S.M.C – Scottish Mothers Collective

After a hugely successful launch party at Hutchesons Glasgow, the Collective are now getting psyched for the next event…

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On the 9th June, from 6-8pm at WEST Brewery we will be having a ‘Women in Business’ focus with two #mumbosses Petra Wentzel, Director and Entrepreneur of WEST Brewery and Claire Henderson, Managing Director of Dick Winters.

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Tickets are £10 each for the event, which includes drinks and canapés on arrival.

Head on over to Eventbrite to book yours now!

Follow us on Instagram @scottishmotherscollective


TV Favourites

Given my ongoing Crohn’s flare, I’ve been watching a bit more TV as I try to get some rest. It also gives me something to do when I can’t get to sleep… thank you steroids!! :-0

Here are my current favourite shows:

The Secret – ITV

This is the story of a real-life double murder. James Nesbitt plays Colin Howell, a respectable dentist who became a killer in partnership with a Sunday school teacher, Hazel Buchanan (Genevieve O’Reilly). It has been really well done, and I’m hooked. This is exactly the kind of series that I enjoy. True life & gripping plot. It’s rubbish having to wait for the next instalment!

Hinterland – Netflix

Another murder series, this time dramatised. Set in Aberystwyth, Wales, troubled DCI Tom Mathias solves murders whilst searching for redemption. The show is now in its third series, but I’m just starting out with Season 1 on Netflix. Again, I’m really enjoying this box set and it’s been really easy to lose a few hours as I sit engrossed with a cup of tea!

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Doctor Foster – on DVD

I really enjoyed the TV series Doctor Foster, which I bought on DVD from Amazon. It was addictive and I quickly sped through the episodes. Suranne Jones plays Doctor Foster, a woman who suspects her husband is having an affair.

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LiveLagom – an update

It has now been over three months since I collected my #LiveLagom haul from IKEA Glasgow. I had chosen a variety of products to help me tick a number of boxes for living more sustainably. As a working single mum I wanted to pick items that wouldn’t require too much effort as I wanted to start with baby steps. I think if I had forced myself to do too much too soon then I wouldn’t have stuck with it.

First on my list was a generously sized rug to cover my draughty floorboards. I wanted something stylish, and the cow hide I chose is just that. However in addition to looking good, it has made a dramatic difference to the dining room making it feel much warmer in there now. I also chose a large grey throw for my bed and I don’t need to have my electric blanket on for as long now (yes, I’m only 34 but I swear that my ‘EB’ was one of the best Christmas presents ever!!).


I also replaced some of my lightbulbs with LED bulbs. I measured the speed of rotation on my electricity meter before swapping the bulbs, and after the meter was slower to make the same number of loops. Again, another simple change which made an immediate impact. Another money saver has been the battery charger. We go through a lot of batteries with Wii remotes, kids toys and such like. Being able to recharge the batteries is a quick & easy change that has saved money.

My battery charging station

However for me it’s been my kitchen that has given the best results. Storage was a big issue of mine which had a few knock on effects… I had no space to store things, the kitchen was jam packed & I was then not motivated to cook. Food waste was high, recycling was difficult and I had lost my mojo.

My motivation crept back slowly, and I had a huge clear out. Out of date food was taken to my daughters nursery for the children to use in arts and crafts (cinnamon bark for tree trunks and oregano for leaves in a sticky picture anyone?!), Tupperware with no matching lids were repurposed and replaced with new tubs, and kitchenware that I hadn’t used in a while was charity shopped.


A set of shelves gave me much needed storage space. A few tweaks here and there freed up two spaces for paper and plastic recycling boxes. Plastic containers have allowed me to save food rather than it go to waste, taking leftovers to work for lunch for example.


The kitchen is still small, there’s no way of getting around that unfortunately. However a few clever storage solutions have given it a new lease of life.

The drugs don’t work…

I have Crohn’s Disease… can’t remember if I’ve mentioned it already on Ethel Explores, but I certainly wrote about it over on Glasgow Mummy. My diagnosis story is here if you are interested to find out more.

In November last year, after a year of active inflammation, my consultant decided to start me on HUMIRA, in addition to the azathioprine which I am still taking. Initially the results were amazing, and I managed to cope well with the self injecting. However, the effects didn’t last long and we don’t know why. My blood levels of the drug are therapeutic, and I haven’t developed antibodies against the drug either. Rather frustrating!

I had a bad day on Friday last week, and my IBD nurse admitted me into the day unit at the hospital for observation and urgent blood tests.

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I was discharged 4 hours later with a box of prednisolone tablets to start taking. This is only the third time I’ve had to resort to steroids, and personally I hate them because of the horrible side effects (insomnia and weight gain anyone?!). That said, I know they will sort out my current flare quickly.

The next step is to let the HUMIRA wash out, and I will be starting infliximab in a fortnight.


Tips for Moving House

As you know, I’m renovating our “Forever Home” and unfortunately things are not moving as quickly as I had anticipated. We (myself and my architech) first started discussions with the planning department in January, and it’s now May and I’m no further forward. So I’ve made the decision to move into the new house and live through the rest of the building work. Eek! So, I’ve been working on getting the current house organised as much as I can as it will be going on the market in the near future.

Here are some tips that I have from previous moves, and I’m hoping that you’ll share some more with me so that I have a smooth transition!

1. Make a list (well, you know me – I love a list!!)

Keep Calm and Make a List

2. If you’ve time, then sift through your stuff and discard of any broken toys, make a pile of things to take to the charity shop etc. I’ve also got some furniture that I’m going to sell on Gumtree.

3. Make sure you have enough boxes, parcel tape and bubble wrap. I’ve bought some boxes from Amazon to get me started and some bubble wrap too.

Careful packing

4. Pack sensibly… don’t make the boxes too heavy and start early – it’s going to take longer than you think.

5. Label your boxes! It’s important to make it clear which boxes contain breakables and those that are load-bearing that can be stacked. If you can, perhaps get two different colours of parcel tape.

6. Prepare an overnight bag of clothes & toiletries (or in my case it will be a number of the boxes marked as essentials that will see us through until the work is complete, the rest can be unpacked after!) for everyone in the family and those everyday essentials – for me this will include the kids special cups, favourite teddies/blankets etc.

7. Pack one room at a time.

8. Make sure you keep important documents together and in a safe place.

9. If you’re using a removals company, do ensure you book your slot in advance!

‘We are living out of boxes’ moving cards

10. When stressed out and worrying… put your feet up for five with a cup of tea (or a G&T, preferably Hendricks!). And remember to breathe!

What are your tips for a stressless moving day?

This was first published on my previous blog, Glasgow Mummy.

Scottish Mothers Collective

I am honoured and delighted to have been chosen as one of the founding members of the Scottish Mothers Collective. We are a pretty amazing group of 10 mothers, if I do say so myself!!

You might have seen some activity on my Twitter feed or Instagram announcing the launch event, which is taking place at Hutchesons Bar & Brasserie next month. The event has already been sold out, which is super exciting. I’m looking forward to meeting the 65 guests that will be joining us for a few glasses of fizz and some chat.

Anyway, so you might be wondering who and what are the Scottish Mothers Collective…

The Scottish Mothers Collective (SMC) offers a much needed sassy network for mums across Scotland who find themselves in the position of trying to maintain the balance of babies and business.

All to often mothers are split into two camps – being a mum and being a boss at work – the two don’t need to be mutually exclusive… step forward the SMC.

We will be hosting monthly events, each with a different focus from a business agenda, to a legal slant to the more lighthearted BBQ and netwalking in the park. We are aiming to offer something new and inspiring to the mothers of Scotland! Details of the 2016 calendar will be revealed at the launch *excited face*

Check out our Instagram feed for more details… @ScottishMothersCollective

Review – Smashbox Primer Oil

I’m not new to using oils on my face; two of my favourite skincare products are the Merumaya Everything Everywhere Beauty Oil and Origins Energy Gentle Cleansing Oil.

However, an oil primer is a new concept. Smashbox’s new photo finish primer oil is 50% primer, and 50% oil. 15 essential, lipid-rich plant plant oils penetrate and instantly moisturise deep into the skin creating a seamless canvas and a dewy finish. You can also add a drop to your foundation, or even use on your cuticles or split ends!

I’ve been trying the product for a few weeks now, and have fallen in love! I’ve got pretty dry skin and can find that if I’m not careful my foundation can look rubbish as my skin underneath is dehydrated. However the Smashbox primer oil is fantastic. I apply a few drops with my fingers, let it absorb and then put my foundation on over the top. What a difference it makes, and my make-up also lasts much longer too. At £28 for a 30 mL bottle, it might seem pricey; however, a little goes a long way and I can see this bottle lasting quite some time. I have a few other primers in my make-up collection, but this is now definitely my top pick.

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I received a complimentary sample for the purpose of this review. Opinions are honest, and are my own.