31 October 2017

Feature: Wish you were here!

The Great British Seaside

Mums on tour – my oldest and dearest friend and I had been planning a few days away in the Summer with our gang – eleven years old, seven years old and three years old. Luckily for us my friend’s father has a large ground floor flat overlooking the beach in Westgate on sea, five minutes from Margate, with a heated pool which he was happy for us to camp out in– Result! He was also kind enough to stock both the fridge and cupboards with essentials; wine, prosecco, gin and chocolate! We packed everything we could get into the car including all three children, coats, sun cream, hats, wellies, sandals, board games, lilos, high heels, ipads, ipods, kindles, books and more booze (because really you never know what you are going to end up with weather wise – and you always need a lot of booze)

We were so fortunate to get four days of glorious sunshine and we planned to do a traditional bucket and spade seaside holiday and enjoy everything that Margate had to offer. A five-minute cab ride from the flat in Westgate on Sea meant we were near enough to all the seaside attractions. Trains run from London St Pancras, Cannon Street and Victoria to Margate and the train station is right on the front. It has always been a popular seaside destination and is enjoying a much needed renaissance.

Here follows a few of our highlights, with recommendations of attractions and eateries. My son said it was the best time of his life and it was a fantastic, affordable and highly entertaining mums
 on tour trip for two old school friends and their gang of children! If you get the chance to visit Margate then do – it really is lovely

·         Dreamland!!!! Recently revamped with all the old original vintage rides. Having spent time here as a teenager the nostalgia was overwhelming (mixed with the Pina colada slush puppies from the bar!) Helter Skelter, Chair Swing, Wurlitzer, Carousel and the famous Scenic Railway are all back and looking spanking. The park is free to enter and wristbands can be purchased for ride all day or alternatively rides can be paid for individually. Small people are £14.50 and big people are £17 a band. We spent 6 hours here and still hadn’t done all the rides – great selection of street food from local producers on offer all day too -

·         Dinner – GBK – On the seafront – thinnest crispest pizzas topped with fresh local produce – Kentish pear and blue cheese with local honey was my favourite– Buy 1 get 1 half price – and the sun setting over Margate beach!

·         The Shell Grotto – Hidden in a back street and discovered in … this underground grotto was discovered in 1835 although the original purpose remains a mystery. There are over 6 million shells adorning the walls and although this will only take up an hour or so of your time it really is a hidden gem of Margate -

·         Pit Stop– The cupcake cafĂ© – Eclectic furniture, outdoor seating, your nans best china and the most divine cake selection – this was a hit for both young and old. Pistachio and rose layer cake was the hit of the day. The staff were fabulous and the lunch menu looked great too – I’ll be going back here –

·         The Turner Contemporary Gallery – Although I will admit to not being that open minded about art – I did enjoy the gallery. The building is architecturally interesting and Anthony Gormley s statue in the sea at low tide is worth a visit for alone. I think the children were more interested in watching the life boat go out to sea (I was too if I’m being honest) If you like art chances are you’ll love it here. I loved the bar though! -

·         Dinner – Giorgios – Quite simply the best service and real homemade simple Italian fayre. The children sat for two hours with no electronics or colouring, the staff were so attentive and the constant stream of food and drinks were wonderful. Amazing value for money and huge portions. This is in an underground basement of a building near the beach – seek it out and you will not be disappointed -

·         Finally – My son’s “best day of his life so far” moment – the penny arcades! Yes, they are still noisy, yes, your feet still stick to the floor but where else can you get two hours of entertainment for £3.50 each!


Advert: Ladies Who Learn


30 October 2017

Fashion Feature!

My love/hate relationship with Marks & Spencer

Throw back to circa 1985, I'm 8, I hate shopping. My mum loved shopping (can't imagine where I got it from!), we boarded the train for Glasgow City Centre at 9am, returning, on our hands and knees, at 6pm most Saturdays. We often returned empty handed; window shopping for my mum was just as exciting as actually purchasing. 

Shopping as a child in the 80's was a completely different experience to what my kids have nowadays. There was no 'fashionable' clothes for children to choose to build their own identities (you wore what you were given, or more to the point, what was available), there were no 'accessories' to touch, to play with, to try, to want, in every shop you go into, there were no sweeties at the till for a last minute impulse buy, there was no dispensable money to spend £10 on a load of rubbish just to keep the kids happy whilst I'm shopping.

There was less choice. Less choice for kids, and less choice for adults. My mum hated disposable fashion, the thought of her buying clothes every season, and only lasting one season, would not even be considered. 'What Every Woman Wants' (was that just a Scottish shop? - quite like Primark) was passed by on route to M&S, where she knew the clothes were reasonably priced, and the material would last her a good few years. Were the collections stylish? No. Did she even like what she bought? Not really? So why did she buy them? 

M&S was like an institution. If you think of good British shops, you immediately think of M&S, there's even one in Gibraltar. If my dad saw bags from M&S it was immediately thought of as being 'OK', anywhere else and he would ask 'what have you bought now, did you need it?', but if it was from M&S it was OK. 

My 8 year old self and my 7 year old brother had different thoughts about M&S, we didn't like going in there, in fact it's suffice to say we LOATHED it. So big, so bright, so many adult clothes, nothing to look at, nothing for us, no sweets at the tills, so many old ladies trying to talk to us, no iPads to keep us entertained (yes, my kids are spoilt brats!)...and always 10 more minutes, and another, and another, and another. 5 hours later we left, half a person to who walked in. 

I reach my teens, I started to show an interest in what I wore, I swore that in my whole life ahead of me I would never, EVER, shop in M&S. the mere building gave me the creeps and filled me with that dreaded feeling of when I was 8. I wanted Tammy Girl, I wanted Chelsea Girl, I wanted Dash. 

Fast forward to now. I'm 40, still love fashion, still want to shop in the stylish, disposable, high street shops. I don't need M&S...or do I? 

Over the past couple of years I've been slowly but surely adding every fashion blogger out there on Instagram. "Where's it from?" Their followers ask, "M&S" is a frequent reply! 

Now, I'm not sure if they're paid to endorse M&S, but what I do know is that they look amazing in their clothes and shoes. 

So, over the past year, I have become a convert. I still try and not go in with my mum (sorry mum!), and try a 'tapping' method to get the childhood stress suppressed when I walk in, but I have to say, some (and I do mean some) clothes and shoes are just right for my 'too old for Topshop, too young for Jigsaw' kinda age. 

In M&S, what you see is what you get. If you're a size 12, you're a size 12. If you're a size 8 shoe, the size 8 shoes will fit you (and boy, with these 'Insolia' bottoms you could literally wear all in them all day!). 

Here's my pick of what I love in Marks & Spencer right now, and a photo of my latest purchase...when 8 people walk past me trying on these blue ankle boots and tell me I HAVE to buy them, who am I to tell them otherwise?!?!


Monthly Horoscopes with Russell Grant

Russell Grant's Monthly Horoscopes November 2017


25 October 2017

TITS Feature: My Story

Imagine the absolute joy/oh shit moment when you are told you are having twins! That was my situation back in 2015. Fast forward to April 2016 and the twins arrived, after a couple of weeks in neonatal the girls were home and we were enjoying life as a foursome! That was until I found my lump…


23 October 2017

Feature: Made For Parents

Changing Bag Essentials

As a parent of a baby or a toddler, your changing bag will probably become your most used item. But knowing what to take out can be difficult, as you don’t want to over pack and make your bag incredibly heavy, but then you want enough out with you to be prepared for every eventuality. Of course, every parent and child is different so every bag contents is going to vary slightly.
This list consists of the items which I have found useful when out and about with the little one over the past two years.

The Changing Bag

When it comes to choosing your changing bag there a few things to consider, as you want your bag to be something that works with you, not against you. Especially when you’re mid feed and all of sudden your baby suddenly pukes everywhere and you need to quickly rummage in your bag and find a muslin cloth, it needs to be easy to find. Somethings to think about:

·         A few pockets to help keep you organised and help to ensure that everything has its place. However, I do think that having too many pockets could add complications, especially when you are trying to quickly find things. Also, you could end up just filling the pockets with things you don’t need.

·         Your bag needs to be comfortable and easy to carry. Bags which are adaptable and can be carried in a couple of different ways are brilliant and can make life slightly easier.

·         Importantly, you want a bag which is easy to attach to your pushchair, as you definitely don’t want to carry a heavy bag all of the time. If your bag has a long handle, you can just hook it over the handlebar or you can use buggy straps. Some bags have them already attached, but you can buy them separately.

These ones I bought from Jojo Maman Bebe for £6.

Most importantly you need to choose a bag that you like and want to carry around, as it is likely to become your everyday bag.  

Nappy Changing

Nappies – 4 seems to be the golden number, not sure entirely sure why, I just think that with this amount you are unlikely to run out, but you will have enough if you have any unexpected moments. You might need more if you have a younger baby, as they need to be changed more frequently or if you’re going out for an extended amount of time.


20 October 2017

Devastation, disbelief and despair!

They say going through a separation is one of the hardest things you can go through, and whoever said that was not wrong. No one can ever quite prepare you for the roller-coaster of emotions you experience during a time like this, and that in itself is utterly draining. Throw the care and well being of two children in to the mix, and I am exhausted.

Sometimes I feel like I want to throw in the proverbial towel and hibernate, shying away from all the formalities that go hand in hand with the breakdown of a marriage. Other times I want to wave a magic wand and put my life back to exactly how it ‘once’ was, however this is an ideal based on a false sense of reality, a reality that simply did not exist. My life will never be the same again, and acceptance is a vital step in the healing process.


19 October 2017

Advert: MINTD 'Mum To Be' Box

Mum-to-be..beautiful: MINTD Box Launches Exclusive 'Mum-to-be' Retreat

New box has been curated, especially for expectant mamas 


TITS Feature: The Big C and Me!

Imagine being told you have cancer. What would happen to you? How would you cope? What about your children? The latest research shows us that it will affect every 1 in 2 of us in our lifetime. A shocking statistic and as parents, in sure it will hit home hard.

My name is Rhiannon and I am one of one million mums living in with cancer the U.K. My daughter is now 2 and half and I found my lump in my breast randomly when I was lying on the sofa a few weeks after her 2nd birthday. I'm lucky my cancer is treatable and I've just finished 7 successful rounds of chemotherapy and am awaiting my surgery and further treatment.


17 October 2017

Feature: Word From the U.S!

Firearms and the US: Will Anything Ever Change?


The Great Parenting Myth!

What’s your ideal job? Pilot? Gin taster? PA to Tom Hardy? Has anyone lost count at the amount of times they’ve been told being a mother is the best job in the world and felt slightly underwhelmed? There I said it! I mean don’t get me wrong I love those little sleep deprivers I grew in my own fair tummy but is it unreasonable to feel a bit…. Let down at times?


16 October 2017

Fashion Feature!

I was 31, heading swiftly away from my twenties towards a mid life crisis, and yes, I hate to admit it, a Jedward fan. 

Every Saturday night I waited  with anticipation, not to see who would be voted off the Xfactor, but to see what kind of Jeremy Scott Adidas shoes Jedward would be wearing to match their crazy outfits.

I was obsessed. 

Not only do I have a little (!!) bit of a shoe addiction, but I have always loved wings. Winged earrings, rings, bracelets and necklaces, I had the lot. I owned tops with wings on the back, winged phone cases, and even managed to persuade myself that a winged fairy tattoo was a good idea (long before my impending mid-life crisis I may add!) 

Their shoes were very hard to come by. I saw a couple of pairs in Covent Garden a few years back, but with their £200+ price tag, along with the fact that I thought I would have the Mickey taken out of me, I refrained from buying them...and have regretted it ever since 2010.


13 October 2017

Bowel Cancer At 37 Is Something To Shout About!

The weekend before my first chemo session my husband whisked me away on a surprise spa break. It was meant to be a relaxing, let’s-forget-about-all-that-cancer-crap for 24 hours… Alas, cancer’s shadow cast long and dark over even the most lightly scented of spa treatment rooms. I was asked to fill out a health questionnaire, you see. It’s a standard procedure. I’ve completed my fair share over the years but up until that point I’ve never had to tick the first box in the ‘have you ever had any of the following conditions’ section before.


10 October 2017

Advert: Percy & Nell


Activity: Exercise the Alphabet Outside

In kindergarten, children are expected to become masters of the alphabet. By the end of kindergarten, children should be able to recite the alphabet, identify individual letters and associate most of the letters with their corresponding sounds.
If your child is a mover and a shaker, there's no better way to practice alphabet skills than to get her outside, and exercise the alphabet! Here's how to help your child make letter-sound associations, while also getting some healthful exercise.


6 October 2017

Advert: The Oil Culture


All change

Just when parenting seems a little more comfortable, a new challenge presents itself. My eldest started school this term and whilst he’s adapted to his new adventure with great excitement and gusto, I’m trying to adapt and get into our new groove. 


4 October 2017

Imagine That Was You

A life of destruction, deceit and dishonesty. My rose tinted spectacles were smashed on my trip home from hospital after my birth. This is real life, happening now. Imagine that was you, your mother or even worse, your daughter.  
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