In partnership with On the Beach

A few years ago I was chatting to Bee about something or other, I can’t remember what. I think perhaps I was feeling a bit overworked at the time because I started going into this daydream.

‘Wouldn’t it be lovely,’ I said to Bee, gazing into the distance, ‘to be somewhere really warm right not, where you didn’t have to do anything?’

She looked at me.

‘There would probably be relaxing noises in the background,’ I continued, ‘maybe the noise of the sea? And someone would bring me a cocktail.’

She looked at me again, like I was actually quite stupid.

‘That’s a beach holiday mum,’ she said.

‘A beach holiday?’ I asked.

‘Yes,’ she said, ‘it’s what everyone in the world wants. You’ve not just invented it.’

‘Oh,’ I said, disappointed. I imagined I’d just created a personal paradise that no one had thought of before. Since then ‘beach holidays’ has become a bit of a family saying that we use if someone is stating the obvious. Like if Bee is complaining about work, telling me how what she’d really like is a flexible job that’s well paid, but also creative and worthwhile and good for the environment and what not.

‘Dur,’ I’ll say, ‘beach holidays.’

When On the Beach got in touch then, to ask me if I wanted to write something about our family beach holidays, this was the first thing I thought about. THEN I started picturing all of those happy times we’ve spent on the beach together, enjoying the sand and the sea, relaxing in each other’s company.

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In association with wilko

Belle has changed a lot over the years, particularly the last couple, but one of the things that hasn’t changed is her love of Halloween. I don’t know what it is about it, but she loves it. At the beginning of October she changed her phone background to pumpkins and told me to watch out because it was ‘spooky season’.

Ever since she was small Belle has loved dressing up for Halloween and over the years we’ve hosted Halloween parties, bobbed dozens of apples and even made our own trick or treat balloons. Last year Belle and her friends hosted a Halloween party at school for the younger kids and one year she won a Halloween fancy dress competition at a holiday park we were staying at, dressed as a ‘cereal killer’. She’d collected empty cereal boxes for weeks in advance and was VERY proud of herself. (You can see the costume here.)

Safe to say then, Belle has always loved Halloween.

Halloween at wilko

I make the point to give you an idea of how excited Belle was when wilko got in touch to ask us to have some fun trick or treating with their Halloween range.

Halloween is definitely for all ages and seems to be more and more popular with teenagers particularly, probably thanks to all the gruesome TV shows they watch and the opportunity that Halloween presents to legitimately wear ripped fishnets. Belle has even been invited to Halloween parties this year. Who knew teens loved Halloween so much? View Post

Although it might be controversial, I’ve always considered myself more of a biscuit than a cake kind of girl. Presented with a slice of red velvet I’d be a bit ‘meh’, but give me a packet of chocolate hobnobs and I’m well away.

One of my very favourite biscuits is the bourbon.

The bourbon has so much going for it – it’s chocolatey, but with that slightly salty edge of an Oreo. It has the crunchy biscuit texture, but a creamy middle, and it’s a sandwich biscuit, so basically two biscuits disguised as one. If you’re prepared to be a bit disgusting, split your bourbon and noisily lick the cream then you can make a bourbon last a long time.

homemade bourbon biscuits

Now you’re probably looking at that picture and thinking ‘hang on a minute, those kind of LOOK like bourbons, but also they don’t? What’s going on?’

Well, I MADE THEM. I know. Get me. View Post

Last night I tweeted about how I had just washed down a multivitamin with a gin and tonic. I was pretty proud of myself for achieving such balance in my life. Very zen.

Legend of the Lost replied saying that it counted as a lifestyle cocktail.

‘A lifestyle cocktail??,’ I said. ‘Did you just make that up? Please tell me it’s not a real thing. (If it is I’m doing a blog post about it.)’

‘Just made it up,’ he replied, ‘I own it! But you may borrow it. Because you’re my favourite.’

So I am. Right now.

Here are six lifestyle cocktails I came up with that are basically guilt-free because they are just so goddamn good for you.

Cheers!

Vodka and Berocca

This was a suggestion from Nathan Dennis and it seems totally legit to me. No messing about – right to the good stuff. The only trouble is coming up with a name for it. I was trying to think of something that merged the names, Brangelina style, but all I could think of was The Verruca. I’m not sure it will catch on, except in swimming pools.

I’m picturing it a bit like this, but with bits of crumbled Berocca on the rim of the glass?

lifestyle cocktails

Photo by lindsay Cotter on Unsplash

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I’ve only been to visit Edinburgh once, to stay with friends, but I really loved my trip there and I’d definitely want to go back. Edinburgh is supposed to be amazing at Christmas but any kind of trip around that time is usually overshadowed by visiting my sister’s family for actual Christmas, in Dublin. We did talk this year about going somewhere in the UK but decided against it so maybe Edinburgh Christmas 2019 will be a thing. And then Cardiff 2020. Etc etc.

If I WAS planning a cool trip to Edinburgh, I’d definitely fill it with loads of unusual stuff to do. I’ve never really thought of Scotland as being the most hipster of locations but in the capital, there are lots of unusual, cool and Instagrammable things to do. If you’re looking for somewhere lovely to stay while you’re there, why not give serviced apartments a go? Staying in serviced apartments in Edinburgh gives you lots of flexibility, plus everything you need to make you feel right at home after a fun day of exploring the city.

So, as the kids say on YouTube, let’s dive right into it.

fun things to do in Edinburgh View Post

There comes a point in your life when you start to get excited when you see NEW things happening. A few months ago for example my neighbours opposite me had a new boiler installed, and I spent quite a lot of time at the kitchen window casually making a cup of tea or washing up or just sort of standing.

‘They’re bringing out the old boiler now,’ I’d shout into Belle in the living room.

She would answer me with silence because she is 16 and hasn’t reached the age yet where she cares about anything boring.

I’ve had a similar sense of excitement over the last couple of months every time I have driven through Taunton and seen work progressing on the new Hubbox restaurant. The space that it’s taken over has been empty for a long time, (I knew it as Wimpy, which I think says a lot), and it’s in a pretty prominent location, so it’s lovely to see it coming back to life.

We went along to their launch night a couple of weeks ago and were blown away by the size and the scale of the restaurant. They’ve knocked through into what was also the shop next door to Wimpy, so there’s masses of space downstairs and a first floor too, which has a slightly more casual vibe, with some comfy looking sofas and armchairs that would be ideal for day time coffees and sandwiches.

(My friend Paul did a little tour video on the opening night, in which I wave, so if you want a proper look inside then that’s worth a watch.) View Post