A Day in London

A day in London

Back in November Mr T and I spent a day in London together which is always so special for us.  It’s where we fell in love, it was home for over three years and we it’s one of the worlds best cities!

We drove up instead of taking the train as we were seeing a late night movie with friends at the IMAX so needed  safe transport back home.  We parked at Waterloo and as we headed out we spotted the Boris Bikes and spontaneously decided to hope on and cycle rather than take the bus.  Oh my, did I love it.  I cycled behind Mr T. who mapped our journey on his phone while I was able to just look around and take in the amazing sights.

A day in london

We ended up at Sloan Square where we parked the bikes and headed to the Saatchi gallery.  It just so happens to be in my favourite part of London, Chelsea, and is right on Kings Road – my fave shopping destination ever.

A day in London

 

A day in London

The Saatchi had a special exhibition of Rolls Royce and we were just blown away by the detail and passion that is put into the making of these super deluxe and exquisite cars.  They had playful interactive art displays that we got a little carried away with and they even had a Roll Royce xbox driving game that Mr. T had a few goes on.

A day in London

funny art

Best gallery I think I’ve ever been to.  So much more than plaques and paintings.

A day in London

A day in London

Heading back out onto Kings road we stopped for tea and strolled around to soak in this lovely little area all decked for Christmas.

A day in London

 

A day in London

A day in London

A day in London

But we, of course, couldn’t leave this area without heading to ‘the’ London destination – Harrods.

A day in London

 We fall in love with this city all over again every time we visit.  It’s so beautiful this time of year, all lit up for Christmas. It was a special day to be in love in London.

When was the last time you were in the city?

2014 Family Christmas Gift Guide

Well, it’s December!  I’m so glad it’s here and we have so much to look forward to this month.  My husband’s exams are FINISHED!!  So now we can enjoy the kids nativities, Christmas parties, mulled wine and turning on the Christmas tree every morning creating that special glow.

My oldest has asked that we make lots of Christmas traditions this year, which of course we already have plenty of, but she’s made a lovely list of things she wants to do this Christmas.  Making Christmas cookies and gingerbread houses are top of the list, along with opening a present Christmas Eve, and giving a gift to those in need.  I think she’s nailed Christmas and she’s only 6!

But the inevitable Christmas shopping will come as well and so to help you along I’ve created a little picture board of gifts for all the family.  There’s always one person that is really difficult to buy for so I’ve got a little something for her, him and the kids.   Who are you struggling to find the perfect gift for this year?

2015 Gift Guide for Her
2014 Gift Guide for Him

Pancakes, blogging and other things

Pancakes, blogging & other things

It’s Saturday morning and I have been awake for about 3 and a half hours already and it’s only 8:45 am.  I have helped make two pumpkin pies, made my own grain free pumpkin pancakes (yum!) and have also assisted the making of bacon and pancakes for 6 children.

But now I am sitting at my desk (another small victory to be at a desk and not typing on my lap in some random corner of the living room), eating my pumpkin pancakes and sipping on my first cup of tea of the day.  Bliss…  It’s taken me all week to sit down at my desk to write.  I miss it so much but the days seem to fly by weeks at a time and I am just trying to make sure I’m awake at the right time of each day.  It’s getting harder and harder to tell the difference between night and day and I pretty much feel the same at both times.

Oh yes, it’s that time of the year again when hubby is studying most hours and sleeping for the rest and kids activities seem to triple and the calendar just explodes with events.  And that is why I look forward to Christmas so much every year.  My husband will actually have some time off from work where he gets to be with the family instead of at the library studying, and it’s cold enough outside to make it perfectly acceptable to stay indoors in our pi’s…all week long.

Saturday was another one of those calendar explosion days.  My amazingly gorgeous nieces slept over and we all headed up to Leatherhead to my brother’s house for an EPIC Thanksgiving meal with friends followed by racing down to Billingshurt for the Christmas Fair where I had a stall booked to sell my beauty products.

I still need to figure out what food to bring to the Thanksgiving meal and have two batches of body butter to make, jar up and label for the Christmas Fair.  This could be a very long day.  But what I have learned is that if I stop and think too much about all the work I have to do I get overwhelmed from the work load and become “stress paralysed” as they say in the movie “Mom’s night out”.  That is so a real thing!

I know you mum’s know what I’m talking about.  You start off making your to-do list and then you become frozen by the volume of work that needs to be done while having a mild panic attack about how much more work there will be if you keep sitting still.  But you just can’t seem to move and face all the work because the thought of it all just STRESSES you out – stress paralysis!  Very, very sad, but yet very real.

So my defence mechanism against such “stress paralysis” is to just keep moving.  You just do one thing and then the other until all the work is done.  You basically turn into Jason Bourne from the Bourne Identity. The more pressure and stress he was under the quicker and harder he would work.  Brilliant, but I believe this is not exclusive to highly trained secret government agents.  Us mum’s can do this too!  I do it all the time at my work, at home with the kids doing housework and any other place that requires exhaustive amounts of work.  Just keep moving.  Don’t give up, don’t think about it and just keep going.

Everybody has to do hard work and even though our work as mum’s can sometimes play some cruel psychological jokes on us, we’re not any worse off than any mother out there – or so my mother keeps telling me?!?

So if you’re caught up in the extra doses of hard work and stress this time of year can bring – just breathe and keep going.  It will come to an end – Hallelujah!  Christmas will come, holiday’s will arrive and we can finally sit down with a hot drink and enjoy our families.

Happy Holidays x

 

What Every Woman Needs to Hear

Well I’ve been back a week now from my weekend in the Isle of Man and I feel as if my feet have barely touched the ground!  But I couldn’t let any more time go by without capturing all that happened while I was away.

It was a truly special time away.  The Isle of Man is a beautiful Island that honestly felt exactly like Horsham.  Very well kept and very friendly people.  I would love to take my whole family next time as it really is a great place to explore with lots of history and super friendly people.

My favourite thing about the entire weekend was spending time with all the ladies.  I was excited to be going to a new place and meeting new people, but getting to know all the ladies I went with on a whole new level, laughing and crying together, sharing adventures and making great memories was the best.

We went to the Living Hope women’s conference and the theme was Belong.  Now I’ve been to my fair share of women’s conferences and I absolutely love them.  It can seem a little intimidating at first, as you know how us women can be, and it’s because of all that insecurity in the room that at every women’s conference you’ll hear the same thing – you are loved.  This is a fundamental truth that will be spoken because it is the deepest ache of all of our hearts – to be loved.

We doubt ourselves on so many things and even those of us who are blessed with husbands and/or children who adore us we still sometimes have a hard time loving ourselves.  That can be the hardest part.  I loved all the fun times with my friends and I love getting to know their hearts desires, their dreams and aspirations, likes and dislikes.  Each of them is special, unique, kind, passionate, funny and loving in such different ways.

But for some reason we can get blinders on our eyes so that we can only see everyone else’s ‘beauty’ and be completely blind to our own.  We are loved by our creator and Father God and the more we know and accept this the more we are able to love others.

Another big highlight from the conference was hearing Rob Parsons from Care for the Family.  Hearing about all that they do to support marriages, families of any size and circumstance and those who have experienced bereavement.  It was a little heart wrenching at times, but their philosophy of not just helping those in crisis but preparing for what’s ahead truly gripped my heart.  I decided to partner with their ministry and was given an amazing resource bundle which I can’t wait to get into (more on that later).

I did manage to capture a few moments on my phone and if you followed me along on Instagram or Facebook will have seen a few of these already.  But here are the best parts of  my weekend away on the Isle of Man.

 

 

 

Jet, Set, Go!

Something very exciting is happening this weekend.  I’m actually getting on an airplane and flying away for the weekend!  Now, the flight is less than an hour long and the weekend will be spent at a conference, but this is still BIG news for me!

And even though I’m not technically leaving the country nor do I need to use my passport I am still majorly excited at the thought of ‘travelling’.  A weekend away on the Isle of Man for a women’s conference is a perfect way to get my ‘sea legs’ back.  This will also be the first time since I’ve had kids that I will be away from all of them and my husband.  I’m not worried at all about the kids because they will be having a blast with daddy, who is astoundingly good at taking care of them single handedly – what a guy!

I’m excited about being in a new place, meeting new people, travelling with my girlfriends and hearing from God.  I love conferences, and am always so expectant.  I love being together worshiping, praying and hearing God’s word spoken.  It gives me fresh perspective, new vision and passion for the next season.

In anticipation of my trip I have already planned every outfit and created a mental list of every item to go in my weekend bag.  Now, even though I love clothes, I am not a heavy packer and am happy with the bare necessities on my travels (my husband is already trying to convince me to take just one extra pair of trousers in case I want to change in the evening – ain’t gonna happen).   I have no problem living out of a suitcase and will never take things that need hanging or ironing (which I never do anyway).  It’s a two night stay so one pair of shoes, two pairs of trousers and tops with vests for layering up if the weather gets cold.  Here’s a  look at my travel outfit.

Jenny's travel style

Jenny's travel style

Jenny's travel style

A classic mac and a colourful scarf are lightweight enough for travel and versatile for the tricky Autumn weather.

Jenny's travel style

Jenny's travel style

Jenny's travel style

Jenny's travel style

Travel, in my mind, means comfy clothing.  Leggings and a knit top are practically outdoor pyjamas.  A statement necklace adds instant style to any outfit and with some easy slip on shoes you’re out the door in no time and with no fuss.

Jenny's travel style

jenny11

Jacket: old, Scarf: old, Knit Tunic: H&M (similar here), Leggings: H&M, Shoes: Topshop, Necklace: New Look (similar here)

What are your travel essentials?  Until next time…

5 Worst Mistakes New Mums Make

 

5  worst mistakes new mums make

I love being a mum and it’s one great adventure.  But it’s a huuuuuuggggeeee learning curve and nothing in life can quite prepare you for it.  I was 21 when I had my first baby and looking back I didn’t do the greatest job in those early months.  So I wanted to share with you the top 5 worst makes new mum’s make, because I made most of them myself.

1. Over protecting from germs

England has its fair share of bad weather but it shouldn’t keep you and baby indoor doors for months on end.  Some new mums stay inside for fear of their baby catching a measles somewhere between their front door and the car.  But it’s important to get baby out of the house not just for the healthful fresh air but also to expose them to the general germs to help them build up their immunity responses.  Over protecting them against germs in their infancy only causes them to struggle more with fighting off germs  as they get older.  Exposing them to a variety of good and bad germs from infancy trains their immune responses to learn the bad from the good and know when to fight.  Babies raised amongst animals have stronger immunities and less allergies as they are exposed to a  broader spectrum of germs. So go ahead and get outside, see some friends and family.  You and your baby will benefit from it.

2. Doing it alone

Maternal instinct can go into hyperdrive with our first baby in our arms, but it’s so important to include your spouse and other family or friends to create a strong sense of family for baby and give you the rest your body desperately needs.  We may be able to change a nappy faster or bathe them with more confidence, but these are skills our spouses need to learn to bond with baby.  If friends and family offer food or a weekly cleaning time, take it!   Whenever my mum would come round in those early months she wouldn’t snatch my baby out of my arms and send me into the kitchen, she would tell me to just sit down and cuddle and nurse my baby while she washed the dishes, did the laundry and cleaned the bathroom.  She knew what we needed!  Letting others help in little ways lifts big burdens from our shoulders.

 3. Cleaning instead of sleeping

This is arguably one of the hardest things to persuade a new mother to do – sleep!  ‘Sleep when baby sleeps’ is one of the most common pieces of advice I’ve heard amongst all generations and cultures.  This timeless instruction really does make one of the biggest differences in motherhood, yet amongst our have and do it all culture we set out to prove that we can have a baby and a perfectly clean home”.  But honestly, who cares how tidy your house is when there’s a newborn in your arms!  I’m not saying you should neglect taking care of your home or stop doing the dishes, but this is where number two comes in handy.  If hubby bathes baby then I can tidy up the dinner dishes.  But when baby is sleeping I’m lying down as well.  By not resting or taking time out to just chill you’re being counter productive.  The happier and healthier you are the better parent you can be.  Sleep is the best thing for you and your baby in those early months – don’t neglect it!

4. Underestimating your time

I remember being pregnant with my first and working in an office. There were two other pregnant ladies and they would talk about how quickly they would come back to work after baby was born.  One lady even went as far to say ‘I’ll just get bored at home doing nothing.’  Ha – I’d like to have seen how that turned out for her.  Because for all us mums out there we know that there is no free time, down time, or boredom in those early months.  But that is really how so much of the world see us mums-at-home.  That we do nothing all day.  But newborns take up every moment of our waking and half sleeping moment.  You’re not going on holiday, your changing careers.  And it’s one of the most demanding careers you’ll ever have.

5. Comparing your baby to others

We all do it whether we want to or not, and if we’re not doing it then someone else will do it for us!  We love to brag about how intelligent, strong, healthy or how beautiful our babies are but it can most often get us down more than up when we start comparing our baby to others.  It doesn’t matter how soon your baby can sit up, wean, potty train, smile or sleep through the night – they all get there eventually!  All those ‘charts’ we’re given are mere averages (and personally something I threw away as soon as I was handed them).  Every baby develops differently and will end up with different strengths and weaknesses.  Motherhood is not a competition.  Enjoy the precious life God gave you and don’t let comparison steal your joy of motherhood.

What took you most by surprise as a first time mum?  Anything you would add to the list?

The Accidental Hostess

The accidental Hostess

I was 19 when I got married, and I have to admit, I was not that great at sharing our home.  I wanted to keep it all to ourselves so it could always be tidy, clean and ours.  I didn’t like the thought of someone sleeping on our brand new sofa or sharing the bathroom.  Even watching people load my dishwasher was enough to make me lose it!

How time has changed things – and praise God for that!  I’ll admit it, hospitality was not my favourite word when I first got married. But now it’s become part of who we are as a couple.  It’s a way we share and show love to those around us and it’s at the heart of our passion to serve Christ.

While my parents have been on an extended trip to the US we have opened our doors to as many people as we possibly can – and we’re loving it. Who knew!  Some dinners have been planned others have been spontaneous, we’ve had games nights, girls nights, home groups and leaders meetings, but I’ve learned to love it whichever way it comes.  God has helped me to love to serve in whichever capacity I can and to focus on the people and not my domestic capabilities.

Sometimes planning can mean stressing!  Putting too much thought into creating the perfect meal, with perfectly matching tableware can make things a lot harder than they need to be and can even stop us from having people over.  I’ve found spontaneously having people over has helped me so much to be a more enjoyable hostess.  You know why?  Because I actually enjoy my time with our guests rather than slaving away in the kitchen all day and then moaning about all the tidying up after.

I used to become paranoid at the thought of someone sleeping over.  I just couldn’t handle it, but now I don’t want the fun to stop and offer our spare bedrooms and even couches to whole families to make the fun last as long as possible.  My kids also love having guests round the house and enjoy a sleepover even more.   And that is something I am very proud of.  Seeing my kids excited about sharing their home, rooms and beds with others and loving it.

Doing life together is always more fun and we can share, laugh and love on a  whole new level when we open up our homes without hesitation.  And if God could take this uptight perfectionist and use me to share love through hospitality than I know he can use you too!

Happy Hosting

xx