Reading is such an important skill and is a pastime that Stephen and I both enjoy and something that we have also passed on and shared with Ethan from an early age. Now he is at school, he is learning more about letters and sounds than ever before, and his journey to learning to read has well and truly begun.

He has a vast collection of picture books that he loves and he has one more that has captured his imagination - not least because it has pictures of animals (which he loves) and letters.

The Lost Words is a very special and one-of-a -kind book full of illustrations and 'spell-poems' that aims to 're-wild' the language of children. Designed to be a read out loud book for parents and children to enjoy together, The Lost Words  is a substantial book and is really rather beautiful to look at. Ethan was surprised when he first saw it and it was different to what either of us may have been expecting.

Now is a good time to start thinking about the gifts you will buy for Christmas. If you know what you are going to buy in advance, you can avoid the stress of having to make last-minute purchases. It also gives you the chance to shop gradually and get the best deals. To help you to make a start on your Christmas shopping I have put together a few gift ideas.

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Unique gifts that you can order online

Firms like Hello Canvas make it really easy for you to take your favourite photos and have them turned into unique prints for the home. If you have family photos they can potentially be arranged into a collage print and be given to your parents. Interestingly, any image can be used. This means that you could take a landscape or action photo you have taken and have that turned into a print for a friend.

This firm can also take these images and turn them into unique phone cases. Other companies can create mugs, soft furnishings, t-shirts and other unique items using images you send to them.

It is also possible to order other products that have been personalised in some way. For example, a storybook that features the person you are buying for or engraved key rings or photo frames.
Today marks 5 years since I started this corner of the internet. Like many bloggers, it began as a simple way to document my journey into motherhood and it became a space for me to explore my new role and all the other elements that make up my life and loves.

I've shared highs and lows, things I love and issues that have me all riled up, days out, recipe ideas, beauty reviews, style of thirty and my take on being Ethan's mama. A lot's happened since my first posts!

TBM has had many looks over the years, as I tried to find the look that matched the voice of my blog; here's just some of the templates and logos I have used over the past five years...

TBM has grown with me and I have been able to do so many things as a result of my blog - especially in the last year - which has given my family memorable experiences and myself a platform to share, celebrate and just be me.

I often say that my blog is about finding the 'me' in mummy and I think that holds true even more so with each passing year.

I'm not the biggest or the best or the funniest or the most fashionable. I won't ever be, and that's fine - that's not what this is about. But I am me. I'm positive. I work hard. I love lipsticks and Cath Kidston a little too much. I like being able to talk to people who are like me or like what I like.

I am so proud of some of the projects I have worked on and brands I have worked with and love talking to you about my life and loves.

Thank you to everyone who has read, followed, liked, shared, commented or joined in with TBM.It does mean the world to me and together, we have come a long way.

Happy birthday TBM, here's to many more years sharing my take on mummyhood - and so much more.

Kelly x

Just a few of my favourite posts from the past 5 years...

Christmas 2017 Grotto Guide - where you can see Santa in the Midlands

Ultimate guide to Center Parcs - our top tips and things to know before you go

Good for you - my motto for a happy life

Be organised! - ideas on how to plan and get things in order

Becoming mum - it's a journey, not a destination

Parenting ain't nothing but a number - if we're always counting down to the next milestone, do we miss the moments that count?

Why don't we put ourselves first? - not feeling bad about 'me time'

Ok, so maybe you’ve just had a refurb: new carpet or new wallpaper fitted, or perhaps you’ve just moved into your new home and want to make it well, feel more like home!

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Whether it’s a large architrave on all your doors to give it a more period feel, or a new lick of paint on a drab wall – it’s easy to get drawn into the big changes and forget about the little ones that can really make all the difference!

However, it can be difficult to find the time or the money to purchase high-end items that we think might make our home seem more appealing, but do we really need to spend spend spend? Here you’ll find a few tips on how to make your house, feel more like a home in no time!
Whilst I may be incredibly behind when it comes to Christmas planning, for me, compared to other years, I have been compiling a list of some lovely things that have caught my eye and that I wouldn't mind spying under the Christmas tree this year...

From new gadgets to some beauty treats, sparkle and shoes, these are the things I am currently coveting:

Punky Pins: I love Lindy Bop dresses and they now have a range of accessories, bags, shoes and even homeware - and I just love these pins!

Converse: I picked up a pair of faux Converse from Asda, covered in silver glitter, for £10 the other week but these Schuh exclusive burgundy velvet beauties are pretty lovely.

Leather bag: a couple of Cath Kidston items had to sneak in... and this black leather cross-body bag is just beautiful and oh so practical too.

Pandora Disney charms: I've been collecting these for a while, from overseas via eBay, and would love to complete my set with Dumbo and Jasmine's dress.

Stila: these liquid lipstick shades are stunning and great for the festive season.

Spinner ring (size Q or R): I saw this spinner ring from Charlotte's Web last Christmas and I still love the mix of metals and colours and think it's a beautiful statement ring. That's also why I like this necklace from Not on the High Street.

Chunky scarf: I bought this scarf from Accessorize last year in three shades and absolutely love it, and now it comes in a couple more including this fab fuscia. I've since seen this one too and I think I might like it even more!

Pandora earrings: I have a vintage style Pandora ring that I love and these classic earrings are just gorgeous and would make me feel glam no matter what else I wear.

Perfume: A traditional Christmas gift, don't you think? I am still searching for my signature scent but this one could be it, as it has a lovely warm blend of rich and woody tones that I really like.

Instax Mini 9 Camera: I love photos, I love Instagram and this cute Ice Blue Instax Mini 9 Camera is a great retro gadget. I love how it takes us back to the essence of photo-taking - capturing a moment - and I would love to take candid snaps and have them printed there and then, to enjoy, rather to then just leave things hidden away on my phone.

Stila Star Studded Eight Gift Set: This features two new shades and would be great to add to my liquid lipstick collection, as these really are the best I have tried.

GlamGlow: I tried a sample of these mud masks and they're a real treat for the skin.

Foot Spa: I had one years ago and it is quite a retro idea, but I have been thinking how nice it would be to soak my feet - plus there's ones with a massaging feature too. Bliss!

Glitter Saddle Bag: this is a beaut of a bag from CK and would add a bit of glam to any outfit, any day.

Initial Necklace: Another item I have had my eyes on for ages. This one gives you option to choose the metal finish and also the texture, so I would have the initials for myself, Stephen and Ethan, with one in a hammered finish. Dainty and oh so special.


Just a few things that have caught my eye... what's on your Christmas wishlist this year?

I'm really excited to share with you an important project I have been working on for the past couple of months. As you may know, I have had psoriasis for six years and have struggled to deal with it and treat it at times. I recently discovered an innovative, use at home device called Blue Control, from Philips, which is unlike anything else on the market and has been proven to help some people with this irritating skin condition. 

It's incredibly innovative and, from my experience, easy to use - with some positive signs seen in a relatively short period of time.

The video below follows my journey as I start to use the device, and focuses on how I got on during an initial two week trial, including and the key information to know:

I will be updating you on my journey with Philips Blue Control, how I get on and how my psoriasis condition effects me, so wish me luck and stay tuned for further updates.

This is a really important issue to me and I am proud to be a part of this campaign.


Visit the Philips psoriasis support hub for more information.

* I am collaborating with Philips as an ambassador, but all opinions and experiences shared are my own.

Just like decorating the tree and singing Christmas songs, my bumper guide to where to see Father Christmas, rounding up the best Santa grottos in the Midlands region, has become something of a tradition. 

I love sharing this each year, updating with the latest information and new locations too, and this is my BIGGEST SANTA ROUND-UP EVER, so I really hope that it proves useful to you. We have been to see the man in red several times at various locations across the Midlands so I’ve tagged past reviews where possible and key dates, ticket info and links are all below so you can see the best of what’s around.

So, here it is! My big 2017 grotto guide to the best places in the Midlands to meet the man with a belly that wobbles like a bowl full of jelly this Christmas…

I love a good knit, don't you? The kind of chunky cardigan that you can throw on with jeans and boots, or couple with a dress, to keep you warm during these cooler months. Versatile and cosy, a go-to wardrobe staple.

And I've found my new one for this season.

I discovered Saltrock in the summer and all three of us picked out a couple of things which we ended up wearing all summer long. I didn't know that they would have just as much choice for winter, until I was offered an item of my choosing and saw what a great range of knitwear and sweatshirts plus hoodies and fleeces they have available too.

I quickly fell in love with the Clovelly Knitted Cardigan and thought it would make a great addition to my look for autumn and beyond, and I wasn't disappointed when it arrived.

I can't believe it but Ethan has already completed his first half term at school. It's now half term but because of my line of work, I can't book this time off, so hubs is at home with Ethan and doing a great job keeping him entertained. Yesterday alone, they played Mario Kart, did some colouring, watched films and generally had a lovely time at home.

Today, hubs and my sister-in-law have headed off to The National Sea Life Centre Birmingham to visit the fishies and to enjoy the Spooky Seas event on throughout this half term holiday.

Ethan was so excited this morning, talking non-stop about how he was going to find Nemo and Dori, and see Hank the Octopus and the giant turtle too. Not forgetting the 4D cinema to see an Octonauts adventure... 

If you're looking for things to keep the kids busy this half term, here's what you need to know about Spooky Seas...

Families are invited to a special spook-tacular half term event at National Sea Life Centre Birmingham from 14th to 31st October.

The Spooky Seas event will provide half term fun for all the family as the centre’s fascinating creatures keep your little ones intrigued and entertained for hours.
Mums can be at particular risk of suffering from joint pain, thanks to the many pressures their bodies are put under.

Firstly, of course, pregnancy brings with it the risk of aches and pains, as we carry around a growing human being for nine months. There are also often changes to hormone levels and nutrition, which can also play havoc on our body.

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Whilst much of this may subside after birth, mums can then be exposed to all manner of new dangers - from carrying babies, to nursing, to playing with the kids. All of these activities are “novel” and involve pressures and activities which are unfamiliar to the body.

Little wonder then that some studies suggest over 70% of women experience joint pain during, or soon after, pregnancy.

But what can be done to help protect your joints as a young mum?

My autumn look goes something like this: layers (like a dress, opaque tights and a cardi), ankle boots, chunky scarf, a rich toned lip and similar nails. And more often than not, is wearing something that's mustard toned - I blooming LOVE yellow so come autumn, I can't get enough of mustard and ochre coloured clothing and accessories.

Along with my new boots, my new skincare routine, and my obsession with long lasting liquid matte lipsticks, there's a few other things that are fast becoming my autumn staples...

Victoria Secrets scents: I am yet to find my signature scent but whilst I try and find the perfect perfume, I'm loving these body mists. There's so many scents available and for around £8-9 in Superdrug, these are a bargain buy as they'll last ages and the scent pay off is great.

Chunky scarf: I bought this one in Accessorize last year and then bought it in two other colours. It's soft and can really add something to an outfit.

It’s never easy to see your kids leave home, regardless of their reasons for leaving. For the last couple of decades, they’ve been a huge part of your life, and you have a great deal of love and emotion for them. I can only imagine what it'll be like when Ethan wants to fly the nest! Of course, though, this isn’t the only challenge to be faced during this time. Along with this, they’re going to be stepping into a new world, and you have to be there to help them out.

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There are loads of skills which come in handy to someone studying on their own for the first time. As their parent, you have the chance to pass this on to your child, and it doesn’t have to be too hard. Here are a couple of examples of the most important skills to consider:

My name's Kelly and I'm a lipstick addict. Despite having a big sort out and ditching a ton of shades and formulas that I just didn't really like or get on with, I still have 30 plus lipsticks on the go.

But if I had to, I could reduce this down further. Most days, only a matt lip will do and I just love liquid lipsticks because they are easy to apply, you can get a precise edge, the colour pay off is great and they last a long time (at least they're meant to) which is great if you're busy and don't want to have to keep checking if you need to reapply.

I am head over heels in love with Stila, mainly because their Stay All Day Liquid Lipsticks are the BEST. Great colours, rich finish and real staying power, I honestly think they're hard to beat. But I have bought all the shades I like / that best suit me (although the Christmas gift sets about to be launched look pretty exciting, with some new colours...) so I've been trying a couple of other brands to see it they can match up.

Here's my thoughts...

We've lived in our house for 11 years now and it's amazing to think about everything that has happened in that time and everything we have done to this place we call home.

I remember when we started looking for a house; we were living in a flat and had no idea what to look for, what we could afford or all the different things we would have to consider. Everyone knows that buying a house, then making it how you want, can be a long and expensive process. 

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Two of our best friends are going through this right now as they start their journey to being homeowners for the first time. They found a house that they loved and that was going to be a fixer-upper, but upon closer inspection, there was a lot more to it than they first thought. They paid for several surveys to be done and they revealed a greater level of work than they had anticipated - to make the house safe and / or liveable. In the end, the list and associated costs proved too great to they have let this house go and their hunt has resumed. They've learnt a lot through the process but it hasn't been easy.

I wasn't a huge help, as I'm not all that great when it comes to the practical things about home ownership - I like all the decorating and finishing touches, not the technical aspects!

We've done a fair bit to our house since we moved in and last year, we did one of our biggest projects to date when we ripped out an old fireplace and brick surround, leaving a hole in our external wall. We had some plasterers come around to quote for this and, whilst they were here, my husband asked about covering some artex we have in a couple of rooms on the roof. We were quite shocked when we were told that in some houses, when removing features such as this, asbestos can be found and that really, given the age of our house and how long this detailing would have been there for, we should have it removed to be on the safe side.

I had no idea and was quite surprised to receive this advice - and it goes to show that no matter how long you live somewhere, that there could be all kinds of (not so nice) surprises lurking behind the walls. I've since read advice that artex coatings only contain small amounts of asbestos and that the fibres are well bonded, but still, it really does make you think.

With the weather getting cooler and the heating going on at home some evenings, I've started switching up my skincare routine as my skin is starting to get drier and in need of TLC. So I thought I'd share a few things that I'm loving at the moment.

First of all, I want to share how fab double cleansing is. I ditched the face wipes a long time ago and have been making a real effort to properly take off my make up at the end of each day. 

My nighttime routine consists of the following: eye make up remover, a cream or oil based cleanser first with a hot flannel before using a facial wash and an exfoliating sponge. I then use the Nip + Fab Glycolic Acid Pads (currently on offer for £9.06 at Boots) - this is a new find and addition to my routine, since I've read how important this acid is for improving skin texture and hydration. After my skin is squeaky clean, I dot eye cream around my eye sockets and pat a few drops of facial oil all over my cheeks, forehead and jawline. Sometimes I will finish with a night moisturiser too, if I feel my skin needs it - the XYZ collagen cream is still a fave.

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