Kitchen Makeover

We’ve been living in our house four and a half years now and all the while, living with a kitchen which I hated. With so many things to change though, we knew it would be a while off before doing anything as it would have to be gutted and replastered. Our conservatory runs off the kitchen, but even with this much sunlight, the room always felt cold. With black floor tiles, blue wall tiles and a navy worktop (?!) it was a far cry from my dream kitchen. I’d searched on Pinterest for a long time to get ideas on how to change it but never bothered, thinking I hated the cupboards so much, nothing could salvage it. That changed a few months back when I decided to try and paint the wall tiles to brighten the room a bit. What a difference! I used Wilko tile paint, making sure to scrub the tiles with sugar soap first. Once they were completely dry, I used a gloss roller and was really shocked as how easy it went on (it’s quite gloopy). Two coats later and I was feeling pretty pleased with myself.While this was a huge improvement, the worktops were still the awful faded navy and the room really craved some warmth. I toyed with what colour to paint the walls and settled for a dark grey (also from Wilko’s own range). This made the cupboards seem whiter and cleaner straight away.I read lots online about using sticky back plastic for worktops and was really dubious. I didn’t think it would look convincing at all but at £5 a roll, I figured why not? The only why I was asking later was ‘why haven’t I done this sooner?!’. This stuff is amazing! I used a wood effect from D C Fix and the results speak for themselves. Again, I scrubbed the counters down with sugar soap, waited until bone dry and then using the application pack, started sticking it on. If you mess up, you can just peel it off and start again. The whole kitchen took me 3 evenings and cost a total of £25! Here are my top tips for trying either of the above updates:

1. Be careful of paint drips on the tiles. Go back over where you’ve painted a few minutes later and brush over any runs in the paint.

2. If you’re using masking tape around any edges, use a Stanley knife to cut it away from the paint before peeling away, otherwise you risk peeling the paint off too. 

3. The smell will go. It’s very strong so I’d suggest ventilating the room as often as possible. You’ll definitely think you’re going to smell paint for the rest of your life but trust me, it does fade and eventually disappear. 

4. Have patience with the sticky back plastic. There was an area of our kitchen that I did towards the end and I swear, if I’d started there I’d have never done the whole thing. Just stick with it and gently pull away if you make a mistake.

5. Don’t worry about any little mistakes. I had a meltdown over that piece towards the end when I big crease formed in the middle. I tried a few times and eventually started with a new piece of the roll and the same thing happened; maybe I just have dodgy worktops? But after admittting defeat and just going with it, I popped a chopping board over it. 

6. Nobody is going to scrutinise your counters, even if you do. When someone walks into your kitchen, they’re taking in the whole thing. Once you’ve got some accessories in there, you won’t notice any little marks or bumps that just wouldnt go. 

7. If you hate your worktops as much as I did, it’s absolutely worth a try for just £5 a roll. 

I added a few new accessories in here and now I absolutely love this room. The cupboards don’t bother me anymore and while there are still things I would change eventually, it’s now a cosy room that I’m happy to sit in long after dinner has finished.I’d love to know what you think or if you’re thinking of giving it a go yourself. 

Emma  x

Bedtime Stories

I grew up with a real love of reading and I hope Daisy does too. There’s something so comforting about curling up with a good book. I try to make sure Daisy ‘reads’ everyday, which normally happens before bedtime. She loves her books and will quite happily sit there flicking through one after another. We always read to her when she goes to bed and while I love this time with her, it always helps when the book you’re reading is enjoyable for you too.My absolute favourite author ever, is Roald Dahl. Even now, if I’m not sure what to read I can always rely on one of his stories. It may seem childish, but the dark humour and wit of his books are fantastic and I don’t know how anyone could not enjoy the likes of Matilda, The BFG or my personal favourite, The Twits. Daisy has my copy of The BFG, Matilda and George’s Marvellous Medicine (although it’s on a shelf away from toddler hands at the moment) and I’d love to pass it down to her children someday.My lovely brother bought Daisy the Dr Seuss collection for Christmas and it’s become one of our bedtime staples. We read these regularly and I can’t wait for Daisy to be old enough to laugh at some of the mind boggling stories in there; Scrambled Eggs Super anyone?!Beatrix Potter. Ah Beatrix Potter. Again, I read these growing up and whilst not funny and sometimes a little sad, they are beautifully illustrated and so well written.  I also love this collection as it was one of the first things I bought after finding out I was pregnant. So practical, I know!I picked these gorgeous books up in TKMaxx a while back, but are available here. Giving variations on the classic fairytales and written in rhyme, these are enjoyable for the reader as well as your little one. Daisy particularly likes The Princess and the Peas; spoiler, princesses are supposedly allergic to peas!Lastly, another Roald Dahl, but I couldn’t miss out my absolute favourite book ever. Similar to the previous books, Revolting Rhymes put a twist on some of the classic fairytales, but in ways you’d never expect. Did you ever think you’d read “Her head went crashing to the ground, It bounced a bit and rolled around” in Cinderella? Or “The small girl smiles. One eyelid flickers. She whips a pistol from her knickers” in Little Red Riding Hood? Genius!Any of these amazing books make bedtime much less of a chore and I’m always on the hunt for some fun new tales. I’d love to hear any recommendations.

Emma  x

Wedding Day Plan

If you’ve had a read of my post about our wedding plans, you’ll know that we’re having more of a wedding weekend. You can read a bit more about it here. For our actual wedding day, we wanted a late ceremony, followed by an evening party with our loved ones. We are getting married at Cyfarthfa Castle, a local museum and art gallery set in 160 acres of beautiful park land. It’s the park we take Daisy to regularly and both Jon and I went to the castle for the first two years of secondary school. Following the ceremony, we’ll have photos in the park grounds and then head to The Guest Keen Club for our party.cyfarthfa-castle-1536We haven’t got a particular colour theme, so everything is going to be quite neutral; lots of whites, wood and floral touches with a few metallic pops for a party feel. We’ve been picking up bits and pieces over the past few months, and our venue have a great selection to use. Lots of the decorations are things that we can keep and use around the house too. These were some fab finds from Ginger Ray.For our music, I’ll be walking down the aisle to A Gift of Thistle by James Horner. It’s from the movie Braveheart and is the most beautiful piece of music. I’m listening to it all the time so I can desensitize a little; I’ll be a blubbering mess otherwise! We’re walking back up the aisle to Signed, Sealed, Delivered by Stevie Wonder, which ties in nicely with the Motown/Soul playlist I’ve been working on for our reception. These will all be playing for the canapes and toasts.Wedding Playlist.A five tiered wedding cake really wasn’t what we wanted and the idea of carting around leftover cake for weeks wasn’t appealing to us, cue Krispy Kreme. Instead of a traditional wedding cake, we’re going to have Original Glazed Krispy Kreme donuts for our guests to help themselves to. We’ve got some little paper bags for people to take them away, but I’m pretty sure they’ll all be devoured on the night!

*Images from Pinterest

I designed and printed the invitations myself using this beautiful graphics pack from By Lef. I love how they came out and that I could add little extras to personalise them. The ‘Love according to children’ cards will also be displayed at the wedding. I’m also going to create some signs and thank you cards using the same template.We’ve still got a bit of planning left to do, but for the most part everything is sorted. After being engaged for almost nine years and having a Pinterest ‘Wedding’ board for over five years, you kinda get an idea of what your day will be like, so we’ve been really relaxed about the whole thing. It’s getting pretty close now though, so we better get ourselves in gear and finish the final preparations.

Emma  x

 

 

 

Fruit Picking and Pancakes

So considering it’s summer, I’m sat here with all the candles lit, warm pjs on and thick socks. I’m feeling very cosy, but that may also have something to do with the lovely weekend we’ve had and a belly full of pancakes. 

Yesterday, the forecast was pretty good for the morning so we headed out to Hendrewennol Fruit Farm. It’s only a 30 minute drive for us and is great for little and big people alike. You can pick strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, red currants and blackberries during summer and we’ll be going back for pumpkins later in the year. They’ve had lots of visitors and strawberries were running low when we arrived, so we headed straight for Daisy’s favourites…blueberries. With basket in hand, she ran off to fill her boots (or punnet!). After we’d picked what we wanted, we headed to their cafe for some gorgeous homemade ice cream and a sit in the sun.Today’s forecast was not so good, so we made use of our delicious fresh fruit and made American style pancakes, with bacon and berries. YUM. YUM. We loosely follow this BBC Food recipe and it’s a great base for lots of tasty toppings. For the sauce, we just brought the berries to the boil, with some caster sugar and a splash of vanilla extract. Stirring well and crushing the berries up gives you a lovely, thick sauce to drizzle over your fresh pancakes. It was brilliant to see Daisy picking her own blueberries and then using them in the kitchen at home. I’m sure she’ll love doing this more and more as she gets older. A definite staple to the summer bucket list. 

Emma  x

Weekend Breakfasts

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I’m a major lover of a weekend breakfast. I don’t have breakfast through the week and work Monday to Friday too, so weekends are a real treat in our house, even more so if Jon is off. img_9236I love sitting around the table for meals and think it’s a really important part of family life. No distractions, just each other. I think that’s why weekend breakfasts are my favourite time to sit around the table; we rarely have to race off anywhere, most of the time Jon will be home and who doesn’t love breakfast?img_9237I always set the table nicely (I have a real problem with serve wear / table wear / pointless pretty utensils etc), turn the Motown music up high and we usually have a dance around the kitchen while whatever we’re having is cooking. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy and is normally store bought frozen pastries that you pop in the oven – I do make a pretty mean American pancake though!img_8818This is one of my favourite things to do as a family and I honestly get excited mid week knowing we have nowhere to go, nothing to do, just plenty of good food and smiles. Here are a few of the breakfast set ups we’ve had over the last few months, each as good as the one before. img_9898img_7807img_8668.jpgimg_8712img_8556I hope this gives you a little inspiration to have a tasty weekend breakfast of your own.

Emma  x

Key Lime Pie

Ok, so this isn’t a real Key lime pie, as I didn’t have Key limes, just regular Tesco ones. Also, my tart tin was too big so it was a bit on the skinny side, but Lime Frisbee just doesn’t sound as appealing! Nonetheless, Daisy and I (mostly me!) made it work in true Masterchef style, and turned it into a ‘deconstructed’ version instead; John and Greg love a deconstructed dessert don’t they?!

This was easy to make, fun for a toddler to get involved and SUPER tasty! That’s all that matters right? Daisy’s favourite part was crushing the digestives with a rolling pin and obviously eating the finished result. Here she is making sure our ingredients were top notch! This is a fab dessert to make the day before needed as it chills overnight (or a minimum of 3 hours) and you can add the cream just before serving. 

Recipe

  • 300g digestive biscuits
  • 150g melted butter
  • 1 x 397g tin of condensed milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • zest and juice of 4 limes
  • 300ml double cream
  • 1tbsp icing sugar
  • a little extra zest for decoration 
  1. Heat your oven to 160C and then crush your digestives in a sealed bag; we used a rolling pin.
  2. Mix the melted butter in and then press into your tin. Mine was 25cm but a little smaller works fine too as we’ll be crumbling it up anyway.
  3. Bake for 10 minutes and then leave to cool.
  4. Put the eggs in a mixing bowl and whisk thoroughly for a minute. Add your condensed milk and whisk again and then finally add the lime juice and zest, whisking for a final 5 minutes to make sure the mixture is lovely and thick. It’ll be smelling AMAZING now too! 
  5. Pour this into your base and bake for a further 15 minutes. Once out of the oven, chill for at least 3 hours.
  6. When you’re ready to serve, break into chunks and pop into your serving bowls. 
  7. Whisk your double cream until stiff and dollop on top. Grate a little zest and dive right in. 


Let me know if you give this recipe a go! 

Emma  x

My Bedtime Routine

I’d love to be one those people, who are able to fall asleep as soon as their head hits the pillow. Jon is like this and I often find myself lying there, silently turning green with envy. Even after the longest of days, I still find it difficult to nod off. Ironically, the best sleep I ever had was when I was pregnant. Granted the numerous nightly bathroom trips and feeling like you’re shifting a wardrobe towards the end didn’t mean it was consistent, but for the most part it was fantastic.

That all ended after having Daisy and if you’re a mama, you’ll know that sleep goes out the window for a little while. With lie ins a thing of the past, I try to stick to a relaxing bedtime routine, that helps me fall asleep quicker.img_9937I’m a huge fan of cosy interiors and our bedroom is no exception. We always have a few cushions on the bed and at least one throw (I have a problem!). With a few different textures and layers, this makes for the perfect spot to curl up in. I like to light a scented candle upstairs while Daisy is bathing (usually lavender), so that everything smells cosy and inviting when it comes to bed time. This one smells gorgeous and was a Primark bargain!img_9938I always make sure to remove my makeup at the end of the day, as my skin has always been prone to flare ups and acne. I’m using the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water at the moment and can honestly say, my face feels cleaner than ever. I vary my night cream between a Lidl one I currently have or the Homebargains version of Bio Oil. I don’t use the oil every day, but it really helps to heal any breakouts I get and has improved previous acne scars.img_9943I’ve recently been using this works deep sleep pillow spray and it really makes a difference to my sleep. You only need a few spritzes on your pillow or duvet and it smells amazing. I’m not sure whether it’s an association thing, but as soon as I smell it now, it relaxes me and makes me feel all cosy and sleepy. I highly recommend this if you have trouble switching off before bed.img_9942I’ll normally have a read to unwind, but if I’m still quite awake I listen to a short mindfulness meditation. There are lots of free apps available and I’ve tried a few, but my favourite is Breathe. There’s a two minute sleep meditation which really helps to clear your mind and relax your body. Once I’ve listed to this, I feel super chilled and drowsy and I’m able to drift off much easier.img_9939What do you do to help you get a better sleep?

Emma  x

 

 

Hen Party Bags

Hi, my name is Emma and I’m a bit of a control freak. My two beautiful best friends are my bridesmaids, but I planned my hen party. Not because I don’t trust them, but because I just enjoy doing this kind of thing and admittedly, like to be in control of what’s going on. I didn’t have much say in ‘Derek the Dick’ mind, a 90cm inflatable penis, who absolutely made the weekend.I wanted to keep it relatively small, so there were twelve of us in total; just my close friends and family. We had a day/night out in Cardiff, which is just half an hour away from where we live. Lots of drinking, dancing, food and even a bit of karaoke.

As soon as I saw the ‘Team Bride‘ range over at Ginger Ray, I knew I had to get some of their stuff. Blush pink and rose gold? What’s not to love? I’ve got a few of their decorations for our wedding and everything is so pretty and well made. I’d really recommend checking them out!After settling on the sashes and glasses from Ginger Ray, I made some little hen party bags for all the ladies, with a few essentials and some fun bits and pieces. We had some of the trashy hen party stuff  (it’s not a hen party without a willy straw) and then used the sashes and glasses for a prettier look in the evening – although ‘Derek’ did bring our ‘classiness’ down a fair bit! Haha!Here’s what I included in everyone’s bags:

  • Team Bride Sash
  • Team Bride Glasses
  • Shot Glass Necklace
  • Willy Straw
  • Tiara
  • Team Bride Temporary Tattoo
  • Chewing Gum
  • Plasters
  • Bobble
  • Paracetamol
  • Water
  • Printable list of contents

Everyone also had four of the little cocktail cans and a strawberries and cream shot. Ugh! I’m reliving it now! We had such a good time and I’m still suffering now; this could definitely be the dreaded three day hangover. The sign of a good night eh?

Emma  x

 

 

June Favourites

How fast did June go by? I don’t know whether it’s because we had a holiday, but this month has gone past in a flash; albeit a very happy, smile filled flash! Here are a few things that have been putting said smile on my face throughout June.Peonies. Ah peonies… I so wish you could pick these beauties up all year round. They are so pretty, smell amazing and brighten up the house no end. I’ve had a few bunches this month, but finding them for £3 in Aldi and £2.40 in Asda with a big ‘whoops’ sticker on them, made them even better! I’m keeping the smell alive with my The Library of Fragrance Peony Cologne though.img_9479Okay, so I bought this in May but only found a home for it in June. This print is absolutely gorgeous! It’s from The Hidden Pearl Studio and is hand painted by the very talented Charlie. I could never pick a favorite season and love them all for different reasons, so this print was perfect for me. Charlie has a lovely range of handmade cards and prints, and I know I’ll be visiting her online shop in future.img_9106I’ve been researching music for our upcoming wedding and creating playlists for different parts of the weekend. You can read a bit more about our wedding plans here. We thought it would be nice to have some Motown hits for when our guests arrive at the venue after the ceremony (who doesn’t love a bit of Motown). I started creating a playlist and found so many amazing songs that I’d either never heard or didn’t know who sung them. We’ve expanded the playlist to include some more modern soul music too now. My favourite find is Leon Bridges. How had I never heard his stuff before?! We’ve had his album on repeat and know we’ve love it for years to come.A bit of beauty now and this new moisturiser from L’Oreal is AMAZING! It’s the Hydra Genius Aloe Water and I highly recommend it. My skin can get oily with some moisturisers and I end up looking more ‘Sweaty Betty’ than ‘Dreamy Dewy’. You only need one pump, it absorbs instantly and leaves your skin feeling smooth and refreshed; no greasy skin!img_9924Last but certainly not least, these blush pink, embroidered shoes of dreams. As Carrie Bradshaw would say, hello lover! I treated myself to these for my hen do this weekend and cannot wait to wear them. The detail on them is stunning and they’re super comfy too. I’ll be wearing these all through summer, autumn and even winter paired with some cosy knit tights.img_9923

Emma  x

 

Toddler Girl Summer Wardrobe

Why is my daughter’s wardrobe better than mine? Like, seriously?! Not. Fair. I’m always wishing I could get her stuff in my size, although I don’t think I could rock a matching bonnet and bloomer set, quite the way Daisy does. Here are some of my favourite picks from Daisy’s summer wardrobe.

Blue & White Candy Stripe Set

We’ve been following the lovely Chantal over at Bows and Bespoke for a long time now and have had a few outfits from her, but this is up there with my favourites. I love Daisy in blue and when these were posted on Instagram, I knew we had to have one. This is perfect for summer and any warm holidays you’ve got coming up and comes in a couple of other colours too. The top is really floaty making sure Daisy stays nice and cool and the elasticated neck and arms mean it’s a great fit. It just reminds me of deck chairs and sandy fish and chip picnics.Chambray Playsuit

I had one these style playsuits for Daisy last year and it was a god send, so when I saw this chambray one I was a very happy bunny. These are brilliant for really hot days and they allow plenty of air in as they so loose. We took this on holiday recently and used it for back and forth the pool; ideal for wriggling, damp, sun-creamed toddlers!Gingham Leggings

Ah gingham… I LOVE gingham. If I didn’t rein myself in a little, my life would look like one giant picnic. These leggings are what gingham dreams are made of… toddler sized with ruffles. Just add a messy top knot and Daisy looks like she should be going to Woodstock.

Yellow and Cream Dress

This pretty yellow and cream stripe dress will take Daisy through summer and into autumn nicely. A cosy cardigan and some knit tights will warm this little dress up, ready for crunchy leaves and hot chocolates. Meanwhile, it’s perfect for summer barbecues and walks along the pier with an ice-cream.Apple Bonnet and Bloomers

Lastly, another beauty from Bows and Bespoke. These were a custom order I requested, but all of Chantal’s fabrics are stunning and she’s always so helpful. The bonnet is so pretty and excellent for toddler’s who don’t keep their hat on. I love this apple print and this will also be lovely when the weather gets a bit cooler again. I’m thinking some oatmeal knit tights and tan boots. Perfect.

 

Emma  x