5 reasons I would love to celebrate Christmas abroad

5 reasons I would love to celebrate Christmas abroad

*collaborative post*

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas and I don’t mean white with snow. I’m dreaming of white sand between my toes, sitting on a beach looking out at a beautiful clear blue ocean with the hot sun beating down on me. Christmas in the UK is a bit meh when it comes to the weather isn’t it? It’s very rarely cold enough for us to wake up on Christmas morning with snow outside as well as presents under the tree, more often than not it’s just raining and cold. Of course, taking my boys to Lapland is on the ultimate Christmas bucket list, I would love for them to experience snow for the first time and have a truly authentic Christmas experience: sleigh rides, snow ball fights and visiting Santa in his grotto – the works. BUT celebrating Christmas abroad, somewhere hot, is also something I would like to do at least once as a family. Last April we were meant to go on a big family holiday to Mauritius, for lots of different reasons it didn’t happen and we spent 10 days in Italy instead. While our Italia holiday was amazing, I was disappointed we didn’t get to go relax on the beautiful beaches of Mauritius. So, if I could have my once in a lifetime Christmas Day in the sun, Mauritius would be my dream destination. Need convincing that celebrating Christmas abroad would be a great idea? Here are 5 reasons I would love to spend a Christmas Day in the sun. View Post

#BlogCrush – week 38

#BlogCrush – week 38

I’m baaaack!!

Firstly, can I just say a massive sorry for going AWOL from this linky, with no explanation as to why I was leaving and what was going on. You lovely lot are an amazing and generous bunch of bloggers and it was so not cool of me to just ditch you all without so much as a goodbye.

Basically, things got pretty stressful back in September, Leo started school, we moved house and I was feeling overwhelmed with the heavy load of blog work I had to get through. Life has calmed down a bit now and I am in a much better head space and I am excited to announce that once a month I will be here, hosting #BlogCrush again with the, quite frankly, friggin amazing Lucy from Lucy at Home.

In my absence, Alice from Letters to my Daughter has joined the #BlogCrush team and she will continue to co host the linky three weeks of the month with Lucy as I just don’t feel able to commit to the linky every week anymore.

Anyway, now you know what’s been going on with me, shall we get this party started? View Post

How to manage incontinence during pregnancy

How to manage incontinence during pregnancy

*collaborative post*

Growing a human is hard work, our amazing bodies go through a lot during those 9 long months of pregnancy. There are lots of side effects to being pregnant, some good and some, well, not so good. The best thing about pregnancy is that you get a beautiful baby at the end of it all but a lot of things happen before we get to that magical moment. When you are pregnant you have to deal with raging hormone, weight gain, aches and pains and also the risk of incontinence. The fear of accidently wetting yourself when you are pregnant is very real, with all that pressure on your pelvic floor, things like sneezing or laughing too hard can all too easily end up with a little leakage. Who ever told you pregnancy was glamorous was lying! Don’t worry though, incontinence doesn’t have to become a part of your life just because you are pregnant, Hartman Direct have put together this really useful article on how to manage incontinence during pregnancy so you can spend more time enjoying those baby kicks and less worrying about where the nearest loo is. View Post

Was having children in my twenties a mistake?

Was having children in my twenties a mistake?

I am a mum of two. My eldest boy is four and my youngest son has only just turned one. Most of the other mums I know have two or more children too, we have that in common, but about 90% of those mums are almost a decade (sometimes more) older than me. In fact, at 26 years old, I have already finished building my family before so many women have even started theirs. Research has found that the average age of women having their first baby in the UK is 30, a whole 8 years older than I was when Leo came along. By the time I reach 30 I will have an almost 8 year old and a 4 year old; the baby days will be far behind me but for many other women my age the adjustment to life as a parent will only just be beginning. With so many women choosing for many different reasons to wait until their thirties to start a family, I have been left wondering about my own life choices. Have I missed out on something by having my kids at a younger age? Was choosing to start a family in my early twenties a bad decision? Both my children were planned but was my timing all wrong? Was having kids in my twenties a mistake? View Post

Alex is ONE!

Alex is ONE!

It’s happened. My baby boy is now one whole year old! I am sorry to word vomit out all the clichés but I can not believe how fast the past year has gone and how quickly the time flies by once you become a parent. We had a lovely day celebrating the big ONE on Saturday with just Alex’s Nanny and Grampy and the four of us. If you follow me on social media then you will know that Alex has got chicken pox. It has been awful timing and a really tough week but he seemed to turn a corner and was actually able to enjoy his big day. It honestly feels like moments ago that I was sat at this computer writing Alex’s birth story and it just feels completely crazy that I am now about to write his one year update! Here it is, Alex’s 12 month update (wow!) … View Post

Just do you – the only parenting advice you should definitely follow

Just do you – the only parenting advice you should definitely follow

Collaborative post.

Recently I have been feeling the fear. Not the fear of all the spiders creeping into our house for the winter (although that does terrify me) or the fear that Christmas is looming and I am so not ready for all the chaos that the festive season brings. No, this is a fear that only people with children can truly understand. Lately I have been worrying about people judging the choices I make on how I decide to bring up my kids. I think all of us feel judged at one point or another but when you are trying to bring up a child it seems everyone has an opinion on how you choose to parent. The old lady in the shop, that person online, your best friend’s dog – everyone has something to say when it comes to how we bring up our own kids, whether we ask for their opinion or not.

I have been feeling the fear of judgment over the past week or so as Alex is almost one now and I am still breastfeeding him. In fact, I have zero intentions of stopping breastfeeding him any time soon. There is something about how mums decide to feed their babies that brings out all the judgey, perfect ‘my-way-or-the-high-way’ type parents, the ones that love nothing more than to criticise any mum who’s feeding choices differ to their own. Yes, I feel proud of myself for sticking at breastfeeding and planning to continue until my baby wants to stop but I can’t help but worry about what people are going to say when they see me still feeding him at a year old. I only know a handful of other mums who have breastfed and of those mums, only about 4 have continued to breastfeed past their child’s first birthday. With breastfeeding rates in the UK being one of the lowest in the world, it is not a surprise really that I feel like one of the only mums still feeding their baby into toddlerhood. View Post

5 reasons to bake with kids – featuring easy halloween cookie recipe for you to try together

5 reasons to bake with kids – featuring easy halloween cookie recipe for you to try together

Some of you may think I’m a bit crazy for admitting to this but here goes..I LOVE baking with my kids. I don’t stress over sticky fingers or flour on their clothes. I don’t get in a panic over buttercream icing in their hair or eggs smashed on the kitchen tiles instead of on the side of the mixing bowl. I embrace the chaos and love nothing more than to spend an afternoon in the kitchen, creating memories and yummy treats to share with my little ones. Due to my complete adoration of baking with my babies I am always surprised to hear other mums declare they can’t stand baking with kids. It baffles me that the mess of the kitchen and the inevitable imperfect bake at the end of it all are strong enough reasons for them to hang up their mixing spoon and apron until the kids and the risk of a flour explosion is eliminated. Baking with kids is so much fun and something I really believe every parent should try, even if it’s just the once. Need convincing? Well, here are 5 reasons you should bake with kids and my lovely friend Pam from Pams Bake and Baby Blog has even provided you with a really simple chocolate chip orange cookie recipe to try with your little ones today. View Post

Stick Man Live – the perfect first theatre experience for toddlers

Stick Man Live – the perfect first theatre experience for toddlers

What toddler doesn’t love Stick Man? Actually, what adult doesn’t love Stick Man? If you have no clue what I am on about, let me quickly fill you in. Stick Man is a children’s story written by the brilliant Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, the people who brought us the modern day children’s classics of The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom and so many more beautifully imagined story books. The story of Stick Man captured my Leo’s heart a couple of years a go and when I saw Stick Man Live was coming to our local theatre I just HAD to take him.  If you have a Stick Man fan in your family then you are definitely not going to want to miss this. View Post

Lidl, why are there no seatbelts on your trollies? – An open letter

Lidl, why are there no seatbelts on your trollies? – An open letter

Dear Big Boss of Lidl (sorry, I don’t know your name),

Can I start this message off just by saying I love your stores? Your prices are cheap but the quality of the food you sell remains high. I love how I can pop into one of your shops for the basic kitchen essentials and come out having made the most random of purchases, ostrich steak being the most unusual. I love that thanks to you I am able to do a weekly shop for my family of four without having to worry if we are going to be able to afford it all when push comes to shove at the checkouts. Your fruit and vegetables are cheap and this is not because they are on the cusp of being rotten over ripe. Your food quality is good. Unfortunately, the purpose of this letter isn’t to sing your praises. Something happened today that I feel the need to tell you about as you need to do something about it pretty damn quick.

View Post

Mental health after pregnancy – a candid conversation

Mental health after pregnancy – a candid conversation

Today, Tuesday 10th October, is World Mental Health day.  There is a real stigma surrounding mental health. Those you have never suffered or studied it don’t really understand the complexity of mental illness and many of those who have suffered do not feel they can talk openly about their mental health with others. There is a real stigma attached to mental illness and the only way we can break through that is to start talking openly about it with each other.

I have written about mental health on this blog before. After I gave birth to Alex last October, within a few weeks of him being born I developed depression and anxiety. I didn’t want to tell anyone for a long time as I was terrified of being judged by others and I felt ashamed of the way I was feeling. No new mum should feel like that. Awareness days are a brilliant way to get people talking and that’s what my post is all about today. Recently I had a very open and honest chat with 3 other bloggers about our mental health and how we have struggled since becoming parents. The point of this post is to show how depression and anxiety after pregnancy is more common than we think. I really hope that if you think you might have post natal depression, or any other kind of mental illness after giving birth, that this post helps you see that you are not on your own and there are people out there who understand how you feel. View Post

How to plan a dream baby shower

How to plan a dream baby shower

Sponsored post.

There are several rites of passage mums to be must go through before they get to welcome their little bundle of joy into the world. There’s the morning sickness, the first scan, those first fluttery baby kicks. In recent years, mums have had another pregnancy milestone to look forward to – the baby shower. Despite being a mummy of two, I have never had my very own baby shower (cue the violin music). Living far away from friends and family meant organising a special get together to celebrate my bumps just wasn’t really possible. I have attended a few baby showers though and I always think they are such an exciting occasion. As I never got to have my own baby shower (sob) and I’m 99% sure I’m not going to be having a third baby, I thought I would put together a little post all about throwing a baby shower of dreams! Just because I didn’t get one of my own doesn’t mean I don’t know how to organise a party that will make a soon to be mama smile. If you have a pregnant friend and are planning to throw her a baby shower, or maybe you’re organising your own, hopefully this post will be helpful. View Post

Easy ways to save money and make extra cash

Easy ways to save money and make extra cash

Collaborative post.

Are you feeling the pinch? Do you hold your breath when you check your bank balance at the ATM? With Christmas only a few months away, are you panicking about how you are going to get through the holidays without going completely bankrupt?

Raising a family is a seriously expensive business and we could all benefit from saving a few extra pennies where we can. If you are looking for ways to save money and make a little bit of extra dollar too then I hope you find this post helpful. I have put together a list of 5 ways to save money and 5 ways to make a bit of extra money too. So, get reading and start planning what you’re going to do with all that extra cash. View Post

I miss you now you’re at school

I miss you now you’re at school

My baby boy who is no longer a baby, I miss you so much.

I miss you the second we part in the morning and I get back in to the car without you.

I miss you when I listen to music at home and I don’t hear your excited voice asking for the Lego Batman movie soundtrack instead. View Post

Why you should buy your baby personalised gifts * Gifts Online 4 U review *

Why you should buy your baby personalised gifts * Gifts Online 4 U review *

I love personalised gifts. I have probably said that about a thousand times before on this blog but it’s the truth. Personalised gifts are my absolute favourite because they show that someone has put a lot of thought into your gift instead of just plucking it off the shelf and every gift is unique. Alex is turning one next month (ahh!) and I am definitely going to be buying him some personalised gifts to celebrate this massive milestone. As an early birthday present, Alex has been sent a beautiful personalised money box from GiftsOnline4u , a fab website specialising in beautiful personalised gifts for the whole family.  If you are not sold on the whole personalised gifts thing, then here are 3 reasons why they are a great idea for a baby gift and read on to find out more about Gifts Online 4 U and the beautiful money box Alex received.   View Post

Baby update – Alex is 11 months

Baby update – Alex is 11 months

Alex is 11 months old! Ok, in all honestly he nearly one now, I have been really behind in writing this update. Leo started school at the beginning of September and we moved house so things have been a little crazy. Anyway, enough of the excuses, here is what Alex has been up to since his last update. View Post