Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Me & Mine {November 2016} ♥

It's Me & Mine time and this month I'm sharing our first photos as a family of four - yay! They only took six months to capture and I don't know why we never used the self-timer on the camera before but we'll be using it a lot more often from now on.

This months pictures were actually Tyler's idea. If I'm honest, I had completely forgot about taking pictures for Me & Mine, but when we were out walking yesterday in the woods Tyler really wanted to take some family pictures - I was so surprised by this as he usually hates getting his picture taken, but I'm so happy he's finally embracing the camera.

I love how these pictures turned out, getting four people to look at the camera all at one is a hard task but I think we did okay for a first try!

November has been such a busy month for us but we did manage to have one family day out to Gougane Barra which was so lovely. We've also been preparing for Christmas and I'm so looking forward to it this year, we have lots of surprises in store for the boys and I know it's just going to be  amazing.

This month Jacek is loving:
Watching The Grand Tour
Visiting a new place
Christmas shopping

This month I'm loving:
Having dinner out with Jacek
Getting organised for Christmas
Vlogging

This month Tyler is loving:
Playing cars and garages
Having a sleepover with Nana
Playing pretend with his toy kitchen and food

This month Beau is loving:
Playing horsey on mummy's lap
Weaning - he loves all the food!
Bathtime

The Me and Mine Project

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

My Weight Loss Journey | Weeks 16 & 17 Measurements, Slimpod Update & 3lbs Down ♥

I haven't done an update on my weight loss for two weeks now - the joys of being a very busy mother of two, but I really want to keep up with the updates as they help to keep me motivated and it's great to look back on my progress, so I filmed a quick update video today.

The video includes my week 16 and 17 measurements, a Slimpod update (I've now been listening to it for two weeks) and a very surprising 3lb loss - yay!

My latest vlog is below if you care to watch and I'd love some new subscribers if you'd like to follow along on my journey.


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Silver Cross Pioneer in Pushchair Mode | Review ♥

As a family we absolutely love the Silver Cross brand. Not only are their products practical and easy to use, but they're super stylish too and I love using them with our children.

A few months ago we were sent the wonderful Silver Cross Pioneer, with vintage silver colourway, to use with our newest addition, Beau. I loved pushing Beau around in his beautiful pram and I reviewed the Pioneer in carry cot mode back in October - which you can read all about here.

Beau is now six months old and we've transitioned him to the pushchair stage of the Pioneer. It was a bittersweet moment for me when I decided to move him out of the carry cot. It was a reminder for me that my baby is growing far too quickly for my liking and also that that last walk with him in the carrycot might be it's last use by us ever as he may be our last child - all the sadness!

He is now in his pushchair seat and I'm happy to say he still loves being in his pram. The pushchair seat of the Pioneer can be positioned in three ways - upright, semi or flat and it's so easy to transition the seat setting too, you simply pull on the handle at the back of the seat and it moves very easily. I've only had Beau in the flat position so far as he's not able to sit up by himself yet, but he genuinely looks so comfy and happy laying down in the pushchair seat.

The seat attaches to the chassis very easily by slotting it into the adapter slots - the same ones that are used for the carry cot so they don't even have to be changed. The seat can be used in a forward facing and parent facing mode, with us preferring the parent facing mode as Beau is still so young.

The seat of the pushchair is very spacious and I believe that this will be Beau's one and only pushchair, lasting him from three months to whenever he gets to walking age, and I think that's a great aspect when it comes to buying a pram for your baby, you want to get longevity for the price you're paying and Silver Cross most definitely offer this.

There's an adjustable footrest on the pushchair seat, which is a great feature as it can be moved to suit your child's age and needs, also giving calf support for taller children. There's also a non-slip footrest on the front of the chassis, which is ideal for helping older children to get into their pushchair with ease.

One of the things which bothered me when using the Pioneer in carry cot mode was that the carry cot blocked access to the huge basket underneath, thankfully, when being used in pushchair mode, the basket is fully accessible and is perfect for popping everything into when we're out and about - and believe me when I say it can hold a lot!

Silver Cross Pioneer in Pushchair Mode Features - 
✓ Swivel front wheels for easy maneuverability
✓ Interchangeable colour ways for customisation
✓ Large and spacious pushchair seat
✓ Three seat positions
✓ 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

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

Cons -
For me there are none, this pushchair is an absolute dream to use and I love pushing Beau around in it

Conclusion
I really do love the Silver Cross Pioneer, it's been so easy and a joy to use in both carry cot and pushchair mode and I really like the fact that this will be the only pushchair Beau will ever need. In pushchair mode the Pioneer still fits easily into my small car boot and attaching the pushchair onto the chassis can be done in about two seconds - ideal for someone like me who hates faffing about with these kind of things. The Pioneer is a great pram/pushchair option and I'd highly recommend it for anyone who's looking for something stylish, comfortable for their child and which is super simple to use too.

The Silver Cross Pioneer is €879, which I think it quite reasonable for what it includes and the longevity it offers.

*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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Monday, November 28, 2016

Keeping Cosy With the 7am Enfant LambPOD ♥

The weather has turned considerably colder here as of late and with two little ones who love being outside, I'm always looking for ways to keep them warm and cosy on our outdoor adventures during the colder months.

Beau is now six months old and has transitioned to the pushchair stage of his Silver Cross Pioneer, meaning that I've been able to add a foot muff to it to help keep him cosy and snug when we're out and about on our walks and days out.

The foot muff I've been using is the gorgeous 7am Enfant LambPOD, which is a lovely heather grey coloured insulated foot muff with super soft fleece lining. The LambPOD has zips on the side for getting baby in and out of it easily and slits on the back for putting the pushchair straps through for securing properly, as well as velcro straps for attaching to the pushchair.

The LambPOD really is so snug for little ones. The fleece lining is so soft and keeps Beau very warm when we're out and about and as it's so well insulated I don't need to put a blanket on him while he's in it, the foot muff is more than enough to keep him warm. He's now also prone to falling asleep in his pushchair since we began using the LambPOD as he's so comfy in it.

The LambPOD also has a large hooded part, which Beau is very fond of snuggling into and he always looks so happy and cosy when he's in it.

I would highly recommend the LambPOD to any parent who's looking for a good quality, warm and stylish foot muff to use with their pushchair. I'm a big fan of the grey colour of this as it matches our pushchair and although the inside lining of ours is black, there's also a red version available too.

The LambPOD is £100 for a small/medium and £130 for a medium large and is available from the 7am Enfant website and Amazon.

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

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Introducing Molly Brown & A Giveaway ♥

I love finding and introducing new brands to you all and today's is exceptionally lovely. I'm delighted to introduce to you all Molly Brown, an adorable children's jewellery brand based in London.

On Molly Brown's launch, Vogue referred to them as "Tiffany's for kids" and I can definitely see why - their jewellery is absolutely beautiful!

I'm a boy mum, so I don't get to give them pretty jewellery, but when I was a child I developed a love for jewellery that has always stayed with me and to this day I still love finding beautiful pieces to add to my jewellery collection and I still have my first jewellery box, which was a gift from my aunt when I was six years old - you know the ones with the spinning ballerina inside, just so pretty and I'm delighted to be hosting this giveaway for Molly Brown, in the hope that a little girl in your life may discover her love for all things jewellery too.

Molly Brown has won numerous awards for their unique designs, all of which are so beautifully made. The brands collections make wonderful Christmas and birthday gifts too, as you can personalise the jewellery with an inscription, for that extra special touch.

Many of Molly Brown's pieces are designed with multiple clasps so the jewellery can be worn into adulthood, which is such a lovely idea to ensure the present is enjoyed for years to come.  

Each piece of jewellery is presented in a lovely gift box and bag, making them a really beautiful keepsake gift to open on Christmas Day or on birthdays.

The lovely people at Molly Brown have very kindly offered one lucky reader the chance to win a personalised little wish fairy necklace in their choice of colour - pink, gold or white. This is such a beautiful prize and would be perfect for a little girl to open on Christmas Day.

To enter please do so via the Gleam widget below. Best of luck to all who enter.

Terms & conditions:
This giveaway is open to residents of Ireland and the United Kingdom only.
This giveaway will run for two weeks and will end at 11.59pm on December 13th.
The winner will receive a personalised fairy wish necklace from Molly Brown in their choice of colour - pink, white or gold.
The prize is being supplied directly from Molly Brown.
Incomplete entries will be disqualified. 

Molly Brown


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Creating An Online Money Pot With Leetchi ♥

Have you ever been part of a group fund - you know, for example, when someone's leaving for a new job or if someone's organising a baby shower for a friend or family member and everyone's asked to chip in for a gift? I have, plenty of times and most of the time it's plain sailing...

But then there are times when the person collecting the money has to chase people for their contribution and has trouble keeping up with who owes what or what's needed to make up the difference and everything just becomes a lot of hassle for them and everyone involved, making you wonder why you bothered going to the effort of it all at all in the first place.

I think we've all been in that position before, but thankfully someone has come up with a solution to organising a group fund, in the form of Leetchi.com - an easy and secure interface that allows anyone to create a money pot to which they can invite others to participate in with the aim of financing anything they like.

Leetchi is the leading European service for online group money collection and since it's founding in 2009, the site has gained 6 million users, and counting...

With Leetchi money pot you can turn your projects into a reality from buying group gifts - birthday, baby shower, wedding gifts, etc. or organising events to support charity, as well as so much more. I think Leetchi really is a great idea and is perfect of taking the hassle out of dealing with a group of people and handling money too, making gift giving what it really should be in the first place - a happy and joyful experience!

I also think it's ideal for raising money for charity as it can be used by people worldwide as well as closer to home, so it's perfect for raising funds for local charities or those further afield too.

So how does it work? It's all quite simple and in just a few clicks a user can set up their own money pot and invite friends, family and other groups of people to join and participate. Each person can chip into the money pot by using their bank card and once the money is raised, Leetchi users can spend their funds as they so wish.

As well as the personal money pot options, Leetchi also has a public money pot page, which allows users to discover money pots which were set up with the purpose of supporting charitable causes, non-profit organisations and personal crowdfunding projects too.

Leetchi has now partnered with Amazon UK, which is a perfect retailer to find a gift for someone who you may be setting up a personal money pot for.

As someone who has lots of family and friends overseas I can see Leetchi being very useful for us all to raise funds for special events within our family or friend group. It will allow us all to chip in for something special and let someone know we care for them, without any hassle at all - and this sounds just perfect to me.

You can find out more information about Leetchi.com on their website, or on their Twitter @LeetchiUK and Facebook @LeetchiUK for regular updates.

*This is a collaborative post. 


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Saturday, November 26, 2016

All About Beau & Motherhood the 2nd Time Round ♥

I've vlogged again today, and believe me when I say that no one is as surprised as I am that I've continued with the vlogging - maybe I was more inspired by Blogfest than I first thought!

Today's vlog is all about Beau and my experience of motherhood the 2nd time round, which I also wrote about here, but somehow my thoughts are a lot more candid when I'm speaking to the camera.

Please do check out our video below and we'd love it if you'd like to follow along with our vlogs by subscribing to our channel here.


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Thursday, November 24, 2016

Preparing For Christmas ♥

December is on the way, which means one thing for me - Christmas! I'm a Christmas lover, for me it really is the most magical time of year and if I could decorate my whole house with twinkling fairy lights and glittery baubles I would - by the way, isn't 'bauble' a great word to say? It just conjures up images of Christmas trees laden with shiny and glittering decorations for me. Anyone else?

This Christmas is a very special one for us as it's Beau's first Christmas. I remember Tyler's first Christmas being such a lovely time for us all and I've wonderful memories from that time (you can read about Tyler's first Christmas here), so I want the same for Beau. I have lots of ideas for little keepsake photo shoots I want to do with him and his big brother - I've been pinning ideas away on Pinterest and am so inspired, I just hope I have time to do them all. I also have all of his gifts, I just need to wrap them up - if only I could find the time!

The one thing I need to get him is his very own Christmas stocking. Years ago I got us all beautiful handmade burlap stockings with baby blue designs for Jacek and Tyler and pale pink with polkadots for me (you can see them here) and when we had Beau I got in touch with the lady who made them to see if she could do one for him, but sadly she's not making them this year, I'm so sad!

Our decorations always go up on December 1st and this year I want to make the house especially cosy and festive. I want to have lots of lights around the place, get a beautiful wreath for the door as well as some new festive red flowers for outside the door too. Trees will be going into Beau's and Tyler's bedrooms as well as the main one down here and Beau's will be a white tree with baby blue 'My 1st Christmas' decorations, the same ones we had for Tyler.

I want new soft furnishings and Christmas decorations for the living room and have been searching online for some beautiful, festive pieces. Matalan in particular have a great range of affordable Christmas decorations and using Matalan discount codes means I get to save even more pennies for Christmas while still being able to decorate my house with pretty things.

This week I wrote our first Christmas cards, now on their way to South Africa. I even went the extra mile and drew some holly on the envelopes - I don't know where the artistic inspiration came from but I was happy to embrace it.

I've also been looking up some festive recipes and want to make lots of treats for the boys. This year I just really want to go the extra mile to make everything special for everyone because we'll never get this time back and I want it to be the best it can possibly be for us all.

I'm also debating whether or not to join in with Vlogmas now we have a new found love for vlogging but I don't want to begin something and then not be able to devote as much time as I would like to it.

Whatever happens this Christmas I know it'll be wonderful. Jacek and I have lots of surprises for the boys and most importantly, we all have each other and celebrating together and snuggling up on the couch with the boys watching some festive TV and movies will be all that we really need.


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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

5 Ways I Use Flowers in My Photography ♥

I love flowers and I think it's safe to say, if you've followed my blog for some time now, you'll have noticed that I use flowers in a lot of different ways in my photography. Today I thought I'd share these ways, to give some inspiration to anyone else who may be looking to add some beautiful floral aspect to the pictures they take.

Photo styling
I use flowers in almost every photo I take for the blog. Whether it be a picture of a cake I've just baked, a simple picture of things I've been loving lately or even just a picture of a book I've been enjoying recently, I always make sure there's a floral element to my photo styling. I think it's something which has become very identifiable to my particular photography and I think that's a lovely aspect to have when it comes to an artform such as photography, you want to make it as true to you as you possibly can and as a flower lover I can't help but include some beautiful flowers in my photos.

Home decor
If I have to take a picture in a particular room for a post I always make sure that there's fresh flowers in there. I find they make the room look much fresher and just give a much more appealing look to everything, as well as providing a nice subject for the photo background. I always have fresh flowers in my house, I get new ones on a weekly basis and they make the place look so much cheerier. Bloom Magic have some beautiful flowers, including stunning coloured roses in hat boxes which I'm totally lusting over for my house.


Flatlays
I always use flowers as part of my flatlays. They're a great element to add to a picture and they can give a great injection of colour. It's also great to use flowers as part of flatlays if you're trying to stick to a colour theme, especially for Instagram, as there's so many varieties and shades to choose from.

Product reviews
This kind of falls into what I said about photo styling above. I started using flowers as part of my product reviews years ago and they really help to make a picture 'Pinterest-worthy', perfect for enticing people to want to look at your post. I always add a picture to my tweets too and find that a pretty picture makes people more inclined to click on the post link too.

Baby updates
Since Beau was three was months old I've been using flowers to mark out the number of months he is. This is something I wish I had done for the first two monthly updates too as the twelve of them would have made a lovely collage. Using flowers to mark out the numbers is a lovely and unique way of taking your baby's monthly update pictures and the best thing is you can make them seasonal too if you so wish.

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The Very Hungry Caterpillar Goodies Unboxing ♥

A few weeks back we were very kindly sent a box of goodies containing products from The Very Hungry Caterpillar range of merchandise.

Everything in the box is colourful, fun and quite educational too - always great aspects to see in products aimed at children.

As I'm now getting into vlogging I decided to make a little unboxing video with Tyler. He loves watching review videos on YouTube so I asked if he'd like to be part of my videos and he said yes, yay! He's a little camera shy in the below video but after we finished this one he wanted to make another straight away, so I think you'll be seeing a lot more of him.

Everything show in the video is available from Amazon and the lovely strawberry and caterpillar napkins are part of the Talking Tables party ranges.

We loved everything in our box and as you can see in the video Tyler took a particular shine to the My Nature Walk Scrapbook, we'll have to take it along with us on some of our outdoor adventures so he can fill it in.



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Monday, November 21, 2016

The Magic of Gougane Barra ♥

Yesterday my boys and I went exploring somewhere new, a place that none of us had ever been to before, a place that really was quite magical, the beautiful Gougane Barra.

We drove an hour and half across the county, through the most twisting and turning roads we've ever experienced to a place where the landscape was absolutely breathtaking. There were auburn coloured hills on both sides of us, some topped with snow - something which Tyler was amazed by and lots of rocky sights in view. We drove through the quaintest little towns and the Gaelic region, all the signs were as Gaeilge and the place had an air of being lost in time, it was like another world to us.

There were beautiful lakes everywhere, whose waters were perfectly still and glittering from the bright winter sun beating down on surface. There was definitely a chill in the air yesterday and as we drove through the county we could see the orange and brown autumn landscapes disappearing and the frosty, icing winter days creeping in.

When we arrived at Gougane Barra there was a definite feeling of stillness and calm. There wasn't one ripple in the lake surrounding St. Finbarr's Oratory - which we went in to to light candles and it was just a beautiful, peaceful place to walk around with our little ones in tow.

There's a huge forrest in Gougane Barra too, with lots of places to explore. We hiked up the side of a hill, up rugged stone steps and through a waterfall to get to a lookout point to view the amazing sites all around us. I was amazed that Tyler managed the steps and even when we got down he wanted to go straight back up again - he's definitely an adventurer!

We had a great time exploring Gougane Barra, a beautiful place and most definitely a photographers dream - I was in my element taking pictures of it all. It was like something out of a fairytale.



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