27 November 2019

Countdown to Christmas with GLTC

The countdown to Christmas is such an exciting time but it can feel like a long wait until Christmas day if you're a child. Something our children look forward to each year is opening their advent calendar, which as well as providing a little treat each day helps them count down the sleeps until Christmas morning.

Great Little Trading Co Wooden Advent Calendar

This year we have been very kindly sent a beautiful Wooden Advent Calendar by Great Little Trading Co to test as part of our testing team role and we love it for several reasons:
  1. It's incredibly well made and doubles up as a decoration too. The girls love the cute little characters on top!
  2. It's plastic free and reusable making it a sustainable option as we can keep it forever. I love creating Christmas traditions for the girls and really like the idea of using the calendar year upon year and it becoming something they'll remember when they are older. 
  3. You can fill it with whatever you like! The girls love chocolate coins so I'll be filling ours with those, but you could also put in stickers or little Christmas notes with festive activities on. GLTC have a brilliant set of printable ideas over on their blog which you can download HERE
  4. There are 24 easy to open doors and behind each door there is a hidden message telling you how many sleeps there are until Christmas.
  5. It's well sized with a small footprint, but with enough space behind each door for me to include three little treats meaning the girls can share it. 
Great Little Trading Co Wooden Advent Calendar

I can't wait to fill it up this year and every year after and I know the girls will love opening it each morning. You can find this calendar and a whole host of gorgeous Christmas decorations and gift ideas over on the Great Little Trading Company website.

Me x

*This is a collaborative post.
We were kindly gifted the calendar as part of our GLTC Testing Team role*

16 October 2019

Puppy Love with Garden Trading

Over the summer holidays we welcomed a new member to the family - a lovely little border terrier puppy called Tiffin. With Lottie heading off to school to join her sisters and my nest emptying/generally having slightly more capacity it was the perfect time for us to get a dog.

I had braced myself for it to be somewhat of an upheaval as most people kept telling us we were mad to be adding a puppy to the mix just when we were reclaiming some kind of freedom. He has been such a great addition to the family; we feel like we have always had him and he's settled in brilliantly. It turns out after three children a dog is pretty straight forward! The girls are really enjoying playing with him and we're all benefitting from getting out every day for a walk and some fresh air.

Simple and neutral pet bowl from garden trading company and our border terrier pup Tiffin

Inevitably puppies come with a certain amount of stuff and need a space of their own in the family home, with this in mind we put aside a corner of the kitchen for Tiffin. The girls know that when he takes himself off to his bed that he needs some quiet time and we also have a place to keep all his bits and bobs such as food easily to hand. Given that these items were going to be on display in the kitchen I wanted them to fit in with our rustic country kitchen. My first port of call as always for stylish neutral homeware was Garden Trading who have a really lovely range for pets and kindly sent the items featured below.

A little corner of the kitchen for the dog with pet bin and treat tin from Garden Trading that fit our kitchen colour scheme perfectly

We chose two small stoneware pet bowls with a little paw print on for his food and water, I love how sturdy they are and how neutral in design meaning that they stay still while Tiffin eats his meals and look great too.

Tiffin enjoying his dinner in his Garden Trading dog bowl

They hold plenty of food and are easy to clean, they are also available in a larger size too. The small bowl will be perfect for Tiffin even when he grows which is great, he seems to like them and patiently awaits dinner time!

Tiffin waiting for his next meal! The small Garden Trading dog bowls are perfectly sized for our border terrier pup

We store his food in a medium Pet Bin in chalk (7kg) which also comes in a small (3.5kg) and large (15kg) capacities. It comes with a handy scoop and a gorgeous leather handle. It keeps Tiffin's food out of sight but easily accessible for mealtimes. You could also store pet toys and accessories such as leads and grooming items in it instead.

Medium chalk pet bin and dog bowl from Garden Trading -  so handy it comes with a scoop

We paired it with a little Treat Tin to keep treats in for training or a little snack in-between meals which the girls (who have really enjoyed teaching Tiffin all kinds of tricks!) can reach and open. I'm really pleased how both tins effortlessly fit with our existing kitchen decor and colour scheme and love the leather handle detail.

Small, chalk coloured tin with leather handle, perfect for dog treats

I'm going to fully embrace making this little corner of the kitchen 'Tiffin's corner. I'd like to add a Hambledon peg rail to the wall for his lead and am on the look out for a suitable print for the wall. I hope our little pup feels nice and welcome in our home, because we really can't remember life without him and he is already so very loved. 

Me x

*This is a collaborative post, we were kindly gifted the items mentioned
 from Garden Trading Company. 
 thoughts and opinions are my own.*

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17 September 2019

A New Room For Ellie

We've recently had a little bedroom reshuffle and converted the nursery into a grown up space for Ellie with the help of our friends at Great Little Trading Co. Lottie has moved in to share a room with Phoebe, which is working brilliantly in terms of the current dynamics between the girls and was a natural step for her after growing out of her cot bed. The last time we decorated the little room was almost 8 years ago when we were expecting Ellie, so it was lovely to redesign the room for her once again as a little girl. And here it is...

Tate High Sleeper bed from Great Little Trading Co

The nursery is the smallest room in the house with a footprint of 2.9m x 2.3m to work with so presented a challenge in terms of designing a room to meet our needs. We decided to go for a high sleeper bed and the Tate High Sleeper from Great Little Trading Co ticked all the boxes. Choosing a high sleeper meant we could free up some floor space with room for a desk and reading corner underneath. 

The tate desk fits perfectly under the high sleeper

A standard single bed would have meant that the room would only be able to accommodate a bed and a chest of drawers. I wanted to make sure the room was versatile and that it will grow with Ellie as she gets older. I also wanted it to be a room that Ellie loves being in and can relax in and the Tate High Sleeper allowed us to do just that by maximising the available space in the room.

Tate high sleeper, greenway bookcase and view towards the door which we painted lilac

The bed itself is exceptional quality and built to last with a 5 year warrantee, which applies to the bed and mattress. It has a sturdy ivory solid wood frame and MDF panels with easy to climb steps and sufficiently high sides once the mattress is in place. I'm really impressed with it and think it is a perfect option for older children (recommended 6+).

Ellie standing next to her high sleeper bed, she is the perfect age for it

We opted for the Luxury Mattress which is so comfortable and supportive and also comes with a 30 day mattress trial meaning you can return it if your child isn't 100% comfortable for a refund or replacement. It's worth noting that the mattress for the Tate High Sleeper is the Euro Single and and slightly longer than a standard single mattress so standard fitted single sheets are very snug. This is easily solved by using a flat sheet or shopping for a Euro Single compatible sheet. Changing the sheets on a high sleeper isn't my favourite thing to do but it's totally worth it for the space we have saved.

Bed part built during the bed assembly service from GLTC

I would highly recommend GLTC's bed assembly service for a bed of this size. You can add this to your order at checkout for £45 which includes delivery, full assembly and removal of all the packaging. All you need to do is make sure that the room is clear and there is enough space for the bed to be built and put in place. It really took all the stress out of it and was a huge time saver which is always a plus for busy parents meaning Ellie was able to sleep in her new bed the same day it arrived.

The under bed chair easily transforms into a spare single sleepover bed

The Tate High Sleeper comes with a really comfy cushioned chair which converts really easily into a pull out sleepover bed. We are yet to venture into sleepover territory but it will be so handy for when we do. In the meantime it's being used by Ellie as a spot to curl up and read in peace and for sharing bedtime stories with us as there is enough space to sit together.

The chair that comes with the Tate high sleeper also works really well as a reading corner and Ellie loves curling up in it with a book

The chair can go at either end of the space underneath the bed leaving space for whatever you like such as another piece of furniture or toy storage. We added a Tate Desk and Nelson Chair in Ivory for Ellie to sit at and draw, write or do her homework. It's the perfect children's desk as it ever so spacious and I love that it is on wheels so can be easily moved to suit you. There is plenty of headroom underneath the bed itself meaning it will work for Ellie for the foreseeable future.

Ellie at her desk

You may have spotted some other Great Little Trading Co items, many of which we already owned as well as some new additions to finish off the room.  The shell pink Star Book Ledges work brilliantly at the top of Ellie's bunk to store books and a drink as well as underneath positioned so that they work next to both the desk and chair whichever way round they are.

Pink shell any which way shelves from Great Little Trading Co with all Ellie's favourite things on

We also added two shell pink Any Which Way Shelves above Ellie's chest of drawers to display her favourite things on and a Greenaway Narrow Bookcase which is another great space saver  and an accessible place to store her books.

Ellie by her greenway bookshelf from GLTC, it's great for displaying books your favourite books and easy for children to find them too

Finally we added a medium star rug for Ellie to climb down onto in the morning or play with some toys on the free floor space, it's so soft underfoot and really finishes the room off.  All these items come in several colour ways to suit the colour scheme in the room. I think the shell pink works really well with the grey soft furnishings and mint green walls.

A very happy Ellie in her new bed

I've just got a few accessories to add such as prints and some twinkly lights but Ellie absolutely loves her new bed and room and the independence it has given her, she feels really grown up and spends so much time in there. It's so much more than a place to sleep and choosing a high sleeper has enabled us to create that for her.

Ellie and her sisters building a den using her new bed

As well as spending time on her own which she definitely craves with two lively little sisters, she also invites them to play in her room with her and although not it's purpose, her new bed also happens to make the most wonderful den to play make believe in and tire them out ready for a good night's sleep!

Me x

*This is a collaborative post. 
We were kindly gifted the Tate High Sleeper, Mattress, Tate Desk, Nelson Chair and Bed Assembly service as part of our GLTC testing team role. 
All thoughts and opinions are my own and everything else featured in the post was purchased ourselves.*

9 September 2019

Baking With My Daughters

Baking is something I have always done with the girls since they were old enough to get involved. They love the process of weighing and mixing, rolling and cutting and decorating and just spending quality time together whether it's making cakes, biscuits, crumbles, bread or pizza dough!

My children baking biscuits together in their Sparks and Daughters aprons

The pride the children feel and enjoyment they get from making and sampling the fruits of our labour brings me so much joy and is one of my favourite things to do with them. Everything we make together is baked with lots of love and laughter (and mess!) and I hope when the girls are older they'll remember the delicious smell of things cooking in the oven and the memories associated with them.

Sparks and daughters personalised aprons

Sparks and Daughters very kindly sent us some personalised Mummy and Me cotton aprons which are totally and utterly gorgeous.We absolutely love their products and their lovely aprons have given us even more reasons to bake together.

Personalised aprons

They come as a set of two, an adult apron and a children's apron which you can personalise with names of your choice. You can also add additional aprons to your order if you have more than one little chef like we have.

Fairtrade 100% cotton aprons - the perfect gift for all the family

The girls felt really special receiving an apron with their names on and to match mummy; their little faces when they unwrapped them were so sweet. I love the pretty typography font used to personalise the aprons; the brown works really well against the natural fabric and is really neutral.

apron personalised with your childs name

Lots of thought has gone into making the aprons practical as well as beautiful. The adult apron neck tie has sliding adjustable buckles and a big front pocket whilst the children's apron has a Velcro safety closure. They are such good quality well made items and also sized well so will last the girls for ages. They are of course machine washable which is an essential for any cook - particularly as our girls really like to get stuck in when they bake!

The aprons are practical as well as stylish

Made from 100% Fairtrade pure cotton with herringbone waist and neck ties the aprons are effortlessly stylish and would make such a gorgeous gift - perfect if you're stuck for Christmas ideas for mum, or as a thoughtful birthday or Mothers day present. Sparks and Daughters offer free standard UK delivery on all orders with no minimum spend which I think is fantastic.

Matching mummy and daughter aprons

Sparks and Daughters are a family business founded by a mother and daughter duo whose products are inspired by an ethos of giving personal gifts with love and thought; something I try to do with my own daughters. Their personalised aprons are where it all began when they launched their business from their kitchen table which I think is where all the best businesses begin! They have gone from strength to strength over the last few years offering an amazing and varied range of beautiful items that will be truly treasured. You can view all their lovely bits and bobs on their website.

Me x

*This is a collaborative post. 
Our aprons were kindly gifted by Sparks and Daughters. 
All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

23 August 2019

Lottie is Four!

To Lottie
You are finally FOUR! You’ve been desperately awaiting this day, as being an August baby you have watched all your friends turn four this year and have been very keen to join them. You are also extremely excited to be off to school in a week and a half, which just seems like madness to me. I think it’s the draw of the possibility of having a jacket potato for lunch most days, something you and I had on our day together on Fridays this past year which then became an accidental tradition!
I have absolutely nothing to worry about with you going to school -  you are happy, confident and have endless energy. After several years of school runs you’ll finally get to take your place beside your big sisters and will love every minute of it. I’m going to miss you and our days together ever such a lot as you are just so sweet and great company. You have the best laugh, it’s a real chuckle and never fails to make others laugh too. You’re really decisive and know your own mind and what you like, which I really admire. If I ever ask you to choose something, or give you the opportunity to pick something in a gift shop you do so without faltering. You never doubt the choice you have made and are always so pleased with it; even if it is totally and utterly random -  which it nearly always is! 
You love being outside -  making potions, playing in the playhouse, going to the park and playing imaginary games with your sisters. You are such a little team and it’s lovely to watch the different relationships you have with Ellie and Phoebe. We’re having a bit of a bedroom move around at the moment and you’re going to be sharing a room with Phoebe which you’re really excited about. You told me that you don’t like sleeping on your own the other day, which I already knew as you’ve been getting in with us for the last 4 years! For the last six months you have slept most nights in your own bed, with just the odd sneak in to us with the promise of a morning snuggle.
You love Julia Donaldson books, particularly Tabby McTat and The Highway Rat which has been a welcome change from Nibbles the Book Monster which we read every night for what felt like 100 consecutive days! You also currently love wearing shorts and recently begged me for some denim ones with a little butterfly on from John Lewis (which I then had to buy two further pairs of for your sisters as they got ‘short envy’).
You have the sweetest tooth I’ve ever known, in fact we’re yet to come across something that you don’t like. You’ve asked me for a big chocolate cake for your birthday this year with lots of chocolates on top – I’ve done my very best and hope you like it. We’re off to CBeebies Land for the day as you’ve been asking to go to ‘Bing World’ for a while now and you’re at the perfect age to enjoy it! Then we have your cousins coming over a play and cake at the weekend which is one of your favourite ways to spend a day.
We love you so much Lottie Lou and hope that being four is all you hope it will be and more.
Happy birthday
Love Mummy x