Stairway to heaven {how to create a gallery wall up a staircase}

Since we decorated just before Christmas last year, the majority of the walls in our home have remained bare; and most of our framed pictures have been stacked up on the floor, waiting to be rehung. We used to have a ‘stairway photo gallery’ going up the staircase. Dozens of black framed, black and white photographs — in various shapes and sizes — containing the smiling faces of our friends and loved-ones; plus memorable places we’ve visited (or lived in) over the years. But after taking them all down I decided that I was ready for a change. We visited a really cool hotel last year and they had a gallery wall up a staircase. It was really impactful. Instead of a large collection of small pictures, the pieces they’d used were really large. So I decided to do the same up our stairs. I searched on Google for how to arrange pictures on staircase walls — and also on Pinterest for inspiration — but most of the gallery walls on there had a theme; either by colour or frame style. There always seemed to be a common thread tying all of the pieces together, plus there were lots of tips on creating a gallery wall but, more often than not, they were very contrived and the pictures… Read More

In search of what I wasn’t looking for | HomeSense GiftCard Competition

I think it’s fair to say that I’ve had a love affair with HomeSense since we moved up to Northamptonshire 6 and a half years ago. Their Northampton store sits on a generous corner plot, in one of the town’s retail parks; and walking through the doors is literally like walking into an Aladdin’s cave. The stock — and the layout of the store — is constantly evolving and shifting. Go in for a lampshade and you may come out with an armful of bright cushions or a bunch of beautiful faux florals. Go in search of bathroom accessories and there’s a good chance that you’ll be sidetracked before you find them; and will end up being bewitched by a vast and gorgeous array of stationery. So when I went to our local store the other week — to buy a new coffee pot — it really came as no surprise that I left with various other treats, that I hadn’t actually been looking for. HomeSense is so good at this.   It lures you in and before you know it, you’re led on a merry treasure hunt around the store. For those of you familiar with HomeSense, you’ll be nodding at this point and will know exactly what I mean. But… Read More

On life lately {and why making Easter bonnets is good for the soul}

I began this blog 4 years, 5 months and 8 days ago. To the day. When I started writing I had no idea that it would become such a permanent fixture in our lives. Or be the bearer of so many amazing and wonderful experiences and life-changing opportunities. It was just an online diary, to share my thoughts and feelings. A cathartic escape, if you will. But over time, it’s become the keeper of our big family milestones and ordinary moments. A place to document the boys’ early years; for them to look back on when they’re a little older. I don’t tend to write about sad or negative things on here. This is my happy place after all. But when life-changing things happen, I do occasionally cover them on the blog. I wrote about the time my dad was gravely ill and rushed to hospital — and about losing our furry faced child Widget. I wrote about the death of my grandad and losing my nana. So whilst this little corner of the internet is mostly about the good things, it does occasionally bear witness to the bad too. Accidents Will Happen If you don’t follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you may not know that I fell on… Read More

Our stay at the Hotel Aiguille Percee in Tignes | With Mark Warner

For someone — like me — who’s never been to the mountains before, the coach journey from Grenoble airport to the ski resort of Tignes was pretty spectacular. Winding through the French Alps, looking down over vast canyons and valleys — all smothered in a thick layer of snow — was breathtaking. And as we pulled in to Tignes-Le-Lac and the coach stopped, we were able to get a proper look at where we were going to be spending our first ever family ski holiday. Tignes is located 2100 metres above sea level; and due to the high altitude offers skiers the chance of fabulous snow, even late on in the season. We arrived on 12th March and — apart from the roads which were clear — everywhere else was covered in a dense blanket of snow. The coach dropped us off and we walked up the footpath to our home for the week; The Hotel Aiguille Percee. Looking every inch as chalet-like as I’d hoped, we were warmly greeted at the front desk by Wayne — the lovely general manager — who checked us in and let us know when, and where, all the welcome meetings were; plus the times of the meals etc. The Accommodation We stayed… Read More

5 Weird and Wonderful Things To Do at Camp Bestival

Hurrah! The clocks have gone forward!! This annual event literally makes me smile from ear to ear. Goodbye winter. We’ll miss you! Said no-one. Ever. It’s that time of year where I start coming out of hibernation and begin to look forward to the warmer months that lie ahead. We bought a family calendar a few weeks ago in the Kikki K sale and have been merrily filling out the boxes; marking off when we’re away or have people staying. One of the things that certainly puts a smile on my face is planning our festival weekends. Thinking about the colour and joy of festivals is always a lovely distraction. Having a look at what bands are on, at which particular festival. Take Camp Bestival for example. This year they’ll be celebrating their tenth anniversary and have got a stellar line-up in place. They’ve got Mark Ronson gracing the Castle Stage on the Friday night. Madness are doing a slot, plus Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys is the Sunday headliner. The thought of long hot days, sipping cocktails, watching the bands; then sloping back to Dolly, tired and happy, to have a  lovely sleep in our cosy Duvalay beds makes me smile from ear… Read More

Packing for a long weekend away

Even before I had the boys I was never one for packing light. I used to pore over the pages of Red and Grazia, marvelling over glossy pages of chic capsule wardrobes. Then when it came to packing in ‘real’ life, I’d panic and cram in clothes for every eventuality. I’ve never been too good at the pared down look; be it for home, fashion — or life in general. A case of go big or go home. But last month when we went on our little adventure in St Mawes, I made a pact with myself to ‘try’ and pack as lightly as possible. Tricky — as the weather can be so unpredictable at this time of year— but necessary. Particularly as the car was bursting at the seams, with everything two little boys might need for a week away. Two (or three) outfit changes a day for me, plus bikini, wellies, rain-mac, sunhat, maxi-dress, dungarees, sequins (just in case) was not going to cut it. I needed something casual to wear during the day — and possibly a sweater to throw on if things got a little too chilly — plus we’d got a special dinner planned, to celebrate my birthday and wedding anniversary so I wanted something a little bit glam and… Read More

207 weeks and 2 days | Me and Mine {February} featuring Joules

February. A very short and very memorable month for me and mine. We’ve done some decorating. Been  planning and getting very excited for our upcoming ski trip with Mark Warner. And, of course, we celebrated our wedding anniversary down in Cornwall; at lovely Dreamcatchers; courtesy of St Mawes Retreats. It is definitely one of the most beautiful houses I’ve ever had the privilege to stay in; but bricks and mortar aside, Cornwall was breathtakingly beautiful. Even in early February. The sun shines differently on that little corner of the British Isles and even on the darkest, stormiest day, the little fishing village of St Mawes was bathed in a magical, clear light. Inside, outside and exploring… We took some family with us; my sister-in-law, her husband and our niece — who is the Twinkles big cousin — and her husband. Spending time with our nearest and dearest is always something I treasure; our annual family BBQs are something I really look forward to and it was lovely hanging out with them for a few days. Really freeing not to have a fixed agenda for a change; to not have to be at a particular place; at a particular time. To have leisurely lunches, bimble around the little towns; browsing shops and… Read More

A good nights sleep | Featuring Order Blinds

Getting a good night’s sleep becomes as evasive and mystical as the unicorn, when you’re a new parent. Sleep deprivation is most definitely a form of torture and ‘sleeping through’ is a hot topic of conversation; discussed in every playgroup up and down the country. Those first few weeks of life with a newborn can be  pretty exhausting. And then once you’ve managed to get your angel into a good routine — BANG — teething starts. And so, your good night’s sleep is disturbed once more. And again when they’re having a growth spurt. Or ill. Or when the clocks change. Aaah the clocks changing. The clocks going forward has always been one of the highlights of my year; a clear signal that winter is finally over and long light days are ahead. But when the boys arrived, putting the clocks forward was something that threw us all out of kilter. Losing an hour was bad enough but trying to put them to bed in the daylight was awful. Even a black-out blind — and curtains with black-out lining — couldn’t stop the light shining around the window frame on sunny mornings, like a halo. And as the sun greeted the world, so my little sons awoke… Read More