Christmas Eve 2016

Christmas Eve was quite a chilled one for us, we woke up to find our Elf Buddy had gone back to the North Pole and had left behind a Christmas Eve basket for us all to enjoy, the kids were so surprised and loved it. We got dressed and headed to the beach for a nice walk and in hopes to knacker the children out so they would sleep that night, it was quite windy on the beach but we all managed to walk quite a way and Archie wanted to run out onto the sand banks, crazy boy! We headed home and Archie had a little 20 minute sleep in the car which was perfect as as we knew he would still be tired for that night! 

Vileda Windomatic

Fed up of cleaning your windows, does it take ages and still leave smears? You need the Vileda Windomatic in your life. It has changed my cleaning routine completely, and helped reduce the time and use of kitchen roll/wet wipes too! When you look at it you just think ah that's to clean my windows with, but I have used this in loads of other places like the shower, mirrors, kitchen cupboards, for condensation, for the car and even to quickly clean up a spill of water on the table!

My first task was my shower doors, we don't ever wipe these down after using it so the water drops dry on the glass, I used a glass cleaner and gave them a good scrub and using the Vileda windomatic I cleaned the glass and there was no more water marks afterwards and they looked streak free. This saved me so much kitchen roll like I would normally do to wipe it off. Now every time we shower we use the Vileda to suck the water off to prevent those horrible water marks and a week later the doors still look clear!

To Isla | Your 4th Birthday

Today Isla you are 4 years old, thats four whole years that I have been a Mummy and you have been here brightening up mine and Daddy's lives. I cant actually believe how quick this past year has gone and how I'm going to feel so much older by saying that I now have a four year old! I still remember the day you was born like it was yesterday, the overwhelming feeling of taking home this tiny little newborn and feeling like a child myself at 19 I thought I wouldn't know what to do. But you was amazing and everything came so naturally, you taught me how to love, how to think for someone else before myself and how to be a Mother. 

You make me and Daddy so proud, you're learning so much everyday and the things you come out with amaze us! You make us all so happy and always put a smile on our faces, you know how to make us laugh and you can be so gentle and loving. But you do also have this wild fiery side, your such a determined little girl who knows what she wants, your so independent and strong, yes it is challenging and at times hard work, but I wouldn't change you for the world. You're the most amazing big Sister to Archie, he is your best friend and you look after him so well and now you both play together, hold hands while you walk and you teach him so much, I know Archie loves you to bits.

Getting To Know Me | 2016

I was tagged by the lovely Holly to do this, there are 25 questions and hopefully you will get to know me a little better after reading these!

1. What is your favourite thing on TV?
I don't actually watch 'normal' television, we only have Netflix in this house, so its got to be Pretty Little Liars (I can't wait for the final series to come out)

2. Name 3 thing that are physically close to you right now.
My iPhone, Fox's cookies and Perry!

3. What's the weather like right now?
Dark and foggy 

4. Do you drive? If so have you crashed?
No I don't drive, its a goal for 2017!

5. What are you currently looking forward to?
Isla's 4th Birthday on Monday! 

6. What did you eat for supper last night?
The original combo from the Harvester! 

7. What was the last movie you saw?
Finding Dory 

8. Who did you last call?

9. What's your biggest plan for the year ahead?
To have lots of holidays and breaks as a family. 

10. What was the last country you visited?
Rhodes in May 

Siblings | December

Wow I cant believe this is the last month of Siblings for 2016, this year has gone so quick and these two have grown and changed so much, their bond has blossomed and finally I feel that they are a tight unit. They play together so well now, Mummy and Daddy's is their all time favourite game, with them both caring for baby dolls, although Archie usually runs away with the babies. Archie learns so much from Isla, and I also feel Archie gives Isla a lot more confidence too, its like they bounce off of each other. I honestly cant wait to see how their bond grows next year, although I do feel a bit anxious with Isla starting school next September and how it will affect them both. But for now we are going to make the most of the time we have before then, next year we are going to do so much and I cant wait. 

^ This has to be my all time favourite photo of them both, as they hold hands and walk into the sunset together. They are the perfect little duo now, the best of friends and I beam with pride at moments like this. 

Stocking Fillers | 19 Month Old

Here are Archie's stocking fillers and he is 19 months old, I found him a little tricky to buy for but I think he still has got a good amount of things. I tried to spend the same amount on each of them, even though Archie has more in his stocking, but some of these things they will both play with like the cars and animals. 

I will list below where everything is from and how much they cost

1. Paw Patrol socks - £2 from Primark 
2. Chase soft toy - £7 from Tesco
3. 6 Hot Wheels cars - £1 each from Poundland
4. 4 animal figures - £1 each from Wilkinson's
5. Spiderman toothbrush - £2.50 from B&M Bargains
6. Thomas magic flannel - £1.50 from Wilkinson's
7. Wooden bus - £1 from Poundland
8. Chocolate lolly - £1 from Asda 

Total Spend: £25

Click here to see what is in Isla's stocking (4 years old)

Stocking Fillers | 4 Year Old

I thought I would share with you whats in Isla's stocking this year, she will be turning 4 on the 19th December and these are things I think she will love. I found it so easy this year to get bits for her as she is starting to love smaller things and she's at a suitable age for them. I did get her a set of 2 Disney Frozen nail varnish but we have opened them already on our girly night, but just bits like that I find she loves now. I tried to get a range of toys and practical items as well for her, and I think we are going to put them in the stocking unwrapped this year. 

So here is everything that is going into her stocking, I will list below where they are from and how much they cost, incase you see any ideas for your little ones!

1. Paw Patrol socks - £2 from Primark 
2. Disney Princess Lego - £4.49 from Tesco
3. Cinderella figure - £3.50 from Tesco
4. Giraffe figure - £1 from Wilkinson's
5. 2 horse figures - £1 each from Wilkinson's 
6. Shopkins chef club - £2.50 from Tesco
7. Wooden school bus - £1 from poundland
8. Frozen bath tints - £2.50 from Wilkinson's
9. Belle magic flannel - £1.50 from Wilkinson's
10. Frozen toothbrush - £2.50 from Wilkinson's
11. Chocolate lolly - £1 from Asda

Total Spend: £23.99

Click here to see what is in Archie's stocking (19 months old)

I hope you find this helpful :)

Our Family Christmas Eve Basket 2016

This is the first year that I am doing a Christmas Eve basket, last year we got back from Disney right before Christmas and Perry has always had to work on Christmas Eve, but this year at his new job he has the day off and also Isla is at such a great age to understand it all now, and I want it to be something that our elf leaves as a goodbye present, as we are also doing Elf on the shelf this year. 

So here is what is inside our basket, Im just using a wicker picnic basket that we had and Ive also put everything inside and buckled it up so its all ready to be set up again on Christmas Eve. I tried to not spend too much on it, as we are on a budget due to our wedding, but I think I did well and next year I can put more bits in instead! I tried to get us things that would give us something to do on the day and keep us all busy. 

I have got the kids some matching pyjamas from Next, so I put these in so that after bath time they can get all cosy in their new pyjamas. I cant wait to see them both in them, Islas pyjamas cost £11 and Archie's cost £10 but I got them a size up so they will last them all next year too. 

Scootaheadz | Pretty Pearl

Are you wanting to personalise your child's scooter, or make them more fun and exciting? Something to make it stand out from the rest so your child doesn't mistakenly pick up the wrong scooter? Than look no further than Scootaheadz, they are a fun add on to your child's scooter, trikes and even some bicycles. Made from PVC so it will last a long time, easy to attach to most T-bar scooters, waterproof and is easily wipe cleaned, makes it perfect for your little ones scooters. 

We was sent Pretty Pearl the unicorn, and Isla is in love with her! She absolutely loves horses and unicorns so she was over the moon with her add on to her scooter. She has been loving her scooter recently as she is able to ride it to pre-school, but as another girl has the same scooter we have to keep them apart so we know who's is which, but now Isla has this we will easily be able to tell them apart which is awesome! 

There are also 6 other scootaheadz, Cheeky Charly who is a brown horse, Surfing Sammy the shark, Lovely Lola the purple horse, Timmy T-Rex the blue dinosaur, Pippa Pony the pink horse and Danny Dino the green dinosaur. With so many to choose from you will be able to find one to match your child's scooter or just one that they will love! I'm already eyeing up Timmy T-rex for Archie's scooter as I just think it makes the scooter so much more fun and personal for the child.

Our Bedtime Routine With 2 Toddlers

So today I thought I would share with you our bedtime routine with our two little ones aged 3 and 1, at the moment this seems to work for us and its been like this for the past 3 years. However I think when Isla starts Reception next September we may have to move things forward a bit so she can go to bed a bit earlier... let me know, if your little one is in school aged 5-6 what time do they go to bed? Anyway enough rambling from me, I will start...

5:30pm - I usually start dinner around this time, depending on what we are having I may start earlier. But my aim is to have dinner on the table for 6pm.

6:00pm - Dinner is served and we all sit down to tuck in.

6:20pm - We have usually finished by now and the kids will have a dessert if we have any, either a yoghurt or ice cream as a treat. Although now winter is here we do love a apple crumble now and again.

Mummy & Me | November

I cant believe we are at the end of November already? Since Autumn started it feels like this year is going by in a flash now! We are so busy at the moment with all of Isla's activities, party's and pre-school Christmas plays - I swear this girl has a better social life than me! I didn't really have the time to take us out and get some nice photos, so a quick trip to the park for these and then a search on my mac found me another two that I had forgot about. Hoping next month I will be more organised!

Isla looks so impressed, I think she was thinking Mum stop embarrassing me at the park, everyone is looking at us, hurry up!

The Christmas Bus | Our Experience

We was invited to go to the Christmas Grotto bus today at Tollgate Shopping Centre in Colchester, we had such a great time at this free event and think it was the perfect way to get into the Christmas spirit. I only took Isla with me as I knew she would enjoy it a lot more and is a better age for all the craft fun that they had on board. The bus will be open tomorrow 11am - 5pm and then it will be gone so if your local or in Essex and want some free fun to go to, then definitely head down there. It took us just under an hour to get there by bus and we had such a lovely time, Isla really enjoyed it and after over coming her shyness she really got into it. You can read more details about the event here.

When we arrived we had to wait around 45 minutes to get on the bus, Isla waited so patiently in line and was excited about the bus. We were finally called forward by an Elf who was very friendly and asked Isla what she wanted for Christmas. We got onto the bus and sat down at a table, they were big enough for a family of 4 and there was 4 tables all together and at the back 2 sets of seats for you to wait to be called up to see Santa.

When we sat down a Elf came over and gave us a clear bag and tag, she told Isla to pick her favourite reindeer and using the board to create the reindeer food. Isla picked Rudolph and so we looked to see what food he would like in his food. I thought this was a really nice way of doing it, but Isla couldn't resist and put some silver decorations in hers so hopefully Rudolph wont mind! 

3 Months To Go | Wedding Series

So today its only 3 months to go until the big day! I cant actually believe it, it only feels like yesterday I was saying it was 7 months away and I have blinked and we are now at 3 months! I am feeling like I am getting a little bit of wedding jitters, I cant tell you how nervous I feel about walking down that aisle and saying my vows. Today I thought I would share with you what we have done so far, I cant really show you to much as its all in a cupboard mixed with Isla's Birthday presents and Christmas presents too. We are also holding off to buy anything else for the wedding until after Christmas so I cant wait to share it all with you then.

So what have we done so far, well I have written many lists for a start, and yet I still feel like I am forgetting something, so if you do notice something please do let me know! These are just big things and stuff that we have hired, I will be going into more detail in the new year.

Venue - This is the first thing we booked, we are having our ceremony and reception in the same place so its been pretty straightforward planning wise.

Registrar - Again this is one of the first things we done, we made sure we got our date and time secured well in advance!

Dress - I got my dress in February and actually have it now at my house, it just needs to be altered in January, which I have booked.

Photographer - I hunted Google like a F.B.I agent looking at many photographers and not many I felt were my sort of style, the photos were lovely but just not for me. I finally found the perfect photographer and so we booked him, even though its worked out to be the second most expensive thing!

Tollgate Christmas Bus Grotto Is Coming To Town!

With Christmas just around the corner what perfect way to get into the spirit than visiting the Christmas Bus Grotto this weekend 26th & 27th November at Tollgate Shopping Centre in Colchester, it is a free pop up family event with the double decker bus being converted into a magical winter wonderland where your little ones can meet Santa himself upstairs and also get involved in some fun free Christmas crafts on the lower deck with the elves, how exciting!

Children will be able to make everything from tree decorations to magic reindeer food which I know Isla will absolutely love! Why not come down this weekend and do a bit of Christmas shopping and get the kids into the spirit by visiting the Christmas Grotto Bus, as this is a free event it is provided on a first come, first serve basis so you should arrive early to avoid disappointment. 

You can also download a free app 'Freezy's Christmas Adventure' so you can go on a virtual treasure hunt around the shopping centre to try and find the hidden presents to help snowman Freezy. What a perfect addition to make the day even more magical for the children.

The Grotto bus will be open between 11am - 5pm on both Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th November. 
You can find Tollgate Shopping Centre by:

Sat Nav - Use postcode CO3 8RG.
Car - From B1408 London Road to the north. 
Train - Marks Tey and Colchester Town stations are a 10-15 minute taxi journey or
Bus - From Colchester Town get the 65,70 and 71.

*Collaborative post

Christmas Pyjamas & Nappies

This year I was on the hunt for some matching Christmas pyjamas for the kids, I come across some on Next but unfortunately they were out of stock in the sizes I needed in all 3 designs, I really wanted the navy with the stag heads but it just wasn't happening. When these ones come back in stock in the right sizes I jumped at them, at least it is done now and ticked off my ever so long list! So this year on Christmas Eve the kids will be going to bed in these....

... and to match perfectly Asda's Little Angels have released this years new Christmas design and they are the cutest looking nappies I have ever seen! I love the design of them and Archie loved modelling one for me already and even he was fascinated by it, I cant resist the stripy bum! They will go with Archie's outfit perfectly and we cant wait to start using them in December to get us in the spirit. Of course they still offer the 12 hours of dryness and size up guide so your little ones will get a perfect nights sleep ready for Christmas! They are now available to buy online and in store for £3.50 and come in sizes 4+, 5+ and 6+.

*We was sent a pack of nappies to try out, but all words and opinions are my own.

Siblings | November

My two in November have been unwell for what seems like forever so we wasn't able to get any 'proper' photos, but I do love these ones I got of them on my phone. I think it just shows their bond so well now, they love to hold hands while walking now that Archie has got over his I'm independent and don't need you stage, they also cuddle a lot more and want to be sat next to each other at the dinner table. When Isla is in the mood she can be so good with Archie and will happily hand over a toy when he wants it, she is a lot more caring towards him now and can help him depending on what he needs. Archie is always calling for Isla and cries when she walks into nursery which then makes me feel upset! I am so happy with how far they have come, I love their friendship so much and cant wait to watch it grow more over the next year.

The Me and Mine Project

intu Lakeside | Christmas Village

We was invited to visit Santa's grotto at intu Lakeside tonight, having been last year we was excited to come back again this year and visit Santa again. We was pleasantly surprised at how much better the Christmas village was this year, it was a lot bigger with more rides and the most exciting bit was the under cover ice skating! Although this is for age 4 and over so it wasn't something we was able to enjoy this time, but we definitely will with Isla next year. Tickets to see Santa cost £6 per child, and you can book a slot here.

Inside the grotto is a buggy area for you to leave your pushchair while you enjoy your visit, there is always a elf on guard to keep them safe. We was given two tokens to play the first game on the wall and found that around the grotto was lots of interacting games and things for the children to do as well as funny mirrors which made the wait time much more enjoyable both for us parents and the children too.

This gingerbread one was the children's favourite, you had to push the buttons and his eyes would go all funny and it would make a silly noise which the children loved. I think they found this the best bit of the whole grotto, they were giggling so much about it.

Slendertone Connect Results | 4 Weeks

Following on from my last post, I am here to show you my results from using the Slendertone Connect. I was given a 6 week program to get me started (I thought it was 4) so I am here to show you the results so far. I have been using the Slendertone every other day for 30 minutes, while cooking, cleaning and even getting the kids ready for bed. I think my routine at the gym has definitely been helping along side my use with the belt, unfortunately one week I didn't make it to the gym once as I was unwell but I was able to use my belt at home to keep going in some way at least. So here are my results as I am sure you are all wanting to see, can I just say one thing though.. Please be nice! We all start somewhere and that's the main thing, I am a Mum to 2 young children and my youngest being 17 months old so I am happy with my body regardless, its amazing!

So these top two photos are front and side before photos and the bottom ones are exactly 4 weeks later. I have another 2 weeks to go on my program so I think I will do another update at 6 weeks as well. My level that I am currently achieving with the belt is around the 75 mark, my goal is 70 so I am keeping above my target. I haven't been to the gym in over a week due to being unwell and looking after the children that are also unwell, so I am looking forward to getting back in the gym to help my progress. I cant wait to see how I progress with my gym and belt routine, I am thinking of maybe doing a update every 2-4 weeks to show you the progress of my journey, I am hoping to tone up more and get some definition on my belly. I have just under 4 months to the wedding so lets do this! 

I can definitely feel a difference, and when I poke my belly now I can feel muscle that has built up underneath, I am starting to get a line down the middle of my belly, I'm not sure if you can tell in the photo but the middle just under my sports bra I am starting to get a line. I am definitely more slimmer round the belly area as before I had a over hang but now I can pull my gym bottoms up properly without them hurting me, also my topper half has slimmed down and my bra doesn't feel as tight anymore. I have only lost 1lb but I put that down to being unwell and not eating so great recently, but from Monday I am back at the gym and getting back into it again. I have just changed the pads on my belt and was so pleased with the service, I ordered the pads online around mid day and they arrived the next morning in the post! I am looking forward to sharing the next lot of results at 6 weeks and sharing my fitness journey with you all along the way. 

Invitations | Wedding Series

Welcome back to another Wedding Wednesday, this week I am going to be talking about our wedding invitations, we sent these out once we had everything in place and knew the times for the ceremony etc. We got our invites from Noah's Nuptials and she was great to work with and made it so easy for us, we was lucky and got our invites when she was running a promotion so that helped save some money. I absolutely love how they turned out, they are exactly what I wanted and match my colours perfectly so it helps to tie in the theme.

So on the front we have glitter card with a baby blue ribbon and heart diamanté detail, with our names and date of our wedding at the bottom. We have the silvery/grey border to help bring that colour in, it was a little darker than I had in mind but we still love them. 

Inside we have the pocket on the left which holds two cards, one for the RSVP and one is a poem about gifts, there was also options to have another card with the menu, one for directions etc. But we just kept it at two so it was nice and simple, on the right we have all the information, we opted for the more traditional way of wording. We did have all the names printed into the invitations but in our package we had a few spare so I just asked for dotted lines to be added so we could invite anyone else if our first choice people couldn't come, I know it sounds cheeky but our package is for 50 day people so we had to be really picky unfortunately. Our ceremony is booked for 1:30pm so we have put down for guests to arrive an hour before, just so it gives people a bit of time in case they get lost or stuck in traffic, they can also sit in one of the rooms with a lit fire and warm up with a drink before the ceremony begins.

Kidloland App & Giveaway

Since Isla started pre school we have been trying to help her with her learning at home, but she is so independent and strong minded that she wont let us, she just gets frustrated with us or acts silly and says the wrong answers even if she knows what the right answer is. I also don't like her spending to much time on the iPad, she has to earn her time on it by behaving well or doing chores, and she is allowed a 30 minute slot at a time. We have recently been trying out the Kidloland App and have to say it has become a firm favourite! Even much so that Isla will opt to play this in her free time on the iPad instead of watching the kinder egg openings on youtube! She does get time on the iPad just for educational games, but we also allow her to have free time and so she would normally watch youtube. But Kidloland has definitely taken over, the app is full of things for her to do from listening to nursery rhymes to playing occupational games where she can put fires out (she currently wants to be a firewoman as she grows up!) and I love she can act the job out already, I have to admit she seems great for the job! 

My Carry Potty | Ladybird

Isla has been potty trained for around a year now, and although she has been for some time we do have moments when we can get 'caught out' like when we visit the beach, go on country walks, certain shops that don't have toilets and also in the car while driving along the motorway to name a few. We was kindly sent a My Carry Potty to try out and have to say it is now a valuable item when packing for a day out, even if it is just kept in the boot of the car for longer journeys. We was sent the ladybird which is bright red in colour with a fun design on, making it more fun for Isla to use, she's even named it Lily! The potty has a nice sized handle which is perfect for Isla to carry her own potty, although after a while she does ask us carry it... typical! You can purchase the potty here for £24.99 which makes it a little more pricey than others on the market, but I love that you don't need to buy any bags or refills for it so in that aspect its actually cheaper. Its just all ready to go as soon as you open it making it quick and easy to use for your toddler, but we do have to open it for her as she cant do it, which to be honest is probably for the best! 

The potty is leak proof which is great until you find somewhere suitable to empty the contents, you open it by a twist lock type mechanism and once opened you can see the ingenious rubber seal lid. If you use wet wipes or tissue and cant dispose of them elsewhere you can simply pop them in the bottom of the potty but making sure they don't get in the way of the seal. This potty would be brilliant for the early days of potty training and I am so glad we have it now so we can use it with our second when the time comes. The seat is nice and big for little ones to sit on, without the potty feeling unstable, we have had Isla use this on the sand at the beach, on grass in a field and even in the boot of our car and it has been perfectly fine and stable for her. I also like that the front comes up quite high, which will also be perfect for little boys!

An Overview Of The Slendertone Connect

The Slendertone Connect is a sleek looking abdominal belt, it is unisex so can be used by women and men which I think is great as my partner has already been eyeing this up to use! It syncs to your phone via the app which is available on the Apple app store (iPhone 4s upwards/ iPad 4th generation upwards), the Android 4.4 or Google play. It uses bluetooth to connect and once paired it will automatically sync every time for you which is good, I love that you can control the belt with your phone and see your session in progress so you can see on the graph when the intensity will increase, also how much time you have done and how long you have left. 

The Slendertone uses advanced EMS (electrical muscle stimulation) and patented pad placement technology to recruit all abdominal muscles, including the rectus abdominis, the obliques and the hard to reach transversus abdominis. The belt will send signals to your nerves that will then make your muscles contract and that results in firmer and flatter looking abs. The belt can fit sizes 24" - 42" and it uses 3 gel pads that you can place where is suitable for your body size and shape. The gel pads last for 20-30 sessions and then they will need replacing, the pads come with a plastic so once you have finished using your belt you can simply pop the plastic back on the top to prevent everything sticking to them. The belt also comes with a handy little bag that you can store your belt in when its not in use or for travelling. You charge the belt up via a USB cable, I simply plug it into my apple plug and charge it that way, from a full charge the belt lasted 15 half hour sessions before asking me to charge it, that's pretty good going! 

What's In My Toddlers Bag | 17 Month Old

Now that Archie is 17 months old I finally accepted that he is now not a baby and needed to be upgraded to a toddler rucksack, which is the perfect bag as I can chuck it on my back and chase after him and his big sister. I picked him the Disney Cars rucksack off of Amazon as he absolutely loves cars and thought it was the perfect size and I loved that it had a front pocket and cup holder on the side as well. He was so excited when he see it and its something he can relate to and that he loves, he definitely knows that it is his bag. I think with Archie being my 2nd baby I kind of know what the essentials are and what is just unnecessary to lug around in a bag with me, so Ive kept the bag really simple, Ive packed it as if we was popping out to town round the shops, a friends house or soft play etc.