Saturday, 31 December 2016

Bye Bye 2016

It's been another whirlwind of a year here in the Herridge/Houchin household.  We have had more ups and downs than a bloody theme park ride but somehow we have made it to the end of December and to the start of a fresh new year.

I love reading these sorts of posts, reflecting is one of my favourite things to do. I don't dwell and I don't have regrets I just like to review my journey and work out how on earth I got to where I am today.

In the world of motherhood, this year has been a challenge to say the least! Harry hit two and a half and suddenly all hell broke loose.  It's safe to say the threenage era came a little early and we were experiencing all the tears and tantrums.
He has gone from the prefect sleeper to the all night raver and we still aren't any closer to potty training.  However Harry's speech has come on leaps and bounds, he chats away but finally he's forming words and sentences that actually make sense. He is so close to his peers now that it's hard to believe her spent 14 months in a world of silence. He is so god damn funny, his little quirks make me giggle, however devilish he can be

In 2015 my best friend (also known as my fiancé Scott) had a life threatening brain tumour, had surgery to remove it and then spent 7 weeks back and forth from hospital every day to have radiotherapy. In fact we spent last Christmas Eve, New Years Eve and even New Year's Day there for him to have his treatment. BUT it was all bloody worth it wasn't it.. because he has only gone and had 3 scans which have all been crystal clear - most definitely the absolute best news to come out of 2016.
I hope he knows how proud I am of him. To be diagnosed with such an awful thing at 35 just isn't fair, but he was a hero and you really wouldn't have a clue what his body has been through now. 

And little old me.. I almost lost my life to an ruptured ectopic pregnancy at the beginning of the year but I'm still here to tell the tale.
I then spent an entire blurry summer with my sister in and out of hospitals caring for our very sick dad and fighting the NHS for his right to treatment.
But I had so so many highs to compensate for those crazy heartbreaking times. I saw the QUEEN aka Britney and had one of the best nights ever!  I travelled more this year than ever before. I went to Morocco for my beautiful friends hen party.  Visited Santorini for a toddler free break, and it was the most stunning place I have ever been.  Then of course hopped to Paris with my love who finally asked me the question I have been dying to hear. Getting engaged was a huge huge highlight of 2016.
I also pushed myself waaaaaay out of my comfort zone and put myself in front of the camera again. Believe it or not I cannot stand public speaking and that's how vlogging feels to me at the moment. However I am really proud of myself for jumping in at the deep end and becoming part of a YouTube network called Channel Mum.  After almost joining and backing out twice before, I was shocked when they got in touch again and asked if I was ready to be a part of their tribe.. and this time I said yes and I'm so glad I did! I've met a real great group of gals whom I can actually call my friends and not just in the online sense.
I've never really had goals as such for my blog and channel, I guess I still really don't. I just want to create content that's informative but enjoyable to watch, I have this overwhelming sense of wanting to share all my experiences in the hope that someone out there finds comfort knowing they aren't alone. 

Things I have learnt this year….
  • It's OK not to be the perfect Pinterest mum
  • I really need my sleep.
  • Chocolate bribery is essential 
  • Threenagers are WAY harder than terrible twos 
  • It's OK to sometimes think that your child is a bit of a dick
  • Friendship isn't about who you've known the longest
  • My mum tribe is awesome
  • Soft play sucks
  • I can't run 

So another weird year of super highs and mega lows for us, but I guess that's just life.  I've learnt yet again that I am strong and to make every day count. 
Sure there are things I want to achieve, I want to fill my empty picture frames, get semi-fit, drink more spinach and all that but I'm not really one to make big plans or resolutions.  I just want to enjoy life and the normal'ness of it.  I want to have way more PJ days. I want to meet new friends and squeeze the ones I already have much much more. 

Happy New Year, I hope 2017 is kind to you.  I say stop focusing on life's big plan and live a little.  Make mistakes, have crap days but learn from them. Enjoy the little things

Ta rah 2016, you're the year that was full of surprises.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Harry's Christmas Eve Box


 have never bought into the idea of a Christmas Eve box.. I thought it was a little unnecessary for children who get so many presents on the big day itself.  However now Harry is starting to understand Christmas and what happens on Christmas Eve I have totally done a full circle and decided its a fantastic idea!  Instead of cramming it with toys, I have just popped in a few essentials that I would have got him for the run up to Christmas anyway, and a couple of things we can do together as we wait for the big guy to pop down our chimney!

Festive Pyjamas (from M&S)
Everyone loves snuggling up in new PJs right?! This two pack from M&S weren't expensive but are really soft and lovely quality

Christmas Jumper (from Primark)
I couldn't resist this Primark jumper with its cute 3d carrot nose!! I really hope Harry will want to wear it on the big day!

The Dinosaur that Pooped Christmas
I mentioned this in my gift guide video, its a really funny alternative Christmas book for little ones with silly imaginations!  

The Christmas Bear Book
A good classic lift flap book from the illustrators of the Gruffalo!

Christmas Garlands (from Hobbycraft)
I remember making tons of these garlands when I was little so I felt really nostalgic when I picked up a pack in Hobbycraft!  Another little activity for us to do together before bedtime

Chocolate Coins & Chocolate Penguin
Seeing as its Christmas chocolate before bed is allowed!

Reindeer Headband 
The bells on this headband sound exactly like Santa on his sleigh and Harry is going to love running about with this on his head!

Will you be doing a Christmas Eve box?  What is in yours?!


Saturday, 26 November 2016

DIY Edible Christmas Gifts | Melted Snowman Bark & Chocolate Dipped Marshmallows

Christmas for me is all about the giving part.  I absolutely love Christmas shopping (unless its for my fussy fiance) and finding the perfect gift for each member of my family.  However budgets don't always stretch far and its nice to be able to give a little gesture in the form of an edible gift!  Super easy to make and really inexpensive.  

My melted snowman bark and giant chocolate dipped marshmallows take very little effort for maximum yumminess!!  We will be making these over the festive period this year to give to our "playdater's" as a small token to celebrate Christmas.

I would love to know if you attempt to make either of these yule time treats, let me know in the comments below!! 

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

What's on my Christmas Wishlist?

YES its another ruddy Christmas post from another festive feeling blogger!  But you have obviously clicked here for a reason, perhaps for some gift inspiration?!

My birthday is Christmas Eve which is super annoying for my friends and family and it means I usually need to write them a list of ideas of gifts they can buy me.  This year my list feels pretty long but in this post is just some of my favourites.  Maybe this will give you some ideas for your own Christmas list or give you a light bulb moment for a present for that special someone in your life..

Sass & Belle Mr & Mrs Fund
If you didn't know already I recently got engaged in Paris!  We haven't booked anything yet but have started looking at prices and WOWSERS we need to get saving ASAP!  This money box is the cutest and would be a good gift for any newly engaged couples to start collecting those pennies!

Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel
Cult Beauty £29.50 BUY HERE
My good friend and beauty obsessive Lara told me about this cleansing gel and boy it sounds like something I need on my bathroom shelf.  I am ashamed to admit that I don't like spending a lot on skin care but after a horrendous bout of breakouts I am venturing into the luxury skincare market in full force.  Oskia is a brand i'm excited to try and this Renaissance Cleansing Gel packed with a billion vitamins shall be my place to start.

Real Techniques Brush Cleansing Pallette
Boots £12.99 BUY HERE
There is nothing more mundane but ironically satisfying about cleaning makeup brushes.  Its got to be done and you feel fabulous for it afterwards but the actual doing part for me is such a chore.  I think this Brush Cleansing Pallette from Real Techniques could be a real game changer for me and it might cut down the time it takes to scrub that war paint from my beautiful brushes.

Team Internet Jumper
H&M £12.99 BUY HERE
Of course I need this jumper, I am all about the internet!! Need I say more.

Llama Pyjamas
There is something about the words "llama" and "pyjamas" put together that makes me giggle!! I love gimmicky pyjamas (as long as they aren't covered in emojis or pokemon) and this set from ASOS is top of my PJ list this Crimbo.

Sweet Almond and Macaroon Candle
Jo Malone £42 BUY HERE
Christmas wouldn't be complete for me if I didn't get to unwrap a new candle.  I'm quite fussy about scents though and I'm not happy unless it is overly sick sweet and in a fancy jar! Sweet Almond and Macroon smells DIVINE you could almost eat it and like all JM candles it lasts absolutely ages.

Lipstick in shade "Almost Pink"
Bobbi Brown £21 BUY HERE
"Almost Pink" is the perfect nude for my skin tone.  Its pink without being too pink and peach without being.. yeah you guessed it.. too peach.  The formula is creamy, not too sheer or too matte and wears off lovely in case you don't have time for top ups.

HydrateM8 Water Bottle
HydrateM8 £13.99 BUY HERE
I am so terrible at drinking enough water but I find my body needs hydrating constantly.  I have heard rave reviews about the physiological concept of these HydrateM8 water bottles and I think it could really help me to drink my much needed 2 litres a day.  This limited edition black version is my fave!

Zoeva Cocoa Blend Eyeshadow Palette
Beauty Bay £18 BUY HERE
I think every single shade in the Cocoa Blend Pallette by Zoeva is beautiful and totally wearable for Autumn/Winter.  I am a HUGE fan of Zoeva brushes but I haven't tried their makeup before so I would love to give these shadows a whirl.  I also think that £18 is such a reasonable price for a high end palette like this.

iPhone 7 Golden Ice Marble Phone Case
Madotta £25 BUY HERE
My friend Claudia pointed these beeeeeaaauuuttiful cases out to me a few months ago and I've been lusting after one ever since! I must admit I usually buy myself the 99p cases off Ebay that last all but one week and don't actually protect my phone in any way whatsoever so it would be nice to have a more expensive and practical case.

Alice Weekly Schedule Diary
The Magic Notebook £10 BUY HERE
I have used an Alice Weekly Schedule for the last 3 years now.  They are basically dateless diaries that you can start at any time of the year and you can customise them with pretty stickers etc.  This one is inexpensive, pretty and small enough to fit in your handbag!

Viktor & Rolf Bon Bon EDP
Boots £63.45 BUY HERE
As I mentioned I am all about the super sickly sweet scents and Viktor and Rolfs Bon Bon is exactly that.  It is so sweet you will be walking around smelling like a candy shop but a good candy shop!  I know that scent is such a personal thing but I really think its hard not to like Bon Bon

I would love love love to know what is on your Christmas list this year, let me know in the comments below!!

Monday, 14 November 2016

Talking About My Ectopic Pregnancy

Back in April this year, I was rushed to hospital with a ruptured ectopic pregnancy which was developing in my fallopian tube.  I wrote all about my experience here just a few days after it happened.  Now a few months down the line I thought I would branch out and share my story on YouTube on my channel Lucie and the Bump.

I was really nervous filming this but I felt like it was something I should talk about being a parent blogger and vlogger, in the hope it can help someone else or at least raise awareness. 

I would love it if you shared this video with anyone you know who has been through or going through something similar.  Or just take the time to hear about the signs and symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy.

Hopefully my next video will be something a bit more upbeat :)

Lucie x 


Friday, 4 November 2016

The Proposal

For me, one of life's little pleasures is getting away from the sleep-work-play-repeat routine, and that is exactly what I did last week.  My other half Scott aka Mr H surprised me with a trip to the city of love and one of my favourite places in the world, Paris.
We spent a long lazy weekend pre-baby there 4 years ago and we always said we would return, enticed by steaming hot chocolate and incredible architecture.

We hopped off the Eurostar in Gard du Nord and head straight for our favourite little boutique hotel Hotel Elysees Union, where we dumped our bags and trotted off arm in arm to visit the Louvre.  I must admit I am not usually the museum type, but there is something about the Louvre and its majestic contents that I adore.  We spent a good few hours exploring before sprinting through the rain to queue up for the ever popular Angelina.  If you haven't been to Angelina for their famous indulgent hot chocolate then you really haven't lived, it is truly dreamy. 
Day one in Paris was over quicker than my mug of hot choc and we finished it off with a takeaway pizza in bed (rock n roll) with our heads in our books.

Day two however was completely not at all what I was expecting and turned out to be the most amazing day I've ever had!
We woke up bright and early to croissants, cheeses, and sweet tea then jumped on the metro to explore the Tuileries Gardens.  Somehow, the last time we visited Paris we completely missed our the beautiful gardens that spread out in front of the Louvre so we knew we had to wander around them on this trip.  It was super quiet, with only a few early morning runners galloping past us and the air was thick with fog, but it was SO pretty!  It was quite possibly the most autumnal scene I've ever been in with rows of copper coloured trees and the ground covered with crunchy leaves.  

After collecting some huge shiny conkers and admiring the sculptures scattered amongst the gardens, we found a bench in a secluded spot to rest our feet.
Mr H then reached into the pocket of his humongous puffy coat and produced the most beautiful ring I have ever seen and asked me to marry him!!  I was so shocked and burst into tears... and of course said yes!  (I also asked why on earth he wasn't down on one knee, to which he responded that the ground was too dirty..!)

I was absolutely buzzing and spent the next half an hour gasping and squealing with delight and excitement!  I tried to call my mum and my best friends who annoyingly weren't answering their phones as Scott led me to a nearby coffee shop to calm down!
Then, just as our lattes arrived, a few familiar faces appeared at the coffee shop window.. Scott had arranged for our closest friends and family to join us in Paris and celebrate our engagement!  I know.  I am going to marry the best guy in the world right?!
My little boy Harry had been exploring Pairs for a whole 24 hours, with me none the wiser!
As you can imagine this was all followed by tears of joy, cuddles and quite a lot of bubbles as we sat and enjoyed such a special day altogether.  I really couldn't believe everyone had made such an effort to be in Paris with us and that they had all managed to keep it a secret for the last year of planning!!  

My gorgeous ring is every bit as perfect as I imagined it to be.  It is simple, classic and just so me.  It is also made from Scott's mums wedding band which is probably one of the nicest and most touching parts of the whole engagement.  She passed away when we first got together and I never had a chance to meet her.  I hope she is looking down and feeling very proud of her wonderful Son and the great surprise he arranged for me.

If you have read my blog for a long time you will know that my little family has been dealt its fair share of bad events, not that I am one to dwell, but I really feel like this is our happy ending now and I can't wait to marry my soul mate!


Monday, 3 October 2016

The Un-filterable.

You know those days when its not even 10am 9am and you're already wondering if its bedtime yet?
I like to refer to those days as the un-filterable.  There is simply no Instagram filter that could make the snapshots of those days any better.  

We have been going through a bloody tough time with our son Harry.  He is coming up to 3 and it seems like the whole terrible twos/threeanger thing has well and truly kicked in.  There doesn't seem to be a day lately where I haven't had to tell him off for doing something naughty or battle with him across the dinner table. 

I don't understand why mums (and some dads, don't want to leave you out there lads) find it so hard to share the tough parts of parenthood.  Those real dark times where you have said a few swear words to your children, not even under your breath.  Where you physically have to lock yourself in the bathroom to stop yourself from bursting into floods of tears from frustration.  Or when you're scrubbing lipstick out of the brand new sofa because you stupidly left your handbag at toddler-level.
I haven't been posting as much as I usually would on Instagram because of course no one wants to see photos on their social media feed of that puddle of wee your son just gifted you on the rug or the almighty tantrum over wanting to wear a shark print swimsuit with slippers to nursery.  So pre-mum you are led into this false sense of everything being pink and fluffy, with not a meltdown in sight.

I am certainly not one of those people who pretends that it is all fine and dandy and that I love being a mum every second of every day, because I don't!  Its the hardest job I've ever done.  I'm not a mumsy mum and sometimes I would rather talk about makeup and Geordie Shore than whether breast is best.  We don't do arts and crafts at home twice a week because I simply can't stand the mess, and I let Harry watch his iPad whilst eating his breakfast every morning!  AND SOMETIMES (this one is really bad) I have to bribe him with chocolate in order to brush his teeth.... ironic?!

Why am I writing this you may be asking yourself?!  Well its simply just a ramble, a real life one where it isn't all sunshine and rainbows.  Sometimes I want to smash my phone up when I see how seemingly perfect another family's life looks.  But I have to remind myself that it is all the work of the ever popular Valencia filter, and really I bet those people are going through the very same struggles that I am.
Also.. I do really love the bones off my son even if I did almost want to throw him out the window at 3am this morning!!  I know it won't last forever and its all part of the parenting game!

Sunday, 21 August 2016

A Playdate to Wellington Country Park | with Huggies Little Swimmers

We recently went for a playdate with our buddies Lara and George.  We went to one of our fave local hangouts, Wellington Country Park.  They have an awesome new splash pad, tons of parks and even animals to pet, it is such a nice place to visit if you are in the Hampshire or Berkshire area!

I decided to film our playdate so that you can get a peek into a typical Thursday morning with my little bug Harry!  As a Huggies Little Swimmers Get Set Splash Blogger, I wanted to show you guys how easy it is to use their swim nappies whilst out and about on a whim without it being a stressful experience.  We always always always have a few of them in our changing bag for days like this where the sun could burst through the clouds at any moment!

I hope you enjoy this video (give it a thumbs up if you did!)!  I would love to hear what you guys have been up to this Summer in the comments, or if you have any hang outs you think I need to check out!

*As a Huggies Little Swimmers "Get Set, Splash" blogger I did collaborate with them for this video and post, but as always my opinions are always honest and entirely my own!

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Just the Three of Us

I feel like its been a really long time since I have sat down and just rambled about my little bug Harry.  I think its because he is no longer a baby so typical milestones happen less often and life is generally more consistent.  However for my lad and his magic ears there are so many milestones that I just don’t realise he has surpassed and I have found myself sitting and realising that for a kid that couldn’t hear just over a year ago he is doing pretty darn well!!

Harry can now say SO many words and understands pretty much everything that you say to him.  He will point out objects in picture books if you ask him to find something, his favourite books being anything Peppa Pig (ew) or Thomas.  If you ask him to put his shoes on you are generally faced with a big fat “NO” but it confirms he knows exactly what you want him to do, he just doesn’t want to do it like any other two year old! 

Being two and a half is really quite hard according to Harry.  Those of you with 18-20 month old babies who think they have entered the so called “terrible twos”, I promise you that you have seen nothing yet, the daily meltdowns are REAL people.. get your gin ready!!  Yes I am that mum with the screaming wild one unwillingly strapped in his pram because he wants to run off in town.  Don’t you hate the judgey looks from passers by!?  They clearly have never had a 2.5 mini person.  He is a terrible eater which stresses me out daily, he is defo one of those so called beige eaters and won’t touch fruit or vegetables at home.  We have really started to crack down on it though and I’m becoming quite strict with his snacks and treats.. any advice would be gladly received #stressedmumissues

However alongside the tantrums and mayhem, confusingly, comes the most loving moments.  Harry will often run opened armed and unprompted to embrace us in a huge bear hug and he blows us lovely kisses every night once hes tucked up in bed.  He has so much to say when I pick him up from his childminders and babbles away in his own little language whilst dropping the words “garden” and “park” in here and there.

Harry is and always has been a typical boy, in the sense that he loves nothing more than cars, trains, diggers and planes.  The day is never complete unless hes got one scraped knee and a ton if dirt under his fingernails!  He is finding the balance between play fighting and actually fist fighting and so far its not going too well!  He doesn’t quite understand how to tickle someone and its more like pinching and scratching but he really doesn’t mean to be so aggressive

Sitting and looking back at how Harry has evolved makes my heart feel so warm and fuzzy and I still get that bubbly proud feeling in my tummy when I tell people I have a little boy whom I am so fiercely proud of  

I feel like life is really great as a family of three right now and although people around me seem to be extending their families left right and centre I’m so content with my two boys, my team that seems to be growing ever stronger by the day.


Friday, 17 June 2016

Whats in my Changing Bag | Toddler Edition

Now Harry is a full on boystrous 2 year old the contents of my changing bag have somewhat changed.  I do find that if we are going on a whole day out then I will need to take Harry's own mini rucksack stuffed with toys to keep him busy in, but other than that I find that my Pacapod Mirano is just fine to pack with what we need for everyday use.  It is super spacious and has these excellent little detachable pods that you can use to separate your essentials

One of those essentials is a couple of Huggies® Little Swimmers® swim nappies and as I happen to be one of their "Get Set, Splash" bloggers this year I will tell you a little bit about their exciting new design!

The UKs No.1 baby swim pant brand Huggies® have teamed up with Disney© Pixar’s Finding Dory movie (eeek I am so excited to go and see this with Harry!) to encourage mums, dads, aunties and uncles to have more spontaneous water play.
Swimming doesn't have to be a planned activity and it doesn't always have to involve going to a sports centre, it can be as simple as a paddle at the local park or even a splash about in the paddling pool.

 I have always loved Little Swimmers® i find they provide enough protection for Harry to splash about happily without swelling and becoming uncomfortable on his sensitive skin.  They also rip away easily at the sides which I find essential for changing an active toddler!

I love what Huggies® Little Swimmers® are campaigning for here, I think water based play is really important for your childs development and to feel safe around water but it needs to be a fun and less stressful experience.  The new Huggies Little Swimmers are covered in Disneys signature characters from Finding Dory, Harry absolutely loves pointing out the "fishys" when he is wearing his!

Harry's nanny lives down at the seaside and I know the minute we get there he wants to run into the sea and we are also taking him on holiday to Spain later in the year so I know Little Swimmers® will be coming with us everywhere this summer!

We are also really lucky and have a couple of splash parks where we live so jumping in for a paddle and to cool off is often on the agenda when the sunshine decides to grace us with its appearance

Here is what else is in my toddler changing bag:

  • Waterproof phone case (to capture all those splash filled memories)
  • Swim Shorts
  • Wipes
  • Anti Bac
  • Kate Spade Purse
  • Topshop Makeup/essentials bag
  • iPhone 6 Plus
  • Hair ties
  • Tangle Teaser
  • Pen
  • Toy train
  • Chewing Gum
  • Towel (I have this stowed away in the basket of our pram all summer for if we fancy a dip in the water!)
  • Crackers
  • Water bottle
  • Raisins
  • Sun Cream

Will you be doing more spontaneous swimming this year??

*As a Huggies Little Swimmers "Get Set, Splash" blogger I did collaborate with them for this post, but as always my opinions are always honest and entirely my own!

Monday, 13 June 2016

Fathers Day Gift Guide 2016

I really love putting together gift guides and I am constantly reading other peoples for present inspiration.  But instead of finding a bunch of stuff online that I would buy for the Dad's in my life, I thought I would ask my other half Scott to pick some of his favourite things for me to recommend to you guys in 2016's Fathers Day Gift Guide. 

Mont Blanc Legend EDT:  I am a sucker for a good men’s fragrance, but its such a personal thing it can be hard to get right when picking for someone else.  Montblanc EDP is probably the nicest scent I have ever smelt, it is simply divine and I can pick it up as soon as Scott sprays it without it being overpowering or heady.  For me this is a middle of the range men’s fragrance price wise but it is definitely a luxury fragrance that I think ever man will love, whether its your dad or your other half

Pampeano Personalised Belt*:  My other half has been a huge fan of these belts for a long time now and he is rarely seen without his holding up his skinnies.  He loves the bright designs that add another element to his outfits and this limited edition British Flag number is his favourite.  Its design was created to celebrate Team GB's participation in the Olympic games in Rio this year, and is perfectly fitting for the big Royal Birthday too.  I also got it personalised with Scott's initials embossed onto the belt loop to add an extra special touch.  (Pampeano also do some stunning ladies belts, I have my sights firmly set on this leopard beauty)

Lush Fathers Day Range*:  I was lucky enough to go along to an exclusive event (it was just me and one other blogger!) at our local Lush store, where they treated us to demonstrations of their latest range for Fathers Day.  I actually had never thought about shopping in Lush for men’s gifts but I’ve completely changed my mind as I think the products for the men in your life are really quite special.  Their Smuggler's Soul Shampoo bar was one of the stand out products for me as it was such a simple product and very compact which I think every bloke appreciates.  I also adored the fragrances available and loved how they came in different strengths depending on your tastes.  But my absolute favourite product from the range was the DAD bath bomb, mainly because it looks super fun, smells delicious and spells out Dad when placed on the surface of your bath water - perfect right?!

Ronnie Fieg Diadora Trainers:  Is there a word for wives and girlfriends of trainer hoarders?!  If there is please let me know, because that's me.  My partner is obsessed with trainers and has like 100 pairs which to be honest I hate but this pair of Diadora’s are actually rather nice!  Every man appreciates footwear as a gift and Scott has assured me that these are a good buy, and they have also recently been featured in GQ!

Personalised Photo Mug:  These types of mugs aren’t for everyone but we love them in our house especially with the more modern fun designs Photobox has come up with.  It is a small gift with a lot of thought, great for those of you on a budget.  I love the design of this one Scott received from Harry, and the inside of the mug is gold which makes it look more expensive than it is!  Photo box are also offering customers up to 30% discount and £10 off all orders over £40 using code 40SAVE10 ending this Thursday

Bayliss & Harding Sports Range*:  I have really grown to love Bayliss & Harding products ever since trying one of their shampoos and these minis are brilliant for Dads who like to take care of their skin and are great travel essentials.  They smell great and they also come packaged up in this cute camper van wash bag which I know my Dad would love.  This set includes hair and body wash, aftershave balm, face wash and shower gel in a citrus and mint scent

Brixton Supply Snapback Hat:  Scott loves a hat and can usually be caught wearing one most days when we are out and about, his favourite one being this Brixton Supply snapback.  Its plain but stylish without being too “rude boy” and I feel like its a real safe gift to buy for fashion conscious dads as the sporty look seems to be well and truly back in

Fathers Day Card:  We are a card family and we write soppy notes and essays in every one we give to each other so I think a good card is really what makes a great Father Day and this one from Not on the Highstreet is perfect from my little boy to give to his Daddy

What are you buying your Dad/Dad's for Father's Day this year??


Monday, 30 May 2016

Travel | Morrocan Days & Arabian Nights

My darling friend Sammi gets married in just a few short days and I wasn't going to post about the hen party we went on to Marrakesh, Morocco but I found the place so captivating and inspiring that I just had to tell you a little bit about our Arabian adventure!

I must admit that when Morocco was first thrown into the mix I was a little apprehensive and unsure about the location, especially for 11 ladies looking for a bit of a party!  I was however completely surprised about how safe I felt and how much I loved their country.  Morocco has some truly beautiful sights to see and was actually one of the more cleaner places I have visited in the world.

When we arrived in Marrakesh our taxi pretty much dropped us off in the middle of a busy street, full of inquisitive locals wondering who on earth these women were and why one of them was dressed in a tutu and veil!!  
We were lead down a mysterious winding alleyway to a random tiny doorway just a short walk from the main street.  What we found inside was a world away from what we had expected and from the dusty streets outside.  Our riad could only be described as lavish, we had exclusive hire of the whole place which was absolutely perfect for us 11.  Riad Goloboy boasts 3 floors of 12 individually decorated rooms.  I actually spent a portion of the first day exploring every corner of the place wondering how many more rooms it could possibly hold!  They were all so beautifully furnished and each one had its own different personality.  I was very lucky to be sharing with the bride so we had a ground floor room which looked a bit like a honeymoon suite with its white interior.  In the middle of the rooms was a gorgeous courtyard with a fountain where we found the best lighting for our group shots!  We also had a sun terrace complete with comfy sunbeds and a hot tub - which we actually used more as a plunge pool in the 33 degree heat!
We had 24 hour service from the French speaking staff working at Riad Goloboy and they honestly couldn't have been more accommodating.  They walked us too and from the main street every evening and arranged taxis, prepared us food as well as keeping the place tidy.

We booked a tour guide to take us around some of the different quarters of Marrakesh and he spontaneously took us to visit part of one of their lavish palaces.  It was so beautiful and I was completely obsessed with the floors (I have a bit of a thing for good lookin' flooring!) but I must admit the tour did drag a little and we kind of wanted to get onto the souks before lunchtime!  Our guide also seemed to have a little "deal" going with a carpet shop so he ended up ushering us into one for what felt like forever to be shown like 400 rugs that we quite clearly weren't interested in buying, so do watch out for that if you book a tour guide in Marrakesh.
I didn't make it to the souks unfortunately due to the pretty long walk around beforehand and still having to be careful after my surgery.  But most of the girls had a walk around and said it was pretty cool, and some came away with some leather goods and Moroccan oils (the locals don't like you taking photos in the souks so sadly I don't have any to show you either - very mysterious!!)  When wandering around Morocco I think its good to bear in mind that yes this is a Muslim country and it is polite to keep a little more covered up than you usually might in other hot countries.  We found that taking light scarves out with us to throw over shoulders and cleavages was our best bet.

Our first night in Morocco was spent in true hen party style with a slumber party/dinner in our Riad.  The staff thought we were mental, wearing our PJ's to have our 5 course (delicious) meal and drinking shots every time someone said the word "wedding"!!  The drinks flowed and the games escalated so obviously all of those photos can stay hidden on our iPhones :)  If anyone needs some hen party game ideas comment below, as one of the bridesmaids came up with some of the best i've played!!!!

Going out out in Marrakesh was brilliant.  One of our evenings started with another five course meal, this time at a quaint little place called Tobsil.  It was another one of those places you literally wouldn't know existed until someone guided you there and behind the door was a stunning restaurant filled with the smell of Moroccan tagines and sound of traditional music.  We were served various delicious dishes, courgettes, hummus, tagines and honey and almond chicken.  The food was so lovely and the staff spoke impeccable English, I would highly recommend visiting Tobsil if you're in Marrakesh and want to experience a taste of their food and culture.  The lighting was SO dark in Tobsil however so any photos we did get weren't the best quality

We quickly found ourselves in the upmarket and modern part of Marrakesh where the buildings became newer and a lot taller.  We headed into a club called So Lounge which was immediately right up our street!  They had a band on stage with some great singers playing all the classics and latest songs for us to get our groove on to!  Unfortunately for us though we had underestimated how much alcohol was going to cost in these bars and it was most definitely London!  Despite the fact we ran out of cash pretty quickly we still had such a great time and pretty much crawled into bed with giddy heads and sore cheeks from the laughs.

As beautiful as our Riad was we spent one of the 33 degree days at Beldi Country Club which was simply STUNNING!  I mean like breathtakingly beautiful, you really have to see it to believe it.  After lounging off our hangovers on their cosy sunbeams, we enjoyed cocktails and lunch in their little restaurant whilst we presented our Hen with a book of special messages from everyone involved in this special trip!  Its safe to say we all shed a little tear and some laughs at the photos and lovely things everybody had to say to our gorgeous Bride

I cannot praise Marrakesh enough and Riad Goloboy for making our stay one to remember. Now onto the main event and where the fun begins.. The Wedding!!!!!

Tips if you're travelling to Morocco:
  • Change up your money when you get to the airport in Morocco as the rate is so much better
  • Take light scarfs as you will need to cover your shoulders in the old town/souks
  • Get an exchange rate app or calculator, I was the only one who had it and we would have been stuffed without it as its not the easiest currency to convert
  • Bear in mind that drinking alcohol in Morocco can be expensive
  • Take tablets for upset stomachs with you as we did find that we all had a dodgy belly at different points of the holiday
  • Take TONS of anti-bac!

What countries are you visiting this year?? Have you been to Morocco?

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