Friday, 14 April 2017

Taking Inspiration From Other Bloggers



I'm here to admit that recently I've been taking a healthy dose of inspiration from other bloggers. Now, I'm not talking 'inspiration' as in copying content ideas, but actually being inspired by my fellow bloggers. I've been a blogger for quite a while now, and the bloggers I follow all come from different aspects of the blogosphere. Fashion bloggers to book bloggers, parenting bloggers to travel bloggers - I think I pretty much have it all covered! 

Now, I mentioned briefly before that I'm kind of in a no-mans land at the moment, career-wise. It's pretty daunting, and as my paid maternity leave comes to an end, I've had to try and scrabble some ideas together to see what I can do going forward. Realistically, my job opportunities are somewhat limited as I can only go back part time for the foreseeable future - yay, extortionate childcare costs! - but I'm trying to take this in my stride. 

Inspired by some of my favourite bloggers, I'm going to attempt to work from home. I've had a few ideas whirling around in my head for some time - including opening an Etsy store - so I've bitten the bullet and started to get the ball rolling. It's not quite ready for a launch yet, but you guys will be the first to know when it happens. As well as this idea, I also have my hands in a few other pies, and I'm always trying to improve my blog so to be able to work part time would hopefully help with this. I feel mostly excited by this and only a tiny bit terrified, but I'm sure the very real reality of providing for the family will spur me on. 

Which bloggers inspire you? Have you taken the plunge into something risky recently?

FYI - my inspiration for this post was the lovely Catherine from Little Paper Swans who has recently started to create some stock photography for bloggers via her etsy store.


Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Robin's 6 Month Update


Okay, I may have accidentally stopped posting updates on Robin - I guess that's what happens when you get thrown into the dreaded 'four month sleep regression'. And, it continues a whole lot longer than one month, let me tell ya! I mean, I could lie and say that I intentionally stopped posting mostly updates after 3 months, as I wanted to continue posting 3-monthly updates, but that seems over complicated. Good way to fill up a paragraph though... 

Robin is now six months old, which seems really unreal. I guess I tell myself that technically he isn't as February was a short month, so he's only really six months and a few days, and not six months and a few weeks but still. He's come on so much since the last update, that I guess it makes sense he's six months old. 


Size - Feeding

We haven't been back to weigh him properly at a baby clinic, as they closed for a bit over Christmas (yes I know that was ages ago) and I just haven't bothered to check the new timetable to see when we can go. As I have to rely on Joe to drive me places on his days off, it seems like a royal waste of time to get Robin weighed when we could be doing something else. Sorry, Robin! As for feeding, he's now weaning, but we're having to do it in drips and drabs as we *still* don't have a highchair. I was hoping we could lend the one stored at Joe's parents, but it won't fit in our car, and they haven't dropped it over and it just goes on like that. I was intending on buying Robin a new one, but we have a holiday coming up soon so all our spare cash is going into paying that off and spending money. I'm sure Robin will thank me for delaying a proper weaning cycle over a holiday he can't remember when he's older... 

Sleep 

As I mentioned above, the sleep regression really hit us hard. I think it's mostly to do with baby teeth coming through - Robin now has two teeth!! - and he just wouldn't really sleep. Even now, he's sleeping better most nights but at least twice a week he won't settle and just cries/screams from 9pm until 2am. It's pretty heartbreaking as nothing seems to soothe him, but I'm hoping he'll get out of it soon. It really has a bad effect on me too, as after a couple of nights of waking up a lot, it'll make me wake up every evening at 2am, 3am, 4:30am etc for the next week or so even if Robin is sleeping. Joe made the mistake once of saying I looked tired and I was offended for about a week. You'd be tired too if you only had four broken hours of sleep! 


Looks

I don't really think he has changed so much, looks-wise. His head is a little fluffier as his hair is starting to grow on the top as well as around the back, which I'm quite pleased about. Dylan kept commenting that Robin had the same hairstyle as his grandad which went down well over Sunday dinner one week, ha! 

Milestones

Two bottom teeth!

Babbling and enjoying a chat

Sitting up unaided

We started swimming in February and he loves splashing



Monday, 3 April 2017

#ThankGoodness for Dolmio!*

If you've read my blog for a while, you'll know that my husband is a chef. Most people think that I must eat like a king due to learning a few tricks of the trade - or that I cook him hearty meals for when he finishes work, but this couldn't be further from the truth! I'm a really shoddy cook! When Joe has his days off work, he'll quite happily rustle us up something incredible, but when it's just me in the kitchen, I often go for the easy, predictable tried-and-tested recipes in my somewhat small repertoire. When I was offered the chance to work together with Dolmio to create a delicious and hearty meal for the family, I couldn't wait to get stuck in! 
Everyone has heard of Dolmio, and more often than not has turned to use their jars for a mid-week meal. I decided to make a simple spaghetti bolognese to try out on my willing family members. The jar itself has everything you need to create a great tasting dish and with no artificial colours, flavours, preservatives or sweeteners! You won't find any nasties in there, just tomatoes, half an onion, a bit of garlic, a bit of basil and all the other usual suspects for a great tasting bolognese. I followed a simple recipe, by frying off an onion and some garlic - they're already included in the sauce but I love a good hit of garlic so added extra! - and then cooked the mince in the sauce, along with some carrot and a big green pepper. Following the instructions on the jar is so easy, I reckon Dylan could have done it - supervised, of course ;) Once the pasta was cooked, we spooned on the sauce and added a good grating of cheese - just like mama would make, as the Dolmio family might say!

This is exactly what I want when it comes to feeding the family, so I knew we would be in safe hands with Dolmio.  Dylan loved the bolognese, and was slurping up his spaghetti with joy - along with covering his face in that delicious sauce! Kids, ey? 
Each jar of Dolmio also offers some meal inspiration - we decided to try out the sauce as a pizza base and it really made a great alternative to what we usually use! You can see more information and meal ideas on the Dolmio website. I'm looking forward to trying a Moussaka recipe from their site! 
Have you said #ThankGoodness for a 'Dolmio day' recently? What do you think of their sauces?
Disclaimer: This post is an entry for the #Dolmio #ThankGoodness Challenge, sponsored by Dolmio. www.dolmio.co.uk/thankgoodness.

Friday, 17 March 2017

The Perfect Personalised Gifts - in time for Mother's Day



I can't lie - I love buying gifts for people. As a mam, you can guarantee that I''ll spend all my money on cute outfits or toys for the boys, and if there's a birthday coming up I love taking the time to find that perfect gift. While I hope that someone will think of me this Mother's Day, I'm already planning what to treat my own mam and mam-in-law for Mothering Sunday. As they're also grandparents, I think a photo-gift is the perfect way to celebrate Mother's Day by giving them something they can keep and treasure forever. 

When Mr Nutcase got in touch to see if I'd like to create something special for Mother's Day, I couldn't believe their huge range of personalised gifts! From vases to candles, mugs and even door stops - there really is a gift for every mam out there! I picked a lovely latte mug, which I thought was a more interesting shape than a standard mug. 


I would really recommend Mr Nutcase - I found it really easy to design my mug, and it was delivered quicker than I imagined too, which is great. Plus - they also have a special discount on the website at the moment for Mother's Day - so you've got no excuse not to order something special for your lovely mam - or why not treat yourself?


*Disclaimer: This post is a collaboration with Mr Nutcase. Content written by myself.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Lee Stafford Coco Loco Irons - plus Giveaway!



I've got something a bit different on the blog today - a review and a giveaway of these amazing Lee Stafford CoCo LoCo Straightening Irons! Lee Stafford is such a big name in the hair business, and I've always been a fan of his hair products, so was keen to see how the straightening irons worked.
The CoCo LoCo irons are infused with coconut oil - hence the name - and this is said to help keep your hair looking sleek, smooth and shiny. I think it also helps the irons to glide through your hair effortlessly, which is a problem I sometimes had with my previous straighteners. I've used plenty of deep conditioners with coconut oil, so have known about the huge benefits of this for your hair, but this is definitely the first time I've ever heard of it being infused to straighteners! 
The CoCo LoCo straightening irons really are a thing of beauty, the pale pink and rose gold design is a bloggers dream - and are much more my style than a plain black style. The rounded curve design is not only good to look at, but practical too as it allows you to create beauty waves and cute flicks as well as the important sleek and straight style. 
Another great thing about these is the heat settings - it's really simple to turn it up or keep it low, which can help to minimise damage to your hair. If you've followed my blog for a while you'll know that I've been growing out a pixie cut I had two years ago, so this is something I really keep in mind when using anything on my hair. I also like that the irons have a little lock, which is definitely something I care about as a mum of two young kids. Of course, this would have been helpful in my own younger days as I had a horrible habit of leaving my straighteners on and burning the carpet! 
Now for the exciting part - you can a win a set of CoCo LoCo Straightening Irons for yourself! Simply fill out the widget below, and good luck! Please note the giveaway ends on 12th April 2017.
Win Lee Stafford CoCo LoCo Irons
*Disclaimer: This post was a collaboration with Lee Stafford. Content written by myself.*

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

I Want A Capsule Wardrobe - the basics

Being a busy mam of two young boys, I don't always have a lot of time to myself on a morning. The sacred time I do get is often allocated to having my only drinkable cup of tea of the day, and maybe a slice or two of toast if I'm lucky. One thing I really struggle with is finding something nice to wear. A lot of my wardrobe had been separated out into summer/winter, which is a bit ridiculous as in good old Blighty we don't really get the full range of the seasons - really I should have a rain/cold wardrobe with the odd vest top included for a rare sunny day. While browsing Pinterest, I stumbled across capsule wardrobes, which really seem like the most genius, and more importantly timesaving idea. 
If you're not sure what a capsule wardrobe is, it's reducing your wardrobe into a few key timeless items that you can mix and match, but all clothing you can wear every day. You can dress it up or down, but it will focus on the staple items that you love wearing. After deciding on the style of wardrobe you'd like to curate - be it boho, sleek or girly - you then focus on a colour palette. This is really key to the capsule wardrobe. Buy the basics in neutral colours, so that's black, white, grey and tan, and then add a few little extras in your chosen colours - so, that could be red and leapord print, or maybe blush pink and teal. If you prefer, you could even omit the colour and just pick on a great texture, like sequinned skirts or fluffy jumpers, if that's your style. I've added a little guide below if you need a little bit of help visualising what I mean. 
I think with a few more browses on pinterest, and a good hard look through my existing my wardrobe, I might one day embark on a capsule wardrobe - hopefully sooner rather than later. 

I thought I'd stop with just the basics for now, hopefully as we enter the Spring/Summer season, I'll be able to show how I'm planning on adding colour and texture to a simplified  collection. What do you think of capsule wardrobes? Great idea, or waste of time? 
 
 

Friday, 24 February 2017

The 30 Day Music Challenge



I love talking about music, and it's something I don't think I've shared enough on this ol' blog. When I saw that Jaki had posted a '30 Day Music Challenge' post on her blog, I just had to give it a go myself. I think it started life as something you'd share on social media, one of those sorts of challenges, but I think it works well as a blog post! 
I decided to make a little Spotify playlist with my song choices in them, and I've listed all the prompts below as well. Doing it this way sort of makes it difficult to talk about the songs, but ah well! 

Day 1: A song you like with a colour in the title 
Make Them Gold - I sort of struggled picking this one, as my mind went completely blank. Chvrches to the rescue! 
Day 2: A song you like with a number in the title
Fortune 500 - I could have picked pretty much every song off this album to put into my list, but I thought this was a great one to show off EE in one of my personally favourite songs. 
Day 3: A song that reminds you of summertime 
Beat Again - and yes, I obviously do the 'beat again' heart dance move. 
Day 4: A song that reminds you of someone you'd rather forget about 
Don't Bother - I can't tell you how many times teenage Chelsea cried and sang along to this song. 
Day 5: A song that needs to be played loud
Famous Last Words - if you were lucky enough to have me on Snapchat when I first downloaded it, you'll know I love lip syncing along to this at full volume. 
Day 6: A song that makes you want to dance 
We Have Love - I LOVE HOT CHIP. 
Day 7: A song to drive to
Sex, Power, Love and Money - although to be fair, you could pick any Manics song to drive along to. 
Day 8: A song about drugs or alcohol
Beetlebum - easily Blur's best song. No doubt, no doubt, no doubt. 
Day 9: A song that makes you happy
Born To Make You Happy - this just reminds me of practising dance moves with my cousins when I was 8 or whatever. 
Day 10: A song that makes you sad
Bear - The Antler's first album is just an amazing masterpiece, engineered to make you feel sad. 
Day 11: A song that you never get tired of
Apologize - it's too laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate
Day 12: A song from your preteen years
Caught In The Middle - I feel sorry for all these youngsters who don't know A1.
Day 13: One of your favourite 70s songs
One Way Or Another - we have this Blondie song on vinyl twice, so I thought it was only fair. 
Day 14: A song that you would love played at your wedding
Lovesong - this is really cliche, but I don't care. 
Day 15: A song that is a cover by another artist
Not In Love - a cover of some Canadian 80s pop hit, brought to the 21st century and turned into a banger. 
Day 16: One of your favourite classical songs
Nightbook - apparently a favourite of whoever picks BBC advert music. 
Day 17: A song that you would sing as a duet on karaoke
Too Lost In You - it's not really a duet, but I'd sing this with my bae Anth. 
Day 18: A song from the year you were born
Tainted Love - a grand song, if you completely erase the Pussycat Dolls cover from your mind completely.
Day 19: A song that makes you think about life
Stop Me... - this could have been any Smiths song, tbh. 
Day 20: A song that has many meanings to you
Always On My Mind - 🖤
Day 21: A favourite song with a person's name in the title
Sandy - could it be any other song? I think not. 
Day 22: A song that moves you forward
Fergalicious - I didn't understand the question. 
Day 23: A song that you think everybody should listen to
RUN - if you only listen to one song on this playlist, make it this one. 
Day 24: A song that you wish were still together
The Call - I think they might still be together, but aye. Tune, and that. 
Day 25: A song by an artist no longer living
Modern Love - a grand song from Bowie's weird 'car salesman' look. 
Day 26: A song that makes you want to fall in love
Dark and Stormy - I don't really want to fall in love again, but I love this song so... 
Day 27: A song that breaks your heart
Your Type - oh Carly Rae, it breaks my heart that this album didn't get you the recognition you deserve. 
Day 28: A song by an artist with a voice that you love
Reach A Bit Further - could have been any Wild Beasts song, really. 
Day 29: A song that you remember from your childhood
To The Moon And Back - I ruddy loved Savage Garden when I was a nipper. This song IS my childhood, and I did a dance to this song during my 11th birthday party. That should give you an idea of how cool I was. 
Day 30: A song that reminds you of yourself
Porcelain Heart - this song would remind me of myself if I had any singing abilities... 
Congratulations if you made it to the end! Let me know if you decide to carry out the challenge, or if you like any of my picks! 
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