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Saturday, 2 January 2016

Looking into 2016- Some blog news...




Happy New Year!! 2015 had a lot to live up to, 2014 was such a wonderful year, the biggest event being of course, our wedding.

Having said that 2015 didn't do too badly considering, we bought our own home, which, despite being very exciting, wasn't without it's complications. During that time I felt unbelievably low and stressed. But am so thankful now that we have a home to call our own

I had my far share of fate during 2015, I was offered a new job but after being given some training I decided that it wasn't for me and stayed where I was. I've now been offered a brilliant opportunity at my current place of work, it's a new role, one which will see me working full time hours but it's term time only. Meaning that in September, when Ava starts school, we shall have all the holidays off together and for that I am truly grateful.

That does, however, bring me onto the subject of my blog and it's future. I've never been very good at promoting myself on social media and am terrible for comparing my blog to others. However I've decided that in 2016 that will stop, I still want to blog, but have resigned myself to the fact that it is never going to be something that I am able to do professionally. Getting used to my new working hours next week will be tough and blog posts will be sporadic to begin with. I don't want to lose this little space as I've invested so much time and energy into it. I've just decided to take a little step back from it, not get so caught up on my stats. I'm toying with the idea of starting a new Instagram page for Ava as I love to take pictures of her and Instagram is my favourite platform.

I also want to concentrate a little more on my fitness. Towards the end of last year I cancelled my gym membership and everything went downhill. Nath bought a new clean eating cook book last week so I'm hoping that will give me some ideas and a little motivation.

I hope that you'll bear with me whilst things are up in the air.

Have you got any New Year's resolutions?


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Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Cheese Posties review*

A couple of weeks ago I had a real craving for a cheese toastie! I got our toastie maker out and made both Ava and I a cheese toastie. Unfortunately I'm not very exotic with my flavours and always have a simple mature cheddar doused in Lea Perrins, so when I was contacted by Cheese Posties asking if I would like to review their cheese toastie subscription box, how could I say no?!



A cheese toastie subscription box, I hear you ask! What is this madness?! Well it's actually one of the best ideas I've ever come across. You basically sign up via their website and can choose to have your toastie delivered weekly or monthly, select the type of flavours that you would like to receive (only sweet, only savoury or a mixture), and you can also select gluten, nut & meat free options. You can then select your payment plan £3.99 per week, £15.60 every 4 weeks or £30 every 8 weeks. Choose a delivery address and you're good to go.



I think this is such a fab idea for those who have to take their lunch into work. You can have it delivered straight to your work place and all you need is a toaster. The flavours are incredible! You could receive anything from a chocolate cheesecake toastie (Nutella & cream cheese) to pepperoni pizza (mozzarella, marinara sauce & pepperoni).

As a mum I always find lunch so uninspiring and I struggle to come up with fun, exciting meal ideas for Ava. She loves cheese toasties so to receive one of these a week would take the pressure off a little and I'm sure she'd love the surprise.

My toastie arrived on Monday but due to work I didn't actually get around to eating mine until Wednesday. I would definitely recommend eating your toastie as soon as possible as by this time by bread had gone a little stale and was hard to butter, so I just used some of my own.



I received the "Fight in the Farmyard" flavour, which was goats cheese & bacon jam. I'd never thought of putting goats cheese on a toastie, even though it's one of my favourite things and bacon jam?! I couldn't wait to try it.

I love that all of the ingredients to make your toastie all come in separate plastic bags. You also get a card which tells you which flavour you've received.



After slipping my toastie into the bag provided it took approximately 3-4 minutes in the toaster. It was honestly so good! The goats cheese was strong, just how I like it, and the bacon jam gave it a real meaty kick.

I would be thrilled to received a surprise toastie in the post every week! Cheese Posties is such a fun, original concept. You can find out more and see some of their amazing flavours on their website.

What do you think of this idea?

*We were sent a subscription box free of charge in exchange for a review but as usual thoughts are 100% my own.

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Disney Princess Royal Boutique Cash Register review*

At the moment Ava is crazy about the Disney Princesses, so you can imagine her excitement when we were sent the new Disney Princess Royal Boutique Cash Register to review.


I couldn't help but admire how pretty it is! It's perfectly princessy in pink and gold, adorned with images of the well known characters. The cash register comes with a working scanner, paper notes, plastic coins and a plastic "credit card". It also comes with two keys which you have to use to unlock the till before it will pop open. The second key is kept as a spare and lives in a compartment underneath the till, something which I though was a great idea. It also takes 3 AAA batteries, which are included.


As well as having all of the usual buttons and fun phrases, I also think that this till could be used as a math's aid. Ava is a little too young for subtractions and multiplications but the till acts as a calculator, something that I've never seen before. Combined with the pretend money this could be used as an educational toy.




After building ourselves a little den, Ava and I spent the afternoon playing cafes and shops which she thoroughly enjoyed. The till has been everywhere with her lately so I think it's safe to say that she approves.

The Disney Princess Royal Boutique Cash Register is the perfect gift for a Disney Princess fan and can be found in Smyths for £24.99.

Does this feature on your child's Christmas list?

*We were sent the Disney Princess Royal Boutique Cash Register free of charge in exchange for an honest review. As usual thoughts are 100% my own.
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Life lately- getting ready for Christmas and New Year challenges

We always treat the end of November as a pre-Christmas get together, to not only remember my brother, to share stories and memories but to make the time together fun for Ava. We went to see Father Christmas and did some shopping. As I mentioned in this post, we didn't go to London this year as I just didn't feel comfortable with the idea.




We're then catapulted into December and I always find myself completely exhausted, hence the lack of blog posts lately. Nath works on the post and in the run up to Christmas he is up at 2.30am. I honestly don't know how he does it and for some reason I'm the one who feels completely exhausted. I've almost finished my Christmas shopping, thank god for online retail, and I just need to wrap and send on Christmas cards! I'm only half organised this year. Last weekend was a busy one that saw Ava take part in our town's Christmas parade with my sister-in-law and her first gymnastics competition. She came 4th, I was so proud!





I'm looking forward to January as I'll be starting something new. Back in the Summer I mentioned that I had been offered another job, it was full-time and after weighing up the pros & cons and having a trial period I realised that it wasn't for me and I stayed where I am. I currently work as a Secretary in an Independant School. I've worked there for almost 7 years and at the moment I work part time, the holidays are generous but I still have to work throughout the school holidays (being an Independant School they get an awful lot of school holidays!).

Last Friday must have been my lucky day, I was offered a new job- at work! Another secretarial role that will see me working full time during the week but I'll get all the school holidays off. This will give me some time to also work on my blog which is great. I'm so thrilled to have been offered this opportunity and I can't wait to start my new challenge in January.



Our new home is all decorated for Christmas and I'm starting to feel very festive. I'm going to watch Ava in her first ever pre-school performance on Thursday-she's a cow- and no doubt I'll be blubbing in the corner!

Are you all set for Christmas? What have you been up to lately?
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Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Ava's Christmas gifts






You'll have to excuse the garish decor above, I got slightly carried away editing my picture. But if you can't add a candy cane frame to an image at Christmas then when can you?!

I thought I would share with you some of the gifts that we have bought for Ava this year. We haven't gone crazy, we're from a big, generous family and Ava will be spoilt rotten. I'm already stressing about where I'm going to store everything!

(L-R)
Isabelle's Dollhouse- Smyths- Now this isn't the exact one the we have bought for Ava, ours was from Mothercare, we bought it a few months ago when it was on sale from £160 to £80! This will be Ava's main gift from us this year and I know she's going to love it. One of her little friends has one and she adores playing with it. We've bought some of the small, toddler Barbie dolls to go inside it. Although it is big enough to fit full size Barbie dolls.

Puppy Surprise- Toys R Us- If your little one likes YouTube you may be familiar with this toy. Also I'm sure that I remember them from the 90's but I may be wrong. Basically Ava saw a Puppy Surprise YouTube video and subsequently, TV adverts and basically became obsessed! It's a soft toy dog that has babies in it's belly. You don't know how many babies or if they'll be boys or girls until you open it. It sounds pretty gruesome but it's basically like a dog shaped kinder egg.

Play Doh Crazy Cuts- Very- Play Doh is another of Ava's great loves. This, again, was seen on an advert and immediately she asked for it.

Hungry Hippos- Smyths- As Ava get's older I'm slowly trying to get her into board games. Last year we bought her Mouse Trap and I think she'll really love Hungry Hippos, I did when I was younger. I think that board games are great for a rainy day and it's something that we can all play together.

Paw Patrol Rescue Training Centre-Toys R Us- Paw Patrol is one of Ava's favourite cartoons at the moment (along with Blaze & The Monster Machines), she'll be thrilled to bits when she opens this and I know my mum has bought her another Paw Patrol playset too.

Sylvanian Families Kangaroo Family-Cuthberts Toys- I personally love Sylvanian Families. I always wanted some when I was younger. I think that they're so sweet and well made. The attention to detail always gets me. I mean how cute is the joey in the pouch?! I do find them quite expensive though and Ava only has a few pieces so far.

Sylvanian Families Cosy Cottage Starter Home-John Lewis- This is actually one of Ava's gifts from my mum & step dad but I thought I'd include it. I think it's great value compared to the more expensive Sylvanian Family items. It does come with a bunny character but Ava will probably move in the kangaroo family. I also know that she's getting the Ice cream van from another family member so her Sylvanian Family collection is well and truly growing.

I have also bought her a stacking box from Great Little Trading Company which I am filling with some Galt goodies, Galt is a craft brand. Ava loves crafts so I have decided to create a "Rainy Day" activity box that I shall be sharing with you when finished.

She also has a Christmas Eve basket that I shall share with you soon, as well as some stocking fillers. including "The Princess & the Frog" on Dvd and some Fashems or Mashems, whatever they're called, YouTube Mamas ,you get me!

What are your little ones getting this year?


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Sunday, 29 November 2015

Ollie & Leila kids bean bag chair review*

If you recently read my blog post about Ava's room you'll know that I love children's interiors, be it bedroom furniture or accessories. And although I would say that Ava's room is 95% complete, I'm always looking for little bits and bobs to make it a little more special.

We were recently sent this gorgeous bean bag chair from Ollie & Leila to review. Ollie & Leila specialise in children's interiors and handmade furniture, making everything in Britain. 



Before receiving the chair I was concerned that it might be one of those that you need to stuff yourself with the polystyrene balls, but I needn't have worried. It came ready stuffed and good to go.  



The chair is also nice and supportive, meaning that when your child sits in it there is enough filling in the chair to keep the back straight, and not loose & floppy. This is quite an important factor in my opinion as I would hate to see Ava sat in a chair that gave her bad posture. It says a lot about the quality of the product and the Ollie & Leila bean bag chair definitely ticks those boxes.

There are 3 different designs to choose from: boats, hearts and the one that we chose, roses. The lining is 100% cotton, soft yet hard wearing, perfect for toddlers. Although, unfortunately it states that the chair is dry clean only, a removable, washing machine friendly cover would probably be more practical given the messy nature of toddlers.



I haven't yet decided where the chair is going to live, it's been flitting between her bedroom and the front room but I do like the idea of a little reading nook in her bedroom. It goes nicely with the girly decor in there.


The Ollie & Leila bean bag chair make the perfect addition to a child's bedroom or playroom. They retail at £59 and can be found on their website.

*We were sent the Ollie & Leila bean bag chair free of charge in exchange for an honest review. Thoughts are 100% my own.
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Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Don't make me feel stupid for being afraid




I don't usually write about the news or any controversial issues on my blog, I like to keep things light, but unfortunately there was no ignoring the terrible news over the weekend and I just had to write about it.

Having lived in France for most of my childhood it's a place that I hold very close to my heart and I was completely devastated to hear about the terrorist attacks. That doesn't mean that I don't care about the rest of the world, as many people are stating on social media that the focus has solely been on France when it's been happening all over, but to be honest I think that this has affected us so much as this is right on our doorstep, and it's scary!

I for one have been constantly checking the news, forever refreshing my browser like a woman possessed, looking for updates & new developments, because well, I'm afraid. I'm afraid that it will start happening here, my home, which in my heart I know that it's bound to, it's pretty much inevitable. But what has shocked me are the attitudes of some people, I've almost felt reluctant to tell people about my fears as it's sometimes met with sneers and is brushed off with a "oh well it's obviously going to happen here, don't let it stop you from living your life." As a mother don't I have a right to be afraid?  To fear for mine & my family's safety and to question the world in which I'm bringing up my daughter in?

I can understand what they're saying and I know to those who potentially have no children and who don't understand, that I sound neurotic but I shouldn't be made to feel stupid or weak because I'm scared. At the end of November we always head to my mum's in Milton Keynes and have a day in London, visiting tourist attractions and ending up at Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland. I've always looked forward to our trip but this year is obviously different. Being a self-confessed country bumpkin,  London makes me nervous at the best of times but I think that this year my anxiety would be through the roof. I've told Nath that I don't want to go but I'm happy to play it by ear for the time being. As much as I don't want my fear to get the better of me and I don't want them to win, I know that I wouldn't be able to enjoy it and would be on edge all day.

I have over a week to change my mind yet but we may be making alternative arrangements.

What are your thoughts?
Let's Talk Mommy
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