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Dear Daisy, It is your first day at school...

Daisy's garden party

We made a decision not to have Daisy christened. Although both myself and Ben are christened we haven't been to church since really apart from the odd wedding, christening and special service. We didn't get married in a church either, we we didn't feel it necessary to have Daisy christened, I'm sure deep down a lot of people (not all) will only have one for the celebration and party anyway! 

So we decided to plan a day to celebrate having Daisy and welcome her if you like. It was also a good chance to say thank you to out family and very close friends who have showed Daisy so much love and really helped us out at times. 

I love planning events and those that know me will know I love a bit of vintage or shabby chic. I knew I wanted Daisy's party to be bright yet shabby, think Great British bake off tent! 

We were lucky to have the garden at Bens aunty and uncles house and it's beautiful views, as well as the use of a marquee and chairs etc from his uncle. The only thing we couldn't plan was the weather but it was okay most of the time, not a wash out anyway! 

So more of a photo post than anything today...

And our little belle of the ball...


Lots of love,
Hayley xxx

Conforming and following the rules...

As a first time mum (and dad!) you are thrown so much advice to supposedly help you through parenthood, more than likely throughout your whole child's life but a whole bucket load when they are tiny. Advice like don't let your baby go longer than 3 hours before feeding, don't give them a dummy, you must do baby lead weaning, baby to sleep in your room until at least 6 month, no co sleeping, blah blah blah! 

It can be overwhelming. And patronising. And not allow you to find your own way with being a parent. 

Health visitors are assigned early on and you see them quite a bit in the first few months, or at least I did. The main reason being Daisy took some time to get back to birth weight, again her progress wasn't conforming to a line they had in a book! Frustrating and not particularly encouraging. When pregnant they push breast feeding and it's apparently the thing to be doing yet when you do in those first few weeks the pressure they put on you is ridiculous. There is no time to find your feet and adapt to it for you or your little one. Now I'm not saying if your baby was losing and losing and not gaining there shouldn't be intervention but in my case, and a lot others I've heard of this wasn't necessary. So to be told we may need to look at "options" was really disappointing. 

I stuck to my guns though luckily with advice from family and friends and knew my baby was healthy as she was gaining steadily and so content. I'd have known if she was hungry and in need of something more. It's as if they don't allow for instinct, it's all about records. 

This isn't to slate health visitors as I quite like mine but when it comes to feeding I found the system they have to follow to be frustrating. And it doesn't stop there with feeding.

When they get to weaning age, no earlier than 6 months!!! I'm sure there's some research behind it all but a few years ago it was 4 months and it certainly wasn't all about baby led weaning. The idea that spoon feeding is force feeding (their words not mine!!) I found a little irrational! I think you know your own baby and when they are ready they are ready. I will be doing it my way! And I I'll be combining spoon and baby led and see how we go. 

Sleeping is another one. So they have to stay in your room for six months? I bet a lot of people including myself don't have the room for a cot in their bedroom. Once Daisy had outgrown her basket at 13/14 weeks ish she was in her big girls bed, in her room. Bad mum! She sleeps like a dream and I hear every peep. Daisy has not been one to sleep in our bed yet, we've had the odd hour in a morning but never all night. But I can see why people co sleep, you all need your sleep! There are guidelines out there for safe co sleeping. 

There are so many other random people that throw in advice too, oh don't give her a dummy (I'll give her a dummy if I flipping want to and it settles her), don't let her nap in an afternoon, you need to feed her more bottles, basically do what you please and don't listen to all of it chucked your way. Take away the bits you want and don't dwell on the other bits. 

I think next time round if I take this mind set earlier on I'll be far more relaxed in the early days. 

Not a moany post (much!) but one just to tell new mums that they can follow their own insticts, they know baby best and can make their own choices. Read the advice and adapt to your own way :)

Lots of love,
Hayley xxx

<div align="center"><a href="http://www.bloomingboo.com/" title="Blooming Boo"><img src="https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/img/b/R29vZ2xl/AVvXsEgYGNVmY22mM03L_WB5edlRALReZXakCHMDvKvULPmYlG64JeKySwUx-_1a-wqDyPyjlp2gGng8ntuj7LeEVBhmVhsH6WURydUAkjtwzsBhcNGOFElqkr8efy0REC4_yNpXTD-kTKlVSe0/s1600/%23MMMLINKUPBADGE1.jpg" alt="Blooming Boo" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

*Philip Kingsley Elasticizer

I was lucky last week to see someone retweet one of Philip Kingsleys tweets for #freebiefriday and so thought I'd do the same! Got to be in it to win it! And I never win anything, but I won!! Must have been my lucky day. 

If I'm honest I'd never heard of the brand (when I googled it I thought I must have been living under a rock as it has so much hype around it!!) So thought I'd take a look on their website and find out a bit more, the Elasticizer which is what I won is their hero product. 

It's basically a pre- shampoo treatment, you rub it into your scalp and roots area and leave on for 10 minutes before washing out and shampooing. It simply makes the hair more supple and stretchy and so it won't snap which it usually would when it dries. If you put your hair up a lot like I do then you are prone to the breaking of hair, but this will help. They recommend you use a least once a week. 

Don't get this muddled for the Extreme version which is different!

I love a hair treatment and often do masks and oils to look after my mane as part of my weekly pamper routine. Especially at the moment as I feel like I'm losing so much hair post pregnancy. 

After using just once I honestly could feel a difference! I'm really honest when it comes to reviewing products and I promise I could feel that it had done something. My hair had more life and it did seen more flexible but also it seemed super clean, like a salon wash. I've got a huge bottle to use that will last a while I'm sure but I'd definitely purchase, even if it is on the more pricy side (for a mummy on maternity anyway!) than your usual Aussie or Herbal Essences brands!

One thing about this mask is that it's not sticky and smelly (ok that's two things), which really helps if you need to wear it for a while for it to work before washing off. It washed out easily, my tip would be don't apply too much if hair treatments as they can cling to hair making it hard to get all  of the residue out.

Thumbs up from me!! 

I might just enter more competitions in future!!!

Lots of love,
Hayley xxx

Daisy's 4 month update

4 months??? Seriously slow down time! It feels like only yesterday I was writing the 3 month update. 

It doesn't feel as if on paper much has changed really but as a little character so much has developed even this last week. So a few little notable changes and traits:

- her chatting is a real little conversation now, she's quite the chatterbox. She tells us all about her day and exactly what she thinks, we have to guess what she's saying but still! What's even cuter than her talking to mr lamp or curtain is when she spots her daddy all of a sudden, he gets the biggest smiles and loudest coos! 

- thumb sucking is a development. It's no longer by chance but deliberate and she often uses it to settle herself, including to sleep twice this week. Do thumb suckers get sore thumbs?? 

- I think I can spot a tooth coming at the top, it's as if it's broken through the tiniest amount. I thought the bottom teeth always came first though?? This could explain the constant dribble and rosy cheeks! 

- she is still wanting to stand or sit up all of the time, hates being lay down something's. Although she can lie under her baby gym for half an hour or so at a time now, just enough time for mum to get a cup of tea! 

- her hair has started to sprout and us still in between curly and straight, I think it may go straight eventually, she's very fair too. 

- she is almost out of most of her 0-3 clothes now :( and is pretty much wearing 3-6 months now, as sad as it is at least it means a new wardrobe! And every girl likes that! 

- she really notices things now like patterns and eyes on her toys, she stares at them for ages. 

- in a morning now she stays in her cot (yep she's in her big girls bed!!) chatting to her friends, she seems very content in there. She is still sleeping very well at night, although this last few nights it's been 7-2 and then 2.30- 6.30/7 ish. When it's before 7 I feel like a zombie but I know how lucky I am really!! 

- she still loves her baths and goes wild in them. Although I now have to try and do it earlier and earlier as she is getting tired earlier at night and we can have tears and a tantrum when I get her out just because she is so tired 

- she is still breastfed and it is still working for both of us, especially night time when I can't even think about making up a bottle! She does take a bottle though and is happy to if needed. 

Lots of love,
Hayley xxx

GBBO Linky #3 Bread week

So I missed week 2, what a let down! It was a busy, busy week with Daisy's garden party and when I had a free minute it was all hands to finishing everything for that and getting it all ready for the weekend. Priorities and all that! 

I'm disappointed this week was bread week. I've never been able to make bread. As Mr Hollywood said this week, patience, patience, patience! I have zero. It always looks okay but tastes vile and ends up being thrown out like a brick to the birds who won't touch it and then a few days later I have to bring in to the bin to avoid rats!!

 However, I'm trying to stick to the themes a little as a bit of a challenge to myself, although I did think about another Swiss roll week, just because! 

But no I stuck with my guns and decided to make a white loaf. 

I had some yeast in my store cupboard from Aldi and on the back was a little recipe for a nice white loaf, so I followed this, to an extent. 


1 yeast packet (7g)
1 1/2lb strong white bread flour
1oz butter
450ml of water (1 part boiled, 1 part straight from the tap)
2 tsps salt

I thought this may be a little boring so added in a little flavour, bit of chopped basil, chilli flakes and some Lazy red onion. If nothing else it made the dough look pretty! 

So you mix it all up and knead for 10 minutes, if you are lazy like me and you have a dough hook on your mixer let it do the hard work for you. I left it knead for about 8 minutes and it was a very sticky but incredibly stretchy texture, it stuck to the bowl like a stretchy slime. It looked wet but didn't feel it.

Getting it into the greased tin was a bit tricky! So it didn't look very pretty, let's go for rustic! 

I did consider kneading it on a floured surface before putting in tin but I didn't want to risk knocking the air out of it and turning it into a brick again. 

It says cover with cling film and leave in a warm place. The sun was blaring through the window so I popped it on the coffee table to sunbathe and hopefully double in size...

Well it escaped the tin... 

I kind of pushed it back a little and hoped for the best!!! 

In to the oven on a soft bake option.. Instead of sticking to a specific time I smelt when it smelt cooked (how amazing does bread smell baking?) and also tipped it out and knocked the bottom, if it sounds hollow it should be done!


Miracles happen... It's actually very tasty!!

Lots of love,
Hayley xxx

Long overdue nursery tour

So I've said a few times that I'll do this now and never quite got around to actually doing it. It doesn't helped that it's very much lived in now and so isn't always picture perfect!!! 

When I found out I was having a girl one thing I know for sure was that although I like pink I didn't want everything pink pink  pink! 

The nursery was already painted a lovely neautral, light green and I really didn't want to change it. The room had hardly been used, we haven't lived in the house long since the renovations. Luckily pink goes quite nice with green- or so I think anyway, but I'm no expert on interior design let's face it! 

The other thing I knew was I loved owls and thought I needed to incorporate that somehow. So some piccies for you...

(I think the light may be along the walls look a little brighter than they actually are here!) 

These frames were cheap frames from an auction shabbied up (Is that a real thing?) with Annie Sloan paint in Florence! And in them is wallpaper - so much cheaper than any prints I could find!

This is our little reading and feeding area, it's an old Parker Knowles rocking chair given to us as a gift by one if my closest friends painted in Farrow and Ball and then just accessoried with a pretty cushion from primark! The little chest was a find from eBay and it's painted in Annie Sloan Antoinette (pink), I love the colour! 

Our little changing area is just on a chest painted in Farrow and ball and various pretty knobs from eBay! 

This is how it looked before we took out the chimney out, boarded up and plastered etc just incase anyone is interested...

The photo above was the before and then temporary spare room once it had been sorted and painted and then below is my lovely father in law removing the chimney!! 

Please leave links to any of your renovations or posts you have seen, I love to be nosy!!

Lots of love,
Hayley xxx

Daisy's latest wish list

Daisy is a girl who has everything pretty much, she's very lucky to have cousins who hand her down lots of clothes etc and family who spoil her silly, but she deserves it :)

That doesn't mean there aren't things she would like in the near future, we thought we would share a few things she has on her wish list at the moment.

A lovely owl wall sticker for her bedroom wall to finish her room off £5 Amazon

From Next we love this seasons collection (as usual) and the sleepsuits are always our favourite. Must resist! 

These gorgeous suits are £15

And these are perfect for a Daisy! £16

Bird print dress and tights £14 how gorgeous! 

I told you we are loving this season!! 

Daisy is now playing more and more and toys are something we don't have many of actually. She loves her play mat and her happy hear but she could probably do with a few more bits and pieces for stimulation. 

This Lamaze dragon is cute and is £7.95 on Amazon at the moment 

Sensory balls £14.78 from Amazon sold by MMP Living, however I do wonder if I could pick up some tumble drier balls from somewhere for cheap that may be simillar as a sensory toy?

Mamas and Papas snug seat, now £36.49 on Amazon

Just a few lovely bits we thought we would share!

Lots of love, 
Hayley xxx

Party DIY projects and ideas

I love a good party... The planning being one of my favourite bits! I just love thinking of a theme, pulling it all together and trying to be a little creative. I'm probably one of the least artistic people I know but I do have a creative mind at times! 

I did a lot of DIY bits for my wedding in Greece and a few parties since like my mums 50th birthday but when we decided to have a little welcoming party for little Daisy I got a bit excited! I'll do a post about her day which was yesterday later separately as we have some beautiful photos but I thought I'd do some of the DIY bits here...

Those that follower me on twitter (@hayleychall1) will know I'm a Pinterest addict! And this fuels my love for DIY projects!! 

I love tissue paper pom poms because I love a vintage theme and they fit perfectly. I bought one of two off eBay and then pulled it apart so I could see how to do them myself, mainly because it's cheaper but also because I wanted to do them. 

So first you put a few pieces of tissue paper together (5/6) and then start to fan fold it along the longest side... 

And tie it in the centre. Shape the ends so they'll look like petals and then start to pull the pieces up layer by layer like the above. YouTube has some good videos :) 

Then hang them up to look all pretty! 

I love jam jars and their plenty of uses, their uses are endless! So I decided to use them for drink glasses... Some people were not so sure but when they saw them all made up I think they got the idea and they looked lovely, so cute! 

I simply peeled all the labels and soaked them and then ran through the dishwasher to ensure they were spotless and then chose some pretty twine and ribbon to decorate! I got the ribbon from Dunelm and I had a few other bits off family to mix it up a little. 

The paper striped straws are readily available, I got these from Amazon but I've seen them in Home bargains too and they're nice and cheap but add such a nice vintage touch! I used them for both pimms (of course! You can't have a garden party without it!) and some lovely pink lemonade, which I thought would look beautiful as well as being tasty. Again photos of it all in action will be on the blog another day. 

I also used jam jars for the table displays with candles and also flowers. 

Another DIY project was the invites. I didn't really need invites as it was just close family and friends coming but hey any excuse. 

So with some pretty card and a press cutter to make some lovely little daisies I came up with these..

Lots of love,
Hayley xxx

A new identity

When pregnant I found myself questioning if my identity was changing or how it would when I had my baby. Priorities changed and the way in which I looked at things, and then when baby arrived it all changed again. 

I've always been aspirational in my career and wanted to drive myself further, and was proud of where I got to before I decided to start a family. I think I was very independent, did a lot of travelling on my own with work and really pushed myself. I wouldn't say this has changed dramatically but the way at which I look at it definitely has.  

I no longer have the desire to go back to work to step up a few more rungs of the ladder but as a necessity to give our family everything we want in life. That doesn't mean I won't want to progress but it's not the sole purpose of work anymore. It's sad I have to go back to work but if I want to give Daisy everything I want her to have in life then it's a necessity. I know some people won't agree but it is for her own good. 

I now find myself wanting to be with my family more and more, and tasks such as bath time and watching Daisy have her morning giggles with her daddy make the difficult days so worth it. 

I have little desire to do much for myself now (probably got used to having no time to!) and really struggle with the thought of being out without my baby for long. I'm sure it's just because it's early days and it'll get easier, but it does feel uncomfortable, I've never been the over protective possessive type! I've had a few trips out for example drinks with a friend and my hair done and it definitely doesn't hurt either of us :)

Has anyone else felt a change in themselves and their outlook since having a family? 

Lots of love,
Hayley xxx 

#GBBO linky #1 Lemon Swiss roll

So following the start of the Great British bake off and Polly from Polly's world linky (click here) I have made a Swiss roll in with the theme of the first programme. I decided to go for a lemon version, recipe by the hairy bikers! 

Ummm confession number one- I didn't make my lemon curd! Aldis version did the trick!!!! It's hard enough baking with a baby to entertain too. 

- First up grease your flat tin and set your oven to 200'c
- Then whisk the eggs, caster sugar and lemon zest up until it resembles meringue type texture - takes about 6 minutes in a stand alone Kenwood

- Fold in the flour with a metal spoon, very gently so not to knock any air out of it
- Smooth gently into tray, ensuring it reaches all of the corners and then pop into oven for around 8 minutes (recipe says a bit longer but it was really going gold so any longer and it may have burnt!!) 
- When it's done and out of tray roll it up when warm- a trick mum gave me is to use a wet tea cloth to stop it cracking (it worked for me!) and then leave it until completely cool 
- In meantime whip cream ready to fill it
- Unravel and spread on curd and then cream. The hairy bikers make a butter cream type icing but I just whipped double cream.

Curl back up and dust! Ta daaaa! 

I was surprised how relatively easy and quick this was to do, I'll definitely be trying it again soon maybe the traditional jam recipe . 

Lots of love,
Hayley xxx