Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Snapshots of Our Christmas 2017 ♥

 Beau gazing up at his Nana's Christmas tree.

Tyler admiring the decorations on the little Christmas tree we decorated in the woods.

Beau asleep and waiting for Santa's arrival - not that he knew of course. Only being one he's still oblivious to it all!

Beau looking super cute in his new pom pom hat - is there anyone out there who can resist putting their baby in a pom pom hat?! Also wearing his vintage Peter Rabbit outfit from his first Christmas - it makes me very happy when the vintage stuff still fits!

Tyler smiling after asking me to take his picture. It makes me so happy that he's now a willing photo participant! Isn't he just adorable?!

All is calm, all is bright... I was trying to make a magical, dreamy Christmas picture. I think I failed in that respect but I still love it.

Tyler looking quite proud of our little tree in the woods.

There's nothing sweeter than a sleeping baby.

The beginning of a new Christmas tradition for our family.

Beau looking adorable in his vintage Peter Rabbit outfit. I just wish both boys would have cooperated for a lovely siblings picture.

When you just can't resist touching Rudolf's red nose.

I only took a handful of pictures this Christmas, just the same as last year. I guess I just want to be involved at Christmas time and not be stuck behind the camera. In some ways it's nice to just have a handful of pictures to cherish in years to come, knowing that I was spending time with the boys, instead of just trying to capture their every move.

I hope you and yours had a very Merry Christmas.


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

6 Tips For Taking Care of Your Health As A Busy Parent ♥

Busy parents all over the world know that it’s difficult taking care of kids while also trying to balance work and our own lives. We often sacrifice our own health for the sake of our children, which is noble but can ultimately lead to burnout that will be dangerous for both your physical and mental health.

Busy parents and carers need to give themselves a chance to breathe and if you swamp yourself with difficult, tiresome and stressful tasks, then you’re easily going to throw in the towel and give up. To prevent this from happening, I'm sharing some tips on how you can beat back the stress of having kids while still taking care of your health.

Taking care of the kids can be tiresome, but it’s important to remain strong and focused.

Remember to Eat
Proper food, not junk from a takeaway or vending machine snacks. It’s incredibly important that you focus on eating a hearty and healthy meal whenever you get the chance to. To make this easy, considering preparing food when you have time off so that cooking becomes a little less stressful and more convenient for you.

Give Yourself Time
Remember to add breaks in your schedule so that you have some time off. They don’t need to be long and you don’t have to take a 2-week holiday just to soothe your mind, but it does help to give yourself some relaxation time in between stressful periods of the day.

Learn to Use Technology
Whether it’s seeing a doctor at home with GPs powered by Babylon on your phone or keeping in touch with your family with social media, learn to use technology so that it empowers your life instead of complicating it. From meal recipe ideas to motivational support on message boards, the internet can be a great way to help you stay focused as a busy parent.

Don’t Complicate Your Routine
Do you get your makeup done every morning before you head out to work? If you do, then make sure you simplify the routine so you don’t spend too much time or effort on it. It’s understandable that you want to look good for your own confidence, but you can’t spend too long complicating your morning routine.

Unplug Yourself
Turn off the TV, shut off your mobile phone and go read a book or relax in the garden. Unplug yourself from technology now and then so you can relax and escape all of the hustle and bustle of the digital world. This will help you relax, it will ease your stress and there will be fewer worries on your mind.

Don’t Neglect Sleep
And of course, don’t neglect to sleep. While you might find it fantastic that you can get 5 hours of sleep which means an extra 2 hours to spend doing house chores, your body is going to eventually hate you for it. Get plenty of sleep to ensure that your body and mind can keep up with the demand you put on it.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Perfect Christmas Gifts For Chocolate Lovers From Hotel Chocolat ♥

 *I was sent a Hotel Chocolat Classic Christmas Chocolate Sleekster box to taste for the purposes of this feature, however, as always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

When it comes to Christmas, there's one type of gift that never fails to disappoint in our family and that's chocolate. It's probably our most favourite treat and at Christmas time we like to make sure that there's a few chocolatey surprises amongst our gifts. One brand whose festive offerings are really appealing to us this year is Hotel Chocolat.

Hotel Chocolat have a wide range of Christmas chocolates and gifts on offer this year and with their beautifully presented packaging and delicious flavours, they're sure to delight all chocolate lovers!

I was delighted to be able to try out a box from Hotel Chocolat's Christmas gift boxes this year and was sent The Classic Christmas Chocolate Sleekster (£22.50). This is such a lovely and affordable gift for chocolate lovers, presented in the luxurious looking Hotel Chocolat packaging, this gift box is filled with delicious chocolates in many different flavours that are sure to please all tastes.

I have to admit, I had never tried Hotel Chocolat's offerings before but had heard and read great things about them and as a chocolate lover, I was hoping to find a new brand to fall in love with for enjoying my favourite treat.

Each chocolate in the box looks almost too good to eat and I especially love the addition of festive staples such as the White Reindeer, Caramel Spruce tree, Milk Santa and Dark Tiddly Penguin - my boys also loved the look of these adorable chocolate characters.

My favourite chocolates in the box were the Snowball and the Burnt Caramel Praline, these were absolutely delicious and I may have kept these two flavours for myself! I think it's great to have a wide selection of different chocolates and flavours inside the box as everyone in our family likes something different, so it really was the perfect treat for us all.

Chocolate is a gift which never fails to disappoint and it's an especially lovely gift to receive at Christmas - perfect for enjoying whilst cosying up in front of the fire enjoying a Christmas film.

I'm really impressed with Hotel Chocolat's Christmas offerings, not only are they delicious, but they look amazing too and the chocolate is of the highest quality - you can always tell by the snap, and you can't ask for a gift more perfect than that.

Do you also love receiving chocolate gifts for Christmas? Will you be buying for any chocolate lovers this year?


4 Tips For Beating the Delivery Rush At Christmas ♥

Christmas is an amazing time of year - the twinkling lights, festive cheer and general feeling of happiness in the air make it a time we all look forward to. Until the special day of the 25th is actually upon us though, it can be thoroughly stressful!

One of the reasons for such stress is the mad rush to get presents bought and wrapped in time - I am still not finished and it's giving me a headache... Every year I say I won't do it again, but I always leave gift buying (apart from the kids presents) to the last minute and am left in a flustered, panic-buying mess!

These days the internet is a big help when it comes to gift buying, but it can be a minefield too as there are no guarantees you'll actually receive your gift in time for the big day - unless you've ordered well in advance of course (which I never do...) 

Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t beat the rush even if it seems all hope is lost. Here are the tricks of the trade to keep in mind.

Hire A Separate Courier
Most shoppers think they have to pay for delivery but that isn’t the case. As it happens, you can arrange for a separate company like Shiply to pick up and deliver your package, and it’s a really useful option at this time of year when retailers are at breaking point. 

What’s the difference? Why can couriers handle the demand when some well known stores can’t? Well, there are plenty of reasons, but the main one is that they are professionals. Retailers only have a limited knowledge of the industry and that is why they don’t deliver on their promises at Christmas - no pun intended!

Use Next Day Delivery
It sounds like the most obvious tip in the world, but it’s amazing how many people opt for standard delivery instead of getting their purchase to them quicker. Let’s face it, everyone wants to save the pennies where possible, plus, a week before Christmas Day seems like plenty of time to receive a parcel. 

However, standard delivery shoppers get pushed to the back of the queue and that puts the delivery timetable in jeopardy. At least with next day delivery, it is certain that shops will try to get your package out as soon as possible and thankfully, in most cases, it's usually only a small bit extra than standard.

Deliver To Store
Just because the retailer won’t deliver to your home doesn’t mean that is the end of the line. Usually, they will be happy to move it from one store to another so that it is easier for you to collect. After all, they want the sale and it hardly costs much considering they have the infrastructure in place already. 

If the option isn’t available online don’t be afraid to give them a call and speak to the store directly. The cost may be a bit more, but it’s worth it for the perfect gift.

Hit The High Street
The final and the often overlooked option is to head to the store and buy it over the counter. In this digital age, people tend to go online first rather than jump in the car and drive to the shops. However, that is dangerous at this time of year because anything can go wrong with the delivery. 

Sure, shopping in the likes of Primark at Christmas time is like going into a war zone (I should know, I'm in there enough!) and no one likes trying to shop in throngs of people, but it'll (hopefully!) just be a one-off visit for you before Christmas, so it should be bearable enough.. At least then you’ll have the present in your hand and nothing can go wrong. 

Hopefully these tips will come in handy if you still have some last-minute Christmas shopping to do.

Monday, December 18, 2017

6 Products You Need For An At Home 'Makeover' ♥

It's one of those rare nights when your kids and spouse are out of the house and all your responsibilities are on pause (albeit briefly, but still it's such a treat when this happens!). You finally have the time to relax and look after yourself - instead of spending your nights trying to persuade small people to go to sleep!

I love these rare nights, they're the perfect excuse to pamper yourself and make yourself feel human again. Here are six products you need for an at home 'makeover' that are sure to make you feel refreshed and a bit more like yourself again. 

Whiten Your Smile
A bright smile can light up any room.. If you want to help keep your teeth their best between dentist visits you can pick up some whitening products. Keeping your teeth white begins with a good toothpaste and mouth care regime, though whitening strips and similar specialised products can pick up the slack as well and give you those pearly white teeth you've always wanted.  

Shape Your Brows
Your eyebrows do more than keep moisture out of your eyes - did you even know this was what they were for?! I didn't until now (how have I gone through life without knowing this?!) They also frame your eyes, providing almost an introduction to your face for people that you meet.

Of course, few are entirely happy with the brows that nature has provided; those with thick hair long for a lighter look, while those with sparse brows often wish for something more substantial - I'm the latter kind. If you have too much brow, there are plenty of ways to trim it up, starting with just taking some appropriate clippers to them. If your problem is that of less volume, eyebrow extenders can come to your rescue. 

Give Yourself A Facial
Sometimes the 'makeover' classics just can't be beat. A facial is not just a way to brighten up your skin; it is also a method of clearing up the residue of any makeup you wear daily, peeling off the layers of caked oils that could be blocking off your pores and keeping your skin from breathing.

I love getting a face mask from Lush from time to time, it's such a treat for the skin and really helps my complexion look a lot brighter and healthier too.  

Change Your Scent 
If you've been using the same old perfume for years, it may be time to see what else is on the market. Perfumes cover a wide range of scents and with new products being introduced all the time, there is a scent out there that is guaranteed to please everybody. 

Brands like Amway go through an extensive process and numerous variations to create unique, handcrafted scents. If you already have a signature scent that you love, check alternate brands with similar scents to give yourself some variety.

Plump Your Lips
Botox, collagen procedures and lip fillers remain popular for keeping lips luscious and full, but if you are looking for some improvement in that area without the expense and risk, there are several beauty products on the market that will help make your lips plumper.

Most of these products work by helping keep a healthy blood flow in the area, which can give your lips a blush tint. Picking up some lip plumpers is a subtle yet surprisingly effective way to keep yourself youthful. My favourite back in my college days was Too Faced Lip Injection, I must try and find it again.  

Change Hair Colors
If drastic change is what you are in the market for, few things can radically change your look as much as a change in hair color. Dying one's hair is nowhere near as uncommon as once it was; in fact, in many places, extreme hair colors are more acceptable in public than ever and almost-weekly color changes are viewed as normal.

You'll probably need to check your desired color against your skin and make sure the look works on you, though if you are going for a more unnatural color it is less of a concern. I've been a regular at dying my hair at home for years now and it's been fun trying different colours over the years - my cotton candy hair was definitely my favourite, although my blue hair was quite fun too.  

These six simple products can really make you feel like a whole new you and honestly, as a busy mother, it's great when you get a chance to pamper yourself and feel like your old self again.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Tyler & Beau | Siblings {December 2017} ♥

Ah, December's installment of siblings crept up on me two quickly and I didn't get to capture those lovely festive photos I've been so wanting to yet. Instead, I've captured what my boys are essentially all about - the outdoors, exploring and each other.

This month my boys seem to have grown a lot closer than ever. I think this was probably down to Tyler having a few days off work due to Jacek having car trouble and having to borrow mine. The boys got to spend every day together without Tyler having to leave to go to school and I think Beau was delighted by this.

Beau also began walking and is now able to toddle around after Tyler, join him in playing in the playground and go exploring with him. These pictures were taken in the fairy wood and it was Beau's first time exploring it on foot. He was so cute walking after Tyler, catching up to him and exploring where his big brother was going.

At one stage they had a Father Ted moment where the two of them were running around a field, with Beau falling at intervals and they two of them laughing mad at each other. They're a pair of characters.

The two boys are very cute together. Tyler likes to get into Beau's cot with him in the morning and pretend that it's a 'swimming pool'. They also both go up to Tyler's bed and pretend it's a bus or a school with all the cuddly toys - Beau also thinks it's some kind of trampoline!

They both love to play kitchen and be outdoors getting mucky, but they're also completely opposite with their interests. Beau is what I would call a stereotypical boy and his loves in life are cars, balls and boxes. Tyler on the other hand loves playing house and imaginative play - that boy has the wildest imagination of anyone I've ever known.

No matter they're differences, they're still the best of friends. Tyler still checks on Beau and wants to be around him all the time. They're best buddies and the best of companions. Tyler never fails to make his baby brother laugh - as is evident from the above picture!

We'll shortly be entering into a new year and I'm excited to witness all the wonderful memories my little boys will make together.


How To Crate Train Your Puppy Fast ♥

*This is a guest post.
Safety and comfort are two words that come to my mind when I think of crate training my new puppy. If you’ve decided to crate train your puppy, you’ve taken a wise step in reducing future frustration. And if you can keep those two words in your mind while training your pup, you’ll do a great job.

Here’s is a simple yet effective guide on how to crate train a puppy fast.

Treat the Crate Like a Kennel
In the beginning, always leave your crate open. Treat it like your puppy’s new kennel by placing a comfortable blanket and cushion inside.
Show your puppy that the crate is non-threatening. it will soon see the crate as its bed and home. You’ve already established a basis for crate training your puppy.

Give Verbal Cues While Crate Training
Whenever your puppy goes to its crate, be sure to praise it verbally. Puppies love hearing that they’re a good dog, so do a lot of that while your puppy is inside the crate—for whatever reason.

Add Positive Elements to the Crate
A toy, a chew treat and a few snacks in the crate will make your puppy want to spend more time there. Let the majority of your puppy’s playtime be spent in the crate. And when it’s time for treat, make sure the crate is always involved.

Never Use the Crate as a Form of Punishment
Your puppy should never view its crate as a place to go when it’s misbehaved. Feelings of shame should never be associated with the crate, since this will create an avoidance to the crate in your puppy’s mind. Also provide some company for your puppy while it’s in its crate. This will show your puppy that being in the crate won’t hinder its social interaction.

Feed Your Puppy in the Crate
Feeding times should be done in the crate. The reward centre in your puppy’s brain will activate when it eats, and the crate will be associated with reward rather than loneliness or boredom.
Food also reinforces the idea that your puppy is in its ‘den’.

Incrementally Close the Crate
Now that your puppy is comfortable with being in its crate all the time, it’s time to teach it confinement. This may sound like a difficult task, but if you’ve setup your basis as discussed above, you’ll be fine. Close the crate for a few minutes at a time. Don’t do it too often at first, and don’t make a big deal out of it. Simply close the crate for a few minutes and stay with your puppy while it eats, plays or sits in its crate. Over time you can incrementally close the crate for longer periods. After a few days, begin moving away from the crate while it’s closed. Keep giving your puppy reassurance during this time. If it looks anxious, take a step back and move slower through this step.

Develop a Crate Command
After a few months your puppy will have learned various commands. One of those commands should be “To your place”. Your puppy’s crate should be its ‘place’, but this command should never be used to reprimand or shoo your dog. Teach your puppy from a young age that “to your place” means relaxing in its crate.

Train Your Puppy to ‘Stay’ in its Crate
A stay command is useful while crate training. You can teach your puppy to stay in its crate while it’s open. This will make your puppy less anxious when you do close it, because it’s already learned to relax comfortably in its crate.

Crate training your puppy is an ongoing process. Spend a lot of time with your puppy in its crate and it will learn to enjoy it there - even when you’re not home.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

End of the Year Giveaway | Win a Barbie 3 Story Townhouse ♥

The end of the year is almost upon us and I've decided to giveaway a great prize to celebrate!

The lovely people at Mattel have very kindly offered one lucky winner the chance to win a Barbie 3 Story Townhouse worth a whopping €114.99!

I was Barbie obsessed as a little girl and had quite the collection and if I could have had something like this I would have played with it all the time! *Random fact* - Barbie and I have the same birthday, March 9th, I was meant to love her.

This gorgeous Barbie 3 Story Townhouse comes with four rooms and a rooftop lounge, and elevator,  fabulous furniture and modern accessories. The house even folds up for convenient and easy storage and is easy to unfold for playtime.

For a chance to win this amazing prize simply enter via the Gleam widget below. This giveaway will run until January 8th at 11.59pm and a winner will then be selected at random via the Gleam widget. This giveaway is open to residents of Ireland and the U.K. only. This prize is being supplied directly from Mattel.

Best of luck to all who enter!

Barbie 3 Story Townhouse

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Tyler Lee & Beau's Christmas Eve Basket | 2017 ♥

The Christmas Eve basket is my favourite Christmas tradition, not only because I love putting it together and seeing the joy on my children's faces when I give it to them, but because this is a tradition that is solely ours as a family.

Mine and my partner's parents never gave us Christmas Eve baskets as children, but we began this tradition in our little family for our eldest sons first Christmas back in 2013 and it's something I will continue to do each Christmas for them.

The Christmas Eve basket is something which I think just adds to the overall magic and excitement of Christmas Eve for the kids and it has everything they need to enjoy the day and night before the magic of Christmas Day is upon is.

In this years basket are:

Matching Christmas themed onesies for the boys (€12 each) - Once again I picked up the boys Christmas Eve pyjamas from the Leigh Tucker Willow collection in Dunnes Stores. I think that now Beau is that little bit older it's nice to have the boys matching.

Christmas Books - I always include books in these baskets for the boys and this year I've included a 'Classic Christmas Tales' book which I picked up in a charity shop for just €1. This is gorgeous and has gold-edged pages, it's very special. For Beau I've included a touchy-feely book on The Nativity.

The Magic of Christmas Bubble Bar (£7.25) - I included this in one of Tyler's Christmas Eve baskets a few years back and it's such a lovely bubble bar that can be used a good few times so I thought this would be perfect for the boys Christmas Eve bath - plus, I know Tyler will love dipping it in the water.

Christmas themed drinking bottles (£5 each) - I also picked these plastic drinking bottles with straws up in Dunnes Stores and they're perfect for Christmas with their festive designs. I'll be popping some hot chocolate and marshmellows in these for the boys.

Mini selection boxes (£1.49 each) - Is it even Christmas if there isn't a selection box or three involved? I picked these up in Dealz/Poundland along with the other treats in the boys basket.

Candy Canes (£1.49 for a box) - these are for Tyler to enjoy.

Milky Bar & Smarties chocolates (£1.49 each) - I've included some Milky Bar chocolates for Beau and some Smarties ones for Tyler.

I've reused a hamper basket that we were gifted a few weeks back and it's perfect for popping all of the boys things for Christmas Eve in.

The great thing about Christmas Eve baskets is that you can tailor them to your child/children and make them as simple or elaborate as you like.

I always love putting together these seasonal baskets for my boys and the Christmas Eve basket is the most special for me. I can't wait to see their little faces when I give it to them.

You can find our previous Christmas Eve baskets here - 2013 // 2014 // 2015 // 2016 and if you're looking for some Christmas Eve basket inspiration you can read my ideas on what to include in a Christmas Eve box/basket for kids.


Sunday, December 10, 2017

The Gift of Christmas Style with Quiz ♥

*I was gifted an outfit chosen by one of Quiz's stylists for the purposes of this feature, however, as always, all thoughts and opinions expressed are 100% my own.

I have to admit, I'm not very good with picking out clothes and outfits for myself. After years of battling with my weight and purchasing clothing for my two little boys instead of myself, I've been left feeling clueless on how to dress and what my style is. So, when the opportunity arose from Quiz, to have one of their stylists choose and outfit for me which would be perfect for wearing during the festive season, I was delighted at the prospect of having someone else choose something for me and hopefully fall in love with it.

When the package arrived I was excited to open it and see what was inside and to be completely honest, I was a little bit disappointed as the three items I sent weren't to my taste at all and the bag and shoes just didn't seem to go with the jumpsuit at all. However, I tried to be positive, after all, I could try on the pieces and absolutely fall in love with them - you never know until you see it on and all that.

I've never worn a jumpsuit before so that was a new piece for me. I've seen others wear them and look super stylish - I'm not sure if I'm the same! I do love the material of the jumpsuit and the glitter in it is perfect for the festive season. The tie and the front is a nice detail and I love that it has pockets. It's super comfy to wear and if it weren't for the fact that it doesn't completely cover my boobs - I have to wear a camisole underneath, I may have felt a bit more confident wearing it.

The heels and bag I was sent match each other, but really aren't to my taste. I also don't think they go with the glittery jumpsuit at all as that's quite festive and these have more of a summery vibe to them. It's such a shame too as I really do love embroidered pieces but the colour of these just isn't me.

I'm actually quite sad that I didn't really like the outfit sent to me by the Quiz stylist because there's a Quiz section in my local Debenhams store and the outfits are absolutely stunning. I love the glamourous vibe there is to their clothing and their sequin dresses are just beautiful and so perfect for Christmas.

I really am appreciative of my gifted outfit from Quiz and may muster up the confidence to wear the jumpsuit when I go out for dinner and drinks with friends over Christmas. It's totally different to what I would have picked for myself - I'm usually a dress girl, but it's nice to have a change and I'm glad it's super comfy too. Plus, a little bit of sparkle is always great for Christmas time!

Partying in a Winter Wonderland ♥

You are nearly ready to be the host of your first very own Christmas party and you cannot wait to see your friends turn up
at what will be one of the best events of the year. You have spent weeks thinking about it and you are so excited you can barely
contain your energy.

Worried something might go wrong in the night? After all, lack of preparation tends to increase our anxiety levels. To make
sure you remain calm in the days ahead of the night and everything goes according to plan, we have prepared a list of items 
you should pay attention to in order for the party to be spectacular!

The Food

The food is one of the most important aspects of the night, as knowing how to meet or get close to your guests’ expectations is
key to the success of the party. Are there any vegans or vegetarians amongst your invitees? Are there any guests who cannot eat
certain kinds of foods due to their religious believes or else? Make sure you get to know your friends’ eating habits before you
decide on what to cook on the night. Then have a look at the Sunny GBBO Recipes for some inspiration!

The Decoration

Have you ever been to a restaurant whose look you didn’t really like and which, as a result, ended up making you feel
uncomfortable? How you decorate your dining room is an important question to ask yourself if you want your guests to
feel at ease. Taste differs from person to person, that is true, but it is also a fact that certain colours alter our mood whilst 
others sooth our spirit. Here is a list of the colours you could choose for your Christmas decorations and the moods they evoke.

The Dress

The dress has been one of your priorities since you started planning the Christmas party. After all, you haven’t had many
chances to dress up this year and feel like buying an item of clothing that will make you feel both sexy and grown up.
There are many exciting dresses to choose from this year’s winter collection, but we thought 
this Christmas special number might just be what you have dreamt of all year!

The Music

The music is as important as the decoration, with both adding to the special evening. It is fortunate that we no longer
have to leave the table every time an album comes to an end as these days music is usually streamed online. True, aspects
of old music listening habits like album cover art has been lost but isn’t it wonderful that a computer can do the job of
tune-changing for us? Make a list of your favourite Christmas songs (these don’t necessarily have to be Christmassy)
on Spotify and wow your crowds.

Everything is ready for you to make your first impression as a host and you will do a great job, no doubt. If everything
else fails, make sure your guests at least remember you for 
your impeccable hospitality!

What I Would Do If I Won the Lotto ♥

 *This post is in collaboration with Lottoland, however, as always, all thoughts and opinions expressed are 100% my own.

What would I do if I won the lotto? Believe it or not, this is something I've actually thought long and hard about a few times - it's okay to dream, right? In fact, I once did have a dream that I won the Euromillions. A large lump sum of €148 to be exact, and since then, that huge figure has been emblazoned on my mind. That would be such a life-changing amount to myself and my family.

There are so many things I would like in life, but if I ever won the lotto, the first thing I would have to buy is my own home. I long to put down roots for my children and buying (or building if I couldn't find any place I fell in love with) our own home would be an absolute dream come true.

My dream is to have a house in the countryside with a wildflower garden, a sunny conservatory and views of the sea - I'm not asking much am I? I'd also love it to be in walking distance of the boys' school and have plenty of space for us and all our things. If I won a big lump sum in the lotto I may even contemplate having an indoor swimming pool! That'd be the life.

Also, as Jacek is from South Africa, I think I'd have to buy a house there too, so he could be closer to his parents and then we could spend one half of the year in Ireland and the other in South Africa living in an eternal state of spring and summers!
The next thing I would do is give money to my family, which would allow them to fulfill their own dreams. We've never been rich people, so being able to share the wealth with those who have always been there for me would be a wonderful thing to be able to do.

We also all need new cars and I've love to have a vintage looking car like a Nissan Figaro - although I'm not sure where I'd be able to fit the kids! I mean just look at this floral print Nissan Figaro, could it be anymore me?!

Finally, I'd like to travel around the world, visiting the most exotic of locations and giving my children the best education they could possibly get experiencing travel, different cultures and experiencing the earth around them. I'd love to be able to photograph the flowers and scenery of lots of different places around the world with the best of equipment and be able to blog about it here and share our experiences on our vlog so that when we're all older we can look back at all our precious memories and the happy times.

Fingers crossed one day my lotto dreams come true! What would you do if you won the lotto?

Saturday, December 09, 2017

DIY Sylvanian Families House Christmas Decor ♥

When I was a little girl, all I ever wanted was some Sylvanian Families playsets. Sadly though, I never received any, they were far too out of budget for my parents and even these days, they're still quite expensive. However, I now have a little boy who loves Sylvanian Families and I do all I can to make sure he gets to sets he wants. I'm quite thrifty with how I get them though, using sites such as Ebay to buy bundles and waiting for sales to pick up new sets.

He loves imaginative play and playing house is one of his new favourite things. He loves setting up his Sylvanian Families houses and acting out different scenarios for the characters. He has lots of houses now - some new, some secondhand, one I even picked up for just £2 from a charity shop along with a old-style nursery bus for just 50p! So with all these houses and cottages lying around, I thought I'd do some DIY on one and make a Christmas themed cottage.

I choose Rose Cottage for the Christmas decor as it's red roof fit into the festive theme perfectly. I picked up some crafting bits from my local The Range store - you can watch my crafting haul video here and then set to work. The first thing I did was 'wallpaper' the walls. I used some Christmas themed scrapbooking paper for this and simply stuck everything on with some Pritt Stick. It was a little bit tricky to measure out the paper for the walls correctly at first but I soon got the hang of it and having a sharp paper cutting knife really helped.

I then made curtains and dressings for the windows using some glittery mesh. I had never made anything like this before so I'm quite pleased with my efforts. In hindsight though the mesh is probably too stiff for making curtains as it doesn't flow down like I wanted it too, but they still look nice. I made these by taking a rectangular piece of mesh and twisting it at two points in the middle to create two hanging down sides and a little top piece to go above the window. I then tied the two twisted parts up with simple sewing thread and used a Pritt Stick to glue the curtains to the window. As a finishing touch I glued two tartan bows on to add to the Christmassy look of the decor. For the upstairs windows I made some simple 'net curtains' by cutting out a square of mesh to fit the windows, gluing them on and then adding the tartan bow decorations once again.

I also glued some fabric red roses to the outside of the cottage - this was before I knew this house was Rose Cottage, so it really does suit it perfectly. I also wrapped some LED string lights around the pole outside the door of the cottage and then all around the cottage. I used a 20 bulb string light and it fit perfectly. I chose multi-coloured lights as I feel they're a lot more Christmassy than normal warm white lights and are a bit more fun for the kids. These look so lovely when the cottage is lit up at night.

Finally, I filled the cottage with some furniture and added some Christmassy details - like the table laid out with Christmas cake and holly, a little tree with sequined tinsel on top and a baby rabbit upstairs playing with toys. Tyler absolutely loved it and hasn't stopped playing with it since. He's told me it's his favourite Sylvanian Families house and it means so much to me that he likes my efforts and continues to play with it.

This was such a simple and quick little DIY craft project for me and I'm now decorating some of his other houses too - not in a Christmas theme, but just personalising them for him to make his playtime that little bit more magical.

I also vlogged about our Sylvanian Families Rose Cottage decorated for Christmas, which you can watch below.


New Robinsons Fruit Creations & Fruit Cordial ♥

*This is a collaborative post in association with Robinsons, however, as always, all thoughts and opinions expressed are 100% my own.

This month, Robinsons have launched two new ranges, Fruit Creations and Fruit Cordials and in a first for the brand, 
both of these new offerings are aimed at grown-ups.

I for one am very excited by this as I love both cordials and squash - it makes the amount of water I have to drink in a day a far more enjoyable experience!

I was sent the new Robinsons Fruit Creations Rich Pear, Blackcurrant and Cherry with Barley. This came in it's very own box - very special and grown up indeed!
I really do like the design of the Fruit Creations bottle, it looks a lot more sophisticated and prettier than the previous one too.

So how did it taste? I have to admit, when it comes to squashes I much prefer the orange kind, so I wasn't expecting to be blown away by this flavour but it's
absolutely delicious! It even smells delicious too! I really was pleasantly surprised. I can taste all the different fruit flavours in the drink, which is great as there's no
point having an ingredient in there if you can't really taste it. The pear and blackcurrant go perfectly with the cherry and it's just a lovely, refreshing and fruity 
flavour to enjoy throughout the day.

The new Robinsons Fruit Creations range offers more grown-up and complex flavours, inspired by the very best fruit combinations. Robinsons Fruit Creations contains
twice the fruit of Robinsons single concentrate and has no added sugar.

However, as well as containing exciting new flavours, the Fruit Creations range also features five Robinsons core flavours that have been reformulated and given a fruity
boost. All of Robinsons squashes are made using real fruit and contain no artificial colourings or flavourings.

The new Robinsons Fruit Cordials were created to offer a sophisticated twist to squash through combinations of real fruit and botanicals flavours. Presented in a glass 
bottle, the cordial is a new, more concentrated way of bringing a burst of Robinsons to the dinner table.

As well as the tasty new additions, the Robinsons core range will feature a new eye-catching pack design for 2018 to emphasise the brands real fruit content.

I'm really impressed with the new Robinsons Fruit Creations and can't wait to try the Fruit Cordial too - the botanicals flavour element really appeals to me. I'll be
enjoying this throughout the day, it's the perfect grown-up twist to my glasses of water.

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