Me and Mine - February

So this month marks almost three months of parenting two children, and being a family of four. I cannot believe these twelve weeks have gone so fast and I'm again so thankful I now have three pictures of our family all together! Despite taking lots of photos in our everyday life it really does take some organising to make sure we stop and remember to include us all and without this prompt I doubt we'd even have one yet.

It's amazing how Mabli is starting to look less like a newborn and more of an older baby, which I guess she is now, I just can't believe it's gone so fast already! Wilf is looking more and more grown up, sometimes I'll catch a glimpse of him and I can almost see the man he's going to grow up to be..it's scary and amazing all at once.

They call the three months after having a baby the 'fourth trimester' and I'm really feeling that that I've reached the end of that now. I'm starting to feel like I've moved out of a slight fog and our everyday feels a lot more normal than it did last month.

(I LOVE Wilf's face in this snap haha) 

We've started to plan our adventures for the rest of the year and are so thrilled to have found out we are Mark Warner ambassadors this year. We actually tried to take Mabli's passport photos the other day which was a total disaster, it's hard to take pictures of a ten week old in a Photo Booth I can tell you!

I feel like the year is going so quickly already that sometimes I'll catch myself watching our littlest one smile and coo and think 'I'm going to miss this so much!'. Because this is our last child I feel like I want to freeze time whilst still being excited about watching them both grow. I guess that's just motherhood for you though isn't it!

We took these pictures in our garden between the daffodils. We hardly went in our garden last year because we knew we wanted to get it done over and sort of left it to get pretty bad and never got round to finishing it up. Now that Spring is pretty much here it's on the top of our list to do, I can't wait to see both our kiddos enjoying spending time out there this year.

One of these months I hope to actually have Mabli looking at the camera, ha!

Don't forgot to visit the other Me and Mine hosts Lucy, Katie, Jenny, Alex and Lucy. I can't wait to see all your posts, it's one of my favourite things to hop over and see everyone's lovely family snaps and it reminds me what a lovely community this is.

p.s just incase you were wondering (my top and skirt are from Boden, hat from Joules, Wilf's bat top is from H&M and Mabli's dress is Cath Kidston and bonnet Petit Bonny)


A little of life lately

The other day the sun started shinning for what felt like the first time in SO long and we really felt like Spring was in the air and in our steps (is that corny? Sorry!). We decided to head to the other side of our city for a change and grab some brunch.

Unfortunately it was a bit of mixed day as Tom was still really ill from a recent bought of asthma and the side effects of a lot of that medication really crept up on him. Thankfully he's feeling much better now!

I can't believe my littlest one is 12 weeks old already! I have to admit I am really enjoying dressing a little girlie, especially as Wilf is now getting more of an idea of what he wants to wear. Dressing my children is one of my favourite parts of this motherhood job ;)

Oh her cheeks, I want to never forget how utterly sqishable & kissable they are, slow down time!

Motherhood second time round for me has been much less of a shock & I feel so much more at ease and chilled out. It makes me feel sad that I didn't give Wilf the same start, I was in really quite a bad way with the baby blues & I wish I'd been able to stare & his newborn face with the same instant love. I hope I've made it up to him since, my wonderful little boy, who changed my life for the better.

We've been chatting a lot about the transition to school (later this year!) and so far he's been nothing but excited to be a big school boy. I so hope it is a smooth one, although I think I will be much more effected than him, as long as I save the tears for when he can't see them!

I'm noticing more & more of Tom when I study Wilf's face but also recognising me too. I don't think I'll ever get over the fact we've created two amazing little people.

Someone mentioned to me the other day that they had been following this blog of mine for almost six years and seen my family grow. I was a bit blown away that they had stuck with me for that long, ha! It also reminded me that I'm not just typing away to cyberspace, thanks for tolerating the cheesiness!

On that note I've spent the last two months trying to recap 2015..I'm still not quite there yet but if you fancy it you can see 2014 here and here.

p.s if you fancy seeing a post I did for George back in November when I was 9 months pregnant and fitting myself into a den then click here ;)


Are You Thready? (win a holiday for two to Italy!)

win a holiday to italy with the white stuff

A couple of weeks back one of my favourite brands The White Stuff got in touch about a charity campaign they are running called 'Are You Thready'. As a big fan of the vibrant colours and playful patterns they use I knew it would be a project that would be really fun to get involved in.

Essentially all you need to do is pop into your local branch and pick up on of their material squares to customise. Once returned each square will be added to others to create a patchwork cushion or quilt and also £5 will be donated to a local charity for every square completed, (the finished patchwork items will also be donated to charity).

Each local branch will then judge the customised pieces and award a £50 voucher to the best square and the winner will also be entered to win the grand prize, a holiday for two to Italy! You can see more info here.

win a holiday to italy with the white stuff
win a holiday to italy with the white stuff

I love this idea of local communities getting together and creating. You can also attend the judging at your local shop and chat crafting over tea and cake, who knows you might make a friend!

You have until the 10th of March to enter and you can post pictures of your square on social media with the hashtag #AreYouThready. It's a great idea to take a look at what others have done for inspiration too!

I love this bird print square I received and I think I will give sewing in some colour to the pattern to make it stand out that bit more.

If you're wondering then yes that it a giant button cookie and yes Wilf laid claim to it before I even had a chance ;)

in association with the White Stuff


Becoming a Command Brand Ambassador

A couple of weeks ago Tom, Mabli and I hopped on the train to Reading to spend the day with the Command Strips team. Myself as well as four other bloggers (Geraldine, Poppy, Sarah and Hannah) had been invited to be ambassadors for the brand, we were to spend the day styling for some projects we have planned for the rest of the year (more on that later!).

With Mabli only 6 weeks old she needed to come along with me so I could feed her but also because I couldn't be without her so soon. The team were so welcoming and accommodating and a baby makes for a great ice breaker when making friends. I'm so thankful to Tom for supporting my work and helping me so much in these early days with the baby, he was able to come with us and watch her whilst I got to work (I love this shot I sneakily took of them). The location was a gorgeous stately house that was a living home to a family of four boys, it was so big I kept getting lost in it!

Mabli was such a good little thing as she generally is (unless its the half an hour between 8.30 and 9pm  when she gets the grumps ha!), so chilled and smily!

(how beautiful is this pink set up in the downstairs kitchen of the home we were at??)

When I first heard about Command Brand from 3M I was immediately taken back to my art degree, I used some of their products for hanging my final major pieces funny enough. They are the perfect thing for anyone wishing to do some home improvements without using anything major like drills. You can hang anything from children's mobiles to picture frames and more. Wilf asked for a mobile for his room after he saw Mabli had one so Tom and Wilf crafted a sea life one and hung it above his bed (we used this product for this), so sweet!

I know if you are renting you often have to check with your landlord about putting up pictures or marking walls so these make for a great alternative. You simply stick them on then pull the tab down afterwards to remove when needed meaning you don't actually pull at the paint work.

(A sneak peek of a craft I have coming up for you!)

It was so inspiring seeing all the projects my fellow bloggers were whipping up around the stately home we were at and I can't wait to see them go live and share them with you also. I'm pretty excited about my Easter tutorial coming up, it's a very easy one you can do with your kids and just pop up using the strips without leaving a mark or pulling at paint. I hope you like it!

Have you heard of Command Brand before? Do you use them in your own home?

this post is in association with Command Brand from 3M of whom I am an ambassador but all words and thoughts are my own


A little kiddo wish list

Shopping for my kids is one of my favourite past times, I thought I'd share with you some of my latest finds, enjoy!

1, Apple of my Eye from Joules
2, Fruit Jumper from M&S

3, Dinosaur Dress - Boden - This only comes in size 7 upwards now but there is also this print which is available from 1.5 years.
4, Tennis Cardigan - (I wish this came in adults size) La Redoute

5, We get lots of Wilf's cardigans from George at Asda, love this monochrome one
6, Wilf has these pumps from Boden and I love them

7, Love pretty much everything Mini Rodini does and I think Wilf is still little enough for these
8, If you can't wear a cactus print at four years old when can you?

a little of life lately and traveling by train with kids

If you follow me over on Instagram you might have seen that we're been visiting Norfolk lately where my parents and younger brother recently moved to. We havn't stayed with my family in a while as they previous lived in Aberystwyth and both places happen to be a four and a half to five hour journey. I'm reminded after visiting though how good it is to spend time with family and how we really should try to make an effort despite the travel time. To those in larger countries like the US or Australia I bet it doesn't really seem too far at all! 

I know it seems odd to many that neither Tom or I drive and I suppose for two people in their 30's with two children it might be a little strange. I have started to think about learning this year (although the thought gives me the fear!) but if I'm honest we've not really ever had a need strong enough to stop us traveling by train. I know things would be different if we didn't live in a city (and central enough to walk or cycle everywhere) and in many ways I wished I'd kind of been forced to learn by living somewhere I needed to but I can't imagine using a car on a daily basis where we are now. That being said I totally get the idea of it being more convenient to drive somewhere further a field, especially if we needed to take a lot of gear with us (like festivals!).

We use the train as a family so much though and have yet to have a bad experience. I thought I'd share some of my tips to train travel in case it helps any of you who might have been considering a trip via train rather than car! 

Somethings are probably fairly obvious, like not traveling at peak times (for both the price and your sanity!) or booking in advance to grab a cheaper ticket but there are some other things we find useful that you might not have considered. We have used a Family & Friends railcard since Wilf was born which gives you a third off the total price. You don't actually have to pay for a child until they are five but by buying them a ticket with the card it actually makes the price of two adults much cheaper too AND it insures your child has their own seat.

We use the Trainline app on a daily basis as there is an inner city train in Bristol that runs regularly through some of our favourite areas and our own neighbourhood. It's useful for checking train times but also shows routes and platforms meaning that you know where your next train is and can plan your trip easily without rushing about. You can also pay using the app and pick up the tickets from your local station straight away. We used it on our recent journey and it meant we could hop on our train in London easily without having to hang around looking at screens to find our platform. It also has live updates if a train is delayed and what time it's expected to arrive.

In terms of keeping Wilf busy on the train I'm guessing these are things people do for any methods of transport but we love audiobooks. We have pretty much the whole Roald Dahl collection and he listens to them through the iPad with his headphones. We also download a movie on BlinkBox so that it can be watched offline, for long journeys that kills two hours and he currently has the patience to sit through a whole one happily without getting bored. I think I-Player and Amazon Prime also have download options so you can watch things without WiFi.

Whenever we get on a train Wilf declares he is thirsty and hungry (even if we're just jumping on our inner-city train or the tube and travelling for a couple of minutes, ha!). So we always make sure to have water and snacks with us, we carry raisins, fruit and dried cereal but also a treat like a Kinder Surprise because he can play with the toy on the journey along with the few we bring along with us.

People often comment on how well Wilf travels and I think it's because he is so used to it. He actually gets pretty sick in cars (even ten minute taxis) in a way it's worked out quite well, although I think his travel sickness will be something he grows out of, hopefully!

Whilst we were in Norfolk I did intend on taking much more pictures than the collection above but a combination of bad weather and simply relaxing with my folks meant I only took a few. We visited the picturesque town of Ely though and I'm eager to go back in sunnier weather, and Cambridge too.

Do you travel by train? How do you find it?

This year, Trainline customers can also purchase mobile tickets on select routes, with both advance and on-the-day rail tickets now available - all from within the Trainline app. Mobile tickets means no more paper tickets or long queues at the collection point. For a list of mobile ticket enabled routes, please visit here.

this post was written in association with the Trainline App who kindly paid for our journey but all  opinions are my own


George Home

A couple of weeks back we were invited up to London to visit the 'George Home' house set up by George at Asda. We often find ourselves in our local store because its quite close to our home and is a nice way to kill a morning with a coffee and a browse around the new home bits. They have a really handy section of kids crafting items which we'll pick up for an afternoon activity and I often end up leaving with a candle or new baking item.

Myself and four other other blogger families (Katie, Laura, Jess and Caro) were invited to view the home and it was great way to catch up with some of my favourites and see all the blogging husbands too! The kids immediately got stuck into playing with the toys and making friends and I was secretly quite pleased that Wilf was drawn to the dolls house and play kitchen. Tom read him a book the other day where the mummy bear in the story was cooking the dinner and he burst out laughing saying 'mummy's don't make the dinner! That's daddy's job!' so you can see the stereotypical general roles are pretty reversed in our household.

The team had done such a fantastic job with the place, moving all the owner of the house's furniture out to replace literally everything with George at Asda pieces, including planting the walls with Asda paint! I think you got a real feel for the pieces seeing them in situ rather than a shop floor and I found items in every room that I mentally put on my wish list.

I was really impressed with the range and have picked out some of my personal favourites to share with you guys. I loved some of them so much I've actually since ordered them for our home.

The range of plastic animals (shown above) were one of my favourites from the kids collection although Wilf was more taken with the dolls house, caravan and people (that you can find here). I was also really impressed with the furniture like the 'Alfie mid sleeper', for the look and design of it you'd expect a much higher price point. I'm tempted to looking in the bunk-bed version when the kiddos start sharing!

The team were brilliant with the kids setting out activities such as biscuit decorating and crafting, or simply letting them enjoy the house and the toys (which they definitely did!). Wilf made firm friends with Laura from Side Street Style's little boy even though it had been a year since they'd last seen each other & we found them later building a den with the blankets in the hallway! They certainly made themselves at home.

My absolute favourite of the room was the adults bed room and more specifically the bedding. It was the perfect shade and pattern and a whole bedding set came to £12 in total! I'm also really taken by the copper and rose gold details in the plant pots, candles and curtains.

It was actually the sweet little LL's birthday that day so a birthday cake was brought out and 'Happy Birthday' was sung whilst the kids bunched up for a group shot. You can tell they are blogger children can't you! ;)

After a long but fun day it was time to go home!

Thanks to George at Asda for a lovely day, you can see this post I did with them last year at eight months pregnant! 


Celebrate Her

 The special little boy who first made me a mother

I've been a mum now for four years and each year I feel like I'm constantly learning, about myself as a mother and about my child too. Just like those hazy newborn days (which we are now in the midst of for a second time round) we are both figuring things out one day at a time. Some days feel easy and carefree and some days I feel like we're constantly clashing but one of the most important things I've learnt is we can 'do-over' any time of the day.

One of our favourite activities to do together is 'crafting' I find its calming for both of us and something that can be 'our' thing just like the park is Tom and Wilf's thing (I hate the park!). I feel like every little craft project or finger painting is an mothering achievement to me as it represents quality time spent together, its something physical that I can keep and cherish (well maybe not ALL of them, but you get the idea ;)).

I'm teaming up with the lovely Cath Kidston team this mothers day to 'celebrate her' and share my motherhood achievement. I also don't think many mums would say no to one of their new handbags too!

What do most mums want at the start of Mothering Sunday? A cup of tea in bed please, oh and pass the macarons!

You can watch this cute video they have made and join in with your own pictures of what represents a motherhood achievement to you by using the hashtag #CKCelebrateHer there are some lovely Cath Kidston prizes to win if you do (you can find more details here)

My top / Wilf's top / Cup / Bag /

Thanks to Cath Kidston for partnering with this blog as part of their Mothers day campaign. They are such a iconic brand and a honour to work with! 


For the love of travel

I've been sitting at my laptop trying to work out how to put into words how I feel about travel. If I'm honest try to work out how to string a coherant sentence together in these hazy newborn days is quite some feat let alone describe the love I feel for seeing the world, but I'll attempt to ;)

One of the things I love so much about traveling and holidaying with my family is the excuse to get your camera out. Before digital cameras you'd send off for your holiday film to be developed and then eagerly show your friends and family the places and things you had seen. Now we can see different parts of world so easily just by looking through our Instagram feeds. If you're a long time reader of my blog you'll know that I need very little excuse to take pictures of my loved ones but somehow it feels all the more appropriate when you are away from home.

I feel like travel makes you take notice of the little things that bit more, different settings, and weather and architecture to snap a picture of. It takes you out of your every day where your living room is a mess and you need to think about the laundry and lets you spend quality time with the people that really matter.

Click below to read on

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