Life: 5 Podcasts to listen to

Photo of cup of coffee and an iPhone

I've loved podcasts for a few years now and usually listen to them whilst I'm cleaning, or doing my current favourite activity - my paint by numbers. When Florence was tiny I'd listen to them when I walked her in the pram, and Chris and I listen to them on long car journeys too. I did a post about the ones I was enjoying back in 2017 so you can also check them out here - I still love the Happy Mum, Happy Baby podcast which I mentioned in that post.

Here are 5 of my current favourites:

1) Sh**ged, Married, Annoyed - this podcast never fails to make me (and my husband) laugh out loud - we relate to so much of it. The podcast is Chris and Rosie Ramsey chatting about all sorts; life, relationships, arguments, parenting and growing up. They are both so funny and so relatable. They're also around an hour long so great for car journeys.

2) Made by Mammas - I love a parenting podcast (as you can tell) and this is one of my favourites. Zoe Hardman and Georgia Dayton chat to lots of different guests and they are always very open and honest about parenting. There are some great topics covered and I love that they are currently releasing two episodes a week.

3) The High Low - this is a weekly chat between Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes and it covers both highbrow and lowbrow news so is a great mix. I also love their book and reading recommendations.

4) Rob Beckett and Josh Widdicombe's Lockdown Parenting Hell - I've only just discovered this as it was obviously a more recently launch (love how many podcasts have come out of lockdown!) but it is hilarious. I was having such a giggle as I listened to it earlier. Rob and Josh chat to a famous parent about how they are coping with their kids in lockdown and it's so relatable if you have kids.

5) The Grow & Glow Show - I have recently joined the Grow & Glow* community and am absolutely loving it. Vix Meldrew, who set up and runs it, has created this podcast and it's so helpful for learning more about growing your personal brand, improving your content and earning money from it all.

Let me know what your favourites are, as I'm always on the lookout for new ones to listen to!

*This post contains affiliate links

Daisy x

Life: My Move into the Freelance World


It's a bit of a chatty post today as I wanted to talk about my move into the freelance world; what led me to make the move, how I'm finding it and useful books and resources that I've found.

Why did I go freelance?

Since leaving University in 2008, I'd worked in a traditional office environment with the 7.5 years prior to having my daughter being spent working for a wonderful big charity in London in their marketing partnerships team. I was living in London too, however we moved up to Lincoln to be close to family just before Florence was born. I planned to go back part time and hoped for some flexible working so that the commute was more doable, however a few things happened during my maternity leave which made me change my plan.

I realised that my daughter was my biggest priority and the thought of not being with her for 3 or 4 days a week hurt my heart. I did consider being a full time stay at home Mum but quickly realised that I needed some mental stimulation from work. Over the year I had also been doing the social media for my Mum's floristry business, Violet & Vine, helping my Dad with some posts for his design consultancy and also doing some posts for our local pub. I found myself really enjoying it and the thought of having my own business felt so exciting.

It really felt like the right time to give it a go and in June last year I registered as a sole trader and got my first client onboard.

How I'm finding it so far?

A year on and I am loving being freelance - it suits me and my lifestyle down to the ground. We get so caught up in the corporate 9-5, Monday to Friday routine and you forget that there's an alternative that gives you so much more freedom. Being able to work around my daughter has been amazing - I sometimes work in her nap times or in an evening, and she goes to nursery once a week which gives me a full day to crack on (or to get on with house jobs, or go shopping if I fancy!). I love not having a commute and being able to just grab my laptop and get on with work. And I love being my own boss.

I do miss the fun that I'd have with work colleagues as I loved this part of my previous job, but my priorities are so different now that it's not something that's important to me at the moment.

Useful books and resources

I read a few books, joined some Facebook Groups and listened to lots of podcasts when I started freelancing and they were, and still are so useful so I wanted to link them below.

The Multi-Hyphen Method by Emma Gannon*
The Freelance Mum by Annie Ridout*
The Successful Mumpreneu by Debbie Gilbert*

Being Freelance Facebook group and podcast
Doing it for The Kids Facebook group and podcast

I hope you found this post interesting, and hopefully helpful if you are thinking of going freelance!

*This post contains affiliate links

Daisy x


Life: 5 ways to organise your life


Looking for 5 ways to organise your life? Look no further! I've always been very organised and I love feeling on top of everything - as hard as that is when you have a toddler. I am a big fan of a spreadsheet and lists, all of the lists. I also can't resist a planner (or a notebook to be honest) and have just ordered a shiny new one, even though I will likely use it for a day and then return to using my phone which is what I always fall back to.

Today I'm sharing five ways that I keep my life organised in the hope that they will help make your life a little easier too.

1) Meal planning 

My Mum would always meal plan and it's been something I've done for years and years. It seems like a tedious task but you will always thank yourself for doing it. Every Monday I sit down and get out my weekly planner - you can get specific meal planner notepads or whiteboards but I just use a weekly planner like this one* (Homesense do lots of them too). I'll have a quick look in the fridge and freezer to see what we have and will then plan Florence's lunches and dinners for the week, and our meals too. I'll add notes each day of what I may need to prep or get out to defrost and then from that list I'll create my shopping list. It means less food waste and although you have to spend a little time initially on it, you save so much time during the week as that mental task of wondering what to have for dinner is taken away. I'm definitely not a stickler for it, and sometimes plans will change but just having it there is so helpful.

2) The Organised Mum Method

I want to do a whole post on this as it's been a game changer for me in terms of cleaning and has meant that we have been able to cut down on how often we have our cleaner, and obviously throughout lockdown it's meant that we've kept on top of everything. It's essentially a cleaning schedule where you spend half an hour on Monday to Friday doing an assigned room, or rooms (no weekend cleaning!). You also have a few daily tasks like putting a wash on etc. On Monday-Thursday you clean the same rooms every week and on Friday you do more of a deeper clean on a specific room. It's amazing how much you can get done in half an hour and it feels so much less intimidating than doing one big weekly clean. You can read more about it on the TOMM website here and the book (which I recommend) is available on Amazon*.

3) Productivity apps 

As I've said above, I can't resist a planner however my phone is where I really organise my life. Again, I'd like to write a whole post about the apps that I'd recommend but my top recommendations would be Todoist and Evernote - both which also have desktop platforms which seamlessly sync. Todoist is great for your to do list; you can organise tasks into different projects which I like doing, and I get an email reminder every morning so I can see what I need to do that day. I also love Evernote which is described as a note taking app. You can use this for a to do list too, but I use it more as a virtual notebook with different notebooks for subjects like recipes, present ideas and useful links. It's easy to search too so is quick and easy to use.

4) Birthday card book and app

I used to be terrible with birthdays and would remember a few days before, rush out and buy a card and it would arrive a few days late. I've now got two things that have really helped to organise my 'birthday admin' - the first is a birthday card organiser like this*. It has a page and a pocket for every month which you can write down birthday dates, and then fill with the cards for that month. I will do a bulk buy of cards, usually from Whistlefish and when it comes to that month I know I am covered. I also use a birthdays app (there are loads of apps like this) where I input birthdays and then am reminded a week and two days before. You can also put in the birth year and it tells you how old they are - really helpful for kiddie birthdays.


5) Three task to do list 

This approach is really helpful if you find it hard to get organised, or perhaps write a to do list that ends up being 20 tasks long and becomes overwhelming. It's far more achievable to write down three tasks to do that day as you're more likely to do them, and it focuses your mind on what is the most important to get done. It also feels great to check them off of your list and then maybe move onto other jobs, if you're feeling super productive.

Daisy x


Parenting: Lessons from my parents


I've loved writing this post and thinking more closely about how my parents brought up me, my brother and sister and the lessons they have taught me. How you're brought up has such an impact on how you parent; whether you want to do similar things and replicate traditions or how you might consciously want to not do certain things. I had a very happy childhood and was brought up in a very loving, ever-supportive home and for that I am always so grateful and will never take it for granted.

Here are some lessons I've learnt from the way I was brought up, that I will always keep in mind when parenting Florence...

1. Eat dinner together at the table - I have so many memories of sitting around the table with my family, talking and laughing. We wouldn't do it every night as my Dad would get back home from work late, and so we'd eat early but at weekends we would eat lunch and dinner together at the table. It made our meals such a fun and social part of the day and we still do it now. We wouldn't just chat about our days, we'd reminisce on holidays, talk about how we felt about certain things and talk about fun things like our top 5 sandwiches and what we'd do if we won the lottery. I definitely want this to be part of our family life.

2. Value and manage your money - My Mum was amazing at teaching us to value money and it's something that is ingrained in me. She was always very purposeful with spending and hated to waste money. If we went to the cinema we would go to Woolworthes (ahh, Woolies!) and buy our drinks and pick n'mix there beforehand rather than paying the crazy cinema prices. She would also meal plan every week and when we were a little older we would have chores that we'd have to do in order to get our pocket money. We also had a savings account from when we were young and were taught the importance of saving. It sounds like really simple things but they have stuck with me and I will always value money and teach Florence to do the same.

3. Shower your children in love - this is my favourite one of all and makes me feel emotional to write about it. My parents were amazing at doing this - showering us completely in love. We were made to feel like the most special children in the world and that we could achieve anything that we wanted to. Even when we were going through that awkward teenage stage where you feel horribly insecure, we were comforted by the fact that we could come home from school and be back in that safe love bubble (as cheesy as it sounds). My lovely friend Emma sent me the quote below when Florence was born and I think it's so true.

4. Play games together - some families hate games, others love them. We are definitely the latter and still play them now. It's such a great activity to do together that is fun for everyone, and I have lovely memories of spending a whole Sunday just sat in the living room playing one after the other. I want to have regular games nights in our house when Florence gets older.

5. Invest in property - It's a long way off for Florence but I was always told that property was the best investment and to get on the property ladder as soon as possible (something also echoed by my husband's parents). Chris and I moved back in with my parents to power save for a deposit as it was so difficult to rent and save at the same time. We made sacrifices and it was so worth it in the end as buying our first flat has been one of the best things we've done.

6. Hanging out with your family can be the most fun - I think our family was slightly unusual in that we were super close (and still are) and would spend a lot of time together, even when we were teenagers. We'd love family holidays and outings, and just hanging out together. And we still do. I think it was because we can all be completely ourselves and always have a laugh. I really want Florence to have this too.

Daisy x

Lincoln: 5 child friendly places to visit in Lincoln

Belton House Adventure Playground
Belton House Adventure Playground
Looking for some child friendly places to visit in Lincoln? We moved to the city of Lincoln in 2018, although my parents moved in 2013 so I'd visited many times beforehand. Since moving, we have been exploring what this great city has to offer and I love that we live a short 15 minute drive from the centre. I want to post more about Lincoln on this blog and share more about this great city.

I'm always looking for new places to take Florence and so today I wanted to share 5 places which are very child friendly and well worth a visit.

1) Belton House

Belton House is a National Trust property in Grantham and it is an amazing place to visit with kids, and suitable for every age. When Florence was tiny we would go and walk her around in her pram, and have picnics and as she's getting older she can now enjoy the park. The adventure playground is amazing - it's set in the woodlands and is huge. There's also a little train that you can take a ride on which is very fun, and also fun to see adults having to squeeze onto it with their tiny ones! If the weather isn't good they also have a great indoor softplay area too.

There are child-friendly cafes, lots of walks and so much to explore at Belton. I know we will be going many times as Florence grows up.

Entry is £8 for an adult and £4 for a child, but obviously free with a National Trust membership.

2) Rand Park Farm

Every child loves a farm, and Rand Park Farm is arguably the best in Lincoln. It's huge and has so much to see and do. Obviously there are lots of animals to meet - you can feed the lambs in springtime and the last time we visited there were lots of piglets which were so cute. There's also an indoor playbarn and a range of other activities including tractor rides, trampolines and crazy golf.

Entry is cheaper if you book online at £8.95 per person.


3) Whisby Nature Park and Garden Centre. 

This is a cheeky two in one mention as these are two separate places. Whisby Nature Park is full of wildlife, walks and trails and surrounds a beautiful lake. We have been there for many times for walks, especially when Florence was little and would sleep in her pram! There is an indoor and outdoor play area and they often hold 'Wildlife Watch' kids events.

Whisby Garden Centre is also well worth a visit and is very close to the Nature Park. As well as being a great garden centre (how life has changed now I'm in my thirties!) you can take a short walk and you'll find yourself in the kids area which has an Animal Park and a Playbarn. There is indoor soft play and great outdoor play areas with water and sand play. As with all soft play, it can get busy at weekends which is why I love a quiet weekday visit!

Entry to the Animal Park, Playbarn and Outdoor play areas is £4.95 for children and £2.50 for adults.

4) Doddington Hall and Gardens


I had to include my all time favourite Lincolnshire venue, Doddington Hall which has a special place in my heart as it's where we got married. It's such a family friendly place to visit with something for everyone. There are great walks, bike trails and there are some great seasonal activities like pumpkin picking and Easter Egg hunts. It's also so magical to visit at Christmas as the house is themed and turned into a magical wonderland with a different theme for each year.

Entry prices vary depending on what you want to visit and can be found on their website here.

5) Lincoln Central Library 

I'm a huge fan of a library and took such joy from going to the library when I was younger and choosing which books I wanted. Lincoln Central Library has a huge range of books to choose from, but also has some great events and classes to attend with children. There are board game sessions, crafty Saturdays and even Lego Clubs with most of them being free to attend.

I hope you have got some inspiration of places to visit with your children in Lincoln. Do let me know your favourites too!


Daisy x

Parenting: Florence's 21 month routine


I meant to do these posts regularly after posting Florence's 5 month routine but hey ho, 17 months later and here we are - we're now on her 21 month old routine! Obviously her routine is slightly different with being in this strange lockdown world (is it called lockdown any more?! Probably not) in terms of what she does in the day but her naps etc are all as they would be regardless. She's been in this routine for a while now and it really works for her, and us - I love having a structure to the day. This is based on a weekday routine when Chris is working (from home at the moment).

7am: Florence typically wakes up between 6.45 and 7.45 but usually it's around 7. She went through a spell recently of waking up at 6 (I suspect because of the light mornings) and it was way too early for us but luckily we have some temporary black out blinds* which we put up and that did the trick.

Chris gets her out of her cot and she comes into our bed and will read a book and then watch some TV on my phone with her morning milk - her current show of choice is Postman Pat but we have had months of watching Waffle the Wonderdog.

8am: Chris will take Florence downstairs for her breakfast whilst I do half an hour of cleaning or get myself ready. I'll then take over for the day at 8.30.

9.30/10: Florence is quite unusual as she has her nap in the morning. I did try moving it to lunchtime but that totally backfired and she ended up not napping at all! Morning is what works for her and I won't be messing with it again. She will usually nap for 2-3 hours.

12.30/1: When she wakes up I'll get her dressed if she isn't already, and we will have a little play upstairs before going down to get lunch. Typical lunches are courgette fritters, cheesy scrambled egg and sandwiches

2.30: Occasionally she will have some quiet time in her cot around now. If she's had a short morning nap she may even have a second nap (the dream!) but if she's not tired she just chills with her comforter for half an hour. Hopefully it will mean that when she drops her nap completely she will still have quiet time in her room. If we are doing something in the afternoon she can miss this cot time with no issues.

The afternoon is generally spent playing in the garden or going on a walk, or popping to my parents house now that we can meet in the garden.

5: Dinner time! Typical dinners are salmon, potatoes and veg (she won't eat much veg), cream cheese pasta and meatloaf (random but she loves it).

6: I'll give her some milk and we will snuggle on the sofa for a bit of TV. This is one of my favourite parts of the day.

6.30: We'll go upstairs and start her bedtime routine. She has a bath most nights and then we'll read a book in her nursery and she'll go down to sleep with her comforter.

7: She is usually in bed by 7

Hope you enjoyed seeing Florence's routine at 21 months old - I will try and not leave it 17 months for the next one!

*This post includes affiliate links


Daisy x



Life: 10 Sustainable Changes I've made


Since having Florence I have become far more conscious about the environment, sustainability and how we can make small (or big) changes to our lifestyle to help. I love how sustainability has become so much more prominent and that brands are being more conscious, as well as there being so many more sustainable options to choose from. Here are 10 sustainable changes that I've made over the past year or so in the hope that it may give you some inspiration.

1. Cutting out meat - from the reading I've done, this is a change that has one of the biggest impacts on the environment - if everyone did meat free Mondays it would make a huge difference. In January I decided to stop eating meat for the month, and 6 months later I am still doing it. I still eat fish but can't say I'm missing meat.

2. Cheeky wipes - I ordered the all in one kit from Cheeky Wipes when Florence was around 15 months old and wish I'd done it earlier. I'm planning to write a whole post about them but essentially they are reusable wipes which I use to clean her bum! They work so much better than normal wipes (especially on poo) too. You can buy Cheeky Wipes here and get 15% off when you spend over £40 with this referral link*. On a similar vein, when we started weaning I cut up lots of old t-shirts into small squares which I simply wet and then use to clean Florence's face before adding to the wash. This saves on using wipes (so is also cheaper) and is far more gentle on her skin.

3. Using an Ecoegg Laundry Egg - my lovely fellow Lincoln blogger friend Caitylis convinced me to buy this after saying how good it is. My Mum has also used one for a long time. It is a replacement for laundry detergent and fabric conditioner which uses two types of natural mineral pellets encased in a refillable egg. I don't find it is as effective on stains so I sometimes alternate using this with a detergent but overall am impressed! You can buy one here and I've also seen them in Aldi recently.

4. Period pants - something I didn't think I'd talk about on the internet but here we are! I've made the switch to the Modibodi period pants* and love them. They work so well, are so comfortable and will save me a lot of money in the long run.

5. Reusable make up pads and flannels - when I cleanse my face I massage in a cleanser and then use a hot flannel to get all of my makeup off and simply throw it in the wash - I use flannels to remove eye makeup too as my cleanser doesn't agitate them at all. My Mum made me some reusable makeup pads (you can see how she made them here) and I have started using these for applying toner which works well.

7. Secondhand kids clothes and toys - although I do love buying new pieces of clothes for Florence, I've found so many lovely clothes on Facebook marketplace. People often sell bundles and although you sometimes have to do a bit of searching, you can find some really amazing stuff. I bought an amazing large bundle for Florence for £25 and it was filled with clothes from great brands like Next, JoJo Maman Bebe and Noa Noa. I've also found lots of toys and equipment on there such as a baby Nutribullet weaning set, a Joie Serina Swivel swing and a jumperoo (which I have now sold on). I would always prefer to buy plastic toys second hand and charity shops are a great place to look too.

8. Buying more intentional gifts - we have changed our approach to presents in our family a little. We like to buy each other gifts that they really want or need, or more of an experience present. For my birthday I had wanted the Hotel Chocolat Velvetiser* for ages and so asked for this - my family clubbed together and it was great to just receive one gift that I really wanted.

9. Using the library - I used to love visiting the library when I was younger and would spend ages just browsing books but somehow forgot about it when the ease of Amazon and my Kindle came into my life. A few months ago I joined the library again and I love it. I don't go and browse (Florence is a bit of a liability in the library!), but will instead reserve the books that are on my GoodReads list and then just go and collect them when they arrive in. It's obviously closed at the moment and I'm really missing it, and have spent a lot more money on books!

10. Beeswax food wraps and reusable baking tray liners - my Mum made some Beeswax food wraps* for me and they're great! A great alternative to using cling film and they look a lot prettier. I've also been using reusable baking tray liners* to save on buying greaseproof paper so much.

I hope you found this list useful - do let me know what sustainable swaps you have made as I love getting ideas!

*This post includes affiliate and referral links

Daisy x

Food: Tanya Burr's Triple Chocolate Cookie Recipe


Over the past few months I've loved getting in the kitchen and baking. This is one of the recipes I tried and oh my, these cookies are incredible. If you like gooey cookies with a tonne of melty chocolate oozing out of them then these are the ones for you. The recipe comes from Tanya Burr and her book, Tanya Bakes, which you can find here*. 

So here's how you make them...

Ingredients

  • 200g butter
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 275g self-raising flour
  • 75g cocoa powder
  • 100g white chocolate
  • 100g milk chocolate
  • 100g dark chocolate

Method

1) Pre-heat your oven to 200°C/180°C fan and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper - you may need two baking trays.

2) Cream together your butter and sugar until combined.

3) Add your egg and give it a mix before adding the flour and cocoa powder. I added the flour in smaller amounts so I didn't get it everywhere! If the mixture is looking a bit dry you want to add a splash of milk.

4) Break the chocolate bars into chunks of whatever size you like - I like big chunks. Add them to your cookie dough and mix it up.

5) Roll the cookie dough into evenly sized balls and place onto the baking try - you want them to be the same size as the palm of your hand so pretty big.

6) Put them into the oven for 11 minutes exactly. When you take them out they won't feel at all ready but trust me, this is key for a truly gooey cookie. Leave them to cool for around 40 minutes and they will harden up and you can then enjoy with a cup of tea. Enjoy!

Extra notes

  • If your mixture is a bit dry and you add a splash of milk, don't add too much. I did and although it didn't affect what they tasted like, it made rolling them into balls a lot more messy as the mixture was more wet.
  • I like to half the mixture and put half in the fridge or freezer, ready for another day. I love having cookies fresh from the oven. 
  • You can choose whatever type of chocolate you want for these cookies - I know some people use chocolate orange pieces or bits of crunchie. I like milk and white the best.

Daisy x

*This post includes affiliate links

Life: 10 Silver Linings to Lockdown


I have to of course preface this blogpost by saying that I would never have wanted this whole situation to happen but for me, there have been a few silver linings to come out of lockdown so I thought I'd share for a bit of positivity!

1) It's been so lovely to have weeks of time of just Chris, Florence and I. We adore our families and see them a lot, and if we had a quiet weekend we would rarely stay home and chill but would drive ten minutes down the road to see my parents. We love doing that but it has also been really nice to just be the three of us and to really feel settled as a family of three. Florence has adored having so much time with both of us. We've also made an effort to eat together at the weekends and is something that we will continue as I'm a big fan of sitting around the table, eating and chatting. I also like how when you eat at 5pm, you have the whole evening free and don't have to worry about dinner!

2) The slower pace of life. I think a lot of people would agree that the slower pace of life that has been forced onto us has been really refreshing. My calendar which was filled with busy weekends and weekly appointments was instantly wiped out and it made me feel so calm! I love having adventures and things to look forward to but it's been nice to just know that the day will be spent chilling in the garden and going on a long walk. We don't have to go out and do anything.

3) Finding a new hobby. With the extra time that I found myself having, I wanted to do something that wasn't just watching lots of TV and scrolling on my phone so after seeing my friend Holly share a paint by numbers that she'd bought, I decided to order one for myself and I have enjoyed doing it so much! I set it up in our dining room and would put on a podcast and immerse myself in painting. I'm really rubbish at freestyle painting so having a guide is perfect for me. It's also turned out so much better than I thought! Apparently these kind of hobbies are great as they require concentration but aren't difficult, and you are achieving something too. My next one is on its way to me!
My Paint by Numbers masterpiece! I bought mine from this seller on eBay
4) Aside from the first week when Florence was poorly, she has been blissfully free of illness. Not even a sniffle! No germs from nursery or soft play has been wonderful - although slightly nervous now about what it will be like when she is faced with them again!

5) Time for the house. Having more free weekends has meant more time to do things around the house - we have jet washed the patio, put up pictures, painted our gates and have done lots of gardening.

6) Having Chris home all of the time. In 'normal life' my husband Chris works and stays in London two nights a week and since the end of March he has been back home with us full time and it's been so nice! Especially now we are into the swing of it and have a nice routine going.

7) Catching up with friends much more. I've never had so many catch-ups with friends - we keep saying that it's crazy that it's taken a pandemic for us to start having video calls. Usually it takes months to find a free date to meet so it's been a bonus having everyone readily available (on the most part!). It's calmed down a little now but I've enjoyed the many quizzes and a highlight was definitely the virtual horse racing that my friend arranged for his birthday. We all got very into it!

8) Saving money. I don't know about anyone else but we are managing to save money every month. It makes sense seeing as we aren't paying for our bigger outgoings like nursery, Chris' train tickets and petrol. Most of it is going on Amazon panic buys and food! It's been a lovely plus side to be able to put money away.


9) Getting to know our neighbours. We have been in our house for a couple of years now but I feel like we have really got to know our neighbours over the past few weeks and I love the community feel we have. I've had so many chats with neighbours whilst on our daily walks and the weekly Thursday clap has been a great little moment.

10) Appreciating the little things. I think overall, lockdown has taught me what is really important. Chris' parents asked us what we had been missing the most and for me it's 100% the family time - seeing Florence with the people who love her most brings me such joy and I can't wait to have those moments back in our lives. It's also taught me how much I love the little things like having my hair highlighted and popping into my Mum's for a cup of tea! I can't wait to be able to enjoy these things again.

Daisy x


Beauty: Let's Talk Beauty Pie!


I first heard about Beauty Pie over a year ago but didn't pay it much attention - Florence was so little and beauty products were one of the last things on my mind, but a year on and with more time to focus on my skincare I started noticing the name popping up on Instagram. I then put a message on my Instagram story asking for recommendations of products from the brand and they came flooding in - I wanted a piece of the pie!

So how does it work?

Their website explains it a lot better than I will but essentially, it's a beauty membership where you pay a monthly fee to access Beauty Pie products at their member prices. Each membership level has a corresponding monthly spending limit based on typical prices (this is what a similar product would cost in the 'outside world')- so I pay £10 a month and get a £100 spending limit. If I order one product which has a typical price of £50 then that will use half of my spending limit - even though the product may actually only be costing me £10. This is what took me a while to understand but as soon as you're on the site, their spending limit bar helps makes it super easy. Any unused spending limit will roll over to the next month and you can upgrade your spending limit if you want to order more one month.

Why are the products so cheap?

Beauty Pie was created by Marcia Kilgore who is a legend in the beauty world and who had the idea that she could buy products directly from the supplier and essentially sell them directly to the consumer at a much cheaper price by cutting out other costs such as shop space, celebrity endorsements, retailer markup etc. All of their marketing is online and they have a great social media presence.

What have I tried so far?


I received my first order in April and it was a very exciting day. Your order arrives in a gorgeous pink box and all wrapped in pink paper - it really is a delight to receive. I am a huge fan of the Beauty Pie packaging - it's simple but looks gorgeous. 


First up in the order was the Super Retinol (+Vitamin C) Night Renewal Moisturiser. I've not used a retinol before but know how great they are meant to be for anti-ageing and the prices on Beauty Pie make them so accessible and wonderful for 'beginners'. I've been using this every night and enjoy the light tingly feeling it gives. It's too early to see a difference with my skin but I'm really liking using this. The typical price for this is £75 and I got it for £11.46.

Another skincare product I bought was the Japanfusion Pure Transforming Cleanser and I absolutely adore this. It's so lovely to use and leaves my skin feeling great. You can use it to remove all make-up but I'm a stickler for my hot cloth cleanser, and so use this in the morning or in the evening if I've just been wearing SPF. You just massage it into your skin, add a little water to make it all milky and then wash away. The typical price is £25 and I paid £7.54.

Next up is the Ultralight UVA/UVB SPF 25. I've heard that it's one of the best face SPFs out there and I'm really impressed. It sinks in easily and you can't tell you're wearing it - there's no ashy look to your face, or shine. I think I will be repurchasing this again and again and wearing all through the year. I've seen that they are releasing a new SPF in factor 50 which will be great for summer months. The typical price is £35 and I paid £9.95.

I also ordered the Super Healthy Skin Sheer Tinted Oil-Free SPF20 in light. This is the product I've been least sure about as I love the finish of it and how glowy it is, but I don't like the feel of it on my skin. I'm going to keep using it but don't think I will buy it again. The typical price is £28 and I paid £6.71.

Lastly is the Superbrow Fine Precision Pencil in Blonde Girl. This is just like the Anastasia Brow Wiz and takes two seconds to apply. Will definitely be repurchasing this. The typical price is £17 and I paid £4.43.

I've had another order this month with a couple of face masks and a lip oil but I will share my thoughts on them in another post after I've had more time to try them. Overall I have been so impressed and am excited each month to place my next order! 

If you want to use my referral link you will get your first month of membership free (and I'll get an extra £50 of spend allowance). Just use my link here or enter 'DAISYSENTME' in the refer a friend box at checkout.

Daisy x

Life: Life in Lockdown


Hello! I wanted to write a post to document this strange world that we're currently living in. I started writing this quite a few weeks ago, after coming back from a supermarket shop - it was my first proper shop since lockdown began (going out in the car was amazing!) and so my first time experiencing the trolleys being wiped down before using them, the in-store markings to show the 2m distance rule and the screens around the tills. As I waited in the queue I just thought about how surreal everything feels and how it's like we're in a film. Imagine if someone had told us a year ago that 2020 would be mostly spent battling a horrid virus, that we'd be told to keep away from loved ones and that all schools would be shut - you just wouldn't believe it.

Queuing for the supermarket

So what has lockdown been like for us? Well, Chris' office closed earlier than most and so he has been at home since mid March - a big change for us as usually he's away in London for 3 days a week. Florence's nursery closed the following week (she only does one day) and then we went into full lockdown mode. The day we went into lockdown Florence came down with a temperature and a strange cough so we had to self-isolate completely for two weeks with no food shopping or venturing out apart from a walk. Not sure whether it was Covid as she had just started at a new nursery (nursery germs!) but who knows...I also didn't feel great and had a cough for a while but if it was the virus then we had it very mildly.

I am a freelance social media manager and have one main client and another just coming onboard. My main client (very understandably) has cut my hours down and my new client is on hold until everything settles down, which although is not ideal, it's quite helpful as means that I can spend most of my time focusing on the Flo bear - mainly keeping her out of Chris' office. We have had numerous occasions where I've had to burst into his office to take her out, occasionally in my dressing gown. Awkward!

So much exploring on one of our many daily walks
On the whole though, I feel like we're very lucky and although I have the odd day where I have anxious flutters, most of the time I feel fine. Missing family has been the hardest part, and being sad for our families for missing out on Florence time. But we have a garden, the weather has been mostly lovely and we are not having to go out to work every day like many people. We've got into a nice daily routine where Chris wakes up with Florence and I have some time to either get ready or do half an hour of cleaning. The day will then be spent with Florence and we don't see Chris much as he's in a lot of conference calls. I have been loving our daily walks and it's always nice to chat to neighbours (from afar!). We'll do the evening bedtime routine and then make dinner and watch something on TV - we're currently enjoying Curb Your Enthusiasm.

It's been an adjustment going from having one day a week to myself, plus times when I have help with parenting from my parents or Chris' to it all being on Chris and I. The first day of lockdown I cried at the realisation but we've got used to it and when she returns to nursery (we've delayed it a little to July if all is OK) I know I'll find it hard being away from her.

The local park all taped off
As I write this post today, the rules have been relaxed slightly and from Monday we can have gatherings with up to 6 people in a garden. I think it's going to be tricky with Florence as all the family want to do is cuddle her but it will be lovely to be together again.

I am going to share a post soon with 10 of the silver linings that have come out of lockdown for me but I think I've written enough for this post today. I hope everyone is doing well and can see a light at the end of the tunnel. Obviously life isn't going to be  'normal' for a long time but hopefully the easing of everything will help and of course, my heart goes out to anyone who is struggling or has lost loved ones during this strange and sad time.

Daisy x

Baby: My breastfeeding story


When I was pregnant I was often asked if I was going to breastfeed and my response was always - if I can. It was the part of having a baby that I felt most unprepared for and something I don't think you can read too much about as every experience (and body) is so different. I exclusively breastfed Florence until she was 15 months so thought I would share our story. Sorry it's so long - there's a lot more to breastfeeding than you could imagine! 

When Florence was born we put her on to my left boob straight away and you could see her trying to latch but she couldn't do it. We had a little break and then tried her on my right side and with that boob she latched straight away - good old right boob. The feeling when she started feeding was just amazing, I felt so relieved and hopeful that I would be able to do it. We spent the next two days in hospital for a couple of reasons - one being that the midwives were keen for me to be confident in feeding from both sides. There was no pressure for me to go home and although I wanted to get back to my home comforts, I am so glad I stayed and had that initial support.

Feeding from my right side seemed to be OK once I'd got her in the correct position etc, but we did struggle with the left side! The midwives helped me try different positions but I definitely found the standard cradle hold the most comfortable. I was desperate for her to feed from the left hand side as had visions of me forever feeding from one side and having lopsided boobs! We had a comedy moment when Chris and my Mum were both trying to help her to latch on - a situation I never thought I would be in, but it worked and we all cheered as she fed from my left boob and we rushed to get a midwife to see.

Breastfeeding in the early days is intense. Each feed (of which there were many...so many!) I would have to get set up with a cushion behind my back, have a big bottle of water to hand, my phone and Chris would have to pass her to me in the right position to help her latch. Sometimes it would take a few tries and it was the real learning of a skill for all of us. It's amazing how different it is once they get bigger and it becomes more established, as they obviously become bigger, stronger and know exactly what they're doing - she would latch herself on in seconds. Chris was basically my waiter in those early days and was amazing - he took care of everything so I could focus on feeding and even though the feeds were long (some were an hour) it was nice to just sit on the sofa watching TV or messaging friends on my phone. Can't say the same for the night feeds when you're exhausted and have to try to stay awake whilst they cluster feed.

The worst part for me by far was the sore nipples. I used to hear that if they were sore there was something wrong with the latch but surely your nipples need to toughen up a bit first! The initial soreness as she latched on was not pleasant - I would grit my teeth and fists to get through the first few moments. My left nipple became cracked and bled too. Luckily I have lots of friends who have babies and they reassured me that it would stop being painful and if I could persevere through the first few weeks it would become so much easier. And they were totally right! I found piling on the lansinoh and using the Multi-Mam compresses and the Medela hydrogel pads a godsend (wish I'd discovered these earlier) and really helped to heal them. 

Once we'd got through the initial soreness, I found myself loving breastfeeding - more than I thought I would. It was so easy and convenient, especially as my confidence at feeding in public increased. It was pretty smooth sailing although I did have quite a few blocked milk ducts which are really not fun - I found lots of massage, feeding and expressing, and an electric toothbrush on the lump always helped to dislodge it. 

Another thing I wanted to mention was getting Florence to take a bottle of expressed milk as this only happened when she was around 5 months. We tried her with the Medela Calma bottles, and Tommy Tippee in the early weeks and she would initially take it and then refuse -it was pretty heartbreaking seeing Chris trying to feed her and her screaming. The turning point for us was trying the amazing Mam bottles and making sure the milk was really warm. It gave me a new found freedom.

As we started weaning, her feeds naturally dropped down and by a year we were only on two a day in the morning and night. I always thought I'd stop at a year but I felt so emotional about stopping and I also liked how her morning feed gave me more time to snooze in bed! She was still really enjoying her feeds and it didn't feel quite right to stop. By 15 months she was down to just the morning feed and was hardly taking anything so when we stopped it felt completely right and I didn't feel emotional at all, which was a nice surprise! I loved our breastfeeding journey and feel very lucky that we were able to do it for so long.

Daisy x



Baby: 10 reasons why Center Parcs is great for toddlers


We have just returned from a 5 day break to the Center Parcs in Sherwood Forest. We went with my family - 8 of us plus two toddlers (18m and 20m). I have been many times before but it's a whole new experience with a toddler and I thought I'd share 10 reasons why it's such a great holiday with toddlers.

1. The safe environment. Once you've unloaded your cars, and put them back in the car park there are minimal cars around (only Center Parcs vehicles are really allowed) which means it's so safe and you feel far more relaxed letting your tiny one roam around.


2. Everywhere is extremely child friendly and totally catered for children. From always having high chairs available to soft play in most of the venues and restaurants that you visit. Whilst my family had a game of Badminton, I could take Florence to soft play before swapping around and having a game myself.


3. The villa that you stay in is great for creating a home from home. They have high chairs and cots, plus stair gates and fire guards, so you can just unpack and go straight to enjoying your break. 






4. You can bring your own bikes, or hire them there and they have two options for bikes with toddlers - a buggy trailer or you can hire a bike with a kids seat. Florence loved being on the back of the bike and it made getting around so easy.

5. The kids swimming pool area is fantastic. It's been recently renovated at Sherwood Forest and is full of fun and slides. They also have cots dotted around the seating area of the pool which I noticed a lot of families using for younger babies.

6. 
They have a supermarket (Parc Market) in the village square so if you forget anything or wanted to buy everything there, you can. It also has mini trolleys which Florence loved, although enjoyed putting some questionable items in there!


7. Nature is right on your doorstep. The villas have big french doors which back onto the woodland, so Florence enjoyed watching the wildlife as they pottered about - there were lots of pheasants, squirrels and ducks (her favourites!). It's also so easy to just go out for a quick walk and get a dose of fresh air and some stimulation.





8. There are so many activities to keep them entertained. You can pay extra for special activities like a balance bike session or messy play but if you want to keep costs down there's so much for them (swimming, walks, soft play) to do without spending extra.


9. When they are in bed you can enjoy your evening in the villa. We liked to cook a nice meal, play games and our villa also had a sauna which was fun!

10. Happy Mum (or Dad), Happy Baby. 
The spa is amazing. Obviously not one for the toddlers but one for the parents - and there is a creche so even if you don't have extra help to look after them whilst you're there, you can use that and go and enjoy three hours of bliss in the Aqua Sana. Trust me, it's fab.





Daisy x

Life: TV Shows I've enjoyed recently


Although I hate how dark, wet and cold winter can be, I also love how it gives you an excuse to curl up on the sofa and watch lots of TV. Here are a few programmes that I've been enjoying recently and would recommend. I think all of them can be found on Netflix, although Succession may be on Amazon Prime.

Cheer  
I watched the first couple of episodes halfheartedly but by episode 3 I was hooked! It's a 6 part documentary following the Navarro Cheer team in their quest to win another state championship, but what makes it is the kids and their stories. I cried at the last episode and now follow all of them on Instagram.

Succession
Succession follows a family who run a huge global media business. It's a comedy/drama and the characters absolutely make it. Their wealth is fascinating and it sounds like it's been very much based on real life global family businesses. 

Mindhunter
This show is quite slow and you have to stick with it a little bit, but it's a really great watch. It follows two FBI detectives who start interviewing serial killers to try and find out why they did it, with most of the criminals based on ones in real life. There are two series and I think I preferred series two. Unfortunately there are no plans for a third!
Love is Blind
This seems to be constantly trending on Netflix at the moment and it's definitely a guilty pleasure. If you like Married at First Sight you'll love this as the couples start their relationships by chatting to each other without seeing each other, and only once they get engaged can they properly meet. It's cheesy but very addictive.

The Stranger
Another show that everyone seems to talk about. I can't say much about it as it's one that you just have to watch to see it all unfold - it's one that you have to binge watch and is a bit crazy but very enjoyable too.

What shows have you been enjoying recently?

Daisy x

Travel: Our holiday to South Africa


Hello! It's been a while hasn't it?! Trying to get back on the blogging wagon and wanted to finally share more about our holiday to South Africa which was back in April 2018. Our good friends were getting married in Franschhoek so we decided to make it into a big holiday with a group of friends and oh, it was wonderful. We spent time in Cape Town, Camps Bay and Franschhoek before heading to Johannesburg for a safari. Here's the lowdown on what we did, where we stayed and what our must-sees were - sadly I don't have an amazing memory and used my Instagram posts as a reminder of what we did each day!

Day 1: Cape Town

One of the great things about Cape Town is that there is only a small time difference so you don't have to deal with jet lag. On the first morning we arrived and went to our hotel - the Belmond Mount Nelson (totally dreamy) to check in and relax around the pool. We then went for dinner at Signal which is a restaurant in the Cape Grace Hotel on the V&A. Our first tasting menu of the holiday and it didn't disappoint!

Day 2: Cape Town


Belmond Mount Nelson high tea

Day two was spent doing some shopping at the V&A Waterfront before heading back to our hotel for their famous High Tea - it was indulgent and delicious, and well worth doing. We spent the evening at Harrington's Cocktail Bar for the first of the wedding celebrations.

Day 3: Cape Town - Franschhoek


Franschhoek Country House and Villas

There were a few sore heads the morning after (I also felt mega rough but mine was pregnancy related!) but no rest as we checked out of the Belmond, picked up a hire car and drove about an hour to Franschhoek which is a beautiful area in the winelands. We were staying at the Franschhoek Country House and Villas and so ditched our bags before meeting our friends to experience the wine tram; a tram which takes you to different vineyards for wine tastings. I only got to see one of the vineyards as I wasn't feel well at all and so went back to the hotel to sleep!

Day 4: Franschhoek

We celebrated our friends wedding at the Rickety Bridge Winery. It had the most perfect backdrop and was a gorgeous hot and sunny day with lots of laughter and fun.

Day 5: Franschhoek

After spending the morning by the pool at our hotel, everyone went for a post wedding BBQ at the wedding venue but I had to give it a miss as still felt unwell (was definitely pregnancy related!) although managed to make it out for dinner in the evening at a lovely restaurant called Reuben's.

Day 6: Franschhoek - Camps Bay


Grande Provence Winery Franschhoek

We had another morning by the pool before checking out and having lunch at the Grande Provence wine estate and then heading to our villa in Camps Bay which would be home for the next few days. Dinner was spent at Gold Restaurant which was very entertaining and we even joined in with a drum workshop.

Day 7: Camps Bay


V&A Cape Town

We had more of a relaxing day, starting with a lovely breakfast at The Bay Hotel and then a couple of hours on the beach. We then attempted to go to Robben Island to find it was cancelled so enjoyed a drink in the V&A and then went back to the villa for an evening BBQ.

Day 8: Camps Bay

Most of the gang climbed Table Mountain in the morning whilst I chilled in the villa sunshine. We had some lunch on the beachfront and then in the evening we went to The Roundhouse for their 5 course tasting menu which was delicious and in the most beautiful setting.

Day 9: Camps Bay


Boulders Beach Penguins
La Colombe Silvermist Wine Estate Cape Town
La Colombe Silvermist Wine Estate Cape Town

It was our last day in Cape Town so we got up early and drove to Boulders Beach to see the penguins! It was slightly surreal walking along the beach next to a penguin - I loved it. We had brunch at the Twelve Apostles hotel (which has great views but was sadly overcast for us) and then relaxed in the villa until dinner. Dinner was incredible. We went to La Colombe in the Silvermist wine estate and it was honestly the best meal and dining experience of my life; a great atmosphere, setting, service and the food was just amazing. We returned to the villa 4.5 hours later very full and happy.

Day 10: Cape Town - Johannesburg

We said goodbye to Cape Town and flew the two hours to Jo'burg before a 3 hour drive to Ivory Tree Game Lodge in Pilanesberg National Park to start our safari adventure.

Day 11-13: Johannasberg


Rhinos Safari Pilansberg National Park
Elephant Safari Pilansberg National Park
Cheetahs Safari Pilansberg National Park

The rest of the holiday was spent enjoying the safari. I didn't think I'd love it as much as I did - it was one of the best experiences of my life and I recommend it to everyone! We saw so many animals from lions to cheetahs, and I loved the safari 'routine' of an early morning drive before coming back for breakfast and chilling by the pool and napping, and then heading out for an evening drive.

Phew, that was a long one! I can't recommend South Africa as a holiday enough and I can't wait to take Florence one day.

Daisy x