Finding Dory with Specsavers {My CapturedMoment #82}

dory.4 Welcome back to My Captured Moment, a weekly link-up where I share my favourite ‘Captured Moments’ and invite you to do the same.

Last weekend we were invited by Specsavers and Disney to go and see a pre-release screening of Finding Dory. The two big girls absolutely love Finding Nemo, so I knew this would be a massive treat for them. I didn’t tell them what we were doing until we got to Disney HQ, all they knew was that it was it was something exciting.

I started this blog over two years ago for a couple of reasons; one was to give me something ‘for me’ after deciding to become a stay at home mum and the second was to document our family’s journey and make a record of our adventures together. However, a very happy byproduct is that I’m able to give my kids these unique opportunities. Their faces when I told them where we were and what we were doing was priceless!

Specsavers had invited us to see Finding Dory to promote their new “Finding Dory” themed glasses for kids.  They have all sorts of Disney themed glasses – from Frozen to Cars and everything in-between. The new Finding Dory glasses were a hit with my girls as you can see from the pictures below (although, neither one need glasses at the moment).

Thank you for a truly special family day out Specsavers and Disney. The girls had their face pained, enjoyed all the delicious food and most of all loved the 3D experience of the movie, which by the way is AMAZING!!

dory.8 dory.1 dory.3 dory.5 dory.6 dory.7 dory.2

Share your Moments

Your ‘My Captured Moment’ can be a single picture or a series of shots, new (taken this week) or old, with or without words. The idea is to simply share a moment in time you’ve captured on your camera and make sure it doesn’t go unseen. This could include vintage shots of your own childhood and beyond or a simple picture you’ve recently taken and want to ‘show off’.

How to Play Along

• Link up every Thursday to Sunday (ending at 11.00pm) • Add my badge (or link back to my website using #MyCapturedMoment) at the bottom of your post. • Share the love – try to comment on a few of the other posts. After all that’s what it’s all about.

Go Social

Tweet your posts to me @HeleddLavender using the hashtag #MyCapturedMoment and I’ll retweet. Hashtag your picture #MyCapturedMoment on Instagram (follow me @HeleddLavender) so we can share our pictures and hopefully get some new followers and likes.

Running in Lavender

I GANT believe it – me in glasses!

gant.6

It’s very rare for me to take pictures of myself wearing glasses, which is odd really because I do wear them most days. When I used to go to work I’d wear my contact lenses more but these days I don’t have time to fiddle about with lenses, so I tend to only wear them on special occasions.

I’m short-sighted which means I can’t focus on objects that are far away – basically without my ‘specs’ everything looks very blurry! So when Specsavers recently asked me if I’d like to pick a pair of glasses from their new GANT range, I jumped at the chance!  I was also given a voucher to pick a GANT outfit, along with the glasses. As you can imagine I was pretty excited to get started. As soon as the vouchers arrived in the post I booked an appointment at my nearest Specsavers store, then headed to the GANT website to pick an item from their clothing range.

gant.7 gant.8

As you may already know, I’m a big fan of shopping online so I was more than a little excited to go through the GANT website to choose an outfit. In the end I went for this floaty navy and white strips dress, it is so comfortable, light and perfect for this humid weather we’re having at the moment. I also love how it can be dressed up with heels or down with some white trainers.

After having a full eye test, I took my prescription (which thankfully hadn’t changed) onto the shop floor to pick a new pair of glasses. My last pair of glasses were black, so I was pretty keen on getting a pair in a different colour this time – something less harsh. I ended up picking these brown/ tortoiseshell pair, they’re slightly bigger than my last pair but somehow look less harsh on my face.

I was massively impressed with the service I received at Specsavers, they were quick, polite, helpful and patient – I had all three of my girls with me on the day, so you can imagine the scene! Nothing was too much trouble for the examiner or the sales assistant and my glasses were ready to be collected a few days later.

gant.5 gant.3 gant.2

Disclaimer: As I’ve already mentioned I was sent these vouchers in exchange for an honest review. All images and copy are my own and true. 

My School Uniform Tips for Busy Mums

back to school tips for busy mums

Now I realise you may think I’m being slightly crazy writing a post about school uniforms when the kids have only just broken up for summer – but bear with me. The thing is, if I don’t get myself organised now I know that I’ll get carried away with the summer holidays and before I know it, it’ll be time for the kids to go back to school. And I know that if I leave it to the last minute, everything will be sold out. Have you ever tried going to a shoe shop the week before the schools go back? It’s manic, some now have a booking policy for goodness sake! You actually have to book your spot before going into the shop. Madness!

So with this in mind I thought I’d write a little post about my little school uniform tips. A few things I do and buy to make the school year a little easier and less stressful.

First of all, I don’t iron – I never have and probably never will. This is something that really upsets my mum but as I keep telling her, if you buy the right clothes you don’t need to! Marks & Spencer have a great range of good quality, durable clothes that have “easy-iron” or “no-iron” features.

back to school tips for busy mums

My School Uniform Tips

Shoes with Velcro Straps – I’m pretty sure this goes without saying but velcro shoes mean the kids can put their shoes on without help. These ones from M&S also have scuff-resistant toes, so they should look ‘as good as new’ for longer – so you can forget the polish.

back to school tips for busy mums back to school tips for busy mums

A Pinafore dress with Permanent Pleats – Again this is quite obvious , it means I don’t have to iron the dress, and it can be chucked into the tumble drier again and again. This dress by Marks & Spencer also has a stormwear coating, which means all stains are wipe clean. Genius!

Easy Iron Gingham Summer Dress – To be honest it says ‘easy to iron’ but in reality I get away with ‘no iron’ with this dress, again from Marks & Spencer.

StayNew CardiganThis cardigan is basically ‘wipe clean’, so any annoying stain you notice as you’re ready to leave for the school run can be easily removed. I’ve had to resort to the ‘wipe clean’ solution on many a morning!

Dark Socks – This is a big tip! Forget white socks (that don’t stay white for long, despite the boil washes and soaking) and opt for dark socks, I normally go for navy because of our uniform colour but you could go for black or any other dark shades.

I hope my little tips help you in some way! And if you have a little one starting school in September, I wish you all the best – and don’t forget to take a tissue.

Now enjoy your summer!

back to school tips for busy mums back to school tips for busy mums back to school tips for busy mums

Disclaimer: I was sent these items by Marks and Spencer in exchange for this post. However all words and opinions are my own.

Trying Something New With Marley Spoon

We have a running joke in our house where I ask the girls what they want for supper and EVERY night, without fail, they’ll say “green pasta”. They know very well that I only make this once a week but they still ask for it every night. Recently I’ve felt in a bit of a food rut, making the same old things week in, week out – you know, the usual suspects; Spaghetti Bolognese, Chilli & Rice, Roast Chicken, Pizza and so on.  I wanted to change our diet to reflect the warmer weather and try something new, and a more exciting.

So when Marley Spoon contacted me to try one of their recipe boxes to celebrate Global BBQ Month (who knew?), I was more than keen. The box arrived as promised on a Tuesday morning and had the ingredients for two delicious recipes. The first was was Anglo-Indian Pork Burgers with a Roasted Carrot Salad and Raita, and the second was Honey and Mustard Chicken with Apple-Potato Salad. Both meals were equally good and totally different to our usual meals.

What I liked about this box is that the instructions for cooking the meat was given for using a BBQ, as well as a conventional oven. I made both recipes inside as the weather was pretty wet last week – and to be honest I feel more comfortable using my trusty old oven. However, it is good to have the option.

Marley Spoon boxes are well packaged and carefully created to insure you have all the pre-measured ingredients you’ll need to make the food shown on the step-by-step recipe cards.

Pork mince is not something I usually buy but since trying these Anglo-Indian Burgers, I’ve already bought pork mince to make them again!!

Anglo-Indian Pork Burgers with Roasted carrot Salad by Marley Spoon Anglo-Indian Pork Burgers with Roasted carrot Salad by Marley Spoon

Also, I never would have considered putting apples and potatoes together to make a fruity potato salad but it really works.

Honey Mustard Chicken with Apple and Potato Salad by Marley Spoon Honey Mustard Chicken with Apple and Potato Salad by Marley Spoon

Every week Marley Spoon change their recipes, so you’ll never receive the same box twice. There’s always a new dish to try and potentially a new recipe to add to your weekly meal plan. All the recipes are also on their website, so if you fancy trying something different, take a look!

Disclaimer: I was sent a Marley Spoon food box in return for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

Our Little Girlie Girl {My Captured Moment #81}

my.captured.moment.81.d

Welcome back to My Captured Moment, a weekly link-up where I share my favourite ‘Captured Moments’ and invite you to do the same.

I’ve mentioned before that my two big girls are very different, I’d go so far as to say that based on personality they are the complete opposite. This could explain why they get on so well, although it could also be the reason behind lots of arguments in years to come – who knows? Only time will tell.

Lili is such a little tomboy, she doesn’t care how she looks and will wear whatever  I give her. She’s so easygoing and relaxed, and shows very little interest in shopping, clothes, makeup or anything remotely girlie (although she does like wearing ‘pretty’ dresses). Poppy on the other hand, who’s two years younger, loves all of those things!

She’ll happily sit and watch me put on my makeup with interest, asking questions and playing with my brushes. She also loves shopping and is very specific about what she will and will not wear. So the other week when we were shopping in Westfield I was not surprised when Poppy asked if she (who’s only three!!) could have ‘her make-up done’. I say I was not surprised but only because I know what she’s like. A few years ago, I would have thought this highly inappropriate for a three year old but as I’ve said before, this girl knows her own mind.

We were wondering around a Mamas & Papas event for new parents and parents to be, and in a corner of the shop bareMinerals had set up a little makeup stall to demonstrate their products to new mums. Poppy started a conversation with the bareMinerals lady who then asked if she’d like to have some makeup put on. Instantly her face lit up with excitement, she looked at me for approval then climbed onto the little stool next to the exciting stand. As you can see from these pictures, Poppy was over the moon! The lovely lady only put some pink blush on her cheeks and some clear gloss on her lips but it really meant so much to our little girlie girl.

my.captured.moment.81.a my.captured.moment.81.b my.captured.moment.81.c my.captured.moment.81.e

Share your Moments

Your ‘My Captured Moment’ can be a single picture or a series of shots, new (taken this week) or old, with or without words. The idea is to simply share a moment in time you’ve captured on your camera and make sure it doesn’t go unseen. This could include vintage shots of your own childhood and beyond or a simple picture you’ve recently taken and want to ‘show off’.

How to Play Along

• Link up every Thursday to Sunday (ending at 11.00pm)

• Add my badge (or link back to my website using #MyCapturedMoment) at the bottom of your post.

• Share the love – try to comment on a few of the other posts. After all that’s what it’s all about.

Go Social

Tweet your posts to me @HeleddLavender using the hashtag #MyCapturedMoment and I’ll retweet. Hashtag your picture #MyCapturedMoment on Instagram (follow me @HeleddLavender) so we can share our pictures and hopefully get some new followers and likes.

Running in Lavender


Running in Lavender 2016

My blog is now another year older. I named this blog after an annual family event, where we go up to our local lavender field and run through the purple blooms in our summer dresses. It’s something I’ve always done with the girls since Lili was born, and was something I’d just done with my (then) two daughters a few days before I launched this site. I’d thought of lots of different names but ‘Running in Lavender’ was by far my favourite. It perfectly represented what I wanted my blog to convey. I knew I wanted to write all about my life and loves and as Running in Lavender with my girls was (and still is) one of my favourite things to do, I knew it was the perfect name.

On Sunday we made our annual trip up to the beautiful lavender field, we ran around, we ate ice cream and drank homemade apple juice. It was, as always a lovely afternoon, and as it was Iris’ first trip it was made even more special. The weather wasn’t as good as I’d hoped, with lots of grey clouds but it was still a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Here are some of my favourite shots from the afternoon we spent in the lavender field…

running.in.lavender.16.j running.in.lavender.16 running.in.lavender.16.r running.in.lavender.16.i running.in.lavender.16.k running.in.lavender.16.l running.in.lavender.16.q running.in.lavender.16.h running.in.lavender.16.c running.in.lavender.16.g running.in.lavender.16.p running.in.lavender.16.a running.in.lavender.16.d running.in.lavender.16.f running.in.lavender.16.o

If you’re interested my dress is from ASOS, Lili and Poppy’s dresses are from River Island kids (last summer) and Iris is wearing a dress from Marks & Spencer.

No Make-up Make-up – For that perfect Natural Look

no foundation foundation, no blush blush, no lipgloss lipgloss from Perricone MD the perfect no make-up skin care

I’ve done it! I’ve finally found the holy grail of no make-up, make-up. You know what I mean, make-up that leaves your skin looking glowingly healthy and beautiful, and more importantly so natural that it looks like you’re not wearing any make-up at all – basically leaving you with a better version of your own skin.  At last the search is over, Perricone MD have designed a range of ‘clever make-up’ with all the properties and benefits you’d normally expect from a top skin care brand.

As soon as I’d read about this unique range, I knew I wanted to give it a try. So when I was asked to review the items I was beyond excited. My inner beauty obsessed self couldn’t wait for the package to arrive.

no foundation foundation, no blush blush, no lipgloss lipgloss from Perricone MD the perfect no make-up skin care

I was sent the No Foundation Foundation, No Blush Blush and the No Lipgloss Lipgloss to try  and I must admit I was very impressed. The No Foundation and No Blush are both designed to restore the natural colour/ pigment and radiance of youthful skin, leaving your complexion dewy and glowing with health. They’re both packed with vitamins, include high UVA and UVB protection (SPF30) and are 100% mineral based with no chemicals. Best of all, I can tell you that both products are light (almost like a serum) and glide on effortlessly, making it easy for you to blend them into your skin using just your fingertips. There’s no need for any special techniques here but the results are still very impressive.

The No Lipgloss is infact an innovative ant-ageing lip serum designed to restore the natural colour, suppleness and shine of your youthful lips. It also deeply nourishes your lips and protects them from any sun damage – making it an ideal choice for the summer months.

As you can tell I am a complete convert and will be stocking up on all three items very soon! There’s also a No Bronzer Bronzer and a No Highlighter Highlighter that I can’t wait to try.

no foundation foundation, no blush blush, no lipgloss lipgloss from Perricone MD the perfect no make-up skin care

Disclaimer: I was sent these items to test and review. However, all images and opinions are my own and true. 

 

Sisterly Love {My Captured Moment #80}

Welcome back to My Captured Moment, a weekly link-up where I share my favourite ‘Captured Moments’ and invite you to do the same.

my.captured.moment.80.c

As a mother I have tough days, fun days, bad days, annoying days and some truly great days. Today wasn’t easy, it had some rough moments but it also had these wonderful, tender moments that I caught between my oldest and youngest daughters. Watching the relationship between my girls grow and develop is one of the most rewarding things about being a mother.

Little snippets like these, little captured moments of love and kindness between my girls is why I always have my camera lying around the house – because I don’t want to miss or forget any of these memories and feelings. This is also why I decided to create this little ‘picture linky’ in the first place!

Iris’ face lights up whenever she sees either of her big sisters. She gives them both a massive smile that takes over her entire face, and her arms and legs wave around with huge excitement. There’s no doubt in my mind that she already knows and recognises them – looking up to them like a fan who wants to join the fun of the games they play and songs they sing. This I’m sure will become more and more apparent as the months and years go on.

my.captured.moment.80.g my.captured.moment.80.e my.captured.moment.80.d my.captured.moment.80.b

This time last year I was about to find out I was pregnant, something that was not planned and came as one of the biggest and best surprises of my life. A year on and our beautiful baby Iris is now almost four months old and has become a massive part of our family, fitting in perfectly and making us all fall in love with her instantly.

my.captured.moment.80.h

Share your Moments

Your ‘My Captured Moment’ can be a single picture or a series of shots, new (taken this week) or old, with or without words. The idea is to simply share a moment in time you’ve captured on your camera and make sure it doesn’t go unseen. This could include vintage shots of your own childhood and beyond or a simple picture you’ve recently taken and want to ‘show off’.

How to Play Along

• Link up every Thursday to Sunday (ending at 11.00pm)

• Add my badge (or link back to my website using #MyCapturedMoment) at the bottom of your post.

• Share the love – try to comment on a few of the other posts. After all that’s what it’s all about.

Go Social

Tweet your posts to me @HeleddLavender using the hashtag #MyCapturedMoment and I’ll retweet. Hashtag your picture #MyCapturedMoment on Instagram (follow me @HeleddLavender) so we can share our pictures and hopefully get some new followers and likes.

Running in Lavender


How to be a thrifty mum without being cheap!

How to be a thrifty mum and not look cheap!

This is a post that’s been at the back of my mind for the past two years. I love nice things – I’ll be the first to admit that but I’m also pretty thrifty – or shall we say ‘clever’ with my money.

I gave up my career two years ago to become a full time mum, which meant giving up my monthly salary and with that my major shopping habit. Before we had kids (and I had my ‘own’ money) I’d think nothing of spending money on expensive beauty products, designer handbags, shoes and clothes. I guess I took it all for granted and enjoyed the freedom that came with being young, free and employed.

These days I don’t have as much disposable income and what I do have has to stretch a lot further – with three little girls. This does not mean I want to go without or that I’m less of a shopper but it does mean that I have to be more careful.

I’m also very time poor now that I have three kids. Those long, lingering shopping days are a thing of the past. None of my girls enjoy shopping (although Poppy is starting to get more interested) and my husband just hates it! As a result, we hardly ever go shopping as a family – and when we do, we’ll have a few tantrums followed by a very fed up husband who just wants to go home.

So what do I do?

Bargain.Buys.1

Here is my guide to being a thrifty mum…

1. I used to hate sale shopping (messy shops, with no order or consistency) but shopping the sales online means you get the bargains without experiencing the horror of the shops. You’ll also get the items in good order – no make-up stains or missing buttons!

My personal favourite sites for sale shopping are –

For me – ZARA, Boden, Top Shop and ASOS

For the kids – NEXT, Marks & Spencer and GAP

For the house – The White Company, John Lewis and Anthropology (I do less shopping for the house these days)

2. When it’s not sale time, I use sites like Bargain Buys for Busy Mums to source out special offers and great deals. These sites are especially good for birthdays and Christmas, as well as other peak shopping times like the run up to going ‘back to school’. They also have discount and free shipping codes – I hate paying for the shipping!

3. I watch YouTube hauls to get fashion and beauty inspirations – also I’m nosy and love seeing what other people have bought. There are so many of these vlogs online and usually they’re from the cheaper shops like H&M, Primark and Boots. These videos have encourage me to venture into these shops and buy the pieces I’ve liked online.

4. Last year I did a blog post for Lidl. They asked me to do my usual weekly shop with them and the result was pretty amazing. Following this, we have regularly shopped at Lidl and have saved so much on our weekly food bill.  The quality is great and I still get my little luxuries thanks to their deluxe ranges.

These are just a few things I do to make my money go a little further. Budgeting is of course another important factor and is something I try to do on a monthly basis – but lets not get too boring. Just have an idea of how much you’ve got to spend each month verses what you need to buy.

Do you have any tips to add?

Disclaimer: This post is in conjunction with BargainBuysForBusyMums.co.uk

Supporting the Boys, Go Wales!! {My Captured Moment #79}

Welcome back to My Captured Moment, a weekly link-up where I share my favourite ‘Captured Moments’ and invite you to do the same.

This week there’s almost no need for words…

go.wales.1

I was given this bib when Poppy was a baby and of course I had to dig it out again now. I’m not normally a big football fan (much more into Rugby) but this summer I’ve been getting more and more involved with every Welsh game.

I may live in England and my children were all born here but I’m very much Welsh through and through. It has been so amazing to support the Welsh team throughout the tournament and see the boys do so well. The dream might have come to an end last night but I still feel incredibly proud of what they achieved.

This also gave me the perfect opportunity to get this bib out again and take some pictures. I’ll now always remember that Wales made it to the semi-finals of the Euros the year you were born my gorgeous girl.

go.wales.5 go.wales.3 go.wales.2

Share your Moments

Your ‘My Captured Moment’ can be a single picture or a series of shots, new (taken this week) or old, with or without words. The idea is to simply share a moment in time you’ve captured on your camera and make sure it doesn’t go unseen. This could include vintage shots of your own childhood and beyond or a simple picture you’ve recently taken and want to ‘show off’.

How to Play Along

• Link up every Thursday to Sunday (ending at 11.00pm)

• Add my badge (or link back to my website using #MyCapturedMoment) at the bottom of your post.

• Share the love – try to comment on a few of the other posts. After all that’s what it’s all about.

Go Social

Tweet your posts to me @HeleddLavender using the hashtag #MyCapturedMoment and I’ll retweet. Hashtag your picture #MyCapturedMoment on Instagram (follow me @HeleddLavender) so we can share our pictures and hopefully get some new followers and likes.

Running in Lavender