Thursday, 30 January 2014

Tots Bots Bamboozles - Cloth Nappy Review

So, back to the cloth nappies! I had a previous post on the brand of cloth nappies we mainly use but I have started to branch out a bit to other brands.

The holy grail of cloth nappy wearing seems to be how to keep your little baba dry all night. I have to say, we haven't found it too hard, although from speaking with other cloth nappy mums it might prove more difficult as he gets older. There was one night were I foolishly put a brand new cloth nappy on him without washing it at all first. You need to wash cloth nappies a few times before you use them to make sure they are absorbant. I think, in my sleep deprived state, I read the instructions that arrived with the nappy and promptly chose not to follow any of it - because who needs to do that? I've totally got this cloth nappy thing. It was a disaster. J wet through the nappy as if he wasn't wearing one at all, necessitating a frustrating night time change of all of his clothes and the sheets of the crib while myself and Mr HNW blamed each other for not putting the nappy on correctly. Luckily it hadn't reached the mattress and harmony was restored to the HNW household soon after.

At the moment, our night-time nappy of choice are Totsbots Bamboozles. They are a two part system (as opposed to the Baba and Boo nappies which are pocket nappies). So, how do they work?

The Bamboozles themselves are very thick and stretchy and are made of a kind of towelling material. They need to be paired with a waterproof wrap. They really are very hard wearing, we have never had a leak once in them and even though it is a two part system, they are very easy to use. We have a few different brands of wraps (they are great to wear over disposables or other cloth nappies for extra protection) and the Blueberry wrap is definitely our preferred option. It has a bit more give in it. The totsbots ones are sized and the one we have only goes up to 20lbs, the blueberry wrap is btp (birth to potty).

The Totsbots website advertises them as good for heavy wetters and describes them as "slim fitting". I'm not sure how big the people in Totsbots HQ are but slim fitting does not come to mind when he's in them. They give him an absolutely massive arse. Like he's in the video for Baby Got Back by Sir Mix-A-Lot (and yes, I may sing that to him on occasion when he's in them) As for heavy wetters, I wouldn't fancy them for daytime use at all. Bulkiness is fine at night when he is just lying down (well, in theory that's what babies do at night, J does not always subscribe to that concept) but during the day I think it would restrict his movements too much and would also make a lot of his clothes very tight on the bum region.

Here is my willing (and gorgeous) model, demonstrating them with and without the wrap.

We boost these nappies, meaning we add extra inserts to make them last a bit longer at night (We use these baba and boo bamboo ones). This only makes his arse bigger. In the photos here, the nappies are unboosted.

The other con, for me, is the smell. Compared to other nappies and particularly disposables the smell of ammonia off these in the morning is eye watering, even if you are washing them correctly. The outer wrap is quite thin (although it is waterproof) and underneath it's just like a big towel soaked in baby pee, a towel that is lying in your bed right next to your nose. Using these at night means he needs to be changed the second he gets up or else I start to gag - not the best way to start the morning.

All in all, they are a great option for night time. They keep him dry for almost 12 hours and he seems happy enough in them. We boost them with one insert which suffices for us but I know it could be boosted more, if required. They are a popular choice for night-times and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to someone looking for a safe night-time option.


Tuesday, 28 January 2014

When Good Skirts Go Bad

One current trend I've been wanting to try out is the midi skirt. I love skirts and pre-baby I wore them nearly every day, including at the weekend. I thought the midi skirt might be a good casual option, especially for the summer. After a lot of searching online I settled on this option from Asos for €39.33

I was thinking it would look like this on me:

and was full of plans to wear it with flats in the summer and ankle boots until the weather got warmer. Sadly, it wasn't to be. In my enthusiasm for ordering the skirt I neglected the fact that I am a short arse. The skirt arrived today and looks ridiculous on me. Really ridicoulous. Like I was wearing my granny's skirt or I've turned Amish. It's just way too long. I don't know how tall people at Asos think the average woman is but while I am short (5ft 3) I'm not Kylie Minogue or anything. The model in the picture must have had a good 7/8 inches on me.

I was home alone today so had to do a mirror shot (in our very narrow mirror), so apologies for the photo. I tried it on with a few different things but it only got worse from here. It's definitely going back and I'm not happy about it. Asos do have a similar skirt in a petite version, but of course, most sizes are sold out, perhaps because other people have had similar problems. I'm so disappointed, especially as since I bought this skirt a few days ago it has gone on sale and is now €27.39. That just adds insult to injury.

I'm not sure whether or not to continue the search for a similar skirt, or where else does a good petite range (Topshop?) but this skirt is most definitely going back!


Friday, 24 January 2014

Hitting Thirty, Birthday Blazer and Getting The Chop!

I mentioned in my last post that it was my birthday this week. It was a bit of a depressing birthday, I am now no longer in my twenties. Sob! Does anyone feel great at hitting thirty though?

As part of my new 30 something mummy persona I've had my hair chopped.  I have a bit of a fear of getting my hair cut short after a bad experience when I was 13. I went to a hairdresser with a picture of a short, funky crop thinking I'd be only gorgeous only to have my hair completely butchered. It was so bad, at school the next day, the class smartarse asked in front of everyone if the hairdresser had decided they didn't like me anymore and walked off before they could finish cutting my hair. Hilarious. It took years (I'm not joking) to grow back and look remotely decent again. I also had a pob (yes, a posh spice bob) done about 6 years ago and it just made me look like Moonface from Enid Blyton's Magic Faraway Tree books (link here if you somehow bypassed this during your childhood). So all in all, getting the chop has not worked out well for me in the past.

However, recently, my hair had just gone out of control. It took ages to dry and straighten, was constantly getting in giant knots and had become J's favourite plaything. A 7 month old is surpisingly strong, and vicious. Anyway, I went into the hairdresser optimistically armed with a picture of Heidi Klum. Luckily, this time, hair disaster was avoided and I love the new cut. It's already proved so much easier to manage and style and I feel ten times better when I look in the mirror. I know now why lots of women get short haircuts after having a baby, it's a combination of having less time to look after yourself and also of wanting less hair to tempt vicious babies to pull or to get covered in petit filous.

Obviously, another great thing about birthdays is the presents. I got some birthday money and vouchers and have been having some fun hitting the (virtual) shops. My favourite purchase so far, is this jersey blazer from Mango for €49.99.

I have a black jersey blazer from Penneys that I've been wearing to death so when I came across this I knew I'd get a lot of wear out of it. It appears that now that I'm thirty I'm making sensible purchases! I bought a medium as the small was a little bit tight around the button and it looks a bit more casual worn a bit bigger. If it's too fitted I think you can end up looking like you're going into the office.

So, short hair and blazer are on display here. Worn with Topshops Baxter skinny jeans and a pink paisley print scarf. I wore this walking around a very grey and wet Dublin today and I was definitely warm enough. There was no need for another coat or jacket which for January, is pretty impressive.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

The Ultimate Gluten Free Chocolate Brownies

In a previous post, I mentioned my love for all chocolate based desserts. I really am a chocolate fiend and that was my downfall when I stopped breastfeeding, I continued eating chocolate like it was going out of fashion and ended up a bit more "curvy" then I would usually be. I had to forgo the chocolate for a while after that.

Chocolate brownies are pretty high up on my list of nummy nummy treats and they have become my "thing" - the item I always bake for get togethers or dinners with friends. If I was on Great British Bake Off it would be my signature bake, if they weren't so ridiculously easy to make (you just melt everything and mix it up in a saucepan). Paul Hollywood wouldn't be very happy with me at all!

My brownie recipe is adapted from a BBC recipe I found a few years ago. I've just made a few tweaks. A good friend, Kristie has Ceoliacs disease and I used to make these for her all the time. I actually prefer the gluten free version myself.

If you are in any way watching your weight these are possibly the worst things you can eat, they are basically made of butter and sugar with a bit of chocolate and flour to hold them together. That's probably why they are so tasty, who doesn't love lots of butter? Also, I don't approve of nuts or anything like that in brownies. Why would you do that and ruin the chocolatey goodness? It's just wrong, wrong wrong.

Today I had a serious brownie craving. It was my birthday this week and as birthdays go, it was wasn't one of my better ones. Amongst other things, it was a day J was being difficult and this resulted in me being punched in the face and there may or may not have been blood. So, I think I deserve some brownies, all to myself - no sharing.


  • 450g caster sugar
  • 225g butter
  • 135g of caramel chocolate (dark or milk) - I use Galaxy caramel chocolate.
  • 5 eggs
  • 110g rice flour (this can be bought in some supermarkets and health food shops. Plain flour is fine for a non gluten free version
  • 55g Cocoa - if you are making a gluten free version make sure the cocoa doesn't have any gluten in it. Some of them have fillers that do. I use Bourneville cocoa which is fine.


  • Melt the sugar and butter together in a large heavy bottomed saucepan
  • Add in the chocolate and when this is melted, take off the heat

  • Add the 5 eggs to a bowl and beat until they are mixed well, add this to the chocolate mixture, a small amount at a time
  • Sift in the flour and cocoa powder and mix very thoroughly (if you don't you will be left with brownies that look marbled with white and milk chocolate but in fact just have clumps of nasty flour in them)
  • Pour into a high sided dish (you can use a cake tin either)
  • Bake for about 35 minutes, checking every so often towards the end. A skewer inserted in the mixture should come out clean but if you overcook them the brownies will be horribly dry
  • Allow the brownies to cool and cut into squares
  • Dust with icing sugar if you want a bit of decoration. 
  • Try not to eat the entire tray in one go

Monday, 20 January 2014

Sleepless Nights and a New Bed!!!!

I was going to put about ten more exclamation points in the title of this post - I am that excited. I'll start off by saying I love sleeping and love being in my bed. It's by far the hardest thing about having had a baby, the lack of sleep and the fact that opportunities for lie-ins are thin on the ground. In saying that, I do spend a good bit of time with J in our bed. In the morning he will often have a nap about 1.5 hours after he wakes up (very strange, if you ask me) so in the morning sometimes we stay in bed and play for a while and then he goes back asleep, giving me time to lie next to him and go online or grab a quick nap myself.

J is a very bad sleeper. There's no other way to put it. The idea that he will ever sleep through the night seems crazy to me, I just can't picture it ever happening, although as has been pointed out to me by a few people, no 18 year old wakes up 6 times at night needing his mother! I know they have a point but at the moment I feel like I am in a constant state of exhaustion, like a foggy cloud of sleepiness that I seem to exist in. I always had a good memory and picked up things quickly but lately my senses seems a bit dulled and I find myself become forgetful and disorganised. I never really had "baby brain" when I was pregnant but it is definitely kicking in now. He doesn't need to be fed or changed during the night (he refuses food) and he is neither too hot nor too cold. He just wakes up and lacks the ability to go back asleep by himself.

Recently, our solution when he wakes up at night  is to just bring him into the bed with us, instead of rocking him in the dark for two hours singing Five Little Ducks (I am really starting to hate those ducks, there may be a duck cull coming up in our future). A few people (including my Mum) have said just do what you need to do to get some sleep and to take the path of least resistance.

When J was younger all the SIDS advice used to scare the crap out of me. I thought if I took him in the bed with us he would just die immediately, on the spot. I was terrified. Now, I have mellowed a bit and just take some precautions to make sure he is not smothered by us or a duvet.

Our bed is not very big so when he comes in with us Mr HNW usually moves to J's bedroom and sleeps on the floor on a little fold out mattress type thing. Also, bad mammy alert here - the cat sleeps at the end of our bed too so often there are actually four of us in the bed. Recently I'd had enough and decided we had to have a king-size bed so we would all be a bit more comfortable.

We had a bit of a shop around and decided to buy it in good old Ikea. Some of the prices for beds were shocking. I know a bed is an investment but we are on a budget here! We bought a Malm Ottoman bed because I loved the idea of having all that storage under the bed. It is just fabulous and I'm loving have all the extra space in the bed. After years of renting  it's also nice having a bed that you have bought yourself and you know that nobody else had slept in. It's always nice to get to buy new bedlinen too!

What's even better is all the storage under the bed (notice the obligatory cat photo):

Great for those of us in apartments. I'm still organising but look at all the space for bags, shoes and scarves. Now I can buy more!

Fingers crossed this leads to a better nights sleep for all of us - and on that note I'm off to get into my lovely bed now and catch some Zs while I can!


Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Stripping Nappies

As per this post, I am a cloth nappy user. J is almost 7 months and despite predictions by some of our friends we are still on the cloth nappy train. All I can say is that after 6 months of it my tolerance for poo has gone way up!

We were away over Christmas and New Year and when we returned from holiday our washing machine packed in.This meant J was in disposables for about 3 weeks, as cloth is just too much work while you are away and there was no way I was getting back into the cloth without a working washing machine.

While J was in the disposables I realised how many leaks we had been having with the cloth. I got peed on so many times and the piles of washing around the house (known as Mount Foldmore) was getting out of control. It wasn't until we had him in the disposables and I noticed we didn't have a single leak I realised something was not quite right.

One of the issues that can cause leaking is a detergent build-up in the nappies, making them less absorbant. Nappies should be washed with a small amount of detergent (depending on the hardness of your water) to avoid this. I usually only add a tablespoon or two of  washing powder so I wasn't sure if that was it but I decided it would be a good idea to strip the nappies anyway to see if it helps. Anything to stop the pee leaking all over the shop. One of the ways you can tell if nappies need to be stripped if that they smell like wee after being washed. Now, I didn't notice this being a problem with J's nappies but maybe my sense of smell has been dulled by having a small child around the house.

There are lots of methods online as to how to strip cloth nappies, most of them involving dishwasher tablets, washing-up liquid or vinegar. I agree with the nappy lady on this one, I wouldn't wash my underwear using any of those methods so why do that to my precious baby's bum?

I followed the nappy lady's advice which involves doing three washes with no washing powder at all.

The first wash should be at 30C or a cold wash if you can (which is what I did, our washing machine has a cold setting).

The second wash should be at 60C and use the longest wash setting possible. The nappy lady suggests using a sensitive setting that uses more water but our washing machine had no setting like this.

The third wash should be also be at 60C and during this wash you should see no suds. I had a good look in the door like a mad woman but couldn't see anything.

The nappy lady also recommends doing a wash once a month with no detergent (or once a week if they are teething). This isn't something that I had been doing so will definitely do it in future.

So far, we've been back in cloth for two days and no leaks have been reported so far. Hurray. Hopefully it will continue and I can remain (mostly) pee free in 2014!


Monday, 13 January 2014

Alice In Wonderland Sugar Cookies

I spent the last weekend at a hen party, so am feeling a little bit fragile today. My friends and I tend to go all out for these kind of things and this weekend was no exception. The theme of the hen party was Alice in Wonderland, one of the bride's favourite books. I, being a crazy cat lady, of course dressed up as the Cheshire Cat.

In my opinion, it's much more fun to be creative with a costume instead of buying one that is made already (and there is a lot out there you can buy for an Alice in Wonderland theme). I went online and bought two pairs of pink and purple striped knee socks and a pair of pink clip-on ears. I wore one pair of socks and used the other pair to make a tail and arm cuffs. The tail I made just by trimming off the end of the sock, sewing it closed with pink wool and stuffing with odd bits of material I had. I cut the other sock in half to create the arm cuffs. I wore a purple dress and shoes I already had and made a cheshire cat smile out of white card and a lollipop stick. I think it cost me about €8 in total to make this costume. I had some face paint on but I drew the line at having a white cheshire cat smile painted on my face all night. So much easier to have a smile I could hold in front of my face when I wanted to.

It was a brilliantly organised weekend and everybody made such an effort for the bride, who loved it. The bridesmaids had asked us to bring along some themed food for the party if we could so I made and decorated sugar cookies.

Sugar Cookies


100g butter
100g caster sugar
1 egg
175g flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Cream the butter and sugar together using an electric mixer until the mixture is pale, cream and fluffy.

Add the egg and vanilla extract, a small bit at a time

Add the flour gradually until the mixture comes together as a dough (I found the mixture was very "crumby" so I needed to add some more flour and mix it by hand to get it to come together)

Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of about 1cm.

Then, using cookie cutters cut out shapes from the dough and carefully place on a baking tray covered in baking paper.

I used cat, bauble and circular cookie cutter shapes.

Bake the cookies for 8 - 10 minutes until lightly golden and allow them to cool on a wire rack before decorating.

I used writing icing pens to decorate the cookies and it was a lot harder than I thought it would be. It was the first time I had used them and the ideas I had in my head for the cookies, didn't really transfer as well as I'd hoped in reality but they were not bad. I got better towards the end of the cookie decorating so as with everything, I think practice is needed.

I decorated the cat shapes with pink and purple icing to make Cheshire cats, the baubles became little "eat me" cookies and the circles became the white rabbits clocks. I really enjoyed the decorating part so it is definitely something I'd like to do more of in future.

We had a lovely evening tea party that included chocolate biscuit cake decorated with "eat me" icing, sponge hearts with cream and strawberries, top hats (marshmallows stuck in chocolate) and little custard strawberry tarts.

As for the rest of the evening, I can confirm that we drank out of the tea cups but they definitely didn't contain tea so the rest of the night was a little less civilised!


Friday, 10 January 2014

Style Stealing

As per my previous post, I was recently in Munich for a short day trip.

Here I am looking a bit dishevellled walking to the Englisher Garten (please excuse the hat hair!). I'm sticking to my crazy cat lady persona here with a leopard print scarf and cat head skirt, both from H & M. Also, my burgundy H & M coat (see post here) is still going strong. I've worn it so much this winter and it was a great purchase. I don't usually buy much in H & M so funny that I'm wearing so many things from there together here.

I did feel quite scruffy next to some of the very well put together and groomed women around me. I was very impressed at how well dressed the ladies of Munich were, I had a great time spotting things that I'd love to find for myself. One of my favourite things about being in new cities is to just people watch as the locals go about their daily business. You can pick up some great new style ideas.

Unfortunately, I couldn't actually do any shopping as the day we were there was a holy day and all the shops were closed. All of them! It was torture for me walking down the main street and not being able to get into any of the shops. I'll have to make up for it with some online shopping now instead methinks.

First of all I saw a girl walking into the Ubahn wearing a Burgundy pea coat very similar to mine. However, she had a beret on in the same exact shade of burgundy and a checked scarf that was burgundy and a light pink colour. It looked fab. I'd love to find something similar but to be honest, I'm not sure I have the panache to pull a beret off! From my searching there seems to be a lot of burgundy berets out there online like this one on Amazon for £3.49.

My concern with buying online is that it's hard to tell how cheap the beret looks and if the shade matches my coat. These days, I don't have time to traipse around shops anymore. I'm thinking I'll just buy a cheapy one to see if I like the look, checking the reviews to see what people say about the colour.

As for the scarf, this is exactly what I'm looking for. I found this, oddly enough on the Heritage of Scotland website. Now Google is gearing my banner ads etc to Scottish products. They're trying to convince me to buy a pair of child's bagpipes. I'll pass, thanks!

It's a child scarf but the size seems fine. For some reason it's out of stock on the website but not on their eBay store. Weird. It is cashmere and I don't actually own a cashmere scarf yet so I'm very tempted to make a purchase but the postage and packaging is an eyewatering £10. Hmm....

Another lady had a beautiful pink saddle bag. I've found this one here from Zatchels (which is now on sale for £35 which is the same size and shape as the one I saw.

I'm really not sure about the neon pink though. The one I saw was a beautiful berry pinky colour. I really think the neon would date and as this is a real leather bag I'd prefer to get a colour that would be a bit more long-lasting. They have a pastel pink offering too but not the pink I'm looking for. I did take a look at the rest of the Zatchels site though and now I want ALL THE BAGS!!!!

They have this elephant print raspberry one which is similar but still not quite the right shade of pink (it's unlike me to be so fussy but I was very taken with the bag I saw!) I am tempted though because it is half price, £30 reduced from £60. I am a terrible sucker for a bargain.

Off topic, I know but how lovely is this:

This is Zatchels micro satchel. The straps are detachable so you can wear it cross body or use it as a clutch. I do have a big birthday coming up soon so maybe a treat will be in order then! I think the chestnut option would be a better buy though, I'm not sure how much the red would go with. Decisions, decisions....

Meanwhile, my search for the right pink saddle bag continues.....

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

A snowy New Year

As I mentioned in my previous post I was recently on holidays in Austria for the New Year. Austria is a place close to my heart and we usually make a trip there at least once a year. This year of course, was our first trip skiing with a baby.

J is 6 months old now and getting a little bit more independent. In the last two weeks he has mastered sitting up by himself which has been a godsend. He is happy to sit and play with his toys for a little while so I can at least have time to pee or to make an attempt to clean the house. It's got so bad, we've been thinking of getting a cleaner, despite me being at home all day. Ridiculous, no?

This worked in our favour while we were away, as he would sit for a while happily and let us chill out on the couch next to him. Up until now he has been a very clingy baby who needs a lot of entertainment. Another bonus of this new found independence is that he is more than happy to be left with my parents and let us have some baby free time. So, this made for a lovely break. We had two full days skiing, just the two of us while my parents watched J as well as some extra help in the mornings so we could have a lie-on after being up with him at night. It's been a bit of a shock being home and being responsible myself for J most of the time again.

Austria is just fantastic (yes, I am a fangirl!). It was a week of skiing, eating, drinking and lounging around.

New Year's Eve I walked into the nearest town with my Mum and J and we met Mr HNW, my Dad and brother who had been skiing for the day. I'm happy to report our buggy (an uppababy vista) was well able for snow and even a bit of ice. J was perfectly snug in his snow suit but didn't seem too impressed by snow.

The town put on a torchlit parade at 5pm, involving all the local ski instructors skiing down the mountain with lit torches in procession. Even though it was -6C we all bundled up with J to watch it.

Fireworks on a ski slope were pretty spectacular.The last photo was taken moments before I had a pretty bad fall, luckily not while wheeling J. We were walking down a slope to get home and I slipped on a patch of ice and hit my head quite hard. My parents insisted I get it seen to so a New Years Eve trip to the emergency room was in order. Luckily, I only had a mild concussion and we were in and out of the hospital in about 2 hours but it meant no sipping of sparkling wine at midnight for me. I had been skiing the previous day wearing a helmet so I felt pretty stupid that I had hit my head while walking.

Apart from all the skiing and eating we managed day trips into Salzburg and Munich.  Salzburg has a lovely little outdoor market, where once again I gorged myself, in this photo on a donut pretzel. This is the photo I need to look at when I start to fall off the food wagon, I've posted it for inspiration. The New Year diet really does need to start now!

I hope you all had a wonderful New Year, wherever you spent it.


Sunday, 5 January 2014

Sales Time!

Lucky for me I am currently on holidays in Austria (a trip I'm sure I will post on later!) and am writing this in a cosy, wooden apartment as snow falls outside. Even luckier we are staying somewhere with wi-fi which meant, despite being on holidays and missing the sales in the shops I was still able to grab a few bargains online, all while drinking a glass of wine and letting my calves recover from skiing. Unfortunately, as I am brokedy broke broke I avoided the sales until yesterday and consequently a few things I wanted were out of my size. I am still brokedy broke broke but I've gone for the old trick of putting it on the credit card and worrying about it in February. Shh.... don't tell Mr HNW.

One of my fashion resolutions this year is to buy less, but better. I am not a big fan of spending a lot of money on clothes. I'm a Penney's girl definitely but I've come to the realisation that some of the stuff in my wardrobe that I love the most and am still wearing are from places that cost me a bit more. So, I've decided to try keep my money for sales in more expensive shops or buying one item that I really love as opposed to 5 items elsewhere because they are cheap and I will get more for my money.

With this in mind I bought a few things in the sale that I'm very much looking forward to receiving! First of all I went to Boden, one of my new favourite shops but a little out of my price range when full price.

I'm really pleased with this purchase - the Isabel Chunky Knit jumper in mustard reduced from £79 to £23.70. I just love the colour and what a great bargain, even better they have most sizes left (maybe mustard isn't for everyone?!)

I also bought a pair of maroon skinny jeans (as skinny jeans and jumpers is all that I live in this days) for £14.30 reduced from £49. The are maroon with small black stars on them (which is hard to see in the picture) and I think they'll be great with black ankle boots.

I also bought two plain vests (white and black) reduced from £12 to £10.60 which, less face it is not much of a discount and in my opinion, expensive enough for something that won't really be seen but I bought a long sleeved top from Boden a few months ago (post here) and I wear it all the time. It's such great cotton and has washed so well. I'm sick of Penney's see-through vests that look crap after a few wears and as I wear a cami under things so regularly I thought it would be worth it. Boring, but essential

Next, I hit up Hobbs. I love, love, love their dresses but they are so expensive. As I have 4 weddings to go to in 2014 and one already in 2015 I was thrilled to find this pink invitation Bowood dress for £29 reduced from £79. There are only size 14s and 16s left now so I'm glad I ordered it when I did.

I can only hope it is as nice on me as the model!

From Asos I bought this French connection bikini (wishful thinking on my part for the summer, the mummy tummy has expanded over Christmas!)

Do you think if I wear it my stomach will magically look like that?! According to Asos the RRP is €63.02 and this was €15.07 which is pretty bargainous. I do like French Connection swimwear so I just couldn't resist.

I also bought these Warehouse pumps for €17.12 reduced from €38.36. I wanted silver ones as a similar silver pair I had died recently but it was not to be. These are a good second choice:                         

My last trip was to Gap. I mainly went there to look for things for J as I love the babygap stuff on him but there wasn't much to take my fancy. I did see these 1969 cord leggings in true black for me, reduced to £26 from £40

I'm really looking forward to these arriving but I'm not sure as to size etc so they could be disastrous. I thought they would make a very useful change from skinny jeans.

So, hopefully when I arrive home this week and the post holiday blues kick in there'll be a few nice packages awaiting me!

PS Apologies for the mix of currencies in this post. Some of the sites I used don't give euro equivalents so in my emails the prices are in sterling.

Back to Blogging?

Sadly, my last blog post was the 7th October. I started to feel a very low after this and couldn't bring myself to write anything. Luckily, I snapped out of it after a week or two of being very lethargic and lying around a lot in my pyjamas and eating chocolate. This period of lethargy was followed by a wonderful week's holiday in Madeira with Mr HNW, J and my parents and after that I just felt it was too late to go back to it, despite the fact I was enjoying the outlet and the "me time" (such an awful phrase, I know!)

Two things changed my mind. Every year my friends and I do a Kris Kindle and this year, my lovely friend Amanda was my secret santa. Her present was a book made of the few posts I did write and the encouragement to keep going with it. It was an extremely thoughtful gift and a lovely bit of support when I needed it most. 

The other thing that changed my mind is that it is New Year and at New Year it's time to make resolutions to better ourselves. One of my resolutions (apart from the usual eat healthily and lose weight)  is to finish things that I start. I still really enjoy reading other blogs and reading them over the last few days strengthened my resolve. 

So here's to my blog, take 2 and a happy and healthy 2014.