Saturday, 17 May 2014

I'm deep, soft and warm - how about you?

My earliest memories are from the days when we lived in London in a small house somewhere between Lancaster Gate and Marble Arch.

I remember my room with no windows except a skylight that opened and closed with a rope, tied in a figure of eight way above my head. All the furniture made by my Father, bespoke and perfectly fitting me. Stairs from the front door reaching up to the heavens, steep enough to break your neck on. A cavernous garage that housed my Dad's workshop and piles of wood and the smell of wood shavings that tickled my nose. My very own mini vice and set of tools so that I could be a craftsman too.

Our house was just a hop, skip and a jump from John Lewis' flagship store on Oxford Street, my second home. I could quite easily have been born in the haberdashery department, it was (and still is) such a favourite haunt of my Mother. I'm pretty sure my first words were 'double damask'.

John Lewis is celebrating it's 150th year in 2014. I don't find it at all surprising that they've been around for that long. Some brands just get it right. John Lewis is one of them.

Quality products, exceptional customer service, never knowingly undersold, staff are effectively partners and get a share of the profits. It works. Why aren't all companies run like this?

The eagle eyed amongst you *ahem* probably spotted that I'm a John Lewis fan. Yep, through and through. And I'm super excited that this week I've been working with the personal stylist team in their Cambridge store on my outfit for the June BritMums Live! conference at The Brewery in London.

And I need some help. Since Christmas I've lost over 20lb and I'm finally back to my pre-baby weight *punches the air*. Great right? Except that when I look in my wardrobe I see lots of clothes that are now too big. Hey, I'm not complaining, it's a great problem to have, but I still need something to wear to The Brewery that will be comfortable, stylish and make me feel great.

So this week I met with the lovely Dorothy and Dolly for a Style Profile session and an Express Outfit session. What better way to prepare for my weekend in London than by knowing which colours and outfits will suit me best on the day? In the first of two posts about my experience here's what happened at my Style Profile session...

My personal sytlist for the day, Dorothy, meets me at reception and immediately makes me feel welcome. There are two style rooms at the Cambridge store so my session is completely private. After a chat about I'm hoping to get out of the session (some clue about why I don't seem to wear half the clothes in my wardrobe please!) she moves a chair in front of a long mirror and asks me to sit down before draping a white cloth over my clothes. This is my neutral background onto which she will be laying colours to determine their effect on my skin, she tells me. The colours are outlined on a palette and match a number of different fabric swatches laid out on the glass table to my right. Dorothy lays each swatch in turn over the white cloth and looks at me appraisingly. She's so friendly, I feel like I've know her for ages already and forget how strange it feels to be scrutinised.

We cover the spectrum of colours through from deep to light, soft to bright and warm to cool. She herself is bright and cool, she tells me. Which am I? I wonder. It soon becomes clear.

Some of the colours cast a glow on my face that makes me look healthy and well, almost like I've been on holiday. Others make me look sallow and washed out. Orange is my friend. Pink is most definitely not.

Over the course of my session Dorothy determines that I'm deep, soft and warm. My look is 'rich and burnished'. Mmm...I like this. The palette of colours that suits me best ranges from deep shades to medium pastels but all the colours are muted, autumnal shades that have a yellow undertone - think browns, rusts, oranges and especially teal. Which is a surprise as I've never worn teal and wouldn't have thought of wearing it. She also tells me that I should avoid wearing colours that are either too bright or light pastel and those that have a blue undertone - so that discounts pinks, greys and light blues.

Armed with my new colours I sit sipping ice-cold water while she asks me a few questions about my lifestyle and style preferences. Then it's back in front of the mirror again and she asks me to hold a stick and a ribbon. As Coco Chanel famously said "fashion is architecture: it's a matter of proportions" and using the stick and ribbon Dorothy uses a fun and simple method (that doesn't rely on my hight or size measurements) to determine mine - I'm long legged, long waisted and a traditional hour glass shape. I'm also quite angular in my frame. All these things will determine which styles and clothes will make the best of my figure.

At the end of our consultation Dorothy gives me a handy booklet to take away that outlines my style and colour profile and includes a handy set of swatches of the colours that suit me best. It's been such a fun session and I'm excited about the next stage - choosing my outfit for BritMums Live... of which more soon!

The 60 minute John Lewis Style Profile session costs £125 which is redeemable against purchases of £500 when it's booked with the free one hour Style Express or the longer (but still free) two hour Style Experience session. It was a fabulous experience that I'd thoroughly recommend. Find out more and watch a video about the personal styling service at

Disclosure: I was generously gifted my Style Profile and Style Express consultations by John Lewis Cambridge. All opinions are my own.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Everything in the garden is lovely...

Yesterday was such a beautiful sunny day I threw the back door open and Little Man and I mooched about outside enjoying the weather. I may have gone a bit overboard on capturing the lovely moments but who knows how long it will last, right?

After all I spent the beginning of this week in a room without windows in Cambridge... of which more soon *looks mysterious*.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Silent Sunday

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Two days in hospital with a toddler puts life in perspective

It felt surreal, reminding my daughter to eat her cereal while I waited for the ambulance to arrive.

Little Man had been ill for most of the Bank Holiday weekend, sickness and diarrhoea had knocked the stuffing out of him.

But on Tuesday morning when I woke him it was different.

He was whimpering and dry retching. When I picked him up he was floppy as a ragdoll and just cried out.

I knew in my gut that something wasn't right.

But the Queen was coming.

Her Royal Highness, coming here to our village. Parking was banned all day. I'd never be able to get to the doctors.

So I rang 111.

And they called an ambulance.

And half an hour later I was sitting in A and E waiting to see a doctor with my poorly Little Man sleeping fitfully on a bed next to me, the sounds of hospital life going on outside the door.

It's hard to believe that just last weekend we were exploring Coombe Mill Farm and having so much fun.

It puts a lot into perspective.

There's a lot going on in our lives at the moment - exciting, fun things - but none of it matters. Not really.

Thankfully we're home now after a scary couple of days.

I don't think I'll ever forget seeing him lying there in a huge hospital bed, motionless and almost unresponsive with an IV drip in his tiny hand.

It will be a while until he's completely well again but he's on the mend.

And hopefully soon he'll be back to his mischievous self.

I'm surprised and delighted to have been shortlisted
in the PHOTO category of the
Britmums Brilliance in Blogging Awards.
If you like what you see here I'd really appreciate your vote!

Monday, 5 May 2014

Another perfect day at Coombe Mill Farm

After the fun of our first day, the second morning of our long weekend at Coombe Mill Farm, was much anticipated.

Three little words - the feed run.

It's the stuff of legends for those who've visited or followed Coombe Mill Farm on social media and Farmer Nick certainly didn't disappoint us.

Curly Girl helped drive the tractor to our first stop and while she was a bit shy at the beginning, by the time we got to the chickens she was eager to have a go at catching one (hence this Silent Sunday shot). This enthusiasm continued when we got to the gorgeous lambs and then on to the deer.

After the feed run we headed down to the surf beach at Polzeath - it's huge with streams, rock pools, sand and shingle. Everything two little toddlers could wish for. After a fish and chip lunch at The Galleon Cafe we headed home to our cabin, the snores from the back seats almost immediate.

Perhaps we should have left them to snooze but the train was due at 5pm and we didn't want them to miss it!
Then. while the littles had a quick play on the ship and an impromptu game of football with some other guests, I found Matilda Mae's star and stood for a while watching the river flow past me on it's journey to the sea, wishing baby Tilda a belated Happy Birthday among the stars.

It is such a calm and beautiful spot.

Then it was back home for tea and bed.

The flickering flame of our log burner and a glass of red wine.

The perfect end to another perfect day.

I'm surprised and delighted to have been shortlisted
in the PHOTO category of the
Britmums Brilliance in Blogging Awards.
If you like what you see here I'd really appreciate your vote!

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Silent Sunday

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Exploring Coombe Mill

We're here! Our first day at Coombe Mill and we're already loving it.

We set off this morning an hour later than we'd planned but the traffic was lighter than we anticipated and we actually made good time. We would have arrived much sooner if Little Man hadn't been ill on the way. Poor lamb has been sick on and off all day.

We'd made plans to visit the sea this afternoon but when we arrived here we shelved those for another day - there was just so much to explore on the farm. Curly Girl loves the playground and hubbie and I might have played a rather energetic game of swing ball *ahem* while she played in the fort and on the extra long slide.

The river running through the farm is just lovely and we crossed the bridge to visit the animals including these adorable kids. Little Man wanted nothing more than his Mummy's arms.

And now there is a delicious stillness here tonight in our beautiful log cabin.

Curly Girl is asleep in her own room (she chose the single-bed room herself declaring it the perfect size for her), Little Man is dozing on the sofa next to us so we can keep an eye on him and the log burner is warming us with it's delicious flicker, crackle and pop.

There is just the hint of a breeze in the sycamore tree outside.

It's perfect.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

I'm surprised and delighted to have been shortlisted
in the PHOTO category of the
Britmums Brilliance in Blogging Awards.
If you like what you see here I'd really appreciate your vote!

Friday, 2 May 2014

Moo. No, I'm not a cow. But I do have a discount for you...

In a few short weeks time, thanks to my sponsor Koo-di, I shall be dropping Curly Girl off at school, waving goodbye to Little Man and boarding a train to London for the annual two-day blogging conference Britmums Live. (It's a good job this isn't a video as I'm now squeeeaaling loudly with excitement *ahem*)

My outfit will have been selected with care and attention at John Lewis Cambridge (who by the way are holding fun-packed events at their store this weekend if you're anywhere nearby), my hair coiffured and blow-dried into submission at Silhouette du Barry.

This is not a one-person event - oh no.

Even my business cards have bling this year thanks to the lovely printing robot that is Moo. This year I've gone for a slightly larger card so that I can include all my social media accounts on the back. What do you think?

Are you taking cards to Britmums Live?

There's still plenty of time to get some printed and I'm delighted to say that since I've ordered my cards I can offer all my readers a 10% discount off their own branded Moo cards. So go forth and promote yourself. You're worth it!

P.S. I'm surprised and delighted to have been shortlisted in the PHOTO category of the - if you have a moment I would SO appreciate your vote. Thank you!

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