Thursday, 31 May 2018

Still time to visit the Jurassic Seas event at National Sea Life Centre Birmingham

We love our visits to National Sea Life Centre Birmingham and have been getting the most out of our annual passes with several trips there this year (take a look back at all our past visits and top tips here).

We may squeeze one more into our May half term break as the Jurassic Seas event is on until Sunday.

Here's what you need to know:


Wednesday, 30 May 2018

My first pregnancy update - at 12 weeks, baby number two

So... the cat, or baby in this case, is well and truly out of the bag! I'm on my journey to become mum again and I hope you'll join me for the ride, whether you were here with me last time or if you are new to my blog. If you didn't see my pregnancy announcement, do take a look as it shows how we revealed the news to the big-brother-to-be.

To Become Mum actually began five and a half years ago, the last time that I started my journey to motherhood. Everything was completely new and I wanted to find a way to document things and to share updates with friends and family... and things just went from there!

Take a look at my photo diary of my Ethan bump, to see how pregnancy looked on me last time.

This time around, things still feel pretty new. I know I have been there, got the t-shirt, when it comes to pregnancy but it has been over five years since Ethan was born. I am older now. Memories fade. Things change. There's new stuff out there. And new advice too. I feel like I am going through everything again for the first time. Every pregnancy is different, that's what they say isn't it? Now that this space has grown to what it is today, I can share more with you - to help me document my days until baby number two arrives and to give updates on things I learn and love along the way.

So, how am I doing?

Here is my first pregnancy update - let me know if there's anything else you'd like me to add to these regular updates:

Bump photo


Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Starting a business as a parent

If you have a real entrepreneurial sense about you then starting a new business is something that you have done from the comfort of your bedroom. After all, depending on the nature of your business, you can grow somewhat substantially without having to leave the house. It is the dream of many.

* Collaborative post

However, with young children in the home, which is effectively an office, productivity can soon be lowered to the point that it becomes non-existent. Do you just no longer have the time to focus on your business? Or is it time that you took the plunge and ventured outside of the safety net of your home?

Monday, 28 May 2018

Have a MAMMOTH half term at intu Merry Hill

On Saturday, we headed to intu Merry Hill as we had heard about some mysterious goings on at this huge shopping centre, and we wanted to go investigate what kind of creature could be causing so much mischief...

* In collaboration with intu Merry Hill

You may have seen my post on Instagram about the crushed car found in the car park, with the only clues being giant footprints and some tufts of orange fur.


Saturday, 26 May 2018

To become mum... again!

So, we have a bit of news and I can't quite believe that it's really happening and that we can finally share this wonderful news...

We are going to have a new bundle.
Ethan is going to become a big brother.
Our family of three will become a family of four.
Just in time for Christmas (our due date is 8th December).



Thursday, 24 May 2018

Freshen up your home - 18 new design ideas

Our home is our very own space and whether it is an expansive pad or something far more modest, it is a place where we can just 'be'. It should reflect our tastes, our lifestyle and the things we enjoy the most.

 Written in association with Balustrade Components

Our house wouldn't be to everyone's tastes but that doesn't matter, as the way we have decorated it suits our style. I like white walls because of the clean finish it gives but I am also a big fan of colour so this makes a big appearance in all the rooms.

A feature wall of yellow in the lounge and deep blue in the bedroom; red alcoves in the dining room as a backdrop to our dresser and bureau; oranges and teals in Ethan's dinosaur themed bedroom.

The last rooms we gave a full makeover to were the lounge, where we opted for a yellow and grey theme, our bedroom, with steely greys and blues, and the hall where we went for soft grey/blue on the walls and monochrome frames with other accessories.

Life is in colour and so is our home! It really does reflect our personality and I like finding new things to add to our rooms, and can be influenced by changing of the seasons as well as new interior trends. I've loved the recent trend towards kitsch accessories and am the proud owner of a cactus vase (possibly the most Instagram-worthy item we have in the house!) but I am feeling the need to freshen things up a bit now that summer is on its way.

So what are the latest interior design trends to look out for? The experts at Balustrade Components have put together a round up of the 18 key looks and trends in home design for this year and I for one am excited. From vibrant ethnic fabrics to touches of glamour, there is plenty to be inspired by here...

#TBT - Today I don't like vegetables

Hubs, aka To Become Dad,started writing a series of poems about and for Ethan a couple of year's ago, to capture the funny little quirks of his character. I think they also perfectly sum up life with a toddler / preschooler and I'm sure plenty of other parents can relate, so I thought I'd share this post again for #tbt....

Here's the first poem that started the whole thing off - hands up who has a child just like this...?!


Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Get lucky and see fab shows at Town Hall Symphony Hall Birmingham this summer

I always like to have something in the diary to look forward to; a new event, a show to go to or a gig coming up on the calendar. Having worked with Town Hall Symphony Hall Birmingham for a while now, and reviewing so many fantastic events over the past few years, I know first-hand what an eclectic and exciting mix of events they have on offer, no matter your musical taste and for everyone in the family.


Friday, 18 May 2018

Dreaming of winning

Who hasn't dreamt of winning big? A lottery jackpot, at the bingo or perhaps through an online gambling game? I don't think there's any harm in dreaming about what could be (or in having a little flutter now and then) so I've been thinking about what I would do if I won a competition, prize draw or a big jackpot...

*Sponsored collaboration

Here's what I would probably do with our winnings...

It's impossible to really imagine winning a pot of money, even though I've played a few online games like bingo and we've both done the lottery, been to dog racing or done other small scale gambling - it's fun to have a go, and if you know your limits, it's can be really fun. So, if we were to be win big, I'd be a bit sensible but also a bit impulsive with spending our winnings - I just wouldn't be able to resist a bit of a splash to celebrate!


Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Is Your Home As Relaxing As It Could Be?

We spend a lot of time thinking about our homes. How to keep everything in order, the bills we need to pay, how to ensure everything looks as good as possible, as so on. But there’s one area of owning a property we very often forget to think about; how relaxing they are! Yet this is one of the most important aspects of the home. After all, after a long day of work, we all want to return to a place that’s tranquil, comfortable, and conducive to a healthy mind, body, and spirit. Below, I take a look at a few simple ways you can up the relaxation levels in your home...

* Collaborative post


Cosy Corners

Take a look at your home. How many spaces are there, really, where you can sink into a deep state of relaxation? If you don’t already have these spaces, then take a look at adding a cosy reading corner in one of your rooms; if you have a spare bedroom, then it can be especially good for this use - after all, you only have guests every so often, it doesn’t automatically need to become a guest room. And, as probably goes without saying, spend some time putting together the perfect living area, one in which you can spend many a chilly evening curled up watching films.


Monday, 14 May 2018

Be a mermaid / be a llama

There's a lot of people talking online about their personal journey learning to love themselves and how sometimes social media can be more of a negative experience than a postitive one. So much so, I'd say there is a real trend towards more people finding it ok not to always be ok, and not to always show the 'nice' bits but to open up and talk about the not so nice bits too. And I think that's flippin' brilliant.

I have a post in drafts that I will finish one day, all about why your thirties rock, as I am almost four years in and have to say, by-and-large, I am the most happy I have been, particularly within myself. It's not always easy and I have wobbles like everyone, but I have found a way to enjoy who I am, the way I am, and there is something to knowing yourself as you get older that makes the extra birthdays not really so bad.

If you ever have a wobble, or wobbles, sometimes some words of encouragement can make all the difference. And I have two books filled with word of positivity to share with you in case they're the kind of thing that might give you a boost or a smile when you need it.

The first book is called Be A Llama... and Stay A Little Calmer, (£5.99), by Sarah Ford, available from Octopus Books. It's a great little pick me up for anyone who is feeling stressed or overwhelmed, either by work or the pressures of everyday life.


Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Stains be gone! A handy guide for parents

I don't know about your little ones, but Ethan always seems to be a tad sticky. And you should see the state of him some days after school! It's great that he has so much fun during the day, of course, but his uniform can really take a battering with paint or pen stains, grass and mud around his knees, crumbs or stains from his lunch around his cuffs... he's obviously very enthusiastic in whatever he is doing!

We have to wash his uniform every couple of days to keep his clothes clean and on rotation during the week, but sometimes there's a tougher stain to remove. I'm not that knowledgeable when it comes to laundry (don't ask me what all the symbols or functions do!) so this guide shared by Muddy Puddles is a REALLY big help for parents like me.


Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Always Ready for Lovely Summer Days Out

Now that the summer is here, we can look forward to longer and warmer days. But, to be able to take full advantage of them you have to be prepared.

* Collaborative post

New swimwear
If you have not already done so, get everyone to try on their swimming costumes, shorts, and bikinis. You are checking to make sure it fits. Should anyone need a new costume you can easily order them online from somewhere like Fashion World. They sell women´s bikinis, tankinis and costumes in sizes 30 to 46. But, they also cater for men and children. Shopping somewhere you can buy what you need for everyone saves you time and, usually, you will save on postage, as well.

Monday, 7 May 2018

Bedroom colour scheme ideas - our inspiration

Over the past 11 years, our bedroom has probably been the room that's gone through the most changes. Not necessarily in terms of layout, as our king size bed predetermines this a fair bit, but in the colour scheme.

* In collaboration with Bed Guru

It took me a long while to find the perfect shade for to slumber in; it's been sky blue, sage green, monochrome and at one point, we even had a brick wall effect feature wall.

In our latest and current scheme, we have gone for a palette of soft grey and deep blue. In the winter, we layer this up with rich toned cushions and in summer, the bedspread we choose helps to lift the room and keep the feeling cool and inviting.


Sunday, 6 May 2018

Fun Family 5 - walk with Birmingham Children’s Hospital this June

I have a real affection for and am keen to support Birmingham Children's Hospital Charity. From The Big Hoot trail in 2015 to the even bigger Big Sleuth last summer, I have become more aware of the fantastic work that the charity does in order to help children who really are going through some tough times health wise.

I've been fortunate to get to know the charity a little more, on a personal level, knowing someone who works there and seeing what they do and the difference it all makes, so I was keen to share their latest fundraising event in case your family can help another family out.

Here's what you need to know about Fun Family 5, taking place in June:

Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity is calling on its kind-hearted supporters to get involved in its much-anticipated second annual Fun Family 5.

Taking place in Sutton Park on Saturday 16 June, the eventful sponsored 5K walk will raise vital funds for the sick children and families at the hospital, and aims to top last year’s event which saw over 400 participants raise nearly £20,000.

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Store, save or skip?

A couple of years ago, we gutted out our lounge and made some big changes. We hired a skip for the rubble and to get rid of old bits and bobs, and worked so hard that bank holiday weekend to makeover our family room. We even redecorated the hallway the same week, too!

Something about this time of year always has us busy around the house. Last year, we hired another skip and decided to clear out the loft. Ever since we moved in, over 11 years ago, we have put things up in the loft every so often. And because Ste is the only one who can fit up there, I had little idea of just how much stuff we had been hoarding.

And boy, was it a lot!

Spring is of course a great time to do some spring cleaning and to really look through your things to assess what you need and what you want, what you really don't need anymore but someone else might and those things that have no use at all.

It's a game I like to call store, save or skip!

Having a really thorough clear out can feel like a challenge at the time and takes effort but it is oh so worth it. You can be sure to keep a handle on what you have and organise things, so even if your house isn't big enough to have everything out, and you need a loft, garage or self storage space, you actually know what you have.

Christmas decs can take up lots of room.

When you have a baby, you don't like to throw things away and you might need them again one day.

And with our weather being predictable, you can have different seasonal clothes on rotation.


Friday, 4 May 2018

The Catchment Conundrum

Searching for a school is rarely easy. Given how long your child will spend in the place, it’s essential they like the one you choose. But, how can you make such a big decision after only seeing a building once or twice? Within a few months of school hunting, your head will hurt and your feet will, too. By that stage, you’ll be crying out for your child to PLEASE pick a school they like.

Then, one day they reach a decision. You’re so relieved you could cry. There’s just one problem; the school they like is out of your catchment area. At this stage, it’s easy to go into panic mode. You only put such effort into this because you want a bright future for your kids. But, now you have to tell them they can’t go to their chosen school after all. Or, do you? Not being in the catchment area is a pain in the backside. But, if you’re willing to make compromises, there’s no reason you can’t still make this work. All you’d need to do is move house, and keep the following pointers in mind.

* Collaborative post


Thursday, 3 May 2018

Which Property Professionals Should Be In Your Little Black Book?

As with many other areas of your life, when it comes to your home, it’s often handy to know who to call when you need something. Because we all know just how hard running a home can be. So, it’s something that we don’t always want to have to struggle with.

* Collaborative post

Having to go through a range of different professionals until you find the right one can be hard, but it’s still something that you might want to do - and ahead of time too. Because there’s nothing like panicking that you need to hire someone or help with something in a hurry and then choosing the wrong person for the job. So, it’s going to help you to get a little black book of property professionals together. By researching online, calling up and asking questions, and getting recommendations from friends and family, it should be simple enough to do. And here are the professionals that you should look to gather up first.


Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Win tickets to The Baby Show at NEC Birmingham this month - 2 pairs to giveaway!

When Ethan was little, I went to The Baby Show when it came to Birmingham and I really loved it. It was a fun and informative day out with so much to see and do; my only wish was that I could have gone sooner, when Ethan was younger, as it was a really informative day and there was lots to learn... and to buy!

My Sister-in-Law is expecting and due at the end of this month and she too went to the show and came away with a stroller, so it can be a really useful place to go if you have babies on the brain and want to get your hands on the latest kit. That's the best way of working out what's going to be best for you and your bundle.

I'm excited to share with you a competition for two people to win a pair of tickets to The Baby Show later this month - here's what you need to know about the show before you go, and how to enter my competition...

The UK’s biggest and best pregnancy and parenting event of the year is set to return to the Birmingham NEC in May – The Baby Show, with MadeForMums.  Taking place from Friday 18th until Sunday 20th, the event will showcase the latest innovations on the baby market, provide a wealth of expert advice and offer an incredible one-stop-shop for those shopping for their new arrivals – including the UK’s biggest range of prams, buggies and car seats all under one roof!


Common Mistakes That Cause Damage To Your Floor

In your home, it is so easy to get slip into unhelpful and comfortable habits. Your floor is no exception – there are many ways in which you could be dramatically reducing the lifespan of your flooring without even knowing it! 
* Sponsored post

That is why Luxury Flooring are here with some handy hints and tips to make you aware of the things you should change.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Keeping You And The Family Secure in Your home: Some Of The Things To Try

Let’s be honest, terrible things can happen when we least expect them to and it can be quite devastating to you and the whole family. Opportunists are always looking for the next chance they have to rob homes, and as burglary can be one of the biggest and most common crimes, it can certainly tip your whole world upside down should it happen to you.

However, you can do things to better protect your home from these thieves. I thought I would share with you what some of them are.

* Contributed post

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