Friday, 24 April 2015

Summer's 2 Year Update

Last month my baby girl turned 2 years old, I can't believe how fast the last 2 years have gone by, it seemed to take forever for Riley to turn 2. Having her around for the last couple of years has been a completely different experience to raising her older brother, in many ways a lot harder but I wouldn't change a minute of it.

Summer is an incredibly clingy child, she started off very independent but when she hit 14 months old she started going through what I thought was a clingy phase that would last a few weeks but almost a year later she's still really clingy and just when I think it's easing off she manages to take it to another level. 

She basically has to be touching me pretty much all the time, if I want to pop into the kitchen to get a drink she has to come with me, if I need the toilet she has to come with me and sometimes even sit on my knee which is not fun, if she's feeling particularly clingy then she will open my dressing gown or cardigan and actually climb inside so that she can be even closer to me. She won't let Riley get close to me and she even gets jealous of the dog, it's ridiculous at times and really makes me feel quite trapped and claustrophobic but on the other hand it feels nice that she loves me so much, I have very mixed emotions about the situation.

She's so brave, something that her brother could definitely learn from, she had no qualms about stroking Minstrel the ferret and she climbs up stairs and ladders without a single ounce of fear. I love this about her but I also hate it because it means she is more likely to get hurt and I have to watch her like a hawk at all times. 

Her courageousness is rubbing off on my son though which is good because his over cautiousness gets in the way of him having fun sometimes, they could both do with finding a happy medium.

Summer's relationship with her brother is adorable, she follows him everywhere and she wants to do everything he does. They play together really nicely and although they do fall out sometimes they always make up really quickly and are the best of friends again, you can read more on their relationship in my Siblings posts.

Her speech is excellent and I've been able to have a full blown conversation with her for months now, Riley was also a very good talker and has a huge vocabulary for his age so this seems quite normal for me but I know not all 2 year olds talk as much as she does. She doesn't know colours, shapes or numbers yet though so I probably need to work on that more with her, I feel like I had more time for this kind of thing with Riley and I should make more effort to do the same with Summer but finding time when there's two of them is difficult sometimes.

As well as being very cheeky Summer is very loving and quite maternal, she likes to mother other children and toys, she's always asking everyone if they're ok and she likes to tuck Riley in at night and kiss his head as if she was his mummy, it's lovely to watch her and makes me feel very confident that she will make a wonderful mother one day (although the thought of her having children of her own horrifies me at this point lol).

My favourite thing that she does is something she mostly does when she's tired and snuggled up next to me or inside my clothing, she takes my face in her hands and turns my head so I'm looking at her and she just stares into my eyes like she's looking into my soul while she holds my face. It's our little moment together, just me and her and I love it, I hope she never stops doing it.

Summer started pre school last week, she just goes two mornings a week but I wanted her to go so that when she starts nursery it won't be such a big shock. She really surprised us by not crying the first morning that we left her but unfortunately it has got worse since, this morning was her forth time going and she cries at the very mention of school, she cried while she put her coat and shoes on and by the time we got there and were getting out of the car she was really upset.

I've not felt too bad taking her to pre school so far but yesterday morning broke me, seeing her big, teary eyes and trembling bottom lip as she tried desperately not to cry absolutely broke my heart, I could hardly bear to take her inside and hand her over and I had to run back to the car as quick as I could before my own tears started to flow. I know it's for the best and she'll get used to it because I've been through this all before with my son but it's so hard sometimes, I was so excited to pick her up.

My daughter is growing into a beautiful, funny, intelligent, loving, amazing little girl and I can't wait to see what she will become although I do sometimes wish she was still a chubby little newborn at times, it doesn't matter though because she'll always be my baby and that will never change.


Thursday, 23 April 2015

Delicious Chilli Con Carne Made With Knorr Flavour Pots

We love to cook from scratch but sometimes it can be a little time consuming gathering together all the ingredients especially the herbs and spices needed for each recipe so we were really excited to try out the Knorr Flavour Pots, these little pots come in a range of different flavours and contain all the seasoning you need to make delicious meals without too much fuss.

We used the Mexican Flavour Pot to make Chilli Con Carne and it was absolutely delicious, we make Chilli a lot anyway and we usually put a lot of different herbs and spices in it but instead we just used the flavour pot and it tasted just as good as normal if not better.

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 450g lean minced beef (we always use turkey mince as it's low fat)
  • 1 Knorr Mexican Flavour Pot
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 400g can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 150ml beef stock


  • Heat the oil in a heavy based saucepan, and fry the onion until soft, then add the beef (or turkey) and fry until browned, breaking it up as you fry. Add the garlic and fry for a further minute.
  • Add the Knorr Mexican Flavour Pot and all the remaining ingredients and stir thoroughly to combine.
  • Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Serve with plain boiled rice.

This recipe and lots of yummy other recipes can all be found on the Knorr website and the Flavour Pots are available to buy from most leading supermarkets.


Tuesday, 21 April 2015

What Playing With Lego Can Teach Our Kids

My son Riley is almost 5 and he loves playing with Lego, he will sit for hours building and playing with his little sets, he never gets bored of it and although it can be a bit of a pain to tidy away sometimes, especially when I step on a piece (ouch) I do encourage both of my children to play with Lego because it teaches them important skills that some people may not be aware of.

Skills Lego develop :
  1. Lego provides tools that develop lateral thinking in a fun environment
  2. It teaches kids to think in three dimensions
  3. It improves literacy as kids work with instructions
  4. It develops problem-solving, organization, and planning by construction
  5. It improves creativity
  6. It enhances communication and critical thinking
  7. It boosts kids motor development.

At the moment Riley is obsessed with this Pirate Treasure Hunt Lego set, he loves the skeleton and the treasure. 

Summer is a little young for Lego as it's too small and fiddly but she loves Duplo especially now there are Sophia The First sets available. The blocks are much bigger and easier to put together, she likes me to pass her the blocks and tell her where they go and she builds it herself, she's so proud of herself when it's finished.

I got both of these sets from House of Fraser which is not always the first place you think of when buying toys but actually they have a wide range of all sorts of toys at great prices.

Do your children love Lego or Duplo?


Thursday, 16 April 2015

Essential Space-saving Tips for Your Home

When it comes to our homes, we could all do with more space. Whether it’s to store your ever expanding collection of kid’s toys, kitchen accessories or shoes, or simply use a room in a variety of ways, here are some simple ways to de-clutter and maximise the space you have.
Built-in storage
Did you rip out those dated built-in wardrobes in your bedroom when you first moved in? Believe it or not, now might be the time to reinstate them. Built in wardrobes are fantastic for neatly storing away clothes, shoes and other accessories. There are so many designs on the market now that have a really modern feel, so no need for mirrored wardrobes (unless you really want them!)
Under-bed storage
Under the bed is ideal for storing bulkier linen items such as towels and bedding. Vacuum storage bags will really maximise the space. Simply select the items you won’t use till next season, pack them, vac them and pop them out of the way under the bed. Storage has never been so satisfying!
Multi-function furniture
Is the space in your spare room mostly taken up by the bed? Sofa beds are a great alternative for guest bedrooms. Not only will they free up floor space for the majority of the time when you don’t have guests, but fold out sofas can be really comfy too. There’s even a sofa on the market now that transforms into bunk beds! Shop around and you’re sure to find the sofa bed you need.
Streamline your kitchen
The kitchen is one place where appliances do tend to take over. Before we know it, we have a fridge, a freezer, a dishwasher, an oven, a microwave, a juicer, a bread-maker and goodness knows what else, all on show. Unless you have a very large kitchen, this kind of clutter can make it hard to actually cook. One way around this is to invest in a microwave oven. A mid to top of the range one will have a decent grill built in, removing the need for a traditional bulky oven/ grill combo. Plus, they look really smart too.
Thinking outside the box
A quick scan on the internet can provide inspiration for a whole range of quirky space saving solutions, from under stair bookcases to window blinds that double up as clothes dryers, and desks that pull down from the wall. One particularly effective and stylish space saver is the stacking round table and chair combo. Available through a range of online stockists, this clever item features four chairs that neatly stack into a table when not in use. Scandinavian chic at its most practical.
When thinking about any of the above, do consider the look and feel of your own home and remember to work with your existing d├ęcor to choose the solutions that will blend in. With all that saved space, you could consider using rooms for multi- purposes or simply collect more shoes, it’s up to you!
Images by Zhao and Sh4rp_!, used under the Creative Commons license. 

What's Wrong With Some People?

I woke up this morning to a post on Facebook by someone I know saying that whilst out for a walk yesterday for no reason what so ever their beloved, family dog was kicked in the head by a man so hard that he did a somersault, their once happy dog is now left cowering and subdued.

What is wrong with some people?

I also recently read that around the area where I live someone had been putting out dog treats laced with rat poison along popular dog walking routes in what I can only assume is an attempt to kill innocent family pets.

Seriously what is wrong with some people??

As an animal lover and owner of a dog myself the above information horrifies me, I can't understand what goes through the minds of the people who do these things, why do they do it? How do they sleep at night knowing what they've done? I just don't get it and I never will.

Our dog Macho is a huge part of our family, I've had him for 9 years and I honestly can't imagine life without him, my son Riley told me the other day that he "always feels safe when Macho is around as he protects our family and would never let anyone hurt us" it warms my heart that Macho makes my children feel safe, they can't imagine life without him either, after all they're only ever known life with Macho in it and I know it will hit us all hard when he's no longer around.

I'm totally prepared for the fact that Macho won't live forever but for someone to take him away from us by poisoning him or physically attacking him is completely unacceptable. The more I read about the awful things that some people do to animals, children and each other I really start to question this world that we're living in and it makes me sad that I don't see the good in people anymore, I always assume the worst until proven otherwise. 

It makes me wonder how this will translate over to my children, do I want them to always assume people are bad until proven otherwise to keep them safe or do I teach them that most people are inherently good, I don't know which way is best right now.

I do know that I'll be walking my dog on a very short lead from now on and will not let him approach anyone that I don't know, it's really sad that this is what the world is coming to, things need to change.


Toddler Girls Bedroom Decor Ideas

Summer is getting to that age where her bedroom needs an update and I've been looking at ideas for her new, slightly more grown up room. 

Here are the items that I'm loving at the moment.

I love clouds for kids bedrooms, I think they work really well for both girls and boys bedrooms and they're just so cute. I think the cloud wall stickers will look super cute in Summer's new room and I love the pink and grey 'Follow Your Dreams' print, it's a lovely quote and the arrows make it really contemporary.

Another cloud but this time it's a print and I like it because it brings other colours into the room like yellow and mint green. 

The bed is from Ikea, it's really pretty and also practical because it's extendable so it can get bigger as Summer grows, so it starts off as a toddler bed and ends up as a single bed which is perfect for a child Summer's age.

These 3 storage boxes that look like books are from H&M which is one of my favourite shops for home ware, it's so affordable and they have some amazing items. I love how they look like pretty fairy tale books, I think they'd look great on her book shelf but also provide some useful storage.

This super cute apple cushion is from and I think it would look adorable on her bed or on a chair or bean bag. It's quite expensive for what it is but it's so adorable I might ignore the price tag this time.

Lastly as we're thinking of having a loft conversion to allow Summer to have a bigger bedroom we'd need blinds for the windows and I'm in love with these VELUX Disney collection Bambi blinds, they have silhouettes of Bambi, Thumper, flowers and leaves on and they would look perfect in her room, plus they're the perfect colours.


Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Siblings - April 2015

We've not long got back from an amazing holiday to Bluestone National Park Resort in Wales, the kids loved every minute and spent the whole time playing and laughing together. It was so lovely to watch them having so much fun, we really didn't want to come home.

Here are some of my favourite photos of them together in Wales.


dear beautiful

Monday, 13 April 2015

Living Room Decor Ideas

We're planning on doing a lot of decorating in our house over the next year, walls are coming down an extension is going up and the whole ground floor will be changing. I love home decor and I've been spending hours browsing Pinterest looking for inspiration and ideas, I've found some items that I really love for our living room and I thought I'd share them with you.

As you can see I have a slight obsession with the colour grey at the moment, it's just such a neutral colour and it seems to go with everything, I love it.

I love the style of the sofa, it looks stylish yet still comfortable and I think the grey and turquoise chevron cushion would add a nice splash of colour.

We desperately need a new tv, at the moment we don't even have a flat screen in our living room which is pretty shameful. I love the look of this Panasonic TV, it's really nice and slim and I like the stand as it's subtle and would look great on the tv unit that we've chosen which is yep you've guessed it grey but it has an oak top which I think adds some warmth to the room.

We love having a fireplace but we never have the fire on so we thought an electric wood burner effect fire would be best for us, that way we have the look and feel of a real wood burning stove without the hassle of actually maintaining a fire.

Lastly I thought the knitted pouf and the chalk board picture would finish the room off nicely and give it a homely, cosy feel.

I hope this has given you some inspiration if you're thinking of decorating your living room, for more home decor ideas check out my Pinterest account.


 This post was a collaboration with Panasonic.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Win A Tree Fu Tom DVD

I've got another fab giveaway for you today, this time the prize is the Tree Fu Tom DVD Tom Saves The Day.


Join Tom and his friends in Treetopolis for Six Magical Action-Packed Adventures!

Prepare for more action-packed adventures in Treetopolis as superhero Tom returns this spring with the launch of a new DVD collection from Tree Fu Tom, the hit CBeebies CGI animated series featuring the vocal talents of Mark Bonnar and Sophie Aldred. This thrilling new collection, entitled Tree Fu Tom – Tom Saves The Day is released on Monday 6th April.

Tom may look like a normal boy but when he puts on his magic belt and performs a series of magical moves (known as Tree Fu) he transforms into a tiny but mighty, magical superhero.  

Tom, Twigs and woodland friends have lots of amazing adventures around Treetopolis but when trouble strikes it’s up to him to save the day! With viewers help Tom can make Big World Magic and tackle anything from warbling Warble Weeds to stopping those naughty Mushas make mischief! Tree Fu Go!

The DVD features six action-packed episodes:- Ranger Tom: Super Helper, Tom and the Warble Weeds, Super Squirmtum, Ranger Tom: Fun Guy, The Golden Spore, Twigs’ Tall Tale.

To enter this giveaway all you need to do is fill in the Rafflecopter form below, giveaway open to UK residents only.


Friday, 10 April 2015

The Following, James Bay And Healthy Easter Treats #littleloves

I thought I'd join in with the Little Loves Linky this week as it's a post I always enjoy writing, here's what I've been loving this week.


The only thing I've really been reading lately is Ideal Home magazine as we're planning some major home renovations in the next year and I'm obsessed with finding some inspiration for our kitchen/dining area.


I'm obsessed with watching season 3 of The Following at the moment, I love Kevin Bacon anyway but this show is so gripping and unpredictable, I love it! If you haven't watched The Following yet I highly recommend it, you'll be addicted I promise.


I love a good statement necklace and this beauty from Primark just had to be purchased, I've worn it a few times already and it looks so beautiful on, I adore the colour.


I'm obsessed with listening to James Bay at the moment in particular Let It Go, it's one of those songs that I could listen to on repeat for hours and hours and never get bored.

I also randomly heard Snow Patrol Chocolate the other day on the radio and it caused a rush of emotions to surface completely unexpectedly. It took me straight back to the summer of 2004 when me, my sister and a friend went to see them live at Somerset House in London and a totally different life in my early twenties that I sometimes wish I could go back to. A simple, carefree life with no stress and none of the worry and heartache that has happened since, don't get me wrong I love my kids and husband and I wouldn't change them for anything but sometimes....just sometimes I'd like to go back to that summer just for a little while.


We made some healthy alternatives to the usual rice crispy cakes by using quinoa and they taste yummy believe it or not, click here for the recipe.

Have a lovely weekend!



Thursday, 9 April 2015

Our Fun Day At Folly Farm Pembrokeshire

While we were in Wales on our holiday at Bluestone National Park Resort we got the chance to visit a farm, zoo and play centre called Folly Farm. It was only a few minutes drive from Bluestone and after looking on the website we couldn't wait to go.

Folly Farm is a family run tourist attraction that offers all the fun of the farm, an established zoo with a wide range of animals and some brilliant indoor and outdoor play areas for children of all ages.

We decided to check out the farm area first and were so impressed with how clean everywhere was and how happy the animals looked. There were pigs, goats, sheep, horses, donkeys, chickens, all the animals you would expect to see on a farm, the kids loved walking round and looking at them all. They had set times for when you could handle some animals and Summer got to stroke Minstrel the ferret who was super soft and so friendly.

There were also tractors to play on and various farm related games to play around the farm which the kids really enjoyed, it was perfect for children Riley and Summer's age.

After the farm area we went into the Vintage Funfair which was full of classic fairground rides like the carousel, dodgems and the Cake Walk and games like hook a duck which is Riley's favourite thing to do at the fair. The kids had a go on hook a duck and won some little prizes and then we had a drink at the cafe before moving on to the zoo.

 The zoo is fantastic, it has over 50 different species and 250 animals including penguins, lions, giraffes and rhinos to name a few. I have to say that this is probably the best zoo I've ever been to in terms of the size of enclosures, how clean they are and how happy and healthy the animals looked, it's no surprise this place is award winning.

We all loved the penguins, we stood for ages watching them playing and jumping out of the water, the kids were transfixed. The lions were beautiful and it was a shame that we couldn't really get a good photo of them as our camera doesn't zoom very far, the kids also loved the meerkats which were so cute.

One of our favourite enclosures was the giraffes and zebras, there is a platform that you can walk up which puts you almost at eye level with the giraffes and allows you to see these beautiful creatures up close, they really are a sight to see.

After the zoo we went for lunch in the indoor play area at the back of the Vintage Funfair and the kids had a brilliant time playing, climbing and sliding down the super fun slides. Me and Ian were well and truly exhausted after chasing the kids around there for a while.

The kids were still up for playing though so we went outside and played for ages on all of the amazing play areas, there was so much fun to be had you really could easily spend a whole day there no problem.

We had a fantastic day at Folly Farm and can't recommend it enough, it's the perfect day out for families of all ages and really great value for money. There's plenty to do inside and outside so it doesn't matter what the weather is like, we'd definately visit again the next time we're in Pembrokeshire.


Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Toddler Girls Summer Clothing Haul

Summer had some birthday money and vouchers to spend so I thought I'd make a start on her Spring/Summer wardrobe and I got some gorgeous bits from F&F at TescoH&M and Next.

Here's what I got

My sister bought Summer these adorable nautical shorts with a lace trim from H&M, I have a major obsession with all things nautical so I'm in love with them and the vest top she got goes perfectly with them.

I'm a bit of a sucker for short dungarees for the kids and I couldn't resist buying this pair from H&M the last time I was in there, they also do them in pink but I liked the denim option.

The last thing I got from H&M was these super cute gold sandals, I struggle getting sandals to fit Summer's thin, flat feet so I thought these would be a good option as they're quite enclosed like a shoe but still have the look and feel of a sandal.

I got quite a few bits from Next as Summer had some gift vouchers to use up, the first thing I picked up was this cute little top, I love the lace around the top and the pleated back is so adorable, perfect for Spring/Summer.

Last year I got Summer some jumpsuits from Next and they looked so cute on I knew I wanted to get her some more this year so I got her this one which is covered in really pretty butterflies, I think it will look gorgeous with sandals and a little denim jacket.

I love the colours of this next outfit, it's a little 70's but looks so adorable on and will be lovely for warm Summer's days.

These next two bits I wasn't sure about at first, I loved the cardigan but wasn't sure if the colour was practical or if she'd get much wear out of it but it looks gorgeous on and she's worn it a few times already. It looks lovely with the jeans which again I wasn't sure about at first as Summer hasn't really worn jeans yet, she's usually in leggings or dresses with tights but they really suit her and I'm so glad I got them now.

My last purchase from Next is this gorgeous play suit, I love the colour (I'm obsessed with navy) and the design plus play suits are so easy and comfortable for her to wear when the weather is hot.

My final two bits are from F&F, my favourite place to get Summer's clothes from, they always have beautiful clothes at super affordable prices. I couldn't resist this pretty denim and floral dress, it's so cute and looks lovely on.

Lastly with my nautical obsession I had to get this dress for Summer, they have a few nautical bits and I really had to restrain myself from buying them all because they're all gorgeous, Summer's worn this dress with some light grey tights a few times already and it's absolutely adorable and super comfortable for her to run around in.

That's everything I've picked up so far, let me know what you think and where your favourite place is to buy your kids clothes?


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