28.2.19

Top tips for going long haul with kids! | Collaboration 

Note: This is a collaborative post

Ever fancied going somewhere a bit more exotic than Spain or France but worried that you can’t because you’ve got kids? Well going further afield with kids shouldn’t be a worry. I’ve got my top tips for travelling long haul with kids right here for you.

1. Get yourself prepared for the flight 
Some kids are wonderful and will sit happily on a 12 hour flight napping, watching films, reading and playing with little toys... just like Pickle. Other kids, like Smidge, get ants in their pants and won’t stop moving for 5 seconds. My first tip is to make sure you’re prepared for the flight. Think about what your kids react to and pack your hand luggage accordingly. Visit your local pound shop and stock up on stickers, little blind bags, colouring books, treats, snacks and small toys that they haven’t seen before. Hopefully that will make the flight a little easier. If not just grab yourself a big glass of wine and remember that it is only 12 hours!



2. Research your accommodation 
Finding the right place to stay is so important when you have kids. It’s so important to find somewhere that is family friendly and that will have everything you will need. Villa finder is an amazing website that sources villas services in Bali, Phuket, Samui, Sri Lanka and Mauritius. They can help find something perfect for your family in the most exotic locations. You can also research your accommodation before booking on a travel review site to get real time reviews from other travelers.

3. Don’t be scared of exploring 
Sometimes the best days are the days that are spontaneous and unplanned. Don’t be scared of just going with the flow and exploring your chosen destination. Kids love an adventure and seeing it through their eyes makes it all the more special. Find natural beauty spots, secluded beaches and local shops and restaurants and give your family a taste of real travelling rather than planning everything to the last minute.



And there you have it! My top tips for going long haul with kids. Basically do your research, have fun and soak up every second of it as it will be an amazing experience!

Going back to work... | Blog

I can't believe that in just over a month I will be back at work. My maternity leave seems to have flown by! It feels like yesterday that I said goodbye to my branch of a high street bank and hello to nappies and sleepless nights when in fact it was almost 9 months ago and by the time I go back to work Smidge will be almost 10 months old. That is a month longer than I took off when I had Pickle and I am having really mixed feelings about going back.

Part of me can't wait to get back to work. I like my job and I love the fact that for three days a week (I only work part time) I get to have an hours lunch break where I can read a magazine, eat some food and drink a hot coffee.Work, for me, has always been the way that I have been able to get a bit of me time and to remember who Ami is outside of being a mum and a wife. Obviously the money is going to be a huge positive as maternity pay is a bit pants but the money isn't the main reason for me going back. Going back is going to be a good thing for not only me but for Smidge as well.


27.2.19

30 achievements before turning 30 | Blog

On the 12th March 2019 I will be turning 30.

30!!!

How is that even possible?!? I feel like I am still the naive, bright eyed 21 year old who has just moved into a flat with her boyfriend and who is out at the pub every weekend when in fact I am a almost 30 year old, married, homeowner, mother of 2! Crazy!!

So I thought I would reminisce over the last 30 years by listing 30 things I have achieved before turning 30. That's a lot of 30 right?!

1. I had 2 beautiful, healthy baby boys



2. I married the love of my life



3. We brought a house

4. We brought a dog



5. I have the best family that I could ever ask for that have been there for me for the past 30 years.



6. I married into a family that have been so supportive and more than I could have ever asked for.

7. I learnt that it isn't about the number of friends you have, it's about having a small, army of wonderful friends who are there for you no matter what.



8. I worked up to being a manager

9. I took a step back at work for my mental health

10. I started a blog



11. I started to make YouTube videos

12. We went on safari in Kenya



13. I auditioned for the X Factor

14. We remodeled out kitchen, garden and bathroom

15. I joined a gym



16. I have seen over 10 West End musicals.

17. I have worked with some amazing brands through my blog



18. I got to the finals of the 'We've Got Talent' awards at work

19. I got a place at university and chose not to go.

20. We traveled to France, Canary Island, Majorca, Forest of Dean, Southampton and many other places.

21. We celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary.



22. I learnt how to cook risotto and bolognase sauce.

23. We brought a family car.

24. I made the finals of the Blogging in Brilliance awards in the Fresh Voice category



25. I learnt about hypnobirthing and became passionate about women's birth rights

26. I found out that I am a lot more spiritual that I thought I was

27. We went to a VIP event at Peppa Pig world which made Pickles year!



28. I learnt that I am stronger than I ever gave myself credit for.

29. I don't like and will never like gin or olives

30. Turning 30 isn't really that bad and I am pretty proud of what I have achieved in these past 30 years!

Lets see what the next 30 years old then shall we?

Trying to be more Eco | Blog

My word for 2019 was 'less'. I wanted a year of less stress, less dramas and less waste. I can't say that the first couple of months of 2019 have been less stress for or had less dramas but I do think we have managed to achieve the last one. We have made some small changes in our house that have not only help us to waste less and send less waste to landfill BUT have also helped us to spend less money and I am so pleased with what we have done.


26.2.19

Spring 2019 Fashion Trends for Kids | David Charles Collaboration

Note: This is a collaborative post


With the bit of warmth and sun we’ve had recently, I’ve started daydreaming of the long spring and
summer days that will soon be around the corner. I’m longing for sun and hoping for less dressing
myself and the boys up with tons of layers before heading out of the door. It’s a known fact that I love
keeping myself up to date with the trends – especially if it involves sparkly things and no winter jacket!
But I also love checking out what the latest trends are for kids at the turn of a new season. So today,
inspired by the children’s fashion shows I recently watched, I want to present you with a short recap
of my favourite children fashion trends for spring and summer 2019.


Another Boho Season Is upon Us!


The boho chic style that has been trending for several years is apparently here to stay! Boho chic is a
soft and feminine trend with bohemian and hippie influences, hence the abbreviation "boho". The
style draws inspiration from the 60s and 70s, with loose cuts; fluid, soft and vaporous fabrics; neutral,
earthy colours, and materials such as leather, wood, aged metal, stones, linen and raw cotton all
featuring in designs.

17.2.19

PJ Masks Race Day | Power Racers Review

On the 20th February 2019 between 1pm and 2pm ukmumstv are going to be hosting a super exciting PJ Masks Race day twitter party and when they asked us if we wanted to get involved I jumped at the chance!



Pickle is a huge PJ Masks fan and has been for a good few years now. I mean what isn't to like? 3 kids who are normal children by day but by night they become Catboy, Owlette and Gekko and help save the world from baddies such as Night Ninja, Romeo and Luna Girl.Who wouldn't want to be a superhero once they put their PJ's on?? The series and characters is perfect for Pickles age range (he is 4 years old) and there are plenty of toys that have been released to let your little ones make up their own PJ Masks stories at home.

15.2.19

A Checklist for Designing Your New Baby's Room | Collaboration

When you’ve got a new baby on the way, there’s an endless checklist of things that you have to

prepare before the big day. One of the most important things that you need to sort out is the new

baby’s room. Everything needs to be ready and in place, so your new baby can settle into their new

surroundings when you bring them home. If you’re starting work on your new baby’s room, here is

a handy design checklist to help you along the way.





The Crib



The crib is the most important part of the room, so you should make sure to take time choosing the

right one and make sure that you invest a bit of money in it. If you already have children and you

invested in a good quality crib the first time around, you might not need to get another one. If this is

your first child or you got rid of the old one, you’ll need to get another one. You can get some beautiful

Obaby nursery furniture from Beautiful Bambino that is great quality, so it should last long enough

for your other children if you plan to have some more in the future. This is not the time to try to save

money by buying second hand, and you always need to make sure that the crib you’re buying

adheres to safety standards.




Make sure that you buy plenty of sheets as well, you’d be surprised how many you can get through

in just a couple of days. At least 5 or 6 is a good amount because you won’t have that much spare

time to do washing when you’re looking after a newborn baby.



The Changing Table



You’ve got two options when it comes to a changing table; you can buy a separate, free standing one

or you can get a changing pad that will fit on top of a dresser. The second option is usually best,

especially if the room isn’t that big, because you’ve got extra storage underneath. You can use some

of the drawers to keep a stock of diapers and wipes in so you’ve always got everything to hand.



A Comfortable Chair



You’ll spend a lot of time in the nursery rocking the baby to sleep or feeding them, so you need a

comfortable place to sit. A nursing chair is always good for helping your baby to get to sleep. You need

to think about the material carefully as well because babies are messy. You need something with a

slipcover that you can easily take off and wash.



Toys



Now that you’ve got all of the essentials in there, it’s time to get some toys for your baby. If you’ve got

children already, putting some of their toys in there so they can play together is a great way to

help them bond with the baby. Choose toys that will stimulate your baby, like mobiles above their crib.



This is an exciting time so always remember to have fun decorating your baby’s new room as well.

note: this is a collaborative post

14.2.19

3 Simple Ways to Look After Yourself | Collaboration

Self-care is one of the latest trends that is taking the world (and social media) by storm. As far as trends go,
this is one of the good ones, and it’s a lot better than some of its alternatives. Thankfully, people have
started to spend some time caring for themselves, in a world that is slowly becoming a place that doesn’t
see caring for yourself emotionally as a weakness. It’s pretty great.


However, looking after yourself can be pretty difficult, especially if you’re not used to spending time on
yourself (hello, busy Mums). We’ve put together some simple tips, so that you can nail your self-care,
without having to do three hours of yoga a day!

12.2.19

Our Weaning Journey | Blog

Smidgey is 8 months old now so our weaning journey is really in full swing. It has been such an interesting journey this time round as it hasn't gone at all like I expected it to! Pickle was a dream when it came to weaning. We decided that we were going to try purees with Pickle and some finger foods when he was ready. I cooked all of his meals from scratch. I had a freezer full of home cooked, pureed meals for him and he happily sat like a little bird and ate whatever we offered him. Smidge is a totally different beast! 

Smidge is Mr Independent. He doesn't want anyone to feed him. He doesn't want to eat mushed up purees. He wants to feed himself and eat what everyone else is eating. I am sure he see what Pickle has and does and he wants to be just like him. This has meant that we have had to change our plans with Smidge and we have gone down the Baby Lead Weaning route more than traditional purees. He will still eat mushed up food but that is only if we can sneak it in without him realising.  As soon as he clocks that we are trying to feed him he clamps his mouth shut and won't open until we give him food for him to feed himself. He is a stubborn little moo just like his Dad!! 



Baby lead weaning has been a bit of a scary ride for me. When we first started I was pretty paranoid. I was convinced he was going to choke or that he wouldn't eat enough and he'd be hungry all the time. I was so wrong. He hasn't properly choked yet where I have had to whip him out the chair which I am so pleased about. He gags every now and again but he has coped with the lumps and different textures so well. I did a baby first aid course when Pickle was small and once we realised we were going to have to do baby led weaning with Smidge I brushed up on my knowledge to make sure I was totally prepared if the worst happened and he started to choke. This has helped me to feel really confident and safe in the knowledge that I would know what to do. 

11.2.19

Valentine’s Day Date style with Simply Be  |  Collaboration 

Note: This is a collaborative post with Simply Be

As we all know, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and it is the perfect excuse to get dressed up and head out for the night (or day if your like me and in bed by 9pm because you have a non sleeping baby!!) and head out for a date with your loved one. I always find dressing for dates really hard as I want to be comfortable but I also want to feel glam and gorgeous so when Simply Be offered me the chance to put together a few outfits from their range, I was excited to see what I could come up with.

The first look I chose was for a less formal, day time date. I think this look would be perfect for a trip to the cinema or maybe an afternoon pub lunch. You could easily pair it up with a leather jacket for an edgy look or with your favourite coat and oversize scarf for a really snugly feel.


6.2.19

Dear Trolls...Why? | Blog

Dear Troll,

Have you ever wondered why trolls are called trolls? I'm not talking about why they called Princess Poppy and her glitter pals trolls in that ever so annoying good film...I'm talking about internet trolls. I guess one of the reasons you are called a troll is because of the image is conjures up. Grey skinned, hunched over, sadistic little creature snarling and muttering to themselves as they angrily bash away at their keyboard over something that has filed them with rage or opinions. But that isn't you is it? You are a person. A normal person who, if I walked past you in the street, wouldn't say a word. Hell, you may even give a friendly nod or a smile. You don't sit in a dark room at your computer angrily cursing the world as you spill your hateful words out onto the screen. You sit in your lounge or at the table whilst having dinner and post your comments without a second thought. Hateful, painful, mean, hurtful words but to you they are only words right? It doesn't matter to you what you are writing and where you are writing it because the person you are writing about probably won't even bother reading. And if they do, so what? You don't know them and will probably never seem them in real life so whats the problem?

The problem is that words do hurt. You know that old phrase 'stick and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me'? Well, I can tell you from experience that it is BULL! Words hurt. Words leave just as many scars as sticks and stones do even though you can't see them. I have been at the receiving end of the comments that you leave numerous times and even though I always try to let them wash over me...they still hurt.

'Looks like being with Ami has caused her poor husband to pack on the pounds and become as large as she is' - a comment on a photo of Hubby and I.

'She doesn't deserve to be a mother! Exploiting her poor kids like this on social media. You should be ashamed!' - on a Facebook post talking about my family

'If your dress were any shorter as well as showing your boobs we'd see where the baby came from too' - a comment on a picture of me breastfeeding in the height of summer in a jump suit.

'Pop down your local job center, arrange a bit of childcare and get yourself a way to earn a living instead of spouting lefty feminist garbage' - in response to a breastfeeding post

'Fat, ugly, skank. Loose some weight' - a photo of me on Instagram

'How she ever got a husband I don't know? I'm guessing she fell pregnant to trap him in the relationship' - a blog post of mine about my husband

'Attention seeking bitch. Get a real job and stop trying to become famous on the internet' - a post on social media about mental health.

Words like this hurt more than I can explain. One part of my head says to just ignore all of this because the people who wrote this don't know me. They have never met me, they don't know anything about me and they don't have a right to make judgement on me or my loved ones like that. The other part of me though, the insecure, bullied at school and damaged part of me believes the words. I am fat, I am ugly, I should stop blogging, I should stop being present on social media...I am a waste. That part of me that believe these words agrees with you trolls. When that voice is winning over the ration and sensible part of my head it is so loud that it drowns out everything else. It screams over my loved ones telling me to ignore it. It drowns out my fellow bloggers giving me support and trying to reassure me. It deafens me as my husband tells me how wonderful I am and as my children surround me. Your words become my feelings about myself. Just for a moment I believe everything you say to me and it hurts more than you will ever know. I feel worthless, embarrassed, paranoid and anxious. Your off the wall comment that you didn't even think I would read has done that. You have done that!

That is until I manage to pull myself together. I start to listen to those around me how know me and how love and care for me. I remember that you don't know me and I also remember that I don't know you. Your words are just words. Yes they may be hateful and hurtful but they are just words and comments that are full of lies and spite. Why should I let you and your troll like ways have an impact on me? Am I happy in my life? Am I surrounded by wonderful people? Do I have a loving family that support everything I do? YES. Yes I do and that is why I don't need to listen to your rubbish. That's why I will continue to block, delete and ignore every hurtful thing you say. You won't get the reaction or the attention from me that you so obviously crave because you are so unhappy in your own life.

So, Troll, the next time you think about writing something that is unnecessary, mean or nasty online be it for a joke or just 'because' then I urge you to stop. Stop what you are doing and don't send that comment. Instead reach out to a friend. Send a text to someone in your family to ask how they are. Think for just one minute about the impact your words could have. Would you have someone talking to your Mum or sister in the way you do to me? Would you say those hurtful things to my face if you saw me? Just stop for one second and put your energy into something positive. Get the attention you crave in a different way. Start a blog yourself and if you don't agree with something, articulate yourself properly and write a post. Don't let throw away comments on a picture or an article.

Please. Just think.




5.2.19

Trusting your instincts when it comes to weaning |  Blog

Sometimes as a Mum you know when something isn’t right. It could be something small like knowing that your baby has a bit of a belly ache all the way to big things like medical problems. I have always tried to trust my instincts even when part of my thinks I’m being too over protective or a bit OTT. I’d rather listen to my instincts and be wrong than ignore them and be right.




We started weaning Smidge “early”. He has always been a huge baby and he was showing all of the signs at around 5 months that he was ready. He was watching us intently when we were eating, he was trying to grab food off of us and his brother...everything he was doing was showing us that he wanted food. So we started him on some baby porridge and then that advanced to some purées as the weeks went on. Everything was going really well and he was really enjoying food. Until he got poorly. A horrible cold/flu type thing went through the house and when Smidge got it, it seemed to affect his belly as well has his throat and nose. He would be so clearly uncomfortable with belly ache, was having a dirty nappy 4-5 times a day and I’m sure that he started to loose a bit of weight. The final straw for me was when he has a sweet potato and buterrnut squash purée (something that he had eaten and been fine with before) and his nappy the next day looked like we had put the purée straight into it. His body wasn’t digesting his food. Because of all this we took the decision to trust our instincts and we stopped weaning. We went back to just milk and stopped all porridge and purées.



For the first couple of days it was tough because I knew that he wanted food. Milk wasn’t doing it for him anymore but I wanted his little belly to have a rest and to give him a chance to get better. We went for 2 weeks with no food as I was desperate for his belly to settle down again. As tough as it was it was definitely been the best thing to do as he became a lot more settled and his nappies went back to normal after a couple of days. Now he’s almost 8 months old and eating food like a champ! His belly seems to be coping and he is at his happiest when he has some broccoli or a biscotti in his chubby little fist! If you want to know more about how we are weaning Smidge (we ended up doing quite a bit of Baby Led Weaning) then leave me a comment to let me know. 





The point of me sharing all of this is to tell you to trust your instincts. No matter how small or menial or how crazy you may feel. Parents have this amazing thing inside them to know what their children need. Let’s face it, hundreds of years ago we didn’t have google to tell when something was wrong. We didn’t have health visitors enforcing weaning at 6 months or follow on milk or the like. The mothers from those times used their instincts and raised their babies as they thought best. We may not be able to understand what our instincts are telling us all the time and sometimes we get it wrong but listen to yourself and trust your instincts as you know what is right!
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