It’s been quiet in my little corner of the internet recently. I’d like to say we’ve been sipping caipirinhas by a pool somewhere sunny all summer. The reality is a little less glamorous. We are spending the summer at home this year which means our days are a little more spent playing in the garden, drawing, making lego creations, den building, fruit picking and picnics on the lawn.

As much as I would really like to jet off somewhere exotic, the truth is we just can’t justify it this year. With a wedding to save for and the house mid renovations, we are just going to have to wait until the honeymoon to get our fill of ocean breeze and sand between our toes.

And you know what even though I quote holidays as my favourite things (after my children and husband to be of course) we are making memories right here in our beautiful home together. When I look back at my summers as a child, I do remember lovely family holidays but I also remember long lazy summer days at home. Days when I tipped my head back so far on the swing that my hair trailed along the floor and just kind of hung there until all the blood rushed to my head. Oh and the sheer delight of cocooning myself up in a makeshift den with sunlight streaming in through the cracks in the sheets. There is no finer joy is there?

Shopping for Summer with TK Maxx

To perfect our family picnic dinners, we paid a visit to TK Maxx to purchase some lovely new outdoor bowls. It really is one of my favourite shops here in the UK for hunting out cool home accessories. I love the variety and the prices and have been known to easily lose an hour or two in our local shop, before realising it’s nearly half three and I need to pick the children up. Whoops!

Turns out we were a little bit late to the party as a lot of the summer range had been and gone (to make way for super pretty autumnal goodies!) but we managed to pick up these beautifully decorated Indian enamelled bowls and tray in exotic jewel colours which I just love. They make me happy!

Stylish and practical, our new set is crying out for us to take them glamping. Wouldn’t that be cute? In the meantime they will have to make do with our makeshift tipi in the garden.

This summer we’ve also decided to go vegetarian as a family so have been broadening our horizons in the kitchen. I’ve discovered I make a mean Veggie Lentil curry. I’m working on a recipe post to share my secrets with you all over on my foodie blog. In the meantime you’ll have to make do with my photos. Trust me, it’s delicious, even the kids love it!

Disclaimer: Thanks to TK Maxx for inviting us to try out your exquisite summer range. As always it’s fabulous!

 

I’ve been a fan of Swatch watches since I was first given a pop out swatch watch as a child of the 80’s. The colourful design was super fresh and I wore it with beaming pride.

Fast forward 25 years and I’m all grown up. These days my watch needs to keep up with my ever changing outfits and busy, busy lifestyle. I’m not going to lie I’m not much of a watch wearer (my friends will chuckle at this and say I ought to be!) as I find them kind of cumbersome and heavy to wear. In fact as I’ve become a mum I’ve noticed I wear less and less jewellery. Less for little hands to pull on, less to be hanging on me. I’ve got two little monkey children who hang off me all day already!

SKIN watch watches

So when Swatch got in touch to introduce their new SKIN range my ears pricked up in interest. Weightless design, minimalist styling… sounds like my kind of watch! They sent me an invite to test out the range in a dance school in my local city Nottingham. The plan was to take a street dance class and see just how lightweight and comfortable the watches were.

We headed to the store to view the range and select a watch to put through it’s paces. I went for the popular blush watch which caught my eye instantly. It’s a gorgeous colour that is bang on trend and looks great with a tan. I loved the addition of the sparkly diamonds around the face which glint as they catch the light. Choosing wasn’t easy though, there were some fab designs all with the same cool minimal feel. My second choice was the white watch which really stood out with the addition of graphic black lines. I asked the lady in the store how the lighter colours did with muck, did they get dirty very quickly? She assured me that as the straps are made of silicone they don’t attract or have dirt sticking to them, perfect!

Putting it to the test

So off I went with a handful of other Nottingham bloggers and vloggers to try and learn a street dance routine. Now I’m pretty good at getting myself down to the gym twice or three times a week but I always stay in the comforting bosom of resistance training. I avoid aerobics like the plague. Still I used to have some moves back in the day, could I find my inner hip hop queen?

 

Over at the studios and our teacher hadn’t made it easy. We had a proper dance routine to learn! Not quite sure I’m the next Beyonce but I had a blast! My brain doesn’t work as fast as it used to (I blame the baby brain!) so it took me a little longer to engage it and link the moves together but I managed. Can you spot me in the video? I’m tucked away in the corner…

My SKIN watch really lived up to it’s name. While dancing I totally forgot I was wearing a watch, there was no awkward heavy feeling on my wrist or sweaty feeling underneath my watch and the dance studio was the temperature of the sun! I’d safely say it passed the activity test with flying colours.

Thanks to Swatch for introducing me to the SKIN Swatch watches range and for gifting me a fabulous watch that will work with my busy life. I did a good deed and (begrudgingly haha) gifted it to my mum who absolutely fell in love with it. It looks like I will be back for the white one after all!! As always all thoughts and opinions are genuine and my own.

One of my favourite things about our house is the garden. It’s large, full of plants and a lot of work! But if you remember back to when we were house hunting, a big garden was very high up on my wish list. I just love the idea of the children having plenty of space to play outside.

With the garden not having been touched for a very long time, there are plenty of big trees and hiding places. I was reminded of this again this week when Babylish decided to hide behind a tree for a good five minutes, frightening the life out of me. Only at the point when I was nearly in tears and reaching for my phone did she step out and say ‘Here I am’ with glee!

Did you know often your fondest childhood memories are outside? Have a think back, is it true for you? For me it definitely is and I can remember every inch of my childhood garden and local parks which I adored exploring.

Creating a natural play area

The back part of the garden was a jungle like wilderness on arrival. We’ve cleared it and are planning on making an area for the girls to play to their hearts content. We’ve membraned the area to stop the weeds and put down chip bark as a soft surface for them to play. Like lots of families we have a climbing frame and trampoline already but I also fancied being a little creative. I love the idea of creating something magical and natural for them.

I’m not going to lie I’m totally rubbish at gardening and don’t have the first clue about flower varieties or the plant nutrients needed to have an amazing garden! But I am good at being creative and using my imagination (well that and Pinterest) and the idea of a natural type play area that encourages imagination and free play sounds wonderful to me.

I’d really like to create a space that blends in with the surroundings taking inspiration from nature. I want them to be able to run wild, having secluded areas to relax, places to be whatever they want to be! Pinterest is my go to for inspiration for projects like this. I thought I’d share my Pinterest board with you because I think I’ve found some real gems!

Truth me told we’ve been working so hard on the inside of the house that we are both feeling a little jaded. Living in a house you need to renovate while working and having small children is a slow process. Sometimes people ask me if it’s worth it, if I’d still chose to do it all again.

The honest answer is yes, I love this house and our garden. Even on the worst days, all I have to do is take a look outside. I’ll see the girls racing around giggling in the sunshine and that’s it. I fall in love all over again.

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