Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Ava wears- Pink & leopard print

I haven't done an "Ava wears" post for a while so I thought it was about time I did one.

During our trip to Powis Castle last week I managed to snap a few photos. Although I love putting Ava in a dress she can usually be found in leggings, a cosy jumper and some pumps, just like her mama!

I love Ava's soft, pink jumper, I always think that pink suits her so much. This jumper is from Zara. Her leggings are just standard black, Primark leggings and cost £2.50 for 2 pairs! Bargain.

My favourite part of the outfit are the Gap pumps, I've actually been looking for a pair for myself! I think they really jazz up her outfit.

What do you think of Ava's outfit?

Monday, 5 October 2015

Braun ThermoScan, ear thermometer review*

Although we are currently experiencing a glorious Indian Summer, flu season is just around the corner so there couldn't be a better time for me to share my thoughts on the new Braun ThermoScan ear thermometer.

Braun claim to be the number 1 brand among doctors and I can see why. The new ThermoScan thermometer is Braun's most accurate yet. Not only does it have a unique pre-warmed tip which ensure a precise reading it also has an Age Precision colour-coded display. You simply select the appropriate age setting, take your child's temperature and the thermometer will glow red, yellow or green to give you a better understanding of your child's temperature. For a novice like me it's great as I wouldn't have the slightest idea what temperature to expect from Ava.

It also features a unique positioning system which beeps and lights up once you've inserted the thermometer correctly, a night light feature which enables you to take a temperature even in the dark, 21 disposable lens filters and it stores the last 9 temperatures which is ideal if you've been taking your child's temperature all day.

Honestly I'm not one for gadgets, the last thermometer I had, and have since lost,was a bog standard "pop under the arm" model. I love how easy to use this one is. It comes with a quick start guide and is fitted with batteries so it is ready to use as soon as you open it. The simplicity of it is perfect for me as I hate reading instructions, especially long-winded, complicated ones.

When Ava was a newborn I was always so paranoid about her being ill and not knowing whether she had a fever or not, so this is brilliant for putting my mind at rest.

As you can see I've luckily got a very well little girl on my hands at the moment but I'll feel a lot more confident next time that she is ill knowing that I have the ThermoScan as a back up.

The Braun ThermoScan ear thermometer retails at £49.99*, it's now going to be an essential part of my mummy medical kit. You can find it here:

*I was sent the Braun ThermoScan ear thermometer free of charge in return for an honest review. As usual thoughts are 100% my own


Thursday, 1 October 2015

Budgeting as a parent*

When I think back to my child free days I can't believe how frivolous I was with money. As soon as pay day arrived the money seemed to burn a hole in my pocket and I was straight to Topshop to fritter it away on clothes.

When we found out we were having Ava and I returned to work part time following maternity leave we did miss the extra cash and we would have definitely benefited from Legal & General's budgeting techniques for parents. Nowadays when pay day hits I am much more sensible. I look at my finances and think about what I'm doing during the month and how much money I will need, Nath and I have separate accounts which may seem odd to some but I find that we manage our money much better this way, it also means that I don't feel guilty for going out and treating myself once in a while.

Soon after Ava was born I cancelled a few direct debits that I no longer needed. I am also cancelling my gym membership this month as nowadays I much prefer doing "home" workouts and haven't been to the gym in months, it's such a waste of money.

When I'm buying for myself  I'm a lot more careful. I rarely buy myself anything but when I do I make sure that I really love it and am going to wear it. I usually ask for more expensive items like coats or bits of make up for Christmas or my birthday so that I don't have to dip into my own money.

I also mix it up fashion wise and buy online from shops such as Missguided which are cheaper or I buy things in the sale. This then allows me to have money for the things that we really need.

As we're also still, very slowly, doing up our house I'm enjoying buying things from different places. Buying cheaper smaller items from shops such as Ikea or Wilkinson means that we can afford to buy nice curtains from Next or a new handmade mantel piece.

I think that budgeting as a parent comes down to compromise a lot of the time. Although we are hardly hard done by I do often weigh up the pluses and minuses of buying something and ask myself if we really need it.  Nowadays I think before I buy and am much more careful with my money. Something with I hope I can pass on to Ava.

*Disclaimer- I was compensated for this post but view and opinions are 100% my own

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Ambling into Autumn- Powis Castle

I would always describe myself as a Summer baby, 100%, but seeing as the Summer is usually a wash out in the UK (excuse the pun) I'm starting to love the Autumn much more. You know where you are with Autumn, you can get your knits out but it's still warm enough to go for a walk through the crunchy leaves, spotting the beautiful Autumn colours. There's usually the promise of a warming roast once a week and I always get a hankering for some crumble or sticky toffee pudding. Not to mention the build up to Christmas. Yes I think Autumn is my favourite.

It's no secret that I love the National Trust. As a teen I believed that it was solely for pensioners and anorak wearers. I failed to see the joy in visiting a Trust site. How wrong I was, I now love nothing better than pulling on my anorak (yes I have one now) and trudging off to one of our nearby National Trust sites. I'm a self confessed history geek and love nothing more than a cream tea so combine the two together and I'm in heaven.

Powis Castle has been on my must visit list for a while now and seeing as the weather has been beautiful this week I decided that today would be the day. Ava and I invited along my auntie who is a fellow National Trust appreciator (& one of my most favourite people).

We honestly could not have chosen a better day, the weather was just perfect.

Taking photographs inside the castle is not permitted so you'll just have to imagine the dark oak panelled rooms, huge oil paintings, four poster beds and taxidermy. It was like another world.

The gardens were, as always, my favourite part. They're always so vast and manicured. I can imagine it would have been wonderful as a child living there, a huge playground just for you, with secret passage ways and hidey holes at every turn.

We found a secluded area with amazing deckchairs and a fountain that Ava was obsessed with. A few people had bought picnics which we thought was a great idea.

We stopped for an obligatory cream tea too!

We're heading back during half term week for the pumpkin trail! I can't wait to go back already.

Do you have any National Trust sites near you?

Sunday, 27 September 2015

How to get your blogging mojo back

I have been blogging for around 3 years now and during that period I have stopped and started more times than a rusty old car. Truth is, life just gets in the way sometimes. I'm also terrible for looking at other people's content and thinking "urghh my blog is nowhere near as good as theirs" or "what I have to say won't be of interest to anyone". I'm slowly learning that comparing my blog to others will get me nowhere and to instead draw inspiration from them instead of picking out comparisons

I'm slowly trying to get back into the swing of things and have come up with some tips to try and get my passion for blogging back up and running. It can be really hard trying to get that love for blogging (and everything that goes with it) back after a break but I hope the tips below will help you a little. I'd also love to know if you have any tips of your own for getting over a "blogger's block".

Find inspiration from other bloggers:

 Having a break from blogging is the perfect opportunity to discover new blogs and gain some inspiration. What are other people blogging about? Could it be something that you've experienced yourself? There are so many wonderful blogs around, some of them may give you a new way of thinking (and blogging)!

Join some linkys:

Linkys are a brilliant way to not only discover some great blogs but also to promote your own. They're fab if you don't know what to blog about as they all happen on set days and follow themes. I must admit I'm pretty useless at this (something that I always pledge to get better at) but some of my favourites are:

Little Loves
Ordinary Moments
Share with me
Me & Mine
Wicked Wednesdays

Build relationships:

And that goes for bloggers and PRs alike. During my blogging break I've taken some time to work on my media kit and have been building my relationships with PRs. Twitter is also a brilliant place to do both of these. I've met some great people through blogging and it's mostly been down to twitter! I find Instagram a great place to build relationships too as it's all very visual and it's easy to connect with others. Increase your followers by finding users who posts similar things to yourself and use hashtags!

Work on other aspects of your blog:

Instagram is my favourite social media platform, you can find me here, and I've managed to increase my followers during my break from blogging. If you can't find the inspiration to write on your blog focus on another side of it. Media kit, social media platforms, YouTube videos, even a blog makeover could give you the boost you need to get back into it.

Plan a day out, and take your camera:

 If I'm ever really stuck I'll take Ava for a day out and snap away some pictures. Even if you don't have a post in mind it's always handy to have stock photographs for any generic blog posts you may want to write. I love going to the National Trust sites as they have some gorgeous backdrops for photographs.

Write about something different:

Sometimes exploring a different avenue can lead to inspiration. Maybe a recipe post or an outfit post, if you're too shy to post pictures of yourself posing there's always the kids, or the dog. Children's outfit posts always go down well!

Let me know if you've found any of these tips helpful. Happy blogging!


Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Our holiday to Cyprus

As I type this post, the rain is hammering outside and I'm nursing a hot cup of tea. Quite a contrast to this time last week when I was baking in 30 degree heat and wondering if my legs looked like hot dogs against the cloudless blue sky.

Nath's parents have a time share in Cyprus and last week we went on our long awaited holiday. This wasn't our first time, Ava's first holiday was spent in Cyprus when she was 6 months old and we were so excited to return. We bought Ava a Trunki which is such  fantastic invention. I managed to cram so much in for the plane journey, I was so surprised at how deceptively roomy it was, like a cow patterned Mary Poppin's suitcase! She loved zipping around the airport on it and I'd highly recommend them for fellow parents.

Our holiday was made all the more special as we were joined by Nath's sister, her boyfriend and their 7 month old son. It was his first holiday and Ava absolutely adores him. It was so lovely watching them both together and getting to spend some quality time with him.

The apartment is situated in Paphos which has some amazing restaurants. We returned to some favourites, Samisen which is a Japanese Teppanyaki restaurant, the chef cooks the food on a grill in front of you and puts on a bit of a show, which he gets you to join in with. We have so much fun when we visit and the food is delicious, some of the best sushi I've ever had. We also returned to The Lodge which is a South African restaurant. I've love the whole vibe in there, the d├ęcor is beautiful and the South African dishes and cocktails are amazing. I had these incredible, huge mussels for my main and a couple of Sloe-jitos which are cranberry mojitos, so good!

I must admit that Ava ate terribly all week! Chocolate ice cream most days with lots of pizza and pasta! Not an ideal diet,! I've been making meals from scratch since we've been home.

In typical toddler fashion, Ava was obsessed with the water. Due to the time of year, Ava and our nephew Cole were the only children using the pool, which we had to ourselves most of the time. Nath and I truly believed that she would develop fins by the end of the holiday. She grew in confidence in the water, her float jacket definitely helped, and it was so wonderful to see. She has no fear at all!

We did take her to the beach once but I must admit that I'm not a huge fan and neither is Nath. The whole de-sanding afterwards is a nightmare!

The week whizzed by so quickly. I caught myself watching Ava a few times, laughing and having fun. Reminding myself to keep these memories safe because she's growing up at a ridiculous speed. Unfortunately she's come home with a terrible cold, the downside to air-con!

I'm not sure where our next holiday will be, it's Nath's 30th next February and I'd love to take him somewhere special.

Have you been on holiday this year?

Monday, 31 August 2015

How we ditched the dummy

Motherhood seems to be full of milestones, the first roll & smile turn into the first day of school and the first bike ride without stabilisers,  but there are so many more inbetween. I was so proud last Summer when Ava nailed potty training but this year we had a bigger beast to tame, getting rid of her beloved dummy or dodi as Ava called it.

Let me just say that I have nothing against dummies, I had one myself as a child (until I was 5 so I'm told) and I think they're fabulous little contraptions, they certainly helped me soothe Ava on numerous occasions. Although Nath and I were beginning to notice that she had her dodi in her mouth more often that not, she would talk with it in her mouth which has given her a bit of a lisp and she has a slight overbite which I'm guessing is a result of sucking a dummy. I wanted to get rid of her dummy last year but with potty training, the wedding, a house move and a new school it never seemed to be the right time. I'll be honest and admit that the idea of getting rid of her dummy completely terrified me. So much so that I enlisted the help of the dummy fairy. After a bit of research I found The Dummy Fairy Workshop online which sounded like a great idea.

For £19.95 I was sent the Magical Bits & Bobs kit which is just as exciting as it sounds. Ava received a personalised letter from the Queen of the Dummy Fairies asking her to donate her dummies to babies who don't have any, she was given an Enchanted Bag to place the dummies in and some fairy dust and a magic spell. The next day she received her special treat along with a Certificate of Generosity and a letter of thanks.

I honestly don't really know what came over me but a couple of weeks ago, after a lovely day out tinged with whines from Ava throughout the day for her dodi I decided to bite the bullet and use The Dummy Fairy as my partner in crime. In short, it was awful. Thank god for Nath or else I would have cracked under the screeching pressure. We persevered and she eventually drifted off. It's been almost two weeks since that fateful night and although she very occasionally asks for her dummy, it's been great! It's so lovely to see her little face without her dummy being in the way!

To anyone thinking of ditching the dummy, my advice is just do it. Don't put it off like I did! I'm so glad that we finally managed to ditch it!

Does your child have a dummy?
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