• Easy Nordic-inspired Christmas table styling

  • Almond Milk Rice Pudding with Dairy-Free Chocolate Ganache

  • On looking after yourself

  • Great Little Trading Company || Wooden Play Shop and Theatre


Easy Nordic-inspired Christmas table styling


Nordic-inspired Christmas Table Styling

This is a post that I’ve been SO excited to write up, but had to wait until a socially acceptable time to publish, because well, we don’t want to peak too early Christmas-wise do we?! I feel that the end of November is okay, and if you’re anything like me, then you’ll like to be prepared when it comes to dressing your house for the festive season. We need time to shop for stuff like this, right?!

I’m also doubly excited, as the Festive table styling that I’ve done for this post, is the same as what I’ll be showcasing on Channel 4’s ‘Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas’ in a few weeks time, so please do tune in (I’ll be letting everyone know on social media what date my segment will be shown, as soon as I know myself)! I’m competing against a couple of other lovely ladies during the show, but you’ll have to watch the show to see who romps home to table styling victory 😉 

So, first things first- What is my theme all about? 

Well, what I’m going for this year is what I call a ‘Nordic, Family-inspired theme’. My Sister-in-law, Johanna, is Swedish and is due to spend Christmas with us for the first time, along with my brother and baby niece, and I wanted to do something that would make her feel more at home! I also wanted the table to reflect the rest of our family, and some family history, so I used my Adam’s late Nan’s crockery, as the colours went well with the overall look, and it’s a set that we actually use on a day-to-day basis. My Mum also dug out some tiny Nordic-themed wooden decorations that we’ve had in our family for nearly 30 years, to hang on the white tree in the jug at the end of the table. I love these decorations as they remind me of my childhood, and even though a few are a bit broken now, to me they make Christmas! 
As far as any crafts on the table are concerned, I wanted simple, yet effective. As a busy Mum with two small children, it can be hard to find the time or desire to get into anything too complicated, especially over the busy festive season, so everything I’ve done here can either be made WITH little ones, or won’t take too long on an evening/Saturday afternoon to do yourself (complete with a mince pie and glass of something, natch). 
Biscuit name place settings:
I used this favourite iced, spiced biscuit recipe and made these with the kids, making sure I punched a hole in each one before baking so the name tag can be tied through. Once baked, the biscuits can be decorated by yourself, or your little ones, and then a name written on the luggage tag. A yummy alternative to a traditional place setting, and very popular with people who perhaps aren’t keen on traditional Christmas pud for afters. 
Moss on the table, and moss in cups with candles:
Continuing the nod towards Adam’s Nan’s old crockery, I used some teacups from the set, stuffed them with Playdoh so the candle could stand up well (simple, yet very effective! Don’t anyone ever tell me I’m not resourceful ;-)), and then carefully stuck some artificial moss around the candle base. The moss is very cheap from an Ebay store, and is great for that natural, nordic look (they like the natural vibe in those parts!). If you’re worried about safety, then you could use an LED candle instead, or you can also buy fire-resistant spray online or from DIY stores to spray on your moss and Playdoh.
Cloves in Apples:
A really easy and cheap way of continuing that ‘natural’ look, is to stick a loads of cloves in apples, and scatter randomly along the table- the smell is just incredible and they look so lovely.
Home made crackers:
Using toilet roll inners, I put a sweet, a Swedish proverb, and a cracker snap in each one (you can buy the latter from ebay stores for something like £1.99 for 6). I then wrapped some stripey tissue paper around the toilet roll inner, leaving enough length so that some tissue gathers the ends the cracker snap (i.e. so went it’s pulled it goes ‘bang’!). The tissue paper is then sellotaped up, and festive ribbon tied around each end of the cracker. I actually really enjoyed making these, and what’s great about this sort of ‘relaxed’ theme, and especially if you’ve got your children helping, is that nothing has to look perfect- homemade is all part of the ‘look’!
Candle Centrepiece:
In Sweden, it’s a tradition to light a candle for every week of advent, and this centrepiece is a nod to that. The red trough is from Ikea, as are the big candles. I’ve surrounded the trough with some more of that artificial moss to continue the natural theme. 
Deconstructed twigs with wooden decorations:
Now, I feel that this is very much an optional extra for this table look, but it works on ours because a.) there is no one sitting on the end of the table and we have space to fill, and b.) the little wooden decorations are of great sentimental value to us, so I just had to find a way of including them! The white tree twigs are actually a purchase from Dunelm, and they had little fairy lights on them, which lovely as they look, for the purpose of this theme I felt they didn’t quite ‘fit’ so took them off. I then arranged the twigs in this large jug (harder than it looks to get them ‘just right’!), and decorated them with the little wooden Nordic people. I think the children will love these, and it really suits a table theme where a young family is at the heart of it. If you want to go the extra mile, you could always paint a real tree branch white and leave to dry for the same effect. 
Shop the look:
Some things I had already, such as the crockery and little wooden decorations on the twigs, but pretty much everything else I purchased really cheaply from a variety of places, but I have to say that for this look, Ikea is your friend!
Red trough- Ikea
Candles – Ikea
Grey, Scandi-style tablecloth – Ikea
Green-handled cutlery – Ikea
Wine goblets – Dunelm
Large Cream jug – Ikea
Deconstructed white twigs – Dunelm
Red and white stripey tissue paper – Ebay store
Cracker snaps – Ebay store
Artificial moss – Ebay store
So….what do you think of this look? Are you planning on a Christmas table theme yourself this year? I’d love to know, I always get excited reading about how everyone ‘does’ Christmas!
Linking up with Let’s Talk Mommy and ‘Share With Me’!

Our Springfree Trampoline Adventure so far, and a fantastic offer in time for Christmas!


Xmas springfree

Earlier this year, our family was over the moon to have been chosen as ambassadors for ‘Springfree’ Trampolines. I really couldn’t believe our luck, as we had been looking to buy the children a trampoline for a while, and I had been seriously impressed with what I saw from Springfree, back in May at Grand Designs Live. 

Over the summer, our trampoline got a SERIOUS amount of bouncing, much more than even a Springfree-convert like myself anticipated- it was used morning (sorry again, dear long-suffering neighbour, Linda), noon and night. I remember sitting there one hazy evening (ok, possibly the large glass of Pinot Blush had something to do with this), watching Freddie and Sasha jumping around in fits of giggles, and thinking just how lovely it was, and how lucky we were to have such an ace addition to the household. 

What I was interested to discover though, was how much would we actually use our Springfree Trampoline once those halcyon summer days were over, the kids were back to school and preschool, and the those long, dark nights crept up on us. I was also keen to see how the trampoline would wear in bad weather, especially since our garden has turned into a minor mud bath due to a wet-ish summer, and now predictably gloomy weather. 

springfree xmas 3

Well, actually, I have been rather surprised at just how much we HAVE used it so far this Autumn/Winter! 3 days a week, Freddie finishes school and then has an hour to kill before we pick his sister up from preschool, so will often come home and have a bounce, then a drink and snack. No matter how busy the day at school, this small boy STILL always seems to have bags of energy! Sasha has still continued to use it a few times a day on the days she’s not at preschool, singing to herself whilst jumping, and practicing her seat drops.

The thing that I think surprised us all in our family, is just how much I am using it. On the days the kids are at school/preschool, I drop them off, come home for a cuppa and do some work, before having my 20 minute bounce on the Springfree. It seriously clears my head, and with the risk of upping my pretentious wank-o-meter, it helps me gather my thoughts and think creatively. Blows the cobwebs away if you like. I’m sure my neighbours still think I’m a bit weird, but it really is the best exercise and it’s become part of my routine now. It also means I no longer run much in public thank god. Of course, on a weekend both Adam and I have fun with the kids on it, and we’ve really enjoyed our new family ritual of trampoline basketball, thanks to the new addition of our attachable basketball net and Springfree ball!

springfree xmas

So has our trampoline withstood the typical wear and tear that comes with small children, and often rather exuberant adults (*cough* gin-fuelled-BBQ-Party-bouncing *cough*)?

It sure has! The step we were provided with has worn well, and the netting is still in perfect condition. We were told that we might need to sponge down the trampoline net with warm water every now and again by the guys who installed it for us, as the position of it is by some fit trees that could rub ‘green stuff’ (technical term there) onto the net, but so far this hasn’t been the case. Once or twice a week I clear leaves off by hand or use the hand-held hoover for smaller bits (Mini Dyson, I love you too), but otherwise the maintenance of such a decent-sized piece of equipment has been thankfully low-key. I was worried about the basketball net in those horrible gales last week, and kicked myself for not taking it down, but even that stayed up securely attached, when other garden furniture was being blown around. 

041 040

What I can say is that the novelty definitely hasn’t worn off for anyone, which I’m relieved about, as otherwise it’s a ruddy big bit of equipment to be looking at us through the kitchen doors 24/7. Which to be honest isn’t dis-pleasurable. Now we have a loft room I can spy on we overlook several neighbouring gardens, and we are by far winning my imagined battle of the trampolines. Ours really is the business, something confirmed by impressed friends who have been over to visit these past few months. And I know this is horribly sexist, but when you get a man seriously interested in a piece of play equipment, you know you’re onto a winner. 

It sounds cheesy (okay, it IS cheesy), but I really couldn’t imagine life without our Springfree Trampoline now. It also does an excellent job of hiding our ramshackle garage at the bottom of the garden. 

What better Christmas present could you give your family?! Especially if your house if full-to-bursting with toys already.

Just tell your children that Father Christmas uses an extra-big sleigh, with multiple, ridiculously strong reindeer to get it to your house 😉


The good news is that in order to make your Christmas-bouncing-dreams come true, and to have the opportunity to burn off all those mince pies and glasses of Baileys, Rainbow Play is offering an AMAZING Black Friday deal this Friday 27th November 2015, on all of their Springfree trampolines: 


Some lovely chaps/chappettes will come to your house free of charge to install your new trampoline on a date that suits you, and you can also choose either a Flexrstep, or FlexrHoop to go with the new member of your family. 

So what are you waiting for?!

Call Rainbow Play on 08444 938080, and speak to someone who can help make your Christmas a Springfree one!


Installation and delivery offer valid for mainland UK only, excluding Scotland highlands and Islands. Additional charges will apply for these areas and may not be available in all areas. Accessories part of this promotion include a free FlexrHoop™ and FlexrStep™ with the purchase of any regularly priced Springfree Trampoline. No substitutions or exchanges. Promotion available November 16 to 30, 2015 and may not be combined with any other offer or promotion. While quantities last. Springfree Trampoline reserves the right to limit, discontinue or replace this promotion without notice.


*PS If you’re impressed with the outstanding quality of these festively Paint-shopped photographs, and wondering why I’ve chosen now to display my artistic talent, it’s because I accidentally dropped my big camera, complete with photos, hours before writing this up. At this time I’m unsure as to whether or not the camera can be saved! :-( 

Almond Milk Rice Pudding with Dairy-Free Chocolate Ganache


One of the things I love most about Autumn/winter, is being inside a cosy, warm home, with delicious comfort food to eat in front of a film. Yesterday I mentioned that I spent the whole of Saturday in the house, just chilling, as I got over a nasty case of the lurgy. So…twas the perfect time to make a pudding that is hands-down one of the children’s favourites, and ideal for those who can’t/don’t want to eat dairy.

Freddie and Sasha are borderline dairy-intolerant, which means that whilst they can have dairy, it can bring Freddie especially out in ezcema. His skin is always so much better when we rein it in a little on the cow-juice front.

This delicious almond milk rice pudding, with a blob of dairy-free chocolate ganache is TO DIE FOR, and so simple to make.

Almond Milk Rice Pudding with Dairy-Free Chocolate Ganache
A Deliciously warming dairy-free pudding for the whole family.
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For the Rice Pudding
  1. 150g Rice Pudding Rice
  2. 1.25 litres of Almond Milk
  3. 100g honey (instead of sugar)
  4. Dash Vanilla Essence
  5. Nutmeg to taste
For the Ganache
  1. 200g Dairy-free Chocolate/chocolate buttons
  2. 100g Dairy-free spread
  3. 150g Icing Sugar
  4. 4 tbsp Soya milk
For the Rice Pudding
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 140c.
  2. Bring the milk to simmer in a saucepan.
  3. Stir in the rice and honey.
  4. Grease an ovenproof dish with dairy-free spread, and add the milk and rice mixture.
  5. Sprinkle with grated nutmeg.
  6. Bake in the oven for an hour, and stir halfway through.
For the Ganache
  1. Melt the chocolate and dairy-free spread in a pan over a low heat.
  2. Once melted, remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the icing sugar and soya milk until you have a thick, glossy mixture.
  3. Allow to cool before adding a lovely, gooey blob to your rice pudding!
The Spirited Puddle Jumper http://www.spiritedpuddlejumper.com/

On looking after yourself


As I sit here and type this I am on approximately Day 13 of LURGY. The Cold that just won’t shift, and without sounding like TOO much of a hypochondriac, the cold that has brought with it a loads of other symptoms (bad tum, fuzzy memory and feeling absolutely shagged). After a weekend of cancelled plans and after realising that I really needed a Saturday of doing absolutely nothing, bar pottering around the house with the children and feeling sorry for myself, I found myself thinking:

“WHY is it so hard for me just to SLOW DOWN?”.

“Why is it that just stopping doing things, has me panicking slightly?”

I guess I’ve always been a doer, although not so much when I was younger, but since having kids I’ve irritatingly been more driven then ever, wanting to get ‘stuff done’. Which is actually rather tricky when you actually have even less time to get said ‘stuff’ done than ever before, cramming in work, chores, time with children/husband/family/friends, hobbies, exercise and SLEEP into a fairly limited time-frame (there’s only 24 hours in a day folks, I don’t care what Beyonce does).

This post isn’t supposed to be a (totally) ‘woe is me’ one, more just pondering the need to feel like we’re achieving things on a daily basis, and then being unable to relax properly when our bodies scream “enough, woman!” and require us to rest.  

So rest I did on Saturday, and do you know what?

It was great, ‘doable’ and definitely what my poor knackered body needed. I suspect the reason it’s taken so long to get over this virus is the fact I haven’t done the latter, and have been paying for it as a result. 

I snuggled in bed with the children, watched Disney films, got down on the floor in my pyjamas and played with them for far longer than I might do otherwise (I’m ashamed to say :-( ), drank copious amounts of tea/Lempsip, before having a bath, a light dinner and getting into bed to watch X Factor and turning lights off at a reasonable hour.

Whilst I’m still not 100%, I’m on the mend, and feel confident that I definitely wouldn’t be on the way to good health if I’d gone to my friend’s birthday party on Saturday night and been 6 sheets to the wind, however much I may have wanted to go. 

Paying attention to your body and looking after yourself is sometimes the best gift you can give it, and I will continue to do so this week, with lots of nutritious food, green tea, hot baths and earlier nights. I know I will thank myself for it.

What do you do to treat your body when you’re under the weather?

The Gratitude Express: Things that have made me happy this past week


This past week has been a sad, and of course, shocking one. Like the majority of the world, I was utterly horrified at the awful terrorist attacks in Paris and Beruit. There really are no words for such acts of misguided evil, and as a result, anything that I had planned to write, just couldn’t flow properly from my fingertips to laptop. Everything seemed totally banal in comparison, and I guess still is, although I believe that everything has to try and carry on as normal in some way, otherwise these ‘people’ have won. 

I think being a parent makes you feel slightly more vulnerable- I hate to admit it, but I’m now even more worried about heading into central London like I do so often, both with the children (what if something happens to them?) and without them (what if something happens to me and/or Adam?). Like I said above, we can’t let them win, but it does give you sobering food for thought. I have to say that these past few days, all I’ve wanted to do is hunker down and stay close to home, although my lurgy and the bad weather probably have something to do with this too! 

I still refuse to believe the world isn’t still a wonderful place with many wonderful people in it, which is why I’m really trying to find the best in it right now.

With that in mind, here are some things that have made me happy this past week:

  1. Freddie actually jumping into the swimming pool without holding on to anyone, and just start swimming! This is a BIG development in our house this week, as for nearly a year now he’s been fine swimming well on his front and back with floats, but absolutely refusing to take his feet off the floor, or jump in unaided, whilst his peers have all been giving it a go for some time. Last week, after picking him up from school and prior to his lesson, he suddenly announced in the car “I might jump in on my own today”. I didn’t think too much of it, but when we got to the pool, and his teacher told them all to get in, he launched himself off the side on his own, and started swimming as if he’d been doing it for months! His teacher and I thought we were hallucinating! Very, very proud of our little chap, and we have clearly spawned a child who likes to do things when HE wants to do them, and not a moment sooner :-) 
  2. Baking a decent lemon drizzle cake for Sasha’s preschool bake sale in aid of Children in Need. This seems like a minor thing, but my last one had a sunken middle so I was happy this one was fine, and all the slices from it sold! 
  3. Seeing friends for a natter- red wine and decent cheeseboard with two of my oldest girl mates on Saturday night, and coffee and lunch yesterday with the lovely Alison (who has now convinced me that I NEED to buy a new camera!).
  4. Sunday lunch as a family at our local pub. I love cooking, but roasts always seem to taste better when someone else is making them!
  5. Reading with Freddie- I love the progress he’s making and the fact that he’s starting to really ‘get it’. Hopefully he’ll develop a life-long love of it.
  6. A lazy, Sunday afternoon nap with Sasha snuggled up on top of me. That rarely happens now she’s older, but she just curled up on me and went to sleep, and it gave me a good excuse to have a snooze too- would have been rude to move her! 😉 
  7. I’ve had a stinking cold, caught off child number 2, so I’m inherently thankful for Lemsip right now!
  8. And as always, extremely thankful for my little family, especially in light of all that’s gone on in the world these past few days. Making sure I give everyone an extra squeeze or 10 when I’m with them.


What’s made you happy this week?


Win a £50 Amazon Gift Card


I’m currently in the middle of writing a new blog post, centering on acts of kindness in what is tragically far too often, a scary and cruel world. One of the goals I had earlier on this year, blog-wise, was to plough some of the money I earn through this blog back into hosting giveaways and offering readers the chance to win lovely things, or to win a giftcard so they can spend it on lovely things for themselves and their loved ones. I feel really lucky to be able to do this, and it’s my way of saying ‘thank you’ to everyone who has read, supported, commented or other on The Spirited Puddle Jumper. My way of appreciating those who have been kind to me in this little corner of the internet. 

Also, what with Christmas being around the corner (I know, I know, we’re not really allowed to mention the ‘C’ word until 1st December and advent is underway!), I thought that it would help out someone with their Christmas shopping! 

So… I am giving away a £50 Amazon Gift card, to spend as you see fit! 

To enter, all you have to do is enter via Rafflecopter and follow the rules as stated.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Terms and Conditions: Competition closes at 12.00am (midnight) GMT on Monday 30th November 2015. Entries received after this time and date will not be valid. UK residents only. Entrants must be 18 and over. Winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter after the closing date and will be notified within 5 days of competition end. Only entrants received via the Rafflecopter widget will be considered valid. Winner will win a £50 Amazon Giftcard. 

Lighting in your home with LampCommerce

When it comes to accessorising within your home, I’m a big believer that one of the main things that makes a real difference to the feel and ambiance of it, is the lighting. Whether it’s softer lighting for a relaxing feel in your living room on a winter’s evening, or a bright lamp to enable you to work from home on a gloomy day, your choices can have a profound effect on the way you utilise your living space. 

I also LOVE lighting designs that are that bit different, that can be a bit of a talking point when someone pops over for a cuppa or for dinner. Enter, LampCommerce, a lighting company that fits the bill perfectly when it comes to catering for those who like to stand out from the crowd. LampCommerce stocks some of the lighting world’s coolest brands, including ‘Artemide’, making it an accessible site for those wanting to add that certain ‘something’ to their home. 

LampCommerce stock a selection of timeless masterpieces, lamps that have become part of design history, with some being on show in some of the world’s most prestigious museums. Real works of art that you can have a piece of within your home. As well as the classics, the website also provides access to the latest designs: from the most prestigious lighting brands to the most modern trend-setters and cutting-edge technologies. 

I’m currently on the hunt for the perfect light for our new office space, as well as our living room, so I’ve certainly had a vested interest in perusing the LampCommerce site! Here are some of my favourite picks for the home:

Icone Mintitallux Gru Hanging Lamp


This fab hanging lamp isn’t cheap but would make an AMAZING statement piece within the home over a dining table or similar. I love how the design is simple, yet is so slick and clearly screams ‘classy’. 

Icone Mintitallux Emisfero Table Lamp


I’ve always loved this style of light, and would actually love one of these in the office or our living room- I think they give out just the right amount of brightness and ‘glow’, and they look really stylish. Plus the fact that white goes with almost everything, so most places would be able to give house room to this lovely light.

Flos ‘Splugen Brau’ Hanging Lamp


I really like this pendant-style hanging lamp, and I would love 3 of these spaced evenly and hanging down over a kitchen space or again, a dining table. The chrome effect and shape of the lights would help give a room a really modern and ‘spacey’ feel (or is that just me?!). Love it. 

Axo Light ‘Muse’ Hanging Lamp


One for those who love a pop of colour (me, me!), this would be such a fantastic statement light in a room for those who love their pieces to be talking points. I would REALLY want this in our home if we could have a hanging light in our kitchen diner. This one has been bookmarked!

Terzani ‘Bond’ Hanging Lamp


A group of these would look fantastic hanging in a stairway as a real focal point. The glass sphere’s glossy outer shell belies the delicate gold leaf, and the way the light seeps out of it creates a brilliantly warm glow. 

Fontana Arte ‘Bolla’ Hanging Lamp


The ‘Bolla’ hanging lamp is a real work of art, and the exposed bulb in the transparent blown glass looks beautiful. Again, if I was styling this light I would have a few hanging down over a dining table/breakfast bar. These are truly lovely, and deserve to be seen in all their glory!

Which of these lights is your favourite? Do you have a particular style of light you’re drawn to?

You can also follow my ‘Home Accessories’ board on Pintrest for some more lighting inspiration and more ideas for jazzing up your home, and also follow me on Instagram for more home inspiration snaps! 


*Thanks to LampCommerce for collaborating with The Spirited Puddle Jumper. All words and opinions my own.

Styling my Living Room with Oak Furniture


If you read my blog on a regular basis, you’ll know that I’ve recently been in a bit of a rut with regards to how to bring the look of my living room together, and what I need to do in order to make the whole space ‘work’ for me.

As a result, whilst I’m pretty sure we’re going to stick with the colour scheme and most of the accessories we currently have, I’ve actually been thinking about what we need to add to bring it altogether. Pintrest has been my friend, and is great for having a peek at different looks for a living room. 

When it comes to the style of furniture that I like, I’m someone who either likes bright, bold pieces, or crisp, clean white/light ones. At the moment we have a plain beech wood nest of tables in one part of our room. It’s really quite old now (nothing wrong with old, BUT…), and I think a pop of white, or another light colour against our darker grey walls would work much better, as well as a piece that is a bit more ‘up-to-date’. 

When The Oak Furniture Company got in touch and asked me to peruse their website, the perfect white side table immediately jumped out at me. It would look great with our recently purchased BHS dome side lamp, and help to improve the overall look of the room. We also wanted something sturdy and child-friendly that would stand the test of time. The ‘Elodie’ Grey Oak and Pine Lamp Table really fits the bill. Since it’s a classic piece, I’m pretty confident that it would survive a house move, or a complete room re-vamp, and still find a home! 

I think we’re already half way there when it comes to getting the room sorted- I bought some new cushions and a new tall lamp the other week, and we’ve just hung a mirror bought with some of our wedding vouchers above the fireplace. Just a couple of key bits of furniture and some prints to go! 

Here is what I hope the overall looks of the room will be when we’ve finished:

oak Furniture collage

  1. Elodie Grey Oak and Pine Lamp Table, Oak Furniture Company
  2. Farrow and Ball Paint in ‘Manor House Grey’
  3. Round, Scalloped Hanging Mirror – Marks and Spencer
  4. Wooden Tripod Floor Lamp – Next
  5. Dome Lamp, BHS
  6. Orla Kiely Cushion, Next


What do you think of my Living room accessories? How is your living room styled, and what furniture do you have?


Thanks to Oak Furniture for collaborating with The Spirited Puddle Jumper.

Feeling the fear, and doing it anyway


Last month I received an email, one that had part of me squealing like a loon (well, in my head, I was actually out doing the school run at the time and might have looked a bit weird), but also one that terrified me in equal measure, despite it being what would usually be a ‘pinch me’ moment.

I was invited, with less than a week’s notice, to travel down to Devon to film Channel 4’s ‘Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas’, alongside, of course, the property and now craft legend that is The Allsopp. I was to create and style a Christmas-themed dinner table of my choice, and of course talk about it with Kirstie on the telly, as well as filming other segments explaining in detail exactly what I was up to. 

VERY exciting, and something I would have dreamed of doing years before, but nonetheless extremely knicker-browning stuff when the chips are down and you realise that THIS IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING.

And despite already giving the production team a detailed explanation of how I would style everything (a family orientated nordic theme), and despite doing a styling dress rehearsal on my kitchen table with the help of my Mum a few days before whilst the kids were at school/preschool, I still felt TERRIFIED.

But why?

Because of that old foe ‘imposter syndrome’, that irritatingly debilitating condition that seems to affect women more than men, and whereby we think we’re not ‘worthy’ or ‘up to the job’. If you were to meet me, you would think I was very chatty and probably pretty confident, but when it comes to something like this, I was mentally looking over my shoulder, wondering when people were going to discover that I wasn’t up to the job, and waiting for someone ‘better’ to take my place.

After all, I’m not a real interiors stylist.

Sure, our bathroom has been featured in an interiors mag, and I don’t think I’ve too bad an eye for doing up certain rooms (although living room, you are proving to be my nemisis <narrows eyes>), but SURELY I would be caught out? Surely I wouldn’t match up to the other people taking part in the show? Which I know is silly thinking, as the crew had found me through this blog as obviously liked what they saw, and the interiors posts I had previously written. But, but…

I was worried I would make a fool of myself. I was worried about driving the 6 hours or so down to Devon. I was then worried about getting on the train instead, and if all my stuff would fit in 2 suitcases and if my vintage china would arrive in one piece. I was worried I’d say something ridiculous (still time for this, I haven’t seen the final edit yet!). I was worried my ideas would be lame, and that compared to everyone else they wouldn’t be ‘cool enough’, ‘crafty enough’ or look ‘pretty enough’. I felt bad that I would miss the trip to the circus that we had tickets for (my Mum went in my place with Adam and the kids), and felt even worse that I’d be missing Sasha’s first Harvest Festival the next day, the event that she’d so wanted to sing songs to me at (luckily Adam stepped in!).

Part of me was secretly hoping that they would call, or email and say that they didn’t need me anymore, and then I wouldn’t have to fret about all the above. It was giving me seriously sleepless nights!

But you know what?

I did make that train journey down, despite the faff of bringing everything. I was nervous, but managed to talk about what I was doing, and hopefully explained everything okay. The crew, people I was filming with, plus Kirstie were lovely. Everyone seemed to like my ideas and the thoughts behind them. I actually managed to relax, despite the pressure of being on camera, and I actually enjoyed myself! 

On the long train journey home that evening, sipping on a large G&T, I felt exhausted, probably due to the adrenaline of the previous couple of days. But I also felt AMAZING, totally buzzing, and so, so glad I’d had the guts to go through with it. My confidence has soared, and I feel great from trying something new.

It’s made me realise that in order to maintain a spring in my step, it’s important to push myself out of my comfort zone, and feel the fear and do it anyway. So whether that’s pitching an idea to a company, speaking to someone new at an event/at the school gates, or trying a new hobby/class, I’m going to try as much new stuff as possible, whenever possible. I think it’s easy to get into a rut when you have young children, due to tiredness, and lack of time, but I’m going to try and say “yes” more, if it suits me and our family time-wise.

You can judge for yourself in December whether or not you like my styling, and I’m still not sure I can watch myself, but I don’t regret for a minute giving it a go!

I’m so pleased I did. 

Have you tried anything lately that’s pushed you out of your comfort zone?

*Apologies for the blurry picture, I didn’t have my good camera with me as it was supposed to be top-secret until we were told otherwise!


Great Little Trading Company || Wooden Play Shop and Theatre



So today I have some exciting news for a Monday morning: Freddie and Sasha have officially landed the best gig in the world, as official testers for a company that I have absolutely LOVED for ages, The Great Little Trading Company! We couldn’t be happier, and F and S are looking forward to giving their (very vocal) opinion on all things  toy and bedroom-wise for super-stylish little ones. 

When we were told that they’d be reviewing the Great Little Trading Company’s Wooden Play Shop and Theatre, it couldn’t have come at a better time. We’d recently purchased a cheapo cardboard market stall, that whilst it looked good, unfortunately it didn’t stand the test of time, and collapsed when Freddie accidentally stumbled and fell on it. Cue lots and lots of tears from a very sad 3 and 4 year old. I found myself cursing myself mentally for not splashing out on something a lot sturdier, but you live and learn eh? I had seen the Great Little Trading Company Play Shop and Theatre in their catalogue, as well as on Instagram before, and had always loved the look of it, so this was the perfect opportunity to give it a go. 

So we don’t end up with spoilt brats, Adam and I told the children that they had a very special job to do for Mummy, and that this is a bit of an early Christmas present. I think this went over their heads a bit, and now they seem to think I work for the big man FC himself, so we have probably totally confused them! 

Anyway, the market arrived perfectly flat-packed whilst the children were at school and preschool, which gave me plenty of time to put it together and I couldn’t wait to see their excited faces when they arrived home. Turns out I didn’t actually need that much time, as the whole thing only took me just over half an hour (alone) to build. The fact that the instructions that came with it were detailed and clear was a big factor in the ease of this, and certainly reduced potential stress levels! I know when it comes to Christmas and children’s presents, I’m very much of the like-to-relax-with-a-Baileys or 3  on-Christmas-Eve parental variety, not spending all evening constructing complicated toys.

Along with the Play Shop we were lucky enough to have been given some little wooden crates of play food (fruit, veg and meat/fish), plus a selection of wooden groceries and a lovely blue and red, wooden shopping trolley. Like the market stall, the trolley comes flat-packed and was easy to put together, although you might need another person to help you put the wheels on so they are on tight enough. 

When Freddie and Sasha first ran upstairs and saw their new Market Stall, their faces were a picture! Ridiculously happy and excited doesn’t quite cover it! 

“I love it so much, Mummy” said Sasha, where as Freddie just kept saying “Wow, Mummy, is it REALLY, really ours?!”.

Heart. Melt.

Role play games, especially ones playing shops and anything involving food, are a big hit with my two, and they probably play variations of these games most days. As a result I knew they’d get good use of this toy, and that it would be worth giving house room to. I absolutely love watching them play together and see their little minds thinking up a plan of action for their shop. Considering my two can bicker quite a lot, when it comes to working in a shop they seem to share the jobs and manage to delegate quite well! Maybe Freddie’s previous declaration that he’d like to work in Iceland down the road when he’s older “…because they do yummy cocktail sausages and I can eat them all the time” wasn’t far off the mark 😉

From a parents point of view, previous experience of owning wooden food suggests that it lasts a long, long time, and I love that the food items are nice and chunky, yet easy for little hands to pick up and play with. On a completely shallow note, this is also a toy that looks bloody good, and as someone who has spent a lot of time making sure the children’s bedrooms look nice and are lovely spaces to play in, I didn’t want to fill it with totally hideous toys. I think this shows that it’s possible to get a balance and find something that the children will LOVE but that’s aesthetically pleasing at the same time. 

We’ve decided to keep the Play Shop in Sasha’s bedroom as it’s the biggest, but to be honest I don’t think you’d need a huge amount of space to keep this comfortably and without it getting in the way. I’ve always been a bit funny about clogging up the house with irritatingly bulky stuff, but this, whilst on the taller-side, isn’t actually very wide at all, so fits snuggly against the wall. The Play Shop and Theatre is also on wheels so it can be moved around if required, but thankfully there are safety breaks on the wheels so little ones can’t suddenly decide to hurl it down the stairs!

Other features of the Play Shop and Theatre include include a pull out draw for storage (see pic) that you can write on with chalk, thanks to the blackboard paint, as well as a blank, blackboard-painted sign for writing the name of your new market venture on! If the market stall is turned around, then there is a large blackboard at the front for you to write the name of your theatre show on (this toy is reversible, and I’ll be featuring the theatre aspect of it in a blog post coming soon).

So do we have any criticisms so far of our new addition?

Honestly, none as yet! If I’m being extremely nit-picky, then I wonder how long the curtains will last with constant use, but to be honest they’re so easy to take off and wash/repair, or just make some new ones, that it’s really not a big deal. 

I had high hopes that a product such as this would be high quality for the price (Was £140, now currently £112), and we haven’t been disappointed. I just wish I’d made the investment in the first place, rather than to try and cut corners on a previously cheaper product that only lasted a short while, and caused a fair bit of upset. 

Definitely one to ask Father Christmas for this year, as it’s a fantastic toy and judging by the reaction my two little ones had when they first saw it, would really make for a memorable 25th December.

Go and buy! 

PS I’m hoping the film a short video of the children playing with it soon, so you can see it in all it’s glory!


A huge thanks to The Great Little Trading Company for letting Freddie and Sasha have so much fun. We were given the Play Shop and Theatre, wooden food and shopping trolley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and words are my own (and Freddie and Sasha’s!).