Monday, 30 September 2013

30th birthday celebrations for friends

This weekend, we headed up North for an 80's themed weekend of fun with our closest friends. Two of Ethan's honoury Aunties, including one of his Godmother's, were celebrating the big 3-0 with a meal on Friday night, an 80's cartoon fancy dress party on Saturday and a Sunday roast yesterday.

80's cartoons are quite hard when you think about it - a lot of the ones you remember from the time really actually started in the 60's or 70's or the characters wore nothing but pants. Makes picking a costume a little tricky!

In the end, I discovered that Penny Crayon was actually from 1989 so just in time, and her outfit was quite to put together with help from eBay. Ethan went as a Care Bear with a onesie from Mothercare and my hubs decided to buck the theme and go as a character from an 80's film. He wasn't wearing just pants for anyone!

We enjoyed Space Invaders, popping candy and lots of other retro foods and games and the girls had a great time. It was a really nice weekend as we don't get to see each other enough and Ethan had a great time being passed around for cuddles. It was another new parent challenge, what with a car filled to the brim with everything Ethan needs and with his first party and later bedtimes. We had to cut short the celebrations to bring him home both nights and were pretty shattered the whole weekend but it was really worth it.

There's only two of us left in our group that are yet to turn 30 - one in May then me in July. It's quite a big, scary birthday - the next real big one after turning 21, which seems like a very long time ago - but I'm not so worried anymore. I'm the one who's married and has a baby so really, I've done the scariest, grown-up things already!

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Make it personal this Christmas

Following on from yesterday's festive post, I thought I'd share just a couple of ideas on how you can get a bit crafty and add a personal touch to your Christmas celebrations and gifts this year. A little time and a little thought is all you need and I promise your family and friends will appreciate all your efforts.

* Christmas Cards *

Now, it's not the cheapest way to pass on your sentiments of the season, but I really love making cards for people and this year, rather than go completely mad in Hobbycraft like I normally do, I've planned to make a maximum of three different card designs this year to make it simpler and budget-friendly. Above are a couple of examples from previous years and this year, I'm planning on cutting out gingerbread men and Christmas tree shapes from different festive patterned paper, then adding button / bow star details before mounting onto brown card. I'm also going to try making a wreath shape from a circle of buttons, stick a bow at the top and mount onto patterned paper.

* Gift Tags *

I love luggage labels and whether you choose the traditional brown or opt for red, green or white, they can make brilliant gift tags for presents. You can also pick them up really cheaply on eBay or at your supermarket. Simply punch a festive shaped hole at one end, add a festive sticker or stamp a seasonal message on the tag. Finish with some ribbon or coloured twine (cheap as chips but can really look great on your presents if you like a traditional or handmade look). 

*  Gift Bags *

Keep an eye out for some simple gift bags in plain brown paper or simple, nordic prints. I picked up a box of 24 gift bags like the above in Ikea for abour £7 and Tesco also had some larger gift bags that were plain but lovelt for about 20p each - perfect for decorating yourself. Add a gift tag and a little Christmas decoration like above (wooden decorations bought last year from Tesco for £2 for 12) or get creative with washi tape or festive stamps and decorate each bag however you like.

* Gingerbread *

Last year, I decided I would make a few gifts for people and they were so well received, I think I'll be doing the same this year. You could make gingerbread, shortbread or cookies, whatever you like, just use festive shaped cutters. You can buy cellophane bags on eBay to put your finished baked goods in and make sure people know you've made them by adding a personalised sticker (I buy mine from Label Amour on eBay). Pop them in little gift bags or seasonal tins (Home Bargains always have some great tins for about 50p each which are great for this) and voila, a homemade gift that everyone will enjoy.

* Chocolate Truffles *

I had a go at making truffles last year and it was a lot of fun, if a bit time consuming. My advice would be to research recipes and try them out before you're going to make them so you know what to do and you can be sure it's going to work. I started ambitious wanting to make white chocolate, baileys and dark chocolate truffles, all rolled in different toppings such as chocolate flakes, sugar, chopped nuts and so on. In the end, the dark chocolate truffles worked out the best, I think due to the higher cocoa content. I found a baking supply website and ordered these pretty chocolate boxes. I can't remember how much they cost but I had around 20 of them and when I worked out the cost of ingredients, each gift box probably cost about £3-£4.

* Crackers *

Shop bought crackers are a bit of an accepted joke aren't they? The dodgy jokes, flimsy paper hats and plastic gifts... but it's just not Christmas without them. Unless you spend more on them, high street crackers can be a bit of a waste in my opinion so why not have a go at making your own? I've used felt before, wrapped around a card tube and tied with ribbon at the ends. I've also bought kits, like the one pictured above from M&S last year. They come complete with hats, jokes and everything you need to make the cracker, all you need to do is buy something small to put inside. What I like about this is you can personalise the cracker so each person gets something they'll actually use. I put a scratchcard in the men's crackers, mini lip glosses and key rings in the ladies and everyone had a few chocolate coins too. Cracking!

* Advent Calendar *

As this is our first Christmas as a family of three, I want to start some family traditions, even though Ethan won't remember them this year. One idea I have is to make an advent calendar where each day, each of us will have a chocolate treat as well as a themed task to enjoy. I'm thinking anything from 'watch Elf' to 'bake gingerbread', 'make a decoration for the tree' and 'go for a walk', just something we can enjoy as a family in the lead up to Christmas. I've bought the above wooden advent calendar from Hobbycraft, which is supplied plain for you to decorate yourself, and can't wait to make this our own for Christmas this year and many years in the future.

Top tips for keeping to your crafty budget:
  • Plan what you want to make and what you need and do your best to stick to it (I'm a sucker for anything sparkly too but do your best to resist buying more than you really need).
  • Choose a theme for your cards and gift wrapping - like the brown paper and red theme above I chose last year - because that way, you can mix and match your materials across your different craft projects so nothing is wasted, plus everything will look great together.
  • Think outside the craft box - what can you use to add a personal touch? Pine cones, cinnamon sticks, fabric off-cuts... you can use anything to make your presents or cards look special and handmade.
I've placed my order with Hobbycraft for this year and I've been really good. I wanted to buy three different sets of stock paper in festive patterns but chose just one and as I said earlier, I'm limiting the number of card designs I'm going to make.

I'd love to hear your ideas on how you can personalise your Christmas gifts and decorations so let me know if there's a great project you're planning this year.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Have you written your Christmas list yet?

On Wednesday, we hit the three month countdown to the big day - yep, the C word. Christmas. I know some of you will cringe at the mention of the word whilst others will be filled with glee. I'm firmly in the second camp and have already completed just over half of our Christmas present shopping in the past few days. You may think I'm potty, feel panicked at the thought or think it's far too soon to start thinking about decking the halls, but for me, organisation is key. After all, there's only three pay days before Christmas including this month's one, and when your on SMP, you know where ever penny needs to go.

I love gift giving and I love putting a lot of thought and personal touches into the presents I buy and our family celebrations. Last year, I was super organised as I had bump in tow and so I started early so I knew everything was sorted and if I become more tired in the lead up to December 25th, it wouldn't matter.

The Boots 3 for 2 gift event is always fantastic in my opinion and this year's guide is out this week in some stores apparently (I'm yet to track my copy down!). There's always a fantastic range of gift ideas, for foodies, homebodies, beauty queens, the men in your life and so on, and if you plan your shopping well, you can get even more benefits. Last year, Boots ran points events in store where on one day you could receive double points or a points bonus if you spent over £50. I managed to shop on both occasions and the points I received meant I could buy the final lot of presents for free. Together with the 3 for 2 deal, you can really buy some lovely gifts for people whilst sticking to your budget.

This year, my Christmas shopping started so early simply as I saw a couple of things that were absolutely perfect for some people we know. I thought it was unlikely that in a couple of months time they would still be around so I snapped them up. It was then a kind of snowball effect, as an idea would pop in my head and I'd start researching online to see what I could find.

I've really fallen in love with Not On The High Street this year. It's got an amazing, vast range of goodies made by some very talented people and independent businesses and a lot of it you really can not find on the high street. I love making things personal so this website is brilliant as so many of the gift ideas can be personalised - it just shows you've not only thought of something they would like but you've made it extra special, just for them.

When Ethan was born, I had this special necklace made, I bought gifts for Ste's first Father's Day via NOTHS and now a lot of our Christmas presents have been sourced from here too. We also just bought my father-in-law some personalised cufflinks, featuring vintage maps of his home town and Birmingham, as a gift for his birthday this week. He's the hardest person in the world to buy for so I was really pleased when I came across these.

I obviously can't share any of our Christmas shopping with you here but trust me, you can find inspiration for anyone on Not On The High Street!

Tomorrow, I'm going to share a few of my ideas on how you can add a personal touch to your celebrations and gift giving this Christmas. I am a big believer in the mantra 'it's the thought that counts' as opposed to how much you spend so with a little time, you can make your presents extra special so your friends and family know how special they are to you.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Smashing Shepherds Pie

With the darker nights and cooler temperatures, it's time to dust off those classic comfort recipes and enjoy some hearty food come dinner time. Now, I'm no expert cook, but I do enjoy trying a new recipe or making something from scratch and if it goes down well my husband, then I'm pretty chuffed to bits!

When it comes to cooking, I find a recipe I like the sound of but make my own adjustments along the way, mainly to the quantities of ingredients (I believe more is more when it comes to flavour, particularly when a recipe calls for garlic, lemon, lime, Worcestershire sauce etc!). I don't always know what I'm doing but that's part of the fun and I haven't had too many 'I'll never make that again' instances I'm pleased to say.

So, here's my simple, tasty recipe for making a smashing Shepherds Pie - just don't expect there to be any leftovers...

Smashing Shepherds Pie
Makes enough for 6 people or 4 if you're more generous with your servings!


500g lamb mince

2 carrots
2 sticks celery
1 large onion
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 beef stock cube
4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 tbsp garlic puree, or 2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tbsp dried rosemary

400g ready-made mash potato (yes, homemade mash is great but I usually cheat as it's so much quicker)
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1. Dice the onion and brown in a large frying pan with a little oil. Add the lamb and cook until brown all over.

2. Add the Worcestershire sauce, rosemary and tomato puree and stir in.

3. Chop your carrots and celery however you like them - chunky or finely sliced - and add to the saucepan.

4. Pour in the tin of chopped tomatoes, stir, then crumble in a beef stock cube (adds a richness to the sauce).

5. Leave to simmer for another few minutes. If the sauce doesn't seem thick enough for your liking, simply add a little flour to help thicken it up, but this shouldn't be necessary.

6. Pop your mash potato in the microwave for half the recommended cooking time, to soften it up. If you're making your own mash from scratch, kudos to you!

7. Pour the lamb filling into a casserole dish.

8. Stir in the wholegrain and Dijon mustards into the mash potato then put dollops of mash on top of the lamb mixture in the dish. Using the back of a spoon, gently smooth out the mash until the top of the pie is completely covered.

9. Cover the dish with tin foil and cook in the oven for around 40 minutes on gas mark 6.

10. Uncover and cook for five minutes more then serve with peas or green beans.

I thoroughly enjoyed this when I made it on Sunday, helping myself to seconds, but hubs really must have liked it as he ate the rest! Best review I could have asked for!

I like to get creative when I cook so the next time I make this, I might add a dash of balsamic vinegar as I've heard it can give it a nice kick or I was thinking a layer of garden peas, blended with a little butter and mint, spread underneath the mash could make for an interesting twist.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Sleeping apart

After a wonderful few months together, we've grown apart and have separate bedrooms. Ethan and I that is, not me and Ste! It's more a case of Ethan growing up leading to us growing apart at bedtimes now as he outgrew his Moses basket a few weeks ago and his carrycot is too cramped for him now as well.

You may remember my earlier post on this subject and I have now had to get a grip and come to terms with the fact my baby boy isn't quite so little and is perfectly happy to have his own sleeping arrangements now.

Following our holiday last week, when Ethan slept in a different room from us for the first time, we decided it was time for him to move out of our room and into the nice digs we created especially for him before he was born (you can take a look at Ethan's nursery here).

Saturday was his first night in his cot and in his room and three nights in, there hasn't been a hitch. After a bath and a final feed, Ethan has fallen asleep on us within minutes and we've been able to take him upstairs, tuck him into bed, turn on his nightlight and quietly head back downstairs for some baby free time. He's been sleeping through the night now for about two months without a problem and depending on how early his last feed has been, he wakes up between 6am and 7.30am, but often lies in bed quietly babbling to himself. Since being in his own room, he's been fine and still clocking up 10 to 11 hours which is rather nice indeed.

Our baby monitor is great - it's the BT Digital Baby Monitor and Pacifier, which has a nightlight which changes colour according to the temperature, 19 lullabies and other calming sounds, Mp3 music input, projected lightshow and a 300m range - but that hasn't stopped me clutching the handset to my ear trying to hear him breathing!

I'm really pleased that the new sleeping arrangements have worked out so well and it is nice to have a bit more space in our room again. Going into Ethan's room in the morning and receiving his first smile of the day is the best and I'm so happy he's at home in his nursery.


Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Treat yourself Tuesday: bumper beauty review

It's been a while since my last beauty review but #treatyourselftuesday is back and it's a bumper issue! I've treated myself to some new beauty bits and bobs from The Body Shop, Soap and Glory and Seventeen - a girl can never have enough make up and I just can't resist anything new, that promises to give me a good glow or just simply smells lovely.

I recently read about this article in the Daily Fail and just had to put it to the test myself - after all, it's just 99p for 50ml! According to the product test the writer did, the standard Nivea Creme in those navy blue pots, with no fancy packaging or wild claims, can plump your skin, smooth wrinkles and give you the same result as face creams that retail for £100. Certainly worth a look in my opinion! I've used this for a week so far and my skin is lovely and soft. It's quite thick and hard to apply at first, so perhaps suited more to mature or dry skin, but once you've worked with it, it blends in. It does leave my skin quite shiny, but when I use the serum mentioned below, followed by my usual foundation and powder, my face is moisturised and not shiny at all. I'll let you know if it works wonders in a couple of weeks...

The Body Shop
I have always loved this place, ever since I was young when my mum took me to the factory in Littlehampton and gave me £10 to spend in the shop. £10 went a lot further back then and I made sure I spent every penny, buying those little bath balls for 5p just to use all my pocket money up! Back then, the satsuma range was my favourite but now, I'm a little bit in love with the new honey collection.

In my Body Shop stash was the new honey lip butter. I love their lip butters and this one is nice - it's light, has a yummy scent but it's perhaps not as creamy as I would have liked it to have been. The shea butter balm and passionfruit butter balm remain my favourites but this new one is still a nice pick me up to keep in your handbag. Verdict: 3/5.

I also bought the Honey and Oat 3-in-1 Scrub Mask and absolutely love this. It looks like lumpy porridge and has that kind of consistency too but oh my good, it feels lovely and cool when you put it on! The scent isn't overpowering and the scrub action is gentle. I've left this on for 10 minutes whilst in the shower and it's felt so nice on my skin, plus I looked nice and fresh after it was all washed away. I like the way this scrub feels and it's gentle to the skin, compared to the tingly effect you get with my fave masks, Soap & Glory No Pores Allowed and Good Things Five Minute Facial Mask (both amazing products, go try them now!) so if you've got sensitive skin, this is a great choice for you. Verdict: 4/5.

I also bought a bargain duo from the Vitamin C range, where for £16 you get their microdermabrasion face wash (which I have yet to try) and their radiance serum. The serum has a light scent and feels like velvet on your skin when applied. It sinks in and gives you a great base for your make up. Verdict: 4/5.

Soap and Glory
My favourite brand always has something new to catch my eye. I bought the Archery™ Brow Tint and Pencil in Love is Blonde as my eyebrows are quite light and not very dense so I always need some help to define them so people know they are really there. It has one fine felt tip end to colour in your brows and then a slim, waxy pencil end to help define and shape them. It's easy to use, the colour is light but can be built up and  the result is really natural. Easy to use and the best result I've had from a brow pencil. Verdict: 5/5.

I have slightly oily skin and always need to set my make up with a brush of powder. I love Soap and Glory's One Heck of a Blot  as it's light, invisible on the skin but really effective at managing shine, but the Boots I went to didn't have this in stock. So, I chose the new Kick Ass Instant Retouch, which has a slightly yellow hue to counteract any redness. I applied this first with a sponge but it was far too thick on my skin, so I now use a brush. It does the trick and I found I didn't have to reapply during the day but I'll be buying the other powder again when this one runs out. Verdict: 2/5.

I think with these two latest purchases, I really have tried every Soap and Glory make up line going!

This bargain make-up brand from Boots always keeps on top of the trends and is great at interpreting high end products at a snip of the price.

In my latest Seventeen binge - it is buy one get one half price on all make up at Boots right now - I snapped up the new Wow! Highlighter, Perk and Paint Jumbo Eyeliner Duo and Wet Look Lacquer Eyeliner.

Highlighter - you only need one small pump of this and even that's a little too much, it's easy to blend and leaves a nice glow on your cheeks without looking too shiny or using glitter particles that can leave you looking like a teenager in the 90's. This is a great product to give you a lift, it'll last ages and does just the same at Benefit's High Beam for a fraction of the price. Verdict: 4/5.

Perk and Paint lower lash line, Wet Look Liner upper lash line, S&G Archery Brow Tint on my eyebrows

Perk and Paint Eyeliner - eyeliner is my signature look, I just don't look right without it. I love the smoky eye look and loved the idea of this duo as it has a pinky white highlighter stick then a black kohl pencil at the other end to line your eyes. The highlighter again offers the same kind of look that Benefit has in their make up range but for much, much less and the kohl pencil is easy to blend. I still find I need an eyeshadow base or a quick brush of eyeshadow over my liner to make the pencil stay and stop it from transferring to the top of my eyelid but I found this was easy to use and I was pleased with the result. Verdict: 3/5.

Forgive the red tone to this photo - poor lighting in my bathroom!

Wet Look Eyeliner - if you read my review of the L'Oreal Paris Blackbuster Eyeliner, you'll know I like a bold result from a liquid eyeliner but aside from Soap and Glory's Supercat, I've yet to find it.Well, this wet look liner doesn't quite make the grade either but it is easy to apply, gives a clean line and has staying power too. I was just a bit disappointed that the finished look didn't look as 'wet' as expected. I'm a fan of felt pen liners rather than the traditional tiny brushes but if you have a steady hand, this product does the trick. Verdict: 2/5.


Monday, 23 September 2013

A postcard from our first family holiday in Cornwall

Last week, hubs, Ethan and I headed to the chilled climes of Cornwall for our first little family holiday. After hearing how amazing the Cornish coast was from every man and his dog, we decided to check it out for ourselves and after doing some research, we decided to stay at a Parkdean holiday park near Newquay. We've stayed in a static caravan before and had a lot of fun so thought this would be a great base for our five day break exploring what Cornwall had to offer.

Are you SURE we need all this stuff Mum?!

We headed off on Monday morning for our four hour drive to the South West coast with a car packed to the brim. Hubs managed to play a giant game of Tetris and all our bags somehow fit into our Clio.

We made good progress and were checked in, unpacked and settled into our new digs by 4.30pm. Our new home was great - lots of space, clever storage and really nice and cosy. It was large enough for eight people to share but obviously that would be very cosy indeed, so we took advantage of the extra space by making one twin room Ethan's changing room and the other twin our changing room. As it had been a bit of a long day for Ethan, having never traveled so far or for so long before, we decided to have a quick drive into Newquay to get our bearings and find a supermarket to buy food for the week.

I really like our holiday home!

We were hoping to enjoy the many beaches Cornwall has to offer but unfortunately the weather was not on our side for most of the holiday. Monday and Tuesday night, the wind and rain were so strong, we were surprised to wake up in the same spot - we thought we'd have been blown away to the land of Oz! Luckily, little man, who had to sleep in the lounge area as there wasn't enough space for the cot in our room, didn't seem bothered at all by the weather or by being in a different room to us for the first time, which was great. I, in contrast, woke up every hour, clutching the baby monitor to my ear to hear him breathing.

A drizzly Padstow

On Tuesday, we decided to head to Padstow as it wasn't too far away and we had heard a lot about this port town. With our hoods up and the rain cover on the pram, we seemed to explore what the harbour and main town had to offer in record time, finding all of Rick Stein's eateries without even trying and covering all the streets within just 45 minutes. 

 The harbour

We stopped for a cup of tea and watched the mist come in over the harbour, then set out to find fish and chips. We'd been looking forward to eating at Rick Stein's fish and chip restaurant but even though we got there early, they wouldn't accommodate prams so we had to go to the order and collect window, then take our lunch back to our car to eat as outside everything was too wet. Dashboard dining at its finest!

We drove to some of the surrounding beaches but none of them were particularly accessible with a pram or easy to get close to with the car, so we decided to head home feeling we had seen all Padstow had to offer. We had a nice meal at home and enjoyed a few films and snuggles on the sofa.

So, what are we doing today?

On Wednesday, it was our third wedding anniversary, so after tea, cards and gifts, and having checked the weather forecast, we set out for St Michael's Mount. The sun was shining and we walked along the beach to the causeway, taking some great snaps of the scenery and collecting shells and pebbles for Ethan's memory box. Ethan slept the whole time but at least we can show him photos of his first visit to the beach!

We then drove to St Ives, which was only eight miles away. I'd seen beautiful photos of this harbour town and heard great things and we really weren't disappointed! It was a beautiful, pituresque place and just what we had expected of Cornwall. Parking was a pain though, with the main car park being very high up above the town, very full and not pushchair friendly on the descent. It had great views of all the houses, down to the harbour and sea, but my god, I regretted having a Kelly's Cornish Ice Cream on the way back up to our car! We had a lovely lunch overlooking the sea at a place called Hub but sadly, little man was very grouchy so we didn't get to relax as much as we would have liked. Never mind though, St Michael's Mount and St Ives were the highlights of our week.

We had hoped to go out to Padstow for a meal that night but having seen how small the few restaurants were, we knew it would be a problem with a pushchair and when we called a couple of places in Newquay, they said they didn't allow under 14's. So, that was that! We went on Google to find an M&S, finally found one in Hayle and headed over to get some nice food and wine for our evening at home.

 Peace out dude!

Thursday was dreary again and we weren't sure what to do as we had seen Newquay and Padstow and couldn't go to the beach. We decided to drive to St Austell, pick up a DVD, enjoy a Cornish pasty, then go home to put our feet up. There wasn't a lot to see in St Austell but it was another town ticked off our list.

Friday was our last day but we had to check out by 10am so we had breakfast, packed up then decided to stop by Fistral Beach for a last photo opportunity. We then made a detour to Bude, another place we'd heard about, but didn't stay as parking was a nightmare again as was access to beaches. Wecut our loses and decided to head home and thanks to some bad traffic, little man missed one feed, was late for a second and we arrived home slightly knackered at 6pm - it was a long day!

What we learnt about Cornwall:

  • You need a lot of change on you as the only car parks anywhere are pay and display and you have to pay and display everywhere, even at the beaches.
  • It's very hilly! I never thought of Cornwall as a particularly hilly place but there's a lot of ups and downs as you drive and all the towns we went to had sloping pavements.
  • Cornwall isn't particularly pushchair friendly. Between the hilly parts, narrow or non-existent paths and cute little shops which are narrow and up steps, we found getting about with a baby a bit of a challenge most of the time. I love a good gift shop and love buying some tat, I mean high quality souvenirs when I go away, but I just couldn't look around with a pushchair in tow and no-one seemed to want to get out of the way to let us through.
  • There are a lot of beaches to enjoy and if the weather is good, that's where you'd spend most of your time.
  • If the weather isn't so great, it's a little harder to get out and about. The Eden Project, the aquarium in Newquay and the Bodmin steam railway are the three things we looked into in case it rained for most of our trip, but with Ethan still being so young, we decided it wasn't worth the money and we'd be just as happy hanging out at our holiday park if the rain got the best of us, as relaxing and spending time together was the main thing.
  • If you like your shopping, you might struggle a little. Whilst it's nice to go away and see different parts of the country, it was difficult to find a decent sized supermarket, familiar shops or a Starbucks. I never thought I'd be like this but again, with the weather writing off sitting on the beach, we needed things to do when we went out. We headed to Truro, hearing it was the main shopping hub, but it wasn't that great and was just like Walsall back home. We had to drive half an hour one day to find a bigger supermarket for some bits and pieces and it just seemed to us that even the main towns were lacking in the usual shops you can expect to find on most high streets. I joked about buying so many things in advance of our trip but I'm glad that I did as it would have been a lot harder if I hadn't.
I know it sounds like I'm being a moaning Murtle, but there were just a few things that we came to realise about Cornwall whilst we were there. I'm sure that when the sun is shining, the beaches are great but as for the towns, aside from St Ives, we just weren't as blown away as we expected to be. We've been all over the UK and would say places like the Lake District offer more for those having staycations. We loved our family break away and have made some nice memories that we will share with Ethan when he's older. We know that in a year or more's time, we will be able to do a lot more with Ethan, which we're really excited about, but we won't necessarily be rushing back to the Cornish coast. Brighton, Great Yarmouth, Portsmouth... they are all great seaside towns too so we'll certainly continue exploring what Great Britain has to offer.

What we learnt about travelling with a baby:
  • We already knew this, but you can never have too many muslins or bibs or clothes! Best pack for a couple of changes a day plus good weather and bad. Babies seem to get through a lot of clothes so it's better to be prepared.
  • See if you have laundry services where you're staying or take along washing powder for some hand-washing as if you're baby gets their clothes dirty because of leaky nappies or if you start running low on muslin cloths, you're going to want to clean things as you go. You don't want to deal with those kinds of stains a week later!
  • Don't worry about how they will sleep - Ethan slept like, well, a baby, despite the strange surroundings and crazy weather outside.
  • Plan your trips out around their feeds as you don't want to be stuck en route somewhere when it's time for a bottle.
  • Be prepared to eat one handed more than you do at home. Babies can become bored or a little irritable after being in their car seat / pushchair for a while and it always seems to come when you want to enjoy a cuppa or some lunch!
It was a nice week but it's always nice to come home again, sleep in your own bed and enjoy all the little luxuries you have become accustomed to, like Wifi and a shower with a bit of power. Gosh, I really sound like a city bird now!
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