Help Support the Tommy's Splashathon 2019! | AD

24.6.19

Every year, 1 in 4 women lose a baby during pregnancy or birth. The baby charity Tommy’s are committed to reducing this unacceptable statistic, and along with the help of Water Babies, they are aiming to raise a whopping £1 million with the 2019 Tommy's Splashathon!


Tommy's the baby charity fund research into miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth, as well as providing pregnancy health information to those in need. Although we have never personally experienced baby loss, we do have many close friends and family that have. Jack ran the London Landmarks Half Marathon back in March for Tommy's, so of course we wanted to show our support and get behind such a fantastic cause once again!

This year is Tommy's 8th Splashathon event and it is set to be loads of fun, especially as this year's theme is Peppa Pig Pirates and Princesses! Every mum, dad and baby that takes part in the Splashathon will be helping other babies who aren’t so lucky - with each pound raised helping to save a babies’ life. This year the charity has set itself a massive goal of raising £1 million to help fund life-saving research. I believe we can most definitely achieve this if everyone gets involved, and supports the Splashathon and those taking part.


To take part you simply attend your local Water Babies class (you do have to be Water Babies customers already!), for a special fundraising Peppa Pig pirate and princesses themed class. You are of course encouraged to dress up, and join in with the water-based fun, including a challenge to swim a width! You can learn more about the Splashathon here. If you can't make it to one of the Splashathon events, getting involved could be something as simple as going for a fun family swim, and then donating what you can to the Splashathon fundraising page. Why not take the Water Babies and Tommy's swimming style quiz too, to see what kind of swimmer your little one is!

Let’s help save babies’ lives. Make a splash, donate some cash!


Collaborative post.

4 Ways to Simplify your Life!

21.6.19

For many of us, striving to achieve success involves cramming our lives as full as possible. This can especially be true if you’re a mum. It can be challenging to continually meet the demands we set ourselves, all while looking after our families, keeping up at work and not forgetting important dates and appointments. If you’re struggling under the load of your day-to-day responsibly, instead of trying to force yourself to get everything done, try to identify things (whether they are objects or habits) that you can remove from your life. In this post I'm going to share 4 ways to simplify your life with just of a few subtle adjustments.


Shop in Advance
If you can get into the habit of planning your meals for the week and shopping ahead of time - only for the products you need, you’ll actually save yourself hours of stress and worry in the long run. Especially on those evenings when you just want to get dinner done! If shopping for the whole week sounds daunting, remember that you can buy groceries online and have them delivered, and lots of dietary supplements or speciality food items that you don’t normally buy from the supermarket can usually be ordered via a subscription service too. A coffee bean subscription is especially useful, as running out of coffee is one of those crisis moments that can send you running to the store when you have committed to your weekly shop.

De-Clutter your Home
While it’s important to stop buying things you don’t need, getting rid of clutter is the place to start. Even if it seems like an unpleasant, never-ending task to being with, open that cupboard and get into the loft, and start clearing away things you don’t actually use! Don’t throw everything away just because you don’t need or want it though - making a donation to a charity can help you mitigate your waste, and could bring joy to someone else's life. See what you can sell on eBay or Gumtree, and even consider places such as Facebook for selling clothes and baby items. And then once you've sorted through everything, you can really sort out your home with the items you truly want and need.

Avoid Toxic People
Your time on earth is limited, and unless you devote a significant portion of that precious time to your relationships, those relationships are not going to blossom. Close family aside, save your time and energy for the relationships in your life in which both parties have the same level of commitment and effort. If you’re investing your energy in relationships that are unequal, or that make you feel devalued, you’re draining your time and energy for no reward. While it can be awkward and unpleasant to remove yourself from toxic relationships, you will be doing both you and the other party a favour in the long run! Listen to your heart and do what’s best for you.


Unplug and Unwind
These days our mobile phones are like extensions of our hands. They are not only how we communicate with loved ones, but our diaries, our cameras and our escapism from reality. But unplugging once in a while and tuning in to real life, can really help you relax and unwind. You can reconnect with friends or family face to face, and really engage with what's happening in that moment. Of course this is unlikely to be something you do constantly, but why not consider a 'blackout' once a week or month. And use the time to live in the moment, without the distraction of a phone or the internet.

Whether you’re feeling just a little taxed by life or you just need to feel more relaxed, why not consider slowing down rather than speeding up. And hopefully these tips will help you simplify your day to day life, giving you time to consider the things that really matter to you.

This is a collaborative post.

Why I Love Being a Mum of Three | AD

19.6.19

Sponsored by SMA® Nutrition.

Growing up I always knew I wanted to have children; I would picture myself with two little girls and I even had them named I was that convinced! But after we had our bigger two (and we had both agreed we were done), there seemed to be a little part of our family missing. I didn't feel done having babies at all... and so came Lilah, our third little baby and most definitely the final piece of our family puzzle!

When I was expecting Lilah, I had so many people tell us we were crazy to add a third child to the family though.

"You'll need a bigger car / house!"

"Ooh you're brave!"

"Third labours are the worst you know!”

Lilah has now been a part of our family for over a year now, and I have to say, having a third baby has been the easiest (and loveliest) transition of all! Of course everyone has different experiences, and this is just ours, but I would do Lilah's pregnancy, labour and first year again in a heartbeat.


I was a young first time mum when Indiana was born, and I think I worried about every single moment of her first year. And apart from my mum and my sister, I had hardly any support from anyone either. I really wish I had been aware of SMA Careline® when she was born, as it would have been exactly what I needed!

Parker was born just 20 months later, and although the age gap was close, I felt completely different heading into motherhood this time around. I had the most empowering drug-free water birth, and had a more positive attitude towards breastfeeding this time. Of course two under two had its difficult moments, but I still believe it was (and still is!) such a lovely age gap.

So when Lilah was born, both Jack and I felt so much more confident. We had the knowledge of raising two babies behind us, as well as the support from family, friends and online support systems such as the SMA Careline®. Their live chat is available 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, where you can chat to their experts (who have over 20 years of experience!), regarding anything pregnancy, baby or toddler related.


The most special part of Lilah growing up as a third baby though, has definitely been watching her with Indiana and Parker. There is undoubtedly nothing more special than sibling relationships - and she couldn't ask for a better brother and sister! They have always been so helpful, and loved that they could help feed her. We introduced SMA® PRO Follow-on Milk to complement her weaning diet when she turned 6 months, right up until her first birthday. Did you know that at 6 months babies develop so quickly that their need for iron increases? SMA® PRO Follow-on Milk is enriched with iron to help support normal cognitive development in a baby’s brain. It also contains Omega 3 & 6† and iodine to help support normal growth, so we felt happy that Lilah was in good hands, as we began to wean her onto a more varied diet.

As a third child, Lilah just slotted into our family perfectly, and it was so much easier to create a routine with her as she just settled into the one we already had with the other two! So although three children may not have been in my plans when I was younger, I honestly wouldn't change our family dynamics for the world now!

Do you have more than one child?
How did each experience differ for you?

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Breast milk is best for babies and breastfeeding should continue for as long as possible. SMA® PRO Follow-on Milk is for babies over 6 months, as part of a varied weaning diet. Not intended to replace breastfeeding.

† The beneficial effect of essential fatty acids is obtained with a daily intake of 10 g of Linoleic acid and 2 g of α-linolenic acid.

Smyths Toys Store - The Baby Room Sale + £50 Smyths Voucher Giveaway! | June 2019 {CLOSED}

18.6.19

If you're a new parent or are currently expecting, then this post is hopefully going to be helpful for you. Because Smyths Toys Store's dedicated baby area (The Baby Room) have officially launched their sale, offering £10 off Every £50 on ALL Car Seats and ALL Travel Systems, and well as some great offers across their whole baby range until Monday 8th July - including 20% off ALL Mini Uno mattresses!


The sale begins Tuesday 18th June, where their fab car seat and travel system offer will be valid in-store and online until Monday 24th June. And if you do decide to pop into store you can have your new car seat fitted for free by on of their certified in-store baby experts. Don't worry if you can't make it to a store though, as there are installation guides for each car seat available online too. 

Make sure to check out their new and improved range of premium car seats, travel systems and buggies from brands such as Joie, Britax Romer, Cybex, Graco, Mini Uno, and Babylo. Most of which can be delivered using their next day delivery service or using their 1hour click and collect service. It really is so was to shop at Smyths The Baby Room!

Top offers include:

Babylo Panorama Travel System NOW: £229.99 SAVE: £50

Leotie Lux Travel System & Car Seat Bundle NOW £399.99 SAVE: £90

Venti Travel System – Charcoal NOW: £279.99 SAVE: £70

Joie Stages Group 0-1-2 Car Seat - Coal NOW: £109.99 SAVE: £20

Joie Every Stage Group 0-1-2-3 Car Seat Salsa NOW: £149.99 SAVE: £20

Joie Spin 360 ISOFix Group 0-1 Car Seat Ember NOW: £199.99 SAVE: £50

Babylo Cozi Sleeper – Slate Grey NOW: £89.99 SAVE: £10

Bright Starts Ready to Roll Mobile Activity Centre NOW: £59.99 SAVE: £20

And what makes this even more exciting is that I have a £50 Smyths Toys Store voucher to giveaway to one lucky winner! All you have to do is enter via the Rafflecopter widget below. Terms and Conditions apply.


Terms & Conditions
£10 off every £50 promotion is taken on the latest marked price on ALL Car Seats & Travel Systems and will be calculated at the checkout. This offer excludes Car Seat Bases and Accessories. This offer is valid in-store and online. Offer valid from Tuesday 18th June until Monday 24th June 2019. Offer excludes purchases of gift, savings, digital download or POSA cards, plastic bags. Customer limits apply. No bulk buying. This offer is not valid in conjunction with any other promotional offers or money off vouchers. Offer excludes in-store home delivery. If items purchased in conjunction with this promotions are returned at a later date only the cash value exchanged will be refunded. No voucher necessary. 



This is a collaborative post.

The Siblings Project | June 2019

16.6.19

It's funny how time works isn't it? It feels like only yesterday I was writing up May's siblings project post, but at the same time a lifetime ago that we took those pictures. We've managed to squeeze in so much since then, including of course our magical holiday to Disneyland Paris. So there was no way this month's sibling's project was not going to include Mickey ears or the castle!


The bond between our three seems to have grown even more since our holiday. Lilah has learnt to say Parker and Indie (in her own super cute way of course), and will shout for them constantly to come and play. All three of them will snuggle up in our bed or on the sofa after school too, with Lilah always squeezed in-between her big brother and sister like a little sandwich filler. Everything is currently crossed that this love between them continues over the Summer holidays...

This month Indiana lost her very first tooth, which was an exciting moment for the whole family it seems. Parker was probably just as excited to see whether the tooth fairy had come as she was! I love that as they are so close in age Parker gets to see what exciting moments to are to come for him. This is especially true right now as he starts his transition to big school. Having watched Indie do the exact same thing this past year he (currently) has zero fear or worries, and would probably skip into school merrily right now if he could. Indie has been really supportive too, telling him all about what to expect and what he has to do. I just hope that he takes to school as well as she did come September!

5 Tips for a Fun Filled Wedding Reception

14.6.19

After the 'I Dos' and ceremony itself, the part of your wedding your guests will remember most is the reception. So you need to make sure you keep this in mind when wedding planning! To make the evening truly memorable, you should focus on making sure the guests in attendance have as much fun as they possibly can. Of course this is easier said than done, but with the right ideas in place and enough planning, you'll be sure to have the best wedding reception in town!


To help you with you planning, I've put together a few ideas and tips that are sure to make your reception a night to remember - and all for the right reasons!

Unexpected Entertainment and Games
Your wedding reception should be fun and joyful. You could achieve this by providing entertainment and games, that’ll keep people interested and having a good time throughout the evening. There are so many choices that are predictable these days though, so why not pick something a little more unexpected and unusual? Why not have steel drummers or a rock band instead of a DJ or swing band? A mixologist could entertain your guests with your own specialty cocktail, or how about getting an impersonator to be your master of service? Whatever you decide, keep it fun and all about you!

Keep People Coming to the Dancefloor
If you can keep people coming to the dancefloor, that’s one way of knowing that they’re enjoying themselves and having a good time! Good music is the most important factor in creating a busy dance floor, so make sure to choose your DJ or band carefully. Some DJs will even provide extras such as dry ice and lighting to make the dance floor even more fun!


Hire a Photo Booth
If you want to do something fun and memorable, then why not look into photo booth hire. Your guests can take funny photos of themselves with you or with other guests, which can then be compiled into an album as a memory of your big day. You could even get guests to leave messages on the back of their photos to use instead of a guest book!

Re-think your Wedding Breakfast
Re-thinking your wedding breakfast is another way to have some fun at your wedding reception. Rather than providing food or a buffet in the conventional ways that most weddings do, why not do something different? You could hire a streetfood stall or have a festival BBQ. There are all kinds of ways to feed your guests in a more exciting way!

End the Day with a Bang
Finally, make sure that the evening goes out with a bang! The very best way to do that, both figuratively and literally, is to host a firework display outside the venue. It’s a fun and magical way to end a fun-filled evening and memorable day. It will make for some amazing photo opportunities too.

Your wedding reception should always be fun and enjoyable for everyone - especially you. That’s why it’s worth putting as much planning into the party as you put into planning the ceremony. Good luck with your planning!
This is a collaborative post.

Disneyland Paris Trip Report - June 2019


We are not long home from our second magical trip to Disneyland Paris, so to help me recover from the Disney blues (seriously, they're definitely a real thing!), I thought I'd write a little round-up 'trip report' of our stay. I am going to apologise now if this is long, but if you've been to DLP before then you'll know that it's anything but a relaxed and slow holiday!

As a quick re-cap, we are a family of 5 (two adults, and 3 children aged 5, 3 and 16 months), and this is our second visit to DLP - we went last March which you can read about here. This year we decided to travel by car via the Eurotunnel, and stayed at the Newport Bay Club Hotel with the Half Board+ meal plan.

Day One - Sunday 2nd June

The day started bright and early with our holiday reveal, which had us all buzzing with Disney excitement! We live in Kent so the drive to the Eurotunnel was incredibly easy and quick. We arrived earlier than our booked train, but managed to get onto an earlier one for free. The train journey was only 35minutes and it wasn't long until we arrived in Calais. The drive to Disneyland Paris itself was incredibly easy. It's mainly motorways with plenty of services and rest stops along the route. You go through a toll at the start and get a ticket, then just keep driving and you'll reach the end - it was super easy to pay (€22.50 each way) and the machine does give change if needed. The whole journey took roughly 3 hours which was totally manageable.




We arrived at Newport Bay, checked in quickly and went straight to our room to drop off our bags and change. We just had a standard room (4240) but it was lovely, and even had a balcony looking over the front of the hotel! It was a roasting 32 degrees this day which was probably a bit too hot for us, but we sun creamed up and walked to Disney Village to grab a quick lunch at Earl of Sandwich, before heading into the Disneyland Park.

After taking plenty of pictures and finding the dragon under the castle, we headed for Pirates of the Caribbean as this was due to be closed the rest of our trip. There were actually lots of rides closed during our trip (Buzz, Dumbo, Slinky Dog, Cars, Autopia and the Railroad), but I don't think it made any difference to our trip - so don't worry about closures when you go! We did a few more rides before wandering back to Newport Bay for dinner at Cape Cod.  We all really enjoyed this meal; there was plenty of choices apart from fish (which was my main concern), and the littles loved the ice cream machines and sweets for pudding.

As we were all still buzzing with excitement and not too tired, we decided to stay up this night for the fireworks. The queues were tiny during this time, so it's worth staying out late to get on the rides that usually have longer queues. Illuminations wasn't until 11pm, but it is totally worth staying up late for at least once!






Day Two - Monday 3rd June

Despite the late night, we were up for breakfast early to make it into Studios Park for Extra Magic Hours (EMH). There was lots of choice including hot and cold options, and plenty of fruit too which was nice to see as it can be a rarity in Disney. We used EMH to do Tower of Terror (my 5 year old LOVED it, my 3 year old HATED it!), Aladdin's carpets, and the Studio Tram Tour. While I was waiting for the others on ToT I used the Lineberty App at dead on 9.45am and managed to get a Buzz slot (and then Jack got a Mickey slot around 9.55am). I just kept refreshing the app around that time and got a slot easily, so definitely download the app before you go! These were amazing meets too so definitely worth it!

Our main aim for the morning was to meet Spiderman, so Jack joined the pre-queue around 11.40am whilst I took Indiana on Ratatouille. He was one of the first in the queue, which was lucky as by 12.15pm the queue was miles long and Spiderman had only just come out! It was another amazing meet though, so definitely worth the wait. We went to Mcdonalds for lunch this day as there aren't many quick service restaurants in Studios at the moment (or anything at all really...). It was relatively cheap and quick, so we could squeeze in a few rides at the Disneyland Park before dinner.






We had pre-booked Buffalo Bills* (the 6.30pm show) for this night but wasn't really sure what to expect. But WOW, what a show! The food was yummy and plentiful - we had cornbread and tortilla chips when we arrived, chilli, chicken, sausages, ribs and potatoes for main, and an apple crumble with ice cream for dessert. The littles had everything but the ribs and a rocket lolly for pudding instead! Our drinks (coke, beer or water) were constantly refilled, and the show itself was brilliant and really interactive. My youngest didn't get a seat or meal, but they gave her food anyway and there was plenty of room to pop her in-between myself and Jack on the benches. We were in Category 2 seating but I don't this affected our view at all, so I wouldn't necessary say you need to upgrade!

The show ended around 8pm, so we did a bit of shopping in the Disney Village and then went back to Newport Bay for a swim. Jack took the two eldest alone no problem, and he said there were plenty of floats, armbands, and towels available to use for free.









Day Three - Tuesday 4th June

We were up and out early again, as we had character breakfast at Plaza Gardens booked. We arrived at 8am for 8.15am booking, so it was lovely and quiet in the restaurant and we were seated quickly. Despite this I found the character interactions SO rushed and crazy. There was hardly time for my big two to look up from their plates before the characters were already posing for a picture. It didn't feel very special which was such a shame. I honestly wouldn't recommend it, and have decided we wouldn't ever go again.

Once we'd eaten we headed straight to Princess Pavilion as we heard Snow White was there (who the girls were dressed up as), but despite it still being EMH it was already a 90 minute wait! But with the girls dressed up and Snow being Indie's favourite, we decided to just go for it. There is nothing to do in the queue though, so if you're going to do it then bring phones / iPads and lots of snacks with you to help with the waiting. It was all worth it though as Snow was perfect, and the pictures we got on our PhotoPass are amazing!






We had lunch at Colonel Hathi's Outpost in Adventureland where the littles got Mickey pizzas, and we had star shaped pizzas. Their meals also came with a salad, a mini ice cream, and milk which was one of the healthiest lunches we had. After being a drizzly morning the sun came out, and it was absolutely roasting again this day. So after a few more rides and wandering around Alice's Curious Labyrinth, we popped into the Disneyland Hotel to have a look around and some drinks at Cafe Fantasia. Four drinks cost over €50 (that did include my Glowtini that was €19 alone) but they were super yummy although incredibly strong!

We spent the rest of the afternoon back at Studios watching Mickey and the Magician followed straight after by the Superheros United show. Both were incredible, but do arrive about 20/30 mins before their start times to get in (ALL the seats have a good view though). We didn't have an evening meal booked this night so went to Annettes Diner in the Disney Village. This was one of my favourite meals of the holiday, and the service was incredibly quick! It was pouring by the time we were done though, so after more shopping we had a well needed early(ish) night.







Day Four - Wednesday 5th June

This was our last full day, so once again up and out early for EMH. It rained basically all of this day but prepared with coats and rain covers, we didn't let it spoil our fun. We managed to fit in Thunder Mountain, Star Tours, Hyperspace Mountain and Pinocchio during the extra hours. We made use of Parent switch service that DLP offer so much during this trip, so this helped us to get on lots of the bigger rides without as much queuing. We quickly ran over to Peter Pan's meet before the heavens opened and I feared we had queued for nothing. The staff were absolutely fantastic though, and within minutes we were guided to an undercover location and the meet continued as normal. Well done Disney!

We had lunch at the Marionette restaurant next to Pinocchio, which was nice but nothing special (or very healthy). I think we would have gone somewhere else if it wasn't raining so much. Everyone was absolutely exhausted by this point, so with the younger two asleep in pushchairs we used the time to wander at a slower pace, and we finally hunted down some Mickey shaped treats! These were in the sweet shop along Mainstreet (on the right as you walk towards the castle, not the bakery as we originally thought!) and were just as good as I hoped.






The rain definitely helped with queues this day, as everywhere was so quiet and empty. We easily got a spot by Small World for the parade, where we ate Mickey waffles and had hot drinks while we waited (Jack got these from the Old Mill in Fantasyland). Despite the drizzle the parade went on as normal. I don't think Parker stopped waving for the whole of the parade, and it was just as good as I remembered. Watching from here meant we could dash to a few rides whilst the parade finished with ZERO queues - Jack was even asked if he wanted to stay on the Storybook Boat ride as no-one else was there.

After a few problems with our meal vouchers on our Magic Passes, we ended up switching our Chez Remy reservation for the Silver Spur Steakhouse in Frontierland. I hadn't looked into this restaurant at all, but it was amazing and some of my favourite food! Jack and I both had Ceaser salads to start, steak, chips and corn for main, and a huge chocolate dessert. The littles had cute Mickey shaped plates with spaghetti and veggies, and ice creams for dessert. I'd definitely recommend! Unfortunately it did get very cold this evening and the rain continued, so we bailed early and went back to the hotel to relax and pack.




Day Five - Thursday 6th June

You guessed it, another early start! We needed to finish packing everything away and into the car, so we could make the most out of our last few hours at Disney. We spent the morning at the Studios Park for EMH as Jack and I wanted to go on Crush's Coaster. I went in the single rider line which took about 15/20 mins, and then used parent switch so Jack got straight on after. It's such a unique and fun ride, so definitely try using your magic hours to enjoy it!

After trying (and failing) to go on Parachute Drop, we spent our last few hours in the Disneyland Park. We waited about 5 minutes to go in one of the Mainstreet Vehicles (the police car) as it was on my Bucket List. It is only one way but such a fun way to head up to the castle! As it was still relatively quiet we found a perfect spot to take castle pictures with minimal other people in too - if you head to the right of the castle, on the path towards the castle stage / Discoveryland, you can get some lovely pictures with the Castle in the back!





After some final rides we had our last lunch at Auberge De Cendrillion (the princess lunch), where we saw Snow White, Cinderella, Ariel, Rapunzel and the two mice Suzy and Perla. We had a 12.15pm booking so it was super quiet when we got there, and we managed to see most of the princesses really quickly. It was lovely and the food was good, but it is expensive - about €150 on top of half board plus dining - worth it though if you don't want to queue for hours to meet just one princess!

It was a lot busier by the time we'd finished eating, so we made the decision to do some last minute shopping and then head back to the car to drive home. Within 5 minutes of leaving the Newport Bay all the littles were asleep, and the drive back to Calais felt like 1 hour not 3! We stopped for diesel on the way which was simple and roughly the same price as at home, so don't worry about needing to fill up. We made the 8.20pm tunnel crossing, and with the time difference we were home by 9pm.


We had the most amazing time, and despite Lilah being only 16 months she still went on plenty of rides! If they were open she could have also gone on Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast, Slinky Dog Spin, Cars Rally and Dumbo, (and she didn't make it onto Snow White or Phantom Manor) but she did do -
  • It's a Small World
  • The Carousel
  • Pinocchio
  • Orbitron
  • Peter Pan's Flight
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Flying Carpets
  • Ratatouille
  • Mad Hatter's Tea Cups
  • Casey Jr Train
  • Storybook Boats
  • Alice's Curious Labyrinth
  • Studio Tram Tour

Despite not really enjoying the characters she would happily wave to them from a safe distance away, but she absolutely loved the shows, sitting mesmerised throughout them! Running around the parks and playing with her bubble wand was her favourite thing to do though, as well as eating all the yummy treats.

If you have any questions feel free to ask them below, or message me on any of my social channels!

*We were gifted our tickets to Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show by Magic Breaks. All opinions are honest and my own.