A Very British Hygge

Why are we Brits so obsessed with all things Scandinavian? We seem to love Scandi design; type ‘Scandi’ into Google and every major high street brand has a listing on the first page. Each one trying to tempt us to come and check out their Scandinavian inspired offerings. Plus there’s a very well known blue and yellow homeware store that sells — not only Scandinavian homeware — but also the food. Meatballs anyone? It’s no secret that my big (man-shaped) boy and I used to go on date-nights there. Never let it be said that we don’t know how to live. We love their fashion too. When the boys were tiny, I used to scour the internet for Nordic baby-grows; the sight of those squashy little bodies encased in cool Scandi stripes or hip patterns would have my heart beating just that little bit faster. And it’s not just Scandinavian products that we’re loopy about. We seem to be influenced by their way of life too. Hygge was last year’s hot new buzzword — with Lagom following swiftly on it’s heels this year. But what are they? And why are we so fascinated by them? Well, ‘Lagom’ is a Swedish… Read More

A Modern Day Fairy Story {featuring the Dyson Bundle From AO}

Once upon a time there was a girl called Cinderella (Caro) who spent her days cleaning. A thankless task that was never-ending. No sooner had she finished one area of the house, that the tiny twin brothers she lived with (no ugly sisters in this story), started ransacking the rooms and she had to start all over again. Sadly, this was no fairytale. How do you feel about cleaning? Are you a neat freak or a slovenly-Susan? Do you have a weekly cleaning regime? Or are you more of a ‘do-it-when-it-needs-it’ kind of a person? My cleaning regime has massively changed over time. When we had our first house — an apartment in a beautiful mansion block in south-west London — I was ruthlessly clean and tidy. To the extent that I told my dad off once, for leaving sock fluff on the pristine, pale wooden floor (sorry dad). My, how times have changed. These days, you sometimes can’t even see the floor for the sea of Lego or Playmobil pieces. Plus, these days we have stairs. Something our first place didn’t have. Lugging a vacuum cleaner up two flights of stairs was OK when we first moved here. But over… Read More

242 weeks and 3 days | Energy, puddle-jumping & Kidunk

Energy. It’s a weird thing isn’t it? Too little of it has me feeling listless and unenthusiastic. Too much has me feeling antsy and climbing the walls. The boys seem to have just the right amount. Like a pair of little Duracell bunnies, their seemingly boundless energy keeps them going from sun up to sun down. Never without full enthusiasm — and never bored. (yet) Maybe that’s something that comes with age. The balance of energy definitely seems to shift as we get older. But, for now, their energy is something to be applauded — and harnessed. I want them to be able to embrace all that being little has to offer. All the mud, the water, glitter and paint. I want them to grab the very fabric of life, with both hands. But, to do this, they need to be suitably attired. Waterproof clothing can get so hot. The boys sweat like a couple of little boil-in-the-bag chickens every time they’ve gone for an adventure in their splash suits. But over the summer we discovered THE most amazing play clothing; perfect for the boys to wear when they’re off on their adventures. Kidunk Kidunk is the brainchild Tina and… Read More

Letting sleeping dogs (bears) lie | A Sleepbear mattress review

I’ve gone to great lengths in the past to make sure our guests have a good night’s sleep when they come to stay. We’re lucky that the basics are already covered. Our guest rooms are on the back of the house so there’s very little traffic noise; visitors won’t be woken by lorries rumbling by in the wee small hours. We also have shutters on the windows; so the rooms are darker than dark. In fact — as my mum once discovered — it’s sometimes a little too dark. She woke up in the middle of the night once and was convinced she’d gone blind. Thankfully she hadn’t. It was just pitch black and she got a little disorientated. Anyway. Back to the positives. There’s always fresh bedlinen and clean towels. And a couple of year’s ago I set to, making a care pack for overnight guests. A basket full of everything a guest could possibly need whilst they were staying with us. But for all of those things, ultimately, the main thing that aides a comfortable night’s sleep is a good mattress. And if the mattress is akin to sleeping on porridge — or a bed of nails — no… Read More

242 weeks | Pumpkin Picking and Family Fun #NoDullDays

The clocks went back this weekend. Did you enjoy an extra hour in bed? Or is the change in time wreaking havoc with your body clock? One thing’s for sure. We’ve got a run of short, dark days ahead. In the immortal words of Jon Snow; ‘Winter is coming.’ But dark days shouldn’t have to mean dull days. There are so many fun things to do during the colder months. Last week, during the half term holiday, the boys and I went up to my parent’s for a couple of days. As we were hosting our annual Halloween party, on Saturday, I’d decided we should go pumpkin picking, to pick up some spooky supplies. We found a brilliant place; just a stone’s throw from my parents’ home. Pick Your Own Pumpkins, Bednall was the most fantastic setting for a morning of family fun. For a start, it was free. And secondly we got to spend a few hours out in the fresh air. Top up your levels I’ve found that getting outside is one of the best ways to keep my spirits up during winter. Lack of sunlight can equal low vitamin D intake — and I always feel a bit out-of-sorts… Read More

240 weeks and 6 days | Autumn Colour in the Garden

We went back to my mum and dad’s a couple of weekend’s ago. It was my friend’s 40th birthday and we left the boys with my parents overnight and went up to the Wirral; footloose and fancy free. The next day we were not *quite* as chipper. Mr D had the hangover from hell and I had to drive the two hours back from the Wirral to my parents; then take over parenting duties once we arrived. Thankfully it was a beautiful day. We were having unseasonably warm weather and, whilst my party-loving husband slept his headache away, the boys and I spent most of the afternoon in the garden. I always think this time of year is amazing; nature puts on the most incredible show. There was so much colour in my mum and dad’s garden. Not the bright, brash shades of summer but richer, more jewel-like colours; hot pinks and berry-tones. Deep purples, reds and orange. And a million shades of green; everything from the silvery-grey of the eucalyptus to acid chartreuse of the Callicarpa bush. There were so many lovely plants. Some I recognised but others I had to ask my mum. Here’s my three very favourite… Read More

William Morris, Uganda & The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning

I read something last week about Swedish Death Cleaning. Huh?? Yes quite. I thought Marie Kondo’s decluttering method was a bit full on but this new practice makes that look fairly tame! This new craze is based around a book called The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by a lady who, it’s fair to say, is in her twilight years. Margareta Magnusson is aged somewhere between 80 and 100 and has written a guide for purging your home of excess belongings (that you don’t need or cherish) in preparation for leaving this mortal plane. Her motto (one of many it must be said) is: ‘If you don’t love it, lose it.   If you don’t use it, lose it.’ Although the book focusses on the elderly and their families, Swedish death cleaning can be used whatever your age; to help you declutter your life. This isn’t a new concept by any means though. Back in 1880, the esteemed designer William Morris famously said: ‘If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.’ So although Swedish Death Cleaning may be… Read More

Good Foundations {In praise of pretty lingerie}

One of the things that will stay with me to the grave, is my mum (when I was about 12 or 13) occasionally saying, before I went anywhere. ‘I hope you’ve got clean pants on? You never know when you’ll be hit by a bus’. It’s SUCH a weird thing to say but really really resonated with me. And is eerily true. When we were skiing in March and I had my accident, I was in the back of the ambulance it suddenly flashed through my mind then. ‘OHMYGOD. I hope I’ve got good knickers on.’ Not — ‘how long am I not going to be able to walk for?’ or ‘am I insured’. But worrying about the state of my underwear. Crazy. (Thankfully they were presentable black ones, just in case you were wondering.) Although, this brush with danger — and impromptu sharing of my choice of undergarments with a total stranger — led me to have a really good cull of my underwear drawer when I returned home from Tignes. Greying, ugly underwear was binned. Mismatched bras and pants were replaced by sets of pretty lingerie. My very favourite sets are these by Fantasie Lingerie. So beautiful, with… Read More