Triple Temptation: Brown Leather Tote

Now Bea is getting bigger and with the majority of our trips being local, I tend to just grab a nappy, some wipes, a bib and some snacks. So for the first time in a long time, this Autumn I’m not just thinking about clothes, but a new bag that’s not the changing bag.

Reversible vegan leather tote – Urban Outfitters // Zip Transport Tote – Madewell // Brown leather tote- Etsy

In the past, I’ve always favoured medium sized bags, big enough to look stylish but without the weight or size of a bigger bag. This season, I’m thinking about oversized totes, both for practicality and the slouchy style that suits the way I’m dressing right now. It also happens to coincide with the first time I’ve looked at a bag that is brown in years, but it just seems so right as the weather gets cooler paired with berry shades and rich navy, plus mixing leather colours feels very on trend right now.

Have you got a favourite readers? Seen anything similar I should check out?


Big Kitchen // Little Kitchen

If you follow me on Instagram (you can here,) you might have seen my post this sunday sharing the Ikea Hack Pete did (I take no credit for the labour but it was totally *my* ahem, Pinterest’s) idea. ;) Now it gets more attention than the actual kitchen does when people come to the house.

I thought this kind of thing was pretty commonplace but guess thats what you get from being a Pinterest addict as many of you asked me to share it… so here’s what we did to make Bea’s mini-kitchen.

It was pretty straight forward. Our kitchen cupboards are painted and we had some of the paint left over so they got a coat of undercoat and then 2 coats of Farrow and Ball’s Dove Tale grey. You can buy the Ikea Duktig play kitchen for £45

We have marble worktops so I found a marble effect adhesive vinyl (basically sticky backed plastic) they we used to cover the worktop, folding it around the edges and cutting in to make it smooth round the corners and under the sink and hob.

We sprayed painted the handles and tap gold (Wilko’s is my favourite for the best gold tone.) I always wanted gold hardware in our kitchen but it didn’t quite happen so I thought why not for Bea?! We are thinking about sourcing some knobs to add to the front of the kitchen above the door with the window to make an ‘oven’ for her but I haven’t got around to it yet.

Of course you could do anything with your IKEA kitchen, and this doesn’t have the upper part that you buy separately – Bea is as yet not tall enough to reach it so we though we would save it for a future birthday ;) . I’ve seen these kitchens done in vintage style with pink cupboards and frilly gingham curtains, or putting a wood effect vinyl on (or real wood top) and adding some metro tiles to the backsplash would be awesome as a country style kitchen.

I hope it has inspired you – it was so quick and easy, and dare I say, although Bea probably doesn’t appreciate it yet, I love that it looks great in our kitchen!


PS! more inspiration here

Beauty Box: Diorshow Mascara

For quite some time now I have been a devotee of Bobbi Browns Extreme Party mascara but I have been steadily getting more irritated that it really doesn’t last. The tubes always seem to run out (or dry out – I’m not sure which) in less than 6 months, and whilst I know it’s recommended to change your mascara regularly for hygiene reasons, well, I ahem, don’t.

I happened across a free sample of the Diorshow Mascara recently however and have become a convert. Perhaps I should say I resurrected my devotion to it as I’m sure I have in years past used this particular mascara, along with YSL. I am a bit fussy when it comes to mascara. I like a super fat brush and a formula that doesn’t put big blobs of mascara on the lashes, particularly at the corners. Strong fragrances also put me off (take note Lancome,) and I want it all when it comes to effect – lengthening AND volumising, plus a bit of curling please. I don’t want spidery lashes, but super fat lashes that look like they will cause a draft when you bat them. I don’t ask for much clearly but Diorshow has got it covered. If you fancy treating yourself I’d highly recommend it. Available in all good department stores and Boots, it’s about £25.

Happy Friday readers!

Love, Rebecca xo

Travel tips required! Boston/Cape Cod

We are very soon leaving for a family holiday, with a little trepidation I must admit as it’s the first looooong flight we have subjected Bea to since she was mobile. We are doing a road trip I’ve long wanted to check off the bucket list – New England in the fall. Our route takes us to Boston, then Cape Cod, back inland to do some real ‘leaf peeping’ and finally 5 days in New York for a bit of fun before flying home. I absolutely can’t wait.

Image credit

We have both been to New York before so have places we want to revisit and new sights to see, but I’d love to hear any tips you have on Boston particularly or Cape Cod if you have been.

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We plan to do the Freedom trail in Boston but are pretty open other than that as I don’t know much about the city. In Cape Cod we will mostly be enjoying playing on the beaches, cycle rides and some mooching around the towns but if there’s anything you recommend please let me know. I know there is a Dr Seuss museum and and Eric Carle (of The Very Hungry Caterpiller) museum on our route as both Authors originate from Massachusetts.

Thanks in advance for your tips! (Bonus points if you know of any quick pit stop places where we can let Bea loose to play for a break during all the sight seeing!)


PS Our first trip with Bea – Flying with a baby

The Garden: During and After

If you’d like to see how the garden looked before, then head on back to my first post here. We started ripping out the garage at the beginning of May and had it ‘sort of’ finished by mid-June. I hasten to say from the outset, we did not do this work ourselves! We had the amazingly good luck of stumbling across a brilliant garden designer and builder who was just a pleasure to work with – Iain from Outer Space Landscapes and his very capable sidekick, Shaun. I knew straight away from our first meeting when he asked me if I knew of Piet Oudolf, (you might remember me mentioning him as inspiration for the garden a while back,) that I was sure we were going to be able to work well together. These are all quite candid phone photos that I took as we went along. The finished ones are a bit glossier. ;)

This was the initial design on paper:

The first thing we had to do was knock the garage down. We actually listed it on eBay on the advice of our builder and unbelievably sold it (for less than £100 but it paid for one of the 3 skips we needed to complete the work so not bad,) when it would have cost us hundred more to have it dismantled. In the end it became clear that the people who bought it weren’t able to remove it fully and we got our usual builder to finish the job but it just goes to show, its amazing what will sell on eBay!

Of course it got a lot worse before it got better. The weather was against us (although the wet summer was later on a godsend for the new grass and plants.) One of the first things that were built were the raised vegetable beds at the side of the house, before the old grass was even taken up and the whole plot levelled.


When the border edging, grass and patio went in, it all started to take shape and I could see where the design was going. It all seemed very vast to finish with plants! I did a huge order at a local garden centre, (I chose all the plants myself and designed the planting scheme,) and you can see them delivered here on the steps to the deck.

As you can see, part of the design was these three large box balls in the lawn to give a sculptural element and I thought they would also be fun for kids to hide behind and jump over! ;)

The final part of the design was the modern pergola. Our patio is in full sun pretty much from sun up to about 5pm in the height of summer and as we planned to enjoy lazy lunches there we were going to need some shade. Eventually wisteria and other climbers will provide dappled shade over the whole structure.

I’m going to post some more pictures in the next week or two that show how the garden has changed again since these were taken at completion. The way it has filled out and matured already is amazing, but for now, this is what the process looked like. Please do ask any questions and if you’re looking for a garden makeover in and around Manchester I would recommend Iain at Outer Space Landscapes in a heartbeat – incredibly hardworking, knows his stuff and beautiful results.

I hope you like it readers! I can’t wait to show the more recent pictures – the difference is amazing!


The 5 best books for babies…

I love reading to Bea and whilst our evening routine doesn’t always involve a story at the moment we do read to her every day, if not several times. We have done this since she was tiny, when it was really more for us than for her, so this is a little list of the best books we found for the first 12 months and I’d love to hear if you have any to add for that specific period.

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes

“But the next baby born was truly divine, a sweet little child who was mine, all mine.”

My mum bought this for Bea when she was born, it is such a cute story and I loved reading it to her, in much the same way people enjoy ‘Guess how much I love you’.


One of my favourite books from childhood, I loved reading this to Bea for nostalgic reasons but it’s also one she can interact with by turning the (board) pages and I imagine will grow with her. We even ended up walking around when she’s tired or sad sing songing away, ‘Here’s a little baby one, two, three, carried in her mummy’s arms, what does she see…’ – and now it’s one of the staple gifts I buy for new babies.

That’s Not My Puppy

This was given to us by a friend with 2 kids who clearly knew what she was doing when she bought it! It became the first book that Bea really enjoyed and interacted with due to the touchy feely  panels on every page and with it’s sturdy board pages was also the book she learned to turn pages with herself. We now have Thats’s not my … Monkey, Owl, Kitten and Robot – just for a bit of non-stereotypical reading material ;)

I’d Know You Anywhere, My Love

There are things about you quite unlike any other. Things always known by your father or mother. So if you decide to be different one day, no worries…I’d know you anyway.

Totally schmaltzy in a way only a parent will appreciate ;) this was the first book that I personally ever bought for Bea. We bought it in the US on holiday and as such it is by an American Author, and refers to some unusual animals like the ‘blue footed booby.’ The illustrations are beautiful and it’s just a story I really love reading to her. It also has side notes encouraging children to make the actions for certain animals that we leave out now but will be great later on. I always think of this one as ‘our’ book and it’s another great one for a gift as it’s not that common over here.

The Snail and the Whale

This is the tale of a tiny snail and a great big grey blue hump backed whale…

Overtaking The Gruffalo in our affections comes this Julia Donaldson book about a snail who hitches a ride sightseeing around the world on a whales tail. It has wonderful alliteration and is quite a tongue twister to read but I love books that sing song and rhyme as you read them so I enjoy it and it never fails to settle eea down as a result too. This is a good one for the parent to enjoy reading as much as the child – no matter the age and its long enough to wind down with before bed.

This is just a selection of our personal favourites and is by no means exhaustive. Which books are your favourites for under ones? 

Love, Rebecca


Save V Splurge: Work Flats

I am in desperate need of new work shoes and fell in love with these Boden pointed toe flats. They are smart, sleek and a little bit sexy with the addition of animal print. Oh and they’re £125. *gulp* Even as my every day shoe, (and I’m a big believer in cost-per-wear) there are so many other things I’d rather spend my money on right now…

So I was pretty pleased to spot these Clarks Pointed flats over the weekend. They’re very similar, well made and have a lovely cushy sole. And they’re £55. Win – win!

What do you think readers? Save or splurge?


PS! There’s 20% off at Boden until tomorrow (Thursday) if you fell in love with the spendy option and want to soften the blow. ;)

Reaching out to Refugees.

The plight of the people fleeing Syria has been in the news for months, years even. This weeks pictures of Aylan Kurdi, the 3 year old boy drowned attempting to escape with his family really brought it home to me, as the world is finally starting to see past propaganda stories about benefit seeking immigrants and focus on humanitarian relief for the affected people. As you probably know, his mother, brother and 9 others in that boat alone died.

Before this picture it was some particularly brilliant news coverage that had got me thinking about their devastating situation. I have often in the past thought that if Britain were facing war and my family at risk, I would leave at once. I am a Doctor, I would find work elsewhere, we would be safe. Listening to the devastating stories that are emerging it is clear these people are also families, with professions and skills. There is nothing to distinguish between us other than location and circumstance. Seeing Aylan Kurdi’s little body on the beach just broke my heart, all I could see was Bea and another families anguish.

So I thought this weekend I would share a few ways you can help. I can’t sit and do nothing any longer, hoping the European governments do the right thing. At a time of year when we are planning house improvements, new clothes and holidays it all seems futile when whole families would give anything for safety, food and shelter. Here’s a few things I am doing, and if you have any direct ways of helping I would love for you to share them here.

  • Donate to the Red Cross
  • I was also directed to a group called Kos Kindness. The group was set up a couple of years back to help Greek families in poverty due to the economic crisis there but are now also inundated with refugees. There are several ways you can help. There’s a crowd funding page to help with delivery and an Amazon wish list that is kept up to date with what is required. You can buy food from a local supermarket and get it delivered online (the delivery address for Kos Kindness is on their Facebook page.) I’ve seen people are talking about sending shoeboxes full of practical items like toothbrushes, nappies, clothes, shoes and soap.
  • Many of the national newspapers are also publishing advice and links for practical ways you can help. Here are some from The Independent and The Guardian.

What are you doing to help?

Love, Rebecca.

PS. Some of you may have noticed the blog has been down for a few days – it’s all sorted after an administrative error so we will be posting as usual next week. Thanks for bearing with us.

September Shape Up.

It’s not the usual time of year for it, but because of the promise of a new season, new clothes and a bit of serendipity too, I’m ready to make some effort finally to get into shape.

I’ve got more to wrote about post natal fitness and losing weight but for now as it’s the first and we have a month before our holiday and I am dying to buy new clothes but have promised myself I won’t before I lose the last bit of weight I want to, I’m setting myself some challenges. I’m keeping it simple and making it achievable and because it’s only a month, hopefully it can be measured by the end of the month before Ive forgotten about it.

I wondered if any of you would like to join me? It doesn’t have to be a fitness goal. Maybe you need to shape up your filing cabinet, wardrobe, garden shed, living room, your CV or diet. Write it down int he comments and give yourself 30 days to accomplish it. Maybe you need a treat as a reward too ;)

My goal is to…

~ Do some aerobic exercise 3 times a week
~ Do some floor stomach exercises every other day

What’s your goal this month?


PS, I’ve been saving loads of Pinterest workout plans and ideas in anticipation of this – take a look here!

If the shoe fits…

We bought Bea her first pair of shoes at 11 months… I wouldn’t have bothered but it was summery weather (now a distant memory!) and she was walking a lot holding our hands around the garden, so I wanted her feet protected. It was a tough decision though, as you may know babies feet are still developing, so they should be out of shoes as much as possible. We figured it would just be brief spells so decided to go ahead. She then started walking around her first birthday and shortly after started nursery, where they have to wear shoes to go outside and often inside too. That first pretty pair, from Clarks naturally, are quickly getting worn out so I’m starting to think about autumn/winter footwear for walks in the park, puddle jumping (wellies I think!) and playing outside.

The problem is, its really hard to find nice children’s shoes. I like her to look half presentable so something that goes with everything is ideal, but I’m not compromising on fit for fashion. Bea’s feet are a tiny size 2F so shopping in the likes of the high street stores like M&S isn’t an option as they don’t seem to go below size 4. Added to all of that, a neighbour of ours who used to work for NIKE happened to tell us that NIKE spend more on research in a year into children’s foot development than Clarks turn over as a company in the same year. Which makes me think we’ll be adding some cute trainers to the collection.

I’d love to hear if you guys have discovered any ‘proper’ shoes that are safe and stylish around the internet or high street, suitable for first steps and tiny feet. Please do share!


PS! Feeling a bit rubbish today? This will cheer you up ;)