Friday, 19 December 2014

Love the Little Things #39

Ho! Ho! Ho!
Can you believe it's nearly Christmas?! Flipping heck!
I'm going to be taking a little blogging break over the hollies, just to enjoy time with my little gang, so this will be my last littleloves of 2014. SOB!
I can honestly say that I have loved being part of this gorgeous linky, and really feel that it is testament to the fact that joining in with this type of blog sharing (especially for very new bloggers, as I was at the beginning of it!) is such a brilliant way to meet and get to know some lovely people in the blog world. Thankyou again to Morgana for hosting it, and to all the gorgeous ladies that I've got to know over the course of this year. I genuinely love reading all their posts on a Friday!

Anyhow, on to this week, and the little things that we have:


This week seemed to be the one for Christmassy slogans and quotes! My favourites were this billboard, which we spotted driving home from Belfast on Saturday...

And this, which really made me laugh out loud...

(So annoyed at that spelling mistake though. It's the teacher in me!) :)


Oh. My. Goodness. Did you see the end of The Missing? I don't want to spoil it if you haven't caught it yet, but it really did make me feel a bit sick. I guess that was the intention though, and what amazing acting from James Nesbitt. I totally felt it with him. Just brilliant!

We also watched Penguins of Madagascar at the cinema with the little three. Noah declared it 'Awesome!' and Annie loved it too. Eves was a little more reserved (she had really wanted to see The Nativity 3. So had I, truth be told, but majority won out!)


I totally forgot this section last week! Oops!
But this week we made Snowglobes at a craft workshop...

You can see all about this here.

And we also made another vlog!
Out of the three we have made so far, I think I like this one the best. Probably because there's a little more going on! Our fourth, and final one for Advent will be up early next week.


Robin redbreast tops...

Wooly hats and sparkly collars...

Padded coats!


A lovely chat and coffee with some new bloggy friends...

Karen from Raising Mighty Girls and Emma from Adventures of an Unfit Mother.
(Gorgeous Nic from Strawberry Blonde Beauty Blog was taking the photo!)

This dinner! Oh Lordy, best fish and chips EVER! If you are local, you really must try Square Bistro in Lisburn. YUM!

And that was our week!
This weekend we are off to see a play and have dinner (the advantages of having slightly older children is that they are fab company on days out!), and then Sunday will be spent chilling with friends before our Church candlelit carol service. I'm so looking forward to it all!

I'll be back next week with our last Advent post and a little look back at 2014, but you can keep in touch over the holidays on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter if you'd care to.

Happy almost-Christmas guys!

E x



    Wednesday, 17 December 2014

    The Q&A Meme...

    I haven't done one of these Q&A type posts in ages, and when lovely Sian from The Adventures of a Potty Mouthed Mummy tagged me in for this one, I thought I'd give it a go.
    Here we go!

    Where in the world would you most like to be now?

    Kerri-Ann from Life as Our Little Family had this as her answer too, but I'd definitely say New York at this time of year. Mr M and I went just before Christmas ten years ago, and it was completely magical. I'd love to take the little three to Macy's, and FAO Schwarz to dance on the piano from BIG. We'd eat hotdogs and go skating in Central Park, and catch the Christmas Extravaganza at Radio City. There really is nothing like it at Christmas!

    What do you most love about having your blog?

    I love that it is a creative outlet. Somewhere to record and document our family life and the things we do, but also somewhere that holds me accountable. It may look like we are never off the go and always out having adventures but, truth be told, a large part of that has only come as a result of me wanting to blog about it. By nature we are a lazy bunch. We love our pj's, TV and tea a LOT and an awful lot of weekends can pass without us budging from the sofa. But when you are a blogger you see the sunshine and automatically think 'Forest Walk!', you catch an advert for a new family event and think 'Blog Post!', or a new coffee shop and assess the IG potential. I'm a total fraud folks but, you know what? It gets our bums off the sofa, and for the last year or so we have done so much more together as a family than ever we did. And that is definitely no bad thing!

    Who is the person you most admire?

    I admire Mr M's ability to turn his hand to anything. There is no problem insurmountable to him, and he is ever the optimist, which inspires and frustrates me in equal measure!
    Apart from him, I greatly admire each of my oldest friends. For their fortitude in their own tough times, their loyalty, their ability to make me laugh, their honesty, their skills at careers and Motherhood, the way they stay completely grounded. There are qualities in each and every one that I aspire to.
    I'm very fortunate to have such amazing ladies around me.

    What keeps you awake at night?

    A million and one tiny things! Anything from forgetting to buy wrapping paper, to lamenting over what to make for dinner. My mind is most active at 3am it would seem!
    I'm a born worrier by nature, and get anxious at the drop of a hat. I'm really trying to work on it.
    Mr M's most used phrase is 'Chill the Hell out woman!' ;)

    What is your all time favourite breakfast?

    Smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on toasted Soda bread. And tea.
    Have I mentioned that I like tea?? :)

    Which song makes you smile every time you hear it?

    The Sugababes 'Push the Button', because it was playing in the car when we brought Eva home from hospital. I remember being absolutely shattered, but still smiling lots because I was sat beside this beautiful little bundle of newness. She really was the most stunning little raven-haired baby.
    Also 'Wherever you will go' by The Calling, as it was playing in our taxi the first time Mr M and I set eyes on the Colosseum in Rome. That first glimpse at dusk on a hot July evening was totally breathtaking and started the most amazing Italian adventure for us. I'm so glad now that we took trips like that when we were just two.

    If you could go back and give one piece of advice to your fifteen year old self, what would it be?

    Don't be so concerned what other people think. And you are so much more worthy than you give yourself credit for.
    Those popular boys and girls? The ones who everyone fancies and who just seem golden somehow? You'll meet them again in 20 years when they are wrinkled and balding and wonder what all the fuss was about.
    Better to not peak too early Emma love!

    Also, that boy you're with?
    Treat him well. He's a keeper.

    I'm passing the baton on now to lovely Becky from The Spirited Puddle Jumper (LOVE her!), and my favourite home bird Karen from Making Memories in the Chaos (Love her too!!)
    Just if you'd like to share your answers ladies!

    E x

    Monday, 15 December 2014

    That's Christmas to me...

    Last week was a rotten one weather wise and I must admit, I was really struggling at the beginning of it with taking photos (I'm sure it gets dark much earlier now than it used to years ago??) 
    I've definitely been preferring to snuggle up and eat a LOT of chocolate orange(s) instead. 

    I really must stop. There's going to be major remorse come January!

    But we had lots planned for the weekend, and I managed to snap a few lovely moments.
    On Saturday we took part in a craft workshop at a local Arts theatre, The Mac Belfast. It was brilliant, and the kiddos made the most gorgeous snow globes. They were so proud of their creations, and Mr M got fully involved in the creative process too, commandeering the glue gun. I think there could be a change of career in the offing. What man doesn't secretly want to spend his days in the company of electrically powered sticking tools? ;)
    Sunday saw us back in the city for a trip to an old fashioned Father Christmas, in his Curiosity Shop, at Titanic Belfast. 
    For any local readers that haven't been, I'd definitely recommend it. Mr Claus was, I'm 95% certain, the real deal - that beard was not coming off folks (I tested!) And we whiled away a happy hour in the Victorian Christmas village, crafting and dressing up and even checking the Naughty and Nice lists. There was even a little sprinkle of snow!  A totally magical experience, and one of the best we have had.

    A few photos of our week below if you'd like a peek...

    And some highlights of our week in film too...

    This week we are gearing up for the end of term, powered by Calpol fumes and sponsered by Kleenex. The littlest two have their school play on Wednesday and Thursday, and I'm keeping everything crossed that we make it through.

    And scheduling in a lot of pj time for this weekend! :)

    E x 

    Friday, 12 December 2014

    Love the Little Things #38

    It's the twelfth of December already. Can you believe it? And where is this festive, frosty weather to get us all in the mood? It has been totally miserable here the past few days. Wind, I've concluded, is my total nemesis and when mixed with rain and sleet? Well, let's just say there have been a few soggy school runs happening. I'm seriously considering asking Santa for waterproofs.
    To totally cement my fashion icon status once and for all. ;)
    You know when you see these fashionistas in heeled shoes with no socks in the middle of a blizzard?
    Yeah, that'll never be me.

    Anyway, on to our week!
    This week the little things that we have:


    Have you got yours yet? Highlighters at the ready!! :)


    Olympus Has Fallen - This didn't get great reviews but we kinda loved it! A White House siege, lots of explosions and running and jumping. Oh, and not to mention Gerard Butler!

    The Missing - I had totally got it into my head that this weeks was the last one, so for a minute right at the end I was cursing the BBC for leaving us totally in suspense. And then I realised the final one is actually next week - hooray! Mind you, I suspect that they'll still leave us hanging in order to eek out a second series. My bet is on those hotel owners. What do you think?


    Red lips - I'm still not sure that it's me. I adore it on other people, but feel a bit overdone in it myself. Maybe just for special occasions!

    Cosy coats and hats and scarves. It's so freezing so I've been really wrapping up this week!

    Little necklaces. So tiny but so sweet!


    A day out at the National Trust. You can watch our vlog here!
    We bought this little fairy door while we were there from a local seller. So beautifully made!

    All things twinkly!

    And that was our week!

    This weekend we have LOTS planned.
    The weather has been so awful this week that my photos and video footage have been sparse - the light is just rubbish for very much of either.
    I'm hoping that we'll get a little bit of sunshine to record a few moments in the next few days.
    I'm ALSO hoping that my kiddos can stave off the colds that are working on them at the moment.
    We are far too busy to be sick!
    Bless them though - I think half the school are surviving on Calpol fumes in the run up to the end of term.

    Hope you have a lovely weekend, whatever you have planned!

    E x


    Thursday, 11 December 2014

    Deck the Halls #2...

    Quite literally today too!
    Our hallway, although not massive, is one of my favourite parts of the house (you can do a little tour of it here if you'd like to!)
    I'm sure I'm maybe not the only one who factors in where the Christmas tree will go, as one of the major deciding factors in a new house. In every previous house purchase we made, this was a real and serious concern. I mean, what does it matter if the whole kitchen needs replaced and there's a bit of a fusty smell, as long as you can fit a 7 footer, right?
    It may be a short term thing, but for those four blissful weeks a year, I'm a happy lady to share my space with all things fir-like.
    And my dream had always been to have a hall with the tallest tree we could fit.
    Last year (our first in Little Wood), we went all out, and picked a giant 11ft wonder. It was stunning, but honestly the most extravagant thing we have ever spent money on. A fortune for something that essentially became very overpriced firewood.

    So this year we reined it in a bit, and invested in a beautiful 7ft artificial number, which will see us through many years to come. I'm definitely a real-tree girl at heart (the smell, right?), but I am really delighted with this alternative. You honestly wouldn't be able to tell, and it's the best one we came across (and I looked at MANY!)

    For those of you that are interested, the brand of this is NOMA. If you are local, we bought ours in Woodlawn Garden Centre, but they are also sold in Selfridges and Debenhams too.
    For a brilliant budget option, we also considered the Tesco Luxury Regency Fir tree. It was a very real contender, and such a brilliant price too. My lovely (and VERY stylish) friend Becky has this one, if you want to see it in action!

    I had really considered a garland from The White Company for our fireplace - and by 'considered' I do mean that my finger hovered over the checkout button on more than one occasion. But when I unpacked our decorations, and looked back at photos from last year, I still really loved the simplicity of using baubles instead. The colour scheme out here is definitely on the cool side - white, silver and the softest gold, mixed with some glass for sparkle. This wreath normally resides on our front door year round, but I brought it in for here when I put up our festive one. I love the twiggy look against the shimmer of the wallpaper and the little mercurised glass tea light holders from Next. The wreath was from EBay last year, but I'm sure you could pick up similar this year too.

    The star on the tree, and little glitter letters are all from M&S. I think these letters are actually meant for gift wrapping, but I loved the idea of having the kids initials on the tree too. I see from IG that many of you had the same idea!

    Our most special decoration (placed way up high, out of reach!), is this glass Tinkerbell bauble that we bought in EuroDisney a few years ago. It is so pretty and twinkly, and although I'm not a huge fan of themed decorations, this one definitely made the cut. We also have two gorgeous ceramic baubles on our big tree which we bought in New York ten years ago now. They always remind me of that amazing, magical Christmas trip!

    It's all very low key in the playroom (toys take up most of the space!), but we do have a little pre-lit tin tree (I think this was from B&Q, but we have had it for years), and I filled a birdcage from Dunelm Mill with bright baubles from Ikea for the other window ledge.

    Our fairy lights in here are up all year round, but look even more festive at this time of year. These we bought in France but I know that We Are Maven in Belfast also sell them, and you can get similar ones from Cable&Cotton too.

    This little knitted Christmas tree was from Next a couple of years ago, and I bought it the year we were in house transit with this room in mind. I love it!

    And that is Little Wood bedecked!
    We are really enjoying our festive home - it feels so cosy and much more settled this year. Mind you, that hasn't stopped me thinking ahead to a few updates for the New Year.
    Watch this space!

    E x

    Wednesday, 10 December 2014

    Deck the Halls...

    And the front room... Toy room... Kitchen... Downstairs loo (I jest, though there may be a festive candle holder and a Christmassy smelling room spray knocking about in there).

    I get asked all the time about where I get my interiors bits and pieces from, so in the spirit of a true lifestyle blogger (I feel that I fail miserably at this most of the time you know!) I thought I'd share some little festive ideas and best buys with you today.
    As someone a bit obsessed with interiors, I spend a lot of my downtime looking at homewear catalogues and magazines. You can imagine how many I collected when we were designing Little Wood from scratch! I especially love the Christmas editions though, and really long for a home decked top to toe in The White Company or Cox and Cox.
    But Christmas is an expensive enough time and splurging on very costly decorations seems much too extravagant, so here's how we have achieved our own version of these chic, festive interiors at a much lower price point!

    A Festive Country Kitchen...

    I love anything rustic or natural looking, and pieces like these seem to fit really well with our Industrial, country style kitchen/sunroom open-plan area. Without even realising, I gathered up some older bits and pieces along with the newer bits I had bought, and realised that we had a bit of a twiggy theme going on this year.

    You can see how we made our Advent branch in steps one and two here.

    These little twiggy Christmas trees are from Homebase, and I have used two of them on our dining table, along with simple white ceramic and tin candle holders from Homebase and IKEA. I love the contrast of the patterns and textures.

    I transformed our Thankful Tree into a December version with the tiniest of Christmas decorations scattered across the twigs. The little elves and mushrooms are from IKEA (they have some gorgeous, really low-cost little bits!) and the others are vintage decorations that we have gathered over the years (try EBay and charity shops for similar!)

    I bought the heart wreath from Next last year. They do have very similar versions this year too! And the berry garland was from a local garden centre a good few years ago now. I have seen them recently in Dobbies too though.

    To jazz up our dresser I hung a little dove garland from Birchcraft. And I made this centrepiece using a wooden crate I got from EBay, some faux pine branches from M&S, little glass acorns from Matalan, and white Church candles from Ikea.  It is casual and not too perfect, and I love the rustic look of it against the worktop and cream background.

    Our real Christmas tree is from Greenmount Christmas Tree Farm, and we always choose a sheared Norway Spruce. It is not known for being the longest lasting of all the trees, and it definitely drops its pines, but nothing beats the perfect Christmas tree shape for me. Ours have lasted so well in previous years - always remember to water them every few days, and mix some sugar in with your water too! They also love lemonade, if you have any going spare (a tip I learnt on This Morning years ago, and it really works!)

    I adore candles all year round, but even more so at the darkest time of the year. My top tip is always buy your candles in IKEA - they are so cheap and have the longest burn time of all the budget ones I have tried. 100 tea lights are a mere £1.65 -amazing!
    If you follow me over on Instagram, you'll have seen this coffee table arrangement in many different guises over the past few seasons. For Christmas though, I've kept it simple with a lantern from Dobbies, some jam-jar tea light holders (Bonne Maman jars are too pretty to throw out. Use them for flowers in the Spring/Summer and candles in the Winter!), and more acorns and gold and silver baubles.
    I also must mention this gorgeous IKEA lantern which sits at our French doors. I love the fret-work on it, and we picked up this LED candle for inside it too. So impressive when lit, and no risk of wax leaking over our hardwood floor!

    I adore soft furnishings, and particularly all things knitted in the Winter time. I have been loving this knitted fleece blanket from Next for the past few months now, and really urge you to get one if you are a blanket fan! We keep ours beside our favourite armchair and knitted footstool, in a little grey basket.

    My kitchen scent of choice for the Winter is always spice, and I'm currently using Greenleaf radiator sachets in Hope and burning Yankee Candle's Cinnamon Stick. Between this and the smell of pine from the tree, it's the perfect cosy kitchen smell!

    I'll be back tomorrow with the rest of our downstairs decorations - the hallway and playroom. I'm hoping next year our grown-ups lounge will be finished too, and I have an excuse to decorate another room! (*Mr M rolls eyes) :)

    E x