A night at the Bath Spa Hotel

What a difference a week makes. Last Friday evening, my boys and I had just checked into the Bath Spa Hotel; courtesy of our lovely friends at Joules. We’d had such a fun day with them at Badminton Horse Trials and they’d kindly arranged for us to stay at the Bath Spa Hotel for the night, to save us all driving home. I’ve been to Bath once before — many years ago — but I can’t remember if we actually stayed overnight. I think we did; we were living in London at the time, so it would have been too far to go just for the day, but I’ve no idea where. All I do know is, it wasn’t at at the Bath Spa Hotel. I’d have definitely remembered. This beautiful, grandiose hotel is sited in the most glorious Georgian house, sitting in beautifully manicured grounds. Stepping inside is almost like stepping back in time. It’s most definitely not a boutique hotel but lavishly decorated in a traditional style. And that’s not a derogatory comment in any form. I loved it. Like Stepping into a Bygone Era The interior decor was ‘contemporary Georgian’ — if there is such a thing. Classic furnishings and opulent accessories; it’s the most beautiful… Read More

A date with Joules at Badminton Horse Trials

I think it’s fair to say that — for me — the last eight weeks have been tinged with frustration and a little bit of boredom. It’s unlike me too; I don’t get bored easily. If I ever feel my attention waning — and inertia setting in — I tend to just change direction and do something else. But when you can’t drive or easily take yourself off for a walk, it’s difficult not to feel the pangs of boredom. So when my lovely friends at Joules asked me out on a date I literally jumped at the chance (or should I say ‘figuratively’ as clearly I’m not able to jump at the moment!). Best of all, my boys were invited along too — both the twins and my big (man-shaped) boy — so I had my favourite chaperones accompanying me. Our date with Joules We were invited for a day at Badminton Horse Trials, where Joules have had a presence for 27 years. They’ve even got a jump on the cross country course named after them these days. Not wholly surprising as the company actually began life at this kind of event. Tom Joule began selling his clothes at country fairs and equestrian shows and, even though in May 2016 they had 97 stores throughout… 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

The Dinky Duvalay | A caravan must have for kids

It’s that time of year folks! Spring is finally here which means it’s time to dust Dolly down and get her out of her winter hiding place. Hurrah — adventure awaits. I think we can safely say that I love my caravan; and since we bought our first van —  Dolly 1 — I’m always on the look out for a clever gadget or caravan accessory. Last year I found the number one essential item — the Duvalay — literally the best thing I’ve ever come across for camping in a caravan. I wrote a whole post about it; singing it’s praises. Then at the end of last year Duvalay launched a mini version for kids; ‘The Dinky Duvalay‘. It sounds a bit over the top but this simple bit of kit has literally revolutionised our lives. Just like the original Duvalay, it’s Dinky counterpart is essentially a posh sleeping bag. It comprises of a memory foam mattress, bottom sheet and duvet combined; but unlike it’s plainer big brother, the Dinky Duvalay comes in a bright, unisex animal-print. It provides a comfy, portable layer, that you place on top of a caravan bed to give the best night’s sleep. And neatly rolls up in it’s own bag. Since we traded Dolly in for a bigger version a… 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

212 Weeks and 4 Days | Little Loves in April

I have been meaning to join in with Little Loves for a while now. It’s a little prompt created by the lovely Morgana who writes over at the blog Coffee Work Sleep Repeat. She has linked up with me for Home Etc before and I’m finally getting around to joining in with her linky and sharing what I’ve been doing recently. So — in no particular order — here are some of the things I’ve been up to in April. Read I’ve read magazines — namely Living Etc, Red and Marie Claire — but I also began reading a book that I was kindly given by the Mumsnet Book Club. The title drew me in — ‘How to UnF*ck Your Habitat’ — by an American author called Rachel Hoffman but after just a couple of pages I realised that it wasn’t for me. I thought — by the home inspired title — that I’d love it. But I found the style of writing and the content really irritating. To be fair, I think it’s aimed at young adults and those leaving home for the first time. It would probably appeal to a young reader without kids; but, as a woman with a family, I found I couldn’t relate to it… 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