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INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY // 2 0 1 9

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Stay soft. Stay brave. Stay fierce. Stay kind. Stay curious. Stay honest. Keep supporting your peers, your family, your friends & strangers, who happen to be WOMEN. Oh and just love with your whole heart, you wonder WOMAN 🖤

These words, by Elizabeth Gilbert, resonated with me⤵️
“The women I love and admire for their strength and grace did not get that way because shit worked out. They got that way because shit went wrong and they handled it. They handled it a thousand different ways on a thousand different days, but they handled it. Those women are my superheroes”.

BTW – I’m all for equality and you’ll usually find me defending men, actually. “But how is that fair when a man isn’t able to get involved too?”. For today, today, let’s just celebrate the WOMAN and her achievements, yes? ✌🏼✌🏿✌🏾✌🏽✌🏼✌️

C
✖️✖️✖️

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The Big Feastival 2014.

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Well, I’ve been meaning to write up this post for a long while now! But, the usual happened… Lots going on with work, Eli running riot, holiday shopping, going on holiday (INCREDIBLE HOLIDAY – post to most certainly follow), more work and family time.

SO! Where do I begin?

We had the most amazing weekend at The Big Feastival and we were so sad when it came to an end! From start to finish – from the delicious food and drink we had the pleasure of tasting, actually watching and meeting our favourite Chef’s and of course, the absolutely incredible activities and performers for the kids. (I *even* loved the camping part too!). Quite literally, our perfect festival! We cannot wait until next year!

This post is most likely to be quite photo-heavy.

So here it goes!

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Our journey there (and back) was brilliant. No traffic and beautiful country roads as we travelled from our Essex-home to the Cotswolds. Eli slept a lot which was also great. We’d been up since 5am, so we hoped he’d sleep in the car to catch up. (We also could have done with sleeping en route too – we barely slept a wink for the excitement!)

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Our car was brilliant going across the fields – finally, proper off-roading in our off-roading car! It was raining and really quite chilly when we arrived on site, at Alex James’ farm.  We decided it best to hire a Mr Trolley, because as you can see, we did not travel light! I don’t know how we would have managed without it to be honest, lots and lots and lots of trips back and forth to the car I guess! Which, frankly, isn’t ideal with a toddler and drizzle! We hired the trolley when we arrived and again when we were packing up on the Sunday. We hired the trolley for the minimum time of 30 minutes. We weren’t far from the car so filling and emptying the trolley and returning it back to the Mr Trolley stand took no time at all! We located some flat land within the Family Campsite and set to work…

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Our wicked tent cost just £50 from Halfords! I honestly cannot recommend this tent enough. I’m not a camper, by any stretch of the imagination, (although after this trip, I might be a camper now!), but this tent was perfect! It took about 15 minutes to put up and about 10 minutes to take back down again (thanks to the help from Mr Eli of course!). It was sturdy and roomy inside; and it felt like really good quality. We’ve had a ‘pop-up’ tent previously (unfortunately, this tent is lost somewhere between France and Newcastle due to friends not returning it back to us, post-2008 Surf trip . They know we’re not happy about it…) and the new tent is by far a better product! I look forward to camping with this tent again.

We decided that we didn’t want to sleep on the floor of the tent – let’s be honest, we’re too old to be sleeping on the floor now. I also refused to sleep on a blow-up bed or with a sleeping bag. We purchased two very, very comfortable camp bed’s for a tenner each from eBay (brand new, inc postage!) and we took a long our Winter duvet as it tends to get very cold on a night, even in August. I suppose you could call us Glampers in respect of this. Eli also equally had his Glamping cap on with his Little Bird by Jools Oliver sheets and blankets in his travel cot.

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Never before have we been to a festival where there are food stalls on the camp site. The main ‘arena’ didn’t open until after 10, so the stalls were much-needed for our breakfast before you head into the main area. Of course, this isn’t any old food van on a campsite! This is a “Le Swine” van by Bruno Loubet! Also wanted to mention that on each campsite there are an amazing amount of loo’s, showers and an area to use a cooking stove should you wish. There were no camp fires allowed on the site, at all. I thought this was brilliant. I was of course worried about other people using gas around out tent due to there being several tragedies in the past few years, so this set me at ease. And how nice is it waking up and not smelling of fire?! Definitely made for a lovely camping experience.

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And… we’re in!

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We watched DJ BBQ for a wee while and then decided to head for some late-lunch!

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Mr Memoirs headed straight to the DJ BBQ stall where he ordered this incredible pulled pork burger! YUM!

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Me, being me, opted for Risotto… because that’s what you have when you arrive at a festival, right?

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We then spent some time at Adam Henson’s farm. Eli is a massive animal-lover so he was in his element being able to get up close and personal with all the lovely animals!

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We then caught Mr Levi Roots and his Reggae band.

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The Doom Bar tent by Sharps Brewery was particularly awesome, with its beach and secret tasting rooms! I had a lovely pint of IPA which tasted like honey.

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We’ve been going to festivals for over ten years now. But this festival was special. We had our beautiful, and well-behaved, little boy in tow – it literally could not have been any better!

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Dancing at the main stage!

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Having a drink with one of our favourite people, Mr Gennaro Contaldo. Last time we caught up with Gennaro, Eli was fast asleep and we were sat they didn’t meet properly. This time, Eli was more than awake!

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Time for the Hello Apparel to come out! This lovely sweater is available in store and online at Southwood Stores.

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Want to also do a massive shout-out to the ever-so-brilliant ladies from the Up All Hours tent. They provided a cosy, home-from-home environment in which you could change and feed your little one’s. I loved chatting to you both over the weekend! Thank you for making our festival experience a fresh and clean one! (And cheers for all the goodies you send us home with too!).  Up All Hours is a new parenting platform that connects, entertains and most importantly supports parents who are ‘Up All Hours’. sign up, here> Up All Hours.

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The Katsu curry from Yu Kyu was so good I had it TWICE over the course of the weekend.
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Crepes from Crêpe Lucette to satisfy my sweet tooth.

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It went A LOT higher and faster than I expected… and seemed to be never-ending!

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Only bumped into our favourite off of Countryfile! Mr Adam Henson!

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We went for ‘Number 5′ from Alex James’ Cheese Hub – and what a choice! It was so delicious and creamy – and went really well with our red wine back at the tent.

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I will have to do a blog post on everything Little Bird by Jools Oliver related – too much to talk about!

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One of our festival highlights was watching the lovely Justin Fletcher from CBeebies.

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I can’t bare these… but Mr Memoirs do love a Bloody Mary! He thoroughly enjoyed this one from Little Devil. It didn’t half have a kick to it!

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Well, this was dreamy! Amazing smoked short rib in a brioche bun with salsa and a fried egg. RIDICULOUSLY GOOD! It was the salsa that really did it for me. This was from the stunning Barbecoa van.

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Oh heck, it’s only David Loftus and Bruno Loubet!

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Chatting to David Loftus while we wait for Jamie and Jools to come from round the van!

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These two people, right there, are my favourite people. I adore Jamie and Jools (I know you’re all so sick of hearing this now!) but I do. We’re huge Jamie Oliver fans – every recipe we’ve ever cooked and in every Jamie restaurant we’ve ever dined, we’ve always eaten the most tasty food our tummies could muster. And Jools, well, Jools has given me the chance to dress my son in beautiful clothes that suit US as a family. Our son wears clothes that reflect him as a person and he looks so damn cool it’s untrue (not even being biased).  Oh, and while we’re on it…

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Speaking with Jools Oliver is probably the most star-struck I’ve ever been! (Even after meeting all those rockstars… and indeed the actual Queen!). She’s just beautiful, isn’t she?!

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We had a lovely Gin and Tonic while the boy slept, from the great guys over at Fever Tree. We love their soft drinks (mixers), they go amazingly well with Sipsmith Gin and Chase Vodka too!

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Watching Daisy Lowe bake (who knew she was doing that now?!) with her Mum Pearl Lowe and Danny Goffey standing infront of us.

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Seeing Jamie and Gennaro cook together in real life was an absolute pleasure. The relationship they both have is wonderful. They were so funny, informative and so full of passion.

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My path recently crossed with Alex James’ via work. I would have loved a chat and a proper photo with him but unfortunately his P.A wouldn’t let me. Such a shame! I took a #selfie irregardless, ha!

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We waited for what felt like hours for our pizza’s from Rossopomodoro – but when they arrived, my goodness, they were goooood! Worth the wait!

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Fat Boy Slim was incredible! We hadn’t intended on staying for the set from Norman Cook, but we got sucked in! Eli was fast asleep and the crowd was just so happy – the atmosphere was amazing!

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The next morning was our final day (booooooo). Mr Eli helped us pack up the tent so we could then go into the main arena and enjoy the rest of our last day at the festival.

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Eli and I had lovely bacon rolls and Mr Memoirs opted for Kedgeree from What The Dickens!

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Our first stop (and possibly my actual highlight of the festival!) was seeing the delightful Mr Bloom swoon. Eli was in absolute awe – he was so mesmerised, it was beautiful to watch him!

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Then we went to see Jamie and Adam Henson…

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…followed by Monica Galetti (who was surprisingly lovely in real life!)

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Then we spotted Mr Nathan Outlaw.

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After a final mooch around the site and a spot of lunch (yes, we went and had a Katsu Curry again) it was time to get the car packed up and drive home. We literally had the BEST weekend – we had the time of our lives, all of us. This is the perfect festival for a family – and of course, a foodie.

I must also take this opportunity to thank the brilliant folk over at Jamie’s Italian without whom we would not have had tickets The Big Feastival! We sadly missed out on the Early Bird tickets for the 2015 Big Feastival as it was while we were on holiday (we didn’t time that well did we!) but we will certainly be booking up when they’re available for general release.

MANY THANKS AGAIN BIG FEASTIVAL – YOU WERE EPIC!

MM.

 

 

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“Beep beep’m beep beep yeah” | I FINALLY passed!

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This time last week I was plodding about the house… already getting nervous about Thursday. For Thursday I would be having ANOTHER driving test. I hadn’t told anyone when my test was (aside from work). Mr Memoirs didn’t even have a clue. I have a terrible habit of getting myself worked up over things. I’ve always been a worrier. More so since having Eli of course, but still, I worry needlessly. Much to my disadvantage when I have an impending driving test!

After all these years of not driving… and not even wanting to drive, to it becoming such a necessity in my life that I was without. It wasn’t just the umpteenth walk up to the ‘local’ hospital for Eli’s physio appointment, or the walk up to Sainsbury’s for the second time that day, for the million things I’d forgotten (and having to cart it all back on the back of the pram)… or the fact I was trekking 2 HOURS every day to get Eli to nursery and back. It’s so much more than that. It’s the freedom to whisk my family away if need’s be. To be able to do things my friends do; and not miss out because the car seat would be a problem. Of course, I really wanted to be without the trek to the nursery. Nobody want’s to walk 2 hours every day in the howling wind and rain (granted, it was a lovely walk when the sun shone, but since July the path has been treacherous to say the very least – thank you Brentwood Council for making a massive pig’s ear of your roads – which in turn, made a massive pig’s ear of the path!). We’re free – as a family. And that’s so exciting.

I honestly cannot believe it. It feels very surreal.

My first drive was the nursery run. I felt liberated and a nervous wreck. I parked 5 minutes walk away in a pub car park because the nursery forecourt is a driving nightmare. Picking Eli up on Friday felt amazing. I did feel like I was an illegal driver however, and it really felt like all the other drivers KNEW I was new to the roads… it’s like they were all looking at me in my car. So very strange. I know they weren’t looking, at all!

The car still feels very big and I must have stalled about 40 times in the 6 drives I’ve done (mostly trying to get off the drive – it’s a hill). But all in all, I *think* I’m getting there. I CAN drive. I AM a driver. And that feels nice.

MM.

NB: I took 5 driving tests. Proof that you shouldn’t ever give up – if you want something, you will achieve it, eventually. Also, Brentwood Test Centre has a pass rate of 36% – they’re ridiculously harsh; to the point that I was failed on my last test because I wasn’t dramatic enough with how I was making observations – the examiner agreed that during the “incident” in question, I “did look”, it just wasn’t “obvious enough”.  I’d failed my previous tests for similar issues. I knew I was a good driver at heart, I let the nerves get the better of me, but this time I wasn’t going to be beaten! Plus my Provisional License was due to expire in October this year and I sure as hell was not going to get that renewed – I NEEDED that Full License! And I got it! DON’T GIVE UP – KEEP ON PLODDING! And you never know, if you’re taking your driving test as a ‘mature student’ like I was, maybe you might have a nicer test centre who appreciate how difficult it is to not be that ruthless and overly confident 17 year old! I will keep my fingers crossed for you. 

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Belle & Boo | Very Merry Christmas (book).

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This week I received the most wonderful book in the post – “Belle & boo, and the Very Merry Christmas.

We’re mad on Christmas, always have been – always will be. I think most people are surprised our tree and decorations aren’t up yet to be honest… but we’re traditionalists since Mr Eli arrived, getting a real tree again this year, on 1st December.

Anyway, I digress. We had decided last year, that we would buy Mr Eli a Christmas book every year; that we would sit and read on Christmas Eve. Last year we went classic with  The Night Before Christmas, by Clement. C. Moore. This Christmas Eve, we’ll be reading our amazingly beautiful “and the Very Merry Christmas” book by Belle & Boo creator, Mandy Sutcliffe.

I’d had this book on my ‘wish list’ since it was announced on pre-order. I was TOO excited. So imagine my absolute joy at opening the book and seeing the below specially signed copy from Mandy herself.

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I’ve had a very quick flick through the first few pages, but do not want to look further – I don’t want to spoil our Christmas Eve read!

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But from what I’ve seen, I can assure you, this is a very pretty book that will make just the perfect Christmas present for any little one! We really cannot wait to read this one.

Do you have any Christmas traditions you and your family create year-on-year?

MM.

 

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What Eli Wore | The #MrandMrsSpinks wedding.

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What Eli Wore:
Heritage waistcoat, shirt and tie set – £21, Next.
Heritage formal trouser – £13, Next.
Classic Converse Low-Tops in Black – £24.99, Office KIDS.

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Our very dear friends, Camilla and Tom, got married last month. It was an honour for OH and I to be their witnesses. So it was only right that Mr Eli got dressed up smart-as-a-carrot for the very special event! We went to a few shops for his outfit – but this one from Next was just perfect. In fact, it was ridiculously perfect! <Scroll down>
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For half of the day Eli didn’t wear his waistcoat. It was a massive struggle to get any clothes on him – he’s such a wriggler (and SO strong now!). We did eventually get the waistcoat on him for the meal however. I did look for a smashing pair of brogues for Eli to go with his Heritage suit – again to match his Daddy. But alas, I could not find any in his size. He’s the first size in infant Converse now, so this was their first outing! He looked wicked!

The shirt that comes with this set is great – it has a stiffened button-down collar, like an adult size! I particularly liked the grown up grid print. The Heritage suit is a cotton blend with fine tweed effect print. The trousers are adjustable which is really handy. The suit is quite hardwearing; something you always need to think about with toddlers, especially as Eli spent a lot of his time crawling around! The waistcoat has a lovely pocket square detail – good job it was stitched in, Eli would have had it straight out!
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Mr Eli and his Daddy’s had matching tie’s!

These two ties were purchased almost a year apart – AND in two (very) different shops! Eli’s mini-me tie comes as part of the Heritage set from Next, while OH’s tie was from AllSaints; which he purchased for a wedding last year at River Cottage.
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Mr Eli was such a good boy during the ceremony and meal; and had a wonderful time playing with the other children in the creche.

This Heritage suit from Next is perfect for weddings, christenings, birthday’s – any special occasion you can think of really! Mr Eli received lots of compliments about how smart he looked. A definite must-buy!

The Heritage set from Next is available to purchase online, here. This suit is available as separates, 3 months – 6 years. Prices do vary depending on the size.

MM.

 

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Mr Eli’s 1st Birthday!

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This weekend we celebrated Mr Eli’s first birthday with party at our (newly moved into!) home. All his friends came and the sun even made an appearance too! Here are some snaps from the day 🙂

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Dj Boy!

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Eli’s AMAZING cake! Made by Lady H Bakes, Essex.

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Eli wearing his amazing cake!

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I ADORE Belle & Boo, I used their party pieces as a kind of theme for the party.

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Ball pool fun!

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Eli and some of his buddies.

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A worn out birthday boy, ready for bed!

We had a wonderful day, with wonderful company and wonderful food. Thank you to everyone who came and celebrated Eli’s very first birthday with us!

MM.

xx

WHATELIWORE: Ralph Lauren Oxford Shirt, Ralph Lauren Shorts, Red Converse Hi-Top Trainers. Blog post coming soon. 

 

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Oh hello, it’s been a while…

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I know, I know. It’s been a canny while. Life has been pretty hectic to say the very least.

SO MUCH has happened since I last properly updated.

– Mr Eli has been in and out of plaster casts for his Talipes treatment. He’s currently in full time B & B (Boots and Bars). I’ll do a proper update on this too.

– We’ve had our first Christmas together, which was AMAZING.

– New Year came and went without a hitch.

– Started feeding Eli proper, actual, proper food! Which he LOVES.

– We’ve been here, there and everywhere visiting friends and family.

– I finally overcome some very difficult decisions and feel a ton has been lifted from my shoulders… albeit, it has been replaced with a wee bit of stress. But I’ll reveal all later! It’s all a bit hush hush right now.

– I’ve FINALLY started driving lessons! It’s only taken me 10 years.

Think that’s all for now. Will catch up again VERY soon!

MM.

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Happy Halloween!

Happy FIRST Halloween from Mr Eli!

Last week Mr Eli went to his first Halloween party with all his friends 🙂

Obviously, I’m going to be slightly biased… but Mr Eli does make a pretty cool skeleton! Have you and your children joined in with Halloween for the first time, this year?

Mr Eli wears:

Click here to purchase>> Skeleton Baby-gro, WAS £8, NOW £4 from Mothercare.

Click here to purchase>> Baby Converse in Navy, £21 from Office.

Click here to purchase>> Sherpa Hat, £9.99 from Baby Gap.

Click here to purchase>> Jellycat Doppy the Dinosaur, £13, from John Lewis.

MM.

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Up to 50% off at Cath Kidston!

I was just having a wee online shop around and noticed that there is a wonderful (up to) 50% off at CathKidston.co.uk!

As their Sale creative says, this means that the Sale is now “Cheap as chips” 😉

Shop the Sale online now>> CathKidston.co.uk