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How to make the most out of your garden with the little ones 🌸🌳

Gardens are a saviour when you have little kids. They are the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors without having to step a foot outside your home. Instead of heading to the local park, you can let the kids enjoy fresh air and outdoor play in the safety of their own home.


My boys have loved playing in our garden over the years. Our garden isn’t big but it is enough. And thanks to my lovely father who is an excellent gardener, our garden is so beautiful at the moment with blossoms blooming and flowers everywhere.

Here are a few tips for making your outdoor space more child friendly –

  • Growing fruits and vegetables – Encouraging children to plant, care for and finally harvest fruits and vegetables has got to be ones of life little pleasures. The joy on their little faces as they pick tomatoes straight from the plant is just wonderful. In our garden my father has put together a raised vegetable patch where we grow mint, chives, tomatoes and broad beans.

 

  • Get kids involved in gardening – I normally mow the lawn but then the boys put on their gardening gloves and help in the clear up. They love collecting leaves and any grass cuttings. Then the most fun is had watering the flowers and plants.

 

  • Enjoy eating outside – Children love picnics! If you don’t have time to picnic in the park just get a nice picnic blanket, lay it out on the lawn in your garden. Snacks like crisps, carrots, tomatoes are the perfect way for kids to sit and enjoy eating outdoors. Not too many sweet snacks is a better option as they attract bees.

 

  • Give children responsibility – My boys feel so proud when they have responsibilities.  Buy a pot, add some soil and a flower plant. Each child can have his or her own pot. The pot can be painted. Then the child is responsible for looking after and watering their plants.

Gardens are there to be enjoyed, when the sun comes out open the doors and let your little ones explore and enjoy the great outdoors!

 

 

The Perfume Collector ❤️ a book review 📚

I have been using the same perfume since the age of 27. I sometimes try other perfumes, ones I like the scent of in shops or in magazines. But my one perfume is always with me.

Every woman, and man, in my opinion needs to wear a perfume. A perfume is not only a pleasant experience for those around you, it also gives the person wearing the scent happiness, self confidence and a special aura.

The Book –


London, 1955: Grace Monroe is a fortunate young woman. Despite her sheltered upbringing in Oxford, her recent marriage has thrust her into the heart of London’s most refined and ambitious social circles. However, playing the role of the sophisticated socialite her husband would like her to be doesn’t come easily to her–and perhaps never will.

Then one evening a letter arrives from France that will change everything. Grace has received an inheritance from a mysterious benefactor, Eva d’Orsey, whom she’s never met.

So begins a search that takes Grace to a long-abandoned perfume shop on Paris’s Left Bank, where she discovers the seductive world of perfumers and their muses, and a surprising love story. Told by invoking the three distinctive perfumes she inspired, Eva d’Orsey’s story weaves through the decades, from 1920s New York to Monte Carlo, Paris, and London.

But these three perfumes hold secrets. And as Eva’s past and Grace’s future intersect, Grace must choose between the life she thinks she should live and the person she is truly meant to be.

Verdict –

Kathleen Tesaro is a favourite author of mine, I reviewed another one of her books not long ago. This book I finished on the flight back from Antalya after a lovely Easter break.

It drew me in straight away. The main characters are Grace and Eva, two women of seperate eras, who are both destined to join even though when they do Eva has passed away.

I loved this story even more because it is partially set in my favourite Paris. In fact the description of Eva’s apartment is my dream flat in Paris. 

Perfume is described in the most eloquent way in the book, and I wanted to share this quote from the book with you,

“Perfume should tell a story – the story of who you are, who you might be, perhaps even of who you fear becoming…all of these things are possible.”

Another wonderful story by a fantastic author.

The Perfume Collector is available online & at major book shops now!

Why I’ve switched to ‘espresso macchiatos’ ❤️☕️

I was looking through past blog posts recently and I came across one from last year in which I wrote about why I was now drinking ‘flat whites.’

 Well a year on I’ve switched again and I am now an avid ‘espresso macchiato’ fan!


What is an ‘espresso macchiato’?


Well it’s simply is an espresso coffee with a small amount of milk, usually foamed.

And the best things about this small drink are it’s delicious, you can taste the coffee and it also has the creaminess of a cappuccino.

What more could anyone as for? 

It’s also got a minimal amount of milk so much better for you. 

Try one at Cafe Nero or my personal favourite Starbucks! Ask for a ‘double espresso macchiato’! I like mine with a little sprikle of cinnamon.

It’s simply the best 👌🏻☕️

Elegance by Kathleen Tessaro 💙 a book review 📚

There are a few books I have read that I can never seem to forget. They are always the books whose storyline stikes a cord in me somehow. Either I relate to the story or a character in the book, and then it’s there in my mind forever and ever.

Im on holiday at the moment with my fanily in sunny Antalya and Im reading a lovely book by a favourite author Kathleen Tessaro. Ive yet to finish this book but reading it brought back memories of Elegance, the first book of Kathleen’s I read, and loved.

The Book –


From the back cover

It was a slim grey volume entitled Elegance…

I reach up and carefully remove the book from its shelf.

As I leaf through it, the faint fragrance of jasmine perfume floats from its yellowed pages. It appears to be a kind of encyclopaedia, with entries for every know fashion dilemma starting with A and going through to Z.
At last I have found my holy grail.

An American girl in London called Louise uses Madame Dalraux’s little book of Elegance as a guide to finding fulfillment after a failed marriage. 

Verdict –

Madame Dalraux’s little book of Elegance is one of my all time favourites! A little bible I always keep with me. I have blogged this book before. So when I came across this lovely book by Kathleen Tessaro which has little snippets of Madame Dalraux’s book in each chapter I couldn’t resist.

A lovely book which I devoured in one sitting and one I would definately read again! 

Im reading The Perfume Collector next…

Elegance by Kathleen Tessaro is available on Amazon now.

The importance of siblings in our children’s lives 💑

I was reading an article just the other day with the headline,’Robots are siblings for China’s lonely children.’

The article was about these new toddler robots that can be formulated to suit your own childs likes and needs. So a machine in the shape of a child robot to play with your little one.


I was lucky enough to spend a few days with my darling brother. He lives in Singapore now and Im in London, so we dont get to see each as often as I’d like but we are always in touch.

My boys 💙💙


 I have always thought siblings were important. You dont have to get along completely all the time but just to know they are there is enough.

My boys don’t always get along but most of the time they play together so nicely its wonderful to watch.

If your child doesn’t have a sibling Ive always believed cousins can be as close as a sibling.


Family is forever Xxxx

Vuitton by Fergus Mason ❤️ a book review 📚

I have always loved Louis Vuitton. I think it’s because my mother has always used LV and I follow in her footsteps.
I think every LV lover will always remember their very first LV purchase. For me it was a Speedy Monogram bag. It was around 15 years ago and I saved up for about a year at my first job. 

I can still remember entering the store and asking for my chosen bag. Then waiting in anticipation as the Sales person took the Speedy out of its soft velvet packaging. It was so beautiful, a classic, a piece of elegance and quality.

I still use that very same Speedy bag to this day. Not on stitch has fallen out, not one part of it has shown wear or tear. For me a LV bag, wallet, scarf etc is worth every penny as it will last forever. 

The Book –


I love reading biographies so was very excited to cone across this wonderful book about LV. 

In 1835, at the age of 13, a young boy walked nearly 300 miles to Paris; he worked odd jobs and did whatever it took to survive. He eventually learned a craft: box making. Before long, the young boy had earned enough to open his own box-making store. The tale may seem a bit unremarkable until you consider the boy’s name: Louis Vuitton. 

You know the brand, but not the man; take a look at the genius that created one of the most recognizable brands in the world with this biography.

Verdict-

A precise, well researched and to the point biography.

Sometimes biographies can be so long and filled with unnecessary details. This one is filled with all the information you would need. 

I read this book on the plane to Antalya and enjoyed every page.

Available on Amazon uk now!

Healthy snacks for kids delivered straight to your door! 😋

I used to have a fitness instructor when I lived in central London who gave me two fantastic pieces of advice which I follow to this day.

  1. If you are going to eat cereal stick to flakes of bran.
  2. If you are going to snack make sure its on raw nuts – especially raw cashews.

I have always followed these two pieces of dietary advice.

I think snacking will always be a part of my life, I just adore nibbling on something whilst walking down the street or whilst cooking. So if you are going to snack make sure they are healthy nibbles which will do your body some good rather than harm.

My kids also like to snack, and I think a lot of kids enjoy a snack around 4pm when they come home from school. I try my best to keep their snacks as healthy as possible, and I have always believed that if their taste buds keep away from super sweet foods filled with refined sugar and additives, they will eventually dislike them. So I love healthy snacks for kids.

The Product –


ChewyMoon is a revolutionary, healthy, subscription snack box for children from the age of 3. We help you to easily provide hugely healthy, alternative snacks and guilt-free after school treats for growing children.

Four friends, Verena, Laurence, Nick and Lijo started Chewymoon with the ambitious aim of changing the way children eat. Being parents themselves, they care deeply about the nutrition and well-being of children. ChewyMoon is your child’s first brand that makes learning about nutrition as much fun as eating the snack!

They have developed a simple system to determine everything they need to know about your child’s needs, life stage, likes and dislikes so that they can provide a unique snack box that will constantly develop as your child grows and changes.

What is great is that there is no commitment whatsoever, and subscription can be cancelled at any time.

Verdict –

I was sent a box of Chewy Moon treats in the post which arrived very quickly. The box was just adorable. My boys absolutely love pugs, thanks to Dan TDM,  and so with a pug dressed in a windbreaker on the front of the box I knew my boys would be excited to find out what was inside.


The box of snacks was addressed to my boys, and after coming home from school, they really enjoyed opening up the box of goodies.

The Snacks my boys tried –

  • Crazy Crunch – Freeze dried smoothie bites
  • Snacko Italiano – Italian herby cashews, baked cheese
  • Cherry Cola – Cola raisins, cherry, cranberry
  • Monster Munch – Chilli cashews, edamame beans, baked cheese
  • Beary Friends – Strawberry fruit shapes, cranberries, blueberries, raspberry strips

Each packet of snack is in it’s own individual box, which my boys loved to open and share.

They love nuts so enjoyed the Italian herby cashews and loved the edamame beans the best.

A great idea to treat your kids to once a week as a super end of week treat. The box is also filled with fun activities and fun filled facts for your little ones to enjoy.

Healthy, fun and straight to your door! A super duper idea.

The first box is free!

Find out more at their website below –

https://www.chewymoon.com
 

The Only Street in Paris ❤️ Life on the Rue des Martyrs by Elaine Sciolino 📚 a book review

I have always loved living in a street or a community where everyone knows everyone else. I think that by living in a close knit community you always feel part of a ‘family’ and you will never be alone.

This is one of the reasons I enjoy reading books set in a community, a small village or even a famous street in a big city.

The Book –


Elaine Sciolino, the former Paris Bureau Chief of the New York Times, invites us on a tour of her favorite Parisian street, offering an homage to street life and the pleasures of Parisian living. 

“I can never be sad on the rue des Martyrs,” Sciolino explains, as she celebrates the neighborhood’s rich history and vibrant lives. 

While many cities suffer from the leveling effects of globalization, the rue des Martyrs maintains its distinct allure. 

On this street, the patron saint of France was beheaded and the Jesuits took their first vows. It was here that Edgar Degas and Pierre-Auguste Renoir painted circus acrobats, Emile Zola situated a lesbian dinner club in his novel Nana, and Fran ois Truffaut filmed scenes from The 400 Blows. 

Sciolino reveals the charms and idiosyncrasies of this street and its longtime residents—the Tunisian greengrocer, the husband-and-wife cheesemongers, the showman who’s been running a transvestite cabaret for more than half a century, the owner of a 100-year-old bookstore, the woman who repairs eighteenth-century mercury barometers—bringing Paris alive in all of its unique majesty. 

The Only Street in Paris will make readers hungry for Paris, for cheese and wine, and for the kind of street life that is all too quickly disappearing.

Verdict –

I just couldn’t put this book down. The author writes so naturally the book is easy to read. 

The Rue des Martyrs is full of the most wonderful characters; shop keepers, residents and so on, it is infact a whole village down one long street in the busiest part of Paris.

It is almost like a living guide book of Paris, but with information only someone residing in the beautiful apartments lining the Rue des Martyrs would know. For example did you know, “…that some of the front doors along the street – most open only with a digital code – hide exquisite private gardens.” A fact I did not know. This book is filled with the most wonderful facts and details.

I am off to Paris in May and cannot wait to go and see the infamous rue for myself.

A perfect read to enjoy with a nice glass of vin rouge xxx

Juicy Mango! 😋 Perfect for Tropical Smoothies 😋

I think we have all been there at some point or another. You head to your local market or supermarket planning to buy lots of yummy fruits. You try to choose as carefully as you can looking for the ripest fruits. Only to be disappointed when you get home. The kiwis, avocadoes and mangoes are far too hard to blend into smoothies, let alone eat.

The best smoothies and juices require the ripest of fruits. The ripeness of the fruit not only makes for a smooth creamy texture, it also mean the fruit will be sweeter and so make your drink tastier.

So I was super excited to see the sweetest, ripest mango slices now available in handy jars by one of my favourite brands ‘Nature’s Finest.’

The Product –


Nature’s Finest are a company who specialise in fruit. They pick and pack the fruit at the peak of it’s ripeness to lock in all of its goodness and naturally sweet taste. Their mission is to bring you the finest fruit made easy.

The Mango Slices are packed full of essential vitamins A and C and are now available in easy to use 700g fridge packs.

They have a huge range of fruits packed in handy jars and snack packs which the kids will love.

Verdict –

All I can say is thank you Nature’s Finest! Not only were the Mango Cheeks super soft, yummy and ripe, the juice they are kept in came in super handy when making my morning smoothie for the family. 

With the morning rush of getting ready for school, packing lunch boxes and checking the kids are dressed, these Mango Cheeks made getting breakfast ready much easier.

My boys love to enjoy a fresh juice or smoothie at breakfast time, and cutting up fruits when in a rush can be tedious. So with these jars it meant the fruit was ready prepared.

Here is a super easy, yummy and nutritious tropical smoothie your kids will love!


Ingredients –

  • 4-5 Mango slices (Nature’s Finest)
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 300ml juice from the jar (Nature’s Finest)
  • 200ml Milk

Method –

Simply put all the ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth and creamy. 

Find out more about the range of fruits available at link below –

http://www.naturesfinestfoods.co.uk
Quick, easy and yummy! My boys loved it! 😋


Enjoy! xxx

 

 

 

 

Let’s try & keep the family run stores in our areas alive ❤️

For those of you who don’t know, I live in the suburbs of London with my family. My boys attend the local primary school which is a 5minute walk from our home. I grew up in the town just down the road from where I raise my own children today. But what is great about where we live is that although we have a quiet country life, the city is just a 35minute train ride away.

We have a wonderful feeling of community where I live. Yes people still say good morning, and people look out for each other. We also have a lovely high street filled with some very good restaurants, supermarkets and shops we need on a daily basis.

The town I live in is filled with history too. There are listed historic houses, buildings and even a moat!

The family run stores on the high street are a part of this history. 

There is a department store which is unlike any department store you have ever been in before. It’s like taking a step back in time. They sell buttons, multi-coloured ribbons and have the most wonderful toy selection. Walking through it’s doors is like taking a walk down memory lane, the retro coffee shop on the second floor serves the most delicious coffee. And they have the best selection of capri pants! Better fitting than any I’ve tried on my trips to the Kings Road in fact.


But unfortunately these family run stores are becoming a dying breed. Recently another family run store on our high street had to close it’s doors after 59years of selling sofas, beds and furnishings. So sad to see.

I know it is easier said than done, and I myself have done it many times. We all tend to go for the store which offers the cheapest product and the large chain stores have the means to offer the most competitive prices.

But maybe if we considered quality, and also knew more about what our local family run stores offered we would be more likely to shop there.


So please, do it today. Look out for the stores whose names you don’t recognise. Pop in and take a look at what they have on sale, family run stores are a dying breed which I hope we can keep around a little longer.