Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Keeping Your Sanity on a Family Road Trip

Collaboration
Have you ever seen the Robin Williams film RV? It encapsulates the sense of family adventure and magical moments to be had in a family road trip - this can be an attractive option for families wanting to explore nearby countries, yet road trips are often punctuated with a little chaos and family arguments, which is why this blog post looks at ways to keep your sanity on a family road trip.

There are some great family holidays to be had in the UK, although many people only feel like they have truly had a break if they've flown overseas from our island off to the sun. With normal British weather it's totally understandable but we're currently having an unseasonably warm April and a heatwave. 25 degrees today and possibly 27 tomorrow. Anyway a flight with children comes with a whole host of other problems, but that's another blog post altogether. Let's enjoy our British sun while it lasts - alas I got sunburned today though.

Nowadays, yes flying can certainly be cheap, speedy, tempting and convenient… but as us parents know too well flying as a family can be a headache and there’s a certain independence that comes with taking a road trip.  The trick is to be prepared; whether that’s by visiting https://mylittleduckling.co.uk/ in advance to get your baby hats or https://mothercare.com to get your car seat.

A long journey can be tiring enough, for adults, but when you throw having to be responsible for the constant entertainment of children in a confined space with very little to do long family journey’s can be fraught with frustration.

Here’s a few tips on how to keep your sanity...


1. STOP OFF ALONG THE WAY


The days of arguing over a huge map are mostly over - as now, at least, there is a common enemy to get mad at; when the SatNav gets it wrong.  However, it is good to plan out a route that allows for some interesting stop-offs along the way. Agreed, driving straight down the motorway for five hours might be the most fuel and time efficient way to travel... but think of all the things you are missing out on along the way. I think stopping off somewhere fun or exciting is beneficial for everyone. Even the driver needs to stretch their legs and get fresh air. Plus the car journey really can be the start of the holiday rather than simply a means to an end.



2. KEEP YOUR CHILDREN ENTERTAINED

The trick here is to ensure your kids have plenty of engaging activities that don’t require adult participation - whether that’s watching a film on a mobile device or something more ‘old school’ like a colouring book and some crayons. When Aaron and I went on a long road and boat trip with Granddad to Ireland, he was only 2 years old. I was worried about the journey so we bought a portable DVD player especially. He had that with Kung Fu Panda on it and a large A4 Spiderman Sticker Book and was a pleasure to travel with :-)




3. KEEP THE ADULTS ENTERTAINED TOO

It’s important the adults have something to keep them entertained too; often this can be as simple as a great soundtrack for the journey, a good book, or some people like to choose a topic that needs to be discussed strategically. Home renovation is particularly effective at keeping the driver engaged but probably best advised to keep these talks to ‘low level’ stuff that is child friendly and not too stressful. Not really possible to phone up to ask the bank for a home improvements loan whilst driving so this should possibly be limited to budget constraints and dreams of "what if". Releasing equity can be a winner, with lots of my friends having gone down this "route" lately forgive the pun.




4. EAT OFTEN

There are plenty of pharmaceutical and alternative remedies that help travellers with motion sickness but one of the best tips is to eat little and often throughout the journey with an adequate supply of fresh air.  Ideally, eating outside of the car is best for people that suffer with motion sickness and ensure a decent supply of mints or boiled sweets are available for this appears to satiate the symptoms of motion sickness surprisingly effectively. My Grandma swore my 7up or lemonade for this problem and apparently it can work wonders if flat. She literally wouldn't go on a long car journey without it. That and her packet of mints in her cardigan pocket.


5. HAVE A GREAT SOUNDTRACK


A great game to play with your family, particularly if you have a Spotify account or similar, is to create a playlist before you go on your trip that includes the favourite songs of each person in the car; presuming you have access to the internet, an even better way to go about this is to pass the device around the car in turn so that each person selects a song. The brilliant thing about this idea is if you ever play these songs again, it brings back lovely memories of the holiday providing you did make that car journey stress free.

This post is a collaboration

Monday, 16 April 2018

Unexpected Life Events that Can Blow a Hole in Family Finances

Collaboration
Photo by CafeCredit under CC 2.0
When it comes to unexpected life events, it’s not so much if they will happen but when. Yes they can be big or small but their arrival is more or less guaranteed. Hence the much used expression "saving for a rainy day"! Most of us will experience more than one unexpected event in our adult lives, which if not prepared for, could see us struggle financially, leaving a hole in our finances that takes many years to recover from, all the while accruing interest.

That’s why it’s important that we all, especially those of us who have children and dependants, are ready and prepared for those life events that can blow a hole in our finances. Of course, the first step to being prepared for those unexpected life events that can knock us for six is knowing what they are, or might be. So, without further ado, here are the life events that are most likely to damage our finances if unprepared:

Divorce


When you’re happily married, you don’t really stop to think that you could end up divorced one day, but as the divorce solicitors at  Austin Kemp Solicitors could tell you only too well, hundreds of people get divorced every day, and many of them end up in a sticky financial situation and more stress than you can imagine. The best way to mitigate against this particular life event is by having an emergency fund that is equal to around six months’ worth of income. That way, if the worst does happen and you and your partner split, you will be able to set up a new life and not have to worry for a little while.

Life-Changing Injuries


None of us want to think that we’ll ever be seriously injured, but it happens to lots of people every day, and although we are lucky to have free healthcare in the UK, should it happen to us and we not be able to work, it could significantly reduce our income and make it difficult for us to maintain our current standard of living. Having some form of personal injury insurance or insurance to cover periods of illness and injury is a good way to mitigate against this risk if you can afford it. However, simply putting away a few pounds each month to build an emergency fund will also be useful.

Unemployment


So many people start struggling the day they are let go from work because they have been living payday to payday and they no longer have any money coming in - not until they find a new position or benefits kick in anyway. This can leave one unable to pay the rent/mortgage, heating or even to buy basics such as food. This is another good reason to have as big an emergency fund as you can manage to save for.

Household Repairs

Leaking roofs, subsidence or even a broken washing machine are all things that need to be paid for pretty much as soon as they are spotted, which can leave you in a pickle if you’re unprepared. Having buildings and contents insurance, then, is a pretty good idea that will ensure you can stay afloat even if the worst does happen.

Death


If you or your partner were to pass away, how would the rest of your family cope? Your kids and the remaining spouse could be plunged into debt at what is sure to be a terrible time already. The solution? Life insurance and savings. There are even companies that allow you to pay into your own funeral costs before it is your time to go. I find that thought quite morbid though, so have personally never considered it, but then again I have never written a will and that is another thing that is advisable...... and the list goes on.

Prepare for the worst and the worst will not be as bad as it could be!

This is a collaborative post.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Top Family Holiday Destinations in the UK


Taking the family on holiday abroad has become even more expensive in recent years and Brexit seems to have made it even more expensive, partly due to the poor exchange rates. But it is still important to try and spend some quality time as a family, even if it means staying in a tent in the middle of nowhere! You don’t have to head off into the wilderness with nothing but you and a piece of tent canvas separating you from the elements but you can still make a holiday in the UK a fun family holiday.

There are plenty of different ways to make a family holiday a bit more affordable as well, from staying in an Airbnbto residential park homes. You don’t have to spend a fortune on accommodation unless you prefer to stay somewhere expensive. If you are more interested in having a holiday filled with healthy family fun and adventures then you might want to look into some of these destinations:

Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Scotland’s beautiful capital city has all kinds of entertainment on offer all year round but the Fringe Festival commonly known as "Edinburgh Festival" in August is a great place to take the whole family. Brimming with circus acts, both original and well loved classic theatre, comedy shows and music events, there is so much to keep the family entertained for days or even weeks. The entertainment goes on at all times of the day and even on into the night so there's something for early risers and night owls alike. Edinburgh is also a lovely city to experience the charm of Scotland, with Haggis to try and bagpipe tunes to listen to. You can also visit the biggest attraction in the city: Edinburgh Castle for a taste of Scottish history. One of the great things about Scotland is the picturesque Highlands, which are only a short trip away from Edinburgh and you can go out for walks in the gorgeous countryside.

Pre-kids we've been to the Edinburgh Festival. We stayed in affordable University campus accommodation and saw so many shows. We did fit in a visit to the castle too of course and were very impressed. I only wish I took photos back then as I would love to share them. Edinburgh has a unique special atmosphere that has to be experienced to be believed. A guided walking tour of the Royal Mile, hosted by a very talented Actor was the highlight of my time in Edinburgh. He brought the history of the place totally to life and when I think of it I can still hear his voice telling us all about the Edinburgh tenements. I remember all too well him saying "when they could no longer go down they built UP". The high rise multi occupancy tenements were the result of the city turning its back on the underground city.

Lake District

The Lake District is home to many beautiful places including Lake Windermere, Keswick and Scafell Pike. If your family loves to get outdoors or you simply want to enjoy a healthier, happy type of holiday, the Lakes are a great place to stay. You can have fun doing various water sports on the many lakes, like windsurfing or canoeing. If you are not looking for water-related activities then you also have the amazing countryside to explore for long walks and great views. Throughout the Lake District and the surrounding areas are historic towns and villages, where you can visit a multitude of museums and interesting buildings. The Brockhole visitor centre has plenty of exciting entertainment and you can hire bikes to go for scenic rides around the lakes or through the countryside.

London

A trip to the capital city is sure to be filled with fantastic experiences and wonderful family memories. You can go to see a show like The Lion King, visit the Royal Family at Buckingham Palace and take a ride on an open top London bus. You can also take a boat trip along the Thames River to see some of London’s great landmarks from a different angle. We got the boat to Greenwich and went to the fabulous National Maritime Museum. We Vlogged our river cruise here:


There is such a wide range of activities to choose from in London – you can visit the Tower of London, go on the London Eye, have a walk through Hyde Park, the list of fun opportunities is endless. I wouldn't go to London for the first time without going to the Diana Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens - it is a must do if you are visiting with children. We once took in We're Going on a Bear Hunt and the Diana Memorial Playground all in the same day!

There are also numerous galleries and museums that will make sure your visit to London is a wonderful cultural experience for the whole family. A trip to the top of the Shard will give you a breathtaking view of London, at 244 meters high you will see the city like never before. The London Dungeons is another great day out for the family, providing you don’t mind a bit of gory detail!

Friday, 9 March 2018

Fearne Cotton you Were Worth It | My Stressful Day in London

It was no ordinary Tuesday

... for a start I met Fearne Cotton and second we got up at 03:30 a.m. We went to London, Somerset House no less, for the launch of Fearne's 2nd kids clothing collection, Spring Summer 2018 FEARNE for Boots Mini Club, having attended the launch of FEARNE Autumn Winter 2017 too. Except this wasn't even the first or second times I met her. Multiple Mummy (God rest her beautiful soul) and I had that pleasure all the way back in July 2011: Boots Christmas Press Show.

...resorted to my fail safe breastfeeding

So I'll rewind to the start of the day. We got up at 03:30 so that we could get the 5 am Snap Travel coach from Bristol to London return. I knew an early start would mean that Lottie would sleep the whole way, except the coach was so luxurious with bright neon lights everywhere and a microwave and toaster, so all she wanted to do was explore. After battling to keep her on my knee for ages, I resorted to my fail safe breastfeeding, and just like that, out like a light. She then slept for hours, which had there not been accidents on the motorway would have seen me arrive in London stress free. Except I was never ever going to arrive stress free was I, as it was the driver's 1st day and he'd asked me for directions and then 100% used sat nav to navigate his way from Bristol city centre to the motorway, when I said I wasn't a driver) which didn't fill me with any sense of security. I was also the only passenger, well Lottie and I, so no wonder I spent the journey with my eyes wide open, however strong the temptation to sleep was. Alas despite our expected time of arrival being 08:17 I think it was closer to 9:30 or 09:45 when we did arrive at Kings Cross. Lottie was awake for the last 25 minutes of the journey and as the driver didn't know the Wifi password (he was new) so I could put on Ben & Holly or Peppa Pig, that was interesting to say the least. Suffice to say I posted an Instagram story of her LITERALLY climbing on my head. It was like if I can't move horizontal passed you to get into the aisle and explore I'll go UP! Wow my poor neck. Luckily snacks and chat, once the excitement of waking up to being on a bus wore off, kept her seat-bound till we arrived.

... without our ordinary London entourage of cousins

Except that was the beginning of my anxiety and not the end of it as Lottie all out point blank physically refused to get in the buggy but the driver had dropped us literally on the side of the road (it was his 1st day, or did I say that already?) on busy Euston Road right outside a small pedestrian entrance to Kings Cross station so her being on foot was really not an option. I protested profusely saying umpteen times that this is a main road but he kept stating it was a "bus stop" - mate I think that is for buses not coaches.... le sigh... I banked my feelings on this journey and turned my sights to London except London was so very big which made my big girl seem SO very very small. The nerves of being in London with Lottie, with no Aaron to help, no Daddy to help and not our ordinary London entourage of cousins to help, hit me like a brick. I managed to get her in the buggy but the crying broke my heart. 

...going to anxiety levels 1,001%

Then I got all disorientated in the station. I didn't just want the Underground and not Kings Cross International, but I also specifically wanted the Circle and District Lines so I could get to Liverpool Street. I eventually found a step free access lovely lift and hit the call button on the lift and simultaneously on the phone to call Ruth RocknRollerBaby to let her know we'd meet her there except the minute the doors went to shut, the reception on my phone went so I jumped back out. I then tried again to ring Ruth, wanting to make sure she wouldn't have already left Liverpool Street when I would get there. Lottie took my distraction dealing with this as a chance to jump out of the buggy. By this time a really judgemental lady walked up and saw that I was (1) trying to be on the phone (2) get a baby in a buggy and (3) get in the lift all simultaneously. Her disdain with me just lead to me going to anxiety levels 1,001%. With hindsight there are so many things I could have done to avoid this situation (namely sending a message to Ruth whilst I was still "safely" on the coach to say I am so delayed can I meet you at Liverpool Street instead of the original plan?). Anyway we got to Liverpool Street easily as I knew we would, which is why I came up with the idea in the first place. Only trouble is, because Ruth said they'd arrive in 30 minutes I saw a Super Cuts upstairs and couldn't resist going up to have my fringe cut being that it was down at my waist. They fitted me in immediately and I came downstairs feeling great. Lottie was in high spirits too because she'd loved watching the pigeons. Except then I went to platform 16 and was having a great laugh with the chaps on duty asking when the next Norwich train would be in. I went on my phone to see the time of the text saying they'd be here in 30 minutes only to find there were by this time further texts saying that they'd already arrived. I was at platform 16 and they were at 10. Not a world away........ but.... Cue me, shouting Lottie in a shrill voice :-( .... bless her she'd been beautifully toddling around me while I chatted to the platform train staff and was actually being no bother but here I was shouting at her as I felt awful that I wasn't AT the right platform WHEN they arrived and God forbid they were now waiting for ME> anxiety went through the roof again, so I was a dishevelled mess when I went over to say hello. A hello that was meant to be full of joy and had been looked forward to SO MUCH. Meeting me must have been a rude awakening and no doubt Ruth and Cookie must have wanted to run in the other direction. Somehow we made our way to the Central Line and order was restored (I think), even if my dignity wasn't. I focused on Cookie's quirky fun self and videoed all of her fun goings on, except always hitting the record button after something brilliant had happened. Anyway Lottie ADORED Cookie, which provided the distraction I needed to start breathing  again and getting my heart back to its normal rhythms. Cookie has already blogged about the day at 100% Fearne Cotton.

... here come the Mums

First we went to a coffee shop and got much needed coffee and cake. It was only a chain, but as you can see above had a certain charm about it. As we entered a chap departing said "here come the Mums" as we had 3 buggies with us. Our time in there was a riot as Lottie and Cookie played Star Wars with coffee stirrer sticks. When Cookie wasn't doing a great party trick with them that is. You'll see it in my video vlog of the day - I think the link is in the tweet below. Boots now want to emulate ha ha! After this though Lottie started to run around and as the door was open it was no longer funny. There were only so many times we could bring her back to her seat on repeat.

... much needed chance to let off steam

At this point, for my ails, I suggested a prescription of a trip to the park Ruth had mentioned earlier, with no idea if we really still had time for it. It turned out to be Drury Lane Gardens Park which gave us a much needed chance to let off steam. So spooky though as I had a feeling I would know it and I did, having been there  with Kate from I am Wit Wit Woo many years before: Covent Garden for Boys. I remember that time Aaron was only 1.5 years and I was in worried awe about how easily he could navigate the steps and slide. You can just about make out Lottie below at the telescope, recreating Aaron's steps all these many years later. We had a laugh in the park as you'll also see in the vlog.

...knowing she'd follow, except she didn't

We finally left the park, oh except Lottie point blank refused to get off the slide and cleverly moved her body so I couldn't even reach her to carry her down. The steps are steps and easy to navigate with railings each side as you see above, so I felt fully confident to walk out of the park knowing she'd follow, except she didn't. Cue Cookie coming to the rescue AGAIN (which you can also see in the vlog). I promise I can normally parent my child without assistance LOL. Luckily the venue, the magnificent Somerset House, was within walking distance which was heaven sent as I no longer had the wherewithal or faculties to navigate trains, lifts or escalators. Joyful meetings were had and we made our way to the Spring room, which was very glitzy indeed, with both Boots and Red providing a hospitable and warm welcome for us all. They were thrilled to see that Lottie of course was fully on brand, not just in Boots Mini Club but FEARNE Autumn Winter 2017 too, which thankfully still fitted, also being seasonal too given that Spring has not yet actually SPRUNG....... Cookie meeting Harriet from Toby and Roo below

You'll actually feel like you were there...

What immediately hit me after refreshments was that this wasn't just a showroom of FEARNE's range but they'd also done a mock shop of the whole of Spring Summer 2018 Mini Club too, so it was a real treat to see ALL of this having it all explained to us, by Boots heads of department. All of the talks are in my videos. You'll actually feel like you were there if you watch it. It's uncut too, no fancy editing. It's not called virtual REALITY for nothing, this whole social media world. The Boots team and the Red PR team were all amazing with Lottie which was JUST what the Doctor ordered and I didn't even need to go to their Pharmacy with a prescription to get just what I was looking for at that moment.
Thank God for balloons eh. Apart from that Lottie let go of two and there was a very high ceiling ooooops.

... that was bliss!

By this point I had put a bottle of Aveeno on the end of the string to stop her balloons flying. It was the only "weight" I had in a brand new handbag (not having transferred anything other than essentials the day before). It seemed like the grandest of ideas and it worked except I wanted to film the whole of Fearne's talk and all the way through it Lottie was squeezing the moisturiser all over her hands in plentiful amounts. Thank you Essex Kate for all of the many tissues you provided that I somehow managed to pass to Lottie without breaking the continuity of filming - wow Motherhood is a juggle and it wasn't like I had something sensible like a tripod with me. My footage of Fearne talking doesn't look too wobbly so I am thrilled. Glad I got her on camera saying she remembered us from last time as THAT made my DAY especially with how low I have been feeling lately, that was bliss! Considering I was meant to bring bubbles for Lottie to blow I am actually DELIGHTED she came up with the idea of squeezing the moisturiser out, because as messy as it indeed was, it kept her in one place AND relatively quiet. You'll see in my vlog though that she DID explore the room and was quite free reign but luckily she didn't cause any havoc. I'm actually glad I brought her and didn't insist that Daddy had her for the day. He stayed home doing both school runs as well as gifting us a lift to the city centre and collecting us, saying "you need to take Lottie as she's breastfeeding" yeah right he wanted a deserved day off and minus the taxi service and school runs he got one.
Let me give you a photo tour of the room












 This was Essex Kate waiting for me as we decided to go get something to eat:

We ended up in a pub to get a delicious inexpensive warming much needed meal. It was upstairs and posed a problem for the buggy but as rain by this time was starting, I couldn't get in there quick enough. It was a lovely opportunity for some heartfelt convo and so busy was I with that and a Lottie that still kept running off I actually did no Instagram stories and took no food pics or anything during this time. We went off grid and just connected in real time which was LOVELY! Thank you Kate. Kate blogs at Counting to Ten and has already blogged about the day Highlihts from the SS18 Boots Mini Club Collection.

Three things gave up the will to live simultaneously...

It was a wonderful day but I only realised how tired I was, only after leaving Kate. I walked for about 30 minutes with Lottie taking up the rear. I was looking for Farringdon Street from which my Snap Travel coach would depart for home. Thankfully Kate gave me directions before she left me so there was no cause for anxiety or at least there should not have been. You see Snap provides a link which shows you a PHOTO of the bus stop. Had I fully digested this I wouldn't have walked up and down Farringdon Street four times, each time with it turning into Farringdon Road. But I was focused on looking for the door numbers they'd given. Anyway when I finally spotted the bus stop I also spotted a Pret a Manger opposite it. Three things gave up the will to live simultaneously. Lottie fell asleep, as I'd earlier enroute bought her a McDonald's to bribe her into the buggy and as soon as it was consumed she was sparko. No wonder after a long day and all the London walking shown below. Always falls asleep after a full tummy if tired. My phone also died and I, when Pret gave me a complimentary FREE latte coffee burst into tears. I literally asked for a Turmeric Latte (yeah who knew?!?!?) and a chocolate croissant and he said the coffee is in the house. I said "won't you get in trouble" and he was like "no this is our way of marketing" well he said lots of lovely others things first but that is the summary. So in exchange I am featuring him and his lovely colleague below as wow it blew me away. After I had a good cry I sat down at a table with a plug socket and recharged myself and my phone whilst I awaited my coach.

Thank you Pret a Manger for your random act of kindness


I can't go without saying what a lovely afternoon I had chatting with Lilinha. She is very pregnant and due soon - we had SUCH a giggle discussing C sections.

Emma from the Cheshire Wife was also with us but we didn't get chance to chat.

I'll leave you with my video memories of the day

Monday, 26 February 2018

Four Ways To Get Your Confidence Back After Baby

Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

You know all the usual jokes. It’s the job you get with no interview, and no instruction manual. Parenthood is a roller coaster of emotions and for many new mums, when you finally surface from the all-consuming world of having a newborn, it’s not uncommon to wonder who you actually are anymore. Having a new baby is such an intense situation- and with a little being making such big demands on your body, your mind and your soul, losing your sense of self and confidence is something that many go through. So how do you begin to get it back? It won’t happen overnight but these tips may help you start to rediscover who you are when you’re not being Mummy…

Get Some At-Home Treatments


While dashing off to the salon simply isn’t practical with a newborn baby, you can use the chance to stock up on some at-home pampering. You may not get much time to yourself, but when you do, instead of crashing out in front of some mindless TV, you can carry out little acts of self-care to make yourself feel better. Even something as simple as a bath with a face mask or painting your toenails can make give you a little lift- caring for yourself in simple ways can bring you back to you. There are some great pampering tips here.

Listen to Your Body


Your body has done amazing things bringing a new life into the world, so don’t be ashamed to listen to what it’s trying to tell you and act in it. Don’t let being busy become a reason to stop tuning in. It’s a bad idea to ignore that nagging back pain - book into to see a chiropractor before it develops into something worse. And if you have persistent pelvic pains after baby? These can point to many things, so look at a good source of information such as patient.info to find out more.

Treat Yourself to some New Underwear


It may be a small thing but it’s the foundation of looking good and feeling confident. If your underwear drawer is a mess of fraying elastic and saggy maternity bras, why not treat yourself to a few sets of colourful, cute matching underwear? It’s a small way to reclaim your body and rediscover your flirtier side. Even just investing in some great quality shapewear can make you feel more confident in your clothes while there are extra lumps and bumps. There are lots of options on the market now- the guide at thelingerieaddict.com is a great place to start.

Get Out and Walk Every Day


In the new baby haze, which I like to call a babymoon, also commonly now fondly known as the fourth trimester, days can drift by without you leaving the house. So make it your personal mission to get out into the sunshine and walk at least once a day. Walking has so many physical, spiritual (great for the aura) and mental benefits, and some much-needed fresh air keeps problems in perspective and eases you gently back into physical fitness. It can also be an incredible bonding experience with your baby. Find out more about the benefits of walking in this article. Getting out is of course a great way of meeting people, especially new mums in the exact same position as you.

This is a collaborative post

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Only Ever One Black James Bond for Me

When I think James Bond I immediately think of men's suits, not just any suit, but in particular a tux, also known as black tie, also known, in full, as a tuxedo. As I am that person who often gets the lyrics of songs wrong, and not the biggest James Bond fan you'll ever meet, I questioned myself and doubted my judgement but a quick search on Google specifically "images" and all the top photo search results are indeed black tie. So little wonder that when I was digging out old photos the other day, of hubby and I, I immediately thought James Bond, when I saw the pictures of us below. If you have never ever seen your fella in black tie find an excuse. While you've still both got your looks ha ha. Seeing your man in a tux, is a wobbly knees moment for sure. We've been together 30 years this October so just celebrated our 30th Valentine's Day very recently where I commemorated the occasion by posting very old photos of us on Instagram, inspired by Tom Fletcher's pic of him and Giovanna from when they were only 15 - I didn't even know they were childhood sweethearts.  Alas I couldn't find pics of us aged 15, well at least not together, so I posted one from 1994 and one from 1996. Got hubby's permission as he even old-style scanned them for me. The Instagram post of our old pics has had the highest amount of likes I've ever had on Instagram so far. But back to the tux and *my* black James Bond. I've probably only seen hubby in a tux less than 10 times as we don't have cause to wear evening wear nearly often enough but each occasion has been more than memorable.
I am going to have to get the camera out again as I just remembered another night of evening wear. Wait there. This was from a Summer Ball at University probably circa 1993 or 1994 or perhaps even 1995 as I am not good at dating things and stupidly don't hand-write the date of pics on the back. We actually went to the same school and the same University. Hubby now this time sporting the less traditional black tie look, by coupling it with a double breasted blazer. I think it looks amazing. He took a less traditional slant on what he wore for our wedding too, wearing a red velvet blazer so that he could match our bridesmaids. Not wanting to be one of those grooms who is over-shadowed by the gasps at the wife's dress. Wasn't any old jacket either as he got it, for top dollar, from Jermyn Street, the famous Piccadilly spot in London known for men's suits. Spookily enough, it's not irrelevant that I mention our wedding as we did indeed get married in the same church, or rather Abbey, as James Bond. I won't say which one, but suffice to say it was EVEN in the same year, with him getting married in the August and us in the October. He even wanted to book the car we had but it wasn't available, or rather the bride who'd booked it, wouldn't give it up even when he sent her a case of champagne #sorryNotSorry and there's a little bit of gossip about how stubborn us Irish can be. Oooops I've given a huge hint, yep we got married in Ireland.
Hubby has never done it but White Tuxedos it seems are a thing too. I've seen they are still available on Suitsmen. I Googled to see if James Bond has ever sported a white tux and this GQ article happened to come up: 
where it is Daniel Craig sporting the white tuxedo. Interesting read as I didn't know there was an imminent James Bond movie in 2019 but do remember all of the discussions as to who the next one would be given he'd previously said he'd never do it again. Who do you think of when you think Bond, James Bond?  I think Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan, Roger Moore and Daniel Craig in that order.

What is often discussed is whether there will actually ever be a black James Bond and the article I have just linked to touches on that subject. Floating Idris Elba as the natural choice, so natural in fact that he'd be Bond first and black second exactly as it should be. The same GQ article goes on to float David Oyelowo as a less likely but possible choice. In this age of increasing diversity I actually LOVE that GQ gives two black actors as contenders. I bet there are a few more who'd like to be on that list though. GQ poses the following damning reasons that David sadly gets a big "why not"
Oyelowo is a brilliant actor but Bond requires more than mere acting ability: you need a style, a presence, a killer touch. Looking down Oyelowo’s filmography it’s hard to find a role that screams “Bond-in-waiting”. He feels more MI6 staff than 007. Also, and this sounds petty, Oyelowo is 5 foot 8. Bond can certainly be black - but short? Granted he’s no Nick Nack but still feels wrong.
Reasons too are given for why Idris cannot do it, namely his age. That therefore rules my hubby out too then, damn! But a girl can dream!

Anyway I am no Bond girl myself by any stretch of the imagination and every James Bond needs one (or coughs, more than one) of those. 2018 is the year I am going to work on my appearance though, but dieting isn't quite on the agenda as I am still breastfeeding despite Lottie now being 2 years of age. Current efforts are merely putting on lippy and jewellery and brushing my hair BEFORE the school run.
Thanks to the kids we don't get out much anymore and I hardly ever dress up, but I was delighted that I did find a flattering dress in Marks and Spencers in November that I wore for both Lottie's Christening and her turning two Princess Birthday Party. So at least I have had a relatively recent cause to scrub up one of them even being in 2018.


The Christening I've been planning for months that I finally pulled off with mucho help from my nearest and dearest. The Belle of the ball was a wee beauty and had Mummy remembered to give her an early night after Noah's Ark the day before and her usual Weetabix at 10 am the day would have gone without a hitch. But once she'd shed those tears and eaten a ham and cheese sandwich on the altar no less she was baptised and good to go. Anyway she had to be like a baby being baptised (if Mummy had done it when she was a baby) and they all cry don't they?!?! πŸ˜‚πŸ€£Head in water equals tears right it's par for the course. But damn the food and dancing were good. Well done Grandma and your kitchen helpers. Loves ya all. And my lovely God Parents and guests. You were all amazeballs. Oh and Daddy next time you want to sweep πŸπŸ‚πŸƒchoose your moment 😁 . . . . . #Christening #Christian #church #thatsDarling #myHappyCapture #MyGirl #Motherhood #MotherAndDaughter #22MonthsOld #MyBeautifulGirl #UKParentBloggers #Baptism #IGMotherhood #InstaMum #LionessMama #PerfectAndProud #MotherhoodThroughInstagram #MotherhoodRising #MotherhoodAlive #MotherhoodInspired #worldoflittles #MotherhoodMoments #MotherhoodSimplified #lifecloseup #developinglife #cherisheverymoment #documentyourdays #candidchildhood #SpendItWell
A post shared by Parenting Blogger Liska (@newmumonline) on

This post is a collaboration with suitsmen.
Bye for now, Liska xx