Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Our top summer moments with Roberts Bakery

How has your summer been so far? A little damper and less sunny than you had perhaps hoped for?

Same here.

My maxi dresses have never left my wardrobe. We haven't had a holiday. I haven't had one proper BBQ and I've not had nearly enough Pimms for my liking.

And let's not even talk about the weather.

Whilst there's lots of things I think make up the perfect summer, and some of these haven't yet been realised this year, there's plenty of other things I have enjoyed and will look back on with a smile.

As Roberts Bakery would call it, my 'Soft and Fluffy' moments.

This summer has been a quiet one but it's been filled with time together, as a family of three as well as with our nearest and dearest.

Ethan has continued to grow before our eyes, now talking in sentences, playing with my iPad with ease and knowing his ABCD's, his numbers up to 20 and his name when written down.

This summer has been about the big little moments; the simple things, the ones that mean the most.


Monday, 24 August 2015

Get creative with your captured memories

There's something special about putting a photo, or series of photos, onto a canvas and with my Father-in-Law, Tim's birthday coming up, I wanted to make a gift that I knew would make him smile.

A couple of months ago, my Sister-in-Law got married and the photos came back recently with so many happy memories and natural shots of the family captured. Tim likes to select one or two key photos of memories to display in his home, and the staircase has long been a gallery to his three children and how the family has grown over the years, with Ethan and myself more recent additions to the O'Hanlon Wall of Fame.

I decided to take a look at the canvas styles on offer from Snapfish, as I often get my photos digitally ordered from there. There's different wall art styles, from the standard, chunky wrap-around canvas prints through to slimmer versions, collage prints and even acrylics.

I opted for a canvas for Tim, to match the style of his current wall art, and had a play with the collage canvas option. I really liked the idea of combining a few different images, rather than just selecting one. I mean, how can you choose just one snap to sum up such an important day?

I borrowed the wedding photography from my Sister-in-Law, Erin, and started selecting images that really stood out. I wanted to choose a photo that represented each member of the immediate family, as well as showing those special moments between Tim and his daughter on the happiest day of her life.

I selected a few reportage style photos, showing Erin in her wedding dress then driving to the church, walking down the aisle and so on. There was a great image of her kissing Tim on the cheek, with him having the biggest and most natural grin on his face, which I knew had to be on there. I also wanted to make sure there was a shot from within the church, as I know how much this means to him.

To really make more of the print, I wanted to choose some detail photos of the day. Things like the personalised coke bottles we gave to Erin and her new husband. And the ribbon and button bouquets the bride and bridesmaids had.

Once I had my shortlist of images, I started to play around with the layout. The software is really easy to use and my collage canvas came together quickly.

I then noticed that there was the option of adding text, like a caption, to the design, which I thought was a great idea.

Perhaps I could add a quote from Tim's speech? Or a lyric from Erin and Rob's first dance?

As the bride has a thing for Elvis, and Tim used Elvis song titles throughout his speech at the wedding breakfast, I started looking at song lyrics that would summarise the theme of the canvas.

And chose the following:

I give, give you my heart
Today, tomorrow and forever
You'll always be my love

It seemed like the perfect sentiment for the day and for what I wanted the canvas to mean.


Sunday, 23 August 2015

The Week That Was Captured #31

Hello lovelies! Well, I did it! My little 'ol' blog reached 200k views early last week with a bit of help from lovely people like you.

It may be a drop in the ocean for some but as this is my place to escape and share rather than my job, I'm pretty proud. It's always nice to know that people are reading what you write and hearing what you have to say.

That's why we do this, really, isn't it?

To share. To remember. To support. To be a part of something.

I don't have a lot to share or document from the week that was last week, other than this face and a few little loves.


Friday, 21 August 2015


It makes us happy. 
It shines light on the dark. 
It warms our faces and our hearts.

It's not always in sight.
And sometimes seems so far away.
Never far from our thoughts.
And present in every way.

You to me are like sunshine.
You make everything worthwhile.
You are my strength and my reason.
All you have to do is smile.

The beauty of a young boy.
Who looks at you and calls you 'Mum'.
Isn't anything you can hold in your hands.
I am so proud to call you Son.

My sonshine.
Shining brightly every day.
My love for you glows from within.
And it will never, ever fade.

Thank you for showing me.
How good this life can be.
Always keep on shining.
And be the brightest thing to see.


Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Summer fruit mocktails

Even if the weather has other ideas, it is summer and that's all the excuse that's needed to enjoy nice food (BBQ, any one?), washed down with a nice cold drink.

Whilst summer says Pimms to me, I thought it would be a nice idea to try making some other summery drinks so with a little juice inspiration from Princes, I've had a go at making some non-alcoholic cocktails.

Mocktails are a great for making and sharing with your children. You can ask them to help with measuring out the different ingredients and they can help decorate your cocktail creations too.

An umbrella or a brightly coloured, twisty straw instantly say 'special'. I picked up a cocktail kit for just £2.50 in Asda and also bought a few new tumbler glasses with bright spots and stripes for the occasion.

Well, there wasn't really an occasion, but I thought why not?

Monday, 17 August 2015

The Week That Was Captured #30

Hello! The last post I shared on here was last week's #TWTWC post and that's simply because we have been busy bees.

I don't want to be the one to say it but... I think that it's official - summer is over. I'm not sure that it really ever started but I'm quite convinced that summer is no more. My trusty maxi dresses were unpacked a while ago but remain unworn, hanging in my wardrobe without having seen the light of a summer's day this year. We haven't had a holiday or break away anywhere, which again has probably helped to make this summer feel a bit like a non-starter.

The main thing we have been doing is spending time together as a little family. This week we have had some real quality time at home and I've taken the opportunity to enjoy watching my little man who is growing before our eyes, speaking in sentences and involving us in his playing. This week, he's proven that he knows The Gruffalo inside and out, saying any words that we pause on to test him. He's sung Twinkle Twinkle to us from start to finish. And he's asked us for 'milk with one tea please mummy' much to our delight.


Monday, 10 August 2015

The Week That Was Captured #28 & #29

This is another two week round-up - what can I say, I've been a bit busy! I've been trying to make the most of my free time and enjoy spending time with this little monkey and at times, this has meant putting down my phone or camera, stepping away from my blog or social feeds and just living in the moment. It's not always easy, but I feel better for putting less pressure on myself. Lord knows there's enough things to keep us busy!

Ethan is doing so well and is such a character. This past week, he's started saying almost complete sentences, like 'It's slide down Mummy!' and 'I'm not naughty boy' after being ever so slightly naughty.

I wrote him a new letter to try and write down some of our memories from the past month, but there's always something I forget. Like how he says 'Harry Potter' when he sees one of our DVD's (it's so cute) or the way he dances when he hears the Friends theme tune (we're re-watching the series at the moment).

He's just so much fun.


Saturday, 8 August 2015

My definitive list of fun days out for all the family in the Midlands

We're now half way through the summer holidays and whether you've been with your children the whole time or if you're working and looking to make the most of your weekends, I'm sure you could do with some helpful ideas and suggestions on places to go and things to do.

With this in mind, I thought I would bring together a few recommendations of places to visit in the Midlands, seeing as I live here and I'm always looking for new things to do. I've written about ideas on things to do as a family before but I've pulled together this list of ideas from places we have been and love as well as some suggestions from other mums in the area to hopefully give us all some inspiration and new 'must visit' places to add to the list. Some of these are free (always a bonus!) and others may involve a ticket or admission price, which I've linked to for ease.

So, here's my list of some great days out in the Midlands. I've added links to the official websites and also to posts I have written before if we have visited the places mentioned. Enjoy, share and add any of your own suggestions in the comment box too so I can add to this list to help make this a really useful guide for Midlands mamas everywhere!


I didn't know this park existed a couple of years ago but now it's one of the places we visit the most, just as there's a great park, a lovely lake and lots of greenery to enjoy. A great spot for a lazy Sunday walk.

There's also a farm, which we haven't visited before but I'd like to one day.


Friday, 7 August 2015

Skin Deep

We all know how important it is to look after our skin, right? It's something you appreciate as you get older (I'm only 31 so not over the hill and far away in any way, but still, my skin is starting to show its age) and something many of us will think about a lot.

I try to have a good skincare regime but like with most of my good intentions, I find myself slipping now and then and one lazy day can turn into a lazy week and that can turn into... you get the idea!

Lack of sleep, dehydration, sun exposure, wearing make up every day - it all can take it's toll and call it vanity, but I'm even more away of how my skin looks with every birthday and every new crease or crinkle.

Despite having lines and skin that needs some real nourishment and some anti-ageing help (don't we all??), I also have quite an oily t-zone which isn't helped by the warmer (ha!) weather.

But I have been using for around six weeks my Artistry skincare range and when I'm good, this stuff is very good to me too.


Thursday, 6 August 2015

My letter to Ethan - at 2 years 3 months

Hey buddy,

It's me, Mummy. The one you come to when there's tears in your eyes. The one that you kick out at when I get you out of bed earlier than you'd like and start getting you dressed. I know. How dare I change your clothes, put on a fresh nappy and comb your hair? And that's before I get the big, bad toothbrush out...

You're well into your two's and you certainly know, or like to think you do, what you want. And how to get it. 'No' is still very much in your vocabulary, but so too are so many other words. You know A, B, C, D, and the rest, although that's as far as you will let us go when we sing the song. We know you know all the letters as you can put together your alphabet puzzle with no difficulty at all. And you recognise your name written down.

You talk, and talk. Don't know who you get that from. It's lovely having conversations with you now and we nearly always know what you are talking about. You comment on everything you see and you pick up on emotions. You can pull a sad face on cue, and notice if other people or characters on TV are sad, and there's nothing which doesn't catch your eye of cause you to exclaim with delight.

You are a delight. Your expressions, your enthusiasm, your gestures and your funny sayings or ways of pronouncing certain words make us smile every day. Your love for animals grows and so does your love of Disney and films, with Panda (Kung Fu Panda) and Kiger from Lion King (all lions and tigers are 'kiger' to you) being the latest new friends you have found.


Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Mummy and Me July 2015

So, Ethan's phase of not wanting to pose for photos, mainly with me, continues but that hasn't stopped me this month! Whilst I am usually the one taking the snaps for our family album, hubs has grabbed the camera a couple of times and caught two shots.

One just at home, as I capture a cuddle from my constantly on the move toddler.

Another, ridding a baby triceratops. You know, as you do.

As another month passes, I make another mental note - must. try. harder.

I need to be in more photos and I need to make more of an effort to capture everyday moments, me included. I have been doing my best to live in the moment more, and not worry so much about having to document it all, just enjoy it. The last photo is just of Ethan but it's from the last Wednesday we had as Mummy and Ethan, last week, before I started full time work. We had a lovely lunch date and it was a time I wanted to bottle up but I decided just to take this one photo and then leave it be, and enjoy my time with my special man.


Monday, 3 August 2015

Me and Mine July 2015

How is it August? How?! Another month has passed and again, we have only managed to get two photos together as a family.

One posed, at my sister-in-law's wedding, one as a selfie taken in the car as we went off to the safari.

Both very happy days and memories I'm glad we captured. Shame that Ethan didn't want to look at the camera at all on the day of the wedding, let alone smile for it! But a nice family photo all the same.

Here's me and mine for July:

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