It's been a quiet couple of months for us really but we've never been bored or without something going on - more a case of going with the flow. Work has kept us both busy along the way so our evenings and weekends for the most part have been about enjoying some down time together, at home or having a trip out for breakfast, to the National Sea Life Centre Birmingham or to B&Q for a few DIY bits.

It's been really nice to have a few weekends where we have just taken things as they come. Ethan is in a really loving stage at the moment, saying that we are his best friends (even our pets) and calling us handsome and gorgeous and giving cuddles whenever he feels like it.

It's the spring equinox today so we can expect the warmer weather and lighter mornings and evenings to continue - but if you need more to lift your spirits or get your week off to a great start, then FUEL10k might just be for you.

I've never been much of a one for breakfasts (although looking back at some breakfast inspiration from past posts, including health food writer Sam Hadadi, I'm feeling a bit of a belly rumble coming on...) but hubs is the opposite. He's all about the cereal, the Weetabix, the protein shakes. Particularly when he's being strict with his gym / training routine, he goes all out to eat better, eat regularly and start the day as he means to go on.

I have another great competition to share with you, as part of my collaboration with Town Hall Symphony Hall Birmingham, to celebrate a new family show that's a bit wild and a teensy bit scary too...

Children’s TV presenter Naomi Wilkinson (you may know her from: Naomi's Nightmares of Nature, Wild and Weird, Live 'n Deadly, Countryfile, Milkshake) is coming to Town Hall this Easter with a packed show of fun and surprises. Naomi's Wild & Scary Show will see Naomi joined live on stage by some really scary creatures, including a Carpet Python, Alligator Snapping Turtle, a giant centipede, and a tarantula! With up-close handy cam action, a giant screen and loads of interaction, you're sure to have a wild, scary and fun time with Naomi in this new live show (age guideline: 5+, tickets £20.50 each, save when you buy online).

I think it may be safe to say that spring has finally sprung and I am already feeling lighter and brighter. The lighter mornings and evenings just make me feel so much more focused and really wanting to get more done.

I recently shared a spring update post about how I'm looking ahead to the new season and a big part of this is about sorting our house. With a toddler around, there's just always so much stuff and I seem to spend most of my time tidying. Tidying, and not getting to the proper cleaning that needs doing.

After having a big deep clean, which I have scheduled for the Easter holidays, as per my tradition (it's either a big spring clean or a room makeover!), I want to try and keep on top of things more. Perhaps a brief daily rota could help, assigning a task a day so that we can get things done and keep clutter away - and away from taking up more time at the weekends.

For busy families like ours, eating well isn’t always easy but when I do manage to find the time, I do like making something new, particularly if I can put a new twist on something. 

Take the humble cottage pie. A firm family favourite, it’s a great winter warmer but with a couple of tweaks, it can be turned into a spring time dish that’s filling but still light enough to eat if you’re being good.

I swap beef mince for turkey mince, which is lean in terms of fat and cost, and use sweet potato as a topper for a sweet, nutrient packed alternative to serve up a delicious dish for a happy mealtime for everyone. It can even be frozen or enjoyed for lunch the next day when heated up for a couple of minutes – so make more than you need and get a lot out of your time in the kitchen.

Here's my recipe, if you fancy having a go yourself...

Sweet potato turkey cottage pie

Serves: 4-6 people (depending on size of appetite, or if you serve with some fresh green vegetables on the side)
Time: 30 minutes to prepare, 30 minutes to bake in the oven
Difficulty: easy

'Mindfulness' is a popular term at the moment and it's one that has been applied to parenting too, as a way of trying to understand and respond to our children in a more considered manner. I wondered whether it would be a new buzz word, another stick to beat parents with or a new age solution to an age old problem, or if indeed it would have relevance to me.

We're very lucky with Ethan and have always adopted a baby/toddler-led approach, knowing where he should be and when but letting him show us when he's ready rather than enforcing weaning, potty training or a sleep routine. It's a method that works for us and we are really fortunate to either have a really good toddler (most of the time) or to have worked out a way to parent that works for us.

That being said, Ethan can get a right strop on and hubs and I have very different approaches when a tantrum strikes. He also goes through periods, be it a funny half hour or a full day, where he decides to be more challenging - saying no to everything, getting upset for no reason or being rude or saying something mean. It more often than not comes out of no-where but I never know how to deal with the situation or the best way of making things better - without becoming a push-over parent.

I received some information about a new book, Mindfulness for Parents by Amber Hatch (RRP £9.99), and was keen to review a copy. It promises to provide a personal, knowledgeable perspective on how to deal with the stresses of parenting better with practical tips as to how to employ mindfulness techniques to your own family.

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The saying goes 'a picture paints a thousand words' and perhaps that's why I love photographs so much. Our house has so many photos on display, in frames, hung on the wall and a few canvas prints too, because I like to be surrounded by happy memories and reminders of the times we've shared, how far we've come and the people that mean the most to us in the whole world.

It's great that we all have camera phones and can point and click at any moment, keen to capture something right then and there, but it's also nice to have a proper camera to take special photos with. If you're looking around for the best CSC camera, there's a lot of choice to be had, as I recently discovered, and I've since fallen in love with taking photos again where you want to snap away knowing that you're recording memories as they happen.

We are all HUGE Disney fans in our house and as soon as Moana came out at the cinema over the Christmas holidays, we were there with our popcorn. We'd heard great things, love The Rock and the trailer made it look like such a fun and beautiful film - and it didn't disappoint.

The story is engaging, the characters full of energy and the songs are SO catchy. Ever since we saw it, Ethan has begged us to play the songs via YouTube and loves them so much, he actually thinks the film is called 'You're Welcome' after the main song sung by Maui. He also loves 'Shiny', sung by a crazy crab, and the signature song by Moana is just stunning.

Ethan has the figures from the Disney Store now and a giant Maui cuddly toy, plus two Tsum Tsum's of the main characters, so it's safe to say he will be jumping with joy when the film comes out on DVD later this month.

And I have one to giveaway to one of my lucky followers!

Here's the details for you...

Join the journey of a lifetime with “Moana”, the sweeping story of a spirited teenager who sets sail on a daring adventure to save her people, starring newcomer Auli‘i Cravalho as the voice of brave and tenacious Moana and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as the larger-than-life demigod Maui. “Moana” sets a new course, arriving to homes on Digital Download on 27th March and on DVD, Blu-ray™ and 3D Blu-ray™ on 3rd April. To celebrate the release, one lucky winner will win a copy of the film on DVD!

Continuing the fun-filled adventure, families can continue their journey, filled with hours of extensive and entertaining bonus offerings including: a new, hilarious mini-movie featuring Moana and Maui; an in-depth look at how the people, cultures and heritage of the Pacific Islands shaped the story of “Moana;” revealing Q&A with co-stars Auli‘i Cravalho and Dwayne Johnson, and famed animation directors Ron Clements and John Musker; insider access to Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mark Mancina and Opetaia Foaʻi, the trio behind the film’s moving music; four mini-documentaries highlighting the movie’s groundbreaking effects; deleted scenes; a deleted song; hidden Easter Eggs; music video; “Inner Workings,” the theatrical short film directed by Leo Matsuda that spotlights the internal struggle between a man’s Brain and Heart; and much, much more.

To be in with a chance of winning, just answer the following question in a blog comment below, by following and tweeting your response to me @tobecomemum or by liking and commenting on my Facebook page or on this Instagram post with the correct answer: 

What character does Dwayne Johnson play in the film?

a) Hei Hei

b) Chief Tui
c) Maui

I will put all entrants into a random draw and will announce the winner after the closing date of midnight on Saturday 25th March. Be sure to get involved - it really is a wonderful film - and best of luck!

MOANA releases on 3D Blu-ray™, Blu-ray™, and DVD, and Digital Download 3rd April 2017.

© 2017 Disney

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There are many products that claim to make pregnancy easier. Take a look at these top five pregnancy as chosen by HARTMANN Direct. Which ones will you try?

#1 Body Pillow

The V-pillow is a great addition to the boudoir, whether you are pregnant or not. This style of pillow also helps to support your back and neck when sitting and relaxing in bed, as well as being useful when feeding and cradling your new-born.

But sleeping can be a real issue for some pregnant women, especially in late pregnancy. The body pillow is a fantastic invention for helping you get a comfortable night’s sleep, when sleeping on your side. This is great news if you normally sleep on your stomach or on your back, two things that are nigh-on impossible when you are heavily pregnant.

A good buy, and one that is useful beyond pregnancy - we used ours when Ethan was born to prop him up and it would be great for breastfeeding support too.
On a dreary weekend, it's tempting to stay at home and hibernate but I like to have at least one thing to do or a place to go and there's lots in the Midlands to do that doesn't involve being out in the rain - such as the National Sea Life Centre Birmingham.

We have been a few times with little man and he was excited all week for our latest visit. We set it as a treat for Ethan for doing well in his potty training (eight days straight of being dry, and he managed to have no accidents while we were out too - yay!) and he was a very happy chappy when we arrived.

Yesterday, we went to National Sea Life Centre Birmingham for their special Snail and the Whale event that's run all half term. It's another Julia Donaldson classic and you can pick up parts of the story as you go around the centre.

Ethan always loves a visit to the fishies and the penguins and sea turtle are always the highlights from me. Here's Molokai saying cheese for the camera...

I've shared more snaps over on my main Instagram page, using the new multi image posting, if you'd like to see more highlights from our latest visit.

If you're a Great British Bake Off fan and live in the Midlands, then you won't want to miss a special evening with Mary Berry when she comes to Birmingham Town Hall on Thursday 16th March 2017.

Ahead of her tour to talk about her new book - Mary Berry Everyday – Make every meal special, published by BBC Books, 26th January 2017 - I've been given a special interview with the culinary queen herself to share with you, as part of my ambassador role for THSH

I love a good party and with a little boy about to turn four in May, it's another excuse to get into party planning mode and start thinking about themes, party supplies and activities.

We had a teddy bear's picnic for his first birthday and he vividly remembers the dinosaur cake from last year, so I want to do something again this year as it's something he really remembers and I really enjoy putting a celebration together.

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I remember when we first brought Ethan home from hospital; carrying him like he was made of eggshells, scared that we would drop him or that he's scratch himself with his nails if we didn't have a baby mitt ready for him to wear at all times.

I think he actually did scratch himself before we even got home, and then we started to see all the potential hazards here and there... how have we been living in this death trap for so long?? How will we keep our baby safe?!

It quickly became an obsession for us, baby-proofing. Particularly when he started crawling, he could cover so much ground in seconds and would always find something to pick up and put in his mouth that he wasn't supposed to. It's amazing as a skill how quickly you start noticing potential problems, be it items that can get spilled or things that might be sharp or hard. Even though Ethan is nearly four and we have all the key bases covered, it's still really easy for something to happen and for him to hurt himself. They can't be wrapped in cotton wool and accidents do happen - as we learnt a couple of weeks' ago with our trip to A&E with suspected concussion following a very short tumble down the stairs.

Apparently, according to research, half a million children under the age of four, like Ethan, are sadly hurt in the home every year - sometimes, just a small bump, but other times, it's something more serious.

No matter how careful we are, sometimes there's no telling what could go wrong so it's worth having a regular think and look around to make sure everything is as safe as can be. Rattan Direct has created a quick quiz for parents to test out just how baby safe their home is, and it's well worth having a go...

It's mostly common sense but a really good refresher and I actually got one question wrong (at what temperature does scalding occur) so I learnt something from this.

Spring is (hopefully) just around the corner and I know I'm not alone when I say I can't wait. I'm getting impatient now with the cold days and grey skies and with the slightly lighter evenings starting to creep through, I really am hoping that the new season doesn't take too long to arrive.

With a need for a fresh new season, I've put together a few ideas and a bit of an update as to how I will be welcoming spring into my life and what we are looking forward to...

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