Illustrated Teacup

Family | Lifestyle | Motherhood | Travel

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Opening birthday presents:A toddler gift guide


Post contains review items*

My little man turned two!!
That's still pretty crazy to even think about, let alone say out loud.

However turning two was a whole lot of fun, and involved a very early morning (he really does not believe in lie ins) with presents and cinnamon buns!

I have to admit, shopping for kids is actually really hard work. There's literally so much available to buy kids, so it's working out what they will actually enjoy. And it's so easy to fall in to the trap of buying and buying, because you see just another gift that would be perfect.

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Tuesday, 19 June 2018

A home away from home - Room2 Hometel



Review Post*

I think travel is so important for families and can be such a great experience for everyone involved.
But it can also be a very stressful experience, especially for parents.

One of the key factors of any part of travel is where you stay. Where are you going to rest your head at right, and wake up in the mornings. Your base location. For families, it's vital to have a safe, secure and homely environment, to help create a stress-free trip or break.

And let's be honest. The traditional hotel just doesn't cut it 90% of the time. You see parents hiding in the bathroom whilst their kids settle down for the night. Or limited space because the cot or trundle bed have taken over half the room. And to be frank, most of them really don't look amazing. They're pretty generic with rules on what you can and can't have in the rooms, and limited additional facilities.

So when Room2 got in touch with their brand new concept, and invited me to their launch event*, I knew I had to go and get the down-low, because this has family travel sorted.

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Thursday, 14 June 2018

Preparing the home for baby no.2



Review Post*

We are getting over closer to becoming a family of four and I'm not going to lie, it just does not feel quite real yet. Apparently the large watermelon shaped mound under my clothing just isn't enough for my brain to accept that we are actually going to have a second child soon.

That being said, I am thoroughly enjoying getting all the preparation done for baby number two. The organiser in me is thrilled to be able to wash tiny baby clothing, and organise drawers, and clean rooms. I think I was a born nester because I absolutely love it.

However there is much less to do this time around. Our home is already prepared for an active toddler, and realistically a newborn is far less of an issue on your home furnishings than a toddler - how do toddlers make some many crumbs? But we do need to create new space for the new addition, and our home has changed a lot since Henry was a baby, even though it was only two years ago.

So what have we been doing to prepare for our little newbie?

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Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Henry, you're two!!



Two whole years of Henry Gordon Ian.
That's pretty surreal to write down.
But it's been the absolute best two years of my life. I cannot imagine my life without my little guy and my whole world is more complete with you in it.

So Henry, you're two years old!

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Sunday, 10 June 2018

Farm Play - The Ordinary Moments


It's no secret that we love the farm. I mean we have an annual pass for our local farm.
Henry is a huge fan of a farm and chattering to and about all the animals, in fact it's one of his strengths and something that his nursery mentions all the time. His knowledge of animals is pretty amazing for his age, which I imagine is partly down to all our farm visits!

When we were in Poole last month, we hadn't really planned much for our days, but were given a brochure from the caravan park about local attractions, and included on it was Farmer Palmer's Activity Farm. As it was so close and the weather was on our side, we decided to go over in the morning as it opened and let Henry have a run around. 
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Thursday, 7 June 2018

40 activities to do with your toddler - an activity jar challenge


Pretty much every parent will tell you that they've had at least a day or two where they've really not known what to do with their kid.
If I'm totally honest, I've had far more of those days than I would like to admit, but entertaining a small person can be really hard work, especially when they have a short attention span, far too much energy, and you're feeling less than your best.

As I'm becoming a SAHM and will be battling the wills of two small people (though admittedly one will be far more controllable than the other) I decided I needed to come up with some ideas of how to keep Henry entertained, and keep myself reasonably sane.

So I scoured the internet for ideas of little things I can do with Henry on a day to day basis. As he's going to be with me solo parenting three days a week in June and four days from July, I wanted to put something together that would mean we would have varied days and weeks.

 And thus the activity jar was born!


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Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Maternity Leave Round Two - what are my plans?


I'm about to start maternity leave for the second time, and I am oh so ready for it.
I won't lie, this pregnancy has been hard, and although I only work part-time, it's been difficult juggling pregnancy, a toddler and a job.

With Henry, I didn't actually start my maternity leave until the day after he was born (a Sunday) and I only had one week of leave prior to his arrival. So not an especially relaxing start to my leave. Of course I wouldn't change any of it for the world, but this time around I've decided to go off a little earlier than 38 weeks. My maternity leave officially starts at 36 weeks so I'm hoping for a good couple of weeks before Baby Boy joins us.
At the same time, Henry is dropping one day of nursery, so only attending two days a week, so although I won't be getting rest and relaxation every day, I will get two days a week to myself, and then some extra time with my little man before my time is split between two!

So what do I plan to do with my maternity leave this time around?

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Saturday, 2 June 2018

14 things to do with kids this summer for free (or just a few quid)


Collaborative Post*

Summer is finally on it's way, and I'm am so ready for sunny days with my boy/s.

With my starting maternity leave at the beginning of the summer, and Henry dropping a day at nursery, I wanted/needed to create a list of things to do on a budget with my boys.

I've admitted before that I'm not always great at playing, but like to do things with them both obviously, plus summer means lots of outdoors time. I want to get out and about as much as possible as I think I parent at my best when I'm out rather than cooped up at home.

So I've started to compile a list of budget-friendly toddler, kid and family activities to get me inspired and motivated, for hopefully, the best summer ever!


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Thursday, 31 May 2018

22 little things you can do as a family to be more eco-friendly


I've been working on this post for the last few weeks compiling as big a list as possible of little things you can do as a family to reduce your impact on the environment.

It's something I've become more and more aware of as I've gotten older, and especially so since having Henry and knowing that I need to teach him how to treat our planet. He's already an avid fan of David Attenborough and his wildlife shows (yes, a very proud parent moment when he pointed at the TV saying David!) and adores all animals, so it really is more and more important that we show him the best ways of leaving a good planet behind for future generations.

I'm not saying we do everything in this list, but we're well on our way to doing a good chunk of it, and making progress with others. And I think that's the important thing, that we're at least trying. Every little steps help a little bit.

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Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Why it's OK to "do it for the gram"



"Doing it for the gram" is usually said with a mixture of laughter and self-consciousness, and I think most people with Instagram, and most definitely Bloggers, have done something purely to get that perfect Instagram photo to share on our grid.

I've certainly done my fair share of things purely to get a shot for my layout. Whether that's buying flowers that I really don't need, making a tea I had zero intention of drinking, or searching out the perfect background for a "from behind candid" shot.
And I know plenty of bloggers that have visited places purely "for the gram". In fact there are entire businesses that are so successful, just because they are "Instagram goals".
And then there's buying props, purely for Instagram photos (and blog photos too in a lot of cases.) I for one, bought a Letterboard just because it would work nicely within my Instagram feed, alongside my 'leg shots' which I take only for my Instagram.

And do you know what, that's all OK.

It's OK to do things, or buy things, and go to places, just because you want to put a photo of it on your Instagram grid.

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Sunday, 27 May 2018

Oceanarium Adventures - The Ordinary Moments


There's something about being surrounded by water that is just so soothing, and Aquariums are the perfect place for exploring, learning and chilling all in one place. 

We've taken Henry to a few aquariums/oceanariums over the last couple of years. They're perfect for a winter escape, and make a great sensory experience too. Henry has always loved them, and now he's getting older, he's getting even more benefit from them. 

On our way to Poole earlier in the month, we decided to stop off in Bournemouth and have a little explore and show Henry another seaside. 
Being typically British, it was absolutely freezing and blowing up a stiff wind by the water, so we headed indoors to Bournemouth's seafront Oceanarium. 
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Thursday, 24 May 2018

Why I love a caravan holiday, and how to make it work for you



I love travel.
I'd travel all the time if I could.

And that doesn't just mean jetting off to foreign lands in search of golden sands and sunny skies (although they are both very much welcome).

In fact the majority of my previous travels have been city breaks and adventures with lots of history thrown in, think Rome, Florence and Barcelona to name a few.

But with a growing family, we've had to adjust what a holiday looks like. It's less about exploring old ruins and learning history (though we will be coming back to this when everyone is a bit older) and more about fun adventures exploring new places and trying new things.

With Henry still being pretty young, and me expecting our second boy, we've kept with staycations for the last two years, and utilised the good old British staple of a caravan holiday.
And they've been pretty great so far.

Yes we've had to deal with the not-at-all consistent English weather, which included one complete wash out of a holiday last year, but over-all they've been a great adventure and a good way to get Henry used to travel and new places.
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Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Gimme all the carbs - my pregnancy cravings


Collaborative Post*
Most women will experience cravings during their pregnancy - for me, that’s currently macaroni cheese and blackcurrant with lemonade! Literally, I could eat Dann's homemade macaroni cheese every night of the week and I'd be one very happy pregnant lady! As for the blackcurrant and lemonade, apparently I'm a fizz girl when it comes to pregnancy, going against the tradition of sweet cravings mean a girl!!

With Henry I only really craved twiglets (during my first and second trimesters) and fizzy apple drinks. Apple Tango still reminds me of being pregnant with Henry.

Many cravings are just due to the whole range of hormonal and biological changes that happen whilst pregnant, but some cravings can be a sign that you’re lacking in some vitamins or nutrients.

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Sunday, 20 May 2018

Summertime feels less lonely - The Ordinary Moments


Sunny weeks and weekends mean more adventures, and I am so down with this.

I feel like Spring and Summer is so freeing.

I love Autumn and Winter for all the cosy days at home, the comfort food, and Hygge feels, but I also feel closed off and shut away during those darker months, and I think that really affects how I feel in general.

The first signs of blossoms and florals, and semi-consistent sunshine, lift my mood almost instantly. With longer days and better weather, we get out more, and not just as a family. I make the effort to go outside more, visit places, just be outside of our safe haven, and that alone is enough to make me feel like I'm being more productive and less alone.

Because that's the problem with staying in all the time, it gets lonely. Even when you're with other people.
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Tuesday, 15 May 2018

My hopes and fears for breastfeeding the second time around


It's one of those topics that people either love to talk about, or want to stay completely clear of.

And today I'm going to tackle it head on....breastfeeding.

I've breastfed before. In fact, when I was planning life as a family and awaiting Henry's arrival, I didn't really consider any other option.
I was lucky, Henry did take to breastfeeding pretty well, with a little help from the birth centre I gave birth in. He gained weight and seemed to do well. However my main obstacle was me. I had a love/hate relationship with breastfeeding. I loved the bonding, and that I could provide for him by myself, but I was also super uncomfortable and hated the idea of feeding in public. (I've got no issue with feeding in public from others, I just felt really self-conscious and just couldn't shake the associated anxiety). We continued to breastfeed for three months combined with formula, and eventually stopped as my supply slowed down. I was both happy and sad for the end as I'd become more comfortable with breastfeeding, most likely as I was only feeding at night.

So that's my previous journey, and with a second baby on the way, it was only natural to start to think about what we want to do this time.

Again, I want to breastfeed. But this time I feel like I'm more prepared.
Breastfeeding classes are helpful with the facts, but realistically you learn pretty much everything from actually doing it. And I hope that experience will enable me to have a better, longer and more enjoyable time with breastfeeding.

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Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Thoughts on becoming a mum of two


I know this is probably a blog post that has been done about a million times, but aside from loving reading other peoples (particularly, I loved this post from Lyndsey who is expecting a second little girl about a month after me, and this post from Naomi, who is expecting twin girls in May) I find it super cathartic to write some of my thoughts on this blog.

To be honest, I'm already kind of feeling like a mum of two, in the sense that I already feel pretty split between them.
I've talked previously about how much harder this pregnancy has been compared to with Henry, and that has really taken it's toll on my guilt levels. Which in turn has made me worry a little for the future.

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Sunday, 6 May 2018

Building our own mud kitchen: The Ordinary Moments


We finally had a bit of summer guys... in April!!
After snow and storms, I really wasn't expecting a weekend of beautiful sunshine, and we certainly made the most of it.

We've been working on our garden periodically for months, with little updates here and here, and we've been able to do it on a budget which I'm pretty proud of. Recently we added wood chippings to the "kids area" of the garden to cover the concrete base, and make it a bit more child friendly. The last addition to this mini-section to the garden was our planned mud kitchen.

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Thursday, 3 May 2018

Why I want to hypnobirth


The minute you find out you're pregnant for the second time - once you've got the OK that everything is going as expected and hoped - you think back to your previous pregnancy, and most importantly, your previous birth experience.

My birth story with Henry was a pretty positive one all round. It wasn't exactly as I had hoped, but it was pretty damn close, and I did it with no intervention and next to no pain relief. I am proud of my birth story and how well I managed to cope.

However there are things that I feel could have been better.

Length of labour being a large part of it.
I know, of course, that you can't predict or change your labours length of time, but I was in labour for a total of about 26 hours, and 11 in active labour at the birth centre. So I'd really like to try and cut down the amount of time away from home this time around.
We also had a bit of back and forth, which although it couldn't be helped at the time, I'd like to avoid if possible.
And I'd really like to have that water birth I'd planned for last time. I did spend time in the pool, but when it came to actually giving birth, it was more a traditional, on a bed, job.

So how am I hoping to help achieve this?

Hypnobirthing.

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Tuesday, 1 May 2018

How you can save money every month as a family


Collaborative post*

Having a family, starting one, continuing one, and adding to it, all costs money. And that really shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone to be honest.

I knew when we started a family we wouldn't have as much "free" money. Your priorities change and going out for meals every weekend just doesn't seem as important so you don't mind not spending your money there. However almost everything else gets more expensive. Higher household bills, clothing bill, food bill, and then there's entertainment for the small one/s which costs a fair bundle too.

However, usually our earnings don't go up to match our new outgoings, in fact for most people it goes down.

So how can you save some pennies for your family each month?

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Saturday, 28 April 2018

What to expect from a 4D scan


Review post*

I'm pretty certain the highlights of pregnancy are the scans. 
Aside from eating all the foods you want (within reason of course) and the baby kicks, there isn't a whole lot of other stuff to look forward to as the months go by, until you're ready to meet the new addition. 

But those scans, and seeing your little one, has to be one of the best feelings. I'm not sure much beats that first scan at 12 weeks, but a private 4D scan has to come as a pretty close second. 

We recently went along to Babybond and Ultrasound Direct* in Southampton for their 4D bonding scan, and it was such a great experience to grow that bond with our second baby boy. 
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Thursday, 26 April 2018

Am I cut out to be a stay at home mum?


My maternity leave for the second time is looming and although I am very much looking forward to it, I am also slightly daunted by it too.

Because once I start maternity leave, not only will I will waiting for the arrival of my second little boy, which is scary enough as it is - made worse by the fact that with Henry I didn't actually start my maternity leave until the day after he was born, and only had one week of annual leave prior to his arrival. But I'll also be on the road to stay-at-home-motherhood.

I won't be returning to my job after my maternity leave has ended.
Quite simply, it just doesn't make sense financially to return. I'd literally be spending my entire wage to put both boys in nursery so I could work, which just feels like a waste. I do strongly believe that nursery is very beneficial, so Henry will be remaining in nursery, and baby boy will likely be joining him as soon as Henry's three year funding kicks in. But for the most part, I'll be a stay-at-home mum.


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Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Mental health, pregnancy and me


Collaborative post*

Let's talk about mental health.

It's a pretty big and very serious topic, and generally one I stay clear of as I really don't have much experience with mental health issues, and I'm certainly not about to go trying to give advice on a subject that is incredibly personal to each individual.

However I do want to share a little about my mental health journey, because, perhaps, it could help someone else.

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Saturday, 21 April 2018

Creating your own home office


Collaborative post*

I don't know what it is about a home-office, but it just screams uber-professional, totally serious, going to take over the world-ness. But that might just be me.
I find that having a dedicated space for work helps me actually, work, instead of just procrastinating on Pinterest and ASOS. I know that I spend far too much time browsing every other site possible if I'm sat on my laptop on the sofa, or get distracted by Netflix.

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Thursday, 19 April 2018

What I've been reading 2018: part 2


Books and tea make the world go round!
Or at least they make the world a bit of a nicer lace at the very least.

Although I must admit my reading has definitely slowed down in the past few weeks, I have managed to get through some pretty great books over the past couple of months since my last reading list. In fact, two of these have to be my favourite books of the year so far! 

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Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Appreciating days at home



Collaborative post*

Winter is such a tough season.
I mean it's great with Christmas and cosy days at home with lots of home cooked food and cuddles.
But after a while, and after what feels like 267 days of non-stop rain, staying at home can feel like a bit of a drag.

With Spring, finally, sort of, on it's way, we'll be getting out more and more.

But with Spring comes Summer and our imminent new addition. And a newborn means a few more days at home.

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Thursday, 12 April 2018

Sometimes it sucks that Daddy is the favourite


Once everyone found out we had had Henry, a boy, I got lots of comments about getting myself my very own mama's boy. And this has been further talked about since we discovered we are expecting a second boy.

And to a certain extent Henry is a mama's boy. He is super cuddling and gives plenty of kisses. Plus he does more often than not, actually listen to me when I ask him to do something, or not to do it.

However, Dann is mostly his favourite person (aside from maybe Alfie the dog).

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Tuesday, 10 April 2018

It takes a village to raise a child.... but mine's a really small one


It takes a village to raise a child....

At least it does for some.

The old adage that you need lots of different influences to bring up a well-rounded child, and give them lots of loving family and friends is a rather sweet notion.
And for a lot of people it is probably quite true.
Perhaps by choice, or maybe by coincidence, but they've started a family surrounded by family members and close friends. Sundays are spent with the Grandparents, and Saturdays with xyz friends at soft play. Last minute meetings at work are fine because Auntie A can look after the little ones as she's off work that day anyway, and Great Grandma takes the smallest baby for a morning a week so mama can get a hot cup of coffee and hoover the living room (aka sit and binge on Netflix).

And to be honest, that sounds like perfection.

I honestly would love, and I mean truly love, to have this lifestyle.

And I am slightly jealous of the families that do get this. Not resentful, but maybe a little green eyed. I would hate to be that person who dislikes another just because they were more fortunate, or planned better, than I did.

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Sunday, 8 April 2018

The start of a Lego obsession: The Ordinary Moments


Dann is our resident geek and that includes a pretty big love of Lego.
I think I've bought Dann a Lego kit of some kind or another for his birthday and Christmas for pretty much the entirety of our ten year relationship.

Of course it goes without saying that since we started a family, Dann has been pretty excited to get everyone involved in Lego. It honestly wouldn't have mattered if we'd had girls either, though we may have had to invest in some other kits, though who doesn't love a bit of construction.

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Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Why we need to support local businesses over a Lakaz Maman breakfast


Review post*

I find that some of the best conversations happen over food, particularly brunch where chatting over coffee and yummy food on a weekend morning feels both productive and relaxing.

One of my favourite pastimes is to find new and exciting places to have brunch, and especially more local business locations, so when I was invited by the Sotonbloggers to attend a brunch at Lakaz Maman* in Southampton's Bedford Place, I jumped at the opportunity.

With brunch, comes chatter, and that morning, as we were joined by the owner Shelina, I was reminded way it is so important to support local business.
Over baked eggs in a spicy sauce (which by the way were incredible and totally different to any dish I've had before), the most delicious sweet cinnamon toast (I've literally had dreams about the stuff and have every intention of recreating them with the amazing salted caramel sauce), and the most unique 'torpedo' breakfast stack (muffin, turkey bacon,chicken sausages and an egg, served with a spicy dip), we learnt a little about Shelina's life and how she built her restaurant after winning Masterchef in 2012 - We also learnt a little bit about the realities of Masterchef, which I am currently obsessed with!

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Thursday, 29 March 2018

Childcare is bittersweet


We got a letter from nursery the other day to let us know that our childcare fees would be going up in April.
Not really a huge surprise there. Almost all businesses use the new tax year to increase their rates at little to keep them afloat of inflation. It's not ideal but it is a way of life.

However this letter gave me a shock, and put me in a very ranty mood. Our fees are going up by £5.05 per day!!

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Tuesday, 27 March 2018

How we updated our toddler bedroom


Since we found out we were expecting a second baby, we have been planning Henry's bedroom move to free up the nursery for baby boy. 

The room has been a work in progress for quite some time, as it started life as a spare bedroom, then a playroom - which didn't really get much action to be honest. Now it has a new lease of life and honestly it's one of my favourite rooms of the house now. I feel like it's a room with so much functionality and fun. 

As I'm super nosey, and love seeing inside other people's home, I thought I'd share a little glimpse into our toddler bedroom and share a few of my favourite homely bits too. 
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Sunday, 25 March 2018

Laundry Day - The Ordinary Moments


I've recently had a bit of an impromptu blog break, and with most blog breaks you get thinking about what you really want to do with and gain from your blog. And this inevitably leads you to thinking why you even started blogging in the first place. 

For me, my blog started life as a creative outlet after I lost a baby whilst I was in a job I completely hated and had zero creativity to it. 

Jump forever three years and it's a hobby and starting to be a bit of a business. It's where I still channel my creativity after spending a couple of years juggling a career in marketing and communications. It's my online space to share my thoughts and advice, and document a little bit of our family life.

But the whole thing with having a family blog was to write about my family, and what we get up to. 

Unfortunately that content isn't the clicky articles that a lot of people want to read, and I know I don't read many posts in that style unless I really love that blogger (this post by Hannah Gale really summed up a lot of where I also believe blogging is heading), however, after reading this post from Kirsty, I was reminded how much I do love a good rambly ordinary moment post. One that is real. One that is about every day life. 

Because I'm an ordinary mum, with an ordinary toddler, leading a pretty ordinary life. 
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Thursday, 22 March 2018

How motherhood has changed me, for better and for worse


I think we all change so much over our life times. In fact it's kind of inevitable.
You can't remain the same person from your teens, to your twenties, thirties and beyond.
We become more educated, enlightened and in some places more sceptical and rational.

Our life choices and changes impact how we view the world, how we interact with it, and how we move through it.

Understandably, big life changes are going to have bigger impacts.
And one of the biggest changes for any person is becoming a parent.

Of course, there's the whole adjusting to having a small human-being be totally reliant on you for everything which is overwhelming as it is.

But once you've gotten used to actually being a parent (which I'm still not 100% certain I'm there yet!) you realise that your child/kids change you as a person too.

I'm not necessarily saying that they'll change you over night, and you'll go from a party and cocktail lover, to a slipper and nights in on the sofa knitting fanatic (but if that is the case then get those woollens out and enjoy) but they do have an impact. Or at least it has for me.

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Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Am I done having babies??



There's a few inevitable questions when you announce you're having a baby.

Are you finding out the gender? And if yes, do you have a preference - this is especially true if it's a second baby announcement.

And are you having more babies after this one?

First off, let me get this one out before we make any rash decisions!!

But in all seriousness, am I done having babies?

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Sunday, 4 March 2018

When sleeping through the night suddenly stops


One thing I really took for granted before I had a child was sleep.

In my younger days, I'd easily do a 40 hours job, and then another 20 hours as a bar supervisor in the evenings, with weekends working from 6pm til 3am. And I'd still function as a normal human being.

Just the thought of all those hours and staying awake that much makes me want to crawl into a duvet cocoon and sleep for 12 hours as a treat to past me.

Then of course I had a baby, and he hasn't been the best of sleepers I have to admit. We spent many, many months co-sleeping (or bed sharing) which I was totally fine with, though as he got older it did become less and less comfortable. In those early days with a newborn, we experienced many sleepless nights. More nights than I can count where I was stood gently swaying to coax him to sleep. And lots of tears of sleep deprivation. And don't even get me started on sleep regression and teething!

However, around the one year old mark, sleep started to change for us.

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Thursday, 1 March 2018

What I've been reading: part1


I'm not really sure how regularly I'm going to post these mini book reviews, but as I love reading other people's thoughts on books, I'm quite happy to do my own too.

Reading is one of my ultimate treats for myself, but one that often gets left behind as life is so busy, so I'm also hoping that writing these little reviews will also drive me to putting reading higher on my agenda, especially in the evenings, and particularly when I need an escape. Pregnancy hormones are a bit of a mood killer and reading is my favourite form of self care, which I need to practice a little more when the hormones peak!

So here's the books I've been reading recently - basically from the start of the year to today!!

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Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Are kids really that expensive?







This is a collaborative post*

Kids cost a fortune right?

At least that's what everyone who offers their usually unsolicited opinion will say.

Kids cost so much many. They have so much stuff. You'll have no money for you anymore once you have kids.

And I guess in some respects kids are expensive.

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Sunday, 25 February 2018

Getting our garden kid ready for Spring


This is a collaborative review post*

The seasons are a changing, hopefully at least, and with that means getting ready for much more outdoor play and adventure.
We've always loved getting outside, and with our garden almost completely renovated now (we just have some wood chippings to put down, and a tidy of the flower beds) - you can see some of the original garden in this post.

Alongside our Wendy house which we put up over the summer courtesy of Dann's parents, and hand painted by me, we wanted to add a few extra toys and outdoor play things for Henry and Baby Boy to play with. We have a sand and water table, and plans for a mud kitchen to be built this summer.

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Thursday, 22 February 2018

Rabbits and toddlers: A mini guide to introducing and keeping bunnies with an excitable one year old


Toward the end of last year we got rabbits.
We've had a rabbit before, and to be honest I was a little sad about not being pregnant (little did I know that I actually was) and I wanted to get a pet that Henry could properly interact with as our cat isn't particularly interested in being cuddled by a toddler.

So we got a pair of female bunnies and set them up to live in our playroom/conservatory.

As I've had a few questions over social media about the bunnies and Henry I thought I'd do a mini guide to owning rabbits and how we make it work with a very excitable little boy.

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Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Our gender reveal and scan with Babybond


This is a review post*

Ever since we found out I was pregnant again, I knew I wanted to find out if we were expecting a boy or a girl. I just knew I couldn't wait until they were born this time, unlike Henry, who we didn't find out until Dann announced it on his arrival into the world.

Since our 12 week NHS scan, we have been counting down the weeks to our 20 week scan, and finally knowing if we're having a girl or a boy.

We honestly didn't mind what, not that it makes any difference anyhow, you get what you're given. But I wanted to experience both ways, and I have to admit, I loved finding out early.

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Sunday, 18 February 2018

13 thoughts about brunching with the girls at Vospers


This is a collaborative review post*

Is there anything better on a Saturday then a whole load of food and drinks with lots of girly chat?
I don't think much beats it to be honest.

Brunch has to be one of my absolute favourite meals, because the combination of bacon, sausage, pancakes, muffins, eggs with tea, coffee and juice, with the occasional cocktail (or currently for me, mocktails) thrown in for good measure, is just perfect.

And any self-respecting blogger is likely to agree (of course no judgement if you're not a fan, but how?!?!?) so get a bunch of bloggers together and offer them brunch and you've got a very happy bunch of camera toting foodies.

I thought I'd share just some thoughts whilst brunching at Vospers*.

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Friday, 16 February 2018

Having a Very Lazy Chinese New Year


Happy Chinese New Year.
It feels like the perfect excuse to get a takeaway, I mean, it sort of feels rude not to.

But I have another solution for getting you in the Chinese celebratory spirit, make your own Chinese inspired dinner at home. Less grease, more veggies and cheaper on the purse strings.

And it doesn't have to be difficult.

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Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Money-saving Mama - a mini guide to cost saving for baby no.2




This is a collaborative post*

Everyone knows that babies are expensive right?
Well they are initially and then they sort of level out a bit, and then they get a bit expensive again, and you just go through money cycles.

Then you have the GENIUS idea to have a second baby.
Because, you know, it wasn't THAT expensive the first time, so I shouldn't be so bad the second time! Right?

Well with a little planning, it doesn't have to be so bad.

There are places you can save money, with your first, second, third or sixth child.

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Monday, 12 February 2018

Becoming seriously outnumbered, and do I really have a gender preference?


This pregnancy we found out the gender of our second little Bee, and we're pretty damn excited. Well I know I am!
And with this, and everyone sort of asking if we are finding out the gender, we've had the inevitable question "are you hoping for a girl this time?"

And for some time I really did think I was hoping for a girl.
One of each is the dream right? A boy and a girl.

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Saturday, 10 February 2018

10 thoughts when getting ready for a road trip



This is a sponsored post*

Road trips aren't just for newly loved up couples and free-spirited teens out for their next adventure.
We quite often go on road trips as a family, especially as we live some miles away from our respective families.

However, road trips as a family are much less care-free, and definitely need a lot more planning. Jumping in the car and just driving into the sunset isn't really an option with out at least two checklists, an assortment of bags, and a couple of arguments thrown in.

At the very least you have to get yourself organised, then there's the kids and their menagerie of toys, clothes, wipes and other necessities.
Then there's the car. Because to be honest, prior to kids, a little bit of rust really wasn't an issue, and that squeaky brake was drowned out by the badass roadtrip playlist you put together. However, now you have kids and you're basically putting them inside a metal death trap, so every safety precaution is needed... right now!

So here's some parental thoughts whilst getting ready for a road trip!

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Wednesday, 7 February 2018

When the second trimester isn't all sunshine and rainbows


I'm a few weeks into the second trimester - in fact getting scarily close to the half way mark - and I have to say I was not prepared.

I've done an entire pregnancy. 
I have friends who have done it all too. 

And I believed the rumours that the second pregnancy is easier if your first was uncomplicated. 

It's all lies!! 

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Monday, 5 February 2018

Holiday planning with kids is very different to trips as a couple... but they're just as fun


This is a sponsored post*

So much changes when you have kids, particularly with everyday little things, but also with the big experiences. And one of the biggest experiences is going on holiday.

No matter when you decide to go, whether alone, as a couple, with friends, or as a family, it's pretty exciting.

We haven't yet planned our first abroad trip, but we have definitely thought about the places we want to go as a family. We want something that is going to interest everyone and be a great experience for all of us.

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Tuesday, 30 January 2018

You know you're a mum when....


After weeks of feeling totally useless and spending a lot of time in bed, I finally feel like me again.

It really took it's toll, especially on how I saw myself as a mother as I wasn't really doing a huge amount of actual parenting as I either in bed or the bathroom.

But I've got my mama crown on now, and am feeling top of my motherhood game. In fact I'm pretty excited to become a mum of two this year.
So I thought I'd share some things that are clear-cut signs that you are a mum (tongue in cheek, of course).

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Sunday, 28 January 2018

Why reading is my favourite self-care therapy


Even since I can remember I've been a bookworm. I've always been the one in our family with my nose in a book. However for some years I kind of lost my reading mojo in favour of hours of mindless scrolling and binge TV watching.

Last year I started to make a real effort to read more, which started well but did slow towards the end of the year. This year, again, I'm trying to continue my reading efforts, and broaden my horizons. With one very important reason behind my decision.

I realised towards the end of the year that reading was part of my own self-care regime, and a really big part of it. I think it really hit me when an old man on my bus stopped to talk to me on his way off the bus to say "you're never alone with a book". And he was right. That's why I find books so important for my personal mental health and wellbeing.

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Friday, 26 January 2018

18 thoughts about winning the lottery


This is a collaborative post*

Do you know what one of my favourite, completely useless, pastimes to do is?

I like to plan what I'd do if I won the lottery.

It might seem a teeny bit sad to be planning something that has odds very much not in my favour, but it's a nice little thing to think about when walking home from swim class whilst Henry chills in the stroller.

Now when I say a lottery win, I do mean a big one. Go big or go home.
And my thoughts usually go a little something like this:

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