Christmas 2017 [Ordinary Days]

Christmas is something that I look forward to, it's by far my favourite time of the year. I absolutely love the build-up to Christmas and if I am honest I think that is my favourite part. Visiting Santa, decorating the tree, opening advent calendars with the kiddies are by far the best parts. This year I was even more excited as it was Isabelle's first Christmas, but also the first Christmas where Emily really knew what was going on. She was so excited to meet Santa, write him a little letter to tell him what she was wishing for, and she couldn't wait to leave our a homemade cookie and some milk.

Christmas With JD Williams

We were recently given the opportunity to work with JD Williams and review a selection of their Christmas stuff. I hadn't ever shopped with JD Williams so I wasn't really sure what to expect, but I did get some absolutely beautiful bits, and they had a wide variety of lovely things on their website. I also have my eye on some gorgeous boots, which I can't wait to purchase.

Ice Skating For The First Time [Ordinary Days]

For a while now I have been talking about taking Emily ice skating, she has shown a real interest in it and really wanted to go, with Christmas fast approaching now seemed like the ideal time to take her, just because there are so many pop-up ice skating rinks near Christmas time. Sam is dead against going ice skating, he said he knows that he would be no good and didn't want to give it a go, which worked out fine for us, as I did need someone to sit with Isabelle (of course she is far too young to go on the ice).

Visiting Santa At Drayton Manor [Ordinary Days]

We make an effort to take Emily to see Santa at the beginning of December every year to kick start our year the right way, and this year was no different. Normally we would take her to our local farm, but she has been going on and on about returning to Drayton Manor, and Thomas land. When I saw the adverts for there magical Christmas I knew that Emily would absolutely love it, and the fact everything was so festive, and there was a promise of snow - I was sold. With it also being Isabelle's first christmas, I knew I wanted to make it a special one anyway and that is exactly what it was.

Christmas Eve Basket

Every year I put together a christmas eve box for Emily, this year was no different aside from the fact I had to make one for Isabelle too - which was extremely fun, but a little more difficult for Isabelle as there were lots of things that wern't age appropriate for isabelle that I would have put in Emily's, and also she can't have the same sweet treats as Emily as she is dairy free (no problem I can find dairy free treats, but she isn't quite old enough for them at the moment anyway).

Children's Gift Guide

This year is Isabelle's first Christmas, and I know that she is going to be completely overwhelmed with all the wrapping paper and sparkly lights. It's also the first Christmas that Emily has requested certain things from Santa, such as a Sylvanian families toilet and a trolls blind bag - no seriously, that is ALL she has asked for. I thought that I would put together a gift guide of a few things that I have got over the past few weeks for the girls.

How To Protect Your Eyes From Electronic Screens

I never know how to answer that question, is there? When I was younger I remember my grandma telling us not to sit too close to the telly else we will have square eyes, or damage our eyes. The smart ass 11-year old I was, asked the option who informed me that you can't actually damage your eyes by sitting too close to the screen, but you can damage them from watching tv for an extensive amount of time.

Isabelle's 5 Month Update

Isabelle is still in 3-6 month clothing, and it doesn't look like she will be moving up a size anytime soon much to my disappointment. I may or may not have brought her Christmas clothing in 6-9 months thinking that she will be in that size by then, apparently, I was wrong and she seems to have slowed right down with growth. She also is still in size 3 nappies, I haven't yet had her weighed, but she is due to be weighed this week.

Elfie & Elfred Diaries

Dearest Emily and Isabelle,
we noticed that your mama likes to keep a blog diary of what you two get up to, and all the important things she wants to be able to look back on when you are older. We thought that we would hi-jack your mama's blog, to write a little diary post each week that we are staying with you - that way when we return to the north pole, you can come back and look at it if you miss us!
Love Elfie and Elfred x

December 1st
We arrived on December the 1st and brought with us some advent calendars! We came through our magical door, and left a little letter, and some chocolate coins as a treat. Your mama informed us of what advent calendars you would like - we brought a chocolate trolls one, a soft dough one, and then a dairy-free chocolate one for Isabelle (although she is small for an advent calendar).

Christmas Pudding Crispy Cakes

There aren't many days left until Christmas, 23 days to be precise, with that in mind Emily and I have been getting in the Christmas spirit, sadly we haven't yet got our Christmas tree up. Sam is making us hold off until December 1st, which I know I will end up thanking him for, as last year we put our tree up early and I got sick of the sight of it. Anyway, we decided to create some Christmas pudding crispy cakes, and I'm so pleased with how they turned out. They taste amazing too!

Siblings [November 2017]

There is nothing more in this world that I love than watching these two little girls laugh, bond, and create memories together. While they are complete best friends they couldn't be any different if they tried - they are both super happy all the time (even at like 2am much to my dislike) it's very rare that either of them isn't smiling. 

Creating Time For Me Time

Before I had children, bingo was something that I often went to with my Grandma. Stereotypical old person - she loves a good game of bingo. I have to admit, I actually enjoyed going, and sitting with her, joining in, unfortunately, I never won. Since having children I have just been so busy doing 'family things' that I haven't been able to fit in anything like going to the bingo.

Places To Visit In Thailand

A little while back I wrote a blog post about the places I would like to visit with the girls, one of those places was Thailand. Since I wrote that post I have been constantly looking at different places in Thailand to visit, different areas, and hotels, how much it would cost, what would we do? I can honestly say since researching it I have only fallen in love with the idea of visiting more. I thought I would share with you a few of the places that we have found, that we would love to visit.

Planning Isabelle's Baptism

When Emily was born, I had her christening all planned out. I booked the service before she was even born, and by the time she was 3 months old it was all over and done with. She was christened, we had a lovely ceremony and a little after party. The one thing I do regret, looking back was that we didn't hire a photographer. I asked a family friend to take some pictures, but a lot of them didn't turn out very well, and I was left feeling really disappointed with the few photographs I did have.

Petit-Fernand Personalised Lunch Boxes [Review]

If you are a long time reader of my blog, you will know that during my pregnancy with Isabelle I suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum, meaning I was really sick, throughout both the day and night. Making food became physically impossible, as even the smell of bland foods was enough to make me sick - obviously, I had Emily to look after, with no one to help me while Sam was at work, so I had to find ways to get through it and manage. One of those ways was to make Emily a packed lunch, sam would make it and leave it in the fridge for her and I would just have to get it out to give to her. It helped massively and Emily loved that she could have her own little-packed lunch every day - toddlers are easily pleased.

Bonding With My Baby Wasn't How I Imagined

When I was pregnant, there were many things I was worried about, my HG affecting Isabelle's growth, my labour, the anxiety that filled me about staying away from Emily for a night, Post-Natal depression and most importantly - would I be able to bond with my baby? I stupidly assumed this time around it would be easy, that I would see her, and I would be filled with this overwhelming surge of love, and we would go home and adjust to being a family of four and it would be perfect.

Braving The Dentist With Toddlers

I recently took a trip to the dentist, I was just due to have a normal checkup, and I wanted to make sure that my teeth were not damaged from constantly being sick during pregnancy (hyperemesis Gravidarum). While I was there I decided to register Emily, Emily hasn't long turned three, and Taking her to the dentist was one of the things that I never really thought about, sure she brushes her teeth morning and night, and we do look after her teeth. I just didn't really think she needed to go when she was this young, although I didn't want to leave it too long, as I don't want Emily to be frightened of the dentist like I am.

5 Ways To Add Some Personality To Your Garden

Whatever kind of garden furniture you have, whether it be made of metal, wood or rattan direct from a quality manufacturer, adding some colour and flair is an ideal way to express your personality.

If you are lucky enough to have an outdoor space of your own, it represents the ideal opportunity to express your own personality and character. In just the same way as decorating your home to suits your own taste, you can decorate your garden to match your own unique flair and style, ensuring that both indoors and outdoors, your home is truly your own.

Sprucing Up Our Bathroom

I've spoken about my bathroom on my blog before, and how much I loved to give it a little makeover. Recently I have found myself wanting to redo it over again. When we moved in, I painted our bathroom a lovely shade of blue and added some canvases onto the wall just to make it feel a little cosy, and while I do still like the colour - some of the decor really needs a good revamp.

Bumbo Floor Seat [Review]

The Bumbo floor seat is a product I really love, I mean really love. I had a green one when Emily was a baby, and stupidly I passed it onto another family hoping they would get lots of use out of it, after all, I wasn't sure If I would ever have another baby. When Isabelle started to want to sit up more and play with her sister, I knew that a Bumbo floor seat was exactly what I wanted to re-buy, and I really regretted not keeping Emily's Bumbo.

Leapstart Interactive Learning System [Review]

Emily was recently sent the Leapfrog Leapstart to review, and she was so excited to test it out. Featuring a strong and tough case that is clearly made to last, it is perfect for pre-school age children. It also has an easy-to-carry handle making it perfect for transporting when you are on the go. It works by reading the invisible dots on the pages of your chosen activity book to trigger and engage fun audio sounds to help your little-one complete the challenges as they work through the book. The easy-to-grip stylus means you can tap the page to activate the audio sounds introducing them to the world of letters, numbers, and creating various music.

Elves Behavin' Badly [Brand Ambassador]

When Elves behavin' badly got in touch and asked if we would like the opportunity to work with them, of course, I said yes. Emily is now at that age where Christmas is so magical and she can't wait for Santa. Christmas is always a magical time for Children, but it's even more magical when they are this young, We have become brand ambassadors for Elves behaving badly.

CMPA Weaning Diaries [1]

I just want to say that I know it is recommended that you start weaning your child from 6 months. We are weaning Isabelle early, we have spoken to both the dietian and her doctor who are fine for us to go ahead.

Weaning a child with an allergy was something that actually made me feel a little anxious, I don't have any experience with weaning a child with allergies, of course, I know all about avoiding food as I have many allergies, but milk is something I thought would be quite hard to avoid. Going into it I did do lots of research first, what baby food brands would be best to try, although I do plan on making most of my puree's myself, I would like to buy her some pouches to have readily available if we are popping out for a meal or something. I was worried that I would miss something in the ingredients and I have found myself double checking packets often - but overall it hasn't actually been that bad. I found that it is so much less daunting once I got into the habit of checking.

Dash Cam Wish List

With Christmas coming up, I have been looking for presents for Sam, now he is one of the hardest people in my life to buy for, mainly because he already has everything he could possibly want. Sam is the type of person to just go out and buy whatever he wants rather than thinking of asking someone. The one thing he has been talking about is replacing his dash cam in his car.

Bonfire Night Firework Display [Ordinary Days]

This year was the first year that we braved it and took Emily to a firework display, something a lot of people don't know about me is I'm actually pretty scared of fireworks. It's not so much them, but the noise of them that scares me, anyway its something that I don't want to pass on to my girls. I don't want them to be scared of something because I am, and let's be honest, fireworks are really pretty.

Creative Logos The Simple Way [LogoJoy]

If you are a regular reader, I'm sure you remember the days when my blog first started and I had the most gorgeous yellow logo, that then slowly changed to the one I have now, but it really is hard not to get bored with your logo. You want something that stands out but isn't too in your face. Something memorable but not too similar to anyone else's. It can be a little bit of a minefield at the best of times.

Chocolate Sparklers

As you know if you are a regular reader, I love nothing more than doing arts, crafts and baking with Emily. Whenever there is a holiday or season change I'm digging out our arts and crafts bits to try and put together an activity for her - I have to admit it is a little harder now than it used to be, just because I have Isabelle too. With bonfire night fast approaching I wanted to create an activity that would reflect that, we have already done the fireworks painting using empty toilet roll holders, so I wanted to do something a little different.

Siblings [October 2017]

I really enjoy sitting down to write these posts, I actually think that they may be my favourite. Emily and Isabelle are still very much best friends, I'm waiting for the day they start squabbling, but it's not happened just yet. The most we have had is a little bit of hair pulling from Isabelle - but in all fairness, she is 4 months old, and Emily does love to get right in her face - nose to nose - which can be very frustrating to Isabelle as I'm sure you can understand.

Halloween [2017]

Halloween in our household is something I always try to make a big deal about. I love to buy pumpkins, carve them and create Emily a Halloween basket. I don't know why I just really love Halloween but no as much as I love Christmas, I guess that's another subject. We visited our local farm shop and picked out the perfect pumpkins. I say we picked - but Emily dictated which ones we were going to get and although I was sceptical at first. The girl picked well!

Tommee Tippee Steamer Blender [Review]

I'm a huge fan of Tommee Tippee, I can honestly say they are my favourite baby brand - a brand that is trusted (in my opinion) and one that I used with both my girls. Both Emily and Isabelle were bottle-fed, and they both used the Tommee tippee bottles and steam steriliser, which I absolutely loved both times around. When they reached out and asked if I would like the opportunity to review the Steamer Blender, of course, I jumped at the chance. We have not long started weaning Isabelle (I know that the recommended age is 6 months, but we have weaned early under advice from doctors - more on this in another post).

Isabelle's 4 Month Update

Four whole months you have been in our lives - I can't quite believe that it has been that long, at the same time I feel like it has been longer as you have just slotted into our lives perfectly. Knowing that Isabelle is my last baby, really makes me appreciate the milestones a little bit more. I want to cherish all of the moments as I know that I'm not going to see them again with another baby as she is our last.

Autumn Bucket List [2017]

I love putting together bucket lists, and in all honesty, they either live in my bullet journal or my sketchbook. I find it strangely therapeutic to write a list down on paper - I usually end up with some cute little illustrations too but it is just nice to be able to look back at it. Autumn is definitely my favourite time of the year, I feel more relaxed, and love nothing more than the sound of crunching leaves beneath your shoes. It also rains lots more at night time which is a complete winner for me, as it eases my anxiety and insomnia meaning I strangely sleep better. 

Butlins Skegness [Family Holiday]

As you may know, if you follow me on social media, we recently took a trip to Butlins in Skegness. We went the week after Emily's birthday, now I'm not going to do a full review on Butlins, because we paid to go as a family, and it was a much-needed break for us, and also Isabelle's first holiday - so I didn't really have my blogger hat on or take as many pictures as I normally would because I was just soaking up the time with my family. That being said, we had an amazing time, and Emily hasn't stopped talking about it since we got home. She really wants to go back again, and we would be happy to go back again - we are actually looking at booking another break next year.

Fuzzy Felts From John Adams [Review]

Do you remember Fuzzy Felts? These sets have been around since 1950, and I remember having a set myself when I was younger. I enjoyed nothing more than sitting at the table for hours creating different scenes.

Pumpkin Picking & Park Trips [Ordinary Days]

On Sunday, we decided that we wanted to go and get our pumpkins, last year we left it pretty late and there weren't many pumpkins left. I popped a beef casserole in the slow cooker, so we didn't need to rush home and worry about cooking dinner, and we decided that we would get up and go with the hope that we would get fairly decent pumpkins this year. I tried to look for a pumpkin patch, as I'd love nothing more than to get some cute pictures of my girls in a field full of pumpkins - but I couldn't find a local one.

Halloween Basket [2017]

If your regular readers, you will know every year I put together a Halloween basket for Emily as a treat, seen as we don't usually go trick or treating, and this year was no exception, I just love to raid the shops for little gifts that I know she will enjoy, and then watch her face light up when I give her the basket. I also decorate her bookshelf with Halloween themed books to read before bed, which she loves - but more on that in another post.

Our Favourite Halloween Books

Emily is a massive bookworm, she loves nothing more than picking some books of her bookshelf, then going and sitting in her teepee to read them. We also read lots of books every night before Emily goes to bed. It's something I really want to keep encouraging as she gets older too, as I think she will really benefit from reading as I have.

Migraines & Parenting

Migraine headaches are tough to deal with anytime, I have always suffered with them, and normally I would just go to sleep or lay in a dark room in quiet and wait for it to fade. Now I am a parent that just isn't possible, so I thought I would put together a post full of tips on how I cope with migraines now I'm a parent to two noisy, stubborn, under 4-year-olds. As you can imagine, it's not an easy task dealing with them when your head is pounding. So here are my top tips.

Buggy Board [Review]

When I found out I was pregnant with Isabelle, one of the first things that I started to question was how would I manage to get out and about with two? I know many people do it, but how? Emily has always been a confident walker, and she stopped using her stroller when she was about 2years 6 months, so naturally, I knew that she wouldn't want to go backwards and it would have been a waste of money for us to get a double buggy.

Papa Johns Deep Crust Pizza [Review]

We were lucky enough to be asked if we would like to try out the new deep crust pizza from Papa Johns. I have to admit, I'm a massive pizza lover, so for me it was a no-brainer, I couldn't wait to try out the new base, as we are already fans of Papa Johns due to the fact it is the only takeaway local to us that does a thin crust cheese and tomato pizza.

Quit Smoking For Stoptober!

When I was younger, I remember my Grandad used to smoke. It was something I always hated. As a child, I used to hide his tobacco whenever he left it lying about in the hope that he would just not bother looking for it and not smoke anymore. Obviously, that never worked, as he would just tell me off and get me to return it, or buy more. I never gave up though, and eventually, he did actually quit - not because of me, just because he decided that it was too expensive, and a bad habit. I couldn't have been more proud of my Grandad in that moment. Even as an adult now, I haven't ever smoked a cigarette, it doesn't appeal to me, and I just think it is a really bad habit, one I would encourage anyone to quit.

Aden + Anais Swaddles & Sleepbag [Review]

I've mentioned on my blog before how much I love Aden + Anais. When they reached out and asked if I would like to review the Disney Bambi Swaddles and sleep bag, of course, I said I would love to. The print is absolutely beautiful, and the swaddles are my favourite product. They are so versatile and can be used for many things, such as swaddling, mopping up messes, to create shade, or even as a blanket. 

Giving My Kitchen A Little Refresh!

If you are a regular reader, you will know just how much I love to be in the kitchen baking and cooking with Emily. There is nothing that makes me happier, I truly believe that the heart of our home is the kitchen, and I strongly believe that it is important to teach our children to bake and create new recipes while they are young - it's important life skills that they won't get taught at school.

Isabelle's 3 Month Update

Our three-month-old baby girl! It is a strange feeling watching them get older, on one hand, I feel like she has always been here, on the other, it feels like she hasn't been here very long at all. Although she is the final little puzzle piece of our family, and I really couldn't imagine life without our little Belle-Bear now. I just wish it would slow down a little bit, especially as she is my final baby, I'm just not ok with how fast it is going.

Siblings [September 2017]

These are always my favourite posts to write, this month we went on holiday. Emily had the best time, and I think Isabelle did too, although she can't tell me like Emily can. Watching their relationship flourish while we were away was lovely. Emily dotes on Isabelle and loves to tell everyone that she is her sister.

Seeking Alternative Methods for Conception? Receive the Gift of a Lifetime

To say egg donors are generous is putting it mildly; they provide a selfless gift to couples who are longing to start - or complete their family. The donor egg IVF journey may come with a few challenges and a whirlwind of emotions, but educating yourself on your fertility options can help. Here, donor egg bank USA offers information for those exploring egg donation as a means of conception.

Gift Guide For A Three Year Old

Emily is three! I can't quite believe it, when you have children they say that time flys and they were not kidding. It has gone so fast. I found this year so much harder when picking a gift for Emily. She had asked for a few things, but they were only small things. I searched and searched for things that would make good gifts for Emily, and thought that I would share with you a few of the things I ended up getting for her.

Did You Know Each Flower Has Its Own Meaning?

I'm not really a flower person, and I never really have been. I grew up listening to my grandad tell me how flowers are a waste of money, as you pay for them and then watch them die. I never really second-guessed that statement really. Sure they are beautiful, and I love wildflowers, but I wasn't really interested in bouquets of flowers - that was until I met Sam's nan. I have never met a person who loves flowers more than her. She loves to be out in the garden planting and growing new things, she appreciates the things I barely noticed. Nothing makes her happier than receiving a bouquet of flowers for her birthday or mothers day.

Every Moment Counts

Growing up I didn't have the best relationship with my parents, for whatever reasons they may be. When I became a parent myself, I knew that I wanted my girls to know how much they meant to me, and to always have a good relationship with them, no matter how hard that may be. Since Emily has been born, we really have made every moment count. We have taken holidays, done lots of things together, things that I hope both the girls will look back on, and remember. Remember how much fun we had, the laughs we shared, and how much her dadda and I love them both, unconditionally.
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