9 December 2017

Christmas Gift Ideas - Books

Murder on the Orient Express Illustrated EditionAs some of you will know I used to work in publishing and so I am very much a fan of giving and receiving books. Though this has got me into trouble - I am currently desperately finding places in my already-full house to put yet another bookshelf - its an addiction I just can't seem to give up. My Amazon wishlist has got to be one of their longest.

A good cookbook or coffee table book makes a great house gift if you are going to stay with unfamiliars this Christmas. There are some great kids books in there too.

Agatha Chrisie - of course I think my favourite author should be given to everyone. If you can track down the little hardbacks they look amazing on your shelves. My recommendations are - Mrs McGinty’s Dead, Five Little Pigs and Sleeping Murder. There is an absolutely stunning illustrated edition of Murder on the Orient Express: Illustrated Edition film tie-in that is beautiful to look at let alone read.

3 December 2017

Confessions of an Agatha Christie addict

Few things give me as much pleasure as reading an Agatha Christie. In fact anything to do with her makes my heart sing. I can remember the first time I was aware of her. We were staying in a holiday cottage in Trevone, Cornwall and there was a bookshelf in the kitchen that was full of trashy, well-read, paperbacks. On of them was 4.50 From Paddington and I used to read the first couple of pages, with their description of a lady getting strangled, and quickly put it back into the shelf. I can still remember feeling the thrill and being desperate to read more but not quite being brave enough. The next year I read the whole book and I was hooked.

Agatha Christie Collection


2 December 2017

Christmas Gift Ideas for Grown-ups

Medium Kitchen Pack from Beeswax WrapsIn my notes I've called this 'Present's for Grown-ups' because it's so hard to divide everything into categories all the time and it's not like when you are Christmas shopping you go 'Oh well I'll just buy for the men I know today, women can be next week'. These can be actual presents, stocking fillers or presents for those tricky-to-buy-for friends of the family who may spend some of the festive time with you. Also some great suggestions for house gifts if you are going to stay with people and want to avoid the usual wine/chocolate/panetone.

Beeswax Wraps - I love these. I love them so much that they sent me some to say thank you for a review and I immediately went online and bought some for friends. If I could be bothered I'd find the timing that I Instagrammed my excitement at the post and then the receipt of my purchase. There's an hour in it max. Anyway, I love all of these and we use our Medium Kitchen Pack all the time and you can read my full review here. Any of these packs would make a really unusual house gift and I like Cheese pack but as a stocking filler the 1 Medium and 1 Small wraps would be great and men who have fires will love the Bee Bombs (a useful present that doesn't clutter up the house... who doesn't
want that?)

28 November 2017

Christmas Gift Guide for Kids 0-10

Ned playing with the Kid-o magnatabFor a while it was really hard to find decent, not-too-expensive, gifts and stocking fillers for children but thanks to shops like Flying Tiger this seems to be improving. Some of these presents would work as gifts for other peoples children, stocking fillers or presents for your own squad but rather than dividing into categories I've listed them alphabetically. I will be posting books separately so keep an eye out.

I know that most people say babies don't need stockings but if there are second, third, fourth children then how are you going to explain to the older ones that santa didn't bother with the baby? My tip is to fill the babies stocking with stuff it needs anyway - teethers, vests, Ella's pouches, weaning stuff can all go in.

A quarter of - yes sweets are bad but with Christmas being such a time of consumerism children are often overloaded with presents and actually are just as happy with a box of illicit sweeties. A Quarter Of is the place to go. Not just for kids their bags of friendship rings got me through the last pregnancy.

Animal Antics Ride on Dino - We all know a dinosaur lover and this is perfect for them. It's dressing up but with a little less faff. My nephews would go crazy for this. And they also do unicorns!

Biscuit cutters - I don't know why but I seem to have a bit of an addiction to these. The right cutter brings such simple pleasure and these are a great stocking filler.

25 November 2017

Christmas Gift Bags

If you have girl friends that you buy Christmas and birthday presents for every year it can be hard to come up with ideas and it can get very expensive. I always love the idea of putting together goodie bags (or hampers) for friends which include lots of lovely little treats and if you are clever you can do lots of friends at once and not break the bank. I've come up with a lovely goodie bag, some ideas of what to go in it and then some budget options to help you out.

Christmas gift bag and contents


31 October 2017

Green Sauce

My mother found this recipe in the newspaper (I think) and made it for me as the dressing for a cous cous salad and I was completely obsessed. When I was pregnant with Jack (and still slightly now... not slightly pregnant) I was obsessed with salsa verde and this is sort of the same thing but with one major difference. It uses preserved lemons. Before I had this sauce nothing on god's earth could get me to have anything with lemons in (I do use lemon juice in cooking but with caution) but now I usually have a jar of them in the pantry or in the fridge.

Salsa verde

This sauce is really easy to make - you need a magimix or blender - and makes something unexciting quite special. For example, tonight I cooking supper for a pregnant woman who may just be one of those who is The First Woman Ever to be Pregnant and I'm assuming a lot of foods will not appeal or be allowed. So I'm playing it safe but for those of us who want a bit of a kick there will be a bowl of this green sauce on the table for the orzo pasta which will be served with butter and garlic salt (there are other things too don't worry).

19 October 2017

Beeswax Wraps

Once I'd started planning my War on Plastic I couldn't stop finding things that were made of plastic and it all became a bit overwhelming. Then I heard about Bees Wax Wraps and thought that was one way that I could make a start.

When we had the cottage in Norfolk I was really fastidious about the fridge and insisted everyone used clingfilm. If you are renting a house out you don't want a manky fridge and since then I'd been trying to think of something to cover food in the fridge other than a plate on a bowl which isn't always that effective. Now, I'm not sure I would use these in a rental cottage purely because I'm sure someone would wash them incorrectly but hey, I'd probably give it a whirl.

These wraps are squares of cotton covered in pine resin, jojoba oil and beeswax. They are 100% natural, the pine resin is antibacterial, they are reusable and biodegradable.


18 October 2017

Jack Dominick Andrew Harrod

I realise he never got a post like his brothers so here he is. Born 2nd July 2017


1 September 2017

Baby Favourites

These are some of my favourite things I've been using since having Jack. There are lots more that I missed off - like the gorgeous Aden + Anais towel and flannel set I was given which is so lovely - let me know what yours are in the comments below. Probably a bit too much information in here for some - also if I seem to get shorter during filming that's because it's hard with a baby on your knee!

Aden + Anais Swaddle Blankets
Aden + Anais Towel
Lil Cubs Swaddle Muslin
Ana Wiz Washable Natural Bamboo Breast Pads ( Mixed, Pack of 12)
Kit + Kin nappies
Natracare Maternity Pads
Multi-Mam Balm
PPOGOO Waterproof Burp Cloths
Marks & Spencer Baby Grows
Breastvest Breast Vest Top


5 August 2017

The Breastfeeding Box

Anyone who knows me or how follows me on Instagram will no that, although I do it as much as I can bear too, I hate breastfeeding. It does not make me feel bonded to the baby, it makes me feel a strange combination of resentful, trapped, inadequate and like a cow. I do it because I can and there are lots of women out there who would love to be able to and can't and because it is good for them. I am a crap milk maker though so the boys have all had top up bottles when either they, or I, need it. Why they don't recommend combination feeding more often I have no idea. I'm sure if they did more women would breastfeed but to feed a baby when you aren't making enough milk or hate it and feel that it's an either/or option is ridiculous.

Anyway, part of my problem with it is that having been a mountainous pregnant person you are suddenly not pregnant anymore and (eventually) much more able and mobile and yet there you sit, pinned under a feeding baby staring at the mess/washing up/DIY/gardening/whatever and unable to do anything about it. So, pretty quickly with Ned I made myself a breastfeeding box.

3 August 2017

The War on Plastic

This may sound odd but for a while, in fact almost since I had Jim in 2015, I've felt a bit like my life was on hold. You are very much at the beck and call of a newborn baby and so therefore having a social life or any time to yourself is rare. I also sort of knew that we would have another baby and therefore there were lots of things there was no point in doing until after that had happened. Well, it's happened and finally there's a light at the end of the tunnel. Yes I have a newborn, a 2 year old and a 4 year old so it's not like I'm going all night raving in Ibiza (I've done that and hated it so I won't be doing that anyway but you see what I mean) but apart from my boobs, I've got my body back, I'm not going to be pregnant again, I'm not going to have another newborn. My life from no on is post-baby.

This has manifested itself in many ways but one of them is I have started my own war on plastic. I realise that, although I recycle and use a Brita FillandGo Water Filter Bottle, I've basically been ignoring the massive plastic problem. And it's not just plastic, I've looked into reusable nappies but have been too scared to try them. So I'm slowly but surely eradicating plastic from the house and have started using biodegradable nappies and though i'm still concerned about the amount of plastic in my bathroom that's all my stuff I feel like I'm making progress.

All the things I've found and am using I'll be reviewing on here and will be using the label 'War on Plastic', so you can see all the posts there. You can also see what's going on on my Instagram where I'm @corinnaharrod

Please let me know what you are using to wage your own war on plastic and any suggestions you have and good brands to know about - I'd love to hear from you. 

13 June 2017

Father's Day Gift Ideas 2017

Father's day is a tricky one. Men are so different. We used to take my father out for lunch as he was away working a lot, we lived in London and it was really nice to spend some time together. Also I find with men if they want something they usually get it themselves. My husband has a horror of more stuff being bought into the house having spent the last couple of years sorting through his late father's horded belongings and acquiring two children and the plastic tat that inevitably comes with them. For our anniversary I tend to take him out for supper.
Skull Cufflinks from The Great Frog

Father's Day though is different. Taking a hugely pregnant wife and two small children anywhere to eat isn't that relaxing and though I'm pretty sure he'd love it if I sent him to the pub for the afternoon I'm not sure that really counts. Of course I'm hoping Ned will create something at pre-school for his dad (I had a beautiful earring dish made) but in case that doesn't happen I have a few back-ups.

Accessories  - I love these skull cufflinks from The Great Frog (all their cufflinks are pretty awesome). I'm also always on the hunt for a vintage silver belt buckle for him but I think I need to go to America to track one of these down. These Gaucho belts look great and go with everything - Joe has the Neopolitan which has lasted for years and he wears it most days.

18 February 2017

An Easy Kids 4th Birthday Party

I don't want to sound like a mean mom but I am going to put off spending money on my kids birthday party until I absolutely have to. It will come sooner for my eldest who has his birthday in November. Jim, a June baby, will be having his parties in the garden at home until he's old enough to go to the pub, and then no doubt he will return with his friends, inebriated, to the garden.

4th Birthday Party
Ned and his giraffe cake
It is sort of more effort on your part, they will need entertaining a bit but from my experience there will be a certain amount of over-excited running around and getting every single toy out and onto the floor. This will take up quite a lot of the time as will feeding them anything so really one activity and one or two party games will do for 3/4 year olds. Indeed for Ned's 3rd birthday we just did pass the parcel and let them dash around with a load of balloons and that seemed to do the trick. You don't have to pay a huge amount to a venue and then worry about people turning up and although you do have to do some food prep and the clearing up it has, so far, not been too arduous.

I think either 11-12.30am or 3-4.30pm is a good time for a party. Half my friends prefer the morning as it leaves you the rest of the day to get on with stuff. Half of them prefer the afternoon as it means you can have a lazy morning at home knowing there is an 'activity' in the afternoon. This year we went for the morning as we had it on 5th November and I thought it would give people time to head off to fireworks things in the afternoon. Ned's birthday is actually on 1st November so quite often an afternoon party is better for us if we've been to a Halloween party the day before. 

8 February 2017

Pretty Iconic: A Personal Look at the Beauty Products Changed the World

Sali Hughes Pretty IconicSali Hughes' first book Pretty Honest: The Straight-Talking Beauty Companion (you can read my review here) was a no-brainer purchase for me. Writing down my knowledge on beauty and make-up was why I started this blog and Pretty Honest is basically every thing you need to know whether you wear make-up every day or not (thanks a lot Hughes). But half this blog is product reviews - some which we won't remember in a years time and some that are real icons and nostalgia triggers and that's the genius idea behind Pretty Iconic: A Personal Look at the Beauty Products that Changed the World.

And yes I know. A book of reviews doesn't sound that great, which is why I didn't feel the need to rush out and buy this. But then I got my hands on a copy at a friends house and I absolutely loved it. Let me clarify, I feel like my knowledge of make-up and skincare products is pretty comprehensive especially 1980s and '90s when there wasn't the sheer glut of products that we have now. But why this book works is that for those of us who wore Lulu in their teens, who know that bloody YSL Touche Eclat is not a concealer and spend their working life listening to people saying 'I can't wear red lipstick. Ruby Woo looked awful on me' Sali's writing on these products is so spot on that I actually shouted 'yes' as some bits of it. And for those who don't know so much it's all you do need to know - it's historical, cultural, and for a lot of us incredibly nostalgic. My mother wears two of the scnets mentioned (Rive Gauche and Chanel No 5) neither of which I can carry off (though god knows I've tried) and both which immidiately take me back to watching her get ready to go out, the fascination at this ritual mixed with the dread of the babysitter still palpable.

30 January 2017

10 January 2017

Happy 2017

2016 was a bit full on. Not just with Brexit, Trump and the vast amount of celebrity deaths. We moved (which is stressful), my mum moved, we spent a lot of time trying to work out the tricky issue of having kids and making any money (how this is still a problem in 2016 is beyond me) and to cap it all I spent most of November in bed with morning sickness, noro virus and a delightful kidney infection.

But, even though I actually dislike 'New Year's Eve' as a thing and find it all a bit depressing, I find myself, as ever, rolling into January feeling relentlessly positive and like everything will be ok. No doubt this will fade as the months wear on but for now I'm going to run with it. We have nearly finished doing the kitchen which wasn't major works but took longer than we thought it would. Now just to get the worktop in, shelves built and the whole thing painted. We are hoping to do the loft at the end of February, are off to France in May (please let it be hot) and are having another baby in July (after which Mr H is threatening to have everything below the waist lazered off).

Partly what has got me down in the past is the difficulty of juggling work and small children, I need to earn money but with two small boys and a steady rotation of sick bugs, colds and building work it's very hard to schedule things in. I know this is the same for a lot of mums. However, I'm refocusing the make-up business to be more consultation based which is what I'm really passionate about and I hope that this will fit in with our home situation. We've redesigned the website www.corinnaharrod.com so please go and have a look. It's still being updated but you pretty much get the gist.

I'm also going to actively focus on the positives this year. Having small children can be very isolating and I find myself fixating on the things I'm missing; falling out of touch with friends, not being able to go on crazy nights out, not being able to forge ahead with my career. Well that was last year. This year I'm going to make an effort with those friends who are still around, I'm going to do the things that I can do and appreciate them. Reading, listening to records, drawing and writing. Spending time with the boys while they are small - Ned will go to school in September!

Blogging and social media has also been a problem. Blogging used to be about writing; it's so much more than that now but it's hard to not compare yourself to everyone else, especially when beauty bloggers are ten a penny. So I'm going to follow those people that make me feel positive (a post of those to follow) and keep focussing on why I started in the first place - wanting to write and my passion for beauty and skincare. It's what I know, it's what I'm good at and I want to help people navigate an industry that is now so huge. I am a make-up artist but it's non-make-up artists who I want to reach so if you haven't already go and check out my (original) blog www.londonmakeupblog.com and feel free to ask for any advice or product reviews.

As for this blog I will still be documenting my successes and failures on the home front. I'm on Instagram most of the time (@corinnaharrod) where I will be trying to be one of those positive normal people that make it such a nice place to be.

Happy New Year everyone - thanks for reading

Currently Listening To: Five to One by The Doors (see my What I'm Listening To playlist on YouTube)
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