3.03.2015

Etsy Finds - Mother's Day Gift Guide

I have fond memories of Mother's Day from my childhood, when my three older brothers and I would take my mum breakfast in bed, along with flowers picked from the garden and a homemade card. This year will mark my third Mother’s Day as a mummy, and although I’m a long way off receiving anything from Henry himself, it's lovely to be treated on his behalf! So, with Mother’s Day just around the corner, I thought I'd round up a few of my favourite items from Etsy which would make ideal Mother's Day gifts. There's something gold, something girly, something sentimental and something for the home...

3.01.2015

What's In My Bag

I do love a peek into other people's handbags, and the 'What's In My Bag' post is still as intriguing to me now as it was when I first stumbled across them six or so years ago. There's something fun and mischievous about discovering what delights other people carry about with them. And I usually come away with a number of goodies added to my wish list… oops!

Now that Henry is older and doesn't require quite as much paraphernalia as he did when he was a baby, occasionally I indulge myself and take one of my own handbags out with me, rather lugging along his changing bag. My latest love is the Prada Saffiano Tote, but I do still have a special place in my heart for my Miu Miu Bow Bag and Mulberry Bayswater. Hopefully they'll all get some love in the summer months. So here are the items that I carry around with me... 


Cashmere Scarf: It's not yet spring, but it's still cold enough to need a scarf. I love this chic grey check cashmere number, which goes with any outfit and keeps me nice and snug.

Finchley Filofax: My pocket sized Filofax comes everywhere with me - allowing me to jot down notes and check appointments the old fashioned way.

Makeup Bag: A robust canvas pouch that holds all my makeup and other little essentials which I've listed below in more detail.

Portable iPhone Charger: My iPhone is notorious for running out of battery at the exact time I need it, so I now keep a portable phone charger for top-ups on the go. I love the small size and sleek design.

Canon S120 Camera: This compact camera provide high quality images without the weight and size of a DSLR. Matt and I have also resolved to vlog our move to America, so this always comes with us - although so far we've not actually filmed anything!

Mulberry Continental Wallet: I've been the proud owner of this beautiful blush pink Mulberry wallet for three years now, and I love it as much now as I did when I first laid eyes on it. It has plenty of space for cards, as well as an area for notes (which will come in handy in the US where dollar bills seem to be a necessity) and a zipped pocket at the back.

Coin Purse: As you can tell, I'm partial to pink leather, so when I spotted this cute little coin purse, I had to have it. As well as holding coins, it's handy for keeping smaller items such as hairbands, gum and receipts inside.



  





2.27.2015

What I'm Reading - February

Lately, I've noticed a change in the books I've been selecting. Rather than wanting to lose myself in a work of fiction, I find myself searching for books that do the opposite. I want books that trigger an awareness of my own thoughts, feelings, and perspectives. I want something that helps me discover my true self, a book which guides me into leading a more simplistic life, a more mindful life. The three books below have done exactly that...


What I Know for Sure

This is a beautiful little book of wisdom, holding an abundance of inspiration and revelation, written by Oprah Winfrey. In it, she shares her insights by theme: Joy, Resilience, Connection, Gratitude, Possibility, Awe, Clarity, and Power. Each topic offers an intimate glimpse into her heart and mind, whilst giving readers a guide to becoming their best selves.

This is a book I love to keep close by, to dip into when I need some positive affirmations. It is enlightening and uplifting, allowing you to contemplate the nature of our souls and where we are going spiritually. I think anyone would benefit from perusing the pockets of sagacity held inside the pages - it is an empowering read and prompts you to take stock of your life and consider what is truly important.



This I Know: Notes on Unraveling the Heart

This book was recommended to me shortly after William and Noah died, and I'm so thankful I finally found the time to begin reading it. It explores one woman’s personal journey through bereavement and rediscovery of self, but it is also offered as a handbook for those making their way along the same path, traveling through the territory of loss.

Although it explores grief, it is not exclusive to it, so whether or not you have lost a loved one, it has so much to offer - a guidebook of sorts, showing us how to unravel the layers of our lives and explore what we find in order to better understand ourselves, our relationships, and our path. Each chapter culminates in a small creative exercise for you to reflect upon and apply to your own life. It’s all about finding yourself, reconnecting with your creative side, and learning to appreciate yourself.

It's written with tenderness, interspersed with poignant Polaroid images, and really is a delight to read. It is a reminder that we are not alone, that living mindfully is a process, and that the beauty we seek is often right in front of our eyes. There is so much I can relate to within these pages, and so much I've yet to discover and want to explore. It truly is a beautiful book.




De-cluttering the house had been on our to-do list for some time, a long overdue task, but once our move to America was confirmed, we actually had to tackle it. Over time, we'd noticed that the clutter was impacting our mood, our frame of mind. We had too much of everything, and far too much for the size of our house. It is easy to get in a habit of buying and collecting, without much thought or passion behind the process.

This book takes the colossal task of tidying an entire house and makes it a simple and concise exercise. Using the KonMari Method, the author guides you through organising your rooms, step by step. It was something I'd been dreading, but after reading this book I was inspired and excited about starting afresh. The key premise to this method is to tackle your home in the correct order, keeping only what you truly love and doing it all at once, which ensures successful tidying and a lifelong change in perspective.

This method not only transformed our space, it altered our mindset too. After reading this book, we got rid of 60% of the stuff we'd accumulated. It felt liberating to discard clothes which had been hanging in the wardrobe, untouched, for years. We donated dozens of bags filled with clothes, shoes, books, household items and knick knacks to charity. Unsurprisingly, we don't miss any of it. Now our home is streamlined, our wardrobes filled with clothes we love, our home accessories carefully curated to bring us joy. I feel so much lighter, more free, since the change.



  What are you currently reading? Let me know if you have any recommendations!

2.25.2015

Ox Pasture Hall Hotel

Nestled deep in the heart of the North Yorkshire countryside lies Ox Pasture Hall Hotel, a picturesque ivy covered house set amongst 17 acres of gloriously green grounds. A tranquil setting for an idyllic hotel, for those who are in search of a peaceful haven to relax and unwind. Matt, Henry and I arrived mid afternoon, greeted by rolling hills bathed in sunshine and breathtaking views, completely surrounded by pure English countryside. After being cooped up for a good few hours, Henry was keen to stretch his legs. He delighted in running around the grounds and exploring, where we discovered ponds, fountains, and courtyards.


After taking a look around, we retreated indoors to warm ourselves by the fire in the drawing room and enjoy some afternoon tea. A platter of delectable treats awaited us, alongside a pot of tea and a selection of finger sandwiches, which we eagerly devoured after our long journey.


Then it was time to settle into our suite - an open plan design that featured a homely lounge area with a beautiful view, two large bedrooms and a luxurious bathroom. Located in a renovated outbuilding, overlooking the courtyard, we felt a world away from all stresses and worries. It was the ultimate setting for a relaxing stay.


A relaxing bubble bath later, we made our way through the courtyard to the restaurant, where we dined overlooking the illuminated patio. Matt and I enjoyed fish for starters and beef for our mains, both very well presented and and a delight to the palate, whilst Henry feasted on chicken goujons (unfortunately we were informed the cod which we had ordered for him wasn't available.) After filling ourselves on delicious savoury courses, we sadly we had to forgo desert as it was past Henry's bedtime and we could see he wasn't feeling well. 


After retiring to our suite and tucking Henry into bed, Matt and I indulged in a little TV (our planned 'Sons of Anrachy' Netflix session couldn't go ahead as there was no wifi connection), then decided to snuggle up in the king size bed and enjoy a glorious ten hour sleep, (indeed, this meant a bedtime of 9pm, oh how times have changed!) 

Unfortunately, it wasn't to be. Upon switching off our lamps, we noticed a green emergency exit light, located directly opposite the bed, which illuminated the entire bedroom. As a person who sleeps best in ultimate darkness, I knew it would take me a while to drift off with this intrusive beam of light. With such a lovely location in the countryside, miles away from the bright lights and busyness of city life, with just the beauty of the stars above you, it seemed such a shame for the serenity to be shattered with something as silly as a light!

At 11pm, the bar closed, which meant some spritely women came back to their rooms which sat beneath ours. The continual opening and slamming closing of their doors, paired with their raucous laughter and loud chatter meant sleep became a fantasy once again. Around 1am, all went quiet, and I blissfully slipped into the realm of dreams. Only to be woken by Henry a few hours later. Cuddles and Calpol saw him off to sleep, only for him to wake again a couple of hours later. And then again. Our little boy was so poorly, with a snuffly nose and a cough that kept him awake. So much for that dreamy ten hour stretch of sleep we'd so excitedly anticipated!




After a rough night, we made our way down to breakfast. With both Henry and I suffering from the flu, I thought a selection of fresh fruit was what we needed - plus a pastry or two for some much needed energy! We made our way to the breakfast buffet, where a spread of boxed cereals, yogurt, jugs of juice (no apple juice, though) a toaster and strangely, a bowl of prunes, awaited us. No fruit or pastries to be seen. Upon enquiring, we were informed the delivery hadn't arrived, much to my disappointment, so instead, Matt and I opted for a hearty full English breakfast.


We did have plans to explore the beautiful and historic town of York and take a trip to Scarborough beach, just a ten minute drive away, but with the weather being a little dreary and Henry not feeling well, we decided it was best if we headed home where we could give him plenty of TLC.

If you're looking for a peaceful and tranquil retreat, Ox Pasture Hall has it all. The hotel and grounds are beautiful, the food delicious and the rooms chic and cosy. We seemed to have had a dose of bad luck, what with the exit light, loud ladies and Henry being full of cold! Hopefully we can return again one day and have the relaxing stay we'd envisioned. 




*We received a complimentary one night stay at Ox Pasture Hall Hotel

2.22.2015

Loves Lately

I have to be honest, I only bought these makeup brushes because I knew they would look good on my dressing table. I've been eyeing up the Real Techniques Bold Metal Collection, and I've toyed with the idea of investing in some Zoeva brushes, but I knew I was only being pulled in by the aesthetics - my Sigma Essential Kit is still serving me well. So when I spotted these affordable rose gold and cream makeup brushes from H&M, there wasn't a moment of hesitation before I added them to my virtual basket. Visuals aside, they're actually beautifully soft brushes and apply makeup well. The Kabuki brush is the perfect size for popping in my handbag for powder top-ups throughout the day, and the blush brush closely resembles one of my pricier duo fibre MAC brushes.

The gold glitter clutch is another gem from H&M. The small structure and hard cased shell means it's ideal for carrying essentials - iPhone, cards and a few notes - with you on a night out. It looks a lot more expensive than it actually was (a mere £4 in the sale) and I just love how much it sparkles with golden goodness in the light.

When I spotted the white and gold bangle, (another H&M find), it felt reminiscent of the ever popular Hermes Clic Clac bracelet, but I actually prefer this understated version, without any obvious logo. I'm sure I'll be wearing this a lot come spring/summer. And finally, my dreamy new notebook from Homesense. I do love an inspiring quote, so it's a match made in heaven when it's embossed with gold lettering onto a white faux leather notebook. This will have pride of place on my desk when I get my new office sorted!