Tommy’s is the largest charity that raises funds for research into the causes of miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth. They also provide information for parents-to-be to help them have a healthy pregnancy and baby, I’m totally on board with this.
This charity in particular holds a special place in my heart. I’m fortunate enough to have three beautiful and healthy children of my own. However, I have been affected by the issues that Tommy’s raise.
My first pregnancy was the most complicated. I was induced and ended up having an emergency c-section due to contracting preeclampsia, and although having your baby cures this, we were not quite out of the woods. Our baby contracted Group B streptococcus (strep), a bacterium which can occasionally cause infection, most commonly during pregnancy and before labour. Dylan caught Group B strep when my waters were broken, and he was born with breathing difficulties because of this. He spent his first two weeks in intensive care as doctors and nurses did their best to help him fight the illness. Every time we visited the hospital, my heart would hurt. Each day I’d hold my breath until the doctor told us that he was doing that little bit better than the day before. Thankfully, Dylan pulled through. Because of charities like Tommy’s, more people are aware of these types of complications, and more research is being done to avoid premature births, stillbirths and late miscarriages due to GBS.
Pregnancy number two was labelled ‘high risk’ by the doctors because of pregnancy number one. Due to the information learnt about how GBS is passed on to newborns, we knew that we had to act fast if my waters broke naturally. We were told to come into hospital if this occurred and that I’d be given antibiotics to prevent the baby from contracting the illness. Despite all of the worry, Zachary was delivered just fine: happy and healthy with no signs of GBS. Coincidentally, we were placed in a room with a friend who was also expecting, although she wasn’t due to give birth any time soon. Unfortunately for her, her baby was in distress, and their story didn’t end so well. Our blessing was with us, but sadly, that was not the case for her. While we celebrate our son’s birthday year-after-year, I’m always reminded about the loss and sadness felt at that time.
Roughly two years later, we got pregnant for the third time. The emotions that come with falling pregnant are so overwhelming, especially if you’ve planned it. You’ve eaten the right foods, you’ve calculated and recorded those fertile windows, and those blue lines were everything; they were your reward! We were pregnant, and everything was falling into place. Our family would be complete; however, after a few weeks, heavy bleeding and cramps made us think otherwise. We had to wait a couple of days for a scan, and waiting for that ultrasound was the worst feeling in the world. Previously, I’d complained about not being able to go for a wee. You see, you’re asked to keep your bladder full, so the sonographer can get a clear picture of your baby. I would have done anything to swap the feeling; needing a wee seemed so insignificant at the time.
We were sat in the same waiting room with pregnant ladies complaining about the size of their bumps, feeling fat and uncomfortable. When pregnant with Dylan and Zach, I’d never thought about why other couples were in that waiting room. The assumption was that everyone there must be happy, they’re pregnant, their baby was healthy. Oh, how it feels to be on the other side! I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone. The confirmation that our baby was no longer with us was heartbreaking. Even though it was during the first trimester; the time where people tell you that the chances of miscarriage are high, we still didn’t expect it. We were sent on our way and expected to deal with it. No real emotional aftercare and we had to have those awkward conversations with the few we had already shared our news with.
A year on and we were blessed with pregnancy number four, and our rainbow baby, Ziggy, was born. He’s the happiest and most charismatic person I’ve ever met. It’s almost like he was sent to grace us with his presence, by making up for all the hurt.
We know many others are not so fortunate. The pain of losing a child cannot be compared to any other pain, and those who have multiple miscarriages and pregnancy issues need our help.
Many women – one in four to be precise – lose a baby during pregnancy and birth. Tommy’s believe that is an unacceptable figure and, through fundraising, hope to decrease that number by raising money for research and information for parents-to-be.
This year, Tommy’s is partnering with Water Babies and is partnering with Peppa Pig to hopefully raise one million pounds. Splashathon will be taking place in Water Babies swimming classes nationwide throughout this summer. This is the first time that Water Babies have set a challenge for little ones. Children have been encouraged to swim one width as pirates and princesses within their specially themed Peppa Pig classes.
Video created by Sareta Fontaine
You can help Tommy’s reach their one million pound target by taking part if you’re already signed up- but don’t worry, it’s not to too late to sign up for this year! Answer the Water babies quiz to let them know how your little princess or pirate fairs in ‘high waters!’
If you’re not currently a Water Babies member, you can support the campaign by donating or spreading the word.
Make a splash and donate some cash!
Proceeds may go towards funding a brand new Tommy’s research centre – the National Centre for Improving Maternity Care. Let’s work together to make it happen.
*This is a sponsored post, and of course, all thoughts and opinions are my own*
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Whether you’ve planned your outfit to march or not, you may have noticed a plethora of brands selling Pride apparel. I’ve seen everything from rainbow coloured sunglasses to raincoats, but which brands support the community for real?
I have compiled my favourite Pride loving UK brands who are not only selling rainbow-themed clothing and accessories but also supporting the community by giving back.
Although you can’t purchase Ugg’s new limited-edition capsule for Pride Month through their UK site, ASOS has got your back! 25% of the proceeds go to the Born This Way Foundation, a crisis support and suicide prevention program from LGTBQ youths.
DKNY’s Pride collection consists of clothing, accessories, footwear, eyewear, and jewellery. Yes, there only seems to be a few Donna Karan stores here in the UK, however, there are a few concessions within department stores. Pick up this Pride Boxer Pyjama Set within House of Fraser. DKNY donates to the Hetrick-Martin Institute, a New York based organisation which creates a safe environment LGBTQ youth and their families.
These High Tops were made for marching! This year, Converse has honoured the 1969 Stonewall Riots, which is the origin of this LGBTQ celebration of love and empowerment. The capsule includes the Chuck Taylor and the Chuck 70 which are emblazoned with rainbow hues and a lightning bolt design. Proceeds from the Converse Pride Collection will support the brand’s longstanding local and global LGBTQ partners, including It Gets Better Project and OUT MetroWest.
ASOS has partnered with GLAAD, an organisation devoted to hitting back at discrimination aimed at the LGBT+ community. The collection comprises of tote bags, t-shirts and coordinated sets, which are included within their Plus-Size and Curve range. A staggering 100% of all net profits are being donated to the LGBT+ Charity.
Profits from Boohoo’s #LoveWithoutLimits collection will donate 10% of sales to OutRight Action International & LGBT foundation. Expect all things bright, colourful, and PRIDE worthy. You’ll definitely stand out of the crowd if you decide to pick something out of this collection of clothing, including unisex coordinates, bags and accessories.
House Of Holland
Are you heading anywhere ever-so-slightly glam, and need something to fit the occasion? House of Holland is the place to go. Three-piece satin tuxedos in the colours of the Transgender Pride flag, along with four colour-blocked suits, available in each colour of the rainbow. Their True Colours collection celebrates Pride and supports by donating 25% of profits to AKT. AKT is a voluntary organisation based in the UK and was formed to serve LGBT+ young people who are homeless, living in a hostile environment or in housing crisis.
Actress and activist Laverne Cox fronts H&M’s “Stay True, Stay You” campaign for Pride 2019. The campaign is part of H&M’s “Love For All” collection, which features a colourful range of apparel, pool shoes and accessories. 10% of each sale will be donated to the United Nations Free & Equal Campaign, which champions for equal rights and fair treatment of the worldwide LGBT+ community.
You can never be sure about the British weather, which is why a Wellington Boot may be the safest option this summer. Hunter is celebrating Pride by including a rainbow sole and tab on their iconic Play boot. Proceeds from sales will be donated to five LGBT+ organisations – The Outside Project, NAZ, Albert Kennedy Trust, MindOut and Mermaids.
Urban Outfitters Community Cares brings their employees and customers together to make a positive impact through volunteer work, events and collaborations that give back. This year, UO Community Cares has donated £10 to GLSEN, the leading education organisation focused on creating LGBTQ-inclusive schools. This exclusive “Don’t hide – show your pride” is the only piece within the collection that is available to buy through the UK Urban Outfitters site.
This year, the 1460 unisex boot takes on the colours of the Pride flag. Dr Martens made this boot “ready for you to march to your own beat – and stand tall with the LGBTQ community”. Donations are made to AKT who provide safe homes, mentoring and support for young people who have lost their home after coming out to their parents or guardians.
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The Easter holidays are upon us and that means only one thing: sweet (and yummy) treats! Ok, ok, it’s a religious occasion too, so let me dust off my Easter-best, ready for the weekend. Dairy-free treats anyone..?
Easter is a time when my kids get a whole heap of chocolate, and it’s also a time when we have to remind friends and family that Ziggy is dairy intolerant. No, he can’t just have a “little bit” of chocolate, his tummy would be a lot better if he avoided cows milk entirely.
Thankfully, as the years have gone on, dairy-free goodies have been popping up in more and more places. Our local supermarkets free-from sections have more than doubled, which means that lots of people don’t have to miss out at this time.
Last week, I took a trip to Asda to pick up a few treats and dairy-free bits ready for the weekend. Since some of you may still be on the hunt for dairy-free easter treats, I thought I’d share my finds.
Crafty Easter Goodies
Easter Masks £1.50
Pack of 16 Glitter carrots £1.00
8 mini chicks 87p
60 foam mini eggs £1.00
4 Easter nests £1.00
Dairy-free Easter Treats
Hot cross buns £2.00
Dairy free chocolate lolly 89p
Organic Rosie rabbit dairy and gluten free choccy bar 99p
Free-from tutti frutti fairy cakes £1.99 (Made with Asda free range eggs 89p and Pure Dairy-Free Spread £1.00)
Do you have any favourite places that you pick up free-from goodies? Let me know in the comments section below, I’m sure there are some fab places that need to be discovered.
Have a great Easter everybody, I hope you’ve all enjoyed the Easter break, until next year!
*This was not a sponsored post, therefore all of my recommendations were made by me, obviously I’d still share my faves if this was a collaborative post.
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I’m a newbie when it comes to coffee. I’m a novice, a baby, a child; I like my coffee sweet and preferably mixed in a cocktail. For that very reason, I agreed to accompany the other half to the London Coffee Festival.
Caffeinated cocktails? You don’t have to ask me twice! I’m not a coffee expert or guru, so I had a bit of a wander and took note of my fave brands…
Let’s be real, we know I was drawn to Grind because of the pink aesthetic, because of the neon sign, and because of the sweary bag. What can I say, I love stylish things! Besides having fabulous design skills, Grind’s ethics are superb. Their coffee is ground in Shoreditch and sent to a secret location and placed in 100% biodegradable pods; “compostable” pods to you and I. No longer will I feel guilty for using my Nespresso machine; Captain Planet would be proud.
Finally, from mid-May (2019), you will be able to buy your favourite syrups online. Monin stocks over 100 flavours which can be added not only to your coffee but to your hot chocolate and favourite cocktails. Like your coffees like you like your men? Well, let me recommend a Macaroon flavoured latte! (I don’t even know what that means).
A flower subscription with a difference, Freddie’s Flowers promise 100% fresh flowers delivered straight to your doorstep. While others boast very similar claims, I learnt that most freeze your arrangements during the delivery process. Ever noticed that some of your delicate petals are wilted upon arrival? That’s why! I’ve signed up to receive a box which comes with a step-by-step guide about how to arrange your flowers. If in doubt, Freddie himself has a nifty collection of Youtube videos to help along the way. Awesomeness!
As an avid coconut milk fan, I’ve been trying to wean the rest of the family off of cows milk. Zigs is dairy intolerant, and I’ve just gone off the taste (and thought of) baby cow food; milk. The other half has point-blank refused coconut, almond and soya milk, so to my surprise; he discovered that he loves Oat Milk in his coffee. Amazing, we are one step closer to getting rid of Cow’s milk once and for all.
We have a lot of coffee-making stuff at home; but nothing that can make real espresso. I mean, the Moka Pot does, and the Nespresso machine says it does, but it just isn’t the same. They don’t produce an authentic, full-bodied espresso. The lovely people (and they really were lovely) at Rok have come up with this ingenious and beautiful home espresso maker. It does everything that the £1,500 (and up!) espresso machines in coffee shops do, but is available for £150. It looks good, it feels good, and it makes fantastic coffee.
So far, during this hipster-fest, I realised that to be one of the gang you must love coffee, fancy tea, adore plants, have a passion for big oil’ beards and wear glasses. Since spending far too much time on my laptop and phone, I seemed to have ruined my eyes. Coincidentally after years of complaining that I love glasses, I now need them. MONC is a British brand founded by Freddie Elborne, who believes in true craftsmanship and has an eye for modish designs. Payday is next week, so we’ve jotted down a few faves.
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We attended the Ideal Home Show over the weekend, and we left brimming with creative ideas.
You may remember that we were planning on decorating/redecorating some areas within our home. We’ve been here for just over two years, and I’m itching to put our stamp on the place.
Without going through my tastes with you yet again, I will say that I am adamant that I want bold but stylish rooms. I want a quirky home that has styling elements which you may not see in others. Unlike a regurgitated trendy abode, mirroring a Scandinavian furniture shop.
Since deciding on working with emerald green in the living room, I see this colour more and more. In magazines, all over Pinterest, and now a beautifully-styled kitchen idea at the Ideal Home Show. It’s slightly irritating, mainly because I like to be different, but it does make it easier to source complimentary items. Seeing everything together only reaffirms my colour choice; a dominant emerald green, gold accents and mustard accessories are a must.
We fell in love with the pink and peach kitchen styled by GoodHomes which had us thinking, where could we possibly work-in a nostalgic area? The idea of an all-pink bathroom springs to mind, with a retro neon sign and pink artificial plumage covering a wall. But I had to ask, would we get bored, and how would that affect the house price? Should we even care? A quick chat with the guys from Zoopla would have been a good idea. If only we booked before attending, we would have been able to get some practical advice regarding that very subject; smart interior design, and avoiding design aspects that devalue your home.
With so many beautiful vintage designs around, it’s easy to fall victim to novelty-styled interiors, but I know how my mind works; if it means having to redecorate in order to sell, we can. I just know what I want! Surely, a beautiful, yet quirky styled bathroom would open up the possibility for photoshoots? That would be a great little earner if marketed well. I want a home that not only looks amazing but could be hired as a stylish location.
Our garden seemed to be the main focus when it came to looking at vendors. I’d love a purpose-built office outside, and the idea of an up-cycled caravan styled with bamboo and fairy lights seemed like such a good feature at the time. It’s easy to get carried away while you’re at the Ideal Home Show, that is until you return home and weigh up prices. Would a caravan work aesthetically, or should we stick to a modern garden pod? There are so many choices!
Things like changing doors and stairs seem semi-necessary, but I wonder how realistic that would that be in terms of getting them done this year. Growing up watching Frasier, I fell in love with his elegant tastes; his wooden doors were nothing like I’d seen before.
This home project sounds like it needs more consideration and planning, and more time may be a likely compromise in terms of affordability. Painting and the search for carpets can continue, and perhaps we can make a start on our bedroom balcony. It’s frustrating that everything may have to wait, however, I do need to remember, there’s no rush.
Brands I’ll be keeping an eye on
Witch and watchman
Hurn & Hurn
Walls & Floors
British Design Shop
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Has anyone caught Ainsley Harriot’s new cookery show? If not, let me fill you in. Each week, Uncle Ainsley island-hops around the Caribbean cooking dishes inspired by the countries most popular delicacies. Last week he visited Antigua, and he had me reminiscing about our last holiday to the island that boasts 365 beaches.
I’ve only ever been to two countries in the Caribbean; Trinidad and Tobago, and Antigua. Technically that’s three islands, but two countries because Trinidad and Tobago are separate islands. Either way, those are the only Caribbean countries I have visited, although, I do have a few others on my bucket list.
I was about six or seven during my first trip to the Caribbean. I was lucky enough to go with my grandmother as we went to visit her mother and family. My grandmother was born in Antigua, however, her family moved to Trinidad. Her parents settled there and had more children, and so my grandmothers’ siblings have Trinidadian nationality, along with my mother.
My Grandparents moved to England with my mum, worked, saved up, and bought a house. My aunt and uncle were born here, and the rest is history. Since retiring, my grandmother bought a house in Antigua and has the pleasure of avoiding the UK winter months by living in Antigua for half of the year, every year.
Flights are pretty expensive during the school holidays, so we’ve only taken the boys a couple of times. To feel as though we’ve got our money’s worth, we’ve gone during the six weeks holidays and stayed the majority of the time. Of course, my grandparents don’t mind extending their stay if we’re coming to visit.
2020 marks our 10th wedding anniversary and my grandmothers 80th birthday, and so I have proposed a double celebration. Where better to celebrate than in Antigua? Not only is it a great excuse, but we would love a do-over. The last time we visited, Zigs was little so he doesn’t remember a thing and we didn’t hire a car as we were being money conscious (read: broke). This time around I would like an epic luxury experience and possibly stay in a resort – I need air conditioning! We definitely need to hire a car, as this time around I want to be able to see more of the island.
While I ask the universe to acknowledge my request and give gratitude for the times we have spent in Antigua so far, I’m going to share my favourite Antiguan hotspots.
Out of all 365 beaches, Turner’s Beach is my no.1. I’m probably biased since the Turners are my grandmothers cousins, so we’re related! Either way, it’s a beautiful beach and the bar serves the best food and Rum Punch.
Sugar Ridge Resort Antigua
I’ve had the pleasure of dining at this luxury hotel for the evening, yes, you can book tables without having to stay at the resort! We chose to dine at Carmichael’s, which sits at the highest point in Sugar Ridge. To get there, you’ll be escorted by a driver in a golf cart to get you to the top. Beware, although the view is absolutely breathtaking, it is very high and not for the faint-hearted. “Sunday Chill” is a unique poolside dining experience pairing music with fine dining. Ask for a private gazebo and you can get in the mood and enjoy a candlelit dinner.
Annual Seafood Festival
A family event which started back in 2009, hosting live music, competitions and of course great-tasting seafood. Urlings’ locals get together and cook a plethora of West Indian cuisine including fresh crabs, conches, fish and lobsters. If you love seafood, this isn’t one to be missed. The festival is in August, for dates, keep an eye out on Antigua-Barbuda.com.
Antigua Carnival is a yearly celebration of music and dance which starts at the end of July to the first Tuesday in August. The most important day is j’ouvert, which kicks starts the occasion in the early hours of the morning. Whether you catch it on your way home after a night out, or my personal choice, an early rise followed with a 3am Rum Punch, it’s not one to be missed. Brass and steel pans perform while revellers dance in brightly-adorned costumes. Day time proceedings are child-friendly and extremely popular.
There are so many more things to do and see in Antigua, and I feel like 2020 could be the one.
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If you know me personally, you know I’m looking forward to turning 40. In my mind, that’s when I’ll have all my shit together and I’ll be on some grown-lady vibe paying no mind to negativity or drama.
I recently turned 37, and as much as it wasn’t a particular milestone, I am happy at where I am in life. I’ve never really had major goals outside of having a family and being a homeowner, so anything else is just a bonus.
I’m not your typical blogger or typical 37-year-old in general, so to some, my bucket list may be somewhat unconventional or weird. Either way, it’s mine, so accept it, embrace it or move on.
Ride in a Hummer Limo
Is this trashy and outdated? Who bloody knows, but it’s been on my list for years now. I guess the only thing that’s changed is the colour option. No longer do I want to ride in a pink one, black would be good enough, and extremely dope AF.
Be in a Panto
Is this even achievable? I know the majority of leading actors and actresses probably went to Rada, but I have seen a couple of reality stars guest appearing in Pantomimes now and again. I wouldn’t mind popping in and having a couple of lines in order to tick this off of my bucket list.
Act in a horror movie
Don’t get it twisted. Before all these maniacs surface and think that I actually want to die in real life. I don’t. But I do want to be in a horror movie. I can’t act, I’m not very theatrical, but I do want to be in a movie. Figure it out, I’m sure I’ll meet a director who wants me to die a spectacular death, or at least survive one.
Be a Zombie for a day
Maybe this goal and the above could be interlinked somehow. I’ve always thought I’d manage to survive a Zombie Apocalypse. Ok, so I wouldn’t necessarily be a “Michonne” type, but I’d be able to avoid those slow-paced walkers pretty easily. However, if we’re talking about quick 28 Day Later Zombies, yes, apparently they are Zombies, I’d be laying low. I’m not running if there’s no chance of survival, let’s be realistic now.
Be Mr Blobby’s long-lost child
By now you can probably tell that these life goals aren’t necessarily professional or, like, crazy ambitious. They are, however, things that I honestly want to achieve within the next three years. Admittedly, this
In the ’90s, I thought Mr Blobby had the best job. Ever. You could literally be crazy, take the piss and jump all over people for fun. I wouldn’t particularly enjoy being on the receiving end of his antics, because, although he is hilarious, he is simultaneously terrifying. That voice sends shivers down my spine while making me laugh at how he terrorises everyone. Being on the inside of one of those suits and wreaking havoc alongside the real Mr Blobby would be a dream come true. *Weeps.
Visit New York and take a pic on a stoop
I guess this is probably a grown-up goal? I mean, I’ve been to NYC a couple of times, but never with the hubby. He did that whole yah-yah, gap year thing. He got into the University of his choice, deferred for a year then went to NYC and illegally outstayed his welcome. It would be good to go with him so he can show me what he got up to and I can pretend to be Carrie Bradshaw for a bit. Those NYC stoops are so iconic, I want to be pictured on one.
Go to Essence Festival
Admittedly, reasons for wanting to attend
I cry. I mean, this is the only goal that would be difficult to achieve since it’s not just entirely down to me. Plus, Aunty Oprah is just…way up there with the semi-
So that’s it. I have three years to work on this bucket list. I’m not really asking for many
See, now the ending of that seemed pretty realistic, right? Oh, and the Pantomime thing…I’ll fit that in somewhere, I have 3 Christmas’ to go! Anything is possible.
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I have been waiting for a good horror movie for the longest time. Netflix seemed to have taken over for a while with hits like Birdbox and every horror movie classic I can think of. But as I said, I’ve been waiting for an excuse to go and watch a movie in the cinema and ‘us’ didn’t fail to deliver.
Us- Accompanied by her husband, son and daughter, Adelaide Wilson returns to the beachfront home where she grew up as a child. Haunted by a traumatic experience from the past, Adelaide grows increasingly concerned that something bad is going to happen. Her worst fears soon become a reality when four masked strangers descend upon the house, forcing the Wilsons into a fight for survival. When the masks come off, the family is horrified to learn that each attacker takes the appearance of one of them.
Initial release: 22 March 2019
Director: Jordan Peele – IMD
Now, you know I don’t do movie reviews, so don’t get all high and mighty and slate my words. Honey, chile, boo-boo, I just watched a great film and I have no one to talk to about it. So chill, continue reading if you want, then go watch the film. It’s brilliant.
Here’s the tea. Imposter-M’Baku, Winston Duke is looking a bit fluffy in this film. Okay, okay, so who am I to talk? AND, I still wouldn’t say no. He looks like a typical dad of two, but the vision of Black Panther’s Man-Ape left a perfect imprint in my mind- both visually and physically. *Clears throat, wipes brow. He’s uncool, he’s funny, he’s the slightly bumbling stereotypical movie dad. Which was actually refreshing. Us featured a black family, who just happened to be black. We’ve been waiting a long time to prove that black folk don’t need to be BLACK-BLACK to be in a movie. Especially in a horror movie.
We get our first teaser of uncomfortableness when a little girl walks off after being warned to stay with her dad. Why don’t kids listen man? Like, kids just walk off paying no mind to all to the kidnapping stories we’ve told them. I know every parent has embellished some type of story in which a kid disappears never to seen again. Don’t lie, we all do it. But for some reason, the kids don’t listen.
Fast forward quite a few years and that little girl, I assume, appears to have a family of her very own. Lupita Nyong’o is the strong-willed, quick thinking mum and Imposter M’Baku is her cutie of a husband. They have a beautiful family; a little girl who seems to be the spitting image of her ‘walking-off-alone-ass’, just a couple of years older. She also has a son who equally shares the passion of walking off when told to stay still, which of course, gets him into trouble. Go figure.
Elizabeth Moss from that rapey-rapey, depressing but very addictive series ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ makes an appearance. For some reason, I don’t trust this blonde lady at all. If ‘Us’ is anything like Jordan Peele’s 2017 hit, Get Out, we can’t trust those natural blondes, no offence.
“There’s a family on our driveway…a boogeyman’s family”. Damn, son. Words that shit me up and set the tone for the rest of the film. Which black character will die first? Well, seeing as ‘Us’ broke all the horror movie rules by making all the main characters black, at that moment in time, I was baffled, I didn’t know. What came next? Blood, craziness and a plot twist that’ll make you question everything you know. Maybe I’ll get my kids to watch this so they never walk off alone, or maybe they’ll just realise why parents ‘go ape’ every time they do?!
Us, in UK cinemas from March 22nd.
*Tickets were not gifted, and therefore, all thoughts and opinions are my own. They would be anyways, but still.*
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me to go anywhere or do anything; It’s 2019 and my house needs to be lit before the end of the year. ask
One of my biggest ambitions in life was to be a homeowner, and just over two years ago we managed to get ourselves on the property ladder. No, it wasn’t the London-based four-bedroom home we imagined, as we had to be realistic. London house prices are bloomin’ ridiculous and we have 3 kids.
A few years ago we left our rental property in Kingston-Upon-Thames, and we moved to Colchester in Essex. What did I know about Colchester? Well, I knew it was in Essex; therefore I assumed it would be like TOWIE. Glam people, lashes, big hair and tiny dogs. Maybe a micro pig or two. Nope, nothing like the show. But, that doesn’t mean I hate it.
We have the pleasure of living across the road from a beautiful country park and we’re a short drive from at least four beaches. As for London, we’re a 50-minute train ride away from Liverpool Street; I’m able to pop back to see friends and attend those blogger events. Plus, we have that four-bedroom house that I have dreamed of all my life, we just don’t have the cash to match my interior design specifications.
The great thing about being a homeowner is that you can decorate your home however you want. The bad side of that is the possibility of aesthetically ruining your abode.
What’s changed I hear you say? Well, what’s the worst that can happen! If I hate
Now that I know what I want, I’m going to have to redecorate and change some of the things that we did when we rushed into putting our own stamp on our new home.
We started by decorating in the living room, we had dreams of Elvis and all things
The kitchen is going to be a slow and steady one. Watching the copper glitter wallpaper go up was so exciting! I love a bit of bling, and this was the only place I could envision it without it being
The hallway and landings are simple. They have a splash of mustard on some walls along with a couple of doorframes. Think bold tribal prints meets Moroccan colour palettes. I guess you’d call that African inspired? Either way, we still need some extra coats of paint and new carpets. Let’s just say, an open can of paint and a 5-year-old don’t mix. We have navy footprints on light beige carpet to prove it.
The master bedroom is my favourite room so far, mainly because it’s nearly finished, bar the carpet and technically the balcony. I’ve always been terrified of darkly decorated rooms, but this works. No, it doesn’t get much light during the day, but it doesn’t need to. I went with Navy with yellow and gold accents in this room; ideally, I’d love to get a gold pineapple chandelier, I just haven’t found one (yet). I wanted retro vibes with a modern twist, and we need to get some more Indian artwork. I have a thing about Hindu goddesses, they’re beautiful, with amazing stories. For some reason, I think that they compliment the room, and who else, but Kali herself takes centre stage.
The spare room/office space is unfinished but it has a great blank canvas. It has everything it needs with the exception of a bright and airy wallpaper, and yes, you guessed it, carpet. This is the room that gets the most amount of daylight, which is why it’s the best room to work in and take pictures. It doubles up as a spare room, but ideally, the sofa bed would go into my dream office. It would be great if we could make a purpose-built home-office in the garden and this room would be for guests with a small double bed that didn’t take up so much space.
The kids’ rooms are done, it’s just the rest of the house that needs to be decorated within the next year or so. But honestly, it’s more than liveable; I wish someone would throw some money at me so I could finish it before my tastes change. Oh, and let’s not forget about the bathrooms, *sigh.
I’ve realised that being a homeowner has endless expenses. Besides wanting to decorate, you have to live! A lick of paint is going to come second to bills and making fun memories with the kids, especially if those memories are in a hot sunny resort with endless cocktails. Some things just shouldn’t be rushed, most importantly the things that are done to place that creative stamp on your home. How else will you find the perfect excuse to stay in on a Friday night?
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Amsterdam, again?! I hear you cry. Well yes, what better place to take the kids away on my own for the first time ever!
I love the Netherlands. The people are so super friendly, and places like Amsterdam have public transport systems that are relatively easy to figure out.
I’ve always wanted to take the boys away on my own; I thought Amsterdam would be an excellent place to start. I’d been there a few times with friends, and I’ve even travelled there solo for the day. It was about time that I saw more of Amsterdam from a different perspective. This was going to be a kid-friendly, no coffee shops, no Red Light District kind of trip. There was an entire side to Amsterdam that I hadn’t seen before.
Since this was the first time that I’d be taking the kids abroad without the other half, I decided to plan out the days and set a budget for the entire trip. I asked the kids to look up ‘things to do in Amsterdam’, and I was pretty impressed with their results. Zigs wanted to go to the Zoo, Zach wanted to go to The Van Gogh museum, and Dylan was happy to ride a double-decker train. Three full days away during half term was more than enough time to explore these places.
A great place for kids of all ages. We purchased tickets beforehand, so, to the delight of my excited kids, waiting times were cut in half! From cheeky monkeys who would run around alongside you to beautiful Panthers, Artis Zoo has it all. Maps are available, and therefore, attractions are easy to find. There are lots of places to eat and a huge playground for kids to let loose and go wild. Artis Zoo has an aquarium exhibiting natural inhabitants of Amsterdams Canals and exotic fish that would amaze any kid who has a Finding Nemo obsession.
Located within Artis Zoo is the
A surprisingly mature choice for a 9-year-old, but who am I to complain?! Opened by Van Gogh’s nephew and boasting four floors of the artists work, this museum is incredible. You can take a look around with an audio guide who explains (not just in Dutch) every piece of art and the story behind Van Gogh himself. There is an activity book specifically designed for kids. However, it was a bit too advanced for 5-year-old Zigs and too young for a mature 9-year-old Zach. Either way, we all had a great time and learnt so much. Beware, there
Located roughly 73 miles outside of Amsterdam, I thought that this would be an excellent opportunity to travel on a double-decker train and visit a town that has been on my travel bucket list for years. Giethoorn is a beautiful village with canals instead of roads, quite like Venice without the noise! As expected, the weather wasn’t amazing during February half term; therefore we did a lot of ducking and diving to avoid the rain. We found a quaint pancake house called Pannenkoekenhuis De Babbelaarthat which, unsurprisingly, served a vast amount of different pancakes. The decor was traditional, and it felt as though we had stepped into a real dutch treasure. The kids had fun touring the village by boat, simultaneously learning about the fascinating origins of this beautiful place. Travelling with kids to a quiet romantic town was purely done to tick off a personal goal; I got to visit and plan my return! In the summer, Giethoorn hosts a popular Jazz festival on the lake; I will be back. Though, perhaps minus three, and plus one.
Anne Frank House
Tickets for Anne Frank House can be purchased in advance, and 20% of those tickets are available on the day. Not only did I try to buy tickets way in advance, but I was in a virtual queue system behind 10’000 people on the day. We never managed to get tickets. I’d been before; however, as Dylan and Zach wanted to go, we now have unfinished business in Amsterdam.
The kids had a blast eating their way through waffles and pancakes, and learnt so much during this visit. Nothing compares to showing children different cultures in real time. Amsterdam was a fantastic city to explore, and it was a great start to travelling with the kids on my own. A family of four, in terms of accommodation, seems to be easier to find than our usual five-person occupancy. Obviously, because of this, the overall cost was cheaper too.
Instead of feeling the guilt of going away without the hubby, I’m going to plan more half term trips. Now that I have the confidence and experience; we’re ready to do it all again. Travelling in half term is a goal that both myself and the boys have set. We can’t wait for our next adventure.