Friday, 18 April 2014

Stained Glass Windows

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I absolutely love the print of this dress. I resisted buying it when I first saw it on asos because I'm not at all religious, but when it went down to only £14 in the sale I caved in. I might not be religious, but I really can appreciate the beauty of stained glass windows and I love visiting old churches and cathedrals. 

This week we headed into our home city and went for a walk along the river banks and around the cathedral and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to wear this dress. I may be slightly biased, but I love our Cathedral. I have visited a lot of religious buildings all over the world and nothing quite compares. It brings back so many nostalgic memories of climbing to the top with my mum when I was only a little girl and going for our school carol service before Christmas each year. It's hard to get your head round the fact that it was built in 1093! I remember doing a project on it in school and for some reason that date has always stuck in my head.

I have been really enjoying days out with my husband and baby girl. I haven't been a party animal for a good few years and it's obviously a lot harder to go out for drinks these days, but I love nothing more than going for breakfast, lunch or cake, especially cake and a walk and I cannot wait for picnic weather to finally arrive! 

Stained Glass Smock Dress - Asos (currently £14 in the sale)
Bolero - Oasis (old)
Boots - Topshop (old)
Satchel - Asos (old)
Necklace - Delilah Dust

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Food Diary Week 2

Here's what I ate this week:

Breakfast: Weetabox, semi-skimmed milk and a glass of orange juice
Lunch: Bagel, Quorn bacon, poached egg and beans
Dinner: Butternut squash, chickpea and cauliflower rogan josh with rice and carrot, almond and coriander salad. Recipe from Jamie Oliver's 30 Minute meals. You can find it here

Breakfast: Lemon curd and homemade raspberry jam on seeded toast.
Lunch: Mozzarella, tomato and pesto panini with salad and coleslaw at a National Trust Cafe
Dinner: Mexican bean burger and chips (we were very late back so had a quick 'stick it in the oven' dinner). 

I can't believe how much bread I ate!

Breakfast: Weetabix and semi-skimmed milk
Lunch: Homemade mushroom, cashew and basil pate with homemade bread.
Dinner: River cobbler with caponata (recipe here) and watercress salad.

Breakfast: Jordan's Country Crisp Chunky Nut Cereal (this is high in protein but contains a scary amount of fat and sugar)
Lunch: Homemade red pepper and onion pate and mushroom, cashew and basil pate with homemade sunflower and honey bread. I didn't eat all this myself, but shared it with my parents who were visiting. 
Dinner: Vegetable chili wraps with lemony gaucamole, cheese, sour cream and lettuce. Recipe from River Cottage Veg Everyday. Again, I didn't eat all of this myself, but share it with my husband.

Breakfast: Jordan's Country Crisp Chunky Nut Cereal
Brunch: Eggs Royale at Browns in Newcastle
Dinner: Butternut squash, chickpea and cauliflower rogan josh with rice and carrot, almond and coriander salad. Recipe from Jamie Oliver's 30 Minute meals. You can find it here

Breakfast: Weetabix and sem-skimmed milk
Lunch: Poached salmon, spinach and lemon creme fraiche sandwich on homemade sunflower and honey bread
Dinner: We went out for a Chinese and shared a banquet for 8. My brother in law is the restaurant manager so he made sure the banquet included  three meat free dishes for me. It was delicious!

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs on toast
Lunch: Two Graze boxes that I actually shared with my husband.
Dinner: Butternut squash, fennel and goats cheese lasagna with lambs lettuce. 

Again, it was a carb/bread heavy week, but we just bought a bread maker and there are many recipe I want to try so I imagine the next few weeks will be pretty carb heavy too! 

Friday, 11 April 2014

Baby Bump

From week 14 of my pregnancy my husband and I were pretty good at taking photos of my ever expanding baby bump! We managed to take a photo most weeks although we became rather lazy in the last few weeks. I think I was just so frustrated by the time I got past week 40 that I just couldn't bare taking any photos! I had planned to take my last photo in the early stages of labour, but I was unexpectedly induced so never got the chance. 

I am so pleased we did this. It is lovely to look back on these photos and I have printed them all out and placed them in the Bump to Baby Journal I completed throughout my pregnancy. 

Thursday, 10 April 2014

March Beauty Favourites

I've been meaning to do a favourites video for months and I finally got round to it, although I was a little bit tongue tied throughout!

Please check it out and subscribe to my youtube channel. I would really appreciate it. 

What have you been enjoying this month? Do you have any recommendations for dry skin?

Spring Flowers, walled gardens and stately homes









On Tuesday, armed with a large supply of  Percy Pigs we headed up to Northumberland and spent the day at Wallington Hall and Morpeth.  We visited Wallington Hall for the first time in August (I did  a blog post on our day here) and  of all the National Trust properties I have been to I think it is my very favourite.

As we arrived it started raining so we quickly dived into the cafe. I think everyone had the same idea as it was a little too crowded to be completely enjoyable but the showers were the prefect excuse to share a panini and scone and enjoy a coffee. The food was good, but nothing amazing, but I hope to return in the summer to have afternoon tea in Hall. 

We didn't visit the Hall this time as we had a long look around last time, but I would definitely recommend it. The dolls house room is amazing! Instead we walked around the grounds, through the woods, around the lake and through the walled garden. The walled garden was absolutely stunning in summer and the perfect place to enjoy a picnic or read a book, but it was also lovely to see it in Spring. I love Spring flowers. 

Despite this being our second visit there is still so much we haven't explored. I hope to go back on a drier day and walk along the river and I imagine it is somewhere we will visit in years to come as there are so many things to entertain children, including a pretty impressive looking play area and a perfect tree to climb on.

I love exploring places like this. Do you have any favourite stately homes or gardens you like to visit? I am looking for new places to explore, particularly in the North-East, Yorkshire or the Lake District.

I wore a very practical outfit! As someone who rarely wore jeans before I was pregnant I have been living in my maternity jeans for months. I still love dresses, but skinny jeans just seem so much more practical and this parka from Oasis is the perfect practical coat. It had a removable faux fur lining which means it is great in the cold winter, but also on Spring days like this one. The only problem is the hood does that annoying thing of coming too far forward and covering my eyes! I seem to repeatedly have this problem with coats! Does anyone else?  I love this scarf. I have always been a little bit obsessed with globes, maps and map prints even though I appear to be incapable of reading them! I am in search of map print clothing, particularly a map print dress. I have fallen for this Laura Ashley dress, but at £85 it's a little outside my maternity pay budget. Please let me know if you have seen anything else around. 

Parka - Oasis
Jumper - Sugarhill Boutique
Maternity Leigh Jeans - Topshop 
Scarf - Warehouse (last year)
Black and Gold Bracelet  - Warehouse
Satchel - Asos
Boots - Topshop (old)

Monday, 31 March 2014

River walks and market towns





This weekend we were determined to visit somewhere new. It's so easy to fall into a routine of popping to a few local cities and towns and visiting the same cafes and restaurants, but we decided to venture a little further afield.

After a late brunch we headed to the Yorkshire market town of Richmond. We had just arrived when we bumped into friends (our best man from our wedding and his girlfriend) which was a little crazy as the town is almost an hour away from where we all live and none of us had been in years!

We spent the day drinking coffee, eating brownies, going for a walk along the river and exploring little shops. There was a lot more there than I initially thought and I hope to visit again in summer and explore the castle and enjoy a picnic along the river. I cannot wait for picnic weather!

I am still living in my maternity jeans and I think it may be sometime before I squeeze myself back into my Topshop skinnies! This jumper is from Sugarhill and I love it. It's so comfortable and is currently a bargain in the sale.  Can you believe this bag is from Primark? I absolutely love it. It looks so vintage even down to the lining. I got it a a couple of weeks ago and there were only two left and it was one of those instant purchases. I'm quite tempted to get it in tan too.

Jumper - Sugarhill 
Faux leather jacket - Dorothy Perkins
Jeans - Topshop maternity
Bag - Primark
Boots - Shellys (very old)

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Milk Bottle Legs

I recently read a great post on the blog New Girl In Toon all about being ginger, the prejudice that surrounds it and learning to love it. I'm not a natural red head so I've never had to deal with any 'gingerism' as I've heard it referred to but it got me thinking about another issue: skin colour and by skin colour I don't mean racism as we know it, but our obsession with tanned skin and the negative attitude surrounding pale, white skin.

I have always been incredibly pale. My mum recalls people frequently telling her that I must be ill and she needed to take me to the doctors because I was so pale when I was a baby and that has never changed! It came in handy when I was at school and wanted to get out of P.E, but it gets very annoying. If I ever go to the doctor's they always tell me I am very pale and automatically jump to the conclusion that I am anemic. The day after being discharged from hospital after having my baby girl a new midwife came to visit as my community midwife was on holiday. I had no make-up on and one of the first things she asked me was whether I was anemic. She even wrote that I looked very pale in my medical notes despite my husband and I both telling her that it was simply my natural skin colour! In actual fact, whenever it has been tested my red blood cell count has always been exceptionally high even right through pregnancy and medical professionals have been shocked to find out I don't eat meat. Blusher is my savior! I pile it on and could sometimes be arrested by the blusher police, but I find without it even my mum asks me if I am feeling OK.

My skin never changes colour and unfortunately I have never had a tan. I actually love lying in the sun, but I have learnt to smother myself in factor 50 because whenever I burn it can stay red for days then just goes back to white even when I don't peel. I used to hate it on girly holidays in my late teens when all my other friend's would be having tanning competitions and I would stay the same colour. Also, people never believe that I simply don't tan. I remember getting very frustrated on a holiday to Turkey with a friend when a woman in the hotel kept insisting that I would tan after two weeks. I didn't! I have been in hot countries for months at a time when travelling and stay just as pale as ever! My husband couldn't believe it the first time we went on holiday together and I burnt badly, but stayed the same colour. Whenever I return from holiday I always get asked if the weather was bad or if I didn't go out in the sun. I once got asked if I had been on holiday to a flour mill! Perhaps the most annoying thing about not tanning on holiday is all those people trying to sell you day trips, time shares or trying to get you in their restaurants always assume it is the first day of my holiday and never leave me alone!

Over the years I have had some very negative comments about my skin. I have frequently had people tell me that I need some fake tan or need to go on a sunbed. In Lanzarote I had a Spanish woman tell me she thought my skin was ugly and unhealthy and I frequently get told I have milk bottle legs. I have had so many people tell me I am too pale which reminds me of a conversation I once heard on the radio about Nicola Roberts from girls aloud. At the time she had just stopped smothering herself in fake tan and was starting to embrace her beautiful naturally pale skin and two DJ's said that they thought she had gone too far and was far too white! How could she have possibly gone too far when it was her natural skin colour? In this day and age no-one would accuse someone of being too black so why should it be acceptable to say someone is too white? I suppose the same can be said of people who are told they are too skinny when you would never dream of telling someone they were too fat!

In this country tanned skin is always seen as so healthy and so desirable and I will admit a natural tan can look great, but I hate the obsession we seem to have with fake tans and especially sun beds. We all know the dangers of lying in the sun for an unhealthy amount of time and going on sunbeds. In my teens I dabbled in fake tans, but they just looked ridiculous on me.

When I have been in some other parts of the world their attitude to my skin has been very different, especially when I was in Vietnam for my honeymoon. There, white skin is seen as incredibly desirable. When I first arrived in the capital Ho Chi Minh City I noticed people staring at me, I didn't realise why until a couple of people told me I had beautiful skin. Then when I went to small villages off the tourist trail the reaction I got to my skin colour was unbelievable. I had children following me and trying to give me sweets, men surrounding me and occasionally women stroking my skin. I got told my several people that I was the whitest person they had ever seen and each day I had numerous people tell me my skin was beautiful. In one hotel the women that worked there desperately tried to cover up my skin before I went outside saying that it would go brown if I didn't keep it covered and they told me men wouldn't like that! Many women there covered their skin from head to toe during the day in very hot weather to protect it from the sun then removed layers once the sun went down. Our male tour guide did the same. Their shops sold whitening creams in the way our sell fake tans!

I've frequently heard that pale skin is coming back into fashion which to me is just ridiculous! Why should a skin colour be in or out of fashion? I don't know if I will ever learn to love my pale skin, but I have certainly learnt to accept it. I am pale and I always will be and it works with my red hear as long as I pile on the blusher!