Lowdown on Liberty of London

When I get a bit of free time in the big smoke I love to head down to Liberty of London, hopping off at Oxford Circus into the buzz of the shopping streets is a total treat and on my most recent visit I took some snaps so that my lovely blog readers could see what the fuss is all about!

“Liberty is the chosen resort of the artistic shopper.” Oscar Wilde

Since 1875, Liberty has been synonymous with luxury and great design. This wonderful emporium was designed by Edwin T. Hall and his son Edwin S. Hall who designed the Tudor building at the height of the 1920s fashion for Tudor revival. It’s said that founder Arthur Liberty wanted to create the feeling that you were walking around your own home when you came to his store, so each of the three main light wells was surrounded by smaller rooms to create a homely feel. Many of the rooms had fireplaces and some still exist today. It’s a sight to behold with it’s grand front entrance!

liberty of london front

The famous florist entrance is one of my favourite ever sights!

Image courtesy of Liberty of London Facebook

Image courtesy of Liberty of London Facebook

Liberty is a good old-fashioned department store with beauty and homewares aplenty but my heart lies in its haberdashery!

Liberty of London Haberdashery

Image courtesy of Liberty of London

The displays are enough to keep any crafty blogger interested, I never want to leave as there’s so much to look at, the fabric, the buttons, the displays, did I mention the fabric?

Liberty of London Haberdashery 2

Image courtesy of Liberty of London

Liberty of London Haberdashery 1

Image courtesy of Liberty of London

This time I came away with Betsy Tana Lawn fabrics and gorgeous old school hankies in vibrant prints, more on what I’m going to make with them over the coming weeks!

liberty collage

In the meantime check out this gorgeous Liberty print watches to get a feel for their classic style with a twist!

Image courtesy of Liberty of London Facebook

Image courtesy of Liberty of London Facebook

And these Liberty washi tapes found on Etsy, amazing!

liberty washi tape

Liberty washi tape as found on Etsy.com

Lazy crochet hooks

Real Life

Lately I’ve been too tired to pick up my hooks and this little granny square blanket was making me feel guilty, I couldn’t finish it, so instead I put down my lazy crochet hooks and turned it into a cushion cover, one work in progress down, two to go!


I used this method for afixing, from Knitting on Trains and it served me rather well, it seems I stopped crocheting at just the right time to fit my Ikea cushion inner!

Some new washi tapes arrived this week, so watch this space for more makes!


And finally Joss has been cracking us up with some hilarious phrases including

“it’s alright for some”

said randomly when we were talking about taking the bus to the beach! By the looks of it, it certainly is alright for some!


Blog life

Not much to report, I enjoyed writing a post about life as a no car family with kids and received my highest ever views for a single post after a kind soul tweeted it out and it got RT’d frequently over a few days much to my surprise and delight!



I absolutely love Wolves in London and was inspired by her posts on finding and printing vintage images, armed with a £1 transfer paper pack of two sheets and a printer I set to work and will be sharing the results next week, lets just say I’ll be trying this again and no fabric is safe from the printer and iron!!

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Clean & Fair From Traidcraft Review

This Clean & Fair from Traidcraft review comes to you after a two week trial period, and boy was it needed! We have had a busy spell here at Casa There and Back Again… I was away in London for three days, then we had a bout of family illness and then we had to get the place sorted out again, so the chance to put our elbow grease to good use with some new products was a welcome distraction from work and illness!

The lowdown

clean and fair

From left to right we have:

Lemon and lime multi-surface cleaner

Lavender breeze laundry liquid

Lavender and aloe handwash

Lemon citrus washing up liquid

Why Clean & Fair?

This review is part tried and tested and part awareness raising; we need to educate ourselves about the products we use in our homes, and palm oil is something I’ve been concerned about for some time, this graphic from Traidcraft shows how palm oil is used in our day to day lives, in short, it’s everywhere!

Palm Oil graphics

But it’s not fair trade, much of it isn’t sustainable and whole ecosystems are being destroyed to produce it.

Traidcraft are working to challenge the assumption that demand for this versatile product can only be met by mass-production. Instead Traidcraft’s Clean & Fair range sources palm oil from small-scale farmers in Ghana who are working with nature rather than destroying it. When we use Clean & Fair products we know the benefits will go to some of the poorest farmers in West Africa.

Clean & Fair is the UK’s first ever fair trade household cleaning range

Tried and Tested

We used Clean & Fair products for two weeks, actually we tested them for two weeks, we’ve been using them for longer owing to their generous size and muck-busting abilities!

The range is eco-friendly and made from natural and plant based ingredients which is a big green thumbs up with this blog!

First up the moisturising hand wash, made with fair trade coconut oil and palm oil with moisturising aloe and gentle lavender this was a treat for my hands and well as my senses after a few weeks of cleaning up after a family illness! Some lavender products can have a really synthetic floral smell, this was just like my freshly cut lavender instead and pepped me up! Joss is really into washing her hands at the moment and asks for ‘slippy dippy soap’ before meal times, she loved Clean & Fair – “smells ‘licious” – high praise indeed!

The lemon washing up liquid is a great grease-booster, easy to see how we will get 75 uses from this bottle as you need just a smidge to give great bubbles that cut through grime.

The lavender breeze laundry liquid was my favourite product, it scented my washing beautifully and cleaned really well at lower temperatures too, even on our cloth nappies! It left my towels really nice and soft and I found that I didn’t need to use as much as my usual liquid which was a pleasant surprise!


And finally the multi-surface cleaner, it gave a lemon and lime hit that cut through highchair grease and cleaned my sink a treat!

Clean and fair does what it says on the label and performs brilliantly in the home; some products like the laundry liquid way out-performed our current products, and the peace of mind from knowing we’re supporting producers and in our case supporting local too (Traidcraft is based just down the road from us in Gateshead!) makes this range a great choice for our family!

Check out the Traidcraftshop website to find out more. There’s currently 20% off the range until midnight Monday 14th July.

Disclaimer: Traidcraft sent me these items for review purposes, all views are my (and Joss’!) own

My salt scrub recipe for smooth pins!

Hello sunshine, time to get my skin tip top with my salt scrub recipe!

lavender rosemary scrub

Measure out your wet and dry ingredients depending on the size of your storage pot which should have a nice well fitting lid, I use an empty Lush pot but a clean jam jar would do. To measure pour your salt into the pot you’ll be storing in and leave a centimetre gap at the top for your oils, use roughly five tablespoons of olive or almond oil for every half cup of salt. To prepare the fresh rosemary and lavender I simply snip the dried flowers and fresh stems with scissors, I used five drops of lavender oil for a 50ml pot.

Mix everything together well and pop into your pot, and away to the shower you go!

lavender rosemary scrub in pot

I make a similar scrub in a gorgeous pink here


8 tips for life as a no car family with kids

Can you really do family life as a no car household? We live life as a no car family and get by just fine, but there are some things to think about and some things I wish I’d known about along the way to starting our family.

Here’s our lowdown to life as a no car family with kid!

8 tips for life as a no car family

1) Choose the right pram or buggy / pushchair for public transport

We chose our Silvercross Surf because it’s really nippy for public transport, with narrow back wheels and great all terrain turning it was a must for us, a pram needs to fit into tight spaces on buses and metros when you’re a car free family and ours is a breeze to push, I do a lot of walking so a nice easy steer is essential. The suspension allows for greater volumes of ‘stuff’ to be carried too. Downside? Really small space underneath for shopping, see solution in tip three!

2) Good coats and shoes are vital

Toddlers walk reallllly slowly! Consequently the whole family really needs decent coats and shoes, you can’t dash about with a toddler so you need to be well prepared for the weather, my toddler loves the rain, me, not so much, so I need a good raincoat to keep me dry so I don’t get as bothered by the downpour!

3) Make shopping easier with better storage

I invested in a great pram friendly shopping net that lets me use all thes space under the pram saving me having to shop daily, it’s not always easy to get it home but this way I can carry more than I’d manage just under the pram and it spreads the weight to avoid a dangerous shopping bag buggy tip that we’ve all seen happen and fretted over.

4) Plan ahead

So you can’t just nip to the shops for an extra pack of nappies/wipes/food whatever… When you can’t get out as easily as you might if you had a car you do need to plan ahead a little but it’s not a big deal if you get in the habit of list making and thinking ahead.

5) Make the most of gym-free exercise

No really, getting out and about in the fresh air without the luxury of a car is great exercise!

6) Relax your schedule

You just can’t do as much when you can’t hop here and there by car, but it’s actually quite nice to enjoy life at a toddler pace. So Joss and I only manage to get out for one activity each day? So what? She likes to nap at home in the afternoons and I like to cook, everyone wins and there’s none of that rushing about. I won’t lie and say some days we do miss out on things, another toddler group, softplay or we can’t ‘pop’ to the shops or swimming pool, but it’s all she’s ever known and she loves public transport!

7) Take a break mama/dada

I only learned this recently, yes you want to get the 2pm bus home and you’re tired but don’t rush about. I have learned to take the time to stop for a break before we head back, it’s not light work pushing a pram the 20 minutes home so Joss and I often stop to enjoy a drink or a sit down on a bench somewhere to just catch our breath before we head off again, lesson learned, I’ve got the energy to chase her about when we get home instead of flopping down knackered!

8) Consider carrying them

And finally, you could do worse than consider a sling as a public transport using / walk everywhere parent! Our baby carrier is so well used and has grown with her, it’s invaluable for days out without a car!

What about you? Do you have a car? Do you sometimes leave it home to enjoy a ride on the bus or train, or to walk? What are your tips?

Working away from your family

Home life

Being a parent working away from your family is really tough but you can get through it. This mumslist is brought from Sunningdale Park where I spent three days with work this week.

Sunningdale Park is an ex-civil service college, it’s stunning, has really well established trees, bunnies on the lawn, a gorgeous lake, but it’s missing something; my family!


Here’s my five tips for working away from your family:

1) Take them with you!

Consider whether you could take your family with you/have them visit – Hannah from Mumsdays travelled to Brighton with her husband and son recently so they could spend their free time outside of work together, this is a great idea if it can work practically for you

2) Quality time

If you have to leave them behind give yourself some quality family time before you go, Joss and I took a trip to our favourite museum and shared some really special reading and cuddle time before I went, and Daddy and I took some time to have a date night too, it meant I felt ready to go

3) Dump the guilt

I had to go on this trip, it was a big annual awayday and all staff have to attend, feeling guilty about going doesn’t help anyone and doesn’t make leaving easier, remember you’re paid to do it and plan in more of that quality family time for your return

4) Think team

Try to make life easier for those who are at home, they’ll thank you for it! I try to get ahead of the washing and get a decent shop in so that it makes life easier for my woring husband, he could have done this himself, sure, but we work better as a partnership and I wanted to leave him a step ahead so they could enjoy their quality time together on evenings after work, and so he could rest up a bit more when bedtimes arrived

5) Try to enjoy it and share your experiences

I don’t want to be the parent who brings something back from trips to make up for being away, instead I want to share my experiences with them and so I do try to enjoy a bit of downtime when I’m away, it’s something I do maybe three times a year but that still feels like a lot when you have a toddler at home that you really miss. Last time I travelled to London I took Joss’ favourite (OK not favourite, that would be silly!) toy with me and photographed him in and around the Big Smoke!

I can’t say it gets any easier to say goodbye but the return I got last night was so warm and welcoming that I appreciated my little family all the more!

What about you – Do you work away? Does your partner? How do you get by?

Blog life and Inspiration

Quiet times as work busied up this week, but I’m getting back on it with a great post about my trip to Liberty of London, fabric love coming up soon! Here’s some inspiration in the meantime!


(Source: Liberty London’s Facebook page)

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I dream in citrine, where blog props find new homes

This weeks Mumslist comes to you from Etsy, namely my new store!

Real Life

OK, there’s not much on there yet but I finally set up an Etsy store. I Dream in Citrine does two things, it allows me to feel better about the vintage treasures I’ve accumulated over the years and it helps me move them on to new owners as blog photo props, now I just need to put some time into stocking it!

I dream in citrine


Blog life

I’ve had to accept that between now and September I can’t blog daily, and I’m OK with that. I’m hitting a critical point in my working year and that can take over into home life if I’m not careful, so I need to free up a bit of diary space to see friends and arrange playdates and may need to use the odd spare hour for reading instead of blogging. Popular posts continue to be my crafty ones, including these washi tape ones



I’m browsing/reading the Calm Things blog at the moment; I’m in a busy place so I need calming influences in my life!

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