five tips for a brighter winter

Okay, I know the run up to Christmas is fun and full of glitz and excitement but it’s also easy to fall into a bit of a funk on dark days and cold nights, wanting to stay in and basically hibernate until spring. I know I feel like that most winters, I miss the heat of the sun on my face and the carefree feeling of not needing to wrap up warm to venture out of the house.

Don’t get me wrong I love Christmas and the promise of snow (although I only want a dusting and it needs to be gone in a day or two) but there’s no denying it, winter can turn me into a bit of a Debbie Downer.

That being said I have a few tricks up my sleeve to keep me focused on the good things and embrace all the positive elements of November and December.

1.             When the weather is bright and sunny, go out and enjoy it!

Yes, it’s still cold but I know that some vitamin D will do me (and the kids) the world of good. My body runs cold which is why I find it difficult to go out (unless I have to) at this time of year – but I always feel better for a good walk around the park or a day at the coast. There’s something about being out in the cold air that makes coming home so much more satisfying.  It also gives me much more energy for the rest of the day, and leaves me feeling happier and contented.

In these pictures I’m wearing a silver coat from Lighthouse, which is quilted (on the inside) for warmth and 100% waterproof, so it’ll keep me warm and dry when I’m out on these cold walks.

2.             Light a winter/ Christmas candle or two

I know I bang on about candles all the time but they honestly brighten my mood in a matter of seconds. I don’t know if it’s the warm light or the subtle aroma (probably both) but I instantly feel better once I’ve lit a candle or two. At the moment I’m loving this candle I picked up from TK Maxx (okay, I may have picked up a few of them) for £7.99, it smells amazing with the aromas of frosted pine, which is my idea of the perfect Christmas scent. It’s fresh, yet comforting and of course very festive.

3.             Watch a good Feel-Good Christmas Film

This is real guilty pleasure territory here, I’m such a sucker for a good, cheesy Hallmark style Christmas Movie. You know, the ones you’ll find on Christmas 24 or every day (at the moment) on Channel 5. I know this is not for everyone but honestly don’t knock them until you’ve tried one. There’s nothing that gets me into the Christmas spirit more than watching a girl called Holly or Faith or Hope find her Christmas Wish or Festive Love (or both) in a beautifully decorated house or “Inn” in a small American town. These films are my winter soul food.

4.             Go to bed early

For some reason I get so much more tired (and then run down) at this time of year. I don’t know if it’s the cold weather or the central heating but I’ve noticed that I need more sleep during the winter. So in the interest of feeling brighter in the day, I’ve made a promise to myself that I won’t stay up late for no good reason, like I do the rest of the year. I need my sleep and I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure I get it!

5.             Hot Chocolate – with all the trimmings

Now I’d happily drink hot chocolate all year long but the reality is, I don’t. For me hot chocolate is what I drink in winter when I need a comforting liquid pick-me-up that I know will warm me up in seconds. I don’t drink normal tea or coffee so for me the only options are warm Ribeana, mint tea or hot chocolate. However, hot chocolate is the one that makes me feel happiest and content. For the king of all hot chocolates this winter head to Hotel Chocolat for their amazing Salted Caramel & Clementine Christmas Hot Chocolate (£9). It had me at ‘Salted Caramel’ and of course I have to add the whipped cream and mini marshmallows for the best pick me up in a mug possible!

So if you’re feeling sluggish this winter, take a leaf out of my book and get out and about… and when you get home burn some candles, while watching a good film with a mug of hot chocolate.

Last weekend was all about Poppy’s 5th birthday. We had such a great time that I thought I put together a little picture post of  my favourite snapshots from the weekend. So here you go, a taste of our weekend, which included ice-skating, fireworks and a certain little doll.

Opening Presents

Ice-skating with Baby Born in Wonderland

The light at the ice-skating venue was a little tricky so these pictures are unfortunately grainy but we had such a fun time that I wanted to include them anyway.

Birthday Cake 

Poppy’s big party is this weekend, so I’m making her ‘real’ cake today but on her birthday she was more than happy with her favourite Colin the Caterpillar cake from Marks & Spencer – and so was everyone else!

The Day After…

Happy Birthday my beautiful brown eyed girl xxx

winter coat from Joules

There’s something so cosy about this time of year. It’s not necessarily cold but I still find myself reaching for my winter coat when going out for a walk. A big, comfy coat that leaves me feeling snug and warm. There’s no need for for scarves, hats or gloves yet, but that coat feels so good… like a big duvet wrapped around me.

Like me, the girls all feel the cold and always want to be warm, so it’s never an issue to get them to wear their winter coats. This year without realising it, we’ve all gone for similar ‘matching’ coats from one of our favourite brands Joules.

They’re all navy with a faux fur trimmed hood. Poppy, Iris and I have gone for padded/ puffa style coats, which are light and incredibly warm. While Lili’s is a classic parka style coat with a warm fleece lined hood.

winter coat from Joules

Poppy’s padded coat has a nipped in waist, which gives it a good shape and fits her perfectly.

winter coat from Joules

And Iris’ cute little star puffa coat is completely lined with fleece for added warmth, while still being super light.

winter coat from Joules

I absolutely love my padded coat, it’s what I reach for every morning for the school run and at weekends for walks in the country or around the park.

I opted for navy as I thought it would make a change from my usual black and I liked the classic style of this coat.

winter coat from Joules winter coast from Joules

However, it had to be navy coats for my big girls, who are only allowed to wear navy coats to school. I was shocked by this rule when Lili first started a few years ago but I’m now used it and if I’m honest it does make them all look very smart in the same colour.

winter coat from Joules

I picked Iris’ coat without considering the colour, I was just completely taken-in by the cute silver stars and it’s gorgeous fluffiness! Perfect for any 18 month old girl.

winter coat from Joules

For me these warm coats are the outdoor equivalent of a cosy blanket. With Halloween and Bonfire night coming up, I know what we’ll be wearing to keep warm.

winter coat from Joules

Disclaimer: We were kindly sent these coats by Joules but all copy and pictures are true and my own. 

Something’s been troubling me lately, actually it’s been playing on my mind for a while but have never thought to write it down, until now…

I’m constantly surrounded by amazing mums, these mums laugh with their children, play with them, feed them, keep them warm and love them unconditionally but given the opportunity most of these women beat themselves up for not being good enough.

I was out last night at a Mother’s Meeting event with H&M and the conversation (as it inevitably does, when mothers get together) came down to our kids and parenthood. Again and again, I heard these amazing women say things like “I work too much”, “I get too frustrated”, “I’m always on my phone”, “I feel guilty for…”

If I’m being honest, I have some of these worries too. I often lie in bed wondering why I got so angry with the girls or why I didn’t make more of an effort to read with them, that ONE night. But maybe we‘re all asking the wrong questions and focusing on the wrong things. What if we asked ourselves “Do my children feel safe and loved?” or “Are my children happy?”.

The answers to these questions are always YES, which is all that really matters. After all, who cares if we had chips and chicken nuggets for supper? They ate it all up and loved it. So I didn’t read with them tonight, I’ll do it tomorrow night and the night after and the night after that. Is it bad that Lili and Poppy watch TV every morning while I lie in bed for an extra half hour? Well, I did the same as a child and I turned out just fine.

The main thing for me is that my girls look back on their childhood and remember that we had fun and that they were loved. I want them to remember our crazy kitchen discos and silly family pile-ups, singing way too loud in the car and massive group hugs.

I think we all feel the pressure to be a ‘perfect parent’ but who is the ‘perfect parent’? Nobody, because it’s a myth, a fairy-tale, a figment of our Instagram-fuelled imagination.

So let me ask you… Are you a good mother? Don’t measure yourself against an unrealistic perfect persona that doesn’t exist. If you’re still reading this post, I can tell you that you almost certainly are! I know this because you love your children, because you do whatever it takes to keep them safe, and because when they fall and hurt themselves or feel sick it’s you they want. Nothing makes them feel better than a hug from you.

At the end of the day, the perfect parent for your child is YOU because nobody will love them like you do.

 

I love reading these kind of posts but never really do any of my own, so I thought I’d rectify the situation with a ‘loving lately’ post. Life can seem so mundane and full of boring routine at times, so it’s nice to remind myself of the little things I’ve recently discovered and now love!

Beauty products and makeup always make me happy but when I find a great new product… well, lets just say that makes me very happy! And that’s what I’ve got here, a collection of absolutely gorgeous products that I quite literally want to rave about, from; lipsticks to foundations, bath products and an absolutely brilliant new hair styling wand.

So here goes… what I’m loving lately…

Laura Geller Fifty Kisses Lip Locking Liquid Colour (£17)

I think these may well be the holy grail of long lasting lip colour! The liquid colour glides on easily and then sets, locking-in the vibrant colour without drying your lips. The colour is incredibly strong from the pure pigment formula that literally ‘satays put’ all day or all night. I was out the other night and noticed that despite having bright red lips (from using one of these beauties), there were no lipstick marks on my drink glass. These gorgeous colours are Ruby Romance, Makeout Merlot and Pink Pucker. They’re all dramatic and give a beautifully polished finish.

Clarins Everlasting Cushion Foundation (£31)

Here’s a very different kind of full coverage foundation! It’s long-wearing, hydrating and gives a velvety soft, dewy finish that I absolutely love. All blemishes and imperfections are blurred away but your skin can still breathe and feels comfortable. What I love most about this foundation is that it feels light and soft on the skin, despite offering a good level of coverage. These two things don’t normally go hand in hand, there’s usually a trade-off but not here. It also has an impressive SPF50, which is another big plus for anyone (like me) concerned with the ageing effects of the sun, at any time of year.

REN Atlantic Kelp and Magnesium Anti-Fatigue Body Range (from £14)

Oh my goodness! This range is absolutely gorgeous. I’ll do a dedicated blog post with the full range soon but had to mention them here too because I’m simply in love with these luxuriously uplifting products, that smell amazing! REN Atlantic Kelp and Magnesium is a range designed to de-stress and re-energise your body and mind. Each product is infused with REN’s Anti-Fatigue Essential Oils that is both refreshing and calming – and my idea of bathing heaven. Your mind is refreshed from the spa-like aromas and your skin is left hydrated and soft from the marine based ingredients.

REN Atlantic Kelp and Magnesium Anti-Fatigure Body Range

Lee Stafford Wonderball Wand (£29.99)

I’m normally pretty lazy with my hair, I either give it a quick blow-dry and leave it or take my straighteners through the ends for a more groomed glossy finish. I’ve never got on with curling wands, I find them fiddly and my hair always falls out as I’m trying to curl it around the wand. However, this clever little wonderball wand makes things a lot easier as my hair can’t slip out because of  the balls. I simply wind my hair around the wand and the strands fall into the grooves, giving me a pretty boho wave that I love. At last I’ve found a curling wand I can actually use! The ceramic barrel is also infused with coconut oil, which is transferred into the hair through the heat.

Lee Stafford Wonderball Wand

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little roundup, please let me know if you have and I’ll make it a regular feature.