Fresh laundry with Ecover

Laundry is one of the chores I hate doing, especially this time of year, when I can’t utilise the washing line anymore.  We have a pretty small kitchen, and we only have a washer dryer.  If you also own a washer dryer, you know how pants the dry function is.  This means in the winter there’s constantly an airer somewhere in the house, covered in clothing.  I feel like I have a load of laundry to do every day.  Who knew little people could make so much washing?!

So with this in mind, I always look for a laundry detergent that smells good, but is also good on the skin.  Both Oliver and I suffer with eczema, and I have found over the years that certain laundry detergents irritate it more than others.  I’ve recently been trying to use more natural, plant based detergents.  My most recent discovery was Ecover’s new Non-Bio Concentrated Laundry Detergent, in Lavender and Sandalwood.  It smells absolutely divine!

My favourite thing about freshly washed clothing and bedding is that freshly cleaned smell.  I love it when you walk in the house and you can smell fresh washing.  It makes everything seem to clean!  I think it’s something I always notice when I go to someone else’s house.  I know that I always have associated my godmothers house with the smell of her laundry detergent!  One thing I love snuggling up in a fresh bedding as well.  I think I always sleep better when it’s fresh!

When I hung the washing out after using the Ecover non-bio laundry detergent, the room smells really fresh straight away. If you are looking for something natural and kind on the skin, then look no further!  It works just as well as any other non-bio detergent you find on in the washing aisle, without all the chemicals.  Another good thing about Ecover is that they also do a non-bio, bio and colour laundry detergent and they also have some delightfully scented fabric conditioners.

This post is an entry for BritMums #EcoverLaundry Challenge, sponsored by Ecover.

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What we plan on doing this autumn in Surrey

As Autumn is upon us, I have been thinking what we can get up to now the colder days are setting in.  I LOVE autumn, and I can tell already that this autumn is going to be a good one.  The trees are already turning that beautiful golden shade, and I even spotted some great looking pumpkins the other day!  I made a summer bucket list, which I must say I didn’t manage to complete, but I aim to do everything on this list!

Pumpkin Picking

This was something we did for the first time last year.  And even though Oliver was only 9 months old at the time, he seemed to really enjoy it!  This time we may even take daddy along too.  We will either go back to Garsons in Esher, or try out Secrett’s at Milford.  They’re both great places to enjoy a bit of pumpkin picking!

Apple picking and Orchard exploring

Last year we visited the RHS Wisley during their apple harvest and the apples looked amazing (and tasted it too as we bought some from their shop).  We will definitely be back again to enjoy their apple harvest.  I also want to find somewhere we can go apple picking, I think Garsons have apple picking, so we might head over there.

Conkers

It can’t be autumn with children without hunting some conkers out can it?!  Close to our local school there are an abundance of conker trees, so I know we will find some good ones!

Autumn crafts

I want to take Oliver out to find some nice autumn leaves to make something crafty with.  Sometimes I feel that craft is a little neglected in our house, so my aim this autumn is to try and do a bit more!  I would also like to make some stamps with apples and potatoes, I feel like it is always something a bit more wintery (although you can do it all year!).

Taking in the beauty of Autumn

There are a few places around Surrey that are meant to be stunning in the autumn months.  Firstly I want to visit Winkworth Arboretum, which is always gorgeous once the autumn colours come out.  The other place is Painshill Park which is also meant to be breathtaking come Autumn time.

Have you got any plans for this autumn?  Let me know in the comments!

 

3 Little Buttons
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A Loseley Park Wedding

I can’t believe it’s already been 3 years since we tied the knot.  I love looking back over all the beautiful photos from our day, it gives me all the feels!  We got married at Loseley Park, near Guildford, Surrey on 18th September 2014.

When we started searching for a local venue, I had quite a specific idea in my head as to what I wanted.  I didn’t want to get married at a hotel or a golf club, as I personally felt they just weren’t us.  I wanted a venue where you could add your stamp on, somewhere that wasn’t your bog standard wedding venue.  But we also didn’t want to spend the earth on venue hire, as we were paying for our own wedding, and didn’t want to take out any sort of loan to pay for it.  We decided straight away the smart way to go was a weekday wedding, as the hire prices were reduced straight away.  In fact we found that a lot of the services we used offered lower prices on a weekday wedding.

I stumbled across Loseley Park one night whilst hunting through the web and I showed it to my husband.  I think we instantly decided it was perfect.  Just a month or two later they were holding a wedding fair, so we went along and as soon as we got there we just knew it was the place we wanted to get married.  In fact it ended up being the only place we visited!

I loved the character in the Great Hall, it felt so regal.  The Tythe Barn was magical, and had the potential to really make it our own.  When we went to book it was SO booked up, considering it was about 18 months ahead of time, however, we had already decided we wanted to get married on a Thursday, in September.  This was mainly because the hire fees were so much less, and September usually had good weather.  There were only two Thursday’s left, one at the end of the month, and the 18th.  We thought about it for a short time, as both Stuart’s sister and his best friend had got married on the 17th September, and we didn’t want to step on any toes.  But we also wanted to catch the best of September.  So the date was set for the 18th September 2014.

I set up a Pinterest board, and went about googling other weddings at Loseley Park. I  started deciding what did and didn’t work with the venue, in terms of decor.  I decided to go with quite a countryside feel.  I wanted lots of flowers, bunting and it to just look really pretty!  I started looking at hiring or buying bunting, but I couldn’t find anything that was quite the right colour or style.  Then my AMAZING little sister, who is quite the whizz on the sewing machine, told me she would make the bunting!  She ended up making 110 metres of double sided bunting, it took us ages, but it was just perfection!  It was amazing, and so personal.

In terms of wedding cakes, I always knew that I wanted a cupcake tower over a traditional cake.  I again looked around at prices of local cake makers, but I couldn’t believe how expensive having cupcakes made for you was!  So I decided to make my own!  I had previously made cupcakes for family and friends special occasions however I had never made quite so many!  So on the Monday before my wedding, I spent the whole day baking, and the Tuesday was spent decorating them.

When we went to set up the venue on the Wednesday, we were so excited.  My husband and I were so pleased to see all our plans come together.  It looked magical when we left, even tough all we had done was hang the bunting, set up the sweetie table and decorate the tables with some confetti.  So when we walked in the next day, as a newlywed couple our minds were blown by how gorgeous it looked.  Our florist had done an amazing job, the floral centrepieces were stunning and so effective.  The whole room felt so us.

It truly was one of the most amazing days of my life, only to be topped with the birth of our son Oliver.  It was spoken about by all our family and friends for months after.  It was a nice intimate wedding, with only about 65 in total to the day, mainly family with only our best friends.  It was then nice to invite lots of our other friends to the evening, and to catch up with some of our friends we hadn’t seen in a long time.

I have really enjoyed reflecting on our big day, and I thought I would share with you a selection of our wedding photos!

Venue: Loseley Park    Photographer: Alexander Leaman Photography   Florist: Stella Rose Flowers

 

 

 

 

 

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Oliver at 19 months

We’re already here again, another month closer to 2….Oliver’s lost the whole babyness about him, he’s a fully fledged toddler now.  I can’t believe that my baby is so grown up already. I don’t think he’s changed too much this month, but there are some things that he’s definitely learnt.

His speech is slowly coming on, ‘oh dear’ is still his favourite phrase, but he also loves saying ‘bang’ when he walks into things (or touches things, brushes things, basically any time his body comes into contact with anything!) He has now learnt the difference between a car and a bus and will point and tell us what it is.  Oliver still doesn’t say no, he will shake his head, but he will say yeah and nod as well! Other words he has learnt this month are ‘banana’ (pronounced ‘balala’) and chair.

Oliver absolutely loves running around, being free and he has some real speed now.  He will climb on anything, his favourite thing at the moment is climbing up on the kitchen side which is a nightmare!! He loves to jump, and really gets off the ground now, he jumps up and says ‘ju!’  He also loves jumping off the curbs and with my help he really loves jumping off of the bed and dining chairs!  He also taught himself to walk down the stairs this month, with every step down he says ‘down’ which is so sweet.  Sometimes I can’t believe how physically advanced he is, he always seems to be well ahead with all his physical milestones!

Oliver has started to eat so much more now, and generally will eat most of a meal, rather than before when he would pick out his favourite bits of it.  He seems to be really enjoying his vegetables recently, as well as his fruit!  He will try to eat most meals with his spoon or fork, I think he finds it a real novelty still because he always gets so excited when I bring his fork out!

This month Oliver came down with chickenpox, so we haven’t been up to much at all as we were housebound for about a week whilst we waited for him to scab over.  He still wasn’t 100% himself for another 5 or so days after he scabbed over and was very clingy, tired and emotional.  Other than being stuck inside we have been out with a couple of my work friends, lunch with our baby group friends and a trip to the local fire station for their open day.

We have lots of plans this month coming, our first family holiday with just the three of us, and hopefully some fun days out as well!

 

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Warming Shepherd’s Pie

I try to make sure that as a family we have a healthy balanced diet, having plenty of fruit and vegetables, a mix of both red and white meat, dairy, fish and starchy foods.  We usually try to have red meat twice a week.  It provides us with a range of important nutrients, such as iron, zinc, selenium and potassium.  These vitamins are often low in toddlers and children, so including red meat in their diet helps maintain a healthy level of these nutrients in their bodies.  Dr Emma Derbyshire, a public health nutritionist says “Including a small portion of red meat in the diet a few times a week after weaning can help to bridge nutrient gaps and so help to maintain good health through childhood and beyond.”

Now Autumn is firmly on its way, I love to begin to bring in those warming winter meals.  I often end up changing our summertime light meals to something a bit heavier, warmer and filling.  Shepherd’s pie is a firm favourite in our house, served with a few vegetables, it’s the perfect meal for the whole family.  Oliver loves it and always seeks out the meat first!  So I thought I would share with you my recipe for Shepherd’s Pie.  I would love to hear if you try it and how you find it!

This post is an entry for the BritMums #HealthyRedMeat, sponsored by the Meat Advisory Panel.

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Warming Shepherd's Pie
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Bring the potatoes to the boil and leave to simmer for 20 minutes. Once they're tender drain and mash. Add a little butter and some milk and mix well, until the desired texture is reached. Season as desired.
  2. Whilst boiling the potatoes, heat a little oil in a frying pan and fry the onions and mushrooms for around 10 minutes until softened. Add the lamb mince and fry until it's browned all over.
  3. Stir in the tomato puree, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and mustard powder. Add the stock and season as desired. Leave to simmer for around 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200 C. Spoon the mince mixture into an ovenproof dish and cover with the mashed potato. Sprinkle the cheese over the top. Place in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.
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