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What makes *you* feel super? **COMP**

It’s been a pretty good year for me so far (touch wood!) I’ve finally found my calling in life, and I am actually taking steps towards it. It may have taken me 34 years to get here, but I’d say that was all good life experience! We’ve welcomed a new pup to the family, finally got the dream car, the kids are doing AMAZINGLY well at school, I’m doing really well at college, the bloke is doing really well at work.

We’ve had such a good summer, this year we broke up the loooong 7 weeks with a holiday to France which was just gorgeous. We had nothing but pure sunshine and relaxation for the whole time we were there and the kids absolutely loved it. We’re planning next years holiday already!

I’m really trying to remain chilled and calm (trying being the operative word there) but I’m sure once the kids go back to school and we start a routine again things will feel more organised, I’ve got my yoga and pilates classes planned, I’m back to college and starting my maths GCSE (again) so I will really need to stay on top of that whole calm thing! Feeling organised and in control makes me feel super, as well as having a bit of time to myself, and some alone time with the bloke. As well as having some quality time with the kids…..!

But, I’m not the only one feeling super. Oh no. The #FeelSuper campaign is a partnership between Superdrug and P&G in support of Marie Curie, which, throughout 2015, aims to raise £100,000 for the charity.

New mum Frankie Bridge is supporting the campaign, and, from the 26th August to 22nd September, each time you buy any Pampers product from Superdrug, your purchase will trigger a donation to Marie Curie. Find out more at Superdrug.com/feelsuper.

All money raised from the campaign will go towards helping Marie Curie provide expert care, guidance and support to people with a terminal illness and their families. Marie Curie Nurses work night and day, either in people’s homes or in one of the charity’s nine hospices, providing hands-on care and vital emotional support to those that need it.

To celebrate and promote this campaign I’ve been given a months worth of Pampers wipes to give away to one person, all you need to do is tell me what makes you feel super – pretty easy eh!

The competition closes on the 22nd September!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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#InstaLove – Bumpkin Betty

Bumpkin Betty

When you look at an Instagram account and you get sucked in, resulting in half an hour missing from your life you know you’ve found a good one.

Looking at Jaclyn Craig’s profile makes me want to visit all the places she visits and find the tiled floors she finds (am I the only one to never find a tiled floor!?) She’s a London lifestyle blogger from Scotland, a Digital Consultant and Writer and is planning her dream wedding. If you like bright colours, stylish outfits and good food then you need to follow @bumpkinbetty on Instagram and have a read of her blog here.

3 things:

Three items you can’t live without?
My iPhone (sad but true), My camera (comes with me everywhere) and a pair of sparkly heels (I’m such a magpie)

The meal you’d cook to impress?
I’m not the best cook but I do LOVE to bake and my go-to when ever I have people over is a giant pavlova filled with fresh fruit and cream. It always impresses and is secretly the easiest thing in the world to make – win win.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
I love photography, especially fashion and travel photography and could pour over that for hours. Other bloggers inspire me constantly of course, and all things fashion related. When I’m feeling my motivation lacking, a good gander through an amazing fashion editorial in a magazine is always enough to lift me (and if it’s really good makes my heart skip a beat!).

Which Instagram accounts inspire you? Let me know! 

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#InstaLove – Aimee Horton

 

Aimess

Sometimes, just sometimes, you find someone who is as cool and funny in real life as they are on social media. And sometimes, you can spend hours chatting about nothing in particular but come away feeling inspired and happy. Aimes is one of those people. She’s one of those social media turned real life mates.

Her Instagram is full of nail art (literally not one style I don’t want for myself) the most amazing food porn, gin, gin and more gin. Oh, and she’s a published author, has two kids and the prettiest baby blue fiat 500. If you love all this, and let’s be honest, why wouldn’t you, you can follow @aimeehortonwrites here and read her blog here.

3 things:

Three things you can’t live without?
My MacBook Air. I always thought I was addicted to my phone, but when I got Margot (everything has to have a name!) I feel in love – I can do everything that I do on my phone, but I can write wherever too – which has made for a very happy Aimee in bed most mornings this holidays!
Space. No not OUTER-SPACE – although… actually shut up. No, what I mean is, I appreciate everything I have a lot more when I’ve had a bit of time away from it. Being a parent is full-on, and sometimes all I need is a 10 minute run around the block to clear my head and feel more like myself. Admittedly, there are times when I need a lot more than 10 minutes.
A kitchen. Like running, cooking is my savior. I’m not amazing at it, I’m not a chef and some of the foodies on my Instagram feed make me feel like all I serve up is beans on toast (not that I don’t love beans on toast… with melted cheese) but there’s nothing like cooking up something and – after making sure Mr Aimee has tasted it and confirmed he likes it – tucking in with a big glass of wine.

The meal you’d cook to impress?
That’s tricky! Can I cheat and have two? If I want it ready I’d cook Jamie Oliver’s chicken with sweet potato mash – easy peasy, slam in the oven before anybody gets there. However, if I’m pretending to be the hostess that cooks while I talk then the Gurpareet Bains ‘Pomegranate, Blueberry & Acai Superfruit Chicken Curry’ It’s yummy, a bit different because of the innocent smoothie, and if I’m honest, I just love all Gurpareet’s recipes. They’re easy but look like a lot of effort has gone into them!

Where you find your inspiration?
Oh this is tricky. For so many years I spent a lot of time trying desperately to be somebody else, but have realized recently that if I fuck it, and think about what I like, I don’t need that much inspiration. Of course I’m a pinterest obsessive, and I follow some amazing people on Instagram, but actually, I tend to just trot along in my own little gin fuelled world!

Which Instagram accounts inspire you? Let me know!

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The sound of silence.

Or not. It’s 2 weeks until the end of the summer holidays and I’m not sure I’ve had anything that remotely resembled silence since the 16th July. There are several drawbacks to that, but at least I know my ears work. Look on the plus side and all that?

We’ve had a bloody brilliant summer, we’ve chilled out (as much as kids chill out) we’ve travelled, explored, partied in the garden, drank cocktails (me, not them) swam (them, not me) and just generally made the most of the late nights and lazy mornings.

It hasn’t really been a proper summer in terms of the weather, at the risk of sounding like an old fart, when I was younger, the summer holidays were *hot*. Not so much anymore. If it had been better weather we would have spent a lot more time in the garden, music blaring and bbq cooking. We are music freaks in this house, we all have different tastes so stick the iPad on shuffle and you’ll get a good old mix. My speakers are pretty good for garden parties, but they do run out of battery pretty quick, if I was making a party wishlist, it would probably involve some new wireless speakers. Usually the husband sorts out all the technical stuff, but I do get a say in what they look like, he’ll pick the best of a bunch performance wise, and I’ll pick the one that looks the best out of those, usually works for us and he does know his stuff! I love the look of the Panasonic Technics c700 – if technics can be pretty, then this is. 

garden

Coupled with a big ole gas BBQ – I am aware that it’s not really a BBQ if it’s not on charcoal but I don’t really care, a cold glass of Aperole and some good company, we’re pretty much set. One summer, soon hopefully, we’ll actually get the chance to do it more than once, and with a bit of notice. Don’t you just love the British summertime…..! It does make me want to escape to a warmer country, the kids are so much happier (and quieter) when they can run around outside all day long, getting some vitamin D in their bodies.

In the meantime, I am going to dig out some earplugs and count down the days until my parents take the little darlings off me for a while.

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The White Company Fresh Fig Collection

Fresh Fig

Did you know I love candles?

Thought you did.

The White Company haven’t had a new fragrance for a while now, but we know that when they do release one, it’s going to be good and they haven’t disappointed this time! Known for their candle range, a personal favourite of mine being the Fresh Thyme, eucalyptus, lavender and rosemary, the new scent, Fresh Fig is a collection of home, bath and body products.

“Like sitting beneath a sun-warmed fig tree in Provence. Notes of succulent cassis, citrus and tomato-lead give way to bracing vetivert and a touch of sweet lilac to create this year round elegant scent”

Unlike other scents, this one really is a year round candle, it smells like it would work just as well in Autumn/Winter as it does now, it’s not sweet, it’s not heavy, it’s just a really nice, fresh smell.

With prices starting from £6 and the large, 4 wick candle being £50 – it’s a really affordable range compared to some of the more expensive brands, and it still has the luxe feel about it, the packaging is stylish and simple, no garish colours and, if you’re like me, and use your candle holders for make up brushes and the like, they’re the perfect size.

You can see the whole range here.

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Note to self: Remember this feeling.

 

boats

I should be doing some washing or tidying right now, we got back from France late last nigh/early this morning and the house looks like a launderette has exploded – four people, seven days = 96 loads of washing obviously.

The gorgeous weather we had over there has not followed us home, which isn’t helping the washing situation.

Anyway.

The past eight days have been heaven. Actual heaven. We were in rural France, in a gite, in the middle of green hills and stone houses. There was no phone signal, no wifi (although the owner is currently installing it today, much to H’s disgust!) and nothing else to do except wind down and enjoy each others company. While it was (at times) finger tapping annoying trying to get enough 3G to send an Instagram, it was also SO nice to *not* be able to check my phone. I mean, I can’t be blamed for not replying if I don’t even get it to start with, right? And that’s what I liked. Not being contactable. Not feeling like I had to be available 24/7. I’m the type of person who will reply to a text or email as soon as it comes in, no matter what I’m doing or what time it is. Call it OCD, call it polite, call it whatever you want really, unless I don’t particularly want to talk to you, or I am actually doing something where my phone needs to be on silent, I’m pretty much yours as and when you ping me.

Which isn’t very healthy. Not for me, not for my relationship and not for my kids. How often do we sit there staring at something on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram and just nod along to what the kids are saying without actually listening? (Sheepishly puts her hand up) There have been occasions, where, if my kids were inclined, they could have got me to agree to anything, because I probably wasn’t listening as well as I should have.

But god, this week has shown me how much nicer life is when you concentrate on one thing at a time. I know we all big up the multi-tasker, and I will always be better at doing two things at once than the husband (he does sometimes struggle with brushing his teeth and listening to a convo at the same time, it’s the male genes) but giving all your attention to the one thing you’re doing? It means you do it really well. Whatever it is.

Listening to my kids has reminded me how bloody funny they are. Naturally funny. We can have conversations that last for ages, we chatted to bullocks in the field behind our kitchen, we coloured, played uno, did puzzles. We did it all without any distractions and it was bliss.

It also helped to make me 50% more relaxed than I ever am at home. Here, there’s always something that needs to be done (hello washing, garden, decorating, maths assessments, personal statements, college work….. GAH) which means I can’t ever really just switch off. But in France I had none of that. And I liked it.

The husband and I kept telling each other we didn’t want “English Kate” or “English Tom” on our return, we preferred the French versions of ourselves, and I am really, really conscious that I keep that side of me now we’re home. The down time, time to chill out, even a wifi free day (wait until I tell the smaller people in the house) and more adventures. I keep going on about yoga but I really am going to sign up to a weekly class. And go. Weekly like.

I’m just going to slow down. In life in general. Getting pissed off with people (strangers) for slowing me down and or getting in my way – it’s me that ends up with the headache not them, because they’re too busy being all chilled out and slow mo. Actually, I’m not making promises on that one because it annoys me just thinking about it, but it’s progress that I’m aware of the need to change eh…….? Yes. Yes it is.

Last but not least, travel. I need travel in my life. I may be a poorly student (and fingers crossed I will be for another 3 years, uni application time coming up soon) but I need to see the world, or at least the parts of it that I can (semi) afford. It’s important for the kids too – serious French was spoken by my two this week, where else would they learn so much and enjoy it? The hubs and I have been talking about New York for a 4 day visit (just the 2 of us) for years, next year he turns 40 *cough* and I’ll be 35, that’s the perfect way to celebrate. Yes, we’re going to need to get some cash to pay for flights, hotels and shopping but it’s a dream trip for me, and you’re a long time dead.

So, French Kate, remember this feeling yeah? And make sure you stick to your word.

PicMonkey Collage

 

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School Uniforms with George at Asda**

School_Uniform_Shop___Shoes__Polo_Shirts_and_Skirts___George_at_ASDA

I know it’s only their second week off school, but I like to be organised you know!

Especially now I have two different types of uniforms to buy. H needs the proper, grown up stuff – blazers, knee length skirts (more on that later) and badges while C is still in the “how long will these trousers actually last” stage. Because both of my kids seem to be extra long and fast growing, I really resent spending a fortune on uniform, especially when they’re all pretty much as long lasting as each other.

I’ve never really tried George at Asda before, usually preferring a different supermarket brand but when I had a look online at their stuff, I was pretty impressed! The blazers (which I bought in M&S last year for over £20 and it is now too small for her) cost up to £12 – up to! As in, that’s the maximum price not the minimum *and* they’re a really good fit, I am a complete convert! I now don’t mind if she outgrows it halfway through the year, because it costs less to buy two than it did to buy the original one. Bargain. Skirts are a little bit harder to find online for us, only because the school needs to them to be knee length and my daughter has legs that rival Naomi and or Bambi. That, or all uniform manufactures think school girls are short. I cannot get a skirt to finish anywhere near her knee, never mind on it. We’re going to take a trip to the good old fashioned uniform superstore that I used to get my school stuff from way back when. If they don’t have the right length then she’s just going to have to walk on her knees or something.

My biggest challenge with the boy is keeping t-shirts white and trousers hole-less. That’s it. Nothing too difficult. The t-shirts in question cost £3 for a pack of two – naturally I stocked up and now own four packs. It always pays to be prepared with a 6 year old boy in the house! Trousers, from the bargain price of £3, I mean, come on!

Of course, all these savings on uniforms will probably be cancelled out by the extortionate price of school shoes, but I stand by my argument of making a saving in one place to spend it wisely in another…….! And, to me, cheap shoes are pretty much a waste of time, I’ll end up replacing them at least twice if not more so I may as well pay out for a pair that will fit the entire school year. That is, of course, as long as the feet don’t grow – C is 6 years old and only 6 sizes smaller than me. I’m picturing HUGE feet in his future.

So, it’s not even August yet and I have almost the entire school uniform sorted, shirts, polo shirts, trousers, blazers, backpacks, socks and sweatshirts. All for less than £70!

All I need to do is hit the shops late in the month to grab the shoes (Kickers have been requested by both) and hunt out the right length skirt. I’d say that’s pretty damn successful.

*PR Samples.

 

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