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Musical Beds - Sleepless school nights • Featuring Slumberdown

I will admit we have a cosy bed. We have a king size big enough for the two of us plus a small one, we have a thick duvet whatever the weather, which feels like a quilted cloud nestled around your body come 3am, and brush cotton covers that are as smooth as silk. It's warm and cosy and the ultimate treat for our two young brothers.

They love nothing more than a night in our bed, with me. Not with Rich, he finds them too wriggly, like little hot water bottles with tentacle like legs that wrap around him like a spider's web. They like to be with their mama, quite literally on me, using me as a pillow, a safety net a cuddle blanket. 

They love my mis matched pyjamas, my old bobbly t-shirt that feels familiar and loved. 

I sit with them stuck to my chest with the light of the iPhone and a packet of baby wipes to take off my make up and try one handed to put my hair in a messy bun, the other pinned around them like like a protective shield. There's no bad dreams anymore, the horrors of the night terror phase have passed and they aren't waking up cold, they just like to be in our bed. 

We had thought that it was just a phase, and every now and again we get a run of a good few nights with no footsteps down from their attic bedroom, no blurry eyes at our door and a little voice. But I don't think it is a "phase" I think they want to be close to us.

Starting school, being away from their home for much longer days, busy weekends seeing friends and family makes them crave time at home, ironically in their own beds. But not their own bed, our bed. We can be locked together for hours and hours and yesterday when the alarm went off, Sammy was still snoring like a grizzly bear. I crept to the bathroom, cleaned my teeth and as I tiptoed back in, he stirred, stretching his arms up high above his head and cried out. "I put my arms out for a cuddle but you weren't here!"

I look at the big boys going into school and wonder how much longer my boisterous boys will long for a night in bed with their mama. It doesn't feel indulgent to let them creep in, it feels quite special. Like we have this secret code, a look they give me, with such twinkle in their eyes. A look that is saved especially for me, that only we get to see at 5am, or 6am or 7am whenever they first start to blink like newborn kittens.

Even the dogs are desperate to get in on the action!

Over the summer we had lots of days out and a good few trips away and they stayed on and off with my in laws. They love it with them, they have their routine and a couple of times they have just flopped when they came home, almost depressed to be back!

And when we get them home we always let them have a treat night in our room. We drag their stinky bed up to the bedroom but by 3am I feel a couple of paws on the duvet, begging to let them up on the bed. 

I am such a pushover. But you can literally hear the happiness, a great hurrumph from Moose as he collapses into the goose feather!

So we now have the perfect bed for dogs and boys! With our princess and the pea set up. Hotel like pillows, which cup your head like you are being cradled as a newborn, we've even decided to make over the bedroom next to give us the space it deserves! No more bare boards and unloved walls without our favourite photos and pictures, baskets of clean washing strewn all over the floor. 

It's a real haven for our small boys and we want to make it a haven for us too, not somewhere to crash out in when you close the laptop lid. We foolishly ripped up the carpet when we moved in, in my hurried attempt to sand and paint the floorboards. I hired a sander, struggled and gave up. And for almost a year I've looked at a half finished floor which still has the remnants of the underlay backing all around the skirting. So a quick makeover is in order before the winter sets in.

Our Slumberdown Airstream Mattress Topper has saved us from buying a new mattress, at 6cm thick it feels like we sleep on a giant pillow! Our little hot water bottles are even feel less of a problem as it's Airstream Technology is designed to keep you cooler through the night. So instead of hundreds of pounds on a new mattress we can spend that on carpet!

It's a half-way measure – a sort of temporary makeover – until we have the budget to strip the lining paper, touch-up the plaster, and re-paint properly. Our heavy dark wood furniture that we bought to fit our old bedroom dominates the smaller room and detracts from the beautiful old beams that span the width of the room. Would it be too stark to blast the walls with white? Be brave and paint the dark wood? Persevere and paint the floorboards? Help!

And do you know I'm not going to rush them out of our bed. I'm going to enjoy these cuddles, those midnight glances and wry smiles. My baby went to school this month and already any last hint of the toddler years is vanishing before our eyes.

So if their happy place is our cosy bed, how wonderful. Yes I could do with an uninterrupted night, and so could they, the new school routine of swimming and sports every day means that bedtime has been brought forward almost an hour during the week, but it takes seconds for them to settle and they sleep through til morning.

Has anyone else found their routine changing since they started back at school? The new regime after those weeks and weeks of summer holiday laziness have hit us hard! There just doesn't seem to be enough time, especially on days when the boys stay for after-school club until 5:45pm, to squeeze in homework, reading, and relaxing! In bed and asleep by 7pm is tall order for our pair of boys in their twin beds, and the novelty of starting school is keeping Ollie chatting way past lights-out time.

New school mums – are you finding the same? What's working for you?

So what would you do? March them back or let them cuddle into you?! I don't know whether I'm helping or hindering their precious sleep by letting them snuggle in. When Sammy started creeping in at around 3 years old I never thought he'd still be doing it at 6. Should I save this "treat" for a Saturday night? Or can it not be a treat, can it just be what it is, that they want the warmth, the security and the love.

Sometimes I think it would be an idea to have a double bed in their room too! 

I'd love to know your sleep routines in your house, is it musical beds with you too?!

I am a Slumberdown Mum this year, testing their range of products and sharing our family sleep patterns and problems! You can find Slumberdown's wonderful products in the following Stockists.

The one with TV Star George Clarke, a screwdriver, Prosecco and kisses • Lifestyle Wall

We live in an old house, a very old house, with crumbling walls, peeling lining paper everywhere you look (bar the teeny tiny corners I snap and share on Instagram of course) and a funny layout upstairs designed by the previous owners, that gives me a wonderful shoe cupboard if I had super small feet like a pixie. 

We have big plans for the house that we have nicknamed the "forever home". It started as a house for forever and it is slowly becoming a house that will take forever to finish! Owning a listed house makes you fall in love with the fabric and history of the building. You know before you turn that key in the door that it's going to be a labour of love and you have to really love it. 

We have grand plans to knock down the leaky conservatory, create a real heart of the home, family kitchen, move our en-suite bathroom and create a false wall behind our bed in the master bedroom and change the configuration of the family bathroom and cloakroom that works for now, but is in desperate need of updating. The thick 3 ft deep walls that surround the rooms like armour need to be re-skimmed and repainted and we are slowly working our way around the downstairs, bringing the tired walls back to life. But the internal walls that are cracked and littered with gaping holes from pictures and photos long since taken down, need to go!

We don't really know where to start, other than a nervous walk around our washing strewn house with a listed building officer, sharing our hopes for the future, plans to move internal walls and watching him nod and snap away on his camera. 

So when I was invited to spend the afternoon learning about the Lifestyle Wall with British Gypsum's Rooms Made For You I was intrigued. Ok, I lie. I saw that George Clarke was an ambassador for the product and immediately thought an afternoon with George... he's on my laminated list! Ba ha ha!

I travelled up to London to the Good Housekeeping Institute with both my mother in law (she's been a Good Housekeeping loyal reader for as long as I've been alive) and my mother (she's been a fan of George Clarke for as long as I can remember) green with envy, and wondered what was in store.

After a quick (I'm so used to meeting a celebrity, oh wait no that's not true) handshake with George outside the venue as he chatted to a colleague I went to meet some fellow bloggers at a coffee house around the corner, so as not to walk in alone. Giddy schoolgirls was to be the order of the day.

The team from British Gypsum couldn't have been more welcoming and after a couple of glasses of Proseco and a few sweet treats we all sat down to listen to an introduction to the product - the Lifestyle Wall and then it was George's turn to take the stage.

I'd be lying if I said there wasn't an air of anticipation in the room when he took to the floor. He's the sort of celebrity that perhaps you think might not be as charismatic or charming as he is on screen, but no. What you see is what you get with George. He is passionate about his family, his practise and his work. And the products he promotes. It was so refreshing to hear that he doesn't just endorse every product that lands in his inbox, that he has to actually believe in the product he promotes. 

I was every consumer they described. We have mirrors that have fallen down, great huge gaping holes where we've tried and failed with the "right" plasterboard screw. I am not sure our marriage would survive a gallery wall.

I'm serious.

We have picture ledges in our house so I can rotate my favourite prints and photographs. It saves so many arguments. 

But this product is different. Quite frankly I think even I could hang off a wood screw if the wall was made from this Gyproc Habito structure. Now say that after 3 glasses of Prosecco.  

It was great to take part in some blogger challenges, watching some of my favourite friends Katy and Kate get to grips with a screwdriver and watch as we all flashed our cameras at George and his bulging biceps. This product is 5 times as strong as plasterboard and it took 5 times our normal strength to screw a fixing into it! Not to mention that it can withstand knocks and bumps from boisterous boys and over zealous little girls. 

This product is different. It is better. It would absolutely change my home. I love displaying photographs, we have some huge pictures and an enormous driftwood mirror that needs 3 of us lift, that are languishing in the garage in search of a new home. But the walls can't take it. We need to slowly rebuild it, and as we do I know exactly what we need, the Lifestyle Wall.

I long for beautiful smooth walls like these. A kitchen that demands contemporary open shelves and a hallway free from the interesting sand texture paint in an attractive shade of lemon that currently adorns the walls.

Towards the end of the afternoon, after trying out the product for ourselves, hanging a gallery of photographs and chatting with the team from British Gypsum and George about my days as a Land Buyer for the national house builders and their thoughts on the product, George signed copies of his new book More Amazing Spaces and I joked to him as he signed my copy, "Could you dedicate it to my mum, Vivien. In my whole blogging career this is the most impressed she has been!"

It was a pleasure to spend time with people who are passionate about the products they create, you can see the years of development that have gone into creating an innovative concept for the everyday home.

And when it was time to go home, I shook hands with the lovely people who had invited me to the event, the staff from British Gypsum and finally George. Who said, "Oh let's do kisses!" And we promptly exchanged a kiss on each cheek. Cue a gaggle of female lifestyle bloggers including Lori. Kerri-Anne and Fritha oohing and aahing in the background!

Can you spot your favourite interiors bloggers?! Thank you so much for the invitation to learn more about the Lifestyle Wall. It's on my wish list for our new bedroom next year, and perhaps I will keep my marriage and get that gallery wall after all...!

It would also be so handy to have a piece especially for photography, so any one who is looking for a more robust exhibition stand or flexible shop wall should take a peek! 

You can buy the brand new Lifestyle Wall from the following retailers. 

In collaboration with Rooms Made for You

Home made summer fruit Slush Puppies #JustRefresh • Featuring Ocean Spray

There's something magical about this time of year. It feels like in a flash the seasons have blasted straight from summer to winter and then back again. One minute the house is bathed in sunlight, the walls soaking up the sunshine and like a camel soaking up water for winter, the next the rain is lashing down and there's a distinctive chill in the air first thing in the morning, where you can just see a whisper of your breath.

The garden is changing colour too, the deep raspberries and cranberry colours withstanding the changing season whilst the delicate sweet pea pinks and fuchsia hydrangeas are all starting to fade and disappear for another year.

Today was back to the deep blue skies and the perfect excuse to actually take a moment to relish what Sundays were made for. Relaxing! I set up the swinging seat and just sat.

When I got the chance to get creative with Ocean Spray as part of their Just Refresh campaign I knew exactly what the boys and I would make. Inspired by the very same rich burgundy colours as the flowers in the garden I set about divising a recipe for summer and an easy entertaining idea to see us through to winter! I love that the garden is full of colour at this time of year, it makes my day so much brighter. Just like when I see the boys running across the garden, picking a flower for me with their blunt ended play scissors from the doctor's toy set. These little moments get you through the greyer autumnal days don't they?! Sometimes you need those colourful moments, not just when the sun is shining. Just how Ocean Spray does the same, adds a delightful, vibrant colour to everyday life all through the year with its refreshing taste.

I am all about ease and speed. Ideas that you can russell up that will wow your friends and family. 

Home made slush puppie sorbet

There's something about a slush puppie that takes me right back to my childhood, such a treat that would leave your tongue as pink as your drink. But I want to get more goodness into my boys and a last of the summer berries slushy was the perfect excuse. 


  • Generous handful strawberries
  • Generous handful blueberries
  • Generous handful raspberries
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 1 bottle 330ml Cranberry Classic Juice from Ocean Spray
  • Edible petals to serve

Add all your ingredients to a blender and whizz until smooth. There's no need to boil your sugar beforehand just blend and go!

Once blended to a puree pour into a shallow dish that is suitable for the freezer. A lasagne dish is perfect for this recipe.

Set in the freezer for an hour then break up the mix with a fork, You could leave it to set completely more like a sorbet but I prefer the slushy type texture. Leave to set for another 3-4 hours.

Camembert, Bacon & Cranberry stuffed Yorkshire Puddings

Let it be said there's not much I can't stuff in a yorkshire pudding. They are the most versatile saviour to have in your freezer along side frozen puff pastry. No one can resist them, especially when you stuff them with the taste of Christmas. Ssh yes I know we have only just tipped into autumn but bear with me, they are worth it. 

So straightforward the children can take part, no stirring, no weighing and in 6-8 minutes you will hear oohs and aahs from everyone around the plate!

I wanted to make something sumptuous but simple. It takes seconds to stuff these bad boys and about as long to devour them!


  • Frozen yorkshire puddings or make your own. But if you do you need to wait until the rise to fill them.
  • Sliced camembert
  • Red onion chutney
  • Ocean Spray Craisins dried cranberries
  • Crispy bacon 
  • Rosemary to garnish

Fill your puddings with a hunk of camembert, a dollop of onion chutney, a sprinkle of craisins and a spattering of bacon. Pop a sprig of rosemary on the top for a splash of green and bake in the oven for 6-8 minutes in a hot oven 200 degrees, until the cheese is bubbly.

Stuffed Yorkshire Puddings 8.jpg

The cranberries will pop in your mouth like pockets of sweetness against the creamy smooth camembert. Make them to liven up your Sunday roast or save them for a Thanksgiving or Christmas idea. Watch with delight as everyone flights over the last one!

I love our dinner tables to be bursting with colour, with our brightly painted plates and rainbow hues. The boys respond to pops of red and green, like today, a Sunday pie, swede and carrot mash with broccoli cheese and childhood favourite peas. 

If you want to recreate these recipes or find inspiration for others head over to Ocean Spray. I love their spirit of resourcefulness and how you can substitute cranberry juice for so many other staples you may have in the fridge. I had no idea the company is a Co-Operative and is owned by over 700 cranberry farmers and 35 Florida grapefruit farmers. They've stayed true to the principle established in 1930. Now what would you make?

A cranberry cocktail or bake something stuffed with craisins! I'd love to know, what else should we try?

I'm working with BritMums and Ocean Spray highlighting the everyday moments of colour that give each of us a little lift, just like Ocean Spray adds colour to our day and delights us all year round. I have been compensated for my time. All editorial and opinions are my own. Visit Ocean Spray for more information.