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

Making Space

If you follow my blog then it will be no surprise to you that we have been looking at ways in which we can expand our home to make room for our family. Our house is a dormer bungalow which means downstairs is far bigger than upstairs. It's great that downstairs has plenty of room for us and all of the gear that comes with two children but sadly upstairs we really lack space and storage.

We've been working with architects and going through the planning applications for some time now, I was pregnant with Alex when it all started and Alex is now 8 months old, it has taken far too long!! But hey we have our plans passed and are now in the process of contacting structural engineers and stuff like that now, hopefully things will start to move a little quicker now. 

We are extending the upstairs dormers outwards so to be able to have a full size bedroom for A and a family bathroom, currently we have a box room and a toilet room.

Our kitchen space downstairs isn't really big enough to do much with at the moment, the living space around it is of good size but the kitchen itself is slightly poxy. Whilst we had the plans drawn up and submitted we thought we may as well add to the kitchen and go out towards the back of the house into the garden with it. This is the space I am most excited to get started with. Since having our kitchen installed a few years ago (almost 5!) our tastes have changed so as well as getting more space for a family we didn't have back then, we can also modernise to our new needs. 

I've started looking at some ideas and I thought I would share a few with you here. 

branded i.e. Simply Plastics, Simply Plastics UK, www.simplyplastics.com

I just love the modern, glossy, clean look of this kitchen. The light colour palette but also the day wipe clean look really appeals to me. To go with that kind of clean look I think an acrylic splash back like you can get from Simply Plastics is high on my wish list, some more examples below;

branded i.e. Simply Plastics, Simply Plastics UK, www.simplyplastics.com 

branded i.e. Simply Plastics, Simply Plastics UK, www.simplyplastics.com 

I also absolutely love these themes;

I look forward to sharing more ideas with you in the near future. 

Hayley x

*PR Collaboration but all opinions are my own 

Images: Pinterest, www.interiordesign-world.com, comfydwelling.com

Dear Alex, Slow Down...

You are eight months old, I struggle to get my head around that but it's true. Everyone tells you time goes much quicker second time around and it couldn't be more true. Far too fast. I feel like you were a baby for all of a week, you're still a baby but you're just growing too quickly and you are too eager to get on and do things. For instance you are crawling without any problems, climbing up and cruising around furniture, eating perfectly well and well just looking far older than you are. 

I always thought your sister started doing things too early for her age but you just go that step further, literally. 


You don't seem that much bigger from your last update to me, you're still in size 3-6 months and 6-9 months clothes, although I really should put away the 3-6 now and get the wear out of the next size up. 

Your hair has grown so much and is quite dark still. It looks lighter when it's been washed but I think that's because it sticks up and is so light and fluffy. And of course you still have huge blue eyes! 

There are no signs of any teeth cutting through just yet. You show all the signs of teething but I can't see or feel anything in there so I think we are a bit away from having your first one. It's one thing you aren't so fast at developing, exactly how Daisy was. 


That doesn't seem to affect your eating though. Your gag reflex has relaxed a lot and you don't appear to be "choking" much anymore thankfully. You are willing to try most things and there isn't much you won't eat, in fact I can't think of anything. I just hope you stay that way, I don't think I could cope with two fussy eaters. One beige eating monster is more than enough! 

You started your settling in sessions at nursery this month and as expected you're not phased in the slightest. You're so happy to keep busy that as long as there are people to "chat" to and play with then you're fine. I must say I think I find nursery more difficult than you, I just don't feel ready but then I don't think you ever are. 

One thing that hasn't really changed is the way you sleep, which isn't great. In the day you like a big nap for a few hours and then a few little ones too. But at night you're just not wonderful. Up every couple of hours at the moment, thankfully you drop back off quite easily but you've woken me then and I struggle to drop back off then. There have been quite a few nights this last week where it gets to about 2/3am and you're up every half an hour and so I've just ended up taking you back to our bed and at least then you and I both get some solid sleep. I've learnt that it's not the end of the world. I know these things soon pass and it won't be forever. 

Muma xxx

Ty Garth, Porthmadog Snowdonia: Trying Out Airbnb

For Ben's birthday I arranged a getaway with our friends to a cottage in Snowdonia, North Wales. The idea was that we could have some time at the coast but also we would be in the perfect location for either walking or mountain biking for Ben and his friends. We visit North Wales fairly often for these reasons but also camping in the summer, it's not too far from us and we can be in the area in just over an hour and a half. Even though it's so close it is still nice to stay over once in a while.


I've looked on Airbnb quite a few times but never booked anything, not sure why really but this time I found what looked like a perfect house for us to stay in. We are quite a large group of 8 adults and the babies so to find somewhere that didn't resemble a bunk barn and that was in such a beautiful spot meant it got booked pretty sharpish! 

The house looked out over the Porthmadog estuary and the rugged mountains of Snowdonia, the view was out of this world. You could see the view from most rooms as the house was built of a lot of glass. We will be visiting again purely for this reason! I could have sat in one of the lounges and stared out all day, but obviously we got out and about to the beach and caves to make the most of our short trip! 

It was really easy to book through Airbnb, I'll be doing it again without hesitating. This post isn't sponsored in any way but I though I would share our experience with you in case you had contemplated it at all. 

We try to get away as often as we can, away from the daily grinds of housework, work, chores and well routine I guess so I'll be scouring the site I'm sure trying to get some more trips booked in for the rest of the year. 





Hayley xx

The Medela Swing Versus Manual Pump

Breastfeeding – lots of people say it’s the most natural thing in the world, but do you know what, it really isn't to some people. As in it doesn't come easy. It’s understandable to feel nervous about it if you’ve never done it before. And actually expressing made me feel more nervous than actually breastfeeding weirdly. I thought I would talk about what I used in case it is of any use to anybody else, this is in no way sponsored.

The Medela Swing Versus Manual Pump

Breast pumps aren’t the easiest products to try before you buy and actually it's not something you can see much of when they're sat in the box on the shelf, but you might be able to borrow a friend’s or at least have a look at one before you can buy one. If not just have a good old research into posts online, which have a good guide too actually.

So my experiences; I had a hand held Tommee Tippee pump off my sister before I decided I couldn't cope with it, was getting stressed and caved in and bought a Medela Swing one crazy afternoon. All on the recommendation of my friend who had got one and found it much easier to use. I was surprised how much these things cost, I was a bit naive and hadn't really looked into it until a mad dash to boots that one day when I was at my whits end!

I found the Tommee Tippee difficult to attach and get the suction cup on properly, and as a result would only get an ounce or so off each breast. I just found the whole process really awkward and uncomfortable, I think the pumping with my hand bit just made it feel really uncomfortable. I know it is completely natural but personally that is how I honestly felt.

The Swing has lots of pieces, be prepared for tricky cleaning and putting it together being a little awkward but honestly once I had it up and running I found it so much easier and actually expressing wasn't such a chore. I should say that breastfeeding came relatively easily to me and so expressing was for when I returned to work and went out, I am not sure how easy I would find expressing if I had to do it full time.

Once you have taken it apart a few times to wash though it gets easier and actually isn't as complicated as it looks in the first instance!

I was able to get at least 5 ounces off each breast most of the time which was plenty for a feed.

It is a little noisy but it works much harder than you could with your hand and I found the cup much easier to attach too. You can adjust the suction strength by simply pressing a but to to make expressing milk as comfortable as possible for you, which I found really helpful. Especially when I was using the pump as a bit of a "rest" for feeding baby myself when they were a little sore at times. Both of my babies have been a little "rough" in the early days.

I also loved how you could run it without being plugged into mains electric, it takes battery's. The suction pressure isn't quite as good but it was effective enough to stock the engorgement I had when I was working and that was good enough for me!

I would say though that not everyone has the same luck with either expressing or breastfeeding and you just have to find what works best for you.

Hayley x

Big Changes: Starting Nursery

I honestly can't believe I am even writing this post. To even start to consider that Alex will be starting nursery anytime in the near future makes my stomach feel swishy swashy, a little empty but yuck at the same time. He is only a baby, my littlest baby. 

It's not the idea of nursery that makes my heart heavy and my tummy drop because of course I've been there and done that with Daisy, I know he will be safe, looked after and have fun. But it's the fact he's having to go, he's ready to go and well I won't be the one spending all day every day with him. I'm a little embarrassed to say but the sick feeling is a bit of jealousy. But it's natural, or I felt the same with Daisy at least. I still do sometimes, they are after all MY mini little people. 


But I know all too well that nursery and social situations like that does them the world of good. They can give them skills that I perhaps can't and offer them experiences that I simply couldn't, well not unless I had 10 children for them to have to mix with, share with and well learn to create relationships with. 

So the settling in sessions are planned in and the big start date is in the near future and so until then it's just to make the most of my boy and the times we have with Daisy too before I return to work. I'm lucky in that I work 4 days and actually some of the time I work from home, but that doesn't mean it's no different. Being stuck in the routine of work, nursery, classes means that we don't get much of the slow time together. And although sometimes those hours can feel like weeks when they are tired, don't want to nap or when Daisy has a "toddler moment" it doesn't mean I don't saviour them, I know they're hard to come by when I'm back at work. There are more chores to squeeze in, more errands to fit in on the days I'm home and well everything is just more rushed.

I digress; so I know Alex will settle well into nursery as he is comfortable with people, he is nosey and enquisitive and loves to watch other children. The one thing I'm really hoping though is that it doesn't make him grow up too quick. He is already crawling at super speed (kind of), babbling away , attempting to climb and eating us out of house and home and so I can't imagine what it will be like once he sees other small people toddling, climbing and chatting... 

I guess it's just the next big thing for him, the next milestone...

I just wish they wouldn't come around so soon. 

Hayley x

Travel plans 2017

It will come as no surprise to you that as a family we love to travel and get out there. It doesn't have to be abroad to anywhere fancy, to me travel could be to a local beach for the weekend for camping. To me it's getting away from the norm, the daily grinds of routine and home life. I love my home life don't get me wrong but I just think you get to spend quality time together when you're away and sharing those experiences and making memories is something I want to do more and more of. 

Both my husband and I both have the same outlook, lets go more, let's get away as often as we can. Responsibilities and finance permitting, it's always money huh! 

So for this year we are aiming to get away at least every 3 months, Ben thinks monthly is realistic but I'm not so sure. 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 have started the year well and have some plans already. So this month we are off to Snowdonia in a cottage with friends for Ben's birthday pressie and then next month Ben and I are off to London to do something we've not done in a really long time, go to a see show and we'll go away for the night just the two of us. 

In the summer we have a big family holiday booked in to go to Cyprus, staying in villas again, which I HIGHLY RECOMMEND! Villa life is the best way to do a summer holiday in my opinion with children. I did a post on it here

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 for the end of the year or next year. 

For now some of my favourite travel memories from last year...









Dear Alex, I'm sorry...

I'm sorry that I have missed the last couple of monthly updates but well things just got a little chaotic and I somehow lost my mojo with these kind of posts.

You are now 7 months old and my god you've changed over the last few weeks. Your hair has grown long and fluffy, sticking up at the top like a little cockatoo. When it's been washed it's so light and static. Your eyes are still so blue and your complexion much darker than Daisy's. 

You have always had a cute little character but now you're such a strong minded chap and well you're a tad bossy. You're incredibly loud at times which has come as a surprise because you've always been so placid. But if I'm honest you really just don't relax, always on the look out for things to explore and the next thing to master.

I'm not saying you don't like a cuddle because you really do when it suits you, you're so squishy, a little gooly as my dad, your granddad would say. But again being honest you leave me a little agitated at times when you just won't let me soothe you, feed or snuggle you. You would rather not sleep if you can help it and well it just annoys you when we try. I only want to help you little man. I know these phases come and go though so don't worry. 

I'm sorry that sometimes my patience runs thin and that sometimes I just leave you in your cot to fight yourself rather than me. But it can sometimes be like wresting a wet, slippery fish trying to get you to nap, a very loud one at that. And well there is only so much wrestling I can do before it becomes frustrating and I start to lose my patience a little. Usually after 5/10 minutes of getting cross with yourself you'll allow us to cuddle and rock you and you just drop off within seconds, I think you are trying to be as independent as you can be. But remember you're only 7 months old, just relax little one. 

Your weaning is going well, you enjoy your food and feeding you is no problem. You will happily be spoon fed or feed yourself bits and bobs. Your gag reflex is still quite heightened but as long as you have the baby led things first then you do well, otherwise you throw up everything else you've eaten. We have to get the timing right at meal times. There isn't much you don't like, in fact I don't think there is anything really. Which makes me so happy, your sister is a ratbag with food. 

You are pretty much crawling now, this last few days you have actually gone forwards and worked out that your legs and arms can both go together. It won't be long and you'll be chasing Dausy and Bobby around the house. We go on a little break with our friends in a few weeks to the seaside and I expect you'll be well away by then so that may be interesting! 

You had a lovely first Christmas this past week or so, you slept quite a bit of it and were usually just taking it all in. Next year is when the fun really starts! 

Your next months update may be a little different as next week you start your settling in sessions at nursery. This make Muma's heart feel heavy, how can you possibly be anywhere near ready for nursery? But sadly I have to go back to work at some point and well I guess that time is fast approaching us. I know you'll have no trouble there, your sister loves it and you're pretty comfortable with other people so I have no worries on that front. I will just miss you that's all. 

Muma xxx

2017 Goals and Aspirations: Stop Being a Hermit!

A bit of a cliche I know but I thought I really should note down my years resolutions, or mind sets and goals as I prefer to call them. Resolutions feel a bit more forced and well they are there to be broken aren't they? 

My aspirations are more around my personal life than my blog but I do have some goals and direction to add on so I will add those to the second half anyway. My blog stepped up in 2016 and began to give returns so to change too much wouldn't be right but you may see a few little changes here and there. 



The last year has been a busy one with family life and although it has been fun and I have loved every second I didn't do much for me, I rarely spent time with friends or alone. Although I of course made those choices (subconsciously most of the time) and was happy with them I have come to realise I need that bit of time that isn't work to be someone other than Muma (I wouldn't change that by the way) for the odd few hours here and there. So that leads me on to:

Time out, stop being a hermit. I spend a lot of time at home and don't get me wrong in, I love being home with my family but 2017 should see me out socialising more. That applies ton both alone and with the children. Bring on the lattes and G&Ts! 

Clear house, clear mind. GET RID OF ALL OF THE CRAP! We have a lot of just "stuff". It creates mess to tidy and sometimes it can feel like we are just battling through the belongings, we have far too much stuff we just do not need. Try to lead a more minimalist life. With building work starting this year this will be more important than ever. 

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. 


So as well as the above kind of applying too this category too I thought I would write down a few specific goals for 2017. Again this year my focus will be mainly around my blog rather than YouTube but I will keep dabbling and creating content as I just love looking back at the footage and I know friends and family enjoy seeing our updates too. 

At the back end of last year I made a few changes to the blog. I stepped closer to travel and photography and moved away slightly from the more parenting side of the blog. Although I still would categorise myself as a parenting blogger I wanted to focus on the parts I love and that is exactly what I have been doing. You will still reviews on here but they will be purely products I love or rate or am simply interested in. 

Get personal. You will see more personal posts, these are the ones I love to write and look back on. Especially the letters to the children. I lost this a little sometime last year and I think it was down to being busy with a new baby and a toddler but I I hope to get my mojo back soon. 

See the world. The world may be a bit optimistic but what I mean is get out there and share it with you. We love to travel and document it and our posts are really well taken and we had some great opportunities to work with some great brands last year so I hope to continue this.

Happy new year!