Tuesday, 17 October 2017

A Cosy Space {ft.Cotton Ball Lights}

Hello again
It's been a while since I've actually sat and wrote here; I think I've just been so eager to get us settled into the September routine it feels like I've thought of nothing else and to be honest I've been feeling quite exhausted! It's no secret that I struggle a lot with headaches or migraines as they so often seem to be these days. After so many visits to the doctor and countless alternative and dietary efforts I still have bouts of them that can last for weeks. The after effects leave me feeling so drained that all I want to do is sleep but having two little guys means it's not really an option! I've had to realise that I have to prioritise my family of course, but also that I need to stop trying to be and do everything; to sometimes just be and enjoy the quiet moments. I got a little book on Hygge a few months ago- if you're new to the party like me, Hygge is a Danish concept that has really taken off over here in the last year; it's all about embracing and cherishing the present moment and creating an environment in which feelings of warmth, cosiness and contentment can exist (hopefully I've got that right?! That's the gist I get of it anyway!) As soon as I started reading into it I found that it's not much different to what many people do in their different cultures, only using a different word(s); it's about living slowly, being present, peaceful environments, incorporating nature into your home and creating a welcoming atmosphere where people feel relaxed. Whatever you call it, I think it's certainly something we could all use  and definitely something that should be part of our lives. Sometimes we spend so much time trying to do everything as fast as we can in order to relax that we just find more things to do (well I definitely do).

 I decided to make our back room into a more relaxed space rather than the simple dining room it's been since we moved here six years ago. Now that little E and I are together all day while TJ is at school I wanted it to be somewhere he could play as well being a comfortable space to sit and just read or have a peaceful cup of tea being able to look onto the garden. It didn't take me long or cost much at all and without even trying to hard I managed to work in a few of the tips for creating a "Hyggeligt" space, adding some plants, a large soft rug, clean looking cube storage and a comfortable chair. I used some old crates given to me by our local supermarket of all places (they were for spring bulbs!) as these kind of makeshift shelves and I love them.
Joe surprised me with this adorable Samsung  Bottle speaker which also glows any colour you want it to; it's perfect for listening to some relaxing tunes or just the radio on a morning. I love that it looks like a little milk bottle!
Most unusually my favourite furniture addition to the space is what has become a large low table in the centre of the room. It was once our small dining room table but Joe kindly chopped the legs down for me and it now functions as a brilliant low coffee/play/dining table. 
One Hygge theme I noticed about creating a relaxing and cosy space was the addition of soft lighting. I am an absolute sucker for lights especially lovely glowy lamps and fairy lights; they just add so much to any room making it seem so much more inviting and warm. These Cotton Ball lights are the first set I've ever had and I think they're just gorgeous; great quality,they give off such a lovely soft glow and go perfectly in my little room. I picked the colours myself and decided to go with soft greys and vanilla colours which I think work well in any space. It was so easy to pick the colours out using their website and they're super easy to put together; I think these are a fantastic idea if you want to add a different style of lighting without spending a lot of money or if you're not too sure when it comes to placing lighting around a room with effect. These look so wonderful wherever they are and I think just add that special feel; the way simple candlelight does or the lights on a Christmas tree.
Being able to choose from such a variety of colours means they can be suited to any room or even season; I think they'd look perfect in Autumnal Oranges and yellows or Christmas greens and reds for staircases or fireplaces.
I'm really thrilled with my new space and even more so that we actually do use it; it's our place to play, eat and do homework on an evening as well as somewhere to relax in and just look out at the garden.
I have a few more things to add to this room so I'll be posting more soon!

NB Post in collaboration with Cotton Ball Lights and contains affiliate links to some similar items however all opinions are entirely my own


Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Starting the School Year {Getting Organised ft. Cheerz}

 The last few weeks have completely got away from me;
with our eldest starting school I feel like every bit of energy has been focused on it. The whole preparation has felt so long, getting everything he needs sorted, making sure he's happy and settled and then actually getting through the first week has been so much more draining, physically and emotionally, than I anticipated. I'm not sure if anyone else feels this way when their child starts school..please tell me it's not just me?!
Anyway the blog has suffered a little; as is the case when you work for yourself, you tend to put off everything you can and try to fit in work at crazy hours as there just isn't time in the day. I've been so tired recently I just haven't been able to muster up the energy to pull any late night blogging sessions and on top of which I have had a stint of headaches which really hasn't helped. 
I'm feeling better now TJ is finally in school and I'm starting to get my bearings being at home with just one child again, it's just so quiet! Something I've discovered about family life is that it is always changing; just when you've got the hang of something, a newborn, breastfeeding, a toddler, weaning, working from home, having one child, something changes and so does the whole dynamic. With the best intentions in the world, a routine only works for so long and then it's time to start a new one. It can be hard to keep up but at least life is always interesting!
So here I am now, starting at the beginning of the school year;
We were given a welcome pack which has a list of all the diary dates for the next year and of course I forgot the first one and only realised today when I saw a lot of queuing parents with very smart children; yeah it's photo day. Luckily the little man looked smart and let me do the stereotypical mum face wipe before he ran off to class. Silly Mama!
I am quite an organised person usually, (believe it or not!) but I do need to up my game. Thankfully my gorgeous new calendar from Cheerz arrived just in time- so I can actually remember whats happening and keep track of all these dates. 

It was super easy to personalise with some of our favourite pictures of the boys; you can also change the colour frames and add your own dates. I'm a little addicted to the Cheerz site as it is just so easy to use and the quality of the photos is always fantastic. You can even add yourself a hook to hang it on- super organised right? I've never had a personalised Calender before but having seen this one I think I'll need one every year!
I'll be spending this week getting on top of everything, but I'm sure it won't be long before everything changes up again..

P.S Here's a code for 10% off the Cheerz website (minimum spend £20) 84TE56 or use SAL8CR for £4 off your first order! (and Just so you know, this ones a Referral Code)

NB Post in Collaboration with Cheerz however all opinions are entirely our own

Monday, 25 September 2017

Autumn Days {ft. Stuffel Bags}

There's nothing like a beautiful September to set you off into Autumn;
Considering the end of Summer was a bit of a washout, it feels so good to see the sun albeit with a bit of a chill in the air. This week has been perfectly Autumnal although we've been so busy it's been hard to properly enjoy it. This month has all been about getting out eldest ready for school; meeting teachers, buying supplies (last minute of course!) and making sure forms are filled in. It'll be a hard and strange transition for all of us but one that  I'm hoping and praying proves a to be a great change and something TJ really thrives with. He is so excited and we've been really impressed so far with the School; he's starting on Thursday so I'm trying to keep a level head and keep myself busy(and not cry at the gates!) I think knowing that our full days together are coming to an end and made me pause a lot more during the day; leaving the tidying up to play or read a story just a bit more often. The age gap between the boys seems to have been closing over the Summer, and although there's a lot of squabbling over toys/lids/empty shampoo bottles they actually do play together quite often. As long as I keep a watchful eye over Little E, he loves playing Lego with his brother. I think he just wants to copy whatever he see's him doing, so he tries really hard to build things and watches his brother with intense concentration! Lego is a big part of our lives in this House; TJ has been literally obsessed with it since he saw it occupying shelves in his Dad's office and he has only grown to love it even more. He builds Lego from the moment he gets up, has a whole scene set up in his room and always asks for it at Christmas and for his Birthday. I am so impressed by the things he creates from his own imagination and I think its one of those really great toys that everyone can enjoy.
Clearing it away is the biggest problem as apparently the best way to play with it is spread out out on the floor, so naturally when I saw these Stuffel Bags I knew they'd be a brilliant solution.
They're heavy cotton and make tidying away a mountain of Duplo, Lego or any other toys so much easier. The novelty also means little people are much happier to tidy away their toys!
  Yesterday was lovely and Sunny so after a morning at home we decided to head out for a little Picnic; It wasn't very well planned, just a few snacks and sandwiches from our local Sainsburys; but the Stuffel proved to be the perfect bag for carrying our supplies and Picnic Blanket. We had a lovely time sitting under the trees and playing on the grass. The Stuffel was the perfect size for us and although the grass was a little damp kept our sarnies dry!
I'm relishing in these days together but I'm sure we'll appreciate our new routine once it comes around; I think the most important thing is our intention to always make the most of our time with our children whether they're at home or at school. These precious days with our little ones just fly by so quickly.

NB Post in Collaboration with Stuffel however all opinions are entirely our own

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Mama's & Makers {#1 Little Dot Company}

Ever since I started blogging I've been amazed by the amount of successful small businesses there are on social media. One of the things I love about the internet is that it has given so many people the opportunity to share their talents and run their business from home without being put off by having to pay to rent a space or shop while they are still growing. Having the chance to see how people respond to your products and gain more confidence is a huge help when you're trying to set yourself up- I'm speaking from experience as a small Etsy shop owner myself. 
The other thing I was impressed by was just how many Mama's there are out there running their own businesses - either full or part time but always whilst chasing after their little ones. It inspired me a lot, and still does. I think at the heart of any mama trying to set herself up is the desire to be your own boss; to set the rules; to work at your own pace. It gives you that degree of flexibility to work around family life. That's not to say it's easier, as generally you have to find the time to complete orders at some point; late nights are common if you unexpectedly get a surge in sales!
I love being able to make something that someone else not only likes but is happy enough to buy with their well earned pennies, even in this day and age its a big deal! Of course we sit up late at night, creating and packaging and sorting to make our contribution to the family money pot but there's also so much heart and soul that goes into what we make. It's ours, and every thing we carefully put together and send out has a little bit of ourselves in it; it's hard work but really rewarding seeing your vision come to life. 
Though the lovely window of social media I've come across so many inspiring and brilliant Mama's who make so I've decided to use this little blog of mine to show them some support by sharing their work. I'll be sharing a series of posts about some of my favourite Mama's and makers and their lovely creations. Hopefully you'll be introduced to some fabulous small businesses and be inspired to shop independent- or start one yourself! 

This week I'm sharing with you Little Dot Company - a clothing and accessories shop for Mums, Dads and their little people. 
Beth Campagna is Mum to two Isabella (little Dot) who is two and Teddy who is Five. 
The concept of Little Dot Company is to journey with you from Baby Shower, to baby to parenthood.
The increase in the Baby shower trend over the last few years inspired Beth to create her own range of coordinating accessories, before moving on to her own clothing range, some of which are inspired by her little ones being "non-sleepers"!  Beth stocks an adorable line of tots apparel with hilarious slogans and her "need more sleep" tops for tired Mama's have been hugely popular, being spotted on one of my favourite bloggers Katie at mummydaddyme and footballers wife Rebecca Vardy
Beth's describes her designs as a "Tongue in cheek nod to the sleep deprived Mama" and the tired mama movement; Beth saw a gap in the market for cool clothes for Mama's with a twist, combining modern styles with a cheeky recognition of the Mama life. She's since expanded the range to include a Dad collection and even something for the Grandma's!
Little Dot Company also supports charities such as Kicks count and mental health charities, with donations from their sales; Beth recently wrote for the Huff Post about her own experiences of depression in her family and raises awareness though her blog to encourage Mums to support each other through motherhood and speak up about anxiety and post-natal depression.

 "...it's important we stick together and find ways of supporting and raising awareness of coping with mental health. Hearing other people's stories of their experience with post-natal depression or anxiety can be a comfort for anyone going through it. Sometimes it feels a relief to know you are not alone. "

This little company has a big heart and I'm sure I'm sure there are exciting things to come for Beth and her business. There's definitely going to be a some Mama wear on my Christmas list, and as I'm at that stage where I get to pick my little ones clothes, some twinning outfits, as I'm a cool Mum like that! 
Thank's to Beth for sharing her Mama made business with us; do pop over to Little Dot Company and check out their Facebook page too!
Do you know any brilliant Mama's who make? Or are you your own boss? 
I love to check out new independent shops so let me know below or drop me an email!
#supportsmall !


Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Keeping Track {ft.Watchu}


Sunday, 3 September 2017

The Mama Uniform


Thursday, 24 August 2017

A Day out with Piglets

This Summer has flown by; we seem to have crammed so many things over the last few weeks and I can't believe this weekend is the last in August. This Summer also marks our last with our eldest little guy at home as he heads off to school in September-something I'm still not ready for!
I think we've just been trying to enjoy the freedom of not having much of a routine and being able to have days out when we want; I'm sure we'll all settle into our new routine come September but until then it's been lovely to just appreciate this time together. This Summer has also been the first where little E has been able to actively get involved. He's pretty good on his feet now and isn't a fan of being confined too much, so we take any chance we get to get these boys out and using up some energy while catching the sunshine while it lasts...
 This week were really pleased to be invited to Piglets Adventure Farm near York; Despite visiting York fairly often we've never been before and actually only heard of it this year. Piglets combines a real hands on farm experience with large play areas, rides and activities. 
TJ was so excited to get there so we grabbed the buggy and set off early to make the best of the good weather; It was quite a busy day as everyone else clearly had the same idea but it didn't take us long to get in and get exploring!


Monday, 14 August 2017

Time Flies


Saturday, 5 August 2017

In The Bag {Ft. Child's Farm}

I don't know about other mum's but leaving the house with two little ones I often feel like I'm carrying everything in my bag but the kitchen sink! To be fair TJ has just turned five so there's a few less things he needs but you can still guarantee he's going to want a drink/tissue/snack/plaster/ random Lego man at some point in the day.
 I did buy myself a lovely baby changing bag just before little E was born but since he started to get on the move I realised I needed something a bit easier to carry and a bit more robust for days out. I picked up my gorgeous Cath Kidston bag (as a birthday treat to me!) a few months ago and I love it. It's really lightweight -which is obviously needed, has plenty of space for a multitude of things and is just so very pretty and flowery. Which I need. Being the only girl in the house.
Although my bag looks pretty it's usually concealing the messy contents of a day with two little guys; mostly soggy muslin cloths, broken biscuits, "treasures" that TJ needs me to look after (i.e flowers and rocks from his travels!), sticky toys and other such delights!
Depending on where we're going that day I tend to pack different things as we might need them like changes of clothes and extra toys but I always carry the essentials wherever we go. Simply because I know we'll need them as we always do. I always make sure I have drinks for both boys as well as a little snack as I know at some point they'll be thirsty, hungry or just grumpy! I always keep a couple of Piccolo pouches in there because they both love them. 
Nappies and wipes are the obvious first check whenever we leave the house; Little E, being a wild one, is in pull-ups now as they're much comfier for him to wriggle about in and there's no way he'd lay down to be changed anymore!
Wipes are a must have in any Mama's bag; they're always needed for a quick nappy change, dirty faces or sticky hands.
 I'm always on the lookout for good wipes for sensitive skin as both boys have skin that irritates quickly, so I was looking forward to giving these from Child's Farm a try. I'm pleased that to say that they didn't disappoint; as well as being really gentle and soft on skin they're also naturally derived and completely biodegradable which is great news for the environment considering the amount of wipes this house gets through! Although one type is unscented, both have Child farm's Happy skin promise™ and are suitable for sensitive and eczema prone skin. Child's Farm have built up a great reputation for being amazing on the most sensitive skin and are trusted by many parents with children who suffer from all different types of skin conditions. 
I really love these bright little packs of wipes; I found them to work really well, smell lovely and fresh and didn't cause any irritation whatsoever to either of our boys skin. They're a perfect essential for our everyday messiness at home and keeping on hand in the bag!
Generally when it comes to the things you'll use everyday, especially when it comes to small people, once you find something that works it tends to stick and I think we'll be sticking with these. There are of course a lot of different and cheaper wipes out there, but if you've got children who get itches and rashes easily from scents and chemicals. you want something you know is safe and won't leave them feeling uncomfortable for hours.
Its the simple things that make life that bit easier and it's one less thing to have to worry about!

What are your essentials for when you're out with little ones?

NB Post in collaboration with Child's Farm however all opinions are entirely our own


Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Our Little Adventures {At the Beach ft. Yippie Yo}


Thursday, 20 July 2017

Boys Time {ft. Airfix }


Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Living Simply {Ft. Pestemal and towel}

Since having children, our home set up has changed a lot. When we first moved in we spent a lot of time collecting things that we needed and then things that we liked to have around; Joe and I have quite different tastes in that he likes modern and I'm more rustic. Between us we managed to collect a lot of furniture and general things for the house that more often than not were just decorative.
I had a habit of rummaging through little vintage stores for treasures and trying to recreate the pages of country living magazines! I'm not going to lie, I still love my Country Living, and stored away on my secret Pinterest boards are my dream home ideas for my future home, but I've come to realise that some things are not always practical when you have small children. You can absolutely have a nice home and nice things, but common sense will tell you that too many trinkets and teacups aren't a good idea once they start toddling! On top of that the general day to day life of a family home demands a certain degree of practical simplicity, something I'm just starting to fully appreciate. 
I started downsizing a few months ago and it's still a work in progress; in all truth it's an ongoing process really as the children grow out of clothes and things get worn out or are not needed anymore.
 I am already seeing a big difference in our home though, and in myself I just don't want so many things in my life! I've definitely been inspired by the simplistic Scandinavian style that is everywhere at the moment; I'm a bit late to the hygge party but it's a wonderful concept that I'm getting more into.
Downsizing, or simplifying your life is more than just that massive clear out we all have after Christmas (!) it's changing your way of life. It takes getting used to and isn't easy, like anything worthwhile; personally I've found having less seems to make me see just how much I do have and really appreciate it. Becoming more simplistic has changed the way I shop now, and I've found myself leaning much more towards things which are clean, practical and simple.
I've feel like become an actual adult over the last couple of years (!) and started repeating phrases I remember my own parents and grandparents saying about buying things that will last and "quality over quantity" ; sayings I understand now rather than just roll my eyes at! (Sorry mum)
Being a parent to two little ones means everyday things need to be easier; easier to carry, to wash, to put away, to find. There's just too many other important things to worry about!
Last week I targeted the bathroom on my simplifying mission and we had a trip to IKEA which further inspired me to adopt a more Scandinavian attitude to house practicality! The same week Pestemal and Towel sent us these beautiful towels to try and I love them. Yes Towels.
 I had been living my life thinking there were only one type of heavy towel that required hours to dry, a big cupboard to store and are a pain to carry home from swimming . When I was thinking about what to say about how lovely they are they fitted right in with this post I was already writing about simplifying; as far as making life easier they really fit the bill. They're light, absorbent, easy to fold or throw into a bag and dry really quickly as they're thinner and made of lighter fabric. They're multi-use as well so perfect to keep in the car for day trips to the beach, as picnic blanket or just as a light cover up if the kids fall asleep in the car. They're going to be fab for using over the summer just to throw on the grass while little E is playing. I never thought I'd have so much to say about towels but I'm a total convert! These are by Pestemal and Towel who have a great range; I love the colourful designs and they're really good quality. They are traditionally from Turkey but are now made just about everywhere; Pestemal and Towel are actually a Greek company and have a really big range of these lovely towels which are all made from natural fibres and are Eco friendly (Good to know!)
After giving the bathroom a good spring clean and clearing out all the extra bits that were just cluttering up the room, it's now so much easier to keep clean and tidy. I'm planning to do each room gradually and then attempt to stop myself collecting any more unnecessaries!
 Then again I can never say no to a nice mug...

Do you have any good habits for keeping things simple at home?

NB Post in Collaboration with Pestemal and Towel however all opinion are entirely my own
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