A Holiday to Remember

Hello again! Over two weeks since my last post – the longest gap since I started blogging – but we have just come back from our two week summer holiday in Sweden. We went to an island called Gotland, just off the east coast, where I spent pretty much every summer from the age of 0 to 12.  It was just as beautiful as I remembered and there’s something magical about seeing your kids running along the same beach and jumping in the same waves you did as a child.

Apart from allowing the children to play on the iPads during the long car journeys and a bit of Instagramming for me, we had a fairly screen free holiday. I decided not to blog while we were away, partly because of the rather patchy wi-fi and also I needed a proper break from it. Over the past couple of months my heart has not really been it, and I was debating whether or not to give the blog up. Now that we’re back I feel more motivated to carry on and I think that when school starts up again I will hopefully have a bit of time to actually write some of those posts lurking in the back of my head.

But first, here is a quick summary of our holiday:

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{On board the boat from Harwich to Esbjerg in Denmark. Unfortunately this is the last summer the boat is running so next year we will have to figure another way of getting to Sweden.}

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{Crossing the famous bridge from Denmark over to Sweden. Luckily there were no dead bodies and the weather was glorious.}

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{After more than 48 hours of traveling by car and (two) boats we made it onto the Swedish island of Gotland and arrived at the cabin where we were staying.}

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{Much of our time was spent on the lovely sandy beaches that stretch for miles around the island.}

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{Jumping in the waves with my boys}

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{Clemmie didn’t like going in the sea but she was very happy playing on the beach.}

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{Casper is very proud of his sandcastle.}

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{We were really lucky with the weather and it was warm enough in the evenings to go on the beach and see beautiful sunsets like this one.}

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{We played mini golf three times and each time it ended with a tantrum but the kids still claimed to love it and wanted to play more!}

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{On one of the many water slides at Gotland’s big water park}

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{The highlight of Clemmie’s holiday was getting a cuddle from her all-time heroine Pippi Longstocking. The original house seen in the Pippi films is on Gotland and is now part of a bigger amusement park with lots of rides}

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{And if that wasn’t enough, we also spent a day at Tivoli in Copenhagen on our way back to the ferry. Not quite so lucky with the weather that day but at least there were no queues!}

So that’s it, a brief synopsis and rather a lot of pictures of our holiday. Hope you are all well and enjoying the last of the summer.

‘Til the next post. X

Super Smoothies

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When life gets busy it’s easy to let healthy eating habits slip and instead reach for sugary snacks as a quick pick-me-up. Having a smoothie for breakfast helps ensure that you get at least two or three of your five a day and, if you add some superfoods, it will also keep your energy levels high, boost your immune system and stave off sugar cravings. The lovely people at Indigo Herbs sent me a big box crammed full of some of their best-selling healthy goodies such as wheatgrass, spirulina, bee pollen and Acai powder. Time to dust off the smoothie maker and get creative!

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First up was this smoothie made from mango, bananas, orange juice and a teaspoon or two of organic Acai powder, organic wheatgrass powder, organic Maca powder, and organic raw banana powder. To find out more about the health benefits of these superfoods, check out the Indigo Herbs website.

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Next, I tried a blueberry and banana smoothie with some added spirulina powder, banana powder and bee pollen granules. I was especially intrigued to try the latter as I had just read an interview with Victoria Beckham in Vogue where she was enthusing about bee pollen’s wrinkle busting properties and other health benefits. It has quite a coarse texture and I found that even after a thorough whizzing in the blender, there were quite a few large bits floating around in the smoothie. It still had a great flavour, although I preferred the first combination of ingredients.

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I also tried sprinkling some bee pollen granules on my morning muesli and that, to me, was a better way of eating it.

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A small, family run company based in Glastonbury, Indigo Herbs prides itself on only supplying the best organic, wild crafted or quality assured products available. All the powders came in generously sized packaging, so there’s plenty left for me to try more recipes. Ordering via the website couldn’t be easier and, although they will not give specific nutritional or medical advice, the knowledgeable team are happy to talk customers through the various products on offer.

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Five on Friday

A week and a half into the summer holidays and we have settled into a routine of sorts. I do a couple of hours work in the morning, while the children play and watch TV. Then we have lunch and head out to the swimming pool at our local gym or just play in the garden – the paddling pool is still a huge success. The boys went to sports camp for two days at the start of the week and I had a meeting up in London for work but apart from that we haven’t strayed too far from home. Next week they are all going to camp on Tuesday and Wednesday before we go to Sweden for two weeks.

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{This has been the weather for most of the week – although rain is forecast for tomorrow.}

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{The paddling pool is very popular and the kids can now set it up and deflate it by themselves}

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{Cameron prefers to kick a football around the garden}

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{Today I gave the kids the option of going to the Aquarium up in London or to the cinema. They chose the latter and we went to see How to Train Your Dragon 2}

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{Followed by a late lunch at Pizza Express.}

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend! We’re going to put the roof box on the car and start packing for our holiday. X

30 Days No Shopping Challenge

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Stop press: I have decided to join the fabulous Fashion Huntress on the 30 Days No Shopping Challenge. A daunting prospect for someone like me who is prone to a few weekly purchases, but now seems like the ideal time to embark on a challenge like this:

  • We’re in the middle of school holidays and the thought of going shopping with three kids in tow is quite frankly unappealing.
  • I definitely don’t need any more summer clothes.
  • I have already bought a few pieces for Autumn/Winter (remember those knits?) and the rest can wait until September/October when I have a better idea of what I need.
  • Hopefully it will save me some money that I can put towards my A/W wardrobe!

So, if any of you want to join me on the challenge, the rules are pretty simple: No shopping, unless it is for essentials, for one month.

Things that qualify as essentials in my book:

  • Groceries
  • Basic toiletries such as shampoo, toothpaste and deodorant. Frivolous items like make-up, perfume and hairstyling products are not included (no matter how cute the packaging or how many enthusing reviews of said item by my favourite beauty bloggers)
  • Things for the kids, such as school uniforms and other essentials (e.g new shoes, underwear etc). It does not include the sparkly pink magazines that Clemmie is seemingly addicted too (she is her mother’s girl that’s for sure!) or more Rainbow Loom bands for the boys.
  • Our holiday will take place during these 30 days so obviously there will be extra spending such as entry to theme parks, ice creams, eating out etc which I will also include as essentials. I think it is OK to spend money on things that count as experiences but not on useless tat to bring home.

What do you think? Will I be able to stick to it? And, more importantly, will you join me?

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Currently Coveting #26: Alex Monroe Dragonfly Necklace

Alex Monroe Dragonfly

I absolutely love this dragonfly necklace in silver by Alex Monroe. It is the perfect whimsical, yet sophisticated, jewel to set off a summer outfit, whether casual or glam. Renowned for his irresistible nature-inspired pieces, the British jewellery designer’s collection also features bunnies, foxes, feathers and, of course, the iconic bumblebee. The latter is almost too life-like for my liking so I prefer the more ethereal dragonfly motif. I don’t often buy expensive jewellery (ie not costume jewellery) for myself but I may have to make an exception for this one…

Alex Monroe’s jewellery collection is available from Liberty

A Nice Day for a White Wedding

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They say that a change is as good as a rest and I certainly feel refreshed after our weekend mini break in Cambridge. We were only away for one night but the change of scenery and some quality family time did us the world of good. On Saturday we attended my husband’s cousin’s wedding, held at one the many colleges of Cambridge University. Glorious weather, a stunning setting, beautiful ceremony, good food and wine all did their part to ensure that it was a great day. And I was a very proud mummy indeed after many of the guests complimented my children’s good behaviour (it’s nice to know that they can do it even if I don’t always see that side at home!). It was their first wedding and they all did very well to sit still at the ceremony in the chapel and during the speeches. My eldest was happily chatting away to the guests at the dinner, impressing them with his knowledge of Henry VIII and all his wives.

The only downside was the sleeping arrangements. We had a family room in the hotel where we stayed, with one double bed and two singles. After the requisite arguments about who should be sleeping where, we ended up playing musical beds for much of the night and I don’t think anyone woke up in the same bed they went to sleep in. On Sunday we strolled around Cambridge, taking in the sites, along with the sea of other tourists, and stopping for ice cream at one of the many cafes. We decided against punting on the river as my husband was feeling rather delicate from the previous night’s excesses!

Now we’re back home with just over a week to go until our main holiday. Hope you’ve had a good start to the week. X

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{The boys looking handsome in their new suits.}

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{Clemmie looking cute in the stunning grounds of Trinity College.}

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{A cheeky selfie in the chapel}

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{I love the little touches that the couple did to personalise their wedding such as using second hand books as place settings.}

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{Kings College in the centre of Cambridge}

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{Bicycles and beautiful old buildings were everywhere.}

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{We will leave the punting for next time!}

Five on Friday

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{It’s mine! I finally got my hands on the Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream perfume – it smells so lovely and the bottle looks fab too.}

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{Another great purchase was the ‘family size’ paddling pool we bought this week. Hours of fun in the garden and keeps the kids cool in this hot weather.}

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{Long sunny days and evenings really are a balm to the soul. Last night I ate my dinner outside with a book for company while the rest of the family were glued to the Commonwealth Games on the TV.}

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{When my parents moved house they gave us their lovingly cultivated tomato plants. This week the tomatoes were finally ripe enough to eat and I have to say that they taste so much nicer than the ones from the supermarket.}

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{All packed and ready to go! We’re off to a wedding in Cambridge tomorrow so tonight has been spent getting all our finery ready. Dress from Asos (bought for Clemmie’s Christening three years ago), shoes and fascinator from John Lewis and clutch by Mulberry.}

Hope you have a fantastic weekend! X

 

School’s Out For Summer!

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{Woohoo! Finally the summer holiday is here and we celebrated by buying a family sized paddling pool! Still in its box so no pictures yet but planning to get it out tomorrow}

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{Who’s ready for sun, sea and ice cream? I really hope the glorious weather stays put for our holiday in two weeks’ time.}

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{No need to call social services, I won’t go quite that far but it will be nice to take a more relaxed approach for a few weeks!}

Three hundred posts!

This is my 300th post on A Spoonful of Style and I had wanted it to be something special but lack of time and inspiration means that a quick update will have to suffice. It is a struggle to keep up with the blog at the moment but I hope you will agree that something is better than nothing! This week (and last) has been a whirlwind of leavers assemblies, teacher presentations and class parties, and to top it all off Clemmie has not been very well. She developed a temperature and scaly rash at the end of last week – the doctor put it down to a virus so I guess we just have to wait it out. Tomorrow is finally the last day of school and I’m looking forward to no school run, homework or after school activities for five and a half weeks, although I’m sure that by end of August I will be counting down the days until they go back.

A quick update on life lately:

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{The spa day was just as fun and relaxing as I had hoped it would be. There was a no phone policy inside the building but I managed to snap a quick pic of the traditional phone box in the garden that one could use to order drinks.}

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{Which of course we did! After swimming, steam room and facials/massages we were in need of some prosecco.}

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{On Sunday we celebrated my in-laws’ wedding anniversary in their beautiful garden. The glorious weather is still here and looks set to last for at least another week. I don’t want to complain but the afternoons are a bit stifling so a paddling pool is next on my shopping list!}

 

 

 

Five on Friday

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{Some new beauty purchases – as usual every product ran out at the same time! I love my new nail polish by Essie in Cute as a Button.}

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{Daddy took Clemmie to the golf course this week (and got her dressed – note winter boots and inside-out skirt!). Soon I will be the only non-golfer in the family.}

Carmen Edge Clutch

{OK, so I don’t really need any more bags but this Carmen Edge clutch by Becksondergaard was too cute to pass up.}

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{Nothing like a bit of me time with a latte and the latest copy of Vogue.}

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{Except maybe packing for my spa day with the girls tomorrow. A whole day of doing nothing but relaxing – I can’t wait!}

Hope you have a fantastic weekend! X