Style: Summer Nails

Summer holidays are fast approaching and seemingly, better weather. Whilst I am certainly not going to talk about being ‘beach body ready’ (I’m not!) – I thought it would be a good time to touch base with Hannah at 56 Newington and discuss nail colours for summer.

It’s always good to introduce a bit more colour into your wardrobe in the summer months and getting in a bit of pampering in before the holidays is never a bad idea! I have less than a week before preschool disappears for seven weeks and I know life will be pretty full on. This week is definitely focused on getting as prepared as I can for that – and getting my toes ready for sandals too!

The team at 56 Newington has recently expanded with the addition of Vicky – their new Nail Technician – so now is a good time as any to book a visit. With that in mind, I give you 56 Newington’s top colour picks for summer: Continue reading

Activities: Theatre Sans Accents

Two weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be invited to take part in a class run by Theatre Sans Accents (TSA). Fairly new to the Edinburgh scene, TSA teaches French in a practical, non-academic environment – and I should  add, incredibly fun way. Founding member, Marion Geoffray has really given me a whole new appreciation of how much fun learning language can be – and actually, how it SHOULD be taught in schools!  Continue reading

Activity: Dirleton castle

I enjoy exploring the wealth of castles that Historic Scotland has to offer at any time, but in my mind you simply cannot beat living history days.

For the second year running, this past weekend saw us making our way to Dirleton Castle, just outside North Berwick. In the company of some wonderful friends, it really was the highlight of the week.

Once everyone had managed to arrive (it’s not easy to get anywhere with small children!), we wondered through the medieval camp set up in the gardens of the castle. The kids were immediately attracted to the big tents and had soon negotiated their way in to one, after giving the actor a load of chat about pirates!

Although our three year-olds were maybe a bit young to appreciate the expertise of the reenactment society, the actors truly are wonderful at bringing history to life – there was talk of button making, medieval weaponry, fires galore and even two Irish Wolfhounds!

Although it could’ve been a little warmer, we headed to our usual picnic spot by the bowls lawn and let the kids just run riot. No one batted an eyelid as they climbed trees, rolled down the many hills and explored the grounds (obviously closely monitored given that they’re still three!).

image

After rounds of lunch, cupcakes and coffee (my friends are MUCH more organised that me), we headed up to explore the castle. There are so many hidden rooms found behind spiralling stairs, and semi-ruined fireplaces that the kids were just captivated. Free to climb and explore all the nooks and crannies, I think they really were in heaven.

However, we were in for a treat as we learned the Castle was actually under siege by the English Army – and John de Vaux was making his last stand! The gate was stormed by the English forces and although de Vaux’s brigade made a valiant attempt – with rocks thrown from the ramparts, and arrows flying across the court yard – Bishop Godfrey successfully took the castle!

All the kids (and adults) seemed to be thoroughly entertained by the whole thing – and Katie of course had many questions and subsequent declarations:

‘Why are they fighting?’

‘Why did that man want the castle?’

‘He’s a bit muddled up – he shouldn’t be fighting!’

‘He’s a bit naughty, isn’t he!

Not quite sure she understood everything – but she certainly seemed to get the gist!

image

After a day in the countryside, I’m now of course completely convinced we should be moving to North Berwick where everything is so much more green. After exposure to so much fresh air the kids crashed almost as soon as we got in the car. Of course, what I really should be doing is arranging the next playdate with my friends as I’ve been reminded how wonderful they all are and how lucky I am to have met them!

Design: Dollhouse makeover

Life on the blog has been quiet because real life has been anything but! The last month has been so busy that I’ve hardly had time to breathe, although I am glad that some things are over – there’s a lot of things that I would consider blog worthy too!

One of the major tasks has been to revamp some of the rooms in our house – following some advice from The Pink House (more on that soon) – I found myself on a bit of roll and now all of the bedrooms are in various states of redecoration!

A major task has been to get Katie’s room ready to be shared with Thomas! New beds have been ordered, a new layout deduced and a beautiful new mountain landscape conceived…. But the most important thing in Katie’s world?

Her dollhouse has had a make over!

I didn’t want to lose her dollhouse altogether, but equally, I wasn’t sure the house really fitted with the design I had in mind. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind pink for boys and certainly wouldn’t mind Thomas playing with a dollhouse, but it was really quite candy pink and all the furniture was pink – all a bit boring in my mind!

image

I started off by sourcing free wallpaper samples from Orla Kiely and Farrow & Ball to adorn each room in the house, as I already had a wealth of Farrow & Ball tester pots (think I may have a problem!) I didn’t want to buy any more so I used what we had – although this was quite a range.

image

The outside of the house is now Babouche which fits in with a lot of other yellow accessories I have for the room, but is also a bright, cheery, gender neutral colour. Katie was quite happy to see the pink being replaced by this yellow – although I was a bit sorry to lose the trailing vines, I think this much nicer.

Yellow dollhouse

I’m still in the process of decorating the rooms, but so far the furniture has been painted and I’ve set about making other little accessories – such as blankets for the beds from old bits of wool and a little rag rug for the living room.

image

Mike came up with the super idea of printing off images of paintings we have in our own house. We haven’t put them in yet but I can imagine they will amuse Katie immensely!

For now, I’ve left the ‘garden’ furniture pink but may well summon the energy to change this in the future…. For now? A long list of tasks is calling – not to mention Thomas!

Fitness: Turtle Tots Edinburgh and East Lothian

turtle tots edinburgh

For some people watching their three year-olds leap into swimming pools unaided may be slightly terrifying – but for me, it is a joy to behold. Although I am always close by, I am absolutely secure in the knowledge that Katie has the skills to get herself out and won’t panic being underwater. She absolutely adores the water and will do anything to prolong her time in the pool.

However, this isn’t confidence that she has gained overnight and a huge amount of thanks must go to Karina Reinhardt – her first swimming teacher!

I’m therefore obviously delighted that she has agreed to guest post on the blog and share a little more about her own journey and the benefits of swimming with your baby.   Continue reading

Food: Deliciously Ella Every Day

I’ve followed ‘Deliciously Ella’ on Instagram for some time – purely for pretty food shots – but I’ve probably been pretty slow on the uptake when it comes to actually following any of her recipes!

A few years ago, I was feeling very tired a lot of the time and was developing headaches on pretty much a daily basis. A good friend of mine suggested rather than upping caffeine intake, it might be a good idea to go and see a nutritionist. Continue reading

Design: TV recommendations

Whilst I haven’t abandoned my 2016 reading challenge, March was not a good month. I was contacted by two friends with book recommendations which could not have been more different. I downloaded both with the intention of reading them in order to write this amazing review about contrasting books… but haven’t read either of them.

I’ve not lacked the time to read recently, but have definitely lacked the brain capacity. Both Katie and Thomas have been ill, I was on antibiotics for ten days that make me feel like I was viewing the world through a haze, and life has just seemed like chaos. I hope that things are finally settling down and I’ll get some reading done but what I have actually done in the last month, is watch a lot of TV.

It may not be as admirable as book recommendations but I thought I’d share a few of the things I’ve been watching as some of them are REALLY good – some are more guilty pleasures! Continue reading

Activities: Story Cubes

I am not anti-iPad – far from it – but I have to say that I get tired of cartoon voices and the lack of real interaction with devices. Whilst you can argue that people are communicating online or learning a multitude of things from online videos, websites or games, I personally don’t think it can replace actual real life interaction.

I’m a huge fan of old-fashioned board games or even card games for that reason. I think they teach kids all kinds of important skills that are sometimes forgotten. Continue reading

Fitness: 5×50 Challenge

The last few weeks of my life have been a bit of a blur. There have been some definite highlights – such as our photoshoot with Anna Moffat for Bon Tot, slowly gaining more followers on Instagram and Facebook, seeing readers return to the blog (THANK YOU!) and of course – normal Edinburgh life has continued with my kids!

On the flip side, I lost out on an opportunity I had been hoping for, and had the worst case of tonsillitis I can remember. I’ve been on really strong antibiotics for the last week that have made me super drowsy and sick. It’s made it incredibly hard to retain perspective on events… and you know, function!

With the beginning of Spring and warmer weather in sight, I’ve decided it’s definitely time for a shake up – so although it may be a tad ambitious – I’ve signed up for the 5×50 Challenge. Continue reading

Style: Bon Tot’s Spring Picks

One of my favourite ways to spend a lazy weekend is meandering down the streets of Stockbridge, taking in the vast and varied selection of delis, cafés and independent shops. It’s been awesome to watch the area continue to grow and thrive and without a doubt, the arrival of Bon Tot was a welcome addition.

Launched online in 2014, Bon Tot opened its first bricks and mortar store last Autumn, nestled right in the heart of Edinburgh, at 28 St Stephen Street. Specialising in baby and toddler clothing and a beautiful range of toys, it’s hard not to instantly fall head over heels with everything they have to offer. Focusing on great design, modern, minimal Scandi styles, small batch production and unisex themes – it’s pretty much everything I look for, with the addition of Frisco, the one dog that Katie isn’t afraid of! Continue reading