Wednesday, 31 December 2014

A failed trip to Mars, a white rabbit and a new muse

Hello! How are you? I hope you all have had a lovely, lovely Christmas? And me? Well, it's been eventful...there may or may not have been tears...but I will come on to that in a minute. Remember my mission, just before Christmas, as though I was planning a trip to Mars and would never return? You know, I tried to cram everything in, needed to buy everything in sight and see every single relation and friend all before the big day? Well that little plan certainly back fired.  If I had have been on an actual Mars mission, lets just say I would have been kicked out before I had even fastened my seat belt. 

The run up to Christmas was hectic to say the least and Christmas Day, surprise surprise, I began to feel ill.  Very achy, like I had been running (but the only actual running I had done was to get another chocolate). This continued, and continued, and this achy body and now a cold has pretty much covered my entire Christmas week (hence a few tears at feeling so rough). But don't feel too sorry for me. It was kinda self inflicted with all the rushing abut I had been doing and it certainly hasn't stopped me enjoying Christmas.  I just haven't really felt myself, and I certainly haven't evoked any of the glamour I had envisaged for myself over the festive period. I saw Pablo T Dog (our border terrier) visibly do a double take when I emerged like a cave woman from the bedroom the other day!

As the festive season draws to a close, I am beginning to feel better and I thought I would share with you a few snaps of what I've been up to this last week. We actually had snow in Derbyshire on Boxing day night!!! It was just beautiful!!! We had actually planned a trip to Chatsworth House with my parents in Bakewell, Derbyshire the following day, and we were lucky enough to drive through some of the most breathtaking Derbyshire scenery, heavily laden with freshly fallen snow. 

Arriving at Chatsworth House the magic continued as we entered the world of Alice In Wonderland. Every year at Chatsworth they have a theme and the entire ground floor of the grand house is decorated to that theme.  So, down the rabbit hole we went...

to tiny doors and treats...

to meet froggy footmen...

and to a mad hatter's tea party...

and a game of croquet.

We had such a lovely afternoon and the attention to detail was amazing. When we got home to Derbyshire the snow was still there and so we took Baba out sledging.  Wait. Who am I kidding? We all went sledging. Here's a picture of me going reallllllllly fast :-)

And have you maybe guessed what my Christmas present was this year?! A camera!!! Anything that moves now gets papped. I am like the walking paparazzi.  My new muse: Pablo T Dog.  He doesn't seem to mind posing for my picture taking. And what a handsome fellow. 

And that's been my week.  Now I really much dash as there is still a hell of alot of chocolate that really needs to be eaten before the new year. I hope you enjoy tonight's festivities, whatever you are up to.  And please pop back tomorrow as I discuss why you really don't need a brand new you for the new year. 

Thanks for reading, 

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Thursday, 25 December 2014

Blogmas - Christmas Day 2014

Happy Christmas! A very very good morning to you all and a Merry Christmas! I hope you are enjoying your day.  As I sit here and type it is 11pm on Christmas Eve (with blogmas running a day late).  There is still a million and one jobs I need to know when you just don't feel ready? I have a feeling I could stay up all night and still not be ready.  But before I run around like a mad woman and attempt to clean the windows (only joking...or am I?!?), all of that can wait whilst I type my last blog of Blogmas 2014! 

Today started with an early morning walk with Pablo T Dog just as the sun was rising.  It was so so quiet and peaceful and the sky looked so pretty.  Do you ever have those weird moments where you just think 'wow' and just feel so so small in the world?? That's how I felt today. Granted I might have been a little overtired, but it was a lovely walk and I felt all the better for it. 

I also ALWAYS walk past this lady who sells the Big Issue and I have never, ever bought a copy. There is this saying, 'do good, feel good'. So after getting home we drove past the lady and me and Baba hopped out to buy a copy from her and wish her a merry Christmas. Baba did proceed to eat the front cover of the magazine in the car (the girl can eat a front cover but looks in disgust if I try and serve her lasagne). Anyway, it felt nice to do that today. 

Mr.Bee then dropped me into town and I may or may not have headed straight for the Topshop sale.  Ok, so I did.  Don't judge me. Instead of making gingerbread houses with my daughter and husband I was in the changing rooms debating whether I really needed another blouse (apparently I did!).  I did manage to pick up a few things in the sale and it was quite nice just to have a little wander with nothing really to get. 

I then went home and made gingerbread houses.  No, no I didn't.  I am in no way that artistic or crafty.  What we did do is run around screaming its Christmas Eve and then I obviously re-created the Frozen dance and danced to Beyonce!!  

It's turned into a little Christmas tradition now that we have all the family round on Christmas Eve.  We do some nibbles, drink lots, eat lots and drink a little more.  Baba ran around like a mad woman and generally caused a bit of chaos.  She is so so excited for the big day tomorrow, and is convinced it will snow!!! Just before she went to bed we placed a carrot out and magic food for the reindeer and a mince pie and glass of milk for Santa with his magic key.  And yes, I know it makes no sense at all that we leave a magic key in the house for Santa, but just go with me here!!!

Our Christmas day tomorrow will be a quiet day, just the three of us and 
then we will go to Mr.Bee's family for Christmas tea.  It's then Christmas Day take II on Boxing Day as we head to my parents house to celebrate Christmas with them, and I can't wait! 

And that's me.  I can't believe I have made it through Blogmas and I'm still in one piece!!! I cannot thank you enough for all of the lovely support I have received and thank you to each and every one of you for reading.  It's felt like a bit of steep learning curve and journey blogging every day, but it has been lovely to share my month of December with you all. 

I hope you are enjoying today.  And remember, its not meant to all go to plan.  Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without a few hiccups.(Remember me and Paris?!!! You can read that here).  Anyway, just go with the flow. The world won't end tonight.  Believe it or not, there is life after Christmas! Now go and enjoy yourself, of course have another mince pie, and a tad more chocolate too! 

I intend to resume my normal blogging schedule next week, but until then, I wish you all a very happy Christmas and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading, 

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P.S  In the meantime, have you caught up with Blogmas? The one with the toilet rolls or the fight club one? All the links are to your right. 

P.S.S Are you following me? Not literally, but feel free to stalk me on Twitter, Instagram and Bloglovin.  Links to your right :-) Now go and have that mince pie!  

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Blogmas - Christmas Eve 2014

It's Christmas Eve!! Yayyyy!!! And if you read yesterdays blog (which you can see here) you will know that I have a list as long as my arm that still needs completing. I have a few additions which now include cleaning the dog's teeth, polishing the sofas and cleaning the windows, which all obviously have to be done before the big day tomorrow or the sky will fall in.  Anyway, enough about my to-do-or-Christmas-won't-be-the-same list.  What better thing to read about on Christmas Eve than reindeer's and ponies with big hair? Sit down or continue queuing in ... add shop of your choice here, and let me tell you about our trip to a reindeer farm.  

Come Christmas and there are more reindeer's than you can shake an antler at.  The lovelies are everywhere.  But after something a bit different, we went to visit Blithbury Reindeer Lodge (as recommended by Brummy Mummy of 2...totally go and check her out if you don't know who this lady is!).  Blithbury lodge is home to the largest working reindeer herd in England, and over Christmas you can book a ticket to meet the reindeer and go and visit Santa himself.  Now, if you are thinking this is just another Santa land experience like the dozens of others up and down the country, you are wrong.  There isn't a dodgy dancing snowman in sight.  It's rustic, charming and you just fall in love with the reindeer. 

You wander around the lodge, meeting and feeding all of the the reindeer. From large male reindeer with the most spectacular antlers, to smaller females and even little babies.  We also met this handsome fellow. 

I would like to think that if I was a pony, I would have a fringe as lovely as this little guy's.  You can also pay to have a traditional sleigh ride pulled by one of the reindeer's.  Mr Bee and Baba snuggled in and were pulled along to sounds of little hooves a-trotting. If this all wasn't lovely enough, you then get to go to Elf School. I obviously got way too excited, and thinking that this was my preparation for wizarding school, I dragged Baba to the front row. :-)

We learnt how the reindeer fly and we were given a bag full of 'magic' food to leave out for the reindeer on Christmas Eve.  Then, came our call to meet the big man himself, Santa. If I could pick a Santa, it would be this one.  From his little wire spectacles to his actual white eyebrows, he was the real thing.  Of course my daughter had talked none stop about him since July, and naturally when we met him for the very first time she stood there with her mouth wide open and became mute. She didn't cry, but she was definitely a little shocked. Maybe it's like my reaction when I see celebrities (but that's a whole other story you can read here).

Santa took my daughter's sudden loss of voice all in his stride and he happily chatted away about his magical reindeer, if she had been a good girl and her love of Peppa Pig (you complete a form beforehand so Santa 'knows' a bit more about your little one).  My daughter loves telling all who will listen...apart form Santa...that the one present she really really wants is a jigsaw (even though she only added this to her list two days hasn't got one!).  After meeting Santa we were allowed to take a sneak peek into Santa's workshop and the little ones can pick any toy that they like.  There wasn't a dodgy plastic toy in sight and Baba picked a lovely jigsaw! Hurrah! (Tick jigsaw off very long to do list!).  
Unfortunately, Blithbury Lodge is closing for Christmas today, but it does open at various points throughout the year and you have to put this on your list of places to visit next Christmas.  You can find out more information here.

And that was our lovely day meeting Santa and his reindeer. I wish you all a very Happy Christmas Eve!! And fancy coming to a party tomorrow? You do? Well I will see you bright and early for my very last Blogmas post! 

Thank you for reading, 

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Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Blogmas - 23.12.14

I can't believe its only one more sleep until Christmas day! I say that, but to be fair, my husband has pretty much had to hear me say this phrase most mornings with the relevant number of sleeps added. So its no surprise really.  What is a surprise is every year I build Christmas up as if it is the last day on Earth. My mind cannot seem to process that there is another day, and quite a few others that will proceed Christmas day. 

To explain fully, if you read my to-do list, you might be fooled into thinking that I had volunteered for Richard Branson's one way trip to Mars and I had to prepare my family for my imminent departure.  I apparently need to clean out all the cupboards, sort the pile of junk that has been sitting undisturbed for quite some time in the spare room, wash Pablo T Dog's dog coat so it is nice and clean, and apparently squeeze into seeing most of my friends before Christmas like I will never see them again!! Also on my to do list is buy more toilet rolls, just in case. Yep, I guess this is just in case my space rocket departs for Mars early and my husband and daughter will be safe in the knowledge that they have enough toilet rolls to last them until Summer. 

I think my slightly bizarre behaviour stems from this belief that Christmas has to be perfect.  And its everywhere to see, this perfect Christmas.  The happy little faces on the adverts, the shops adorned with the Christmas tea towel that you NEED in your life.  And don't even think about serving Christmas dinner if you haven't got a specific Christmas day outfit. Tut-tut. 

My bizarre behaviour used to extend to presents that I may receive. And let me tell you, I have learnt my lesson in this department. Last year, in early December,  I accidentally saw an email on my husband's phone about a trip to Paris in January. I immediately couldn't contain my excitement.  Was he taking just me? What about Baba? What should I wear? I nearly started packing a little overnight bag, but upon telling my mum, she firmly told me not to jump to any conclusions (moi?!) and wait for the big day.

Christmas day came and all day I was expecting my tickets.  I thought he was certainly dragging it out a bit when we went to bed. But undeterred, I had a good feel under my pillow for the tickets. He suddenly asked me what on Earth I was rummaging for and it all came spilling out. 

I confessed I'd mistakenly seen the email.  That I had waited all day for the present.  And who exactly was he taking to Paris if not me? He then informed me that what I had seen was only a provisional booking and that it was a work trip that they had cancelled hours after booking and that's why he had never mentioned it.  I don't know who was more shocked, me or my husband.  I know, I know, serves me bloody right.  My husband has the patience of a saint.   

Safe to say this year I am completely keeping my two feet firmly on the ground when it comes to any surprises and presents. But I am afraid to say my manic cleaning, long list of silly to-do jobs and perfect Christmas ideals have taken on a life of their own.  I know our family Christmas will be perfect whether the dog's coat is washed or not.  It will all be amazing even without that Christmas tea towel. But there is this little voice that keeps telling me, what if a guest checks the cupboards or the spare room? What if we do use up all 27 toilet rolls and run out? And just what if I have a surprise weekend trip flight to catch on Boxing day?!! He,he.  Only joking. Promise. :-)

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Monday, 22 December 2014

Blogmas - 22.12.14

Hello and can you believe its the 22nd of December already? Where has the month gone? Today is a pretty quite day in the Laura Evelyn Bee household and I am running errands and catching up with the family. I thought I would review a new foundation I have tried and oooh, its a good one!!

My quest for an amazing foundation has been a pretty long one.  I absolutely adored L'oreal's true match foundation.  I loved the coverage, the texture and my skin looked amazing!! Well, it looked amazing until I had an allergic reaction to it! Sob! So that's one off the list. (If you aren't allergic to it this foundation is amazing and definitely worth a try!!).  

I recently picked up a sample of the Estee Lauder Enlighten Even Effect Skin Tone Corrector as I had seen a picture of someone wearing it and their skin looked amazing! Firstly the name. What a mouthful! Basically, its a very sheer foundation cream that aims to make your skin look flawless and cover a multitude of sins from dark circles to redness.  Yes please! And now for the slightly bad bit. It costs £34 for 30ml which is waaaay more than my usual foundations.  But, I thought if it makes my skin look amazing, I would certainly purchase it (I hope my husband doesn't read this, no, of course I wouldn't pay £34 for a foundation Mr.Bee, cough,cough!). 

If you need a high coverage foundation then I wouldn't say this foundation is for you as it is quite a light coverage. But I love how it feels on my skin.  It feels so light and it really does give my skin a very healthy glow.  I think in the Summer months this would be perfect for me as this is the time I don't want a heavy foundation. For the current Winter months, I don't know, I just feel I need something with more coverage.     

Here's a picture of me without any make-up on the left, with just this foundation in the middle picture and then with the rest of my make-up on to the right. What do you think? 

The foundation comes in three shades and I went for the medium and I felt it suited my skin tone well.  This product is definitely worth a look or even sneaking onto your Christmas wish list and I think I will be making a purchase in the Summer months.  But for now, my foundation quest continues. 

Have you tried this product or are you loving another foundation I should try? I would love to read your comments below please! 

See you nice and early tomorrow for a toddler's first trip to the cinema!!!

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Sunday, 21 December 2014

Blogmas - 21.12.14

Happy Sunday everyone and hello blogmas day 21!!! I can't believe I have made it to day 21 of Blogmas! I hope you have enjoyed a peek into my December so far.  And I won't lie to you.  Things are ramping up a little in the Bee household.  There seems to be a growing list of errands, jobs to do and lists to complete, and my cheeks are a little pink as I type this now, thinking of the disaster zone that is currently my kitchen. Anyway, that can wait, and right now, let me tell you about our trip to the Tamworth Snow Dome's Winter Wonderland.  

This is the second time we have been to the wonderland now and its such a fab Christmassy thing to do.  There are three main sections to the Wonderland and you are in a group at a pre-allocated day and time.  For the first section (my personal favourite) you get 30 minutes in the snow trail.  This is a trail through an enchanted forest complete with sledges, a tubing slide for the little ones, snowballs and candy canes. There are more twinkling lights than you can shake your mitten at and its just magical!!! 

Staying upright on a sledge when you have been squeezed into a snow-suit is no easy feat but Baba did it! She couldn't believe her eyes at all the snow and she couldn't stop laughing when I threw a snowball at Daddy (don't worry he got me back, and he threw his harder!). 

This reminded me of the candy cane forest in Elf. 

We never seem to get any snow at Christmas so this is just perfect to actually be able to play and sledge.  Even though our session was busy there were plenty of sledges for the little ones and lots of snow tubes for the slides too.  

The next section is a little show, and you walk to a seated area with a stage.  The show stars Santa and his helpers.  I don't know what Baba thought of this as she has just started to grasp who Santa Claus is.  I did hear her shout 'jigsaw' when he asked everyone what they wanted for Christmas. Which is actually news to me as she hadn't asked for one before now. (Note to self: add jigsaw to shopping list).  I didn't take any photos here as you can kind of imagine what a guy dressed up like Santa looks like. 

Though as an aside, what do you say when you see a dodgy looking Santa? Not that this Santa looked dodgy but we saw another one today outside the supermarket, and he looked a bit straggly to say the least.  I ushered Baba past him, but do you say he is one of the helpers?? I don't want her to think every fool in a red costume is Santa.  I have Santa standards and feel the real one has to be of exceptional quality. Hmmmm, maybe I'm over thinking this.  

Anyway, sorry. Slightly side tracked there.  So the third part of the wonderland is to go and meet Santa's animals.  You walk through to another section and we saw reindeer, pigs, rabbits, goats, donkeys and sheep.  And again the whole area was decked out in the most gorgeous Christmas decorations and trees, complete with Santa's house. 

This shot was taken moments before the mitten eating pig stole my daughters mitten and began eating it.  I had to run and get an attendant who wrestled the pig to collect the mitten.  Well, OK, who gently took the mitten from its little hooves and handed it Baba back.  Lesson learnt here, watch any dangly objects near pigs. 

We had such a lovely afternoon and it put us in such a Christmassy mood. I have to say, I could spend all day in the snow there (as long as I had a steady supply of hot chocolate). With Smooth Christmas on the radio constantly (I now know every obscure Christmas song by heart), it's....wait for it...beginning to look alot like Christmas!(sorry).  You can find out more about the Winter Wonderland here and it runs until the 31st December, so such a lovely thing to do with the family in the holidays. 

Thank you as always for reading and see you in the morning for Blogmas day 22! 

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Saturday, 20 December 2014

Blogmas - 20.12.14

Good morning and hello Blogmas day 20! Whether the fact that its only five days until Christmas makes you excited or strikes fear into your heart, sit down and I shall tell you what I got up to today!  We stayed last night in Manchester so this morning we were up bright and early (well Baba was awake, so we all were). 

Now, before we go any further, I had two celebrity spots from the hotel. And who doesn't love a celebrity spot? The first was Nick Hewer (from The Apprentice and Countdown).  He came out of the lift as we were waiting for it. And what did I do? Yes that's right, I had a lovely conversation with him about how I loved his work and thought he was very funny.  Errr, no that didn't actually happen at all.  I stood there, mouth wide open, with one finger pointed.  Like an idiot.  No offence to Nick, but it's not like it was the Queen or Bradgelina.  We then got to the reception and guess who was there? Duncan Bannatyne from Dragons Den. So, I pitched him my blogging business plan and we had a lovely chat. No, no that did not happen either. My mouth dropped open and my husband had to shut it for me. Oh the shame. 

I would love to know your opinion on this topic.  What do you do when you see a famous person? Do you smile? Do you say hi? Do you stare at them and think I know that face? Many, many years ago my dad once asked a guy in a car park if he used to work with him, he was actually a famous F1 driver! Comments below please for the most famous person you've seen and what you do in the presence of a celebrity.  If you are interested mine is Princess Anne (sorry Nick and Duncan) and she shook my hand (I was 10 at the time). 

You will be pleased to hear I saw no more celebrities and on we headed to Manchester Museum.  This museum is free to enter and such a fabulous place to visit with children. 

Our favourite section by far was the Nature Discovery section which has been specially designed for the under five's. It was like entering an enchanted wood.  Everything was at Baba's eye level and she even had her own binoculars and magnifying glass to find all of the creatures on a little trail.  

The dinosaur and large animal skeletons were amazing and we stood in awe feeling very, very small.

Normally Baba loves the animal section of museums, but I have to say, she was a little frightened by some of the animals on display.  The predators certainly looked like predators instead of extras from the Lion King.  

Whilst older children would love this section, Baba is two and a half, and I think she is at the stage where her little imagination starts to get carried away.  We quickly walked through the carnivores, told her they were all smiling (!) and distracted her with this gorgeous display of paper birds. 

What makes this museum pretty unique is it has a vivarium and it is dedicated to conserving amphibians and reptiles.  We wandered around trying to spot the worlds most poisonous frog and snakes and lizards. How beautiful is this chameleon who I fell in love with? 

We had such a lovely time, and this little gem is well worth a visit if you are in the Manchester area. On the way home Baba fell fast asleep, probably dreaming of alot of teeth and lizards!  

Thank you so much for reading and please be sure to come back tomorrow for some fun in the snow.  Yes, the snow! And see those lovely links to your right? Click any to stay up to date with all Laura Evelyn Bee goings on (including awkward celebrity spots!).

See you in the morning, 

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Friday, 19 December 2014

Blogmas - 19.12.14

Hello there and welcome to Blogmas day 19! Last night me and my husband had a (very) long overdue date night in Manchester. We had spent the day in Manchester with Baba, and my sister, who lives in Manchester, very kindly offered to babysit so we could go out for food and a few cocktails (or four!).  Fancy coming along? Well then let's go!! I wore this gorgeous gold Topshop shift dress that my sister lent me (I know, she's a very good sister to have!).  

After attempting to tuck Baba up into bed, who then exclaimed she couldn't possibly sleep, we left my sister with instructions that if all else failed to let Baba watch a bit of Peppa Pig. We made a very speedy exit and headed to Artisan. First drink of the night was the most delicious raspberry and vanilla Martini.  Delicious.

Now normally this is the point in my blog where I say I forgot to take any pictures of the food.  But, as my plate was served and I wielded my pizza cutter like a cave woman, my husband reminded me to take a snap. Sorry its a bit dark, I was trying to look inconspicuous so didn't use the flash! I had the pulled pork, roasted apple, sage, grand padano and rocket pizza. 

And my husband had the pork ribs with kimchee. 

I feel my photos really don't do it justice.  I am not sure what other bloggers do? Do you just flash away at the table?!  However, regardless of my photography, take my word for it that our plates returned to the kitchen immaculately clean. 

I adore the toilets at Artisan, which is a bit of an odd thing to say, and even more weirdly, I took some photos.  I know, I know! I won't use the flash at the table, but I snap away happily in the toilets!!! Artisan have an entire lounge that you enter just before the ladies toilets. Its called the Bitchin Lounge and it is adorned with the most gorgeous mirrors, comfy chairs and chaise lounges.  If only the walls could talk in here!!

The toilets themselves are a work of art too.  You know when you just walk in and think, wow, I wish this was my bathroom?!? Or maybe that's just me.  I took a snap for you anyway as I was the only one in there!  


Artisan also have a photo booth. I dragged my husband in for some pics of us together.  We never seem to have pictures of just the two of us, and I love how you get the photos there and then.  A lovely memento from our night is now pinned to our fridge. 

So, onto pudding, and I think this says alot about me.  It was devoured before a photo was even thought of.  So here's the empty plate, and what was on it was a hot chocolate fondant which was delicious! 

By the time we had finished our meal it was 9.30pm and we just couldn't return to the hotel after only 2 hours!! My sister had text and said that she had persuaded Baba to go to sleep with milk and cookies so we took that as sign we should sample a few more beverages! We headed to Australasia's Grand Pacific bar. I had a pineapple and coconut mojito (definitely recommend this if you like sweet drinks).  My husband had a smokey old fashioned which is a bourbon based drink. They give you the drink with smoke cascading from it which you then pour into your glass. I tried to capture the smoke spilling over the glass like a laboratory experiment! 


After sampling a few more cocktails, (it would be rude not to), we wandered in the rain huddled arm in arm under our umbrella, saying, how we always say, that we should definitely do this more often. 

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