Afternoon Tea at Charlton House…

Charlton House in Shepton Mallet, Somerset very kindly invited myself and a friend to join them for afternoon tea and use of the spa facilities as a thank you for the blog post I wrote about our stay there for my birthday in January. In case you missed it, you can read that post here.

I decided I would like to take my mum along with me for her birthday as well as both being overdue a bit of a pamper day. 

I have only ever been to Charlton House in the winter so I was looking forward to being able to laze in the sun and pretend I’m on holiday for a few hours. It just so happens we ended up going on the hottest day we have had this year. 

After I dropped the boys off at school I picked my mum up and we made our 90 minute journey to Somerset. 

When we arrived I studied the decor as I always do. It was nice to see it all in bright sunlight. I am in complete awe of the beautiful Persian rugs scattered around the hotel and spa and after our last visit I was so inspired I purchased my very own one! 


We were greeted by Lewis, the reception manager who was extremely attentive. He saw us out to the patio area and had two glasses of prosecco sent out within minutes of us sitting down. 


My mum and I were feeling slightly peckish so ordered a light snack to keep us going until we had our afternoon tea. 


Once we had refuelled we headed over to the Moroccan themed spa. 


We were handed robes, towels and flip flops and shown to the changing rooms. 

Once changed, we got straight in the hydrotherapy pool which was as warm as a bath. The pool leads out to an outside area, where you can find sun beds, tables and a hot tub. 


After a couple of hours in the pool and soaking up the sun we got changed and headed to the restaurant for our afternoon tea. 


Our jaws hit the floor as the waitress brought over a selection of sandwiches, scones and pastries. They had even gone to the effort of decorating the plate with ‘Happy Birthday’ for my mum. 

Edit


The sandwiches were lovely and the scones were delicious but I was in absolute heaven when I tried the chocolate eclair. 

The attention to detail was spot on and we felt spoilt for choice with the variety we were served. 

Before we departed Lewis agreed to let me have a nosey in their garden lodge accommodation. 

When the doors opened I knew this is where I wanted to stay next time we visit. 


All the rooms have a similar feel but what I love are the little touches that allow you to distinguish between the rooms and make them unique in their own right. 


All of the rooms we have stayed in at Charlton House have been breathtaking but the Garden Lodge has to be my favourite. 


What makes it even more spectacular is its views of the grounds.



My mum and I had a wonderful day at Charlton House, the only downside was having to leave. 

I can’t wait to visit again and absolutely recommend it to anyone looking for a tranquil retreat.

Until next time 

Hayley x

Inject some colour…

As adults we have to think carefully about what we wear (some more than others) whether it’s finding something that fits or colours that suit us, but children on the other hand… children can wear anything!! 

As you probably know I have two boys, Rex 4 and Mack 3. I always swore when I was pregnant with Mack that I’d never dress them the same but I have totally gone back on my word because I do sometimes and quite frankly they just look so cute in the same outfit. 

Recently a company called Tootsa got in touch with me and asked if the boys would like to try out some items from their new Amazonian range. 

Obviously the first thing I did was popped over to their website and when I saw the gorgeous colourful clothes I was immediately on board! 

If you haven’t heard of Tootsa then they are an award winning unisex brand for children. Their kid’s clothing and accessories are stylish, practical, colourful, hardwearing and designed to be worn by both girls and boys alike. How cool is that? 

Tootsa MacGinty is a young company where everyone is passionate about what they do. They take pride in sourcing the best fabrics, getting the right fit and designing graphics and motifs in colours that work well together. They work closely with their manufacturer in China and their small family run factories in Portugal.

When their clothes arrived the boys were so excited, as was I! I mean, is there anything cuter than boys in dungarees? 


One awesome thing about these dungerees is not only are they amazing quality but they have a detachable ‘bib’ so they can wear them as shorts too. 


I adore the prints within the Amazonian range, and had a really tough time choosing my favourites. In the end I asked the boys to choose their own. Rex went for toucans and Mack chose frogs! 

One thing that is so clever is that the colours of the clothes have been so well thought out so that they are suitable for girls and boys, as well as being eye catchingly fun and stylish. All of the items in the range compliment each other too, so you can have fun mixing and matching. 

As well as the dungerees and T shirts we chose some colourful shorts for the boys to wear on hot summer days. 



They loved the designs on them and said they are really comfortable. 

When it comes to children nobody should be scared of colour, the brighter the better I say! 

On Thursday 8th June, its Amazonian day and I will be sharing an exclusive discount code over on my Instagram page @iamhayleystuart to celebrate the launch of Tootsa’s new Amazonian range. If you have a holiday booked or need to get your children some new summer clothes then you should definitely take advantage. They do some seriously cute rain coats too! 

Check out Toota’s Instagram page and give them a follow to see more of their gorgeous childrensware. 

Until next time 

Hayley x

*this is a sponsored post but all views and opinions are my own. 

Wine and dine in style…

I completed the makeover on our dining room back in December and we are yet to have anyone over to entertain. A waste, I know! 

A seriously cool homeware company called Also Home contacted me recently and asked me to review a few items from their new range of black dinnerware. 

Also Home is a stylish lifestyle brand created by Anna Smith that has been born out of years of travel and sourcing all over the world. 

All of their wonderful products are of a high quality, are ethically sourced and often hand crafted. They are also influenced by Scandinavian and Japanese design.

I received the Black woven bamboo tray, which is ridiculously versatile. It’s bigger than I expected which is great and if you have guests coming over for dinner you can make a stunning centerpiece from it. Alternatively you could also use it as a gorgeous coffee table tray.

I also received the Black Kuro ceramic dinner plate and the Black Kuro ceramic side plate. Both are slick and sophisticated. The amazing thing about black dinnerware is that it looks incredible contrasted against bright colours which allows you to create a really striking table display. 

I’ve styled my bamboo tray using candles and flowers, as well as cheeky pineapple! 


I love the shape and finish of the dinner and side plates. 

So if you’re looking for different ways away from conventional white to wine and dine your family and friends in your home, then I definitely recommend checking out the dinnerware available from Also Home.

Until next time 

Hayley 

Not ready for summer? 

Spring has sprung and it’s time to start thinking about summer, which means summer holidays, summer clothes and swimwear. 

I’ll admit it now, a few weeks ago I panicked and thought I’m not ready for summer. My skin is as white as Casper, in fact it’s so white it’s almost transparent. I’m definitely too overweight to feel comfortable in summer dresses and don’t even get me started about putting a bikini on. 

After having a children my body confidence has dropped dramatically. I have a belly roll that I can’t see to shift, my boobs have gone south and anything that can give those things a help in hand is welcomed with open arms! 

Last year I discovered an amazing vintage inspired swimwear brand called For Luna Swimwear. When I browsed their website I was like a kid in a sweet shop, choosing my favourite was near on impossible. 


For Luna not only sell ridiculously flattering all in one swimsuits, they do two piece bikinis and accessories too. 


When I chose my first swimsuit from For Luna I picked the cherry all in one and I couldn’t wait for it to arrive. I never in a million years anticipated it would be such outstanding quality. It had boning, support, and most importantly it really flattered my post baby body. I felt amazing in it. 


Now when I go swimming with my boys I don’t panic about getting my body out. I actually feel confident in my swimsuit which is something I never thought would happen without a tummy tuck and a gym membership. 

Now I have two swimsuits from For Luna and I can’t wait to wear my new green one on the spa day we have booked once my broken leg has healed! 

In case you haven’t already entered, in running a giveaway on my Instagram page @iamhayleystuart. All you need to do is follow myself and For Luna, like the post and tag three friends to be in with a chance to win a For Luna swimsuit of your choice! 

Competition ends tonight (sun 19th) at 8pm! Don’t miss out! 

Until next time 

Hayley x 

A passion for fashion…

Last week I was lucky enough to be invited along to a Fashion styling event hosted by a lovely lady called Melissa Murrell at a very cool boutique in Stockbridge, Hampshire called Hero. You can visit Hero’s online store here.


Melissa Murrell runs her own styling company as well as a styling academy for aspiring stylists, teaching you about the rules of styling different body shapes and how to create a dream career from your passion for fashion. Find out more here.


The event I attended gave me an insight of what Melissa can offer. As a fashion lover I already knew some of the things we spoke about from watching years of Trinny and Susanna and Gok Wan, but one thing I did realise was that I wasn’t applying the knowledge I had gained to my own body shape. I was in fact just buying things I loved rather than buying things that flatter me. It has certainly made me think about how to compliment my shape.


Melissa explained about all the different body shapes and how some people can be a combination of two. We looked at different items of clothing and what is and isn’t flattering. She told us about how she had changed clients lives and given them not only the confidence to wear well styled outfits but the confidence to enjoy shopping again.

If you LOVE fashion and would love to embrace a flexible, rewarding career in fashion Styling then please check out Melissa’s courses here . They are only three days and you’ll be a qualified stylist on completion! Sounds good to me!

Hayley x

 

 

 

 

 

Men vs Women…

It’s true what they say… Men are from Mars and women are from Venus.

Will we ever truly understand each other? Was it meant to be a life of game playing to get what we want? Were Adam and Eve actually meant to be Adam and Steve? These are questions I want to know the answer to, because as much as I know my husband as a person, I will probably never understand men.

Let’s look at stereotypes. Men are strong, muscular, hard working, good at DIY…

Women are sensitive, caring, nurturing and great at gossiping.

However these typical stereotypes don’t apply to all, which is where the confusion sets in. Women are in fact very strong, a lot of us are independent, and dare I say it, good at DIY.

Betty White once said…

Why do people say “grow some balls”? Balls are weak and sensitive. If you wanna be tough, grow a vagina. Those things can take a pounding.

In our house I do all the housework, apart from take the bin out, that is definitely a mans job. I ‘work’ two days a week at an IT distributor and the remaining five I do my other job which is to look after my two boys and keep the housework under control.

I’m making it sound easy, it’s not. I hate it when people (men) at work make comments about the lack of days I work, like I swan about drinking coffee with my friends when I’m not there. Even my own husband doesn’t really have a clue how challenging being a full time mum and house wife is.

The reason I call it a job, is because I am in fact not just a mother, but a teacher, a nurse, a cleaner, a chef (I use that term loosely,) an entertainer, a laundry person (think dot cotton!) do I need to go on…?

Jordan, my husband, is a scaffolder and has a very physically strenuous job. Hats off to the guy, he is very hard working and I couldn’t do his job in a million years. The only time I kept my hat on was in the final hour of established labour with Mack and I could hear him in the background banging on about scaffolding to a midwife! I’m not going to lie, at that moment in time I had never hated him more, he is just lucky he was on the other side of the room! As strong and hardworking as he is, I don’t believe he could do my job in a million years either. He does actually admit this after spending just a few hours with our children.

We’re built differently, and although most men can take the physical strain of hard work, women are more often able to take the mental strain.

Having said that, if I have to take the mental strain of his multiple choice answers which consist of “don’t mind love”, “you choose” and “not fussed” every time I ask what he wants for dinner, I will probably check myself in to an asylum.


When I serve him up a plate of shit, I’m sure he will start having an opinion.

Actually, those answers apply to every question I ask him that requires a decision. So that’s another one for the list of things woman are good at;

  • Decision making (because we have no choice)

There are things I’m glad he has zero opinion about though. Our wedding for one. Let’s just say it was just as much of a surprise to Jordan as it was to our guests. That’s fine though, my mum and I had a great time planning it. The only time I needed his help was de-coding all of his mates ridiculous nicknames so I could do the table plan.

The other is interiors. I’m not sure if he stays out of it because he genuinely doesn’t care, or if he just hasn’t got a clue, either way it’s for the best. His idea of a nice living room is a black lazy boy chair (never happening) surround sound, a cinema sized TV and probably a fridge so he doesn’t have to move.

He jokes about my little vintage finds and calls them old tat, but I’m sure he likes them really!

I actually read something once, if you want your husband to do something for you, touch their…… arm (don’t know what you were thinking of 😉) whilst asking and they are more likely to do it. Also, turning something around so they believe it was their idea to begin with also works wonders! Think of them like little pets you have to train… A bit like a tamagotchi.

There are two things I know for sure though, when we become girlfriends/wives we 100% replace their mothers! And the other thing is that men can under absolutely no circumstance, multi task!

I mean I’m writing this whilst making dinner… Check me!!!

All men need to do to keep a women happy is,

  • Surprise us (flowers, chocolate, dinner)
  • Appreciate us and all that we do
  • Make us laugh
  • Decide what you want for friggin dinner!
  • Let us choose the decor (unless you are the straight version of Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen) but even then it’s questionable.

Keeping a man happy is pretty easy

  • Keep their stomachs full
  • Keep their testicals empty 😝

Until next time

Hayley x

Declutter your life…

You know what they say… ‘A tidy house, a tidy mind.’ For me this is so true so today I have been decluttering…

To be honest I have been feeling bogged down by all the junk we have accumulated in our house and avoided sorting through it because if you have kids you will know it’s hard to concentrate on one task for a length of time without being distracted by the ‘little darlings’.

TOYS…

Toys are the bane of my life! They are everywhere and I hate all the little bits that are at the bottom of the toy box where you have no idea which toy they belong to. Luckily I have two children of the same gender and of a similar age, so they are starting to play with the same toys which potentially means they can be halved (I can dream!) My youngest, Mack is approaching two and a half, so out of that baby stage, yet we still seem to have an abundance of baby toys dominating every storage box. Today I have learnt a few things so here are some tips for decluttering toys…

1. Make sure the kids aren’t around.

So I messed up on this one. In my head my plan was to remove anything remotely babyish and get rid. By get rid I don’t mean chuck in the bin (unless broken) but rather put it in to boxes so it can be sold at a car boot or dropped off at the charity shop. However my boys noticed what I was doing and started getting the toys I had put in the ‘get rid’ box out and saying ‘hey this is mine.’ I admit it, it pulled on the heart strings a bit, which is why I suggest doing it alone!

2. Ensure you have plenty of storage.

Boxes, boxes and more boxes. We have a huge wicker toy box, and loads of other canvas ones to store toys in. The boys both have a cube unit thingy from IKEA (you know the one) so they are full of toys too. I also store things like puzzles and train sets in vintage suitcases. I have put all but the wicker toys box, in their rooms now so less toys downstairs hooray!


Images Pinterest 

3. Have a system.

When you put things away, group similar items together and store in their own boxes. For example, fancy dress, Lego, puzzles, playmobil. This will make tidying up easier because you will know where it all goes.

The living room.
In case you didn’t already know, I have two new sofas on the way (well in about 5 weeks or so) which means a complete living room makeover. We don’t have much clutter in the living room but we do have a sideboard which of course is mainly full of the shite you don’t know where to put. The drawers are stuffed full of those shitty kinder egg toys, old batteries, and other useless junk. I can’t even list what’s in it, which is a bad sign. I wish I could just tip the drawers in to the wheelie bin, but I have that fear that there might be something I need in there.

I will be decluttering the living room in preparation for its makeover, and will be going by ONE SINGLE RULE… if it’s not pretty or practical, it’s going!!!

Bedroom…

This is one I’ll probably have to dedicate a child free day to! I would blame being a woman but my husband is just as bad, we are both guilty of having loads of  clothes we don’t wear and will probably never wear. I need to remove the ‘just in case’ thoughts from my mind and just be ruthless.

I will put the clothes, shoes and bags in to four categories..

eBay

Carboot

Clothes bin thingy up at tesco

Bin

I know once it’s all done I will feel so much better, and being organised always makes me feel like I have loads more time on my hands.

Now that the toys are out of the way, and my bench will need to be moved for the new sofas, I have decided to bring back the dining room! 👏🏼


If you have any tips for decluttering and organising then please share them with me, either comment on this post or on my Instagram @bettyscottage.

Until next time

Hayley X