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NEVER CONCISE HOME // THE BARWARE UPDATE

THE BARWARE UPDATE

The festive season is well-and-truly upon us – whether you’re entertaining a crowd or just having a decent night in, a Bar Cart is great addition to a loving corner of your home.

I made our Bar Cart after not being able to find one within budget. You can read the details of my DIY project here:  DIY BAR CART OF DREAMS >>> READ HERE

Have a look at my pick of the best Bar Cart essentials – these would all make for great Christmas gifts too!

CHEERS!

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OLIVER BONAS // GOLD HEXAGON WINE RACK //
£50.00
BuyJohn Lewis & Partners Gold Pineapple, Large Online at johnlewis.com
JOHN LEWIS & PARTNERS // GOLD PINEAPPLE //
£40.00
BuyTom Dixon Plum Shot Glasses With Alcohol Measure Gift Set, Set of 4 Online at johnlewis.com
TOM DIXON // PLUM SHOT GIFT SET //
£70.00

 

TOM DIXON // COPPER TRAY //
£150.00
BuySoho Home Barwell Crystal Cut Glass Martini Shaker, 600ml Online at johnlewis.com
SOHO HOME // CRYSTAL MARTINI SHAKER //
£85.00
BuySoho Home Barwell Crystal Cut Champagne Coupe Glasses, 250ml, Set of 2 Online at johnlewis.com
SOHO HOME // CRYSTAL COUPE GLASSES //
64.00
BuySoho Home Barwell Crystal Cut Rocks Glasses, 300ml, Set of 2 Online at johnlewis.com
SOHO HOME // CRYSTAL ROCKS TUMBLER GLASSES //
£56.00
BuyJohn Lewis & Partners Ice Tongs Online at johnlewis.com
JOHN LEWIS & PARTNERS // ICE TONGS //
£3.00
BuyJohn Lewis & Partners Cocktail Spoon Online at johnlewis.com
JOHN LEWIS & PARTNERS // COCKTAIL SPOON //
£4.00
ASPINAL OF LONDON // LEATHER HIP FLASK //
£49.00
BuyJohn Lewis & Partners Novelty Small Red Trim Chopping Board, L23cm, FSC-Certified (Beech Wood) Online at johnlewis.com
JOHN LEWIS & PARTNERS // RED TRIM BOARD //
£12.00
OLIVER BONAS // MARBLE & COPPER BAR SET //
£60.00
BuyCroft Collection Double Wall Cafetiere, 8 Cup, Copper, 1L Online at johnlewis.com
CROFT COLLECTION // COPPER CAFETIERE //
£45.00
BuyMixology Stainless Steel Freezable Straws, Pack of 6, Silver Online at johnlewis.com
MIXOLOGY // STEEL STRAWS //
£12.00
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M&S // NOUVEAU HI BALL GLASSES //
£19.50
BuyJohn Lewis & Partners Sublime Carafe With Cork, Clear, 1L Online at johnlewis.com
JOHN LEWIS & PARTNERS // SUBLIME GLASS RANGE //
£15.00
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M&S // PRESSED GLASS DECANTER //
£29.50
Image result for Sommelier Carafe MARKS AND SPENCER
M&S // SOMMELIER CARAFE //
£25.00
BuyJust Slate Copper Coasters, Set of 4 Online at johnlewis.com
JUST SLATE // COPPER COASTERS //
£24.99

 

 

 

 

BuyCroft Collection Copper Measuring Spoon, Set of 4 Online at johnlewis.com
CROFT COLLECTION // MEASURING SPOONS //
£8.00
ROWEN & WREN // MOSCOW MULE MUG // AVAILABLE AT NOTONTHEHIGHSTREET.COM
£12.00

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And we can’t have a post about Bar Cart essentials, without taking a quick look at the essential ingredients you need to sit alongside your Bar Cart too!

BuyChase GB Gin in Green Tin, 70cl Online at johnlewis.com
CHASE GB // GIN IN TIN – 70cl //
£32.50
BuySmith & Sinclair F.I.Z.Z. Elderflower Cocktail Bomb, 80g Online at johnlewis.com
SMITH & SINCLAIR // ELDERFLOWER SPRITZ //
£6.00
BuyGraham's Port Selection, 15cl Online at johnlewis.com
GRAHAMS // PORT SELECTION – 15cl //
£16.00
BuyLouis Roederer Brut Premier NV Champagne, 75cl Online at johnlewis.com
LOUIS ROEDERER // PREMIER CHAMPAGNE – 75cl //
£49.00
BuyJohnnie Walker Whisky Collection, 20cl Online at johnlewis.com
JOHNNIE WALKER // WHISKY COLLECTION //
£100.00
BuyFirebox Phoenix Tears Spiced Rum, 50cl Online at johnlewis.com
FIREBOX // PHOENIX TEARS RUM //
£40.00
BuyChase Vodka, 70cl Online at johnlewis.com
CHASE // VODKA – 70cl // £38.00

 

 

 

 

 

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EVENT | Celebrating 80 years of iCandy.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

MM.

 

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!

 

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Surprises from my best friends!

Table at Babylon restaurant, Kensington Roof Gardens.

On Saturday of last week (9th June), I was whisked off to Kensington for lunch with my best friends at Babylon, Kensington Roof Gardens. The restaurant and garden’s were absolutely amazing… there were real-life flamingo’s in the gardens! On the ROOF, in Kensington! Crazy!

When I arrived at the restaurant I called my friends and they came and met me at the reception and lead me to our table. They’d decked the table out with ‘Baby Shower’ banners and presents! What a lovely surprise!

I thought I’d share the lovely gifts that they got us 😀

Scrummy cupcakes from Whole Foods.
Scrummy cupcakes from Whole Foods.

 

We're massive fans of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar", so this amazing box has taken pride of place in the nursery!

 

Lots of presents! Lots of essentials 🙂

 

Beautiful gifts from The Little White Company.

 

Absolutely adore this super-soft bunny rabbit and elephant rattle from The Little White Company!

MM.

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Lifehouse Country Spa Resort – long weekend away…

 

So, Lifehouse Spa!

We had booked this little break away after having all the scans and tests a few weeks ago. We’d decided that we would need a relax after such a rollercoaster couple of weeks…

Being 19 weeks pregnant, we jut wanted to go somewhere where we could relax and chill out for a few days. Get away from it all. A spa was perfect. I literally spent 3 days alternating between the swimming pool and jacuzzi (Hydrotherapy Pool). Unfortunately, all of the treatments were too expensive for our budget… in fact, they were just overpriced in general.

I’m well aware that this review is just going to sound like a right moan! It was our first trip to a Spa though, so we would have expected a bit more in some areas. Albeit, we had a wonderful time and would return tomorrow! But with hindsight of course ;o

Pro’s

– Drinks were relatively cheap.

– Comfortable bed.

– Contemporary room with lovely bathroom and great views of the gardens. Usual coffee and tea making facilities.

– Lovely staff – all very polite and always had a smile.

– Easy place to relax.

– Food was great, restaurant quality.

– Great swimming pool and hydrotherapy pool. Can’t review the Steam, Sauna or Salt Inhalations rooms as I can’t use them being pregnant… but DP absolutely loved all three. So they kept him quiet! 😀

– Loved the Orchids Bar area too… must recommend the bread and olives. Best olives I’ve ever eaten! Amazing! Just £2.00 too!

– Very very nice gardens… it was absolutely blowing a gale outside and raining but this did not deter us! We borrowed some Hunter wellies from reception and had a great walk right around the gardens.

 

Con’s

– We weren’t given a ‘welcome’ note or shown around the complex. So didn’t know what facilities we could and couldn’t use.

– Because of the above, we didn’t know we had a safe in the room, until we were messing on with a rather ambiguous looking drawer underneath the TV!

– Again, because we weren’t given a ‘welcome’ note, we didn’t know that you could order Room Service.

– Couldn’t lock the door to the room.

– No bath in the room – albeit, the shower was incredible. I still could have done with a soak before bed!

– Treatments are expensive and need to be booked well in advance. Many people were left disappointment upon arrival when all appointments were booked up.

– Pregnant ladies cannot use Sauna, Steam room or Salt Inhalation rooms as they raise the body temperature too much.

– Packages that exclude food are very expensive. A lunchtime meal (main and starter) will be around £45 for a couple with one wine and one soft drink. An evening meal is per the set menu, £35 for 3 courses or £28.50 for 2 courses.

– Menu’s left a lot to be desired for someone who is both pregnant and doesn’t eat fish or mushrooms! I ended up having the same evening meal on both nights of our stay because the menu didn’t change… and the Duck dish was the only one that didn’t contain fish or mushrooms! There was also a £3 additional supplement on this.

– There were no decaff teabags! I also wasn’t given an alternative… would have definitely thought there would be decaffeinated everything with it being a health spa!

– No soft drinks menu! Just Wine and Cocktail lists… which isn’t great when you can’t drink! Imagine if you’re an alcoholic visiting for a detox!

– Restaurant was basic-looking; for such an ambitious menu, it was a shame that the restaurant was more like a canteen in a Sainsbury’s with cheap chairs and tables. The chairs of which offered zero support for a pregnant lady.

– There were no bottles of water for free, or even for sale! So it was a case of having to get up every 5 minutes to go to the water fountain in the corner of the ‘Wet Area’. Which is quite annoying when you’re pregnant and just want to lay down, but of course, you need to keep hydrated.

– Although this spa is relatively new, (about a year old), we did notice lots of signs of wear and tear. I actually stood on a piece of broken glass in the Hydrotherapy Pool! Turns out, upon further inspection, lots of the mosaic tiles were cracked and broken, but glued back together. Again, when looking up from the jacuzzi, the ceiling paint was peeling…

It was such a shame there were these little niggles – we really did enjoy ourselves though! Honestly! And we would go back… just hopefully when they have a different menu! 🙂

 

MM.

 

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Coming clean about your pregnancy at work.

So as I mentioned in my previous post, I felt it was the right time to speak to my boss about my pregnancy. Although I am still within the first trimester I feel I owe it to him and the company to come clean. After the Christmas party and the festive drinks and meals of the week before, I was told by a close friend and colleague that people think I might be pregnant… I hadn’t even told her the news yet either! SO I had to REALLY play it down. I had planned to tell EVERYONE ELSE after the 12 weeks. Just to be safe. But now that people were ‘gossiping’ about my impending situation, I felt I had a responsibility to tell my manager before anyone else catches up with him.

So on the morning after the office Christmas party (Friday 23rd) it just so happened that we were the first to turn up at the office… I had a feeling that most people would be arriving somewhat late to work. So I took this as a prime opportunity to take him aside for a chat.

It also, just so happens, that he had an inkling. So when I asked for a chat he had an instant smile on his face. He knew. He so knew.

So I basically said that DP and I were ‘expecting’. To which he grabbed me and shouted congratulations and I KNEW IT! So yes, he did know. I was somewhat taken aback by his excitement. I knew he’d be happy for us as I’ve worked at the company for many years now and I do know my boss outside of work because of this. So I was pleased it wasn’t a shock for him. Ultimately however, as a department, this is the first baby to arrive. SO! It’s going to be a learning curve for everyone that I work around, including my boss. He suggested that I wait for my chat with HR until after Christmas when everyone is back in the swing of things and it can be dealt with properly.

So yesterday I had my chat with HR and they sent a ‘Risk Assessment’ form to my boss for completion. They have also sent me a Guide to Maternity on behalf of the company which outlines the rules and regulations at company-level but also my entitlements and legal standing from the government too.

So that’s that – I’m officially pregnant at work! But shhh, nobody else knows!

Are there any tips or tricks that you found whilst being pregnant at work that might be beneficial?

MM.

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Christmas Party Woes!

It’s that time of year when there are LOTS of invitations to festive drinks and meals. I’ve had TWO important ‘festive drinks’ and a ‘festive meal’ with external companies through work this week… AND I’ve just got back from my office Christmas Party.

I’ve documented my previous struggles with excuses for not drinking in the below blog posts:

TTC: Excuses for not drinking!
TTC: Excuses for not drinking, PART DEUX.

It’s been a struggle again, but because of my recent trips to the hospital I have just been saying that I’m on strict orders not to drink until my “blood test results come back”. I’m pretty certain that people are not convinced – but I have had quite a lot of sympathy! 🙂

So at tonight’s office Christmas party there was the usual free-flowing booze from the onset. I’m usually the one guzzling the freebie’s and dancing the night away… but things are obviously quite different this year! Upon arrival there were ready-made cocktails, with jugs of the same cocktails ready for people who wanted a refill. I obviously couldn’t drink them so politely asked the barmaid for a ‘soft drink’. To my dismay she REFUSED and said that it was the ready made cocktails for the first hour and ‘custom drinks’ could be prepared thereafter. So I said, “I don’t wish to drink a customised drink, I’d just like a lemonade or a tonic water please?”. I actually could not understand!! To my further dismay, she pulled over her manager, who reiterated to me that there were no additional drinks until after 8pm….and that I could have a glass of water if I was “desperate”. Seriously, how rude?!! Nevermind being pregnant – I could be allergic to alcohol, or alcohol may even be against my religion! (Neither of these are true, but they don’t know that!). Has anyone else had trouble with mardy waiting staff?!

Despite being post-8pm I still struggled throughout the evening to obtain non-alcoholic drinks. The music was so loud that most bar staff thought I was asking for Vodka and Lemonade when I was simply asking for ‘JUST LEMONADE PLEASE!’. By 10pm I was absolutely exhausted and frankly, sick of the people behind the bar so left ready for home! Several colleagues did question whether I was pregnant… Most of whom were pretty much beyond drunk and wouldn’t have remembered my answer the next day anyway. But I did shrug all awkward questions off with “Maybe next year”.

Because of the amount of appointments and phone calls I’ve been making during working hours (and the CONSTANT not drinking anxiety!), I feel that the time has come to tell my boss what is really happening. I’m kind of looking forward to finally getting it off my chest – albeit, I know it’s still really early doors. I’d just hate to have people thinking I’m taking advantage…

Wish me luck!

MM.