Boots that are made for walking

Inspired by Belle’s fashion video, I enlisted her help this afternoon to help me show off my brand new boots from Kaleidoscope.

Kaleidoscope asked me to choose something that I thought would be versatile in the transition from summer to autumn and I have to admit that these boots weren’t my first choice. They are totally unlike anything I would normally choose, but I absolutely love them. When I put them on, whatever it’s with, I feel awesome. 

Bee looked vaguely disgusted but then she’s 19, what does she know about style?

I normally find shoes and boots really difficult to shop for but these have been really comfortable from day one – not a single blister in sight, even though my first outing in them was a full on sambuca-fuelled dance fest.

What do you think? Where these boots made for walking?


Attitudes to finance – are you a saver or a borrower?

They say ‘neither a borrower nor a lender be’.

My first question though – who exactly is ‘they’? ‘They’ implies some sort of panel of wise old men with beards and women who look a bit like Judi Dench, all nodding earnestly as they decide on the important rules for life. I suspect, not without some sense of disappointment, that that may not actually be the case.

Some people I know do get panicky about all things financial, and while I’m not especially keen on lending money, I’m quite happy to borrow it, so long as it’s done sensibly. This week for example I had to buy a new car. Ex Boyfriend had very kindly let me hang on to his for a few months but now he needs it back – quite rightly – and so I have had to get one of my very own.

It was weird having to choose a car without someone in the background muttering about cam belts and track rod ends, and in the end I opted for that tried and tested approach of buying the very first thing I saw, taking into consideration all the most important aspects of choosing a car:

Seat altea Read more

A video review from Belle – girls’ clothes from Vertbaudet

This week Vertbaudet were kind enough to send Belle some items from their range for girls. The range is actually very good – it goes all the way up to age 14, is reasonably priced and includes a good mix of multi-buy basics, pretty dresses, outdoorwear and accessories. I particularly liked the ‘outfits’ category, which puts together matching items for you – handy for someone like me who is renowned for not really appreciating how to mix colours.

Ever keen to make Belle earn her keep, I tasked her and her friends, Ewelina, Ella and Josie, with trying on the clothes and taking some photos. I know, she really has it tough doesn’t she? They mixed up the Vertbaudet items with some of Belle’s own clothes and headed out into the garden, where they produced this video.


Vertbaudet clothes for girls

Vertbaudet clothes for girls

The girls were wearing:

Dress and leggings set

Reversible skirt

2 pack of long sleeved t-shirts

Why is your own mess so much less annoying than other people’s mess?

Sylvanian beekeeperAs a single mummy I spend a lot of time tidying things. Not cleaning so much – I don’t really like chores that involve getting my hands wet – but that general sorting and moving piles of things around the house.

It drives me absolutely mad.

It’s not that I don’t like tidying, or even than I have a low tolerance for mess, it’s just that I can’t bear picking up other people’s stuff, over and over and over again. I could have a room full of my own crap and then Belle will leave a nail varnish on the table and I want to scream.

Things I cannot bear:

  • Clothes left on the bathroom floor
  • Empty cups left anywhere at all
  • Things generally got out, played with, and then just left wherever they are
  • Fruit yo-yo wrappers left on the sofa when the bin is right there for Christ’s sake

As you can see, the theme is generally stuff left places. Read more

It only takes a minute girl, (or 224 tweets), to fall in love…

How long did it take you to fall in love? How many dates before you were officially boyfriend and girlfriend?

According to recent research, we are falling in love quicker than ever, with it now just taking 224 tweets and 163 text messages for us to woo our partners. Approximately*. Apparently it now takes the average couple just 24 days to refer to each other as girlfriend and boyfriend, compared to 78 days a generation or two ago.

Do you think we are falling in love quicker than ever? Does social media make it easier to get the girl (or boy) or is it an artificial intimacy?

What isn’t made clear in the article is whether you actually have to spend any face to face time together, or whether the 140 characters alone is enough to seduce a future partner. I’m pretty sure there are a lot of people on Twitter that I have shared 224 tweets with over the years, but I am under no illusion at all that I actually know anything about them, let alone that I am in love with them.

Sure, it’s nice to have ways to communicate quickly and easily, but those things can’t replace physical closeness, that time spent lying face to face in bed with someone, sharing stories from your past. While phones and social media can compliment that, I simply don’t believe that you can know someone from a tweet.

Or even 224 of them.

love birds

Tweet tweet

What do you think?

*Waits patiently while you go and count how many texts you have exchanged with that potential new partner

4 things to do in Istanbul

Visit all the counties in England.


See the Dark Hedges.


I made some pretty good progress on my list of 40 things to do before 40 over the summer, so I’ve been thinking about what I can do next to keep the ball rolling.

One of my favourite items on the list is ‘Hang out in a 19th century Ottoman mansion and take a cruise up the Bosphorus’, so with work deadlines looming and a pile of dirty washing festering in the basket on the landing I decided that the best thing to do with my time would be to look at pretty pictures of Turkey on the internet. Pinterest obviously is lovely for pictures, travel blogs for personal recommendations, and travel companies like First Choice can be useful for information about flights, accommodation and places of interest.

The list item was inspired by this newspaper cutting, so obviously I have to stay here, but what should I do when I’m not chillaxing in the rainforest shower, tucking into the Godiva chocolates and admiring the statement lamps? Read more

What was your favourite childhood toy?

You know you’re getting on a bit when you visit the Museum of Childhood and see all the toys you used to play with as a child. Seriously, am I so old now that my memories belong in a museum? Apparently so.

This week I’ve been reading the John Lewis Toy Story about train sets and it has got me thinking about my favourite childhood toys. Of course there are the classics, that all kids have, like a good ball. The back of this picture says ‘Josephine – August 1979′, making me 16 months old and, even if I do say so myself, adorable. It’s a bit of a shame that my knees haven’t got any less chubby with age, but never mind.

John Lewis Toy Story

My absolute favourite toy however, the thing that defines my early years, is anything Fisher Price.

We had all sorts over the years; the hospital, the farm, a circus train, the school, the airport and, a personal favourite, which we could take in the bath, the ferry. As time went on we gave away a lot of them, or sold them at car boot sales, but one thing has remained a constant since I was tiny – the Fisher Price Village. Read more

COMPETITION: Win £200 to spend on stunning accessories with The Dressing Room

I’ve not had a competition for a little while so I’m really pleased to have this awesome one to offer you, from the very lovely independent retailer The Dressing Room. The prize up for grabs is £200 to spend on their Becksondergaard range, which includes gorgeous scarves, bags, gloves, belts and purses – lovely stuff that is guaranteed to glam up any outfit.

Obviously my first thought when running competitions like this is ‘Damn it, why can’t I enter?’ as I could really do with some nice accessories. When I went for dinner with my new boyfriend a couple of weeks ago I had to borrow a bag from Belle. (Don’t tell him.)

The Dressing Room

The Collector’s Club

If you’re a fan of the brand, you may also be interested to hear about the Becksondergaard Collector’s Club. Collect a stamp for every £25 you spend and you’ll get a free £15 voucher when you have ten.

The Dressing Room

To be in with a chance to win, get stuck into the Rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

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The one where Belle gets bacon rage

You don’t want to mess with Belle at the moment.

95% of the time she is a sweet and thoughtful girl, always happy to lend a hand, caring and kind. Sometimes though, overcome by the pubescent hormones coursing through her veins, she becomes a beast. Bee and I cower in her presence. She almost seems to roar.

The beast was unleashed recently when we went to Northern Ireland and was sparked by mediocre service in the Premier Inn. If there is anything that winds Belle up like nothing else it is shoddy service. Our Butlins break  for example was blighted for her by the cutlery, which didn’t live up to her high expectations of cleanliness, being covered, as she put it, in ‘previous food’.


What the fork?

Premier Inn got off to a bad start with Belle by bringing her orange squash with her dinner rather than the fresh orange juice she had requested.

“Do they not know the difference?” She asked, appalled. “This is clearly not freshly squeezed.”

She was also not convinced that her pizza had the double helping of mozzarella she had specifically asked for. At breakfast the next morning things only got worse.

“Well that took longer than it should have done,” she spat, Victor Meldrew style. She banged her plate down onto the table. It held one hash brown and three slices of bacon.

“All I wanted to do was get some bacon. I queued for a plate, let someone into the queue before me, and then when I reached over for the bacon the chef told me off! ‘There is a queue you know’ he told me.” She was positively steaming.

I sat quietly eating my toast.

“I’d get some juice,” she snarled, lip curling, “but it’s probably squash.”

I made sure that Belle didn’t mind me writing about this so that she wouldn’t shout at me.


Top tips for families thinking of owning a dog

I have a new puppy in my life.

I’ve never thought of myself as a dog person, but I may be a little bit smitten. She has been coming to see us quite a bit lately and we call her Chewy. It’s not her name, but it feels apt.


Oh Chewy, how we love you.

A puppy is hard work, especially such a chewy one, but just like a baby they can provide hours of fun. In fact, it’s very much like Belle being small all over again; they love you unconditionally, cry when you leave, want to sleep in your bed, and can be arranged into amusing positions when they are asleep. Read more