Monday, 27 July 2015

Brightening Grey Days

Oh what a Monday morning! The washing machine has just exploded so the kitchen and dining room stink of smoke, not to mention the pile of wet washing I now have as well as the mountain that still needs washing. The dog is ignoring me as yesterday she dragged me down the lane, taking a chunk out of my hand, elbow and knee. Not quite sure what got into her as she has never done anything like that before but after a telling off she is sulking and will be starting obedience classes asap! Numerous things have been sent to try us this weekend but we have made it through and now onto the positive.

A big thank you to everyone who sent messages and prayers for my niece and family after this post last week. I am pleased to say that the operation to remove her tumour and kidney went as planned and she is healing well. She is an absolute star and is amazing doctors and us alike with how she is overcoming every challenge with a smile and "let's do this" attitude. At five years of age, it just blows me away.
I took the girls into Bath yesterday where the girls made their first ever Lush purchases (the shampoo bars were a hit). The staff were so lovely and introduced me to their spa treatments which is one thing they don't do in the Cardiff store. As soon as the girls are back in school, I'm booking myself in! I can't believe the lack of Starbucks in this area though and I was determined to find the one that I knew existed. After twenty minutes of "I think it's down this road", I was rewarded with my fix of soya peppermint hot chocolate overlooking the Abbey and we headed back home to light the log fire and make a lasagne. It seems more like November than July but we enjoyed a cosy, family evening all the same. The skies are still grey today and we're  not venturing far but the beautiful flowers Tim bought me look cheerful and are brightening things up in our house.
I hope you had a good weekend and did something to brighten up the days. Now, who wants to help with the washing?
Linking up with IBOT

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Lifestyle // Living Room Plans


We've been searching for a new house for about a year now and although we found two or three that we loved after much to and froing we've (for now) decided to stay where we are and extend. We need to add another bedroom and bathroom and would like to also add another reception room, en-suite, office and utility room. For now we are starting with a new porch (four females in the house means far too many shoes!) and re-plastering / redecorating the living room. Tim has lived here for the last eight years or so and the house is lovely but is in need of a more feminine touch around the place, toning down the use of black and adding some accessories! Luckily, he's giving me free reign of the decorating, as long as I stay away from too much green, so I've quickly set to work on the planning.
My mum loves interior design so I've been scouring the piles of magazines she has given me for ours and of course headed over to my favourite source of inspiration, Pinterest! The room is currently a peachy colour with neutral carpet that covers an oak floor. There's also a log burner in the room which isn't currently used as we use the one in the dining room to heat the house. We want to keep the room light and airy whilst making it warm and cosy for the winter months. We are looking at a duck egg blue or a grey with a range of textiles and accessories to add depth. I want to strip out the carpet and expose the oak flooring as it seems a shame to hide it away, although Tim thinks I'll regret it when winter arrives! The main focus of the room will be a new fireplace with possibly an electric fire (our village has no gas supply!), which we want to be modern yet timeless.
So here is my selection of rooms that I would like to take elements from. All can be found on my Pinterest board.


Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Lifestyle // Birthdays, Blessings and Prayers

I'm in need of a distraction this morning, so forgive me if I ramble on. We've had a very busy weekend with a stay in South Wales for two special girls birthdays, Megan turned thirteen and my lovely little niece turned five. I can't actually believe that I am the mother of a teenager but I'm so proud of how my beautiful girl is adjusting to the changes we've made to our lives recently and hope that her thirteenth year is a good one for her where she can develop and settle into a happier place.

Saturday was spent doing a few things around the house and then driving over the bridge just after lunch where we picked up some last minute presents and her usual birthday breakfast of pain au chocolate. It was lovely to have family and friends visit us later that day and I was quite glad that it left us pushed for time resulting in a takeaway for dinner.  Sunday was more of the same, Megan woke up pretty early to open her presents (not being amused by us all still being asleep) and my parents, sister, niece and nephew called over with more presents. Megan finally made up her mind which restaurant she wished to eat at later that day, so a reservation was made for twelve before I got to enjoy a bath, which I had been eagerly awaiting. I still have the keys for my house in South Wales and we only have a shower in Somerset until the extension and other alterations are completed, so I made the most of every minute!

We had a lovely lunch at Frankie & Benny's in Nantgarw, I haven't been the biggest fan in the past but our server was lovely, so were the cocktails, if you visit definitely try the Blueberry Daiquiri and the Mango Colada (Tim refused to go and order me a Yellow Bird) and my steak was delicious! She loved her Taylor Swift guitar cake, the photo doesn't do it justice the silver was glittery and sparkly, Tim's friend did a fantastic job! Best of all, Megan had a lovely lunch with her favourite people and got to share it all with her baby cousin Olivia whose birthday is the following day.  When our waitress realised it was Livvy's birthday aswell she went away and came back with something just for her to celebrate aswell, it was a lovely gesture and meant so much. Megan and Livvs have always been close but this year their birthdays held even more significance. As I am typing this, our beautiful girl has just gone into theatre for a five hour operation. Over May Bank Holiday our little Livvs was diagnosed with cancer at just four years of age which has turned our world upside down. Just a few days later she had a 3.5 operation and started chemotherapy.

 This morning, after scans showed the tumour has been shrunk by the chemo, they are removing the kidney and deciding on the next course of action. Nobody should have to face this, let alone a child so young, yet has been so brave, happy and completely inspirational.  It has all  certainly put life into perspective, I'm so proud of my beautiful family and have never been more proud of my sister than I am now. Her strength and resilience has been outstanding through all of this and I'm not sure how she is managing to cope so well, watching your baby go through so much. Olivia has her mothers strength and if anyone can beat this it is her, but I'd be grateful if you could keep them in your prayers today so that our darling princess and bundle of joy can kick cancer's butt for good.
Linking up with IBOT


Monday, 13 July 2015

Review // Ella Henderson 'Sweet and Seductive' Dry Shampoo

Deep breath in and welcome Monday! What a weekend it has been, rushing about as is usual lately, playing the role of peacekeeper and trying to get the house as tidy and organised as is possible when an extra two people move in. It's been testing at times and I'm still trying to work out where the hours go in between trying to get three girls to the bus stop and school in the morning and then picking them all up at 3.30pm. I'm hoping however that I will figure it all out soon and get back my time in the morning for my hair and make up routine.
It does mean however that even as a regular and long term user of Batiste Dry Shampoo, I was thrilled to receive from their lovely people, the new 'Sweet and Seductive' fragrance in collaboration with Ella Henderson, the face of the new 'Ready For It' campaign.
Katie Braithwaite, Kettle Mag, Ella Henderson dry shampoo review, Image:
As much as I love Batiste, I was not expecting to like this as much as I did, however the fragrance certainly lives up to its name and I personally think it is my favourite out of the collection. I am trying to get out of the habit of washing my hair everyday and after spraying on my hair before bed, the next day I received numerous compliments about how nice my hair was smelling and how good it looked. I found it gave my hair a lot of volume and without any hint of grease, revitalising my hair better than others in the range and allowing me to skip washing it for two days. 'Sweet and Seductive' was also a hit with my daughter and step-daughters who are big Ella Henderson fans. The can is around £3.29 from the usual stockists although is bigger than other fragrances which is a big bonus. I also didn't find the need to top up during the day and we will definitely be stocking up - well done Batiste!
Ella Henderson, Batiste campaign shot -half up half down_v3 2MB
* I received a can of Batiste 'Sweet and Seductive' Dry Shampoo for the purpose of review, however all opinions are 100% my own.
* Images from Batiste

Friday, 3 July 2015

Lifestyle // When the chips are down....

My presence has been very much missing in blogland recently. The last six weeks have seemed to go by in a blur and I'm still trying to make sense of it all but go by they do. There have been lots of ups and downs, the chaos of being well and truly in the middle of a house move, the glamour of the Goodwood Festival of Speed and the lows of being sat at a hospital bedside wondering what exactly the future holds for a beautiful little girl.

I actually have posts scheduled for next week (shocker I know!) and I don't really know where I'm going with this post, but I just wanted to end the week with some positivity.

The main thing that has struck me over the last six weeks while my family has taken a knocking, is that bad things will happen and they will shake your world to it's core. However, in the darkness there is always light and the light through the past month or so has most definitely been the kindness, generosity and support of the people around us. The community spirit and strength has been phenomenol and I never actually realised how powerful it could be. 

Today, I am just thankful to be waking up in a beautiful place (or to be waking up at all) with people around me who really love and care and will be spending the day mindfully, living in the present. 
I hope yesterdays storms have passed wherever you are and you have a beautiful weekend. 

Love, Amy xx