With the new A/W range recently launched we were asked to choose an item going along the theme of 'school days and/or field trips'.
With Harry now being a full time school boy, and Charles still being able to wear his Frugi Explorer coat from last year, I already knew what I was looking for.
The Frugi Adventure Print coat is perfect for Dinosaur mad children (I say children because I don't think this would look out of place on a girl too!) and the camouflage print makes it a little different to other dinosaur themed coats on the market.
This coat is made with a showerproof outer fabric, cosy inner wadding and soft fleece lining. And is also made from 100% recycled fibres.
It features the reflective stars, which are also on Charles' Frugi Explorer coat, as well as a Diplodocus on the zip which is a lovely little detail which I think I appreciated just as much as Harry!
The Adventure Print coat retails for £46 and is available in sizes 2-3 up to 9-10.
Check out Edspire, to see what lovely Jennie chose for her children from the new Frugi range.
I always thought that one of the "best things" about me was my honesty. Maybe sometimes I am too honest? Too open? Too personal?
I don't have a problem sharing my feelings, my thoughts, and so on, as long as it doesn't hurt anyone.
And this year my mind set has changed massively. I've gone from someone who would be incredibly negative to someone who is happier than she has been in a while.
My thoughts have gone from being negative to mostly being positive, although of course negativity pops up in some circumstances but overall, I'd like to think my head is in a better place than it ever has been.
But the last week or so, I've wondered if this is the case? Or if maybe I need to show that side of me more in real life, to make more of an effort to show others that this is who I am?
Am I not showing this enough? Do I make myself out to be negative, and dishonest?
Does holding back feelings and not wanting to spill out everything really mean I am dishonest?
Does not wanting to get my hopes up and not wanting to feel let down make me a negative person?
One thing I would hate to be in life is one of those people who drains everyone else's energy. Or someone who is seen as being negative.
And I can't help but to feel slightly gutted and disappointed that I've made myself come across that way.
I'm not that person. If anything, in recent weeks I've been a lot more positive than expected for someone in my "situation".
But once someone has this image of you, how do you change that?
How do you try to show them the real you, to prove the person you really are, without them thinking you are backtracking, or changing to impress them? How do you prove to them that they have got you wrong? And that you are better than the person they assume that you are?
I've always preferred pasta and those proper Italian pizzas to any other food....well...Greek food is a close second but Italian is my passion.
In 2012 Jamie's Italian was opened in The Royal Arcade in Norwich. This is a beautiful location, and although in the main city centre, in the perfect location amongst all of the shops, is down a back street so you can avoid seeing the hustle and bustle of busy shoppers and city workers.
I was recently contacted to visit Jamie's Italian Norwich, which was rather exciting as I hadn't yet managed to visit! Which is quite shameful given how long it has been open.
My mum had a week off work so we planned a girly lunch, along with a mini shopping spree because it would be rude not to!
When it comes to parking there are lots of options in Norwich, however if visiting Jamie's Italian I would recommend parking in either the Castle Mall car park or at The Forum. These are both cheaper options and the Castle Mall car park is pretty much guaranteed to have spaces.
Before visiting I assumed that the restaurant was only small and was only on the ground floor. That was until we went in and were lead up some stairs to a beautiful room perfectly laid out with a variety of tables and chairs to suit any number of guests.
We were seated near the window, which was lovely as we do like to people watch and the light was perfect for a lunch date.
I'm always quite big on customer service and I think how you are greeted when you enter a restaurant is just as important as the quality of the food.
The staff could not be faulted at all. If only I was on the ball enough to have got their names!
As we entered we were greeted by a female member of staff who walked us upstairs to our table. Not only did she make us feel welcome but she took her time to talk to us as she walked us to our table and as we sat she explained that this was the first day of their new menu. This wasn't something I, or the PR, had planned and was quite by chance. She explained that the staff had all had a taster of the new menu the previous night and that they were all really excited about it.
Our waitor then came over and told us of the specials and what I particularly liked about this was that he didn't just list them, he went into detail about how each dish was cooked and again, he was passionate about it. You could tell that it was genuine passion too, and at the end of the meal I had a really lovely conversation with this gentleman (I really wish I had got his name!) as he talked to me about the menu, how the menus are different depending on which restaurant you visit, and also about how this is the first time that the menu in the restaurant has worked alongside the release of one of Jamie's recipe books.
So, should we get down to what we ordered?
For drinks, although tempted to order a glass of wine, we instead ordered the homemade lemonade. We had a regular homemade lemonade and also a special pink lemonade. My mum preferred the pink lemonade and I went for the regular lemonade which was...hardly surprising but still....very strong. I find this perfect with an Italian meal because I feel like it cleanses the palette and also reminds me of Limoncello...which is never a bad thing hey?!
Starters:ITALIAN NACHOS Crispy fried ravioli stuffed with mozzarella, ricotta & Bella Lodi, served with spicy Sicilian tomato sauce
SPICY MEATBALL BRUSCHETTA Free-range pork & fennel meatballs in a fiery ‘nduja tomato sauce with lemony rocket & Parmesan
BAKED CRESPELLE Spinach, Westcombe ricotta & basil baked in gluten-free buckwheat pancakes with smoked mozzarella, sweet buttery leeks, Sicilian tomato sauce & Parmesan
PENNE CARBONARA Crispy chunks of smoked pancetta, sweet buttery leeks, lemon & a traditional carbonara sauce
TIRAMISU The classic Italian dessert topped with chocolate shavings & orange zest
I have a bit of a thing for Nachos. If they are on a menu then I have to have them...so give me the option of an Italian version and BOOM! I'm in heaven. The Italian Nachos were honestly, incredible. Crispy on the outside with a soft cheesy filling, these were a great alternative to the 'crisp style' nachos you are served elsewhere. The chilli dip was also a perfect accompaniment.
WARM SOUR CHERRY FRANGIPANE Whipped mascarpone, crushed
amaretti & fresh mint tips
I think what we both liked most about our meals was that, alongside being fresh and full of flavour, we didn't feel uncomfortably full and bloated like you can do after a meal with carbs! Let's face it, when you are then going shopping and potentially trying on quite fitted tops and dresses the last thing you want is to be bloated!
My mum ordered the Carbonara and was impressed at being able to order a smaller portion, especially when it arrived and was an impressive size any!
The chilli fries were a nice alternative to normal fries, although a little tip, try and mix them up a bit as we found a lot of the chilli coating had dropped to the bottom of the pot it was served in.
We couldn't fault our visit at all, and plan to visit again one evening so we can also try out the cocktails.
If you are ever in Norwich I highly recommend giving Jamie's Italian a visit...you won't be disappointed.
(It's also right near Joules so, perfect hey?!)
I know I've made the right decision for me, for him, for our families and for the children.
I suppose in terms of my social life not a lot has changed yet really, other than being able to go out and not feel like I have to ask permission or to feel guilty at not being at home with my husband when instead I'm out with friends.
It wasn't sudden or unexpected. We're basically able to live as we have been because for a while we haven't lived as a married couple should.
I was OK with it for a while, because I got used to it I suppose. It gradually got to that point so I didn't miss those things as such.
It had me wondering what I then wanted. Was my marriage perfect in every other way that I could live without that other stuff?
And, it wasn't. We had grown apart, we had different interests, priorities, and had lost that connection and spark that had kept us together for over 10 years.
I couldn't help but to think that it was unfair of me to deny any attention from someone else if I got it, because I felt I kind of deserve that. Everyone deserves attention, and although I didn't feel like I needed it or missed it, I did find myself recently whether or not it was something I could live without "forever".
And I did almost have this feeling of freedom. Knowing that innocent flirts were ok IF they were to become anything more.
Just a cuddle.
Not a hug.
But a cuddle. One where strong arms almost kind of sweep you up and pull you in close.
You know the ones, which make you feel so small and protected. The ones that make you feel comforted, where your head rests on their chest and every now and then they pull you in a little tighter, like a small, gentle, squeeze, letting you know that they are enjoying being close to you too.
She feared that no man would ever find her attractive and no man would go near her. She feared that she would be alone for the rest of her life.
I thought it was crazy. How could someone that young be worried about spending the rest of their life alone when they had the rest of their life ahead of them?
How could she be so worried that no one would ever find her attractive when she takes so much pride in her appearance, and is an attractive woman?
How could she believe that in this world not one person would ever want to be with her again?
I really didn't get it.
We're all programmed and built differently and although some people will want to be out of a relationship, and away from any commitment or whatever from the opposite sex, others may crave that, and may be ready to jump into a relationship pretty soon.
For me, it's not even about a relationship. But more a feeling of the company of a man, not necessarily in that way, but even just the friendship and hanging out with a man that I want.
Maybe it's the fact that I don't have my dad in my life anymore, and that my brother lives miles away, that heightens that need for male company.
Throughout school I had male best friends and would regularly hang out with my brother and his friends when they were round.
When I went to the Isle of Man I loved being in that environment. Being surrounded by men and feeling comfortable enough to be around them without feeling inferior and feeding off their banter and so on.
I feel comfortable in the company of men because I suppose I don't feel so judged by them as I do by women, I feel a little more like I can be myself around them, and that I can talk to them about pretty much anything.
I know it's early days for me, from the eyes of other people.
But for a long time I have felt unattractive, lonely, not good enough. All of those things.
For so long I felt not good enough for the person who I was going to spend the rest of my life with. For so long I felt single.
And now I am single. Now I have that "status" and it is scary.
There is that feeling of having to put in effort to make sure you look nice, to make sure you are looking your best, just in case.
I'm a walking advert for myself I guess.
And I can't help but to get those feelings like my friend did.
That feeling of not ever meeting anyone else, never having someone look at you and to want to spend time with you. To want to cuddle you, spend time with you. To look at their phone and wonder why you haven't messaged them.
I feel like, at 30, that's it.
And I know 30 is still considered young, or is young, whatever, but there is that feeling of "It's too late". I feel like I'll never meet anyone else who would find me attractive.
It's not about replacing my husband, or wanting a life partner. But more finding someone who, for now, enjoys my company, wants to get to know me, and would even just like me in their life in some form.
Like, what are my good points? Why should I expect anyone to want to spend time with me?
If I find myself annoying, then everyone else will too surely? Especially someone who I would want to enjoy my company, like me for what is on the inside as well as what is on the outside...which is a completely different blog post all together I suppose!!
As much as I can see that it is irrational, I also can't help but to feel that way.
I can't help but to feel like I'm never going to be that person that someone wants to spend any amount of time with.
I feel like I constantly have to justify myself. To constantly sell myself.
I've always felt like that.
But particularly now.
If you do a lot of reading in bed you should fit bookshelves. You can rotate the books once you have read them and give them to someone else, as you probably won’t read them again. Just hang on to your favourite books. Once you have re-organised and de-cluttered your bedroom you should try and keep it that way, this will save you having to go through the same process a few months later.
At 4 and 6 it's easy to distract them and to only mention the good things, or things that would make them happy.
In turn, they make it a little easier for us. They mention things that are ridiculous and so unimportant, to us at least, but things that to them mean so much.
Their innocence makes it easier.
Harry decided that he would live with me and Charles would go with his dad.
He then decided that they would swap over half way during the week, not realising that they would then not see each other.
Charles wondered whether or not they would have two wardrobes and when I mentioned the fact that they would, and added that another good thing about having two houses is that they would kind of have two Christmases meaning Father Christmas would visit twice because he knows everything and knows that they would be celebrating with me and then with their dad. Charles' reply was..."Yeah but, does Father Christmas know that deers lose their horns?" Random, innocent and so out of the blue that I laughed until I cried.
As I try to remind myself that really we are doing the right thing, the children's reactions take away the seriousness, and provide a much needed happy distraction.
Thinking logistically about where I am going to stay in the evenings and night-time's to make our living situation....erm...liveable is also something that seems quite grown up. Although, this also brings on massive feelings of vulnerability so whether or not that makes me a full time grown up I don't know.
A meeting with a solicitor.
Gosh, standing outside whilst I waited for them to unlock the doors from lunch was nerve wracking. My heart was pounding and I felt really open. I felt as though everyone who could see me would be judging me and deciding for themselves why I would be needing to go to a solicitors.
And I can do it, because I have no choice.
But I will ensure that I have on a pair of killer heels as I go.
Helping your pet back to peak fitness
I always loved that scene...ok mainly for Tom Selleck but still, I thought it was rather funny. And now, I kind of love it more.
I'm in the middle of sorting my stuff out. Being strict with myself and throwing out anything I really don't need. Packing up clothes I'm unlikely to grab for on a day to day basis to send to my mums to hang in her spare wardrobe (yeah I know, SPARE wardrobe?!) until things are sorted and I know where I will be living and whatever.
So, anyway. Now that the separation is out there, and by out there I mean we've done the whole Facebook announcement which obviously makes it like proper official. I wonder if in a few years time the decree absolute will be abolished and the change of a Facebook relationship status will be enough to confirm someone's divorce?!
When you get engaged people expect a standard reaction...tears, smiles, squeals, Towards the end of a pregnancy we expect the standard "I am fed up" comments from the mother to be. And when it comes to a separation people do seem to expect a standard response. They expect tears, a sad face, maybe a sob story or a story of how the person involved didn't see it coming, some kind of story that could be potential school run gossip.
I messaged a friend today to thank her and admitted that before, I hadn't appreciated her as much as I do now. Because in these times you really do find out who your friends are. You find out who you can trust, who you can't, who is there for you and supports you and who doesn't.
This is scary. It is tiring. And I'm sure there will be days when it seems like a battle.
I really am ok.
I think that although we say, as women, it's hard to find outfits for certain occasions but when I look at suits and measurements I can't help but to think that actually women have it a little easier.
This infographic gives some great tips on buying that special man in your life the ideal suit. I'm taking notes!
Provided by Dobell
I suffered a lot with mental health and as much as a suffered, I fought too. In fact, I fought really bloody hard.
My body treated me to two pregnancies and allowed me to feed these two beautiful boys for as long as I wanted/needed.
I found this woman that all of a sudden quite liked motorbikes and appreciated everything about them. A woman who thought she would never even consider getting a tattoo and ended up with 3 and a PINTEREST board full of future ideas for more.
There came that moment when I realised that I didn't want to go into my 30's pretending everything was OK anymore. It had been a long time coming I suppose and 2 weeks ago we seperated.
A weight has been lifted from my shoulders, and his too I would imagine, and as we learn how to now navigate through this chapter of our lives I actually feel stronger than ever.
You wake up to how amazing your friends are and let me tell you, my friends are the best there ever was. Their support has been overwhelming. As has the support from my family, my mum in particular.
We can be civil, and maybe be friends for the sake of our children at least.
Tomorrow, as I turn 30, I am looking forward to the future. I am looking forward to realising just how strong and grown up I can be.
I am looking forward to celebrating my birthday with my best friend and then having an evening with an even bigger group of friends.
I can't stop her though. I can't not be myself for the sake of other people, even if the consequences are not what I expected in life.
Things happen for a reason I suppose.
That always felt like a big thing for me, to say I like myself. But right now, I do.
I now see in my 30's as a single woman. I don't like the term single mum. I don't want to combine my relationship status with that role. It doesn't seem right.
But in the end....it will all be OK.