Kids Autumn/Winter with Petit Bateau

Something that I love about shopping online is that I can source things which are a little bit different to what you’d normally find on the High Street. This is especially great for finding clothes for Sausage and Burrito Baby as I do love dressing them to accentuate their unique personalities, which is why I was happy when Petit Bateau asked me to put together an outfit for each of them from their new Autumn/Winter range.

Sausage is pushing boundaries with her fashion choices at the moment. She loves to be a little bit different (hence the pink hair during the holidays!) and relishes bucking against what girls in her class would be wearing. BB likes to wear things that look “pweety” (yep, that’s how she says it!) but which also allow her to charge around and don’t impede her running/climbing/dog riding. Here’s what I chose for them:

 

Petit Bateau

 

Petit Bateau by jayne-crammond on Polyvore

Grey is one of my favourite colours for clothing at the moment and I think the grey jeans make such a nice alternative to blue or black, which is what you see on most people. Sausage and BB both look amazing in most colours, but Sausage looks especially fantastic in autumn/winter palates because of her wild red hair, while BB looks great in more neautral shades because of her blond locks and pink cheeks.

I actually wnjoy shopping for the girls SO much more than shopping for myself, so spending an afternoon scouring a site and choosing things for them is a real treat! Have you shopped with Petit Bateau before? Do you enjoy shopping for your kids? What would you choose from the Petit Bateau ranges? Leave me a comment below!

Getting Married Abroad – Where to Choose

As most of the Mum’s the Word readers know, Husband and I got married abroad. After a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, we decided that a wedding in the UK wasn’t for us and we flew off to the Maldives to take our vows on a sandy beach in the middle of the Indian Ocean. We did a lot of research before we finally decided on the destination for our wedding and had to turn down a lot of other amazing options in the process, so I thought I’d share with you the other options that we had on our list.

A Carribean Cruise

The closest runner-up on our list was taking a cruise and actually getting married on the ship! Most cruise liners offer the opportunity to get married on board (Planet Cruise even have wedding chapels on their ships!) and it means that you can combine your wedding and honeymoon with everything that a cruise has to offer.

Getting Married on a Cruise Ship

Costa Rica

Husband and I are both nature lovers and there are companies which offer wedding packages where you’re actually married in the canopy of the rainforest. Imagine, instead of a choir or chapel bells, getting married amongst the cries of howler monkies!

Las Vegas

Let’s face it, Las Vegas is THE classic destination for a wedding with a chapel on every corner and any number of Elvis impersonators waiting to officiate for you! My cousin got married in Vegas and it looked absolutely incredible.

Gretna Green

If you’re going to elope, Gretna Green has to at LEAST be considered for a moment, with over 1500 couples choosing this as their place to elope to. It makes an amazing story to tell your friends and relatives and the anvil makes for a truly memorable photograph! Ultimately, Husband and I decided that we wanted a bit of sun at the same time which is why Gretna got bumped down the list.

Sri Lanka

Husband and I actually stopped in Sri Lanka on our way to the Maldives but only for a layover, however it was a serious contender for our choice. Many people who choose Sri Lanka do so because of the opportunity to have an elephant at your wedding and while it makes for an incredible set of photos, ultimate it wasn’t for us.

Did you have a destination wedding? Did you choose to get married on a cruise ship? I’d love to hear all about your special day and where in the world you chose to do it.

Making Design Choices that Last

studleyOne of the things that Husband and I loved about the house we’re living in now is that our landlady is happy for us to decorate. As with most rental properties, obviously we have a “within reason” guideline, so painting the walls black is a no-no and we’re not permitted to make any major structural changes, but other than that we have fairly free reign. When you rent rather than own, it’s wise to make choices that will last, which means avoiding ‘trends‘ or things which will seem passe by the end of the year.

Obviously, as with clothes, if there’s a particular trend which is big at that time, there will be a LOT of that in the shops – remember a few years ago when metallic furniture was all the rage and it was nigh-on impossible to find a Welsh dresser which hadn’t been gilded?! For us, it’s all about finding balance – items of furniture which are high quality and classic in their design, so that they stand the test of time.

Another thing to consider is lighting – lighting can change the whole look of a room and is so easy to add to. Here’s that the interior design specialists from Baytree Interiors had to say about lighting:

“Strategically placed lighting is a simple yet effective way to change the ambience in a room with minimal effort. Pendant lights and chandeliers are a great choice when it comes to lighting, as are filament bulbs which provide a warm glow with a vintage look. With a range of different styles available from industrial to vintage and modern variants, pendant lights can suit any theme.”

As much as we’d love to re-decorate our houses every time the trends change, what’s far more practical is choosing a style which can be amended if your tastes change. Opting for furniture in neutral colours and classic shapes and then accenting them with cushions, place mats or storage inserts in different colours is a far more practical (and let’s face it, CHEAPER) way to freshen up the look of our homes.

It’s also a lot better for the environment to opt for furniture which has been well-made. Yes, going to a massive warehouse-style shop and picking up a bargain may seem great but that furniture rarely lasts longer than a year, will add to landfill once it’s thrown away and has probably used lots of carbon-heavy processes to be made. Choosing real wood furniture which has been made by craftspeople is by far the better choice.

5 Things That You Can do to Turn your Life Around

Changing your life for the better is about setting a goal for yourself and taking a step at a time to get till there. The path, initially might seem difficult but if you try to take shortcuts, you may actually end up making your journey longer and more arduous. Get serious and make some improvements for a great start and after that taking action is the next important step.

End all toxic relationships

Any kind of interpersonal relationship — with your parents, siblings, partners, or a friend qualifies to be nurtured. Any toxic relationship is harmful for both you and the other party. Having a constant bicker with someone completely damages your system and creates negativity in your life. The worst thing that could happen is for the relationship to turn mentally abusive. For once, put an end to this relationship.

Be physically active

Spare some time in a day, say about 30 minutes for a good work out. If nothing more, do some cardio. It will not only make you physically fit and help you shed some kilos but you will be pumped mentally, too. Regular exercise boosts your mood and mental activity.

By changing your daily routine from stagnant to active, you can become more motivated to achieve your goals.

Acquire a new skill

When we get too comfortable with what is around us, we no longer want to take risks of trying something new. But, it’s very important to learn a new skill all the time and the experience can be rewarding. Start writing a blog or take up dancing classes- doing something that you like. This brings about a lot of positivity.

Cut your expenses and look for new ways to earn money

Have you ever felt as though you are struggling to live a good life by the end of the month? Then you are doing something wrong. Find ways to cut unnecessary expenses and make a valid savings plan.

Find additional ways to earn a bit of extra cash. You could do some freelance blogging that can pay you well or you could also try out your luck in popular UK bingo gaming websites. The games here are entertaining and also rewarding in terms of earning money in a fun way.

Get a diet plan

Eat healthy. Avoid bad fat food. and junk food. Stick to vegetables that have earthy colors like greens, dark yellows and brilliant oranges.

Doing an effective Detox Diet or avoiding sugar, wheat and dairy for a couple weeks could be a good idea. When you eat foods that are rich in these colors, you are absorbing the vibrational energy of the earth. Even if you love non-vegetarian food; go for rich protein meat and dishes like stews that are less spicy.

All you need is determination and a small push. You can start small, by changing your diet or turning off the TV. A tiny change now can become something bigger later in life. With that said, let’s start turning your life around.

“What Does Your Mummy Look Like?”

mummy broken heartI knew it was coming. BB is going through this ferociously curious stage where she asks new questions all day long. Often it’s things like “Mummy, how do you make a robot?” and “where does chocolate come from?” but today, she’s woken up with a whole new set of questions. We were driving home from the school run, listening to Miss Polly Had a Dolly for the billionth time when she piped up:

“Mummy…have you got a mummy?”

“Yes”, I answer tentatively, knowing that this probably won’t be the end of it.

“What does your Mummy look like?”

I describe her in the briefest terms possible.

“Does your Mummy have eyes and feet?”

“Yes BB, most people have eyes a feet”

“Does your Mummy have welly boots?”

“I don’t know, BB, probably”

Fortunately, that seemed to sate her, knowing that my phantom life-giver has eyes and feet and potentially some welly boots, but I knew these questions were coming. She’s been asking a lot of these types of questions lately, making the connection that her Nanny is also Husbands’ Mum and that Grandad who rides a motorbike is also my Dad, and I know it’s all part of her development, but I’ve been dreading it.

Sausage knew my mother for the first 5 and a half years of her life and is strident in her anti-Nan stance when it comes to her, after seeing all of the heartache and anguish I’ve dealt with over the past 3 and a half years, but to BB, me having a mother is a totally abstract concept. She’s never met the woman, never so much as laid eyes on her.

I know that, as she grows, it will just be ‘one of those things’; she’s never known any different and it will be her norm, but it still feels really bizarre. I don’t want to taint her innocence with a bunch of reasons about why we don’t see Nanny, but at the same time, she’s going to want to know the WHYS one day and I need to be prepared for those questions.

My girls are lucky though, they have a whole SQUAD of family who mean so much to them – Husband’s Mum who’s the most amazing Nanny, not to mention My Dad and his other half who we don’t see as much as we’d like but adore nonetheless, and their far-flung grandparents who live in Arkansas but always manage to send little notes and emails to stay connected. They’re closer to their great-Aunt and Uncles than most other kids I know too, which is an absolute blessing. There’s no shortage of family for them to love and there’s no hint of any sort of gaping hole where non-existent family members should be.

I’m hoping that it will get easier as she gets older. At the moment, there’s no point in me explaining things to her in any detail because she simply won’t understand, but as her level of comprehension increases I can give her an overview in terms she’ll be able to get her head around. Until then…who knows?

I guess it’s just another step in this whole minefield that I call (ex)family.

Simple Fun with Aldi Mamia #MamiaDaysOut

Aldi mamia picnic I have to be honest with you, dear readers – I am one of those Mums…the ones who go into mourning when their kids go back to school. Yeah, the girls bickered almost constantly for six weeks, but I feel lost when Sausage isn’t here, and Burrito Baby really misses her big sis. The only good thing is that I get to spend some quality time with the littlest one. Throughout the six weeks holidays, we tend to pack in as much as we can for Sausage before school starts again so between her birthday in early August, weekly pony club, visits here there and everywhere, the holidays are very Sausage-centric and BB largely just gets dragged along for the ride!

When the guys at BritMums got in touch and asked if we’d like to take a look at the Mamia range from Aldi, I knew that BB and I could have a lovely afternoon of simple fun, just the two of us, which would be the perfect antidote to a crazy summer and three weeks of missing Sausage all day. We’re lucky enough to live in a beautiful little hamlet tucked away in a rural corner of the South East which means we’re literally spoilt for places to have a picnic, so BB and I packed up our basket with our Mamia goodies and headed out.

Walking the path round to our picnic spot, BB and I sang nursery rhymes (Miss Polly Had a Dolly is her absolute fave at the moment) while we walked and soon found a secluded little spot next to the river with some cover provided by the trees. The farmer was out doing some ploughing, so we watched him making his way, back and forth across the field, with his legion of seagulls following for the seeds and worms which get turned out of the earth as he goes.

BB is learning her colours at the moment so while we ate we enjoyed a game of “where can you see…” where I ask her to point out things of a certain colour. The colourful blanket we took along with us really helped, as did the bright packaging for the Mamia goodies, such as fruity rice cakes and pouches of fruit puree (absolutely PERFECT for a picnic as no spoon is needed!).

Even before we were asked to try out these Mamia goodies, we’ve long been devotees of the Mamia nappy range. BB is currently potty training herself (she’s made it perfectly clear that she’s doing it all HERSELF and that she doesn’t need to be taught by anyone else!) and the Mamia Easy Pants are absolutely perfect for us. They enable BB to pull them down herself when she feels the need to use the loo but they’re really absorbent too, which means I don’t have to worry about leaks if she falls asleep or forgets to use a potty. Whenever I see a new mum asking which nappies to use, I ALWAYS recommend Aldi ones – we pay £1.85 for 18 which is significantly cheaper than the leading brands and I genuinely believe them to be of a far superior quality, even at such a low price. aldi-mamia-rice-cakes

I think the thing that I love about Aldi, and especially the baby range, is that the prices just seem to be far more reasonable than anywhere else but without a compromise in quality. I find that, in ‘cut price’ shops you can get a bargain but the food will be really unhealthy or stuffed full of unpleasant ingredients, but Aldi gives me peace of mind that I can save money without having to worry. Most of their juices and flavoured waters are low or zero sugar, their meat is all well-sourced and the fruit pouches I mentioned above are 100% organic and contain no thickeners, no added sugar and no preservatives – just one example fo their dedication to quality.

Once BB has finished her snacks, she decided it’s time to get wandering again. She’s a little obsessed with blackberries at the moment; I think she’s amazed that we can pick something off of a bush and eat it, and we’ve got an absolute ton growing near us right now so we’re foraging on a regular basis. We stop to asses our crop on the way home and decided they need a couple more days until we come back to pick another load.

blackberries

I love nothing more than spending time with both of my girls but getting an opportunity for some one-on-one time with BB was great and I think we’ll have to make a picnic part of our weekly ritual while the weather allows. Thanks to Aldi for sending us such a lovely treat for our afternoon of fun!

(As an afterthought, it’s also worth remembering that Aldi is having its next Baby Event starting on Thursday 22nd September and I guarantee you’ll be able to pick up some really impressive bargains!)

(This post is an entry for BritMums #MamiaDaysOut Linky Challenge, sponsored by Aldi Mamia.)

Beat ‘The Mondays’ with Marmite #MarmiteMondays

Marmite. Probably one of the most divisive foodstuffs in the UK with people either firmly in the ‘Love’ or ‘Hate’ camp and rarely in-between. However, whether you love it or hate it, the guys at Marmite have uncovered a terrifying malady which is affecting the whole country, called…THE MONDAYS! Symptoms of The Mondays are as follows and should be monitored closely:

  • Monotony
  • Overtired
  • Negativity
  • Dilly-Dallying
  • AHHHHHHH-gitated
  • Yawn-y

Here’s what the guys at Marmite had to say about Marmite Mondays:

Following years of not-very- scientific study, we found that millions of ordinary families across the nation are afflicted by a terrible made up condition.

They are victims of a Case of The Mondays – a debilitating condition that leaves those affected feeling bleurghh. A bit mehhh. Or even mweurghh on a Monday morning.

Thankfully, Marmite on toast for breakfast has been found to be our pseudo-scientific remedy. It’s anecdotally proven to help families smash through the start of the week.

If you’re suffering from this condition and want to report a case of The Mondays, call the Marmite Monday Helpline on 0800 832 1835.

Hate Mondays. Love Marmite.

Do you find yourself suffering from The Mondays? I know we do, especially if we’ve had a good weekend and don’t want it to end; that can make a bad case of The Mondays 100 times worse! Fortunately for us, Marmite is a favourite of ours. Our top five ways to eat Marmite are:

  1. Marmite on crumpets with melted cheese
  2. Marmite soldiers with a dippy egg
  3. Marmite toast on thick white bread with lashings of real butter
  4. Added to a Cottage Pie during cooking to give it a rich, savoury flavour
  5. Marmite rice cakes

Are you a family of Marmite lovers? If so, what’s your favourite way to eat Marmite? We’d love to hear from you if there’s a new and delicious way to eat Marmite that we don’t know about yet so please do leave us a comment below…not least of all to cheer us up on this slightly dreary Monday!

Men’s Armani Jeans at infinities.co.uk (review)

Not to be too reductive, but I think there are two types of people in the world – those who love clothes shopping and those who hate it. My Husband falls firmly into the latter category. He loves to buy new things, especially jeans, but spending hours trawling the shops is a personal horror for him so he does the majority of his clothes shopping online. I do think that shopping for clothes online is a LOT easier for men because their sizes tend to be a lot more standardised. As a woman, a size 16 in one shop can seem more like a size 12 in others, whereas for men, a 36″ waist is pretty much the same wherever you shop.

Just recently, Husband discovered Infinities, a shop which has 11 stores around the UK, as well as a big online presence, and sells all of the best labels for men, from Armani to Stone Island to Adidas Originals, Victorinox, New Balance and many more. They asked if Husband would like to choose something from their range to review, so he chose some new jeans (everyone always needs jeans!) from the Armani J21 range (click on the image to be taken to the website):

Men's Armani Jeans

In terms of men’s fashion, Husband is really not keen on a lot of the current styles of jeans as they all seem to be skinny in the leg, which makes them impossible to wear if you’re a lifelong cyclist with decent thighs, so he was really pleased to find a jean which was a regular fit with a straight leg. Obviously, being Armani, they were exactly as good quality as you’d expect them to be with a really dark wash and thick fabric. Husband is 5″10′ and these came up about an inch too long in the leg, but that’s not too much of a problem when your wife is handy with a sewing machine. They were a great fit in the waist though, exactly the ‘true-to-size’ fit we’d hoped they’d be.

Another thing Husband liked about these jeans is the lack of logos. There’s a tiny silver Armani logo on the pocket and a black leather belt patch sewn on the waistband, but other than that they’re very low key- Husband likes nice clothes but he hates feeling like a walking brand advert, so these were perfect.

Delivery was really quick and the website was really easy to navigate. There’s tons of bargains to be had on the site and there’s loads of stuff on there which would make lovely Christmas gifts for the males in your life.

Head over to Infinities.co.uk for more information and to look at their ranges.

Back to School with Smiggle (review)

I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid if there was one thing which could make me feel better about going back to school it was new stationery, so when Smiggle got in touch and asked if we’d like some goodies for Sausage to make the back to school transition a bit nicer, of course I agreed! Her bundle arrived today to MUCH excitement. We were sent the following:

smiggle-glitter-markers

Smiggle Glitter Markers – £10

milk-shake-carton-scented-pencil-caseSmiggle Milkshake Carton Scented Pencil Case – £11.50

neon-watchSmiggle Neon Watch – £13.50

smiggle colour change pencilsSmiggle Scented Colour-Change Pencils – £1.50 each (£6)

smiggle scented lipstick eraserSmiggle Scented Glitter Lipstick Eraser – £2

I’m not going to lie; the levels of stationery-related hysteria were at an all time high last night. Sausage spent about an hour testing out her new gear, drawing with her pencils and colouring in with her pens. I swear, she even made deliberate mistakes just so that she could use her eraser. She was sad that her class has a no-pencil case rule so she couldn’t take them in to school with her but she wore her watch and proudly showed off the touch-activated face to anyone within earshot.

From a parental point of view, all of the stuff she was sent was really high quality (and the pencil case smelled good enough to eat!). It’s probably a little more than we’d usually spend on stationery items but the unique designs means that they felt quite special compared to ‘normal’ pens and pencils. I think they’d probably make really nice gifts for kids of Sausage’s age, especially the watch which comes in various different colours. Smiggle vouchers would probably also go down really well as just the name “Smiggle” seems to instil excitement in kids (and me, if I’m being really honest; I’m a sucker for stationary).

Without wishing to use the “C” word too much, I think a lot of the smaller items like pencils and rubbers would make really nice stocking fillers at Christmas, and I believe Smiggle also does an advent calendar which I just know Sausage is going to want.

All in all we were really pleased with Sausage’s Smiggle goodies and I know we’ll be heading to the Smiggle store, next time we’re in Lakeside. Thanks to Smiggle for our stationary stash.

Have a BERRY Good Day!

The Berry CompanyDid you know, that according to The Berry Company, the average person knows if they’re going to have a good day by 8.12am? The girls and I try to leave the house by 8am every day, in order to get Sausage to school on time (and to ensure I can park somewhere within a 2 mile radius of the school as the parking around there is HORRENDOUS!) and the be honest, 8.12am is pretty much the exact time that we know if we’re going to hit traffic or not, so I totally agree with this statement!

They made a video of their newly-appointed CMO (that’s Chief Mood Officer to you and I!) who made it his business to spend a morning in London seeing if he could improve people’s days…watch the video to see if he was successful:

I’m not going to lie, I might be a little bit weirded out if someone randomly offered me a hug, but I’d be thrilled if someone paid a tenner towards my taxi fare, although I’m wondering if that makes me a terrible person?! I’m a sucker for a high five though so that would definitely give me a chuckle, especially if I was having a stressful morning.

The Berry Company has decided to take its mission even further and is running a competition to help people win a good start to the day, with one of the prizes being a lift to and from work in a supercar with Le Mans Driver Oliver Jarvis! All you have to do is head over to The Berry Company website to nominate someone who you think deserves to win. It’s as simple as that! Runners up can also win a hair and make up session before work or a bunch of flowers delivered to their desk, both of which would be a really welcome pick-me-up.

If you’d like to nominate someone, or find out more about The Berry Company’s range of fruit juices, simply head over to their site.

We hope you’re having a BERRY good day!