Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Lazy Days

With winter still in full throttle, our saving attempt upped and a dose of adulthood reality finally kicking in, we are are determined to spend more time as a family at home. Our usual National Trust days out are still very much our escape mechanism, however there's only a certain amount of coffee & layers that can prevent the next tantrum from happening (mine- not the kids). Every weekend we are usually out and before you know it we've successfully cleared out the bank. I am slowly adapting to taking a picnic where possible and not relying on coffee shops to feed us all. But with many a damp bench on a offer, I am none to keen on having a soggy bottom.

There is one saving grace, a peaceful Sunday. I know what you're thinking, it sounds rather romantic. Lets not forget that there are three children in the mix, however the idea of staying home isn't all that bad. A lazy morning in bed, papers delivered and the special Sunday coffee in our cafetiere, is quite possibly one of my favourite things in life. The kids are at an age where the demands of porridge first thing in the morning are lesser and they can find their own ways in life early morning. Netflix becomes the saving grace and the battle past dry rice crispies when we make it to the kitchen are actually rather cop-able. The hubby and I sit at the table with our Joe Wicks breakfast creation, papers laid out and discuss which of the reviews he is reading is on our hit list. Normally we choose a car that Chris Evans has reviewed and then pine over the latest gadget offering. In this case the Panasconic HDR 4K TV  has caught his eye and I have to admit our Sony took a beating in the last few years. Only 3 of 5 people in this house know how a small scratch came to make it's way on the bottom left corner and the husband and I are not in that 3. Bringing a whole new element of staying in and saving- an investment perhaps?

The beginnings of a Sunday roast commence, the smell of rosemary and garlic potatoes fill the house and I find my place on our corner sofa. By the time the the evening comes I've watched at least one Hugh Grant film and Countryfile is on. Before you know it we have all congregated in a heap of cushions and are watching how Highland Cattle live out their days in the Hebrides. The roast dinner is quickly consumed and I become ever thankful of the creation we fondly call "the dishwasher". Then comes my all time favourite.

As a child I loved nothing more than a Sunday evening curled up on the sofa watching the good old BBC Antiques Roadshow with my Grandad and this is becoming something that my children also seem to love. The bedtime routine that follows is something more chaotic, however there really has to be something said of a once in a while doss day. A day of relaxing before another chaotic week begins, a day of no make up and letting your skin breathe and a day of falling into your favourite Jack Wills tracksuit. More importantly sometimes it's good for the children to know they don't have to go out to have fun. Watching The BFG from a homemade den is just as fun and more importantly cheaper. Unless of course Daddy gets his way and we have a whole new creation in the corner of our lounge in the form of Panasonic.

Monday, 2 January 2017

Venice Part 1- Food and Hotel

If you follow me on Instagram it's no secret that my husband and I just celebrated ten years of marriage in the beautiful Venice. Back where we honeymooned....

Our visit ten years back couldn't have been more different to this time. Perhaps we appreciate things differently, perhaps it's age or perhaps I researched it to death before we went and I knew where we were heading.

One thing that I did find whilst researching, was that there isn't much in the way of up to date reviews in a blog format. There are plenty of trip advisor reviews to trawl, however partly as a way to remember the most amazing time and partly to help others have just the same, the below is our trip broken down.... I will do it over a few blog posts as it's going to be one HUGE blog otherwise.

Length of stay

3 nights/4 days. First flight out and last flight home.
So for us childcare this time around was a big factor. So our trip was condensed down and we had to make the most of every second.


Ten years back for our honeymoon we stayed in the illustrious Hotel Danieli a once upon a time palace. Steeping in history and grandeur and with a budget to match! This time around we really looked into finding value, service and location and oh wow did we find it! The Hotel Canal Grande showed fantastic service before we even arrived. I had arranged for Prosecco on arrival in our room and queried the best way to reach them via the airport. The info they passed back was not only extensive but very helpful and accurate. We opted for a private boat taxi, we arrived in Venice the same way before and there is something magical about how fascinating it becomes the closer you get.

On arrival our room was ready, as well as few upgrade options. We went for an upgrade simply because we got to look at all the options and the view was just brill. As a girl in sales, I know that they had this set up down to a "T" to get the extra from those booking through booking.com, but you know what I didn't care. It was worth it.

We booked via booking.com, however check out the hotel direct too. http://www.hotelcanalgrande.it/

View from the bath! 

The hotel location is set on what I would say is the best side of the canal, quieter and able to watch the hustle and bustle from a distance. St Marks and all the big tourist attractions are easily walkable, and we much preferred what appeared to be the local route and real Venice. We sat and enjoyed a drink beside the canal courtesy of the Hotel balcony every evening, it was the perfect way to unwind from a day of exploring before we headed off for more food!

The restaurants we visited were recommended by the hotel, filled with locals and just out of this world. More on those later!


So the below mentions are absolutely worth the mention. All very different, but all so very worth a visit. Get ready for the Carbs, you can't escape it- embrace it!

Pasta Dal Moros

Now this one will be trickier to find, the closer you get the more people tucking into their takeaway pasta pots you will see. Set hidden down a small alley you will find what looks like a fast food joint- DO NOT BE PUT OFF!! What you are about to eat is probably some of the best pasta I have had. We both added some extras and had to pay 13 Euros. The best bit was you get so much, you are filled for the day! The guy that runs the tills, is the grandson and it's all still a family affair. Never have we had such fresh pasta so quick and cheap. Please find this!

Al Squaro

Oh man did we enjoy this absolute gem. We loved how we were sat among locals on a busy Saturday, we loved the house wine, we loved the food and we really loved that we were not paying crazy money. We sat in here for some time, made our way through a good number of chicetti & 3 glasses of house red wine and all for approx 30 Euros. As you can imagine we were rather giggly when leaving! The location is again away from the hustle and bustle, but positioned opposite one of the oldest squares in Venice. In fact it's opposite where the infamous gondolas are built. We were lucky to have grabbed some stall's at the bar, but people even stood outside and sat on the wall. We had such a giggle and this afternoon will firmly remain as one of our favourite memories of marriage.

Al Vecio Pozzo

Never have we eaten beef like we did here. Ever. This is quite possibly one of the best restaurants we have eaten in. It was recommended by the hotel, in fact they booked it for us. The first night they tried to get us in and it was full. When we first approached the building I will admit that I was unsure if it was going to live up to the rave review we had heard. It's not a fancy interior in fact the first part is quite brightly lit, however if you are looking to have a darker more romantic spot to sit ask for the next room, it's darker and more venetian in style. We sat beside the chef that was bashing out some tasty looking pizzas! We opted for the house red- again amazing and so affordable as above in Al Squaro and we went straight in on a Chateaubriand. We were served the perfect amount of food, to go with the meat- which is seared and then finished by yourself at the table. We had a desert each and if memory serves me well, the lot cost us approx 55Euros. Please find this place and opt for the same, you won't be disappointed!

Bacarro Jazz 

Unfortunately I don't have many images of our meal this time around, however we ate here first time around on our honeymoon. They no longer have live music and you would predominately visit here for the fab cocktail hour that they do, however don't be too judgmental on the food- give it a go. As you would hope for in Italy, it's fresh and tasty. The menu isn't as vast and it's predominately a bar, but the atmosphere is fantastic and the we were even treated to a champers! The price does start to creep up again as you are getting closer to St Marks and therefore begin to pay a premium. However even if you only stopped by at cocktail hour before heading off somewhere else, it's worth it.

The next blog will involve places to find and keeping you busy!

Friday, 11 November 2016

Winter Basics

With winter seemingly here and the summer wardrobe packed away I'm actually enjoying rocking a bit more leather! As much as I love to be in basics, I love a pop of colour and red is certainly winning this year. Bring on the layers...
If you're looking for a few updates then the below inspo could help!

A few must haves...

A chunky knit
A statement boot
A touch of leopard
A camel coat
A touch of leather

A statement mini
A comfy trainer (my stan smiths are my fave go to's)

Sunday, 7 August 2016

The bandana

I was obsessed with these when I was a teen, in fact it was a bit of a joke....Seeing one pin was enough to get me back on the wagon, you don't need to ask me twice!

One tip.... Keep it simple. I'm wearing mine with my fave Zara dress, round sunnies (& the bandana)from Jolly Brown Vintage and a colour pop red topshop bag.

Follow me on insta @madamehols for more!

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Lets get back to it....pixie progress

So whilst I am an active instagrammer I have totally dropped the ball on my blog. Lets face it, I totally have neglected it and before I have even realised my "Oh I haven't blogged in ageeessss" answer when asked, has turned into over a year. Life is just crazy. So where am I at right now?

Well the pixie grow out is gaining strong momentum, my longing for a bit of hair to touch my cheek has become reality. Now I sigh in admiration at the pinterest and instafamous girls that have a slight flick of movement over their shoulder. Not straight you have to understand, oh and not curly- I'm fussy. I'm talking that perfectly curved, slight-but not curled, shiny collection of immaculately coiffed strands. Collection not greasy lanks, approx an inch in width.

So yeah, I am still not happy.

However this is a quick reply to all those asking me questions.The three below being the most asked!

1) Any tips? PATIENCE! I lost count of the amount of threats to shave my head months back. Keep going it will start to turn a corner! The sides have been the worst to grow down and I still have some way to go. A no1 undercut is funky as hell, but hell to grow out!

2) How do I style it? Uhmm literally wash, use Bed Head TIGI, tip my head upside down and hope for the best! Sometimes I will smooth over it with a round brush and sometimes I don't need to. Sometimes I will curl it with a curling wand add a bit of wax and hairspray. Oh and now.... sometimes I will scrape it back in the smallest ponytail you can imagine, complete with a quiff. If all else fails, then wear a hat! I grabbed a beaut wool vintage trilby this weekend.

3) Have I coloured it? Yep! Despite my hairdresser qualifications I spent years on the home dye. I was left with pretty much black ends and the upkeep of roots. A month ago I had two cleanses done it in the salon and a semi over the top to blend it. I am left with still reasonably dark hair, however it's a lighter brown and next weekend I have my first highlights in years. I'm not aiming for blonde, just a lighter caramel brown.

I promise  aim to get back to blogging in a more regular fashion, but for now let me know what you'd like me to cover off next. Make up, clothes, being mum or home?

Go forth and enjoy Sunday!

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Spring Updates

The wardrobe has had a facelift, I have outed the old and brought in some new and it feels good. Fancy doing the same but stuck in a rut? Filter through what you already have, be honest and ask yourself when you really did wear it last. I have a terrible habit of keeping hold of an item of clothing that I love, but I haven't worn in months, maybe years. I could have grown a child in that time! 

I have reassed my jeans and whether they do anything for me, replaced with fits that actually work. I have looked at some faves and asked myself why I am not wearing them and what I need to get it to work for me.

Oh and yes. I bought some bits just "coz". On the plus side I have discovered depop, an app where I can sell some bits!

So what are my faves?

1- A hat. You know what, I have toyed with buying a hat for an age. Having short hair meant that it didn't sit right, but now my hair is growing and I have a longer softer fringe I have gone with the "I don't care what people think" attitude. I now have two. 

2- A funky belt. Ahhh a belt, I love me a belt. It can totally change a look! I am in love with my Topshop western belt.

3- A good skinny jean. I have been long in love with Topshop Jamie jeans, as quite frankly they hold in what being a mama gave me! What I have just discovered though is the Cain fit.... Oooh I likey! I have tried River Island and not got on well at all and well we won't even go there with good old Levis!

4- A jacket. This is where I struggle. "A" jacket doesn't work for me, I have an addiction I know, but a jacket really can make an outfit pop. I am totally in love with my new yellow- yes yellow- biker jacket, as it really stands out against the blacks that I love to wear! Oh and then there is my all saints biker, this is a beaut! I have pined after a soft real leather biker for some time and I finally got my mitts on one, the hard work is paying off!

5- Boots. I live in boots. Like the jackets I have an issue here. I just find them far too appealing. I have been looking for something different and my new Topshop ( I know there is a theme here, but unfortunately I have had no help from them!) The square toe gives them a retro twist and less squashed toes, the soft leather means they are super comfy, the sock style around my ankle means they totally work with uhmmm everything and then the heel.... Well the heel is to die for, they stand out. Another fave pair of mine are the burgundy buckle boots above. -Yes these are Topshop too.

I could go on, I really could. But I will leave it there!

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Steve Madden Ankle Boots

I love boots. I have an addiction I am pretty sure and now it is Winter, I make no apologies for it! So when Cloggs Footwear got in touch about reviewing these Steve Madden beauts, I snapped up the chance. I won't work with anyone or review anything that I don't believe is relevant, these are so relevant.

They also have to be "the" most comfortable pair of boot's that I have owned it quite some time. They are true to size, well made, look pretty awesome and have become my go to pair. I can't recommend them enough.

The rest of my outfit is unashamedly Topshop. All of it!

As for the beautiful location, that would be Cambridge. Possibly one of my most fave places to visit, there is something about the buildings that scream history and the bridge where I can just watch the world go by.

Thankyou Cloggs! Right now people you can grab £10 off a £75 spend with the code WINTER10