Featured in Fabulous Magazine

I'm so happy to say that I have recently been featured in The Sun's Sunday magazine Fabulous.  I will be writing more about my experience doing the shoot and challenge but if you fancy a read then head over to the link here.

Crabtree & Evelyn - Christmas Treats

If you're looking for little luxury gifts to give out this Christmas then I have the perfect ones for you here for the gorgeous Crabtree & Evelyn.  I absolutely love their products so am excited to include two little treats into my festive guide post today.

The two treats I'm featuring are the Cranberry & Clementine fudge bauble (£10) & the Join Hands and therapy trio (£20)  

I have already tried and tested the fudge and have to say it tastes amazing, once I started I couldn't stop.  The decoration itself is lovely and can be used again.  I have tried out all of the creams too and they smell gorgeous, I love hand creams so to receive these as a gift would be perfect.  These would also make the perfect secret Santa gifts too.

The treats can be found over on the Crabtree & Evelyn website and also available in store.  


Alice In Winterland Lantern & Light Festival

Lighting up Southwark Park is the Alice In Winterland Lantern & Light Festival.  A trail of huge lanterns, a big grinning Cheshire Cat a trail for all the family to enjoy.  Sophia and I attended the opening press evening a few days ago she loved listening to the story going around the trail, half way we stopped off for hot chocolate and waffles which warmed us up for the rest of the trail.  We then wandered through a massive game of Chess, Humpty Dumpty on the wall with Alice reaching up to him.  Sophia was amazed at all of the colours and characters.

The end of the trail was Sophia's favourite part, meeting Father Christmas.  Whilst waiting she sat and coloured in before one of his Elf's called her in to meet the big man himself.  I was left with one very happy girl, she received a lovely bag of presents and got to have her photo taken with him.  The trail is great for kids and even better in the evening seeing all the lanterns lit up.  

The Festival is on from 28th November - 5th January 2019 (Tickets are £15 for adults & £9 for children.  The also need to be booked in advance)

We had a great time, a trail for all the family to enjoy.

Drinks By The Dram - Advent Calendar

Last year I remember putting up a Facebook post saying how I'd love one day to have a Gin Advent calendar and this year that post came true!

Drinks By The Dram is the ultimate dream calendar for any Gin lover.  And, its not just gin they have there's whisky, rum and tequila.  What a way to see in the festive season.  I've had a sneak peak at more than a few days worth of advent windows and I can tell you now that there is a great selection of gins, infact I didn't realise how many different gins there actually are and to have 24 bottles of them from across the world I'm totally spoilt for choice.  24 handmade 30ml wax sealed drams that will keep me going over the festive period.

The calendars I think would also make an amazing Christmas gift imagine giving someone 24 bottles of their favourite spirit, its a great present to have.

I will be sharing some of my favourites throughout the month of December from my calendar so keep an eye out on my Instagram page to see what is behind the windows.

The Gin Advent Calendar is £124.95 and can be found over on their website.

After Dark Chiswick House & Gardens

If your looking for a lovely Winter Christmas experience this year then After Dark at Chiswick House and Gardens is a must to do with all the family (including your family Dogs) its very different to the usual Christmas experience instead of being met by Santa you will experience a magical trail of beautiful lights & music along with some amazing architecture.  

We were invited along to the VIP Press evening and I have to say it didn't disappoint.  The trail takes approximately 30 minutes to walk around if not longer if you want to stop and take it the beautiful lights and music, you also get to see Chiswick House come to life with amazing light show and soundtrack by Sergio Pizzorno singer and songwriter of Kasabian.  
Chiswick House & Gardens is a beautiful place to visit anyway but seeing it lit up is even more magical.  

At the end of the trail you will be able to warm up with some food & drinks also activities to do by the Hackey Arts which all the family will be able to enjoy.  Abigail and I had a great time decorating our own Christmas Baubles which we will be hanging on our tree this year and also print your own Wapping Paper, it was so much fun doing this activity with Abigail and she absolutely loved creating her own decorations! We also enjoyed some delicious food from The Duck Shed, I had a delicious Duck burger with fries which I would definitely recommend.

The After Dark Trail is a must have to visit over the Christmas period for all the Family.

After Dark will be running every Thursday to Sunday, from 15th November until 30th December 2018.

Emani Vegan Make Up Review

Anyone who knows me well will know that I LOVE make up! I have so much, and love trying out new brands.  So when Emani PR got in contact with an opportunity to try out some of their products I was really excited to try them especially as they are 100% Vegan & 100% Gluten free to reduce any allergy risks.  For me this sounded like the PERFECT brand to try as my skin is very sensitive and I'm often prone to breakouts which I very often have when using certain branded products.  I'm quite picky with brands I use especially when it comes to things like primers, foundations & powders.

Emani kindly sent me everything to do a base makeup look I received the Perfect 10 Primer SerumHydrawear 12hr FoundationHD Corrective ConcealerHD Bamboo Setting Powder & Prismatic Lipstick.  

With these products I wanted to create a simple daytime look which I demonstrated over on my Instagram page - I will be posting an evening/Christmas look in the next few weeks so keep an eye out for that! 

I've been using the products for a few weeks now as I wanted to get a feel as to how my skin would react with them and compare them to what I was using beforehand.  I have to say I am totally in love with the Emani cosmetics, the products are so nice on my skin I have had no itchiness or irritated skin whilst using the products and the foundation is totally amazing, I've had so many compliments on how smooth and clear my skin looks the finish is flawless and you only need a small amount which is something I'm not used to doing as I would put at least two layers on to get a good finish but with the Hydrawear you can use a small amount and then apply your concealer and powder over the top. The concealer is smooth and doesn't feel cakey like many I have used in the past just like the finish of the foundation the concealer is flawless.  The lipsticks are lovely and hydrating, I used a lipliner with mine before applying I find for me it just gives a better look.  I went for the lipshade 383 Bewitched which is a perfect shade for Autumn/Winter.

Emani are a brand that will be staying in my make up bag and I would highly recommend to everyone and the fact that they are Vegan and Gluten free is amazing.

You can read and see more of their products over on the Emani website.

Disclaimer: Gifted product

Epson EcoTank Pop-up, Covent Garden

Last week I was kindly invited along to a Bloggers Working Lunch Event with Epson in Covent Garden to mark the opening of the fantastic EcoTank Pop-up shop.

Did you know there are over 2 million freelancers in the UK.  To celebrate & support them Epson has launched the EcoTank Pop-up shop in Covent Garden for bloggers, freelancers and hot desk workers where they can sit in this fabulous working space with free secure WIFI, refreshments and of course unlimited printing, what more could you want! If you pop down to the shop they also have a list of workshops that they will be running during its opening time there.  I will definitely be back there soon.

During the event there were talks held by my lovely blogger friend Vicki Psarias founder of Honest Mum who is a multi award winning blogger, vlogger, film maker and #1 best selling author of Mum Boss (which btw is an amazing read), who spoke about the realities of freelancing and also gave some great tips on how to feel less lonely and how to get out there and network, join groups, also how to be kind to yourself - limiting time on social media, spending time with family.  All the important things in life.  I personally found the talk really useful and came home feeling pretty inspired.

I was pretty excited to see the Epson EcoTank range.  EcoTank printers are distinctive for their ultra-high-capacity ink tank system, which completely removes the need for cartridges and provides hassle-free, low cost printing for businesses and homes.  EcoTank printers can hold the equivalent of 94 cartridges worth of ink, saving users up to 90% on their ink costs.

You can check out all of the Epson printer ranges here.

Also please keep a look out on my blog for a great competition in a few weeks where I will be teaming up with Epson to give one lucky person a chance to win an Eco Printer for themselves!

Travelling Abroad, Alone with Kids

Earlier this year I decided to book myself and my girls a little adventure abroad, now I've been abroad with them before two years ago to Italy, which was beautiful but I had my Mum and Step Dad there too so this time round I felt a little nervous, sounds silly but I didn't want to go anywhere that was too far away, being my first time just me and the girls in a different country on our own I suppose I just wanted somewhere where I knew I could fly home to quickly in case of an emergency or if anything happened (which it did if you read until the end!)

I booked our holiday at the beginning of the year through British Airways.  After looking through online and recommendations from friends and family I booked Barcelona, I've always wanted to go.  I booked for 5 nights (& 6 days) and I also included a private taxi transfer to and from the airport to put my mind at rest that we would actually get there safely, that's my worst fear going to another country on my own with two kids and getting lost.

So preparation for the trip was pretty stress free, we all had our passports, both the girls had a new summer wardrobe of clothes which we went shopping for a few months before so kept them all aside and started to save for spending money.  I went for just the breakfast option at the hotel, purely because I wanted to try all the delicious food Barcelona had to offer.

I done a little research before we went about the area we were staying in.  I purely chose the location because it was just a 15 minute walk to the beach, I didn't want to stay slap bang in the city as the holiday was really for the girls and what child doesn't love the beach!

Our hotel was a five minute walk from all the local amenities, shops, pharmacy and newsagents.  As well as a whole wonderful strip of restaurants, bars and ice cream restaurants.

The first three days we were there we spent at the beach, I wanted to save the last two proper days for exploring.  The girls were happiest there, building sand castles, playing in the sea and just having so much fun.  We got into a little routine, breakfast in the morning which was served until 11am so we were in no hurry to get up and rush at all.  We would head to the supermarket get our water and snacks for the beach, there were lots of little restaurants along the beach so picked up lunch there by late afternoon we used to head back to the hotel for an afternoon nap! Which the girls really needed being out in the sun (they were protected with suncream, hats, sunglasses) then early evening we would get ready and head out to the strip to find somewhere to eat.  I have to say price wise Barcelona is no more expensive that London!  I was told it was an expensive place to go but I didn't really think that was true, I took £900 for the 5 days just to make sure we were fully covered - Part of that was the girls money they were given for spending too and to cover their food etc.  The food didn't disappoint at all both girls absolutely loved the traditional seafood Paella and lived off off the Calamari one of our favourites.  Everything was fresh - The ice cream was amazing that was our treat every night there were a big selection of ice cream places along the strip but we soon found our favourite place which also sold amazing chocolates and other sweet treats!

Day 4 I wanted a change from the beach and decided to take a cab to Park Guell located further into the city, we walked almost to the top and experienced amazing views over Barcelona, we could have gone further up but the girls were tired and were moaning to go back to the beach!  We headed to a local little cafe there for lunch and headed back to the hotel (the spent the afternoon at the beach) after a couple of hours exploring.  The park was about a 25 minute cab ride from the hotel which I think was approximately about 13 Euros.

Here's where the bad news came in later that afternoon I had a phone call from British Airways, now I'm so glad I didn't turn off my phone as I probably wouldn't have had the help I did if I hadn't have kept it on.  They called to say that on the day we were going home and three days after that there were to be transport strikes, so that mean't our booked taxi would no longer be available and we may not have made it back to the airport! My instant thought was to come home, I was out there with two young children, the last thing I wanted was to be stuck there, probably run out of money and then have the stress of everything else so I asked British Airways if we could come back the next day (a day early) and they were so lovely, they straight away booked us on a flight the very next morning free of charge, I was quite relieved, travelling abroad with two young children and then being worried about getting stuck there was just too much.  They rearranged our taxi transport to pick us up and we had a smooth flight back to Heathrow.

We had an amazing holiday despite missing out on another two full days and a night that was just enough for us, I think next time (if) I ever get to revisit Barcelona I will go child free and do more exploring but the holiday was for the girls they enjoyed every second of the sea, beach, sunshine, food and unlimited amounts of ice cream!!

My top tips for travelling abroad with kids alone:

1/  Always research where you are staying and the area before you go, I usually use TripAdvisor for reviews on where to go.

2/  Make sure you have passports updated and keep them in a safe place to avoid any last minute stress.

3/  Book transport to and from the airport if you don't know the area.  I paid an extra £100 for mine but was well worth it after an early morning (3am) and plane journey the kids were super tired and last thing they would have wanted was to be travelling on public transport with suitcases and bags.

4/  Always take more than enough spending money you never know when you might need it.

5/  Make sure you get medical insurance before hand its usually pretty cheap I paid £15 for ours through Admiral.

6/  Keep your phone on at all times - I was going to turn my phone off for most of the trip but I'm glad I didn't now as I would never have got the call about the transport strikes.  You never know when you may need it too.

7/  Have a plan for each day and just enjoy your time!!

Kaleidoscope Autumn/Winter 2018 Collection

Kaleidoscope is an online brand that I absolutely love and have worked with them many a times before on my old blog.  I was invited to their Autumn/Winter 2018 press launch and they never fail to impress with their amazing new collections each season.  For me each year has just got better and better with their designs and styles.  I think for them the typical target is for older women but I think that their styles would also appeal to the younger generation (say under 30's) Now being over 30 I wouldn't dress in some of the outfits I wore in my 20's but just because you get older it doesn't mean you need to loose your style if anything I feel better and more confident in my 30's than I did in my 20's especially which such an amazing range of styles out there now a days.  Kaleidoscope are defo one of my favourite brands.  

Below is one of the dresses I purchased after seeing it at the press day, I fell in love with it, simple, stylish and has been so lovely to wear this Summer too, can also be dressed up in the Autumn/Winter for an occasion. Stripe Bardot Dress which at £39 I think is a great price, I love the simple stripe design and the material is really good quality.  I would have the whole collection if I could afford to buy it all!

Here are all of the amazing pieces from their AW18 collection.  (website linked at the bottom of the page)

This lovely pencil skirt is one of my favourites from the collection, I love how they have styled the whole outfit.

The lace detailing at the bottom of this coat is beautiful and classy another favourite of mine.

To find the collection you can head over the Kaleidoscope website where you can also search for their gorgeous homeware too.

What do you like from this collection?