Monday, 9 January 2017

2017 - Let's Do This

Like everyone in the entire world, I love wiping the slate clean on January 1st. Now, I'm definitely one of those 'make a load of resolutions, never follow through on them' kind of person. Even when given 1001 days to complete some goals, I still pretty much failed miserably. I'm a learner though, so I've come to realise that maybe I was giving myself some unrealistic things to achieve. One thing I thought would be easy to achieve - building a snowman with Dylan - was thwarted by global warming as it didn't snow the entire 1001 days of my quest. This time around, I'm going simple with my goals for 2017. 
Work Out What I Want To Do 
Okay, so this sounds like a big hitter but hear me out. I'm still on my maternity leave, and theoretically, I could stay off until August. My work contract actually ended when I left to have Robin, so I'm technically jobless. Since leaving university, I have always strived to be in work, and sometimes this resulted in jobs I didn't really have any passion for. I'd like to take the time off that I have to either find out which career I could have to use my skills or go back to university and start my Masters. 
Work Out Who I Want To Be
Sort of related to the above, I feel like I've sort of lost my personality a bit. Since becoming Dylan's mama at 19, and then Joe's wife at 21, I worry I've become two-dimensional. Although I loved university and made some great friends, I wasn't able to join in with freshers or things like that. Now that I'm sort of floating about in life, I'd like to work more on myself. I've already started this a little bit in 2016, but I'd like to really go with it this year. 
Sort Our Finances
Despite loading myself with thousands of university debt, I've not been able to get a decently paid job. When I finally Work Out What I Want To Do, I hope that it would be in something that pays more than the minimum. I'd like to *finally* clear myself of my overdraft, and start to create a little savings pot for us. I like to think that this would be achievable, but I guess it relies on Goal 1 working out okay. 
Blog More! 
I love blogging, and I was convinced that I'd have heaps of time for blogging with a newborn baby around(!) but clearly that wasn't the case - I actually ended up posting around half the amount I did in 2015. I'm going to start typing out blog post ideas on my phone, taking photos in bulk and perhaps relaunching the ol' youtube again. 
So, four kind-of ambiguous goals that I'd like to achieve in 2017. Totally doable, amiright? 
My Petit Canard

Saturday, 7 January 2017

The 2017 Goodreads Challenge



Back in the day, I would set a reading challenge and happily surpass my goal. In 2014, I pledged to read 20 books, and I read 22. In 2015, I set a goal for 25 books and ended up reading 31 books. So, riding on a high - I thought I'd easily read 30 books. I ended up reading 20 books. A paltry 67% of my goal. This year, I have decided to lower my reading expectations - being on maternity leave doesn't mean I have endless hours of reading to do, but endless hours of entertaining a baby, keeping him fed and looking after his older brother too. As much of a joy this is, it really scuppers my reading time. 
I've decided that this year I will aim to read 12 books. That's a book a month and should hopefully be pretty doable. I've got a few books on my kindle that I've been meaning to read, but I haven't been picking it up since I stopped commuting to work. Ideally, I'd read six books from there and six physical books from my TBR shelf. As part of my 30 before 30 list, I'd like to read 10 books from 1991 so I'm hoping to actually find a book from 1991 that I want to read. It's a bit of a struggle so far. Any suggestions there would be greatly appreciated! If you've struggled with a reading goal, or just want to read a bit more, I've listed some of my top tips below! 

  • Always have a book with you! It might sound obvious, but if I had a small paperback or my kindle on me, I was more likely to read on the go. You could even download apps for this if you don't have a kindle device!
  • Carve time out of your schedule. If you think you're too busy to read, put a note in your diary that at 8pm, or perhaps during your lunch break, you have a meeting with your book. That way, you're more likely to actually read it, and won't be tempted to make another meeting.
  • Read when you go to bed - a classic, but it works! Pop a book on your bedside table, and even if you just read one chapter a night, it's better than nothing!
  • Get a library card. Some people don't want to spend upwards of £10 on a book if they don't think they'll read them or even like them. Visiting your local library is free, and they often stock new books as well as the old favourites. Most libraries are part of a county group too, so if there's a book you want but they don't have it, they can usually get it sent in for you.
  • Read what you want - it can sometimes feel overwhelming to read the latest book with the biggest buzz around it, but I've often found that this is disappointing for me. If you know you love SciFi, reading the latest romance novel won't float your boat! 
If you're on goodreads, let's be friends and we can help each other along! 

Saturday, 31 December 2016

The Year That Was 2016

2016, ey? What a year. While everything has seemingly gone to shit around us, it's nice to know that my own actual life hasn't been too bad, considering. I spent three quarters of the year being pregnant and feeling like a big ol' whale, but it was all so worth it when we welcomed Robin into our family. Other crazy highlights include Dylan starting school -sob-, celebrating our fourth wedding anniversary and watching my beautiful friend Leona getting married!  

We also saw quite a bit more of my Dad this year, which is always nice and Joe's brother visited for Christmas after having three years away due to living in Hong Kong. I celebrated my 25th birthday by not really celebrating it, and we saw a few of our favourite bands live as well as comedy genius Daniel Kitson who is a new favourite. 

I didn't really write a list of goals or anything for 2016, as I was still trying to complete my somewhat failing 101 in 1001 Days list. I did manage to tick a few things off though, but I also created life so I feel like that's a better achievement than making marshmallows from scratch... I am hoping to create a little list of things I'd like to achieve in 2017 but I think I'm now more in tune with that I can and cannot do so hopefully I won't end up with another forgotten list by December! 

Here's to the new year, see you on the other side! 


Thursday, 22 December 2016

Robin's 3 Month Update

Okay, so a somewhat delayed monthly update for little Robin - he's closer to four months now than three, but I still wanted to pop this update on here so I can look back on it in years to come. Month three has been pretty standard going, with Robin become more aware of us as his eyesight improves and he's making all sorts of weird and wonderful noises now too! 

Size - Feeding

I guess Robin is following the usual pattern with his weight now, I had him weighed at 14 weeks (as I stupidly missed the health visitor visiting for his 12 week check and had to reschedule) and he's now tipping the scales at 17lb 1oz! I don't think he's put on as much weight as he could have, as we were both pretty ill recently, and he wasn't feeding as much for a week or so. He's well and truly in 3-6 month clothes, but I think because we use reusable nappies, 0-3 clothes were struggling to fit over his huge nappy! 

Sleep

Just like Dylan, this kid loves a lie in! He's been a lot better than he was last month, so I'm glad that was just a little phase. No doubt we'll go through it again when the next growth spurt happens. He was sleeping a bit more than usual when he was under the weather, but that's to be expected. 


Looks

I shared a picture on instagram recently and almost everyone stated that he looks like Joe, and I have to say, I can really see it in that picture. It's so funny how people say a baby 'looks like' someone, when really they just look like themselves. I wish I had a baby picture of Joe at hand to compare them, though!

Milestones

He's getting even better at resting on his arms and supporting himself. I'm not really sure when he's supposed to be rolling over or sitting up unaided, but he loves being rolled over and wedged into a corner to sit up so that's good! He's also started to properly grab hold of things, and you can see him trying to grasp something if its within reach. 

Things Robin Loves

Weird noises like rolling your r's, and cat noises... 
Dylan, even if he is talking like Darth Vader
having a chat 

Thursday, 15 December 2016

A Last Minute Gift Guide*

Can you believe we're only 10 days away from Christmas day? It seems quite shocking, doesn't it? If you're still looking for a few gift ideas, never fear as I've managed to find a gifts you can pick up easily on the high street. 




If you know someone who spends a small fortune on fancy lattes, then this Whittard of Chelsea flavoured coffee gift set would be perfect for them. With classic coffee combos such as hazelnut and Irish cream, it's going to be loved by even the fussiest coffee connoisseur. If coffee isn't their thing, Whittards also sell gorgeous tea sets and luxurious hot chocolate gifts too. 


If it's a movie fan you need to buy for, then The Dark Knight Trilogy Special Edition boxset could be on the top of their wish list. The Dark Knight Trilogy is considered to be the best Batman series, so you know this will be a winner for that film buff in your life.  


Got a pamper queen or maybe someone who just deserves a little treat? Then the Bomb Cosmetics Let It Snow gift set is such a great little gift to pop under the tree. Another great pamper-style treat is this gorgeous Essie gift set. The colours are perfect for the festive season and should see them well into the new year too! 

So there we have it, a super easy last minute gift guide! 


*Disclaimer: This post was a collaboration with Warner Bros. Content written by myself.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

A Special Surprise with Saga's #GiftToFamily

December is a busy time of year for any family, with Christmas and New Year plans to make, and families to visit - you can often get caught up in all the planning and forget about how special this time of year is. As well as Christmas plans and a trip up north - we also have Joe's dads birthday to celebrate, and their wedding anniversary - both of which are hitting up big milestones this year. Now, our family are quite widely spread out, with some living close to home, some in London and one member even living in Hong Kong, so it's not often we can all be together. To celebrate this special year, the family had already been planning a big family holiday to Italy next year as his big surprise, so when Saga got in touch to see if I would like to take part in their #GiftToFamily campaign, I felt like the timing was perfect! Have a look below at the little video I made of us surprising him with his special gift... 


I'm so glad we can finally discuss our plans - I've been really conscious of being around the family to ensure I didn't let the big secret out! Now, it's full steam ahead with planning all the special extras - I'm thinking trips to vineyards and eating as much pasta as humanely possible! If you've been to Italy and could recommend anything in the Tuscany area then I'd love to hear bout it! 
If you'd like to treat a family member to a little act of kindness, Saga have put together this helpful guide on how equity release could be an option on releasing some money to spend on the people that matter. 
*Disclaimer: This post was a collaboration with Saga. Content written by myself.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Personalised Christmas cards with Choosey + Giveaway!

I'm not really one for sending cards throughout the year - it seems to be a tradition that my generation have missed out on due to the constant connection with social media. However, at Christmastime, I love nothing more then sending letters to my nearest and dearest. With my parents and extended family all living a few hundred miles away, I think they always appreciate a nice Christmas card too! Last year, I had the great idea of trying to stage a family photograph, but of course it was a disaster. Joe hates posing for photographs and Dylan kept pulling weird faces, so in the end I had to try and photoshop his face from another picture onto one that Joe and I looked somewhat normal on. And guys, I'm no whizz at photoshop! Nonetheless, my mam still has it stuck on her fridge, so it's definitely a case of 'it's the thought that counts' kind of thing. 




This year, Choosey got in touch to see if I wanted to send some Christmas cards with a twist - you can add your own video! This is great, because it means I can include all the funny outtakes of Dylan being a five year old weirdo, and the grandparents will just love it! The website is really easy to use, and if you'd rather not include a video, you can just send really beautiful cards instead. This is what I've done for Joe's Grandma, as I think a card with a video might blow her mind a bit too much! 
Choosey have been kind enough to offer my readers a rather generous discount for their website by using the code BGCHRISTMAS16 and there's even a chance to win 10 free cards worth £40! Please note, this is open to UK residents only, and will close on 15th December. You can enter below in the little widget! Good luck! 
Win 10 free Choosey greeting cards inc postage #26


*Disclaimer: This post was a collaboration with Choosey. Content written by myself.
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