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Our Disneyland Paris Plans | March 2018

Friday, 23 February 2018

Waaay back in August, with a little Lilah still in my belly, we made the crazy decision to book a family Holiday to Disneyland. Of course we’d LOVE to visit Disney World, but with three little ones aged 4, 2 and just 8 weeks when we travel, we knew Paris was definitely the more suitable option for us.

Our trip is now just a few weeks away, so I thought I would write a little post documenting our plans! We booked through a travel agent (directly through Disneyland Paris), as we wanted the ease of changing details and talking to someone if we needed to. It was super simple, and as they did the calling and sorting, we both felt a little more relaxed about it all.

When we booked, Disneyland had their ‘kids go free’ AND the ‘2 nights free’ offers on, so we took advantage of both. So we’re travelling Monday - Friday, which therefore worked out as 4 nights for the price of 2! We’re also staying onsite at the Hotel Santa Fe, which although on the more budget end, still looks and sounds perfect for us.

To get to the magic, we opted to travel by Eurostar. It seemed the most direct choice (and there was nooo way I was braving a flight with two toddlers and a newborn!). We paid a little extra for two year old Parker to have his own seat, as well as the Magical Express - meaning we can head straight to the parks when we arrive!

After talking to lots of people and manically googling, we also decided to prepurchase a meal plan to make meal times a little easier. We went for the Half Board Plus option, which gives us two meals a day at a range of restaurants. I have already booked all our of dining reservations (you’re advised to do this 60 days in advance), and we’ve chosen:

Monday - Plaza Gardens buffet
Tuesday - Chez Remy
Wednesday - Character breakfast and Hunter’s Grill
Thursday - Auberge de Cendrillon (Princess Character Dining)

Another little extra we’ve purchased is the Photo Pass. I wasn’t sure if it was going to be necessary, as I doubt we’ll be going on many of the biiig rides with the littles. But as long as we get at least one of two family photos, I think it’ll be worth it!

I think that’s everything to cover about our trip for now. We’ve bought all the Disney clothing, passports are sorted and I’ve started thinking of my packing list... eek, I am just SO excited!

Our Future Travel Plans | A Trip to Costa Rica

When we announced that we were expecting our first daughter Indiana, many people said that we were too young. That we should have been making the most of our younger years, travelling the world and going on as many holidays as possible. But we of course disagree! We want to enjoy our younger years with our children. And then once they're all grown up, we've got biiig plans to go on all of our adventures.

One destination I've never really considered, but after researching sounds absolutely amazing, is Costa Rica. The most visited country in Central America, Costa Rica is full of culture, beautiful scenery and there's plenty of activities to enjoy as well!

Where to Stay & When to Go?

As it would just be the two of us, I think staying in a beautiful Costa Rica beach house would be ideal. What's more romantic and luxurious than staying right on the beach? Most villas come with their own pools, wi-fi and are suitable for couples or even families if we did decide to take the Littles with us.

Away from the beach, there are plenty of other accommodation options. Smaller hotels are ideal for travellers who want to immerse themselves more in the culture of Costa Rica - with a more relaxed and 'home from home' environment. The Caribbean side (known as Limon) is a great location if you wish to stay away from more touristy spots, and prices for hotels are usually lower too.

Our favourite way to travel though has to be All Inclusive (what's not to love about food on tap?). AI means that nearly everything is included, so you can put all your savings towards activities - of which Costa Rica has plenty!

And in terms of when is best to travel? Peak season, as you can imagine, includes the Christmas and  Easter holidays so it's probably best to avoid those few weeks. As we would most likely travel without the kids, we have the luxury of visiting whenever we wish (most likely during the mid-season between May and November).

What to Do?

As I mentioned above, there is plenty to keep you busy on a trip to Costa Rica. We are definitely not 'sit around the pool' types when we travel, so I know we'd love to get out and explore as much as possible. A lot of these activities depend on where you decide to stay though, as the country covers such a large area. I've picked a few I know Jack and I would definitely love to experience below:

Explore the National Parks 

Costa Rica draws most of it's visitors to it's expansive National Parks. One of the most popular is the Arenal Volcano, which is located in northern Costa Rica. You can explore the rainforest, waterfalls, a volcano (which until recently was the country’s most active volcano with an average of 41 eruptions per day), the country's largest lake, or go on one of the many tours of the area. I know this is definitely somewhere we would love to explore.

Go Ziplining or on a Canopy Walk

Probably not one for me, but definitely for Jack, is zip lining across the canopies. Costa Rica is perfect for canopy exploration thanks to it's thick branches, and it's a perfect way to see the vast plant and animal species. There are a number of different types of adventures you can take, from slow canopy walks in San Luis, to whizzing through the Jaco Canopy.

Visit the Hot Springs

If you want to take a few days off from exploring, there are plenty of more relaxed gentle activities to enjoy in Costa Rica. Their hot springs are a perfect way to relax and rejuvenate after a busy few days, and I know they'd be somewhere I'd really love to visit. One of the most popular springs is located at the Arenal Volcano National Park. The Springs Resort offers multiple hot springs and beautiful landscaping across an expansive area. Meaning you can really find the perfect spring for you!

Discover the Wildlife

Thanks to it's millions of years of history, Costa Rica is the perfect place to discover wildlife, with it's rainforests and jungles containing more than 230 species of mammals alone! Everyone loves monkeys, and a number of species can be found up and down both coasts. One of the most well-known destinations for sightings though is Manuel Antonio National Park. The monkeys there are nearly tame (although still can be aggressive).

As you can see, Costa Rica really does have so much to offer as a country. Whether you want a relaxed and slow paced holiday, enjoying the beaches or the hot springs. Or whether you want to really get stuck into high adrenalin activities, whizzing through the trees on a zipline or getting close to a volcano. You can find out more about the activities I mentioned above, and a whole lot more on the Costa Rica Experts website.

Just from doing some quick research I already cannot wait to visit - although the more I think about it, maybe I would consider taking the Littles with us. There's plenty to do for families too!

This is a Sponsored Post 

JayceeBaby Perfectly Padded Playmat | Review

Thursday, 22 February 2018

With the newborn bubble slowly fading and Lilah having longer periods of awake time, I thought it was time we introduced more stimulation to her day. Somewhere a bit more engaging than just laying flat in her moses basket, or popped in her bouncer.

Luckily this was perfectly timed with an email from the team at JayceeBaby, who asked if we wanted to try out their 'Perfectly Padded Playmat'. A generously padded and well thought out play surface, which is full of interactive features and added extras. How could we say no?

When it arrived I was surprised at the size of the playmat. It's definitely not you're average circular mat that you can buy! Measuring at 100 x 150cm and 5cm thick, it does take up a lot of room. But, this means it does create a perfectly safe and comfortable play space for little ones. It's thickness is something I am really impressed with, as I know Lilah is comfortable when laying on it (especially when she is so small), and it will create a soft landing for when she starts learning to roll and sit.

A feature I really like about the Perfectly Padded Playmat, is that it is double-sided. One side is aimed more at younger babies, with a softer surface and interactive elements. The other has a firmer surface, and has a design that has been created to encourage speech and imaginative play.

Although Lilah isn't quite ready to take full advantage of the interactive elements, the older two have loved showing them to her, and playing with them themselves. These include different textures and sounds, black and white patterns (which are fab for newborns.), crinkly material and a large mirror. It's a perfect spot to practice tummy time with her as well, as it really is soft and padded!

The mat also comes with a detachable plastic cover which can be popped on (literally!) if you want to use it for messy play or snack time. Even without the cover, the mat is water resistant on both sides, so messes can be cleaned up with ease - another downside of regular playmats. I also think the mat is going to be perfect for using in the garden once the weather warms up, so Lilah has a soft and comfortable place to play away from the grass.

Overall I'm really impressed with the quality of the playmat. It feels well made and luxurious, and you can really see how much thought has gone into it's design. It is on the larger side, however the carry strap means it can be stored away a bit easier - although if you don't have much room in your house, this may not be the playmat for you, so do check measurements first.

You can buy the Perfectly Padded Playmat directly from JayceeBaby, and it currently retails at £125.

A sponsored collaboration with JayceeBaby. However all opinions are honest and my own.

Living Arrows // 08/52 {2018}

Monday, 19 February 2018

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”
Kahlil Gibran

I am so excited to be joining in with Living Arrows again this year. It was so lovely to capture my two grow last year, and I love that I go back and compare now I'm joining in again! Every week I'll be sharing a capture of my littles - either individually or together. To capture how they grow and change week by week.

The weather was absolutely beautiful this weekend, so we made the most of it and headed to the seaside on Saturday. It was a full on seaside day out - crazy golf, fish and chips, arcades and of course plenty of pebbles throw in the sea too. Indie and Parker had so much fun, and although they didn't quite get the concept of crazy golf, they gave it a good go!

Despite being 5 weeks old now, I'm still being pretty rubbish with giving Lilah tummy time (or much time that's not being snuggled in our arms). I popped her on her tummy for the first time last week though, and she seemed pretty content!

Living Arrows

Lilah at One Month Old

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Oh little Lilah Bear, how are you already one month old?

One month of broken sleep, constant nappy changes and countless bottles washed. But my goodness, it's all worth it for that little bundle of love isn't it? And it's crazy just how quickly you adapt to the new normal too - it really feels as if Lilah has been part of our family forever!

So at one month old, Lilah is now weighing 9lbs 12oz (which is 10oz up from 2 weeks ago) and almost out of up to 1 month clothing. We switched to formula and bottle feeding at around a week for number of reasons. She dropped a lot of weight in the first few days, was never satisfied (and I mean NEVER), and I just didn't feel it was working for us personally.

It was completely the right decision for us though, and she is thriving on formula now. I know breast is best, but for us it just works! She has around 3-4oz every 3 to 4 hours, and has already got herself into a nice little routine. It's nothing too strict yet though, as we're still very much in the eat, awake for a little bit, sleep, repeat, newborn cycle still.

Saying that though, we're definitely getting to enjoy awake periods for a little bit longer now. Lilah is oh so alert and loves to sit in her bouncer, or just lay on our bed just watching the world go by. Of course she's usually got one sibling or the other close by to chat too, which she seems to enjoy. She's soo close to smiling now too, and I have no doubt those first smiles will be for her big brother and sister!

We are unfortunately struggling with wind and colic, and she's already suffering with her first cold the poor little thing. We've been through colic with both of the older two though, so we were quick to pop out and get Infacol this time, which does seem to help. On those horrible colicky evenings she loves nothing more than to snuggle up against Jack - he has to be standing though.

I have definitely tried to embrace the fourth trimester a lot more this time around, and Lilah is never really far from Jack or myself. She's sleeping in her Knuma Huddle (in her Sleepyhead which is amazing), so she's close enough to touch at night. There isn't really a day that goes by where I'm not carrying her in the wrap either, which is something we both absolutely love!

It's definitely been a challenging month, adjusting to life with three little ones. But Lilah has just slotted into our family beautifully, and three definitely feels like our magic number. She's oh so loved by all of us, and I just cannot wait to watch her grow each month. It already feels as if it's going too fast though.. she's already 5 weeks old today. Agh!

The Siblings Project | February 2018

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Another late Siblings post, but life is still a little bit crazy with three little ones to look after! It's crazy that Lilah has now been a part of our family for almost 5 weeks. They've been exhausting. They've been hectic. But my goodness have they been full of love!

We took this month's siblings project pictures on a rare sunny day at the beach. It was one of the best days out we've had in a long time (definitely helped by the warmer, sunny weather), so of course we wanted to capture the moment. Although they're not perfect - featuring the many faces of our cheeky little Parker - I'm definitely going to look back on them and remember the lovely day we had.

This last month has been a definite learning curve. With Jack back at work, I've had to learn to juggle all three. We've quickly found our groove though, and it's as if Lilah has been here forever already! Indie and Parker are both just as obsessed with her too, and constantly want to cover her in kisses and give her snuggles. It's so lovely, although I do wish they would give her a bit of space sometimes...

My big two have been on half term this last week, and although they've had some lovely moments playing together, we've had lots of arguments and bickering too. They are both at an age (4 and 2.5) where they need a little space from each other I think, so roll on the regular routine on Monday! Indie especially loves to play independently, and I think she easily gets annoyed when her little brother doesn't understand how to play.

Overall though, we've had a good month! They big two are settling into their new rolls nicely, and they've been coping pretty well with the change a new baby brings too. Parker was acting up a little in those first few weeks, but now I think it's more the terrible twos we're dealing with than jealously thankfully!

I'm still pinching myself that I have three little loves. A brother and his two sisters. How lucky am I?

The Siblings Project - Dear Beautiful

The NEW Frugi Spring / Summer '18 Globetrotter Collection | Review

Thursday, 15 February 2018

We're now halfway through February, and despite the weather still being pretty awful, Spring is definitely in sight! After the dark and gloomy days of Winter, I love nothing more than embracing the bright and sunny days of Spring and Summer. Especially when it comes to dressing the Littles.

So when Frugi got in contact and asked if we wanted to review their new collection, I of course jumped at the chance! If you've never heard of Frugi before, they are a Global brand well known for their vibrant and colourful organic clothing. Based in Cornwall, they are currently the leading ethical clothing brand, creating clothing for bumps, birth and beyond!

We were sent some of their lovely items from their new Globetrotter Spring / Summer '18 collection. The brand new collection features designs inspired by the hustle and bustle of discovering vibrant cities, and is made with the softest organic cotton Frugi is known for.

Indiana (aged 4) is currently completely obsessed with unicorns. So the moment I saw the unicorn prints in the collection I had to choose them for her. The gorgeous turquoise Sophie Appliqué Top goes perfectly with the matching Libby Printed Leggings. Both are incredibly soft and I love the bold yet pretty design - it's going to be perfect for those sunny Spring days!

The leggings are a perfect fit for her age, and the elasticated waistband means they not only fit well, but are comfortable as well. The top, although designed to be a little oversized, is on the bigger side though. So I would probably suggest sizing down as Frugi's sizing seems to run on the bigger side.

For Parker I took aaaages to decide on what I loved the most - there are so many lovely prints for boys (something I feel a lot of high-street stores lack sometimes). I eventually settled on this lovely, but very practical outfit. The top is the Heligan Henley in grey, and I teamed it with these fab skull and cross bone snug joggers.

The joggers are brilliant for little adventures like Parker, as they featured reinforced knees, to hopefully protect little legs, and the joggers themselves from any damage. They are much more fitted than regular joggers too, which is a feature I really look for in boy's clothing.

I love the rolled-sleeve detail on the Henley top as well - not only does it look lovely, but it means the top is suitable for warmer or chillier days. The pocket features a jazzy shark Frugi logo too, which I think is a fun touch.

As Lilah is still only a teeny tiny baby, at just a month old, I decided to choose a sleepsuit for her outfit. Despite this, there were still so many lovely and bright designs to choose from. And as all of Frugi's organic cotton clothes are chemical free, I was happy knowing they are perfectly safe against her newborn skin.

I picked one of their 'lovely baby grows' in this gorgeous Otter Splash print. It features intergrated scratch mits (an essential with a little baby!), cosy feet, and popper fastening for easy nappy changes. They've even added a hint of elastane in the binding and cuffs, for extra longevity and comfort!

Overall I am really impressed with the pieces we received, and the Littles seem to love their new outfits too. Frugi isn't a brand I have ever bought from before, but it's only I'm definitely going to consider more in the future. The quality of the clothing is easy to see, and I just love the bright and colourful designs!

We were sent these outfits for the purpose of this review. All opinions are honest and my own.

Parker at 2 1/2 Years Old

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

I used to love write monthly updates about my littles, but of course as they got older these got less and less. So I thought as Parker is now over 2 1/2, it was time to share a little update on him! He has changed so much since his second birthday. He's definitely more of a little boy now than a toddler, not only in his looks but with his development and personality too.

Parker talks constantly, and there's only a few words that we struggle to understand now. He can have full conversations with you, and boy can he argue! He's definitely picked up some cheeky phrases from his big sister, and we're currently well into the 'why?' stage. He is still incredibly shy when it comes to strangers talking to him though. He can be chatting away and then as soon as someone talks (or sometimes just looks at him), he shuts down and hides away.

Development wise he's coming on in leaps and bounds. He can now count up to 15, and thanks to the help of his big sister, he is really trying with his alphabet and shapes. At the start of January we enrolled him at the same Preschool as Indiana, for a couple of mornings a week. I was worried he'd feel a little lost, as he's never really spent time apart from myself or Jack. But he absolutely loves going! He's settled in so well, and you wouldn't think he was one of the younger ones there.

Another big milestone for Parker, is that we have taken him out of nappies. We completely followed his lead with potty training, and he has taken to it really well. He started at the beginning of December just before Lilah was born, and I will say we have noticed a regression since she arrived. We're still persevering though as he's doing so well in general, I just hope he settles back into it a bit more now Lilah isn't so new.

Parker still has his cheeky personality, and my goodness have we been experiencing the 'terrible twos' in full force. We thought he was bad before his second birthday, but he has really taken things to the next level over the last few months. Not listening, doing 'naughty' things on purpose, annoying his sister... the list is endless! He is generally such a sweet little boy though, and loves nothing more than cuddles and kisses - especially with his sisters.

Parker loves to sing and dance, preschool, running wild and free, being silly with daddy, allllll the food, and being a new big brother!

Parker hates sitting still, being out in the cold (he's not loving this winter weather at all!), talking to people he doesn't know and being told what to do...

Living Arrows // 07/52 {2018}

Monday, 12 February 2018

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”
Kahlil Gibran

I am so excited to be joining in with Living Arrows again this year. It was so lovely to capture my two grow last year, and I love that I go back and compare now I'm joining in again! Every week I'll be sharing a capture of my littles - either individually or together. To capture how they grow and change week by week.

We had a lovely week last week, despite the snow, rain and absolutely freeeeezing temperatures. I had to take some outfit photos for a blog post I'm writing, so the photos of the Indie and Parker this week are from then. It was such a beautiful morning; you really wouldn't think these were taken in the middle of February, with the blue skies and sun shining brightly!

Lilah turned four weeks old on Sunday, and I can already see just how much she's changed from the first pictures I shared of her. She's so alert now, and loves to just watch what the bigger two are doing during the day. Time really does fly when you're having fun!

Living Arrows

Whisbear The Humming Bear {with CRYSensor} | Review

Sunday, 11 February 2018

When Indiana and Parker were little, the one thing I knew we could rely on to settle them was white noise. Whether that was popping the hairdryer or vacuum on during the day, or playing countless white noise videos on Youtube - it worked! But this wasn't always practical, and we were soon hunting for a better way to play the white noise.

We had a 'soothing seahorse' with Indie that played a selection of melodies. It didn't last long though, and the bright light it emitted wasn't great either. With Parker we tried Ewan the Dream Sheep. But with it's large size meaning we struggled to place it anywhere in the moses basket, and the fact we had TWO break within a few weeks. We gave up with him in the end, and went back to white noise on our phones.

So when I was looking for baby products when I was expecting Lilah, and I came across Whisbear The Humming Bear, I was understandably skeptical.

What made this sleep aid any different than the ones we had tried previously? 

But now Lilah is here, and we've been using the Whisbear religiously for over a month now, I can tell you just how fab it is!

Whisbear The Humming Bear is different from other sleep aids, thanks to the addition of it's CRYSensor. The bear is designed to help soothe and settle babies with it's gentle hairdryer-like sound (similar to the soothing sound baby would hear from the womb).

With a click of the button, Whisbear will emit an initial 40 minutes of the soothing sound. It doesn't just shut off once this is completed though, instead switching to standby mode. If it hears baby cry or fuss loudly, it will automatically switch itself back on for a further 20 minutes - in theory settling baby before they wake fully. I have found that any loud noise (coughing, dropping something, etc) will set it off, although this isn't the end of the world.

You can also just switch it straight onto the CRYSensor mode, without the initial 40 minutes of shushing. This is a fab addition if you want to use it when baby is already in a deep sleep, or when out and about. We haven't really used this mode yet, as we find it best to just switch it on as soon as we lay Lilah down.

Another fantastic feature of the Whisbear is it's magnetic legs. These allow you to attach it to practically anything with ease! We pop it over the side of our co-sleeper or the moses basket, but you could easily attach it to the carseat or bouncer too.

Of course like any product we have found a few issues with the Whisbear. Firstly I find the volume adjust to be quite fiddly. You have to switch it on, wait for around 10 seconds and then hold down the sensor. The volume will rise and then switch off, so I found myself having to do it a couple of times before finding the volume I want. The batteries do drain quite quickly as well - ours is already in need of new ones after a month of use. Although I am very happy to do this if it continues to work so well!

Whisbear The Humming Bear comes is a selection of colour ways and is suitable from birth, due to it's high quality tested fabrics and hypoallergenic filling. The legs and ears also have rustling elements for baby to enjoy when they're a little bit bigger - as if you pop the little CRYSensor out of the bear's head, it's a perfect cuddly toy too!

Whisbear The Humming Bear has definitely been helping us get a little more sleep at night. Lilah settles so much better when we turn it on, and I absolutely love the CRYSensor feature. It currently retails at around £49.99 and is available at John Lewis, Amazon, and Kidly.

We received this product in exchange for our review. All opinions are honest and my own.

Living Arrows // 06/52 {2018}

Monday, 5 February 2018

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”
Kahlil Gibran

I am so excited to be joining in with Living Arrows again this year. It was so lovely to capture my two grow last year, and I love that I go back and compare now I'm joining in again! Every week I'll be sharing a capture of my littles - either individually or together. To capture how they grow and change week by week.

It was Jack's first week back at work last week, so we didn't venture very far at all (or anywhere if I'm completely honest!). We made up for it with a visit to Godstone Farm on Sunday though, which was such a lovely day. It was absolutely freezing of course, but I don't think that ever really stops little ones does it?

My camera roll is naturally full of pictures of Lilah at the moment - babies are so much easier to photograph aren't they? But the one I picked of her this week was from bath time on Sunday. She's now 3 weeks old which is so crazy to think already!

Living Arrows

Me and Mine Project | January 2018

Saturday, 3 February 2018

I'm a little late sharing this post, but I am so excited to be joining in with another year of Me and Mine Project. Especially as this year has started with a rather special addition.. our little Lilah was born on the 14th January and completed our family; our little family of five!

January definitely felt like the longest month (and apparently I wasn't alone in thinking that!). A combination of those last long weeks of pregnancy, and the blur of having a newborn. But it also feels as if Lilah has been part of our family forever. Isn't it funny how that seems to work?

Life as a five has so far felt like a blur - both with the days and with my emotions. It's definitely felt very overwhelming at times. When I'm trying to feed and settle the baby, but then the older two need me.. I feel as if I need to have a million hands. But I know how fast these early weeks go. And I know we'll soon settle into our groove.

Indiana has been such a joy these last few weeks, and is absolutely besotted with her baby sister. She was definitely born to be a big sister, and has proudly told everyone she can about Lilah. She'll help with nappy changes, loves to pick her new sleepsuits, and I've even caught her singing to Lilah when she's been crying. I cannot wait to watch their sisterly bond grow!

Parker has taken the change a little harder, but with him being only 2.5 we did expect it a little bit. He absolutely adores his baby sister too, and is never far from her side. He has become a bit more of a handful as well though; totally understandable as he's lost his 'baby of the family' role. He'll always be my baby boy though, and we're trying to give him as much attention as possible. Fingers crossed he's back to his cheeky little self soon!

The Me + Mine Project - Dear Beautiful