Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Letters to D - Your almost 3!

Dear D,

Your only going to be two for another 10 days! How did that happen? You so grown up now. I still remember 3 years ago sitting on the phone talking to granny about when your pram suit would show up in the post ready for you being born. It has certainly been a whirl wind three years. You have learnt so many things and got so big during that time.


It is so hard to believe you where small enough to fit into to that teeny tiny top and now your wearing clothes two to three times the size!


You are now just over half as tall as me! You are going to be taller than me one day and I will look back on the times you would fit into daddies forearm.

You are bright little toddler with a fantastic view of the world. It is amazing the way you see everyone you meet. I would love to see the world through your eyes and to understand what you think about in a day. It would certainly be an interesting perspective.

You love to brighten up little old ladies days simply by being your bubbly little self. Any time we get on the bus you find the nearest person to you who will talk to you. Once you have got their attention you have to make that person smile or laugh the whole journey! I cannot wait to see what you will be like on a plane this summer. That will be a joyous trip I am sure. (I will tell you all about it after!)


One of your new favourite things to do is to read the newspaper while you drink your 'coffee' (baby-chino) with me and daddy. Just look at how much concentration it takes.

Every day we are making new memories and honestly I love waking up every morning and thinking about what memories we are going to make.

I look forward to many, many more every day of the future.

Lots of love,

Sunday, 21 February 2016

#My Sunday Photo - Victory!

It's been a very long time since I shared a Sunday photo and I knew at the start of this week that I needed to and I think I had already got the perfect picture by then!  So we are linking up with Darren over at Phot A Life this week. Don't forget to pop over and take a look. He takes some amazing photographs.

This picture was taken last Sunday night while we had some family time on Valentine's day. It may not be a perfect photo but Do was incredibly excited about it and couldn't possibly stay still. We had decided to play a game of Monopoly and to let D play all on his own, Simon was counting the money part out for him.

#MySundayPhoto - Victory!

I think D knew something we didn't right from the start! Every time he rolled the dice and moved his Lightening McQueen along the board he screamed 'I win! I win!'. Boy did he win! He caught on quickly that the aim of the game is to buy everything and that is exactly what D done. He had his first race round the track in under 5 turns and was buying each and every property he landed on. After he had bought properties from almost every colour on the board he set about landing on at least 1 of each every time he passed. Which of course meant that he soon had enough to build houses. On each turn D took a new house had to go up by the means of D shouting 'More houses, Mummy. I need more houses please!'.

By the time I finally landed on one of these houses it almost wiped me out completely. However I didn't have to wait long before I landed on him again and that was me. D was delighted to have even more money and properties to build on that his first words after I was out where 'more houses please! lots and lots!'. It didn't take much longer for Simon to go bankrupt either. He only had to land on one of the most expensive and then roll a 2! Haha, He was not impressed to have been beaten by a 2 year old.

It didn't end there either! Simon did't have enough money to pay D back and D knew what he wanted instead! Simon had to forfeit his baseball cap in payment for the missing money! D had told him 'I win, Daddy. I win. Give me your hat, I win!'

So D won it all even Daddies hat which he refused to give back all night because he had won!

Friday, 19 February 2016

Review - Websters Pages Colour Crush Planner

So as I am sure you can tell I am more than a bit behind and I had actually planned to write this back in January but I just didn't have the motivation to write. I don't suppose it really helped that I just couldn't seem to find the words I wanted to use. I knew them roughly but it just didn't sound right and flow properly when I read them back.

Back at the start of the year I much the same as everyone else was thinking about how to go about getting myself a bit more organised. I knew that I needed to spend a bit of in searching for the right way for me to keep both my life and all my blogging plans together in one place. This involved more than simply going out and finding a good diary which I could use, one for blogging and one for family/ daily life.  I tried this last year using a diary and a notebook which in theory would keep me organised and should have kept me up to date with everything. The only problem was that I could never remember to take both out with me and when I was at home I found that I lost them quite a bit. Which is never a good thing for getting organised.

This year I decided what I really needed was to get a good organiser / planner which would not only need to have lots of space for me to write everything in but would need to be easy to navigate through and be able to have extra pages added if I needed them. After a good deal of searching I finally found one that ticked every one of my boxes and more.



The organiser I found is This beautiful leather bound Colour Crush Planner from Webster's Pages. Webster's Pages is an American brand that was established in 1986. They specialise in products that involve paper (Who would have guessed?), particularly dairies/ organisers and scrapbooks. The company is owned by a brother and sister who want to provide high quality products that are not only practical but beautiful too.


I personally think they have found the perfect balance with the Colour Crush Planner.It's simple but still quite pretty at the same time on the outside. You can tell from the minute you open the box that the planner comes in that it is a great quality right down to the WP embossed on the spine. The planner is a binder which has a great little pocket on the front inside page with areas for you to keep cards in and a small pocket where you can slide something in. This also doubles as another pocket itself where I tend to keep my little stickers which came too. You can see this in the picture below.


Opening the Planner you are greeted with a lovely inspirational quote printed on vellum and a coloured backing page which gives a very colourful and bright looking effect.  What is even better is that they have a whole range of them which you can pick from. What could be better than an planner you can customise just for you?


Customisation is such a great aspect to have built into something you plan to use daily. The customisation doesn't stop there. Every single little aspect of this organiser is customisable. you can buy plenty of attachments, extra pages, inspirational and practical packages of pages which have a range of uses. Not only are the pages practical in their own way but they also come beautifully decorated and separated into sections.


The sections in my organiser are Write it down which is 8 double sided pages that each contain sections for writing your thoughts, ideas and dreams.


The dreams section continues onto the back. I personally find this section perfect for quickly jotting down any of blog post ideas or things I need to remember that will pop into my head throughout the day. This package comes with a lovely flowery divider that has clear writing for easy finding.


The next section is called memory keeping and it again comes with it's own beautiful divider  which you can see above.


This section contains 12 pages that again are double sided. I think this section might be my favourite. The front of each page is called 'A Day In The Life' it contains 31 lines and each is labelled with a corresponding 'day' then a number from 1 to 31 for each day in any given month. you can write down something good that has happened each day and then on a bad day you can look back through the memories. On the back of each pages is section for any quick sketches you may want to do. You can use it to doodle in if you are anything like me! Just below is a section called {    } said this! where there is space for you to write down anything you want to remember someone saying. finally on this page is another section called 'Remember This' and has room to write the date in as well as anything you need to remember.


Another essential section for me is next. This one is called 'Lists To Love' and boy do I love them! The divider for this one is again above.


Inside 'Lists To Love' you will find every kind of list you will need for everyday life. First up on the page 'to dos' which contains lines for you to write down everything you need to do as well as handy little tick boxes for after each task is complete. In the middle of the page is a loved little framed section which is for you 'Monthly Goals'. At the bottom of this box is  every month ready for you to circle. At the bottom of the page is a section called Plan & Do!'. here you will find 10 lines that are each numbered with a due date area and again tick boxes. On the back of the page is a Menu planner which is all set out ready for you to plan meals for every day of the week. I love that it is set out in a way that you can choose if you want to plan breakfast, lunch and dinner or simply plan dinners for the next month. The last little section on the page is a 'Shopping List'. Always an essential one when it comes to lists! 'Lists to Love' contains 8 pages.


Another section I really like is 'Staying Inspired' which is next in my planner. The divider for this one is pretty roses and raspberries as you can see above.

Inside you will find 8 very pretty pages. There are two of each design in mine and they are a large range of different designs and two contain lovely inspirational quotes.  For me I think 'Staying Inspired' appeals to both the blogger and the comper inside. When I had been searching for my perfect planner I never really considered looking for somewhere in them to put down anything I may need to remember or do for comping and I was delighted to see that although I hadn't been looking for it, there was still somewhere in the planner to incorporate my hobby in too! The pages from 'Staying Inspired' are above.

Finally we have come to the actual calender! This as always is an essential for a planner and you'd be pretty lost without it. There is again a beautiful divider for this part too. (Pictured above) This calender starts from October last year which is fine. Each month is contained in a two page layout that has it's own divider and cover page. The opposite side of the 2nd page contains a space for 'This and That' which is again numbered from day 1 to day 31 for any notes or memories you want to remember. I use this part of the planner for all our family needs and birthday reminders. You can see this page in the picture below.


The final Section of my planner is a 15 month weekly planner that gives you two pages per week.


This part is perfect for me to use to plan any blogging posts or to organise some of my weekly competitions that I tend to forget. This is probably my most used section as I do tend to go to it every day for one reason or another.


There is also a removable book mark that clicks into the binder for easy access.


The planner contains many more little bits that are very handy such as the little pocket to store any notes you have wrote down using the notepad provided in the very back pocket of the binder. This pocket also has space to slide in anything you might need to keep with you. I tend to keep any documents I might need for an appointment in there just so I won't forget them. The final little touch is a small loop of elastic for keeping a pen in.

I must say I have never found any planner quite like this and I really love the fact that next year I won't need to buy another. I will be able to completely change the planner come January next year by simply buying different refill packs of each section which is perfect.

This is a fantastic planner and I would recommend this for anyone out there who needs some organisation but would also like to build it around everything they need. You can purchase the planner already made up for you too if you don't want to order each section. They come in a variety of beautiful colours and designs.

You can purchase the Colour Crush planner from many online stores in the UK and worldwide. The prices do vary from each retailer and the planners will all be different prices depending on what you add to the planners. Here is a link where you can buy my Colour Crush Planner (well almost the same) for £34.50.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

What We're Reading - The Chronicles Of Narnia By C.S. Lewis

So guys, it's been a while! I am so glad to be back to writing and to be enjoying it. I'm not sure what the big change has been but I just want to write it all down again and I am starting with our most recent reads. This post is going to be a little different from our other what we're reading posts as I am setting it out a bit differently.

After Christmas we started to read The Chronicles of Narnia which is a personal favourite of mine. I was reading at a very young age and I never lost my love of Narnia through the years. It's a series that is appealing to both the young and old. I knew that this was going to be a book I would read to my kids.

What is even more awesome than the books is that we live in the city where C.S. Lewis was born! He was such a wonderful author and scholar that Belfast is very proud to be his birth place. There is even an annual C.S. Lewis event in Belfast to celebrate his life which we will be telling you all about later this year.

I wasn't sure at the start if it was to early to start the books as D is still very young and there are many scenes in the books which are violent and detailed. However I decided to give them a go and stop if he didn't seem to like them. The series is mostly aimed at children and is the only series of children's books C.S. Lewis ever wrote.


We haven't really been reading them in any order. The book we started with was The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe as D has a children's version of the novel with beautiful pictures which I had hoped would be a lovely way to introduce the novels over the next few years.  I don't think I was quite prepared for the reaction D had to the book. He loved it and would ask me more than once a day to read it to him. I even caught him trying to tell himself the story too. After a few days I thought it would be best to start reading the novel at night as our bedtime story. It was a great decision.


The Lion, The Witch and The  Wardrobe is s book about four main characters from the start with a few more coming in later on in the book. The four original main characters are called Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. This story starts with how they all slowly discovered the 'world in the wardrobe' which is Narnia. Narnia is home to the talking 'beasts' or animals and the creatures we have heard of in myths. Throughout the story the main characters have a few separate story lines which all align to the outcome. During the time setting of the story, Narnia has been purged into an eternal winter by The White Witch. There as always are two sides to the story which represent the good and the evil. But the real question is can Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy end the eternal winter The White Witch has cast upon Narnia for the last hundred years? I guess you will have to read the book to find out.

D was immediately entranced with all the goings on of Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy.  He was actually trying to stay awake as long as he possibly could just to hear what was going to happen next! If you have a child you will know how especially hard that is for a toddler to do while he is lying in bed.


There are so many beautiful surroundings in Narnia and each page ignites your imagination to allow you to be absorbed into the book. This was the case even for D. Not long after we started to read the book had D grown attached to each character and talking 'Beast' in the story. He was sharing all the emotions with the characters as I read to him which amazed me. He also started to tell me all about the things that happen in the book and loved to tell everyone he was reading about Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. He was also particularly fond of Mr Tumnus. ( A talking faun in the story) D really seemed to understand what the story was about and was so excited about all the battles and the adventures the children had in Narnia.


The second book we read was Prince Caspian. This one is set with the same four characters (Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy) a year after The Lion,The Witch and The Wardrobe in our world but its has been thousands of years in Narnia because as you will find out by reading these books time works in different ways between worlds and will not always be in the same time frame. During those thousands of years humans have become the main inhabitants of Narnia and the world much like any other has gone through many dramatic changes as have all types of animals, creatures and humans that live there. This time the narrative changes through a few dynamics as you read along which is barely noticeable to the reader. However it does mean that many parts of the story are told through the view of a character relaying the information to you and this will lead you back through the story of the humans in Narnia and what has happened in the live time of the talking 'beasts' (Yes they still exist and you will meet along the journey). During this book you will follow the characters as they struggle to find their sense of direction in the again unfamiliar world of Narnia as they fight through everything to reach Prince Caspian, The rightful hair to the Narnian throne. Can they win against the odds and save Narnia along with all the Narnians?


I was a bit worried that D wouldn't really like this one as many of the talking creature's are gone for a good bit of the story and it is thousands of years after the first visit to Narnia. I don't think it really mattered to D as this story was still about Narnia along with Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. Though this book is very much different than The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe D was still very interested in the adventure aspect of Prince Caspian and loved that there was lots of new characters to meet. I must say I had to laugh when I read about Aslan returning to Narnia as D got so excited. Aslan is defiantly a favourite of his. This books has it's fair share of battles and excitement all wrapped up in a lovely cover.

This book is more about the rise of a true air to the throne of Narnia and the rediscovery of all things 'Narnian' Though a good few chapters are written in the view of a character telling a story it was still a very interesting read and it was delightful to discover Narnia all over again as an adult while I watched D fall in love with these amazing books.


The third book we read in the series was The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader which is a continuation of Prince Caspian  and has many of the same characters but this book is set out on a ship at sea in Narnia. During this adventure you will meet again a lot more wonderful characters who prove to be fantastic and interesting people. The whole story line of this book is to find the seven missing lords which you vaguely learn about in Prince Caspian. To find these seven lords Prince Caspian must sail with his crew which is joined somewhere along their voyage by Edmund and Lucy along with a new character from our world who is a relation of Edmund and Lucy's called Eustace. Through out the voyage there will be many trials put upon the crew of The Dawn Treader and how they get through these trials as they sail towards the end of the world through unknown and undiscovered seas in their attempt to discover the fates of those seven lords and if they can to bring those lords back to their home in Narnia. What will they find in the unknown seas and can they reach the end of the world of Narnia?


 D got a bit  upset when he found out that Peter and Susan would not be coming to Narnia in the book although they are mentioned a few times throughout the story they are not active characters but rather just in the thoughts of Lucy and Edmund. He just kept saying 'Oh no Susan.' or 'no more Peter'. Which in a way is a good thing as D created a bond with the characters of Narnia in the previous two books and was very caught up in the books from my perspective. It didn't take long for him to get sucked back into the story. In the end I think he looked forward each night to hearing what was just around the corner for all the Narnia characters. He actually started to get into bed and grab the book then sit patiently while I finished brushing my teeth for me to come and read it to him. I must say that this book is a bit 'other worldly' and has many strange yet wonderful mini adventure's the whole way through the book. It really starts to give you a belief in other worlds and the potential of an imagination.

The Chronicles of Narnia is a fantastic series of books that will not only capture the imagination of your children no matter how old but it will also bring you right into the story and you might find you really enjoy reading all about Narnia. Myself and D both recommend these books to anyone out there as they will appeal in one way or another to everyone. You can find the full Narnia series on Amazon by clicking on the link. If you would prefer the three books we have wrote about you can click on the titles below;

Do remember to come back and see what the next books involve in the Narnia series. Here is D 'reading to me' while he tells me he is busy reading his story! (Our current Narnia title The Magicians Nephew)


SO there you have it, Our most recent reads
Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Finding my family at the cost of my friends..

I have started and stopped writing this post for months. Many times I simply told myself to just bin the whole idea and just get on with other posts because truthfully  I didn't think I was brave enough to hit publish, I am still not sure I that I can hit publish. However I know that I need to write it regardless of if anyone else can see it. So here goes.

For many mothers out there there comes a time in motherhood where you simply ask yourself 'What happened to my social life?'. This is a question I really struggle with, I am not in anyway a confident person in myself. Even though I do feel a confident parent. How crazy does that sound?! But really what I mean is that I am comfortable being a mum and I might not always know what I am doing but I know that in the end I will get there. I can talk about being a mother to anyone and I can certainly hit the publish button on any post I write about being a mum and my life with D and Simon.

Somehow that is different to being open about myself. I am shy and I can happily admit that. Growing up, it took a lot for me to reach out to others and it took even more to make friends. For many years I was happy to just be alone and not partake in anything that involved other children of my age that I wasn't related to. Eventually with much encouragement I made a friend. A very important friend to me, she guided me through my teenage friendships and was always there for me through everything. We where the best friends you read about in stories and we managed to get through so much of our still short lives together. She helped me to build a confidence in myself and together we met another friend. Through most of my teenage years I had both these friends and although they where my only real friends through this time they both where very confident people and very easily made friends. (Which is a great trait to have.)

Much like many other friendships after we all left school we started to slowly drift apart but somewhere during this process we seemed to start finding each other again. There was so much going on in all our lives but we managed to find time to meet up and go out together. Something changed after a while and I now know what that was.

It was me, I was so excited when I found out I was having D as so many other parents are. I knew becoming a parent would change my life in so many ways but I don't think I was really prepared for what happened. I was almost bursting with excitement as I waited for my friends to arrive. I wanted so badly to scream from the rooftops that I was pregnant but I couldn't. In the end it all came out and I don't think I will ever forget the look of sadness in the eyes of my two best friends.

They where sad! Yes they where sad while I was bursting with happiness at the prospect of starting my family with the man I loved. It took so long for me to come to terms with the fact that they didn't want to even pretend to be happy for me. They couldn't just smile and pretend they where happy that this was going to happen. One thing from that night that sticks with me is them both asking me if I was sure that this was what I wanted. Did I really want to be a mum. We had all often talked about being parents and they knew, of course they knew that I wanted to be a mum.

It took around 10 months for me to see them again after that. We had said so much that hurt and there wasn't anything left to change any of our minds. After D was born they came to visit, much like anyone does once a baby is born. You visit, you compliment, you leave. That is exactly what happened. For months I was so busy just being a mum and I never stopped to ask myself when will I see my friends? 

The truth is we are now just passing strangers. We stop to talk when we pass each other in the street and we say 'let's meet up soon and make plans to see each other'. That day never seems to come and honestly I think it may be my fault. I don't know what to say. I know nothing about my two best friends anymore. I don't even have the confidence to have a lengthy conversation with them no matter how desperately I want to. Believe me I do.

I think about them both often and I remember the friendship we once had. I miss that friendship, I miss our long conversations about anything and everything. I miss leaving to have coffee or go for a night out. I just miss having a friend. I never made new friends, I simply can't walk up to anyone and say 'Hello'. I don't know how to start a friendship. That scares me, I really wish I could teach myself how to make a friend. A real true friend. One that I can meet for coffee and tell them all about the things I do, I can listen to what they have to say. Instead I think about all the reasons I don't have a friend to simply sit and talk to.

How did having my beautiful loving boy take away my friends? Did I not do something right? Those are just two questions I often ask myself and I am starting to realise that I did nothing wrong. I love my little boy more than anything in this world and nobody can take that love from me. Nobody can tell me that I don't love my son or that he doesn't love me. I am grateful every single day for my wonderful son. I know deep down that I am not the only woman out there who by having their child has lost their friends. You are not alone. I don't see why having a child should cost a friendship or many but it does seem to. I have accepted that it may take me a long time to make the type of friends that I have lost. I may never have the same friendship I once had. I have my memories and for now that simply has to be enough for me. I will build up the confidence to say 'Hello' and start a friendship. (Once I figure out how to do that.)

I just feel guilty that D may be losing out because I don't have the confidence to take him places where I will be alone with other people I don't know. Is it my fault that D doesn't have friends other than members of our family? I honestly don't know. He has some fantastic social skills though so I do doubt that and I think he will make friends throughout his life with ease so I try not to dwell on the fact that right now his friends are people who we are related to.

I hope that if you have lost a friend or more by becoming a parent that you are happy. That is what really matters. Friends or not just be happy. I am and I plan to continue to be happy with or without friends beside me. I know many people and I regularly will consider these people friends but I do only know many of them online and that is fine. We talk and support each other through the Internet. However I am talking about a different type of friendship here.

Quick update: I can't quite believe I am ready to post this. It's been a while since I wrote this post and I think I now have the confidence to actually hit publish.

Monday, 8 February 2016

December 2015/ January 2016 Competition Wins

In November I was very excited to get the Advent Competitions underway. Last year I had a pretty good run with advent competitions and won on a good few. This year however I won one prize in them and honestly i got a bit fed up in the end. I did also win 3 normal competitions which I am more than happy about. 

My first win was a Star Wars children's Magazine from their Facebook page. D has been looking at all the pictures and asking questions about it all so I think we may need to watch it soon! The Magazine costs £2.99.

The second Prize I won was a Peppa Pig Campervan Play set!  I won this in a competition from a children's magazine and it has been put away for D's birthday as he LOVES Peppa pig. This set costs £29.99


The third prize was my only advent win this year was this lovely In The Night Garden Calendar from the In The Night Garden website Advent Competitions. This calendar costs £10.


The final prize I won in 2015 was this love Frozen Colour Match Snowflake Bag. I had wanted to win something Frozen for my Niece as she loves it. It was certainly a lovely surprise to find out I won this in the late hours of my birthday!  This one costs £10


Okay, now for the exciting bit! The total amount worth of prizes I won in 2015 was £1132.37. I am more than thrilled with this as there where so many items that we wanted but simply would not have been able to buy for ourselves like our new kitchen tap which we certainly Could not have spent a lot on.

I had a pretty bad January with comping and actually stopped entering anything for over a week and instead got stuck into some reading instead! I did still win one prize which just showed up in the post. I was delighted to win 5 fantastic books from Lonely Planet Kids. The books are amazing quality and very interesting to read through all the facts and knowledge they hold. The set is brilliant. D is a bit young for these so they will probably go to other family members. These cost £62.95.

Do you enter any competitions? I would love to hear about what you have won!

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