Going Out In The Midday Sun by Kate. A. Hardy #bahlsenbookclub review


Going Out In The Midday Sun is a really good read. It’s based around the lives of four Londoners in the late 90s, and their lives all interweave with each other. Here’s the blurb:

Four Londoners out of 8 million – through a series of coincidences their lives begin to intertwine. . . Set in the ‘halcyon’ days of the late nineties, heading towards the great millennium . . . Going out in the midday sun is part one of a trilogy spanning twenty years, in which the heroes are challenged with the everyday – love, babies, earning, family disputes – as well as a new life in France, a communal enterprise, astonishing amounts of bureaucracy, duck gizzard salad, and possibly the end of the world.

It’s a refreshing book that plays with this kind of storyline. Things happen where the characters follow their hearts, not their heads and you are just willing them to do it. There are the set stereotype of characters (the gay one, the unrequited love, the unlucky in love singletons, the people wondering where there life is going…) but that’s where the stereotype stops in my opinion. The characters are well written and you really get to know them. They become people you have a vested interest in, and at no point did I question what they were doing – as in they made choices which seemed natural for the character to do. The book is filled with moments humour, sadness and also of sexual tension, it’s written really well and is not cringey at all. I love all the nostalgia that the book brings back to me, and the way the lives of the characters weave around each other. It’s a true escapism book, and I was really drawn to the characters which made me want to keep reading. There was just something about this book which really appealed to me.

I am really pleased that there are more books to read, as this is the first book in a trilogy which spans over 20 years. I am really looking forward to seeing where these stories go. I would rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.

I was sent this book as part of the Bahlsen Book Club. All thoughts and Opinions are my own


My Five Favourite Beauty Products

Anyone reading this sporadic blog will realise I don’t normally write about beauty. But I want to write what’s interesting me and at the moment it’s beauty. Being 31, a sleep deprived mother of one, the last two years feeling like I’m walking through treacle, beauty and using beauty products was not really in my mind. I was a mess, frankly. I’ve never been too into beauty but before having a baby I did slap on the mascara and brushed my hair on a daily basis.

So, this new year, I started to make some changes. First of all, I started to wear clothes that weren’t crusty and covered in squished mini rolls to work or when I was going out. Losing weight has helped as it’s meant I can get into things that were a bit tight before. Feeling comfortable in what I wear is really important to me.

Keep it straight

Secondly, I dusted off my straightener. I have no idea why but after having Nancy, my hair started to frizz and sprout these ugly little twisty tufts by my ears and around my face – why the hell did this happen? For ages I wondered what the hell I could do about these ugly tufts but then I remembered I had a straighter, and it has really made my hair look normal. I’ve also used John Frieda Smooth Start shampoo and conditioner which has really helped, and the Daily Miracle leave in conditioner is amazing.

Hand cream

I’m in a job where washing my hands or covering them in alcohol gel occurs frequently throughout the day. This means my hands are getting dry, and what with the cold weather, they were getting a little haggard. I got some lovely hand cream for Christmas, Body Shop Honeymania – it smells gorgeous and sinks in really nicely and quickly – ideal at work.

Lip balm

Similar issues in that my lips were getting dry and cracked due to the winter weather. Burts Bees ultra conditioning lip balm is amazing. It almost feels tingly on my lips so to me that means it must be working.

Body shop cool vitamin E BB cream Glowing

Now I have to wonder why the Hell it took so long for me to find and use BB cream. This stuff more or less reconstructs my face so that it doesn’t look like I’m the living dead. I’ve found it very easy to apply, and once it’s on, I forget I’ve even put it on – it feels very light. I love it.

Nail varnish

I’ve always loved nail varnish and have always tried to keep my nails looking nice. Saying that, the pink nail varnish I slapped on my feet a week before I had the baby probably stayed there for over 9 months. I’ve rediscovered my nails recently and I am loving the Nails Inc colours. I was lucky to get some for Christmas – a current favourite is a grey called Hyde park place.

So, there you have it. These gems are bringing the sexy back. Or I should just say the Emily back. I am feeling so much better about myself. Oh, and I know I’ve listed more than 5, but nobody’s perfect.

Second Life by SJ Watson Book Review

I was so lucky to receive a an advance copy of Second Life by SJ Watson. I loved Before I Go To Sleep so was very excited to see what SJ’s second novel would bring us.

Here’s the blurb:

She loves her husband. She’s obsessed by a stranger.

She’s a devoted mother. She’s prepared to lose everything.

She knows what she’s doing. She’s out of control.

She’s innocent. She’s guilty as sin.

She’s living two lives. She might lose both . . .

This book is full of tension from the beginning. When Julia’s sister is murdered, it starts a chain of events which lead Julia down a path she never thought she’d go down. Julia has a good life with her husband and adopted son, Conner. However, the death of her sister, Kate, hits her hard, and she wants answers about her sisters death. When Julia finds out Kate’s life and her secrets, she starts trying to find out whether she can identify her sisters killer. By doing this, the decisions she makes changes her life forever.

It’s so hard writing about this book and not giving spoilers away. However, when you start reading you assume you know where this book is going to go, and then things start to change and you realise it’s not about what you think at all. I loved the book, the tension was built throughout and it keeps you guessing. However, there were a few plot twists that I felt didn’t really fit or were a bit too coincidental – it verged on the unbelievable for me, but I felt the rest of the book is so good that you can overlook this. The ending of the book is a real show stopper and leaves you wanting more, and asking questions.

I didn’t really identify with Julia, and at times found her a bit annoying. I felt that at times she couldn’t see or work out which things I did, which were a bit obvious. Her decision making ability is also tortuous and some decisions she makes, you want to scream “no!” At her, especially towards the end of the book.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book. It’s got the same ability to make you want to just sit and read the whole book in one setting. It’s gripping, and interesting plot and whilst I wasn’t overly keen on the ending, it does the book justice. I love a book with tension, keeping you guessing and when you try and work things out as you read along, and this book is exactly that.

I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Second Life by S J Watson is published on 12th February by Doubleday

Last week…week 2


I seem to be racing ahead with my books this week, I have read three now this year, so doing very well! I finished Second Life by SJ Watson, a great read and the review will be on the blog very soon. It was a real page turner and full of tension, loved it.

The other book this week is Going Out in the Midday Sun by Kate Hardy which is the book I’ve been reading for the Bahlsen Book Club. I really enjoyed this book, set in the late 90s and about a group of people who’s lives intermingle by chance. It was easy to read and well written. Again full review up very soon!


This week has been very tiring. We lost Nancy’s dummy (or diddy as it’s known in these parts) on Monday, and ever since then we have been going cold turkey. She has actually coped really well, and we haven’t had many tears. Getting to sleep can be tricky though, with bedtimes going on for over 2 hours. It’s starting to settle a bit now.

She’s also starting to get interested in using the potty. At times she will refuse to wear her nappy, and we have had some successes using the potty too. I’m just taking my lead from her and making it a gradual process.


I’m feeling really good at the moment, very positive and happy in myself. It helps that Im fitting into clothes better, bought some nice clothes with Christmas money, and I’m taking the time to look after myself and my appearance better such as painting my nails, using my straighteners and wearing jewellery again.

I’m really pleased with how I’m doing with weight watchers, I’m focusing on veg, trying to eat fruit and/or veg with every meal. I’m happy counting my pro points again, i feel I have my mojo back and my self control. December was a total write off so I was glad I only put 4lb on over Christmas, and I managed to lose this last week. So I’m very pleased with myself :)

This is a short but sweet little update, a day late, but never mind! See you next week x

Last week – Week 1

What’s been happening in Tealady land this past week….

This last week I have been reading lots! Over Christmas I was keen to read a few books and I managed to get quite a few read. Last week I finished Ajax Penumbra 1969 which is a fab prequel to Mr Penumbras 24 Hour Book Store. It was a good if short read, really I’d liked to have had a bit more depth to the story but it was not a bad book. I have also read Stardust by Neil Gaiman. This is the book that the film Stardust is based on. I love the film, so was intrigued by the book. Well, the book is totally different to the film, and I loved it. A lively magical fairy tale which was also a refreshing take on that sort of genre. I really loved it. I’m currently reading Second Life by SJ Watson. This is an amazing book, so tense and a real thriller. I am really enjoying it. I will be writing a review of all the books I read this month so keep an eye out for them on the blog soon. I am also looking for some recommendations for things to read this year. My goodreads target is 60 books and I am determined to reach it – last year I got to 35/40 but I could’ve done it I think if I’d just put a but more effort in, hence upping the target this year.

The last few weeks have been lovely. I do feel like I have relaxed and started to get back to normal again after the stress of what happened over December. I surprised myself in a way by getting straight back on my weight watchers wagon and tracking and starting again. December was pretty much a write off, but I only have a 4lb gain to show for it, I think that shows how I have changed as a person, I am sure at one time I could have easily put on a stone in the same amount of time. Anyway, I am motivated and quite happy, I just hope I show a loss next week as I haven’t seen one for so long! I think this week will be mainly filling and healthy, I need to cut out the crap and try and eat a bit cleaner. I need to write up a menu for the week and plan my treats too. I am also starting my tap dancing lessons again on Wednesday which I am really pleased about, time to get active and have fun. Nothing should stop me now, I need to get organised and focus on what and where I want to be this year. I am making this year count.

Already I have a few events to look forward to this year and places to go. I am making it my mission to get out there, see friends, see sights, go to places I have always wanted to go, revisit some places as well. So I’ve made a good start!

Some people know (especially if you follow on twitter) that I love comping. I have been comping since I was pregnant, but not very seriously, just when I can, and I’ve been fairly successful over the last two years – nothing big but things I like. Last year I won things such as a 9 month subscription to Abel and cole, jewellery, tickets to events, books and during the advent competition madness I won X factor live tickets, candles, goody bag, cinema tickets, a £200 hamper, a notebook and rescue remedy pastilles, ombré court shoes, chocolates, cook book, vitamins and jewellery. It’s a fun little pastime, I find I win a lot of my wins on twitter so I like to try and do that every day if I can. This year I want to try and keep going with the comping and get a big organised, start entering different competitions and try to win some big prizes. It’s just nice to have something to aim high with! Would love to know if you comp and if you do we could buddy up.


Bubs is just so amazing. She was so poorly in December it is only now she is well I can really tell – she is an absolute live wire, always active, laughing and happy. She can get a but bossy and stroppy – “No Mummy!” Is what I’m hearing a lot of at the moment! She is eating loads although initially everything is yucky – even when she’s eating it she’s telling me it’s yucky! – and her speech has come on leaps and bounds, she will chat away with us and most of the time I can understand her. It’s so nice to chat and play with her, she has had some lovely presents and loves pretending to cook in her kitchen, play shop or push her babies around in her buggy. Imaginative play is really taking off and it’s so wonderful to see and take part in. She will be going to nursery all day on a Wednesday from now on, as I’m back to work full time. She will really love it and I think it’s the right time for her. I’m no sure how I’ll cope having to work all week but let’s see what happens!

Anyway, so that’s been my week. As I’m back to work now I am writing these updates every Sunday. See you next week.



The end is nigh….

*dusts off the keyboard* well! is there anybody out there? Anybody? I could be talking to absolutely nobody right now. I can’t even remember the last time I blogged.

This has been an absolutely terrible month. There has been every one of us being unwell, a bout of norovirus to finish us all off and very sadly we had to say goodbye to a family member who passed away.

It’s been shit.

Christmas was a nice little bubble away from everything. Bubs had a fab time, and that’s the main thing. We smiled and all felt well for the first time in a while. It was bittersweet but it was Christmas.

It’s a shame really, as really this year has been a good one, overall, but now I can’t wait to get rid of it. The end is nigh, the midnight bells will chime and we get to start a brand new year.

One thing I can take from this horrid month, is that you have to make the most of life. Keep your goals in sight, aim high and spend time with the people you love. Why waste a day when you won’t get it back?

I am trying to be mindful. I am trying to be in the moment a bit more. To really feel, and hear and touch. I am trying to engage my brain and do some things for me. Look after myself, and those around me.

This year, I have my resolutions, and people may pooh-pooh resolutions but I enjoy making them and focusing myself. Even if it is just for a bit.

My resolutions are to keep on losing weight, to read more books, and to do more family days out. I want to get fit and get active. I want to make sure I look after myself and have a bit of time for me, and my family.

I want to be able to say I made the most of my time.

What’s your thoughts for the new year?

Minnie’s Macaroon AmBEARssador review – Pebble Fair Trade Elsa Doll

I am delighted to be able to review with Nancy the first item as an AmBEARssador for Minnie’s Macaroon. The Pebble Fair Trade Elsa Doll is not only ethical but beautifully made, and is a limited edition rag doll.


Elsa is suitable from birth and handmade from crochet cotton. I love the fact it is so colourful with a pink blouse with flowery skirt and turquoise handbag attached. It is a classic traditional rag doll which I love, and Elsa’s face is warm and friendly.


Nancy loved this doll the moment we opened the package – she absolutely loves dolls and babies at the moment, and this is was like Christmas had come early for her! She really enjoyed singing with the doll and clapping her hands. She will chat away to her doll which is so cute to watch.

Here is Nancy with Elsa, apologies for my annoying voice in it!


I love the fact that Elsa was made by talented artisans in Bangladesh. By purchasing Pebble products you can support rural families in Bangladesh, this work provides flexible working opportunities for women which are close to their homes.

Elsa is fully machine washable at 40 degrees and can be tumble dried on low – which is a godsend for me when Nancy only wants to kiss her all the time, peanut butter and chocolate faces all round!

This is a lovely doll that all children will love. Added to that the ethical roots of this toy, it gets a big thumbs up from me and Nancy – Elsa would make a great Christmas present!

Elsa is priced at £22 available at Minnie’s Macaroon website

You’re having a bath!

I’ve never really been one to indulge myself or spend time relaxing or beautifying myself. Pre-baby, I may have painted my nails or dyed my hair but there was no luxury in it, no time taken or relaxation of sorts. I haven’t been one to relax with a face mask or go to a spa. I was always in a rush, nails barely dry as I shot out of the door to get to the party on time. I don’t think I really knew how to relax. Or maybe I didn’t appreciate what could be relaxing in these, what was everyday or regular tasks.

I used to take showers and baths, of course, but I never spent long in the bath. I didn’t read a book or light a candle. I would listen to music occasionally but that was it.

But now, now I need to relax. I need time to myself. Oh, how ironic is it that when I had ample opportunity to do these things in the past, I never did. I have seen and read frequently on twitter about baths. There’s plenty of adverts out there depicting women in a bubbly bath, eating chocolate or drinking champagne. I couldn’t understand what could be so good about a bath. It wasn’t something I thought of doing to relax (stupid I know).

So, today, my sister ran me a bath. She lit a candle and told me to relax. In the bath. She was going to look after Bubs and I could have some much needed me time.

Initially, I thought “I don’t want a bath”. But then, I thought a bit more.

-I could read my book
– I could listen to some music
– I could lie there and do absolutely nothing

And so I began to realise how advantageous this could be for me, so in I went.

It was lovely. It was like submerging myself into a warm bed. I had a lovely candle burning, a relaxing ocean scent, the bath oil was gorgeous and the heat of the bath just relaxed every knot in my body. I didn’t realise how much I needed that break, until I stepped into the bath. I read my book, successfully avoiding getting it wet. I listened to my favourite relaxing music (bat for lashes) and I just had some time for me. It was enjoyable. I didn’t rush, I didn’t feel bored, I took some time to just do….well, nothing. And I appreciated every single second.

Now I realise why a bath can be relaxing. Closing that door, and locking it most importantly, and submerging myself not only in the water, but in myself, for a short while. It was just what I needed. Now I keep wondering when I can do it again.


A year at work

I have been back at work for a year now after my Maternity Leave. Part of me can’t really fathom that it’s been a  year,  or even the fact that I was actually pregnant over 2 years ago. Time has just flown by.

To start with, working was tough. I had just got into a little routine with Bubs and I was enjoying my time with her, at last. Not that I hadn’t enjoyed the whole ten months, but things were just getting that little bit easier.

It was hard leaving her with other people, even if they were family. I felt jealous, and worried that I would not have any influence over her life. Crazy I know. Having a Wednesday off has meant that I still get some time with her, and for that I have been really grateful.

Bubs started nursery in September, and that was hard. I couldn’t help but feel guilty and awful leaving her crying with strangers. My mind racing with all sorts of thoughts. But she has really enjoyed going, and seems to be really thriving from the interaction, and all the activities she can do there. She is really growing up, and I can see that she doesn’t need me so much. However I am the first person she calls for in the morning, and during the night. I know we have a bond now, a bond that doesn’t matter whether I am with her 24 hours a day or not. Her smile when she picks me up from work just tells me everything I need to know about that.

So, actual work. It’s been very hard to get myself back into a working frame of mind. I didn’t care much about what I was doing initially, my heart wasn’t in it, I was going through the motions. That is not like me – I am passionate about my role, and my profession, and have also strived to achieve more and do better. But going back I just felt like the enthusiasm was sucked right out of me.

One thing I felt was that going back to work – nothing had changed. Nothing. I was expecting to go back and there have been some changes, but there wasn’t anything at all. I felt like I had woken up from a dream, and that having a baby hadn’t even happened at all.

I think it started to change about 6 months or so ago. Life became normal, work wasn’t a novelty, we had a morning routine, childcare was sorted and things did seem easier.

I had to finish my degree, which was very difficult to start again after  having the break, but when I had finished it, I really felt energised and good about myself 0- it had made me think about my job and how much I am interested in the field I work in.

Another thing which really has helped, was that I have been able to go on secondment within the same place of work, but in a different team. Having this change has really helped me to get back in the zone, and feel like I am using my brain again.

It’s been an emotional year, a rollercoaster of a year in many respects. I feel more myself than I have done since having Bubs, and I feel more confident in who I am, and what I can do. In the end, I think I am glad I went back to work. I have loved having a day off each week with Bubs, and this has given me some special one to one time with her that I have craved. I have also liked the fact I can come to work and be ‘me’, not just a ‘mum’, if that makes sense.

Life has just started to feel like normal again.

Walk to School Month with Kiddicare

Kiddicare kindly sent us a buggy to review to help us support Walk to School Month this October. Walk to school month is an international day when primary schools and nurseries try and encourage as many people as possible to walk to school or nursery.

Walking is not only good for us and our health, but for the environment too. With me also losing weight it was a no-brainer for us to take part in the walk to school month!

The buggy we were sent was the Kiddicare Deko Plus Stroller Pixel Olive.

This buggy is compact and great for short walks like to nursery. The buggy comes with a raincover which is great especially now the weather has changed a bit! The hood gives good cover and has a little window so you can see your child even when it’s raining.


The buggy is suitable from birth, and has a reclining back seat so that babies can lie flat. This is also great for when Bubs wants a nap! It’s easy to move the back into position too using the straps.

This stroller has added comfort extras such as a reversible padded cover and padded chest pads. which looks lovely and comfortable. The 5 point safety harness is also a reassuring safety measure and I found it easy to strap Bubs into the seat. The straps are easily adjustable to your little ones size.


It’s easy to put together and putting it down is easy once you’ve figured it out! It is a little fiddly initially to put up/down but it’s something you get used to over time. It’s lightweight and fits easily into the back of my car as well for those times even you are going further afield.

It is lovely to push and feels quite sturdy, it was easy to manouver around corners and different terrain. Bubs did seem a bit big in the buggy however even though she is nowhere near the upper weight limit. The buggy has a lovely modern design and many people commented how nice it looked! There is a shopping basket underneath the buggy which is quite roomy too, which I was surprised about.

This is a great buggy for us at the moment, when Bubs loves walking but also needs a rest for a while as well.

We have really enjoyed using the buggy and getting out and walking to nursery, and also other places, during Walk to School month. I’ve felt so much better for walking and blowing away the cobwebs. Bubs has also enjoyed walking as much as she can, and having the buggy means that she can have a well deserved rest when she needs one.

The Kiddicare Deko Plus Stroller costs £69.99.