Time to take a blogging break

Time to take a blogging break

Every couple of months or so I like to take a little break from my blog. I find disconnecting for a while and removing myself from the blogosphere does me the world of good. By taking a step back from blogging I am able to give more of my time and attention to my family and also indulge in my other hobbies, as well as enjoying some much needed ‘me time’.

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GlassesShop review

GlassesShop review

Do you have bad eye sight? Are you like me and really struggle when it comes to buying new frames? I have been wearing glasses ever since I was a baby so glasses shopping has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. When I was growing up glasses were not cool, you got picked on for being s ‘four eyes’. These days though there are so many beautiful frames to choose from, people with perfectly good vision are choosing to wear glasses just as a fashion accessory. Glasses shopping has changed a lot since I was little too, gone are the days of spending hours in an opticians hunting through frame after frame trying to find the perfect pair, now you can do it all from the comfort of your home on your laptop. I was recently contacted by GlassesShop to see if I would like to review their service and some frames, always on the hunt for gorgeous glasses, I obviously said yes.

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16 weeks pregnancy update

I don’t know how this has happened but after the first 12 weeks moving by at the pace of a snail, all of a sudden I am now 16 weeks pregnant. I am very obviously pregnant now as well.

So this is what has been going on with me and bump since my last update at 12 weeks..
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My 30 thoughts on Instagram

My 30 thoughts on Instagram

Who doesn’t love Instagram? Thousands of tiny squares full of gorgeous images, providing you with inspiration, motivation and a sneak peak into the lives of others. The whole world from every perspective is there for us to see, all we have to do is pick up our smart phone and look. I am no exception of course, I love Instagram., being a blogger as well I find it a really useful tool for connecting with other bloggers.

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The Vyne, Basingstoke – #mynationaltrust

The Vyne, Basingstoke – #mynationaltrust

Recently, my sister bought Oli and I a National Trust membership as a belated birthday present, this is my idea of a perfect gift. There are so many National Trust properties in the Hampshire area, so many places to explore and thanks to my sister, lots of free family days out for us to enjoy. I am going to make it my mission for us to visit as many as we can before our membership runs out next March. On Saturday we decided to see what this National Trust thing was all about and headed off to The Vyne in Basingstoke for an adventure.

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Wall Snaps prints review and exclusive discount code

Ever since I have been able to use a camera, I have loved taking photos. I love capturing photographs of people, places and whatever pretty thing catches my eye. It wouldn’t be difficult to describe me as snap happy and I am more often found behind the camera than posing in front of one. Since becoming a Mum I have got literally thousands of photographs stored on my phone and laptop, I am sure lots of you parents out there can relate. When the lovely team at Wall Snaps contacted me asking if I wanted to review some of their products obviously I said yes, what a perfect excuse to finally get some of my photos off my phone and out on display.

Wall Snaps are an online photo printing service that help you create beautiful personalised wall art. You can get all your beautiful shots in canvas form or you can choose a customisable frame option or have a large poster-like print out to frame yourself at a later date.

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Why parenting would be easier if I was the Mother of Dragons

Why parenting would be easier if I was the Mother of Dragons

The brand new seires of Game of Thrones starts on Monday and it is safe to say that  I am more than a bit excited. Although I am still reeling from the end of series 5, #forthewatch #heartbroken, I can’t wait to see what this series has in store. My favourite thing about Game of Thrones is not the violence, the sex or the creepy White Walkers, it is following all the different characters and their messed up little lives. Most of my favourites have now fallen victim to the cruel writing of George R R Martin and been brutally killed off (sob) but one person who is still going strong is the woman of too many names to list, Daenerys Targaryen.

As I watch Daenerys conquer city after city I can’t help but think motherhood would be a lot easier if I was the Mother of Dragons. Confused? Let me explain.. View Post

5 early signs you MIGHT be pregnant

I found out I was pregnant this time around when I was already 5 weeks gone, I probably knew I was pregnant from about 3 weeks though. I don’t know if it is because this is my second pregnancy or because Oli and I were very much trying to make a baby but I knew I was pregnant at least a week before ever reliable Aunt Flo decided not to show up. When I sat on the loo and took a test on that Wednesday afternoon in February, I was positive it was going to be..well..positive!

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When someone else shares your pregnancy secret.

When someone else shares your pregnancy secret.

At one point or another, we have all had a secret we have kept from everyone else. A little bit of information we have held on to tightly and guarded as if it were gold. If and when we decide to disclose this precious truth, great thought is given to who can be trusted with it. View Post

20 facts about me

20 facts about me

I have been vlogging for a couple of months now and I would hardly describe my YouTube account as buzzing with activity. Actually, I am surprised that I don’t see a tumble weed rolling across the screen every time I log in to check my channel. This month I have decided to take part in the Vlog Stars linky hosted by the lovely Aby (You Baby Me Mummy) and Amy (Mr and Mrs T plus three), it seemed like a good excuse to get another vlog uploaded and I have been following the linky for a while now. I have been wanting to get involved myself but confidence has held me back, until now!

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Baker Days letterbox cake review

Baker Days letterbox cake review

Very rarely do I get excited by something I have received via my home’s letterbox. Bills? Yay, another thing to worry about. Junk mail? I don’t care that you have the best double glazed windows for sale in town, please leave me alone. An appointment for a lady check up at the doctors? Important, yes. Exciting? Not so much.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I get nice packages through the post when I have been on an online shopping spree but more often than not I end up missing the delivery and having to reschedule or take a trip to the post office to pick it up. So, when Baker Days, the personalised celebration cake specialists, asked if I wanted to receive a cake through my letterbox I couldn’t write back and say yes quick enough. Who wouldn’t want a cake sat waiting for them when they went to grab the post in the morning?

Baker Days letterbox cake review View Post

The big reveal

The big reveal

I have some exciting news.

I have thought long and hard about how to tell you all my big secret. I considered posting some kind of cryptic image of an oven or something on my InstaGram account, or perhaps I could have vlogged about it. In the end though, I decided to just keep things simple. After all, I have been desperate to tell you all so I may as well just get straight to the point..
I’m having a baby!
Today I am exactly 12 weeks pregnant and yesterday we got our first little glimpse of baby number 2 when we went for our dating scan. Up until the point I saw that grainy image of my tiny baby just chilling in my belly with his/her legs up in the air, I hadn’t let myself believe this is actually happening. But now I have photographic evidence, proof that I am indeed having another baby and Leo is going to be someone’s big brother. I am so happy and now, after a couple months of uncertainty, I am feeling completely besotted with baby number 2 and I can start to get properly excited.
I found out I was pregnant when I was about 5 weeks gone, I waited until my monthly visitor was over a week late as I wanted to be completely sure before I took the test. It was only late November when I had my contraceptive implant removed so I was really shocked to get a positive test after only 2 months of trying! 
For the past 12 weeks I have felt so unbelievably tired, being pregnant with a toddler to run around after is exhausting! Luckily I haven’t been sick or anything, just feeling a bit queasy sometimes and needing to eat the second I wake up other wise I feel like I might pass out. There have been no weird food cravings yet, although there have been a few foods I have gone off and the smell of cooking meat really does make me want to spew. We cooked a beef joint in the slow cooker the other week and it was 8 hours of pure torture, I couldn’t stay in the kitchen for more than 2 minutes without feeling the need to run away to the bathroom.
Me and my babies.
Blogging has been hard too. Every time I start a new post all I have been wanting to write is I’M PREGNANT!! Instead though I have been writing about anything and everything else, if has felt strange not being able to write about the one thing that has constantly been on my mind. I have seen so many other blogger’s announce their pregnancy news over the past couple months and have felt a bit gutted that I have had to keep my news quiet, up until now that is. 
So, baby number 2 is due on October 21st but if he/she takes after their big brother they will probably arrive somewhere closer to Halloween. Leo will be 3 and a couple of months and I am really happy with that age gap, hopefully he will be able to understand more of what’s going on and won’t get too jealous of the new addition, only time will tell but I can hope right?
As for pregnancy updates, I will be uploading weekly vlogs over on my YouTube channel, so if you want to see how bump and I are getting on as the weeks progress then that is the place to go. I will be writing updates on here around the times of my midwife checks/scans, so my first official pregnancy update on here will be when I am 16 weeks.
Here is my belly the day after I found out there was a little baby growing in there..
Please ignore the pjs and the horrendously messy bedroom.

And here is my belly now, if my bump keeps growing at this rate I am going to struggle to fit through doors by the time I’m 6 months. Baby is measuring just over 5cm so no idea why I look this big already.

It feels so good to finally let the cat out of the bag! I look forward to blogging my way through this pregnancy and I would love for you all to come along for the ride too. 
Have you recently announced your pregnancy news too? Anyone else expecting baby number 2 and feeling way more exhausted than they did first time around? I would love to know how you revealed your secret and how you have found the first trimester.
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My Random Musings

How I know he’s The One

Today, Oli and I celebrate our 3rd wedding anniversary.

3 years since my Dad walked me down the aisle.

3 years since we said “I do”.

3 years since I became a wife to the man of my dreams.

I know it is a cheesy thing to say but I really do believe Oli is The One. My perfect match and my soul mate. I was 18 when Oli and I got together and 21 when we got married, with a tiny baby Leo squirming around in my belly, hidden away under my wedding dress. Some may think I was too young, I settled down too soon but to those people I will simply say this, you’re wrong.

So what if I was still a teenager when I met my future husband? All this means is I get to have him in my life for longer, I get to be his wife for longer. I don’t regret for a second settling down and getting married in my early twenties, I feel lucky to have met the love of my life so young. The complicated world of online dating, Tinder, that terrifying ticking of my metaphorical biological clock will always be a mystery to me. Instead of spending years searching for Mr Right, I already have him, curled up with me on the sofa perfectly happy in each others company. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, do you?

Don’t get me wrong, we argue sometimes. I highly doubt there is a marred couple out there who can swear, hand on heart, that they never disagree with each other, We argue about big things and small things and everything in between but we always make up eventually, we always know we love each other even when we are fighting.

You might be wondering, how do I know Oli is definitely the one? What makes me so sure I have chosen the  right person to spend the rest of my life with? Well, here is how I know…

* I can’t think about a future where he isn’t around without nearly crying.

* I don’t care that I spent my university years cuddled up in a little flat with him instead of going out partying every night and living in a student house like everyone else.

* I suck at talking about feelings but he persevered and helped me open up. Now I can tell him anything,

* If I am being a bit dull he will tell me and I like that he’s not scared to correct me when I’m wrong.

* Even when he has been a bit of a crappy guy I can’t stay mad at him for long. I hate it when we’re not friends,

* Although he’s not that great on the compliments front, I know he still fancies me.

* 7 years on and we still say “I love you” every single day.

* I love to listen to him talk, he knows loads of stuff and I feel like he teaches me so much..

* He makes me laugh a lot. Even when I’m mad at him, which is so annoying.

* I can’t stand arguing with him, Not just because arguing is horrible but because I just want us to be happy,

* He knows when I’m not fine, even when I say I am.

* We kick ass at board games, full marks on Mr&Mrs every time.

* We are a great team.

* I still can’t help peeking at him when he’s getting changed, even though that body is not new to my eyes,

* No one has ever made me feel as special as he does.

* He gives me the push I need to be more confident and will always support me in the decisions I make,

* If I am down he always cheers me up, he never wants to see me sad.

* He works hard every day so I can stay home and look after our boy,

* All those years where we were really skint we always said it was OK as long as we were together. I would rather be living in a box with him than be a millionaire and alone,

* There is no other man in the whole world I would want as the father of my child,

And finally..

* I’m pretty sure I have always known.

Happy 3rd anniversary babe. Here is to many, many more happy years together xx
Sorry if you feel like you have just swallowed a massive chunk of cheese but I just had to write this post. No marriage is perfect but I think if you have found your Mr Right then it can be pretty damn close. I am looking forward to a lovely relaxed evening tonight and then a night out on the weekend to celebrate when the parents are here to babysit.
How old were you when you got married/fell in love? Does your other half still give you butterflies? I would love to know what married life is like for you.

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My Random Musings

22 books my 2 year old loves

My boy is such a bookworm. It may seem a strange way to describe someone who can’t read a single word but it is true, Leo absolutely loves books. Toys are great and everything but, when it comes to entertainment, nothing can compete with a good book in my toddler’s eyes.

Books are amazing, they are capable of taking us to places no toy car or train set ever could. A story book is the best way of unlocking your child’s growing imagination, their tiny minds thriving on exciting tales and beautiful illustrations. We all know books are also perfect for helping your child’s language and reading skills to develop, as well as being useful tools in teaching children other essential lessons too: colours, numbers, the alphabet and so on.
For a 2 and a half year old, Leo has a pretty large book collection, it would probably put your local library’s children section to shame. I thought I would share some of Leo’s favourite books with you, in case your little one is in need of some new reading material and you need some inspiration.


22 books my 2 year old loves …
1.Old Bear

                                              
                                                            Click to buy.

The Old Bear story by Jane Hissey is a firm bedtime favourite in this house. Lots of talking cuddly toys go on adventure to save their friend Old Bear from the loft. Think Toy Story, but with cuter, cuddlier toys.

2. The totally terrifying three

                                                 
                                                                 Click to buy

The tale of a not so scary dragon, witch and giant. This book is both exciting and funny and Leo just can’t get enough of it.

3. Room on the broom

                                                  
                                                                        Click to buy

Julia Donaldson is a fantastic children’s author, if you haven’t heard of her then you must have been hiding under a rock in the deep dark wood. This story of a friendly witch, lots of animals and a rickety old broom is sure to ignite the imagination of any toddler. 


4. Dear Zoo

                                                
                                                                     Click to buy

The classic lift the flap book full of animal fun. This interactive book is great fun, your toddler will love discovering what animal the zoo have sent next.

5. Detective Ted
                                                   
                                                                   Click to buy

Something strange is going on in Edward’s house at night, a mystery only his alter ego Detective Ted can solve. An exciting, rhyming tale of a crime fighting teddy and his hamster sidekick.

6. Peppa Pig ABC

                                           
                                                             Click to buy

There are so many A B C books on Leo’s bookshelf but his favourite has to be this Pepa Pig one, of course! Each page has a letter, picture and the corresponding word (A is for apple etc), Leo can recognise nearly all the pctures/letters now.

7. The Gruffalo 

                                                      
                                                                  Click to buy

How could I write a list about books and not include this one? The well known story of a little mouse and his adventure through The Deep Dark Word is a must for every toddler’s bookshelf.

8. Spot goes on holiday

                                                 
                                                                    Click to buy

Spot books are the original lift the flap books and this one is definitely one of Leo’s favourites. Join Spot on his first ever trip to the beach, build sandcastles, go swimming and maybe even make some new friends too.

9. The big monster snoreybook

                                               
                                                                Click to buy

A book full of sleepy monsters all in for a big surprise when they are woken up by a mysterious noise. This book is bright, fun and perfect for any monster fanatics out there.

10. Zog

                                              
                                                                Click to buy

Yet another Julia Donaldson book here, she is just brilliant. Meet Zog, a young dragon who desperately wants to get a golden star from his teacher at dragon school. Can he do it? You’ll have to read it to find out.

11. Little Bear’s trousers

                                                   
                                                               Click to buy

This is another story from the Old Bear collection. Little Beat has lost his favourite red trousers, help him and the other toys find them before they are lost forever.

12. Peppa Pig at the fun fair

                                               
                                                               Click to buy

I am pretty sure we have the whole collection of Peppa Pig books but this is the one Leo always asks for. Peppa and her family are off to spend the day at the fun fair, expect disasters for Daddy Pig on the helter skelter, lots of prizes for Peppa and lots of snorting from your toddler.

13. The wheels on the bus
                                                 
                                                                     Click to buy

A colourfully illustrated book of the popular children’s nursery rhyme. Leo loves singing along and it is a book that requires very little concentration from me, win win!

14. Not now Bernard

                                                   
                                                                  Click to buy

This story is about the day Bernard finds a monster in his garden. His parent’s ignore his fears of being eaten, with disastrous consequences. It sounds horrible, but Leo loves monsters so he finds this story very entertaining.

15. Peppa Pig: Stomp and roar!

                                               
                                                               Click to buy

This is a noisy book all about Peppa and her friends trip to Grampy Rabbit’s Dinosaur Park. There are buttons to press to make snorts, roars and even a song at the end. Your toddler will love this book but it might give you a headache after a while.

16. Mr Daydream

                                                
                                                                    Click to buy

Just one of the many Mr Men books available. Mr Daydream takes Jack away from his boring history lesson and they travel all over the world, having adventures and getting into trouble.

17. Ruff

                                                
                                                                 Click to buy

Jane Hissey’s Old Bear collection really is perfect bedtime reading material. Ruff is the story of a little dog who has never had a birthday, that is until he comes bounding into Old Bears house and the toys decide to give him a whole week of birthday parties. A lovely story full of just as lovely illustrations.

18. There’s a shark in the bath

                                             
                                                             Click to buy

Dulcie finds a shark in the bath but her parent’s don’t believe her when she tells them. The story sees Dulcie try and out smart the shark before he and his family eat her up for breakfast,

19. Penguin

                                                  
                                                                   Click to buy

A simple little book about a boy Ben and his new penguin. Your toddler will find Ben’s efforts to get his penguin to talk really funny, will they ever be best friends? You will have to wait until the very last page to find that one out.

20. My Grandpa is amazing

                                                          
                                                                      Click to buy

This is one of four books all about different family members (Mum, Dad, Grandpa and Granny). Leo loves My Grandpa is amazing best because, well, they are aren’t they? To a child, grandparents are just the best thing ever.

21. The smartest giant in town

                                                         
                                                                      Click to buy

I know, it’s another Julia Donaldson book but she is definitely Leo’s favourite author. This story has a fun little song, a friendly giant and lots of talking animals as well. Brightly illustrated by Axel Scheffler, Donaldson’s tales are easily recognisable in any book shop.

22. The dinosaur that pooped Christmas.

                                                     
                                                                Click to buy

This may have a seasonal theme but if your child loves dinosaurs then this book can be enjoyed all year round. When a little boy gets too greedy, Father Christmas decides to send him a dinosaur to teach him what Christmas is really about, a lesson with very smelly consequences!

Does your toddler love a good book too? Have you got any of these books? I would love to know what your little ones favourite book is.


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My Random Musings

The highs and lows from a year of blogging

It has been a whole year since I sat down with my tablet, on yet another lonely afternoon while Leo was sleeping away the hours, and set up this very blog. Little did I know back then where I would be in a years time. I had no idea that something that was just meant to fill the hour or two in the afternoon while Leo had his nap would become such a big part of my life.

From the moment I hit publish on my first ever post, I caught the blogging bug. I love having a place to document Leo’s little life and all the things we do as a family. My blog has been a great way for me to seek parenting advice as well as vent and offload when Leo has been going through yet another difficult phase or something has been getting me down

I have learnt so so much in my first year of blogging. There is a lot more to running a blog than just writing posts and I feel like I am learning new things all the time. Although my blog is now a whole year old, I still feel like a newbie sometimes. I may still feel like I am finding my feet in this busy area of the world wide web but I am enjoying being a blogger more than I could ever have imagined. 
To commemorate my virtual baby Naptime Natter’s first year in the blogosphere but to also show bloggers just starting out what it is really like in the early days, here are my highs and lows from one year of blogging..
The highs
People not only reading but also commenting on my posts. 
Finding a space to grow and nurture my love for writing.
Creating posts full of happy memories I can share with Leo when he is older.
Receiving supportive comments from lovely readers when I have been going through difficult times.
Having people comment on my posts saying they know exactly how I feel and thanking me for showing them they are not alone.
Never receiving a negative/hurtful comment on any of my posts (so far!).
I am passionate about women receiving honest advice and support about breastfeeding and my open letter to new breastfeeding mums has had lots of comments and is the most read post on my blog.
Bagging my first ever sponsored post in November and earning my first bit of cash from blogging.
Having a place to store all my family photos but also have the days out written up alongside them, never to be forgotten.
Interacting with lots of lovely bloggers on Twitter.
Discovering and reading lots of other blogs and finding out more about the wonderful people who write them.
Having lots of people agree with my opinions on breastfeeding in baby changing facilities. 
Developing basic HTML knowledge and other techy stuff I couldn’t do before.
Being given a reason to explore and try to improve my photography skills.
Having my content shared by others on Twitter/Facebook etc.
The lows (because nothing is perfect)
Having to blog using my phone/tablet for the first 6 months of blogging as I didn’t have a laptop.
My blogger account is missing some vital bit of code so I am unable to use shareaholic, add pinnable image code or feature recommended reading at the bottom of my posts (this is so frustrating).
Struggling with low page views in the early days.
Blogger envy – it’s a real thing.
Feeling like no one really ‘got me’ for a while.
Wondering why everyone else was getting sponsored posts and I wasn’t.
Very slow growth of Twitter followers.
Finding it difficult to find the time get everything done.
The never ending blog to do list.
PR companies contacting me and offering me work only to ignore me when I emailed them back.
Spending a long time on a post and it receiving no comments.
Seeing newer bloggers than me getting amazing stats/opportunities and wondering what I was doing wrong.
Having to take all my photos on my phone as my camera is broken.
Not being able to afford to go self hosted.
Being restricted by the many limitations of a blogger blog.
Feeling like I haven’t found my ‘tribe’ yet.
Reaching out for blogging help/advice on Twitter and no one replied.
Regretting my choice of blog name.

And some more highs (because you should always end on a positive note)
Being a featured blogger on pretty much all of the linkies I join in with.
Having brands approach me and offer me sponsored work.
Trespass asking me to review something for them.
Putting myself out there and asking brands if they want to collaborate.
Reaching over 1000 followers on Twitter.
Co hosting one of my favourite linkies with one of my favourite bloggers.
Receiving really positive feedback on my first ever vlog.
Writing monthly Leo updates for us to look back on as he grows.
Seeing the same people coming back and reading my new posts every week.
The moment I realised blogging is supposed to be fun and started paying less attention to my stats.
Nearly making my husband cry when he read this post about us moving away from Swansea (he’s a tough nut to crack as well!).
Feeling like I have finally found a hobby I love and might actually be good at.
Realising I am by no means the only parent out there who finds this whole raising a child thing difficult. For every shiny advert of a mum changing her baby’s nappy with ease there is a #pblogger writing about the time their baby ran off mid change, fell off the changing table or ate it’s own poo. 
The best thing about blogging is reading other parents real life stories and discovering you are not the only one who is winging it, not even close.

Plans for year 2…
* I would love to be able to find some spare cash and go self hosted, I am not sure how much longer I can keep dealing with all the problems Blogger keeps throwing at me.
* Continue to try and grow my Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest following.
* Keep reaching out to brands and hopefully get some more sponsored posts/reviews lined up.
* Rename my blog and have a bit of a blog rebrand/make over.
* If going self hosted is still not likely then invest in a Blogger theme.
* Start up a mailing list and create a weekly newsletter.
* Keep coming up with interesting content but don’t be afraid to write posts just for me as well.
* Vlog more often and try and grown my confidence as well as YouTube subscribers.
* Keep interacting and chatting to other bloggers.
* Grow some balls and go to a blogging conference.
Wow, this post turned out to be an epically long one! Well, it has been an eventful first year and I didn’t want to miss anything out. 
I just want to say thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read, share and comment on my blog over this past year. It really means so much to me that people read my posts and seem to be interested in what I have to say. I really appreciate everything you readers do for me and if it weren’t for you reading my posts  I would just be a crazy person sat writing to myself, so thank you :).
Have you recently had a blog birthday too? How did you find your first year of blogging? Maybe you are new to this, how are you finding your blogging experience so far? I would love to know. 
This post is linked to..

My Random Musings

Cuddle Fairy

Diary of an Imperfect Mum: Family Fun Linky
A Cornish Mum

Pink Pear Bear

Reflections From Me