2017 | The Highlights.

Sunday, December 31, 2017
   


2017 has by far been the scariest, craziest, tiring & most wonderful year of my life. I welcomed in 2017 at home, over half way through my pregnancy with Teddy. Who, at the time was a baby who I loved so much but had no idea who they were! We hadn't found out the gender, we didn't have any names picked.. It's surreal looking back and not knowing it was always Teddy, if that makes sense?
 thought I would share my 2017 highlights; both personal & blogging, because I've honestly had the best year on both fronts!

  

Introducing Your Baby To Textures - Baby Weaning With HiPP Organic.

Friday, December 29, 2017
   

If you read my first weaning post "Getting Started - Baby Weaning With HiPP Organic" you will know that we have introduced Teddy to foods! It's a very slow process and not at all what I expected, much like everything else in motherhood. We are predominately doing baby led weaning but also doing jars every so often when we are in a rush or on-the-go. Teddy loved trying the Stage 1 Savoury Jars so I couldn't wait to see how he took to our next package of goodies!

Teddy was sent a selection of jars from HiPP Organic Stage 2 & Stage 3 range, which are suitable from 7m+, these are a great way to introduce your baby to textures and lumps, especially if you aren't taking the BLW route and are still a little apprehensive about gagging ect. I still sit on the end of my seat whenever Teddy is eating, I have relaxed slightly but it's still nerve wracking. These jars are also a great way for your baby to learn the art of chewing! We introduced Teddy to solids straight away so he took to these jars brilliantly.

Styling Your Home On A Budget With Desenio.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017
         


STYLING YOUR HOME ON A BUDGET


We have owned our own house now for three years and it's only the past few months that we've really put our stamp on it. When we first moved in it had all been re-plastered and nobody wants to spend their days looking at ugly ass brown walls, so we just painted everywhere white and it stayed like that for longer than we'd have liked, but white is just so easy! We have spent the past six months, going around every room in the house (except Teddy's room because we did this before he arrived & the bathroom because we need to SAVE our asses off to get a whole new suite) and painted it & decorated in colours we actually like and that add a little something more to our home. It has definitely felt a lot more homely since. Contrary to popular belief (I jest) we aren't millionaires and we prefer to save our pennies where we can.

Teddy's First Christmas Eve Box.

Thursday, December 21, 2017
  


I can't believe that it is less than a week until Christmas! We are in full Christmas mode in our house; the tree is up, many a bottle of Bucks Fizz has been consumed & Teddy rolls around everyday in some sort of festive get-up. I think we have definitely gone a little OTT with Teddy's first Christmas but it is just so exciting and it's hard not to get swept up in the magic of it all! Unfortunately, Christmas Eve Boxes weren't a thing when I was younger but over the past couple of years they seem to be the new craze and I suffer from major FOMO, so I had to join in! Teddy will only be seven months so I couldn't go too mad but I have popped a few little festive bits into a lovely wooden crate from Hobby Craft. I might actually put a couple of treats into it for me & Aaron this year, some festive pyjamas and a bottle of fizz maybe...

Christmas Stories For Babies & Toddlers.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017
   



If you have read my blog for a while you will know that I am a huge book lover and I am hoping that he will follow on in my footsteps. As soon as we found out we were expecting a baby I started ordering books & one of the first things we put up in his nursery were his little bookshelves (which are actually picture ledges from Ikea). Once we started getting closer to December & the bookshops started getting their Christmas books in, I went online to The Works & took full advantage of their online exclusive 10 Books For £10 offer & picked up a whole host of festive stories! I did pick up some non-Christmassy books that are wrapped and ready in his Santa sack, that you can see in my Christmas Gift Guide For Babies & Toddlers post. I also picked up a selection of books from Amazon (Amazon is my go to for books as they are usually a lot cheaper than in bookstores).


20 Reasons You Should Be Excited For Christmas

Friday, December 15, 2017
   


01. Pigs.In.Blankets... need I say more?

02. Chocolate for breakfast is pretty much law. Whether that is in the form of an advent calendar or a tin of Celebrations. Yeah that's right. I said TIN. The whole tin. Not just one measly chocolate!

03. Decorating the house for Christmas is my absolute fav. Turning all the main lights off and just having the Christmas tree fairy lights on is summat' special.

04. Hearing the Coca Cola advert "Holiday's Are Coming" and instantly feeling festive as fuck. If that song doesn't get you excited for Christmas, you need help.

05. The festive hot chocolate range at Costa is LIFE. I am all over that Billionaire's Hot Choc like a fly on shit.

07. Magic Xmas is here & I couldn't be happier. Aaron hates it & to be honest, no shits are given.

08. It's deemed acceptable to watch Christmas films everyday; Elf & Christmas With The Cranks are my go-to's. Along with Muppet Christmas Carol & The Polar Express. FYI.

09. You can roll around in your festive as F flannel pyjamas on your special "it can only be used at Christmas" bedding. Because why the hell not.

10. Cheese. All the cheese. Especially Camembert. Give me a French stick and a camembert and i'll be your BFF.

11. Buying Christmas scented candles and acting like you love them when in actual fact, you can't stand the smell of cinnamon, nutmeg or anything spiced.

12. It's acceptable (so I've heard) to have a drink pretty much everyday in December. Everyone seems to throw around the reason "Christmas innit?" Why yes. Yes it is. So i'll go back to chugging my pitcher of Bucks Fizz Sharon, if that's alright with you?!

13. I can dress my child up like Christmas has literally thrown up all over him and he can't do sweet FA about it. Firstly because he quite literally can't say anything & secondly, he wants to please his Mama. It's the least the little he-beast could do.

14. You can spend one whole afternoon dedicated to wrapping presents with a Christmas film on in the background (setting the mood and all that), a tin of chocolates and a festive beverage not too far out of reach.

15. The Christmas adverts are out in force; John Lewis usually has it in the bag & is a firm favourite every year but I also love the supermarket ones! There is something about Kevin the Carrot...

16. Foot long Jaffa Cake boxes are here and if you think I wouldn't be able to finish the whole box off in one sitting, you'd be sadly mistaken....

17. Christmas jumpers are socially acceptable to wear outdoors without getting dodgy looks from Eileen next door, and the best thing is, the tackier the better!

18. Christmas dinner is the best thing ever & if I was on death row, for my last meal I would sure as shit pick my Mama's Christmas dinner. Turkey...roasties..and all the trimmings (except the sprouts!), if you read my 2017 Christmas Tag, you'll know how I feel about those hideous green balls of filth.

19. Walking up & down the Christmas aisle's in the supermarkets and cooing over all the festive treats! You very rarely buy anything, but just knowing they are there is enough to appease you.

20. Hanging out with your favourite people! Whether that's family, friends or your cat. You spend the day eating, playing and hurling abuse at each other but would you change it? Would ya fuck..

Are you excited for Christmas? What gets you ready & raring for December 25th?

 P I N  T H I S:

   

Christmas Gift Guide For Mums.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017
    



I can't believe how close Christmas is! Aaron has been asking me for weeks what he can buy me and I've struggled so much for ideas. I think because I have been so worried and focused on what I was going to buy for everyone else, I completely forgot to even think about what I want! Motherhood in a nutshell right there...
I thought I would come up with a selection of gifts that would be perfect for mums, some as main presents and some as little stocking fillers. Here is my Christmas Gift Guide For Mums.


Christmas Gift Guide For Babies & Toddlers.

Monday, December 11, 2017
   


I can't believe that this Christmas, I will have a baby! A seven month old he-beast who I can dress up like an elf & who will most probably be more interested in the wrapping paper than any of the presents we have bought him. It's so exciting buying presents for our own little boy and I can't wait to put them under the tree.

All his presents are currently wrapped & ready to go to my mums (we go there on Christmas morning & all open our presents together) but I know we struggled for a couple of ideas as it's hard to know what he'll be into and we didn't want to buy anything too young for him, that he won't be interested in, in a couple of months. As it is his first Christmas, I wanted to give him a few extra special presents that we can keep forever. Here is my Christmas Gift Guide For Babies & Toddlers.

Baby Led Weaning: Lunch Ideas // GUEST POST

Friday, December 08, 2017
   


Hi, I’m Amy, Mama to Freddie who is nine and a half months old. I started my blog around five months ago as a way to honestly document my journey as a first-time Mum. I blog about all things motherhood from very personal posts to product reviews and recommendations and a little bit of Mama & Baby fashion too. 

Weaning is such an exciting experience! You get to see your baby explore different flavours and textures and enjoy mealtimes together too. However once your baby is having more than one meal a day it can also be an additional thing to plan and think about on top of everything else. Below are my five, easy baby-led lunches which will hopefully ensure mealtimes are stress free. All of them can be adapted to suit your baby’s preferences and are suitable for you too!

Personalised Gifts For Dads | All Under £20.

Thursday, December 07, 2017
  

One thing I have always struggled with when it comes to gift giving, is what to buy the men in my life!? I just find men so much harder to buy for and now I have the added pressure of buying Aaron presents from Teddy and with it being his first Christmas as a Daddy, I want to make it really special. Whenever I've asked him for ideas, he never has a clue, so I just have to hunt online for inspiration and hope all my presents go down well.


7 Things You Should Never Say To A Mum.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017
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If you read my "10 Things Not To Say To A First Time Mama" post, you will know that some people are idiots. Someone makes a fly away comment or judgmental remark and you just stand there staring at them wondering how the fuck they get by in life. Sometimes people don't think before they speak, whether that is your friend, a family member or a complete stranger. It might just a little piece of advice they thought they would share that might help you out or you can take on board in future. Whatever it may be, there's no polite way to tell them to shove their advice up their arse (especially when they don't have children themselves!).

It's hard enough trying to keep a tiny he-beast alive, without people piping up and offering up their unwanted opinions. I thought I would compile a small list of things you should never say to a mum.

01. "Oh my god, i'm so tired"; Nah, nah, nah, NAH! You don't know the meaning of the word tired. Come at me when a hangry, cranky, mental developing leap fuelled child is waking up every 40 minutes THEN, and only then, can you so much as utter the word tired in my presence.

02. "I have nephews/nieces/a clingy cat so I can imagine how hard it is"; I don't know how to break this to your gently (or without punching you in the throat) but you don't have a fucking clue. Nothing on this planet can prepare you for being at a he-beasts beck and call, during all hours of the day & night. You can't give them back!

03. "Oh i'd never do that with my child!"; Pipe down Carol and face the wall. Do you know how many times I said that before I had Teddy? A lot. If I could go back in time and bitch slap pre-baby Rachael, I would. She deserves it.

04. Are you sure you should be doing that?"; No i'm not sure as it happens, i'm actually using Teddy as my guinea pig so I don't fuck the next kid up.

05. Is he sleeping any better?; Are you looking at me right now? Do I look like he's sleeping any better? That'd be a no.

06. Oh you look well today!; What are you trying to say Sarah? That I haven't looked WELL for the last six months? Well aren't you a fucking peach.

07. Have you seen that new film?; You are lucky if I have time to shower, have a shite and shove on clean pyjamas. Where in that tiny brain of yours do you think I have time to go and sit & watch a film. In the cinema. Without my tiny human... Me & Aaron won't be having a date night until the year 2020 at this rate.

There are so many more I could add, but this post would be stupidly long!

What would you add to this list?

P I N  T H I S:

   

13 Life Lessons I Hope To Teach My Son.

Monday, December 04, 2017
  


Being a parent is one of the toughest things you can ever do, not only do you have to look after them and be solely responsible for keeping them alive but you also have to teach them how to be a good person and in my case, teach my son to be a good man! Life is so rough sometimes and comes with a whole host of challenges so it's important to me to that Teddy has everything he needs to grow up to be the best version of himself.

What lessons do we want to teach our children? What do we want them to know before they are grown and go out into the real world?

2017 Christmas Tag

Friday, December 01, 2017
  

IT'S DECEMBER BABY! Christmas is so close & I can't wait. I've finally started my Christmas shopping and began the mammoth task of wrapping (urgh). I thought to get everyone in the festive spirit I would create a Christmas Tag, for anyone to join in! I've kept it short & sweet with only 12 questions and you can go into as much detail as you like. I'd love you to get involved, make sure to tag me on Twitter if you do so I can have a read.

2017 CHRISTMAS TAG

Favourite Christmas Movie & Why?
It used to be Muppet Christmas Carol (it's still a really close second!) but a couple of years ago I discovered Christmas With The Cranks and I don't know if it's the cheesiness or what but I absolutely love it. It has such a feel good factor and I feel so content when I watch it.

Top 3 Songs On Your Christmas Playlist?
01. Fairytales Of New York
02. Merry Christmas Everyone
03. I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday

Favourite Christmas Tradition?
Christmas at my Mama's house. Always. My Sister, Brother In Law & my three nieces go. My Mum, Dad & little Brother are all there. It's just everything. I'm so excited & happy that Teddy gets to experience such a lovely day with our family.

What Is On Your Christmas Bucket List?
To take Teddy to visit Father Christmas in our local town & also to go a nearby National Trust Park, Dunham Massey and 'Find The Reindeers', I want to go on so many Christmas themed days out as a family and continue to do them every year.

Buddy The Elf Or Ebenezer Scrooge?
Buddy The Elf all damn day long, someone who can love Christmas as much as me, is a winner in my eyes! However I do have a slight soft spot for that old cranky fuck Ebenezer.

Best Thing About Being A Parent At Christmas?
This is my first Christmas a parent (I was half way through my pregnancy last Christmas) and I can't wait. He will only be seven months old so won't have much of a clue, but i'm just excited for him to experience the magic & wonder of it all. It's such a special time.

What Is One Present You Asked For As A Child, But Never Received?
Horse riding lessons. Literally every year. My Dad also promised to take us to Disneyland Florida when I was about 10. I'm 25 now and still waiting....

Do You Have Any Christmas Eve Traditions?
It used to be going to the pub. Ahh memories...This year is going to be slightly different & after making sure all the presents are ready and under the tree at my mums house (we go to hers in the morning to all open our presents together) we will be coming home, putting our pyjamas on & ordering a takeaway once little man is in bed, enjoy a drink & watch a Christmas film.

Which Festive Beverage Tickles Your Tinsel?
Anything fruity! I usually enjoy a bottle or two of Mark & Spencer's Bucks Fizz with my Mum. I couldn't drink last year, due to being with child, so I plan to have a couple this year.

Best Present You Ever Received?
I remember when I was little and I got a kitchen and a jeep for my Barbie and I was fucking buzzin'! I loved my Barbie's and all the extras you could buy. I also remember one year receiving a doll that made noises & her head smelt of white chocolate...

Sprouts On Christmas Dinner? Yay Or Nay?
FUCK NO! Every year my Mum insists on putting the little balls of Satan on my plate, but I never eat them. I think she reckons that one year, i'll suddenly like them. Not on my fucking watch Mel.

What Is Your Ideal Christmas?
Family & Food. All day long. My ideal Christmas is spent wherever my family are. As long as they have food obviously. The kids will be playing with their presents, Christmas music will be playing in the background.. BLISS.

I  T A G:


P I N  T H I S:

     







Getting Started - Baby Weaning With HiPP Organic

Thursday, November 30, 2017
   


We have officially started our weaning journey! I say ours, it's essentially Teddy. I knew when I was pregnant that I wanted to take the baby led weaning approach and I did some research into it, also my Sister used the method with her two youngest and it worked out really well. As Teddy got older and we started getting closer & closer to him being six months old, I started looking for tips and recipes online (Pinterest is a brilliant source for delicious meal & snack ideas). We have tried a couple of things so far; porridge, curry, pasta & homemade meatballs and also some of the Ella's Kitchen organic finger foods. HiPP Organic also kindly sent over some of their brand new range made especially for baby's first tastes. They sent over a stunning hamper filled with their pure vegetable jars and stage 1 savoury jars. As we are doing BLW we are using the jars as a way for him to practice feeding himself & also we mixed the yummy savoury jars with pasta, to use as a pasta sauce.

We are really lucky that Teddy is really into his food and where as he still may not be eating much of it, he's giving everything a good try and really loves feeling all the different textures. He's such an inquisitive babe. It's so hard to know what is right when it comes to weaning and to be honest, I thought it would be much easier than it is. It definitely isn't a quick process. I also spend the whole time he is eating, on the edge of my seat arse sweating, with the fear he is going to choke!


Festive Baby Haul

Monday, November 27, 2017
  
My name's Rachael & I love Christmas. Possibly a little too much..

One of the things I love about having a baby (aside from the overwhelming love and saggy boobs blah blah blah) is the fact that I can dress him up in WHATEVER I want and he can't say shit about it. So you better believe I am going to town this Christmas. Baby grows, outfits, decorations, Christmas Eve boxes, it'll be like Santa's grotto when i'm done, with a side of tacky. I know Teddy will only be seven months old but it'll be his first Christmas and i'll remember it forever, so I want to create beautiful memories that I can share with him when he's bigger and pull out the family album when he's an adult of him, bollock naked wrapped in fairy lights. Yeah... that's happening. Safely, might I add. I thought I would share some of the bits I have picked up for Teddy with a little festive baby haul...


One Hour Speed Clean | Cleaning Your Home With A Baby.

Saturday, November 25, 2017
  

Once you welcome a baby your whole world is flipped upside down and you spend the majority of your days sat staring at your baby wondering firstly. how much you love your little human and secondly, how the fuck people find the time to do anything else other than keep the tiny person alive. 
I have learnt that the best thing to do is a little bit everyday & keep on top of certain jobs otherwise before you know it you'll be looking at about six loads of washing and four days worth of pots to clean. 

Luckily Teddy is at the age where I can sit him in his high chair in the kitchen with his toys and some music on, & he'll happily entertain himself whilst I crack on with some speedy cleaning. By speedy I mean I usually set myself one hour everyday to crack on, tackling the essential jobs first and then concentrating on the everyday jobs that need doing. I thought I would share with you how much I manage to get done in an hour and also my favourite products to use. 

Alternative Advent Calendars For Adults

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

   



Christmas is quickly approaching and one of my favourite things (aside from all da food!) is the advent calendars! They are already lining the supermarket shelves and every year I try & narrow down which one I would like. I usually stick to good old Cadbury's which does me just fine. However I know some people aren't a fan of chocolate (I silently judge you all) and are always looking for an alternative that you can get on board with. I've done a roundup of my top 5 alternative advent calendars including skincare, candles and even gin! The ones I have found start from as little as £25 and the most expensive is less than £50.


Teddy's Six Month Update

Monday, November 20, 2017
   
I know I say this every month but how is my baby six months old?! How is he half a year old?! It honestly blows my mind every month how quickly time is going. Teddy is growing up so fast, managing to sit up unaided for a few seconds and even trying his hardest to crawl! When he is lying on his belly he tries as hard as he can to push his knees up, wriggling his bum and moving forward. He's started getting really frustrated that he is stuck and can't get anywhere! He hates being lay down and would rather be stood up on your legs, bouncing up & down or sat on the floor terrorising the poor cats.

He has become so much more independent this month, happily lie on his play mat with his toys or sat in his high chair kicking away & throwing his plastic stacking cups. He also loves his baby tv in the mornings whilst snuggled up in his chair with his dressing gown on, unfortunately for me it would seem that Justin's House is his firm favourite at the minute!

Autumn/Winter Baby Boy Haul

Saturday, November 11, 2017

  


We are well & truly in Autumn and Winter is fast approaching, the days carry a chill & it's getting darker in the evenings much earlier. Colder days means making sure that we are all fully kitted out on snuggly thick layers of clothing, especially Teddy. I spent the whole Summer worrying whether he was too warm & now i'm checking every five minutes that he's warm enough! Teddy's wardrobe and drawers have been full of a variety of sizes since he was born, ranging all the way up to 3-6 months but every so often I will go in and give them all a tidy, put away clothes that are getting too small and take stock of any clothes I want to put on Ebay & sell.

I quickly noticed that other than ONE babygrow hung up in his wardrobe, we had absolutely nothing in 6-9 months which isn't good when he is six months in a couple of weeks and his 3-6 month stuff is already touching where it fits. As soon as I got paid I must have dragged Aaron around all the supermarkets near us and had a look what they had to offer for Teddy's Autumn/Winter wardrobe. Tesco was definitely my favourite, especially for little boy's clothes. Boys clothing can be so hit & miss, but I feel like Tesco have really come out on top this season. I thought I would share with you all the things we picked up including vests, baby grows & outfits. I love a baby haul!

My Top Christmas Planning Tips.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017
  


I still can't believe that we are in November already. As soon as November arrives, I get into Christmas planning mode. In all honesty I would celebrate Christmas all year but apparently that aint' right. I manage to hold myself back until Halloween is well and truly out of the way first, then it's all systems a-go! I know all too well how stressful the run up to Christmas can be for some people and it can feel really overwhelming. I thought I would share my top Christmas planning tips as a way to hopefully help some of you get a little more organised and relieve some of the stress.

Creating A Logo With Logojoy & An Exciting Announcement!

Tuesday, November 07, 2017
If you don't follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you won't have seen that I have recently decided to launch a weekly newsletter! It won't be anything too exciting, just sharing my latest blogposts, a couple of things I have been loving that week and also feature some blog posts I have loved reading. Every month I am also planning on featuring a specific blogger that I have been really enjoying and would recommend.

You can sign up via the form available on my blog homepage & I really would love it if you did. I have been blogging for the past five years but over the past couple of months I feel like my blog is really taking a huge leap and leading to some really exciting opportunities. I absolutely love blogging at the minute and it's something that really makes me feel like me. The me I was before having Teddy.

I have spent so long trying to get my newsletter design exactly how I want it and it is still a working progress (mainly because i'm never happy with anything) & one thing I wanted to create was a header for my newsletter that was slightly different to that on my blog. I wanted it to fit in with the clear theme I am going for & that is where Logojoy come in!

LogoJoy is a website where you can design and create your own logo for your blog or business. You can start by picking a few sample logos you like and then alter all the text, colours, imagery that suits you. I was playing around with the site all morning and all the suggestions they gave me were amazing. I didn't go for anything too fancy, purely for the fact that that just isn't me and I really wanted something that reflected my blog and who I am. Once you've gone through all the options you can preview all the examples and still edit them as you wish!

  

Those are just a couple of the examples but you can get miles fancier than that! Like I said, I wanted something simple & clear. You can also preview how your logo will look on business cards, jumpers and signs which I think if you own your own business if a fab idea! When you have finished your logo and have it exactly how you want it you can download a low-resolution image or you can pay for the premium package at $65 which will buy you the full high-resolution package and if you really like, you can buy it all in the exact size you require for your social media!

Where I do think $65 is quite expensive, it really is an amazing idea & if you aren't particularly creative or have no idea where to start, Logojoy really is something you should consider.

I really would love you to sign up to my newsletter!

How To Increase Your Blog Domain Authority.

Monday, November 06, 2017
   

Now I am by no means an expert on blogging & what works for one person may not work for another, but at the minute it seems like everyone & their nan is suddenly talking about DA. I have been blogging now for over 5 years and it's only the past few months that I've started seeing the term 'Domain Authority or DA' floating around the blogosphere. I did a little bit of research into it back in May after having Teddy (I tried to be slightly productive during the night feeds!) and discovered that you had to own your own domain, which I didn't at the time.

I realised that if I wanted to get serious about blogging, it was something I should look into and think about. I eventually bought my own domain and watched my DA go from 70 to 0 in the blink of an eye. I know that your DA means fuck all when you are with blogger or wordpress but it was still a kick in the balls watching the number drop right down to non-existent. I have owned my domain now for almost six months and in that time I have seen my DA grow from 0 to 20, which I've heard from other bloggers, is pretty good! I thought I would share my top tips on what I think worked for me and how I increased my blog DA.

"Sightings From October" Linky

Friday, November 03, 2017






Cleaning Your Home With Zoflora

Wednesday, November 01, 2017
       

If you have never heard of Zoflora, firstly where the fuck have you been? And secondly it is a concentrated disinfectant that can be multi-used and banishes 99.9% of bacteria and viruses. Simply dilute in water and spray or wipe around the home! I have used Zoflora since moving out 4 years ago and it is a product that is always in my cupboard. . I was lucky enough to be contacted by Zoflora offering me the chance to trail their new scent Lemon Zing and I was so excited! I absolutely love citrus smells so I knew that their latest creation would be right up my street. It smells so fresh and leaves the whole house smelling so clean. It has a slightly spicy undertone due to the ginger but it also has notes of grapefruit (which I LOVE!)

I thought I would give you a brief breakdown of where I use Zoflora, just to show you how multi-purpose it really is!


10 Honest Thoughts Of A First Time Mum..

Monday, October 30, 2017
    


I'm almost six months in to this crazy, sleep-deprived, love bubble we call motherhood & i'm not going to lie, in those six months I've genuinely never doubted myself more. I have questions I never thought I would and I can't tell you how many times a day a random thought will enter my brain & keep me awake at night.

I thought I would share some of those questions & thoughts with you, just as a way to let you know, that despite what you might ACTUALLY think, you are never alone & 9 times out of 10, someone will have googled the exact same fucked up question as you. Here are 10 thoughts or questions I have had since Teddy arrived...

100 Blogmas Post Ideas.

Friday, October 27, 2017
100 Blogmas Post Ideas.
   
December will soon be upon us and for  a lot of bloggers that means BLOGMAS is fast approaching. I personally won't be taking part, as with a baby, it's a lot of pressure. I will however be taking part in the 12 Days Of Blogmas, where I will blog everyday for the 12 days leading up to the 25th December, so keep your eyes peeled. 

I know the main thing I have always struggled with when it comes to BLOGMAS or BLOGTOBER is coming up with different post ideas. At the beginning of October I did a "50 Parenting Blog Post Ideas" and it went down really well, so I thought i'd write another blog post ideas, this time focusing on the festive period. I have put together a range of lifestyle, parenting, beauty & fashion ideas, so there really is something for everyone. Here are 100 Blogmas post ideas..

Top Tips For Travelling With A Baby

Wednesday, October 25, 2017
   
Top Tips For Travelling With A Baby
If you read my "Our First Family Holiday" post you will know that recently we travelled to Wales with Haven Holidays. We stayed at the Greenacres Holiday Park & loved it. It was situated in Porthmadog which from our home just outside Manchester was estimated to take roughly 2 and a half hours. This time last year we'd have arrived bang on time, however with a tiny human in tow, it aint so easy! We drove for an hour and then stopped for boob and bathroom breaks at a lovely garden centre, who had some of their Christmas stock out EEEKK! We then drove for another hour before stopping off so we could have some dinner and feed Teddy. I think all-in-all the journey took around five hours, which I was quite impressed with! We left just before 10am (but made a quick trip to Costa drive-thru and we pulled up at the caravan park at 3pm.

Teddy's 5 Month Update

Monday, October 23, 2017

Teddy's 5 Month Baby Update
I know I say this on every single one of Teddy's updates but where the hell has the time gone?! We've had such a lovely month and I've noticed such a change in his personality and abilities. He's discovered so many new things, giggles at the silliest things (usually when his Daddy talks to him in a really high-pitched voice..) and is growing more curious by the day!

This month Teddy is desperate to be on the move! He is rolling so much, you can't turn your back for a second before he has rolled over and then starts stressing out because he is stuck and can't roll from front to back yet. He's also ready to be sitting up and although he can manage it for a couple of seconds, he then falls forward and starts sucking his toes (don't ask..) or will fall to the side like a bowling pin. He is so strong, with his head & back control so I know it won't be long now.
He has also started interacting with his toys more, grabbing them from the side or off his play mat. He also smiles and reaches for a toy if you hold it in from of him.

Our First Family Holiday | Haven Greenacres Holiday Park

Friday, October 20, 2017
   



If you follow me on social media (mainly Instagram @fromrachael_claire you will know that last week myself, Aaron and Teddy headed to Wales on our first family holiday. We booked through Haven holidays and stayed in Porthmadog at the Greenacres Holiday Park. We had the best time & really didn't want to come home. We spent our days exploring the surrounding towns, Caernarfon & Criccieth, swimming in the park's pool and going for lovely walks with the pram. We were really lucky that it only rained one day, which I think for Wales in October is amazing! I had never actually been to Wales before but Aaron had been plenty when he was younger. The journey from our house just outside of Manchester to Greenacres should have taken just over 2 hours & 30 minutes but with it being our first time travelling with a baby and not knowing what to expect, it took us around five hours which included two stop offs. I have a whole other post coming up on travelling with a baby and how we found it. I thought I would give you a little run down of what we did and some mini reviews of the places we visited.


Dear New Mummy....

Thursday, October 19, 2017
      
A Letter To New Mums


Dear New Mummy...

First of all, congratulations! You have successfully evacuated a tiny human from your body. Whether that was through your vag or a sunroof delivery (c-section). Or maybe you are an adoptive mama who has opened her heart to welcoming a new babe into your family. However it's happened; you're fucking amazing.

There is nothing more scary or exciting than what is about to happen. Nothing can quite prepare you for raising a baby. Those books you read, those questions you asked & those classes you took will all mean fuck all in the first few weeks. Possibly even months. I honestly wondered what the hell I had done and whether there was a return policy on tiny crying humans. Don't ever feel guilty or ashamed if you feel that way. Ever. You are taking on one of the biggest and toughest challenges there is. It doesn't help that everyone starts shoving their two pennys worth it, spouting off how THEY did it. If one more person pipes up about a fucking routine, i'm gonna drop kick a bitch. I swear. I go more into detail with this in my "10 Things Not To Say To A New Mama" post

The Autumn Tag

Monday, October 16, 2017
   

I was tagged by the lovely Amy at "Mama Mighalls" , Caitylis over on her blog "Caitylis.co.uk" & Eileen from "2 Nerds & A Baby" to do the Autumn Tag! I did the Autumn Tag in 2013 and I also did "10 THINGS I LOVE ABOUT AUTUMN" two years ago which will give you more of an insight into what I really love at this time of year.

I know it's a complete blogger cliché but I really do love this time of year, the colours, chunky knits and snuggly evenings are what I live for. There are 10 questions to be answered and I have tagged some lovely bloggers at the bottom, who you should all definitely check out!


01.What Is Your Favourite Autumnal Lip Colour?
I absolutely love deep berry or plum shades for Autumn. I'm also a sucker for a red lip..

02.What Is Your Favourite Autumnal Nail Colour?
Again, deep berry's or red. However I recently made a trip into Primark and picked up a lovely moss green shade and a light grey, lilac shade that I love!

03.Favourite Autumn Drink?
Unpopular opinion alert, but I don't like tea..or coffee. So that pumpkin spiced latte crap isn't for me. I tend to stick to hot chocolates or hot vimto in this weather if I want a warm beverage! I am currently not-so-patiently waiting for the Costa Christmas drinks range, their brownie or chocolate orange hot chocolates are de-lish!

04.Favourite Autumn Candle?
I am currently burning a candle I picked up from B&M Bargains called "Marshmallow Fireside" and it is just the perfect amount of cinnamon & spiced. I'm not a HUGE autumn or Christmas scents when it comes to candles. I tend to stick to citrus or fresh scents..

05.Favourite Autumn Accessory?
My huge tartan scarf that I picked up from Primark..(I think) a couple of years ago, it is absolutely HUGE and could also be used a shawl. It's so snuggly and perfect for throwing on in the colder weather.

06.Haunted House or Scary Maze?
Hell to the fucking NO. Neither. Both are honestly my worst nightmare!

07.Favourite Halloween Movie?
Hocus Pocus every time! I could quote that film to you all damn day long. I love horror films but hate watching them, if that makes sense...

08.Favourite Halloween Sweets?
All of them? Is that an acceptable answer because i'm not over exaggerating. Literally, all of them. Halloween is just around the corner and the shops are currently filled with multipacks of sweets galore!

09.What Are You Dressing Up As For Halloween?
A zombie mama, cos that's how I feel. Picture a gal with no sleep, greasy hair, pjs with crusted milk around the nipple area, a slight smear of vomit on the shoulder and that'll be me.

10.What's Your Favourite Thing About Autumn?
The way the leaves change colour, dressing Teddy in really snuggly baby grows and wrapping us both up in layers before we head out for a walk, I can light all our candles, turn on the fairy lights and just make the house feel really cosy. I also love Autumn because that means it's nearly CHRISTMAS! WOO HOO!

I tag the following bloggers & I would love you to check them all out!

Amy - Amy Jane and Baby
Zoe - Mummy and Liss
Gee - Gee Gardener
Maisie - Love Maisie
Maya - All Things Pink
Fern - MumConventional
Hanna - Little Snippets
Becca - My Girls & Me
Claire - Dear, Mummy Bear




Staying Healthy During Pregnancy | Ode2Fitness

Friday, October 13, 2017
   



Todays post comes from the lovely Rachel! Rachel is a personal trainer and fitness blogger, based in Manchester. She blogs about a range of things including fitness, nutrition and lifestyle. Rachel is also pregnant and due any time now. I'm so excited for her little girl to arrive as I have been following her pregnancy journey since she announced it!



Gone are the days of wrapping pregnant women in cotton wool, we are now actively encouraged to exercise.  Before finding out I was pregnant, I qualified as a pre and post-natal exercise specialist so I knew all about the advice for mums to be.  So as someone whose life revolves around fitness I always expected to be the epitome of health during my pregnancy.  But the reality of growing a life means what you want to do, and what your body will allow you to do may be so different.
Staying active is important in pregnancy, and there are a lot of benefits. Women who exercise throughout pregnancy are likely to gain less weight, have shorter and possibly even less painful labours.  It can also ease some of the not so pleasant pregnancy symptoms.  Gastrointestinal discomfort, swelling, leg cramps and circulation problems for example.  Pregnancy however is not the time to worry about weight loss, or improving fitness levels.  But maintaining fitness levels can really help prepare our bodies for labour and will assist with post-natal recovery.  So if you already exercise it is definitely worth keeping it up, and if not now may be the time to take up some light exercise.  


The general advice is that you can carry on as normal for the first trimester.   But for me and a lot of other women the first trimester is tough.  Tiredness and sickness can take a serious hold, and for me this was the reality.  Generally if I wasn’t working I was sleeping.  And any attempt I did make to stick to my usual training regime left me completely wiped out for the day.  I wanted to keep active, and stay as healthy as possible so I had to find alternatives.
For a couple of weeks one of the only forms of exercise I could manage was walking.  So I tried to fit extra steps in where I could.  Taking the long route home from work, and getting out at the weekend when I could.  And if you don’t normally exercise but would like to in pregnancy, walking is great.  Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous to be beneficial.  Just half an hour of walking each day can be enough.  On days where I felt a little better, I managed to do some short full body weight lifting sessions.  These can be a great alternative if you usually weight train but can’t manage your usual regime.
One of the biggest changes for me during pregnancy has been to listening to my body.  If I feel too tired to do any exercise I don’t.  In the past I may have worked through this tiredness but that is just not worth it in pregnancy.   Your body is already working super hard to grow a mini human, so don’t beat yourself up if you can’t exercise as much as usual.
You can find Rachel's blog & social media here, I really hope you go and follow her!

B L O G: http://www.ode2fitness.co.uk/blog/
I N S T A G R A M: https://www.instagram.com/ode2fitness/
T W I T T E R: https://twitter.com/ode2fitness

50 Parenting Blog Post Ideas

Wednesday, October 11, 2017
   
50 PARENTING BLOG POST IDEAS

I absolutely love blogging but sometimes you can hit a brick wall and the ideas for posts just won't come! It can leave you feeling really unmotivated when you are running out of ideas and when you are trying to stick to a schedule or a dead line, that is the last thing you want! I thought I would write a list of parenting blog post ideas to help give you some inspiration!

01. Your favourite Mummy/Daddy bloggers/youtubers
02. Easy beauty tips for busy mums
03. Meal planning for your family on a budget
04. Easy sensory play for babies
05. Your top baby purchases
06. How to organize your mornings
07. An open letter to...
08. Breastfeeding journey and top tips.
09. Confess your biggest parenting fail
10. Favourite baby/kids clothes shop
11. What's in your changing/toddler bag
12. Interview another parent
13. Share a personal story about parenting so far
14. Describe your favourite day as a mummy/daddy
15. Share your organizing tips
16. Top 5 favourite activities for kids
17. 10 wishes/hopes you have for your child's future
18. Share your favourite family traditions
19. Write about a controversial topic; breastfeeding vs formula feeding, co-sleeping or not..
20. Favourite parenting apps
21. Birth story
22. 10 things you have learnt since becoming a parent
23. How to baby proof your home
24. Post-Partum recovery and tips
25. Outfits of the week
26. Things new parents need to know
27. Daily routine for your child
28. Things you shouldn't say to a new parent
29. Things you should never say to a pregnant woman
30. Tips on travelling with a baby/toddler
31. Favourite family days out
32. Roles of a parent
33. How to make bath time fun for children
34. 5 things to do when you are child-free
35. Date night ideas at home
36. How to survive the sleepless night
37. Nursery/kids room tour
38. Tips for transitioning from cot to toddler bed
39. Favourite baby led weaning meal ideas
40. A day in the life
41. Activities for toddlers
42. 10 things to do an a rainy day
43. Baby/toddler haul
44. Teething tips and tricks
45. Preparing for a new sibling
46. Tips for single mums/dads
47. Things you miss now that you are a parent
48. Why you don't attend baby classes/mummy groups
49. What it is like to be a stay at home mum
50. Going back to work after maternity

So there are 50 parenting blog post ideas! I hope they help and inspire you, or help you get back into the swing of things.

What are your favourite posts to read? What do you do when you are lacking inspiration? 

5 Autumnal Activites To Do With Kids | LandofLawson

Monday, October 09, 2017
   
5 AUTUMNAL ACTIVITIES TO DO WITH KIDS


Todays guest post comes from the fabulous Hayley, who runs a blog based around lifestyle, motherhood and style. It is one of my absolute favourites! Hayley also has a little boy (hell yes to boy mama's!) named Lawson who has not long turned one. She lives with her husband & little boy in the middle of England. Hayley's blog reminds me a lot of my own as she gives a really honest account of motherhood with a lovely amount of sarcasm! ENJOY..

Autumn is finally upon us! My very favourite season, full of cosy jumpers, crisp fresh air and pumpkin picking, there is nothing I do not love.

It is a transition from summer though, isn’t it? When getting out of the house was so easy to go to the park, or have a garden picnic, has anyone else struggled to come up with any inspiration for Autumn activities? Just me?! Look no further! I have come up with five amazing activities for Autumn that will not only keep your kids entertained, but will also give you ALL the Autumn feels. 

Fisher-Price Butterfly Dream 2-In-1 Soother

Friday, October 06, 2017
  

It is safe to say that Teddy isn't the best sleeper. He can also be quite highly strung, especially during leaps or growth spurts. He slept fine up until the fourth leap, which you can read more about in his Four Month Update, only waking twice (sometimes once) in the night. However as soon as that fourth leap hit, we took a massive step back and he was up every hour in the night, wouldn't settle in his crib and refused to be put down during the day. We are now well out of the leap and sleep still isn't much better, mainly now due to the fact that he is teething but that doesn't make the wake ups any easier. He'll sleep 8-11, 11-3 and then he's up every hour until we get up at 8/8:30am. He's so restless at night and we are back co-sleeping as it's the only way he's settled. I'm perfectly happy co-sleeping and if you read my Dear Mama: Co-Sleeping & Why It's Okay post, you will know that I am a huge advocate for doing whatever you need to do to get some sleep, but I think once we are back from our holiday to Wales (where we will be co-sleeping to save lugging a travel cot), I am going to try and get him settled back into his crib.

One thing I have found is that the calmer Teddy is before bedtime, the easier he is to settle and the quicker he will fall asleep. We usually take him upstairs at 6:30/7pm, depending when his last nap was and start his bathtime. Once he's been bathed we will put him in his pyjamas and Ergo Pouch sleeping bag, whilst doing this we turn on our Fisher Price Butterfly Dream 2-in-1 Soother
 



The Fisher-Price soother is the perfect hybrid of everything your baby will need to soothe your baby and set the mood for a relaxing bedtime. It offers a colour-changing night light, a gorgeous starlight projection (my favourite part) and a range of gentle music, nature sounds or white noise. You can adapt it to exactly what your baby prefers to help settle them at bedtime. Another feature I love is the three auto-off timers, meaning you can choose from 10, 20 or 30 minutes of soothing before it switches itself off.

Teddy only has one plug socket in his bedroom and we will be using that for his GroEgg, so that fact that the soother is powered by batteries (4 x AA) is so handy for us and can be placed on his chest of drawers or one of his shelves. It also means you don't have loads of wires hanging all over the joint.



As I mentioned, Teddy is teething and everything is currently going in his mouth for some sort of relief, so the lovely little butterfly dream bear is perfect for him. It's just the right size for him to hold onto and sink his little tooth into, literally TOOTH. He has one poking through his bottom gum now (how has my baby got a tooth already?! SOB). It's machine washable so I know I can keep it nice and clean when it's been covered in dribble. 

The soother is suitable from birth and I really wish we had known about it when Teddy was first born, as at £24.99 (RRP) it's really good value for money, considering all the different options that come with it. It may not help Teddy to sleep yet, as he is going through a fussy episode, but it is definitely helping him relax and his favourite thing is to look at the star projector on our ceiling, mixed with the white noise. I am definitely going to persevere and use this every night, especially when he goes in his own room as it will be something familiar. 

Does your little one have a soother? How did you cope when your baby was teething?!

*this product was sent for review although all opinions are my own.

Baby Led Weaning Wishlist

Thursday, October 05, 2017
  
Baby Weaning Wish List.

Teddy will be turning 6 months in November and we will be starting our weaning journey! It is advised by health visitors & the NHS that you wait until your baby is six months old before introducing solid foods, I know some people start weaning sooner but personally I didn't see the need. My breast milk provides everything he needed and he'll still be mainly breastfed as we start introducing foods. We are planning on doing baby led weaning with Teddy and as I have been browsing the internet looking for tips & tricks, I have noticed there is quite a lot of things you need. I have decided to come up with a wish list of all the things I am hoping to pick up over the next month or so to make weaning a little easier..(and fun!)

Panasonic Bread Makers: There is something so domesticated about making bread and if you'd have asked me six months ago if I would ever even thought about purchasing a bread maker, i'd have laughed in your face. However, the amazing bread makers at Panasonic don't just make bread, they can also make homemade jams, cakes and compotes. There are so many added sugars and additives in the sweet treats so the idea of being able to make your own and carefully select the ingredients for your little one, sounds ideal!

Billie Faiers Highchair: I'm so excited to finally have Teddy sitting at the table with us, when we have meals together!! I love the chevron design of this high chair, it has a five-point safety harness and three position recline with six different height settings. You can also remove the tray which makes for easy cleaning! Weaning is going to be very messy...

Nuk Food Cube Tray: As we are doing baby led weaning, Teddy will be eating the same meals we do, with a few adaptions of course. I am planning on batch cooking pasta sauces packed with plenty of veg so these food cubes will make up the perfect quantity for a quick, healthy dinner. You can just pop out a cube and defrost it in the microwave.

Beaba 360 Spoon: I think this has to be one of my favourite things ever! How clever?! I had never seen this before so as soon as I saw it on the JoJo Maman Bebe website, I bought it. The design of the spoon means that the bowl remains upright, even if the spoon handle is turned over. Making it easier for the food to stay on the spoon and more likely to make it to your baby's mouth. Rather than dropping all over the place.

Highchair Toy: Well, we all know why this will come in handy! Anything to entertain your child for a couple of extra minutes is essential. If Teddy is anything like his mama, he will be a very hangry human being so hopefully a highchair toy will keep him occupied. I love this one from Mamas and Papas as it lights up when spun and it also has a multi-textured handle for teething.

Munchkin Snack Catcher: As I said above, weaning is going to get very messy so anything that helps contain some of that mess is a winner in my eyes! The Munchkin snack catcher will be perfect to use on the go, especially when Teddy gets a little older. It has the perfect sized opening for little hands but if the container is over-turned, nothing will fall out.

Beaba Rice Cooker: Another amazing creation! It is designed to easily and quickly cook small amounts of rice or pasta. Perfect for Teddy's dinner, it'll make it so much easier knowing I am cooking just the right amount. I don't know about you but I can't quite grasp how much pasta or rice is enough for a portion and end up having enough pasta to feed a small army.

Is your baby getting ready to wean? Or if your little one is already weaning, i'd love some tips and recipes you & your little one love.

*this was a sponsored post in collaboration with Panasonic, all views and opinions are my own.