I’ve lived in my little flat in Taunton for nearly two and a half years now, and last month I finally got round to replacing the curtains in our bedroom. The original curtains were exactly the sort of curtains you’d expect to find in a slightly rough around the edges rented flat – a 1970s swirly brown, floral pattern. I remember the first time fiancé went into my bedroom, apologising in advance for them.

Well now they’re gone, and instead we have two pairs of dark, plain pink blackout curtains. It’s nice, because for as long as the old curtains have been there, I’ve never felt inspired to do anything with the rest of the decor, as nothing really goes with brown swirly flowers.

I’ve been desperate for ages to get some new bed linen or cushions. I really love fabrics that have a romantic, watercolour look about them, and so when I discovered Bluebellgray, well, I was practically foaming at the mouth. They do fabrics, bedding, wallpaper and homewares and it’s all beautiful – gorgeous bold floral watercolour designs that immediately just lift a room.

I now have these two cushions on my bed. (See the new curtains in the background?) It means I can have plain white bedlinen, but still have big splashes of colour.

Slummy single mummy bedroom

The bunny rabbit is Bertie. Sometimes I arrange Bertie into funny positions on the bed so that every time I go upstairs to the toilet I can look at him and laugh to myself.  View Post

I mentioned a little while ago about how difficult I am (apparently) to buy presents for. Essentially it’s because I’m just not that bothered about stuff. 

Sometimes though I fall in love with something totally random, something that no one that knows me would ever have thought to buy me. My new bangle from Infinity & Co is one of those things. I’m sure that if my mum or sister for example walked past this in a shop, they wouldn’t in a million years choose it for me, and yet… 

See how sparkly it is?! 

Infinity & Co competition View Post

I hope you’ve been enjoying all of my Christmas-tastic competitions over the last few weeks? There are more to come, so do keep coming back! Today’s competition is a cracker, (Christmas pun intended), plus I have a cool tool to tell you about that might help you find a bit of extra work in the run up to Christmas. 

Have a read, and then I’ll tell you how to enter for your chance to win £100 of John Lewis vouchers.

Coople is Europe’s number one flexible work platform, offering job opportunities direct to your mobile. It’s free to join, and it only takes a few minutes to sign up.  Coople connects people looking for work  – known as ‘Cooplers’ – with companies looking for help to cover shifts lasting from just a day to up to a month. Both parties can use the app to rate each other, meaning you have a clear idea of who you’re taking on or the job you’re applying for. For employers, it’s very handy, as Coople takes care of all right-to-work checks, admin, and payroll, and fills 98% of roles within four hours.

How does Coople work?

It’s pretty simple. You sign up, and pick out the sort of jobs you’re interested in, as well as your level of expertise. You’ll then need to upload some ID as proof of your eligibility to work in the UK.

Coople flexible work View Post

I had an email this morning.

(I had more than one obviously, but I had this one in particular.)

It started like this:

‘Hi Jo, Happy Hump Day!’

NO.

No no no no.

HAPPY HUMP DAY?!

Hump Day is just not a real thing. And even if it was, it’s not something you begin an email with, as though it’s Christmas or my birthday or something. Why can’t a Wednesday just be a Wednesday? Why do we feel the need to turn everything into an irritating meme??

The very worst possible combination for me is when it’s combined with the ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ slogan, which seems to have been applied to everything in the entire world now. 

keep calm it's hump day

(This had better not get shared. I made it for ironic purposes.)

I actually quite like my job, and Wednesday for me isn’t some kind of amazing pinnacle. I don’t feel the need to measure my week by how many days there are left until I can get drunk or go to a shopping centre and spend all the money I earned in the job I hate on tat that I don’t need. 

And more to the point, even if I did, I wouldn’t give Wednesday a name, and attach it to a comedy picture of a camel, and go around wishing my colleagues a ‘happy Hump Day’ like some kind of loon. I wonder if the writer of the email would ever consider using the expression in real life? I’m imagining him turning up to a meeting with a new client:

‘Hi there,’ he says, shaking hands and holding up a picture of a camel, ‘I’m Gavin, great to meet you, and happy Hump Day!’

Sounds stupid doesn’t it? 

Hump Day.

Not a thing.

The end.

I was going to start by saying something like ‘I love Cornwall’, but then I realised that’s probably about the most obvious statement ever. I mean, have you ever heard anyone say ‘Oh God no, I hate Cornwall. All that beautiful coastline and those picturesque fishing villages? Not my thing at all.’

Nope.

So let’s take it as a given that Cornwall rocks, and I’ll just tell you about the hotels we stayed in. 

Our first night was spent at the Royal Duchy Hotel in Falmouth. We were very pleased to have been invited to Falmouth actually, as my Dad and step-mum moved there last year, plus my step-sister and her family live down there, so we could get to hang out with them for a bit, which is always nice. I have a rather adorable two year old niece down there, who is just about the sweetest thing you’ve ever seen, so most of our hanging out time was really just me gazing at her.

Anyway, the hotel.

Safe to say it was FANCY with a capital FAN.

It felt like a cross between one of those classic seafront hotels, with the big picture windows overlooking the sea, and a luxury city hotel, with sleek furnishing and top notch finishes. But the right bits of both. The communal areas were cosy and friendly, and the service was impeccable. The staff made a real effort to chat and to make sure you had everything you needed, and we spotted quite a few older people dining on their own in the evening. I always think that if you have regulars who are happy to come back again and again, on their own, then that says a lot about the quality of the service.

First things first though, we went up to our room and I did a little tour. I have to remember to take photos and make my videos as soon as we arrive at a hotel, as we are so messy when we’re away – within about five minutes it looks like six suitcases have exploded in the room, and that’s not aspirational for anyone.

I made fiancé wait outside in the corridor, hid our bags in the wardrobe, and made this for you:

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Come into my house at any point and you can normally have a good guess at what time of the year it is based on how many boxes of books from The Book People I have under my bed:

  • 0 boxes = January – June
  • 1 box = July – September
  • 3 boxes = October – November
  • 47 boxes = December

It’s approximate, but fairly accurate.

If you’ve never shopped with the Book People before, let me give you a quick overview – it’s books, but they are really cheap. Not in a bargain basement way either – no knocked off Jordan autobiographies – it’s proper decent books, just at low prices. They’re well known too for their sets of books, which are even better value. Normally I spend around £40 in any transaction, and get what would be over £100 of books.

It’s fair to say then that this is a FLAME GRILLED WHOPPER of a prize. With extra cheese. £100 at The Book People will take you straight to November on my Book People timeline, starting from zero.

There are thousands and thousands of books for sale, but here are a few things to whet your reading appetite:

The ENTIRE Man Booker Prize shortlist is currently available for £30 (RRP £85.94)

Book People competition View Post

I have a reputation in my family for being very hard indeed to buy presents for. Apparently I have this face when I open presents, that looks kind of disappointed, horrified, sad and indifferent, all at the same time. I’m very conscious of doing the face, and so in my efforts not to, I think I just make it worse.

I’ve tried to recreate what happens for you here:

Chirstmas wish list

You can see why people dread buying me presents.

The truth is though that I don’t ever hate any of the presents. (Okay, so maybe sometimes…) Mainly it’s just that I’m not especially bothered about things. I love buying other people presents and watching them open them, but that’s different. The downside of being a grown up is that if there is anything you desperately want during the year, you just buy it for yourself, so Christmas isn’t that whole thing of finally getting the toy you’ve waited all year for.

So, when it comes to Christmas presents, I find it really hard to think of things I really want.

But then the team at Vorwerk asked me to take part in their #AllIWantForChristmas campaign, designed to uncover what is on the ultimate Christmas wishlists of some of the UK’s top parenting and lifestyle bloggers, (that’s me by the way), so I had to think about it. I did say that a robot hoover probably wasn’t going to be on the list, even though they do look very cool, but they said that was okay, they were just interested to see what did make the list.

I decided that I’d come up with a proper fantasy list – all the things that I’d never be able to buy for myself: View Post