Because I’m Happy #3

It’s two months since my last Happy post…. but don’t worry, it’s not because I’ve been wallowing in unhappiness during that time. Kind of the opposite actually! So, here’s what’s been making me feel happy, of late…

M&S trainers

Bagging some bargain trainers. I spotted these lovely Marks & Spencer trainers on Kat Got The Cream – they were £29.95 and are reduced to £8 in the sale. £8! For real. I love them. Granted, it’s too hot to wear them at the moment but I will…

Midweek BBQs. Something it’s not too hot for! There’s something so BRILLIANT about a midweek barbie, isn’t there? It feels a bit naughty to sling some burgers and bangers on the grill and eat outside. On a Wednesday! Plus, the four-year-old loves any excuse to eat sausages, so she’s happy too.

Junior Design Awards

Being a judge in the Junior Magazine Design Awards 2015. This is something I’m hugely thrilled about – Junior Magazine have asked me to be a judge in their prestigious Design Awards. During its 15 year history, Junior has celebrated the best designer and high street children’s fashion labels, the luxurious hotels and fine restaurants that can cater to a family’s every whim while retaining high standards, the coolest and most child-friendly interiors, and the top classic and modern toys and books. Every year, they call upon parenting and family brands, products and experiences to enter the awards, to be judged against each other in order to bring their readers the cream of the crop.

I’ll be judging the lifestyle categories including travel, books, toys, dining, buggies and cots. Other judges on the Junior Design Awards include my fellow blogger and journo Erica Davies from the Edited, TV presenter Kirsty McCabe, singer Rachel Stevens, designer Olivia Rubin and Cass Chapman from Kodomo. If you run or look after a brand, you can register to enter here.


Discovering I like drinking gin! I’ve never been a fan of gin…. until now. I think I must be a proper grown up or something, because when I was in Mallorca last month with Scott Dunn Travel (full post on that coming shortly) I drank gin. Twice. And I liked it. It’s like a whole new world of drinks have just opened up to me. First up, I’m trying out this amazing looking gin that Martin Miller’s sent me – it’s distilled in England using water from an Icelandic spring. Gin and tonic on ice, anyone?…

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23 Thoughts That Parents Have During A Heatwave


1. Ooh YAY it’s going to get warm!

2. Oh crap. It’s going to get HOT. 33C? We’re going to melt.

3. Where’s the paddling pool? Why don’t I have a set place to store things like paddling pools? I’m totally going to create a ‘Seasonal items’ box in the cupboard under the stairs for this kind of thing.

4. I’ll just buy a new paddling pool.

5. Oh crap. Why has everywhere sold out of paddling pools? Wonder if I can buy this toddler ball pit and fill that up with water? If I buy three super soakers and spray my child with them, will that be the same as having a paddling pool?

6. I found a paddling pool! I officially win at life. This is as good as getting a half price turkey on Christmas Eve.

7. Totally going to sit with my feet in this paddling pool, while my little one splashes around in it.

8. Why does my child refuse to put on sunscreen and wear a hat? How can I make this happen without a full on tantrum? Maybe I can creep up on her and slather the cream on her before she notices.

9. Didn’t work. Neighbours now hate me because I’ve ruined their chilled ambience by shouting “I’m going to count to three!” and my child screaming and wailing.

10. Shall we have an impromptu BBQ tonight?

11. Oh crap. Why has everywhere sold out of burgers? All that’s left are korma-flavoured beef kebabs.

12. Mmmm I can smell next door’s BBQ. They have burgers. Dammit – they must have planned ahead.

13. Does opening the windows make the house cooler, or just let warm air in?

14. Will my neighbours think we’re weird if we keep the curtains closed all day, to keep the sunshine out?

15. Whyyyy is there no air in my upstairs rooms?

16. My child is never going to get to sleep in this heat.

17. Ooh, I’ll get the oscillating fan and put it on in her bedroom. Now where did we put the fan? See, told you we needed a seasonal items box. The fan would be in that box, if we had one.

18. Found it. In the airing cupboard. Obviously.

19. Do oscillating fans even do anything apart from push warm air around the room?

20. Oscillating is such a funny word. Oscillating. Oscillating. Oscillating.

21. I’m just going to have this cold glass of wine. Just to cool myself down, you understand.

22. Ooh I’ve caught the sun today.

23. Oh crap, now I can’t get to sleep. My pillow feels so warm. It’s too hot for my duvet but it just feels weird to lie here without anything over me. When I create my seasonal items box, I should put some thin bed sheets in there.

Image: DTTSP

3 Ways To Bring Some Wimbledon Spirit Into Your Home

There are a few signs that summer is truly with us – the sound of the ice cream van chiming a tune as it drives along your street, the smell of cut grass and burnt sausages filling the air and Wimbledon being on the telly. Wimbledon is one of the few sporting events that I love to watch. Growing up in Scotland, where the schools break up for summer at the end of June, I would always spend the first two weeks of the summer holidays watching tennis with my friends (in between running around outdoors, playing Connect 4 and going to the roller disco, obvs).

And Wimbledon spirit is still going strong with me – we even have the four-year-old keen to watch! Yesterday, she had a sports instructor come to her pre-school and they did an hour of tennis, in honour of Wimbledon starting. She just announced to me that she really want to watch Andy Murray playing later today (I suspect she’ll get bored after five minutes, but I’m keen to encourage her to watch).

If you’re a fan of the tennis too, there are some easy ways you can bring the Wimbledon spirit into your home.

1. Make a large pitcher of Pimm’s and lemonade. Mix one part Pimm’s with three parts lemonade, add ice, strawberries, mint, cucumber and lemon. Then enjoy!

Jug of Pimm's

2. Buy some gorgeous official Wimbledon towels. These are the actual towels used by the tennis players at Wimbledon – Christy have been making and supplying them for the past 28 years. You can buy both the men’s and women’s towels for £29 and use them to wipe the sweat from your brow as your watch Andy Murray in the Championships. (Christy also have a fab guide to throwing a Wimbledon party)…

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What Advice Will You Give Your Kids About Money?


Back when I was 18, I went to uni, opened a student bank account and did that classic thing of spending into my overdraft (free money!) and running up credit card debts (more free money!). I spent my weekends buying ‘going out tops’ in Miss Selfridge… and bottles of Bacardi Breezer in the local Wetherspoons. Three years and £3000 of debt later, my parents helped me repay what I owed and I vowed to get on the financial straight and narrow.

I was really lucky that my folks could help me (they also gave me a HUGE talking to and made me realise how stupid I’d been) and actually, since then, on the whole, I’ve been sensible with money. It helps that Mr P, who I met around the same time as I cleared my debt, is super good with money and reigns me in any time I get grand ideas about making big purchases or booking extravagant holidays. “Do we really need some Eames-style chairs and a table from” he’ll say. “Shall I just paint the cheap IKEA table and chairs we’ve had for eleven years?” He’s a keeper that one.

But I do think about the advice I’ll pass onto our daughter, as she gets older and gets pocket money, before eventually opening up her own current account

  • I’ll tell her that there is so much more joy in buying something that you’ve saved up for.
  • I’ll tell her that while it’s tempting to buy on credit, if you don’t have the funds to pay it off, it can bring you a lot of stress and worry – and end up costing you more in the long run.
  • I’ll tell her however that credit cards aren’t the root of all evil – it’s sensible to have one for emergencies, or even to spend on for daily purchases providing you can pay off the balance in full each month.
  • I’ll tell her to read up on interest rates and foreign currency exchange rates – making small wins in these ways can make a big difference.
  • Most of all though, I’ll tell her to be sensible, and that if she gets into any financial difficulty, she can always tell me about it.

What advice will you give your children about money?

This post was written in collaboration with TSB – for details of how I work with brands, see my Work With Me Page.


The Elms Hotel: The Most Peaceful Family Hotel In Britain?

Review of luxury family hotel, The Elms in Worcestershire

Family-friendly and peaceful aren’t often phrases that go hand in hand together. Usually, family-friendly can mean noisy, chaotic, buzzing, fun. But we just spent a couple of nights staying at The Elms Hotel in Worcestershire and I’m wondering if we have discovered the most peaceful family-friendly hotel in Britain.

There were plenty of families there, many with babies and toddlers and some, like us, with pre-schoolers taking advantage of being able to go away midweek outside of the school holiday period. But despite the number of little ones at The Elms, there was an incredibly quiet and chilled atmosphere, all around the hotel and grounds. Of course, there was the odd cry, babble or laugh to be heard but the majority of the time, all I could hear was birdsong, the trickle of the garden fountain and clicking of tea cups on saucers as parents relaxed in the sunshine.

Review of luxury family hotel, The Elms in Worcestershire

Review of luxury family hotel, The Elms in Worcestershire

Set in an impressive Queen Anne building, The Elms is as cosy and plush inside as it is colourful and fun outside. The lounge and bar areas have inviting sofas, huge fireplaces, grandfather clocks and endless rows of cushions for you to sink into. Our bedroom was traditionally styled with soft pink hues and beautiful period furniture.

Review of luxury family hotel, The Elms in Worcestershire

Review of luxury family hotel, The Elms in Worcestershire

Review of luxury family hotel, The Elms in Worcestershire

Review of luxury family hotel, The Elms in Worcestershire

Review of luxury family hotel, The Elms in Worcestershire

Outside on the front lawn, guests can play croquet, play football or jump on the large trampoline. Through the back, there are tables and chairs on the grass, benches by the water fountain, beautiful flower gardens, a vegetable patch (complete with scarecrow) and a path that leads to the outdoor kids’ play area….

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