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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Enjoy the Little Things

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They say that the secret to lasting happiness is finding joy in the little things and counting your blessings every day. So here is my list of the things that are making me happy right now:

* My sister is visiting from Sweden with her children at the moment. As I’ve been working lots this week I haven’t seen much of them yet but Clemmie has spent three days at my parents’ house and has been so happy playing with her cousins. And we have a big family lunch planned for tomorrow.

* I don’t mind the extra work as I’ve been really lucky to land a job which I love (at a time when I wasn’t even looking for work!) and can do from home.

* Today is Friday, my favourite day of the week, and after collecting the boys from tennis camp it is the official start of the weekend!

* The laundry basket is almost empty which means I can forget about the washing for the whole weekend.

* The sun is shining and will hopefully carry on doing so for the next few days.

* I have a butternut squash roasting in the oven at the moment and am planning to make this dish for supper tonight.

* One of my friends is popping over during my lunch break and I’m looking forward to a cup of coffee and nice chat.

* I got an email from Space NK offering me £10 off just as my concealer and foundation have both run out.

I wish you all a Happy Friday! X

World Book Day – My Recommendations

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As anyone with school age children will no doubt be aware, today is World Book Day. My eldest scooted off to school this morning dressed as Sherlock Holmes in my old Burberry mac (under strict instructions not to leave it behind on the football pitch at break time!) as well as a deerstalker hat, pipe and magnifying glass hastily ordered from Amazon on Express Delivery a couple of days ago.

As a working (albeit part time) and blogging mum of three, I haven’t got much time to read books and when I do get a chance to pick one up I usually go for lighter stuff that you can dip in and out of without losing the thread. I have vowed that I will immerse myself in the classics when the kids are older and I can actually read more than a few pages without being interrupted. Like most people, I read quite a few of them at school but some, like Anna Karenina and Atonement for instance, are still on my list and there are others that I think I would enjoy rereading without having to analyse the content in an essay.

Anyway, I had a hunt around the house this morning (as we only have two bookshelves it didn’t take long!) and for what it’s worth, here are my recommendations for a good read.

Chaperone

The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty

This was the most recent book I read. Set in the 1920s it tells the story of Cora Carlisle who has been hired to act as the chaperone for a 15-year-old Louise Brook as they journey from Kansas to New York city. It soon becomes clear that Cora is hiding secrets of her own, including the real reason why she longs to visit New York so much…

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Front Row by Jerry Oppenheimer

If you’re into fashion, Vogue powerhouse Anna Wintour hardly needs an introduction. However, while everyone is familiar with her sleek bob and huge sunglasses, the woman behind them remains an enigma. Based on scores of interviews, this unauthorised biography chronicles Anna’s climb to the top of the magazine world exposing how she artfully reinvented herself along the way.

Elvis

Elvis has left the building by Tania Kindersley

I read this book when it was first published in 2001 and as I picked it off the shelf today I decided that it is definitely due a re-read. Weaved around the art world, it’s a funny and poignant story about a heartbroken girl coming to terms with the end of a nine year relationship and gradually taking her revenge.

Bell Jar

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

This is probably the book that I most associate with my teenage years. I studied Sylvia Plath at school and was fascinated by both her poetry and personal life. First published in 1963, the book is as relevant today as it was then, and provides a haunting insight into the reality of mental illness.

Faithfull

Faithfull by Marianne Faithfull and David Dalton

A memoir by the original rock chick which recounts her days in the swinging 60s including her much publicised relationship with Mick Jagger, her descent into heroin addiction and subsequent recovery. A brutally honest autobiography, the book also serves as a captivating cultural history of London’s music scene.

When words don’t come easy…

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Somewhere between the Christmas stress, starting a new job and a couple of exhausting nights looking after a sick toddler, I seem to have temporarily misplaced my blogging mojo. It’s not that I’m short of ideas or inspiration, I just haven’t got the energy to sit down and string the necessary words together. Tomorrow is the last day of school for the boys before Christmas and I’m sure the two week break will do us all good. At the moment, even getting out of the house on time in the mornings is a struggle, let alone keeping on top of the Christmas preparations and all the usual household tasks that mount up, regardless of whether it’s the festive season or not.

So, for tonight this is all folks. I hope to return in a few days with something more interesting to say! In the meantime, hope you all have a great weekend. X

Date Night ♥

Ready to go out in skirt from H&M, top from Zara, clutch by Mulberry and cuff from H&M (last year)

Ready to go out in skirt from H&M, top from Zara, clutch by Mulberry and cuff from H&M (last year)

After 17 years together (11 of them married), three children and four homes, my husband is still one of my favourite people to spend time with. Of course like all couples we argue (let’s face it family life can be extremely stressful at times) but he still makes me laugh and I value his opinion above pretty much anyone else’s.

But while we’re quite good at giving each other ‘me time’ (to do exercise, see friends etc) and socialising with other people as a couple, it always feels like a bit of an indulgence to book a babysitter just so the two of us ca go out together. Every time we do manage to organise a date night though, I wonder why we don’t do it more often. It doesn’t have to be a big elaborate occasion – this time we just went for a meal at a local restaurant. We had a glass of wine at the pub first followed by a lovely two-course dinner and were home before midnight so I still managed to make it to the gym this morning.

A chilled glass of rose tasted like summer even if the temperature outside was anything but. Chorizo and king prawn skewers with chilli mayo to start followed by chicken saltimbocca with pan fried potatoes and rocket.

A chilled glass of rose tasted like summer even if the temperature outside was anything but. Chorizo and king prawn skewers with chilli mayo to start followed by chicken saltimbocca with pan fried potatoes and rocket.

Bedroom makeover

Top row (l-r): Neisha Crosland Pollen wallpaper, Neisha Crosland Merlin wallpaper, Christian Lacroix Air de Paris wallpaper. Middle row: curtains from John Lewis, lamp base and shade from Ikea. Bottom row: Grey cushions from Heal's and white cushion from Day Home

Top row (l-r): Neisha Crosland Pollen wallpaper, Neisha Crosland Merlin wallpaper, Christian Lacroix Air de Paris wallpaper. Middle row: curtains from John Lewis, lamp base and shade from Ikea. Bottom row: Grey cushions from Heal’s and white cushion from Day Home

When we moved into our house just over five years ago we immediately started ripping out carpets, sanding floorboards and painting all the rooms. Funnily enough, deep red carpets paired with lilac or mustard coloured walls weren’t exactly to our taste…

Since then we haven’t done very much to the house apart from adding a laundry room and renovating the bathroom (as we only have one bathroom for five of us it takes quite a beating). The neutral colour palette and stripped wooden floors combo that we have chosen is easy to live with and can easily be updated by changing the curtains, cushions or furnishings. Another reason for not making any major changes is that we are hopefully planning an extension in the not too far future, creating a big open plan kitchen/living area downstairs and converting the loft into a master bedroom with en-suite. However, this is still at least another year down the line and lately I’ve found myself looking at interior magazines and Pintrest boards rather wistfully, wishing that I could incorporate some of the ideas into my own home.

It just so happens that last year we had a leak in our roof which, although it was fixed before Christmas, damaged the ceiling and wall in our bedroom (if you look closely at the picture below you can see the stain on the ceiling in the left hand corner, and the water has also seeped into the wall and marked the wallpaper). Well if you ask me it’s the perfect excuse to redecorate the bedroom and change the look. I still like having a feature wall in there (it’s the only one in the house) as I think it softens the room a bit. The wallpaper we have at the moment is by Neisha Crosland and I really love her designs, including the two in the picture above. I think a grey and white colour scheme would be nice and calm, possibly with a bit of soft pink or lilac thrown in to add a feminine touch. Meanwhile, I’ll carry on surfing the net looking for more inspiration to pin to my boards. The great thing about Pintrest is that you can create your moodboards, chop and change as you like and keep them all in one place. If you want to follow me on Pintrest please click here.

Bedroom

The Weekend in Pictures

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I kicked off the weekend by having three of my girlfriends over for dinner on Friday night (my husband was at home but decided that it was safer to retreat into the living room rather than join in the girly gossip!). We started with some croustades filled with smoked salmon and a chicken and tarragon mixture, followed by Chilli Corn Carne and finished off with my lemon and white chocolate cake. They very kindly brought me some beautiful flowers that have brightened up the house no end. I also got to use my new placemats from Svenskt Tenn which I love but they make me feel a bit nostalgic as the design depicts a map of my hometown of Stockholm .

Feeling rather delicate on Saturday morning, I went for a long overdue haircut and colour and caught up on some celebrity gossip over a cappuccino . On a whim I asked the hairdresser to put some curls in my hair rather than the usual straight blow dry. I really liked it and have now booked in for another blow dry before one of the parties we’re going to next month.

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This weekend we finally got some sunny weather so off to the garden centre we went on Sunday to buy some flowers to plant in the pots on the terrace. I’m not green-fingered by any stretch of the imagination, but I actually quite enjoyed it and think they turned out pretty good for a complete novice, even if I do say so myself! Now I just have to make sure they stay alive, and with my track record I know that’s the tricky part.

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American Vintage + Becksondergaard = My daily uniform

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I once read an interview with Vivienne Westwood where she said that she likes to wear the same outfit two days in a row so that every other day she doesn’t have to think about what to wear. It sounds like a great strategy but with three children, the youngest of whom is only two, my outfits rarely remain presentable for more than one day (if that!). I love fashion, but when the alarm goes off at 6.45am and I’m racing against the clock to get the kids off to school and nursery I don’t have the time or head space to think about experimenting with new looks.

So just like my boys have their school uniform I have selected some pieces that form the basis of my ‘mummy uniform’. It won’t set any catwalk alight but it’s comfortable to wear, looks good and can easily take me from the school run to a lunch date or shopping trip. Good basics are the backbone of any functional wardrobe and you can’t beat French label American Vintage with its flattering T-shirts made from the softest Supima cotton in a vast array of colours from neutrals to mouthwatering sorbet shades. I admit that I’m somewhat addicted to scarves and probably buy far too many, but they’re such an easy way to add a bit of colour or change the look of an outfit. My go-to scarf label is Danish brand Becksondergaard which has a huge selection of scarves adorned with stars, stripes, hearts or skulls.

Add a pair of Paige Denim Skyline jeans (their 29″ ankle peg cut is perfect for shorties like me as there is no need to take up the hem) and, depending on the season and weather, some biker boots or ballerinas and I’m good to go!

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