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Staycation Isolation

1 Apr

Hi folks,

I hope you’re all doing okay. So much has changed & happened since my last blog post!!! How crazy is everything at the moment?

We’re very lucky, as both me & the hubster & the kids are all home safely together. Oh & we can’t forget Coco too. The hubs is now working from, so we’ve been self isolating for quite a while now. Seth has no idea about the virus really, I mean, he’s only 4 yr old, so we decided it was better to keep it from him. We didn’t want him feeling scared or worried. Our families don’t live close by, so it isn’t like he see’s family everyday. So in that respect… he’s not noticed any difference. He did ask about nursery… but we just said we are having extended holidays from school for Easter. He hasn’t even questioned it. And Ted, well, he’s only 17 month old… so he’s none the wiser too.

I’ve been focussing on keeping the boys entertained. It was easier last week, as the weather was so lovely! So we could get out in to the garden.

 

We’ve chalked our walk, we’ve played in the mud kitchen, picnicked in the garden etc… while the weather has been nice… we’ve been out breathing as much fresh air as possible.

To make this time as fun as possible, we’ve decorated the house for Easter, early. I just wanted to inject some fun & some colour around he place. We’ve also added rainbow colours to our windows too.

We’ve had so much fun crafting & making decorations. With Seth only being in preschool for half a day each day, I’ve decided not to make a home schooling timetable. I’m still encouraging learning & I’m constantly asking little maths questions etc… while we play, but I wanted to focus this time on fun & making memories rather than it more about school. It’s such a scary & uncertain time, so our focus is being fun, carefree & present. I’m making a photobook for the boys of this time… so in years to come they can revisit this time & see that even though things were scary… we tried our best to make it fun. Like a colourful, cheerful, Staycation.

We’ve had PizzaParty picnics, we’ve camped in the front room, we’ve excavated dinosaur eggs, we’ve had wildlife in our front room, we’ve painted etc… Seth keeps telling me this is the most fun holiday he’s ever had. I think he loves that his Daddy is home all the time & working in our office at home & isn’t going out to work. I think he’s loving the novelty of it all. The weirdest part is that he hasn’t asked to go out at all. He’ll ask to go in the garden, but he’s not asked for days out. I really thought he would have. But it’s like he’s so happy & content at home. This whole thing has made me realise though, just how much I actually go out. I’ve always gone out a lot & joined groups etc… with the boys. But since passing my test in December & buying a 2nd car, I’m out even more.

I’ve been trying each day to find a positive in this whole saga. So far… I’ve come up with so many. It’s also opened up my eyes to how much stuff I take for granted too. I have a new found respect for food. I mean, I waste very little food anyway, but now, I’m literally making sure that each thing is used & nothing is wasted.  Today I got an amazing Fruit & Veg delivery from a local market stall… everything is so colourful & looks & smells amazing. I’ve never been so excited to eat a salad for tea!

I’ve had some amazing video calls with family  friends too. The amount of giggles I’ve had is fab – considering the circumstances. I do feel that it’s brought people together.

I’m planning each week on Sunday & making a menu for things to make for tea.

Keeping organised is really helping me to get through this bizarre saga. I love meal planning & prepping… I find it really therapeutic. I’m in the process of making some strawberry yogurt… I can’t wait. The boys love fruit yogurt – so I’m on to a winner!

I do hope you’re all keeping safe, well & positive. I cannot wait for the massive celebrations to be had once this is all over!

Love, huggles, & much love,

Hayley xxx

Feeling Spicy

4 Mar

Hi folks,

Can not believe we are into March already. It’s been such a quick year already. My days seem to just fly over so fast, life moves so fast. Sometimes it feels a struggle to fit in family life, work & not to mention trying to cook from scratch every day.

I love homemade healthy food & when it’s quick & simple… even better! I don’t like plan food either… I like something with a little spice!

This week I’ve been creating some lovely, quick & easy meals, using my new fave ingredient!

On Monday I made a gorgeous Chilli in the Slow Cooker. The crushed chillies add just enough spice. Its the perfect staple to keep in your spices cupboard.

To make, I threw the following into the crock pot:
250g Lean Beef Mince
Chopped Celery
Diced Garlic
Diced Onion
Sliced Mixed Peppers
Chopped Mini Corns
Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
Tin of Kidney Beans
A good helping of Schwartz Chilli Flakes.

I left it to cook all day. I thickened with a little tomato purée before serving.

This Chilli was super yummy. Plus, it’s totally healthy as i didn’t use any added salts or oils. Perfect!

On Tuesday I made a delicious Moroccan inspired Lamb Stew.

I’ve thrown the following into the crock pot:
300g Diced Lamb
Diced Celery
Diced Onion
Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
Handful of Dried Apricots
Fresh Coriander
Mixed Peppers Sliced
1 Tin Chick Peas
Crushed Garlic
A good Sprinkle of Schwartz Crushed Chillies

Both meals were utterly delicious, healthy & so simply to make. Making your won sauces tastes so much fresher than using a premed jar of sauce. This little jar of spices has gone so far & i still have loads left! Well worth the money!
Tonight I’ve used the chillies as a seasoning. I sprinkled on a pork loin & grilled, then served alongside a baked potato & salad.
This little jar of spices is so versatile & a total must have for any ingredients cupboard.
It’s amazing how eating healthy really lifts your mood & makes you feel so much more positive. I’ve loved how easy these meals were to make.
I can’t to try more recipes!
Thanks so much as aways for reading & I hope you’ve found my review useful.
Love & Huggles,
Hayley xxx
Schwartz have sent me Crushed Chillies for review, but all views are my own

Parenting Win

19 Nov

Hi folks,

The last 13 month since seems to have flown by & Ted just seems to be hitting all of those first milestone so quickly. I sometimes wish I could just slow down time. Ted is very much a toddler now. He’s no longer my 8lb 4oz newborn baby. He started walking at 10month which still just totally blows me away, Seth walked at just turned 11month old & I thought that was super early.

When Seth made the transition from Bottle to Cup for his water… I remember it taking a little while for him to get used to it. However, with Ted, he has taken to it so well. So much so, that I didn’t even actually introduce him to a cup. He literally just picked up Seth’s 360 Cup one day & started to drink from it lol. So… after hearing this, the lovely folk at Nuby HQ sent Ted his very own 360 cups.

Ted started with the lovely Nuby Wonder Mini 360 Cup. These cups are fab, as they have the little handles on them, so they’re easy for little fingers to be able to grab hold of. I really didn’t have to try with this cup, in introducing it to Ted. He literally just picked it straight up & began using it. He grasped the ‘sucking’ technique so easily.

The 360 cups are super easy to clean too, as every single part comes apart for cleaning. They also come with a lid too, so they’re great for popping in your bag for on the go. You can also buy the replacement inner valve too.

The natural next step from this cup, is to move onto the maxi 360 cup with no handles.

This has been a piece of cake for Ted. He loves his ‘big boy’ cup. I think he feels more like his big brother when he’s using it. He has taken to it so well. These cups are suitable from 6 month. We have bypassed the traditional sippy cups really with Ted, & I think it’s better. This way, he is learning how to drink from more of a proper cup.

Another lovely product we’ve been using is the 3D Silicone Bib.

These bibs are fab! Well let’s face it… anything that cuts down on laundry is a lifesaver in my eyes. These bibs are so durable. And they wipe down so easily… & did I mention that they’re dishwasher safe too!!! The bib has a ‘catch all’ feature which catches all of those pesky flyaway foodie bits. And, while on the go, it easily rolls up to go back into your bag.

The silicone is soft & flexible with an adjustable fastening on the back for around the neck, making this a comfy bib for your little one to wear at mealtimes. It’s not stiff or ‘scratchy’ at all.

Nuby make some gorgeous bath time toys. Seth & Ted have both been having fun playing with the Astronaut Foam Mirror Set. It’s a cute toy as it clings & sticks to the side of the bath & on the tiles. And with the lovely mirror feature, they can see themselves, which Ted always thinks is great fun. Ted has chomped on this bath toy lots & it’s still in perfect condition. Durability is a must in our house lol.

With a Nuby product, you always know that you’re going to get good value for money & good quality products. Perfect for those little stocking fillers!

Thank you as always for reading & I hope you’ve found this review useful!

Love & Huggles,

Hayley xxx

Disclaimer: This is a collaborative posts – I have received gifting &/or compensation for featuring some of these items, but all opinions are my own.

Staying Ahead with Good Planning

13 Sep

Hi folks,

I’ve been in planning & organising over drive lately. What with the start of the new academic year & Seth going back to Pre-School & everything that’s coming up with regard to events & celebrations… I’ve been furiously making lists etc…

I just couldn’t get by without my Personal Planner Wall Planner. It’s so perfect for busy family life when you’re juggling school events, work, appointments, etc…

This is the ultimate Wall Planner for a busy family. You get a week per pages & you can add family members & colour co-ordinate everyone. You can even add a photograph at the top of each column.

I absolutely adore stickers too… With your purchase, you get a free sheet of stickers, but you can also purchase more stickers from their online shop.

With the wall planner you can also add areas at the bottom for things such as: Menu/Meals, To Do List, Pre-School etc… it’s just a great area to add additional notes & memo’s. For us, it’s perfect having our planner to consult before booking anything in as you can see so quickly & easily what everyone is up too.

I’m a big fan of technology & I use my electric devices daily along with a virtual assistant in our home in pretty much every room lol, but when it comes to organising… paper & pen is always better. Personal Planner as a company make it all so very user friendly. If you create an account you can add all of you special dates, such as birthdays etc… they will automatically be uploaded into any planner you create with the click of a button. It saves so much time!

I’ve also got the Mini Planner too for my handbag. It’s literally perfect for keeping in your handbag when you’re out & about.

Just like the Wall Planner, you can colour co-ordinate everything & you can add stickers etc…

You can even add little fun areas like a little colouring image at the bottom of each page. I just love colouring in, but having 2 little ones to run around after – I never have time to finish anything. So these little images are perfect for when I get a spare 5 minutes. Yes… I am that sad lol. I just find colouring so relaxing with a cup of tea.

I love that the planners all come with an elastic to keep it closed whilst in your bag. There’s nothing worse than your organiser opening & getting all of its pages ruffled up. In each planner you’ll also find a plastic wallet to keep any important items such as receipts etc… as with the wall planner – you’ll also get your sheet of stickers. And… a removable ruler! Perfect to use as a page marker. I just adore everything about these stunning planners.

So… I have some exciting news!!! Personal Planner have given me a gift card worth £39.90 & valid until March 2020. I will be giving this gift card away to one of my lucky followers over on Instagram! Head on over to my Instagram Page now, to find out how to enter! I’m just so excited to pass on some Personal Planner sparkle to one of you.

Thank you as always for reading & I hope I’ve inspired you to get organised. In fact… why not treat your nearest & dearest this Christmas to the gift of being organised. You could gift them a planner or a personal planner gift card!

Love & huggles,

Hayley xxx

Disclaimer: This is a collaborative posts – I have received gifting &/or compensation for featuring some of these items, but all opinions are my own.

Essentials to Make Life Simple

12 Aug

Hi folks,

I can’t believe we’re almost half way through August & the ‘Back to School’ countdown has begun! Seth is so super excited to get back to PreSchool… he asks every day if his teachers are back from their holidays yet bless him lol.

So… along with the usual new uniform & school shoes… he has his trusty favourite backpack!

Seth simply adores his Trendz Robot Backpack from Nuby. It’s the perfect size for our little people. It also has a detachable rein on it too. There’s also side pockets either side, the perfect size for a matching drinks bottle.

The new stainless steel Robo Cups are perfect for School… they keep drinks cool for up to 10hrs! They’re also very durable… Seth has dropped his on concrete several times & it’s left no marks or dints!

Ted is a BIG fan of the Stainless Steel Food jar… perfect for dinners on the go! The contents will stay warm for 5 hours & cool for 7 hrs! Perfect for when you’ve arranged those all important playdates!!!

And where would we be without those all important Catch All Wipeable Bibs!?

In fact… they’re almost good enough to eat lol.

Weaning can be such a tedious time. I have been a lot more relaxed about weaning this time around. When I was weaning Seth I was super stressed all of the time about finger foods. With Ted, everything has just felt more relaxed & laid back. Everything is so much easier though when you have good quality products thats you can trust!

Here’s a little list of some of our new found favourite products:

This has made independent drinking so easy for Ted. He has taken to this cup so well. It’s great for little sips of water during meal times. I think I may start introducing a 360 cup.

I love these little bowls. They’re perfect for food storage too when you’ve been making baby food. Also, for feeding when you’re out & about, it’s great being able to pop the lid on to avoid any food spillages in your bag.

This is great for finger foods. It grips fantastically to smooth surfaces, such as your highchair table/tray.

This is such a cute little bowl. The lovely soft texture feel is great for little hands. All of the edges are smooth etc… & I just love that you can stick it down too. It’s that first step toward self feeding.

These lovely spoons have been developed to help with self feeding. The shape & design is perfect for little chubby hands to grip. They also have choke protection guards to reduce gagging and choking.

Such a perfect first cutlery set. Ted hasn’t gotten round to using these ones yet, but once he’s hit the 12 month mile stone… I’m sure he’ll be using them.

I used these fantastic lolly makers with Seth. So you can be assured that they’re long lasting. Ted adores his homemade fruity ice lollies. They’re perfect for sore teething gums. The clever design catches any stray drips & the handle itself is perfect for little hands to grip. They come with a lovely little freezer tray too.

If you head over to the Nuby Website, you can get free delivery when you spend £15 or more & there’s also some Back To School bargains.

We simply adore all of our Nuby products. I love anything that will make day to day life that little bit easier!

We’ve not got long left now of the Summer Holidays… so let’s hope that this weather of ours picks up!

Thanks so much as always for reading!!!

Love & Huggles,

Hayley xxx

Disclaimer: This is a collaborative posts – I have received gifting &/or compensation for featuring some of these items, but all opinions are my own.

Making Memories

20 May

Hi folks,

I love the month of May. Spring is everywhere & everything looks so beautiful… the weather is on the turn to sunnier times & it’s also mine & the hubsters Birthday month.

We always try to do something nice for our birthdays as they’re only 4 days apart. But when you have little ones in tow… plans have to change & adapt. This year we had the most amazing little break in the Yorkshire Dales in a stunning Georgian Cottage.

So… first of all… let me tell you about this simply beautiful cottage. Green Cottage is an elegant Georgian Cottage set on the green of one of Yorkshire’s most picturesque villages. It’s an ideal base to explore the Dales in any season. And… it’s 100% Family-friendly… that includes doggies too. A dog bed & bowl can be provided if needed. Our Coco is such a little diva though & likes her own little comforts – so we took her fave bed & mini food & water bowl… most dog bowls are big enough for her to bathe in lol.

The space itself:

The house is fully detached and set over three floors. Don’t worry thoughif you have little ones, then baby gates can be provided. Seth is 3 & Ted is 6 month so we very much need baby gates on the stairsso this was fab for us. They were already installed too!

Lower Ground Floor

  • Kitchen diner (featuring an extendable table to seat up to 6 guests and fully equipped with Rangemaster cooker, dishwasher, fridge with freezer shelf and microwave along with plenty of good quality cooking and baking equipment, glasses, crockery etc). Honestly…the kitchen has EVERYTHING you could possibly need. Even down to the colourful plastic kids crockery from IKEA that we all know & love & can’t live without! We ate in both nights… did ‘snacky food & we had sparkles… obvs

  • Utility room (with washer-dryer, iron and ironing board and a drying space for muddy boots and outdoor gear)There’s great tray there to stand your dirty shoes in there’s a radiator right underneath the coat rail too – so if you’ve gotten a little damp – everything will dry off.

  • Bathroom (with spa whirlpool bath, and toasty underfloor heating). The bath is utterly divine! I had visions of having an uninterrupted bubble bath with a glass of sparkles… but of course that lasted all of 5 minutes until Seth came bounding in lol. But that’s Mama Life for you!

Ground Floor

  • Living room (sofas to comfortably seat 5, log burner, digital Smart TV with Freeview, BBC iPlayer etc as well as lots of books, maps and games) we took our amazon fire stick with us & connected it to the WiFi. So we were able to watch Disney Life, Netflix & Prime. Please note that the play pen in the living room is ours & not part of the cottage.

  • Snug / third bedroom (large day bed which can be made up into full size single bed, second TV, desk)

  • Shower room (walk in monsoon shower with extra large enclosure, heated towel rail) There is also a toilet. It’s fab as there is literally a toilet on each floor. Essential for toilet training! Seth is totally dry now, but we’re still only in our first month of toilet training… so a toilet on hand is utterly essential lol.

First floor

  • Master bedroom (king size bed with deep, comfortable mattress, large wardrobe and antique dressing table) oodles of spaceLoads of room for a travel cot. A travel cot can be provided too if you don’t want to take one.

  • Twin bedroom (two full size single beds with pocket sprung mattresses, chest of drawers and clothes rail) a waterproof mattress cover can be provided too! Perfect!Please note that the bed guard rail is ours & not part of the cottage.

  • WC with basin (‘Jack and Jill’ style access from both upstairs bedrooms, ideal for families, or can be set up as en-suite for either bedroom)

Outside

  • Enclosed garden to rear and side, paved and gravel with outside seating, and a charcoal BBQ
  • Bike store (lockable for up to 5 bikes, can also be used as a pram store)
  • Direct access to the village green – a large expanse of grass free for all to stroll, sit or play
  • Play area visible from back gate – swings, slide, football posts etc. We spent quite a lot of time in the little play area. Seth loves a park. There’s also plenty wide open space to run around or to picnic. But, if you take your fur babies… please ensure you scoop that poop! There’s nothing worse than dog poop making the place dirty!

As you can see from above & from my photos… everything is catered for.

The bedding was so comfy!!! Egyptian cotton bed linen on all beds, 13.5 tog thick duvets (hypoallergenic and feather / down) and plenty of soft and fluffy Egyptian cotton towels. As you can see… Ted had to try out the king size bed lol.

There’s a welcome pack with all the basics for your first couple of days (loo rolls, hand soap, washing up liquid, dishwasher tablets, bin bags, tea towels and kitchen cleaning supplies) as well as tea, coffee, milk, bread and a few local treats. This was soooo nice!!! It just means that you don’t have to pack a lot of shopping. And it also means that it’s all ready for you to get the kettle straight on when you arrive… coz let’s face it… we all need that first brew when we arrive somewhere! Especially when you’ve had to sing Baby Shark & Old McDonald Farm all the way there lol.

 

Also… when we arrived there was a lovely big box of toys left out for Seth to explore, as well as plenty children’s books. There were even a few laid out on his bed for him. That was such a lovely touch & Seth was super excited!

So as well as a travel cot, baby gates & toys… the owners can provide a highchair – which Ted thought was VERY comfy & there is also a baby monitor. Oh & I did mention the plastic IKEA crockery, but there’s also a MAM Baby Cup too. Just so many little things that have been added to make your break so much easier! This cottage is really like a home from home.

For our furbabies, there is a lovely fluffy blanket provided & the use of a hose pipe outside to wash down those dirty paws.

 

Okay… so you’ve heard all about the gorgeous cottage… but what did we do while we were there? We investigated Settle. What a stunning little town. Seth particularly enjoyed The House That Jack Built. He got some lovely new Melissa & Doug toys. There are so many gorgeous shops, tea rooms & places to eat, to investigate. There’s also the Watershed Mill. It is absolutely stunning… the scenery is simply breathtaking. We popped there for a little bite to eat over lunch time.

We spent a lot of time playing on the green outside of the cottage & in the little park. We were only there for 2 nights… next time we’ll be booking for a week.

The cottage has a lovely organised folder of leaflets & places to visit etc… so helpful for when you’re planning days out.

This beautiful cottage is simply worth every penny. If you book before August & quote: “IxxyPoco” you will be given an exclusive discount. You can book a year in advance. So use that code before it runs out. Simply head to Green Cottage on AirBnB & send a message to the owners quoting my blog.

Thanks as always for reading & I hope you’ve been inspired to book yourself a lovely break away ❤️

Love & Huggles,

Hayley xxx

Disclaimer: This is a collaborative posts – I have received gifting &/or compensation for featuring some of these items, but all opinions are my own.

Weaning Must-Have, Teething Troubles and School Styling

13 May

Hi folks,

Can you believe we’re at the weaning stage already with Ted!? It feels like only yesterday that he was born. And yet here we are… already at the foodie stage.

Weaning can be so stressful. Finding foods & textures that your little one will entertain. Then there’s the worry of finger foods… I get so anxious in case they choke!

Of course weaning always feels less daunting when you have plenty of Nuby products on standby.

Stackable Bowls with Lids

These bowls are fantastic! In the pack you will get 4 bowls with lids & 2 spoons. The bowls are microwave safe & also dishwasher safe when used on the top shelf. They’re great for feeding on the go, as you can pop the lid back on to save any mess getting in your bag. They’re also perfect for food storage too!

Catch All Bib

The bib in this pic of Ted was actually Seth’s! So it’s already seen us through 1 weaning journey. Proof that Nuby products do stand the test of time!

This bib wipes down easily & also catches any foodie falls! It fastens with Velcro. This bib may be 3yrs old… but it’s still fantastic!

Titan Grip & Sip Cup

This little sippy cup is fab for getting your little one used to a cup from using bottles. The handles are great for little hands to be able to hold onto. It’s also non spill & it comes with a little lid too for keeping it clean & hygienic on the go.

Ted’s really enjoying trying to hold his own drink at the moment & this cup is great for that.

Wacky Teether

Any parent will tell you that teething is so upsetting & traumatic. Poor Ted has 2 teeth poking through on his bottom gum. He’s been so upset with himself. Luckily though, he’s gotten some relief with his Wacky Teether. It’s a lovely size for little hands to be able to grab on to.

With all of the different textures, it’s perfect for massaging sore gums. The crinkly fabric & bright colours will also keep them entertained too.

Ted loves his Wacky Teether!

Trendz Mini Backpack with Reins

Trendz Water Bottle

Seth has recently started Pre-School… he absolutely adores it! His Trendz Backpack has come in so handy. To avoid all that awful traffic, we walk to school. But with having the buggy too for Ted, I feel like I need several arms to be able to hold Seth’s hand & push the buggy.

With Seth being a ‘big boy’ he doesn’t always want to hold hands, so it’s great being able to attach the reins on to his bag & then keeping it on my wrist. It’s just a little reassurance that he’s not going to wander too far or jump into a road.

Inside the backpack – there is plenty room for spare clothes… we all know what it’s like during toilet training. There’s also a zip compartment inside as well as a big pocket.

The water bottle is a great size for school too & also has a push button that releases the drinking spout. Great for keeping it clean & hygienic. Its non-spill too!

It’s easy to wash – it’s dishwasher safe… Hoorah! And… it’s shatterproof! Durability is a must have when you have a rather boisterous 3 year old!

I do love Nuby products they just seem to make everything a little easier lol.

Thanks so much as always for reading!

I hope you’ve found my review helpful!

Love & Huggles,

Hayley xxx

Disclaimer: This is a collaborative posts – I have received gifting &/or compensation for featuring some of these items, but all opinions are my own.

Well hello there 2019

9 Jan

 

Hi folks,

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope you have all had an amazing Christmas. Don’t worry… this isn’t going to be a ‘New Year – New Me’ kind of blog post, but more of a ‘New Year – Same Me – Positive Vibes’ kind of post.

We have had such an amazing Christmas. From the moment Ted has been born, the time has flown so much. We’ve had lots of visits to see Santa & an amazing Christmassy vacation to Centre Parcs for Christmas week.

Every year we go to Centre Parcs for the lead up to Christmas… it’s just perfect. It really gets you into the Christmas spirit & full of magic. It was even more amazing going as a completed little family. We’ve already booked for next year… I’m literally already planning for Christmas 2019… I know – I can’t help myself lol. I actually bought myself a Rachel Ellen 5 Year Christmas Planner. It’s fab! I didn’t get mine until September, so it’ll be great having it a whole year in advance this time round.

From August last year I started to save up those Morrison’s match & More points… I managed to save up £50 worth of vouchers which I used for my Christmas grocery shop 2 days before the big day. Can I just say though that shopping 23rd December was like Hell on Earth! So, this year, I’m going to start saving my vouchers now & I’ll be placing a ‘Food to Order’ shop so I don’t have to battle the crowds. If I can save up £50 in just a few month… then imagine what I can save in a whole year. It’s so worth doing if you shop in Morrison’s regularly. I downloaded the app & I keep an eye on offers where you gain more points on certain items etc…

Christmas this year was made even more magical, as Seth totally understands Christmas now & Santa Clause. Last year he cried every time we went to see Santa… this year we just couldn’t keep him away lol.

Christmas Eve was filled with Breakfast with Santa at a local family pub… which also included a Christmas disco. It was fantastic & all of the kids had such a lovely time. Afterwards it was home for Christmas crafts & all of those family Christmas Eve traditions. I filled Seth’s Christmas Eve box with lots of Christmas crafty things for us all to do together. And of course… we became that family who wear matching PJs.

Christmas Day was just non-stop… Seth was super hyper. It was just perfect.

Next year is going to be amazing with Ted up & about toddling around. It’s crazy to think that this year I’ll have a 1 year old & a 3 year old.

We haven’t had the best of starts to 2019 really… I ended up in hospital with borderline pneumonia & a severe throat & chest infection. It was pretty scary at the time as they thought it was sepsis in the beginning. Luckily though it’s nothing steroids & anti biotics can’t fix. The consultant thinks it’s mainly down to a very low immune system after my c-section. Being poorly when you’re a Mammy just isn’t an option really.

I’m so very lucky to have my boys. Seth is growing up to be such a bright, beautiful boy… he’s my little comedian. I can’t wait to watch Ted grow & develop his own little personality too

And… Coco of course is still a super diva!

So… what do I have planned for 2019?

Well… we have a Christening to organise. This weekend I really do need to make a list of numbers & book it all. Then I need to order invitations etc… I’m normally way more organised than this – but being poorly has really thrown me. I have been watching Marie Kondo’s new show on Netflix & it’s given me a much needed kick. In fact… today I reorganised 4 cupboards & a drawer lol.

Next on the list will be Seth starting pre-school. I just cannot believe it’s almost time. I’m happy to say that we got our first choice – yey! And, we have his 3rd birthday too. We’re planning on taking him to Seven Stories for the Elmer Exhibition. He loves his books & Elmer is one of his faves.

This year we’ve also got a few little family vacations & some exciting little things planned that you’ll just have to wait to find out about throughout the year 🙂 And of course we’ll have a Halloweeny 1st Birthday in October too.

I have no New Year Resolutions  this year… I just plan on being as healthy as I can be… smile & laugh everyday & continue with a positive outlook. And of course to be the best Mammy I can be to my beautiful boys.

So, Happy New Year! Thank you so much for all of the support last year & thank you for continuing to read 🙂

Love & Huggles,

Hayley xxx

 

 

 

Bad Case of Mum Guilt

13 Oct

 

Hi folks,

37wks pregnant & managing to hang on in there… just!

The last few weeks have been the toughest. How much of a whinge bag do I sound!? But this last week has been filled with emergency hospital visits, tests, scans etc… It just seems to be a never ending circle of tests & sleepless nights.

But, unlike my first pregnancy, I don’t just have the baby to worry about… I have my gorgeous boy Seth to worry about too. When I say worry… I mean I just worry that he’s missing out on his healthy energetic Mammy.

Bear

Bear

Bear

Seth is my sidekick… he’s my little baby bear that I spend every single day with. Normally we go out to the park, picnics, classes… just lots of fun days out. But lately… I’ve just not been able to do that. It makes me feel so guilty. I’m breathless, I have swollen ankles, headaches, pain & I’m so exhausted all of the time. So our usual energetic, fun days out have been swapped for… crafts at home, imaginative play in the house & the garden & Fridays at Music Bugs.

Bear

Bear

Bear

Bear

at least he’s still smiling though in all of those pics… I’m trying my hardest to keep things fun.

I have such high standards for myself… I always want to function at 110%. I cook from scratch everyday… I hoover twice a day… I do a full face of make up everyday… I take Seth out… I think up fun activities… I’m learning to drive…. etc… But, during this pregnancy I’ve suffered with bad sickness, pregnancy migraines, bleeding, hypertension… the list goes on. So all of the high standards I set myself have crumbled a little. There’s been more days playing at home & I just can’t run & roll around like usual. It makes me feel so guilty.

I’ve managed to keep up with my driving lessons, with only having to cancel when I’ve been in hospital. I’ve also managed to keep taking Seth to his Music Bugs sessions. But I’ve not been able to go to his football training – so that’s become an activity that he does with his Daddy. Also, kickabouts in the park have become a daddy/son thing too. I just can’t stand up for very long or run around… it breaks my heart.

Bear

Bear

But… it’s not for much longer luckily. I so cannot wait for our second little Prince to join us. Then I can get back to my usual self. Being able to run & play & be silly. I just can’t wait to start operation lose the ‘Mum Tum’ too.

For all this week has just been the utter worst… I’ve still managed to almost finish all of the Christmas Shopping & wrap it lol. I’ve also made an ‘All Hallows Eve’ Box for Seth & Little T & I’ve booked some fun activities for Seth & his new baby brother to do over Christmas at Centre Parcs. I so want to make it up to Seth for all the sickness that I’ve had. He’s so loving & gorgeous though… he’s always asking if I’m okay & giving me hugs. I’m so lucky to have such a loving, sensitive little boy.

And… we’ve started planning for LittleT’s Christening & when it might be.

We’ve also gotten Little T’s nursery ready for him.

Bear

Bear

My hospital bag is packed & ready to go, the babies bag is packed & ready to go & I’ve got my Mam & Dad practically moved in to help me day to day while Graham is at work. So, for now, everything is pretty organised as much as it can be for Little T’s arrival. With some developments this week at hospital… I’m more of a labour risk now too – so I’ve got my family watching me like a hawk. I really don’t want an emergency c-section. I’d so rather a planned c-section.

I’m just focussing on when we get home & t’ll be time to get us into a lovely routine as a family of 4. Well 5… including Coco. I can’t wait to see my two little boys together. Perfect. It’s going to be lovely having Graham here for 4 weeks on paternity leave. I want to do lots of family things & days out to make it a special time for Seth. I want to ease him in to life as a big brother with plenty fun & laughter.

Even though, It’s be a rough couple of weeks… there’s been some utter stand out moments for me. It’s in the rough/tough times that you find those little gems who keep you going & have your back no matter what. The people who aren’t actually family or blood – but who just want to be there for you. I have lots of friends, but there’s that magical few who always seem to pick you up & make you smile. I’ve got an amazing neighbour who checks on me everyday & keeps me up dated on any fabulous champagne offers lol. I’ve got 2 amazing Mama Friends – one who will take me to Music Bugs when my feet are swollen & another who will hold my hand & offer me a sick bowl when I need an emergency scan. Then there’s my beer garden bezzie who I became bezzies with & even her bridesmaid. You know who you are… you’ve kept me smiling this last week or so & truly do appreciate it. It’s not often you find people who will drop everything for you.

So keep those peepers peeled for any baby announcements!

Love & Huggles,

Hayley xxx

 

Let’s Support And Empower

4 Sep

Hi folks,

I wanted to write a blog post based around something I feel very strongly about. As a woman… a mother… a friend… a wife… a member of society, I feel we can do more to empower & support one another. The topic of this post – is Breast Feeding. What is it about this topic that gets people so worked up. There seems to be so many strong feelings around this subject.

As a lot of you know… I had a bit of a rough time breast feeding Seth when he was first born. I was so wrapped up in the thought of breast feeding & it being amazing, that I never once considered that it may be difficult or that it may not happen at all. Seth was born via c-section at 38 weeks & weighing 8lbs. Perfect healthy baby boy. But, by day 4, he had lost over 14% of his body weight. I was devastated. I felt like I’d failed as a mother. We were rushed into hospital where Seth was monitored. The staff were AMAZING! So very supportive & very sympathetic of my feelings. They also supported me in my decision to continue to breast feed, but, until Seth gained the weight, I combination fed. Over the next 9 days I tried my hardest. I breast fed, expressed… I did everything I could. But it wasn’t meant to be. My body was just not producing milk. My breast feeding journey was very short lived. But, I am glad I tried. I have to say, that my GP & Midwife were phenomenal. Very supportive & caring. It was the only time in my life I think where I felt down & like I’d failed at something.

Now, I’m pregnant again & expecting our 2nd gorgeous baby boy in less than 8 weeks. Before making any quick judgements & decisions… I decided to read up on other peoples experiences of breast feeding via blogs & support groups. I also started to read up on what support is out there & how confident mothers feel about breast feeding in general. I came across some interesting reading via Lansinoh. I didn’t know this, but they run ‘The Feed with Confidence Awards’  recognising people and places that help to support mothers and positively change perceptions. It’s amazing that such an award exists as it shows there are places supporting breast feeding mothers… however, I read some saddening statistics;

A government study found that although 72% of the British public outwardly support public breastfeeding, over half of breastfeeding mums take steps to cover up and 34% feel embarrassed and uncomfortable. Research carried out by Lansinoh found that 37% of men and 41% of women find women breastfeeding on a bus uncomfortable, whilst mums breastfeeding on the underground were frowned upon by 34% of men and 44% of women. Although a third of those surveyed admitted that they were not comfortable seeing a woman breastfeeding in front of another woman, the research also found that the longer the journey, the less people find an issue with a mother breastfeeding in a public space.

With statistics like that, it’s so important that this campaign exists. I am ‘pro- feeding’. Whether it be breast feeding or bottle feeding. I don’t think anyone should be made to feel self conscious or shamed by how they feed their baby. We need to be supporting one another. I didn’t actually know that there was an ‘Equality Act’… The Equality Act 2010 makes it illegal for anyone to ask a breastfeeding woman to stop breastfeeding, or cover up or leave a public place, such as a cafe, shop or public transport.

I found breast feeding so difficult. People need to take a step back & think to themselves, that the mother huddled into a corner breast feeding her baby, might be finding it challenging. The last thing she needs is the sound of tutting or a look of disgust. I’m not saying to go high five everyone you see breast feeding… but be kind. Smile, encourage & if someone looks tired & exhausted… why not offer a kind word. A smile can change someone’s day. For me, when I see a breast feeding mother, I’m envious. I get this pang of jealousy in my heart.

The choice to breast feed has actually been taken out of my hands this time round. I had made the difficult decision not to breast feed… simply as I found it so difficult last time & I did’t feel I could go through it again. But, a few weeks ago I was taken into hospital for some investigations & ended up having to have a CT scan. I was injected with a dye that contains iodine that effects your breast milk. Therefore, I was advised by the consultant not to breast feed when my baby is born. I’m actually okay with the decision & the outcome. Seth did well being bottle fed & I’m happy to follow that same path. But, my 9 days of breast feeding Seth, even though it was a struggle… I will cherish.

Above is my one & only breast feeding photos. This is one of my most favourite photographs. It’s my little piece of proof that I tried… I tried my hardest.

Breast feeding for many is not an easy journey… so we don’t need negativity making it anymore challenging. Breast feeding is natural… it’s beautiful. That may sound odd coming from a ‘bottle feeding mammy’, but my short lived journey had a profound affect on me.

If you would like to enter a person or place that has helped & supported you on your breast feeding journey, you can do so here. The closing date is 31st December & winners will be announced January 2019. By entering, you will be entered into a prize draw to win a luxury family break.

If you’d like to read more about this lovely campaign, you can do so here.

We need to support campaigns like this, but more importantly… we need to support one another. We need to raise awareness & banish prejudice.

Thanks so much for reading

Love & huggles,

Hayley xxx