We have spent most of the Christmas holidays at home, vegging out and stuffing our faces with more food than I knew was possible to eat. Yesterday I decided that enough was enough. We needed to go out and get some fresh air! We went to town and Little N and Ian went to get their haircut, so that they'll look smart for returning to work and starting preschool next week. We had a little wander around the shops, grabbed some lunch and then headed to Wymondley Wood to go exploring.

Days Out: A Winter Woodland Walk

We have spent most of the Christmas holidays at home, vegging out and stuffing our faces with more food than I knew was possible to eat. Yesterday I decided that enough was enough. We needed to go out and get some fresh air! We went to town and Little N and Ian went to get their haircut, so that they'll look smart for returning to work and starting preschool next week. We had a little wander around the shops, grabbed some lunch and then headed to Wymondley Wood to go exploring.

2015 has been a crazy, busy year. A toddler and a baby, and two stepchildren. School schedules, toddler groups, breastfeeding support groups.  Planning holidays. Planning a wedding! Family life, blog life. I've had two diaries and a notepad on the go. I write lists everywhere. Notes in my phone, on the back of receipts, reminders everywhere. Go here, don't forget to do this, remember that. Never switching off.



Plan, Play, Rest | Stick To Stigu Planner Review & Giveaway

2015 has been a crazy, busy year. A toddler and a baby, and two stepchildren. School schedules, toddler groups, breastfeeding support groups.  Planning holidays. Planning a wedding! Family life, blog life. I've had two diaries and a notepad on the go. I write lists everywhere. Notes in my phone, on the back of receipts, reminders everywhere. Go here, don't forget to do this, remember that. Never switching off.



This year, for the first Christmas ever, we are not going to visit any relatives on Christmas Day. Or Boxing Day. Nor are we going to have any relatives come to us. Nope. It's just going to be me, Ian and the children. No visiting, and no visitors. And that's just the way we want it to be.

Why we're not seeing family this Christmas

This year, for the first Christmas ever, we are not going to visit any relatives on Christmas Day. Or Boxing Day. Nor are we going to have any relatives come to us. Nope. It's just going to be me, Ian and the children. No visiting, and no visitors. And that's just the way we want it to be.

On Sunday night Baby J had me up half the night - I wish I was exaggerating - so yesterday we had a quiet day at home. When J went for his nap, Little N and I got the craft stuff out and had a go at some of the Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom Festive Fun activities. There are lots of fun things you can do, such as making Christmas cards and crackers, a letter to Santa, a Christmas hot chocolate recipe and a dot-to-dot Santa's sleigh activity. 




Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom Festive Fun!

On Sunday night Baby J had me up half the night - I wish I was exaggerating - so yesterday we had a quiet day at home. When J went for his nap, Little N and I got the craft stuff out and had a go at some of the Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom Festive Fun activities. There are lots of fun things you can do, such as making Christmas cards and crackers, a letter to Santa, a Christmas hot chocolate recipe and a dot-to-dot Santa's sleigh activity. 




In my post about why I choose extended rear-facing car seats, I explained that Baby J's new car seat is the Joie i-Anchor. This car seat is part of the i-AnchorSafe system, which is held with the i-AnchorFIX base. It’s suitable from birth and children can travel rear-facing up to 18kgs, which means that the average child will be able to sit rear-facing until they are about 4 years old. In this post I'll be telling you about the Joie i-Anchor car seat in more detail and giving you a closer look - including my tall 3 year old sitting in the seat!


REVIEW: Joie i-Anchor Extended Rear Facing Car Seat

In my post about why I choose extended rear-facing car seats, I explained that Baby J's new car seat is the Joie i-Anchor. This car seat is part of the i-AnchorSafe system, which is held with the i-AnchorFIX base. It’s suitable from birth and children can travel rear-facing up to 18kgs, which means that the average child will be able to sit rear-facing until they are about 4 years old. In this post I'll be telling you about the Joie i-Anchor car seat in more detail and giving you a closer look - including my tall 3 year old sitting in the seat!


Although I eat pretty healthily at mealtimes, I am an awful snacker. I am forever reaching for biscuits or crisps or chocolate, especially if I'm on the go and rushing around after my children. I heard about the Optiwell #SmallChanges challenge and it sounded ideal for someone like me. The challenge was to encourage me to make small changes to my unhealthy snack habits over a 10 day period by swapping them for Optiwell, a brand new yogurt drink with no fat and no added sugar!

Making #SmallChanges with Optiwell

Although I eat pretty healthily at mealtimes, I am an awful snacker. I am forever reaching for biscuits or crisps or chocolate, especially if I'm on the go and rushing around after my children. I heard about the Optiwell #SmallChanges challenge and it sounded ideal for someone like me. The challenge was to encourage me to make small changes to my unhealthy snack habits over a 10 day period by swapping them for Optiwell, a brand new yogurt drink with no fat and no added sugar!

If you are a lover of olives then this is the book for you! The Olive it! Recipe Book features recipes for olive marinades, tapenades and tapas to inspire you to in the kitchen. Celebrated Spanish chefs José Pizarro and Omar Allibhoy share their joy of olives and family-trusted recipes that have been passed down through generations. Read on to find out how you can win a copy!



GIVEAWAY: Olive It! Recipe Book

If you are a lover of olives then this is the book for you! The Olive it! Recipe Book features recipes for olive marinades, tapenades and tapas to inspire you to in the kitchen. Celebrated Spanish chefs José Pizarro and Omar Allibhoy share their joy of olives and family-trusted recipes that have been passed down through generations. Read on to find out how you can win a copy!



Christmas is all the more magical since becoming a mother. Especially this year. Now that Little N is 3 years old he understands what Christmas is about and he recognises lots of things related to the festive season, like snow, Santa, reindeer, Christmas trees and, of course, presents! It makes the planning and preparation for Christmas so much more fun for me, knowing that my little boy is brimming with excitement. To get us in the festive spirit we have been playing the Orchard Toys Christmas Surprises game.



REVIEW: Orchard Toys Christmas Surprises

Christmas is all the more magical since becoming a mother. Especially this year. Now that Little N is 3 years old he understands what Christmas is about and he recognises lots of things related to the festive season, like snow, Santa, reindeer, Christmas trees and, of course, presents! It makes the planning and preparation for Christmas so much more fun for me, knowing that my little boy is brimming with excitement. To get us in the festive spirit we have been playing the Orchard Toys Christmas Surprises game.



It's crazy how quickly Little N is learning and developing at the moment. His speech is coming on leaps and bounds, and he picks up new words every day. He can recognise colours and shapes, he can count to 20 and he can sing the alphabet song - even if he does make half of it up! He knows the days of the week and he's now interested in knowing what time it is. To help him to learn about telling the time, he has his very own watch: a ladybird Anisnap watch from Aniworld

Mini Style: Aniworld Anisnap Children's Watch + GIVEAWAY!

It's crazy how quickly Little N is learning and developing at the moment. His speech is coming on leaps and bounds, and he picks up new words every day. He can recognise colours and shapes, he can count to 20 and he can sing the alphabet song - even if he does make half of it up! He knows the days of the week and he's now interested in knowing what time it is. To help him to learn about telling the time, he has his very own watch: a ladybird Anisnap watch from Aniworld

Last week we donned our Christmas jumpers and took the boys to meet Santa for the first time ever at Willows Activity Farm in London Colney, St Albans. Set in the beautiful Hertfordshire countryside, Willows Activity Farm offers a wonderful family day out with a fun packed programme whatever the weather, and my family and I were invited along to experience the Willows Santa Spectacular.

Days Out: Santa Spectacular at Willows Activity Farm

Last week we donned our Christmas jumpers and took the boys to meet Santa for the first time ever at Willows Activity Farm in London Colney, St Albans. Set in the beautiful Hertfordshire countryside, Willows Activity Farm offers a wonderful family day out with a fun packed programme whatever the weather, and my family and I were invited along to experience the Willows Santa Spectacular.

Christmas is fast approaching and so I have put together a selection of my top gift ideas for children. Whether you are shopping for babies, toddlers or preschoolers, I have a Christmas present idea for every child. My gift ideas are perfect whether they're a boy or a girl, and I have something to suit all budgets too!



Christmas Gift Guide for Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers

Christmas is fast approaching and so I have put together a selection of my top gift ideas for children. Whether you are shopping for babies, toddlers or preschoolers, I have a Christmas present idea for every child. My gift ideas are perfect whether they're a boy or a girl, and I have something to suit all budgets too!



This year marks my third Christmas as a mother, and this year I decided to get into the festive spirit early by dressing the boys in Christmas jumpers every day in December. Well, I have to make the most of the chance to dress the boys how I like while still can, before they start choosing their own wardrobes! Hatley’s Little Blue House has got some fabulous ideas for Christmas this year and the boys have been sporting a couple of cute pieces from the range.

 

Mini Style: Christmas Jumpers with Hatley

This year marks my third Christmas as a mother, and this year I decided to get into the festive spirit early by dressing the boys in Christmas jumpers every day in December. Well, I have to make the most of the chance to dress the boys how I like while still can, before they start choosing their own wardrobes! Hatley’s Little Blue House has got some fabulous ideas for Christmas this year and the boys have been sporting a couple of cute pieces from the range.

 
I have a bone to pick with baby and pregnancy magazines. When I was pregnant with Little N, I bought loads. I'd get excited when the new issues came out each month. I would spend hours poring over them, circling all the things I wanted to buy, and filling my head with totally unrealistic ideas of what having a baby would be like.
 
At some point those magazines would do a relationships feature. And in each one the point of the feature was how to keep the spark alive in the bedroom. In a nutshell: we must keep our sex lives the same as what they were pre-pregnancy, or our relationships will suffer. 

Sex, Motherhood & Magazines

I have a bone to pick with baby and pregnancy magazines. When I was pregnant with Little N, I bought loads. I'd get excited when the new issues came out each month. I would spend hours poring over them, circling all the things I wanted to buy, and filling my head with totally unrealistic ideas of what having a baby would be like.
 
At some point those magazines would do a relationships feature. And in each one the point of the feature was how to keep the spark alive in the bedroom. In a nutshell: we must keep our sex lives the same as what they were pre-pregnancy, or our relationships will suffer. 

I don’t know about you but during the winter months I really struggle to drink enough water. The temptation of warming up with a hot cup of tea or coffee is far more appealing than the thought of swigging a cold glass of water. During winter dehydration can cause dry skin, chapped lips, tiredness, headaches and coughs so it’s really important to make sure you get enough H2O.

Robinsons have created a selection of seasonal recipes using their range of eleven delicious real fruit squash flavours to inspire us all to drink more water this winter, and my family and I have been trying them out. Here are my two favourite recipes to keep you hydrated AND warm through the colder season, with no added sugar! Yum!

How to Drink More Water This Winter

I don’t know about you but during the winter months I really struggle to drink enough water. The temptation of warming up with a hot cup of tea or coffee is far more appealing than the thought of swigging a cold glass of water. During winter dehydration can cause dry skin, chapped lips, tiredness, headaches and coughs so it’s really important to make sure you get enough H2O.

Robinsons have created a selection of seasonal recipes using their range of eleven delicious real fruit squash flavours to inspire us all to drink more water this winter, and my family and I have been trying them out. Here are my two favourite recipes to keep you hydrated AND warm through the colder season, with no added sugar! Yum!

Little N and Baby J have got two older siblings. My stepson was 5 and my stepdaughter was 3 when my eldest was born, and I thought that being a stepmum had prepared me for motherhood. I was so wrong. I had no idea what a shock to the system it would be. I had no idea how much it would impact my career, my relationship and my friendships, and I had no idea how long it would take me to find my confidence as a mother.

 

becoming a confidnt parent

Becoming A Confident Parent

Little N and Baby J have got two older siblings. My stepson was 5 and my stepdaughter was 3 when my eldest was born, and I thought that being a stepmum had prepared me for motherhood. I was so wrong. I had no idea what a shock to the system it would be. I had no idea how much it would impact my career, my relationship and my friendships, and I had no idea how long it would take me to find my confidence as a mother.

 

becoming a confidnt parent

For as long as I can remember I have always enjoyed reading and my love of books is something I hope my children will inherit. The boys have quite an impressive little library already and I make a point of reading to them at least once a day. A great way to get young children interested in reading is with a book about their favourite characters, and even better if the child features in the book as well! Little N adores Thomas & Friends so this personalised Christmas book with him at the centre of the story is just the ticket.

thomas & friends personalised christmas book review

Thomas & Friends You and the Christmas Rescue Personalised Book

For as long as I can remember I have always enjoyed reading and my love of books is something I hope my children will inherit. The boys have quite an impressive little library already and I make a point of reading to them at least once a day. A great way to get young children interested in reading is with a book about their favourite characters, and even better if the child features in the book as well! Little N adores Thomas & Friends so this personalised Christmas book with him at the centre of the story is just the ticket.

thomas & friends personalised christmas book review
You may have noticed that I’m a bit of a fan of foxes. I particularly adore baby and children’s clothing that features woodland creatures, especially when my little red furry friends are involved. So when I saw that organic lifestyle brand Finn + Emma was now available here in the UK at Natural Baby Shower I let out a little squeal of delight. Finn + Emma produce stunning wooden toys and clothing that are the perfect balance of style and sustainability. And their woodland collection features lots of furry critters, including foxes!

finn   emma clothing review

Mini Style: Finn + Emma

You may have noticed that I’m a bit of a fan of foxes. I particularly adore baby and children’s clothing that features woodland creatures, especially when my little red furry friends are involved. So when I saw that organic lifestyle brand Finn + Emma was now available here in the UK at Natural Baby Shower I let out a little squeal of delight. Finn + Emma produce stunning wooden toys and clothing that are the perfect balance of style and sustainability. And their woodland collection features lots of furry critters, including foxes!

finn   emma clothing review
Before I had children most of my disposable income was spent on clothes. I love fashion and my colleagues would roll their eyes as daily parcels arrived from my lunchtime online shopping habit. Since having children, my own wardrobe has taken a back seat as my obsession with clothes has moved to kids fashion. So it’s always a treat to actually get something for me, like this gorgeous mustard chunky knit jumper from Luxemme.

luxemme limited edition mustard jumper review

Mama Style: Luxemme

Before I had children most of my disposable income was spent on clothes. I love fashion and my colleagues would roll their eyes as daily parcels arrived from my lunchtime online shopping habit. Since having children, my own wardrobe has taken a back seat as my obsession with clothes has moved to kids fashion. So it’s always a treat to actually get something for me, like this gorgeous mustard chunky knit jumper from Luxemme.

luxemme limited edition mustard jumper review
Baby J has got a new set of wheels: the very cool Fisher-Price Charisma Trike. It’s a unique 3 in 1 tricycle that manoeuvres like a stroller. It’s suitable for ages 10-36 months and has three stages so it grows with the child, going from parent-controlled Touch Steering to an independent trike that he will eventually be able to pedal himself.

fisher-price trike review

REVIEW: Fisher-Price Charisma Trike

Baby J has got a new set of wheels: the very cool Fisher-Price Charisma Trike. It’s a unique 3 in 1 tricycle that manoeuvres like a stroller. It’s suitable for ages 10-36 months and has three stages so it grows with the child, going from parent-controlled Touch Steering to an independent trike that he will eventually be able to pedal himself.

fisher-price trike review
My Christmas shopping has officially started! Here I’m sharing some of my favourite gift ideas for men this Christmas. There is a gift idea to suit all tastes and budgets, with goodies starting at just £7.50. So if you’re looking for a gift for your husband, boyfriend, dad or brother, then look no further!
christmas gift guide for men

Christmas Gift Guide for Men

My Christmas shopping has officially started! Here I’m sharing some of my favourite gift ideas for men this Christmas. There is a gift idea to suit all tastes and budgets, with goodies starting at just £7.50. So if you’re looking for a gift for your husband, boyfriend, dad or brother, then look no further!
christmas gift guide for men
With Christmas fast approaching I thought it would be a good time to bust some of the breastfeeding myths. When I had my first baby I thought there were all these things that I couldn’t do, eat or drink, but it turns out that most of it was utter rubbish!

breastfeeding myths

Busting The Breastfeeding Myths

With Christmas fast approaching I thought it would be a good time to bust some of the breastfeeding myths. When I had my first baby I thought there were all these things that I couldn’t do, eat or drink, but it turns out that most of it was utter rubbish!

breastfeeding myths
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