blossom print is so pretty and fresh.

Archie’s grown up shirt can be found here. The shirt has a mini gingham print, and can be worn casually with the roll up sleeves. I love him dressed in a light, fresh blue for spring/summer.

My two girls might never know how lucky they are to have a big brother like Archie, but I’ll do my best to capture their tender moments so that we can look back and remember just how precious their bond is.

These photos were taken at the stunning Four Seasons Hotel, Orlando. Thank you so much to JoJo Maman Bebe for this opportunity. My three little people looked so lovely dressed in these summery outfits on our holiday and I’m certain we’ll get so much wear out of them over the coming months now we’re home.

[This post is written in collaboration with JoJo Maman Bebe, a brand I have always bought for my children.]

EBONIE’S “BIG GIRL” BEDROOM

My not so little baby is growing before my eyes. Although I’m very much in denial about this, her nursery was in need of an uplift. She’s just turned two, so my main objective was to edge away from “nursery”, yet not make the room look too old either. In collaboration with Laura Ashley I have been able to create a fresh, girlie bedroom of dreams.

The Hastings Ivory Day Bed really is the feature of the room. It’s pretty, girlie, and most of all versatile. I can already envisage girlie sleepovers in the future that will make use of the trundle bed. I’ve always been a big fan of Laura Ashley bedding, and the Hearts Bed in a Bag bedding is super cosy and soft. The coordinating throw and heart cushion add the finishing touch, along with the Bexley Pink Stripe Wool Rug, adding contrast to the otherwise plain, cream carpet.

The soft, simple pink and white tones allow for lots of accessorising without looking too busy. The room has sloping ceilings, which leaves only the one wall suitable for hanging shelves, frames and decorative features. Adding shelves surrounding the round window, allows me to easily accessorise and make the room look “finished”.

[The frames here are from Ikea, crochet pears and teddy from Bee Kraft Tee, bows from my favoutite shop Sprinkle of Bows, Unicorn bow holder is from – now all I need to do is get Ebonie to leave her bows in!]

[Wool wall hanging is from Wool Wood Love, Butterfly frame from Laura Ashley, Winnie the Pooh print and Flamingo print from Freddie The Kid, Flamingo soft toy from Laura Ashley, Flamingo hanger from Ciao Bambino & finally, dress is from Stripes Spots and Polka Dots Boutique]

A room would not be complete without some framed prints. I always try to find prints that are relevant to the room, and when Millie was younger I ordered the ‘Though she be but little, she is fierce’ print from Vivi And The Bears for her nursery. Little did I know how placid and calm my little Millie Moo actually was. Ebonie has most definitely lived up to this quote; she is fiercely determined, fiercely strong willed, fiercely independent … you get the gist.

I styled the ‘Be a Flamingo in a flock of Pigeons’ print from the lovely Freddie The Kid, along side the Laura Ashley Flamingo soft toy.

The beautiful wool wall hanging is from Wool Wood Love and has been made to coordinate with the hearts range and it looks so pretty hung above the shelf and frames.

[Canopy is from eBay, Faux Fur rug is from Laura Ashley, Watermelon cushion is from Laura Ashley, Mini Moses Basket is from Tilly & Cub, Battery Rose string lights from the Range]

It’s all in the detail! Little girls’ rooms are so easy to accessorise, and I revel in the details. I added a canopy in the one corner, and the girls love to cosy up on the soft, delicate Mila Pink Faux Fur Rug, and get comfy amongst the cushions to tell stories to their teddies.

I’ve really loved refreshing Ebonie’s nursery into her now “grown up” toddler bedroom. It’s very much a girlie girl bedroom of dreams and a space that will grow with her over the next few years.

HOLIDAYS ARE COMING … HOLIDAYS ARE COMING

I’m really excited to show you a little project I’ve been working on in collaboration with Laura Ashley. We really love Christmas in our household and we always like to me an effort with decorating our home for the festive season. So when Laura Ashley got in touch asking me to get involved with their Christmas campaign, I jumped at the chance and knew exactly what part of our home needed that extra attention this year.

Decorating the table for Christmas dinner is as important as decorating your house, but I for one have always left decorating the dining table until the very last minute, with very little thought. Typically, in years past, the table has been quickly set on Christmas Eve, and consisted of our best china and some crackers thrown in for good measure.

Now, all things considered, gathering together at the dining table to share our Christmas Dinner is one of the most important parts of our Christmas, so why did decorating the dining table seem so unimportant? Well it’s unimportant no longer! To go from one extreme to the other, this year our Christmas table is already set, and I’m looking forward to share our family meal times drowned in festivities. 

My aim with our tablescape has been to create a calming ambiance, to help everyone relax and unwind following the excitement and craziness that comes with three little ones on Christmas morning. The candles and lighting are the key to achieve this. 

I’m always drawn to timeless, traditional colour schemes, especially at Christmas time. I love the reds, greens, golds of a traditional Christmas and I was instantly drawn to the Gold Damask range of tableware at Laura Ashley. I used the Gold Geometric Charger as placemats, popped a cracker on top of each place setting, and wrapped the cutlery in coordinating napkins. The gold tones of the accessories and ornaments work well together, and the Gold Damask Jacquard Runner completes the look perfectly.

The dried hydrangeas have been a centre feature on our dining table since beginning of Autumn, and they’ve dried the perfect colours to stay around for Christmas. I added some artificial snow to the vase to complete the look.

A Christmas tablescape must have is candles. The more the merrier! Find some Christmas inspired candles and you’ve cracked it. The large Christmas tree candles particularly stood out for me, along with the matching miniature tree tea lights. I love the Laura Ashley glass candlesticks and I picked up these advent candles in my local Lakeland to make them extra festive. 

I love lanterns all year round, but they really come into their own at Christmas time, and filling them with string lights, baubles, artificial snow and other decorations instantly makes them Christmassy. 

[This post is in collaboration with Laura Ashley, but as you most probably already know, our home is filled with Laura Ashley goodies and my love for the brand is real!]

OUR SUMMER ROUND-UP

I knew this summer was set to be full of fun and adventures, and it didn’t disappoint. I take far too many photos on a daily basis, so I picked out most of my favourites and decided to document them here, because let’s be honest, they’ll only be drowned in my mammoth “photos to be sorted” file otherwise. So here’s our summer 2017 in pictures.

First stop, a night away in sunny Bristol for Father’s Day: 

We spent a weekend in Butlins celebrating my sister’s 30th birthday. 

Summer sunshine came to an abrupt holt as soon as Archie broke up from school for the holidays. We didn’t make it to the beach half as much as I’d have liked to go this year; the sandy bags, toes and bums really aren’t worth it unless the sun is shining. On one occasion we made it to the sea shore, we dipped our toes in the cold water and also went crabbing for the very first time. This was right up Archie’s street. Both him and Millie held a crab, even though they pinch! 

Where you would have found little Miss Ebonie this summer; in her highchair, or causing mischief!

We had a lovely night away at Carey’s Manor in the New Forest. The hotel is set in lovely grounds, and there’s no denying the beauty of the New Forest. The reason for the road trip was to go to Peppa Pig World, but on the day it poured and it poured and it poured… so after Millie & Ebonie got to see the real Peppa Pig, we ended up heading home much earlier than planned.  

Craving some sunshine and poolside fun, we headed for a last minute trip to Marbella. These four days away were by far my most favourite of the summer; relaxing by the pool and just enjoying the company of my sweet little family. 

[Onslow Steam Rally, August Bank Holiday]

Releasing Archie’s home grown butterflies … probably a highlight of his summer! 

Archie’s birthday always brings summer to a sweet end. 

ARCHIE’S PARTY OF DREAMS

Ever since we went to my nephew’s treasure hunt party back in June, Archie had his heart set on just that for his birthday. His Taid & Naini were more than happy to take on the task of ‘treasure hunt party organisers’, but I was in two minds as to whether five and six year olds would be old enough to take on the obstacles, follow the clues and find the hidden treasures set up by my parents. Archie was not going to be swayed, so a treasure hunt is what he got, and he literally had THE BEST DAY EVER!

Fifteen little treasure hunters accompanied us for a few hours of fun. After opting for an easy ‘Happy Meal’ lunch, we returned to my parents’ to let the hunting commence. We had five groups of three, and they were all set on task in fifteen minute intervals, and the quickest team home would be the winners. As well as finding little ‘treasures’ along the trail, each team had to return home with an assembled Mr Potato Head, and they had to follow ribbons and clues to find all of the hidden pieces.

Archie’s team set off at speed, determined to come back in record time. Of course, Mamerazzi was out in full force, and as I followed his team around the course, I could see how much he was really loving his day. His team did arrive home in the fastest time, but were equalled by another team, who went on to win the deciding penalty shoot out. He was later crowned ‘Treasure Hunt Expert’, and received a ‘REAL’ trophy, making his best day ever even better!

Seeing as we have a nature loving boy in Archie, the party theme was ‘bugs’. We had insect inspired cup cakes, worm jelly, snake sweets and the most amazing birthday cake made by Archie’s Aunt Bessy. The ‘treasure’ found along the trail was also all insect related.

Two adults accompanied each team, merely there to supervise and ensure all children arrived home safely. It seems that maybe they also needed their own supervisors, as not one, but two of them fell in the river. It made the day a bit more memorable for them, and us 😉

All fifteen little treasure hunters embraced the party, and went home possibly exhausted, but happy.

A LETTER FOR MY SON

Nope, it can’t be true. It just can’t be. Somebody hit fast forward and our first born is six! Six years old. This is more than half way to ten. This is big!

Archie, I have spent the last six years with you, guiding you, teaching you, and learning from you. For all that I have taught you, you have taught me so much more. Motherhood has been a massive learning curve, and I am forever grateful that I got to experience all the ‘firsts’ with you, my first baby.

You’re just the best big brother to your two doting sisters. Although you’re only a couple of years older, you love that you’re the oldest. You’re patient with them, and love to teach them new things. It goes without saying that they can be a nuisance and Ebonie sometimes messes up your line of perfectly parked cars, but I know, given the chance, you wouldn’t actually “send them back”. You’re genuinely proud of them, and they’re very lucky that they’re a l w a y s going to have you looking out for them.

Unbeknown to me, at some point this year, you’ve grown too big for me to carry. Of course I can pick you up if I really try, but it no longer happens. I love to watch you grow and change, each new milestone is exciting, but if only I knew the last time we would share a moment, I would slow down and soak it in a little more. You can now run faster, climb higher and in your own time you mastered the monkey bars at school. You’ve learnt to read, to write, to add, to subtract, to multiply; you’re like a sponge taking in so much information. Over the summer I’ve seen a change in your character; your self confidence has grown, and you feel happier to try things without me holding your hand. This makes my eyes swell, but makes my heart swell more.

You’re growing into the most lovely, thoughtful little person; a son I am immensely proud of. A true Mummy’s boy, that I can always count on for a cwtsh. You like to think you’re the “boss”, and you sulk like nobody’s business, but this is what makes you, you. Just like your skinny, little legs, my love for you keeps growing and growing.

Thank you for being kind and loving, and more importantly, thank you for being mine.

“I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.”

BACK TO SCHOOL

So this week brings the return of routines, school runs, and an added pre-school drop off. Millie has started preschool two mornings a week, and she really loved her first session. Before leaving, she decided she needed to pack her “shchool” bag and was adamant the contents were required! Who was I to argue?

All I’m hearing is, “Three is big Mummy, I’m a big girl” … yes sweetheart, you are so very big now. At least it’s only two mornings a week to begin with, to ease me in gently 😉

Archie went back to school and up to year 1. He has a new teacher, and wasn’t too happy that his group had to “work” all day on his first day back. By today, Mrs W is flavour of the month and he tells me he was allowed to play on the computer. So, all in all he seems to be having a good first week back.

I decided to start a new little tradition of asking them a simple questionnaire at the beginning of each year … I’m hoping the answers will be fun to look back on in years to come.

What would you like to be when you’re a grown up?
Archie: A postman (see instagram for explanation)
Millie: A Mum (how sweet)
Ebonie: [waffle]
What’s your favourite colour?
Archie: White
Millie: Pink
Ebonie: Dub Dwb Da
What’s your favourite animal?
Archie: Butterfly
Millie: Tiger
Ebonie: [You pay most attention to ‘bow wows’ and ponies]
What’s your favourite thing to eat?
Archie: Sausage
Millie: Crackers
Ebonie: [everything!]
What’s your favourite film?
Archie: Batman
Millie: Boss Baby
Ebonie: [101 Dalmatians]
Who’s your favourite character?
Archie: Batman
Millie: Rapunzel
Ebonie: [Peppa Pig]
What’s your very favourite toy?
Archie: His bike outdoors and toy red car indoors
Millie: Rusty – her super-dog soft toy
Ebonie: [Dolls pram]

 

FLOWER FIELDS OF DREAMS

Last month we took a road trip in search of Shropshire Petals‘ confetti fields, and my gosh did they make for the perfect backdrop for me to get snap happy. The rows and rows of delicate flowers were absolutely beautiful.

Both Millie and Ebonie were a tad under the weather, poor Ebonie wasn’t happy unless she was glued to my hip, hence the lack of pictures of her. The weather was also so unpredictable, one minute too sunny, the next it was raining; but I still managed to capture some beautiful photographs that have made it into my all time favourites 🙂

 

BRINGING THE INDOORS, OUT

Anyone else have dreams of al fresco dining all summer? C’mon British summertime, bring back that glorious sunshine and let us enjoy the last of the summer evenings in style. Let us fling open the doors and bring the inside out.

Since we built our home 3 years ago, the garden has been an on-going project, and it’s so satisfying to see it all coming together. This summer seen the construction of the pergola, and it quickly transformed the patio and created an extension to our open plan kitchen.  We invested in some long lasting, weather proof garden furniture and the area has become an extended dining room, bringing home-like vibes outdoors. Our Rebo In-Ground Trampoline was installed and in between the showers, the children have played non-stop on it all summer. Finally, we replaced the lawn with artificial grass, and the big “jobs” were all complete!

Bringing the indoors, out:

I aimed to create a space where family and friends would be drawn to. A space that will be useful for our day to day family life, all year round. Our large bifold doors instantly open up the kitchen into the garden, and this makes the whole indoor/outdoor idea so achievable. The outdoor area is so accessible, and the doors are always open at every opportunity. The children come in and out as they please, and the space outdoors is now safe and secure for them.

Creating a stylish outdoor space was key for me, and being the Laura Ashley addict that I am, I browsed through their AW17 catalogue and was inundated with items suitable to add the homely touches to our patio area. I added in some accent scatter cushions, a throw, a basket of hydrangeas and some lanterns and the outdoor space instantly became so enticing. I love adding the little details to any project, and I opted for a vibe that will see us through to Autumn. The area includes some floral, fresh, pastel, Summer accents, while the darker purple shades incorporate a warm, cosy feel ready for the cooler days.

(Brass Finish Tealight LanternLarge Brass Effect LanternLemington ThrowWisteria Printed Duck Egg CushionLittle Vines Printed Hedgerow CushionLarge Round Wicker Basket)

(Kubu Oval Storage Basket)

Now, if the weather ever decides to play ball, we could have more moments like this – I have no idea who she takes after 😉

To add the finishing touch to our outdoor space, it needed lighting. I bought some battery operated festoon lights from Festive Lights and fixed these to the pergola. The lanterns are undoubtedly my favourite part of the outdoor area, and Laura Ashley have a vast amount to choose from. Along with the light fixtures and festoon lights, the lanterns create an inviting glow in the evenings, and this is when I feel the area really comes into its own.

Creating a stylish outdoor space opens up your living arrangements, and it’s a great place to unwind, to enjoy some family time and even some peace and quiet to yourself from time to time.

This post is in collaboration with Laura Ashley – my very favourite UK home interior brand 🙂

A SNEAK PEAK THROUGH OUR FRONT DOORS (in collaboration with Laura Ashley)

As my first house and home post, I feel really nervous writing this, so please bear with me.

Since we built and moved into our home three years ago, life has been pretty hectic and finishing our interior has been a never ending task! Always at the bottom of my daily to do list, it’s still not finished but I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Our hallway has always been my biggest bugbear. The big open space left me lacking vision, but last month I finally got round to ordering some pieces of furniture from Laura Ashley, and at last it all started to take shape. I’ve always been a massive fan of Laura Ashley for their timeless, yet modern touch, and I wasn’t disappointed by the choice available. In fact, the only problem was too much choice! For more information on the individual pieces of furniture see the Laura Ashley Blog where I have shared all the details.

Adding the accessories to a room is always my favourite part, and although most things featured are indeed from Laura Ashley, I also found some lovely bits and bobs trawling through Instagram. The chunky knit throw on the sofa is from @chun-kees and it’s so soft and comfy.

I couldn’t have a “finished” room without a mini photo wall, it really wouldn’t me my style not to have a space to hang even more pictures of my little tribe. I also included some prints by the lovely @sweetheartfoils to coordinate with the room decor.

I hope you enjoyed the little insight to our home … will hopefully pluck up the courage to share more soon 🙂