Found: AirBnB – Villa Dioni

It’s the first week of the holidays (or second for some of you) and I reckon many of you will be heading off for summer breaks, or if not, wishing you were, so I thought I’d share some info about my recent holiday.

When we went away 2 weeks ago it was booked not long before we went and I decided to give AirBnB a go for accommodation booking. In my experience accommodation in Greece is often rather basic and unfortunately not in the simple white washed walls and pretty blue painted furniture way… We wanted self-catering, ideally a private villa, with a pool and 2 bedrooms. We totally lucked out with Villa Dioni :)

Before I go on, the villa was up a STEEP hill, and a lot of steps – thats what gave it that glorious view, but there was always the pool to dive into after the walk up and we certainly earned our dinner. ;) It was a really short walk to the main area of Agios Nikitas, (it’s a really small place,) but if you can’t hack a bit of a hike, this isn’t the place for you! We also didn’t take the pushchair and just put Bea in the woven wrap everyday – which made life a lot easier.

The Villa actually has 2 downstairs bedrooms and a bathroom, a main kitchen and living space on the ground floor which goes out onto the pool area and has a balcony for eating on, then a mezzanine with another sleeping area. The main attraction however was the outside space and the pool – wow to the view and wow to the space.

We weren’t sure what to expect from AirBnB but our host Thanasis was great – communicated brilliantly and so quickly. I’m sure keys handover varies from rental to rental but he met us to give us the keys and there were some Greek provisions in the fridge – wine, fruit etc. A cleaner came once and more fruit appeared. As you might know from my other post about travelling with a baby, it wasn’t remotely child friendly. There are steps, stairs, steep drops as the villa is on a hillside, and no child provisions, but Bea wasn’t running around yet so it was ok for us and of course, she never left our sight. Thats might be more difficult with an older child.

I’ll be writing more about the holiday later in the week – the village we went to – its such a lovely place I almost don’t want to share it! ;)

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Travelling with a baby: Stuff that helps

Before we went to Greece last week we bought some travel gear that we found really useful and I thought I’d share… along with some fun stuff. I wish I’d known about some of these earlier for use out and about at home to be honest, particularly the travel high chair, so don’t discount them if you’re not traveling anywhere!

1. Totseat Kids Travel Highchair £23.99
There was no high chair in our apartment and to be honest we were only offered them at restaurants 50% of the time or less… and I won’t go into the standards of cleanliness of the ones we received. Nothing bugs me more than Bea eating on my knee, squirming and wiping her hands, face and food on my clothes so this was a godsend. It fits on multiple different seat backs (we didn’t find one it don’t fit,) is very secure, rolls up really small and is washable. Genius idea and we will be using it regularly back home too. The only thing is that it doesn’t add much height, but we tended to sit her on a rolled up towel or something which gave enough height and I suspect if your baby was a bit taller then Bea (not difficult!) it would be better. (Koo-Di do a much cheaper one but it’s not adjustable for all the different chair backs so I imagine wouldn’t always work.)

2. Koo-di Pop-Up Travel Bubble Cot Around £40
You guessed it, no cot either… Maybe some other mums can explain to me how you travel with one of the usual travel cots – they seem so big and heavy for suitcases? We bought this months back for going to friends houses but it’s also great for holidays as it’s light, fits into a case when packed down and functions as a mosquito net too.

3. Koo-di Pop-Up Travel Bubble Cot £9.99
For a bit of fun we bought this for Bea for the pool. It was great – after the initial terrified meltdown when we first put her in it! It was brilliant because of the sunshade, so even if it was midday, we could put her in there to cool off and she was covered from the heat of the sun :)

4. Summer Infant Tiny Diner – Green £9.99
Another brilliant find for baby lead weaners or any tot eating out, this was perfect for knowing that she was eating off a clean surface. Some of the places we ate were a bit grubby on the table tops or high chairs and while I’m not normally a clean freak, the last thing we needed in the heat was a dehydrating tummy bug! We sat this under her bottom on a seat (it’s quite big) or on the table and it worked really well – another one we will be using at home too.

5. Frostfire Popup Beach Shelter with UV protection (50+ UPF)
We were worried about keeping Bea shaded so bought this for the beach, knowing that the village we were visiting wasn’t the type where you pay for a lounger and parasol on the beach. ;) In fact, it was too hot even for this as it got hotter in the tent and we ended up buying a cheap parasol, but if it wasn’t as warm this would have been great – it provided good shade, a wind break and decent space for playing away from the handfuls of sand and pebbles that Bea was intent on shoving in her mouth!

Have you got any amazing finds for travelling with a baby? we’ve only got one year left before we have to start paying for her seat so I intend to do a lot more travelling with her over the next 12 months! ;)

Love,
Rebecca
xo

11 months with Bea

Tomorrow Bea turns one, so expect all kinds of sentimental reflective writing coming up over the next couple of weeks. I have so much to share on a year of sleep, feeding, fun and love. But first, I need to squeeze this monthly update in before it seems old hat and irrelevant.

Developmentally, between 10 and 11 months was massive, in fact every month feels like that now! Lots of things she has been practising for a long time seem to have finally clicked into place. She can stack the wooden tower of rainbow rings we have and the way she looks so pleased with herself is priceless. Another favourite is zooming around pushing the walker we bought her, although she hasn’t quite mastered turning!

We had our first nights away from Daddy as I went on a work course in the Lake District and totally chickened on leaving Bea behind. I used the excuse that we are still feeding, but really I don’t think I could have left her! My mum came to help looking after her in the day while I went to the workshops and Bea joined us on a walk that was part of it too!

Bea is also becoming more and more sociable and interested in children. It started with getting excited when she went past the park in the pram with my mum and now if she is in a room with other children or passes them anywhere she is so desperate to interact – it’s so cute!

Lastly, we had a little staycation, which was so lovely. We had things to do during it but spending every day as a family together was so much fun. Our usual routine involves us switching off a lot in the week as Pete works late on Mondays and Fridays and I work late 2 of the other days so being together as a 3 is precious time. Bea chose that week to stand up by herself, (she had been cruising for a while but this was unaided,) which was pretty exciting too!

We will be having a birthday fun day tomorrow, do follow along on Instagram, and I’ll be back on Wednesday :)

How are you and your littles getting on?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Vichy Purete Thermale: Cleanser and Waterproof eye makeup remover

A couple of weeks back I was sent the Purete Thermale Beautifying cleansing micellar oil and the Purete Thermale Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover for sensitive eyes by Vichy to test out. I’ve been intrigued by all the micellar oil hype recently and you all know I’m an oil based cleanser devotee (having previously used Eve Lom and currently, Lush Ultrabland,) so I was happy to give this a whirl. You can see from the picture that this wasn’t a one off test – I liked it enough to take on holiday with me for the week instead of my usual cleanser. :)

 
Let’s start with the basics – You can pick up the Purete Thermale range from Vichy at your local Boots store and it’s priced around the £10-12 mark, which seems like a reasonable price for a better range than your average high street brand. It certainly looks lovely on the bathroom shelf and the fragrance is light and refreshing, whilst feeling luxurious.

The micellar oil cleanser is ridiculously easy to use and swift, so I was a fan instantly, being a bit of a lazy skincare addict! You simply use it as a makeup remover too – applying a pump of the light oil to your fingers and massaging it into your skin at the end of the day, straight onto your makeup. Once the face is covered you simply wet your hands and massage again and the oil becomes milky, then splash it off. Done! My skin tends to feel tight after wash off cleansers which it didn’t after this one, and it was a nice deviation from my usual routine in the warmer weather – it always feels cleaner to wash with water doesn’t it?

I must confess, I don’t use waterproof mascara, but the waterproof eye makeup remover was very good too, making light work of a few coats of mascara after a night out. I have previously used Lancome’s Bi-Facil eye makeup remover, and compare all to this as it’s the best I’ve ever used, but the Vichy version is equally good – minimal greasy residue on your skin, absolutely no irritation or redness from rubbing and the mascara just slid off. It’s also meant to have lash strengthening properties.

If you are looking for something new for your cleansing routine or need a new eye makeup remover, I’d definitely recommend these two and I’d try the rest of the range if I was in the market for something – in fact I’ll probably buy the toner when mine runs out very soon. Thanks for the samples Vichy!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Secret Linen Store

Happy Monday readers! Now who is up for some bed linen inspiration, and interior style with a discount to boot? I thought so, read on!


Artichoke in Navy

Secret Linen Store were recently kind enough to send me some of their Navy Artichoke bedlinen for my bedroom. When I wrote about the yellow room which featured the Dotty Coffee spot bedlinen, I was a little sad it would only get used by guests, ;) so I am thrilled to have some to use myself. It’s breaking the habit of a lifetime for me to not have white bedlinen, so it’s different, but it’s so luxurious in feel I can’t help but love it. (You can see it on my bed here.)


Coastal Stripe in Navy

It seemed like a good time to share some of the current collection as the room sets themselves are rather inspiring, as well as the bedding!


Teasels in Dove Grey

Aside from the quality and feel, I think Secret Linen Store have really nailed the balance between style and colour. The designs are modern, fresh and stylish yet won’t date easily because of their timeless feel and classic choices like the coastal stripes. I particularly love the abundance of chic grey designs! ;)


Graphite Ferns


Giant Purple Artichokes


Coastal Stripe in Natural Linen

So if you are looking to update your bedlinen for summer, you’re in luck!I have collaborated with Secret Linen Store to give a reader offer of 10% off everything with the code SLEEPY at checkout! Offer ends on the 16th of August ;)


Luxury 600 thread count white bedlinen

And there’s still all white if you’re a die hard white bedlinen fan ;)

Happy shopping!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS! A Cow Parsley Attic bedroom

Summer Capsule Part 3: [Dresses & Round Up]

So I guess this is a kind of Friday Frock in disguise post. The final instalment of my capsule wardrobe! You all know I love a dress and I am finally taking full advantage of not needing 24/7 boob access. I was still feeding 2-3 times a day when I started this capsule and just took it off if I needed to feed when wearing a dress, now it’s just morning and evening so I can wear what I want. I have loved having dresses back in my wardrobe!


Denim dress // Digital print dress

This denim tencel blend swing dress was the first I bought and as my bust settles down it’s looking better and better. The Boden shift was a no brainer for a summer and holiday dress that I mentioned last week.


Jumpsuit // Maxi // Jumpsuit

The only dress that has been pulled from storage is this Gap maxi. I had it last year and hoped to wear it feeding but couldn’t in the end as it didn’t fit. It’s light and super comfortable so it’s a bit of a beater dress for everyday. The strappy tile print jumpsuit was bought when I couldn’t get hold of the Boden one, in hindsight I didn’t need it, but I’ve already worn it to playgroups when we had the recent heatwave and at £20 I don’t care about crawling on the floor!

So let’s do a little overview shall we?

I ended up with 27 pieces. (Don’t forget, this doesn’t include PJ’s, ‘loungewear’, stuff I paint or do the gardening in and exercise (ha!) kit.)

  • 8 work wear items (included in the below)
  • 10 tops
  • 3 knits
  • 6 dresses
  • 2 trousers
  • 2 jeans
  • 3 skirts
  • 1 shorts

And the prominent stores I bought from? Boden, GAP, Hush, New Look, Baukjen and Komodo – stocked in a local boutique and a new ethical brand find to me.

Here’s the whole summer capsule wardrobe 2015, en masse:


27 is just the number that works for me and I feel comfortable with. Last time I did this I ended up with 35 pieces but I included 8 shoes… so it’s exactly the same. I haven’t done that here – maybe I’ll post a selection on Instagram later today, and I forgot to shoot this top which should be included here. I’m really happy with what I’ve ended up with. I wear all of it, and fairly equally too, weather dependent. nothing feels like a waste or a splurge and my clothes seem to be striking a balance between being functional and fashionable.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and soon I will bring you a few posts on the pieces in action.

Have a fabulous weekend readers :)

Love,
Rebecca
xo

10 months with Bea…

Whoa, ten months. Seriously, time is flying and it feels like she will be One already any minute. (Edit: I’m a little behind with these and in fact she will be One very soon, sob sob!)

As you can see from these photo’s, Bea’s mobility has gone to a whole other level. Gone are the days of me taking cute photos of her lying down in pretty outfits every week! Just before she reached 10 months Bea scaled the steps of our decking and she now climbs the stairs to bed every night (with us keeping a watchful eye and ready hand behind her!) She pulls up on everything and by the end of the month had started cruising too.

I won’t lie, it is tiring, but if it wasn’t for safety, I could leave her to entertain herself for hours. Toys aren’t getting a look in these days, now it’s all about radiators, wires, plug sockets, random bits of fluff or grit on the floor (cue crazy cleaning efforts daily from me,) the cats food bowl… you name it, if I don’t want her playing with it, she makes a Bea-line. ;)

Bea is talking more now and expanding her range of sounds. I think Cat (or ‘Ca!’) is her first word, used accurately for our cats, but also for all animals in general. Of course Daddy thinks Dada is the first one, but I’m not entirely convinced it’s used in context yet ;)

This months big achievement was clapping! I know lots of babies do it sooner but Bea just hadn’t tried at all, then one day I returned from work and it was the thing to be doing. ;) She pretty much hasn’t stopped since! Mum has also taught her to put her hands in the air when we say ‘SO BIG!’ - so cute. Their days together are lovely – I think she has been tiring my mum out but Mum does things with her I wouldn’t think of and I love hearing them laughing (Bea gets quite hysterical,) over something I have no idea about when I’m in the other room.

I’ll be squeezing another of these posts in next week because the week after, Bea is 1! Expect lots of nostalgic reflective and mushy posts while I mourn my tiny baby and celebrate my cheeky toddler ;)

Where are all you mama’s and babies at right now?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS 9 months, 8 Months, 7 months, 6 months, 5 months, 4 months, 3 months, 2 months and the first month with Bea.

Summer Capsule Part 2 [Core Essentials]

I think I’m getting to grips better with the whole concept of the capsule and making it work for me, so this season I didn’t have a number of pieces in mind and I didn’t categorise as rigidly as tops/bottoms/dresses, more what the clothes were for. 99% of the time in summer I live in tee’s or lightweight knits and jeans or shorts, so I decided to invest in these a little more this season.

Blue v-neck // Breton stripe // Slogan tee Red stripe and graphic tee

I like to feel summery by a certain point in the year, even if the weather isn’t playing ball, especially true this year, so I make sure I have a few light knits in summery colour ways and plenty of long sleeved tee’s. This year I ‘invested’ in a Boden breton, although with the often available discount codes, it didn’t feel like too much of an investment at all, plus this twist on a breton, actually from the Boden teens range. The grey stripe is almost a light weight sweatshirt material so was great for the early part of spring when I wanted to shake up my wardrobe and for the cooler start to summer we had.


Grey Stripe // Swing strappy top

I’ve also wanted a slogan tee for a long time and loved the vibrant blue of this one from Baujken, which actually was an investment, but again I used a discount code. I also got another, this time v-neck royal blue tee from Hush which I have actually mixed into my work wardrobe with the printed pencil skirt I shared in the last workwear post, so it’s earning it’s place in my capsule.


Boyfriend jeans // Printed Khakis // Shorts // Skirt

For my bottom half options, I decided to be sensible. When I did my first capsule last Autumn, I was a bit obsessed with the idea of covering all eventualities, because of the associated buying ban until the next capsule. This time I just acknowledged that I wear the same stuff all the time and kept it simple. 4 pieces was all I needed and only one, the Hush skirt, was a new buy.

The last instalment will be coming later this week, with knits, dresses and occasion wear and shoes.

Do you think you could get your core essentials down to this number of pieces?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Summer Capsule Part 1 [Work wear]

Hi!

This week, I’m going to (finally, I know!) share my summer capsule. You can read more about my past capsule wardrobes and reasons behind it here. Its been a long time since I did a capsule, the last was in Autumn. I was inspired to start by Caroline Joy over at Un-fancy and she does 4 a year. Her seasons in Texas (and now Seattle, ) don’t quite align with ours and having lived with a capsule for almost a year, I realised I don’t need to update 4 times a year. I added a few pieces to my autumn wardrobe for Christmas, then updated a few tops for spring before the weather started to warm up. This wardrobe I’m about to share has been in effect since about the beginning of May and I plan to wear it until October. I’ll be shopping for Autumn/winter pieces in September when the new season stock comes in.

As it’s Monday, I thought I’d start with my work wardrobe. My capsule has had to include a work section for the first time this season, as I went back to work in March. I’m lucky because I dress pretty casually at work so a lot of my wardrobe is interchangeable, but I do have work staples that I use to smarten up the other pieces I mix in and that give it more of a professional edge.

I have to say, I didn’t give a lot of thought to my work wardrobe. There’s a big difference in working 5 days a week when my philosophy was that I spent so much time at work I might as well look nice while I worked, to working 3 days and just hoping you can find something without food or snot on it that’s passable and comfy and fits your postnatal body! Consequently, I pulled out a few postnatal and even pregnancy pieces and was forced to buy a new pair of trousers that fitted, et voila!

Tops/Dresses


Dress // Blouse // Chambray shirt // Shirt – Monsoon

I have quite a few nice work dresses but I don’t fit them just yet, plus when I initially returned to work and for about 3 months, I was expressing still so needed boob access. This jersey dress I bought and wore during early-mid pregnancy and it’s still flattering now, plus it washes easily and quickly, like the blue blouse that I hardly wore in my AW capsule, but has come into it’s own for work. This chambray shirt was an amazing find by my mum in GAP. I loaned one of hers during pregnancy and wore it open over things but it had a really soft fluid texture with fantastic drape, just like this one she later found for me. It works brilliantly tucked in as a shirt for my own particular style of smart-casual work wear. The remaining shirt is an old favourite of mine. I don’t usually do such blousy florals but it’s colour is bold enough and the fabric thin enough that it’s perfect for summer. As you can see, I always roll my sleeves!

Skirts/Trousers


Trousers // Trousers // Skirt // Skirt

My old navy work trousers had had very good use before pregnancy, so I intended to renew them on my return to work, but I’m not yet at my usual weight, so I held off and went to Zara for a different work pair. That was particularly demoralising (when did the sizes in Zara get so small?!) but they did have a good selection of styles in Navy trousers and I found a flattering pair that made me feel smart again. I’d say these get the most use week in week out and were pretty cheap at £24.99! Again the jersey tube skirt was a pregnancy buy that still works now as it was just a size up, and the printed skirt was a postnatal win that came from my pre-pregnancy wardrobe and I fit! Yay! The only ‘this season’ addition were these jogging bottom pants, which again, my mum found. A complete bargain from New Look, I think they were £10. They are ridiculously comfy, work for work because of the silky (but not shiny) fabric, tapered ankle and with a tucked in blouse or shirt, they look great.

I wear all of these with either navy pointed flats, or summer sandals, depending on the weather, and of course opaque tights earlier in the year.

To make the whole look a bit more ‘done’ I have a small selection of jewellery I wear for work too – which is quite nice, as I don’t get to wear much at home. I stick with a gold pair of studs and my sparkly ones, plus 2 rose gold pendant necklaces that I have. I don’t paint my nails anymore (although toenails are an essential in sandals I think,) but I do always wear make up to work. Not much, but again, it makes me feel more done and professional.

So here are my tips for creating a functional capsule wardrobe when you are a working mum. I’m making the assumption that you a. don’t want to spend much, b. don’t have much time, and c. would rather spend said time and money with or on your baby. ;)

  • Choose a colour palette and stick to it, particularly for your basics – mine is Navy and blues, obviously.
  • Make sure you have a good look through your old wardrobe and check for any keepers that still fit.
  • Choose fabrics that wash easily, dry quick and don’t need ironing, so you don’t have to get changed before you cuddle your messy baby or toddler when you get in.
  • Think about using things in ways you wouldn’t normally – i.e., tucking in a more casual summer shirt or chambray, and dressing up items like ‘relaxed trousers’ (Read:jogging bottoms) with heels.
  • Make sure you have one outfit or top and bottom option or a dress, per day you work, plus a spare, then even if you only get to do your washing at the weekend, you’ve always got something to wear.
  • Dress it up with jewellery and shoes, and have fun with those pieces as they’re probably bits you won’t wear when you’re off-duty and being mummy who gets clambered all over and needs to wear flats to run round after said baby/toddler.
  • Treat yourself to some new makeup if you’re feeling a bit sloppy or nervous about going back to work. Getting your game face on always helps and gives you confidence. ;)

Ok, I hope you enjoyed that insight and I’ll be back later in the week with my casual wardrobe, knitwear and occasion wear. Give me a shout if you have any questions and i’d love to hear about your work wardrobe and how you approach it!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Blue tile jumpsuit

Friday Frock…

I know, it’s been a while, right?

I’m still working on a capsule wardrobe basis when it comes to buying my clothes (more on that next week) but this capsule I gave myself a free pass to buy something for Bea’s Naming ceremony as it was the only occasion we had looming and I didn’t know what size or shape I would be; (The battle of the baby weight continues…)


Dresses, all Boden – SALE NOW ON!

When crunch time came last week I really struggled. I’m still quite big on top, despite only feeding twice daily now, and my waist has definitely not returned to what it should be, but I have slimmed down a lot. This leaves we with the difficult situation that I need bigger sizes to fit my top half but the bottom halves tend to then be a bit big (which is what happened with the white floral dress here,) and some of my preferred T’shirt style shift dresses still look a bit tent like with my boobs.

I ended up going for this jumpsuit which I wanted to order at the beginning of my capsule but as is often the case with Boden it said it wouldn’t be delivered for 9 weeks. In actual fact it’s been in stock for a couple of weeks now which is probably more like 4-6 weeks after when I was looking so I might actually order next time. The V-neck is flattering, its well made and cool, and I actually felt fashionable! Yay! The other two were pretty but perhaps a bit too ‘wedding’ or ‘formal garden party’ for the occasion.

As used to be tradition… do share any frocks you have your eye on at the moment or think your fellow readers deserve to hear about!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS I actually kept the St Ives print shift too – it was a tad too casual for the Naming Day party, but I love it as a holiday and summer-in-general dress. ;)