Monday 31 December 2012

A Very Merry Christmas

Christmas is a very special time of year, even more so for me these days with Leo around.

I love how everyone gets together and spends that one day a year breaking food and enjoying each other's company. I have to say that I absolutely adore the run up to the big day, the excitement and magic that this one day a year brings in it's wake.

Christmas Eve is pure magic, the anticipation is enough to awaken the child in any grown up and for me I just cannot wait to see the look on Leo's face as he begins to un-wrap his gifts.

This Christmas was Leo's second and in a year the differences in him are astounding.

On Christmas Eve we packed our car full of goodies and drove the 2 minute drive up the road to my parents house, the car was full to bursting and after taking a rather long time to pack it all in...I then had to un-pack it at our destination. 

Santa popped by on Christmas Eve, not that we saw him...But some gifts for Leo were left. Santa had brought Leo big boy pajamas and his very first pair of slippers in preparation for his nightly slumber.

The stockings were hung and after we put out a mince pie (home made I hasten to add!) a glass of milk and of course a carrot for the hungry Rudolph, Leo was put to bed, where he dreamed his dreams until at least 9am. In the mad house this time on Christmas Day is un-heard of, normally we are up before the sun even rears his sleepy head. With my younger siblings getting older, it seems that they now tend to sleep longer, even at Christmas.

We all arrived in the lounge to find that Father Christmas has indeed graced us with his presence this year, and the amount of gifts under the tree insinuates that we have all been incredibly good this year...Santa must have missed all the mischief that Leo get's up to and I am guessing he certainly does not read this blog! 

I had in-visioned Leo running around and opening every present in sight, the same way he devours the newspaper as soon as it is posted through the letter box. But actually Leo was very restrained, he opened a present and was presented with a baby doll. A little baby boy. As soon as he saw baby in the box Leo took him over to his Uncle and waited patiently for him to open it. Leo then brought baby and the baby's toy milk bottle over to me so that he could feed him. It was lovely watching Leo play with him and really interact, but it was clear that Leo didn't want to open anything else after that first gift!

I managed to hide baby so that we could open more presents together. A pram, a sit and ride train, a quad bike and play food soon joined his expanding gift pile, but it was far to obvious that he was not interested in the act of present opening but more the playing that followed after. It was great seeing him get the play value out of everything and you could really see he was enjoying every moment, despite the  over whelmed look on his little face.
Christmas lunch did not appeal to Leo, he didn't even devour any pigs in blankets...I thought he would love the sausages! Leo merely picked at his dinner and pushed it around his plate. However he did take to dipping his fingers in the bread sauce and exclaiming 'yum!'.

Leo discovered Christmas Crackers this year and even got to pull one with his Uncle, despite the odds of winning being against him. Leo won! He worse his crown with pride and 

Since having Leo Christmas Day has become extra busy as so many people want to see my little man and enjoy the moments of him opening his gifts. So after spending the day at my parent's we headed over to Luke's Dad's so that we could give them that special time.

Leo was reluctant to open yet more gifts and avoided the presents, and would show interest in everything but! He finally opened up the rubber bath ducks and decided the best way to play with them was by throwing them at Granddad and shouting 'B'.

Christmas carried on for Leo well into Boxing Day when we visited his Nanny and Granddad where yet more presents were waiting for him. The over night break seemed to give Leo the motivation to get on opening more presents, a tool bench complete with tools, a hop along bunny rabbit and even a nursery rhyme CD for the car. 

Santa even came along to pay the kiddly winks a visit, and as expected Leo was not a fan! He quite happily took the gifts that Santa was baring, but Leo left the rest of the detail to be desired.

Poor little Leo topped off Boxing Day by coming down with a viral infection. He went down for his nap perfectly ok and then awoke completely out of character and with a raging temperature. 

He spent the rest of the evening cuddled up and very lethargic. We had a pretty rough night with little man and had to keep bringing his temperature back down, but by the next day Leo was well on a the mend again!

Leo's second Christmas has been wonderful, and even now a week later, we still have a Santa Sack full of gifts for Leo to still un-wrap. Even now that all the Christmas decorations have come down and we are met with the bleak January gloom, we still have those special memories of all the magic that took place.

I hope you have all had a very merry Christmas and are now easing back into the day to day runnings!

Happy New Year!


Friday 28 December 2012


 I can remember a time I once felt really close to Luke. A point where we were infectiously happy and everything was heading in the right direction.

That now feels like a dream that came and went many many dreams ago. The reality now is that I don't feel close to him at all. Sometimes I wonder whether I even know him.

Luke lives and breathes his aspirations and the dreams he hopes to materialise. His newly bought van, the things he intends to do with the van imminently, such as tints and those new alloy wheels he just purchased...Not to mention the motorbike he intends to buy.

Everything he does comes down to number one in the end, be it something he wants or feels he needs.

Sometimes it feels like he is there for absolutely everyone but me and Leo, if one of his friends is in crisis mode he is quite happy to drop everything and go. With them he has a smile and a laugh, but when he comes back home to us it is like living with Scrooge.

It has been no secret that the months leading up to the house move were strained, and he had no problem dwelling information to his confidant. A lady I have developed a rather sour taste for. Of course he is only feeding her his side of the story and I have no idea exactly what he disclosed, all I do know is one reply that fell into my lap 'That's all you can do babe, just leave her to her shit'.

I can only imagine that the 'her' she was reffering to was me. Things almost ended for us over the coming days, but we decided to push forward. It is safe to say that intimately things are completely off, I couldn't care any less than I do on that front, why would you when you couldn't feel any further away from the person you are supposed to love?

Luke has the shortest temper around and twice in recent weeks he has blown his fuse. On the first occasion Leo was playing around with his dinner, and if my recollection serves me well he wasn't eating much of it... Leo then went to throw his plate on the floor, an instance that is not the bee all and end all and is easily cleared away. On any other similar occasion I would explain to Leo why not to do it... but Luke decided punching the table was the best way to handle it.

When I asked him what the hell he thought he was doing, he told me not to underhand his parenting and even went on to tell me that he wasn't ready to be a Dad and he was doing the best he could.

Really!? 18 months down the line he says this!?

Of course I removed Leo from the situation and told him if it happend again we would go.

Tonight it did happen again, once again in the familiar surroundings of dinner time. Being Sausage and Chips we ate in the lounge instead of the dining room and it wasn't long before Leo was doing what toddlers do best, climbing over everything. Luke placed his dinner on the floor while trying to keep Leo at bay and Leo mistakenly dropped the toy he was playing with onto Luke's dinner plate.

Again easily rectified.

So you can imagine my surprise when Luke launched Leo's steering wheel in temper! I saw the fear on my little boy's face and scooped him up letting him know he had done nothing wrong. I told Luke he was completely out of order and he needed to curve his temper. I told him that Leo would grow up fearing him and that I was going to spend the night at my parents.

I just needed some space and recollection time. Suddenly Luke told me I could leave but only if I left Leo with him, so I threw together a bag and a few bits and pieces and came away, only to be accussed of using Leo as a weapon, being immature and escalating the situation.

Luke said that it was in the past and I should just get over it.

I would like to add that I would never ever use Leo as a weapon. Never. I took Leo out of a negative situation. I was protecting him. Luke needs to understand that he does have a temper and we will not be at the end of it. When it comes to my boy I will always be on his side.

Sometimes I wonder why we are even together, we both want completely different things. He doesn't want any more children and he doesn't want to get married. I do want another baby in the future and one day I would like that one special day, be it with him or not.

Thursday 27 December 2012

The Polar Express

One of the Christmas traditions we implemented with Leo very early on was a visit to Santa's grotto, but not just any trip. We wanted to make this trip into a magical journey for him, so that is exactly what we did. 

On the 21st December 2012, the day the world was predicted to end we jumped on the Santa Express and set off to the North Pole. 

Setting foot onto the train you could feel the Christmas cheer roaring around the many excited children,  there were decorations and people singing Christmas songs. The atmosphere really did make the journey even more magical. Leo could not sit still and from the start of our journey to the very end, he had ants in his pants!

With our journey underway and the countryside rolling past us as we made our way to visit Father Christmas, we all prepared our belongings as it would not be long until we arrived in the North Pole, not on this magical train. The train conductor wondered through the carriage as we grew closer to our destination, he told us to keep our eyes pealed for Reindeer upon coming through the magical tunnel. He told us that the snow was yet to fall at the North Pole this Christmas which would make our journey a lot easier!

We were lead into the grotto where Leo came face to face with Santa for the second time and I had my reservations as to how he may react. My instincts were right, as Leo didn't want to sit on Santa's lap this year. As soon as Leo was in Santa's grasp his little lip quivered and he began to cry. So Daddy sat next with him while they discussed presents.

The Santa Express is a fantastic experience for families and I love that it brings the whole experience to life. It is not everyday you set off into the countryside on a magical steam train to see the wonders of the North Pole!

As we all climbed back into the warm confine of the train, all of the Elves and Father Christmas himself came out to wave the train off. Leo stood on the table waving to everyone out of the window. He waved and waved until the train pulled away from the station and then sat back down to enjoy the journey back home.

How does your little one react to the big man in red? Did you visit Santa this year?

A Magical Time of Year

Leo has been captivated by Christmas so far this year, he has loved all the sparkly lights and is fascinated by anything that sings and dances, just the other day I took him into Homebase to have a look around and we stumbled across a singing Gingerbread man, which I mistakenly placed in his hands for him to have a proper look at.

What a big mistake that was!

I could not get it back off him? Not for love nor money.

As for the Christmas tree Leo insists on looking with his hands, not content with just touching he feels the need to lift all my baubles from the tree and swing them around in glee. I can never quite remember which branch all of the baubles came from so I end up re-doing the tree most days…

When Leo is sneaking decorations away he is very quick to beam me his ‘I am not doing anything Mummy’ face which usually consists of one big cheeky grin. A face that actually lets me know as soon as trouble enters his mind. I swear blind that on occasion you can actually see the precise moment Leo has decided to do something he shouldn’t, just by the facial expression that creeps across his face before he shifts into gear!

We have an animated Santa standing next to our fireplace, protected from Leo by the fireguard, but he is so infatuated that he will just head over and stare at him. It is thanks to our Santa that Leo has learnt a new word ‘Danta’ he says when he see’s him or points to our Christmas tree. For Leo ‘Danta’ is everything to do with Christmas, be it lights, Christmas Tree’s or the big man in Red himself!

I took great joy this year presenting Leo with his Advent Calendar, half expecting him to instantly know what was inside. He looked at me baffled and could not understand what the big deal was about some cardboard with Winnie the Pooh on. So with Leo’s initial deflated reaction I began to open up door number one, and behind that door was something that Leo couldn’t get to quickly enough. Chocolate.

As soon as he realised this alien object housed chocolate he was suddenly very enthusiastic and interested. In fact after he had his first chocolate and I took it away to keep safe for tomorrow, Leo followed me and watched as I put his Advent Calender on top of the kitchen cupboard. Now Leo has taken to walking into the kitchen and pointing up to his Advent Calender and shouting to let me know that he wants it!

On Christmas Day he had an extra big door to open, my mind was pondering the size of the chocolate behind… Leo was stood beside me getting all excited and bouncing up and down, only for me to open it up and find…stickers. Now when I have promised my little man his Advent Chocolate stickers really aren’t going to cut it, so Mummy had to sacrifice hers. But at least little man got the treat he was promised!

I don’t know what we are going to do now Advent is finished!

All of Leo’s Christmas presents were lined up in the dining room prior to wrapping, which actually happens to also be Leo’s play room and I am having to accept that this year is the last year I will get away with leaving things in obvious places, as of next year they will need hiding before an older wiser and more experienced toddler gets his hands on them before the big day.

Even now at such a young age Christmas is a magical time for my little man, even though he is too young to understand how Santa delivers toys to all the girls and boys throughout the entire world in one night, he is still feeding off everyone around him and loving everything that Christmas brings to the table. He defiantly knows that something is going on, something out of the ordinary and I am sure he can feel the magic like static in the air.

Friday 21 December 2012

Dear Santa...

With each passing day we are getting closer and closer to that one magical day of the year. Christmas.

With this date coming around quicker and quicker each year, or that’s the way it feels anyway, we turn our attention to the Christmas lists written by our children so that Santa knows exactly what to bring with him on his sleigh.

I have been examining many a letter to Santa already, and I am pleased to share with you the toy’s that are going to be in high demand this festive season.

In no particular order I give you the Christmas 2012 Highly Anticipated Toys

Dear Santa,
This Christmas there are a number of very exciting toys that your elves have spent all year crafting, and I am so excited by what you may have in store for all the girls and boys.

Furby has recently been re-launched and is more life like than ever before. He dances, sings and even learns more English as your journey together progresses. He comes in a variety of bright colouring's and will be sure to add some extra excitement to Christmas day, maybe even annoyonce to many a adult!

The LeapFrog LeapsterGS is a gaming learning system for children aged 3-9 years old tailored in a robust kid's design. There is even a camera and video camera included so that you can edit your pictures or even put yourself into the game you are playing! 

The Innotab 2 is the latest creation from VTech for tech savvy kid'sThere are many different apps to suit each child's taste from music, TV programmes and Ebooks, There are many children's favourites such as Peppa Pig and Thomas and Friends that you can download. 

The Mookie Scramble Bug is a unique ride on that can move in all directions due to the incorporated castor wheels. It features a fixed handlebar that your toddler can hold on to as they go along, the castor wheels mean that the Scramble Bug can turn 360 degrees with ease and is suitable for the use of children from 1 years old, right up to 3 years old. 

The Razor E90 Electric Scooter is aimed at children 8+ and reaches speeds of up to 8.5mph! It comes in a variety of bright colours and has recently been seen sported by One Directions Zayn and Little Mix's Perrie!

The Fisher-Price Wheelies Loops 'n' Swoops Amusement Park is the ultimate in toddler fun! There are play options on both sides and it stands at over two feet tall. It is the perfect height for kid's to send their Wheelies vehicles down a swirly whirly ramp filled with twists and turns and a gravity defying 360 degree loop! This action fun toy would not be complete without the many lights and that accompany!

The Mini Micro 3 in 1 Scooter  is exactly what it says on the tin! A toddlers very first scooter that will see them through until 5 years old. As the child grows you can adjust the scooter to reflect their new stage of development!

WOW Toys Dudley Dumper Truck is just one toy out of an extensive range of incredibly fun resilient toys that work with no battery's

So Santa please consider my Christmas list this year, and I promise that upon your arrival you will find a nice glass of Sherry and home made mince pies! 

P.s If you are still in the process of Christmas shopping, Argos Reserve and Collect is a great way to shop. You can reserve many of the above gifts online to guarantee collection in store! It really does take the stress out of Christmas shopping!

Merry Christmas!

Disclaimer: I wanted to put together a selection of toys that I have enjoyed this year that I think will be popular this year. In order to put together this composition I have been sent the toys to personally try out where possible and have or will be sharing my full experience with you. I have not been paid to write this and all views expressed are completely honest and my own.

Wednesday 19 December 2012

Toddler Emergency

Being a parent it is natural to worry, and I certainly do my fair share of it.

Leaving Leo with Granny when I come to work is something I have to do, but I often find myself sitting and wondering what he is up to during the day.

Yesterday my mobile rang at work, it was my Mum. Being in the office I didn’t take the call but I suddenly felt that something wasn’t right, something had happened. Then the office phone rang and a call was transferred through to me, it was my Mum.

She was hysterical and saying I needed to leave work now and come to the hospital. She said that Leo had swallowed nail varnish remover and I needed to get to the hospital. To be met with the panic in her voice and the urgency I too began to fall apart, right in the middle of the office in front of everyone I worked with. Of course they heard my side of the conversation so they knew I had to leave urgently.

The phone call lasted less than a minute; I didn’t ask the many questions I wanted to ask ‘is he ok? What happened? How? How much did he drink?’ as I just wanted to get to him and see for myself.

I left so quickly that I didn’t even turn off my computer and I drove to the local accident and emergency as quickly as I possibly could. It was here I saw my baby boy, he had sick all down his front and looked a little sorry for himself. He put his arms out to me for a cuddle and then he began to come around, becoming his inquisitive, curious self once again.

Now I could see he was ok I wanted to know exactly what had happened. Granny went into the kitchen to make Leo up a drink and in this time frame Leo went into my younger sister’s room, which is on the ground floor, right next to the kitchen.

He went into her room and found that she had left her nail varnish remover on the side, with the lid off. As any toddler would do when they are left to their own devices he was curious and decided to investigate, which in this case lead to him taking a swig. It was only when Leo ran through to Granny screaming and crying that she could smell the chemicals on his breath. He was then sick all over Granny and himself and that is when they quickly took him to casualty and called me.

By the time he arrived at casualty he had calmed down considerably and with my arrival he was soon back to his usual self, and seeing him instantly put my mind at rest. The nurse didn’t seem overly concerned and said that he seemed to be playing quite happily. She asked me if I thought he was acting like himself, and all I could say was yes as he steered the steering wheel and tooted the horn in the little pink sit and ride he was sat in.

They took Leo’s blood pressure and checked his heart rate, and even had a look inside his mouth to make sure that the solvent had not burnt him. Leo just looked confused as the nurse prised her way into his mouth. After all the checks had been made we were advised that we were going to have to stay in for observation over the next 4 hours, so that if anything did happen they could call an ambulance to take us over to the city hospital where Leo was born.

Over the next 4 hours Leo ran a muck around the hospital, he played in the sit and ride car, he read a In The Night Garden – Maca Paca book and he disappeared off into the hospital reception to press the button that opened the main door. The nurses loved him and after his final check we were given the all clear and discharged. They looked a little sad to see my little tearaway leaving after he provided 4 whole hours of entertainment.

Before he left though they let Leo put the stethoscope in his ears and they placed the instrument next to his heart so that he got to hear his own heartbeat for the very first time. I thought this was lovely and Leo was fascinated. He just stared directly in front as his listened to the ‘Boom, Boom, Boom’ of his heart. He didn’t look impressed when they took it away, but reconciled his disappointment when they gave him a special bear to take away with him and a sticker too!

After getting my little man home just after half 8 last night we still had to feed him and get him ready for bed. Leo was starving and I have never seen him wolf anything down so quickly, he ravished his sausage and chips and then retired to bed after an incredibly hectic, scary evening.

Leo has been absolutely fine, despite giving me the fright of my life. He has been playful, happy, and even dealt so well with being so hungry and tired. When they said we had to stay in for 4 hours I thought I was in for the longest evening of my life, but he was such a good boy and did so well.

I am just very thankful that he is fit and healthy as things could have been so much worse than they were, and I just hope that lessons were learnt so this does not happen again.

A Day Out at Baylis and Harding

Baylis and Harding are a company I have heard about but up until recently I did not know a whole lot about who they were and what they did. This all changed in recent weeks when I was invited along to their head office with 5 other bloggers to have a look around and find out more about the company and the people behind the name.

I was astounded to learn that the Baylis and Harding head office was right on my door step in Redditch, The Midlands, a mere 20 minute drive away. Upon arrival I was in awe of the beautiful offices and the attention to detail throughout the entire building.

Baylis and Harding produce affordable luxury products in the bath, body and cosmetic department and while featuring their own lines they also produce many retailers own brands, but as to which ones they kept a firm secret from the start of our meeting to the very end.

The company was originally founded by David Slater and Marcia Simmons back in the 1960’s, back then they had a little office based under Spaghetti Junction in Birmingham and were known as ‘Midland Cosmetic Sales’.

The main point of sale for the then small company was on road trips to hairdressers to sell setting lotion. Marcia and David developed the very first gift set by using baskets left over from floral arrangements and turkey nets, today gift sets have been widely developed, and Baylis and Harding have a gift set for every occasion and budget!

The company today has now been taken over by the next generation, the children of the founders. Adrian Slater and Tania Fossey who have worked hard over the years completely re-branding themselves and even re-naming themselves as Baylis and Harding. The new name comes from their Grandparents, Granny Baylis and Granny Harding who cared for them a lot as children when their parents were busy starting up the company. They wanted to keep the company true to their roots and keep the family within the business, and looking around their offices I can see Granny Baylis and Granny Harding looking back at me from many corners of the room from the many photographs that feature on the walls around the building.

Both Adrian and Tania spoke proudly and modestly about their company, and it was apparent to me that they were dedicated to their roots and were passionate about brining quality, affordable luxury to every household. In new research that has been carried out Baylis and Harding now feature in 1 in 3 UK house holds demonstrating that their reputation is continuing to grow and are now a household item of choice.

One question on everyone’s lips was ‘How do you keep your prices so low?’ The answer to this question is simple and lies in the packaging and ingredients department. If you look at the shape and the size of the bottles used for Harding and Baylis then you may notice that they are all the same or very similar, as by keeping the design the same they can keep the packaging costs down to a minimum. On the ingredients front they get a break down of all the ingredients so that they can look at it more closely and give a realistic ‘what it should cost’ price.

We were all treated to a beautiful lunch and it was lovely being able to sit around and eat without little hands pulling the food from your grip before it even reaches your mouth. I have to say I enjoyed every bite and relished in the fact that Leo was at home with his Granny.

After lunch to top off an already brilliant day we were taken upstairs to a room where we were to take part in a super market sweep. Now I have always seen these take place on the television but never expected to take part in one, but now here I was being presented with a very sturdy Harding and Baylis gift bag and being told I had 10 minutes to fit anything and everything I could inside!

Of course I did not need telling twice, and so began my strategic packing so that I could squeeze as many goodies inside. It was nothing like what you see on the television, it was not cut throat and everyone walked instead of ran and by the end everyone was just as civilised as when they first went in, even if we were all struggling to carry our now bulging goodie bags.

I have come away from this experience really impressed with Baylis and Harding, a home grown company who still have the same values and principals that were first implemented by their parents. Today even with the company going from strength to strength it was wonderful to see that they still hold their family traditions and passion for developing new products at affordable prices.

You can view the entire range here.

Disclaimer: I was invited along to the Baylis and Harding head office and provided with a delicious lunch and very generous goodie bag. All views and opinions expressed in this post are factual and/or my personal opinion.

Clear out for Christmas

Clear out for Christmas

The holidays are here, and the last thing you want to do is add another item to your to-do list. However, if you haven’t taken the time to clear out before Christmas, you could be overlooking one of the most important tasks of all.

Clearing your space of clutter has benefits at any time of the year, but it becomes especially necessary as you open your home to family, friends and celebrations. If it seems a little overwhelming, it might be a good idea to start early and take your time. Need a little motivation? Here are a few reasons for you to begin your Christmas clear out today.

You will want a tidy home if you’re hosting this year. The holiday season is the busiest time of year for most people, and this often includes hosting duties for Christmas parties or out-of-town relatives. Cleaning house before you have to pick them up from the airport or the train station will give you peace of mind that you’ll be able to enjoy each other’s company instead of worrying about where you’ll store their suitcases and in which room you will have enough space to set up the air bed.

Cleaning beforehand makes decorating easier and more enjoyable. One of the most fun parts of Christmas is being able to string lights, decorate the tree and deck your home with holly. However, you’ll want a clean slate to start with so that your decorations can have all the attention. Not to mention, decorating in a clean house makes the task so much more fun.

A clear out can help you make more money for Christmas gifts. Clearing out clutter has more than one advantage. In addition to making space for gifts, family and food, you’ll also have a new stock of belongings that you’re no longer using. You can put these items up for sale online to make money. For example, if you sell htc desire hd, you’ll have a bit more cash to cover your gift and food budget for the holidays.

It’s a good way to start the new year. Your environment can be a reflection of how you feel on the inside. And at a time when everyone begins to ruminate on the year that has passed and vows to make changes in the year to come, there’s no better way to look to the future than with a clear mind and a clean home.

Once your home is decked in green and red, with sweet aromas of Christmas treats baking in the kitchen, you’ll be glad you took charge of the cleaning for this season. That feeling--the sensation of warmth and the joy that comes from being with family and friends -- could be the ultimate reason to clear out your space for Christmas and the days to come.

Disclaimer: This is a Sponsored Post

Tuesday 18 December 2012

My Little Snowman

Christmas is almost here, and the season is well and truly upon us.

I can feel the magic in the air and the word on everyone’s lips is ‘Santa’ – Even little Leo is saying it.

The only thing missing from this festive time of year is a little snow fall, so far we have had nothing, not even a little flash of the white stuff. That means no snowmen will be dotted around the garden come Christmas day…But the lack of a white Christmas does not mean that we wont have at least one snowman.

This year we have an extra special type of snowman, the kind that won’t melt inside! He will even be joining us for Christmas dinner and opening all of his very own Christmas gifts. Okay…so he may not be made out of snow at all and that little snowman may actually be the one and only Leo!

Leo has been sent the Child Snowman Costume from the Jokers Masquerade to wear over the festive season. Last year I dressed Leo up all over the holiday season and this year will be no different in that respect.

The snowman costume comes complete with a white jumpsuit decorated with black buttons and yellow stars and is made entirely out of Polyester. The costume is of good quality and certainly provides good value for money. The only thing is that it is not the thickets material I have ever come across. So if you are planning on getting your little one this costume to wear over the holiday season then I highly recommend a long sleeve vest and maybe some tights underneath it, just to keep them toasty warm from the cold winter elements outside.

That is exactly how Leo will be donning his costume this year!

The costume comes with a black, red and green striped scarf and a black hat donned with holly on the front and these accessories paired together with the jump suit really do complete the snowman look, and I have to say Leo looks absolutely super in it.

I have had to be quick in getting a snap of Leo in the entirety of his snowman costume as Leo as usual is keeping me on my toes. As soon as I put the hat and scarf on him he beams me a smile, laughs and takes it all off quicker than I can snap the camera in his general direction! I have however got a few images of Leo looking gorgeous in his Christmas costume and I am sure you will see many more snaps over the festive season!

The sizes run from toddler (1-2 years) small (3-5 years) and medium (5-7 years) and retails at a bargain of £8.99.

Do you have any plans on dressing your children up over the holidays?

Make sure to check out the Jokers Masquerade!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Disclaimer: I was sent the Children’s Snowman Costume for the purpose of this review however all views and opinions expressed are completely honest and my own.

Sunday 16 December 2012


Sometimes sleep doesn’t come easy, I have found this ring truer than ever since having Leo.

There have been nights where sleep doesn’t come at all, be it through illness or just for the hell of it. There are others where sleep washes over me like a relief, finally being able to shut my eyes after a busy day that was run on a disturbed night’s sleep, only to be jolted awake again moments later by the cries ringing through on the baby monitor.

I think my body is used to disturbed sleep now; it expects to be up at least once in the night (on a good night) and usually wakes me up even if Leo hasn’t awoken. Up until our recent house move I couldn’t even remember when the last time was I actually had a full night’s unbroken sleep.

Sometimes though Leo will sleep through out of complete chance, and I think ‘wow I could get used to this’… But then the next night we are back to the basics again, with at least one wake to contend with. 

The weeks running up to our house move have witnessed Leo waking multiple times in the night, and was exactly what I have grown to expect. He was waking up to bottom milk bottles, being a real little milk guzzler. He always has his usual 9oz bottle of milk before going to bed, but he was then waking up multiple times throughout the night for MORE milk.

He always seems really thirsty when he awakes and the milk usually does the job. I have been conscious that the milk is more of a comfort to him these days, and he likes the reassurance of his bottle of milk. But all of those past wakes got me wondering, should I keep letting him have all this milk on tap during the night? He isn’t a newborn any more…So he doesn’t actually need to have bottle after bottle any more.

I have my lazy reasons for continuing to bow down to his twilight feasts, I put my hands up to the fact that I very quickly grab the bottle and let him drink his milk, I know it does not combat the issue entirely and we repeat the process when ever he feels like it, but at that moment in time it is the quickest way back to bed.

I know if I replace the milk with water he will not drink it. I know that if anything other than milk was in that bottle he would be up and screaming the house down. Leo not sleeping results in me not sleeping, and rolling into work the next day looking like a zombie off the walking dead.

I actually began writing this post while Leo was inflicting 2/3 night feeds on me a night. Feeds that I knew he did not need but went along with anyway and here is what I was thinking:

‘Maybe the time has come to give reduce his milk? Maybe it's time to give it a go. It is not really a bridge that I want to cross yet, but the thought of a solid nights sleep calls to me…

I am not debating the fact that Leo is not thirsty; because I am sure he does require a drink. But maybe if I do brace the elements of Leo’s wrath, he may learn to accept that there is one bottle of milk before bed, and if he wants anything else it will have to be water.

Does replacing milk with water really work and teach babies not to wake up at night for a feed?

How did you get your child to go through the night and wean them off multiple bottles of milk throughout the night? Did they accept this change without any drama?

The thing that puts me off even attempting this is making the change and then having even worse nights sleep as a repercussion… Is this the only way?’

I still cannot answer any of these questions as the change that has suddenly sent Leo through the night is our house move. Obviously I am not saying you should move house to get your baby to sleep through but it’s more what’s changed since we moved.

The main drastic change that I feel has made all of the difference is that the house is quieter with no distractions to wake Leo up. He goes down at his usual time after his dinner and bedtime bath, has a bottle of milk and a cuddle and he has then been going through until the next morning, in fact I have been having to wake him up so that I can go to work.

How is your little one sleeping at the moment?

Saturday 15 December 2012

The Il Tutto Nico Changing Bag

Long before having Leo I loved my hand bags, each and every single one of them. I loved the small clutches and the bigger weekender bags that I could comfortably carry about, while fitting in everything I may possibly need.

Over the years my bag collection has blossomed, and a bag for every occasion was within easy reach but with Leo’s arrival, I was confronted with the biggest bag decision of my life. I was going to need. A changing bag.

I suddenly found that I needed a bag big enough to carry everything that a newborn could possibly need while we were out and about. And the biggest surprise for me was just how much a newborn would need.

Nappies, fold out changing matt, baby wipes, milk bottles, formula storage, a change of clothes and the list goes on….and on!

What I needed was some sort of Mary Poppin’s bag that came fully equipped for every possible scenario that may present it’s self, but realistically I needed a sizeable bag that I could comfortably pack with everything I would need. I looked everywhere for the perfect bag, I wanted a pretty bag, something that didn’t look like a changing bag, something that I could have for me through all of the things I had been purchasing for my unborn baby.

I have recently discovered Il Tutto who design luxury baby bags for Mums just like me, Mum’s who want that one item for themselves with all of the practicality of a changing bag hidden away in the shell of a beautiful Italian Leather bag.

Il Tutto have sent me the Nico Tote in the beautiful fire engine Red to fulfil my changing bag dreams and also share my experiences with like minded parents. I absolutely love this changing bag and what I really adore is that when I am not using it as a changing bag, I can still use it for me as an everyday bag that looks great and can hold all of the things that I take out with me and accumulate during the day.

Features of the Nico Tote
- Zip out printed lining for washing
- Insulated bottle holder
- Waterproof changing mat with easy Velcro closure
- Clear plastic zip pocket case for wet items
- Il Tutto metallic silver monster teddy
- Large back zip pocket and roomy end pockets

The Nico Tote is made from crinkle patent PU and features unique hardware pieces along with a metallic Silver teddy. There are two ways you can carry this bag, with the carry straps that you can either hold on your arm or using the additional strap you can add and carry it over your shoulder or the pram handle.

The bag arrived in it’s very own dust bag just adding to the excitement surrounding the un-veiling of my new multi-purpose bag. I slowly took it out of the bag protecting the Nico from the elements and I felt a big smile wash over my face. I was instantly impressed with the substantial size of the tote and of course the flash of colour it brought into the room on the otherwise dark Winters day.

The Nico Tote has so many wonderful pockets that you can store away everything; there are two on either side of the bag and one big one on the back. Inside you have pockets for nappies, wipes and everything else all set among an eye catching Brown and Red spot lining.

You will be as pleased as I was to discover that you can actually remove this lining by un-zipping it which means you can get it washed after your toddler inadvertently spills his milk on it, much to your horror.

Aside from the pockets being a godsend and allowing you to keep a sense of order in your bag of otherwise mayhem, the tote is deep and offers plenty of space for you to comfortably get everything in. That means everything for baby and also those luxury items for you too, before Leo came along I liked to have a hair brush and other essentials that may come in handy, but the bag I had chosen didn’t have the room to allow for this, but all that has changed now thanks to my Nico Tote.

Each bag also boasts a small internal zip pocket, a mobile pocket and a clip that you can attach your keys to, saving you the drama of ever losing them…Something I am renowned for doing!

The tote comes with everything you would expect in a changing bag such as the single insulated bottle holder and easy to foldaway waterproof changing mat. Both of these coveted essentials come in the same eye catching Brown and Red spot design. A clear zip bag is included in the accessories of this tote, and I can vouch from experience that you will find plenty of use for it. For this I have Leo to thank.

If you were to look at this changing bag you would actually have no idea that it was one, and even when the baby years are trailing off into the distance you will still have a beautiful bag that you can use for your day to day travels.

Even on days where I go solo without Leo this bag has become my bag of choice, I can take everything I need for me and still have room for additional items that I may add through purchases I make. My pet hate when out without Leo and of course down on the pushchair storage is having shopping bag upon shopping bag in tow, where possible I like to consolidate into one bag just to have use of my hands again!

The Il Tutto Nico retails at £149.00 and although the initial price may make you gasp a little, you really do see the quality reflected back at you with this bag. Danni Minogue and Denise Van Outen have both been seen with the Nico in Navy, and obviously share my love for it!

The Nico is set to last and even when I no longer need a changing bag for Leo, I can see this tote in my bag collection for many years to come.

Disclaimer: I was sent the Nico Tote changing bag for the purpose of this review, however all views and opinions expressed are completely honest and my own.

Thursday 13 December 2012

The Lorax is helping the Woodland Trust

Over the weekend Leo and I snuggled down together to watch The Lorax.

The story of The Lorax begins with a young boy named Ted who lives in the purely artificial town of Thneed-Ville. Everything within the town from the trees, grass and flowers is constructed out of metal, plastic or synthetics and there is not a real living tree anywhere to be seen. It soon becomes apparent that Ted has a soft spot for a young girl named Audrey, and when she exclaims her wish of one day having a real tree of her very own; Ted sets out to make her dreams come true.

With Audrey’s wish in hand, Ted begins his quest of bringing Audrey a tree of her very own and is soon taking advice from his eccentric yet comical Grandmother who points Ted in the direction of the Once-ler.

Before Ted can find the Once-ler he needs to escape the city boundary, and once he does he is shocked at the landscape. Thneed-Ville is oozing pollution and contamination and as he leaves he see’s the town for what it really is as he discovers the empty wasteland filled with tree stumps and broken equipment.

The Once-ler begins to tell Ted exactly what happened to all of the trees and before long we discover it is actually the Once-ler’s fault that all of the trees have since died out. The Once-ler had all of the tree’s chopped down down to make his fortune in producing his invention ‘Thneeds’ despite all of the warnings that he received along the way.

The Once-ler encounters the Lorax during his tree demolition derby, the Lorax appeared in a magical thunderstorm to address the perpetrator who was destroying their home and killing the trees.

The Lorax is a grumpy yet charming creature who speaks for the trees and fights to protect his world and every creature in it, he warned the Once-ler that his actions would have serious consequences should he continue. The Lorax warns against mindless progress and the danger that it poses to the Earth and it’s natural beauty.

When the last Truffula tree falls to the ground, all of the animals begin to leave. With their home completely devastated by the Once-ler they can no longer stay, so the Barbaloots, Swammy Swans and my favourite the Humming Fish all leave for greener pastures.

At the end of the the Once-lers story Ted is handed a seed, the last Truffula seed. He is instructed to head back to town and to plant it right in the centre so that everyone can see it. And so begins their adventure in restoring the world of trees, with Audrey and his Grandmother on side they set out to show everyone why trees are so important, and in the process go head to head with Mr O’hare who has been supplying the grungy town with fresh air.

Mr O’Hare is against the idea of any trees being planted as they will cost him his fortune and provide the town with fresh air for free! So Mr O’Hare goes out of his way to stop Ted from planting the single seed.

In the end good prevails and Truffula trees are soon sprouting up everywhere, prompting the Lorax to return and reconcile with the Once-ler.

The Lorax is a lovely family film that will have even the grown up’s chuckling and to celebrate National Tree Week Universal Pictures (UK) has teamed up with the Woodland Trust.

Together they have created the first ‘Like and Plant’ app and have committed to plant a tree for every ten likes that they receive on the Lorax Facebook page during the 12th and 25th December 2012.

Kid’s can sign up and join in the fun on Facebook via the tree counter app on the Lorax Facebook page, they will be able to see if the goal is reached and how well they are doing.

There are of course other ways you can get involved, one of which is planting your very own tree at Woodland Trust events taking place around the country! You can even get friends and family involved in planting their own trees by sharing the Lorax Facebook page.

The Lorax shares many passions with the Woodland Trust which is why it is such a perfect partnership, and hopefully it will encourage many children to get involved.

Will you be liking the Lorax Facebok page this year?

Go on! It will only take a moment, and while you are there why not share the page with your friends and family?

Disclaimer: I was sent the Lorax DVD to watch to tell you about the film and the partnership between the Woodland Trust and Universal Pictures. However all views and opinions are my own.

Our First Family Christmas Tree

I love Christmas, I always have.

This time of year is as magical as it comes, the dreams of young children knowing that old Saint Nick will soon be on his way, the decorations and all of the fairy lights have the power to turn the greenest Grinch into Father Christmas.

For me this time of year has become even more magical since Leo's arrival and it has made me want to make everything perfect, and that applies to our first family Christmas Tree.

We moved into our first family home only last month, we were not prepared for absolutely anything let alone Christmas! Luckily Leo's Uncle supplied us with a tree, and we did what we could to get the tree dressed for the festive season, but although we had a few fairy lights it still looked a little bare and needed some more sparkly lights.

Notcutts have a lovely Christmas range, from Christmas Trees through to lights and festive illuminations, and they have very kindly sent us a box of 200 White Chaser Lights to add to our very first Christmas Tree.

These lights have really completed the look of our tree, giving off a really bright glow and really setting the atmosphere with the multi function control box. It is safe to say we have all welcomed the excitement that comes with the Christmas spirit, and are all ready for the big day! 

Well our tree is anyway!

The lights can be used for indoor and outdoor use, so maybe next year they may graduate into the garden to brighten up the shrubbery for Santa Claus's arrival, after all we don't want him to miss the house!

So this is our very first Christmas Tree in our very first family home and I have to say that it looks great. All we need now is for Santa to drop down our chimney and leave Leo some Christmas presents!

Disclaimer: I was sent the Chaser Lights to share my opinion with you. All opinions expressed are completely honest and my own and we really do love how they have made the tree look.

Monday 10 December 2012

Achica - My Christmas Wish List

I love discovering new websites that have a little bit of everything, so when I was asked to have a look around Achica - the members only luxury lifestyle store, I jumped at the chance.

Achica offers you up to 70% off leading home, kitchen, garden, children, baby and fashion accessories brands all year round and with new promotions replacing older ones there is always something fresh and exciting to browse. Each of the promotions last up to 72 hours which means if you have your eye on something particular, you need to get in there quickly so that you can get it!

To sign up you simply have to provide your email address and a password, as a member you receive a choice of either weekly or daily emails at the opening of sales, with sneak previews of what will be on offer and when. 

I instantly found myself drawn to the fantastic Christmas array they had on sale, being in our first home we are still on the hunt for the perfect festive decorations and Achica had such a great selection. 

Christmas trees, lights and beautiful ornaments all fall under the Christmas category which has been especially laid on for everyone to get into the festive spirit. I looked around with my sensible head and added so many lovely items to my mental wish list, all things (or the majority at least) that I knew we would need or enjoy over the Christmas period.

The very first item I added to my mental wish list was the Snow Time hinged wall tree, I was already in-visioning it in the corner of our living room covered in twinkly lights and beautiful decorations. Of course no tree is complete without fairy lights so next on my sensible shopping pursuit were the tree lights, there was lot's of choice but I soon set my sights on the Snow Time Multi-Coloured Cluster Lights.

I came across a fabulous Christmas candle in the theme of an eskimo landscape. There were Christmas trees, a gift and even a reindeer! It would look perfect on our fireplace above the log burning stove with a few scented candles dotted around. 

Touches like this are what makes a room feel exceptionally Christmassy and cosy!

'Treat yourself this festive season to this delightful and unique Large Eskimo Landscape Candle Holder just perfect for adding kitsch Christmas elements to your interior easily and in a quirky manner. With small igloo, festive skim, Christmas trees, presents, snowballs and of course a hare, penguin and reindeer in a scarf you'll be delighted with this alluring item. Simply pop block candles upon the tray and enjoy. Great as a centrepiece to Christmas dinner.'

After dragging myself out of the Christmas decorations all be it with a bauble dangling here and there, I turned my attention to the beautiful wooden toy selection that Achica have on offer. Now we all know I am partial to a traditional wooden toy as I think they last longer and are by far a more superior toy, and with Achica's prices making these toys an even more appealing purchase it is hard to stop toy shopping!

Two of the toys I instantly fell in love with were the Prince Lionheart Yetitoy and the Janad Maxi Cooker with Brown spots. These were both toys that I could foresee underneath our Christmas tree on the big day and they were toys that I knew would make one little boy very happy indeed.

Disclaimer: received a £50.00 voucher for the purpose of this review, however all views and opinions expressed are completely honest and my own.

Winter: ‘Not all bad’

This post is brought to you by Patti at Avenue 32.

Nobody likes winter. Between the freezing cold weather and snow that makes driving almost impossible, this season makes even leaving home a monumental task. And once you think about having to put on every piece of clothing that you own in an effort to stay warm, you may as well call the whole thing off -- at least until spring arrives.

But, as my three-year-old recently pointed out, maybe winter isn’t all bad. There’s comfort food to pass the time. And since we rarely want to leave the house when it gets really cold, we manage to clock in more family time. So, in the spirit of looking on the bright side of things in a dreary season -- and in the spirit of celebrating the little things -- here’s a list that we compiled of all the great things we love about winter.

A chance to show off your cold-weather style. Sure, it’s a hassle to have to dress in so many layers, but more clothing means that you have more of a chance to show off your style. Think knee-high boots and adorable peacoats along with mittens and matching scarves and hat sets. The accessories alone are a reason to look forward to going out.

A justification for consuming so many treats. The holidays are great for seeing family and friends, but what I really look forward to are the delicious cakes and pies that ever-present in my household. It’s true that my momentary indulgence will send me into a weight loss frenzy once warm weather comes, but for the time being, I have lots of layers to wrap myself in to disguise the slight weight gain that happens to so many of us in winter. Thus, our family mantra is that it’s okay to have a treat a day. In fact, this is a ritual that we firmly believe in.

A reason to have toasty (and tasty) drinks. From warm apple cider to hot cocoa, nothing says happiness like a mug full of your favourite winter drink and a good book to read. Though we prefer sunny weather, one of the things we hate to bid adieu to come springtime is our habit of drinking rich, warm beverages.

An excuse to snuggle up by a fire. Summer is all about being active, but when it’s cold outside, finding a warm spot by a hearth is almost instinctual. My family likes to take advantage of our fireplace to avoid high heating bills. As an unintended result, we often end up situated around it to play with the kids’ Wii or watch movies, so it also doubles as a reason to spend quality time together.

A chance to make a great escape to a sunnier climate. And if you’re really not a fan of winter, maybe your favourite part of the chilly season is being able to pack your Pistol Panties and sunblock so that you can escape the cold. Whether you head to Hawaii or take a trip to Thailand, you’ll be able to absorb some much needed sun for a completely warranted holiday.

Disclaimer: This post is brought to you by Avenue 32