Friday, 27 January 2017

This Surrey Mummy Approved Brand - Carpet Bright UK...

I love and I hate this time of year. I love the cold crisp mornings and those fresh sunny days but I equally hate those damp, wet and grey days that we seem to have so many of.

I don't know about you but it is at this time of year that my carpets take a particular battering. We have carpet in our entrance hall and our lounge (you have to walk through here to the kitchen) and it is a constant runway of dirt. Whether the two foot one has walked mud in on the soles of his Clarks or the dog has run through in a bid to escape with muddy paws it's at this time of year my carpets look exceptionally grubby. That was until two weeks ago!

I was contacted by a company called Carpet Bright UK who wanted to know whether they could come and clean my carpet and my sofa in exchange for an honest review - their timing could not have been better!!

It's funny is it not? We wash our clothes daily, we wash our kitchen floor, we change our bed sheets but how often do we really clean our carpets? Well we have not had the carpets cleaned here and we have lived here over a year! Luckily, touch wood, we don't have too many allergies but the Asthma and Allergy foundation recommend you clean your carpets 2-3 times a year.

So, the other Saturday the door bell rang and I was greeted by a lovely chap called Alvin who claimed that he could get my carpet washed AND dried in under three hours - I was convinced it was a unachievable task!

The carpet with one of the main offenders, Buddy!

There were quite a few stubborn stains on my carpets which I had tried and failed at removing by Alvin assured me these would come up and out - I was sceptical.

Well, I left Alvin to get on with his challenge as I carried about my morning. First of all he cleaned my sofa. Well to say it looked brand new after is an understatement. That sofa has seen so much vomit, Ribena, tea, poo, wee - you name it it's probably smeared somewhere in the sofa - grim!!

Then it was on to the carpet!!

Well I could not believe it - that seriously stubborn stain had come up!!

In under an hour and a half both the carpet and the sofa had been cleaned!

The grubby stains have gone and it looks like a newly laid carpet!

I cannot recommend the guys at Carpet Bright UK enough and if you do need to have your carpet cleaned or your sofas (they also do curtains, mattresses and end of tenancy cleans too!) give them a call and mention This Surrey Mummy to get 10% off plus a free PetCare Protection. 

Nathalie x

This was a sponsored post the thoughts as above are all my own. 

Sunday, 22 January 2017

This Surrey Mummy Gets Romantic With Chapel Lane...

A couple of weeks ago I was scouring Instagram searching for local hashtags such as "Cobham", "Surrey" my usual search in seek of new Insta peeps to follow when I came across this account.

It belonged to the lovely Jenna who is the proud (and rightly so) owner of Chapel Lane an events, styling and brand management company based in Hersham who's aim is to create bespoke experiences to celebrate life's special moments - I was hooked.

I thought that she might be the ideal person to help me plan or at least inspire in the right direction for Charlie's birthday party so I got in touch.

After a few messages she kindly invited me to take part in one of her "workshops" - this one was entitled "The Romantic Dinner For Two" - I will be honest I was sceptical. A) I'm not overly keen on intimate dinners for Tom and I and B) my level of romance was getting excited at the prospect of Valentine's Day falling on a Tuesday which always means Dominos Two for Tuesday in our house - that is my kind of romance.

That said, I was interested and having looked at her Insta page if I could walk away with a few style tips whilst getting suitably merry on bubbles and stuffing my face with food - who was I to say "sorry I'm busy"?

So, yesterday afternoon I trotted off to Chapel Lane HQ in search of bubbles, style, food and obviously romance!

I was greeted by Jenna a gorgeous girl with a twang of an Aussie accent from days gone by and was introduced to the other romance seekers and Simon from Surrey Hills Butchers.

We were talked through how to set the scene using High Street tableware and to "always buy the best produce you can afford" and to enjoy it all when you are entertaining.

What I loved was that the menu she served the majority could be made ahead of time leaving you more time to get romantic and also that a lot of it was jazzed up shop bought items - think Cook but taken to the next level and you are half way there!

Photo credit - Chapel Lane

We chatted. We ate. We drank. We chatted some more. We drank some more. The environment was relaxed and chilled. Simon from Surrey Hills demo'd how to fillet a steak - it was like poetry in motion watching him - he is a master. That said I am not sure I could personally fillet a steak so I would trot to his shop in Oxshott and get him to do it for me!

I don't want to give too much away but it was such an enjoyable four hours on a dreary Saturday afternoon and I have come away maybe not romantic but very much inspired!!

Here are some photos from Karen Armstrong Photography to give you a taster. 

Jenna is holding this workshop again on Saturday 4th February from 2-5pm and the cost is £60 per person and includes all your food, bubbles and style tips and take homes - click here to book your place.

I can't wait for the next one!


Nathalie x

Disclaimer: Jenna invited me along to sample the workshop but all the opinions are entirely my own. 

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Banishing The January Blues....

January is a really dreary month. No one has enough money from the hangover of Christmas. Every Tom, Dick and Harry is doing dry January (er why bother - why not just say "hey I won't drink Sunday to Friday!"?). It's bloody cold. And grey. And so dark - why does January mornings and early evenings seem so much darker than the rest of the year?

Well, I am here to give you some tips to perk you up and help you survive January - call it my 'January Pick Me Up' if you so will.....

1. Book or plan a holiday or a weekend away

I am all about having things to look forward, something to drag me through those dark winter days when I can simply close my eyes and be transported to somewhere warmer, hotter and sunnier.

January is a typical time when we migrates to sites like ExpediaFirst Choice and our firm favourite Mark Warner in search of holidays for the upcoming summer season. There are some superb deals around with many tour operators offering free kids places making your summer holiday even more affordable - just make sure they are Atol Protected.

If the summer holidays really are just too far for you to even think about then why not book a cheeky weekend away in February or March to lift the spirits.

We have just booked to go to Brighton with friends of ours on a child free weekend. We've opted to stay at the Malmaison, Brighton. For us it's nearby that god forbid should anything happen whilst we are away we can get home quickly, but also Brighton is such a fun place! The beachfront and the shops in the Lanes make a Saturday afternoon go quickly before we don our glad rags for a night out. We've booked on a dinner, b&b rate and at just over £200 it won't break the budget but will give you that little glimmer of excitement to look forward to.

I've also come across Ellenborough Park in Cheltenham which looks amazing so would definitely like to get away here for a weekend - hint hint nudge nudge Mr Webb!

2. Treat yourself to some luxury bath products

January is grim and cold and there is nothing I love more than running a hot bath, lighting a smelly candle and sinking into the water to wash away the day.

 I love the bath products from The Sanctuary Spa and given they are usually on 3 for 2 from Boots I always tend to ask for a stash for Christmas to see me through January.

There is one product I would love to try but as yet simply cannot justify parting with £33 for bubble bath - but oh my the smell is so good you could eat it - is the Laura Mercier Creme Brulee Honey Bath - maybe that's a pay day splurge!

3. Have a night out with the girls

Nothing brightens my spirits more than a good old night out with the girls. Given most of my lot are doing Dry January we've decided that a trip to the cinema to see a real girly film should do the trick and what better film to see than La La Land the newest film featuring my all time total mum crush, Ryan Gosling! Here's a snippet to the trailer - I cannot wait!!

4. Eat yourself happy

January is also that time of year where we embark on ridiculous diets and fitness regimes to only find ourselves three weeks down the line knackered, probably heavier than at the beginning of Jan and miserable. Whilst crash diets certainly seem appealing (woo hoo lose all that Christmas weight in under two weeks  - whatever!) these will do nothing for your long term health.

I am on a mission to lose 20lbs by July and have recently rejoined Slimming World and after my first week back on it so to speak I've lost 2lbs which although it doesn't seem like a lot is a kick in the right direction. Of all the "food plans" this is the one plan that works for me and does not leave me wanting to attack someone out of hanger.

5. The return of the school term

Now, don't get me wrong - I love the school holidays (and I will now knowing I am working term time only) but Charlie is definitely a child that thrives on routine. We've had too many late nights, too many day time naps and it is time to get back to school. January signals you've made it. You've made it through the Christmas holidays in tact! Now, once you've shipped the kids off to school, go home and pour yourself a celebratory cuppa because before you know it, it'll be 3pm and you'll have to leave to get them!

How do you banish the January blues?

Nathalie x


Monday, 2 January 2017

The 2017 Bucket List...

It's a funny old time January. Not many people like it, me for one and I always find that January leaves you living in a bit of limbo. Let us reflect....

There is such a massive build up for Christmas. You prepare from when the kids go back in October, trawling the internet and rinsing your Amazon Prime membership like there is no tomorrow, booking out every available slot in your social diary, Father Christmas, work parties, afternoon teas, play dates that when the actual day comes and they rip open their presents and eat the turkey and BOOM it's all over and as a parent you are just exhausted. Then there are those funny old days, you know the ones between Christmas and New Year where your jeans don't fit, you've drunk too much, you've not had enough sleep and resemble a new mother again with a three day haze where quite frankly you haven't got any food in the fridge, everyones in their pjs and you haven't got a bloody clue what day it is. 

New Years Eve comes. You're still shattered and cannot be arsed to go out. You venture to M&S and invest in their dine in offer - oh stop it, calm down! You'll then sit on the sofa and fall asleep and chances are will miss the fireworks but will wake up at 12.35am on the sofa irritated as by the time you've made it upstairs, brushed your teeth you're now wide awake and ready to PARTY!! 

Ah, New Years Day - new beginnings. New Years Resolutions. A time for looking forward, a time to start planning for the year ahead so here is my bucket list for 2017....

1. Get away more...

On Wednesday I start my new job at a boarding school with a term time role so my holidays will now be the same as the kids and Tom leaving us loads of time to get away for little nights away. Camping is high up on the priority list this summer, but, would also like to stay in one of those funky pod type glamping ones too! 

2. Throw a summer garden party...

Since we moved into our house a year ago we have not really entertained much and we are blessed to have an awesome garden so this summer I definitely want to throw a party nothing big but something fun!

3. Day trip to France...

We have not done this for a couple of years and it really is such fun. We get the ferry or chunnel over to Calais and usually make our way to Le Touquet or one of the towns in the north for lunch. 

4. Re-decorate our bedroom...

Our room really has been left neglected. Everywhere else has now been decorated apart from there so that is definitely next on the list! 

5. Run a 10k

Tom is running the marathon this year and I would love to get back into running so I am going to get some miles in and work my way up to a 10k which will also aid my weight loss! 

6. Have a spa day

As I have gotten older I definitely have realised the loveliness that is a spa day and I would love to do one or two of these this year with some girlfriends as it's always more fun with the girls. 

Now, obviously, now I am reading The Secret the above will become far more extravagant once I've won the millions of pounds I am envisaging but until that time, enjoy tonight as I know a lot of us are back to work in the morning.

Nathalie x

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