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.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Frugi Outerwear | Review

A coat made from 100% Recycled bottles. Yes, that is the latest wonderful product we have been sent from one of our favourite clothing brands, Frugi.
The Explorer Coat has a water resistant outer layer with a soft fleece lining.
The boys coats are available in two colours. Navy with silver reflective stars on the pockets, the back of the coat and on the hidden pocket on the arm and a red with navy starred pattern all over the coat again with the silver reflective stars on the pockets and back of the coat.
We chose the navy coat for Charles as we felt this was the smartest design for him and the most appropriate for his age.

We ordered the size 5-6 and it fits perfectly. He has enough room for it to last this Autumn and Winter. The quality is fantastic and I am confident that it will keep in the same perfect condition until Harry is old enough/big enough to wear it.
The length is great too and I really like that it has a dipped hem at the back making it slightly longer.
Charles loves that this coat is "snuggly and really soft. I like the hood and the secret pocket on the arm that I can put secret stuff in".

The coat costs £46 which is reasonable given it's quality.
Perfect for school or for general wear we highly recommend this coat. Now we need some rain so he can put it to good use!


We were sent this coat for the purpose of this review.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Happy Sunday | Week Twenty Three

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:

 

Therapy

I had my second therapy appointment this week. I am really determined to try and get to the bottom of this whole anxiety/depression/OCD/Social Anxiety stuff and I felt that this week was a really good week. My therapist is wonderful and I really feel like I can trust her as a professional, and that she understands me and wants to help me.
We looked this week at problems in my past and how they affect my thoughts, behaviours and emotions now.
She's also been giving me homework which has helped and is good for me to be able to sit down at home and to think about things for the next session.
I'm really looking forward to my session next week and hope that I continue to progress.

Emma Bridgewater

I had some Amazon vouchers to spend and immediately purchased some hair tongs leaving me with £10. Well, you have never known of someone to umm and ahh and stress so much about what to spend £10 on. I could have saved it, but no, I wanted to spend it NOW. I could have spent it on little Christmas presents to put away for the boys, but no. I could have spent it on dvds to extend my Tom Hanks film collection, but no.
Eventually though I found these two Emma Bridgewater items that I could not resist. I have lusted after Emma Bridgewater products for a while now but the price tag has always put me off.
The past two or three weeks I have felt really bogged down and unorganised when it comes to my blog, this has then made me feel really stressed and I got to the point where I felt like I was struggling to cope.
Despite having various notebooks with a schedule plan I still continued to get muddled. This Day to Do notepad is IDEAL and made a change instantly. It's so easy to be able to organise my posts and to keep a track of. At £6.00 I felt it was a really good investment.
I couldn't resist to also buy the matching 'Write it Down' pen. Ok, I would never usually spend this much (£4.99) on a pen but look how beautiful it is.
Harry has a tendency to break pens so I am going to make sure he does not get his hands on this beauty.

Birchbox

I was sent the August Birchbox to review [you can read my review here along with an exclusive Birchbox discount code]. I really love getting things to review which I truly enjoy and would purchase for myself, as well as something that I maybe before would have been put off purchasing for whatever reason. The Birchbox was something I would like to purchase but had reasons not to (worrying that products wouldn't suit me) but my mind has definitely been changed.
I also really liked getting this because it was something for me, and gave me an excuse to pamper myself and look after myself, which all ladies need.

 

That Skirt. And Summer Meeting Autumn.

This week I went to the cinema with the boys and my twin brother. I didn't really know what to wear as it was a little bit windy. Considering we would be sat down most of the time I decided to embrace the seasonal changes and wear my uber comfy Clarks wedges whilst I can alongside one of my favourite skirts. This skirt had very little wear last year due to not fitting me and being too small....now it is too big but fits ok perched on my hips with a tight top holding it in place. I love the colours in the skirt and will be wearing it a lot in the Autumn teamed with tan boots and tights.

His Comforter

I always wanted my boys to have a comforter. They didn't have dummies and due to breastfeeding just used me as their comforter. They will occasionally take toys out with them, and for a while Charles used to take cars to bed with him every night. Before he could count he knew exactly how many cars he took to bed and would know if he had lost one. He would take around 15 or so to bed so how he knew he had lost one I don't know!
Harry is attached to his big Mickey Mouse teddy. Mickey comes with us on a lot of adventures and journeys despite being so big. Harry loves carrying him on his shoulders, because Mickeys legs get tired.
I really love how we have to treat Mickey like he is a member of our family, a real person. He gets strapped into the middle seat in our car, he was sat comfortably on the bench next to Harry when we ate in Nandos and even had his own seat in the cinema.

Takeaway Coffee

On Sunday we headed up to the Midlands to have lunch with my husbands Aunty and Uncle and then to head to a 100th Birthday party.
We got up later than planned and whilst I was getting ready the boys had their breakfast and then we had to rush out of the door....meaning I missed out on my morning cup of coffee. After we picked up my mother in law on the way we stopped off at my favourite garage (yes, I have a favourite garage, the Rowley Mile Services on the A14 if you were interested) and my husband grabbed me a Latte. I hardly ever have milky coffees now as they make me feel really ill, but I can't resist a Wild Bean Cafe. They didn't have any of my favourite Hazelnut syrup so instead my husband used his initiative (he is a good boy) and gave me a shot of caramel instead. It was deeeeeelicious.
Sometimes it's the little things your partner does that you really appreciate. My husband really gets my need for a coffee on a long journey and always makes sure he gets me a good one.

What made you happy this week?

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