The UnNatural Mother

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15 Me-Time Ideas for Busy Mums

On an average day, how much me-time do you get? May you be thinking ‘Me time? What me-time?’ and you’d be right. This is because according to a study, the average mum only gets 17…

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How To Have A Blooming Good Garden This Summer

You know you are starting to get old when you find yourself buying a nail gun and making wooden planters on a Saturday afternoon. With snowdrops  & daffodils popping up everywhere it got me thinking it was time to start planning what to do with our garden. We have been very lucky to move into a house with a large front and back garden but presently they are both just plain plots of grass. I would love to sit in the garden during the summer , enjoying a cold glass of wine & surrounded by sweet-smelling flowers. So to face up to my mid 30’s urge to take up gardening I have googled the best plants and seeds to get in the ground and pots this month to guarantee an RHS worthy summer garden.

Sunflower Seeds – Big Smile – A great alternative to the giant sunflower for little children to grow. Fast to flower in as little as 60 days, this attractive dwarf variety is ideal for pots and border growing. 

Pansy Seeds – Cassius Mixed – Blotched blooms in red, yellow and blue shades together with white, for summer or spring-flowering. And unlike other large-flowered varieties where flower size diminishes in hot weather, Cassius holds its bloom size, and plants are less likely to ‘stretch’ as they get older.” 

Poppy Seeds – Rhoeas – The beautiful and iconic Field Poppy is much in demand at the moment – 100 years since the start of the 1st World War. This short-lived perennial will seed itself to provide displays from year to year. 

Sweet Pea Seeds – Jet Set Mixed – What it lacks in height, it makes up for in appearance. Beautiful pastel shades of scarlet, crimson, blue, salmon, cerise and mauve look amazing in large terracotta pots or climbing through your roses and shrubs. 

Lavender Seeds – Provence Blue – Fragrance is everything with lavender and this is one of the best! Provence is a compact variety but is eminently suitable for small hedges, bedding, cutting and drying.

Freesia Seeds – Dobies Coloured Hybrids – The flowers, in a wide range of colours, are a good choice for making use of a cool conservatory or greenhouse during the winter months. 

 

If you would like some inspiration with how to design your dream garden then click here and take a look at recommendations from the experts at the RHS.

 

* Flower descriptions and link source Dobies

 

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This post was in collaboration with SGS Engineering but all my thoughts & opinions are my own.

Top 5 Swimsuits From River Island

Even though I am now the wrong side of 35 I can still rock a bikini with the best of them. I am proud of my post-pregnancy body, sure I would love to have a stone of blubber sucked out of my thighs and ass but overall my body isn’t too shabby after housing and birthing 2 kids.The problem I now have with wearing bikini’s on holiday is the need to chase around after 2 small children while trying my best not to expose my boobs or bum. For practicality swimsuits are a necessity for family holidays and with so many fab designs and colours around you don’t need to be a #frumpymummy. River Island has always been my go-to shop for swimwear thanks to their vast choice and correct sizing. I know that if I buy a size 12 swimsuit I am not going to have the material riding up my bum or squashed bulging boobs. I have chosen my top 5 swimsuits from the River Island range to showcase for you today.

 

  1. Black shirred bardot sleeve swimsuit – £36 This swimsuit is perfect for anyone with a bit of a mummy-tummy as the patterned top is going to draw the attention up to your top half. Add a pair of shorts and you have the perfect outfit for exploring the shops.

  2. Orange floral mesh insert plunge swimsuit – £36  The bright orange colour will look great with a tan and the crossover front will stop any boob slippage. This swimsuit has a high leg which will elongate even the shortest of leg.

  3. Pink tropical cut out high neck swimsuit – £35 If you have a boyish figure this swimsuit will give you some curves and show off your slender stomach. The Pucci pattern is fun and sporty.

  4. Coral snake print ring zip plunge swimsuit – £35 With a zip down the front this swimsuit can be modest or racey , however, you are feeling on the day. The snakeskin pattern is 80’s chic and very easy to wear.

  5. Black rib bandeau tie side swimsuit – £36 This is a classic black swimsuit with a twist. This will suit all body shapes and add glamour to any day besides the pool.

 

Take a look at the rest of the range from River Island to find your perfect swimsuit. Colourful or plain they have beachwear to make your trip to Bognor feel like 2 weeks in Bermuda.

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This post was in collaboration with River Island but all my thoughts and opinions are my own.

Luxury Spring Wish List

 

 

 

After following the online campaign of my fellow Blogger Emma from Not My First Rodeo , I have made a vow to not buy fast fashion during 2018. That doesn’t mean for one second that I won’t be buying items from Primark or other low-cost online stores, but it does mean I am only going to buy items I know I will wear to death. I have an extremely bad habit of seeing a pair of jeans on sale for £5, impulse buying them and then letting them rot in the back of my wardrobe for the next 12 month never to be worn. When I had a clear out in January I toted up £143 worth of clothes & shoes still with their tags on. Luckily I have been able to recoup some of the money by selling the unused items on the Mercari App  but I have made a conscious decision to start investing in more luxury items that I know will withstand the test of time. I will be the first one to admit that some of the items in this list are obscenely expensive and a perfectly good high street version could be used, but then whats the point of a wish list, if you can’t, wish for the Crème de la Crème.

What On The List ?

I have chosen a selection of clothes & accessories that will help transition from Winter to Spring and then be perfect for cooler Summer days. All the styles will not date and give plenty of opportunities to be worn. Buying some comfy, cosy cashmere items is high on my list for Spring. Nothing looks chicer and easy to put together than a pair of well-tailored jeans with a cashmere jumper. Throw on a pair of simple white pumps or go the whole hog and wear a fancy heel and your day outfit is transformed instantly to into night. The sun may not be quite high in the sky but a pair of statement sunglasses is going to protect your delicate under eye skin and hide your bloodshot eyes after a few too many vino’s. For the colder mornings, I really love the present trend of leopard skin coats. Hoping to look less Bet Lynch and more Kate Moss I have I choose this very understated version from French Connection. Everyone women need a designer handbag and if you are going to invest it may as well be Chanel. Vestiaire has a great selection of pre-loved bags all looking for new homes and owners to show them off.I have never had the desire to have any tattoo’s done but as I start drifting towards 40 I do feel I need to rebel a little bit. I would like to get a few more piercings in my ears starting with my Helix. This also means I will need a selection of fab new earrings to decorate my lobes. My No1 buy this spring is to invest in a dress from Needle & Thread. I spent 2 whole hours modelling this seasons dress collection at Selfridges last weekend. The appliqué is so delicate and beautiful, is a treat just to try their dresses on. The range starts from a reasonable £150 to a more serious investment of £600. They are the type of dress you could easily get 10 years worth of wear out of so this is top of my list to save for ( or maybe splurge on). What items are on your list to buy this Spring? Maybe you want a whole new wardrobe or just one statement item. Comment below and let me know.

 

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Why We Used An Online Estate Agent

We saved for nearly 7 years to afford our forever home we live in now so every penny was carefully accounted for. We missed out on nights out, holidays and luxuries so we could move from a small 2  terrace house with no garden to a spacious 4-bed property on a huge plot of land. We now live in our dream home and thanks to the interior design efforts of Charley we even have original works of art all over the walls. It feels good to know that me & Lee can give our children the opportunity to grow up in a nice area, with nice neighbours and plenty of space to play and grow up in.

One of the biggest expenses when moving is actually selling your property in the first place. We contacted most of the high street estate agents to get valuations done and discuss their selling fees. It was quite shocking to find out that some of them wanted upwards of £2500 for advertising our property and ‘hopefully’ selling it. This was crazy money as far as I was concerned so I started researching online estate agents and soon found most had selling fee’s around the £500 mark. I then spent a few days looking at the houses listed on online estate agents and was pleasantly surprised to see most had only been listed in the last  6 weeks. As a lot of the online estate agent have similar fee packages I used HomeOwners Alliance to compare and find the best agent for us. When I had chosen the company and package to suit our needs I found the whole process really easy and straightforward. We decided to do our own photography of the house and found that we were able to capture many better quality photos than you would see in an estate agents window. We then uploaded them along with a brief description and the online agent sent a representative out to take all the measurements and put a for sale sign up. Within 12 hours our house was for sale online and viewable on 10 different market sites.Within 24 hours we had 2 viewings and within 2 weeks were had sold our house. The whole process was so easy and stress-free. As the fee was a one-off upfront amount, we didn’t have to worry about trying to find thousands of pounds after the sale had completed and we could just get on with packing and start getting ready to move to our new home. I would 100% recommend using an online estate agent for your next move, whether that’s the sale of your house or you are looking to move into rented accommodation. The whole service is much slicker and thanks to the internet on the go you can keep up to date with the progress of your sale by checking your account, instead of 3,00000 phone calls to a high street estate agent.

I asked some of my colleagues if they had used an estate agent and here’s what they said.

The main benefit is the price. They usually have a set fee, far below that of a traditional agent. And the more your house is worth, the more you save. –  Pete

Ours was so easy, think we went with EMoov. Could delay payment for a year too. Had our house sold within a couple of months too.  – Adam

You know they will put getting your house on the web as the priority. Everyone is on the web nowadays and high street estate agents have too many other things to focus on – Jen

We used EMoov. The photos were amazing and it cost £550!! High st Estate agents were charging £4000. Easy to arrange viewings too.. –  Lynn

The price, definitely! We’d have saved around £1500 if we’d have sold ours through an online agent 4 years ago, but back then we didn’t really know about them. Victoria

 

I hope this information has been useful to you and it saves you from overpaying in selling fees. Take a look at the Home Owners Alliance website I mention above to compare the best package for you and your home.

 

 

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This was was in collaboration with www.hatched.co.uk but all my thoughts & opinions are my own.