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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

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.

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.

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

 

Being Organised is the Way!

2 Sep

Hi folks,

I’ve been on ‘super organising mode’ for the last few weeks. What with the new baby arriving very soon… Seth’s hectic social life… The new academic year starting so we have nursery applications & the hubsters workload getting heavier… Family life just being chaotic… My work load mounting up & then lets not even mention Christmas! Even though it sounds a lot… I do love to be busy. I love how hectic life is around here & I do thrive on making lists, booking stuff & generally getting everything organised so it runs like clock work.

I’m all for technology & I do love my gadgets… I mean I couldn’t be without my iPhone & MacBook, but for me, when getting organised, digital just isn’t it. I like pen & paper. I ‘think’ better on pen & paper. I like lists I can consult. I like a diary I can thumb back through the pages to check dates. A nice neat little diary always used to do the trick for me, but these days, I’m organising myself, The Hubster, Seth, the new Baby when he arrives & even the Dog! Yes… even Coco has appointments & engagements! So I need something substantial… I need a family Bible everyone can consult to see what’s happening & when. That’s where the Personal Planner comes in.

This will be the 3rd year in a row that I’ve been using a Personal Planner to keep everything organised. But as our family is growing… so is our planner! But that’s okay… with Personal Planner you can customise every single aspect… that includes size! This year I have gone for the A4 Planner… just to make sure I have enough room for every single detail.

When I say every detail… you choose your size, front cover, string/fastening colour, ruler colour, page layout, page colour etc… like literally EVERY DETAIL. You also get some handy stickers to use & you also get a plastic wallet. I love a plastic wallet in a planner as they’re super useful for letters, receipts, coupons etc…

These planners are literally amazing. You can add important dates, add a ‘To Do List’ section, Meal Planner section etc… Perfect for just about anyone. I always tend to get the academic calendar, purely as, we run on the academic calendar in this house. I worked in education for such a long time, my husband works in a University & now we have kids… it’s just natural for us. But you can get a normal ‘Jan to Dec’ type of planner if that suits better. I think this size, would be perfect for anyone planning a wedding too. So much room for lot’s of information.

Our A4 Planner (Family Bible) stays in our home office, purely because it’s easier that way for everyone to be able to consult it. But you can get smaller sizes that may be more convenient for on the go. I’ve used the Square Planner & the Wide Planner in the past. Both are excellent. But for family life now… the A4 is the one for us.

You can find Personal Planner on social media… a great way to keep up to date with announcements & promotions… FacebookTwitter , Instagram

So there you have it… that’s how I try to keep a head of everything. Don’t forget, that they also do gift cards – perfect gift idea’s if you’re ever stuck on what to buy someone. Why not give them the gift of being organised. I definitely know a few folk who could benefit from one lol.

As always, I really hope you’ve found this review useful & thanks so much for reading!

Love & Huggles,

Hayley xxx

Any Excuse For a Party!

8 Aug

Hi folks,

You all know what family life is like here at Thorne Towers… hectic, busy, fun & full of giggles. You also know that we don’t need an excuse to celebrate & have a party.

Since Seth is becoming a big brother in October, we’ve been trying to get him to understand that we’re having a baby join our family. He’s only 2 year & 5 month old… sometimes I think he totally gets it & other times I think he’s still not quite sure.

So… what better way to get him excited? Have a little tea party! And what does every party need? Well, cake of course!

bakerdays are a fantastic company who make letterbox cakes… yes that’s right… a cake delivered through your letterbox! How fab is that!?

Yes you read that right… they can make you a stunning personalised cake to celebrate any occasion that comes in a lovely tin & fits through your letterbox. They also offer gluten free, wheat free & dairy free options!

Seth was sent a cake to celebrate the fact that he’s going to be a Big Brother. I can’t even begin to tell you just how stunning the photograph was. The detail & quality was so high. And Seth adored having a Ace with his face on… he’s such a poser.

Seth’s cake was a plain sponge – simply because that is his favourite. But you can choose other options. You also don’t have to choose a letterbox cake. They offer 4 different cakes sizes as well as cupcakes.

Now for the important bit… how did it taste?

As you can imagine… Seth takes his role as cake testing rather seriously. After snaffling his first piece… he hastily demanded another. I can therefore confirm that he did indeed think it was “Nommy Nommy” lol. That’s a direct quote right there. This 2 year old knows good cake when he tastes it.

Everyone agreed it was really lovely & super fresh. I have to admit that I was thinking “will it be fresh?”… but it really was! Plus it’s such a fantastic novelty having it delivered through your door. You could send this to any loved one for a special occasion & it would most certainly make them smile. You don’t even need an occasion really… just simply treat someone who needs a pick me up perhaps?

Thank you so much bakerdays for making a little boys day. What better way to become excited about being a big brother than with cake!

Thanks as always for reading!

Love & Huggles,

Hayley xxx