Tag Archives: lifestyle

Bringing Back The Photo Album 

When the first digital camera was invented back in 1975 it was heavy, slow and could only record black and white images. It was never intended for commercial use. In fact It took until 1990 for the first digital camera to be commercially available.

Originally it was  slow to catch on but the digital camera was to revolutionise how we took and viewed our photographs. No longer did we have to wait for our films to be developed and printed by a professional. Our photos could be instantly viewed, the unflattering ones deleted. All that excitement and urgency to get our hands on our photos was no longer. 

Today most of us have a smartphone that can instantly capture and share moments to social media. The need to print our images seems even less. 

I don’t know about you but I have years worth of digital images stored in virtual space not being appreciated. The missed opportunities of this was only reinforced by the death of my mother this year. I had a realisation that all I had left of my Mum were memories. I wanted something tangible to help hold onto them. 

It may sound overly dramatic but this was a bit of a wake up call for me. 

I am currently working on a little project to get all my favourite pictures printed and into albums. I am very aware that this is going to end up being a costly and time consuming project. It will be worth it though.

Currently I am using the FreePrints app available for iPhone to print those images from my phone, social media and Dropbox accounts. What’s helpful is that you get 45 free prints a month, only having to pay for postage. 

The quality of the prints are great and delivery is fast. I would love to leave a link but is it is app that isn’t possible. The icon though is a white butterfly on a blue background (see screenshot below).

For photo albums I like to use ring bound scrapbooks as I can really personalise the layout of each page. I can also add newspaper cuttings and tickets from events. I feel like I am creating something special for me to look back in years from now. 

2017 Bucket List Update

At the start of 2017 I created a list of the  17 things I wanted to do this year. I have actually managed to do a few things on that list. 

It’s is crazy to me that it is the end of July and we are officially over halfway through the 2017. Where has the year gone? 

So much has happened in such a relatively short space of time. My life now  is very different to what it was like at the start of the year. 

Some of those things have been amazing opportunities such as going full time and being promoted at work. Other things have been very sad such as loosing my mum back in January. It has been bittersweet.

I decided it was about time that I revisited the Bucket List and gave you a little up date on my progress. 
London Zoo 

Way back in April we visited London Zoo. I enjoyed seeing all the animals but also loved all the old architecture, many of which are listed buildings. The Giraffe house with its huge split doors was built in 1836. 

Catch a Wave 

I said I was going to embrace the sea this summer and catch a wave. Well yay for it being so warm in the run up to summer as it actually wasn’t that cold when we finally headed down to North Devon for our summer holiday. 
I tried out both bodyboarding and Surfing. The later is much harder and I still haven’t got up off my stomach. I have the bruised and scratched knees to prove though that I did  indeed catch and ride a wave. 


Not quite sure if I’m pulling of the surfer girl look? 


Try Avocado on Toast 

I’m counting this Smashed Avocado and Bacon on Sour dough toast, from Jamaica Blue in Chelmsford, as ticking something off my list. It’s not quite the super healthy blogger cliche version but this appealed to me much more. In fact I enjoyed it so much I’ve been back a couple of times. 


Read the Harry Potter Series 

My son and I are making good progress reading through the Harry Potter series. We  have got as far as Goblet of Fire. 

I love this one to one time I have with my youngest. We don’t get to do it every day due to work constraints, which is why it has taken us so long. I’m sure we will have finished the series by the end of the year.

Visit Ireland 

Lastly I have booked my flights to visit family in Ireland this coming September. It will be a whirlwind weekend trip but I can’t wait. We are have a big girly weekend at my Aunts in a part of Ireland I have never visited before. 

We are a little over halfway through the year. So far I have ticked off or planned for 5 items on my list. With 12 still left I’m going have to pull my finger out if I want to tick them off before the end of 2017. 

Of course I will keep you updated when that happens.

Did you miss me? | A round up of life’s latest calamities!

It’s been so long since I’ve had a chance to sit down and write anything. Life has been a wee bit crazy and unexpected so my blog has had to take a back seat. Hopefully things are beginning to calm down now, pleeeese! I’ve had to do far to much ADULTing!

As I’m a bit rusty I’ve decided to ease myself back into blogging by filling you in on what’s being going on in my life. 

So here goes…This little one broke his arm at a Combat class. He did a proper job of it as well. Three hospital trips down, including an overnight stay and a visit to theatre for the arm to be manipulated back into shape…wince…things are finally starting to calm down. Time is just needeed for it to heal now, fingers crossed. 

Jed has been so brave especially considering how bad a break it was. Me I’d have cried like a baby but he didn’t once. He’s also had lots of visitors from well wishers so the house has been very busy. 

 
Between all that my husband and I squeezed in some time to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary. On the actual day we had to cancel the plans we had to go out. So, instead we got the kids to bed, and then shared an Indian takeaway and a bottle of champagne I had won at bingo back in March. Classy! I did get to finally watch the film The Host, which for me is a treat as it is one of those rare occasions the film was my choice. 

We did actually get out yesterday for a celebratory lunch and it was worth the wait. We had a gorgeous meal at our local Jamie’s trattoria. 

Sorry I have no food shots as much to the husbands delight he was allowed to eat his food hot for a change without me rearranging the table for an impromptu photo shoot. I wonder if I can get away with that being his anniversary gift? 

We went to see my eldest perform her exam piece for her BTEC performing arts diploma. 

They performed a scaled down performance of grease which was such fun to watch. She played Jan, and did a brilliant job of it. She’s nailed the American accent. PROUD MUMMY MOMENT! 

She has been at last minute reahearsals and performing all week. Tonight is the last performance. Fortunately tomorrow is Saturday so she can have a lie in. The poor girl is shattered! She has a taste of how tiring the world of musical theatre really is. 

Again no pictures, sorry, as it’s an exam piece we weren’t allowed to take any. 

I can show you this awesome bag though that my husband bought me. It certainly matches my cheeky sense of humour. I shall be posting a full blog post about it tomorrow. 

  
So that’s what’s been going on in my little world. I’m off now to finish cooking the dinner. 

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The Essex Wine School – Brentwood Launch Evening

This write up is long overdue, but better late than never I suppose. Maybe?? 

A little over a week ago I had the opportunity to attend a taster evening showcasing the launch of The Essex Wine School in Brentwood. My husband joined me for the evening which was great as we don’t get to go out for the evening together very often. Yup perils of being a parent. This was the perfect date night. 

 
 The Essex Wine School is run by Neil Bull, a WSET (wine & spirit education trust) approved provider. His enthusiasm makes for a fun evening educating attendees about wine that is not just of high quality but accessable and affordable too. 

Classes are held in Chelmsford and Colchester with Brentwood launching as a new venue at the Essex Arms. 

We had a taster of some of the different courses available which meant we tasted a champagne, wine and Gin. We were also treated to a tasty buffet. 

Courses vary from a wine tour, cheese and wine pairing or gin tasting to Christmas champagne, port and cheese matching. 2016 will also see the addition of a beer and food pairing class. For the full program of upcoming evenings and how to book then head in the direction of their website Essexwineschool.com. Courses start from £22.50 for an introductory evening. 

As The Essex Wine School is not affiliated to any individual wine merchant or retailer you will not be sold wine or have your details past on to any third parties. 

This also means that the wines you will taste are the best quality wines from accessable sources. Don’t be surprised to see a wine from a local vineyard or from a national chain such as M&S or Waitrose. 

The highlight of the evening for me was tasting the Gin. I had never had Gin before and I’m not going to lie I was very nervous about trying it. 

  This was no “mother’s ruin”, no but a sophisticated artisan gin. A twist of orange peel elevated the appeal of the drink further. I may have to partake of a cheeky gin and tonic again in the future. 

If you are looking for the ideal Christmas gift for that tricky person they also offer gift vouchers.  

I was lucky to win a gift voucher on the evening. This is for the opportunity to attend another class. That’s a future date night with the hubby sorted. I just need to decided between wine and cheese or gin tasting. Though I actually am considering booking up on both anyway as they are such fun and entertaining evenings. 

Once again thank you to Neil for an entertaining evening and to Alice Langly for inviting us. 

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Pinterest vs Reallife – The oil & vinegar wood restoring trick

As promised in my previous Pinterest vs Real Life post, I have another one of my experiments to share with you. 

This time I’m testing out whether or not you can treat scratched woodwork with just a bit of Olive Oil & Vinegar 

My dining room table is OLD!! It’s solid and structurally has nothing wrong with it just looks like it could use some serious TLC. So yes the perfect candidate for this experiment. 

 
The original Pinned post suggested you use 1 part  vinegar to 1 part olive oil. I only had white wine vinegar rather than distiller vinegar so made do with that and an old tea towel. 

   
All you then do is is then dip the tea towel in the mixture and rub it into the table. 

No here’s the answer to that question, does it work? 

  
To a certain extent yes. There is quite a big difference between the before and after picture. This isn’t going to result in brand spanking new looking furniture but the result is worth the elbow grease put in. 

The only thing I will say is the vinegar stinks. I had to burn a candle after to get rid of the smell. It’s not enough to put me off doing this again when my table is looking sorry for itself.

So This weeks Pinterest was another win for real life. Result! 
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3 Great places to eat in Newquay Cornwall

We have recently returned from our family holiday to Newquay in Cornwall. We had a great time visiting the Beaches, Eden Project and eating out out at some really great restaurants. 

I thought It would be a great idea to share with you the restaurants that we had the best experience with. 

First up is The Boathouse situated on the edge of Newquay harbour. We   had spent a day on the beach and were looking for somewhere for an early dinner. We kind of stumbled across this restaurant as we hadn’t any set plans, it really was a great find.  

  

This is a very high quality fish restaurant. On the outside it didn’t look anything too special but remember that old saying ‘Never judge a book by it’s cover’.

  
Inside it is pretty small but extra space can be found in the form of a covered veranda overlooking the harbour. This is where we had our meal. We didn’t have to worry about being cold whilst the sun was setting because there are outdoor heaters for cooler evenings.  

 
Food is reasonably priced, you can check out the menu here

We shared a lobster & crayfish salad  £9.95, well I say shared I may have accidentally eaten all the lobster myself.

  I then had the crab claws roasted in garlic butter & white wine priced at £13.95.  My husband is not a huge fish fan so he opted for the Cornish Rib-eye steak. 

 
These were super tasty, just be aware they are messy to eat. Not first date food, fortunately 15 years on the Husband has seen worse ha ha! 

Kids are catered for with a menu offering main meals at £4.95. Though this I have to say is very limited, the choice is either a traditional fish & chips with peas or a cheese & tomato pasta for non fish lovers. The portion sizes were very good as you can see from my daughters fish & chips below.  

 
Now the best bit about The Boathouse I’ve save till last. Just check out how fresh the shellfish is. Yup you pass the live lobster and crab tanks on your way in! I was on my way back from ladies at one point and passed a chef carrying a large crab still wiggling on his way to the kitchen. 

 
It is definitely an experience eating here, the surroundings are beautiful and would make a romantic date night venue as well as catering for families. One I would highly recommend a visit to.

Now if fish isn’t you thing, and your more of a pasty and cream tea type of person then this next place is perfect for you. 

Pauline’s Creamery is located on the main high street in Newquay. It is a traditional bakery with tearooms above the shop. 

  

Now Pauline’s Creamery is in my opinion how bakeries should be, everything where possible is made on site, including the pasties. 

 
The cakes were amazing, Jed’s face when his chocolate fudge cake arrived was so funny. They are huge!! You can actually have these delivered via courier for special occasions. 

I’m kicking myself that I didn’t actually take pictures of the bakery itself the counter display will have you craving a cream cake. 

The last place I have to share with you is Zacry’s at Watergate Bay Hotel. This is a fine dining restaurant with stunning panoramic views of the bay. To see a sample menu you can do here

There isn’t a set children’s menu but they offer smaller portions and can adapt any dish to suit your child’s taste. 

My batteries ran out on my camera phone by this point so I was unable to take pictures of the food. 

I did manage to get some shots of the restaurant surroundings though.  

   
I may have of a lack of pictures of the food itself but you will just have to trust me on this one. The food was stunning, with focus on locally sourced produce but with a twist of American flair provided by executive chef Neil Haydock. 

I had Monkfish on a bed of Samphire, it was so good. I certainly couldn’t  recreate it at home. The romantic side of me wanted to try out the Samphire when I saw it on offer as it had been featured in the war time novel I was reading at the time. 

This is not a cheap meal out but if you are looking for something in the Watergate Bay Area that is extra special do check this place out. Most people think of Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant when looking for places to eat in this area but this place really can hold it’s own. 

Have you any suggestions for places to eat next time I am in the Newquay area? I would love to here them. 

Thanks for stopping by Schoolrunbeauty.com, don’t forget to follow on bloglovin to keep up to date with my latest posts. 

  

Mummy Monday – Picture Postcard’s from Cornwall

Hey!! 

It’s been a while. A week to be exact, though it actually feels like longer since I’ve blogged. The reason for my absense? Well…we have been on holiday to Newquay in Cornwall. As much as I love the area it is a bit of a Mobile signal and Internet blackspot, so alas no updates from me. 

Excuses out of the way, I wanted to kick off my return to blogging with a photo heavy post. I took tonnes of photographs throughout our stay in Cornwall and thought it would be a good idea to share some of the best with you guys. 

So here goes….

Perranporth Beach
Healey’s Cornish Cider Farm

    

The Eden Project
    
    
   
  
  
 
cream tea
   

Newquay Bay
 
Preparing to surf at Fistral Breach
 
  

Fresh prawn & Lobster Salad at The Boathouse Restaurant

 We had such a great time in Cornwall, we were vey lucky with the weather so managed to get in several beach days as well as a trip to the Eden Project and Healey’s Cornish Cider farm. 

Have you been on your holiday yet? Where are you heading to?

   

   

This girl’s on a spending ban – stat!

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Sometimes in life we all get a bit spendy, which is fine as long has you have the money to do so. Trouble is sometimes we spend a bit too  much and fail to save anything for those longer term financial goals. I promised myself at the start of the year that I would be more sensible with my money as I wanted to have a little nest egg set aside. Unfortunately that nest is still empty, whoops!

This is why I have decided to stick myself on a self-imposed spending ban. I need to bump start my savings pot. This may sound like a funny time to start, especially with the summer holidays coming up, but I know I can find ways to still have fun on my family holidays without spending out on unnecessary extras. You know the ones I mean, I don’t need to be buying new books or all those toiletry minis we tell our selves we need. No that usual pre holiday trip is not happening.

Instead I shall be doing my best to save my ‘pocket money’, yes I’m 33 and I called it that, but that is the type of ban I am imposing. The kids are not going to lose out on holiday treats, though I am challenging myself to do this with as little financial outlay as possible.

I’m not in any fear of running out of any items I consider necessary as part of my beauty regime. I have a big enough stash from my ‘Oh, l’m just buying this to review for the blog’. Don’t judge we’ve all used that excuse!

I’m actually quite excited about this and am using it as opportunity to challenge myself. Keep your eyes peeled for related blog posts including a project 10 pan, shop my stash posts e.t.c.

If you want to follow my progress then don’t forget you can  follow me on Bloglovin.

If you also are on a spending ban feel free to comment and leave your link below, we can always give each other some support.

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CAMRA Beer & Cider festival – An English Summer evening

Earlier this week my husband and I did the unthinkable and managed to get out on a school night. We popped along to the first evening of the CAMRA Chelmsford Summer Beer & Cider Festival. Combined with the opportunity to listen to some live music,  what better way is there to spend a summers evening than supping artisan beers in the sun?

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Running for 37 years this has to be one of my favourite beer festivals, there is  such a diverse range of beers and ciders available to try.  I challenge anyone not to find one that they enjoy. What is even more special about this event is that it is only made possible by the volunteers that give up their time to man the various bars or take on the other roles needed to make this event happen.

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Poser! Pretending I know what I’m doing when it comes to choosing a beer
Favourites beers for me included the Brentwood Blonde a golden bitter with full fruit flavours and a crisp finish, and Lindemans Kriek Cherry Beer which is a Belgian draught beer.

Lindenams Cherry Beer
Lindenams Cherry Beer
Alongside the beers there were various food stalls offering goodies ranging from vegetarian curries, to bratwursts and burgers. If you have sweet tooth then doughnuts and handmade chocolate is available to try. I may have eaten one to many cinnamon doughnuts, whoops!

photo 5 We had a very funny moment when I thought it would be a good idea to try Scorpion Death Chilli Chocolate. It was freeking ho!! I promptly guzzled my cherry beer very quickly to try to cool down the burn.

image (24)If you are in Essex then there is still time to be paying a visit to the Chelmsford Summer Beer & Cider festival,  it runs until  Saturday 11th July.

 

Wimbledon Afternoon Tea at The Landmark Hotel

Yesterday was a very good day, It was one of those day’s that is filled with fun, good food and great conversation.

I was very fortunate to be invited to The Landmark Hotel in Marylbone to join 11 other bloggers for a Wimbledon Themed afternoon tea. Afternoon tea is taken within the stunning Winter Gardens.

The space is truely awe inspiring and reminded me of the spectacular lobby’s found in Caribbean  hotels, with sweeping staircases, palms and a beautiful glass ceiling. For a while I completely forgot I was actually still in the busy centre of London.


The event was hosted by Ladbrokes Bingo, and was a brilliant opportunity to meet some other bloggers and the charming and very easy on the eye #BuffBallBoys. If your heading to Wimbledon this year do keep your eye out for them.

 

Photo Call for the #BuffBallBoys

We were treated to a champagne afternoon tea that consisted of delicate finger sandwiches, traditional scones with jam and cream and miniature deserts.
 The sandwiches though traditional had a special twist as they were made using artisan flavoured breads. My favourite had to be chicken and tarragon on a walnut bread.

Sweet favourites for me had to be the Pimms Jelly, infused with Mint and a pistachio sponge with Ros’e Champagne cream.

Once again thank you to Ladbrokes and to Lucy for making this experience possible. This was a lovely way to spend a Monday Afternoon and to meet some people with similar interests.

The special Wimbledon Tea is available  until 12th July, so if you want to experience it then don’t hang around.

Are you a fan of afternoon tea? Do you have any recommendations of other places I need to visit for afternoon tea?