Five on Friday

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{Clemmie was happy to be back home with all her toys. She and I are off to Sweden again in two weeks’ time to visit my sister and her family.}

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{I’m still on a shopping ban but the kids desperately needed some new clothes for autumn so I went slightly mad in Zara Kids this week. They really have some fabulous stuff for both boys and girls.}

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{Now that Casper is moving up to the junior school, both boys needed new backpacks and school supplies like pencil cases, pens and water bottles etc. I still LOVE shopping for back to school things just as much as I did as a child.}

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{OK. so I’m not allowed to shop but I can still look, right? The planning for my A/W wardrobe is well underway and this jumper from All Saints is top of the list along with a new pair of ankle boots and winter coat.}

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{Two weeks of pizza, ice cream, chocolate, cinnamon buns and wine (not necessarily all together) have left their all too visible marks. Time to switch up the healthy eating a gear with the help of recipes such as this delicious-looking one for salmon and chickpea salad. More food inspiration can be found on my Pinterest board.}

Hope you have a fab weekend. It’s a three-day one here in the UK and we intend to make the most of it with plans to go to a food festival and to Ikea to check out new kitchens. What are you up to? X

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Getting into the Christmas Spirit

Poor Clemmie has got tonsillitis so it was a day at home for us today, curled up on the sofa in front of CBeebies while I did my best to boost the country’s economy by pressing the ‘click to buy’ button on my computer more times than I care to remember. We did venture out to pick up some antibiotics from the chemist and I couldn’t resist snapping some pictures of the lovely Christmas displays in the shop windows. Our village is pretty all year round but it really comes into its own at Christmas time.

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This Week’s Favourites

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Sunday night again. The kids are in bed and I’m waiting for Homeland to start but first a quick update on another week that flew by.

1. I took all the children to have their hair cut at the start of the week – the boys’ fringes were getting so long they could hardly see! Clemmie and Casper were happy to just let the hairdresser get on with it but Cameron had very specific ideas about what he wanted – short back and sides (using the clippers) and longer at the front. He spent most of the journey home admiring his own reflection in the car windows!

2. Thursday morning saw the much-anticipated launch of the H&M collaboration with French designer Isabel Marant. As sod’s law would have it, the online shop opened at 9am which is the same time that Clemmie’s preschool opens. As my husband refused to take the kids to school and be late for work so that I could get first dibs on the highly coveted collection (men, eh?) , I had to race home after dropping them off only to be greeted by this message on my computer screen…

3. Until finally, after pressing the ‘Try Again’ button a million times (it seemed like it at least), I was in! Sadly, most of the items on my wish list had already gone but I managed to get my hands on these stunning shoes and also a grey jumper (rather nondescript in the picture but, hey, it’s Isabel Marant at less than £40!).  I have since read that it was one of the fastest selling collaborations of all-times – not surprising I guess, given all the hype surrounding it – so I think I was very lucky to get anything at all.

4. To raise money for Children in Need, Cameron’s school invited all pupils to dress in their pyjamas on Friday while Casper’s school asked them to wear polka dots. The first one was easy enough but as Casper was not keen to wear his sister’s spotty pyjamas (I can’t imagine why!) we ended up cutting out sticky-back felt circles and putting them onto an old plain T-shirt.

5. Finally Friday and candles lit for a cosy night in..

6. ..and a glass (or two) of bubbly to celebrate the end of the week.

7. A very dear friend gave me these four Mateus cups as a belated birthday present. Definitely worth waiting for!

8. Despite the grey, drizzly weather, we went on an outing to Bodiam Castle in Kent this morning. It took just over an hour to get there but it was well worth it.

9. We wrapped up the weekend by having dinner at Pizza Express with the grandparents.

And that’s it. Another week done and dusted! Have a great Sunday night. X

 

Embrace the Chaos

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{My Crazy Gang: They don’t half drive me mad sometimes but I love them to the moon and back}

This has been one of those weeks when we’ve been rushing around, late for everything, with tempers fraying left, right and centre. I love my three children more than anything in the world but sometimes the mixture of toddler tantrums, pre-teen hormones, sibling fighting and refusal to listen can drive me up the wall (especially when they’re all going on at the same time!)  Both boys left their scooters behind at school on the same day this week (I don’t know how they managed that – obviously forgetfulness runs in the family!) which meant that trying to get out of the house on Wednesday morning was even more fraught than usual. I had to take deep breaths and count to ten many a time this week, but I’m sure that one day when they’re all grown up I will look back and miss all the noise and mess!

But for now I’m just enjoying the peace and quiet that has descended over the house this evening as we all relax after our busy week. My father-in-law and his wife are visiting us from France this weekend so I’m going to dim the lights to hide all the dust, light some candles and put a bottle of bubbly in the fridge.

Happy Friday to you all! X

This Week’s Favourites

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{The walk to school takes twice as long when it’s been raining and there are puddles to jump in}

‘Swoosh’ it said and yet another week went by! Seriously, I’m beginning to think that time really does speed up when your kids start school. The seven weeks between the start of this school year and half term (which is this Friday) have gone by so much quicker than the summer holidays did. It has been a quiet week, mainly spent catching up on things that were were put on hold while preparing for last weekend’s party, like completing my tax return and buying the last of the boys’ birthday presents.

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{Clemmie chose her winter hat when we went into Gap during a shopping trip earlier this week. Leopard print is a firm fave of mine as well – like mother like daughter!}

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{I am one step closer to creating my dream home office after buying this print}

The highlight of the week was undoubtely Casper’s seventh birthday today. My youngest son is very much an old soul – wise, thoughtful and kind but, boy, can he throw a tantrum when that way inclined. Today, however, he was all smiles when we woke him up at 7.30 with presents and cake. As both he and his sister had birthday parties to go to today we’ve delayed his party until next weekend. Then the following weekend is my eldest son’s birthday – a busy month but that’s the way I like it!

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{Big brother helps out with the present opening.}

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{A very happy boy. Judging by the smile, I think we got the present right!}

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{It was a bit of a squeeze to fit seven candles onto a very small cake. There will be a bigger one at the party next weekend.}

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{Someone is enjoying having cake for breakfast}

Weekend Photo Challenge: OOTD and Unsuspecting Subject

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I dug deep into the back of my wardrobe for today’s outfit. Or, to be more specific, my husband was dispatched into the loft to locate a tartan skirt that I bought 17 years ago from a high street chain called Morgan (It was French I think. Does anyone remember it or know what happened to it? I used to buy a lot of things from there in my teens and early 20s). I’m not a big hoarder but there are some things I’ve held on to, including this skirt which I bought when I was doing an internship at a fashion magazine. There are also a handful of pieces which I got rid of that I now regret such as a pair of black knee high lace-up boots that I wore all the time at university. The black top with ruched sleeves is from Zara’s kids section and the necklace was a birthday present from a friend.

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Today’s unsuspecting subject is none other than Casper who turned seven today! Here he is (a few days ago) in his school uniform checking out his new Ben Ten watch. It was an early morning for us today as we got up at 7.15am to sing happy birthday to Casper, eat cake and watch him open his presents which included a new scooter, Lego and a Wii game.

Despite rain being forecast, the sun is shining and it’s shaping up to be a beautiful Autumn day. Happy Sunday to you all! X

Linked In

I wanted to share with you some of my favourite links that I’ve come across on the Internet in the last week:

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1. What makes a home happy? Hint: It’s not designer furniture or immaculate carpets… (Thehappiesthome.com)

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2. I’ve discovered a great website for furniture and home inspiration: Nest.co.uk I want this chair for the desk in my bedroom.

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3. Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Read this article to find out. I think I’m a sociable introvert (if there is such a thing?) who prefers one-to-ones and smaller groups. I get quite shy at larger gatherings and absolutely loathe networking.

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4. Emails and texts are great but sometimes only proper stationery will do and you can’t go wrong with classic Smythson of Bond Street.

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5. Check out the best new nail polishes for Fall. Which one is your favourite?

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6.Halloween is fast approaching and I can’t wait to get our box of decorations and costumes down from the loft. Here are some great tips for decorating your house.

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7. Turn your Instagram photos into fridge magnets at Stickygram. They cost $14.99 per sheet of 9 and shipping is free worldwide. I just ordered two sheets today so will let you know what I think when they arrive.

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8. If, like me, you struggle to keep on top of all the clutter that mysteriously accumulates in the house, Oprah’s ‘organizational guru’ Peter Walsh has some very useful strategies to get you on the right track.

Fall To-Do List

Fall To-Do List

As most you have probably gathered, Fall is my favourite season. I’ve already written a post on my Autumn Resolutions and another on Ten Reasons to Fall in Love with Fall, but I couldn’t resist one more focusing on the things I want to do in the next couple of months. Now is the perfect time to start new projects, or perhaps pick up on existing ones which fell by the wayside over the summer, and also to carve out a bit of me-time before the Christmas rush begins.

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1. Start taking more pictures with the Nikon DSLR camera I got for my birthday last year (especially as one of my birthday presents this year was a new lens). I’m still getting to grips with it, and often I forget to take it with me or decide it’s too bulky to lug around, so I end up using my phone but the picture quality is so much better with the Nikon.

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2. Make these cookies. Spiced apple cider instant drink mix is not readily available here in the UK but I found some on eBay.

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3. Go to the ballet. As a child I used to love going to see the Nutcracker around Christmas time and my husband has promised to take me this year.

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4. Host a Halloween party for family and friends. After Christmas and their birthdays, it’s the event that the kids most look forward to. Obviously they love all the candy but also the costumes, decorating the house and, of course, the pumpkin carving.

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5. Go away for a weekend with a friend, ideally to Babington House which is the perfect getaway for pampering treatments, delicious food and cocktails (their pear bellini is to-die-for)

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6. Learn how to cook a roast dinner.

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7. Finish off my photo wall. I have bought all the frames and chosen the pictures so all that remains is printing the photos and putting them up on the wall.

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8. Start at least one morning on the weekend with a long walk and take a moment to appreciate the stunning scenery right on my doorstep.

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9. Wear something other than jeans on at least one day a week. I wear lots of dresses and skirts in the summer but as soon as the temperature drops I practically live in my skinnies. The imitation leather skirt I ordered from H&M has finally arrived so I’m hoping that will inspire me to get out of the denim rut.

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10. Make scrapbooks for the boys of their best pieces of artwork, school and sports certificates. I have keepsake boxes and baby books for each of my children but I think that putting papers into a scrapbook is a better way of preserving them.

Happy Birthday to Me!

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{In our house birthdays mean breakfast in bed, even for mummy!}

It’s my birthday today (yay! happy birthday to me!). I still get ridiculously excited about birthdays and even if I don’t exactly whoop with joy at the thought of new wrinkles appearing, I don’t actually mind getting older (hey, it beats the alternative, right?) and hopefully wiser. My friend Angela over at Read,Sugar wrote a great post on why we should all embrace our birthdays, no matter what age we are (read it here).

These days, birthdays are less about the presents (although there were plenty of those as well, including a new lens for my Nikon camera, this perfume, some more Mateus china for my collection and new yoga clothes) and more about the children piling into bed singing happy birthday and covering me with kisses. (Before devouring my cupcakes and getting crumbs all over the bed, but I can overlook small stuff like that on my birthday 🙂 )

It’s been a busy day so far, starting with a gym class followed by coffee with friends and then a quick trip to the tile shop as the building work to repair the damage caused by a leaking pipe is finally underway. This evening we’re going out for dinner as a family to celebrate a little bit more. Now the sun’s out and it’s shaping up to be a beautiful Autumn day and a great birthday! X

This Week’s Favourites

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A groggy but hungry boy tucking into pizza after his operation; Casper brought in his ‘bravery certificate’ from the hospital to show his classmates; Cameron was proud to win the trophy for good behaviour at Cub Scouts this week; Breakfast x 2 – yummy apple & cinnamon yoghurt and an omelette made in a ramekin dish; This week’s favourite outfit – I love my H&M snakeskin ballerinas; On the train back from London; A tired girl fell asleep in the carseat yesterday afternoon after a late night on Friday; After the train ride earlier this week Clemmie was delighted that the boys’ Scout group had organised a day out at a model railway today.

Bizarrely, I seem to have even less time to get things done since Clemmie started preschool. I think my expectations of how much I could achieve in 12 hours a week were perhaps a tad overambitious. Anyway, once you factor in the time it takes to drop off and collect her at preschool the time easily drops to 10 1/2 hours a week (and that’s assuming I go straight home without chatting to any of the other mums…). I suppose this week has not been typical as I had to collect Casper from school early on Monday before he had his operation. It all went fine – he was such a brave boy and didn’t complain once but that hour waiting for the nurse to come and tell us that he had woken up felt VERY long. Then on Thursday my other son had a (routine) hospital appointment up in town. My husband took him to the appointment but had to go on to a business meeting so I picked up Clemmie early to catch the train into London and meet them for lunch before taking the kids home. As we usually drive into town, it was Clemmie’s first time on the train and she loved it so much she cried when we had to get off. Now I know that if she’s having a bad day I can just buy a Travel Card and go up and down the train track to keep her happy!

So yes, to cut a long story short, I have not really accomplished much this week. I had visions of myself embarking on an exercise regime, doing a massive clear out of all the kids’ toys and clothes as well as catching up with the paperwork and answering all those emails which fill me with guilt every time I open my inbox. But tomorrow is a new start, with seven unwritten days stretching out in front of me, and as I’m booked into a gym class at 9.30am I hope that will set me off in the right direction. If not, there’s always next Monday…