Taking Care of our shoes with Granger’s Care Kits

Well, the weather has certainly turned, what a true brit I am to be starting the post talking about the weather!

It seems like only yesterday that we were having some beautiful sunny walks and staying out for what seemed like forever as the sun didn’t set until nearly 9 o’clock.

We had some amazing days out in the summer and still make the most of it now, no matter what the weather.

Taking Care of our shoes with Granger's Care Kits

We had a lovely long walk through bournemouth gardens following a mystery trail. It took us from Coy Pond all the way to the seafront. I certainly had sore feet by the end of it and my lovely OH made the final walk back to the car and then came back to pick me up. I felt a bit of a wimp but it was a nice treat not to have to do the last bit of the walk, I was so tired!

Well I can say that with two boys it’s hard not to start fretting about muddy foot prints coming into the house. Even getting out of our car and coming inside is now an exercise in trying not to get our shoes full of mud from the front garden.

So one of the things that has made it easier is having the chance to try the new cleaning kit from Grangers I have been giving it a go to see if I can make a difference to how the boys shoes look. I’ve also got the chance to have a look at the clothing care kit to treat my waterproof jacket. It gets even better as I have a fabulous giveaway to end the post with so you will get the chance to try out some products too!

Taking Care of our shoes with Granger's Care Kits

The Footwear Care Kit was what I was most looking forward to trying as the amount of shoes I goes through for the boys is huge. Shoes are so expensive and what I really need to do is protect the ones we have and properly make use of the investment I have put into them.

Each kit contains one bottle of Footwear + Gear Cleaner, one bottle of Footwear Repel, one Footwear Brush, and a free tube of Leather Conditioner.


Using is easy and reminded me of when I was small and would sit with my grandad watching him while he carefully cleaned his work shoes. How different memories come to the surface doing the simplest of things. The grip on the handles is comfy and you can make it an easy job by doing it regularly. Like with most things, the more you do it the better the result.

Taking Care of our shoes with Granger's Care Kits

I’m very pleased with the result and delighted to be able to offer for the giveaway today; one Cherry Blossom Ultra Repel and one Universal Cleaner for you to win. You can enter using the rafflecopter entry below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Safe to use on all types of footwear – including those made from leather, suede, nubuck, and fabric – Footwear Care Kit cleans and protects all footwear without adversely affecting any of the technical features your shoes or boots may possess, and is perfect for restoring the water-repellent finish found on boots with Gore-Tex® and eVent membranes.

Taking Care of our shoes with Granger's Care Kits

 


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I was offered a product to review for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own. Clean shoes are a massive bonus! Giveaway open to UK entrants only.

Let’s start promoting!

When I was preparing for my recent trip to London to go to Brit Mums Live 17 it suddenly struck me that I didn’t have any publicity material.

I started seeing my fellow bloggers showing their bright spangly business cards on their tweets. People were really prepared and I felt a bit left behind in the promotion stakes. So I thought, let’s start promoting!

I have had it in the back of my mind for a while now that I would like to start having some material or products with my logo on it. I’d love to see my brand displayed on clothes or bags, it would be so cool. When I first designed my logo I was just beginning and it seems like a long time ago.

So I got to it and thought about what I’d like. First up was some business cards. I designed these on my computer and chose the wording with the aim in my head that it was a welcome card to come see my blog.

let's start promoting
My home made business blog cards!

Does it work? I’m not sure but I do know that the understated look works for me. I still won’t have my picture on it but it still represents me in a way that I’m happy with.

I also used Bags of Love who make beautiful personalised gifts with photos of your own designs. They have just about everything you could want to have your photo printed on from personalised suitcases to hot water bottles. Their photo gifts are very impressive.

let's start promoting

Everything is handmade in the UK, built to last and sent out nice and quickly. If you are impatient like me then it’s great!

The bag is perfect for me, it’s very stylish and has loads of room for all kinds of shopping or work material I may have.

It’s also got little pockets on the inside for money and things I need to get to in a hurry! I spend far too long scrabbling around in the bottom of my bags for my car keys so this is a real plus for me.

let's start promoting
I chose pale blue on the sides to compliment my blog logo

So I think I’m just about set for the moment. I like the idea of having some really nice looking journal, so I think that will be my next project.

Can you think of anything else that I could use as promotional pieces?

What’s the quirkiest thing you’ve seen?

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I was gifted the bag for the purpose of reviewing the service. The cards I made myself! It all came together at the right time!

Things that make you go eerrgh!

This was a post I wasn’t going to write, I had no intention to put my fingers to the keyboard and spell out the continuation of my throat saga. If you remember my poem The Silence that was the start of my throat problems and I had hoped it would all be done and dusted by now.

But no, a couple of months ago I sat here writing looking like this:

Things that make you go eerrgh!

I had to go and have an 24hr PH test. The tube goes down my throat and sits down in my oesophagus. For 24hrs this had to stay there doing it’s thing and measures the amount of acid that wells up (refluxes) from your stomach into your oesophagus, and helps to find out if your symptoms are caused by acid reflux which is the flow of the stomach contents back into the oesophagus. It sounds strange and it is but the effect on my throat so far has been so painful and sore that I had become desperate to find out the cause. The tube, as you can see on the picture runs out of the nose and is taped to the side of my face and leads down to a contraption which records all of the data.

What you can’t see is that when I opened my mouth you can see the white coated tube running down the back of my throat, it’s bizarre! That’s why I had to entitle this post; Things that make you go eerrgh! There’s nothing I like less than seeing other peoples medical bits and bobs.

Probably one of the biggest fears I had to conquer was actually having the tube threaded up my nose and down my throat. It just goes against every natural instinct in my body. Suffice to say I gagged, put up my hand like the nice doctor said I could if it got too much and we all stood there not moving until I had the balls to motion to carry on. It’s horrendous and I couldn’t really get over that fact. I’m a whimp and it was clear to see.
via GIPHY

After some dramatics and copious amounts of tears coming out of my eyes due to the effect of gagging and the feeling on my nose, it was finally down and sitting in the right place inside of me.

Things that make you go eerrgh!
A little anatomy lesson!

Here you can see that there’s quite a long piece of tube needed to go down and dangle there catching the data. It stops just before the sphincter. When I ate I had to push the relevant buttons on my little hip pack to show that I was eating or drinking. This would be transferred to the printout when it came the following day so that it reflected the correct results. The same for if I laid down to sleep. If I had any of the symptoms then I could record that too. Acid feelings and those sorts of things would show up by way of an electro mark and all add to what they could find out. The doctor could see that I was not at all comfortable with it being there and although it should be in for 24hrs I asked what the minimum was. Reluctantly he said to try to get past 4hrs. It was like that statement sparked off a mental countdown timer in my head that I didn’t even know I had.

By the time it got to the early hours of the morning I was so freaked by the feeling of it going down the back of my throat that I took it out myself. Really strange feeling. I took a deep breath and gently peeled off the cotton sticky plasters holding the tube in place around my nose. Then, really really carefully and nice and slow, I started to pull the tube out of my nose. Mind over matter had to come into play once again. Finally after a few seconds which felt a hell of a lot longer, the ends of the tubes came out of my nose. What a feeling that was, I gave a little whoop of joy and was immensely relieved that it had come out so smoothly and was over and done with.

I had the best couple of hours sleep ever after that! So pleased that it was behind me. It seems like a natural end to this particular post. I’ll do another update soon and let you know how it’s all going. Thank goodness it’s done for the time being though.

Have you ever had to have one of these procedures or anything similar, come on, let’s share some stories!

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Stunning Stourhead National Trust Estate

Stunning Stourhead National Trust EstateWe had a real treat recently with our trip to Stourhead which is a National Trust estate with huge gardens and house. We won a family ticket which was a thrill in itself and we wanted to go somewhere that we hadn’t previously heard of.

My OH and I had a look through the national trusts site. With our need to have somewhere; family friendly, a long walk and a good house to have a nose around, coupled with somewhere within 1 to 2 hrs drive, we settled on Stourhead in Wiltshire. It seemed to have all the elements that would suit us. It does state that no balls are to be taken for the kids and I can understand that they don’t want a football to go hurtling into all their beautiful plants and flowers.

We packed a good old family picnic in the morning and set out on our trip. It didn’t take too long to get there from our home in Dorset, just over an hour. Our prize ticket did work OK. I’m always a little worried when using a voucher or something that ‘the computer says no’ or there is a problem with that day or time being excluded. Everything was fine though.

Stunning Stourhead National Trust Estate

The house is stunning and you can see from this view looking up from the gardens that it is framed really well by the care that is taken over the gardens. you can also see by the dark clouds that rain was a feature of our day too!

Stunning Stourhead National Trust Estate

The literature and the information around the house charts the lives of the last family to have Stourhead, parents Henry and Alda Hoare and their only son Harry. The family were devoted to each other and to Stourhead. Behind the public rooms used for entertaining and shared with visitors were the intimate family spaces where the family could relax and be themselves.

As you move around the family home, you follow in the family’s footsteps from their arrival and through the war years. Henry and Alda were devastated when Harry was killed in World War 1. They gave Stourhead to the National Trust in 1946.

Stunning Stourhead National Trust Estate

In the playrooms there were dressing up areas for the children to try on clothes from the era that the family were in residence. Our boys had some fun in there. It’s a good break if you are doing the tour in the house with children as they can let off a little steam without worrying that they will upset anyone.

There is also a picture quiz where they have to go round and find pictures of dogs in different paintings around the house. The boys love a bit of competition between themselves so it was another task to keep them occupied.

Stunning Stourhead National Trust Estate

So much care and dedication was put into the gardens by the family, it was such a labour of love for them.

The greens should be ranged together in large masses as the shades are in painting: to contrast the dark masses with light ones, and to relieve each dark mass itself with little sprinkling of lighter greens here and there.

– Henry Hoare ‘The Magnificent’

Stunning Stourhead National Trust Estate

Dogs are welcome across Stourhead’s countryside areas all year round. They are welcome in the landscape garden from March-October after 4pm, after 3pm in November and all day, every day from December-February.

Stunning Stourhead National Trust EstateThe kitchen gardens were in full bloom. The plants were massive and growing so well. I would of loved to chatted with one of the gardeners to get some tips but I didn’t manage to. In one of my posts where my OH made my pallet garden you can see what we have managed at home. I’m really chuffed with what we have managed on a small scale and for free! My dream would be to have a huge garden devoted to fruit and veg.

The visit was wonderful and I think the rain added to the day in ways that surprised me. There were times we had to stop and take shelter under some of the huge trees or hide under the arches. In those times we felt some more of the magic of Stourhead.

Stunning Stourhead National Trust Estate

Have you been there or visited other walks that you would like to share? I’d love to hear about it.

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10 Quiz Questions You Need To Know

10 Quiz Questions you must know! Test yourself with these 10 well known quiz questions that you will have on the tip of your tongue, but will you remember?

I love going to our local quiz. It’s a great time that I get to spend with my family and friends. It taps into areas of my brain that sometimes don’t get an airing and are stuck on mum or work mode. I like the movies and tv or pot luck, my OH is good at maths and geography, my brother is a good all-rounder and my nephew is right on the button with modern music.

There are some great general knowledge questions that I always have on the tip of my tongue, really should know but can’t recall them. So, I thought I’d put them down in a quick fire 10 Quiz Questions you need to know post. Questions first and then answers below. Keep them for reference later on:)

Are you ready for the Questions?

1. What is the total number of dots on a dice?

2. What country has the smallest coastline?

3. What is Sir Elton Johns real name?

4. What is the largest state in the USA?

5. What is a baby spider called?

6. What is the chemical symbol for Gold?

7. What is the name of the large snake in Jungle Book?

8. How many minutes in a week? You have 30 seconds to work it out – set the timer!

9. If you were born on May 13th what star sign are you?

10. Is the capital city of Germany Berlin or Munich?

 

See Below for the answers

10 quiz questions you need to know

The Answers are…

1. As there are six faces on a die: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. These total  21

2. Monaco. It’s only around 3-4 kilometers

3. Reginald Kenneth Dwight

4. Alaska

5. Spiderling

6. Au

7. Kaa

8. 10080

9. Taurus

10. Berlin

 

How did you do? If you liked these then I think you’ll also enjoy my 10 Amazing Facts you never knew you didn’t know!

I’d love to hear  your score today and also if you have any great quiz questions then please put them to me in the comments section!

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A One Off Summer Linky #mainylovessummer

Here we are again with one of my special blog post linky parties! #mainylovessummer Thank you so much for joining me. How is your summer going so far? Hectic with plenty going on I suspect.

I loved holding the previous one off specials for Christmas and Easter so much that I couldn’t let summer go by without having a blog get together.

As usual there is no badge that you have to paste anywhere. What I do ask though is that where you have saved time (and space:) by not having that little task, is that you definitely do follow the guidance below.

The linky is open from 7am on Friday 11th August and closes at 7am Wednesday 16th. You then have until the Friday to complete your comments.

It’s all about sharing, reading and enjoying each others writing. Feel free to add up to 3 of any type of blogging post old or new.

Reviews, giveaways, recipes, parenting, lifestyle, poetry all manner of posts are welcome here.

Just let common sense prevail and refrain from anything outrageously offensive:)

My favourite forum is twitter so please also tweet as many posts as possible using the hash tag #mainylovessummer @myrealfairy and I will tweet away for days and days both your posts and all those you tweet from the link up.

Let’s make this a real summer sizzler and get everyone reading and talking about your posts.

Suggested guidance for participating:
  • I’d love it if you commented on the host post and at least one more for every post you link up.
  • Tweet using the hashtag #mainylovessummer @myrealfairy when you link up and you’re away!
  • Tweet, pin, stumble and share using all the wonderful ways you wish and let the blogger know when you comment how you have shared their post.
  • Use the hashtag #mainylovessummer when you comment please.
  • Enjoy and read something you wouldn’t normally click on.
  • Have fun!

 

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Free Pallet Patio Garden

Easy Step by Step Guide

Fancy growing your own fruit and veg? I thought the same and am now managing just that! Here’s how to build your own free pallet patio garden.

Last year I had a new patio and it’s a great area to sit out in as it captures a lot of sun.  The boys use our garden to play football and I learnt the hard way that football and plant borders don’t mix well! I actually get upset when I see the ball thud into the plants and race over to see whats happened. The boys then scurry away waiting to see if yet another tomato plant has bitten the dust.

So when the patio was laid I started thinking of ways that I could enjoy growing some fruit and vegetables on the patio.

I wanted a way to use recycled products and make something that really made the most of the small compact space we had.

Here’s a step by step guide to how I made this brilliant pallet patio garden out of mainly recycled bits and bobs, for free!

Free Pallet Patio Garden
Our blank canvas!
Free Pallet Patio Garden

We put a base down so that the structure wouldnt sit directly on the slabs and cause too much discolouration.

Free Pallet Patio Garden

Here is my other half fixing a free pallet that we picked up onto the back of the crate used to deliver the patio slabs in. If you can get hold of more pallets then use them to make a crate. You can find them on free sites or even in skips.

Free Pallet Patio Garden

We had some weed suppressor mat in the shed and if you havent got anything like that hanging around then they are easy to pick up very cheaply. I just wanted something lining the inside that would help with keeping the pots contained and not having the water running straight out onto the ground.


Free Pallet Patio Garden
The you are all ready to go and start putting in the pots that you wish to have there. What I found useful was that on the sunny days I can move the pots onto the top of the back pallet and they can make use of the sunshine. When it’s a windy day they can nestle back into the base and be a bit more protected.

free pallet patio garden

You can see by these photos how the plants are coming along. The potatoes are growing well and the carrots on the right hand side in the base are showing nicely. I’ve planted onions next to them as apparently they fend off one of the mites that would eat the carrot tops.

free pallet patio garden

Come back soon for an update and more than likely a recipe made out of some of the home grown veg. It will be great to see you again.

Have you got any tips on growing veg in small spaces? You might be a seasoned pro or just starting out. I’d love to hear.

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Sensor Night Light Review

My youngest still likes to have a light on somewhere upstairs which is fine as it helps him settle and he’s happy. Over the years I’ve tried different ways to make this happen; I’ve tried the plug-in night lights, leaving the landing light on and various themed lights.

Sensor Night Light Review

I’ve had the chance to review this sensor light for Hamswan which has a variety of uses. As you can see from the picture above it’s a really contemporary design and for me it can fit into any room without the need to be hidden away. It’s also something that if you’re using it for the kids, they won’t grow out of the design which is a problem I’ve had over the years with something suddenly being too babyish for my boys and they wont go near it!

This one is stylish and handy, it even has a hanging ring that you can use to pop it up on any wall if needed.

One of the best ways to see this light in action is to watch my youngest who loves to ‘vlog for his mummy’s blog’ under the name of little G. He’s one to watch out for the future I think *surprise surprise* Have a look here and you can see the light in action.

It’s really easy to set up and it comes with a USB charger cable. If you are like me then the last thing you need is to be trying to work out how to work something, normally while the kids are running around and one eye on the other 5 things you’re doing. You can get this out of the box, push the on button and you are good to go. When you do charge it usually takes 3-4 hours, and it will last for 4-100 hours after a complete charging (depending on the brightness used).

The unit is sealed so it’s great for keeping little curious fingers out of it. Great for peace of mind and leaving in the kids room. The light is soft and the big bonus which we liked is that you just have to wave your hand over it and it comes on. Then leave your hand above it and it will dim or get brighter. For me this was a first, I hadn’t seen this before on a night-light.

I think that this has lots of uses – for example – it would be great for when you have to get up to do the night feeds for the baby. I remember those days well, even though they are 8 years ago – there are some things we never forget! I remember being so tired I would bump into things in the dark or be dazzled by the bright lights in our hall. The dimmed light of this one would be perfect and we have already earmarked another one that we will buy when the boys step sister has her baby. Another present sorted that is actually useful and beautiful looking.

Sensor Night Light Review

I think that you can see above that I have sneaked it into our room as I think that these look really nice on our bedside tables. I often wake in the night so this soft light shouldn’t disturb my other half and I can have a little read without waking him!

Don’t worry, I did put it straight back into little ones room afterwards, he would not have been impressed to wake and find it gone bless him.

I’m happy to be able to offer you a great discount of 15% when you buy one. Here is the link that will take you to the Sensor Light and enter the code: 770001OF when you check out. I’d love to know what you think about this one and night lights in general. Have you had to use them for your children or do you like them for yourself.

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Disclaimer: I was gifted one of these night lights for the purpose of this review. All comments are mine oh and my sons own words and I think it’s pretty clear that we love it! Thanks for reading. There are no affiliated links in this post. 

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10 Ingenious Ways to Entertain Kids on Holiday 

I’ve been taking my children away on holiday since they were both tiny. I even remember very clearly taking my 2-year-old abroad while I was pregnant and I did that alone whilst potty training the 2-year-old. Now I know lots of parents, single or not have had to do this but I just wanted to set the groundwork that I have some experience of juggling traveling with kids and having to find ways of keeping them entertained! A happy mummy is a happy child in my book. So, I thought that I would share some of my own tips with you which you can add to your own tried and tested methods.

1. Food! Kids love to eat, so whatever is their favourite snack – pack! Remember to pop a small pack of wet wipes in your bag for those sticky fingers!

2. Soothing toy – when mine were tiny my eldest had a small blue bear that went on each and every travel. Even now at 8 and 11 there is always something special that they like to have close to them. I let them decide and *whispers* it’s usually a soft toy!

3. Magazines – whatever the age and whatever the gender there are so many different types of magazines out there to suit almost everyone. It’s a good way to get some reading going on for the kids besides their electronic devices – we’ll get into those later!

10 Ingenious Ways to Entertain Kids on Holiday 3

4. Colouring books – again, a bit like the magazines there are so many that really cross the different age ranges and the children can be really creative. Colouring books theses days don’t just satisfy the 2-5 year olds thankfully.

10 Ingenious Ways to Entertain Kids on Holiday 2

5. Textiles – crochet, knitting, teddy bear making, all of these activities can easily be taken on holiday with very little fuss. I remember learning to knit from both of my mans when I was little and it would keep me amused and occupied for hours. It’s also such a great skill to learn for boys and girls.

6. Writing a diary of the holiday is a great way of getting the kids involved in the whole process of the holiday. As you are planning the holiday they can start jotting down what is happening and sticking in pictures from brochures etc. While away they can collect different flyers and leaflets to do with where you are staying and stick and paste.

7. Kids Club – I always book something that has a kids club of some description. Holidays are for all the family and you need some downtime as well. There are baby crèche, mini club, maxi clubs and all sorts to suit all different ages. All you have to do is look for them. It doesn’t mean that they have to go to the club all the time but it’s there as an option. Leave the guilt at home and pop them in there so you can have a couple of hours by the pool without any worry. You’ll be surprised how good it feels if you haven’t tried it.

8. Take your mum or another family member if you can. I’ve been having a holiday with my mum and my children ever since they were born. It’s amazing and for us it adds a very positive dynamic to our holidays. We noticed this year that there are so many grandparents holidaying with family now. I don’t know if I just didn’t notice it before or that it’s become so much more popular. This year we had fun in Alcudia and it was mainly down to my mum being there with us.

9. Take one of their friends….No I’ve not lost the plot. If they are a certain age, around 9 and above then this is a genius idea. Your child will have their buddy and not need anywhere near as much attention (in a good way) as if they were on their own. They will be happy and feel a bit of independence as they will have their mate to explore the venue or even just the kids club where you are staying. Plus and this is a bonus….your child might even get invited away with them next time. It could be time to get out the Romantic weekend away brochures. I bet you thought that would never happen again!

10. Photography – this year my son started wanting to take photos. Whether this is on your phone if you dare trust them or on a disposable camera it’s a great way for them to feel part of it all and take some photos that they can then show around when they get home. It doesn’t really matter if it’s just the tops of heads or random sky photos, it’s theirs and can form part of lots of craft projects when you get home.

Bonus one  – If you really need to and if it makes everyone happy then take the kindle, ipad, or whatever it is away with you too. Remember, everything in moderation and “a happy mummy or daddy is a happy child”.

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Please share with me what other ideas work for you and your family. The more the merrier to help make the holidays go as stress free as possible.

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Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

5 Hot Summer Accessories

Here we are again, Summertime is once again shining down on us. So what else could I do but share my 5 Hot Summer Accessories with you.

Summer Music

1. Now my first gem on the list is a song and oh boy what a summer song this is. Can it be an accessory I hear you cry, oh yes! This will be with you throughout the summer and beyond. Before you do anything else, put this on full volume and enjoy, this is a treat for you.

Sunglasses

2. Second up is sunglasses, for me they are like handbags and shoes, you can never have too many.

So far I have bought 2 pairs to kick me off into the dazzling sunshine. I will now live in them. My top tip is to get ones with moulded nose rests instead of the ones with the little bit of plastic. I’ve got long hair and I find that they can catch in my hair if I’ve had them sitting on top of my head acting as a hair band. When I try to put them back on it can produce a couple of seconds of tugging at my caught hair, not a super classy summer look!

I’m loving mirror glasses this year, here are mine, not with moulded nose rests but beauties and I just have to be careful and suffer for fashion:)

 

Wedge Sandals

3. Wedge Shoes are something I must have in summer. Each year I start looking around to see which stores are going to get them in the shelves first. A maxi dress and wedges are a summer evenings perfect outfit. I have also seen over on the lifestyle blogger uk about skin care ideas for the summer so that we don’t miss out on pampering our skin too.

Hot summer accessories
H&M
Hot summer accessories
House of Fraser

 

Oversized Beach Bags

4.  As a mum I cannot applaud the oversized beach bags enough. I love to have a bag that holds the lot. A beach bag was on my birthday list this year and the boys along with my OH presented me with an amazing bag that I’m thrilled with. I don’t want to still have phone, keys and purse in one hand a towel over my shoulder with the kids holding a carrier bag between them! Oh I’ve done it in the past but now the beach bag can take over and take control! I took the bag on holiday to Alcudia this year which you can see in Fun and Fabulous Food in Alcudia.

Maxi Dress

5. I couldn’t have a summer post without the maxi dress and it’s still a must have summer item. I find it the most forgiving of dresses around. Lumps and bumps disappear – fact! If you’re brave you go for the no straps elastic version around the bust. I say brave because with two young boys, trying to get everything sorted and responding to all sorts of mummy jobs I’m not prepared to take the risk! So, for me it’s thin straps for maximum tan factor. For the days it’s cool and practical and jazzed up for the evening with wedges, bangles and a floaty scarf, you will look a dream.

5 hot summer accessories
Select
5 hot summer accessories
Select

 

Hope you enjoyed my pics and you are feeling the summer vibe with the song. Here’s to a great and peaceful summer.

How do you prepare for Summer? Have you been up into the loft to get down all your summer gear or do you splash out and go wild? I’d love to hear.

 

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