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#MARKWARNERMUM - 10 HOLIDAY ESSENTIALS

28 February 2017

It's that time of year again, when the fabulous Mark Warner have announced their brand ambassador entry challenge and this year we've dived right in. Though we're not the most 'pinterest worthy crafters' as a family, we've really tried though I think we might just need a holiday for the test it put our relationship through. What is it they say about not mixing business and pleasure? If anything has came from the task it's that me and John would never, ever be able to work together. Back to the challenge, Mark Warner have asked us to pick out our top ten travel essentials and having two sons I now realise how important it is to get those essentials right when you're travelling abroad.

WEEKLY MEAL PLAN

27 February 2017

Meal planning is a guaranteed way to save you money when doing your weekly shop, which is why I am adamant we need to start doing more of it. Week after week I have a vague idea but my opportunity to get to the supermarket is usually quite spontaneous so lists haven't always been remembered, thus resulting in of course over buying and under using. Each week I am ashamed at how much we throw away that's unused, past it's sell by date, it really is a disgrace. So starting today I'm planning our weekly meals, ordering our online shop accordingly and I'm determined to cut out the over spending and wastage. Wish me luck.

MISTAKES I'VE MADE AS A MUM

24 February 2017



When you start out as a new parent, it's really hard to find what works for you. Everyone can recommend you parenting methods or products, you can even read books on how to train your baby into behaving certain ways, but truthfully, every single baby is completely different and whilst you're trying to figure out who your baby is in this world - you make mistakes. Or at least I certainly did. Being a Mum second time around didn't make things much different, I learned from previous mistakes but there are always new ones to be made. It's easy to highlight everything that is going well for you, but I think it's important to talk about this topic too as I'm sure I wont be alone or it could help someone else out. Although it is quite exposing and opening myself up to be judged, I always made decisions with the best intentions - even if they didn't work out so well.

TRIED AND TESTED - MATCHSTICK MONKEY

22 February 2017


I don't really know how I feel about teething. Is my son not sleeping because of his teeth? I truly have no idea, but it's what I'm enjoying blaming it on right now, it seems easier than admitting he's just being incredibly difficult. I laugh when I think back now to a four month old dribbley baby, gnawing on his hands and noting it as teething, in the most literal sense it probably is but it's nowhere near the distress it causes them as their teeth are ready to come through. I felt really helpless however for those months between 3-6 months because apart from teething gel you are kind of alone, a lot of teething toys just aren't practical for younger ones - or so I thought. Hello Matchstick Monkey.


TIPS FOR KEEPING KIDS BUSY

20 February 2017


Keeping children busy isn't an easy task, especially the younger they are as their attention span isn't great and they will quite often flit from one task or toy to the next with no real achievements made. Keeping children busy is even harder, the more you add to the mix as different ages mean tasks have to be incredibly inclusive, something I completely struggle with at the minute. I'm sure as my boys grow, keeping them busy together will get easier - please tell me it does? But as you do when you're a parent I have learned a few tips along the way I thought I'd share with you


THE DUKE OF EDINBURGH AWARD

18 February 2017


Since its inception in 1956, The Duke of Edinburgh award, has evolved beyond recognition, and is more relevant today than ever before, allowing young people to gain a respected qualification that speaks volumes for their character. The Duke of Edinburgh award is aimed at the 14-24 year old age group, but it is very widely encouraged amongst the youngest of that group who are in secondary school. The path to adulthood is not always as easy as we might like, and it is essential to gain official qualifications, to enable young people to get the start in life we want them to have, and to give them proof, at an early stage that they can discover and display skills that will propel them forwards.


PATRICK AT EIGHT MONTHS

17 February 2017



Patrick is officially eight months old and on the exact day he hit that milestone it came with another, he's been earth side longer than he was in my little womb home. It doesn't feel fair, pregnancy went so slow and really dragged out whereas since he has been born it's as if I blinked twice and now we are here. Why couldn't we have swapped those scenarios around? This month you've achieved so much and changed so quickly and I think the next four months till you are one will be much of the same. It scares me that we've just mentioned your first birthday, oh baby where are these days going?

TRIED & TESTED - VITAL BABY

15 February 2017


As you may be aware we were very lucky to be selected as Vital Baby brand ambassadors last year, a role that we've thoroughly enjoyed and found extremely useful. Our role meant that each month we would receive a little care package from them with some new items that were in keeping with Patricks age at that time. I found the set up really lovely because it always felt at a time when I needed to look for certain things for him, be it weaning spoons, a new cup et cetera, Vital baby were right on hand to read my mind and I'd get a knock at the door with the very things I would be looking for. When you're a sleep deprived mum of two, someone taking away the stress element of trawling through websites or supermarket aisles looking for the perfect weaning bowl, was genius and very well received.

A DATE NIGHT IN

14 February 2017



It seems that so many are with me on the fact that as parents, it's just too much of a palaver and hassle trying to get date nights out. So many people don't live near family to support and paying for babysitters can seriously rack up, when you factor in mum guilt on top of it all - to me it rarely seems worth it. I am much more of the 'date night in' situation. Which is why this valentines that's exactly what we'll be doing. So in this blog post I'm going to share with you some simple ideas to make a Valentines night in that bit more special, while avoiding major costs and a lot of messing around.

OUR HOLIDAY STYLE

13 February 2017


Holidays are a very personal thing for every family, I think what type of holiday you go on depends entirely on what you want to get out of your trip away. Some families prefer stay-cations, others like to take long haul flights to luxurious all inclusive resorts, for us this year it's a villa holiday were as my good friend are heading off on their annual cruise with their little ones. It's individual circumstances that dictate your options. I see some inspirational mamas heading off with their tribe exploring the middle east and as much in awe I am of their free spirits, I know that's not my cup of tea, though I do still ogle the photos in admiration and envy.  So that leaves me thinking what exactly is our 'holiday style', we've tried a few, will we try others?

TRIED & TESTED - TOMMEE TIPPEE BABY MONITOR



A baby monitor was something we never used with Noah, he shared our room till he was one and then by the time he moved into his own, I didn't feel it was really necessary. His cry was loud enough to disturb us had we been an island away and by that point he really didn't wake up from being put down. Fast forward to December when I was toying with when to move Patrick into his own room, I knew I needed a monitor as we'd be downstairs and over noises such as dryers and televisions, it would have been difficult to hear him. A monitor was just a must have, it's a security blanket that I wanted. But searching for that security blanket gave me such a headache, as well as purse ache - the prices are something else. And that's when Tommee Tippee kindly reached out to send me their Closer To Nature Digital Sound Monitor.

A BOX FOR MAMA

10 February 2017


Subscription boxes have been all the rage for quite some time now, and certainly on my radar for many years of which I'm a subscriber already to two. We've seen beauty boxes, meal boxes, tea boxes and even boxes for your bloody period (literally), most things have been done. But here in the corner are us Mums a little bit forgotten about, not anymore, MamaMe have been thinking about us and they've thought incredibly well. They've designed the cutest and by far my most favourite subscription box that is entirely for Mums. How cool is that? I was incredibly lucky to be one of the first to test them out, when I received their January box this month and my oh my was I seriously impressed with the contents.

BABY NUMBER THREE

8 February 2017


A third baby was never something I really thought about until recently, I naturally assumed after Patrick I'd find it tough for the first year and a half, before gradually I'd begin to feel broody seeing newborns, blissfully forget the sleepless nights and want another child. Though that has not been the case. You see, having three children is a different ball game in my eyes, one is a game changer also, adjusting to two isn't much harder but three, dear god how do people do it. A bigger car, a bigger house, a bigger pay packet. So many new things would be needed and I just don't feel entirely comfortable with being outnumbered with children. Currently, if both of my boys are in need, me and John can split and help them both, but with three, how does that work?

VALENTINES GIFTS FOR HER

7 February 2017


Yesterday I featured my favourite gifts out there for the men in your life, and today, it's all about the women. It definitely feels to me that V day is marketed more towards women, especially since that quite rude day appears a month later where men like to push for a certain meal and a little something else in the evening. It gives the illusion that Valentines day was more for us ladies. I think it's a load of pants, however a little gift wouldn't go a miss right? Here are my top picks this Valentines, with something for everyone.

VALENTINES GIFTS FOR HIM

6 February 2017


Valentines is just around the corner and it's only usually around about now I actually start to think what could I get for John. I've said before how Valentines has never been a huge occasion for us, and I do feel it's marketed more at couples that are still all new and in the honeymoon period. After two kids and seven years, we are definitely not in that stage anymore. However we will celebrate, as I've said we're making an extra special effort this year. Giving that my gift guides at Christmas were received so well, I thought I'd piece together a little one for that special guy in your life, with something to suit all budgets and tastes.

VALENTINES DAY - STAYING HOME OR GOING OUT?

5 February 2017



Valentines Day is fast approaching and over the past few years - since Children, it's been one of those 'take it or leave it' kind of holidays. We'll do cards, and a little something. But I don't generally get excited or thrilled about it, John doesn't book a day off and we rarely actually do anything different to what we would be doing on any other day. This year though, I'm trying to change that. Not for me and John but for our boys. Valentines Day is a day to celebrate love, given the fact our sons are the complete loves of our lives it seems silly not to really take advantage of a day to show them that. I know stereo-typically Valentines is more designed at couples but who says you can't stretch it to your little ones?

AM I ROCKING MOTHERHOOD?

3 February 2017


Motherhood is no easy task, it can be gruelling, unrewarding, daunting and hard. Motherhood IS hard. At some point or another we all mess up, make mistakes and have to pick ourselves up and carry on - you learn from them. Quite often with blogging, it seems we all like to talk about our mistakes, things that we've done wrong and what we want to do more of. It's rare we as Mums, are blowing our trumpet about how we're absolutely nailing it some days (they are rare days). But thankfully, we have an excuse to now and so we should because positivity breeds positivity - the Rocking Motherhood tag is that excuse and the lovely Charlotte from Cups of Charlotte, has tagged me. So here goes, a few reasons why I feel that I am rocking motherhood lately...


BOOST YOUR INSTAGRAM

1 February 2017


Instagram for the past couple of months, if not nearing 3-4 I have found incredibly hard to grow. It has been frustrating at times and left me not posting anything for days. But over the past 6 weeks I've learned a few tips that have helped me gain quickly again. By no means am I up there gaining thousands of followers a day, but I feel I'm out of the 'gain 5 lose 4' game that seemed to be going on. Instagram is notoriously hard to grow as so many have cottoned on to making money from being an 'influencer'. Large followings are all well and good, but if you're not getting regular interaction it's all a bit in vain.

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