Living arrows- 5/52

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”- Kahlil Gibran


This weeks photo was taken at home, Blake loves jumping and bouncing around at soft play so last weekend we purchased him a foldaway trampoline. The trampoline has been a hit and is now his most used toy. This week has seen him on it constantly when we are at home. 







Living Arrows

The Ordinary Moments - Me time



This week I have been focusing on me time once Blake is down for a nap or in bed. I have made sure that I am using my me time doing something I love rather than just scrolling through facebook or instagram. 

So here are a few ordinary moments that I have been enjoying for me time this week:

Reading a book and drinking coffee
One of my favorite hobbies is reading and this week I've spent time reading Hurrah For Gin, which i have now finished and enjoying a good mug of coffee (gingerbread latte). 

Bath
I've been making time to just enjoy laying back in the bath and using a lush bath bomb has been a bonus. 

Calm app and book 
I've made time this week to use the calm app and read a few pages of the calm book to help with my anxiety levels when I felt over whelmed

Coloring
I've started enjoying doing a bit of mindfulness coloring and have been really enjoying it

Netflix 
Another guilty habit is Netflix and I have just finished watching Vampire Dairies so need to find something new for me to watch. 

Glass of wine and chocolate
Just being able to sit down and enjoy a glass of wine and a bar of chocolate once Blake is bed have been bliss. 

What are your favorite me time moments?

Mummy and Me - January


January has actually been an ok month for us. We have had lovely walks in the park although it has got even more bitterly cold recently. We have also been to soft play, a birthday party and having fun snuggling at home on the sofa. 

The above photo is my favorite of Blake and I this month which we actually took near the beginning of January and is currently my profile photo for near enough all of my social media accounts. Blake loves snuggling up with me on the sofa although getting a photo with him can be a challenge these days. 

I'm looking forward to see what the rest of 2017 brings us and how much Blake changes over the months this year. 



5 Secrets To Going Back To Work After Pregnancy


There comes a moment in a mother’s life when she faces the choice between staying home to take care of her child and going back to work. Considering it’s quite a life-altering decision, there are many things that should be considered before making the final call. For instance, the decision to stay home with your child is normally accompanied by follow-up choices of when to go back to work, and if to go back at all. On the other hand, if the decision is to go back to work right away, new choices are to be made between going back to the old job/workplace and pursuing an entirely novel career path. In case of deciding to take your career in a new direction, online resources like Jobrapido can be very helpful and can provide you with job openings in almost any company in the UK, including well-known brands like Morrisons. Here are five secrets useful to mothers considering going back to work after pregnancy.

1. Dependable childcare
Finding the right childcare can often be quite a struggle. However, there are many channels to find the right babysitter or nanny. Talk with your neighbors, friends and family to see if they have a recommendation. If you feel more comfortable with your child being around other kids, look into daycares in your area. Daycares are also a great way to meet other parents of kids in your area!

2. Stock up on essentials
Having a prepared bag under your desk at work or in your car is great to have on hand. Some items to always keep in the bag are: nursing pads, breast pump and healthy snacks.

3. Practice saying no
Before you get back into the swing of being at work, practice saying no. Balancing work and family is an adjustment, so being aware what and how much you can handle is key. When you are at work, ease in and be careful of taking too much on your plate. That way, when you go home you are not overwhelmed by work tasks while you would rather be enjoying time with your little bundle of joy.

4. Do a practice run
Your current morning routine may need some adjustments as you transition into the work world. Once you know what time you need to be in the office, do a practice run before your first day of work so you know what time to wake up. It may take you more time than you think to get yourself ready or give your baby breakfast, so a practice run will help you learn what time to set your alarm for as well as if some night preparation could be of help! Laying your clothes out the night before or preparing breakfast are two ideas to help shave off time in your morning routine.

5. Be patient with yourself.
It will take time to adjust to this new lifestyle, so give yourself time to properly adapt figure it out, as well as the time to unwind after each new day.

It is completely normal to face some challenges or be a bit stressed as you transition from being with your baby all the time to working. But being prepared before you make the transition can make working through it even just a bit easier. Keep a positive mindset and you’ll find that balance before you know it!

Creating the perfect Hygge home


Hygge (pronounced hue-gah) is a Danish word that is translated simply as cosiness.
When it's cold, wet, dull and dark outside why not give Hygge a go. Hygge is all about creating a nice, warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with people around you.

Baytree interiors have been helping people to personalise their own homes for many years and you can read some of their top tips on creating the perfect Hygge home



However here are some of my tips and ways to make your home Hygge: 

Make your space cosy
Think your favorite candles, pillows, soft blankets, rugs on your floor and a roaring fire in the background.

Get yourself cosy
Get into your favorite warm pajamas or your favorite thick and cosy jumper, wear thick comfortable socks or your favorite warm and toasty slippers. 

Enjoy warm and filling foods and drinks
Think porridge for breakfast with your favorite topping, soups, casseroles and stews. 
Think a hot mug of tea, coffee or hot chocolate (don't forget the whipped cream and marshmallows.) 


DIY Spa Day
Invite friends over to your cosy home and enjoy a pamper session or even if you fancy some me time run a hot bath, slap on a face mask and relax.  


Books, films, Music
Curl up with a good book or film or even play some relaxing music.


Indoor picnic
Just because its cold it doesn't mean you have to just live off stews and casseroles. Look up some new recipes, throw down a blanket and enjoy an indoor picnic with a loved one. 


Hygge is all about the simple and comfortable things in life.  It's about the ordinary moments that you sometimes take for granted. It's a feeling that you have from being warm and cosy, its about enjoying and making the most out of what you have.

The £2 challenge with Zamcog and Voucherbox

Voucherbox has teamed up with Zamcog this January. They are a UK charity that is dedicated to helping feed and educate Zambia’s most at-risk children. 

Did you know that it cost only £2 a day to feed and educate a child in Zambia everyday? 
We've never really thought about how much we spend per day,on the food we eat and so we were challenged to feed the 3 of us for £6 (£2 per person). 

Voucherbox will also be donating £50 to Zamcog to help the charity to continue their goal of helping Zambia's most risk children.

So how did we get on with the challenge? 

Here is what we used for our meals and these amounts are based on what we used rather than the whole pack that we had purchased: 

Breakfast: 
M savers porridge 6p
Banana (1 each) 39p
Milk 3p

Lunch: 
Jacket potato 62p for 2 and a half potato's 
 M Savers Baked Beans 50p for 2 and a half cans

Dinner: 
Morrisons Tuna Pasta bake mix 36p
M savers can of Tuna 65p
M savers pasta 12p
M savers sweetcorn 13p
M savers grated cheese 44p

Snacks:
Grapes 75p
Apple's 25p 

Total: £4.30


This works out to be approx £1.43 per person for the day. I think we have done really well. The challenge has got us really thinking about the things we eat on a day to day basis and how much it is costing us. 

We do most of our shopping in Morrisons as its our nearest supermarket and we have always spent the majority of food shop on the M savers range anyway. If we were to spend £6 per day for a week that would work out to be £42 a week. Most weeks we spend over this figure and it's got me thinking about what we can do to cut down our food costs. 

You can check out more to do with the £2 challenge here 

Living arrows - 4/52

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”- Kahlil Gibran

This week has been so much better after the previous week of feeling low and not getting up to much. 

The first photo for this week i'm sharing is of Blake having fun in the cozy coupe at soft play. We headed out on Friday morning with friends to one in our local area. Blake loves soft play and being able to run around as much as he wants. It's also great for me as once he has had lunch when we get home he goes straight to sleep and will sleep for a little longer as it wears him out.


The next photo is of Blake bundled up in his snow suit for a lovely walk in the park of my home town. We were over on Saturday visiting my Mum as she was having a little family party to celebrate that she turned 60 on the 19th. We headed out for a walk as Blake was starting to feel tired and overwhelmed. 




Living Arrows

The Ordinary moments - Walks in the park


One of the things we love to do as a family is go for walks and this year we are aiming to visit places we've either not been to before or not been to in ages. I've been feeling much better this week and so I've made the effort to go out a lot more and do more things with Blake. We have been to soft play as well as going to our local park and yesterday we headed over to Milton Keynes to spend time with my family for a little party in celebration of my Mum's 60th which was on Thursday (19th). 

Blake was getting very overwhelmed and tired so we took him out for a walk to try and calm him down,which worked briefly. I miss going for walks in the local park of my home town, however I do love Leighton Buzzard and can't see myself wanting to live anywhere else in the future. It was a nice change of scenery especially for Blake and we decided to pop to the cemetery to go and see both my Dad and Grandad's graves.

Going for walks is something we love to do no matter the season. I love wrapping up warm in the colder months and feeling cosy. In the warmer months I love to just be outside and enjoy the feel of the sun on my skin. I just love the ordinary family moments of spending time outdoors. 
The Ordinary Moments

#PlanAheadToSave


As I mentioned in my new years goals post this year my main goal is to sort out mine/our finances. I really want to start saving more this year, spend less and lower our out goings. 

I think its important to be more aware about where your money is going and areas you can cut down on. Before I moved in with Stuart back in late 2008 I wasn't sensible with money and had no savings. Over the years I've learnt to be a lot more thrifty and frugal but there is definitely more room for improvement, especially when it comes to unnecessary spending on Blake for example. 

I wanted to share with you some of the things that caused us to loose money in 2016 and what we will be doing this year to prevent similar pitfalls.

Here are things which caused us to loose money:

 Not meal planning
Not meal planning meant that we ended up wasting food and not using up what we had in. This meant we were literary throwing away our money into the bin.

 Not having a budget 
 Not having a budget meant we didn't know where our money was going. Having a budget means you can see where your money is going, therefore being able to see  the areas where we need to cut down on

 Not having insurance on valuable possessions
Not having insurance on valuable possessions meant that when my tablet broke I ended up loosing out on money as I had to buy a new one. So lesson learned and now I make sure I have insurance on my tablet, mobile and other expensive gadgets.

 Not keeping an eye on when bills go out 
Not keeping a record of when certain bills go out has meant on a few occasions going overdrawn leading to fees as our bank accounts don't have an overdraft

Not saving 
Not saving has meant that when we had an emergency we didn't have the money to help us out meaning on occasion credit cards had to be used.


So here are some ways I plan on saving money in 2017:

1. Meal plan 
I have started doing this using a magnet meal planning board which also has a handy memo and shopping list section. We have already decided a budget for our weekly food shop which we didn't do before which is helping to stop waste. 


2. Using a budget planner
We have started to use a budget planner and will look at what we get in each month and what will be going out. The planner has sections for monthly and weekly spends and any monthly and weekly income we receive. The planner i'm using has has different sections for your outgoings such as bills, car, childcare, clothing, food, healthcare, insurance, leisure etc. 



3. Insuring valuable products
I've recently got insurance on my new phone and also made sure my tablet has insurance too. I would recommend insuring expensive gadgets such as Iphones especially if you have children. 

4. Use a filofax/diary 
I've started using a filofax and diary to keep any eye on when certain bills go out which is very helpful as I can make sure we have the money to cover for them. 

5. To do lists
I've started using to do lists in my filofax to remind me to do certain things for example set up a direct debit to my savings account. 


6. Set up a direct debit to savings
I am setting up a weekly and 4 weekly direct debit into my savings account I'm starting off small with £5 a week and £20 every 4 weeks to see how I get on. 

7. Use cash back sites when shopping online

8. Spending ban 
I plan on doing a few weekend and also a month ban at some point this year 

9. Sell unwanted items 
Any money I get from sell unwanted items will go straight into a money tin

10. Cut down on takeaways and eating out.
By meal planning we will know what we are having each day so the temptation to go out or have a takeaway will be less. 


I hope this post is helpful to you if you are like me and looking at sorting out your finances. 

*In collaboration with Contact Numbers 

2017 family bucket list



As there are so many places and things that I would like to do and some which i never got round to doing last year I thought I'd compile a bucket list. I'm hoping that by writing them down we will actually do them. Some are things to do/places to visit as a family or things I'd like to for me or with Stuart. 

As there are so many things to see and do in our local area its somewhere I'd like to explore more as well as doing a little bit of travelling. One of things I'll certainly be checking out is Groupon for deals and discounts so that we can save some money on our days out. 

As a family: 

- Visit mead open farm again 
- Take Blake to the cinema
- Visit Whipsnade Zoo
- See In the Night Garden Live In London
- Have a family photoshoot
- Visit the local splash park
- Go to the beach 
-Go Swimming
- Do A children's trail
- Go for a walk at Dunstable Downs
- Visit Rushmere park
- Visit Stockgrove park
- Visit Gulliver's land
- Have a good walk around Willen Lake
- Visit Mk Museum
- Have a lovely walk in the woods
- Visit Wardown Park/Musueum
-Visit Cadbury World
- Visit some local National Trust places
- Have a picnic
- Eat out for Breakfast 


Me:
- Read at least 12 books (approx 1 a month)
- Save 
- Go on a spending ban
- Take more photos
- Use the calm app and book more
- Get rid of clutter
- Drink more water
- Have a pj day (I very rarely stay in my pjs all day)
- Bake at least once a month
- Meal plan
- Create a photo album 
-Join in with linkys
- Grow my instagram 
- Have a massage or facial 
- Give blood
- Get a new tattoo
- Find more ways to save on bills etc
- Try out some hacks I've found on Pinterest 
- Plan Blake's birthday party for December 
- Do something different with my hair


As a couple: 
- Have afternoon tea at new place
- Eat out at some new restaurants
- Go to London on our own for the day
- Have more date nights at home
- Go bowling
- Go on the London eye
- Go to the cinema 
-Have a night away together 
- Take more photos of us together




So that is my list of things I'd love for us to do in 2017 and I'm looking forward to ticking these off. 

Do you have a bucket list for the year ahead? 

Living Arrows- 3/52

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”- Kahlil Gibran

The past week for me as been a struggle with feeling low and rather depressed. I managed to force myself out this week with Blake though and we have been to the park. 




Blake's favorite place is the park, we have a park which is a five minute walk from our flat  which Blake loves. Now that Blake and I go without the buggy during the week it takes us half an hour to get there and half an hour back but it's worth it as he loves toddling along and is so happy exploring. At the moment Blake's silky bear (blanket) has to come everywhere with us which can be a pain when he ends up dropping it in a puddle or loosing it and we have to trace our steps back to find it. His favorite part of the park at the moment is the slide and a close second is the swings. 


Yesterday (Sunday) we went to one of Blake's friends birthday party and we all had a great time. Blake loved the music session with Ragdolly Anna's and won some chocolate and a chalk board in pass the parcel. He also loved running around playing with his friends, playing with balloons and just having so much fun and was exhausted after. 

Living Arrows

Saving money during January

January tends to be one of the toughest months financially because of paying back Christmas. January is the perfect time to start looking at your finances and finding ways to cut back and ways to save money when you do need to spend. 

Here are some ideas of what you can do to start doing today to help you start saving: 

- Start the year with a  fresh budget

- Change Banks
This is something I am considering doing as some banks have cash/voucher intensives to change to them. It is all dependent on what you are able to put in each month so this is something you will have to consider. 

- Get into couponing
One of the things I started doing to the end of last year was to start using coupons and using places such as https://www.promocodesfor.co.uk/ to find promo codes so that when I do need to buy something I am able to get it at a discount. 

- Switch energy suppliers
Again this is something we are looking into in hope of cutting down our bill. 

- Clear out clutter and sell online
The new year always makes me want to be more organised so I have a good clear out and try and sell any good quality products that I no longer use. 

- Set up a direct debt to savings
This is something I am starting to do you can start off small (£5 a week is what I am doing) 

-Ditch memberships you don't need

- Get Cashback 
My current bank offers cashback in certain stores but as of last year I've started when shopping online using Quidco. 

- Cut down on takeaways

- Meal plan
This is a great way to make sure food doesn't go to waste and you use up what is in your cupboards and freezer. 

- Buy second hand 
If you really need something see if you can buy it second hand or see if a friend or family member are getting rid of an item you are looking for. 

- Borrow books and films from the library.
I love reading and I did spend some of my Christmas vouchers on new books but a cheaper way is to borrow books and films from your local library. 

- Have a no spend weekend/month 
This is something I plan to have a go at some point this year. 

- Find free things to do 
Go to the park or for walks, do craft activities try and find some fun things to do that wont cost a thing or are cheap to do.

- Do the 365 day money challenge 
You can find many posts about this on Pinterest


I hope this has given you some ideas. What are your top money saving tips?  

Living arrows-2/52 (2017)

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”- Kahlil Gibran

It's the second week of us joining in with Donna's living arrows linky and this week has been a bit of a milestone with Blake, as we have bitten the bullet and taken off the bars from his cot bed on one side. So far so good as it's only been his second night and he hasn't yet climbed out however he has been climbing into the cot bed to play.  We have had a rather quite week Blake has been rather clingy with me since Stuart has gone back to work after being around for a week over Christmas and new year. We met up with my Mother in law this week which was lovely Blake loves running around when we go out together for coffee or a cheeky hot chocolate. 




Living Arrows

Low budget holidays

Now that the new year is here one of the things many people tend to do is start thinking about holidays. If your like me you will start thinking of places you would love to go to get some sun but you may also be on a budget.

 One place I would absolutely love to visit one day is America and in particular I'd love a family holiday to Orlando Florida. Another place I'd love to visit would be to Miami for a romantic break just me and Stuart.

 If we could afford to we would definitely travel a lot more as there are so many places that I want to visit and explore. One place we have managed to tick off our bucket list was a holiday to Cape Verde last year and we loved it so much we would definitely go back again in the future. Cape Verde is made of little islands and we visited the island of Sal. We stayed at the  The Belorizonte Oasis in a lovely little bungalow for the week. The bungalow was a great size for the 3 of us, clean and perfectly kept. We had the room made up every day and we had no issues with our room at all. 

We have made such lovely memories in Cape Verde and went a couple of excursions which we will remember forever. Our favorite moments from our holiday are: 

- The BBQ on a private beach in the evening. Blake was good as gold and loved the entertainment (Singers, Dancers and a fire eater) 

- A tour of the Island which was amazing and we got to see and photograph some amazing sites. One of my favorites is of the volcano we got to walk inside. 

- Relaxing on Santa Maria beach the hotel we stayed at had their own private section and Blake loved playing with the sand although wasn't to keen in paddling in the sea. 

-The pre bookable restaurants with the set menu. We really enjoyed the set menu for the days we booked ( they did different menu's depending on the day you booked) 

- Swimming. Blake is a proper water baby and swimming is one of the main things we did on holiday near enough every day as its something he just loves to do. 

- Relaxing.  Finding time to just enjoy the hotel, read a book and just not rushing around.

If you are starting to think ahead about your holiday this year than why not check out https://www.myfavouritevouchercodes.co.uk/thomas-cook-voucher-codes so that you can make flights more affordable for you. We flew to Cape Verde with Thomas Cook last year and had such a lovely experience with them.  On their website you will find a wide range of destinations. So  if you want to do something at a certain time of year, they will have some good successions for you and be able to save some money off those flights. 

The Ordinary Moments #1 Goals and getting back to reality





This year I have decided to join in with Katie from MummyDaddyMe's The Ordinary Moments linky. It's the second linky I have decided to join in with and it's all about the ordinary moments in life. 

This week for me was all about getting back to reality and getting some sense of normality back after Christmas and New Year.  There is something about the new year that gets me all motivated and so I did a post on some of my goals for 2017 to give me something to focus on. I've been trying to get back into our routine which has proven tricky for me as Blake has been extra clingy since Stuart has been back to work after a week off. 

I have found myself organising things in our flat and trying to come up with better storage solutions. I've managed to get rid of some clutter which i have sent to local charity shops which makes me feel loads better. This week also has seen us take one side of the bars off Blake's cot bed which seems to be going well he's currently fast asleep at the moment which will be his second night. 

2017 Goals



I still can't believe that it is already 2017 which is just crazy, 2016 really did fly by. There is something about the new year though that makes me feel motivated to get things done and to actually complete goals that I set myself. 

So here are my goals for the year ahead: 

- Sort out my finances:
I plan on setting up a direct debit so that a set amount goes out of my account each week into my savings. I also want to start spending less and nothing is set in stone but I am thinking of doing a no spend month this year and a a few no spend weekends. I also want us to start taking money out each week for our food shop so that once the money is gone its gone in hope of sticking to a budget. I also am going to be looking into more ways on saving money. 

- Join in with blog linkys
This is something I have never really got around to doing and something I wish I had done sooner. 

- Take photos more
Yes I take photos for blogging but I want to get more everyday photos of Blake, of me and Blake, Stuart and Blake and the 3 of us as a family. 

- Grow my instagram following
This year I want to focus a lot more on Instagram for my blog

- Have more family time
I want to have more family days out this year and have a bucket list of things I'd like us to do which I'll be sharing with you soon. 

- Get rid of clutter/organise
I've started already and have got rid of quite a bit of stuff which has gone to the charity shop. I also want to make sure everything has a place to go and am in the process of finding better storage and organisation solutions so that I can do this. 

- Read more
Since having Blake I don't read as often as I use to and I really want to get back into reading and plan to read at least one book a month. 

So there you go these are my goals for 2017. I'd love to know what your goals are for the year ahead. 

Living Arrows- 1/52 (2017)

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”- Kahlil Gibran

This year I am determined to join in with some linkys and so when I saw Donna's Living Arrows Linky I knew I had to join in. If you don't know about the linky it is where you share a photo on a Monday of your child/ren from the previous week.  I am a bit late this week but am hoping it will be a linky that I can stick to on a Monday and hopefully share with you some lovely memories of Blake. 


This weeks photo is of Blake in his buggy after a good run around at the park.  Between Christmas and new year we don't tend to do much and so it was a rather quite week for us. One of my other goals for this year is to take more photos so I am hoping that this linky will help me to do that. 





Living Arrows