Friday, 2 October 2015

Lifestyle: The September Catch Up

'Cos you gotta start 'em early - My little beauty - This was just perfection - My whole world - Had so many giggles today with these monkeys - All of the horses - My new home - Fancy flatbreads - Staycation - An epic end to an epic day - Hello Autumn - Fresh blooms to mark Sadies three month birthday
Well who'd of thought I'd be alfresco blogging on the 2nd of October? I think I'd struggle to be more in love with the tenth month of the year if I tried, blogger cliche I know but seriously, sunshine, clear blue skies and more rust coloured leaves than you can shake a stick at? I'm on board. It seems like an age since I put together a chatty catch up post so I thought it was time I got cracking while my beautiful daughter takes a nap.

I've no doubt I say this almost every month but September has easily been one of my favourite months so far. Life with Sadie is an absolute dream especially in the past thirty something days as she's really begun to develop her own little personality - chuckling, babbling and generally being a whole lotta fun. Each day she continues to amaze me and I'm desperate to keep track of all her developments particularly as everyone keeps telling me how quickly babies grow up. Sadies growth has felt even more real in the past week as I became an auntie for the first time to Lydia Rose, my brother and sister in laws baby. If only they could stay small forever...

September was also the month of our first staycation which you can read all about here. We had the best time in The New Forest and now I'm adding a whole host of UK based hot spots to my wish list. I love how you can jump in the car and drive for just a few hours to so many beautiful and unique destinations, England you're alright.

The ninth month of the year also saw me make the most expensive clothing purchase I've ever made, yes I put the deposit down on my wedding dress. After just three appointments and feeling as though I'd never get those elusive feels I'd heard so much about, I tried one dress on and fell in love. I even thought of running to the registry office next door and making things official, well only for a split second! With most of the larger bits of planning in the bag I'm starting to turn my attention to those all important make or break decoration details. Wish me luck?

What have you been up to this September? Are you pleased with Autumns official arrival?

Don't forget you can follow me on Instagram for baby, food and fashion snaps here.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

The Elemis Power Booster Facial

One of the things that's taken a back seat since becoming a mum is relaxing me time so when an email popped up from the amazing ladies at Elemis Harvey Nichols asking if I'd like to try one of their Power Boost Facials* I was texting my mum for babysitting assistance faster than you can say pamper. I've been a long time advocate of Brit brand Elemis but must confess it's been a while since I fully got to grips with their skincare collection so I was giddy to get to counter. 

On arrival I was given an in-depth Skin Lab Consultation which included a picture being taken of my skin to show everything from wrinkles to UV spots and even the texture of my skin. We quickly discovered my skin was dehydrated and amazingly the only wrinkles I possess are laughter lines which I'm more than happy about. After my consultation I was shown all the beautiful products that'd work perfectly for me before being directed to the relaxation pod to enjoy 30 minutes of calm in the form of the Modern Skin facial. You completely forget you're in a busy beauty hall as your troubles and aches quickly drift away as you lie back in the massage chair, which is an experience in itself. To say it pummels you is an understatement but after some serious kneading I was in heaven. With lotions, potions and everything in between applied my skin felt super soft and had an incredible glow, so much so that I confidently walked around Harvey Nichols without a scrap of make-up on, something I'd never dream of doing.

Since returning home I've been so thrilled with the results of my facial that I've added the Hydra Nourish Night Cream and Hydra Balance Day Cream to my skincare routine. Now the question is can I think of a better way to spend a spare hour and £30 in Harvey Nichols? I think not. Elemis you're well and truly back on my radar.

Have you tried any products from Elemis? Do you love getting pampered?

*I was a guest of Elemis, all chilled out thoughts my own.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Review: The OPI Hawaiian Collection

If you're not quite ready to put away those Summer brights or haven't seen any real sunshine this year (tell me I'm not the only one who hasn't been abroad this annum?) then let me introduce you to your saving grace, a nail polish collection that makes you look tanned, say aloha to OPI's Hawaiian Collection* from Just My Look. Now I'll level you with, since having Sadie nail painting hasn't been at the top of my priority list but with a spare moment on our recent staycation I cracked out this super cute set of minis and I was bowled over. 

Not only do the shades have the most babin' names, from Suzi Shops and Island Hops to That's Hula-rious (genius right?) but the colours are beautifully opaque in just two swipes. I've been sporting Aloha from OPI, the punchy coral meets red shade for over a week and chips have only just started appearing, which is completely unheard of on my nails so snaps to OPI for the cute colours and formula. The only thing that isn't my fave is the brush, if it was just a tad wider I'd be over the moon but when you're getting four polishes for £9.95 you can't really go wrong. So if you're new to OPI, fancy broadening your nail polish stash or want those 'have you been on holiday?' compliments I suggest you check out this wearable, pocket size collection stat.

Do you rate OPI polishes? Do mini beauty products float your boat?

*PR Sample, all tropicana inspired thoughts my own.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Cagney On Tour: Hampshire & The New Forest

If you heard a strange whaling noise on Wednesday afternoon it could have been me sobbing all the way back up the M25 as our first family staycation came to an end. Now if you're a regular around these parts you may remember Craig gifting me with a break to Hampshire and The New Forest for my birthday so it's typical that something I've been looking forward to for so long passed by so quickly. As it was the first time we've stayed away from home with Sadie we did wonder how it'd go but in true Sadie fashion she took to our sleepover like a duck to water, sleeping all the way there and back, allowing some lovely Hannah and Craig time (names I often forget as we're now known as mummy and daddy).

Our home for the duration was a Coach House in a little village called North Warnborough which was truly the most sensational place to stay - I'm taking exposed brick walls, beautifully weathered wood, bookcase inspired wallpaper and more homely touches then you could shake a stick at. Both Craig and I would happily move in tomorrow! Arriving Sunday we kept things local and dined at The Bel & Dragon (just delicious) before taking a walk along the canal and meeting a herd of cows. 

Monday was the day with the ultimate mission, to see those wild ponies the New Forest is famed for. After a lazy breakfast of pastries, cups of steaming hot tea and some dancing to the Pitch Perfect soundtrack (purely for Sadie's enjoyment) we headed off to Lyndhurst where we found door stopper wedges of cake and lots of majestic ponies. With another down pour imminent we jumped in the car for New Forest touring before stumbling across The Pig. 

Out of the car we trotted off (get it?) for flatbreads, garden walks and a lesson in hotel development in Atlanta after overhearing an American gent chatting away in the lounge. With satisfied stomachs we headed back to HQ for a freshen up before visiting the Hoddington Arms for a seriously tasty dinner, I'm talking twice baked cheese souffl├ęs and donuts.

After fulfilling Mondays mission Tuesday was a relaxed one with a late start after breakfast in bed. Once we'd bundled into the car we headed to Alton to see Jane Austens house and impress a few old dears who loved that Sadie was already getting on the culture train. With culture comes appetite so we took a short trip to a rainy Winchester, making sure to visit the gift store to end all gift stores The Hambleton before chowing down at The Stable. When a meal ends in a Nutella dessert pizza you know it's been a goodie.

They say parting is such sweet sorrow and I'd have to agree, I may have left our cottage kicking and screaming Wednesday morning if it wasn't for the fact I'm a mother now and have to be reasonably sensible. Thankfully the blow was softened with a visit to Newlyns Farm Shop for a slap up breakfast before we hit up the bitchy M25 for our final journey north bound.

Hampshire and The New Forest, we'll be back.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

The Oliver Bonas Haul

If you're anything like me you'll find birthdays a dangerous time for the bank balance, hunting down the perfect, yes-that's-so-them gift becomes a mission that includes searching all of the gift worthy websites that stock items that scream you. Before you know it you've placed an order and still haven't found a gift for that loved one. Enter Oliver Bonas, a shop where homeware dreams are made and where I found myself placing a Hannah only order.

While OB have always been on my radar for Pinterest worthy homewares I only recently discovered their clothing range so when I saw a tweet about this When In Rome jumper the stars alined, well not quite but you get the gist. Navy is a staple shade in my wardrobe as its such a chic and wearable alternative to black so adding another navy jumper into my stash was no hardship, especially one that's so soft. Next up was this cute as a button graphic print cardholder, something I've been searching for since Sadie's arrival and the big handbag switch up. It's safe to say I'll never be missing a loyalty card again. I was about to click checkout before I spent another penny when I spotted the sale tab. After a few scrolls of my trackpad I found this lilac bobble bottle and was thrilled at its reduced £4.50 price tag. The perfect accessory for the girl who doesn't drink enough water don't you think? Now if only I could justify these Insta worthy champagne glasses...

Are you guilty of buying gifts for yourself? Does Oliver Bonas float your boat?

Friday, 11 September 2015

Ready For Autumn With Boohoo

Grace Check Wax Jacket*:
Dark Denim Shirt: River Island
Black Treggings: Topshop
Leopard Print Brogues: Seven Boot Lane
Hibiscus Blossom Bag: Mulberry
Oh hey September, how you doin'? Three guesses who's been watching Friends re-runs on Comedy Central? September may have arrived quicker than anyone could have ever anticipated but I'm certainly not complaining, so far the ninth month of the year has brought nothing but goodness - I don't know whether it's planning a wedding or being a new mum to Sadie Florence but right now things seem to be coming up roses, except for my washing machine but hey you can't have it all.

With Summer feeling like a distant memory I've started to plan (and buy) my Autumnal wardrobe, concentrating on key pieces to make those all important interchangeable looks for running about town. One staple I can't get enough of when knitwear season comes to town is coats. I love how you can be wearing the most simple of outfits yet things go up a notch by adding a coat - suddenly a look can appear polished, textural and pulled together. Coats are the Autumn Winter game changer. I use this sentiment to justify a new coat every year and 2015 is no exception so say hello to my latest addition from Boohoo. Yes this baby isn't a Barbour and comes in at just £50, a serious steal for a waxed jacket which is perfect for the British weather and those mischievous downpours. I've paired this subtly checked baby with its huge-store-everything pockets with a 70s inspired denim shirt and black skinny jean combo for a day of running errands but I can already envisage it over a snuggly, oversized knitted jumper dress and thick black opaques. Hot chocolate in hand and leaf kicking optional. Autumn, I'm ready for you.

What's your can't live without pick for the new season? Do you love waxed jackets?

*Boohoo kindly sent me this jacket, all thoughts my own.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Lifestyle: Five Tips For Flying The Nest

Bonjour mes amies, good bank holiday weekend? It feels like forever since I sat down and brought you a chatty somethin' somethin' so here we go. Today I'm dishing out my tips for one of the most daunting things around, moving out for the first time. Now you might make a lasagna or two when you're at school (my bestie and I actually made smash in food technology, yes really) but no one teaches you the life skills and general day-to-day things you need to know for when it's time to run your own four walls like planning meals and budgeting for the unexpected (surely this should be in the curriculum?) so here are just some of the things I wish I'd known when I first moved out of my family home.

1. Make it personal - Whether you're renting your space or buying my top tip is to make your new living quarters your own Pinterest worthy haven. Fill your domain with your favourite photos, quirky prints (find my Bonjour number here), fresh flowers or all of the above to make things feel homely. I remember having a real homesick moment when I first rented with Craig (yes I cried) and getting all my belongings in order made our blank canvas of a flat feel like home.

2. Bills, bills, bills - The phrase by failing to prepare you're preparing to fail couldn't be truer when it comes to matters of money. Keep things simple and set aside all your household monies, along with a cheeky buffer (everyone needs an emergency stash) each month so you know all the essentials are covered. Food will be one of your biggest expenses so scout out the online shopping codes and get your groceries from all of the supermarkets.

3. Decorating can be all kinds of fun - If you'd of told me I'd be steaming wallpaper and rank plastered headboards off the walls the day we bought our first house I'd of laughed. Now I won't lie, the novelty of steaming does wear off after the first few hours or so and things get pretty sweaty but the sense of satisfaction you get from completing a room yourself is like no other.

4. Know when to call in the professionals - Painting can easily be rectified but tiling, electrics and plumbing can go horribly wrong when you don't know what you're doing. It might cost more in the short term but I promise it'll be worth it in the long run. If you're not a natural at household duties then don't fear, LightBulbs Direct* found that one in four Brits don't know how to change a lightbulb. I'm pleased to say I can manage it but it's another story when it comes to wattage and bulb types.

5. Don't let the bricks grind you down - See what I did there? Moving into your own pad is the best but at times things can be tough - household chores can get on top of you, DIY can take what seems like forever and you might end up spending all your spare cash on a damp proof course (not that I'm speaking from experience or anything) but I promise it's worth it. For times when it doesn't feel like it get out of the house and enjoy yourself - even if it's just a walk around the park, that tiny bit of downtime will make all the difference. 

What do you wish you'd known when you moved into your first abode?

*In collaboration with LightBulbs Direct.
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