Is it Good Enough?

So this past weekend, our living room was featured in a Welsh newspaper for the ‘Favourite Room’ article. A few weeks back, my sister in law tagged me in a Facebook status from a journalist, who was looking for ‘nice houses’. I didn’t want to leave her hanging, so messaged her and the first thing I said was ‘I don’t know if my house is good enough…’.

Granted, there are lots of things I would change about our house, but why I felt the need to immediately put it down is beyond me. As it happened, Katie liked the room and as long as I was happy to feature it, we were good to go. In the lead up to a photographer coming round, I had daily episodes of just staring around the room, trying to think of quick fixes for it. With no time to decorate (something I was adamant it needed), I left the room as it was and hoped for the best.If was featured in Saturday’s paper and I was so pleased with it. The room looked lovely and the ‘interview’ came across not as bad I was thinking it did – I can waffle on another level! More importantly, it made me appreciate what a nice home we have. Yes there are scuffs and marks on the walls, the door frames have been battered with toys and there is a questionable stain on the rug that just won’t come out, but when we sit down in there as a family, it’s exactly what it says on the tin; a living room.We play games, watch tv, read bedtime stories, have pizza parties, dance parties, sing-as-loud-as-you-can parties. It’s where we watched Daisy take her first steps, where she and I have slept when she’s unwell and where we’ve belly laughed at all her funny little ways. It doesn’t matter how big your house is, how expensive it was or what you have in it; as long as it’s filled with love, it will always be good enough.

Emma  x

Our Wedding Day

So it’s a little over a month on from our wedding and it already feels more like a year ago. When people say it goes by in a flash, they weren’t lying! It really was perfect in every way and we managed to achieve exactly the kind of wedding we wanted. You can read about our wedding plans here.

We got married at 3pm in a local castle, and then on to our reception venue. It was really relaxed with a brilliant party atmosphere and plenty of love and laughter. I think that’s the beauty of modern weddings; you don’t have to stick to ‘rules’ anymore. I stayed at home with Jon and Daisy the night before the wedding, we didn’t have a wedding breakfast; just canapes and a buffet and nobody was made to make a speech if they didn’t want to.

One of my favourite things about the day was how personal it was. The wedding venue is somewhere we visit on a regular basis with Daisy, and both Jon and I went to school in the castle before they moved it. Our florist was a family friend and gifted us our flowers (which were amazing!). We both went in our father’s cars and my uncle drove my Dad and I to the castle. My brother’s were even the best men and I think it really shows in the photos how close of a family we are.

When we received the photos and were looking through them with my parents, my father commented how nice it is to see such beautiful photos with everyone we love in them. Aside from being married, that’s the absolute best thing about the day; celebrating love with your loved ones.

Thanks

Emma  x

Sources linked below.

E & J (5)E & J (4)E & J (9)E & J (19)E & J (22)E & J (173)E & J (183)E & J (186)E & J (195)E & J (196)E & J (38)E & J (46)E & J (50)E & J (80)E & J (90)E & J (95)E & J (98)E & J (212)E & J (213)E & J (229)E & J (101)E & J (102)E & J (105)E & J (107)E & J (109)E & J (110)E & J (117)E & J (120)E & J (291)E & J (290)E & J (238)E & J (244)E & J (267)E & J (271)E & J (278)E & J (295)E & J (309)E & J (144)E & J (145)E & J (332)E & J (317)E & J (198)

Wedding Dress & Veil – Perfection Bridal Cardiff

Suits – Slaters

Bridal Tiara – Debenhams (Jon Richard)

Bridesmaid Dresses – Marks and Spencer

Flower Girl Dress – Trina’s Aberdare

Flower Girl Tiara & Shoes – Monsoon

Flowers – Suzanne’s Florist

Make Up – Leanne Warren Hester

Hair – Iconic

Photography – SpringBoxPhotograhy

Ceremony Venue – Cyfarthfa Castle

Reception Venue – The Guest Keen

Wedding Cake – Costco (with Marks and Spencer chocolates & macaroons)

Cake Topper – eBay

Donuts – Krispy Kreme

Donut Stand – Homemade

 

 

 

 

France September 2017

After going to France in June for Daisy’s first holiday abroad, we knew we wanted to do something similar after the wedding. All the planning and hectic rushing around leading up to it made me feel a little guilty for not being able to spend more time with her, so a Eurocamp holiday was perfect. In June, we went over towards Brittany (you can read about it here) so we thought we’d try a bit further over this time, staying at La Croix du Vieux Pont.img_1256The site itself is fantastic for children and is one of Eurocamp’s ‘Mini Paradise’ sites, meaning it’s perfect for toddlers too. We had one of these wagons from the reps on site for the week, which was brilliant for walking around as Daisy isn’t a fan of her pram (but still gets tired legs and insists on bringing all her ‘gang’ with her). There are three lakes, an indoor/outdoor pool complex, soft play, a bouncy castle, pedalos, horse riding, go karting and much more, but the best thing about these holidays for us is the freedom it gives children.img_1355img_1408img_1412img_1360The site is also an excellent location for day trips, with lots of places to visit in the area. We visited Château de Pierrefonds, a 14th century castle set in beautiful grounds, a few local towns and Disneyland Paris. Jon did all the driving and found it really easy, even saying that the roads in France were nicer to drive than in Britain.img_1263img_1352It was the perfect place to go to relax and make memories on our first trip as the Lewis family and we’re already planning our 2018 holiday over there too. If you’ve ever thought about doing these kind of holidays but aren’t sure, or you just want to have a look at our adventures, follow the link below to see a highlight video we’ll be watching for years to come.img_1416

Highlights of France, September 2017

Emma  x

 

Autumn Bucket List

I struggle picking a favourite season, but there are a few things about autumn (or fall) that I absolutely love. I can’t settle down in the evening without a few candles and a blanket, I love the warm colours of fallen leaves and cinnamon just gets me. Not to mention it’s the run up to Christmas and… this girl loves Christmas!

We’re often caught short in finding something to do on a day off, especially when the weather is unpredictable and plans have to be changed last minute. With that in mind, I thought that I’d create a printable bucket list, with some fun activities to make the most of the season and ensure we’ve always got something planned.Autumn Bucket ListAutumn Bucket List1Autumn Bucket List2I put three frames up on the wall in the hallway, so we can tick each thing off with a dry erase pen when we’ve done it and it’s always visible. There’s a mixture of day trips, food, movies, crafts and all round family fun. Lots of the activities cost little or nothing at all but will still secure just as many memories as a potentially pricey day out.img_1106I’d love to know what your plans are for autumn and what you’ll be adding to your bucket list. If you’d like to print ours off, you can download them for free below.

Autumn Bucket List Printable 1

Autumn Bucket List Printable 2

Autumn Bucket List Printable 3

Emma  x

 

July & August Favourites

So with wedding planning in full swing, I didn’t manage to get my July favourites posted (face palm) so I’m doubling up this time.

First off is this Jo Malone Room Spray in Pomegranate Noir. A few weeks back, the Jo Malone website had a ‘Just Because’ game running, where you could win a free gift with any purchase. I treated myself to a new perfume for the wedding and this was my free gift! Ordinarily, I would struggle to pay £44 for a room spray, but I can see the fuss over these. I keep it in our bedroom and one spritz manages to make the entire upstairs smell incredible.We had a lovely day out at Hendrewennol Fruit Picking Farm at the beginning of August and it’s definitely going to be a day trip staple. I wrote a post about it here if you’d like a read. It was such a fab day out for children and we made pancakes with berry sauce out of our pickings too. If you’re local to the area, I’d highly recommend it.img_0731Something for my fellow blondies now. I’m forever trying to rid my hair of any brassiness and have tried lots of different purple shampoos and treatments. The Charles Worthington Colour Enhancer Ultra Violet Shampoo is absolutely the purple shampoo I’ve ever used. After one wash it made a massive difference and I now use it once a week, just to keep my colour in check. It does leave your skin with a tinge of death-like colour, but it washes off easily with a good scrub and it’s totally worth it for the results.For my hen party back in July I knew I wanted a white/cream dress for the evening but really struggled finding something I liked. I wanted a floaty boho number but they were all a little too casual or way out of my price range. I spotted this maternity dress and thought I’d chance it. Best, decision, ever! It’s from the Rochelle Humes range on Very and is completely stunning. Well designed for pregnancy and breastfeeding, it’s fantastic for before and (long) after baby. There wasn’t any excess bump material so it hung straight down and you’d never have guessed it was a maternity piece. I’m even planning on wearing it for our garden party after the wedding in September (cross your fingers for good weather!).A few weeks back, the lovely Erica Davies posted on her Instagram something that her son had said to her when he was learning about bees in school. I’m always looking for nice quotes to make prints for around the house and as soon as I read it I made this little print. I sent one over to Erica too and you can download it here if you’d like.Bee1Just in time for autumn, I’ve got Candice Brown’s gorgeous book, Comfort. It’s jam packed with the most delicious recipes and is honestly worth it just for the images alone. I loved everything Candice made on last years Great British Bake Off which she went on to win; and deservedly so. I can’t wait to get stuck into this and am particularly looking forward to making Peanut Butter and Marshmallow Blondies… and Cherry Amaretto Bakewell Tart…. oh and Stilton Twisted Straws….. okay, they’re all incredible and I don’t know where to start! A must for anyone looking for some scrumptious comfort food.Lastly, I had our holiday photos printed out with LALALAB a couple of weeks ago and I couldn’t love them more. I love polaroid style photos and being able to add text to these was brilliant too. I’ll be getting these prints regularly for any trips or holidays we have in future.img_1016I’d love to know if you’ve tried and liked any of the above; let me know in the comments.

Emma  x

 

 

 

 

 

 

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