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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
Since I had my babes I’ve become very sentimental, almost stupidly so, and things have become more special to me. Obvious things like drawings and paintings by my gorgeous ones, little messages they leave me, stickers that appear on my bathroom wall……. I blame the hormones completely!
I have a tattoo dedicated to them and now I have their initials on my necklace thanks to AnnaLou of London. I’ve been searching for the right initial disc necklace for *ages* I could picture it in my mind but nothing ever lived up to my expectations so when I was offered a piece of jewellery from the personalised range and I spotted the necklace I was so happy!
Anna Lou of London’s creations have made a mark on the jewellery and accessories scene – being snapped up by department stores and luxury boutiques like Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, John Lewis, Harrods, Fenwick (UK) and if I could have one of each, I would!
My necklace is the gold initial disc necklace with a H & C on each disc. I went with the longer chain length because I don’t like feeling strangled by jewellery or clothes and it sits just under my collar bones so it’s perfect. I think it would look fab teamed with a couple of others, in a layered effect.
It comes in three colour ways, gold, rose gold and silver and costs £67.50. Because it’s personalised it can take up to two weeks for delivery but it’s worth it, and I love having my two favourite people in the world around my neck at all times.
Also from AnnaLou of London is my new silver ring, which arrived a few weeks ago but I had to resize it because between us, the husband and I couldn’t get the sizing right…..! (All down to us and nothing to do with the website!) I was debating going with our wedding date on the ring, or something to do with us as a couple, but because I was going through my “I can’t do this” phase with college I wanted to get something that was inspiring and special to me, I love a good quote and one in particular by C.S. Lewis is my favourite, so, on my gorgeous silver band is “Courage, dear heart” I know it’s cheesy to some, but it’s special to me, it reminds me to suck it up and get on with it when I’m having a panic and it will remind me that I can do these things,*did* do those things, and did them well. Everyone needs a little boost every now and then. This is my little reminder.
I decided to wear it on my middle finger, I have my wedding band on my left hand and it’s the only ring I wear on that side, so it’s on the right hand next to my Pandora rings. I only ever wear silver rings as for some strange reason I am allergic to anything else, even white gold. Yet to try platinum but that’s an expensive test…..!
The ring costs £81 and can have up to 21 characters on it so you can create something unique and special to you. I absolutely love AnnaLou of London and it’s a brand I am really proud to be an ambassador of.
You’d think I’d have this nailed by now. An almost 12 year old and a 5 year old, technically I’ve been a parent for long enough to be able to keep a balance in life, but sadly I haven’t got it nailed. I’m still struggling with being able to switch between my various ‘sides’ – from being sensible Mum to wife to me.
The bloke and I don’t really get a lot of time on our own, unless you count evenings when they’ve gone to bed, and seeing as GG goes to bed at 9pm most nights, it doesn’t leave much of a gap between her going to bed and me falling asleep on the sofa, so those evenings consist of us eating our dinner, watching a bit of shit telly and going to bed. To sleep.
We had our weekend in Paris obviously, but god that feels like a year ago now (it was nearly 9 weeks ago!) and it went too quick. Now we’re back to the normal routine, work, kids, bed, work, kids, bed, it feels like we’ve gone back to being people who just meet up to discuss child based things and then carry on with our own lives again. Obviously we’re not joined at the hip (and I’d be ready to murder him if we were) but once you’ve become a certain version of yourself, it’s really hard to stop it. Being able to switch off while the kids are in bed takes time (and possibly alcohol) and if you’re knackered anyway, it’s not going to happen.
It’s too easy to be those literal ships that pass in the night, only we’re passing in the morning, usually on the stairs as one of us is going out the door and one of us shouting at smaller people to find their bloody shoes. After a while, that free side of yourself gets buried under ‘parent mode’ and it’s really hard to bring it back out.
We’ve been married for 13 years this year (shit!) so dates are a thing of the past, getting dressed up to meet each other at a bar is never going to happen because we live together, lazy weekends spent in bed – eating breakfast, reading papers and, well, screwing each others brains out are long gone. Even if we did have a weekend to do that, we seem to have lost the ability to lay in, we’ve got things we need to get done without the kids ‘helping’ (you know, clearing the shed, putting shelves up, wild stuff like that) Meals out that don’t include colouring books, iPads, kids meals and mini body guards are a rarity. Trying to spend time together as Mr & Mrs is such a big effort that sometimes we (both) think, do you know what? It’s probably easier not to bother.
NO! That’s not good. I read somewhere once that you only borrow your children, your partner is for keeps. So if you don’t put as much effort into your relationship as you do with your kids, then you’re going to be screwed. And this time not literally. It’s too easy to be lazy, to take things for granted but in the end that isn’t going to work. Leave that shed at the end of the garden to go rotten and fall apart because it’s easier than spending the day fixing & varnishing it, then you’re gonna have to take that shed down and build a whole new one. Not that I’m a shed but you get my drift.
When you’re telling kids off for leaving washing here there and everywhere, tidy more bedrooms than you actually sleep in, do homework (again) and constantly have a washing basket full to bursting you don’t really show your sexy side. The bloke walks in the door and I practically throw the kids at him & he thinks “yeah cheers for that” we’re not exactly exuding passion. Obviously we love those little pests more than life itself but sometimes we need to stop & remember that we’re both in our 30’s and we need to concentrate on us as much as we concentrate on them. We also need to step back and remember not to tell each other off for the things we tell the kids off for! Kids, budgets, jobs, responsibilities, they’re all very grown up & everyone needs time off from being an adult once in a while.
How do people do it? Hire regular, weekly/monthly babysitters? Take holidays without kids? (er, major guilt trip couldn’t do more than a weekend!) It’s hard enough making time to see our mates when one can stay home with the kids & leave the other in bed to recover from hangovers, it’s practically impossible to both do it at the same time! It’s got to be done though, I need to start dating the bloke again, before I turn into Nanny sodding McPhee.
Hold up. This is a proper post, not a review or even a sponsored post, this is a sit down, and take some time to actually write real words post. I can’t remember the last time I did that. Also, it’s probably a bit deeper than usual. Soz.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately, this year started off with me being determined to focus on the good stuff, to create the life that I’ve been going on about forever and here we are at the end of April in the blink of an eye. Everyone says life needs purpose, I tell the kids that they need to do things that make them happy, even if their friends seem to be doing the complete opposite to what that is. But I felt like I was coasting along, doing the odd thing here and there to bring in the money, but none of it was what I really wanted to do. I had so many excuses ready for why I couldn’t do what I wanted to do, money, kids, time, too old, too late, take too long, blah x 3. When I was working full time (pre kids) I was never the kind of person who wanted to be a stay at home mum, but, I had the babies and they were too gorgeous to leave them (and, let’s be honest, the cost of childcare would be covered by me working and that would be it) so I stayed home with them, watched them grow and become these two little people that are now out in the world doing things without me! Argh!
Now they’re bigger I have the time to do what I want to do & I’m doing it. I finally signed up for the first in a long line of courses that I need to complete (and pass) in order to be a fully trained Sexual Psychotherapist. I’m actually taking the steps I’ve spent god knows how long talking about. The kids went back to school on Tuesday, and I spent the whole day at my desk studying. The day went by so fast, I got so involved in what I was reading and learning that it was pick up time before I knew it, no TV, no radio, no distractions. And I bloody loved it.
I want to do something with my life, to leave a mark, to have something that’s mine, that I worked for all by myself, for myself. I want my kids to see how good it is to work hard for something that makes you feel passionate and proud. For the first time in a long time I feel like I know where I’m heading as ‘me’ – which means I’m happier in every other aspect of my life. It’s a win win.