Traditionally Christmas!

I am the biggest kid – I love Christmas, with it’s true meaning of the birth of Jesus, but also all the magic and joy it brings, especially now that I have children of my own, and they are both at that age where Christmas is truly wondrous to them.

This got me to thinking about all the little traditions that my hubby and I have built  up over the years and truly mean Christmas to us and thought I would share some of them with you…

1. Decorations
Obviously the majority of us put up Christmas decorations, but since moving into our own home we aim to put them up on the 1st December.  Sometime it’s a bit earlier now, since having the children, we put them up on the weekend before the 1st so that the children can enjoy them for a couple of days before having to be at school or nursery.
The only thing is that I am not very good at sharing my Christmas decorations with my children, my tree has to be a specific way (ok, ok, I am a control freak), so they magically go up over night and are there for the children to smile at in awe in the morning!

Christmas 2015
2. Christmas Windows
This tradition has be going for years! This started with my brothers (possibly before I would born) – my dad tried to do spray snow and it went rather wrong, so my brothers took over by literally drawing Christmas pictures on the windows with a marker pens and painting with poster paint.
As my brothers got older my sister and I took over – my sister does all the drawings, she’s very talented. We thought we’d stop when we left home – but this hasn’t been the case. Since I’ve moved I have booked a day with my sister each year so that she can draw my windows and I can paint them! It’s good fun…

Windows 2012
Windows 2012
Windows 2013
Windows 2013
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Windows 2014
Windows 2015
Windows 2015

3. Films
My husband and I have built up quite a collection over the years, which include:
All three Santa Clause movies (firm favourite in our household)
Miracle on 34th Street (brings a tear to my eye every year)
Die Hard (yippee kay yay…)
A Christmas Carol (with Patrick Stewart)
A Muppet Christmas Carol (there goes Mr Humbug, there goes Mr Grim…)
Love Actually (Love actually is all around)
Trading Places (Mortimer, your brother’s ill…)
Home Alone (We forgot Kevin)
Polar Express (we used to watch this every year at the iMax prior to having kids, now we all sit on the sofa under a blanket and watch it together as a family – much loved in our home!)

Due to the joy of Sky+ we’ve also watched
Santa Paws 2
The Grinch who Stole Christmas (much better than I was expecting)
Naughty or Nice
Elf (thought it was ok but it’s not a favourite)
Arthur Christmas (Again, ok)
Saving Santa (It’s a good one)
A Christmas Princess
Many a soppy lovey dovey Christmas, “oh my gosh they have to get together” film
I’m sure that there have been many more!!!

I haven’t seen It’s A Wonderful Life – I really must watch this! It’s a Christmas resolution!

4. Christmas countdown
This has been a new one for 2015. My daughter was bought a Christmas Countdown and I have been doing a festive photograph each day and sharing on my Instagram!

5. Christmas Eve Mass
I am a practicing Catholic and so I go to mass every (ok, most) Sundays, but Christmas Eve Mass has become a lovely tradition since having the kids. Before the kids, and when I was bit older, I used to go to midnight mass with my parents, but now we’re at our parish, which is St Lawrences on Sidcup High Street, they do a lovely family mass on Christmas Eve where the kids can go in fancy dress, as an Angel, Shepherd, Wiseman, Mary, Joseph or even a Sheep if they want to. It’s really lovely and a great start to the Christmas celebrations.

Christmas Eve
Costumes 2011 to 2014
6. Christmas jumpers
This is something I started in 2013 and not something my Hubby was initially particularly keen on! He kindly humoured me and wore what I would describe as a subtle Christmas jumper that first year – while mine and the kids were good and cheesy.
Christmas 2014 he joined in quite happily, and will again this year, so he’s now the proud owner of a jumper with a giant reindeer on the front and bells.  The kids are always happily decked out in festive jumpers – and my son usually has a festive shirt too as he gets rather hot in a jumper!
This year I am little too excited that I will be wearing something a little different –  a Christmas swing dress which I got from my much loved Joe Browns


Christmas Jumpers 2013

Christmas Jumpers 2014
A sneak peek of what I’ll hopefully be wearing Christmas Day!


7. Father Christmas & Pizza Express
Since our Pink One has been old enough to understand the concept of Father Christmas we book to see Father Christmas at Ruxley Garden Centre.  It’s just so much fun, though I must admit the actual reality doesn’t always measure up to my rose tinted idea of how the magical event should happen! There was one year when we took the Pink One and the Blue One (who was now walking and talking) had a great big argument which ended up in a full blown tantrum and everyone going home grumpy and miserable.
Fortunately the last two years have been much better – as we’ve gone with my sister and her family and the cousins get on so well. We also go to Pizza Express, which my two always love!

8. Christmas Music/CD
As soon as it’s December it’s Christmas tunes in the car all the way! My Hubby has created some great play lists – I have three festive CDs in the car – love them all.
We also have A Christmas Carol on CD which is narrated by Patrick Stewart, which I absolutely adore.  Many moons ago, pre-children, my husband took me to see Patrick Stewart do his one man show of A Christmas Carol and it was amazing. I have never heard a theatre audience so quiet and mesmerised, considering there was just one man on stage, but he encapsulated every character so well – it was phenomenal!

What are your family traditions? I would love to hear about them!
Please like, share and comment on this post! Thank you! 🙂 xxx

I love Joe!

So cheekily a few weeks back I wrote an email inviting myself to Joe Browns, because you may have just about gathered I am a little bit of Joe Browns fan! Well a major Joe Browns fan to be totally truthful, I’m sure you’d never have guessed!

I suggested it could be quite nice to write about Joe Browns from the point of view of a mum.  The fact that Joe does clothes that are fabulous, funky and just make you feel so good but are also practical enough to wear when running around after my two small people. The worse they could do was say “No”.

Initially I didn’t hear back from Joe Browns and I was sad – so I tweeted them and through the power of the internet I was put in touch with the lovely Emily and she said it was a great idea! Yay! So then I needed to sort myself out for a trip to Leeds.

So I travelled to Leeds with my hubby bless him, it was meant to be my sister – but unfortunately she couldn’t make it as she was poorly with a bad back – so seriously have to thank the hubby for driving (I’m such a wuss when it comes to motorways!)

So it came the day when I got to visit Joe Browns, to say I was excited is a bit of an understatement, it was like I was meeting a celebrity! I could barely contain myself!

We entered the head office and met the delightful Emily, walking through the offices and to my joy the ethos and décor were exactly as the website/catalogue put across! A motorbike here, a drum kit there, bunting and fun things written on the walls! Loved it!

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So Emily led us upstairs to a cool area that they use for photographing clothes and there was a rack full of coats and dresses just for me to try on! I was beside myself and couldn’t wait to try them on! Chatted with Emily for a bit and then she left us to it!

So here you go, the wonderful clothes I got to try on, I’ll let the photos do the majority of the talking, but I was like a kid in a sweet shop…

All for me!!!

1. Funky Funtime Fur Collar Jacket
Funky Funtime Fur CollarFunky Funtime Collar 2
I love the little details, such as the beautiful lining and the gorgeous buttons. Loving the fur collar for extra cosiness. I normally like a coat to cover my bum, but I would happily wear this jacket – great with some skinny jeans and knee high boots!

2. Statement Coat
Statement Coat
Absolutely adore this coat from it’s beautiful floral lining, to the lovely colours and tulip shape. I own about five Joe Browns coats and would very happily add this to my collection any day! It really does make a statement. This was a favourite of the Hubby’s too!

3. Inspiring Coat
Great coat – like a purple version of the coat I am wearing this winter season which is red (which I am wearing in the photo, with Emily, at the end of this post)! Loving all the different panels, very inspired!

4. Highland Fling Jacket
Highland Fling 2HIghland Fling 3
Adored the lining of this jacket, the jacket itself was a size too large for me so was a bit boxy and I felt I should be jumping on to my horse! haha!

5. Freestyle Fleece Shawl
Freestyle Fleece Shawl 1
This was warm and cuddly.

6. Ultimate Longline Cardigan
Ultimate Longline Cardigan 1Ultimate Longline Cardigan 3Ultimate Longline Cardigan 4
I love, love, love this! I am hoping I have been a good enough girl and Father Christmas will bring it to me!!! A girl can hope can’t she!?!
It has gorgeous embellishments and was extremely comfy. A portable duvet you can look good in, and still able to keep up with my kids!
There’s a black version also available with slightly different embroidered embellishments, but the chocolate one has stolen my heart.

7. Luxurious Jacquard Coat
Luxurious Jacquard Coat
Trying to look super cool with my posing! Yet another gorgeous coat. It’s amazing how good a well made and fitted coat can make you feel better about yourself. I think this one has a sophisticated and elegant air about it.

8. Checked Biker Jacket
Checked Biker Jacket
I liked the off centre concealed zip on this jacket. They’re so good with their detailing!

9. Joe’s Favourite Coat Black
Joe's Favourite Coat Black
Smart, sophisticated coat – with amazing paisley lining.

10. Joe’s Favourite Coat Purple
Joe's Favourite Coat Purple
I think my preference is definitely the purple one – just made it a little different!

11. Striking Coat
Striking Coat
Check out that beautiful lining.  Fabulous button detail too.

12. Baroque Velour Dress
Baroque Velour Dress1
Baroque Velour Dress2
Baroque Velour Dress3
I completely adore this dress – definitely another one on my wish list to Father Christmas.  The deep blue colour of the velvet and layering of the skirt, just gorgeous. It was extremely comfortable to wear as well. I didn’t want to take it off!

Got to check out the twirl factor!

13. Out of this World Dress
Out of this World Dress
Something a little different. I wasn’t sure how I felt about this dress on seeing it in the Joe Browns catalogue, I was little ambivalent. Once I tried it on, I was sold. I love the timeless Peter Pan collar, the incredibly detailed pattern, and the fact I feel you could wear this during the day comfortably or dress it up for an evening out! It really is a testament to its name.

14. Flattering Feminine Flocked Dress
Flattering Feminine Dress1Flattering Feminine Dress2
A very easy to wear dress,  I already own a similar version in purple, which incidentally I wore for my mummy Christmas night out!

Twirl time

15. Christmas Cracker Dress
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Something a little festive.  I really would love this dress to wear on Christmas day, comfy, cosy and cuddly.  Good length sleeves on me too, which is a great plus point!

16. Kalisi Dress
Kalisi Dress 2Kalisi Dress 1
The colour of this dress is beautiful and the detailing very elegant, but I did personally feel I was in a negligée and think I would be too self conscious to wear it out! I do have quite long arms as well, so the sleeves were a bit short for me.

17. Butterfly Jacquard Dress
Butterfly Jacquard Dress 2Butterfly Jacquard Dress 3Butterfly Jacquard Dress 5Butterfly Jacquard Dress 6Butterfly Jacquard Dress1
Considering how many photos I got my hubby to take of me in this dress, you may have guessed it was a personal favourite! I can’t decide between this one and the Baroque velour dress as to which takes the number one spot. Both were so utterly gorgeous. Think they would have noticed if I’d tried to sneak them out though! ;-P

Double twirl for the butterflies

I was extremely lucky to be able to have the chance to try all these wonderful clothes on, so I have to thank Joe Browns for having me and especially to the wonderful Emily for putting up with this mad blogger mummy!

With the wonderful Emily! This was in one of their meeting rooms – how awesome is that wall? Plus, I am of course, wearing one of my Joe Browns coats!

She also very kindly gave me a goodie bag, which I wasn’t expecting, so was a lovely surprise. I got a beautiful necklace, scarf and good old sweeties.

So beautiful!

Subsequently I have become a Joe Browns affiliate – so if you do want to buy some of their clothes, which I highly recommend, please come through my site!

I really do love the clothes, each piece is a statement, it’s more than trendy and following the latest fashion it’s about allowing your own personality to shine through. Timeless pieces that get noticed, I have had so many lovely comments about my Joe Browns coats (always a nice little ego boost). I believe they have something for everyone, whatever your shape and size. All the items I have make me feel good (and hopefully look good) when I am running around after my small people, so they are totally practical too! It’s a winning situation all round.

The party  dresses are there to make you feel glam on a (childfree) night out, when you want to bring out your inner yummy mummy! It’s amazing what a good outfit can do for your self esteem! I know they make me feel better – and watch out for the Joe Browns sales and outlet, you can grab yourself a bargain, and they cater for men too!

I just had the best time, striking my best model poses – it’s probably lucky for them I live 4 hours away from Leeds!!! 😛 xxx

Please like, share and comment on this post – it’s much appreciated!

***This is not a sponsored post, all thoughts and views are my own. Though subsequently to my visit to Joe Browns I have become an affiliate***