When you fail - Me and Mine September

So our Me and Mine pictures this month are..in the lift in our local retail park heading up to NEXT.. yep that's the only picture I could find of all of us from September..and frankly Mabli is barely in it.

I tried to rush and get a pic this morning before work/school/life..let's just say I won't be trying to repeat that exercise and no pictures where taken.

September has been a really full on month. There's the obvious, school starting and the massive change that has been to our lives and routines. We're all tired, I'm not sure I'll ever get used to the school run..and the baby has timed this with barely sleeping so..it's been a tricky one!

There's also been a lot of heartache, not something I'll go into really here, but it would be hard for me to explain why I've been more silent over this month. Frankly it would be hard to explain at all if I'm honest. Relationships with family members aren't always easy, things are never black and white. What remains a constant is my small family unit, Tom and the kids. I'm so thankful for that. Even if I scream and shout in the mornings, even if I find it hard to say sorry (always), even when I'm not being a good wife or mum and when I'm trying to be a good daughter and sister.

Sometimes I want a grown up to tell me what is best..and then I remember that I'm the grown up!

There have been some really joyful moments too of course. I'm so excited to see how Wilf is developing at school, within weeks he's come on massively with his reading and writing. I know that is a sometimes controversial subject and I don't in anyway think 4 years old 'should' be doing things at this age. All children are so different but Wilf is definitely the kind of kid that wants to do these things and is picking up on things now so quickly. He's been able to spell his name for a while but has now mastered our names too and is able to pick up on lots of words and work out how they go together. It's an exciting time as I think reading is such wonderful thing to be able to do, I can't wait for him to get lost in a good book and to see where his imagination takes him.

Mabli has always changed massively over the past month, I'm not sure its it a leap or not but she's also coming along really well in her speech. When I say speech she's just babbling away but she can recognise words now too. She still has no teeth though!

I've been feeling a bit lost whilst I try and work out me new routine as a school run mum. I was feeling a bit lonely with some of my friends moving away and not really seeing people as much as I used to when I had Wilf with me. In fact I was becoming a bit of a hermit for a couple of weeks as I just couldn't work out what to do with my time in-between drop off and pick up and how to fit in all the things I needed to do in that time. It's odd as I thought I'd have more time but I actually seem to have less!

I'm feeling positive about some new friendships I've been making lately though and I think that this new phase of our life will be a positive one once we've found our feet. I'm trying to cut out bits of social media that were making me feel a bit negative too. It's hard because of my job of course but I think it's just finding a good balance..like everything in life!

Gosh this has turned into a bit of long winded post hasn't it! Hope any of that makes sense, I'm so sleep deprived I wouldn't be surprised if it didn't. I'm even quite starting to like our funny lift picture, ha! Must try harder next month to make up for it ;)

Don't forgot to visit the other Me and Mine hosts Lucy, Katie, JennyAlex and Lucy. I can't wait to see all your posts!


School run style and feeling the feels

It's week three of the school run..I think..I've lost track of the days and weeks a little bit if I'm honest. I go through feeling like 'I'm liking the routine, he's happy, he's learning so much, this is good' to feeling like 'nope I can't be doing this everyday, I just saw a girl being mean to him, I'm taking him out we'll go home and built forts and watch movies'. It's a swinging pendulum of emotions.

I'm lucky that he's not shown any signs of NOT having a good time. He knows a couple of the kids in the other class, he always has someone to play with at break. He's one of the oldest in the year, he loves learning, he's desperate to read and write.

I went to the park after school and some girls were telling him boys can't play, only girls. I wanted to cry. He told me his friend said she wasn't his friend that day, she had a new friend. I feel like my heart is breaking for him, I can't bare other peoples kids. I want to wrap him in cotton wool and protect him and to always be there as soon as he falls down and grazes his had. I can't, sometimes kids need to work out their own things. I don't want anyone to make him feel like he can't play with his My Little Ponies. He loves My Little Ponies, he's a boy too, shock horror.

Does this settle down? Does anyone feel 100% about their school choice? About sending them there in the first place? How do you deal when people's kids are just...meanies?!

Any advice gratefully accepted.

My friend Kat gave me a great piece of advice about the school run. She said throw on some joggers for the run, when you're home you can shower and get changed. Wear a hat in winter, no one has time to wash their hair before 8 and get children ready..right?

For someone who spent about 15 years of their life living in skirts and dresses I've succumbed to the jeans and sweater look. Half way through the first week I was wearing pink joggers, unfortunately it's too warm still for hat to hide the hair situation. Blessing come in it still being sunny enough for sunglasses to hide the eye bags.

So I thought I'd come up with my favourite pieces for the school run, if your interested!

I've recently become obsessed with these 'mom jeans', I'm also not 100% sure I can pull them off. I tried these jeans in about 101 combinations of size and length and decided on the W 30/ L 30 size (I'm usually a 12) but in hindsight at they have stretched as I've worn them I could have gone a little smaller. I love that they are high rise because I have quite a long tummy AND because I always tumble try my tops and then accidentally make them that bit smaller!

I've teamed them with these trainers from Boden which I am currently living in and this top from La Redoute . My saddle bag is from here.

I've been trawling the internet for some other ideas on easy school run ideas though so I thought I'd make a little list below of others items I've been loving.

Oh P.S don't forget you can 'shop my looks' here now too if you want to see the bits and pieces I've been loving lately :)


Getting some 'me time' with L'Occitane

Picture the scene, I'd been running on about 3 hours sleep a night for the past fortnight. The baby is surely teething, won't let me put her down, the house is a tip, work gets back logged and I'm sitting on the living room floor, breastfeeding and holding back the 'oh so tired tears'.

Mum life.
The bits you forget, once your child is sleeping though, walking, talking..off to school. I know it goes so quickly, the hard bits are hard but the good bits are wonderful. It's amazing and lonely and wonderful and frustrating and the best and worst feelings you've ever felt time 1000.

The afternoon, when it felt like I was the brink of tears (OK there were tears). Then the baby napped, things didn't seem quite so bad. I made a cup of tea, went to the bathroom, cleansed my face properly and slowly (not like the mornings school run were I'm lucky if I get to moisturise) and popped on this L'Occitane facemask. Suddenly just like that, having some 'me time' made it that little bit easier. True story.

I'm working with L'Occitaine in this post to let you know about their competition to win a luxury hamper worth £300 . A little bit of pampering, of 'me time' that I think everyone needs once in a while. There are also runner up prizes which include L'Occitane Shea Butter travel essentials and L'Occitane Almond Travel essentials so you have a few chances of winning something for yourself. The comp ends on Oct the 3rd so be quick!

OK so a facemark isn't 8 hours uninterrupted sleep but it helps right? I feel like just these tiny moments to yourself, a hot bath, a cup of coffee, reading a chapter of a new book in bed. Life's little luxuries for sure!

What do you do to recharge? Are there little things that help you feel a bit more like yourself again? I'd love to know any 'quick fixes' you have to make you feel that way!

In association with L'Occitane


Joolz Geo Review

Joolz Geo pushchair review
Parents or parents-to-be will know that buying your travel system for your baby can be a total minefield! I remember looking around the shops when I was pregnant with Wilf and just feeling totally overwhelmed, what would be a good fit for us and what would be the useful for our city life.

I'm working with Joolz in this post to test out their Joolz Geo. We've had this chair now for about a month which I feel is a good amount of time to really get to grips with it and try it doing a few different things like getting public transport or how easy it is to use for naps etc. Hopefully you'll find this review useful if you're looking into getting this pushchair.

Design is a big pull for me and I think for something you use pretty much every day for a good few years you have to be in love with the design. I'm really into bold colours and patterns usually in the clothes I wear so it probably seems strange I would be so drawn to the muted subtle tones in the Joolz designs. My reason for wanting a pushchair in this tone is so I don't actually clash with it, ha! Although in these pics I've actually accidentally matched my outfit with my buggy ;)

I met up with my friend Nell Mallia for a coffee over the weekend and she was kind enough to take these pics for me which I love! Mabli was in such a grumpy mood so she did well to get these shots and ones of Mabli too that weren't of her grizzling.

The first thing I'd say I love about this brand is that they are very eco conscious. They actually plant a tree in Colombia for every pushchair sold with the idea that the tree grows with your child and encourage you re-use the cardboard box the chair comes in in lots of fun ways. They also use organic fabrics in items such as their baby blankets which are so so soft.

What I noticed immediately when we started road testing this pushchair is how brilliant designed it is for people are that little bit taller. I'm 5,8 and I've always had to stoop just that tiny little bit when pushing a pushchair. The handle actually extends to two different heights so I feel like it would be great for people of all different heights rather than a 'one size fits all' sort of approach. I also find it really easy to push one handed, which if you have a four year olds hand to hold on the school run is essential.

Although we have no plans to have a third child if we did have another baby this pushchair has the ability to attached another seat underneath which is pretty cool. It means you don't need to purchase a separate pushchair later on but only need to buy an additional seat.

Going back to the ergonomical aspect of the design, the seat it designed to be at table height so that if needed it can be pushed straight up against the table of a cafe for example. I love that we can keep her in her chair if needs be when I'm having a coffee and she's happy being part of the action!

I like really the size of the basket below (I've literally stuffed it in these pics as I had shopping underneath). An added bonus is that as it comes out further than the seat so when she drops her toys or dummy as we walk along it falls into there and not on the floor!

I'm using the seat on the parent facing mode but you can also turn it around to it's forward facing too of course.

We took of these pics in Mokoko coffee which was so nice! I'm defo going back there for pizza sometime soon.

You can actually customise your Joolz by added things like personalised handle bars. We chose 'Birdy' for ours as Mabli's middle name is Kittiwake and we often call her our little bird.

We live in a city so having a pushchair that was neat enough to fit into cafes and on the bus was really important to me which it does brilliantly but it's also big enough to have a seat that will really grow with your child and have a lot of basket space too! It goes up and down curbs really well without lots of bumping which is essential especially if you've got a sleeping baby! We've not really taken it off road much but it's worked well over the grass in the park too.

If I had to be really picky I sometimes find the 5 point harness a bit tricky especially when wresting a grizzly baby so if I had to change one thing it might be that but that's honestly the only thing I could find fault with! I have to say I'm really impressed with the Joolz Geo and it ticks all our boxes as a city loving family. Tom doesn't really 'get' the pushchair excitement as much as I do ;) but even he had mentioned a few times how much he enjoys pushing it.

I hope that's been helpful! Let me know if you are looking to buy one and have any more questions I could answer!

We received the Joolz Geo for purposes of this review


My five day lunch box plan!

I remember lunch boxes from when I was child, made by my dad (who stayed at home whilst my mum trained and then worked as a midwife). I remember the excitement of finding out what was in them when midday came around. I'd always have, something savoury, a snack and a treat (as well as a drink of course) and each day it would be different. Coming from a family of five kids I'm only now just realising how much effort must have done into preparing them all for us for the day ahead. I still miss my dad's cooking now and hopefully with a little practise my kids will miss mine ;)

With Wilf starting school I'm thinking more and more about the practicalities of these things, school bags, homework, p.e kit and lunch boxes. It's all becoming very real! I'm working with Flora on this post to share with you my 5 day lunch box plan Incorporating Flora Original into the meals I make. 

When it comes to Wilf's meals I've previously struggled with just how much he is supposed to eat and at what age. I often fall into the trap of thinking he should be eating much more than he does or give him portion sizes that overwhelm him. I think that can be a concern for lots of parents but I've learnt that smaller portion sizes and looking at how much he's eaten over a whole week rather than just a day is really helpful. 

I hope you've like my five day lunch box plan and that it's maybe given you some ideas for your own. I find food can be such a tricky one with kids at times so it's nice to mix it up and not eat the same thing every day whilst still keeping things quite simple! 

Flora have a section on their website for 'healthy kids meals' which can help when trying to work out what items to look for to ensure your kids get their 5 a day. You can also download their lunchbox guide which will give you lots of ideas and inspiration for your child's lunch box. What do you pack in your packed lunch box?

Lunchbox Plan

Monday – Cheese and tomato sandwiches are a real staple for our week. I find routine and familiarity really help when it comes to mealtimes but we try and mix it up as the week goes on. I include breadsticks as a snack then blueberries as a superfood and an orange to finish. It's worth noting I pack a bottle of water with all his meals and try to limit juices as much as possible.

Click below to read on


La Redoute Jumpsuit

la redoute retro jumpsuit

THE Jumpsuit. The jumpsuit I've been waiting for, because believe me, my search for a jumpsuit has been long and hard.

I'm fairly tallish (5,8) but have a longer torso so every single jumpsuit I've tried always ride up to high on me (and give me a case of the camel toe if I'm honest!). So although I love the idea of a jumpsuit I'd sort of resigned to the fact it was not for me.

Every so often though I give it another go and think 'what if THIS is the one?' so when I saw this beauty in the La Redoute sale (70% off) I thought I'd give it another go...and it was a winner!

Click below to read on


A day trip to Brighton with Thameslink

I think I've mentioned a few times that Tom and I currently don't drive. We travel a lot and people often ask us how we do that without a car and two children in tow. Honestly there are times when I think a car would be easier (like going to a festival for example) but mostly with the places we like to visit living by a major train station we can just hop and and travel to pretty much anywhere in the UK.

The thing I love about train travel is that you have the freedom to move about, leg room to stretch out, trips to the toilet, walking down the aisle to sooth a baby or take out your packed lunch and eat it on the table. Wilf is so used to traveling on the train that he sits down and immediately takes his toys or colouring book out his backpack and just gets on with it! Pre - baby it even meant I could drink a hot coffee and read a magazine sitting next to him too. It really is pretty civilised!

We were invited to take a day trip to Brighton with Thameslink last week and we jumped at the chance of a little day trip away. I'd not actually travelled with them before but was really impressed with how modern their trains are. They even have a monitor above the door which will tell you things like how full each carriage is, how many stops you have left, where the toilets are and other information like the time. I thought that was really useful, especially the bit about how full each carriage it because although there were barely any people in ours it would be really useful to know if you were travelling at a busy time for example. Brighton is also a brilliant place to travel by train to as the station is just so close to everything and you're by the beach in minutes.

We decided to take a day trip from London Bridge as we'd been spending a few days in London anyway as a last spontaneous seaside trip before school starts. I've been to Brighton twice but only once with my family a couple of years ago and we kept saying how we needed to return as we totally fell in love with it.

Our first stop was straight to the Photo Booth and a spot of Vintage shopping. You might think that isn't very exciting for kids but Wilf LOVES to help me chose clothes and taking pictures in the Photo Booth was also a highlight of his day. It's funny because I take so many photos daily but hardly ever print them out. Our fridge is full of Photo Booth pictures from over the years instead!

Will helped me pick out a couple of really cute dresses and Tom a jumper with a cat on it, he did pick him out a loverly purple and turquoise Hawaiian shirt too but he declined, not sure why ;) Whenever we travel Tom and I are allowed to buy one item of clothing each and we get Wilf a book. That way we have souvenirs that we can actually use.

I've taken a picture of this door every time I've visited and always see it on Instagram too, it makes me wonder who lives there and if they mind!

There are loads of lovely street art all over Brighton, what surprised me was that some of the ones we'd spotted two years ago were still there and didn't have any tags on them. That's pretty unheard of in Bristol!

Next we head to a veggie pub that Tom had looked up called The Prince George. We were total eager beavers literally waiting outside for them to open at 12 but it was SO worth it. If you're veggie (or even if you're not) then you need to check it out. The battered Halloumi was just incredible..mmm still dreaming about that food. Wilf even ate all of his which I think is definitely a sign of a good meal.

After that we headed down to the seafront and to take a trip on the Brighton i360. I wasn't sure what we'd make of it before we got on but honestly we were all really blown away by it. Will was just in awe of being so high and seeing all the sights and I could have taken a million pictures. They even had a champagne bar in the pod and Wilf said very loudly 'mummy! daddy! look they have your wine here! Do you want a glass of wine?' haha little bit embarrassing! Id say if you are planning a trip to Brighton then definitely add it to your list, we're already planning on having a go on it next time we visit too. Oh just don't look up when you're travelling up, I pretty much thought we were at the top at one point and we were barely half way there!

Doesn't the water just look so blue! These pictures were just taken with my iPhone as I had brought my big camera out with a flat battery (which happens more than I'd like to admit!).

I included the below picture as it just makes me laugh! I was probably midst saying 'can you just take a picture of me by this wall??' my most overused saying ever ;) p.s if anyone is wondered how much we take on day trip? It's essentially this, Tom will carry another rucksack if we're staying over. I think train travel has really helped us being able to travel light!

We finished our day off with a play at the splash pad and building sandcastles in the park just by the sea front with ice creams all round before hoping on the train again.

p.s trains are also a great place to nurse a baby to sleep! 

We had such a lovely day trip to Brighton and would really recommend a visit and a visit by train too!

In association with Thameslink
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