Do you fancy a ‘Snap’ Trip?

If you’re anything like me, you live for the weekend. I’m constantly planning – What are we going to do? Where are we going? Usually we have birthday parties to attend or play dates organised but every now and again a clean weekend will pop up, a weekend with no plans – a blank sheet. I never really know if a weekend is going to be completely free until the very last minute so it’s always difficult to plan a weekend away.

However, I recently came across Snaptrip. Snaptrip have the largest selection of last minute self-catered accommodation in the UK – ranging from cottages, houses, apartments as well as more unusual properties such as huts, barns and old churches. Each property is hand picked by Snaptrip to ensure the highest quality at the best possible price. They also work closely with the owners to ensure the highest level of customer care and service.

The Snaptrip website is incredibly simple to use and navigate (they even have a fab app if you prefer using your phone or tablet), making it really easy (maybe even too easy in my case) to search through their properties and book a last minute ‘get-away’. Also, by booking last minute through Snaptrip you can save up to £100 on the price of your stay – basically the owners don’t want their properties to be empty, so Snaptrip are able to offer reductions to ensure the properties are filled.

I don’t know about you but I tend to get addicted to these sites and spend hours trawling through the pages and picking out my favourites properties for future mini-breaks. So it’s no surprise that I have a list ready and waiting for when a ‘clean weekend’ pops up. These are just some of the ones on my list…


Beaworthy, Devon £273 for 3 night

snaptrip post

Bradford Abbas, England £264 for 3 nights


Newquay, Cornwall £738 for 3 nights (sleeps 6 adults)


Telford, Telford and Wrekin £277 for 3 nights

So there you have it, my latest obsession and biggest tip for a spontaneous luxury get-away that won’t break the bank! Who wants to be cramped up in a tinny hotel room (as a family of four or five), when you can be spreading out in one of these beauties – and for the same price!

Special Offer

Snaptrip have offered all Running in Lavender readers £25 off their first booking, this is on top of any discount you receive by booking late. All you need to do is mention this offer when booking and £25 will be taken off your total.

This is a contributed post but all thoughts, opinions and copy are my own. I only write about things I genuinely love and would use.

I hope you enjoy your next mini-break! Will it be a ‘snap’ trip?

Sunday Stars #13


Welcome back to our Sunday Stars linky, a place for you to share your favourite posts each week.

Myself and a group of lovely bloggers decided to start this linky together. We wanted to create a place where all our favourite posts from the week could be easily shared and then thought why not let everyone join in! We take it in turns each week to host but we all comment and re-tweet throughout the week.

Last week’s Top Reads

Last week’s ‘Star’ posts came from Life with Six Kids who wrote the most moving and brave post on domestic violence and her personal experience. This really is a post that everyone should read.

And Mamascribbles for her brilliantly written post on the reality of parenthood: the good, the bad and the ugly! We especially loved the last section written by her other half!

Back to this week…

This linky is designed to give everyone a place to show off their favourite posts and make sure they don’t go unread. This week it’s myself and Amy from Everything Mummy who’s hosting and we can’t wait to read your star posts!

Tweet your posts to either of us (@heleddlavender or @amycooperem) and @SundaysStars using the hashtag #sundaystars and we’ll RT. We’ll also be pinning your posts to the Sunday Stars pinterest board.

Next weeks hosts will be the lovely Karen from Mini Travellers and Jess from Mummy of Boy Girl Twins so keep an eye out for them next Sunday.

The Rules:

• You can link up to 3 post old or new, anything that you are really proud of and want to share.

Please remember to add the Sunday Stars badge to the bottom of your posts.

• Share the love – try and comment on at least three other posts. After all that’s what it’s all about.

Running in Lavender

Sisters – January

This year I’m going to join the Siblings project. This is a monthly link-up I’ve been following for the past few months – and thought that the beginning of a new year would be the perfect time to join in.

These photos were taken last Monday, it was a bonus day (otherwise known as ‘Inset Day’), Lili’s last day of the Christmas holiday. Dom was back at work, so as Lili would say “it was just us girls”. We’d had a relaxing morning and after lunch we decided to take a stroll into the village for a sneaky hot chocolate and a walk around the park.

The girls have really come together over the Christmas holiday. Poppy’s now talking, so they can play together and communicate in a way that they couldn’t do back in the summer holidays.  I love how Poppy copies everything her big sister says and shouts ‘and me’ when she feels she’s missing out. I think these pictures really show their closeness and the special bond they share as sisters.


TheGirls4 TheGirls2 TheGirls6 TheGirls7 TheGirls

dear beautiful
Running in Lavender

My Captured Moment #2

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

This week’s picture was taken almost two years ago on a rainy Sunday afternoon in March 2013. Lili was playing dress-up and decided she wanted her baby sister to join the fun. So she grabbed a few items from her dressing-up box and the result is here for you to see in this adorable picture. The girls are growing up so quickly, I’m glad I have all my  pictures to keep these little moments alive in my mind.


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) and I will pick a favourite each week to regram and tag you, hopefully this could get you some new IG followers.

Running in Lavender

My Beauty Hub Q&A


At the beginning of each year I always seem to reassess my beauty routine – or to put it another way, go back to basics and really start to take care of my skin again. Those of you who know me, will know that I’m a bit of a beauty junky and love nothing more than trying new products and playing around with lotions and potions. So I thought I’d let you into my bathroom cabinet and offer out my personal beauty favourites in the form of a Beauty Hub Q&A.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to be asking some of my blogging friends the same questions and serialising their answers in a regular beauty post.

1) What is your day time make-up uniform?

These days my day to day ‘make-up uniform’ is pretty basic. I use a mix of foundation and tinted moisturiser as a base, to even out my complexion. I then use a black eye-liner to draw a thin line on my upper eye lids and follow that with a coating of black mascara. I’ll end with a quick brush of bronzer and a swipe of lip balm before I’m out the door, on the school run. Although, if I’m honest, some days I do have to run out without make-up – if it’s one of ‘those’ mornings. At the  moment I’m using Clarins Skin Illusion Foundation and Tinted Moisturiser, Benefit Bad Gal Lash mascara, a Nars bronzer and a Caudalie lip balm.



2) What do you use to wash/ cleanse your face?

I tend to use a different cleanser from one month to the next but the one I go back to again and again is Liz Earle’s Cleanse & Polish. It’s a thick cleanser that you apply onto dry skin and comes with its own muslin cloth. The combination of the cloth and texture of the cleanser means that your skin is given a gentle ‘polish’ each time you use it and leaves your skin super clean and soft.

3) What is your most indulgent beauty product?

I’ve mentioned this product a few times before but I really do love it! My biggest indulgence has to be my Elemis Skin Nourishing Bath Milk – it is pretty expensive at £42 but in my defence it does double up as an amazing, super light but incredibly moisturising body lotion.

4) What is your favourite super market product?

I have two favourite ‘super market’ products. The first is my Dove Invisible Dry deodorant, it’s a basic product but it’s my favourite tried and tested deodorant. The second is my Radox shower gel – the green one. I genuinely love this product and would probably still buy it if it was £10 a bottle not 99p. The smell is just so wonderfully invigorating and fresh, I can’t imagine ever getting tired of the gorgeous smell.

5) What products do you use on your body?

Body products are my ‘big thing’. I don’t really exfoliate too often but I do moisturise after every shower or bath. At the  moment I’m using Liz Earle Superskin Body Cream, it’s a rich cream packed with vitamins and plant oils, and smells amazing! It really does leave my skin ‘super’ soft.

6) What would be your desert island beauty or make-up product?

That would have to be my Bobbi Brown red lipstick. I’m a fairly new adopter to a bright lip but after finding ‘my red’ (apparently there’s a shade for every woman, although I was starting to doubt this fact after being on the hunt for years) I love the way it gives my make-up look a more polished finish. Having said that, I’m not too sure that a lipstick would be the most practical choice for a desert island – a high SPF is probably a more sensible answer.

7) Do you have a favourite hair product?

To be honest I don’t spend too much money on my hair care products but if I’m feeling flush or want to treat myself, I do love the Kérastase Nutritive Bain Satin range, especially the conditioning hair mask – its divine!

8) You’re at a Spa, what treatment would you choose?

This is a tricky question, it really depends on my mood but most of the time I think I’d opt for a relaxing aromatherapy massage. It would be between that or radiance boosting facial.

9) Do you have a signature scent?

I used to wear perfume every day but to be honest since having kids I don’t really use perfume too much, unless I’m going out. I’ve  worn Vera Wang for years and even wore it on my wedding day (appropriately) so I’d say that Vera Wang would have to be my signature scent.

10) What do you use in the bath?

I love a bath but it’s very rare for me to have one these days. When I do treat myself to a nice candle lit bath (oh yes, I really go for it when I have the opportunity) I grab my Elemis Skin Nourishing Bath Milk. This really does ‘what it says on the bottle’ and turns the water milky white, it smells amazingly light and powdery, and leaves my skin so soft and smooth to the touch. It literally is bliss in a bottle.

Here are some of my favourites…



If you’d like me to feature you in my Beauty Hub Q&A series, please copy these questions and email me you answers ([email protected]), along with your blog URL, social media details and a picture of yourself.

The List

What we’re watching

As you may already know (from past posts such as this and this) I’m a bit of a TV addict. My husband and I don’t get the opportunity to go out much as our families live away, so staying in with a good film, or a gripping series is our new (or not so new after five years) going out. Recently, I’ve also found myself reading Facebook threads and blog posts on new TV suggestions and reviews. I’m usually already watching most of the programs but every now and again I’ll come across a new suggestion, which gets me excited.

With this in mind, I thought I’d invite you in to our living room and share with you ‘what we’re watching’ at the moment…

1) Game of Thrones

Based on the best-selling fantasy books of the same name, this series is full of shocking moments, stunning scenery and has a thoroughly gripping storyline. We’ve been wanting to catch up on Game of Thrones for ages and last week we finally started (and finished) series one. At this rate we’ll be fully caught up with all four seasons before the end of the month. I must admit, I am a bit of a history geek (I can’t help it I find it all so fascinating) so the obvious similarities with the War of the Roses really appeals to me, and I don’t mind the graphic violence. WARNING: if you’re not keen on blood, this may not be for you.

2) Scandal – Season 4

Season 4 of Scandal started last week on Sky Living and if this series is anywhere near as thrilling as the past three, then we’re in for some great TV! It centres around Olivia Pope and her team of ‘fixers’, who help The White House hide secrets and bury careers damaging situations. Even though the series is based around The White House, it’s not too political and full of twists and turns, you literally don’t know who to trust. There isn’t many programs that I watch ‘live’ these days but I do usually tune into this one because I just can’t wait for it to record.

3) Revenge – Season 4

The forth season of Revenge also started last week on E4. If I’m honest I did say last year that I probably wouldn’t watch anymore of this program, it was getting a little ridiculous and I felt that they were really milking the storyline. However, the finale of season 3 was so shocking and unexpected I’ve been drawn back into this glamarous Hampton’s based show. Revenge is all about a beautiful, wealthy young woman named Emily who wants to seek revenge on the people who murdered her father when she was a girl. This program is full of beautiful people, stunning houses, amazing clothes and even better cars – if I’m honest that’s the main draw for me (especially the houses!).

4) True Detective

My husband got this box set for Christmas and we’ve only seen the first couple of episodes so far but so far it’s so good. I’d read so many rave reviews on the series that I knew it would be good but I had no idea what to expect. The series tells the story of two detectives (played perfectly by Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson) and their hunt for a ritual serial-killer that spans 17 years. This is not your usual ‘cop show’ it’s moody and cinematic but has very little action. Having said that it’s gripping and totally engaging, I don’t know what’s going to happen next but I can’t wait to find out.

5) House Of Cards

This is a program we started watching over Christmas on Netflix, it’s basically an American twist on the BBC show of the same name with Kevin Spacey in the main role. It’s another political drama, although again (just like Scandal) you don’t feel like you’re watching a program about politics. The storylines are really clever, the characters are interesting and the acting (as you’d expect from Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright) is fantastic. To be honest with you, it’s worth subscribing to Netflix just so you can watch House of Cards back to back.

So there you have it, that’s what we’re watching at the moment… Ooh and I’m eagerly awaiting the return of Suits (season 4) this Thursday on Dave. I don’t think I need to explain why I’m looking forward to this one, take a look at this picture and I think it all becomes clear…


I’d love to know what you’re watching, especially if it’s something I should be watching too.

The List
Running in Lavender

The mice took a stroll through the deep dark wood

This year I’ve decided that January is not a depressing month, it’s just a state of mind. Yes, it’s a cold month and yes we’re suffering the financial hang-over of Christmas but it’s just another month. I don’t really do new year’s resolutions but this year, I am making an effort to enjoy January. I recently read this wonderfully positive post by Mummy of Boy Girl Twins, which really opened my mind to ‘beating the January blues’.

With that said, I made a little list of free activities or ‘adventures’ in our area and today, with the sun shining, we headed off on our first adventure. The girls have long enjoyed The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child books (by Julia Donaldon and Axel Scheffler) and watched the TV adaptations until they know the words off by heart. So I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, we went on one of the Forestry Commission’s many Gruffalo’s Child Trails. There are 24 trails dotted around the country and our nearest one was at Alice Holt in Surrey.

We all had a great time walking around the forest, following the trail and finding a different character from the books around each corner. Luckily we all had our wellies on as it may have been a sunny day but the ground was muddy and pretty wet. I think this made the day even better for the girls as they love splashing around in ‘muddy puddles’ – Peppa Pig has a lot to answer for! We climbed into a ‘log-pile house’ and a giant wooden owl (as well as a random huge butterfly, which doesn’t feature in the books but it was pretty and the girls loved it), we hunted out the cut-out characters and had a truly fun family day out.

Here are some of my favourite shots or should I say ‘captured moments’ from the day…


adventure adventure4 adventure5 adventure6 adventure8 adventure9 adventure10 adventure11 adventure13 adventure14 adventure16 adventure17 adventure19

What Katy Said
You Baby Me Mummy

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

My Captured Moment #1

Welcome to My Captured Moment, a weekly linky where you can share your favourite pictures.



I recently backed up my photos from the past five years and came across some special shots, little captured moments that might have been forgotten without these pictures. This got me thinking, why not share these captured moments and invite others to do the same. And just like that, this linky was born!


IMG_1935.JPGUzes11conckers31First Day at school


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 RT. Hashtag your picture #mycapturedmoment on Instagram (follow me @heleddlavender) and I will pick a few favourites each week to regram and tag you, hopefully this could get you some new IG followers.


Running in Lavender

Me and My Girl

Look at this picture and you’d be forgiven for thinking we were not related. Our colourings are totally different, we don’t have the same features or face shape – we look nothing alike but this beautiful girl is my daughter.


However, spend some time with us and you’ll soon see that she may not look like me but she definitely is my daughter. We share so many likes and dislikes, we both love watching films and eating pop corn, she has my sense of humour and gets my silly jokes. She makes me laugh more than anyone else I know, in short ‘she gets me and I get her’.

When I recently asked her ‘Lili how are we the same’ she said ‘we both like pink, we both like chocolate and we both like apples’ – all true (although I don’t love pink with the same intensity as she does) but the fact that she instantly knew what I meant (and didn’t go for physical features) made me smile.

Tomorrow sees her go back to school after the Christmas break, and I know she’s looking forward to seeing her friends but I’m going to miss her. It’s been great having her with us every day and seeing her relationship with Poppy develop and grow as they play together. Six months ago (during the summer holidays) Poppy wasn’t really talking so they couldn’t communicate but over the past couple of weeks, they’ve become so close and I’ve really noticed a massive improvement in Poppy’s vocabulary as a result.

Me and my girl have a special bond and I love the beautiful person she’s turning into.

Mami 2 Five


Chocolate and Raspberry Cheesecake



I realise most of us are now on a New Year’s health kick after overdoing it last month but I had to share this amazing recipe. Quite frankly it’s literally too good not to share.

Last year I attempted to make a chocolate cheesecake for the first time, it wasn’t a complete disaster but to be honest it wasn’t great. It was way too heavy and rich! Not surprising really as it had 500g of chocolate and over 300g of cream cheese. Literally no-one in my family could eat more than a few mouthfuls.

I was slightly scarred by this first attempt but recently I was given another recipe to try. This new version had 150g of chocolate, 200g of cream cheese and I was told that it was light and smooth (unlike my first attempt).

This new version was such a triumph, I ended up making it twice over the festive season. I’ve made some changes to the original recipe – adding raspberries and using chocolate digestive biscuits but on the whole it’s the same.

Lili has declared this cheesecake her “favourite pudding ever!” And I must admit, I agree. The mixture has a sooth, mousse like texture and tastes delicious. Perfect for a chocoholic like me!

My Chocolate and Raspberry Cheesecake



150g chocolate digestive biscuits, crushed
45g butter, melted
110g caster sugar
120ml whipping cream
150g dark chocolate, melted and cooled
200g cream cheese
A tub of raspberries


1. Mix the crushed biscuits with the melted butter, then press into a 18cm springform cake tin and refrigerate.

2. Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Add the cooled melted chocolate and mix together.

3. Beat the cream cheese with the caster sugar. Then fold the cheese mixture into the chocolate mixture until the ingredients are fully incorporated. Now add the raspberries and fold in lightly (so not to break the berries)

4. Spread the mixture onto the biscuit base and pop in the fridge for at least a 4 hours to set.


As you can see, this recipe is very easy – there’s hardly any cooking involved but the result is very impressive! I can imagine I’ll be serving this cheesecake on special occasions for the foreseeable future. Especially as it can be made the day before!

Mami 2 Five