Lily

Lily
Lily Tessa

Photography

Photography
Photography

Archer

Archer
Archer Leo

Siblings in December (and throughout the year)


An entire year of siblings project completed! Say what??

December's been my favourite month for these two and their relationship by far.
If they weren't thick as thieves before they certainly are now! A combination of Christmas spirit and Lily being solidly off school for a fortnight has seen to that.

 I'm so glad it's been this way instead of a disaster because I distinctly remember the last holidays, October half term, they were working each others last nerves as well as mine ha ha.

I've done a collage of some of my favourite photos of the two of them throughout the past 12 months and my god has it made me emotional. It's so strange looking back at the early updates from the year and reading my frustrations about Archer not walking and how desperate Lily was for him to walk. It feels like a different lifetime. A different child even. I can barely remember him that little now, and that makes my heart hurt more than I care to admit. 
9

Day in the life - 14.12.17


A day in the life style photo post is a post I've been meaning to do for agges.

I was inspired after reading the lovely Amber over at Meet the Wildes latest day in the life and I'm really on board with what it's all about. Capturing the mundane. The beautiful and not so beautiful ordinary. No fancy photography, added frills or added touches. Just me and the kids and what we get up to during a normal day.

This day in particular was Dec 14. An average Thursday during Lily's last week of school before the Christmas hols.
9

Three Gifts for Grandparents this Christmas that won't cost you a penny


Christmas is an expensive time of year, none more so than for a parent.

I'm not sure why exactly it is but we've been struggling more financially at this time of year than we have done previously (despite no change in our income.) I think it's because this is the first year we've really felt the pinch of buying presents for two children as last year Archer was young enough to find the wrapping paper as entertaining as he would any toy. And also perhaps because me and James have had new babies on both sides of the family, as well as a fair few of our friends. Thus meaning we've had more tiny little humans to buy gifts for this time around!

It's possible to find it all a bit overwhelming and whilst unfortunately I can't say I'm a dab hand at making DIY baby toys (that are safe and ethical anyhow!) I have however come up with some gifts for the grandparents that will mean more to them than the usual slippers and wine and also save on the pennies for us at the same time. Win win!

So without further ado
0

Mama Style - Winter Warmers with Tobi


Since becoming a parent, or more specifically since having Archer, any attempt I gave at having a fashion sense has gone down the drain. Along with my size 8 jeans. 

Now that I have two children and my life more or less revolves around the school run I value comfort and ease as much as I value aesthetics when it comes to my wardrobe. I still like my clothes to look good, I haven't given up completely on that front yet, but I want to feel comfortable in what I'm wearing too. Especially if I'm going to be spending my days to and fro-ing with the buggy and chasing the toddler. Which I am, everyday. 

Knitwear from Tobi appeals to me for exactly that reason. 
6

Our Week In Pictures #12

3

Little Loves - Migraines, Vlogmas and Everything in between


It's been a slow old week. Not really much going on apart from cold weather and constant migraines which are driving me slowly insane. Usually my migraines follow a pretty regular pattern but every now and again i'll have a week of pretty much full blown daily ones and this week seems to be one of those weeks. Meaning not much is getting done except for lying on the sofa feeling sorry for myself.

I'm feeling a bit guilty because it's meant me and Arch have barely left the house all week and I know it can't be very entertaining for him being stuck indoors all the time,  but he's been an absolute star. Plus I'm consoling myself with the fact that it's been too cold and wet for us to have done much this week anyway.
2

The stigma around Parent Bloggers & why we will not accept your poxy offers just because it's near Christmas!

I never thought I'd be one for this type of post to be honest but this is something that has been irritating me so much recently that I feel like I need to have a rant of epic proportions (before building a bridge and essentially taking a deep breath and moving on!)

I'm feeling really sad and disappointed that I feel the need to have to write this post at all. 


It seems to be a recurring theme each year around the seasonal period as I noticed the same last Christmas with brands and companies significantly lowering the amount they're offering to work with us parent bloggers. It's funny because I probably get triple the amount of work offers around Christmas than I do the rest of year but these offers seem to expect me to work for around a third of the amount I would normally.  As soon as early/mid November hits my inbox starts filling up with offers that to me, are frankly borderline offensive.
7

Where did we go?


Have you ever had that experience of not realising how much you needed something until you're actually in the moment itself?

That's what this holiday was to us.
6

Weekend Watch - 17 Nov


As I type this I'm currently sitting on THE most comfortable sofa in front of a log fire in a lodge in the middle of the Yorkshire Dales. Would you believe it? Yes me and James are on our first kid free holiday in five years and although we've only been here a matter of hours i'm in HEAVEN

I intend to chat about it properly in this weeks week in pictures post so for now I'll post about the time we spent with our two munchkins over the weekend.
8

Siblings in November



Every time it gets to this time of the month and I realise its Siblings linky time I think oh f*ck, I've got no photos this month! Then I delve into my folder and realise actually I have waaay more than I think! 

This month is no different. Although I haven't really taken many in the last week or so thanks to both kids being poorly I have some snaps to fall back on from earlier in the month and from the end of last month that I absolutely adore. 
8

Weekend Watch - 11.11.17


Dear lord what a weekend it's been.

Archer's spent the weekend poorly (tonsillitis, severe case, apparently) and it's not that I don't believe the doctor, I'm sure that it is very much the case but if you're well enough to bite, smack, push and shout at your sister constantly then that says a whole lot in my eyes. And that's what we've been dealing with all weekend. And my god is it wearing! I don't know whats going on with Archer lately but poor Lily is like his punching bag (not literally, my one year old can't punch obv) and I'm struggling with it. Something I'll talk about in my siblings update I imagine.
14

Baby Wilfs Woodland themed Photo Shoot


A few weeks ago I got the opportunity to do a newborn photo shoot for the gorgeous baby Wilf. It was the first newborn photo shoot I'd done aside from Archers which felt like a billion years ago and let me tell you it was a totally different experience. Baby Wilf is a dream!

I read up on all the tips and safety measures for photographing a newborn before hand although most of them just require common sense (make sure the house is warm, the baby is in a safe place etc) and we got started.

We knew that we wanted the photo shoot to be based at least loosely on a woodland theme and so the first thing we did was send Becca's husband Andrew out into the garden to saw down some tree branches (I'm honestly not even kidding!)
17

October Through my Phone


The through my phone series has been on a bit of a unplanned hiatus as I've been in the habit of taking the big camera out with me lately more or less meaning my camera roll has been eerily empty.

However I was scrolling my camera roll this morning, avoiding tidying up the play-doh that Lily  'absolutely promised' she'd put away before school and came to the conclusion that October, my favourite month of the year, would be the perfect month to get back in to the phone series again. I actually ended up spending a good hour on my through the phone tag and it made me rather emotional. All the imperfect grainy selfies, photos of the kids play fighting, jumping on furniture and generally being happy. The lost ordinary moments that are captured and then deleted or lost in the ether because the quality isn't insta worthy enough. I'd have forgotten about so many of these moments it wasn't for these years worth of collages collected through this tag.
15

A Whimsical Birthday Walk


These longer photo shoots are becoming fewer and far between lately thanks to the wet Autumn weather and so on Lily's birthday I was incredibly pleased to wake to a rare crisp and clear morning instead of the usual dull grey and it seemed fate was giving us the perfect chance to dig out the camera, let the kids run around and snap away.

Both kids were adorned with crowns and wands, Lily as the birthday princess (obviously) and Archer as her trusty (ish) sidekick. 
8

Our Week in Pictures #11 - Half Term


Okay so a little pre warning before you click on read more is that this post is the most picture heavy post I have EVER had on the blog! As in might make your internet implode there's so many. So if photo's aren't your thang I'd suggesting clicking off before it's too late ;)
With it being half term and us being so busy I knew it would go one of two ways - I'd either be so rushed off my feet that I wouldn't get the camera out once or I'd have so much to photograph that I'd be left with 10000 snaps on my hands to edit by the end of the week. It's ended up most definitely being the latter!
6

Vitamin D - Get yourself tested


I'm writing this post out of a some what quiet desperation to let people know about Vitamin D deficiency and the extent to which it can effect your life.

It sounds a bit silly really doesn't it - Vitamin D deficiency? Harmless. Or it did to me anyway. When blood tests showed that I was Vitamin D deficient earlier in the year my first thought was oh, I suppose I should step outside more. Quickly followed by, I guess I should drink more orange juice too. (Totally wrong there btw past Abbie, that's Vitamin C!) I didn't for a minute think that the lack of Vitamin D in my system could be causing all my aches and pains, giving me extreme fatigue and effecting my mood in a horribly negative manner.

It's just Vitamin D deficiency right? It doesn't mean anything. Everyone has it at some point. It's just one of those things that sorts itself out.

No.
1

Weekend Watch - Pumpkin Picking & Poorly Households


Oh dear god I cant tell you just how horrendous this weekend has been, lads. We've been a household full of lurgy and then some. In fact the only person who hasn't caught whatever virus we're all currently under the spell of is Lily, which is strange as her immune system is as poor as mine is usually. It started off with Archer who became ill at the start of the week and made sure we all knew about it, then by Thurs James was complaining of feeling run down and by Friday morning he was calling in sick to work for the first time in years. By Friday evening I was in bed by 8pm feeling exactly the same. Ugh!

So I guess the weekend technically started on Friday as Lily had a training day and therefore broke up for half term on the Thurs. (fate sure did pick the best time for a long weekend..)
8

Weekend Watch - 14.10.17


I feel like its not one of my weekend watch posts unless one of us is poorly and this weekend is no different. This time it's Archers turn and boy has he been a delight. Sarcasm do you hear me?

It's probably been a long time coming for this little one to be honest. He hasn't been under the weather for absolutely agggges so he's been well over due a turn. And virus' just don't like to leave a member of the household out do they? They're all about equality. 🙄

The docs confirmed he has an eye infection and he looks terrible with it, red watering blood shot eye complete with runny nose and temperature. However we didn't let it hold us back this weekend, only adjusting our plans slightly by bringing the stroller with us where we normally wouldn't have bothered and luckily Arch perked up when we got outdoors.
10

Siblings in October


These two. They go from best buds to worst enemies faster than I can say whats happened now?'

It's half amusing, half incredibly frustrating, but also exactly how siblings are supposed to be. 

I've noticed this month that Archer's suddenly got to the stage where he notices when Lily's gone and misses her. He cries most mornings when we drop Lily off at her classroom because he knows he wont be seeing her until much later on and when it is time to collect her he chants 'sister sister sister' all the way to school. (and then within thirty seconds of being home they're back to fighting!)
I'm not sure what it is that's brought this on because for the first few weeks he was absolutely fine with dropping her at school. I'm guessing a development thing, he's suddenly putting two and two together and realising that his playmate is disappearing for big chunks of the day where as before he was pretty oblivious. 

4

Our Week in Pictures #10


Without being overly dramatic this past week has been the week from hell ommmmgg! Haha. I think I have to laugh otherwise I'd cry (again)! It started off bad with each day getting progressively worse and worse, culminating in a horrendous Sunday evening where my partner accidentally deleted my entire photo collection and Lightroom settings and we're unable to get them back. I cried pretty much the entire night last night 😞

So I'm basically typing this on a Monday morning with little to no motivation, wondering how the hell I'm going to start again from scratch and asking myself whether it's even worth it. 
6

Photo Editing 101 - The importance of the warmth tool ft before and after examples


I have always maintained that you can attribute a good 50% of photography to the editing side of it, if not more. So many people believe that all there is to photography is bending down and getting a good snap but actually that is so so far from the case.

The power that editing can have over a photo is unbelievable. Obviously you will need a decent photo to begin with, but editing has the ability to transform a photo from 'average' or 'good' to 'magical' or 'amazing.'

As much as I adore taking photos I always say that editing is my 'happy place.' I love playing with colours shadow and light and seeing how far I can go with a photograph. I strangely find it really relaxing, and it's addictive! I want to use this blog to talk about some of the tips and tricks I have learnt about editing photos along the way as I have many 'go to' editing tools that I use on a daily basis and so I thought why not share them.

In today's post I want to talk about the ability of the 'warmth tool.'
9

Weekend Watch - Newborn babies and Rubbish weather


To say we haven't done much this weekend it's gone incredibly fast. I feel like the weather has forced us inside somewhat over the past few days what with the torrential rain and winds. 

We're not usually one to shy away from rough weather but Archer has a terrible cold and is all the more miserable for it and I;m currently on the hunt for new raincoats for my pair (and getting nowhere) and so staying indoors has seemed the sensible option. 

That's not to say it's been a bad weekend though. Far from it.
5

Little Loves - Frost, Conkers & Taking the plunge


Ah it's been a while since I've joined in with Little Loves! I guess life just got in the way. But I do adore this linky so I could never keep away for too long.

It's been an exhausting week with some incidents happening at Lily's school that have really got to me. Something I may write about in the future but just don't feel up to doing whilst it's all so fresh. Aside from that though it's been a good week. We're still loving the new routine of the school run as it gets us out of the house and into the fresh air and has the added bonus of tiring archer out for his late morning nap. It's been good for us all.
3

A Woodland Walk with the Whitakers


I've done it! I've finally found the courage to branch out and photograph people other than my own kids! I know, crazy right! 

Being truthful, as much as I adore photography and despite the sheer amount of time I spend on it, I never thought I'd dare photograph outside of my own comfort zone and because of that I've always thought that doing photography as a job would be nothing more than a pipe dream.

But something's changed in me recently. I've been feeling less anxious about things and more.. reckless if you like. I see other people going for it with the things they enjoy doing and I've been thinking well why can't I? The only person holding me back is myself.
I've said it a lot on this blog of late but if this year has taught me anything it's that life is too damn short. Do what makes you happy. Take risks. Live each day like it's your last. All those old cliches may be cheesy, but you know? they're true

& so I will be setting up my own photography page in the coming days and taking it from there. Keep an eye out, I'd really appreciate it! :)
12

Weekend Watch 16.9.17


It's been a long slow week. I've been struggling with migraines as per, the weather has been gloomy and this blog has been somewhat neglected over the last seven days meaning i'm behind on everything.

So here is last weekends weekend watch post, which technically is the weekend before. I'd completely forgotten about these pictures if I'm honest. They were taken on a short walk on Sunday afternoon that didn't go so well. We had a fed up Lily who wanted to get out of the house and a poorly Archer who clearly had no desire to go anywhere or do anything except feel sorry for himself and so we decided to take up Lily's wishes and get out of the house before we all drove each other mad. (in hein sight why one of us didn't just take her out and the other stay indoors with Arch I have no idea. It clearly would have made much more sense)

We took a walk through the woods because Lily wanted to show daddy her new route to school. During which Archer screamed because he hated his new hat (what's to hate kid, it's beautiful and you don't look silly at all I swear) and because he didn't feel up to walking.

He came round eventually and him and Lily had fun throwing stones into the lake until the heavens opened and we had to make a hasty retreat.
8

Our week in pictures #9


Comparing this weeks photos to a fortnight ago it's almost as though you can see the seasons changing. Gone are the sleeveless rompers and short sleeved dresses and instead we're back to woolly hats, oversized jumpers, tights and wellies. I love it.

(On a side note I've been looking everywhere for some nice waterproof jackets for the kids, if anyone knows of any please get in touch!)

This week, as I mentioned in my recent siblings post, has been a week of being outdoors.
1

Siblings in September


To say it's September and has gotten steadily colder and rainier (is that a word!?) we've spent more time outdoors in the past fortnight than I think we did the whole of August. Mostly thanks to the school run. It's been good for all of us, forcing us out into the fresh air several times a day and weirdly we all seem to have more energy since term started than we did in the holidays.

We've been doing a lot of after tea walks as I'm really conscious of the fact that its getting darker earlier and earlier and soon we wont have the opportunity to do so. Luckily for us we live on the edge of an easily accessible woods so most of these photos have been taken post school day in the woods as it's our go to place of late.
4

Autumn & Winter positivity list


First of all yes, this is one of those stereotypical things I love about autumn posts. Sorry not sorry! I've been feeling a bit deflated since summer came to an end last week and this type of post is exactly what I needed to cheer me up. 

It's more of a positive things I have coming up over the colder months (what a mouthful to say) post than it is necessarily just autumn based. If you've been feeling a bit deflated like me recently I would seriously suggest sitting down and doing a positive list of your own. It didn't half change my state of mind as now I'm all, bring on the cold!
6

Our Week in Pictures #8


I was doing so well at keeping up with my week in pictures posts. But somethings got to give at some point and I totally forgot to finish and post this one from two weeks ago. And so I'll post what I'd written before I got distracted by life - only a few lines - which wont make much sense as you'll know by now that Lily is at school if you've read any previous posts. But hey ho, it would be a shame to let this post go and waste the pictures! ;) 

The last full week of the holidays is here and I still can't quite decide if this summer holiday has been incredibly fast or interminably slow. Weirdly, somehow, its been a bit of both. 

I think I'm still sort of mentally blocking out the fact that Lily's starting school next week. She has two settling in sessions and a home visit and then starts full time on the 11th. It still doesn't feel real. and for that I'm glad. - nb: it certainly feels real now!
3

First day of Reception - All the feels


I'm writing this whilst my feelings are still raw having just dropped Lily off for her first day of reception. I usually save writing for when Archer is napping since he is obviously distracting as heck but I wanted to get out my initial emotions so I can look back and remember how I was feeling after drop off. 
I feel more emotional than I thought I would. I think I was totally naive in thinking that I wouldn't feel massively anxious for her. Because I know how ready she is, how excited and how long she's been counting down the days. And also because when she had her settling in morning at the start of summer she was absolutely fine and ran off without a backward glance, I sort of presumed it would be a case of the same. But today I could sense her nerves. As soon as we stepped into the classroom and a name sticker was placed on her cardigan and she was asked to choose what she wanted for her lunch. She became a little clingy and cuddly and her being nervous made me equally as nervous. Of course it's normal for her to be this way, and I should have prepared myself a bit more for it really. Even if she was fine on her settling in day, this is her first proper day and first time wearing her uniform which probably made it a lot more real and scary for her. 
She was fine though. went and happily sat on the carpet after we received several tighter than normal cuddles. And then it was just me left feeling like I didn't want to let go. 
0

Another Fox AW17 Collection Lookbook


I'm all about the small independent businesses found online these days. Or the 'Instagram kids shops' as they are often more casually referred to! I shopped at few for Lily, pre Archer, but my love for them really started after Archer was born and I struggled to find any boys clothing on the high street that impressed me.

The shops I found via social media, mainly Instagram, solved that problem for me and I more or less haven't looked back since. I've found that the clothing designs from these smaller businesses are so much more vibrant, unique and thought through. There's a lot less gender stereotyping within the clothes themselves, baby blues for boys and pink for girls etc and more often than not the collections are entirely unisex which I appreciate (especially as someone who was team yellow throughout her pregnancy).
Lastly, these shops are more often than not run by work at home mothers and in my opinion who better? They know their target audience to a T.

As I am a serial shopper I thought I would start a new blog series showing off my favourite collections. A lookbook series if you like, with Archer as my blissfully un-aware model (seriously he's so used to me snapping away at him with my camera that he doesn't even bat an eyelid anymore ha ha)

& who better to start with than Another Fox.
7

Mummy & Me - August



This is the first month in god knows how long I've had photos with me in to actually post. I've made a conscious effort to get in photos with the kids lately stemming from my realisation that I had more or less no photos of me and archer together. Not even grainy selfies! and no recent ones of me and Lily either.

I weigh a heck of a lot more now than I did pre Arch and I've not been happy with my appearance for a long time and so I think I just unconsciously made sure to stay behind the camera in the past year. But not being entirely happy with the way I look shouldn't stop me from being in photos with my kids. They're not going to notice, or care, when they look back at these pictures. And the fact that my own insecurities could stop my children from having photographic memories of me after I'm gone makes my heart break a little. And so I'm glad I've had the realisation sooner rather than later.

5

What the hell is wrong with my body.


The best way to describe it is its like feeling horrendously poorly, every single day. Like carrying round a virus with you that just doesn't leave unlike other viral infections. When you are poorly you get to lay down in bed and rest, until you are better. But I don't. Because this is my life.  Every second of every day is a struggle. A battle with my own body with no end in sight. Every day I wake up and know I'm still going to be in the same amount of physical pain. The pain in my head varies but it's always, always there. Sometimes like a building pressure, a band squeezing and squeezing, tighter and tighter with every movement I make until it's excruciating (that's the easiest one to cope with, believe it or not) and other times it's a rushing, a roaring, a pounding that doesn't end, doesn't so much as waver. Those ones are the worst, the pounding. Both because I'm physically sick with it and because I can't function at all through the level of pain. Its harder to keep up the act, even though I try to. I refuse to go to bed and succumb to it. I just sit there and feel it, and act like I feel normal so my kids don't suspect. Every day it's one of the two types. For as long as I can remember..childhood, adulthood. Not once in my entire memory have I ever experienced a pain free day in my temples.

Next is the nausea and vertigo. Every single day I feel sick, faint, dizzy. Again, nothing seems to get rid. Not the amount I eat or what I eat. The amount I drink or how active or inactive I am. Always nausea, always there. I could be sick every single day for the rest of my life if I let myself. But most days I force it down. How am I only just realising that this isn't right, isn't normal?
Then there's the dizzy spells. I experience vertigo daily many many times a day and have at least one period a day where I think I'm going to black out. I used to sit there in primary school and grip the sides of my chair and will myself not to pass out because omg, the embarrasment. I taught myself from a very young age how to stop it from happening - excuse myself to the toilet, head between legs, deep breaths. And continued to do so all through out high school, and now my adult life.
1

Our Week in Pictures #7


Week 5 of the summer holidays and we're all still alive! Just about ;) I've given up all pretence of living on anything but a diet of caffeine right now. Sleep is horrible (is there an 18 month sleep regression??) my migraines are back with a vengeance and my motivation for blogging and vlogging (/anything that involves getting my brain in to gear) is all over the place. However I'm enjoying the lack of nursery runs and having my two all to myself and even though the summer holidays seem to have lasted a lifetime, there's a rather large part of me not wanting it to end. 

The weather's been kind to us this week. It's been cloudy but warm. In a humid thunderstorm brewing oh hello migraine kind of way. But it has meant we've been out and about lots, which has been good for the kids even if not for my head. 
2

Siblings in August


Why is it the weeks go so much faster in the summer? The days are longer, so technically they really shouldn't, but once again I can't believe its time for another siblings round up already. (It makes me sad that its the last summer siblings post until next year, too.)

This month has been a full on 50/50 split of my pair being bffs and mortal enemies haha. As I said in my last update Archer now walking has brought them together in so many ways. They chase each other, play hide and seek, bring each other toys and dance with one another. The list could go on. It's lovely. But it's also given archer a billion more opportunities to charge over and wreck Lily's meticulous games, which still drives her insane. I also feel like Archer now being mobile and completely steady on his feet (and boy is he) has given Lily the feeling that she's now allowed to be rougher with him. She often grabs his wrist and drags him along, causing him to fall to the ground. And there's been a fair lot of shoving going on too. Archer gives as good as he gets though as he's now in a serious biting phase! Sigh. Thinking about the way me and my younger brothers were I cant see this violent phase (can I call it violent? Seems to strong a term but I can't think of another word) getting any better as they grow older. As me and my brothers used to fight like absolute cat and dog until I turned 18 and moved away!

I've managed to get a lot of photos of my two this month luckily. I'm well aware that the nice weather is nearly gone and so I've been snapping away whilst I can.
9

Our Week In Pictures #6


I'm typing this on a grey and wet Monday morning, sat on my sofa in a woolly jumper and a blanket. I can't help but think this isn't how the summer holidays should be!? Bloody UK.
(I actually watched a weather expert on 'This morning' a few days ago who said that everything has been pushed forward a month this year and so summer technically ended at the end of July. I mean how depressing!?)

That being said the weather in the past week has actually been tolerable. Not overly sunny, apart from a few odd evenings, but dry at least and I feel like I've actually made the most of the week, for a change.

So on to this weeks photos
14

Weekend Watch - Nature Reserves and Poorly Toddlers


I'm typing post mid card game with Lil so this post might be a little all over the place (she's just stormed off in a huff because she's losing 😂)  
I haven't managed to find the time to do a weekend watch post in a while and I miss them. It makes me a little sad thinking about all those forgotten weekends that have gone undocumented. So this is me making a conscious effort to get back in to it, even if it means fitting it in between a game of cards with my sassy daughter.

Luckily I have a lot of photographs for you from this weekend as we've managed to get out and about a lot. 
6

Our Week in Pictures #5


I'm cheating a little and putting a fortnights worth of photos into this post because I've been so damn slack. It's been a busy few weeks. Quite pleasantly so.  Mainly for Lily as she's been on a primary school induction day, to Sundown Adventure Land and as I type she's currently at her last ever nursery session. (but that's a whoooole other post for another day, but let me just say..the feels!)

We've had one good day of weather in the past two weeks. ONE! In which I took the kids down to the woods and went photo mad as per.
6

Fun with Lottie Dolls - Review


Lily's favourite thing at the moment is to play the role of caregiver. Whether she's a mummy, teacher, nurse, her poor dolls are dragged around with her everywhere and constantly being attended to. 

I love that she's in to dolls. It's very sweet and I like seeing her maternal side. Dolls have also come a long way from when I was her age - the ones I had at four years old were quite frankly hideous. I look back at the old photographs my mum has and the sight of my favourite doll back then makes me cringe. It's like no thought had been put in to the design and it more or less looked like something out of a horror movie. (especially when later on down the line it lost one of it's eyes, and I still insisted on carrying it around..)

Nowadays however it seems like a lot more thought and care are put in to designing dolls for children. None more so than Lottie dolls. 
10

Siblings in July


Somethings changed between these two in the past month and I can't find the words to express exactly what it is. They just seem closer somehow, on more of an even keel you know? The age gap between them seems a lot lesser, all of a sudden, and I'm 99% sure it's down to Archer walking.

He's only been walking for about three weeks. So only a week or so after my last siblings post update, (which is very different to this one!) But it feels as though he's been walking a lifetime. Now that Arch is on his feet, he's suddenly 'fun' again in Lily's eyes. He follows her around everywhere like a little puppy and she loves attempting to hold his hand and steer him places (which he hates, he's constantly batting her away! you'll probably see it in a lot of this months pictures!) It really does feel as though he's much more on Lily's level now. Somethings clicked between them again. (Did you feel this way after your youngest started walking?) It makes me excited for whats to come for my pair and their relationship. And it's nice to feel excited after the stress of last months sibling worries. I'm a heck of a lot more positive and so, so full of love.
15

Little Loves - What a busy week!



I wasn't going to do a 'little loves' post today. It's been a hectic week and I haven't had time to stop and think, never mind get a blog post up and I'll be honest and say I feel a bit out of the loop and a bit de-motivated with blogging and my 'blogging stats' right now. Howeverr Archer seems to be having a mammoth nap and catching up with my current favourite linky/pretending the tip in my house doesn't exist seems a much better option than actually tidying it so here I am!
16

Mini Make over series: Living Room before & after




It can be hard to achieve your own style when it comes to rented accommodation. I know I've certainly struggled anyway.

When we first started moved into our house it was hard to see an end vision of what it was going to look like. There was plenty of space to put our stamp on the place, but because it wasn't our house and because we weren't entirely sure of how long we were planning on staying I couldn't find the creativity nor the motivation needed to mold it to how I wanted it to look.

We've been in this house coming up to 4 years now and it's only in the last 6 months that I've got in the mind set of yeah, we're going to be here a while, let make it more 'us.'

Of course when it comes to rented accommodation there's loads of rules and restrictions as to what you can and can't do in the home. Making many holes in the wall is often a no no and some landlords are even so strict as to not letting the walls be painted or even blu tac be used (my old landlord, ahem.) As luck has it our landlord is quite literally the nicest most chill landlord you could ever have. He's nothing short of a ledge! and so we thankfully don't have those sort of restrictions.

Therefore my first port of call in what I'm going to call 'the mini make over series' (budget wont allow for anything bigger than a mini make over haha) had to be the living room.
14

Weekend Watch - Hangovers & Family Walks


Sometimes I feel like I need to pack everything I can into a weekend to make it a worthwhile one. I'm a planner, always have been and not planning ahead can often make me feel quite anxious. Other times however I feel like the best plans we can possibly have for our 48 hours together each weekend is to have no plans at all. There's actually nothing more worthwhile than spending time as a family together at home, taking each day as it comes.

I may have romanticised all that a bit though because Saturday morning I woke up hungover as f*ck 😂 and so yeah, there was pretty much no option but for there to be a lazy day on the cards 😂
10

Weekend Watch - He's Walking!


This weekend has been one of those weekends that are over and done without before you've properly blinked. The sign of a good weekend I guess, as many of them have been dragging lately. 

The exciting news from this weekend is that Archer is OFFICIALLY walking. Yes, properly this time haha. I'm pretty sure I made a similar announcement about 3 or 4 months ago. When he started taking steps and I got very prematurely excited as he reverted back to crawling within the same day and that was it. Up until now. 

I'm not even sure what made him suddenly decide to walk this weekend. He'd been walking just holding a finger all week which was a massive step in itself but on Saturday, as we headed towards the car to go and see James parents, he just let go. And that was that, he was off.
8

100 Instagram hashtags for bloggers and how they can significantly boost your following


Ok so let's be honest here, Instagram has gotten pants lately. We can all admit it. What with the recent updates, especially the scrapping of photos appearing in chronological order, it's become less about the photo's themselves and all about trying to beat the algorithm and get yourself seen.

And it's shitty. Just plain shitty. But if you're on Instagram to try and promote your blog, like so many of us are, then unfortunately you do what you gotta do to get your posts out there.

One thing I've found to still be really helpful, despite all the latest changes, are hashtags.
15

Our Week in Pictures - #4


As I type this I'm so beyond exhausted that my eyes keep closing every few minutes or so. Blinking furiously is doing nothing. Nor is the second red bull I hold in my hand. (seriously are these things all a con or what?)

It's lunchtime and I'm on day 3 of absolutely zero sleep. 72 hours of tending to poorly children day and night. I'm surprised I'm not at the hallucination stage yet.

(Oh but its coming. I can feel it, haha.)

My first thought when uploading earlier was how the photos this week don't represent how my week has gone at all. Like, one little bit. Funny that. Although I guess not so surprising as you don't get out a camera and snap whilst your childs having a meltdown really do you? But still, looking at these pictures the kids look happy. But the reality this week was that they were far from it.
9

Siblings in June


The past few weeks have been all about playing in the garden for these two. The warmer weather has meant we can have the patio doors open and I'm really enjoying being able to sit down with a cuppa and watch them play!

Strangely the most expensive items in the garden, the swing, play house and water tray aren't getting a look in and instead both Lily & Archer having been enjoying the cheap plastic tunnels and tents I purchased a few years back and have lived in the shed ever since until recently! Now that it's summer and we're spending most of our time outdoors I'm on the look out for some more garden toys, ideally ones that wont break the bank, so if you have any suggestions or links for me I'd love for you to leave them in the comments.

Despite all the lovely garden play though I'd say this month has been the hardest month in a while in terms of sibling bonding.
19

Slimming World journey so far | Update 1


I'm going to be honest here and say I have a long drawn out love/hate relationship with Slimming World, and have done for a while now. I've made no less than 5 attempts at starting Slimming World since having Archer and have fallen flat on my ass with it every single time.

I've finally had enough of glancing in the mirror then having to furiously look away. Honestly I've been living in a forced bubble of oversized winter jumpers the past few months (or well, since Archer was born really) but Summer has begun and I can't stay in these jumpers forever - it's slowly killing me!
As I'm now three weeks in to Slimming World, the longest I've managed in my attempts this year, I finally feel like I'm determined enough that I'm not going to go cold turkey and that I can therefore confidentially sit down and start writing about my journey.
I know that many people don't feel comfortable in sharing numbers when they do their slimming world updates, tending to just focus on food diaries, but I personally look for these figures just as much as the meal plans themselves when reading other peoples journeys. I like to know peoples starting weights so I can have a better idea of how far they've come and therefore I will be sharing my own starting weight and losses/gains in lbs as I go along.

Before I start I have to say that I don't believe that the size I am now is in any way 'large.' So when I reveal my weight and any other stats in these blog posts I dont want anyone to feel offended that I'm claiming it's not an acceptable weight  because that's not the case at all. It's all relative. It all depends on your body type, shape and what you're comfortable with. You know your own body type and what your natural size and weight is so don't let anyone tell you what's right or wrong for YOU. 

So lets go right back to the very start of my Slimming World journey back in 2013.
18

Little Loves | Feeling Fed up & Snapping out of it


June! It's June guys, what the hell.

First of all, how are we half way through the year? Second of all, it doesn't feel like June with this horrible weather. I actually felt guilty for having had the heating on yesterday until the ITV weather girl stated that we're currently in Autumn temperatures. Ugh.

There's nothing more depressing than being trapped indoors thanks to driving rain and gale force winds. Except for maybe being trapped inside with a teething baby who has me in a perpetually sleep deprived state and who has been desperate to get out himself, bless him.

With all that being said, I'm trying to be more positive. (Ha!) Yes I've been in a moany mood lately, it's been one of those weeks, but the recent attacks on our beautiful kingdom have put everything in to perspective, it really has. So whilst I'm sat here moaning about all and sundry, know that its tongue in cheek and that I'm actually extremely grateful for all that I have.
0

Feeling uninspired


Monday has rolled around and I only realised this morning, mid downing my coffee and dressing a squirming Archer that I don't have a post to go up today.

I contemplated not putting one up, as I didn't want to post for the sake of posting, just so I can say I'm sticking to my own self imposed schedule if you know what I mean. I don't tend to pre write and schedule my posts as I'm quite frankly not that organised ,I usually just write them the day before/day of posting. And because I'm just really uninspired lately I didn't want to force something out.

But now that I've dropped Lily at nursery and Archer is having a nap - I have an hour window of rest on this manic Monday morning and actually, I'm finding myself writing anyway.
15