My Captured Moment #17

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

This week My Captured Moment is a shot that was taken of me back in 2009. My husband and I were on holiday in the South of France and staying at a beautiful little hotel with the most amazing infinity pool. Every time I see this picture, I’m transported back to that pool and stunning view.

That evening, over dinner, my husband (then boyfriend) proposed.


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 11.55pm)

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

• Share the love – try to comment on at least three 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

Me and Mine – April

Me and Mine is a great monthly project co-hosted by six amazing bloggers. The idea is to share a family portrait on a monthly basis and give a little write-up of what you’ve been up to during the month itself.

 meandmine.april.21meandmine.april.1 These shots were taken on my phone so the quality is not great but they capture our family well,

so I decided to share them anyway.

This month…

April has been a busy month of activities, which means it’s literally flown by!

* The most exciting thing for us as a family, is that we were invited onboard Royal Caribbean’s new ship Anthem of the Seas for the weekend. It was luxury five star cruising from start to finish! We also filmed our fist little vlog onboard the ship.

* The girls and I went to see Disney on Ice, which was a truly magical experience for the three of us. To be honest I’m not sure who enjoyed it more.

* Dom and I have been obsessed by the new season of The Good Wife on More4 and I’ve loved Poldark on BBC1. Of course we’re also watching the new season of Game of Thrones on Sky Atlantic, which is the highlight of our week.

* I’ve got my first regular freelance copywriting job, which is super exciting. I’m now employed again!

* We’ve got a fab new camera, which hopefully means better pictures. After much researching you went for a Cannon EOS 700D and I’m already in love with it!

* Lili went to her first school disco, which was super cute. When I asked her who she danced with, she replied ‘everyone’.

* Poppy has a new fascination with dressing herself, or I should say picking her own outfits – she’s only two so can’t actually dress herself yet. She’s definitely got a mind and style of her own, which I love!

* We had a fabulous day out at Polesden Lacey, a stunning National Trust house in Surrey. It’s only been a few weeks since we visited but already I want to go back! This has to be my favourite National Trust venue yet.

* The most SHOCKING (and thrilling) thing to happen all month, is that my blog has been shortlisted for a BiB Award – in the Fresh Voice category. I only found out yesterday, so I’m still coming down from the high.

dear beautiful


I’ve Made the Shortlist! – BiBs 2015

Ten months ago, I was sat on the sofa with my husband, while he watched Glastonbury on the TV and from nowhere I started to write an About Me page for a blog. A blog that didn’t exist and didn’t even have a name at that time but the more I wrote the more I wanted to write. Suddenly, I realised I had a voice and wanted more than anything to share my voice with the world… or whoever wanted to read.

If I’m honest, I didn’t know what I was going to write about or who would want to read my blog but I knew that this was something that I was immediately passionate about. By the end of the weekend, I had picked a name, registered my domain name and set up my little blog on WordPress. A few days later I published my first post and Running in Lavender was born!

Why am I telling you all this now? Well, yesterday was kind of a big day! I (or should I say my blog?) was shortlisted for a Brilliance in Blogging Award or BiBs for short. I have been shortlisted with nine other amazing bloggers in the Fresh Voice category, which is open to all blogs that were launched in the past eighteen months.

As you can imagine hundreds of blogs have started in this time, so I am beyond proud and a little shocked to have made it onto the shortlist. I was literally floating on air yesterday, walking around with a huge smile on my face and glued to my twitter feed, that literally went crazy.

BiBs BritMums

I want to THANK every single one that nominated for me last month. I appreciate it more that I can ever explain!

Last night, after pinching myself a few times, the realisation started to sink in and I decided to have a look at the other blogs on the shortlist…

23 Socks
Big Trouble in Little Nappies
Carry on Katy
Hello Archie
Mother Pukka
Not So Smug Now
The Baby Bible
The Ordinary Lovely
The Unmumsy Mum Blog

After a few minutes I realised I was in seriously talented company and need all the help I can get, if I want to reach the next step in the competition.

So my dear friends, here I am again asking for your help! If you enjoy reading my blog, I’d be thrilled if you could take a few seconds (I promise it’s quick and easy) to vote for Running in Lavender for the BiBs2015 Fresh Voice Award.



Thank you! x

Fifty Things That Make Me Happy!

I realise I’m very late to this ‘Fifty things’ tag party. I’m sorry it’s taken me so long Mrs H’s Favourite Things, thank you for tagging me. I know that this post will be an absolute pleasure to write, so I had to find the time to do it. Okay, without further adieu, here are fifty things that make me a very happy lady!


1. My beautiful flower girls
2. Remembering them as babies
3. My supportive husband
4. My amazing family
5. My Blog
6. Running in fields of Lavender
7. Warm sunny days
8. Good friends
9. Spa weekends
10. New clothes
11. Boutique hotels
12. Bright blue skies
13. Open windows
14. Wales
15. Pancakes
16. Cashmere cardigans
17. Milk chocolate
18. A jug of Pimms
19. Freshly picked warm strawberries
20. Spring blossom
21. Beauty products
22. My family coming to stay
23. A clean and tidy house
24. A good haircut
25. Red lipstick
26. Provence
27. Weekend brunch
28. A bubble bath
29. Blue Jeans
30. Scented candles
31. Baking
32. Daffodils
33. A stripy top
34. Shopping alone
35. Summer holidays
36. The smell of Honeysuckle
37. Date night
38. Christmas Eve
39. A quiet beach
40. Cake stands
41. A good film
42. Family day out
43. Thai take-away
44. Meeting new people
45. Taking a good picture
46. A picnic
47. Afternoon tea
48. Girls night out
49. A good massage
50. Dancing around the kitchen

Goodness me, I could go on and on… Well, that was very therapeutic, I now feel very happy, if a little hungry and craving a glass of Pimms and a bar chocolate!

I’m pretty sure everyone’s already done this tag by now but if you haven’t, consider yourself tagged. Go on do it, it’ll make you smile as you type.

Disney on Ice – with Frozen

on-ice.7Last week after much excitement on my side (because I’d kept it a big secret from the girls) I surprised them with tickets to go and see Disney on Ice. I told them the night before the big event that I had a big treat for them the next day but didn’t tell them what it was. Instantly their minds went to toys, chocolates or sweets but when I told them that you could not eat or play with this very special treat, they looked very puzzled.

I knew that if I’d told them the night before where we were going, they wouldn’t have slept. The excitement of meeting Mickey and seeing Anna, Elsa, Arial, Belle and Rapunzel would have been too much! So in the morning, over breakfast I told them what we were doing and their little faces lit up. I now wish I’d recorded the conversation, so that I could relive that reaction again and again. The magic of Disney was right there in their wide eyes.

So after school, we all raced home for a quick change and headed off to the train station – one dressed as Anna and the other dressed as Elsa. We met little mermaid Marnie from MamasVIB at the station, so that we could all travel up to Wembley together – at this point the excitement level was at an all time high.


What made this night extra special was that it was the fist showing of the ‘new version’ of Disney on Ice in London. And this ‘new version’, features Frozen for the very first time! We were invited to a special press meet and greet with Mickey before the show, which meant the girls got to walk up the ‘red carpet’ before going into the VIP area for drinks and snacks and of courses to meet the big mouse himself.

on-ice.3 on-ice.5 on-ice.6

The show was every bit as magical as we’d all hoped. We were treated to movie segments and songs from The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Tangled and of course Frozen. The seating area was so generous that the girls could jump up, dance and sing to their heart’s content, which made the experience even more special.


Thank you so much to the team at Disney on Ice for offering us to these tickets and letting us attend the pre-show event. We all had a very special night, one that we’ll remember for a long time.

The Truth About Cleansing & A Spa Giveaway!

I think we all know that cleansing is the first step towards healthy looking skin and toning will remove any residual dirt and oil, to leave our skin feeling clean and refreshed. No matter what your skin type or skin care concern, your complexion will be healthier, look younger and feel smoother if you cleanse and tone daily!

With such a huge range of cleansers and toners on the market, to suit all skin types (available as a milk, foaming wash, balm or oil) it can all get very confusing.

The Options…

Cleansing Milks – A cleansing milk is applied onto dry skin with fingers or a cotton pad and is usually removed with a toner. I personally like the feeling of water on my skin, so I always remove my cleansing milk with a splash of warm water, followed by a suitable toner. Cleansing milks are great for all skin types but as they’re less drying, usually recommended for normal to dry skin.

Foaming Cleansers – Foaming cleansers are exactly that, cleansing creams or gels that foam when in contact with wet skin. This type of cleanser is washed away with warm water. Again there are foaming cleansers for all skin types but as a rule (as they can be drying), they’re better suited to younger, oily or combination skin.

Cleansing Balms/ Oils – Cleansing balms usually come in pots and melt onto dry skin as they’re massaged onto the face, to become an oil. You then remove the oil with warm water, similar to a foaming cleanser. This type of cleanser is very effective and is suitable for normal to dry skin types.

Cleansing Bars/ Soaps – The original cleanser! Lets face it we all started with a good old soap and although the old fashioned soap of our youth was drying and not very nourishing, it did leave your skin clean and fresh. These days soaps or ‘cleansing bars’ are much kinder on our skin but just as effective in removing everyday dirt and pollution.

The Benefits

Cleansing will also ensure your skin is fully prepped to receive and take full advantage of any moisturisers or serum you go on to use. If I’m honest, as my skin type is pretty normal (although it can become dehydrated at certain times of the year) I tend to fluctuate from all of the above options. These are some of my cleansing and polishing heroes and are ALWAYS in my bathroom cupboard.


Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish

Clarins Cleansing Milk & Toning Lotion

E’Spa Cleansing Bar

REN Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial

Clarins Gentle Peeling (a weekly deep cleanse and polishing product)

the braun faceFor the best cleanse or maybe I should say ‘at home facial’ you should try this amazing Braun Face. It has a cleansing brush that’s designed to remove all traces of dirt and make-up, and cleanse impurities and claims to be 6x more effectively than manual cleansing.  You use the brush with your regular cleanser, gel, lotion or even just water.


Let’s ‘face’ it nothing can beat a full spa Facial! And the lovely people at Leisure Jobs have given me a day at a Bannatyne Spa for two to give away. To enter, simply follow the instructions below…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions

 Thank you to Leisure Jobs for offering me this prize.




My Captured Moment #16

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

This is a shot my husband took of Lili and I at the weekend, when we were away with Royal Caribbean. I love the way he’s captured a little moment we were having as we relaxed before lunch. I feel that in that second we were thinking the exact same thing as we looked at each other with complete joy. This picture may have to become my new avatar!


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 11.55pm)

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

• Share the love – try to comment on at least three 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

Cruising with Royal Caribbean – Part 2


If you follow me on twitter or Instagram, I can only apologise for filling your feeds with #AnthemoftheSeas pictures and tweets all weekend long! In my defence, all I can say is that I just wanted to share as much of this magical experience with you as I possibly could.


Let me start at the very beginning! From the moment we stepped onboard Royal Caribbean’s ‘Anthem of the Seas’ (that’s the ship’s name), we were made to feel welcome by every single member of staff. The check-in for us was faultless and took no time at all. Before we knew it we were onboard and being offered welcome refreshments and snacks. Immediately, I knew this was going to be a five star, top quality weekend and an experience that we’ll be talking about for years to come.


After dropping our bags in our ‘stateroom’ (with balcony) on the thirteenth floor, we headed up to the top deck for our RipCord (simulated sky-dive) flight. I must confess, I personally wasn’t a natural at ‘flying’ – I totally lost control but I did have the most amazing fun and couldn’t stop talking about it all the weekend. The girls (who were with our friends Karen and Matt from Mini Travellers and their lovely kids) found the whole thing very funny and I’m sure would have loved to have a go themselves.


Once we were back down on two legs we headed over to the outside splash pools, so that the girls could have some fun in the (surprisingly) warm sun, ‘splashing around’ while us adults could have a much needed (after that sky-dive) cocktail. With Royal Caribbean’s All Inclusive service all drinks, snack and meals are covered, so we were able to relax and order as and when we needed anything, which was a lovely feeling. Also, the amount of choice of food and drinks available throughout the ship was phenomenal.


Speaking of food, that night we all went for dinner at the ‘Grand’ (fine dining) restaurant. We had an early reservation for 6pm as we had two little ones joining us for dinner. If I’m honest, the grandeur and quality of this restaurant was lost on the children, who wanted to get up from the table at any opportunity. That being said, the staff were beyond friendly and more than happy to serve pesto pasta and burgers for the kids – while we had steak and lobster (I kid you not!). I must also mention the chocolate volcano pudding I had for pudding, which was incredible!


This is not the best quality picture but we were having a great time and I wanted to include this shot regardless.

We shared our evening meal with the Mini Travellers family, who quickly became our cruising companions for the whole weekend. After some subtle hints the husbands agreed to take the kids back to the rooms, so Karen and I could experience the ‘night life’ offerings onboard the Anthem of the Seas. Our first stop of the night was the cabaret show at two70, which was a magical mix of dancers, music, lasers and lights. We then had a quick look at the Bionic Bar, where robots were mixing up the cocktails! As you can imagine this was a very busy bar so we decided to make our way to another cocktail bar where we enjoyed a few strawberry daiquiris and chatted away the night.

ship77 ship14

The breakfast buffet at the main restaurant did not disappoint, you name it, it was there! Pancakes, waffles, pastries, a full English, muffins, smoothies, granola, fruit, yogurts, the choice went on and on. The kids were literally living a dream, because they could have anything they wanted for breakfast – and believe me they did!



After breakfast I was booked into the spa for a full body ‘bamboo’ massage, which again was simply dreamy! Ellie my therapist was excellent and so friendly. We chatted about her new role onboard the ship and how she was looking forward to getting out to sea and arriving in the Caribbean. For me this was one of the highlights of the weekend, I left the spa feeling relaxed and light on my feet. The spa onboard offer Elemis product and treatments, which is always a winner for me!

On Sunday we had lunch at Jamie’s Italian, which is an extension of the British chef’s UK chain of restaurants. As a family we love Italian food, especially pasta, so this meal was right up our street. Also, Lili is slightly obsessed with Jamie Oliver (she loves watching his 30 minute meal episodes on the iPad), so she was very happy. Once again, the staff we beyond friendly and helpful and the food was excellent.


That afternoon we went swimming in the indoor pool. Well, I say ‘we’ but what I actually mean is my hubby and Lili went swimming while Pops and I relaxed on the sunbeds – bliss! For me this is what holidays are all about, I love feeling relaxed and like nothing more than lying on a sunbed watching my kids having fun. Or in this case watching one of them having fun, while the other is curled up next to me asleep under a towel.


The girls had an early dinner at the pizza parlour that evening before we went to watch the West-end favourite We Will Rock You in the ship’s impressively large theatre.  Lili later told me that this ‘show’ was her favourite part of the weekend and I totally understand why. The girls enjoyed every second and got up to dance at every given opportunity, while I sang along to all the famous Queen hits. While we were in there, it was easy to forget that we were onboard a ship and not in a London theatre.




Once the show was over, we took the girls to the Kids club (which is open until 2am – if you want to stay out late), so that we could have an adult only dinner with Karen and Matt from Mini Travellers. We were booked into the other fine dining restaurant ‘Silk’, which has a very Asian theme. Again the grandeur of this restaurant would have been uncomfortable for the girls but for us adults it was gorgeous. I enjoyed some crab fishcakes and steak teriyaki, with a fab raspberry meringue pudding. After we finished dinner we picked up the kids and went to bed, as we knew we had an early wake-up call the next day to disembark.


On our drive home we all shared our favourite moments from the weekend, these were our thoughts…

Me – My full body massage on Sunday morning (ooh and the all the delicious cocktails!)

Hubby – The RipCord sky-dive experience

Lili – The We Will Rock You show

Poppy – “All of it…”


Here are just a few of the amazing cocktails on offer! Picture credit: @devinalexander on Instagram.

This little video, sums up the weekend and how much fun the girls had running around the ship…

All that’s left for me to say now is a big thank you to the team at Royal Caribbean for inviting us onboard this truly amazing ship and for making us feel so welcomed and relaxed. Is cruising something we’ll consider in future? After this experience… definitely!

This unforgettable weekend was organised through the MumsNet bloggers network.

Cruising with Royal Caribbean – Part 1

For weeks now we’ve been looking forward to this weekend, as we’ve been invited by Royal Caribbean to experience their newest cruise ship ‘Anthem of the Seas’. Part spaceship, part cruise ship, Anthem of the Seas is dubbed a totally new experience in cruising. Not that we’ve ever been cruising before, so it will all be new and very exciting for us.


As you can imagine we’ve been avidly researching and watching YouTube videos on this new ship, since the invite came through. This week alone we’ve been following her journey from Germany (where she was built) to the UK, ready for this weekend!

As I mentioned, we’ve never been on a cruise ship before – to be honest it’s a holiday option that I hadn’t really considered until now. However, I have a feeling that this is all about to change! Earlier this week we were sent our itinerary for the weekend and it looked like this:


  • 11.30am:  Check in at Southampton Cruise Terminal
  • 12.00pm: Luggage drop & Lunch
  • 13:20pm: RipCord by iFLY (A Simulated Sky-dive)
  • 14.30pm: Register at Adventure Ocean (Kids Club)
  • 18.00pm: Dinner at ‘The Grande’


  • 09.30am: Full Body Hot Bamboo Massage
  • 12:15pm: Lunch at Jamie’s Italian
  • 15:30pm: North Star Trip
  • 17.00pm: We Will Rock You – West-end Show
  • 19:00pm: Dinner at Silk

All this, along with 18 restaurants, 4 swimming pools, robotic bartenders, circus training, roller-skating, a casino, Xbox Room and a surfing pool to name a few of the other actives on board.

As I write this post, I’m sat in the pool bar with a cocktail, while my hubby and kids splash about in the in-door pool. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon! Here are some pictures to give you a taste of the ship and our time at sea…


Here she is the ship that’s bigger than IKEA, as Lili pointed out when we got to the dock. There was an IKEA near the dock, in case you were wondering!


The kids were made to feel at home as soon as we got on the ship.


Hubby and I ready for our ‘sky-dive’…


Drinks on the pool deck, happy days!


Great fun hanging out with Karen and her lovely family from Mini Travellers blog.


Here are the outdoor splash pools, Sky Bar and the North Star pod, which raises up to give the most amazing view point!


Yes, there were Bumper Cars!!

ship9 ship10

Look out for my next post on this wonderful weekend at sea with Royal Caribbean, coming very soon!!

Easter With The Kids Was A Piece Of Cake!

There’s no doubt in my mind that life truly is better with cake, or chocolate for that matter! The Easter holidays is always a fortnight of deliciousness – and that’s exactly what it was for us this year. We made cakes, hunted chocolate eggs and enjoyed every yummy mouthful!


During the first week we decorated Easter Bonnets and made our traditional chocolate rice crispy cakes with mini eggs. These little chocolate treats are so easy to make and always taste scrummy! As you can see Lili likes to make these… mainly so that she can lick the spoon! I think it’s fair to say that she’s a real chocoholic, just like her mum.


After cleaning up and decorating with the festive eggs, we took another shot…

better with cake

For the big Easter weekend we went north to Derbyshire to stay with my sister-in-law, who is a keen baker. She made us this amazing Easter Celebration Cake, based on the Jamie Oliver, Comfort Food recipe. It really was as good as it looks, with chocolate sponge, rice crispy chocolate spread and marshmallow icing. In cake terms this really is ‘the business!’

better with cake

While we were in Derbyshire we also had our annual “sugar plum fairy” egg hunt. This themed egg hunt all started last year, when I got the girls these fairy costumes as their Easter present and they insisted on wearing them for the hunt. As they’re so keen on tradition and habit, they wanted to wear them again this year! Who am I to argue, when they look this cute? This year our egg hunt was made even better with cake, as the kind people at Mr Kipling sent us some of their delicious sweet treats.

better with cake

After eating all that cake and chocolate, I think it’s now time to hit the gym!