My January Loves

So it’s January 76th apparently. For real, why is this January so long? It has been frigid here in Canada and after the excess (both monetary and food/alcohol) of the holidays I have felt in a total funk. However, there are a few little things that have brightened up the grey days and helped spur me on towards February. I thought that I would compile a monthly list of things that I’ve been loving every month in the hopes that maybe they can bring a little sunshine to your life too

Make up/beauty products

Garden of Wisdom (GOW) acids and serums
I was given a set of GOW products for Christmas and I’ve been using them religiously for a month and I must say I’m really impressed with my results so far. My skin was really dull from being inside (and maybe not taking care of it over the holidays but that’s a tiny detail) and these little beauties have really given me a refresh. I got the hyaluronic acid, Anti-Aging Multi-Peptide, niacinamide and the eye contour serum and I’ve been layering them daily. There’s a longer post in the works breaking down how I use these products and the results I’ve had. So far, so good.

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St. Tropez self tanner
I love a bit of colour but my 30 year old skin cannot take being fried not to mention the health implications of sunbeds. I’ve been using self tanner for years and wouldn’t be without my weekly spray tan when I lived in Wales. I’ve struggled to find a good variety of sunless tanners here in Canada so I went back to the original, and arguable the best, one on the market. It is amazing how a tan can boost your mood and just make you feel glowy and gorgeous on the coldest winter days. It’s a little on the pricey side but it does last for ages and the colour is great. No tangerine hands in sight (if you tan, then you know). I highly recommend using a mitt to apply (again, if you tan, then you KNOW).

                         

Charlotte Tilbury ‘The Feline Flick’ eyeliner
I am obsessed with this eyeliner and I don’t think I can say a bad word about it. Charlotte Tilbury is a genius when it comes to make up! It’s a little bit of luxe in my daily routine and it just makes me happy. Also, I have to say that my daily cat eye has been on point since receiving it. Read more about this product in my review post. 

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What I’m reading

‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ by Marie Kondo
Yeah I jumped on the bandwagon and I’m not ashamed. This is an amazing book and it really helps you understand the philosophy behind decluttering and organizing which in turn helps you stay dedicated to living a tidier life.

“An Almost Perfect Christmas’ by Nina Stibbe
I absolutely adored “Love Nina” and I couldn’t wait to get stuck into this one. I love her dry, British sense of humour and sharp observations. It is taking me a while to get through (thank you little children) and I’m not quite as fond on it as I was “love Nina” but it does make me smile.

What I’m Watching

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
This hilarious show is on Prime right now and I’ve been watching it whenever I can sneak an episode throughout the day. The basic premise is Midge Maisel has been left by her philandering husband and in a drunken stupor she goes to a comedy club and performs a raw and frankly hysterical stand up act. After that she defies stereotypes and goes on to become a comedic hit and a strong, single woman.

The Bachelor (don’t judge me)
I can’t help it. My husband goes to hockey every Monday night and I spend the evening watching trashy TV with a facemask on. It is glorious and I am unapologetic about it. Yes the show is terrible but there’s something so simple about watching a group of women fight over a so-so bachelor. I cannot believe that after all thse seasons they can still find some absolutely crackers people willing to go on this show.

What I’m listening to

Bastille
I am listening non-stop to Bastille on my Alexa right now. I love all the songs and their cover songs are amazing. I mean who doesn’t want to hear Greenday in a British accent. I highly recommend giving these guys a cheeky listen.

What I’m wearing

Cozy snow boots
It is cold AF here still and I just want to look pretty. I am so fed up with being frumpy I cannot even begin to explain (if you follow my Instagram you’ll probably be sick of my whining!)

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Fluffy sweaters

I’ve promised to stop shopping mindlessly this year and so far, so good. I purchased a really cosy jumper from H&M in the sale for $20 and I haven’t taken it off. I’m going to try and hold off now until spring. I cannot wait to get my hands on some summer dresses!

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What I’m feeding my soul with

This sounds so new age but I’m trying to focus on feeding my soul this year. I want to be a happier, healthier and more positive person and I’m doing that by doing little things that make me happy.

Organizing my life 

I am a littttttle bit obsessed with finding joy and tidying after all the Marie Kondo-ing. I have to say that there is a lot of substance to the madness. Decluttering your home of things that no longer serve you opens up space for things that bring you happiness. We attribute sentiment onto inanimate objects and seem to have a hard time letting go. I feel so much calmer since throwing my frumpy, old clothes out and I have a renewed focus for the type of person I want to grow to be this year.

Making my physical health a priority

Confession, I haven’t really worked out since Emmy was born. I know it’s awful but I’ve been so busy with life that I let myself slip by the wayside. At Christmas I felt so uncomfortable in my own skin I couldn’t stand it. Now I’m not saying I’m overweight and I’m certainly not fishing for compliments but I cannot stand that I let myself go when fitness used to be a passion of mine. It’s not my goal to be a size zero but I would like to be around for as long as possible for my girls and now I’m 32 I realize that I do actually have to take care of myself. My heart rate has been through the roof since having Aria and since working out daily and eating right it has come down almost 10bpm! The proof is in the pudding (or the Kale salad) it seems.  All I’m doing is giving myself 30 minutes a day to do a spin session or yoga in my basement while one kid naps and the other plays independently by my side. I give them 12 hours every day so I see nothing wrong with a little half hour for myself. Plus, seeing me work out is good for them and their perception of health and fitness as a normal part of life instead of a punishment.

So there are a few little things that I have been loving this month. Yes it has been EXTREMELY cold, yest it has been snowy, yes I am poor from Christmas but I have found a little joy in these things and that’s all that matters. What has helped you through the Monday of months?

Here’s to February my friends and coasting towards spring!

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The Quest For The Perfect Eyeliner: Charlotte Tilbury Feline Flick Review

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Forget the quest for the holy grail or the golden fleece, the most epic crusade in the world is the search for the perfect cat eye .Okay, so maybe that’s a little dramatic but I feel like I have been on a never ending pursuit of inky black perfection that transforms me into a perfectly put together, clean winged, gorgeous vixen. I have always been a make up lover and love experimenting with my look. I’m particularly fond of my eyes as I think they’re quite large and a pretty colour (not to sound vain but I think we should all have a favourite feature) so that’s where I focus my most time in my make up routine. I’ve had a few trials and errors in my time. Lets take a walk down memory lane…

My eyeliner journey

  1. Barbie Make Up Counter FAIL
    One Christmas my parents got me the coveted Barbie make up counter that came with a beautiful array of blue eye shadows. That Christmas dinner I looked like Pat Butcher on a night out but I felt fabulous. I think this is where my love affair with eye shadows was born. More is more was my motto and I was LIVING it.
  2. The Goth Years 
    I really got into “alternative” music when I was in comprehensive school. I used to go to My Chemical Romance concerts, Reading festivals and love getting bashed about in a mosh pit. When I first started listening to this type of music I wanted all in. I used to wear the stupidly wide-legged jeans, ironic Stussy T-shirts (or worse still T-shirts with bands I didn’t really listen to), children’s headbands and a Hello Kitty back pack. I am absolutely dying as I type this as I cannot believe what I must have looked like. Maybe one day I’ll dig up a picture to post for your pleasure. As I navigated this painfully awkward phase I started wearing more make up. I vividly recall heading down the park with a Chinese symbol drawn by my eye in liquid eyeliner. How shameful. Fear not my friends, that particular fashion statement was short lived but my love for black kohl rimmed eyes was born.
  3. Smokey eye overload
    As I grew up a bit and started going out to clubs with my mates I really got into wearing makeup. I used to wear Rimmel’s black eye shadow or Bourgeois sparky graphite shadow all over my lids and line them heavily with Benefit’s BadGal. On top of that I would add a liquid eyeliner to really make my eyes stand out (let’s face it, they needed defining after being smokey-eyed into oblivion). I could never get it right and always ended up looking like a panda with a black eye.
  4. The more refined years
    As I entered my late 20s I stared wearing less make up. Eyeliner and eye shadow has a nasty way of settling into crows feet and fine lines and less is definitely more as you age. I still LOVE a bit of black eyeliner and wear it almost everyday. The one beauty rule I flaunt most often is to put the black eyeliner away in your 30s. NO WAY. I don’t rim my eyes in quite the same aggressive manner as I did in my teens but I always try to give myself a little cat eye so I look somewhat put together even if I’m wearing yoga pants and Uggs.

You’re a grown up now darling, invest a little in yourself

My mum always bought me beautiful Benefit and Clinique products and told me never to cheap out on what I put on my face. Now, I didn’t always listen to this advice (can you say Collection 2000 and Miss Sporty) but when I can, I always try in invest in my make up. As I’ve tested hundreds of brands of eyeliner of the years I can attest to the fact that it really is something you need to splash out on a bit if you want the rich pigment and clean application. For Christmas the year I got the Charlotte Tilbury Feline Flick eye liner in Panther and I was so excited to try it and hopefully put an end to my quest. So let’s get to the review.

Review of Charlotte Tilbury Feline Flick Eyeliner

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The packaging

Well obviously Charlotte Tilbury has beautiful, iconic burgundy and gold packaging that just looks luxe. I have my make up out on my bathroom counter in a little perspex organizer so I do like how it looks simple and classy.

The Price

I’m not going to lie to you, this is not cheap. It is $35 CAD and I appreciate that seems like a lot for a little felt pen. However, I am absolutely LOVING this product and believe it is worth the money. I’ve tried budget eyeliners before and they wear off before midday and the colour pigment is just not on point.

Application

I swear my eyes have two different personalities. I can do my right eye just fine. My liner is the perfect thickness and I get the flick at the corner just right. My left eye is the hot mess sibling that eats taco bell and didn’t go to college. Hoenstly, on the right I’m Sophia Loren, on the left I’m Amy Winehouse. It’s a problem. While I wont say my eyeliner is perfect with this product, that has more to do with my application skills rather than how the liner itself performs. It goes on so smooth and glides easily across my lids with no drag. I always apply my liquid liner on its side when I sweep it across my lids and this deposits rich colour even on its side. When I use the point to sharpen the flick the colour is inky black and comes out evenly.

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What I like about the product

  1. The depth of colour. This truly is an inky black liner.
  2. The pen itself has a comfy grip like a marker that makes it easy to hold from multiple angles. It is also non-slip so if you’re sweaty from chasing kids around or just from concentrating on your problem eye then this is perfect for you!
  3. The tip is super fine.
  4. It’s been about a month and the product is still as black as when I first got it. Cheaper eyeliners have always crapped out on me by this point.
  5. The packaging is so classy.
  6. The wear is phenomenal. I did a spin session with this on and it didn’t run and stayed on!
  7. The fact that it doesn’t come off all over my eyelash curler.

What I’m not so keen on

  1. Not going to lie it is expensive but like I said, you get what you pay for.
  2. It would be cool if you could pump it to get more product onto the tip but it’s not a big deal seeing as the colour is so good anyway.

Overall, I am obsessed with this product and it will definitely be a staple in my make up kit. I love how it looks and I think that it gives me a really great cat eye in seconds. I’m really impressed with the wear and how long it has lasted so far. I highly recommend this eyeliner if you are on the hunt for your holy grail. Spoil yourself! They offer Free Shipping and Returns so you don’t even have to hunt down suppliers (which are not close by if you live in the boonies like me) and can shop in your PJs. What more can a gal ask for?

I’m off to watch some more YouTube eyeliner tutorials to try and line my left eye into submission. Then I’ve got to give my right eyebrow a talking to.

Let me know if you LOVE Charlotte Tilbury!

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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links

5 Things To Know Before Beginning the KonMari Tidying Method

Joy

Does it bring you joy? Such a simple question but one that packs a huge punch. It is the mantra of Marie Kondo and the cornerstone of the KonMari tidying up method and is at the heart of the craze that is slowly but surely taking over the world. Instagram is littered with pictures of perfectly organized closets and drawers with people praising how Kondo has changed her life. Social media right now is total organization goals and I’m hooked. There is something so satisfying about looking at other people’s things all neatly lined up and it is oddly soothing to me. When I found out that Marie Kondo had a show on Netflix I HAD to watch it and from episode one I was hooked. Kondo herself if the neatest person I’ve seen. The woman is perfectly put together with her gorgeous clothes and picture perfect hair. After binging the entire season in two days I needed to organize all the things immediately. I am a sucker for a bandwagon and if it promises me joy and happiness then I am jumping right on that bad boy.

Towels, Washday, Laundry, Housework, Wash, Bath Towel

Confessions of a secret slob

If you look at my Instagram account you would think that I have the perfectly put together home and yes, on the face of it my home is clean and decluttered but a look into my kitchen junk drawer or closet tells a different story. My whole life I’ve struggled with keeping things tidy. I love my home being neat but I find it easier to just sweep things into a drawer rather than actually take the time to put it in its place. Then I lose things and panic and stay up for hours scouring the house until I find it (I’m type A, what can I say?). Have you seen the episode of Friends where Monica’s junk closet is exposed? My basement puts that closet to shame. It is a deep hole of junk that just keeps growing. I’m not proud of it but it is what it is and at the ripe old age of 32 I’m ready to be a grown up and get organized. So my friends I will be your KonMari guinea pig and will be reporting on my progress. Hopefully these posts will become a series and my home, and maybe other aspects of my life, will become zen, harmonious and incredibly tidy. You can learn from my mistakes and see the KonMari method take place in real life, with a real person who just can’t seem to keep her damn junk drawer in check.

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5 things to know before starting the KonMari method

  1. Understanding the theory is the cornerstone of the process

    Starting is ALWAYS the hardest part of any journey. It just seems so overwhelming to get everything in your home in order. I think that the most important part of the method is the philosophy and theory behind the madness. I have tried to tidy so many times in my life that I’ve lost count. I get everything neat and throw out my clothes and vow to everything that I will never let my drawers get into that state again but somehow elves or something come into my home at night and screw everything up. I genuinely believe that this is because I don’t truly buy into the process and just do it as a means to an end. If I am to become a KonMari convert I am going to have to totally immerse myself into her beliefs and theory. So, I ordered the book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” from Amazon in the hopes that it would give me some divine inspiration.

  2. You’re going to have to drink the KoolAid

    I will admit it, I scoffed at the notion of thanking various items around the house and asking if they bring me joy. I mean it sounds like absolute lunacy to look at a tin opener and think that it would give me any joy but it is an important part of the process. I think this is why you start with clothes. It is easier to attach emotions to the things that show the world what we’re all about and therefore easier to gauge how it makes you feel. So put cynicism away and get in touch with your softer side, feel each item, think about it and unabashedly thank it when you throw it away (most of the people in your house would have long run for the hills when you tell them you’re tidying up so at least you’ll look loony in private).

  3. Picture what you want to achieve at the end of the process

    I am new to this visualization thing. I am terrible at anything remotely zen and new age-y. My yoga teacher tells me that I have “monkey mind” as I would sneak out of meditation because I just couldn’t deal with laying there with my thoughts as it seemed a little weird. However, this year I have told myself that I want to be positive and a big part of that is visualizing positive situations in my life. So, I thought “why the hell not?” and had a mini meditation session about how I wanted my life to look after this process. When I thought about the organized home and how much less anxiety that would bring I knew that I needed to achieve it. No more Tupperware avalanches every time I open the cupboard. I will be a put together, thirty something whose organized drawers are reflective of her organized life. The main thing I want out of this process is less stress and more calm in my life and this is the driving factor that I hope will get me through the process and keep me on the straight and narrow.

  4. Get all the boxes you can find

    Ask your family, friends, neighbours for any small trinket boxes that they don’t need anymore. You really will need a ton of them to successfully separate your drawers and tidy. If you put things into a drawer without dividers they will inevitably smoosh together within 24 hours and all your hard work is undone. I’ve bought a bunch of these Ikea organizers that I LOVE and are perfect for socks and underwear. I also use jewellery and cosmetic boxes. TOP TIP – separate the box and the lid as both can be used to organize. The lids make awesome little holders for pens and small items!

  5. COMMIT COMMIT COMMIT

    I’ve only just started but if I’m honest I’m already a little overwhelmed. My house is full of bin bags and I am freaking terrified of when I reach Komono (the phase when you do bathroom, kitchen and miscellaneous tidying). However, even the small amount of organizing I’ve done so far has truly lightened my mind and has in turn brought me joy. I know that I have to see this process through and it might take me a few weeks but the process will be so worth it. Keep that visualization in mind, write it down, put it on a mirror with lipstick, whatever keeps you going. Marie Kondo will be asking me for tips at the end of this marathon.

    Arm, Hand, Desk, Notebook, Pen, Writing, Write, To Do

So there you have it, the things you need to know before embarking on this tidying journey. It’s going to long, hard and probably emotional (I’m sentimental and hoard cards and trinkets that I’ll have a hard time parting with) but I am loving it so far. I honestly cannot see how I’ll ever go back to over flowing drawers and once I get used to the folding I’m sure I’ll learn to love it (or at least tolerate it). I really recommend reading the book and starting your own KonMari tidying journey along with me. Misery loves company.

If you don’t hear from me then I might be buried under a pile of early 2000s glitter jeans and old emo CDs so maybe check in on me.  Don’t forget to subscribe to our mailing list!

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A Little Change Is Good

Hi friends,

As you might have noticed, we’ve had a bit of a change around here. Not to worry, it’s still going to be the same blog you know and love but now the name represents what I’m about a little closer. When I started out I thought I wanted to talk about my life experiences as a way to vent but as time has gone on, I’ve built a community of women who are navigating the same challenges and joys in life. I’ve struggled with being in my 30s, not as an existential issue but more so in the way that I don’t really feel at ease with myself. I don’t know what to wear, what fitness plans work, what beauty supplies suit my skin and what on earth I’m doing as a parent (sometimes, haha). So, I thought, why don’t I put that information out there in one place so women who are feeling like me (I know there are many of you) can find somewhere to laugh, learn and enjoy a safe space on this big scary web.

Thank you all so much for your support, I am amazed every day at the response my blog has had and I’m excited to see the exciting ways in which it will grow.

Let’s take back our 30s!

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What The Heck Do You Wear In Your 30s?

Dressing well in your 30s is tough. Read my advice and tips to make 30 your most fashionable decade yet.

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Full closet, full heart, nothing to wear

Sometimes I feel like your 30s is the forgotten decade of life. Forget the awkward teenage years, nothing compares to that strange, uncomfortable feeling you get when you are called “ma’am” when you definitely feel like a “miss”. I feel out of place in Forever 21 (not to mention the fact that I don’t really fit in any of their clothes) and I’m definitely not ready for the Sears collection (well that’s gone now in Canada but you know what I mean). I feel stuck in between. In my head I’m 18 and carefree wearing whatever I want and looking fantastic but in reality I’m 32 and struggling to find my style again. I used to be obsessed with fashion so much so that I wanted to be a fashion buyer. I actually went to interviews for TK Maxx and Next to be a part of their graduate buyer program but apparently being a buyer a LOT more statistics and complicated maths and a lot less Rachel from Friends minimal work an fantastic wardrobe. However, as time has marched on I found that my love for fashion has kind of faded. Now I chose my stores based on budget and whether the clothes have the ability to cover my slightly squishy tummy. Most days I reach for jeans or leggings and a jumper. My 20 year old self would sneer at the state of me now. I PROMISED I would never wear sweatpants out in public, well, that rule has been out the window for several years now. I wore pants with an unidentified stain on them all day last week and didn’t notice. I need an intervention.

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Why has this happened? Where is that girl who loved the latest trends? I know you’re in there somewhere Jo, you can come out now!

DISCLOSURE: This post may contain affiliate links which means that if you purchase a product I get a little something from the retailers at no extra cost to you.

When did I become retro?

I love American Eagle clothes and I shop there often but lately even my trusty AE is moving in a worryingly young direction (or maybe I’m moving in a worryingly old direction). When I saw a distressed band t shirt with a band from my teenage years on display on it I almost lost my damn mind. When did 2000s music warrant a retro t shirt? More to the point when did I become retro? What is happening? Stop the world I want to get off. I’ve bought a lot in Forever 21 but needing to size up 4 sizes is somewhat depressing when you’re already not feeling great about your postpartum shape. What we need is a Forever 30. Somewhere that has beautiful, affordable, fashion forward clothes with a little more Lycra and a slightly longer hemline.  Tell me why someone has not invented this mecca yet?

You can still be fashionable and fabulous in your 30s

I know for many of you this goes without saying. I see so many people who are always immaculate that are my age and maybe I just got lazy somewhere between kid one and kid 2, but for a lot of women, the 30s is a weird transitional decade. You’re coming out of your 20s and the skin tight polyblends in the younger stores but you’re far too young for that wolf print turtle neck. It’s hard to know just where you fit and what fits you. A quick Google search for “what to wear in your 30s” brings up few results. It seems that most fashion blogs and websites focus on fashion hungry 20 somethings who crave fast fashion or more mature 40+ year olds who have the money to invest in high end fashion. “What about us lot in our 30s?” I want to shout at the computer. Does no one care about us because it is assumed that many of us are working hard at climbing the career ladder and/or having kids? We’re relevant too fashion world! Notice us! The few pages I have found offer somewhat outdated advice and seem to put us in sweater sets and pearls long before our time. I think it’s high time women in their 30s take back fashion.

Tips for finding your style in your 30s

Tip 1 – It’s time to invest girl

As I tried to dive back into fashion I made the mistake of going super low end because I just wasn’t sure what I should be wearing and well, I’m just too old for cheap clothes. I don’t want to wear fabric that sparks every time I pull it over my head. I gasp at seams that don’t sit just right on my new body shape. Now I love a bargain don’t get me wrong. I often head straight to the sale rail at most stores to snap up a deal. When I get back to the UK I love to hit Primark to snap up a cute party dress. However, I just don’t have the patience anymore for tat and I think my everyday wardrobe and the key pieces in it need to reflect the fact that I have, despite my protestations, grown up.

We all have to budget, I get that and I’m not saying to hit Chanel and spend your mortgage but now is the time to invest in some key pieces that will last. You’ve done the hard time of crappy fake leather bags and shoes that rub your feet. You’re a grown up now and you can invest in a little bit of luxe. Besides, fast disposable fashion is a false economy. Can you honestly see you wearing those furry slip on shoes next season? No I thought not and more to the point if you didn’t shell out enough for them, they probably wont last. Things that you should really invest in are

  1. A great leather handbag
  2. A killer pair of leather ankle boots
  3. An amazing pair of heels that give you legs for days
  4. A leather jacket
  5. A dressy wool coat to take you from work to a night out
  6. THE jeans
  7. THE white T-shirt (I’m still searching for this one but my cheap ones haven’t cut the mustard)
  8. Tailored trousers that give you all the bum peachy-ness
  9. A well cut suit if you work in an office environment
  10. A classic cocktail dress that you can accessorize with lots of different things
  11. A well tailored shirt

Tip 2 – Play with fashion trends but don’t be a slave to them

It’s often said that your 20s are for experimenting with fashion but it is in your 30s that you really find your personal style. The fashion oracle that is Coco Chanel once said “Fashion fades, only style remains the same” and I believe that this should be your mantra for dressing in your 30s. I’m not saying that you have to be boring, but perhaps you need to think twice before shimmying into that pvc dress because it is THE RAGE. Like I said above, invest in some amazing day to day pieces that will see you through a few seasons but the fast fashion pieces are where you can go budget as you probably wont be wearing them more than a season. Have fun with them and use them to accentuate your own personal style. Look at textures, colours and accessories that are on trend and bring your own personal style to them.

Lets take a few of next years projected trends and see how to make them fit your style.

  1. Hats are slated to be THE fashion trend. This is an easy way to accentuate your own style without overhauling your entire wardrobe because you read somewhere that neon orange is the last word in style (yes my friends, neon is coming back). Adding a hat is a pretty risk free way to spice up your outfit and is very 30s appropriate. I mean, how many of you have watched period TV shows with immaculate women and wished that you could rock a hat like that?
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    Some of my faves



  2. Pleats – When I first saw this one I kind of thought of my old school skirt. However, pleats this season are set to have a fresh makeover. Think tight pleats, not wide netball skirt ones. A great way to wear this trend is a midi skirt with a tshirt for a casual office look. You can also wear pleats on sleeves to add some extra chic flair to your outfit.
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    Some Of My Faves

    Nordstrom pleated midi skirt 
    Nordstrom sequin pleated midi skirt  (two trends in one!)

    Abercrombie & Fitch pleated shirt (VERY LIMITED SIZES AVAILABLE -SALE ALERT)

  3. Sequins and sparkle – Let me put it out there, I LOVE SPARKLY CLOTHES. I have amazing Old Navy slippers that are covered in glitter and I feel like Beyonce strutting around the house in them. However, sequins can look dated and like you’re trying to hard. 30s style tip – stick to classic designs with a modern cut or only wear one sequined piece and pair it with a very plain piece. For example, a sequin shirt with black tailored pants. Not feeling so brave? Try an accessory like a sequined purse or shoes. The feel of sequins can also be recreated with intricate, sparkly beading.
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Some of my faves

Abercrombie & Fitch Sequin Cami (SALE ALERT- UNDER $30!!!)
Abercrombie & Fitch sequin booties (I’m dying over these, all sizes available)
Nordstrom embellished Sheath Dress 

4. (Not so short) shorts – A few years ago city shorts were EVERYWHERE. I loved them as they made a fresh change to my work skirt but were still totally appropriate. Last season was all about lycra cycling shorts (thanks but no thanks Kim Kardashian-West. My two kid bum looks like a sad pancake when jammed into those high-waisted, skin tight monstrosities). This season’s short is a little looser, more tailored and has an overall more classy vibe. Plus, shorts

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Some of my Faves

Abercrombie & Fitch Blue belted pleat shorts
Abercrombie & Fitch Tie Front Shorts – stripes
American Eagle High Waisted Short
All the above are in limited supply so make sure you snap them up if you LOVE them. I’m getting the belted pleat shorts for sure!!!

5. Fringe – Be still my boho beating heart, fringe is back in fashion. I absolutely adore boho style. Sienna Miller in her Jude Law years is my ultimate fashion icon. There’s something so carefree about fringe. Before you go out and purchase a pair of cowboy chaps let us think how fringe can be stylish in our 30s. A fringe bag is the ultimate easy way to add this style to your wardrobe. Think cute cross body satchels and FABULOUS clutches. Sometimes fringe can be worn in unexpected ways like Abercrombie & Fitches fringe sweater and American Eagle’s fringe poncho duster. Fringe doesn’t need to be costume-y, it can be bang on trend if worn right.
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Fringe_outfit

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Some of my faves

Abercrombie & Fitch grey fringe sweater – AS SEEN ABOVE on sale and in high demand buy it quickly before it sells out

American Eagle fringe cardigan On sale – RUN to pick this up while it’s in stock.

Tip 3 – Break some fashion rules

I am a grown up, I have a mortgage and I mostly remember to pay my bills on time.

When researching this post I came across so many articles with “rules to follow in your 30s”. Well excuse me,  I’m not sure who invented these rules but I don’t agree with the sweeping statements about what is not OK to wear in your 30s. We’ve followed rules our whole lives and now here we are as grown ups with a fresh set of restrictions placed on us. Not today Satan. I am a grown up, I have a mortgage and I mostly remember to pay my bills on time. Here are a few pearls of wisdom I came across.

No miniskirts – Come on, how outdated is this? If you want to show off your legs then you go for it. I personally like my legs best (more so when the old varicose isn’t acting up but age doesn’t come alone) and love showing them off. I’m not talking about a bum grazing mini but a 30s appropriate one. Slightly longer, maybe a little A line and definitely paired with something more modest on top. I am not ready to hang up the short skirts yet!

No leather skirts – whatever. I just bought one this past season and paired with a turtleneck, tights and ankle booties it is the cutest outfit. It isn’t pretty woman style but a softer, more expensive looking leather that hits just above the knee.

Stick to blouses not shirts – This one is going right out of the window. Look at Meghan Markle in her gorgeous crisp white oxford. Just take a look around Ralph Lauren and its abundance of shirts. I don’t think a beautiful shirt ever goes out of style and whilst I like the soft vibe of a blouse, I feel like sometimes they age you. A shirt and jeans is a fresh, downs to earth style that anyone can wear.

Tip 4 – Have fun and remember who you used to be

That 20 something girl is still in there. She might be hiding under sleep deprivation induced eye bags and layers of dry shampoo but she is in there. Fashion is meant to be fun and a way to express ourselves and just because we’re 30 doesn’t mean that we have to step into some little box and stay there. Sure we’re not 20 anymore but that’s OK. Life is meant to go forwards and not backwards. We’re older, so much wiser and are honing a sense of self that will see us through the next chapter in our life. It’s high time we used this confidence to capture a sense of style that tells the world who we are and that we’re not afraid to own it.

Stores for your 30s

Aritzia

H&M

Topshop

J Crew

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ASOS

Old Navy

Banana Republic 

So ladies, there you have it. You 30s don’t have to be a decade of embarrassing fashion mistakes and you certainly don’t have to resign yourself to frumpy, ageing clothes. The stores and fashion industry might have forgotten about us but we sure as hell haven’t forgotten who we are.

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Stay fashionable, stay beautiful and for goodness sake take off the mumu.

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The Easiest Barn board Wall DIY Tutorial.

Everyone thought I was crazy when I told them confidently that the vinyl floor boards would work perfectly on the wall. My builder, my husband, maybe even myself if I’m totally honest. But, I was a woman on a mission. I mean, if they stick to the floor why wouldn’t they stick to the wall? (I should have paid more attention in physics because, well, gravity).

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I Am A Pinterest Queen

As you may know, I am in love with all things farmhouse. I love rustic pallet walls that are all over Intagram and Pinterest. I love how they give new houses some old world charm and character. I JUST LOVE WOOD FEATURE WALLS. However, what I do not love is splinters and dust and I was worried t is what I would get if I put real barn boards up in the playroom. I have a very curious 3.5 year old who would for sure poke her fingers into the notches and run her little hands over the boards and that is a recipe for splinters and tears. My budget just can’t take buying endless boxes of hello kitty band aids! However I knew I needed to do something to make the room a little less box like and to infuse some farmhouse charm. As part of our main floor renovation we closed up the wall between the playroom and the dining room. Now my house had a bit fat wall with staring at me (a novelty for a home that is almost completely open concept) and I was itching for a project. I am an avid pinner. If you follow me on Pinterest you can see that I am obsessed with home decor boards. I am always looking for easy and budget friendly DIY ideas so I set to work finding an alternative to wallpaper and scratchy real wood for my soon to be feature wall. I saw a tutorial about how to use vinyl wood plank to create a rustic style feature wall. I was instantly hooked and rushed out to the local hardware store to buy some barn board style vinyl planks. My husband was the first to air his concerns as we were loading them into the truck. “Do you really think that vinyl planks will look like wood?”, “how is this adhesive supposed to hold?” But I wasn’t having any of it. I saw it on Pinterest and therefore it must work. As we got home and started unloading into our garage our builder curiously spied the boxes. When I told him my plans he laughed and shook his head. He said he wouldn’t want to put it up as it would not work and I was on my own in my crazy little project. I remained undeterred. Pinterest wouldn’t lie to me, I saw the results and it looked fantastic. My long suffering husband agreed that after the builders were done with the reno he would put the planks up for me. I smiled like a Cheshire cat as I knew it would look amazing and he would be eating his words like he had so many times in the past with my harebrained design ideas.

Prepare to eat your own words Joanna…

I finally managed to coerce my husband to put the feature wall up one Saturday in the early autumn. As he carefully measured and planned I was excited for what I knew would be a successful DIY project. However, as the planks began to go up my Cheshire cat grin began to fall. This was not what I ordered. My husband, no matter how carefully he measured, couldn’t get the planks to remain flush together and little gaps of Benjamin Moore Silver Satin peeked through. OK, no big deal, wood walls are meant to be rustic and a bit uneven. I didn’t want to say anything negative so on we pressed. He finished the wall quite late that evening and as we stood back to admire it we both didn’t know quite what to say. I would love to tell you that we were stunned into silence by its beauty but it was more a case of being stunned into silence by horror. It looked fake. The light bounced off it and it shone like a conker. Not the beautiful, rustic wood look I was going for. Tired and disappointed we went to bed, neither of us saying anything about the wall.

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Things That Go Bump In The Night

Throughout the night we could hear “bang”, “bang”, “sliiiiiiiiip” “swooosh”, “BANG”. It was really weird but I just thought it was the dog banging around in his room or the wind rattling the windows. When we got up in the morning, I was met with the culprit of the noise. My wood feature wall lay all over the ground and peeling sadly off the wall. My daughter ran over to the sticky adhesive strips and promptly glued her socks to them. This was my first real Pinterest disaster (well, after the unicorn cake debacle of 2017 but the less we talk about that the better).  My husband took one look at what remained of his Saturday project and I could feel him biting back the words “I told you so” but he’s far too nice for that. Being the stubborn proud woman that I am, I was sure we could salvage the wall and then in a very professional manner started gluing the planks to the wall with no more nails. And that’s how the wall stayed for over a year. Periodically we could have to glue bits back on and it sort of became a part of life.

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Fixing our Pinterest Fail

For some reason, after we returned from our trip to the UK I was inspired to tackle all of the little home projects that had fallen by the wayside. It might have had something to do with my mother’s flawlessly decorated house and the fact that I finally felt human again as the baby was sleeping through the night. So the first weekend back home, my husband and I took the truck to the hardware store and with a case of design deja vu picked up supplies to make our feature wall. This time we had thought carefully about the product we wanted to use. We still wanted to have an easy to clean, spliter free finish but also wanted the warm rustic farmhouse feel of wood. We a MURdesign panel in Jasper at the Home Depot that was perfect for the job. Easy to install and clean and no vinyl in sight. I can’t find the link to it on the Home Depot website but it is on Rona and MURdesigns have their own website with more designs and a link to find a retailer close to you . Now that it’s up we are over the moon with the result. It looks awesome and it was so easy. Here is how you can achieve the same effect.

Creating A Barn Wood Wall In An Afternoon for under $200

Step 1: Remove all old paneling and ensure that you are starting with a relatively smooth wall. Honestly we left some adhesive and it’s fine. If you will be gluing the panels up you need to scruff up the walls with a sander but we decided to use finishing nails to hang the wall.

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Step 2: Use a stud finder to locate the studs in your wall and mark them out. If you are using nails then it is important to get them into the studs to ensure your wall is secure. The panels aren’t that heavy but you’re going to want a lot of nails. We ended up doing 6 nails across and 6 rows down for each board.

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step 3: You will need a helper to hold the board for you while you nail the board to the wall. It is important that the first piece is flush and true or your wall will be all wonky. Remember that ceilings are not always a good measure of a straight line so be sure to use a level.

Step 4: You will need to measure the wall to determine the size of your next piece that you will need to cut. We used 2 full boards and 2 half boards.

Step 5: Once you are ready to put your next piece up you will want to check that the pattern aligns. There isn’t too much thinking work that needs to go into it but we found that some pieces match up better than others. Then all you do is butt the boards together until they are flush and nail to the wall. There is a small seam but you can’t really notice when it’s all together and it isn’t apparent enough to bother us.

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Step 6: Repeat until wall is covered with boards.

Step 7: Admire your amazing new barn board wall.

Here is the finished product.

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I love that I can wipe it clean when the kids inevitable draw on it or get some unidentified sticky mess onto it. We’re hoping to get a sofa in this room once we agree on one which is why the picture is so high. Oh did I mention that you can hang things on this baby as well?

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So there you have it. We learned that not everything you see on Pinterest is a good idea and vinyl floor boards are probably best left on the floor. A beautiful farmhouse style barn board wall in an afternoon for under $200. We are so happy with the results and our playroom looks amazing! Can’t wait to get the rest of the furniture in and finish up the room. I’m looking into the white washed version for our bedroom but shhh don’t tell my husband.

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Have you got a wood feature wall in your home? Any Pinterest fails that are particularly note worthy?

Happy decorating friends,

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A Day Trip To London With A Baby and Dino-Mad Toddler

On December 14th 2018 we braved the transatlantic red eye with the girls to go and visit my family and friends back in the UK. It was Aria’s first flight and to say we were a little nervous was an understatement. Back in October in the deep trenches of her colic when we booked the flight I wasn’t feeling overly confident in our chances of her NOT screaming bloody murder for the entirety on the 6+ hour flight. But it was Christmas, I needed my Britain fix and we were going. So off we went to Toronto Pearson airport in the midst of the Christmas travel rush with our arsenal of luggage and we began our journey to Wales.

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Disclosure – this post contains affiliate links which means that if you purchase anything through the post you wont get charged a penny more but I get a little something to keep the lights on.

Get that bassinet seat whatever it takes

Surprisingly, the flight itself went really well. When we first got on board and the temperature in the cabin soared to what can only be described as Sahara level, Aria started to cry and would only stop when someone stood up with her (not idea when you have to be sat down to take off). But then, something magic happened, she fell asleep. I couldn’t believe my luck as I gingerly sat down (why is it that children know when you switch from standing to sitting?) and attempted to buckle my seat belt without waking her. Emmy was set up with her Ipad and neck pillow and happy as a clam. This wasn’t her first rodeo so I knew she would be a pro. Before I knew it we were up in the sky hurtling in a tiny tin can across the Atlantic to the motherland. The flight passed quickly (thank you flight attendant for the extra bottle of red wine) and I really believe that upgrading to the bassinet seats was a lifesaver. If you didn’t already know, parents with infants (under 25 lbs) can opt to sit in the bulkhead and get a little bassinet that clips onto the wall. One parent gets to sit in the extra legroom seat free of charge with Air Canada and we paid to upgrade Emmy and my husband. Not only could Aria sleep in the bassinet, but Emmy could play on the floor. Travel hack – put your paraphernalia on the floor so people don’t use your legroom as a walk way. It also seemed that the bassinet metered people from walking in front of us which was great as we were right behind the toilets and people seem to think that pacing between them makes the occupant move faster (side note, what the heck are people doing in there??).

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Reading For The Night

We arrived in Heathrow with red eyes and some what muzzy heads to crisp air and glorious sunshine. My parents came to pick us up and took us to Reading where we would spend the weekend before heading onto Wales. I love Reading, it’s a beautiful city with lots of history, great restaurants and bars. We took a much needed restorative nap and then headed out for some drinks to get the Christmas period started. We found The Fisherman’s Cottage pub on the river a short walk from my family’s flat.

The next morning we got up bright and early and headed into London. I know, it was a bold move the day after a transatlantic flight with two jet lagged children but with a packed Christmas schedule we had to get it done. My daughter is OBSESSED with dinosaurs and I knew that she would just love the exhibit at the Natural history museum so off we went on the train to London (somewhat) bright eyed and bushy tailed.

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Navigating the Tube with an infant and toddler

Before we left for London I umm’d and ahhh’d about taking the pushchair for Aria.

Pros – I could put my crap in the basket at the bottom and not have to strap 15lbs of baby onto my body for the day.

Cons – I’d have to push a pretty bulky travel system around central London and the Tube for the day.

Something else to consider is that we’d have to carry Emmy a lot as she doesn’t “do” walking and has been spoiled with a double pushchair. Times are a changing toots.

You’re going to want a great carrier

My pushchair is not made for the city, it is made for the snow and massive North American cars so I decided to whip out the Lillebaby and wear Aria. I got the Lillebaby complete all seasons as the big ticket item for our second baby. Emmy categorically refused to be worn so I never really splurged on a carrier for her. I had a couple of cheap soft carriers that I got on sale at Winners but neither were comfortable and honestly trying to put her in there was akin to putting a cat into a bathtub. Also I got hot, real hot wearing my little furnace. I knew that with baby number 2 having my hands free to wrestle baby number 1 would be clutch so after much research I landed on the Lillebaby Complete All Seasons. I could not be happier with my purchase! It is so comfortable and you can adjust it pretty much everywhere. You don’t need an infant insert and it’s good from birth so you just plop babe in and go. There’s a zipper panel on the front that exposes mesh so you can get some air into that sucker and keep somewhat cool. It is also ADORABLE and I don’t feel all crunchy and granola eating wearing it. I got mine in black and white stripe which is just about masculine enough for my husband to wear but the gold details are pretty enough for me. If you need a baby carrier I honestly cannot recommend it enough. The Lillebaby is hands down the best thing I’ve bought for my kids.

I get that it is a bit spendy but I cannot rave about this carrier enough. If you want to baby wear you’re going to want comfort and you’re going to want your baby to be comfortable too. Aria was in the carrier pretty much all day (apart from lunch and coffee breaks for a stretch) and she was so happy and comfortable. She falls asleep almost instantly in it. It is MAGIC.

The Natural History Museum – Nirvana For The Little Paleontologist

We arrived at the Natural History Museum by tube at around 11 am. It was super busy outside because of Winter Wonderland. We picked up some mulled wine from the little van selling drinks and cakes and walked up the museum (they even let us bring it in which was brill seeing as it was scalding and I didn’t feel much like chugging a big cup mulled wine, not very responsible). As always, admission was free which was great as we only intended on staying an hour or so to see the dinosaurs. Britain is awesome for free things. We headed to the dino exhibit straight away and it took about 45 minutes to walk around it with a very slow and very easily distracted toddler. She LOVED the massive robotic T-Rex. It was really well done and for a little paleontologist it was just the best thing ever. All good adventures end in a gift shop as we all know and I was dreading it but we escaped the gift shop with one dinosaur egg toy which was nothing short of a miracle. After we sat in the cafe for a drink and a potty break (well coercing Emmy to go but that child’s bladder is a vault in public places. That’s a whole other blog post). It was really busy and I’d say avoid it if you can on a weekend but it was good to sit down and get a snack into the dino lover.

Zizzis for lunch

We got the tube to Covent Garden which is my least favourite stop. It is so busy and there are loads of steps to climb if you can’t get into the lift. I was a little salty that we had to stop there but I was pretty surprised that we got straight into the lift and up to street level. It was packed so I was glad I wore Aria in the Lillebaby. She was still asleep at this point and had been for the whole day. Her first trip to London and she slept the whole time! I know people can be a bit reluctant to go to a chain when London has so many fabulous eateries to offer but we had 2 kids with us and I don’t know how well we would have fared at a white table place. Emmy would have definitely been crawling between chairs and you can guarantee that is the time Aria would decide to scream her bonce off. So we booked a table ahead of time in Zizzis to save walking around trying to get a seat somewhere the week before Christmas. We sat in the window which was perfect for distracting the toddler and Aria could lie down on the bench seat. The meal was delicious and the service was awesome. Definitely the fuel we needed after a morning full of exploring.

Covent Garden and 7 dials for a stroll

We decided to take a walk after lunch to Covent Garden to see the tree and the lights. It was absolute magic. I don’t think there is anything more gorgeous than London at Christmas and it did not disappoint. I managed to get lots of Instagramable shots which my husband absolutely hates loves me doing . We walked up to 7 dials and it was chocolate box beautiful with the twinkling lights and people bundled up with their Christmas shopping. I actually felt like I was in a Hollywood christmas movie that I always scoff at as “unrealistic”. I mean honestly where does Kate Winslet live in The Holiday to have a cottage like that outside of London? and how did Cameron Diaz’s character fit all those coats into that tiny case? I call B.S. Anyway I seem to have gone off on a “The Holiday” tangent again.  We got some nice pics and then dropped back down to Covent Garden to get the tube to Paddington. I let my brother wear Aria at this point and he looked like quite the modern dad about town.

Pro Parent tip – make sure the baby and the nappy bag aren’t in different carriages on the train.

When we arrived at Paddington I was bursting for a pee. However the train was on the platform and if we had any hope of getting a seat we had to hustle and get on board. Not being a hardened commuter I jumped on the first carriage I came across with the nappy bag attached to my back and told my brother that I would run down the train once I’d gone to the toilet to give him the baby supplies. So I jumped on with my Mum and husband and off went everyone else towards the end of the train. We got a table seat which was a bit of a unicorn moment and I went off to the toilet. I got back to my seat and told my mum I would run a bottle down to my brother for Aria in case she was hungry. I pushed my way down the rapidly filling train through endless carriages. As I entered first and jogged to the end I realized the door would not open to the next carriage. Perplexed, I looked out of the window and saw the nose of another train facing me. Oh. No. We were on one of those massive trains that are two smaller trains stuck together. I was standing there with a bottle in hand staring helplessly at the other train that held my brother and my probably screaming 3 month old. I didn’t have my purse or wallet on me so I figured if I jumped off and ran up the platform I would risk being left behind with no way back to Reading so I went back to my seat and frantically messaged the rest of our party. When I heard nothing back I assumed Aria was all good and would be fine until we got to Reading in half hour or so.

I was wrong…

Upon disembarking the train at Reading station we were greeted by a very red faced, sweaty and frazzled bunch. The resembled the scene in Twister when they strap themselves onto those posts and survive the F5 “hand of God”. As my brother thrust the sweaty carrier, straps loosened haphazardly into my hands it became clear a struggle had ensued. Apparently Aria decided she wanted out of the carrier shortly after leaving London and broke out her best screams until her wish was granted. My brother had no idea how to release her from her canvas prison carrier and the buckles and adjustable straps that make the Lillebaby so great also make it a bit tricky for novices or people who have never strapped a baby to themselves. A struggle ensued to get Aria off his increasingly overheating body (if only he knew about the handy dandy front mesh panel) quickly. Thankfully, between the three of them they finally liberated her before my brother passed out. Once free the challenge of removing her coat began. My brother, his girlfriend and my stepfather wrestled her tiny, yet surprisingly rigid, arms out of the coat to the increasingly curious passengers on carriage B. Aria was in a right mood now and refused to settle unless being walked around the train. A problem on the evening Sunday service from Paddington to Swansea as anyone who has been on it will tell you. You are like sardines. If you enjoy getting up close and personal with random people who usually have eaten a tuna sandwich or garlic then this is the train for you. My Stepfather had to kind of waddle within a 1 foot radius to maintain some movement to appease my darling daughter. What people must have thought on that carriage? A young couple and middle aged man with a baby with absolutely NO supplies. Reckless! Stolen baby! Thoughtless! I feel bad that I was sat scrolling Instagram in carriage N without a care in the world.

So that was our day in London. My little dino lover had the time of her life, we got to experience the magic of Covent Garden at Christmas and we learned the hard way that the baby should never be separated from the nappy bag no matter how perilously full your bladder is. Parenting is an adventure.

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Have you got any tips for navigating London with two kids in tow or any recommendations for cool dinosaur attractions?

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My farmhouse style guestroom makeover on a budget.

I thought I was so grown up when my husband and I went into the brick and purchased our very first bedroom set. It was a glorious cherry wood sleigh bed, chest and bedside table combo and I thought it was the best thing since sliced bread. It would be the PERFECT addition to our home and I would love it forever and ever.

I guess farmhouses weren’t built for giant queen beds…

I remember the day it arrived at our red brick farmhouse. The delivery truck rumbled up the long driveway and came to a halt outside of our ancient front door (the only one wide enough for any furniture to fit through). The delivery men struggled up the porch with the huge boxes and queen mattress set and started the very steep climb to our “master” bedroom. I use the term “master” loosely as this bedroom was about the size of a large shoe box with no en suite and a minuscule closet. However, it had beautiful stained glass windows and a working vent (very important during a Canadian winter).  As the boxes mounted in the room, I began to sweat. We previously had a double Ikea bed and Hemnes chest in the room and it was pretty tight. Even in pieces, this bedroom set seemed ginormous. However, I kept the faith and thought back to the beautiful lacquered cherry set and how awesome it would look. The time came to bring the mattress up the stairs and everything came to a halt. Apparently they didn’t have queen sized beds when the house was built and the mattress became wedged in the staircase. “No problem, we’ll try the straighter back staircase”, I said cheerily to the delivery men. After one attempt which resulted in the mattress becoming tightly stuck into the stairwell, they wiped their brows and told me I was on my own. Off they went in their delivery truck leaving me with a mattress wedged in my stairwell and no clue how to get it to my lovely sleigh bed frame. Already my love affair with this bedroom set began to cool. However, I soldiered on and after cutting some door frames, the box spring and a lot of shoehorning and swearing we got the mattress up the stairs and onto the waiting bed frame. It looked awesome and again I told myself I would love it forever and ever. It came with us when we moved to a newer house in town and was a much better fit in our new “real” master bedroom (with an en suite and walk in closet, what a time to be alive). Then Joanna Gaines entered my life and so did my love affair with chalk paint and white wood furniture. My beautiful cherry set began to look tired and a little outdated. Moreover, the set was beginning to look a little rough around the edges after being manhandled up and down a farmhouse staircase, put into a delivery van and put back together again. I reasoned that we needed something fresh for our master bedroom and that the sleigh bed would be much better suited to our guestroom. There it stayed for a couple of years, and slowly but surely handles began to fall off, the veneer began to chip and the screws loosened. My beautiful grown up bedroom set was a sad shadow of its former self.

The Farmhouse Style Makeover begins

One evening when I was pregnant with my second child I had the nesting urge come on strong. I decided that I hated everything in the house and every paint colour on the wall and it had to be changed IMMEDIATELY. My parents would be staying after the baby was born and they needed a fresh bedroom. I got my husband to help me paint the walls in Benjamin Moore Balboa Mist one Friday night and determined that the beautiful new colour would benefit from beautiful painted furniture. I was a woman possessed. I looked online at beautiful white painted solid wood bedroom sets but couldn’t help balk at the price tag. I was going to be on maternity leave and I couldn’t justify spending thousands of dollars. However, in my crazy pregnant nesting state I NEEDED to do something about the room or I couldn’t rest. So I thought, why spend thousands when I could achieve the painted look myself for the price of a can of paint? If I ended up ruining the bedroom set then it wouldn’t really matter as I didn’t like it anyway and if it worked, then just call me Joanna Gaines. So I went out to Home Depot and picked up two cans of Rust-oleum chalk paint in linen white, brushes and drop sheets and returned home and set straight to work.

Here’s how I turned this…

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into this…

First things first, can you really use chalk paint on wood veneer?

YES! Now I wont say that the finish is as hard as nails but the very nature of chalk paint allows for imperfections so the overall look is actually complimented by a bit of wear and tear.

How to paint veneer with chalk paint

  1. Prep your furniture. You will need to wipe down your furniture with a damp cloth to remove all dust. Here is where all of you hardened chalk painters and professionals will probably collectively gasp but I didn’t prime. I know, I know, priming is key but to be honest I couldn’t be bothered and didn’t want to spend more cash on primer.
  2. Shake up your chalk paint and try a test area to see what kind of finish you will achieve. You will want to use a firm, short bristle brush for control and cover. You can buy special chalk paint brushes but I didn’t do this and the result was as good as when I’ve used the expensive brushes in the past.
  3. Paint the first coat on your furniture and wait a couple of hours until it is dry.
  4. Repeat with a second coat.
  5. Depending on whether or not you want to see brush strokes you might want to add a third coat. I only went over some areas for opacity.
  6. Once the final coat is dry you get to have fun distressing. I used a very fine grit on my electric mouse sander as a I am lazy and don’t have the arm muscles necessary for hand sanding. I also wanted a pretty intense distressed look so I knew that an electric sander wouldn’t be too much. If you want a more delicate distressed finish then you’re going to want to use a sanding block. There isn’t any rhyme or reason to my distressing, I just focused on areas that would have had a lot of wear (around handles and corners) and sanded until I could see the wood underneath. It is easier to distress more if you need to so go easy.
  7. When I was happy with my distressing I wiped everything down with a cloth and applied beeswax to protect.
  8. I found cup handles in a brushed nickle to update the look of the piece and add a little farmhouse style.bedside table

Finishing touches

My beloved sleigh bed was dated and held together by years of braces and I thought that splashing out on a new bed would be something I could stretch to. I actually found the bed frame for under $300 at Walmart and LOVE how the rivets add a little edge to the feminine feel of the room.

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I finished off the room with a painted sign from Homesense (you could easily create your own). I painted a wooden box I had lying around with some left over chalk paint, filled it with 3 dollar store mason jars and some fake lambs ear foliage to add that Fixer Upper-esque pop of green.

And there you have it. It took me a weekend to complete and I am beyond happy with the result. The whole room came in at around $500 if you include all the paint, the bed and finishing touches.

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Now onto my next chalk painting project…

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A Day In The Life Of A Mum On Maternity Leave As Told By GIFs

Maternity leave is amazing. I get to spend lots of quality time with the kids, wear leggings or PJs all day long and watch tons of daytime TV (I’ve watched so much HGTV I’m positive I can now redecorate a run down farm house on a $50 budget). Living in Canada means that I am able to take a whole year off to stay at home with the kids on maternity leave which is fantastic! I cannot imagine being in work right now especially as it would mean washing my hair and putting on real pants. No buenos. However some days I feel like I am going to go nuts from being stuck indoors with a baby and a toddler and only Joanna Gaines for company (let me clarify that I understand that she is on the TV and not actually in my living room talking to me). My husband often comes home and asks “how was your day?” and honestly some days I can’t even put it into words.

Here is a little collection of GIFs to explain what my day looks like.

  1. Wakey wakey Mummy. Forget those peaceful alarm clocks that wake you gradually from your slumber with the peaceful sounds of birds or whales. If you have an infant you’re getting full on screaming to jolt you awake every morning.

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2. COFFEEEEEE

Coffee Drinking GIF

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3. Make breakfast for everyone. This task will usually involve at least 34 different types of cereal, 52 changes of cups for juice and being told “I don’t want orange juice, I want ORANGE juice”. What does that even mean?

Snow White Cooking GIF

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4. Husband leaves for work. I’m on my own now.

Disney Hello GIF by O&O, Inc

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5. Try to get the kids to do something educational like read.

Read Beauty And The Beast GIF by Disney

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6. Nope, that was fun for 10 minutes and now she wants to get out the Playdoh.

Lady Gaga Nod GIF

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7. Get kids ready to go out

Mr T Alligator GIF

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8. Get self ready. Hair is a little crazy but it works

Sigourney Weaver Derek Stevens Comeback GIF by Saturday Night Live

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9. Have a snack as I probably didn’t eat breakfast. Toddler hears wrapper and promptly seeks me out and steals my snack.

Friends Joey GIF

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10. Story Time at the library. Mamma gotta show off her moves.

“Open shut them, open shut them, give a little clap”

Siouxsie Sioux Dancing GIF

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11. Baby has fallen asleep in the car on the way home. Gotta get this puppy into her crib without waking her.

Adam West Running GIF

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12. Baby wakes up

Angry Tyra Banks GIF

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13. Make lunch and throw away pretty much everything because your child got distracted by shadows and now refuses to sit at the table and eat while she investigates.

Mostly 4 Millennials Smile GIF by Adult Swim

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14. Afternoon activities. I wanted to try some pinterest crafts but I’m EXHAUSTED so I pretty much let my kids do whatever. Insanity has set in as this point. You want to try that Indian ink calligraphy set on the white carpet …

Do It Whatever GIF by Abbey Luck

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15. why is it still only 2:30?

Dawsons Creek Crying Dawson GIF by HULU

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16. Try any means possible to get baby to sleep but they wont.Gluten Free Crying GIF

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17. Make your child’s favourite dinner. Oh you thought pasta was your child’s favourite food? Think again. You are wrong.

Angry Beauty And The Beast GIF

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18. Husband walks through the door. TAG.

Seattle Seahawks Im Here GIF by NFL

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19. Observes the chaos

Lord Of The Rings GIF

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20. He plays calm games with the children.Wwe Spinning GIF

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21. Bath time. Hope you got the bathroom floor waterproofed!

Killer Whale Texas GIF

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22. You get the kids to bed. You’re freeee!Baby One More Time Dancing GIF by Britney Spears

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23. Your toddler has an existential crisis and wants to get out of bed but you’re too experienced for that nonsense. Not after I’ve clocked out junior.

Rihanna No GIF

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24. Pour a small glass of wine
Amy Schumer Drinking GIF

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25. Do fun and exciting things with the hour you have before you fall asleep.
Tired Killing Eve GIF by BBC America

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26. Try to go to sleep but your head is spinning your to do list and you think you just heard the baby.

Black And White Sleeping GIF by FilmStruck

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So how does your day look? Do you put on proper pants?

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