Hola Madrid

Well we are here at last. New Home, new school, new country. It’s been wonderful, confusing, exciting and daunting, but we did it! Now the Spanish adventure begins.

We found our apartment before we moved here so it didn’t feel unfamiliar arriving here on that Sunday evening. We had a couple of days before our daughter started school so we tried to get settled as soon as we could. Our removal men turned up with our belongings on the Monday morning so the unpacking began and it really began to feel like home with our bits in place.

Personally my biggest challenge was going to be settling my daughter into school. A summer born starting school as the youngest in her class could have been difficult anyway but in totally unfamiliar surroundings it did prove to be tough. We’ve had an extended summer just us two, so the separation anxiety was bound to kick in. It did. But I’m pleased to say after a week and a half things are getting better. She’s going to a wonderful international school following the English curriculum with the loveliest class of mixed nationalities & is loving her new friends, not so much the long days.

Now the language. I don’t speak Spanish, and you do need it in Madrid. We will be having lessons and I honestly can’t wait to start them. The pointing and gesturing in order to communicate it’s comical at times and I’m just glad the Spanish people are patient and have a good sense of humour.

There is so much to see & do in Madrid and at this stage I’m not the official tour guide, but I will share my discoveries and city style with you along the way..

The food is incredible. No one does tomatoes like the Spanish. We are really into healthy eating and that’s so easy to do out here. But that’s a whole other blogpost….

Madrid is a very built up city, but it does have a stunning park called Retiro Park, which has playparks, open space, a lake for boating & scooters! This is definitely our Sunday favourite so far..

There is also always something going on in Madrid! In the space of 2 weeks we’ve had the King of Spain pass by our street in a huge parade, a fly by over our terrace (we are the top floor) closer than I’ve ever seen!!! Real Madrid playing at home & the Madrid 10k.

It’s a super busy neighbourhood & adjusting to city life has been really easy. We’ve also found a beautiful local park, which I’ll be popping to most afternoons after school. I’ll always miss leafy Surrey but having found this gorgeous park so close it’s like a little bit of home on our doorstep.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading & these Madrid moments. I’ll be sharing lots more of our journey along the way.

Thanks for reading

The SummerMama x

The SummerMama in Madrid

So as you may know from my Instagram account we are about to have a serious adventure. We are off to sunny Madrid for a couple of years.

My husband was offered a fantastic opportunity and we have decided as a family it will be amazing for us all. My daughter will go to an international school and learn Spanish. I personally think it’s incredible that she will speak another language fluently in a year. Such a gift to speak another language. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and now we all have that chance to learn.

Aside from that Madrid is such a special City. I’ve been over a couple of times now to get my bearings and we’ve found an apartment in El Viso, right next to the Bernabeu, so I’ve decided to invest in football and get behind Real Madrid – seeing as I literally live behind their stadium. On a personal level for me, I plan on investing in my blog and documenting life in Madrid, sharing this adventure with you as I discover this city.

I’ve never lived anywhere other than the UK. It’s going to be a learning curve, exciting, overwhelming, interesting and the most fun journey for the 3 of us.

So I’d love to share this with you via my blog. From moving to a new apartment in a new city in a new country, to the first day of school for Lila and navigating my way round. I’ll be taking pictures galore and obviously still posting my OOTD in my new surroundings for my Instagram but also you’ll find more day to day life on my blog.

I hope you’ll enjoy reading ..

The SummerMama xxx

Nobody puts baby in the corner

So, at the grand old age of 3 years and 9 months we took our ‘baby’ to her first wedding on Saturday.

Now we have been to a few weddings since she was born but always felt she was a little too young and needing naps etc (& being a difficult sleeper) it just wouldn’t be any fun for any of us on someone’s truly special day.

We really felt she was now ready to enjoy the day as much as us, and friends kindly invited us all – so we made the long trip up north & made a weekend of it.

We regularly use Air B&B. Travelling with children this usually works best ( we’ve used it all over the world from home to South Africa and it’s always worked out well) so we were delighted when we finally arrived at our little house in the town of Nantwich.

such a cute town, the house was situated next to a stunning church, with VERY LOUD church bells ringing out every 15 minutes. Didn’t stop any of sleeping thank goodness! We arrived on the Friday evening in glorious sunshine and went for a walk to explore the town. My daughter settled down for the night with ease which is always a relief when staying somewhere different.

Up early the next morning we had a nice relaxing morning before we got ready for the wedding. I wore my beloved Lily & Lionel dress with a straw hat from H&M that I accessorised with a huge white rose & my beautiful bamboo bag from Shop Glamour items. I was going for a boho chic 70’s look. Knowing I would be on Mum duties all day I wanted a comfortable look so I could run around with her but still look wedding glam.

Lily and Lionel dress

Glamour Items bag

My daughter wore a little lightweight white dress from Next, along with her little straw sunhat from TK Maxx and I think she got quite into the excitement of dressing up.

To the church! We took a seat to the back to ensure easy departure with minimal fuss should anything happen. But she was a dream. We did bring books to entertain her, and snacks for bribery, and we were able to enjoy the wedding in one of the most beautiful churches I’ve ever been in.

The reception was held in a marquee in the grounds of a beautiful stately home called Dorfold Hall . There was so much space for her to run around in, and the weather was beautiful it was so much fun for her and I managed a cheeky prosecco! We bought her ball and bubbles with us which were perfect in this setting.

Dorfold Hall

The day went so well, our friends had arranged a special menu for her and my husband got to have his ‘first dance’ with his daughter. Which was so special, even tho she was miss popular with the guests and everyone wanted to dance with her.

It was such a beautiful day, the bride & groom looked stunning and everyone there could not have been more welcoming. We bought the iPad with us but it turned out we didn’t even need to use it. I wouldn’t hesitate to bring her to another wedding now and felt I enjoyed the day more having her there. Obviously I had to leave early but my husband stayed on (as they were his old friends) but my daughter and I went home very happy. Full of food & lovely memories.

thanks for reading

The SummerMama

Any dietary requirements?

Vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, meat eater, dairy free, sugar free, gluten free……..taste free? No! There are so many different lifestyle choices out there now it’s a bit of a minefield, but this is my story.

So I’ve always tried to make mainly healthy choices. I love food, I love cooking, but I also really loved a good steak, served with spinach and glass of red more than anything else. I started to question my meat consumption when my dad passed away. He was diagnosed with colon cancer & passed away a few weeks later. Im not going to talk any further about that right now, just that it started me thinking far more seriously about Diet, particularly red meat/processed meat consumption, which is a factor in these type of cancers…and many more illnesses as it turns out.

When I spoke to my husband about having a couple of vegan nights a week he looked mortified, as a meat eating South African this was trash talk to him. I drastically reduced my red meat intake, and slowly he did too by default. I always assumed, like everyone, that fish and chicken are healthy right? Think again.

I am not here to dictate to you, nor am I a doctor or nutritional expert, but I can tell you if you want to know a bit more about animal protein, and what good it does for us, turns out none, it’s really simple to access this info.

I really recommend watching ‘what the health’ and ‘forks over knives’ on Netflix. If nothing else it will literally give you food for thought.

No other animal continues to drink milk once weaned. However humans choose to drink milk as adults, milk that is made for rapidly developing a calf into a fully grown cow in a matter of months…. does that sound right? .

I’ve always thought of us as being omnivores, having a varied diet, but when you look into it we share none of the same characteristics as our omnivore counterparts….. our jaws move sideways not up & down, we have no teeth that can tear raw flesh, and just think how appealing a blended smoothie of raw fruit or veg is compared to a raw fish smoothie?

Our intestines are long, to slowly digest plants, not short like a lion, to quickly digest flesh before it decays. We are naturally not made to eat meat. Just sayin…

So we decided after a long holiday in South Africa feasting on steak off the braai every night, to make a change, to try it. The move to vegan is immense, it’s cutting out all animal products. It’s dedicated. I decided to try a ‘mainly Plant based diet’ I’m doing this for health reasons not ethical. It’s my choice. I haven’t looked back.

I’ve been meat free now for 2 months. I’ve given up eggs ( I swore I wouldn’t be able to yet here I am) I’ve swapped cows milk to coconut milk (smoothies/ porridge) & unsweetened almond milk (better in coffee). Every morning I have a smoothie, delicious and getting my 5 a day in on one go & porridge with honey, cinnamon, seeds, banana. My lunches and dinners have not changed drastically. My stir fry’s have added grains and spices, curry’s taste better with so much flavour. We make our own veggie burgers, falafel, soup. So much more thought goes into food now it’s so much more enjoyable.

It can be tricky eating out, I mean as in boring! Most things are covered in cheese or fish is the veggie option but vegan can be a lot harder. It’s getting better though. So many more Vegan restaurants are around now and vegan food fairs are a plenty. It’s exciting to try new foods and recipes too.

The reaction I didn’t expect was when telling friends or family. Particularly friends who follow such extreme high protein diets of red meat & eggs every day. Comments like ‘I’ve never met a healthy vegan’ hmmm, I think Venus Williams & Lewis Hamilton are as healthy as you can be tbh, – to ‘but it’s not natural- just a fad’ – that fads been around a long time, Albert Einstein was a vegan. But it just show how we are programmed to believe we must eat meat.

Do I feel different? Not drastically no, my skin is definitely clearer & brighter. I don’t miss meat. In fact I actually don’t want it at all. If you’re considering making the change I would say go for it, you’ve got nothing to lose. Cutting out animal products & processed food from your diet has been shown to significantly reduce risk of major diseases. Its also a lifestyle that one can adapt to long term, rather than short term fad dieting. The upside is massive! If you are reading this thank you, I hope you might consider trying it even just for a month. How about starting with one vegan day a week?

I really believe in 10 years time this will be more the norm rather than the exception.

Thanks for reading

The SummerMama

X

The Season

An afternoon at The Atrium in Camberley..

The Season is upon us, Ascot, Henley, the Polo, weddings galore and hopefully good weather to enjoy all these events. As we all know the most important part of any of these fabulous days out is The Fashion!!! Finding the perfect outfit can require a great deal of searching, and here at The Atrium in Camberley you will find what you are looking for. There are so many great options available as I found out when I spent an afternoon scouring the stores for my favourites to carry you through any event this season.

First stop, Next! I immediately spotted a polka dot dress which I knew would be perfect. The classic polka dot never goes out of style, is an absolute favourite of mine and I would pair this dress with a huge white straw hat and wedges for a stunning daytime look for the races or polo. You can add a flower corsage or colour pop with vibrant accessories. It’s a dress with which you can change the whole look with different colour accessories with each wear…

Dress, Next, £25.00

Next stop H&M, my favourite high street store, I never come away from here empty handed. I found dresses and separates that would work to carry you through from day to night, and better still can be worn again & again..

All of the above are currently in store.

Laura Ashley is a great store for beautiful floral prints, perfect for Ascot, Polo and Summer weddings . I found these dresses in varying lengths, which are comfortable yet chic.

Now to finish off your look how about a stunning piece of arm candy from Pandora. I adore the charm bracelets & tried a couple that would perfectly compliment any of the above outfits. The PANDORA team are so helpful & will help you to add those finishing touches to your look with statement earrings, a dress ring & of course those charming bracelets.

Now finally, gentlemen I haven’t forgotten you. Moss Bros is perfectly ‘suited’ for these events…

Whatever the occasion they will have the perfect look for you using their Tailor Me service.

The Tailor Me allows you to pick from any suit in-store or an extensive fabric selection book as a starting point, to be tailored to your individual taste. The service is fast; it can be completed during your lunch break – with no appointment needed!

In just four simple steps: picking your fabric, choosing your fit, getting measured and selecting your styling options. Your suit is then individually crafted and ready for collection within just 30 days. All for only an extra £100 on the base price of the suit.

As for your event – dress codes can vary. Hats are not always required but dress lengths can be very particular. Don’t be afraid to wear print or separates. But mainly I do hope you have as much fun as I did selecting these outfits.

Thanks for reading

The SummerMama x

The Atrium is in Camberley, Surrey. This post is in collaboration with Bewonder, all words and pictures are my own.

http://www.theatrium-camberley.com

Cape Town Diaries -Table Mountain

Cape Town and Table Mountain are often said in the same sentence, and it’s no wonder why when you actually see it and how much of a part of Cape Town it is. You can see it no matter where you are. It’s really quite breathtaking & deserves a post of its own.

For those who don’t know, Table Mountain got its name for its uncanny resemblance to, you guessed it….a table. The official inauguration of Table Mountain as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature took place at a ceremony held at the foot of the mountain on Sunday, 2 December 2012.

Being married to a South African who grew up with a view of Table Mountain from his childhood bedroom window, it’s very sentimental to him. We always joked when we had our baby he would take her home, to the top of Table Mountain and hold her up lion king style, and he did! It’s now a tradition and we’ll do it every time we go back until she’s too big or it just looks plain weird 😂, but for now she loves it too…

The only issue I have with Table Mountain, is my ridiculous fear of heights and the fact I have to get the cable car up there. It’s high. Very very high. But I made it again and I’m so glad I did. Just a word of warning tho, it’s a long long queue to get in said cable car, so you’ve got lots of time to think (panic) about it before you get on….

But it’s so worth it. Views like nothing else

You really need to see it to believe it, it’s spectacular. It was a beautiful clear day and you really could see for miles.

This brings me to the end of my short series of Cape Town diary blogs. Although this by no means captures my entire trip, these were some of the highlights I really wanted to share with you. If you are planning a trip to Cape Town, with or without children, and would like any tips or more information I’d love to hear from you. The food, people and general scenery is so incredible I can’t recommend it enough.

We’ve had another incredible trip and I can’t wait till next time, see you in another 2 years Cape Town ❤️

Thanks for reading

The SummerMama x

Cape Town Diaries – Vineyards & Gardens

Ahh the famous South African wine. You simply cannot come to South Africa and not visit a winery & the area of Constantia in Cape Town is world famous for its wine production, so a little wine tasting session is a must.

There are many tours you can do, on our last trip to SA 2 years ago we had childcare so did a full day of tours visiting 4 different winery’s, not only was the wine delicious but it was fascinating to see the whole process of wine production. One of the many things I loved was the fact they play music to the vines. Happy vines- great wine!

So this time as we had our 3 year old daughter with us we decided to visit the Constantia Glen winery for lunch and a small wine & chocolate tasting. It’s a very picturesque boutique wine estate in stunning surroundings. Let me just say I felt very comfortable in these surroundings. Wine, Sun, great food, what’s not to love???

Constantia Glen

It cost just £6 for a 3 wine & chocolate tasting which was utterly delicious & of course we bought a bottle to take home. The sun was shining and we dined outside it was such a perfect setting. My husband & I have always said we would do a wedding blessing & party on our 10th wedding anniversary in South Africa & a vineyard is a great place for a party. We loved it here and it’s definitely on the shortlist.

Next stop was the beautiful Kirstenbosch Botanical gardens. We went to meet some family for a picnic but got there early enough to have a good walk around first. It always reminds me of Jurassic Park, minus the dinosaurs Obvs. It’s so lush, green and overlooked by table mountain it’s really quite breathtaking.

kirstenbosch also offers live music performances on Sunday afternoons.. Gather your picnic baskets and blankets,  meet with friends and family, enjoy the stunning surroundings to live music.

As long as I come back to Cape Town I’ll always find time to visit these beautiful gardens. They’re just magical.

Thanks for reading

The SummerMama x

Cape Town diaries – Boulders Beach

Boulders beach is somewhere I have always wanted to go, but somehow we didn’t make it last time we came to South Africa, so this time I was determined to see those penguins.

Boulders beach is in Simon’s Town, around 45 minutes drive from Camps Bay where we are staying, so we set off early on rather a grey day, which sadly took away from the fantastic views you get on this drive.

However nothing could distract from the penguins. Just amazing to see them free & happy, and we were the ones behind the fence. They are so relaxed and you can get quite close to them, it seems everyone has a healthy respect and doesn’t bother them either. It was fantastic to make it there and my daughter absolutely loved it too.

The sun then made an appearance just as we settled on the beach for a picnic & a paddle.

Thanks for reading

The SummerMama xx

Cape Town diaries – Bo Kaap

Bo Kaap – Today we went to check out the famous Bo Kaap. It’s an area known for its colourful buildings but there’s so much more to this area than pretty pastel houses.

The Malay Quarter, known by some as “Bo-Kaap” and built largely by and for the artisans of Cape Town between 1790 and 1825, was subsequently occupied by people of the Moslem faith. Liberated slaves moved into the area after 1834 and with them Malay people who had been living in the town. Over the years the area has come to be identified as the heart of the cultural life of the Malay people. Major influences of their life in the Cape have been their religion, the culture of their forebears, visits to Mecca and the Dutch and English colonists.

Skills and talents passed down from generation to generation accompanied the malay people. Not only skilled craftsman but superb cooks and cuisines blossomed. The Cape Malay Cuisine are not only delicious but unique and has played a huge role in South African dishes. The dishes are a combination of asian, arab and european which makes people view food in a different light.

Just a 10 min drive from Camps Bay where we are staying we decided to spend the morning there and then wander round the Green Market Square and Church Street for excellent coffee at Mozart’s.

As you can see from the pictures this was another fabulous day in Cape Town …

Thanks for reading

The SummerMama xx

The SummerMama’s day gift guide

The fabulous day that is Mother’s Day is almost upon us. It’s such an incredibly special day. I’ve always loved to spoil my mum and let her know how much she is loved, I know we don’t need a day to do this, but I adore the reminder of just how special mums are. They are the unconditional giver of love, our best friends, our biggest supporters, but we do take them for granted & it’s since becoming a Mum myself, like lots of others, that I truly understand a Mother’s love. So many Mother’s days passed where I felt very incredibly sad, I worried I would never become a mother & the ache would never leave. Now each Mother’s Day I still pinch myself this little lady is mine, my daughter, my world.

So on Mother’s Day Just a kiss from her fills me with so much joy, – my husband always gets me a gorgeous little treat. This year I shall be in South Africa for Mother’s Day, so I’ve put together this little collection of beauties that I am lusting after & maybe I can inspire you too.

On my first Mother’s Day as a mama, my husband bought me a necklace & pendant engraved with my daughters initial from @poshtottydesigns and I wear it nearly every day. You’ve probably seen it in lots of my daily outfit posts. They’re currently offering a fantastic 20% Mother’s Day discount. Go go go…

Posh Totty designs

Tshirt by Muthahood

Without any doubt my strong girls club t-shirt above by @muthahood is always going to make any mama smile. I’ve even got the mini version for the munch. Twinning is winning.

Being a skincare junkie I had to include the Sunday Riley Luna sleeping night oil. I’ve read so much about this incredible oil, what better present to give that sleep deprived mama. It’s not cheap at £85 but is dubbed sleep in a jar.

Sunday Riley at Net-a-porter

This @Hariandthegang pink hoodie (available to pre order from today) I mean 💕… I truly love this brand and the hoodies are just so soft. This new shade in the softest pink is everything.

Hari and the gang

The ASOS beauty box is just £12- A fantastic selection of face packs, eye treatments and general beautifying magic. More detail on my Instagram stories but a fantastic price for a much deserved pamper in a box.

Asos

The list goes on but I won’t, …I’ll let the pictures do the talking..,

Braided design mules – Mango

Days of the week jumper by @loveandlemon Loveandlemon

Die cut basket Zara

double hoop wall hanging BHS

Bracelet by @haniajewelery Hania jewellery

Wildflower by @kemitelford Kemi Telford

Earrings by Kenneth Jay Lane Net-a-porter

Hyacinth gift bag Marks and Spencer

Tshirt by @latotch Latotch

Wicker handbag Zara

Gucci bloom – Available nationwide

marble notebook BHS

Necklace Mango

Ugg slippers Ugg.com

Print- John Lewis

bag Kemi Telford

Set of 3 scented candles – Aldi

Kate Moss book – Net-A-Porter

Breakfast in bed, made by anyone – just not mum!

To be honest the only thing I want for Mother’s Day is for my mum to be happy & healthy and lots of giggles (and maybe a lie in) & cuddles from my girl. But any of the above would be a bonus.

Happy day of the Mother to you all. In whatever capacity you are, married, single, step mum, as good as a Mum, about to become a Mum, or trying to be a Mum,…we are all brilliant 💕

thanks for reading,

The SummerMama xx