I have been bemoaning my lack of nice make-up recently. I have decided that as a 40-year old, there are certain basic make-up staples that I need. So, this year I have decided to slowly stock up on all the items that I think constitute a grown-up make-up bag. I will need foundation that perfectly matches my skin, a great mascara, pressed powder to help my skin from looking shiny, eye shadow, blusher, a couple of lip liners and 64 lipsticks. Okay, okay, maybe I don't need that many lipsticks but surely they couldn't hurt?!
Anyway, last week I spent ages browsing the make-up section of the House of Fraser website and I thought I would share what I got. First stop, I decided that I needed some pressed powder. Pressed powder is one of those staple items that one should have in their cosmetic bag. I do not. And since I suffer from an oily t-zone, I thought it would be good to pay away the shine. Whenever I have had make-up done at a beauty counter, Bobbi Brown has always impressed me. So I picked out the Bobbi Brown Sheer Finish Pressed Powder in warm natural. It is recommended for those with combination skin, and it comes with a little puff. The colour suits my skin. It really brightens up my face, and even made my lipstick look brighter.
The other day, I posted a flower photo on Instagram. As you do. And I remarked that I never noticed flowers when I was 20. Now, at 40, I am forever taking photos of flowers. On Friday, I was with some mummy friends at Petersham Nurseries having tea and cake. On our way out, we spotted some beautiful roses and started sniffing away. We then began raving about how wonderful these particular roses smelled. Again, I was struck at how middle-aged I had become. But I thought I would share a photo of one of these gorgeous roses. And while you cannot smell it for yourself. You can imagine. And if you are my age, you may just coo over how pretty it is.
I know I am always going on about how lucky we are in London to have access to so many wonderful museums. But it's true. I have lived here for 14 years and I don't think I have been to half of the museums. Though to be fair, before we had children we spent most of our time at pubs/bars and fancy restaurants. But these days we are museum-regulars. We have our favourite places, but we also enjoy going to 'new' museums. A couple of weeks ago we visited the London Museum of Water & Steam for the first time.
First of all, Husband and Dubz love a steam train. So they were both excited to have a ride on the Waterworks Railway (which run every weekend). But first, we explored the inside of the museum. We learned the history of London's water supply (which I promise is more interesting than it sounds). Moozles enjoyed the dioramas showing how houses changed over the years, and was shocked to find out how recent it has been for people to have showers and toilets inside their house. Both kids enjoyed some dressing up as a Victorian parlour maid and an engine driver, though looked miserable for the photos. Though they couldn't hold back the smiles when Husband did his old-timey phone voice (which you will see on the vlog).
One unique feature of the London Museum of Water & Steam is that there are steam pumping engines. They run them at various times, and it is quite interesting to watch in action. Moozles' favourite part of the museum was the splash zone in the courtyard. She and Dubz loved playing with the gears, pumps and levers. Moozles did not want to stop though, and kept playing while Dubz and I rode the steam train (a few times). If you watch the vlog below, you will see us riding along and Dubz candidly exclaimed how much fun he was having. He wanted to cuddle while we rode along, and it was just one of those lovely moments I will remember for a long time.
I have been feeling a bit tense recently. Life has been so busy, but then when is it not? Do any of us complain about having too much time on our hands? Anyway, I think I haven't been very organised recently, which has led me feeling like I'm always busy. I seem to always have a crick in my neck or suffering from achy legs or a sore back. So this week I thought I would book myself a pamper session. And since I am short on time, I booked a mobile beauty therapist.
I have seen Laura from Laura's Mobile Beauty Treats for the past three years. When Dubz was a baby, she would come during his nap times. Now I see Laura while he is at pre-school, and while Moozles is at big school. I normally book a massage, though sometimes I get a facial. Today, I had a manicure and pedicure followed by a full-body massage. And I feel so relaxed. My hands and feet look pretty, and my body doesn't feel so achy. I have had many massages in my life and Laura gives one of the best ever (I even went to one of those Vietnamese massage places in Clapham Junction where the lady stands on you - oh, the pain).
You're probably wondering why I don't just go to a salon. Well, there is the ease of having your treatments at home. This is great if you're short on time, don't drive or you have a small baby/toddler. I love having a massage and then having a sit in my comfiest chair rather than having to travel home. And if I ever get a manicure from a salon, I always end up chipping a nail when I'm putting on my seat belt to drive home. Every. Time.
You might remember that I recently bought a rain jacket from Joules (which I adore, btw). So you can imagine my excitement about going to the Joules 2016 autumn/winter preview recently. Joules is a British brand that are known for quality and style. And they are not deviating from this image for the next season. Bright, eye-catching colours and beautiful prints are everywhere. So I thought I would share some of my favourites.
I can't imagine anyone not liking the boots in the top photo. Brown leather and leopard spots, be still my heart. And I spotted gorgeous black leather boot with zebra stripes that my little girl would love. I've also decided that I need welly boots. I've lived in the UK for 14 years now and I need to embrace this part of my life in order to prevent the dreaded soggy feet.
Now that the days are longer and the weather is (slightly) warmer, I've been trying to make the house feel less wintery and more summery. I've gotten new bed sheets, a new tablecloth and new dining chairs. But now my thoughts have turned to the living room. And I'm thinking of ways to make it lighter and brighter. Obviously there are lots of little touches I can make, but I'm also daydreaming of some big changes I can make.
I am desperate for a new sofa. Although we bought a new one when we renovated the living room, almost two years ago, it isn't that comfortable anymore. Plus the legs have never been that stable. Ugh. But I have seen some lovely leather sofas. The top right grey sofa, from Fishpools, looks so soft. And don't think me crazy for having my eye on a white sofa, but that corner sofa is so pretty. Corner sofas are so good for cuddling. And surely there is only a small chance that my son will write on it in permanent marker. Right? The sofa does come in other colours for people who are more practical.
I'll probably have to be more realistic, and will have to skip a new leather sofa and get some lovely accessories instead. I love cushions, and these coral-red bird cushions are fab. Not only are they bright, but they would work well throughout the summer and into winter. Another item that would work well all year long, are these copper vases. These are absolutely gorgeous and I think two or three displayed together would add quite the wow factor.
If you live in/near London, then no doubt that you have heard of KidZania. It is the ultimate role play experience. It is basically a city that is scaled down for children. Small shops, small businesses, a small hospital, a small fire engine that drives around with small shouty kids. And while everything is scaled down, it still feels big for children. They get to go into a new world, where they are the boss and where mummy and daddy stand on the sidelines (have a look at my vlog below to see more of this child-sized city).
As you leave Westfield, it feels like you are heading into an airport and going on a voyage. When you arrive into the city of KidZania, all children four and over are given 50 KidZos (the local currency). The money could quickly be spent on lots of fun experiences (such as making chocolate, learning how to play drums, painting lessons). Children can earn money by getting jobs, just like in real life. But unlike real life, you could hold 10 jobs in a couple of hours' time. Moozles' favourites jobs are surgeon, journalist and working for the power company. But there are loads of jobs to choose from, including banker, police officer, shop worker and baby nurse. The Kidzania experience lasts four hours, though you are of course able to leave early (your children might be quite tired from all that working).
Moozles turned eight at the end of April. She had more than outgrown her previous bike, so we got her a gorgeous cruiser-type bicycle for her birthday. We wanted something lightweight as Moozles had not yet learned how to ride without stabilisers, and she was quite nervous of the entire process. I had also read that it is easier to learn on lightweight bicycles. So we got this pretty Pendleton Junior bike from Halfords (so rare to find a girls' bike that isn't tacky, and it was on sale). Husband gave her one lesson at the end of May, and today she had her second lesson. And now, she can ride a bike! It is such a wonderful milestone. Moozles is so pleased, and we are bursting with pride. My big girl can finally ride a bike!
A couple of weeks ago I was invited to the House of Fraser autumn/winter 2016 press day. It is such fun seeing what is going to be in the shops and online in July/August. House of Fraser have really made me want the spring/summer to end. First, let's start with the fashion. There were so many gorgeous knits - all in an array of colours: grey, navy, pink, yellow, camel and burgundy. There was suede and lace and fur and leather. Oh my! Autumn/winter is my favourite fashion season, and I am dying to wear some of these beautiful, and cosy, things.
I go grocery shopping about four or five times a week. I wish I could do just one weekly shop, but alas I have a small fridge/freezer and a tiny kitchen. So I have to make regular shopping trips to make sure my always-hungry children have enough food. I have a few random shopping bags in different shapes and sizes, but I seem to need so many of them just for a small shop. Recently, the people over at Trolley Bags asked if I would like to review their bags. I had a look online and decided that this might just be what I needed to have a more organised food shop.
Because I rarely do a huge food shop, I ordered the Express Trolley Bags (and in the pastel colours as I thought they looked pretty). Anyway, their normal bags are quite deep and fit the big trolleys so the express bags fit into the shallow trolleys. I've taken them on a few grocery trips now, and I am quite pleased with them.
The Trolley Bags are colour-coded, and the bags are all different sizes, which helps when you're putting your groceries into them at the supermarket checkout. I put the heavy items like milk and beer in the yellow bag; meat and vegetables in the blue bag; fruit and bread in the green bag; and paper towels and eggs in the grey bag. The bags are made of a strong mesh material on the bottom, which means they can hold more groceries than you expect.