Recent Posts

The Siblings Project | August 2019

21.8.19

My goodness getting these siblings pictures is hard work these days! Getting all three to stand still long enough, and to look at the camera AT THE SAME TIME is practically impossible. But I'm going to keep trying for as long as I can, because I love having these monthly photos to look back on and remember. This month's pictures were taken on my birthday trip to Colchester Zoo (the pig they're sitting on stopped them running away, hooray!), and although they're not taken on the big camera or have them all looking, I really love them!


We're now onto week four of the Summer holidays, and the best way to probably describe our household at the moment is chaotic. Those first few weeks were so, so hard having all three of them at home. It was incredibly intense (especially as we were all ill during the heatwave), and with Jack working long days / weeks, it was hard to find any breathing space.

These last few weeks I feel we've settled into our groove a bit more though. Embracing allll the lazy mornings snuggled in my bed, deciding what we're going to do at the last minute so there's less rushing around, and actually enjoying each others company! The older two have actually wanted to play together, instead of fighting constantly, which has made for much easier days. And as difficult as these 6 weeks are, I already know I'm going to miss having them all around when school starts. Especially as Parker starts school this year... sob!


How to Make the Most of your Garden this Autumn / Winter

20.8.19

If you are like me and have young children, then you'll have likely spent most of the long Summer holidays enjoying your garden and outdoor spaces. You might have spent your days playing in a paddling pool and other outdoor toys, and enjoying bbqs and eating outside in the early evening sunshine. Having a garden is such a fantastic way to make the most of the sunshine without spending money on expensive days out! Especially as the garden can be educational as well as fun - learning to grow fruit and vegetables, spotting different animals and insects, and even improving motor skills by climbing, jumping and exploring.


But with the Summer holidays almost over, and the evenings starting to become darker and cooler, it's almost time to start thinking about preparing your outdoor space for Autumn and Winter. But although your thoughts might have turned to packing away the garden toys and moving some of your less hardy plants to sheltered areas, there’s no reason that you can’t continue to spend time in the garden in the Autumn months, or even as Winter sets in! So in this post I'm going to share four steps to using your garden more this Autumn / Winter.

Protect It
As winds start to pick up and rain sets in, your garden might need a little extra protection. Source quality fencing supplies from a reputable company so that you know it won’t come down in a storm, and make sure any decking and furniture are weatherproofed. Lighter and more delicate items should probably be stored away (or properly covered), however more hardwearing items can still be used all year round. You might want to move any delicate flowers and herbs to sheltered areas so that they survive the colder months too. 

Keep it Simple
The Summer might be time for pretty garden flowers and delicate pottery, but if you're happy to let your children play outside in the colder months, you've got to keep things simple. Don’t worry about keeping everything neat and tidy; just let them play. Put their coats and wellies on and let them splash around in the puddles and explore the area. Try not to be to worry too much about keeping things pretty, there will be plenty of time for that once the warmer months roll around again.


Keep Warm
If you want to spend extended periods in the garden, and enjoy relaxing and even eating outdoors when the weather turns, you will of course need to find ways to keep warm. A sheltered area such as a wooden gazebo or a patio will protect you from the elements, and outdoor heaters will provide extra warmth too. A weatherproof playhouse would be perfect for little ones to play in too!

Add Light
A lack of light is one of the main reasons that we spend less time outside in the Winter. When it’s dark outside at 4pm, it can almost feel like we’re not allowed out. But by just adding pretty lanterns, post lights and even some fairy lights to your garden, it can make such a difference to the space. It can look romantic and warming and will encourage you to spend more time outdoors as the darker evenings set in. 

This is a collaborative post.

How to Bring Modern Technology into your Home

18.8.19


Modern decor and interior style is now slowly stepping into the futuristic age, with the things that we have previously only seen in movies now becoming actual reality. Homes are no longer just about what type of sofa you have, or what kind of ornate fixtures or fancy ornaments you have. Technology has now taken centre stage, and unless your home is truly modern, then no matter how good it looks it will be seen as behind the times.

But where to begin?

Firstly you should focus on what a home is actually for; comfort. Modern decor should be about making life easier, and making you want to come home and enjoy your own space. For this you need a few things that will make your home much more connected to satisfy your needs.

Sound When you Want it
Remember back in the 80s and 90s those huge sound systems? They were bulky, heavy and took up way to much room. Plus they were only in one place so you had to be careful where you plugged everything in! Now however, you have the Google Max Home, which is a home assistant made with some fantastic speakers. You can plug several of these in and connect them all to your system via Bluetooth. They will not only be your search assistant, but also play and control music with the sound of your voice. Compatible with Chromecast speakers, all you need to do is activate it with your voice and say what song you want to hear. No matter where you are in the home, every room where there are speakers the music will play. How amazing is that?


Dancing with the Heat
Central heating is quite rudimentary if you think about it. It's all controlled by boilers, and every room is heated even if you're only using one. So switching to something such as this modern electric Panel Heater would be an amazing improvement. The heater might be electric but it features an artificial fire that replicates traditional fireplaces with different colours and style of flames.

Get Informed in the Morning
You could also replace your bathroom mirror with a smart mirror, to bring modern technology into another room of your house. These connect straight to your WiFi and can inform you about the weather, time, play music and even tell you headline news! Of course they still look and act as a normal mirror too, if you're not wanting to ready to hear about the news while you're brushing your teeth.

Making life easier is what futuristic decor is all about. Merging this style with modern day comfort is something we will all start looking into in the near future. So why not get a head start and start future proofing your home now!

This is a collaborative post.

A Family Day Out at Chessington World of Adventures, August 2019 | Review

9.8.19

Chessington World of Adventures is somewhere I have been visiting since I was a child myself. I've shared a review on my blog before - back in 2015 when Indiana was 1 and I was 35 weeks pregnant with Parker. But as so much has changed since then, I thought it was about time I shared an updated review. We recently visited for Parker's 4th birthday treat and had the most amazing day out!


Rides and Attractions 

Chessington is much more than a theme park. Of course there are plenty of thrill rides for the whole family to enjoy, but there's also a zoo, a Sealife Centre and lots of fun interactive shows and talks. This summer Chessington is celebrating the amazing Gruffalo Summer Party, featuring lots of Julia Donaldson's beloved characters with interactions and a brand new show. Plus until 2nd September you can enjoy Beach & Bounce - a 100 metre long inflatable obstacle course and pop up beach that is included in your admission ticket.







In the theme park itself there are over 40 rides and attractions over 10 themed 'lands'. Our little ones are aged 5, 4 and 18 months, so we haven't really experienced the bigger rollercoasters and thrill rides. But there are plenty of rides that younger children can enjoy!

Rides that we all enjoyed as a family:

The Gruffalo River Ride Adventure
The Adventure Tree
Room on the Broom
Tomb Blaster
Tiny Truckers
Toadie's Crazy Cars
Sea Dragons
The Gruffalo Summer Party

Rides that Indiana (5) and Parker (4) enjoyed with either parent:

Zufari: Ride into Africa!
Scorpion Express
Treetop Hoppers
Seastorm
Flying Jumbos
Jungle Bus
Griffin's Galleon
Tuk Tuk Turmoil






We visited during the Summer holidays, but by arriving early (the park opens at 10am, but we like to arrived by 9.30am to get parked and ready) and making use of the Chessington App, we never queued longer than 20/25 minutes for any ride. You can also pick up a Parent Swap pass from the Guest Help and Information centre to cut down on queuing too - these allow one parent to queue with the child/ren, ride and then swap with the other parent via the exit, so you don't have to queue twice!

The Zoo and Sea Life Centre

Chessington Zoo is home to over 1,000 exotic animals, including tigers in Tiger Rock, gorillas, penguins, sea lions and giraffe. By riding Zufari you can get up close to some of these animals (you can also do feeding experiences at an extra charge), or you can simply wander around the zoo at a leisurely pace. Throughout the day you can experience keeper talks and feeding times, which are really special to see. We got to enjoy the Gorillas up close - including a teeny baby that was oh so sweet!

As well as the bigger zoo animals, there is also a children's petting zoo tucked away next to Room on a Broom. You can see sheep, goats, pigs and also meet guinea pigs, rabbits and kunekunes at certain times throughout the day. The Lawn in front of Room on a Broom is also home to an Animal Antics show which is usually on around 3.30pm each day. And don't forget you can feed the Lorikeets (extra charge), which is such a lovely activity for children.






The Sea Life centre is only small, but it's absolutely perfect for little children. There's lots of fun sea life as well as interactive rock pools, daily talks and feeding sessions, and the walkthrough ocean tunnel at the end is definitely a highlight! My three loved finding the Nemos and rays, and were even brave enough to stroke a starfish.

Food and Drink

To save money on our visits we have always taken a picnic with us to Chessington - we like to sit and watch the show at The Gruffalo Arena while eating, however there are lots of picnic spots dotted around the park too. If you do want to buy food while there though, there are plenty of options. From a quick burger and chips or fried chicken, to a proper sit down bbq meal, there's something for everyone. You can also buy meal deals in advance for places such as the Pizza Pasta Buffet to save some money.

There are also lots of places to grab a quick bite to eat or snack (the Gruffalo cupcakes looked SO good), and the the ice creams at Tuk Tuk Treats are a must. You can also purchase a Quencher drinks cup for £8, that allows you unlimited refills of soft drinks throughout your visit. These are a great deal, especially during a hot summers day when you're drinking lots more.

Ticket Options and Prices

Booking online will always save you money, however you can of course pay on the day. Chessington offer four different types of tickets: basic entry ticket, an 'all inclusive ticket' (includes entry, a meal deal and a Quencher drink cup), a late entry ticket (entries after 3pm), and an adult and preschool child ticket (entry for one adult and a child aged 5 and under). Children aged 3 and under are free.



We actually got our tickets from 365 Tickets, which offer amazing deals to attractions and days out across the country and worldwide. You can save up to 40% off tickets when booked 5 or more days in advance - making standard entry as little as £29.50 per person. This ticket is then instantly sent to you via email (which you can then print off and redeem) meaning you can save lots of time at the gates.

Parking is an extra charge at Chessington, which can either be prebooked or purchased on the day. Standard parking costs £4, and express parking (which parks you closer to the entrance) is £10. To find Chessington, make sure to use the postcode KT9 2NE on your Satnav or Smartphone.

This post is written in collaboration with 365 Tickets. We received our tickets in exchange for this review, however all opinions are honest and my own.

A Day Out in Covent Garden, London with Young Children | August 2019

7.8.19


Living in Kent, we are lucky enough to be only a short drive or train journey away from many fantastic places. One of our favourite places to take the Littles is on an adventure to London; there's so much to see and do for children in the capital, plus it's only 45 minutes on the train so it's not too far away either!

So last week we decided to hop on a train and spend the day at one of favourite London spots - Covent Garden. Located in London's West End, Covent Garden is a must-see for anyone who enjoys shopping, theatre, restaurants, bars, history and culture. Our train takes us straight to London Charing Cross station, so it's just a 10 minute walk from there. I would absolutely love to stay overnight in the area though, and there are plenty of Covent Garden Hotels to choose from if we did decide to in the future.





When a lot of people think of London, they probably don't think of it as being a great day out for young children (our three are 5, 4 and 18 months). But this couldn't be further from the truth! Covent Garden is perfect for young children, as there is just so much to see and do in the area. We arrived around 11am and instantly stumbled upon the first of many street performers. Covent Garden is well known for it's street performers in the Piazza and Covent Garden Market - a mixture of circus acts, card tricks and interactive shows. We also saw a fantastic string orchestra later on in the day, which the Littles especially loved!

There are so, so many places to eat and drink in the Covent Garden area so we weren't stuck for somewhere for lunch. We ended up eating at Wahlburgers, which is located just off the Piazza on James Street, as they are currently offering 'kids eat free' during the Summer holidays! Owned by the Wahlburg brothers (as in Mark Wahlburg fame), the Covent Garden restaurant is the first to open outside North America. It's your standard burger and fries kind of place, but the food was really tasty and it was great for the children.





After lunch we spent the afternoon at the amazing London Transport Museum. We used the National Rail 2-for-1 offer, and as under 17s enter the museum for free, we only paid £18 for all of us to get in! One ticket is also a yearly ticket, so now we have somewhere to visit in the future too. While exploring we enjoyed following the free stamper trail, which makes sure you see every part of the museum. There were plenty of vehicles you can actually explore, as well as a fab family play zone called All Aboard (for children 0-7 years) that has a real interactive bus, tools, mini vehicles and uniforms to dress up in. There's also a Baby DLR which is a dedicated area for young babies.

After the museum, we made a quick pit stop for the yummiest ice creams we've had in a long time (we got ours from Venchi, which constantly had queues out the door), before heading to the Disney in the West End popup. Located just along Long Acre, the popup is a collaboration between two current and two future West End musicals - Aladdin, The Lion King, Mary Poppins and Frozen the Musical. You can see props from the shows, take part in activities such as kite making, and also take special pictures in a Frozen Photo Booth. It's only small, but definitely worth taking a look if you've got young children (or just love Disney!). 








All absolutely exhausted, we made the short walk back to the station and hopped on a train home. We had the loveliest day out in Covent Garden, and we only managed to scratch the surface on what's to offer in the area. There are more museums, places to shop and of course shows to see, that just means we'll need another day out in the future! 

Have you been to Covent Garden? What's your favourite place to visit in London?

This is a collaborative post. The spending money for this trip was gifted by Hotels.com, but all views are my own.

Simple Home Interior Design Tips

6.8.19

The wаy our home looks sаys а lot аbout who we аre, аnd even more аbout our personаlities. Thаt’s why the wаy in which we orgаnise our home interiors are extremely importаnt in how we live our lives. We аre living in а fаst moving world where we’re bombаrded with whаt we ought to weаr, eаt аnd put in our homes, but rаrely do we hаve the time to give considerаtion to what we actually like. There аre а few simple wаys in which we cаn change up our interiors to make it more 'us' though, and in the post I'm going to be sharing 6 simple home interior design tips everyone can do.

Hаrmony - All the rooms in our home need to hаve а strong sense of stаbility to them, you want to come home at the end of the day and relax. It should feel like a sanctuary and not a stressful place.

Focus Points - Rooms thаt hаve а centre focus point will flow much better. Things like your аrtwork displаys, аn аrchitecturаl wаll piece or even figurines аre greаt suggestions. If you are looking to add unique pieces, then why not buy blinds online and add a pop of colour and a modern feel in an instant. 


Photo by Rustic Vegan on Unsplash

Balance - This can be successfully done by bаlаncing the rooms’ visuаl weight, by subtly spreаding it out to the other pаrts of the room. Make sure you don’t pile up the corners of the room with everything, but instead distribute items around the room. This will help it feel less cluttered and more balanced.

Colour - This should be аn obvious one, but by utilising positive colours you cаn chаnge the feel of a room completely. Lighter colours will make a room look brighter and bigger, whereas darker colours will create a more dramatic and cosy feel.

Proportion аnd Scаle - Use only furniture аnd items thаt complement the totаl size of the room. Stay away from large items that will make a room look smaller - but also make sure you're filling necessary space if you have it.

Photo by Patrick Perkins on Unsplash
Rhythm - Creаte the illusion of visuаl stimulаtion through movement, by аrrаnging your room in a mаnner thаt keeps the viewer’s eye moving from point to point.

Home interior decor аnd design is often а highly sensitive subject as many people feel thаt they actually know whаt they аre doing, but the outcome is quite the opposite. The right use of lighting in the home hаs the potentiаl to trаnsform аny item of furniture or book shelves into а lively аnd stimulаting room. Experimentаtion is the key though, as you won’t know if how something looks until you try! And if you are looking for something that is easy to create and maintain, then minimalism is the way to go. You can start by decluttering, getting rid of things you don’t need or love, then getting great storage to store things like toys and extras.

This is a collaborative post.

Me and Mine Project | July 2019

3.8.19


A few days late and with grainy iPhone selfie snaps, but I couldn't miss out on July's Me and Mine Project post. July was an exciting month with so much going on, and it of course ended with two very big occasions. Indiana competed her first year of school and Parker graduated from Preschool! Lilah also turned 18 months old which seems like a milestone in itself, where did our baby go?

July also marked the start of the loooong Summer holidays. Although ours unfortunately didn't get off to the best of starts. With all of us being unwell and the heatwave actually keeping us inside (anyone else not a lover of the heat?), it's felt like we've been on them for 2 months, let alone less than 2 weeks. Of course we're loving the lazy mornings and slower days, but I'm finding some days to be quite tough. The big two are constantly bickering, they're eating everything in site, and my goodness is it impossible to get anything done. But it can only go up from here right?



We have another exciting month ahead though, with birthdays, a few special trips planned, and of course lots of moments like these. So here's to surviving the rest of the Summer holidays, and an amazing August!

Lilah at 18 Months Old

2.8.19

I haven't shared an update on Lilah since she was 12 months old, so I thought it was about time I did! Lilah turned 18 months old on the 14th July, and has honestly grown and changed so much in just those 6 months. She is well into toddlerhood now, and those baby days are far behind us!


I haven't had Lilah weighed for a long time now, but she is fitting nicely into 12-18 month clothing, and slowly transitioning over to 18-24 months bits and bobs. She has super long legs, the most gorgeous chub rolls on her arms, and super squishy cheeks. There's just something about the squishy-ness of a toddler that I just love (and wish they never lost). She's got size 5F feet and 17 teeth, meaning just 3 more molars to go until she's got her full set. Woohoo!

Her daily routine is pretty much the same as when she was 12 months, except we have now gone down to one long nap instead of two. She'll have her lunch and then snuggle up with her muzzy and dummy for roughly 2 hours - all dependent on whether I have to do the school run or not. She feeds herself really well now and absolutely loves her food, although she is starting to become a lot fussier with what she does and doesn't like, which can make meal times interesting. 



Lilah's cheeky personality is shining brighter than ever now, and we're always complimented on how happy and smiley she is. She is very independent and loves to join in with the big two as well, which was make me incredibly nervous! She climbs everything, loves to sit at the big table and will give everything a go (even if she's far too little to do it). I always say she's the perfect mixture of Indie and Parker; she's amazing at independent play and loves her toys, but she's also got a stubborn and mischievous side too. The terrible two tantrums have already started too, and my goodness does she mean it when she's in a mood!

Another big development we've noticed over the last few months is Lilah's speech. It's as if she woke up one day and something clicked, and now she's learning a new word each day. She can say: mummy, daddy, nanny, Indie, Parker, cat, doggy, duck, mine, no, yes, hi / hello , bye, ta, down, door, cuddle, eyes, nose, hair, socks, shoes, juice, one, two, hat, baby, book, milk, uh-oh, yuck, and cheese. It's incredible watching her learn and understand even more as each day passes. And even though she is our third baby, it still amazes me how incredible our children are.



She loves to play with her cuddly toys and baby dolls, reading books, playing with the cat, climbing, In the Night Garden and Bing, eating apples, water play, and being just like her big brother and sister. She doesn't like her pram so much at the moment, brushing her teeth, not getting her on way or being left out. 

I have loved watching Lilah grow and change over these last few months, and I really cannot wait to see what's next over the next few years. It does make me sad that she's now closer to being 2 than being a baby, but I'm also so excited to see what's to come. Roll on toddlerhood!

4 Easy Money-Saving Tips and Tricks

1.8.19

It can be tricky to make ends meet in this day and age, and this is why it is becoming more important than ever to look for ways of saving money, and bringing in more income. Making sure you have a few ideas under your belt that are going to help you achieve this can make a huge difference. So in this post I'm going to be sharing 4 of my top tips for saving money, and freeing up some well needed cash!


Tweak your Budget
There are simple fixes to common budget problems, and one of the biggest issues to contend with is what you can do to free up more disposable income in the budget. The easiest way of being able to achieve this though, is to look at where you can make tweaks and changes to your existing budget. This is a great way of being able to free up additional funds, and it’s something you can work on gradually too. Make a spreadsheet of all of your incomings and outgoings, and work out where you can save a little bit of money here and there. All the little savings add up!

Sell Unwanted Items
There are several options you are going to want to consider here, and it’s important that you keep this in mind. Of course the most obvious ways of doing this is by selling your unwanted clothes or household items on eBay or Facebay. But why not think even further than that? You could use stamp auctions to sell your stamp collection, cash in on a savings bond, or even sell your car if you have more than one. There are a lot of options to work with, and this is something you need to make sure you keep in mind moving forward.

Cut Back on Expenses
Cutting back on expenses is essential, and there are some excellent things you can do to help with this. Make sure you identify what your expenses are, as well as what you can do to trim these and cut back where possible. One of the key areas you can cut costs and make savings is when it comes to energy bills. If you are clever about it, you should have no problems being able to reduce the cost of energy bills, by switching providers or looking into smart meters. Making a meal plan can also really help cut costs, as you will only need to buy what you really need - and hopefully cut back on the costs of takeaways too!

Invest Sensibly
Investing can be really important if done right (there are plenty of things you can do to ensure you are making the right sorts of investments though). Come up with ideas that are going to allow you to make the right investment decisions for your money. If you can make sensible investments right now, you will be able to bring more cash into the home in the future.

This is a collaborative post.