Finding My Dream Hairdressers At The Scouse Bird Salon - Liverpool | Just Add Ginger

When it comes to my hair, I consider it my biggest accessory. It is a heap of wild, curly-wavy tendrils that sometimes drive me round the bloody bend. But I love it

Which means that I am rather over-protective of it too. After a few bad experiences with hairdressers (one that is still a bit too painful to talk about) I now have this innate fear of going to get my hair done - even if it's just for a blow dry.

It used to make me so nervous. In fact, going to the hairdressers makes me so nervous that there have been times where I have just had to cancel appointments last-minute. I just can't do it. 

Fortunately I have two incredibly talented friends who are hairdressers so - wherever I have been able - I have booked in with them. But with busy schedules, and now a demanding toddler on the scene I knew I needed to finally find a salon that was close by, made me feel comfortable, and pass what I call the 'trust test'

exterior of the scouse bird salon, liverpool

My ears pricked up when I first learnt that the Scouse Bird Salon was opening in Aintree. It is so local to me that it seemed ideal. And knowing how glamorous Steph (Scouse Bird) always looks I knew she wouldn't be messing around with who she wanted working there. 

After heading down there on the opening weekend I was pretty impressed from the word go. The salon wasn't pretentious or clinical, and with all the bright colours, feminine touches and decor that just lent itself to those all important post-makeover selfies I knew I had to come back and investigate things further.

girl with a curly blow dry

side view of a girl with a curly blow dry

I booked in with resident hairdresser Katie for a blow dry a couple of weeks later ahead of a blogger photo shoot I was doing the following day. 

Now normally when I go and get my hair done I get so caught up in my nerves I end up acting so awkward. But as soon as I sat in the plush, comfy, twirly chair and started chatting to Katie I felt all my feelings of anxiousness slip away. It honestly felt like I had known her for years

Ordinarily at the hairdressers it's like pulling teeth trying to get me to speak. I don't want to. I'm waiting for something to go wrong. But I felt so at ease at the Scouse Bird Salon I quickly put on all my cards on the table and was totally honest about how getting my hair done usually makes me feel.

Katie didn't make an issue of the fact that my hair is so knotty either. Her brushes glided through my hair with ease that it was hard to believe she was actually doing anything. I was also able to sit there and enjoy some moments of calm, finding myself mesmerised watching her work, without feeling uncomfortable.

half up hairstyle with braids and twists

I have booked in with Katie at the Scouse Bird Salon a number of time already and every time I come back even happier than my previous visit. I'm always greeted with a smile, treated like a queen and feel completely at ease leaving my hair in her hands because it already feels like she gets me

As someone who spends pretty much all of her time looking like she's been dragged through a hedge backwards, after going to see Katie my confidence levels go through the roof. I walk through the door looking like a bedraggled mess and leave feeling a million dollars. If I could move in tomorrow and have Katie do my hair every day, I seriously would!

But don't just take my word for it. Do yourselves a favour and book in for an appointment with Katie yourself. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Images: Katie Offer (@katieofferhair)


Legally Blonde The Musical Comes To Liverpool | Just Add Ginger

As a teen, Legally Blonde was one of those films I watched over and over and over again. One of my favourite movies to put on when I needed a pick-me-up, I think the VHS tape must have nearly been worn out I used to rewind it and hit play so much. 

I think nearly everybody knows the story but if you don't, I'll give it to you in a nutshell. A girl from UCLA (Elle) is unexpectedly dumped by her boyfriend (Warner) so she decides to follow the love of her life to Harvard Law School to try and win him back. It's a tale of love - not just love for others but of self love too - and at the end you are grinning from ear to ear and just feel really good.

When I learnt that Legally Blonde the musical was opening in the UK I booked myself, my mum and my best friend in to see it at The Savoy in London so I had seen the production before (although this is going back a good few years). I was unsure how the story would translate from screen to stage but I was pleasantly surprised and ever since that first visit to the theatre I have been itching to see it again.

photograph of legally blonde the musical program

Now when it comes to presents, Ryan is very astute. And as soon as I saw that Legally Blonde was going on tour and coming to the Liverpool Empire I would chatter on and on excitedly and bring up how much I enjoyed it as a musical. I wasn't very subtle when it came to dropping hints and low and behold for my birthday this year Ryan surprised me with tickets for the Saturday evening performance.

As soon as we stepped foot into the theatre the atmosphere was electric. You could tell everyone was buzzing for the performance and it was really nice to see the varied demographic that were mingling in the foyer and around the bar. Couples, groups of friends and families alike were all there to see the show which makes sense because Legally Blonde definitely has universal appeal. The strong female character that Elle represents is a role model for slightly older women as much as she is for younger women and the journey she goes through is really inspiring. 

Legally Blonde Harvard Essay 1 Lucie Jones (Elle Woods) centre and company Photo Robert Workman.jpg

Legally Blonde - Elle with her Greek Chorus L to R Alexandra Wright, Rosie Needham, Rachel Grundy, Lucie Jones, Rebecca Stenhouse, Sally Frith, Delycia Belgrave Photo Robert Workman

And so to the performance itself - with clever set design and good use of lighting from the minute the curtain went up you found yourself drawn into the story even before anybody started singing. The musical numbers are really upbeat and lively and even though you may not know the lyrics to the songs you find yourself tapping your feet along to the beat and smiling to yourself. 

The story differs ever so slightly from the film but not so much that the plot you may have loved so much vanishes completely. With minor changes to characters and a slim lined story in terms of that lends itself to a stage production Legally Blonde the musical is a fresh take on a modern classic

Lucie Jones excelled in the leading role of Elle Woods, with a strong stage presence and powerful voice that belted out the numbers with ease. Her 'Greek Chorus' of Delta Nu sisters and co-stars were also just as strong. But the stand-out of the show was definitely Rita Simons (who played Paulette Bonafonté). I knew she had been a cast member on Eastenders but I had no idea how strong her voice was! She was absolutely incredible, captivating the audience with her command of the stage, her perfect portrayal of Paulette and blowing us away with her solo numbers.

And as for my favourite musical numbers? I definitely found myself humming and singing along to 'Whipped Into Shape', 'There! Right There!' and 'Bend and Snap'. (Can you tell I listen to the soundtrack on repeat at home?) But they are all equally as memorable and catchy and once you have seen the production you there will certainly be some that stand out more to you than others.

I really wanted to write a balanced review of the show but in all honesty I am struggling to find any negative points other than the performance went too quickly. The show sucks you in so much that all time loses meaning and just as soon as the performance begins you find yourself applauding, whooping and cheering along to the finale.

Legally Blonde - Lucie Jones (Elle) Photo Robert Workman

This run of the Legally Blonde tour makes its closing performances in July, so if you are desperate to see it this time round you'd better get your skates on (head to the website to check out venues). 

But if you're not able to catch a performance this time round then keep an eye out for the next tour. With a fabulous storyline, strong cast choices, catchy numbers and the sweetest little stage pup, there's something for everyone and I'll eat my hat if you don't leave the theatre with the biggest smile on your face and singing some of your favourite numbers. 

Have you seen Legally Blonde? Let me know what you thought of the show in the comments

Imagery: Robert Workman - c/o Legally Blonde National Tour


That'so Pure Sun All In One Sunscreen* | Just Add Ginger

This is a very big thing for me to admit, but one of the things that really triggers my anxiety off is thinking about skin cancer. Even typing that sentence has sent a wave of warmth through me and got me a little on edge, but I hope that by telling you this, you'll read this post with the understanding that I take things like sun cream very, very seriously. 

Even prior to my struggles I have always been a factor 50 girl. A natural redhead with a fair complexion me and the sun just don't get on. I need really go any colour other than red, I can't stay out in the heat for too long and I always need to cover up. I'm the complete antithesis of a sun worshipper. If I had the choice, I'd much sit under a parasol all day. 

So when it comes to finding the right sun cream I am always quite careful, even more so now that Eric is on the scene. Creams need to be easy to apply and be suitable for sensitive skin. I also need to go for bottles with pumps or aerosol. (Ever tried to apply lotion to your dominant hand when you have limited use of the other?)

flat lay photograph with sunscreen, sunglasses, a magazine and white flowers

I had never heard of That'so Pure Sun All In One Sunscreen* until I saw the opportunity to be considered for a review campaign. But with the promise of a high SPF coverage and it seemingly ticking all the boxes I signed up, feeling really intrigued.

In order to give the sun cream a thorough test, we took it on our pre-summer holiday with us to Yorkshire. We lucked out on the weather and reached for the sunscreen every day. 

 I requested to try the 'Baby formula' version of the That'so Pure Sun All In One so that we could use it on Eric too, but there are a few other bottles you could go for instead (the alternatives slightly differ in the level of SPF protection they offer). 

This version offers an incredibly high level of sun protection, with levels reaching SPF 100 depending on how many times you choose to apply it. (I know - I couldn't believe it either!)

Right from the first time we used it I was really happy with how nice the suncream was to apply. Unlike some formulations, which come out really wet or tacky, That'so came out in a fine mist that evenly covers your skin. It does stay moist for quite a while, but because the sunscreen is colourless, this helps in understanding which areas are covered, and where you need to go over again. 

The formula has a moisturising quality that leaves your skin feeling soft and nourished after application. The scent of the sunscreen is really pleasant too - not too overbearing and with a freshness (almost like baby powder) that makes a nice change to that quintessential summery sun cream smell. 

Another huge selling point is that you can apply the sunscreen with the bottle upside down. So even if you are on your own and need to put on your sun protection before nipping out it isn't ever going to be an issue. 

When it comes to applying the That'so sunscreen on Eric the product could not be more toddler friendly. Because you spray the sun cream on rather than spritz from a pump or squeeze out of a tube you can cover quite a large amount of skin in one go. We simply spray a little onto his arms and legs and then rub in. He is a little too young for us to feel comfortable using it on his face (I don't think he would like that very much) but every time we have used it on him he has not had any adverse reactions. He also finds watching the suncream come out of the can hilarious!

On a more superficial level, I really like the packaging and colour scheme That'so have gone for. The design looks really grown up but yet really fun and the typography is clear and easy to read. The colours also vary from product to product which make them easy to differentiate.

flat lay photograph with sunscreen, sunglasses, a magazine and white flowers

As much as I love this product, there are a few downsides to the That'so Pure Sun All In One Sunscreen* that I wanted to mention, the first being that it isn't the most budget friendly. The sunscreen we received retails for £29.95, so definitely on the higher end price wise. However in my opinion the cost is really justifiable. In fact, I loved this sunscreen so much I ordered a second bottle and after that one's finished I don't think I'll be stopping. 

The other minor negative is that it makes surfaces really slippy so you need to be careful where and how you apply it. It is something we didn't realise would happen at first but Eric did take a little tumble on a slick part of flooring close to where we were applying our sun cream so since then we are hyper-aware. You can easily avoid this though by putting the sunscreen on outside so this is definitely not something to be put off by.

Not just offering sun protection products, That'so also have tanning and skincare lines too. So whether it's sun care or self tan that you're shopping for they are definitely worth a look.

Have you tried anything from That'so? What did you think? Let me know your experiences in the comments.
*I was very kindly gifted a bottle of That'so All In One Sun Cream for review consideration. This does not affect my opinions.  For more information, please see my disclaimer


Five Ways I Alleviate Anxiety | Just Add Ginger

When I'm feeling anxious, stressed or wound up it's like all the energy has been sucked out of me. I'm on edge, I'm lethargic and my motivation goes down the toilet.

It's not a nice feeling. And it's one I work really hard to eradicate. It's been a long road to recovery but I've discovered some great techniques that really help me take a step back, reevaluate and re-centre myself. 

People have different strategies and coping strategies, but knowing where I started and seeing where I am now, I wanted to share the things that I have implemented that really help me in the hope that these resonate with someone else too.

girl wearing bowler hat and smiling off camera

Get Outside - With Eric being so mobile and so active I try to take him out every day, whether that is  to a class, on a walk or to a soft play session. 

Being a stay-at-home parent can be really isolating and lonely, and it is times when we have to stay in that I find tend to kick off my feelings of anxiousness so much more. 

Unless it is the school holidays I know for certain that we will be on the go at classes 3 days out of 5, with one day I have completely free because Eric is at the childminder. On the 2 days we have no set plans, even if I have the motivation of a teaspoon I will try and do something. I may not always be in the mood, but getting out and nipping anxiety in the bud is so worth it.

Put Down The Phone - This is something I have brought up before (most recently in this blog post). but I really do think that we all spend too much time on our phones. 

And for me, if I get suckered in to aimlessly scrolling through social media it can be really detrimental to my mindset. It is something I am so conscious of now. If there is ever a day where I sense I might be susceptible to having bouts of anxiety or worry I make such an effort to steer clear of my phone. 

It's not always easy (sometimes I need to have my phone close by which only heightens temptation) but if I am aware of it, I will just leave my phone on loud and just take it out the room.

girl wearing green floral dress and looking down smiling

Be Present - A few months ago I took part in a course at my local children's centre all about strategies and techniques to manage stress. And part of this was to do with mindfulness

Since then one of the main things I've been trying to focus on is being in the moment and not letting my imagination (and my thoughts) run away with me. 

Focusing on my immediate surroundings helps the most. And with Eric still finding confidence in his walking and being at a somewhat clumsy stage, I find myself needing to practise being present so much more anyway.

Chat With Friends - For a long time I just kept things inside. The stigma surrounding mental health issues made me nervous to open up. It wasn't healthy and it wasn't helpful. 

So now, if I'm feeling stressed or wound up, I talk about it. I am so lucky to have a group of girls in my life who are so incredibly supportive that I know that if I was to drop them a message and share my thoughts they would understand. 

I also talk to Ryan a lot. Or cry. Just to get things off my chest. I used to feel so silly doing it - almost as if I was a burden - but now that I'm over my lowest (and loneliest point) I don't hold back. And afterwards I feel so much better.

Get Busy - I've always had ants in my pants. I love being on the go, or doing jobs or running errands. It's just the way I'm built. 

Naturally 99.9% of my time is Eric time, but I'm now filling those moments when he's doing other things, with other people or asleep with even more activities. 

I'm resisting the urge to just sit on my bum and slob on the sofa during nap times and instead make time for housework or blog-related things. I'm getting up earlier in the morning and have adjusted my own morning routine (you can read more about that here). Since I started this I have more energy and I'm not rushing to try and squeeze in time for myself. 

Of course there are some days when I want to be lazy and just can't be arsed, but these are definitely now outnumbered by really productive ones.

Imagery: Rachel Clarke Photography 


Little Tikes Light 'n' Go 3-in-1 Sports Zone Review* | Just Add Ginger

Generally speaking, Eric hasn't really been a baby who likes toys. Instead of sitting still for a couple of minutes and playing he has been more inclined to toddle around, items clutched in his hands, or else, investigating how things work. 

But in the past couple of weeks that seems to have changed a little bit. He now has definite favourites - toys that he will go back to again and again. And the link between them all are ones that are cause and effect. Whether that be a ball, his hopper or his shape sorter, you notice him gravitating towards toys that give him some kind of reward. 

little tikes light 'n' go 3-in-1 sports zone

So as soon as we peeled back the sellotape and opened the box of the Little Tikes Light 'n' Go 3-in-1 Sports Zone* I had a feeling we were on to a winner. Having very kindly been gifted it I couldn't wait to see what Eric made of it. It's one of those toys that you as a parent are secretly wishing your child to love so that you get to play with it too. It looks that good.

In terms of putting the Sports Zone together it all seemed pretty simple (Ryan did this bit) with the whole process taking less that twenty minutes. It is quite a wide toy but folds up into a really compact little unit that can easily be tucked out the way (and thus instantly abating my fears that our living room carpet is turning into an ocean of toys). 

baby sitting next to little tikes light 'n' go 3-in-1 sports zone

boy looking at little tikes light 'n' go 3-in-1 sports zone

I set up the Sports Zone first thing in the morning and left it sat unassumingly in front of the radiator to see if Eric would notice it. After breakfast we came into the living room and the moment I put E down he bumbled over to the Sports Zone to investigate.

The toy is offers a range of interactive settings, with an electronic scoreboard that lights up, a voice that offers directions or praise and noises that are triggered when you score a goal, hit down bowling pins or get the basketball through the net. 

There are three different modes for play, which are great for children of a slightly older age who understand words and sentences a lot more or who can be helped by a grown up. However with Eric these went over his head. All he was interested in was directing play for himself. 

baby playing with little tikes light 'n' go 3-in-1 sports zone

baby playing with little tikes light 'n' go 3-in-1 sports zone

He was very taken with the bowling pins, pushing them all back and making them pop forwards again and again. He also liked dropping the basketball through the hoop. The goal he didn't quite get the hang of, but you do have to hit the ball against it at reasonable force for it to register a goal. 

Throughout the day Eric kept going back to play with the Light 'n' Go 3-in-1 Sports Zone. The squeals of delight and the smiles were endless and he got so excited when the scoreboard lit up and talked to him. Little Tikes have designed something that lets children take full ownership of their play and Eric definitely did that. He didn't really need my help at all. 

The bowling pins are all reset by pushing large buttons on top of the frame which are easy for little hands to do, and the frame itself folds up and is extended with ease meaning if it was to shift slightly, Eric could manipulate it himself.

baby playing with little tikes light 'n' go 3-in-1 sports zone

folded little tikes light 'n' go 3-in-1 sports zone

One thing I wanted to mention that I think parents will rejoice upon hearing is that there seems to be a sleep function that kicks in if your child has not interacted with the Sports Zone in a couple of minutes meaning that you are not in danger of music, voices or theme tunes being stuck in your head for hours on end. Thank you so much for this Little Tikes!

I think the Little Tikes Light 'n' Go 3-in-1 Sports Zone is going to be a big hit over the summer and beyond. It is lightweight and durable enough to be used inside or out (weather depending) and has a height adjustment setting so that it can grow with your child. The interactive features also mean that as Eric's understanding grows, so will what he gets out of playing with the toy. 

Does your little one have anything from Little Tikes? Let me know your recommendations in the comments.

* I was very kindly gifted the Little Tikes 3-in-1 Sports Zone to review. This does not affect my opinions. For more information, please see my disclaimer.


Father's Day Gift Ideas | Just Add Ginger

Father's Day is right around the corner. Normally somebody who plans out gifts months in advance, this year I have gotten somewhat behind. However, with two weeks until the big day there is still time to think about what to get the dads, grandads and father figures in your life. 

Here are all the things that are on my list of potential presents this year -

photo of father and baby boy with electric guitar

Something Personal - I'm all for supporting smaller and independent businesses. And there are some really great ones out there. 

Time may be limited to put Father's Day orders in, but if there is a little delay and you are happy to wait then what could make him feel more special than receiving something that you can't find on the high street

As for shops and sellers? Etsy is always a great place to start. If I'm ever in need of gift ideas that are a little more special. If it's a print you're looking for, then Peachie Pie is amazing. I've ordered from there on several occasions and haven't ever been disappointed.

For something a little different, I ordered this book for Ryan last year and it went down a treat. It's a lovely story to read together and a keepsake that can we can turn to time and time again whenever we want to get really sentimental.

Say It With Cake - Know someone with a sweet tooth? Nothing spells out L-O-V-E better than surprising them with a tasty treat. 

There are lots of different places where you can find something that will tickle his taste buds, but if you're Liverpool-based and it's a local business you're after then Cakes by Andrew is my recommendation. 

Again, with this being an independent cake shop you will need to get in touch to check whether there's time to order (plus slots fill up incredibly quickly) but Father's Day celebrations don't need to be limited to just one day. If you think he's happy to wait then Cakes by Andrew have just started to offer some incredible-looking brownie boxes (seriously, they look delicious).

Make It Matching - If you are shopping for the dad or grandad of a bouncing baby or tot then I don't think there's anything cuter than shopping for some matching or complementary clothes

There are loads of places you could look for these - from Amazon right through to Etsy - and each offering a range of designs, sizes and styles. My personal favourites are this T-shirt / babygrow combo from zoeysattic on Etsy and this t shirt I found on Amazon (there is a also a matching babygrow)

 Memory Makers - Sometimes the best gifts can't be bought. They are experiences. You don't need to break the bank or struggle for ideas of what to buy this Father's Day. 

Instead, why not make a day of it? Fill the hours with all of his favourite things to do. Make him breakfast in bed, let him have an undisturbed showers, let him watch the match or take him somewhere you know he loves. Put the phones away, pick up a camera and document the whole day. Not only will you get to spend quality time together, you'll also have some great photos to look back on too!

Going With Tradition - If all else fails, you just cannot go wrong with what I'd call "traditional" Father's Day presents. You know - the ones you immediately think of when you're trying to come up with ideas for what to buy your main man. 

Socks, underwear (recipient depending), a mug, t shirts, an aftershave set or a set of BBQ tools. After all, it's the thought that counts and if there is something you know he has been meaning to update or replenish then now could not be a better time to do it for him.