Sunday, 15 March 2020

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Hey hey hey, it’s no secret that I really love to shop, so that means I really like making gift guides as it’s like shopping without spending! I’m breaking it’s down into a few categories and price brackets so hopefully there is something for everyone! I’ve also made a very conscious choice to support small businesses  and shop local for these ideas. Particularly in a time when the economic climate is unsure, this can make a huge difference to people.

Sporty Mum

Save It’s no secret that I like things that are personalised, I’m basic, ok! As someone who is just getting into exercise I would say one of the few legitimately essential  things is a water bottle and I don’t know why my son cannot resist stealing my water! The solution is to get it personalised so there is a legit answer to it hasn’t got your name on it..!’
Spend This bag is perfect for taking your gym gear wherever you need to go whilst letting the world know how awesome you are!
Splurge Now, the price or these leggings isn’t crazy, but you’d be mad to not get matching for your little one! And how cool would you look at your mumma baby workout class... or more like chasing them across the park!

Homey Mum

Save I love these! The possibilities are endless in how you could personalise them and then use them in different areas of your home for styling! A big one with blankets in the lounge labeled SNUG, or a smaller on in the bedroom by the bed with mums essentials? I love it!
Spend I have two Pebble Art pictures in my home, they are timeless and the wording can be customised to perfectly reflect your family! I would highly recommend them!
Splurge If your lady is a bit of a Hincher then some labelled homeware may be right up her ally! I bought my bathroom bottles from this Etsy site and they are lasting well and really smarten up my bathroom!

Arty Mum

Save If your arty mum is looking to try something different then ‘By Charlie’s Hand’ do digital downloads for paper cutting! They may be a labour of love but when complete they will make a stunning piece of decor!
Spend I love the idea of a fun family portrait that will reflect this moment in time forever! I’ve been a long time admirer of ‘Winding The Bobbin Up’s’ style on Instagram as it feels young and fun which is very appropriate for young families!
Splurge I think any art lover would appreciate the work that would go into these customised Russian dolls! They would make awesome decor!

Feminist Mum

Save Everything Sweet uses iconic logos and mixes them with a feminist message and these badges are a great way of getting a taste of the brand but there is LOADS on the website I love and currently it’s all on sale!
Spend Lioness Not Princess is a great brand, the quality of the clothes are great and the designer is amazing! I’m in love with the new limited edition designs!
Splurge I’ve bought a few things from Black & Beech and they have always been great quality, if you are looking for feminist  merch to suit all budgets then I would urge you to check them out!

Pamper mum

Save I saw this and thought it looked very luxe, a lovely leather look personalised make up bag. I often have a little pouch in my bags for the essentials as mums end up carrying the world around with them! At least this way it’s done in style!
Spend A local afternoon tea can be a nice treat for the mum that wants to be pampered. Time to get away and relax, or time to spend with the each other! Try and find a nice local place and enjoy a cheeky slice of cake
Splurge I fantasise about having a makeover day! Get my haircut, check my nails! Maybe a facial, wack on some eyelashes and my god I could take over the world. If you got some dollar and some organisational skills I think that could be the ultimate treat, a day away from the kids in which you know they are going to comeback feeling invincible!

New Mum

Save When you have a baby it really is like joining an elite club where suddenly you have a new gang, and this pin embodies that! Mere Soeur is a really cool brand and there is lots to pick from for the insta mum!
Spend A few of my new mummy friends have requested this personalised silver teething ring for their Mothers Day gift. It’s stylish and when they are through with it, would be a nice addition for the babies memory box!
Splurge I am OBSESSED with this gift box! For £50 you get a great selection of products and any new mum will certainly be a member of the Tired Mums Club!

Sunday, 8 March 2020

1st Birthday Present Ideas

Having recently had Chloe’s birthday it is  fresh in my mind as to what makes a nice present and things I’d like to get for mine and other babies! So without further ado, here it is!


  • That’s not my... - these touchy feely books are classics, I’m yet to find a baby who doesn’t like them.
  • Little people, BIG DREAMS - I bought Clo two of these for her birthday, although she is too young to properly engage with them I think they make great decor and is something nice to grow in to.
  • Calm Down Boris! Both kids love this book! The puppet on the front makes it interactive and it’s a fun book to read!


  • Pyjamas - one of the joys of babies becoming toddlers is them starting to wear pyjamas, it makes my heart melt when they look like little people! 
  • Luxury items - not necessarily high couture fancy items but things that are a bit special and make you feel like your baby is getting a treat.
  • Personalised items - I am a sucker for something personalised, it’s the feeling that something is made just for her that makes me feel fuzzy  inside.


  • Tea set - For Chloe’s birthday we got her a tea set and almost instantly she started to engage with role play, one almost thinks it’s like she has spent a year watching me have a coffee cup permanently in my hand  
  • Little People - Another hit has been the Fisher Price Little People, Clo was already playing with Toms old Batman figures and now has some of her own to add to the fun. The sets really vary in price depending on what size you get but have recently been on 2 for £15 at Argos .
  • Baby Doll - We were lucky enough to be given a selection of toys from a friend that didn’t need them anymore and included were several dolls which Clo really took to! She loves patting them and giving cuddles (and lobbing them on the floor).


  • Plate Set - my sister has bought both my children Emma Bridgewater plate sets for their first birthdays and they are simply beautiful, a nice gift that gets daily use!
  • Personalised puzzle - my sister also got Clo this puzzle when she was christened, it’s a lovely gift to grow with her and should assist when it comes to reading and writing her name!
  • Something to make - we received a set to make for Chloe as part of her present and it got me thinking how lovely it would be to receive a hand made item. Someone investing time and effort into a gift is just the nicest thing! 
I hope these ideas were helpful and I would love to know if you have anything to add! 

Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Making social media work for you

As we all know social media is a double edged sword, it can be an amazing supportive environment and it can create a toxic environment which can have deadly consequences. A few years back I felt like I just had my gates open to anything on social media and would let in the good, bad and anything in between and began to feel overwhelmed, sometimes surrounded by things that wasn’t a positive influence and just generally wasted a lot of time looking at crap. So I decided to take a more mindful approach, I semi regularly cull who I follow and seek out things that bring sometime positive to my life. Here are some people that I find their content to be enriching, I’ve included Instagram names so you can find them too! 

I have found that I like content creators with bigger families, they usually provide good budgeting content and cooking ideas. They seem to share my values of time. Some examples are:

Ashley Bailie  @ashleybailie
She is an Irish mum to 5 children and often posts meal planning/prep/ideas on YouTube. She is budget conscious but makes amazing looking food. Just generally a ray of sunshine!

Jordan Page @jordanpage
An American mum to 6 kids and is currently pregnant with twins! Her focus is more around budgeting and tips. I enjoy her family values and the unity of her and her husbands approach to family life. And she is all about the organisation life!

I haven’t found a british blogger that I really connect with when it comes to talking about money which is frustrating as it means some of the advice I see isn’t applicable, but it’s still helpful to get a better general understanding or good tips and hacks. 

The financial diet (TFD) @thefinancialdiet
I particularly like TFD as it is run by woman around my age so it just feels relatable, they discuss their experiences and are honest about mistakes they have made. They also tell it how it is and sometimes you need that! 

Debt Free Dana @debtfreedana
I think I came across this lady when I was considering cloth nappies for Clo (hasn’t happened), she offers really good tips and advice on money saving, but also has just got a nice outlook on life and enjoying the simple things! 

Real woman 
I also like to follow people I consider ‘real’, a few accounts I’ve unfollowed because it all feels a bit staged and leaves me feeling ‘less than’ which isn’t doing me any good. But there are some women out there who show their authentic selves and I’ve built engagement with as I find them relatable 

Mikhila McDaid @mikhilamcdaid
Ive been a fan of Mikhila for a long time (it’s a whole thing), I find that she shows that motherhood is part of her life but not all of it which I agree with. I enjoy that she would rather be herself than fit a mould, which again I agree with! And she likes to shop, ding ding ding that’s three for three. She is also working on small fixes to be more eco conscious which is really interesting.

SunnyNayRay @sunnynayray
I love NayRay because she is truly sunny! She never fails to make me actually laugh out loud. She is hugely inspiring with her weight loss journey, but again she is so much more than that. She is genuine and warm and caring and very very funny. 

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing a small section of people I find positive influences on the big bad web, who do you follow that brings you joy? 

Sunday, 1 March 2020

Kids Clothing Hacks

This isn’t aimed at any particular age but just a few tips and tricks I use that make life easier or save money! 

  1. Labels 
Now, you don’t know what you don’t know but, goddam I wish I had worked this out sooner! When buying labels for your kids stuff order just the SURNAME! this way when your kid grows out of it you can pass it on to siblings and cousins etc without relabelling it! I find this useful with labels on water bottles that are shared by the family too! 

2. School Underwear
This makes me a really lame mum, but I kid you not this makes my life so much easier. Specifically for school get your kids plain pants, vests and plain black socks. Plain boring underwear. It helps with socks that they are interchangeable so you are never short of socks, I like Primark as they have the size printed in the rim so it’s easy to pair up and keep track of. For school I am happy for Tom to wear cheap vests as he grows out of them quickly and they don’t particularly get seen. Where as for school holidays and weekends he has patterned socks and vests which much nicer, for me there is an unconscious indication of work and play time. It just works well for us! 

3. Prep clothes
I accept this is a bit extra but if you can make your life easier in anyway but investing time where you have it then do! An example is that when I take off Chloe’s baby grow I don’t unpopper the legs, so when it’s been washed and is being put back on it slips on and saves fighting her when she is kicking her legs and crawling away! I dry Toms school shirts on hangers, it helps the creases come out and can be hung straight in the wardrobe which removes a step elsewhere! 

4. Shop big; shop classic, shop smart
You will naturally find shops you prefer to gets kids stuff from, and I am all for that but equally there are times I will particularly gravitate to certain shops for items as I know they are sized big and made well so will last. We have a tradition for Tom to wear a certain T shirt from Next when we go on holiday, it’s been 4 years and still fits (I think this is it’s last year *sob*), if you shop smart and take care of the items they will last for a very long time. If you want a seasonal or a trend item then it’s not as important but something classic it’s worth investing in.

5. Pick a colour palette
This goes alongside thinking of clothes lasting a long time and thinking of a bigger picture. If you find a colour palette that suits your child’s style and generally shop within those colours/styles then clothes can be easily mixed and matched and will have a longer life span. This is also very helpful when your child starts choosing their own clothes for the day, means they can only go so rogue in what they look like. Tom likes dark blues, khaki, grey, black and the occasional pop of red, he also really likes camouflage. Chloe suits dusky pink and an autumnal set of colours but time will tell what she likes! 

I hope you find these useful! Do you have any tips and tricks to share? 

Wednesday, 26 February 2020

A Year Of Chloe

How quickly has this year has passed? I found it hard to think of a way to sum it up, so I wrote a Chloe poem. As you do.

My sunshine and showers girl
My determined girl
My loud girl
My give patty bum hugs girl
My animal loving girl
My Tom admiring girl
My heart on her sleeve girl 
My cheeky girl
My smiles girl
My laughs with her whole heart girl 
My inquisitive girl
My smarty pants girl 
My won’t take no for an answer girl
My beautiful girl
My bow clad girl 
My blue eyed beauty girl
Daddy’s girl
Mummy’s girl
My moon and my stars girl 

The last year with Chloe has been an absolute whirlwind but she makes my heart happy every single day, even when I’ve not slept and she is hitting me in the face with a remote. I can’t wait to watch her grow and become more herself. She completes us. 

Sunday, 23 February 2020

A Grand Day Out: Kent Life

We were at a loss at what we should do with the day when Ben signed up for a Kent Pass which included a free child ticket for Kent Life and so off we toddled. Kent Life describes itself  as a heritage farm park and is marketed as a family day out. 
What I would say is that it is nice, it’s a nice day out. It’s not wet the bed exciting, it will involve queuing for things and it’s mostly outdoors so on the day we went it was cold. BUT that’s kind of what makes it nice, it’s simple. At is core it’s kids and animals and that is nice! It’s reasonably priced and is good for a family day.


We went on an off peak day in the half term, adult tickets were £6.95 and children £5.95, under 3’s go free. A family ticket (2 adults, 2 kids) £21.95.

Money saving

As previously mentioned, we used to Kent Pass for free child entry. Initially the reception did not want to accept the Kent Pass but once we showed it to them there wasn’t an issue, so worth doing to save £6!

Parking and Accessibility

There is a good amount of parking available however it was busy so be aware you might not be too near. There is a small car park reserved for disabled parking if required which is right by the gate. The website is very helpful when talking about accessibility etc. 
The accessibility of Kent Life varies, it’s a farm after all. Many areas are pathed, however some areas are muddy due to IT BEING A FARM! So be aware that if you have a pushchair you might need to occasionally park it and carry your baby, it may be helpful to bring a baby sling if you have one. 
Toilets, toilets are important to me, sad as it is my bladder is like a peanut! There are a good amount of toilets dotted around, although I still did end up queuing for a baby change. The toilets were reasonably clean (again, you are on a farm so be realistic) and clearly are well maintained. My only complaint was that when I used the toilet by the cafe I had to leave Chloe’s pram up some stairs and it was a bit of a juggle lugging her around with the changing bag, but no real hassle. 

Things to Do

  • The obvious one is, see animals. There is a good variety of animals and they are very interactive and engaging which is nice for parents and kids 
  • You can buy a bag of animal feed for £1 and the animals were very receptive to being fed!
  • Cuddle corner, where kids can stroke and interact with rabbits, guinea pigs, tortoises, chickens and baby chicks! FYI there was a queue for this all day, reason being that the woman who presented this really takes time to engage with the group and ensure every child gets time with the animals. 
  • Owl academy and bird displays 
  • Outdoor kids play area including a bouncy castle, a smaller play area is also located by the cafe. 
  • Indoor kids soft play area (very busy on a cold day!)
  • Paint a pot, we didn’t go in here but would be a nice thing to do to extend the day. 
  • Train ride around the farm, again you will have to queue for this but it’s a nice addition to the day! The driver was very friendly! 
  • Vintage village (it’s very quaint) and nice to look around - would also be good for some instagram photos if you are into that, which clearly I am, however I was knackered and looked it lol so we can save that for our next visit!
  • Big top (we saw an animal display), we timed it so we ate our lunch out of the wind then got to see a display with a skunk, a rare type of rat (which was surprisingly cute) and a big ass lizard thing, afterwards the children could come and touch the animals which was lovely. I have a new love of skunks! 


The main place to eat would be Dotty’s cafe which is situated up a small hill, it has a lovely outdoor area as well as space to eat inside. Prices for a kids meal are between £2.50-£4.20, an adults jacket potato is £6 with two fillings, which seems reasonable. Importantly, the coffee was good. 
There are lots of locations for visitors to eat food they have brought along with them. 

Random Other Stuff
Kent life seems like the kind of place where you can go lots of times and have different experiences, finding different things to look at. No doubt that in the good weather kids could spend a big chunk of time in the outdoor play area and really enjoy themselves. However it was bloody cold when we went so Tom didn’t use the playground for long!
A thing that I did notice was that all the staff were very friendly, they interacted really well with the kids and were knowledgeable about the animals. Things like that can really make or break a day! 
Both kids enjoyed the day, although I would say that really Chloe only engaged with the cuddle corner and I think it would be better when she is toddling and can independently interact with the animals rather than from the stroller or in our arms. 

As I said, Kent Life is a nice day out. If you are looking for some wholesome fun with animals then this may well be the place for you. 
My parting advice would be, WEAR WELLIES! It was very muddy and muggins here didn’t think about that it was a farm and ended up with very muddy uggs! 

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

The dreaded return to work, and why you shouldn’t dread it

Most of us have to do it at some time so here are five tips on how to manage merging your old pre-baby work life and your new one! 

You won’t miss this!

  • Be organised

If you want to have an easier transition then I would suggest you plan, plan, plan! Once that little milk monster is in bed then leap into action, get as much done the night before as possible so the morning is: get up, dressed, fed and out. 
It will take a while for you to find your rhythm but planning ahead makes a huge difference. I will do a blog post on our nighttime and morning routines to show what works for us! 
That initial return to work is very tiring as you aren’t likely to have used your brain too much on maternity leave so it might be a bit of a shock to the system, help yourself as much as you can to be ahead of the game!

  • Be prepared that things have changed

In the period of time you have been off, the world has continued to turn, which sounds obvious but when you are tits deep in your baby bubble you do tend to forget that. When you return to work there will differences. The person that has provided your maternity cover may have done some things better than you, don’t let your ego be too bruised but learn from them. Equally the organisation may have changed, take this as an opportunity to reevaluate your role and what you want. Also, people know you’ve not been around, it’s ok to take some time to find your feet. Don’t feel that you need to come back like you haven’t been away, you have, stop being a dick to yourself, you are better than that. 

  • Realise that you have changed 

Nicely following on from this, you are not going back as the person who left. Your world has been passed through a blender, it’s unrealistic to expect that you can waltz in and be exactly as you were before. You will have new priorities, less sleep, new ways of being, and all of that is ok. What you may also have is new skills, better time management, new ideas! Being different can be a great opportunity to up your game in a new way. People will adjust to the new you, don’t pressure yourself. 
A caveat to this is, don’t be a dick and repeatedly use the baby as an excuse to skive, be moody or lazy. We all have bad days and need some slack but you aren’t the first person to have a baby and you don’t know what other people have going on.  (Rant over, soz)

  • Find the upsides 

Before you return to work you are likely to be feeling a bit nervous, maybe a bit sad and apprehensive which are all valid and relevant feelings. I now challenge you to think of some positives to the return; drinking tea when it’s hot, peeing alone, talking to adults, freedom to play sweary rap music in the car, not talking about poop, wearing grown up clothes and caring how you look and of course TALKING TO ADULTS!
Now what will be good for your baby? Spending time with a family member? Being around other similar aged children, building independence from you, trying new things! Someone else changing the minging nappies, dealing with tantrums, tiring them out! 
It’s good to share the physical load of looking after a baby and it’s good to get a bit of your pre baby self back. Trust me mama, this can be a good thing. 

  • Share the responsibilities 

This has taken me 5 years and 2 babies but me and my husband are getting there so don’t expect attitudes and cultures to change in a day. But whilst on maternity leave it is likely that the lion’s share of housework and baby care has fallen to you, well once you are back it’s time to reconsider this as it’s disproportionate for you to continue carrying all of this. As I said it’s taken a *very* long time for the shift to happen but it’s important to consider who is going to be responsible for what, don’t let things all fall to one person. 

Overall what I hope you get from this is that going back to work isn’t so bad, it could actually even be a good thing!