DIY lace-up shoes

Lace-up shoes have been around for a while now – and I found that it’s actually really easy to make your own pair as you’ll see from this DIY.

I picked up these leopard-print flats for £7 in Tesco a while ago and although I loved them they just wouldn’t stay on my feet. Did not look cool walking in them.

Adding laces made them on trend, pretty – and practical! Continue reading “DIY lace-up shoes”

Spring summer 2016 wish list

I have consulted friends and the internet and drawn up a list of things I think I need for the baby. (Let’s meet back here in a few weeks and we’ll see how much of that crap I actually used).

I had worked out that I could afford to buy everything with the first few pay cheques of the year.

Then – boom! – our boiler is found to be leaking gas and “beyond economical repair.” The three words no one wants to hear. After two weeks of shivering under duvets and throws, £1400 down and having felt a great deal of sympathy for those less fortunate, we’re back with a warm house.

What I think I’m getting to with all this rambling is that following the best laid spending plans doesn’t always work out exactly as you thought.

It’s good to save and plan, but it’s also OK to have a little of what you want, rather than just what you need.

I’m thinking ahead to spring and summer, when I hope the shock of the baby’s arrival has subsided slightly and I can be out enjoying the sunshine.

I won’t go overboard, just buy a few things for the new sunnier season. When (hopefully) my body has returned to something like its normal state. And I have all those days of not having to wear work clothes :)

Here are a few things I have my eye on for spring and summer.

Spring summer 2016 wish list

  1. Patterned maxi dress, £14.99, H&M
  2. Elephant rose gold necklace, £85, Daisy London
  3. But first, coffee sweatshirt, £14.99, Revl Apparel at Etsy
  4. Floral leather bag, £42, Topshop
  5. Minimalist print, £35, Habitat
  6. Wild and free baby bodysuit, £17, Sweetpea and Co. at Etsy
  7. Navy and cream espadrilles, £13, Forever 21
  8. Buttoned denim overall dress, £30, Forever 21

What will you be shopping for this spring summer?

Women in business: Haykin

Yorkshire PR girl Katy Barraclough has opened Haykin, an online store devoted to colour and simplicity.

I’ve been following Katy on Instagram for a while. I think I ended up there initially because she’s friends with one of my favourite Yorkshire bloggers, Lisa of Matilde heart Manech. I was drawn in by her adorable spaniel and perfectly curated images.

After a while, it became clear she was planning a career move and began posting pictures of pieces she’d found and loved. Then, a few days ago, Haykin launched.

Katy, from Ilkley, says she has had a “long-held love affair” with bold, bright colours and an affection for simple, timeless design.

So Haykin is a vibrant collection of homewares and style finds discovered around the world, with some brands making their UK début.

Katy Barraclough, owner of Haykin Continue reading “Women in business: Haykin”

How it feels taking maternity leave

Last week at work we interviewed for the person who will be covering my maternity leave. It’s starting to feel very real, now I only have about 5 weeks of work left.

The rest of the year stretches ahead of me like a desert, empty of the familiar but sometimes tiresome routine: alarm going off; the drive to work; dealing with tasks and problems I’m used to.

Several months being a full-time mum to a new baby will be full, of course, but I don’t know yet exactly what with.

On the one hand, I feel so happy and lucky that we’re here. I’m pregnant and in a couple of months we’re having a baby – what could be more exciting? On the other, there’s apprehension at the unknown.

I enjoy my job. It challenges me, works my brain, keeps me in close contact with important goings-on in the world.

Motherhood will be different. Maternity leave days will be centred around keeping my baby alive, well and happy. I will go to new places – the non-parent nightmare of ‘play gyms’, etc – and spend time with new people.

Will I adjust? Will I be a good parent? Will I feel defined by being a ‘mum’? Will it change me? Will I feel of less value? Will I ever have time to shave my legs? Continue reading “How it feels taking maternity leave”

House tour update: kitchen art

For 12 months after finishing the kitchen renovation, we’ve been reluctant to nail anything to its pristine, newly-plastered walls.

But recently we’ve accepted that, well, we live here now, will do for some time and that personal touches beat a perfect finish any day.

So recently we got some kitchen art and prints up; some old, some new.

(And it occurred to me I don’t think I’ve ever shown you the dining side of the room!)

Grey Ikea kitchen, wood floor, pendant light, Hockney art Kitchen art

Continue reading “House tour update: kitchen art”

What I’m wearing while pregnant

I’m getting pretty bored of my ‘pregnancy wardrobe’ now.

Probably because I haven’t added that much to it for wearing while pregnant. For the first few weeks I just wore normal clothes and now – with a little over two months to go – spending a lot of money on clothing a body in a temporarily changed state doesn’t seem to make sense.

Having said that there have, of course, been some new additions. A couple of absolute essentials for me have been a few pairs of maternity tights and leggings (I got mine from H&M). Over these you can throw skirts, tops, jumpers and dresses – like this, taken a couple of weeks ago before an afternoon out in Leeds with the girls.

Maternity fashion - Primark berry dress and leggingsMaternity fashion - Primark berry dress and leggingsI’m sorry about the rubbish photos, I’m blaming the winter light (and some laziness).

The dress is just from Primark; I bought it because of its loose fit and thinking the rich berry colour would see me through a few winter parties.

This is what else I’ve been wearing: Continue reading “What I’m wearing while pregnant”

Review: The Street Food Cook Book

It’s been great to watch the growth of street food in the last few years.

Northern cities have definitely been at the forefront, and Yorkshire has embraced the trend with open arms. If you’re a regular reader you’ll know I’m a fan. The meals I’ve eaten from food vans have been amazing.

Now a new book, The Street Food Cook Book, has pulled together some of the best northern street food – celebrating the events, sellers and recipes that epitomise the phenomenon.

Review The Street Food Cook BookFood from mobile vans is now about as far removed from greasy burger stands outside football matches as you can imagine. Continue reading “Review: The Street Food Cook Book”

Women in biz: Nathalie Bond Organics

While I dislike the name ‘mumpreneur’ (what’s wrong with just entrepreneur?) becoming pregnant or having a baby does seem to make many women reassess or change their careers.

When she became pregnant with first son Alfie, Nathalie Bond decided to stop using beauty products made with synthetic chemicals. She began making soaps and candles in her kitchen for her own use.

Shortly afterwards her company Nathalie Bond Organics was born, selling skincare and candles made with only natural and organic ingredients. They’re handmade in Sheffield on the edge of the Peak District National Park, where Nat, her husband Andy, Alfie and new baby Ted also live.

Just before Christmas, Nat sent me one of her candles to review. It was the orange and clove scent (only on sale until the end of January); four other varieties are available. I’m not usually a fan of spicy smells, but I found this one, while a winter warmer, to be delicate and fresh. Continue reading “Women in biz: Nathalie Bond Organics”

Ikea Live Lagom project – the products

You might remember that a few weeks ago I told you I’m taking part in Ikea’s Live Lagom project.

The project is about the small ways we can all live more sustainably. The Swedish “Lagom är bäst” means “the right amount is best” – so not denying yourself things you love, while not taking from the planet more than you need.

I’ve now discussed my lifestyle and home life with Ikea and their sustainability partners Hubbub, and decided that my journey towards taking less from the environment will involve:

  • cutting food waste by storing it better, cooking in batches and growing my own vegetables
  • using more energy efficient lighting
  • making the house cosier without turning up the heating – by, for example, covering a bare wood floor with a high pile rug and using a block-out blind
  • storing things more efficiently, so we don’t end up buying things we don’t need

Ikea have given each of their Live Lagom ambassadors a generous £500 to spend on their products. Now we all know that kind of money can take you pretty far in Ikea, but it’s not like I was scratching my head wondering what I could spend it on. More like I was struggling to whittle down my wish list.

This is how I’ve decided to spend my money. Continue reading “Ikea Live Lagom project – the products”

How pregnancy has surprised me

After waiting and hoping for so long to become pregnant, it’s surprised me a little bit how casual I feel about it most of the time.

We’ve got about three months to go, and we’ve now had the serious scans which showed – thankfully – that everything seems to be healthy.

(Oh, there is one thing. It looks like it could be a biggie. 9lb+ if it carries on growing as it has done so far. But I’ll worry about that nearer the time!)

I suppose casual is the wrong word, but I’ve got used to feeling the baby move inside me and it always being there, along for the ride.

Before I actually was, there are some things I thought I would do if/when I became pregnant: Continue reading “How pregnancy has surprised me”

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