Katie

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Half Term Activities // Dreamland Margate

Another day another activity! Don’t be fooled though, it’s not always just for the kids benefit, us parents enjoy a little bit of fun as well!

All work and no play…..

Half our family absolutely LOVE roller coasters and rides, the other half aren’t so keen but can manage them if they’re not too fast/scary/terrifying, so when we were invited to Dreamland in Margate, we were all over it!

Having never been to Dreamland (or Margate for that matter, as far as I can remember) we were intrigued as to what it would be like. Sometimes you can be a little spoiled when you’ve got places like Thorpe Park & Disney to live up to, but rather than competing with the high-tech thrills of those places, Dreamland has a gentle, retro version. Pure seaside fun.

Half Term Activities // Dreamland Margate

There are lots of old fashioned rides which have been refurbished, giving everything that vintage feel, without feeling like you’re on unsafe ground, which is always a plus. I absolutely love the whole look and feel of it! From the, slightly worryingly, old looking big wheel to the merry-go-round and swing chairs. There’s no high tech rides and it’s brilliant!

Think Waltzers with great music blaring (old school Queen!), rickety wooden slats on the Scenic Railway which takes you all the way round the grounds but not in a gentle, slow way, this is definitely a bit of a bone shaker! Pinball X, which we went on no less than three times – has you zooming round in a pinball, forwards, backwards, round and round. You get the idea.

The staff are all in bright t-shirts with slogans like Netflix and Thrill and Scream if you want to faster, coupled with bandannas, crazy sunglasses and brilliant attitudes!

There’s plenty of food and drink options available if you don’t want to take a picnic. We had an early stop off for some liquid refreshment and I can’t tell you how happy I was to see Aperol on tap. Forget a boiling water tap, I need to get me one of those in my kitchen!

When we eventually stopped to eat we just grabbed a (huge) portion of chips each as we were planning on having pizza when we got home, but there were some great choices, pizza and prosecco for £10, jerk prawns, fish and chips as well as the classic burger and hot dogs. The food isn’t cheap, you’re looking at a good £50 for a family of 4 including soft drinks for lunch (Aperol was £7 a cup!) but I think that’s to be expected at places like this. It’s a shame, as I think if the food was a little cheaper, there would be a lot more families eating, but it is what it is!

We stayed outside the whole day, but there’s a roller-disco inside, plus loads of arcade games, and an Octopus’ garden for the little ones. There are also quite a few rides for the mini’s – all the rides have height restrictions – luckily my giant kids were well above the limits so they were free to go on everything.

Half Term Activities // Dreamland Margate

There were no huge queues for any of the rides, I think the longest we queued for was about 30 mins for Pinball X (round 1) but even that moved fairly quickly and you can get fast track tickets too.

Half Term Activities // Dreamland Margate

There are various payment options, you can either pay as you ride with a card that you can top up, rides cost around the £4 mark that way, you can buy a wristband (which gets you onto all the rides including the roller-disco) these cost £18 for the day if you buy them in advance, or £23 on the day, or you can become a member for £190 for a family ticket, which also gets you discounts on food and soft drinks, as well as the chance to book early for special events. All the ticket prices are here.

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Half Term Activities // Hever Castle

It’s Half Term again. I’m pretty positive we’ve only just gone back after Easter, but here we are!

Luckily I only have to work two days this week so I’m able to spend some time with the kids while they’re off and we have no horrible school run to do.

Boo to the school run!

We were invited along to Hever Castle at the weekend, one of our favourite places to visit locally.

Half Term Activities // Hever Castle

Until the 2nd of June you can step back in time to the early 20th century when the Astor family were in residence for half term family fun at Hever Castle with Edwardian Life.

The whole castle has gone Edwardian which means you can enjoy everything from traditional Punch and Judy shows to games from the period including hoopla, tin-can alley, boules or even a game of croquet on the lawn.

In the Castle you can learn about Edwardian inventions, (like windscreen wipers!) and listen to interviews with former ‘below stairs’ staff on old-fashioned telephones which never fails to entertain my electronic loving ten year old!

Half Term Activities // Hever Castle

It always feels so decadent being at Hever Castle. We’ve not been during the warmer months for years, usually it’s freezing cold and just before Christmas which is magical, but sitting on the lawns with people eating picnics all around you, it really takes you back in time!

Half Term Activities // Hever Castle
Half Term Activities // Hever Castle

Not forgetting the water maze, which was a revelation for C – luckily we went just before we left as he had to travel home in just his pants and his Dads t-shirt….!

Edwardian Life is on now until the 2nd June. Tickets cost £16.75 per adult for the gardens and castle, and £9.40 per child. A family ticket is £44.30. You can get tickets at the gate or online here.

Half Term Activities
Half Term Activities

PR tickets were provided for this visit.

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These Aren't Just Any Gel Nails...

The Nails Are Back.

I’m going to blow my own trumpet here. I grow very good nails and very good hair. There, I’ve said it. If you were to ask me what my talent is, that would be my answer. Growing. Ahem.

They grow that fast. And we’re not just talking about flimsy nails here, no no. These are good, strong nails that, with a little time and care look bloody spectacular.

A few years ago I went all out on the nail front. My nails were super long, stiletto shaped and painted in the craziest colours you could imagine. It was great at the time because I was freelancing (and doing social media for a Nail Salon, wink wink…) so I didn’t really have to think about my nails being too long. Because that’s a thing you know.

These Aren't Just Any Gel Nails...
These Aren't Just Any Gel Nails...

But. Real life got in the way (damn you real life) and the nails had to go when I got a desk job in the worlds worst company but we’re going to skip past that debacle.

However. Kate is getting her nail groove back. I had a manicure as a birthday present last month, and it got my juices flowing, so to speak. Then I got a voucher to get my nails done as another birthday present (see, people know me!) and that was it.

Colour me neon, I was hooked again.

The nails are back.

Once I have good old Shellac on my nails, they’re virtually indestructible. Which means I can carry on about my business and grow my nails to all kinds of lengths. At this particular moment in time, I’m sporting what you might call a peachy-orange shade but I’ve already decided I’ll be going for actual neon pink next time. I’m hoping that, in 2 weeks, the sun will be shining and we’ll all be feeling full on summer vibes so it’ll fit right in.

They’ve also been filed a little too short for my liking, as I was getting used to having talons back, so we’ll have to work on that particular issue before my next appointment.

These Aren't Just Any Gel Nails...
These Aren't Just Any Gel Nails...

Admittedly it’s not the lowest maintenance routine to have in your life. I have to get them done every two weeks (ish) because they grow so fast, and it’s just not possible for me to live in a world where my nails are only half painted. I’m sorry, it’s just who I am, I will take no shame in that.

However, in between visits, my nails look freshly painted every single day. There’s no chipping or peeling (well, hopefully there’s not) and I can go about my daily business of whacking a keyboard, cooking, cleaning and, even, sit down for this, gardening without too much thought to my varnish. Plus, these nails give the best back scratches ever, or so I’ve been told.

That, my friend, is what you call a win win situation.

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Philip Kingsley Daily Damage Defence Extreme for Hair

I’ve had a bit of a love/hate relationship with my hair in the past. I hate being ginger – the whole standing out thing really affected me when I was growing up, no one wants to be the odd one out when you’re a teenager. Now though, I LOVE being ginger and wouldn’t change it for the world. 

Despite trying to a few times, but we won’t revisit that. 

Now I can finally say I love my hair. It’s long, the remaining remnants of bleach have left the building and it’s back to feeling healthy and ‘swishy’. We all know how important that swishy feeling is. 

Because it’s so long, think touches the top of my bum long, it obviously needs that little bit extra care. Long hair is old hair, and while I only straighten it once or twice a week maximum, there’s still a lot of heat going through my tresses to get it from crazy curly to presentable straight. 

I have a whole load of products and tools I use to keep it in the best condition I can, and I use them regularly, without fail. 

1: Shampoo & Conditioner

I’ve chopped and changed my shampoo & conditioner a few times but nothing makes my hair feel as soft as Tigi Urban Antidotes Level 3.

It’s a serious hit of moisture for weak, brittle hair that needs an intervention. I was introduced to this after 3 bleach jobs, a grey toner and then several rounds of trying to get back to ginger that saw me heading towards brunette. My barnet was literally screaming for help. I’ll always come back to these bad boys. 

2: Deep Conditioning Treatment

I’ve been using Philip Kingsley Elasticizer every 2 weeks on my locks for well over a year now.

I try to leave it on at least 6 hours, if not overnight, if I can, but I hate sleeping with wet hair in the winter. Brrrr.

The difference it makes to my hair is insane – I go in looking like Wurzel and come out looking like Gisele. cough. This may be a slight exaggeration but we’ll run with it.


3: All About The Oil

Moroccan Oil all the way.

I whack it on when my hair is wet, and again just on the ends, when I’ve straightened it. It’s the dream oil and I defy anyone to convince me otherwise.

It’s not cheap (naturally) but a little goes a long way and it’s never, ever given me that greasy look even when I’ve been a little heavy handed with it by mistake.

There are loads of products in this range, including different levels for different hair types & colours. The light range is best for fine, or light coloured hair.


4: Damage Protection Spray

Finally, in my arsenal of hair products, I’ve been using the Philip Kingsley Daily Damage Defence Extreme. 

It’s a super intensive protective conditioning spray which repairs damaged, over processed and porous hair types. Hi, that’s me.

It nourishes and detangles hair to help reduce breakage and provides defence from heat stying, so it’s a kind of all in one spray.

Again, it’s not cheap, but you get what you pay for with these products, and as my hair (and my nails) are my ‘thing’ I don’t mind paying out for the good stuff. 

Philip Kingsley Daily Damage Defence Extreme for Hair
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Don't Talk To Me, My Period Is Due - Living With PMS

It’s finally Friday! My weekend started yesterday at around 5pm and I’m lucky enough (for now) to be out of work until Tuesday morning, so I have a lovely long weekend every week. 

I had grand plans for today, I was going to be ticking things off lists like a machine. 

Instead, I woke up realising I’m on day 25 of my cycle and I’m about as much use a glass hammer. 

You know that feeling when you wake up and instantly you’re in A Mood. There is no reason for it, apart from those bastard three letters that creep up on you every single month when your period is due. 

PMS. 

My PMS used to be AWFUL. Even I didn’t want to be around me back then. Thankfully, it seems to have eased off slightly in the last couple of years. And what I mean by slightly, is it doesn’t last as many days, there’s still full on rage, violence and tears for no reason, just it’s condensed into 2 or 3 days instead of a whole week. Lucky me. 

The first sign for me (and in terms of signs, we’re talking big, flashing, neon arrows here) is The Rage.

The Rage hit me this week when someone decided to cut me up on a main road. She wasn’t looking where she was going, AT ALL, and as I was happily travelling along, she just swerved in front of me. 

Oh my god the anger. I felt it bubbling up like a giant pot of boiling water and, had I been in an episode of Monster Trucks R Us, I would have happily driven right up over her car to make her aware of just how much she pissed me off. 

I didn’t, obviously. Because, a; I’m not insane and b; that is very much illegal, despite my period being due. 

But did I want to? Yes. A massive fucking yes.

When I have The Rage I am terrifying. I feel like I could flip a truck when I’m in that moment. And there is every possibility that I could actually gather the strength to do it . It comes from deep within, a feeling so full of power it shocks me. There’s no stopping it either, once that lid is lifted, The Rage is free to explode over everything. Like PMS’ing lava, destroying everything in its wake.  

Don't Talk To Me, My Period Is Due - Living With PMS

Of course, following the spike, there’s the massive come down the other side. 

And with that come down comes the waterworks. 

Now, I’m a crier at the best of times. Adverts, songs, shows, even cartoons FFS, I will cry. If someone is crying/hurt/upset I am right there next to them crying along. I’m emotional. I wear my heart on my sleeve all the time.

I’m not sure if this is a good thing or not. But I’ll tell you this. Watching BGT while due on is a ROOKIE MISTAKE. 

Once I start crying, it’s highly unlikely that I’ll stop anytime soon. 

You see? I’m a joy to be around. Either hulk smashing things out of my way or sobbing uncontrollably because a teddy bear got left at a train station and now he’s all alone. God that poor teddy. 

Completely normal behaviour I’m sure you’ll agree. 

Maintaining a life isn’t easy during these days. Not only am I swinging from one extreme mood to the next, but I’m also more knackered than I’ve ever been. No matter how much sleep I get, I wake up feeling (and looking) like I’ve not slept for a week. Add to this, the fact that the night before my period I have total insomnia – which is apparently due to the raised body temperature – by the time my period arrives I feel like I’ve spent a week in battle. 

Of course, having a job (or 3) kids, a husband, a house and 2 dogs means I can’t just escape to my bed, or send myself off on some retreat every time I feel the PMS approaching.

But Christ on a bike I wish I could. 

Instead, I just have to keep going. Which usually means lots of chocolate, PJ’s from the second I get home, feeling very sorry for myself and hiding away in my house until the red rage passes. 

I love being a woman, despite the shitty patriarchy battles that we seem to be facing every single day, I absolutely love being female. During the ‘good’ points of my cycle I am earth goddess, woman warrior and all encompassing feminine powerhouse.

But for those 3 days of the month I wish I was wielding a penis and stable level of testosterone. 

I’m still (clearly) working on taming the joyous beast that is PMS, but I have been trying to find ways to reduce how much it affects my (and my families!) life. I track my cycle with Flo, an app which let’s me keep an eye on where I am in the month so I can prepare myself for what’s to come. 

I try not to plan anything around those 3 days, because I know, at best I’ll be snappy and at worst I’ll be an evil cow to be around, and it’s no fun for anyone, including me. I’ve been reading up on the benefits of magnesium supplements, for both PMS and feeling less exhausted, both of which I need help with! 

But it’s an ongoing situation, which, I’m led to believe doesn’t get any easier when you hit pre menopause and menopause. Not that I’m in any rush to get there. I’d just like to be a little less erratic before my period is due, so I can carry on being the god damn goddess that I am. 

 

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[AD: This is not a paid for or sponsored post. Products featured are press samples]
 

Time Bomb: Take-Off Time Cleanse & Buff

Time Bomb have made another goodie in the skincare world – the Take-Off Time Cleanse & Buff

Cleansing is one of my favourite “just got home” things. Once I’m home and I know (for definite) I’m not going out again, I am straight upstairs to take my make up off, my bra off and get my comfies on. I don’t care if it’s Winter or Summer, as much as I love wearing (and buying) make up, there is nothing close to taking it off! 

When your skin is operating at peak performance, it naturally sheds off dead surface cells every three weeks. Over time, this process slows and it can take up to nine weeks, leaving your complexion looking dull and uneven. It’s even worse during the colder months, when you live indoors, have the central heating turned up to a toasty 22 degrees and you’re not getting enough vitamin D in your body. 

Urgh, anyone else ready for summer? 

Take Off Time is engineered with professional dermatological grade crystals that gently lift away that clinging top layer to reveal fresh, smooth, glowing skin beneath. Unlike most cleansers, it doesn’t contain drying surfactants or harsh detergents so your skin is left moist and dewy.

You’re meant to use it both morning and evenings, and it’s gentle enough to do that. I have mine in the shower ready to use. Once I’ve taken my make up off with my oil cleanser, I use this as a second cleanse and exfoliate, in place of my acid toner and it works perfectly. I love the smell of it, and it makes your skin feel clean but not stripped or tight, like the face washes of old. 

I cannot get enough of Time Bomb skincare!! 

Take Off Time is available from QVC and www.timebombco.com and costs £16.00 for 125ml.

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The Shopping Wish List: And So To Bed

I love our bedroom. We love our bedroom. The novelty of sleeping in a room that is big enough for our bed, wardrobes, drawers, bedside tables and still has space to walk around in will probably never wear off.

We can have bedside lamps people! BEDSIDE LAMPS!!! 

In our old house every single room was dark, it was (some direction) facing which meant the sun was in the wrong place throughout the ENTIRE day.

Now we have a house full of light and the difference in my mood is incredible, I can’t even tell you. Plus, the moon shines directly onto my bed from around 2am until the sun rises again, so, obviously, the house has been made for me. 

When I first met Mr AG, way back in the years that began with the number nineteen, he had a bed that was super low to the ground. It was a revelation to me, you could you practically roll in and out of bed with little to no effort and you could put your drink on the floor next to you, and reach it without too much movement.

You could call those years our lazy years. So, from then on in, we had low beds.

Until I was hugely pregnant and my dad had to put ‘proper legs’ on our bed so that I could actually get out of it unaided. Without a shred of dignity mind, but unaided.  You have to take your highs where you can get them when you’re 8 months pregnant and the size of a small mammal. 

The last bed we bought was an Ikea one, naturally, and it’s still fairly low, but not in a ‘oh my god my bones’ kind of way.

No more babies or pregnancies here, so we can go a little wild again. But not too wild, one of us is in their 40’s. We’ve left that to the teenager, who has taken our low bed history and made it her own.

It did have a huge padded headboard which was covered in grey fabric and I loved it, oh how I loved it. 

Alas, one day when I tried to move the bed to find something that had fallen down behind it, I managed to snap the entire thing. Readers, do not move a bed by the headboard alone. Top tip for you. 

So we became headboard-less. Sad times. 

The Shopping Wish List: And So To Bed

Now, in the bedroom of light, I’m feeling all kinds of new bed vibes. In my dreams (see what I did there?) the bed always involves some kind of dusty, rose pink. Mr AG isn’t really down for that, he’s more of a patterned, primary colour person, which, makes my hairs stand on end but we’re working on him.

I want it to feel luxurious and almost modern romantic, but without being too fancy or fussy. A bit like me. 

I’ll know it when I see it, so obviously, I’ve been looking. Bed Guru have a load of sexy beds that I keep firing over to the Mr to gauge his opinion.

So far I’ve found a good 5 or 6 that I like the look of, and we will eventually get it down to one or two that we both agree on so neither of us feels like we’re compromising.

We’re really getting the hang of this married lark. 

We have, however, both agreed that the bedroom needs to stay white, because it just feels amazing to have such a bright space, which, I know sounds a bit whack when we’re talking about bedrooms, but you just have to trust us.

But, throw in a few dusty pinks, some greys and a whole load of white and you’re basically looking at the dreamiest bedroom ever. 

Candles, photos, plants galore, my crystal collection lined up on the window to soak up all those moon and sun rays, it’s the perfect place to escape the crazed life of a GCSE taking hormonal teenager and an insane and ALWAYS energetic 10 year old.

Sometimes we dream of breaking the door handle ‘accidentally’ on the inside so we’re trapped…..

Then, we would just need to work on my ability to walk around things, rather than into them, and we’d be laughing. Bruised shins aren’t a good look on a 38 year old and I think those corner protectors you use when you have really small kids in the house kind of ruin the grown up bedroom vibe, don’t you? 

 

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Jane Scrivner Skin Elixir Review

My skin and I have always had a bit of a love/hate relationship. I’ve spent years trying to get rid of cystic acne that seems to come and go of it’s own choosing, leaving me feeling like a spotty teenager. 

I’ve (touch wood) found a regime now that seems to work for me, and I am SO pleased about it. I still check my chin every morning to make sure there are no new lumps appearing, and it still feels like Christmas when I discover there’s not! 

My routine is the same, every single day. I double cleanse, once with a Face Halo and then a second time with a cleansing oil and flannel. Just to make sure everything is off. I use an acid toner or a glycolic scrub from Nip & Fab. A vitamin C serum under moisturiser during the day, and Skin Elixir from Jane Scrivner in the evening. 

Jane Scrivner Skin Elixir Review

Skin Elixir is a daily moisturiser, but, because I have quite oily skin, I find it a little too good at it’s job for day time so I tend to stick to this being my bedtime routine. 

It’s an organic jojoba oil, rich in essential fatty acids to balance sebum production and feed the skin with vital nutrients, and replenish with lipids to maintain and fortify barrier function. 

What I love about this oil is you only need one pump for your whole face, which means the 30ml bottle is going to give you seriously good bang for your buck. (30ml is £29) It soaks into your skin, but still feels like it’s there, without being too heavy or sticky. There are so many oils that leave you sticking to your pillow, or your hair to your face, this isn’t one of them.

Jane Scrivner Skin Elixir Review

It contains sandalwood, frankincense, myrrh and sweet orange so it smells incredible and it works to prevent premature ageing, improves elasticity and balances dry, oily and dehydrated skin equally. 

Jane has spent a lifetime in the beauty industry and really knows her stuff when it comes to oils and ingredients. She is a firm believer in moving away from solving skin issues, instead creating a healthy skin directly at the source. It’s quite simple for her, in that you have to keep the barrier function (a natural blend of oils and water) and the acid mantle healthy. Feeding, restoring, nourishing and replenishing with healthy skin food. The skincare 5 a day. Just like you would your entire body, which makes perfect sense! 

Jane Scrivner Skin Elixir is available here for £29.

*this product was gifted in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are my own.  

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