Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Emilia at 2.5 years old

I've wanted to post a half year update for Emilia for a little while now but things have been crazy busy round here recently. I wanted to share this, if only for myself.... To document how much she's changing, to remember the little things. Time passes so quickly and I am so thankful for every day that we get to spend together, she's the most amazing little girl!

At 2.5 years old, Emilia is energetic, spirited and happy. Her brain is sharp, her memory is incredible and she loves nothing more than learning and discovering the world around her. She takes after her daddy in terms of brainpower, she's one smart cookie already!

Emilia is a tomboy, for sure. She loves being outdoors, open spaces and room to play. She loves sticks, sand, mud and worms. She loves digging holes and getting messy. She's not super keen on cuddles and prefers using mummy and daddy as climbing frames instead! 

That being said, Emilia is caring and loving. Kisses are plentiful. She is surprisingly thoughtful for her age too, Her bond with Elsie is magical and I am so grateful that she gets to grow up knowing the love of a dog. Emilia is helpful and is always keen to help in any way she can. She's very methodical and thorough. Keen to learn right from wrong and will (mostly!) do what she is asked.

In terms of likes, Emilia loves stories. Books are her favourite thing and we read piles and piles of them each day. She loves her Mr Men books and anything with numbers, flaps or the alphabet in. We could read and read to her and I doubt she would ever get bored! 

Music is another true love of hers. She loves everything from nursery rhymes and Disney to chart stuff and metal. She will let us know when there's a song or band she dislikes too, she's very sure about her tastes already!  

She learns by watching and listening intently, wanting mummy or daddy to try things first to check they are ok before she proceeds.

We take her to sports classes every week too which is something she really enjoys and gets so much out of. She's quite shy but still sociable, friendly and kind. Other favourite activities of hers include swimming, trips to the park or library and absolutely anything involving animals!

I look forwards to seeing what the next few months will bring but if it's anything like recent times, then it will be magical.

Happy 2.5 years, my princess!

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Things I've loved this week // 012

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

Simple days
After a bout of illness at home this week we have been making the most of lots of cuddles, plenty of stories, late starts, afternoons spent in the garden and lots of time outdoors.... it's been great to spend a few days with not many plans and not much to do.

Disney World planning
This week we made our dining reservations for our upcoming Disney World holiday. We had a pretty big list of places we really wanted to eat and so I'm super pleased that we managed to book just about everywhere we wanted. We've booked quite a few character meals (for Emilia, honest!) and of course, I am very excited about eating at Be Our Guest! 

Trilogy clothing
I stumbled upon Trilogy stores recently and I am ever so slightly in love! I have started getting back into wearing denim again (I bought my first pair of jeans in years not so long ago) and I'm quite the fan of laid back clothing that remains effortlessly stylish. The Rails Clothing plaid shirts are right up my street and just the kind of thing that I am filling my wardrobe up with at the moment. Perfect for wearing all year round!

Lord of the Lost
I will love this band forever. A new song and a new video from them this week. There's no question as to why I had to include it in my weekly round-up!

A little bit of summer
We've had one or two lovely sunny days this week. Days where it has been warm enough to eat outside, play outside and devour plenty of ice creams. I hope that we get more days like that soon!

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

Friday, 13 May 2016

A day out at Sundown Adventureland

Last weekend we spent the day at Sundown Adventureland, a unique theme park which has been designed exclusively for children under 10 years old. It's a lovely place to spend a day if you have young children.... you get all the fun of a regular theme park but without the worry of height restrictions, long queues or scary rides.

The whole park is crammed full of rides, playgrounds, soft play centres, giant sandpits and so much more. Sundown is wonderful for entertaining those little imaginations, there's something unexpected around every corner!

Emilia loved her visit last year but I feel that she got so much more out of it this time. Able to fully interact with everything on offer, she had a blast 'reading the map' and deciding where our next port of call would be. She particularly enjoyed the actual rides this year, something she wasn't as keen on last time. 

We took a fair few trips on 'Santa's Sleigh Ride' which felt completely weird on the hottest day of the year so far. Tinsel, jingle bells and Christmas trees in May.... anyone?! I do think it is one of the best attractions there though and the short queues meant that we could justify multiple rides! Always good!

Fort Apache is the most recent addition to Sundown and we spent a good half an hour here exploring before heading to the gift shop on the way out. We liked this new area which I feel has been very nicely designed though it's probably an area for older children as some of the drops are blummin' high and quite dangerous looking. Even so, Emilia loved the bumpy slides and the fact that there is plenty of space to run around.

As with our last visit, we took a picnic with us. There are plenty of spots to eat your lunch including grassy spaces underneath pink blossom trees and even an undercover picnic area which is ideal in bad weather.

We had a lovely day out and I am sure that it won't be long until we return to Sundown again! 

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Unique And Fun Ideas For A Girls Night In

Whether you’re trying to save money or just want a change from going out, a girls night in can be the ideal solution. You can socialize and catch up with friends and have a break from your responsibilities for a few hours. All while being in the comfort of your own home. But staying in doesn't have to be boring or dull. You just need to have some fun activities and themes that everyone can get involved in. If you’re long overdue a night in with your best girlfriends, here are some unique ideas to inspire you.

Book club night
Nowadays we are all obsessed with our smartphones and the internet. So why not host your own book club night and rediscover your love of reading. You and your friends can bring your favourite books and exchange them with one another. You can all talk about the plots and characters and exchange it with a friend you think would enjoy it most. This is a fun but chilled out night where you can drink wine and chat together. You can all talk about the different stories, movie adaptations and authors you enjoy. This may even become a monthly thing where you can share your thoughts and opinion with one another. You can learn a lot more about your friends this way, and it will undoubtedly bring you closer as a result. Plus it saves you money on buying new books.

Nostalgic disco night
Remember school disco’s and how much fun they were? For a more energetic night in with your girlfriends, why not hold a school disco. You can create a playlist of songs you all used to love when you were all younger and at school. You and your friends can reminisce and dance the night away together, enjoy songs from the Spice Girls and Britney Spears. You can serve sweets, ice-cream and drinks that were around at the time too. Get your friends to bring photographs of themselves dressed up for their school disco and get them to recreate their look. This will bring even more nostalgia to your night in while also having hilarious outcomes.

Magic theme night
If you and your friends are obsessed with Harry Potter, why not host a magic theme night. You can watch the movies in your PJ’s with some Hogwarts style snacks. Or you could all dress up as your favorite characters and have a sleepover. You could even try casting some magical spells together to make you feel like a student at Hogwarts. You can find these online and use them to bring each other good fortune. You could use a love or lottery spell to boost your friend’s luck with money and romance for instance. This magic night can bring a lot of enjoyment to your girl’s night in and it’s bound to be a hit with your friends.

We all live busy lives, but it’s important to take the time to meet up with friends and loved ones to maintain healthy relationships. So set a date and start planning your next girls night in, using these ideas to help you!

Friday, 6 May 2016

Lullaby Baby // Review

I might have mentioned this once or twice before but Emilia was one of those babies who just didn't like sleep. At all! We tried everything to help settle her and after a few months we found that she really responded to a few things; movement and music. 
I remember scouring the Internet in those early days looking for some decent music to play for her in an attempt to make her environment calm and relaxing ready for sleep. At 2.5 years old, she now has quite the music collection and listening to music is one of our absolute favourite things to do together! 

Each day, we listen to everything from Disney tunes to "mummy and daddy's music". Music is such a huge part of our day. Even at bedtime we'll sing to her or play gentle music to help everyone wind down ready for bed.

With this in mind, we were delighted to receive a copy of "Lullaby Baby" recently which is a brand new album for little ones. "Lullaby Baby" is a beautiful collection of twenty songs aimed to soothe babies and young children alike.

Lullaby Baby is the latest album from Nursery Rhymes 123, a collaboration between BAFTA award winning director and father-of-two Dan Smith and UK based singer-songwriter Martha Bean. 

The album is a stunning collection that includes interpretations of traditional nursery rhymes and lullabies as well as four original tracks written by Martha Bean (the singer featured on the album). 

We love the mix of tracks, all of which are beautifully relaxing and very listenable for parents too. Thankfully, I don't anticipate that any of us will get bored of listening to the album any time soon! 
Our favourite track is "You Are My Sunshine", a song that I have always sung to Emilia at bedtime. We've not found a really good version of this before and so we are very pleased to see this one on the album. It's gentle yet uplifting, Emilia has requested this one quite a few times already as it's one of her favourites! 

Half way through the album, the tracks progress into instrumental versions. These are sublimely calming, perfect for that bedtime routine! 

Every single track is extremely soothing, peaceful and has a wonderful calming effect. We're huge fans of this album already and we're now working our way through the previous album "11 Nursery Rhymes and Songs" and the many wonderful playlists available on the Nursery Rhymes 123 website (which, by the way, is a gorgeous little website!). 

The album is available to purchase in iTunes for £7.99 or you can listen to the album on Spotify. It's available on all other major download and streaming websites including Amazon, Apple Music and Google Play.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Knowlegde Is Power // The Facts You Need To Know Before Travelling


There are a number of things that make travelling as good as it can be. A sturdy raincoat if you’re heading somewhere a tad wet, for example. A suitcase big enough for all the wares you decide to buy! But do you know what else makes travelling a heck of a lot better? Knowledge! First of all, knowing the best time to visit. Or where you will be safest. Then, once you arrive, knowing what to expect when the plane touches down. Understanding that taxi driver when he asks you a questions. Knowing which mannerisms are considered warm, and which are considered rude.

So, what is the most important knowledge you need for a fantastic, successful trip? Here is a list of the topics you’ll want to brush up on....

Where the safe areas are

There is pretty much nowhere in the world where you will be 100% safe, 100% of the time. It’s a shame, but it’s the reality. However, there are some places where you are safer than others. Say, for example, you are a solo female wanting to have a backpacking adventure on your own! While South America might seem very tempting, Scandinavia could prove a better choice. Knowing things like kidnap rates and crime rates in different countries you are considering isn't so you get scared. It’s so you have the knowledge. It also means that if you do decide to go to a place where crime rates are high, you can be as best prepared as possible. So, you might decide to hire one driver for the entire trip, rather than using taxis and public transport.

When the best time to visit is

Visiting at a place at the wrong time can be detrimental to your experience in all sorts of ways. Firstly, cost. Going in peak season if you could go out of peak season is going to cause more damage to your precious savings. Flights, hotels, and even ad-hoc taxi journeys might cost more. Secondly, on the topic of peak season, if you go then, the place could be overrun with tourists. As travellers to Venice will tell you, too many tourists can ruin the feel of a place. Furthermore, events and sights. There will be nothing more anything than arriving at a place, only to find that an incredible local festival is due to start the day that you leave. And what about the main thing you are travelling for? If you are going to see a particular spectacle, do your research. When is the best time for the Northern Lights? When is the best time to see Machu Picchu? When are the parades at Disneyland? Knowing these things will make all the difference!

What the local consider 'rude'

The last thing you want during your holiday or adventure is to offend or upset the locals. Of course, you would never do this intentionally. However, there are some things that are considered rude in other countries, that are totally acceptable in your own. Be sure to research local customs before you travel to avoid any offence or misunderstandings.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Things I've loved this week // 011

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

A new camera
My old camera has been slowing down recently so this week I decided that it was time to take the plunge and upgrade it! I decided upon the Nikon 1 J5 as not only was it super affordable, it is also lightweight and completely versatile. Perfect for our upcoming holidays and adventures! I am really looking forwards to seeing what it can do over the next few weeks.

Family time
Always, always! This girl's smile and happiness mean absolutely everything to me and I love all of our adventures together.

New jewellery
I have really cut down on buying things for myself over the past 3 years. Long gone are the days of spending my spare pennies on candles, magazine, jewellery and shoes! I must add that this was by choice and honestly, it makes the times that I do buy/receive these things all the more special.
I received this gorgeous multi chain necklace from JOY recently and I'm so in love with it. I am super obsessed with geometric shapes at the moment and this necklace is just so easy to wear too, I'm finding that it goes well with almost everything. JOY are often one of my first stops when it comes to gift shopping so it's nice to have a little treat for myself too!

Deer spotting
I've been told about the deer in our local cemetery so many times and this week, finally, we saw it. It was only a few footsteps away from us and seeing it was a bit of magic, especially considering the urban location of the cemetery. Emilia has been talking about "Bambi" ever since! 

I must apologise for the rubbish photo, my cold hands were not co-operating with my phone camera!

Hot Chocolate
Like pretty much everyone out there at the moment, I've been feeling pretty fed up with the unusually cold weather we've been experiencing recently. This weekend we packed up a lovely picnic and headed out into the Peak District only to be caught out in yet more rain and sleet. There was only one thing for it.... a steaming hot mug of hot chocolate with all the trimmings. I enjoyed this at Matlock Meadows whilst sheltering from the rain. It was so, so good and just what I needed! 

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