Sunday, 31 August 2014

Happy Sunday | Week Twenty Four

Whether or not you think Sunday is the end of the week, or the beginning of a new one, I thought it would be a nice idea to look back on the week that has just past and to look at the things that have made me happy and made me smile.
I think it can be easy to look back on a hard week and miss out on those things. A week of bad weather for example can really make it seem as though the whole week was a complete fail. But it probably wasn't. We must all smile at least once a day. I know I do, even if I forget it.

Things that made me happy this week:

 

Biking to see Friends

I made friends with a couple of mums on the school run and one of them has just moved close-ish to us. It's just a 10-15 minute walk and we had planned to go round for lunch and a play on Tuesday. At the last minute (we were running late) we decided to walk there and Charles went on his bike. He did so so well without his stabilisers but the poor boy ended up with sore calves and muddy legs because he had shorts on and kept having the pedals catch him. He was very polite when people came the other way and would stop and move to the side without me having to tell him.

Kippers

I've been a bit lazy with healthy eating recently. It's something I am really hoping to be able to sort out once Charles goes back to school and I am able to walk the school run again to give me the push to eat properly too. I mean, I'm not being too bad, but not as good as I once was.
Anyway, this week I had a kipper salad and my goodness, it was amazing. One of those lunches that you really enjoy making and eating and can't wait to have again.

Joules

If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen the issue I had with a dress I fell in love with but really disliked when it turned up. My nan had given me some money to buy myself something so I bought this with the money, so I decided to send the dress back and instead look at something else from Joules to get instead.
This blouse is beautiful and I was so excited to find it. When I looked earlier this year this shirt was only available in sizes 12 and 14...both were too small for me and I needed a 16 or 18. Now when I find the shirt again and need a 12 or 14...they only have an 18! I went for it anyway as I do like to wear these blouses oversized and on top of a vest, almost like a cardigan.
I think it looks great with skinny jeans and will wear it a lot, along with my others, in the Autumn and Winter.

Embracing the Waves

My hair is naturally wavy/curly and this week I managed to wash it in the evening but didn't have time to dry it so I stuck it in a pony for a few hours. Just before I went to bed I put my hair down and really quite liked the style it naturally went in.
The following day I had therapy and wanted to wear my hair down so I put some shine spray in it and gave it a little scrunch with my hands et voila! It went like this. I recently bought some hair tongs so I think I will use those to give the layered side a bit of a boost but it's definitely a style I will do more now my hair is shorter.


Writing

Harry has been waking up in the evenings recently. He comes downstairs to find me and on Thursday night I let him stay downstairs with me.
We both window shopped for a new handbag for me, and then he spotted my notebook. They are not allowed to write in it but I let him this time and I was glad I did. I have the most adorable pictures of penguins, a rocket with a smiley face and, for the first time ever, he wrote his name. I am so so proud. He saw me write it first and then copied me. He couldn't quite work out how to do a 'y' so instead chose to do a triangle instead....cute!!

The Green Mile

Odd one this one. The Green Mile making me happy, when actually at the end I sobbed and sobbed so much that I had to cover my mouth with the blanket I was snuggling under so I didn't really bawl. But you know, Tom Hanks, Tom Hanks and yeah, Tom Hanks. That's the main reason this film made me happy.
I think all of the actors are amazing, it is such a strong cast and I really like the storyline, the way the film is set and, just everything about it.
It's another film now added to my 101 things in 1001 days list.


What made you happy this week?

Linking up to:
The Ordinary Moments: Mummy Daddy Me
My Week That Was: Make, Do and Push

Me&Mine: The Family Portrait Project | August 2014

This months Me&Mine photo is quite special to us. It was taken in my husbands Aunty and Uncles garden. They live in a beautiful wood with 3 houses all built by his grandfather. Only 2 of the houses are still in the family and we absolutely adore them, there is something so special about the houses and the land.
The wood is so beautiful, and it changes all the time. Every year it is like visiting a completely different garden.

4 years ago we celebrated Charles' Naming Day. My husbands Uncle was a trainer registrant so he conducted the service which was followed by an amazing BBQ. It was just a small family get together, mainly because his Aunty and Uncle weren't able to make it to Charles' Christening, and his Uncle is Charles' godfather so it was their way to celebrate with him.

Anyway, that was 4 years ago and Charles and I couldn't resist but to pose in the same spot, in almost the same way (minus the red balloon) as the photo we took back then.


We all went into the garden, set up the camera on the table, and took this family photo. Which I adore. Harry is really loving being a part of these photos and his little smile and interaction in this photo is something I feel really proud of.
One reason I love this project is to see the difference in us as a family and in the boys since we began back in January 2013. I think this will be something we continue for a good few years too, whether we do it on the blog or just for personal use instead.
It creates such wonderful memories and I would encourage everyone else to at least try and take one family photo a month, either on a big camera or just a phone selfie. The memories are worth it.


Friday, 29 August 2014

School Holidays Week Three | Reunions and Family

Week three of the school holidays was probably the one I was most looking forward to. My nanny and aunty from Somerset were coming over to visit and as we hadn't seen them since 2011, when Harry was a tiny newborn, we were super excited to see them again.
We were also really excited to be able to spend a whole week with my mum too.
We had a busy week planned with days out but then also with some time at the bungalow my nan and aunty had booked for the week. It had a beautiful view of the beach and sea as well as a big lawned area surrounding it which was perfect for the boys to play on and for us to sit and relax whilst my nanny had her afternoon nap.

Our days out were filled with visiting new places, and visiting places we haven't been to for a couple of years. Two of the days were spent in Great Yarmouth, as was the Sunday night as we went to watch the Stock Car Racing. Oh I love it! The smell, the sounds, the excitement. I did get a bit over the top squealy as the cars rammed into each other and crashed on the corner we were standing. It's expensive at £15 per adult but worth it for a fun night out.

Before we went to the Stock Car Racing (yep, I'm apparently writing about my week backwards for some reason) my husband took the boys over to his dads and I went for a girls meal with my mum, my aunty and my nanny. It was so lovely to be Lauren and to not be in mum mode. I wanted my nanny to see me as me and not as a stressy anxious mum wanting the boys to behave. It was lovely to be able to relax and enjoy each others company.
It's funny how your relationship with family members can change as you get older. I don't get to see my nanny that often with us living so far away, and it breaks my heart as I love her dearly, and although we are not OTT soppy I feel really close to her, and my aunties, despite the distance. I've always felt like we had a good relationship, like she respects me and appreciates me as much as I respect and appreciate her. So being sat with her, being able to have adult conversations, and joking about silly things was amazing.
 
I found myself just sitting and watching her at times and it made me feel so content. We went round to my mums house on the Friday and my nan was round there and it was the best, warmest feeling to see her sat in the dining room, talking to me in the kitchen, and then sitting in what is usually my seat. When I went back to my mums on the Friday evening, after we had enjoyed a lovely time at the bungalow and said our goodbyes, I burst into tears....again after we had been crying in the car. The image of my nanny sat there was still fresh in my head and it hit me that it's not something that I see as much as I want to. But it also made me feel overwhelmed with happiness that she all of a sudden became part of our everyday life. We're not sure she will be able to visit here again as it's such a long and uncomfortable journey so those images will always stay fresh in my mind.

My nanny made such an effort with the boys and I can't even bring to words how much I appreciated that. I do get very paranoid about their behaviour, even though I shouldn't because they are not that bad but I want to protect them, and me, from people judging us. I was so desperate for her to see that they are good, lovely boys and to see me as a good mum.
As we said goodbye and I tried my hardest not to cry and had to keep telling myself to let her go as my arms seemed to freeze, she said in my ear "They are two lovely boys you have there" and I broke down.
She knew the words I wanted and needed to hear.

It was quite possibly the best week of my year and although it was sad saying goodbye, so so sad and hard, we had comfort in knowing that in just 9 months time we will be visiting them. My husband is staying at home so it's a roadtrip for me, my mum and the boys, staying in a beautiful barn in Somerset.
The most exciting thing is that Harry will be meeting my other Aunty, and my Uncle, for the first time which will be super super emotional but I can not wait!
I'm counting down the days already.


I'm sharing happiness with My Two Mums Join in their weekly link up and share your happiness too.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

CALAFANT Pirate Ship | Review and Giveaway | August #AsobiAmbassador

We were delighted to have recently been chosen as guest bloggers for the August #AsobiAmbassador project.
Our role consisted of us choosing an item from the CALAFANT model range, and reviewing it.

CALAFANT is 100% recyclable cardboard models that are easy to build, fun to decorate and wonderful to play with! 
Whether your little one wants to create their own fairy-tale castle, pirate ship or tree house, CALAFANT cardboard models make these dreams a reality. Using an extremely sturdy, yet light and flexible cardboard material, CALAFANT has made it possible for every child to have their very own magical escape! All pieces are pre-cut and pre-punched and can easily be put together without glue or scissors, thanks to the CALAFANT slot-system. Once their masterpiece has been built, children can paint and decorate it as they wish and the final result is a toy they take great pride in! 

I was a bit apprehensive about the model at first mainly because of it being made out of cardboard. With two boisterous boys I imagined it broken before we had even finished making it. However, I was surprised at how robust the material is and quite liked being proved wrong.
Although the boys wanted to do the majority of the building it was a little too fiddly so they just watched me. It was a bit confusing but once I got into the swing of it it was pretty simple.
Things we liked in particular:

1: How robust it is. I liked the fact I was able to completely build it without anything breaking, snapping or ripping.

2: The size. This pirate ship is listed as 'large'. I wasn't quite sure how big it would be but I feel the size is perfect for my boys. It's not too small and delicate so if they want to role play using it then it's not likely to get broken. It can sit nicely on Charles' chest of drawers without taking up too much space.

3: Decoration. I absolutely love the fact that children can decorate their models however they please. As you can see below by our final piece our boys decided to keep our pirate ship very very simple (despite encouragement from me to make it nice and pretty for the blog. Pfft)
With the boys sharing the pirate ship I liked that we could separate certain parts so they both put their mark on it.

4: Prices. The prices of these are so reasonable. It might seem like a funny thing to pick as something I liked in particular but my boys were really impressed by the whole CALAFANT range and I have the image of us collecting pieces over a number of years and ending up with a really nice display. The fact that this won't cost a fortune and will most probably now involve a big pile of CALAFANT wrapped presents at Christmas because of the reasonable prices makes me really pleased!

5: It's original. I love the idea behind this. I like that children can be involved in so much of it, from the building to the decorating. I love that it can be a really good project to get siblings involved in together or simply a task you can set one child to by themselves.

6: The detail. I was really impressed with the details on the pirate ship, and the other products in the range. The treasure chest was something the boys particularly liked, the opening portholes and of course the sails and flags at the top of the masts.

7: Age range. I think this pirate ship is suitable for a range of ages. Harry is 3 and Charles is 5 and both enjoyed it just as much as the other. I think it's nice to have a product which children of different ages can focus on and work together to build or decorate together.

If you want the chance to win one of the CALAFANT [large] Pirate Ships thanks to www.kindtoys.co.uk then please fill in the Rafflecopter form below.
Terms and conditions apply, please read these before entering.
Kind Toys are kindly offering 20% of all Calafant items throughout September using the code “CALAFANT”.

Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the reviews and giveaways by the other August #AsobiAmbassadors



Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Bella and Bear 'Eye and Mighty' Eyelash Curler | Review

I've never been blessed with long eyelashes. I've always relied on a good mascara to frame my eyes and to give me the eyelashes I've always envied in others.
When I was a teen I tried various eyelash curlers, mostly the cheapest I could afford and I didn't really feel they made a difference. I think this was a mixture of the fact that they weren't the best on the market and that I didn't really know how to use them.

Now I am 28 I feel I am more aware of make up that suits me and also of how to use products. I suppose being obsessed with watching beauty videos on YouTube certainly helps now too.

My basic everyday make up has mainly consisted of eyecream, eyebrow pencil, concealer, and mascara as well as foundation if I really need it.
Sometimes the mascara will work perfectly, and at other times it's as though it doesn't want to play nicely and will leave my lashes looking like tiny straight spider legs.

Recently I was sent the Bella and Bear 'Eye and Mighty' Eyelash Curler. I was really looking forward to trying this, particularly due to the fact that I have seen a few beauty YouTubers using eyelash curlers and I wanted to see if, now I am older and a little more wiser, I could get them to work for me.
I was immediately aware of how good the quality is. Especially compared to the ones I used to buy as a teen. They are really comfortable to hold and to use. The pad is also really comfortable and doesn't cause any pain or nipping, again as the cheaper ones used to do. If used correctly the pads will never need to be replaced.
Due to past experience I didn't expect much from these, but I was still willing to try and to give them a go. And, I was amazed to find that they actually worked.
I have small eyelashes, and do have a habit of picking my mascara off at the end of the day which in turn, makes my eyelashes smaller and sometimes quite uneven.
Using the eyelash curlers alongside a really good mascara made such a difference to my lashes. Not only do they curl upwards but they also separate a lot better and create a better shape.

The Bella and Bear 'Eye and Mighty' Eyelash Curler costs £12.99, is available to buy on Amazon and comes highly recommended by me.


I was sent the Bella and Bear Eye and Mighty Eyelash Curler for the purpose of this review.