Dear Daisy... You will Always be our Little Girl


At the end of the week you will be 3 years old. I have no idea how this is even possible, I feel like I have had you forever yet at the same time the last few years have just flown by. It feels just a few months ago that I was writing to you on your 2nd birthday. I really hope you don't cringe as you read this letters.

Dear Daisy... You will Always be our Little Girl


In particular the last year has gone super fast and I think it is because we have been so so busy with your little brother and things.

It wasn't until I sat and watched some old vlogs that I noticed just how much you had changed. You have really grown up and turned into a little lady from a wibbly, wobbly toddler. You're toilet trained, you eat better (still very much beige mind you), sleep well, interact well and have some great conversations!

The things you say really do make me chuckle, you come out with some great one liners. Only today you were telling your dad about Rapunzel's boyfriend and made him act it out, I mean how do you even know what a boyfriend is?

Then in the bath you said look mum I'm crossing my legs, we do this at preschool? Your baby ways seem to be running away, never mind slipping.



I remember writing how you are a strong willed little flower, who does what she wants, and only what she wants and when she wants to do it! Once you've made your mind up its very difficult to persuade you otherwise! And nothing has changed, in fact you're stronger than ever and your attitude really is something. Nothing holds you back, just as we expected.

You're now a preschooler, which to me feels a little bittersweet. I love to see you grow and learn new things but at the same time I want you to stay tiny forever.

You absolutely love being outdoors and would spend all day every day out there if you could. You don't mind what the weather is, you just like to be free and exploring. Getting filthy most of the time, which is a bit strange considering you're also incredibly girly and princess obsessed. Although who says a princess can't love a bit of poo muck as you would say!

You're just like us and absolutely love a holiday. We try to get away as much as we can, even if it is camping in North Wales. We have been on some lovely holidays this past few years and you have done lots of travelling already. We have been to Cyprus, Wales, The  Lake District, Italy (Venice, Verona & Lake Garda!), London, Menorca, Cornwall you have been very busy!

I expect this year will be the year we really see some big changes, as you prepare to go to school next year and as you become so aware of everything and everyone. I am excited yet a little nervous of what is to come!





Have fun little lady xxx

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#Getmessy Making chocolate Eggs*


So I love a bit of craft or messy play with Daisy. I am by no means a Pinterest mum and our scope usually goes as far as cupcakes, sequins and lots of paint and glue! Not all at once, but you get my drift.

We were sent a lovely package from Waterwipes for Easter for both Daisy and Alex so they could make their own Easter eggs. I have never done anything like that before but knew that Daisy would just love it and that it may keep her busy for at least half an hour.

I was super grateful as Good Friday was a rainy day here in the Midlands and it gave us something to do together while Alex napped.

I pulled a little video together here of how we did it and how we got on.

It was actually really easy and Daisy really enjoyed it, what is not to love about chocolate and getting messy?

If you are new to hearing about Waterwipes then you I have done a few posts previously about them and how they are a staple in our house, especially with a little boy who has very sensitive, dry skin. You can find one of those posts here.

So on to a few photos from activity:

#Getmessy Making chocolate Eggs* chocolate craft

#Getmessy Making chocolate Eggs* chocolate craft

#Getmessy Making chocolate Eggs* chocolate craft


*This post is not sponsored but samples were recieved in return for personal opinions and experiences. 

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Be Bold & Beautiful with Boden: Giving Birchbox a go...


The jury is still out with the service I am afraid.

I have just had my second Birchbox; March & April. And if I am honest, which I always am on here, I am not completely sold on the service. I was disappointed with the first box, my only saviour was the They're real Duo lipstick from Benefit, which wasn't full size but was close enough for me. Otherwise I went away feeling a bit MEH about it.

I wasn't going to order a second box but I got home one day and found the next box on the doorstep, I didn't realise I had set up a subscription. I thought I had just bought a one off purchase. That rubbed me up the wrong way a little if I am honest. But upon opening it I was pleasantly surprised.

It was the collaboration with Boden edition and the box itself is gorgeous, floral and bright. And it was a little drawer which was quite useful unlike the bog standard beige box from last month. It felt like you got a little more value for your money which is always nice.

Inside the samples were so much better from last week, I may actually use all of them at some point.

It seems that most people have had the Nip & Fab full size item but sadly I didn't. I would have liked to have tried some of that range and it would have been a perfect opportunity to. But my personalisation isn't quite right I don't think, so if I was to get another box then I would need to look into that. My box did however contain the Manna Kadar Cosmetics HD Powder, which prevents shine and sets makeup into place. It’s ideal for my normal-to-oily skin which can feel quite shiny in these warmer months. Again it was a brand I have wanted to try too. Which I guess is the plus about these boxes, you get to try brands you wouldn't usually reach for.

All subscribers receive an exclusive £10 Boden Gift Card to use on new season items which is a fab little bonus too. Some of their new range is gorgeous, especially the children's new seasons range. I am sure it will get spent! Some of my favourite items include:

Be Bold & Beautiful with Boden: Giving Birchbox a go... Boden childrens SS17

One great thing about this box is that it lead me straight to Boden and I have rediscovered my love for them. I am not sure my husband will see it that way though...

In case you are interested the standard Birchbox subscription costs £10 (plus £2.95 p&p).

Hayley

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Top Tips for Long Car Journeys with Children


I talk about travelling a lot over on my blog but I rarely mention how the car journeys can go and what we do to make them a bit easier. As we tend to travel all over the place quite regularly, our children have been taken on long car journeys from being tiny. I am often told that we are brave and/or crazy for this but you just need the right frame of mind and a little preparation.

Top Tips for Long Car Journeys with Children


1. Snack, Snacks, Snacks...

For everyone. All the snacks and all the drinks!
Kids love snacks, and so do I. Not a lot more to say except it passes time, keeps them quiet and keeps me from getting hangry!

2. Go at the right time

If we are going a long way we tend to leave early. Waking them up early, giving them a light breakfast, wash and change of clothes, ready for them to fall back to sleep again in a short time and sleep through a good chunk of the journey. Late at night is also good, that tends to be how we come home from a holiday. Have a full day and then leave, when you get home you can just transfer them straight to bed.

Try to avoid rush hour, by avoiding the peak times it can make a big difference to journey times and stress levels.

3. Entertainment

I am always thinking about how we can pass the time or how we can calm a het up toddler when we need to . The ipad or phone always gets packed first with short films or programmes loaded on and some simple games. We also pack magazines, books and a few of Daisy's favourites like her small dolls, barbies and cuddly toys.
4.Sit back and enjoy the ride!

4. Sit back and enjoy the ride! 

Stay calm. If you hit traffic does it really matter? If you go the wrong way? Take it in your stride, stop when you need to, don't worry how long it takes. If you’re relaxed, the babies are more likely to be relaxed.

5. Be prepared

As in know where you are going. Have in mind your first stop for a stretch and a walk. How long will your journey take (in an ideal world)? Have spare clothes at the top of the pile in the boot. You know the rest...

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Top 5 Nursery Must Haves


Second time around shopping for and preparing for a baby is much easier. You know what you really NEED over what you think you like the look of or what perhaps is absolutely not necessary. There are several things I bought with Daisy that were barely looked at, never mind touched.

 So I thought I would share with you my top 5 nursery essentials.   Room Thermometer  I am always cold so I find it really difficult to know how warm a room is for a baby without using a thermometer. I have never used anything fancy, just one like this has done the job just fine. Just obviously don't put it right over the radiator or by the window, I have always placed ours on a shelf just by where the cot is to give a good reading. This is a good little kit because the bath one could come in handy too.   Baby Thermometer  This item is a must have. I don't know what I would do without ours. I have had the same one since having Daisy and it is one we were handed down. It works a treat and can really put your mind at rest if your little one is unwell or maybe you think they feel warm. We have one that can go in the ear but you can get all kinds of scanning type ones now which look even better!  Projection Soother  There are lots of soothers around now, we had several with Daisy but I find the ones that can have light lullaby's and a light show the most effective. They really aid the little one to fall off to sleep on their own and it can soothe them if you just want to pop them down for a while. We have the Hug Me Projection Soother at the moment which we just love.   Sleep Sacs  I am not a fan of loose blankets in babies cots. There are too many horror stories and with a sleep sac you don't have such a worry and also you know they should be nice and toasty, but not too hot. Gro bags tends to be our favourite because of the designs available and they wash really well too.   Monitor  Again for safety reasons and to put my mind at rest. We don't have a fancy video one, I have never felt a need for one and they were much more expensive when I bought one 3 years ago for Daisy.


So I thought I would share with you my top 5 nursery essentials.

Room Thermometer

I am always cold so I find it really difficult to know how warm a room is for a baby without using a thermometer. I have never used anything fancy, just one like this has done the job just fine. Just obviously don't put it right over the radiator or by the window, I have always placed ours on a shelf just by where the cot is to give a good reading. This is a good little kit because the bath one could come in handy too.

Baby Thermometer

This item is a must have. I don't know what I would do without ours. I have had the same one since having Daisy and it is one we were handed down. It works a treat and can really put your mind at rest if your little one is unwell or maybe you think they feel warm. We have one that can go in the ear but you can get all kinds of scanning type ones now which look even better!

Projection Soother

There are lots of soothers around now, we had several with Daisy but I find the ones that can have light lullaby's and a light show the most effective. They really aid the little one to fall off to sleep on their own and it can soothe them if you just want to pop them down for a while. We have the Hug Me Projection Soother at the moment which we just love.

Sleep Sacs

I am not a fan of loose blankets in babies cots. There are too many horror stories and with a sleep sac you don't have such a worry and also you know they should be nice and toasty, but not too hot. Gro bags tends to be our favourite because of the designs available and they wash really well too.

Monitor

Again for safety reasons and to put my mind at rest. We don't have a fancy video one, I have never felt a need for one and they were much more expensive when I bought one 3 years ago for Daisy.




*PR Samples may be used



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I am Not the Mum I Thought I Would Be...


I always envisaged that parenting would be tricky but on the whole it would be a doddle. The sleepless nights, the mess, the ongoing demands, the changes your body goes through, the hormones, these things would all pass as fast as they came. That I would love my children unconditionally.

I am Not the Mum I Thought I Would Be...

I am Not the Mum I Thought I Would Be...


I wasn't wrong in some aspects, but others I was a million miles off. This isn't a call for compliments or the I told you so brigade to get stuck in by the way. It's a Mums right to admit these things, this is my diary and my little mind dump I guess.

I always thought I was going to be the mother who knew her child’s every need and thoughts before they even knew themselves. But I’m not. I find it a guessing game, one I have got better at mind you. They are their own little people who experience things differently to us adults, they have different mind sets and think differently. Who ever says get on to their level is clearly bonkers, I am going no where near the level of a rabid toddler who is on the brink of a breakdown! You just have to test out different tactics and the stupid thing, the results varies by the day! No way will they make it easy for us. Keep us on our toes.

In truth, the real truth, I can often be shouty mum, I am much more impatient than I ever thought I would be, and I am not always in control of my emotions. It is not unheard of for me to have to walk away and just breathe or feel teary after a hard day.

 I thought I would want to race back to work and earn my living, I was career driven before children and loved the prospect of climbing the ladder and proving my worth. But I don't want that. I am back at work and I enjoy aspects of it, the adult conversation, something to challenge my mind and give me that mind space away from the challenges of being a parent. Because my god, I also thought that stay at home mums had it easy too, I am far more tired after a day with the children that I am at work! But anyway, yes I am in no way racing into work, more like plodding. I am back but I am there to do my job and that is it. The drive has lessened, and I look forward to getting back home or closing my laptop for the evening.

I didn’t think I would let me children use technology;  iPads and watch TV. But I do. Not as much as some but I am also not saying that I don't let that god awful pig babysit for an hour here and there when I need to get stuff done or I just need a little break when the baby goes down for a nap. I also find it works wonders as a wind down tool when the day is almost over but we need the place pacifying until tea is ready, bath is run etc.

But do you know I am the only Mum my babies need. The only Mum I would want them to have. I am not what I imagined but actually I think I am doing alright. We all rock it in our own ways don't we? Even though there are many things I don’t do in the way I thought I would I like to think that my babies know how much I love them, that they can see it when I cuddle them goodnight or rock them when they're unwell during the night. The way they look back at me tells me they do.

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The #Dolmio #ThankGoodness Challenge


When I had an email arrive in my inbox asking if i would like to participate in the #Dolmio #Thankgoodness challenge I automatically thought sure, why not!



The biggest reason I really wanted to give it a go was because we don't actually tend to use many ready made sauces for our cooking, we tend to go cook from scratch. As in using chopped tomatoes, herbs, onions, carrots etc for our bolognaise rather than reaching for a jar of sauce. I think it is down to us enjoying to cook more than ingredient snobbery or anything daft. So I was intrigued!

When ever we cook we try to jam as much goodness into our foods as possible and more often than not chuck any kind of vegetable in to our chilli, stews etc as we can. Anything we have hiding in the fridge and freezer. Frozen spinach is a favourite of ours. I have always been slightly anaemic and when pregnant I really struggled as it got much worse and for the most of it I have been able to manage it with my diet. I also think it so improvement to get as much of this goodness into the children as possible.

After a few days a lovely delivery landed on my doorstep, with enough food to last us a good few days! We like to batch cook so we automatically though we can make meals that will last a few days and still be full of delicious ingredients. Anything to make our busy weeks a little easier.

Easy Lasagne recipe


Our biggest winner of the weak was the pesto lasagne. A recipe pretty much made up by my husband.


First he fried off the mince alongside the onions, carrots and celery.

Before adding in the peppers and courgettes too. All cut nice and finely in the food processor to ensure there wasn't too may large bits, especially for Alex who is currently weaning.

Easy Lasagne recipe

Once it was all cooked and smelling delicious he added in the Dolmio sauce and left it simmer nicely and thicken up a little. There is nothing worse than a sloppy lasagne if you ask me!

While that was bubbling away merrily he started the cheese sauce. He makes it like a usual bechamel sauce but added in some cream cheese, smooth cheddar and then at the very end some frozen spinach to add in even more goodness into it. That also gave it the look of pesto. He also popped in some basil and a grating of nutmeg too.

Next up was to "build" it...



Then to cook in the oven for around 30 minutes before it was ready! Before he put it in the oven he placed some extra cherry tomato segments on the top, to look pretty!

And that is it, nice and simple and lasted the family for 2 nights.



This post is an entry for the #Dolmio #ThankGoodness Challenge, sponsored by Dolmio.

Dolmio Bolognese sauce is 100% natural and contains one of your five a day.  I was sent the food for free, in order to complete the #ThankGoodness challenge all opinions are my own.

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Why Cyprus is the Perfect Family Holiday Destination


It is no secret that I absolutely love Cyprus, we are due to go this August with family and I think this could be my 5th time possibly. I am not one to go back to the same place because there are just so many lovely places to go and explore in the world.

Why Cyprus is the Perfect Family Holiday Destination


But... For a family holiday it is just the perfect destination.

1 The Weather

We usually go late summer, September time and the weather is great. It is warm but not ridiculosly hot, so not too worrying for the babies. We are going this year in August which I think may be a little too hot but we shall see, and we know how to avoid peak sun times etc and how to protect them so we will be fine.

2 Flight Time

The flight time is between 4-5 hours depending on air speed, but it isn’t too long. Not as far as you could go for the weather. There aren’t really many other places you can fly to from the UK and get sun in that short time and feel like you are miles away (which of course you are).

3 Getting About

Quite often when we go on holiday with children we aren't too bothered about going far and travelling about. But Cyprus is super easy to navigate. For starters they drive on the same side of the road as us here in the UK. Road signs are the same or very similar too and the roads are easy to drive on, most of it is dual carriage way or at least big long A roads. Super duper easy. We have hired cars a few times and just nipped around here, there and everywhere. And it was so cheap too. I am sure we paid less than £130 for two weeks possibly.

4 Local Culture

I love a bit of a culture, experiencing new things, new foods and meeting new people. Cyprus is the most friendly country I have ever visited. They ADORE children, they love families and are so accommodating. We never feel like we are being a nuisance or being a pain or are in the way. It is so friendly. I also can be a little intimidated in some countries (I think it is the really blonde hair I have as a child, it was a big of a magnet to some people!) and very protective of myself and my children, but I never feel like that here.

5 Beauty

Cyprus is beautiful. I don't need to say anything else I don't think!

6 Accommodation

There are so many options for you to stay in when you go to Cyrpus. We have stayed in big complex style hotels that have just about everything you would ever need, apartments for self catering and my absolute favourite choice now a days, a villa. I did a post all about Villas here where I go into detail why that is the perfect option for you. We tend to book our villas through Owners Direct but there are plenty of options out there. I think you could possibly even find somewhere on Airbnb but I have never tried it outside of the UK myself.

Why Cyprus is the Perfect Family Holiday Destination

Why Cyprus is the Perfect Family Holiday Destination

Villa Holidays


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Top Tips for Travelling with Children Under 2 Years Old


Some people are scared of travelling with children, especially babies. Truth be told I am a little too, but to me it is 100% worth it. When you arrive at your destination the weight will lift and you'll know straight away that you have done the best thing.

I have a few tips to make it a little easier. Things I have found that make it a much easier experience, I am not saying it will be stress free because with kids is anything 100% stress free? Doubt it.

Top Tips for Travelling with Children Under  2 Years Old


1. Always book and plan as much in advance as you can. 

Know where you are going, where you are parking, how long the journey is and where you need to be well in advance. I was a pro at doing all of these the night before or not at all before kids, it didn't bother me. But now, I need to be prepared, the least number of things whizzing about my head on the day of the travel the better. This could be whether you're flying off somewhere nice and hot or camping in wales. Same same.

2. Check all documentation, passports, the lot. 

First up remember children's passports don't last as long as ours so check those. Have you got holiday insurance sorted? Have you printed off boarding passes etc and directions for when you get somewhere? Put them all in a nice folder (Ben will smirk here, I don't do this part, he does!) and to hand when you should need them. You don't want to be scratting about for things or scrolling through your millions of emails on your iphone late at night or after a long flight. 
3. Leave extra time. FOR EVERYTHING.

Always build in extra time with children than compared with travelling alone, children don't do anything quickly. They wander about, explore, are interested in EVERYTHING! I always try to get my head around this and remind myself this is why we are on holiday, to make memories and spend time exploring. They just take a little longer about it than us. This starts even before you fly – allow extra time for things like going to the loo, sick stops (yes it happened to us on the way to Manchester airport once - delightful) when travelling to the airport to make sure you’ve built in enough time to make it to your flight on time. We once had to race to our gate to go to Italy because our parking bus didn't come on time - we won't be parking off site again - lesson learnt - money saved but brain mushed and tears almost running by the time I sat on the plane! 
4. Packing - This is a tricky one for anyone. 

Ben is a light traveller, small bag with the necessities in and he is done. I have never been brilliant a at this, until I had to share my case with a small human who certainly doesn't travel light. Remember clothes can be rinsed and washed easily, put in a tube of travel wash and you'll be sorted. You may think you'll need to pack for all eventualities but in reality you won't need a smuch as you think you do. Lay outfits out, mix and match things, think about how quickly they'll dry, that kind of thing. You'll be fine. And hey if you miss anything it won't matter, you will make do or as long as you aren't in the middle of nowhere then you will be able to get hold of most things in other places. 
5. Nappies, Food, Medicine.

I ALWAYS take calpol - in my hand luggage. Just in case. You can never be too sure with children. I also take a thermometer in my case, I am a bit neurotic when it comes to illness, I like to know when they have a temperature and like to watch how it is effected when calpol has been taken. It helps put your mind at ease. I don't think I have ever used it when away but it is good to know it is there if I should need it. With babies I always take nappies, not too many, enough to get me through a few days until I find a shop to stock up a little more. The same principle goes for food. 
6. Entertainment

You might cringe when you read this - the iPad is a little safety net. For those times when you're sat in the airport waiting and you don't want your toddler whizzing about getting lost. For those early evenings when it has been a long day and you just want some peace, with a glass of wine and the toddler is tired and grouchy and not even a walk will do. But obviously pack a few books, Daisy loves her little dolls, anything to keep them busy for a few hours when needed. 

Top Tips for Travelling with Children Under  2 Years Old

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