Filming in sunny Barbados

Does anyone else make lists?! I honestly don’t think I could get everything done without writing a list of ‘to do’s’ in my diary.  There is something really satisfying about ticking them off as they are done and I really think it helps me keep on top of what I need to do. Working through my ‘to do’ list is exactly what I did last week whilst filming in Barbados. I missed my little man (and my big man of course!) like crazy but it was good for the two of them to spend some quality time together especially when Rocco has been away so much with me this last year.

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Looking at houses and filming in Barbados was brilliant and made a bit of a change for me as I am usually filming in France or Spain. The properties are so colourful and although Barbados has some seriously expensive properties on the west coast (with the likes of Mr Cowell owning on the island), there are lots of affordable ones on the south coast. With a budget of £150k you can get yourself a 3 bedroom detached house with a self contained 2 bedroom annexe about a mile from the beach. Since the property crash, properties are around 25 per cent cheaper than they were back in 2007 so there are some great bargains to be had. As purchaser the fees are only 1-2 per cent and the whole buying process is pretty straight forward. If you are thinking about buying in the Caribbean, Barbados is a stunning island. The people are friendly and the beaches are idyllic.

When I returned to the UK not only was I excited to see my men, I was excited to finally be able to hang my clothes up in our new walk in wardrobe. Sounds crazy hey but since renovating our house, my clothes have been piled up on the floor and a complete mess. It’s great I can now get everything organised. We used a company called Hammonds (www.hammonds-uk.com) to design and install it all and I have been really impressed by their service. The bespoke design is so solid and is almost a little industrial looking with the metal beams securing everything in place. Hammonds were extremely accommodating when it came to choosing the materials too. I wanted the wooden shelves to match the colour of our internal doors and nothing was a problem for them. Now that I’m feeling like Carrie Bradshaw, here are a few pics of Hammonds creation. I would thoroughly recommend using them.

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If any of you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you may have seen me post some photos modelling some jewellery. I am now able to tell you I am the ‘face’ of the English Rose collection for Rai Jewel.  The jewellery is stunning and I am loving being able to showcase some of the pieces. With Christmas around the corner, the jewellery is an ideal present for someone special! You can find out more about them here: www.raijewel.com.

I actually wore a few pieces of jewellery from the Rai Jewel collection last weekend. On Sunday before attending the Children’s BAFTAS,  I had a photo shoot at my house with HELLO! magazine and wore some of the jewellery for the shoot.  The article will be out in a few weeks time so I will tell you when to look out for it!

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On Sunday evening I attended the BAFTAS on behalf of Fort Boyard. I wore a gorgeous red dress from Ghost, some amazing Ursula Mascaro shoes and accessories were my LK Bennett bag and some earrings from Rai Jewel. I had a top glam squad who made me feel like a Hollywood movie star so I want to say a big thank you to Arabella Boyce for styling me and to Jo Adams for my gorgeous hair and make up.

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This week I have to take Rocco for his 1 year check-up and his booster injections which I’m not particularly looking forward to. I will also be starting to film my new TV project which I will be able to tell you more about soon.

I hope you have a great week.

Love

Laura x

The lead-up to Christmas and celebrating Rocco’s first birthday party

Hi guys,

So we have just over five weeks until Christmas and I am really looking forward to spending my first Christmas in my new house. What have you all got planned, I’d love to hear from you?

I haven’t even started my shopping yet but I plan to very soon especially after I appeared on The Wright Stuff last week and one of the news topics was a warning that there would be a lorry shortage over the festive season and Christmas deliveries wouldn’t be made!  It was great fun appearing on the Channel 5 show hosted by Matthew Wright.  I’m ashamed to say because I am away so much, I sometimes  feel a little out of touch with lots of the smaller news stories in the press, nevertheless it was great to be part of the panel, to be able to voice my opinions and talk about Fort Boyard which has been nominated for a BAFTA.

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I appeared on The Wright Stuff wearing one of my favourite mustard yellow dresses from Oasis and the lovely Alison Dowse from Calgel painted my nails. I am a huge fan of Calgel (www.calgel.co.uk). They have lots of great new colours for the winter season but Alison always knows that I end up choosing a bright red gel paint which is becoming my signature colour! My new friend Emily from Poeme Beauty (www.poeme-beauty.co.uk) treated me to some semi permanent lash extensions which are superb.  Being so fair, I now wake up in the morning and look like I have eye makeup on and they should last around 3 weeks. Best of all, Emily was super quick and she came to my house for the treatment, two huge benefits when you have a one-year-old!

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Speaking of my one-year-old, we held a little birthday party for Rocco last week. He is becoming a bit of a Peppa Pig fan and can just about say ‘beppa’ which is cute. We booked a lovely little Softplay called ‘Bouncing Bunnies’ in Banstead and invited 30 other children. It was chaos as you can imagine, but Rocco loved it when everyone sang happy birthday to him and Alex helped him blow out the candle on his cake.

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Moving on to something a little more glamorous than a Peppa Pig party, last week I had a photoshoot at my house for a feature in the Christmas issue of First Time Buyer magazine (out on 25th November). I’m actually going to be the ‘Cover Girl’ which is exciting and it was great to be able to talk about some of the work I have done to my house over the last seven months. Here I am below in two of my favourite outfits from the shoot; a cute leopard print jumper dress, and a chunky grey winter knit (both from Oasis).

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Finally there was another opportunity to glam up last week in a beautiful Bernshaw dress. This time however it was for an extremely worthy cause.. on the evening of Children in Need, it was a pleasure to be invited to the Alex Bolt charity day at Wentworth Golf Club. Darren Gough, the Talk Sport host and much loved ex England Cricketer who became a friend of mine after I took part in The Jump earlier this year organises this annual event to raise vital funds for The Brain Tumor Charity. Attended by Kevin Pieterson, Jessica Taylor, James Jordan, Nicky Clarke and Henry Conway, the evening was somewhat of an emotional one. Not only was it an honour to attend and support Darren it was brilliant to be able to raise some much needed cash for this charity, which you can find out more about here - www.thebraintumourcharity.org. 

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This week I’m back in the Caribbean, filming in Barbados for the next 5 days. It is my last trip abroad before Christmas and Rocco is at home being looked after by his daddy. Usually he is with me so it feels very strange and I’m missing him lots already. I think I’m going to make the most of the week on my own, start the Christmas shopping online. And try and find a dress for the Children’s BAFTAS which I will be attending the day after I return!

I hope you have a great week.

Love

Laura xx

A trip to Curtain Bluff in Antigua with Alex and Rocco – coping on a long haul flight and jet lag with a one-year-old

Hey all,

I hope you are all well?

Since my last blog I have completed another 4 week stint of filming in Spain which has been brilliant. We’ve had some great house hunters in the new winter series of A Place in the Sun with lots of people buying and the new shows start transmitting very soon.

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Those of you who read my blog regularly will know Rocco has now been travelling with me for 11 months. As he is getting older it’s starting to become tricky keeping him occupied on flights; he wants to climb and crawl everywhere and even Peppa Pig on the iPad doesn’t keep him entertained! I have always flown to short haul destinations with work, so he has never spent more than 4 hours on a flight. Earlier in the year however, Alex and I decided to book a family holiday to Antigua with him. I must admit at the time of booking I was slightly apprehensive; how would Rocco cope on an 8 and a half hour flight? And more importantly would the other passengers hate us by the time we landed in the Caribbean?

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On Alex’s birthday (fireworks night) we boarded a British Airways flight Antigua bound to the laid back and charming, all inclusive resort, Curtain Bluff. Rocco’s fire engine Trunki was packed with plenty of books and toys, as well as his Trunki travel blanket and pillow. These hard wearing, sturdy mini suitcases are a must have and the travel pillows and blankets are extremely handy too. I see so many children sitting on them and riding around on them in airports so they are extremely handy if you check your pushchair in with your luggage.

My new Pacapod bag was stocked with plenty of nappies, a couple of changes of clothes, a few bottles of milk and lots of Ella’s kitchen snacks. The Pacapod is actually three bags in one (a main bag with two little rucksacks inside) so it’s brilliant for helping keep things organised and it looks nice too. It was super handy.

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British Airways were brilliant at looking after us in World Traveller Plus. The first officer came and asked us on several occasions how Rocco was coping, and the cabin crew were very understanding of the fact he wanted to crawl up and down the plane continuously.  Rocco had a great time but I’m not going to lie, it was pretty exhausting for me! Especially as none of the passengers were willing to let us sit in the basonette seats that are supposed to be priority for adults with babies! However, after arriving at Curtain Bluff (and being greeted by the owner Chelle Hulford and resident manager Wendy Eardley) we were immediately offered a cocktail, and the challenging journey was completely forgotten.

Curtain Bluff is set in the most beautifully maintained gardens, 30 minutes from the airport. Given its name in the late 50′s by the late Sir Howard Hulford (Chelle’s husband), this man had the most incredible vision to create this charming, family owned and run hotel. Sat on a bluff (a coastal headland), Howard said when the rain fell, it reminded him of a curtain. The hotel is unique because unlike many large chain owned hotels, this place has benefited the local community enormously. Some of the staff (most of whom are locals from the village) have worked at the establishment for over 30 years and Howard and Chelle set up ‘The Old Road Fund’ scheme where the local village benefits financially from guest donations. They also set up a tennis academy for the younger generation, and some children who have been involved have gone on to receive scholarships at training academies in America.

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If you are a big tennis and watersports fan you will love this hotel! The tennis courts are fantastic and you can make the most of water skiing or riding the banana boat as part of the all inclusive package! Andrew Castle and Annabelle Croft are there next week offering a tennis coaching week so I was a bit gutted I missed them.

With a four hour time difference between the UK and Antigua it took Rocco 2 days to settle in to a good sleeping routine. For the first two mornings he was up at 04:30am so I found myself walking the hotels gardens and playing on the beach after sunrise – not exactly a hardship!

My full travel review of Curtain Bluff in Antigua will be in the Travel Mail soon so I will be sure to let you know when it’s out.  I think it certainly says something that the hotel has a return rate of 85%.

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I’ve got an exciting few weeks ahead with some big meetings and events. I’ll be on The Wright Stuff on Friday and Daily Brunch in a few weeks. I’m meeting up with a few of my friends from The Jump on Friday at Darren Gough’s charity ball in Wentworth and I will be attending the BAFTAS with Fort Boyard later on November. I’m also flying back to the Caribbean on Sunday (but this time to Barbados) to film my last episode this year of A Place in the Sun! It’s not a holiday honest.

Finally I want to sign off this week’s blog with a BIG happy birthday wish to my beautiful little boy. Rocco is 1 today. Being a parent is one of the most challenging and rewarding jobs ever and I wouldn’t change it for the world…

Laura xxx

Parent worries, sightseeing and my filming look

So am I turning in to ‘that’ parent who wants their child to walk and talk already, almost wishing his life away?  Rocco is approaching his first birthday in a couple of weeks.  He isn’t walking just yet and I have been thinking ‘why not?’  He is walking around holding on to the furniture as well as holding on to my hand but he doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of walking unaided yet.  I speak to Alex on a daily basis whilst I’m away from home and even he keeps asking ‘is Rocco walking yet?’…

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Having googled ’12 month old walking’, I have been put at ease that this IS normal.  Some children walk from 10 months and others don’t walk until a little later.  One of the hardest thing as a parent is not comparing your child with others.  Alex walked when he was just 10 months so I keep thinking why isn’t Rocco? I have to keep telling myself, Rocco will walk when he is ready and then when he does I will probably be wishing he wasn’t!

Something else that working Mums often talk me about is feeling ‘guilty’ about being away from their children during the day.  They seem to question whether they are being a ‘good enough’ parent.  I too have also been thinking that, but I strongly believe that if I am not with Rocco all the time, it is good for both of us.  The two things I feel most guilty about is 1.) the fact I’m away from home with him so he is apart from his Daddy, and 2.) I am unable to take him to regular classes like other parents.  However, I justify it by telling myself he is enjoying some fantastic experiences; hearing other languages and seeing and being exposed to different cultures and sites.  Whether he will remember it all is another matter… but I guess the real point I’m trying to make is, if you are a working mum you shouldn’t feel guilty.

Last week I took Rocco to Spain’s most visited tourist attraction; The Alhambra Palace in Granada.  I had never been there before and it was an incredible place to see.

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The best thing of all though was at the weekend when Alex came to visit us on location.  We had a lovely weekend together and I thought I would share a couple of my favourite photos from our time together.

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This week I’m filming in an area on the Costa de Almeria (Southern Spain) called Mojacar.  It’s around 30 degrees which is pretty incredible given it’s almost November.  Sorry I don’t mean to rub that in when it’s really chilly back in the UK, but I’m still wearing summer dresses.

I wore this great animal print dress from Lipsy, with some black wedges from www.very.co.uk last week when I filmed in Granada. Make up wise I went for a pretty natural look using my Chanel Les Beige healthy glow sheet powder and my favourite Clarins lip protector.

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This week I’m wearing a black pencil skirt from Karen Millen and a bright yellow top from Warehouse with my black wedges and my coin necklace from @sparklingrings.  I’m making the most of it as I know when I’m back home in just over a week I will be in winter coats!

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Saying that in just two weeks time I will be heading to Antigua to the resort Curtain Bluff (www.curtainbluff.com).  I’ve never been to Antigua before so I can’t wait to report back on the resort.

Have a great weekend all.  Don’t forget the clocks go back so you get an extra hour in bed! Enjoy.

Laura xxx

A busy week back in the UK

It’s been a couple of weeks since I last blogged. One of the negative things about being away from home for months at a time, is when I do get back to the UK I cram so much in; having meetings in London, voice overs, seeing friends and family, sorting out house things, and taking Rocco on play dates. My week in the UK was no exception but despite being busy I was so happy to be in my own bed.  It’s madness I’ve been renovating a house for nearly a year and I have spent less than two months there… laura1laura2

Talking of the house renovation, during my week back, I had a great meeting with Michael Page, one of the head designers from Hammonds Furniture (www.hammonds-uk.com).  He has done an amazing job designing our walk in wardrobe.  I love everything being perfectly organised in my house, especially my clothes and shoes and Michael’s design will ensure that everything can be neatly tidied away but it will be easily accessible and visible too.  He drew some really great CAD designs which you can see below and when it’s all fitted I will share some photos of the ‘real thing’.  As well as selling walk in wardrobes Hammonds sell lots of other furniture  too and are worth checking out. laura3

Last week I recorded my final voice over for the new series of Fort Boyard.  It is due to air in a few weeks time and it looks really amazing even if I do say so myself! Every year I’m totally amazed by the challenges the contestants take on and this year I was even more impressed as I saw them push themselves to the limit with lots of really tough new games.  All will be revealed in a few weeks when it hits your screens! Untitled-5

I hosted a lovely little lunch at my house mid-week when I invited my old chums over from Total Wipeout. I filmed a celebrity special of the show over three years ago and have remained friends with fellow HELLO! Online blogger Nicola Tappenden, actress Kim Tiddy and expectant mum and news reader Ellie Crisell. I don’t get to see the girls often but when I do it’s like an episode of Sex in the City with us all gossiping about our love lives! It’s not often you take part in a show and stay in contact with people but we always support each other which is lovely.  We are looking forward to seeing Kim in her upcoming West End theatre show as well as going to watch her play Queen Rat in her pantomime Dick Whittington in High Wycombe, and we can’t wait to meet Ellie’s new arrival! Hurry up Ellie…

My week in the UK finished up with a quick appearance at the A Place in the Sun exhibition in Birmingham. The turnout was incredible and it’s always nice getting to chat to people who are big fans of the show. laura6

So now I am back in Spain and I will be abroad again for another month. I’m filming near Denia this week and will be heading to Granada at the weekend. It’s still around 30 degrees so I guess I shouldn’t be complaining about being away from home when it’s pouring with rain back in the UK.

This week I’ve actually decided to see how Rocco takes to potty training. I’ve read online that you can start as early as 11 months which seems really early but I’m going to give it a go…  Has anyone got any tips?!?!  Help… laura7

On that note… Until next time,

Laura xxx

La La La La La La La Manga…

Hi guys,

This week I’m reporting for duty from La Manga not LA. This place is a popular place for many sporting teams to visit – although saying that I haven’t seen any famous footballers yet!  The La Manga Club Resort is about 30 minutes from Murcia airport.  It’s an upmarket place with large villas, some nice bars, a few restaurants, golf courses and an abundance of tennis courts.  I’m only staying in the area until Friday when I move further South for my last week abroad, but I’m tempted to stay for the weekend when Alex is visiting for our second anniversary.

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I can’t believe we have been married for two years.  The time has flown by and Alex and I will have spent both our first and second wedding anniversaries in Spain as I have been away filming on both occasions.  I’m not complaining though, it’s not a bad thing getting to celebrate in the sunshine! Happy 2nd Anniversary Alex and thank you to HELLO! for following our journey…

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So there has been a lot of baby news over the last couple of weeks.  My agent Jayne and her husband Matt welcomed their new son Cody George in to the world – a whopping 10lb 2oz!!!  Lots of love to them all and well done Jayne.  Congratulations to The Saturdays singer Una Foden who is expecting her second child.  And of course congratulations to William and Kate who announced last week they are expecting another baby.  Unfortunately Kate is suffering with severe morning sickness again (as she did with George) so I hope she gets over this soon.  I was lucky enough to escape this when I was pregnant with Rocco and I can’t imagine it is nice.

Little Rocco is now 10 months old.  He has four teeth, is close to walking and is pretty confident in the water which is brilliant to watch given that when I took him to ‘Water babies’ when he was 12 weeks old, he was the only baby who screamed the place down when he went under water.  Now he is happy to splash about and isn’t phased at all.

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It’s less than 2 months until his 1st birthday so I am starting to think about planning a little Peppa Pig themed party (who he seems to love). He is pretty pleased with his Peppa Pig towel that his Nana bought him in Spain!

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Whilst I am on the road I have a few travel necessities with me, that I highly recommend you invest in if you are going away.  I have the Totseat (a great portable highchair). Rocco loves this as he gets to sit in a proper chair, AND it’s machine washable so when it gets covered in Weetabix it can be cleaned easily.


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For bedtime I brought the Puckababy 4 seasons sleep suit. This sleep suit works for each season of the year so I’m obviously using the summer version of it.

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I’ve packed my Doona Car seat/pram.  I know I constantly bang on about this product but it is a revelation.  In fact, whilst I have been in Spain I’ve had 6 people take photos of it and ask me where it’s from.  Having a car seat that turns into a pram is great for space saving.  It’s also really handy if Rocco falls asleep as I don’t have to disturb him when I get him out of the car.

I’ve also recently invested in a Maclaren pushchair so I have that in Spain too.  These are probably one of the best pushchairs for travelling.  They are good value for money, light, easy to use and pretty robust.  Rocco likes travelling forward too.  Finally one of my other travel must haves is the SnoozeShade.  I’m using the pushchair size one now for my Maclaren.

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Well that’s it from me for now.  Have a great weekend all.

Lots of love

Laura xxx

Hola! from Spain…

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This week’s blog comes to you from Spain where I’m working for the next four weeks.  I’m going to be based on the Costa Blanca filming the new series of ‘A Place in the Sun – Winter Sun’ and I’m currently filming with a lovely couple, Gary and Kevin who are looking to relocate to Altea.  It’s a stunning area and it’s so hot.  Its actually 39 degrees at the moment so now would probably be a good time to do the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ that I have been nominated twice for.

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Just before I left the UK, Alex and I had Sonos installed in our house.  If you are looking to install a home entertainment system, Sonos is pure quality.  It’s completely wireless and you can operate the system through your iPhone, iPad or computer though a simple app which is free to download.  Our system includes an amazing sound bar below our television which I highly recommend and we also purchased 12 Bowers and Wilkins Speakers (which are in the ceiling throughout the house).  We have quality sound in the kitchen, lounge and dining room, so now we just need to host a big party.

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Just a few days before I flew to Spain, I went to a beautiful wedding in Surrey.  My friends Vicky Ogden and Sam Attwater tied the knot.  It was a lovely day with lots of the Dancing on Ice pros in attendance, along with Jayne Torvill, Karen Barber and Robin Cousins.  My friend Steve from Nouveau Beauty Group did my make up and glammed me up.  I wore a cream and black lace dress for the occasion and the pants that pull you in and make you look slim – they work wonders!

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Vicky and Sam are a great couple and I wish them many happy years together.

I had another opportunity to get glammed up the day after their wedding when I had a really exciting photo shoot for a jewellery brand I am working with.  I should be able to tell you more about this very soon so make sure you keep an eye out on my blog and on twitter.  What I am able to tell you at the moment is; I am the face of one of their collections and the photo shoot involved getting to wear lots of amazing pieces of jewellery.  Every girl loves diamonds and I was in my element!  Here’s a sneaky photo from the shoot…

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Now I am in Spain, I of course have Rocco with me.  His top two teeth are starting to come through and he is gabbling away making lots of noises trying to speak.  It’s fantastic being able to take him swimming everyday and I’m sure when Alex sees him in a few weeks (and comes to visit me for our two year wedding anniversary) he will really notice the difference.

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Well that’s it from me for now, I had better get back to filming in the sunshine, someone’s got to do it!

Have a great week

Laura xxx

Who knew visiting a furniture factory could be so exciting!

Hi guys,

How are you all doing?  Good I hope?   If you are a parent of a child who has recently received exam results, I hope it went well, and if you have received exam results yourself I hope you were happy with them? I remember all too well when I got mine (a good few years ago now), and it was all very stressful.  If you didn’t achieve what you wanted, remember it’s not the end of the world and it is still possible to pursue the career you want to.  I’ve always known I wanted to work in television so when I completed my A-Levels I decided to apply for a job as a runner and defer my university placement for a year.  As a result I never ended up going and 12 years later here I am…

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The last couple of weeks I have been on the road filming in the UK.   When I was filming in Lincoln recently I was able to meet up with a good friend of mine, Joanne Heywood from ‘When you wish upon a star’.  I have been involved with this amazing charity for a couple of years now and not only do they offer invaluable support to families with children who are very poorly, they also make their wishes come true.  I had a lovely evening catching up with Jo and talking about some exciting things the charity has coming up.  You can check out the amazing things they do here www.whenyouwishuponastar.org.uk and if you can help in any way make sure you get in touch.

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As you may well know from my blog, I am currently furnishing the house Alex and I have been renovating for the last 9 months.  I’ve been sourcing some great bits online and I recently found a brilliant company to make house signs: www.somervillestone.co.uk.  They are worth checking out.

One of the biggest pieces of furniture we buy for our homes are our sofas and this past week I had a very interesting experience. Never before did I think I would get so excited about visiting a furniture factory but after ordering two Loch Leven sofas from the Country Living range at my local DFS store on the Purley Way,  I was fortunate enough to get invited to one of their factories.  I was really impressed seeing the team hard at work and not only did I watch my furniture being made, I actually got to help make my sofa too.

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It really was incredible watching the production line from start to finish from the fabric being cut, the machinists working lightening speed, the upholsters covering the furniture to seeing the ladies checking the pieces it in quality control.  Most of DFS’ furniture is made in the UK, by highly skilled craftsmen and women (some of whom have been working in the trade for over 35 years), and so much work and effort goes in to each item.  Philip Watkin their Design Director (the man who was responsible for designing my new sofa!) gave me the guided tour.  It was a real pleasure meeting him and we made a little film that hopefully I can share with you very soon.

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On to seats for Rocco… As much as I love my little boy, I won’t be letting him get his sticky hands over our lovely new Loch Leven sofas!  If you are a style conscious parent and are looking for a practical yet stylish high chair, check out Baby Bjorn.  A few of my friends own this cool highchair and I’ve just invested in it too.  As you can see Rocco is a big fan…

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I am now prepping for a 4 week trip to Spain where I will be filming more episodes of the new series of A Place in the Sun.  I head abroad again in a week’s time so Rocco and I had a little shopping spree in one of my favourite children’s clothes shops,  ‘Childsplay’.  Whilst we were shopping we also featured in a documentary being made about the shop for ITV which will be on screen a bit later in the year.

As I prep for the trip, I’m packing Rocco’s little suitcase.  He now has his own little case in the form of a fire engine ‘Trunki’.  These little suitcases for children have become somewhat of a ‘must-have’ and they now have a great range of other accessories available for travelling too.  Rocco has a travel pillow and blanket to match which will be put to good use and I’m sure, as he grows he will have a lot of fun wheeling around airports on his ‘Trunki’ as I see lots of other children doing.

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Well that’s  it from me for this week.  I hope you all have a great back holiday weekend.

Lots of love

Laura xxx

Little Rocco is almost nine months old!

Hi guys,

Well another week has passed and I can’t believe it’s August already… Every so often I get an email from Baby Centre and today I got one saying ‘Your Baby – 8 months and 3 weeks’. So almost 9 months on and little Rocco is pulling himself up on the furniture and saying ‘up, up, up’!  It’s also really cute when I say clap your hands and he does.  Babies really understand everything and he is certainly taking it all in.

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So talking of milestones, Prince George reached a big milestone, his first birthday on 22nd July.  I spent the royal celebrations just a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace with Rocco and his friend Faith, (Michelle Heaton’s gorgeous daughter).  Rocco and I were honoured to be part of the ‘Royal Ride’ that was sponsored by SmarTrike.  I’m a big fan of their bikes which are suitable for children up to the age of three.  The great thing about them is; for now I can push and control Rocco, but as he gets older he will be able to steer the bike himself.  He really loves it and thoroughly enjoyed his day in London.

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Something else Rocco is really loving at the moment are his wooden toys from Boikido.  His favourite thing is playing his xylophone.  He seems to enjoy music a great deal, and my dad (who was once Uncle Bulgaria in the Wombles) is planning on teaching him to play the drums when he is old enough… so we have all the noise to look forward to.

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Last week I had a bit of beauty pampering.  I had a little photo shoot with Fresh Minerals Make up, which will be in HELLO! magazine soon and I also had a lovely calgel manicure and pedicure with my favourite colour!  The gel polish lasts for 3 to 4 weeks, and it doesn’t chip or damage your nails.  The lovely Robyn came to my house and did my nails whilst Rocco had a nap.

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This week (as I write this) I am back on the road filming. I’m currently in Exeter and later this week I will be in Leeds so if you see me out and about come and say hi!  The shopping in Exeter is brilliant.  I’ve purchased a few dresses in Oasis for my next stint of filming abroad with A Place in the Sun and I have also purchased some great dresses from Lipsy that have gorgeous prints.

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Whilst I’m away from home, I tend to relax in the evening and watch TV as I can’t do any work on the house… Relaxing and switching off is a rarity for me so it was great last night getting to watch one of my favourite TV shows Long Lost Family.  It was a pretty emotional evening in my rental apartment to say the least…

Right I had better get back to filming now,  I’ve got properties to view and people to meet!  I hope you have a great rest of the week and as always, thanks for reading my blog.

Lots of love

Laura xxx

Juicing, pram revelations, unpacking boxes and the ITV summer party…

Hi Guys,

Hope you are all well? It has been a few weeks since I last blogged and as always I have been all over the shop; North Wales, Cornwall and Yorkshire in just 10 days!  The weather has been great whilst I’ve been filming ‘A Place in the Sun – Home or Away’ and if you have never been to North Wales – Abersoch is such a beautiful place.  The beach is incredible, and despite being a 6 hour drive from London, it is well worth it.  If you are looking for a great place to invest in property in Cornwall, Loos is a good option.  I looked at some amazing places overlooking the water.

Whist I have been away working and Rocco has been with me, I have been making the most of a new product I have discovered; a car seat that turns in to a pram.  It is called The Doona and it has literally changed my life!  The product had been in development for 7 years and it’s been worth the wait.  I think it is quite possibly one of the best things I have ever used.  It retails around £300 and a word of warning, people will stop you in the street if they see you using it as they will be so impressed.  It’s suitable for children from birth up to 12-15 months so I am able to get a fair bit of use out of it yet.  You can find out more about here www.cuddleco.co.uk  As you can probably tell, I am a huge fan.

doonar

Aside of working, you may remember a few weeks ago I tried two juice detox diets; JuicetoU & Just Juices.  Juice detoxing seems to be a popular thing so do right now and I was really impressed with both of these.

The idea is you literally drink juice for three days.  You can have water, fruit teas or hot water and lemon but nothing else can pass your lips.  It made me realise when I was detoxing, as a new mum, I am often having a spoonful of what Rocco is eating which isn’t great.

So first I tried JuicetoU.  I weighed in at 9st 8lb and I lost 5lb after the three day juice detox so I was pretty happy.  The juices were well labelled and the detox was easy to follow.  They didn’t taste at all sweet which I was surprised by (given the amount of fruit they contained), but I really liked the flavours despite of this.  Day two was the hardest, especially as I had a day filming and the crew all ate a huge meal in front of me. I didn’t cave in and I’m really glad I didn’t because on day 3 I felt amazing with loads of energy.

rocco

I tried the Just Juices detox 3 days later with my mother in law.  They offer a ‘wake up shot’ and hot lemon water before you have your first juice of the day.  We really liked this as it was a great pick me up first thing.  The other thing I really liked about this detox is that it was delivered in a cool bag.   Although it’s recommended to keep the juices refrigerated during the day, if you can’t,  you can put some ice packs in your cool bag and take them with you – a nice little touch I thought!  This time I managed to loose 4lbs so again I was extremely happy with the results.  I felt full of energy after and my skin looked great.

I would highly recommend trying either of these juice detoxes. They offer a great kick start to loading weight as well as make you feel amazing.

We’ve now officially moved in to our new home after our 8 month renovation.  I thought I’d share a little before and after photo of our kitchen from Handmade Kitchens Direct.

houserenovationskitchen

We painted the long run with a Farrow and Ball colour (Dove Grey), but used crown paint as a more cost effective option.  The island is painted in a colour called Skimming Stone.   If you are looking for a granite work surface: Russell Stone Fixing are fantastic.  We opted for a Silestone product and we think it looks fab.  Flooring wise we chose a relatively new product that Carpet Right sell called Tegola.  It is a grey/white, vinyl, water proof floor that is extremely hardwearing and durable, perfect in a kitchen especially when you have little ones. I sourced the two lights over our island from a lighting shop in Reigate and I found our kitchen clock in a little shop in Collioure on my travels which I managed to get home on a flight undamaged.

There is a lot of interior styling to do now and I’ve found some amazing wallpapers from Anthology and Zeppany.   Alex and I painted most of the house ourselves with a little help from friends but I’m using a great decorator called Matt Jackson from @mattsfinish to hang the wallpaper.  He is extremely tidy and a real perfectionist which I like!

wallpaper

I’ve also been discussing soft funishings with a family run business called ‘The Harper Collection’ who I am really impressed with.  You can check them out on www.theharpercollection.co.uk.

I love all stages of a house renovation but when it comes to the interior design I really enjoy it.  As the house gradually comes together I will of course share some more photos with you.

I had a night off being a Mummy, painting and working for a few hours last week when I attended the ITV Summer Party.  It was lovely to let my hair down, have a few cocktails and chat with Paddy McGuiness and Leigh Francis (AKA Keith Lemon) about our children of course!  I wore a lovely black and blue dress from Bernshaw, with silver shoes and a silver clutch and my favourite matt red lipstick ‘Ruby Woo’ from Mac.

laura

Well that’s it from me for now.  I hope you all have a great rest of the week…

Lots of love

Laura X

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