Wednesday, 14 October 2015

All The Leaves Are Falling Down

As regular readers (if any are left!) will have noticed, my blogging has trailed off dramatically the past couple of years and has become practically non-existent since this May.

I know why.

I’ve been embracing ‘real life’ more and not wanting to sit down in front of my laptop and blog. This makes me happy but it also makes me sad because I’ve missed capturing some amazing moments of my life on my blog such as my 40th birthday party last October (that post still remains half complete) and our whole month spent in Florida this year.

I’m at a crossroads and I don’t know what to do.

Time is precious and I want to stop it.

Right now!

MC and TC are both 6 and 3 years old now. I started this blog as a place to record my life as a stay-at-home mum and to document their early adventures so they had a place to read about it when I was older.

I feel like I’ve failed.

Although I have to admit, I have been keeping a little finger in the blogging pie, as it were, by writing some blog posts for Muddy Puddles who provide the most amazing children’s waterproofs and outdoor clothing. I love being a ‘Muddy Parent’. Not only does it mean we get sent a few items from the team, it encourages to become more outdoorsy – something which I openly admit we can fail at sometimes after a hard week. It also means that keeping myself in with blogging may encourage me to return properly.

Watch this space!

Anyway, we’ve explored more places around where we live and realised just how pretty awesome it is. The summer came and went in a flurry of outdoor adventures and then something big happened.

TC started nursery at his big sisters school this September.

With him only turning 3 in March, he seems so little in his uniform. His first day he was super excited and happy but the nerves kicked in when he got into class. Our daughter was allowed to go into his class to try and reassure him – it’s such a big deal for such small children.

Both the kids are well equipped for school with their coats from Muddy Puddles. What’s great is they have a dedicated section on their website for all your school needs. We love the ‘Originals Jacket’, which comes in 5 different colours, as it’s completely waterproof but so lightweight. Absolutely perfect for this time of year.

After a first week of a few of tears he has settled in great and is really starting to come out of himself. He chats our heads off at home and around people he knows but he can clam up in social environments. He had been going to playgroup four mornings a week up until July and not once did they hear him say one word!

I have to admit I was worried about him. He is a total mummy’s boy. The fact he didn’t speak at playgroup was a concern but I think, looking back, that we put pressure on him to speak which made the situation worse for him. We’ve since changed our tactics and ignored his lack of speech in these environments and just encouraged him more when he did speak in situations where he was anxious.

As the weather starts to turn noticeably cooler they are exploring Autumn at school and my usually quiet boy has suddenly taken to singing this little song he learnt at school…

All the leaves are falling down
Orange, yellow, red and brown

When I picked him up last week he was sporting a special “Super star” sticker and his teacher told me he’d actually sung in class. I was so happy! I finally think my little shy boy is realising he can get so much more out of things when he just lets himself go.

After school we went on a lovely walk in the Autumn sunshine and looked at the changing colours of the leaves. October really is a beautiful month to be out and about. Although it’s been unusually warm there is that freshness in the air that only the shoulder months can bring.

As we walked, we sang. I felt a lump in my throat.

All the leaves are falling down
Orange, yellow, red and brown

I feel like my little leaf is branching off on his own and I couldn’t be more proud.

I am proud to be part of the Muddy Puddles Muddy Parent team.
I am sent a small number of items but never receive any cash incentive.
All photographs, words, views and opinions are entirely my own.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Looking For Swimwear? Look No Further...

I can't believe how fast the year is flying by. 

Summer is well and truly here! It's that time of year for bearing some flesh. A time to enjoy the sunshine and catch a bit of Vitamin D.

One thing us women - well, most of us - don't enjoy about summer is buying swimwear. It can be a somewhat arduous task that fills us with dread. I had such a task facing me a while back when I needed a new swimming costume for Center Parcs. I wanted a new one as the one I had was starting to look a bit faded and ropey after countless hours at swimming lessons with the children. It was only a relatively cheap one but it served its purpose. I also wanted a new one that would serve me for our holiday to Florida. One that was pretty enough to be flattering and feminine but sturdy enough to stand up to the likes of Summit Plummet at Blizzard Beach. That thing can give you a colonic irrigation if you're not careful!

Anyway, I digress, I happened to be on social media at the right time and was lucky enough to be sent a David swimsuit from Patricia Eve (with matching sarong). I was thrilled as, after researching the company, I knew it would be difficult to be disappointed.

Now let me start by saying I would love to have the confidence (and the body) to show you a photo of ME in the swimsuit but I've just taken little glimpses. The main photo, at the bottom, is not me. Just incase you may have thought it was. Ha... I wish!
Beautiful detailing

As soon as I opened the swimsuit I loved it even more than the photo I'd seen of it online. It really was beautifully made. 

I am ashamed to say I hadn't heard of David Swimwear before but once I did some research into the brand I realised what a great collection of swimwear pieces they do. David is an Italian brand and that shows by the quality and beautiful Italian design - they also provide something for every woman.

The attention to detail on the swimsuit was immediately obvious. The glittering jewelled 'D' at the top of the thigh was perfectly placed and the cut of the swimsuit across the groin is extremely flattering.

The gorgeous patterned bust area

The swimsuit is black apart from the lovely pattern across the bust. Obviously black is  flattering but who wants a swim suit that's just all black? The detail on the pattern is exquisite and really sets the whole suit off beautiful.

What is great about this particular swimsuit is that it can be worn in a variety of ways. It has a tie halter neck from the patterned bust but it also has 3 different, totally removable, straps. This means that you can create a number of different looks and when you want to wear it completely strapless the halter neck twists and ties around the back of the suit.

It's quite low cut at the back but still high enough to cover your lower back so it's not too revealing. I've been using it each week for swimming with TC and I have to admit that I feel very glam in the pool - I've even had someone in my swimming class ask where I got the swimsuit from!

So, if you're looking for any swimwear in the future you can be sure of finding something suitable from Patricia Eve - they are also stockists for the 'Miracle Suit' which is the leader in swimwear shape-wear. They really do offer a great choice of high quality swimwear.

NOT ME, obviously (photo credit)

I was sent the swimsuit to review 
but all photographs (apart from image credited above), 
words, views and opinions are entirely my own.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

#MeAndMine - A Family Portrait (May 2015) The Orlando Edition!

Last month was the first time I've missed a Me and Mine in the last couple of years and you can't believe how upset I was.

To cut a very long story short, MC broke out with chicken pox exactly a week before we were due to fly out to Orlando, Florida for a months holiday! A holiday we'd been planning for over a year. Incase you don't know, until every spot has scabbed over airlines won't let you fly so it was a race against time and 2-3 bicarbonate of soda and sea salt baths a day. We also had to race TC to be vaccinated.

Thankfully all our hard work (and tears) paid off and MC was certified fit to fly at the last minute. It was so touch and go though and Matt and I lost a lot of sleep over it…so we were ready for a holiday.

As this post goes live we will have landed back in the UK. We usually spend 3 weeks in Orlando but we decided to extend it and my parents also joined us for the first week. I won't lie, there were moments when it was tough with two small kids - one recovering from illness and the other one fighting illness off - but it was a fantastic holiday again and none of us want to leave our second home.

I'll be blogging about our trip, in full, as soon as I find the time to pull everything together…and got over the jet lag. We also covered Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure this trip which was all new to us - was amazing though, especially the brand new Wizarding World of Harry Potter...and I'm not really a fan!

I haven't had time to sort all my photos but I have grabbed quite a few (!) of the Disney Memory Maker ones. As you can see, TC has a bit of an aversion to Ariel haha!

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

#MeAndMine - A Family Portrait (March 2015)

Phew! March has been a hectic month.

It always is.

I have both children's birthdays falling within 17 days of each other in March. It means planning birthday days and planning parties that just takes up a lot of my time.

We've also been stepping up the Orlando holiday planning and have, today, told the kids the secret that we've been keeping for a year - we are taking them back to our 'second home'. The excitement in our house is building to fever point...and that's just Matt and I!

In amongst the excitement Matt and I have been consuming Breaking Bad episodes like they are, literally, drugs. It was something we never even looked at when it originally aired and so it's been great to just watch them all. One night we watched 3 back to back! As of today we are 4 episodes away from the very end of the last season - tense and exciting is an understatement. Part of me is wanting it to be over though so I get my evenings back. I don't think I've been so into a television series since Game Of Thrones...and that starts again soon. Argh!

Sorry, I'm digressing. My photo...

Back on March 11th it was MC's 6th birthday and she chose Pizza Express as her birthday restaurant. We had a lovely meal and, as always, the children were impeccably behaved. I guess it comes from eating out a lot but they are always great in restaurants. So, I asked the Manager to take a family photo of us. It turned out quite nice.

Here's to another month passing and getting closer to our amazing holiday!

dear beautiful

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Three Is The Magic Number - Happy Birthday TC

I can't believe TC is 3 years old today.

The days, weeks, months and now YEARS are going by in a blur.

Where is the time going?

His birthdays are always a little bittersweet as I can't help but think about Matilda Mae and how it should be her 3rd birthday a matter of weeks later. Today has been quite emotional because I always look at 3 as being such a big milestone in the life of a child.

They seem to grow so much between 3 and 4. This September he'll be starting in Nursery at MC's school.

I'm so proud of my baby boy. I waited a long time to start potty training with him, much longer than MC but he picked it up straight away so that's all sorted.

He is thriving more at Playschool too and, after Easter, he will be upping his mornings in readiness for September.

I know he's growing up so fast but he'll always be my baby boy.

28th March 2012
28th March 2013
28th March 2014

28th March 2015

Three really is the magic number.

Happy 3rd Birthday baby boy.
Love you always xx

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

6 Years Old Today - Happy Birthday MC!

Another year goes by.

A year that has seen my blogging trail off. It's something I do want to get back - I keep saying it and I do mean it. It's just finding the time.

Time is so precious.

My little baby girl is 6 years old today.

She's growing into such a beautiful and confident little girl. She's already reading books that are designed for 10-11 year olds - she amazes me with her abilities everyday. I'm so proud of her and my heart just bursts when I think of how gorgeous she is.

It doesn't seem like a moment ago she came into the world.

Yes, time is so precious and I'm enjoying every second with my beautiful family.

11th March 2009

11th March 2010

11th March 2011

11th March 2012

11th March 2013
11th March 2014

11th March 2015

Happy Birthday Mini Cheddar. 
Daddy and I love you 
more than chocolate

Saturday, 28 February 2015

#MeAndMine - A Family Portrait (February 2015)

I find myself saying the same thing at the end of each month over the last 6 months or so.

"Where has the month gone?"

This month is no exception.

I wish I had a pause button sometimes as there just aren't enough hours in the day.

Now we are coming into March which is the month of both MC and TC's birthdays (6 and 3 respectively) so that will be busy. It's my Mum's 70 in April and then May we are off to Orlando again! I have so much to organise it's untrue.

February has seen us on short breaks away twice. The first, just Matt and I to York to celebrate 11 years of love and happiness together and we've also went away with Matt's parents for 3 nights to Center Parcs at the beginning of the half-term school holidays.

We'd never been away with them before and we'd also never been to Center Parcs. If I am totally honest, neither Matt nor I were really looking forward to the weekend. We were worried for various reasons and one being we didn't think we would like Center Parcs. We didn't think it was 'our thing'.

I'm pleased to report that we were both pleasantly surprised by Center Parcs. We went to Whinfell Forest in Cumbria and it was lovely. Our lodge was immaculate and had it's own private jetty onto the lake and everyday we had an abundance of wildlife on our patio - it was like being in a Disney movie! The children had a lovely time with their Grandparents who they don't see as often as my parents who live a few miles away and Matt and I got lots of time to ourselves again. Would I go back? The jury is still out on that one. If we did I think it would definitely have to be in term-time because the price Center Parcs charge in the school holidays is outrageous!

My mother-in-law took our Me And Mine photographs this weekend and her photographs are usually terrible she isn't known for her photography skills but she did me proud.

Oh and yes, I've gone back blonde again...

dear beautiful

Monday, 2 February 2015

Never Forgetting Matilda Mae

I can't believe 2 years have passed.

2 whole years.

A long time but yet no time at all.

I cannot and will not ignore this date. 

Just like I will not ignore the 7th March or the 2nd May - they are dates etched on my heart by a baby I never got to meet.

I don't need to say a lot. I just need to say...

Rest in Peace Baby Tilda

You will never be forgotten


Matilda Mae Henley
2nd May 2012 - 2nd February 2013

Saturday, 31 January 2015

#MeAndMine - A Family Portrait (January 2015)

Things were supposed to be less busy after the hectic last quarter of 2014.

I had plans.

Plans for my family and plans for my blog (I still haven't written about my 40th Birthday Party in October!).

TC is settled at play school meaning I have two mornings a week (if not more thanks to my parents) that I could use for blogging. 

That time has not been forthcoming.

January has passed by quicker than December and I find myself taking a couple of selfies the day before Me and Mine is due to go live. Doesn't help that Matt broke the lens of my 'proper' camera just after Christmas so I'm limited to my phone at the moment.

The old me would have got down about it. Been annoyed that I haven't been more organised but, you know what? I don't feel it. I'm in a wonderful place in my life right now. We are living in our dream home, I have amazing best friends and I've met some amazing neighbours who I've become close to, the children are happy and healthy and I'm just loving life - despite it being so hectic.

I love spending quality time with the kids and, as of the next two nights, I'll be spending quality time with my gorgeous husband.

Exactly 11 years ago today I went on a 'blind date' with a man I met on an online dating website just 5 days earlier. Little did I know I would find my soul mate. My one true love. My best friend. My lover. My life. 

Also, little did I know that exactly 3 years on from that first date he would ask me to marry him over a romantic dinner and a beautiful emotional outpouring.

We should have had a break away last year to mark 10 years from our first date but one of my besties was having a Hen Weekend and I didn't really feel ready to leave TC with anyone else but Matt for 2 nights at that point. 

This year though, we are going away.

To York.

I haven't been there for absolutely years and I cannot wait.

We have a luxury apartment right next to York Minster. We have bubbly and chocolate and we have each other. From tomorrow lunch time until Monday lunchtime. 


2014 was a year that something happened I didn't ever think was possible - Matt and I became closer than we ever had. We have always had a fantastic relationship but last year it just went from amazing to absolutely out of this world.

I love him so much.

I know we will miss the kids but this time is important.

Anyway, before I have you all throwing up, I'll fill you in on this months photographs. After we picked MC up from school yesterday we went to our local Starbucks for babycino's and shortbread as a treat as we won't be back until Monday afternoon. MC had run out of school all excited as she'd brought 'Fflic a Fflac' the school Welsh puppets home. She has to fill in a diary of her adventures with them this weekend as return it to school on Monday - all written IN WELSH! 

I'm smiling on the photos but inside I was crying at the stress of having to organise the diary in advance! My parents are having the children but I didn't want them to have the pressure of trying to help Freya as their Welsh is pretty much non-existent. Of all the weekends for her to bring them home!

Obviously Fflic and Fflac had to get in on our photographs and even managed to take them over!

Here's to a less stressful February.

dear beautiful


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