Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Happy Christmas

And A Great New Year


It has been a frantic few weeks. Starting my job a few weeks early with no preparation certainly put paid to any plans I had to be organised ! 

However, I have managed somehow to get there. The presents are wrapped, the turkey collected, the stockings hanging waiting to be filled and I even managed a little bit of Christmas baking in Pearl!

So, I wish you all a lovely day and a fantastic new year. 

I intend spending some time with my family and friends over the next few days so I will 'see' you in 2014!


Sunday, 15 December 2013

December Birchbox

And a little catch up.

After This Post about my big news I planned to get myself organised and prepare for the start of my new job in January.

However for reasons that I won't go into I got an early morning phone call on Thursday asking if I would mind starting "today"?

Hence the lack of blog posts .I have been a little preoccupied.

My need to be organised has well and truly be challenged in so many ways this year, but I am getting there slowly. 

So onto all things beauty.

December Birchbox

I do like it that Birchbox includes brands that I haven't tried before . I have found that items are now creeping their way into my daily routine. When the samples are gone I am missing them so re order the full size if they are amazing. The Ritesens creme cleanser was just lovely and I have now reordered it. It suits my skin at this time of year and lasts for ages. I was intrigued to see another similar milk cleanser in the box this month so will be trying that out with a view to adding that in. I find my skin gets accustomed to cleansers so I like to have a few on rotation. 

  • Number 4 Non areosol hairspray - a great handbag size
  • Nail Rock Nail velvet - I tried this out straight away - I didn't do a great job as it was late, but it gives a lovely velvet effect. See the ring finger!!

  • Twistband - I am hooked on these - they don't bend or damage your hair.
  • Naobay Milk cleanser - lovely for dry skin
  • Alima Pure shimmer eye shadow - this looks pretty.
  • Aromatherapy Associated Bath and shower Gel - Smells divine

I am always happy with my little samples. It is a treat each month. I suspect it is not for everyone, but now I am working full time and don't seem to have a moment to spare  I shall enjoy my box even more.

Any tips from you working mums on time management gratefully received at this point in time!!

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Big News

To Tell You

I mentioned here some exciting news I may have to tell.....and then I went a little bit quiet! 


I had a job interview, but had to keep quiet until the outcome was made public down 'ere!

As you know I have been venturing back into teaching this year after a fairly long stint as a mum at home.

Although for a few years at home I loved it and felt happy and content, in the last three or four years I have felt something was missing. I have been dissatisfied with the relentless and often mundane tasks I found myself repeating and felt a yearning to return to my "career".

So , although supply teaching has got busier and busier ( some weeks I am working almost full time) a full time, 2 term post came up locally and I decided to apply. I don't know where it will lead, I didn't interview well , but...

I got the job!

So from January I shall be teaching full time!

I am so thrilled. 

It is a job I love. I find it inspiring and fulfilling. Tiring and exhausting, but unbelievably rewarding! 

I can't wait.

I feel happier than I have in a long time, content, settled and looking forward to the future again!

Bring on 2014.

New Beginnings!

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Teapigs Spiced Winter Red Tea

Tea with Trimmings

I adore tea. I drink bucket loads of the stuff every day.

I start the day with a strong cup of proper coffee, but every cup from there on in is tea, tea, tea.

I first experienced Teapigs in my Birchbox and quickly became addicted to this luxurious brand of tea. Teapigs use tea temples that are created out of biodegradable mesh bags, filled with quality whole leaf only. These bags allow room for maximum infusion to occur.

You place the tea temple in your favourite cup and infuse it with boiling water for at least 3 minutes. The smell and taste is divine. 

These Spiced Winter Red flavour are right up my street for this time of year - really warming and not too spicy, but a lovely warm touch. Adore! I shall certainly be sipping on these over the Christmas period. 

Oh and check out their Christmas gift shop here - fantastic! You can get an extra 20% off until the end off December too with the code XMAS13 ( excludes cheeky deals, mix and match and matcha kits)

Go explore!

What is your favourite Tipple?

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Wednesday Beauty Buys

Clairol Bee Strong Shampoo

I have been using Pureology's Shampoo for a while now as my hair has been very dry. My go to shampoo and conditioner is usually the Liz Earle combination for dry hair which I adore, but I had stored up the Pureology duo for an emergency so was using it up.

 However, I was puzzled at how quickly I was whizzing through it. I only wash my hair every three days and I use a small amount of it each time as a little goes a long way. No sooner had I started the bottle it seemed I was shaking out the last bit. Puzzled I confronted my OH who sheepishly confessed to having been using it ....daily! Gutted. 

I grabbed a sample I had from a magazine of the Clairol Bee Strong for damaged hair. I didn't have much hope. I've tried many off the shelf shampoos and they do nothing for my wiry mess of an excuse for hair, but this seems to be amazing. I have since got a full bottle of both shampoo and conditioner ( on offer) at the dizzy price of £2 each. I have used it 3 times and each time my hair feels strong and looks shiny. It handles well when drying and lasts three days without becoming greasy. It doesn't itch, which is always a sign of too many nasties in it for me so we will see. Of course it is not paraben free etc  and I would love to get my Pureology or Liz Earle back as soon as I find myself a bit of money off, but if you are looking for a drugstore alternative that does a good job I wouldn't rule this one out , not at all. Smells divine too - apricot and honey.

Monday, 25 November 2013


When Working

This is an area that is new to me.

I had the area of 

"Organisation as a Stay at home Mum" almost cracked on some days.

I think the trouble is with organisation and kids is the kids part. 

They tend to mess it up. 


These are the things that help me out.

  • Schedules.

I have schedules typed out so everyone can see them and see who should be doing what, going where, wearing what, taking what, handing what in, going to what club, etc etc etc. From January there is a possibility that I will be working more and I have 3 kids at  2 different schools. From September I will have 3 kids at 3 different schools - that's a lot of different schedules. 

  • I lay uniforms and clothes out the night before.

  • I get the kids to get their sports kits out for their clubs the night before.

  • I get them to plan the days on which they need to hand their homework in so they might not get caught out ( they still do) 

  • I get up early to give plenty of time in the morning to be organised before work and school.

  • Menu Plans - I know you heard me say it before! I can't cope not knowing what is for dinner that night and not having a few "easy cook" nights a week. 

  • I iron/wash everything at the weekend so it is ready for the week . If it doesn't get ironed/washed then it gets worn creased/dirty.

  • Basically whatever I can do ahead of time, I do. I feel sometimes it is a never ending cycle of keeping in front of a high speed train and I'd better not stop!

I am going to continue my series from earlier this year on organisation and share some ways I am trying to get reorganised after our building works. For me being organised never costs a lot, but it makes such a difference to the way our busy lives run. I shall be looking at gadgets I love, blogs I have found great,and giving tips on things I find help!

'We Can Do It!' photo (c) 2011, DonkeyHotey - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

How do you best organise your day and your children? Tips and Hints gratefully shared!

Friday, 22 November 2013

Revamping the Hallway

On a Budget!

It seemed a shame to have half of the house looking so lovely and the rest tired and shabby. So I am gradually working my way around with a paintbrush smartening up the other rooms.

We had continued the grey flagstone floor tiles through from the new kitchen into the entrance hall, but with the creation of a new door and the ripping out of the old floor we were left with this.

I got a good 3 for 2 deal on some Dulux Nutmeg White paint which is a gorgeous chalky white and will last for upstairs as well. The woodwork is Trade Satinwood and the furniture is recycled from other rooms. It looks a touch pink in some lights and a touch grey in others! I love the colour and feel it is very Farrow and Ball like without the price. Sometimes shopping around pays off with paint colours, sometimes it doesn't! It is a really hard one to get right. I must admit to having a rather large basket of samples.

I plan to make a feature gallery wall of photos and pictures on the stairs side and I have some finishing touches like a back to the letterbox to fix yet. It seems a never ending job this house at the moment.  I have now moved on to painting my eldest sons room who has ordered grey and lime green stripes . 


Watch this space.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

November Birchbox

Bursting at the seams!

  • Spa Find Sculpted Silhouette Intensive Bust Firming Extract Serum- Hmmm I'm glad this states it is for the neck and décolleté too! Lovely little bottle though.

  • Weleda Replenishing Oat Shampoo - lovely travel size and for dry hair prone to breakage so perfect for me ( Birchbox do a beauty questionaire so they cater for your needs)

  • Laura Mercier Body Butter Ambre Vanille - to be honest they had me at Laura Mercier, but a Body Butter in any scent would do me too! LOVE.

  • Pukka Herbs selection of tea - ok the confession is the earl grey was the first thing I used out of this months box - lovely, lovely, lovely. The last tea they sent me (peppermint teapigs) became an addiction so I'd better be careful.

  • Chella Highlighter pencil - I have a highlighter powder and stick and cream so it seems sensible really to have a pencil too.

  • English Laundry Eau de Parfum ( quince, jamine and musk)- love anything that has the scent of jasmine and these small samples are great for the handbag to freshen up after a day in the classroom!

  • Birchbox Pencil Sharpener - I'm always forgetting where I'm putting mine so it'll be good to have a spare. I think my existing one is the only one I've ever had - it must be donkeys (thats all I'm saying) years old.

I'm especially enjoying these boxes at the moment as I am still sticking to my "No New Make Up/Products " rule . I am using up all my existing stash and products until after Christmas. It is amazing what I have found! However, It is lovely to have a box of goodies each month. My only concession is products that run out and have nothing to replace them.

Are you a great tea drinker? 

What is your favourite tea tipple?

Friday, 15 November 2013

The Big Reveal

At Last!

Ok so we haven't finished the whole project, but lets face it , this was always mainly about the kitchen for me anyway!

So, here we have it ( minus curtains, pictures etc, but you get the idea!)

The main kitchen area


Washing up and tea and coffee!

My mantle with a few of my charity finds

The decadence of a second sink!
The view from the side entrance

Central Island Lights!

With a Pretty Middle!

The other end of the kitchen - new table yet to be purchased! 

Larder cupboards and fridge

Pictures waiting! Old Sofa for now.

Loving Cooking on Pearl :)

The colour on the walls is " Yes Your Honour" from Fired Earth
The units are a pale French Grey.
The dark grey on the chimney breast is "Antimony" from Fired Earth
I got the central Island lights through a company called Dusk
The floor is a brushed limestone in mid grey called "Chapel Stone".
The kitchen designer was Kevin Partridge and I cannot recommend him highly enough. An absolute gentleman who took pride in every inch of his work. Brilliant. His website can be found here
The units look paler here than they are, but they are a very pale grey.

I am so enjoying getting all my bits and pieces back out and arranging the cupboards again! I am in my element here. I have never had so much space to play with. 

And the OCD with the organising has begun...

I also have redone our hallway as we ended up getting the floor replaced in here. In the interest of cost I decorated this myself. I shall post my efforts soon. I think enough photos for today!

Hope it was worth the wait ! X

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

No 7 Beautiful Skin Cleansing Brush

Wednesday Beauty Buys

I have seen the benefit to using a facial brush on a regular basis so decided to buy a more robust one than my manual botanics one I was using. The Clarisonic, amongst others, are well out of my price range so I opted for the No7 cleansing brush from Boots. This retails at £29.99. I got this with a voucher so paid £24.99.

It has two speeds, but I tend to stick to the slower rotation. The bristles are soft and do not damage the skin in any way. I use it once or twice a week for exfoliation and toning. It seems to give my skin a nice gentle massage and tightens everything up! I apply my usual cleanser, add some water then massage with the brush for a minute or so.  I don't think I would spend any more money on a facial brush for the benefit it gives, but for £25 it certainly is worth it. I did also look at the No7 cleansers and toners, but yet again so many have a high alcohol content - seems like you just can't avoid it at all!

Have you tried a Cleansing Brush?