Summer Vibes

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The fact that I’m writing this post while gazing out of the window at a grey sky and spitting rain only serves to fuel my desire to escape to sunnier climes as soon as possible. Sitting at my desk with a woolly cardigan draped around my shoulders and my feet snugly ensconced in a pair of slippers, it seems like the ideal time to start planning my summer wardrobe. While the sun may elude us here in London, we do have a holiday planned to Mallorca, which means at least one week of guaranteed beach weather this summer (a vast improvement on last year as I can only recall one or two days of glorious sunshine). So here are some of the items I would like to be packing into my suitcase come August:

  1. A pair of denim shorts are a perennial summer staple and these ones from Gap have just the right amount of distressing so they look naturally casual rather than too try-hard.
  2. I rarely wear high heels in summer and these silver espadrilles from Whistles are smart enough to take you from beach to bar while still being supremely comfortable.
  3. The soft sheen of rose gold looks fabulous against tanned skin and this stunning Astley Clarke moonstone pendant can be worn on its own or layered with other delicate necklaces.
  4. I tend to stick to a neutral or monochrome colour palette all year round but it’s fun to liven up an outfit with brightly coloured accessories such as this beach bag by Sophie Anderson. Inspired by the designer’s travels in Colombia, the roomy tote has been handcrafted by the country’s skilled weavers.
  5. This gorgeous dress from Isabel Marant’s Étoile collection has popped up in my Bloglovin’ feed quite a few times over the past month or so. The drop waist silhouette and soft ruffles are universally flattering and while it qualifies as an investment piece rest assured that this is a dress that you will want to keep wearing long after the temperatures drop.
  6. Simple but oh so stylish, this striped romper is the kind of thing I imagine chic Parisian girls wear on their annual summer jaunts to the Riviera. Pair with huge shades and a wide brimmed hat to truly channel your inner Brigitte Bardot.
  7. An off the shoulder top is a must this summer and this one from H&M will look great with the Gap shorts or a pair of jeans on cooler days.
  8. Finally, a hat is also a necessity to protect your face, scalp and hair from the sun’s rays. To avoid it getting crushed in your suitcase it is best to wear it on the plane, which also helps you switch into holiday mode!

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

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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Our Christmas in Pictures

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I hope you all had a lovely Christmas. Ours went by in a flash but it was wonderful and definitely one that we will remember and treasure for many years to come. Since having children, we have always spent Christmas at home or at our parents’ houses (which are less than half an hour away) so I was looking forward to going away to celebrate both Christmas and my father’s 70th birthday together with my parents and my sister’s family. From the moment we arrived at Moonfleet Manor in Dorset I felt all the stress from the run-up to the festive season melt away. The Georgian manor house was beautifully decorated with Christmas trees in all the downstairs rooms and mantlepieces heaving with pine and cone garlands. No meals to cook, no house to clean and no need to worry about entertaining the children as there was a swimming pool, games rooms and a huge indoor play area with room to play football and tennis as well as a soft play area for the younger ones. I even had time to read a book and, after a busy Christmas Day with stockings in the morning followed by a treasure hunt which ended in a truly magical Santa’s Grotto, my sister and I booked in for a relaxing facial and massage on Boxing Day. And of course, lots and lots of food, including a six course Black Tie gala dinner on our last night – so healthy eating is definitely on the agenda for January!

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Back home there were more presents to open under the tree (with only a small car we couldn’t bring any big gifts with us) including a dolls house for Clemmie and a new games console for the boys, which they were up playing early this morning. We managed to drag them away for a few hours to go to the zoo and enjoy the sunshine (a welcome change from the horrible rain and wind).

The boys have just gone to bed and when I said goodnight I asked what they thought was the best part of Christmas. I expected them to say ‘Getting a Lego set or an Xbox’ but they both replied ‘being together at the hotel and seeing our cousins’ which made me so happy because, to me, that is what Christmas is all about: family and togetherness.

There are still a few more lazy days to enjoy before reality kicks in again and I, for one, intend to make the most of them by doing not very much at all! X

This Week’s Favourites

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Hello there, First of all I just wanted to say a big thank you for all your lovely supportive comments on my previous post. It’s very comforting to know that I’m not the only one to be hit by bloggers block! How are you all bearing up under the Christmas stress? I finished the wrapping last night and today has been a mad dash (in the pouring rain, of course!) buying new shoes for the boys, haircuts for all the kids, and packing our bags for three nights away. We leave tomorrow morning and although it feels strange not to be spending Christmas at home, we are all very excited to be trying something new. We (hopefully) have a fun packed few days ahead and I’ve been cramming the suitcases full with fancy dress outfits, Black Tie attire, wellies and swimming costumes.

It may be a day late but I wanted to take a few minutes to do my weekly round up:

 

1. It seems like ages ago now, but Cameron was off school with a tummy ache last Monday. Once I’d finished work in the morning, we played quite a few boardgames including Junior Monopoly.

2. Luckily he had recovered by the following day and was able to do a reading in church at his school’s carol service.

3. Amaryllis = Christmas and ours is now in full bloom.

4. Christmas wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the big guy in red himself. The boys were happy to pose with Father Christmas (a really good one this year who took his time to chat to all the children individually) but Clemmie preferred to stay close to Mummy.

5. She did manage to divulge that she wants a dolly for Christmas and enjoyed the visit to the playground afterwards.

6. Another festive tradition is making gingerbread biscuits. I buy the dough ready made from the Swedish food shop, so much easier than making your own. I had planned to buy some writing icing to decorate them but the kids managed to eat every single biscuit before I had time. Note to self: Buy two batches of dough next year.

7. As we’re away over Christmas (it’s my dad’s 70th birthday on Christmas Day no less so we’re going to stay in a hotel for three days), we enjoyed a traditional Swedish Christmas lunch with my parents, sister and family and the in-laws yesterday.

8. Clemmie and her cousin are only six months apart in age and get on really well, chatting away in a mixture of English and Swedish. It will be lovely to spend three solid days together over Christmas.

9. And finally I just had to share my latest purchase with you – the Nars At First Sight eye and cheek palette. My mother-in-law bought me a voucher for Space NK for my birthday and this week I managed to nab the very last palette in stock!

Right, back to the packing it is and in case I don’t get a chance to post in the next couple of days: A very merry Christmas to you all! X

This Week’s Favourites

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My lovely husband offered to wash up even though he cooked dinner so I’m earlier than usual with my ‘weekly favourites’ post. It’s been a great week – busy but not stressful – and even though there are only nine (!!) days until Christmas I feel quite organised and in control (a definite first for me!). So without further ado here is the roundup I know you’ve all been waiting for!

1. I finished off the last Christmas shopping this week and of course no trip into town is complete without a Gingerbread latte at Starbucks to keep the energy levels up.

2. Cameron’s school Christmas concert was a delight: the children looked angelic and sang so beautifully it almost brought a tear to my eye!

3. Casper was not to be outdone and sparkled as Roman in his school nativity the following day.

4. As I mentioned in my last post we have put up all the Christmas decorations and I’m already dreading taking them down in the new year. January and February are my least favourite months and the house always seems so dark and dreary when the Christmas lights are packed away.

5. The little nativity set is a favourite with the children who love playing with it and moving the figures around. I don’t mind as long as it all stays on the mantlepiece!

6. The Christmas tree has a real mix of old, new and homemade decorations. It’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination but there’s plenty of time for an immaculate tree when the children have grown up.

7. We went to a 1960s theme party last night so I wore false eyelashes for the very first time. Luckily my friend was on hand to help with hair and makeup as I think I would have struggled to glue them on by myself.

8. All ready to go in my 60s dress bought on eBay for £20! I didn’t take any pictures at the party but there were some fabulous costumes, includng Twiggy, Audrey Hepburn and the 1966 World Cup winning England football team.

9. After last night’s party a lazy Sunday was in order. I’m trying to make more of an effort to sped one-to-one time with the boys so Cameron and I went to the cinema this afternoon to see the new Disney film Frozen (and I managed to not fall asleep!).

Hope you all have a fantastic Sunday evening! X

This Year’s Christmas Card Trauma…

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You know the saying ‘Never work with children or animals’? Well, the first part of that statement certainly rang true last week when I spent two separate afternoons trying to get just one decent picture of the children in their Santa hats to use for a Christmas card. Despite bribing them with promises of sweets (bad mummy, I know..) getting the three of them to all look at the camera and smile at the same time proved rather challenging, to put it mildly…

If one wasn’t picking their nose, the other was sticking their tongue out or the third was tickling/pinching/pushing their siblings. It was actually easier when Clemmie was baby, as at least she stayed in one place instead of climbing all over the sofa and her brothers. I came close to giving up but I know how much our friends and relatives (many of whom live abroad) appreciate these cards. In the end it was worth persevering as I did get one (yes ONE) usable picture. Jazzed up with a bit of fake snow and a red border it does the job, even if Cameron looks like he wants to be anywhere but in the picture (that’s a pre-teen’s prerogative I suppose..)

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This year’s Christmas card from the Anderson family. I hope the recipients appreciate the hours of hard work that went into it…

I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas…

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{Winter Fairylight Tree, £65; Silver Spray Wreath, was £70 now £56; Candles of various sizes in The White Company’s gorgeous Winter scent, from £10; Set of 2 Spruce Stars, was £12, now £9.60}

I love The White Company any time of year but especially at Christmas. I was flicking through their catalogue at a friend’s house this afternoon and found so many lovely decorations that I would love to have in my house this festive season. My favourite is the Winter Fairylight Tree in the top left picture which would look perfect by the window in our dining area. At the moment, many items in The White Company Christmas range are 20% off, but I know from past experience that they tend to sell out fast, so hurry if you want to grab a bargain!

The first of our decorations will go up at the end of this week, in time for the First of Advent on Sunday. When do you start to deck the halls for Christmas?

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{Christmas wrapping, from £3.50; Knitted Father Christmas decoration, was £10 now £8; Set of 3 Pine Cone Decorative Ties, was £6 now £4.80; Knitted Christmas Stockings, from £30}

This Week’s Favourites

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Happy Sunday everyone!

We’ve had a lovely day with a trip into town to buy a new coat for Daddy and shoes for Cameron followed by a visit to the school Christmas fair, where the children managed to spend their allocated £4 in about 10 minutes flat. Once we were back home I cooked a big cottage pie (comfort food at its best!) which we ate after the boys had finished their homework, with a large glass of red wine for the grown ups. We’re just about to round off the evening with a game of Cluedo before bedtime but I thought I’d get a quick blog post in while the boys are setting it all up. It’s been a quiet week so not too many pictures this time…

1. Clemmie enjoying a cake pop at the cafe while we’re waiting for Casper to finish his piano lesson.

2. A leisurely breakfast after the kids went off to school and preschool. I love my grey and pale pink Mateus china (hope to get some more from Father Christmas..)

3. I FINALLY ordered the pictures for my picture wall which has now turned into four photos propped up on a picture shelf from Ikea (but hey it’s better than nothing and easier than trying to line up all the frames evenly on the wall)

4. The children were all playing quietly while I was cleaning the house. I went upstairs to find Clemmie sitting in Casper’s toy box reading a book. She looks very pleased with herself!

5. I can’t even begin to tell you how long my list of things to do before Christmas is, especially now that all three of them have their own Christmas plays/concerts. Much of this week was spent preparing for Cameron’s school Christmas fair – all the parents are asked to donate tombola and lucky dip prizes, buy raffle tickets, bake cakes and then help out on the day.

6. If we didn’t know already that Christmas was just around the corner Clemmie was happy to remind us, dancing around the kitchen this morning in her little Santa outfit. The cutest elf in the house!

Right, they’re calling me now so I’d better go downstairs. Have a good night everyone! x