Tag Archives: christmas

“Play is our brain’s favourite way of learning” – Diane Ackerman

18 Nov

Hi folks,

Well, we’re now into my most favourite time of the year… CHRISTMAS!!!! Yes… it’s only November, but I don’t care! I’m in full on Christmas count down mode! I’ve put my tree up! I just literally couldn’t help myself!

So… since I’m throwing myself into all things Christmassy… I have a lovely little gift guide blog post for you. The boys have been playing with & reviewing some lovely toys from Hape.

As most of you know… Hape are one of our most favourite toy brands. You just cannot go wrong with good quality, vibrant, wooden toys. I’m such a big believer in learning through play. Apart from when Seth is at Pre-School… we play all day long.

Where to start? Lets start with the lovely Hape Number Peg Puzzle. Seth loves this puzzle. The pegs are easy to get a hold of & the pieces are lovely & vibrant. This is great for number recognition. Seth is doing so well with his numbers… but does get confused with his number 6 & number 9 at times. So playing with this puzzle has helped immensely.

This puzzle is just so well made & is a lovely size. This is recommended for 3yrs & over, so I’ve been careful to keep it out of Teds reach. He’s in that phase of shoving everything in his mouth to bite.

Ted utterly adores his  Pepe & Friends Push & Go Cat.

It has a clever internal mechanism that allows the toy to roll forward when the back is pushed down and released. So he’s had fun pressing it & watching it scoot across the wooden floor in the dining room. Ted just loves anything with wheels. He loves crawling around the floor pushing it around. It’s a lovely sturdy toy this one. If it can withstand some rough play & being thrown around by Ted.. then it can withstand anything lol.

Baby Einstein Colour Mixer. Both boys have LOVED playing with this toy. It’s such a gorgeous clever little toy this one. This lovely toy identifies colours and lights up as you experiment with different colour combinations with the beads. It flashes in a rainbow light show & plays music. You can also switch between music & spoken words which are in both English & French. It’s great as it introduces little ones to colours & helps to encourage motor skill development. 

The pictures really do not do this toy justice. It is absolutely stunning when you see it. In the box, it doesn’t look like much… but it really is a lovely toy. So many fun elements to it. It has kept both boys quiet. Ad again, it’s very sturdy & well made. So, perfect for little ones.

So, if you’re looking for some gifts & stocking fillers for the little ones – look no further. I’m always blown away with the quality & design of Hape.

Thank you so much for reading & hope you’ve fun this review useful!

Love & Huggles,

Hayley xxx

 

Love is in the Hair

21 Oct

Hi folks,

I do love this time of the year… autumn is firmly upon us… Halloween, Guy Fawkes & Christmas are just around the corner… eeeeeck!

However… with the cooler weather… comes the damp, rainy atmosphere. As a curly haired girl who tends to wear her hair straight… this can be an utter nightmare.

I dread washing my hair. I really do. It’s like a full on commitment. My hair is super thick, washing it, conditioning it… followed by half an hour of holding the hair dryer in place while I blow dry it. I always get so hot & bothered & I feel like the dryer just fry’s my hair. I actually read something really interesting about when you can tell your hairdryer is on its way out & all of the damage it can do to your luscious locks & the warning signs to watch out for. You can read the article from Which?, here. After reading this… it was so unbelievably clear… I needed a new dryer!

I am so completely in love with my new Shehair® Professional Hair Dryer 

Why… I hear you ask… It has a powerful 1800-2000W professional-strength motor with Homogeneous heat to minimalise damage, delivering a high pressure air flow for super-fast drying, while reducing frizz and flyaways to give a smooth salon-style finish. It’s actually true!!! Because my hair is naturally curly, when I blow dry, my hair seems to go so frizzy. But after only 9minutes with this fantastic dryer… my hair was fully dry & it was so much smoother!!! Yes… it wasn’t straight, however, it was so much more manageable & took time off the hair straightening side of things.

Variable power and temperature controls, allow you to tailor your blow-dry to your hair type, while a cool shot button helps lock your finished style in place with a blast of cold air… keeping your hair in Tip Top condition. This is the first time I’ve ever blow dried my hair & not been sweltering. Normally I’m bright red & so hot. But even though I used my new dryer on the hottest setting… it still feels cool. And… I couldn’t smell burning hair… now that’s always a plus!

Ergonomical balance and design makes it a breeze to use & comfortable to hold for both left & right-handed users. It’s so lightweight. It makes blow drying your own hair so much easier! You also get 3 attachments as standard too!

I simply cannot convey to you just how amazing this hair dryer is & how much time it’s saved me. I also feel like my hair feels nicerI don’t feel like it’s so scorched anymore. Since having Ted, my hair hasn’t been great… I feel like it’s not looking as glossy. But with the help of some thick, nourishing shampoo & conditioner, drinking plenty water & now my amazing new hair dryer & gold styler from SHE Hair... I really feel like it’s getting back to its glossy former glory. I haven’t dyed my hair in over 5yrs & try my best to keep it in tip top condition.

This week, SHE Hair are launching their new Platinum Range… I simply cannot wait to try those. They look utterly stunning. Perfect for gifts under the Christmas tree!!!

If you head over to the SHE Hair social media pagesyou’ll see that they’re currently running a competition to win yourself a new Hair Dryer!!!

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

Love & Huggles,

Hayley xxx

Feeling Comfortable in My Own Skin

23 Sep

Hi folks,

More than ever, we seem to be bombarded with images of picture perfect people… flawless skin… perfect figure… nothing seems to be out of place. I’ve always been a bit of a self conscious person when it comes to how I look. I’m so confident in who I am as a person… but when it comes to how I look… I’m so critical & self conscious.

After having the boys… I have noticed a massive change in my skin. The problem with a change in your skin also effects your make up! So, not only does your skin look & feel different with a naked face, but it also looks & feels different when you’re wearing your make up. Such a nightmare. Especially when you’re already feeling a little self conscious from just having a baby. And… you also have the added pressure of not having oodles of time either to start a brand new in-depth skincare regime!

So… what changed with my skin after pregnancy.

Under my left eye, I developed a little prominent blood vessel. I know it looks small… but to me it looked like a beacon! I think it happened during pregnancy while throwing up so much. I’ve always had a rosy pink complexion & that’s fine as it’s always something I’ve had so I’ve always bought & wore make up that hid it a little. However, after pregnancy I always felt it looked more patchy. And, my cheek area became super dry in areas & under my eyes which meant that my foundation & powder started to clump, which is not a good look. But, my T Zone area became massively oily. This meant that my foundation was clumping in the dry areas & then smearing off in the oily areas. My pores were becoming visible under my makeup in the oily areas, if that makes sense… almost like the inside of an aero bar.

I just do not have the time to spend hours on my skin & make up with a 3yr old & a 10month old to run around after. But… I still want to feel & look good.

Starting on 22nd August… I began using my new products from ESKI decided to document the results & I’m so glad that I did.

I’ve added dates to the photo’s so you can see how skin has improved.

The areas that I feel have improved; my skin isn’t as greasy, fine lines seem to have improved, no dry patches & I feel like the small blood vessel isn’t as prominent.

So… what is my new skincare regime I hear you ask? Well, firstly I can promise you that my new regime is super simple & hardly takes up any time! I am completely in love with the ESK Hydroxy Cleanser. I use the Hydroxy Cleanser morning & night. I wear make up everyday & I do tend to go for a smokey eye look complete with black liquid eyeliner & black mascara. So I need a cleanser that will be gentle, but will also remove every bit of make up. This cleanser does all of that! You use it just like a face wash. The 100ml bottle should last you around 3 months. I’ve never been a fan of cleansers & toners… I always found cleansers to be too greasy & toners to be too harsh, which would end up making me too pink. The hydroxy cleanser, cleanses while being nice & gentle, & it’s also soap free. It doesn’t make me red & I never feel any skin tightness after using, which I’ve always found that I get when using other face washes.

After cleansing on a morning I then use B Quenched. This product can be used at night or morning. I’ve been using each morning & I can honestly say that this moisturiser is my most favourite skin care product EVER! It is absolutely gorgeous! It’s everything I’ve always wanted in a moisturiser. With having an oily T Zone, I always thought other moisturisers used to sit on top of the greasiness. So I’d avoid putting anything on my T Zone. So I’d only end up moisturising my dry cheek area. This products helps to improve the skins barrier function, reducing hyperpigmentation and acting as an anti-inflammatory agent. I think my redness has massively improved. Also, I never knew that when the skin is super oily, it can be a direct result of the skin being too dehydrated. This product helps the skin to retain moisture, but my oilyness has greatly improved. My skin overall just feels less greasy, less dry & looks less red. My make up has been going on so well. I’ve stopped using a primer under my make up as this moisturiser gives such a lovely even base.

My make up isn’t clumping or sitting in lines. It’s also staying put all day… so that alone tells me that my oily skin has improved.

I’ve been using Ultimate A everynight before bed after using my Hydroxy Cleanser. I just want to say first off – that this product is not recommended while pregnant or breastfeeding due to the content of Vitamin A. This product is an amazing anti-aging product. I absolutely love this. I feel like my fine lines around my eyes have reduced. I’m now 37 & fine lines are my main concern. I think we’re all looking for that wonder cream that will make us look a little younger. I have no problem being almost 40… but I also want to look good too. This product promotes collagen growth, increases skin elasticity and reduces hyperpigmentation effectively and without irritation. It’s a lovely light cream, not too heavy or thick. It makes your skin feel so super soft. Again, like the B Quenched – I feel like this product has helped to reduce the redness. Normally after cleansing & moisturising on an evening, my skin would be so red. But I can honestly say, my skin looks calmer.

My 3 stand out products are: Hydroxy Cleanser, B Quenched, & Ultimate A. I honestly feel like I have new & improved skin, with no extra effort. When we feel good about ourselves, I think we can deal with the pressures & stresses of a busy lifestyle so much easier. Another great feature to these products, is that they give you a full run down on how to use them & when to use them. They really feel like a tailor made skincare regime just for you.

I will be continuing to document my skin progress & will be writing a progress post about it 🙂

I hope you’ve found this post useful & interesting. I’ve added the links to the products that I’ve been using so you can read further & even treat yourself.

Thank you so much for reading!

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.

Wobble, Wiggle and Grow

9 Sep

Hi folks,

Seth went back to pre-school last week. He was so excited. To be honest… I think he likes the routine of school Monday – Friday. Over the Summer break he has asked a lot for School. It’s so quiet in the house without him now he’s back. But looking at the positives – it gives me some one & one time with Ted.

Ted is 10 month old now… I just cannot believe that he’s going to be a year old next month. That time has flown. I know I always say it – but the time does just fly by. When people said to me that time flies once you have children… I don’t think I really believed them.

Ted has been having so much fun with his new toy from Hape & Baby Einstein. It’s no secret that Hape are one of our most favourite toy brands. We all just adore wooden toys. Ted’s new toy is Balancing Cal. Cal comes in 5 pieces & is a mix of wood & plastic. Some of the pieces make sounds too when you shake them. Fun & musical. The aim of the game is to stack Cal as tall as you can make him, without him falling down. This toy is great for encouraging & developing motor skills.

Each piece has been beautifully crafted & is the perfect size of little hands. Ted has had fun shaking them to make noise, clacking them together & has enjoyed giving them a good old bite lol. Each piece is lovely & smooth with no sharp edges & the materials feel very durable. The colours are stunning too. So vibrant.

Each piece has a different texture to feel too. The balls are perfectly weighted to be able to stack in a wiggly, wobbly way. Ted loves it when they all fall over. It’s really just a lovely little toy that does so much… makes music, rolls, stacks etc…

I know some folk think it’s a little too soon to be talking about it… however… Christmas is only around the corner! Balancing Cal would make a fantastic gift.

I’ve added some links for further reading & info on the product.

I hope you’ve found this post useful!

Thanks 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.

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

 

 

 

Festive Gift Ideas for Little Ones

9 Dec

Hi folks,

Me & the boys have been having fun the last few weeks playing with & testing some beautiful toys from Hape.

If you’re not familiar with Hape; they are the world’s largest producer of wooden toys. I always think wooden toys have a certain charm. They create that warm, fuzzy nostalgic feeling. And with such a well known brand – you know you’re always going to get good quality, well made products.

We were sent such a lovely collection… so here’s a little rundown & insight into what we have been having fun with;

This looks super cute & simply perfect in Ted’s nursery. It was really easy to assemble – no tools required & I did this one all on my own. It attaches to the cot really easily & is adjustable in height. The colours are beautiful, perfect & eye catching for little developing brains. It also winds up to play a lullaby. The quality is stunning. The music box is a wind up function, so requires no batteries. This mobile would make any little one a perfect Christmas gift as it’s suitable from birth. This would also make a stunning baby shower gift too.

 

My First Xylophone & Piano

We’re big fans of music in this house. Seth has gone to a music based group class from being 12 weeks old. Music is such an important part of development I think. Seth is now 2 years & 8 month old. He’s been having so much fun making music for his little brother. As well as an xylophone, there is a little piano which is made of removable wooden coloured shapes which also doubles as a shape sorter. This toy as a whole helps to develop shape, colour & sound recognition. I love the compact design of this toy. It won’t take up too much room in a toy box. It’d be great for popping in a bag to take over to the grandparents house when they’re babysitting 🙂 Perfect little parcel for any little folk for under the tree this Christmas.

 

Grow With Me Rocking Horse

I cannot begin to tell you how stunning this rocking horse is. Whenever I think of a traditional toy/play room, the first thing that pops into my head is a traditional wooden rocking horse. This is a perfect update on that traditional horse. The backrest has a lovely padded finish & you can even fix a wooden safety guard for younger children.

Ted is going to love it when he is a wee bit bigger.

Seth adores it as you can see in the above pics. It’s so study & strong. All of the edges are beautifully finished off… so smooth, so there aren’t any worries of finding sharpe bits. If you’re stuck on what to buy as that main big gift from Santa, then this would make a stunning main gift. It’s the perfect addition to any nursery, bedroom or play room.

The robust sturdy design of this rocking horse will withstand even the most boisterous of toddlers… Seth is a tad heavy handed at times & this horsey has remained in perfect shape.

 

Battery Powered Engine Set

What a stunning little set this is. The train set is battery powered & each carriage connects via magnets. There are also little trees & even a crane to bring your railway to life… the magnet on the crane lifts the cargo from each carriage. Each train carriage is brightly coloured & beautifully made – simply perfect for little hands. The track itself fits together like a little jigsaw, perfect for developing hand-eye coordination, creativity and sparks imagination. Seth LOVES this train set so much. Any child would adore this engine set.

Hape really do make some lovely things, they’d make any little one a beautiful gift or stocking filler. Hape offer a range of toys to suit all budgets.

Thanks so much as always for reading & happy shopping!

Love & Huggles,

Hayley xxx

 

Did Somebody Say… Christmas?

5 Sep

Hi folks,

I know some folk find mentioning Christmas so early a little taboo… but you know me! I just can’t enough of the Festive period. I just love love love anything & everything about Christmas. I’m always well ahead of the game when it comes to planning & organising for Christmas, but this year I’ve totally upped my game. Mainly as we have another family member joining us next month! As you all know, I’m going to have a little bit of recovery after the baby is born, as he shall be a planned c-section baby. So I really don’t want any planning stress when it comes to The Holidays. Seth is 2 years & 6 months now, so he’s very much aware of parties, Halloween & Christmas. So I just want everything planned & in place for him so he can get all giddy.

One of the things I love about Christmas, are our little family traditions. I had them with my family when I was little. So we have our own little things now that we have own children. We don’t tend to do Christmas stockings at the moment, but maybe that will change as the boys get bigger & older. For now we just do a Santa Sack & obviously a giant pile of presents from Santa. Oh & let’s not forget the Christmas Eve boxes that are delivered by the magical Elves on Christmas Eve.

So, you may remember 2 year ago when I reviewed a beautiful handmade Santa Sack from the Handmade Christmas Company. Well, they have sent me the most gorgeous Santa Sack for Little T as this will be his first Christmas. He is due to arrive 31st October. I chose the same design as Seth’s & yes it is personalised… but for now his name is top secret. Sorry folks… we just really want to keep it a surprise until he arrives. But I did entrust the Top Secret name to the lovely folk at The Handmade Christmas Company HQ… they’ve promised they won’t breathe a word to anyone.

For now I have disguised the name with the beautiful satin ribbon that comes with the Santa Sack. Nearer Christmas, I shall be featuring both Santa sacks together in another little review. Just so you can see them properly side by side.

As you can see… they are very much identical. The sacks are 80cm x 53cm in size. I can fit lots of gifts into them. Seth’s has held a lot of gifts over the last 2 Christmas’s.

There are 15 designs to choose from & all can be personalised with your name of choice. If, you’d prefer a non-personalised Santa Sack, you can get those too! And, they’re slightly cheaper. If you prefer Stockings, they also make those! Actually… I do love the Christmas Stocking now I’m looking at them. I think I may have to get some… I can feel another tradition starting already lol. The monogrammed stockings are utterly stunning!!! Need, need, need!

Even though Christmas seems a long way off… it isn’t really. We only have 3 month to go. And at least if you order now, you definitely know you’ll get it well in time for Christmas. They also offer free delivery on everything too! Now you can’t say fairer than that can you. I hate nothing more that High delivery charges.

I think I just love these products, as they all look so vintage, traditional & classy. They’ll stand the test of time. They’ll always be in ‘fashion’ & they’re so well made that they’ll last on durability alone. They’d make a great addition to any family traditions, decorations or simply as a gift. Do away with the usual Christmas gift bag & go a little fancier with a sack or stocking.

When you head over to their website, you’ll be given the option to sign up to their newsletter, which is a great way to stay up to date with promotions & new products. You can also head over to their Facebook Page too.

Thanks so much for reading! And I hope I’ve not freaked you all out talking about Christmas so soon lol.

Love & Huggles,

Hayley xx