Wednesday 30 April 2014

Natural comfort and luxury with Gingerlily silk bedding

With the colder winter nights now behind us, it's time to think about lighter weight bedding for our homes.  If you're looking to invest in some new bedding as part of your spring makeover, have you thought about the benefits of silk?

Gingerlily offers a stunning range of bedding, linen and nightwear, and not only will it add a sense of elegance and luxury to your bedroom, but silk also has lots of health and beauty benefits too.

Reduce allergy problems with a silk mattress topper from Gingerlily


Silk is 100% natural and due to it's protein structure, it is uniquely hypoallergenic.  Studies have shown it effectively decreases skin and respiratory problems caused by airborne allergens and mites.

Maintain a stable body temperature with a silk filled duvet from Gingerlily

Temperature regulator

Because of the super fine and long fibres, silk helps stabilise and regulated your body temperature.  So silk bedding is particularly helpful for young children, those who experience night sweating and for all of us on hot sticky nights.  A stable body temperature will result in a much more restful night's sleep.

Smooth skin

The very tightly woven smooth fibres keep skin hydrated by keeping your naturally-forming moisture close to the skin.  It's perfect for those suffering from dry or flaky skin.  Hydrated skin cells are plumper meaning you will have more luminous skin and less wrinkles.

Improve your skin and hair with a silk filled pillow and pure silk pillowcase

Silky hair

Beauty experts have long extolled the virtues of silk for the hair.  It can help keep it soft; smooth; moisturised and free of knots.  Your hair will slide on a silk pillowcase rather than bunching up, so it's much less damaging and will result in sleek locks.  Sleeping on silk may also help keep your 'salon-do' for longer.

So really, with all these benefits what's not to love?  Not only that, but the stylish range from Gingerlily will help create a calm, luxurious and tranquil bedroom that you'll enjoy spending time in.

Chalk/Mist reversible silk linen from Gingerlily

This is a featured post.  Lining up with Love Your Home.

Love Chic Living and Love Your Home

Gold Sprinkles

Monday 28 April 2014

Magpie Monday - Easter Boot Sale

Remind me never to bother with a car boot on Easter Sunday again.

I mean, this was seriously dire.  All those stall holders who clearly don't generally spend their Sunday mornings at church had obviously been overcome by the religious urge to stay away, or perhaps they were too busy stuffing themselves with chocolate eggs.  Who knows.  But they sure as hell weren't at the boot sale we went along to.

A cold, grey, drizzly dismal morning traipsing around the handful of tables that had bothered to turn up.  This was the first sale I'd been to this year, and if this were the first one I'd ever been to I'd have been put off for life.

It says something that the best bargain my friend could find was a job lot of toilet rolls and a packet of cleaning cloths.  Classy. They were at least new! Haha.

For me, the best I managed was this cute little hoodie for Ruby.  At 50p it was a great little bargain for my girl who is growing so fast she's out of all of her winter jumpers, yet I don't want to spend a lot on jumpers now with summer (hopefully) just around the corner.

Hopefully you did better than me.

What second-hand gems have you found lately?  I'd love you to grab the badge and link up.


Saturday 26 April 2014

Messing about on the river

The weather looked a bit ropey this morning but we took a punt (geddit) and headed off to Cambridge for the day.  I'm glad we did, it was a bit breezy but it turned out to be a glorious day.

We went to one of the Old Man's favourite spots and this proved too much to resist.

He hasn't swam here since the Team Honk Relay, and it was considerably warmer today than it was then.

Him and Ruby decided to have land and water races, with her careering up and down the riverbank, beating him every time.

I mooched about in the quiet gardens, snapping the flowers.  I've fallen in love with this snowball bush and the caretaker kindly let me take a few cuttings so hopefully in a few years I'll have my own glorious pomander blooms.

After the racing, there was time to take to the water, but this time in a boat.

We'd never punted before and it took a little while to get the hang of it, especially when some areas of the river were so deep the pole didn't even reach the bottom, but it was fun. Least it was from where I was sitting.

Ruby enjoyed trying to row - mostly at times when it wasn't helpful, but still.

All in all a rather lovely afternoon.  I wish I'd packed a picnic and a bottle of fizz!

Joining in with Country Kids.
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Friday 25 April 2014

Kid's Cake Pop Course - A great day with BKD

Over the holidays myself and Ruby headed off to London for a day together, just us two.  We were invited along to a cake pop course with the fabulous BKD Kid's Baking company.

The session took place at a cool and funky family friendly cafe/restaurant called Nancy's Pantry in Dalston, London.  It was really easy to find, located just behind Dalston Junction station or a short walk from Dalston Kingsland.

Adelle who owns BKD met us and welcomed us.  She was so friendly and we felt at home right away.  We sat at a huge table already excitingly laid out with all manner of pots of sprinkles and every colour of fondant and writing icing imaginable.

Adelle had already pre-made the cakes so the kids were free to concentrate on the fun part - the decorating!

She had her own young son there as able assistant, and her ease with children was clear to see.  Everyone listened carefully as she explained how to roll out the fondant, how to use the pretty cutters and how many piece we'd need of each to make our every own Easter chick pops and Easter Egg pops just like her examples - or not!  She absolutely encouraged free-thinking and the kids were free to make and design theirs however they wanted.

The creativity went wild - honestly by the end the table looked like a crazy kaleidoscope of coloured sprinkles!

BKD offer a range of different baking workshops for children from pirate themed cookies to monster cupcakes to ice cream cupcakes to 3D dinosaur biscuits so there's something to suit everyone.

We had such a great time, and it was a wonderful way for me and Ruby to spend a few hours together.  Although the course was really all about the children, I learnt lots of useful tips about making and decorating cake pops that will certainly come in handy next time I do some.

At £15 for the session I thought it was really good value considering all the ingredients and equipment involved.  We got to use all kinds of beautiful cutters and supplies which I know cost a fortune so it's a much cheaper way to have a go without the expense of having to get all the kit for yourself. There's also the advantage that you don't have to clear up afterwards - trust me, they'll be hoovering up hundreds and thousands for ever!  For the cost, we got nearly 2 hours tuition, all the ingredients, the use of the equipment, had brilliant fun and came away with a box of six rather fab cake pops.

Do check out some of the other London courses on offer over on the BKD site and book up.  There's only a limited number of places on each so avoid disappointment.  Adelle also offers children's parties - I know she'd be the perfect kid's hostess.

Thank you so much to BKD for inviting us along.  We had a wonderful time, the cakepops were delicious and Ruby had a real sense of achievement and pride in her creations.

Thursday 24 April 2014

5 Ways to Brighten Up Your Garden Fence

We've spent a lot of time this past week in the garden, clearing and sorting the shed, preparing the veg patch for planting, sorting out pots and tubs and giving the lawn it's first hair cut of the year.

The thing that really lets our garden down is the boring wooden fence around it.  Yes, it's needed for security and privacy, but looking out onto a huge expanse of 6 foot high fence is very uninspiring.

So here are my favourite ways to brighten your garden fence up.

1. Inject some colour!  

If you have a lot of fence, it's a big job but painting your fence a bright colour can be so worthwhile.  We had a beautiful shade of lavender on our fence at our old house and I loved how it added colour in gloomy winter months, and how it provided a beautiful backdrop for the shrubs and flowers in the summer.

Check out the DIY stores, garden centres and homeware stores for seasonal sales of garden paint.

2. Add some fun!

I love this idea of adding colourful glass marbles to fill knot holes, or drill holes to size and pop some in. You'll still have your privacy but as the sun moves behind it they'll sparkle and glow, giving off colourful reflections.

Grab your drill and raid the kid's marble stash!

Image and Tutorial: DIY Cozy Home

3. Get planting vertically!

Fences provide so much untapped growing space if you give it some thought.  I love this idea of using guttering to plant edible leaves and salads.  Cleverly sloped for drainage you can reduce your amount of watering by starting on the top row and allowing it to drain down.

There's loads of ways to utilise the space to plant - hanging pots, reusing old containers, fixing plastic lined pallets to the fence - use your imagination!
Salad Bar : photo and details from

4. Hang some bunting!

Everyone loves bunting and this all weather decoration by Love Chic Living is is both a treat to look at and a clever use of old materials.

Get the kids involved in designing and making and create a truly unique and personalised work of art for your garden.

Slate Bunting by Love Chic Living
5. Frame it!

Adding picture frames to your fence breaks up the monotony; adds interest and colour and draws your eye. Use them to show off plants, or just as a feature in themselves.

Raid the attic, hunt in charity shops or car boots for old unloved frames.  You can re-spray them any colour you like to match your style and either hang them directly on the fence panels, or stand on a shelf like here.

Incidentally, adding shelving to your fence is another great way to liven it up, allowing you to display candles; lanterns; favourite pots; vintage china - whatever you like. If you have horizontal supports on the panels it's really easy to add a shelf made from re-claimed wood, or use brackets to attach them to the panels.

What's your favourite way to add interest to your garden fence?  

Love Chic Living and Love Your Home

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Food of Life - Birds Eye

We all know and love Birds Eye frozen food.  It's been my savior many a tea time when I'm forgotten to organise dinner, been too busy or am just too tired to stand and cook a big family meal.

Fishfinger sandwiches are as popular in our house as they are becoming in gastro pubs, and a handful of frozen peas has contributed to our five-a-day on many occasions.

However, Birds Eye are launching a new marketing campaign aimed at changing our perceptions from it being a 'fall back' food, to it becoming a 'first choice'.

The new campaign focuses on real families as they have their dinner.  Featuring conversations that unfold as the meal is cooked, shared and eaten.  In our house as in many, this is often the only time of the day when we can all be together and discuss what's been happening.

We were lucky enough to receive a special 'birthday hamper' for Ruby containing all manner of goodies and party treats.  Unfortunately due to delays with postage it arrived a month too late, and as she'd already managed to wangle 3 birthday dinners/cakes out of me, we had a small celebration with her cousin while he was over - eating of course their favourite - fishfingers and peas!

I'm looking forward to trying out some of their newer ranges such as the Baked to Perfection Fish to see if I will view Birds Eye as a 'first choice' food rather than an emergency dinner saver!

Thank you Birds Eye for the lovely hamper.

Monday 21 April 2014

Magpie Monday - Like a, b, c

Apologies for my absence last week - I've been having too much fun over the holidays.  I hope you've all enjoyed the break too.

Just a quickie from me this week as we're off to grab what's left of the Bank Holiday weekend.

One thing I've missed about Ruby not being at school, is playing about making her lunches - although we did fit in a fun picnic.

I spotted these in a charity shop, a whole bag full of letter cutters for only £1.

I've looked at buying these before from my local cook shop, but really couldn't justify the price given my already extensively obsessive cookie cutter collection, but for £1 I couldn't really pass them up!

Just think of the Bento lunchbox possibilities!

What second-hand gems have you found lately?  I'd love you to grab the badge and link up.

Friday 18 April 2014

The Gruffalo Trail at Salcey Forest

We were so excited for the Gruffalo Trail to come to our local Forestry Commission wood, so we took full advantage of the Bank Holiday sunshine and headed off to Salcey in Northamptonshire.  The self-led activity trails are in many Forestry Commission sites now until Autumn, and from June many will also be hosting 'life-size' carved Gruffalo sculptures - you can read all about it here and sign up for your free birthday party pack to help The Gruffalo celebrate his 15th Birthday in June here.

As with any self-led activity, you get out as little or as much as you put into it, so we went along full of excitement.  We took our well loved copy of the book to read in the car and all shouted out the words as we wound our way through the countryside.  We took our soft toys too - a mini Gruffalo and fox, we thought they'd like to come along for the ride.

As well as Ruby, we were joined by two of her cousins, so we had an age range from 2 to 7.  The trail start was well signposted and soon we were off!

There's an activity sheet you can purchase from the cafe for £2 but it's not necessary to complete the trail. We followed the signs, with the kids racing each other to see who could find them first.

On each one there's an activity - some involve collecting natural materials from the ground and making things, others encourage the children to think about the woodland, it's uses and the creatures who live there.

They had great fun moving like the different creatures from the book - slithering like a snake; tiptoeing like a mouse; swooping like and owl; scurrying like a fox and stomping like a Gruffalo!

I was very impressed with my nephew who knew all about alliteration, and they came up with descriptive words for the characters.

They hurtled off to find sticks to write with on the ground, and had a go at writing the character names for themselves.

There were loads of marker signs around the trail so it was easy to follow.  We spent up to 20 minutes at some - those that involved collecting and making, and just a few minutes at others, but each one had something to offer.  It was great to hear the whole age range discussing and chatting.

We made a logpile house for snake.

Some nature art too.  Here's my nephew's brilliant mouse with his nut.

And Ruby and her cousin made this other mouse on the floor.

We spent a good hour doing the trail, and when little legs were getting tired there was the motivation of the Gruffalo themed picnic I'd packed to spur them on.  More on that another time.

After our Gruffalo feast, energy restored there was time for a little mini den building before heading off to the tree top walk.

There was plenty of monkeying around when we were back nearer to the ground, and time for some balancing and climbing practice.

We had a fabulous day at Salcey.  Parking for the whole day is just £3 and we spent well over 4 hours there.  It was really busy on Good Friday and it was brilliant to see so many families enjoying the forests.  What better way to end our Gruffalo day than with owl ice cream?

Linking up with Country Kids.

Disclosure: I am an official blogger for the Forestry Commission and receive an annual Discovery Pass.