Lily

Lily
Lily Tessa

Photography

Photography
Photography

Archer

Archer
Archer Leo

Behind the Business with XOKiddo


As a serial 'small shopper' I decided to start a new series focusing on different small businesses by chatting to the often over looked faces behind them. Not only is it lovely to learn more about the businesses that I purchase from regularly it's also a great way of recommending these exceptional small shops to the wider parenting blogger community.

This week I am chatting to Rona from XOKiddo

Rona is a lovely lady from the Netherlands who is currently living in the UK and I have worked with her on two previous occasions. She exudes passion and determination when it comes to her brand and her clothing and designs are the definition of 'scandi cool.' She's fab! 
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Week in Pictures #29


Oh hello wet muddy Autumn weather, we meet again!

This week we braved the pumpkin patch with Archers little buddies to get those lovely Autumnal insta shots everyone is after, and it didn't quite go to plan.

Seriously, how do people do it?
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Week in Pictures #28


It's pretty funny how I thought that once once the school holidays were over I'd be back to having more free time. Um..nope! Not even slightly! If anything I feel like we have way less time now Lily's back at school as we're constantly rushing everywhere. Whether it be in the mornings to get to school on time or in the afternoons, again to get to school on time! Getting arch down for his nap before I have to get him up again to collect sister..getting tea ready and eaten before they can have a bath and homework done before bed time. Life is one big rush!

This past month has mostly consisted of cold & hurried school runs, driving lessons and turning a blind eye to the state of our house and therefore photo opportunities have been pretty thin on the ground. But that's okay. I kind of embrace how hectic our lives are right now. In a weird way it makes me feel like I'm alive and actually living life instead of standing still and watching it pass me by. 
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Behind the Business with Toadstools & Tippytoes



As a serial 'small shopper' I decided to start a new series focusing on different small businesses by chatting to the often over looked faces behind them. Not only is it lovely to learn more about the businesses that I purchase from regularly it's also a great way of recommending these exceptional small shops to the wider parenting blogger community

This week I have been talking to from Kelle from Toadstools & Tippytoes. Toadstools & Tippytoes is an enchanting online shop that sells all things fairy related whether that be wands, jewellery or materials and accessories to build your own fairy gardens. I adore the concept and we've already purchased a whole heap of crafts kits from Kelle and her fairy friends!
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Week in Pictures #27


The summer holidays are officially done with for another year.

Yep as of today Lily is back at school and i'm not entirely sure how I feel about it.

On the one hand I'm happy for her because she adores school and she's been asking to go back pretty much since the holidays started (yes she is a giant nerd bless her). I have to say I'm seriously looking forward to the routine that being back to school brings and I'm looking forward to the quiet cosier at home days with Archer as the weather gets colder and the sky gets darker increasingly early. I probably have another 6 months max before Archer starts nursery so I want the make the most of our one on one time.

However I'm going to miss having Lils presence around the house 24/7 for the past six weeks . There's no denying the house is much quieter when she's not here but I just love having her around. She chatters 24/7, she's so much fun and is forever making us laugh with all her impressions and dance moves and jokes that make zero sense. And she's been so so helpful with Archer over the past 6 weeks - I think he's going to struggle the most with her going back to school out of all of us! 

Selfishly its been so relaxing not to have to get up and dressed at arse o clock in morning to get to school for 8.45. And its been lovely not to wake up Arch from his naps before he's ready in order to go and get her again. However she's soo ready to go back. So excited and eager to learn and missing all her friends that I couldn't find it in me to keep her at home even if I wanted to!

You go spread your wings baby girl.
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Shopping Small - Behind the Business with Another Fox


As a serial 'small shopper' I decided to start a new series focusing on different small businesses by chatting to the often over looked faces behind them. Not only is it lovely to learn more about the businesses that I purchase from regularly it's also a great way of recommending these exceptional small shops to the wider parenting blogger community. 

This week I have been chatting to Andie from Another Fox. I have been shopping with Another Fox for a long looong time and having worked with Andie in the past I can vouch for just what a friendly, helpful and upbeat person she is. I have seen Another Fox grow through its many gorgeous collections, from botanicals to a celestial space age theme to her current 'other world' collection which I think is my favourite so far.
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Week in pictures #26


Week 4 of the summer holiday. A week including a trip back to an old childhood stomping ground, baby Heaths Christening in Manchester, garden play and our usual park trips. 
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Siblings in August


It makes me sad that it's time for a midway August update already. The fact that we're halfway through the last summer month means the colder snap and rainier days are approaching and I'm not quite ready to give up the heat yet. Not at all actually.

I mentioned in a recent update that the best part of the holidays has been the weather. It's spoiled us. It's allowed us to do so much, to be outdoors for 95% of every day. It's meant the days have gone faster, the world has seemed brighter and the kids have been getting on better. (and 
I've unintentionally lost weight because I've been so damn busy, woohoo!)
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Week In Pictures #25 - Summer Holidays


We're entering week three of the summer holidays and we're all still alive and in good spirits. Well, for the most part haha.

The days have mostly been long and lazy with a few busy ones thrown in there, but the majority of time has been spent at home in the garden or enjoying the sunshine in local spots.
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North Star Club - Worth the trip? (& the expense?)


One thing I dont feel like you see enough of these days is full and frank reviews.

It's mainly an issue for me because I'm that kind of anal type A personality that googles like mad in order to research every inch of a place before I decide whether I'm going to spend the money and commit to going there. I tend to rely on trip advisor a lot, especially for viewing visitors photos because I find those seem to provide the most honest of reviews. (possibly because whilst words can be embellished or lie photos not so much?)

I do really enjoy reading blog posts that bloggers have written about their stay-cations too but find that many tend to focus on only the positives - on what a great trip they had and how beautiful the place was without mentioning any of the negatives. And I mean no place can be perfect right?

So with those frustrations in mind I vowed to myself, before even stepping foot in North Star Club or anywhere else we might visit this summer, that I would commit to a fully rounded review so that anyone who is like me and likes to search places before they go may come across this and it might help them in knowing more about it, pro's and cons included.
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Weekend Watch - 22.07.18


After speaking to a good blogging friend of mine earlier in the week I was reminded how long it's been since I've done a weekend watch post.

I've been focusing a lot on my week in pictures series that generally tends to include what we get up to over the weekend too but the first weekend of the summer holidays seems a good place to get back in to documenting our weekend adventures.

This weekend I re-discovered my love for early morning walks.
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Siblings in July


Sometimes I wish I could just do photo logs forever. Words aren't coming easily to me these days and to be honest I'm getting to the stage where I'm wondering if they ever will again.

How sombre. 

I don't know what kind of mind block I've been going through lately but it's irritating the hell out of me. It's a bit like my whole brain is just stuck fast in some sort of thick mud and there's no moving forward. (see, how bad was that analogy? I used to be able to do better than that even on the bad days.ha ha) 

So as usual of late I'll let my photos do most of the talking for me. 
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Day in the life - 6.6.18


Day in the life photography. Candid photography. Capturing the essence of normal, the day to day. 

This is the kind of photography that grabs my attention. The kind of photography I adore and that really helps me feel like I know more about someone and their family, allowing a little window into their life. 

This week I was delighted to be asked to join in on a collaborative day in the life post with a group of blogging ladies who photography I really do love. I chose this Friday to do my own day in the life as Lily had a training day and I was hoping to get out of the house and have a nice day in the sun together, the three of us. 
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Week in Pictures #24



The sunny weather continues

A week of garden barbecues, park trips and eating al fresco on the daily
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Shopping Small - Behind the business with Wear It baby




As a serial 'small shopper' I decided to start a new series focusing on different small businesses by chatting to the often over looked faces behind them. Not only is it lovely to learn more about the businesses that I purchase from regularly it's also a great way of recommending these exceptional small shops to the wider parenting blogger community. 


This week I've been chatting to Zoey from Wear It Baby. Wear It baby are another gorgeous kids clothing company who Archer has brand repped for in the past. Wear It baby focus on bright patterns and bold colourful designs that are appealing to children whilst still looking ensuring they look super stylish. As the website puts it perfectly - 'Happy clothes for happy kids!'


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Week in Pictures #23


Sun, sun and more sun 
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Week in Pictures #22


For the past week we have been spending our time at Forest Holidays Keldy site.

I can't even find the words to explain how amazing our stay here was. To state that it was exactly what I needed feels more apt tbh. I've gotten myself in a bit of a rut back home without even realising it and I think it really only occurred to me whilst I was away. Being out in the open, the fresh air, countryside and forests made me SO happy, it really made me think about the things I need to start prioritising.

All that vagueness aside (ha) I of course took the camera along with me and I of course ended up taking about ten thousand photos which you can see below. 
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Friday Favourites #12


It's been a while since I've done one of these posts but honestly I feel like I have things to recommend coming out of my ears lately! Especially clothes, so many lovely summer items around at the moment giving me all the heart eyes.

I have a few practical things to recommend too, as well as what Archer is currently playing with and some fathers day gift ideas. 

So without further ado. This week we have been loving.. 
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Week in Pictures #21 - May Half Term


How fast did half term go!? Does anyone else feel that way? I feel like I blinked and Lily's back at school!

It's been a nice week even though we haven't done much of anything at all. We didn't go away anywhere as half term in Yorkshire is only one week instead of the fortnight a lot of other school get and I didn't fancy cramming lots into the week and having it feel too rushed.

The holiday started with a family wedding which was probably the most exciting event of the whole week! 
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5 tips to keep you on top of your health on holiday


Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be difficult. Obesity is becoming increasingly common and combating it is more vital than ever. Even those of us who are dedicated to staying fit and healthy can struggle when travelling is thrown into the mix, though. Giving in to temptation is greater than normal when you’re away from home, but it is possible to stay focused on your health goals without ruining your holiday. Restraint is a necessity, but punishing yourself will only drive you towards bad habits.
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How a five minute encounter with a stranger changed my entire outlook



Yesterday an old man stopped me in the park and asked if he could sit and watch my kids play a while.

We went on to have a conversation that I want to share with others. Because it’s a conversation that will remain with me forever.  
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Embracing monochrome and colour pops with XOKiddo


If you're a long time reader of Lilypad & Bow then you'll know that I'm always on the look out for new clothing companies for the kids and when XOKiddo got in contact it couldn't be any more like fate as their designs are so up our street!

XOKiddo was launched in April 2017 by graduate designer Rona Hollows. Her clothing pieces are designed for boys and girls alike up to the age of five and were designed with the Netherlands style in mind after Rona moved to London and found herself searching somewhat fruitlessly for a certain childrens style back in the Netherlands that seemed hard to come across over here in the UK.

XOKiddo use a minimalist approach to their clothing that along with the bold use of contrasting colours is undeniably Dutch, an inspired style that I for one absolutely adore!

XOKiddo very kindly sent us out a few outfits for the kids and we've had enormous fun trying them out and taking enough photos to incorporate into a look-book style post for you. 
As pretty as product flat-lays and the like are, I always find it much more helpful for clothing companies to show imagery of their designs actually on the children so I can picture for myself how these pieces might look on my own pair. Hopefully this post will be helpful for anybody who likes to do the same!
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Week in Pictures #20


Wild barefoot and free. That's what summer is to me. 

This week has been the sunshine week of my dreams and once again I've taken more photos than I know what to do with. We've had a great time, the kids and I. They say sunshine is the best medicine and right now I'm more than inclined to agree.

Here's what we've been up to.
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Siblings in May


Me being me genuinely thought I hadn't taken many photos of the kids together this month.. How wrong I was! When it came to going through my folder I couldn't believe how much I'd actually taken, so prepare for some extreme sibling spam folks 😂

This month, mostly down to the weather, we've been out and about a LOT.

In fact, I think every single photo I've taken this month has been outdoors. I think May is the new July/August to be honest, the weather's been stunning and the kids have been loving it.  
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I woke up hurting, and not for the first time


This week is Mental Health Awareness week and today my mind is well and truly with Scott Hutchinson from Frightened Rabbit. For anyone who hasn't heard the story, you can read about it here. 

It hit me hard in the gut and now I'm carrying around the ache like so many others. Not just because I love Frightened Rabbit and not only because it's so incredibly tragic but for so many other reasons too, that try as I might I just can't seem to put words to right now. 

I actually tried writing about this earlier in the week, not long after social media heard about Scott's disappearance but I couldn't. I find myself well and truly blocked. I just can't write about it right now. 

But despite my writers block I also can't not acknowledge it, especially during mental health awareness week and I can't not acknowledge Frightened Rabbit as a whole and what they've done for me. 
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Weekend Watch - 5.5.18


In a couple of months we'll definitely all be looking back on this bank holiday and saying ..'remember that bank holiday where we had sun?' I mean it never happens does it? There's some unspoken rule that every bank holiday has to be rainy and miserable and so this particular bank holiday sunshine was an unexpected but very pleasant surprise.

I'm happy to say we certainly made the most of it.
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A Birthday Photolog - A day at Harlow Carr


A photolog from 24.04.18 where we spent my birthday at Harlow Carr in Harrogate. 
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Shopping Small - Behind the Business


As a serial 'small shopper' I thought I would start a new series focusing on different small businesses by chatting to the often over looked faces behind them. Not only is it lovely to learn more about the businesses that I purchase from regularly it's also a great way of recommending these exceptional small shops to the wider parenting blogger community. 

The series starts off with a chat to the brains behind My Bud & Bear, a shop we recently discovered and who Archer is currently brand repping for.
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Week in Pictures #19


A weekly photolog in which the school runs got warmer, the house got messier and we got a new sand pit..
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Siblings in April


Not going to lie, my past few months of sibling updates have more or less just been me moaning about how much the kids have been fighting which has been enjoyable for exactly no-one but hallelujah we seem to have finally finally come out of that stage at long last. 

Which is honestly surprising to say that we've just had the two week Easter holiday and they've more or less been in each others pockets constantly, you'd think the bickering would increase ten fold but luckily not! 

I've noticed recently that Archer's speech has suddenly come on in leaps and bounds. All of a sudden he's speaking in full structured sentences and sounding like a proper little person and I think this has brought the pair of them even closer since Lily is getting more and more conversation out of him. 
She keeps teaching him things (rude words mainly..) and he still thinks that everything she says is hilarious. It's a good sibling stage and I'm enjoying seeing them act like a little team rather than the constant squabbles we've had before so long may it last!
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Weekend Watch - Oh Easter



I'd like to say Easter has been good to us this year but all it's done really is bring us bad weather and leave me with a nasty bout of sinusitis. Frustrating! (Also how damn painful can your sinuses be!? Ugh who knew!)

As incapacitated as I felt on Easter Sunday it thankfully seemed the kids had a good time despite my ailments. The Easter bunny was on top form and left a trail of eggs both indoors and outdoors and Lily was a woman on mission when it came to finding them. A curly haired 35 lb machine that took no prisoners haha. Which meant poor Archer didn't find as many as he hoped for (we made her share tho obvs) but his little face lighting up the few times he did spot an egg, god it was just adorable! 
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Everything Whimsy - March Round Up


I've spoken recently about my love for Instagram communities and how they're a great way for chatting to new people who share your hobbies. 

It probably isn't surprising to hear that my main interest on Instagram is photography, I follow a lot of great mums and specifically a lot of great mum photographers and last month I created the hashtag #everythingwhimsy with the view of doing monthly round ups.

The idea behind the everything whimsy hashtag is to photograph any whimsical moments in your life. The official definition of whimsical uses words such as quaint and fanciful but for me whimsical moments can appear just about anywhere in any way. Whether this be an adventure or outing with your children, a beautiful old bookstore or museum or even just a cozy day at home with thick woolly blankets and a mug full of hot tea. Anything goes!
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Week in Pictures #18


We're finally starting to see some sunshine around here! Spring is that you? A photo log of the last week including a trip to the woods with daddy thanks to a rare week off work, walks with the aeroplane (that thing comes everywhere with us lately) and more indoor play.
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Making use of small space to create a cozy environment for your child


Lily's bedroom is tiny. Harry Potter cupboard under the stairs level of tiny. Honestly there's hardly room to swing a cat never mind play the games in which a five year old would want to play in there.

But such is life and we've done the best we can with it and I like to think we've made it work, somehow.

I've used every single available surface and corner of her room that I physically can to make it in to a nice space for her. The word crammed comes to mind, but what five year old cares about their room being crammed? To them, the more toys the better. A room full of toys is a room full of love right?  

Here are some tips for showing how a small room can still be appealing for your little one
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Siblings in March


I spoke in last months update about how Lily and Archer have been fighting like cat and dog lately and this month is more of the same. 

We've carried on being more or less house bound thanks to the continuing snow fall that doesn't seem to be shifting any time soon (more forecast this weekend, ugh) and that's definitely contributing to the levels of squabbling I think. Some days you just need to be out of the house and when you can't do that, well those days just plain suck! 

There has been a few days of nice weather in between though and so I feel like I'm finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The worlds longest Winter may finally be coming to an end at last. 
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Week in Pictures #16


A photolog consisting of many a snow day, time off school and lots of hibernating indoors resulting in a very messy house!
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Three photography apps that solve all my photo problems



As much as I am obsessed with my DSLR camera (and believe me I am OBSESSED!) I also love taking photos on my Iphone too. It's so quick and simple and very much ideal for when you're just 'in the moment' (dontcha hate that phrase ha) and want to take a quick capture of something you or your child is doing.

I have three photo apps on my phone that I'm going to talk you through as they are my 'go to' apps. Between them they cover every single thing I need to do with my snaps and because of this I've never needed to download any other.
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Week in Pictures #15


A photo log consisting of many a lazy day, playing in the garden and bonding with baby cousin Wilf.  
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Living with migraines for almost twenty years - my story


Blog posts have been thin on the ground this week thanks to a particularly bad run of migraine attacks. It sucks, but it's also my life and what I've been dealing with since I was small. In the future I now know to have pre written posts set aside for when my cluster migraines occur, but for now I've been spurred in to doing a series about my migraine journey, the ways in which it's affected my life and tips I've learnt along the way. I don't know of any other migraine sufferers but if I can help a single other sufferer out there reading these posts then it will be worth it.

I experienced my first migraine attack at 9 years old. I came home from primary school one afternoon complaining of pain in my head and of feeling sick. I'm pretty sure my mum thought I had a bug at the time, but then it kept on happening. 
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Week in Pictures #14 - Half Term Photolog


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That time we broke down on the motorway..*


Car safety is a topic close to my heart. Mainly because for as long as I can remember I've had this complete and utter fear of me, and now me and the kids or James, being involved in a car crash. James works outside of Leeds for work which involves him travelling on the motorway daily and so I always make him ring me before he sets off so if he's home any later than planned I will know somethings up! (I really should watch less Motorway Cops, it doesn't help the fear haha)

I'm not sure many people can say they have a breaking down on the motorway story but I certainly do.
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Siblings in February


It's half term and as much as I'd love to say the kids have been getting on like a house on fire the same way they did in the Christmas holidays, it would be a downright lie haha.

For whatever reason they're fighting like cat and dog lately and honestly? it's so wearing.
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65 WHIMSICAL Hashtags for your Instagram



Ohh that whimsical life. We all crave it yet it never happens. My home is more frightful than fanciful these days with half drunken cups of coffee on every surface and killer lego pieces dotted around for you to step on at every turn. But still, I love pretending my days are whimsical, and looking through the hashtags on Instagram and seeing other peoples beautiful pretendy pictures too. ;)

IM JOKING OF COURSE

Some people's lives actually are as beautiful and enchanting as they look in the pictures on Instagram. Some people actually do live in cottages in the middle of forests with wooden tables that constantly have fresh wild flowers on. (and I am SO jealous of these people's lives let me tell you, because that is the dream!!!)
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Little Loves - Snowy Walks & Vintage dresses


This weeks been one of those weeks that have passed me by entirely. I feel like half term has come hurtling towards me and now all of a sudden it's upon us.

Lily's had a lovely last week at school. She had her first school disco, which made me totally emosh because I can still remember my own school disco like it was yesterday (I insisted on a head full of 'butterfly clips' for that particular disco as they were all the rage back then ha ha) and Archers just been pottering around doing his own thing in that sweet little way that he does. 
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Weekend Watch - 02.02.18


On Friday afternoon we played in the garden till the sun started to set. We played without coats for the first time in god knows how long, there was absolutely zero breeze and I could have sworn Spring was making itself known, a whole month early. It reminded me of how I felt on this day.

And then Saturday and Sunday were beyond Antarctic. Of course. 

*All the eye rolls for British weather*
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Archer you're Two


My sweet little boy is officially two. Why is it that I've been feeling sad about it all week?

He had a lovely day on Sunday. It was relaxed which was exactly what we wanted for him as birthdays always seem so rushed for us these days. It was nice to not have any plans that went further than a bout of soft play and a visit to the grandparents and it made for a slow and gentle day. (the amount of cars this kid got for his birthday though, jesus! our house has become like a garage and I'm currently desperately searching through the IKEA catologue to find some more storage units we could possibly squeeze in to the house!)

I took a few photos of the day, which I'll post below along with his 'birthday photoshoot' which was an epic fail compared to Lily's because the weather was freezing and neither one of us was feeling it. Oh well 😂
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Weekend Watch 20.01.18


This weekend was one of 'those' weekends. One of those weekends that you know are going to be a total write off before they've even properly started. 

I can't even pin point what was wrong with me to be honest. A little bit of everything that's going on lately just eating away at me perhaps. But the long and short of it is that I woke up on Saturday morning with a pounding head and feeling so down in the dumps that I just didn't have it in me to participate in any of the plans for the day ahead.

I don't actually think there would be a weekend watch post at all this week if it hadn't been for a shift on Sunday that brought sunshine to my storm and changed my mood entirely. 

There's a lot to be said for mother nature. 
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Losing her to dementia - 12 months on


Grandma,
it's been twelve months to the day since we lost you.

but dementia stripped you from us long before that.

Today I've been remembering.
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Mama Style with JD Williams*


Working with JD Williams is always a pleasure. They are a brand that I initially came across through the world of blogging and who I have recommended to many others since. 

When recently asked by JD Williams to have a browse of their ladies sports wear section I was pleasantly surprised to see that they stock branded sports wear on top of their own range. 

I've been wearing hoodies and cardigans a lot recently, mostly for ease and comfort on the school run. & also because it is soo freaking cold lately (coldest January to date anyone??) and so I picked up two hoodies that are ideal for the current weather.
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I'm not a brand, I'm just me.


When did blogging become such a chore?

It never used to be. I used to post as and when I liked, with no real thought to any sort of blogging routine. I was probably number 25689 in the Tots 100 chart and I'm pretty sure my partner was my only reader. But I was happy.

Some where along the line I subconsciously got sucked in to the blogging world, as we all do. And I didn't realise it until I was well and truly riding that train. It's human nature to want to be good at something. To want to be great at something even. To want to be the best. But when my conscious thoughts consist mainly of where I should be going and not where I am now then something is strongly telling me that it's time to take a step back and recognise that I need to change.
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