Holiday planning – India

As well as planning a trip to Orlando in December this year, we’re also thinking of going away to India. I know they seem like two very extravagant holidays for someone who has just moved into a new house that needs completely renovating but we’ve both been saving hard for these trips for a few years now. The trip to India would be to celebrate Nick’s 30th which was in January but at the time we just went to London for a few days because we were waiting to exchange on our new house so we decided to put off the trip until later in the year when we were all more settled.

I’ve been to India before about 10 years ago and it was so fabulous. I was lucky enough to trek around the Himalayas, get lost in Delhi and marvel at the Taj Mahal. (Cue cringey photo…)


This time around it will be slightly different because we’ll have Huxley with us. This is the main reason I’ve been searching for more luxurious holiday ideas and hotels in India* rather than the usual cheap-and-cheerful style of holiday that Nick & I usually go on! As lovely as India is, due to the noise & dustiness, it would be nice to be able to escape back into a clean, quiet hotel when the day is over. Once Huxley gets older I’m more than happy for him to experience India a bit differently but while he’s still so young, safety is my main priority.

There’s so many things I’m excited about that I don’t even know where to begin! The wildlife is definitely a big draw for us, especially after seeing how excited Huxley was at the zoo recently. When I was in India, I saw elephants just walking down the street and to see Huxley’s little face watch an elephant stroll past while he’s eating lunch would be worth it’s weight in gold. I’d also like to visit a tiger sanctuary, although I’ll be doing lots of research into which ones treat the animals properly and aren’t just dreadful, inhumane tourist attractions.



Nick is always really keen to visit cities and ‘tick them off his list’ so as well as visiting Delhi, I think we’d travel around a little bit and try and see some other places around the country. Jaipur is only 4.5 hours drive so maybe we’d try and get the train down there or something. As well as seeing the Hawa Mahal, it would be great to try out some of Rajahstan’s regional street food to see how it differs from that in Delhi.

hawa mahal


While in Delhi, we’d be silly not to make the trip to the Taj Mahal. Although I’ve been before I certainly wouldn’t mind going again as it was so serene and peaceful there. It was quite funny actually because we were one of the few groups of western tourists there. I expected the place to be packed with western backpackers but it was mostly full of locals or Indian tourists. In fact, we stuck out so much that several of us got collared by groups of Indians asking to have their pictures taken with us, which led to several embarrassing situations of being partnered up with other people from my group and asked to hold babies while photos were taken! It was so bizarre!

india-taj-mahalWhile Nick is always keen to see the hustle and bustle of cities, I’m always badgering him to get out into the countryside a bit more. When we went to Japan, we only visited Tokyo and I wish we’d made the trip out into the hills as I think it would have been much more relaxing. I’d love to travel around the countryside in India a bit more as it’s such a huge and diverse country that I feel we’d be missing out if we just stuck to the cities. I’d love to visit a tea plantation.

India-sceneryHave you ever been to India? Where do you want to visit on your next ‘big’ birthday?

This post contains a sponsored link

Holiday planning – Orlando

In December, Nick’s cousin is getting married at Disney World in Florida. I’ve been saving up for it for about 2 years now and it’s safe to say that I’m pretty excited about it. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that Nick & I are obsessed with America and have been to 17 states so far. Neither of us have visited Florida before so we’re excited to have the opportunity to explore somewhere new.

As it’s drawing closer I’ve been glued to my computer searching for florida flights to see how the price fluctuates throughout the year. I keep reading things about ‘last-minute’ flights not being cheaper anymore but I’m yet to see any evidence of that. From what I can gather, it’s about £500 cheaper to fly into Orlando*’s lesser known airport of Sanford (and it’s direct!) than the main airport that most people fly into. It’s a little further away but I think it’s worth it when you’re saving that much!

Here’s the top 5 things I’m most excited about:

harryBeing a huge Harry Potter fan, this is obviously top of my list for a trip to Orlando. I’ve visited the Warner Brothers Studio Tour in London and it’s awesome but it doesn’t have rollercoasters.

cuban sandwich

I’m a little ashamed to admit that this very nearly beat Harry Potter to the number one spot as the main reason that Nick & I travel is to eat. How much do you want a cuban sandwich right now? Look at that picture! We’re desperate to eat one of these, especially after watching the film Chef not so long ago.

typhoon lagoon

Huxley is only going to be two years old when we go so he’ll be a bit young for a lot of the rollercoasters in the parks. One thing we will be able to all enjoy together is the water parks. I’m particularly excited about Typhoon Lagoon and the lazy river ride. Doesn’t that just look like the pinnacle of relaxation.

Kissimmee airboat rides

Not technically in Orlando, but only a 30-minute drive away is Kissimmee where you can take an airboat ride over the Everglades. This just looks like so much fun and I can just imagine Huxley with a little helmet and life jacket on squealing his head off with excitement as the wind blasts him as we speed around!

Blue Springs State Park Again, not technically Orlando but only a 40-minute drive is Blue Springs State Park where you can swim in the natural pools or watch the manatees. Unfortunately swimming with the manatees is not permitted. You can also go fishing, camping, hiking and canoeing here or take a boat tour.

Have you been to Orlando? What activities would you recommend?

(This post contains a paid-for link)

Garden decorating

So I have some pretty exciting news! We FINALLY exchanged on our new house this morning! Our offer was accepted in November and we thought we’d be moving in before Christmas but there was delay after delay, Christmas came and went and we moved out of the flat and into my in-laws in January thinking we’d only be there for a couple of weeks. Fast forward to March and we’ve finally exchanged! Phewph! It’s been a long time coming but it’s definitely been worth the wait.

The main reason we moved out of the flat is that we wanted a garden for Huxley to play in. It was so frustrating in the summer to not be able to open the doors in the lounge because we were three floors up and if we wanted to go outside it was a massive rigmarole because we’d have to pack a massive bag full of everything we’d need just to go and play outside. Now, we’ll be able to chuck Huxley out in the garden while we sit on the patio with a cup of tea. We’re going to be outside so much more often now. Also, I love the beach and the sea and we’ll definitely still go but cleaning up sand can get a bit tiresome so grass will make a nice change. Our garden is super private and not overlooked at all too so we’re very lucky.

So yeah, sorry if things get a little interior-focused over here for a little while as that’s going to be my main focus for the next few months as I get square eyes from browsing Pinterest for garden decorating for hours on end. The house is a massive project and is a bit of a mess at the moment so I will of course be taking before-and-after shots for you to keep up to date with how we’re getting on and it’ll be nice for us to keep inspired by tracking our progress and seeing how far we’ve come.

One of the things I’m most excited about is getting to take the garden back to it’s bare bones and spend some time planting the flowers and trees that I love. Decorating our outside space to include seasonal plants, an allotment as well as modern factors like lighting, means we’ll be spending plenty of time out there. I’ve got some ideas from Lampcommerce* and the local gardening centre to optimise the area to its fullest, for Huxley and us too!

One of the first things we’re ordering is a Weber Smokey Mountain BBQ so we can get some ribs going in the morning and by the time we finish working at the end of the day, we’ll be able to stuff our faces with awesome food.


I can’t wait to plant a ton of pretty trees. I’m desperate for a camellia tree/bush. They are just so beautiful. A magnolia would also be rather lovely, as would an acer for the autumn. I just want the whole garden to be absolutely bursting with colour.

garden globe string lightsLighting is going to be really important in our garden as there aren’t any street lights so it’s going to be super dark. It’ll probably be one of the first things I buy as I love seeing trees lit up in fairy lights and I see so many lovely pictures on Pinterest of American backyards with string lights, not to mention patio lamps and wall lights perfect for entertaining on warm summer evenings with the aroma of ribs in the air.

garden playhouse

How cool is that playhouse??? I can’t wait to get/build something like this for Huxley. We wanted a treehouse but haven’t really got any suitable trees in the garden but if we keep a little corner overgrown and bushy then it will feel like a little secret den.

garden bar

You would not believe how excited Nick was when I showed him this picture! I can’t imagine we’ll ever have a bar this elaborate in the garden but it would be cool to try and recreate something similar for special occasions.

veg garden

This isn’t technically ‘decorating’ but we’ve always wanted a vegetable garden. We’re desperate to grow some herbs because they’re so expensive to buy in the shops! We’re hoping things will grow quite well as it’s a south-facing garden so it should get a lot of sunlight.

Do you have any future ideas? What would be in your dream garden?

(This post contains a collaborative link)

What to wear to the races

One of my favourite things about the beginning of the year is that you get to plot out all of the upcoming events and start planning what to wear. I’ve been thinking about going to one of the biggest race events of the year* and have been furiously Googling for inspiration to make sure I don’t stand out like a sore thumb!

It’s proving a little tricky as it’s in March so you can’t just whack on a pretty little floral number and walk out the door like you can in the summer. You’ve got to think about layers.

I’ve put together a couple of options, all of varying colour schemes to see what takes my fancy. I’ve also got a wedding to attend in April so maybe I’ll be able to recycle whatever I wear at that too. #thrifty


Cheltenham Festival

Dress: Coast | Bag: New Look | Coat: Oasis | Shoes: Topshop | Watch: Net a Porter

I love this look. Mainly because I love the effortless simplicity of black. And the fact that I know I could easily stick on a pair of really thick black tights with this and it would still look awesome.


Cheltenham Festival - Perfectly pale

Dress: Coast | Hat: Accessorize | Coat: Wallis | Bag: Michael Kors | Shoes: Office

I love the different shades of nude and pink in this outfit but I’d definitely have to be feeling pretty brave to wear this. There’s something about having kids that makes you naturally weary of anything white or paler than black.


Cheltenham Festival - Tweed classics

Shirt: Mango | Scarf: Joules | Jacket: Joules | Skirt: Joules | Wellies: Joules

My third option is to raid Joules and go for a classic tweed look like Kate Middleton. There’s nothing like a good bit of tweed to make you instantly feel upper class. This one is clearly the most comfortable option and although I’m not sure I’d be able to wear a tweed skirt suit anywhere other than to the races, the pieces make good separates. I did own a Joules tweed skirt once and I loved it!

(This post contains a sponsored link)

Getting romantic with La Redoute (& a competition!)

Last week I was contacted by La Redoute who asked if I’d like to get involved in their Valentine’s Day campaign with them & monthly subscription service, My Little Box. They’ve asked me to talk about the most romantic thing that has ever happened to me.

I’ve been with my husband for 10 years this summer and he is very romantic so I had a whole heap of stories to tell! The one that always stands out in my mind the most is our first (proper) date. It was like something out of a movie.

We’d driven to Kimmeridge on a beautiful summer’s evening to watch the sunset. The sky was clear and it was beautifully warm. We laid down on the cliff edge and looked out over the ocean as the long grass blew in the wind. He’d bought a packet of my favourite biscuits for us to eat as we watched the sun go down over the sea and we shared our first kiss. Once the sun had set we drove back to Bournemouth to watch the fireworks on the beach. We climbed onto the roof of a beach hut and watched the fireworks exploding over the pier. When it ended we lay looking at the sky for a little while and saw several shooting stars. It was literally perfect.

The second story that always springs to mind is when I went to India for a month about a year after meeting my husband. It was a World Challenge thing that I’d signed up for a year before I’d met Nick and I was going round Delhi & the Himalayas for a month with a bunch of people from school. As well as making me a t-shirt to wear while I was away, he also packed a chunky envelope into my bag. The chunky envelope contained 30 little envelopes each containing a handwritten letter about how much he loved me. He’d even found a copy of our itinerary so each letter corresponded with the destination I was going to be in on that day.

To celebrate this Valentine’s Day, La Redoute kindly provided me with an outfit to wear on my dream date (a walk in the woods) and sent me a ‘My Little Box’. Unfortunately my ‘My Little Box’ hasn’t arrived yet but I’ll be sure to share it with you when it does!

My Little Box is a monthly gift box subscription with a different theme each month. They are super cute and previous themes have included ‘Diane Von Furstenburg’, ‘cosy‘, ‘colour’, ‘couture’ and even a ‘Fleur de Force‘ one. The boxes contain all kinds of lovely things like Essie nail polish, Kerastase & Cowshed goodies, as well as little lifestyle things like notebooks, mugs, stickers and magazines. At £14.95 per month they are such a beautiful little bargain!

If you’d like a chance to win an annual subscription to My Little Box, then scroll to the bottom of this post for more details!

Rene Derhy boho dress from La Redoute

British fashion blogger in floppy hat boho dressHuxley-in-the-woodsUK fashion blogger in Rene Derhy boho winter dress

Hat: c/o La Redoute | Dress: Rene Derhy c/o La Redoute | Tights: Primark | Boots: Clarks

To win your very own annual subscription to ‘My Little Box’ hop onto Twitter or Facebook and tell La Redoute the most romantic thing that’s ever happened to you, using the hashtag #LaRomance.

The three best entries (chosen by a La Redoute representative) will win an annual subscription to My Little Box.


- The competition is open to UK residents

- Entrants must be over the age of 18

- The competition will run from 9th – 23rd February

- Winners will be announced on Wednesday 25th February and will be contacted by the social media channel they entered through

You can find more information and the full T&Cs on the La Redoute blog and Facebook page – good luck!

2015 Spring Trends

Is anyone else celebrating the imminent arrival of Spring? It’s not long now until the clocks go back and I’m already really enjoying the longer days and lighter mornings. There’s nothing like a bit of prolonged sunshine to put a smile on my face.

One of my favourite things about this time of year is the torrent of spring/summer catalogues that come sprawling through my letterbox. I get so excited flicking through all the gorgeous bright pictures of people licking ice-creams on the beach. Honestly, the Boden catalogue made me so happy that I almost cut out some of the pictures to stick on my wall.

For this post I’ve picked out some of my favourite trends for spring 2015 (although I might be buying it all through credit catalogues* at this rate as we save furiously to have enough money to renovate our new house!)

Seventies - Spring Trends 2015

Dress: New Look | Hat: Dorothy Perkins | Jeans: MiH Jeans | Dress: Zara | Camel skirt: Miss Selfridge | Trousers: Etro | Bag: Yves Saint Laurent | Skirt: Zara | Wedges: Topshop

One of my all-time favourite trends no matter the season is the seventies trend. It’s just so cool and I wish I could pull it off successfully. Two bloggers who always get this trend spot on are Olivia and Amy. Effortlessly cool.


Gingham - Spring Trends 2015

Skirt: Tesco | Dress: New Look | Shirt: Boden | Top: Miss Selfridge | Hat: Debenhams | Trousers: Zara | Dress: MSGM | Top: Warehouse | Dress: SimplyBe

I love gingham. I can understand why people hate gingham because it’s easy to associate it with primary school summer dresses (which is probably why a lot of gingham is in black and white!) but it makes me feel nostalgic. I love being able to give it an adult twist. For example, those Zara trousers with a plain black top and some heels is going to look so good.

Here’s some bloggers all looking awesome in gingham: Sarah, Amy, Sarah, Kristabel & Kileen.

Statement shoulders - Spring Trends 2015

Black top: Zara | Patterned top: Motel | White top: Topshop Unique | Black dress: Next | Striped top: SimplyBe | Orange top: Topshop | Black dress: New Look | Grey top: Dorothy Perkins | Jacket: Faith Connexion

This trend is great because it’s so subtly sexy (and in a more practical way, great for letting in a nice spring breeze to cool you down on warmer days!)

Here’s some bloggers rocking the look: Emily, Steph, Miss Pouty, Mafalda & Jennifer.

(This post contains a paid-for link)

The worst driver I know

This is a post about the worst driver I know. I won’t name-names but it’s been a long-running joke that he’s run over every member of the family.

bad driver

When Nick was 10 years old he was stood waving goodbye on the driveway and he managed to reverse over Nick’s foot (luckily not breaking it!) then when Nick was 13 years old he was getting ready to do his paper round and was unloading all of his papers from the backseat of the car into a trolley when the car drove off while Nick was only halfway out of the car, dragging him across a gravel track. Needless to say there was a lot of swearing but luckily no serious injuries.

Nick’s not alone with being run over, he also managed to drive over Nick’s sister’s foot in a petrol station one time and ran over Nick’s brother’s leg.


When we were in Spain in September we were sharing a hire car and it was clear that he wasn’t used to having to strap a baby into the back seat. One day we’d just done some food shopping and the others got into the front of the car while I was strapping Huxley into his seat in the back. When I’d finished, I shut Huxley’s door and walked around to the other side of the car to get in, but the car had already driven away by the time I got there! Thank God Nick was in the car otherwise I don’t think he would have realised I was missing until he’d gotten home!

A few days later and we’d just had some lunch in a restaurant and again, the others got into the front seats and I was talking away whilst strapping Huxley into the car when it started reversing and I was hanging out the door! He thought I was sat in the car because he could hear my voice.

The other day I looked out of the window to see a car stuck halfway down the garden. He wanted to test out the dirt track that ran down the side to see if you could get a car down it. Turns out you can’t. Not after several days of rain anyway. He ended up calling a friend with a truck to pull him out.

In his defence, he’s never been in a major accident, hasn’t had a fine in years and has pulled off some of the best parking manoeuvres I’ve ever seen! Unfortunately he’s too old to qualify for More Than’s Smart Wheels Telematics insurance* as it’s for new, young drivers only but I’m sure it would make a difference to how safely he drives.

(This post contains a sponsored link)

Today I’m Wearing: A snuggly jumper

Is anyone else fed up of everyone going on about how cold it is? Yes, weather reporters, we know it’s cold, it’s January. It makes laugh that so many of the big headlines and ‘top stories’ are about snow. In winter. *Shock horror*

I suppose it’s easy for me to say living on the south coast where we rarely see snow. I think I’ve only seen the temperature drop below 0 twice so far this year (and both of those times I was up super early).

But that doesn’t stop me from stocking up on lots of lovely cosy knitwear. I was recently contacted by JD Williams and kindly gifted some items from their knitwear range. I’ve decided to split them up into several different outfit posts so keep your eyes peeled for the rest very soon! JD Williams has been going since 1875(!) and were the first company to ship direct to customers back in 1882. They are also part of the Ethical Trading Initiative which means that they ensure that their products are made in safe working conditions and that the people that make them are paid a fair wage and are well looked after.

First up is this lovely khaki v-neck jumper. You probably all know by now that ‘casual’ is my middle name and this jumper is the epitome of it. It’s the perfect thing to just chuck on over a pair of jeans and head out to the shops or wherever.

UK fashion blogger

UK style blogger in scarf & jumper

UK lifestyle blogger

British fashion blogger

Jumper: c/o JD Williams | Scarf: Zara | Jeans: Gap | Boots: Clarks

Adventures in hair

Or not….as the case may be. Below is a (rather embarrassing) collage of photos of me over the past 10 years. Notice anything? No, exactly. Aside from an slight parting variation, a few months of having a bob and the time I decided to be Claudia Winkleman, my hair has been the same my whole life. For me, ‘doing my hair’ consists of a poor curling job.


I would love to be super skilled at doing stylish, grown-up hairstyles like Carrie and Olivia or to have big, bouncy, blow-dried-to-perfection hair like Rose or be daring enough to add some colour like Laura or Victoria.

When I was in middle school, I was quite brave. I went from purple to black to gingery-blonde thanks to Sun-In (anyone remember that?!? What a disaster!). Maybe those experiences put me off as I haven’t dyed my hair since I was about 13. I couldn’t find any photos of these hair adventures – thankfully!

I wonder if I’m too old to start experimenting with my hair now? When I was little I always assumed that by the time I was like 25 I would have totally mastered loads of awesome hairstyles and worked out what suits me but it never happened. In fact, I barely even manage to get my hair cut. I get it professionally snipped once every two years or so and Nick’s dad just tops it up for me.

I was recently contacted by Rock Pamper Scissors, which is a bit like Just Eat for hairdressers. It finds all your local hairdressers and shows you their prices and discounts all in one easy place so you can choose what you want and how much you want to spend and book it all online. Genius.

The word ‘pamper’ in their business name really got me thinking. I’ve never considered a visit to the hairdressers as ‘pampering’. To be honest, I’d rather visit the dentist than the hairdressers but maybe I need to reconsider that. Maybe I should go and get something easy and relaxing done, like a hair conditioning masque or a blow-dry and leave the actual ‘haircut’ bit out as that’s the bit that always causes me to stress out.


Feel good garments – ponchos, capes and oversized scarves

The best thing about winter is being able to get all warm and snuggly. Well, actually, my favourite thing is that I can sit at home and scoff a load of chocolates and then just wrap myself up in a big old jumper and pretend like nothing happened!

One of the biggest trends this season is wrapping up, in a poncho, cape or oversized scarf. Personally, as a mother, a cape isn’t the most practical of items to wear but I have got myself an enormous blanket scarf to wrap around my neck from the kings of oversized scarfs, Zara. It’s the softest, cosiest thing ever and I never want to take it off!

Here’s my pick of the best ponchos, capes and oversized scarfs available right now:



I love the idea of ponchos. They look so effortless. You can just chuck them over the top of whatever you’ve got on and get on with your day.



My inner boho Emma is totally in love with capes. I saw a Temperley cape in the window of a local boutique a few years ago and I’ve been obsessed ever since. I still don’t actually own one as I’ve been searching for the perfect one and to be honest, that Jigsaw one is pretty much spot on. I love the tassel detail on the Peter Hahn one too.


Oversized scarfs

I love oversized scarfs. I’ve actually had my eye on that Superdry one for a couple of years now. It’s so incredibly soft. That Ted Baker one is just so lovely, I’d want to wear it as a shawl though so you could show off the print!