22 October 2014


As nature is supplying such a bounty of conkers, sticks, pinecones and acorns this autumn, I thought it only right to share a quick DIY game you can play with your little ones. F is always asking to make toys, whether it's bows and arrows, stick men, Go fish game, swords, catapults, sensory boxes, the list goes on. So after a lot of talk about the Moscow State Circus before his birthday, I decided to reinvent the old fairground classic, Coconut Shy game, with things that can be found outside.

To make your Pincone Hoopla game you'll need:

1. A few pinecones
2. Glitter glue / OR loose glitter and PVA glue.
3. A hoop of some sort.
4. Paper.
5. Washi tape.

To make your game is super simple, place some paper down to protect your surface from any mess and let your kiddo get creative with the glitter glue. Try and encourage them to use different colours and place blobs on different parts of the pinecones to make them sparkly. 
One the glitter has dried, decorate your hoop with washi tape. I used an embroidery hoop but any circular ring will work well, or you can even make your own hoop with bendy twigs tied together. Once everything is ready and dry, then find an open floor space and place down the pinecones spaced out on the floor.. The aim is to throw the hoop over the pinecones, the person who captures the most pinecones win! Simple. F really loved playing this game and got quite competitive with me, and was thrilled when he managed to catch one. This is a great game for concentration, spacial awareness and gross motor skills, as well as the creativity involved making it. After you've finished playing the pinecones can also make a pretty nature display in the home.

20 October 2014


I know it may seem a little early to talk about the joys of Christmas – indulge me a little here – but last night as we sat down with our diaries and worked out what the next nine weeks would look like, it's pretty clear that Christmas will soon be on our doorstep.

As these darker nights draw in and a cool chill hits the air, I can't help but let my mind wander to the twinkly season ahead. F has already started asking when it will be time for us to get a tree as the shops start to stock advents and snow filled trinkets in the countdown to Christmas.

As a child the excitement was almost too much to bear, with everything geared around a visit from the big man himself. I remember all the years spent at my Nanna's house, where the neighbourhood children would run out of their doors at the first sign of snow. Even if it was past our bedtime we would emerge wrapped up, smuggling our PJ's out in the cold air for a quick snowball fight before our parents would call time and we were wrestled back inside to sleep.

Even thought we don't have much snow these days, I am still the same now as I was then. As the first flakes fall I am always ready and raring to go, no matter what time the clock says, I'm ready to leave the first impressions in a blanket of white.

And don't get me started on the tree! The annual hike to find the perfect Norwegian pine to sit with through the cold winter days, keep us full of cheer with its winking lights and nostalgic decorations, each holding a memory of its own.

There are so many elements that makes Christmas special for most people: the tree, the food, the presents, family and friends, but for me it's Christmas Eve that holds my heart, not the presents or indulgence of the day itself, but the magic that all children know and most adults forget. It's the belief that something wonderful is about to happen, that people hearts are warmed and a smile touches most faces, friendly hellos in the street and the togetherness the season brings.

I read this book to F every year, and every year I cry when I read it, nothing captures the spirit of Christmas so beautifully and if you ask me I'll tell you, I believe in the spirit of Christmas and the old man himself, and like an old fable carried down through the years, I will pass this on to F and hope he carries the magic in his heart.

In the hopes to make Christmas truly magical for F and give him wonderful memories to look back on, this is my entry for a chance to win a trip to Lapland with Transun for our little family.

19 October 2014


"A portrait of my son, once a week, every week, in 2014."

F: Amongst the fallen leaves.

Over the next two months both our schedules couldn't be busier; with school visits, work events, deadlines and London trips for me, where as Paul has international travel, conferences and generally working away on the cards. More importantly this has to fit around F, keeping his routine as best we can during it all. I'm preparing myself for a tricky couple of months where planning is going to be key, and making sure we make the most of every minute in the countdown to Christmas.

Linking in with  The 52 Project.

17 October 2014


Image via here

After our mini break away At the Chapel, getting washed and ready at home hasn't quite been the same, in fact stepping into our bathroom has been a disappointment ever since. Totally spoilt with a luxurious boat size tub and slick counter top sink and tiles, our teeny tiny washroom is starting to make me get the blues. I dream of a luxurious space to pamper and relax in, being able to soak in a tub while taking in the beautifully designed fittings and finishes, and maybe a glass of bubbly. A girl can dream right?

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16 October 2014


One of the things that adds character to our home is the various prints that adorn the walls, I'm always hanging pictures and changing our space to suit my mood. The only downside when renting is the lovely swiss cheese effect it can have. So many times have I reached for the filler and paint to touch up a DIY moment while Paul eye-rolls me from across the room.

So after heading to the Grand Designs Show Live I discovered something that will totally revolutionise our home and yours too. Whether you're renting, renovating or just want to spruce up your space then your probably going to want to take note of this. After heading over to the Rooms For You stand from British Gypsum, I was handed a picture frame and told to place it where ever I liked. Slightly puzzled and totally drawn in – as I'm a sucker for these sorts of things – I held the frame near the wall and there it stayed. Yep that's right, no nails, no glue, just the frame hanging on the wall.

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15 October 2014


Last week I woke up at crazy o'clock and headed out into the dark morning light, joining the early rise commuters shuffling their way to Bristol Temple Mead train station. With tickets in one hand and a coffee in the other, I found my seat, excited to see what the Grand Designs Show Live at Birmingham NEC had in store.

It seems the early bird does catch the worm, as I arrived 30 minutes before the doors opened putting me at the front of the queue, which soon stretched out of the building. As they started the opening count down an excited buzz started to set in, as Kevin McCloud stood for press photos before cutting the red ribbon – yep they had a ribbon and everything – and opened the show. It's always fun seeing a TV personality in real life and I even managed to grab a quick hi with the man himself.

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14 October 2014


If there's one little letter on your camera that you've been avoiding then this is post is for you. For someone who is constantly snapping away it seems a bit ridiculous that manual mode can cause me such anguish, but with cameras and iPhones being all oh so easy to use what with their point and click, I'm the first to admit I've become a bit lazy when it comes to switching to manual mode, especially at night *shudders*. Yep that little M just sitting there all innocent, well if you're like me and changing over to manual is more like photo russian roulette, I have some great tips to share with you.

The other week the lovely people over at Transun invited some bloggers to Cardiff for a Night Photography workshop with Simon, on how to photograph the Northern Lights *cue dreamy sigh* and city night sky. Held at the Chapel, you can picture the scene, a room full of eager bloggers all clutching their Digital SLR's, ready to put some new skills to the test.

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