elsie 10 months old

I still remember the evening I went into labour with Elsie like it was yesterday yet here I am about to write all about Elsie as she turns 10 months old.

In the last few months it feels like she has changed from a baby to….well, not a toddler but something in between. She cruises along furniture like a pro (and has been for at least a month), she almost has six teeth and she eats a roast dinner better than most kids five years older than her. I’m so proud of the little person she’s becoming. The giggles are more frequent and she can now wave when she hears people say “hello” or “goodbye” – especially the Teletubbies. They hold a special place in Elsie’s heart and when we’re having a bit of a meltdown naughty noo-noo and the gang seem to sort it out!

Poor little Elsie was quite ill last week; conjunctivitis, high temperature, chesty cough and nose streaming like a tap. It turned out to be a viral infection which cleared up on it’s own but it was a tough old week with multiple night time wake ups and all the Olbas oil.

Waking up in the nighttime is still pretty common unfortunately. Once, usually twice, a night we have crying. A few ounces of milk seems to do the trick unless it’s quite close to 6am in which case she’s up for the day. I’d be reluctant to give her milk at night in case it becomes a habit but as she eats so well in the day she doesn’t really drink milk between meals so I need her to have it at night at least!

She’s pretty big for her age and we’re in 12-18mth clothing – especially in trousers as she does have a good set of thighs on her!

elsie 10 month update

I’ve been watching her a lot this month and she is getting more and more interested in what her sister and brother are doing. She loves a bit of rough and tumble on the floor and will throw herself over Florence and giggle as they roll around together. Daddy’s got a special place in Florence’s heart too and she crawls over to him as soon as she hears the front door open when het gets home from work. He scoops her up and she places her head on his shoulder for the longest of cuddles. I do feel a really strong bond with Elsie, and I think Matt does too. I guess that’s because I stay home with her instead of going out to work as I did with the other kids. Or maybe it’s just because we’re more relaxed.

I can’t believe we’re steaming towards her first birthday – it’s been a whirlwind of a year and I’m so excited to see what she makes of her little sister in just a few months time.

Elsie at 8 months old.

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Like most parents I rarely treat myself; any spare income seems to get swallowed up with new school shoes, nappies and milk. I’d always put my kids before myself but now and again it’s nice to spoil yourself and with Mother’s Day just around the corner there really isn’t any better time!

Last week we were all feeling pretty under the weather and sorry for ourselves so I was absolutely delighted to be asked by Debenhams if we’d like to buy a few pre-Mother’s Day treats – it couldn’t have come at a better time. After the kids were tucked up in bed I began to look through the website – it was easy to navigate and had lots of brands I love – especially in the beauty department. I decided I wanted to treat myself to a few new cosmetics as I always feel makeup is a bit of a luxury as opposed to a necessity.

I’d just run out of my usual budget mascara and so decided to ‘plump’ (get it?) for the popular Roller Lash by Benefit. I’ve used it a few times now and I’m very impressed; lengthening, light to wear and gives you a very wide awake look. Much needed as a mum of, almost, four!

I was also growing tired of wearing the same old eye shadows and feeling like I look the same all the time so I chose the Too Faced Chocolate Bar eyeshadow palette to try and refresh my eye look a little. The packaging is stunning and it actually smells like chocolate – good enough to eat.

mother's day debenhams

Of course, I couldn’t spoil myself and not the kids so I treated each of them to a few new items of clothing. I always find girls clothes a little more exciting and I think I could have chosen at least 10 pieces for Florence alone, however, I opted for a J by Jasper Conran denim dress and t-shirt set and two basic t-shirts which will be ideal for summer. You can’t really go wrong with a denim dress and it will last across seasons with tights or bare legs.

jasper conman debenhams

My youngest daughter Elsie has far too many clothes already but I saw this little romper with the cute bee design and also saw it was low stock and just had to have it. I’ve ordered a size up so we get as much use as possible. Again it will be great for summer either with or without a t-shirt underneath and layered with a cardigan it can take her into Autumn.

mothers day debenhams

blue zoo romper debenhams

My son is almost 8 years old and is almost at the stage of wanting to choose his own clothes so I have to be careful what I go for. I found this Blue Zoo polo shirt and it reminded me of something my husband would wear so I thought that might be quite cute if they were ever so slightly ‘twinning’.

blue zoo debenhams

I also went for a rash vest top for when we go abroad in a few weeks. The kids will live in and beside the pool so I really like to keep their skin covered; especially my son as he is so fair.

I’ve been really impressed with the quality and choice available at Debenhams and to be able to do it all from the comfort of my own sofa is even better. Happy Mother’s Day to all my fellow mums!

jasper conran dress debenhams

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bullet journal set-up

If you’d said the words “Bullet Journal” to me this time last year I’d have not had a clue what you were talking about! It’s only since I have been watching more You Tube videos that I picked up on the concept and decided to start a Bullet Journal (or BuJo for short) myself. I’ve had a few people ask me how I’m getting on with it and so I thought I’d do a little on going series throughout the year as I progress with my Bullet Journal; how I set it up, what journal I use, what supplies I use and what does and doesn’t work for me.

It’s so much more than just writing in a notepad or making a list – how many times have you bought a fancy new note pad and told yourself you’re going to get organised only to find your notepad languishing at the bottom of a drawer in a months time? Too many times to count I bet. A Bullet Journal has relevance and it’s flexible. You can make this blank notepad what you like following some basic, core foundations.

So what is a Bullet Journal?
The bullet journalling system was devised by a chap called Ryder Carroll. The idea behind the Bullet Journal is that we spend less time making traditional notes or journalling and become more productive as a result. How is this possible? Ryder uses a form of note making he refers to as ‘Rapid Logging’. You can read more about Rapid Logging on the Bullet Journal website; there are four components and each is explained thoroughly.

Essentially your BuJo will be made up of topics, bullets (these can take different states), page numbers and short sentences. It’s crucial you give each page a topic and number the pages as you go. The pages and their contents are listed in the index at the start of the journal – this will be key to keeping your BuJo organised.

There are four core modules that every good BuJo should consist of; an index, a Future Log, a Monthly Log and a Daily Log. Again, further explanations of these are found on the website but their essentially where we rapid log tasks for the future, month or day and give them a signifier such as ‘O’ for an event or ‘-‘ for a note.

‘Migration’ of tasks is one of the cornerstones of Bullet Journalling. It’s basically taking any unresolved tasks from the previous month and either migrating them to another month or striking them through if they are now irrelevant. It can be difficult to get your head around all these terms to begin with so don’t worry if you’re a little confused.

What supplies will I need to start my BuJo?
Essentially all you need is a notepad and pen but, if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to give yourself the best chance of making it work and do a bit of research into what other people are using and what they find works for them.

Most importantly you will need something small enough to carry around if required and something of decent quality as it should last for months to come. I opted for theLEUCHTTURM1917 346703 Bullet Edition Journal Notebook Medium A5 240 Pages dotted Lines, Colour: Black.Leuchtturm are well known among the Bullet Journal community and dots are the way forward instead of your usual lines. It allows for much more flexibility on each page; they can help give your logs structure yet from a distance they disappear. I find the paper is just thick enough to stop any bleed through but you will need to be careful about what pens you use.

bujo

I invested a small amount into a pack ofStaedtler 334 Triplus Fineliner Superfine Point Pens, 0.3 mm – Assorted Colours, Pack of 20 (you can see an example of these in this posts featured image) which I find ideal for the job. I rarely use the coloured pens at the moment as I am still trying to find what I do and don’t like in my journal. I’m quite a fan of simple, monochrome designs at the moment. If you’re an arty kind of person though head over to Pinterest as there are some amazing designs using brush pens which could make even the least creative person feel like picking up a pen.

I’ve recently bought a few cheap rolls of Washi tape from our local Tiger store too. I find it handy for creating divides between information or just for jazzing up the page edge. It’s a good way to add colour if you’re not feeling artistic!

washi tape

My Bullet Journal Set-up
As I mentioned earlier, I’m still trying to find my feet with my Bullet Journal. I have all the key elements which should be there but I feel like I’m yet to find my signature style.

The great thing about the journal I referred to above is that it is specially designed for bullet journalling and so the index is already for you to complete and the pages are pre-numbered. A real time saver! The first entry into my Bullet Journal is the Future Log. It highlights major events throughout the year. I spread mine over two pages with six months on each spread.

future log

Following this I added a few ‘collections’ which are relevant to the whole year such as ‘2017 Goals’ and my blog and You Tube channel stats tracker. I also have pages dedicated to keeping track of the brands I’ve worked with and a to do list for my blog. This is what I love about Bullet Journalling. If I suddenly decide I want to keep track of how many times I post on social media I can just add a page in, link it back to the index and then continue with my daily logs etc. It’s all there, easy to find and accessible.

stats tracker

Then I delve into March. I drew out my Monthly Log which is just a one page list of dates for the month with any pertinent events or deadlines for that month. It’s high level and shouldn’t be too in-depth. The page opposite is for ‘Tasks’ where I list all the things that need to be done in that month. For example, this month I needed to pay a speeding ticket (naughty girl) and also some blog admin I had been putting off.

Following the overview of March I then head into the weekly spreads where I log daily to-do’s, events and I’ve also started keeping our meal plan in here too as well as a page dedicated to meal inspiration and ideas. This is really where I am still trying to find what works for me.

weekly log

I like to start the day by writing all the things I need or would like to achieve that day. I find this focuses my mind and as soon as Elsie goes down for her nap I get cracking. I keep track of appointments on my daily logs as well as any deadlines for blog work that I have that week.

Starting simply is the best idea. You can then add or takeaway from it as you decide what is and isn’t useful to you. I’m already hating this weeks layout and wishing the week away so we can start afresh with a new design next week!

I do hope you found this post interesting or useful – I’d love to hear if you keep a Bullet Journal or are thinking of starting. I’ve really only just covered the tip of it; there’s  whole world of journalling to explore!

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Finally! Finally there is a reason I leave a trail of mess wherever I go. It’s not my fault at all – it’s all down to my star sign! Leo, in case you were wondering.

My husband used to roll his eyes every time he stepped into our home ‘office’. I use the word office in the loosest sense. I don’t think you could see the desk under the piles of washing, the spare vacuum bags and the boxes of play doh and craft kits. It was never supposed to be a fancy office by any stretch of the imagination – we set it up as a quick make shift office when we moved in with a basic table and hunted out some cheap office chairs.

However, it soon became overrun and I ended up migrating to different spaces in the house to work. Turns out it wasn’t the room, it was me. I seem to be physically unable to keep my working space organised. Something I’m trying hard to fix.

I was always the same when I worked in a public office too. I’d have great intentions of becoming this organised and professional individual with a cool minimal desk vibe but ended up with crumbs from my lunch strewn over the keyboard, old coffee cups left for days and post-its stuck in every conceivable space. Not something I’m proud of!

My Furniture at Work have just released this infographic which shows how messy or tidy you are as a person based on your horoscope and I have to say, for me, it’s pretty accurate. Although it’s probably more likely to be my fast food wrappers in the glove compartment of my car, not my friends! Whoops!

How accurate is it for you? I’d love to know whether it’s correct or if not, how does it differ to your real life personality?

home office constructive chaos

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all inclusive holidays

Quite often people look at me like I’m mad when we say we’re taking the kids abroad for our holiday. We’ve done so ever since our eldest was three years old and yes, it’s not always a barrel of laughs when you’ve got a tired toddler but we always take the hassle out of it by opting to go all-inclusive when booking our holiday package.

We’re off to the Canary Islands in a few weeks time over the Easter break and I can’t wait. Booking was pretty simple and with all-inclusive we’re safe in the knowledge that their aren’t any hidden extras; luggage allowance, flights and transfers are all included. We like the Canary Islands as the weathers pretty reliable throughout the year and the flight time isn’t too gruelling when you have multiple kids in tow.

holiday

We’re staying at a hotel we’ve stayed at previously which makes me even more excited as I know how fantastic the food, drink and snack options are throughout the day. I don’t know about your kids but mine graze constantly. They could be hungry 10 mins after we’ve left the breakfast table and will be crying out for a drink after just 5 minutes of swimming. Knowing we can help ourselves to food and drink throughout the day means we’re not dipping into our pockets or needing to carry cash around the hotel which is a big weight off our minds. It can soon add up if you’re paying out for each and every drink and snack or equally, you feel bad having to say no when you’re supposed to be having fun. It’s also this pregnant woman’s idea of paradise!

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Although we do like to get out of the hotel and see other parts of the town or island we’re staying on there really isn’t any need. The older two kids are usually wrapped up in kids clubs or day time activities on the complex and Elsie has been known to spend time in nursery so Matt and I can truly relax – even if it is just for an hour or two. A holiday wouldn’t be a holiday without a little down time!

holiday

When you look at the value for money you’re getting by going all-inclusive it really is a no-brainer. We barely take any cash with us when we go – just a little bit of spending money for the kids and perhaps a few souvenirs. We’re already planning our 2018 break and the first must have on our list is that it must be all-inclusive. After all the bigger the kids the bigger the appetites!

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