Five on Friday

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{Last Sunday was the First of Advent so we lit the first of our four Ikea candles. We’re slowly starting to put some Christmas decorations up but have yet to buy a tree..}

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{The best thing about winter: cosy evenings in front of the fire with a glass of red wine and a good movie.}

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{‘Tis the season of the nativity plays and this year I have three (!) to go to. The first one, by Clemmie’s class, was this week and it was very sweet. In case you’re wondering, she was one of six Inn Keepers!}

Beautiful Mess Planner

 

{One of my New Year’s resolutions for next year will definitely be to get organised and to this end I have purchased the brand new 2015 planner by A Beautiful Mess.}

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{The beauty goodies from the Liberty London Advent calendar have brightened up the grey mornings this week. So far I’ve uncovered an Aromatherapy cleanser, a Nail and Cuticle serum, a Nars blusher (my favourite item so far) and a £25 discount voucher to the hair salon run by celebrity hairdresser Josh Wood. Not bad and I still have 19 drawers to go!}

Hope you all have a great weekend! X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This Week’s Favourites

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A Gingerbread latte (I was pleasantly surprised that they were still on the menu even though Christmas is over) and mini muffin at Costa earlier this week while Cameron was at his tutor. The traffic was horrendous so I needed a quick energy boost to face the drive home.

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Clemmie and her best friend on the way to pick up their older siblings from school. They have known each other since birth and, although they sometimes have their little squabbles, they are super cute together and you can tell they really love each other.

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Finally made it to the cinema last night to see American Hustle and I was not disappointed. It is an excellent film and I’m not surprised it has received so many Oscar nominations.

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During the week my breakfast tends to consist of a bowl of cereal eaten at my desk so on the weekends it is nice to make a bit more of an effort. These scones are a favourite of both mine and the kids and take no time at all to make.

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Another purchase in the Sales – most likely my last this season – but I couldn’t resist these shoes by Poste Mistress which were reduced from £80 to £36.

I had some work to do tonight so apologies for the short post! But I’m firmly of the belief that, if time is scarce, it is better to write something rather than nothing. Hope you agree!

Have a fab Sunday night. X

This Week’s Favourites

I just sat down to write my weekly round up post and realised I only had four pictures (and none of them of actual people!) from this past week! I guess now that I’m working four days a week and not out and about so much, there aren’t so many photo opportunities (let’s face it, pictures of me hunched over the laptop with a cup of coffee are not that interesting).  It doesn’t help that it’s January – the month which is renowned for being devoid of social engagements – so hopefully things will pick up in the next few weeks. My mood has finally lifted over the weekend and I feel much more positive going into the new week – going for a run yesterday morning really helped so I’m planning to fit in a couple of sessions at the gym this coming week to try and hold on to those happy endorphins!

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I found this book in my bedside cabinet – I can’t remember where I got it but it made for entertaining reading on a train journey into London for a meeting this week. The book was first published in 2006 so some anecdotes were a bit out of date but it gave some interesting insights into the fashion industry.

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It finally stopped raining and the weather got cold (and sunny) enough for me to wear the Ugg boots I got for Christmas. I love Uggs – so warm and comfortable!

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Friday night TV dinner – spaghetti carbonara with a side salad and a nice glass of red – in front of Breaking Bad, of course. We’re now on the last series – what will we do when it’s all over? I’m hoping the second season of House of Cards is out soon…

I had planned to go to the movies with a friend last night to see American Hustle but we left it too late and when we tried to book online all three cinemas near us were sold out. We will have to try next weekend instead.

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A trip to Ikea was on the agenda today, to buy a new shelving unit for my eldest son’s room, storage boxes and all the other usual bits and pieces that magically seem to jump into our trolley every time we visit the Swedish superstore. I was fairly restrained today it has to be said as we’re still feeling the pinch from the Christmas blowout…

It’s almost 8pm so time to round up the kids (who are still downstairs riding the wave of that second wind of energy they seem to get as soon as bedtime approaches) and try to get them into bed. I’m determined that our mornings this week will be a lot more pleasant than they were last week…

Happy Sunday to you all! X

 

This Week’s Favourites

I guess I’m not alone in feeling slightly down in the dumps tonight as two weeks of Christmas holiday and family time draw to a close. Tomorrow the kids go back at school and preschool and I’m back at work (luckily I work from home so no commuting in the rain). It does feel like we’ve had a proper break and, although I don’t relish the thought of having to drag the children out of bed at 7.15am, hopefully we all have a bit more energy than before the holidays.

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We kicked off this week with a trip to Hampton Court ice rink. The boys did really well, ice skating in the pouring rain and howling wind, and were rewarded with hot chocolate topped with whipped cream afterwards.

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Rain, rain and more rain meant that indoor activities were mostly on the agenda this week. Luckily there were lots of new Christmas toys and games to keep us busy like this ice cream play dough set:

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I didn’t manage to take any pictures at all on New Year’s Eve. We were invited to a party at a friend’s house but as Clemmie had a cold she and Daddy stayed at home while the boys and I went for a couple of hours. All the kids were tucked up in bed well before midnight and the hubby and I gave the televised Big Ben countdown a miss and watched a couple of episodes of Breaking Bad instead. Does it get any more rock n roll?

The highlight of my week was without a doubt our trip into town last night to see the English National Ballet performance of The Nutcracker. With the children safely deposited at the grandparents, we took the train up London just the two of us, for the first time in ages. The weather had brightened up so we went for a walk around Covent Garden, taking in all the festive decorations like the giant red baubles..

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..and the massive Rudolph complete with shiny red nose.

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We had dinner at Balthazar, which opened its London outpost a few months ago.

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Delicious food and a glass of bubbly to set the mood..

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..before we made our way to the Coliseum for the performance.

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I saw The Nutcracker a few times as a child but my husband had never seen it before. We both agreed that it was a great night out and I’m sure we will go to the ballet again in the not too far future.

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As we had some time before our train, we decided to walk across the bridge to Waterloo Station…

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..and I was reminded of how much I love this city and how lucky we are to have all that it offers right on our doorstep.

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Today has been spent taking down the Christmas decorations, hoovering up thousands of pine needles (those things get everywhere! I’m sure I’ll still be finding some under the sofa come June), and getting the boys’ bags ready for school. With the alarm set for 7am, I’m going to have a cup of tea and some chocolate (no need to rush into the January healthy eating regime!) in front of the TV before heading off to bed. Wish me luck for tomorrow morning! 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 Week’s Favourites

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I could really do with an extra five (child free!) hours in the day at the moment. Despite my best intentions I still haven’t wrapped ANY of the Christmas presents and each day more packages are arriving in the post and added to the towering pile of cardboard boxes in the laundry room. I feel like one of those compulsive shoppers who keep keeps buying more and more stuff but just hiding the unopened bags in the cupboard (except none of the purchases are actually for me). Tomorrow I really must start opening the boxes and wrapping a few each night…

But first here is a quick recap of my week:

1. I’m doing most of my Christmas shopping online but I did venture into town earlier this week and stumbled across a cute Christmas market in the church yard, complete with traditional stalls and..

2. ..an old-fashioned cart selling hot chestnuts. I’ve never actually tried them (if anyone has – are they nice?) but they smell gorgeous.

3. The advent stars in our kitchen windows are switched on every afternoon as soon as it starts to get dark. I love how they make the room feel all warm and cosy and always miss them when they come down in January.

4. It was a very busy weekend for us and one of the highlights was the Christmas concert which Casper’s Beaver Scout group put on last night. Casper and his friend dressed up as The Proclaimers and gave a sterling rendition of their hit I’m Gonna Be (500 miles).

5. This morning we got up early to go to The Swedish Church in London for the annual St Lucia celebration. The boys dressed up as ‘stjarngossar’ (star boys) and Clemmie was a tiny Lucia. We all sang Christmas songs before going down to the church hall for gingerbread biscuits, coffee and juice.

6. I know I’m biased, but have you ever seen a cuter Lucia? Clemmie was very brave and stayed at the front of the church for the whole concert. My baby is growing up!

7.. Counting down the days: We lit the second advent candle today, not long to go now!

8. My husband and I also had a taste of this year’s Glogg (a bit like mulled wine but nicer, in my opinion!) before dinner.

9. We rounded off the weekend by heading over to our friends’ house to celebrate their daughter’s third birthday with this yummy red velvet cake. The perfect end to a great week!

We also finally bought our Christmas tree today, so the kids and I put the decorations up when we got home but the lights aren’t on yet so I haven’t taken any pictures. It’s on my list for tomorrow along with the wrapping and writing the Christmas cards…

Hope you have a great evening! X

This Week’s Favourites

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Finally December is here and the countdown to Christmas has begun in earnest. I have vowed that this is the year I am going to be organised and on top of things – no more frantically running around crowded shops the day before school breaks up or sitting up until 2am wrapping Christmas presents on the 24th. I have one friend who had already finished her shopping (including all the stocking fillers) and wrapped it all by mid November! Well, that is never going to be me and in some ways I think it would take the fun out of the run-up to Christmas to be finished so early on (or maybe I’m just jealous that I will never attain that level of organisation) BUT I am working my way through the mammoth list of presents (every year we say we’re going to cut down on the number of gifts and then still end up thinking ‘oh well, just one more won’t hurt..’) and even plan to do some wrapping this week which is a definite first for me.

Here are some pictures and a brief round-up of the last week of November:

1. The boys are on their best behaviour at the moment, knowing that Santa is watching every move. Cameron was being extra helpful this week and even helped to brush his little sister’s teeth.

2. He also read a bedtime story to both his siblings. Believe me, bedtime is not usually this calm in our household!

3. On Tuesday I went to the Swedish shop in south west London with my mum and Clemmie to stock up on Christmas essentials like saffron, gingerbread dough (so much easier than making your own) and glogg.

4. Just like the September issues of the fashion glossies are a must-buy, I think interior magazines really come into their own in December with each sumptuous cover outdoing the next in terms of Christmas decadence. Living Etc is hands down my favourite any time of year.

5. With two older brothers, I thought Clemmie would turn into a little Tomboy but at the moment it is all about dolls, princesses and pink everything.

6. We had some friends over for dinner last night and couldn’t resist cracking open the champagne while we were waiting for them to arrive.

7. Their daughter is Clemmie’s best friend so she had been asking all day when they coming. I bought this dress for her this week from Zara – so cute, I wish it came in an adult version!

8. The first of December and the first of Advent today so we lit a candle in the Iittala candle holder. Let the Christmas countdown begin!

Have a wonderful evening. X

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

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