More than a Mum

More than a mum is the place I save everything that doesn’t fall into the Travel, Food and Lifestyle buckets. It’s all those little things that go into my life and make me the person I am. Expect to find, fashion, beauty, photography, hobbies and anything else that is another part of me that I thought you might be interested in.


If you are like me when you choose to give a gift you like to give something a little bit different to the normal products that can be found everywhere. A gift that someone will notice because it is unusual and of course they will enjoy for that simple reason. I have been on the hunt for a website full of great gift ideas.

Great gift ideas

It’s not an easy job finding something a little different from usual, it can take long searches on internet, word of mouth or pot luck so when UncommonGoods got in touch and asked me to take a look at their site I was very pleased to discover a whole new world of excellent gift ideas. And a whole lot of products that I would love for my home too.

We know that there’s a story behind every product. It’s that of an emerging designer just introducing her work to the world; artisans working collaboratively in a low income country; or a seasoned artist crafting each of his pieces by hand. With your help, we’re building a community of passionate people who love our products and connect with the stories behind them. We’re growing not only our artist family, but also a strong following of customers who celebrate artists and delight in surrounding themselves with creative design.

Anniversary gifts

Our 4th anniversary is coming up in March and my husband is really good (surprisingly) at making the most wonderful presents. I took a look at the products UncommonGoods list to give as anniversary presents and I was pleasantly surprised at the vast selection from a wide price range to suit all pockets.

UncommonGoodsI love this print by Rachel Kroh, I love that there is also a bio to read up about Rachel and discover her background. This makes the product that little bit more special for me. It would be perfect for our caravan in Thanet

great gift ideas

Another idea that would be perfect for Paul and I as he drinks beer and I like a glass of wine. I love how they have been personalised.

Birthday gifts

great gift ideas

Then I had a peek at the fabulous birthday gifts and the first one I fell in love with was the Birthstone Wishing Ball, a crystal ball that looks beautiful on the desktop and is filled with wishes inserted into it via a tiny hole in the base…Each shimmering ball of hand-blown glass comes with 52 tiny slips of paper for you to pause once a week throughout the year and record a message of hope or gratitude. Coil them up and tuck them in the tiny hole near the base and they become a permanent part of the display.

great gift ideasThis Beer Cap display would make an excellent present for my husband and one I’m keeping bookmarked.

Home Decor

Lastly, I took a look at the home decor section – always a favourite of mine. I was thrilled to see lots of items for the home like candles, key holders and doormats, each item with something a little bit different, a little bit more personal and hopefully more exciting to receive.

UncommonGoodsOne product that really made me smile was this cloud toilet paper holder, a real cool addition to a bathroom.

Take a look for yourself, but be warned you may lose hours on there.

Disclosure: This post is written in collaboration with UncommonGoods all opinions are my own.


This 50 lark is making me look at myself in a new light. There are certain looks I don’t want to be associated with and I am constantly exploring the new me, the me that is 50, confident, energetic and still has a passion for fashion and looking good. My search so far has thrown up ponchos, a pure cashmere poncho and I am delighted with it.

I will admit I struggle to leave the comfort of my jeans and t shirt combo as they are so comfortable, plus they are accepted anywhere these days. Dress them up, dress them down, they work for so many different occasions. I find I have even slipped into jeans on work days in the office because most of the other colleagues wear them too.

Now I have found a new way to wear my favourite combo and that is with a cashmere poncho.


The thought of a poncho may make you shudder and think ‘old lady’ but I think you will be pleasantly surprised when you see this one from Woolovers, it’s a beautifully crafted garment that adds an extra layer that is not too heavy and allows you freedom of movement at the same time.

This pure cashmere poncho comes in 6 lovely shades. I went for the Dove Grey and I like to wear it over a white or black top with jeans.

The beauty of cashmere is it has a timeless elegance to it and will never go out of fashion. It can be folded neatly like a scarf and tucked away easily in a handbag. In fact this would be the perfect piece for travelling, on an aeroplane or coach where the air conditioning is a bit too cold for example.

It will be perfect for those summer evenings when there is a slight chill in the air and it is perfect for these winter evenings indoors where you just need that extra light layer to start you off.


The poncho is a long rectangle sewn together with just an opening large enough for your head to pop through, by laying it gently around your shoulders you can gain a layered effect and a pair of earrings or a beautiful necklace will set it off perfectly.

Take a look for yourselves and if you don’t fancy cashmere take a look at the cashmere and merino blend or the lambswool version, all are beautiful

Disclosure: I was sent a beautiful pure cashmere poncho for the purpose of this post, all opinions are my own.

Photo credit: Alice Weekes (apart from the selfie)

JD Williams winter coat

Now there’s a title I never thought I’d write but the time has come and boy is it getting hot in here! The menopause symptoms are here and it’s time to share the knowledge.

This year I turned 50. That’s no secret, I have tried to embrace this number as much as I can but I won’t lie, it still scares me and I still think of it as old. Said that, I am still battling on and trying my best to live life to its fullest. In actual fact my life has never been busier and more fulfilling.

One thing I have kept secret though, is the menopause as the very word seems to have an air of ‘disapproval’ about it. No one talks about it. It’s like a dirty word and something to be swept under the carpet.

I find this a bit weird if I am honest. I have had regular periods every month of my life since I was 11 and I haven’t enjoyed one of them, oh apart from those times I thought I may be pregnant when I seriously didn’t want to be pregnant. I have always looked on this part of being a woman as a pain, something to endure and I’ve been waiting since I had the twins for it all to finish.

I am fully appreciative of the fact that I was ‘lucky’. I had regular cycles, regular ovulation and therefore was able to get pregnant and today, I have four beautiful children as a result. But there were painful months, frightening months, heavy months and months when my period would last way longer than the normal 4/5 days.

However, I am pleased to announce my last period was in August, let’s have a fanfare, balloons and party!

Four months with no cycle, can you imagine how wonderful that is? No more sore boobs, no erratic mood swings (well maybe a few, ahem). No pains in my back or in my tummy, no headaches and of course no blood, that has to be the very best part. I am still prepared and carry around the necessary in my handbag just in case, but I’ve not had to buy any sanitary items for four months now.

However, on the down side of this magnificent milestone comes a lot of brand new symptoms that my body is having to get to grips with.

Menopause symptoms

Hot Flushes

menopause symptoms

Credit: Women over 50/Facebook

These are pure fire. There is no mistaking a hot flush and I have got so good at recognising when one is on its way that I can start to strip and prepare before the onslaught. To have an idea of what a hot flush is like, this is how I experience one. I start to feel hot, I wriggle a bit in my clothing and take off a layer if I can, luckily it’s winter and I am normally wearing a cardigan. I then feel the flush travel, my entire back heats up as if I am resting against an oven door, my neck is hot and starts to sweat, my face starts to sweat, I start to rub the sweat most likely removing any make up I happen to be wearing and I start to pin my hair up so cool air can reach the back of my neck. My chest is hot, my thighs are hot, my feet are hot. Then as quickly as it started, it disappears. I replace my socks and my cardigan, lower my hair and thank my body that it has passed. That is a hot flush and they can be quite frequent on certain days.

Night Sweats

menopause symptoms

Credit: Women over 50/Facebook

As autumn approached this year and the temperatures dropped I changed our lovely light 4.5 tog duvet for the winter one envisioning long winter nights snuggled up underneath, nice and cosy. Last month I gave up and reverted back to the summer duvet! A night sweat is like a hot flush but happens when you are sleeping and blissfully unaware so you are woken in a pool of your own sweat, throwing back the covers, opening the windows and stripping out of your pyjamas. It’s like someone turned the thermostat up to 100C.


Another symptom of the menopause is shivering and usually alternates with hot flushes. Picture a woman sitting down for a nice evening on the sofa, she starts to shiver and drags a throw over her to warm up, she grabs a nice hot cup of tea and settles only to be disturbed by an oncoming hot flush. Put down the tea, take off the throw, strip socks, cardigans and anything else that can be easily removed. The shivering is just as irritating as a hot flush as it seems you are cold through to the core.

Loss of libido

Hot Flash

Credit: women over 50/Facebook

I was hoping they were lying when I first read this symptom but they are not. However, do not despair, it’s not like it’s over for good, it’s just not top of your priority list any more. I find a hard week at work, challenging children, extra homework and the normal run to run of the family home is sometimes enough to make me just want to fall into the deepest sleep once I hit the mattress so it’s very hard to pinpoint a loss of libido amongst all of that.

Mood Swings

Another one difficult to pinpoint and blame on the menopause, after all I have been having mood swings since my periods started. Having said that, I did have enormous rage yesterday for the most trivial of reasons (we argued about putting the rubbish out and I sent a text in capital letters later on to state my case – unnecessary but hey ho). My problem with rage is I don’t recognise it until it has passed and then I nod and say, ‘Ah, rage again!’ I just wish I could spot this before and therefore eliminate it.


Credit: women after 50/Facebook


I think the most important thing to keep in mind whilst journeying through the menopause is to be aware and embrace the moment; it’s going to come so learn how to manage it to the best of your abilities.

Products to help


I was sent a couple of products by Promensil about a month ago, a spray that is used during a hot flush as it pulls the heat to the surface of the skin which I have found to be very helpful indeed. It smells nice too. The second product is a box of tablets with isoflavones from red clover, one of the world’s richest sources of isoflavoes. These tablets, taken once a day help maintain a good general health as well as bone and cholesterol health. I love the spray and have been taking the tablets although I am very forgetful. I think it’s something I shall continue with for the health benefits.


Disclosure: Promensil sent me the products mentioned, all opinions are my own.


If you are anything like me then when my letter arrived from Kent Police to say the speed camera on Valley Drive had caught me going 37mph in a 30mph limit area I groaned. ‘What? That’s only 2 mph over!’ I yelled at the piece of paper. (Some counties allow a 10% + 2mph, so 30mph zone would be 33+2=35mph)

To top the injustice, I happened to get that fine on the very day Everything Was Going Wrong.

I had my parents coming for lunch bringing the girls back after a few days down at the caravan. My morning was to be a busy one but I was well organised, I needed to shop, fill the car with petrol and get back in time to get lunch on the table. Normally this would be easy BUT as I leapt out of my car at the petrol pump with just my debit card in my hand to pay for the fuel, my car locked me out – I had taken the keys out of the ignition and left them on the passenger seat for safe keeping. That was the first domino falling on a series of others throughout that day.

A couple of weeks later the letter arrived and I realised that day had proven to be even worse.

The letter offers a couple of options for first time offenders, pay £100 fine and accept 3 points on your license or pay £87 and complete a National Speed Awareness Course.

I begrudgingly chose the latter moaning about wasting my time and of course the money.

Today I am returned from my National Speed Awareness Course and I have to say it wasn’t that bad at all.

I had to be there at 8.15, it was raining and the roads were completely blocked up so I screeched (last) into the room just in time before the 8.30am cut off. I sat down in a room of about 20 offenders of all ages, both sexes and various walks of life and we listened to John and Dave take turns in running through the presentation.

The presentation is very well thought out and you are invited to participate in joint activities with the people at your table.

I have learnt loads, for example, ‘Only two miles above the speed limit.’ can actually mean life or death to a person you hit. I didn’t know that the major stopping part of slamming on the brakes comes at the final bit of the car screeching to a halt, therefore it takes the car longer to break at a higher speed plus it will travel further.

Travelling at 30 mph you will brake in time and come to a halt before hitting the person/car in front of you

Travelling at 35 mph you will hit that person/car at 18mph and cause a lot of damage.

Travelling at 40 mph you will hit that person or car at 26 mph and will most likely kill or cause life changing injuries.


Did you know road facts

  1. Speed is one of the main factors in fatal road accidents
  2. In 2013, 3,064 people were killed or seriously injured in crashes where speed was a factor
  3. The risk of death is approximately four times higher when a pedestrian is hit at 40mph than at 30mph
  4. Fatal accidents are four times as likely on rural “A” roads as urban “A” roads
  5. Each camera placed on the roadside is an exact spot where someone has lost their life from a driving related accident.

How can I tell what the speed limit is?

The easiest and quickest way is to look for street lights along the road, if there are lights then the speed limit will be 30 mph unless there are signs stating otherwise. if there are no street lights then the road will be a national speed limit unless signs dictate differently.

SLOW written on the road

Another interesting fact I came away with was seeing SLOW written on the road as you drive along, often on a red blanket to make it stand out more and accompanied by signs with hi vis surrounds on them. the letters stand for

S – Speed

L – Low

O – Observe

W – Warnings

The course invites you to look at yourself and the decisions you take on the road. I went over the speed limit as I was having a bad day, got distracted and decided to take the chance that I wouldn’t be caught.

How can I change this in future?

It’s so simple, you just have to slow down and respect the rules.

Why should I?

There are three levels of luck in this particular process.

  1. You get away with it but are likely to do the same again another time.
  2. You get caught and are invited to a NSAC if it’s a first time. You can only attend one course in three years, should you get caught again within that 3 year bracket you’ll be charged £100 and given 3 points minimum – it could be more depending on the speed you were at.
  3. You could seriously hurt someone or worse kill them.


JD wiliams coat and boots

People will stare, make it worth their while – Harry Winston

Autumn time, it’s getting colder!

We haven’t turned our heating on yet but I know it’s only a question of days until we flick the switch and move into winter mode, the evenings are darker, the nights colder and it’s time to pack away the summer gear.

This is the time of year when I look forward to getting out my warmer gear, old coats I have grown fond of and can count how long they’ve been in my wardrobe on both hands. The problem lies when you have to come to terms with the fact that they have had their day and it’s time to give it to charity and treat yourself to a new coat.

I’m also in need of new winter boots this year as mine are looking incredibly tatty.

JD Williams have recently got in touch and asked me to choose a couple of items from their website and I struggled to come to a decision as there were so many gorgeous pieces. It’s a very easy website to navigate and the collections are fashionable and reasonably priced. I realised, as I was browsing that, I seem to always go for the same styles and colours. I find this comforting as I seem to have guessed what looks good on me and stay clear of items that just won’t look right. It’s also a great way of replacing a piece that you have loved so much but had to get rid of.

Winter coats

JD Williams winter coats

In my winter wardrobe I like to have a selection to choose from but my winter coat staples are

Anorak  – which is short and warm, this is perfect for walking the dog and ambling through parks, beaches and around town.

Long padded winter coat – Just the coat for the winter school run when I could get caught in rain, sleet or even snow. This is my favourite and warmest coat

Going out coat – This is my fancy pants coat, the one I wear when we go out, my smart coat if you like.

This year I have a new addition to add to my coat collection a work coat! I drive in the car to and from work so it needs to be comfortable, I walk at lunchtime with colleagues so it needs to be warm and of course it must also be fashionable, after all I am wearing it to work. PS It can also double up as a going out coat ;)

I found this beauty in the JD Williams Womens Winter Coats selection and I tested it out last weekend at Centre Parcs. Much to my delight it was perfect on all the above points

Winter boots

JD Williams boots

I love boots, they are like slippers to me and I spend the best part of winter in them. As I was browsing the JD Williams site I came across these beauties with Lorraine Kelly’s signature on them, a woman I admire greatly. I was so pleased when JD Williams said I could have them as they are breaking away from my normal flat boot and are perfect for work.

They have a tortoise coloured heel and are quite high for me so I shall use them for going out and special occasions as I’m not good in heels – my feet ache after a while in them.

My only concern is when I have to go and make the tea for the team … will I manage carrying a tray of 8 mugs in those heels?

Disclosure: I was sent the items mentioned for the purpose of this post, all opinions are my own.