Sunday, 25 January 2015

The Home Series: A Favourite British Brand {And a gorgeous Giveaway!}

If there's one thing I can get really excited over (apart from a new series of Call the Midwife. Or a Terry's Chocolate Orange) it's soft furnishings.
Mr M and I constantly have the chat about how much is TOO much on the cushion and blanket front, and the conclusion is generally drawn (always by me, strangely!) that if you can still find room to sit on the sofa, then there's space for another pillow.
He has just accepted now that he'll live a long and prosperous life perched on the edge of the settee.
You just don't come between a lady and her comfort.

I was absolutely delighted to be contacted last week by the lovely people at Susie Watson Designs, to take a look at their soft furnishings line. I may have squealed a little. :)
I'm a long time lover of the brand, and have been collecting their pottery and swooning over their beautiful furniture and fabrics for many years now. The delicate patterns and elegant, soft colours are synonymous with such high-end craftsmanship, and I adore the quirky prints and beautiful trims on their pieces.

January for me, has always been a month of nesting, and surrounding ourselves with cosy interiors to see us through long, dark evenings until we emerge again into Spring. And even Mr M couldn't hide his joy at the prospect of cuddling up with our gorgeous, luxe new pieces.

Pale Olive Silk Cushion
Aubergine Velvet Cushion
Damson/Olive Harlequin Shetland Wool Throw

All of the Susie Watson range is made entirely by hand and, as such, each has a unique, artisan feel and a real quality finish. These are crafted pieces, made on a small scale by partners in Southern India. This is a heritage that Susie proudly encourages and one which she visits regularly, to oversee collaboration. See the film on how the textiles are made here.

The quality is stunning; the cushions are tactile and weighty, and the blanket is so soft, and big enough to wrap up in on those chilly evenings.
The little details, from the contrasting trim on the cushions to the hand-stitched labels on all the pieces, really make them that extra bit more decadent (I'm such a one for a quirky label!), and we have all been racing to get the special seat at the end of the dinner table this week!

You can check out all Susie Watson's other homeware designs here. They really are very beautiful!

I'm also delighted to be hosting my first giveaway, in collaboration with them.
You can win two gorgeous cushions - one Silk and one Velvet - in a colour of your choice. Just enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below.
The winner will be chosen at random on Sunday 1st February and Susie Watson will contact them directly to organise delivery.
Giveaway open to UK and Ireland readers only.

Good Luck!

E x

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**I was gifted these beautiful items for the purposes of review, but all opinions are absolutely my own. I'm a long time fan!**

Friday, 23 January 2015

Woodland Capers, Frosty adventures and New blogs ... #LittleLoves

So, how has your week been then?

A bird flew down our chimney this morning. Into the actual, real life house.
While I was home alone.
Now I know I'm a country girl and all that (and believe me, I've had my fair share of bats, and mice, and cows in the back garden) but logistically one woman versus a flappy, scared, winged creature is not great odds.
Bless it, it high-tailed it into the sunroom window and knocked itself out. I did what, I think, any of us would have done in the same situation and popped it in the only receptacle I could find in a hurry (a pink, spotty gift bag) and set it outside the back door.
All's well that ends well anyway (although my hall floor did need a good scrub) and it seems to have flown off.
Either that or Fluffy the cat has enjoyed a beautifully wrapped breakfast.
Poor birdie.

Anyway, enough of the woodland dramas and on to Little Loves!
This week, the little things that we have:


If you are a long time follower of LATLW you'll know that I was once a Secondary school teacher. It was (and still is!) a job that was challenging and rewarding in equal measure. One of my lovely past-pupils has just recently become a mum (which makes me feel so old you wouldn't believe!), and started her own little blog to record some memories as she learns on the job.
I've been loving reading A New Mum Without A Manual this week, and particularly Sarah's accounts of her pregnancy. She is honest, witty and really refreshing, and absolutely worth a look.


Flappy bird (see above)


Broadchurch (blah, blah!) I love it though! Ooh, I think this court case is all going to kick off, isn't it?

We also watched 22 Jump Street. So not normally my thing, but something about Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum together really makes me laugh!


A snowman! :)


Curly hair and woolly hats...

Stripes with skater skirts...

Little necklaces (when I finally untangled them. They are now individually bagged so as to avoid future necklace carnage!)

And Lastly...

Between snow and a few beautiful frosty days, I've really been reminded this week of how beautiful it is where we live, and how totally fortunate we are to have found ourselves at Little Wood. As I'm writing this there are little bunnies playing over in the trees, and the hedgerows are golden with sunlight. There really is nowhere I'd rather be, and I'm so thankful for my home and food on the table and my little family. Everything else pales into insignificance as long as there's that, doesn't it?

I hope you have a lovely weekend, whatever fun things you have planned.
See you next week!

E x


Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Juicing {A Sceptical Girl's Guide}

I've had loads of enquiries lately about my juicing endeavours, and more specifically what I'm putting in them, and which recipes are good for targeting certain concerns.
I'm certainly no expert, and am very new to this whole caper, so do take the information in this post with a bit of a pinch of salt (not literally you understand, that would be gross.)

There are various doctors and dieticians who, I'm sure, could point you in the right direction if you have something specific that you are lacking in. I'll just keep this to what has been working for me, and the ones that I think taste the nicest too! (there's little point remortgaging your house to fund the bill for green sludge that you despise. Buy the shoes instead! :) )

I'll do a lengthier post on my health progress at the end of January, with a little diary of how I incorporated it, but for now here are my favourite recipes and what they might be good for!

Detox Blend (Nutribullet book)
'Flush toxins from your body with this delicious, fruity concoction'

We take this one every morning, post breakfast. Mr M makes them up the night before to save on time, and brings his in the car with him, on his way to work. They keep well in the fridge but will need a good stir before drinking!

1-2 handfuls of rinsed spinach
1 cored pear
1 banana
1 cored apple
1 cup of pineapple
Water (we put 2 cubes of ice in too, if we are drinking straight away!)
Boost: We add Goji berries and Flax seed to this. Goji's are good for boosting immune response and slowing the ageing process, and flax seeds aid with digestion, as well as providing healthy levels of Omega-3.

Morning Green Glory (Reboot with Joe)
Good for hydration, toxin cleansing and healthy, clear skin.

Although this is billed as a morning one, I've found it better in the afternoon, when the more savoury taste won't sicken me just as much! That said, it is really refreshing, so perhaps on a warm Summer morning...?

2 cups kale
handful of spinach
1 cucumber
3 stalks celery
1 cored apple
1 lemon (skin&seeds removed)
Boost: Chia or Sesame seeds. Chia for extra iron, calcium and zinc and Sesame for lowering cholesterol, preventing high blood pressure and providing anti-inflammatory properties.

NB. These quantities are, I believe, based on big, conventional juicers. If you are using a Nutribullet or other smaller blender, scale down appropriately. (I found that 1/2 cucumber and 2 celery stalks was plenty!)

Vita Berry Blast (Nutribullet book)
'Ward off cancer, heart disease and viruses with this sweet and tasty blast of flavonoids.'

This one is really gorgeous, but do be wary of taking it more than once a day. The berries are definitely more acidic than other fruit and I found it gave me heartburn and upset my tummy a little. Increasing the green content and decreasing the berries has helped though!

1-2 handfuls rinsed spinach
1 cup blueberries
1 banana
1 handful strawberries (or I used raspberries too!)
Boost: Chia seeds
NB. If you're making it right (with enough spinach!) this will be sludge brown in colour. Close your eyes - it tastes 100 times better than it looks!

Superfood Smoothie
Perhaps not the nicest tasting one, but palatable enough and full of everything that is good for you - vitamins and lots of iron!

2 baby Beetroot (in natural juices, not vinegar!)
2 carrots
1 cup strawberries
2 cups Kale
Boost: Sesame seeds

Tropical Green
Good for boosting immunity, soothing digestion and providing anti-inflammatory benefits.
Quite similar to the Morning Green, but adding in some other flavours!

1 green apple, cored
1 cup spinach
1 cup kale
1/2 cucumber
celery stalk (2 if you can fit it!)
cup pineapple
Boost: Goji berries

** A note on Boosts - it's not crucial to include these, but they are tasteless when mixed with the other ingredients and I'm all for the extra nutrients where possible. Go big or go home I say! ;)

You could also add almond milk or probiotic yoghurt to any of the fruit based recipes to make more of a smoothie base but I'm finding the pure juice fine at present and actually really like the clean taste of them as they are.
I hope this maybe answers a few questions and helps with a bit of inspiration. I reckon, as long as you are including 50% Greens in your juice (Spinach, Kale, Spring or Collard), you can pretty much chuck anything else in until you find a combination you like. I've been trying to have 2 per day - a detox one in the morning, and some other combination in the afternoon (normally just pre-teatime).
I'll let you know how I'm getting on with it all next week!

E x

    Tuesday, 20 January 2015

    The Home Series...

    Although LATLW is definitely more of a family blog, over the past year the home and interiors element has definitely crept in a lot more. I guess that's what happens when you have a borderline unhealthy obsession with Ideal Home magazine, and rate Kevin McCloud and George Clarke as your top two television presenters. (There, I said it, let's move on.) :)
    I am unashamedly excited by all things housey, and seek inspiration everywhere - from websites and magazines, to catalogues and television shows. We watched Paddington in the cinema a week or so ago and I came home thinking of massive blossom tree murals on the girls walls.

    Honestly, I'm not safe to be let out.

    Anyway, I thought I'd start this little series on real home style, as a way of recording our home through the seasons, as well as maybe providing you with a little inspiration of your own.

    I get asked a lot by friends (and my sister. Mostly by my sister!) where I get bits and pieces from, so I'm happy to be of assistance in pairing you up with some gorgeous things, and in promoting some independent craftspeople and makers of beautiful things too.

    I realise that, in the grand scheme of things, what your house looks like is very often of no consequence. And if you are surrounded by toddlers, babies or a mix of the two (as I was myself not so long ago!) your mind will be on the opposite end of the spectrum from glass candlesticks and lace tablecloths.
    Feel free to just hop right over these posts for now. Give it a few years and they'll be waiting for you then. As with all things in life, there is a season.
    And the season of tiny children calls for plastic EVERYTHING.
    And drinking 7pm gin and scowling furiously at these sorts of whitterings.
    Seasons lovely readers, seasons.

    This week I thought I'd look at brightening up.
    January and February are the dullest, dreariest months. I often chat about how we could really do with a twinkly light AFTER Christmas is over, never mind during the festivities.
    So what do I do when the decorations come down?


    There's no better time to spend a little money on cheering up your home than now, in my humble opinion. I'm such a firm believer in surrounding yourself with things that make you happy and, for me, it is everything natural. A little bunch of tulips mixed with roses will cost you next to nothing, and your dining table or sideboard or TV cabinet will love you for it.

    I also love everything green. I got these little hyacinth planters from M&S for £5, and I love how they look against the candle holders on our table, as well as the more formal ones in our hall.

    Equally, this little glass succulent was only £4 and makes a sweet addition to our mini sidetables.

    And for a coffee table centrepiece, place a small fiscus tree with candles on a tray. These types of greenery last for forever (this one is almost two years old) and require very little maintenance. I'm no gardener - definitely not - but have managed to keep both this and our big kitchen one alive for as long as we've lived here.
    Orchids are another good bet too. As long as they have plenty of light they can flower for up to a year, and can survive with very little watering.
    I love a self-sufficient plant.

    So there you go! Flowers and plants - go get some. And bung them on a table with some candles.
    It really is that simple.

    E x

    Follow my Flowers Pinterest board here.

    Tulips, roses, anemones - M&S
    Mini Succulent - M&S
    Hyacinth baskets - M&S
    Rose trough - M&S
    Small fiscus - IKEA
    Candles (on grey tray) - The White Company, Next, M&S
    Candlesticks (on mantelpiece) - Next

      Sunday, 18 January 2015

      Snow Day...

      The snow came! Silently and swiftly in the early hours of Friday morning.
      And whilst it caused a bit of disruption, and a lot of cold fingers and toes (and THREE outfit changes for Annie on Saturday. Honestly - it was one of those days where we took our eyes off her for a second and she'd found the nearest mucky pile to fall in!) it also brought a lot of excitement for all the residents of Little Wood.
      Even the bunnies looked like they were having the time of their little rabbit lives. :)

      Some pictures below if you'd like to see...

      Such an ordinary thing, to play out in the cold, but when you're 9,7 and 5, and have weekend Frozen alter-egos (Apparently I'm the queen that DOESN'T die. Glad to hear that!) well...

      It might just be the most extraordinary way of all to spend a Saturday afternoon.

      E x

      Linking up today with lovely Katie for The Ordinary Moments.

      Friday, 16 January 2015

      Woolly jumpers, Exciting plans and Fierce weather! #LittleLoves

      HelLO Friday!
      Oh my goodness, what a blustery week!
      We seem to have missed the snow (only a tiny sprinkling with us!), but got ALL of the wind instead.
      My hair has never looked so good. ;)

      This week the little things that we have:


      I received this gorgeous book on French Style from my Aunt and Uncle for Christmas, and I've been really enjoying looking through it this week. It is full of photographs of beautiful homes, tips on getting the look yourself, as well as recipes and guides on different areas in this stunning country. Little Wood definitely has French influences in its decor already, but I've picked up quite a few ideas to enhance what we've already got. A gorgeous read - think Pinterest in a book!

      'La, tout n'est qu'ordre et beaute, Lufe, calmer et volupte'
      ('There, all is order and beauty, Luxury, peace and pleasure.' Charles Baudelaire)

      Wouldn't we all love to say this of our homes?


      Wind and Rain! There's been little order OR peace on the outside of our house this week.
      It rained so hard on Wednesday night that we couldn't hear each other speak over it, and ran to quickly charge our phones in case of a power-cut. It is my most hated type of weather, and living in quite an exposed place I'm always conscious of the damage that fierce storms can do. I'm praying for a calmer weekend!


      Still loving Broadchurch. I have my theories on this new case, and am interested to see if they are right. I'm such a Miss Marple! :)

      We also took the kids to see Paddington last weekend. We all absolutely loved it! It was so much better than I had expected and a really heartwarming wee story.


      A start on updating my house tour photos - I did a room by room tour of Little Wood way back when I started my blog last year, but my photography skills have improved dramatically since then and I really wanted to update the pictures. I have been photographing the Playroom and Hall this week, and am hoping to work on the Master bedroom next week. It will be appearing on the lovely Life With Munchers Bloggers Home Tours in February, so keep an eye out for that!


      This was the week of the jumper. It has been too miserable for me to feel any more inspired!
      I adore this sale buy from Boden...

      And this total bargain from H&M...

      (**Awful Selfie Alert!!** But you get the jist!)

      And Lastly...

      Mr M and I made some plans this week for a little trip to London in March. We are so looking forward to some time on our own, as well as meeting up with friends. And I'm excited to be catching up with some lovely bloggy ladies too.
      That's if we don't blow away first!

      Have a lovely weekend, whatever you are up to!

      E x


      Wednesday, 14 January 2015

      Sales and Christmas Bits...

      I'm totally late to the party for this one, but I know how much I love noseying at what other people have snaffled in the sales, so I thought I'd share my goodies with you, as well as some lovely pressies I got for Christmas.
      I should start by saying that I am not one of those that is outside Next at 6am on Boxing Day morning. I enjoy my bed far too much. And there's this amazing thing called the Internet now... ;)
      Oh, I'm hilarious.
      It's all the LOLz until the credit card bill comes in.

      Anyhow, here we go. I've broken it down into handily headed sections, so you can skip right over the snore bore bits if you're just all about the clothes...

      Technical thingymajigs...

      Samsung NX3000 camera - We used some Christmas money to buy this as we'd been eyeing it up for ages. I'm so pleased we did. I've been loving practising new techniques with it, and it links wirelessly to my phone, so I can click and share on the go. An absolute must when you're an a Instagram obsessive such as I!

      Portable charger - I feel that this might just change my life. The kids are already wide-eyed at the possibility of extra Kindle time when their batteries run out in the car (if only it split three ways!) Totally invaluable for on-the-go phone life. And it's pink! :)

      Selfie Stick - Now, I hasten to add that we haven't actually used this yet. Mr M bought it for me as a bit of a joke after I scoffed at the notion of them. But actually I'm starting to see the benefits. It's nigh on impossible to get five people in a photo with one, normally sized arm holding the camera. Stick will win over dislocating a shoulder any day!

      Housey bits

      My mum and dad got me this gorgeous candle/urn-y type thing from M&S for Christmas. Mr M thinks it should contain some dead relative's ashes or something, but I really love it nonetheless (I'm such a sucker for mercurised glass!) They are still available in store, but sadly not reduced yet!

      I did pick up this beautiful hand painted jug in the M&S sale though. A jug is really the last thing I needed, but half price will always win me over when I'm weak to all things ceramic anyway! (in store only)

      Another gift, and one which I adore is our little wooden, wellied duck. Handcarved in Devon, she has been brightening up our kitchen dresser all through the festive period and beyond. Her name is Rachel. Is that not the most perfect duck name ever? ;) (have a look at DCUK for other sweet duckies!)

      Oh, and I stumbled across these candles from Matalan on my homeware research quest. Couldn't they totally pass as White Company ones? For a fraction of the price too!


      I struck it lucky in Zara this year.
      Their sale starts at midnight on Christmas Day, but if you get on earlyish on Boxing Day morning, you normally can take your pick of the best bits.
      I'd been really wanting a quilted, collarless leather jacket, and picked this one to try, totally on a whim. I really didn't expect it to be good quality (it's pleather, rather than leather!), but I've been super impressed by it and am really loving wearing it.  (This is now just £19.99!!)

      I also got this gorgeous swing-style dress which, again was a bit of a pleasant surprise. Normally Zara dresses are way too short on me but this is just the perfect length.  I think it will be great in the Spring too, with bare legs and ankle boots! (Sold out, but this one is really similar!)

      I went to ASOS to pick up this skirt, which was ridiculously well reduced. It is such a pretty colour, and I love the mesh panel at the bottom. I'll wear it in the warmer weather with ballet pumps and a Breton top.  (sold out online, but very similar here.)

      And it wouldn't be sales season without a look at Boden too. A lovely friend has this jumper in the mint green colour and I absolutely loved it on her. I went for grey instead. It is gorgeous quality, as you come to expect with Boden, and I'm looking forward to brightening up these dull January days with a little bit of sparkle!

      And that was my little haul!
      Did you get anything lovely for Christmas, or in the sales? I'd love to know!

      E x