Thursday, March 23, 2017

How My Sons Got Their Names ♥

Naming a baby is one of the most terrifying and exciting things I have ever done in my life. I'm naturally quite an indecisive person - finding something as simple as choosing where and what to eat difficult enough, so when it came to the decision of naming not only one but two children and labelling them with a moniker that they would be know as for a lifetime, it was quite a daunting prospect.

I've always been interested in names. Ever since I was a child I've loved finding new and unique names to use in the little stories I wrote and for my dolls. When I was a teenager I even bought baby name books - not because I was pregnant, but because I was truly interested in names and the meaning behind them.

When I was 11 I wrote a little note to my future self, to be opened when I was 21, and I included some names I liked within this. Funnily enough, both of my sons full names appeared on this list, even though I didn't pick their names myself - but at least I've always liked them.

Tyler Lee is my first sons name, 'Tyler' being chosen by his father and 'Lee' being chosen by myself an hour before he was born as I was actually lying on the delivery bed. His name was originally going to be Taylor Lochlainn, but family but their two cents in and ridiculed it completely, which put us right off.

When I was pregnant my partner and I watched the movie 'Fight Club' and since that moment he was fixated with calling the baby Tyler - a subtle change from Taylor but still quite unique here in Ireland. The Tyler from Fight Club was everything we hoped our son would be - he makes every second count and lives each day as if it was his last, he doesn't live in the past or the future - he focuses on the now, he is carefree and lives his life without the greed to win or fear to lose...

The name Lee came to me an hour before he was born and I honestly don't know why I picked it there or then but it popped into my mind and seemed to go perfectly with the name Tyler. The Lee is also the name of the river in our city so I think that's a nice touch too.

Beau Samuel James is my second sons name, 'Beau' being chosen by his big brother and 'Samuel James' being chosen by myself.

Throughout my pregnancy I was keen to get Tyler involved and bonding with the baby before he even arrived, so one day I began reading out name suggestions to Tyler and once he heard the name Beau, that was it for him. He began referring to my bump as 'Baby Beau' and even to this day he still calls his baby brother this. He seemed to be really set on the name and refused to call the baby anything else so we went for it.

I love that Tyler named his baby brother and I think it'll be a lovely story to relay to them when they are old.

Samuel is a name I've loved for years, as is James and I always knew that if I ever had a son then James would be part of his name. It's a classic and strong name and one I've genuinely always loved.

Beau's name was originally just going to be 'Samuel James' but once his big brother got involved we had to add it on and honestly, I couldn't think of a more perfect name for him now - Beau meaning 'handsome' in French and that is something he most definitely is - I'm not biased at all.

I love my boys names and I love getting them items personalised with their names - as their names are quite uncommon where we're from. stuckonyou.uk has a lovely selection of products which can personalised with your little ones names. They also provide clothing labels, which are perfect for school-going kids or kids who take part in sports, etc. so that their clothes won't get mixed up with others in their classes or clubs.

What I really love about my sons names is that they're the only people on Earth with them as their surname is doubled barrelled, made up of my surname and their fathers, which is Polish. So I don't think I'll ever meet another Tyler or Beau N-S and honestly, I love that fact so much.

How did you choose your children's names? I love reading these types of stories!


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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Home Decor | Shabby Chic Bathroom Inspiration ♥


I recently saw a photo on Instagram of a beautiful shabby chic inspired bathroom and ever since then I've been wanting to give our bathroom a shabby chic inspired makeover, always being a lover of the style. I live in a house with three boys so it's not hard to see why I need some femininity in my home and I think the bathroom is a room which can be made to look very pretty if styled in the right way.

The cottage next to my parents house, and where I lived on my own when I was 19, has a shabby chic inspired bathroom and I love it. It's also a lot bigger than our bathroom here so I'm a little bit sad that I don't still live there - it only has one bedroom so it wouldn't be ideal for a family of four! The bathroom had a huge makeover years ago when my stepdad's mother still lived there. As she was quite old the bathroom had to be replaced to cope with her needs. The bath was replaced with a shower with a sit down area within it - such as the ones available from Bathing Solutions, as well as hand rails next to the shower and toilet. It was so important to replace the bathroom for her so that she could keep her independence and stay in her home, something which everyone strives for in old age I'm sure. Bathing Solutions are currently running a campaign to help break barriers in how we view old age and I think the purpose of this campaign is fantastic. You can read more about the #breakingbarriers campaign here.

As she also loved the shabby chic look the bathroom was styled with white net curtains, voile topped windows, fresh flowers in old glass bottles on the windowsill, as well as little trinket boxes and white metal towel holders and shelving. It's such a beautiful space and I really want to try and recreate something similar in our house.

I've been inspired by the pictures featured above and would love to recreate elements from these bathrooms in my own home.

The ruffled shower curtain is just beautiful and really ties in well with the shabby chic theme. The one featured is actually available to buy on Etsy so that's quite handy for anyone who'd love a shower curtain like that.

The sink with the floral tiled splash-back and the fabric storage hider is lovely and would actually fit in well in our bathroom as we have under sink storage which I'd like to cover up. I think something like this would be relatively cheap to recreate too.

I absolutely love the picture of the decorated glass bottles above. My mother has a collection of old glass bottles which I think I'm going to have to raid to try and find ones like in the picture. They're perfect for holding fresh flowers and would look lovely on the windowsill.

The metal wall shelves are a great space saver and are perfect for the shabby chic theme. I'd put these on the wall to hold our abundance of toiletries - tell me we're not the only people who constantly buy more bath and shower stuff even though we have loads already?

I'm in love with the towels featured on the heated towel rack above, I need to find floral print towels for my own bathroom. You can find a lovely selection of towels and bathrobes from towelsrus.co.uk, all in a wide range of colours and which can be personalised too.

I've been so inspired by these pictures that I really want to make some changes to the bathroom next week. I'll do a little feature on the blog when it's all done too.

Are you a fan of the shabby chic style? Have you had to change your bathroom to accommodate an elderly person, just like in my old cottage?

*This is a collaborative post.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Spring Is in the Air ♥

Spring is officially here and boy am I glad. For me, spring began on February first - evident in the bright, fresh blooms that began popping up around this time, but spring's 'official' start date was yesterday and I'm fully embracing this season and all it has to offer.

I try and get out with the boys everyday. I don't know why, but if I don't take them out for some fresh air I feel unbelievably guilty. I just can't stay in the house anymore - you'd never believe that I suffered with agoraphobia not too many years ago!

Spring is a budding photographers dream and I can't get enough of the beautiful, bright flowers that are all around us at the moment.

I'm already looking over the hedgerows as I'm driving along, looking for fields that are going to be full of flowers in a few weeks time. I've already found one with some rapeseed growing and plan to take the boys there on the next sunny day we have for some pictures.

When we're out on our walks I can't help but take Beau out of his buggy and pop him in front of a flowering bush or tree for some adorable springtime shots. Today I couldn't help throwing in a crocheted bunny hat into the mix for some extra cuteness - he's going to hate me when he's older isn't he?

Tyler was happy to pose for a picture or two too and nothing makes me happier than capturing both boys together. Although, Tyler is overly affectionate with his brother and Beau isn't fond of too many cuddles - especially on days like today when his teeth are at him.

The sun might not have been shining for us today but our surroundings were bright enough for us.

I do love getting out and about with these little boys of mine, even if it means having to pack everyone and everything into the car - quite a task at the moment, let me tell you.

Being a stay at home mother can be tough at times, but just escaping from the house with them for an hour or two, is enough to put everything into perspective again and make me realise how lucky I am that we can have these spur of the moment outings and all this time together, while they're still little and want to hold my hand, have their pictures taken and have little adventures with their mama.

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Monday, March 20, 2017

Beau Samuel James | 10 Months Old ♥

My darling Beau, you are now ten months old...

Oh baby boy, how have we already gotten to here? How have you grown so quickly? It feels like time has gone by so quickly, yet it also feels like you've always been with us - the missing piece to our family puzzle.

This past month you're trying to leave your babyness behind and become a big boy - much to my dismay! You've become a roly poly little babe, able to move around easily by yourself and pull yourself up into sitting position now too. You're loving your new found freedom as you're now able to reach for toys - and other things you shouldn't be at, yourself and it means you can play with your big brother a whole lot more now too.

You love you're food, you are always eating and we are yet to find a food you don't like. I'm amazed as I see you eating cheese sandwiches on outdoor picnics with your big brother and the two of you are just too cute together.

You're so curious about everything and want to play with everything Tyler does now. You've recently discovered the piano and love to bash away on the keys - I wonder if you'll be musical?

The only thing that seems to bother you is your teeth, the pesky teething doesn't ever seem to give you a break. You now have four teeth with two more almost through and you have the most gorgeous, joyous smile.

You pretend to be shy when you meet people, cuddling into me, but then you're full of smiles for them all. You're a very friendly baby and love the attention and as long as you're up in someones arms or sitting on their lap, you're happy.

You're still as cool as a cucumber. You're so chilled and happy almost all of the time. You like to watch everything going on around you and are happy to observe everything even though you're not yet able to join in.

You're growing so quickly and I have to admit that I'm a bit sad that these first few months of your life have all gone by so quickly. In two months time you'll be one and I can't even get my head around that. I think you'll always be known as 'the baby' though.

We all love you so much darling boy, please stop growing up so quickly.

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Friday, March 17, 2017

VQ Retro Mk II DAB+ Radio in Emma Bridgewater Wallflower Print | Feature & Giveaway ♥

This little blog of mine turns four on March 27th and to celebrate, the lovely people at VQ have very kindly offered one of my lucky readers, the chance to win a beautiful Retro Mk II DAB+ Radio in their choice of plain colour or Emma Bridgewater print.

I recently reviewed the VQ Retro Mk II DAB+ Radio in the super pretty Emma Bridgewater rosebee print and today I wanted to show you the wallflower print - isn't it stunning, the purple really pops!

VQ radios are not only functional but super stylish too and I love the vintage vibe that the Retro Mk II DAB+ Radio has. It's not only a great piece to have for listening to music, but also a real style piece for the home also.

You can read my review on the VQ Retro Mk II DAB+ Radio here. It's been such a great addition to my bedroom and the kids and I love listening to it when I'm getting ready and they're playing in my room. It's so lovely to be able to listen to the radio again after not having one for so long.

To be in with the chance of winning your very own beautiful VQ Retro Mk II DAB+ Radio, simply enter via the Gleam widget below.

This giveaway is open to residents of the UK and Ireland and will run for three weeks. This giveaway will end on April 9th at 11.59p.m.

Terms & conditions:
This giveaway will run for three weeks and will end at 11.59p.m. on April 9th.
The winner will receive a VQ Retro Mk II radio in their choice of colour or pattern.
The prize is being supplied directly by VQ.
This giveaway is open to residents of the UK and Ireland only.

VQ radio

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The Second Baby Grows Too Quickly ♥

Everyone tells you to cherish the baby days because they pass by too quickly. Well, nothing has prepared me for how quickly my second baby has grown up and honestly, I don't know if he can be described quite as a baby any longer.

I don't know if it's because life is so much busier when your second baby comes along, afer all, you already have another child to look after at this point, but those first few months of that second baby's life just race past and suddenly you find yourself having an almost one year old.

This week Beau will be ten months old, meaning that in just two months time he'll be turning one. It honestly doesn't feel like he's been with us this long, despite it also feeling like he's always been here - how does that work by the way?!

But already we're in the fourth season of his life and he's a proper little human being now, able to move, babble, eat by himself and play. He's no longer an innocent little being, lying in a cot, unable to do anything for himself and I'd be lying if I said it didn't make me a bit sad.

In my heart I feel as though Beau will be my last baby and I'm so reluctant to let him grow up, which is awful and selfish of me really, but it's hard to see him trying to copy everything his big brother is doing and wanting to be just like him, when all I want is to snuggle and mother him to my hearts content.

Last week I packed away the beautiful hand-knitted cardigans my Nan lovingly made for the boys and it broke my heart a little. This little baby of mine - who I still very much treat like a baby, is outgrowing and leaving all his babyness behind and nothing has prepared me for how quickly he has grown.

I find myself telling him to - "Stop trying to be a big boy" and he just looks at me with his cheeky little smile. It's different when you feel like this baby may be your last and you want to hang on to those baby snuggles and baby things... but time races by and you're suddenly in a whirlwind of weaning, stained bibs, mountains of toys, crawling and teething and you long for that little newborn again, but they're never coming back and you may never have one again.

I know there's lots more exciting times to come with my second baby - seeing him discover the world around him (right now he has a penchant for eating dirt, leaves and petals...), learning to speak, finding out what he enjoys and likes to do, see him running around and playing chase with his big brother, making friends of his own and expressing himself in his own way and I know all of that will be delightful, just as it was with my first child, but leaving the baby days behind is hard for a mother.

The second baby grows to quickly, so cherish the days with them as best you can. I wish I could do this all over again.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Tyler Lee & Beau | Siblings {March 2017} ♥

It's siblings time again! My goodness, don't the days just fly by the older you get? Maybe it's just me, but I feel like I don't even time to breath and another month has passed us by.

This month my boys have become even closer - if that's even possible, they now play together every day and are the best of friends. Honestly, I think the best thing I could ever do for Tyler in life is give him a brother, he is absolutely besotted by Beau and calls him his "best friend".

Tyler waits until I have Beau ready to go downstairs in the morning - he insists that we all must go down together, then they both watch Milkshake whilst I get their breakfasts and Beau's bottle ready. It's very sweet that Tyler wants us all to do everything together and at the same time. I sometimes wonder if it's because he can't bear to be away from his brother or if it's because he doesn't want to be left out, either way, it's something I'm very happy to embrace.

Now that Beau's almost ten months and able to sit up steadily and move around a bit, I'm happy for him and Tyler to play together whilst I'm pottering around doing household things. Beau has started taking an interest in Tyler's toy washing machines (oh no!), because he sees Tyler playing with them all the time! They also play with the cuddly toys, car and blocks, with Tyler going a bit OTT at times and filling up Beau's room with stuff all over the floor!

Now that the weather is a bit nicer I've also had the boys out in the garden together. Beau is now too long to lay down in his Diono travel cot, so I sit him in it as a playpen of sorts and pop him sitting outside Tyler's playhouse. Tyler then, of course, wants to hop into the cot beside Beau... I must get the floor of the playhouse sorted before I'm happy for them to sit down on the floor in there. I have the tiles, now I just need the time and good weather to get them all laid down. But it'll be ready for the long, warm summer days, which both boys can spend in the garden together.

We've gotten out and about together a lot this past month and it's been absolutely lovely walking around with both boys and having them sit under trees in bloom and explore the nature around them. Tyler has taken a shine to picking berries off bushes and putting them on the grass for the birds and Beau seems to like the organic diet of leaves, dirt and flower petals... I swear, that baby would eat anything given half the chance!

These pictures we taken on a very sunny day during the week, it was like summer had already arrived. I picked Tyler up from school - he began in a new preschool last week and is thankfully getting along well - and we all headed out to a beautiful garden near to our home. I popped the boys under a gorgeous tree surrounded by daffodils and other wild flowers and they had their first ever picnic together. It was such a sweet moment and one that I was very happy to capture on video too.

These boys of mine melt my heart. They are the best little brothers and I love how close they are.

Here's to another wonderful month filled with brotherly adventures for them.

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Sunday, March 12, 2017

It's the Little Things ♥

I've decided that this year is my year to be more grateful and celebrate the little wins in my life, because, after all, it really is the little things that make me the happiest I can be.

I'm hoping to make this a regular feature on the blog, although I always say that and never stick to anything - pesky life and my scatterbrainedness (definitely not a word, but it'll do) getting in the way, but I'm determined to give this a good go.

Back before Beau was even born I stumbled across a shop on Instagram selling handmade baby clothes and they had the cutest little Peter Rabbit themed rompers. I ordered three for him at the time - which he swiftly outgrew *sob*, but a few weeks back I ordered two more for his summer wardrobe and these little beauties arrived all the way from New Zealand last week. I can't wait to see him in them and I may just have to order some more...

I ordered clothes online (which I never do) from ASOS (which I previously thought was only for stick-thin people) and they fit! Having been on a weight loss journey since last July, I can honestly say that I was ecstatic by this little win of mine.

I spotted these gorgeous shirst in Penneys and had to have them, simply because they couldn't be more me - cameras, love hearts, pink... I mean c'mon! I'm not usually a shirt person, but I've worn the pink one already and it shall be worn a lot more before spring is over. I also spotted the plain Love Heart sweets print when I went to another Penneys, so I had to pick that up too.

For my 27th birthday this week, Jacek not only brought me on a trip to Amsterdam, but he also got me a Fitbit Charge 2 and I can't get enough of it! I don't know why I never went and got one before now because it's amazing and it's really helping me to stay active and kill my laziness. Hopefully it'll be a big aid in helping me to lose a few more pounds before summer.

Finally, the last thing I'm grateful for this week is the much welcomed sunshine. It means I can get out and about with the boys and can see their little faces light up when we get ice-cream with sprinkles from the ice-cream van.

It really is the little things in life... ♥

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Top Wedding Conundrums and How To Solve Them ♥

 Photographer - Terje Sollie

For the most part, planning a wedding is fantastic. Between cake tastings, picking your flowers and finally saying ‘yes’ to the dress, surely everything else just falls into place, right? The truth is, organising your big day might not always go as you planned, and you might encounter some tricky situations in the lead up to your ‘I do’ moment.

I shared my dream Alice in Wonderland themed wedding ideas last year and we have still yet to plan one thing... so believe me, I know how difficult it can be to get wedding planning.

Here, you’ll find three top wedding conundrums that a lot of brides will face at some point, and what you can do to solve them.

I’m not sure if I can afford the wedding of my dreams
Every bride-to-be has their own idea of the ‘perfect wedding’. But, with the average cost of UK weddings coming in at around £20,000, you might start to think that your dream day is way out of your reach. There’s no denying that planning a wedding is going to cost you money, but it doesn’t necessarily need to leave you out of pocket or require you to give up on the idea of having the day you’ve always wanted.

If you know that your bank balance simply won’t stretch as far as you’d like, you could choose to take out a loan. As long as you borrow an amount that you know you’ll be able to pay back, this could work out as an effective way to afford the wedding you want. Generally speaking, getting a loan is straightforward, and you may be able to access the money quicker than you think. For example, Chill Money can approve loans within a matter of minutes, with the funds being in your bank account the next business day. This is great if you’re keen to get your wedding plans underway as soon as possible.

I don’t know how to tell my guests that kids aren’t invited without offending anyone
If you’d prefer your special day to be an adult-only affair, you’re quite within your rights to have just that. Let’s be honest - many parents of young children would most likely jump at the chance to spend the day or evening without having their little ones in tow, so don’t feel bad when it comes to putting together your guest list.

To avoid any confusion, make sure you’re clear when writing your invitations. Make sure you put down the names of the people you actually want to be there. The absence of a child’s name should plainly spell out that you’re just asking for the parents to attend.

Organising our top table layout is proving difficult and I’m not sure who to include
The truth is, it can be tricky to get your top table seating arrangement just right. Usually, this is where the bride, groom, their respective parents, the chief bridesmaid and best man sit during the wedding breakfast. However, while this might seem like a fairly simple concept, it can be extremely difficult to put into practice - especially if your mum and dad are no longer together, and it can be made even more complicated if either or both of your parents have partners. This won’t be an issue for you if your family get along, but if they don’t always see eye to eye, it can be hard to know how to organise your line-up without hurting anyone’s feelings or causing upset.

If you’re struggling to make sense of your seating plan, there’s no need to panic. There are a number of ways you can get around your top table troubles. For example, you could throw traditions to the side and go for something completely different. Why not mix it up by asking your parents to host their own tables and keep your top table just for you and your partner? Alternatively, you could ask your venue organisers if it’s possible to set up an extra long table to accommodate everyone you want. In this case, you’ll have to just be strategic when it comes to your seating arrangements, making sure you sit certain people away from those they might not get on with.

Planning your wedding should be an exciting time, so don’t let conundrums like this get in the way of you and your partner enjoying the run up to your special day.

*This is a guest post

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Beautiful Summer Clothes For Younger & Older Boys ♥

I like to dress both of my boys in a variety of styles, ranging from the more traditional and classical clothing looks, to the bright and beautiful fun looks - which I think every child should sport from time to time, childhood being about fun after all.

However, since becoming a 'boy mum' - I guess I can call myself that now I have two, I've found it increasingly difficult to find boys clothing which is not only functional and comfortable for my babes, but stylish too.

It's almost impossible for me to find clothes I like for them in highstreet stores, and even if I do find things I like (usually just a handful of items), it can be hard to find the right sizes. This is why I usually purchase their clothes online from gorgeous children's clothing website and handmade sellers that I find via Etsy or Instagram.

I thought I'd share some beautiful boutique kids clothing finds which I've stumbled across lately, all of which are gorgeous summer clothes picks for boys - just for any other mums out there who are in constant search for something different and beautiful for their boys to wear.





How gorgeous are these clothes? I would dress my boys in all of these things. I see lots of adorable little baby boys in their rompers and bonnets over on Instagram and I am dying to dress Beau is some this coming spring and summer. The letter t-shirt is something I'd love for Tyler, it'd look gorgeous with a pair of shorts.
All of these beautiful boy clothes are available from the Ladida website, who also have a gorgeous range of girls clothes too.

*This is a collaborative post.

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Saturday, March 11, 2017

My 27th Birthday in Amsterdam ♥

Another year gone by, another year older... but this year I got to celebrate my birthday in style on a trip to Amsterdam with my other half. Amsterdam is a place I've visited quite a few times now (six or seven now I think) and it's a place I really love, so when Jacek surprised me by booking a trip there for my birthday, I was over the moon.

We went on Wednesday and sadly the weather was awful. Neither of us had ever been in Amsterdam before without it being sunny, so the rain and dark grey skies weren't a welcome sight at all, and the bad weather tarnished our experience a bit, but thankfully on the second day it brightened up a bit so that we could sit by the canal eating chip cones and watching the world go by.

Trying to stay out of the rain on our first day there, we browsed the six (yes six!) floors of Amsterdam's Primark, where I picked up ALL the Disney stuff - seriously, why is the Penneys back home so crap compared to this one?! I'm wanting to do a vlog to show all that I bought, but lack of time, kids, a to-do list longer than my arm will probably make it impossible... but I'll try!

We had breakfast in Durty Nelly's Irish pub - also taking full advantage of their drinks offers, we were celebrating after all and after all of that and the rain getting heavier, we decided to retreat to our hotel for a nap - getting up at three in the morning to catch our flight was taking it's toll on us by this point.

We stayed at the Best Western in Dam Square again, which isn't luxurious by any means, but also isn't a complete kip of a place either and it's a great base, close to everything Amsterdam has to offer. After a sleep we headed out in search of dinner and ended up going to Burger Fabriek, which had the most delicious burgers - I went for the vegetarian (I actually didn't eat any meat at all in Amsterdam, time to go vegetarian maybe?) and Jacek had the Japanese burger, which he loved.

After dinner we had a walk around the city, visiting the famous Red Light District and strolling along by the canals. Jacek had also given me a Fitbit Charge 2 for my birthday and when we reached 18,000 steps we decided a treat of a warm waffle with whipped cream and strawberries was in order - waffle shops are everywhere in Amsterdam.

Waking up in Amsterdam on my birthday was fab. I managed to get a bit of a lie-in as we were sans kids and after a quick breakfast at the hotel we headed out for the day. First we visited the flower market - which are barges on the canal filled with flowers and bulbs, a perfect spot for a flower lover like myself.

We then stopped for another waffle and a bit more shopping before heading to the XtraCold Icebar for some drinks. The Icebar was amazing and I loved our time there - who thought being stuck in a big freezer for awhile could be so much fun?! I tried Nutella vodka there for the first time and it was actually delicious - although I think the mojitos I had there had me loving everything at that moment in time if I'm honest!

By the time we left the Icebar the sun had come out and we got some chip cones to eat by the canal. It's the simple things that make me truly happy, and sitting there at that moment in time with Jacek beside me was just perfect.

Our final stop in Amsterdam was at the Amsterdam Museum, which I thought might have been a bit boring but it was actually quite interesting. Museums aren't really my thing, but Jacek loves visiting them, so I only really went along for him, but I was pleasantly surprised. The Schipol exhibition there is a lot of fun.

After all of that it was time to head to the airport for our flight home - which ended up being delayed by an hour whilst we were actually on the plane... the joys of travelling!

I loved our two days in Amsterdam. Getting to spend some alone time with Jacek in one of my favourite places in the world was the most perfect way to spend my birthday. I couldn't have wished for a better time and hopefully someday soon we'll visit again.

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Monday, March 06, 2017

VQ Retro Mk II Emma Bridgewater DAB+ Radio ♥

For years now I've not had a radio, either at home or in my car (blame a flat battery for putting the radio in a safe mode that no one can unlock, ugh!) and honestly, it's been something I've missed.

I've missed listening to the local news and weather updates, having someone choose a playlist for me to listen to, rather than trying to curate one myself via YouTube and I've missed the simplicity of just having a radio to listen to in the background whilst I'm cooking and cleaning.

When the opportunity to review a VQ Retro Mk II DAB+ radio came about I was delighted, not only because VQ's radios are beautiful to look at, but also because I'd be able to have the pleasure of listening to the radio again, yay!

The VQ Retro Mk II DAB+ radio is an absolutely beautiful vintage inspired radio, that's not only functional but a pretty design piece to have in the home too. It allows you to listen to DAB, DAB+ and FM radio, myself favouring the latter, letting you save your favourite stations and easily scanning for others.

Another great aspect to the VQ Retro Mk II is that you can also listen to music through music streaming services simply by connecting via Bluetooth - all wireless of course, the joy of modern technology.

Also, if you have an Apple device such as a iPhone or an iPod, you can connect your device to the lightning dock on the front of the radio - which is released simply by pushing on the button. This lightning dock can also be used by non-Apple users (such as myself) by using the 3.5mm aux-in and you can also charge your device with the charging port - how cool is that?!

As I said, the radio is very pretty to look at, added to by the beautiful Emma Bridgewater pattern on the outside - the rose print being the one I chose, not surprising given my love of all things floral! There are five other Emma Bridgewater patterns available, as well as a range of plain colours too.

The radio itself is very easy to use, although I've found that here in Ireland, having it as close to your window as possible is the way to go, otherwise the sound can come across crackly. In fact, I had mine on a stand next to my bed, right next to the window, but I actually had to place the radio on the windowsill to get a completely clear sound.

We've all enjoyed listening to the radio again and Tyler especially, asks for it to be on when he's playing in my bedroom. I love to have it on when I'm getting ready and it honestly is a joy to have in my bedroom, not just because it's lovely to listen to the radio again, but because it's such a beautiful feature to have sitting on my windowsill too.

The VQ Retro Mk II DAB+ radio is £119.99 in plain colour and £129.99 in Emma Bridgewater patterns and is available to purchase via the VQ website.

*We were sent the VQ Retro Mk II DAB+ radio for the purposes of this review, however, as always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

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Friday, March 03, 2017

On Days When I Think I'm A Bad Mother... ♥

Life around here has become very busy as of late... Jacek is working every hour God sends - being gone from the house before myself and the children wake up, and returning when it's the boys bedtime, seeing them for ten minutes and two hours, respectively, each day.

These days I feel like a single mother, something which I actually resent as I'm not a single mother, nor the boys only parent, yet I am having to do everything on my own. I understand that Jacek has to work, he is the main provider for our household, but when those hours run into unpaid overtime, I would rather he was here helping me with the kids and spending time with them - something they both desperately want, instead of wasting time away doing something that doesn't even bring us extra income.

It's days like these when I become someone I really hate - a shouty mother. I honestly hate raising my voice, but being left alone with two young children day in, day out and being their sole carer, can be enough to drive anyone gaga. I try to keep my cool, be patient, understanding and attentive as best I can, but there are times when that shouter in me just has to come out and it's these times when I feel like a really bad mother.

After I've released the shouter I can feel guilt for hours after, agonising and reflecting on how I should have handled the situation better and not have resorted to shouting to get my point across, but the reality is, I'm human and the vocation of being a mother, whilst bringing a lot of joy and wonderful moments, can also bring a lot of bouts of frustration and "what the hell are you doing?!" moments.

There are days when I just want to stay in bed, days when Tyler chirping "Good morning Mummy, it's morning, get out of bed!" are not even enough for me to want to get up and begin the whole rigmarole that is parenting two young boys by myself again. There are times when I spend far too much time on my phone, not paying attention to the games Tyler's making up and acting out in front of me and I wish I could just put the phone down and join in with his imaginary scenarios - because believe me, he has an absolutely amazing imagination, but honestly, I don't really like playing his games, especially as they always seem to centre around his bloody toy washing machines... That's awful isn't it? What kind of monster doesn't even want to play with her own children?

Another parenting task which I fail on is dinner making... I can't even describe in words how much I hate making dinners, especially as it usually ends up being scraped into the bin and I'm left wondering why I even went to the both. Yet I know they need to be fed healthy, nutritious meals so I have to do it, but honestly, it really feels like, and probably will always feel like, a chore.

These are all the things that make me a bad mother.

It's days like these when I feel like the worst person in the world and am left on a complete downer.

On days like these it doesn't matter that I carried them both for nine months - not drinking, smoking, putting them in harms way, simply because I loved them before I even met them.

It doesn't matter that I get up with them both every morning, greet them with kisses and cuddles, get them fed and ready for the day ahead.

It doesn't matter that I plan days out for them, simply because I want them to have fresh air and some fun outside the house for awhile during the day. It also doesn't matter that these excursions usually end up meaning a drive to a playground half an hour away just because it's Tyler's favourite one.

On days like these it doesn't matter that I go down slides, climb up on things I'm far too big for, run after my eldest with him squealing "Catch me if you can!" in sheer delight, bring him to places which bring out all sorts of social anxiety in me simply because he enjoys being there and pretend to be a whole host of characters with funny voices, to make him and his baby brother laugh, even though I know I sound and look like a complete lunatic.

It doesn't matter that I do make them those dinners I hate doing so much, that we have warm, cosy snuggles on the couch, prolonged bath times purely because they enjoy splashing the bubbles all around the floor and 'washing the windows' (the shower door).

It doesn't matter that I read so many bedtime stories at Tyler's request that my voice is two minutes short of disappearing completely, that I tuck them both in, give them lots of love and happy thoughts that if they go sleep soundly "the fairies will bring them sweet dreams" and that I check on them multiple times during the night so I know they're safe and warm.

It doesn't matter that I do things simply to put a smile on their little faces, that they are my entire world and that I've basically neglected myself completely because I've been so focused on being there for them.

It doesn't matter that I cry over worry about them, especially Tyler at the moment, feeling helpless that I can't do anything to make things better or get the answers we so desperately need so we can make decisions about his future.

Nor does it matter that I give them everything - my time, my love, my money - because lets face it, it all goes on them.

On days when I think I'm a bad mother all these things don't matter, but really, they are the only things that should matter.

Yes I shout and it's awful, it makes me feel like the worst person on Earth. I'm not too keen on playing games, but I'm trying, simply because it makes the boys happy. Dinners will always be a chore for me but I still make them and maybe one day that cook waiting to be released inside me will be a bit more adventurous than the old reliables!

At the end of the day, us mother's are all just doing our best and if it involves raising our voices from time to time, preferring to scroll through Instagram instead of playing another game of washing machines and ordering a takeaway on occasions when dragging yourself to make a dinner that no one will eat, are just too much... then so be it.

All the things that make us good mothers far outweigh the bad and it will be the love and happy memories and experiences that we've created for our children that will stick in their minds forever, not the times that 'shouty mum' came out because nobody could do what they were bloody well told.

On these 'bad mother days' I will read this post and be reminded of all the good things I do for my two boys, because these are the things that truly matter.

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