Little Pink Teacup

Little Pink Teacup

Tuesday 31 December 2013

Fourteen things for 2014

Not simply resolutions, more of a to-do list. Here's my fourteen things for 2014...

1. Sort out the finances.
I'll be honest, they're a bit of a mess at the moment, I'd really like to 'trim the fat' off and cut out any unnecessary expenditure. I guess that means ditching the husband...he costs more than the children!

2. Do more structured activities.
With Moo having longer hours at nursery as of next week, I really want to make productive use of my time on weekdays; to get the most out of the hours I have with and without her. I'll be making a chart. Yes, you read that correctly, a chart. I'm that obsessive over organisation.

3. Make new friends.
I have old friends and mummy friends...I'd like to make more friends with children Bear's age.

4. Return to work.
Unfortunately, it's got to be done. I'd better man-up about it.

5. Blog more original content.
I like my random waffling and while I love discovering new things, what makes my blog unique is me, not the (very lovely) brands I work with.

6. Routine.
When Bear got poorly, our routine went sailing through the window. Time to claw it back!

7. De-clutter life.
Seriously, when did my house become akin to a dump? It's full of stuff, I can barely move. Clear room, clear mind as my husband says (before hypocritically leaving a wet towel in the middle io the dining room)!

8. Lose weight.
Well I had a baby three and a half months ago and have celebrated a lot of things since. I was thinner the day after I had him than I am now. Too much cake, not enough exercise!

9. Put more effort in.
Same as the routine, once Bear got poorly, I stopped putting effort into my every-day appearance. I keep leaving the house without make-up and my hair in a top knot. It's not a great look...

10. Start decorating.
All three bedrooms need it.

11. Work on Moo's phonics, letters and reading.
One morning a week will be dedicated to developing Moo's reading skills.

12. Network more.
I used to do a lot of this for our family-run business and I need to get back in to it if I ever want to own my own home!

13. Take a city break.
One that doesn't feature a concert. Or is in Leeds.

14. Have more fun, worry less.
Because life can come to a very abrupt halt, so why waste time on boring stuff?

Happy new year everyone!


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Sunday 29 December 2013

2013 in Numbers

2013 was a big year for our family, we became 'complete'. We have two healthy and happy children, one of each, and so we're done with baby making (more on that topic later in the week).

Here's what made 2013...

Baby Bear.
- Two ultrasound scans.
- Two midwife-departments.
- Nine midwife appointments.
- Two false-labours.
- Thirty-eight weeks of pregnancy (forty-two in total).
- Seven minutes of delivery.
- 1:06am; time he was born, weighing 8lb6oz on 08/09/2013.
- Ninety seconds; length of time he stopped breathing once delivered.
- Twenty-seven minutes after he was born, my husband arrived.
- Three return journeys to and from our home in Eastbourne and the Conquest Hospital by my husband in a thirty-six hour period.
- Forty minutes is the approximate time from home to hospital one way.
- Sixteen weeks of successful breast-feeding.
- Twenty-five weeks of maternity leave taken.
- One very proud big sister, two smitten parents and one big lump of gorgeous bubba.

And the rest...
- One house-move.
- Two failed attempts, two relapses and three successful attempts at potty training.
- Fifteen children under five at the party where my daughter turned three.
- Twenty-five and twenty-seven; the ages my husband and I turned (respectively).
- Two trips to Paris as a family.
- Four concerts.
- One trip to Peppa Pig World.
- Two weddings attended.
- One year of wedded bliss celebrated.
- One first ever trip to the cinema.
- Four days of Christmas-festivities as a family of four.
- 364; the (approximate) times I've seen Disney's Tangled with Moo.

Wow. What a year. I've loved 2013 (apart from the never-ending pregnancy) and I can't wait to see what 2014 will bring my way I'm hoping more handbags and chocolate with less weight gain!


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Saturday 28 December 2013

Internet vs Christmas

I had a four-day break from all social-media channels over Christmas and it was beautiful. I've taken about a fortnight off from my blog which was unplanned but needed. I found myself in a low place just before and I needed to step back, to hide myself, my family, my life away from the world in the little bubble that is the 'Teacup Family home' and take stock. Of everything.

I'm excited for 2014, it'll bring changes; some good, some not-so-much but all needed.

I've been thinking recently that maybe the Internet isn't such a great thing...that perhaps the over-sharing element that comes with social media is ruining our fun at Christmas? People share too much I think. Is it not considered bragging to Instagram all your presents? Would you invite your friends round to gaze upon your festive bounty (neatly arranged and in great, natural light)?

In a time where people are struggling to feed their families, should we really be telling the world what we were lucky enough to receive? Is it safe to Instagram that new Mulberry handbag then tweet you're off to the gym for a post-Christmas work out? 

Is gifting fair? Are there rules? I once won a prize on Twitter and gave it as a present. They saw and were offended that I hadn't gone out and purchased something myself. Truth is, I don't give things that aren't the quality that I would buy for myself unless the recipient specifically asks for it. I spend the same on my sister as I do my brother-in-law, my best friend, my parents etc and the only people who get preferential treatment are my children and my husband.

Is online shopping really the way forward? I bought a friend something this year and when it arrived, was disappointed it wasn't what I thought. Had I gone to a shop to buy it I would've known that. 

And the sales, oh the sales. Can we say relentless?! I was getting emails on sales starting the 23rd! Half the things I'd bought were already half-price! On Internet, you need a slap sometimes!!

The Internet ruins Christmas. There. I said it.


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Saturday 14 December 2013

Budget Christmas Partying

I think it's fair to say that most of us love a good party and let's face it, at this time of year you're unlikely to slide through the month without at least one invite to someone's festivities. But whether you love to party or not, Christmas time is probably the most financially unforgiving with the presents, the food, the parties and all the other little extras that come with making that last week of the year something spectacular.

In recent years, since donning my Mummy hat, I've had to cut back extensively on the Christmas party spending. Four years ago I thought nothing of dropping £100 a time or more on one outfit for one party, but now with two children, a heap of household outgoings and maternity leave this year...I'll be lucky if I spend half of that on all of my parties combined! The old me would've been horrified but I would much rather spend that money on my children or my family than on myself, and let's be anyone likely to realise that you wore that little black dress last year? Can you remember what they wore last year?

So here's a few tips to make a megre party budget go further, whether it's out of choice or necessity, you can be the belle of the ball on a budget!

Bargain Beauty.
Beauty is an expensive habit and it seems that every time I swing through Boots, more prices have edged just a little bit higher. With that said, there are more and more low-priced brands coming forward to offer make-up at mini-prices. Long-gone are the days where a small price meant 'pocket-money', you can now buy fantastic, pigmented and long-wearing make-up from as little as £1 from brands such as MUA, Barry M, Collection and Sleek. Everything from your basic lipstick and eyeshadow to more professional tools such as primers and brow-kits.

A smokey-eye is a classic for the party season. It'll give you a great pop of colour and open your eyes up. If you have three shades of the same colour lurking in your vanity table then you can create this look easily with the help of thousands of online-tutorials ranging from subtle to dramatic, depending on the look you're after. If you don't think you have anything suitable, you can pick up a vast range of eye-shadow pallets from the make-up departments of Boots and Superdrug for well under a tenner. Models Own even have a small pallet designed exclusively for a smokey eye which comes complete with brushes and a photo-tutorial, retailing at around £5.

Supermarket Superheros.
The supermarket clothing brands have come on leaps and bounds in recent years and party-wear is no exception. Both Tesco and ASDA have a large range of festive-appropriate frocks online and in store for a fraction of what you'd pay on the high street. Try to resist loud, statement dresses if you want to get a lot of wear out of them, using accessories to change up an outfit from party to party. 

Viva the video.
Stuck for hair inspiration? Not quite sure on that cat-like flick? One word; YouTube! With hairdressers, make-up artists and brands flooding the channels with tutorial after tutorial, you're bound to find a video that'll give you that helping hand that you need! I've even cut my own side-swept fringe using a YouTube video (NOT for the faint of heart)! If the products they use seem a bit on the pricey side, try googling dupes for them as a lot of beauty bloggers will often review and offer a dupe solution for those of us not willing to pay £10+ for a texturising spray!

It's a deal!
I love a deal and at this time of year 3 for 2 reigns supreme!! If you have an award card such as Boots Advantage card, check out what offers you can get before you spend. You often can get vouchers and money-off of certain products that might work out cheaper than buyingt hem on a multi-purchase. My best friend and I like to split a 3 for 2 offer when it comes to a party. We'll buy an item each and then share the third (usually a nail polish), we've then got two new products for the price of one! If you have older daughters, this is also a great way to keep them cheery!


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Wednesday 11 December 2013

Hobbycraft Wreath Making

To me, nothing says 'Christmas is upon us' like a well-decorated home. I live in a Victorian terrace, one of a long row of three-bedroom homes that stretches down the road, fifty-houses-long. There is not much more festive than seeing door after door adorned with a festive wreath. I, sadly, have never owned one so you can imagine my excitement when I was offered a wreath-making kit by Hobbycraft.

When it arrived I was beyond anxious to get crafting with Moo as my glamorous (read chaotic) assistant, however, when I opened the box up, I was a little surprised by my provisions. Here's what we got...

The wreath-frame itself was more than I expected, however the two decorative embellishments that came with it were what I had imagined, not what I would describe as typically festive; a bunch of silver-glitter flowers and a sprig of red glitter fruit(that isn't on the website). I certainly wouldn't of picked them myself. The fruit was already falling apart (curse you delivery man) sadly but still, once Moo and Bear were collectively asleep I got cracking!

The first problem that I encountered was that the stem for the fruit was very thick and rigid so all I could do with it was stab it through the twigs that made up the frame and rely on a bit of balance and gravity to hold in place (I later got some cotton and tied it on). Next I attempted to add the flowers whose stems were firm paper-covered wire. Bendable but really thick. Too thick for the frame they came with and white which meant that no matter how much creative twisting I did, they were visible from the front of my creation. I wanted to add some tartan ribbon but alas time escaped me and I never made it to the haberdashers. So I ended with this...

Yeah...for someone with a background in art and design, not my finest project to date.

If you're thinking of having a go at making your own wreath then Hobbycraft is definitely the place to go! The range of items available and the prices are brilliant, here's what I would pick if I were to have another go...


Please note these items were provided for the purposes of review however all thoughts and opinions (and awful crafting) are my own.

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Monday 9 December 2013

Pets at Home Christmas Cat Gifts

Let me introduce you to someone special that doesn't get a mention very often; the cat.

She's my husband's cat, he and his brother have had her since they were young children (they're in their twenties now). She's very old, very grouchy and very hairy. Her name's Fluffy. 

We were kindly sent a large box of goodies from the lovely people at Pets at Home to sample some of their festive treats for moggies and believe you me, they've come a long way since I had my own cat and I used to buy her the standard cat-treats-in-the-shape-of-a-stocking (though one of those was included, rude not to, it's a classic)!

Here's what we got...

Also included was this fabulous door hanger toy (£6 but seems to be sold out as not on website, it's worth checking your local store though as it's brilliant)! It has four Christmas-themed dangly objects and hangs over your door handle for your cat to bat and play with. I loved it and though it was brilliant...unfortunately, Fluffy not so much as you can see...but no matter, it make a great little decoration and is there should she change her mind and decide to let her hair down (at which point we'll be hoovering up the fur...again...)!

Fluffy did enjoy the catnip Santa, it turned her nose bright red and she apparently went super loopy around the living room (I was out, but my husband's Nan found it amusing). The dangly toy and treat sticks were also a big hit but like I mentioned earlier you simply cannot go wrong with a cat treat stocking! The Pets at Home one comes with catnip treats, milk drops, cat milk for adult cats, 4x toys and a ball of scrunched paper-stuff (which any cat owner at Christmas will tell you the best gift you can give your feline companion is to drop them into the middle of a pile of torn-off wrapping paper)!

I'm totally in love with the cute Christmas range at Pets at Home this year, so much so I wish I had more (more playful) cats at my disposal and I'm so glad it's becoming easier to shop for our four-legged friends at Christmas too! Is it me or are cats the ultimate in hard-to-buy-for recipient? 


Please note these items were sent to (Fluffy and) me for the purpose of review, however all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Sunday 8 December 2013


Being a Barista for more years than I care to admit, I like to think I know a thing or two about hot drinks. I love a hot drink...but not tea. Yes, I know I'm British and I should be full-on loopy for the stuff but I really don't like 'black' teas like your everyday brew or the dustiness that is Earl Grey. I do however love a green tea or an 'infusion' (non-tea teas like fruit, peppermint etc.) and as coffee mad that I am, I do prefer one of these on an afternoon!

So when Fruitbroo dropped me an email to ask of I'd like to give them a whirl, I couldn't of been more excited to take them up on their kind offer.

Fruitbroo are 100% natural, 15 calorie, little bottles of hot fruit heaven that are completely caffeine, gluten and dairy-free making them suitable for everyone. They come in six mouth-watering, scrumptious-sounding flavours including honey and lemon which I bet is really fab for those cold, I think I'm catching something, mornings.

I received Apple, Ginger and Spice as well as Rhubarb, Apple and Cinnamon to try and was instantly boiling my kettle to try the first. The instructions say one teaspoon or two then add boiling water. I tried one to start off with which gave a subtle, refreshing flavour. My tastes are pretty strong so I added a second spoon to get a good flavour punch and it was perfection. I could taste all three elements of the labour profile and it made a wonderful hot drink alternative to the black Americano I would usually be sipping at that time.

I found the apple in both drinks to provide just the right amount of sweetness, two spoons might be too sweet for some as I add sugar to my coffee and fruit teas (I know, bad...)! The Apple, Ginger and Spice was my favourite to taste, purely because I'm not a massive fan of rhubarb or cinnamon. I found the rhubarb made it a little on the tart side for my liking. But that's me. If you like a rhubarb crumble hen this is the drink for you!

Here are my pros and cons...

- Sickeningly easy to use. Easier than a tea bag with it's brewing time and water temperature! Just a spoon or two plus water and away you go! Fruity yumminess!
- Great range of flavours.
- Small bottles, ideal for home or work.

- Uhm...guys? Where's the berry flavour? That would by far make my day, if not my month!

Apple, Ginger and Spice - one spoon.

Fruitbroo's current slogan is 'Christmas in a cup' and I will definitely be offering up these little beauties to my guests this festive period with some (un)homemade gingerbread and panettone!

Fruitbroo is currently available online or in Sainsbury's for £2.50 per bottle (approximately 15 servings), with free delivery until 16th December (minimum order 2 bottles). They're also giving away heaps and heaps of prizes this Christmas on Twitter under the antagonistic #FruitbrooGaveToMe so quick, get following!


Please note the above products were sent to me for the purposes if review, however all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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