2018 Reflections

2018 another year of ups and downs. Adventures had, memories made and sadly the loss of a loved one.


The month every year where I sit down and set myself goals for the year ahead.

I also get on with some decluttering to make more room for Blake's birthday and Christmas gifts by getting rid of broken and unused items. Blake also went to one of his friends 3rd birthday party which was super hero themed and we also had a lovely lunch out for my mum's birthday.

 The 4th was our 6th wedding anniversary and we headed out for lunch at a local cafe that we love. We didn't bother celebrating valentines in 2018, we just both weren't really into the idea of it.


We had snow! We spent alot of time indoors due to the snow as Blake hates it. However we had some new toys to try out from wicked uncle which made it all the more fun! March was also mother's day where I got a new bracelet and a handmade card from Blake plus got to enjoy some afternoon tea.


April started off with the Easter weekend I wrote about all the things we got up to here.  We also headed to the Green Dragon Eco farm which I fully recommend visiting if you ever nearby or just fancy a day trip. I also did a finance for freedom course which really got me thinking about my finances and making/saving money. Last of all during April I finally got my new tattoo done of the beauty and the beast style rose.


We headed to the May day fair this year like we usually do and Blake went with Stuart up on the helter skelter. Stuart and I went to see Tim Vine at Milton Keynes theater which was amazing! My mum had Blake and so stayed the night and we all headed out in the morning for a fry up.


We headed to see In the night garden live at the 02 in London. We love going each year and seeing Blake's face light up! There was also the local food festival we went to again this year which is always popular. As we were going to be away on my birthday (17th) my family came over and we had a lovely meal out at the ship which was delicous. I wrote about our holiday to Hayling island with parkdean resorts here.


The beginning of July was lovely with a trip to Rushmere and Blake's preschool trip to Whipsnade zoo. However July was a very emotional month with the loss of my father in law.


More trips to Rushmere plus lots of time at the park and with friends made August a good month. We visited mead open farm, spent time at my mum's enjoying the sunshine.

Before heading back to preschool Blake and myself headed along with my mum, sister and my sisters bf to Gullivers land which Blake loved so much! Then it was back to preschool after the summer holidays, for Blake with a new routine as he moved from afternoons to morning's. Blake also had a friend's 4th birthday party to go to which he loved. 10th of September also happend to be 10 years of Stuart and i being together.


I had the chance to do My Living DNA which was really interesting.  During the half term holidays we headed up north to around Doncaster /Lincolnshire area to house hunt. We also headed to Bing live once we were back home at a local theater and Blake loved it!

Mainly was a month where I've been planning for Christmas and sharing my gift guides for 2018.

The most wonderful time of the year started with us heading to Butlins for their Christmas fantasy. Once home we had Blake's 4th birthday, a trip to see Santa, meal out with Stuart's mum and husbands family and of course Christmas itself!

2018 Goals (How we did)

I can't believe another year has flown by and that its already time to look back at my 2018 Goals and see how I've done. 

When I look back I realise that even though the goals I set were achievable there are just too many of them. In the 2019 I definitely won't be setting as many.

BLUE = Done RED = Didn't 

- Read more and share my reads on here 
(I managed to stick to this one sort of as sharing my reads just started filtering off )
- Sort out my finances ( Didn't really happen) 
- Get rid of clutter  (Done, but on going
- Meal plan 
- Give blood
- Get a new tattoo  (I got a beauty and the beast rose themed one )
- loose at least 2 stone
- Plan Blake's 4th Birthday party ( In December) in advance (Done but we did a holiday rather than party in the end) 
- Write in my Happy Journal each day (Did well up until Ocober)

- Increase my DA ( highest its been so far is 31) Got up to 35
- Join in with more linkys
- Focus on the Tactical Tuesdays linky I co host
- Grow my social media ( By the end of the year I'd love to have double the amount of followers with any luck)  (Grown but definitely not double) 
- Grow my views   (stayed about the same) 
- Get into a better routine of blogging
- Batch blog/ schedule posts
- More blog collaborations
- More sponsored work
- Be more blog organised ( I'm awaiting a planner I have ordered)   ( ended up using the planner once and gave up) 

- Budget
- Put X amount of money away each week and 4 weekly
- Put a % of sponsored post money away into savings each time I'm paid
- skim my bank   ( I make sure every week money goes into savings 
Do a weekly or weekend spending ban 
- find ways to save more on bills 
- find ways to make a bit more money 
-  save £1 coins into a tin 

As a couple: 
- Go out for Afternoon tea
- Try out at least 2 new restaurants
-  Take more photos of the 2 of us
- Do something special for our 10 years of being together
- Go to the cinema 
- Go Bowling
- See a show  ( Tim Vine) 

As a family: 
- Go to Mead Open farm
- Go to Whipsnade zoo
- See in the night garden live
- See Teletubbies live   ( At butlins) 
- Go to the beach
- Have at least one holiday
- Go Swimming
- Go to Rushmere
- Visit Gulliversland 
-Visit Cadbury World
- Visit a National Trust place
- Have a picnic
- Visit the splash park
- Visit soft play a few times outside of Leighton Buzzard 
- Eat out at least once for breakfast 

As you can see it's been very mixed on what I've managed to achieve. 

Merry Christmas 2018

From our family to yours we would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas! 

Car Servicing Tips for Hertfordshire's Busy Roads

Hertfordshire may be known as the home of the garden city, with Welwyn Garden City and Letchworth being two prime examples, but that does not mean that it doesn't suffer from urban congestion. As well as the garden cities, Hertfordshire's older, market towns are just as liable to problems with traffic, especially during the rush hour. Places like Bishop's Stortford, Hoddesdon and Royston can all become extremely clogged up with local and through traffic trying to make it way. Heavy road use leads to wear and tear on your car. What can you do about it?

Check the Oil Level
If you know you are going to be stuck in traffic on a typical journey in the county, then make sure your oil level is correct. In slow-moving traffic, your car doesn't warm up so quickly as it would on the open road. As such, moving parts can grind into one another unless they are properly lubricated. Check your oil level using the dipstick once the car's engine is cool. Don't wait for your dashboard lamp to come on to indicate there is a problem.

Inspect Your Lights
Driving on sidelights only because a headlamp has blown is dangerous. On some of Hertfordshire's trunk roads, there are no street lights to rely on, so you must keep an eye on the state of your bulbs and change any that have blown. Remember that it is not just your headlights. Check your indicators, brake lights and fog lamp, too.

Tyres and Tracking
Running around on misaligned tyres, or those which have insufficient grip due to worn down tread, mean that you could lose control at a vital moment. Many B-roads in Hertfordshire see water running off from nearby fields onto them which means you need all the grip you can get. Tyre and tracking checks should be part of a normal servicing regime, of course. DAT Tyres provides car servicing in Baldock which you can book on their website here. Doing so will help to keep your car on the road in wet and icy conditions.

Screenwash Reservoir
With so much muck on the road, it is vital that you can see ahead for hazards. This is very hard if you cannot wipe your windscreen properly. Make sure you top up your screenwash bottle every couple of weeks so that you remain safe at all times on the county's road network.

To Blake On Your Fourth Birthday

Dear Blake, my cheeky monkey! 

I remember holding you for the very first time and i just couldn't take my eyes off you. At 6lb 9oz you were so tiny and the new born clothes were far too big for you on your little body. I remember the mixture of feelings from full on instant love to being terrified about being a mum and hoping I would be good enough.

All of a sudden you are now four and like each year on your birthday I feel that sense of sadness of how quickly you are growing up.  Four seems so grown up and the baby years far behind us. I was really hoping that the time wouldn't come around so fast but it has.

Four seems like a milestone as you will be starting school in September and to me it doesn't seem possible as you are still so little to me. I'm definitely not ready for it at all! Especially with knowing the struggles you face and going through trying to get a diganosis for Autisim so that you get the important help you need.

I'm not going to dwell on it as today has been an exciting day for you. We decided against a party for you this year as we thought Butlins would be a great alternative instead and I'm so glad you loved our little holiday. It's been so lovely seeing you so happy and excited being totally in your element and saying wow constantly. Now we are home we decided to make your actual birthday a quiet one with both your Granny and Nanny popping over with presents and enjoying chocolate cake along with having lots of fun with your birthday gifts. You have well and truly been spoilt! 

You love being outdoors and if you could would spend all day at the park. You've recently found a love for arts and crafts especially at preschool and you are really good at recognising your numbers and colours. I'm so proud of how your speech is coming along even though you are still classed as behind.  

I really hope that you've had such a wonderful birthday Blake and I can't wait to see how much you change and grow in your fourth year. You make me proud every single day and I'm so looking forward to the adventures we get up to.

Love you lots my little pickle 


Christmas Fantasy Butlins Bognor Regis

On Monday we headed to Bognor Regis for our first holiday at Butlins. Today we are heading home however we've had loads of fun and was very impressed with the amount of entertainment and other facilities available! We definitely want to head back to Butlins again in the future as Blake was in his element and loved it! On the plus side we also got an upgrade from a silver apartment to a gold apartment with balcony. Check out some of our photos below from our wonderful time away! 

Our Christmas Eve Essentials

Christmas Eve to us is just as important as Christmas day is with all the prepping and last minute wrapping once Blake is in bed. There is also making the day fun for Blake which is why we do the Christmas Eve box tradition every year. I thought I'd share with you how we prepare for Christmas and what are must haves for us.

Setting the table

 We don't have a dining table as our flat is too small however I do like to set up our coffee table. I like to make sure we have a great centre piece which at the moment is a christmas tree ornament that we got last year. Crackers at Christmas are a must and we tend to usually buy cheap ones in poundland. However this year we have these stunning eco friendly reusable crackers from Keep this cracker.  These crackers are great for the  eco conscious and are flatpacked ready to pop into shape and fill with your own fun treats. They do bang when pulled but don't tear. To reuse them, simply replace the snap which is shown in a video on the website. 

The personalised wreath plate from The personalised gift shop makes the perfect Christmas table decor for displaying them yummy treats on. Whether serving starters, crackers or cheese the plate makes a perfect accessory to your festive table. 

Food and drink

Every year for dinner on Christmas eve we have a buffett it's become a tradition. We tend to opt for both hot and cold buffet food and a mixture of both savoury and sweet treats. We mainly get our food from Iceland as they do such a wonderful selection. As for drinks I usually go for J20 and hot chocolate or if I fancy some alcohol I opt for a glass of rose. 

Peter's yard have some yummy looking cripbreads I'm looking forward to trying this year. They look ideal for dipping and I'm hoping to make my own dip this year too. I'm also going to be trying the crisp breads with my favourite cheese and maybe some pickle too. When it comes to sweet treats london bakery  Konditor & Cook have a delicious looking range of mince pies and cookie selection boxes to dig into which will also make a lovely gift for a foodie this Christmas. Last of all I'm looking forward to indulging in the mixed vegan treat box from Yumbles. The treat box contains 2 giant Oreo brownies, 8 mini donuts and 2 chocolate chip cookies. I'll be certainly tucking into the treat box whilst doing some last minute wrapping. Yumbles sell a wide selection of vegan gifts ideal for the festive season

Last minute wrapping

There always seems to be something I end up forgetting to wrap up and end up having to do last minute. So I always make sure that I've got some wrapping paper left over just incase. This cartoon Rudolph and Santa wrapping paper from Dom and Geri is not only super cute but can be personalised too with a name of choice. The wrapping paper is going to add a beautiful personalised touch to Blake's Christmas presents this year! 


Christmas is all about having fun with the whole family! There are two new brand new hilarious games out that are sure to be popular this festive season.

The first is by Wowwee called What's that Smell? What's That Smell? is the new scratch & sniff party game that totally stinks! Guess the scent on the card correctly to win or you could be suffering the reeking ramifications of one of the deadly Stank Cards. With over 50 smells from nice to downright nasty, What's That Smell? is a breath of fresh (and not-so-fresh) air in the party game category!What's That Smell? includes 48 Mystery Whiff Cards, four Stank Cards and scent-barrier bags, six cardholders, a sheet of Whiff Strips, scorepad and instructions for 2-6 players ages 14+.

The next game is by Megablu and is the Guinness world records Do try this at home game. Put your knowledge of the world’s most famous Records to the test and challenge your opponents to demonstrate some nifty record- breaking skills using everyday household items! Players compete to answer some of the 600 Guinness World Record question cards, but the real fun comes with completing the challenges… breaking your opponents’ records. Skills involve spoon balancing, wearing the most pairs of socks, flipping a bottle of water and many more! Cross the finish line with 3 challenge cards in your possession to be the winner!

Christmas Eve Box

The Christmas Eve Box has to be my favourite Christmas tradition to do for Blake. This year we have a new box a personalised one from Babyblooms. This beautifully personalised wooden Christmas Eve box comes complete with a luxury, cloth bound version of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ and a personalised Christmas Eve plate for Santa’s snacks and Ruldolph’s carrot. Both the wooden box and bone China plate can be personalised with up to 25 characters and the set is a fab way of make christmas even more magical.

I can't mention the Christmas Eve Box without mentioning some of the must have items I like to include in ours each year. First up as well as the plate and book a new Christmas DVD is a must to add to our growing collection!  The littlest reindeer is a cute animated film featuring the voices of Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games) and John Cleese plus other known names. When Blitzen suddenly announces his retirement from the reindeer team, Santa needs to find a replacement, and fast! Against all odds, Elliot and his best friend Hazel set out to prove that he is the little horse for the job. Busy with the North Pole reindeer try-outs, Hazel and Elliot don’t realise that a sinister lady has turned up at the ranch and their friends are in serious danger. 

The Personalised gift shop sell some cute Christmas Eve essentials which I like to add to our Christmas Eve Box  such as a personalised Santa's glass milk bottle which comes with 2 red and white stripe straws and can be personalised with your child/rens names (up to 15 charcters). Hot chocolate is my favourite Christmas eve treat before I go to bed and the personalised gift shop sell a range of adorable designed Christmas mugs. My favourite has to be the Santa Claus is coming to town design which you can get your name personalised inside the lip of the mug. 

I like to also add a pair of pjs into the box along with chocolate, crafts and things to get up during the day on Christmas eve to keep us all entertained. Cookie crumbles sell a range of baking mixes and this year we will be making some delicous gingerbread men the set makes 18 to 20 biscuits and all you have to do is add butter and golden syrup.  The posibilties are endless when it comes to adding to your Christmas eve box for example you could add a Christmas CD, festive cuddly toys, socks, more books and I've even added a bath bomb one year. 

What are your essentails for Christmas eve? 

Beauty Advent Calanders with Wilko

I will be sharing with you all everything that is in the Glam and kiss beauty advent calenders from Wilko this year. If you don't want to know than don't read any further.

It may be the 7th of December, however its not too late to get your hands on an advent calander. Beauty advent calanders seem to be a popular choice amongst girls/women at the moment. In fact I had a beauty advent last year filled with lovely exciting beauty treats. 

Wilko sell a wide range of advent calanders and I was sent two of their beauty ones to feature. First of is the Glow Beauty advent calander that is marketed for ages 16 and over, although I feel teens will love it as well. Countdown to Christmas in style and find beauty treats and accessories within this 24 day calander.

Filled with everything to help you relax this christmas time the Glam beauty advent calander was originally £10 is now reduced to £4 and only available to purchase now instore dependant on availability. The calander contains:
2x scented candles, 4x shimmer bath bombs, 3x 30ml bubble bath, 2x nail polish, 2x 30ml body lotion, 2x 20ml hand cream, 3x 30g bath salts, 1x 10ml cream face mask, 1x lip balm, 2x nail file, 1x pair toe separator and 2x cuticle sticks.

Moving on to the Kiss advent calander which is perfect for teens who are just getting into make up or want to add to their collection. Filled with essential peices of make up kit behind each of the 24 doors your teen will be happy to recieve this calander. The kiss advent calander originally retailed at £6 and is now down to just  £3 and available in store and online depending on stock levels. The calander contains:
1x highlighter, 1x lipstick, 2x eyeshadows, 1x mascara, 2x lip gloss, 3x nail polish (1x Pop, 1x Candy, 1x Party), 1x heart lip balm, 1x round lip balm, 1x red lip liner, 1x black eyeliner pencil, 1x blending sponge, 1x sponge eyeshadow applicator, 3x spiral bobbles, 2x nail stickers, 1x nail file, 1x pair toe separators and 1x pair wooden cuticle sticks.

Do you have an advent calander this year? If so I'd love to know what one you have got.

Tips for a December Birthday

In my family there are quite a few birthdays in December which are pretty close to Chritmas as well. My nans is on the 15th, Blake's on the 16th and then my nephew Finn's is on Christmas day. So the most expensive month also happens to be an even more expensive time of year for us.

With this said I do feel its still so important to celebrate those December birthdays and have them separate from Christmas when possible. I thought I'd share my tips on combating the issues surrounding a December Birthday:

Keep it seperate
Yes I do mean everything the decor, food, gifts etc. Yes we have our Christmas decorations up however Blake still gets both birthday and Christmas presents but never joint ones. We make sure his birthday gifts are wrapped in birthday paper, that he has birthday decorations up and we have yummy birthday food and cake.

Plan parties people can attend
It's tricky so close to Christmas to hold a party for Blake so we opt for the first weekend in December,  if we can. I know a few people try and opt for parties end of November or mid January though to make it a little easier.

Plan around the date
For example we are going to Butlins this year prior to Blake's birthday which will be filled with Christmas things but I made sure we would be back home before his birthday and won't be doing anything Christmas related on that day.

Treat their birthday like any other
In other words don't treat the birthday boy/girls December Birthday any different from a Birthday at any other time of the year.

Why Flowers Make the perfect gift

You can't go wrong with fresh flowers as a gift. They are beautiful, meaningful and a perfect gift for every occasion. Whether a gift for a special occasion such as a birthday, anniversary or even to brighten someone's day flowers will always be appreciated. Below are some of the reasons why fresh flowers make the perfect gift.

They are budget friendly 

Flowers are a gift that can be customised not only on preference but what works for your budget too.  I like to browse online for the latest flower deals so that I can not only save a bit of money but also find a great deal on a bouquet that would be out of budget without a discount. 

Can be ordered  online

Had a busy day or week rushing around? I'm definitely someone who has sat down after a long day and realised I need a gift for someone for an occasion that is coming up in a few days.  Ordering flowers online means I can browse from a wide selection whilst relaxing in front of the TV. Best of all the chosen bouquet will be delivered directly to their front door.

Are a clutter free gift

If like us you live in a small home or even in general you have too much stuff than flowers are a perfect gift.  A lot of gifts often don't get used or take up so much room but flowers are easy to accommodate and last around 2 weeks. Flowers are also a great way of improving the look of any space with a pop of colour and style.

They hold a special significance 

Did you know that different flowers have different meanings? Most people are aware that roses are a popular choice for romance however aren't aware of other flower meanings. Carnations for example are the flower for mothers day meaning they are a popular choice for mothers and grandmothers. Geranimum's are the symbol of friendship so are a go to choice for friends. On a more sombre note lilies are often the flower used at funerals as they mean loss, purity and afterlife. Even the colour of flowers have a meaning to further symbolise a more specific meaning. 

They are for everyone 

Even if you have an allergy there are flowers suitable such as succulents. Flowers such as orchids, tulips and cactus are also hypoallergenic due to low pollen count. So if like me you tend to suffer from hayfever you can still enjoy flowers.

Magic Santa Letter

Can you to tell I'm excited for Christmas? I hope you have been enjoying my Christmas posts so far this year.  With it being under a month to go to the big day, it's flying by.  I'm all the more excited about getting up the decorations, listening to Christmas songs and getting really into the festive spirit! 

Blake is almost four and I'm hoping that even with additional needs, he will understand a bit more about what is going on this year. This year is our first year where we have decided to do elf on the shelf and so this morning our little elf Buddy has arrived along with a letter for Blake from Santa.

Santa and his elves are currently very busy in the north pole and there is something magical about getting a letter from Santa. I hope this is a tradition that Blake will look forward to each year.

Magic Santa Letter provides some of the highest quality letters for children around the world.  They don't just sell letters from Santa either but other special items such as personalised Christmas wrapping paper, personalised Christmas eve boxes and personalised Santa sacks.

We got to choose a Santa sack for Blake from 10 festive designs and I went for the Ranua one which is personalised with Blake's name and in a cute Scandinavian design. The sack is large enough to hold even the most generous stash of Christmas presents and is excellent quality which is bound to last Blake years!

The magical personalised letter from Santa arrives in the post in an authentic looking envelope addressed to your child. The stamps on the bottom are enough to get children excited! As we have the start of the Christmas fair in town today I chose to have Buddy arrive a day early with Blake's letter which I put aside ready.

When choosing what letter to go for I went for the Magical package which costs £5.99 per letter. The package includes a letter from Santa on high quality A4 straight cut paper along with an authentic looking good child certificate. The letter itself is a great keepsake and so authentic looking along with the good child certificate especially as both are signed by Santa and feature the official north pole seal. 

You can choose from 3 different templates and the one I chose was the I love mince pies which can be personalised in 5 places within the letter for example with  your child's name, hometown and present wanted.

Other letter options are available such as the Truly Magical Santa letters which retail at £7.99 and include: 
- Your pesonal letter Printed on Luxury Thick Cut Scroll Paper.
- Good Child Certificate.
- Santa ‘Stop Here’ Door Hanger.
- Christmass Colouring Sheets.
- Magic Reindeer Food.

All sent in an authentic North Pole envelope and are also single parent enabled along with giving you the choice of one of six templates or write your own for a fully personalised letter.

Don't forget if its your baby's first Christmas this year you could opt for the baby's first Christmas letter for £6.99 which also comes with a good child certificate and magical reindeer food. There are a choice of 2 templates or to write your own letter with this option.

Delivery of the letters is really quick and arrived within a few days of ordering. I feel the letters are reasonably priced considering the contents provided with each one and postage by royal mail is included within the price. 

* Please note if ordering other items you will need to pay postage costs only letters have free postage included unless you spend over £40

** All orders of letters placed after 4pm on 19th December 2018 will NOT be guaranteed for Xmas Eve delivery. 

*** We were sent  a santa sack and personalised santa letter in exchange for an honest review, all views and opinions are 100% my own.