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The Moonpig Lockdown Virtual Event

So last Thursday little ol' me stepped completely out of my comfort zone and attended my first virtual blogger event. I will be honest, attending my first event was a little nerve-wracking as it's not something I have ever done before, but I'm so glad I did. I joined the Moonpig Team and some lovely bloggers for an evening of cocktail making, flower arranging and a whole lot of fun.

So with a group of bloggers over on Zoom we had a fun filled evening learning about the Moonpig app, making our own cocktails and had some fun flower arranging with a gorgeous bouquet of peonies. It was a great evening catching up with some bloggers I already know, but lovely meeting and connecting with some new bloggers.

The Moonpig App

Our evening started with a chat about the Moonpig app and learning a little more about all the new features that you can use in the app. We then had an expert card making session with the Moonpig team and had a go at designing our own cards. As it's my daughter's birthday next month it was perfect timing to design and personalise a card for her.

Moonpig have a wide range of personalised cards available to help you celebrate the magical moments, with lots of new features to make your card extra special. You can upload photos straight from you phone, import special dates from your calendar, set reminders, and you can add handwritten messages or doodles which is a lovely touch. We have used this feature before with cards send to family and friends from our daughter but this is only available on iOS at the moment.

If you are stuck for ideas of what to write in your card there is even a feature that can help inspire you. You can choose to send an e-Card, regular sized or a giant one where you can view your card to scale in virtual 3D to check it before you send which is really handy. The Moonpig app was so simple and easy to use and I know it will make personalising cards for family and friends so much easier. 

It's so quick and easy to use with everything you need at your fingertips. Once you have designed your card you can choose to send directly to the recipient or back to you with an extra envelope, at the designing stage you even have an option to add a little note on the envelope too. Excellent quality of the cards with the some suggestions of gifts or flowers too. Moonpig have everything you need to make someone feel loved and special. 

Cocktail Masterclass

After learning about all the excellent features on the Moonpig app we had a Cocktail Masterclass with James from Mix & Twist UK. We made three delicious cocktails - A Gin Garden, Elderflower Collins and Strawberry Gimlet. It was great making all these cocktails from fresh ingredients and even had a little cocktail competition for us bloggers for the quickest cocktail. By the time the winner had finished I was still squeezing my lemon, but it was still lots of fun. 

I have never been to a cocktail class before and I learned so much a cocktail making, balancing flavours and importance of using fresh ingredients. It was really hard to choose a favourite as I really enjoyed all three, but the Strawberry Gimlet just took the top spot for me. It was probably the over pour!

The Summer Bouquet 

After a short break to Clap for our Carers, we headed back to the event for a flower arranging lesson with the lovely Roxanne who took us through all the steps to creating the perfect bouquet.

We received the Moonpig Luxury Rose & Peony Bouquet which was a gorgeous bouquet full of all my favourite flowers. The luxury bouquet was full of large pink peonies. pink roses, trachilium, and salal - they all really complimented one another. Initially, whenever I would get flowers from family and friends I would just snip the ends and pop them in a vase, but there is some much to think about with flower arranging. In our lesson with Roxanne we were shown how to prepare flowers into groups, trim them in ways so they can last longer and arrange them into different vases. Do you like my arrangement?

The Moonpig Virtual Event allowed me to step outside my comfort zone to meet new people, learn about the app, make cocktails and pick up some tricks with flower arranging. It was such a fun night and wonderful event. A big thank you to the Moonpig team, Mix and Twist and Roxanne for putting on such a fun great event. 

**We have been kindly gifted the summer bouquet and cocktails that was featured in this post, but as always my words and opinions are my own. Images are subject to copyright **

Is It Too Early To Send My Daughter Back to School?

It’s hard to believe that it’s been just weeks since the world was brought to a standstill over coronavirus. Life as we know has changed and it doesn't look as if we will be getting back to normal life just yet. No one knows all the facts or understand enough, most of us are living on the edge at the moment. 

During the pandemic,  you have probably encountered coronavirus misinformation on social media or in the news. Whether it's coronavirus conspiracy theories or clearly faked screenshots to encourage public conversations, often leading to negativity or hate. We are such a long way from showing kindness with most being critical, spiteful and nothing seems to be good enough. Our world seems so different.

There are more changes to come and one change specially that has left a sour taste in my mouth. The reopening of schools. Is is really safe enough to phase reception, year one and year six back into school in June? It seems impossible to make informed decisions at the moment, as no one has all the facts! The world feels so uncertain and we are trying to get back to some kind of normality without all the solutions, so could it be too risky to send our children back to school? 

It's looking more likely that we will have to endure this way of life for weeks or even months to come. It is understandable that everyone is finding this time confusing and questioning their decisions over and over. As our daughter is year one we have been thinking about the possibility of her going back into school, and it's a decision that we have not taken lightly. 

We want a little normality, we want routine, we don't want our daughter's education to suffer. But at the same time her safety is absolutely paramount! It's our job to protect her and keep her safe. We both feel that at the moment in time, it is far too soon to even think about sending our daughter back to school. Although there is minimal risk with children and young adults, it doesn't necessarily mean that we should put them at risk to find out. 

The guidelines are clear in that we all need to work together to minimise the risk to stop the spread. However those guidelines have changed slightly and now you are allowed to leave your home more than once a day. But it seems as if most people around us have taken that as the lockdown has been lifted. I have seen groups of people together, families going to visit other families and the roads are getting busier. 

It scares me! Is all our hard work going down the drain the matter of two weeks? Will the second wave in winter time going to be catastrophic? My daughter is scared this coronavirus is going to take her loved ones away, she knows that people should be socially distancing, yet we go out for a walk and she sees that people are not listening. So if I am seeing groups of people together ignoring the advise, why would I ever feel comfortable in sending my daughter back to school? Have you ever told a four or five year old that they are not allowed to touch or hug someone? Everyone knows that little people are space invaders

My daughter's school has been so great with homeschooling, advice and amazing support. They have sent over a risk assessment to all those parents that have children in reception, year one and year six. Classes will be 8-10 children where they will have to eat lunch and play with these children only. Schools are reducing the surfaces, removing toys that are hard to clean as well as soft toys. Staggered schools days, packed lunches only, unisex toilets, strict hand washing regimes with their own hand gels and wipes. This is not, by any means, getting back to normal. 

I know that whatever way you look at this, our normal is never going to be the normal we all knew before this pandemic. The only thing that we can do is follow the guidelines to help and reduce the risk. And while I have control of my child, I will not be sending her back to school during this coronavirus until there are better safety measures in place. 

Will you be sending your child back to school?

White Chocolate & Blueberry Cookies

As you may or may not know we have a little thing for blueberries, and so comes another delicious home baking recipe. These white chocolate and blueberry cookies are incredibly buttery, with a chewy centre and crispy edges. A perfect combination! There are super simple to make and can be great as part of a picnic spread, for when you have people over or as a treat that go perfectly with a cup of tea. 

What I love about this super simple recipe is that you are able to adapt it to your liking. We have tried chocolate chip and pecans, cinnamon, cranberry and white chocolate. You could try and create a combination yourself. With this cookie recipe you will never need another cookie recipe. Incredibly buttery, endless of flavour combinations and so simple and easy to make. But you'd better make a couple of batches because as soon as they are cooled the will fly off the cooling rack, they are too good to resist.

To make these buttery white chocolate & blueberry cookies you will need:

260g plain flour
90g cornflour
1½ tsp of baking soda
250g granulated sugar
190g unsalted butter
1½ tsp milk
75g white chocolate chips
75g blueberries

1. Preheat the oven with 180℃/Gas Mark 4 and line two baking trays with baking paper.

2. In a bowl whisk together the flour, cornflour and baking soda until fully combined.

3. In a separate bowl, beat together the room temperature butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. 

4. Then fold in half of the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Add the milk and the remaining flour and mix until is starts to come together. Finally, add in the white chocolate chips and the blueberries and give the mixture another mix through creating a thicker consistency. 

5. Using a tablespoon scoop the dough onto the baking sheet into eight separate cookies ensuring that they are equally spaced apart. 

6. Bake for around 15 minutes turning the tray around until beautifully golden brown. Allow them to cool on the trays for a few minutes before using a spatula to help transfer them to a cooling rack. Enjoy.

Three Favourite Caudalie Picks

I think it’s pretty safe to say that Caudalie is one of my favourite skincare brands. There are so many things that I love about Caudalie, but I think what I love most is that they care about the ingredients they put into their products, and they make an effort to run their brand in an environmentally conscious way. Caudalie has been incredible for my combination skin and have given me fantastic results. It was so hard for me to narrow down this post into a few favourites, but these three favourites have been amazing in hydrating my skin and I truly couldn't live without. 

Caudalie Makeup Removing Cleansing Oil.

My absolute FAVOURITE makeup remover! It’s a lightweight oil that emulsifies when you add a little water and removes my makeup effectively. As I wear makeup most days I love a double cleanse and always begin my evening routine with this cleansing oil, as it really helps to get rid of stubborn mascara and eyeliner without pulling on the skin. You really don't need a lot as a little goes a long way with only needing two to three pumps for each time. Once the makeup has been broken down, you then rinse with water but I like to take the day off  with a soft flannel and then rinse.

Caudalie Vinopure Purifying Gel Cleanser.

I LOVE Caudalie's Vinopure range since introducing some products into my skincare routine. The combination has really helped fade my sun spots, heal acne scars, and reduce the size of my pores. So of course some of my Caudalie favourites include some products from this Vinopure range and have fast become some of my go-to cleansers. As you know, I love a double cleanse and after using the makeup removing cleansing oil I always follow up with the Vinopure Purifying Gel Cleanser as the second step of my skincare routine. This gel cleanser is enriched with salicylic acid, grapeseed polyphenols and a blend of different essential oils. The cleanser really does cleanse the skin without leaving it dry or irritated. I have never used a cleanser quite like this, with a smooth texture gel that is so soothing and calming to my skin. This purifying gel cleanser banishes those blemishes, unclogs pores and helps balance my skin without leaving my skin feeling tight, dry or irritated. Basically, it's the missing link to help banish uneven skin and breakouts for good — without going overboard and irritating your sensitive skin.

Caudalie. Vinapure Clear Skin Purifying Toner.

Toner is easily the most misunderstood skin care product and way more important than it receives credit for. Toner is the first barrier product you apply – good toner balances your skin’s PH, and is intended to hydrate – not strip your skin. But balance the skin's pH levels, it's important to apply toner; otherwise the skin can become dry and dehydrated. Toner further helps to absorb the next products you apply. This Skin Purifying Toner is specially formulated for combination and blemish-prone complexions as a simple-yet-effective solution to refresh and purify skin. A great toner as you would expect from Caudalie removes residual impurities, to refresh and clarify sensitive skin. It smells amazing and leaves my skin feeling refreshed.

Since changing up my evening skincare routine I have seen a big difference in my complexion and condition of my skin. It feels super fresh and smooth. These products have helped soothe, reduce the size of my pores and actually give my skin exactly what it needs. It has also helped to banish those stubborn blemishes and as much as I would love to say they have completely disappeared, its a working progress. There are so many other products that I have to try from Caudalie but I do have my eye on a couple of products like their serum and moisturiser so watch this space.

Have you tried any products from Caudalie? Do you recommend any?

BIRCHBOX - May 2020: Blooming Lovely

May is here already, lockdown is really making these months fly by! But we are so ready to welcome those warmer and brighter days, and we cannot wait to spend our afternoons in the sunshine relaxing in the garden. So with these brighter days comes a brand new BIRCHBOX and this month is about letting your natural beauty shine through with their 'Blooming Lovely' box. But to make this month extra special all our little beauty treats come in a cute peach flowery keepsake tin. 

All subscribers will receive a Manna Kadar Bloom Mascara that comes in a Hot Pink or Cool Aqua tube, a Balance Me PHA Clarifying Mist and a dome BEAUTY Blush in English Rose. There is some lovely luxurious treats this month that will become some must have essentials for this lockdown. 

Manna Kadar Lash Blast Bloom Mascara in Hot Pink. RRP £23

Manna Kadar Bloom Mascara has a cutting-edge wand with reservoirs of mascara between each individual groove. The ultra-dense fiber bristles give you intense volume to make your lashes look fuller and sexier. Every subscriber will receive this mascara in Hot Pink or Cool Aqua and the packaging immediately grabbed my attention - its so vibrant! The cutting-edge wand features a thin-yet-fluffy brush, with reservoirs of mascara so you can apply the maximum amount with each stroke. Apply the mascara first with the tip on hard to reach corners upwards and I applied a few coats and my lashes didn't look any different except maybe a little darker. I guess this would be ok for those who like a natural looking lash.

Balance Me. PHa Clarifying Mist. RRP £18

I have always loved the idea of a face mist a quick spritz of some floral water on the face, so refreshing. But although I have the best intentions to use them, I never bother. Apart from the immediately refreshing effect, I’ve never felt they’ve had much benefit. But this summer, I'm determined to use one. This clarifying PHA mist gently exfoliates your skin - to keep away blemishes, block pores and brighten your complexion, to give you an instant shot of hydration while plumping skin from within. It's also packed with zinc to soothe skin and reduce redness. Yes, please!

dome BEAUTY Cheek Envy Blush in English Rose. RRP £28

I do love a nice pink blush and my favourite ones are without a doubt the Model Co + Karl Lagerfeld collab, but that's the thing about collabs - they are only for a limited period. So I was a little happy to see this new blush in my box this month as the colour is something that I would go for. We know that getting perfectly flushed cheeks can be tricky, but just one sweep of this natural rosy pink blush gives your complexion an instant healthy glow. This is a beautiful blush and stunning colour this has now become my go to. It’s buildable and blendable. 

Marcelle. Micellar Water - Normal Skin. RRP £18

When it comes to cleansing my skin after a day of full makeup, nothing beats the Caudalie Cleansing Oil to take the day off. But I'm always happy to welcome a change, I used to use micellar waters religiously, but it would sometime leave some makeup residue on my face, which is why I changed over to a cleansing oil. This Marcelle Micellar Water acts as a cleanser and a makeup remover, it's packed with aloe vera and glycerin to soothe and hydrate. Even better, it's completely rinse-free, so you'll be done in a few quick swipes of a cotton pad. But again, for me, personally I like to use a clean flannel to remove any residue in order to allow my skin to breathe. 

Beauty Protector. Protect & Detangle Mist. RRP £22 

A BIRCHBOX exclusive brand!!! A serious multitasker that deserves a spot on your beauty favourites list that's for sure. You can use it instead of your usual conditioner when you are in a rush, spritz it into hair in the morning to protect against heat damage pre-blow dry, or wear it at night before sleeping in wet hair to deeply hydrate and soften your strands. Plus, let's not forget the scent! It smells like freshly baked cookies!

I LOVED my Birchbox this month! It was full of products that I would normally use and I have made some new discoveries, which is my favourite part about being a subscriber! A lot of these products are going to be great for when I have some self care Sundays that's for sure. 

So what did you think? Are you a Birchbox fan? If not, you should at least try a couple of boxes. A monthly Birchbox subscription, with no long-term commitment, costs just £10 (+ £2.95 P&P) per month. 

Don't forget to check out our previous Birchbox boxes...

VE Day Celebrations.

British history changed forever on May 7, 1945 as the German troops surrendered. The country rejoiced, taking to the streets to celebrate what is known as Victory in Europe Day. Every year, VE Day is celebrated up and down the country with street parties, community gatherings, dancing and singing. This year was the 75th Anniversary, however our celebrations were a little different than we had originally planned because of the lockdown. 

Despite the lockdown and social distancing measures many families and neighbours came together in a proud display of red, white and blue to honour Britain's greatest generation. I have seen some of the most amazing celebrations outside my windown and my social media has been flooded with beautiful and positive posts. Despite that so many of us have been cooped up for six weeks or more, we still have came together in different ways to commemorate #VEDay75

We all have paid a tributes in our own ways to the service and sacrifice of the entire Second World War generation, from the British, Commonwealth and Allied Forces to evacuees and those who worked on the front line. Thank you to each and everyone who risked their lives to protect us and bring peace to Europe. We will forever be grateful. It's so important, now more than ever to unite in recognition of the service to the nation, just as communities did 75 years ago.

The Queen also gave a poignant address to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day, where she paid a tribute to the lockdown spirit, in that the Second World War heroes would admire the nations response to the pandemic. It was a really heartfelt speech to the nation that was inspiring and reassuring. 

We began our celebrations early on Friday morning where we all sat around our coffee today to make our very own union jack bunting. We made some cakes, loaves and slices for our delicious afternoon tea. We had the cutest little set up for our afternoon tea with scones, clotted cream, jams and lots of cheese sandwiches. It was perfect with the three of us.  It was beautiful day full of lots of sunshine and we could hear all our neighbours in their gardens joining in with the celebrations. It was quite a surreal moment filled with happiness, joy and love. We feel so grateful to all those heroes that sacrificed so much just so we could celebrate with our loved ones.

Being with my two favourite people was the best way to commemorate all those that sacrificed in the Second World War generation, we will remember this day for many years to come. Did you join in with the #VEDay75 celebrations? What did you do?

Coffee Filter Butterflies

Who knew that coffee filters could be so versatile, I know that you are going to love this little craft that we did whilst in lockdown. It’s so fun to see what you can create just by digging around your kitchen cabinets! With a little imagination, you can always find something in the house to create with. 

Coffee filter crafts really encourage children to be kids, and use their imagination as they craft! My girl has come up with a great coffee filter creation during the lockdown in the shape of these beautiful butterflies. These coffee filter butterflies can keep my girl occupied for some time as it is something that she can do on her own. The best part about coffee filter crafts is that you don’t need many things to make them. You probably already have most of the necessary supplies around the house.

These classic coffee filter butterflies are SO EASY to make and look so beautiful! This is such a great craft to do with the little ones during spring time and summer, we used this activity to talk about the life cycle of a butterfly. We also like the fact that this activity is relatively low mess. It’s even a bit of a science experiment when you wet the coffee filter and watch the colours blend. Encourage them to discuss what colours they can see, and perhaps ask them if they can predict what they might see when separating the pigments of different coloured markers. 

To make these coffee filter butterflies you'll need:

Clothes pegs
Coffee filters 
Pipe cleaners 
Marker pens 
A cup of water. 

1. You need to unleash a little creativity and make circles of colour on the filters, you can be as creative as you like have fun experimenting with colour. 

2. Fill a cup with a little bit of water, fold the coffee filter into a cone shape and place the tip of the cone into the water. Leave in the water for 30-60 seconds. 

3. Remove the filter from the cup of water and carefully lay flat to dry. 

4. When they are dry, scrunch up one or two filters. Slide them carefully into a clothes peg and then fan out the filters to look like wings. 

5. Wrap a pipe cleaners around the top of the peg and twist and secure. Use your felt pens to make your butterflies even more vibrant and colourful. 

These coffee filter butterflies are so simple and easy to do with the little ones during the lockdown as part of their home learning. Whether you want to teach them about spring, the life cycle of a butterfly, as a science experiment or just for fun. It's a craft for all. Now don't forget to pin this later. 

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