Archive for March, 2012

March 30, 2012

Today: the only day of your life.

Living in the moment is a continual struggle for me, as I have so many ideas, projects and plans. I’m trying to be more mindful and to pay attention to the time that I am actually living. To appreciate each day as it comes instead of letting so many of them slip past unnoticed that it will soon be my birthday again and then another whole year will have vanished. Slowing down and appreciating the joy in each day, however simple and ordinary, is a really good way of slowing down the pace of life, which can be painfully hectic sometimes. I know, I’ve spoken about this before on here, but it is something that I’m really trying hard to work on this year.

My new motto is something I read somewhere recently. It’s probably horrifically well known, but I have no idea who to attribute it to, so I’m afraid I’m not going to.

‘Today is the only day of your life. Act accordingly.’

For me, this means many things. It means letting go of things that have happened to me instead of re-living them in my head time after time, as though I might change my actions or the consequences of them. It means trying really hard not to spend all my time impatiently waiting for things in my future to arrive, whether that is the day I go on holiday, the day my lovely son is finally out of nappies or that blessed day when I finally pay off my giant bank loan. It means really taking on this day and making the most of it.

That means spending time doing the things I love instead of wasting time on things I really don’t care about. If a book is not keeping my interest, I will leave it to one side now instead of doggedly trying to finish it. Life is too precious and there are too many other books to be read. The same goes for films or television shows. I will happily spend time on the things that are considered a ‘waste’ of time, if I am enjoying them, but I am trying to turn off my mobile, switch off the laptop and spend time on those things that I have always wanted to do. This results in more time actually being spent on making projects happen instead of messing about on clothing websites (for example!)  so it’s a winning and productive way to try and spend at least some of my time.

Alongside trying to really live in the only day I truly own, is trying to act accordingly. Telling the people I love, that I love them. Keeping things that go wrong in perspective. Counting my blessings. I’ve started to have pauses in my day, to think about what I am doing, how I am feeling, and ask myself if I am really ‘acting accordingly’ – and if I’m not, then I will consciously try to do so. I know it all sounds a bit odd, but it is really and truly making me feel better about each and every day of my life. It makes me take a deep breath instead of getting cross, it makes me slow down and really look about me to appreciate the small, joyful things that every day life brings and it makes me a better, kinder and more open person to those around me.

Before I read my book each evening, I have a little think about the day. I am trying to practice gratitude a bit more, so I will think of a few things that I am particularly grateful for. Above all, I want to get into my bed at the end of each day, and be happy to know that if this was to be my last day on Earth, I have used it well, shared it positively and made the most of it.

I’m aware that this post is in danger of sounding like a poorly written self help book, so, as one final act of self-sabotage, I am going to quote the irrepressible Ferris Bueller:

‘Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.’

PS: If you’re looking for a fun way to waste five minutes then have a look at Ferris Bueller Quotes, which is a random Ferris quote generator. Ace.

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March 29, 2012

The Half Hour Allotment: making the most of every visit.

The worst has happened. I have new allotment neighbours. Ok, that’s not the worst that could happen. Far from it. In fact, it’s perfectly fine. I just have one tiny problem with new allotment neighbours, and that is their sheer bloody enthusiasm. They all turn up with bags and bags of the stuff. Not to mention, in this case, a small army of people who turn up to dig. Now, I’m all in favour of calling in a few extra hands when the plot requires it – such as ‘Dig In Day’ when we brought our whole family to help build some new raised beds. But my new neighbours seem to have an endless supply of people. On Sunday, we had a lovely family time pottering about in the peaceful sunny afternoon, when up trooped about ten people to start work on the plot next door. Bringing all their noise and chat and capable manual labour with them. We left them to it shortly afterwards.

I’m all too aware that this is making me sound like a horrible person. I’m sorry about that, but there is worse to come.

The other thing that new allotment neighbours do is bring out my competitive nature. I’m not hugely competitive (pub quizzes excepted) but there is something about a new, enthusiastic allotment holder to bring out the worst in me. I hate the thought of someone new having a better plot than mine, when I’ve had mine for years! Since the start of Spring when they arrived and did all their digging and raised bed building, I’ve been on the allotment almost every day. Every day. I’m aware that this is ridiculous, because firstly, its not an actual competition, and secondly, even if it was, there is no way that we (with our helpful five and two year old diggers) could compete.

Thankfully, in order to make the best use of this new found competitive spirit, I’ve been reading a book called ‘The Half Hour Allotment’ by Lia Leendertz  which I recommend for anyone with an allotment and a busy life on top.

A few pointers from the book:

  • Grow the fancy, expensive crops you love to eat – so you get more for your money and work.
  • Buy plants and seedlings where it makes sense to do so,  instead of trying to produce everything by seed yourself – something I’ve already started to do.
  • At the end of every half hour session on the plot, take a couple of minutes to work out what job is the next on your list – then, when you arrive the next day for your half hour stint, do that job, instead of spending loads of time procrastinating! This continues day after day, obviously.
  • Invest in some perennial crops (such as fruit bushes) that take less looking after.
  • Prioritise and plan your time – certain times of year you might only be able to water and harvest your crops in half an hour, so the plot might be untidier than you’d like, but some jobs have to stay at the top of the list. There is no point having a pretty plot if you’re not harvesting the food you have grown.

All of this means that you can get some great results from working just for half an hour each day (for five days a week) leaving you the weekends to bask in the glory of your achievements – or, more likely, dash about with an endless list of other things to do, but safe in the knowledge that your plot is fabulous!

Now, I just need to invest in some heavy duty hand cream. All this extra digging has given me blisters…

March 28, 2012

Bags of Love personalised gifts review

My regular readers will know that I always carry an emergency pouch in my bag, filled with cosmetics, medication, and for some unknown reason, earrings. Sadly, mine was taken recently and so I’ve been in search of a replacement, and I’ve found one in the shape of a new cosmetic bag from Bags of Love.

Everything from Bags of Love is personalised, so I tapped into my inner narcissist and chose a photograph of me and my husband leaning out of a Parisian hotel balcony, to add to the front. I rarely like photos of myself, but this one is pretty flattering (if I do say so myself), especially in black and white and when the bag arrived this morning, it did make me smile. So, I have a lovely new bag, with a photo that reminds me of very happy memories of the Parisian Left Bank adorning the front. Perfect!

The bag itself is nylon fabric on the front, and leather at the back with a pretty heart shaped silver coloured zip, which opens really low down for easy access to the all-important contents. Handmade in England (which I’m really happy to see) it’s really nice quality and I know I’m going to enjoy using it. The softness means that it will happily go into my handbag without damaging anything else in there and it’s also going to be perfect to take away to Rome. I love that it makes me smile when I look at it and I’m going to think fondly of our time in Paris every time I use it, which is the great joy of personalised gifts.

Alongside cosmetic bags like my new one, Bags of Love also are a great source of  birthday gift ideas, personalised greetings cards and other items such as canvas prints for your walls, and little notebooks with photo covers which, as a habitual notebook user and lover of stationery, I think are brilliant. Personalised gifts are a great idea for family members. My parents and Grandma are notoriously difficult to buy for, as they have everything they need already. They’re always really pleased to receive something with photographs of my children on though, so I think that a Bags of Love photo book would be a perfect birthday gift for them this year!

Many thanks to Bags of Love for providing me with my personalised cosmetic bag for this review.


March 23, 2012

Dumouchel: A French Bakery in Leeds

I love Paris and I love French bakeries. On our regular pilgrimage to Paris, I spend an extraordinary amount of time thinking about food. One of the absolute pleasures to be had in the city is to buy yourself a basic picnic; bread from the baker, cheese from a fromagerie, tomatoes from one of the many street markets, and then spend some leisurely time in a park, watching the city go by as you munch your way through it all.

Luckily for me, I don’t have to go all the way to France to enjoy the pleasure that is great French bread, because I live near Dumouchel. Based in Garforth, east Leeds, Dumouchel supply some of the independent cafes and lunch places that are dotted around the city so you may have eaten their lovely bread without even realising it. I’m lucky enough to visit quite regularly. When my brother and sister in law moved house, I bought her a platter of tiny, perfect patisserie for their house warming party. At a birthday gathering this year we had a Dumouchel chocolate torte. Impossibly shiny and perfect on top, decorated with chocolate curls, it was a deliciously grown up alternative to a cake. I’m planning to ask for a citrus one for my own birthday (a note to my lovely husband!)

On my last visit, I couldn’t resist treating myself to a handful of macaron, in rose, violet and lavender. A delicate, sophisticated series of flavours, I loved them all. I was also given a free baguette by the lovely people in the shop, which we all shared. It was the perfect French baguette and evoked lots of lovely memories of wandering around my favourite city. Thankfully, I can return to Dumouchel rather more easily than Paris, so I’ll be going again very soon…

March 21, 2012

A Sunflower Competition

One of the delights of writing a blog and chatting on Twitter is taking advantage of lovely opportunities that come your way and I was very happy to be asked by the multi-talented Helen of ‘The Good Life Mum’ to join her and Karen from ‘Missing Sleep’, a wonderful family and reviewing blog,  in a sunflower growing competition.

A few days after agreeing, a lovely letter arrived from Helen containing seeds and a slice of incredible citrus soap. I mentioned that Helen was multi-talented, and one of her talents is in soap making. My kids and I have utterly loved using this soap and I really recommend you take a look at her Bath Food company for yourself.

Anyway, we posted some of our seeds off too. They look a bit ropey, but they’re freshly bought from The Eden Project so I’m hoping they will be ok. Now the competition commences. I’m fairly sure that Helen and her lovely daughter have sown their seeds already – we still need to sow ours, and the last I heard from Karen, she was searching for gardening tools, so who knows where this will end up! Perhaps Karen is pulling the wool over our eyes and is actually Alys Fowler in disguise…

As our two children have a plot on our allotment each, it will be a great way to encourage them to grow something special. I’m looking forward to spending some time this weekend on the allotment sowing our seeds with them, which will be good fun. We’re going to have a grand measure-in at the end of the summer to see who is the winner, at which point I’ll (hopefully) be able to share some photos of giant sunflowers with you all.

March 19, 2012

Theft.

This isn’t the post I thought I would be writing today. In fact, it’s not a post I thought I’d be writing ever. On Saturday, someone walked into my house, picked up my beloved Mulberry bag, and walked out again. We were all in the house, sitting a mere 20 feet away in the next room, or, in the case of my children, upstairs in bed.

Upon seeing that the back door was open, the first thing my husband did was run upstairs to check on our kids, so don’t think that I haven’t thought about the absolute worst that could have happened. Really, I know that someone just took advantage of us leaving the back door unlocked after we’d opened it to let the kids catch hailstones in a bowl earlier in the evening. I still feel a bit sick thinking that they could have tried that door many times before, and finally been rewarded by our forgetfulness.

After a truly dreadful recent event, I have had lots of good fortune recently. I have met lots of new people, kindled some new friendships and invested time in older, important ones. I’ve been to wonderful events, had lovely family time and even won a competition. So, there is a part of me that thinks this happened just so I didn’t get too big for my boots. As if the Universe was redressing the balance. Giving me something bad, so that I make sure I appreciate the good.

In being the victim of some really horrible behaviour, I have actually had my faith in the overall goodness of people restored by the reactions of others. From my lovely friends both virtual and in real life, I have had nothing but support and kindness. They have sworn on my behalf, given out hugs, made cups of tea (essential in any kind of British crisis) gone out and searched the local area and on Ebay for signs of my stuff. One lovely soul spent half the morning getting my work laptop extracted from the cupboard in which it was locked (my key was taken) and my boss let me work a short day so I could deal with everything. When I went in the library to tell them that I needed new cards, the lovely librarian gave me my reserved books without charge, simply because she is wonderful. Of course, the books I had reserved were all Agatha Raisin crime novels.

Many of us do love a crime novel. Mainly though, the appeal is in the solution. At the end of a crime novel, especially old favourites like Agatha Christie, we can be assured that justice will be meted out and the bad guys will get what they deserve. Sadly, real life does not often provide us with tidy and satisfying solutions. I doubt the person who stole my things will ever be caught, which makes the whole thing more difficult to live with. There is an episode of ‘The Good Life’ television programme (after which this blog is lovingly named), in which Tom and Barbara’s house is broken into. Because they have nothing worth stealing, the perpetrators simply trash the place. They refuse to back down, saying that what happened was not their failure, it was someone else’s. What has just happened to me is not my failure. I admit that I’m shaken, sad and angry but I will not be beaten by it. I will not let my overwhelming faith in people be ruined by the failure of one.

So, now I’ve got that out of my system, let’s move onto happier things, shall we?

March 16, 2012

Miro at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

This week, I was lucky enough to attend a special preview of the new exhibition of work by Catalan Surrealist artist Joan Miró at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. I have to admit, I deliberated a bit before accepting. You see, I know embarrassingly little about art. I formally stopped studying art after GSCE, the highlight of which was a reinterpretation of the famous ‘Whistlejacket’ painting by Stubbs, which I’m sure proves that at that point in time, my mind was already in the stables. Still, the one thing I love to do more than anything else is learn something new, and art (in all its forms) is something that I am enjoying learning more about all the time. Making up for my misspent youth, perhaps. Attending the viewing and also listening to the team of curators speak about Miró, gave me the opportunity to learn more about this great artist whilst at the same time view this unique exhibition.

The exhibition focusses on Miró’s sculpture, although there are paintings too, in the Underground Gallery of YSP. What I found really fascinating about the collection is that Miró worked with different foundries at the same time, and as a result of that, produced completely different works. Viewed together, they look as though they’re from a different period, or a different artist, and yet they’re not. Some are giant bronzes, curved, smooth and beautiful. Around these sculptures I generally had to walk with my hands firmly clasped behind my back, to prevent me from reaching out and stroking them. Others are spikier, boldly coloured and make use of found objects to create totemic human forms. Both forms of sculpture have an overwhelming focus on the human form, interpreted through a Surrealist perspective and complete with all the requisite body parts (cue childish eyebrow raising from me), giving them what the curator called an ‘earthiness’ and reflecting Miró’s relationship with the Catalonian soil of his childhood. I always find the use of ‘found’ objects in art really poignant, and where Miró has used objects to represent things he feared might be lost from the world and placed in the context of the Spanish Civil War period of their creation, this is especially true.

Miró was older when he really got into his stride with sculpture, starting in the 1940s and ending a year before his death, in 1982. I love the idea of him, in what would have generally been considered his retirement age, creating these giant sculptures and getting more political and against ‘bourgeois art’ as he aged. He wanted his work to be  a part of the fabric of life instead of being removed from it, and this is realised as some of his pieces of work are to be found in the streets across the world from Barcelona to Chicago.

So, I still know embarrassingly little about art, but I do know more about Miró now and I found this exhibition truly interesting. Some things I found beautiful, some things I felt that I didn’t fully understand, but everything provoked a response, which I think is a sure sign the exhibition is worth a repeat visit with my family. I have plans to create a Miró homage sculpture with the kids out of old boxes and bold coloured paint – although probably without all the body parts!

One thing the curator said that really struck me was that in Miró’s work can be seen his thoughts about humanity – both fear for it, but also hope about what humanity is and what it could be. If that isn’t a good reason to want to come and see this great and groundbreaking exhibition, I don’t know what is.

The Miró exhibition opens on 17th March 2012 and will be at Yorkshire Sculpture Park until January 2013. Alongside the sculptures inside the Underground Gallery are some more placed outside. This is in addition the Park’s incredible permanent sculpture collection displayed in the wonderful parkland, smaller exhibitions, workshops, special events and a great restaurant and store. It’s one of my favourite places in the whole world, please do go along for a visit!

March 15, 2012

On Mothering Sunday

On Mothering Sunday, I would like the following:

  • To say thank you to my lovely, amazing mother, mother-in-law and grandmother for all their love, support and all round brilliance. I am proud and very fortunate to be related to such wonderful women.
  • To have a lie in bed for a little while longer than usual, instead of being rudely awoken at the crack of dawn by my little son jumping on me carrying all his toy cars, most of which get dropped on my head as he clambers into my bed for a morning snuggle.
  • A cup of tea in that same bed, with a slightly-later-than-usual morning cuddle with both of my lovely, beautiful and bright children.
  • A card, preferably home-made, slightly wonky, liberally applied with glitter and with my daughter’s very own writing inside.
  • Pancakes. With lemon and sugar. They’re not only for Shrove Tuesday, you know.
  • A bit of time for reading my book, ‘I Capture The Castle’ which I’m re-reading in preparation for being a book giver on World Book Night.
  • Possibly even a bath using my  Lush Madame Butterfly reusable bubble bar on a stick. I bought this myself, because for me, there is no gift better than a little bit of peace and a few pancakes. I’ll admit, I’ve used it already. Because I am impatient and because it has the same beautiful rose, geranium and lemon fragrance as my favourite Rose Jam Bubbleroon from Lush.
  • A day of peace. When they’re playing nicely together, there is nothing in the whole world that makes me happier than just watching my kids play. So, if they really want to get me the best gift, it will be a day of peace. No squabbling, bickering or fighting of any kind. All day long. I might as well ask for a miracle, but there is no harm in trying.
  • While I’m on the subject of things I might as well ask for, if there is anyone who would really like to buy me this, I would love it. Not just on Mothering Sunday, I’d be happy to receive it any day you like. It’s a bicycle necklace from Alex Monroe. Not only is it utterly lovely, but the whole collection is named ‘Daisy Bell’, the first song I sang to my daughter when I was finally allowed to hold her, days after her very early arrival.

March 14, 2012

Allotment update: Seeds or Seedlings?

It is rapidly approaching April and yet again, Spring has caught me off guard. This happens every year. I spend rather too long each Winter, happily reading through my seed catalogue and deciding what I want to grow, and then suddenly there is a mad rush and the proliferation of seed trays all over the house, on every spare shelf, available windowsill and all over the porch. If it’s not compost filled seed trays, then it is row after row of carefully saved loo roll inner tubes, each filled with the requisite pair of bean or sweet pea seeds.

There are several problems with this. Firstly, I look a bit like a crazy person, with my loo-roll-inner filled house. Secondly, the kids are very interested in what is growing and cannot resist a bit of poking about in the compost, which usually ends with half of it on the floor. Lastly, and probably the most important in terms of actual growing, seedlings that are grown in a rush tend to be a bit poor. They’re often leggy and weak, especially the climbers like sweet peas.

Still, it’s always been a matter of principle for me that I grow from seed, because that is what allotment gardening is all about…or is it? As more and more allotment holders are younger people, with jobs or small children – and in my case, both – perhaps I need to approach it differently. After some deliberation, I have decided that there is no shame in buying in seedlings where it makes more sense. So the plan is now to buy seeds where they are to be directly sown into the ground, and buy seedlings of the things that I usually have in my seed trays.

So here is my new list:

Seeds:

Dwarf French Beans. I grow ‘Rocquencourt’, ‘Purple Teepee’ and ‘Cobra’, which are direct drilled in thick rows in a raised bed. Each variety is a different colour (yellow, purple and green, respectively) which pleases me enormously.

Borlotti Beans: ‘Lingua de Fuoco’. I’ve decided not to grow runner beans this year because we just don’t eat them, but I love these beautiful red beans and a climber always adds some great structure to the plot.

Carrots: Early Nantes’ and the beetroot ‘Candy Stripe’ will be sown together in a raised bed. I LOVE this pale pink beetroot variety. Despite being a huge fan of the taste of beetroot, I loathe the bright pink staining it leaves everywhere and this variety removes that problem. Growing carrots in a raised bed will help remove the carrot fly, as will growing them mixed with other roots and anything from the allium family, so they’ll go in the raised bed next to my onions, which are already in the ground.

Peas: I’ll be growing both a maincrop pea (‘Hurst Green Shaft’) and the ‘Sugar Snap’ variety for eating whole. Hopefully I’ll get better results this year. I do struggle to grow a brilliant crop of peas but they are one of the vegetables that are so much better eaten straight from the plant, that I cannot give up trying!

Leeks: ‘St Victor’. I love the purple tinged leaves of this leek variety. Although they do have to be grown in a seedbed, they’re not urgent so I’ll manage it.

Potatoes: Slightly different, obviously, but the varieties I’ve chosen are ‘Charlotte’, which is a second early variety, and ‘Cara’ which is a late maincrop. This will give me a successional cropping, rather than a great big potato glut.

Dahlia: I’m going to get corms here, not seeds, and grow three different bold coloured varieties for cutting. ‘Happy Halloween’ is a small, bright orange decorative type, ‘Hillcrest Royal’ is a cerise pink cactus type and ‘Downham Royal’ is small ball type in a dark purple. Together, they will look amazing!

Seedlings:

Sweetcorn: ‘Sweet Nugget’ variety to grow in a square block.

Pumpkin: ‘Atlantic Giant’ – this is for Halloween, rather than for eating, so size is everything here! The pumpkin and sweetcorn will be grown together in a variation of the traditional ‘three sisters’ approach, where tall thin sweetcorn plants, climbing beans and sprawling-on-the -floor pumpkins are grown together. It makes the best available use of space, and it looks ace.

Sweet peas: A selection of varieties; ‘Lord Nelson’, ‘Prince Edward of York’ and the original sweet pea, ‘Matucana’. This is the Harlequin Sweet Pea mix from Sarah Raven.

Any other annual flowers I choose for the cutting garden will probably be bought as seedlings too. I am still to decide what else I want to add in.

In addition to this, I want to get some new strawberry runners for Eve’s little garden, if there is time this year.

Although the colours of the vegetables I grow don’t generally have any impact on their taste, the way the plot looks does matter to me. I like it to look pretty! Which is perhaps why I’ve always grown climbing varieties, different coloured beans and peas, flowers and pumpkins. I’ve chosen tried and trusted varieties this year, (all from Sarah Raven, purely because I like the company ) that I’ve had previous success with, as the year is too busy for experimentation, although it will be interesting to see if I get significantly better results having bought seedlings in, rather than growing my own.

Now I have a plan, it’s time to get to work…

March 12, 2012

Harvey Nichols: Brunch and a Fashion Show

I spent a lovely morning with my daughter yesterday having brunch and watching a children’s fashion show at Harvey Nichols in Leeds.

Like many girls of her age, Eve has got very firm views about what she likes to wear. Now that she’s spending so much of her time dressed in a school uniform, I like to indulge her a bit when she isn’t at school, even if that means letting her wear an outfit containing all the colours of the rainbow. After all, if you can’t dress like that when you’re five, when can you? Actually, with her colour blocking and clashing prints, I’d go as far as saying that she’s got the measure of recent seasons far more than I have.

We arrived to the event and were shown to our seats in the lovely bunting-filled Espresso Bar in the Victoria Quarter. After being presented with a superb little colouring-in kit, we also were very happy to receive juice, fresh pastries and a sunny fruit salad with accompanying vanilla yoghurt. Perfect food for an easy Sunday brunch. Ooh, and I had a Bellini too, which made me very happy.

Before I go any further, I have to mention the stickers in Eve’s kit. To be honest, they’re wasted on children because they are the best stickers ever! Famous characters of our age are recreated as items of food. So, we have Paris Stilton, Gordon Brownie, and Wayne Pruney…just brilliant. I would have sneaked them away for my own use, but Eve recognised their brilliance too and so they’re now all adorning her favourite notebook. I suppose my lack of stickers gives us a nice excuse to return to the Espresso Bar for brunch another day though, because I really need a Banana Mouskouri sticker of my own.

Anyway, onto the fashion show itself, which was a great showcasing of the Spring and Summer collections available from the ‘Step 2wo’ concession inside the Harvey Nichols Leeds store. A wonderful group of young models, including a gorgeous little three year old boy who received a round of applause every time he emerged, did a great job. Eve thoroughly enjoyed watching them all, and telling me which things she liked the best. By the end of the show, we had a great long wish list between us. Eve particularly loved the denim dress by No Added Sugar, which had great gold-edged ruffles on the bottom. We have a few pieces from this brand already, and I love them all. They have a great quirkiness to them, far removed from the pale pink princess clothing that is often created for girls. The colours are bolder, the shapes are often unusual, with ruffles, asymmetry and draping and, important from a practical point of view, they are really good quality, so they wash and wear well. There is a good selection of items from this range for both boys and girls instore.

Many of the brands represented instore were included in the show, such as Gucci and Versace, although my other favourite pieces were the Paul Smith t-shirt and stripy boy’s shirt, which Ben would look very cool in. I also adored the Stella McCartney citrus print mac (the same print as the adult line for the current season) and green Hunter wellies over a cream dress, which would be perfect junior festival chic! Inside the store, we spent some time choosing our favourite Lelli Kelly sequinned shoes and Converse high tops. We’re going back for a pink pair of those. I live in my Converse, so I think it’s only fitting that I share the love. I have a feeling that the denim No Added Sugar dress will be coming home with us as well.

We had such a great time. It was the first time we have ever really been out for a ‘girly’ time together and I enjoyed it so much. She’s growing up so fast, one day, she’ll be poring over the MAC counter in Harvey Nichols as much as I do. This time, though, it was all about the glittery flower face painting. A nice addition to a lovely event.

With many, many thanks to Harvey Nichols for the invitation.