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LD Mini – Spring Fancies

It’s still cold. Wet. Grey. So miserable. In other words we’re still in the middle of what seems to be the longest winter ever. I mean, I love winter, but this is getting silly now. So, in the interest of trying to feel a little more springlike, I thought I’d do a little daydream shopping, this time for the boy.

At the weekend, if he’s not staying in his pjs {just like his mother!} my son knows exactly what he wants to wear, and heaven forbid anyone who tries to tell him otherwise. I love that he knows what fashion he likes, thankfully we’ve always managed to avoid the god awful cartoon character stuff, I had to put my foot down, when I found out he was a boy I could just see Postman Pat tees coming at me in all directions. Anyway, we like to go for the classic, but slightly off beat look. Always classic skinny trousers because he’s tall and skinny so anything else just looks like he’s wearing his big sisters jeans, or sweatpants. Good quality tees and a jumper or sweatshirt of some kind. Then of course we have to add another 5 layers to be warm enough to leave the house, but we’ll forget that for now.

I had a browse of Melijoe and managed to find a fair few outfits for them both {I’ll be doing GG’s post next month then!}

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Faded black tee from Japan Rags, Levi Skinnies, Adidas Originals {what else!} and a Kate Moss sweatshirt from Little Eleven Paris – I want this in my size! This would be, pretty much, his ‘uniform’ at weekend and during school hols, comfortable enough for him to throw himself around in, stylish enough for me to be happy. Sorted!

Post written in collaboration with Melijoe.com.

 

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Luxe chill out time with Christy Candles

Ever since I was a child, I’ve had an obsession with candles. Back then, it used to be about the best shaped candle I could get my hands on, so I was all about the tacky ones, in shapes of buildings, animals, random, weird things that candle makers thought looked good. I had them. A huge shelf in my bedroom full of crazy candles. And I didn’t light a single one.

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Now, as a woman in her 30’s (still not mid 30’s, not for another year) I am still obsessed with candles, but now they can only be in heavy, glass jars. Burn for a good 40 hours+ and make my house smell amazing. I do have the odd Ikea candle dotted about here and there, just for effect, but the ones that matter take centre stage on either my dining table, bedside table or bathroom. Because those are my three favourite rooms, and they have to be luxury candles. I will happily pay between £30-£50 for a decent candle. It’s one of my things and they last long enough to make it feel worth it.

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Christy sent me one of their candles last week because it was half term and they knew how crazy busy my week was, with two kids, work and family life so they wanted to give me something to use when I got a bit of ‘me time’. The candle I received was No.3, which is a blend of rose pepper, layered with bergamot on a base of wood and vanilla. It’s their relaxing candle, and it was bloody perfect timing! We had an amazing half term, filled with activities and seeing friends and family but by the end of the day, entertaining an almost 6 year old and an almost teenager while trying to do all the usual stuff I do when they’re at school, I was absolutely knackered! A hot bath & trashy mag called to me each evening!

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The candle itself is in a simple, stylish dark grey glass container, smells amazing. It’s not overly flowery or floral, it’s almost a masculine smell, which I prefer, and it melts evenly – a sign of a good candle – none of that melting down the middle leaving a pool of wax either side that never burns away. Christy Candles are made using high quality wax, and it’s obvious in the way it burns and smells.

I’ve bought the candle downstairs now, and have it burning next to me while I’m working at the dining table. Our downstairs space is pretty much open plan, so the scent from the candle carries pretty much round the entire ground floor, it takes a while to build up, but once it’s filled the room, it lasts for ages. After the smells of Christmas candles, heavy, cinnamon/clove based scents, it’s lovely to have something that’s so different.

I’ve also been a Diptyque or Neom girl but I think Christy will be making their way into my list of faves now!

PR Sample.

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A trip to Paris with Febreze

I think it’s fair to say it’s a pretty well known fact how much I love Paris, so when an invitation popped into my inbox asking if I’d like to travel their for the day with Febreze to see if I suffer from #NoseBlindness – well – it’s obvious what my answer was isn’t it!

Explaining the term ‘noseblind’ might help before I whittle on (autocorrect tried to change that to nosebleed by the way!) Noseblindness is a nasal condition where individuals gradually become acclimated to the odours around them, thus blinding them to those stinky smells. It’s a very real issue that can affect most people worldwide, with the potential to ruin social lives. So, in very basic terms, it means you don’t notice the smells that you live in, because you’ve become so used to them.

I am very conscious of how my home smells, I have two dogs, two kids and a man living here, so it could be smelly if I didn’t open windows, burn amazing candles and spray everyone to death…. (joke) But there’s nothing worse than walking into someones home to be greeted by the stink of trainers in the hallway, cabbage cooking in the kitchen, or wet dog all over the furniture!

So, with that in mind, I travelled to London to get the Eurostar to Paris with four other bloggers to find out about the ‘condition’ and take part in a top secret Smell Walk. Yup…..

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Once we’d arrived in Paris (Business class darling, always) we met Kate McLean. British Olfactory Experience designer who was going to lead the walk and fill us in on what was actually happening. Imagine a group of bloggers and writers wandering round the streets of Paris smelling flowers, fruit stalls, bakeries and even bins (I may have dodged that one, I’m quite happy remaining blind to that scent!) we were quite a sight! But, what we did learn (there was learning involved!) is that we tend to ignore a lot of the smells around us on a day to day basis. If you walk around town, you pay attention to what you can see, very rarely do you stop an notice what you can smell. Unless of course it’s amazing, or, disgusting!

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After our walk, we were taken to the most amazing Parisian house I have ever seen, it was, we were told, in the region of three million euros. Stunning. Once there, and warmed up with champagne and nibbles we were given a talk by Pieter Hommez, the Research and Development scientist for Febreze who explained how it works, by converting the structure of the odour, locking it away and neutralising it by changing the pH levels. Which is how Febreze products eliminate odours rather than masking them with another layer of perfume.

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I have to admit, I always liked the smell of Febreze, and it’s one of the products I have in my cupboard to spritz around when I want to freshen things up, but I didn’t really believe all the “eliminates rather than mask” jargon before, however, after listening to the science behind it and watching it in action with various tests and trials, I have to say, it makes sense, and it does what it says on the tin so to speak.

A huge thank you to Febreze & Saamia for inviting me along to my favourite city in the world for the day, I wasn’t there for very long so it just made me desperate to go back, even if it’s for another day trip. I’m sure I should have been born Parisian!

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I was very lucky to be invited on this press trip, but as always, all views, words and images are my own. 

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Women as Protectors

NSPCC in Croydon appeals for volunteers to deliver a new service to help mothers protect their children from sexual abuse

The NSPCC is launching a brand new sexual abuse service for mothers and other female carers who have a relationship with a man who poses a risk of sexual harm to her children. It could be a current or ex-partner or a member of her family.

Women as Protectors provides education, emotional support and guidance that can keep the family safe. Women take part in group sessions run by an NSPCC practitioner, followed by ongoing individual support through a trained and supervised volunteer. Group sessions last for ten weeks while volunteers provide on-going mentoring for around 12 – 18 months.

The NSPCC needs women who are over 21 years of age to help them deliver this new service in the borough.

Sue Schofield, NSPCC Croydon service manager explained: ”As you can imagine, a woman in this kind of situation can feel isolated, confused and unsure about how to keep her children safe. Having a reassuring and supportive person to talk to can make a huge difference. That’s why volunteers are essential to this programme.

“It’s a challenging role but very rewarding. You don’t need any prior mentoring experience. All you need is a willingness to learn and to help. And we’ll give you all the training and support you need.”

Volunteers will be carefully matched to each mum or carer. They will provide emotional and some practical support, suggest ways she can support her children, encourage her to make friends or take part in activities, and let the NSPCC know if they’re concerned about the children in any way.

To begin with they may meet once a week, but as the woman becomes more confident, visits could decrease to fortnightly, and then monthly towards the end of the programme.

Being a Women as Protectors volunteer can give you a valuable experience and the chance to help a family through a difficult time. To find out more, to apply as a volunteer, or if you wish to make a referral, please contact the NSPCC Croydon service centre on 020 8253 1850 or email croydon.servicecentre@nspcc.org.uk.
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Half Term Week – James Bond

I love half term. It’s a week (not too long!) of less rushing around and time to relax with the kids. I’m not such a fan of the six weeks holiday, I don’t care how much you love your kids, by the end of it you don’t want to talk to them for at least 3 weeks.

This week we have something to do almost every day, which is really nice. None of them require getting up early either, which is even nicer!

Yesterday was all about London as we had tickets to see the James Bond exhibition at the London Film Museum in Covent Garden. All the times we’ve wandered round Covent Garden, I’ve never noticed the Film Museum before, but it’s definitely on my radar now. The kids and I met the bloke in town and headed in that direction. It was, typically, p*ssing down so by the time we got there, we were soaked, but it was meant to be an adventure, so you know, all part of the fun…?

Having been bought up watching James Bond and now loving it myself (hello Daniel Craig) I was looking forward to seeing the cars, C was especially looking forward to it, he’s a serious car lover already, so I knew it would keep his attention, despite it not involving Minecraft or Xbox!

It wasn’t as big as I was expecting, when we were told to start off upstairs and work our way down, I think I was expecting upstairs to be more than a few framed images, but it was still interesting none the less. Downstairs is where everyone was mingling and snapping pictures, so we headed down there instead.

The hardcore fans out there would probably know which car was driven by which Bond without reading the accompanying descriptions, but it was a good touch to have the scenes playing behind each one. My personal fave was the car from Quantum of Solace, an Aston Martin DBS, complete with missing door and bullet holes! C was all about the green Jaguar with missiles from Die Another Day, with H also falling for an Aston Martin. Never let it be said I don’t raise kids with expensive tastes! (It’s a skill)

There was, of course, a gift shop on the way out, full of posters, pens, pencils and the Bond aftershave, but we managed to swerve that with a promise of hitting M&M world on the way home! Which I kind wish we hadn’t done because it was absolutely HEAVING in there! Imagine Ikea on a crazily busy 99% off sale day and times it by 2. What the hell!? Anyway..

It was interesting, and C loved it but I would have been annoyed if I’d headed there for an entire day. I think it took us just as long to get there as it did to walk round it, which was fine as we had planned it to be part of the day, not *the* day. But then I suppose it all depends on how long you decide to stay there, if you added in coffee and lunch in the cafe and took the audio tour I’m sure you’d be there a couple of hours.

The concession prices were pretty reasonable, £9.50 per ticket, but for larger families it still adds up! It was an experience though, and it’s pretty cool to say you saw Bonds car in the half term!

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REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask

REN are one of my favourite skincare brands, I’ve never once had a product that has irritated or made my skin sore, every single product has worked and worked well for me since I’ve started using it. The Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask is another one to add to the list.

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It’s a mask that is quick to use, and leaves your face looking awake and refreshed, so it’s maybe more suited to a morning boost (if you have the time) but it’s certainly not a bad product to use in the evening either.

It’s designed to renew the complexion and reduce the appearance of fine lines (as we know I’m all about that at the moment!) and improve skin tone by removing dead skin cells, helping to clear congestion, blackheads and spots.

It’s quite a sticky texture with a strange smell, not unpleasant but not one of the nicest products I own. After applying a generous amount to clean, dry skin, you leave it for 10 minutes to do it’s thing, then wipe away with a damp flannel or cloth (there is a muslin cloth included the box) You might experience a slight tingle (it’s an exfoliating mask containing acids) but nothing too extreme, if you do find that it’s doing more than tingle then remove it and rinse your face with fresh water, but don’t be alarmed by the tingle! My skin is quite sensitive and I haven’t had any reaction from it, but we’re all different.

It’s recommended to use it weekly, so the 50ml pump should last a good while.

Available from REN for £32.00. You can also get 2 free samples with every order at the moment, as well as 10% off your first order! Bargain!

PR Sample.

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Chocolate Fix

I love baking. Like, real baking, cakes, biscuits and more cakes. I don’t find it enjoyable sharing the baking with the kids, I’m not that sort of parent (which I think I’ve discussed before!) The mess, the fact that they just want to lick the bowl more than anything else and the fact that the cakes never quite turn out right. I know, I know. I’m a terrible person! It doesn’t mean they don’t bake, it just means they have their cakes, I have mine and never the twain shall meet.

Apart from the cake we made for Valentines Day.

Usually, I make my cakes from scratch, I find it really relaxing weighing everything out and sifting it all into my bowl, but the kids like to get it from bowl to plate as quickly as possible, so ready to mix kits are a godsend, like the Devils Food Cake mix from Betty Crocker. Hello simple but tasty!

I just left them to it. H being the sensible one (cough) was in charge, and C was the gofer. Between them they managed to add the missing ingredients of egg, water and oil and combine it together to make a pretty good looking batter. We (the royal we!) then transferred it to the cake tins, whacked it in the oven for the required time and got on with the important jobs of cleaning the kitchen and licking the bowls, spoons and anything else that seemed to be covered in raw cake mix.

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Once the oven had pinged and the cake was cool enough to ice (and we’d sorted out the argument over vanilla or chocolate flavoured icing) we set about filling the two cakes with buttercream and then smothering the entire thing with even more. Both kids started off icing, but once they started dragging bits of sponge with them, they decided to let me take over! I ended up using an entire tub of the ready made icing, because I thought it would be better than letting it go to waste, but to be honest, the cake was probably swimming in it! A little flourish of a heart in sprinkles and it was good to go! Nice and easy, quick and kept them quiet for at least half an hour! Plus I got to eat a slice of chocolate heaven with my cuppa. Not too shabby!

They’re going to attempt cookies and brownies in the half term too, at this rate I won’t be fitting in my jeans when they go back to school!

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