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Showing posts with label hide. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hide. Show all posts

Rise & Shine Hamper from Harvey Nichols...

Image via Pinterest
So imagine it, Christmas morning.  You have woken to the sound of your children unwrapping their stocking, or perhaps you are unwrapping your own.  You wander down to the kitchen bleary eyed to make breakfast.  What would you have on Christmas morning?

Well, it's probably something you've always had, a bit of a family tradition.  Bucks Fizz, good coffee, croissants or smoked salmon bagel.  Something indulgent & perfectly delicious.

So with this in mind, why not treat your family, or perhaps friends, to a rise & shine hamper from Harvey Nichols.  It contains almost everything you will need for a perfect Christmas morning.  A bottle of Prosecco, breakfast blend ground coffee, English breakfast loose leaf tea, gooseberry preserve & strawberry preserve (for your croissants), acacia honeycomb honey, and two mugs.

A perfect treat for Christmas morning, or any morning for that matter.

This post was written in collaboration with Harvey Nichols, all thoughts and words are my own.

How do you sleep?

Image via Cup of Jo
Our bedroom is in the attic.  Low ceilings, required a low bed.  We bought a cheap one from Ikea years ago, when we vacated the master bedroom and gave it to our growing sons.  The bed is ok. Does what it needs to do. But it is without a headboard.

I know there is a huge trend at the moment for no headboards.  Masses of messy pillows and cushions adorn unmade beds in photo shoots. BUT I love Jo's bed.  I love the pillows all neatly stacked against that big mustard coloured squishy headboard.  I can imagine sitting there reading a book, with a glass of wine next to me.  Or curled up with the kids reading Harry Potter.  It's a grown up bed and I want to be grown up!

Yes, I want that bed.  Headboard, lights, pillows, bison... et al.

How about you, do you have a headboard?

This post was written in association with Carpet Right.  All words are my own.

Treasured possessions...

I have many treasured possessions.  Just on that shelf alone there are books from when I was a child passed down to me by family, my matryoshka dolls which I had for my 8th birthday, a fir cone from the New Forest holiday a few years ago, the Buddha from travelling in South East Asia... and so on.

But the most treasured possession there has to be my iron & resin sculpture by Carol Peace.  For years I swooned over Carol's work.  It was love at first sight at the open studios at Spike Island.  A huge female form in a yoga pose stood outside Carol's studio.  That was it... in love!

Years later, seeing her work develop I longed to own a small piece of hers.  Back in 2006 our oldest son Charlie was born. Later that year at Christmas, Dan gave me a small but heavy box to open.  Inside was this beautiful sculpture of Carol's.

My heart burst.  I cried big love tears.  He said we might not be married, but this is how he feels about us. I couldn't wish for more. So there it is, other than my family, my kids scribbles and masterpieces... this beautiful sculpture is my most treasured possession.

John Lewis Insurance is currently hosting a fabulous competition to win £500 of John Lewis vouchers (I want them so badly!).  All you need to do to enter is to submit an image of your treasured possession or family heirloom, and then in six words describe why it matters to you. (obviously I can't write six words, might have to have a re-think!).  Just enter the competition over here.

Best get your skates on as the competition closes on the 25th March.  Just think £500 of John Lewis Vouchers... what would you buy?

This post was written in association with John Lewis Association.  All words and images are my own.

Joules tunic dresses for S/S14...

joules tunic dresses ss14

joules tunic dresses ss14 by lou-archell featuring a blue dress

What glorious weather we have had this weekend.  So warm and Spring like!  Giddy with sunshine I kicked on my sandals, hurrah!, only to be confronted with the perennial problem of the Spring wardrobe.  What do I wear on sunny mild days, but is still warm enough to cope with the light chill of a March breeze.

Recently, I spotted the floral dress above on Pinterest and thought how pretty it is. So hopping over, I discovered such lovely tunic dresses from Joules perfect for Spring. 

I don't think I'll wear mine at the allotment though!  What do you think?

This post was written in association with Joules.

The sofa - our family island...

Our sofa, much like all families, is our island.  Our place to sit together, to hug, relax and be.  There we tell stories, admit secrets, play lego, recuperate from illnesses, snuggle with popcorn, work, and be still.  The sofa can be a boat sailing on the seven seas, a plane, a hideout from zombies.  A place to rest after a hard day, to watch movies and sleep.

The sofa takes a battering, daily.  Spills are mopped, toast crumbs swept, and cushions plumped.  Our sofa is old.  We got it 5 years ago, a lucky freecycle find.  Originally from Ikea it fits our home, just. (I won't go into the details of half the door frame coming out to fit it into the lounge!).  As much as I love it, I think it's time to upgrade.  To something a little more stylish.  The boys are getting older and hopefully more responsible in their actions (although I do find my cushions chewed and thrown on the floor daily!).

I've been looking around and came across Willow and Hall.   A small British company making beautiful sofas by hand.  I am thinking of getting one of their sofa beds, to encourage friends and relatives to visit more.  I particularly love the Elmley Sofa, the only problem is choosing the fabric.  I veer from grey linen to teal velvet and back again. It's a decision I cannot make!!

 What do you think?  Linen or velvet? Help!

This post was written in association with Willow&Hall

Google nexus - blogging on the run...

My usually tool at home that I use to access the internet, blog and generally time waste is my Laptop.  Sturdy, big and good for my day to day use.

But when I am out and about and need to have my internet fix, my phone was the only thing available, until now,

Since Christmas I am now a lucky user of a Google Nexus.  And quite frankly I am in LOVE.  It is small, sleek and streamlined, this little beauty fits neatly into my handbag and weighs nothing.  Not only that, apps can be downloaded easily from the Google Play store.  I have constant request for Angry Birds!

Argos have a great range of tablets, I spent a while reading up on which one would suit our needs, and the Google Nexus came out on top.  A large screen, great performance and looks smart too.  The boys (Dan included) cannot put it down, we are thinking of drawing up a rota on who's day it is to use it! 

I now can easily meet clients, talk through Blog Design packages without dragging my cumbersome laptop around with me.  Perfect!

This post is in association with Argos.

Childrens tablets - a review...

Leappad Ultra
As a family we had made the decision early on that computers and games consoles would not be a part of our children's lives until they were of a certain age. I didn't want my kids to become plugged in and zoned out.

But once we read a little on the benefits educationally that some tablets can have we started to have a re-think.  We kindly sentby Argos the popular kids tablets to try out.  The Leappad Ultra and the Vtech Innotab 3s.  Both brand new and high spec.  With millions of apps to choose from, all been carefully selected by a board of educationers and with the child's development in mind.  No big shoot em up games here (which is what we were worried about).  The LeapPad Ultra in Green is available from Argos here.

Innotab 3s
Before giving to the boys we chose specific apps which we felt suited their learning ability.  A mix of reading, history, maths and of course good old platform style gaming.  Learning without knowing they are!  Apps are easily sourced and downloaded by parents on both Leapfrog and Vtech websites.  Some are free and others can be a much as £15 per app.  Pricey, but I think those ones are probably worth it, with a lot of content to keep them coming back for more.  The VTech InnoTab 3S available at Argos online here.

The boys, squealed with absolute delight when opening the toys.  Christmas certainly came early.  Both agreed to playing with our rules.  Not to nag for the toys.  Only to play after homework and reading has been done. And to give the toys up after the allotted time.  So far so good.

We have noticed an improvement in Charlie's reading.  And the fact they can both go off and have a little escapism from each other is a bonus too.  If you, like we were, are a little cautious at getting a tablet or games console for your kids, then the LeapPad or Innotab are the way to go - a great introduction to computers.

Written in association with Argos.  Argos kindly sent us these products to review.

GIVEAWAY! - Thorntons Christmas Hamper...

Image via here
I love chocolate! Who doesn't?  I was recently sent by Thorntons a hamper of chocolate for the boys.  It was their Snowman hamper, like the film.  The boys love that film, they watched it every year with their Grandma when they were very small.  So choosing this hamper I thought would bring back lots of lovely memories.

In it I received 2 large Snowmen, 2 Snow dogs, 2 selection boxes, 2 small snow men and 2 packs of milk chocolate shapes.  All beautifully packaged in a large lidded box (which I shall use for Christmas Decoration storage after Christmas).

Dan helped himself to a small snow dog, he said the white chocolate was creamy and delicious.  Ahem!  I did say it was for the boys!!!  I am going to keep the rest for stocking fillers and to give to the boys Cousins as extras with their presents.

Thorntons have a large range of Christmas chocolate hampers available for delivery this Christmas here.

The lovely people of Thorntons are giving away to one Littlegreenshed reader a Christmas Hamper of their choice!

Yep!  You too can devour deliciousness this Christmas.  Christmas and Chocolate are meant to be!

All you need to do is complete the following form...

Good luck.  Giveaway ends on Tuesday 17th December (so you can receive it in time for Christmas).

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Written in association with Thorntons Chocolate. We were kindly gifted a hamper for Christmas.

Decorating for Christmas...

Image via Notcutts
This Sunday it is the start of Advent, the calendar will go up and from then onwards Christmas is a series of traditional and magical events.  Every year I can't resist treating the home to a new Christmas bauble, garland or candlestick,  it's part of the magic, choosing a new Christmas decoration.  In next coming weeks, little bits and bobs will make an appearance.  Like greenery and the odd bauble or two.  But, I like to wait til the middle of December til I fully go wild.  

I love the idea of a gradual change of home furnishings.  The addition of lights is a must, as are throws, and candles.  Today I hauled 12 large sacks of wood into our dining room and filled the empty fire place with them.  It instantly feels like Christmas, they are there for both aesthetic reasons and our winter fuel.

Oh yes - Christmas is nearly here, and I love it!

This is a sponsored post.

Decorating for Christmas / Winter...

Christmas lights & antlers -
Image via Pinterest
With just over a month til the big day, I am thinking of decorating the home.  You might remember my post about it last year, I can't 'officially' decorate until after the 14th December (Dan's Birthday) - so the tree, and major Christmas elving will happen then.

But for now I am trying to bring light into the home, a little Winter makeover to cosy the place up.  I love this image above.  Stag antlers, festooned with fairy lights.  In past years I've tried to source a set of antlers of my own, but the price is way outta my league, and for the rest of the year they might look out of place in my house.

So, I've been searching around for an alternative and discovered this brilliant cardboard stag head from Uncommon Goods.  Uncommon Goods is a Brooklyn based company with a great range of Christmas gift ideas. I am thinking that the cardboard stag head, draped in glowing lights will look pretty cute in the boys bedroom and can then be packed away in the Christmas box until next year. Perfect teamed with a couple of these little ply snowflake too!.

this is a sponsored post.

Room for everyone, with Ikea...

As a family we LOVE to have friends and family round for lunch.  But in homes such as ours, space is always a problem.  We live in a small 2 up 2 down Victorian Terrace.  Our dining space comfortably seats 6, so when we have friends round with their children, sometimes we need to make room for up to 8 or 9 people.

Each time, with a little bit of juggling, bringing my desk from the studio down, and finding chairs from the garden, we do manage.  But that's all part of the fun.  It makes the preparation more of an occasion. 

When I saw this little film 'Dinner with the Lims and Ikea', I thought, ha!, that's us!  Bringing chairs and tables from around the house.  But with Ikea, there is a lot more thought and care with how each item is used.  I am already thinking of great ways to store and arrange the furniture.  With Winter coming, I think more Sunday Roasts will be made, and more people coming.

How do you manage with lots of people for lunch?

this is a sponsored post in association with Ikea.

91 Magazine...

All images were kindly given with permission by Caroline Taylor
Today sees the launch of Issue 6 of 91 Magazine.  A beautiful on-line lifestyle magazine created by Caroline Taylor of Patchwork Harmony.  

91 Magazine was launched in October 2011, a quarterly online magazine, published by interiors and lifestyle brand, Patchwork Harmony.  This latest Issue is jam packed with helpful tips on setting up your own business, beautiful interiors, delicious recipes and how to's on craft.  It really has some fantastic ideas to celebrate Spring and Summer.

I love the styling in these images... I want to sit at that table and drink tea, make and then eat that pie and I am going to steal the idea of using washi tape on jam jars for a pretty vase.  

To read the Spring/Summer issue please have a look over here.  

little shed...

Yesterday I received a phone call from the allotment site chief, saying our little shed has had it's door pulled off and the inside looks ransacked.
I thanked her for letting me know - but actually it was left in that state the last time we were there!  We don't keep anything of any value in there, all tools come home, the only thing would be a load of canes, string and a broken parasol.
But the bad thing is - my little shed has lost it's door.  She said it was broken up badly as the vandals had kicked it in.
I think we are going to have to fork out (like my allotment pun!) for a new one.  Wooden sheds aren't the cheapest of things, but hey ho, we do need to have some where to store our gardening junk and importantly to shelter from the rain & have a brew.
And yes, I shall paint it green again.

this is a sponsored post

A room of my own...

Image via here
When Dan and I moved into the house we live in now, it was the first home we ever owned. A place to call our own (not going to mention the massive mortgage!).
It was a complete wreck, the previous owners loved purple, swirly carpet and artex ceilings - yep it was a 'changing rooms' disaster zone.
We slowly began to gut this little Victorian Terrace, starting with the bathroom, lounge and bedroom.  Add the to chaos of building work, 5 weeks later I gave birth to Charlie.

Work stopped.

We lived in the badly decorated home, no carpets, a kitchen without a single drawer?!  But it was cool, we had our home and we had our baby.  Charlie grew and when he was 8 months we moved him into his newly decorated nursery in the box room.  Life started to get back to 'normal', renovations resumed, tackling the dining room and kitchen.

Within in months I was pregnant again with Rufus.  Our home improvements took a more urgent turn. Another child - oh my where is it going to sleep?  So we knocked through the kitchen/dining room and converted the loft.  

A 20 month old toddler, an 8 month pregnant mum and an exhausted Dad.


But, at the end of all this.  Dan and I have a lovely little home and two boys who now share our old bedroom at the front of the house and we have escaped to the loft.

Oh yes!  In the evening when all is quiet, we can retreat up two flights of stairs to our little piece of heaven.  Our space is sparsely decorated, white, wood floors and large VELUX® windows.  Dan chose the largest VELUX® windows we could afford to let maxium light in.  We can lie on our bed at night and stare at the stars, or close the VELUX UK blinds and listen to the rain gently tapping on the windows.  

The only downside is sometimes the hot air balloons fly over our house and once or twice the people in the basket have had a good view of me getting dressed!  ahem!

Yep - our loft room is ace.  Where do you go to escape?

this is a sponsored post

Mothers Day...

Image via Here
It's Mother's Day in the UK this Sunday.  It comes round quickly doesn't it?

I seem to spend most of my time looking at lovely gifts for my own Mum, forgetting that I am also a Mother too.  I think it is because my boys are too little to actually go out and buy me something themselves (although that is no excuse as their Daddy could do it with them).  I will be happy with a hand made card, a cup of tea in bed and a good cuddle.  Saying all that, I will be self gifting myself something though!  I am so worth that!

My local Florist is incredible.  Daily on the school run I am seduced by small bouquets of pastel hued hydrangeas tied up with twine and jam jars filled with the happy colours of ranunculus grace the corner on my local high street.  The sun always seems to shine there, those nodding daffs waving hi as I pass.  Yes I will most definitely be treating myself to a some floral treats this weekend.

My own mum will be staying with my Nan on Mother's Day for the weekend, a good few hours away.  So I am thinking of sending them both something via parcelforce.  My mum and Nana both love plants and gardening.  The highlight of the gardening year is a visit to the Chelsea Flower Show in May.  So with this in mind I have bought them both a pack of sweet pea seeds, pretty slate name tags to mark rows of seeds in the soil and both a garden diary to record what has been planted and where.  A pair of gardening gloves and a new trowel each.  I've packaged them up in a little baskets, which I found at the flea market the other weekend.  Altogether a lovely little gift for gardening lovers!

I chose Parcelforce as it worked out much cheaper than using normal postal services, and they will collect directly from my door without me having to queue for ages in the post office.  Perfect!

What are you planning to buy your mother for this Sunday?
Or do you self gift?  Please tell me it's not just me!

this is a sponsored post

Dreaming of setting up camp...

Image via here
As the weather is finally warming up (I actually wore my sandals out today!), I am dreaming of camping holidays and cooking over an open fire.
Last year when on holiday in Cornwall we had most meals on the beach.  A little barbecue, cooking asparagus spears wrapped in pancetta, corn on the cob and sausages... yum!

This year we are most definitely off camping again, possibly trying to get away abroad.  France maybe, now that would be an adventure!  I cannot wait.  I love the smell of woodsmoke and hearing my kids running wild around the tents.. (maybe my neighbours don't but I do!).

I've been looking at some recipes on-line and this one looks delicious, quick and easy.  I need to   cook  something that my boys will devour with gusto!

Campfire Fried Eggs with Potato & Bacon Hash

serves 4


1lb of potatoes
8 oz of sliced bacon
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
8 large eggs
3 spring onions, chopped


1. Cook potatoes in a large saucepan of boiling water until tender, drain.
2. Cook bacon in a cast-iron skillet over a campfire or on a medium-high heat on a camping stove, turning occasionally until crisp.  Remove bacon, let cool slightly and crumble.
3.  Add potatoes to the skillet, lightly smash using the back of a spoon and cook until just starting to brown.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir crumbled bacon into the potatoes.  Push the hash to one side of the skillet.
4. Working in batches, and adding oil if needed, crack 2 eggs into skillet, season with salt and pepper and cook until desired.  Stir in the spring onions into the hash.
5. Serve eggs with hash.

Recipe via here.


What recipes do you love to cook over the camp fire?

This is a sponsored post.

Spring finds...

I cannot wait for Spring!  I've had fresh flowers in the house weekly since mid January... needing their sunny colours to brighten a grey cold day.  Recently I've been looking at chalky pastel hues in home wares, minty greens, pops of pinks, sunny yellows, echoing the spring blooms and new leaves that I crave.  Remember my post of yesterday, that pink vase!

You might remember last year I took part in the Most Wanted Autumn Home Styling Challenge, when I found cosy home wares for under £80. You can see my Autumn ideas here.  Well, VoucherCodes have once again asked me to come up with ideas for updating your home for Spring.. 

What is more Spring like than pastel shades.  I've had my eye on that Moose Coat Hanger for a while.. it's pretty special!
I hope you like it!

1. Black Dot Tea Towel by Oelwein via Etsy, 2. Pink Eames Eiffel Chair via Ebay, 3. Aerial Pendent Lamp, Habitat, 4. Grey Apple Cushion by Studio Meeze via Etsy, 5. Moose on the Loose by All Lovely Stuff, 6. Abstract Art Circles 3 Print by Ammiki via Etsy, 7. Stripe Hamman Towel by Toast, 8. Circus Triangle Cushion by Butterscotch and Beestings vis Etsy, 9. Cloud Cutting Board by Snug.

How do you start your day?

Image via here
We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  If this is the case, then why am I not thinking more on variety and flavours just as we would an evening meal?  I must admit I am stuck in a rut and opt for the same variety of Bran flakes with bananas, the boys usually have a selection of 'kids' style cereals and Dan has toast.  Dull isn't it?

So recently I've been thinking of better ways to enjoy my first meal of the day.  The people at Jordans Cereal kindly sent me some of their Super Berry Granola to try.  It is packed with crunchy pieces of oatmeal and delicious blackcurrants, blueberries, cranberries and crunchy almonds.  Over the past few days I've mixed it up a little having it some days with milk and other days with natural fat free yoghurt and banana chopped up.  I am converted!

Dan on the other hand is still enjoying his toast (that man loves marmalade!) but he is also taking to work an Absolute Nut breakfast bar.  A treat he says!  Poor love have I been neglecting him! 

My next project - is to get a juicer.  
What do you have for breakfast?  I need inspiration!

this is a sponsored post.

Warming breakfasts...

With Pancake day coming up in a couple of weeks (Tuesday 12th February), I am thinking of trying something a little different to the usual lemon and a sprinkle of sugar.

Recently I have been looking on-line for pancake day recipes for some inspiration.  As a family we tend to have pancakes for breakfast at the weekend - a nice leisurely Saturday morning.  My boys will spread a thick layer of Nutella on their pancake and then roll it up to eat with their hands.  Sticky and chocolatey just how they like it.  That is ok for them, but I'm looking for something a little more special, and healthier!

I've come across some great recipes like this one:
Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes - (makes a lot of pancakes.  enough for four.  about 24 small pancakes)

2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
butter, shortening, or vegetable oil for frying
maple syrup for serving
In a small bowl combine granulated sugar and lemon zest.  Rub together with your fingers until sugar is fragrant.  Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Stir in the lemon sugar.  Set aside.
In a separate bowl (or you can use a large liquid measuring cup), whisk together buttermilk, eggs, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and melted butter.  Pour the wet ingredients all at once into the dry ingredients.  Add the poppy seeds and stir to combine.  If a few lumps remain, that’s no problem.  Let the batter rest for 10 minutes while the griddle heats.
Place a griddle, or a nonstick saute pan over medium heat.  Add a bit of butter, shortening, or vegetable oil to the pan.  A teaspoon of fat will do for a n0nstick saute pan, a bit more fat may be necessary for a griddle.  Dollop batter onto hot pan.  For small pancakes, I use about 2 tablespoons for each pancake.  For larger pancakes, I use about 1/4 cup of batter.  Cook until golden brown on the bottom and and bubbling on top.  Flip once and cook until golden brown on each side.
Place cooked pancakes on an oven-proof plate and place in a warm (about 150 degrees F) oven until all pancakes are cooked and ready to serve.  Serve with
butter and warm maple syrup.

Doesn't that sound wonderful!  Although I may replace the buttermilk for soya and fry in a small amount of olive oil.  If you don't like the sound of this just a plain one will do.  For information on how to make pancakes there are some great tutorials out there too.

Yum - roll on the weekend!

this is a sponsored post.

Hey diddle diddle..

Christmas and a trip to the theatre go hand in hand.  As a family we always try to go.  To me, it is an important part of the Christmas magic.  This and maybe a sprinkling of snow!

A few weeks ago, in the heady excitement in the run to Christmas, I took the boys to see a spellbinding performance of Hey Diddle Diddle at the Bristol Old Vic theatre.  Written for younger audiences aged 3-6 years, the show is performed by just three actors - each one playing an instrument, acting and singing to bring the story to life. Popular nursery rhymes blended seamlessly to bring together a quite enchanting tale.

I thought Charlie would be a little too old for this style of performance, but he soon became swept along with the magic of each story, singing loudly to The Grand Old Duke of York and snarling to show his wolf like teeth!

Rufus' only words throughout was 'that's really cool' when the youngest child/actor climbed up into the fabric and hung from the ceiling as a spider.

As I no longer have toddlers, we don't seem to sing nursery rhymes much. I love to recall them and remember singing Twinkle Twinkle to my boys.  My favourite part of the play was the Owl and the Pussycat - I must get myself a fur coat!

Hey Diddle Diddle is on at the Bristol Old Vic until Jan 5th.
Do go along it is pure magic.

this is a gifted post.