And just like that the half-term break is over and the kids have gone back to school. Our week had a very distinct Halloween feel with lots of dressing-up, spooky themed parties, pumpkin crafts and the girls talking non-stop about ghoulish makeup and going trick-or-treating.

When did Halloween become this big here in the UK? I feel like I ask this question every year. Was it this big when I was young? Maybe it was here in England but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t in my small Welsh town. Yes, my mum would make a witch’s costume for me out of some old black material and bin liners, to wear to the school’s Halloween disco – but that was about it. We definitely didn’t go ‘tick-or-treating’, and we never had anyone knock on our door dressed up expecting sugary treats.

Anyway, enough of the ‘good ol’ days’, my girls are obsessed with Halloween, they look forward to it all year long. I’d say it’s their second favourite time of year (behind Christmas, for obvious reasons), especially for Poppy who also celebrates her birthday around this time. We often tease her that she’s a witch because she was born near Halloween, and she’s more than happy to go along with the joke. She has a very strong fascination with witches and anything to do with them. I’ve noticed that there have been lots of new witch based dramas and cartoons popping up on our screens in the past few years, so maybe it is a ‘thing’?

Anyway, back to Halloween, this year we got our spooky outfits from Asda, who have an amazing collection of inexpensive costumes (from £6). Lili went for a Circus Girl costume and Poppy went for a ‘Halloween Queen’ outfit, which is a ragged dress with a sash and a black crown. I opted for an evil queen costume and Iris will be our good little witch in a cute little dress and hat combo.

Last Wednesday we were invited to a haunted house party organised by the brilliant people at Bear Nibblesto celebrate their exciting limited edition Halloween Claws packs, that have new monsters, as well as collectible glow in the dark trick or treat stickers inside (you can get these in Asda, as well as Tesco and Sainsbury’s). We had so much fun apple bobbing, decorating pumpkins, dancing and playing countless themed games. The girls were in their element and even Iris joined in on more than a few occasions.

Bear Nibbles are the creators of CLAWS, my personal Halloween treat of choice. The genius of Claws is this… the kids think they’re eating a sweet treat, they look like sweet treats, they taste like sweet treats, even the bags are bright and colourful (like sweet treats) but they’re completely made from 100% fruit and vegetables with nothing bad added. They’re literally all good! The kids are happy and I’m happy because I know they’re not filling themselves with rubbish or refined sugar. Basically, I trick them – and they get a treat!

So come tomorrow night I’ll be offering these little bags of goodies at our door. Who knows what the girls will come back with from their tour around the neighbours… but I know they’ll be happy to dive into my stash of Claws, if we have any left!

Happy Halloween x

#ClawsHalloween

 

 

Disclaimer: This is a collaborated post with Bear Nibbles but all copy are my own and true. 

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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. 

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My only real vice is and always has been chocolate. When it comes to chocolate I’m a complete addict, I’d happily munch my way through a bar of chocolate every day (and I’m not talking about those little bars). So it’s no surprise that the Too Faced range of ‘chocolate makeup’ has always been on my beauty wish-list.

After being sent the Semi Sweet Chocolate Bar eye palette and Dark Chocolate Soleil bronzer, the first thing that struck me was the amazing smell! Each one is scented with an enticing smell of sweet chocolate, which is subtle and dreamy, without being too strong or overpowering.

In case you were wondering, yes, there is actual cocoa in the powders. Cocoa powder has amazing skin care benefits so it makes perfect sense that Too Faced would add chocolate to these ‘delicious’ products.

This cute eye palette has been designed to look like a bar of chocolate (which I love) and is packed full on 16 different shades. Each colour works well together, from; warm caramels, strong mochas, deep chocolate and frosted blueberry, giving you countless options to create a wide verity of different looks.

Too Faced eye shadows are famous for being highly pigmented and these are no exception. Each shade is deep in colour and glide on effortlessly. They also blend easily and last the whole day without fading or creasing.

The shades inside the Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar Eye Palette are…

(warning: don’t read if you’re hungry!)

1. Licorice (matte)

2. Coconut Crème (matte)

3. Nougat (matte)

4. Truffled (matte)

5. Hot Fudge (shimmery)

6. Cocoa Chili (shimmery)

7. Pink Sugar (shimmery)

8. Puddin’ (matte)

9. Blueberry Swirl (shimmery)

10. Peanut Butter (matte)

11. Frosting (shimmery)

12. Rum Raisin (shimmery)

13. Mousse (matte)

14. Caramel (shimmery)

15. Bon Bon (shimmery)

16. Butter Pecan (shimmery)

I’ve been using the matte Coconut Crème with the shimmery Hot Fudge and Cocoa Chili for an effortless smokey eye look, but honestly I’d say that any combination would work well together.

The bronzer is equally good and long-lasting. It’s perfectly chocolaty in colour with no orange or gold undertones. I have the Dark Chocolate shade, which isn’t as dramatic and scary as it sounds. It’s a beautifully matte powder that creates a very real-looking sun kissed finish with no shimmer – and doesn’t look orange in any way. It’s very similar to Benefit’s Hoola bronzer but in a more durable compact and of course with the delicious scent of sweet chocolate. Also, the cocoa powder nourishes your skin to eliminate any dry patches or redness.

If you’re looking for a gift for any chocoholic, beauty junkies – I highly recommend you take a look at this range!

The Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar Palette (£39) and Chocolate Soliel Bronzers (£25) are available from Selfridges, Debenhams and other online retails.

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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.

 

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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.

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