Wednesday, 31 August 2016
August has probably been the busiest month of the year so far. Full of birthdays, celebrations and little trips away, I don't think there's been a weekend where we haven't had plans! It's been lovely though, and I'm a little sad it's over. With so much going on we managed to get a number of photos for this month's Me and Mine, all taken in celebration of Parker's birthday.
Parker turned one on the 4th and boy don't we know it! He's such a toddler now - getting into everything, destroying the place and throwing the biggest tantrums already. That aside though he's growing and changing into the sweetest little boy, always chatting away, and full of love for his mummy, daddy and big sister.
These first pictures are from our trip to Hampshire, to visit Peppa Pig World for P's birthday. It rained so much that day, but we didn't let it dampen our spirits (even when we realised Jack left the rain cover in the car.. oops!).
Indiana has grown a lot this month too. We finally waved goodbye to the dummy, which was actually an easier process than we thought. Jack just joked around that she wouldn't have it for bed, we took them away, and she was asleep within 5 minutes! I think it definitely helped that she was so tired. But ever since she's been okay without them.
With the dummies now gone, there's absolutely nothing 'baby' left about Indiana anymore. I honestly cannot believe how grown up she has become, and how quickly it all happened too! She's our beautiful little sassy pants - although if I told her that she'd tell me off and say 'noo, I'm Indiana!' haha.
These photos were taken at Parker's birthday party, and I absolutely love them. I think Indie and Parker are actually starting to look more alike, and these photos really show that. It always makes me smile that the four of us having matching hair and eyes too - there's no doubt we're a little family!
Tuesday, 30 August 2016
Thinking back to my childhood, I can't remember a weekend or school holiday where we weren't outdoors. We didn't have internet or a huge TV with 100s of channels. So if we wanted to entertain ourselves we had to get outside!
My two are growing up in such a different world though. With the creation of iPads and videos games, childhood obesity is on the rise. Research published by school play equipment experts ESP Play have found that over 1,000 children are being referred to hospital a a result of obesity, and 1 in 3 children between the ages of 2 and 10 are already overweight.
These figures are truly shocking, and I am determined to make sure my children don't become part of them. So here are some ideas to keep your children active:
Go for a Walk
Whether that's going into town, the local park or even just popping to the shops. Making sure I get out at least once at day not only lets the kids run off some steam, but keeps them active. I usually let Indiana bring her Toddlebike or scooter to keep her busy, and we always play spotting games along the way!
Visit a Local Park
Why pay to visit an attraction, when there are so many free parks on your doorstep? Of course the equipment can provide enough fun for hours. But why not create an obstacle course for them to follow, or take a ball and play. We always alternate between three different parks to keep things exciting - although our favourite is definitely the one with the trampoline!
Have a Dance Party
Whether it's wet outside or we're exhausted from busy days out, a dance party is always a winner in this house! Simply pop on some music (not surprisingly Disney music always wins), turn it up loud and boogey away. Everyone can join in, no matter how old or how young and it really does get your blood pumping.
Keep them Active at School
Children need regular outdoor play, and school is a perfect time for them to enjoy it. Unfortunately not all school children are getting this though; with research made my ESP finding that nearly 68% of a child's PE lesson is spent stationary!
This led to them re-definining their unique solutions and supporting tools, to ensure this was improved. Now with their equipment and teaching in place these levels have increased by a notable 19% already!
My two aren't school age yet, but it really won't be long. And I hope when the day does come, that they get to experience active lessons and play time, just like I did as a child!
Join the National Trust
The National Trust has thousands of properties all over the country. From stately homes to beautiful gardens, there's unlimited year round fun. We joined late last year, and at just £5 a month for the whole family (£2.50 each as we're under 25), it's a complete bargain too! Whenever we're stuck for something to do we always end up visiting a local property, and just letting the kids run off some steam.
I know that I myself have got to keep active, to ensure my children are too. Luckily being a mum to two toddlers, I don't get much time to sit and relax - but with these fun activities to keep me busy too, we can all keep as active as possible!
How do you keep your children active?
This is a collaborative post with ESP Play
Saturday, 27 August 2016
It took me a long time to decide whether to post the photo below on social media or not. I've changed a lot since having my two - two children close together meant a lot of extra weight, and a need for a lot of extra cake too! In the end I decided to post it, and the amount of love I got blew me away.
I may have changed a lot since having children. But just look at those two little people by my side. They call me mama, and they think I'm bloody fab (most of the time I'd hope haha). I couldn't be happier, and they are honestly worth every extra lb and every single stretch mark.
So here's my mummy and me for August. Me and my two toddlers!
Friday, 26 August 2016
Happy Friday! What an absolute scorcher of a week! I was totally not prepared for another heat wave, and honestly we've hidden inside most of the week to escape it. Here's what we've been loving this week.
Jack and I had a baby free weekend (the second this month!), and visited the Warner Bros Studio Tour on Saturday. I loved actually having the time to stop to read all the information, rather than race around after the kids. If you're a Harry Potter nerd like us, I'd 100% recommend a visit!
Bake Off is back!! I was absolutely gutted when Jack told me he was playing football Wednesday night, as it meant I had to wait. It was worth it though, and Jack's already got the baking bug.
X-Factor is also back tomorrow which I'm rather excited about!
It was lovely having time just the two of us, but we couldn't wait to pick the kids up on Sunday afternoon. We were greeted by lots of giggles and stories of their adventures. It was definitely way too quiet without them!
A mess! I know this is probably cheating, but it's been too hot to actually do much this week haha. We visited a local park to meet some friends on Wednesday, so of course had to get an ice cream. Parker grabbed it straight out of my hands and was a very sticky mess by the end!
Technically they haven't worn them yet, but how cute are these outfits for my sister's wedding? It's taken me AGES to find something suitable as I'm rather picky, but I just couldn't resist when I saw these.
Parker's outfit is all from Zara, and he'll be matching Jack who's got a very similar one. Indiana's dress is from Next and I'm just waiting for her matching sparkly shoes! I've got 5 dresses for myself on order, so hopefully at least one of those will fit...
It was our 2 year 'engageiversary' - is that a thing - on Tuesday. Haha, basically it's been two years since Jack proposed in Paris! It was an amazing trip and hopefully one year we'll go back.
Have a lovely week!
Thursday, 25 August 2016
It's been another scorcher of a week; something I really wasn't expecting after the weekend's rubbish weather! We decided to make the most of it though, so armed with sun hats and plenty of sun cream, we headed to a local park to meet some friends.
I absolutely love the blogging community, and have been lucky enough to speak to, and meet some lovely people and their little ones. After first meeting Harriet from Life with Mrs Lee at a blogging event a few months ago, we've met a few times since. Our girls are only a few weeks apart in age, so it's lovely for Indiana to spend more time with children her age.
Once all the bread was gone we wandered around slowly to meet Harriet and Bella. Indiana was beside herself with excitement, and I'm surprised she didn't explode when she saw them arrive! The girls ran to each other for a quick cuddle, and after more suncream we went to find a shady spot - the girls walking along hand-in-hand.
Of course it wasn't all hand holding and giggles, and I didn't expect it to be either - two two year old little girls is a dangerous combination haha. But between the lack of sharing they had a lovely time, and I think Parker definitely enjoyed all the female attention too.
There's no doubt the best part of the afternoon though was visiting the cafe for an ice cream treat! Indiana chose white chocolate and I shared a vanilla cone with Parker. He absolutely loved it, and was stealing it out of my hands to have his share. Of course he was a sticky ice cream mess by the end of it, but isn't that what summer is all about?
Wednesday, 24 August 2016
When you first purchase baby bottles they're clear, shiny and super clean. Over time however, formula and/or milk leaves them cloudy and smelly. Washing them in hot soapy water may leave them clean, but it won't get rid of the cloudiness, and it definitely doesn't get rid of the horrible smell!
Nimble Babies Milk Buster is designed to make bottle washing that little bit easier though. It works by detaching milk fat and proteins from the plastic, so that they don't cling on creating the smell and cloudiness. It's clinically proven to be milder than washing-up liquid, but still leaves bottles clean and fresh.
It's SO easy to use (the trigger spray is really handy) and bottles can be washed in just three easy steps. Do keep in mind though that it will depend on your bottle type to how easy it is. We use Dr Browns bottles so it was tricky to use with the valve parts as these need thorough cleaning (I used WUL for these bits).
Step 1 - Add a little warm water; the website states up to the first mark but I usually use a little bit more.
Step 2 - Spray twice into bottle - you can also spray onto teats directly. Do spray more if needed, especially if leftover milk has been sitting in it for more than a day.
Step 3 - Use bottle brush to clean bottle and teats, and then rinse thoroughly with running water. You can just shake if a brush isn't available, but this won't give an as thorough clean.
The huge difference though was the smell! Bottles washed with just regular WUL do leave a smell, and it does make me think that they're not as clean as they could be. However even after just one use with Nimble Babies, the smell is completely gone. So I'd say it was worth it just for that!
Nimble Babies is available to buy from JoJo Maman Bebe, Amazon and other select retailers. However if you fancy a chance of winning a Nimble Babies bundle of a 200ml bottle and a 60ml travel size bottle, just enter via the Rafflecopter widget below!
Disclosure - We were sent a 200ml bottle of Nimble Babies for the purpose of this review
Tuesday, 23 August 2016
Ever since they announced the opening of the Warner Bros Studio Tour I knew I wanted to visit. For years I waited, until finally this year Jack got us tickets for my birthday! We visited just the two of us, as we knew we wanted to enjoy it fully - but have already decided we cannot wait to take them, when they're old enough to appreciate it.
We had an 11.30 time slot, but the place was already packed when we arrived. I'd definitely advise arriving in good time - although don't come too early, as they were only letting in people depending on their time slot. Make sure to have your cameras at the ready, as the experience begins even before you enter the Great Hall. Speaking of the Great Hall - if you're celebrating don't be shy to step forward when they ask, as you get to help open the doors yourself!
The Great Hall is the only place you're timed in, although you can come back in once the next group of people have experienced it. After that you're left to self-guide yourself through the tour. There is so much to see, and I honestly think you could go back again and again and see something new.
I loved reading the little information boards that explained more about the props, sets and characters. Although I did find that you had to wait around for a little while, to be able to see them. If you don't want to spoil the magic too much, maybe avoid these!
We wandered around slowly, taking in as much as we could. They have special events on throughout the year, and we visited during 'Finding The Philosopher's Stone'; Number 4 Privet Drive was also still open to go inside which was extra special. We got to see how they created the unicorn blood and played with Fluffy's drool and troll bogies.
We didn't do the wand training, or the broomstick flying. These were both really busy, and to be honest they were far too expensive - £14 for one photo, or £40 for two photos and the video. We were happy enough taking our own, but I think just one or two brooms where people could take their own pictures would be a good idea.
The Hogwarts Express was a huge highlight, and something I was really excited to see! They had the music playing, and the train gave off smoke so it was really realistic. I was a bit disappointed that you couldn't go into the carriages and get pictures though. They had a photo spot where you had to pay again, which I think is very cheeky.
The tour is split with a spot for food / drink after the Hogwarts Express. There's plenty of tables and seats whether you buy food or have brought your own. We regret not bringing food as the food there is very pricey - I had a hotdog for around £5.50 and Jack had a baguette which was almost £5 too! It was tasty, but definitely over priced and not really enough for a proper lunch.
Of course we had to try the Butterbeer though, which I still can't decide whether I enjoyed or not. The froth on top was really yummy, but the actual drink itself had a odd taste. You have to give it a go though, as it's not something you can buy everywhere!
The second half of the tour starts with the outside backlot, including Number 4 Privet Drive, Hogwarts Bridge and The Knight Bus. After this you head back inside to experience more of the magic. I loved the animal animatronics, and walking along Diagon Alley was such a surreal but exciting experience.
The absolute highlight of the day though was the scale model of Hogwarts. Pictures honestly don't do it justice, or show just how huge it is! The amount of detail and work that went into it is incredible, and just shows how much the makers cared about the films.
Overall we had the most incredible day at the studios. We spent a good 5 hours there, and could have happily spent longer if we came prepared with our own food. It was 100% worth the wait, and I honestly cannot wait to visit again in the future!