Friday, 21 April 2017

Less but better // My latest homeware addition

In my quest for a more minimal and simple lifestyle, I am certainly now more selective around the items I bring into my home. I'm a big fan of 'buy me once' products; quality items that are built to last. It's an idea I've really latched on to over the last few years as I have come to realise it makes absolutely no sense to buy cheap items that don't last again and again. Quality, durability and sustainability are where it's at for me now! And it's not just good for me either, it's beneficial for the environment too. The less things I buy, the less ends up being wasted or going to landfill!

I'm really trying to be more conscious of what comes into my home and put a little more thought into my buying rather than making impulse purchases in high street shops (which do serve their purpose, don't get me wrong.... I love a bargain! I'm just practising a little more restraint when I hit the homeware aisles!).

But with all this said, I still love my home interiors. I love bedding, I love candles and I love a good cushion! Less but better is my motto and it's one that I now try and stick to when making purchases. I can still enjoy these things just as long as my purchases are considered and will have a place or purpose in our home!


I wanted to share my latest addition to our home as it comes from a new-to-me company called Banbayu. If you have not come across this wonderful new shopping destination before then let me tell you a little more!

Banbayu offer a touch of ethically-sourced luxury for the home which has evolved from a devotion of exploring our planet. They sell an exquisite collection of authentic homewares, lighting and even jewellery from some of the world's most diverse and remote cultures. Every piece is handmade and verified for cultural and ecological sustainability and they are also passionate about supporting different cultures and environments through charitable donations and ethical sourcing.You can find out more about the founders of Banbayu here. Their brand ideas are super admirable and their range of products is not incredibly vast but their selection is impeccable!


Browsing through their website, I was initially drawn to their range of handmade vases decorated with circus inspired art. They are just my kind of thing! One offs, such beautiful original pieces. And then I saw the range of cushions made by Jules Pansu in Paris, France. Jules Pansu have been weaving textile tapestries and wall art since 1878 and are still going strong today. The designs feature the work of some of the most influential artists of the 20th century, namely Miró and Picasso. I have a certain admiration for the work of these artists after studying art and working in various art galleries over the years. I just knew I had to have one of these cushions in my home!


After much deliberation, I went for the 2+5=7 design by Miró. The image has been licensed by the Miró foundation and has been brought to life in a unique and beautiful way for use in the home. It literally transforms your home into a sort of art gallery. There's no reason  as to why art should be restricted to being hung on walls! The colours are spot on for our living room and the contemporary design is a little nod to my artistic background. Honestly, I just love this cushion! It's bold, bright and full of character. 


The cushion retails for £85.00 at Banbayu which is pricey, I'll admit. You can really see the work that has gone into making this item though, different weaving techniques have been used to carefully recreate identical paint colours and Miró's painting strokes. The reverse of the cushion is a plain black cotton fabric, a lovely contrast to the bold and bright image on the front. Also, there's a concealed zip which makes for a neat, well though out design that is easy to remove should you need to wash it. It's plump, pert and well made.... just what I like in a cushion. You can just tell that it's certainly going to be one that will keep it's shape and last for years!


The cushion has certainly become a talking point when guests come to our house. They like to try and work out what the image is, what it means. My 3 year old daughter has decided that sometimes it is a face and sometimes it is a beach with the moon shining down. She loves to tell people her thoughts. This is what I love about art; it makes you question things, it creates dialogues.


I am so pleased with this new addition to our home. What do you think? Have you heard of Banbayu before? Pop over to their website to see their full range of cushions, home interiors, lighting and more! 

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Attic plans // An office space wish list

So, let's talk about work space. If you work from home, it can often be super tempting to get comfy on your favourite sofa and use your lap as a desk. A sofa desk if you will! I know I do it, far too often! It's a huge distraction for me though as I always end up switching the TV on in the background or doing anything other than 'work'. It's also not very practical! 

This year I'm working on our attic room with the intention of creating some kind of work space/play room hybrid. Somewhere I can actually do work without distraction and somewhere kiddo can play freely. It's a lovely spacious room with plenty of light and it is completely my intention to make the best of this space! 

I've talked about my plans for the play room side of our attic and so today, I wanted to update you with a bit of a wish list for things I'd like to see in the office/work space side of the room.

The first thing to think about when it comes to this room is blinds. I know I've said this more than once before but our attic room gets insufferably hot in the summer months so blackout blinds that provide effective heat and light control are an essential when it comes to planning our attic space. VELUX Blinds have a super range of blinds including a 2-in-1 VELUX blackout and awning blind which looks perfect for our needs. The awning blind cuts out the direct rays from the sun and reduces heat by up to 90% which is just what we need! The blinds come in a range of colour options too so there'll definitely be one that we can all agree on. I like the monochrome graphic pattern best, just saying!


Next, a proper desk. We currently have our old dining table up there that I use as a desk although it's far too tall and just not practical! I'm such a fan of functional furniture and I'll happily pay for timeless pieces that are built to last. I have my eye on this Ebbe Gehl for John Lewis Mira Desk & Filing Cabinet combo, it's just spot on in every sense. I love those rounded corners, the functionality, the storage space! It's perfect.



.... And you can't have a nice desk without a nice chair! Made do a lovely selection of stylish but comfortable looking chairs. I'm having a hard time picking out just one that I like so here are three. Which do you like best?


Finally, lighting. A good desk lamp is also going to be an essential item on my list. I'm one of those people that likes to have lights on to work, especially when it comes to packing up parcels. This glass shade marble table lamp from Oliver Bonas is one that I am definitely lusting after at the moment. It's simple yet stylish.... just my kinda thing!


This is a collaborative post but all thoughts and words are my own.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

New additions to our i-SPY book collection

We have quite a few exciting holidays lined up over the next few months and one of the things I love doing for kiddo is putting together a little travel bag for her packed full of goodies to keep her entertained on those long journeys and during the evenings after busy days exploring. I make one for every trip and they are always very much appreciated by her!

I plan on sharing a post or a video soon on some of the things I like to include in her travel bag but as an idea, there'll be everything from a copy of her favourite magazine to small toys, her favourite snacks and small books.

You might remember that we're a huge fan of i-SPY books in our house so including a couple of these in her bag is always a must-do nowadays! 

We acquired a few new i-SPY books recently and i'm so excited to share our latest finds on my blog today. The three new copies I will be packing for our next holidays are "Flags", "Wild Flowers" and "At the Seaside". 


The range of titles that are currently available to by from i-SPY is rapidly growing, surely a testament to their success! The latest titles include "Zoo", "Cool Cars", "At the Museum", "I-Spy something beginning with....", and "In the street". 

I love that these books are so well illustrated and are such a joy to collect. I know I've said this before but in a world that is constantly dominated by technology, I'm such a fan of any tool that will help children engage and interact with the world around them. 


You might fondly remember the i-SPY books from your childhood but for those who are new to the books, the objective is simple and so much fun! Simply work your way through the book, spotting items and collecting points along the way. Once you have scored yourself 1000 points, you can pop over to the i-SPY website to apply for a certificate and a badge that will be posted out to you in the mail. It's good old fashioned fun and we love it!


"At the Seaside" is a brilliant new addition to our collection. Perfect for British seaside holidays, this book is crammed full of exciting things to spot! From ships and rock pools to paddling dogs and the Blackpool Tower, this book firmly encourages children to explore the outdoors in such a fun and interactive way! 


"Wild Flowers" is the perfect title for us at the moment. Kiddo is so interested in plants and flowers, continuously asking their names when we're out walking. This book is colour coded, so it's super easy to narrow down the flower once it has been spotted. It also contains flowers and plants that grow in cities, woods, ponds and in the countryside.... perfect for taking absolutely anywhere you might spot wild flowers! 


Finally, we have a bit of a flag obsession at the moment so "Flags" is another title that is just spot on for kiddo's travel bag. She loves spotting flags when we are out and about and this book will help us identify some of the more tricky flags we come across now and again! 
Alongside each flag you'll find important facts listed such as the capital, language spoken, currency, population and size. Such a fun way to get to know our world a little bit better! I just know that kiddo is going to love this one! 


Are your children a fan of i-SPY books? Did you collect these books when you were younger? Let me know in a comment below!

Take a look at the i-SPY website to discover the full range of titles in this fantastic collection!

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Things I've loved this week // 034

A little Sunday round-up, some of the little things that I've been loving this week!

Feeling better

I think this winter has been the absolute worst in terms of my health. I've had so many viruses, pretty much one after the other and despite my best attempts, I just keep on getting ill! Last week I came down with severe tonsillitis and I'll be honest, it has been rubbish. After a swift trip to the doctors though and armed with a bag full of antibiotics, I'm slowly starting to feel like myself again. Keeping my fingers crossed for no more viruses now for a while! 
I am super grateful for all of the help I've had this week and that kiddo has been an absolute angel despite us not being able to get out properly and enjoy the holidays!


New phone

New phone, new phone, yay! My old iPhone hadn't been the same after I dropped it a while ago so I was super excited to get a new phone this week. I went for the iPhone 7 in rose gold, it's so pretty! I'm currently waiting on a new case and screen protector from eBay but until then, I'm filling the phone with all my favourite apps and enjoying having a phone that actually works properly! I also love the camera on it too....


Cinema date

I promised kiddo a cinema date as soon as I was feeling up to it and so off we went on Thursday to see The Boss Baby which she was excited to see! She's so good at the cinema, it's becoming one of our favourite things to do together. She loves the routine of buying tickets and snacks and picking which movies she wants to see next from the trailers. The Boss Baby itself was super, I thought it looked daft from the trailers but we were both laughing (in a good way!) all through the movie!


Disney planning

I feel so behind with Disney planning this year due to all the illnesses we've had over winter. We had a little productivity boost this week and got down some of those annoying tasks like booking insurance, linking up our bookings, booking our airport transfer and the best bit.... choosing our MagicBands! It still hasn't quite sunk in that we'll be heading back to Disney World in a few months.... I'm just so excited but because we're keeping it as a surprise for kiddo (more on that soon!), we're having to play it cool at home when she's around!


Amazon deliveries

Amazon have been a bit slack with their delivery schedule recently so my copy of Moana only just arrived yesterday, what feels like a million days behind everyone else! Still, very much worth the wait though! I also grabbed the deluxe edition Beauty & the Beast soundtrack as a treat for myself because well, I'm still on a BUY ALL THE BEAUTY & THE BEAST STUFF high! It's absolutely stunning, I just can't get enough of it.


What have you been loving this week? Let me know in a comment below!

Friday, 14 April 2017

GIVEAWAY // Win a spring themed bundle of handpicked goodies!

With all the lovely weather we've been having recently, I think it is safe to say that spring is finally here! As the days are getting longer and the trees are beginning to blossom, I've certainly been celebrating the reprieve that these warm spring days are offering from the cold, dark days of winter!

I'm not usually a spring kinda girl but having been oh, so poorly for pretty much all of winter.... I'm hoping that the weather will not only lift my spirits but boost my immunity too! I'm keeping everything crossed, anyway!

I was thinking recently that I haven't held a giveaway here on my blog for quite a while so today this is exactly what I'm going to do! I have put together this sweet little bundle of spring themed goodies for one lucky winner. There's a predominant bird theme here because, well, nothing says spring like waking up when it's light to the sound of birds singing sweetly outside your window! It's little things like this that that really put a spring in my step.


Included in this bundle are two high quality prints from a favourite artist and a favourite photographer, two sheets of Cavallini & Co stickers, a copy of the Little Birds craft book by Design Collective, a 'colouring for calm' book and a floral notebook.


I'd love to know what you love about spring and what your plans are for the season ahead! Are you planning your summer holidays? Maybe you are thinking of spring as a chance for a fresh start or the perfect time to start a new project? Let me know in a comment below!


If you'd like to enter for a chance to win this sweet bundle of spring themed goodies, here are a couple of things you need to know:

This giveaway is open to UK & European residents only
A winner will be drawn at random on Friday May 12th 2017
Please enter this giveaway using the rafflecopter form below.

Good luck!


Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Easter Crafting with Poundland

We are well into the Easter holidays now and if you are starting to struggle for ideas to keep the kids entertained then look no further! 

As much as we're a family who loves getting out and about, this week I have been hit by a bout of severe tonsillitis and let me tell you, it ain't been fun! We've not been able to get out so we've been having as much holiday fun as we can at home, sticking on our favourite family DVD's, baking, play dough-ing, pottering in the garden and of course, crafting.

Now, when it comes to craft sessions with kiddo, there's one shop that I can rely on for all our crafting needs..... and that shop is Poundland! If you know me, you'll know that I love my bargain shops and Poundland is my absolute 'go to' place if I need craft activities/supplies, small toys, travel goodies or anything else for kiddo. It's brilliant..... I know I don't need to tell you this! 

One thing I really like is their range of seasonal goods. Christmas, Halloween, Valentine's Day..... whatever the occasion, you'll always find a huge range of goods available to purchase. Easter is no exception to this either so when Poundland got in touch with me recently and very kindly asked if I would like to try out their Easter range, I simply jumped at the chance!

So, armed with a voucher*, I popped down to my local store. I was very impressed with the range of products I found, everything from basic craft supplies to complete kits, Easter table decorations, egg hunt supplies and of course, chocolate eggs! I let kiddo loose on the Easter section and here are just some of the things she chose....


I also picked up a few bags of decorated eggs and some fluffy chicks ready for a craft project I had planned with kiddo.... more on that soon!


Let's take a closer look at some of the things we bought....


These craft kits have been firm favourites in our house this week. They are such good quality for just £1 each, I'll definitely be going back to see if there are any more! Kiddo chose the "Pop Stick Creations" kit and the "Tissue Art" kit. Both of these are complete craft sets, which is amazing as there's nothing more annoying than having to hunt down the PVA glue hidden somewhere in your house!


Each set comes with everything you need and this includes super simple instructions. The tissue for the tissue art kit was neatly pre-cut in to squares and the pop stick kit came with it's own stickers and tube of glue (which is perfectly Easter themed I might add!). 


These kits really are a no fuss, no mess, stress free solution to crafting. Perfect when you want to do an activity and don't have much time or don't want to tidy up the mess afterwards! 


Kiddo had an absolute blast putting these together and she was oh, so proud of her tissue paper shapes! 


She's planning on sticking her tissue paper shapes on card to make some thank you notes for all of the Easter eggs she has received so far. She's super kind! 


Next up, I wanted to make some kind of Easter display in kiddo's bedroom. We always do one for Christmas and her birthday which she loves so this year I wanted to include Easter too! She's mad for collecting sticks when we go out on walks (what 3 year old isn't?!) so the other day I asked her to choose a few to bring home to make an Easter tree. 

She painted the twigs in her favourite colours with some acrylic paint and then we popped them in an enamel jug. Once the twigs had dried, I handed over the bags of eggs and the fluffy rainbow chicks that I picked up from Poundland and she set to work decorating the tree. 


Underneath she placed a few of her favourite Easter toys and a few small Kinder chocolates from Poundland ready for the big day. These didn't last long, I can promise you that! 

To finish off the tree, I popped the Poundland carrot lights over the branches so that we can light it up at night. These lights are such a cute novelty idea, I love the carrot design and the clear wire means that they could be hung anywhere without looking messy. They are also super bright. In other words, a complete bargain for just £1! 


I love kiddo's Easter tree.... didn't she do well?! Those rainbow chicks are so ridiculously cute! I thoroughly regret not buying more than one box of them though because they would be great for the Easter table or for bonnet decorating duties too!


This "Paint Your Own Easter Bunny" is a kit we have lined up for tomorrow afternoon and I'm super excited for kiddo to get started on it. She loves painting! Once again, I love that these kits are complete.... I love anything fuss free! 


The range of goods that we picked up from Poundland is super impressive. There really is something for every mini crafter, no matter what their age or interest is! From complete kits to super cute decorations, bonnets, bits for the garden and much more. 

If you're looking to keep your little ones entertained at home over the next week or so then I'd thoroughly recommend popping down to your local Poundland store to stock up on their range of craft kits and Easter goodies! They also have a super range of bargain branded Easter eggs, well worth snapping up before the end of the weekend!  


* Collaborative post but all words are my own

Friday, 7 April 2017

Are you allergic to fur?

Despite their cute, cuddly appearance having a pet comes with one major downside. If you’re allergic to fur, or to be precise dander, the protein that’s found in pet fur you’ll probably spend a lot of your time coughing, sneezing and wiping your eyes. Not everyone's allergic though! When it comes to families you'll often find that three out of four people aren’t, but for the individual who does find it hard to stroke the dog without feeling ill, pets aren’t all they’re cracked up to be!


Wash both of you

Lots of us tend to think that if we keep our pets squeaky clean we’re helping to reduce the chances of feeling sniffly after a couple of hours. However, bathing them regularly only solves half the problem as often pet dander is transferred onto our hands, skin, and clothes without us even knowing. The best way to limit exposure is to wash your hands and face thoroughly, in hot soapy water after playing with them. 

While we're aware that having your dog curl up on the end of the bed is adorable, it isn’t doing your health much good. Instead of having them in the bedroom, let pets sleep on a cosy blanket or basket. Pet dander is easily spread, so the last thing you need is to get it over your carpet, rugs, and bedclothes. You could also switch to hypoallergenic bedding as even though it’ll be more expensive there’s less chance of pet allergens sticking to it.

Alternatives

Pets don’t necessarily need to be furry! Turtles, lizards, snakes, tarantulas and even fish can make fantastic pets as well as birds whose feathers may not carry that form of dander. Why not put in a pond? Stock up on plenty of pond supplies then buy some tropical fish that your kids can name, feed and take care of without you going anywhere near anything furry or fluffy. 

Alternatively, children can have other pets in their lives by visiting grandparents, taking turns to look after the school hamster or rabbit and going round their friend's houses to play with their animals. Try to vacuum areas where pets have been as much as possible, and if your carpet is getting bobbly you may want to switch to hardwood flooring.


Take allergy medication

Just like hay fever sufferers do when they take Piriton, you’ll feel much better once you’ve taken an over-the-counter antihistamine that’ll relieve itchy eyes and a blocked nose. Severe allergies can cause wheezing, chest tightness and tearing so if it's awful you may want to talk to your pharmacist about prescription medication. 

Just bought a new puppy or kitten? Dogs and cats lives last much longer than hamsters or even rabbits, so you may want to consider getting allergy shots that’ll boost your immune system to the point where you won’t clinically be allergic anymore. The only issues are they can take a whole year to kick in, aren’t cheap and you’ll need weekly injections and then monthly ones which can be difficult when life’s busy enough as it is!