The one where I move the living room upstairs

Not the actual whole room, just the furniture.

We have a funny flat, which has what was the kitchen/living area on the ground floor, then a spiral staircase up the first floor. The staircase opens into what was designed as a living room, but for the last year has been Belle’s bedroom. 

It all seemed like a good idea at the time, and it was really. It was just Belle and I when we moved in, so a two seater sofa downstairs was enough for us, and it didn’t matter if I walked through her bedroom to go to the toilet. Now though things are different. My fiancé lives with us, and he’s not small. Adding an extra body – a body that’s over 6 feet tall – onto the two seater sofa has been a bit of a squeeze, and after turning 13 this summer we felt that Belle needed a bit more privacy.

So here we are. I’m now sat upstairs typing this, in Belle’s former bedroom, happily ignoring the fact that downstairs is now some sort of dingy, empty basement kitchen. I shall fill it in due course. View Full Post

The one where I indulge in some colouring in

I’ve never been one to rush into a trend.

I didn’t get my first pair of skinny jeans until 2014 and my apparent lack of awareness when it comes to fashion and general trends – what’s cool and not cool – didn’t especially work in my favour when it came to making friends at school.

A little while ago I was chatting to Bee and dreaming about a holiday. “What I’d really love,” I said, imagining I was the first person ever to have thought of it, “is some sort of really relaxing, warm holiday where I just had to lie down and have someone bring me cocktails. There’d be the sound of running water – maybe it’s a beach?”

“It’s called a beach holiday,” said Bee, eyebrows raised, “it’s what everyone, everywhere wants.”

“Oh.” View Full Post

Competition – Win Trunki goodies worth over £85!

I’ve always been a fan of Trunki.

I saw them first on Dragons’ Den of course, but then worked for a few years in the nursery industry and got to know the team pretty well. I’ve whizzed down the slide in their offices, and enjoyed the odd glass of wine, (*coughs*), with them at international trade shows. They’re good guys.

I’m really pleased then to have a lovely giveaway from them today, to celebrate their new project with Gatwick Parking. It’s the perfect partnership because let’s be honest, have you been to an airport in the last few years and not seen a Trunki? I haven’t.

In collaboration with Gatwick Parking, Trunki have put together a promotion to try and get over that horrible back to school feeling – you know the one where you’re made to spend £45 on school shoes that your ungrateful child will have grown out of in three months? The idea is to share you holiday snaps for a chance to win Trunki goodies, thus reliving those happy times and generally feeling less sulky as a result.

You can find out more about that competition here. View Full Post

Win a bundle of Ecover goodies, worth £50 + my thoughts on the new Ecover washing up liquid

When I meet people in person, a lot of them ask me why I have ‘slummy’ in my blog name. I expect they are disappointed that I don’t have bits of scrambled egg in my hair, or odd shoes on, or something like that.

True story as a quick aside – I did actually wear odd shoes out the other day. In fact, I had actually bought odd shoes, not noticing that one was a matt orange colour and the other a shiny red. It’s because I mainly looked at them through Instagram filters rather than in real life, and it was confusing.

Can you tell?? View Full Post

Beauty and the Beast party with Sky Movies #MovieParty

Not content with reducing my fiancé to a gibbering wreck by introducing him to One Born Every Minute, we also made him watch Beauty and the Beast this week. He prefers films and TV programmes which are ‘happy all the way through’, and finds the scary scenes in Disney films a little too much. We took care of him though, and distracted him with cocktail sausages, and all was well.

Beauty and the Beast party

The party was a bit of a belated birthday party for Belle, who turned 13 while we were on holiday, and seriously, with a name like Belle I could hardly go with a Pocahontas theme could I? We’d done some thinking about a Beauty and the Beast themed party already, and Sky Movies very kindly sent us a big box full of Princess swag, so we were set.  View Full Post

Designing my dream home + up to 40% off new windows, doors and conservatories

I’ve never owned my own house. It’s probably a good thing if my attitude to car maintenance is anything to go by. (Think strategically placed satsuma, covering engine warning light.)

Sometimes though I do think about what I might do if I was lady of my own manor. Obviously the first thing I would do would be to install a secret door, disguised as a bookcase, but that’s a given. I’d have a spiral staircase too, and big floor to ceiling windows, looking out on one side over London and on the other over the French coast. (This is a fantasy remember.) View Full Post

An interview with Lucy Spraggan at Standon Calling festival

Before we went off on our road trip around Ireland, we headed over for the weekend to Standon Calling festival. It was a little different from the festivals we’ve been to before, and probably not the very best sort of festival to choose for families, but if you like having the odd pint or ten, dancing until (literally) dawn, and then stumbling back to the festival site around midday, it’s definitely worth checking out for next year.

The festival has grown over ten years from what was essentially a house party, and they’ve managed to maintain the ‘dude, what did we do last night?’ vibe at the same time as growing the event into something commercial. There was plenty of tasty food to be eaten, a cool wild west themed centre and an innovative cashless payment system that made things really simple.

While we were there, we had a chat with Lucy Spraggan – you know, the one off of X-Factor? She was dead friendly, and really happy to talk to us about life on the road, the highs and lows of a touring lifestyle, and her new independent record label.

Check it out here:

      An interview with Lucy Spraggan

And prove, if any was needed, in the form of a quick snap with me, looking about as un rock and roll as it is possible to look, in my fleece and shoulder bag, next to rock chick Lucy. View Full Post

Round Ireland in a Bailey motorhome – how it feels to be on the road

You’ll be reading this once I’m back, but I’m actually writing this eight days into our two week long trip around Ireland in a Bailey motorhome. I’ve been trying really hard to write things down every day so that I don’t forget the outings, the campsites and the funny things Belle says, because I want to be able to tell you all about our trip and where we’ve been.

I will do this, I promise, but first, something else.

Walking back to the van just now from the toilet block, with the sound of gravel crunching under my feet, I had a sudden desire instead to try to explain how it feels, rather than just giving you a diary of events. I want you to imagine yourself doing the same, and how relaxed you are, rather than just picking up some caravan park tips.

I’ve been on plenty of caravan holidays as a child, and nostalgia certainly plays a big part, but there is something else, something about the mobility and the freedom that it gives you. It’s about rhythms and routines too; before we left I packs a big box of magazines, pens and games, not sure how we would pass the time, but apart from Monopoly cards, (which are a genius invention), the box remains untouched, stashed away under the bed. Instead, daily routines become relaxing rituals – filling the kettle with water, hunting for the teabags, setting your mug on the steps of the motorhome, looking out across an ever changing landscape of mountains and coastline – that’s an adventure in itself.

Time slows. View Full Post

5 bad marriage proposal videos on YouTube that make you hope the girl says no

A guest post from my clearly emotionally damaged daughter Bee. Opps.

People always assume that I am from my personality, but I’m not a romantic person. This could be for a number of reasons.

1) Being in love is effort that I just don’t have time for.

2) As I so bluntly put it to my therapist once, “I’m not bothering, because I’ve never seen a successful relationship before, so why the hell should I try? I could be going to the post office or something useful rather than gazing into someone’s eyes who I am inevitably going to end up despising.”

Anyway.

I’m not totally cynical, it’s not that I don’t love people. I love my friends and family. I love Paul Rudd. I just can’t stand any kind of romantic mush, whether it’s idiots on my Facebook timeline, people kissing on the street, (get the hell out of my way), or slightly boring men who think they can whip up a ‘romantic’ and ‘original’ proposal to sweep their equally dull girlfriend off her feet.

This morning I was watching marriage proposal videos on YouTube (as you do) and found some totally cringe proposals that had me chanting “say NO, say NO!” like the lovely person I am. Here are some of the videos where I wanted to actively run in and stop it from happening, Hollyoaks style. View Full Post

Top tips for choosing wines for your wedding

A guest post from my fiancé, as he knows much more about wine than me.

wedding wines

Now, no sniggering at the back, please – if I ask you what you think of when you think of the morning after a wedding reception, what springs to mind? The DJ was rubbish? Who managed to get gravy on my jacket? Who was it that I promised to give piano lessons to for free? Maybe that’s just me.

All of the above thoughts are probably coupled with a hangover, at varying levels of severity and intensity. Drink is a big part of weddings, and given that weddings are now more a test of endurance for guests than a short afternoon out, getting your wines right, and more importantly, getting them to match your budget, is key. Every wedding has guests with unquenchable thirsts, or ‘professional drinkers’, and we’re starting to think about how to keep them running like well oiled machines at our reception. View Full Post