Saturday, 31 August 2013

Our Picture Book Party

We love books in our house, so when I was contacted by Walkers Books asking if we would like to take part in their Bloggers Picture Book Party I jumped at the chance.



We went send a fab hamper of party goodies and 5 books:
  • Peck, Peck, Peck- Lucy Cousins
  • Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs- Mo Williems
  • Captain Cat- Inga Moore
  • Romping Monsters, Stomping Monsters- Jane Yolen
  • Silver Buttons- Bob Graham


We invited Ava's friends Poppy & Darcie, got stuck into the biscuits and had a good read.
 

Here is what we thought:

Peck, Peck, Peck- Lucy Cousins



As our party was made up of a baby and two toddlers this was this most age appropriate book. The bright colours, rhymes and holes within the pages really got the littles attention. Peck, Peck, Peck is the story of a Daddy woodpecker who teaches his child to peck. Little Woodpecker then goes on to peck everything, this creates a fun, interactive story and the girls liked to stick their fingers through the holes in each page.


Romping Monsters, Stomping Monsters- Jane Yolen


Out of the five books I would say that this one is Ava's favourite. It is the one she brings to me the most for us to read together. The text is short but is accompanied by brilliant illustrations by Kelly Murphy. It is the story of two little (cute) monsters who spend a day at the park, running, jumping, sliding and swinging. We had fun trying to spot the two little monsters on each page.

Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs- Mo Williems


The three other picture books were a little old for the girls but they still enjoyed the pictures. When reading Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs to Ava she laughed at the voices I put on for the dinosaurs and thought Goldilocks covered in chocolate was hilarious and kept pointing to her and saying "yuck". Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs is a fun twist on the classic Goldilocks and the Three Bears. It has some great illustrations and is funny. I will enjoy reading this one to Ava when she is a little older. I enjoyed this book, it was very clever and fun. A lovely book.


Silver Buttons- Bob Graham


Ava also enjoyed this book. It also contains some lovely illustrations. At 9.59 am Jodie drew a duck wearing boots just as she is about to draw the last silver button on the boots her little brother Jonathan takes his first step. The story goes on to show the reader what else is happening in the city at 9.59am. It's quite a thought provoking book that Ava will have a better understanding of when she is older. At the moment she really likes the pictures.

Captain Cat- Inga Moore 



Unfortunately this is the book that we read the least. It is a beautifully illustrated story but I only managed to get half way through before Ava got fed up and walked off. It is the story of old "Captain Cat" who likes to collect cats instead of treasures. This will be a lovely book to share with Ava when she is older. We have put it away to keep it safe for now as she is too young for it.

All in all we thought these books were brilliant. Great stories, beautiful illustrations and fantastic quality. The girls had a lovely time at the Picture Book Party.



A big thank you to Walkers Books for sending us the books and party accessories for review as part of the Bloggers Picture Book Party Tour.



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Tuesday, 27 August 2013

A Childs First Best Friend

When I was born my Great-Grandmother bought me a teddy bear, he was named Toby and we became great friends. Wherever I went Toby wasn't far away. We had some great adventures together and he was my first best friend. I still have him now, a little worse for wear but I still smile whenever I see him.



When Ava was born she was bought many a soft toy but one really stuck out to me. A soft rabbit comforter made by Jelly Cat, given to her by my friend Lucy. I loved it, it was so soft and the perfect size (I have spoken about it here too). I quickly introduced "Snuggy" and now Ava cannot bear to be apart from it.



They go to nursery together, have dinner together (you can tell by the bolognese stains), sleep together... I had never realised how attachted she was to it until recently. She is currently teething and on this particular day I could tell that she was tired. I took her up to lie in my bed and I lay beside her. Snuggy was at that moment in time on the washing line (unbeknown to Ava, I have to hide it on there). She would not settle, she tossed and turned until I gave in. I went to fetch Snuggy and no sooner had I given it to her she was fast asleep, amazing!


I've been told to buy her another, just in case we lose it, which almost happen when up town one day. After a heart stopping moment and retracing my steps a good samaritain had put Snuggy on a bench. I thanked my lucky stars that day. Unfortunately they no longer make the same comfortors and as Ava is getting older I fear that she'd notice the difference. I guess we'll just have to hold on extra tight to this one.



I wonder how long Ava will keep Snuggy for, will she still keep him secretly stashed under her pillow when she's 16, will he make his way into her boxes for university, will she pass him on to her baby one day or will it be left behind for her old mama to keep and reminise of the days when she couldn't sleep without a stuffed rabbit.

What do you think of comforters? Does your child have a comforter?
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Monday, 26 August 2013

Soak and Sleep | Review

If someone asked me to name one thing that I missed about my life before Ava I would say "sleep". You can keep the nights out, clothes and all of the other material things, just give me sleep. I miss the blissful unbroken sleep & the luxurious lie-ins.

Don't get me wrong Ava is a fab little sleeper when she wants to be but if you read this post or follow me on Twitter you'll know that not only has Ava been teething lately, I also came down with a stomach bug this week. As you can imagine, sleep has been lacking. So when I was asked if I would like to review a product from Soak and Sleep it couldn't have come at a better time.


Soak and Sleep specialise in quality bed and bathroom products at a fraction of high street prices. We were sent the New White Goose Down Duvet to review (R.R.P £63.25)

Now I will say that we already own a duck down duvet. It was bought for us by my mum & step-dad as a housewarming gift from Dunhelm. It was a luxury for Nath & I having always had a standard duvet . It was soft, thick and luxurious but it moults everywhere! I'm not joking, the thing's a nightmare, our room is a constant fluff ball because of the darn duvet and as it's very thick I'm always far too hot which makes me wake in the night. So I was slightly dubious about the one from Soak and Sleep, would this one be a moulter? Was it going to be too warm?



I won't lie, as soon as it arrived I took it out of it's packaging (mainly because Ava was whinging at me to do so) and shook it. No fluff! First test passed. 
As I am used to a thick duvet I was slightly worried about the thickness of this one. It was a tog 9.0 but felt thin, was it going to keep us warm? Once Nath was home and I managed to prise the duvet from Ava, I went upstairs, made the bed (still marvelling at the no fluff factor) and got excited for bed time.

I'll cut to the chase, I had a brilliant night's sleep. I had a Goldilocks moment, I wasn't too hot, nor too cold, I was just right. The duvet wasn't too thin at all, it was in fact extremely comfortable. It's now even harder for me to get out of bed!



 A great quality product and I would not hesitate to recommend Soak and Sleep.

 www.soakandsleep.com

*We were sent this product for purpose of review. I will always give my honest opinion when reviewing a product.


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Friday, 23 August 2013

Daddy Saves the Day



Before I start I'll say that I'm not into public displays of affection. All that mushy stuff just leaves me cringing to be honest, so this isn't something that I do. 

 But I honestly don't know what I'd have done without Nath the day before yesterday, all you single parents out there I seriously take my hat off to you, you're fantastic. I really could not do it. 



A few nights ago I was struck down by a sickness bug and it completely wiped me out. Nathan had it the day before me and still wasn't 100% but he still took the reins. I was left in bed all day feeling extremely sorry for myself while he looked after Ava from morning to evening. I could hear squeals of delight (from Ava) coming from downstairs as they played together. He even took her to have her hair cut! 



I know most people will say this about their partners but he really is the most wonderful dad. Ava adores him and she is the apple of his eye. So much so that I'd started to feel a bit left out when I could hear all the fun they were having! I was ridiculously grateful for him and kept thanking him, to the point where he simply said "I'm her dad, that's what I'm supposed to do."
 
In a year's time we'll be married and I couldn't be happier. I feel very lucky.

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Sunday, 18 August 2013

This weekend


I can't believe that the weekend is over already! I can honestly say that I'm glad to see that back of this past week, from receiving my first ever speeding ticket on Monday to my nan ending up in hospital yesterday after fracturing a vertebrae & sleepness nights with a teething Ava in between, it's been pretty hellish!

I bought Ava her first pair of wellies on Friday from Tesco (which you can see above), they were £8 and are so sweet! She loves to play outdoors and with the weather being so unpredictable at the moment I thought I'd better get her some.





On Saturday we took it easy, stayed in our PJs all morning and went to watch Nath play football in the afternoon, the wellies came in very handy, we got soaked!



On Sundays there is nothing I love more than to spend some time together as a family. Today we took Ava to Ty Mawr, a country park not too far from where we live. It's near an aqueduct and has beautiful views of the countryside. Oh and it's free!




It's a lovely little place to visit when the weather is nice & if you have the energy there is a trail you can follow which takes you all around the forest and under the aqueduct. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, we didn't have Ava's pushchair so only walked half way...



Ava loved the small animals and the wooden insects in the woods.



There's also a little park and a visitors centre where you can buy drinks and ice-creams. We'll definitely be making another visit and may even attempt the big walk! Watch this space.





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Friday, 16 August 2013

What I would do with 20k...

Wow, 20,000 that's a lot of zeros isn't it! Nathan and I have played this game before, in fact it's one that we play frequently "what would we do if we won the lottery." It looks something like this:

It couldn't come at a better time what with our wedding next year. Don't worry, I wouldn't go all Big Fat Gypsy Wedding on you, it would just give us a little more money to play with. We'd be able to not only give ourselves an amazing day but it would be a day to remember for our guests too. I wouldn't go too OTT but I'd add some little details such as a cocktail bar (can't go wrong with that) and a photo booth, some fun touches.

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We currently rent so it would be amazing to get a house of our own. I'm a bit of a secret geek and love programmes like Homes Under the Hammer so would love the opportunity to renovate a creaky old house and rent it out. Little bit of investment here & there.




I'd also like to donate some to charity, children's charities to be specific. As a mother these touch my heart, I am lucky enough never to have had to need these charities but I feel comforted knowing that they're there, should I ever need them  and having the ability to support children and families who need these charities would be wonderful.

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We'd treat our families, maybe to a staycation or an all expenses paid dinner, no not McDonalds! Somewhere nice!

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Obviously we'd have to treat our little princess and where better to take a little princess that Disney World. I've always wanted to go and so has Nathan. Ava would love it and it would be the family trip of a lifetime!

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At the end of all that I think there would still be some room for a little treat for myself, only a little one...

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This post is an entry for BritMums #Spend20K Challenge sponsored by The National Lottery, with more ways to win more money on the new Lotto game. Find out more about new Lotto, which starts in October, here –
 www.national-lottery.co.uk



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Thursday, 15 August 2013

A Wedding Update

I'm aware that I haven't written a wedding post for some time so I thought I'd fill you in on what's been going on.

This time next year I will be in full wedding mode as it will be just over a week until the wedding. I know this year will fly by and we still have so much to do!

We are getting married on Friday 22nd August at 3.00pm. We have picked the best man, ushers, maid of honor, bridesmaids, flower girl & page boy.

We have chosen our photographer which I am very excited about. He's behind these amazing shots of Ava when she was only a few weeks old. I'm so excited to work with him again. I've added a link to his website below where you can go and check out some of his work.

PbArtworks

I've not yet chosen my wedding dress, I've seen one I like online but we are officially shopping for the dress next month. I don't want to let the cat out of the bag and won't reveal the dress until the big day but the styles I'm loving at the moment are fitted and lacy, having said that it could all change when I'm trying them on...

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Bridesmaids dresses have proven to be tricky too. I haven't got a specific colour in mind, I have three potentials that could work with our theme, blush pink, duck egg blue and pastel green. I'm keeping my options open with this one and I'm letting the girls have their say too. I'm very much on the hunt so if anyone knows any good shops I'm all ears.


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Our theme is rustic so I'm going to try and make what I can, keep the flowers wild and add lots of lavender.

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I  want our theme to reflect in our stationary but it's so hard! I spend hours trawling Pintrest looking for inspiration

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I wrote a whole post about groomswear here and that still stands. I'm still undecided about the suit colour though.

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I'm trying to grow my hair so that it will be long enough to play with on the day. I'm loving both of these.


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We have decided on a cold meat buffet for our meal and we will be having a band and a DJ. We're still in the process of finding a band.

There is so much to do and think of, I want to make the orders of service and various other decorations but being the non-crafty type it's proving harder than I first thought.

Along with the wedding organising we are also in the process of organising our Hen & Stag do's. I must admit the whole feather boas, L plates and flashing antennas make me cringe! So I'm going away with a group of my closest girlfriends to Barcelona for 3-4 nights, Nath is going to Marbella with a gang of his guy friends. This is all in full preperation mode for next June but I've handed the reins over to my maid of honor, she's organising it all for me which is nice.

So there we have it, as you can see everything is still up in the air! I think once I've got the dress sorted things will start to fall into place. That's what I'm hoping anyway.

What do you think of my theme?
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Tuesday, 13 August 2013

My picks for Autumn/ Winter

If you've been reading my blog for a while you'll know that I can't resist buying clothes for Ava. I've forgotten all about my own wardrobe and much prefer to dress her. Obviously when the A/W lines were released on my favourite websites (Zara...) I just had to make a wish list! Here are some of my picks:

The Winter Coat

I have some criteria when it comes to the winter coat. It must be thick & cosy, come with a hood and be fashionable. On my first browse through Zara's new collection I found it.

Overcoat with hood £32.99



I think this would be the perfect winter coat. It looks so cosy and I love the fluffy hood and stripy ties! Plus it's quite similar to my own winter coat.

Jumpers are an obvious Winter staple and here are some of my favourites:

1) Zara- £9.99 / 2) Next- from £10 / 3) H&M -£4.99


I love the Alice in Wonderland feel of the Next jumper and the My Little Pony jumper has a retro feel to it.

I love Ava in dresses and as it's the "party season" I'll be investing in a few pretty numbers for her.

I adore this casual number from Zara though.

Zara £17.99


1) Monsoon £45 / 2) Tigerlily from £36 / 3) Ted Baker from £46

As you can see I'm loving anything with a bit of sparkle.

Same goes for the shoes:

1) Zara £17.99 / 2) Bluezoo from £14 / 3) Zara 17.99

And I'm also in love with these boots

Zara £17.99

And last but not least the cute winter accessories. Here are my picks.


I love the hats. The rabbit one for cuteness and the beret to add a pop of colour on dull days, and how cute are the handknit mittens?! So sweet!

So here's hoping that some of these items will make their way into Ava's wardrobe over the nest few months.

What do you think of my picks? Do you have any favourite baby stores?

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