Saturday, April 29, 2017

Struggling To Do It All ♥

Time.

It hasn't been on my side as of late.

The minutes go by in a blur and my days pass by in what feels like whirlwind speed. I can't catch a break. I can't get anything I want to done.

The baby has been crawling for a month now and no stair gate has gone up. I've been wanting to teach my eldest to ride his bike but it sits in the shed not yet fixed. The freshly washed clothes sit atop my kitchen table as if it's some sort of waiting area and no matter how much of it I put away, there will always been another load there, just waiting... The kitchen floor is always full of crumbs, no many how many times I sweep them up and I feel like I run a café specifically for two small children - are they never not hungry, are they ever not eating?

Juggling everything is hard. Harder than I ever imagined it would be and I find myself not being able to breath, struggling for air in this 'work at home parent' role I've set up for myself. The fact of the matter is, I don't get any work done right now and it's bothering me, a lot.

I feel guilty if I don't play with the children, instead having to favour answering emails or doing the housework, simply because these things have to be done, but would I be so hard on myself if I had a 'normal' job and was away from them for many hours during the day? No, I don't think I would.

I think it's the 'staying at home' part that makes me think I'm failing, that makes me think that I have to shower my children with attention twenty-four seven - but this shouldn't be the case at all and I'm putting far too much pressure on myself.

It's a struggle to try and better yourself and essentially set up and run your own business when your main role is a parent.

Yesterday I held the baby, and I mean I really held him. I let him fall asleep in my arms and it was absolute bliss. In that moment I didn't even want to think about work, even though I had important emails waiting to be answered. I just wanted to breathe him in and stroke his perfectly soft, curly locks. In that moment I wanted time to stand still, but it didn't of course, his big brother came thundering in wanting a snack (honestly, do they ever stop eating?!). I need more moments like this and less moments of feeling stressed. It's a sad state of affairs when you're a stay at home parent and don't even have the time to sit and just be surrounded by your children, without having to think of the million and one things waiting to be done at that moment in time.

If we didn't have some sort of routine for meals and bedtime I really do think I'd crack up, but I hate that I have to be so rigid with these things just for my own sanity.

I've always wanted three children, but at this moment in time I honestly can't see how I could give time to another without neglecting the other two in some way. How do other people manage? Where do they find the time? These questions perplex me on a daily basis because I honestly don't see how they do it.

Maybe I don't manage my time well enough - I know I spend far too much time on my phone and this is something I would love to change, but when you're trying to establish a job for yourself in the online world, it's almost impossible to switch off from virtual space and put down the devices that connect you to this world.

Right now I'm struggling to do it all and I feel as though I'm going to burn out soon. Something has got to give and I hate the fact that things I love, such as photography, have had to be neglected to fit in my daily walk, something I have to do each day to try and lose weight.

I need to find a better work/life balance and try to separate my roles as parent, worker and person in my own right, to find some stability and not feel constantly dizzy by how fast time is passing me by.

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Pampers To Donate 300,000 Nappies to Premature Babies Across Ireland ♥

The first thing any parent wants to do when they see their newborn baby for the first time is hold them. But imagine giving birth to your long awaited baby a lot sooner than you ever thought you would and having to give up that precious moment to ensure that the life of your baby could be saved - it's heartbreaking, but this is the reality for parents of premature babies.

Did you know that there are approximately 4,500 premature babies born in Ireland every year? I was on the other end of the scale, with my sons arriving right on time and exactly a week overdue respectively, they were also big boys, tipping the end of the 9lb scale, so it's hard for me to imagine how hard it must be for parents of preemies, but watching the below video of the emotions parents of a preemie baby go through, has given me an insight into how hard it must be and how every little moment with their baby is seen as a milestone.


One of these important milestones being the first nappy change, a moment when parents of preemies are able to touch and care for their child themselves and Pampers are doing their part to care for these little fighters too, by developing the Pampers Preemie Protection range.

Designed to specifically meet the needs of the tiniest little fighters, the new size P3 nappies are three times smaller than the size of a regular newborn nappy and are suitable for babies as small as 1.8lbs (800g).

Neonatal nurses are currently having to use regular newborn nappies on premature babies - which you can imagine isn't ideal or particularly comfortable for their tiny frames. The new Preemie Protection nappies from Pampers have been designed to specifically meet the needs of premature babies, minimising discomfort and disruption for them, which in turn helps with sleep, positioning and medical care.

Pampers is committed to the happy, healthy development of every baby in Ireland - including the tiniest ones, and this is why they have designed a nappy to fit even the smallest of premature babies. Pampers has also partnered with the Irish Premature Babies Association, the largest premature charity in Ireland, which helps to support the tiniest little fighters and their families.

Pampers are donating their new Preemie Protection range nappies to maternity hospitals, special care baby unites and neo-natal units around Ireland for one year and after reading and watching the emotional rollercoaster preemies and their parents have to go through, I think it's great that Pampers are doing their bit to help premature babies and their families in any way that they can and I'm proud to be associated with a brand that really cares for the little fighters in this world.

If by any chance you can't get the nappies from your maternity hospital you can email pampers.preemie@fleishmaneurope.com and Pampers will arrange to get a supply sent out to you.

#PampersBabyBoard #ad #powerofbabies

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Bath, Book, Bed - A Bedtime Routine For A Good Nights Sleep ♥


Ever since they were born, I've tried by best to get my boys into a good bedtime routine and thankfully, this is one part of parenting that I'm happy to say I've succeeded with - thank goodness for small miracles!

I've spoken before about the things I've done to help my babies sleep through the night from five weeks old and today I'm sharing a set bedtime routine - #BathBookBed. This is a campaign by the BookTrust, who have also teamed up with Supernanny Jo Frost and Daddy Pig from Peppa Pig, to encourage parents to include reading bedtime stories as part of their children's bedtime routine in a bid to help them sleep better.

As a parent, I have to say that I fully support the inclusion of a book at bedtime. Both of our boys have a plethora of books in their bedrooms and our eldest is a child who will keep requesting another story until he falls asleep.

There's nothing sweeter for me than hearing Jacek read the boys a bedtime story - something which he's just begun doing with Beau and I have to admit, I love reading the boys bedtime stories too as it's probably the only time out of the day that I get to read something 'real' - other than a blog, social media or website.

After dinner I pop the boys in a nice, warm, bubbly bath and I find that this helps to let them have a little bit of playtime with their bath toys and splashing in the water, but it also helps to relax them too - especially Beau, who has been known to fall asleep straight after his bath. There's something so therapeutic about warm water and a warm bath really is a great thing to incorporate into a child's bedtime from birth as it helps to wind them down and fall soundly asleep.

You can pick up your own copy of the Bath, Book, Bed booklet from your local library or you can download it from the BookTrust website. It's full of helpful advice and tips for getting your child into a relaxing and effective bedtime routine and it's a great little booklet for parents to keep at hand - especially on the days when your little ones just do not want to sleep.

I think the Bath, Book, Bed campaign is a great idea. I'm all for encouraging a love of reading and books in children and for making them want to sleep soundly too!

*We were sent a bundle of Peppa Pig goodies to share about the #BathBookBed campaign, however, as always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

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How I Lost 30lbs & 127cm Off My Body in 9 Months ♥

Hard work. Determination. Effort. Exercise. Apple Cider.

These are the five things that I'm contributing my weight loss to. I began trying to lose weight back in July 2016, shortly after I gave birth to my second son, and while things went well for awhile - I lost 100cm off my body just by having protein shakes for my breakfast every morning, there was one key thing missing from my weight loss efforts - exercise.

I documented my weight loss journey in blogs and vlogs, which you can read and see here and I've decided to do a weekly progress report to keep me focused.
I'm happy to say that today, nine months on from when I first decided that I needed to change my life and reduce my weight, not just for my own sake but for the sake of my children too, I am now a whole different person - weight wise, determination wise and effort wise.

The footpaths are my gym and the buggy is my workout tool. Honestly, there's no better cardio workout for a mother than pushing her two children in and on a buggy up a very steep hill. I wish I could say that I have my own personal trainer, such as the ones available from ML Chiropractic, but unfortunately for now I've had to be my own trainer and cheerleader, planning out the walks that'll give me the best workout and spurring myself to continue on when I think I can't do another step up that hill.

I now have three set walking routes that I alternate and I always make sure to do at least one walk every day - if it's a good day and I'm bursting with energy I do two. I've now started jogging on my walks too and am trying to let my inhibitions go and not care what people think about me as I'm jogging along with the buggy, but I'm doing well so far and I'm actually quite proud of myself and how far I've come.

Jacek got me a Fitbit for my birthday in March and when I began doing my walks my fitness level was poor, it's now fair and in the past two weeks I've seen a huge jump in it, so I'm hoping that next month I can reach average level.

Another thing I do everyday is drink apple cider vinegar in water and take two apple cider vinegar capsules. When I was diagnosed with gallstones I looked up things that could help break them down naturally and apple cider vinegar kept popping up as a solution. I also read that it could help aid weight loss, and although I didn't begin drinking the vinegar or taking the capsules for weight loss alone, they've really helped me to drop the weight - especially off my stomach, which I am beyond delighted by. Goodbye mummy tummy!

The apple cider vinegar I drink is Braggs, simply because it has the unfiltered 'mother' in it and that's all the good stuff. The capsules I take are the New Nordic High Strength Apple Cider Vinegar Tablets 720mg - these are a big pill to swallow, but it's worth it.

I had to change my diet completely when I began having regular gallbladder attacks and I'm sorry to say that I have to eat more or less the same thing everyday so that I'm not up getting sick and in pain all night, but I'll get over my bland, boring diet of a breakfast biscuit, pasta, yogurts, chicken and mash. One of my goals is to eat more fruit and veg, but I'll work on that, just like I did everything else.

I honestly believe that changing the way you look at exercise and food is the key to losing weight. I now see going for a walk as something to enjoy and time to clear my mind and get out of the house. I no longer crave sweet things all the time and I don't constantly eat junk, in fact, I much rather the savoury stuff these days. I also never thought I'd be drinking vinegar on a daily basis either, but I actually enjoy that too - who'd have thought it?!

So there you have it, the 'secret' to how I lost 30lbs in 4 months - lots of walking, lots of steep hills, lots of vinegar and a change in diet. 

There's no magic solution to weight loss, you simply have to put the effort in. As the saying goes - you reap what you sow and I can't tell you how good it feels to fit into my old clothes again, the ones that were buried at the back of the wardrobe because I was too fat to fit in them.

As of today I've lost 30lbs and 127cm.

I still have a long way to go to be the weight that I want to be, but I'm a whole different person now and much happier in life.


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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

5 Unique & Beautiful Places To Get Married in the UK ♥


A persons wedding day is a day which they've probably looked forward to for a very long time. It's also a day that a lot of care, precision and planning goes into too, with the bride and groom wanting their 'big day' to be a perfect affair and a day full of fun, love and happy memories for them and their guests to remember for years to come.

One key factor when it comes to planning a wedding is choosing where the wedding and reception will take place. Personally, I'd love to get married outside and I don't think anyone would expect any less from my nature loving self and for the reception I think Jacek and myself would love a castle or an old manor house to entertain our guests - our love of visiting historical places would have to play a part in our special day after all.

I've shared my dream Alice in Wonderland themed wedding ideas on the blog before and I think these would be perfectly fitting for an outdoor/castle wedding too.

If you're planning your wedding, it can be quite daunting trying to find a venue to suit your needs, numbers and be a place you absolutely love too, but luckily there are ways to search for and compare a whole host of venues all at once with sites such as Venuefinder. With their 'quick search' you can search for all manner of venues within the UK and abroad too, which really is a great tool for those trying to plan a special occasion such as a wedding.

If you're looking for some wedding location inspiration within the UK, I decided to share five unique and beautiful places to get married around. Would you consider getting married in any of these places?

National History Museum
Have you always enjoyed the mucky quiet walks around the museum? Well not only does the National History Museum do sleepovers (can you actually believe this? I have visions of Night at the Museum happening) but it caters for weddings too - amazing! 

It’s pretty standard for a museum to have wonderful architecture and this place is the cream of the crop. With that fantastic staircase for your entrance as man and wife surrounded by wonderful exhibits, this certainly has a lot of character and it certainly will be unforgettable for both you and your guests. There are two spaces that cater for as little as fifty guests and as many as six-hundred and fifty, including the room with the dinosaur - a very unique wedding location I'm sure you'll agree!

Manchester Art Gallery
A church might be the traditional way to get hitched, but there are so many other options if you’re not religiously inclined. Whilst the National History museum thrives on traditional and the beautiful architecture, the Manchester Art Gallery is one for those who like IKEA furniture and new builds - the contemporary couple.

This venue has everything covered from the vow-taking to the tipsy dancing well into the night. It happens to be a little bargain as far as wedding venues are concerned as well, which, considering how expensive weddings and all their trimmings can get, is a real bonus!

Clearwell Castle
Marrying your Prince Charming? All girlie girls grow up dreaming of their perfect wedding day complete with a fairytale castle. The great thing us that the UK has a rich history, which has resulted in incredible architecture from many many different time periods - perfect for those wanting a historic and dreamy touch for their big day.

For the Medieval style fortress, travel to the beautiful Forest of Dean for this amazing venue. 

One Mayfair
If you’ve always been in love with the capital - whether you live there or visit as often as you can, then chances are you can’t wait to find the perfect glitzy venue to suit your cosmopolitan lifestyle. 

The One Mayfair has all of the glamour you are looking for - think of the venues you see them perusing around on Made in Chelsea. The architecture is haunting and traditional but they have injected certain contemporary elements that give a really amazing contract.

HMS Warrior
Are you a lover of the sea? Was Titanic your favourite film? Then look no further than getting married on a boat.

The HMS Warrior sure does have that extra factor, regardless if you’re partial to a little sea sickness. 


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Monday, April 24, 2017

Beautiful Flower Themed Gifts For Any Occasion ♥

Anyone who knows me knows that I love flowers and anything floral themed. There's nothing lovelier than seeing a sea of colourful flowers in bloom once springtime arrives and I can never resist bringing flowers into my own home or buying floral print things whenever I can.

I wanted to put together a gift guide of beautiful flower themed gifts, all perfect for flower lovers like me.

Glazed & gold red rose
This glazed and gold trimmed natural red rose from Eternity Rose is an absolutely beautiful gift idea, perfect for gifting someone a rose that will last forever. They have a variety of colours available, but this red rose reminded me of the rose from Beauty & the Beast and it seemed quite fitting to include given it's popularity at the moment.

Hat box of roses
It's my dream to be gifted with a hat box of roses, I think it's such a lovely way of presenting flowers to someone. This Candy Rose box from Bloombox is just dreamy.

Floral crown
A floral crown has been on my wish list for the longest time, I think they're gorgeous and perfect for photos - which I never stop taking! This one in particular from Princesse Mlleartsy on Etsy is so beautiful! They even make duo crowns for mothers and daughters - an absolutely adorable gift idea!

Flower ring
A flower ring is a perfect gift as it means a flower lover can be adorned with flowers everyday. This Forget Me Not ring from IrynaFleur on Etsy is so pretty, I just love that blue colour. Want!

Flower wall print
This print from Little Emma's Flowers on Etsy is so pretty and perfect for a flower lover to hang on their wall.

VQ Retro MK II Radio
This radio is something of beauty and it's available in a range of colours and Emma Bridgewater prints, but this Emma Bridgewater Rosebee print in particular is perfect for flower lovers. I've reviewed this radio here.

Large floral letter
These large floral letters from the Begonia Rose Co. on Etsy are absolutely gorgeous and very Instagram-worthy I think. I'd love to adorn my wall with one of these and they'd also be perfect for gifting to a couple getting married too.

Seed bags
What could be more perfect for a flower lover than seeds to grow their very own? These seed floral print seed bags from Say You Do on Etsy are so pretty and a perfect little favour to say thank you or to gift people with at weddings, baby showers or birthdays.

Personalised flower press
This is such a lovely gift idea for flower lovers, allowing them to create memories by preserving flowers from special occasions and outdoor adventures. I love this personalised one from Zoe Gibbons on Not on the High Street.

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

My Experience Wishlist & Your Chance To Win £1000 Worth of Experiences for National Experience Week ♥

We're in the midst of National Experience Week (April 17th to 26th), a week to encourage people to try new things and experiences and have lots of fun whilst doing them too!

Now, I know that some people might see 'trying new things and experiences' as being something huge as bungee jumping, skydiving or doing something that may scare us a bit, but that doesn't have to be the case at all.

Trying something new could be something as simple as having something completely new and different for dinner, trying another route on your daily walk or run, or even just exploring a whole new place with the family. National Experience Week is a week to encourage a love of trying new things - the big and the small - and having a great time doing them all too, and I don't know what could be better than that.

These past few weeks I've been trying lots of new things - believe me, I never thought I'd be sitting on the side of a cliff with my four year old in tow, but you know what, it was glorious and actually so peaceful! I also never thought that I'd be out jogging in public, but I've done that this week and it was actually fine, I even made my route longer to get a better workout.

I'm all for trying everything at least once and I hope to instill this love of living and experiencing new things into my children too. They already love exploring new places on our family days out and my eldest is a right adventure seeker - the boy has no fear! He's someone I can envision cage diving with great white sharks one day, he's crazy!

Going out of your comfort zone once and a while can really lead to great things - you may even end up discovering a love for the new things your trying, which you otherwise would never have known about and what could be more perfect than that?

Into the Blue currently have a fantastic prize up for grabs in their National Experience Week competition. One lucky winner will win their wishlist of experiences up to the value of £1000 - absolutely amazing, think of all the amazing memories you could make with that! Two runners up will also win a £100 Into the Blue voucher.

To enter for a chance to win these amazing prizes, all you have to do is go to the Into the Blue website and create your Experience Wishlist. You can choose from a whole variety of experiences, from the relaxing to the adventurous and everything in between, meaning that there really is something for everyone to try.

For more information and to create your very own Experience Wishlist and enter the competition, simply head to the Into the Blue National Experience Week competition page.

Here is my experience wishlist. I've kept it doable but these are things that I really do want to do, especially that spa day, I desperately need one. I'm run ragged these days and need the relaxation.

Have a (well-deserved!) spa day
Visit all of the Channel Islands (Jersey and Sark again this summer)
Ride on a motorbike
Go for afternoon tea
Climb a mountain
Visit a new continent (fingers crossed for Africa next year)
Go to the lowest point in Ireland
Run a 5k
Visit and photograph the Burren, Cliffs of Moher and Co. Kerry.

What would be on your experience wishlist?

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Beau Samuel James | 11 Months Old ♥

 My darling Beau, you are now eleven months old.

For once I can say that the past month hasn't flown by, in fact, it feels like an age since I last wrote an update for you and I'm so glad that time seems to be slowing down a bit now, especially as your next milestone will be the big ONE!

I'm not quite sure I'm ready for my baby to be one, you still seem so small to me - but maybe that's because I baby you a lot, but I think you're more than ready to turn one and start out on the next fun stage of your life.

Your brother and I now call you by your full name - Beau Samuel James, along with Beauzie Boozie and Beauzie Potatoes and we're not one bit sorry, you're just too cute!

You now crawl everywhere and are into everything. You try to pull yourself up on the TV table and the side of your cot and I can tell by your giggles that you can't wait to join in with Daddy and Tyler while they play and run around. Three, loud, noisy boys I'll have!

Being the baby, you don't get to watch TV much, but from the few moments you've had to yourself with it it seems you like the Teletubbies a lot - a bit like your uncle Gary there! You also love to play with dinky cars and the wooden fire engines. BeatBo keeps you entertained for ages too, as does the panel off your walker - which is now broken thanks to a busted wheel, sorry Beau. Your brothers toy washing machines and the hoover are great sources of entertainment for you too, you're very easily pleased.

You love going on walks and looking at the world around you. This week, for the first time, I put your buggy faces outwards so that you could look at everything in front of you and you were so happy. There's never a peep from you when you're in your buggy and you've gotten a great tan from being in it - I didn't even know that red heads could get such a great colour! Bath time is also one of your favourite things too and you love to splash about.

You've been suffering with your teeth quite a lot this month, you're not able for the pain at all. But you now have seven teeth and I think an eighth is closely behind, so hopefully you can put all this teething pain behind you soon.

You're still a very tall boy and your hair gets longer and curlier by the day, just like your big brother's. You're still a very happy, cheeky chappy, but when you're not happy you're well able to make it known too.

I love how you now come over to me and let me know that you want to be picked up by trying to crawl up my leg. You're still very much the baby and love laying on my lap. I'm really now ready for you to be one, but I'm looking forward to all the adventures that the next year of your life will bring. Until then, we'll enjoy the last month before your birthday and make sure that it's full of fun for you.

I love you baby boy, forever and always.

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4 Places For 'Real' Women To Get Makeup Tips ♥

Beauty bloggers are always popping up on Facebook or Instagram with their latest and most outrageous makeup tips. They show how a woman can transform herself into someone completely different with a few swipes of strategically laid contour makeup.

Some bloggers put up pictures of models looking like they're the famous cartoon tiger on the cereal box in their "before" photos and then a glamorous movie star in the "after" pictures and while they do show you how to achieve the look, it's often time-consuming and requires a lot of makeup.

Following are four bloggers who focus on natural-looking faces using easily available products.

Lisa Eldridge
Lisa Eldridge has made up famous faces around the world. Her work is seen on fashion runways, in movies, in magazines, and anywhere someone has their face placed in print or on film. Eldridge's signature makeup style consists of the natural face with the least amount of effort. She does step away from the natural face style on occasion, but she doesn't have you putting down layers of contour before covering it up. She also recommends products to help you achieve her looks, although she doesn't have her own line of makeup. 

This blog shows you how to look like you just walked off the runway with as little effort as possible. She offers video tutorials as well as entertaining and practical tips galore. 

The Chronicles of Her 
This blog, also known as TCoH, focuses on the finer things of life, but not to the point that you'll go broke trying to follow her style. TCoH promotes a natural look with makeup and shows you how to look fresh without being overdone. Sometimes the writer focuses on using as few products as possible; sometimes she gets a little more complicated. The overall takeaway from The Chronicles of Her is looking glamorous without going over the top. While she does recommend products, you might want to take a look at the makeup offerings from Amway as an alternative to more expensive brands. 

Amway's makeup line performs just as well as the expensive brands, and the company stays on point when it comes to color trends. 

The Everygirl
The Everygirl blog features daily updates on both timeless and the latest fashion trends. It focuses on women who want to look good but don't want to go out of their way to do so. It adheres to the "keep it simple" principle, something that should appeal to a busy woman. Makeup tips on the blog show you how to look your best without spending a lot of time on your routine. It has great tutorials on how to create the no-makeup look or how to apply makeup minimally to enhance your best assets.

The overall theme of the blog is living a lifestyle, but it's got a sensible and broad appeal on a variety of topics that focus on women's concerns. Spend some time on this blog to explore all the tips and suggestions that you can incorporate into your daily life.

Not a Model
This is a style and fashion blog written by Marina De Giovanni. She puts together video tutorials that show you how to use makeup in a minimalist fashion, how to maintain your skin, and a variety of beauty tips that work wonders. Marina collaborates with "drugstore" brand makeup companies to demonstrate how you can look good with products that aren't too pricey. 

The idea behind Not a Model is to show how any woman can look her very best without putting a lot of effort into her makeup routines. Marina has tutorials about focusing on improving a specific part of the face with products you wouldn't normally consider using. She explains her philosophies in a clear manner and walks the viewer through each step of the process. Makeup becomes very personal as each woman finds what she wants to highlight, conceal, and present to the world. It's normal to want to get the most out of the least, especially when time is tight. These blogs help you do just that and a little bit more.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Treating Cradle Cap With Colief Baby Scalp Oil | Our Experience ♥


Since he was a newborn, cradle cap has been something which Beau has suffered with on a reoccurring basis. I had never experienced cradle cap with Tyler, in fact, I didn't even know what it looked like, so when dry, scaly skin began appearing on Beau's scalp and eyebrows, I simply put it down to being dry skin and nothing else.

I began moisturising his scalp and face, hoping that these horrible looking scales would clear up on their own and thankfully this worked for his eyebrows, however, the cradle cap on his scalp - which I only discovered was cradle cap from the wise words of my mother - would not shift.

I tried everything to get rid of it, from dowsing his head with virgin olive oil to trying to flick bits off with a baby comb whilst he was in the bath, but even if it did clear up for awhile, the cradle cap kept coming back, it was so persistent. I knew that the cradle cap wasn't causing him any pain or harm, but it was so unsightly and I just wanted his skin to be moisturised and baby soft - just like it should be.

In time Beau lost his hair - all part and parcel of the new baby process, and the cradle cap was very noticeable at this stage, so I had to find a solution and fast. This is how I came to use almost every product and trick there is to remove cradle cap and thankfully some things worked... but only for short amounts of time, the cradle cap kept coming back. I needed a permanent solution to this problem, especially now that Beau had grown a head of luscious red, curly locks.

This is how I came to discover Colief Baby Scalp Oil and this is now something  I use as part of Beau's bathtime routine. This scalp oil is a naturally derived product which moisturises and soothes skin and the scalp, helping to clear up dry skin and cradle cap.

The Colief Baby Scalp Oil contains rosehip oil, chamomile and vitamin E, all of which are perfect ingredients for helping to nourish skin and keep it healthy. It can be used on babies from two months onwards and is widely available in the UK and Ireland. I only wish I had begun using it sooner with Beau.

Now that his hair is longer, flakes of cradle cap were visible on his hair after they had peeled off. This was so unsightly and I hated that my little baby kept on having this problem. Since I've begun massaging the Colief Baby Scalp Oil into his scalp before his bath, his cradle cap has cleared up completely and there are no more horrible looking flakes of dry skin on his beautiful hair.

If your baby is suffering from reoccurring cradle cap, just like my Beau did, I would highly recommend trying Colief Baby Scalp Oil to treat the problem. It's such an easy thing to work into a bathtime routine, and as it only needs to be massaged into baby's scalp for it to work, it's a fuss-free treatment that doesn't upset baby and at just €7.99, it's cheaper than other treatments I tried too.

Colief Baby Scalp Oil has worked perfectly for Beau and it's a product which I will continue to use on his scalp. As I said, it's a very easy treatment to use and work in to a bathtime routine. His scalp is now clear and cradle cap free and I'm delighted that I've found something which has worked for him and which is full of naturally derived ingredients too.

I thought I'd share some top times on dealing with cradle cap from former Health Visitor and and member of the Colief Expert Panel, Dawn Kelly, for any other parents out there whose babies are suffering from cradle cap.

1. Cradle cap is not a result of poor hygiene and it doesn’t harm babies or cause any discomfort. However, it is important not to let the oil build up and to help babies get back to their super soft skin.

2. A good method is to apply an oil such as Colief Baby Scalp Oil, and to gently massage this into your baby’s scalp to loosen any flakes, then gently brush the scalp with a soft baby brush to further loosen the flakes but do not pick them.

3. When you bath your baby you can gently wash their hair and scalp with a baby shampoo to prevent a build-up of scales and remove any excess oil.

4. Do not be tempted to shampoo your baby too frequently; over washing can cause the skin to increase its oil production which in turn can increase the likelihood of cradle cap.

5. If the cradle cap appears anywhere but the head or eyebrow area, or if you suspect your baby’s cradle cap has become infected at any point, make sure you seek medical advice from your GP who can provide a suitable treatment.

Colief Baby Scalp Oil can also be used on other areas of your baby’s body to soothe dry skin. Nourishing ingredients found in the oil such as rosehip, chamomile and vitamin E help to hydrate the skin and act as natural anti-inflammatories and antioxidants.

*This is a collaboration with Colief. We were provided with a selection of Colief products to try out and share our experience with, however, as always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

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Monday, April 17, 2017

Little Bunny Blue | Baby's 1st Easter ♥

This Easter was a good one, not only was it spent with the people I love, but it was also our little bunny Beau's first Easter and he was absolutely adorable in his little handmade outfit.

I have a bit of an obsession with finding new handmade children's clothing shops on Instagram and the one who made Beau's Easter outfit was a real find, the wonderful Levi and Evelyn - I'm finding that some of the best handmade clothing shops are based in Australia, the designs are just beautiful!

I may now also develop an addiction to baby bonnets after seeing how cute Beau was in his little bunny ears one - the cuteness!

The boys had stayed with their Nana overnight, so Jacek and I had a bit of a lie in on Easter morning before tackling our house and all the stuff in it - a huge clear out is needed, we have way too much stuff! I had a traditional Easter breakfast of half an Easter egg and did some blog work, but it was lovely to have quiet and to get my tasks done in peace without the busyness of the boys for once.

When we got to my mother's house I was greeted by a very lovable Tyler, who told me he loved me and couldn't wait to climb up into my arms. I swear, this biggest boy of mine is too cute. Beau greeted us with cries, I don't know if he was shocked or overwhelmed by our presence but we'll go with the latter...

I gave the boys their Easter basket, pictures of which I shared here, and they had great fun rifling through everything and taking chunks out of the chocolate chick and lamb - Beau's first proper taste of chocolate.

After a delicious roast dinner, lovingly prepared by my mam - she makes the best dinners, I feel bad that my boys will never think that about me - we went out to the garden for some playtime and pictures.

Beau, sitting on a blanket, had taken a shine to my mams basket of eggs decoration and tried to chew on them all - at least they kept him happy and entertained. Tyler did his favourite thing - play chase with his daddy and because he was preoccupied with this, he stubbornly refused all pictures. I just hope in a few years when we're looking back at all these posts and pictures that he doesn't ask me where he was...

It was such a lovely Easter, I couldn't have asked for better. It was relaxed, full of laughter and just what we all needed and wanted. It was a perfect first Easter for Beau and that's all I wanted.

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Sunday, April 16, 2017

A Woodland Easter Egg Hunt ♥

This was our third woodland Easter egg hunt and I'm so glad I began this tradition with Tyler back when he was a cute little two year old.

I remember doing our hunt last year, heavily pregnant and huffing and puffing whilst putting up the decorations and photographing my boy hunting for the eggs... I remember thinking then about the little baby who would be joining us the following year on our hunt and I love that Beau was finally part of our seasonal adventures yesterday.

Jacek was working so I set everything up for the hunt myself. Beau was crawling around on the woodland floor, Tyler was climbing on top of earth banks and looking into the surrounding fields. As I knelt on the mossy carpet on top of the woodland floor, watching my two boys stuff chocolate eggs into their little mouths, clothes covered in dirt and chocolate, I actually felt so happy.

I shared some of these pictures on Instagram last night and people commented on how 'fairytale like' our Easter egg hunt looked. Honestly, I'll never be surprised by the power of bunting to make everything look so pretty.

I try my best on a daily basis to make moments magical for my children. These efforts of mine don't have to cost money - this Easter egg hunt was completely penny free for me as I already had everything lying around and to see their little faces light up with happiness and wonder at the most simplest of things - such as some decorations and the prospect of finding some little chocolate eggs, just makes my days worthwhile.

The cherry on the cake after our hunt was over and done with was Tyler saying thank you to me for doing it all. He has the best manners. I gave him a big hug and told him he didn't need to thank me at all, that as long as he was happy I was happy.

It just made the effort of doing it all, my aching arms after carrying a very heavy Beau through the woods (a real workout let me tell you!) and the drive out there worth every moment.

This is a tradition I'll always do with them, in our special little fairytale place within the woods.

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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Tyler Lee & Beau's Easter Basket | 2017 ♥

My goodness, I'm incredibly late sharing the boy's Easter basket this year as I only finished getting the bits and bobs for it last night - the joys of being car less for two weeks... I've now been putting together Easter baskets for Tyler for four years now and this year I had the double pleasure of letting Beau join in on the fun too.

I really do love putting together seasonal baskets for the children and Easter is always a fun one for me as it always seems to include two of my loves in life - chocolate and Peter Rabbit!

I have fond memories of Easter as a child and I try my best to make sure that my own children are left with wonderful memories of these times too and have lots of surprises to enjoy throughout the years.

This year I'm recycling the Peter Rabbit Easter books again as I want to sit down and read them with Beau and let him look through them, but I've also added a Peter Rabbit Easter Fun Sticker Activity book for Tyler, which I found by chance at our local Aldi last night.

Included in the boy's Easter basket this year is:

Peter Rabbit Easter Surprise book
Happy Easter Peter book
Peter Rabbit Easter Fun sticker activity book
2 white chocolate lambs
Chocolate chick
Ginger snaps in a decorative bunny tin
Knitted chick with Kinder Surprise underneath
Bunny chocolate bars

I really hope the boys will enjoy their surprises, I had so much fun putting thisEaster basket together for them. I'm so glad I began this tradition all those years ago.

If you're looking for even more Easter basket inspiration, you can see all the other baskets I've made over the years here.


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Tyler Lee & Beau | Siblings {April 2017} ♥

For the first time in a long time I can finally say that it doesn't feel like the month has just flown by. In fact, time seems to have really slowed down in the past month and I think that may be a good thing.

This past month these little brothers have spent a lot of time together and we've gotten into a lovely daily routine playtime, long walks and trips to the shop for ice-cream - Tyler's favourite thing at the moment. Thankfully he's happy to share with his baby brother, who too seems to have developed a love for the sweet stuff.

We've gone lots of places together this past month, meaning that the boys have been having some adventures together and one of my favourite things to witness, as their mother, is the two of them interacting with the nature around them. This past month they've been amongst the buttercups, bluebells and wild garlic and it's been lovely seeing and photographing them in such beautiful surroundings and capturing their time together on camera. Tyler's just told me that "Beau is a nice purple flower" and I'm not too sure what that means but it sounds lovely!

Tyler also calls Beau 'Beauzie Boozie', which is very sweet and Beau has started to make a sound similar to 'brother'.

The boys now play together a lot and I often catch them sitting under the clothes horse or the kitchen table, hiding out and playing together or watching the tablet. Beau seems to be big into another Tyler likes and he's now playing with the toy washing machines too... God help me. Beau has also developed a love of dinkies and likes to scoot around with them in the hall upstairs.

Tyler is still firmly keeping his place as the protective older brother and if Beau is doing something he shouldn't Tyler can be heard saying - "Stop Beau, that is very bad. Don't do that again, do you hear me?" Beau of course just looks at him back with a cheeky smile.

Tyler is still affectionate towards his baby brother, maybe too over-enthusiastic with the cuddles at times, which annoys Beau, but Beau seems to be accepting that it's all part of the parcel of being the little brother now and started giggling madly when Tyler almost made them fall over while cuddling amongst the wild garlic - I'm so glad I caught that moment on camera.

These two little boys are growing up so quickly and I can't quite believe that we'll be celebrating Beau's first birthday next month... but as they grow, so does their relationship and I love to see them play and interact with one another. I'm sure they'll be the best of friends, or at least I hope so!

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Friday, April 14, 2017

Homemade 'Rainbow Crosses' Hot Cross Buns ♥

"Hot cross buns, hot cross buns,
One a penny, two a penny, 
Hot cross buns.
If you have no daughters,
Give them to your sons.
Hot cross buns"

This Easter week I had the pleasure of making my first ever batch of homemade hot cross buns - with a colourful twist! I love baking, but had never thought of making hot cross buns before, always seeming to find myself focusing on the sweet stuff like cupcakes and larger cakes, so it was lovely to have a change and mix things up a bit - quite literally!

I was invited by Oven Pride to take part in their #HotCrossPride challenge to give my own, creative twist to a classic hot cross bun recipe and I decided to go for colourful crosses to appeal to the kids. I thought this would make a nice change from the usual yellowy cross that appears on all hot cross buns and I knew that my eldest boy would especially love a bun that had a variety of colours on them.

I also used raisins instead of sultanas as my eldest boy loves raisins and I used a clementine for the zest instead of an orange as I think it's sweeter. I also left out the cinnamon as I wanted the fruit to be the main flavour of the buns.

Now I have to admit, making homemade hot cross buns is no quick feat and I felt like I was on Bake Off waiting for my dough to proof for a total of three hours, but my creations were most definitely worth the wait and there's something so wholesome about serving up a plate of homemade treats for my family, instead of something shop bought.

Ingredients:

For the buns -
300ml of milk
50g butter
500g of strong bread flour
1 tsp of salf
75g of caster sugar
7g sachet of fast-action or easy-blend yeast
1 egg
75g of raisins
50g mixed peel
Zest of 1 clementine
1 small apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped

For the cross -
Food colourings in your choice of colours
3tbsp of apricot jam for glazing


Method:

1. Bring the milk to the boil, remove from the heat and then add the butter. Leave it to melt in and cool to hand temperature.

2. Put the flour, salt, caster sugar and yeast into a bowl, making a well in the centre. Pour in the warm milk and butter mixture, then add the egg. Mix together with a wooden spoon, then use your hands to mix until you have a sticky dough.

3. Tip the mixture onto a lightly floured surface and need for five minutes until smooth and elastic. Put the dough in a bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to proof in a warm place for 1 hour.

4. With the dough still in the bowl, add in the mixed peel, raisins, clementine zest and chopped apple. Mix it through the dough with your hands, making sure it's distributed evenly throughout. Leave to proof for another hour.

5. After the hour, divide the dough into 15 pieces and roll each piece into a ball shape on a lightly floured surface. Arrange the buns onto baking trays lined with parchment paper, giving enough space for each bun to rise whilst baking. Cover (but don't wrap) with more clingfilm and set aside for another hour.

6. Heat over to 200 degrees/gas mark 7. Mix the plain flower with 5tbsp of water and separate your food colouring mixtures into separate bowls. Spoon each colour into a piping bag one after the other to create the 'rainbow' effectand pipe a line on each direction in the middle of the bun to create a cross. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.

7. Heat the apricot jam to melt. While the jam is warm, brush it over the top of the warm buns and leave to cool. Then serve and enjoy your yummy and colourful Easter treat!

Thanks to Oven Pride's hob cleaner, my hob was a breeze to clean - thank goodness as they was gloopy coloured flour all over it after my creations were ready! I really must try to be a neater baker and clean as I go. I love to see the hob gleaming again and with the Hob Pride cleaner it really was a doddle to make it sparkle again.

Check out the #HotCrossPride hashtag on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see what my fellow baking bloggers were making!

*This is a collaborative post.

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