Sunday, 15 December 2013

Hotel Chocolat - Classic Christmas Selection Review

The very lovely people at Hotel Chocolat recently asked me to review one of their Christmas selections - I chose the Sleekster collection.

My friends who I happened to be meeting this weekend were, unsurprisingly more than happy to review* them with me.

We all like the packaging and we loved the look of what we found inside. They looked extremely yummy and very Christmass'y.

So here is what they said about them (they didn't, quite eat all of them ....), word for word;

The serious business of testing chocolates

The white chocolate vanilla bell - Nice depth of vanilla flavour with a good hard snap.
The Christmas mess - A bit bland at first but the base was tasty
The Cranberry cup - Very nice with a lovely tangy cream
50% Milk bauble - Perfect fabulous chocolate
Pistachio praline crunch - No crunch but a good strong taste
Chambord royale - very nice, strong taste of champagne which was very warming, would have liked it better without the white chocolate
Nutmeg and almond praline - we all tried a little bit of this - and our advice is not to eat this one, the combination of flavours just didn't work
Caramel supernova - Bloody marvelous
Rum Punch - this one was left and my husband tried this one - He liked it a lot. (I think mostly the rum)
Marzipan and amaretto truffle - Just nom nom nom.

Unfortunately, I didn't quite manage to review them all as they were like a swarm of locusts and to be frank I think this says it all. There was only the one chocolate that we weren't keen on, but the rest were lovely and would definitely make a great Christmas gift. Two thumbs up. 

*Gobble them up like there is no tomorrow

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

The Gallery - Feeling Festive

Last Friday we went to see Santa. It was great and even his reindeer were there. This just lifted my daughters excitement levels for when we decorated the house the next day. Christmas, here we come.
You can't beat the look of excitement on your child's face when they are talking to Santa

And even Mrs Santa was there

Not the best picture but you can see the joy at meeting Rudolph.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Renovating - Yes, it's still going on!

So, it is nearly Christmas and is my kitchen done? No. Is the plaster dust gone? Yes, is everything decorated? Yes, is there a fully functioning kitchen? sort of.

So for the last month I have been quite poorly. It started as a cold and ended up as acute bronchitis. This has been no fun at all, as sharing the house with builders whilst you are ill means that you lock yourself in your bedroom and watch stuff on the laptop which is downloadable... for example I'm a Celebrity ...which I have never watched before but now I am totally hooked. #hangsheadinshame. This is my excuse for lack of updates on project...completely redo downstairs.

Anyhoo,  last time I wrote this there had been no painting and the plastering and floor hadn't been finished - so here it is with plaster and the floor down.

With a nice clean floor

With the interlinking floor from stone to wood

And we have had paint on the walls, which is v. exciting

It was a little disappointing that the painter got paint all over the new floor (and I am still waiting for it to be cleaned up) but the floor is down and there is paint on the walls Yay! Please ignore the fridhe in the middle of the room.
And the kitchen now, painted (believe it or not the kitchen is a different colour to the living room - this picture shows the colours perfectly......I know!)

And the new utility 


Since these photo's were taken I have had some of the kitchen cabinets fitted, and since yesterday I have a sink with running water - hot and cold. We have been without taps downstairs for about 3 weeks, both daughters went and tested the taps the minute they got home from school, this is the highlight so far. I also now have some kitchen surface, which we haven't had for months. But, for now this is where we are. I will follow up on this soon, we are nearly there, and who knows, I might be able to get our stuff out of storage in the new year.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Blacks Outdoor Clothing Review

The nice people at Blacks recently asked me if my kids would like to test drive some of their outdoor clothing.

My kids, being outdoor types were more than keen to give these clothes a go.

Heather, who is nearly 11 is wearing a Peter Storm knitlook fleece for age 13 (£15.00). This is her favourite item and she has worn it pretty much constantly since the time it arrived - she gives this 10 out of 10 as it is 'super comfy and warm'

The hat is her own. We also had coats for both Lola and Heather. Lola's coat was from Peter Storm and the Mystic 3 in 1, for age 7 (£35.00). It has a detachable fleece with a waterproof outer layer. At this time of year when you never quite know what the weather is going to do, it's perfect.

As you can see, they have been wearing their coats to school, and I like that Lola's has the reflective material on the sleeves and on the back, which is re-assuring as the nights draw in.

Lola gave her coat 9 out of 10 and loves the fleece being detachable.
The only reason Lola gave it a 9 was because one of the little poppers that hold the fleece in place has broken, which is a bit of a shame, and some of the velcro has become un-stitched.

Heather is enjoying her coat and loves the colour, hers is the Peter Storm Belle Circle Jacket, aged 13 and is currently £15.00 in the sale. I am hoping this jacket will work for her for the whole winter as it is very warm and shower proof. Heather gave it 9 out of 10. 

 It got 9 out of 10 as one of the poppers on the pocket has broken already (she has been wearing it about 2 weeks)
And finally, Lola had a pair of Peter Storm Barnston hillwalking boots, size 13 (£25.00). I love these on Lola and they are really robust, Lola, however, only gave them 8 out of 10 as she didn't like the design and thought the laces were too thick (hard to tie for little fingers).

Overall we are really happy with the out door kit from Blacks, I would say to the Peter Storm people, remember little people aren't very gentle with their clothes so a little bit more care and attention to poppers and stitching would be good, however, they are certainly no worse than other coats they have had and the positives far out weigh any negatives. 

My girls are happy which makes me happy.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

The Gallery - Sunday Mornings

For the Gallery this week we are talking about Sunday Mornings.

Mine varies, but every other week I try to get up and see my Dad. So husband and kids are piled into the car for the hours drive to visit him.

My Dad has become more and more frail since my Mum passed away last year, but I think he is pleased to see us. We try to go out so he gets to see a bit of the world beyond his four walls, but this is becoming more challenging for him.

None the less, I treasure my time with him and encourage my girls to chat to him (although they have to shout as he is quite deaf...and won't wear a hearing aid). My eldest is fascinated by World War II as she is studying it at school and Dad has lots of stories, so it is lovely to see them nattering away.

Dad with Lola in his garden

Dad out and about 2 weeks ago at the Riverside Inn near Cound in Shropshire

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

The Renovating Continues....

I am now so sick of the dust that is EVERYWHERE. But, things are moving along, The bifolding doors went in this week, which has changed the whole look of the kitchen.

And the back door has been removed.

You can see they have been working on all the wiring as well - the living room spots are in. 
They have also taken out the old storage heater from the soon to be utility room.

This has really opened the space up, the photo's really don't do it justice - but the dust, now that you can see perfectly - Gah!

Only a month or two to go.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Christmas in October

This week the lovely Christmas elves that help Santa at John Lewis, invited me along to see what they have been up to.

My goodness they have been busy. 

They explained that this year there will be five themes, the main one is Woodland Wonder.  Then there is Forest Festival, Rural Life, Vintage Market and Odyssey.

The elves explained the various themes. Woodland Wonder is pared back colourful and bright. There are lovely lazer cut shapes and interesting lighting.

The Forest Festival is especially for children it includes the charity panda and lots of colourful forest creatures.

Rural life is inspired by Christmas's past and nostalgic, so think pine cones and lots of greens and reds. The adult Christmas stockings are fab.

Vintage market, is all subtle pastel shades and inspired by vintage Christmas's. The soft gold and pearl shades are gorgeous.

Odyssey is more grown up and modern, there is hand blown glass baubles and shapes inspired by technology, I think this is my favourite one.

Other than the themes there are all the usual fab John Lewis stuff, including Christmas food. Nom.

And even Christmas presents for all your pets.
I am loving the Alessi cat bowls. 

Even your men folk are sorted...don't tell hubs, but this is looking good to go into his adult Christmas stocking. Ssssssshhhhhhh.

If you do want to know more about this, those darn clever elves have only gone and made a video about it.

So if I don't say it later - Happy Christmas folks xxx

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

The Gallery - Phone Photo's

I love the freedom of having a camera constantly with me on my phone, so even if I am not carting my DSLR around it means I miss nothing. And when you have kids you really don't want to miss a thing.

Here are some of my more recent phone photo's for #The Gallery

Lola gets her flump on.

Heather just after having all her hair cut off, looking v.grown up.

 Going for curls (it didn't work, the hair is just too straight)

It's not just the little kids...hmmm

 Lola coloured this herself, she was quite pleased.

The gingerbread man...oh yes.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Renovations .... The Return

Well, this week has been a better week, and mostly focused on glazing. Our living room and our daughters bay windows have been replaced.

 The inside patio doors have been removed
The bi-folding doors have arrived
Which I am way more excited about than I should be.
The velux's were added to the kitchen

And the kitchen roof was re-felted
I am kind of liking the window turrets as well. I wonder if the cats will go on top of them?

So things are moving forward and I am much happier. I am still focusing on the end of the project, but I feel like we could be half way there.

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