Thursday, 29 November 2012

Anglo-Welsh Canal Boat Holidays

Yesterday I was asking for your recommendations for weekends away in the warmth. A little break from winter.

If I had longer than 4 days though and wasn't so bothered about trying to find some winter warmth, I would seriously consider a canal boat holiday. It sounds quite cosy and romantic actually, snugging down on a boat among the frosty banks, warmed by a stove, seeing the world gently floating past the window. Frozen reeds. Low lying sun. Waking to other narrow boats tucked in a line against the banks. Migrating birds passing overhead. Glistening tow paths. Country pubs.

Hhhmm. Maybe a narrow boat holiday is what we need after all.

Barges moored along the banks of the River Kennet at Burghfield near Reading, Berkshire early on a cold and frosty winter's morning


Photo by Robert Reed via Flickr

This is a sponsored post. You can find further details regarding my sponsorship policy here.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

The Weekly

I think winter might be here. And despite winter often accompanying some of my darkest days it is one of my most favourite times of the year too. An oxymoron perhaps, loving those days in which I mentally struggle so, but I love the peaceful candlelight, the bright festive lights and cosy knits, blankets and fires. Perhaps I need the darkness to fully appreciate the light. Who knows.

Anyway, the dark evenings allowed us to fill our flat with both candlelight and our friends, in honour of our daughter's naming ceremony. I will write more about the actual ceremony over on The Little Pip, which should, crossed fingers, be back up and running, but as this is my diary blog etc etc, I thought it appropriate to mention it here too. Lifts the spirits somewhat it does, seeing your sitting room cleared of furniture and instead filled with nearly 50 of your friends and family. I rather recommend it, actually.

The other thing I have spent time doing this week is planning a potential trip away for a weekend with my sister in a couple of weeks. I would rather appreciate your help actually. Can anyone recommend somewhere that they have actually stayed which is warm(ish) in mid December, near enough that we can go for only 4 days, is lovely enough that we can stay in the hotel if the weather is miserable but is perhaps interesting enough so that we can leave it too. Ideally, there would be a spa or hamman in the hotel, or nearby. Crucially, it must be reasonably priced. And sadly, sadly, not Morocco as we are planning to fly using my Dad's airmiles and we can't fly to Morocco for the dates we have in mind on airmiles. I'm not counting out the UK either, so please, share anywhere nice that you've been in December...

{photos of Pip's party taken by my father}

The Splash

Regular readers will know that, where possible, I try and use green or chemical free products, toiletries and baby products. I also try and make an effort to use locally and sustainably sourced food. I am by no means perfect though and being a bit of a shopping junky I am always on the look out for new products and ideas. I was therefore really interested to find about The Splash. It's a site full of green/eco tips and eco fashion ideas; basically a round up of all things green and/or ethical.

I  was particularly interested in the section on ethical fashion and the compilation of ethical fashion labels, many of which I hadn't heard of. I especially liked this washbag made from de-commissioned fire hoses. It would make an excellent present (I am rather fond of orange accessories I have to say).

{wash bag by Elvis & Kresse via The Splash Ethical Fashion labels}

This is a sponsored post. You can find further details regarding my sponsorship policy here.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

"I collect watches..."

"...because I'm always late, and I need to know exactly how late I'm going to be - in order to come up with a good excuse" (Colin Hanks)

I'm not sure I ever showed you this beautiful watch that Marto bought for me. Perfect for my little wrists, vintage inspired but yet actually works (unlike my old 1950s handwinder which was stunning but used to inconviently stop, usually about midnight and conned me into thinking the night was yet young). Having a child has required more, shall we say, efficient time keeping. What with multiple feeds, naps and appointments, it is far easier and pleasant to have a watch than to have to keep finding the old phone. Especially as an iPhone is to a baby as catnip is to cats. Or something like that. 

Anyway, this watch is just one of a gorgeous collection by Olivia Burton, available from Belle & Bunty and Harvey Nichols, among others. You're welcome.

Photos from Olivia Burton

Monday, 26 November 2012

update (and introducing Ecover review)

First of all, I'm working at getting the blogs back on line. Hopefully will be back up and running by the end of the week, but, in the meantime, the majority of my posts can be found at the old wordpress site.

We've spent most of the last week preparing for, planning and then executing Pip's naming party, which took place this Sunday. My apologies if you've emailed or texted since Friday. I certainly read your message but it is very likely that I haven't yet managed to respond. I will, soon. I promise. (photos and write up coming soon - sneak preview over on Instragram)

I have also taken up a new hobby - knitting and crocheting. In an effort to overcome my baby brain and my general blues I thought taking up a relaxing but also thought requiring but repetitive hobby might be just the ticket. So far, I have already crocheted a snood/cowl from big fat wool - warm and also no ends for the baby to pull and strangle me with. Win win.

And lastly, an introduction to my Ecover review, which I wrote a week or two ago but never managed to post. I'll be back soon with the conclusion, but so far, I like it. Apparently, according to some of my more single friends, we totally give away the area we live by our choice of washing up liquid...

I was thrilled therefore to be asked to review Ecover's new range of products called Ecover Zero, which are their new fragrance-free range, specially crafted to give great washing results while being suitable for sensitive skin. I've been sent the washing up liquid, the washing liquid and fabric conditioner as well as a tea towel and two cloths. We ran out of our last bottle of lemon and aloe vera the morning I started the reviewing, so it seemed a perfect time to start the trial. Our washing machine is also newly mended, so as I write, a load of towels are testing the washing liquid and fabric conditioner. Such is my dedication to this trial, I had to use a syringe left over from the baby's antibiotics to get the fabric conditioner into the machine, as our toploader will not open fully in the space it has been squashed into, meaning that without the precision of syringe loading the liquid runs out rather than into the machine. Anyway, I will be back in a week or two with a follow up post with my thoughts.

I received the products from Ecover. You can find further details regarding my sponsorship policy here.

Monday, 12 November 2012

The weekly

i love autumn. The colour of the air and the leaves are beautiful. on saturday we walked across hampstead heath to hampstead village in the late afternoon sunshine. the baby slept in her pram, the wheels encased in mud & then we joined our good friends for hot mulled wine and beer, sitting at a table outside in the gathering dusk.

the baby has been driving me a little mad recently, and my little pip blog has been hacked for the third time, which is why it's offline again. i've been feeling a bit rubbish really, so the walk across the heath really helped. sadly, it was raining again this morning and my migraine still wouldn't shift. i tried to dose it with a strong monmouth coffee at my favourite scandinavian cafe followed by our weekly sing and sign class. no luck. i thought waiting in the rain for a taxi, accompanied by a baby in a carseat, shouting, and a cat in a basket, might do the trick. not even the taxi never arriving and having to hail a black cab for a trip to the vets to check on delilah's bloods helped. never mind, there's always tomorrow ...

Monday, 5 November 2012

The weekly

It's been quite the week, this past week. Delilah (our cat) went missing for 24 hours and thankfully returned without life threatening injuries, although instead of handing out clementines to trick or treaters we were sitting anxiously in pet A & E (with the baby in tow) waiting for Delilah's X-ray results to be analysed. She ended up spending the night being monitored and being given fluids. Her injuries, including all her nails being shredded and broken, were consistent with being hit by a car. Obviously we will never know what did happen but the worry when she was missing was terrible and the relief when she appeared home was enormous.

The baby has been ill with a cold, as has Marto. We have all been sleeping terribly. We did manage a few museums last week, including the Hollywood Costumes at the V and A and a quick whizz round the British Musuem on Saturday. Trying very hard to balance my tiredness and frustration of parenting with making the most of all London has to offer. The Hollywood Costumes exhibition is well worth the trip, personally. Another post on that to come I think.

Photos by me: ice rink at the natural history museum/ late night at the V and A courtyard/ gathering dusk at the British museum

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Sponsored Post: Ecover Direct

I clearly remember the first time I encountered Ecover. It was the summer of 2003 and I was staying with a dear university friend's parents in Rock, Cornwall, with our friend, Miss L (his then girlfriend), Marto and another mutual friend. It was the first of a recurring annual visit and the start of my love affair with that specific peninsula of Cornwall. Anyway, our friend's parents had Ecover products galore, although I mainly remember the washing up liquid. Fresh from being an impoverished student, I'd only ever bought washing up liquid on basis of cost, never environmental concerns. But from then on, I only ever bought Ecover washing up liquid.

I guess, not just for the environmental good, although that was the first reason. I think as a new graduate and adult, there was something pretty smug about using products such as Ecover. Remember, this was in the early 00s at the very start of the boom and explosion of it being socially acceptable in a mainstream way to be seen caring about such things as the impact of your products, both on the body and on the world once they left the drain.

As the years have come and gone, I've tried pretty much every Ecover product. Not all of them have fitted into my life so seamlessly as the Ecover washing up liquid did, but they've always drawn me in for a trial and I've been a huge advocate of their products.

This is a sponsored post. You can find further details regarding my sponsorship policy here.