Monday, 31 March 2014

To vlog or not to vlog?

That is the question I've been asking myself over the last few days. After watching and enjoying more and more parenting vlogs it's something I've been thinking that I could do myself.

Although video blogging isn't something to be taken lightly, there are some serious pros and cons to weigh up. One of the things I love the most about vlogging is the memories it creates, of course blogging does too but with a video you get so much more. Ava is growing at a fast pace and this year is such an exciting time for us with the wedding. I think it would be a great time to start recording it through video.

Another thing that I love is that it allows you to get to know the blogger/vlogger a little better. I love watching Youtube videos and think "oh yeah I like that too" or "so that's what she sounds like!". I think I'd be quite comfortable in front of the camera and I did media in College (many moons ago) so I'm sure I could bash something together with regards to the editing.


But then there are the cons!

I'd have to buy a vlogging camera as my DSLR doesn't record and I'm looking at around £90 for a decent one. Then I'd have to buy the editing software. And it's also time consuming, I've heard editing can take ages!

And maybe people wouldn't like it? They might think I was a terrible mother?! I'm not sure if I'd appreciate the criticism if I received any!

Is vlogging something you'd be interested in seeing me do? Does anyone have any tips or advice on this?


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Sunday, 30 March 2014

I got it from my mama

I can't believe it's my third Mother's Day this year! It seems crazy, Ava was just over 2 weeks old for my first Mother's Day and it was such a special time. Now that she's two I often look and her and wonder what things will she take from me, she already has my blonde hair but will she take on my love of cooking or prefer her dad's love of Motocross bikes?

In a way of celebrating my own wonderful mum I wanted to share a few things that she's passed on to me:

My love of cooking:

This is a passion we both share and I hope it's something I can pass down to Ava. One of the best things I've ever received was a recipe book from her, handwritten with some of her favourite, homemade delights.

My love of reading & writing:

When I was younger I used to love writing "stories" and reading them to my mum. I'm sure she's actually kept my book of scribbles, which are now incredibly cringey to look at. She's so proud of me for starting this blog as she knows how much I enjoy writing. We're both keen book worms and she's always telling me she's written a list of all the books I "must read". I don't find the time to read as much as I used to but Ava and I love to read together and she gets so excited when I tell her we're going to the library so I hope it's something I've passed on to her.




My love of fashion:

I'm definitely not a fashion maven and I don't keep up with what's going to be "in" next season but I don't think my dress sense is terrible and I think I can put an outfit together. My mum always looks great. She definitely dresses age appropriately, not like mutton but not an absolute frump either. She always looks stunning and we love to talk about clothes together. If I'm wearing something that doesn't look quite right she'll tell me and vice versa. Although it's only now that she tells me how much she hated my awkward goth phase. Bless her.

My clicky knees:

Self-explanatory really but both mine and my mum's knees crack like crazy when we kneel down. It doesn't hurt it just sounds awful! If she gets arthritis in a few years I'll know that I'm doomed to follow in her footsteps.



My sparkling personality:

I'm joking, but I do think my mum and I share the same sense of humor, we ring each other every day (sometimes more than once) and I know exactly if my mum is feeling a bit down and needs cheering up and I know how to make her laugh. Although she's been through so much you'll always find my mum with a smile on her face. If you didn't know what had happened to us, you would never know. She is such a wonderful lady.

My genes:

I'm hoping that I will also get this from my mama! She's 50, unbelievable! Please can I look like her when I'm 50?! She's always been slim and I always feel so proud of her. She dresses incredibly well and always looks beautiful. I really hope that this is something I'll inherit!



So there you have it, that is all I could think of off the top of my head and I'm sure she'll be on the phone later saying "you forgot about this". As my mum lives in Milton Keynes and I live over two hours away I'm sad that I can't be with her on Mother's day. But I'll be thinking about her all day. Thinking about how truly blessed I am to have a mother who is also one of my best friends.



I love you mum, you're one in a million!

If you want to read my last Mother's day post you can find it here.


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Saturday, 29 March 2014

Cardooo Journey Buddies Review

You may remember a previous review that I did for Cardooo, last time I reviewed one of their fabulous, greetings cards with a difference. They contain either a story or activities which encourage children's reading skills. This time we were sent one of their Journey Buddies, a card packed full of fun. Ideal for long car journeys.




It was packed with stories, colouring, wordsearches, stickers, a postcard to design yourself and even a board game. Although it was a little old for Ava she loved it and it was the perfect distraction on a rainy day.



These would also be a great distraction for children in restaurants. I know how bored Ava gets when we're out for family meals and we usually end up lugging half of her toy box with us!

The only criticism I have would be that as the paper had a slight glossy finish to it, using pencils to colour in wasn't ideal as the colour didn't show up very well. Maybe wax crayons or even small felt tips would make a better alternative.


As a parent I really loved the Cardooo Journey Buddies. So much thought has been put into them, they really are brilliant and would make a great companion for a child on any trip. There are so many different designs to choose from! 

If you are planning a trip during the Easter holidays get yourself over to the Cardooo website and grab a Journey Buddy for your child. Priced at £3.50 they are an absolute bargain too!

*We were sent the item free of charge for review purposes. Thoughts as usual are 100% my own.
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Thursday, 27 March 2014

Wedding talk

I've realised that I haven't done a wedding update since November. I find these a little difficult to write as although I love to write about my wedding I don't want to share too much as I want it to be a surprise on the day.

I can't believe that it's almost the end of March! I'm preparing myself for the wedding planning to really take off at the end of April as that is when my dress should be ready for my first fitting and we are sending the invitations out around then too.

 Here is a little update:

The bridal outfit

You all know that I have my dress but I now also have my wedding shoes. My mum and I got them on an impromptu shopping trip. I'd been searching for a pair for ages but to be honest no wedding shoes were to my taste. I found them all so ugly and clumpy (and expensive!). My pair are from Carvela and while they're expensive, as they're not bridal, I know I'll wear them again. I'm completely in love with them, they're just what I was looking for.



The suits

Nath has changed his mind on his suit colour since last time and is currently still looking. The guys all went shopping a few months ago and tried on some shirts and suits but didn't come back with anything. On a separate shopping trip Nath and I spotted some suits that would be ideal so I think we're going to go with those. He just has to round up the troops now and go shopping!

Bridesmaid dresses

I'm happy to report that my girls have their dresses. They have ended up with the gorgeous, fitted, pink dress I mentioned last time. We just need to find their shoes now. We've bought Ava's little dress from Debenhams. It's so pretty, we've also bought the ribbon to go around the middle of her dress which matches the adult bridesmaids dresses. She's going to look adorable.


Theme

The theme is still the same, rustic with hints of light pink throughout the wedding. One of the main features running through the wedding with be hessian and lace which will feature heavily. We're having our invitations designed at the moment which is very exciting, I can't wait for our friends and family to receive them!


Music

We've finally booked a band! Slightly more expensive than what we were hoping for but they're exactly what I wanted. I found them on the Alive Network and could listen to snippets of some of their songs which was great. I know they'll get everyone up and dancing. To me the music was a really important factor so I'm glad we've found a band we love!

Flowers

I've also booked the florist to make the bouquets, button holes and Ava's flowers. We'll be using flowers from my auntie's garden to decorate the venue so I'm hoping that we start to have some nice weather! I need the flowers to grow.


Cake

My mum was going to bake the cake but as I want something different and quite specific we've decided to look for a cake maker instead. I'm not having much luck at the moment though which is frustrating so I'm hoping something crops up soon!

So there you have it. It's all about ironing over the fine details now that the big things are booked, which to be honest, is starting to get a little stressful! I'm so excited to get married though!

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Sunday, 23 March 2014

The BIB (Brilliance in Blogging) Awards

Thank you to those of you who nominated A Rush of Love for a MAD (Mummy and Daddy) blog award. Sadly we didn't make the final cut but I honestly didn't expect to and just being nominated was a huge boost so thank you for that. Some of my favorite blogs have made it to the final in their respective categories and I'm so excited for them. So well deserved.

However, the Brilliance in Blogging nominations have just opened and we'd love to get your vote in  the "Fresh Voice" category  as I feel this is the categories that A Rush of Love fits into the best.

Here are some of my nominations that you may want to consider yourself:

Writer-  Write Like No One's Watching

Photo- Mummy Daddy Me

Laugh- More Than Toast

Health- Lived With Love

Innovative- My Two Mums

Family- But Why Mummy Why

You can nominate A Rush of Love by clicking the badge below.

NOMINATE ME BiB 2014 FRESH VOICE


Thank you!!

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Saturday, 22 March 2014

My 1st Years Easter review & Giveaway

With Easter just around the corner people tend to gift chocolate eggs and whilst I don't have a problem with that, sometimes it's nice to give, and receive, something a little more personal. That's where My 1st Years comes in. You may remember the Christmas review I did in November, well this time they have some gorgeous Easter baby gifts on offer.



My 1st Years is a gorgeous website where you can find lovely personalised baby clothes and Christening gifts amongst other beautiful things. Not only do they have a range of Easter goodies to choose from, they are also running a campaign with a bunny sanctuary alongside it to create awareness of how bunnies are for life and not just for Easter. A 5% of all sales from the Easter bunny collection will go towards the bunny sanctuary. 



We were sent the personlised bunny ears egg cup from the Easter bunny collection to review. The egg cup comes in one of the My 1st Years beautiful trademark boxes and is wrapped in tissue paper inside another, smaller box. I was seriously impressed with the packaging.



The egg cup is made from solid oak and is handmade in England by Hop & Peck. It comes with the chosen name on one ear and a ribbon adorning it's ears. It is beautifully made and the quality is fantastic. If you are looking to gift something a little different this Easter head to the My 1st Years website. Not only will be be giving someone a gorgeous gift, you'll also be helping out the bunny sanctuary.



I'm giving a lucky reader the chance to win one of these personalised bunny ears egg cups which retail at £20. Just follow the rafflecopter below for your chance to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


* We were sent the personalised bunny ears egg cup free of charge for review purposes. Thoughts are 100% my own.
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Friday, 21 March 2014

Fitness update month #2

They say it takes 4 weeks for you to start noticing your body changing, 8 weeks for your nearest & dearest and 12 weeks for the rest of the world.

February was the second month of my fitness journey and I finally started to notice some changes. I felt a lot stronger in the gym and have really noticed most of my size 10 clothes feeling loose lately.


I've lost the bingo wings that used to plague my arms and my stomach is looking flatter and a lot more defined. I found January super tough, I wanted to see results straight away and was really unhappy with my body, I honestly didn't think it would happen and spent a long time scrutinising my lumps and bumps. I still have a long way to go but finally starting to see some results after all of the hard work I've put in make me feel so proud.

The toughest part for me has definitely been trying to keep on top of my diet. I'm a complete sucker for anything sweet and I've really had to rein it in. It's been so hard, especially with Nath bringing home biscuits in every weekly shop. I've caved a few times, especially when I've been tired and have just needed a sugar kick but I've surprised myself. I'm choosing the healthy option nowadays and go for much smaller portions with everything. I'm finding myself not craving sugar that much and have managed to say no to the cake trolley in work on more than one occasion, I know, we have a cake trolley in work! How cruel is that?!



I've been enjoying watching fitness videos on Youtube to give me some inspiration in the gym and I've really impressed myself with my tenacity, I'm a lot more determined than I thought, I'll really push myself to get through the last couple of reps! I was really hoping March was going to be the month that I kicked it up a notch but due to monthly circumstances out of my control....I've been feeling hideously bloated and in pain these last couple of days and although I've wanted to go to the gym I've not felt physically able to.

I'm hoping that by next Monday I'll be back to it and really kicking it up a notch. I'm hoping to see enough changes to share a before and after photo with you at some point, I never weigh myself but when I weighed myself at my mums I noticed I've lost 6lbs since Christmas.



I'm slowly getting there!
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Wednesday, 19 March 2014

How to catch a star book review + giveaway

Last week a lovely box came through the post, it was a presentation box to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the children's picture book "How to Catch a Star" by Oliver Jeffers.


Ava and I love to read together and as soon as the box was opened the book was eagerly pawed at by my two year old, "read mummy", so we did. How to Catch a Star is a story about a little boy who loves stars so much that he wants one of his very own. He thinks of different ways to catch a star, but none work. Until he spots one in the sea that has fallen from the sky. He waits until it washes up on to the shore and when it does his dream comes true and he has a star to call his own.


The picture book is aimed at ages 2 to 7 years and was first published in 2004. It was adored immediately and launched the career of the now celebrated Author and Illustrator Oliver Jeffers, who has gone on to win the New York Times Best Illustrated Book Award, N├ęstle Smarties Book Prize, Irish Book of the Year and The Blue Peter Book of the Year.



The book is beautifully illustrated by Oliver himself.  The illustrations accompany the story perfectly and are bright and fun, they really captivated Ava. As an adult I loved the quirky illustrations and the whimsical story. She loves this book and likes to "read" it to herself. She likes to point out all of the stars.




How to Catch a Star would make the perfect addition to any child's bookcase, which is why I'm giving you the chance to win a 10th Anniversary edition of How to Catch a Star.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The book is out on 27th March and will be available to buy from Amazon for £12.99

*We were sent How to Catch a Star free of charge for review purposes but as usual thoughts are 100% my own
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Ava's 2nd birthday party

I was going to do everything so differently this year, take a lot more photos than last year and be a lot more organised...massive fail!

I clearly didn't get the memo (or had blatantly forgotten) how stressful children's parties are! That combined with Miss Ava being uncooperative, full of a cold and extra grouchy meant that I only have a handful of semi-decent photos of the day, so you'll have to excuse me.

We decided to hold Ava's second birthday party in the function room above Nath's parent's pub. We went for a Peppa Pig theme as Ava is obsessed! We bought the Peppa Pig party accessories from Party Pieces, bought her Peppa Pig cake from Sainsbury's (I wimped out on baking one this year!) and made enough food to feed a small army.






We were graced with glorious weather and Ava was completely spoilt with some lovely gifts. We had a 
face painter and I hired a Peppa Pig costume which Ava's Godfather wore as a surprise. It was the best £20 I've ever spent, I've never seen her look so excited. She squealed with delight and ran straight into his arms. It was the cutest thing I've ever seen!

Only full length picture I managed to get of her in her dress. It's a Jasper Conran number.






The party was a complete whirlwind but once the grouchiness wore off Ava had a lovely time and I think we pulled it off. I must admit I had a large glass of wine afterwards. Children's parties are not for the fainthearted!


Thank you to everyone who came and made my girl's party one to remember!

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Tuesday, 18 March 2014

A new friend

Ava loves bunnies, the fluffier the better, she has 3 of the Jellycat rabbits and her most adored blankie, "snuggy" is one of their Bashful Bunny Comforters. She adores Peter Rabbit and it is one of our night time reads.



Last week a new friend came through the mail. A Baby Bo Rabbit from Ragtales. He comes in a gorgeous little presentation box and the rabbit itself is beautifully soft! He also comes with an embroidered identification patch on one paw.



Ava fell in love straight away, he's become her surrogate "snuggy" and she is now taking both of them to bed. The Baby Bo Rabbit is suitable from birth and would make the perfect gift for a newborn.



Ragtales is a British brand that you can find on Wauwaa, a brand new parenting website who offer discounts on gorgeous baby essentials as well as parenting information.

The Baby Bo Rabbit retails at 14.95 and you can find it here.

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Saturday, 15 March 2014

And then she turned two

On Thursday it was Ava's 2nd birthday. Nath and I both took a day off work so that we could spend some time together, the three of us. I was so excited, not only to spend some quality family time together, which is rare as Nath works so much, but also because Ava is actually starting to understand the concept of birthdays and can unwrap gifts and get excited over the prospect of cake (who doesn't, let's be honest).



We'd started to gather a few gifts together for her and on Wednesday evening I wrapped them and Nath put together her Peppa Pig easel (I had started to but in my defence the instructions were useless), we then blew some balloons up and went to bed.
Ava woke, as usual, around 6.30am and was SO excited when she saw her gifts. To be honest she couldn't really be bothered unwrapping the books and DVDs and just wanted to get stuck in on the easel.




We then set off to Hickory's in Chester for breakfast. Hickory's is an American Smokehouse by the river. It's a great place with an amazing reputation which makes it quite tricky to get into but I managed to grab us a slot at 9.30 for pancakes and milkshakes. Whilst booking online I'd mentioned that it was Ava's birthday, they kindly decorated the table with balloons for her which I though was such a lovely touch, Ava was chuffed too!





Ava and I shared a Yee-ha malted milk milkshake, I'm a sucker for milkshakes and I've had this one before. It contains vanilla ice cream, caramel syrup and American malt. It's a real authentic American milkshake and Ava loved it! We ordered the children's breakfast for Ava which was 1 Cumberland sausage, scrambled eggs, 2 rashers of bacon and a quarter of a waffle. In hindsight we would have been better off just giving her bits off our plates as it was quite a lot for her.



Nath didn't mess about and got the Great American Breakfast, a whole waffle with maple syrup, two sausages, four rashers of bacon, two eggs, black pudding, two hash browns, grilled tomatoes and a bowl of baked beans! It was like something from Man vs Food! He traded the black pudding and tomatoes for extra hash browns and was proud to say he polished off the lot! I don't know where he puts it!




I had another case of eyes bigger than my belly syndrome and ordered the hickory's pancake stack with cream and blueberry compote, it also came with a little bucket of maple syrup. They were amazing but combined with the milkshake became a bit sickly and I'm sorry to say that I wimped out after 2.5 pancakes! Disappointing! We love Hickory's and the service was amazing, and I'd recommended it to anyone, just make sure you book in advance!

With full bellies we made our way to Chester Zoo and Ava promptly fell asleep which left Nath and I twiddling our thumbs in the car park waiting for her to wake up. Unfortunately it was quite a gloomy day which made it quite chilly and some of the smaller animals weren't out but we had a lovely day none the less.









On the way home we did the rounds with various family members where she got to open more presents and then we went out for a meal at night. All in all we had a wonderful day. I still can't believe I have a two year old!
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