Review: The Botanist Birmingham


Last night some friends and I went out for cocktails at The Botanist on Temple street in Birmingham.


With its potting shed style decor, you’d expect this place to have a rustic feel, but the intricate iron work, glowing chandeliers and luxurious furnishings really lift it to another level.

The mostly gin based cocktails are beautifully finished with herbs and flowers.


By 10pm the bar was super busy and queue times were long. However they had a great little live band which made the wait for service much more pleasant and the atmosphere was amazing.

I’d definitely return here and would just learn to get two rounds in at once!


French Children’s Book Haul

So I did some serious book shopping whilst in France…

I was really pleased to find some of these Usborne books, we love the English equivalent “That’s not my…” but in French they are “Où est mon…”


Franglaisbaby also loves pressing the “pouett” on the Oui-Oui (Noddy) book.

We’ve been really getting into T’choupi, both the books and TV programmes, and P’tit Loup was a great discovery as we love the Loup books. P’tit Loup is so cheeky! And Petit Ours Brun is a classic. I especially like how some of the editions have lovely thick pages, a good compromise between a board book and a standard paperback.


Franglaisbaby loves foxes and dogs, so a couple of foxy fables were in order. I love the touchy-feely bits in the second book like the fox’s tail.

A bit different to a lift the flap book, the book above has pull out bits on every page to extend the story, I love this idea.

Usually I shy away from getting translations of English books but Each Peach Pear Plum just sounds so funny in French! And I picked up a couple of longer stories for when franglaisbaby is bigger.

Finally I picked up a Children’s Bible, something I’ve been looking for for a while. This one seems nice and interactive and has flaps and pop outs.

I think I did pretty well! The bank balance however does not – books in France are expensive.

Trip to Limousin, with a detour via Chartres

This year’s jaunt to France was to the Limousin region, with a short stop in Chartres to break up the journey on the way down.

Chartres is absolutely beautiful, with a stunning cathedral, lots of shops, quaint little streets with timber framed buildings, and such a good choice of restaurants. Great atmosphere in the evening too, we will definitely be back.

France 2017 008

From here we continued our journey down into the Limousin region. It’s an area I visited 10 years ago for a short time as a stagiaire so I was looking forward to returning.

It’s a beautiful region, perfect for long walks, often complete with fairly tame “wildlife”.

You’ll be pleased to learn that bakeries and markets featured heavily in our holiday as usual!

Exploring the local area, we visited lovely towns such as Bourganeuf – though be warned, in this region everything is closed on a Monday as well as a Sunday.


We combined a day trip to Limoges, where we visited the Cour d’Appel where I did my stage, with a visit to Oradour-sur-Glane, a haunting abandoned village where almost the entire population was massacred by the Nazis in 1944. This is a must-see, and will stay with you forever.


I’m not sure whether it’s a region we will visit again, although the people were lovely and welcoming, and great with franglaisbaby, but there simply wasn’t a lot to do given that we didn’t have great weather. However we will definitely return to Chartres!

Where would you recommend we go next in France?

Review: OBaby Zeal Stroller

I’ve kindly been sent this OBaby Zeal Stroller/Travel System to test by the Mother & Baby Awards.

I really recommend signing up as a tester for the Mother & Baby Awards, you can get some great stuff to review and usually keep.

First impressions of this stroller are good, easy to fold and unfold. It reclines pretty flat and the hood is good. The brakes work easily although it’s a little clunky to push.


It also converts to a travel system with the addition of car seat adapters. These are so simple to clip on, a really neat design. However the stroller can’t be folded with them attached, so it would be a real pain to detach the adapters every time you wanted to remove the car seat.


Included are a footmuff, which is lovely and soft, and a change bag, which has lots of pockets but seems flimsy and cheap, and which I wouldn’t use.



Overall, I’d say it’s a good stroller in a cute design, but I’d rather have a full travel system where the carseat is easier to remove, and a second stroller.

Oh boy have I got a French treat for you!

The franglais family have just returned from a quick jaunt to France (more on that to come…)

On our final night, we stayed in a beautiful hotel in Le Mans called Le Clos d’Hauteville, where the couple who own it doted on franglaisbaby. When we left, the lady handed franglaisbaby a book. Perfect, I thought, a French book and something new to entertain him in the car! It turned out to be a little magazine, with several stories inside.


But look closely folks, see the date on it? 1994? It must have been her children’s! What a lovely gesture – vintage French children’s stories.

Aldi Lacura Hot Cloth Cleanser

Since I saw that Aldi would be selling a Hot Cloth Cleanser, I’ve been so excited for today. And here it is!

Lacura hot cloth cleanser

A thick creamy liquid, the cleanser goes on easily, with a gorgeous refreshing sweet menthol fragrance.

It comes with a muslin cloth to polish the cleanser off with hand hot water.

It left my skin feeling cleansed, smooth and refreshed.

This cleanser is on sale today whilst stocks last, so get down to your local Aldi quickly!

You Beauty Advent Calendar Unboxing – days 18-24

I’ve reached the end of my You Beauty Advent Calendar now and it’s been a great way to end the season.

Day 18 – Miller Harris Rose Silence Perfume


This is a very flowery rosy scent. I do love rose scents but this is a little overpowering for me – I prefer them with a citrus note. But a pretty fragrance which would suit most in a handy travel size bottle.

Day 19 – Sanctuary Spa Foaming Micellar Cleanser


This is something I will definitely use! I love Micellar water; I usually use my favourite Nuxe one. A really useful gift.

Day 20 – Malin + Goetz Vitamin E Moisturiser


This is a lovely light moisturiser that is instantly absorbed and feels weightless. I love it, the only thing I would change is the light fragrance which smells a little herbal medicinal. But I am going to be using this a lot.

Day 21 – Carmex Lip Balm


A classic, and perfect handbag sized.

Day 22 – Amie Exfoliating Polish


Another brand I’d not heard of, this face scrub looks lovely and I love that the brand has an all natural focus.

Day 23 – Charles Worthington Moisture Seal Leave In Conditioner


You can never have too much leave in conditioner, especially when you are a busy working mum. My ultimate time saving tip.

Day 24 – The White Company Orange Grove Candle


Possibly my favourite day of them all! Citrus scents are my favourite, and White Company candles are such good quality. This is a real Christmas treat.

I’ve loved all the little treats this advent and hope you’ve enjoyed sharing them with me.

Bee Good Review

I was so excited to receive my order from Bee Good in the post, and very impressed at how quickly it came.


I had used the voucher from my You Beauty Advent Calendar to buy a small tube of Eye Cream. My last Eye Cream ran out recently so this was perfect timing.

But the lovely people at Bee Good didn’t stop there. Included in the package was some delicious honey chocolate from New Forest Chocolates with such a cute bee print, and a packet of Seedballs, clay coated seeds which can be simply scattered and watered for bee-friendly flowers.

This is so thoughtful, I love getting little extras in a parcel.

I really recommend Bee Good products, the Eye Cream and Serum are both lovely with great texture and a slight fragrance.

You Beauty Advent Calendar Unboxing – days 11 – 17

What’s in store for our unboxing today?

Day 11 – This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray


I’ve really been enjoying this, and it has a very calming scent. I think it is helping me to sleep deeper, but oddly it has the opposite effect on franglaisboy who found it took him ages to get to sleep when he used it!

Day 12 – Omorovicza Facial Polisher


I’d not heard of this brand from Budapest before. This face scrub smells lovely, and comes out black – a weird experience!

Day 13 – Bee Good Hydrate, Smooth and Prime Serum


This is a creamy serum which is a new one on me. I’d say it’s more like a moisturiser. It goes on smoothly and evenly. This lovely smelling serum also came with a £5 gift voucher which I have used to purchase a much needed eye cream, can’t wait!

Day 14 – Nanshy Kabuki Brush

This brush is lovely and soft. It came with a voucher too, but I think I have enough brushes, so I haven’t used it. I will be happy to use this for my Mineral Powder though.

Day 15 – The Vintage Cosmetic Company Duo Sharpener


This is a pretty product in cute packaging. I do own several sharpeners already though so I have to say I wasn’t overly excited about this.

Day 16 – Rodial Smokey Eye Pen


You can never have too many eyeliners! This is a lovely smooth liner which is a great true black tone.

Day 17 – MUA Dusk til Dawn Eyeshadow Palette


I’m starting to see an eye theme emerging! I love MUA palettes, such great value and so versatile. I think I already own this though, so it will make a great present. There is a great range of colours, all of which are very buildable, and a mix of matte and shimmer shades. The deep colours here are perfect for the party season.

You Beauty Advent Calendar Unboxing: days 5 – 10

Well, lack of internet put paid to my regular unboxing posts, but don’t worry I’m back!

I’ve been really enjoying opening my Advent Calendar and using some new beauty products.

Day 5 – ESPA Overnight Hydration Mask


A perfect product for me, a mask you leave on overnight – so much easier than trying to find 10 minutes to apply, wait and wash off a mask, particularly with franglaisbaby around. I’ve tried this out a couple of times and it leaves my skin wonderfully hydrated in the morning. This also came with a £15 ESPA voucher – this won’t buy you much on their website but does mean I could try out a couple of products at a lower price.

Day 6 – The Organic Pharmacy Hand Cream


This lovely hand cream, with Marigold and Comfrey, smells quite citrusy, which I love. A little goes a long way, so this is a great handbag sized product.

Days 7-9 – Nails!!

The products on days 7, 8 and 9 make a great little set. A Margaret Dabbs nail file, a red Rimmel nail polish, and some Leighton Denny Miracle Mist for quick drying nails.


I was excited to try these out, so I carefully filed my (pretty rubbish) nails, applied a coat of nail polish, and waited 60 seconds before using the Miracle Mist. The polish went on well; it has a lovely wide brush for smooth application. As it’s a quick dry polish, it wasn’t very forgiving for touch ups. The red colour was fine, but why is it always red?! I would have preferred a pastel colour or a coral.

The Miracle Mist was the product I was most excited to try as I rarely paint my nails now, as inevitably franglaisbaby needs me before my nails are dry. However I was really disappointed. Despite using the spray exactly as per the directions, my nails were still very tacky, definitely not touch dry, and took around 10 minutes to fully dry. Given that the polish was 60 second polish to begin with, this was quite disappointing. The one good thing was that the spray gave the nails a lovely smooth finish.

Day 10 – Oskia Face Mask


Another face mask to finish off this post! I’ve not tried it out yet, but this Oskia London Renaissance Mask smells amazing, of rose and geranium.