LIKES & LOVES| DECEMBER 2021

It's the last day of 2021 and I've been reflecting on the year. We have made some wonderful memories with friends and family however we have had heartbreak along the way too with the loss of a family member at the end of November. December has been strange this year however there still have been things I've enjoyed so read on for my likes and loves in December. 

Christmas Films
We've mainly been watching Christmas films this month. Some of my favourites include: The Christmas Chronicles, Micky's once upon a Christmas, A Christmas Carol and more. 

Blake's Birthday
Blake turned 7 on the 16th and we took him to Prezzo after school. The day before we had his friends over to play and for tea which he was so excited about. He was absolutely thrilled with all his presents.



2021 READING CHALLENGE | WHAT I'VE READ IN DECEMBER

It's the last of my reading challenge for 2021 and unfortunately I didn't complete my goal of 75 books however I have managed to read 60 which I'm happy with. December has been a good month and I'm not in a slump anymore and starting to enjoy reading again. 


The Deaths of December by Susi Holliday 
A crime thriller mixed in with the festive season and you get The Deaths of December. Most festive books tend to be romances and I'm glad to find one in my favourite genre. The hunt is on for a serial killer in a thrilling festive crime novel.It looks like a regular advent calendar. Until DC Becky Greene starts opening doors...and discovers a crime scene behind almost every one. The police hope it's a prank. Because if it isn't, a murderer has just surfaced - someone who's been killing for twenty years. 


LITTLE MOMENTS 2021: 52/52: OUR CHRISTMAS

 Christmas this year was different from usual. As we spent a few days over the holidays with Stuart's family the routine was different especially for Blake. We had a death in the family near the end of November so we wanted to be together and it didn't really feel like Christmas. 

We did the usual tradition of a mince pie and a glass of milk for Santa and a carrot for the reindeer before bed. In the morning Blake had a few presents to open however most were at ours so we didn't have to try and cart them around on the train. 


We had a lovely Christmas dinner and just had a pretty laid back Christmas. Once we got home today Blake got to open all his other presents followed by a takeaway for dinner. 




LITTLE MOMENTS 2021: 51/52: BLAKE'S BIRTHDAY/LINCOLN CASTLE ILLUMINATION

On December 16th our gorgeous Blake turned 7. He was very excited for his birthday and been pointing at his Peppa Pig cake we had in the fridge in the lead up to it. Once the day arrived he was so excited to see his pile of presents and kept shouting thank you, thank you! He managed to open them all before getting ready for school. We were told once he was picked up from school that he had such a wonderful day. It happened to be Christmas Party Day at school but his class did it a double celebration for him. He also got to see Santa and got a present from him too. 



LITTLE MOMENTS 2021: 50/52: CHRISTMAS MARKET/EYE TEST

 This week we were glad that Blake could finally get out of isolation and back to school on the Friday. This meant that we were able to get out and about at the weekend.

Saturday was an early birthday celebration for Blake with a few of his friends at soft play. We were so glad that this was something that we didn't have to cancel as Blake was so excited to see his friends.


On Sunday we headed to our towns Christmas Market that was on. It was slightly disappointing as there weren't many stalls. It turns out the event had more things on the Saturday. Blake still had a wonderful time though on the rides especially the tea cups.


We then headed to Specsavers with Blake for an eye test. It went much better than we had expected it to go and are very proud of how he coped with it all. They want to see him again in 6 months time so he gets used to it and in hopes that they will be able to be able to do more tests and get a better look at his eyes. 

SIGNS YOU NEED A NEW BOILER

*In collaboration with BBright


Boilers are an important part of keeping your home warm, especially this time of year. Boilers don't have an expiration date, however they can last up to approximately 15 years.  Over time you may notice that your boiler doesn't work as well as it is meant to. There are some tell-tale signs that your boiler is on it's way out before it gives up completely. Today I am sharing with you about those tell-tale signs to look for.



LITTLE MOMENTS: 49/52: COVID

After managing to avoid it Covid came into our home this past week. Monday just before lunch we had a call from school to say that Blake needed to be picked up as the whole class was shutting due to contact with a positive Covid case meaning we needed to get him booked in for a PCR.

At the time none of us had symptoms so was expecting a negative result. We managed to get a PCR booked in for him Monday afternoon. Tuesday Blake had symptoms of a cold and a bit of a cough. That evening his results came through, he has Covid.

Exploring Gratitude with Your Child

 By encouraging your child to look for the good in life and express gratitude on a regular basis, you will help them in a number of ways. For instance, they may feel more appreciative of the people around them and will therefore build stronger relationships. What’s more, they might feel more confident about their abilities and the support they have, encouraging them to take risks and overcome challenges more easily. They will become more empathetic towards those less fortunate. They may feel more optimistic about the future because they know that life is full of wonders. As you can see, there are lots of benefits to exploring gratitude with your child. If you’re wondering where to start, here are some tips from a prep school in Hertfordshire.




Exploring STEM Subjects with Your Child

*This is a collaborative post


STEM is an acronym that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. When referencing STEM subjects, one is usually talking about a subject that falls under one of those four categories, like Biology, Psychology, Astronomy, or Coding, to name but a few. With so many career opportunities nowadays seeking applicants with STEM qualifications, you may want to consider ways you can explore these subjects with your child at home. I have teamed up with a secondary school in Bath to share some advice. 



Top Tips for Helping Your Child Learn a New Language

*This is a collaborative post


Most schools in the UK provide students with modern foreign language lessons and you may be looking for ways you can help your child. It can be quite daunting, particularly if you don’t speak the language yourself, but there are still lots of ways you can help. Here are some tips from a boarding school in Wiltshire


LIKES & LOVES| NOVEMBER 2021

Some of the items featured in this post include affiliate links. I’ve added a * next to those items for reference. Purchasing via these links does not cost you extra


This month we've done a fair few things we went to a fireworks display, Illuminate Gainsborough event plus managed to get most of our Christmas present shopping done. 


Netflix 

The Chestnut Man

A figurine made of chestnuts is found at the scene of a grisly murder; from this creepy clue, two detectives hunt for a killer linked to a politician's missing child.


Disney +

We've been making our way through most of the Disney classics this month and Blake has really enjoyed them. Dumbo, 101 Dalmatians, The Aristocats and Lady & the tramp have been Blake's favourites so far.


Adele 30
I've been listening to Adele's new album quite a bit since it's release on the 19th.  In fact I'm listening to it as I write this up. 

How to Raise a Science Lover

*This is a collaborative post


Some children find science pretty boring, while others are completely fascinated by it. If given the right sort of encouragement, it’s highly likely that you can help your child find a love of science from an early age. There are lots of ways you can achieve this, as explored below by an independent school in Surrey.



2021 READING CHALLENGE | WHAT I'VE READ IN NOVEMBER

I'm in a reading slump with only and 2 and a bit books read in November. For me that is unusual  as I normally read 4 or more a month. Admittedly I've felt pretty low which has had an impact as I've not been enjoying the things I usually love and reading is one of them things. 

Haven't they grown by Sophie Hannah 
This is my first read by Sophie Hannah and I really enjoyed it. 

All Beth has to do is drive her son to his Under-16s away match, watch him play, and bring him home.


Just because she knows that her former best friend lives near the football ground, that doesn’t mean she has to drive past her house and try to catch a glimpse of her. Why would Beth do that, and risk dredging up painful memories? She hasn’t seen Flora Braid for twelve years.

But she can’t resist. She parks outside Flora’s house and watches from across the road as Flora and her children, Thomas and Emily, step out of the car. Except…

There’s something terribly wrong.

Flora looks the same, only older – just as Beth would have expected. It’s the children that are the problem. Twelve years ago, Thomas and Emily Braid were five and three years old. Today, they look precisely as they did then. They are still five and three. They are Thomas and Emily without a doubt – Beth hears Flora call them by their names – but they haven’t changed at all. They are no taller, no older.

Why haven’t they grown?


LITTLE MOMENTS : 47 & 48/52: BOOSTER JAB & GORGEOUS SUNSETS

I've not really got much to say about the past two weeks. I've had my covid booster which left me with a really achey arm with a swelling in my arm pit. I had no headache though like i had after the two previous jabs. 

There have also been some lovely sunsets recently that I've managed to capture although it's definitely too cold for Blake to play out with friends now. 

We are going to be very busy with Christmas stuff over the next couple of weeks which I'm sure I'll be sharing especially on social media.




CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE 2021 | FOR THE ADULTS

Ad/Gifted : I was sent the items featured in this gift guide in return for inclusion. Affiliate links are marked with a *



Last week I shared my gift guide for the kids and today I'm sharing with you my gift guide for the adults. There is a mixture of items featured for all genders. So grab yourself a drink and settle down as this gift guide is a long one. 

Embracing Neurodiversity in Recruitment

*This is a collaborative guestpost

Far from being a politically correct gesture, the embracing of neurodiversity in the workplace brings with it a whole host of benefits, not only to society at large, but also to the many businesses that are engaged in the process. Before we move on to explain the benefits and offer advice on how to go about embracing neurodiversity it is worth offering a definition.


Neurodiversity defined

Judy Singer was a sociologist with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and it was she who coined the term "neurodiversity" in the late ‘90s. The term refers to the wide range of fluctuations in individual brain function and behavioural traits, considered part of normal variations within the population. Among those considered “neurodiverse” or “neurodivergent” are those with autism, dyspraxia, dyslexia and ADHD among other conditions.




CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE 2021 | FOR THE KIDS

Ad/Gifted : I was sent the items featured in this gift guide in return for inclusion. Affiliate links are marked with a *


It's that time of year again when I share with you my annual Christmas gift guides. Christmas doesn't have to be stressful if you plan ahead and my handy guides should help you when it comes to finding gifts for your nearest and dearest. I have a gift guide coming up for the adults soon but today it's all about the kids so read on.


LITTLE MOMENTS : 46/52: ILLUMINATE GAINSBOROUGH

Yesterday evening we headed out to a local event to  commemorate Gainsborough’s 400th anniversary marking the town’s connections to Pilgrims’ heritage.


It was an event that I would have loved to have stayed longer at however Blake got bored quickly. The event started with a digital projection on the walls of Gainsborough Old Hall with the story The Pilgrims: Our Vouag.  It was very interesting to learn about. We then got to see the paper lanterns that were made and set up on the grounds. You can see some of them in the photos above but there were plenty more.


We then saw the illuminated fire garden which really was amazing. We didn't know when we were there that you could actually walk around there to get a more closer look. It was very packed event and a lot of people were watching from the walls hence why we had no idea we could actually get closer. There was also a self led arts trail that we had no idea about. Even though we didn't spend along time there we still had a good time. 

UPDATING AREAS OF OUR HOME WITH DESENIO

 *This is a collaborative post on how artwork from Desenio has made a simple update to areas of our home.


I don't know about you but every now and again I like to change up some of the areas in our home. One of the most easiest way to do this is with wall art. Artwork really completes a space and can actually make a big difference to how the area looks. 



Desino are a brand who I go to for when I am in need of some new prints around our home. Their gallery wall tool is so handy for helping to see how the prints we liked would look together. The tool is also great for placement ideas. 

LITTLE MOMENTS: 45/52: BONFIRE NIGHT

 Remember, Remember the 5th of November. 


This year we decided to take Blake to our local bonfire night event. We have avoided going to these events in the past as Blake is very sensitive to sounds and loud sounds can distress him.


However on Friday night we had sat out in the garden with our neighbour and her children watching the fireworks together and Blake absolutely loved it! 



So we decided that we would risk the event on Saturday. We are so glad we did as Blake absolutely loved it and we are so proud of him for how he coped. We are so glad that we were able to take him to experience the event. 


Some simple ways busy mums can de-stress

  

https://twitter.com/SamL17401277
  Image via: https://twitter.com/SamL17401277


Life can be crazy, particularly for any busy mothers out there. Whether you’re juggling your duty as a mum with your professional life or you’re at your wits end after a day exploring a local castle, being a mum can be tough and, on occasions, stressful. It happens to every mum. 

REVIEW: SEQUIN ART CRAFT KITS

Ad/Gifted – The Sequin/Diamond art kits featured in this post were gifted to me in exchange for a review. However all opinions are my own.

If you and/or your children are into arts and crafts then these Sequin Art craft kits will be a hit. Over the past few months Blake and I have taken time to do these sets together. Even some of his friends have taken an interest and joined in. I was sent a set of 3 designs from the 60s range, a larger butterfly design from the Red range and a Diamond art kit too.



Sequin Art has become a trend for both children and adults as a calming and de-stressing activity. You don't have to be artistic to do these sets but just have fun and do them at your own pace.

Everything you need is inside the boxes: sequins, pins, image/guide and a polystyrene frame to mount the sequins on. All you have to do is use the pins to fix the sequins to the frame, following the guide to create your sparkling design.

Antalya: Journey to the Pearl of Turkey

 *This is a collaborative guestpost


Welcome to Antalya, a seaside resort on the shores of the Mediterranean, an earthly paradise and the capital of the Turkish Riviera. The 9th largest city in Turkey has a rich history, natural beauty, intense topography, and it is no coincidence that it hosts over 11 million visitors from around the world annually. As the fourth most popular city in the world, Antalya is one of the most important tourist destinations in the world that offers you a unique experience.



LIKES & LOVES| OCTOBER 2021

 Some of the items featured in this post include affiliate links. I’ve added a * next to those items for reference. Purchasing via these links does not cost you extra. 



October has actually been a mixed month. Blake has been poorly with a cold and had to have time off while waiting results from a covid test. Luckily he was all fine. We have also got up to some really exciting things this month too. We joined in with trick or treating with Blake for the first time which he really enjoyed. We've been to the zoo, joined a  Halloween trail, went pumpkin picking and spent time with family. 



All 4 
Help
A young carer at a Liverpool care home forms a bond with a challenging patient struggling with young-onset Alzheimer's disease. However, the horrifying circumstances of the outbreak of Covid-19 throw everything into disarray.



Netflix 
Squid Game
You have most likely heard of this one due to it's popularity. Definitely one kids shouldn't be watching. 
Hundreds of cash-strapped contestants accept an invitation to compete in children's games for a tempting prize, but the stakes are deadly.


Maid 
Single mother Alex turns to housecleaning to make ends meet as she escapes an abusive relationship and overcomes homelessness to create a better life for her daughter, Maddy.


Halloween films
We've spent this month watching quite a few family friendly Halloween films. You can check out my list from a few year's ago which features some favourites.




Friendship decor sign
We are really good friends with our next door neighbour and she gave me this little sign as a gift. 

2021 READING CHALLENGE | WHAT I'VE READ IN OCTOBER

I'm a bit delayed with some blog posts at the moment as we had a busy half term so I'm doing some catch up. Today I am sharing with you what I have been reading in October.

Invisible Girl By Lisa Jewel
A story of secrets and injustices, and of how we look in the wrong places for the bad people while the real predators walk among us in plain sight. This was a great twisty read which I expected from one of my favourite authors. 


LITTLE MOMENTS: 44/52:OCTOBER HALF TERM

Half term week has been a busy week for us as we had Stuart's Mum and her husband up to visit for a few days and had quite a few days out. Even though its been busy we did have fun and made lovely memories.

Monday
Blake mainly had free time and a few friends pop round for a bit. My in laws arrived around 4pm and we ended up getting in some pizzas for tea. 

Tuesday
We headed to Messingham Zoo which I wrote about here. If you are ever in the area its definitely a lovely little place to pass a few hours and see some animals. That evening we had a fish and chippy tea at a local place where their restaurant had reopened as they had kept close since March 2020 and only had their takeaway bit open until now.




HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR EARS

*This is a collaborative post

We often take our ears for granted but once hearing is damaged it's damaged for good. So don't wait until it is too late and start looking after your ears today. There are quite a few ways to care for your ears. Some are quite obvious and you most likely do them, others you may not realise affect your hearing.


MESSINGHAM ZOO | LINCOLNSHIRE

It's half-term and we have Stuart's mum and her husband visiting for a few days. Today we headed to Messingham Zoo for a few hours. We like to fit as much fun stuff as we can in as it really helps to stop Blake getting bored. 

Messingham Zoo is a family run business. The primary aim is to offer something different to larger zoos and wildlife parks by focussing on close up encounters with smaller, friendlier animals. 

LITTLE MOMENTS | 43/52 : LOLLIPOPS

There is something about lollipops as a child. Especially the large colourful ones that you spot in shop windows. Blake spotted a picture of one on the side of a local sweet shop and the joy on his face when we said yes filled me with nostalgia from my childhood and wanting the same sort of lollipop. 

It brought back that feeling of being a child and so wanting the sugary treat. I remember getting one from a cousin one year as she had been travelling and came home with ones for my sister and I from when she went to Disney World. I remember how as a child they looked huge and was such a treat for us to have. I can't remember if I ever did finish it but I do remember it being just as bright and colourful as the one Blake got. 



AD | GIFT IDEAS FOR A 10 YEAR OLD BOY

*This post is in collaboration with Wicked Uncle


As boys get older it can be harder to know what to get them as gifts. I certainly find it especially harder for my two oldest nephews. I've found some brilliant children's gift ideas here, not only that but I thought I'd share with you some of my favourites below.


5 Reasons Leeds is the Place to Be

 

*This is a collaborative post

In the UK, it’s easy to forget that there is life outside of London.  


But while the nation’s capital may have international attention, the humble city of Leeds has been ranked the best place to live and work in the north of England, and is ranked as the 12th best city overall! This vibrant, exciting metropolis has risen in popularity over the last few years, attracting businesses, families and professionals from all over the country.



LITTLE MOMENTS | 42/52 : PUMPKIN SPICE LATTES & CINNAMON SWIRLS

 I absolutely love the cosy comfort food and drink this time of year. This past week has been about pumpkin spice lattes and cinnamon swirls. They are definitely my two favourite autumn time treats. 

The cinnamon swirls we have are ones that are pre-made and just need cutting up and baking. However I'm desperate to be able to have a go at making some from scratch. 


As for pumpkin spice lattes I've been getting mine from Greggs and have had 5 since September.  I'm surprised in all fairness that it hasn't been more. I tried making some at home last year which ended up not working out. I need to try again and find a different recipe.



TRADE TO AID REUSABLE SANITARY PADS

*AD – I was gifted a set of Trade To Aid Reusable Sanitary Pads for this review. All opinions are my own though.


For quite a few year's now I've been using cloth sanitary pads. It was a switch I'm glad I've made as not only am I helping the environment, I'm saving money and I've found them much more comfortable than the plastic filled disposable ones. 


Today I am sharing with you a company whose mission is to end period poverty. Did you know that over 500 million women worldwide are affected by period poverty. Meaning that they don't have access to enough feminine hygiene products. 



Should I Encourage My Child to Learn an Instrument?

  *This is a collaborative post

Learning an instrument isn’t just about being able to perform a piece of music; there are many other skills that youngsters can learn through musical hobbies. With this in mind, there’s certainly no reason why you shouldn’t encourage your child to learn an instrument, as long as it’s something that interests them. I have teamed up with a private school in Gerrards Cross to explore the benefits of learning an instrument below…


Helping Your Child Develop their Critical Thinking Skills

  *This is a collaborative post

Critical thinking skills are an important aspect of a child’s educational development. They are essentially what allow us to analyse and compare our existing knowledge with new information to form a logical conclusion. So, critical thinking skills help us make decisions, come up with a line of argument and resolve conflict. With this in mind, you may be wondering how you can help your child develop their critical thinking skills. Here are some tips from a senior school in Northwood.


The Benefits of Outdoor Learning for Children

 *This is a collaborative post

The great outdoors is abundant with a range of learning opportunities for children, and its something that parents should encourage where possible. So many of us are worried about the amount of time our kids spend playing on their phones and games consoles, so getting them out and about is a great way to give them a much-needed digital detox. I have teamed up with an international school in Hertfordshire to share the benefits of outdoor learning.


How to a Raise an Optimistic Child

  *This is a collaborative post*



Maintaining an optimistic attitude can be challenging at times, even for the most upbeat of people. However, it’s a valuable mindset to possess because it helps us find contentment and overcome difficulties with a positive approach. With that said, parents should try and find ways to instil a sense of optimism in their children, using the following tips from a girls’ prep school in Surrey.




4 activities to do with kids

   *This is a collaborative post*


Baking your favourite treats

A wonderful activity to do with kids when it is raining outside is baking. Trade those screens for spatulas and bake your favourite sugary treats. Think about pumpkin spice cookies; a lovely treat for tea. 


Your home will smell like a real bakery and your kids’ bellies will be full and happy. If you want to make it a full-day activity, make that layered cake that you’ve always dreamed of! Invite some friends or family and treat them to your masterpiece. 


Start a crafting project

A good way to stimulate your kids’ creative ability is to start a crafting project. Prepare well and find a project that is suitable for you and your child(ren). Get all the materials you need at the art supply store and start crafting. 

LITTLE MOMENTS | 40 & 41/52 |SOFT PLAY AND ANAWFUL COLD

 The past two weeks have been  a bit all over the place. I've had an awful sore throat on and off still, but made sure we went to soft play on Saturday 2nd October as Blake had been  asking to go. We actually had a great time there minus a little hiccup when  Blake lashed out at another child. But other than that he loved running around and burning off energy. Whilst we were out and about I managed to stop via Greggs to grab a pumpkin spiced latte. I must admit they are one of my favourite autumn drinks.


Then this week Blake has had an awful cough and we've had to do two covid tests. One was a lateral flow and the other was a PCR and both came back negative so he was allowed back to school. Unfortunately he was sent home again Friday after he fell asleep in class, which really is unlike him. He still isn't 100% but I'm hoping next week he has better luck going to school and most importantly starts to feel more like himself again. We did take him to the out of hours Dr to just double check it wasn't anything like a throat or chest infection. It is just a cold but it's obviously a bad one. 



REVIEW| VEGAMOUR HAIRCARE RANGE

Ad/Gifted – The Vegamour Haircare products  featured in this post were gifted to me in exchange for a review. However all opinions are my own.


Recently I've been looking after my hair better. I've stopped washing my hair everyday and since the end of August I've been using products from Vegamour. Vegamour is 100% vegan, cruelty free, safe and uses effective products for achieving thicker, fuller hair. Their products are free of sulfates, parabens, silicones, gluten and artificial fragrance. 


My hair has always been fine (thank you PCOS) so I'm always on the look out for products that will help me to achieve more fuller and thicker hair. Vegamour have a variety of products to choose from to suit your needs. I have been trying the following:



5 THINGS TO DO BEFORE YOU MOVE HOME

   *This is a collaborative post*

Moving house is definitely stressful and time consuming. It's not just the packing but the actual process of moving too. We have moved quite a few times and it never gets any easier. But there are things you can do to make it less stressful on you.


5 Products That Can Transform Your Home

   *This is a collaborative post*


Home improvements can be the secret to making your humble abode feel good as new. 


Unfortunately, though it may be cheaper (and less effort) than moving house, it can come with a hefty price tag of its own and cause chaos.


It’s better than the alternative right? And thankfully home improvement doesn’t need to be nearly as high maintenance as you might think. Whilst some of these five products will require a little DIY skill, others will yield instant improvement – take a look and find out how you can transform your home. 


Interior design secrets of Instagram stars

  *This is a collaborative post*

The internet is populated with famous names setting trends across industries, whether its fashion, makeup or interior design. 


There are major misconceptions about how much money these individuals make – while there are many making five-figure sums for single posts, others generate very little revenue and simply create content for the love of it.


Many of these are micro-influencers – creators with follower counts of a mere(-ish) five or six figures. They aren’t working on big budgets, minus a PR package here and there, but many of them are running widely followed interior design accounts that inspire countless homemakers. 


Whether you dream of being a trendsetter or simply want your home to resemble an Insta-ready haven, these are just a few secrets of social media stars and how they perfect their palaces.