Christmas House Tour 2016

Sorry the lighting in most of my outfit posts isn't the best but it's been reeeeally dull here lately and it's only every so often that you get a brighter day when the sun comes out! I wish I could plan my days when I take outfit pictures according to what the weather's like but unfortunately that would take WAY too much organisation for my capability! Speaking of organisation though...guess what I've done BEFORE Christmas Eve for the first time ever?! I wrapped all the kids' presents! Yay! I was so so adamant that I would not have a stressful Christmas Eve night where I stay up way too late trying to get everything wrapped without actually enjoying most of it so I put my mind to it this afternoon and managed to do it all (with the exception of Jonathan's but I'm going to do that during the day tomorrow and that's not too overwhelming!). And my package reached Ireland in time for Christmas which I was highly doubtful about as I'd left it so very late! Baby steps, steps. 

Anyway today's outfit is very basic, let's be honest. But it's comfy and I'm all about that these days. So I'm wearing my Mamalicious black jeggings I got from ASOS, along with a long sleeve top from New Look (also maternity), a Levi's checked shirt (sold out, similar style here) and UGG boots

I also finally got round to filming my Christmas House Tour (as promised) and am wearing an almost identical outfit to this one even though it was filmed on a different day, haha! Except instead of boots I have on cosy socks which were a present from Lucy...I have a feeling I'll be living in these this Christmas! That's it from me this week - I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas spent with family, friends & loved ones. Ours is always quiet and simple but I love it because there's less stress :) Eat lots of yummy food and I hope Santa Claus brings you the present you wished for ;) 

Throwback Thursday: Merry Christmas!

Christmas is almost upon us so here's a festive family photo (not including Erika as she wasn't born yet...sorry sis! You were a later addition!). This one was taken on the front steps of our house in Baltimore. Check out Emma's festive tights, haha! How weird is it that so many memories can be brought back just by an item of clothing?! Is anybody else like this? Almost every piece of clothing in this picture brings me back to a different time and I feel like I have a significant emotional connection to each (more so my mum & dad's clothes to be honest...for example my dad wore that coat and hat for as long as I can remember). I genuinely think this is why I tend to keep clothes for as long as I do and when people give me crap for spending a bit more money on them I just want to roll my eyes. Considering the amount of time I keep my favourite / most-loved pieces in my wardrobe I think the amount I pay for some good quality items is definitely worth it.

Anyway, enough rambling! How are you all prepared for Christmas?! It's in TWO days!! How did that happen? I think we're pretty much set, aside from the mountain of wrapping I need to do. It's times like these when I do wish our two elves of the shelf would chip in and help mama out a bit, instead of messing up my house every bloody night! Oh, and I also randomly decided yesterday that now would be a good time to (re)start potty training Eduardo. You know, because I love adding stress to my life!!! Honestly I'm amazed at how impeccable my timing is! 

What I Ate Wednesday {20.12.16}

Breakfast today was at 8:20am - we had a car booked for 9am to get into London for my doctor's appointment and hospital tour (exciting!). It was also a freezing cold morning so I made porridge with almond milk, used up one half of our many super ripe bananas, the remainder of our blueberries and my favourite...cinnamon! I also had a black coffee & bottle of water which I finished on the drive in (and subsequently needed to pee twice as soon as we reached our destination!).

Lunch wasn't until 2pm (we were starrrving!) as our appointment took a lot longer than expected. We went to Villandry where I'd never been before & I ordered the chicken salad with autumn veggies. Honestly this wasn't what I'd hoped it would be :( On paper it sounded amazing but in reality it was just chicken breast and a few root vegetables cut into cubes and covered in a mountain of lettuce. I also had a bottle of still water (which was tiny!).   

By the time we got home from London it was about 4:30pm and I had a quick snack of an apple and some almond butter (yum) with a black coffee to wake me up!

We ate dinner around 6:30 and had chicken noodles made with chow mein sauce, chicken thighs, stir fry veggies (red peppers, mange tout, onions) and wholewheat noodles. I also had more water (allllways chugging the water at this point of the pregnancy!) 

I was actually pretty full after dinner and didn't really need dessert...but I felt kind of bad for buying 5 boxes of mince pies as a result of panic mode setting in during Christmas grocery shopping (happens every year...without fail!). So I ate one of the mince pies and far too much whipped cream. Jonathan and I are such polar opposites even when it comes to Christmas food...we've made it part of our evening ritual to have mince pie & cream (me) and Christmas pudding with custard (him). I don't like pudding, Jonathan isn't a fan of mince pies...I don't love custard and he hates whipped cream. Together we make the perfect eating team...hahaha! 

That's all I had today. If you'd like to watch the video featuring lots of chicken drama regarding our lunch, check it out above! 

Easy Christmas Cookies

After all my talk of Christmas cookies a lot of you guys requested I share the recipe. We attempted them again today (using plain flour) and they were a success! I'm pretty sure I've probably already shared the recipe here before but in any case here it is right from my mum's cookbook: 

This is a combination of my mum's and sister's handwriting...I don't know did my mum get tired and my sister take over?! Haha! Anyway this recipe is the best (just whatever you do don't use self raising flour!) and it's my favourite Christmas cookie one. There's also another gingerbread one my mum used to make alongside this but they've got more spice to them as that recipe includes ginger, cinnamon, cloves and brown sugar instead of granulated. 

Let me know if you try this recipe! The only thing we do different is before baking we coat with beaten egg and add sprinkles/decorations. Then bake in the oven as instructed. Oh, and you could probably get a lot more shapes out of this recipe except that Emilia and I normally eat half the dough...haha oops.  

End of Term

Today I'm wearing a new top/jumper that looks like a cape which was part of my birthday present from Erika & I'm obsessed with it! I got so many compliments when wearing's in a charcoal grey colour (they call it black rhino on the website), from French Connection and I'm wearing a size medium. The jeggings are black maternity ones from Mamalicious that I got from ASOS a while ago (last pregnancy). My boots are the black suede Helene wedges from Whistles which I love because even though they're about 3 inches they're really comfy and I can wear them for ages, even while pregnant!

I can't believe this weekend is the last one before Christmas!! Aaaand I have written all of ONE Christmas card...oh well. Maybe next year! ;) Hope you all have a fabulous weekend...term has ended so we have our babies back home with us and no more super early mornings!

Throwback Thursday: Baking Gingerbread

Here's another Christmas throwback from when I was little and baking gingerbread cookies! Note the perfect looking shapes behind me thanks to my mum being an expert at this kind of thing. I attempted the EXACT same recipe this week and totally failed :( Initially when I tried to roll out the dough it was too soft...upon closer inspection of the recipe it appeared you're supposed to leave it in the fridge for 4 hours. Oops! So we left it in there for four days...just to be sure (no actually I just forgot about it!). Then when we tried again after waiting that long the shapes still kept falling apart! Now I'm realising the only difference I made was using self-raising flour as we were out of plain...I'm going to assume that's what made them all fail?! I'm sure any expert bakers out there will let me know! 

Anyway we will try again this weekend :) In the meantime we can admire my mum's!

What I Ate Wednesday {12.12.16}

Sorry for the lack of posts yesterday but I came down with some kind of viral flu-ey thing which started out as a headache but turned into an all over ache! :( Thankfully it only lasted 24 hours but I was pretty much in bed for almost the whole day. Anyway thankfully this What I Ate is from the day before so I didn't start to feel rotten until late in the evening. 

Breakfast (9:30am)

For breakfast I had a slice of wholegrain toast with avocado on top and a black coffee. Basically all I do to make this is take one whole avocado (a big one!) and mash it up with salt & pepper then spread the whole thing on toast and you're done! I also had a bottle of water. 

Snack (1pm)

We had meetings from 12:30 till 2pm which was rather inconveniently right around lunch time! I didn't have time to eat in between them but we did get a plate of Italian pastries (best thing about meeting in an Italian restaurant!) and I had one of the larger two which are called sfogliatelle. They're a flaked pastry filled with cream...yum!! 

Lunch (2:55pm)

I didn't have lunch till a lot later than usual as we also dropped my sister to the airport but when I got back I had homemade butternut squash soup (made with sweet potato & parsnips) with croutons and fried onions on top. This was actually really filling as I had a massive bowl of it! I also drank another bottle of water.

Dinner (7pm)

For dinner we had chicken thighs with roasted sweet potato and steamed broccoli. I don't know why but I'm obsessed with sweet potato at the moment! Also broccoli has been a must for me this pregnancy but unfortunately Jonathan doesn't like it so I end up eating most of it myself! (Aside from the little bits I manage to hide in the kids' meals!) Along with dinner I also had a bottle of water.

Evening Snack (9pm)

By the time evening rolled round my headache/weird body aches & pains had started :( So I made myself a hot lemon & ginger tea as well as one of my favourite snacks of the moment...some medjool dates stuffed with walnuts. This is a total go-to for curbing a sweet tooth craving yet it's healthy for you!

That's everything for this week's What I Ate! Don't forget to check out the vlog above which was introduced by Eduardo talking about his favourite topic of the moment...poo-poo. 

Christmas Gift Guide for Him!

Here is my men's gift guide for Christmas 2016! In my opinion men (and boys) are the toughest people to buy for. I've always struggled to find the perfect present for my dad and now I have the same problem with my husband. I've even started to discover that it's just as difficult with a son! Why are men so impossible to buy for?! Anyway here are my picks for Jonathan this Christmas, bearing in mind the type of guy he is because obviously there are many different types out there who have various interests. I hope some of you find this helpful as I know I could have done with a men's gift guide many times in my life!

6 Months Pregnant

I am now 6 months pregnant and nearing the beginning of my third trimester...I can't believe it's gone so fast! This outfits has become one of my pregnancy "uniforms" as it's one of my go-to pairings when I'm in a rush and don't know what to wear. The leggings are Isabella Oliver under the bump ones (not my favourite of the two I own from that brand but still amazing quality as I love the material). My top is from Free People and the one I wore for our calendar photoshoot! The shirt is from Abercrombie & Fitch and my boots are quite old favourites from H by Hudson. No hat or scarf needed today as it was very mild (but gloomy). 

I also filmed my second pregnancy vlog which you can check out below! In it I talk about what symptoms I've been having, weight gain, what I'm doing to prevent (more) stretch marks as well as show you the bump! Hope you enjoy and have a lovely weekend! Last week is the last week of term and then it starts to get REALLY Christmassy! Yay!

Throwback Thursday: YouTube Rewind!

Back in October, we participated in YouTube Rewind 2016. We had to keep things under wraps until now but it was a really fun experience and we couldn't wait to share it with you! For our bit in the video, we had to dress up as builders on a construction site. Jonathan actually looked really good as a builder...I just looked, well. Pregnant?! The dungarees are my own ones from Mamalicious (they were a bit big at the time so I'm looking forward to wearing them further into my pregnancy!) but the rest of the clothes I'm wearing were given to me on the day. 

Check out our secret footage from the day below and don't forget to give YouTube Rewind a look as well for our half a second cameo! (Don't blink or you'll miss it!) 

What I Ate Wednesday {6.12.16}

For some reason whenever I film/blog about these WIAW's, they fall on a day when we're in London and this time was no exception! We ate breakfast pretty fast at around 8am as our car was collecting us at 8:15. I had half a wholewheat bagel with crunchy peanut butter and half a banana with a black coffee and bottle of water. Nothing too exciting but it filled me up and was quick!  

After our first meeting in London we stopped for lunch in Busaba, a Thai restaurant we'd never been to before. I got the Northern Thai Laksa Soup with chicken, rice noodles, chilli, coconut and red chilli paste. It was delicious but soooo filling I almost couldn't move afterwards! To drink I just had water. As it turned out though there were two more meetings after this and it ended up being a REALLY long day so the big lunch was probably the only thing that kept me going as we didn't get to eat again until almost 6 o'clock! 

After all of our meetings were finished we went to the nearest Cafe Nero and I had a blueberry muffin. Honestly at that point I was so tired and hungry all I wanted was sugar! I had already had a black coffee earlier on during one of the meetings which I obviously didn't take a picture of (would have been a bit weird...hahaha!).

We finally arrived home at 8 o'clock in the evening and had a variation of Jamie Oliver's Proper Bloke's Pasta which involves sausage meat, fennel seeds and chilli...yum! I topped it off with some grated parmesan and also chugged a bottle of water. Jonathan and I both love this dish, he for the sausage and I for the pasta! 

And to balance out the lack of many fruits or veggies in this day's eats (which I only later realised - oops!) I finished off the evening with a healthy snack of some red grapes and a bio-live strawberry yoghurt. Later on Jonathan also made me a peppermint & licorice tea (not pictured). 

That's all for today folks! Let me know what you ate today in the comments below! And don't forget to check out my video from today below. Jonathan actually didn't vlog at all this day so it's like some sneaky behind the scenes Saccone Joly footage, hehe!

November Favourites 2016

There weren't enough November favourites to warrant a video which is why I thought I'd make a quick little blog post on them instead. I did a lot of Christmas shopping last month which is probably why you're seeing a lack of new products as I didn't really buy anything for myself. The one item I did purchase was Orofluido Original Elixir which I mentioned in my hair routine post. I normally use Moroccan oil in my hair but had to try this one after my hairdresser introduced me to it as the smell is absolutely amazing! I would say it works the same as Moroccan oil (I can't see any difference as far as product performance goes) however the smell and the packaging are what make this win for me! 

Another hair product I've been loving more recently, has been the Sirens Ibiza Effortlessly Chic Big Volume Beach Hair. I was sent this a really long time ago as part of a beauty box (I can't even remember which one!) as a sample size. I hadn't got around to using it yet until now and I love it. If you like beachy, voluminous bed-head hair then this is perfect for you. I've just been spritzing it into my hair after styling it for a messy, textured beachy look. 

In keeping with the hair theme, I know I mentioned the Tangle Angel Brush already in my hair routine post but I've really been liking it a lot last month. It was sent to my PO box along with little ones for the kids and paw ones for the dogs. I love the design, I think the packaging is pretty and it works like a Tangle Teezer in that it doesn't pull on your hair harshly like a normal brush. However the major plus is that you get a handle which I have to admit, I was missing. 

My next favourite was the Mama Mio Tummy Rub Butter. I always find the scent of this to be very nostalgic as this was the tummy butter I used almost throughout my whole first pregnancy with Emilia. It has quite a citrus-y smell and everytime I use it I'm reminded of that time and it brings back fond memories! I alternate between lots of different lotions and potions that promise to work against stretch marks during pregnancy but I always seem to come back to this one! 

As you all know I'm quite fussy with my lipsticks and won't include one in my favourites unless I genuinely love the shade (and usually it's a nude!). But I found this Bobbi Brown lipstick in Pale Beige which isn't a new purchase but had been gathering dust in my makeup collection when I rooted it out. I recently just started using it as an alternative to MAC's Blankety. It's a beautiful true nude which isn't too cool, nor too warm. Sometimes lipsticks with the word "beige" in the name can come up too orangey on me but this one is perfect!

The other thing I've been loving this past month which isn't beauty related has been chai tea. I just discovered this as I never used to drink it but got sent a pack of Clipper's Love Me Truly which is a chai tea with cloves, cinnamon, ginger root, fennel seeds and cardamom. I drink it with warm almond milk and it makes the perfect relaxing bed-time drink! 

So those were my short & sweet favourites for the previous month! Hope you enjoyed and let me know your most loved products in November! 

Stocking Fillers Under £15 (Kids Edition)

Here are my stocking filler ideas for kids aged 2-4! All of these are under £15 (actually they're under £10 but in the video for some reason I thought some were more!) and I did two options, one for girls and one for boys. I will probably pick up a few more things in the run up to Christmas (mostly chocolate I imagine!) but hopefully this will help those of you who are stuck for ideas! I also have to keep everything quite similar as Emilia & Eduardo will fight over ANYTHING that isn't almost exactly the same. Here's a list of the stocking fillers I found!

For Girls

Paw Patrol Pups Away Bath Crayons & Washmitt £5.25

Playmobil Princess Viola with Horse £8.99

Disney Princess Mystery Minis Vinyl Figure £5.99

TY Beanie Boos Rocco £6.00

Unicorn Pencil £1.99

Disney Frozen Bubbles £0.60

Shopkins Sticker Sheets £1.49

Kinder Surprise Santa 75g £2.00

For Boys

Paw Patrol 3D Marshall Sponge & Bath Shower Set £6.99

Playmobil Pirates Captain £4.99

Frozen Mystery Minis Vinyl Figure £6

TY Beanie Boos Slick £7.99

Green Dragon Pencil £1.99

Disney Frozen Bubbles £0.60

Peppa Pig George in Space Stickers £1.25

Kinder Surprise Santa 75g £2.00

Let me know what your favourite stocking filler ideas are for kids! Or what do you remember getting when you were little?

Grey on Grey

Today was a grey day...and I'm not talking about the weather! Actually there was plenty of sunshine which made it good for taking pictures / filming but in terms of my outfit I went all grey which is something I do quite a lot especially in the colder months...I just love grey! This Zara top was a birthday present from my sister Erika and it's super cosy! I feel like this is the winter's answer to the basic tee as it's oversized, the sleeves are a little bit longer and the material is warm & soft. My jeans are maternity Mamalicious skinnies and they are probably one of my favourite pairs this pregnancy as the material is so stretchy. The Nike high-tops are in perforated grey suede and were one of last winter's purchases from Net-A-Porter (now sold out :( ).

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Don't forget to check out my Luxury Women's Gift Guide video if you're looking for some inspiration on what to buy a special someone OR you might want to send the link to your hubby/boyfriend as a not-so-subtle hint! ;)

Throwback Thursday: Getting Ready for Christmas

Happy December! During the run up to Christmas I will be sharing some personal seasonal snaps with you all (thanks to my mum for sending them my way!). Here's one of me with the family before we became a fivesome. This was taken when I was about 5 and my sister was 1 and 1/2. How cute and chubby was she?! And how pretty does my mum look! I can definitely tell it was a weekend/non-work day as my dad was wearing jeans...hahaha.

How are you guys prepared for Christmas?! I actually feel pretty organised this year; I have most of my shopping done, our tree is up (not decorated yet but it's up and we have lights on!) my Christmas grocery shop is ordered...I just need to buy wrapping paper and Jonathan's present. Oh, and actually write some Christmas cards this year! But compared to other years, I'm feeling quite productive!

Did you get a Saccone Joly's advent calendar? We opened the first door this morning and the Elf on the Shelf came to visit our home which has never happened before. Emilia and Eduardo were completely tickled pink to discover that he had hung all of their knickers and underpants on the Christmas tree! I have a feeling we've got a really naughty elf ;)

What I Ate Wednesday {29.11.16}

This morning's breakfast was really rushed as I had about 2 minutes to eat it before our car came to go into London! We had meetings all day so I had to be quick as I normally eat after the school run (I'm never hungry enough at 7:30am!) My favourite quick & easy breakfast is Weetabix with almond milk (hot - I heat it up for 1 min 30 in the microwave). I added 1/2 banana, raisins and some cinnamon on top. I also had a black coffee and a bottle of water in the car!

Lunch happened a lot later at about 2 o'clock because our meeting ran late so Jonathan, Francesca & ended up going to Zizzi's and I got the Toscana soup (which is actually a starter) with mozzarella bread. I can't remember exactly what was in it but I think it was quinoa, tomatoes, thyme and lots of chunky vegetables. It was really yummy and perfect for a freezing day! 

By the time we got home it was around 5pm and I was hungry again so made myself a coffee (black) and two kiwis & a peach bio-live yoghurt as a snack. I've heard kiwis are packed with vitamin C and are good for warding off colds & winter sickness which is exactly what I DON'T need being pregnant with lots of bugs going round!

For dinner we had baked salmon with roasted root veggies (sweet potato, parsnips, carrots), sundried tomatoes and steamed broccoli. I also had another bottle of water to drink and nibbled on some extra broccoli before dinner, haha!

For a kind of evening snack/dessert I attempted to keep it healthy-ish with a chai tea made with hot almond milk and a slice of our homemade banana bread with honey. The banana bread comes from Fearne Cotton's book, Cook Happy Cook Healthy and is a super delicious and moist recipe using chia seeds & walnuts. Definitely recommend it! I also have this for breakfast sometimes. 

Hope you enjoyed this week's What I Ate Wednesday! And...surprise! I made a video too. So if you want to see toddler meltdowns, barking dogs and Jonathan and I bickering feel free to click the play button. If you'd rather not, I totally understand. ;) 

My Haircare Routine

Here's a little look at my favourite haircare products. I actually have a pretty low maintenance hair routine and feel almost embarrassed when people ask me for tips or to make videos/tutorials on my hair. The main reason for that is because I do the same thing pretty much everyday...and have kept that relatively consistent for years! The most frequently asked question I get is how do I grow my hair or do I have any tips on how to get long hair fast. I honestly don't think I do anything special and a lot of it is down to genetics/your natural hair type. My hair grows like a weed, it's very thick and tends to be on the dry side so I don't need to wash it everyday. Having said that, I do believe that limiting the use of heat on your hair will help it grow, along with not over washing it and a healthy diet. I am currently also taking prenatal vitamins which include a fish oil supplement as well and I'm sure that helps with hair/nail growth. I wash my hair twice a week and almost never use a blow-dryer. (I've actually given mine to the kids because I don't use it at all anymore!) I use heat on it around twice a week by curling it the day after I wash it but then I leave it the other two days as it holds curl pretty well. 

Let's start with the products I use in the shower. My current favourite shampoo & conditioner are from the Kerastase Nutritive range. I use Bain Satin 1 shampoo and Lait Vital conditioner, then once a week I use the Masque Magistral in place of a conditioner as a treatment. I leave this in for about 3-5 minutes and when I brush my hair out after my shower it makes a huge difference! Usually my hair is quite textured and knotted when it's wet but after using this mask it brushes out really smoothly. Then if I remember to about once a month I use the Wella Colour Recharge Cool Blonde which is a purple shampoo that helps my highlights from turning brassy looking. 

These are my favourite products I use to style my hair. When I get out of the shower I typically towel dry it and put it up on top of my head while I moisturise, apply my skincare, brush my teeth etc. Eventually when it's about 10-20% dry I take it down and brush it out. I used to use the Tangle Teezer but was recently sent this Tangle Angel brush to my PO box and have been liking it a lot. (We actually got one each, including the kids and dogs!) Then I apply a small amount of Phyto 7 Hydrating Day Cream to the ends of my hair and sleep on it damp. I always wash my hair at night so the following morning when I wake up it's about 80-90% dry and naturally wavy. 

The following day I normally style my hair using the Nume 3 in 1 Curl Jam wand with the largest barrel. I basically just curl my hair away from the face (I have about a million tutorials on this already on my YouTube), spritzing with L'Oreal Elnett hairspray as I go to hold the maximum curl and ensure it lasts for the next few days. I also apply a hair oil to the ends and my current favourite is Orofluido Original Elixir which smells like a dream! On the next two days I spray the roots with dry shampoo (my fave is Batiste Heavenly Volume, not the one pictured as I've run out), brush it out with the same brush and then apply some oil to the ends if necessary. 

And that's my entire haircare routine! I hope this helps answer your questions. I also find it's the best low-maintenance routine for lazy girls like me as there's only really 15-20 mins of styling every three days which makes it very easy. Let me know what your favourite hair products are!

Stand Up to Cancer Afternoon Tea

This past weekend I had the pleasure of meeting the 10 lovely women who won my afternoon tea competition which I ran with Stilnest in aid of Stand Up to Cancer. Last month we ran this competition to raise money for SU2C and 16% of each jewellery sale went to the charity. Everyone who bought a piece during the month of October was entered into this competition to spend afternoon tea with me and 10 winners were selected, two of which were international. I was so excited to meet ten of my viewers in such a personal, intimate setting as opposed to a large meet & greet with hundreds of people (which I always find overwhelming anyway!). This was much more relaxed and laid there was food involved and who doesn't love that?!   

The afternoon tea was hosted by the Runnymede-on-Thames hotel and they put on such a beautiful spread. The highlight of the afternoon was finding out from SU2C that we had raised £12,000 for the charity through my jewellery alone. I honestly cannot tell you how proud and emotional that makes me and I feel so incredibly thankful to all of you who helped to reach that amazing amount. I am blown away by how a simple necklace with a lot of meaning has made such an impact in just one year since I launched this line with Stilnest! I really wish my dad could have lived to see all of this unfold but I'm so proud to have done it in his honour.

If you would like to support Stand Up To Cancer, find out more about how you can help here
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