Pretty much as soon as Summer ends and we hit the back to school stage of life again, I pack up my Summer wardrobe and crack out the Autumn one. In recent years I have enjoyed the feeling that comes with seasonal rotation of my clothes, as it is an opportunity to rediscover old favourites and purge things you have managed with out. Obviously I have a lot of crossover items that remain in my closet, but overall it is rotated September and April time. With really Summery things coming out June time, and big warm Knits/Wintery stuff being introduced around November.

One of my staples in my Autumn Wardrobe, and one thing I look forward to wearing at this time of year, is my array of shirts. They are comfortable, versatile and feel so “me”.

Autumn is definitely one of my favourites style wise (with Winter close behind) as I find with my shirts and sweaters it is super easy to dress for. And as we near the end of this beloved and easy to style season I wanted to share with you my 5 go to favourite shirts that I wear on rotation and just love.

I love them all for various reasons, but mostly because the majority of them are decent brands, and because all of them were sale or charity shops!

My Favourite Shirts of Autumn

Up first is my Zara denim shirt – This was given to me by my younger and very stylish sister in law when we lived with them in the Summer. I love it because it’s Zara, so instantly brings some style to any outfit, and also because it was FREE! It is super comfortable and the light denim wash looks lovely on sunny Autumn days. I love the embroidery and wear it regularly with black skinnies and then either my tan suede ankle boots or pumps.

Also from Zara is my black and orange check shirt. This one was bought in a charity shop this Spring for a couple of pounds and I knew it would look great come Autumn! I call this my posh shirt as it feels a little more classy than the others I wear with the thinner, curved collar and piping down the buttons. This one is great to wear with jeans and ankle boots or knee high boots, and also under my denim dress with tights and ankle boots.

I have had my red Check shirt well over a year now and wear it all the time and through every season! I bought it in a charity shop, again for a couple of pounds and find it super comfy and cosy, I love to wear this with jeans and pumps or my favourite outfit – Black skinnies and black boots! I am a little sad that this one is getting slightly bobbly and worn as a result of lots of wear. But with its cosy fabric and vibrant colour, it will be a long time until we part!

Another checked number is my Levis pinky one with blue! I love this becuase it is super comfy and casual and great for the sunnier days of Autumn (and Spring). Its nicer with my lighter denims and pumps or trainers. When I want a really chill day this is the one I grab! It cost me about 3 or 4 pounds…for a Levi’s shirt – Yes!

My Jack Wills blue shirt is my newest shirt and has quickly made it in to the top 5! I bought this only in September from their pop up outlet store in Hull for £9. I love it because it is very different to any of my others in style and colour and with that it is also one I can wear with more crazy things too (my silver shoes). Like my others it wears well with boots, jeans and pumps day to day, but with its frilly collar, it has the bonus of being able to be dressed up with heeled boots and silvery shoes!

I have other shirts and blouses that I love too, with cool patterns or stripes, and some that are super easy to dress up with heels and funky flats, but these are my go to every day ones. I have realised with putting this post together that it’s only since I entered my 30’s that I can honestly put my hand up and say “Yes I am confident in myself and know my style”. I have gone through so many phases, fads and even copying of others styles through my teens and 20’s (all in an attempt to discover my style) but it’s only now that I feel I know what I look good in and what is cool for my lifestyle!

It is with trying out various styles and trends that has led to me finding “me” and what makes her most comfortable, and that makes me so much happier and more comfortable in my skin!

My style can be a little crazy at times, but so can I, so its a perfect combo. I tend to, in my day to day style as a busy mum, stick to things that are comfortable and casual and these often will have a sporty, glam streak running through them too. I love retro things but I mostly love anything that is rich in colour and patterns. I love to dress up casual things with earrings, scarves and necklaces, and I live mostly in jeans/black skinnes and pumps and boots. So, if it goes with these staples, isn’t too tight and clingy, and overall feels like it’s “me”, then it most definitely is a keeper!

Shirts, especially checked and denim ones I find look stylish, can be worn with pretty much anything and keep “me as a mum” both comfortable and stylish. I love them on their own, under jumpers, open with t shirts, and always with black skinnies or jeans! I love that knowing my style instantly makes me feel more stylish because of the confidence that now comes with that knowledge of who I am. I find it so much quicker to get ready these days because I love everything in my wardrobe and know how to wear it together…. especially my shirts and old favourites!

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We were excited to recently receive a box of goodies from Hallmark, to celebrate the launch of their new Frozen range of itty bittys. Super soft and beautiful, these little plush toys are the latest to join the Disney Family of itty bittys at Hallmark and will make for great stocking fillers, baby gifts or just general gifts for little ones who love Frozen. Elsa, Anna, Olaf and Sven are all there and they are really cute.

Alice (our 16m old tot) found them great to lob across the room which I was a little surprised by! I loved how she could easily handle them, and in my mind had imagined that they would be great for her for Christmas, however whilst in this throwing stage I think we will hold off on that one! Megan on the other hand thoroughly enjoyed playing with them and found them adorable…she’s 5 and instantly recognised the characters in mini form and loved them, they are great to snuggle and great to play make believe role play games with. Small enough for little hands to grab and to fit into hand bags, and big enough to win children’s hearts!

Aside form the 4 cute little members of the Frozen crew, there was also a challenge to “Build a Snowman” with everything we needed to do so! It was such a fun experience and the kids were really excited about it. We made the snowmen last week, and despite my huge lack of baking skills, we all found it to be a rather fun, messy, and overall very creative frozen adventure that produced some tasty after school delights.

How to make Snowman Cupcakes

I am not the best when it comes to baking and such, but these were pretty straightforward and looked really cute. The kids thoroughly enjoyed it, and we decided they would be great for parties, or to give out to people over the festive season.

For the cupcakes you will need: 

1 egg
45ml of water
10ml Vegetable oil
10g of soft margarine for the icing  (we actually just made up our own butter cream icing so we had lots!)
1 Frozen cup cake kit

  1. Pre-heat the over to 180c (Gas mark 4)
  2. Place the cupcake cases in a bun tray
  3. Empty the sponge mix into a mixing bowl and add the egg, water and oil. Using a whisk, mix to make a runny batter
  4. Using a teaspoon divide the mixture evenly between the bun cases
  5. Bake the cupcakes for 10 – 12 mins until firm to the touch and golden brown. Remove and allow to cool on a wire rack.
  6. Make up the butter cream icing
  7. Add some to the top of each bun before adding a marshmallow snowman….

For the Marshmallow Snowman you will need:

Large Marshmallows
Mikado Chocolate Sticks
Mini Marshmallows
Orange Tic Tacs
Black Icing Pen

  1. Using Clean scissors, Trim about 1/4 of the bottom from half of the marshmallows and compress to make them smaller (to create a smaller top for the head).
  2. Depending on the length of the chocolate sticks, break them to the desired length for the arms.
  3. Squash the white mini marshmallows til they’re flat – these form Olaf’s large tooth.
  4. To assemble – use icing to stick the 2 marshmallows together (we just used one big one and drew a face). Pole 2 sticks into each side for arms. Press in the tic tac for the nose, and dot on eyes and mouth with the black icing pen. Then stick on (with icing) the tooth!
  5. Admire your creation!

They were so much fun to do and simple once we got into it. Afterwards the kids decided to make a couple of extra Olaf’s for their hot chocolates – because some things are worth melting for!

*Frozen itty bittys are available through Hallmark. We were sent these things for the purpose of this post and thank Hallmark for that. All pictures and opinions are my own.

Family Fever
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Driving was always a fun and pleasurable thing for me back in the day… I just loved cars and I loved being behind the wheel cruising along to my tunes! And then the kids come along, and suddenly driving becomes a whole new test and minefield; from fitting car seats, loading up the boot and trying to get anywhere on time, all whilst trying to avoid a break down from all of the nagging and whining in my ears on journey’s longer than 5 minutes! It’s then you realise you have suddenly been flung from cool to “Hi my car is filled with tat, tiny humans, has stale rice cakes down the seats and who knows what crushed in to the carpets”. Life is never the same again, no more cool cars, and before you know it… mid 30’s driving an MPV!

But thanks to Kia there is a way to keep cool for that bit longer – meet the All-New Kia Stonic – designed for new parents and those of us who are not yet ready to grow up!

To celebrate the launch of the All-New Kia Stonic Urban Crossover, Kia is hosting a new test drive initiative introduced to help dads-to- be practise for the transition to fatherhood, covering everything from the drive to the hospital to the dreaded first car seat fitting. And whilst not a dad myself (Obvs) I was invited along on Thursday to Ringways Leeds to test drive the New Kia Stonic, and found it to be a beaut of a little car!

I was so nervous to drive a brand new car, but it was great to drive. A I pulled out of the dealership, I suddenly remembered what life behind the wheel of a cool clean car, minus messy kiddies feels like, and it was such a treat!

 The Kia Stonic in my opinion is both stylish and practical. It is packed with lots of tech and comes in an array of bright colours. I love the stop start button (looked a bit blonde asking where the keys were!) and the seats are comfortable and heated. The steering wheel was slick and easy to manoeuvre, and also heated for those cold mornings! The reverse camera system with dynamic lines made it all the more easier to park and reverse, and I loved that the interior throughout has a real sporty feel. Another amazing feature is that whether apple or android, you can sync your tunes/sat nav for all of the rare times your’e not enduring the sound of nursery rhymes on repeat!!! It does have built in sat nav too, which of course is mint, and car seats are easily fitted in the back with ample room.

Being tall I found the steering wheel a little squashed, at least until I realised you can move it up and down (ha) and in and out too (novel)… this ensured that it was in prime position for optimum comfort. Overall I just loved driving it, it was easy, smooth, very comfortable and made me feel cool again!

Prior to driving the Stonic, I took part in a speed challenge around the show room where I collected various baby items to lob in a not so stylish nappy bag, and then was challenged to fit the car seat, before taking it on a test drove through the city to the LGI hospital! I found the car seat easy to fit (and of course nailed it now im an expert), and loved the driving challeng too. Breaking was excellent, the seats were comfortable, and I loved that on the mirrors there are warning lights if you get too close, or try to switch lanes too soon! The boot isn’t massive but certainly ample for a pram and a few bags…

This car would be brilliant for young, first time parents that want something cool, stylish and yet practical too. It is pimped out with extras, and lovely to drive, so for those of us who want to drive something fun for a little longer too this certainly ticks the boxes on that one! I think a family with one or 2 kids would find this a prefect sized car to drive in style and comfort, and being a crossover it has that SUV feel with out being too big or hard to manoeuvre.

With my growing tribe of kids, it unfortunately isn’t even a consideration for us (though I do like the Kia sorento – hello 7 seater life). I did think whilst driving it though that it would be an excellent 2nd car for dads who commute, but then might also need to use their car for the odd kids thing too, because like I say, a car seat fits in easily and its still cool and sporty. It was a 1 litre but very nippy and powerful (even with 3 adults in) and I found it generally to be a lovely easy car to drive.

Its mid range in cost and like all Kia’s it comes with a 7 year warranty which is absolutely amazing. It means that you can certainly have reliability and peace of mind when driving with your little ones! The All-New Kia Stonic is the company’s first offering in Europe’s booming small crossover market and is available now at Ringways Leeds Kia (or your local Kia dealership). Contact them now for a test drive!

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Family Fever
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I realised a couple of days ago, when a friend messaged to confirm a get together, that my life seems to pretty much be in a season of chaos. I seem to be go, go, go all of the time trying to balance and juggle things, and get this and that done, that I am really run down and tired. From kids to blog to hobbies, church, home and this last week my health (Asthma problems) there always seems so much to do and get done! Perhaps I need a cleaner or something, or maybe I just need to work on prioritising and working smarter? Either way I look back at this week and can barely remember anything of what I have actually done – only that it was really busy AGAIN!

A stall with the kids

Last weekend we stayed fairly local so that the kids and I could have a stall at the village church hall. It was only £5 and was an excuse to declutter our tat, and for them to make a little bit of pocket money. I was so pleased with how enthusiastic they were about it, and how dedicated they were to the cause. They chatted to people that came over (trying to up sell) and we made a great little team. They loved that they had an opportunity to play real life shops, selling their unwanted stuff for real life money!!

It wasn’t an amazing turn out but we made about £25 and so they ended up with about £6.50 each (after we snatched up a few bargains from other stall holders). They were so over the moon, because of course at 5 and 7 having a £5 note totally means you are loaded!

Discount Costumes

I was delighted a couple of weeks ago to pick up 3 kids costumes in Wilko for £7! They all had 75% off following Halloween and so I decided to be thrifty and buy next years in the next size up. We have a werewolf, a zombie cheerleader and a mini witch, all for a couple of pounds each. I had to high 5 myself at what a steal it was and I look forward to rediscovering them next year, feeling organised and remembering how cheap they were.

Williams Den £3 Entry

Tonight we decided to kick off the weekend at one of our favourite spots – Williams den! We found out just this afternoon that Monday through Friday until the end of November it’s only £3 each to get in which is an absolute bargain! So of course with it being frugal Friday, we couldn’t let the deal escape us and straight after school we headed over for a couple of hours play.

It was so spontaneous it made for a really fun and lovely evening. The kids loved it and we had a great time. If you haven’t been, but have wanted to, then next week with their £3 entry will be the perfect opportunity. Its great for all the family and Alice gets more and more from it each time we visit.

Santa’s Big Red Bus!

I recently found out about “Santa’s Big Red Bus”, a FREE family event at Wheatley Shopping Centre in Doncaster, where Santa will be visiting in a grotto on a Double Decker bus! It sounds brilliant and we are really looking forward to going next week and checking it out!

If you live close by or even fancy a little drive for something different, then its basically going to be taking place on 25th and 26th November between 10am and 6pm (Saturday) and 11am and 5pm (Sunday) All families are invited to join in the festive fun where they’ll be able to visit Santa’s grotto on wheels and create their own postcard in the Christmas craft workshop, before getting a selfie with the man himself.

There will also be a range of seasonal treats from food stalls, including “The Street Diner” and “Heavenly Crepe”. It sounds like such a lovely idea, is free and will be a great day out to do some Christmas shopping, have some fun with the kids, get creative, and enjoy something delicious to kick off the Christmas season!

Speaking of Christmas – keep your eyes peeled for all of the current and upcoming “Black Friday” deals… Argos have some great half price Playmobil (amongst other things), and there are of course daily deals on Amazon too to get you started! Happy Shopping and happy weekend!

 

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