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Sunday, 25 September 2016

Things I've loved this week // 022

A little Sunday round-up, some of the little things that I've been loving this week!

Spending time with my little lady

Kiddo has had a big week what with trips to the hairdressers, the dentist, her usual classes, mornings at the park, a trip to the seaside and looking around nurseries ready for when she starts attending one after Christmas. She takes absolutely everything in her stride. This girl is a real life angel and I love spending my days with her!
This week her favourite things are singing, mimicking us and reading all the stories. We're still feeling a little poorly so in an afternoon, we've been grabbing a pile of books and snuggling up in my bed for an hour or so. Bliss!


New tattoos

This week I added another two tattoos to my collection. A sad little heart on the back of my ankle to match my other one and an adorable little hula girl on my left calf. I actually have to refrain from looking at Sarah Whitehouse's instagram page sometimes because I just want everything. She's so insanely talented and is an absolute joy to be tattooed by!



A weekend by the sea

Sometimes you've just got to pack your bags and head for the sea and that is precisely what we did this weekend. We spent most of our time on the beach building sandcastles, paddling and kicking a ball around. As it was a kind of last minute thing, we didn't have any plans at all so it was great to just enjoy each others company and enjoy being outdoors. 
Also, last night we enjoyed our first ever Chinese takeaway. I have no idea how I have reached the age of 31 and never had one. But I've done it now.... and it was v good


Cats

I am loving these cats that we have been spotting on our local dog walks this week. I have no idea who has put them there. We've spied a few and they do make me chuckle! 


Sweet treats

I don't know if it is the change in weather or my eternal lack of sleep but recently I can't get through the day without devouring something sweet. We picked up these amazing cupcakes at a local market last weekend and they didn't last long at all! Also, jam doughnuts. Flapjack. Homemade cakes. My diet recently has been ridiculous but ya know, I don't really care right now.... whatever gets you through the day, yep?! 


What have you been loving this week? Let me know in a comment below!

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Fun appliances to make your family home stand out from the crowd

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When it comes to decorating your family home, I’m sure that you try your hardest to ensure that the decor helps it stand out from your friend’s homes. So why not add some cool appliances and devices that can add a touch of fun to your home? These will also help it stand out of the crowd, as well as giving it your very own personal stamp. So which things can turn your house into a fun family home? Here are my favourite picks.

Hot Tubs

Do you regularly have people over for dinner parties and drinks? If you add a hot tub to your home, you will find that your friends will always want to visit you for even more parties! Not only are hot tubs great for socialising, but you can also use them to relax and unwind in. You can see many different hot tubs for sale online. Take a look at hot tub specialist’s websites for the best deal. These firms will also come and fit the tub into your home for you. That’s one less job for you to do!

Robot Vacuum Cleaner

Are you sick of coming home every day to spend an hour or so vacuuming your home? Well, if you get your very own robot vacuum cleaner, you won’t have to anymore! Simply turn on your robot vacuum cleaner and watch it whizz across your floors. If it bumps into a piece of furniture, it simply changes direction. So you can guarantee it will never get stuck! Your kids will love watching this clever robot get to work with this chore!

Fusion Dining Tables

Dining tables aren’t straightforward tables anymore. You can now buy ones that double up as pool tables! Once you have finished your evening meal and cleared all the plates, simply slide away the top of the table to reveal a pool table! The kids will love playing this once they are home from work and finished with their homework. And next time you have friends round, you could challenge them to a friendly game!

Lazy Chairs

Do you and the family love relaxing in front of your favourite movie each evening? Then you can get even comfier by spoiling yourselves and buying lazy armchairs. These super cosy chairs have a footstool that you can flip out whenever you feel like it. They also recline too. If you have some extra money to spend, think about getting a whole lazy sofa. You’ll be able to find ones with cup holders as well as footstools!

Home Cinema Projector

Another great way to enjoy movies at home is to buy a home cinema projector. After all, why watch your favourite film on a small laptop or TV screen when you can project it onto an entire wall? As projectors are very small, they are very portable. So the kids can use it in their bedrooms whenever they have friends round!

Add these appliances to your house, and you’ll enjoy your home even more!

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Our favourite healthy foods

As a family, we strive to eat healthily as much as possible. I love cooking and finding new recipes that we can all enjoy together. Cooking meals from scratch is the only way you can be sure of everything that goes into your food and I always love the challenge of getting my child to choose healthy food and actually enjoy eating it too! 

I thought that it might be fun to put together a list of a few of our favourite healthy foods that we enjoy eating at home. Making sure that your child is eating and drinking the right things can sometimes feel like quite a task but I find that being a little creative with food can go a long way.... whether this is through inventive presentation or even hiding ingredients by blending them or chopping them up super small! 

Fish

Fatty fish are the top pick for 2016's brain foods which can easily be incorporated into kids recipes. High protein and relatively easy to prepare. A great source of vitamin B12 and omega-3 essential fatty acids which are considered to be the most important group of nutrients for your brain. 
Salmon is great as it is full of flavour and needs little seasoning. We also use tuna in quite a few dishes. Miss E loves a tuna pasta bake with pesto and lots of hidden veggies in there too. It's a super quick meal that I can get together in around 20 minutes and its just perfect for the whole family! 

Eggs

Eggs are our saviour and we always have them in stock at home. There are an infinite number of ways that you can eat them and luckily for us, Miss E absolutely loves them! You really can't go wrong with basic eggs for children. We love poached eggs (if you're wondering how to make perfect poached eggs then check out this page), dippy eggs with toast soldiers (even better if you can get a soldier shaped cutter!) and scrambled eggs which are perfect for topping up dairy intake. Eggs are a great source of protein, choline for healthy brain development and function and a whole heap of wonderful vitamins!


Blueberries

A real little super food and something we always buy wen we're out fruit shopping. They are super sweet and the perfect size for snacking on. We love using them as a topping for yoghurt or cereal, throwing a handful into our salads and on pancakes. Blueberries help keep your mind sharp, lower cholesterol and can help ward of certain infections. They are ace!


Yoghurt

A big one in our household! We eat it for breakfast and dessert and it's also an essential ingredient in a few of our favourite recipes. Natural, low-fat or Greek is best and mixed with a little honey and fresh fruit it makes a delicious sweet treat! Yoghurt can contain more calcium than a cup of milk (it could also even reduce the risk of children getting tooth decay) so it's great for making sure children are getting enough!

Peanut Butter

Sometimes there's nothing better than peanut butter on toast. It's something that I find myself craving frequently and Miss E is obsessed with it too. Peanut butter contains healthy fats, vitamins and minerals.... plus, it sure does feel like a treat eating it! 
We get the Whole Earth Crunchy peanut butter and honestly, it's divine. On toast. With chopped banana. Yum! As a snack for children, we love sliced apple and a small pot of peanut butter for dipping. We also have a few sweet treat recipes involving peanut butter which are absolutely wonderful!

What are your favourite healthy foods? And do you have any creative ways of getting your children to eat healthily? Let me know in a comment below!

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Things I've loved this week // 021

A little Sunday round-up, some of the little things that I've been loving this week!

Disney planning

We seem to go through bursts of activity in terms of planning our next Disney holiday. We won't do anything for weeks then all of a sudden we'll be super productive. Disney holidays sure need a lot of planning but it's all part of the fun, isn't it?! This week has been all about the fastpass; booking character meets and all those rides we don't want to miss out on. We're all getting so excited, not long now!


Popestar

The brand new EP from Ghost who, if you didn't already know, are one of my favourite bands. I'm making do with the MP3 version until my CD copy arrives (I'm not done with owning actual CDs just yet!) and it is absolutely stunning. I've had it on repeat over the last few days and I just can't get enough!


Charity shop shopping

Earlier this week we had a plod around our local charity shops. We don't do it so often anymore for fear of filling the house with *stuff* again but charity shops are really super for clothes for Miss E, books, toys, things like that! I bought myself a few bits too, only CDs but still.... I was only saying to my husband earlier in the week that I couldn't actually remember the last time I bought something for myself!


New weekday activities

Now that Miss E no longer naps during the day, we can squeeze more in without feeling we have to be back ready for a rest. I've started taking her to a music class which she very much enjoys. We're also looking into football or ballet, both of which she keeps asking for. She really thrives on learning and new experiences like this are so good for her!


Tropicana

Yes, you read right! Still suffering from colds and sore throats in our house this week and I've been craving orange juice like crazy. Ice cold Tropicana orange juice, I am absolutely blummin' obsessed with it! #givemeallthjuice


What have you been loving this week? Let me know in a comment below!

Friday, 16 September 2016

#DangerousDrives // My tips for driving safely and some facts about driving in Ireland!

I think that it is safe to say that when you become a parent, you become a whole lot more conscious about subjects that you never thought important before as well as constantly facing new worries. Take maintaining a safe and cost effective car for instance. Obviously it is something we have always sought to achieve but since becoming parents, this has become more important to us than ever before.
 
Whether it’s ensuring that we have the correct car seat installed (and installed properly), making sure we are well prepared for every journey (no matter how small!), holding adequate breakdown cover or sourcing reliable and cheap car insurance. Everything simply has to be spot on!

We are hugely fortunate to live in a city that is surrounded by the beautiful countryside. As lovely as this is though, driving on roads around here can be quite an experience! To go from city driving to narrow country lanes within the space of 20 minutes needs a bit of planning and little things such as knowing the safer routes to take and being prepared for the weather conditions really do help!

Chill car insurance have recently surveyed a group of Irish car drivers to ask them about dangerous driving conditions and road safety and as a result of this, a super infographic has been put together.....


The infographic is a really interesting read and it got me thinking about sharing my top tips for driving safely no matter where you are off to!  

Firstly, make sure the basics are maintained in your car. Think brake fluid, oil, screen wash, tyre pressure and making sure you have enough petrol for your journey. Ensure that child car seats are fitted correctly and children are comfortable. When there are two of us in the car, I always like to sit in the back with kiddo so I can keep her entertained and make sure she is ok!

Next, make sure you plan your journey well. Look at your route beforehand, don’t rely on your satnav (as helpful as they are!). Allow plenty of time for breaks, especially if you are travelling with children! Pack snacks and drinks in case your journey takes longer than expected or you break down. Also keep certain items such as a blanket, a breakdown kit, portable phone charger and a torch just in case you need them.

Finally, ensure that you have the details and phone number of your breakdown cover company handy. Take your phone out with you (make sure it is charged!) and also, it’s always great to let people know where you are going before you leave!

Do you have any top tips for driving safely? Are there any particularly dangerous or difficult routes in your area that you tend to avoid? Let me know in a comment below! 

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Things I've loved this week // 020

A little Sunday round-up, some of the little things that I've been loving this week!

The Sooty Show

Yesterday we popped over to Buxton to see the Sooty and friends magic show as part of the 80th annual International Brotherhood of Magicians convention. We all had such a super time, the show was great with heaps of laughter, plenty of magic.... and of course, that dreaded water pistol! Miss E got to meet Richard and Sooty after the show too, something she was super excited about. I love going to the theatre with her, it's such a treat!


Autumn food

I'm all about simple comfort food at the moment. Warm meals, hot chocolate, homemade soup.... yum! I made our favourite soup earlier this week for the first time this year and kiddo polished off an entire bowl, much to my surprise. I'll definitely be making it again! 


Keeping it fresh

Pushing myself to step out of my comfort zone, trying new things, saying yes more. It's something that I do admittedly find hard for fear of regret but I shall keep reminding myself that when you look back on life, you'll regret the things you didn't do more than the ones you did!


Goodnight Sweetheart - Many Happy Returns

Via the magic of iPlayer, I finally caught up with that episode Goodnight Sweetheart. I barely watch tv so I didn't know anything about this episode until I saw that it was trending over on twitter. It was so good though, brilliantly written.


Doing 'nothing'

I've been feeling a bit rubbish this week due a combination of late nights, a sore throat, a toddler growth spurt and generally being far too busy. So, I've taken to embracing laziness a bit more and deciding that actually, I shouldn't feel at all guilty about it. Mama needs time out, too! We've been having late afternoon stories in bed, letting kiddo dig out her favourite DVD's, eating out and indulging in M&S ready meals at home. So. Good.


What have you been loving this week? Let me know in a comment below!

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Gift ideas for men // Get in hubby's good books!

Husbands can be a pain in the backside sometimes, but obviously they are also really wonderful! I don't know about you but when it comes to gift giving, my husband can be really hard to buy for. Is this a general man thing? Do you find it hard to buy for the man in your life? I certainly get stuck for ideas sometime! 

Every now and then though, I like to surprise him with a gift. A little token to show him that he is loved! So, if you have a husband or even just a man in your life, and you want to treat them too, take a look at these fail safe gift ideas. Think about what men enjoy, and about the sorts of things your husband might find useful.

Tools

I don't know about you, but my husband likes his tools. We’re quite a practical household, and he is regularly working on things. Because of this, he has an array of tools he uses on a regular basis. And often he needs new tools, or he has to replace his other ones. That's why I see tools as an excellent husband-friendly gift choice. You can't really go wrong when you get tools for a man, and you know he's definitely going to use them. Just make sure you choose good quality ones that aren't going to fall apart after a month. If you need some ideas for great tool gifts, you should visit www.popularmechanics.com and look at their reviews. You should be able to find something perfect if you do your homework properly.

Season Tickets

If your husband likes sport then you could do much worse than getting him season tickets. It could be to see his favourite football team. Or, it might be for rugby or basketball. Whatever it is, a season ticket would be a wonderfully thoughtful gift. And it will get him out of the house each week to give you a bit of alone time. That's what makes this such a good gift! It benefits both of you and allows you to both enjoy time apart, as well as being something he’s going to love.

The Latest Gadgets

Another gift idea you might like to try is the latest gadgets on the market. We know what boys are like with their toys! So this is going to tick a lot of boxes for him, and give you massive wife/girlfriend points. Makersify stocks a range of modern tech gadgets and gizmos. Think about the sort of thing your husband would like, and get some use out of. Buying technology is always a good choice, but it can be complicated. You need to make sure you choose the right thing and get the best quality on the market. So it might be worth checking out forums first to see what experiences other buyers have had, and what sort of thing is recommended. I know my husband is a bit of a tech-head, and I know the kind of thing he would be interested in. The latest gadgets are always a good choice; you just have to know where to go to find them.


Buying a gift for your husband is easier than you might think. You just have to realise how well you know him and consider what his interest are. Use this guide to give you an idea of the sorts of gifts that will get you into his good books!