Friday, 30 May 2014

Random happenings

Wow, this week has gone so quickly! What with the Bank Holiday weekend and the school half term holiday, I've been so busy that I've not had time to stop and write. This is a completely random post of happenings this week, again dominated by the cuteness that are these baby bunnies - see their story so far here. I've totally become one of those annoying pet owners who posts pictures everyday, but they are so adorable and it's been amazing to watch them grow from day one.

In other matters, we spent a lovely morning at the Amelia Trust Farm this Bank Holiday Monday. Entry to this working farm is free (although a donation is appreciated) and relies mainly on volunteers. The farm supports young people who are disadvantaged or vulnerable and who struggle with social development or the traditional school path. It is a lovely calming place to be and spread over 160 acres, offering a park, BBQ facilities, walks, pottery and a chance to learn about the animals. Megan goes to a pottery class there every Saturday (extra charge) and looks forward to it every week.

I also found this photo on my phone from two weeks ago when I was in Cardiff Bay for a night out. I may have had a couple of cocktails, hence not fitting in the whole ship however, it was HMS Dragon on a five day day visit to Cardiff, it's adoptive home.  The Type 45 Destroyer is one of the most advanced warships in the world and received the Freedom of City of Cardiff, aswell as holding a number of events for dignitaries, school children and the public. One of which was the launch of the NATO World Summit which will be held in Wales this September, bringing the largest number of World leaders that the UK has seen.

To view official pictures of HMS Dragon (which include the whole ship!) and information on the summit click here.

I've also been looking after my niece and nephews a fair bit this week, which has been fun and tiring and trying to fit in two short yoga sessions per day despite feeling unwell with a cold. We may also be fitting in a 24hr round road trip to Ireland tonight to pick up a car but still undecided at the moment! Never a dull moment here! 

I'll be back with more structure next week once the kiddies are back in school! Hope that you've had a great week and enjoy the weekend. 

Linking up with H54F, Daily Diaries

Friday, 23 May 2014

Bedtime talk // home decor

So, I have completely fallen in love with upholstered beds and headboards! As I've mentioned lately I'm having a mini refurb at the moment, mini as in I'm currently renting and don't want to spend money on something that's not permanent. I'm now on to my bedroom and have been thinking of changing my bed for a while. This is one area where I definitely want to make an impact, having fibromyalgia means that I will often have to spend a great deal of time in bed if a longer flare up arises.  Therefore, I want a room that is beautiful to look at, and a bed that is going to last and make a statement. After looking around for inspiration, I am completely sold on buying an upholstered bed! I love the look of them (especially the classic chesterfield design) and the fact that they certainly become the main focus of a room, especially in a rented home where there are restrictions on decoration.

Upholstered beds can bring a great sense of elegance to a room and add a touch of luxury which is something that is very appealing to me! Although they come in many designs, such as the more minimalist and modern above, I'm thinking of going all out, such as in this room below. I love feeling like a princess and want to feel every inch of one when I enter my bedroom, whether for a good nights sleep (something I struggle with) or to get ready for a night out. I'm personally looking to pair a king size luxurious bed with some French inspired furniture - most importantly a vintage dressing table and can quite easily imagine that it will become my favourite room, which I will not want to leave! 

Since discovering my plans for my bedroom, my darling daughter has decided that she would like an upholstered bed for her room aswell. Considering that I've not long bought her a new bed, I think we may go for the headboard option but again there are lots of single upholstered bed options. I love the clean lined, sophisticated look of the room below, which be perfect for my almost 12 year old.

This girly, yet easily age adaptable bed could easily be used for years to come and is certainly fit for a princess or little diva!

Considering how elegant and luxurious they look and the difference they can make to a bedroom, I was surprised how reasonable the cost of an upholstered bed, or the same effect of a headboard can be. I would certainly consider one an investment as an elegant and classy look can be maintained for years to come, in my opinion, without dating. 
Have you purchased a new bed lately, if so what look did you go for? I'm always interested in other people's home decor! 


Linking up with IBOT, Random Wednesday, Thursday Blog Hop.

**This post contains a sponsored link. However, all views are 100% my own**

I never thought I'd carry a rabbit in my bra...

I apologise for this post if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram as you'll have seen some of the photos here! On Tuesday morning I went out to feed our menagerie of rabbits to find five little additions in one of the hutches!

If you recall about a month ago, poor Lilly gave birth to 4 babies who sadly didn't make it. After we discovered that we didn't actually have two female bunnies, Lilly and the newly found out Billy were placed in different hutches until he had been dealt with at the vets! Ironically he was booked in on the same day that we found the babies and that in fact, rabbits could get pregnant again when they are already pregnant! How weird is that? I couldn't think of anything worse!

The morning after my heart stopped for a moment when I noticed there were only four little babies in the nest. I looked around the hutch frantically and found this little man at the bottom of the ramp, cold and lifeless. Scooping him up I was glad that on the Tuesday I'd read up on every possible situation. I checked his claws which were still clear and meant that there was a possibility he could be revived and popped him inside my bra of all places! His core body temperature needed to be warmed up quickly and against my chest was the best place for him while I got a hot water bottle to wrap in a blanket to place him on.

The next fifteen minutes seemed to last forever whilst I urged the little man to hang on in there and ran through what may have happened. He'd either wandered out of the nest (as he'd tried doing yesterday) and fallen as his eyes will remain fused shut until he's around ten days old. Or, as Lilly's blind, she may not have realised that he was feeding and inadvertently carried him off to the bottom of the hutch. 
Finally, I caught a glimpse of his nose twitching and his little paws moving! I can't remember the last time I'd felt so happy - it had me smiling all day. After another ten minutes warming up he was fine to go back in the nest with his siblings and snuggled straight into the middle of them. 

They continued to wander about that day and worried that the next morning I'd find more of them lying around the hutch, I decided to intervene. As we hadn't expected Lilly to give birth, I hadn't placed a nest box in the hutch. I improvised and put a box in for them and was relieved to find them all in one place the next day. 

Lilly seems to have mastered feeding them now and they are much more content so they are now out of the box and back in a beautiful nest that their mum has made them. I can't believe how much they are changing every day, they are now three days old and starting to get their fur coat and ears are less pinned back. I've completely fallen in love with them!

and Mr Bunny??? Well he's feeling quite sorry for himself in the house after a painful little visit to the pets!! No more baby bunnies in this house!

Have a great weekend.

Linking up with Lauren Elizabeth and Daily Diaries

Monday, 19 May 2014

Sunny weekends & friends

Hello Monday! How much better you seem with the sun shining - everyone seems much more cheerful and it is a little easier to get out of bed. Apart from hay fever making am early appearance I'm feeling good and have lots to achieve this week so that I can enjoy the bank holiday weekend that's approaching. 

I'm going to sound so cliche but this weekend certainly flew by. I didn't mean to be absent from here towards the end of last week but things got crazy busy and I've not had time to document it. Being a bad blogger, I've also not taken many photos due to being busy and enjoying the days so I'll just have to try and explain to the best of my ability!

So, Thursday I managed something I've not done in nearly four year - I sat in a car and drove for two hours! No big deal really but it had become one in my head. I was involved in a car accident which resulted in fracturing two vertebrae in my neck. It was the most scary and painful experience I've had and I've been too scared to drive since. I'd worked myself up into a big panic, but the time has come where I needed to face it head on to make my life so much easier and to my amazement it wasn't that bad an experience! In fact, I'm going to do it again this week. I'm trying not to put myself under too much pressure but I think I may keep it up and am looking for a new car :)

Friday night was spent at the museum for our annual Museums at Night event (which was shown on BBC 2 on Saturday evening), followed by some drinks down the Bay, for a fried who is leaving Cardiff to return to Canada and marry his sweetheart. Today is a big day for them and I'm sending them lots of love and positive thoughts for the big changes ahead of them. 

Saturday, I was suffering for the exertion on Friday so I started the day with some gentle exercise to loosen up and some cuddles with the cats. Daughter and I then met my friend and we took the girls on a walk through the local countryside and stopped at a pub for a snack and a couple of drinks in the sun before walking back. It was nice to have a girly afternoon and enjoy the beautiful weather, it's so lovely to feel the sun on my face and finally get a little colour on my milky skin. Sunday we made the most of the sun again and headed into Cardiff to the park and the ice cream parlour. Seriously the best ice cream ever! I had the cherry and amaretto flavour and if you're in the Victoria Park area, I'd definitely recommend a visit to Fablas Ice Cream in Canton!

I hope you enjoyed the sunny weekend, what did you get up to? I'll be back on track with this little space this week :) 


Linking up with Monday Morning Gossip, IBOT, BEDM

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Home Sweet Home // #BEDM

My Mama has always had the most impeccable sense of style when it comes to interior design and has always strived to create a beautiful home. When my sister and I were very young I remember her spending hours making curtains by hand and recovering sofas when money was a little more tight. Sometimes, she will get an idea for a room and I wonder how on earth it will work but my mother is always able to pull it together and create a beautiful, yet personal home. I took these snaps on my iPhone when I retreated to their house to work this morning. I hadn't planned on taking any, therefore didn't have my camera so I apologise for the not so great quality.

I moved out of my parents home when I was eighteen and I have lived in numerous houses over the years. I'm very much hoping my next house will be our 'forever home' where I can make my permanent mark and create the home I've always wanted. Living in a rented house does not make me feel rooted and as my parents have lived in their house since I was eight years old, that's where I go when I need to feel like I belong. No matter how the decor changes this house always feels like home, it holds some wonderful memories from when I was growing up and you'll always find a cat sleeping on the chair or climbing up into places she shouldn't be. Although there's only two cats at home now, instead of the four or five we always had as children, the one thing I still believe is a house is not a home without one!

What makes a house a home to you? For me, it's the people and the little personal touches. The Welsh love spoon my Grandad carved that sits on the dresser, the cup and saucer that reminds me of tea with my Gran, the mischievous cat that likes to sleep on my feet and the sense that no matter how you change a house, when it's a home the memories you hold won't leave.

Whilst I long for that permanent home of our own I take heart from knowing, that as long as house is filled with love, no matter how temporary you live there, it can always be a home.


linking up with #BEDM, Random Wednesday, Lovely Thursday Blog Hop

Monday, 12 May 2014

My walk to work // #BEDM

Apart from two mornings a week when I work at the museum, my walk to work consists of walking down the stairs to the kitchen and then to the next room to switch on the laptop or my iPad to work on some articles or project planning. However, although not technically a walk (as I take the bus into Cardiff), my commute to the museum is far more beautiful and interesting! 
I am incredibly lucky to live in a place where we have so  many lovely views and castles to look at.  The one below is called Castell Coch which in English means 'Red Castle' and it can be seen on the hillside along the A470 into Cardiff.  It is a Victorian Gothic castle, built on the site of a 13th Century castle for the 3rd Marquess of Bute, as a rural retreat when he got bored of his main residence, Cardiff Castle (coming below!).  As children, my sister and I were told that it is where the tooth fairies lived as it is on a hill looking across Cardiff and its neigbouring towns.  To read more and for stunning pictures of the castle look here.

My bus gets in to probably my favourite part of Cardiff, the civic centre where I pass the City Hall.  I absolutely love this building.  My Great, Great Grandfather built the clock tower of the building, which is one of the most iconic landmarks in Cardiff.  My sister also got married here and part of my university graduation memories are also from here.  I love walking through this beautiful city every morning.

Just across the road is Cardiff Castle.  I love that we have a castle that has been here since the Romans came to Cardiff 2000 years ago and that it is in the city centre.  The Roman fort was the first of four forts that were here and evidence of each stage of the castle's evolvement can be seen within the walls (see here for more details).

On a Monday morning there is an obligatory visit to Starbucks to pick up a grande soya peppermint hot chocolate. Monday mornings are usually particularly stressful as Megan has a lot of anxiety returning to school after the weekend and will try anything not to go.  I usually feel as though I've done a full days week before I reach work, so this is a treat to myself for getting this far! 

St. John's City Parish Church is next to where I work.  Apart from Cardiff Castle, it is the oldest remaining medieval building in the city and it dates from the 12th century.  It is a beautiful church and I love hearing the bells ring out whilst I'm working or when leaving work in the evening. A wedding at the church creates quite a scene, with shoppers and tourists stopping to watch and clogging up the streets around. At Christmas time, the Christmas markets are around both the church and our building and the atmosphere is particularly festive.  You may also recognise it if you are a Doctor Who or Torchwood fan.

...and this is work - a beautiful Victorian Grade II listed building which was the first free library in Cardiff..

...and the view of the church from the office window isn't too shabby either!  

If you're very lucky, you may also catch a glimpse of Benedict Cumberbatch filming, or the cast of Dr Who, Casualty and many more :)  One of the many perks of having the BBC Production Studios here in Cardiff.  Did I mention how much I love this city???
Not the best IPhone pic but it's the Batch people! :)


linking up with Rosalilium, IBOT, Random Wednesday

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Wednesday, 7 May 2014

I can't live without.....

(Diary - gifted / Small notebook - Ryman)

Call me old fashioned, but although I always keep my iPad with me and I love all it's note taking, calender, business and photo editing apps, I can't help but prefer my diary and some pretty / awesome notebooks. To me, if it's not tangible, it's not really there and I love to write down my notes and cross things off in my diary rather than erase them off Evernote. I've had my iPad since last November and I admit that I couldn't do without it now, but there's something very satisfying about putting a pen through a list or closing a book and putting it away after the end of a busy day.

(The Works)

Today I was on the hunt for a hardback notebook for my school project. I love Paperchase, but my budget dictated a less expensive option and I found this beautiful A4 book in The Works, reduced from £12.99 to £2.99 - I was sold and now it is sitting on the table waiting to be written in.


Sorry about the low quality iPhone pics, but I'd forgotten to charge my camera (must write a reminder), also the short post - it was one of those mornings and then I headed out to lunch with some friends. So, how about you? What is your favourite way to stay organised?

Linking up with #BEDM

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Top Tips for Planning a Hen Night to Remember // Guest Post

Top Tips for Planning a Hen Night to Remember

Your best friend is getting married and she's asked you to be her maid of honour. One of the perks that comes with this role is seeing your friend off into married life with one hell of a party. But how do you organise the perfect hen night? Take a look at these tips:


A badly organised hen can result in lots of moody chicks and a stressed out bride to be. Keep the fun factor by making sure everyone knows the logistics in advance. Maybe even consider hiring a party planner if you want everything done for you.


This is always a deal breaker, with some hens preferring something a little more low key thanks to budget restrictions and others expecting a weekend away somewhere hot and lively. Get a feel for what the ladies on the invite list can afford, as there's no point booking a weekend away in Spain when their budgets only stretch to a bar crawl and a meal. Whatever you plan, make sure everyone knows exactly how much it will cost and if they have to cover anything on top of any price you give them, avoiding arguments in the long run.

If you need to pay for any activities or trips in advance, make sure everyone knows when and how to pay. Perhaps consider setting up a bank or paypal account so everyone can pay in instalments in advance of the hen do so you can easily keep tabs on who's paid what.

Break the Ice

Not everyone will know everyone else on the guest list, so breaking the ice with activities or even a common theme involving fancy dress costumes (you can get some great value fancy dress costumes from George at ASDA) will help to bond the group and place less pressure on you all to make small talk. Make sure you take everyone into consideration though in terms of planning activities. For example, if you have four pregnant hens out of a group of eight, you won't have much fun doing anything particularly energetic and they may well get bored waiting on the sidelines.

Make the Bride Feel Special

The hen do is all about the bride after all. What kind of a hen party would she like? There's no point organising a raucous night out if that's her idea of hell. You know her inside out, so organise something that suits her down to the ground.

During the hen the bride to be shouldn't feel pressured to organise anything or sort out any problems, so ensure you're there to take care of anything like that. Also keep her glass charged at all times.

Other great tips include meeting for brunch the following day to chat about the evening’s events - you're sure to have many a tale to recount! Also, make sure you document everything by taking lots of photos to look back on with your friend in years to come. Just make sure they're suitably edited before sharing them on Facebook or Instagram or you might have an unhappy hen on your hands!

** Please note that I have been compensated for publishing this guest post **


Passion Projects // #BEDM

Firstly, thank you to everyone for their lovely and uplifting comments on last Tuesdays post 'Starting Afresh'. Particular thanks to the readers from IBOT over at Essentially Jess! they were greatly appreciated and along with some successful meetings and a lovely Bank Holiday weekend, I have been motivated and am now seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.

I am taking part in Elizabeth's BEDM challenge and today's topic 'Passion Projects' has given me the perfect opportunity to go into some more detail about my plans. As you may or may not have realised, I have both a professional and personal interest in history.  I went back to university aged 27 where I gained a BA (hons) History degree, am now studying post-grad and have worked in heritage for some time.  I previously worked self employed and have wanted to work for myself again for a while. The budget cuts at the museum where I work may have some mixed blessings as it is giving me the nudge to go and get what I want. 

At the same time, history is becoming more and more diminished on the school curriculam which I believe is a great shame and also detrimental to society. I am great believer that history provides us with a sense of identity and belonging. How can we understand where we fit into our communities if we don't understand where we are from? It provides us with a context from which we can understand ourselves and others. It helps us understand changes in society, learn from previous mistakes and improve our judgement. 

To get children interested in history though we need to make it relevant to them and the world that we live in today. We need to get them out of thinking that history is just learning facts and figures. I hate that method of learning and prefer to bring history to life. How did events affect peoples lives? How did it make them feel? By experiencing we can learn, empathise and gain respect. Instead of boring a class by talking at them, let's say get them active and recreate a newly enlisted soldiers training before they were sent to war. Maybe include a local sport star to put them through their paces? So that's what I'm doing! I've currently got two schools on board and am writing a series of workshops covering the First World War, with the emphasis on gaining new skills, discovering how the war would have affected children like themselves and putting on an exhibition to show off what they have learnt. 

I have plenty of ideas burning away for other projects and exhibitions and although I'm extremely nervous about how it will all work, I'm taking a huge leap of faith and telling myself that I can do this. Of course I have to make money to live, I have a house, bills and child to take care of but I am finally doing something that I love and truly believe in and if I can make a living from doing so, then I'm very privileged. I also love to write and am extremely grateful that I'm being given the opportunity to do so on a completely different level to my heritage education work. I'm hoping that you'll see this little space expanding now I'm doing something I love, as my enthusiasm has returned and I'm picking up opportunities to attend fashion and beauty events which I can't believe and am very excited about!

So now I can see again (my eyesight had become so bad), it's time to put my research skills to work and challenge myself. I'm embracing it wholeheartedly and soon my 'work' website will be up and running. Until then, here is my new logo which my talented cousin has made up for me and I absolutely love! 

If you've made it to the end of this super long post then thank you! Of course, if you know of a school or community group that would be interested in any of my services please feel free to pass on my details, which can be found in my 'about me' section. Thank you!

Linking up with BEDM, IBOT

Monday, 5 May 2014

Cinco de Mayo - Holiday Planning // #BEDM

We are craving a little holiday around these parts and as I was child free yesterday morning a lie in was called for and so was a browse through some holiday brochures. I love researching a country before we decide where to go and being a historian, I am drawn to the heritage and culture of a place. Whilst Italy is in the forefront due to it being a closer destination for a short break, we have been drawn to Mexico. 

Cinco de Mayo is the celebration of the victory in 1862 of the Mexican Army over France, at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. It is only a minor holiday in Mexico, mainly celebrated in the state of Puebla, whereas in America it has become a widespread holiday celebrating Mexican heritage and culture. Mexico's festival culture, beautiful landscape (which includes one of the largest barrier reef systems) and both it's Mayan and Aztec ruins are examples of what makes it stand out as a suitable and exciting holiday destination to me.

This is where I need your help! Have you been to Mexico? If we were restricted on the duration of our stay what would you recommend? Bearing in mind that we would like to avoid the Cancun party resort! Should we stay on the Pacific or Caribbean Coast?  Which attractions must we not miss?

To get involved in the holiday spirit, I think I may need a few tequilas as I browse through more hotels and locations...or maybe not as the Bank holiday is technically ending I should probably keep a clear head to return to work mode tomorrow!


Linking up with #BEDM

You might as well be talking Dutch - Star Wars Day // #BEDM

Ummm...Star Wars Day?? Yes, I was kinda stumped when I saw this topic on the #BEDM list. For anyone who knows me a Star Wars conversation between my sister and friends is like a foreign language to me - I have no idea! All I know is that Ewan McGreggor was a Jedi (not sure what that is though) and that R2D2 is a robot and to be fair, I only know that much as my sister walked around Orlando wearing an R2D2 hat from Disney World! My friends, family and work colleagues all love sci-fi amd now there's a new film on its way (don't ask me what it's called) I know I'm about to feel as though I'm living in some foreign land with no understanding of what's being said! Many a conversation has started and I've had to end in by saying "I'm sorry but have no idea what you are talking about" - yes I am that girl ....

So with that in mind and many apologies for this short pathetic post, I'm off into the garden to make the most of the sun! I hope you're all having a lovely Bank Holiday weekend though :) 

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Weekend Mornings //#BEDM

Before I start I should note that this isn't my typical weekend morning! Usually a Saturday would consist of if not three, at least two children running around the place as I slowly try to wake up with a cup of tea in bed before sorting the girls out and then getting on with some cleaning. However, as I mentioned yesterday, there are no children in sight for two nights so this morning looks a bit different! I'm sat writing this up in the garden enjoying the sun, with the only sound being the birds singing and the horses occasionally neighing in the field next door. It's bliss and my reward for waking up to this beautiful view this morning yet still sitting down to work!

So this morning it took me a long time to wake up. Probably due to the fact that the night before last after ordering a gluten free pizza, it turned out to be contaminated with gluten and has made me I'll. I've got coeliac disease so this is not a lifestyle choice. I get seriously unwell if I eat contaminated food. I am so careful at home but I recognised the symptoms and luckily was able to get to the pharmacist before the sickness started to get some tablets to help limit the symptoms. They do make you drowsy though so I was pretty groggy waking up this morning on top of the fatigue that comes along with being poisoned! 
I stayed in bed for a while with a cup of tea until I was capable of walking downstairs to take a shower. Feeling a bit more with it, I did my hair and make up before taking the obligatory selfie of my new glasses! Is it just me or does everyone spend half an hour in the mirror with new specs figuring out if they suit you and which way styling your hair will be most flattering? I do hope I'm not the only one!

After contemplating just sitting in the garden and making the most of the peace, I decided that now I can actually see with a new prescription, I should really get down to some work. It was so hard with the sky so blue and the garden being warmer than the house, but the panic of a funding application that really needs to be completed lured me inside.

At 11.30 I'd done a fair bit so rewarded myself with a tea break (Minnie Mouse mug was essential!) and a chocolate brownie. It was too nice to stay in so I parked myself at the bottom of the garden to watch the horses in the neighbouring field. They are very friendly and normally very inquisitive but today I obviously wasn't interesting enough for them (note lack of children with apples).

After completing another couple of hours work scouring the Victoria Cross honours list, I've now packed up and am enjoying the sun as Tim gets changed after work, before heading to the Mulberry and Orla Kiely shops which are just down the road. I'm falling in love with Somerset!

I'm looking forward to reading your weekend routines, I'm afraid mine was that mine wasn't that interesting but although I was working it was quite relaxing.
Linking up with #BEDM, MMG