Posts in Brand Collaborations
Post For A Post Day • Featuring ipostparcels

I love reading interviews with bloggers, people who started their blogs at a similar time to mine and people who have been blogging for well over a decade and more. And the funny thing is the same answer comes up over and over again, when they are asked what’s the best thing about blogging. The friendships.

It almost doesn't make sense that you could form intensely close relationships with people you might never get to actually meet but it’s true. People who you talk to, often on a daily basis, who could be at the opposite end of the country, live on other continents, from completely different backgrounds and in completely different stages of life. But people who you feel really know you and you know them.

I’ve learnt from my school and uni days that when life is busy, when you are juggling jobs, family, kids or pets (I’ve spent most of the weekend stroking a very sad Mr Moose who is accessorising with a most irritating plastic cone following an operation at the vets) friendships become like elastic bands. They have to, you get stretched, commitments force you to drift apart sometimes but the roots of a true friendship, the type that lasts a lifetime, will always spring you back together. Best friends for me are the ones who can be there in a crisis, even when there might be months that felt like seconds that have passed between texts or calls. The ones you want to spoil for no reason at all, other than to let you know you are thinking of them and hopefully make a difference to their day that day.

My friend Zoe is that person. 

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I haven’t seen her beautiful face for well over a year and I’m not sure when the next time will be either. There’s exactly 408 miles between us but it feels like 400,008 to me. Like we need the stars of the entire universe to align one day for us to be in the same place. She is someone who I would and have rung in a crisis. A crisis of confidence, a family disaster and I hope she feels the same. We’ve FaceTimed and shared our real life vs our “Insta life”, she wouldn't care if I was in my pyjamas at 2.30pm and I am constantly in awe of her ability to juggle four children on a daily, no make that hourly, basis!

Zoe and I met through blogging, we sat next to each other at a fancy pants awards dinner and we were both a mix of giggly, nervous excitement, totally intimidated by the situation and the Queens of blogging who were sashaying around the ball room around us. From the moment we said hello we didn't stop talking. She is utterly charming with eyes like chocolate buttons and her fiery Scottish wit made me a little bit fall in love with her that night! I know that even if years pass and we don't get to see each other, we will always be friends. 

She’s a dreamer like me, romantic and sentimental and we both adore post. Proper, brown paper packages tied up with string type post. We both love being part of the blogging community, adore Instagram and all the 65,000 pictures that are posted each minute, but we both appreciate the thought that goes into wrapping something, a little act of kindness that isn’t a status update or a scheduled stream of tweets. Recent research has shown that half the UK (48%) say they’ve never sent a surprise parcel to someone they know - but, 84% of us say we’d be more excited to receive a surprise parcel in the post, than a text or DM on social media.

A real thing on Post For a Post Day. A day created by ipostparcels to encourage us all to take a day of rest from the whirlwind online world and think about someone and show them you were thinking of them by surprising them with a letter or parcel. 

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I knew straight away when I was talking to ipostparcels about being part of Post For A Post Day this September what I was going to send to Zoe. My sister and I had been chatting about how when you are having a hard week, wouldn't it be nice to send yourself a daily treat to open! But I wanted to send Zoe, (who is a dab hand at little ones’ birthday and party games) no ordinary parcel but a pass the parcel. Just for her!

I found all sorts in my desk drawer that I’ve collected from goody bags and bought her a few little treats; a note book with the words “Enjoy the Little Things” which has been the ethos of her blog for as long as I have known her, some seeds to grow in a pot at home, a few scrap book cards that might be nice for her Instagram shots and a book for her mini break away with her husband that she’s been dreaming of.

I hope she loves it because I love her to bits!

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On ‘Post For A Post Day’ on Monday 18th September – step back from the hamster wheel of hashtags and send a surprise parcel FOR FREE. ipostparcels are giving away up to 100 free posts per day all week starting today. Collected from your door and delivered to one of your favourites. A day to take a break from mass sharing - it could be as simple as sending a letter to your mum who lives down the road.

Who is your favourite? Why not surprise them. What will you send? Share a picture of what you posted and the story behind why you posted it with the hashtag #PostForAPost.

To post a small parcel (up to 2kg) for free on Post For A Post Day, just go here:

…and enter this code: PFAP in the voucher box.

The first 100 people to redeem the code each day between Monday 18th September and Friday 22nd September will be able to post for free, so get there quick!

* Post created in collaboration with



24 hours in NYC - Holiday Moments • Featuring British Airways

This post was sponsored by British Airways

We have been fully in countdown mode at this house this week, counting last sleeps for Sammy as a 7-year-old, and texting every night back and forth with my brother who is going to be the best surprise present of all.

A few months ago Sammy became completely overwhelmed with emotion – one of those wobbly lip moments that descended into a full-blown stream of tears running down his cheeks, and fighting for breath as struggled to get out his words. 

And it was all over his love for his Uncle Pat and his family in America. How much he misses them both and his baby cousin and how, in typical dramatic fashion, he’s “only seen them twice in his whole life!”, which I had to remind him wasn’t quite true.

But I know how it must feel, that the handful of times he has had with them doesn't seem enough. The thing we forget when we are all grown up is that a few months feels like forever to their young minds. Those weeks and months waiting for your birthday and Christmas to arrive are just endless!

Well, the wait is almost over my darling and when you run out of school on Friday, swinging your book bag in one arm and your school jumper in another, you’ll be running into the arms of your uncle! Even just typing about it makes my fingers tingle and I can feel a lump building from my tummy right up into my throat. There will be tears and probably this time they will all be from me!

It’s quite an incredible thing really, when your holiday allowance from work is so precious, to give up so much of it to fly home. We give my brother a hero’s welcome, just like we did when we waved him goodbye, knowing he’d truly lost his heart to a girl in New Jersey. Just like before there’s balloons and bunting flapping above the front door, I will stock up our fridge with all his favourites – things he misses from US supermarkets like traditional pork sausages and bakery sausage rolls! You’d think we would want to pack as much in as possible when we have such a limited time together, but in fact the way we make those 36, or 48 or, if we are really lucky, 72 hours last the longest is by keeping him at home. Games in the garden, pottering around the house. I love it, he loves. But so often I think he’s really got the bad end of the deal.

He has a home-from-home back here at our house and, likewise, we are so lucky to be able to go and visit him and my sister-in-law in New Jersey, have a US postal address for internet purchases and a base for us to bounce off from too. Rich and I have been over almost more times than I can count on two hands which is good going in 7 years. We’ve stayed in all their apartments and houses as they’ve climbed the housing ladder, ending up in a beautiful house with a white picket fence and neighbours with basketball hoops on the drive. And we get to visit New York, even if just for a flying visit.

Before my niece was born we were so lucky to scoot across the pond and have a magical summer night in the city as part of our visit around the time of our ten year wedding anniversary. I was sorting through a whole heap of albums on the computer the other night and I realised I have never shared the photos! 

I adore having the boys and going on holiday with the boys, but there’s something so wonderful about a trip away just the two of us. We took the train and crossed the state border into Manhattan and in just 50 minutes we had swapped the Garden State for skyscrapers but this time there was no steam rising from the sidewalks. It was roasting. I’ve never really understood the concept of summering out of a city. My early working life never really allowed me to decamp to escape the heat of a sticky office, but it’s absolutely true in New York. The streets feel different. There’s a calmness amongst the chaos and the traffic and after dropping our bags at the hotel, ooh-ing and aah-ing at the incredible view from our floor to ceiling window, we headed off to find a bike station and we cycled off towards Greenwich Village. 

Now I’m not a hugely confident cyclist, I tootle through the village after the boys with a picnic in my bicycle basket and ding my bell, but I felt so safe. Rich is all about making the most of an experience, seeing as much as you can and I followed his tracks, across junctions, through heaving traffic and smiled up at the drivers of what felt like the most enormous trucks I have ever seen, as we stopped at a red light. There were several points at which one of us or at times both of us let out a “wooooooo hoooo” like we were 7 years old and blasting down a hill. The sun came out from behind each tower block like lighting bolts as we made our way up the grid of roads and we decided to eat our way around Chelsea down to Soho and across to the East Village. 

We stopped for a coffee, (and a cup of tea for me. You can take the girl out of Somerset but you still can’t get her off a nice cup of builders) browsed in a few little boutiques, picking up some souvenirs (doesn’t everyone bring home a set of intriguing bitters you have no idea how to use for their mini bar?!) and dived into a few picture-perfect bars, with rows of metal bistro chairs squeezed onto the pavement around a table just big enough for your cocktail in a mason jar. 

It was bliss.

And looking through these photos made me smile. Tomorrow is tortoise party day for Sammy!

The funny thing is we had always imagined we would celebrate our 10-year anniversary in Italy, in a lakeside hotel full of history, and disappear for a few days to do nothing. I’m so glad that didn't come about because that can wait for year 13, 14 or 15. Something to plan for, something to look forward to, to research, to countdown to.

That and the big plans of a mass family meet up somewhere in America for my fortieth … which may be a few years away yet, but in our family it’s never too early to start day dreaming!

British Airways Holidays has teamed up with HuffPost Travel to celebrate those amazing little moments that make your holiday unforgettable. Share your favourite holiday moment and you’ll be entered into a draw to win a city break in Rome. 


Free Floral Easter Phone Backgrounds • Featuring Bettys

Well one good deed always deserves another in my book. 

I've had a little run of bumping into nice people and receiving random acts of kindness and it's infectious. There's been a few occasions recently where people have bailed me out of a hole, met me in a car park after hours (no not that kind of favour) and rushed a deadline to help me meet one of my own. And subconsciously I've gone about my merry way, buying a Best magazine for an older lady in the supermarket who had forgotten to pop it in her trolley and raced to find it at the checkout after she had paid, stopped at the toll bridge on the road out of Bath and helped a stranded motorist who only needed 70p to trip trap over the bridge and I'm hoping I can pass on the kindness of two strangers who let me pick their Magnolia trees to you.

It's not so much of "If you don't ask you don't get" but more of if you don't have a Magnolia tree in your garden I bet someone who does might enjoy being reminded how lucky they are.

It started with an unfortunate car journey. I was racing to Weston super Mare to pick up a new order of backdrops earlier this week and got stuck in a big accident. 

An open topped lorry carrying all sorts of rubbish destined for the local recycling dump had toppled over and spilt it's load all over the road to the motorway, leaving hundreds of us trying to remember our three point turns and pootling off with no 3G to reset our sat navs into deepest Somerset to find an alternative route. I pulled in at the next drive way and stopped the car to wave my phone in the air (it helps to get higher right?!) to see if miraculously it would reroute me towards the M5 and I looked to my left and there was the most enormous pink Magnolia tree outside the entrance to a farm yard full of calves chomping on hay with their heads poking through the bottom bars of their pens. It was a sight.

I jumped out and found the nice lady who lived there and she gave me a new set of directions and then I couldn't resist asking if she minded me picking up the fallen petals from the tree. I explained I love to photograph flowers, make pretty scenes from them for Instagram and she beamed back at me and said pick as many of the flowers as you would like! 

And it seemed very selfish to keep them all to myself. That and the box full of chocolates that arrived from Bettys. Oh yes, chocolate to make you squeal and forbid the children from eating the minty turquoise one because that one is all MINE! 

So here is a fresh set of Easter phone backgrounds for you to download. I'm going with the rule that if there's mini eggs on my phone at all times it's quite acceptable to eat them after school drop off, with a cup of tea at 11, as a pre lunch snack and afternoon pick me up and forget popcorn for movie night it's all about the eggs in this house for at least the next month.

Which is your favourite?! Download the set and swap them over. Just click on any of the photos to save it. I might go for the white Magnolia next. Now's there's another story for that one involving a lovely man and his dog and a 10 minute chat that ended with my handbag full of buds.

I like to describe all those generous strangers I met this week as good eggs. A phrase you don't hear too often these days. But Bettys have brought it back with their printable range of Easter cards for you to print at home and colour in. 

Rich has actually been trying a little mindfulness colouring of late, something I've not given the time to in the past but if you've tried it you will know it absolutely works and you are transported back to your day dreaming school day self!

If you are struggling for a little extra idea why not print a batch and give them as an early present with a set of colouring pencils wrapped up for someone who could do with a little de stressing? I might even make a little book of them for the boys ready for our journey up to Berkshire for the Easter weekend.

You can print your set here. From Bettys, from one good egg to another ;)

And if you download the phone wallpapers I would love to see which are your favourites!

In collaboration with Bettys