In our house, we love nothing more than dimming the lights, getting the popcorn ready and putting on our favourite film on our own version of the big screen. Hubs and I met at Blockbuster when we were working there as students, and we clicked (sorry!) over our love of film, years later having a movie twist to our wedding theme and amassing over 700 DVD's (most of which we just have digitally now!).

It was inevitable that Ethan too would grow up to love films, particularly Disney, and he's pretty partial to popcorn too.

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Whilst going out is great, home is where it's at for us and we like transforming our lounge into our own cinema, popcorn, snacks and all, and of course, cuddles on the sofa.

And it seems we're not alone. Many other Brits, and Brummies, are happiest when doing just this.
The Gruffalo is perhaps the most read and most loved book in Ethan's library, and a firm bedtime reading favourite since he was little, which is why I am excited to announce a new link up between Organix and Chessington World of Adventures Resort with this special competition.

We recently went to Chessington World of Adventures Resort for Ethan's fourth birthday, specifically as they have the new Gruffalo River Ride Adventure, and when we started our weaning journey, Organix was a range that I always had in the cupboard - and still sometimes do as their organic baby / toddler snacks are really handy to have and Ethan loves them.

Organix Goodies has partnered with Chessington World of Adventures Resort and its new Gruffalo River Ride Adventure to offer little explorers (and us mums and dads too) the chance to GO FREE!
So, I may love the Harry Potter books, films and world and I may have the Deathly Hallows symbol tattooed on my arm, and we may have called one of our new rabbits Gryffin, but I'm not a complete fanatic - I just love the magical wizarding world, like I'm sure many of you do too.

That being said, with the updates we have just added to our yellow and grey themed lounge following the big makeover last year, you might not believe me...

It all started with a lovely email from the friendly people at Posterlounge - a great online site that specialises in (you guessed it) posters, and canvas prints, in a choice of sizes to suit the space you have, on a whole host of themes from art and film to music and motivational quotes.

They asked if there was anything I might like to review and that's where I quickly became obsessed... I discovered really quirky versions of the film posters for Harry Potter, where the essence of the film is captured through a number of icons. The minimalist design was clever and eye-catching, and I've always liked alternative art like this as it's fun and playful. Of course, I couldn't just choose one of the film posters from the franchise, so I quickly added all eight to my basket and thought I'd work out where to put them later (possibly going up the side of the stairs). A trip to Ikea for frames would be needed!
Ever since the funny yellow creatures appeared in the original Despicable Me film a few years ago, it seems that the Minions have taken over and stolen many hearts - including that of my son. With their silly antics, funny language and crazy capers, it's easy to see why they appeal to children (big and small) and with the latest film instalment, Despicable Me 3, it's time to go bananas for the yellow guys in dungarees all over again.

A firm favourite for many, if you have a child who's a Minion fan or know someone who is, then you'll no doubt love the new dinner and cutlery sets from specialists Arthur Price. The perfect gift and something that will last a lifetime, these gift sets are really quite special and a must for any serious Minion lover.

I've thought about writing this for a while but then just as quickly, I don't have the words or don't want to say anything at all. I am the kind of person who likes to keep busy, particularly during tough times, as routine and having something to focus on helps me to cope - or at least feel like I am.

I've been doing fine. I think. I feel it, most of the time. But when I stop, even though I keep looking ahead but just want to stop for a minute, I feel a bit lost. Not sure what to do when the distractions fall away.

I want to write something, by means of update on here, but mainly as a way to just get it out. And to tell people that it's ok to feel this way; not knowing how to feel, or what to say. I don't think I can say a lot, but at the same time I want to say something. Because, in my experience, there aren't a lot of people around to provide support, or to talk to you or advise you or care for you.

It's hard for me to say because it means that it happened.

Just over three weeks' ago, I had a miscarriage.

I was 14 weeks when it happened. At my 12 week scan, instead of seeing a 12 week baby, there was just a gestational sac the size of a 5 week pregnancy. And no visible sign of a baby.

Taken just before our scan, in our bubble of excitement of being pregnant

Hubs and I left broken. There was no support offered, just an early pregnancy scan appointment made for two week's time. We were left alone. With questions, with worry and with little hope - although I tried desperately to find answers, to find hope.

My dates weren't wrong. My body may have believed I was pregnant, with all the signs as you would expect, but the one appointment we had told us that we were wrong.

We faced two long weeks, the longest of our lives, before knowing for sure.

Three days before the early scan, I started to bleed. Two days before, I miscarried.

Although it's what we had expected, I had tried my best to cling on to hope.

Hubs was by my side, but we were alone. No-one came to see us, or told us to go and see them; not a midwife or a doctor or a sonographer. "You can do this at home, no need to come in." Straightforward, matter-of-fact, no further advice at all.

Just hubs and I. Coming to terms with what we had lost, no matter how early. It was the thought of what was going to be. We'd spent three months daydreaming about the baby we were going to be having. I had every symptom, and we were so excited.

The baby came and went almost like a dream.

Looking at these photos is difficult, as I was just so happy 

There is support out there but you have to find it. Despite the fact that miscarriage is as common as it is (something you only find out more about when you have to (because nobody wants to know about the reality, the possibilities, really), there just doesn't seem to be the support system in place. Unless you find it yourself or find someone to ask for it.

But, for me, I didn't know what to ask. What to say. How to feel.

The same way that people don't know what to say to people going through this. I haven't a clue what someone would say - I didn't know how to articulate how I was feeling and had no idea what would help.

Everyone handles things differently and I guess we all find our own way.

My way has been to take some time but to use routine to keep me busy and help me move on. The practical side of my brain tells me that everything will be ok, and it will be and we have been. It's been the toughest thing we have had to go through but with Ethan and so many reasons to be grateful, and to keep going, life continues.

We will never know what could of been. And we may always wonder. But we have each other and I will take comfort from what we do have - and what we might be lucky to have one day.

We all know that play is an important part of a child's development and it's great to see your little ones running around and playing free. It can be hard though to not feel anxious, worried that they are going to fall and hurt themselves - and I know how protective I am when Ethan is out and about.

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Scraped knees and bruises are part and parcel of being a preschooler, and Ethan seems to have quite the collection. Boys, eh?! He doesn't seem to mind or notice though and I think of it just being a sign of how much fun he is having at this age. And boy, is he!

His new preschool building has been updated and has a bigger garden with different areas to play in, and inside it's bright and colourful too. Just like the local playgrounds we take him to, with their wet pour playground surfacing, we know that when he is playing with his friends, he is having a great time and has soft nursery surfaces around him so that he can't do himself too much mischief.

I've written before about my interest in mindfulness as a way to help with everyday wellbeing. I received a book about becoming a mindful parent a couple of months' ago and there's still a few things from this that have stuck with me and resonate. 

Mindfulness is a bit of a buzz work, and another trend of late has been Danish inspired living - anyone get a bit obsessed with Hygge last autumn/winter? Well, there is a new mix of the two that other parents like us may be interested in - a meditation book to help children sleep from a Denmark. 

The Children’s Meditations In my Heartby emerging Danish author Gitte Winter Graugaard, promises to help children to fall asleep within minutes. Now available in three different languages, it is beginning to change bedtime routines the world over - so you can see why I was keen to snap up one to review!

Ethan is a pretty good sleeper by all accounts now, as you'd hope for aged four years old, but we do still have to take some time to settle him in the first place. Hubs and I take turns each evening to put Ethan to bed, reading him one story (or three) and playing songs, with more success in a shorter time span for hubs than for me. So I'm keen to find ways to help us reduce the bedtime settling routine and to help Ethan relax into sleep quicker, as some nights it can take over an hour for me.
To my friends,

Today you welcomed into the world the baby girl you have hoped and dreamed of for the past nine months, and more. Your bundle is fresh and new and whilst you start to memorise every little detail of her face and breathe in that newborn smell, you'll no doubt find your mind racing ahead to the days, weeks and years ahead of you. What will it feel like to bring her home? How will you go from being a two to a three? What will she grow up to be?

It's such an amazing time and one that you can't really describe. Everything is new, you're terrified that you might break her and you realise that there really is no handbook delivered with your baby. You go home when someone else tells you too and you're allowed to just take her with you and start caring for her. Just like that. With no guides. No step by step instructions. This is it - you're a parent now.

But it'll all come to you and whichever way it does, however you feel and whatever you choose, it'll be the right choice for you and for her. I don't think anyone really knows what kind of parent they will be or how they will find all the new experiences.
The summer holidays are nearly upon us and for many families, that means six weeks of fun and sun... and thinking of great ways to spend the time, with new places to explore and the kids to keep entertained. There's no doubt that this can be an expensive time of year for parents but thanks to Vileda's new Kids Go Free campaign, you can scoop up a free kids voucher (with a full paying adult, worth up to £46.80!) to many popular national attractions - Alton Towers, Sea Life Centres, The Sanctuaries and Legoland Discovery Centre.

So not only can you sweep away the cobwebs inside your home this summer, using any of the nine leading Vileda products included in this special offer, you can get out and enjoy the holidays at a top destination for far less pennies.

There's a great range of really handy helpers included in the promotion - I actually have the best selling Supermochio mop and can confirm it's very useful to have (read my full review here).

To celebrate the launch of Vileda's Kids Go Free campaign, I have a set of family tickets to any Sea Life Centre of your choice to offer one lucky reader. We are a big fan of Sea Life in our house, having been ambassadors for The National Sea Life Centre Birmingham, and can thoroughly recommend it as a great day out.

As a super busy mummy, it can seem difficult to find time to fit everything into your schedule. With exercise, food shopping, laundry, work, family, friends and even just fitting in some down time can be a struggle. It is important to spend quality time with your children. It is just as important to have some you-time. In order to be the best role model to your children, we should live a good and full life.

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Friendships are an important part of any person’s life; they give us a place to share secrets and joys and to offer receive and support. It’s about having someone to talk to about your problems, share a giggle with and just be there for you when you need them.

Yet, as busy parents, it’s often difficult to prioritise our own friendships. We juggle playdates, parties and trips to the park for our children to ensure they get all the social intersections they need, but this often leads to us leaving our own friendships out of the equation. Here are some tips to help you maintain your friendships and fit in quality time, for even the busiest of mums.
I'm no Mary Berry but I do like a nice cake or a crumbly cookie so will occasionally don the apron and bake up some treats - and Ethan is more than keen to be Mummy's little helper.

Last week we received a lovely baking kit from Cake Angels and on Sunday, we set aside some time to get our bake on.

Baking with children is a really fun activity - although it can get a bit messy! The kits we were sent helped to keep it all simple though, as there was not a lot of measuring to do (the mixes are all ready made, so it's just butter, water, oil or an egg you need to add) and everything was in clearly labelled packets, which meant I could spend more time enjoying the activity with Ethan.
I may be in a minority here, but I don't really watch Strictly Come Dancing, although I have seen the odd show or watched some of the most famous performances. That being said, I do have a particular soft spot for two of the dancers, Kevin and Karen Clifton.


First of all, my best friend used to be a part of Kevin's parent's dance school when she was a young teenager, and even got to backing dance for him too.

Second, I had the chance to work with Kevin and Karen a couple of years' ago. I hired them to perform at a press event I organised for a client at Chelsea Flower Show. And they were just the nicest people. Down to earth, friendly and professional, it was lovely to work with them and to see these fantastic dancers do their thing from the wings.

So, when I saw that Kevin and Karen would be hot-stepping it to Symphony Hall Birmingham, I knew it would be the perfect treat for my bestie - and a nice way to spend an afternoon.

And it really was.

My birthday is 11 days away and there's a few bits and pieces I have my eye on - a make up treat hear, something sparkly there and a new scent for summer.

Here's some of the things on my wishlist...

I love finding new places to explore and when the weather is as glorious as it is right now (long may it continue... we can live in hope!), as a family we just want to get outside and enjoy the sunshine and nice surroundings. Whether it's a National Trust location, a walk around town, a picnic at the park or a day out at an attraction, being outside and being active is what summer is all about for us.

* In collaboration with Fenetic Wellbeing

I don't know about you, but it's not always easy to get out and about, particularly if you have young children or older parents or family members. I remember when we went to Cornwall on our first family holiday when Ethan was just five months' old and how parking the car was a nightmare and trying to navigate around with our bulky pushchair was really hard work. We couldn't even fit down some of the pavements and some shops we just couldn't get into because of the high steps!

My parents live down south and we visit every couple of months, and at this time of year, there's a lot to enjoy where they live, including the local lake, annual canal fayre and lots of spots of natural beauty.

The trouble is, my Dad has difficulty walking. He turned 70 this year and his legs are a real source of pain on a daily basis. When he starts to walk, he soon has a build up of pain which makes him have to stop every so often to recover and let the feeling in his legs dissipate. It's a real frustration for him and I know he'd love to try and keep up to Ethan, who always tries to lend his Gramps a helping hand.

When we first moved into our house almost 11 years ago, the first thing we did to make it feel our own, with our minimal budget, was to hang mirrors in the hall, lounge and dining room. We couldn't redecorate for a while and hanging three statement mirrors worked wonders in adding some of our personality and opening up the space.

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They are a really great way to make any room feel bigger, as they reflect the light and can enhance the feeling of space, even in a narrow hallway. They're of course practical too but with so many mirror designs available, from minimalist to vintage inspired to full on statement designs, there's the perfect mirror to suit every style and every room in the house.

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