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Me and Mine Project | December 2018

31.12.18


And just like that, 2018 is over, and another year of Me and Mine project family portraits is complete! I love that I have been able to capture our family over the year again, especially as it was our first as a family of 5. December's pictures were of course taken over the Christmas period.

The whole of December was filled with magical moments. From putting up the tree, to ice skating and seeing Father Christmas, it really was such a lovely month! It wasn't the Christmas we were hoping for (Parker was really poorly and the rest of us caught a horrible sickness bug), but it was still pretty magical. And at least Lilah's first Christmas will be memorable!



2018 was the year our beautiful baby girl Lilah joined us. Of course if you've followed our journey for a while now, you'll know that it wasn't the smoothest of transitions. In March my PND came to a head, and I started on a brand new path towards recovery and re-finding my feet as a mama of three. It was incredibly though, but we came out fighting! And I am so pleased to say I feel better than ever now, and I'm hoping to stop my medication in the new year.

I cannot wait to see what 2019 will for our family. Our littlest member will be turning one, Parker will be starting school, and we have two exciting holidays planned already.. so it's already looking pretty exciting! I love looking back over the year in my December Me and Mine post too, so here's a look back on how we've grown over the past 12 months.

January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December

Lilah at 11 Months Old

20.12.18

This time last year I was almost full term, anxiously awaiting the arrival of our baby girl. And now here we are, with just a few weeks to go until our beautiful Lilah turns one. Howww did we get here already?! 


Lilah is still a petite little lady, weighing only 18lbs 11oz (at 48 weeks). She's fitting nicely into 9-12 month clothing and following her growth curve nicely, so neither we or the health visitor have any concerns. She is eating absolutely loads, and now she's only having 2 bottles a day, I think we need to introduce snacks as she seems hungry constantly! Since last month she has also popped another tooth through (a molar!), which I cannot believe.. she's going to have a full set in a few months at this rate.

Development wise, Lilah is definitely a walker now. She walks around the house flitting between toys, and as she can stand herself up there's no stopping her. We haven't got her any shoes yet, but I think we'll need to soon so she can walk about outside. That's not saying she doesn't 'talk' at all though, as she is constantly babbling / screeching away to herself.


This month is such an exciting one for Lilah, as we're celebrating her very first Christmas! She is already obsessed with all of the twinkly lights and pulling baubles off of the tree. Although I don't think she was so sure about Father Christmas - there were no tears though which is a win right? I can't wait to spend lots of time together as a family over the next few weeks, and I'm sure Lilah is going to be over the moon to have her daddy home for nearly 2 weeks!

I cannot believe that the next time I share one of these updates our baby girl will be one. Although I'm quite pleased I only have one of these flower photos to capture, they are impossible these days!

5 Tips for Stress-Free Wedding Planning

19.12.18

Is there anything more stressful than planning your own wedding? If you are right in the middle of all the organisation right now, then I’m sure you will agree that it can be very difficult being a bride-to-be. That’s no reason to turn into a dreaded bridezilla though. So here are some ways you can reduce your stress, and ensure that you don’t snap anyone’s head off in the process!


Give Yourself Plenty of Time
First of all, it’s always a good idea to give yourself plenty of time to plan the wedding in the first place. If you leave things until the very last minute, then you will only end up feeling very rushed and under pressure. Ideally, you need to start planning the big day at least six months in advance, although many couples like to start a year or so before their wedding. Just remember that the longer you spend planning the better your wedding will be.

Consider Hiring a Wedding Planner
You don’t have to plan every part of your wedding all on your own. If you are busy trying to juggle your wedding planning alongside a full-time job, then it could be worth hiring a wedding planner. They can take care of some of the big jobs such as liaising with the venue, and organising caterers. When you are looking for a wedding planner, it’s worth taking a look at a couple of different people. Ask for quotes and to see their portfolios. This can give you an idea of who can help you create your dream day for the best-possible price.

Ask Close Relatives and Friends for Help
It’s also worth asking your relatives and friends if they can help you with certain jobs too. You might want them to check out wedding bands such as The Smooth Criminals, and come up with a shortlist for you to check out. They can also help you find a designer for your invitations as well as a photographer. If one of your family or a friend is a keen baker, then you could even ask them to make your wedding cake.

Understand that Things Might go Wrong
You are only human, and you will only have a certain amount of control over certain aspects of your wedding. Unfortunately things could go wrong, but that shouldn’t be something that gets you down. It’s always good to always have a plan B in place so that you always have something to fall back on. And remember that you will be marrying the love of your life, regardless of any problems!

Take a Break from Planning
If you feel like things are starting to get on top of you, and that your stress levels are creeping up, then take a break! Don’t worry if you do forget about your planning for a few days. You’ll always be able to pick it up again from where you left off, and you will feel a lot more relaxed and refreshed as a result.

This is a collaborative post.

The Siblings Project | December 2018

15.12.18


I cannot believe this is my last Siblings project post of 2018! This year has seen my duo turn to a trio, and my big two welcome their baby sister into their little gang. It's been amazing to watch Indiana take on the big sister role again. She was born for the role, and absolutely loves playing and looking after Lilah. Parker has definitely struggled with the big brother role sometimes (he was the baby for 2.5 years I suppose), but I know he is smitten with his baby sister really.

December has been a really fun month so far, and having our cheeky three definitely make it that much more special. It was the first year Indie and Parker really got into helping with decorating the house - although I think I may have preferred it when they didn't help so much... Of course Lilah has spent every day since destroying said decorations, but I think I'm going to be really disappointed when they're gone for another year.


I love looking back on how our three have changed over the year, and I think this year's will be extra special, as it has captured Lilah's whole first year! So here's a look back on the Littles this year...

January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December


Christmas with the Sky Kids App

14.12.18


We are really on the countdown to Christmas now, and I think I may be just as (or possibly even more) excited than the Littles this year! December is a rather crazy month though, with soo many events and days out to fit in - seeing Father Christmas, school nativities, ice skating, and more. That it is so important to find some down-time in amongst the festivities.

If you read my previous post, then you'll know how much we've been enjoying the Sky Kids app. The dedicated Sky Kids app is described as "a world of entertainment for them, peace of mind for you", and is available to download on your phone or tablet at no extra cost (to Sky TV customers with the Sky Kids pack). Since my last post, the Sky Kids app won a Mumsnet Rated award - 103 Mumsnet testers tried the Sky Kids app, with 94% saying they would use it again, and 97% saying they would recommend it. And I can completely see why!


In between all of our Christmassy activities, I think it's lovely to let the Littles relax with the iPad, and watch a few of their favourite shows on the Sky Kids app. They can both have their own unique profile which features shows suitable for their age, so I know that they're safe doing so as well. They are both currently obsessed with The Gruffalo and Stick Man at the moment, and we've all been enjoying Christmas specials of their favourite shows (especially Hey Duggee!).

Excitingly, this Christmas Sky Kids is sponsoring the ice rink at Winter wonderland in London! Speaking from experience, queuing with children is a nightmare. So Sky Kids have provided iPads in the queueing area of the ice rink, so us mums and dads can entertain their little ones with the Sky Kids app (full of festive games, quizzes and their favourite shows) while waiting. It's such a fab collaboration, and one I know will be a hit with both parents and their children!


Finding the time to relax and snuggle up at home during December is so important - we all need to relax to get the most out of the festive period! So we will definitely be letting the Littles enjoy some down-time using the Sky Kids app when at home. And of course downloading some of their favourite Christmas episodes for long car journeys over the next few weeks too.

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Mumsnut and Sky Kids. All opinions are honest and my own.

Making Room for Nature in your Home

3.12.18

Your home goes beyond the realms of your interior decor. While many homeowners focus their entire attention on designing exciting interiors, they can sometimes neglect their outdoor decor. If you own a house (bungalow, terraced, or even detached property) with a front and back garden, you can’t afford to ignore how the exterior of your property affects your homely feel.

Would you feel at home if you parked the car on a messy drive every evening, and had to fight your way through an overgrown garden to get to the door? If the answer is no, then here’s a short guide on making your outdoor space homely again! 


The eternal challenge of birds in the garden 
If you love the idea of a vibrant red robin stopping in your garden in winter, you know that you need to prepare the spot in advance. Bird feeders are hugely popular - not only because they provide the guarantee of attracting birds into your garden, but also because they’re an easy and practical way to inject new life into your outdoor decor.

The more birds come to your garden, the more likely you are to struggle with stains on the driveway, the walls and the windows too. You can, however, protect your premises by using targeted bird control service, such as the addition of pigeon spikes to deter them from perching on your window sills and porch. An elegant alternative to the bird feeder is to add a pond, which will provide water to the birds and limit droppings to a small area.

The green garden that turns to chaos
If you’ve been dreaming of a wild garden you’ve probably come to realise that it takes a lot of work to manage the wilderness. Creating a naturalistic and untamed look comes down to one method - managed landscaping. The selection of plants is essential. You need to create a frame with evergreen shrubs, perennials and ornamental grasses to bring structure and natural filling. Last, but not least, garden maintenance plays a crucial role in the design of your untamed backyard. Remember that greenery adds a stylish finish to your home, but it’s not designed to take over the property!

Bringing a plant indoors makes your home healthier It’s been widely accepted that the presence of nature can be soothing. During the warmer months of the year your wild garden can help you to relax, but then comes the winter, and the garden disappears. You can find peace in making a place for nature under your roof. Houseplants are not just a stylish eye-catcher in your decor though. Plants actively help to purify the indoor air; boosting your mood and your cognitive abilities. 

This is a collaborative post.

Me and Mine Project | November 2018


We usually take our November Me and Mine family photo on Indiana's birthday, but this year we just didn't manage it. It was the first birthday where Indiana was at school all day, so by the time she was home and we went out for dinner, there was simply no time. We got this beautiful photos on our visit to Bedgebury at Christmas at the very last minute though, and I absolutely love them (even if they're iPhone quality)!

Despite being at school, Indiana had the best 5th birthday. We still did our birthday tradition of cake for breakfast, and she opened her presents in record time before school. We then had a lovely dinner out after school (with a little bit more cake), before the littles crashed in bed. We had spent the weekend before celebrating too, with family over our house on Saturday, and a class birthday party on Sunday. I think by Monday night we were all partied out and absolutely FULL of cake.

The rest of November was filled with fireworks, autumn walks, all the hot chocolates and of course preparing for Christmas. We're nearly all ready for the big day now, so we can spend all of December enjoying all of the festivities, and not worrying about shopping. I'm also hoping that because everyone seemed to get ill in November, that we'll manage a Christmas without getting sick!

Easy Ways to Personalise your First Home!

Living in a rented property can sometimes be a bit impersonal. Landlords have a lot of rules about what you can and can’t do to the house, and most won’t let you paint the walls, let alone put up any pictures. You never quite feel at home because you can’t put your own stamp on the place. But when you finally buy your first family home, you’ve finally got the chance to make it your own. Now that the house is actually yours, you can do whatever you like with it - so don’t hold back. Today I'm going to share some easy ways that you can personalise your first home!

Hang Some Photos 
Family photos are the ideal way to personalise your home. Get some of your favourites printed out professionally, and take them to a picture framing company to get them displayed properly. Remember, it’s your house so you can drill into the walls wherever you like and put the pictures up. Just don’t go overboard and cover every surface with photos, because you might regret it later. Put up a few in the living room and some in the hallways, and the house will start to feel a little more like home in no time.


Paint the Exterior 
The easiest way to change the entire look of the house is to paint the exterior. It’s also a good idea if the house is an older property, because a new coat of exterior paint will give it a bit more protection against the weather. Chances are it’s currently a bit of a neutral colour, so why not paint it again in a more interesting colour? If you think painting the entire house is a too bigger job, you can still give the outside of the house a bit of a lift if you just paint the front door instead. The door is like the centrepiece of the exterior of the house, so if you paint it in a bright, eye catching colour, it’ll make a big difference!

If the house has nice wooden windows, that’s another simple detail that you can change. The window frames will really stick out if you paint them in an interesting colour so don’t limit yourself to a boring brown or black. Just make sure that it still goes well with the rest of the exterior colour, especially if you’re leaving it as it is.

Swap out Fixtures 
If you don’t like the bathroom or the kitchen in your new house, you could rip the whole thing out and replace it all. But that’s going to be pretty expensive! You can still update the bathroom and the kitchen in the mean time though, by swapping out the fixtures. Replacing the taps, or the handles on the toilet will cost a fraction of the price, but jazz up the room. Just make sure that you’re matching the new fixtures with the rest of the decor if you aren’t making any more changes.

Have a Good Clean 
The smell in your home makes a big difference, and it’ll make you feel more at home if it smells just like your old place did. Give the house a thorough deep clean before you move in, to make it feel fresh and more like your own home. If you use the same products you used in your old house, it will make your new home feel more like yours!

Change the Light Shades 
The light shades are an accessory that people usually underestimate. You don’t notice them that much when you’re walking around the home, but if you’ve got interesting ones they can make all of the difference. Why not replace the current fittings with something more exciting? The right light fixture can be a great centrepiece in a room and it’s a simple way to inject a bit of your own personality into the room.

If you’re going for a more rustic decor style around your home, you could take the light shade off entirely and put in some vintage effect light bulbs instead. That stripped back look works great in a room that has a very traditional feel.

Get Inventive with Colour on the Walls 
If you’ve been living in rented properties for a while, you’re probably fed up with cream coloured walls. It's great for keeping a property neutral, but it's also soo dull! But there are no limits with your own home, so you can do whatever you like. Feature walls with bold patterned wallpaper or even a mural are a great way to completely revitalise a room and make it your own.

When you’re picking colours from the room, you need to consider the function of the space because different colours are best suited to different activities. If you’re painting the living room then something like red probably isn’t best, because it’s not a very relaxing colour. And if you’re painting a home office, you should go for blues and yellows because they encourage focus and creativity. Just make sure to have a good think before jumping into painting walls crazy colours!


Accessories
A lot of people get rid of a lot of unwanted items when they’re moving house. But make sure to keep some items though, because you can use some of them in the new place. Anything that has personal memories attached to it (like small ornaments that you bought on holiday) are ideal for personalising your home. Be careful not to make areas too cluttered though, just pick a few select pieces that are special to you and your family, and dot them around the house.

Get Everybody Involved 
Your home should be a reflection of your family, and the best way to achieve that is to let everybody pitch in and make decisions about how to decorate it. Have the whole family come along when you’re picking the colour schemes and furniture for the house, choose family photos together before you put them up on the wall, and let your little ones have a say in designing their own rooms. If you do it this way, you’ll get a bit of the personality of each family member in the home and it’ll all tie together brilliantly.

This is a collaborative post.

How to Plan a Successful Wedding

29.11.18

So, you have found the perfect wedding venue, but what do you need to do next?

There is so much to consider when it comes to planning your special day. Of course, you want to ensure that everything is just how you want it to be, which is why it is best to be as organised as possible. Keeping that in mind, read on to discover some of the venue-related tasks you will need to embark on, now you have decided on where you would like to have your dream day hosted.

Firstly you will need to begin by thinking about the theme and the colour scheme for your big day. Sometimes a venue can determine this; ff you have chosen somewhere that has a very unique design, you will have to play towards this, otherwise, you could end up with a room that looks a bit confused! Of course, if the wedding venue is neutral and gives you the opportunity to really add some colour and style, then the sky is your limit.


Do you want a traditional or modern styled-venue?

What colour scheme are you going to go for?

When choosing a colour scheme it is advisable to stick to three colours maximum. This will ensure everything blends beautifully and looks stylish. You can also use the likes of Pinterest to create a mood board, so that you can see what everything is going to look like together.

Aside from this, you should also consider the prospect of hiring some extra special treats that will make your big day special. Most people hire a band or a DJ, however there has been a trend for wedding magicians and other unique entertainment options lately too. Don’t forget the photographer either! Photographers like Daz Mack are a great choice, because they put the fun into wedding photography, and you can see work samples too.

In addition to this, you have plenty of other ways to make your wedding stand out. Have you thought about having your very own sweet stall, or why don’t you hire a photo booth and silly props! There are plenty of great ways to bring an added dash of fun to the occasion. You could even create your own cocktail and give this to guests to toast with, rather than having the standard champagne or prosecco. 


Last but not least, you will need to deal with the finishing touches. This includes everything from your table centrepieces, to the catering and the favours. Table centrepieces must be considered taking into account not only the style of the room, but the size of it. If you are having a small and intimate wedding, tall table centrepieces may dominate the room and make it difficult for people to converse with one and other.

Make sure to think about the wedding favours you are going to give guests too. Most people tend to go for something like a small chocolate or another type of edible favour. There are so many different unique ideas out there, so do a bit of research first. It is always nice to pick something that is special to you and your partner.

And finally the most important thing you need to do, is to make sure you enjoy yourself. Don’t let the stress take over. You’re getting married and planning the occasion should be half of the fun!
This is a collaborative post.

Lilah at 10 Months Old

28.11.18


I cannot believe how late I am with Lilah's update this month! She turned 10 months a few weeks ago now, but with Indiana's birthday and everyone being poorly, it's been difficult to find time to sit down and write. I haven't had time to take her to the weighing clinic either, so I don't have an update on her weight this month. But it has been a really exciting one!

Lilah is definitely growing well and is now fully in 9-12 month clothing. She's still a petite little lady though, and everyone always comments on how small she is for her age. Although what she doesn't have in size, she definitely makes up for in personality. She is constantly chatting and squealing away (she now says mama!), and my goodness does she make herself known when she isn't happy with something. She will stomp her feet at you and tantrum like a teenager when she doesn't get her own way sometimes. And although it's loud and hard work sometimes, can actually be rather cute!

Meal times are still her favourite part of the day, and Lilah loves most things put in front of her. She's getting really good with her pincer grip, and preloaded spoons are a little less messier now. As well as her meals she's still having three bottles a day - although she's not too fussed about her 3pm bottle some days, so I reckon we'll be dropping this one soon.



There have been some huge developments with Lilah this month, and she's quickly becoming a little girl and not a baby anymore. Two more teeth have popped through giving her a total of 8 already. And most exciting of all... she took her first steps! Very quickly she's learnt to stand herself up independently, take 3-4 steps, and can crouch and stand back up again if she falls.

I always knew those first steps weren't far off, but I still couldn't believe it when she did it. And despite Lilah being our third baby, those steps were still just as special. And probably the most bittersweet too, as it feels as if those baby days are coming to and end for the last time. And I don't think I'm ready!

3 Great Tips when Buying a House to Renovate

27.11.18

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
The cost of buying a home is out of control, and if you’re trying to buy a new property, you probably won’t be able to afford the space that you want. But you can save a lot of money if you buy an older property, and then renovate it instead!

It’ll take a bit of work and you won’t be able to move in right away, but you’ll be able to get a lot more for your money. However, you’ve got to be careful when you’re buying a property to renovate. If you take on a huge project that you can’t handle, you’ll end up sinking way too much money and time into it to make it liveable, and actually be worse off. So if you are considering buying a property to renovate, here are some tips to help you make the right choice.

Always Get A Survey Done
This is the most important step when you’re looking at any property, but it’s particularly important when you’re buying a house to renovate. If all of the work that needs doing is mostly cosmetic, you’re going to be fine. But if there are big structural issues or a giant hole in the roof, that’s going to be incredibly expensive and time consuming to fix.

You need to remember the exterior of the house as well, because any damage could cause you a lot of problems with insulation and damp. It’s important that you are aware of any problems like this before you buy, otherwise, you’ll end up stuck with a house that you can’t afford to fix up. That’s why you always need to get a survey done - because you won't have the expertise to spot these problems

Planning Permission
When you look around a house, you’ll probably start making plans about what you’re going to do to it straight away. But what if you buy the house and then find out that you don’t have the permission to do any of that stuff? That’s why it’s important to look into planning permission and find out about things like party walls before you agree to buy the property. What is a party wall, you might be wondering? A party wall is any wall that you share with a neighbouring property.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash
This can be a big problem when you’re doing renovations, as you’ll need to get a party wall agreement with the owner of the other property, if your work will impact them in some way. Always make sure that you find out what work you can actually do, before you commit to buy somewhere.

Be Prepared For Competition
The low price for these properties attracts a lot of potential buyers, especially as house prices are so high at the moment. So you need to be prepared for a bit of competition. The offer that you initially put in may be beaten by another buyer, so always budget a little bit extra, and don’t go in with your highest price first. It’s also important that you don’t get your hopes up because sometimes, somebody else will be able to pay more than you can afford!

This is a collaborative post.

Gifts for Dad's with Jacamo

26.11.18


If your other half is anything like mine, then you'll be struggling to find suitable gifts for them this Christmas. I don't want to give him the usual gift of a video game, and some of his other suggestions have been a liiiiittle out of my price range. 

I was recently contacted by Jacamo though, who wanted to know whether I wanted to receive some items for Jack to try. I never considered them for him, but after looking through there website I was blown away by how many brands and items they actually sell. With sizes from Small to 5 XL, they have clothing for any occasion.

I asked Jack to pick some items (as there was far too many items for me to choose from!), and he was really happy with the outfit he got. First up he picked these Reebok trainers, as he really needed some for our outdoor adventures. Comfortable and stylish, they go with most of his other items of clothing and they were a reasonable price too.



The other two items Jack picked have quickly become his favourite go-to clothing items. He has lots of hoodies, but this dark pink one is all he seems to wear now. It's soft and fluffy on the inside (which is ideal now it's much cooler), and the kangaroo style pocket holds all the dad essentials - dummy, muslin, phone, etc!

To layer up with the hoody, Jack chose this Jacamo branded navy bomber jacket. You cannot beat layers in the winter, so this is a perfect addition to Jack's wardrobe. It's not only practical but it looks stylish as well, and works really well with the dusty pink hoody. And as you can see, Parker definitely took a liking to it as well!



Neither Jack or I have ever looked at Jacamo for men's clothing, but after working with them we would definitely consider them in the future. I know I will definitely be having a look for more items to get Jack for Christmas. Especially as Jack is a little bit obsessed with shoes!

This is a collaborative post with Jacamo. However all opinions are honest and my own.