2017 A Year in Review

Oh 2017 you have been a mixed bag haven't you? We have had many highs and lows this year and I am ready for what 2018 throws at us hopefully more highs. 

A month where I started to plan our 2017 goals and a bucket list for the year ahead.
We actually managed to do some of the bits from our bucket list and I managed to actual do some of my goals. We also had a  family photo shoot done which was a lovely experience. 

On the 4th we celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary and then we had a lovely valentines meal at home thanks to Aldi. We also went to Whipsnade Zoo with family whilst my nephews were over here. 

I shared with you my Top Mum Moments and also a great mothers day gift guideMothers dayalso got me reflecting. I also got to go and see Beauty and the Beast at the cinema with Stuart. 

April was a good start on the 2nd was my sister in law/best friends Hen do. I shared somealternative Easter gifts, shared with you what we got up at Easter  along with what we put inBlake's Easter basket and also about dealing with terrible twos.


My sister in law got married on the 6th and I was a Bridesmaid for the first time. I wrote some very important topics this month including: postpartum hair loss, about wanting to change andmy mental health story. I also shared with you Simple ways to update a rented home and we also had a lovely time at Whipsnade zoo again this time with the Dear Zoo Trail

I wrote a wide range of posts such as Blogging its hard work and Tips for starting your own blog. Then I shared with you my Fathers day gift guide and more ideas from Amara too. We also went to In the night garden live in Richmond London where I spotted Givonna and Tom Fletcher as well as Harry Judd and his wife Izzy. Oh and my Birthday was on the 17th as well.

July we went to Mead Open farm as well as the local beach at a nearby park. Blake and I spent the day over at My sister and Phil's house and he decided to get into the mini pool fully clothed. I also wrote about having to tighten our belts and we spent the last week of July on a holiday to Pontins Camber Sands. We also had a goodbye BBQ for Stuart's brother and family as they were moving to Colorado. 

We had lovely walk around Rushmere Country park which I had been wanting to visit for awhile. I wrote about: Screen time and my Velcro toddler and started the #TacticalTuesdayslinky with Vicky. 

Stuart's birthday was on the 7th and we had a lovely meal out. We got some new art prints for the home and I also  wrote about making time for youour favourite bed time books and ourautumn bucket list.  This month also saw Blake start Pre-school which was very emotional. 

We didn't do Halloween this year but I did however attempt a no spend month which didn't go well. We enjoyed autumnal walks and went a little garden we had forgotten about. Last of all I wrote Housework hacks: keeping your home under control.

November saw us start planning for Christmas with Christmas Traditions you can start this year and the following gift guides: For Him, For Her and For Kids. Blake also this month had his first hair cut. 

The most wonderful time of year. I was very quiet on the blog front but we visited Santa, had a birthday party for Blake, Blake turned 3, we enjoyed many Christmas books such as The Christmas Snowflake, crafts and much more in the lead up to Christmas. We had my mum, sister and Phil pop over on Christmas Eve and have a lovely buffet meal. Then we had Christmas just the 3 of us. 

Blake at 3 years old

Blake turned 3 on the 16th December He is unfortunately behind in some areas of his development especially when it comes to his speech and understanding.  Pre-school as well as other professionals are really helping and we are starting to do PECs (picture exchange communication) with him which is really going well. He still doesn't say an awful lot however at least we are getting support with him. We are currently awaiting a referral to the community paediatric service, hopefully we will soon know more about what is going on. There has been talk that he shows a few signs of autism and I guess this is something that will be talked about as I don't really know that much about autism other than info I have found on google.

Some info about Blake:

Favourite Toys -  Toilet train Bing, Cars, train set, building blocks, Iggle Piggle soft toy
Favourite place to go - The park
Favourite colour - Blue
Favourite Food - Beans and sausages
Favourite Book - Currently  Bings Noisy Day. In general he loves interactive books that make noises or have flaps to lift.
Favourite word to say - Bubbles
Favourite TV Programme - In the night garden/ Bing
Favourite Animal - Cats
Favourite song - Old McDonald had a farm 
Favourite thing at Pre-school - Being outside

Winter Wear with JD Williams

It's been so cold recently in Bedfordshire and we even recently had snow. We didn't get a white Christmas however it was the first time that Blake had experienced snow and unfortunately he wasn't keen. 

So if you have snow near you and you don't fancy going out in it and just want to relax at home and pop on some pyjamas and get all wrapped up and cosy than JD Williams have some lovely ones available.  

If like me you like to buy more than one pair of PJ's than you will love this navy/cream pack of 2 which you can mix and match. The pack of 2 pyjamas are in delicate floral and polkadot prints. Featuring button-placket detail, round neck and elasticated bottoms. If you want to get your hands on them they are now down to £11.70  from £24. 

Even though Christmas is over you may still want to get your hands on some festive PJs especially if they are adorable like this Bambi Christmas set.  The super soft cotton set is bound to keep you cosy all night long. Featuring a Bambi motif printed top, and matching jogger bottoms with elasticated tie waist. These are definitely my new favourite to snuggle up in and are now £22.95 down from £28. 

Last of all it's not too late to find the perfect dress for that special occasion. JD Williams have some lovely cocktail dresses so you are bound to find one that is perfect for the occasion you are purchasing for.  This Lovedrobe V-neck dress is perfect for making you sparkle this season with frill sleeves and stardust print this dress is flattering and comfortable. The dress is knee length and comes in a waist-cinching fit-and-flare shape, and is sleeveless with a pretty frill detail that falls over the shoulders.  I love the wrap over neckline and at £55 its a pretty dress that's worth wearing again and again!

Christmas Home Decor with JD Williams

Christmas may be over for another year but JD Williams are still selling a wide range of their Christmas items. On Christmas Eve I had a delivery of some of the lovely items that they have to offer and they have such a lovely selection and If like me you love anything Christmassy you will love these items too.

They have some gorgeous Christmas decorations such as the rotating musical Christmas tree which has been popular with Blake as he has loved seeing it go round. It's so magical and perfect at bringing Christmas cheer to your home. It's a simple wind up decoration and at £25 its a great item to have on your mantle piece and bring out year after year.  

The second decoration is this elegant silver light up star. We have ours up on our window sill in our living room. Featuring a bright warm light its a modern decoration to add to your Christmas collection. The range is inspired by some of the most natural winter colours and enables you to create your own winter wonderland. I've had complements on this decoration and my mum likes it so I have decided to pass it on to her for next Christmas. The Star requires x3 AA batteries and has a switch on the side of one of the points and retails at £25.

Last off all why not check out the bed spreads JD Williams have a whole range of different designs. They also have many festive ones too such as this gorgeous reindeer brush cotton one. The bed spreads are available in single, double, king and super king (prices vary).
The reindeer print bed spread I chose is the first festive bed spread we have owned and it's definitely going to come out again next year. The adorable set features a cute reindeer print and is also reversible with a lovely check print on the other side. We went for the double for our bed which retails at £35. 

Wishing you a Merry Christmas

I just wanted to drop by to wish you all a Merry Christmas and that we hope you had a lovely time spent with family/friends.

I'll be back with a few posts later this week and look forward to what the New year will be bringing. 

My Christmas wishlist 2017

With Christmas under a week away now I wanted to share with you some of the things I would love to see under the tree this year. 

Happy and Happy the  journal by Fearne Cotton
I love books like these that help you to look back and reflect.  I love a journal with questions to get you thinking about life and things that you love and make you happy.  The happy book is said to be filled with advice, exercises, tips and tricks, Fearne's drawn on her own experiences and penned a practical guide to finding joy and unleashing inner happiness

I'm hoping this will be a good read as I am planning to my Instagram game in 2018 and so I'm hoping this book will help me to better my flatlay photography. 

This will be so helpful for my photo's during the winter months when its harder to get great images when it's dark outside. 

I love all of Giovanna Fletchers books so far and so would love to add her new one to my collection. Some kind of wonderful sounds like an fab romantic read and I know you shouldn't judge a book by its cover but it's pretty too. 

I love candles and my collection is now running low as I use candles alot more than I use to. I've never had a Lily flame candle but have smelt a few in a local shop and they smell divine. I've also heard good things about the brand and these ones sounds like the scent's that I just love. 

Wowcher always have such good offers and deals on which would be ideal for checking out. I'd love a voucher as I could choose what I would spend it on. I'd love a spa day or something similar so it would be great to find a good deal. 

What is on your Christmas wishlist?

Snowman Jar Craft

I'm loving that Blake is getting more into crafts and I came across this sweet snowman jar craft recently and it's a great activity to for us to do together.  It's perfect for storing bits and pieces or as a fun container for gifts! Or even if like me you could use it with a LED tea light. 

You can purchase the snowman jar bundle at Hobbycraft for £5 although you may find that you have most of the items already at home. All you need other than the bits in the kit is PVA glue and your good to go at making your own snowman jar which is simple to make. 

So how do you make it?

1. Unscrew the lid on the jar and cover the glass base in PVA glue.

2. Over a piece of paper sprinkle the white glitter onto the glue and shake off the excess.

3. While that dries, take the lid and glue a pipe cleaner over the centre, at the ends of the pipe cleaner glue two large red pompoms.

4. Once your jar is dry glue on two black buttons for eyes and then cut a cone shape out of felt for a carrot nose and glue in place.

I think you could even make your own designs too such as Santa and Rudolph depending on what items you have in your kids craft kit. 

Hobbycraft Felt Christmas Tree

If you have children than you won't need telling that babies/toddlers and Christmas trees don't mix well. We still put a Christmas tree up each year however we find that Blake just loves taking off the decorations and throwing them around.

Last month I came across the hanging felt Christmas tree and thought it would be a fun idea for Blake to have his own. The hanging felt tree is such a bargain at £6 from Hobbycraft and makes a gorgeous decoration on your wall or door. 

What we also love is that it has lots of felt tree decorations, such as baubles and presents. It gives the little ones a chance to be creative and put the tree decorations wherever they want them. They will no doubt have lots of fun rearranging them all every day!

We love that its such a unique and fun decoration that we can get out for Blake year after year. This way Blake has a way of being creative in how his tree looks. I'm not expecting him to stop taking our trees decorations off yet but I can see it being a distraction for a period of time and lots of fun too. 

Size wise its 90 x 80 cm which is a great size in my opinion and the decorations are bright and colourful which makes it eye catching for youngsters. Unfortunately it's been popular this year and is currently out of stock online however it's a great decoration to look out for next year. 

Olaf’s Frozen Adventure Toys with the Disney Store

Are you in need of some last minute gift inspiration for a little one?

With the release of the new mini movie Olaf’s Frozen Adventure a new range of toys, costumes and accessories are now available in Disney stores and online

The range of new toys will make the perfect Christmas gifts for Frozen fans this year. 
With new costumes styled from the new mini film, a new Olaf soft toy, snow globe and even play sets you will find a wide range that includes  thewell loved characters. 

I was recently sent the 23 peice travel art kit which would make a great gift for frozen fans this Christmas especially if they love arts and crafts.

The set is contained in a beautifully festive character case with artwork from Olaf's Frozen Adventure! The set contains:
-1 plain paper 50 page sketch book
-10 mini chunky character design colour pencils
-3 figural erasers, 1 sharpener
-3 sheets of stickers, 45 in total
-5 paint marker pens
- x2 scissors 

I can see this being handy for us when we take Blake out and about and need to have some kind of distraction for when in a restaurant or even handy for when needing a boredom buster on a long flight. The set will also be handy during the festive season if you are visiting family or for when your in the car and your little one needs something to do to pass the time. 

The 23 piece travel art kit retails at £14.99 although I have noticed online it is currently £8.

Wonderbly: The Christmas Snowflake

Wonderbly are a brand that over the years I have grown to love due to their fab range of personalised books. The first ever book we received from them was The little boy who lost his name which we still love. We also own a few more of their books and now we have a lovely Christmas personalised book to add to our collection. 

The Christmas Snowflake is a sweet festive story of Snowflake who is looking for a place to call home this Christmas – but only you and your loved ones can help! A charmingly personalised festive tale the whole family will adore.

The book is personalised to your family and you can add up to 9 names inside the book. Their names will magically appear on Snowflake’s crystals, festive Christmas stockings, and even floating majestically on the wind…

As well as being delightfully illustrated with playful verses on each page The Christmas Snowflake is printed on high quaility paper and also includes a pull out and keep ornament  perfectly framing your family's names in the book beneath.

The Christmas snowflake is a perfect Christmas gift that the whole family will enjoy. We will be adding the book to Blake's Christmas Eve basket this year. The book is an ideal keepsake to bring out each year during the festive season.

Bathrooms and the elderly – how to make your bathroom accessible for everyone

We all use the bathroom every day and when we’re younger, we take for granted how easily we can move from room to room and use the facilities on offer. But as we get older your mobility begins to suffer this can have a knock-on effect with regards to difficulties you might experience when using this particular part of the house.
If you have parents - or grandparents - who are beginning to encounter such problems, then it could be a sign for you to make certain changes to their bathroom to make their lives just that little bit easier.
From simple additions to full-on refurbishments, there is plenty you can do to make this space a more accessible room for people who have difficulty with their movement. Here are some tips to get you started.
Grab bars
Grab bars are one of the easiest features you can incorporate into almost any bathroom, offering extra support for those who may struggle to get out of the bath or off the toilet. Check out this site for more information. You can even find grab bars that are seamlessly disguised as other features you would normally find in a bathroom anyway, with soap dishes, shampoo racks and toilet roll holders all being incorporated into modern designs.
The great thing about these is that they are simple to install and can make a real difference, without requiring a complete rethink of the layout of the room.
Walk-in showers
If getting in and out of the bath is proving to be too much completely, then replacing it with a walk-in shower could be the most viable option. This way, the person using it doesn't have to worry about lifting themselves in or out of the tub, meaning slips are much less likely to occur.
Is the pathway from the bedroom to the bathroom dark? It’s a good idea to speak with your relative and ask them which parts of the bathroom (and other parts of the house) that they find dark or gloomy. If a bathroom is well lit, then it’s easier for relatives to find certain objects and this will also prevent trips and any potential falls. Use nightlights to create a well-lit path to the bathroom. Having nightlights in the bathroom helps as well.
The floor
Non-slip mats: Falls often occur when elders are getting in and out of the tub or shower. Having a non-slip mat on the floor of the shower or tub as well as a non-slip rug on the floor when stepping out of tub or shower (to prevent slipping on wet tiles) helps the elder feel more stable and can reduces slipping.
Regular cleaning
Routinely removing showers and tubs of soap scum and mildew can reduce the slippery coating that forms as a result of these substances. Also, be sure to avoid clutter in the bathroom to prevent tripping and make sure that all bottles and soaps are in easy reach.

Fisherprice Potty Train Bing! (Review)

Even though Blake is almost 3 he is yet to be potty trained as we feel that he just isn't ready yet and pre-school and have confirmed it too. I know it's going to be hard when the time comes though to get him to understand he needs to do his business in a potty or toilet. 

Fisherprice are great when it comes to educational toys and when I found out that they are released the Toilet Train Bing I just knew that it would be perfect for Blake to get use to the idea over time. 

The toy is such a soft and cuddly toy for your little Bingster and is great fun playing games. But wait we need to stop for the toilet train! Bing will let you know that he needs to use the toilet, sit him down on his potty and then you will hear a flush when he has finished. 

If Bing doesn't make it in time uh-oh he has a unique illuminating feature shows that Bing has wet himself.

Potty train Bing is a fun way to support your child when it comes to toilet training. Blake adores him and carries him around a lot throughout the day. Blake is yet to understand that he needs to put Bing on the potty so it's something that we need to help encourage him with.

What we love most about Bing is that he just isn't all about the potty but he also has fun games too.  Games such as hide and seek, boo, telling a story etc so that children can enjoy playing with him too. 

Hopster (Review)

I was recently contacted by Hopster to see if Blake and I would be interested in trying out their app. Hopster is ideal for Preschoolers and we have found it easy to use and child friendly. 

Blake is 3 in less than 2 weeks and we think this app is ideal for him. The app is free to download on both iOS and android althoguh there is a subscption fee of £3.99 a month although you can get a free trial first to see if the app is right for your child. 

So what do you get for £3.99 a month: 

- Over 800 + favourite kids TV episodes
- Over 100 Songs and Nursery Rhymes
- Curriculum based learning games

The app is safe to use with no ads and you can watch offline at any time, which is always handy. 

Blake's favourite part of the app has to be the shows with so many new shows for him to watch he is spoilt for choice. He even has the chance to watch his favourite In the night garden. We love that their is also new content added each month.

The games are literacy, numeracy, creativity, emotional intelligence based on the curriculum and created with leading experts in child development.

Music is a great way for children to learn new songs and sounds and this is another area of the app that Blake really enjoys. 

Books help children to develop a lifelong love of books with Britain’s best loved children’s stories from HarperCollins. Including videos and audiobooks as well.

The app is great for little ones as not only is the music catchy but the images are bright and colourful. Every time I put the app on my tablet Blake is straight over to see what is going on and is getting the idea now of how the app works.  

We definitely feel that a subscription is a worthwhile investment and you get so much from it. 

Have you heard of Hospter? Will you be giving the trial a go?