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

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

A Little Slice of Heaven | Introducing Bosinver Farm Cottages

Since we’ve been a family of four, all of our holidays — apart from our amazing first family abroad to Sardinia in July — have been in and around the UK. Luckily, Britain is such a beautiful island and, arguably, there’s nowhere more picturesque than Cornwall. So much to do — sweet little fishing villages to explore plus bigger attractions like the Eden Project — all surrounded by glorious coastlines. Miles and miles of unspoilt sandy beaches, plus coastal walks along rocky cliffs and windswept hillsides. It’s always gorgeous to gulp in the fresh sea air and get those cheeks glowing isn’t it? Being beside the seaside is the most amazing tonic and the perfect way to blow the cobwebs away. So imagine our delight to be asked to stay at one of the loveliest locations in Cornwall — Bosinver Farm Cottages. A little slice of heaven on earth, offering self catering holidays on a luxury scale. With 20 ‘homes-from-home’ to choose from — everything from eco-homes to beautifully designed cottages and farmhouses — holiday makers looking for the perfect getaway will be literally spoilt for choice. As well as the gorgeously appointed accommodation, Bosinver boasts beautifully landscaped gardens and 35 acres of wildflower meadows — fingers firmly crossed this will be in bloom next spring… Read More

A dining room makeover | Featuring Laura Ashley

I mentioned a couple of week’s ago that I was planning a dining room makeover. I’d put together a little mood-board, picked out the wall-paint and chosen a couple of bits and pieces to give the room a bit of a refresh. The room was OK before — not hideous — but it was all a little bit bland and mismatched. The carpets were old and tatty, the paint was scuffed and the lights and chair cushions had certainly seen better days. The biggest thing that needed to be done though was painting the dining room table and chairs. I decided to freshen it up and get rid of the fagnolia cream finish that it had had since we bought it, in favour of a cotton white shade from Laura Ashley. In the past I’ve used Annie Sloan chalk paint but decided to try something new; Laura Ashley’s decorative furniture paint was fabulous. Really easy to work with and gave a lovely chalky finish. It was quite a big task as the table is fairly large and there are 8 chairs; all with lots and lots of surface area. I took the rattan seats off the chairs, gave all the surfaces a light sand with medium… Read More

On new rugs and being indecisive | Featuring My Rug Store

Back in July I chose a new rug for my she-shed. I spent a long time deciding on the colour, size and style. I deliberated over patterns (I wanted something quite geometric). Mulled over sizes (I needed something large enough to cover the main area of my work space to keep me cosy in the winter months). Then after trawling the internet (for what felt like an age) finally found the perfect one from a fantastic online shop, aptly named My Rug Store. The rug arrived quickly — all wrapped up in it’s plastic covering — then literally sat in the corner, patiently waiting for my shed to be finished, so it can be laid out in pride of place. Poor rug. Until now. Last weekend, with my dining room makeover almost complete, I suddenly decided that my new rug would be the perfect finishing touch. So I’ve essentially ‘stolen’ it off myself!! Is it even possible to do that? It’s SO gorgeous!!! I’m totally and utterly delighted with it. My Rug Store had a fair few geometric designs to choose from but I had plumped for the Medina rug in black; a Kilim rug with a bold black and white diamond pattern. On paper it could have been fairly dark, busy… Read More

In Pursuit of My Youth | Boots Botanics #NatureInspired

When you reach a certain age *ahem* the beauty products that you used throughout your twenties and *coughs* (sorry — I seem to have something stuck in my throat) thirties, may not be be doing you any favours anymore. Don’t admit defeat. Don’t accept old age gracefully. Try a new regime. My skin is definitely getting thinner as I age; the plumpness that I used to take for granted now only seems to be there when I use moisturiser. I find drinking lots of water helps too but occasionally — I’m thinking festivals and family barbecues in particular — Adam’s ale is invariably replaced with alcoholic beverages and even though I’m still consuming liquid, the alcohol can play havoc with my skin and it can be really, really ageing. Disturbingly quickly too. So in search of a more youthful complexion I’ve been testing out some new beauty products by Boots Botanics — products inspired by nature that really work (according to their website). I thought I’d put them to the test and see how well they really do work on my 40 year young skin. I tested a range of their All Bright products; developed with Kew Botanic Gardens and all containing brightening Hibiscus The Purifying Face Scrub. After… Read More

Our holiday at the Perdepera Resort in Sardinia | With Mark Warner

I love my blog; this little tiny corner of the internet. Since I began writing my very first post, almost 4 years ago, I’ve never had difficulty finding things to write — things to share. I don’t have to look for content — I write about my family and the things I really love — so I’ve never struggled  for inspiration and the words have always come tumbling out, quicker than I can type them, more often than not. Until now. I have so much to tell you, SO much to share, that I can seem to find the words! I’ve been downloading my photos from our Mark Warner holiday at Perdepera, Sardinia and have take so many, I just don’t know were to start. *goes off for another coffee and a walk around the garden* OK. Deep breath. From the beginning. At the start of the year, I entered a competition to become a Mark Warner Mum — one of their family ambassadors for 2016 — and (incredibly) I won. You can have a look at my winning entry here. Winning was quite a big deal. My big, man-shaped boy and I haven’t had a proper holiday (that has lasted longer than 4 days) for around 6 years and my two little boys… Read More

The Princess and the Pea | Featuring Button and Sprung

When I was a little girl, I used to have a beautifully illustrated story book called The Princess and the Pea. The premise of the story — for those of you that can’t remember — was this: There was once a handsome prince who wanted to marry a princess. Easier said than done though — as there seemed to be a shortage of decent girls in Fairyland— and he had huge difficulty finding a suitable wife. The prince couldn’t be certain that the women he met were real princesses because they always seemed to be flawed. Some were too fat, too thin or a bit plain. Others had awful table manners and, as a result, he began to despair that he’d ever meet ‘the one’. Then one stormy night, a young woman turned up at the castle — absolutely soaked to the skin — seeking shelter from the rain. She claimed to be a princess, so the prince’s mother decided to test her by placing a pea — covered with 20 mattresses and 20 feather eiderdowns — on the bed she’d prepared for their guest to sleep in that night. In the morning, the young woman told her hosts that she’d had a rubbish sleep, as she’d been kept awake by something hard in the bed (not a euphemism by the way). The prince was delighted. Only a… Read More