Illustrated Teacup

Family | Lifestyle | Motherhood | Travel

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Farmers Market exploring - The Ordinary Moments



There's something about finding new local things to do that just makes me really happy. Filling our weekends with new experiences and visiting different places is one of my favourite things to do, and more so with Henry. I just want him to experience as much as possible, and integrating it with our normal life is so important to me.

So when I saw a new Farmer's Market for Southampton, I decided it was the perfect excuse for a Saturday morning trip out.

I love a good Farmer's Market anyway, I think it's because it remind me of home and little town life. Plus there's something very satisfying about supporting small local businesses and finding really great food and products.

So a couple of Saturday's ago we went along to the Oxford Street Farmer's Market for a bit of a look around and a little shop.

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Thursday, 12 July 2018

Our favourite ice lolly smoothie recipes



Review post*
Being the parent of a fussy eater can be a pretty stressful experience.
Luckily though, smoothies are one thing that Henry will drink and eat (in the form of ice lollies) and it's a real saviour for the mum guilt!

With us hitting peak summer, and needing all the nutrients and vitamins we can get, smoothies are one of our go-to's for some extra goodness, that also tastes great! Not only are they great for an afternoon thirst-quencher, they freeze really well so are perfect for a healthy ice lolly. Plus we have a Pick Your Own Farm just up the road from us so need lots of recipes to use up all the fruit we pick.

Making ice lolly smoothies is also a great thing to do with kids. Getting them involved keeps them best entertained, helps educate them, and lets them feel a part of what they're eating which is only ever going to be a good thing. Henry loves adding all the fruit to the blender and "holding down" the lid whilst it's on.

We've been making these up in the recent heatwave (let's face it yes it is Summer, but us Brits don't function too well in extreme heat!) in our new moulds from Steamer Trading Cookshop*, the Zoku fish moulds* and the Zoku Pop Moulds*. Both are so easy to use, and I've become weirdly obsessed with the kids fish moulds as because they are silicone, they are SO EASY to get the ice lollies out of. No running under a tap, no tapping on the kitchen counter. They literally pull out. Plus they're the perfect size for Henry, and as they're relatively small in height, he has no problems with the stick! Also, how awesome do they look?

So what's our favourite go to ice lolly smoothie recipes at home? 
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Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Using up PYO fruit - rhubarb and strawberry crumble


We're big fans of pick your own fruit and veg farms. They make for a great family trip out, everyone can get involved, and you can stock the fridge up with lots of healthy food. You can see the blog post and video we made last year from our first strawberry picking trip. And tips on taking kids to a Pick Your Own Farm here.

Of course, you inevitably end up with way too much food, or at least we always do, and then you need to eat it as fast as possible, or make something with it all.

And one of my go-to recipes is my Rhubarb and Strawberry Crumble.
I adore rhubarb crumble anyway, it's probably my favourite kind of crumble, and with strawberries, it has a but of extra sweetness to it. Plus if you're experience of PYO is anything like ours, Henry enjoyed moving the strawberries from basket to basket, meaning we ended up with quite a lot of bruised fruit. Unfortunately bruised strawberries just don't go so well with cream, so cooking them into a crumble is the perfect way to get them used up.

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Sunday, 8 July 2018

Pick Your Own Fruit Farm - and how to survive it with a toddler - The Ordinary Moments


I always thought Autumn was my favourite season, but since having a kid/s I think I'm a summer convert. I do have two summer babies after all. But oh man, the adventures are what makes the season so damn great. 

I absolutely love spending our weekends as a family exploring new places and trying new things. It helps with my wanderlust for one thing, without having to spend a fortune or leave the country (or renew my passport) and teaches Henry so much. 

Luckily for us, being close to both the city centre and lots of countryside, we have plenty of opportunity for new adventures and repeating old ones from previous years. And this includes our new love for Pick Your Own farms. 

We've already built a little yearly tradition for Pumpkin picking, and now we're developing one for Strawberry picking in the summer too. Last year Henry was just starting to walk and was mainly interested in the straw on the floor. This year, well he wanted to help A LOT!! 
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Thursday, 5 July 2018

Planning a home birth



During pregnancy there's always the thought at the back of your mind of how exactly you're going to bring a new life into the world. And to be honest, that doesn't change when you have your second. Just this time you have a little more awareness on what can happen, and a little bit of additional faith in your abilities.

My first birth with Henry was at our local Birth Centre and it was near perfect with a water labour, but I didn't quite get the water birth I'd hoped for. So this time I want to try and have that water birth. Alongside this we've decided to have a home birth.

A home birth wasn't really a consideration last time for us. I knew I wanted to go to the Birth Centre from the second I heard about it, and was doubly confirmed when we visited it ahead of giving birth. This time though, when my midwife suggested it we didn't say no.

We then didn't really think too much about it, though it was a background consideration, especially as we have a toddler and limited family in the area. Logically it made more sense to have a home birth especially if I'm in labour over night as it means Henry can just stay in bed until morning, and then go to nursery or his Godparents house, but I was still a little nervous. In my head, one good birth at the Birth Centre, meant I should go back and do it again.

At my 34 week appointment, my Midwife Lucinda reminded me that my next appointment would be in two weeks and we'd be discussing my birth plan, and it dawned on me that I really didn't have much of a plan! Luckily Lucinda is very much a pressure-off midwife but is a clear advocate of birth centres or home births. So I went home, did a bit of research on Pinterest, did a call out for stories from fellow bloggers (I'll link some at the end) and talked to Dann.

And we decided, we want a home birth.

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Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Surviving pregnancy with a toddler


Probably one of the hardest and most challenging things I've ever had to do is to be a parent whilst pregnant.
In all honesty, this second pregnancy has been a difficult one, with a lot of ups and downs, but having a toddler in tow as well has made it more tricky.

The big thing is, when you have a toddler, you just can't sit and do nothing when you're not feeling your best. Most toddlers don't really care much for if you're tired, throwing up or generally not well; they just want to play and have fun.

Fortunately there is plenty that can be done to ease life for you, and make surviving pregnancy and life with a toddler a bit easier.

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Sunday, 1 July 2018

Father's Day on the Watercress Line - Ordinary Moments


Review Post*
Nothing beats an adventure on a special occasion. I think it makes that occasion just that little bit more memorable. In fact, trips and travels by far beat physical gifts in my opinion, unless it's something really sentimental. 

Just before Father's Day we were invited along to visit the War on the Line event held by the Watercress Line*, so we went along on the big day to explore steam trains and look around life during the Second World War.
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Thursday, 28 June 2018

How I've fallen back in love with Instagram


Instagram is a funny business.
You either love it, or you hate it.

Personally I love it. It's by far my favourite social media platform, but it is also really hard work.

As a blogger I want to grow my following. No, numbers aren't the be and the end all, but growth is always a good thing to see, and an increase in following and engagement is always going to be good for an influencer who wants to make money from what they out online.

But it's so very easy to fall into the trap of feeling like it isn't worth it when algorithms are making visibility harder, and numbers are dwindling.
And I'll admit, some days I have questioned whether it is worth it.
It's hard seeing people with huge followings uploading any old photo and getting loads of likes, when I spend time curating a feed that I love, for no one to see it.

So I readjusted how I looked at Instagram.

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Tuesday, 26 June 2018

What's in our just-in-case hospital bag and toddler bag


For our second baby boy, we have a home birth planned, so the bulk of my recent planning has been around ensuring we have everything we need in the house to bring baby boy into the world.
However, that doesn't mean we're off the hook for bag packing!

Ever the organiser, I've packed a normal hospital bag as well, just in case I have to be transferred to hospital.
Hopefully this will be completely unnecessary, but I'd rather pack and not need it, than be unprepared.

I'm also packing a second bag this time, specifically for Henry, so that if I'm in labour during the day he has a bag packed to go to his Godparents house until he can come home again.

Luckily, last time around I packed a pretty good concise hospital bag so I'm pretty much sticking with that as a base, but with a little update, and less in the way of comforts as this is just an emergency bag!
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Sunday, 24 June 2018

A birthday zoo trip - the Ordinary Moments


We've started a little unintentional tradition in the Bradford household, visiting the zoo for Henry's birthday. 
For his first birthday we did a trip at the weekend with some close friends and family, but as it is quite pricey, we decided to do the trip on our own this year, and do something else for his party. 

We knew that Henry would be a huge fan of Marwell Zoo this year as he's really gotten into his animals over the last few months. I mean he's a big fan of David Attenborough documentaries and any Disney film with animals in, so we thought this would be the perfect day out for him.

And it was so damn good.
A bunch of photos from our day below.
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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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