Sunday, October 30, 2016

Ways To Save On Your Christmas Shopping ♥

It's November next week (eek!) and for many people, myself included, this marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping period. I bought some bits throughout the year, usually when they were on sale with large discounts, but I do the bulk of my shopping during the beginning of November to the first two weeks in December and I'm always looking to find the best deals and save money when I shop.

You can see some of the things that I've already gotten for Beau's 1st Christmas here.

I'm one of those people who will go from shop to shop to try and find the best bargain. I don't want to pay more for something which I could have gotten down the road for a whole lot cheaper and when I shop online I do the same too.

So with Christmas shopping on the forefront of my mind, I thought I'd share some ways to save on your Christmas shopping, all things which I do myself and which really are great for saving money.

1. Use an online deal finder website
Using an online deal finder website can help you to find the best price for the product you're looking for without spending hours trawling through websites or shops yourself. A great one is Every Day is Black Friday, which uses 'spiders' which actively scan the internet for price drops on over 250 retailer sites - including Mothercare, Miss Selfridge, Debenhams, etc. insuring that you never miss a great deal.

I'm currently browsing through their Argos sale, offers and voucher codes as there a few things I need to pick up for Christmas from Argos and I'm hoping to grab a bargain - one that might not be advertised in store.

There's also lots of great items discounted on the Very sale page, some things which I have my eye on for the boys this Christmas. I love finding things when they're on sale, I mean, who would want to spend more when they have to?

2. Use reward card points to pay for presents
Lots of stores offer rewards cards with point systems these days and depending on how often you shop in these places, those points can really build up. All year round I save up my Boots and Debenhams points - both places I shop in on a regular basis and I then use those points to purchase Christmas gifts with. This is a great way of saving some money whilst Christmas shopping.

3. Take advantage of 3 for 2 offers/multiple purchase offers
Throughout the year lots of stores, including toy stores, will have 3 for 2 offers available - meaning that if you buy two items the cheapest is usually free. This is a great way of stocking up on the kids Christmas presents and getting some things you actually wanted in the first place for nothing. Keep an eye on toy store websites and social media to see when these offers are available, as some are more advertised than others and you may be missing out on a great deal.

Multiple purchase offers are available in all supermarkets in the weeks before Christmas and are a great way of stocking up on all the Christmas goodies and foods that you and yours enjoy, without breaking the bank.

4. Use voucher codes
Voucher codes are a great way of saving money when online shopping. Before I buy anything online I search around to see if there's a voucher code available. Using these when shopping for Christmas presents is a great way of saving some pounds.

5. Remember that the kids don't care where a gift comes from
Some people refuse to buy anything unless it comes straight from a store, however, children aren't really fussed about where there gift comes from, so long as they enjoy it. Over the years I've picked up some great books for my sons Christmas book advent calendar in charity shops for under €1 each - much less than what they were going for in book shops and they were in great condition too.

I've also found some gorgeous wooden toys at car boot sales and some lovely things for sale on local selling groups on Facebook, all for a great price. Remember that just because a gift is second hand doesn't mean that the kids will love it any less.

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?

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Thursday, October 27, 2016

My Weight Loss Journey | 12 Weeks On ♥

I've been on my weight loss journey for twelve weeks now and I have to admit, I'm so surprised that I've stuck with it for this long. I guess that when you find something that works for you it's so much easier to stick with it and see results.

On July 30th I started having protein shakes for breakfast, a simple change, but one that has had a great impact on me, not just because of the weight loss, but also for giving me some nutrition and allowing me to have a breakfast - something I always skipped before. You can read about the beginning of my weight loss journey and some of my results here.

Since July 30th I've lost 89cm/35in off my body and I've dropped two dress sizes. Some people think that buying protein powders and specialised food is too expensive to keep up, but with money saving resources such as Myprotein discount code vouchers it doesn't have to break the bank and I can honestly say that buying my protein powders isn't putting me under any financial strain at all.

I made the decision to get back into shape after my pregnancy because I felt awful about myself, I hated the way I looked and I had no self confidence at all. I didn't want to be in any pictures with my boys and clothes shopping was something I avoided and dreaded. Now that I've lost some weight I'm actually asking Jacek to take pictures of me with the boys, keen to not be missing from our photographic memories any longer and I've picked up some new clothing bits too, all in a smaller size. I can't even describe the feeling of being able to put on a smaller sized item of clothing and actually fit into it again but it's a great one!

I've also become a lot fitter since I began on this journey, I no longer get out of breath quickly and I'm easy to go running after Tyler whilst carrying Beau in his sling without feeling like I'm going to collapse!

For anyone who may be contemplating making a simple change to their diet like I did and who might be looking into having protein shakes I thought I'd share my weekly results just to show what can be achieved.

Week 1-4: -31cm
Week 5: - 16cm
Week 6: -9cm
Week 7: -8.5cm
Week 8: -13cm
Week 9: -10.5cm
Week 10: +7cm
Week 11: -8.5cm
Week 12: +1.5cm

I've had two weeks with gains in centimeters but my body is toning up and gaining muscle instead of fat so I was expecting this. I can see all the changes my body is going through thanks to my diet changes and I love seeing the results and having others compliment me on the results.

I still have a long way to go when it comes to my weight but I've made a great start and I'm determined to keep going. My goal is have lost 100cm by Christmas, so please do wish me luck!

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Monday, October 24, 2016

Silver Cross Pioneer in Carrycot Mode | Review ♥

Silver Cross is a brand my family and I have loved for quite some time now. When Tyler Lee was a baby I had a Silver Cross Classic Sleepover pram for him (featured here), a lovely 'high pram' to go on walks with him in, all snuggled up inside on those first few snowy February days of his life. I also had a Silver Cross Linear for him, this being my 'shopping pram', perfect for taking out and about and popping in the car.

When he got to toddler stage I then moved him to a buggy, the Silver Cross Pop (reviewed here) being one of the best I had for him with it's roomy seat and plenty of leg room so that his feet no long dragged on the floor, as it had done with other buggies.

So when the lovely people at Silver Cross got in touch and asked if I'd like to try out and review their Silver Cross Pioneer with Beau I was absolutely delighted to try another lovely pram from their range and to have this as 'just Beau's pram', his from the beginning and until he's out of prams and buggies altogether.

The Silver Cross Pioneer is one of the most stylish prams I've ever had the pleasure of using. I chose the newly released vintage silver colour pack for my pram which consists of a silver hood and apron and I think this colour pack looks beautiful with the chrome chassis.

The pram looks quite luxurious with the little touches it has - such as the black leather effect on the handles surrounding the chrome Silver Cross logo and the button to extend the handle, the leather effect bumper bar, the cup holder and the matching chrome detail on the hood, all the features on the pram tie in together and they make it something quite lovely to be seen pushing along. I get so many compliments on the pram and it really is such a pleasure to have my precious little babe pushed about in.

Silver Cross Pioneer in Carry Cot Mode Features - 
✓ Swivel front wheels for easy maneuverability
✓ Interchangeable colour ways for customisation
✓ Soft 100% bamboo material mattress and liner for baby's comfort
✓ Large sized carrycot
✓ Large basket
✓ Quick-click fold for putting the chassis up and down
✓ Bumper bar.
✓ Extendable handle for taller users
✓ Easy to assemble
✓ Can fit in a small car boot

Beau is extremely comfy in his pram. The liner and the mattress of the carrycot are made of super soft bamboo material which really is so lovely to the touch. He's always happy laying in his pram and thankfully the carrycot is a generous size - perfect for my long boy. He's still in the carrycot now at five months and I'm delighted that I've been able to get this long out of it as I really do love having the carrycot on the pram - I'm not yet ready to move him to buggy mode!

The carry cot attaches to the chassis very easily by just popping it onto the adapters. It's also removes very easily too, you simply pull on the sides and it pops off - it really couldn't be easier. In fact, the ease of use with the carrycot and chassis has encouraged me to bring the carrycot everywhere with us, even if I'm just popping in somewhere quickly. The chassis and the carrycot fit into my small car boot too so it's really convenient for me to take them with me when I'm out and about.

The Pioneer features a large basket underneath, perfect for popping bags and other essentials into when out and about. However, it's impossible to get bags, if they have much in them, into the basket while the carrycot is on top of the chassis, there just simply isn't the room to slot them under and on more than one occasion I've had to lift the carrycot off to place things underneath - far from ideal I know, but I'll get over this as the other features of the pram really are spot on and I'm hoping that in buggy mode the basket will be easier to get to.

The maneuverability and handling of the pram is fantastic. The swivel wheels on the front really help to steer it well and I've even been able to push the pram one handed and not have it veer off to the side. I've taken this pram on all types of terrain - gravel paths, grass, tarmac, footpaths - you name it, it's been on it and it does handle really well, not being too bumpy for baby either. As the Silver Cross website says, the Pioneer is 'designed for adventure' and I definitely agree with this.

The hood is a lovely feature on the pram with the silver detail on it and it is a good size. The hood is lined UPV50+ material and has a silver lining to reflect heat, insuring that baby doesn't get too hot on warm, sunny days. The hood clips onto the sides of the carrycot and is held on sturdily with velcro strips.

The Silver Cross Pioneer currently retails for £695 and this price includes the chassis, carrycot, pushchair seat, a colour pack of your choice, rain cover and cup holder, which I think is very good value for money for something you're going to get a lot of use out of over many years.

Pros -
Lightweight and easy to push
Front swivel wheels for easy maneuverability
Very comfy for baby
Extendable handle
Can fit in the boot of my car
Very easy to use and assemble
It's a good price point for the quality and what it includes

Cons -
The basket is very hard to get things in when the carrycot is attached to the chassis

Conclusion
I really love this pram, even with the con I've pointed out above. It's such a beautiful pram and it's so easy to use. It's actually a dream to push and I love strolling along with Beau in it. It's very comfortable for baby and this is a big thing for me as we use it a lot and I want him to be happy in it - which I'm delighted to say he is. This is a great pram and I'm so happy that I've been able to use it with Beau.

I'll be sharing an update on the Silver Cross Pioneer and how we're getting on with it again once I move Beau to the pushchair mode of it.


*We were sent the Silver Cross Pioneer for the purposes of this review, however, as always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.


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7 Of The Best Photographic Locations in Cork & When To Visit Them ♥

The other day I Googled - 'good outdoor photography locations in Cork' and could find no information at all apart from places to photograph buildings or places of interest around the city - both really not my thing when it comes to photography.

I was hoping to spread my horizons and find a new location to take pictures of my boys in, but sadly there were no recommendations of beautiful outdoor locations, so I thought I'd share six of my favourites on the blog today, for any other photography lovers who are looking for some gorgeous natural backdrops and locations for their photos.

I was hoping to pop along to the orchard at Barryscourt Castle in Carrigtwohill but it's closed for renovations. I then went in search of a pumpkin patch, but that's something we lack here in Cork, so I'll just have to go back to the drawing board when it comes to finding somewhere for nice autumal shoots other than the woods.

I prefer places where I can take pictures of my family surrounded by nature, open spaces where the background is just as beautiful as the people in the shot and ever since my passion for photography ignited, I've discovered some beautiful locations around Co. Cork which are perfect for taking some beautiful shots outdoors. Whether it's family shots, wedding pictures or just beautiful nature photography you're after, these locations really do have it all.

Ballyannan Woods, Owenacurra Estuary (just outside Midleton).

This is a location we discovered for the first time in May, having gone looking for a place where there was lots of bluebells to be found. I think it's fair to call this place 'the bluebell woods' because there literally were bluebells everywhere and that was with us visiting at the end of the season.

When to go? April and early May are the best times to visit to see all the bluebells in their full glory and make the most of them as a beautiful photographic background.

Blarney Castle & Gardens

Blarney Castle is a place we frequent multiple times a year, although not for the lovely castle (although this does make a great photo backdrop too), but for the amazingly beautiful gardens they have there. There are so many parts to the gardens, all offering something different - flowers, trees, a little waterfall, etc.

When to go? We go every February to celebrate our eldest sons birthday and photograph him amongst the daffodils and snowdrops. However, last year the daffodils had bloomed a bit early so January and February are the months to capture those. The summer months are perfect for capturing all the beautiful flowers in bloom and making the most of the stunning trellis walkway they have their too.

 Fota House & Gardens

This is a place we frequent a lot as it's great to let our son run free and the gardens offer a perfect backdrop for pictures. There's lots of mossy tinged trees, flowers and grassy areas which are great for capturing natural looking shots. There's also a lake with a beautiful lookout point and staged stone steps which are lovely for posing for pictures too.

When to go? February is a great month to go to capture the carpets of snowdrops and daffodils which appear by the stone steps. The summer months are also great for capturing the flowers in bloom. If you're looking for autumnal shots then October is a great month to go to capture shots amongst the fallen leaves.

O Keefe's Woods, Ballynacrusha, Cobh

This is another place we go to often as there's a fairy wood here, perfect for letting the little ones imaginations run wild. The woods offer a beautiful lookout point over East Cork and there are so many lovely places in the woods from a metal bedstead growing out from a tree, stick dens and lots of fallen trees to sit on. Also, it's a very quiet place so it's perfect for taking pictures in peace.

When to go? My favourite time of year to visit is autumn to make the most of the trees and the fallen leaves.

'The Sunflower Field', Rossleague, Cobh

This is a place I discovered by chance while taking my sons to back of the island one day. Driving along I noticed a patch of yellow over the hedgerow and when I stopped I was delighted to see that there were lots of sunflowers and a gap in the hedgerow to enter the field. These made the perfect summery photo backdrop.

When to go? August is the best month to go to capture the sunflowers in their full glory.

The Old Head of Kinsale

This is a beautiful location if you want to have the sea as a feature in your photos. The cliffs and the wild flowers growing on the Old Head make a lovely backdrop for photos too. Although, if you're visiting with small children, do make sure to have reins attached to them or carry them in slings for safety.

When to go? The summer months through to September are the best times to visit to capture the flowers in bloom - and the sunshine of course!

Roches Point

The beautiful lighthouse and beach at Roches Point make a great backdrop for photos. The little coloured houses have been called 'Balamory' by people on my Instagram feed and it's just a beautiful place to visit and photograph at.

When to go? March through to September are lovely months to visit Roches Point, especially on a sunny day.

These are just some of my favourite locations to capture beautiful photos of my family in the great outdoors. I'm sure there are lots of other stunning locations dotted around the county, I just haven't had the chance to visit or discover them yet. If you know of any other great photographic locations around Cork then please do share them with me.

I regularly find beautiful spots to photograph in by chance whilst I'm driving. I prefer to photograph outdoors and try to find the most beautiful natural backdrops for my photos, however, I always make sure that my family and I are respectful to nature and to other people's land and I hope others will do the same.

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Little Red Riding Hood ♥

On these mild October days we head to a new favourite haunt of ours, the fairy wood. It's a place I used to play alone as a child, carving my initials and love hearts on to the soft bark of trees, exploring new parts every time I visited.

These days I'm in good company whenever I stroll through these woods, one babe clutching close to my chest in his sling, another, my curly haired babe, running along in front of me, curiously inspecting every sight as he goes along.

This particular day he had an air of Little Red Riding Hood about him in his beautiful robin red duffle coat from JoJo Maman Bébe, searching through the woodland for a 'house' - a den made of sticks, I've never seen a soul so delighted to see a pile of sticks resembling a little house. He crouched down inside and told me he was in his kitchen doing his washing... even in the great outdoors his love for washing machines doesn't quell.

Autumn is upon us, the crisp fallen leaves are trickled along the path and at the deepest, darkest part of the wood, the part that really reminded me of the tale of Little Red Riding Hood, they laid out a thick leafy carpet across the ground. I can't see our adventures ending in this new favourite place of ours at the end of the season though, I think we'll still enjoy our strolls and wandering here even when the trees are bare.

This boys thirst for adventure and delight for the simplest in things, such as spotting cows in a field and picking up sticks from the ground just so he can point them at me and say "abracadabra", really do make me smile. To see a child immerse themselves so much in the world around them and genuinely enjoy being in the great outdoors is such a wonderful thing.

I love this coat on my Little Red Riding Hood, hence why I had to take so many pictures of him in it... I already know he'll be sporting it through the winter, especially at Christmas time, because I don't know of a more perfect shade of red or a more beautiful coat for this little curly haired boy of mine to wear.

*We were sent this red duffle coat by JoJo Maman Bébe for the purposes of this feature. The coat is available from the JoJo Maman Bébé website and in stores for £39.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Beau Samuel James | 5 Months Old ♥

My darling Beau, you are now five months old. You're growing up far too quickly my love, I feel like time is zooming right by us, all our days melting into one due to all our busyness, routine and adventures. I feel as though the days just whirl past us and I swear you seem to have gotten bigger every morning when I go to greet you in your cot, your adorably smiley face beaming back at me as I say "Good morning. Hello I said, I said hello..." - this never fails to get a great big grin from you.

You're still the most joyous, happiest little person I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. Your joy is contagious and even though you're only five months old you genuinely seem to be the type of person who has a joy and thirst for life.

Placidity is another trait you have on equal measure with joy. You're so chilled, relaxed and laid back. You haven't even begun to try and roll over yet because you're too happy just lying on your back, watching us all being busy around you.

We all call you 'Beauzie Boozie' now, I'm awfully sorry for that but it just slips off the tongue now and Tyler takes delight in calling you it too. We may even add the word 'potatoes' after your nickname too, don't ask me why because I really don't know why but it seems to make you smile.

During the week I gave you your first taste of food, cherry and yogurt being flavours you seem to like, however, we're going to have two big problems when it comes to weaning - the fact that you just won't open your mouth for food and that you won't hold food and bring it up to your mouth, I don't know how I'm going to feed you at all.

Even though you're now five months old you still have such an air of being a tiny baby to me. I think it's maybe because your not moving around - although you do love to do your little wiggly dance anytime I get the camera out or speak in funny voices to you, you think I'm hilarious by the way, thanks for that!

You want to be in my arms a lot, but I'm not complaining, you may be my last baby and I want to savor all this time I have with you in my arms before you become as independent as your big brother.

You're bothered these days by your teeth. Teething has really stepped up a gear for you and you constantly need to have your hand in your mouth or you dummy to comfort you. I can feel lots of little toothy pegs on your gums and I feel for you, I really do because you don't yet know how to hold things up to your mouth so I can't even give you any teething toys to ease your pain, but we'll get through it and soon you'll have some lovely pearly whites.

That little head of yours is sprouting more and more hair these days. It seems to grow overnight and I do wonder if you're going to have the same tight ringlet curls as your big brother... only time will tell. Your hair has changed from red to what I describe as an oaty colour, I think you may be going blonde but I may be wrong. Everybody loves to comment on your hair colour, it's a hot topic it seems!

My little Beau, you're such a joy. The happiest cheeky chappy I could have ever wished for. Please don't ever change, stay your smiley self forever.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Positives Of Having A 3 Year Age Gap Between Our Children ♥

There's almost exactly three years and three months to the day between my two boys (just three days out actually, threes all round!) - three being my lucky number, so I was positive that this age gap between them would work out well for us and thankfully, I wasn't wrong.

I always thought my children would be closer in age and if things had worked out differently Tyler would have had a sibling at just one year and eight months of age, but that wasn't to be our story and when I reflect on everything now, I'm quite glad that there's these three years between my boys.

If you're a parent of babies who are very close in age I take my hat off to you, I think you're all superheroes, but I don't think it's for me, I don't think I'd cope and plus, with the guilt I felt when I found out I was expecting Beau and feeling like an awful mother for only giving Tyler three years of me being just his mammy and his alone, I don't think I could cope if I had had another baby in quick succession! By the way, I totally blame crazy pregnancy hormones for all this mammy guilt.

There's a lot to be said for a three year age gap and I thought I'd share some of the positives we've experienced by having a 3 year age gap between our children, for anyone else who's going to be experiencing it for themselves or who's curious about what it's like...

Becoming pregnant while my first child was nearing three meant that he was able to understand more about our impending arrival and why his mummy was now prone to a nap (or three) during the day. In fact, he was more than happy to join me in these naps or just sit next to me for some quiet time. It was all quite lovely really and I fondly remember this time as our last few months as 'mummy and Tyler time'. A time to saviour the days when he was my only baby and to lavish all my time on him.

At three years and three months when his baby brother arrived, Tyler was able to understand why he had to go and stay with his Nana whilst I was in hospital with the baby. I do think he found this time quite hard, probably a lot more so because he knew I was having another baby and he now refers to this as the "time I was gone", which is quite sad, but I don't think it would have been any easier for him if he had been younger, he still would have had that detachment from me. And I won't lie, it took him a bit of time to get over the shock of me arriving home with a brand new baby, but I was able to make him understand that he'd always be my baby too because he was that bit older to listen to me.

Tyler is at a stage where he's curious about everything, so the baby is a source of great intrigue for him and he genuinely shows an interest in the baby, wanting to hold him and interact with him. He's also fiercely protective of his baby brother and this is lovely to see. He knows completely that he's the big brother and he's happy to act out his role.

At the age of three years and three months Tyler knew a variety of names and was able to help in the naming process of the new baby. In fact, as soon as he heard the name Beau he always referred to my bump as 'baby Beau' so we allowed him to name the baby. A lovely sentiment for us and a great story for us to sharing with Beau about how he got his name.

Having a three year old and a small baby is actually quite easy - I bet I just jinxed myself by writing that... The three year old goes to preschool five mornings a week so it gives me time to bond with the baby while he goes off learning and playing with friends, so it doesn't feel like I'm ignoring him in favour of the baby - something I worried quite a lot about before the baby arrived.

At three years old Tyler is willing and wanting to help with the baby. He finds great delight in passing me baby wipes, dummies and toys for his baby brother and it's lovely that he's wanting to get involved and help me out.

Having a three year age gap means there's less nappies to change. I'll be honest, Tyler has had a lot of trouble with potty training, but he's now nappy free, meaning I have just one set of nappies to change on a daily basis - this is great for me because I don't think I'd be able to cope with anymore bodily fluids to clean up!

The three year gap means we do get lots of sleep because at least one of them is bound to be sleeping at some time or another. I've shared on the blog how I got my babies to sleep through the night from five weeks and thankfully they both sleep on average 12 hours a night - sleep for everyone, yay!

Not having a child until three years after the first gave me the chance to bond with my first child completely, gave me a chance to get to know him, his wants and needs and also to just have adventures with him for some years. I'll always remember the days of only having one child quite fondly and am now fully loving the hectic, busy and never dull days of life with two children, but I'm so glad I was able to give him those three years to himself.

At three years old Tyler is able to entertain himself whilst I'm busy feeding or having to give the baby attention. He has and likes his independence and again, this is great as he's happy playing, etc., thus making me feel less guilty for not being able to give him all my time.

Tyler hasn't been in a buggy since just after he turned three, so when Beau came along it meant I didn't need a double pram, that I could still push around my beautiful Silver Cross high pram whilst Tyler walked next to me. It's also been great to just pop Beau in a sling when we go on our woodland walks and have Tyler running along - so much easier than having them both in a buggy or both of them wanting to be in my arms.

These are just the positives I've experienced of the three year age gap, every family is different and I think others will probably have a lot to say for smaller or bigger gaps too, but for us three has been the magic number.



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Monday, October 17, 2016

Change The Life Of A Child | Why You Should Sponsor An Orphan Today ♥

Sadly, there are millions of children in the world today who have lost one or both parents. For many of these children, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, this loss denies them of the happy, healthy childhood which they deserve and means that they can’t go on to achieve their dreams as adults.

However, charitable organisations, such as humanappeal.org.uk, give you the chance to help to change the course of a child’s life through sponsoring an orphan.


The above video is very powerful and shows why these children are in need of help, but in case you're in need of more information, here are five reasons you should take this transformative action today and sponsor a child in need:

1. Food
According to the World Food Programme, poor nutrition causes 3.1 million deaths in children under five each year - that’s half of all deaths in this age group. In developing countries, where the vast majority of the world’s hungry live, about 100 million (one in six) children are underweight and one in three is stunted. By sponsoring a child, you can help ensure that they have adequate sustenance to stay healthy, develop normally, learn and play.

2. Water
In the world today, over 650 million people lack access to safe water and every day almost 900 children die because of diarrhoeal diseases brought about by contaminated water and poor sanitation. Your donation could help make sure that a child has access to clean drinking water and proper sanitation. Not only could this help to keep a child disease-free, it could also protect their dignity and well-being by preventing them from having to defecate out in the open where they may be at risk of attack.

3. Shelter
There are approximately 150 million children in the world today that live on the streets, many of whom have been made homeless by the death of one or both parents. These children, who often have no choice but to beg and scavenge for food, are at risk of malnutrition, disease, exploitation and abuse. With your support, charities can take these vulnerable orphans under their wings and provide them the shelter of an orphanage or foster home where they can receive the protection, care and emotional support that all children deserve.

4. Medicine
Everyone has a right to life-saving safe and impartial healthcare, but unfortunately many children do not have access to even the most basic medical treatment. You can help to ensure that babies are delivered safely, children receive immunisations to help them stay healthy and can consult a doctor when they are unwell by pledging money to a child.

5. Education
Education is a powerful tool for helping children to escape poverty and create better lives for themselves and their communities. These barriers include, but are not limited to, poverty, political conflict, and gender inequality and lack of infrastructure, resources and qualified teachers. By supporting a child financially, you can help to give them the education they need to progress, no matter what their race, religious or gender.

Remember that when you sponsor a child, you are not only assisting that individual - you are also helping to improve a whole community of people in need and that is such an amazing thing to support.

Every child deserves a childhood, to be healthy, happy, safe and have access for food and clean water. It's not a privilege but a human right and by sponsoring an orphan you are helping to save a child and give them a chance in life.

*This is a guest post on behalf of humanappeal.org.uk, a charity who I have made a donation to also.

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Getting Back Into Shape After Pregnancy ♥

I've had two babies within three years and I'll be completely honest here, these pregnancies and new baby days have not been kind to my body. I look at myself in the mirror and I don't recognise the person staring back at me, my body is so much different to how it was in my early twenties and I won't pretend here, I absolutely hate how I look.

My weight has been an issue ever since I had my eldest son, a mixture of post natal depression and agoraphobia contributing a lot to my weight gain - I mean you're going to gain weight when you don't leave the house aren't you?

Thankfully, this time around after giving birth, I'm much happier, active and focused on improving myself and I'm so determined to become slimmer, fitter and healthier, not just for me, but for the two beautiful boys I want to be around to parent for many, many years to come.

So today I thought I'd share how I'm getting back into shape after pregnancy and I'm very happy to say that these things are really working for me and I'm seeing some changes which are really making me feel so much better and confident in myself.

For the past 11 weeks I've been having protein shakes for breakfast. These really help to set me up for the day and keep me feeling full. Also, due to the high protein they have, they've helped me to lose weight and inches off my body - 35 inches since I began having them on July 30th. It's been great to see my body becoming slimmer, clothes feeling a lot looser and I love seeing the number of inches lost going up week after week - it keeps me motivated and eager to lose more. You can read all about my weight loss so far and the reviews of the shakes I've been having here.

Beau and I out on one of our woodland walks
However, now that I've lost weight I could really do with toning up and have been looking at ways to do this, other than just going for my normal walk pushing the pram up and down hills of course. I see on my social media some of the girls I know going to boot camps and training sessions in the gym such as cross-fit etc. I don't know if these would be for me though because I prefer working out on a one-on-one basis and I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't be mortified taking my out of shape self along to a training session...

My Nan told me last week that there's a girl who she sees with a personal trainer up on the track when she goes walking. I can definitely see the benefits of having a personal trainer. For someone like me who can sometimes lack the motivation or want to go out and exercise, having a personal trainer there to keep you on track and to have a proper workout with, tailored around the areas you want to work on would be fab!

If you're in the London area (which I know a lot of my readers are), then an East London personal training company could really be beneficial for anyone who needs some motivation and help in keeping fit and exercising properly. I'd really love to have the personal trainer experience and not just because I think it would be kind of cool to say "I can't, sorry! I have a session with my personal trainer today..." - if anything it'd be a valid excuse for getting out of things at least! The PT experience seems to work for a lot of celebs, they're always papped having work outs in parks, etc., so I don't see why it couldn't work for a normal being like myself too.

As I said above, I go walking with my pram quite a lot and it's actually a great workout pushing it up and down the hills in my hometown - I've even been jogging with it! I don't know if it's just me or what, but I actually find it a lot more enticing to go out for walks on the cooler autumn and winter days. I make sure that the boys and I get some fresh air everyday and even just popping Beau into the sling (seriously, he's the best weight I could ever carry around) and going for a trek with them both through the woods counts as a workout for me, because believe me when I say they keep me on my toes!

I honestly believe that simply running around after the two of them and having to go up and down the stairs with them for what seems like a million times a day has contributed to my weight loss too. I'm happy to say I no longer get puffed whilst I'm running about with them and it's great to have a lot more energy, cause lets face it, I really need it!

One thing I'd really love to try as part of my 'getting back into shape' mission is yoga. It's something I've wanted to try for quite a while now and my friend and I were speaking about going to a class together - I'm so glad she's up for it too because I know I'd never go on my own. So hopefully this is something I can do to improved my fitness and flexibility, I'd at least like to give it a go.

I'll be updating the blog on my weight loss and fitness progress every two weeks, so do pop back if you're interested in reading about how I'm doing.

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Saturday, October 15, 2016

Bambini & Me Bamboo Romper & Swaddle | Review ♥

It's no secret that I love baby clothes. Finding lovely new brands to dress Beau in is becoming something of a hobby of mine and I love sharing my adorable finds here on the blog to show you all too.

One brand which I've recently discovered is Bambini & Me, who offer some beautiful bamboo clothing and swaddles for little ones. Bambini & Me source ethically source products to produce their range and as their offerings are made from bamboo, they're incredibly soft and eco-friendly too.

I had some bamboo clothing for Tyler when he was a baby so I know just how lovely bamboo clothing can be, so I was delighted to be able to get Beau some bamboo pieces of his own and the romper and swaddle I choose for him from the Bambini & Me range didn't disappoint.

I chose the blue romper (£22), which is adorned with an adorable bunny print and the swaddle in crystal blue (£15) - a slightly darker blue than the romper, which has the matching bunny print. These two pieces look adorable together and I can't get enough of the abundance of bunnies going on when Beau wears his romper and snuggling up to his swaddle.

The pieces arrived individually packaged in boxes and this was a lovely touch, giving a rather luxurious feel to the brand. I think the way they're packaged would make them a lovely gift option for babies/new or expecting mothers too.

As I expected, the pieces were soft and were of really good quality. Even though Beau is only just turning five months, I decided to get him the romper in 6-12 months as he's quite a long baby. The romper fit perfectly the first time he wore it and I loved the shade of blue on him.

However, after washing, the romper appears to have shrunk a bit on the legs, something I was quite disappointed by as I wanted him to get lots of wear out of it. It's now up his legs like a short, summer romper and is a bit snug on the poppers, making putting it back on after nappy changes something of a task. It's such a shame as it was a perfect fit when he first wore it and I really loved the whole look and feel of it.

The swaddle has become one of Beau's favourite swaddles. It's quite large (120X120) making it perfect for swaddling him up in - something he still enjoys even though he's almost five months old. It feels so lovely and this has washed really well. We use it all the time now, either swaddling him or letting him snuggle up to it at bed or nap time.

Overall, I was really impressed with Bambini & Me's offerings. I fell in love with the colours and the prints, the quality was great and I love how eco-friendly and ethical the brand is, I just wish the romper hadn't shrunk so much after washing.

*We were sent these products for the purpose of the review, however, as always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

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