girl-1245773_1280

When I became a mum it was like someone flicked a switch. I went from enjoying getting dressed up and doing my hair and make up to go out on the town for the evening to preferring to stay home and watch a good TV series in my pyjamas.

Nothing’s changed in the eight years since having my first baby; I still prefer to stay in then go out. I think I’ve just become a bit lazy! It seems like such a faff getting myself showered, doing my hair and make up and then choosing an outfit. My body certainly isn’t what it used to be so I’d prefer not to have to squeeze myself into something dressy and my tolerance to alcohol isn’t what it used to be either so I’d likely lose my phone or purse! I’ve learnt over the years to ensure my home insurance is up to date – it’s not something i think about until it’s too late so if you’re anything like me if might be worth getting a quote for yours here https://www.chill.ie

Staying in, especially during the winter, seems so much more appealing to me. I guess a large contributing factor to this is that I don’t need to organise babysitters for the kids. That itself is hassle enough before you’ve even begun to plan the evening. Nowadays I reserve nights out for special occasions; birthdays, weddings and hen dos. I think I appreciate them so much more than I used to but I’m not sure my feet do! I’m only 32 years old….am I old before my time or is it common for mums to prefer elasticated waistbands and hot chocolate to peep toe shoes and sex on the beach?!

bed-2167288_1280

With the emergence of streaming sites such as Netflix staying in is quite appealing. Matt and I are really into Breaking Bad at the moment – I know, we’re about ten years behind the rest of the world! That’s my ideal evening; a good TV show, a curry and some comfy jogging bottoms! It’s not rock ‘n’ roll but it’s how i roll.

How do you spend your evenings? If you’ve got an opportunity to go out, do you?

Follow:

sleep tight all night unicorn review

That’s what we all want our kids to do isn’t it? To sleep tight all night? Over the last fortnight we’ve been using the Sleep Tight All Night Unicorn from Golder Bear and it’s really been helping Florence (aged four) to not only get settled and ready for sleep but also showing her when it’s time to get up.

The Sleep Tight All Night characters are currently being hailed as the solution to a good nights sleep – the Holy Grail of parenthood right? As soon as the unicorn arrived Florence befriended it as a soft toy, like every other person on the planet she’s unicorn made right now and is even planning to take it abroad when we go on holiday in a fortnights time. With a squeeze of the tummy the unicorn churns out lots of fun and cute phrases which made Florence smile.

sleep tight all night unicorn review

Inside each character is the Sleep Tight All Night ‘module’ which is so easy to use even Florence sets it herself before bed now. It’s easy to remove and reinsert and stays in place all night. The module provides the soothing sounds and lights which aid sleep. At bedtime we remove the module and Florence sets how many hours she will sleep for, currently it’s 11.  You have the option of leaving on the soothing sounds or turning them off and then you can place the module into ‘lock’ mode so even with the tightest of cuddles in the night the module will remain set. The light on the module (inside the unicorns tummy) glows red for a short time indicating it is time to sleep.

If Florence were to wake during the night and press the unicorn she would see it is still red and this would be a clear sign it is time to sleep. However, once the time set has elapsed the module will glow a soft green indicating it is time to get up and go! As Florence is still unable to tell the time it’s much easier than looking at her clock. We do have other sleep aids for Florence but this one is by far the least complicated and cutest!

unicorn flo

There are other characters available including Iggle Piggle, a puppy and a teddy. From A/W 2017 you will also be able to get your hands on Batman and a dinosaur. The age range for this, I would say, is pretty wide. I wish we’d had one of these when Florence was around 2 years old as we had a few really difficult months of getting her to stay in her bed. I can also see Florence using it for at least another year or two or until she can tell the time with ease.

 

 

Follow:

Dolmio was always a staple in our house when I was growing up; lasagnes, bolognese, pasta bake – you name it, we had it and now I know why. It’s so blooming easy and is jam packed full of goodness. A jar of Dolmio contains no artificial colours, preservatives, flavours or sweeteners. It’s 100% natural.

We were challenged by Britmums and Dolmio to come up with a midweek meal that would please the whole family using a bundle of ingredients including a jar of Dolmio. Matt and I usually eat later than the kids in the week but that wasn’t a problem as I made enough for the kids to enjoy the next day too.

I decided to mix things up a bit and be a little bit adventurous with the ingredients. I chopped up all the veg  and spread it out across a baking tray. I drizzled with olive oil, cracked some garlic cloves open and added a light sprinkling of salt and black pepper. Roasting veg has be just about one of the easiest but also one of the tastiest ways to eat veg. You could opt to blend the veg up as a base for a sauce but we wanted them left chunky as a side for our chicken.

dolmio mid week meal

We roasted the chicken breasts, which were huge, and then coated them in Dolmio sauce just before taking them out of the oven. We sprinkled on three types of cheese; cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan and waited until it had melted and started to bubble.

dolmio mid week meal

Wes served the chicken and veg with wholewheat organic spaghetti and it was devine. Besides hacking up a courgette and aubergine (which was absolutely delicious by the way) there really was minimal prep. It was one of those ‘bung it in the oven’ dinners and hey presto – it’s done!

dolmio mid week meal

If you want to see exactly what is in a jar of Dolmio take a gander at this…

dolmio mid week meal recipe

 

*This post is an entry for the #Dolmio #Thankgoodness Challenge, sponsored by Dolmio www.dolmio.co.uk/thankgoodness

Follow:

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

Follow:

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!

quote

Follow: