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

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My Writing Process Blog Tour

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I was thrilled to be invited by ALifeMoment to take part in the Writing Process Tour. If you haven’t checked out her blog yet, I urge you to do so now. It is packed full of mouthwatering recipes, beautifully presented and very clearly written. I have tried quite a few of her recipes already and am always earmarking new ones to try.Her blog has a real ‘feel good’ atmosphere and Alice’s zest for life and good food really shines through.

For those who don’t know what a Writing Process Tour is, it is a virtual tour where a blogger is invited by another fellow blogger to answer some questions and in return he/she has to invite three bloggers to answer the questions and post exactly one week after.

Here are my answers to the questions:

What am I working on?

I started a new job before Christmas so at the moment a lot of my time is spent writing about fine jewellery. Although it is related to fashion, it is a new area for me but I’m really enjoying working as part of a lovely team and learning more about jewellery and gemstones. The blog has had to take a slight backseat in the last few months but I;m determined to carry on with it. For me, the blog is as much about the visual element as the writing – I want it to look appealing and inviting to my readers. I am by no means an accomplished photographer but I am constantly striving to improve my skills. Lack of time is my biggest stumbling block – I have a number of half finished posts sitting in the note section of my phone that hopefully I will finish one of these days!

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Hmm, this is a difficult one. I have deliberately not chosen a particular ‘niche’ for my blog as I didn’t want to be hemmed in by having to write only about one topic, be it fashion, beauty or food. At the moment my blog is a mishmash of all three, plus some interior and family related posts. I can see how picking just one of these to concentrate on would make it easier to grow the blog as the focus and audience would be clearer, but I like the variety of the current set up. It feels like the blog reflects me and my interests and I’m never short of things to write about. My blog is my little haven, away from the everyday chaos of to-do lists and piles of laundry. I want it to be a positive place for people to visit and hopefully leave with a smile on their face.

Why do I write what I do?

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write. I’ve always wanted to be a journalist and even as a child I would make my own magazines by cutting out and gluing pictures and writing made up celebrity interviews, fashion and beauty tips. I started this blog as a creative outlet last year after I gave up freelancing as the childcare arrangements got too complicated and expensive. I want my blog to be accessible and reflect my own life and tastes. While I do write about fashion, I am not a great follower of trends nor do I tend to buy outrageously expensive things. Setting up the blog has also been a great learning curve for me. I am deeply un-technical so every small hurdle that I conquer is a major achievement in my eyes – from figuring out how to set up sub-categories in the menu to adding the social media buttons. Connecting with other bloggers through the WordPress community has also been fantastic and humbling (there are so many great bloggers out there).

How does your writing process work?

I never schedule posts and get a little bit freaked out when I read about bloggers who have several months worth of pre-written posts just waiting to be published. I wish I could be that organised but at the moment I struggle to find the time to post 4-5 times a week, which is my current aim. I do usually have a rough idea of what I want to post at the start of the week and I try to vary the content so that I’m covering all the categories on the blog.

The three bloggers I would like to invite are:

Evelenmargaret: Evangelia’s positive outlook on life reverberates through every post and her blog is a daily source of inspiration. Fashion, beauty, art and travel go hand in hand and her breathtaking photos of her native Greece almost make you feel like you’re there. I have to hide my credit card when reading her ‘Daily Find’ posts, full of covetable fashion and accessories, beautifully put together.

The Hashtag Generation: This blog is quite a new addition to my WordPress Reader but it has quickly become one of my favourites. Well written with great visuals, it is fresh and current with a great mix of content.

Gluestick Mum: Witty and sharp yet warm and inviting is how I would describe this blog. Her anecdotes on family life really do make me Laugh Out Loud and, more often than not, nod in recognition. Reading this blog is like sitting down over a cup of coffee or glass of wine with that friend who always manages to make you feel better about life and put a smile on your face.

 

My First Blog Birthday!

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With everything going on over the weekend I had almost missed that today is A Spoonful of Style’s first birthday! It’s hard to believe that a year has already passed – scary how fast time goes. I started the blog as a way to keep my writing going while being a stay at home mum and in many ways it has become my little cyber haven away from the chaos of everyday life. When I published that very first blog post I had no idea that I was about to join a wonderful community full of friendship and support. I want to say a big thank you to each and every one who has taken the time to visit my blog, read my ramblings, like my posts or leave a comment.

My blog was something of a slow starter, held back to some extent by my own technical inabilities, but in time I managed to get myself set up with both Twitter and Instagram, and recently I even created a Facebook page for A Spoonful of Style. I know we shouldn’t just focus on the stats but I thought it would be fun to do a quick roundup of my blog year in numbers:

Followers: 731

Number of posts: 259

Page views: 20,675

Best ever day for views: 327

Comments: 2,372

Small potatoes compared to some of the bigger blogs out there, but my quest has never been world domination. I’m happy to let my little corner of the blogging world grow organically and am determined not to get too hung up on numbers – it’s quality not quantity that counts in my book! That’s not to say that I plan to rest on my laurels. A Spoonful of Style is still only half the blog I would like it to be and the main reason for that is lack of time. When I landed a ‘proper’ job just before Christmas I did consider giving up the blog as I knew it would be hard to find the time to keep it going. But I’m very glad that I decided to carry on even though my posts are sometimes rushed and not as frequent as I would like. Oh what I would give for an extra three hours in each day!

Going forward,  I would like to use more of my own pictures on the blog, which goes hand in hand with my ongoing quest to improve my photography skills. I would also love to feature recipes every week, more outfit pictures (unfortunately a lot of the time what I wear is not worthy of a blog post!) and guides to things like the best places to shop for interiors, fashion etc. Hopefully, this will be the year that I realise some of those plans.

But in the meantime I’m going to blow out the candle on my cyber birthday cake and start thinking about a giveaway to celebrate this 12 month milestone.

Thanks for reading! xoxo

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Thank You for the Awards!

It seems to be awards season here at A Spoonful of Style at the moment! Last week I was nominated for the Beautiful Blogger Award and this week I’ve received another two awards. Not that I’m complaining, it’s a great honor to have my humble efforts recognised by other bloggers that I admire.

I was nominated for the Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award by Evelenmargaret and Bohoclub. Thank you so much to both of you, it really means a lot.

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As part of the award I have to nominate 12 Sisters who I consider part of my blogging family:

Read,Sugar

Lydia Devadason

Casually Fabulous

Shivaay Delights

Journeys of the Fabulist

The Blackberry Boys

Fat Free Fashion

Reverse Commuter

Freckled Latte

Lady Sarah’s London

Kukolina

Gluestick Mum

 

Evelenmargaret also nominated me for the very special Dynamic Four Award. Thank you so much, I am thrilled to bits!

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For this award I had to describe myself using every letter of the alphabet. Not an easy task but here goes:

Amiable

Blonde

Creative

Dependable

Emotional

Family

Gregarious

Happy

Indecisive

Joyful

Karma

Laughter

Mummy

Naughty

Observant

Playful

Questioning

Random

Swedish

Truthful

Urban

Vivacious

Worrier

Xtravagant

Yoga loving

Zen-seeking

 

And here (drum roll please!) are my four nominees:

Read, Sugar

Jackie Mallon

Donzwebb

The Fashion Huntress

The Beautiful Blogger Award

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The wonderful Lydia Devadason who writes the eponymous blog with the subtitle An Idiot’s Guide to Parenting has very kindly nominated me for a Beautiful Blogger Award. If you haven’t read Lydia’s blog yet check it out here. I love reading her hilarious and insightful anecdotes on parenting. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who sometimes feels like I’m stumbling around in the dark when it comes to bringing up my children and that there aren’t always textbook answers to the situations we are confronted with.

The rules of the award states that I have to select seven blogs and write a short description for each, so here are some lovely blogs that I have recently added to my WordPress Reader.

1. 2 Getting There – With the tagline ‘leaping through life one faith at a time’ follow her inspiring journey to a healthier lifestyle and improving the 3Ps – physical, personal and professional

2. Zen Sophie – Like an oasis of calm this blog is about the road to a more authentic lifestyle through yoga, meditation and mindfulness, with a healthy dose of beauty food and books thrown into the mix

3. Family Answers Fast –  I’ve been following this blog for a while and it’s a firm favourite of mine. Angie Mc’s  family centered approach is super inspiring and I love her calm and wise approach to parenting.

4. Elese, Aesthete – This New Zealander has the lowdown on all the best beauty and skincare products out there. Lovely photos and I adore the product reviews.

5. Less 2 More – As someone who strives for a more minimalistic lifestyle I love this blog about living a life with fewer material possession but rich in the things that really matter.

6. Alifemoment – One of my favourite food blogs with lots of yummy recipes accompanied by colourful, mouthwatering photos

7. Put the Kettle on – Reading this blog is like sitting down and catching up with a friend over a cup of tea and a plate of biscuits.

A Spoonful of Style is now on Facebook!

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Some of you eagle eyed readers may have spotted a row of pretty pastel coloured button on the top right corner of this page. I have finally added social media buttons for Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest and also – drumroll, please! – created a Facebook page for A Spoonful of Style. I am always immensely proud of myself when I master anything technical on the blog – I’m sure that for many bloggers these are very simple things to do but for a ‘non techie’ like me it is a real achievement! (I always worry that I will press the wrong button and ‘Pouff’ the whole blog will somehow be deleted!)

Anyway, the blog is still here and now with its very own FB page. So I now have a tiny little favour to ask of you: if you click here or on the ‘F’ button in the top right hand corner you will get to my Facebook page. Obviously there is no obligation whatsoever, but if you did feel like pressing the ‘Like’ button on my page, it would make my day!

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500 Followers and First Ever Giveaway!

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Wow, I am totally bowled over that A Spoonful of Style has reached 500 followers! A huge thank you to Angela from Read,Sugar who alerted me to this fact as I had totally missed it. To celebrate reaching this (for me at least!) landmark number, I have decided to do my very first giveaway.

Up for grabs is the lovely Charlotte Tilbury makeup bag printed with the fabulous lip prints of some of the most iconic women in fashion (a similar version featured in one of my first ‘Currently Coveting’ posts). All you have to do is leave a comment on this post and I will pick a winner at random after the weekend.

I can’t say it often enough – thank you so much for reading my blog. 500 followers AND it’s Friday, my favourite day of the week!

Here’s to a great weekend ahead. X

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

Sunshine Award – Keep Smiling, Keep Shining!

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The lovely and hugely inspirational Donna over at Donzwebb (if you haven’t yet checked out her blog I urge you to do so now) nominated me for a Sunshine Award almost a week ago. As you can see in my little ‘About Me’ snippet in the sidebar one of my objectives for writing this blog is to hopefully brighten up my readers’ day, so I was over the moon to receive this award!

I’ve only been blogging for a few months but I really love it and am humbled and inspired every day by all the amazing bloggers out there.

Now it’s time to spread the sunshine!

The rules are:

1. Include the Sunshine Award icon in your post
2. Link to the blogger who nominated you
3. Answer 10 questions about yourself
4. Nominate 10 other bloggers to receive the award
5. Link to your nominees and let them know you nominated them.
6. Answer the 10 questions at the bottom and create 10 questions for your nominees to answer.

10 Questions about me:

1. What’s the most difficult thing you’ve ever experienced and how did it change you?

My eldest son being diagnosed with juvenile arthritis at the age of two. Seeing him in horrible pain and unable to walk or even bring a spoon to his mouth was heartbreaking. Eight years on, he still has arthritis although it is managed with medication and there is a small chance he will grow out of it. Having a child with a chronic condition has taught me not to take anything for granted but I am also incredibly grateful for modern medicine and we take part in all the research projects run by the hospital to establish the cause of JIA (and hopefully one day find a cure). Thirty years ago my son would probably have been confined to a wheelchair but today the advances in treatments mean that he can run around, jump and play sports like his peers.

2. What’s the number one thing on your bucket list?

I would love to travel across America (East to West) with my family one day.

3. Why did you start blogging?

I trained as a journalist and while I still do freelance occasionally I was looking for another creative outlet for my writing. I started writing for a website called Mummy’s Own just over a year ago and then eventually plucked up the courage to start my own blog.

4. If you could witness any historical moment, which would you choose?

I’m re-reading The Great Gatsby at the moment and I would love to be transported back to the 1920s – such a glamorous and decadent time in history.

5. If you could meet one person in the world who would it be and why?

It’s not just one person but it would be really awesome to meet some of the friends I’ve made in the blogging world in real life one day, over a cup of coffee or glass of wine.

6. What sound do you absolutely love?

The sound of my three children laughing together while they are all absorbed in a game of make-believe.

7. Best book you’ve ever read?

I’m not sure it’s the best book I’ve ever read but the one which stands out is The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. I was obsessed with her as a teenager and used to carry her poetry books in my school bag. Pretentious moi?

8. If you won the lottery today, what is the first thing you would do?

Buy a bigger house so we wouldn’t have to go through the hassle of having an extension built next year.

9. Favorite vacation spot?

Do I have to pick just one? New York for a long weekend break, Majorca for a family holiday, Italy for the food and Sweden where I grew up for that ‘going home’ feeling.

10. What was the last movie you watched that made you cry?

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Here are just some of the bloggers who always brighten up my day:

4 Mothers

Reverse Commuter

Cupcakes Cocktails and Kids

Evelenmargaret

The Blackberry Boys

Escaping Elegance

Journeys of the Fabulist

Fashion is All That

Sweet Wildflower

Mid-day Spritzer

More Food Please

Sixty Payments

And here are my ten questions:

1. Who would play you if your life was made into a movie?

2. Where in the world would you most like to travel?

3. What is the best thing about blogging?

4. What is your secret indulgence?

5. If someone handed you £1000 tomorrow what would you spend it on?

6. What do you never leave home without?

7. What’s your favourite meal of the day?

8. What makes you laugh?

9. Who would be your ideal dinner party guests?

10. What was the last thing you Googled?