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A Noble Intention โค๏ธ a movie review ๐ŸŽฌ

Big blockbuster movies are really not enticing me to watch them these days. I don’t know whether they are overdoing the special effects, or overdoing the ‘big name actors,’ the storylines are just so boring and predictable at times.

So the other day whilst zapping on Netflix I decided to take a look through the International Movies section. A selection I randomly go for mainly because I just cannot be bothered to read the subtitles! But that night I was willing to do anything to watch something remotely interesting. And this movie was just mesmerising from start to finish.

The Movie –


Set in 1888 in Amsterdam, a stubborn violin maker and his pharmacist cousin face hardship and tragedy as they oppose the powerful businessmen who plan to force him from his house and erect a luxurious new hotel in its place.

Verdict –

The luxurious hotel in question here was The Victoria Hotel, the exact hotel where we stayed with my husband on our visit there last year! And the story told is a true one, of a shop keeper who refuses to let the powerful businessmen force him out of his business to build this hotel.

The hotel is instead built around the little shop, and exists there inbetween the hotel today. It is now a super cute little gift shop. You can see it in the photo above.


If you are due to visit Amsterdam you must watch this movie to get a feel for the city in the 1800’s and you must visit the gift shop on your visit.

A Noble Intention is now on Netflix! Dont miss it x

Wonderful Diamonds for those special occasions…๐Ÿ’

This year my darling husband and I will be celebration our 14th Wedding anniversary. Over the past 14 years I have had gifts of jewellery from my husband, but the one piece of jewellery I cherish most is my engagement ring.

An engagement ring is not just a piece of jewellery, it is a symbol of your love for each other and in my opinion should be chosen by the bride. It is a very romantic gesture for the groom to choose the ring, but it is the bride who has to wear it and enjoy wearing it for the rest of her life. So either the groom has to very cleverly ask the right questions to find out the bride’s favourite style of ring, or just let the bride choose.

My engagement ring is a round cut sapphire, surrounded by diamonds all mounted on a platinum setting. I fell in love with my ring from the first moment I played eyes on it, and  14 years on it still gives me butterflies when I look at it.

When choosing your ring, be it as an engagement ring, wedding band or a ring to celebrate a special occasion, make sure you look in shops and online. There are so many great online jewellers who offer very reasonable prices and amazing styles.

The Company –


Wonderfully Diamonds prides itself on producing magnificent jewellery in a wide variety of original and stunning styles. With a wealth of experience and supreme artisanal expertise, they can transform your jewellery dream into a sparkling reality.

Wonderfully Diamonds, can provide a vast array of certified diamonds, ranging from 0.3 carats, up to 5 carats. They also offer a variety of cuts to suit every taste – from the popular, timeless Princess or Pear cut, to perhaps something more quirky and completely original. Experts are happy to work with you to design and create a beautiful bespoke wedding ring that will perfectly complement your engagement ring and captivate all who see it. The โ€˜Wonderfully World of Bespoke Experienceโ€™ includes a design consultant who will expertly guide you through the whole process, from choosing the perfect diamond or gemstone to helping you to create a unique piece that embodies your personality and uniqueness. Free of charge, you can view a CAD image of your design. Once you are completely satisfied with the image, theyโ€™ll provide you with a free quotation before you commit to ordering.

Verdict –

The Wonderfully Diamonds web site is so easy to use and the product range available is amazing.


Diamond Engagement Rings, Rose Gold Engagement Rings, Platinum Engagement Rings, White Gold Engagement Rings, Diamond Wedding Rings, Sapphire Engagement Rings, Women & Mens Wedding Rings.

Wonderfully Diamonds launched their e-commerce brand just last week on June 15th.


Sapphires have always been a favourite of mine, I think any girl growing up in the UK had a love for Princess Diana’s beautiful sapphire engagement ring. Deep blue is also my favourite colour.

I am now looking for a sapphire eternity ring to accompany my engagement ring and diamond wedding band. It is very fashionable now to stack rings. Looking on Wonderfully Diamonds website finding my style of eternity ring couldn’t have been easier.

So if you are looking for that special ring or piece of jewellery and are short on time to visit jewellery shops, Wonderfully Diamonds is a great place to shop online –

https://wonderfullydiamonds.com/engagement

The Portrait by Antoine Laurain โค๏ธ๐Ÿ“š a book review

Summer has definately arrived in London. My idea of heaven is sitting in my garden in one of our super comfortable rattan chairs, with a cold drink and a good book!

What could be more relaxing? Well a good book and a cold drink by the sea would also work for me, but sadly our school holidays are a few weeks away yet, so the garden will have to do.

When a favourite author brings out a new book the anticipation of starting it makes my day even more exciting.

The Book –


A collector unearths the find of a lifetime: an eighteenth-century portrait of a man uncannily like him. 

While wandering through a Paris auction house, avid collector Pierre-Franรงois Chaumont is stunned to discover the eighteenth-century portrait of an unknown man who looks just like him. 

Much to his delight, Chaumontโ€™s bid for the work is successful, but back at home his jaded wife and circle of friends are unable to see the resemblance. 

Chaumont remains convinced of it, and as he researches into the paintingโ€™s history, he is presented with the opportunity to abandon his tedious existence and walk into a brand new life…

Verdict –

There are certain authors whose style I love. Authors who bring out new books and I just cannot wait to read them.

Antoine Laurain is one of my favourites. I also follow his Instagram account avidly for breathtaking images of Paris.

The Portrait is another super original quirky tale unlike any other. What I love most about Antoine’s books are their ability to suprise you with something new unlike any other book on the market. The storyline is always fun and will keep you very entertained.

The Portrait is available for purchase now on Amazon & in all bookstores nationwide.

The future of blogging…๐Ÿ–ฅ๐Ÿ’ป๐Ÿ“ฑ

I have been blogging for over 2 years now! Time truly flies when you are having fun!


Over these two years I have been lucky enough to juggle motherhood and do what I love best – write. I review products, review books, review movies, review beauty products, share recipes, give tips on parenting, tips on gardening, tips on being a mother.

I have also been lucky enough to meet the most wonderful people from all walks of life, some of whom have become friends for life.

What I love about social media and technology in general is how it has given me the freedom to reach out to the world from the comfort of my own home. Despite the restrictions of school runs, kids clubs, homework, cooking, cleaning.

But where will blogging be in 5 to 10 years time? This was a question posed to me by the Innovation Company who are conducting a study into the views of bloggers on the future of blogging. A question which I have been pondering over and here are my views.

Will ‘bloggers’ still be around in 5-10 years time?

In short yes. I believe they will be around, but what will they look like? I believe this is a more important viewpoint.

I believe they will look very unlike what we see today (especially on the 10 year horizon) and even on the shorter timescale. Technology is moving so quickly and becoming so prevalent, especially among the young, that what we categorise, or even pigeonhole as ‘Blogging’ will be second nature to these new generations. It will be their ‘communication’ means in most cases.

We are already seeing ‘Vlogging’ shoot up the ranks. With Video Blogging accounting for increasing percentages of the overall Blogs created year in year out. This will only increase. There will then come a time when written blogs become old fashioned.

People are so short of time these days. Everyone is in a mad rush to get more information in the fastest, most efficient way possible. Even today I get requests from my followers to do a video blog of my recipes so they can watch and copy them, as they just don’t have the time to read and digest the information.

There may even come a time when ‘holograms’ are projected into the home of the follower to actually demonstrate things to them. So for example, someone wanting to create one of my recipes would be able to have a laser hologram of me in their own kitchen demonstrating the recipe for them to follow. Almost like a cookery lesson in your own home. How cool would that be?

Will WordPress still be King in 5 to 10 years?

I use WordPress like many other bloggers, not only is it convenient, it is free. One of the most important factors for us very underpaid bloggers.

I believe WordPress will be around, but it is unlikely to be ‘King’. There are just too many new sites, technologies and mechanisms rising for people to easily produce content, especially now there is video based content. Take Twitter with ‘Moments’ or Instagram with ‘Stories’. These are the Blogs of the future and come as second nature for people who are online.

So WordPress needs to act and act very fast to keep up.

Podcasts will be there but will they necessarily take over blogging?

I’m not so sure. I think Video is the key. And YouTube/Twitter/Instagram are the Blogging giants for the future, and of course Zuckerberg’s Facebook.

The ultimate question though, when we think of Blogs in the Year 2020 say, is which technologies we can not yet consider? Take Artificial Intelligence (AI) for example. There is increasing examples of parts of article creation being automated, especially in the Finance sector. How long before we have whole editorials created by a Machine, this could also replace blogging.

Already the Art of writing itself is being automated. Take http://www.grammarly.com as an example. How many newsroom journalists or exam ready University students are putting their coursework through these very low cost (sometimes free) online check tools? How long before AI is not just checking but suggesting and even creating these new Blogs?

Did you know that AI can predict your personality traits better than your spouse of partner, your friend, even your family? Thatโ€™s one of the key insights shared just last week at Pegaworld in the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV.

So what will stop AI from reviewing products, demonstrating recipes and so on.

How will the future of blogging affect me – The Mummy Blogger?

Well in the short term not hugely. I am a mummy, babies will continue to be born, they will poop and need to be fed and cleaned like babies today. And mummies & daddies will look upon other mummies and daddies for tips and advice. So bloggers will always be needed. As long as robots cannot give birth to babies, mummy bloggers will need to be human.

The question is how can technology help get this information from the bloggers to the followers in the quickest and most efficient way? This is where technology comes in. So Video Blogs, Robots, Holograms. All ways in which bloggers – the human touch in getting reviews, information, tips across – can reach the information thirsty followers.

Conclusion 

In conclusion I believe the strength and power of bloggers will continue to grow. Blogging is not a fad or a trend that will sizzle out, it is a trend that is growing and will continue to grow over the years.

Technology will help bloggers to get more hi tech, to utilise tolls more efficiently, to get information out quicker.

I believe the next 10 years will see the growth of Vloggers, Bloggers and Robots – all working together as one.

I have written this as part of Innovation Company’s study of what bloggers see as the future of blogging.

http://innovationcompany.co.uk  

Perfect for summer! ๐Ÿ˜‹ Sugar free Appy juices with Paw Patrol & Peppa Pig ๐ŸŠ๐ŸŽ๐ŸŠ๐Ÿ๐ŸŠ๐ŸŽ๐ŸŠ๐Ÿ๐ŸŠ

The sun is out! We in London are enjoying the sunshine and the lovely outdoors.

My kids are enjoying picnicing outdoors and just lounging around the garden.

I find carton drinks & juices in those handy pouches are a godsend in the summer months. Not only are they spill friendly, they are so easy to pack away for trips to the park and also in lunch boxes. But some on the go juices can contain so much sugar and nasty additives we have to be careful when making choices.

One of my favourite brands Appy Drinks has brought out a great selection of fruity pouches, in addition to their carton range, filled with sugar free juice and with some of your kids favourite cartoon characters on the packaging. So everyone is happy!


The new range is sweetened with stevia instead of sugar, and contains no GMOs or artificial preservatives, making them a great option for kidsโ€™ lunchboxes as well as perfect for drinking on the go now that the days are getting warmer.

Stevia is a healthy and sweet leaf, it makes a great natural replacement from sugars and artificial sweeteners. Appy uses more elements of the stevia leaf to give a refined delicious taste that is low in calories!

The products can be found in Ocado, Tesco, Whole foods market and Spar.

Verdict –

My boys loved the pouches & the cartons, they look and taste great! Apple has always been a favourite of my boys and they have tried nearly every apple juice available in supermarkets, and they loved this one!


Here’s a little tip! In the morning before heading to school place the pouches in the freezer for an hour or so. This way your kids will have a fruity and cool drink to enjoy at lunch time!

The stevia gives the drink a perfectly natural taste and without all the nastiness of sugar and artificial sweeteners.

๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸCOMPETITION TIME ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

If you want to win a huge hamper filled with Appy drinks and other goodies, including a fantastic Peppa Pig puzzle by Jumbo games – http://www.jumbo.eu/

All you have to do is enter via the Rafflecopter link below, the competition is open to Uk residents only & closes on June 29 2017. Good luck!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/a61846201/?
In the meantime make sure you follow the Appy social media accounts & visit their website below. The Appy Instagram account has some super cool tips! 
http://www.appykidsco.com

A novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler ๐Ÿ“ša book reviewย 

If there was any era I could go back in time to and experience for myself it would have to be the 1930’s. Especially Paris in the roaring 30’s ; the music, the clothes, the era of having fun. The age of Jazz.

I first came across Zelda & Scott Fitzgerald in my favourite movie Midnight in Paris. 

A lovely couple who have an intense yet extremely loving relationship. I then found out that Christina Ricci was to star in a mini series about the life of Zelda Fitzgerald. So I just had to find out more about her exciting life. An author and wife to the great Scott Fitzgerald, her life had to be anything but boring.
The Book –


A novel of the woman dubbed ‘The First Flapper’ – Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, wife and muse to F.Scott Fitzgerald. Set against the glamorous backdrop of the Roaring twenties, Z is the story of the woman who lived large and ached to find her own identity in the shadow of her celebrated husband.
Verdict –

Firstly let me try to explain what this book is – is it fact or fiction? Well its fictional but based on true facts so it is ‘biographical fiction.’ Im guessing because not too much information is available of Zelda’s life, what is available has been cleverly glued together to form this novel.

This book is exactly what I look for in biographies, it is a novel so instead of just giving us facts and figures it takes us on a journey of Zelda’s life. Zelda & Scott Fitzgerald had a fantastically glamorous life, but it was also filled with ups and downs.

The characters who make up their circle of friends – Hemingway, Picasso, Cole Porter, Gertrude Stein. Living a life filled with parties, excess, drinking, frivolity can ultimately lead to depression and we find out about Zelda’s demons who she battled with through her life.

I really enjoyed this book and am very excited to see Zelda’s life come alive on screen.

A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald is available to purchase on Amazon and at all bookstores now.

 

Harvesting & freezing Coriander ๐ŸŒฑ๐Ÿ’š

We just had some fantastic sunny weather in London. It was short lived as today it is pouring with rain and very windy.

My herb garden absolutely loved the sunshine and the mint, coriander and parsley my darling father planted not long ago has gone wild. The mint and parsley we use often in salads etc, but coriander is used less often so I wanted to utilise it before it wilted away.


Searching online for methods to harvest and store coriander leaves I opted to chop and freeze the leaves, this way it would be available to add to home cooked meals over the year ahead.

I already use frozen chopped onions and garlic regularly. Not only does in make the whole cooking process quicker, the vegetables are always fresh and ready to use.

So why not frozen herbs.

Ingredients –

  • Fresh Coriander leaves (take off thick stalks, wash thoroughly and pat dry with paper towel)
  • 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive oil

Method –

  • Finely chop the coriander leaves in a food processor or by hand
  • Add the olive oil and continue to blend until it forms a thick paste
  • Carefully spoon the paste into an ice cube tray
  • Place in a freezer overnight
  • Once frozen remove from the ice cube tray and place in a sealable bag
  • Store in freezer and use when needed.


Ideas for using coriander in cooking –

  • Add to oven baked salmon with lime & chilli for a tasty crust
  • Add to chicken with garlic and soy sauce for a delicious marinade

Yummy ๐Ÿ˜‹

 

Philomena โค๏ธ a movie review ๐ŸŽฌ

When you become a parent, or have sole responsibility of a child, movies touch you in such different ways. Especially movies which are true and that revolve around the life of a child.

I remember seeing advertisements for Philomena when it first came out, but because of Steve Coogan being in it I automatically assumed it was a comedy, how wrong I was.

The Movie


In 1952, Irish teenager Philomena (played by Judi Dench) became pregnant out of wedlock and was sent to a convent. When her baby, Anthony, was a toddler, the nuns took Philomena’s child away from her and put him up for adoption in the United States. 

For the next 50 years, she searched tirelessly for her son. 

When former BBC correspondent Martin Sixsmith (played by Steve Coogan) learns of the story, he becomes her ally. They travel together to America to find Anthony and become unexpectedly close in the process.

Verdict –

Firstly I would like to congratulate Steve Coogan for his role. He is just as good as a serious dramatic actor, as he is a comedien.

The story was touching in so many ways, being a true story of fear, loss and discovery made viewing even more exciting and at the same time tremendously upsetting.


We live in scary times now in a world filled with good and evil. The past was pretty much the same, as evil can come in many different forms. But next to every act of terror or evil, there will always be someone there willing to help.

Philomena is now available on dvd.

I also look forward to reading the book the movie was based on – The Lost Child of Philomena Lee; by Martin Sixsmith.

A beautiful city to visit โค๏ธ Winchester in Hampshireย 

Sometimes the city can get claustraphobic, especially in the hot weather. We crave open green fields, fresh air and historic cobbled streets.

A mere hour outside London by train is a beautifully quaint city full of amazing things to see and visit.

A brief history of Winchester –


Winchester is a city in the county of Hampshire, on the edge of England’s South Downs National Park. 

Itโ€™s known for medieval Winchester Cathedral, with its 17th-century Morley Library, the Winchester Bible and a Norman crypt. 

Nearby are the ruins of Wolvesey Castle and the Winchester City Mill, a working 18th-century corn mill. The Great Hall of Winchester Castle houses the medieval round table linked to King Arthur.

How to get there –

Getting to Winchester couldnt be easier. Simply get a South West train from Waterloo and you are there in 1hour. What is great is that the station is a 10minute walk from all the historic attractions amd the beautiful city centre, filled with shops and numerous cafes and restaurants.

Where to eat –

There are so many lovely restarants and cafes to choose from. All your brand names are there – Starbucks, Pret, Nero, Wagamamas, Prezzo & Zizzi. In addition Rick Stein has a restaurant there too.

Highlight of our visit –

Was of course seeing the wonderful Horrible Histories show at the Royal Winchester theatre.


For me visiting the resting place of one of my favourite authors – Jane Austen – who wrote Emma, Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility – to name but a few. Was an amazing experience I will not forget.

All in all a fantastic day out with the kids! Find out more on the link below –

http://www.visitwinchester.co.uk

AniMalcolm by David Baddiel ๐Ÿท๐Ÿ’๐Ÿด๐Ÿข๐Ÿ–๐Ÿ‘ a book review ๐Ÿ“š

The half term holidays are upon us. I cannot believe six weeks of school runs, lunch boxes and learning is behind us. Time truly flies when you are having fun.

Life is pretty manic with two very energetic boys in the house. Technology is a great way to keep them busy over the half term week off school, but nothing gives me more pleasure than when my boys sit together and enjoy a good book.

So when I found out one of our favourite authors David Baddiel was back with another novel, it couldnt have been better timed!

The Book –


From David Baddiel, the brightest new star of children’s books and winner of the LOLLIES award, comes a laugh-out-loud adventure for every child who ever wondered what it might be like to be a bit of an animal… 

Malcolm doesn’t like animals. 

Which is a problem because his family love them. Their house is full of pets. What the house is NOT full of is stuff Malcolm likes. Such as the laptop he wanted for his birthday. 

The only bright spot on the horizon is the Year Six school trip, which Malcolm never thought his parents would pay for. And yet there he is, on the bus, heading to… oh no. A farm. 

Over the next days, Malcolm changes. He learns a lot about animals. More, in many ways, than he would like. He learns what it’s really like to be an animal. A whole series of animals, in fact… 

It does make him think differently. And speak differently. And eat differently. And, um, smell differently. But will he end up the same as before? 

Because sometimes the hardest thing to become is… yourself.

Verdict –


Another fantastically fun read from Baddiel! My boys are aged 6 and 9 and could not put this book down!

Both my boys love animals so learning about each animal through Malcolm was a definate learning experience.

As with the other Baddiel books for kids, dont let your children be put off by the length of the book because once you get into the story it is difficult to put down and I bet your kids will wizz through the story in no time.

What I, as a parent love most about Baddiel’s books is their originality. They use imagination to the limits and go over the edges to inspire kids minds to do the same.

The book is suitable for both boys and girls aged 8-11years old. Although my son is 6 and loved it too.

You can order your copy now just in time for half term. Available in paperback on Amazon & in all major book shops.

In the meantime here is a super cool introduction to this fun read –

https://youtu.be/wYvgpfxH7-k