Finding The Simple Things

As seems to be customary at the moment, the past month has been a busy one. In the space of 1 short week at the end of April we spent time in three beautiful English counties - Norfolk, Kent and Sussex, enjoying quality time with family, celebrating with life long friends and spending time with brand new ones.

Home life in Cardiff has continued as busy as ever, with the added pleasure of plenty more time being spent in the garden. The hyper shrieks induced by hose fights have marked the start of a summer of (very wet) fun. Rain has brought blossom to the ground and we've seen the veg, flowers and lawn shoot up in a matter of days, I've barely been able to keep up with weather!

In amongst all of this I've been determined as ever to find space for quiet times, for creating and capturing special moments, and I wanted to share a few of the things that have helped me to do this, in this post today. I hope you enjoy reading.

The Simple Things 

I've seen this magazine appear in many a post on Instagram and, from the front cover and title alone, knew it would be my cup of tea. I managed to snap up a great subscription deal and when it arrived the day before our holiday to Norfolk, knew it would provide the perfect reading material.

It's packed full of inspiring articles, beautiful photography of places I'm know itching to explore, interesting columns, recipes and projects.

It has a great Miscellany section towards the back which I couldn't stop myself from reading out loud on holiday. Yes, I'm sure it's annoying and people aren't really that interested in hearing what you're reading, but who doesn't want to know the origins of Earl Grey tea, how to get rid of moths or what to do with Asparagus. 

Unlike other glossy lifestyle magazines that I (admittedly) just flick through, picking out the odd article and otherwise just looking at the pictures, I have more or less read this cover to cover now and can't wait for the next issue to arrive through our letterbox. If you're interested you can find more about the magazine here.

A Facial - Home and Away

Last month a best friend of mine and I booked in to have a facial at the Liz Earle counter at our local John Lewis store. At £15 I thought the 30-40 minute facial was a great deal but when I discovered that money could then be redeemed against a purchase afterwards, decided it was an opportunity not to be missed. What I didn't expect was that the facial, which was done in a private treatment room, was a full on 'me' time, could-almost-fall-asleep, relaxing experience. I was able to enjoy the whole thing with no hard sell and was then talked through the products used when we were back at the counter. 

I've fallen for Liz Earle skincare products in a big way, I love how natural they are, that they're produced on the Isle of Wight and how they smell like they've come straight from a spa. Once I'd quizzed the therapist on all the products she'd used and the order she'd used them, I made sure I was armed with the products needed and was determined to carry out more mini facials at home. OK, I can't say that I've quite managed the weekly facial that I'd promised myself, but my Mother-In-Law was very complimentary of the one I gave her on our holiday. That bonding time (over a glass of bubbly while Sam and his Dad were at the pub) was worth countless mini facial I could do for myself. 

Skincare has become something I've committed myself to and these products are certainly helping me to slow the clock I've seen ticking across my face over the past few years (read 'post kids'). Top of my list this week is to book myself another facial when they're next available at the counter in July. If you're interested in finding out more then get in touch with your local counter or visit the Liz Earle website here.

The National Trust 

One of the gifts that we received for our wedding present, which even in just 7 and half years has given us days and days of fun, was a Lifetime Membership to The National Trust. Sam's parents told us how much they've enjoyed their membership over the years and, very generously, gifted us with that same opportunity for our own family. Now, whenever we're away on holiday or without a plan to spend a day when we're at home, we'll look up to see what's happening at our closest Trust property.

When we were in Norfolk and wanted to do some exploring and find somewhere the kids would enjoy, we didn't have to look much further than Felbrigg Hall. As with most Country Estates the house was steeped in history with intriguing stories of previous owners. Of course our time in each room was limited to the patience of a 2 and a 3 year old, mildly entertained by the 'children's boxes', carefully designed to feed little imaginations. Wilf asked questions along the way and then quickly hurtled into the next room with one of us closely behind. Towards the end of our self guided tour we narrowly missed an embarrassing incident involving a very large stuffed owl and a glass box.....I can't tell you how big my sigh of relief was when it was caught just in time!

The kids were given the chance to burn off their cream tea fueled energy in the magnificent walled garden. Free to run up and down as fast as they could along the gravel paths lining the vegetable garden, their visit was topped off with  a stop at the most charming miniature shed and raised sand pit. Without a word needing to be said, they took to their work purposefully filling barrows of sand and moving it on to the next pit.

Our day was finished off with a game of tag, the simplest of games played through a willow tunnel but one which will stay with me for a very long time. 

You see it truly is the simple things, the little moments that, whilst fleeting, are what you remember when you look back on the busy times in life. The moments when you take a bit of time out for yourself, or the ones you spend in the company of your favourite people, running, exploring and catching boxes of stuffed birds together, that will have you smiling the most.

I look forward to seeing what things lie ahead of us in the month ahead, whatever they are, I look forward to sharing them with you.