Another year has passed since I opened the dashboard to this blog. And my feet have barely touched the ground.
We’ve had birthday’s and Christmas, losing job’s, starting a new business, starting a new/old job, more birthday’s and the beginning of our biggest adventure yet – a move across the land and water to BERLIN. As most folk know, we love an adventure. We also love a house move
(not the actual packing and unpacking bit though!) This time, we packed up our suitcases (x3) and somehow managed to get our entire home into a single storage unit and flew out of London Southend airport on 31st August; marking our 9th house move in the near-12 years we’ve been together. And definitely the most exciting house move to date.
We’ve relocated to Prenzlauer Berg, in central Berlin with work. Having been here a fortnight now, we absolutely love it! We will be registering as Berlin resident’s next week, which has so far hindered a lot of other registrations – such as applying for a Kita-Gutschein (I’ll document this process once we have one in hand!) and applying for a bank account etc. So we’ll be able to start to really settle into Berlin life once all these last hurdles have been overcome. PHEW!
In the meantime, I’ll be getting back into engaging with my blog. I’ve missed it so much. But living literally just around the corner from work and Eli’s prospective nursery, I’ll finally be able to find the time to go back to writing and reviewing – and of course, documenting our adventures along the way. I can’t wait!
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Tschüß, bis bald!
I actually adore Little Bird at Mothercare. As mentioned, several times, we look like we live in the 70’s, so Little Bird ensures we all match!
This is one of my favourite little outfits that Eli is currently sporting: ’74 Blue Tee, Green Terry Towelling Shorts (I KNOW!) and Navy Buckle Shoes.
All styles available from Mothercare.com
As most people know, my obsession with Little Bird by Jools Oliver is ever-growing. I literally ADORE all of the clothing; boys and girls clothes! (I may only have a boy, but I can still look at the girls clothes, can’t I?! Faaaaar too cute!) Our house looks like it’s straight from the 70’s and now my little boy does too – and I absa-bloody-loutely love it!Little Bird by Jools Oliver for Mothercare, Navy Buckle Shoes – £15.00.
As with any shoe purchase for Eli, I need to make sure that the shoe is comfortable, fits well and need to see Eli walking in them – so I can assess that they will support his feet and ankles due to his Talipes. These shoes are just perfect. They’re padded inside and are leather, so will naturally mould to Eli’s foot shape over time. Eli has run rings round me wearing these shoes, so I know he definitely has happy feet when he’s got them on!
This shoe style does come in a stunning red colourway too – which I’m tempted to also buy, despite the floral sole!
Wonderful, Yorkshire-based company Little Bird Told Me got in touch recently and asked if
Mr Eli I’d like to review a toy. I was more than happy to oblige – I’m a huge fan of independent retailers, especially those based in the UK. After looking on their website I found that their toy’s are all designed to develop the imagination and skills of children. Perfect!
Mr Eli has recently enjoyed pulling and pushing his toys around – as well as giving everything a good shake too! I really liked the look and sound of the beautiful Rocking Horses, but they’re mostly 18m+. A little old for Eli right now, but would perhaps make a great Christmas present! The Softly Snail Activity Fun House was the perfect choice for us.
I particularly liked the packaging – it really shows this toy off!
Then we removed Mr Snailer (as we’ve fondly named him!) from his box and Eli instantly loved him! HE gave him a big squeeze and a shake for good measure – noticing that the antennae make a rattle sound. The pull-along string is just a nice length. It can also be removed should it be a distraction, using the velcro fastening. I LOVE the little ‘peepo’ door, where you can actually add a photo of your own choice. We’re yet to get one printed. We’re thinking a nice family photo would be lovely.
Eli likes Mr Caterpillar (the Mini Curious Caterpillar). He shake, shake shakes him and pop’s him into the little house. Mr Eli has also recently learned to “kiss”; by kiss we mean place his forehead onto yours. It is just the sweetest thing! Here he is giving Mr Snailer a big kiss and a cuddle.
I also wanted to mention that this toy really is lovely and cuddley. The wooden wheels can also be removed, for cleaning or to make it that little bit more snuggley too.
All in all, Mr Eli really enjoyed this toy and I would certainly recommend Little Bird Told Me to everyone. They’re a truly lovely company!
NB: We were sent the Softly Snail Activity Fun House from Little Bird Told Me for review. This retails at £25 but we were sent it, for free, for the purposes of review. All opinions in this review are my own and are 100% honest. No payment was received for this review.
As it’s London Fashion Week this week, I’ve been really drawn to what’s actually going on, right now, on the high street. One of the first places I always turn to is John Lewis. I’m a little bit of a John Lewis mega fan… But that’s just because I always get the best service there; as well as the best selection from all of the designers and brands they kindly house under one roof!
This week, I’ve had a good rummage through one of my fave British High Street brands, Whistles. As the weather is absolutely abysmal, I thought I’d try and brighten your afternoon with my edit of Whistles treats that are available in store and online at JohnLewis.com!
#1 – Whistles Katlin Heart Blouse, £125.00
WHISTLES SAY: Crafted from luxurious silk, the Katlin Blouse from Whistles is a playfully lux addition to your new season wardrobe.
MM SAYS: Got to start off with this heart print shirt, reminiscent of Burberry’s own heart blouse that has taken celebritydom by storm. I actually prefer this Whistles one however! It’s got more going on, more interesting, lovely colourway. Tucked into skirts and trousers – or even jeans, this makes the perfect addition to your trans-seasonal wardrobe.
#2 – Whistles Lula Tailored Trousers, £110.00
WHISTLES SAY: These smart tailored trousers from Whistles are the perfect style for summer.
MM SAYS: I’d have to disagree with Whistles here, I think these smart tailored trousers are a perfect style all year round! Love the cropped length and side-slit detailing.
#3 – Whistles Blake Dress, £135.00.
WHISTLES SAY: Chic and directional; this elegant shift dress from Whistles offers a round neck, short sleeves and a flattering waistband for feminine appeal.
MM SAYS: I’m really enjoying jewelled tones at the minute – think it’s that shift into Autumn and Winter. I love this emerald green dress. The shape is beautiful, will give you wonderful definition and silhouette.
#4 – Whistles Kir Royale Ankle Boots, £150.00.
WHISTLES SAY: A smart pair of round-toe ankle boots that are a perfect heel height to wear throughout the day and into the night. Versatile enough to be worn with either skinny jeans or a dress.
MM SAYS: I love these boots! Much like the infamous ‘Pistol Boot’ from ACNE, these boots look really comfortable – yet fashion-conscious at the same time. I’d team these boots with midi skirts and dresses, jeans and smart tailoring. Great versatile footwear style for your Winter wardrobe!
#5 – Whistles Cora Exposed Seam Cardigan, £165.00.
WHISTLES SAY: This luxe cashmere cardigan from Whistles has a relaxed open neckline with a minimalist shape, raw exposed seams and two draping side pockets – ideal for layering.
MM SAYS: Don’t you just want to cosy up in this cashmere beauty? Again, the perfect piece for your wardrobe; perfect for smart or casual, plus great for layering on those chilly days!
#6 – Whistles Long Sleeve Sculptured Dress, £110.00.
WHISTLES SAY: Update your wardrobe with this contemporary, chic style from Whistles. It has an on-trend midi length, side panelling and a simple straight shape, it’s feminine and functional.
MM SAYS: POW! Check this amazing dress out for a pop of vibrance in your life. I just LOVE this dress
(I was saving the best till last). Great colour, again, for all year round. Definitely put a smile on my face on this absolutely miserable September afternoon that’s for sure! I love the length of this dress; as well as the sleeve length. It would certainly hide a multitude of sins when you’re not feeling your best. I think it looks REALLY expensive. It’s worth the pricetag this one!
Hope you enjoyed my picks from Whistles. Don’t forget you can shop Whistles online at JohnLewis.com – they offer FREE delivery for all order’s over £5o too. Bonus round!
A few months ago I was contacted by iCandy; it was all a little bit secret. I was intrigued, excited. Then a few weeks ago I received the most wonderfully presented envelope, in the post, that I’d seen in a long time! Inside was even better, an invitation to the iCandy 80th Anniversary event on Tuesday 10th September, at superb events venue, One Marylebone, London.
I was thrilled to be invited and of course made that RSVP shortly after.
Looking forward to the event, I made my journey into London early so that I could meet my OH and he could then take Mr Eli for some lovely food and then home for bed. I arrived at One Marylebone just a little after 6:30pm, where I was greeted with the warm welcome of event staff, a red carpet and a truly eye-catching iCandy facade, laden with vibrantly coloured parasols!
Upon ticking my name off the guest list, I was ushered upstairs; where I was promptly handed a glass of Moët & Chandon and walked around the show space that displayed all the beautiful iCandy designs to date.
I paid particular attention to the newest model, the Apple2Pear, as I hadn’t yet seen it in real life. I was astonished at the versatility and function of the design. Coming in 7 different colours, I am drawn to the Chilli and Raspberry Blue colourways. This is definitely the perfect travel system for when your family grows.
So as the drinks flowed and the very tasty canapés were devoured, the time had come to head downstairs for the show to really begin! I was shown to a magical room filled with all things ‘woodland’, including a huge tree.
I was seated on front row, or FROW as you fashionista’s will refer to it these days 😉 Once everyone was seated we were treated to the most amazing sounds of Whinnie Williams – voice like an actual angel!
Other familiar faces to FROW were Imogen Thomas, Grace Woodward, Jasmine Guinness and Jodie Kidd. We were then introduced to iCandy‘s Managing Director Martin Boyle and joint CEO’s the Appel Brother’s themselves. It was incredible listening to men with such passion for their work – and their teams. I was in literal tears during the speeches. A new partnership between iCandy and The Lullaby Trust was also formally announced; and a cheque of £5,000 was given to the trusts’ CEO, Francine Beats. iCandy have teamed up with ex-Mulberry designer, Janet Collin, who has created a special new changing bag; the Emilia bag. £10 from the sale of each bag, will be given to The Lullaby Trust.
Following the speeches was a fashion show, previewing the 2014 collection. New flavour packs in bright colours, upgraded designs (including a black chassis) and fashion-conscious handbags.
The highlight for me was the big reveal of the forthcoming new model to the iCandy family, The iCandy Raspberry. Of which, I was in actual awe – both during the catwalk show and post-show, where I stood for a good 30 minutes watching the hands-on demonstration, showing us all the multitude of ways the pushchair can be flipped and changed around, as well as folded up. The iCandy Raspberry is a stunning piece of innovative design, in form and function. The design is very, very neat, lightweight and stylish. The iCandy Raspberry is suitable from birth, but does not have a carrycot! Brilliant! There is however a very snuggly newborn “Pod” that will keep your brand new arrival warm, cosy and most importantly, secure. This pushchair has been designed for the city-dweller, someone who needs a pram that is adept in crowds and along city streets, lightweight to get up stairs and on public transport, but it’s also pretty darn cool too! The best-looking pram I’ve EVER seen – and we’ve seen A LOT of prams! This design can lay completely flat, but also reclines for older children; it’s also forward and parent-facing. Bonus. I also want to mention that I was shocked at how small the Raspberry was when folded, it’s tiny. We currently have an iCandy Strawberry and although it folds down well, we do struggle to get it in and out of the car – and it does take up pretty much the entire boot of our VW Polo. The Raspberry would give you back your boot, if you’re in the same situation!
I also loved the large shopping basket on the iCandy Raspberry, which features a ‘glove compartment’ as I fondly like to call it. The hard case could house your raincover, keys, phone etc, great for keeping your valuables out of sight. The iCandy Raspberry will come in around 7 new colour flavour packs, names to be confirmed. But the colours that were displayed were just stunning. I want them ALL! I love that you can swap and change the colours around – so versatile.
After the demonstration I headed over to the cupcake table, passing the very lovely ’80’ cake and took 2 cupcakes home. One for me with a midnight cup of tea and one for OH, who’d had a tough evening with Mr Eli. We both really appreciated those delicious cup cakes, believe me! I also thoroughly enjoyed my lovely iCandy goodie bag filled with lots of lovely catalogues, magazine, leather-bound note book, mug, pen and yummy chocolates!
What an absolutely amazing evening was had by all. I just want to say a BIG THANK YOU to iCandy for inviting me to the event. It was wonderful to meet the brains behind the brand and to experience the passion of everyone involved.
PS – Apologies for the rubbish quality of some of the photos. The show was very quick-paced and the lighting changed frequently. Plus, to be fair, I need a new phone!
Location: Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest.
Length of stay: Monday-Friday, May 2013.
Lodge: New Executive Lodge, 653 (Cedar).
Number of people: 6 Adults, 2 Children, 2 Infants.
Back in May we went on our first family holiday to Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest. There was a total of 10 of us going so stayed in one of the New Executive Lodge’s, 653 in Cedar to be precise. We were overwhelmed by just how cool the lodge was when we pulled up outside it! My OH’s family have been visiting several Center Parc’s locations since OH was VERY young. But they all confirmed that this was “the very best lodge we’ve ever stayed in!” as soon as we were through the door.
Once inside the door there is space for coats and shoes; plus space for 2 (large) prams to fit in nicely. There was also a huge broom cupboard to house all our suitcases and umbrellas, plus additional bedding, hoover, dustpan and brush, iron, ironing board etc. There was a dining table to seat 8 plus we had 2 high chairs brought to the lodge in advance. The highchairs were the same as the ones we found right across Center Parcs in the restaurants and places. This meant we didn’t have to figure out how to use a new highchair every time we went somewhere new, but it also meant that Eli knew it was dinner time as he recognised the highchair. This really helped with consistency. The highchairs are all easy clean, but the tray cannot be removed, or even moved closer to your little one. So there was quite a lot of space between Eli and his tray. He managed ok though. We had maid service who replenished bedding and towels and cleaned the lodge daily.
SO! A little look around Lodge 653…
There were 2 double bedrooms and 2 twin bedrooms. We were brought 2 good size cots for the baba’s too. Albeit, we had been told by friends to take our own cot bedding as this is not provided.
Bedroom’s were very nice sizes, lots of space for a cot. Not a lot of hangers in the wardrobe though! But we made-do. Would have to mention here that the bedding was atrociously LOUD! Never ever tried sleeping in anything like it! The bed was really comfy but the duvet sounded like crisp packets, every time you BREATHED! Huge let down as it looked wonderful! After the first night we ended up taking taking the sheets off the duvet and slept in those instead. Would recommend taking your own sheets/blankets.
Each bedroom has it’s own en-suite, which is absolutely perfect when sharing with so many people! We had an amazing shower in ours. Upstairs, there were also two balconies off the bedrooms, complete with bistro set, overlooking the woodland. The living room was just lovely, huge ‘L’ shaped sofa, that I fell asleep on every night. It was just so comfy! We also had an open fire, which marked my first experience with a real indoor fire! OH led the log-burning ceremony every night. We weren’t blessed with good weather for the duration of our stay (in true British fashion!) so the wood burner was well-used! The kitchen was really spacious, with ton’s of cupboards and two fridges, an oven, hob, microwave and even a dishwasher! You are provided with a tiny amount of washing liquid, so best to take your own too. There was also a really nice breakfast bar, that the kids loved sitting at!
We had a great patio with dining set and BBQ – we also had regular visits from the local wildlife too! We were lucky enough to have a Lodge with not only it’s own Games Room (PERFECT for the kids and Grandad!) that had a Pool table, huge TV with PS3 and a ton of board games; but we also had our own Sauna! Bliss!
Eli is such a water baby it’s untrue – he LOVES his swimming. The Sub-Tropical Paradise was amazing. Loads of slides and play areas for children of all ages! We’ve never seen Eli happier than when he was splashing about in the baby pool. He absolutely loved it! OH and I also frequented the Rapids and new water slide. We had a particularly wonderful moment, when we were all in the outdoor pool and it began raining so so ferociously. The water in the outdoor pool was steaming hot and the rain droplets were ice cold. Very memorable and VERY refreshing! This may also have contributed to the Post-CP cold we all had! oops….
I’d also point out that you cannot take a pram or buggy into the swimming area. Eli will only sleep in his pram so this was a huge downside for us, plus our iCandy Strawberry was not cheap! We did however purchase a padlock and locked our pram in the outdoor buggy park. We purchased the padlock for £3 at the Bike Hire shed. I keep the padlock in Eli’s changing bag now, incase we’re ever faced with a similar situation anywhere else. There are ‘cots’ (more like play pens!) for your children but we struggled to get Eli to sleep in one. Could have been that it was so warm and noisy in the Dome too.
The food was great at every restaurant we visited. The staff at all restaurants really went out of their way to accomodate us, it was an absolute pleasure to eat out! I can really recommend the French Onion soup from Cafe Rouge – I had it twice, it was so good! Equally, their English Breakfast went down a storm as we prepared for the big drive home on our last day. The ribs at Huck’s American Diner were melt in the mouth, just so tasty. I’d also recommend the Indian take away. BEST Indian take away I think we’ve ever had. Very low-cost too!
Mid-week, OH and I indulged on our first night out since welllllll before Eli arrived. We had a few drinks at the Lodge and then went onto Strada. The manager even brought over a glass of Prosecco as it was almost my birthday! Such a lovely touch. Our table overlooked the Dome, which was just incredible by night with all the trees and tropical plants lit up in the dark. We then went onto Cafe Rouge for a glass of red outside, under a heater. It was so so lovely to catch up with OH and have a proper date night. It was long overdue. We then went for a few cocktails and to the ‘adult disco’. We thoroughly enjoyed dancing to the horrendously cheesy (mostly 90s) music, it was great fun!
We all had an amazing time at Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest and would go back in a heartbeat. There is a TON of stuff to do, especially if you have a family. There’s also a spa, if you’re in the mood for some R & R. Center Parcs is great if you’re thinking about planning a family break, I seriously cannot recommend it enough!
I have just noted a few things that might come in handy if you’re going to visit a Center Parcs soon…
– Take your own food and drink. The Parc Market is a little bit more expensive than your usual supermarket. You can easily add £1-£2 on the price of what you would pay at home. But, of course, the Parc Market is great if you do forget something – it’s VERY well stocked.
– Take washing up liquid, especially if you’re still washing umpteen bottles like us!
– Take your own cot bedding.
– Likewise, take your own bedding if you don’t want to be disturbed by the crispy sheets provided!
– Be prepared to leave your pram/buggy outside in the Buggy Park. If you have an expensive pram, take a padlock with you so you’re not worrying the entire time about leaving it!
– Would really recommend the Dine In service. The Indian take away was just amazing. SO authentic, so tasty. Very affordable.
– Aside from the take away service, you must book all restaurants and any other activities you’d like to do on your trip. You also need to hand over a £5 deposit, per person, for every single restaurant reservation. This came out quite costly when we booked all our meals all at the same time. The deposit is deducted from your meal however, Bare this in mind if you want to dine out or partake in any activities. At Sherwood Forest, you make your reservations at the desk by the Bowling alley.
– At this particular location, we found that the Family changing cubicles were very few, so had to wait quite a while for one to become available. They were hit-and-miss on size too. We struggled at times with Eli; the changing ‘area’ for babies is made from quite a hard, evasive material, almost like concrete, so not particularly comfortable or easy on the eye. This definitely upset Eli, he didn’t like the cold concrete or the look of it, I don’t think! The entire changing experience wasn’t great, the lockers by the Family changing were miles away from the showers and were also quite far from the pool entrance. The changing area is a MAZE.
I was not endorsed for this review in any way. All opinions are my own.
day job career I set up and manage all digital communities for a high-end British Fashion retailer. My life literally revolves around Facebook and Twitter (as well as Insta.gram, Pinterest, Foursquare, Youtube, Vimeo, hell, even Google+!). My friends will cite me as a “Social Media guru”, I’m modest… but I’d prefer to refer to myself as a “Social Assassin”.
Alas, I digress.
My best friends went away to Paris recently (and came back ENGAGED! YES!) but
more importantly they also brought back this amazing baby grow for us! I had wondered how long it would be before the Social Media slogan/graphic tee’s and vest’s would be handed over… 😉
We haven’t yet decided whether we’ll be signing up Baby Boy bump to the Social sites… what are your thoughts? Yes or no?
Baby Boy’s bath robe with boat detail to back, £22.50.
Click here to purchase from TheWhiteCompany.com
Cuddle your baby dry in this soft and absorbent robe with a cosy hood so baby’s head stays warm too. Made from our very high quality, pure cotton towelling, with a jersey sail boat appliqué. Belt is stitched securely at the back.
100% cotton towelling.
I’ve been looking for after-bath towels and bath robes. This is my favourite so far! So lovely and snuggly! Purchase from The Little White Company.