Recycle, Upcycle, Reuse

We don’t get to visit our extended family very often, I’ve visited my Aunt twice this year and each time it’s taken until we were just about to leave for Arthur to come out of his shell and act like his normal joyful self.

During our January visit Arthur would not go down on the floor until my Aunts two boxer dogs had been put outside in the garden, to a 10 month old baby they were huge monsters who wanted to eat him when in reality they wanted to lick him until they couldn’t lick him anymore.

Once the dogs had been put outside Arthur took a shine to one of the dog beds which closely resembled our sofa, I think Arthur thought it was a baby sofa as it was the perfect size for him and he was in his element sitting on it.

Last week we visited my Aunts new house, she only has one of her boxer dogs as the other sadly passed away a couple of months prior to our visit and just like the first time Arthur didn’t want to be near the dog.  The dog had a new bean bag bed which Arthur didn’t seem to find as comfortable so he spent his time commando crawling underneath a coffee table instead just to taunt the dog.

When we were due to leave my Aunt said she had remembered how much Arthur loved his baby sofa and as her dog now had a new bed asked if we wanted the old one to take home (it had been washed).

After a spray and wipe with some sanitiser spray Arthur now has his own upcycled sofa just like mine.

baby sofa Toddler Sofa


Who would have thought a dog bed could keep a toddler not only comfortable but quiet! He sat for ten minutes straight reading his book (before getting up and throwing it across the room in true toddler style).

5 Little ducks went swimming one day

I’m lucky to have a variety of lakes, rivers and canals local to me and there is nothing better than seeing Ducks, Geese or Swans with babies walking along the path or swimming.

Last week we had a walk down the canal in Leamington Spa and came across a couple of ducks with their babies, Arthur loved watching them jump into the water and if I’m honest so did I.  There is something fascinating about ducks and their young, further down the canal we saw a young black duck with orange/red beak who looked a little bit lost, we watched for a while and another duck of similar size appeared and the two of them headed down the canal making a call noise until a larger duck appeared from the hedgerow obviously the mother and they all waddled off out of the water back into the woodland.

canal duck duck canal duck ducklings

Holiday Preparation

We recently got back from our holiday to Holland and I thought this would be a good opportunity to share both my latest youtube video on holiday preparation and also my top tips for driving to Europe with a toddler.

Holiday Preperation


Click the image above to visit my YouTube Channel.

This holiday was our first proper driving holiday with Arthur who is now 17 months old, he gets bored really easily so we were a little worried that we wouldn’t be able to keep him entertained on the journey to Holland.

I’d heard from friends that sticker books, toy boxes, crayons and ipads are all good for long car journeys, unfortunately none of those things kept Arthur’s attention.  Sticker books were annoying as he couldn’t stick the stickers as fast as he wanted so the book got ripped, toys were rubbish as when you’re strapped into a car seat you can’t pick them up when you drop them, crayons are only good as a food source and even then don’t taste that good and ipads irritate when you keep fast finger pressing and end up back to the home page every five seconds.

We found that the most entertaining things for Arthur were: That’s not my (Insert word here) books, Playing peepo with a muslin cloth, having someone pretend to eat your fingers and toes, throwing a dummy into a cup and sleeping.

I bought a portable booster seat as I wasn’t sure how many restaurants and cafes in Holland would provide a highchair and to be honest it was a complete waste of money as my little Houdini managed to escape after less than 3 minutes.  If you can’t get access to a high chair I found it easier to use a wrap to secure him to the chair or let him sit in his pushchair.

I didn’t need the raincover or umbrella I took with me and to be honest to save on room I probably should have just left them at home and bought one if needed as they were so cheap.

If you can find somewhere to hire a stroller I would suggest you do that, my pushchair folds down really small but as it has 3 wheels it can be quite large compared to a stroller when in use which proved difficult to manoeuvre in some shops so my advice would be to either hire a stroller or hire a bike with a child seat trailer at the front (baby car seats can be secured in these too).

It took us around 7 hours in total to get to Alkmaar in Holland and if i’m completely honest it was a much better journey than when we flew to Geneva at the beginning of the year to go skiing and less stressful too.


I have the most amazing little group of friends that anyone could wish for, we all live in different parts of the country and one lives hundreds of miles away in Turkey, we all come from different backgrounds and have different family status but as a group we are always there for each other and have helped each other through some of the happiest times in our lives and some of the hardest.

We laugh together, cry together, tell each other secrets, ask for and give advice on anything and everything and even though we have only been friends for a couple of years it feels like we have known each other for ever.

When you’re having a hard time and don’t want to burden others with what’s going on my friends have this way of knowing something isn’t quite right so they plot together to do something amazing to cheer you up.  I’ve been one of the plotters on several occasions and I never for one second thought that the day would come where my friends would get together to cheer me up.  I’m superwoman, I take on more than the average woman and I plod through trying not to complain about my work/life load and just get on with it but recently I’ve not done a very good job and my superwoman cape was getting a little bit frayed around the edges.

My amazing friends all know each other so well that when we cheer each other up with a token of our love and friendship it’s so perfect that it always brings tears and it was no different a couple of weeks ago when over the course of a couple of days I received a series of gifts.


This candle was the first gift to arrive and was very much appreciated as Arthur had smashed my other Jo Malone candle by knocking it off the fireplace only a week before.  It smells amazing and each time I walk into my study it makes me think of my amazing friends.


This Chamilia hug charm is another cherished gift, sometimes you just need to know there is someone out there who is thinking about you and this charm does just that.

I also received my favourite Turkish Delight sweets and both Arthur and Lucie received a little something too, my friends always think about everyone not just the person in question which is what makes them so amazing.

I know some of my friends read my blog now and again so I just wanted to thank them all again and let them know how amazing I think they are, each and every one of them and how important they are to me.

A Day In The Life

I’m finding it harder and harder to get a moment to blog, taking pictures, editing and writing content is almost impossible with a toddler grabbing at everything constantly so I’ve had a little go at vlogging.  I figured that regular readers won’t mind the odd vlog here and there and to be honest even though the editing did take me ages to do the actual filming was a breeze because I was able to do it without distracting Arthur.

Here is my first vlog on my new lifestyle channel on youtube, it’s pretty basic, the camera angles are rubbish and I look dreadful but hey-ho it’s live and has had a view or two already so I’m happy.

Madame Gourmand Video