Monday, 29 February 2016

Eva's Bedroom Makeover From Adairs Kids

Eva is now 3 and we haven't given her bedroom a makeover since she was born. I think it's about time she has a revamp. Since we've been away hubby has been completing an Ikea hack on her bed. I haven't been allowed to see it until we return home. I can't wait to see how he has changed it and I will share it with you when the time comes.

Her room is somewhat of a mish mash at the moment and always looks a bit all over the place. I found an amazing home shop here in Australia called Adairs which have some fab pieces which I think would be perfect for her room. Unfortunately, they don't do international delivery so I'll have to get what we want whilst we are here.

She is still a huge fan of anything pink, glittery and sparkly. So basically anything princess themed. I've decided on a white, pink, black and gold colour scheme. We'll keep the walls plain white and just brighten them up with wall stickers and wall art. I always think it's a great idea to keep the walls plain as it's easier to redecorate.  



Here's the wall art that I have picked out:
1) Warrior Princess - I just love this. She wants to be a princess but I still want her to be strong and streetwise.
2) Princess 
3) Dream - I think this will be perfect over her bed.
4) Princess light box - I've already bought this. I have a bit of an obsession for light boxes.

I am really liking the idea of getting a couple of statement pillow cases and then just getting plain coloured bedding. 


      1) Shake it off pillowcase I'm a bit of a closet Taylor Swift fan so I was instantly drawn to this pillowcase. I think it'a a great motto for a growing girl to live by.
2) Sparkle Cushion This is ideal for Eva'a personality 
3) Dream big little one pillowcase Another great motto. I always want Eva to live life to the max.

I can't decide which wall stickers to get. I'm definetley going to get the crown ones but I'd like some others too. 

Which wall stickers do you like? Have you seen any shops in the UK with similar style decor?



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Friday, 26 February 2016

Ophelia's 3rd month

As I'm writing this I cannot believe that Ophelia is already 3 months old. I am gutted that the time seems to be passing so quickly. It just feels like a complete blur. This may be because my mind is occupied on both her and Eva or maybe it's because I'm enjoying myself so much.

Since Ophelia's 2nd month update there has been some big changes. She has cut not 1 but 2 teeth. It happened at 12 weeks old, the exact same time as her big sister. Funnily enough, it's also the same 2 front teeth that she cut.
She has coped so well with it. I knew it was coming because she had a couple of weeks of rosey red cheeks, excessive amounts of dribbling and some of the most explosive poops I've ever seen. Other than that she has been amazing.

As I'm still in Australia, I have no idea how much she weighs. I think my health visitor will have a breakdown when we get home after realising she hasn't been weighed every week. It's funny how relaxed I am about it all 2nd time around. I just look at her and know she is happy and healthy and that's all that matters.

She occasionally rolls on her side so I really can't leave her alone anywhere. She is not too bad at holding her head but I definitely need to give her more tummy time. I keep forgetting to do it. She loves to be in an upright position especially infront of your face.



I breastfeed her on demand and i'm really not bothered about getting her into a routine yet as what we're doing is working for us. She sleeps from about 10.30pm - 5am at the moment which is amazing.

She really is a very content, happy baby. She loves to focus on family members, give them a huge smile and then follows them wherever they go. She has really found her voice. Every morning when she wakes up, she talks for a solid half an hour.

I've noticed a big change in Eva's behaviour towards her. She's extremely loving and has become very helpful. If Ophelia is crying, Eva will try and comfort her. She's also become quite protective of her.



It's just over 3 weeks until we return home to the UK. Daddy finally joins us again next week for the end of our holiday. It will have been 7 weeks since we've seen him. I feel like he's missed out on so much. I can't believe Ophelia will be 4 months old when we return. It's all going too fast.
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Friday, 19 February 2016

My Perfect Holiday

My perfect holiday starts with my family and me,

Checklists,  shopping,  packing,
Oh what chaos it can be.


Nappies, swimwear, lotion and not a book in site,

I wouldn't change it for the world,
Whereas others might.


We have to fly to our destination, 

Eva is as happy as can be,
Who will she sit by?
Will it be Daddy, Ophelia or me?



Our destination is beautiful,
Such a pretty, pretty sight,
A week staying here,
Sounds just about right.


We spot lots of colours,

from the sun shining bright,
We sit on the balcony,
And wave the sun a good night.




As a new day dawns,
We spend it at the beach, 
Sun, sea, sand,
The perfect day is within reach.





All week long,

We jump in and out of the pool,
Mummy enjoys 10 minutes on a lilo,
That's the unforbbiden rule.




We laugh, we sing,

We embrace one another,
We eat all the food,
That the locals have to offer,


Sometimes it's loud, 

Sometimes there are tears,
For mummy there is wine, 
For daddy there is beers.


To me this is perfect,

I'm sure you can see,
Any destination is just right,
With my family and me.






This is my entry for the fab photography category in the competition to become a Mark Warner Holidays blogging ambassador #MarkWarnerMum 

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Thursday, 18 February 2016

Breastvest Review

It seems almost everyday there is some sort of ear bashing post about breastfeeding in public showing its face across social media. It's no wonder mummies shy away from feeding in public. Another reason lots of mums feel they can't breastfeed in public is being over exposed. I've never really worried about this but one thing I was eager to do after having Ophelia was to start wearing 'normal' clothes other than breastfeeding clothes.

I looked at my tops and shirts and was desperate to put them on. In the first month I couldn't put them on due to my big belly but I really wanted to feel back to normal and myself again. I was asked if I wanted to review the Breastvest. The breastvest is a vest that you can wear underneath any top and it sits just below your bra line. It was invented my breastfeeding mums and designed to give mummies the confidence they need to feed in public. It completely covers your belly.



The vest is available in sizes XS through to L. I managed to fit into a size S which I was pretty impressed with. You can buy it in the essential colours of black and white or there are limited edition colours available which are red, grey and blue. 



What I liked about it:

  • I was able to wear my normal clothes
  • It covered my belly which let's face it, you really don't want to show that off after giving birth.
  • It washes well
  • The material is stretchy
  • You couldn't see the outline of the vest underneath my normal clothes
  • It was comfortable
What I didn't like about it:
  • Whilst my belly remained covered I did feel that my breast was still exposed and that is something I am very self conscious of when in public
Overall, I do really like the vest. It's allowed me to get back to normality quickly and it has saved me money through not having to buy and stock pile a load of breastfeeding tops. I would like to see them design a vest that has a discreet feeding option around the breast. One that has a triangle shape so that only your nipple is exposed as opposed to your whole breast. 

Have you heard of this vest before? If you breastfed, did exposure bother you? 

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Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Sydney Hotels I Want To Stay In

It's less than 3 weeks until hubby returns to Australia. I can't believe it will have been 7 weeks that we have been without him. We then have 2 weeks left here before we all fly back to the UK.

We have a couple of trips to Sydney lined up. Sydney, alongside Paris is one of our favourite cities in the world. As i'm sure you can appreciate there are so many hotels to choose from for when we stay but after endless searching on trip advisor and google, here's a list of one's that have caught my eye.

1) QT Sydney - The decor of this hotel stood out for me and grabbed my attention. It's gothic and quirky whilst incredibly romantic. I love all the reds against the black and whites on the room decor The building is steeped in history. It's in a brilliant location. It's within walking distance of family attractions that we want to visit. The reviews I have read are fab.





2) Swissotel - This hotel immediately came to my attention based on its location. It's right in the heart of the CBD which means you can walk to a lot of the main attractions from there. The rooms look lovely. They are modern and stylish. They even have a dedicated kids room which could be ideal for travelling families. It looks fantastic and is something I've not really seen before in such high star hotels. There is also a spa (which does a hot stone massage, my favourite) and pool which I always like when staying at a hotel. Eva loves swimming so we always try and pick hotels with a pool. 





3) Pier One Sydney Harbour - This stunning hotel is part of Marriot's autograph collection and is award winning. It's situated in the Rocks area of Sydney. It's a great area to stay for sightseeing. The waterside rooms look incredible. They really are something very special. The views of Darling Harbour are breathtaking. They are elegantly decorated and look quite spacious. 




4) Ovolo 1888 - This hotel is a bloggers dream come true. It was designed with instagram in mind. Perfect for me and my blog. It's located very near to Darling harbour which is one of my favourite areas in Sydney. There's lots of different room types to choose from to suit every travellers needs whether you're on your own or with a family. The loft, shaken and stirred room types would be best suited for us. 





5) Sheraton on the Park - Last up is this lovely hotel. Sheraton hotels never disappoint and this one looks great. It's centrally located and has magnificent views of Hyde Park. There is also a health club and rooftop pool. I love rooftop pools so this was one of the things that attracted me to the hotel. I also am a huge fan of high tea back home in the UK and they have a fantastic looking one here at this hotel. The rooms are stunning. They look large, so perfectly sized for our family. The ambassador suite looks fit for a royal. 




Which hotel do you like the look of? Keep an eye on my blog to see which hotels we chose to stay in.
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Losing the dummy

Let's talk about the dreaded 'D' word. The word that divides lots of peoples opinions....the dummy.

I didn't have any intention of giving Eva a dummy. I breastfed her for 9 months and it wasn't until I finished that we ended up giving her a dummy. This was because she was struggling to settle herself after the breastfeeding stopped. We needed something to soothe her. We gave her a dummy and for a couple of years, we have battled with trying to get her to give it back. 

As time went on she became extremely attached to it. It wasn't just a night time soother, it ended up being stuck in her mouth permanently. It became a habit for her. Every time we went in the car she would ask for it, if she hurt herself she would ask for it. Every time we wanted a nice family picture or any photo of her, she wouldn't take it out of her mouth. The list goes on. 



We had been putting off taking it away from her as there was always some excuse for not letting her have it such as a holiday, where she would need it for the plane, night terrors or Ophelia being born. If she was having a tantrum or playing up, we would always take the easy way out and give her the dummy just to keep her quiet. When she turned 3, I decided enough was enough.


You may know that I have struggled with Eva's behaviour lately. One day, we were at a play centre and she decided to just crouch down on the floor and wee everywhere!!! As you can imagine I was beyond angry and also massively embarrassed. It wasn't an accident, she had done it on purpose. This was the icing on the cake that day as she had been horrible all morning. I took this as my opportunity to take the dummy. 

Some people may think this was cruel and evil to take it away when she was naughty but at the time I just couldn't take anymore. I hid it away somewhere she wouldn't find it and I told her it had gone in the bin at the play centre. 

This was 10 days ago. Hooray!!! I can't say it's been plain sailing but it's actually been easier than I thought. That first day was horrendous. She spent the whole time screaming hysterically on the way back from the play centre. She threw many tantrums that day but I stood my ground. She told me she hated me and that she didn't love me anymore. The first night she asked for it for bed but i distracted her with more stories than usual.

For a few days after that she kept asking for it. She cried many times but there wasn't the usual horrific tantrums, I was expecting to see. Every time she hurt herself she would ask for it. To my amazement when I would say no, she would reply, 'it's in the play place bin.' I'm glad she had understood that it'd gone.

10 days on and she does still mention it occasionally but this is a battle I have most definitely  won.

Here are a few tips to help if you are going to have to go through this at some point:

1) Pick a time when you are going to take it and stick to it, no excuses.

2) Hold your ground - It can be very horrible to see them so distraught but it won't last for ever.

3) Be prepared - I had lots of things prepared for when she would want her dummy. For example if we were going out in the car, I had books, snacks or toys to keep her occupied instead.

4) Be positive - Reward their good behaviour more than usual. I kept praising her for little things and she loved that.

5) Find another comforter - If they use their dummy as a comforter, then get something to replace it. For slips and trips, I bought Eva an Elsa ice pack. For a Frozen obsessed girl this was a massive hit as you can imagine. For night time she had a new teddy.

Ophelia doesn't have a dummy and when the time comes when I stop breastfeeding, I will be a bit stronger than I was on Eva and not give her a dummy. It's not that I think they are bad, I just don't ever want to go through the fuss of trying to get rid of one again.

Have you had to take a dummy away? How did you find it?



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Sunday, 14 February 2016

Our Perfect Adventure Holiday

For as long as I can remember travelling and adventure has been in my blood. It's run through my veins and kept my zest for life alive.

I was lucky enough to have experienced many different family adventures growing up. From jumping into the ocean in Turkey, climbing waterfalls in Jamaica to watching snake charmers in Indian markets.


Little did I realise at the time that these adventures and experiences were shaping my personality to become the person I am today. I am fun, fearless, kind, generous, ambitious and I treat every individual as an equal. It's also taught me to value everything the world has to offer and embrace different cultures and new experiences. I find the good in anything I do. I find travel adventure good for the soul and one of the most important aspects to develop knowledge, understanding and of course imagination.

At the age of 21 my mind craved excitement. My feet couldn't stay on the ground much longer. My wanderlust personality decided I needed to embark on my own escapade and off I went on my own to Thailand, Australia and Singapore. I swam like a mermaid whilst deep sea diving the barrier reef, I encountered sharks, I climbed high buildings and embraced every opportunity that came my way. 


Upon my return I met Arwyn, who later became my husband. My enthusiasm for adventure and travel was ignited in him. We enjoyed many great adventures together from climbing Mt Kilimanjaro (we got engaged there), getting thrills from various roller coasters in Disneyland and LA, Partying in Las Vegas, hopping along Hollywood's walk of fame to driving around the beautiful green island of Kauai on our honeymoon.




We are so passionate for travelling and having fun that our wedding was travel themed, allowing our guests to feel like they had been on their own adventure with us.



We now have 2 daughters. Eva who is 3 and Ophelia who is 12 weeks. We knew that having children would never stop us travelling. Eva experienced her first great adventure to Turkey at 6 months old and Ophelia was even younger, travelling to Australia at just 5 weeks old. We want our children to grow up feeling like nothing can hold them back. We try to teach them to try anything once and that fun can be found in any small opportunity. 


Our holidays are always action packed. We like to seize the day and live in the moment. We grab every opportunity with both hands. Wherever we are we always embrace the culture and customs whether that be through food or activities, and we always make an effort to get to know the locals. 





There are many thrills left on our endless bucket list. We'd like to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge, drive route 66, take a helicopter to the Grand Canyon, get lost in the northern lights, drink hot chocolate whilst being snuggled infront of a fire after a long day skiing, searching for Simba and Mufasa in Africa and hold hands with Mickey Mouse in Disney world. 

Our perfect adventure holiday could be anywhere in the world. We will make it the greatest escape wherever we are. Our imaginations will have us sailing the seas in search of pirates, hunting for buried treasure on the beach, surfing the waves pretending we are dolphins, searching for fairies in lucious greenary and exploring every weird and wonderful architecture as if we were Indiana Jones. As long as we are together we will always have an adventure.

**This is my entry to become a Mark Warner blogging ambassador. #MarkWarnerMum**
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Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Summer Infant Swaddle Me Review

We all know as parents, how much we value our sleep at night. Trying to get your baby as comfortable as possible is one of the key things you can do to ensure they have a restless nights sleep.

Swaddling is a great way of keeping your baby cosy and safe. However, as i've mentioned before in previous posts, the hubby and I are pretty much useless in the swaddling department. No matter how many times we've been shown, we just can't get to grips with it.

I was asked if I would like to review a Swaddleme from Summer Infant uk. You may have read my review of their Stroller which I loved, so I jumped at the chance to try one of their swaddles out.



I was sent the Original Swaddle in jungle print which costs 12.99. There are lots of other colours available on the website. The print is very apt as Ophelia's nursery is safari themed. 


The fabric is 100% cotton, the wings have a hook and loop fastening attachment and the leg pouch can be opened up separately. We've been using this for a few months but Ophelia is now almost too big for it. She will be 3 months old in a week. We've really got on well with it and Ophelia seems to be impressed too.


I particularly like the material. It's 100% cotton and you can tell as it's very soft and smooth. It stretches well and is easy to manoeuvre around babies body. Even though it feels soft, it certainly feels secure.

The material is also great for year round weather use. I used this back home in the UK during December and I also have used it here in Australia. So i've used it in polar opposite weather conditions. It was very cold at home and it's rather hot over here. You just adjust what baby is wearing underneath.

It's very simple to wrap. You place baby in the pouch and then wrap the wings across. It's so much easier than attempting to swaddle with a normal blanket. Also if you swaddle with a normal blanket you tend to add around 4 extra layers to baby so they can easily overheat. With this, you know you have a safe amount of layering. I love the fact that you can have easy access to the bottom half of baby. This was ideal for changing Ophelia's nappies at night-time. 


We've loved using this product. I can't recommend swaddling and this particular wrap enough. Ophelia actually sleeps from 10pm to around 5.30am. I am so lucky. I'm not saying it's because of this swaddle but the fact that she feels comforted and protected, certainly adds to it. However from a young age she seems to wake up to noise. She's not one of these babies that will sleep through you hoovering. Any loud noise and she startles. This swaddle helps her from waking herself up from her startling reflex which has been a great help.



At almost 3 months she seems to be able to roll herself onto her side and stay there. This is rather alarming for me as i'm now petrified she's going to roll completely over. I'm going to have to get the next stage up in the swaddle range which is the Wrapsack, so I can let her sleep with her arms out when she becomes even more active.


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A Homemade Valentine's Day Treat

If you're looking for a last minute homemade gift to make for Valentine's Day then my chocolate treat is ideal. It's super easy to make with minimal effort. It takes about 10 minutes to make (if that) and then a few hours in the fridge to set.


 You can pop it in a nice gift box to make it look a bit more special or tie it together in a stack with a thick ribbon.

Ingredients:

300g Milk chocolate melts

600g White chocolate melts

Red food colouring

Mini marshmallows

Love themed sprinkles

I used chocolate melts but i'm pretty sure you could use normal chocolate

Method:

1) Line a baking tray (about 25cm x 30cm) with baking paper

2) Place the milk chocolate melts into a bowl, then 300g of white melts into a different bowl and the other 300g in a separate bowl again.



3) Melt each bowl of chocolate separately. I melted them over a saucepan with boiling water but you can place melts in a microwave. Make sure they don't burn.

4) Add a drop of red food colouring to one of your melted white chocolate bowls. Mix together to make red chocolate. (I don't think I put enough red colouring into mine as it came out quite pink).

5) Now pour the chocolate one at a time onto the tray. Make sure you have the 3 colours side by side and allow them to touch slightly.

6) With a skewer (or something similar) make swirls in the chocolate, mixing all 3 colours together.


7) Then add your marshmallows and sprinkles to the top and place the tray in a fridge to set.




8) Once the chocolate is set, break it into pieces and then enjoy



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