Madrid- Living in lockdown

This is not my usual blogpost. But nothing is as usual right now. As I type this the latest figures for Coronavirus here in Spain are 1300 deaths and 25000 confirmed infected, and Madrid is still the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. This post is my account of the last few days…

From the very start of 2020, we were looking forward to March….literally counting down the days. You see March was when we were going On our dream mini trip to Paris, then on to Disneyland with our daughter who was beside herself with excitement . Little did I know at that point March would become more like a very bad dream.

In January 2020 I was fully aware of the coronavirus. It would be hard not to have seen the news reports from China. I remember talking to my husband about how horrendous it must be for those poor people locked in their apartment 24 hours a day, can you imagine that? …I never dreamt that this would become our reality. 

So having watched far too many pandemic and zombie apocalypse movies in my time, as the outbreak spread so did my anxiety. As our trip grew closer I was convinced we should not take it. My fear was we were going to Paris- where the disease seem to have a stronger hold, that we would be trapped in Paris and not be able to get back to our home here in Spain or the UK. However no restrictions were in place then and I did feel but I was probably over reacting. We left for Paris with gloves, anti bac, wipes, (I even had a bar of soap in a Ziploc bag) and strict instructions to keep our hands in our pockets, so to act as some kind of deterrent from touching our face.

For the record, I’m so glad we did make that trip. We had the most amazing time and I’ll save all the details of that for another blog. There was no fear in the air, literally everything was as normal at Disneyland. Definitely no social distancing there. And we’ll always have Paris…

We took as much precaution as we could on our flight home , with gloves, I wiped everything down , I literally shrieked at my daughter every 30 seconds ‘don’t touch anything don’t touch anything’, and we arrived back home to what we thought was normality on the Saturday night. 

When we were away we had already decided to do a big shop on the Sunday we were back. We were so pleased to get to the supermarket and everything was as normal, plenty of loo rolls etc. .There was no panic buying at all, but I was really aware of what was happening in Italy and I just had that ominous feeling that lt was going to happen here next.

That Sunday was also International women’s day & there was a huge march in central Madrid. Over 120,000 people took part. How this was allowed to go on during this time words fail me. It then all changed the next day!! Suddenly everyone was talking about the virus, it was deadly, the old people’s homes in Madrid seem to be infested. People were dying, the numbers were doubling, tripling, the schools would be be closing, the virus was here and spreading rapidly. My daughters school closed on the Tuesday. I don’t know if she will go back this school year now. They initially said for two weeks, we know it’s going to be a lot longer. But we didn’t anticipate what was to come.

As the death toll rose and the virus took a hold on Spain, predominantly in Madrid , The rumours circulated that we would go into full lockdown just as they did in China and Italy. I really didn’t know what to do. We are in Madrid for another year, our house back home is rented out, we Couldn’t ask those people to leave at this time. Would we be happier housebound in our apartment in Madrid where we have everything we need, or do we head to the UK and rent an Airbnb for God knows how long and have none of our stuff there. We couldn’t stay with my mum she is classed as elderly and that’s too much of a risk. I wouldn’t even be able to see her. This is actually the thing I’m finding the hardest in all of this if I’m honest. I haven’t seen her since Christmas, she was due to visit at Easter, I just really miss her.

Then the inevitable happened. Madrid went into full lockdown. Everything is closed, we are not allowed out. These are the reasons you may leave your household, one person at a time.

1. For essential journeys i.e. going to work if you’re a key worker.

2. To get food. The shops are fully stocked, they are guarded, everything is extremely sanitised and there is hand sanitizer everywhere. We will not run out of food so stop panic buying back home.!

3. To walk a dog, being extremely mindful of social distancing

4. To use a pharmacy- they are still open. 

That’s it. There are no walks in the park you cannot even use a communal area in your-apartments should you have one. Police patrol the streets ready to fine or arrest you being out without a valid reason. Madrid is in a desperate state, we have to do everything we can to stop the spread of this virus. And we are, people are adhering to the rules. The city is silent. We are all over a week into this now, and I see the UK is starting to take similar action, although you can still go out for a walk, be very very grateful for that. 

So we are taking each day as it comes. Looking to the future, whenever that is, but looking to it with such excitement. We will never again take for granted our freedom..

I’m not going to write lists here of what you should do, how you should use your time, what you should do with your children,…there is a million of those lists out there now. What I will tell you is that I’m going to take something incredible from this. I’m going to look at every little positive and hold it close to my heart. You will have seen on my Instagram stories the clapping and singing from the balcony at 8 pm every night.

We are waving and sharing greetings with neighbours we would never have met. One of the apartment blocks near us turns into a nightclub from 8 to 8.30pm every night, they have speakers, strobe lights and everyone parties in their apartment holding their phone torchlight up for everyone to see.  it’s a busy city full of apartments, which is sad for those that have no outside space, but also warming that you just have to look out of your window and you’ll see someone clapping and waving along.

Beautiful acts of kindness I’m being shown every day, WhatsApp groups, Facebook and Instagram lives, FaceTime parties with my friends, virtual lessons with teachers, and obviously there are millions of entertainment channels Sky, Netflix, Apple TV , we have so much to keep us entertained. it’s taken this for actual chats to happen more; less WhatsApp more FaceTime. Life slows down, and you realise just how lucky you are having friends who’ve been so supportive.

As it currently stands we don’t know how long we’re going to be inside for. Some rumours say April, other say until summer. I really hope it isn’t the latter. But I’m not focusing on the end, rather dealing with it one day at a time. 

As of last night in the UK, public facilities have now been locked down. All I will ask you is to just really listen, do not go out. It does not just affect the elderly. It is spreading rapidly. Stay in and look after yourselves and your family. Don’t end up like Italy or indeed Spain. Stay in!

Your actions affect everyone. Whilst you are home with your kids, don’t compare your teaching methods to other people. Don’t compare at all. Do you what you need to do. When it comes to kids & screen time, just relax, this isn’t forever. This is so difficult for children & teenagers too. Talk to them. Be kind to each other. We are all in a state of shock really. Be kind, be patient & give each other space. Information is power, but too much information is overkill. I had to take a day off from the news yesterday. The first few days I was glued to it watching the British news, following the Spanish news, until it seemed to completely overwhelm me.

Having a little break and watching some trash TV is really good for the soul!! (I mean there’s never been more quality trash to choose from and The Real Housewives of BH is back soon my personal FAVE).

Be kind. We can get through this. We ARE all in this together. I miss you Madrid, can’t wait to dance in the streets again soon ❤️

The SummerMama x

Lost in Seville

Since we first moved to Spain back in October I’ve been longing to visit Seville.  I’d read and  heard so much about it and so I wanted to see it for myself . We finally managed to get there for a long weekend and it was worth the wait.  Spain has so much beauty and so many incredible cities, but this one for me is now probably my favourite (apart from Madrid of course)

We took the high-speed train from Madrid which took around 2 1/2 hours. The train is so smooth and so roomy it’s such an easy way to travel especially with children. Lila had room to play on her fold down tray – the play doh and lego were out in force, (then the iPad obvs) & the time passed by quickly. Before we knew it we had arrived.

Rather than stay right in the thick of it, we decided to stay at the Barcelo Sevilla Renacimiento Hotel (find on insta @barcelosevillarenacimiento )  which also had a swimming pool and was only a quick 10 minute cab ride into the centre of town. We always use Uber but they had a taxi rank outside too. As we were only here for a short time we booked a suite so we had the chance to close off once we put Lila to bed. She’s definitely not on Spanish time and still sticking to her UK bedtimes. The room was glorious and also had an outside patio area with a hot tub/Jacuzzi (we watched Love Island out there on the laptop – the ROMANCE!) . There is also a kids club every day, which we used once for an hour – as the rest of the time we were busy.  What’s not to love. Was kind of hard to tear ourselves away from the room but we definitely did and it was worth it.


After a good nights sleep we were up and out early to head to the Real Alcazar. If you’re a Game of Thrones fan (as you know I am) they filmed scenes here for the kingdom of Dorne. So I was already giddy with excitement at the thought of seeing this beauty for myself. I wasn’t disappointed.

I literally could have taken 1000 pictures it was breathtaking. Possibly the most beautiful place I have ever been to I really cannot express enough how much you must go here if you visit Seville. We didn’t buy tickets in advance but we did get there for opening, the queues had already formed but they moved very quickly so don’t be put off.

I honestly could have spent much longer there but as we had our four-year-old daughter with us we couldn’t. We left and headed for a wander around town and to find some lunch. We had the most wonderful Tapas and Paella before we headed back to the hotel for some afternoon sun.


Day 2 we set off out early again this time to the plaza de Espana. We go early to avoid the intense heat & the crowds to be honest. I’ve seen So many Pinterest images of the plaza de Espana in Seville, it really is a sight to see. It was like another world, from the flamenco dancers and horses & carriages riding around the square, tiled bridges, the boats on the water, the incredible tiled dedications to Spanish cities, the Fountain & of course the majestic Spanish architecture.

We then moved on for lunch, just a short walk away we found streets lined with bustling tapas bars & restaurants, we feasted on paella, Spanish tomato’s & cerveza in the shade to cool down in the afternoon heat. Try Calle Mateos Gago & close to the cathedral there are many gorgeous restaurants also.

All in all I cant recommend Seville, or Sevilla as we call it (living here) enough. I really felt like there was so much more to see,  we factor in having a small child who actually loves ‘adventuring’ as she calls it, but that’s because we know when to call it a day for her & make sure there’s plenty of child friendly activities in the days too. We will definitely be back and I can’t wait.

Thanks for reading,


The SummerMama Xx



Lost in Madrid- City break packing guide

There are so many city break packing guides out there, which are incredibly helpful. But as I live in the city, not only a hot one, but it’s also been named the second best European destination to visit in 2019 by none other than the travellers Bible, Lonely Planet, .…MADRID – here’s my low down! .

In the summer months it’s not uncommon for Madrid to reach 45 degrees, so be prepared for heat. Suncream! Lots of it. Apply as soon as you wake up and take with you on your travels. You’ll need it.

Extreme heat doesn’t mean you have to forgo fashion tho, get it right and you can be hot in style not temperature.

First of all, and this is very important, roll don’t fold. My husband is literally the best packer I have ever met & taught me this. It works. (He also does all our packing!) Also put undies/socks into shoes. You’d be amazed how many pairs of pants you can fit in shoes!!

Sunhat – I prefer a straw hat, they go with anything and can look so chic. Also keep you so cool and offer much needed protection from the sun. Paired with big sunnies you’re instantly looking chic & ready for alfresco tapas.

Sunglasses by Mango

I’ve got a few but my go to is an old H&M one, similar linked below

H&M sunhat

H&M straw hat

Cross body bag. Essential for your phone/purse etc. Like any big city Madrid does have pickpockets so be aware. A cross body bag is comfy to carry around all day and chic. My current favourite is by Boden & in a tan colour so goes with anything!

Boden bag

Wicker cross body bag

Linen. Linen is your friend! Paired with a denim mini or shorts, a white crisp linen shirt or dress is the ideal out and about in the city daytime outfit. The fabric just manages to keep you so cool and always looks crisp in the sunshine.

The perfect summer midi or maxi dress. Now you know I love swishy dress, and to me they are the perfect outfit to take you from day to night..

Top shop dress

Topshop dress

Comfy shoes! Now many people might prefer kicks for walking around all day however in the heat I do prefer some flat open toed sandals . Your feet can expand in the heat so make sure they are tried and tested comfy shoes. Or the on trend ‘dad’ sandals everyone is loving right now. You really do want to explore the city on foot it’s the best way to see all the incredible sights that Madrid has to offer. One pair of flats and a pair of heels or wedges for evening and that’s your shoes sorted!

Zara sandals

Loose lightweight trousers. I recently bought a beautiful paisley pair in Zara that work perfectly. Culottes or cropped linen trousers also work well and can be switched up from day to night by adding heels, big earrings, a simple vest top, and a change of hair.

Printed flares Zara

Also love these by Zara

It makes so much more sense to micropack these days, most people prefer to take hand luggage only on the plane. Try to plan out your wardrobe before you come laying everything out and how you could switch it up to work with other pieces that you’re taking.

In a nutshell I would take 2 dresses you can wear day or night, trousers, linen shirt & tee & the one lightweight jacket. The shoes & accessories as listed above. I haven’t created a blog here full of shopping links, it’s just a rough guide using my wardrobe, but you can see works well in Madrid .

Just remember to leave room for shopping! You’ll find lots of stores pricing cheaper out here with the euro.. Particularly Zara and mango they are definitely worth a visit and I think even better here being that they are Spanish brands. .

One last thing! Don’t forget your adapters. You need to charge your phone/iPad/camera. If you have more than one item to charge bring an extension lead rather than all fighting to use the one adaptor. (Most of our electronic items are uk plugs so we do this lots living in Spain)

Most of all have an amazing time! If you look good you’ll feel good & Madrid provides the perfect backdrop for your pictures.

Thanks for reading

The SummerMama x

Beautiful Brighton

Ahhh Brighton, that lovely pebbly seaside so close to London (55 minutes by train from Clapham Junction) & so full of memories & fun. We decided to take a trip there while we were home to make some new memories with our daughter as she is now four and old enough to enjoy the delights of Brighton.

We took my mum along too and found ourself a lovely air bnb we had pre booked before we left Madrid. Location and size were perfect. We always use Airbnb when we travel with our daughter, it always offers the most comfortable and relaxed accommodation for us. We’ve never been disappointed, and always found the accommodation to be a really high standard exactly as described.

We loved waking up to a sea view and walking out for coffee each morning breathing in that fresh sea air. It was the perfect calm little escape.

While we were there I also managed to fit in a visit to the Stephen Jones Hat exhibition in Brighton Royal Pavilion. I recommend it so much. An absolutely stunning building to look at, it was even more incredible inside. Unfortunately you’re not allowed to take pictures inside, so all I can say is If you are in Brighton please take a visit there before it closes. The hats are exquisite and you will recognise so many that you have seen on celebrities. I was so excited when I saw Kate Moss’s bunny ears hat there in front of me.

If you haven’t been to Brighton in a while, Or even at all, it’s definitely worth a visit. No matter what the weather, there is always so much to do and so much for families too. My daughter loved the pier, loved all the penny machines I even got my mum playing some of the quiz machines with us & my daughter loved pressing all the buttons. It was so much fun and such a sweet nostalgic way.

We went to The Lanes, had fish & chips on the beach & lots of artisan coffee. Made more memories. Laughed lots and slept well from all the sea air. Pretty much perfect. Oh Brighton you are special & we’ll be back soon.

Thanks for reading,

The SummerMama x

Shoreditch cool

We’ve just spent the weekend in Shoreditch & what a fantastic part of London it is. From the moment we exited the tube station for the short walk to our hotel it started. Colour, noise, bustle, amazing bars & restaurants and the hipsters, the achingly cool hipsters are everywhere. clearly this Mum on a weekend off fitted right in…..

We stayed at The Hoxton hotel, and loved it. Even tho at night the volume levels were that of a rave downstairs, it amazingly didn’t keep us up. I would definitely suggest asking for a higher room if you stay, we had the 2nd floor and it was genuinely ok like I said, but next time (and there will be the event we came for was rescheduled to August) we would go for a higher floor.

The Hoxton

We ate at @dishoom which was Incredible. I genuinely think I could eat anything from the menu (which I took home with me btw- I love looking at interesting menus). Everything we had was mouth watering & bursting with flavour. Just the right amount of spice & their dhal is to die for! I can’t wait to go back.


We also tried box park. I’ve never been to any of these before so I was really keen to see what it was all about. We had some nice dirty vegan chips which was perfect for a snack on the go!


Basically every corner you turn in Shoreditch & Brick lane has another artisan style coffee shop, vegan cafe, amazing eaterie, it’s a culinary delight without all the pomp.

…then there’s the Columbia Road Flower Market and all the great shops/stalls surrounding it. So busy, vibrant and colourful. Flea market finds galore and I could’ve spent hours browsing…. but alas we had to get back to the other side of London where the munch was awaiting us!

We stopped by at the gorgeous & quirky Courthouse Hotel for one last coffee. The bar in here has ‘cells’ you can hire our for privacy (not a party, they are v small) & brilliant artwork including the Mona Lisa behind bars.

The courthouse hotel

Just to clarify nothing in this blog was a gift or an ad. Just sharing where we stayed and what we enjoyed because we had the best time! If you’re thinking of a day trip or stay in London I do recommend it. Hope I’ve given you a taste of shoreditch cool.

Thanks for reading

The SummerMama x

Follow my daily fashion looks & lifestyle on Instagram TheSummerMama

6 Months in Madrid

Yes we’ve been here 6 months already! I can’t believe how fast it’s gone, it still feels so new..I still feel the excitement of new beginnings every morning when I wake up and look out the window at the blue Madrid sky

When we first moved here I was full of fear if I’m really honest. Stepping into the unknown not speaking the language Lila starting school being all alone no friends or family. But deep down I do know I’m braver than that. I’ve always been very independent. I knew that it could be lonely, but that was not going to effect my experience here in anyway. And it hasn’t.

When you don’t go to work every day you don’t find an immediate set of friends to socialise with. Not that I socialise much having a small child anyway to be fair. I haven’t felt lonely. I think in this day and age with so many means of contacting people you can always feel close to the people you love no matter where you are in the world.

I found settling in so much easier than I thought it would be. When we first moved here and up until a couple of weeks ago the weather was extremely cold just as it is back home in Surrey. It’s only now it’s starting to change that I feel such excitement for the summer ahead. I’m definitely an outdoorsy kind of person, and good weather does offer much more opportunity for doing these things.

Lila has settled really well. Like all kids she made new friends so easily. I knew she would be okay it was just such a big step starting school for the first time anyway, but then being surrounded by a different language once you hit the playground (it’s an English-speaking school/international school, however most of the children will obviously revert to their mother tongue in the playground) could’ve been extremely daunting for her. But she just took it in her stride. That’s my girl.

Our quest to discover more of Spain has gone well so far considering it’s been winter. We’ve made it to Valencia (as per my blog post) Segovia, and Toledo, as well as a few trips back home.

We’ve got a few more trips back home for family events and occasions, then Seville & Barcelona are next on our Spanish trip list. All are accessible by train from Madrid. This for me is one of the most amazing things about living here in Madrid. The fact that we really do appreciate every moment of our weekends. Lila is also getting to see and experience different things and enjoying them. Turns out for four years old she is an absolutely brilliant traveller. Although Lloyd and I are planning a cheeky trip to Copenhagen in the summer but we will be leaving the munch with my mum this time!

In general life just goes on as normal but you’re in a different city in different surroundings and of course with a different language. Now as you know we have been having lessons. Not often enough, and also I have not worked hard enough in my own time (or at all) to improve this. I’m quite hard on myself about this, but now realise when I read menus, or leaflets, I do actually understand some of what it saying. Whereas I had absolutely zero Spanish before. I guess this is where I’m at I’m not confident at all to have a full on conversation in Spanish, but I am getting by. And I still want to carry on learning obviously.

Personally for me the last few months have been so enjoyable and productive. My Instagram continues to gain a steady flow of new followers for which I am really grateful and the engagement is really good fun. In the last few months I have been so excited to work with a few brands that are so exciting! It really has been a successful year so far!

Thank you all for the lovely messages that you send me, I really do appreciate them!

Thanks for reading,

The Summer Mama

Style secrets with @kerryannemarlin

It’s International Woman’s Day 2019 & what a day to post!  I’m all about celebrating women and today I’m bringing you more ‘Style Secrets’ from the gorgeous & inspirational @kerryannemarlin .

I found Kerry’s account about a year ago now and was immediately girl crushing on her feminine style. She doesn’t follow the trends – she makes them her own. Kerry has a real appreciation of fashion, enjoying the fabrics and colours as much as the actual fit. Kerry engages with her followers daily via her stories, shes refreshingly honest & genuine, sharing tips on everything from how to look taller to how she edits her pics. She’s kindly answered a few questions for us to get to know more about her love of fashion and the woman behind the pictures.

Q. How do you describe your style?

A. I like quite feminine styles and love to dress up with heels and dresses on holidays, but a lot of the time I’m in joggers or jeans too if I’m doing errands or work from home.

Q. Which is your current favourite trend?

A. I’m still loving the silky slip skirt, but I’m obsessed with hairclips and accessories. You can be feeling not your ‘best’ or having a fat day, but you can always wear a hair clip.

Q. What’s your ‘go to’ item in your wardrobe?

A. A jumper dress – it’s so easy to wear and flattering, and I’ve been adding my Gucci tights which completely dresses it up. Actually although quite expensive for tights they are definitely something I go to if I want to dress up a bit more.


Q. Why did you start your Instagram?

A. Ages ago I just looked at it all the time as I’m obsessed with fashion, and it was another form of a magazine. I’d save pictures and get ideas and inspiration for outfits, and either try to copy them or but the actual outfit. I then thought I may as well try to post my own ideas. Although I look back now at my pictures and cringe, I think I look back every few months & cringe 😂.

Q. You also use YouTube & IGTV. Which is your favourite way to engage with your followers and why?

A. Although I do use YouTube and IGTV I think my favourite way is on stories. I love chatting and really feel like I’m just chatting with friends and having a laugh… Sometimes I do think I’m the only one finding this funny. You have to laugh at yourself sometimes 😂.

Q. Kerry you are a cancer survivor and your positive outlook & attitude to life is so inspiring. You’ve clearly gone through some incredibly difficult times. Do your followers reach out to you for support? .

A. This is one of the things I felt I wanted to share. I had a lot of women contact me who went through or are going through a tough time with cancer, or other problems, and I feel I need to share my story so they know it can be okay. As well as giving some insights as to what happens when you get diagnosed, I wanted to help people not feel so alone or scared. It was one of the places I found people in a similar situation and it helped me so much. Every now and then I get a message from someone having treatment, saying I made them laugh, or they liked a story, or I gave them some courage and it really makes it all worth it sharing the whole story.

Q. Who’s your style icon?.

A. I’ve always loved the looks of the blonde icons like Bridgette Bardot & I used to love Madonna in her blonde Vogue days. Kate Moss and Sienna Miller more recently. Always blondes as it seems.

Q. Money no object, what’s the one item you’d buy to add to your wardrobe? .

A. A Chanel bag. In white.

Q. Which are your current favourite high street stores?

A. &other stories, Top Shop & Mango.

Q. How’s the holiday drawer coming along? Any new purchases?.

A. 😂 I love the holiday drawer. Gives you something to plan for and look forward to. I splashed out and got a Cult Gaia dress, because I searched everywhere possible for something similar and nothing compared. I’ll show you when I go on holiday, if I actually get it booked. If I buy something that’s a bit pricey like this I always tried to sell a few things on eBay first, and also stop buying so many little tops and random things. It really does add up and you can buy one good thing rather than loads of cheap things.

Q. Finally, what’s your all time favourite item in your wardrobe?

A. My cat when she sleeps there ☺️

Jokes aside… At the moment it’s a dress I got from Net a Porter by Alice Temperley. I couldn’t really afford to get it but it went into the sale and kept getting discounted until it was 70% off. I’ve worn it every holiday I’ve been on and will wear it for years to come, it’s just the best silky material ever. It feels better that it was a bargain to. Feels like I achieved something😂

Oh and definitely my Primark pyjamas. Always Primark PJ’s .

Thank you so much Kerry for sharing your ‘Style Secrets’ with us. I’m definitely style crushing a little bit more now! It’s so lovely to find out more about you.

For daily outfit inspiration & more, follow Kerry on @kerryannemarlin

Thanks for reading

The Summer Mama


Style secrets with @40notfrumpy

Welcome to ‘Style Secrets’! I shall be doing a series of interviews with bloggers/Instagram accounts who will share with us their fashion tips. We follow them, we love their feed – so it’s great to get to know them a little more behind the squares . I’m delighted to bring you some of their ‘Style Secrets’ ….

I’m starting my series with Nikki from @40notfrumpy . Nikki is a Mum and musician from Surrey . I found Nikki when I started my Instagram account & I was looking for someone I could relate to, for achievable daily outfit inspiration, and that’s what 40 not frumpy is all about. She presents accessible style & always engages with her followers in an honest and open way.  Nikki gave me my first ever shout out on Instagram, and is always so supportive of other accounts.   I was delighted when she agreed straightaway to be interviewed, so here’s what I asked her:

Q. How do you describe your style in one sentence?

A. Rather underdressed than overdressed – chilled with an edge.

Q. Best piece of fashion advice you’ve been given?

A. Finding put what body shape I am really helped me – and learning to dress for it.  I’m an hourglass so fitted clothes suit me better than oversized.

Q. Whats your ‘go to’ item in your wardrobe?

A. Hard to say just one, but a good pair of jeans or well fitting blazer cant be beaten.

Q. Why did you start your instagram?

A.  I started it because I re-ignited my love of fashion and gained confidence after my 3 stone weight loss with Slimming World.

Also turning 40 around the same time was a positive thing, I truly believe that you dont have to be frumpy in your 40’s – hence the name ’40notfrumpy’.

Q. How do you cope with the pressure of a rapidly growing account?

A.  it was rapidly growing for a while but has slowed down a lot recently.  I see instagram as fun and as its not my main source of income I’m quite chilled about it.

Q. Nikki you’re a talented composer.  Can you tell us a little about that?

A. Ahh thanks!  I’ve been playing piano since I was 3, and composing since I was 6! I’ve played and sung live in many bands over the years and teach piano.  I’ve been writing music for TV for the past few years, particularly for Mary Berry.  Its an Honour.

Q. Can you share a couple of ‘ones to watch on Insta?’ A shout out to any smaller account or brands you are currently loving?

A. I always love music related brands and am a huge fan of Disko Kids.  I also love Rock the Jumpsuit – the brands style is so cool.

Q. Money no object, whats the one item you’d buy to add to your wardrobe?

A. A Chanel bag – classic

Q. What are your current high street faves?

A. Zara!!! Possibly too much.. Topshop, Oasis, Mango, H&M & Warehouse.

Q. Finally, whats your favourite item in your wardrobe and why?

A. At the moment its probably my All Saints biker.  Edges up dresses and Looks great with jeans.

Thanks so much Nikki for sharing your style secrets with us.  You can follow Nikki on @40notfrumpy for more daily fashion inspiration.

Thanks for reading

The Summer Mama xx


Beautiful Valencia

In December we took a mini break to Valencia. We took the train from Madrid which took less than 2 hours, and stayed in the old town. We rented an air b&b apartment which is always my preferred accommodation when travelling with children. It’s so much easier having your own space, kitchen, separate rooms etc to enable everyone to settle in new surroundings. The apartment we rented was owned by the most helpful couple (honestly they were incredible, & provided any info you could possibly need) and in the perfect location. Such beautiful rustic decor it really felt homely and I’m happy to pass on details should anyone be looking to visit Valencia. I did have a few messages from you while I was there, saying that you were coming or were planning to. You will have a fabulous time, so here’s a little taster….

Valencia old town is full of street art, beautiful buildings & churches and the climate is good all year round. In summer it does get incredibly hot but in December it was 18 degrees most days so absolutely perfect.

We really just wanted some time together away from everything to regroup. It’s been a crazy few months with the move to Spain, sorting our house back in Surrey, Lila starting school & adapting to a totally new way of life. We spent our days exploring, eating and as standard with a 4 year old plenty of play-park action too. Valencia is famous for paella, it’s the home of paella. Paella is traditionally served with rabbit (I didnt know this) but honestly I’m not a fan so couldn’t try it to write up on it, but if you are- you will find the best of the best here.

We also visited the most stunning Aquarium called Oceanografic. I totally recommend a visit, with or without children it’s incredible.

It was just what we needed and a new experience for me to walk around jacket free in December. We will definitely be back whilst we are here in Spain.

I hope I’ve given you a little taste of Valencia. We are definitely going back later in the year. We only took 3 days, & there is so much more to see. The next trip we will take will be Seville, early in the year as again it gets incredibly hot and we want to explore. I just want to see so much more of Spain, and there’s a lot of it!

Have a great week, thanks for reading

The SummerMama x

Finding my way

Hola! 6 weeks into our adventure and I’m definitely starting to find my way in Madrid. We’ve had our first visitor already, my mum came out for 2 weeks which was really wonderful and we shared some Madrid moments together.

I’ll be honest, it’s been easier than I thought. The language is my biggest obstacle, and I finally had my first lesson last week so delighted that I’ve made a start. Our Spanish teacher is ace, so here’s hoping it goes ok as the first lesson was fun,  – but confusing. I only studied French and a bit of Italian at school. So many people said to me ‘oh if you know French you’ll be fine with Spanish it’s very similar. It. Isn’t. That’s all!!

Having Mum here was great tho, for many reasons not least I had to take control and show her around my new city. Navigating the Metro system has been super easy and there is just so much to do in Madrid. I think the architecture alone thrilled my mum as it is incredible.

I’ve found a new confidence in myself, getting out & about, mainly on my own. Literally armed with my iPhone (thank god for google maps is all I’m saying) I make a new list every week of where I want to go, (I do love a list) I need to make the most of our time here, experience a different life, I still have to pinch myself sometimes that I am here!

Moving here was not without fear and doubt. It caused many a sleepless night full of anxiety, worrying for my daughter, for me, for us? I mean I’d never even done the travelling thing, the longest I’d been out of the country was for 3 weeks and that was my honeymoon. But it has been incredible so far. We seemed to have found our groove Spanish style. My daughter is adapting really well and although I miss my family and friends very much- thank god for WhatsApp & besties,!I still feel very close to them all.

A darling friend I used to work with was over here on business so an impromptu meet up with her, as well as having friends visits booked in for the near future also lifts the spirits. I’m so looking forward to showing them around and of course, the shopping. Zara and Mango are AMAZING here, slightly cheaper and far too close to my house. Meh. Lots of trying not buying going on, my self control is severely tested out here but I’m managing!

The differences between life here and back in Surrey are mainly moving from the burbs to a built up city, we are bang in the middle of it here but I love it. And simple things like I Watch a lot less telly, I never watched a huge amount anyway but it’s literally not even on at all till late evening. I get out every day & have never been busier. I thought with Lila out all day now at school it would drag, but I didn’t know Madrid then did I…❤️ I’m having my Carrie moment, except it’s not Paris it’s Madrid, the man, the love of my life, never let’s go. Most importantly it’s not Carrie it’s Adeline & I’ve got this.

Have a fabulous week all

Thanks for reading

The SummerMama