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

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

207 weeks | Living with superheroes

Boys. Who would ever have predicted that I’d be totally outnumbered by them? I grew up in a family of girls. There haven’t been boys on my mum or dad’s side of the family in years. Until my cousin — who is three years younger than me — had her first child. And now, spanning four female cousins — with eight children between us — there is only one girl offspring. My niece Imogen who is totally and utterly outnumbered by boys. Weird how life works isn’t it? But anyway. Back to my boys. Life is certainly interesting with them around. Quiet games with Sindy (I was never a Barbie fan) are not on the cards, in our house.   Which is sad when I still have most of my Sindy gear in the attic!! It’s LOUD and boisterous (that word should totally be re-worked to boysterous). I always wondered about the gender stereotyping thing and made a conscious decision to give my sons a choice of toys from an early age; kitchens, farms and tea-sets, pirate ships, cuddly toys and dolls. But given the option my boys will play with little cars, rather than Silvanian Families. It’s not an item that has been forced on them — they naturally seem gravitate to tiny toy cars like a moth to… Read More