Spotlight on Small Business – Speckled Egg

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I love small businesses, I love the spirit behind them & the stories of how they start, it’s the stuff of dreams & aspirations.

Knowing that someone has lovingly built up a business based on their talents & gifts is  something I’ll always want to support wholeheartedly.

I shop locally as much as I can & being small business owners ourselves, know all too well the blessing to have a loyal & returning customer base.

I’m throwing the spotlight on a small Facebook based business called Speckled Egg, who lovingly make personalised & framed pretty things for you to love & treasure straight out of the Cotswolds.  Based in Prestbury, Cheltenham.

I’ve bought from Jo at Speckled Egg before as we have a mutual friend & I’ve been begging her to contribute to the blog for ages! I’ve always been happy with my purchases & would buy from her again & again.

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 One of the pretty framed personalisation Speckled Egg do all year round

Here are some of the CHRISTMAS items they have to offer!

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I love the vintage feel of these snowglobes!

Contact Jo at Speckled Egg to enquire on prices & delivery.  It’s getting ever closer to Christmas now so don’t delay!! I wouldn’t want you to be disappointed.

xoxoxo

Follow Speckled Egg on Facebook

Give them a like too & follow along, because that’s how we show appreciation in the social media world!

Love to you all

Lizzie XOXOXO

Take a Moment – Owning It

Hey friends,

‘Owning it’  I’ve been thinking about this phrase a lot recently.

I read this post by Elise at Cheers Y’all & it really spoke to me (I sponsor her blog btw) & I keep hearing the phrase everywhere I go ever since.  It really got me thinking about the good things I take on, but also the not so good but try to ignore. Don’t we all do that!

I think the practice of ‘owning it’ sits with mindfulness really well.  Part of being mindful is not fighting negative thoughts.  It’s about letting thoughts come & go without guilt & without holding on to them.  It’s also about being honest to yourself!

Here are the things I’m ‘owning’ right now, the good, the bad & the ugly!

- I always want to feel like I’m moving forwards.  Feeling like I’m going backwards or even standing still for a time makes me impatient & anxious, having small children means this can be really frustrating & in that I sometimes miss the point & struggle to ‘stay in the moment’ with this way of thinking! Owning it

- I have an issue with perfectionism, I’m working on every single day. Owning it

- I have KISS FM on during the day to make me feel like I’m still young! Fave song at the mo? Taylor Swift Shake it Off.  Love that music. Owning it

- I rarely listen to old music, if older songs come on the radio I turn the channel! (are we moving forwards playing old music? I don’t think so lol) Owning it

- I love really, really old hymns ( I know the irony is not lost on me).  ‘Amazing Grace’, ‘How Great Thou Art’ & ‘Be Thou my Vision’ are favourites & link me with my faith heritage! Owning it

- I’d like to say I LOVE exercise but I find it really hard to muster up the motivation to get to the gym.  When I get there I love it but I have to try really hard to not let the couch & tv win!  Owning it

- I think it’s a really hard to balance having loads of friends & still leave room for new people. I find it quite hard to get to know new people but I’m working on it. Owning it

- I can be a bit of a loner at times & prefer to go shopping on my own. Owning it

- I’d rather spend time with my husband than anybody else in the world. Owning it

- I tell people my favourite film is the Shawshank Redemption when it’s actually a toss up between Baby Boom with Diane Keaton, The Secret of My Success with Michael J Fox & Legally Blonde with Reese Witherspoon! ROMCOM MUCH! Owning it

- I think new films are too long! Bring back 90 minute movies……. please!!!!!!! Owning it.

- I hate crowds.  Owning it

- I’m sensitive to noise. Owning it

- I love eating out & don’t do it enough (crowds/noise) Owning it

- Having a family has changed my life so much for the better….. but

- My hips still hurt almost 2 years after having my last baby…

- my confidence has taken a bashing…

- & anxiety is higher than ever before… Owning it (& working on it)

- The people/celebrities I admire really know who they are & reiterate that over & over again, I’m working on being more like those people.  Owning it

- I’d love to read more books but will always choose sleep over reading! Owning it

- I’d love to invite more people over to my house, but I’m working on rejection issues (just call me Chandler Bing)! I’ll get back to you on that one, it’s a work in progress! Owning it

- My biggest bug bears are: people who park in parent spaces at the supermarket with teenage kids or worse, no kids at all, MAN I get so angry about it! Being English though means I won’t say anything, so I just inwardly seeth instead, helpful!!! Owning it

- I also dislike long toe nails, bad hygiene & people who bash into you at the supermarket.  I have a lot of issues about supermarkets, possibly because of the crowds, but hey that’s why I get my shopping delivered! Owning it

- I’m at my happiest when I’m surrounded by people I love, preferably with a freshly baked bread smell & an open fire. Owning it

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This is not definitive list I’m sure I could go on & on, but you get the idea.  By accepting yourself how you are, flaws & all, you can be inside your story instead of fighting against it.

I’ve found I’m a lot more relaxed about things & able to admit to others how I feel & that’s helped me loads, it might help you too!

Do you ‘own it’ or hide it like I used to?

Until the next time friends, have a great day!

Lizzie XO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lifestyle Hack by Little Hands

Thought you knew what your homestyle was? Think again!

Forget Pinterest or Homes & Gardens Magazine, you need a toddler & a preschooler in your home to rewire your understanding of what family style really means.

Picture if you will a perfectionist Mum, home based with interests such as home decor, cooking & baking, socialising with friends & family.  She styles her home until it’s just how she likes it & looks around it in a happy, contended way.  She’s so happy with her home decor that she’s sure she wouldn’t be embarrassed to invite anyone round, even Duchess Kate herself would adore to pop around for a play date, she’s sure of it.

Enter the new designers on the block, so infamous they’re known by their initials SH & SB, these guys are taking ‘designing your life’ to a whole new level.

THE LIFESTYLE HACK

Your beautiful candle votive is now a ‘Galahad Candle’, with fusions of ‘modern ocean’ & ‘Mike the Knight’ themes.  It makes an excellent centrepiece for your table.  When interviewed the forward thinking SH said ‘it’s not dangerous, it’s nice’.

Galahad candle

On trend according to everyone’s instagram, board signs with motivations & quotes can be given a whole new lease of life when turned backwards; yanno, so you CANNOT SEE THE QUOTE! Like all good design it’s so simple you will wonder why you never thought of it yourself.

Backwards board

SH & SB like to turn things on their head, it’s just their way. I think you’ll agree that by turning the board around you not only see the simpleness of the wood but also the price! Which of course is something you will want everyone to see.

Next up… the wooden cube in the photo montage… wooden block

& the free kids mag toy hammer in the fruit bowl….

hammer fruit bowl

These simple hacks are so forward thinking that the world might not be ready for them just yet, but this Mum believes her children are two of the leading front runners in design & innovation of the future.

Incorporate them into your home now to get ahead of the trend!

You’re welcome.

nb. I know we need more fruit, thanks.

Take a Moment with World Vision

Hey Friends,

You might remember a little while back I did a post with World Vision called Grow Hope.

Today I’m joining with the organisation again to ask a question, will you join us in a night of hope for the children of Syria?

I’ve been happily carving pumpkins with my children this week.  I’ve learnt the best knife to use is a steak knife as they’re sturdy & serrated which helps!  Halloween celebrations generally centre around dark characters, fear & scary faces carved into pumpkins.  We’ve been carving hearts into our pumpkins for World Vision instead.  Sweet Harry loved carving his pumpkin (the smaller one) but Sweet Bea is a bit too little still.

Finished Pumpkins for World Vision

Learn How to carve the perfect pumpkin

This year World Vision are asking us to turn a night of fear into a night of hope for the children left devastated in Syria.  The conditions there are horrifying really, I look at my own sweet kids & just see children that are just like mine, in awful, awful circumstances & it breaks my heart.

World Vision have asked me to:

ICON PUMPKINCarve a heart in a pumpkin as a lantern of hope

ICON SHARE

Share a picture of my heart pumpkin

World Vision Facebook Page

World Vision Twitter Page using the #ANightOfHope

 

ICON TEXTText Heart8 to 70060 to donate £5

& ask you, my dear readers to Carve, Share & Text

World Vision will be sharing  our pictures to the children to show them how much we care for them.

I really love carving pumpkins it’s loads of messy fun to do with the kids, safely with the knife now though!  I hope you’ll consider carving a heart in your pumpkins this year friends, join me to give hope to these kids.

Here’s some pumpkin recipe’s for you too! I’m going to try the Pumpkin Seed Pesto recipe, it seems a shame to throw out those seeds & its an extra thing to do with the kids.

Have a really great Friday & I hope you’ve enjoyed Half Term!

Until the next time friends have a great day.

Lizzie XO

 

 

What We’ve Been Doing Lately

Hey Friends,

Who decides to go away in a caravan in October?? That would be us!

We were on hols last week in a slightly chilly Cornwall.  It really doesn’t matter what time of year you go to Cornwall, the rugged beauty of the North Coast is stunning all year round.

Our trip this time seemed to be more about what we didn’t do, about having quality family time with less.  Less stress, less internet, less work, less of taking photographs for absolutely everything we did like we usually do!

It wasn’t until we  got to our static van that we realised we had to pay for wifi! No & no thank you.

Thankfully we didn’t care & this set the scene for our blissful week away from social media.  I did feel a bit cut off, but in a really good way.  (Can I be honest though & say when we came across free wifi I hopped on immediately?? I’m only human! Owning it)

So the photo’s are not really blog worthy, but it’s our life & our holiday, just as it is.

Sweet Bea Rick Steins

Sweet Bea looking like an angel at Rick Stein’s in Padstow

I have to admit when you have two young kids it’s comforting going somewhere you know where all the kiddy friendly places are.

We went back to Rick Stein’s in Padstow, so kid friendly with highchairs & baby changing facilities.  You have to leave your buggy outside which is fine if it isn’t raining which thankfully it wasn’t while we were there.  I had grilled salmon & chips.

Sweet Couple Rick Stein Sweet family Rick Stein

My Favourites enjoying fish & chips at Rick Stein’s famous restaurant in Padstow.

My Dad took the picture of my & Jon, he thought it was pretty good! Bless him!!

Sweet Harry Proper Pic

Here is the best photo I could get with Sweet Harry who is never happy to pose for pictures! I quite like it, it’s the real us that’s for sure, always goofing around!

Sweet Harry the Knight Trerice Fire Great Hall

Sweet Harry the Knight enjoying a snack at Trerice Manor near Newquay & the fire in the Great Hall.

SH enjoyed doing the trail looking for pumpkins, skeletons & bats.  We were also given a booklet with 50 Things to Do Before You’re 11 and 3/4 & got a sticker!

There was chain armour & old toys to touch.  We couldn’t resist the play armour in the gift shop!!  Plus it’s the first time SH has ever shown as interest in dressing up.

I treated myself to a facial at the Watergate Bay Hotel which was bliss, followed by a latte while Jon took the sweet kids to soft play.  I so needed it (&there was free wifi! & THIS VIEW!

You can’t see here but loads of people on the beach being blown along & flying kites!

Watergate Bay Hotel Latte View

We also went back to Truro to the Waterstones to chose books which we always do with the kids.

Whatever you’re doing, have a great week!

Lizzie XO

 

 

 

Five on Friday – 17th October 2014

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Hey friends,

Cheers to the weekend!

I’ve been a bit absent with the old blog again, soz about that! This year has been so horrendous sleep wise, other things have just had to take priority; like getting up & getting dressed etc!  Ya know, functioning.

I love my kids but man, if only they would sleep.  4 years ago I had my first babe & 19 months ago our second joined us.  I have a hazy memory of sleep sometime in the middle of that, but in a season of becoming dry at night x nightmares x fudging off Mum & Dad (SH) & teething x colds x whatever else she thinks of (SB), consistent sleep has alluded us so far in 2014.

I had a thought (dangerous) about the things I’ve brought since before I even had the kids, pregnancy turned me into a crazy woman, I prowled the aisles of Mothercare immediately I saw the line on the test (& possibly a bit before) & have every ‘must have’ under the sun.

I reckon we have spent a fortune on stuff for them; buggies, blankets, playmats, garden toys, indoor toys, highchairs (one for our house + one for Mum & Dad’s?!?), muslins, bottles, teats, formula, dummies, swingy chairs, chairs that don’t swing, bath seats, electric sterilisers (+ a microwave one yanno, just in case) plus the essentials nappies, clothes, shoes etc etc etc.  This does not even begin to cover the list of things we have actually bought over the last 4 years, NO. WHERE. NEAR.

Now that I’ve had two babies I look back & have regretted some of the things I bought or thought I needed.  True story, most Mum’s in the dark ages managed with a boob, a dummy made of glass & a drawer.  Most of it isn’t ‘must have’ at all, but I still found myself eyeing up the cute Bugaboo in Costa earlier (seriously I have 4 buggies!)

I thought it would be good to share the things I haven’t regretted buying, the items that have been truly useful & helpful.

O N E – Fisher Price Nature’s Touch Cradle (Swinging Chair)

Second hand & well loved this swing chair came from a friend & immediately changed our lives with our newborn. Up to that point we had a very whingey & hard to get to nap baby boy.  This swing not only put him to sleep in minutes, it also saved my sanity.

T W O - Aden & Anais Muslins

The other brand mussies I tried just weren’t as good, they are soft & wash well & don’t come out of the wash all wrinkled up like the others.

The large one’s are also good as a swaddle & a sunshade over the pram.  If it’s good enough for Prince George…..

T H R E E – Dummies

No particular brand!

My parents hated the idea of using dummies, we never had them as kids but I swear by them.  SH never took to them but SB loves hers.

Good for babies to soothe themselves to sleep & even keep them mildly quiet during the sermon at Church, shame you have to take them away really, but the dummy fairy needs them.. grrrr.

F O U R – IKEA Highchair

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I think SH is comfy in his IKEA highchair

I have tried a lot of highchairs in my time, in coffee shops & restaurants & I am always pleased to see an IKEA highchair.

They’re simple, they’re cheap (£13!!!), my children can actually sit up straight in them, the buckle is easy to adjust & they’re easy to clean.  I started off with another brand & switched to IKEA & have been happy ever since.

F I V E – Maclaren XT + Buggy Snuggle

I know technically that’s two things, but this is my blog & in my eyes it’s a winning combo.

The Maclaren XT is as close as I could get to buggy perfection, there is no perfect buggy out there, contrary to what the brands tell you.  This one just worked for me.

It’s pretty telling that for SH I had a whole travel system & for SB I went straight to the Maclaren.  Suitable from birth it doesn’t wow you like a full on travel system does, it’s certainly not keeping up with the Jones’s, but years of engineering goodness has gone into this buggy.  Personally as a short arse I could do with the handles a little lower but you can’t have everything.

Paired with a cow patterned Buggy Snuggle & Sweet Bea is snug as a bug.  We also took this on hols with us when SB was 11 weeks old, so easy on the plane.  Also easy to bung in the wash.

So that’s my five! If I could have six I’d add in calpol, what would we do without the pink stuff?!  What things did/do you find useful for the sweet kids? What do you regret buying?

Until the next time friends, don’t get sucked into the ‘must have’s.  Your babies need love, nurturing, attention, food, drink & clothes, & not much else really.

Sorry about the lack of photo’s.  I’ll add them in another day & reblog!  Cheers to April, Christina, Darci & Natasha for having me along.

Have a great week you lot!

Lizzie XO

Tommy & Lottie – a Review

Hey friends,

I saw an opportunityto do a review for a new brand &  I must admit I’d never heard of Tommy & Lottie before, that’s because they’re really new set up in 2014!  A quick search to their website & afew e-mails back & forth from the owner & I very quickly got a feeling for what they’re all about.

The owner Katie offered me a choice of any of the t-shirts on the website (how lovely is it to have a choice!) I very quickly fell in love with the fairground range.

I liked all of the designs & really liked that they’re all really simple white background but with a striking Scandinavian inspired design on the front!

I asked for the dodgem t-shirt in Sweet Harry’s age since I haven’t done a review with him before, but unfortunately they don’t do it in his size yet (he’s now 4).  So I opted for the helter skelter design for 18-24 months & you’ve got Sweet Bea instead!

Helter-Short-Sleeve-Front-220x220

I was impressed that the t-shirt came wrapped in tissue paper & with the cutest little badger sticker on the envelope.  It really is the small things that add to a buying experience.

Secondly, I was happy to see poppers on the shoulders, it’s not always easy to get a wriggly toddler in their clothes so anything that helps is a win.

I did have to think about what I would team the tee with as SB is quite a girly girl & this tee felt more rock star babe.  I popped her in jeans & put a tutu on top! But SB didn’t mind rocking the fairground design & was quite happy running around in it.

helter tutu

I did find the tee slightly too long for her, but I just tucked it in & I know it will fit her for ages.

Here she is running around with her tee, topknot & jeans, I loved putting her in something I wouldn’t otherwise of thought of, I also turned up the sleeves for a bit of a girly ‘Grease’ style twist, I think she looks great!

Helter side

helter front

I’m always up for shouting about brands who have an ethical background.  Tommmy & Lottie are passionate about how they produce their product “ethically and sustainably produced by using only the best quality and the softest 100% cotton and are designed and screen printed in Britain.” Made in GB always gets my vote too!

After reading more of the website I was really happy to see that Katie had set up her business after staying home with her kids, it really gave me hope for my future after I’m done with staying home with my own sweet kids.  I’m happy to support Mum’s who have started their own business.  I really like the warm but current feel of this new hot brand.

If you’re on the market for a really soft, beautifully designed tee this might be what you’re looking for & they would make a great gift too!  My only negative is that they don’t make them bigger so my boy could have had one too!

Have a look at the Tommy & Lottie Website or go & say hai on Twitter // Facebook.

Lizzie XO

 

 I was given a t-shirt to keep & review.  All links are no follow & all words & opinions are my own.

 

Five on Friday – 3rd October 2014

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Hey sweet friends,

It’s great to be back with the old skool Five on Friday link up which is back up & running after a break.

Say HAI to my hostesses April, Christina, Darci & Natasha.

For my five this week I thought I’d share my five favourites from our photoshoot with Helen James Studio earlier in the year.

O N E – OUR FAMILY

We do have a more composed shot with all of us looking the right way & smiling but I just love this photo, this just shows us to a tee!  It captures our family perfectly & how we are always goofing around with each other!! Look at Sweet Bea, totally nonplussed.

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I’m wearing a top & black jeans from the Petite range at Topshop.

TWO – THE MONEY SHOT

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I have no words, he’s just SO FLIPPING CUTE! SH wore togs from Next Kids.

THREE – SWEET BEA HOLDING COURT

Do we see a future judge here? I can just see her saying ‘you are in contempt of court, take them away’! HA!!!

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I picked up this really pretty dress from TK Maxx & the bow is from Next Kids

F O U R - DAD & SON

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Both boys are in Ralph Lauren polo shirts, I think they look so sweet together in this photo.

FIVE – THE SWEET KIDS 

I really liked all of the props Helen had in her studio. I especially loved these fabric castles & the sweet kids really enjoyed playing in them.  IMG_6329

This shot will be going up in our new playroom, post about that to come soon. 

You can find Helen at Poundbury in Dorchester, Dorset.

See her website here or Like her page on FACEBOOK.

Until the next time friends have a great day!

Lizzie XO

nb This is not a sponsored post & all links are no follow.

 

Take a Moment – Joy the Baker

Hey friends,

Beer-Brownies

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I’ve been following Joy the Baker on Bloglovin’ for quite awhile.  Every post is jam packed full of mouth watering goodness & makes me (yes me!) WANT to bake; or at least eat some really yummy food.

I don’t think I’ll ever be at the stage that Joy is at.  But the beautiful photography at every single stage of baking & Joy’s warm running commentary makes you feel like you’re getting a step by step tutorial by a friend & having fun at the same time.

Joy lives in New Orleans & her blog is interspersed with colourful & whimsical tales of her life there, blogging, eating, drinking & generally living life to the full.

Joy the Baker has many published books & another is on it’s way out called Homemade Decadence.  Do you think I can hint to my husband for one for our anniversary in a couple of weeks?

Homemade Decadence Cookbook

DID YOU KNOW???? There are blogs on every single subject in the world out there! If you love sewing then search for a sewing blog, if you love cars there’ll be sure to be a blog on it.  The blogs I follow are generally written by women as I’m interested in lifestyle, food, kids fashion & beauty & general chit chat blogs too, full to the brim of inspiration & tales of life.

Have a look on Bloglovin’ or Google & see what will spark your interest today. Joy the Baker always sparks my inspiration, &/or my appetite!

Follow JOY THE BAKER on Bloglovin

FACEBOOK // TWITTER // PINTEREST

Until the next time friends, have a great day!

Lizzie XO

Five on Friday – 26th September 2014

Hey friends,

How’s your week been?  It’s been a happy & emotional time in the Somerset ranch as our little boy turned 4!!

Here’s my 5 favourite things this week!

O N E – This Guy

Harry 4

Can you believe Sweet Harry is 4! Maybe you can, but this Mama can’t.  They always say it flies by, but the days are so long sometimes that it’s hard to think like that.  But now the day has come SH is school age, I must admit IT HAS FLOWN BY!

We’re so proud of our sweet, confident, chatty, kind & caring boy!  Reach for the Sky!!

Happy birthday little dude!

T W O – This Guy

JON ON RALLY

 Waving Daddy off on the Screwball Rally 2014

The Screwball rally is underway & as I type hubby is hot-tailing it from Switzerland to Austria on a charity rally with his mate Tom.

You can still sponsor them but I am delighted to say they have now exceeded their target of £3,500!!

jon rally

Here’s the link if you’d like to support them. HERE

T H R E E – Sweet Gifts

I’ve been praying for quite some time for something to do as well as be able to stay at home with the sweet kids.  It’s been a real answer to prayer that Church has asked me on board with their social media team!!  I love blogging & when I started I had no idea where it would lead me.  I just asked that God would guide me & that I would be an encouragement to others, in whatever form that might take.

It’s great for me to feel useful & to have a creative outlet.  Thanking God for this opportunity to serve Him.

F O U R – Pumpkin Spice in back in Starbucks

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Yeeps, the PSL is back in Starbucks! It must official be AUTUMN!!!

I’m not a huge fan of latte though (too milky) I much prefer a cappuccino so I’m changing the PSL to the PSC!!!

Always one to be difficult HUH. But on a serious note, people!! you can ask to have your pumpkin spice in whatever coffee you want! You don’t always have to go with the crowd! PSC all the way!!!!

F I V E – Sweet Friends

Since hubs is living it up in Europe I’m here with the kids solitaire & I’m missing him of course!  But with this time comes an opportunity to spend time with others & ask for help (something I’m working on).

I’ve already had a lovely eve with the sweet girls from church & will see more people over the weekend which is usually family time.  It’s good to do things differently every now & again & this trip is our excuse to tip our routine on it’s head for afew days & try new things!

Until the next time friends, have a great day!

Lizzie XO