It’s been a while…

So, it’s been a while since I blogged last. Naughty blogger.

It has been a mixture of work and life getting in the way, but now I’m back!

Hopefully you have been keeping up with me some how, some way – maybe Twitter, Facebook or even my Express and Echo column?

Here’s a quick roundup of what I’ve been up to over the last couple of weeks…

I was so proud to join the wonderful team from The Exeter Dental Centre at the Express and Echo Exeter Business Awards on Friday to see them win the Best City Centre Business Award 2014…

BkZf-JCIIAEkEsQ A great opportunity for us to get that all-important ‘group’ selfie!

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Any excuse to dress up 🙂

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A trip to Bath to meet the Greeks…1009850_10151961844297623_463712450_n 1743639_10151961667822623_1219639349_n

 

Talking about the important things (cake!) in my Express and Echo column…

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A birthday in our household… as my youngest turns 5!1184822_10151957723372623_416479255_n

My #nomakeupselfie (remember it’s for charity!)…

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Another milestone, the first visit by the tooth fairy…

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Phew, it’s been a busy time.

L xx

 

 

 

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Express & Echo: Feniton will fight to save its village

In case you didn’t know, last week I wrote my first column for the Express and Echo. I’m delighted to be contributing to the paper, but for those of you who may have missed it here it is…and make sure you pick it up tomorrow (Thursday) to read the next one!

This time of the year for me is the equivalent of other peoples’ ‘Spring Clean’.

Finally, Halloween (which, by the way, was bigger than ever this year!) is over and now we are hurtling towards (dare I say it?) Christmas.

Suddenly, my thoughts turn to organising my home. I like to clear out the kids’ toys before the new ones arrive, courtesy of Santa, and of course I then have to hunt around the house looking for those ‘January bargains’ – Christmas cards and decorations, bought in the sales when I thought I was being oh-so clever!

This time of year also means I have to start organising my diary with military precision, there are Christmas functions, meals with friends and plenty of children’s’ parties for me to play taxi for.

In fact, last week I was lucky enough to be invited to the exclusive launch of Rolex at Michael Spiers in Exeter. It was held at Exeter Castle and was exquisitely hosted with delicious food from Topsham caterers Posh Nosh and a wonderful firework display to end the evening.

Unfortunately, I didn’t leave with a Rolex, but the whole night was great fun and the watches and jewellery on display was nothing short of jaw-dropping.

But, my week’s antics didn’t stop there. On Saturday a dear friend of mine, Lucie-Grace, hosted a Halloween-themed party to raise money for The Eve Appeal. Sadly, she lost her mum a few years ago to gynaecological cancer, so the cause is one that is close to her heart.

Held at Payhembury Village Hall, plenty of locals donated their time and efforts to help arrange the kids’ party which featured a disco, face painting, glitter tattoos and a raffle. On the day around 100 children boogied away to Michael Jackson’s Thriller and raised £300 for The Eve Appeal.

Not content with spending nearly every evening out, I showed my support by attending an emergency planning meeting held by Feniton Parish Council on Monday. Feniton, in case you are unaware, is currently one of a few East Devon villages under siege by zealous developers – and also my home.

Unfortunately, Feniton is one of the worst affected, and recently – following a failed appeal – building for 50 new homes started and now the village faces a ‘Super Inquiry’ in January, when the Planning Inspectorate will hear a case for development in three other areas – increasing the size of Feniton by 40%.

The meeting was well attended, and more than 180 residents came to ‘have their say’. It was announced on the night that Feniton Parish Council has hired the services of a legal professional to help in the fight to prevent more mass housing – at a cost of £10,000. Remarkably, following the end of the meeting there was a queue forming for villagers to pledge money towards the cause, with £2,000 being raised on that night alone.
I don’t think there can be a stronger, or clearer, message sent to the planning inspector and the developers that Feniton will fight to save its village.

Lxx

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The Christmas countdown has begun…with adverts

It is official, Marks and Spencer, John Lewis, Lidl and an array of other festive tv adverts have found their way onto my radar – kicking off Christmas 2013!

This is the one we’ve all been waiting for…

 

However, not to be outdone, this magical advert from M&S is something rather spectacular…

 

I defy, even the grumpiest Grinch, not to raise a smile at these heartwarming offerings!

L xx

Right now I’m just loving…

…the Ready To Wear Spring/Summer 2014 collection by Georgia Hardinge.

I’m not normally one to do ‘fashion posts’ but I really wanted to share this with you. Earlier this year you may have seen Georgia’s collaboration with the River Island Design Forum.

Now, I know it feels like we are only just dipping our toe into the Autumn/Winter 2013 collections with the unusually mild weather recently, but the fashion world has already moved on!

Here are a few pieces I’m just dying to get my hands on…

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You can see the full collection online at Vogue.

I hope you like!

L xx

 

 

I can’t live without…

OK, so this title is a little dramatic. But, during my French escape (family holiday!) I have been so grateful for La Roche Posay’s Effaclar Duo.

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Now, I know that hundreds of #beautybloggers have already raved about this moisturiser, but it is such a fab product that it really deserves all the praise.

A combination of sun, salty sea water and chlorine from the pool left my two boys with very dry and flaky skin on their faces. After trying a variety of creams I finally turned to my Effaclar Duo. Not only did it not sting them, like so many others, but it cleared up their dry skin in just 24 hours…bravo!

So, not only has it kept my skin in tip top condition while on holiday, but it also saved me and my boys from the nightly crying fit over stinging faces.

Lxx

Cornish getaway…

A couple of weekends ago, we piled into the car and swapped sunny Devon for sunny Cornwall.

IMG_2892As a fully fledged Devonian now, the only place I can say compares is Cornwall – it feels, inexplicably, like home.

So, we arrived at the beautiful St Moritz Hotel overlooking Daymer Bay, between Rock and Polzeath, just in time for a glass of wine as the sun set.

IMG_2849Our long weekend consisted of beach walks, sea air, fresh fish and plenty of crabbing!

DSC_0672 DSC_0647 DSC_0637 IMG_2886 IMG_2881The St Moritz is perfectly located for an easy ferry ride across to Padstow, where we lunched at Rick Stein’s fish restaurant, The Seafood – one of the best meals I’ve had.

IMG_2869 IMG_2868 IMG_2866 IMG_2865 IMG_2884And when Monday dawned, it was time for us –  me and hubby as the boys were staying the week with grandparents – to leave… but not before a cheeky manicure at the gorgeous Cowshed spa at the hotel and a bite of lunch with a sea view.

IMG_2896 IMG_2895 DSC_0573Heaven on earth… IMG_2859 IMG_2856L xx

Voting is now open!

Venus

The public vote is now open for the Venus Devon Awards and I’m through to the last 10 in the Employee of the Year category, sponsored by The Exeter Daily.

I’m not after your vote, but instead want to point you in the direction of a host of lovely ladies who are all inspiring and successful in their own right. I know I’ve said it before, but it is great to see the business women of Devon being celebrated for all that they achieve and, what’s better that getting together and telling each other that?

After attending a Venus Devon Award event it is impossible not to leave feeling inspired and enthusiastic to continue to spread the work of the wonderful women in Devon – as well as making a few new friends!

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So, take a look and should you feel ‘inspired’, you can vote here.

Good luck ladies!

L xx

‘Mumazing’ Success!

In the busy world of ‘me’ at the moment, I’m really excited to have been asked to be part of an exciting event happening in Exeter for working mums, and those thinking of returning to work after kids.

Lucy Flanagan, founder of Mumazing Success, is organising the first Recharge and Achieve More day, where she hopes to inspire women to have a successful business or career and create the perfect life balance. 

Mumazing Success

The unique event is taking place on Friday, July 19th from 9.30 – 4pm at the Flybe Training Centre, Exeter.

Amongst the speakers are; Lucy Flanagan, who is an author, speaker and coach to entrepreneurial mums across the UK; Ross Kingsland, a business coach, motivational speaker, author and founder of the Inception Business Solutions, a business and life-changing consultancy that gets business achieving their ambitions.

Also appearing at the event will be ex-professional rugby player and entrepreneur Sam Blythe and Katy Cowap, CEO successful family business Crealy Great Adventure Parks, as well as myself and three other local, inspirational women who have achieved an incredible balance between a highly-successful professional life and a home life that epitomizes the Mumazing ethos.

The event is being supported by some of the largest businesses in Exeter, including Flybe, Basepoint, the Hampton by Hilton Hotel and Marco’s, Exeter’s newest restaurant by Marco Pierre White – who will also be providing a delicious lunch on the day for all attendees.

Click here for more information about the event, or to book tickets.

I look forward to seeing you there!

L xx

New York, New York (so good they named it twice!)

We were very lucky to be invited to the wedding of a wonderful friend at the beginning of June…in Connecticut, near New York.

Not wanting to miss out on catching up with dear friends, we jumped at the opportunity and decided to add in a couple of days in the city too!

Having been to NYC before, we decided that we would take in the city sights at a slightly slower pace this time.

Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic

After a fabulous flight with Virgin Atlantic (I can’t recommend them enough, great in-flight entertainment and service!), we arrived in NYC on Thursday evening and made our way to our accommodation – staying with another friend who deserted us for the bright light of the USA five years ago.

The joys of jet lag meant we were up bright and early on Friday morning, giving us plenty of time to wander 5th Avenue and Times Square, before meeting friends for the train ride up to Connecticut.

We picked the train for ease, but also because we thought it would be great fun to take a train out of the infamous Grand Central Station…wow, it doesn’t disappoint!

We arrived at a very wet Wassaic, Connceticut, just after 4pm and were met by the father of a good friend from back home in Devon (it’s a small world!) who drove us to nearby Lakeville where we were staying at the Wake Robin Inn.

I can see now why they call it New England, it was green and had the same rolling countryside of the UK. It was great to take in some of the local sights and see the archetypal, American homes with sprawling lawns and swinging chairs on the large porches.

Now, Lakeville is named because it sits next to a (very) large lake, Lake Wononscopomuc, but known, much more simply by locals, as ‘Lakeville Lake’. Before the wedding on Saturday, we were able to wander into the centre of Lakeville and see the lake and few other sights, including a large public baseball field, which my DH couldn’t help but have a go on!

We were also treated to one of the best burgers I’ve ever had at a restaurant called the Black Rabbit, complete with brioche bun and sweet potato fries…delicious.

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We walked off lunch, and headed to get changed for the ‘big event’ itself, the wedding. Thrillingly (for us Brits!), we were picked up at the hotel by two American school buses to be taken to the ceremony.

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Following an emotional service, we all headed back on the buses to a boathouse on the edge of a beautiful lake for the reception…simply breathtaking scenery and champagne, what more can a girl ask for?!

After some fantastic speeches, not least from the groom himself, who left not a dry eye in the house, we danced the night away – New York style, they know how to party!

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One bleary-eyed brunch later and we were saying our goodbyes as we headed back into the city and back to Grand Central Station. Luckily the weather was kind to us, and the sun came out for an amazing walk along the High Line, an historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side.

We spent the last couple of days exploring the city and visiting the poignant 9/11 Memorial.

An incredible few days in a glorious city, so good they named it twice!

L xx

Better late than never

I’m back. Sorry for the blog silence, June has run away with me and before I’ve even had chance to blink we are heading, quickly, into July!

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Central Park, NYC

The last few weeks have been very busy, but, also VERY fun! I won’t spoil the fun, as I will blog about my travels and adventures shortly. However, I will share with you a little purchase I made on one of my trips, which I’m hoping will make blogging even easier…

Ta da…

Panasonic Lumix TZ40

It’s the Panasonic Lumix Super Zoom Camera TZ40 – Featuring 20x super zoom, Wi-Fi® and GPS in an ultra compact body – as recommended by my best friend, after seeing it in action while on holiday with her and her beautiful family.

In one word = AMAZING!

I haven’t fully worked out all the extras yet, but I’m getting to grips with it and love having a ‘pocket’ (well, actually handbag!) camera to pull out and capture that all-important shot.

Panasonic

 

According to the ‘blurb’ the camera is “the best choice for every traveller, its compact design and trendsetting technical equipment make this camera a reliable companion on your journeys to discover the world’s most beautiful places.”

“The combination of the powerful 20x optical zoom and the 24mm ultra-wide-angle LEICA lens take you from the big picture to the heart of the action. Preserve the impressions of your exotic travels and enjoy sharing them with family and friends,” so, this is what I intend to do!

L xx