29 June 2017

A Treehouse Adventure

When I returned to work back in November we booked a really special holiday to look forward to -  a treehouse hideaway in beautiful Somerset with Lavender Hill Holidays. We were looking for somewhere a bit different, that was family friendly, in the UK and The Treehouse ticked all those boxes. This is just one of a collection of stunning properties available for rent, which include a cosy cottage, a barn or even a railway carriage. It is a truly magical getaway which feels like such an adventure from the moment you arrive.

The Treehouse
We felt like Swiss Family Robinson

The Treehouse is part of a cluster of Lavender Hill holiday homes on the outskirts of the picturesque village of Halse, not far from Taunton. It really feels like you have escaped from it all, it's an idyllic setting with views of beautiful rolling hills and so peacefully quiet.

A beautiful view to wake up to
Two horses grazed in these paddocks much to the girl's delight
The girls couldn't wait to climb the steps and get inside and were so excited to be able to call The Treehouse their home for the week. The property has it's own garden, private enclosed play area, outside furniture and best of all a hot tub!

The hot tub was such a treat!
There is also access to a heated indoor swimming pool which we used most days meaning there is plenty to do without having to go anywhere. All of this makes The Treehouse absolutely perfect for a stay with young children as there is plenty to keep them occupied as well as lots of thoughtful home comforts like high chairs, cots, stair gates, bunk beds, a collection of children's DVDs and toys, plastic plates, cups and cutlery.

Many hours of fun in the play area
Miss Dot loved the little bridge into the garden
The Treehouse is tastefully furnished with a 5 star self catering feel. The owners have thought of absolutely everything to make life easy and to make your stay as enjoyable as possible. On arrival we were delighted to find a welcome hamper with some crisps, biscuits and local cider in as well as chocolate teddy bear biscuits on the children's bunk beds. There was a fresh pint of milk in the fridge and full pots of tea bags and coffee so that you could make a cuppa and settle in. The Treehouse has a washing machine and dishwasher and at least a week's worth of tablets for both along with washing up liquid and sponges, tea towels etc meaning you don't need to take anything other than clothes with you. 

There's nothing quite like a roll top bath at the end of the day
Lots of lovely fluffy towels are provided for when you hop out of the gorgeous roll top bath and the beds are made up with the beautiful linens. It was amazing that we actually left The Treehouse as it was so divine inside and out.

A little trickle of water we found in the village
Exploring at Fyne Court
The Treehouse is perfectly situated to explore the local area. As well as exploring Somerset, we crossed the border to Cornwall to visit The Eden Project, Dorset to visit the beach at Lyme Regis and Exmoor to see the ponies. One of our favourite spots was Fyne Court, a National trust property about 20 minutes drive away where the girls splashed in streams and ate ice cream as we explored the stunning grounds. We also loved exploring Dunster Castle which is well worth a visit and Watersmeet in Devon where we skimmed stones and ate the most delicious scones. We were lucky enough to spot wild ponies as we drove from Dunster to Watersmeet which was really incredible.

Beautiful beach huts at Lyme Regis
The Eden Project is just an hour and a half away
Skimming stones at Watersmeet
At the end of our days out exploring or splashing in the pool we were able to truly relax, putting the children to bed and enjoying a glass of wine on the balcony or a much calmer dip in the hot tub to unwind. It was the perfect spot for spending time together as a family, with so much to explore making wonderful memories, we didn't want to come home and we can't wait to go back. Here's a short video of our adventure together:

Me x

*We were kindly offered a discount on our stay in exchange for an honest review, 
all thoughts and opinions are my own.*

27 June 2017

Creating a Tranquil Bedroom

As a mother of three young children my bedroom is my little retreat. It's somewhere I can't wait to get to at the end of a busy day and while sleep is still fleeting in our house, creating a calm, welcoming environment in my bedroom is something that is really important to me. 

We have been in our house six years now and are finally making a start on putting our own stamp on it now that I am back at work and we have the budget to do so. Our bedroom is something that I'd really like to focus on this year to create a tranquil, grown up place in our home that is truly ours.

Colour wise I love light and airy neutrals which create a sense of space and light such as white, light grey and stone. We are lucky to have large windows which let in lots of light and are a real focal point in the room as we wake up facing them each morning. The way you dress your windows can completely transform a room so with this in mind I would like to make a feature of ours by adding some shutters and voile curtains like these from Yorkshire Linen. I have visions of them gently blowing in the breeze in the morning and moving slowly and peacefully on warm hazy summer nights, giving privacy but letting reams of light in.

Fabric is really important to me, particularly when it comes to bedding there truly is nothing nicer than getting into crisp, fresh line dried cotton sheets which I hope to upgrade to sumptuous White Company bed linen. I'd also love to dress our bed with throws and cushions to give it that boutique hotel feel which is just so special and luxurious as well as a cosy feel in Winter. Fitted wardrobes are also on my lust list to hide away any clutter along with a chaise lounges and an up cycled dressing table.

Accessorising a room is always my favourite part of a revamp, black and white photos of our wedding, flowers, fairy lights and scented candles to add a romantic element are just some of my ideas to add tranquillity to the space. I've collated all my ideas on a Pinterest mood board and would love to know what you think:

Me x

*This is a collaborative post
All thoughts and opinions are my own*

11 June 2017

GLTC Abbeville Storage Bench - Practical Family Living

Our first assignment as part of our new role as members of the Great Little Trading Co Testing Team was to review a fantastic item from their huge storage range. As a family of five, space and storage can be an issue, especially with three young children as they just have so much stuff! We chose the Abbeville Storage Bench in Stone which offers a practical and stylish solution to everyday life for us with some much needed extra storage.

Great Little Trading Co Abbeville Storage Bench

One of the things we have a lot of are shoes - trainers, sandals, party shoes, school shoes and then there are the wellies! Before the Abbeville Storage Bench arrived these usually ended up lining the hallway, or were kept in a pile in the kitchen and under the stairs. With 3 baskets we have one for the little ladies shoes, one for our shoes and then we've used the last one to pop hats, gloves, scarves and umbrellas in so they are in easy reach.

Great Little Trading Co Abbeville Storage Bench

The first thing I noticed about the bench is what high quality it is, it's incredibly sturdy with a lovely finish. I adore the stone colour of the unit itself and the natural seat pad which coordinates really well with the colour scheme of our home. Seat pads are available in the grey star and rainbow star patterns also if you were going to pop the unit in a child's bedroom or playroom.We chose the Natural Coloured Rope Baskets but these also come in Grey and White and co-ordinate so well that you could easily have one of each, or pop in some of the brighter GLTC canvas cube boxes or baskets. The bench also comes in white meaning you can create a bench to suit your tastes and to match or blend in with your room, its completely customisable.

GLTC Abbeville Storage Bench

The baskets are really spacious and can fit a lot in. Although we have used them for shoes on this occasion they would also be great in a playroom for quickly tidying away toys into with easy access for little hands. The unit is comfortable for adults and little ones to sit at and is just the right height for children to hop onto.

Great Little Trading Co Abbeville Storage Bench

This piece of furniture could literally go in any room in your house and be extremely useful, doubling up as a seat and storage it truly does offer a wonderful family friendly solution. The little ladies love it and have taken to climbing up onto it to put their shoes on which is far better than their previous bottom of the stairs spot where they squabbled for space.

Great Little Trading Co Abbeville Storage Bench

The bench is high enough that we could actually pull it up to a table to offer some additional seating when friends or family come over and with a removable, machine washable seat cover it means sticky little hands aren't a problem.

Great Little Trading Co Abbeville Storage Bench

I think my favourite thing about this is that the girls can get their own things out the baskets and help put them away easily, teaching a little bit of independence and teamwork as well as helping me out a bit! The wonderful thing is that they have been so keen to do just that making it a piece of furniture that works for the entire family. As they get older and their shoes get bigger I expect they will end up claiming a basket each!

Great Little Trading Co Abbeville Storage Bench

Their favourite bit by far is that they can all sit on it together and they have each independently hopped up onto it to play or to look at a book. The Abbeville Storage Bench gets top marks from us for being as versatile as it is stylish.

Great Little Trading Co Abbeville Storage Bench

Me x

*We were kindly gifted the Abbeville Storage Bench, seat cushion and baskets in exchange for an honest review, 
all thoughts and opinions are my own.*

8 June 2017

A Family Day Out At The Eden Project

The Eden Project in Cornwall has been on our to visit list for a while now so we were absolutely delighted to spend a day there. We love nothing more that being outside exploring together and it's really important to me that the girls learn about the environment and the world that they live in. I don't think you can find a better place for this than The Eden Project making it a must visit place for families. From the moment you arrive there is so much to discover and it's strikingly beautiful. The first glimpse of the Biomes (or bubbles as the girls called them) as you enter are quite spectacular.

family day out at the eden project
The little ladies enjoying the view of the iconic Eden Project Biomes

The Eden Project is so geared up for little explorers and super family friendly, from special viewing portholes, pushchair friendly paths and a multitude of activities to stimulate little minds it has everything you need for a great day out. The girls raced down the pathways to get to the Biomes, stopping to check their maps or to take one of the child friendly 'shortcuts'. They were amazed at the sheer scale of everything. There is literally something to look at every way you turn and everywhere you look.

family day out at the eden project
Peeping through the child friendly view finders

The first thing the girls wanted to see was this beautiful bee sculpture, set amongst stunning, linear planting. The landscape in which The Eden Project is set is just so interesting and inviting, I lost count of the times the girls ran towards something saying 'wow, mummy, daddy, look at this!'

family day out at the eden project
One of the girl's favourite features

As an adult The Eden Project is incredible but seeing it through your children's eyes is even more fascinating. They seem more attuned to the world around them and to notice so much more, like a  bee collecting pollen which Miss Dot pointed to and said 'Bee, Mama." Our visit opened up so many conversations and we had to provide lots of answers to "why?" and "what's that?" questions.

family day out at the eden project
A beautiful spot for wildlife to flourish

The only thing I wasn't sure how to answer was the question as to why this spade was so big and who was digging with it!

family day out at the eden project
There are so many fun things for children to discover in this giant garden

The girls couldn't wait to get inside the rainforest Biome and it didn't disappoint, it was a multi sensory, educational and incredibly beautiful experience. The girls used leaves that they found to make prints in the sand, pretended to be Moana in the Malaysian hut and ran through clouds as we made our way through the Biome.

family day out at the eden project
Making leaf prints inside the Rainforest Biome

There were so varieties of plants in all different, colours, shapes and sizes and so many we hadn't ever seen before and that we all marvelled at. The micro climate that has been created inside the Biome is amazing, warm and humid and so lush with vegetation that for a minute you forget that you are in an exhibit and have been transported to an actual rainforest.

family day out at the eden project
Nature is so incredible, this was just one of the thousands of beautiful plants we saw

Miss Tib's is a collector and picks up anything she can find on the floor on our adventures, she often comes home with piles of leaves, sticks, shells and stones and any other treasures she can find. It was hard to convince her to put this giant leaf down that had fallen from the canopy!

family day out at the eden project
Miss Tibs and her leaf

They girls were amazed when I explained that the display below was our planet and where we live, a conversation we hadn't had before but such an important one as it really is their world and it's future and conservation is in their hands.

family day out at the eden project
Learning about their world and climate

The scale of everything is huge; I can only imagine what it must have felt like to the girls looking up at the waterfall. They loved the cooling spray on their faces, particularly as it was very warm inside the Biome.

family day out at the eden project
Captivated by the waterfall

The Mediterranean Biome was just as interesting and with so much colour and it really transported me to holidays we have had in Italy and Greece. In the centre of this Biome is a lovely looking restaurant called the Med Terrace that serves lunch and dinner giving that sense of alfresco summer dining. I wish we had booked a spot for tea here in advance as the menu looked fantastic, but it was unsurprisingly fully booked. We caught one of the interactive story telling sessions which really engaged the children and was a welcome opportunity to sit down for half an hour.

family day out at the eden project
Transported to the Mediterranean with these stunning Geraniums

There is so much to explore at The Eden Project, it really is a full day out with so much to see. One of the ways to see some of the site is a ride on the land train which as you can imagine if you have children the little ladies adored. Pulled by a tractor the land train makes its way to and from the visitor centre. It's under cover so great if it's particularly hot or raining when you visit.

family day out at the eden project
The land train was such an adventure

With the Biomes being under cover too you can visit the Eden Project all year round and not just in fair weather, although on a sunny day, as it was when we visited, it was particularly lovely. The Core building has lots inside to discover too including 'The Seed' sculpture, a small under 5's soft play area and lots of interactive educational exhibits. There was a face painting stall there when we visited which added a lovely element to the children's day.

family day out at the eden project
Miss Boo's Eden Facepaint

The Eden project really is a brilliant family day out which we all got lots out of and we highly recommend it if you are visiting Cornwall or the surrounding area anytime soon. We'll definitely be going back as we loved it so much.

Me x

* We were kindly gifted entry into The Eden Project in exchange for an honest review.
All thoughts and opinions are my own*

7 June 2017

Accepting the end of the baby days

Lately I've been really craving another baby, so much so that some days it's all I can think about. It's a thought that can really take hold and leave me feeling really empty and sad that in fact we actually won't be having any more babies. The reasons for this are sensible and ones I won't go into, but try telling my ovaries that, accepting the end of the baby days is easier said than done.

Baby Ellie

In our marriage I am very much heart and my husband is very much head, on this occasion head over heart has conquered. On a reasonable day where hormones don't get the better of me I can completely accept this and rationalise that it's the right decision for our family. Other days I catch sight of a bump or a newborn and my heart whispers, one more, just one more!

The fact is that as hard as they are, I love the baby days and I love being a mother. Since having my babies I have never felt more certain of who I am and that this is what I was meant to do, they are such a huge part of my identity. For almost 6 years I have been pregnant or with a babe in arms. As the baby of our three gets closer to turning two this summer the baby days are well and truly drawing to a close for me. Normally by now I would be expecting our next one, or in the case of our gap between number 2 and 3, I'd be doing up the poppers of tiny baby grows and snuggling a newborn. Having babies has become my normal, but I can't just keep on having them! Saying goodbye to something you adore is always so hard, I really wish I could just wave this off merrily without looking back over my shoulder, I might just have to settle for 'see you later' and reminisce once in a while.

Baby Phoebe

Not long after baby number three I really felt like our family was complete but that was when I still had a little baby and hadn't begun to miss the baby days which literally pass you by in a sleep deprived haze of gurgles and night feeds and nappy changes. I wish I had savoured them more instead of some days wishing them away with the hope of a full nights sleep on the horizon. Photographs regularly remind me as they pop up as 'memories' that it wasn't all hard with teeny toes and little sighs and sleeping babes with arms above their heads or in my arms that I'd give anything right now to re live. Of course these moments change into first steps, first words, and into amazing little humans which are just incredible to watch as they learn and grow bringing new, amazing things to savour each day. I love the children dearly that my babies have become, they teach me so much and of course just because they aren't babies any more I'm not any less of a mother, more of one if anything as I help them navigate this complicated world of ours.

Baby Lottie

What it all comes down to if I am completely honest is me feeling frightened and scared on the cusp of the unknown, just like that new mum bringing home her first baby from hospital that I so remember being . Having spent such a long time in the baby days, it is my safe zone, my normal, somewhere I feel comfortable and a phase that 3 babies in I feel like I have mastered most of the time.

As the babies get older it's truly beautiful, but so hard letting go a bit and giving them wings and I'm learning to enjoy this little by little. I guess I just want a pause button, a rewind button even, so I can hold onto these days just a little bit longer. Regardless of whether we had another baby, the baby days are going to pass me by eventually and I really have to let them go at some point and accept that they are coming to an end. I'm getting there with it, slowly but surely, and I know it's the right decision for us, financially, emotionally and spatially!

Life is getting easier, it baffles me (and my husband) that this daunts me but quite possibly I have been so consumed by the demanding aspect of 'baby days motherhood' that I have lost myself a little and don't know what I'll do with myself. That would certainly explain a little part of why I am clinging onto this phase for dear life. The fact is there is always the next phase and I know I won't be any less busy, just different busy and just like the baby days I'll find my comfort zone in this next chapter which I have no doubt will be an exciting one. There will be time for me, with more than enough of me to go round which makes accepting the end of these days just that little bit easier, i just need to turn the page...

Me x

4 June 2017

We're part of the GLTC Testing Team!

We are really proud to have been selected to be a part of the Great Little Trading Co's Official Testing Team. We are huge fans of the brand and already have lots of GLTC produtcts in our home, we can't wait to test out some more and share our favourites with you!

gltc testing team

Why do we love GLTC so much? It's really important to us to provide family friendly, child focused spaces in our home where our girls can learn, imagine, play and create until their hearts are content. GLTC's products are perfect for this with a huge range of high quality toys, furniture and storage solutions which are stylish and practical too.

It's really tricky to pin down our favourite GLTC product however the Blossom Teepee is a firm favourite at the moment as it just has so much play value, it's beautifully made and the little ladies adore it. You can read our full review HERE.

gltc blossom teepee
Beautiful Blossom Teepee
Our playroom features several GLTC items including shelves, chairs and plenty of play food. One of my favourite areas of the playroom is the home corner which features the Townhouse Shelves, perfect of displaying the girl's trinkets on and a really fun feature. You can take a look at how we designed the playroom with the help of some fab GLTC products HERE.

GLTC townhouse shelves
I love the bright fun colours of these Townhouse Shelves

The girls are all really excited to be part of the team and aged 5, 3 and almost 2 we think we can really put the products through their paces and give them a thorough road test. If you're not familiar with GLTC why not pop over to their website and take a peek at their gorgeous range. We look forward to bringing you our first review as part of the official testing team shortly!

Me x

You can see our first review of the Abbeville Storage Bench HERE.