There are snowdrops and daffodils making an appearance and the days are getting longer which means spring is on its way. This has got me thinking about my spring/summer wardrobe and i've been browsing lots of sites for inspiration on how I can update it. As you can imagine I now have a huge wishlist (seeing as i've been browsing for the whole family) and it'll cost me a fortune to get everything on it. I've also been looking at ways I can save money through sites such as My Favourite Voucher Codes. I've always said i'm a self proclaimed shopaholic so any discount I can get makes me very happy. I'm also a big fan of free delivery. 

There are lots of stripes and florals around which are a key trend this year. When I think of florals and stripes I instantly think of Joules which is one of my favourite shops. It's the perfect place to get some timeless key pieces that will last a long time. I managed to find some fab discount codes here, https://www.myfavouritevouchercodes.co.uk/joules.com so I can now get something for all of us. 

I've picked something out for myself, hubby, Eva and Ophelia. I like us to be matchy so i've gone for a pink, blue and yellow palette which are perfect spring colours.

I've chosen a gorgeous top from their new in section which costs £29.95. It's nautical themed with blue stripes but it has lovely blue and yellow floral detailing. It'll look great with jeans and pumps or with a denim skirt. 


Image taken from Joules website 

For hubby i've picked out a pink stripe shirt for £59.95. He doesn't wear pink often but I think it really suits him. It looks lovely and light for the upcoming summer months and will look great with jeans or chinos.


Image taken from Joules website

I adore the children's clothes from Joules. They always wash incredibly well. They may cost more than other shops but when I know they last I don't mind buying them and especially when I can find a discount codes, https://www.myfavouritevouchercodes.co.uk/joules.com.

For Eva I have picked a classic nautical style summer dress for £24.95. This will be able to be passed down to her sister when she is bigger. It just screams summer and I can see her now walking down a promenade with an ice cream in her hand and this dress floating in the breeze. 


Image taken from Joules website

For Ophelia i've picked a pink striped t-shirt style dress which costs £14.95. It will be perfect for wearing on it's own or over a pair of jeans.


Image taken from Joules website

As you can see everything i've picked compliments each other and they are things that we'll be able to pull out next year. 

I always look for discount codes when shopping online as let's face it, when you're shopping for the whole family, any saving is a blessing in disguise. Do you look for discount codes to save money? What do you think of my picks?

*This is a collaborative post*

When people warn you about how parenting is tough they tend to tell you about the sleepless nights, the lack of a social life, how hard the birth will be and so on but I can't recall anyone ever telling me about the different behavioural stages. The health visitor comes and tells you about different milestones they should be hitting at various ages but why oh why don't they warn you about the hard behavioural stuff. Why in all the books and manuals do they not gear you up ready for the onslaught so that you don't feel like you're the world's worst parent and you are out of control?

So let's be straight. You will encounter The Terrible Twos, The Threenager Years and the Feisty Fours (this is where we are currently).




The Terrible Twos:
The first thing i'm going to tell you about this phase is that it actually doesn't start at two. It can hit anytime from about 18 months, possibly earlier.

The terrible twos are usually the epic tantrum phase. Everything you do or say is usually wrong and this is met with endless screaming, shouting and more often than not it is usually in public. 

This is also the I am going to make myself as rigid as possible phase. You know when you are trying to pick them up or remove them from said epic tantrum and they just turn themselves into a statue, a total dead body weight. They fling themselves back and will stay there for as long as it takes.



At this age they also understand that noise and their actions have an effect on others. This is why i'm sure they become as loud as possible. I can sort of sympathise with it because at this age they often can't communicate their needs and wants fully but my goodness do they have to be so difficult with it.

You will probably be very familiar by now with the word no except it's not coming from your mouth anymore, it's coming from theres. Everything you ask them is met with a a very firm, very shouty NO. 

The Threenager Years:
My oh my did we struggle with these years. These years are about the time your child must realise they are their own person and they start to assert and demand their independence.

You still have tantrums except this time they are more like a battle. They are a battle of the strong willed. Parent vs child. These tantrums aren't just crying they are a bit of answering back, a lot of no's and of course the standing still and not moving battle. I wrote about one of these battles last year, The Final Showdown.




Three is also when the attitude phase starts. You may note some hands on hips stances, a lot of pointing and a lot of bossiness. 



Let's talk about clothes. Wasn't it nice when you could pick a lovely matching outfit for your child and they would sit there and look adorable? Well kiss that phase goodbye cause at this age you are met with your own little fashionista and their desire to dress up is uncontrollable. 
They will take a very long time to get dressed. I mean choosing an outfit (most of the time non matching) takes its time and of course you have to try a million different things on to find the perfect outfit for the day.
If normal clothes aren't the desired pick for the day, then you'll probably find your child dressed in whatever fancy dress costume they can find and of course it is totally acceptable to wear them wherever you are going. Try and get them to take it off and you are back to point number 1 of having an epic tantrum/battle on your hands.

This is also the start of the negotiating years. You will miss the days when you could take them wherever you wanted, make them any food and they'd eat it, put them in the bath and put them to sleep. Remember when all you had to do was sing a lullaby and rock back and forth before bedtime, well those days are distant memories. You will now be negotiating with your threenager on how many more stories they will be read or you'll be met with 'just 10 minutes more'. They also become food critics. I missed the days when my daughter would just throw the food on the floor and let the dog have it. In the threenager years she would tell me how rubbish it tasted or negotiate something better with me. If you make me spaghetti then I will eat all of it! Hmph!!!! 




The Feisty Fours:
This is where we are currently at. I'm pretty sure my daughter has been replaced by some miniature version of a combination of Beyonce and Nicki Minaj. My goodness has she got some sass and attitude. She is a girl that knows what she wants and when she wants it. When she addresses me i'm pretty sure I can here 'Just a Girl' by No Doubt playing in the background. 

We are only one month into this age and I have broken down about it pretty much every week so far. I've drank a lot of wine and cried on a few occasions. That's right, my feisty four year old has bought me to tears because she can and she knows she can.

At this age they could be working for MI5. They are hardcore. Little mini assassins and manipulators. They know how to play you and believe me they will. If there's two of you parenting, they will play you off against each other.

The feisty fours are the not listening stage. They have got this down to a fine art. Don't get me wrong every age involves not listening but this age really is selective hearing at its best.

The tantrums/battles become wars. If you disagree with them this could go on for days. They don't forget things at this age. Things will be brought back up time and time again and used against you.



So there you have it. Can you relate? I'm sure it won't stop there and every age to come will have some difficulties. Bring on the next few years, it can't get much worse, can it?







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Next to feature on my Valentine's blogger interview series is the lovely Cat from: http://www.pushingthemoon.com/


1    

1. Are you married, engaged or in a relationship and for how long?
Yes! I’ve been married to Rob for Four years, and we have been together for 11 in total.

2. Where did you meet?
We met in Manchester, at a meet up for a band we both liked

3. Where was your first date?
In the most romantic place you could imagine – the pub in Stanstead Airport!

4. Describe your partner in 3 words

Loveliest man ever

5. What are the things you love about them the most?
He has such a kind heart. He makes me laugh like no other. He has stuck by me through some very tough times. He is an amazing father to our two kiddies. And I still think he’s bloody gorgeous.

6. What has been the most memorable day you’ve had with them?

That would have to be the day we became parents.

7. Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day?

Yes! Every year. I’m a hopeless romantic at heart.

8. If Yes, what do you normally do?

We take it in turns on Valentines day to cook a fancy meal – it’s my turn this year!

9. What has been the best and worst Valentine’s gift or card you’ve ever received?

When I was 18 and out with my ‘then’ boyfriend and other friends at a club night on Valentines night. My ‘then’ boyfriend got very drunk and took great pride in telling everyone who asked that he hadn’t bought me a present and that ‘Catherine’s Valentines card is still in the shop!’ – he became my ex-boyfriend that night.

10. What’s your ideal date night?

A night away at a lovely hotel just down the road where we live. They do the loveliest food ever! We haven’t been for nearly a year – must book a break there soon!

11. What’s your favourite romantic film?

I’m a sucker for a rom com, and will cry at most things – but the ‘I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her….’ Line from Notting Hill. Gets. Me. Every. Time.

12. What’s your favourite love song?
Into My Arms by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds.

13. What’s your favourite love quote?

It’s not an obvious quote about love but, to me, it is completely and utterly about love. It’s from my favourite book – The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. And it’s about the love between two friends:

“Come, Mr. Frodo!' he cried. 'I can't carry it for you, but I can carry you.”

14. What is the most romantic place you’ve ever visited as a couple and where would you like to visit?

We spent a few days in Prague many years ago. Rob’s family are from the Czech Republic and it was lovely to spend time there exploring what is a wonderfully romantic city!




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I didn't share a meal plan last week because I was actually eating out a few times (very rare lately). If you didn't catch my last meal plan you can read it here, 30th January 2017.

The cookbook i've been getting some recipes from this week is Joe Wicks' Lean in 15. If you follow me on social media then you'll know i'm rather obsessed with him, haha. Seriously though, all good looks and nice body aside and there are some fab recipes in his first book.


This week hubby and I are having:

Monday - Homemade healthy pizza adapted from a Kayla Itsines recipe

Tuesday - A surprise (hubby is cooking dinner for Valentine's day)

Wednesday - Cheesy Chorizo, Chicken and Spinach (Joe Wicks Recipe)

Thursday - Joe's Chicken Pie (Joe Wicks Recipe)

Friday - Halloumi Burgers

Saturday - Mussels

Sunday - Roast Dinner

This week the kids are having:

Monday - Curry

Tuesday - Fish Pie

Wednesday - Pasta Bake

Thursday - Joe's Chicken Pie

Friday - Beef Burgers

Saturday - Mussels

Sunday - Roast Dinner

There's a few days that the kids are having the same meals as us but a lot of the time we can't eat together as a family as hubby now works quite far from home. He gets back much later than when the kids would have eaten. I'm still batch cooking some slow cooker meals so that if ever the kids don't like something new i've made them (which happens a lot) then i've always got some things for back up.

What's on your meal plan this week? What are your favourite family meals?





It's now only 8 weeks until we go on our DisneyWorld holiday. Both hubby and I haven't been for about 20 years and it'll obviously be the first time Eva and Ophelia will have gone. We cannot wait. 

We're huge Disney fans anyway so I wanted to get lots of Disney themed things such as clothes, travel accessories etc to help add to the fun of the holiday.

I've been trawling the internet to find some travel products and here is my wishlist.




1) Lightening McQueen Cabin Case
One of Eva's favourite Disney films is Cars. There's a new one due out later this year and she is so excited for the release of it after seeng the trailer. The flight to Florida is quite long so we may need a few things to entertain her on the plane. 
I found this fab cabin sized case from Samsonite. She would love it. It has 4 wheels which would make it easier for her to push and pull it herself and it'll store all of her flying essentials.


2) Minnie Mouse Suitcase
I can imagine we're going to need to take quite a lot of things with us on our trip (and also be buying a lot) so therefore I think we all need a suitcase. 
I found this super cute Minnie Mouse case from Samsonite which I would love for Ophelia. In fact, I love the design so much I actually would quite like it for myself. Again it has 4 wheels which is so much easier to handle.


Even though the temperate in Florida will be warm, it may be a bit cool at night when we are waiting around for the fireworks etc. I found this Minnie Mouse stroller footmuff from obaby which I thought would be great. It's a universal one so it should fit our stroller. 
Eva is now at an age where she likes to pack everything herself so this toiletry bag from Samsonite will be perfect. She would think it was fab. It will be great for packing her toothbrush, tangle teaser etc.

5) Minnie Mouse toiletry bag
If i'm getting one for Eva then I have to get one for Ophelia. I found this Samsonite one which would match her suitcase. 


6) Winnie the Pooh blanket
I'm hoping that we will be able to get Ophelia to have a couple of naps on the plane and therefore we need to make it as comfortable and as cosy as possible. This blanket from the Disney Store will be perfect for snuggling her in.


I need lots of things to keep the girls entertained so this stationary set from The Disney Store is fab as it zips up so all the contents stay together. There are plenty of things inside it to keep Eva occupied. 

I know most of the things in here are too old for Ophelia, but it saves a lot of arguments if they have their own. We definitely don't want arguments and tantrums on an enclosed aeroplane!! Ophelia can still do some drawing and then I can give the rest of the bits to Eva. This set is also from The Disney Store.


Eva is old enough to have her own seat on an aeroplane so we like to try and make her comfortable. This small cushion from Dunelm should fit nicely on her seat and fit into her hand luggage.


As i've already mentioned I need lots of little things to keep Eva entertained on the aeroplane. I also think it's good to give them things they've never had before (to keep them interested). I found these small play sets in the Disney Store which will be great for imaginative play and they are small enough to pack in hand luggage.




These little backpacks are brilliant as they have reins in them. Ophelia can toddle but i'm sure by the time we go away she will be walking properly. This will be great to help guide her amongst the busy crowds. 


Eva is Frozen obsessed so this playset will be a very welcomed addition. It's also from the Disney Store.


Let me know if you see any other Disney themed travel products.


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