Party Plans, Festival Styles and Sunny Evenings #LittleLoves

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The Summer Holidays are almost over. This time next week I will be back at work and the routine will be getting back to normal! To be honest I am ready for this now; the summer has been lovely but H is definitely ready to be at school.

This weeks little loves are;

Read

Lots of home magazines this week as I am looking for en-suite inspiration! We have a plumber booked for the end of September but still have no idea what we are doing!!

We have also been reading Ready Steady Mo! Nearly every night! H absolutely adores it! He loves to do the Mobot at the end!

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Watched

The Bake Off of cause!! I just love it so much. The bad side of it is that it just makes me want to keep baking cakes which is really not good!

I also watched lots of amazing bands and artists at V Festival on Sunday. My absolute favourite has to be Little Mix. They were fantastic!

Made

Plans for H birthday party. We are having H Fest next Saturday to celebrate his 5th Birthday. He is starting to get very excited and is telling me daily cake flavours and ideas! I am glued to pinterest and keep adding to my plans.

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Wore

My favourite red top. This top is from Matalan. I never ever shop in Matalan but popped in there to get some tea towels and found this! I love it! And my Hunter wellies; great festival style but way too hot for a sunny Sunday! Although it did rain in the evening.

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R also rocked her own festival style at our Baby V Festival, future fashion blogger I think!! Everything she is wearing is from Next.

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Heard

I love this Olly Murs song. I keep singing along when it comes on the radio.

And Lastly

We have been making the most of the sunny evening and have been trying to get out as a family when David gets in from work. We enjoyed a Fish and Chips picnic and a play in the water features at our local country park on Wednesday.

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Wishing you all a lovely week.

Linking up with Morgana at Coffee, Work, Sleep, Repeat for #LittleLoves

LittleLoves

My Home in… August

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I love the way my home changes throughout the year, it reflects the seasons and the things we are celebrating at the particular time. I am fairly predictable… David knows he will come home from work one October evening and the house will be decked in pumpkins, orange flowers in golden vases and goodies in sweet containers. I have things which we always celebrate and change our home for… Chinese New Year, Valentines Day, Birthdays, Easter, Mothering Sunday, Halloween, Bonfire Night, Christmas and New Years Eve. These I document with photographs and notes in my journals but its the little changes throughout the year that tell a story and these are worth celebrating too.

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Things like adding a few special sea shells to your coffee table décor after a trip to the beach or filling a vase with all of natures offerings in the Autumn. These are the things I want to document and remember. So #MyHomein is born!

On the 25th of each month I will share a My Home In post. As part of this post I will include my favourite photos from the hashtag on instagram for the month and my styling at home. I would love for you to join me by using the #MyHomeinSeptember or by linking up your own home next month.

My Home in August

Is telling the tale of sunny days and is clinging on to the last moments of the summer holidays. The bookcase in the orangery is busting with sunny sunflowers and yellow blooms, mixed with the scent of lavender from the garden drying out. New stationary is stacked up ready to go and soon the piles of sandals and flipflops will be packed away and school shoes will be back in the hall.

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I love the pairing of the black with the yellow roses and sunflowers… it reminds me of busy bees flying around the garden. I don’t very often use black in my styling so this makes a change for me.

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What does your home look like in August? Do you fancy playing along next month?

Carly x

Linking up with the lovely Katy from Hot Pink Wellingtons and Laura from Dear Bear and Beany for #SharingtheBlogLove

Hot Pink Wellingtons

Beautiful Blues- Chocolate Drip Cake and Party Ideas

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At the beginning of August it was my husbands birthday; he never wants a fuss, never asks for any presents and is always happy with the usual gifts of sweets, socks and bubble bath!! We always like to do him a little party and this year decided to go for a blue theme (much to H disgust- he wanted Minions for Daddy!!).

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We had a very simple meal of mixed tapas and then we dug into the dessert buffet I had set up on a bookcase. I loved using the bookcase as the stand as it was nice to put the different bits at different heights. We had cupcakes, macaroons, different blue sweets and popcorn in little pots to nibble on.

The star of the show was the blue hidden ombre chocolate cake. I baked four simple sponges and added varying amounts of food colouring to three of the cakes to give me an ombre style layer cake. I layered them up with vanilla buttercream and then covered the whole cake in the cream.

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Next I melted some white chocolate adding blue food colouring to it; this was drizzled all over the cake and down the sides. I then quickly arranged biscuits, sweets, chocolate bark, sprinkles, macaroons and large chocolate balls on the cake. Finally adding some homemade cake bunting as the finishing touch. Two things went wrong here. The first was that it was far to hot to be doing anything with chocolate!! It was melting before I had a chance to save it. This resulted in things not being as “perfect” as I would have liked! The second was that the blue melted chocolate wasn’t as runny as I had hoped. Next time I will definitely use candy melts.

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Although it didn’t look Pinterest perfect it tasted absolutely yummy!! I loved creating this simple party using lots of gorgeous things from Party Pieces.

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On the table I used the gingham table runner, chevron paper plates, plain blue napkinscups and straws. I styled this with some pretty blue flowers and a candle. I also added party hats which I already had at home.

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On the dessert shelves I used the blue trays, chevron pots, honeycomb bunting and my growing collection of paper fans and honeycombs. It was super quick to put together and we all had such a lovely time.

I am currently planning H Fest for H 5th birthday in two weeks! He has grand plans for the tallest cake in the world! I am researching party ideas on the Party Pieces website! Ready for an order at the end of the week! Are you planning any parties over the next few months? I would love to hear about them.

I purchased all the items myself but wanted to add the links as the products really are fantastic.

Lanzarote, Pool Days and Chocolate Fountains #littleloves

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So this week has been all about the holiday blues for me… We got back from Lanzarote in the early hours of Tuesday morning and I have been feeling the gloom ever since! I am sure I will get through the mass pile of laundry and get back to the normal routine soon but for now I am dreaming of the bright blue skies!!

This weeks Little Loves are

Read

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I read loads of holiday which was so nice. I loved My Mother’s Secret by Shelia O’Flanagan a really easy summer holiday read and a great storyline… I couldn’t put it down.

Watched

R and H splash and swim all week! They adored the pool whilst we were away but it was a tiny bit chilly for me!! I think I am too use to the hot tub at 37 degrees!!!

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Erm… Back to School Plans! Does that count? We are half way through the list of things required! The lovely people at Dot Com Gift Shop have sent us some goodies for Back to School they are all gorgeous. You can read about them here.

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H wore a huge smile and a football scarf when he went to watch his first ever big match. Although we are Arsenal Fans in this house; David was really lucky to get two tickets to Manchester United V Leicester at Wembley on the Sunday before we left to Lanzarote. They sat in the Manchester United End and H really enjoyed himself although at not quite five he didn’t make it to the end of the match!!

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David and I are off to V Festival on Sunday so I have been listening to all my favourites ready to sing along! I am really looking forward to seeing Years and Years. I also think Little Mix will be great!

And Lastly

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I had to share R little love for the last week!! The hotel chocolate fountain… melted chocolate on tap for seven nights!! She loved it.

Have a fab week everyone.

Linking up with the lovely Morgana at Coffee, Work, Sleep, Repeat for #LittleLoves

LittleLoves

Back to School with Dot Com Gift Shop

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So its that time again… we are mid way through August and our thoughts start to turn to getting everyone ready to go back to school. Both of my children will be at school together in September, R will be beginning Year 2 and H will be starting in reception. The list of things they need is huge and some of the things are boring but when it comes to lunch boxes, bags, stationary and water bottles things start to get a bit more exciting!

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I have never really been a fan of “Characters” as in Princess t-shirts or Super Hero water bottles. So when the fabulous Dot Com Gift Shop asked us to have a look at their Back to School range I jumped for joy!! There is just so much choice; they stock rucksacks, lunch bags, lunch boxes, water bottles, stationary, flasks and PE bags to name a few things. Everything is wonderful colours and adorable prints. There are characters  but these are cute and stylish!

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The first thing I choose was these fabulous football snack boxes for H, he loves football and I thought these would be great for his mid morning snack and to fill up with bits in his lunch bag. The boxes are bright and colourful and all fit inside each other for easy storage. H loved them and couldn’t wait to try them out. Three snack boxes of this quality for £5.95 is a complete steal! They would be perfect for any football fan.

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As R would need snack boxes too I decided to order her the utterly adorable Rambling Rose snack boxes again three boxes for £5.95. These are so lovely they may find their way into my school lunch bag!!

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The next thing on our list was drink bottles; again there was a lot of choice. H choose the Vintage Transport bottle and R choose the ABC bottle. Both bottles are £6.95 and are just the right size for little hands. They have a straw top that pops out and a great little strap to hold on to when carrying it to school.

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Next I just had to get some super cute stationary… There was so much choice from quirky pens and rubbers, to gorgeous note books and little post it notes. I fell in love with the little tubes full of tiny pencils. Perfect for little hands to draw with. I choose the Red Riding Hood set for R and the Colourful Creatures set for H. At £1.50 for a set of 12 these would be great as party bag gifts or little back to school presents too.

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As I am a teacher I will be going Back to School too in September and when I saw this adorable mini flask I just had to have it. It would be great for my soups or for taking my tea from the staff room to my classroom. I think this will be used a lot!! Its £12.95 and there are lots of different designs and prints to choose from.

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There is just such a fantastic range for Back to School at Dot Com Gift Shop that you really must check it out. What are your Back to School must haves? Do you have any favourite pieces from Dot Com Gift Shop?

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We were kindly gifted all of these items by The Dot Com Gift Shop for the purpose of this review but as always all words and opinions are my own.

 

Hot Pink Wellingtons

Strawberries, Sunshine and Star Wars #littleloves

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Yay for the summer holidays. We have really enjoyed our first week and have had a nice mixture of days out and days at home.

This weeks #littleloves are

Read

I read the email this week to check our flight times for our holiday to Lanzarote and had a major panic as the day was different to the one I had in my diary! We had an email over a month ago to say the flights had changed and I just assumed it was the times! But it was the day as well!! I am so glad I checked otherwise we would have missed the flight!

We have also joined the library summer read The Big Friendly Read and both R and H are zooming through the books!

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Watched

My crazy and brave daughter climb trees like some kind of wild child at the local National Trust Forest!! She was so good at it! She kept going higher and I was thinking eek!! Suddenly both children seem so grown up!! I cant believe that in about five weeks I will have a 5 year old and 6 and a half year old. It seems like only yesterday I was starting out as a mama of an 18month old and a new born!

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Made

I made an icecream cake for my class for the last day of school last Friday. It was super easy to make and they really enjoyed tucking in! I am planning a special cake for the Mr for next Friday as its his birthday! R and H want to throw him a Disney themed party!! I have explained to them that Disney is not really the theme most 30 something year old men would want for their birthday!!

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Wore

I absolutely love Joules clothes. They are just so blooming gorgeous! Both my children have a rather lovely collection. This week we have been fruit picking and they wore some of my favourite pieces. The print of R dress is just so pretty; she gets so many compliments.

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R Dress- Joules

R flipflops- Havaianas

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H T Shirt- Joules

Heard

The soundtrack from Star Wars! H is a huge fan and was so excited to visit the Sci Fi exhibition at our local museum. He enjoyed reading all the information and loved identifying the different music to the different parts of the film! It made a change from him singing the Ghost Busters Theme (Who you gonna call…)!!

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And Lastly

We have been enjoying the sunshine at the beginning of the week! I am hoping it is going to make an appearance again for the weekend! We are off to the beach with Nanny tomorrow! Wishing you a lovely week.

Linking up with Morgana at Coffee, Work, Sleep, Repeat for #LittleLoves.

#littleloves

An Aladdin’s Cave of Homeware

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Yesterday I was super excited because a new HomeSense store was opening about 20 minutes away from me! Having had to travel an hour to my nearest store this was big news! If you aren’t familiar with HomeSense they are a homeware store in the TK Maxx family; they have vast ranges quality and branded homeware at up to 60% off RRP. If you love TK Maxx Home you will be in heaven in HomeSense.

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I was very kindly invited to view the new Chelmsford store and shop it before the rest of Essex arrived the following morning. So armed with my glass of elderflower cordial I went to find some goodies. All HomeSense stores are set out beautifully; they style little areas around the store so you almost get a feel of what the things would look like in your own home.

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You can find almost anything from sofas to soaps, frying pans to flowers and toy boxes to towels. I could have brought it all! There are so many branded and designer names to choose from as well. In the towel section I spotted Ralph Lauren, DKNY and Orla Kiely, there was Designer Guild bedding and Meri Meri party ware.

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As I walked in I was greeted with the most amazing selection of flowers; I have always had fresh flowers at home but seeing these beauties I had to have some. My first purchase was this gorgeous mirrored vase with beautiful white roses at £7.99 it was a complete bargain!

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Moving around the downstairs area of the store I browsed outdoor living and garden products, a rainbow of fluffy squashy cushions, beautiful bedding, magical rugs and lots of gifts, trinkets and of course larger items of furniture such as side tables, bat winged chairs and the softest velvet sofas. I finally settled in the picture frame and print section… where I stayed for a while!! There is just so much choice; if you are a fan of word art they have it; superhero prints there is a choice; pretty paintings; fabric letters, circus style light up letters and photo frame galore! They have it all!!

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My next purchase was this gorgeous chalk board frame. I had brought it with the intention of using it in R bedroom update but its just so lovely I may have to keep it for myself!! I could not believe it was only £12.99 when I looked for the price! I think it may feature in a few Instagram photos!!

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Next I headed upstairs to stationary heaven… I love a notebook and HomeSense do not disappoint on choice. I think it is my number one place to look for them. They had so many I would definitely recommend a trip for back to school/university essentials. They also have a vast range of storage boxes, magazine racks and other stationary which is perfect for getting the office space organised. I came away with three notebooks! The pink and black ones were both £4.99 each and the ring bound pad was just £3.99.

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All the kitchen and dinning ware is upstairs and they have some beautiful pieces of crockery, cutlery sets and pots and pans. They also have a vast range of gourmet foods which make lovely presents or special treats. There was bathroom storage, mirrors, items for pets, super soft bed linens, books, toys and the cutest children’s accessories you ever did see! I brought some gorgeous Meri Meri cupcake cases and cake picks as my final purchases but I am saving those for another post!

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If you haven’t shopped in HomeSense before then you must look for your closest store and find yourself some incredible homeware bargains. They have new stock in daily so there is always something new. I can not wait to see all the Autumn and Christmas stock coming in and to start introducing some new season items into my home.

I was very kindly invited to view the store and provided with a gift card to spend by HomeSense but all the words and opinions in this post are my own.

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Linking up with the lovely Jess and Caro for #HomeEtc

Home Etc

Celebrating Summer Week One #acupfullofglittersummer16

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So today is the official first day of the school holidays! Yippee!! We have made our bucket lists and we are ready for a Summer of fun! This week we have a few things planned and we kicked off today with fruit picking at a local farm. It was all planned and then we turned up at the farm and it was closed!! But by luck we managed to find a gem of a Pick Your Own!! A little piece of rural heaven for fruit pickers, farm shop lovers, children who want to be wild and free and those who really are just after a pot of tea and a nice slice of cake!

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Spencer’s Farm Shop is about 3 miles from Halstead in Essex and it has so much to offer as a day out. There was a wide variety of fruit to pick, a very well stocked farm shop, a café and so many extras for the children such as tractors to ride on, a sandpit, a large chalkboard, a playground and some animals to look at. We had a lovely hour or so (apart from H moody!) enjoying all there was on offer. We could have easily have stayed for longer and enjoyed lunch in the sunshine.

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We picked raspberries, strawberries and cherries and they were all absolutely delicious! We will be back later in the Summer to pick some more and enjoy a bacon sandwich!!

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And when you have all this delicious freshly picked fruit its rude not to make an Eton Mess…

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Summer Snack Station- Confessions of a Summer Parent

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So we have all been there, its the school summer holidays and you are just about to hang the washing out, clean the bathroom, send an email, wash the floor, go to the loo (fill as required!) and you hear “Please can I have a drink” or “I need a drink” or even “Drink!!” I find that I stop to water and fuel my two constantly and they are masters of asking for something when I have just started a job.

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To survive this years summer holidays I needed to make them a bit more independent! I am a teacher two days a week and in my classroom we have something called rolling snack. Every morning the snack is set up and the children just choose when they want to go and have something. It got me thinking that this could easily work at home; a simple snack station which I could refill throughout the day but my hungry two could graze on whenever they felt they needed too. So a few cups, straws, fruits, snack packets and water cooler later… Our Summer Snack Station is ready for action!

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What are your summer survival tips? Do you have any tricks that work? I would love to hear them.

This post is an entry for the BritMums Confessions of a Summer Parent Challenge, sponsored by Anchor.

 

Hot Tubs, Jam Jars and Toothless Grins#littleloves

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Its been another crazy week! The end of the school year is crazy… Being a parent and a teacher seems to mean double the madness! On top of this H and R both seem to have parties every weekend and I am trying desperately to get all our holiday clothes organised before they break up! Roll on August where I will be on a sun lounger with a glass of something cold in sunny Lanzarote.

This weeks #LittleLoves are

Read

I haven’t read very much at all this week. I had a quick flick through some home style magazines but thats about it!

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Watched

It feels like all that has been on is football and tennis!! I am still mourning the loss of Game of Thrones for a while! We started to watch the first series of The Tunnel but I wasn’t sure if I really liked it! I need to find a new box set to dive into!

Made

I have been fiddling about with flowers this week. I am going to make Jam Jar Posies for R and H teachers for the end of the term. You can read all about it here.

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Wore

Swimwear… We have a new hot tub in the garden and its been bliss! R and H have been in nearly every night after school and I have been enjoying peaceful evenings in there!!

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I have also spent a lot of time in my white jeans. They are legging type ones from Next and are just so comfortable.

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Heard

Happy Birthday being sung. We celebrated a special family 60th Birthday at the Beach Huts in Maldon on Sunday. The weather was perfect, we had fish and chips and cake. Played in the sand, on the park and in the splash park.

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And Lastly

I love this selfie of my little gang! R lost on front tooth on Friday night and the other was hanging by a thread all weekend! She looked like a wicked witch!!

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Linking up with Morgana at Coffee, Work, Sleep, Repeat for #LittleLoves.

#littleloves