Sunday, 29 May 2016

Travelling with a Toddler

Once I got home from holidays many of my friends asked me how much we all enjoyed it as a family, how the flight went with Stella and how she did with sleeping at nights.  They all knew I was fairly anxious about the plane even though it wasn't our first trip with our little girl.  We have been lucky to get away before and this was our third holiday with Stella but this one was very different from our previous!  Stella is walking now and as all mama's know this brings a whole new set of problems!  On our previous holidays Stella was 4 months and 9 months so not yet mobile, her needs were very simple and easily(ish) met plus she napped frequently through the day which allowed us (looking back on it now) a good bit of relaxation time!  Our girl CANNOT sit still for more than 5 minutes so the flight was expected to be.....challenging.  

If you follow me on instagram you will know she napped!  I was actually desperately needing to go to the loo but just sat there for nearly 2 hours as the alternative was waking Stella!  The hour that she was awake was actually fine we pretty much fed her the whole time :-)

We knew once we arrived in Portugal that our weather wasn't going to be great for the first week, but we weren't expecting it to rain torrentially pretty much solidly for about 5 days. At times this was tough as there isn't much in the way of indoor activities for adults never mind toddlers.  We just tried to get out in the dry periods as much as possible but it was far from ideal.  

Happy families - crazy hair, crazy weather, crazy baby
We took it in turns letting Stella run around the hotel lobby (who needs soft play?!) during the rainy times. You just do what you gotta do and we needed to let this girl burn off some energy!

Toddler chasing at Vidamar
We split our holiday in 2, our first week was spent in a villa at the Vidamar then we stayed in the Hilton in Vilamoura. The weather was glorious for our 2nd week and the holiday became infinitely easier.  Stella loves being outdoors and the Hilton catered for children rather well as along with the swimming pools they have a kids club called Paradise Island.  We were able to take Stella in and let her use the outdoor play area which she thoroughly enjoyed.  Its a fabulous park.

Mummy/Daughter Outfits
We took Stella to the beach each morning and honestly I have never seen her so excited.  Generally no matter where we go we have to hold Stella back from doing what she wants to do, stop her from throwing herself down steps, falling down hills and touching things that she shouldn't but at the beach we were able to just let her run unrestricted and she adored it.  It was lovely to see her enjoying herself so much. What she didn't adore was getting sun cream on! That was a fun, daily battle!

No swimsuit for this one, after suncream gate I couldn't be bothered :-)
We stayed in a 2 bedroom apartment at the Hilton and my husband and I are tidy people but we could not keep this place in any sort of order!  Within minutes of us getting back to it I would look around in dismay to see the place trashed! 

Stella constantly moves furniture!
Its funny, when the holiday had its moments my husband and I reminisced of past holidays that we took as a couple when everything was so much easier, when we were able to sleep to 9am, sunbathe, go shopping and have relaxing dinners but during our fun times (and there were plenty) it couldn't have been better. Stella makes the most mundane things fun. She had her first taste of ice-cream while we were there and boy did she love it, she charmed all the waiters in both resorts, she decided that hills were her new favourite thing and would run up and down them with great pleasure all day if allowed and she picked up some new words which she was so proud to use! I wouldn't change it for the world.

Roll on holiday 2017 :-)

Claire x

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Zara Top Try On

I placed an online order on Zara last week and it just got delivered to me today!  The excitement!  The baby is napping, so clearly I tried them on straight away...I mean I have nothing else to do (apart from clearing up all the toys that are scattered across the entire downstairs of my house or maybe the mountain of washing waving at me from my utility room?). 

I ordered 5 items and out of the 5 I am keeping 3.  That is unusually good for me as I am more a 1/5 girl, thus I am now reasonably friendly with my local Hermes delivery man ;-)

Zara Jacquard Top with Bow
I clearly would team this with black bottoms so its not looking its best but take it from me it is just so sweet, I love the fringing and the black bow.  I am seeing it with black skinnies and stilettos but it will also work for me with my cropped black trousers and flats for work. Since I only work out of the house twice a week I like tops that are suitable for both work and casual. You can get it here

Zara Blouse with Full Sleeves
Nice slightly oversized and cotton so should wash well, the slightly flared sleeves make it look more interesting than your normal cotton top.  I think this will be a useful one and the blue should look good with my white skinny jeans. You can get it here.

Zara Kimono with Buttoned Back
Slightly oversized this top looks better on me with a half tuck. There is a nice button detail on the back and it will look good with my darker jeans. You can get it here.

The other 2 items I ordered were just a bit boring, one was a white cotton top with a bit of embroidery on the bottom and the other was an average linen blouse.  I am pleased with my few items that I am keeping and there are definitely a few other items I would like from Zara's current season. Somebody stop me!

Claire x

Sunday, 22 May 2016

The Alexa Chung Harry Blouse

Always nice to come home from holidays to find a couple of parcels waiting for you, it kind of softens the blow.......a little.

I was starting to run out of cleanser while I was away so I placed an order on Space NK for the Ren Evercalm Cleansing Gel. I use numerous cleansers but I always come back to this one.  My skin just seems to like it, I don't ever have any flair ups when using this and my dryish skin doesn't ever feel uncomfortable after using it. Plus with its £15 price tag for 150ml its pretty reasonable.  As always I got a little baggy of samples from Space NK with my order, always appreciated and I love trying new products.

The M&S parcel was the one I was most keen to get my hands on as I finally managed to snag a Harry blouse which is one of the pieces from the Alexa Chung collaboration. I decided that I really and truly needed this blouse after seeing a couple of photos on instagram of girls wearing it and of course it was all sold out which just seemed to add to my resolve that this was something I required to make my life infinitely better ;-) My determination had me checking M&S every day and I must have got one that somebody returned as my size was available one morning.  Win!

It didn't disappoint, this is one shirt that makes a bit of a statement. It looks great with skinny jeans but I think it will also be a good one for work with a pair of cropped trousers and flats.  What I will say is that the buttons on the back are a total bugger to do up! Possibly its just mine being awkward and they will hopefully loosen a bit with wear but it took me over 5 minutes to fasten them up and the same again to undo them.  I can imagine it being ripped off in sheer frustration at the end of a night!

Shirt - Harry by Alexa Chung from Marks and Spencer
Jeans - Topshop Black Destroyed Skinny
Shoes - Dune (years old)
Hope your having a good weekend.  I can't believe I am back to work tomorrow after 2 weeks off.  Where did the time go?

Claire x

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Palm Tree's on the Beach

Its our last day today, I really don't want to think about going home to grey skies. It's starting to get properly hot here now so maybe just as well that we are leaving as our 1 year old seems to dislike the high temperatures, she gets hot so quickly with all her crazy running around!

The only thing I am looking forward to coming home to is a haircut! I haven't had my hair sorted since December! I'm not going to blame having my daughter for the reason for my lack of haircuts but it is her fault ;-) It's so hard to find the time now to get these things done. I am pretty sure I am overdue for the optician by maybe a year too! Before holidays my hair was a bit of a mess but now after 2 weeks of sun it looks beyond awful. Even my split ends have split ends! So no more procrastinating it is getting done ASAP. Thank goodness for holiday hats.

Shirt - Zara Palm Tree Shirt
Shorts - Girlfriend Shorts
Shoes - havianas flip flops
Sunglasses - Rayban Erika 
This Zara shirt is so cute with little embroidered palm trees all over it. It's 100% cotton so nice and cool if your heading away on holidays. I loved wearing it with my denim shorts to keep my shoulders covered up in the sun. But also a great cover up over a bikini due to it being oversized. I bought it from Zara in Belfast just before heading away. Such a great bargain at £22.99.  I would definitely recommend it. 

Picture perfect from the boardwalk at Hilton Beach Club.

Awww, what about this for cuteness?! My girl loved the beach so much. She absolutely loathed the whole suncream situation though, acted like we were causing her excruciating misery and pain....hence why she is only in a swimming nappy and not her costume. Couldn't be bothered after the fall out over suncream!

Wish me luck for the flight home tomorrow, this one unfortunately is not over nap time :-o

Claire x

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Hilton Vilamoura and Sun

We are into the 2nd week of our holiday and we have moved from the Vidamar Resort to the Hilton As Cascatas Resort at Vilamoura. The weather here has really improved which we are relieved about as we were starting to run out of things to do. There is no equivalent to Funky Monkeys or Castle Espie here people! It does make you appreciate how many indoor activities we have for toddlers at home. 

The Hilton has a great outdoor children's park called Paradise Island which Stella was able to enjoy this morning after sampling numerous breakfast dishes at the hotel buffet. I am hoping she won't expect the same variety at home and be happy with her usual wheetabix!

 How grown up does my 17 month old look here!

Vilamoura Marina

I'm possibly enjoying this more than she is

Shirt - Hugo Boss Denim Shirt from Roco Boutique Holywood
Vest - J Brand and H&M layered
Shorts - New Look Girlfriend Shorts
Sandals - leather sandals
Bag - Lily and Lionel from Roco Boutique Holywood
Sunglasses - Ray Ban Erika
Straw Hat - Cheapy from a market stall
The good weather is set to continue all being well so we are planning on a beach day tomorrow (well possibly beach hour since it all depends on the small persons tolerance!) I believe the weather is good at home too so I hope your all enjoying it.

Claire x

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Sun and Showers

Portugal weather is still being a bit temperamental but greatly improved thank goodness! Yesterday afternoon was beautiful and we even managed a little play in the children's pool with Stella.

The resort we are staying in (Vidamar) is great, our villa is very large,  modern and clean and the beach that we are on is stunning. If the weather were perfect there would be little reason to leave the resort.

Our days are consisting of beach walks, coffee, back to villa for lunch and Stella's nap then out again to a nearby village for an explore then an early dinner back at the hotel. All pretty relaxing.

Top - Whistles Hollie Linen
Cardigan - Repeat from Roco Boutique Holywood
Shorts - Girlfriend
Trainers - Next

Armacao De Paro

Baby naptime has never looked so good

Baby splash squinting in the sun
 The Villa is excellent for us as Stella still does up to 2 hours of a nap at lunchtime. It means we can get outside to sit in the sun or have our lunch without disturbing her. Baby nap times at home usually consist of cleaning and maybe a quick lunch in front of Loose Women so this is quite an upgrade! I could get used to it! 

Claire x

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Rainy Holiday Outfit

Totally unimpressed by Portugal's current weather situation. Rainy and cold? Your better than that Portugal....

Anyway we aren't letting it stop us from enjoying ourselves and that's the main thing!

Just a fleeting post to show you how my clothes are working for me in this weather.

Top (under jumper!) - Whistles Hollie Linen Top
Jumper -  J Crew
Scarf - Lily and Lionel
Shorts - Denim Girlfriend Shorts
Trainers - Next 
Shirt - Hugo Boss Denim Shirt from Roco Boutique
Jacket - Repeat Jersey Jacket from Roco Boutique
Shorts - New Look Girlfriend Shorts
Trainers - Stan Smith
Definitely all about the layers, roll on Wednesday when we hopefully get to see the sun or we will be asking for a refund ;-) 

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Holiday Packing

Okay I honestly don't blow my own trumpet very often but if there is one thing I am preeetttyyy good at its traveling light.  We have been lucky enough to do a fair bit of traveling over the years and I have the packing thing down....this cockiness is going to come back and bite me on this holiday I just know it?

So this is what I am packing clothes wise for our 2 week holiday to Portugal.  The style for me will be totally relaxed, there is no glamour here folks...I have a 1 year old so I will be putting her to bed at 7:30pm and not no late nights, no fancy restaurants and no nightlife!

Goodness I am sure your all very envious as I have made this holiday sound very exciting ;-) I am looking forward to it though! So packing..... the way I do it is that the majority of my clothes all will work well together.  They are all of similar tones.  I bring shirts that will double up as an extra layer for evenings, worn over bikinis as cover ups and cover shoulders that have seen just a little too much sun. Metallic coloured footwear is a must, golds and silvers work well with anything. I bring a bag that will do as a baby bag and a beach bag. I don't bring anything that I am not totally convinced I will wear!

So first off 

  • 3 Broderie Anglais style tops, sleeveless, short sleeved and 3/4 sleeves.  I love these tops for being airy.  All are 100% cotton and all are from Zara.
  • A boring but useful t shirt from Oasis.
  • A lovely little Part Two Cap Sleeve Shirt from Roco Boutique Holywood (current stock)
  • A kitsch shirt with embroidered palm trees (couldn't help myself) new purchase from Zara. (current stock)
  • 2 pairs of shorts. White ones from New Look and denim from Topshop.  Both are girlfriend style. and a size too big so they drop down on my hips. I honestly have been traumatised trying on shorts in the last couple of years, they are just so.......short.
  • 2 striped tops by J brand (pricey but had them years) and a striped dress from Accessorize good for the beach/pool.
  • My beautiful Hugo Boss Denim shirt from Roco Boutique, I love this shirt its just fabulous. (current stock)
  • Pretty pink knit cardigan by Repeat.
  • 2 Bikinis by Violet Lake from Net a Porter. Honestly had these forever and don't lose shape.
  • Lily and Lionel scarf, useful for evenings and for keeping in the bag if air conditioning gets a bit chilly.
  • 3 pairs of shoes, Leather sandals from Topshop, flip flops by Havianas and trainers from Next.
  • Lily and Lionel Bag, holds a lot of stuff!
  • Ray Ban Erika sunglasses.

I also will be packing a little white vest but I need a new one so not pictured....and underwear clearly.

We also will have access to a washing machine in the 2nd week, which does help.

We fit this, my husbands clothes and my daughters into a large suitcase. So thats it.  Now all I have to worry about is the flight with a toddler!  

Wish me luck!

Monday, 2 May 2016

The Alternative Trench Coat

I had been on the look out for a trench coat for ages and had looked at numerous but everytime I tried on one I thought 'this isn't going to work for me'.  I think its a problem with a tie belt and a lot of them being double breasted.  Sometimes I just want to wear my coat open and double breasted coats with belts just don't tend to sit well open.  This might sound stupid to those of you that don't have children but sometimes speed is everything and I often don't have time once out of the car to be faffing about tying belts in a way that is just so and rearranging collars!

Anyway I finally found a coat that is perfect.  It ticks all the boxes.

  • Perfect trench coat beige
  • Single breasted
  • No belt
  • Hood (Gotta love a hood! Who can carry a child and hold a umbrella?)
  • Deep pockets (that will hold a banana, tissues, a box of raisins, a lipgloss, phone and keys!)
  • Zip fastening
Its from Zara and a good buy at £49.99.  Its ONLY fault is that it does crease pretty much immediately, but I forgive it as it is going to be so useful :-)

Coat - Zara Water Repellent Coat
Top - Whistles Holly Linen Striped Top
Scarf - J Crew Light Knit
Jeans - Topshop Lucas Destroyed Jeans
Trainers - Stan Smiths
Sunglasses - Rayban Erika

I must say my pictures were taken on Saturday and sadly it is still a bit cold for a light weight coat but I am hoping thats going to change really soon as it is May?!

Hope you all had a good bank holiday.