Beach Life, Stationery Shopping and French Plaits… (AKA What We Got Up To This Week)

Well, that was the weekend. How was it for you? I’ve been hanging out with my family doing fun things (isn’t that what weekends are all about?) We had friends over for a BBQ. I rustled up some Jamie Oliver salads and we sat in the garden drinking Pimm’s and cider until the heat became unbearable. So we retreated to the cool living room to watch Frozen and drink Champagne. As you do.

I’ve been reflecting back on the last week too. In the past week…

We packed up the car and drove out to the coast.

There were grey skies but it was still warm enough to sit on the beach so we made for the seaside. A few hours of sitting on the sand, building sandcastles, paddling in the sea and collecting shells is good for the soul. Oh and we also might have eaten a mammoth portion of fish and chips… and an ice cream. Healthy eating begins again tomorrow, yeah?

Minni Bay beach huts

Minnis Bay beach huts

Fish and chips Continue reading

Summer Dress Masterclass

One of my favourite things about summer is my summer wardrobe – and adding to it. My summer staples this year are denim shorts, boyfriend tee, statement necklace and Birkenstocks but for really hot days (hello muggy weather we’ve been having recently!) or for days when I want to look a bit smarter, the summer dress is everyone’s best friend. You can wear one with some flip flops for a picnic or day at the seaside or wear some bejewelled sandals and a statement necklace and it’ll be office-ready.

George at Asda have asked me to pick out my favourite dresses from their Summer Shop… this is how I’d wear them…

The maxi

There’s something about any print that vaguely has a hint of Missoni about it, that appeals to me every time. This maxi dress just needs a slick of bright lippy, sandals and a denim jacket to make any picnic or BBQ a style hit. Add a fedora hat if it’s really sunny.

Maxi dress from George at Asda

Printed maxi dress, £12

Buckled sandals, £10

Mid-wash cropped denim jacket, £18

Rimmel Kate Matte lipstick in 110, £5.48

The midi

This outfits screams ‘summer date’ to me – whether you’ve managed to blag a babysitter or you’ve got a night out with the girls planned (cocktails and cinema is always a winner with me) the combination of cotton midi dress, leather jacket and embellished flats will see you right.

 

Gorgeous summer outfit from George at Asda

Embellished dip hem dress, £18

Faux leather jacket, £30

Gemstone sandals, £12

Wasp necklace, £4 (has an air of Alex Monroe to it, don’t you think?)

The classic

I love a stripe – especially when paired with a statement necklace. But for this look, I’ve gone for a print clash (something I learned from my friend Erica) by choosing a floral kimono in similar colours to wear over the dress. Add a pop of colour with some bright nail polish and trainers (or if you’re going for a more dressy look, block heeled sandals would look ace.)

Striped summer dress - George at Asda

Stripe sundress, £10

Floral print kimono, £16

Max Factor mini nail polish in coral, £1

Canvas slip-ons, £6

Which look is your favourite?

• Thanks to George at Asda for collaborating with Not Another Mummy Blog!

Oh, I Love A Faff, Me

Seriously, I could faff all day long. It doesn’t matter where I am, or what I’m doing, I’ve always got time for a faff.

I faff on the internet. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest – all very faff-worthy.

I faff around in the kitchen. If the cook book says a recipe will take 15 minutes to prepare, I allow myself 40. Chopping, mixing (slurp of wine), measuring (a little boogie around to the radio), stirring…

I faff around, getting ready to go out. Putting some laundry on to wash, loading the dishwasher, tidying up some toys. Meanwhile Mr P is often standing by the front door, car keys in hand…

I faff around to avoid a deadline. Even though I know it means I’ll be working until midnight, I still find ways to faff. Ooh, I must paint my nails…

Painting my nails red

But is it really so bad to faff? I like to think it’s me just taking my time, noticing little things that need to be done, refusing to be rushed when I don’t need to be. I actually think the world would be a better place if we all faffed a little bit more. Let’s relax a bit and slow down.

But on second thought, perhaps it would get frustrating. Can you imagine turning on the BBC News and as the camera panned in on the presenter, he or she was faffing with papers and finishing their cuppa before starting to read you the news? “Bear with!”

What about if David Cameron was about to do a press conference outside Number 10 and he walked out, still on his phone, checking Facebook and ‘sending a quick tweet’ before he faced the world’s media? Hmm.

Even if you went for dinner at a restaurant and your meal took 40 minutes to arrive…. because the chef was cooking slowly, Instagramming ingredients and having a dance around their kitchen to the radio? I’d go crazy.

So, perhaps faffing isn’t so much fun when you’re not the one doing the faffing. When you’re the ‘faffee’, so to speak. Perhaps it’s time I fight the urge to faff…

 

 

Dreaming Of Bathrooms…

I have  a list as long as my arm of things we could do to our house. Shelving in the alcoves of our living room… turning our daughter’s room into a proper little girl’s room… landscaping our garden… gutting out the under-stairs cupboard and fixing the broken door on it…

Luckily, our bathroom is in pretty good nick. But that doesn’t stop me spending hours on Pinterest, dreaming about what I’d do if I were to redo it.

I’m a huge fan of hotel bathrooms. It’s one of my key things when staying somewhere nice – comfy bed? Tick. Complimentary water? Tick. Does the bathroom look amazing? Tick. Key trends this year have been nordic wood, aztec prints and bold textures – and these are all things that I love in a bathroom. Oh and it’s got to have a big walk-in-shower amiright?

Bathroom firm C.P.Hart has challenged me to create a mood board of my dream bathroom – they’re calling one of the main interiors trend ‘Tactile Textures’ with rustic woods, mixed materials and strong prints. It’s a great look to embrace if you’re tired of the bog-standard (pardon the pun) bathroom suites that many homes have. I didn’t even have to visit a C.P.Hart showroom for inspiration – their website has a huge range and lots of beautiful images to whet your appetite, as well as a trade section for builders and professional interior designers.

Some of the images that I’ve been lusting after include free-standing wooden units with a sink on top, walls covered in vintage mirrors, curved baths, unusual glass lighting, white brick walls (very hotel-like) and black and white aztec rugs. (Side note: I’ve never put a rug in a bathroom before.. anyone else?)

Dream bathroom

You can easily add a splash of colour to this kind of bathroom with bright orange towels – injecting a bit of sunshine into the room.

Check out the rest of my wish list on my Dream Bathroom Pinterest board…

Follow Alison’s board Dream bathroom on Pinterest.


What kind of bathrooms do you lust after?

 

• Big thanks to C.P. Hart for sponsoring this post – for information on how I work with brands, see my Work With Me page.

Waste Less Food… Save Cash

It scares me a bit when I realise how much food we waste. Whether it’s stuff that my three-year-old rejects (“I don’t like broccoli… or pasta… or cheese…”) or veg that we haven’t quite used up yet and has gone off in the fridge, our food waste recycling bin is probably fuller than it should be each fortnight.

I could save my family up to £700 a year by reducing our food waste through four easy steps. WasteAware are encouraging Hertfordshire residents to make the most of their food and save up to £60 a month with the launch of their new video, “Making food waste history”. But it’s not just Hertfordshire residents wh can benefit from the tips – we all can…

In the UK we throw away more than 7 million tonnes of food and drink every year and the average family throws away the equivalent of 6 meals a week. These facts are pretty staggering especially when you consider that some of this food was actually still fit to be eaten.

Research into food waste by WRAP has shown that food is mainly wasted due to incorrect portioning, storage or planning. By taking four simple steps to reduce food waste, the average family can save up to £700 a year on their food bill:

1. Plan ahead

Shopping lists can save time and money. Check your store cupboards and freezer before shopping. Organise your fridge and cupboards so the shortest date items are at the front.

2. Store correctly

Fruit can last much longer if kept in the fridge (except bananas). Potatoes last longer if stored in a cool dark place. Most meals can be frozen and kept for a later date.

3. Cook what you need

Correct portioning can save money… as well as the waistline! Did you know that one cup of uncooked rice is enough for four people? 100g of uncooked pasta is enough for 1 adult.

4. Recycle what you can’t eat

Uncooked fruit and vegetables can be home composted. Cooked food can be recycled at the kerbside through your organic waste collection.

 

Food waste reduction tips:

At their recent food waste roadshow, Waste Aware has received some great food waste reduction tips from Hertfordshire residents. Here are some of my favourites:

• Make vegetable crisps from vegetable peelings by baking them in the oven with some oil and salt.

• Use up all your leftover vegetables by blending them to create a unique soup. (PS This is great at Christmas as you can add all your leftovers to make a Christmas flavoured soup.)

• Leftover chicken from a roast makes a nice curry later in the week.

• Leftover plain pasta can be fried in a pan with garlic and bread crumbs for a tasty, quick meal.

• Create your own banana puree ­mash over-ripe bananas with lemon juice and sugar. This can be frozen for later too.

• Chicken bones can be boiled to create stock for soups.

 

Do you have any more tips on reducing food waste?

 

• Thank you to Hertfordshire County Council for sponsoring this post. For details on how I work with brands and organisations, see my Work With Me page