Sunday, 31 January 2016

Me and Mine #1 - January

So, we were just sitting in the lounge, relaxing, and I was having a stroll across social media when I saw everyone posting their first Me and Mine posts of 2016.

And, yet again, I realised that we hadn't actually had a photo taken of the three of us all month long. We'd been out for hubs' birthday, which would have been the perfect chance. We went to the safari park, but Ethan didn't want to pose for a group selfie.

 Hubs said we should just take one there and then - me fresh faced, Ethan in his PJ's, poor lighting and the pooch - so that's what we did. Because really, this is what we have spent a lot of the month doing, enjoying time at home together.

 Again, they're far from perfect as photos go but it's nice to document anyway.


#MySundayPhoto - robin & snake

This weekend, we took Ethan to West Midlands Safari Park. He loves animals, as do we, and it's the third time we've been around with him and every time, he gets more and more from it.

I have plenty of snaps I am proud of and ones that capture our day and Ethan perfectly, which I will share in the week, but for #MySundayPhoto, I wanted to share some of the animal photos we captured.

I couldn't choose just one, so here are my favourites - starting with one of a robin that just flew down in front of me, to land on the fence, and luckily I had my DSLR hanging around my neck so I could capture him just in time...

A slithery suspect...

My husband has shared a couple of his snaps taken yesterday too, which I think are also pretty great.


Saturday, 30 January 2016

Living Arrows #4 / 52 - pirates!

With the longest wait until pay day in history, we've been hibernating at home most evenings and weekends and to be honest, it's suited us really well.

Ethan is really getting into role playing at the moment and we're making sure he's getting plenty of use out of all the toys he has, stuffed in boxes here and stacked in piles there.

He's recently discovered pirates - including the Ardman film, Muppets Treasure Island, Swashbuckle on Cbeebies and Jake and the Neverland Pirates - and now walks around the house saying things like 'piratess life for me' and 'yo ho!'.

This week, we remembered that our lovely friends had bought him some dressing up items for Christmas, and one of the outfits was a pirate one.

Well. Our little man was quick to get changed and spent the whole day dressed like this, although by the end, he looked more like Tupac than Long-John Silver!...


Friday, 29 January 2016

Life & Loves Lately #2

What can I say, it's already been a busy 2016 so after my first life and loves lately post of this year, I'm back with another, to share what we've been up to and things I'm enjoying right now...

I've long-read the hilariously frank posts of Kirsty Smith, aka Eeh Bah Mum, and jumped at the chance to read her first book, 'How To Have A Baby and Not Lose Your Sh*t' (£6.99 Kindle, £9.99 paperback).

Kirsty has a unique voice and her take on motherhood is honest, challenging and gives you a warm arm around the shoulder as you read - to say, it's ok, we've all been there. You'll be fine.

In her own words, she writes about the funny side of life and this really is a funny, friendly book that doesn't take things too seriously.

One of my favourite quotes from the book is this: "Stick the skinny jeans in the loft and make the most of those precious moments because you've actually already enrolled yourself in nature's boot camp. In no time at all you'll be squating, lifting and running after a toddler. Then you will really look like a mum. Nothing says 'mum' more than squawking 'Put that down now!' whilst wrestling a dirty flip flop out of a two-year-old's mouth."


Monday, 25 January 2016

ThePowerOfThePea - Sea Bass

I am a big veggie lover and have been doing my best to add more and more into our diet - mainly by replacing carbs, such as rice, potatoes and pasta, with alternatives such as cauliflower rice, quinoa and courgetti - and I've recently been inspired by the humble pea, thanks to Batchelors,

Peas are a full of good stuff. They contain bone-building vitamin K and manganese, they are packed with vitamin C to support your immune system and they're quite high in protein too, which helps to fill you up more than other vegetables tend too. 

Most little ones like them - Ethan insists on eating them one by one with his fingers!

And they're incredibly versatile too.

I was sent the following Mushy Pea Mash Up recipe and decided to give it a go myself at the weekend. 

Sea bass with creamed peas, bacon and spring onions

Serves 4

For the creamed peas:
·        200g Batchelors Marrowfat Peas
·        60g unsalted butter
·        1 small shallot, finely chopped
·        50g smoked bacon, chopped into ½cm dice
·        50ml vegetable stock
·        120ml double cream
·        Salt and black pepper
·        ½ bunch spring onions, finely sliced at an angle
·        A handful of pea shoots or little gem lettuce

For the fish:
·        Extra virgin olive oil for frying
·        4 x 180g sea bass fillets, skinned
·        Salt and black pepper
·        1 lemon


Sunday, 24 January 2016

#MySundayPhoto - blue skies

It's been a bit nippy this week, hasn't it? That said, despite defrosting the car a few times, there has been some lovely clear skies too.

This photo was snapped on our way to work on Wednesday, when the clouds looked like cottonwool and the sky was all shades of bright blue, and pink and orange too first thing.

Despite the grey city backdrop, this was quite a pleasant view to have on the journey to work.



Friday, 22 January 2016

Mummy and Me #1/12

Determined to a) take more photos, b) be in more photos myself, and c) do this regularly, I'm back with another photography link up - this time it's all about me and my little man.

I had a few shaky attempts at snaps with Ethan over the Christmas break, then managed to get a couple of nice ones when we were on our way to the park.

Here's hoping I can build a whole year's worth of Mummy and Me memories.


Thursday, 21 January 2016

Life & Loves Lately #1

The amount of times I have renamed this kind of feature... I've lost count! Sometimes, I just have lots of things that I'd like to share, be it new finds for Ethan or treats for me or just what we have been up to, lately.

There's a lot of blogger linkys out there, like #LittleLoves, but sometimes the kinds of things I'd like to share don't fit the same criteria.


So, here's my #LifeAndLovesLately post for January...

First up, I saw over on Instagram a special discount code for Parabo Press where new customers could receive 25 free square photo prints. These are usually priced at £18, plus £6 postage, but with the code I only had to pay the postage and they arrived a week later, looking lovely.

I haven't shared the code here as I have no idea if it still works, but the quality of the prints and the ease of ordering through the app makes them well worth the money.


Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Living Arrows 1,2&3 / 52

I'm always taking photos of Ethan, although so many these days are blurry as I try to capture his funny look or easy smile before he's off again.

He's regularly the feature of the posts I sometimes share for #MySundayPhoto so I thought that this year, I would start joining in with the #LivingArrows project, as this is all about capturing moments of childhood.

And that's the very basis of my blog, the main reason it's here - to capture moments and document my beautiful little boy as he grows up.

And boy, is he growing up.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
#1 / 52

Just look at those sparkly eyes

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Park fun with Muddy Puddles

So, winter has finally arrived, hasn't it? My Instagram feed was filled with snow day snaps and it was lovely to see so many people getting outdoors to build a snowman and take in the festive scenes.

I was in Yorkshire on Saturday night and saw a dusting of snow, but by the time I returned to by boys in Birmingham, the best of the snow had melted away. Still, I was keen to take Ethan outside, wrapped up warm, and felt that a trip to the park was in order. He gets to go outside a lot at nursery but having been away for a night, I wanted to do something with Ethan before the working week began.

It was certainly nippy, and I had forgotten Ethan's hat at nursery so had to improvise with one of my own, but outside we went.

Around this time last year, we bought him a nice raincoat from the high street - chosen more for looks than anything else - but growing as much as toddlers do (before your eyes, it seems), he's been in need of a new one.

Size 3-4 years, can you believe. He'll be three in May and we're already starting to buy the next size up, thinking ahead to what will last this season and next winter too.

As such, we were delighted to be introduced to Muddy Puddles - robust, well made and fun designed children's clothing for all weathers (you can read their Muddy Manifesto here - love it!).

Ethan has their Puddleflex Jacket (RRP £42 but currently £38 online - be quick!) and we couldn't wait to wrap him up and take it out for a test run.


Monday, 18 January 2016

Linky loving

Linkys are great to find and share new ideas, special moments and make new blogging friends but there's so many, it's tough to know where to start.

With my memory being like a sieve these days and being fed up with constantly forgetting or missing out on some of the fun linkys I see others getting well and truly involved with, I've written a list as a handy reminder.

There's quite a few lovely bloggers that have shared extensive linky lists but this is just my checklist of ones I have seen or joined in with before that I want to make a conscious effort to follow this year.


Sunday, 17 January 2016

The Working Dad

For a long while now, I've said my husband should start a blog. He wrote a post for me a while ago that was really well received and the blogging community is a big enough place for all kinds of people want to talk about and share all kinds of things.

Stephen has a great many interests and a great deal of things to say - funny, honest and entertaining things - and now he's sharing them with the world, and not just me.

From gaming, movies and TV shows to being a parent from a dad's perspective, be sure to take a look at The Working Dad, or follow him over on Twitter, Facebook and Bloglovin.


Thursday, 14 January 2016

A ridiculously early birthday wishlist

So, my birthday may be some five and a bit months away, but with the new season drops from Cath Kidston, I'm already dreaming and collating a wishlist.

How can I not with so much loveliness being launched??

A while ago, I saw a beautiful red turnlock vintage style handbag at the Piccadilly CK store and fell in love, but it was £125, I didn't have the pennies, and I never saw it again. 

The bag that got away.

I saw on Instagram a while ago a hint of the new beauties set to come out this Spring/Summer and recently shared some of the new things I had spied too.

But now, new things to excite me and any other polka dot nut or floral fan have been launched. There's 11 pages of brand new products on the website to take in and oh my, there's a lot to love.


Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Breakfast ideas

Are you like me and need some inspiration for the first, and what we all are told the most important, meal of the day?

I've always felt a bit 'meh' about breakfasts but I've come around and found a few things that I like to eat AND are pretty good for me too (sadly, blueberry muffins don't really count as one of my five a day).

In a bid to get our days off to a better start, I've been doing my best to prepare something for hubs and I to take to work so here's some of my favourite breakfast options.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Meal planning #1

One of the big changes I'm trying to make is to plan our meals more, to save money, cut waste and just make sure we eat more good stuff.

If I plan a big shop before I do one, I'll actually make use of things already in the cupboards, not buy just any old thing that takes my fancy and make sure we have breakfast and lunch options too so we a) eat three meals a day and b) don't go and spend a ton on lunches whilst at work, and usually eat the wrong thing.

If I plan it, I do it and I'm less tempted to hit the vending machine. A bit less. 

I like seeing what other people are making and the meals they plan for new inspiration and to also see how people make the most of their ingredients. I'm trying to be more creative and think of new ways of making meals, peeking up salads, using as much fresh food for as many meals as possible and for bulking up dishes without dishing out carbs all the time (more on this later this week). 


Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Cath Kidston preview & S/S 16 collection

I popped into Cath Kidston a couple of times over the Christmas break (so unlike me, I know), first to meet the CK Santa and again to partake in the sales.

When is Cath at its best? When there's an up to half price sale on (I snapped up two skirts, including one I had been after all year, a top plus a new handbag, all of which were discounted again following my initial trip on Boxing Day) and when the new season lines start to come through.

The preview collection arrived just a few days before Christmas in store and there's lots in store to be excited about.


Monday, 4 January 2016

Good for you / The Ordinary Moments #1

The first book I read in ages was Yes Please! by comedy writer and actress Amy Poehler.

If you don't know her, she's best mates with Tina Fey and plays an eternally bubbly and optimistic council woman in the hilarious Parks and Recreation (go check it out if you haven't seen it).

And she's pretty awesome. In character and as herself.

In interviews and in her book, Amy is full of wise words and real insights into being a woman and believing in yourself. It's not all overused metaphors and cliché motivational words - she has some intelligent things to say and there's one thing in particular that she said that struck a chord with me.

Her motto, and the one I have adopted for this year, is simple but hits the nail on the head: "Good for you! (Sometimes followed by) Not for me."

It's about celebrating all your successes and those of women around you, with the realisation that what other people do shouldn't make you feel any less yourself.


Sunday, 3 January 2016

My motto this year is simple: "Good for you! Not for me."

It's inspired by the comedy actress Amy Poehler and it's about celebrating all your successes and those of women around you. What other people do shouldn't make you feel bad about your life or yourself.

Only you can be you. So be the best you that you can be.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Dream, believe, achieve

On Monday, I'm going to share with you my motto for 2016 - in fact, it's more of a mantra and something I'm going to keep reminding myself of as this year, I'm really motivated and determined to get out of it as much as I can.

For now, however, I wanted to share a few wishes, hopes or goals for the year ahead. Some are quite standard - the same kind of thing that a lot of people will be aiming for - but it's good to have an idea of what you want. It's often half the battle, knowing what you want - the trick is to work out how to achieve it.

Here's a few thoughts from me...


Friday, 1 January 2016

Happy 2016

First of all, a very happy new year to you all. If you're reading this on the 1st January, you're either a parent and were tucked up in bed well before midnight last night or you're nursing a hangover and unable to do anything other than scan your phone, stuck to the sofa.

Either way, hello and here's to a great 2016.

So, what do you want from this year?

Health, wealth and happiness? The usual?

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