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Mothers Day Gifts with AnnaLou of London & LD Discount!

It’s Mothers Day on Sunday, a chance to spoil your mum and let her know how much you love her, and want her to have a lovely lie in, beautiful flowers and breakfast in bed….. (don’t even try and tell me that’s just me!)

If you’re on the hunt for something special for the mum (or wife if your kiddies are too small to be picking up on mummy’s hints!) then AnnaLou of London is a good place to look. Full of fab jewellery and collections, they have gorgeous personalised pieces, offer engraving and even have a section for last minute gifts. Not that you should be forgetting of course, just in case.

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I am absolutely in love with initialed jewellery at the moment, I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect necklace with H&C on it, so I adore the initial disc necklace from AnnaLou, available in three colours, silver, rose gold and gold (the golds are both plated) it’s on my wish list…! I also love the name discs in the picture above, great if you have shorter names in your family! I think, if I get the necklace, I’ll be adding the sideways initial one to my collection as well, perhaps a T for the bloke, or even a K for me! It looks great layered with other styles. The names necklace costs £67.50 and the sideways one £54.00.

Both rings are available in the three colours, and cost between £30 and £40.

And….! AnnaLou have given all my readers a fab 20% off all orders if you use the code MUM20 at the checkout!

Please remember though, anything personalised won’t arrive in time for Mothers Day now, as it can take up to 14 days to come through.

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A bit of an Animal….

Dyson Animal that is. Dirty buggers.

Now, before I start this post I would like to make it known that I am not the type of person who likes to clean. No. I can think of a million more things I would rather do with my time than clean my house. I do, of course, like the end result and sometimes I can REALLY get into it and go mad with the whole thing, but for the most part, no. Cleaning isn’t my thing.

After moving from a ground floor flat to a three storey house I also discovered how much I hate vacuuming stairs. I mean. There’s no easy way of doing it is there? Balance the vacuum with your head and use the weird shaped attachment, or, use a small handheld vacuum and run out of power before you get to the top. And oh my god do our stairs attract fluff and dust and everything else two kids and two dogs can distribute around the place. Loom bands, sequins, small pieces of lego that you can’t actually see but will dig into your foot like a razor blade? Check. I always said I needed two vacuums, one for downstairs up, and one for upstairs down. But you know, never actually got round to it. Until, last month, the new Dyson Animal DC41 available from John Lewis arrived on my doorstep. Queue lots of excitement from C, he’s definitely not his mothers son, that kid *loves* cleaning for me!

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Once the beast was put together (it’s not really a beast, it’s just what we nicknamed it, cos we’re crazy like that) I obviously had to road test it. Now, it was late February when it arrived (ish) so I was already starting the little spring clean I like to do each year, nothing mental, but it involves getting the bloke to change the entire front room round for me so it feels lighter, brighter and more ready for sunshine. We fluff up the sofa and cushions, dust everywhere (nearly wrote everyone then, that would be interesting) get rid of wintery stuff and replace it with spring like goodies. The heavy scented candles go away and I gently hint about the room needing some pretty flowers to brighten the place up. That kind of thing.

So, I’d already given the whole living room a serious vacuum, as much as I dislike cleaning, I’m not going to live in filth, so when furniture moves I am right there sucking up every last bit of dust before it’s replaced. After using the Animal for 5 mins downstairs, I wondered if maybe I’d vacuumed with a toy instead. The amount of  crap it picked up was incredible! Which then meant I had to do the entire house just to make sure it was clean!

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The animal isn’t the lightest of vacuums, but it’s a hell of a lot lighter than my other one, and the huge rollerball in the middle meant it swivelled off in all sorts of directions without even a grunt of effort. The size of the ball does mean you can’t get under furniture but that’s where one of the many attachments would come in handy. It switches between carpet and wood easily and the lead stretches to 9 metres before you have to hunt down another plug socket. The suction power on it is insane (it boasts the strongest suction, largest bin capacity and longest cable length of all Dyson upright vacuums) I was giving the downstairs loo a quick once over and it was still on max, which meant I was practically stuck to the floor! It really does live up the Dyson name, I know so many people who say they wouldn’t look at another vacuum, but being so expensive (albeit worth it) it’s not something everyone can invest in outright. Owning this baby now, I can see why people love them.

The DC41 Animal comes with a Tangle-free Turbine tool. It’s meant to be the only turbine tool that doesn’t tangle, with counter-rotating heads with brushes remove hair and dirt from carpets and upholstery. There’s no brush bar for hair to wrap around. But, I have serious amounts of hair, and it has got wrapped around the bristles but that’s nothing new, I just grab the scissors and cut it out!

So, back to the one vacuum upstairs, one down, the Animal is living downstairs with us, where we use it on the whole downstairs, the stairs, the 1st floor (yes, I know I sound like I live in a mansion but I really don’t!) and then it goes all the way up to the top. If for some reason H decides she wants to vacuum her room (NEVER going to happen) she grabs the oldie out of the cupboard up there to save time.

Look at me, cleaning-phobe and I’m in love with a vacuum. Who would have though it!

Disclosure: I received the Dyson Animal Upright Vacuum for the purpose of writing this review. All opinions and images are my own!

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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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