Organic May

This has come around quickly! Time for another Organic/Natural roundup!


Last month I treated us to an Organic veg box as I had a week off travelling for work and wanted to try some batch cooking. We had a bash at Deliciously Ella‘s Brocolli pesto and it was absolutely divine!

brocolli pesto


I’m a choc addict and when Seed and Bean sent me these chocolate bars to review over Easter I wasn’t tempted by Js eggs in the slightest; these are a grown up treat of epic proportions! I was sceptical about lime and sea salt with milk chocolate but Seed and Bean have converted me, what a treat for the tastebuds, creamy, fresh, sweet with a salt hit the combination really sings!

These are phenomenal bars of Handmade in England goodness, 100% organic and ethical, I urge you to try them, especially the dark chocolate for a healthier treat!



J and I both suffer with atopic eczema and I try to treat it as naturally as possible but this year mine has been so bad I needed a steroid cream to tackle it. We’ve both been using Lush’s Dream Cream and Dream Wash with good results but they’re not paraben free and when in frequent use that concerns me a little. This month we’ve both been using purepotions Skin Salvation with really good results.

Like a thick ointment when applied liberally the balm softens and leaves a lovely protective soft barrier, made with herbs and oils it has a pleasant smell (J said it smells like playdoh, I think marzipan!) and my skin has never looked better and J hasn’t had any of the small open patches that she normally gets on her back at all this month which is a result I’m really impressed with; that this is a totally natural product to boot is really great! Starting at £7.99 I’d definately recommend any eczema sufferers give this a try.

I’ve also been trialling the Scar Oil with good results, to be honest I have neglected myself for a while so this has formed part of my new night time routine which I feel really positive about! The oil is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C and the essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6. Vitamin A is known to promote healthy skin cell rejuvenation, so it is great for skin damaged by scarring. The vitamin C in rosehip oil reduces the appearance of dark and aging spots.

This has been a real treat for my skin and stubborn post-baby marks, and I’ve also used it on stubborn dry patches around me knees (darn winter skin!) with great results. Richer than other oils on the market this is competitively priced at £18.99 and a little goes a long long way.


Finally I’ve been reviewing these purepotions Salve sets. One of each rescue salve; lavender, arnica, tea tree, calendula and comfrey this is packaged up as a set of natural first aid salves for little emergencies. Arnica Rescue Salve for sprains, strains and bruises, Calendula & Comfrey Rescue Salve for use on cuts and grazes, Lavender Rescue Salve for use on minor burns, sunburn, chapped skin and as a lip salve and Tea Tree Rescue Salve for use on cold sores, bites, stings and fungal conditions. Over the last six weeks we’ve had occasion to use all four (we are quite accident prone!). These little pots really do pack a punch and are now stashed in the bag I take out when J and I are out and about. I find the lavender salve really peps me up when I’m tired too!



I’ve been reviewing these refreshing Alo Aloe Vera drinks this month. Juicy and packed with pulpy pieces of aloe they’re a real treat for a spring day; mangosteen and mango was my favourite, a tropical fruit hit! I know some prefer their drinks smooth but I like a good old non-strained fruit juice, the pulp pieces are quite large though so this can take you by surprise!

Aloe is added to health drinks for its digestion boosting properties, anti-inflamatory properties and can boost the immune system; whilst not organic these drinks are GMO free.

Alo have offered me a mix box of the drinks worth £23.99 to give away to one lucky reader, see Rafflecopter and T&Cs for details.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Things I want to remember that my toddler has said

I haven’t blogged any of J’s new words or little quips for a while but I have been keeping up to date with a list of them. We’ve had such gems as “Mammy I think you talk too much” and “Mammy went to the doctor and her arm hurt and the doctor did her blood fresh air!”

things my toddler had said 1

One of my favourite recent anecdotes happened one morning in a public toilet, having previously had concerned staff banging on the door after Joss pulled the red emergency cord in the loos at the local museum whilst I was mid flow, at least she’s learned not to do it again – this week we heard “this wee is not an emergency so I not pull that doctor string Mammy” – phew, I think she’s sort of got it!

There are also the sweet heartwarming moments walking back from our childminder’s house “I will cuddle you mammy, tuck your head in so the wind doesn’t frost you” and “my Daddy is ‘tending to be my baby bird in a baby bird nest and you know it is spring when there is a baby bird”

things my toddler had said

There’s also the downright frustrating “Joss you must listen to Daddy/Mammy when we are talking to you… ok, you need to stop and look and listen…what do we need you to do?” “Erm, you need me to…erm…to….you need me to….to….eat my dinner” – no, that’s not quite right!

A recent fave our both Daddy and I was J waking in the night a bit upset because she was “chasing a feather and it flew away” – sweet dreams for a little one and she easily settled back off to chase that feather again

And finally, role play has started, she either asks us to talk to her as her cuddly toys with voices or she’ll say “Dad, bear wants to ask” – we’ll say “what does bear want to ask you?” and she invariably responds by yelling “CAN YOU ASK BEAR!” and getting really angry with us, we’re still working out a response to this one!

things my toddler had said 2

Do you keep a record of things your little ones have said? I’d love to hear some anecdotes!

National Stationery Week: Handwritten Printed Cards with Inkly #natstatweek

Inkly Cards is a mobile app that allows you to send real, printed cards and postcards from your mobile device, but most importantly, they can be customised with your own photos and handwriting, using their patent-pending technology.

You write your message on a normal piece of paper, and the camera in your mobile device magically lifts your writing from the page and places it into the card.

National Stationery Week is focused on handwriting this time, and Inkly were keen to get involved in allowing people to use the technology they know and love but to retain that personal touch of letter writing.

I reviewed the service; I was really happy to find a great range of arty cards ready for my message and selected this for a friend as I know she loves The Great Wave off Kanagawa, indeed we both do as I have it as a print! The card is a great quality print on solid cardstock.


I was really pleased with how easy it was to use the app, I wrote the message, photographed it and Inkly did the rest, I popped this in a fresh envelope as I was reviewing and wanted to see the quality first, but usually you’d just send it straight to your friend or loved one! And here’s the handwriting print, perfect!


Disclaimer: We reviewed the Inkly app and received one free card, all views are my own

Matalan – Made for Modern Families

Matalan say, “Since we first opened our doors 30 years ago, we’ve always focused on providing outstanding value and quality for families. We take the time to listen, understand and evolve, to ensure our products are the right fit for modern, happy homes. Our latest campaign, Made for Modern Families, is a celebration of family life today, in all its shapes and sizes.”

Matalan have recently launch a new TV ad, featuring real life families as well conducted national research to explore how family life is changing in the modern era.

Matalan say “the definition of ‘family’ in the 21st century is not straightforward; as the Facebook status might suggest, “it’s complicated”. This doesn’t mean that the idea of family has become any less important however, it simply means we are seeing that family today comes in many different shapes, sizes and forms. Their research revealed some interesting and surprising insights about modern family life:

Family defined

• The New Nuclear: the idea of the nuclear family, that being mum, dad and two-point something kids living together, is being stretched and redrawn.

• Beyond Kin: more and more, people’s definition of family extends beyond kin to include kith, i.e. non-blood relatives, friends and even pets.

• The Waiting Game: the number of older mums and older dads is on the rise, as are ‘klingons’; post-teens not flying the nest as they did in previous generations.

• Blended Families: increasingly family means ‘blended’ arrangements that see multiple connections, multiple parental figures and multiple home locations. This is in addition to well-documented changes such as the rise of single and LGBT parents.

• Staying Connected: families are finding new ways of using technologies to connect more frequently and on an emotional level, both when they live nearby or far way”


Our modern family

This month Daddy has just reduced his working week by two days to spend more time with J while I work full time, this means the dynamic of our little family has shifted a little.

Whilst not groundbreaking as Dads are increasingly taking on more of the caregiving role it’s still not that common; we want for J to see as much as possible of us and my hubby and I believe in sharing our parental responsibilities, we both work hard and play hard.

Whilst I found it hard losing two days with her, knowing that he could finally reclaim some Daddy/daughter time makes me proud of all of us; we’re doing this our own way, creating a strong unit that has withstood in recent months the threat of redundancy, job searches and uncertainty about the future – the Matalan research highlighted that most families rate happiness as the top priority for their family and our modern family reflects this too.

Here’s our Modern Family portrait!


I’ve linked this post in to the Mumsnet Made for Modern Families linky

Why not share your favourite family photo here - you can win cash to spend in store!


Urban Jungle Bloggers: Offer a plant to a friend

I’m linking into this month’s Urban Jungle Bloggers initiative with a challenge called ‘Offer a Plant to a Friend’ – it’s my first UJB post though I’ve often wanted to join in!

I don’t think there’s anything nicer than receiving a plant as a gift, remember the gorgeous azalea hubby bought for me for Mother’s Day, so special, so spectacular and still blooming beautifully today!

I have been fortunate to have occasion to visit Anthropologie in London this month, I finally picked up one of their great Forest Dweller Pots as I’ve been after one of these for a while; I also made a great find which I think would make a sweet gift for a friend’s desk.


I found a sweet little pot that is just £3 in a gorgeous foamy sea green, it’s called Tenderling which can mean a small child, or the first antlers of a deer


This made me think this little beauty could perfectly house some ‘antler like’ simple sempervivum stems, packaged in a pretty bag with this Oh Happy Day Project Life card I think this makes a really pretty gift!


If you’re thinking a little bigger, for a special birthday why not look at a terrarium instead, I am in love with our Totoro theme at the moment, follow the link for a little how to guide!

totoro terrarium1


And finally, some outdoor news, in need of a tidy up but I am happy with our yarden, it’s looking more established again this year and is a source of much pleasure!


Day One National Stationery Week – Pen and Paper Day


National Stationery Week kicks off today with Pen and Paper Day and I’m working from home using these Cath Kidston pieces and writing a training plan for work I’m starting this summer.

I made some notes earlier this week mulling over why I think it’s really important that we continue to value the handwritten over word processing and I think I’d sum this up by saying handwriting brings a personal touch, allows me to be more reactive as I always have a pen and paper to hand and keeps my mind sharp too.

There are five things that I think we can all try to #keepbritainwriting


1) Keep a paper diary

I write in a journal most days, reflecting on the day, hand writing this means I take the time to think about the words before I write them down, mulling over the positives and negatives of the day, counting my blessings and planning for the future

2) Sending handwritten notes

I love nice note paper and these Project Life cards in the photos above are a new thing for me, I use the double sided ones to send notes to friends, leave notes for the family and it generally brings me joy to work with nice paper, so they bring colour to the mundane too!

3) Write notes for work/study by hand

I never make meeting notes onto a tablet or laptop if I can help it, I write quicker capturing more by hand, the nuances of conversation are missed when I type too, so I like to note interviews down on paper with a trusty biro

4) Write for your children

J can’t write yet but is interested in letters and numbers, we draw together but I also write for her too, it’s a lovely bonding exercise as I want for her to love to read and write too

5) Use a paper planner

More on this later in the week, but since returning to an old fashioned paper planner with stickers and colour coding I feel much better organised and I definately keep it better updated than the days where I kept scrappy notes to pop into Outlook at a later (never!) time

Do you value the handwritten? Why?

National Stationery Week: Get Writing! #NatStatWeek #GetBritainWriting #GetKidsWriting #WritingMatters #WritingisForever #lovestationery #stationeryaddict

Next week is National Stationery Week and I’ll be blogging all week about the stationery I love to use.

I thought I’d share a couple of favourites from the last few weeks; firstly this stash of goodies arrived to help me in my role as a National Stationery Week blogger – I love getting papery post!


I have been working away a lot at the moment, generally I am back for bedtime but I am not always lucky to be there first thing in the morning to greet J; I have started leaving a special note for her and stepped it up this week using these Maped Colorpeps – they’re a watercolour crayon, you can draw with them, then use a damp paintbrush to mix your colours just like watercolour paints – so this is the note I left for her this week :)


And finally, the Colorpeps also got J interested in drawing again, and boy am I a proud Mama; this is her drawing of her beloved Totoro this week, the first drawing she has produced (OK, well she draws daily but it’s the first where you can really tell what it is!)


See you over on the blog for #Natstatweek next week folks!

How to create a Fairytale Terrarium (with Totoro)

I bought this Terrarium for our glass wedding Anniversary and since then it’s taken on several looks, most recently I gave it a good clean and added some new sempervarium. When I set up this little styled shot J got interested too “I like lots of little trees in there Mammy”


I had been saving some bits and bobs spotted on my travels for a summertime outdoor fairy garden but decided to make our little terrarium a fairytale garden instead, we’ve gone with a Studio Ghibli Totoro theme as this is currently a big fave with the whole family!

totoro terrarium1

How to create a Fairytale Terrarium (with Totoro)

1) Take your terrarium (you can use a large glass mason jar, old clear glass teapot or a classic terrarium like ours) and add a 2 inch layer of pebbles to the bottom of the container for drainage (I use fresh fish tank gravel)

2) Then add a half inch layer of activated charcoal over the pebbles (available at Wilko or garden centres) this helps keep bacteria at bay and keeps your terrarium smelling sweet

3) Add damp but not soggy potting soil and plant up your succulents, cacti etc and finish with a fine sprinkle of gravel, I use a chopstick to adjust the plants as it’s a narrow space at the back!

4) Add pretty stones, I added sea glass but you can pick up other pretty pieces of stone or use coloured gravel

5) Add your characters and other ephemera; I added a miniature wire cherry tree I bought at a garden centre, a small white plastic bridge that turned up in a kinder egg type Easter gift, and some small Totoro and Mei figurines, finally J added her Lego Monkey (why not?!) and a small house I bought on Ebay with the fairy garden in mind!

totoro terrarium3

Thomas & Friends – Trouble on the Tracks and the Complete Series 16 on DVD

Thomas & Friends fans are on track for a bumper treat with the release of the Complete Series 16 DVD and Trouble on the Tracks! We were lucky to get a sneak peak of both ahead of their release date – lucky Joss!

In Trouble on the Tracks the troublesome trucks delight in causing problems for Thomas, as Annie, Clarabel and Toad encounter unexpected high-speed adventures.


Oily Diesel gives Paxton a fright, while Salty’s spooky story has the engines running scared. James runs into trouble with some slip coaches and Percy ends up frightened and alone in an old mine, there’s plot twists and turns aplenty in this 70 minute feature length adventure!

Joss loves brake van Toad with his good manners, he’s a real gent, so seeing him in this feature length film was a real treat! – out on 20th April

Then Thomas and his friends return in Series 16; all 20 episodes on DVD together for the first time ever with around 200 minutes of fun! Sodor is filled with the sound of music when a famous composer visits the island. Thomas becomes a scarecrow for the day, Percy falls foul of one of Salty’s tall tales and Charlie combines his love for snow and jokes.

thomas and friends

The engines welcome Stafford to Sodor, celebrate The Fat Controller’s birthday and, when a photographer visits the island, Thomas aims to appear in as many photos as possible!

Joss’ favourite episode is Welcome Stafford; when Spencer is given the special job of taking new electric shunting engine Stafford around the Island of Sodor, but he refuses to listen to warning about Stafford’s battery – exciting stuff for a three year old! – out on 25th May

Disclaimer: We were sent both DVDs for review purposes all views are my own

Spring weekends

Spring has kicked off with a huge Marie Kondo inspired spring clean in this house and boy did it need it! I started work full time last month and lets just say I feel we have too much ‘stuff’ to make the everyday cleaning a breeze so I have been weeding out the joy sparkers from the joyless and sending bags to charity shops on a weekly basis, catharic, necessary and it’s having a big impact on my mental wellbeing too, a tidy house is indeed a tidy mind!


I’ve also been giving our terrarium a makeover, another post too follow, but here it is in its current state, not looking bad, I love terrariums for their effortlessly cool look!


Spring weekends and evenings have been spent blowing bubbles, and making hugs bubbles with this mega wand, amazing how captivating they are to young and old.


More signs of spring




And we’ve been giving the yarden a tidy too, looking better established again


We have made the most of the weather with trips to the park and the beach, I love blowing away the cobwebs at this time of year, both in the home and mentally too


Pushing Mammy on the big hammock swing is more fun than hard work!


And finally, a sunny find from Roker Park in Sunderland, I love the gardens there


Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall