Our Christmas - 2015

So thats it, another Christmas over and done with, all the big build up, cluttered lounge and lots of naughty treats are over. The decorations are packed away ready for another year. As much as I love Christmas I was so glad to take down the decorations. This year the plan was to spend Christmas as a family of three, and stay at home, things didn't quite go to plan though. I had my Grandma with us for dinner because noone else invited her, and I didn't want her to be alone. Christmas is about family, and being alone on Christmas didn't really have that 'family' feel.

Merry Christmas

From our household to yours, I hope that your day is magical, full of love, laughter and happiness. Merry Christmas to all my readers I really appreciate all of your support on my blogging journey. Don't forget you can find all of our Vlogmas videos over on our YouTube channel here. I will return to blogging on Monday 28th, see you then!
Enjoy your day!

Baby's Big Day Out!

Recently, we visited Santa! I was so excited to be able to take Emily this year. Last year Emily was only 3 months old, and the experience wasn't special, magical or memorable. Emily met him outside of a supermarket, and we snapped a little picture. This year Emily is older, she understands what is going on, whenever you show her a picture of Santa she replies with 'ho,ho,ho'. We decided to take Emily to a experience rather than just spending ten minutes visiting Santa and leaving again.

Review: Stigu Planner

With Christmas fast approaching and 2016 well on the way, I have found myself looking for a new planner. This year I started 2015 really sucessfully with a planner until I lost it and found myself frazzled. I was determined to buy a planner for the upcoming year to keep both my blog and YouTube channel organised. When Stigu reached out and asked if I would like to review one of their planners, of course I said yes. It sounded like the perfect solution and just what I was looking for! 

Christmas Kingdom At Mead Open Farm

When we took Emily to Mead farm for her first birthday, I fell in love with the place. It has a really relaxed atmosphere and friendly staff. While I was there I saw the advertisements of the upcoming Christmas kingdom and I was absolutely certain that it was where we would take Emily to see Santa. Although she saw Santa last year, she wasn't old enough to understand what was going on and we didn't go to a experience of sorts. We saw Santa outside a supermarket as they were collecting donations for charity. Now that Emily was older I wanted it to be a real experience for her, spending the whole day doing various activities, and then seeing Santa.

Review: Lolly in sweetie land

As you may have guessed by now, Me and my little bookworm seem to be growing a little library. We recenetly got given the opportunity to review 'Lolly in sweetie land' by Susie Davids and we jumped at the chance. It sounded like the perfect girly book that Emily would love, and I wasn't disappointed. 

Review: A BuZZy White Christmas Book

We were lucky enough to be sent this lovely book for review, it was actually part of Emily's Christmas book advent calendar and I did forget which one it was so it took us a while to get to it, but when I did I wasn't disappointed. 

The author Michael Walter's granddaughter reached a age where she could and wanted to read, he wanted to contribute to her development in a positive way. From how to handle day-to-day activities to how to play with other children, how to cook and other mysteries to address for an enquiring mind of a 5 year old. Micheal came up with the idea to combine these lessons into a series of Children's books, and that is when BuZZy friends were born. He has currently written and produced four books, each one allowing children to join the BuZZy Friends as they go about their daily escapades, discovering a huge range of life lessons along the way.

Review: The Winter Children

Since I wrote my post about finding balance in my life, and dealing with my depression through self-care. I have been taking time for myself in the evenings, or on the quiet moments I have during the day. I'm a little bookworm at heart but since having Emily it is one of the things I have let slide but I am eager to get back. So when I was offered the opportunity to review 'The winter Children' by Lulu Taylor and I jumped at the chance. This is Lulu Taylor's 7th novel, and she is a amazing writer. I have to say I have never read any books by her but I will definitely be purchasing some more.

Christmas Food Plate #OrganixFoodFun

I'm sure you all remember my Halloween food plate, I had so much fun putting it together and working with Organix. I decided why not do a Christmas version, so that is what I decided to do. As you may remember Emily is quite a fussy eater, and the more creative I get with her meals, and the lay out of her plate the easier it is to get her to try new things. Just like before Organix sent me over there YouTube video, and some carrot sticks to help me recreate the Christmas tree that they made. I have attached the video below.

Emily's 15 Month Update

This month seems to be the month where Emily has started to form a preference for things that she likes and dislikes.

What's In Emily's Stocking

I thought I would share with you what is in Emily's stocking this year. I am absolutely loving this age as there is so many different little things I can get for her, that I know she will love. I will try and add links where I can, but if I can't, I'm sorry. I have also done a blog post on Emily's Christmas Eve basket if you're interested. 

Baking Shortbread

Emily was recently sent this beautiful chef set by Papucci, and I absolutely love it. The set feautires a Chef's hat, an oven glove and a little apron. This set is perfect for imaginative play, or for helping in the kitchen. Emily has a kitchen for Christmas, so I am sure she will love wearing her apron while she is playing in her kitchen. Emily has also been helping me to bake, and has really been enjoying it, so I thought I would share some pictures with you of what we have been up too.

Wish List.

So every year Sam racks his brain for gifts to get me for Christmas, personally I don't think that I am a hard person to buy for. I do have the tendency to go out and buy what I want when I want it rather than asking for it as a gift, so I can see how it becomes frustrating to buy me gifts. Anyway I thought I would put together a little wishlist of a few of the things I have been lusting over lately. 

Review: Christmas Eve Activity Box

Emily was recently given the opportunity to review a Christmas Eve Activity box by Kidz favourite party box, and I couldn't wait for her to receive it. Every year I put together a Christmas eve basket for Emily, and while they are lots of fun to do, they are very time consuming. When I saw this activity box, I wondered why I hadn't stumbled upon something like this sooner. It is such a thoughtful gift, and if you are working full time this would probably appeal to you too. 

Review: HiPP Organic

Emily has recently been trying out the new HiPP Organic tray meals. These have come in so handy for dinners in a rush, and also for popping in my bag when we head to nanny's house, just encase we are having something that Emily doesn't like. I found the price of the product to be really reasonable, and they are a brand that we have always used and trust. Each tray is a 'mini meal' which is packed with flavour and different textures to help your child get used to eating foods. The tray meals contain at least 1 of your childs vegetable portions, as well as having bite-size pieces for them to chew. 

Christmas Films with Netflix

There is nothing better than snuggling up on the sofa with the family and watching a good film. There are so many films available to watch on Netflix which are bound to get you in the festive mood. Whether you want to entertain the children while you get on with jobs, or simply want something special to sit down and watch together as a family, Netflix has it all. So I thought I would put together a little list, of my top 6 Christmas movies, that are available to stream on Netflix.

Missing you..

Christmas is approaching fast, I can't believe we are already a week into December. I know that Christmas has a different meaning for everyone, but since having Emily it has just become more magical. I'm so excited to make it the best it can be for her, to go all out and make it an amazing day for her. In the back on my mind there is always a thought, a thought that has been with me everyday since I have given birth. I wish Grandad could meet you. I have spoken on here a little bit about the relationship I had with my Grandad. It was the closest relationship I have ever had with someone, and I think it always will be. He wasn't just my Grandfather, but he was my best friend and I don't care how cheesy that sounds. My Grandma always called me his shadow, and I used to say I was his number one. Not because I was better than any of my cousins or it was a competition but because I was the eldest, I had him in my life the longest, and I was the only girl so naturally I got a little spoilt. 

Gro-Clock Review

Emily is getting to that age now where she is noticing the difference between morning and night. She knows when the sun is out then it is time to get up. If her bedroom is still dark, she will whinge a little, I will go into her and give her a dummy and she will drift back off. However this is becoming increasingly difficult, she is slowly becoming hard to bargain with, and just wants to get up, sometimes at 4am. The little monkey has even been trying to get out of her cot, resulting in me and her daddy thinking about taking the sides off her cot. When the Gro company got in touch and asked us if we would like to review the Gro-clock, of course I was tempted to put it to the test, and see it it would work with Emily. After all being a parent, one of the biggest struggles is getting your child to wake up at a 'reasonable' time. 

WOW Toys Review & Giveaway

Emily was recently sent the Farmyard advent calendar just in time for the countdown to Christmas by WOW Toys. I have to say this is a completely new thing for me, I have heard of toy filled Advent calendars before but I've never had one or seen one. I think it is a amazing idea, especially for children who can't have chocolate. WOW Toys is a company that I love very much, their toys are battery free, long lasting and excellent quality. They are also strong enough to withstand the use and tantrums of a toddler. So of course I had high hopes for the advent calendar.

Making Christmas Cards

I'm sure you have guessed this already, but I'm a big fan of Christmas. I love the quality family time, spoiling my little girl and doing lots of seasonal crafts. One of my favourite things is receiving Christmas cards, this day in age we are so caught up in technology, texting, E-cards and social media. There is nothing better than receiving a Christmas card in the post, a handwritten card which was picked just for you. Even better than that a handmade, child-made Christmas card that you can keep forever. There is nothing better right?

Emily's Christmas Eve Basket

Last year was Emily's first Christmas and I so badly wanted to make her a Christmas eve box, but she was only 3 months and too little to know what is going on. So she just got a pair of pajamas. This year, she is older, she knows what is going on and is starting to come to grips with the idea of Santa and getting presents. I'm so excited to make December magical for Emily, and putting her Christmas eve basket together has made me even more excited. I will try and leave links to the things I have purchased for Emily, but some of it is from the poundshop so I might not be able to.

Toddler Gift Guide

Christmas is approaching fast, I feel like I have blinked and November has passed. I'm usually one of those super organised annoying people, who has brought all of her presents by mid-November, has the tree up and the presents wrapped. This year that just hasn't happened. Although I'm happy to say I have just finished Emily's Christmas presents, she now has everything we are getting for her. 

Our Book Advent

So today is December 1st, the day I finally get to put my Christmas tree up, yay. Also the day Advent calendars start. Before Emily was born I saw the Christmas book tradition on Pintrest (I think), I thought it was such a brilliant idea and knew it would be something I wanted to do with my little girl. I love Christmas and think it is such a magical time of the year, I have my own little traditions for example baking cookies on Christmas eve, and I want Emily to have her own little traditions too. While I am sure you will hear a lot about them over December, this is the first one I am going to introduce you too. As you can see from the picture above, Emily does have her two chocolate advent calendars (one from us, and one from her Nanny and Grandad). She also has a WOW toys farmyard advent calendar, and her book. She is going to be over the moon when she sees them in the morning.

The importance Of Tyre Safety

Since having Emily, our main priority is her safety, especially in the car. It took us ages to decide on a car seat. I spent hours, no, weeks looking at all of the different types of car seats. There is definitely a huge selection to choose from but they have to have the right safety regulations. Finally we went for the maxi-cosi rubi  That being said, you could have the safest car seat in the word, but what good is that if your car isn't safe?

Snapfish Review

I was recently given the opportunity to review some products from Snapfish, and with Christmas coming up and so many presents to buy I jumped at the change. There is nothing better than a personalised gift, It shows that you have put a lot of thought into the gift. I'm sure we are all guilty of taking lots of photographs, and then never printing them out. I always do it and my family have hardly any pictures of Emily, they always ask me to print them but I forget. This is where snapfish come in. They have some beautiful gifts that you can personalise, and that is exactly what I did. 

Hector & Queen Review & Giveaway

I was recently given the opportunity to review a pair of organic wool felt slippers from Hector & Queen, of course I said yes and I couldn't wait to pick out a pair for Emily. Hector & Queen specialise in the design and production of unique, handcrafted children's bedroom furniture. 

Hosting Christmas Dinner

This year Christmas is going to be even more exciting than last years, as many of you may already know it is my favourite time of the year and I really can't wait to get into the festive spirit a little more. This year will be the first year that we are staying at home, it will also be my first year cooking a Christmas dinner. I'm pretty good at cooking a full roast, so Christmas dinner shouldn't be a problem even with a crazy little 15 month old running at my feet, happy eating chocolate and showing me all of the new things that she was lucky enough to receive. My Grandma is also spending Christmas with us this year, and coming for dinner because I really don't like the though of her being alone at Christmas.

 With all of that in mind, of course I am already planning our decorations. I love making everything look pretty and feel christmassy, and obviously the kitchen table isn't going to get left out. I have been pinning ideas like a crazy person, and searching online for different bits and bobs. My kitchen is green, and the plates green and black, so I think I am going to go with a colour scheme that matches that. So I thought I would share my inspiration and the things that I am loving right now. You can find out what I'm loving over on my pintrest.

What Is In Emily's Bag & Goodies Review

I thought I would share what Emily takes in her little bag when we go out, I am frequently asked what she has in her little bag. Since Emily started walking, which was at 10 months, she became really independent. She will try her best to copy everything I do, and this includes putting things in my bag after she has watched me pack my bag for our day out, or where ever we are going. Since she really took a interest we purchased this lovely navy pink lining mini rucksack for her birthday. As soon as we popped it on and she realised that she could put things in there it became one of her favourite things to do. Whenever we go out she wants to take her bag, and I think it is so cute that she has it. So these are a few of the things we have inside. 

Making Pizza With Emily

Recently Emily has become a right little helper, she is fiercely independent. She shows a interest in absolutely everything you do, much to my dismay when I am trying to do my make up and she runs away with the mirror. However when I was making pizza on Thursday night she was fascinated and wanted to help. I made the dough as normal, and as soon as I put the tomato puree on the pizza she was at my feet demanding to be picked 'up' so she could see what I was doing. 

Emily's 14 Month Update

I can't believe how grown up my little monkey is, she has become a little diva lately, and is so cheeky. It has become very clear lately that she understands alot more than she lets on at times, she is so responsive and is only ever quiet if she is up to something. She is constantly talking, babbling or singing. Emily is a little sponge, she picks up words and phrases really quickly, she only needs to hear it once and she will copy. I'm constantly reminding everyone to be careful what they say around her now. 

Beanies Review & Giveaway

I'm not really a coffee person, If I have it then it has to be quite weak. However when beanies got in touch and asked if I would like to review the mini Christmas range I jumped at the chance. I have previously tried the gingerbread flavoured coffee and loved it. So I knew that I would like to try some other flavours. I was sent the mini xmas stash and I have to say I was so excited to try them when I received them. Look at how christmassy the box looks!

Photo Advent Calendar Review

I'm a bit lover of advent calendars, I don't think you ever really grow out of the excitement that advent calendars bring. The count down to Christmas and getting a little gift everyday of December there is nothing quite like it. As much as I am a lover of chocolate I always look for something a little different. This year a company called JMS creative got in touch to tell me about there new photo calendars. I met the lovely Jo and Mark at the Bedfordshire baby show earlier this year.

Autumn/Winter Boots Wishlist

Emily is growing faster than I can keep up, at the moment she has her little canvas shoes from Clarks and her wellies, but with the change in weather I have been looking at little boots for her. Something to keep her feet warm and if it rains her shoes wont get soaked through. I thought it would be easy to find a cute little pair of boots that I liked, but they're is so many different ones to chose from. So I thought I would share with you the ones I am considering. As you may be able to tell there is a little theme within the boots I have picked, most of them are brown/tan colour.

Depression & Self Care

Depression is hard, just when you get to a place where you are happy and content it all comes crashing down again. I hate down days, they annoy the hell out of me, but I don't have no say or control of them. I have had to learn to take the good with the bad, and muddle through as best as I can. I found a good balance of this before I had Emily. It didn't matter if I was down for a day, a week or even a month. I could let it pass, run through the motions I suppose. I can't do that anymore, I have to put on a happy face and be the best mama I can be. I've come to realise, although PND may be gone (I think), I will never be free of depression. I have had depression long before Emily and it will always be there. 

Oddsockosaurus Book Review

We were recently offered the opportunity to review Oddsockasaurus by Zanib Mian, and illustrated by Bill Bolton, and I jumped at the chance. Emily is becoming a little book worm, she will sit for hours reading her books. She is also really good at listening to them, she will sit and listen intently and love to point at the illustrations in the books. The story is about a six year old little boy, who tells us about the different types of dinosaurs that he can be. 

Organix Finger Food Review

We were recently sent some items from Organix for Emily to try, She has always been a big fan of Organix products so I knew that she would really enjoy them. They arrived on a cold rainy day, perfect if you ask me. Emily spent the afternoon colouring, she is getting so good at holding the crayon confidently now. Colouring is tiring work, did you not know? She got very hungry and decided to have a little snack. She absolutely loved the cheese stars, but could only manage 3-4. The packet is very large, and the stars themselves are bigger than I would have thought. They were perfect for her and she really enjoyed them. I tried one myself, and they taste just like mild wotsits, but are obviously healthier. 

Little Wellies & Autumn Walks

Saturday was a absolutely beautiful day. It was a little chilly but the sky was clear, and the sun was out. It was the perfect autumn day. We decided to make the most of the dry weather and headed out for a little walk. We found the perfect little spot, a place called Marston Vale. It isn't too far from us, and it is so peaceful there. Emily loves being outdoors, she is growing more and more confident at walking, and takes great delight in running ahead a little. So it is perfect for her to have somewhere she can run, but is safe away from the traffic. We found the most stunning view of the lake, and we will definitely be returning there again. 

Pumpkin Carving

Last year was Emily's first Halloween and she was only a month old, this year I was excited for her to join in with all the fun! I decided to carve a baby carriage, with hands a feet in our pumpkin last year as it was Emily's first, you can find that here. This year was definitely a lot more fun, because Emily is at a age where she wants to help you with everything. We headed down to the farm shop a couple of weeks ago to pick out our pumpkins, we also purchased a couple from Tesco and we have kept them nice ever since just waiting to be able to carve them. 

What Emily Wore #26

Happy Halloween Everyone! Today we have been super busy carving pumpkins, Emily decided that she wanted Minnie mouse on her pumpkin. So that is what we gave her, We are keeping with the Halloween theme as this is gorgeous little witches outfit is what Emily wore today. She has never shown a interest in dressing up, but she absolutely loved it and didn't want to take it off.

Gloop Sensory Play

Have you ever heard of gloop? It is such a fun and fascinating messy play activity. Gloop is a mixture made of cornflour and water. It has a unique texture which children love to explore, as it has the properties of both liquid and a solid. I will warn you this is quite a messy activity and if you are going to recreate it I would advise putting sheets down, or newspaper. The great thing about it is it doesn't stain your clothing, it washes straight off. It is very easy to clean up. 

Spaghetti Pumpkin Patch

As I'm sure you know by now, we are massive fans of craft supplies from Baker Ross. You may have seen our Autumn craft post where we painted hedgehog tealight candles. 

This time we were sent some polystyrene pumpkins for Emily to decorate. She had lots of painting the pumpkins, I was so surprised at how well she did. She held the paintbrush carefully and confidently. When she got bored of that, she decided that it was much more fun to dip the pumpkins in the paint. Which gave this really cool marble look once they had dried. I'm a big believer in letting your child lead the activity, the best way for a child to learn is through play. This in mind I completely let her take the activity where she wanted regardless of the mess I had to clean up after. 

Do You Have A Weanager?

Here is my Emily at about 7 months old.
Weaning is such a amazing stage, yes it is messy but it is so much fun. There is nothing better than watching your child taste food for the first time. We never stuck to a strict set way, we went with what felt right with us. Due to Emily's reflux we did wean early (you can find out more about that here), but that is what suited us, and what was best for her. It can be so overwhelming being a new parent and trying to find out what suits you. My advise to you is go with whatever feels natural to you, there is no right or wrong way. Enjoy it while it lasts because they soon turn into messy little monsters. 

Halloween Food Plate #OrganixFoodFun

I realise everything is very Halloween related on our blog at the moment, but it only happens once a year so I might aswell make the most of it while I can. Emily won't be going 'trick or treating' as she is too small, but I don't want Halloween to pass by unnoticed. Recently Emily has become a really fussy eater, and it is becoming difficult to get her to eat anything. I thought I would put together a Halloween themed lunch, to see if it would make a difference, and of course it made the whole thing much more fun. 

Emily's Halloween Basket

I put together a Easter basket for Emily, and fully intend to do a Christmas eve box for her. So that got me thinking, why not do her a little Halloween basket? She is much to young to go trick or treating, and if I'm honest I don't really like the idea of 'trick or treat'. That doesn't mean that I want Halloween to go on unnoticed. So I decided to put together a little box of treats for her, Some books and a few activities for her to do with me over the week. So I thought I would share those with you.

What Emily Wore #25

This weekend is starting off really chilly, I really hope that it warms up a little or at least stays dry as we are having a lovely day out tomorrow Which I'm really looking forward to. Anyway, because of the weather I have wrapped Emily up a little warmer than I usually would. 

Frozen Jelly Sensory Play

I'm a Christmas fan, but Halloween is up there with my favourites. I love the fun activities that you can do, carving pumpkins, and horror films. Obviously a lot of those things are not appropriate for Emily, but I didn't want Halloween to pass by without some kind of recognition. We have got a few Halloween books, and a cute little pumpkin sleepsuit, so of course I wanted to do some kind of sensory play, or craft. While I was in Tesco I stumbled upon these ice cube trays, they are skull and bones and looked like the perfect thing to represent Halloween.

Emily's 13 Month Update

Every month I sit down to write these updates, and I am amazed by how much Emily has learnt and all of the milestones she has hit. I honestly couldn't be more proud.

 Emily has now moved up a nappy size, she is in a 5+.

Handmade Autumn Playdough

We recently created our Autumn bucket list, and I'm happy to say we have something to tick off already! We made some ginger scented playdough. Emily has had lots of fun playing with this, and it is definitely something I am planning to make again with different scents. It is so simple to make so I thought I would tell you how, you can either follow the simple instructions below, or watch the YouTube video. 

What Emily Wore #25

Shirt & Jeans: Next

I absolutely love this little tartan shirt on Emily, She really suits red. The little peter pan collar is my favourite, and I like how it has a piece of material covering the buttons. Emily trys to pull her buttons off her clothing whenever she can and It drives me crazy. I don't really like to put jeans on Emily, but these have a complete elastic waist and don't seem to bother her. Although she looks super cute, it makes her look so much older than she is. 

Wood & Wonder Review

I love wooden toys, I always have. They look great, and they are very hard wearing, which is good for us. Especially where Emily is involved, as she loves to put toys through there paces. Wooden toys encourage imaginative play, unlike battery operated toys children have to manually pull, shake, roll, rattle, turn or push the toys. 
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