Saturday, 22 November 2014

Getting festive - Disney Store's Share the Magic

This week we were delighted to attend the Disney Store at the St Enoch Centre, Glasgow for the VIP launch of their annual charity campaign 'Share the Magic' with In Kind Direct.

The 'Share the Magic' initiative invites families to post their own Letter to Santa at Disney Stores across the country and for every letter that is posted, a Mickey Mouse soft toy is donated to a child through their chosen national charities*. This is the 6th year that Disney Store has run the campaign and this Christmas is set to see the 100,000th soft toy donated. If you can't get to a Disney Store, then you can still participate online where you can use the letter writing tool and post your letter digitally.

This year Disney Store is supporting In Kind Direct. The charity redistributes quality, usable products donated by some of the UK's best known manufacturers and retailers to charities working in the UK and abroad. Disney Store is one of In Kind Direct's founding donors, first donating in 1997. Since then the Disney Store has donated over £2.6 million worth of toys, clothing and accessories.

The kids and I got into our Christmas clothes & accessories, jumped in the car and headed into town for the event.

We had great fun making snowflake decorations for our Christmas tree and posing with Mickey Mouse. We then wrote our letters to Santa before posting them in the magical post box. I even enjoyed a wee sparkly mince pie, or two (don't tell the PT!).



There were a few celebs attending the event, although I didn't spot any of them at the store on the evening!

If you're CBeebies fans like us, then you'll recognise the stars from Wooly & Tig!

This is Jane McCarry with her family; she is better known as Isa from Still Game

And here we are!! I was loving my son's Santa shirt with red bow tie - we got it at Primark if you're wondering. (Although he looks a bit crazy in this photo!!)

The kids were very lucky to be given a goodie bag each as we left the party that included a festive Mickey Mouse soft toy and a Christmas decoration. We also received a gift voucher for the store which promptly was spent on a small Star Wars set for the eldest and a princess nail polish for the littlest. Nothing for mummy unfortunately!

*A maximum of 25,000 soft toys will be donated.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Love the Little Things

Joining in with Morgana's Love the Little Things blog hop again this week.

butwhymummywhy
Read

Very little again this week :-/

Watched

R & I have been watching The Walking Dead and I'm hooked. It's absolutely brilliant. Think we're at Season 3 now and it just keeps getting better and better.

I have also been watching Homeland, but to be honest I've been a bit disappointed with this series and it's not the same without Brody.

Wore

I was at a Bumble & Bumble, Smashbox and Ojon event on Tuesday afternoon this week at Malmaison Glasgow and came away with a few goodies. Feel very lucky! I tried the new Bumble & Bumble shampoo and love the result, and the lip colour below is a Smashbox product. It lasted really well throughout the day & I'm suitably impressed with it.

I'm starting to miss my fringe and the photos of the gorgeous Morgana and her heavy fringe are not helping matters! I may end up getting mine cut back in!!


I've also worn my Christmas jumper!! Sorry, I do realise it's only November still but I just can't help it! We were at a Christmas party last night so we all had on our festive gear!

Heard

The soundtrack to my life right now is either children laughing (& sometimes screaming) or cats meowing. I'm loving the wee kittens but they are making my life harder work and I'm already at my limit. I know it will be easier when they can go outside, but for just now they're stuck inside and their litter tray stuff is getting absolutely everywhere. I can't get to my tumble drier outside without having to find the kittens and make sure they're secure without means to escape and I've no place to put food that's safe now because they are managing to jump onto the kitchen counter and my kitchen is teeny.


Made

Littlest & I put together these pom poms for the hallway and there are a few leftover for her bedroom too. We were sent a kit by my friend Ailsa who is living in Australia.  If you're reading this - I just want to say thanks for the gifts and sorry for being a crap friend but I seriously miss you guys loads. Wish you were back in Glasgow!!


I've also styled my coffee table for Christmas, although I didn't technically make any of the stuff on it, but I did collate it! The sparkly Christmas tree candle is from Marks & Spencer as well as the silver glass candle at the front. The other candle holder to the right is from Ikea and the smallest tealight holder I think is from a little gift shop in Pollokshields, Glasgow called Marie Brown at Home. The mirrored tray is from Debenhams and the plastic stag is from eBay. It looks much better in person than in the photograph.



And Lastly...

The healthy eating and exercise is starting to pay off... I weighed myself and I've lost 6 lbs. Just another 8 lbs to go. I've been a bit rubbish this week as I was feeling rank on Wednesday and Thursday so I've been going to be bed at the same time as the kids! My blog has suffered as well as the exercise regimen. I'll hopefully be on better form next week!

Monday, 17 November 2014

Interiors - My New Coffee Table

I've been on the hunt for a coffee table for my 'grown-up' living room and had been pinning loads and loads of inspiring photos but hadn't actually managed to source one that would work for me and the space available. My living room is medium sized, but with all the furniture that I already have in the room there isn't much available floor space left (goodness knows how I'm going to manage to squeeze in a Christmas tree too!). When I've had friends round we've had to have drinks and nibbles on the floor or on one of the kids stools, so I definitely needed a table of some sort!

This was the style that I was after and my plan was to then store Moroccan poufs or knitted stools under the table as additional seating for when we had guests over.



I quite liked the idea of a more industrial concrete coffee table, something along the lines of this one:


The littlest and I popped along to Sterling Furniture on London Road the other week to have a browse. It was definitely worth a visit and we picked up a few new Christmas decorations. Anyway, whilst I was there we had a browse at the coffee tables. There were a few that fitted the bill...

But the more I thought about it, the more I thought that a glass coffee table would help give the impression of more space.


In the end I've gone for a more economical option from Ikea. I had spotted this table on gh0stparties vlog and it's perfect for my living room too! I'm hoping that I'll still be able to get a pouf of some sort under there!


I've been busy styling the table for Christmas, and picked up a gorgeous mirrored tray from Debenhams the other day as I would quite like to recreate something along the lines of this...


Or this:


Here's the tray I've bought:


Once I've got the space more organised I'll take some photos and let you see the end result.




Sunday, 16 November 2014

Dry Skin, Aveeno & My Evening Routine



We were sent a lovely parcel from Aveeno with a copy of their new book, Bye Bye Dry Skin by Penelope Harper. My daughter sometimes has eczema and dry skin on her wrists, but she is reluctant to put on the cream for some unknown reason! The Bye Bye Dry Skin book has been brilliant at helping explain why it's important to use the moisturiser and I've had much more success at getting her to cooperate nicely with me to use them. 

I've even been using the moisturising cream myself as part of my evening skincare routine. It's been great at keeping my skin hydrated and soft now that the weather has been getting more harsh.



P.S. If you're interested, you'll find more details on Merumaya here in Lorna's guest post and on BareMinerals here.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Ballathie House Hotel

R & I visited Ballathie Country House Hotel in Perthshire for an overnight stay in October en-route to Aberdeen. As part of our Autumn Break package, we had a four course dinner in the hotel's 2 AA rosette restaurant and it was the best meal I've had in a long time and quite possibly one of the best steaks I've had in the UK.

The hotel is stunning

After checking in we headed to the Riverside Building which is a short walk from the main building and it has views over the River Tay. We were on the first floor with a small private balcony.

Some of the rooms are gorgeous, like this four poster bedroom which I think is in the main building.

The decor of our room wasn't to my taste, but the room itself was lovely and spacious. It was a bit tired in places which was disappointing but it was clean which is the most important thing. I regret now not taking the room in the main building which was available when I made my booking. Anyway, here are the photos I captured of our room:






After unpacking my bits and bobs, I got cosy and watched some TV with a cuppa. It was lovely to get a chance to relax without feeling pressurised to do housework or laundry which always seems to happen when I'm at home!


Our room had lovely fluffy robes and I was super excited about having a nice hot bath to relax before going to dinner...


But if you were seeing my tweets on the day, then you'll possibly remember that there was no hot water! I was gutted. So I got dressed for dinner without washing and we headed to the main building for dinner...

Make-up on and ready to go!

The hotel lit up at night

Celebrating my new job with a glass of champers!

We started our meal with an amuse bouche which was a haggis ball if I remember correctly. We then had warm bread brought to our table with smoked butter. The smoked butter was absolutely to die for. Delicious!! All the food was presented beautifully and I thoroughly enjoyed it all.

Starter - waldorf salad with goat's cheese

Seriously the best steak ever

Chocolate fondant pudding with ice cream

After the most amazing meal ever, we retired to one of the sitting rooms for coffee & petite fours in front of the fire. It was bliss.



Unfortunately the next day there was still no hot water which did put a dampener (!) on things. Thankfully I wasn't too cold during the night (which is usually the case with me and my Raynauds!). We got up & dressed and headed back to the main building for breakfast. I had a fabulous breakfast of smoked salmon, scrambled eggs and bacon. Yum!


The customer service at the hotel was absolutely fantastic; knowing that we were disappointed with regard the hot water/heating situation we were given money off our stay without even having to ask. I felt a bit awkward about it all and don't like having to complain, so I was pleased with the way that this was dealt with.

So, my closing thoughts on Ballathie... the dinner definitely was the selling point for me - can't stress enough what an amazing experience it was. I'd happily recommend the hotel for a weekend getaway and I will go back, but next time I'll go for a room in the main building.

(This wasn't a sponsored post; I just wanted to share my experiences with you as I loved the food so much!)


Friday, 14 November 2014

Love the Little Things

Joining in with Love the Little Things, a weekly linky organised by Morgana at But Why Mummy Why.

butwhymummywhy
Read

I purchased the latest edition of livingetc this week and I read some of the magazine in bed the other evening. Hoping to do some more reading of this over the weekend :-)


Watched

My daughter attempt to ride her new bike. This is her first bike with pedals, which we got on Gumtree last week. Progress is slow, but I'm sure she'll get to grips with it soon enough.


Wore

So I've had two PT sessions now and it's going ok. The sessions themselves are brilliant and I thoroughly enjoying the boxing that we've been doing. My muscles ache the next again day which I think is a great sign. What I'm not so good at is keeping up the good work at home. By the times the kids are in bed I'm utterly exhausted and jumping around, even though it's only for 15 minutes, is not high on my list of priorities. What I need to start doing is getting the kids involved and doing the exercises as a family during the day. Today we had a play date after school so I've still not done my workout. I will do it before I go to sleep though!! Here I am in the studio!!


I've also been wearing these amazing fingerless gloves that my dad's wife left for me at the house. The colours are perfect for me! Here I am on the nursery run, in full waterproof gear and a hot juice to keep me toasty warm!


Heard

A glowing report from my son's school teacher at his first parent's night. I was extremely proud and nearly had a tear in my eye when she said that he was a credit to me & his dad. I occasionally worry that my decision to separate from their dad will have a negative impact on the kids, but my son has settled amazingly well into school and is a bright, well adjusted wee fella!

Made


I thought I'd try the DIY Sharpie pen mug that I've seen on Pinterest, but I'm not sure it's all that great tbh. I got a gold Sharpie at the supermarket as well as their cheapest mug. I drew on some polka dots and then baked the mug for 30 minutes at 180 deg C. But afterwards I took my nail to one of the dots to see if it would scratch off, and it did. Rather disappointed!


We also made a start on some other Christmas presents; the littlest and I made a few trinket boxes at Cafe Ceramico in East Kilbride.


And I've been busy doing a wee bit of DIY at the house. I finally hung these Laura Ashely spoon hooks in the kitchen. We now have a spot to put tea towels, oven gloves and aprons without the kittens getting at them!


and Lastly...

Huge congrats to Morgana who launched her shop Little & Fierce today! Do go and have a peek...




Thursday, 13 November 2014

Christmas Gift Guide - the Gentleman Edition

Again, I've got another Christmas Gift Guide for you. This time it's the Gentleman's Edition...

A bottle of your finest...

For the drink connoisseur, then why not choose a bottle of whisky or a nice bottle of wine. There is The Whisky Shop at Buchanan Galleries where you can head for some advice on what to go for. Knowing very little about whisky, I'd probably choose one on aesthetics (like how I pick wines by the label!!) and this bottle of Haig Club looks super stylish.


My tipple of choice is gin, so for me it'd be a bottle of Caorunn. Just in case you're wondering ;-)

GoPro

I've seen one of these in action and it's a fab little camera that would be an ideal gift for a gadget lover, male or female! This would have been ideal to capture my antics as I swung through the trees at Go Ape (instead I used my phone and dropped it in the process!).
This one is top of the range at £369.95 at John Lewis, but there are cheaper versions.

Watch 

I got R a Sony SmartWatch last year for his Christmas and he really likes it. He's on his phone a lot with his work, and this means he can check who is calling him or view texts on it without lifting his mobile. A bit lazy and very extravagant but might be a good gift for the man that has everything!

Sony SmartWatch (compatible with Android 4.0 or later)


Coffee machine 

My sister & her boyfriend recently invested in a Krups Nespresso machine with Aeroccino and have been really happy with it. I'm personally not a coffee drinker, but I do like a frothy hot chocolate. Definitely one for the coffee fiends!


Moisturiser

You can't go wrong with some face products. I think most men will use a moisturiser of some sort; although they may not admit to it!

I've not used Kiehl's before, but heard great things about their range
Also heard good things about Clinique. There is free shipping on all purchases on their website just now; and if you spend over £40 you get a free Clinique Treat Trio worth over £23.

iStubble

Sticking with the grooming, an iStubble might be a good choice. I do enjoy a bit of stubble on a man!


Pants & Socks

A pair of boxers or a pair of socks are an ideal stocking filler & if you want to go all out then you could choose a designer pair. I love these socks from Paul Smith and these 'Lucky Dick' boxers.



Lucky Dick boxer shorts from Dick Winters - they come in a few different colours. You can have a peek at when I met Lucky Dick here!

Aftershave

I think that aftershave can potentially be a hit or a miss, but if you stick to a well known name, then I don't think you can go wrong.

Slippers

I can't remember where I spotted mahabis slippers, I think it might have been Facebook, but I love the look of these. You can buy the upper with or without detachable sole. But the sole means you can wear the slipper inside and outside. I popped out of the house this evening into the garden in my current slippers and the sole got a bit ruined :-( wouldn't have happened if I'd have had these on!! They're unisex, and would be a great stylish slipper instead of the usual granddad ones! The sole comes in a few different colours too.


Jumper

It's certainly jumper season, so why not invest in some knitwear. I love this teal coloured v neck jumper from Ted Baker:


Bose SoundLink Mini bluetooth speaker 

My sisters boyfriend Robin has one of these and it's fantastic. It's portable so you can easily move it from room to room or equally it's great for travelling (we took it to the log pod with us when we were glamping!).


And if that list isn't enough, I have a few other older posts with gift ideas for men here, here and here.

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