Blog Giveaway! Kitchen Capers cookbook

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | London Family and Lifestyle Blogger

It’s been sooooooooo long since my last giveaway that I can’t even remember what it was! Pancake Day is coming up and to be honest I was supposed to have hosted this giveaway a little while ago (in Jan!) but I’ve got my butt back on track and it’s finally live!

With Pancake Day/Shrove Tuesday (Feb 25) fast approaching, it’s time to get back into the kitchen and start cooking or baking! For Christians, Shrove Tuesday marks the last day before Lent, traditionally a period of abstinence, associated with clearing your cupboards of goods such as sugar, fats and eggs. Traditionally, pancakes were eaten on this day to use up these foods before the 40-day fasting season of Lent began.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | London Family and Lifestyle Blogger
Get the kids in the kitchen this Pancake Day
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Not a pancake fan? Try making omelettes instead!

You can find a link to my healthy pancakes recipe here if you’re a little stuck on inspiration. The crepe maker from AO.com was super easy to use and 1-2 spritz of oil goes a long way. I’ve always loved cooking and baking but recently I’ve been very lazy. There’s more recipes you can find here on the blog and this year I’m going to make it one of my goals to add more to it. I think I’m going to try making savoury pancakes this year so make sure you come back to see what I get up to.. of course, the recipe will also be up on the blog. 🙂

Not a big fan of pancakes? No problem, you can always make something else using the same set of ingredients if you want to keep it traditional. You could try making a crepe (French pancake) which is similar to a pancake but is thinner and a little more crispy – it can be served with savoury or sweet toppings.

For other alternatives you could even opt for omelettes or eggy bread (French toast). There’s a neat little recipe in the Kitchen Capers cookbook for the latter. 🙂 For those wanting something a little more healthy with a few more ingredients, try a shukshuka. There’s actually a simple recipe for this in the cookbook too! The word shakshuka comes from Arabic, meaning, “a haphazard mixture” or “all mixed up.”

If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you can try egg-free pancakes and crepes by using substitutes like flaxseed or chia seed and water which you’ll leave overnight to create that eggy texture. I found this recipe for fluffy vegan pancakes on Tasty.co, check it out! If you prefer savoury, try Vietnamese savoury pancakes, known as banh xeo – they’re eggless and gluten free as the batter is made from rice flour, a little bit of corn flour, tumeric, salt and water. It’s absolutely delish! I can’t believe I haven’t uploaded a recipe on here! I’ll do that soon along with the savoury English pancakes.


WIN! Kitchen Capers cookbook by David Banks

The Greenwich Mummy - Kitchen Capers cookbook review

Kitchen Capers is a funny little cookbook filled with lots of tasty recipes made simple. It’s great for people who don’t want to faff around with complex jargon and boring text. Every recipe is laid out in comic strips which are nice to look at and good to have a little giggle. The kids and I certainly did at some of the comic strips!

Check out the giveaway page below for instructions on how to enter:
https://thegreenwichmummy.com/blog-competitions-and-giveaways/win-kitchen-capers-by-david-banks-cookbook-review-and-giveaway/


The Greenwich Mummy Blog | London Family and Lifestyle Blogger

Happy New Year! #mybestnine2019

Just a little recap of 2019…

Happy New Year everybody!
I wish you all a fabulous year ahead and may 202 bring you all happiness, good health and good fortune. To wrap up last year fully – in blogger fashion – I share with you all my best nine moments of 2019. 🙂

Our best nine:
  1. Litte Man’s first theatre experience watching The Lost Thing at the Royal Opera House
  2. Our first-time pumpkin picking at Stanhill Farm
  3. Celebrating my Curly Girl hair journey, 18 months on
  4. Our family holiday to Disneyland Paris
  5. My kids-free getaway to Lisbon
  6. My cheap day trip to Paris via coach
  7. Ice skating fun at Queen’s House Greenwich
  8. Little Miss’s very pink birthday brunch at Elan cafe
  9. Sketch London afternoon tea experience

…and the BEST quote to start you off in 2020:

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | London Family and Lifestyle Blogger
via Twitter

Decor: How to decorate your home according to your horoscope

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - How to decorate your home according to your horoscope
2020 is just around the corner!

How quickly has the year gone by?!

This time is also the time when most people find the need to redecorate their home and that’s totally me. New year, new home right?! 🙂 Decorating the home can be really difficult, but have no fear because I’ve got something pretty exciting to help you out.

I’m quite a spiritual person and believe that a positive-energy in the home home can have a positive impact on my daily living. Everybody knows a cluttered home can lead to a cluttered mind and de-cluttering can be quite therapeutic, it can also have good effect on your mental well-being. I’m naturally a hoarder so regular de-cluttering is definitely high on my list but that doesn’t mean I always manage to get round to doing it. Instead I usually save the big de-cluttering for spring (hence, spring cleaning) and for the new year.

In Chinese culture, it’s considered to be a good omen to do a thorough deep-clean and de-cluttering the week before Chinese New Year.

Decorating your home according to your horoscope…

Wayfair UK have teamed up with expert astrologers, Francesca Oddie and Sally Kirkman to create a guide on how to decorate your home based on your horoscope. If you don’t know which star sign you are, just look for your birthday next to the horoscope name. Luckily for our household, we’re pretty much the same. Little Man and I are both Leos, Daddy P and Little Miss are both Taurus. Cool right? Even weirder, Little Man was born the day after my birthday and Little Miss’s due date was a day after Daddy P’s birthday.

Here’s a great little infographic that they have created to help us out:

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - How to decorate your home according to your horoscope


Decorate like a LEO (Jul 23-Aug 22)

For Leos, the astrologers say;

For a Leo, your home is your castle and nothing says ‘let it reign’ like a huge fireplace located in the beating heart of your home – the living room. A fire sign who loves a good social gathering, your home is adorned with bright colours: orange, red and plum, and accented with a few gold accessories like frames, cushions and lighting. For those who are Leo-born, there’s no such thing as too much animal print, so make 2020 your year to go wild and lay down that leopard print rug you’ve been pining for.

… very interesting!

I definitely agree with the gold. I love gold accessories! I’m not sure I 100% agree on ‘there’s no such thing as too much animal print’ but I do like the odd leopard print or peacock print. I prefer textures than print so a beautiful fluffy or shaggy rug would be amazing but I think an animal print rug might be too much for my taste. I think I’d prefer adding small touches of animal prints and figurines instead. Animal wood carvings and metal ornaments of elephants, giraffes and lions always looks great and a statement animal print cushion would jazz up the sofa nicely.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - How to decorate your home according to your horoscope
My animal print & gold accessories list
  1. Roda Feline Cushion by World Menagerie
  2. Gonzalez 3 Piece Giraffe Statue Set by Alpen Home
  3. Cervantez Lion Figurine by Rosdorf Park
  4. Mahoney Elephant Metal Strape Trunk Up Figurine by Happy Larry
  5. Ouled Africa Cheetah Cushion Cover by World Menagerie

As for a big central fireplace in the living room, that would be amazing but I live in a new build so a fireplace would be a dream. Perhaps I could go for an electric one – we could have it fitted where the radiator is currently placed. That’s up against our living room feature wall so might work well.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - How to decorate your home according to your horoscope
I have to admit this leopard print rug is pretty cool! / image: Wayfair UK
The Greenwich Mummy Blog - How to decorate your home according to your horoscope
‘Let it reign’ with a feature fireplace / image: Wayfair UK

 


Decorate like a TAURUS (Apr 20-May 20)

For Taurus, the astrologers say;

A true Taurus appreciates the finer things in life and where better to show off your taste for lavish décor than at home? A sign who loves to add indulgent fabrics wherever possible, from cushions and throws to a dreamy velvet sofa, all tied in with a few eclectic artworks and elegant lighting. Admit it, you are also slightly obsessed with earthy colours and stepping into your home is like walking into a botanical oasis. With the motto ‘you can never have too many house plants’, investing in a fancy new vase or chic plant pots might be worthwhile for the new year.

Daddy P is a fan of velvet and we are both loving this new lush green shade that’s popping up everywhere. We are actually going to paint our living room in this colour sometime in the new year which will be exciting! We’ve always dreamed of buying a velvet sofa but with two young children, it’s not the right time for us to do it although it’s in our future plans. In the meantime we will definitely be adding more indulgent fabrics to our home/

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - How to decorate your home according to your horoscope
My indulgent fabrics and plants list
  1. Luxe Cushion in teal by Symple Stuff
  2. Berkshire Cushion by Canora Grey
  3. Ione Cushion in ochre by Rosdorf Park
  4. Monstera Floor Foliage Plant in Pot
  5. Throw in charcoal by Christy
  6. Drummond throw in silver by Rosdorf Park

Daddy P is actually not a fan of the botanical look but I am totally mad for it – we have started our plants collection and will continue adding to it. We currently have a mix of real and artificial plants because it’s easier to manage and it also gives the room a little more depth… or so I like to believe. We have two pots of beautiful pink winter heath but they died from lack of water and sunlight on our balcony – oops! The good thing about the winter heath is that the beautiful coloured bulbs don’t fall out until the next season so they look alive and colourful but are in fact dead. It gives us enough time to try and revive them or thrown them out and purchase some new ones.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - How to decorate your home according to your horoscope
Luxe textures and indulgent fabrics / image: Wayfair UK

 


P I N  T H I S  P O S T !

 

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - How to decorate your home according to your horoscope


This post was created in response to Wayfair UK’s latest article on decorating your home according to your horoscope: http://bit.ly/wayfairhoroscope – I was sent the inforgaphic but was not compensated for this post. I genuinely wanted to share this great content with you all.

Look Fantastic Black Friday beauty box review 2019

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Look Fantastic Black Friday 2019 Beauty Box review

With the lead-up to Christmas, I always end up taking forever to write up my Black Friday beauty box. You may remember a few years ago I finally wrote my 2016 Black Friday box review… a year later! LOL It’s a mix between procrastination, being busy with family and the children (I had Little Miss in April 2016) and then being sleep-deprived meant that anything I did, I took like a million years to do so. I’m a little faster this year, only a month out! Haha! 🙂

The Black Friday Edit box: first impressions…

On first impressions, the box looks pretty fancy!

I really like the black and gold marble design and the gold text ‘The Black Friday Edit‘ adds modernity to the box. I can’t seem to find the 2017 design however the ‘Back for Black’ 2018 was super sleek and was actually my favourite design but I never bought the box.

I’m happy with the design of this year’s box and the products look really good. I can see one repeat product (the eyeliner) from last year but the others are new. I think for 2020 I would love to see a new design however something similar to this year’s or last year’s would be fantastic. Now let’s get on to the products…

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Look Fantastic Black Friday 2019 Beauty Box review

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Look Fantastic Black Friday 2019 Beauty Box review
The Black Friday Edit: I love the fancy black and gold design

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Beauty Box Review

What’s in the box?

Here are the products I got in my Look Fantastic Black Friday 2019 box:

  • Luxie 504 Large Angled Brush*
  • Dr Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Exfoliating Moisturiser
  • Eve Lom Cleanser including facial cloth
  • Ciaté London Glow-To Highlighter*
  • We Are Paradoxx Hangover Hair Elixir
  • Pixi Shea Butter Lip Balm (Scarlet Sorbet)*
  • Eyeko Eye Do Mini Liner
  • Seoulista Beauty Charcoal Mask
  • Naobay Radiance Body Lotion*
  • Crystal Clear 10-minute Glow mask

The majority of the items are full-sized products. I’ve added a star (*) next to my favourite products which I am still using now. I’ll write a little more below about why I love them so much…

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Look Fantastic Black Friday 2019 Beauty Box review
Inside this year’s box / Photo Credit: Look Fantastic

Luxie 504 Large Angled Brush * (my fave!)

I absolutely ADORE this brush! I’m not sure if it’s because of the pretty pink handle or the softness of the synthetic bristles, but I do know it’s a really good brush. One of my favourite angled brushes and currently my go-to for when I need to apply my bronzer or highlighter across cheeks and hollow for contouring. It’s super soft and so easy to use whether you have powder or cream textures.

I can’t seem to find the brush for sale on the LF website, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s because it’s sold out. There is the Luxie 741 angled contour brush which would be a good alternative.

Dr Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Exfoliating Moisturiser

For a long time I really thought I had combination skin with an oily t-zone. Turned out that my skin isn’t actually oily but dehydrated. When the skin is severely dehydrated (lacking in water, tight-feeling skin) it will start producing excess sebum. To re-balance the skin, I introduced serums and facial oils into my skincare routine which has helped a lot.

Dr. Dennis Gross’ Alpha Beta exfoliating moisturiser is a product that really works. The ingredients list checks out and even though this product does contain silicones (dimethicone! there are other cones too) which I am not keen on but it’s near the end of the ingredients list which is a little more forgiving. The creamy texture is lightweight but hydrating and once applied, my skin feels super smooth and matte soft.

Packed with a cocktail alpha-beta acids and fruit actives, this moisturiser not only hydrates and brightens the skin, it also improves radiance (ginger) and re-balances the sebum production (lavender). When using this moisturiser, I avoid using my usual peeling exfoliator (The Ordinary AHA/BHA peeling solution) on the same day. I’d use my facial oil and day cream in the morning then use the peel in the evening before my night routine. Remember to use a sunscreen during the day when using skincare products with AHA acids (Alpha Hydroxyl Acids; Glycloic, Lactic, Tartaric and Citric).

Also be aware that excessive exfoliation can over-stimulate the skin which can cause uneven skin tone, hyper-pigmentation, sensitivity and redness. So use with caution – you’re using two or more exfoliating products daily or regularly, you could be over-exfoliating.

Eve Lom Cleanser

I’ve heard so much about this Eve Lom cleanser. It’s a trending product and so many beauty magazines rave about it so I was very intrigued to see it in my box. I haven’t tried it out because when I look at the ingredients, the first ingredient is Paraffinum Liquidum… also known as Mineral Oil – same stuff baby oil is made from. Not bad, but it doesn’t scream out luxury to me like how the brand markets itself. They also use lanolin which is a great emollient for dry skin (it’s used in nipple creams) but again, I expect more from Eve Lom. Where’s the high quality oils like rosehip oil, jojoba oil or evening primrose? There’s none.

I’m not impressed… and the 8ml sample size pot is even more laughable.

If you love rich balm cleansers, you’d be better off with the Elemis Pro-Collagen cleansing balm which is only £43.00 for 5g/5ml more (1ml = 1g) and contains skin nourishing oils however you can’t use this product to remove eye makeup. Another great value-for-money alternative is the Trilogy Makeup Be Gone cleansing balm 80ml for £20.50 (more than half the Eve Lom price!) which is on my to-buy list and can be used for both face and eyes. Winner!

Ciaté London Glow-To Highlighter (shade: Celestial) * (my fave!)

The packaging of this highlighter is so pretty. The Ciaté Glow-To highlighter is a powder texture, almost baked-like. The Celestial shade is beautiful (an iridescent peach/gold shade) and perfect for my medium olive skin tone. Little Miss likes putting this stuff on herself too and it also looks beautiful on her caramel complexion. The shimmer is very strong so you really only need a light sweep and you’ll be good to go!

I liked brushing it over the top of my nose, under the brow bone and lightly dab over cheekbones. The little mirror is really helpful and a useful tool for anyone who likes doing their makeup/touch-ups as they go. Be careful as it does crumble easily, well… mine did anyway.

We Are Paradoxx Hangover Hair Elixir
Free from parabens, PEGs, sulphates, perfume, mineral oil and toxins.

I’ve not used this leave-in hair treatment just yet but will get round to trying it once I’ve washed my hair. I’m glad that Look Fantastic are including more vegan-friendly products in their beauty boxes. The We Are Paradoxx hair elixir contains silica and alcohol which is also why I am a little hesitant to try out the product. It does says that the alcohol content comes from the Irish whiskey and the silica (natural quartz, absorbs moisture) – which is different from silicone (a synthetic plastic). The hair elixir isn’t exactly CG-friendly but if you decide to give it a go, see how your hair reacts then make sure you give your hair a good cleanse the next wash day with a low-poo cleanser or an ACV (apple cider vinegar) or rice water rinse.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Look Fantastic Black Friday Box review
Inside this year’s LF Black Friday Box

Pixi Shea Butter Lip Balm (shade: Scarlet Sorbet) * (my fave!)

Infused with shea butter, this Pixi lip balm keeps my lips soft and hydrated throughout the day. I do find that I have to re-apply but no more than my usual lip balm. The Scarlet Sorbet is really pretty like a bitten lip red colour but because it’s a lip balm, it’s more of a subtle tint than full on pigment.

It’s one of my favourite product because it’s something I can use daily and it does the job very well at keeping my lips moist. I also like using it in-between top-ups with my Doucce liquid lipstick (fave shades are rusty red and red velvet). It’s one of the best tinted lip balms that I’ve tried and is a staple item in my beauty bag.

Eyeko Eye Do Mini Liner

So this eyeliner is the only product that made it into both last year and this year’s box. Perhaps people just really love the Eyeko Eye Do eyeliner! I think I had this product from another beauty box before and did enjoy using it. I never got the chance to use it this time round as Little Miss got her hands on my box when I was at work one day and decided to use it like a marker pen… then left the lid off. Yep, it died that same day which is sad times as it seems like a really good eyeliner.

I love pens as they give the user much more control when drawing the line. Liquid brushes create the best thin lines but are so tricky to get right and when you’re short on time, it’s way to fiddly. If you like doing your makeup on the go, I’d recommend using a pen like this one by Eyeko.

Seoulista Beauty Charcoal Mask
Free from parabens, sulphates, mineral oil and artificial colours.

Seoulista is a Korean skincare brand and everybody knows how amazing Korean skincare is so what’s not to love about this natural purifying face mask? Get a thorough deep-cleanse without stripping the skin thanks to the charcoal and volcanic ash extract. Unfortunately my skin is too dehydrated to use this mask so I’ve given it a miss.

Seoulista offer a few other types: super-hydration (hydration) version as well as a gold glow (anti-ageing) and brightening (radiance) so I’ll have to get my hands on one of these instead!

Naobay Radiance Body Lotion * (my fave!)

I love this body lotion so much. It’s lightweight but totally hydrating on the skin… no wonder why it’s completely sold out on Look Fantastic! Hopefully they will restock this item soon as I’m sure many people will be chomping at the ankles for this.

Naobay is a natural skincare and body care brand hailing from Australia. I do love my Aussie natural skincare brands! Enriched with olive oil, shea butter and avocado oil, Naobay’s radiance body lotion is going to leave your body feeling super soft and nourished. The soothing aloe vera extract helps to calm and protect the skin, this lotion would be gorgeous in the summer.. better stock up now!

Crystal Clear 10 Minute Glow

Another sold out product on Look Fantastic! This peel-off mask is said to work its magic on your skin in just 10 minutes, leaving you with a radiant glow. Again, it’s another deep cleansing product so a pass from me but lots of people seem to love it. You can choose to apply this Crystal Clear 10mins glow mask over the whole face or just on targeted areas ie nose, forehead, chin.

With alcohol denat present, I would assume that this product will leave your skin feeling ‘squeaky clean’ and matte soft. Just be careful if you have skin that’s a little on the dehydrated side as it will make it drier.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Look Fantastic Black Friday beauty box review

…and that’s a wrap!

I hope you enjoyed this beauty unboxed review – I really love reviewing beauty boxes but I get so lazy to write it all up! I guess one of my new year’s resolution can be to make sure I always review my unboxing. I need to find a better way putting up the content because I can never get those beautifully curated shots like other beauty bloggers. When you have two messy-wild kids to manage, the house is always a state and I’d be lucky to find a corner of peace where I can shoot from… however, there is a little co-working space next door to me so I might have to take a look and see what they can offer. 🙂

Happy Holidays!


P I N  T H I S  P O S T!

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Look Fantastic Black Friday Box Review

Summer Holidays: Our Disneyland Paris 2019 Review

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris 2019 Review

We survived Disneyland Paris!

We are back from Paris and our day trip to Disneyland Paris. It was an amazing experience, now looking back at it, but at the time it felt chaotic. In this Disneyland Paris 2019 review I’ll write about our overall experience so you can make up your own mind on what to expect, what to bring, and give you some helpful tips which I did’t know about before our trip that could help you.

Book Disneyland Park Tickets in advance

Booking your park tickets in advance will save you a lot of money. If you do plan to visit the park more than once in the year, an annual pass is worth a consideration as you get a better deal. We booked our tickets directly on the Disneyland Paris website however there are many online websites that offer Disneyland ticket deals. For example, after booking ours I found tickets for one day park, hotel and Eurostar for £99 per person. Much cheaper than what we paid however we did go during the SUPER MAGIC (super-peak) period. You can have a look for ticket deals on 365 Tickets which is great site for theme park ticket deals.

Save ££: if you don’t have a specific date in mind, search on travel deal sites for the best deals. Usually you can get a good deal on Disneyland park tickets, accommodation and flights on Travelzoo.

The travel: Eurostar from London St. Pancras

We departed from London St. Pancras Thursday evening at 6.01pm and arrived in Paris at 9.35pm local time so about 2.5hrs train journey ride. The children were a little restless by the end of the train ride but did good enough to stay seated. Children under 3 do not need a ticket as they can sit on your lap however if the train is empty you can be cheeky and place them on a sit next to you if no-one takes the seat. Eurostar staff are incredibly courteous and I have never had a bad experience on it – staff speak both French and English fluently and you can use card or cash (euros or pounds) at the refreshments cafe on board. There’s a toilet on every coach and air conditioning throughout the train. There’s also wifi on board but I couldn’t figure out how to connect on it as my phone would’t connect so can’t comment on that but free wifi – what’s not to like?

Save ££: purchase tickets when Eurostar are doing promotions on their tickets, you could book as cheap as £29 one way per person and under 3s are free.

Top Tip: Download a few movies or shows for the kids onto the tablet before hand and bring some books or activity packs to keep them entertained for the ride. That way you can minimise any tantrums and/or tears.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris 2019 Review
Eurostar journey from London to Paris

We arrived at Paris, Gare du Nord around 9.35pm local time. Leaving the station was very straightforward and easy. We got hungry and decided we wanted to eat before heading to the hotel so we stopped off at a restaurant opposite the station. Big mistake. I already knew in the back of my mind it would be a bad idea but I couldn’t bring myself to take us to McDonalds but in hindsight, I wish I did. At the restaurant we ordered, one margherita pizza, one salmon dish, one lamb confit, two glasses of orange juice and a hot chocolate… the bill came to 60 EUROS! WTF?! Note to self, food is expensive in Paris! Now, it wouldn’t have been such a big deal had the food been really tasty and value for money, the food was bland, not cooked well and seriously BASIC. I’m not expecting fine dining standards at a cafe/restaurant however I know the French like their food so I expect good quality food for that price. If we had gone to Mcdonalds, it would’ve tasted better and cost half that much.

The hotel: Renaissance La Défense hotel

We stayed at the Renaissace La Defense in the finance district of Paris. An urbanised area complete with its own shopping centre, restaurants, metro, train and bus station. It’s very easy to get around via public transport but man! It’s a different story via taxi – none of our taxi drivers were familiar with the area and one even said to us “c’est compliqué” – all of the hotels are built up a level above ground whilst the street level is below ground. What this means is that if you arrive by car you’ll need to head upstairs onto the upper level to get access to the hotels.

On our arrival night we weren’t aware and walked through a labyrinth to find our hotel. Lucky our driver spoke English and Daddy P spoke French fluently. I’m sure if I was alone with my minimal, broken French I may not have been able to navigate the way. Once we arrived, we felt much better – the hotel was stunning. The staircase was beautiful and the reception area was clean and bright.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris 2019 Review
The stunning staircase at Renaissance La Defense
The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris 2019 Review
Beautiful decor at the Renaissance La Defense

Staff were very courteous even though it was past 10pm, we were greeted like we were the first people they had seen all day. Check-in was smooth and within 10 minutes we were given our room keys and on our way to enjoy our room. Our room was clean and spacious, we had tea/coffee making facilities, a good amount of toiletries and clean towels enough for all four of us. Blackout curtains to keep the light out let us sleep for longer which was great. The massive flat screen TV kept the kids occupied in the morning evening before bedtime. Morning shower was great but I wish the water pressure was a bit stronger.

Save ££: Have a look on Booking.com for hotel deals or if you prefer more privacy, check out Airbnb.com for great one or two bedroom apartments you can rent in Paris. Sometimes you’d get a better deal on these than the hotels. You can save more money by shopping at the local supermarkets to make home-cooked meals instead of eating out.

Top Tip: stay central if you want to visit the main landmarks or see more of the city. The further out into the suburbs you go, the more time you will spend travelling and you’ll also spend more on travelling costs buying train tickets.

Travel: getting to Disneyland by train

After a good night’s sleep we woke up around 9am to leave the hotel around 11am. We went to buy snacks and food at the local Monoprix before heading to Disneyland Paris. Unfortunately for us, there was no direct RER train to DLP in Paris due to train engineering works which was going on all day from August 10-18. This was something we didn’t know about until we got there so make sure you check the train schedules online a few days before leaving so you can plan your route effectively. Using the Metro and RER trains were very easy and buying a ticket was also very easy. Ticket machines are available at metro station and offer different languages so you don’t have to work it out in French. Our RER ticket cost us €30.00 one way (2 adults, 2 children) which covered our journey for zones 1-3. I’d definitely recommend travelling to Disneyland via train – it takes around 1-1.5hr normally and is the cheapest option compared to taxi, Uber or coach. Driving is another option but be aware it’s about 26 euros to park your car there.

We probably would’ve gotten away with buying just 1 child ticket as Little Miss was in her pram and I just pushed her through the gates with me. Unlike London, the metro staff do not frequently regulate the gates and you will see people jumping them or walking through without a ticket.

We started our journey at 12.00 and got to Marne-la-Vallée (Disneyland’s station) at 2pm. This is because part of our journey (from Auber to Vincennes) required us to exit the metro, walk 10mins to the next station (chateaux de vincennes) to resume our journey. During that walk we stopped off at a McDonalds for lunch. Children’s Happy Meals in Paris are great! The kids got a nugget happy meal each and it came with the toy, 4 nuggets, small chips, apple juice and a strawberry yoghurt drink. Amazing.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris 2019 Review
The beautiful gardens at the start of the park entrance
The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris 2019 Review
Main park entrance
The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris 2019 Review
Disneyland Paris: Sleeping Beauty’s castle looked amazing!
Park rides, parades and that ‘fast pass’ ticket

The main park was spectacular but man the crowds… soooo many people! I wasn’t ready for how busy it was. I should’ve known better as we arrived in the afternoon. We ended up only going on about 3-4 rides in total but for us, it wasn’t a bad thing. The kids just simply preferred the experience of being at DLP than concerned over going on the rides. Originally, I had wanted to arrive at the park as early as 10am but I am so glad we decided on a later afternoon time. I guess that’s because they are younger – I think if you have older children, they will want to queue up for as many rides as possible!

With our entry ticket, we were given ‘fast pass’ access – I think Disneyland will continue to offer this for a while yet. Simply head over to the rides that are available with the fast pass and print out your advance tickets. Unfortunately you can’t select the times but the ticket will allow you to skip the queue when it comes to the time for you to go on the ride. We printed out our Buzz Lightyear laser blast tickets at 2.30pm but was given fast pass for 7.30pm – we didn’t mind but just trying to give you an idea of the timings the tickets give you.

Save ££: Bring food, snacks, drinks and water with you. If you have younger children it’s not to bad but if you have big eaters or older children they will get very hungry and want to eat/snack constantly so stock up on these things by visiting a local Lidl, Auchan, Carrefour or Monoprix before entering the park. You’ll also save time queuing for food at the park’s restaurants.

Top Tip: If you’re not staying at the parks, travel to the park via train – it’s cheap and easy. The station is right outside the entrance and it’s hassle-free. Another tip, if you have young children, bring a stroller! Your feet, legs and sanity will thank you for it later.

I was extremely close to not bringing our stroller but a friend of mine who went a week before said don’t even think about not bringing one. The park is large and little legs will tire fast. Also they’re bound to fall asleep at least once during the day. You’ll also save around 30 euros not hiring one there!

We queued up for a mini boat cruise in Fantasyland which was enjoyable and relaxing once we got on the ride. The queue was about 30-40mins which was pretty long for one ride – some of the other rides had even longer wait times. The longest wait time I noticed was 90mins – my advice would be to check out the rides you want to go on online ahead of the visit. Anticipate long queues and wait times so plan to go on about 4-8 rides if you are there for a day visit. It’s impossible to complete the park in one day no matter what season you go.

After we finished our boat cruise, we went to check out Sleeping Beauty’s castle and the sleeping dragon underneath the castle. The boys went on the Pirate tree house and Phantom Manor ride whilst Little Miss and I went over to the town square to watch the street parade at 5.30pm which was fantastic.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris 2019 Review
Family Time: Quick selfie outside sleeping beauty’s castle

If you think you’re not going to be able to see all the Disney characters or only have a day ticket like I did, I’d highly recommend watching the street parade – it is one of the best things you can do and you can easily get a good spot. You will be able to see all the Disney characters in one sitting. The parade is approx. 30 mins and you will be able to see all the characters clearly; Donald and Daisy duck, Mickey and Minnie mouse, all the princesses, the Lion King characters, Buzz Lightyear, Woody and friends, Anna and Elsa from Frozen.

Character Meets: Mickey Mouse

This was the only character meet that we queued for – we tried to look for Toy Story’s Jessie and friends in the Western World part of the park but we were too late. At the Princess Pavilion, it was Rapunzel from Tangled that we could see in the afternoon but the queue for her was even longer so Daddy P and I made the decision to go and see Mickey as we thought both of the kids will enjoy it more. We weren’t disappointed.

Even though the wait was 1.5-2hrs long and we even missed our fast pass entry for Buzz Lightyear’s laser blast ride, it was SO WORTH IT! The kids were kept entertained in Mickey’s theatre with short movie clips that were on a loop. I loved the concept they developed for it – like it was a special backstage meet with Mickey. Just before it was out turn to see Mickey, one of the animation team saw Little Man’s tshirt and noticed it was his birthday – they made a quick call and was able to get Mickey Mouse on the phone to him before our meet! Little Man said Mickey wished him Happy Birthday and just seeing his face lit up was an unforgettable moment.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris 2019 Review
Meet Mickey Mouse backstage at his theatre in Fantasyland
The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris 2019 Review
The kids with Mickey Mouse

We took our photos with Mickey – you are free to take your own photos using your phone of your Mickey meet but Daddy P and I were too filled with awe from seeing him with the kids we couldn’t move much haha! The photographer took the photos for us and gave us a little card so at the end of the meet we can purchase the photos if we wanted to. As we didn’t take any of our own photos, I bought them but they looked amazing so it was hard not to buy them. You can purchase just the images or with a photo frame. Of course they offer a deal for multi purchases and I bought two photos with frames for 25.99 euros which is around £23 – not bad for two beautiful photos but if you do want to save money, don’t forget to take your own photos at the meet! The staff will even help you take the photo on your phone if you want to get a full family shot, no charge.

Staff at Disneyland were incredibly friendly, smiley and very talented. They are able to switch seamlessly from one language to another; from what I gathered all staff speak French, English, Spanish and German. In that order. And I’m sure they can speak Italian and possibly Mandarin too as there was a lot of Asian people there. Just amazing! Language barrier is really the least of your concerns at DLP.

The Fireworks: Disney Illuminations

This has to be the real highlight of my Disneyland trip and I am so so glad we didn’t leave before it. Everyone gathers in the centre around 9pm onwards for a good spot and I don’t blame them. However we decided to head back to the Western World and go for our dinner. We dined at The Lucky Nugget Saloon which was affordable and tasty. A meal deal for dinner was 21.99 euros and for that you get a main dish, side, dessert and soft drink. The service was quick and super easy – we queue to order, pay and get seated shortly after. That took around 15mins and our food arrived at our table around 5mins after being seated. We took our time to enjoy our meal which was delicious – I had the rack of ribs and Daddy P and co had the fish with chips. We didn’t opt for dessert. We left the restaurant around 10.30pm and by then the park will filled with people waiting for the fireworks display. We walked all the way to the park entrance as we wanted to be one of the first to leave and had a decent spot watching the illuminations. We didn’t stay for the whole thing which is around 30mins but we watched the majority before running off to catch the train home. If we were staying at the park’s resort we wouldn’t be in a rush and take our time to find a good spot close to the Sleeping Beauty castle which is where they project the illuminations from. All I can say is whatever you do, stay for the show. Don’t miss it because it really does highlight your whole experience.

Top Tip: If you want to make it home before the crowd, leave the park slightly before the end of the illuminations. You can do this by choosing a good viewing spot close to the park entrance so you can make a quick escape.

Depature Day: back home to London

We decided to have another lie-in as we didn’t get home until 1am the night before from DLP so we woke up 9am and checked out by 11am. We stopped off at McDonalds for ‘brunch’ – I forgot to mention that McDs in Paris offers macarons as a dessert! They are delicious and quite cheap, around 95 cents per maracon but I’m sure you can get a pack of 6 or 8 for a discounted rate. It was pouring down with rain on Saturday so our plans for going to see the Eiffel tower and Montmartre was out of the question. Not when we hadn’t packed any weather-proof or warm coats with us, we didn’t want to risk getting wet and coming down with colds when we get back home. We managed to get the metro to the Louvre Museum and hid there most of the day. After here, we made it to the station where we waited until it was our time to go home.

Top Tip: there are no free toilet facilities at the Louvre – it cost between 1.10-2.00 euros to use the toilet here so make sure you have some change with you.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris 2019 Review
Hiding away from the rain inside the Louvre Museum

We got to Gare du Nord by catching the metro from Louvre to Gare d’lest then changing at the station for the train to Gare du Nord. After spending a few hours wandering around the station, we headed upstairs to check into our Eurostar journey. There is a small children’s corner on the platform for kids to burn off some of their energy. Little Man did some reading, some colouring in and Little Miss joined in every now and then. There’s also a Paul’s Bakery and Costa Coffee on the platform for you to enjoy – yay!

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris 2019 Review
Little Man having fun at the Eurostar’s kids corner

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris 2019 Review

The highlights of Disneyland:

  • Night illuminations
  • A chance to see all of the characters at the parades
  • No need to pay for additional rides
  • Fast-pass ticket with every admission ticket
  • Public transport nearby (train station is opposite the park)
  • Ample car parking spaces

The downside of Disneyland:

  • Very long queues and wait times
  • Expensive and limited food choices
  • Expensive car parking charges (around 26 euros)
  • Expensive buggy hire (around 30 euros)

In summary, I definitely recommend going if you’ve never been before. It really is a wonderful experience despite the negatives. Yes, it can cost a fortune but the magic is still there and you’d see it in your children’s eyes. Just make sure you take them at an age that they can actually enjoy it (3 years and above) otherwise it wouldn’t be worth it unless you can really afford to spend at least £800+ on a few days. Booking during off season is a very good idea – avoid UK and French school holidays and you should find cheaper park prices and low park capacity.

I hope you enjoyed this blog review. We are looking forward to going back but whether that’ll be next year or in a few year’s time we’re not sure yet. It was definitely a memorable experience and we all enjoyed it thoroughly. 🙂 You can watch a video of our day trip on Youtube: youtu.be/Kgxoc1K3_gc

Au Revoir for now… we will be back!

Keep Calm… we’re going to Disneyland Paris!

9 days until my 30th birthday & our journey to Paris…
10 days until Little Man’s birthday & our day trip to Disneyland Paris!

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris family vacay

We are all SUPER EXCITED!

It’ll be our whole family’s first time to Disneyland and we are so excited for it! We’ve started preparing what we’re going to bring and wear including those insta-worthy Mickey Mouse ears which we’ve bought from Ebay for £3 each! It’s so much cheaper online than buying on the day or at the Disney store but if you prefer to splash and go all out then definitely purchase your official Disney ears prior to DL to save yourself some cash.

Disneyland Paris via Eurostar

We’ll be travelling via the Eurostar from London St. Pancras. I managed to bag tickets during a summer sale promo for £29pp per way which was a bargain! The Eurostar will take us from London to Paris in just under two hours which works well for us as we’ve booked an evening journey so will arrive in time for dinner. We’ve decided that we will play it by ear and see how the kids feel on the day before deciding where we will eat. If the kids are super tired, we’ll have an early night instead.

One thing I really love about London is how well connected everything is. Sure our transportation has its good and bad days but no-one can fault how easily accessible it is to travel around the country and abroad from London.

My 30th Birthday Plan

I can’t believe how quickly the years fly by! Being an August baby means I get to see nearly all of my friends turn 30 before I do – not a bad thing – but it makes me feel slightly pressured to do something BIG. We’ll see how that’ll pan out as I don’t have anything planned right now with friends.

However, on the morning of my birthday I’ve managed to book free tickets to SKY GARDEN which is going to be amazing! Insta-worthy photos, here I come! I’ve also just treated myself to a Fenty Beauty bronzer and highlighter kit so let’s pray that does me some justice… now to just plan an outfit fit for the occasion… plus or minus a 30th birthday tiara! Then after my morning birthday breakfast treat, we’ll probably just wander around London with the kids then get back home for a quick afternoon nap before leaving for the Eurostar journey.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Sky Garden London
A view of Sky Garden / Photo Credit: Secret London

We will board our Eurostar to Paris around 6pm and arrive at Gare du Nord Paris. We will be staying at the Renaissance in La Defense – the financial district. As it’s summer, I’m hoping it won’t be too busy around the area but pray the weather will be nice enough for us to explore Paris on the Saturday before we depart as we’ll certainly be spending all day Friday at Disneyland Paris.

Our itinerary:

Thursday:
20.00 Arrival at Paris Gare du Nord (depart from London St. Pancras)
21.00 Hotel check-in and dinner at hotel or local restaurant
22.30 Bedtime

Friday:
07.00 Breakfast at hotel, then straight out on RER to D’Land
FULL DAY
Disneyland Paris + dinner at the resort
22.00 Night illuminations and park closing parade
23.00 Back to hotel for bedtime

Saturday:
08.00 Breakfast at hotel and pack bags for hotel check-out
12.00 Visit to Jardin D’acclimatation
15.00 Late lunch at a local restaurant
16.00 Eiffel Tower visit
18.00 Depart from Paris Gare du Nord (return to London St. Pancras)

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris family vacay
Disneyland Paris / Photo Credit: Sogol Salehi on Unsplash

I’m going to try and document our Disneyland family vacay as much as I can and will add to my instagram stories so if you’d like to check out our trip, follow me at @mannyngo_yogi

Recipe: Sweet potato, haddock and vegetable coconut curry (V)

THE GREENWICH MUMMY FOOD RECIPES | FISH CURRY

(V) this coconut curry contains fish which you can omit for a full vegetarian dish

THE GREENWICH MUMMY FOOD RECIPES | FISH CURRY
Photo credit: Unsplash

So in The Greenwich Mummy’s household, Daddy P recently decided to stop eating meat products, adopting a pescetarian diet. I, however, still enjoy my meat products on top of our new food diet. The popular new label for people like me is ‘flexitarian’ – someone who is semi-vegetarian and enjoys vegetarian meals but still consumes all animal, fish, egg and dairy products.

Being Vietnamese, I love my meat dishes but we also have a lot of healthy vegetarian dishes too which is a nice balance. Our little family have been on this pescetarian diet for about 4 months now and the transition has been really smooth. The kids don’t mind it and Daddy P has done really well considering he was the biggest meat-eater out of all of us. He hasn’t missed eating meat at all! I guess because we’re still eating fish, shellfish, egg and dairy products we’ve still got a wide variety of protein sources in our diet so it’s not too noticeable. Some may even say cutting out red meat is a healthy thing to do.

A curry is a great dish to enjoy any time of the year, similar to soups, but I especially love it in the winter and the summer. Winter because you can have a mean hearty curry to get you through the cold nights. Summer is a great time for curries because you can make it taste as light and as fresh as you like.

I originally wanted to make a haddock and butternut squash cashew curry but my local Sainsbury’s had run out of butternut squash so I bought some sweet potato instead and came up with this recipe. It tasted fantastic! I’m afraid my photos don’t do this dish any justice so you’ll have to just take my word for it. 🙂 It tastes like a cross between a Thai curry and a creamy fish dish. If you like your curry with heat, add in some chilli flakes but I preferred mine mild so made it without any spices.

Bon Appetit!
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add onions to the oil and fry
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add in the sweet potatoes
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now time to add the carrots!
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add in the seasoning and stock then simmer!
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add in the fish, remaining veg and coconut milk

Haddock, sweet potato and vegetable coconut curry recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 haddock fillets (leave this out to make it a vegetarian/vegan dish)
  • 3-4 whole carrots, sliced
  • a handful of green beans (frozen or fresh)
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 onion, sliced or diced
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 2 tsp mild curry powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1tsp cumin
  • 1-2 tbsp sunflower oil for frying
  • 100ml water
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. On a medium heat, add the oil to the pan and fry onions until soft then add the sweet potatoes and fry for a further 7mins until soft but firm inside.
  2. Add the dry seasoning (curry powder, garam masala, cumin, salt and pepper) then add the veggie stock cube to 100ml water and pour into the pan. Let everything simmer for about 15mins.
  3. Add in the fish, veg and coconut milk and simmer for a further 7-10mins or until the fish is cooked and falling apart (flaky looking).
  4. All done! Serve with jasmine rice and enjoy. x

 

The Greenwich Mummy - Food recipe

My Curly Girl Method 18 months update: progression and regression photos

Can you believe it’s already been 18m (that’s 1 year and 6 months!) since I started my CGM journey and created my original Curly Girl post! So what are my thoughts on CGM after a year and a half of plopping, squish to condish-ing and scrunching?

Well what can I say really? I still see myself as a newbie; still learning every day and still finding it hard to work out my hair. Just when I think I’ve got the hang of it – BAM! Back to square one but then again it’s self-inflicted as I am to blame for that. I constant colour my hair and lighten it; just a last month I processed the hell out of it with bleach to lift it light enough to go pinky/peach.

I thought I’d create this post so you can see the highlights and the struggles of my wavy hair journey. It’s not always been rainbows and sparkles but can if you stick at it (unlike me and avoid chemical damage which is just as bad as heat damage) and really take the time to learn about your hair, you will yield much more. Now enough of the hair lecture, here are my progress/regress photos for you to feast your eyes on:

December 2017

The photo below was taken pre-CGM by a week or two. WOW. As you can see it’s pretty much straight but there’s a few slight waves in the middle section at the back of my head.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Curly Girl Method Hair Journey Process

January 2018

A month into my Curly Girl Method hair journey…

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Curly Girl Method: My wavy hair journey

May 2018

Then 6 months post CGM, my waves are looking more stringy which could be due to the colour processing or could be because my hair seems to be curling a little bit more. My hair doesn’t seem to clump as much as when I started but the waves have more of a squiggly pattern than a loose S pattern.

August 2018

I’ve gone pink! In this photo my hair is a little more undone but those are waves after being out all day. More clumping happened that day and I have a better curl pattern. The more frequent deep conditioning also helped.

October 2018

Had my first wavy cut at Jones & Payne Shoreditch but a fellow wavy called Lisa. She cut my hair really well and my hair felt much lighter. Unfortunately because she had to comb and brush it so much the waves were almost gone and she styled it by twisting strands to encourage clumping. I actually love this technique and it helped my wavy hair look more defined.

Once the pink colour faded I threw on a teal (semi-permanent) colour followed by intense deep conditioning to save it as much as I could. Here’s a photo of my hair wet and dry so you can see how different it looks. When my hairs wet, my waves always look good but by the time it’s dried (usually air dry) it looks a little more fluffy and wavy with a curly twists.

The two photos below are from one of my best hair days; I had the most curl clumps this day and cannot for the life of me remembered what I used or what I did because I didn’t keep a record! Argh! It looked amazing from the back and there was so many chunky, twisty waves I loved it. I do remember applying the Cantu curl activating cream but that’s about it. :’-(

wet waves

hair when it’s dried

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | My complete wavy hair care routine
The BEST clumping I had in a while!
November 2018

Colour has faded but waves are curling slightly more. The photo below is actually around day 2 refresh and it looks good. Slightly fluffy but overall, okay. I find that my hair always looks good on refresh days; days 2 and 3 are usually the best.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Noughty Haircare Review

December 2018: 1 year post CGM

So I went back to dark hair and that marked a year since I went CGM. The condition is not bad and a slight change since I started. Not bad but a lot of other CGM wavies have had much better transformations than I but I’m not too sad about it. I put in as much effort, time and money as I could and this was the result. With two children, it’s not always easy to even spend 15mins on my hair let alone longer.

waves on a pretty normal day

The photos below are from one of my rare best hair day. The waves looked amazing! It was one day post-wash day and I started off my wetting the hair with water, scrunching in mousse but then the waves were too hard but had beautiful definition so I did a light prayer hand over the top of the hair with some leave-in conditioner and lightly scrunched.

waves from my BEST HAIR DAY

BEST hair day: what the waves look like from the back
March 2019

I decided to do a DIY chop at home to see if it would help my hair wave a little more and it did a little but not much. My hair did feel much healthier and all the dry ends were gone. I stopped deep conditioning regularly and only did it when I felt like my hair needed it and felt too dry.

If you like, I would say my wavy hair regression started from here – when I started to bleach my hair. Usually I would have my hair lightened in the salon but I was really broke so opted for a box job, which even though it looked nice, it really dried out my hair. I went back to deep conditioning my hair on a bi-monthly basis.

June 2019: 18 months post CGM

Then went blonde in May and kept the blonde from becoming brassy with a regular treatment of silver semi-colour and silver shampoo which unfortunately contains sulfates. It really dried out my hair so each time I used the silver shampoo I would always follow with a deep conditioner. Last month (June) I added a pink semi-colour to my hair which is fading to a lovely peach over the weeks. I continue to deep condition and used a protein pack for the first time which worked really well for my high porosity, chemically-damaged hair. It left my hair feel UBER soft!

Soo, to summarise…

Let’s just say my hair journey became LESS CGM and more about processing the F*** out of it but hey! I get bored of my hair so quickly and couldn’t help it. Because it’s been processed, the condition and texture of the hair is no longer the same as when I started. It’s now more drier and coarse due to the chemical processing and damaged (a lot of deep conditioning helps!) and the curl pattern is less wavy than before but I’m slowly getting it back on track. I recently used a protein pack hair treatment which my hair loved so much, I was surprised how well it worked. As my hair is highly porous due to the damage the protein is necessary to help the hair repair.

To get the best results from doing the Curly Girl Method;
  • Avoid chemical processes to your hair ie. bleaching, dyeing, colour stripping
  • Deep condition your hair at least once a month or once a week/two weeks if you have damaged hair with a suitable hair masque
  • Keep a record of ALL the products you used on your hair each time you wash it or style it and take a photo to make a visual note of how your hair looks and responded to the products
  • IF you need to change a product from your current routine, change one product at a time so you can pinpoint exactly whether that product works/doesn’t work for your hair
  • Be patient. Getting the best results from CGM takes time… I’m still learning and I’m 18 months post-CGM!

Like living a healthy lifestyle, following CGM is not about getting to the end, it’s about the journey and the processes in between – learning what works, what doesn’t and how you can do it better. I don’t think I will ever stop colouring my hair so I have to learn to adapt CGM to a way that suits my hair best. The only time I had been really strict with CGM IS when I first started but right now, my modified way works. So the take-away lesson here is to not be afraid to adapt CGM to make it work for your hair. There is so much information out there on the web that you’re sure to find another wavy/curly girl in a similar situation to you so don’t be afraid to reach out to them. Read the articles on NaturallyCurly.com and BritishCurlies.co.uk because they are so helpful and on BC you can even sign up and chat on the forum with other wavies and curlies.

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Slowly getting my waves back to a better condition
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PEACH HAIR / waves getting back on track!

New adventure playground opens at Kidbrooke Village

Cator Park, Kidbrooke Village

On Saturday 8th June, a new (and free!) outdoor play space, Cator Park, had opened up at Kidbrooke Village. Unfortunately I work the weekends and was unable to attend the launch but judging from the images below, the opening turned out a big success with many families enjoying the space and the sun! Lucky bunch!

Children can jump, climb, swing and slide to their heart’s content. The park also incorporates a series of stepping stones designed by local children, dotted around the park alongside a number of brass rubbings as part of an educational ecology trail.

Photo Credit: Camargue

Photo Credit: Camargue / Berkeley

There was also a fete going on at the launch opening which offered craft sessions and learning sessions about the local animals and wildlife with London Wildlife Trust. Families and children learnt about “how the ‘rewilding’ of the green space is helping to increase biodiversity and encouraging birds, mammals, amphibians and insects to make their home among the plantlife.”

It’s really nice to see that the local authority and government are trying their best to utilise the green spaces we already have and create refreshing new ones for the local community to enjoy.

To find out more about Kidbrooke Village and the new play space visit the Kidbrooke Village Community Facebook page (@kidbrookevillage). 

Travel: A day trip to Paris from London on a budget

Greenwich Mummy Blog | How to do Paris in a day on a budget

PARIS, the capital of France is only a 2hr train ride via Eurostar from London St. Pancras or a short 45mins flight from London Stansted or Gatwick. However, train tickets and flights can cost you an arm and a leg if you don’t book far enough in advance. But fear ye not, because I’m going to tell you how you can visit Paris on a budget AND do it in a day (Well, sort of – I’ll explain later)… Happy days!

How to travel to Paris cheap

If you really want to travel to Paris the cheapest way possible, it would be by coach. But for that dirt cheap price comes the compromise – time. The journey is approximately 7-9hrs and depending on which coach company you go with, you can either arrive close to the centre of Paris, the airports or the suburbs of Paris.

This is why I previously wrote “sort of” for doing Paris in a day. If you want to be able to explore Paris in a day, you’ll need a night coach journey so you’ll arrive in Paris early in the morning allowing you to have all day to explore the city.

Greenwich Mummy Blog | How to do Paris in a day on a budget

The main coach companies taking you to Paris from London are Eurolines, Flixbus and Ouibus. Coach tickets will set you back £11-15 one way and if you’re lucky, you might even find a next day return ticket for as little as £18! Now take that into consideration to a £49+ one way Eurostar ticket. However, saying this… IT IS POSSIBLE to travel to Paris from London cheaply on the Eurostar if you book during their promotion sale. These start from just £29pp one way which is amazingly cheap plus, it’s the quickest way to get to Paris.

When my sister and I went on our impromptu day trip to Paris from London, we took a night coach and arrived early morning. We spent all morning and afternoon exploring and sightseeing then caught an evening coach back home. We spent around £100 each for our day trip which included a few Uber rides in between. I bought a lot of dry food to bring back home with me so that added to our expenditure however it is possible to eat cheap, skip the hotel and save your money for the attractions and museums.

Greenwich Mummy Blog | How to do Paris in a day on a budget

How to get around the city

The easiest and cheapest way to get around the city is by metro (underground). It’s fast, frequent and pretty reliable. Just like London travel, you’ll need a ticket to get around – a day pass is the cheapest at 12EUR but they also offer 3, 5 and 7 days pass. The main parts of Paris are within zones 1-3 but if you need to get to the airports (CDG and Orly) or Disneyland this will be outside of the zones and you’ll need a separate ticket for this. If I’m not wrong, you can buy an extension which can be added onto your current pass.

The Greenwich Mummy | A day trip to Paris from London on a budget
The Tariff map for zones 1-3 / Credit: Paris Visite RATP
What to see and do in Paris

Just like London, there are LOTS to do and see in Paris. However with only a day to spare and doing it on a budget won’t be easy so your planning skills need to be on point here. Research beforehand on Google maps all of the main attractions you’re interested in and see where they are located and how close they are to each other. Below are some great touristy places to see. I’ve included all of these locations in the Google Maps, just click on the markers to view them.

For a day trip, visiting 4-5 attractions should be enough to satisfy your wanderlust without burning you out and still leave you with time to relax and have something to eat and drink. Check admission prices online to make sure you stick to your budget. Alternatively, skip entry and make up for it with lots of photos instead.

Greenwich Mummy Blog | How to do Paris in a day on a budget
Sacré Coeur
Greenwich Mummy Blog | How to do Paris in a day on a budget
L’Arc de Triomphe
Greenwich Mummy Blog | How to do Paris in a day on a budget
Louvre Museum
Greenwich Mummy Blog | How to do Paris in a day on a budget
Eiffel Tower
Main attractions:
  • Eiffel Tower
  • Louvre museum
  • Arc de Triomphe
  • Champs Élysée
  • Musée d’Orsay
  • Sacré Coeur
  • Montmartre
  • River Seine
  • Montparnasse
  • The Catacombs of Paris
  • Pompidou Centre
  • Grand Palais
  • Palace of Versailles*
  • Disneyland Paris*

*ONLY if you decide to make them your only attraction to visit in Paris.

Tickets to Paris museums are free if you are a child under 18 or a student under 25.
One weekend a month, the museums do offer free entry to everyone but this varies from museum to museum so check out their admissions/tickets page for more details.

Another fantastic way of seeing many attractions in one go is to go on a walking tour.

‘Free’ Paris walking tours

You basically pay as much or as little as you like. Some are completely free and you can just tip instead. My sister and I did a free Montmartre walking tour which was a great way to see the area and learn some cool facts along the way. Ours was a tip-only tour so we tipped our guy €5-10 for his time.


Check out the sites below for free walking tours:

New Europe ToursFree Tour – Discover Walks – Free Tours By Foot

Top tip: make sure you wear comfortable trainers or walking shoes when embarking on a walking tour as they can range from 1-3 hours


Where to eat in Paris

Just like London, there’s all different cuisines for you to try from in Paris. The Independent online compiled this list of the best cheap eateries in Paris with main dishes coming in less than €10 it’s a win-win situation.

Top tip: AVOID the restaurants opposite the Eurostar Gare du Nord station because not only is it severely over-priced, the food is absolutely terrible! I made the mistake of eating there once and spent over 60EUR for our family of four and the food was terrible! We would’ve been better going to the McDonalds also on the same row of restaurants.

Not sure what to order?
Try some French classics; order an onion soup for your starter or a creme brulee for your dessert. If you’re feeling really brave, why not try their delicacy of snails… let me know how that one goes! Paris is well known for their pastries so head to a café and order something sweet, team it up with a hot drink like a latte = café au lait (“kaffay-aw-lay”), hot chocolate = chocolat chaud (“shoh-koh-lah-shaw”). If you fancy something stronger, ladies would usually order a red wine = vin rouge (“van-roozj”) or a white wine = vin blanc (“van-blohn”) and men typically a beer = bierre (“bee-air”).

If you have some cash to splash, buy a box of delicious Ladurée macarons. The macarons come in many flavours and colours and the box packaging is to die for!

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I was craving some home cooking and headed out to a local-looking Vietnamese cafe in Choissy and ordered traditional dishes. The starter was around €4-5 and main was between €9-13. I spoke to the staff in Vietnamese (which was nice) and funnily enough it felt really comfortable like being at home. I think most Vietnamese cafes in this district are family-owned which is nice because there are so many chains and franchises nowadays it’s nice to support small and local businesses.

Where to stay in Paris

If you want to stay in Paris on a budget, the best option (if you don’t mind sharing) is a hostel. Unless you have a lot of cash to splash, most hotels in Paris are budget hotels and 1-2 star. It’s usually not much different from a decent hostel in my opinion. Some hostels like the Generator Paris offers single rooms with private bath/shower rooms at a premium so at least you have the option to choose.

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A beautiful skyline view of Paris

There’s a super useful post by the Budget Traveller which has a list of the best budget stays in Paris so make sure to check those out as well as doing your own research on cheap stays: https://budgettraveller.org/6-of-the-best-budget-places-to-stay-in-paris/

The Generator Paris hostel is a popular choice – voted by The Independent Online and the Budget Traveller as one of the best places to stay in Paris. It offers free WIFI, sharing rooms (dorms) and private rooms, female only rooms, bar, lounge area and more.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog: How to do Paris in a day on a budget
Stylish and modern sharing dorm rooms at Generator Paris / Source: Generator Paris

I hope that this post has given you some inspiration or ideas on how to construct your day trip to Paris on a budget. There’s so much information online and Paris in a day is usually already on most travel blogger’s list so don’t be afraid to read their experiences and recommendations.

Bisou! X


P I N  T H I S  P O S T

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | A DAY TRIP TO PARIS FROM LONDON ON A BUDGET


 

Hair: Wash day routine + products list Wk3

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Hair wash day routine week 3

So this post is a little late as I wanted to wash my hair twice last week. Last wash day Thursday and I washed it again last night Sunday. I’ve also purchased a new product – As I Am conditioning cleanser, £9.99 from Look Fantastic. It’s a gentle co-wash and apparently great for wavy hair as it’s really lightweight but still cleanses well. If you’ve never used a conditioning cleanser or know what it is, it’s basically a conditioner that has been formulated to cleanse and condition the hair without stripping it of natural oils. It’s great for curly girls but for wavies, it can be hit and miss as a lot of conditioning cleansers are too heavy for fine waves.

My hair is 2A but very ‘sensitive’ as the wind can blow my waves away and leave me looking a hot mess. I also find that my hair usually looks its best on refresh days, compared to wash days. I think that’s because my hair’s had time to ‘settle in’ and the gel has had time to work in the hair and the reviving mist of water just creates something beautiful.

My day 2 refresh hair always looks better than wash days
The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Hair wash day routine week 3
My new favourite: As I Am Coconut Cowash!

The cleansing conditioner worked really nicely on my hair and I felt like it did feel a little bit more moisturised than when I just normally cleanse with a low-poo. After rinsing out the co-wash, I still carried out my normal routine: conditioner, leave-in, and gel.

I thought to include photos of my hair immediately post-wash after styling this time so you can see how it looks when it’s wet and dry. Below, my hair is about 70% air dried after scrunching in gel with an old tshirt. My hair still looks quite stringy because my hair still doesn’t clump very well. My clumps are very thin and I still need practice with getting larger sections to clump together. I think I need to leave more water in my hair for when it dries, that will also help with the moisture but I need to figure out a way to lock that moisture in without weighing down my hair. I think I also need to switch back to my old gel; I love my Bouclème gel but it’s not giving me that super strong hold like my ECO olive oil gel did. It’s also a lot cheaper so I’ll have to give it a try again.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Hair wash day routine week 3
Immediately post-wash after scrunching out the crunch (70% air dry)

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Hair wash day routine week 3

And here’s my hair the next morning after wash day. As I usually wash my hair the night before, when I’ve gone to bed with damp hair I tend to accidentally alter the wave pattern as I probably lie on it and squish my waves flat. I always consciously plop my hair to the top of my head but don’t use anything to cover it when sleeping. I’ll wash my hair during the day next week so you can see how it looks after air-drying… minus the squished waves!

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Hair wash day routine week 3
Next morning’s hair post wash-day + squished waves
The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Hair wash day routine week 3
Right side
The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Hair wash day routine week 3
Left side

See week 2’s hair wash day photos here


List of products used this wash day:

Cleanser: As I Am Coconut Cowash conditioning cleanser

Conditioner: Noughty Wave Hello conditioner

Leave-in: As I Am leave-in conditioner

Gel: Bouclème curl defining gel

Styling: ‘scrunch out the crunch’ technique

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NB. this post contains affiliate links

Gift ideas for dads this Father’s Day

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | London Family and Lifestyle Blogger

Father’s Day is this weekend already! I can’t believe how fast this year has flown by! Now officially in mid-June, summer is approaching and the warmer days we had a couple of weeks felt fantastic. I even tried out my Bondi Sands fake tan which was lovely – I need to write a review on that soon. Below are gift ideas I’ve got in mind for Daddy P but I hope they inspire you if you haven’t found anything just yet….

Father’s Day gift ideas

Something PERSONALISED

For the last few years, a Father’s Day mug has always on the list for Daddy P. I usually order a personalised 15oz photo mug from Snapfish (£12.99) which was always big hit. I’ve ordered one again this year too! I love adding our own photos to the mug, it gives a personal touch which I think is a little special (and cheesy) but the kids love it. They’ve also got a promo code for 30% off your total basket with no minimum spend so get purchasing. They also offer next day delivery.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Fathers Day gift ideas for dads
Source: Snapfish
**update**

My personalised photo mug has arrived! I love it, it’s so sweet. The only thing I forgot to add to the mug was some text to say “Happy Father’s Day 2019!” …oops!

I love simple yet stylish watches for men. With most of us constantly on our phones today I feel like sometimes we were slowly getting rid of functional accessories like watches. I found this beautiful stainless steel watch on Not On The High Street and best of all, it can be personalised and they have free standard delivery.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Father’s Day gift ideas

The silver colour stands out and is so stylish but they have a few other colours so have a look. For £69, it’s a good price too! There’s so much on websites like NOTHS and Etsy I love looking for special and unique items to buy. At the moment (for myself!) I’m obsessed with dainty necklaces and personalised bracelets. Check out NOTHS’s fathers day gifts for even more ideas.

Something ESSENTIAL

It’s good to look after yourself; self-care is one of the things most people tend to overlook in themselves. Daddy P is lucky he has good skin (not oily, not dry) however he doesn’t do anything to look after it. Men usually like to keep their skincare simple so the basic essentials are key; to cleanse, tone, exfoliate and moisturise.

These two kits below are my favourite; the Look Fantastic Father’s Day collection which has a mix of face and body products from premium brands. And the Aromatherapy Associates The Refinery kit is a new favourite of mine which comes with a wash bag. I use this brand at my workplace and I’ve really fallen in love with it. I’ve already gotten Daddy P the face wash and shave oil which is fab and suitable for all skin types.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Fathers Day gift ideas for dads
The Look Fantastic Father’s Day Collection box
The Greenwich Mummy | Father's Day gift ideas for dads
Aromatherapy Associates: The Refinery Skin Kit for men

Cleansing clears the skin of dirt and debris build-up, preps the skin and leaves it fresh. Toner tones the skin and minimises large pores, and leaves the skin matte yet hydrated for the absorption of the moisturiser. Exfoliating (especially if they shave) helps to buff away dead skin cells and reduces ingrown hairs as the pores are clear, allowing the hair follicle to grow out of the skin instead of inwards (which happens when the pores are blocked with dirt or natural oils). I would also recommend a beard/shave oil for those growing a beard. The oil will help to nourish the skin but also condition the beard hair, keeping it soft. Moisturiser is the last step and works as a barrier against daily pollutants and keeps the skin hydrated and moisturised.

Something FUN

If your man prefers something a little more active, why not take him out for an evening of fun? I’ve picked outdoor cinema or a raving night out at Ballie Ballerson. The Rooftop Film Club hosting in Peckham is showing Schwarzenegger’s classic, The Terminator on Father’s Day. You can book tickets directly from the RFC’s website: https://rooftopfilmclub.com/london/bussey-building/film/the-terminator-1984/

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Fathers Day gift ideas for dads

Ballie Ballerson is an adult-only cocktail bar that has its very own giant ball-pit! So if you and your partner want to bring out your inner child and just spend a night together feeling like kids again, this is not a place to miss out! Tickets are from £7.50pp for admission only or you can go all out with a VIP package which includes food and a designated booth for £25/35pp. Check them out here: https://www.ballieballerson.com/tickets/https://www.ballieballerson.com/tickets
Ballie Ballerson - London's Adult only ball pit cocktail bar

Something SPECIAL

Daddy P LOVES football and I’ve just found a deal TravelZoo for Behind-the-Scenes tour tickets to Wembley stadium… just £9! That’s almost 52% off the standard price. Best thing of all is tickets can be redeemed up until September so he can choose to use it now for Father’s Day or choose to wait for another day when he’s ready to use it. A behind-the-scenes tour is a guided and self-guided tour of the stadium including the footballer’s dressing rooms, the press room, the player’s tunnel, pitchside and the Royal Box. Imagine all those insta-worthy photo moments!

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Fathers Day gift ideas for dads
Source: Travelzoo

Daddy P’s been talking about going to Barcelona but hasn’t been able to get round to it. Between juggling parenting and job hunting it’s been a struggle. Weekend breaks work out really well because you can travel but still be back in time for parenting duties. I love looking for my holiday breaks from OnTheBeach.com so naturally I had a search for Father’s Day trips to Barcelona and found some good deals. You can either search for flights and hotel separately or let On The Beach’s deal finder search for you. I found the following deals for 2 adults; 2 nights in Barcelona (flights & hotel) flying out from London Stansted:

OnTheBeach recommends:
The Mirror Barcelona
£292pp, B&B double room

The Greenwich Mummy blog | Father’s Day gift ideas: Barcelona

It’s not called The Mirror for nothing. Photos of the hotel show that the rooms are loaded with mirrors from the bedroom to bathroom but in a very playful and tasteful way. Great for us ladies to check out our outfits and makeup throughout the day. Th price is reasonable and the Tripadvisor ratings look good too. The hotel offers free WiFi, air conditioning, pool and close to local amenities.

On a budget:
Catalonia Bristol
£171pp, double room only

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Father’s Day in Barcelona

This was the best low budget option I found on the site. Pretty decent price and the hotel looks really nice and modern. Their Tripadvisor rating looks good and they have free WiFi which is perfect for a short weekend break.

Splash the cash: 
MELIÁ Barcelona Sarriá
£439pp, B&B level junior suite

The Greenwich Mummy blog - Father’s Day gift ideas: Barcelona

If you want to pull out all the stops this Father’s Day, this is the hotel for you. Hotel Meliá has a lot to offer in terms of room quality, style, and service. This 5 star hotel has a spa on-site so you can treat yourself (and hubby!) to a relaxing massage or spa day in the evening on your mini-break. Free WiFi, air conditioning and a gym are standard amenities and the location is a short car journey from the beach.

Have you already got other gift ideas for Father’s Day? Let me know what wonderful things you treated your loved ones to! X

NB. This post contains affiliate links

Hair: Wash day routine + products list Wk2

Last week I let my hair go almost whole week without cleansing. OMG right? You’re probably thinking you’d NEVER go that long without washing but actually, I find it much better for my hair strength, condition and growth to wash less and brush less. When you first start it will feel odd and seriously greasy but over 3+ months you’ll adjust and your scalp will start producing less oil and only what it needs. That’s because switching to no-sulfates or a low use of sulfates avoids stripping your hair and as a result your hair and scalp feels happier and performs better.

So I eventually washed my hair Saturday night and there was some natural oil build up but not too major despite the warmer weather. Most days I wear my hair in a bun with a little bit of leave-in conditioner at the ends to keep it moisturised. I hardly do a refresh unless I have my hair down; in that case I’d go in with a dollop of leave-in, wet hands (water) and finish with gel to revive the waves. I also coloured my hair (semi-permanent) the same night as I wanted to have my pink hair back in time for The Ends Festival on Sunday which was amazing!

Here’s how my hair looked the next morning, post-wash day:

I wanted to bring out the curls more so I used flexi rods with a bit of gel, left them in for a few hours Sunday morning and this was the result. I still have a lot to practice with flexi rods because I can’t always get the technique right which affects the look of the curl. Hence why the right looks much more curly and defined than the left side lol – the right fringe/side fringe looks so pretty!

I also needed more rods. I had 4 for the crown, 9 for mid-section and 3 for the bottom which wasn’t enough – the mid sections were getting stretched out because they needed more rods and also I think because my hair doesn’t have a curl pattern, the chunks of hair being wrapped around the flexi rods need to be quite small/slim.

Stupidly, I had too much fun at the festival and didn’t take any photos of myself or my outfit when I was out but I went for the classic “festival look” of denim shorts, floral top and trainers. Simple yet practical as I had to walk a mile or so to the destination across some hilly roads (it was located at Lloyd Park in Croydon). Plus it was BOILING HOT so I’m glad I opted for the mesh top, it kept me cool.

So, back to all things hair… here’s the products I used for this wash day. My hair is starting to curl more in the shower again after giving up sulfates which is great but my blonde is starting to go brassy again so the pink hair helps! I’m loving the colour too – it’s light but I would want to go lighter. 🙂 I used Schwarzkopf Live Ultra Brights in Raspberry Rebel – it’s a 2 in 1 colourant so you can choose to have it as vibrant as you like or mix with conditioner to make it pastel. I add a large dollop of conditioner with a drop of colour to get my shade but some parts of my hair didn’t take to the colour as much as the others so it’s trial and error but I don’t mind. I don’t think this colourant is CG friendly but couldn’t see any sulfates or silicones but there are parabens so not great on the hair but more gentle than a permanent colourant.

See wk1’s hair wash day photos here

 

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curls maintained day 1 post-wash
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right side
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left side

Products I used this wash day:

Low-poo: Noughty Wave Hello shampoo

Conditioner: Noughty Colour Bomb conditioner – I use the ‘squish to condish’ method

Leave-in: As I Am leave-in conditioner – I use the bowl method by @PowerDomi

Gel: Bouclème curl defining gel – ‘squish to condish’ to apply

Styling: flexi-rods to style hair

Hair: Wash day routine + products list Wk1

I don’t wash my hair very often, probably 1-2 times a week simply because I can actually go that long now without massive oil build-up on my hair and also I find that washing less helps my hair grow longer faster. I don’t know if that’s a real thing but it seems to be working.

Since going blonde I’ve been using a silver shampoo almost every week and because it’s got sulfates in it, it’s been stripping my hair. So I’ve decided I’m going to cut back on the silver shampoo and go back to low-poo and hopefully introducing in a co-wash conditioner soon.

In the meantime I thought I’d show you what my wavy 2A hair looks like on wash day (next morning as I wash my hair at night). Unfortunately I still have trouble with getting my hair to clump and the curls to define. Straight after washing when my hair’s still wet it looks fab but as it starts to air dry I lose definition and the curls drop. If your hair doesn’t clump, try this advice from Naturally Curly.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Wavy 2A Haircare Routine
Waves and baby curls are more defined when wet

For the amount of times I’ve been using the sulfate silver shampoo, my hair doesnt look too and waves are still there (just about!).

I’m going to try and document my hair after each wash day to see if there is any difference when I change products or technique. It will be interesting to see what the results will be like.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Wavy 2A haircare routine
Next morning’s waves post-wash day
The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Wavy 2A haircare routine
Right side: some kinks and loose waves
The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Wavy 2A haircare routine
Left side: loose waves with one slightly defined clump

Products used on this wash day:

Low-poo: Noughty Colour Bomb shampoo (1st cleanse) & Noughty Wave Hello shampoo (2nd cleanse)

Conditioner: Garnier Ultimate Blends argan richness mask (deep conditioning hair mask)

Leave in: As I Am Leave-in conditioner

Gel: Bouclème curl defining gel

Will update hair routine on the next wash day. xx