Friday, 29 November 2013

Winter make-up

The make-up trends I've been noticing lately seem to involve defined brows and of course a bit of festive sparkle in the run up to Christmas. I picked up a three for two in Boots today thanks to the current offer on Maybelline cosmetics. I got the Brow Drama in dark blonde, which I've been keen to try for a subtle take on defined brows. It seems like the perfect shade for me and is easy to use. I also got the Master Drama liner in ultra black and the Color Show Brocades polish in knitted gold. The gold sparkles appealed to the magpie in me and I'll be trying this soon! Have you tried any of these products? Do you like a bit of sparkle in the winter too?

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Gifts for me!

When doing a spot of Christmas shopping, do you ever 'accidentally' buy yourself a few little gifts? Remember, you need to be treated too! Yesterday I enjoyed a little festive outing, started ticking off the present list and picked up these goodies for myself. Beaded necklace from Miss Selfridge and 'Beehive' lipstick from Topshop.

These will add a bit of pretty to warm winter outfits. What gifts have you bought yourself recently?

I'm linking up with What I Wore Wednesday:

And Fashion Friday:

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Winter boots

The search is over for a pair of sensible winter boots, and luckily I found some I liked that were also a really good price.

My criteria were that my boots should be flat, black and knee high, and I found these in store at Marks & Spencer. No link as I can't find these online. They are pull-on with a stretchy back panel, so they hug my legs quite nicely. And after a whole day of wear today, I can report that they are remarkably comfortable for a new pair of boots. These look and feel good quality but only cost £39, so I hope they last through the winter.

I just noticed there is 20% off M&S online today!

Are you getting kitted out for winter weather too?

I'm linking up with What I Wore Wednesday
And Fashion Friday

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Make! Spiced baked pears and plums

Here is a nice little winter warmer and a simple pudding. Cut a load of plums in half and slice up some pears, then place in an ovenproof dish. Drizzle generously with honey and sprinkle all over with cinnamon. Bake in the oven at 180c for around half an hour. Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche or Greek yoghurt. A very comforting and satisfying pud for a cold and wet day!

Monday, 4 November 2013

Visiting Barcelona with a toddler

Last month we had a week's holiday in Barcelona, and what a great city break destination it is to visit with a toddler. I had been to the city before in my early twenties, but I can truly say that I enjoyed the family Barcelona much more than the party Barcelona I previously knew!
Although V is normally in bed by seven, he'd had a long nap on the plane journey so we were able to take him out for a late dinner on the night we arrived. It was a great way to kick off our holiday, dining al fresco on a warm October night. He was very interested in the lobsters and other seafood on display at the restaurant.
For accommodation we decided to stay in the beach neighbourhood of Barceloneta and we found this spacious apartment on Air BnB. It was ideal for our needs as it had a separate room where V could sleep, a good kitchen where we could cook our meals, and a balcony where R and I could have a glass of wine and enjoy wonderful views over the city by night.
We cooked most of our evening meals in the apartment, which suited us best as V is early to bed. For lunches we ate out, and we found that tapas style dining was ideal for a toddler. Dishes of olives, patatas bravas, local cheeses and cured meats kept us all very happy.

As for food shopping, Barcelona is famous for wonderful markets like La Boqueria where all kinds of fresh produce are available. So we stocked up on lots of fruit for snacking and local meat, seafood and vegetables to cook our evening meals. Why can't we have markets like this at home?
We meandered around the city at a toddler's pace. I think when you have small kids it's important to realise that you can't rush around a city at breakneck speed, ticking off all the sights like you may have once done on visits to big exciting cities like this. Barcelona just seemed perfect for our needs, as it's full of beautiful parks, open squares and great little play areas for kids. There was always somewhere we could stop off and get an ice cream and let V run around. He had a great time every day playing with local kids at the play park in Barceloneta's market square, right next to our apartment.
There are so many activities you can do in Barcelona that kids of all ages will love. Some of our favourite trips were to the aquarium, the zoo, Park Guell and Parc de la Ciutadella.  

Not to mention the beach! We were staying a stone's throw from it and we spent a couple of lovely chilled mornings down there. We rented loungers and a parasol so that V could play in the shade, building sandcastles. Good times!
City and beach: could there be a more perfect combination? Early October was the perfect time for our visit as it was still sunny and warm, but not so hot that it was uncomfortable to have long strolls and be outside playing in the middle of the day.
 We had plenty of comics, crayons and stickers to keep V occupied in the apartment, in addition to a few small toys.

Even The Sagrada Familia has a play park! How ideal for us. We didn't make it inside this time, but instead we had an ice cream in the park and marvelled at the wonder of architecture before us!
 The great location of our apartment meant we could explore the whole of central Barcelona on foot. We didn't once take public transport, but then we do like to do a lot of walking. We had a light folding buggy and I imagine we could easily have hopped on the metro or a bus had we wanted to. The Barri Gotic was about 20 minutes walk, while the Sagrada Familia and Park Guell were closer to an hour away on foot.
Another little play park at Placa George Orwell. Our time in Barcelona was so enjoyable and stress-free. V has even told us he wants to go back again soon! What a wonderful place to take a toddler.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

The Sublime Home: A work in progress

After two years of living in our flat, we've finally got round to having these shelves built to house our massive book collection. It will be a relief to move all of our books, plus the TV, DVD player and sky box into this big unit with locking cupboards. All out of the reach of little people! Apart from the little desk at one end where V can sit and play and read his own books.

The shelves are made of plywood which we will paint white, so our materials were fairly inexpensive and a great joiner put this together in less than two days. I love having tons of storage space so I'm over the moon to have this in my sitting room. Our very own library!