A Littlelondoner | A Little Londoner




Anyone with young children knows how important their security blanket is – whether it really is a little blanket, a muslin cloth or a teddy.

And that’s because, according to new research, a child’s transitional object, as the researchers call it, is a precious second only to Mum and sometimes more than Mum.

These objects have magical powers. They ease away any kind of stress. They inspire confidence and security in all situations.


Cord Blood Banking – How It Saves Lives

IMG_4464 Cord blood banking is standard practice in many countries but in Ireland it’s still relatively unheard of. Its not something I have ever disclosed before, not even go my friends, but we donated Amelia's cord blood after she was born. I first heard of it when I was pregnant with Amelia in London, and saw posters on the walls of my ante-natal clinic. After some enquiries and serious chats at home we made the decision to donate. If it helped someone else, then it was better off in a lab being harvest, rather than being put in a bin and incinerated. The irony of me donating Amelia's cord blood, is that I then post delivery also needed some help, in the form of 4 units of Red Blood Cells, something someone else had kindly donated and given up a an hour of their day in order to save someone else's life.


Umbilical cord blood can save lives.


So, what is cord blood banking? The term ‘cord-blood’ is used to describe blood that is drawn from the umbilical cord and the placenta after a baby is born. Up until recently this afterbirth was discarded as medical waste. Cord blood contains stem cells which may be frozen for later use in medical therapies such as stem cell transplantation or regenerative medicine.



Creamy Coconut Tropical Popsicles



As I was on a roll with the ice/lolly making a few days ago see recipe here (which were a huge hit amongst my two and our neighbours) I tried out another recipe yesterday.

Looking out at the rain today, it's more of a hot chocolates and cosy blankets kind of weather rather than Ice-Lollies, but you know….glass half full, live in hope and say a little prayer to the weather gods that this downpour is just to help the farmers and our dehydrated plants and we will be back to suncream, garden pool days and freckled faces in a few days.

These Creamy Coconut Tropical Popsicles are gorgeous, really tropical and light.(I'm thinking a drop of rum added would make a really tasty sun-downer on a summers even for the adults 😉)


Handful of frozen Pineapple chunks


Creamy Coconut and Mixed Berry Ice Lollies



Today I decided to try my hand at making the kids something cool for this hot weather!


It was a chance but it paid off, although admittedly I did them twice, as the first batch needed more sweetness in the coconut section. So from your dry kitchen cupboard and freezer, these ice lollies will keep both young and old refreshed on these sticky days!


Sunny Days and A Tropical Garden *A Collaboration With Marks and Spencer

IMG_0954 IMG_0958


Well looks like we have got what we wanted finally, a good stretch of summer sunshine! With no beach nearby my two have to do with the back garden with a paddling pool, watering can and sand pit (I hate sandpits FYI, but when it comes to children these things are worth their weight in gold).  They will spend as many as weekends as possible in Kerry over the the summer with a choice of beaches near my parents house, but in between its Costa Del La Back Garden.While I sit in the garden writing this, the forecast says it's hotter than Greece, some even say the Caribbean…sure who needs a holiday and clear blue water, sandy beaches and pina coladas on tap when you can have plastic paddling pools, cold water from the garden hose, sand all over the house from the sand pit and putting up the parasol, just in case you need to shelter from the rain!!


What We Wore #2




Hello! We are back with "What We Wore", our 2nd post in the series. You can see the first one here. It's just a very quick post with all the direct links to what the kids wore and sometimes, very rarely but sometimes, "What Mum Wore". If I can't find the direct links or they are sold out items, I will find an alternative that is similar. Everything is always up on our Instagram page, but this post will take you to the direct page of the item!








What We Wore #1

Hello….I've decided to start a new series on "What We Wore" but really it's going to be mainly what the kids wore. I generally have everything up on my Instagram page, but with this I can add direct links to each outfit or something similar if it has sold out! There may be the odd "What Mum Wore", but mainly it will be the kids, because, you know, my money is in their wardrobe (or if I'm honest more so Amelia's wardrobe).



I've ditched the socks and boots and so very close to doing the same with the kids, but it's that inbetween time is'nt it? One day it's all suncream and sundresses, straw hats and sandals, the next the socks, cardigans and closed shoes have to be taken out from the back of the wardrobe again….but we can still get ourselves ready, for what is meant to be a long hot summer (don't they say that very year??) So the holiday shopping for summer clothes has begun….always great to have that glass half full and stay optomistic.

Whether you are having a staycation or travelling abroad this summer for the school holidays, the kids will need some new clothes, especially if they are like mine, and all the items you kept from last summer, now look like they will only fit their teddies and dolls. This year, I've started early, I want to try to buy just a few items, that I can mix and match, dress up for those nights out and be also everyday wear, lets be all cool and call it a kids capsule wardobe! Packing for a family of four can be stressful at the best of times….and 9 /10 left up to the nurse/cook/cleaner/teacher/nappy changer…..thats me, MUM! So, buying a few items that can be mixed and matched together, saves space, saves money on baggage when flying and saves one giant headache for that said nurse/cook/cleaner/teacher/nappy changer.

Marks and Spencer Kids Holiday Essentials are now all in store and up on their website. They recently asked us to pick our favourites from this seasons collection, and having bought from them before and know the quality of their clothing…..sure it would have been rude to have said "no".

My style for both kids is simple and classic and Marks and Spencers do just that, making choosing my items a hard job. Sun hats were at the top of my list, my kids are pale, very pale and protecting their heads and faces is my priority and their stylish straw hats are perfect.


Deise Greenway Dungarvan – Waterford



Good morning! Summer has finally come and we have spent the weekend out on our bikes. I posted a video of us out on the new Dungarvan to Waterford Deise Greenway, an old train line that has been converted into a cycle/walking path extending 23km with more to be opened soon. You can read all about the Greenway here and plan your journey. I have been inundated with questions, so thought I would put a quick post together. If your wondering when it's safe to take kids out on the back of your bike, or in a bike taxi, you can read all about that here.





Top Tips For Fussy Eaters~ Laya Healthcare

I have to say that we have been lucky with two very easy children when it comes to food, they are the polar opposite of fussy, but while they are great eaters, neither slept through the night until they were 18 months….so really you can't have it all! Amelia is definitely the more adventurous one. She will try anything.


For those who haven't been blessed with the best of eaters, shall we dare say "fussy eaters ", Laya Health Insurance have come up with a great post on some tips to help you (see below).



Defeat Accepted…..We Will Never Sleep In Again




I'm back….back writing about that long-time favourite topic of each and every long suffering, sleep deprived parent in the world…..sleep, or lack of it!  I’m always asked “How’s Amelia getting on with sleeping in, or is she still a bad sleeper or does she sleep past 5 still?”

I wrote some time back about "How We Said Goodbye To Our 5am Wake Up Calls" , after getting help from a sleep consultant! You can read all about that here. Well I'm eating my words again, since Amelia got the chicken pox, we are back to her literally waking up with the birds and ready to take on the world at 5am most mornings! As I write this I'm wondering, is it the bloody birds waking her? Maybe I should move her bed from under the window…..it's all laughable really, I'm saying in the title I've accepted defeat, but am always on the lookout for ways to get her to sleep…just a little longer!

It’s back to separate rooms for me and my poor husband, so one of us gets a full nights sleep!He is a soft touch, and let's her climb into bed with him….she will go back to sleep, but after he has rubbed back and feet….they talk about a pampered pooch, that's her in mini adult form! 



The Sun Has Got His Hat On….. Kids Holiday Clothes With Marks and Spencer



I've ditched the socks and boots and so very close to doing the same with the kids, but it's that inbetween time is'nt it? One day it's all suncream and sundresses, straw hats and sandals, the next the socks, cardigans and closed shoes have to be taken out from the back of the wardrobe again….but we can still get ourselves ready, for what is meant to be a long hot summer (don't they say that very year??) So the holiday shopping for summer clothes has begun….always great to have that glass half full and stay optomistic.

Whether you are having a staycation or travelling abroad this summer for the school holidays, the kids will need some new clothes, especially if they are like mine, and all the items you kept from last summer, now look like they will only fit their teddies and dolls. This year, I've started early, I want to try to buy just a few items, that I can mix and match, dress up for those nights out and be also everyday wear, lets be all cool and call it a kids capsule wardobe! Packing for a family of four can be stressful at the best of times….and 9 /10 left up to the nurse/cook/cleaner/teacher/nappy changer…..thats me, MUM! So, buying a few items that can be mixed and matched together, saves space, saves money on baggage when flying and saves one giant headache for that said nurse/cook/cleaner/teacher/nappy changer.

Marks and Spencer Kids Holiday Essentials are now all in store and up on their website. They recently asked us to pick our favourites from this seasons collection, and having bought from them before and know the quality of their clothing…..sure it would have been rude to have said "no".

My style for both kids is simple and classic and Marks and Spencers do just that, making choosing my items a hard job. Sun hats were at the top of my list, my kids are pale, very pale and protecting their heads and faces is my priority and their stylish straw hats are perfect.


Being Mummy ~ Does It Define Me?


I recently saw a picture Eimear Varian Barry had tagged on her Instagram page of another mums' post Susie Verril who said that "she was happy to let motherhood define who she was". It's something I had a little think about. Before being "mummy" I was Triona, then I became a nurse and I was "nurse", it was who I was, then I met my husband and became his wife, often being referred to as "Pauls wife or being introduced as Paul's wife.I've never had an issue with any of these titles or it defining who I was, because, I worked hard to become the best nurse I could be, so being defined as nurse was something I was proud of. Meeting my husband and getting married was something I had dreamed of all my life, I wanted the happily ever after, so again I was totally fine and proud to be called and defined as his wife, I didn't feel I'd lost my identity, I had just gained another part of who I was! Now I'm a mother, mum,mom,mommy,mummy, Mammy whatever you call it,and it 100% defines who I am right now in my life. And that's absolutely ok. I love it, I love that I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to gain that title and I'm happy that it's who people see me as when I'm with my children. When at work, my patients just see me as the nurse looking after them, once I get talking to them, I always let them know about my two smallies….because it's actually who I really am.Their mum, Pauls wife, the ED nurse that looks after you and then Triona.



Joie Trillo 2/3 Ix Car Seat Age 4 – 12 years ~ Review



A few weeks ago we moved Amelia from her "toddler car seat" which she was in since her 1st birthday to a "big girl" booster seat. I was aprehensive about her wearing just a seat belt, rather than a 5 point harness, and worried that she would open it while on the move, but its been great. She loves that she is the same as Mummy and Daddy and I think we probably should have moved her sooner, she looks far more comfortable now. We chose the Joie Trillo 2/3 Ix Car Seat in Inkwell is designed for children from four to 12 years old, or 15kg to 36kg. It's installed using the seat belt, and Isofix connectors help keep the seat in place when it's not in use. The LX features 'head-to-hips side-impact protection' plus air pockets for 'extra protection'.Joie is a UK company that makes car seats, travel system, pushchairs, high chairs and travel cots. The company, a “group of friends and parents” claims to make products that are, “better, safer and sronger". We have previously worked with Joie, and have two of their car seats in our second car and cannot fault them. The Joie Stages Group 0+ 1-2 Car Seat (suitable from 0 – 7 years) and the Joie Spin 360 Car Seat –( Birth to 4 Years)



Cinderella Tea Party ~ Rathwood




Yesterday we ventured off to the Carlow/Wicklow border, a short 35 minute drive from Kilkenny to the beautiful Rathwood Home and Garden World. We had been invited to Rathwood to experience their Cinderella Tea Party.


Rathwood have being hosting children's events for many years and there's an adventure for children of all ages and adults alike. The popular Rathwood events are filled with fun and entertainment for all the family to enjoy all year round, with the seasonal holiday events being very poplular on board the Rathwood Express Train. Experience the magic of Christmas, the spooky fun of Halloween (we did this last year, both kids loved picking their own pumpkin and carving it afterwards), or"egg"citing Easter adventure (next on our list, who doesn't love an Easter egg hunt). In the summer period they host a Teddy Bear's Picnic and I think it's something that needs to be added to the bucket list of "things to do" this coming summer. What child wouldn't love to join Goldilocks and the three bears for a day.


Our Favourite Pancake Recipes



Pancake Tuesday, finally the day where you can eat pancakes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and not have to make excuses! Remember going into school after Pancake Tuesday and the competition as to who had eaten the most pancakes 😂. Not sure about you, but pancakes were much more simple then, and to be honest they are still my favourite ones, a bit of sugar and lemon and I'm happy! I also always remember my mum making the batter the night before, why was that?

Anyway, here are some of our favourite pancakes to make in this house, it doesn't need to be Pancake Tuesday to whip out the pan and rustle up some pancakes, we probably have them once a week, and use lots of different fillings, I always go for the sweet/fruit filling option, but you can always have a savoury pankcake too!


How We Managed The Dreaded Chicken Pox



Last week, 9 days ago exactly (to give you a timeframe to work by) Amelia was getting undressed for her bath and said "look at my spots mummy". There was maybe 3/4 little red spots on her chest and a couple more on her back. She wasn't scratching, had not been unwell in the days leading up to the spots appearing or behaving out of the norm, I'm saying this, because some kids may be unwell with cold like symptoms/fatigue/crying/loss of appetite in the days leading up to the spots appearing.


I'm writing this post as I didn't know if they were Chicken Pox or not, and spent a lot of time asking other parents how they treated their kids to ease the symptoms. I hope that this collection of advice that I took on board from parents that have been through it before will guide you in those first few days when they are unwell and itchy, how many days she symptomatic and how we treated her.



*Sugar Free* Banana, Coconut and Oat Biscuits



Banana,Coconut and Oat Biscuits

*Sugar Free

*Dairy Free

4 minutes to prepare and cooked in the same length of time it took me to go upstairs and dress Harry.

*Raisins tend to burn if on top, so half way through cover with some tin foil to prevent burning!


No Chocolate Rice Krispie Bars



"True happiness is a cookie in each hand"


Want something to make with the kids tomorrow or over the weekend?

I stupidly told Amelia today we would make Rice Krispie cakes, to try and get her and Harry in out of the prain….I think 1.5hrs was more than enough, we had to get out in the fresh air for a while, their wet gear and wellies were my best purchase last year!

So we got home…and no chocolate! There was no way I was going out again, so put my thinking cap on! DRINKING CHOCOLATE saved the day. It was a risk that worked.A simple 55g, 55g,55g recipe and they taste delicious!



First Aid For Children & Infants


Nobody wants to think about their baby or a child they care for becoming unwell. Of course if in any doubt always bring your child to the GP or nearest Emergency Department. Unfortunately sometimes, you may have to perform first aid at home. I would highly recommend all parents do a first aid course, if anything it gives piece of mind. (more…)

Listening To Your Children, Their Words & Emotions……



Dancing With The Feet Is One Thing, Dancing With The Heart Is Another 💖


As an ex-dancer there could never be a truer word said. It's in your heart, you dance at every opportunity, you sing the ryt and dance steps in your head. Unfortunately this love of dancing bug hasn't quite bitten my daughter yet. We tried and she is just not into it. Term 2, there are still tears, anxiety and stress.Ballet is just not for her. The ballet shoes have been hung up and maybe someday she will want to wear them again. It took me a while, but after weeks of hearing her, I eventually listened. Do you listen or just hear your children? It's something that has got me thinking. I know I for one hear my children far more than actually sitting down to listen. We all do it, we get caught up in the daily humdrum, the chaos of Monday -Friday, the fighting between siblings, the struggle of the juggle of work/home life balance and so on.



Have You Vaccinated Your Children Against Meningitis B?



MenB (meningococcal B) vaccine


  • In the UK from September 2015 babies born on or after 1 July 2015 are being offered the MenB (meningococcal group B) vaccine as part of the routine immunisation schedule and babies born on or after 1 May are being offered the vaccine as part of a one off catch-up campaign. 
  • In Ireland, from December 2016 babies will be offered the MenB vaccine as part of the Primary Childhood Immunisation Schedule.
  • The vaccine is available free of charge to people in the UK and Ireland with medical conditions that increase their risk of the disease. 
  • The vaccine can be purchased privately in the UK and Ireland, so people who are not currently eligible for the vaccine on the HSE or  NHS can get it if they pay for it.

What Is Meningitis B?

Meningitis is an infection of the meninges, the lining around the brain and spinal cord. It can be caused by different bacteria and viruses, although bacterial infections are usually more serious.

One of the bacteria which causes meningitis is called Neisseria meningitidis, also known as the meningococcus.

How do people get meningococcal disease?

Meningococcal bacteria can live at the back of the throat or in the nose.  Most people, who carry these bacteria (carriers), remain well but they can spread the bacteria to others through coughing, sneezing, or kissing.  Close personal contact with a carrier sometimes leads to infection.  You need many hours of close personal contact to become infected as the bacteria do not survive long outside the body.

 The disease is devastating if it gets into the blood or spinal fluid. There are different types of this bacteria and the most common is known as type B – what is often referred to as “meningitis B”, or MenB.

MenB most commonly affects children under the age of one, causing symptoms including fever, poor feeding, vomiting and lethargy. It can also cause septicaemia (blood poisoning), which can lead to the telltale purple rash.

In children over the age of four the disease is rare, but there’s a second peak of the disease in adolescents(although it is not as common then as it is in infants). Babies are at high risk because they do not have immune protection from antibodies – these are passed from mothers to babies which protect them for the first few months of life, but after that they are susceptible. They gradually build up immunity as they are exposed to similar bacteria in the environment. Teenagers are more likely to carry the bacteria in their throats than other age groups, which is why there is this second, smaller, peak of disease in that age group.

With early diagnosis and antibiotics, most people will make a full recovery.  

Meningococcal disease is a very serious life threatening illness.

Of the people who get meningococcal disease:

  • 1 in 20 will die
  • 1 in 10 people who recover will have a major disability such as deafness, brain damage, learning disabilities, epilepsy or loss of fingers, toes, hands, feet, arms or legs.





Oh Crap, We Are The Parents……Big Girl Decisions. Last week I think we finally realised that we are grown ups, parents and decision makers when it comes to the kids. Amelia is almost 4, (end of March) and to be honest we have really just winged it along in the last 4 years (Now let's be clear here when I talk about winging it, it's far from being a breeze or walk in the park, there's been lots of struggles, wanting to pull our hair out and as we come close to being parents for four years, sometimes we look back and feel as though we have barely had the chance to come up for air in those 4 years, and can't quite believe that we are at the stage of making "Adult" decisions for our little girl).We have never been in a position where we have had to seriously sit down and talk about her future, that our decisions could shape her life, the weaning, toilet training, choosing a nursery, teaching her rules, they just came along naturally and we found our way, but this week we had to make a big decision. What am I taking about? SCHOOL or BIG SCHOOL as Amelia calls it. The acceptance letters to Primary Schools in Ireland will be out in the next few weeks and any parent with a 4-6 year old is no doubt questioning….Is My Child Ready For School?



52 Week Money Challenge ~ Are You In?


Last year I had seen a few posts on the '52 Week Money Challenge'. I'm not a great saver, but I'm good for throwing coins into a jar and keeping them there! So I thought this would be a great challenge and make me save without realising I was actually doing so. The point of the '52 Week Challenge' is that by the 52nd week of the year, you will have saved almost €/£1400.


When You Tire Of London, You Tire Of Life ~A Little London Trip



When You Tire Of London, You Tire Of Life ~ Samuel Johnson


The Christmas Eve Box



For children around the world, Christmas Eve is perhaps the most exciting night of the year. They sleep with one eye open, and they wait in anticipation for Santa to arrive with his sack stuffed full of presents.


The Perfect Gift For New Parents| The Birth Poster



If you’re like me and have spent the last 10 years or so buying baby gifts, whether it's for new parents, a godchild, niece or nephew, you will know that sometimes it's incredibly difficult to find something that's completely unique. For many parents that are on #2,3 or 4 chances are they have all the newborn toys, teethers and a mountain of soft toys, as well as an abundance of clothes. I have found the perfect gift and not only a gift for others, it would make a really beautiful keepsake for yourself and your child as they get older. Unique and timeless. Let me introduce you to The Birth Poster



Christmas Gift Ideas For Little Girls & Toddler Boys



There are so many amazing gift guides out there at the minute, I love reading them on blogs, IG Stories and Snapchat. My favourite defiantly has been my friend Emma's over on IG stories…..cheers Emma, the overdraft is in full drive since watching your snaps 😂 Check her out here.

So rather than have another gift guide, I thought I'd share with you exactly what our two kids are getting from a combination of the big man in red, grandparents and family. We have tried to have been as practical as possible this year and got the kids combination gifts that they will both use and play with together and eliminate as much of the fantastic plastic that we can! There are two Frozen Microphones….because I couldn't be dealing with the arguments! 

Its a very real gift guide, and hopefully if you are still wondering what to get your little ones (because you can't find that "must have toy" they have asked for 1,000 times) or you have other smallies in your family to buy for, this will hopefully help you along the way.

For those that are new here, Amelia is 3.5 (going on 13) and my tractor obsessed little boy Harry, who is 20 months. 




How We Finally Said Goodbye To 5am Wake Up Calls


What Amelia is great at, is eating, when it comes to sleep, it’s always been a battle. We get months of her being a great sleeper and then she starts sliding down the slippery slope, taking us all with her and the early morning wakenings get early and early. Now firstly, I have to add, we have never had a problem with Amelia going to sleep. We have a set routine of bath (every other night), teeth brushed, into her pj’s, story and asleep by 7pm. She is always happy to go to bed,and never comes back downstairs. Her problem is that she is ready to take on the world before the birds have even woken, meaning the whole house is awake, and many times Mummy and daddy loosing their shit in the hallway with her at 5am…..trying to whisper in order not to wake Harry, while her “No,no, no’s” get louder and louder as we take her back to her room. If Amelia was to come into our bed and ACTUALLY go back to sleep, I’d quite happily welcome her in for a cuddle, but she was looking for an apple and a movie every morning! (more…)

Annabel Karmel Feeding Our Kids For 25 Years


From the very first day of Weaning Amelia I have been using Annabel Karmel cookbooks, I reckon I have about 10 in my collection at this stage. Her books were recommended by friends and I have continued to use the recipes past the Weaning stages and adapt for our our family. (more…)

Top 10 Christmas Dresses For Toddler Girls


Have you started your shopping yet? Are the Santa presents hiding in the attic, boot of the car or Granny's house (that's where ours are hiding safely, safe out of the reach of little hands.

Dressing the kids for the festive holidays is next on the list, once Santa has been covered. I've put together a list of my top 10 favourite dresses for Toddler Girls for this Christmas. Velvet is as popular with kids clothing as adults and many of the dresses I've picked are beautiful soft velvet.Happy Shopping!


Winter Clothing Wish List ~ Mama and Kids



Now that winter is most definitely here, well in Ireland it is, I've spent the dark nights thrawling through the shops online (it's the only way to shop with two smallies), and filling up my virtual baskets with everything I can't afford, something we all do right? I've bought a few bits from the list below….and the rest, well sure I can dream….champagne lifestyle with lemonade money and all that! 

To be fair, I think the most expensive thing in my basket is €79, but it all adds up. I'm loving greys, blacks and dusky punks this season.  I've picked out my favourite bits, and while I love these colours on the kids, I still do veer to the brighter colours as well, Mothercare and M&S have some gorgeous bits. You can see a recent post here on my picks from M&S for the kids. I love COS for simple colours, the Little bird range from Mothercare for Amelia, and H&M for boys clothes. I don't find the quality of the girls clothes in H&M any different from Primark/Penneys and its more expensive.


Child Not Wearing Helmet V’s Acquired Brain Injury



The family that cycle together stay together….or it goes something like that!

You may have noticed over the last few months, especially over the summer we have been out on our bikes A LOT. My husband and I took advantage of the Cycle To Work Scheme and invested in two bikes, a bike trailer for the kids that comes with a rain and bug shield and helmets for us all, which we purchased through Halfords. It's been a free form of entertainment and we have had lovely days out on various bike trails, taking a picnic with us. I'm a huge advocate for Road and bike safety, and I'll not lie, when I see kids on scooters and bikes without their helmets (and adults)….I want to go over and tell them or more importantly their parents, to "put that helmet on, protect your little brain and don't be be another statistic of having an Acquired Brain Injury".


Harry At 18 Months



When I first went to write this, I went into my  search engine to have a read of Amelia's 18 month update….you know, to do what we do best and compare! While she was babbling away and calling her daddy by his name, she still was bare foot, and didn't walk for another month. While I've slowed down with the blog, and find Instagram another great way to document our update, I'm so glad I had that post to read back over, and the rest. I ended up reading back through them all!


Winter Salad ~ Butternut Squash With Feta and Sticky Pecans


Just after I had Harry we all went out for  lunch one day. I had a butternut squash salad with sticky pecans and it was so good, I still think about it! It's not on the menu anymore and last week I decided I would attempt to make it myself . Now I'm hooked again! I think this is something I'll be making A LOT over the next few months. Once you have your stash of sticky pecans made up and a jar of balsamic onion in the fridge, it takes no time to put this salad together.

Autumn and winter can have us turning for the comfort food, and salads are reserved for summer. This salad is healthy, tasty and crunchy with balance of sweet (sticky pecans) and tart (balsamic red onion). It's great as a lunch alone or side salad. I even think on Christmas Day for those who don't like the usual vegetables it's a lovely colourful salad to have on the table.


Slugs, Snails and Puppy Dogs Tails….An Autumn Wardrobe That Will Last Through Toddler Play




While my two kids are not yet in school and I don't have to go on the hunt for school  uniforms, they are in Montessori (Amelia 5 mornings per week) and Nursery (Harry 2 mornings per week), meaning A LOT of clothes are worn and washed, and while I would love to have a separate wardrobe of "School Clothes" "Good Clothes", I don't have the funds to stretch to that (who does?). Even on the days Harry is not in nursery, we could still have two outfit changes a day, because, you know, he is a boy and  "What are little boys made of? Slugs and snails, And puppy-dogs' tails."That's what little boys are made of" Never a truer word for my boy. If there's dirt he will find it. If he can make a mess, it will end up on his clothes. If he can smash it, he is right there with it in his hand. If he can draw on it, yes, the pen is in his hand. 


Make Your Halloween Costumes From Rubbish Clearance

Half the fun of Halloween is seeing everyone decked out in their costumes and homemade costumes usually get the most attention and admiration of course. This year, why don't you take a cue from the Festival of Arts Runway Fashion Show and make your costumes out of your rubbish clearance. This annual fashion show takes place in Laguna Beach, California and features models walking the runway in "found designs" made from reclaimed and recycled materials! It's a big hit with everyone and it makes a bold statement about sustainability! 

The little ghosts and ghouls in your family will love making their own costumes from rubbish clearance. They'll also love all the attention they'll get. Besides the immediate family, get the whole extended family together: cousins, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. Let that synergistic creativity flow and come up with some stunning designs. Who said horns can't be made out of old socks and tightly wound rubberbands! Invite some neighborhood kids and school chums over too. Send out the invitations on repurposed scrap paper — You're Invited to a Rubbish Clearance Halloween Costume Making Party!  


My Beauty Regime’s Simple Secret



In the era of instant plumping masks and two-minute facials, it’s hard to imagine not speeding through your beauty routine. Yet lately there’s been a resurgence of interest around facial steaming—the old-school ritual that involves immersing your face in a cloud of warm vapors while you simply breathe . . . for at least five minutes. Long considered a homeopathic remedy for clearing out your pores and softening your skin, the practice delivers more than a supernatural glowing complexion. Steaming has gained traction among a new breed of herbalists as a self-care exercise that requires you to unplug, sit still, and be present in the moment. It's something I have included in my beauty regime for years something my mum taught me in my teens, and I have continued.

Steam helps to increase oil production to moisturize skin, and it can bring a nice, healthy glow to dull skin, The ritual is safe for all, except those who are prone to redness or have rosacea (in which case the heat should be avoided), and can be done for up to 10 minutes once a week,

The steam  is extremely beneficial for your beauty and are often used in salons for hair and skin treatments. The good thing is, you can make use of steam right at home and give yourself a mini beauty makeover in an inexpensive way. 

It’s a tried and tested method but rarely done these days due to lack of time. Yet, steaming is one of the simplest and best ways to keep your skin healthy and free of impurities.

How to Steam Your Face?

You do not need to buy the most expensive steamer in the world, although if you want to, I'd highly recommend this facial steamer, I love mine.  All you need is a kettle, a towel and a stable dish. Boil some water in a kettle put it in the dish and stand over it with a towel over your head. Yes it is that simple! Breathe in and out deeply ladies, yoga style. Do this on and off for about 10 minutes. You could do it for longer if you like and if you find the steam dwindling keep adding boiling water.

Whatever you do, do not go straight into the AC or even sit under a fan after steaming your face. You need to allow your face the chance to acclimatise. Best is to apply a face pack straight after or go for a warm shower. After your shower and/or your face pack, you can apply ice cubes on your face to close those pores. At all times remember to relax and enjoy!


10 Benefits of Face Steaming 

  1. Keeps pores open: Regular steaming keeps the pores open and keeps the natural oils flowing freely. This prevents blockage or grime build-up.
  2. Loosens blackheads: Ever find yourself struggling to get those awful blackheads out, which are not only painful but stressful to look at because you just know they’re going to turn into a huge big pimple! Well, steaming your face is your get out of jail free card; it loosens blackheads making them easier and less painful to release.
  3. Pushes out dirt: Sweat is the best thing to bring the dirt wedged in your skin to the surface. You cannot get to this dirt no matter how hard you try so just let that steam make you sweat as much as possible.
  4. Makes you look younger: Get that blood pumping in those veins in your face ladies, it's the best way to take you back a few years and get you looking like a young pink cheeked teenager again.
  5. Sheds dead skin: One of the key benefits of face steaming is that it gives our skin the ability to harness its natural anti-aging properties by shedding dead skin. Dead skin makes you look old and tired so let nature work its magic but you’ve got to give it a little boost now and again.
  6. Pair with a face pack: If you have a little extra time on your hands, combine a steam with a face pack. Your skin will never be more welcoming to it because face steaming opens up your pores so it's the perfect time to get them cleaned up and then of course closed up. Always, always wash your face with cold water to remove your face pack and then apply some ice cubes on your face, it is the most natural way to close those pores.
  7. Prevents pimples: You have a date tomorrow and a huge big pimple on your face, well face steaming is the best and only way to get rid of a pimple in a day. Steam your face for 5 minutes and then chill for about half an hour, then apply an ice cube on the pimple. The steam will bring out the pus and the ice will help soothe it and ensure it doesn’t look worse the next day.
  8. Removes trapped makeup: If you wear makeup everyday you really need to do a face steam regularly, Make up gets trapped in our pores and no matter how good the make up remover you need to get it out. Steaming your face does just that!
  9. Kills bacteria: Even if you don’t have a horrible cold know this by doing a facial steaming regular you will be keeping those viruses away. Steam kills bacteria and also releases any nasal congestion.
  10. Relaxes you: If we haven’t sold facial steaming to you with any of these benefits then let this last one be the clincher, it’s downright relaxing!

*A Collaboration Post with Panasonic 

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T, A & H xxxxxx

Exploring the Sights of London through Fiction

It is undeniable that London is one of the most famous cities in the world. With a rich history, culture and plenty of exciting attractions and world-renowned landmarks to check out, there is always somewhere new to visit in the UK’s capital city.  

However, since there are so many attractions on offer, it can be hard to decide where to visit first. This can become especially difficult if you are visiting the city with the family – with everyone wanting to go somewhere different, finding the time to fit everything in and keep everyone happy can cause a massive headache!  

If you are struggling to decide on the perfect destination for your next trip to London, coming up with an overarching theme for your visit can be a great way to provide inspiration and narrow down the field of potential options.  

With that in mind, why not try a fiction or literary-inspired tour of the capital? London is home to many famous fictional characters and has played host to some of the biggest names in fiction, film and TV over the years.  

For fiction lovers, here are some of the best places to visit across the city. 

Sherlock Holmes 

Arguably the world’s greatest detective, the character of Sherlock Holmes was first created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1890 and has only gone from strength to strength ever since. From endless books to films, plays and the incredibly popular current TV series, Sherlock has inspired a range of outlets throughout popular culture.  

Of course, a must-visit for fans of the great detective is Sherlock’s home – 221B Baker Street. The majority of the area around Baker Street has been dedicated to the character, with the actual house now being home to the Sherlock Holmes museum. Just a short walk away is the Sherlock Holmes pub, ideal for stopping off and enjoying a drink in a typical London pub. Alternatively, for fans of the current TV series, St Bartholomew’s Hospital is a favourite landmark to check out. 

If you fancy a touch of fact mixed in with your fiction, there are also plenty of ideas, theories and speculation pitting Sherlock Holmes against some of history’s most notorious criminals. For instance, do you think that Sherlock could have helped to catch Jack the Ripper?  

Harry Potter 

The Harry Potter franchise is a big favourite among both children and adults alike, and London is home to many locations mentioned within the series. Of course, the biggest go-to attractions are the Harry Potter Studio Tour in Watford, just outside London, and the current West End production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. However, if you are looking for an impromptu Potter-themed day in the capital on a budget, there are also plenty of alternatives. 

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A visit to Platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross Station is a definite must, and the accompanying shop within the station is a great place for younger Potter fans to spend all their pocket money! Another popular destination is the Reptile House at London Zoo, as made famous in the first book, or alternatively, you could take the family on a walking tour of some of the main sights of the city that can be found within the series. 

Paddington Bear 

Paddington Bear is an undisputed classic of children’s literature, with the tale of the little bear with the suitcase and marmalade sandwiches remaining a firm favourite throughout the generations. Of course, it almost goes without saying that a visit to Paddington Station is a must for fans of the character – eagle-eyed young fans can also go in search of the statue of Paddington within the station. Why not round off the day with a trip to the world-famous Hamleys toy shop on Regent Street and see if your kids can find their very own Paddington Bear to take home? 

If you are still searching for inspiration, why not do some research and check out the locations or any attractions that relate to your favourite works of fiction? With such a wide array of places to visit, you’re sure to find the perfect attraction to suit your tastes in London!

The Parent’s Guide To Taking In A Lodger – Tips & Tricks All Families Should Read

Lots of people are struggling financially at the moment. There are thousands of families out there that only just manage to pay their mortgages at the end of every month. So, it’s sensible for people in that position to find a solution as soon as possible. Many homeowners in the UK and US now decide to rent a room in their houses to a lodger. That is an excellent move because it means someone on low income gets a roof over their heads without breaking the bank. It also means the owners get to raise some side capital to assist with their bill payments. The tips and tricks below should help readers to get it right. 




Present lodgers with a list of rules


The biggest complaint people make about taking boarders into their homes is that they don’t follow the rules. To avoid any arguments or bad atmospheres, just make a list before offering the person room at the property. Ensure both parties understand that breaking those rules will lead to the individual having to leave. There’s no need to become a mini dictator or anything like that. Just explain how often the tenant is expected to tidy their rooms and let them know the arrangements for meals, etc. Also, some people might have to:


  • Apply for permission from their local authority
  • Purchase a specialist insurance policy
  • Register as self-employed to declare the income



Smart Move: Choosing The Best Place For Your Kids

Moving home with a family can be a very difficult job. A lot of parents don’t know what to look for in their new home, along with the difficulties which come with a transaction like this. All in all, this can make the whole move into a nightmare, soaking up your time and energy right up until the move is made. With all this work, a lot of people fail to consider some of the most important aspects of their new home. 



Don’t Let That Small Room Stump You!

Do you have a small room in your home that you’re struggling to plan out? Don’t let that small room stump you. Use this quick and easy guide to make it look great and enjoy it! 


Use Light Colours

Lighter colours won’t create more space, but they will make the room seem far more open than darker colours. It’s all about creating optical illusions – so don’t forget to include plenty of mirrors to reflect light either. 


Excercise For A Better Mind and Body

If you live in a climate that’s as changeable as the UK’s, you will be familiar with how difficult it can be to get outside. We lead busy lives with work and family commitments. We’re probably already trying to take extra steps to be healthier in our diet and exercise level. What little free time we have that we would like to spend outside is often ruined by the weather. Cold, miserable days or heavy rainfall can stop us from enjoying fresh air and expansive skies. It's likely that we spend a lot of time indoors, probably in front of the television or a computer screen. Fresh air can be something we’re really lacking in our lives.



Wood: A The DIYers Dream

Everyone likes the idea of creating their own furniture and household items, instead of relying on a business to do it for them. Being able to build chairs, tables, and other goods is a great benefit in life and can save a lot of money. Unfortunately, though, most people feel too daunted by this job to actually do it. It doesn’t have to be this way, though. You just need to start with the right materials and methods. The best material for newcomers to DIY is wood. This forgiving resource is found everywhere and is cheap enough for anyone to get their hands on. To help you out, this post will be going through some of your best options for building your own wooden furniture, as well as the tools and skills you’ll need to do it.


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