Thursday, 27 April 2017

"Stay Safe, Watch Them Roads"



Without a shadow of a doubt, if you're ending a phone call with my mam, you can guarantee she'll say, 'stay safe, watch them roads'. Even at 10pm when you're saying you can't wait to go to bed and finish your book, even if you've not been in the car all day. It's just a habit I guess, but because I've heard this phrase pretty much every day of my life, I've always been really aware of road safety. 

When Slater Gordon got in touch to talk about road safety, I didn't really need to think about it too much as we've just come back from a gorgeous family holiday to Italy, and immediately the first thing I really noticed was how different it was to drive over there. Sure you're on the wrong side of the road, but the cars going in the opposite direction would cruise onto our side of the road when turning a corner, or try to overtake when someone more cautious would know to wait until the gap is big enough. This seems like madness to me, and the potential for an accident just isn't worth it!

A few years ago, my dad was involved in a pretty bad road accident, which damaged his leg. He was driving a motorcycle and unfortunately the car driver didn't 'look twice' and failed to notice my dad, hitting him in the side. This is something that could be so easily fixed if you concentrate properly when driving. Things like making sure your mirrors are correctly positioned, or that your back shelf is clear of obstacles blocking your view can make a world of difference to someone. My dad is still affected by that accident every day, and to think that the driver could have spotted him if they'd just looked again is really disheartening. We're just lucky that nothing more serious happened. 

Of course, it isn't just other drivers that you need to think about when you consider car safety. Your own personal health or even the condition of your car should be a top priority too. How many times have you picked up a new prescription and in the small print it says to speak to your doctor before driving? Does anyone ever do this? Have you had a long car journey ahead and halfway through felt a bit sleepy? Do you pull over at the safest place and rest? Because you should! In a recent survey, it was found that only 39% of respondents put the personal health of the driver as the most important safety element, but it should really be higher. Your car can't go if you can't! 

What do you think about when you think about road safety? 


*Disclaimer: This post is a collaboration with Slater Gordon. Content written by myself.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

A Room Redesign

Sofa from DFS - Vase from Zara - TV Stand from IKEA
Rug from Anthropologie - Chair from Maison Du Monde
Do you ever get stuck in a rut and just hate your surroundings? Perhaps hate is a bit strong, but lately I've just wanted to get rid of everything we own and start again. I've even been looking at hiring a skip, but it was a bit daunting so I quickly clicked off the various builder websites I'd found myself on. We live in rented accommodation so we can't really make any big changes to our space, but I've been dreaming of a few new bits and bobs to transform our living room. Ideally, I'd rip up our carpet and put down some lovely wood flooring, but for now I'll have to just keep that in the back of my mind. 

I really love mustard and grey together, I think it looks incredible stylish - even if it is a bit cliche now. I thought we could possibly get away with a three-seater couch and then two single mismatched chairs. We currently have a two-seater and a three-seater, and it feels a bit much when you're all sat on top of each other. I'd love a sort of snuggle seat that I could cuddle into and get lost in a good book, but I'm still searching for the perfect one!

The rug really pulls the sofa and the chair together, but my goodness it's expensive. I've never bought a rug before, so to be honest I don't really know how much they should be, but this still seems expensive. So pretty though. 

I can't really say too much about the TV stand and the vase to be honest. They just need to be practical, and now that Robin's getting to be a bit more mobile, we definitely need a TV stand with drawers. With kids and gadgets 'out of sight, out of mind' is definitely a mantra I live by. I can't tell you how many hours a week I must spend putting all of Joe's various chargers or xbox game cases away after Robin has been left alone with them for five seconds!


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.
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