Plans for a Fresh New Utility Room

Do you have a Monica from Friends style junk cupboard? We do. It’s also known as our utility room. It’s the place where we put all of the random bits and bobs that don’t have a home.

THE RANDOM STUFF IN OUR UTILITY ROOM

There is a lot of stuff in there, including:

  • One comedy Australian hat, complete with corks
  • A buggy we haven’t used for well over a year
  • Bits of high chair that we will need when we sell the chairs in about ten years
  • Spare car seat covers
  • Bottles of champaign
  • One cool bag
  • One picnic set
  • Lots of Vanish
  • Several cans of spray paint
  • Loads of old shoes
  • A stairgate
  • A pool noodle
  • A camera tripod
  • Loads of pieces of stuff, screws and tools

Here it is, in all it’s glory.

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REVIEW: The Gruffalo at The Lyric Theatre, London

Over the weekend, I took the train to London with Ava and Thea to watch The Gruffalo at the Lyric Theatre*. We’ve taken them to London a few times in the past, but by car, so they were excited to go on the train.

Excited girls at the train station

It was the first time I’d taken them on a train by myself and they were super excited.

I was nervous as Ryan had to work so I was on my own, and the train was incredibly full. I was very thankful for our MyBugle ID bracelets, which have our emergency contact numbers engraved on them. The theatre is about a ten minute walk from Leicester Square tube station, and there’s a buggy park there, so somewhere to store your pram if you need it.

Before THe Show

The girls are big Gruffalo fans, and when they saw the big cut out of the monster himself, they ran straight over for a photo.

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Ideas For Teacher’s Gifts, Starting From £2

The end of the school year is looming, and I’m trying to decide what gifts to get Ava’s amazing teacher and other school staff. Ava adores her teacher, so I want to get her something really special, to show her how much we appreciate her hard work.

Last year, I let Ava run riot with some plain plates and pens, and she did a great job decorating them for her teachers at pre-school. I know they really appreciated the effort she had gone to.

Ava decorating a plate with Sharpie pens

One of my friends, who’s a primary school teacher, told me the best gifts she’s received:

A handmade and handwritten card from the child is always lovely. I’m always partial to wine, or book tokens. The most meaningful thing is when parents write a card with a message of thanks. I’ve kept all of those!

So, thanks to my Proper Post Subscription, I have some lovely cards that I will write myself. I’m always finding little cards and notes from Ava, so I’m sure she will love making one for her wonderful teacher.

I want to get her a gift as well, and here are some goodies I think any teacher would be delighted to receive.

GIFTS FOR THE STATIONERY FAN

In my experience, most teachers love stationery, so a gorgeous desk tidy like this one from Southwood Stores for £20 would useful as well as pretty, and comes in red and grey too.
Blue Desk Tidy from Southwood Stores Continue reading

My Favourite 5 For June: Flamingos, Camping & Colouring

June has been a really busy month for us, with a camping trip over half term, a wedding anniversary, Father’s Day, Blogtacular, and Ava’s Sports Day. With only a few weeks left at school, I am frantically trying to fit in as much work as I can, so I can have the six weeks off with the the girls.

Flamingo Vans

I’ve wanted them for ages, and finally the Asher Flamingo Vans are mine. The only problem is I can barely wear them as I don’t want them to get ruined in this awful incessant rain. Flamingo Vans

Scandia by Zeena Shah

I recently rediscovered my 6th Form yearbook, and the caption by my name is something along the lines of ‘Never happier than when she has a fistful of colouring pencils.’ I did Art, Geography, and English Literature A-Levels, so I did a LOT of colouring in! One of my best friends got me a signed copy of this beautiful adult colouring book, by the delightful Zeena Shah. I treated myself to some new colouring pencils, and just need to find the time to get stuck in now. Scandia, an adult colouring book by Zeena Shah

Half Term Camping

We spent the coldest week that I can remember on the Suffolk coast, in my dad’s camper van (or the Gampavan, as Thea christened it).

Ava and Thea in their bunk beds in the Gampavan

They were so excited about their bunkbeds, but did go to sleep…. eventually, after a ‘goodnight handshake’.

We had a great time overall, but the weather was absolutely dreadful, and that did spoil it a bit for me, I must admit. We stayed at Haw Wood Farm  campsite, and it was brilliant – I’ll review it properly soon but if you’re looking for somewhere to stay with great facilities for kids, near lovely coastal towns, it’s a great place to go. We spent a lot of time on the beach at Southwold and Walberswick, and finally got a sunny day on the last day.

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Simple Home Security Improvements You Can Fit Yourself

There has been a spate of burglaries on our estate over the last few months, and at first, it didn’t really worry me, as we don’t have anything worth stealing, and our home security is good. But then a few things have happened to make me change my mind, and think we ought to get a burglar alarm.

Ryan pointed out that burglars don’t know we don’t have anything of value, though a quick look at our ancient cars would be a tip off! He also quite right said that we wouldn’t ever feel comfortable in our lovely home if someone did break in.

Then I saw a post on Facebook, where a mum was asking for advice on how to help her five year old come to terms with their home being burgled, and it made my blood run cold – I had never considered what effect it would have on the girls if it happened to us. It doesn’t bear thinking about.

So we have been upping our home security.

Our garden overlooks a beautiful field, and though that is the main reason we bought the house (it was really hideous on the inside when we moved in) it is a double edged sword as we are a bit vulnerable with fewer neighbours.

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Mantlepiece with Wedding Picture from Bespoke & Oak Co

REVIEW: A Personalised Wedding Anniversary Frame

It was our wedding anniversary this week: Dr Pink and I have been married for nine years. But in all that time, we have never printed any of our wedding photos, apart from a tiny one in our downstairs loo. I know, how bad is that? So when Bespoke & Oak Co got in touch about reviewing* something from their site, I thought it would be great to order a picture of us, when we looked our best, on our wedding day.

We are not one for big photos of ourselves on our walls, so when I found the Personalised Polaroid Inspired Picture Frame, in classic black and white, with the retro dymo tape caption, I hoped it would be perfect, and I wasn’t disappointed. What do you think?  Wedding Picture from Bespoke & Oak Co with flowers

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A Greetings Cards Subscription to Make Life Easier

Birthday cards. It is just me, or do you end up buying all the cards for every occasion?  I get every single one. I may even be buying my own for our anniversary later this week! I have already bought three Father’s Day cards, for Ryan and both grandparents. I am also default Christmas card purchaser and writer too. I don’t want to be sexist, but I suspect that it’s the girl’s task in most families (do let me know if I’m wrong…)

I actually don’t mind as I love stationery. But it can be hard to keep on top of them all, especially now that the girls are being invited to birthday parties, and we’re getting into wedding season. I’ve recently discovered a rather exciting card subscription service called Proper Post, and I thought you might be ready to have your stationery world rocked  too. This is my first pack – could it be any cuter?

A selection of monochrome and copper stationery and cards that came in my Proper Post stationery subscription pack.

Monochrome and copper stationery: my idea of heaven.

Each month has a different theme, this month is Monochrome and Copper, which if you have seen my latest post about my home office, you will know is right up my street. I’m thinking of sticking the copper triangles along the shelf, what do you think? Continue reading

White shelf with pictures and copper fairy light

The Finishing Touches to my Home Office Shelf

My home office has been a long labour of love. It started life as a junk room when we moved, as we just had so much stuff. Then when I went freelance 18 months ago, I needed to turn it into a workspace. We managed to squeeze two desks into the tiny room, and put up an IKEA picture shelf above the second smaller desk. I’ve been trying out different arrangements of pictures and bits and bobs on the shelf, but it didn’t ever feel quite right. But I think I *might* have cracked it. What do you think?

White desk with white shelf and copper accessories

It’s so lovely to have a space for my sewing machine – I am not sure when I’ll find the time to actually use it though!

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Why We’re Sticking With the LiveLAGOM Sustainable Life

You may have read one of my previous posts about our exciting sustainability project with IKEA and environmental charity Hubbub. We were chosen from around 9,000 families to take part in their #LiveLAGOM project, long with a handful of families from each of IKEA’s UK stores. We were given a budget of £500 to spend on products to make our lives more sustainable.

The project is coming to a close now, so I have been reflecting on the changes we have made and what our next steps will be. You might want to grab a cuppa!Succulent in a coral pot

So to recap, the idea of living LAGOM is not about depriving yourself of the nice things in life. It’s about taking care not to waste resources, and not taking what we don’t need.

LAGOM comes from the Swedish phrase ‘lagom är bäst’ (the right amount is best) which means enjoying what you love, while not taking more than you need.

We have always cared about our environment, and have quite a few energy saving measures in place, which you can read about on my original LiveLAGOM post . We also got an Anglian Water audit of our house to try and save water. But we were keen to do more.

WE HAD Four goals:

  1. Save energy
  2. Make our home office more cosy
  3. Reduce food waste
  4. Get more creative with our recycling

Looking back, I think I may have been a bit optimistic with how much of a difference we could make with £500 worth of stuff, and should probably have narrowed it down to one or two goals. But I am nothing if not enthusiastic! Continue reading

Reading ABC of Animals in London, a completely unpredictable menagerie

BOOK REVIEW: ABC of Animals in London

The Pink family loves books. We simply can’t resist them, and Ava has been a member of the library since she was a couple of months old. We read a minimum of two books to Ava and Thea every night, and often more. But they have their favourites and sometimes Ryan and I get a bit bored of them, to be honest. So when we get a new one, we are as excited as the girls.

We recently received an absolute beauty of a book, called ABC of Animals in London: a completely unpreductable menagerie, by Cristona Guidone-Charles to review*. I love the word menagerie so that was a great start – it’s such a rich word isn’t it, and conjures up lots of images in my mind. And that cover – isn’t it just stunning? I love illustrations of birds, and flamingos in particular (if you type ‘flamingo’ into the search bar, you’ll see a potted history of my obsession…) so I couldn’t wait to get stuck in.ABC of Animals in London, a completely unpredictable menagerie Continue reading