Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Men's Holiday Style With Jacamo

Men's fashion brand Jacamo got in touch to see if I'd like to put together a holiday outfit from their men's range. They have a big selection of men's shorts, here are the items I chose:

1.  Jacamo Drake Raglan T-Shirt in long £10 
I have always been a fan of raglan t-shirts, I think it dates back to my My Girl days. Vada always looked so cool in her raglan tees and dungarees, that's how I would dress all the time if I was a child. I would also have those streamer things on my bike handles. 

I love these glasses but I would secretly cry if Laurie spent this much on a pair of sunglasses because he would almost certainly lose them before the end of the holiday. I'd have to get him one of those fancy neck chains that old ladies use to keep their glasses around their necks. He probably wouldn't go for that. 

I love the colour of the shorts, they have them labelled as red but they look pretty pink to me. Men's clothes can sometimes be pretty boring, all greys, blacks and navy, but I much prefer colourful clothes. 

4.Trustyle Basic Canvas Pump in denim £10 
I couldn't bring myself to choose flip-flops because I hate them. And I hate feet. And why would you want something between your toes?! Terrible. So I chose these basic canvas pumps because these are the sorts of shoes I wish people would wear all the time so I never had to see any feet ever. 

This is a collaborative post.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

5 Easy Ways To Freshen Up A Room

We did a lot of work on the house last year. So much, that I promised we wouldn't have to do anything else for a couple of years. Last spring felt like a long hard slog to get rooms tiled, painted and decorated so I figured we deserved a year off. There's still a lot of work that needs doing on the house and, as soon as spring appeared, I was itching to get started again but I kept my promise. I'm hoping next year I'll be able to convince Laurie that he enjoys DIY (he doesn't) so that we can do some decorating but, until then, I've been focusing on little changes that are cheap and easily made but make the house feel nicer. Here are some ways you can freshen up a room without having to redecorate:

1. Declutter

We have so much crap. Toys, clothes and random unidentified wires seem to leak out of every cupboard and drawer in the house. Even the living room which I really want to be an oasis of calm ends up covered in homework and wooden blocks and random bits of paper by the end of the day. An hour spent decluttering and getting rid of the things we no longer want or need makes a huge difference. I always have a pile of things waiting to go to the charity shop. This is probably the easiest way of freshening up a room because it doesn't cost a penny and can make the room feel new again. 

2. Rent some new furniture

I didn't even know this was a thing until recently, but if you're looking to change the feel of a room, renting furniture might be just the thing you need. There are plenty of furniture for hire UK firms that speclialise in rental furniture. You can rent a new sofa or bed or whatever you need. So it's easy to update a room without having to commit to exactly what you need or fork out to buy a whole room's worth of new furniture. This is a great way to try out different styles and give yourself time to decide whether they are perfect for you and your home. 

3. Update your prints

One of the easiest ways to add character to a room is with wall art. Prints and photographs provide a focal point for the room. Adding a few new prints to your wall can lift a room. If you love the prints you already have, you could consider changing the frames or simply moving the prints around to make the room feel different. 

4. Let the light in

Natural light makes a huge difference to how a room looks. I always think interiors look nicer in the warmer months when there is plenty of natural light flooding into the space. To let in more light, consider changing your curtains or blinds to allow optimum light into the room. You can also use mirrors to draw light in and reflect it around the room. When it comes to mirrors, the bigger the better. This article explains how to use mirrors to lighten a room. 

5. Bring the outdoors indoors

Fresh flowers and plants are a great way of freshening up a room and adding a splash of colour. Some plants can even improve air quality so it's worth looking out for some of those so you can improve the health of your home. Brightly coloured flowers can be used to compliment or contrast with the colour scheme of the room so can make a huge difference to the feel of the room. And, even better, you can change them regularly to stop you getting bored. 

This is a collaborative post. 

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

10 Reasons Why Babies & Heatwaves Don't Mix

I want to enjoy the hot weather, honestly, I do. Back in my youth, I would have set up station in my garden wearing just a bikini until the very last rays of sunshine disappeared beyond the horizon. Things are different now though. If I thought last summer was hard work because of the pregnancy (take a look - 10 worst things about being pregnant on hot days), it had nothing on this year. Turns out, having a baby is pretty damn hard when there’s a heatwave, too. Here’s why:

1. You Have To Keep Babies In The Shade
Yep, that’s NHS advice. Keep babies in the shade. Well, fine, that might be doable when you have a newborn who can’t even roll over and lies happy beside you on the sunlounger, but I have a mobile baby. Not only can she move, she can move fast. And guess what? She doesn’t give a crap about the NHS guidelines. She is heading straight for the sun. I can spend fifteen minutes setting up a patch of shade with each and every toy imaginable in it, she won’t even notice it as she’s crawling full speed to the sun.

2. You Spend All Day Playing Sunhat Buckaroo
I spend pretty much all of my time outside just creeping up on my baby from behind so I can stick a sunhat on her head. She keeps it on for a millionth of a second then rips it off and throws it onto the ground. Once she threw it in the road. She doesn’t care about getting a burnt head, she just wants to be free from the burden of headgear.

3. The Baby Monitor Beeps Endlessly
Some helpful person over at baby monitor HQ thought it would be a good idea to fit thermometers into their products. I can see the reasoning, babies shouldn’t overheat so it helps you keep track of the temperature in the nursery. Yeah, well that’s great in the winter when you can just turn the heating down a notch if the alarm goes off. But what about when it’s 23 degrees at night and about eight billion degrees in your baby’s room and you can’t hear what Kimmy Schmidt is saying because the baby monitor alarm won’t stop going off. I know it’s hot, I am literally dripping in sweat, you don’t need to keep reminding me.

4. Breastfeeding Becomes Way More Flashy
It took me a few months of experimenting with various overpriced breastfeeding tops before I discovered the simplicity of wearing a vest top under my clothes. On top up, one top down and I can breastfeed discretely without flashing too much nipple. But I can’t wear two tops in this heat. Trust me, I tried, it was sweaty. So now I’ve had to wear just a single vest top (this is as dangerous as life gets these days) which means I have to whack my whole boob out when I want to feed the baby who screams blue murder with hunger only to turn away from my exposed breast as soon as I get it out. I’m pretty sure the whole village has seen my boob now.

5. Babywearing Is Grim
I love babywearing. It’s so lovely and snuggly and easy. And, in the winter, I got to be super smug about how warm I was because I had a tiny human radiator attached to my front. Well, I’m not so smug now. By the time I got to school for pick up today, I had an actual moustache made of sweat, my baby was covered in sweat and my fringe was greasy. It is way too hot to have a human strapped to my already sweating chest.

6. It’s Impossible To Dress Them Right
How are you meant to dress babies for a heatwave? I have no idea. I have a whole collection of adorable rompers and playsuits but they’re either too hot or there’s not enough fabric to cover her skin (yes, I might be slightly paranoid about sunburn). Her vests feel too thick to wear. Today I took her out in just a nappy. And I was jealous of her. I would love to be wandering around in just my underwear in this heat.

7. Babies Are Too Slippy
One of the greatest challenges in my life is holding onto my daughter when she wants to go down (this is all the time). I grab onto her and try to keep her up whilst she squirms and flails and battles her way to the floor. This is annoying at the best of times but it’s a million times more stressful when she’s slippy as a ell thanks to all the damn suncream. Putting suntan lotion on her is akin to covering her in oil and then trying desperately not to drop her.

8. Babies Eat Nature
Oh great, it’s sunny, let’s spend time outdoors. Oh no, that’s a flower, don’t eat that. Ooops, don’t eat that twig. Ha, that’s a snail, put him down. Oh, where did you get that stone from? Spit it out please. Oh great, an abandoned cigarette butt, please can I have that. That’s a leaf, don’t eat that. It’s so relaxing spending time outdoors with a baby.

9. Bedtime Is Hard
Bedtime is always hard because babies don’t believe in bedtime. My baby likes to pull books off the side, throw the baby monitor on the floor and crawl terrifyingly close to the edge of the bed. But she doesn’t like to go to bed. It takes ages to get her to sleep. Once she’s finally drifted into a dream, I have to gently pull my arm from under her and climb out of the bed to freedom. That’s not easy when she’s glued to my arm with a thick layer of sweat. I have to peel her skin from my skin just to get away. Obviously, this wakes her up.

10. The Stupid Sun Is Always There
Remember winter? When everything was dark and everybody stayed asleep until morning? Those days are gone. Now the stupid sun shines through my window directly into the eyes of my baby until she wakes up which takes approximately half a second and then she is Awake Forever. Thanks a lot, summer.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Father's Day Gift Guide

1. Personalised adventures with Dad notebook £28 from Maria Allen Boutique  
I absolutely love this personalised wooden notebook. I was sent one to review and the quality is simply gorgeous. Laurie and Ebony are always off on little adventures and I figured this would be a great place for them to record memories. Laurie isn't much of a journal-keeper so I think Ebony will probably be charged with filling it. 

2. No 209 Gin £32 from Amazon 
Laurie likes gin so this is always a safe bet when it comes to gift buying. 

3. Air Pods £198.10 from Amazon 
I think these would change Laurie's life but I also think he would lose them within a week so I'm not likely to actually fork out this much on them. He has some headless headphones but they are slightly ridiculous looking and are already starting to fall apart. 

4. Men's Organic Shaving and Grooming Gift Box £37.95 from Not On The Highstreet 
Can't go wrong with a nice set of vegan skin care. 

5. Cycling Print £20 from Etsy 
I'm currently trying to fill our house with prints because the walls look bare. I like this cycling print from Etsy and think it would look good in Laurie's office. 

6. Google Home £125 from John Lewis
This is basically all Laurie wants in the world. And I haven't got it for him. 

Thursday, 25 May 2017

10 Worst Things About Being Pregnant On Hot Days

I'm not pregnant this year, but I was last year. Those boiling hot summer days you enjoyed last summer? Yeah, I cried through them. I was so pregnant and so sweaty and so swollen. If you are thinking of having a baby in the future, try to time it so that you are at your most pregnant in the winter months. Trust me, a summer pregnancy is absolutely no fun whatsoever. Here's why:

1. "You must be hot, love!" 
There are only so many times you can politely smile at this in 30 degrees heat. I was eight months pregnant when the weather was at its worst (best, to non-pregnant people) and I was having to leave the house to do the nursery run twice a day. I couldn't get down a street without at least one person saying this Whilst Laughing At Me. Builders, old ladies, a guy cutting down a tree, everybody said it and Laughed At Me whilst I waddled along pretending pregnancy thigh chafe wasn't the worst thing ever. 

2. The sympathy
And when people weren't stopping me to laugh at me, I was getting sympathetic looks from little old ladies who 'had summer babies, too'. Great. I was then told in detail about the heatwave of 57 or whatever with the added warning that the weather might be like this during the birth! Isn't there a heatwave coming? Chuckle chuckle. Now, old lady, get lost and leave me alone because I'm very close to punching somebody and I'd rather it wasn't you. 

3. The swelling
I had to stop wearing my wedding ring when I was about five minutes pregnant anyway because my bit fat swollen fingers could no longer house dainty jewellery. By the time summer rocked around, I couldn't even wear my maternity skirt as a ring around my finger because the swelling was so grotesque. Not in a pre-eclampsia way, just in a look-how-fat-my-repulsive-hands-are way. 

4. The shaving standards
Normally, I wouldn't want to go out in a skirt without tights on. Period. Especially if I was on my period. Nobody needs to see my legs. On the rare (and always sunny) occasions I do drag my blindingly white legs out onto the streets, I like them to be shaved and moisturised so that I can tell myself they look like the legs from a Venus advert (though they definitely don't). All of this went out of the window (along with my self respect) when I was pregnant. Shaving takes about three days when your legs are a) the size of Scotland and b) completely hidden from view so I just gave up. Sometimes I would run a razor along my shin as a sort of polite attempt at shaving but this probably just gave the effect of a foot-made path through an overgrown meadow. I couldn't see if they were hairy or not so what did it matter. 

5. The sound of flesh squeaking against a birthing ball
There is nothing quite like the sound of sweaty ass flesh squeaking against the rubber of a birthing ball as you bounce all day long in a desperate attempt to get the damn baby out. It didn't work. If anything, I think the high-pitched wail of fat rubbing on rubber echoing from the only way out probably put her off coming at all. And who can blame her. 

6. The size of your feet 
If you thought your swollen fingers were extreme, try having a glance down at your feet. I know, you can't see them, but take a photo with your phone and then look at it. No, you aren't wearing your novelty shrek feet slippers, those are your actual feet. That's what your fingers would look like too if they were carrying 14 stone around all day long. Your poor feet, don't even attempt to force them into shoes, just embrace sandals. Flip flops for the win. 

7. You fantasise about fans
I wanted a fan so badly last summer. It was all I thought about. I once went to a friend's house and she had a fan and, even though my friend was taken ill and ended up puking into the toilet, I wouldn't leave because I loved the fan so much. I was cool for the first time in weeks, I wasn't going to let the smell of vomit and the risk of catching a sickness bug put me off. One evening, I sent Laurie out to buy a fan. He came home with a new hosepipe but forgot the fan. He is lucky he survived to tell the tale. 

8. You don't wear any of your maternity clothes
Maternity clothes cost a fortune for something you only actually get to wear for a couple of months. Less than that if it's summer because you will mostly be naked and crying in a cold bath in a desperate attempt to cool the fuck down. 

9. Ice is too slow
When you're pregnant, you should be sure to a eat a healthy, balanced diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables. Unless it's summer. Then you should eat ice cream and iced drinks and forget everything else. The only problem is, it actually takes ages to make ice. Water freezes so slowly. If you've never noticed this, it's because you've never been pregnant in the summer. Ice is too slow. Somebody needs to figure out a way of speeding up ice for pregnant women. 

10. You spend your time obsessively checking the weather app
Please, please, please don't let the baby come on a hot day, you think, checking the app to see when the weather is going to cool down. Not that the baby gives a shit, they come when they want. They can't even read the weather forecast anyway. 

What's missing off this list? 


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