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New Car Love

If you follow me on any kind of social media platform, or you’re lucky enough to know me in real life, you’ll know that I picked up my new car on Wednesday last week. My gorgeous, sexy, super fast new car. It’s a Honda Civic in black (I have wanted a black car forEVER) and it’s just beautiful.

You know when you’ve spent years driving a (perfectly good!) normal car, and you then start driving one that’s so much nicer? I mean, it has so many buttons inside it’s ridiculous! (My last car had 2 buttons, one to start it and one to put the hazards on!) It’s like a dream to drive. Without sounding all Top Gear – minus the ageing presenters and lack of brain cells – it drives like a bloody dream. It sticks to the road (I know, I sound like such a car geek) and the steering is just fab. Don’t even get me started on the windscreen wipers!!!

For the first few days I was terrified of scratching it. The roads round here aren’t tiny but the cars park on the pavement and it’s a tight fit, especially when you’re not 100% sure how big your car is. I was one of those people that I used to shout at when they drove in front of me. You know “How big do you think your car is?!” “It’s not a tank!” “If you can’t drive it, don’t buy it!” I was one of those. I even avoided certain roads because I knew they were too skinny to drive down! As for the school pick up?! Terrified someone would bump my car!

Thankfully I’m over that now. After driving to Cornwall and back in a day (more on that another time!) I am now fully aware of the size of my car. I am still scared it’s going to get scratched or damaged though, even when it’s parked on the drive. If I had the dream house to match the dream car I’d probably want to have a garage to protect my baby. One of those fancy ones, electric garage doors, the lot! Although, knowing my husband like I do, it would probably get filled with boxes and the like. Although he’s always wanted a proper garage to build a motorbike from scratch, so you never know. There’s no room for a garage in this house, but when we do get round to buying the forever home, it’s going to have a double garage. And a driveway.

Cos, you know, we’re going to win the lottery soon….

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Thanks to Garolla for supporting LD

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Ox Pasture Hall Hotel, Scarborough

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On Saturday the man and I escaped the hustle and bustle of normal life and took a drive up to Scarborough to stay at Ox Pasture Hall Hotel. Having never been to Yorkshire I was looking forward to the drive (without kids, driving can be quite relaxing!) and getting a good blast of fresh, country air.

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It took us a good five hours to drive from Surrey, not helped by the long sections of roadworks that meant we had to do 50mph for about an hour and a half and the awful, awful rain that practically slowed the M1 to a stop! Once we arrived though, it was like entering into another world. It’s set amongst 17 acres of gardens in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park and it is so peaceful. Even listening to the wind howling around it still felt a million times quieter than everyday life. The fact that there was zero phone signal added to the whole escape feeling. We had no choice but to switch off and just enjoy the moment.

We checked in and were shown to our room, one of the honeymoon suites, which was quite literally, bigger than our first flat. We had our own lounge, a huge master bedroom with the biggest bed we’ve ever slept in (what’s bigger than queen size?) and the most amazing bathroom known to mankind. I kid you not. The bath was big enough for the bloke and I to lay in together and the waterfall taps filled it in minutes, which was a good thing as I was planning on spending a lot of time in there! Double sinks (adds to home wish-list) and a massive power shower, I could have quite happily stayed in the bathroom the entire time, but we were booked in for afternoon tea and we weren’t going to miss that – it’s one of my favourite treats and it doesn’t happen nearly enough! We were due to have it at 2.30pm but because of the traffic we weren’t there on time, so the lovely receptionist rebooked it for us for 3.15pm giving us time to arrive, unpack and find our way around without rushing.

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We were seated in the bar area and even though there were a few people in there it still felt private and cosy. We got comfortable in our little armchairs and had good, strong, Yorkshire tea in a beautiful white tea set, with beef & horseradish, ham & mustard and cream cheese & cucumber sandwiches, freshly baked scones with jam and cream (not clotted cream which was a first, but it still worked!) and a selection of amazing cakes – lemon cheesecake, profiteroles, chocolate and pistachio sponge and lemon meringue, all in little bite-size portions. Heaven!

While we were enjoying our afternoon tea, a couple were sat at the table near us looking through a wedding brochure and I have to say, if we were getting married now, I would love somewhere like Ox Pasture for the whole thing, ceremony and reception. It would be an amazing wedding venue, it was stunning in January so I imagine it would be just as, or even more beautiful in the summer months.

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Once we had finished our tea, we decided to have a walk around the grounds, snap some pictures and take in the scenery. It was absolutely freezing, us Londoners are always complaining about the cold weather, but ‘up North it’s a different kind of cold! I think we managed about 30 mins before the lure of the bath was too much for me, so we made our way back to the room for another cup of tea and a very long, very hot soak.

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I had taken my own bath oil with me as I’d read a few reviews where they’d commented on the lack of bubbles provided so I was all set for a good long bath. We asked for a couple more towels because there were only two large ones and I have a lot of hair, which were sent over in minutes. After an hour or so reading my glossies and telling the husband how much I loved the bath, I had to physically extract myself before I wrinkled away. Only to put myself into the huge walk in, power shower to wash my hair. It was a hard weekend. I know.

We’d booked to have dinner at The Courtyard Restaurant at 8pm so we had plenty of time to enjoy the room, watching trashy TV, reading mags and chatting. It’s amazing how quickly you can reconnect with each other when there are no other distractions like emails, texts, kids….! It’s only when we get away and spend proper time together do we realise how much of a laugh we have, how easily we get on and how much we enjoy each others company. It’s so easy to get caught up in ‘he doesn’t do this, she always does that’ stress, running around and passing each other on the stairs Mon-Fri that it’s a real treat to just stop and remember why we married each other!

We made our way to the restaurant and were seated at one of the tables, I loved that all the two seater tables had seats next to each other rather than opposite so the romance could carry on!

Having heard amazing things about the food we were both looking forward to dinner and we weren’t disappointed! As the only restaurant in Scarborough to have been awarded 2-rosettes for culinary excellence and be recommended in the Michelin guide, you know the food will be as amazing as the surroundings. The menu is very traditional with a modern twist and has an emphasis on local produce, every single course was delicious as well as stunning to look at.

We started with the Goats Cheese and Beetroot Tart & Ham Hock Terrine, followed by the Pork Trio and Beef Brisket, we also sampled Chicken Roulade and the Butternut Squash Soup which was gorgeous. I wish I had gone for the soup now! Dessert had to be chocolate for me and cheese for him! The Yorkshire Cheese Board and Chocolate Trio. Wow! Just wow.

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We had a couple of glasses of wine and then made our way back to our room where we snuggled up on the sofa with a blanket and watched CBB, before, you guessed it, having another bath! It had to be done. We then crawled into bed and had probably one of the best nights sleep we’ve ever had.

The next morning we were treated to yet more amazing food (the theme really should be ‘amazing’ for this post!) fresh croissants, hot tea, orange juice and a bloody gorgeous cooked breakfast, sausage, scrambled eggs, bacon, tomato, mushrooms and black pudding. The husband threw some toast in as well for good measure.

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Once we’d finished it was time to pack up and head home to our babies. We decided to make a quick detour to have a look at the famous Scarborough and I was surprised by how pretty it was. It was quite busy for a Sunday morning, which made the peace of Ox Pastures Hall which was a mere 15 mins away, even more special.

If you’re looking for somewhere to stay while you’re visiting North Yorkshire, Ox Pasture Hall Hotel has to be top of the list. Luxurious, comfortable, friendly, quiet and relaxing all rolled into one. The staff were so friendly and open, I don’t know if that’s a northern thing or not, but they could teach the London hotel staff a lot, nothing was too much trouble for them, they were chatty without being over the top, just really lovely people who made the stay even more perfect.

Thank you to Ox Pasture Hall Hotel for such a wonderful stay!

We were given a complimentary stay at Ox Pasture Hall Hotel in order to write this review, but, as always the opinions are all my own.

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Win £150 Worth of John Lewis Vouchers with Everest Windows!

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a fab Xmas and New Year – ours was lovely (apart from a few illnesses!) and it’s a serious kick in the teeth to get back to normal this morning!

As a little pick me up and to make the month of January that little bit more nicer, how do you fancy winning £150 worth of John Lewis Vouchers? You do? Read on….!

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We may not be living like The Jetsons just yet, but our homes are becoming increasingly dependent on new technology.
However, while the ability to control almost everything from your mobile phone and 3D mega televisions is all great, first and foremost, a home should be somewhere warm, safe and comforting, which is why Everest Triple Glazing is a great addition to the modern home.

For your chance to win £150 worth of John Lewis vouchers, answer this question:

“What one gadget would you love to have in your home that hasn’t been invented yet?”

To enter, post your answer in the comments section below. Additional entries can be gained by following @EverestHome and @kateagreen on Twitter.

Good luck!

This competition is brought to you by Everest Home Improvements. Visit their website now to find out more about Everest Triple Glazing and many other products.

T&C’s
There is 1 prize of £150 John Lewis vouchers. The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative is offered
Open to UK residents aged 18 and over, excluding employees and relatives of Katie and the Kids and Everest Home Improvements
Closing date for entries is 16th January 2015
One entry per person
Entrants must leave a comment
Optional entry methods are to follow on twitter, Facebook and tweet on Twitter
The winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries
The winner will be informed within 14 days of the closing date and will need to respond with a postal address within 28 days or a new winner will be chosen
The winner’s name will be available on request
Everest Home Improvements is responsible for prize fulfilment. The prize will be sent within 28 days of receiving the winner’s address
This is a joint promotion between Katie and the Kids and Everest Home Improvements
Entry to this confirms that participants have read, understood and agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions

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Keeping warm in style

I don’t know about you but I love the cold months, I am a proper winter girl through and through. I enjoy the sunshine and heat while I’m on holiday but it doesn’t really float my boat being at home and rushing around in the boiling heat. Unless it’s in the evening, then I love nothing more than sitting outside in a pub garden drinking.

Anyway, missing the point here.

We have HUGE bifold doors in our living room which are amazing, but god it can get cold sitting on the sofa next to them. Sometimes it feels like there is a full on gale force wind coming through, even though they’re really good, double (triple?) glazed doors. We have curtains up obviously but I love blinds and the way they can add that extra layer of insulation to the windows.

Duette energy saving blinds provide a sleek and sophisticated appeal that suits every single home. From kitchens to bathrooms, and living rooms to bedrooms, there are the perfect Duette window blinds for you. They take a similar look to the ever-popular pleated blinds, but are singled out with a clever design to help retain more heat in your home. The Duette blind range is complete by having a modern, sleek appeal with no unsightly cord holes and minimal wires.

I am still a minimalist girl at heart, I can’t stand too much faff and fancy so anything that fits in with that gets a tick from me! I also love the fact that you can have a your blinds fitted with two different levels of transparency, allowing your own personal approach. Or, as I like to call it, the “nosy neighbour blocker”!

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The blinds would have to be a dark grey colour for the living room. I might go a little wild in the bedroom colour scheme, perhaps a deep plum shade (which works with grey and white….!) while in the kids rooms we’d be able to go to the brighter end of the spectrum. The Boy loves oranges, yellows, blues and greens, and GG is all about pattern.

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Adding the blinds could well stop it feeling so damn cold in here in the evening, which would stop me whacking the heating up, which annoys the bloke, and then we could save some money on gas bills. Which we could then spend on drinks in the pub in the summer.

All round win win don’t you think!?

 

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NutriBullet

Hands up if you’ve heard about the power of juicing? (yup) Hands up if you’ve tried to follow a juice only diet for 3 or more days? (yup) Hands up if you thought it was practically impossible and you just gave up on the whole thing? (both hands up) You know me, I’ve tried most diet plans out there, anything for a quick fix! But, surprise surprise, just like your mum told you, you don’t get results by trying to cut corners.

I’ve had my Vitamix for a while now and I love it, but it’s just *so* big and takes a fair bit of cleaning, when you want to blast a quick juice in the morning, it’s not the most simplest of gadgets, which is why I was really interested in trying out the NutriBullet.

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The beauty of this is just how easy it is to use. It’s literally just a case of filling it with your fruit and veg, adding some liquid and blasting it. When it comes to washing it all goes in the dishwasher and you even get cups with lids so you can make one and leg it out the door screaming at the kids to hurry up if you want to. (What? It’s not just me that does that!)

I’ve been using mine for a week and a bit now, and I’ve got to be honest, I was worried about using greens in my juice. I know they’re a super food and amazing for you, but after having some really bad tasting veg juices I think I was scarred for life! I put the 50% spinach in the tall cup, added my pineapple, strawberries and blueberries and prayed it wouldn’t taste anything like spinach, and thank god it didn’t! It wasn’t fully green by any stretch of the imagination, but the book you get tells you to start yourself off slowly, I won’t be drinking sprout and cabbage juice anytime soon. I’ve gone for ease so far, using frozen fruit with my fresh spinach, which means my juices are like smoothies and that suits me. I’ve slowly found the right balance of water, the first few were a bit thick, but now I’ve got it down to a fine art.

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I haven’t tried adding a banana or avocado to the mixes yet, they’re meant to make it smoother and I’m tempted, but I’m not sure how avocado would work in a juice and I can’t stand banana in anything other than actual whole banana form. I have issues I know.

I love the size of the NutriBullet. I don’t have the biggest kitchen and counter space is limited so anything that stays out all the time has to take up as little room as possible and be something I use every single day. Compared to the Vitamix this is miniscule. I can leave the base out all the time, and if the large cup isn’t on it, it’s in the dishwasher, so it’s the perfect size.

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As well as smoothies, the NutriBullet can also make amazing soups, pasta sauces, dressings, dips and they come with a milling blade that can mill brown rice into flour, almonds into almond butter, and so much more. I want to make almond butter asap.

Even though it comes with a recipe book, I’ve been pretty much making it up as I go along, sticking with fruits I know I like, and using the spinach as the greens. I’m getting more fruit and veg in each day than I usually do and it’s a better breakfast than anything else I can make in that amount of time so it’s win win for me.

The NutriBullet costs £99 and is available here. I’ve got to say it’s a bloody good gadget and I would have bought one myself if I hadn’t been lucky enough to be sent one. I know I’ll use it every day, the kids are getting interested in having juices, which can only be a good thing so it’s already paid for itself in my eyes. When you think about the cost of the Vitamix, this is practically a bargain!

I’m in love with this little baby, and if you have a look at my Instagram page you’ll probably spot a new recipe each day!

I was sent a NutriBullet for the purpose of this review but all views are my own obviously! 

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