Monday, 30 November 2015

#MeAndMine November 2015

Just in time to call it a November family photo and what a lovely bunch we are...

Our family pics are more often snaps on the phone as Ethan fidgets too much and there's always one of us behind the camera.

I'd love to have some family snaps like those Mummy Daddy Me or Bump to Baby take each month (one day...) but for now, I'll make do with a few selfies before bedtime.

When I'm wearing my fluffy, oh so flattering PJ top, and hubs is pulling funny faces and Ethan's avoiding having to go to bed.

This is us on a typical night. Singing Christmas songs, playing the tickle game and taking it turns to read stories.

We're pretending to be dinosaurs in the last one, by the way.

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Sunday, 29 November 2015

#MySundayPhoto / #SilentSunday - craft hamper

This hamper gets me very excited. It's filled with all my Christmas crafty bits. And it's ready and waiting for me to get my craft on!

I have ink stamps, ribbons, gift tags and embellishments aplenty and I've planning on making some nice cards and tags if I have time for best friends and family, then using the Asda bargains in the second photo to top up numbers. I'd love to have a fully home-made Christmas but I just don't have as much time as I would like.

Ethan's helped me make a couple of cards already and I'll look forward to having a proper Christmas helper in the near future too - would love to try Jocelyn's hand-print Christmas tree.



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Monday, 23 November 2015

It's tradition


I vividly remember my Christmases past. Father Christmas delivering to me my first bike, in the snow, whilst my Dad had mysteriously disappeared. Meeting Father Christmas at the grotto at the school we lived next to during a festive fayre and thinking that he wore the same wedding ring as my Dad but I still promised I'd been a good girl just in case. 

Leaving a carrot for Rudolf and a glass of sherry and a mince pie by the fireplace for the man in the red suit. Opening my stocking on my parent's bed and having chocolate for breakfast. 

Playing games after Christmas dinner with my grandparents and opening our special table gifts. 

My husband has many fond memories too, such as opening all his Christmas presents on Christmas Eve after midnight mass every year and playing his new video game and completing it by Christmas Day night. 

We both love the season so much and it gets even more magical every year as Ethan grows and understands more of the sentiment and tradition.

We keep many of the usual traditions and have several of our on too. It's what makes Christmas Christmas, in my opinion.

But do you ever wonder where some of them first originated?

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Sunday, 22 November 2015

#MySundayPhoto / #SilentSunday - stairs

These are my three special guys. Hubs, Ethan and Watson. Posing nicely for a photo as I was rushing out the door earlier this week.

I just love the simple moment captured, how they're all sat on different steps. And the way Ethan is looking at his Daddy in the second snap just melts my heart.

Simple. Grainy. But perfect candid snaps.



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Friday, 20 November 2015

Christmas Crafts - a homemade wreath

I'm excited that in just a week or so, it will be socially acceptable to hang my Christmas wreath on the door. 

Here's my easy guide to how you can make one yourself using items that you have in your home or garden to decorate it...





You will need:
Wreath - you could choose a fake green branch wreath or a wicker design if you prefer, Wilkinsons has a great range to choose from, as well as decorations for 50p or £1 plus florist wire, and I got mine from (you guessed it) Hobbycraft
Two oranges
Cinnamon sticks
Pine cones
Glitter glue
Length of beads
Bells
String
Florist/easy to bend wire
Ribbon



Method:

1. Fluff up the branches on your wreath so it's nice and thick and decide which part is the top and bottom.

2. To give your wreath a lovely seasonal scent, use fresh oranges that you can dry at home. With a sharp knife, slice the oranges and place on a baking tray lined with a sheet of baking paper and put into the oven on a very low heat for an hour or two. Set aside, perhaps in an airing cupboard, for a couple of days until they have dried fully, but still retain their smell.


3. Pick your pine cones, leave to dry out for a couple of days, then paint a little glitter glue on the edges to add a bit of sparkle.

4. Bundle your cinnamon sticks together and tie with string or ribbon to match your colour scheme.


5. Use your florist wire to group together your bells in clusters and push it through your orange slices, in a loop, back through the slice so that you can hold it in place.




6. Take your length of beads and wrap these around the edge of the wreath, fixing in place behind.




7. Arrange your decorative features around the edge of your wreath and once happy, twist the wire around the branches to hold each piece in place. Remember to leave a space at the bottom for your bow.

8. Take your ribbon and tie a big bow, as best you can. I found it easiest to tie this around one of the branches, which held it nicely in place where I wanted it.




9. Hang your wreath with pride - it's sure to make you smile every time you come in the door.

The great thing about this wreath is you can add anything you like - festive bows or small Christmas decorations would make a lovely addition. Just decide on the colours / theme you want for your wreath and have fun playing with the arrangement. The flexible florist wire means that you can add or change your design each year.

You can also check out my other Christmas projects:




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Thursday, 19 November 2015

#TBT - Why don't we put ourselves first?

Throw back Thursday - revisiting and re-sharing past posts


This is a question I have come to ask myself recently, when I've taken a step back and really looked at the way I think and do things.

When you first start on your journey to become mum, you know that your priorities will need to change and that the needs of another will soon trump your own, every single time.

When that line turns blue and you know that a baby is indeed on its way, you feel different because you know you have this responsibility to nurture and protect.

Suddenly, everything you do has a direct impact on your baby.


What you eat. What you drink. How active or inactive you are. How much sleep you have. Even what you wear ends up being determined by how much stretch it has and if bump feels comfortable.

And of course, you don't complain. Much. You knew you would need to adjust and you're compelled to do all that you can for your baby-to-be.

For me, as soon as I knew that I had a little bean (our nickname for Ethan before we knew who he was) I immediately thought about what I was doing and how that might impact on him. I read up on the nutrients I should be getting from my food, I never missed a breakfast and I always had a snack pack for when I could feel my energy levels dip.

I have never taken care of myself as much as I did when I was pregnant.

Soon after Ethan was born, all my good habits all but dissipated.

No more regular breakfasts. Much more lax about my eating habits. Nothing too bad really but I certainly wasn't a goody two shoes any more.

But why?


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Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Letter to Ethan at 2.5

Hey buddy

You're more than two and a half now and whilst it's been two months since my last letter, that's not because nothing has happened or there's no memories to document.

Far from it.


I've said it before but I just love the age you're at. You're curious. Interested. Animated. You go through all the emotions, quickly, without warning and in full.

You understand so much, you sing to yourself, you role play and you like so many characters and animals and toys. The list of things you enjoy is so long and one new thing never replaces another; it just adds to everything you like to watch, see or do.

Here's a collection of memories, thoughts, events and sayings from the past couple of months that I want to write down to look back on when my mind has gone fuzzy and I wonder to myself what you were like when you were 2.5...

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Tuesday, 17 November 2015

#LifeLately - fireworks & superheroes

Hello! How are you all? Well, I hope.

Me? I'm a bit worn out. I'm like one of those solar controlled nodding figures - as soon as the sun goes down, I start to power down.

As any working mum knows (heck, any woman really), life is a constant juggling act and if one thing is going well or keeping you busy, there's a knock on effect and something has to give. Work is always busy and trying to keep everything going at home can be hard sometimes. (More on this theme to come later this week... if I get the time, that is!).


We've had lots of time together as a family and plenty else going on too, so we are very much counting down to the Christmas holiday and I hope to start the festive feeling soon.

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Thursday, 12 November 2015

Ethan's #LittleLoves - Mickey Mouse Library

My little bookworm's library continues to grow and the Mickey Mouse Storybook Library from Parragon, through their #BookBuddies scheme, is the latest addition. As a fan of all things Disney, Ethan was really excited to receive this collection.


The books are a good size, so you can take them away with you when you're out and about, the illustrations bright and the stories brief but fun. Great for young readers and definitely for Mousketters.

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Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Ethan's #LittleLoves - Sea Life Centre Birmingham

A couple of weeks ago, Ethan became an honoury Octonaut cadet when we visited the Sea Life Centre Birmingham. It's one of our favourite places to go - anywhere with real animals goes down well with my animal loving son - and the Octonauts have taken over again.

Sea Life Centre Birmingham - To Become Mum

When we went, there was a training academy theme running, encouraging little deep sea explorers to look out for certain things as they walk around, collecting stamps and winning a medal at the end for getting them all.

The older he gets, the more Ethan takes in and this time, he even sat through the 4D cinema film without getting scared. The penguins were still his favourite but I have to say, one of my favourite moments was when he saw the sharks and said 'hello shark, don't eat me!'.

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Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Christmas Crafts - snow globe

I'm re-posting another Christmas craft project today, following on from my advent calendar, and this one is super easy to make.

I've always loved snow globes and wanted to buy one for Ethan for his first Christmas. They're so beautiful to look at and I think they literally encapsulate the magic of the season - the scene in The Santa Clause when Tim Allen gives his son a snow globe so he can always see where his dad is gets me every time.

I love the beautiful designs you can get from Disney and I'm sure that we'll buy one of these at some point, but I decided after reading Kirstie's Christmas Crafts that I wanted to make one for my boy myself. So, here's how I did it...

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Monday, 9 November 2015

My #LittleLoves - tea and beauty treats

I've had a few treats this month that I wanted to share with you - we all need a pick me up now and then, don't we?

I've heard a lot about teatox programmes on Instagram and from various bloggers and wanted to give one a go myself. I've fallen into some bad habits recently (I blame the darker nights for my addiction to carbs and to Asda putting Ben and Jerry's on offer) and I wanted to try and undo some of this with a detox.


In steps Tea Doctor! A teatox is exactly what it sounds like - drinking tea to detox and help flush out any toxins built up in your system, to help you feel good and possibly shed a little weight too.

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Sunday, 8 November 2015

#MySundayPhoto / #SilentSunday - Bonfire Night

I love this time of year and we always go and see a fireworks display and bonfire. It's the perfect excuse to wrap up warm, get outside and drink hot chocolate.

What could be better?
For a few years now, we've gone to the fireworks festival at West Midlands Safari Park. It's brilliant. Aside from the safari, you can visit all the other animals, enjoy a hog roast and Baileys hot chocolate and there's rides too. But for us, the huge bonfire is great and the fireworks, times to music, are amazing.

Last night, the theme was the movies, and the display lasted for 15 minutes. It was incredible and little man, although a little scared halfway through, perked up when Let It Go and Circle of Life played.

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Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Christmas crafts - advent calendar

So, Halloween has been and gone so I think it's safe to mention Christmas now and, even more than just mention it, post about it properly!

Two years ago, I shared a few Christmas craft projects. I was on maternity leave at the time and somehow found time to indulge my crafty side so I thought I would re-post some of my ideas in case you're looking to make something special for your home.

So, I'm starting with an advent calendar. There's many beautiful ones you can buy ready made in the shops and for a good price too (anywhere from Asda to Next to John Lewis have their own versions on sale), but personally, the advent calendar I bought from Hobbycraft and decorated myself is pretty special.

This year, Hobbycraft has not one but five different blank wooden advent calendar designs to choose from, and they are all amazing - so much so, I want to make another one!

There's a house, which is a bit more square than the model I picked up, which has doors that open (mine has drawers), a tree, a Santa truck, a pile of presents and a reindeer sleigh, all of which are just £15 which I think is a fantastic price. I'd be quick if I were you, as they're bound to sell out as we get closer to December.

And of course, they sell all the paint and accessories you need to decorate these in any way you wish.

As we are a family of three, we've been staring some new traditions and at the centre of this is our advent calendar. We decided we wanted an advent calendar we can use every year and our idea was to not only have a chocolate treat waiting inside but also a seasonal task. From watching Elf to baking gingerbread, singing carols and reading 'Twas The Night Before Christmas.

Here's the one I made and how I made it...


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Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Life Lately - a wedding and a week off

We've just had a little over a week off together as a family. It's been long-awaited and began with a wedding and ended with a PJ day.


The first weekend was my Brother-in-Law's wedding. It began with a Mendhi celebration at the bride's parent's house, where the women attending had their hands decorated with intricate henna patterns.

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Monday, 2 November 2015

The #RedCups arrive TOMORROW!

Hello, I'm Kelly and I am a Starbucks addict.

As my local Starbucks runs out of Pumpkin Spice Latte, I'm not too glum as it's almost red cup season again.

When it hits November, I'm rarely seen without a Gingerbread Latte in my hand. My Starbucks obsession continues at home where I like to treat myself now and then to one of their syrups to jazz up my cuppa and I have quite an impressive collection of mugs too from places I (and my friends) have visited.

So, what does the Starbucks Christmas 2015 menu have in store?


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Creative Photo Coasters for Christmas

Photos, photos, everywhere - and what better way to use them than to make the perfect (Christmas) gift?

I've written many times before about how I'm as snap-happy as the next blogger / proud mama and how I'm always looking to make the most of my photos.

And part of this is making special gifts for friends and family.

I've made personalised calendars for friends and family for a few years now (I missed out last year to the disappointment of some!) and I've been looking for other fun ways to bring photos, and the memories they represent, to life.

And Snapfish, my go-to online photo service, have quite a few photo gift ideas on offer, including coasters.

Now, everyone has coasters at home and we have an eclectic mix ourselves - ones given as souvenirs from friends' holidays and others with funny slogans on like 'I child-proofed my house... but they keep getting back in!' - so what better gift idea than making a set specific for someone in your life?

Snapfish asked me for my ideas and I came up with a few different options...

Armed with the trusty photo editing site picmonkey.com (where I go for all my blog and photo amends), I thought I would have a play and find a new way to use photos and other ideas to create some creative coasters.

So, what could you put on your coasters? *spoiler alert for some of my friends and family!*


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Sunday, 1 November 2015

#SilentSunday / #MySundayPhoto - superheroes

Like most boys, Ethan is starting to love superheroes. We have a few of the Disney Infinity figures and Ethan has taken to playing with them, saying that Iron Man is Daddy, Black Widow is Mummy and that he's Hulk. 

They then all play 'house' in an old fashioned toy house my Dad found at a charity shop that Ethan loves. It's an Avengers Apartment, if you will.


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