Bovey Castle our Afternoon tea spot this weekend

October, the month that brings lots of birthdays, not only my lovely Mum but 2 of my closest friends, both called Laura, both 30 this year, both amazing and both deserving something extra special to celebrate this milestone!

Bovey Castle was the perfect place to gather the group and enjoy an afternoon giggling, sipping tea and indulging in sugary treats until we hit coma status. The smartly dressed waitresses greeted our table with plates of delicate deliciously filled finger sandwiches, warm homemade scones with lashings of cream and jam plus a cake layer to put a smile on even Paul Hollywoods face…we were in our complete element, 100% my happy place!

Bovey with its 5 star AA and luxury listing was amazing from start to finish, from the valet parking through to the velvet chairs in the dining room the vibe of the hotel felt so much more welcoming then I had experienced in previous years, a castle can easily feel stuffy but Bovey felt light, friendly and glam! The afternoon flew by in a haze of giggles, stories and present opening and even though it was typical blustery October weather, we still managed to soak up the views of the Moors

 

 

 

An afternoon with my girls was exactly what I needed and Bovey Castle played the most perfect host!

Love Harriet x

 

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Tips for Visiting a new mum…..

With 5 of my friends expecting from December onwards, its not only got me excited for some major newborn cuddles and catching a whiff of that new baby scent but its also got me thinking about the rules and things that are helpful or in some cases not helpful when visiting a new mum in the throws of that just-given-birth haze and bubble that is like no other.

Of course once that ‘He’s/She’s arrived!’ text is sent, friends and family are eagerly penciling in slots to come and meet the new arrival often forgetting to stop and realise that the parents are at best often in a sleeplessness shocked state, starving because they haven’t got the energy to step foot in the kitchen, wearing maternity PJs and feeling generally a bit blurred!

I remember so vividly putting off visitors knocking at my door for a couple of days….apart from our parents, we needed them! The thought of making endless pots of tea whilst still sore and recovering from birth just didn’t seem right especially when if you’re like me and like to be in control, I just knew I wouldn’t be able to sit back! Definitely text your friend congratulations and offer support but leave it so they will tell you when they are ready for a visit.

Once I was ready for the world to meet our teeny tiny baby, the gesture of bringing something edible was so very welcome, in fact even better on two separate occasions friends came and cooked for me which blew me away! I didn’t realise at the time but it was exactly what I needed and its one of those things that sticks clearly in my mind and meant so much to me!

Sonny was lucky to have so many people wanting newborn cuddles he would get passed around so much so that he’d get sick of being held and liked to get put back in his moses, this meant  I often sacrificed my cuddles with him and once the house was quiet again I felt like I had missed out. It’s something I have tried to be conscious of when I visit babies now as those first weeks flyby and before you know it you have a toddler who is too busy exploring to cuddle!!

Cleaning, this is something I’ve heard mentioned on loads of blogs, family members coming over to whizz the hoover round, help with some chores and its a great idea however, I also wanted to feel like I was still able to do normal things and try and get myself back into my day to day life so its definitely a welcome gestured and great for anyone who like a C-section needs longer recovery time but don’t be offended if the duster isn’t thrust upon you, maybe the new parents actually want a ‘normal’ routine jobs to do.

I really struggled to sleep when the baby slept, not just the early days but generally throughout my maternity leave, It felt like there was so much to do in those precious windows of time prep dinner, quick scrub of the bathroom or even just to have a shower, so when my mum popped in one day to take Sonny for a walk, it felt like a massive relief, buying me some extra time to complete job and maybe squeeze in a little nap.

It’s important to remember that everyone asks about the new baby, of course they will, I mean you’ve all waited 9 months to meet them but don’t forget to check on the new mum and dad, they often haven’t had time to think about themselves so just a quick chat and put some focus back on them will go a long way trust me!

Just remember to call ahead before rocking up, bring some milk with you..the amount of cuppas you make for these visits is crazy and be ready to offer lots of hugs!

Enjoy that new baby smell…

Love Harriet x

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Lush Autumn release and New Exeter store opening…

I was lucky enough to be invited to the new bigger and better Lush store opening in Exeter last week as well as a chance to preview the Autumn/ Winter product launches, In fact we were the first in the whole country to get a sneak peak!

Lush is a brand that I feel I jumped onto the band waggon late, the hype around products such as Snow fairy and Rose Jam were talked about way before I stepped foot into a sweet smelling store.

On a quest for a bath bomb a few years ago, I popped into the previous smaller Exeter store, greeted by passionate sale assistants eager to help with any questions and ready to point me in the right direction, it was all a bit overwhelming and I ended up grabbing the closest product, paying and fighting my way back through the gaggle of teenagers. Gradually over time I’d step in and delve a little deeper but I’d say I was no Lush expert….Until now!

With a customer friendly layout the new interactive Exeter store organises the space into product sections, meaning even the short-of-time shopper can head to the area with ease. The additional space also means you can sample the products and demo them in true ‘Lush style’ without feeling like you are in each others way.

Additional space obviously means additional products, my mind was blown with how much Lush actually has to offer, cleansers, hand treatments and even fragrance sitting next to perfectly wrapped gift boxes…I mean who wouldn’t be happy with a Lush Christmas??

My favourite findings of the night had to include the recycled cloth made from old plastic bottles used to wrap products, style or even wear; The new ‘naked’ ethos of no packaging and protecting the environment and my discovery that Lush has spas around the UK, you can buy actual Spa packages with the promise of tailored true indulgence!

I must also mention the perfectly put together displays, the use of natural ingredients to embellish the shelves and of course the knowledgeable, friendly staff on hand wanting to help!

100% naturally sourced ingredients and to suit every skin type, requirements or taste this new store really allows you to explore whats on offer so if its help such as aiding sleep, sorting out limp hair or calming irritated skin, the world of Lush is much more than the odd colourful bath bomb!

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A Simple Banana Loaf….

There’s nothing better then a warm cup of tea with a slice of homemade banana loaf, its so simple to create and can be changed up by using agave or coconut sugars for a refined free version or easily made gluten / dairy free; you can even get creative and throw in chocolate chips, drizzle with caramel sauce or even sliced and toasted Australian stylie!

Ingredients

  • 3 Over ripe large bananas (Ignore the photo above- The ones I used were black- over ripe the better!)
  • 150g Butter
  • 160g dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 200g Plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder

Method

  • Pre heat oven to 170 degrees and line a loaf tin
  • Cream together the sugar and the butter until light and fluffy
  • Mix in the eggs, vanilla extract and then add the flour and baking powder
  • Add the banana and make sure all combined
  • Pour into the loaf tin and bake for 45 mins
  • Allow to cool and then on this occasion I drizzled loads of toffee sauce over the top

Enjoy!

Love Harriet x

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Juggling Screen time…..

Warning new mum worry has set in! This time the concern is… is my child having too much screen time? The answer to this question for us at the moment is no but its something that’s on my mind especially as the weather is getting unpredictable and rainy meaning we are a little more confined to the house.

The debate of what is too much screen time could go on for ages and I am sure there are plenty of strong opinions out there, mine is a love/hate relationship! Love because its a gentle way start the day, once breakfast is done, a bit of postman pat to ease into the day ahead isn’t going to do us any harm. Like wise after bath time, I love to snuggle with my freshly washed boy under a blanket and watch Bear Hunt or recently the Lion King- I mean I cant wait til Sonny enjoys cuddling up to watch a film and munch on popcorn!

If Sonny is being extra fussy at dinner or I need to quickly hoover the house then the trusty Ipad is a great distraction and helps me to achieve the mountain of jobs I am juggling daily; Having said that, I am conscious I don’t want it to be the easy option and for Sonny to just absorb the TV rather than create his own little games. I don’t want morning TV to turn into the whole day of CBeebies.

A few people have commented on how well Sonny can entertain himself, sit for a while and interact with his toys and role play, so that must mean the balance is right?

We are also a family who loves to get out of the house, a Sunday stroll or play date,  get some fresh air and tire little legs out plays a massive part in our day so surely as long as we continue to break and mix up the routine, we are onto a winning combo?

I haven’t downloaded any educational games for the Ipad yet, he seems content with the little time his does have with the screen but I’d love to know of any programme you’ve heard of or used yourself that you can recommend. Using the screen for learning purposes will help with the mum worry surely!

Love Harriet x

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