My H&M Home Obsession

Are you as obsessed with H&M Home products as I am? If not, you will be in just a few minutes time.

Seriously – it’s amazing. I first discovered it a couple of years ago when one of my favourite people Eleonore tweeted about buying some towels from there. I had no idea H&M even had a home department, but before I knew what was happening, I too had bought some towels and also some cushions. Thus started my love affair with H&M Home.

Apart from being ridiculously stylish, it’s also totally affordable. Is it weird that despite spending a lot of time at home – a lot of time, since I work there – I actually don’t like to spend loads of money on home buys? I just think what’s the point in buying really expensive things when you’ll probably want to redecorate after a few years, or you might go off the things you bought? I like to keep things cheap and cheerful, which is exactly what H&M is.

You can shop online, but I prefer to browse in store. Whenever I’m on Oxford Street or Kensington High Street, I can feel a magnet pulling me towards H&M where they have large home sections.

At the moment, there are loads of vintage-inspired goodies and also a nice selection of retro geometric buys too. Here are some of the gorgeous things that I have my eye on…

H&M home buys

1. Duvet cover set, £19.99 2. Tea light holders, £3.99 3. Mirror, £12.99 4. Mini vases 3-pack, £7.99 5. Scented candle, £12.99 6. Cushion cover, £7.99 7. 3-pack of candles, £3.99 8. Small wire basket, £7.99 9. Tea towel, £2.99

Happy shopping!

A Haircut & Some ‘Me Time’ At Ena Salon, London

Regular readers will know I love me some ‘me time’. Anything vaguely pampering is good with me, whether it’s a spa visit, getting my nails done or a hair cut.

However.

I also have a bit of a trust issue when it comes to hairdressers. Let’s just say it stems from a time when I was 18, and after a couple of hours in a hairdresser’s chair, I emerged with the worst haircut ever (it was so bad, my friends called me Alan for a whole year – I actually looked like a man). But being a typical 18-year-old, I was too scared to tell the hairdresser I hated it, so I thanked them very much, left, and cried the whole way home.

So it’s fair to say that since then, I get a little bit nervous when visiting a new hairdresser. I get flashbacks to Alan, and worry he might make a reappearance.

Thankfully, my recent visit to Ena Salon in Covent Garden, London was a success. PHEW.

Ena Salon is in a beautiful Georgian townhouse which is unusual for a hair salon, and means you climb up stairs to room where they wash your hair (and where they do colour) and it also means there are gorgeous original fireplaces, panelling and stained glass windows. Apparently, when they moved into the building, it had been an office, and they found all of the beautiful features hidden behind plain walls, which they stripped down.

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ena-salon-reception

My haircut was in the safe hands of Gianni, a lovely Turkish hairdresser who really knows her stuff. She filled me with confidence, as she chatted about what kind of cut I was looking for, and she made some great suggestions, showing me how she would even up areas of my hair that had been thinned out before.

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ena-salon-interiors

I think when it comes to having your hair cut, quality of haircut aside, some of the most important things are the small details. At Ena, the room where they wash your hair has a gorgeous design painted on the ceiling – makes sense when every client in that room will be staring at it! Later, my tea was brought to me in a cute glass teapot and was accompanied by a homemade cake (one of the salon staff makes them for the customers – such a nice touch.)…

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Hormones, Anxiety And Things That Make Me Happy

tulips-in-vase

I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness recently. I mean, we all think about happiness all the time, don’t we? But I’ve been thinking about it a lot more in the last month or so. Trying to work out what are the things that make me happy – and unhappy.

Let’s deal with the unhappy bit first – to put it bluntly, my hormones make me unhappy. I’ve always been a bit of a slave to my hormones, from those FUN teenage years where you hate everyone and everything, slam doors, flush your best mate’s necklace down the loo in a fit of rage (just me?) to my twenties when I discovered I had endometriosis. Poor Mr P had to put up with a lot of mood swings back then – thank goodness he didn’t run for the hills.

But lately, thanks to my hormones, I’ve had a few days each month where I feel really low – there was one day last month when I actually felt depressed, and that’s not a word I use lightly. There was this imaginary grey weight on me, and none of the usual ‘cheer me up’ tactics like lunch out with Mr P or shopping in The White Company made any difference. It actually really scared me. Thankfully, it only lasted one day, and I knew it was caused by hormones.

This has been coupled with something that I have only just realised I’ve suffered from for a long time – anxiety. I didn’t really know what this was before, but I’ve worked out that when I’m walking down a street and feel paranoid, thinking people are looking at me, or when I’m on Oxford Street in central London and I have this awful fear that someone is going to attack me, or steal my bag, or when I just have a gnawing feeling in the pit of my stomach but have nothing to feel worried about – that’s anxiety. Again – thankfully I only suffer from it when my hormones are doing their monthly loop the loop. Or when I’m hungover and tired, but that’s normal, right?

So – anyway! This isn’t meant to be a ‘poor me’ blog post, it’s actually a post about the things that make me happy. Because in the last few weeks, I’ve been focusing on what those things are, and making sure they are in my life more. Simple!

1. Fresh flowers.

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have noticed the sudden appearance of flowers in my photos. I’ve realised how much I enjoy having them in the house, especially since I work from home. Tulips, daffs, hyacinths, roses – I’m not fussy. There was one week recently when I had all of the above and it was like a bloody florists in my kitchen.

daffodils

2. Scented candles.

I’ve been burning my White Company White Geranium candle or Diptyque Baies while I work (hello, working from home cliché!) and the relaxing scent helps to chill me out and concentrate on work rather than how crappy I might be feeling.

Diptyque-Baies-candle

3. The gym.

I’ve actually turned into one of those people who exercises for its health benefits, not because I want to be slimmer. For real. I mean, obviously I’d like to be slimmer. My size 16 ass should really be a size 14, but genuinely, I notice such a difference in my mood when I go to the gym two or three times a week. It’s like a miracle cure. I heart endorphins.

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4. Chocolate.

Hmmmm maybe this is the reason for my size 16 ass? But I’m definitely an emotional eater, and having a steady supply of chocolate and cakes makes me happy.

5. Trying to be vaguely healthy.

On the flip side of that, I’m a MUCH happier person when I’m making sensible food choices – salads, smoothies, sushi, Vita Coco drinks rather than crisps, chips and pizza. I spent six months of last year being super healthy and I loved it. Just need to get back into it, don’t I?

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6. Taking time off.

I think I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m a ‘workaholic’ (so 80s of me). I love working so so much and I would happily sit at my laptop working and blogging until 10pm every night. But I’ve started putting the laptop away on a few evenings a week, and watching telly with Mr P (The Good Wife and Better Call Saul on Netflix, since you asked). I even went out for the day with my family last weekend and – wait for it – left my phone at home, deliberately. I’m fed up of checking my phone constantly when I’m out and about so it was almost a relief to not have it with me. Switching off and having time away from email, texts and social media is really good for me.

Speaking of which, it’s 7.15pm and I’m going to switch my laptop off…

Win £120 To Spend On Eyewear

glasses-on-desk

I’ve been looking for a new pair of specs for months. My current pair were bought around five years ago and as well as the prescription being out of date, I don’t like them much anymore. I really fancy a proper pair of geek glasses – dark and thick rimmed – but any I’ve tried on so far look ridiculous on me. It appears that my huge head means that not only do I have to wear men’s hats (not even joking – my summer hat is from a menswear department and it’s XL) but I also can’t buy most pairs of glasses unless I want to look like a giant melon head. Thanks head.

So my quest continues. But I’m determined to find the right pair for me.

If you’re in need of glasses, check out SmartBuyGlasses, who have given me a prize of £120 to spend on eyewear with them. A prize that I shall give to one of you lovely readers.

HOW TO ENTER

To be in with a chance of winning the £120 to spend on eyewear, comment on this blog post telling me what your dream pair of sunglasses or eyeglasses from SmartBuyGlasses is, and you must visit SmartBuyGlasses over on Facebook. Easy peasy, huh!

Don’t forget to fill in the Rafflecopter box below for your entry to count. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and conditions:

1. Entry is open worldwide, excluding anyone professionally associated with Not Another Mummy Blog or the Promoter.

2. One winner will receive a £120 voucher code. The prize is non-transferable and there is no cash alternative.

3. The prize draw starts at 12.01am GMT on 22th February 2015 and closes at 11.59pm GMT on 4th March 2015.

4. Entry is free and must be made by commenting on this blog post answering: ‘What are your dream pair of Sunglasses or Eyeglasses from www.smartbuyglasses.co.uk.’ In addition you must visit the Facebook page of SmartBuyGlasses UK.

5. The name of the winner will be published on this website within 14 days of the giveaway closing.

6. The winner will be drawn at random using RaffleCopter and they must have commented on the blog post and visited SmartBuyGlasses Facebook Page to be entitled to the prize.

7. The winner will be contacted by the blog host – notanothermummyblog and the Promoter will be CC’d in the email.

8. In the unlikely event that the prize becomes unavailable the Promoter reserves the right to substitute a prize of equal value.

9. The Promoter’s decision on all matters is final and binding on all entrants. No correspondence will be entered into.

10. By taking part in this competition you agree to be bound by the competition terms and conditions.

11. The Promoter reserves the right to disqualify any entrant and / or winner in its discretion and without any notice in accordance with these terms and conditions.

12. The Promoter is: SmartBuyGlasses, Corso Re Umberto 87, 10128 Torino, Italy.

Image: DTTSP

Celebrating Amazing Women With #ARWoman

Fun at the fair

When you think about the women in your life, most people will think of their mum, their best friend, their gran. Some of us are lucky enough to be surrounded by brilliant, strong women, and it’s often something we take for granted. We take them for granted. I’m really big on celebrating women and I’m definitely a girls’ girl. I mean, I enjoy the company of men, but give me a group of female friends and a bottle of wine (or two) any day.

So the #ARWoman campaign by Atterley Road is something I’m totally on board with. The fashion brand is asking bloggers to talk about a woman who inspires them and I’m spoilt for choice. I’m inspired by fellow female bloggers like Erica, whose ability to style an outfit leaves me open-mouthed, Katie, who has a beautiful eye for photography, Fritha and Lori, whose blogs make my life a brighter place, and GillMolly and Katrina, who are talented writers and brilliant friends. Then there’s my best mate Kim who has been with me through thick and thin since we were 15 and bonded over our love of Take That. And Fee and Sarah, who joined me in taking that love of boybands a little bit further (like around the UK and Ireland doing a tour of concert venues, posh hotels and airports…)

But the woman who inspires me the most – as unoriginal as it may seem – is my mum. Apart from being generally ace, she’s so utterly supportive of her children and always has been. She’s such a positive person – always looking at things as ‘challenges’ rather than problems and refusing to dwell on the negative side of life. She’s determined and a great organiser – skills I know I’ve got from her. But most of all, she’s the kind of person I’d be friends with, even if she wasn’t my mum.

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Who’s your #ARWoman? Post a photo of her on Instagram or Twitter, tagging @AtterleyRoad and tagging it #ARWoman. Let’s celebrate the women we love and admire!

• Big thanks to Atterley Road for commissioning this post on #ARWoman. For details of how I work with brands, see my Work With Me page.