Thursday, 30 October 2014

A Fresh Start

When I became a mummy, my career took a back seat and my priorities changed somewhat. When I returned to work after a year's maternity leave, I reduced my hours to part-time. My employer has been flexible to accommodate nursery and now school drop-offs and pick-ups. However, things have been super stressful outside of work in the last 4 years (dealing with the breakdown of my marriage, divorce proceedings, house move, Crohn's flare up...) and my motivation to advance in my career has been low and most certainly not my priority.

Life is now a bit more settled. Progress is being made with the divorce (slowly, but we're moving in the right direction) and I've now been in my new house for a year. My career has come to the forefront again. I started to question what I want to do with my life. Where did I see myself in 5 years time? And being brutally honest with myself, I didn't see myself staying where I was. I had become comfortable in my role and have been bored for a while. My boss even said (not just to me, but to the team) that you should stay with an employer for 4 years, learn as much as you can, and then change jobs. At this point I had been with the firm for 5 years. Cue alarm bells...

I had considered moving fields; desperate for a change and a new challenge. But I studied for 8 years, gaining a first class degree and a PhD, and I don't feel like I can throw that away. Not just yet anyway. So I started the search for a new employer, in the same field: science. Time for a fresh start.

It's been daunting. I've been with my current employer for 7 years, and it was my first proper job after my PhD. I have had to attend formal interviews and give presentations (eek!). I had to sell myself, which I don't think I'm terribly good at...

Anyway, the amazing news is that I've signed a contract for a job and I will start work with my new employer in January. It's part-time and they're being equally flexible about my hours which is perfect.

I'm really excited and I think I've found my work mojo again!




Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Merumaya Facial

My friend Lorna is back after the success of her trip to Blythswood Square Hotel earlier this month; this time I sent her to John Lewis for a facial with Merumaya...

We all know the feeling when we have had a hard day at work, picked the kids up from nursery, get home to start the dinner/bath/bedtime routine but decide we will just have a facial instead. You don’t? No, neither do I. Facials, massages, manicures, general pampering, in fact anything that is relaxing in any way is a no go on an average weekday evening.

So I must admit I was a bit sceptical at the promise of a quick and easy DIY facial that can be done in between sterilising bottles and ironing babygros (who does that anyway?).

But I fought through the Buchanan Street crowds to be treated to a facial at John Lewis courtesy of new skincare brand Merumaya http://www.merumaya.com/. They call it recession proof pampering – a practical DIY facial that you can do at home and all you need is your hands (no faffing about with cotton wool, cucumbers and facecloths). The high performing products prevent and perfect signs of skin ageing and are only sold through John Lewis and QVC, making them pretty exclusive. They were created by Maleka Dattu who has a fascinating story to tell about her launching her dream brand following a natural pregnancy at the age of 48 after five miscarriages.


So my treatment wasn’t the typical Tuesday night in with screaming babies and Waybuloo but I tried to imagine myself following the skincare routine at home (just without the lovely d├ęcolletage and hand massage that Mary gave at the same time!).

I’m not sure I would be dedicated enough to use the full range as regularly as they recommend but some products only need to be used once a week (skin peel and mask) and I committed to banishing my daily facial wipes (they are VERY bad for your skin seemingly, but oh so convenient) instead replacing with the quick and easy melting cleansing balm which retails at a reasonable £14.50 for 100ml.

All in all I tested the eye make up remover, cleansing balm, treatment toner, skin brightening peel, radiance mask, serum, day moisturiser and eye cream. My skin felt fantastic, bright and glowing afterwards and my hubby said I looked about 16! This however then developed into a debate about whether I should actually wear make up or not, and although I appreciate his kind compliments I don’t see me going outside anytime soon without my trusted mascara and concealer!


Look at Lorna's gorgeous skin...zero make-up people!! I'm very jealous! My chin is a spotty mess :-/


Monday, 27 October 2014

Christmas Gift Guide - Home Edition

Continuing with the Christmas Gift Guides, here are some home ideas for you...

Shearer Candles

I love that Shearer Candles is a local family business who manufacture their products here in Glasgow. The packaging on the V&A Collection candles at Shearer Candles is gorgeous. Have a look at this Ebony gift box candle:

V&A Ebony candle

Amber Noir candles and diffuser

Stag Head

My sister has a stag head in her formal 'adults only, no children allowed' living room which looks amazing as she has the ceiling height to pull it off - it's called Errol. I have a cardboard stag head in my hallway, but I have discovered this fabric patchwork fabric stag head at Marks & Spencers and thought I'd share it with you. It won't be to everyone's taste, but I love it!


Or this standing deer from Cox & Cox is also fab:



Stocking & Holder

I spotted these beautiful Christmas stockings in John Lewis, aren't they gorgeous! This would make a lovely Christmas gift for someone, and they could use it year after year...



My living room is silver themed, so these Star and Tree Silver Stocking Holders would be ideal too:



Subscription to home magazine 

Magazines are a rare treat for me, and so a magazine subscription is an ideal gift. My choices would be either Livingetc or Sainsburys magazine.



Blanket

I love a blanket to curl up under at this time of year, but it's not something that I would normally buy myself as there are always other things that are more important. This is a luxury item that would be perfect as a Christmas gift. For me, it has to be something snuggly, so I've picked this faux fur beige blanket from H&M Home. Another lovely gift is a bath robe. Just putting it out there! There are loads of great home buys on the H&M site... have a peek here to see all the new arrivals.


Snow globe

I've done a separate post on snow globes. They are becoming a new family tradition.

Tea towel 

Wrap a bottle of wine in said tea towel to create this lovely gift...


For the tea towel, go for something humorous and festive, like this:


Or perhaps a cool print like this kissing stags tea towel from John Lewis (can you tell that I love stags!):


Set of Mugs

Most people I know love either tea, coffee or hot chocolate... so a mug to me is another 'can't go wrong' gift. Also at this time of year a nice mug of mulled wine is delightful! I like these Mulled Wine Mugs from Wayfair.


Christmas bunting

I love this 'Deck the Halls' garland from Violet and Percy.

Digital radio

This has been on my wish list for a while. How cool is this Roberts Revival Mini DAB Radio from John Lewis! Love it!!




Friday, 24 October 2014

Love the Little Things

butwhymummywhy
Joining in again with Morgana's Love The Little Things linky...

Heard

This week I heard that a very good friend, who is pregnant with her first baby, has got obstetric cholestasis. It's the same condition I had during both my pregnancies. She hasn't got the typical itch though, which is normally the main symptom (the itch was horrendous for me). I'm just glad they've discovered it & she'll be induced early like me. If you want to read more about the condition, then have a look at the ICP Support website here.


Read

I've been reading up on cake & biscuit decorating. I went on a Zoe Clarke course a while back & had bought one if her books before I attended (so she could sign it for me!) and I also have the Biscuiteer book.



Made

I've been trying out some Christmas baking (hence the reading above!). I'm attempting miniature sponge cakes and spiced biscuits. Keep an eye on my Instagram feed for more photos as I make progress... it's harder than I thought it was going to be :-/




Wore

I love my new fuscia Zoe Dress from Boden.

Littlest sporting her Rapunzel get-up!


Watched

I've been watching and laughing at these Dear Kitten videos that my sister sent me the links for.



Which leads nicely only this......

And lastly...

I'd like to introduce Rhubarb & Crumble, our new kittens. Aren't they adorable!! I love them already, as do the kids. 




Thursday, 23 October 2014

Christmas Gift Guide - for the ladies

I'm putting together a series of Christmas gift guides for my blog, starting with 'For the Ladies'. If you have any products that you'd like featured over the series, then please do drop me a line. You can find my contact details on the 'About Me' page.

Jo Malone cologne

This is not something I'd buy for myself, but I would happily be gifted a Jo Malone scent. I personally love woody scents rather than floral, so for me I think I'd choose Wild Fig & Cassis or Dark Amber & Ginger Lily.



O.P.I. nail polish

You can't really go wrong with a nail polish; they make an ideal Christmas stocking filler. If you're unsure of the recipient's taste, then go for a neutral shade like I Sao Paulo Over There from O.P.I. or Kiss on the Chic. I'm also thinking about making up a little gift bag for the teachers to include a nail polish and a foot cream, with the message 'For your mistle-toes' on the tag!




Filofax

Regular readers will know I'm a stationery geek, so for me this is the perfect gift. I'd love a Filofax and it's already on my Christmas wish list. After much deliberation, I think my ideal one would be The Original Organiser in a patent leather finish in the colour Fuscia, just like this one:



iPhone 6

Technology isn't just for the boys. I'm due an upgrade and would love an iPhone 6. Not sure I can afford it though, hence why I'm suggesting it as a Christmas gift ;-)


Lipgloss

Another ideal stocking filler is a gorgeous lipgloss. My sister and I recommend bareMinerals Glazed Donut.



Urban Decay Naked2 eyeshadow palette

I have heard and read many a good thing about these eyeshadow palettes, but I'm yet to invest in one myself. The colours are beautiful and this is bound to be well received as a Christmas present.



Leopard print bag

I am a fan of leopard print, and I'm sure many other women will be the same. I love the look of this bag from Boden. It looks to be a great size for everyday use and has a shoulder strap as well as a grab handle.



Slippers

I've already purchased my winter slippers, but this is also another gift that would be ideal for most ladies. I love these super soft slippers from The White Company. A great colour too so they shouldn't get too grubby. I ruled out the champagne coloured ones!




Kate Spade Watch

This watch is stunning. I love that it's simple yet very stylish.


Jewellery

I love all things stag, and this necklace is in the sale just now at Hobbs. Ticks loads of boxes for me!



Or this statement silver necklace from Wallis (also in the sale right now!):


Kitten, puppy or some other pet animal!

Obviously don't go buying pets without discussing it first with your other half or whatever, but we are absolutely loving our little kittens Rhubarb and Crumble that joined our family at the start of the week. More on them later!




Joining in with Let's Talk Mommy's Share with me blog linky:

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Giveaway: Country Living Magazine Christmas Fair

It's no secret that I absolutely adore Christmas. This wasn't always the case, but I think with the addition of the little ones, Christmas is once again magical and I love the run up to the big day each year. (However the shops are getting earlier and earlier at introducing their Christmas stock and I think September is far too early for Christmas!)

Anyway, if you haven't been already, then you really must check out the Country Living Magazine Christmas Fair, which arrives at the SECC Glasgow on 20th - 23rd November 2014. It's a must for all Christmas fans like me!


There will be almost 300 stalls under the one roof, selling gifts, decorations and festive food; and in addition to the stalls there are three informative theatres - cookery, lifestyle and craft & create - each offering advice and demonstrations. The art demo on 'painting a stag' intrigues me and I would love to get along to the 'creative gift wrapping and styling' session.

Ticket details can be found here, and if you insert the code Blog14 then you will be given a discount of £1 off the ticket price. This offer is valid until the day before the fair, at all three fairs - Glasgow, Harrogate and London.

I do have two tickets up for grabs however and all you need to do is follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter below. Huzzah!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck everyone!

Giveaway ends on Wed 12th November, which will allow me enough time to get the tickets sent out to the lucky winner.
UK residents only please.
Prize is two tickets for the Glasgow fair, there is no alternative prize.


Sunday, 19 October 2014

Our October Holiday - Antics in Aberdeen and a trip to A&E

The kids and I had a super busy five nights for our half of the October holidays. We 'jumped in the car and broomed to Aberdeen' to stay with Auntie Ali and then we also managed to stop by my dad & Jo's for an overnight stay on the way back to Glasgow too.

On Friday we had lunch with my aunt, uncle and gran before heading back to Ali's house. We had a quiet night as we knew that Saturday was going to be a busy one...

Auntie Ali copied a YouTube tutorial to create a fishtail braid for the littlest's hair

We did some baking, thanks to Aldi. There's a competition to win a £50 voucher and a hamper with Aldi in this earlier blog post.

We did a photo shoot in Ali's home studio. I love this giggly photo of the littlest.


Next was time to face paint, and I let me daughter go crazy...

...and ended up at the park with this on my face!

My son with his face paint eye mask

Enjoying some silliness with friends :-)

The next day after breakfast we headed to Drum Castle for their Christmas craft fair...

It was a lovely crisp autumn day. Look at all the glorious colours in the fallen leaves!

The park at Drum Castle is fab - the kids loved it.

There was a zip slide, a willow maze, climbing frames etc all in gorgeous surroundings


I caught up with Life with Munchers for a bite to eat at Mains of Drum

And then this happened....


We had arrived at the car park at Hazlehead Park and we were very excited to be meeting lots of friends and family for a play which probably contributed to what happened next... My eldest tripped (if you know the car park, then you'll know it's not a good surface... it's loads of chuckies and is very bumpy) and literally fell flat on his face. I was pushing the buggy with littlest who was tired and he wasn't holding my hand. The crack was horrific. There was tonnes of screaming and blood was gushing from his nose, mouth and head. His forehead immediately stuck out in a massive lump, about 2cm out if not more. Another family stopped to help me which was so lovely of them, giving me baby wipes and helping me get back to my car. The wee man was complaining that his right eye was sore, so the littlest went with Granddad and Nanny Jo (when they arrived) to the park to meet the others whilst the eldest and I headed off to ARI A&E. He was an absolute star. He very quickly perked up thankfully and even more so once he got some ibuprofen mixture into him. The doctor, Marcus if I remember correctly, was fantastic and the nurses too. Lots of checks were done and then the cuts were cleaned up. Thankfully all was ok and we were sent home. I found the whole experience exhausting, terrifying and generally horrible. There were lots of tears...more mine than his! I felt like such a bad mummy.

 
Poor guy has two black eyes now :-(

But despite the black eyes, you wouldn't have known anything was wrong as he was just his usual self. He was even farting (loudly) on the hospital bed and laughing his head off and making me smell his sweaty socks during a silly game of 'I spy', and again laughing hysterically. 



Relaxing once the kids were in bed!

When did she get so grown up!?

At Granddad & Nanny Jo's in the garden. You'd think it was summer, but she insisted she was warm and didn't want a coat.

Relaxing in front of the fire... perfect end to the holiday.


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