Wednesday 29 August 2012

What I Wore Wednesday: Trendy Toddler

So I have just about bust a hole in the only pair of jeans I have that fit--not good--and I only buy jeans from Old Navy which doesn't exist in the UK. I'll be home in less than two months but hopefully in that amount of time I can lose enough weight (it isn't a ton) to fit into the next size down. In the meantime it means I'm doing everything I can not to turn that almost hole into a hole so I'm not wearing my jeans and I'm in a funk about most of what I have to wear.

So instead of me this week you get Blondie Boy who always looks way cooler than I do anyway!

Cincinnati Reds Baseball Cap
Marks and Spencers Jeans

My Mom sent this top over for Blondie Boy and I love it! I pretty much have loved just about all of the Harajuku Mini collection I've seen and I can't wait to stock up when I'm home in October. The wee buttons at the front are actual buttons which I think is just super cute and y'all know I have a thing for skulls.

Blondie Boy also finally got to break out his Molo Jitterbugs; I freaking love these shoes. Not only are the tie-dye with sparkly silver laces but they are practical. There is a zipper on the side of the shoe so you can actually get the shoe on the toddler easily but he can't take them off easily-WINNER! Blondie Boy loved them so much he did a dance to celebrate.

Yes he is dancing with a car. You'll see the same car in the photo above. He is OBSESSED with cars; if you watched his vlog on my post about our holiday in Carnac his favourite thing was the "holiday car." I have no idea why he loves cars so much but there is always one nearby so dancing with one isn't so strange to me. Little Stomper are currently having a Flash Sale so get the trendy toddler in your life some dancing shoes of their own!

Have you entered my Panasonic Giveaway? It ends September 2nd and you could win a Lumix Digital Camera or Amazon Gift Card (open worldwide)!

Tuesday 28 August 2012

Eurocamp Self-Catering Holidays: Carnac, France

While I was growing up we always holidayed in France. Looking back I think there was a combination of factors, aside from the obvious fact that we just like it there: it’s relatively close and easy to travel to and its temperate, warm but not too warm for small children. It’s probably no surprise then that now that Blondie Boy is old enough to holiday we’ve travelled to France on holiday twice, last year in Pyrénées-Orientales, this year in Carnac, in Bretagne.

As a child we stayed in lots of different types of places, gites, villas, hotels, motels, Holiday Inns, but we never tried a holiday parc or stayed in a mobile home before. This year we did with Eurocamp, the UK’s leading European camping holiday operator. As an American, Blondie didn’t have any preconceived notions as to how this would be. You don't really get holiday parcs in America or if you do she'd never heard of any. I did, I think I thought that holiday parcs were a little passé, somewhat 1970s with cheesy entertainment and cramped accommodation, somewhat Hi-de-Di, thankfully Eurocamp is nothing like this.

From the moment we booked the staff couldn’t have been more helpful. Our travel plans changed, a lot, first we changed the dates, next we changed the entire way we were getting there (about a week before I crapped out of the possible 17 hour drive from Scotland to Bretagne with an antsy toddler and picked up some cheap flights). All the way along the Eurocamp staff were friendly and helpful. Our new travel arrangements left us with a really late arrival time, no problem, they called the parc and let them know. Before we left we were given a UK mobile number to contact our couriers, who are on site and available 24 hours. Due to some huge road works on the way we arrived even later than we expected, this just wasn’t an issue, we text our courier who communicated to the parc when we were likely to arrive, no problem.

Our parc was La Grande Métairie in Carnac, Bretagne Sud. We chose the parc for a variety of reasons; the area it is based has lots to see and too and pleasant sheltered beaches; possibly more importantly however we picked based on what the parc itself had to offer. Eurocamp described the parc as “the perfect destination for young families – set in stunning parkland and with an array of on parc facilities to entertain all ages. “ It is also one of Eurocamp’s Mini Fun Station parcs, which means toddlers can enjoy an array of supervised fun activities – including art and craft, nature trails, treasure hunts, face painting and imaginary play. The parc also has an amazing pool complex, complete with waterslides and indoor pool. Perfect if the weather wasn’t going to be up to scratch.

There were also horses, ponies and an array of goats, ducks and a llama at a mini animal farm, too. When you have a toddler that is a pretty big deal. Blondie Boy loved seeing the animals every day and would sing to the ponies and little horses as we walked past.
My other preconception about holiday parc vacations is that the accommodation would be somewhat lacking, probably shabby and definitely small. Thankfully, this was not even close to the truth. We stayed in a two bedroom Horizon mobile home which had a double bedroom for us, a single bedroom with bunk-beds for BB and a central lounge and kitchen. The seating in the lounge also easily converted into an extra bed. There was a shower room and toilet, plus fully-equipped kitchen including a microwave, fridge-freezer and oven.

There were also some other nice little touches include a stereo iPod dock, a hairdryer and a welcome pack which contained some little essentials such as washing up liquid, toilet paper and tea bags. Where we found the accommodation really shone though was outdoors.  There was a large decked terrace with a good sized patio table and chairs, sun loungers and a drying area, plus a charcoal barbecue. We used the barbecue often and ate outside every evening. It was a really pleasant way to spend the end of an evening, sitting outside with a glass of nice wine. The parc itself was quiet at night, we had no problems with noise at all. As a family parc during the day there were obviously kids playing but at night no cars are allowed on site after 11pm, so we had no problem getting BB to sleep and having a little peace and quiet!

Carnac itself is home to Europe's largest collection of standing stones (think Stonehenge but thousands of stones) which are directly across from the parc. The area also has lots of lovely little beaches and a quaint old town centre. We drove around checking out different beaches and towns and one afternoon walked out a massive sandbar into the middle of the ocean, which while with a toddler was tiring, but super cool.

The holiday surprised me. Before we went I would have been unlikely to consider Eurocamp as a holiday option but now I guess I can be considered a convert. The negative stereotypes of a holiday parc as a 1970s throwback couldn’t be further from the truth. The facilities at our Parc were second to none, with great leisure facilities particularly the pool, and the accommodation was modern, comfortable and spacious. Given how fond we are of holidaying in Europe, Eurocamp will definitely be something we consider when we start to consider next year’s holiday.

Of course someone's opinion matters more so here is what Blondie Boy thought about his holiday!

Want to book your own holiday? seven night break from 20th May 2012 at Eurocamp’s La Grande Métairie parc, staying in a 2 Bedroom Horizon mobile home (sleeps 7, maximum 4 adults), costs from just £377 for the whole family, accommodation only.

Eurocamp offers the widest selection of outdoor family holidays on parcs throughout Europe; with a range of activities and age-specific kids’ clubs. Plus, there’s a fantastic choice of accommodation, including stylish mobile homes, lodges, modern chalets, bungalows, and fully equipped ‘Classic’ and ‘Safari’ tents.

For further information on Eurocamp, the UK’s leading European self-catering holiday operator, please call 0844 406 0552 or visit

Transatlantic Blonde's accommodation was provided for the purpose of this review but all travel and other costs on holiday were met by ourselves. All opinions are our own--do you think I could get a toddler to lie?

Sunday 26 August 2012

Messy Play: Shaving Cream Painting

NotBlondeHusband has been working Sunday days so I've been trying to do something fun with Blondie Boy while he's at work. We've gone to to the park, made donut muffins and I decided to maybe try something artsy-craftsy and do some messy play painting.

I can't remember where I saw it but I saw someone do painting by mixing shaving cream and food colouring. I was a bit worried that food colouring would stain Blondie Boy's hands and my bathroom so I use washable paint  for our shaving cream paint instead. I used a muffin tin as a palette which worked really well; you won't need as much shaving cream as you think as it will expand and poof up as you mix the paint in with it.

shaving cream paint

I tend to do all painting and other messy play activities in the bathroom for easier clean-up but in this case Blondie Boy used the tub as his canvas, too. We started out with some paper but he had more fun painting the tiles which was fine with me. 

messy play toddler

 I told him he could paint anything he wanted except his hair. Guess what he did 2.5 seconds after I said that. Not a big deal really, just meant I had to wash his hair.

toddler paint hair

He had a great time making hand-prints on the wall and writing his name (it wasn't legible but he said the correct letters so it counts) and kept telling me how much fun he was having and how the shaving cream paint felt like ketchup. The only downside was that the tub got VERY slippy the more covered in paint he got so eventually we had to end so he didn't get hurt. I think he could have spent the rest of the evening painting if he hand't been slipping and sliding all over.

Clean up was as easy as spraying down the tub so can't complain there. We'll definitely be doing this one again since it was cheap, easy and fun. Do you have a favourite easy and cheap activity you like to do with toddlers?

Friday 24 August 2012

Vax Rapide Ultra Carpet Cleaner

I don’t  think anyone would be likely to call us house proud. Don’t get me wrong, our house isn’t dirty but despite being less than three years old we’ve managed to build up an impressive level of scuffing, staining and general baby/ toddler/ dog related dirty marks on our house, which somehow we never get round to finding the time or the inclination to fix. Our carpets are no different. A potty training toddler, a mucky dog and an amazing propensity to spill red wine, Irn Bru or pretty much any beverage which stains will take their toll on carpets in a relatively small time, particularly if the carpets in question are a rather fetching light beige colour.

As far as I was aware, carpet cleaners were giant industrial units that you rent and then spend a full weekend wrestling with in a vain attempt to rejuvenate your tired floors. Even when we got the opportunity to review the VAX Rapide Ultra 2 carpet cleaner, I was sceptical. I assumed that that a cleaner which you could purchase and keep in the home wouldn’t get the results you would get from an industrial type cleaner and I was sure shampooing carpets would be a huge amount of effort. Balancing a little boy who loves attention, work and general household chores takes up most of our time, spending what little free time we get shampooing our carpets is not my idea of good fun.

In actual fact cleaning carpets with the Rapide Ultra 2 is no more effort than hoovering. The unit looks like a bagless vacuum. It comes with a spray wand which you use to pre-treat the carpets: think watering a lawn but indoors. A general spray of the solution, plus extra on any heavily stained areas took us a few minutes. After leaving for 15 minutes you can use the unit itself much in the same way you use a hoover. There’s a trigger on the handle, when you pull this down the VAX is putting cleaning solution on the carpet, take your finger off and its sucking up all the water and dirt and grime which comes with it. It was really easy to get the hang of: trigger down while you push the VAX away, washing the carpet, trigger off when you bring it back to you sucking up all the mess. It really was as quick and as easy as running a vacuum over the carpets. One look at the reservoir which collects the dirty liquid and you can tell that it’s working. Depite our carpets not looking *that* bad, they produced and impressive dark brown liquid which had more than a passing resemblance to Coca Cola. Impressive but a little gross to think of all that grime sitting in your carpets.

The results surprised me too. The carpets looked noticeably brighter all over and the more heavily stained areas faded after one use and were gone after two. Spilled Coke and Irn Bru weren’t a problem, neither were muddy dog’s paw prints or little marks left by a toddler who didn’t quite make the toilet in time. We first used the VAX a few months ago and we’ve busted it out a couple of times a month since then, since it’s so quick and easy. The carpets look as good as they have since they were brand new, now we just need to find a magic machine for peanut butter stains on our couches and crayon marks on the walls. We live in hope anyway…

Transatlantic Blonde was provided this product for review but all opinions are our own. You should know by now we only speak the truth!

Wednesday 22 August 2012

What I Wore Wednesday: Light the Night

This week's What I Wore Wednesday is a bit different because first of all I'm not the one writing it and it is asking you a bit more than just linking up and commenting. My step-sister Virginia has written a post for me this week about something that means a lot to both of us. Gin's wearing a shirt that says "survivor" but that's her story to tell, not mine, so I'll pass you over to her....

Hi! My name’s Virginia (Gin) Holmes and I’m Blondie's stepsister, making me Aunt to BB and step-sister-in-law to NotBlondeHusband. 

I am trying to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night Walk 2012! It is a great event where people come together for one night and walk in support of those who’ve been affected by Leukemia and Lymphoma spectrum diseases.  Walkers carry lighted balloons at night in order to celebrate the survivors and to honor those who have lost their battle. Blondie was nice enough to give me an opportunity to reach out to all of you, in the hope that we can raise some money for an organization that is so important to my family and me!

In March of 2011, 6 weeks before my 24th birthday, I was diagnosed with stage 4 Non-Hodgkin Burkitt Lymphoma.  Burkitt is a rare and aggressive form of lymphoma that required me to be hospitalized all throughout my treatments.  I would be in the hospital anywhere between seven to ten days and then would spend a week or so at home recuperating before going back in for another round of treatments. 

All in all I spent 3 months in and out of the hospital.  I was blessed with amazing doctors, as well as amazing friends and family, who helped me pull through. 

Now I am happy to say that I’m healthy and on June 1st, 2012 celebrated my 1st year of remission!

Last year, with a few close friends and family members, I participated in the walk for the first time.  This year, my boyfriend Andrew (who was and still is the most amazing support to me) and I are looking to do more than just participate and have hopes of raising $5,000.00—and we can use all the help we can get!

If you would like to help us out and donate go to visit our Team Page and click on “Donate to Team” (on the right) and then put in the amount you wish to donate! 

Drew, our wonderful dog Poncho (team mascot and therapy dog) and I thank you in advance for giving to our team and for supporting The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society!

P.S. If you are around Cincinnati, Ohio on October 11 and want to walk, come on down to Sawyer Point!

Sunday 19 August 2012

Our Olympic Experience plus Win a Panasonic Lumix Olympic Edition Digital Camera!

We love the Olympics in our house. LOVED. I seriously don't think our television was ever off the BBC during the games while events were being televised (if you aren't in the UK there were 18 different Olympic channels during the games that were live 7am-11pm every day). It was really cool watching Blondie Boy pretend to run really fast or do a pommel horse routine (I wish I'd taken a video!) and we even went to see Sweden play France in the Women's Football/Soccer Quarter Finals.

While getting a toddler to sit through a whole 90 minutes of football/soccer isn't the easiest task in the world he had a great time and really, really, REALLY love doing "The Wave" or as it is apparently called in the UK "The Mexican Wave."

We went and saw the giant Olympic rings on George Square in Glasgow and also took a picture with the Olympic mascot (is it Wenlock or Mandeville?!?) after the game. I really feel between our day out at the football and seeing the torch earlier this summer we really did everything possible to take part in the games in Glasgow.

So when it came time for the final day of London 2012 I decided to try and let Blondie Boy show his enthusiasm for the Olympics through the medium of face paint. He'd already perfected his "USA! USA! USA!" chant and cheered "Go Handy Murray" during the tennis finals so I knew he was split equally with his support.

The Union Jack didn't turn out too bad since I had a stencil but his USA cheek, well it was pretty lacking. Luckily there is a fab Flag Tag Facebook app by Panasonic that lets you show your support with faux facepaint!

Instant patriotism and no messy clean-up! To celebrate Panasonic's role in the Olympics I have a limited Olympic edition Lumix Digital Camera to give away to one of you!

To enter you must comment which country you'd support and your favourite Olympic sport on this blog post and try the Panasonic Flag Tag app and use the Rafflecopter widget below. You can earn extra entries per Rafflecopter, too. This competition is open WORLDWIDE (if you live outside the UK you'll be sent an Amazon voucher to get the camera; if you live in the UK you'll get the camera shipped to your door!) 
COMPETITION CLOSED a Rafflecopter giveaway


Transatlantic Blonde was compensated and provided the prize for this post but all opinions and stories are my own. Our tickets to the Olympics were paid for by me ages ago when tickets were released. It would be pretty weird if I made up going to the Olympics don't you think?

Wednesday 15 August 2012

What I Wore Wednesday: Fourth Anniversary

I'd planned to have a lovely recap of our anniversary dinner but well I got food poisoning. What started out as a really lovely evening turned into an absolutely horrible evening, night, early morning. So here are the photos I took before I puked my guts out.

anniversary couple

purple flower halter dress

Purple Flower Halter Dress-Wallis
Purple Peep Toe Heels- Barrett's
Swarovski Tennis Bracelet

I thought it was appropriate to wear my wedding shoes on my anniversary! I got this dress for NotBlondeHusband's father's wedding way back in 2009 but it worked really well since it was a really warm evening. Luckily for me I had flip flops in my purse so when I started to feel queasy I was able to lose my heels. It is a shame our night ended so gross but luckily Blondie Boy's Grandma has volunteered to take him another night so we can have a make-up anniversary another night.

Monday 13 August 2012

Egg Free Mini Donut Muffins

For whatever reason Blondie Boy and I decided to be all domestic today and hang out in the kitchen. We started out by making home made raspberry lemonade (it's a bitch, just buy the mix) and then we made Egg Free Mini Donut Muffins with Cinnamon Sugar. Since Blondie Boy has an egg allergy most of my go to baking recipes don't work for him since they aren't egg free so I'm always excited when I find an egg free recipe that sound good.

It is actually hard to find recipes that are just egg-free since more recipes tend to be vegan or okay for other food allergies so most of what I make for Blondie Boy are recipes that just also happen to be egg free but aren't specifically designed with egg allergies in mind if that makes sense.

The recipe is really easy and it is a good one for getting your toddler involved since there is an assembly line at the end. Blondie Boy had a great time helping out but may have more than once held a donut in front of his mouth and smirked before dunking it in the butter mix. Cheeky toddlers!

I found this recipe on The Fresh Fridge and altered slightly.

Egg-Free Mini Cinnamon Sugar Donut Muffins 

Notice he couldn't even wait for me to snap a pic before he snagged one!

  • 1 cup caster sugar (1/2 for batter, 1/2 for coating)
  • 8 TBSP Butter (4TBSP melted for batter & 4TBSP melted for coating)
  • Generous sprinkle ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup Milk
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour/plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 375/190 degrees (I did 180 in my fan assisted oven) and prep a 24 mini muffin pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add in 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup melted butter, and nutmeg and mix. Add in 1/2 cup milk and mix until combined. Slowly add in the dry ingredients (1 tsp. baking powder and 1 cup flour) until combined.
  3. Pour batter until half full in muffin pan holes. Place in preheated oven and bake for 15-18 minutes.
  4. While the muffins are baking, get out 2 more bowls. In the first one, melt the remaining 1/4 cup of butter and set aside. In the second bowl, mix together remaining sugar (1/2 cup) and ground cinnamon and set next to the melted butter to create an assembly line.
  5. Remove muffins from oven when an inserted toothpick comes clean (It only took 15 minutes in my oven). Remove muffins from tin and start assembly line by dipping muffins into melted butter and then coating with the cinnamon/sugar mixture.  (This is the best place to get your toddler involved. Have them drop the muffins in the butter and then shake them in the sugar mixture).
  6. Serve immediately or store in an air-tight container

Wednesday 8 August 2012

What I Wore Wednesday: Weddings

This past weekend NotBlondeHusband and I went to the evening reception for his cousin's wedding. Shock of all shocks--I wore a Cynthia Rowley dress--if it ain't broke don't fix it.

on Blondie
Cynthia Rowley Skater Dress- TK Maxx
HM Cropped Blazer
Purple Peep Toe Heels- Barrett's
Purple Flower Corsage- Dorothy Perkins
Versace for HM Studded Bag
Earrings- Etsy
Misty Jade Polish- Rimmel

on NotBlondeHusband
Ted Baker Suit and Tie

Please ignore the giant bruise on my knee, at least it matched my dress right? I changed it up a little bit and wore an oversized purple flower corsage on my jacket and painted my toenails teal to match the dress. I love how versitle the dress is that I can wear it to work or a wedding but it would be pretty boring to show you the same dress you've seen a gazillion times over again. 

Today is NotBlondeHusband and my fourth wedding anniversary. We met 9 years ago this month, have lived together over 8 years and were married 4 years ago today. We both put up with each other's bullshit and I genuinely can't think of anyone else more perfect for me. We've had our ups and downs but after 9 years who hasn't?

I could say lots of things about our anniversary but instead I'm going to let the photos do the talking. I hope you don't mind my What I Wore Wednesday is a flashback but I thought it was pretty appropriate. You've already seen my purple wedding shoes but here is the rest of what I wore at my wedding. It is a bit picture heavy but it's my anniversary I think I can get away with it! All of the images below are property of White Photography in Cincinnati, Ohio.

 Happy Anniversary NBH   

Thursday 2 August 2012

What I Wore Wednesday: 24 Hours Down South

Apologies for another late What I Wore Wednesday post but I flew down to Heathrow on Tuesday afternoon as I needed to be down south for work on Wednesday and didn't get back until late Wednesday night. 

On Tuesday I got to meet up with Lizzie from Mummy in Manolos and Jacqui from Mummy's Little Monkey for dinner and we had such a great time. We were horrible bloggers and didn't take a single picture of the three of us but I think it is kind of nice that we weren't attached to our phones and just enjoyed chatting! I did manage to snag a picture of what I wore in my hotel room mirror.

I had planned to wear super cute shoes but Blondie Boy was up with an ear infection all night the night before and I was so tired I figured flip-flops were a better bet:

hotel fashion show
sequin shoulder sweater

Sequin Shouldered Top- Pussycat London
Old Navy The Flirt Jeans
Old Navy Blue Flip Flops
Brag About It Necklace

It was hard to get a photo that showed the sequin detail on the shoulders. I got this top ages ago in the New Look sale and I love how it is the perfect length to wear with jeans or leggings. It seemed the perfect top for a casual dinner with friends and was comfy to fly in as well. Of course when I was at the airport I thought it looked funny and then I realized it was on BACKWARDS. I told you Blondie Boy was up all night but not sure how I managed that one if I'm honest. Oh well. I had on a Brag It necklace with BB's name and birthday but you can't really see it in either photo.

bathroom fashion shot

Cynthia Rowley Skater Dress- TK Maxx
HM Cropped Blazer
Black Walmart Hoop Earrings
Old Navy Flip Flops
Suitcase courtesy of Curls

First I didn't wear flip flops to work but the I wasn't going to run around Heathrow in heels if I didn't have to so by the time I took this photo they were off and packed. I was in back to back meetings all day so I didn't grab a photo until I was at Heathrow so I was super cool and took my picture in a bathroom at the airport. Pop-up airport bathroom fashion shows are all the rage, right?

If you can't tell I freaking love my Cynthia Rowley dresses; they are so comfortable and I get compliments every time I wear them which, lets be honest, is a nice thing. We have a wedding this weekend and I'm pretty sure I will wear one of them then too! I may or may not pop in to TK Maxx when I'm going past just to see if there are any different patterns--like I said I freaking love them.