Earlier in the week I wrote about our first day out of half term and our plans for the week. I love having my two girls at home and doing as much as possible with them, so far we’ve had a couple more outings this week and two more chilled out days.

Horniman Museum Exterior

On Sunday we popped to Forest Hill in South London to visit one of my favourite museums. The Horniman Museum houses a mixture of anthropological and natural world displays and has one of the most fascinating and eclectic collections I’ve seen. It also has a huge amount of child appeal. One of our favourite parts of the museum is the room full of taxidermy animals, which the kids also find really interesting.

Horniman Museum Plants ExhibitionWe also went to see the new exhibition which had just opened. Plantastic is one just for kids and features a huge room full of fun interactive displays which teach little ones all about the world of plants, how they grow and how they can be used. It was bright, colourful and fun and both the girls were really engaged by it. My only complaint was having to pay £6.50 for my adult ticket in addition to £3.50 per child, since there was nothing aimed at adults at all, so despite thinking it was fantastic for the kids I don’t know if I would fork out for a repeat visit. Don’t let that put you off though as it really is a fantastic thing to do for the small people.

Horniman Museum Aquarium

We also visited the museum’s aquarium which features some fantastic tanks and we especially enjoyed watching the jellyfish floating around. Although the museum is free to enter, the aquarium is ticketed although you can get a combined ticket with the Plantastic exhibition. I think tickets for both for the three of us came to about £17, but as we normally just see the free bits of the museum it was worth it as a treat.

View of London from the Horniman Museum

After looking at everything in the museum, we went for a walk round the museums extensive gardens and had a peek at some of the farm animals as well. The garden has amazing views of central London and a fantastic nature walk. By this point Lila was so tired that I had to take her home, toddlers have their limits!

Annoyingly I forgot to bring my camera battery, which for someone who loves taking photos as much as me was a little upsetting! However I gave the camera on my iPhone 6 a go and got a couple of snaps of our day.

On Monday we met my dad for a walk and a play in Morden Hall Park, this National Trust Park is only a few minutes drive from where we live and we’re so lucky to have such a great park on our doorstep.

Cottages Morden Hall Park

Water Wheel Morden Hall Park

River and Bridge Morden Hall Park

Lila was still pretty tired from the two busy days before and managed to fall over and bump her head, so we ended up making this a pretty short trip. The girls did have a nice play in the parks excellent play area and then we went for some tea and cake in the tea room, which like most National Trust properties offers an excellent selection of home-made cake.

Scooting Morden Hall Park

Playing at Morden Hall Park

Cute Dogs Morden Hall ParkHow cute are these little doggies we spotted!

Given that all these days out had worn the kids out we’ve also had a couple of quiet days relaxing at home as well as running errands and everyday stuff. Sometimes it’s great to just sit in your pyjamas, watch Frozen on repeat and be as lazy as possible! I also went back to the gym after a very long break and I’m hoping to make it a more regular thing as I miss running and want to get back into it.

I’m looking forward to more fun stuff at the end of the week and I’m going to miss my little ones so much when they go back to school on Tuesday.

Elizabeth Craig Spotted Dick

Today I’m sharing a delicious recipe, this one is perfect for cold nights and is best served with a cup of tea and some hot custard. Spotted Dick is a very traditional British pudding and although it takes a while to cook it tastes fantastic. All the ingredients can be picked up from the baking aisle of the supermarket. I’ve made this one based on a recipe I found in a 1950s magazine, and I’ve reworked it using modern measurements and oven temperatures.

Traditional Spotted Dick

Ingredients:

120g Flour

120g Shredded Suet

30 Breadcrumbs

1tbsp Baking Powder

85g Caster Sugar

60g Currants

60 Sultanas

Rind of half a lemon

20g Candied Peel

2 Beaten Eggs

1/2 Cup of milk.

Spotted Dick Recipe - Vintage Frills

How to Make:

1. Prepare a greased pudding basin.

2. Mix all the ingredients in the order given above.

3. Place mixture into the pudding basin to about three quarters full.

4. Place lid on pudding basin or tie a sheet of baking parchment over the top.

5. Steam in a large pan of water for 2 and a half hours.

6. Turn out pudding and serve hot with custard.

Vintage Spotted Dick

Traditional Spotted Dick RecipeI’ve not made many steamed puddings before, however after trying this one and seeing how easy it can be I’m definitely going to try out a few more. Let me know if you give this one a go I’d love to know how you get on.

Spotted Dick with Custard

Next week is half term and I couldn’t be happier. I hate getting up when it’s still dark and dragging my tired children out of their warm beds, wrestling them into uniform and hurrying them to school. I’m not a fan of cold winter mornings. I love it when the girls are off school and we can slow down the pace a little.

When we have got ourselves up and dressed in our own time, I have lots of plans to make the most of a week with my little girls. Rob is currently doing some big home projects around the house, so ideally the kids need to be out of the way so I’m hoping to take them on day trips as much as possible while they’re off school. I love taking them to interesting places as they’re so enthusiastic and always notice things I don’t. I thought I’d share as much as possible of what we get up to on here, firstly because it gives me a good excuse to take hundreds of pictures, and secondly because it may give some of you some ideas for great days out.

Yesterday I took them out for the whole day, the fact that it was a little cold and rainy didn’t put them off being outside all day. First up we went to Painshill Park in Surrey for a long walk and an explore, after spending about 3 hours there and having lunch we headed to my favourite place Claremont Landscape Garden which is only a ten minute drive from Painshill. Anyway here are some pictures of both places…

Painshill Park:

Painshill Crocuses

Painshill Flowers Close Up

Painshill Berries

Painshill Autumn Leaves

Painshill Lake and Ruined Abbey

Painshill Lake and Swan

Painshill Lila Bridge

Painshill Mill

Painshill Mill Cogs

Painshill Tree Close Up

Painshill Snow Drops

Painshill Lichen

Painshill Bridge

Painshill Gothic tower

Gruffallo Wellies

Painshill Ground

Painshill Jessica View

Painshill View

Painshill Seedcase

Painshill Pinecones

Painshill Park

Painshill turkish tent

Painshill Turkish Tent Detail

Painshill Yellow Flowers

Painshill Park Grotto

Painshill Park Bridge

Painshill Lila

 

Claremont Landscape Garden:

Claremont Black Swan

Claremont Black Swan 2

Claremont Duck

Claremont Crocus

Claremont Fungus

Claremont Bear Statue

Claremont Boar Statue

Claremont Camelia Terrace

Claremont Red Camellia

Claremont White Camillias

Claremont White Camillia Bud

Claremont Stepping Stones

Claremont Belvedere Tower

Claremont Peacock Statue

Claremont Grotto

Claremont Grass Amphitheatre

It was lovely seeing the first signs of spring coming through, I love this time of year. I hope you don’t mind a week of picture heavy posts as there’s going to be a lot of this sort of post coming up!

Next Summer 15 Press Day Seating Area

A couple of weeks ago I visited the Ham Yard Hotel in London for the Next summer 2015 press event. I always enjoy going to press previews and getting to see what will be coming into shops a few months in advance, it a definite park of being a blogger and I love getting to meet fellow bloggers too.

I remember when I moved into my very first rented house that wasn’t shared with anyone else, I was 20 at the time and was just about to have Jessica. I moved in armed with my trusty Next directory and ordered lot’s of lovely little bits and pieces for my new home. As the house was rented I couldn’t paint the walls or put much of my own furniture in, but for lovely little accessories that made the house feel like my home I turned to Next. A few years on when we bought our own house I also turned to next for our wallpaper and so Next has found it’s way into my home and my memories of transforming a blank canvas into a happy place.

Being a big fan of Next’s home ranges I thought it only right to dedicate a whole post on the blog to the home collection and my favourite pieces from the press day.

This summer’s interiors are influenced by far away shores, with ranges including Exotic Garden, Country Cottage and Yacht Club. As well as the muted shabby chic tones I usually go for there was also plenty of bright pop of colour and a definite tropical feel. I especially loved all their garden offerings, especially as I have big plans for my own outdoor space this year.

Next Flower Pot Basket and Lights

Next Summer 15 Press Day Basket Jug Flower Pot

Next Summer 15 Press Day Bird B&B BirdhouseA Lovely place for birds to stay.

Next Summer 15 Press Day Cat Garden Decoration

Next Summer 15 Press Day Citrus Zest Candles

Next Summer 15 Press Day Garden Statue and Clock

Next Summer 15 Press Day Gardeners Know the Best Dirt Sign

Next Summer 15 Press Day Glass Jars with Garden Twine

Next Summer 15 Press Day LightbulbsI adore these light bulb fairy lights, I want to put them everywhere!

Next Summer 15 Press Day Rabbit Garden Statue

Next Summer 15 Press Day Teapot Bird FeederI love this pretty teapot bird feeder.

Next Summer 15 Press Day Wire Garden Sign

Next Summer 15 Coloured Glasses

Next Summer 15 Press day Candles

Next Summer 15 Press Day Colourful Bulb Lights

Next Summer 15 Press Day Pineapple Ice BucketThis pineapple ice bucket is the perfect modern take on a mid-century classic.

Next Summer 15 Press Day Pink Vases and Embroidered Bird Cushion

Next Summer 15 Press Day Birds

Next Home Summer 15 Press Day Blue Flowers and Cushion

Next Home Summer 15 Press Day Blue Glass Bottles

Next Home Summer 15 Press Day HOME letters

Next Home Summer 15 Press Day Blue Cushion and Wallpaper

Next Summer 15 Press Day Home is Wherever  I am With You Cushion

Next Home Summer 15 Press Day Wall Mounted Birds

Next Home Summer 15 Press Day Red and Blue Nautical Homewares

Have you spotted anything you’ll be adding to your wishlist for the summer? For those of you who love fashion and accessories I’ll be sharing my favourites from the press day in a post next week so watch this space.

When it comes to make-up I’m always attracted to bright colours and girlie shimmery shades. I do however have a habit of playing it safe these days and sometimes find myself in a bit of a make-up rut. One of my little resolutions for the year was to start having fun with make-up again and a really good place to start was a new range by Japanese premium make-up brand RMK.

The Vintage Sweets collection is the epitome of fun, feminine colourful make-up and of course the idea of it being inspired by vintage sweets really appealed to me. The collection features a selection of eyeshadows, face powders, blushers, lip glosses and mascaras. The range is available at Selfridges and I plan to go there very soon and get a few bits from the collection and to try a few of the different shades.

The presentation of the products is simply beautiful, they come in sleek silver packaging and the product itself looks absolutely lovely inside. To me luxury isn’t just about owning an expensive product, it’s about having something really special that makes you smile, and to me these gorgeous products fit the bill.

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In the picture above I’ve included the Vintage Sweets Candy Cheeks and Vintage Sweets Face Colour as well as the adorable Vintage Drop Gloss.

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I adore the striped Sweet Sugar Eyes which would look a treat worn at the same time as the Limited Edition Nail Colours.

I was sent one of the fabulous new two colour mascaras to try. The W Colour Mascara features a different colour for top and bottom lashes, mine came in a gorgeous bright blue and pink combination. I was so impressed with both the pigmentation and the formula of both mascaras. It really didn’t take many layers to get a nice block of colour and the brushes made the application really easy. The two brushes are different sizes and are shaped differently for easy application of both top and bottom lashes.

RMK Vintage Sweets Review W Colour Mascara

I haven’t worn a coloured mascara in absolutely ages as I usually wear black eyeliner so a black mascara is the obvious choice for me. However I changed my make-up look a bit and used a navy blue pencil on my upper lid before adding a few strokes of the mascara. Despite the bright colours I found the look more subtle than I expected. The colours are chosen to accentuate the eyes, with a deeper shade on top and a pop of colour on the bottom which I think really works. The formula also contains skincare ingredients which nourish the lashes.

I’ll definitely be using the mascara again and I’ll hopefully be investing in a few more products from the collection really soon. The mascara itself comes in 5 different shades and I would love to see how the other colour combinations work.

RMK W Colour Mascara Vintage Sweets Review