Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Our 2013

 Unfortunately due to my card reader breaking before Christmas I haven't been able to share some of the Christmas pictures that I took which has been incredibly frustrating. I ordered a replacement but it hasn't arrived yet, typical! So I thought I'd do a review of 2013 instead.

What a year 2013 has been. It seems to have gone by in the blink of an eye but when I look back on photographs, especially ones of Ava, I can't believe how much has happened.

Here is what we got up to in 2013.

Ava: I can't believe that the first images in the collage are from the start of the year! She has changed so much. In March we'll be celebrating her 2nd birthday which I'm already starting to think about. Ava started crawling last December and walking in May, she now understands pretty much everything that is said to her and has a whole vocabulary of words. She comes out with new ones all the time. Ava really suffered with her teeth in 2013 but most of them are now through. We were also lucky that she only suffered with a few coughs and colds all year, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she never suffers with anything too serious. She's such a ray of sunshine and I'm so proud to be her mummy. I'm so excited to see her grow in 2014.

Where we've been: Sometimes I think we never do anything and I actually didn't think I'd have much to write under this title, how wrong I was. We actually get about an awful lot! From nights away with Nathan to the Wedding fair with my mum and friends in London last February. We've had days out at Blue Planet Aquarium, feeding the ducks, numerous days out at our local Countryside Experience Farmyard, we've been to Chester Races a couple of times, our annual agricultural show, our local library, Cheshire Ice Cream Farm, a woodland walk, the beach, trips to my mum and step-dad's house, a holiday to Tenerife and last but not least our annual trip to London! Phew! I'm so glad I did this, as it's reminded me of so many wonderful days out I've had with my family. 

What Ava has worn: If you are a regular reader you'll know that I love to dress Ava and share some of my favourite outfits with you. Over the year there has been numerous "haul" posts and it's something I plan on keeping up next year. My favourite shops for Ava are Zara, Next and Primark. I've also picked some lovely bits from supermarkets. Zara is my favourite place for fashionable items, Next for comfy, good quality items but I've been seriously impressed with the items I've had from Primark. There are some lovely clothes in there for tiny prices and although the quality is not of Next standard, it's still pretty good. I'm looking forward to sharing some more outfit posts with you in the new year.

Things we've reviewed: I've said this before but when I started my blog I had no idea that you could be offered the chance to review fantastic products. I started my blog because of my love of writing and it is the main focus of my blog. All of the review opportunities that have come my way have just been the cherry on the cake and I am grateful for every one of them.

So there is our 2013 in a nutshell, I'm so excited for 2014! I hope that it will be as good as this year. And if you've got this far, thank you very much! I still can't believe how far my little corner of the internet has come, here are some things that I am most looking forward to in 2014.
  • My wedding in August
  • My hen do in Barcelona in June
  • Our honeymoon in Crete
  • Watching Ava grow
  • The summer! I need some sunshine.
  • Some more exciting family days out.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

21 months

Excuse the crappy photo I had to bribe her with chocolate to sit still!

This time last year Ava was 9 months old and had just started to crawl. This year she is a toddler full of love and mischief. You definitely know you're own mind now my girl, if you don't want to do something you won't and you've perfected the art of the sulk and pout! On the other hand you love nothing more than smothering me and daddy with lots of hugs and kisses. You love to get us both into a group hug which is so sweet.

We had our first "parent's evening" at your nursery earlier this week and we were so proud to know that you are meeting all of your milestones and more. One of the things we were told is that you are very aware of other people's feelings which is lovely. You made me laugh earlier when I tried to put a ribbon on your doll's head but screamed until I quickly gave her back and you said "baby" and gave her kisses as if I'd traumatised her! You funny thing.

You have a bit of a cold at the moment, as have I and I'm just praying it doesn't develop into something else. I really don't want you to be ill again on Christmas day, it broke my heart to see you so poorly last year.

Your speech is improving every day and we have little conversations together now. You are so funny and fearless, you held a python at a party on Saturday much to everyone's amazement! You bring us so much jot. I'm so lucky to be your mummy! xxx

Friday, 13 December 2013

Our pre-wedding shoot

You may remember that when I posted my wedding update a few weeks ago I said that the rest of the pictures from our pre-wedding shoot would be coming soon.

Well here are some of my favourites, I'm so excited to share these with you!

Ava had to get in on the action!

I'm thrilled with them and this has made me even more excited for our wedding in August. I know the pictures will be amazing. A huge thank you to the wonderful Phil, if you'd like to check out some more of his work see his website or Facebook page.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Love your Liver Campaign

During the festive season we all enjoy a drink or two, I know I do! But I've always been aware of the effects it can have on my body.

For the past three years the  British Liver Trust have been putting forward their Love Your Liver campaign, setting up pop up liver heath clinics nationwide. Offering free health advice, the chance to undergo a non invasive fibroscan liver test and to sample some Eisberg alcohol-free mulled wine.

They are also encouraging people to take part in the three step challenge:
-Take two or three days off alcohol per week
-Get regular exercise
-Reduce the intake of sugary and fatty foods

I thought I would give it a go as part of my fitness journey, I was also kindly sent a bottle of Eisberg alcohol-free rosé wine to try whilst taking on the challenge.

The first step wasn't hard for me as we don't tend to drink in the house, however on nights where I feel that a really need a drink I think the Eisberg alcohol-free wine would be a great substitute for a regular bottle of rosé. I was slightly dubious at first I must admit but after trying it I'm a convert. It  smells like wine and tastes like wine but without the acrid after taste that you often get. Definitely a winner in my book.

I've also started to go to the gym a lot more often this week and have been three times since Sunday. I'm strangely enjoying it and have been trying new exercises.

I'm also working on the third step, when checking my results from the online liver checker it did say that I should reduce my intake of sugary treats as I do tend to sneak the odd biscuit in during the evening but we're quite well behaved in our house and it's rare that we have a takeaway or processed foods. I tend to make everything from scratch.

If you would like more information on the Love Your Liver Roadshow or the three step challenge you can visit their website here.

*We were sent a bottle of Eisberg alcohol-free wine free of charge for purpose of review but as usual thoughts are 100% my own

Monday, 9 December 2013

Keeping fit as a mum

After having a Ava my body changed completely, I had the dreaded mum tum, have gone up a dress size and just felt completely flabby all over.

Now that I'm on a fitness journey it can be hard trying to work my fitness schedule of eating right and exercising around being a mum so here are some of my tips.

Try and walk as much as you can: This is something I had to do all of the time as we only had one car which Nath used most of the time. In my spare time I would have to get the pushchair out and walk everywhere with Ava. It definitely helped me and I was gentle exercise to get me back into the swing of things. I have to admit since getting my own car this is something I'm useless at now. To walk more is definitely going to be one of my New Years resolutions.

Exercise at home: Nath and I work around each other when we want to go to the gym or if we want to go together we get a family member to have Ava for an hour or so. This is relatively easy for us, due to Nath's work pattern he can be pretty flexible, but if you struggle to find the time to go the gym get a work out dvd to do in your front room. There are some great ones on the market, Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred is a great one and if you're feeling brave Insanity is also a good one.

Invest in a juicer This is something that Nath and I are investing in come January. They generally aren't cheap but if you look around you can get some good deals. I'm actually really excited to get this. I'm constantly bloated at the moment and am the worlds worst for eating fruit. In January I'm hoping to go on a juice detox.

Plan your meals This is something we do every week. Not only does it save money it makes me plan healthy meals that Ava can enjoy too.

Follow fitness social media accounts for some inspiration.

Here are some of my favourites:

Fit Sugar
The Skinny Confidential
Lydia Elise Millen

LDN Muscle

Carly Rowena


If you have any tips or any social media accounts you think I'd like please let me know.

Remember you can also follow me on Bloglovin'


Sunday, 8 December 2013

Toddler steps

Some days I look at Ava and think, "wow, you have grown so much!" Yesterday was one of those days.
I was pottering around in the kitchen while she was eating her lunch of soup and bread & butter. She'd dip her bread ever so carefully into the soup and ate it so well with the spoon. She looked so grown up!

When I was pregnant I had an app on my phone that would tell me at what stage of my pregnancy I was at and how developed my baby was. I loved this app so much and would check it religiously, it would fascinate me and leave me day dreaming about my little baby. Then when Ava was born I would read the Bounty books every month to see if she was meeting her milestones and would sometimes skip ahead to see what she would be doing next month. I anticipated each stage, the first roll, first smile, first laugh and first step.

Now that she is almost two we have other stages to consider, potty training, moving her into a toddler bed, moving from bottles and beakers to cups and mugs... I'm still trying to figure out how I'm going to do all of these things because there are no books for me to follow anymore and to be honest I feel a little lost!

We're going to slowly introduce potty training after Christmas but I know that Nath is reluctant  for  Ava to go into a toddler bed. She is just so little and he said that he doesn't want her to grow up too fast. I suppose there is no real hurry for this as she has not yet out grown her cot.

Do you have any advice about any of the above? At what age did you or do you plan to introduce these toddler steps?

Remember that you can also follow me on Bloglovin'

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

My fitness journey

Ok so if you've been following my blog for a while you'll know that this had been said before. I made promises that I didn't keep, sorry guys!

A year ago I promised myself that I would get fit. Before going on holiday I was good, I went to the gym 3 times a week, ate well and felt so much better for it but since then I've fallen off the wagon and put the pounds back on!


Now lets get things straight, I know I'm not fat. I'm not doing this because I want to lose weight, but I do need to tone up. I've always been petite and I'm very lucky in that respect. However my lifestyle isn't healthy. I have a terrible sweet tooth and snack like it's going out of fashion. I also suffer with IBS which leaves me feeling sluggish and bloated. I should follow a gluten free diet as pasta and bread are no-go areas for me but I don't... Also I'm awful for keeping myself hydrated and often forget to drink, until I have a headache. As you'll probably know I'm getting married next August and have my hen do in Barcelona next June followed by a honeymoon in Crete. I want to get in shape for this and will be following a bikini guide alongside a healthy eating plan.


I've already taken some pictures of how my body is now that I will be sharing once I (hopefully) see some changes, lets just say the pictures have motivated me even more!

I've already put some changes in place but I'm aware that it will be hard over the Christmas period. I've started following "fitness" accounts on Instagram and have been reading some fitness blogs for some gymspiration.


I'm dreading January already but I'm so determined. I have a goal that I want to achieve, my problem areas are my stomach, thighs and my butt. I'm going to be sharing my progress with you guys and will also share some exercise and recipe tips.

I hope you enjoy this slightly different series.

Remember that you can also follow me on Bloglovin'

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Cardooo review *

If you've been following my blog for a while you'll know that I love to read and have started to introduce Ava to some of my favourite children's books. As a child I could lose myself in Beatrix Potter tales, Enid Blyton stories and Harry Potter books.

So I find it incredibly shocking that the UK has one of the worst literacy and numeracy levels in the developed world and 8.5 million adults in our country have the literacy and numeracy levels of a 10 year old, which is why when I was contacted by the people at Cardooo, I was behind them 100%. I find it so sad that children are picking up books less and less.

The people at Cardooo have created wonderful greetings cards that contain puzzles, games and short stories which are proving a big hit with children.

As they are short but fun and colourful they are keeping children engaged and are helping with their literacy and numeracy skills. We were kindly sent one of their cards and received the short story "Three Little Pigs". It is cleverly put together and you also receive the envelope for it to be posted in. The pictures are lovely and colourful and it definitely kept Ava entertained.

I think these are a fantastic idea, what child wouldn't love to receive one of these in the post?! The cards start from £3.50 which I think is a fantastic price, I have paid more for a standard, boring greetings card! You can see their full range here, they have a card for every occasion and have just bought out a short story Christmas range. I can guarantee these cards will put a smile on someone's face!

*We were sent the Cardooo card free of charge as part of this review but as usual thoughts are 100% my own

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