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Little Life update | A Personal Diary

SO, hello! Happy 2018!

Where do we start? Where we are now I guess...

Things are still very busy here which is why I have been a little quiet here for a while, that and the usual Christmas madness of course. Our house renovations are still in progress, and although it feels like we may actually be getting somewhere now, it has just taken so long! Or perhaps it has just felt that way.

Why Do i blog?

We have been living with my parents now for well over a month, it could actually be longer to be honest. It probably feels about 10 years to them, poor devils! We are hoping though to be back home within the next couple of weeks though. It is looking really good and it is so worth all of the struggles and ridiculous expense but my goodness sometimes I think to myself was it really worth it? I guess time will tell.

Work is still busy, I have lots of travel booked in for the first half of the year and lots of London trips, which is where my head office is based. Personally I don't like this sound of the role I am in as it just disrupts routine for all of us, and I am a stickler for a bit of structure. But the littlies don't ever seem to notice and sometimes at least I get some sleep!

I am still working my 4 days and the balance really does feel right at the moment, sometimes I wonder if I could drop one more day but I really am not sure I could (1) do my job in 3 days, I struggle as it is to fit it all in and (2) be the mum I would want to be. I find that a Wednesday is lovely, we spend the day swimming, having a rest watching films and getting on top of a few things that need sorting, you know general life admin. And then I have 2 more days at work and its the weekend. When I say I am not sure I would be right for another day dropped, I mean I am not sure if I am enough for them at the moment. They both need so much stimulation, particularly Alex. And patience. And when the terror is still not sleeping through that tends to shine through in my patience (or lack of it).

sleep regression

Alex is 19 months old and not sleeping all night. He often wants to come into our bed or have milk and comfort, I know these are all the big NO NO's but anything for an easy life and some sleep, particularly when we are all living at my parents house. Anything to make it easier and more pleasant for everyone else too. I have a feeling when we get into our house it is going to be time for some mummy boot camp. That child will sleep! Or will he? I have heard of boys (why is it always boys?) not sleeping until they are like 4 years old? I pray this isn't the case, my eye bags couldn't carry another 2 and a half years worth of sleep deprivation. Other than his sleep troubles he is a bright, overly intelligent little creature! He is brilliant, he certainly thinks he is the joker!

fussy eating sos

Daisy is also doing fab, loving nursery and is brighter than ever too. She knows a little too much and this comes through in her attitude at times, but it is brilliant to watch / hear! She makes us laugh, she is becoming very sure of herself. Our only concern with Daisy is her diet, she is still having problems with not trying new foods. Point blank refusing them. I think I may do a post about that in the coming weeks as this doesn't feel the place for it.

Over and out,

Hayley x

A Fresh Start | My New Years Resolutions

Another year has whizzed on by, so another set of goals is at the front of my mind. I don't like to have resolutions as such, more mind sets and fresh, positive ways of thinking.

A Fresh Start | My New Years Resolutions

Last year I aimed for a positive mind; getting out more, spending more time on myself and to de-clutter. I would like to say I fully succeeded and in some aspects I did but other ways, not so much. I definitely got rid of "stuff" from our house and found it easier to manage at home, easier to keep clean and tidy. We had some new storage solutions put in for the kid's toys and things and that seemed to do the trick.

A big part of my years goals was: Plan to plan. Make plans. Simple. Fill the diary with travel, breaks, coffee dates. Which means we see the world like we love to but are planned and organised, we see people and socialise. 

And really I guess in some aspects I did do that, but not as much as I would have liked to have. We had lots of adventures as families but outside of that, not so much.

So a big part of this years is to change that up a little bit. Even popping out to the gym for an hour makes the world of difference, it is that break away from home life and work, giving a slightly more positive balance. I think a realistic goal would be that once a month I spend and plan to have time for me. Things like a cinema trip, drinks with the girls, date night with Ben, all things where I am treating myself, allowing myself to be Hayley as well as Mum. Ben and I planned to go out once a month in 2017 for tea or something similar, we did it a fair few times but no where near once a month, life does just tend to get in the way. We did however get to Prague for a child free weekend! Not planned I should add, I won it in a competition and would never have dreamt of going without them. I actually dreaded the time away from them. But it was nice, it reminded me just how easy travel was without the little ones, it was different. I love travelling with the children, it isn't easy and it certainly isn't hassle free but it is worth the stress and panics most of the time. But to get away, just the two of us, really was a nice break away.

My blog changed a little over the last 12- 18 months, bringing more photography and travel based posts into the design and a big switch up of the generic design made it more simple, clean and minimal. I am happy with it at the moment, as always I wanted to put more content out but with working full time (well, 4 days) and spending time with the babies around that, it does get pushed aside a little. And I am okay with that. With everything going on at the house too, it really can not be top of the priority list. It can only get easier though hey!

My DA score (jargon if you aren't into this SEO kind of rubbish!) has been better than it ever has been in2 017, so to continue that would be the dream. It has turned into a little revenue stream for me too, not enough to ever consider it becoming self sufficient or to be able to drop hours at work or anything like that, but enough to make me feel proud that something I love has started to make a little bit of money. I have however stepped away from some of the personal posts that I started this blog with, so this year I want to go back to writing more from the heart, more natural, personal type posts. So expect that this year!

Do you have any goals or resolutions for 2018?

Hayley x

How important is colour in a child’s early life?*

Learning starts from the moment we’re born. But stimulating a child’s mind and helping them develop their awareness are crucial to ensuring that they absorb as much as possible in the early years.

So, what part does learning about colour play in benefiting your child’s development and how can you help them along the way?

Colour and children’s learning

Colour and children’s learning 

A baby is born with monochrome vision. Until around eight months when their colour vision is fully developed, an infant is unable to distinguish the difference between colours. However, by ages three or four, a child can recognise basic shades — and frequent exposure can help strengthen this skill.

The advantages of learning about colours

From around eight months, it’s a good idea to start surrounding a baby with multiple colours to help them recognise and differentiate between various shades. This can help them make colour connections early on in life and experts have said that showing patterns to a baby is important, as it provides visual and cognitive stimulation.

While distinguishing between basic colours is important, it’s also beneficial to expose young children to different shades (e.g. navy and sky blue). Learning these allows children to recognise significant visual hues — such as red as a code for danger. It is useful outside of the curriculum too — for example; knowing the difference between a red and a blue coloured tap.

Once a child can identify different colours, they then should learn how to describe and write it — which improves their speaking and writing skills. Describing an object without saying its colour is difficult!

Aside from education, studies have suggested that colour can affect emotional well being, productivity and behaviour. Some experts claim that:
Blue: encourages creativity and relaxation — but if overused, it can bring the mood down.
Orange: promotes critical thinking and memory retention.
Yellow: boosts mood and excites a child (because of its vibrant appearance).

Considering the right colour for a classroom can also help the teacher, as it can create the ideal atmosphere for controlling a class and raising mood and productivity. Research has shown that colours are more memorable than monochrome too — a bright and colourful classroom makes new learning experiences stick in the mind.

Ways you can help teach kids about colours 

Playground canopies and parasols make excellent props for a fun, visual lesson in colour without the children even realising. Place them over areas of a playground where they’ll catch the sun to create different colourful patterns for the children to enjoy. Pupils can trace shadows of the patterns on the floor with chalk and learn how they move with the sun throughout the day.
If you’re teaching very young children, sensory development is the foundation for all other learning, and you can encourage this with colourful toys and play mats. Research has also highlighted the importance of messy play — where children can take part in unstructured play and get their hands dirty! Let them play with brightly coloured foodstuff, such as jelly, and develop their fine motor skills, too.

These easy and effective lessons will work to boost colour development and help improve the learning of other areas.


*PR Collaboration

Magic Unicorns Supa Bag | Cosatto Changing Bag Review*

Changing bags are something I had never even noticed before having Daisy, never mind thought about. When I was expecting Daisy I bought an oil cloth bag (think Cath Kidston style but cheaper) with a pretty floral print, it was on trend back then and it suited me. It didn't have any useful pockets though or dividers so rooting around finding things was a bit troublesome and frustrating but I could wipe it clean and well, it was cheap. It didn't last too long but it did me that first year pretty much.

Magic Unicorns Supa Bag | Cosatto Changing Bag Review*

With Alex I decided on a nice rucksack, a leather one. It was actually just a handbag I picked up off ASOS. Again it did me the job just fine but once again it wasn't designed to carry about all paraphernalia that comes with a baby AND a toddler! But it did mean I had my hands free.

I had never really come across these beautiful bags by Cosatto before. I knew of their gorgeous, bright pushchairs and travel systems and although I didn't personally have one I always admired the prints and part of me wished I had been more daring and just gone for it. When I bought Daisy's next stage car seat I had to have the flamingo print, because well, why wouldn't I?

When I was upgrading Alex from his crib and looking at Cotbeds for sale from Kiddies Kingdom  I noticed they were for sale there too. You can pick up various designs from online fairly easily.

Cath Kidston bag review

The bag has some useful pockets inside which you could store dummies and things in easily, or your car keys maybe! That is what I have used mine for, that and my lip balm, the two things I was forever losing at the bottom of my huge changing bag that felt like Mary Poppins' bag! This design is the Supa change bag in Magic Unicorns. The bag itself also comes with a fold-able changing mat inside it which is so handy!

Cosatto unicorn

Hayley x

*PR Collaboration. Samples provided but all my own opinions

2018 Travel Bucket List*

If you read this blog regularly then It will come as no surprise to you that as a family we love to travel and get out and about. It is what we choose to spend our money on and how we spend quality time together.  It doesn't have to be abroad to anywhere fancy, to me travel could be to a local beach for the weekend for camping. It can be simply getting away from the norm, the daily grinds of routine and home life.

2018 Travel Bucket List*

So for this coming new year we are aiming to get away at least every 3 months,  Obviously in the summer we will be doing our camping trips again so we should be going more often then but in these chilly months I'm not so sure. We tend to have a holiday (or 2) to somewhere further afield, I have been busy scouring the internet for ideas and websites such as Destination2.co.uk destinations page for some more inspiration. If money really was no option then I would be heading straight back to the Caribbean, I haven't been since having the children and would love to take them one day.

I obviously have several other locations that would be right at the TOP of my list:

  • Lapland - Need I say more?
  • See the northern lights - again I don't think I need to allberate
  • An  American Road trip - One I would save for when the children have grown up a bit (or maybe left home!!!)

We already have a city break planned for Berlin straight after Christmas and a big family holiday for a wedding later in the year to Skiathos. It is always nice to have things booked in advance so you have dates to work towards, something to look forward to.

2017 was a great year for travel for us with quite a few trips ticked off. Not as many camping trips as we would have liked but we can blame the glorious, British weather for that.

Lake garda with kids

We have lots of exciting ideas and plans we want to look into so watch this space! I am actually really intrigued by ski holidays, having never been on a snowy holiday before I'm really excited to look into it, possibly next year/ start of 2019.

Hayley x

*PR Collaboration

I couldn't have done it alone... #Thankyoumidwife

Both of my labours were amazing. Intense. Terrifying. But Magical. Something about birth just makes me think it is magic, what us women go through to get our babies in to the world safely is nothing short of a miracle. I read recently on a forum and with the research that Pampers are sharing that 1 out of 3 midwives feel under appreciated. That is at least one third of midwives. Which really saddens me.

I couldn't have done it alone... #Thankyoumidwife

With Daisy's labour it was a long process, a home birth that went on so long that ended up in consultant care with intervention after intervention. The process was long and painful, after a few moments of craziness where I fell unconscious and Daisy's heartbeat dropped we had consultants in and out, a midwife sat next to me at all times and always the threat of theatre which kept cropping back up! But they never left me. And then when it came to the actual delivery, it was all hands on deck. A full room of people there to look after me and my baby. And after a slightly traumatic hour or so we had our baby and felt safe. The reactions those incredible people made no doubt saved my daughter, they deliver her safe and well. As was I. A little sore, but safe.

With Alex his labour was crazy for different reasons. It was fast, I was expecting another 36 hour labour. Instead I was given probably less than 2 hours, I can't be sure, it whizzed by too fast! He pretty much helped himself out in to the world, he wasn't waiting for anyone. The midwife and the assistant in that day were just perfect. They knew how to treat me, look after me and reassure me throughout it and afterwards. When you're feeling so vulnerable after, after losing ALLLLLLL the dignity and having what feels like your whole body put back together that feeling of being cared for is priceless. And I will never forget those midwives and ladies who helped me during those labours.

Pampers is asking everyone to thank their midwives using the hashtag #ThankYouMidwife  and tagging @PampersUKIre on Facebook, @Pampers_UK on twitter and @pampersworld on Instagram. Every time a personal thank you is shared towards a specific midwife and/or hospital using the hashtag and tagging the brand across the relevant social media platform, Pampers will donate £1 to the Benevolent Fund of the Royal College of Midwives. Up to a maximum of £25,000 to the Royal College of Midwives.

So please join in and share your #ThankYouMidwife story and don’t forget to tag Pampers on Facebook (@PampersUKIRE) or on Twitter (@Pampers_UK), and #Pampers so we can get as much money as possible donated to the Royal College of Midwives Trust. Together maybe we can start to make them feel appreciated!

What To Buy a Mum For Christmas (Stocking Fillers) | A Christmas Guide For Women*

So if you haven't caught up with my Christmas Stocking Filler Guide for the men in your life, then you can find it here. But anyway, it is now time for the ladies of your life... AKA myself! ;)

Again these will be stocking fillers, not big, extravagant gifts. Christmas is not about that to me, it is all about the thought and pleasure of gifting.

I will link any brands below that I may have featured so you can simply click through to find the items.

What To Buy a Mum For Christmas (Stocking Fillers) | A Christmas Guide For Women*

I love you to Pieces Necklace: Prezzybox
Dear Mum Book: Prezzybox
Real Techniques Brushes: Superdrug
DKNY Perfume: Superdrug
Pom Pom Slippers: Next
Pom Pom Hat: Next

*PR Collaboration. Some Samples recieved

A Messy T Shirt Challenge With River Island*

We love a good old messy challenge so when we were challenged to design our own T we were super excited to get going. I am in no way a Pinterest mum, the way we tend to role is get lots of glue, sparkly things and hope for the best (not too much glitter stuck between the grains in my table)!

A Messy T Shirt Challenge With River Island*

So the Tshirt we have can be found in T-Shirts link.

We loved taking part in this and Daisy was over the moon about it. She was especially excited for the pom poms which are her absolute dream. I love how she did it around the neckline like a fluffy little collar! Very clever, maybe I have a future designer on my hands!

We then run glue all over the T and then sprinkled glitter on top, leaving a cute little, glitzy design all over it for that extra sparkle! All little girls love a bit of glitter!

Easy Toddler crafts

Pom Pom craft

It isn't the first time I have had River Island clothing for Daisy, I can't say I have bought much from there but the bits we have had have been really great quality and have washed well. I do find that sometimes the clothes can be a little grown up for a toddler (I am not all that trendy with Daisy, think cute, girly dresses and tights) but actually looking again now the range seems to have evolved and this season is a little softer, so I may have to go in and have a look. If I do pick anything up then I will be sure to share it with you!

Hayley x

*PR Collaboration - All Thought are my own

What To Buy a Man For Christmas (Stocking Fillers) | A Christmas Guide For Men*

It is that time of year again when every man and his dog gets out the Christmas Wishlist posts. I will have that coming later but for now I am doing a Christmas Guide to buying for the men in your life. We need every bit of help we can get don't we?

Ben is pretty tricky to buy for, if he wants something throughout the year then he generally buys it himself. Which leaves me very little to go for at Christmas time. I also have another problem where by his hobbies are quite expensive, Mountain biking & Photography which can mean unless I want to spend a lot of money it can be difficult.

But these are a few bits I have spotted over the last few weeks and have either purchased or popped on a list to get hold of over the next couple of weeks. I will list the items below for you, just in case :)

Unusual gifts for men

Bright and Funky undies and socks: Jacamo
Scratch Map : Prezzybox
Wash bag collection: Prezzybox
Lego personalised frame: Ourbricklibrary @Etsy
Beer selection: Beerhawk
USB Mixtape: Iwantoneofthose.com

*PR Collaboration. All opinions are my own, samples were revived.