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

199 weeks and 3 days | Me and Mine { December 2016 }

2016. What a year. 12 months of extremes. Good versus bad. Yin and yang. We’ve had crushing lows — family and dear friends battling life threatening illnesses. Celebrity deaths by the dozen; most notably was the demise of my lifelong hero and idol Prince. The boys were too young to understand why their mama was sobbing, with big fat tears running down her face, when that news broke. We sat and watched his videos for hours afterwards. The twins now know him as ‘The Man With The Guitar’. But let’s not dwell on the negatives. 2016 has also given us enormous highs. On my birthday I found out that we’d been picked to be on the GLTC testing team; a partnership that we’ve really cherished. Literally the best job ever. And exactly a month later, we found out that we’d been chosen to be ambassadors for Mark Warner, the award winning family holiday company. An amazing opportunity that unquestionably gave us the highlight of our entire year — our first family holiday abroad. It was a dream come true; everything we could have wished for. We met some lovely people (Sarah, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry I’ve been so crap. I haven’t forgotten about you and your lovely family. I’ll… Read More

Holiday Inn Express ‘What Matters Most’ campaign

Christmas — the most wonderful time of the year. Not sure about anyone else but, for me, Christmas literally starts on December 1st. There is a frisson in the air — almost like a light being switched on — that happens the minute the calendar moves on from November. But as I’ve got older I’ve realised that the anticipation of Christmas is sometimes better than the real thing. And I don’t mean I don’t enjoy the day itself — I really, really do — but I used to look forward to Christmas day so much, I almost wished away the time leading up to it. And then I always felt a bit cheated, as it was over so quickly. With that in mind, these days I tend to celebrate each day of December. Spinning the entire month out and enjoying the whole lead up to the day itself is a great way of making you feel as though you’ve really had your fill of the festivities. For me, Christmas is all about family. Spending time with friends and loved ones — and really making the most of the fact that everyone is off work at the same time — is a wonderful thing. I thank my… Read More

A Halloween Party | Me and Mine {October}

A couple of weeks’ ago I mentioned that we were planning to throw a Halloween party. We’d decided to make it a bit of a village affair — invite all the neighbours and their children — and decorate the house and garden in a suitably spooky manner. Although we spent hours scouring Pinterest for games and Halloween party food to entertain our guests, I didn’t have to think too hard about where I could find a decent selection of Halloween inspired props and decorations. Earlier in the year, I discovered the most amazing company called Party Delights who sell literally EVERYTHING you could want, for practically any party theme. I got all the props for the twins’ pirate themed party from there — there’s such a lot of choice and everything was really fantastic quality — so they were my first port of call for Halloween party accessories. Happily, they didn’t disappoint and a boxful of skulls, cobwebs and other ghoulish goods arrived the week before the party. So last weekend dawned — dry, overcast and gloomy— the perfect weather for our spooky soirée. I made a gazillion more sugar skull biscuits — you can pop and read the recipe here in case you missed it — and my boy… Read More

186 weeks and 2 days | Me and Mine {September}

More often than not our monthly Me and Mine pics are literally just me and my three lovely boys. Taken — with alarming regularity — at the last minute. Often with a phone/ without makeup (me, not the boys)/ sometimes on the sofa because we can’t actually be bothered to move from the house. But this month it’s all change! Oh yes. We’re bucking the trend and our September Me and Mine pics and — similar to the July ones — are marking a family get-together. And not only that — this month (hallelujah) I’m on time!! Last weekend, it was my little niece’s 4th birthday. Her actual party was held at a local soft play centre but afterwards, we hotfooted it down to a village pub and settled in for the afternoon, for a late lunch/early tea. So as well as being the boys and me, there was my sister and her little family. Our mum and dad, plus my brother-in-law’s mum and step-father. Lots of delicious food, much wine and good company made for a very lovely afternoon indeed. And the perfect setting for this month’s photos. Me and Mine in September So, September, in a nutshell: This month’s highs ~ • Imogen’s birthday party and… Read More

178 weeks | Me and Mine {July} (late again)

July was such a full month. Pregnant and full of goodness. We began the month in Sardinia, on our very first family holiday together. And we’ve ended it at Camp Bestival — more on that to come! July also saw my boy and I host our annual family barbecue (I’ve mentioned this once before). It all began around 8 or 9 years ago, with just the two of us and our parents; in celebration of fathers’ day. Then the following year — as we’d invited our parents for a replay — my sister and her husband gatecrashed, as she wanted to spend time with our dad too. (Along with my sister in law and her husband, for exactly the same reason.) Followed by their kids, as they wanted to spend time with their dad and their grandad. So what began as a little gathering has grown — ever so slightly — over the last few years. Plus, with the addition of three new members of the family (my niece, followed by our twins 6 months later) — very soon to be four, with the arrival of my sister’s new baby this coming winter — this little gathering has snowballed. A couple of weekends ago, we were 19 adults, 3 little ones and… Read More

173 weeks and 1 day | Me and Mine {June}

Well — that’s it — bye bye June. I honestly can’t remember a greyer, wetter summer. The very fact the Michael Eavis has been heard to say — ‘it’s the wettest, muddiest Glastonbury on record’ — speaks volumes doesn’t it? So, due to adverse weather conditions, my boys and I have busied ourselves indoors. Big, man-shaped boy and I been working hard to get my office finished (I’m *almost* in) and my tiny boys have been cooped up indoors for a lot of June. We’ve been to visit friends and relatives and also made a tee-pee out of duvet covers. Plus we’ve been looking forward to next month’s excursion to Camp Bestival; always a firm favourite, I can’t wait to get the boys dressed up in their astronaut costumes!! July is already looking to be the best month of the year, without question! In a couple of days, we’ll be packing our bags and jetting off to warmer climes. The summer holiday that we won in the Mark Warner competition is imminent and, before too long, we’ll be leaving the UK for sunny Sardinia. Even though it’s the second largest island in the Mediterranean, it’s not somewhere that has ever really been on… Read More

Have bed will travel… GLTC Bed in a Bag Review

I’ve mentioned (a couple of times) that, this year, the boys and I are proud ambassadors for the Great Little Trading Company. They’re a company that I love and we’re very lucky to be on their testing team for 2016, which basically means we get to try out and road test all sorts of amazing things. So far we’ve tested the fabulous star book ledges ; now a firm favourite with the boys as it means they have somewhere to store their sippy cups and books at bedtime. And even more of a favourite with their daddy and me, as it means the floor by the side of the cots is free from books which — I can tell you from bitter experience — are very slippy and treacherous to walk on (particularly in socks and at night, when checking on your children). I was also lucky enough to be sent a fantastic peg-board. Although ‘peg-board’ doesn’t really do it justice. This nifty bit of kit is a pen-holder, chalkboard, keeper of notes and life in general. We were asked to style it — in any way we saw fit — so I turned mine into a little dressing table assistant. The perfect place for all my jewellery and… Read More