My IKEA Shopping List

We moved into our current home nearly five years ago (where does TIME GO?) and we spent three months decorating, buying furniture and doing it up. Because it was our first proper house (after five years of living in a one bed flat) it was so exciting and ‘grown up’ to decorate. “We have THREE bedrooms!” I remember saying. “What are we going to do with three bedrooms?”

A few months after we moved in, it became clear what we would do with one of the bedrooms – it would be a nursery. After thinking that my period was a bit late (but not being too sure because I never kept track of it) and marching excitedly down to Sainsbury’s to buy a pregnancy test, we discovered that I was 3-4 weeks pregnant. SCREAM! So as morning sickness and tiredness kicked in (woo) decorating and house organisation ground… to… a…… halt.

Fast forward nearly five years and pretty much all of the things we didn’t do, back then, STILL need to be done. And plenty things we bought then need to be refreshed. So as such, I’d like to totally revamp my whole house, please. Totally doable, right? Hmm…

But because we’re not made of money, I’m going to focus on a few important things which need to be sorted and then do the rest gradually. And – brilliantly – lots of the things I’ve been lusting after come from IKEA. We paid the store a visit on Bank Holiday Monday (bank holiday fail) but it was so busy, all we left with was a 50p flamingo glass.

Admittedly, it’s a gorgeous 50p flamingo glass, but there was so much more I wanted to buy. So here’s my current wish list, ready for the next time we brave the IKEA crowds. My IKEA must buys:

First up is the Stockholm rug (£100) which would look amazing in my living room. We’ve been talking about replacing our (boring) black sofas with something mid-century for a while now, and this rug would fit in well now, and when we eventually buy new furniture. Also on my list is the Kallax shelving unit (£45). This is for our daughter’s room. We’re going to update it a bit – after all, it’s four years since we decorated it, and she isn’t a baby any more! These shelves look so versatile and lots of stylish mums (looking at you Fritha and Bryony) tell me they have them. The best bit is that you can really put your own stamp on them with the different inserts available.

Next, a must-have for any self-respecting child (!) is a good place to store books. We’re going to buy a large bookcase but we’re also going to buy IKEA’s wooden spice racks (IKEA hack alert!) which make brilliant book shelves and are a snip at £3 each. I love how you can paint them and drill them to your wall to create a stylish way to store and display books. Lastly, the £120 Kura bed looks amazing. You can have it with the bed up high (we’d put a reading corner down below) or you can flip it so that the bed is down below and you have a panel to climb on, up top. One thing to note is that this bed is fairly small in height, so you might find kids grow out of it fairly quickly. We’re unsure whether to go for this bed or a taller one… What would you do?

Different ways to use the Ikea Stockholm rug in a living room Continue reading

A Flying Visit To Edinburgh

This week, I paid a flying visit to Edinburgh. It’s probably my favourite city in the UK – the beautiful buildings, the winding streets and alleys, the green spaces, the shops, the bars… I can’t think of another city that has my heart in the way Edinburgh does. It’s small enough that you can get a real flavour of it in a day, or if you have more time, book up a hotel (there are loads to choose from on Hotel Direct) and stay a few days. things to see and do in edinburgh

My 4.55am start meant that by the time I got to Gatwick Airport, I was ready for some caffeine…

Getting from Edinburgh Airport into the city centre is easier than ever now that the Edinburgh Trams are running. You could still opt to get the Airport Express bus into town, but I hopped on a shiny tram and whizzed into Princes Street with the joy of free wifi onboard. Wheeee!

Edinburgh Tram

I met my mum and after a quick cuppa in the cafe in Jenners (a department store that’s been there since 1838) our first stop was Calton Hill, where you get some amazing views of Edinburgh. You can stand at one side and see down to the Firth of Forth (even getting a glimpse of the Forth Rail Bridge in the distance) or from the other side, you can see Arthur’s Seat (which will forever more remind me of the book One Day).

Calton Hill

Calton Hill, Edinburgh

Firth of Forth

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Katrina Cool Banana’s Guide To Juicing

I’m nearly three months into my ‘all-new’ healthy eating thing (imagine me doing jazz hands as I say that) and while I’m really happy about all of the junk that I’m not putting into my gob, I’m aware that I need to be better at putting super healthy things in there. We’ve been eating lots more vegetables but something I really want to try is juicing. However I don’t know the first thing about which juicer to buy and what to do. So I asked my friend, fellow blogger and juicing pro – Katrina – for a beginner’s guide to juicing. So here’s her guest post for me – and check out her fab Cool Bananas Blog too! Over to Katrina…

Katrina Cool Bananas

Beginner's guide to juicing

Whether you want to juice for a detox, as an aid to slimming: or simply for a lifestyle boost to up your intake of those all-important 5-a-day fruit & veg portions, there’s no denying that juicing gets my seal of approval. In fact, it’s an integral part of my daily routine (along with being a toddler tamer). I suffer with several food allergies & malabsorbtions so for me juicing is a way to aid digestion function, increase my intake & absorption of essential vitamins & minerals, & besides they taste delish (honestly, they do!)

Have you toyed with the idea of juicing, but found it all rather baffling? Fear not! My mission today is to introduce you to this wonderful world & show you just how easy, tasty & fun it can be. Now, I’m known for rambling, so I’ll try my upmost to keep this short & sweet, to ease you in gradually.

The basics: What do I need?

1. A machine & compostable food waste bags (or similar). Don’t scrimp on this or, I can say from experience, you’ll be disappointed. Originally I purchased a cheap machine, it juiced badly & I spent far too long preparing food to feed through the tiny shoot. Admittedly the juicer market is highly saturated market so it can be tricky to choose one. My weapon of choice is the Sage Nutri juicer (if I had the money, I would most definitely invest in the next model up, the ‘pro’)

Ta Dah!

Juicing machine

Use a food compost bags to line the caddy-it’ll save you so much time, & there’ll be a hell of a lot less mess to faff with (ah, the great faff)

Lined Sage juicing caddy

 

2. Fruit. Some fruit will juice better than others – although it’s been reported that you can pretty much juice anything. But WHOA! Easy cowboy….don’t go spending large, buying up the entire fruit & veg section. Start slowly, just make a couple of juices: get the hang of your machine before you dive into the deep end & go cold turkey on food. If you decide to undertake a ‘cleanse’ or ‘detox’ (I do highly recommend these now & then) you’re far more likely to succeed by easing in gradually.

Which juices should I make?

Lets keep it simples (said like a meerkat), here are my three favourite juices:

Carrot, orange & ginger

4 carrots, 2 oranges & a slice of ginger. All blitzed through your machine on the high speed. This lot should give you at least 500-600 ml of juice (Carrot will juice surprisingly well). For fruit with skin, like orange, I advise you peel them. The result, if you don’t, is extremely bitter!

Carrot, orange and ginger Continue reading

The Day My Three-Year-Old Stayed In A 5* Hotel

welcome-note-edition-hotel

Kids today, hey? *rolls eyes* London Edition Hotel family style package

That phrase is usually used when talking about kids wearing hoodies and tearing it up in a shopping centre or two, but I mean it in a ‘These kids! They don’t know how lucky they are!’ way. Yes, I fully realise this makes me sound 55. But it’s true.

There are so many things that my three-year-old has experienced in her short little life so far, that I didn’t experience until I was an adult. She’s been to the Royal Albert Hall (something I didn’t do until I was 22). She’s been abroad (something it took me until I was ten to achieve). She’s been to a festival (my first one was V97 when I was 18).

She has also now stayed in a five star hotel.

My posh hotel habit has had to go slightly on the back burner since having my daughter. Aside from the money aspect – we’ve been spending more on nappies, small boxes of raisins and entry to London Zoo than extravagant mini breaks – I’ve never considered 5* hotels as being particularly child-friendly. Until now, that is.

A few weeks ago, we headed into central London to stay at the London Edition. The Edition group of hotels is a new concept from Ian Schrager, the man behind The Sanderson in London, The Mondrian in West Hollywood and The Delano in Miami. He knows his hotel stuff. As well as being brimming with luxurious touches (and an awesome bar and restaurant… more on that later) the London Edition has a Family Style package which looks after the little ones as well as you.

london-edition-hotel-lobby-bar

London Edition Hotel room

London-Edition-Hotel

London Edition hotel books

What the three-year-old loved…

She had attention lavished upon her from the moment we arrived. At check-in, the staff used her name and chatted to her, complimenting her on her Rapunzel dress. The fact that she had a room of her very own went down well (we were given a Loft room with a connecting room) and you should have SEEN her excited face when she realised she had her own bathroom (“If you need a wee, you can use your toilet. But if I need a wee, I’m going to use MY toilet”). Continue reading

Memories Of Being A New Mum

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

New mum

There are lots of things that remind me of having a small baby. The theme tune of Waybuloo. Walking past the church hall where Baby Sensory classes are held. The music that our baby monitor plays to soothe a child to sleep. The smell of fresh laundry. I cuddled my friend’s seven month old son today and he smelled of washing powder. It immediately transported me back to a time when we seemed to be endlessly washing baby clothes. Our washing machine often got a thrice-daily workout as we laundered muslins, vests, babygrows, bed sheets, t-shirts, pillow cases. You name it, we laundered it.

I distinctly remember walking into our kitchen one day (where our washing machine and clothes dryers live). My daughter must have been only a week old, and the warm damp air hit my face. It smelled – and felt – like an actual laundry! It was the strangest sensation, but no stranger than the whole new reality of being a mum to a tiny, wrinkly, yawning baby.

Another memory that always comes back to me is laughing to myself that our laundry had done from being lots of dark loads – jeans, black tops, dark dresses, black gym gear – to whites and pale pinks. Our drying racks were fit to burst with white muslins, white sleepsuits, pale pink sleeping bags, pale pink vests. We were those totally stereotypical parents of a daughter who had pale pink ‘everything’.

Now, our laundry drying racks look very different again. We’re back to the jeans, the gym clothes and our (nearly four year old) daughter’s wardrobe is filled with bright fun colours. Yes, there’s a bit of pink there, but there’s also red, green, purple, blue…

Our laundry

Our laundry

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