Illustrated Teacup

Family | Lifestyle | Food | Tattoos | Southampton

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Henry you're 15 months old!!

I didn't think I was going to do any of these types of posts really, but I actually sort of miss my little monthly updates on how Henry is progressing and developing.
I love that I can look back and see how and when Henry did different things (albeit not the exact date because I am super forgetful), and I kind of find these posts useful from other parents. It's good to get an idea of what to expect next. I know every child is different and will hit their milestones at their own rate, but I find it really useful to know what things can be achieved as it gives you something to aim for, or helps you create ideas for new games or activities that can help develop them further.

So I'm sharing a little 15 month, or a quarterly up date on Henry in his first year. A little for others, and a lot for me!

Plus, I couldn't not share these adorable photos from a few weekend's ago. We were chilling after breakfast and put Henry's wellies on (from Next) and let him run around the house. We've also just finished sorting our conservatory into our little adult den area and needed to sort out all Dann's TKD belts (they all now live in a vase stacked in rank order) and decided to test one out on him. Even I have to admit he looks so so cute here!


Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Why I blog and share our life on social media

Often when I'm having a bit of writer's block, or a lack of inspiration for new content, or just generally feeling uninspired, I like to sit back and think about why I blog.

What's the reason for wanting to write about my life, share our stories, for the whole (well maybe not the whole) internet to see. Why do I spend a good percentage of my free time working on new content, taking photos, scheduling social media?

I do it all because I want to keep a little diary of our lives. 
My favourite posts to write and put together are always our family adventure posts. Posts, where the photographs come easily, and tell a story all on their own, and the words just flow into a tale of our latest discovery. A new place that we love, or a revisit with a new pair of eyes.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

How to get the best self-timer family photos

One of the biggest first world problems we face, especially as a blogging family, is getting family photos.
Admittedly this is not helped by the fact I'm actually really particular about photos, especially of myself.
But my favourite photos are definitely the ones of the three of us together, and I'm a little gutted that I've only just learnt the great success of utilising that self-timer on my Canon 200D, as we don't have too many photos of the three of us together from when Henry was little, bar the odd selfie, and two photo shoots we had done.

However, now that I've learnt a few little tips and tricks, and had a few rather lovely comments on my Instagram on some of my successful photos, I thought I would do a little blog post.


Thursday, 14 September 2017

6 things I've learnt from Baby Led Weaning

I'm not really 100% sure when a child officially comes to the end of their weaning journey. I feel like it's around the age of one, but we're still learning new things when it comes to the dinner table, even today at 14 months.

If you've followed Henry's journey on this blog, you'll know we went for the Baby Led Weaning route for introducing food, and it has worked well for us.

Of course every single child is different, and as parents, we can only do what we feel is best for each individual child. I also have no qualms with flavour led/traditional weaning methods and truly do believe that there is no "right" or "wrong" way to wean your child. I'm just sharing what we've learnt thorough our journey.

So what have we learnt from Baby Led Weaning?


Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Pizza, Pasta and Wine at Supermarine, Woolston

Italian food always brings up so many happy memories. 
From our time back-packing around Italy, taking in all the top cities, from Florence and Venice, down to Rome, Pompei and Sorrento. 
And one of the best things about Italy is it's food. Yes the architecture and history is what draws you in, but I truly fell in love over the food. 

So finding authentic Italian cuisine is always a huge hit with me. 
We're lucky in Southampton that we have a few pretty great Italian restaurants, but I think I've found a new favourite, that really feels like Italy, right on my doorstop... Supermarine* in Woolston, Southampton. 

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Talking all about my tattoos + VIDEO!

I'm often asked all about my tattoos. How many do I have? Most painful one? What ones do I actually have? Where are they all? 

I've covered a little bit about them on my "about me" page, but I figured as I've started a Youtube channel, it was the perfect time to go the Tattoo Tag and really talk about all my tattoos and some of my favourite tattooists.

At the end of this post you'll find my video, but I thought I'd also include some photos and links here too so you can have a good look!


Wednesday, 6 September 2017

The final summer farm adventure

We can already feel the seasons changing, and the cooler, crisp autumn days are really on their way, and I'm not going to lie, I'm a-okay with that. I really love autumn, and although this summer has been pretty great, I'm looking forward to the next few months too! 

Over the Bank Holiday weekend (our last one til Christmas which is kind of insane to think about!!) we decided to pay a final summer visit to Manor Farm - don't we'll be back in October I'm sure as they have their own pumpkin patch which I'm very happy about. 

This time, we decided to focus on video over images, though of course I got lots of photos too! But I wanted to capture a little bit of the life within the farm, and also keep a record of those early fun steps with Henry. 

Monday, 4 September 2017

Kingdom of You

I swear we have the biggest collection of soft toys ever in our house, and Henry loves them all. I feel like part of his love for animals stems from his stuffed animal collection. And his growing love of books (yay!!) from his rapidly growing library!

I think reading stories with your teddies is an absolute must for little ones, so we're starting early with little help from Wonderbly and the Kingdom of You book*. And I caught him red-handed at story time with his fluffy friends.


Thursday, 31 August 2017

The boys made smoothies

Sunday's should always be for lazing around and having long breakfasts.
Last Sunday, my boys were up early, and because we had a large stock of fruit in the fridge from strawberry picking in the week, decided they were going to make smoothies! Yep I felt a little spoilt, I must admit. 
We decided to make this recipe for a Raspberry and Strawberry Smoothie which we slightly amended, which I will detail below. 

I pretty much think this was the perfect morning making these smoothies, and it was literally exactly how I pictured having kids before I had Henry. Him sat on the worktop, putting the fruit in the blender (supervised obviously) and actually helping with making our food. I think baking may be next on the cards!! 

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Countryside Adventures

One of the perks of living away from family is that you get to go and visit them. And luckily for us, our family (most specifically Dann's parents) live in very places. 

We keep our weekends free for travel and family adventures, and the a couple of weekends ago we decided to drive back up to visit Ninny and Grumpy for a Saturday chill in the sunshine. 

Of course I took along the camera as the village Dann grew up in so perfectly photographic and is pretty much an Instagram dream. 


Friday, 25 August 2017

Thank You Notes #5 - The Woodlands Edition

I can't be the only one who is a little dismayed that the summer is basically over - although I am pretty excited for Autumn, because we know I LOVE autumn! 

This summer has been one of the absolute best though as Henry is walking about and just generally been a pleasure to have around. I feel like we're making the most of our summer weekends which is always a good feeling too. 

So here's to another month of thank you notes....

Thank you Holly Hill Woodland for giving us a new favourite place to visit when we kind of accidentally found you whilst in search of a play-park! You were WAY more than we were expecting and I'm very much looking forward to lots of summers of exploring!

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Cake and The Birthday Thief

Is there anything better in life than a really good book and a hot cup of tea? Well as an adult, not much beats that chilled out feeling of zoning out with a great story. 
But for a kid, I think the ultimate equivalent is a picture storybook and cake!

If you've read this blog for a while you'll know that we adore books, and as a writer of sorts, and a huge reader, having an extensive library has always been a priority. 
I also really believe that books can make some of the best gifts ever. 
And even more so if they're personalised. 

Enter Wonderbly and their story The Birthday Thief*. 

Monday, 21 August 2017

City strolling with Cosatto

Ok so you may have noticed that as a family we like to get out and about?!
Fortunately for us we live in an area with the biggest mix of places to go, including Southampton City Centre. 

Now that Henry is a bit older, it felt right to change over our pushchair to something a little lighter and easier to navigate around with. 
Enter Cosatto... 

I fell in love with Cosatto late last year after seeing a number of bloggers with BEAUTIFUL travel systems and car seats. We ended up buying the Hubbub ISOFIX seat for Henry and we absolutely love it, so it only made sense to have a stroller from them too!

Say hello to our city strolling pal.... the Supa Dragon Kingdom*! 


Sunday, 20 August 2017

Strawberry Picking

I think it's a blogger's summer rite of passage to get themselves to a 'pick your own' so obviously we had to go and have a visit to our local farm. 
Luckily for us Pickwell Farm is walking distance from our house so last Saturday when we had a free afternoon we toddled off to get some fresh fruit and veg and a run around in the fields. 

Of course we got a load of photos - which I LOVE - but I also decided to test out the video function on our Canon 200D and start our journey into Youtube!!! I've embedded the little video at the at the end of the post so make sure you have a little watch, and subscribe to my channel

Friday, 18 August 2017

Happy Hour at Taco Bell

Dann and I have a bit of a thing for Mexican food. 
Some of our earliest date nights would be in Chiquitos in Ocean Village, and fajita friday was definitely a regular occurrence. 

Back in November last year I was invited to the Taco Bell opening in Southampton, and since then I've been promising Dann a visit! Luckily, Taco Bell invited us along to try their Happy Hour menu* so Dann finally got his way. Parenting and going on date night aren't a friendly combination in the baby days!  

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Displaying keepsakes - a pin board DIY

One of my absolute favourite things about owning my own home is that we can decorate however we like, and this includes showing off bits about our life and memories. 
I'm actually a bit of a keepsake lover too, especially tickets and invites, and bits of bobs from travels. 
However I get a little down in the dumps about having it all hidden away. 

Up until recently we had all our little keepsakes in our glass-topped IKEA table which was living in our conservatory. However our tickets were starting to get sun bleached and the table is going soon as we are moving the sofa into its place.

So I decided to display everything on a pin board at the top of our stairs, and here's now/why I did it.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Lights, camera, action - capturing kids on the move!

One of the perils of being a parent to a toddler is that they're constantly on the move, which can make photographing them somewhat tricky. 
We all want photos of our little ones to look back on, but this wonderful fun stage does seem to lend itself to many a blurred and occasionally out-of-focus photograph of your smiley rosey-cheeked angel. 

With this in mind, and having had A LOT of practice taking photos of Henry - it feels like he is never ever still,but that might just be me - I took up the challenge with Lifecake* and Canon, to share some of my top tips for photographing kids on the move! 


Friday, 11 August 2017

The tale of a teething toddler - and how you can help yours

If you're a parent or have been close to a parent of a child, you will undoubtedly have heard some complaints about teething.

Teething is a pain... in the mouth, and the head for parents.

The tale of teething includes red cheeks, puddles of dribbles alongside mountains of damp bibs, tears from both toddler and parent, sleepless and stressful nights, sore bums, and the ultimate break through of a tooth which elicits more excitement than fridge chocolate!

For us it feels like Henry has been teething forever, but we actually got our first tooth through just after his first birthday....not going to lie, it feels like the prior months of dribble was a total waste, but I guess that's the fun of parenthood!

Since that first tooth, we've had a further three emerge, with another two starting to show their pearly goodness, all in the space of a month! Yikes!
We've been on a mission of learning with teething and with a little help from Nuby have found our way through the teething nightmare, with limited stress and no loss of life (phew).

(also check out our self timer photos using our new camera!! So much fun!!)


Tuesday, 8 August 2017

How we renovated our garden for under 1k

We've been in our house now for just over two years, and to be honest have done quite a bit of work transforming it into a place we love that suits us as a family. We've completely overhauled the kitchen (including basically everything in the kitchen minus new flooring) and the upstairs bathroom, as well as redecorating every single room, re-flooring all of the upstairs and creating a nursery and playroom.

Whilst the main focus of our home was to make it ready indoors for a family, we realised that we had kind of let the garden fall behind. But we're now finally there with it.

Because of our somewhat limited English summers, we didn't really want to spend a fortune on the garden but wanted to try and make it as child friendly and safe as possible.
We had a £1,000 budget, and I think we stuck to it pretty well, with a little help from family. (you can see some before shots, in this garden post!)

So what did we do?


Monday, 7 August 2017

Why Hampshire is Home

I moved to Southampton in September 2008 to start studying for my Journalism degree.
A little known fact, Dann actually moved down to Southampton in June 2009 so we could move in together. Since then, Hampshire has been our home away from home. We're both originally from Buckinghamshire/Oxfordshire (there's some question as to what county Dann's home village is actually in). We met in Bucks, and 90% of our family is still in the county, so you'll often hear us say we are going back home for a weekend.

But it's a sentence I am planning to drop.

Don't get me wrong, I love my old home. I think I might even love Dann's old home more than my own. Our visits there always stick with me, and we have some of our fondest memories there - including our wedding which was in the church in Dann's village, and the reception in my favourite local town.

But it is no longer really home.
It was a home. But our home is now in Hampshire.


Friday, 4 August 2017

Why I love leg tattoos

You may have noticed recently that I've had a number of new tattoo additions added to my legs.
I'm kind of on a collecting mission especially since meeting the absolute doll that is Madeleine June and falling head over heels for her artwork and tattoo style. Plus she's a fellow hufflepuff so we're essentially kindred spirits.

I've always been a big fan of leg tattoos but have been slower in the collection front in this area until now.
For me, my legs are for collecting a mish-mash of cute smaller tattoos. Definitely all in colour.

You see. I kind of have a love/hate relationship with my legs. From the knee down I'm OK with them. My calfs aren't half bad. But my thighs, well they're a different story entirely.

And that's half the reason I'm on a leg tattoo collecting mission. Because the more ink i have on my legs, the happier and more confident I feel about them!!


Wednesday, 2 August 2017

The best burgers in Southampton and shaking our own cocktails

One of the things I love about being a blogger, especially in Southampton, is that I get to see a lot of the new restaurant launches pretty early on, and learn about all the great new businesses in the area.
I'm also a really big fan of supporting local businesses and independent companies, particularly if they are local!

One of our absolute favourite Southampton businesses is Mettricks. I've talked previously about their coffee houses (now numbering five!!) and their great coffee masterclasses, and now is the turn of a little something new from the Mettricks gang!

Welcome to Vospers*, a rather gentlemanly and cosy burger restaurant, steeped in Sotonian history. Unlike your normal burger place, it's no diner, but rather one of a kind wooden tables and deep leather chairs with a mish mash of old wooden chairs and antique furniture. Think an upscale Mettricks with burgers, and more alcohol!


Friday, 28 July 2017

Thank You Notes #4 - the co-ordination edition

Another month down, another month to be thankful!
July has been such a strange month. 

We've had very busy days, and very quite days. 
We've had beautiful sunshine, and pouring rain and thunderstorms! 
I've had some of the best blogger collaborations land in my emails, but had illness and sleepless nights to contend with. 

It's very much been a month of swings and roundabouts!
But I suppose that's life, and we should be thankful for what we have, even dreadful wet weather, because although we can't really go outside to play, it's doing wonders for the plants and grass in the garden.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Puppy love

Man's best friend is his dog, or so they say.
A to some extent I really do have to agree because you'll never see a boy happier, than seeing Henry with his favourite pup.

Since he was small(er) Henry has always had a love for dogs, which we can only assume came from meeting Dann's parent's dogs when he was quite young. They were the most tolerant of dogs, and although we unfortunately had to say goodbye to Bob a couple of months back, Alfie remains, and has fast become Henry's furry best friend.

As an animal lover (er hello I'm Hufflepuff,like you expected anything else) it makes me endlessly happy to see Henry fascinated by animals and showing zero fear. He is quite happy to play fetch with Alfie, or push him away when Alfie decides it's face wash time. They trot alongside each other quite cheerfully and sit for a cuddle. It truly is the most endearing sight to see.

A couple of weekends back I got a load of photos of the pair of them (partly for this post) and I couldn't not share them as they're just so damn cute!


Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Bigger, better and more Lush | Lush Launch at Westquay

Any self respecting blogger and bathtime lover has heard of Lush right? And if you haven't, then where on earth have you been for the last few years?

Anyway, as a blogger I've grown to learn and love more and more about Lush over the years, and definitely have a minor addiction to the smell of the Comforter (and a sentimental love for Prince Charming which was my post-birth shower gel of choice so has lots of special memories).

Here in Southampton we've had our little but very much loved Lush on the High Street, tucked away behind the Bargate. However it's popularity was making it's little home quite crowded!
Luckily, and with enormous pleasure, Lush has relocated, and has a new home inside Westquay, with three times the space, and three times the amount of products too!! Can we get a hell yeah over here?!?!

I was very kindly invited along to their launch evening* last Thursday, ahead of their official opening last Friday, and thought I'd share with you a little insider look of the new store, and what we got up to.

Monday, 24 July 2017

A picture is worth a thousand words - Canon EOS 200D Photo Challenge

A picture is worth a thousand words.
Never has a truer statement been made.
And it's a philosophy that I live by.
Yes I'm a words girl. I live for writing. But I also live for photos. Photos have the ability to bring back so many memories, create new opinions, endure feelings. Photos... they're my jam.

And I'm a Canon girl, through and through. Ever since my university days when I would hire out a DSLR from our media rooms to do my photojournalism course.

Although a fujifilm was actually my first ever DSLR camera of my own, it was a cheap buy from a friend, and my heart wanted a Canon. So I saved up and bought my 1100D.
It's lived a very good life, even surviving a four foot drop from a bookcase (thank you cat!) and has toughened up with a toddler too!

But now I'm upgrading, and I've been put to the challenge by Lifecake and Canon, to truly road test the brand new Canon EOS 200D* and show you how each photo is worth a thousand words.

Friday, 21 July 2017

The best family to visit Southampton - The Addams Family at the Mayflower Theatre

I have loved the Addams Family since I saw the 1991 version when I was a  kid.
There is just so much to love about this quirky family. From Wednesday Addams's pessimism and cunning, to the most beautiful love between Morticia and Gomez, and of course all their shenanigans that make them the most fantastic family.
Plus does anyone else think their home is total goals?? Might just be me, and it definitely isn't Instagram goals, but I simply adore a haunted house!

So when I found out that the Addams Family A Musical Comedy* was coming to the Mayflower Theatre I just knew I had to go.


Wednesday, 19 July 2017

All about that park life

Oh I do love a little park trip. 
We try to get outdoors as much as possible, and this can include simply going to our local park. 

Some of my best childhood memories are from playing outdoors and specifically the park. One that really stands out is Higginson Park in Marlow, Bucks, which is the town my Granddad lived, and we would visit the park every time we went to see him. It was pure happiness for a kid. And that's what I want for Henry as much as possible.  


Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Little bum saviours with Harry and Rose

Is there anything more cute than a bare baby bottom??
I didn't think so either! Though knee and arm rolls do come in a very close second.

the thing with baby bum's is they are so very delicate and need ample protection, especially during the teething stages.
We've had a lot of teething recently as Henry has finally started to sprout some pearly whites, but man does it play havoc with his poor bottom, and the somewhat inevitable teething nappy rash.

Luckily for us Henry hasn't suffered too badly, with only one bad flare up which was quickly calmed.
We've also been trying out these brand new products from Harry and Rose at the Conscious Parent Co*, to help prevent nappy rash before it occurs.


Monday, 17 July 2017

Crafts with a baby - they rarely meet the expectations

I always imagined how life would be with a little one, especially when I was pregnant. 
Of course, like any expectant mother (or father) I focused on all the positives like cuddles, first steps, playing together and crafting together. 
Now the latter of these is what I want to focus on today. 

Friday, 14 July 2017

Honey and Bee's at the Farm

One of the things I've loved most about being a parent, and especially a parent of a one year old, is filling our weekends with trips and new experiences. 

I've had quite a few comments recently that we're quite a social family, and always seem to be off doing things, and I am seriously OK with that. Getting outdoors is one of my favourite things to do, and I really do think it's a big contributing factor to how Henry is so chilled, he isn't cooped up too much. He's given lots of space and fresh air, and lots of opportunities for learning. 

A couple of weekends ago we decided to head back to one of our new found favourite places, Manor Farm, (we went there for the first time for Henry's birthday) for their Honey and Bee weekend. 

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Recipes for the whole family - The Flavour Led Weaning Cookbook

Our weaning journey has been a pretty great one.
I never realised how much fun meal times could be.Yes I love food and love to experiment with new foods and dishes, but nothing quite compares to seeing your little try and love new foods.

However, sometimes it can be really difficult to make a meal that suits everyone at the table and that can be made relatively quickly and easily.
That's where the Flavour Led Weaning book* comes in handy. It's a healthy guide to introducing your little one to different flavours and textures.


Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Once in a life time - it might not be enough

This is a post I honestly never thought I would write.

And it's been sat in my drafts for quite a while now.

So I'll jump straight in.
We turned down the opportunity of a life time. A once in life time kind of thing, that we are unlikely even to get close to again. And I'm going to share it with you (be warned, this is going to be a long'un!).


Monday, 10 July 2017

A swimming update - six months in

It would be fair to say that the favourite part of our weekly routine is our Tuesday morning swim class.
I first wrote about our swim classes back in the early days, when Henry was around seven months old.
Now we've been attending class for six months,I wanted to give you a little update on our progress, why it's so important, and our must-have products and tips to make classes easier.

A caution - this post contains lots of super cuteness involving this gorgeous lion poncho* - which I will be talking about a lot towards the end of this post!


Friday, 7 July 2017

The reading list - Quarter 2

So we're over half way through the year and it's time for my second quarter reading list.
I'm not going to lie, with being so busy recently, the reading time just sort of dropped off my radar. In fact it took me over a month to read one book!!

But when we went away on holiday I took a stack of books with me and I finally got back into my reading zone. I got through a book and a half whilst away, and started the third. Of course with the back to reality, I soon stopped reading as much, but I am working on making more and more time for it!

So what did I read?


Thursday, 6 July 2017

Is your home ready for a little walker?

The last couple of weeks have seen our little crawler start to take his first steps.
Everyday he is getting braver and letting go of furniture more and more, and taking more steps with every try.

It's an unbelievably exciting time but also a really nerve-racking time too.

With new movements and development, comes more exploring, and of course, the realisation that maybe our house isn't completely child-proof! You only need to sit on the floor and get down to their level to see your living room/kitchen/staircase how your little one sees it, and all the opportunities for exploration your home provides.

As with any exploration, you need to be prepared, and as safe as possible.

If you're little one is anything like ours you'll probably have been baby proofing for a while now, but we're now stepping up our game a little more with our very nearly walker, with a little help from Fred*. 


Wednesday, 5 July 2017

How to wear dungarees mama

One of my absolute favourite go-to pieces of clothing is dungarees.
I discovered my love of them just before I fell pregnant with Henry. They were of course put to one side whilst my bump grew, but were one of the first things I fitted back into post-baby. 

Now I have a baby/toddler (what are one year olds classed as?!?) my style is 100% about what works with having a child and makes me feel comfortable (you can read how I've changed my wardrobe post-partum in this post) and dunagrees hit the mark perfectly. There's no risk of them riding down when you bend over, you can move pretty easily in them and they are really versatile. Plus they hide the dreaded mum tum, which is always a bonus.

However, I've seen many people worry about how to dress up/down with dungarees. It's very easy to think you're going to look a little like an over-grown child in them, but fear not. 

I have three ways to dress up your dungarees, and they're all tried and tested!!

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Lavender Fields

I'm not sure much can beat a sea of purple in the middle of a field!

It's the season for the flowers, and in particular, lavender. If you've been about on Instagram you've probably seen the influx of lavender field photos, and I'm here to say I love them, and let the purple sweet scented spam continue for ever! (can you tell I'm not entirely over the blossom spam of March?!)

So on Sunday we headed out to our local Lavender Fields, and to be honest I have ZERO regrets. Not only to Henry nap the entire way there (about an hour), he was good as gold too, plus I got a shed load of beautiful new photos that I'm obsessed with!

Monday, 3 July 2017

Summer Breakfast Juicing

After the roasting us Brits got a couple of weeks back, I got really in the mood for Summer, and Summer means lots of refreshing fruit.
I actually think I go through my healthiest phases during the Summer. I eat less, drink more water, eat more fruit and salad, and get outside more.

However with being a parent, I don't have as much time as I used to for prepping food and making fancy dishes.

One of the best ways I find to get lots of fruit in, plus help stay cool and refreshed is with smoothies and juices. Especially homemade ones where you know they aren't packed with extra sugars. Plus this is something you can share with kids too either as a drink, or frozen into ice lollies or fruitsicles and they have no idea you've packed them full of vitamins.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Thank You Notes #3 - the mamarazzi edition

June, you have gone by way too fast!! 
We're now fully over half way through 2017 and it's been quite the year. 

This month has of course been a pretty big one, with us celebrating Henry's birthday!! Plus I've gone back to work. So a big one, with lots of change, which always brings about a little thankfulness. 

So here's my June (or no.3) thank you notes...


Monday, 26 June 2017

Tips for eating out with a baby

We've been very fortunate that since we've had Henry (and before too) we've been able to eat out quite a bit. I do a fair amount of restaurant reviews and collaborate with Sotonbloggers a lot with events and reviews too, which means plenty of opportunities to go out for dinner.

Obviously being parents, we don't often (I think we've managed twice in 12 months) eat out just the two of us, and generally take Henry with us (thank goodness for understanding PRs) and of course we eat out as a three, or more, outside of reviews too!

With Southampton developing so much at the moment we've certainly been making the most of getting out to eat, and of course we ate out every night whilst we were on holiday. So we've become pretty savvy at taking a baby/almost toddler out for a meal and what to do to make it stress-free and enjoyable an occasion as possible.


Friday, 23 June 2017

A Farm Birthday

So you know we went to the zoo just before Henry's first birthday? Well to continue the animal theme, we decided to take him to Manor Farm for his actual birthday.

Being a Monday we both took the time off work, and after his morning nap, headed out to the farm. As it was during the week and during term time, the farm was really quiet, and in places it genuinely felt like we had the place to ourselves which suited us perfectly.

We loved seeing the range of animals and introducing Henry to different kinds of wildlife. He was quite taken with the baby goats (as was I) and the horse in the main paddock.

The entire place is absolutely perfect for children, with the old farmhouses set out as wartime homes, including a school room (and a taxidermy dog that creeped me out and gave me quite the shock!) as well as animal greeting sessions and a chance to milk a cow (unfortunately Henry was too young, and too tired for us to stick around for this). Plus they have a huge outside play area with sand pits and a mini racetrack, and play equipment. It was so good we went in twice!

Here's a farmload of photos!

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

A first birthday at the zoo

For Henry's first birthday last weekend, we decided instead of a party, we would go to the zoo with a few friends and family.

With him still being young, and not all of our friends having little's we wanted to do something that everyone would enjoy, especially as we know well how tedious children's parties can be for non-parents, and well parents too.

So last Saturday we packed up a picnic and headed on over to Marwell Wildlife.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Co-parenting - it's a partnership thing

A few weekends ago we decided to make the most of a sunny Sunday and head out to our local beach for a little fresh air and family fun.

Seeing everyone outside and enjoying themselves always makes me feel really happy, and seeing parents interact with their kids whilst playing is probably the highlight. It makes me slightly sad to see a parent on a mobile phone at the side of the park, ignoring their kid.

It got me thinking: I truly believe that raising kids should be a partnership between the people that brought them into the world, where ever possible.


Sunday, 18 June 2017

Happy Father's Day

Technically this is Dann's second Father's Day but as last year Henry was only a week old we didn't do a huge amount for it, and to be honest we were both still in that newborn bubble and didn't know what day of the week was half the time!

I wasn't really sure what I was going to write for this post but knew I couldn't let the occasion pass without writing something! 

Friday, 16 June 2017

Summer loving with Turtle Bay

Is there anything more in keeping with summer than spicy food and cocktails? No I don't think so either! 
Luckily for us Southampton is filled with amazing food places and cocktail menus galore, which mixed with the brilliant parks and lots of outside seating, we're set for a really good summer (weather permitting of course).

To start off our love affair with the summer food we were invited to Turtle Bay* in Southampton's Guildhall Square to try out some of their new summer additions, and man were we impressed!


Wednesday, 14 June 2017

One year as a parent - what it's taught me?!

I'm going to be going on about this for a while yet, so hold on guys and girls, but I'm still somewhat bewildered that we've kept a small human alive and well for an entire year!

A year of ups and downs, and swings and roundabouts (literally sometimes). 

There's been days that I genuinely wondered if I was really cut out for this and worried that I wasn't good enough, and then days of utter bliss and joy and happiness. 

So what has a year as a parent taught me?


Monday, 12 June 2017

Happy First Birthday Henry!!!

Today is the day, and I am so far from prepared for it, it's unreal.

My baby boy is one!!
Happy birthday my sweet boy.

This past year has been the most surreal, amazing, hard, exhausting, brilliant and over-whelming year of my life. But I wouldn't change it for the world.

I absolutely my sweet Henry. He is the kindest, happiest, cuddliest, and contented child. His smile brings smiles from everyone that meets him.


Friday, 9 June 2017

I want to be an outdoorsy mum

I'm really not an outdoorsy person. 
As a kid and teen I guess I was more so. We lived near the woods so would spend a good amount of time up in the woods building dens and playing on make-shift swings hanging from trees over hills. I was definitely the most outdoorsy in my family, but I still wouldn't describe myself as outdoorsy. 
Since being an adult, I'm definitely an indoor kind of person. I'm in absolutely no way sporty and as I always feel like I have to be doing something, just being sat outside felt like a waste of time. 

But I want to an outdoorsy mum. (also check out Henry's reflection in my glasses!!)

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Nothe Fort: Weymouth

When I started researching places to visit for our trip to Weymouth, Nothe Fort came up many times in the top 10 places to visit, so of course it had to be added to my list.

We finally got a break in the rain and decided to drive over for a late morning/lunchtime visit. 

I wasn't 100% sure what to expect as we haven't visited a fort before I don't think, and the last castle I visited was back when I was in school. 
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