4 Garden Lighting Trends I Love

    Garden Lighting Trends for 2017

    To mark my 40th birthday, my friends from Uni and family came to stay at the new house overnight. As Saturday came to a close we lit a campfire and let the kids toast marshmallows. Bit by bit the grown ups tucked kids into their beds and returned to the fire with a beer or a glass or red. We talked into the night, danced under the stars and as I crept back and forth to the house a few times I realised I was getting over my fear of the dark. With friends and laughter I felt braver.

    I’m not a particularly anxious soul but I’ve been known to go into complete panic if I wake in the pitch black. Our move has meant we have a lot more garden and I love it, but it also takes courage to roam it alone at night. Continue reading


    How to create your garden retreat

    She shed

    I’ve looked at no end of pretty she sheds on Pinterest, but the shed that has most influenced me has to be Roald Dahl’s. I wrote about his marvellous place over on my family travel blog, Parentshaped Travels. When we move house next month, the summerhouse is getting a makeover and I want it to be a place to write. Although, I think each member of the family has a different plan for it. So I’ve been getting my research in early, just so I am ahead of the game.

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    Tales from the House Hunt: Dream Like Bathroom

    Dream bath ideas

    What does your dream bathroom look like?  We looked around a lot of houses trying to find our perfect house and it’s given me a few ideas. A couple of places I will always remember, had the most incredible views from the bath, one of a lake and one of the hills – I lingered, plotting long, uplifting bubble baths as I gazed on nature. Sadly the bigger picture meant a bath with a view wasn’t enough to swing it. Another house had the hugest, most dream like bathroom with a roll top bath, but sadly no garden. Some things are more important than others.

    I love the idea of being able to appreciate the outdoors from a warm bath. Although, not too outside please. There was also the place that time forgot, the house my kids still shudder when they think about. On the kitchen table, by an ancient range was a yellowed copy of The Times newspaper from 1964, in the living room a small pile of lonely paperbacks caught the sunshine, upstairs we crept past chipped paint colours and curling edges of wallpaper patterns time had long forgotten… Continue reading


    Is Your Bathroom Boring? Quirky and Creative Bathroom Ideas

    Quirky Bathroom Ideas

    For years the bathroom in my parent’s home had a gold cherub in the midst of peeing nailed to the door. It is an object which has much sentimental value, as I stole it on New Year’s Eve from a McDonald’s toilet in Munich on my first ever solo foreign travel adventure. I am sorry, not sorry; I love that it has a story. For me the objects in my home are all about telling a tale.

    First you need to get the practical bathroom things sorted, from finding a bath to fit a tiny space, to finding a wet room suitable for all the family, more ideas on that here. Once the bathroom suite is sorted there are so many creative ways to turn your bathroom into somewhere a little different. Somewhere that reflects not just your ability to follow an interior decor trend, but somewhere that reflects your creative personality too. After all, all kinds of people end up making use of  the smallest room in our homes – wouldn’t it be fun if they came away inspired?

    So I’ve scoured the internet (pardon the pun), here are some ideas to get you started: Continue reading


    Dream Bedroom: Set for the Silver Screen

    Home Fantasy: Movie Nights

    Today’s house fantasy is all about the bedroom. A bedroom is an escape. My dream bedroom would combine the luxury of a boutique hotel with the romance of the movies. So I decided to combine hotel chic with the silver screen, to create a room that is like stepping into a black and white movie.

    I’m trained as a drama and film teacher, so it is hard not to see designing a room as being like creating a set.

    The black, white and silver palette connotes the age of the silver screen. There are less subtle clues in the tripod camera lamp and camera table lamp. A bedroom that truly sets a scene.

    The crisp white sateen stripe sheets, faux fur throw, metallic cushions and L’amour lampshade all scream night away in a boutique hotel. The service bell wouldn’t be out of place in a hotel reception, who knows, maybe my dreams of room service will come true.

    The cushions continue the cheekiness, but also take me back to silent movie age, when well chose typography replaced the need for speech.

    I am taking part in the Dream Bedroom Blogger Competition. We have a lot of antique furniture which I would never replace, so I have used very little of the £5000 fantasy budget. Amazing how you can make your dreams come true for relatively little isn’t it?

    Camera table light £50,  wood lamp £225,  fauxfur throw £50, clapper board £13, 5 cushions £100 in total, white sateen stripe bed linen £57, 2 L’amour light shades £100, bell £9. 
    Total £600

    Jen over at Love Chic Living is judging, I think it is clean and fresh enough for her tastes and I am hoping today’s house fantasy theme appeals.

    What would your dream bedroom consist of? Hop on over to Jen’s blog to enter.
    Days Out, Dog, Play, Residence, Travel

    Awesome Lego Castle, just one question…

    Lego invited us to play at Warwick Castle, the perfect setting to inspire some building and play with LEGO Castle sets. Towers, turrets, brave knights and princesses, Warwick Castle is full of stories.

    Warwick Castle is a place close to our hearts, the last time I was here I was feeling decidedly weird. The musty smells really affected me, and the vertiginous views made me uncharacteristically dizzy. I had my suspicions why. The reason became apparent soon after, and seven years and 10 months later, here she is: Continue reading

    Food, Play

    My Daddy Bakes Millionaires Shortbread

    One Saturday morning I was the one who got up to make the kids’ breakfast, while Mr A snoozed. A few hours later, among many demands they made that morning, the kids demanded to bake, they’d been sent some fab baking equipment by Good to Know who have launched a guide to bakesales.

    So I told them to ask their Dad. My thinking was that this would wake him from his very long lie in, pass the buck and buy me a few minutes peace. Little did I know it would end in him actually baking, and very fine baking it was too. He selected this recipe for Millionaire Shortbread from the Good to Know site. Continue reading

    Food, Residence

    Vegetarian Spaghetti Bolognaise

    One of my all time favourites that I go back to time and time again, is my mum’s vegetarian spaghetti bolognaise. That’s my old cat, watching the world go by from my parent’s kitchen table. My friends and I spent so many late nights at that table during our A level years that we asked Mum to cut it up and send us a piece of the old table cloth when she got a new one. My friend V said she felt as if she had the tiny pink flower pattern engrained on her brain, it feels that way seeing it again now. Continue reading

    Camping, Creativity, Days Out, Music, Parenting, Play, PS, Residence, Reviews, Theatre, Travel

    My definitive Camp Bestival Packing list

    I think this year I might have cracked it. My definitive Camp Bestival Packing List. Last year I had lots of help and advice, which I have added on to last year’s list. It will keep growing I know, so keep hitting me with what I missed in the comments!

    I’ve just reviewed  kattoos temporary phone number tattoos and ear defenders, the giveaway on those two has closed, but I have a fab melamine camping set to giveaway still. I’ve also just reviewed a Coleman cool box on wheels and double sleeping bag. I’m loving the Olpro range of tents, sleeping bags, windbreaks and melamine dinner set, for bringing a splash of colour and coordination to camp. We’ve also played with festival tents you can paint from Outwell.

    Here’s my account of Camp Bestival last year which gives more background on some of the things on the list as well as our fab experience! If you’d rather see it there’s also a video here. Even queuing for the toilets is fun, not that we ever had to queue for long at all, in fact the toilets were pretty impressive. So, on to the Camp Bestival Packing List!
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    Days Out, Dog, Film, Play, PS, Vlogging

    My boys met Mike the Knight at Warwick Castle and all I got was…

    … tales of how much fun they had as guests of Mike the Knight…to stay at home and nurse a hangover…to be covered in make up by my daughter while I felt sorry for myself on the sofa…to watch her ride a pony in a hot stinky shed. Okay, actually we loved our girls’ day, especially the make up and pony riding, but the boys did rave about Warwick Castle.

    Mr A did a good job of capturing it. Helped, I might add, by the child who refuses to stand still for a photograph being too entranced to do a runner. Continue reading