31 January 2016

My Sunday Photo - 31.01.16



29 January 2016

Back To Work Clothes Shopping Haul

It's back to work in March as some of you will have noticed from my previous posts, and what better way to get myself in the mood for my return than by shopping my little heart out. Since I've been lucky enough to lose all my baby weight and more, none of my previous works clothes now fit. Good in a sense that I'm healthier and slimmer, bad in a way that I now have to spend a bit of money on topping up my wardrobe and sorting out my work wear. It's worth it though and I'd much rather be buying a smaller size than a larger size!

Yesterday my mum and I took a shopping trip to our local designer outlet shopping centre, Harlow came with us too and thankfully she was pretty well behaved. I basically needed everything from tops, trousers, dresses, tights, shoes etc. The whole shebang! I do hate shopping though so I wanted to get it done all in the one hit or most of it anyway. Normally when I go I can't find anything but the stars and planets must have been aligned yesterday as I got tons of new clothes and managed to put together some lovely outfits with them.

So without further ado, here's what I'll be wearing back to work in March.

Top & Trousers from Next, Shoes from Primark
Top from Red Herring at Debenhams, Trousers from Next & Shoes from Primark
Top from Red Herring at Debenhams, Trousers from Next & Shoes from Monsoon
Dress from Next, Shoes & Tights from Primark
Top from MANDI at Debenhams, Trousers from Next & Shoes from Primark
Top & Trousers from Next, Shoes from Primark
Top from IZABEL at Debenhams, Trousers & Shoes from Next
Dress from Next, Shoes & Tights from Primark

As you can see there's a major running theme of blue and black but that's what I like and I seem to be drawn to the colour blue. At least they're all different styles and shades so it won't look like I'm wearing the same thing every day haha. All in all my clothes haul did cost a pretty penny however some of the tops from Debenhams were in the sale and the shoes and tights from Primark hardly cost anything. I think the most expensive thing from Primark cost £8 so not exactly breaking the bank. The most expensive items were from Next but as I haven't been clothes shopping for work in more than a year I'm sure I can splurge a little. It's lovely to have some work clothes that are comfortable and fit nicely.

I'm also looking forward to being able to wear all my jewellery again since I'll be child free and I won't have to feel the fear of scratching a child or getting food stuck in my nice jewels. I'll do a post on my forgotten jewellery at some point to remind myself what I've been missing.

Please do let me know what you think of my outfits and any suggestions welcome. I'm not sure if the brown top from Red Herring at Debenhams goes with my cream bra so may have to swap that to a black bra?

27 January 2016

Family Photoshoot - The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Back in October of 2015 the four of us trotted on through to Edinburgh to have a little family photoshoot and I thought it's about time I shared some photos of our day. We'd never had professional photos taken of Harlow and I really wanted some that I could put up around the house. There were loads of lovely photos of Logan but poor Harlow was being left out as lazy Mummy hadn't printed and framed any, whoops! A family photoshoot sounded perfect though but boy what a stressful experience it was.

On the morning of the photoshoot we set off quite happily and on the way through I was explaining to Logan what we were doing, where it was and what would sort of happen when we got there. Logan seemed completely fine with everything I was telling him but the poor soul went into autistic meltdown when we got there. It all started with harassing his baby sister as soon as the lady on reception handed us a book to look through to see if there were any images that stood out for us. Logan just wouldn't leave Harlow alone, pushing her over and flicking paper in her face. I knew it was going to be hard from the way he was acting. When we got into the room the poor photographer must have wished he'd stayed at home that day as Logan's main goal was to make his sister cry. Oh the stress!

Anyway to cut a long story short it was a complete nightmare and I'm surprised the photographer got any good shots at all but thankfully he did, hurrah. Here's some of the good the bad and the ugly ha ha!


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25 January 2016

Burns Night - Ode To A Haggis

I couldn't let Burns Night pass without a little mention on my blog now could I! Robert Burns, or Rabbie Burns as us Scots like to call him, was a famous poet born in 1759 who wrote hundreds of poems and sadly passed away at the age of 37 in 1796 after suffering ill health it seems. Burns Night of course falls on the poets birthday where us Scottish celebrate with a traditional burns supper of haggis, neeps (turnips) and tatties (potatoes). Some people take it quite seriously and address the haggis before eating which basically means reading out Robert Burns' poem of Ode To A Haggis. Most of us just have a quiet supper at home but there's lots of events people can attend around Scotland. I'm sure my other half will have his kilt on and be sipping malts throughout the evening. I'll be sure to get some photos!

Anyway please enjoy the lovely address to the haggis by Robert Burns:

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face, 
Great chieftain o the puddin'-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye worthy o' a grace
As lang's my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o need,
While thro your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An cut you up wi ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an strive:
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
The auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
'Bethankit' hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout,
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi perfect scunner,
Looks down wi sneering, scornfu view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckless as a wither'd rash,
His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He'll make it whissle;
An legs an arms, an heads will sned,
Like taps o thrissle.

Ye Pow'rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies:
But, if ye wish her gratefu prayer,
Gie her a Haggis

24 January 2016

Happy Blogiversary - My Blog Turns 5!

My little blog is now 5 years old! It's crazy to think I've been blogging on and off for that length of time, and a lot has happened over those 5 years. Logan was diagnosed with autism in June of 2013 hence why I didn't blog that much between then and 2014. I also had another baby. A little girl called Harlow who's now one already. I still can't believe she's one, it feels like just the other day she was in my tummy and I was going into hospital for my planned c-section. How time flies. As mentioned before I'll be going back to work soon but only for a couple of days which will be nice. Some Mummy alone time even though it's still work.

When I first started blogging I jumped in with two feet and felt like I was spending all of my time on the computer writing up reviews when what I really wanted to do was write for me. I think I sickened myself a little so last year and this year I've been trying to focus on my content a bit more and have posts that are relevant to not only my readers but of course to me as well. What would be the point otherwise. Don't get me wrong I'm still going to write reviews but I'm going to choose wisely this time. I'm going to start joining in with a few blogger link ups this year too but what I really need to get myself is a blog planner so I can keep track of everything. I'm trying to be organised but I still feel like my blog posts are all over the place. I'll get my finger out and get organised asap.

For those of you that don't know I'm on a few different social media channels; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and Bloglovin. Please feel free to take a nosy and a massive thank you if you decide to follow one or all of these. It's very much appreciated.

My blog continues to be a hobby for the moment and I'm not sure if I ever will turn it into a business in the future. I think I'd be scared I lost the passion for it or what if something happened and I couldn't continue writing for a while? I know lots of people make great money from their blogs, I'm just not sure if going pro is for me yet. Who knows what the future holds though, if I could tell I'd be a billionaire!

Would you believe I've written over 600 posts in the past 5 years on this blog! It might not be as much as some others but that's some amount of writing if you think about it. I wonder how many hours or days I've actually put into blogging to date. It would be interesting to find out.

As well as concentrating on my blog content this year I'm going to try my best at engaging with everyone I come into contact with through blogging. I'm a cling to the edge of society type of girl, it's just how I am and how I prefer to be however blogging brings you into contact with some awesome people and I do want to be a part of that. Miss social here I come!

I'm really looking forward to seeing what this year of blogging brings, there's never a dull moment anyway.

My Sunday Photo - 24.01.16



23 January 2016

Celebrating a Whole Year of Breastfeeding!

There's been lots of celebrating going on recently with Logan's birthday in December, then Harlow's 1st birthday in January and now I'm celebrating a whole year of breastfeeding. It's quite an achievement if I do say so myself!

Breastfeeding is always something I've wanted to do for my children and I was lucky enough that after giving birth my milk came through for both of my kids. I breastfed Logan for a whole year and stopped just after the new year of 2010 as I was going back to work and felt our breastfeeding journey was ready to come to a close. With Harlow I'm just not sure if I'm ready to give up breastfeeding yet. The other half and I aren't going to have any more babies so she's my last which means no more breastfeeding after her. This makes me feels kind of sad in a way as I've enjoyed breastfeeding both of my kids. Don't get me wrong it hasn't always been smooth sailing but it's something I wanted to do so I've stuck with it throughout.

Harlow and I are at the stage where she feeds when she feels the need to and I feed her when she's looking for a comfort. I know this may be my downfall when I try to wean her but it works for us at the moment. So when she slips and bumps her head, is grumpy and tired or like recently when she had her latest set of immunisations, the boob gets whipped out and breastfeeding solves all. For the moment anyway.

I feel I've enjoyed breastfeeding a lot more this time round as I've not been as worried about feeding in public. With Logan I was very self conscious and practically terrified of breastfeeding in public so avoided it whenever I could. I'm not sure why I feel differently this time but after the first month or so of feeding Harlow I felt confident to feed her anywhere and wasn't bothered what people would think. Just the other day in fact we attended a new baby group and Harlow was grumping for a feed so even though we were all sitting in a circle facing each other I still propped her up on my crossed legs and fed her. No one was even bothered, not that it would have mattered but it shows how sometimes your fears of what other people will think are actually unfounded. I know you do get the odd crack pot though who wants to shame breastfeeding mothers but they can go die in a hole somewhere with their crap attitude.

I've lost so much weight after having Harlow and although sensible eating has definitely played a part I'm sure breastfeeding has as well. I'm worried that when I stop breastfeeding I won't be able to eat all of my tasty treats without piling the weight back on again. I've lost a good 3 stone at least and seriously don't want to find the numbers on my scales creeping up when I stop breastfeeding. I suppose I'm kind of in limbo. I know I don't have to breastfeed anymore but I still quite like doing it plus I'm a bit scared to stop. On the other hand when I do stop I know I'll be able to wear whatever I want without thinking how quickly can I access my boobs for feeding time. Maybe I should focus on that when it comes to weaning Harlow off the breast.

Here are some of my breastfeeding photos from the past year for you to take a nosy at.

21 January 2016

It Doesn't Always Have To Be Pink #3

Now that Harlow's a bit bigger she's finally in some new and very exciting clothes which I can't wait to share with you all. Continuing along the theme of No Pink, here's some more examples of lovely alternative clothing for your precious princess. I'm hoping to have a few of these features posted over the year so get in touch if you think your brand would suit.

Ginger and Hazel Co
This fab family run company from America makes lots of lovely handmade goodies for babies, kids and adults. Ginger and Hazel Co was actually inspired by the owner's (Juliette) twins who were born prematurely a few years ago. Ginger and Hazel are now a pair of happy go lucky, super cute, toddlers who inspire their mama on a daily basis to make some amazing relaxed and stylish pieces. Definitely check them out, their stuff is awesome.

Slugs & Snails
Who said tights had to be boring? They definitely aren't thanks to the awesome range from Slugs & Snails which are designed for both boys and girls. Slugs & Snails was born when Kathleen struggled to find any suitable tights for her baby boy. Being on top of a windy hill on the west coast of Ireland it made practical sense for Kathleen to keep her baby boy warm using tights. It wasn't until she couldn't find any boys tights that she decided to take matters into her own hands, hence Slugs & Sails was born. They can be purchased directly from the website or you can purchase through DaisyChainBaby.co.uk or FlorrieandMax.co.uk.

The colourful, vibrant and fun range of clothing that comes from Boys&Girls never fails to excite. I love their prints and it's good to see that they do some lovely unisex pieces, and since they go up to size 9-10 years I can get matching clothes for the kids. Harlow's had this little toucan dress for a while and you'll see that it's currently in the Boys&Girls sale on their website. In fact they have a lot of fab pieces in their sale, I'm going to check it out myself.

Little Green Radicals
Starting back in 2005 with a passion for fair trade and a quirky sense of humour, Little Green Radicals burst onto the scene with their gorgeous range of Fairtrade certified cotton clothing for boys and girls. They have a wide range of clothing with some truly unique designs. Harlow is always being complemented on her outfits when she wears their stuff. You can purchase directly from their website or have a google around as a few independent children's boutiques have sales on at the moment.

Now I know I'm cheating a little since this gorgeous bug playsuit from Piccalilly has some pink in it but I couldn't resist. Please note though that there's a blue and green version of this which I bought for Harlow when she was little and she wore it with pride. Piccalilly started back in 2006 shortly after the birth of Hannah's second daughter. She was made redundant but worrying times turned to positive opportunities and she embraced her new freedom from the 9-5 routine to set up Piccalilly. Their clothes really are lovely so do check them out.

19 January 2016

Recipe: Simple Carrot and Potato Soup

I don't know about you but lately I've been feeling blooming freezing and just can't seem to get a heat in me. I've been craving wholesome hearty food to try and warm me up so thought I'd make myself some tasty homemade soup. I must admit I'm a pest for buying tinned soup from the supermarket and I know I shouldn't as it's expensive compared to making your own at home. I'm not really that confident when it comes to cooking which is why I often don't even try. I'd quite like to change that this year and at least give some new recipes a go. It'll spice up our regular meals anyway and who knows there might just be a new favourite waiting to be found.

Last year saw us Brits embrace a number of health food trends, from spiralizing to sprouting, juicing to fermenting - however in 2016 it’s all about ‘souping’, according to research by Knorr. In a recent survey carried out by Knorr did you know the most popular source of inspiration for homemade soup recipes is cook books (42%), followed by food websites and blogs (33%) and family and friends (27%), with Facebook being the most popular social media channel to find recipe inspiration (11%). I do tend to look at some of the recipes people post on blogs and Facebook but tend to shy away from cook books due to being a bit complex for me.

Anyway on to the Simple Carrot & Potato Soup. I've called it simple because you literally need hardly any ingredients to make it plus if I can do it so can you!

What You'll Need:
1 tbsp oil
1 medium sized onion
4 medium sized carrots
4 large potatoes
2 Knorr Vegetable Stock Cubes (to make 800ml stock)
Pinch of salt and black pepper

Cooked diced bacon

How Do To It:
1. Fill your kettle and boil (enough for 800ml).

2. Pre-heat some oil in a big pot then chop your onion and add to the pot.

3. Once onions are soft add 800ml boiling water to your pot, then crumble in your 2 Knorr Vegetable Stock Cubes. Stir until dissolved.

4. Peel, chop and dice your carrots then add them to your pot. Do the same for your potatoes as well, dicing them into small cube ish shapes if you can. I've said 4 large potatoes and by this I mean not quite the size of baking potatoes but the size down if that make sense. If you haven't got them then 2 large baking potatoes will do the trick just as well.

5. Give everything a stir then add some salt and black pepper before leaving to simmer for 20-25 minutes until the veg is soft.

6. When the veg is soft take a potato masher and roughly mash up the veg. I like to leave mine a little lumpy as I prefer my soup thicker instead of blended. You do whatever you like though of course.

7. If you want to you can always add in some cooked diced bacon to add an extra something to your soup. It's not essential of course but I added it to mine and it was very tasty.

So there you go, tasty wholesome hot hearty food for keeping you warm on these freezing winter days and how simple was the recipe? Easy enough wasn't it. You'll have enough soup for lunch straight away and you can put the rest in the fridge for later or even freeze if you prefer.

This is a collaborative post.

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

18 January 2016

Having a Clear Out?

If your home is like mine then you'll probably have to have a little clear out every now and again. You put it off and put it off but then comes a time when you can't ignore the bursting cupboards and drawers or overflowing loft anymore. It's surprising just how much stuff a family of four (plus two dogs) can accumulate over the years. What can you do with all the old, but lovely stuff, that you can't use or don't need anymore? There's no point throwing it away or dumping it in the skip if its still got plenty of life left in it. So, I'm going to be really helpful and write down a few things you can do with your unwanted but still lovely stuff.

Sell It
First and foremost why don't you try and sell some of your lovely stuff? There's tons of places to do this now from eBay to Gumtree and if you're in Scotland there's also the lovely Jack & Jill Markets for your preloved baby and children's stuff. As long as it's been lightly used then the lovely people from the Jack & Jill team are happy for you to sell it. There's markets from Aberdeen to Dunfermline and even Glasgow. You should definitely check out their website for more details, I've done a few markets myself and they are well worth it: www.jackandjillmarket.co.uk.

Have a random assortment of stuff? Then you can always try a local car boot sale however do be warned they can be a bit scary for the newbies out there although I'm sure there's a good survival rate!

If some of your clothes have maybe seen better days but still you'd like to get a few pennies for them then try a local cash for clothes store. You don't get much but something's better than nothing and the clothing is recycled at least.

Give to Charity
There's tons of charities out there that could do with your donations and it all depends on what stuff you need to offload, however try thinking of local charities first. What about your local toddler group for preloved toys or what if there's a clothing bank near by that gives to local families in need. If you're in Fife (like me) did you know that there's a charity called Fife Children's Clothing Bank? I certainly didn't until recently. They basically collect children's clothes from drop off points all over Fife and hand deliver them to families in need. These families have of course been referred through the appropriate methods but how fantastic and helpful that clothes your children no longer need can help someone else. Check out their Facebook page for the latest up to date info.

Whilst we're on the subject of charities, ladies if you have any unwanted bras that are still in good condition then hand them over to Smalls For All, a brilliant charity based in Livingston which helps children and women in Africa. They even take nursing bras so any mamas out there no longer breastfeeding get your old nursing bras donated to a good cause.

Sometimes schools and nurseries do a rag bag collection where old/unwanted clothes can be popped in a bag and are then collected at the school. The school then receives some pennies in return for the clothes collected which of course benefits the children at the school as the funds go back to them in some way.

Friends and Family
Good old friends and family are always fab for asking if they'd like some of your unwanted but lovely stuff. Sometimes the things you loved to wear or use are just too good to sell or give to charity so why not ask around and see if anyone you know would like them. I've recently given my mother-in-law a gorgeous winter coat that's like brand new but no longer fits and she's thrilled with it. I'm glad it's being used and not stuck in my cupboard taking up room, win win.

I've recently had a clear out of Logan's clothes and shoes and some of them are in great condition so I'll hopefully be giving them to a little boy we know very soon. His mum was very thankful last time and she even gave me some lovely clothes for Harlow since she has a little girl who's older which was fantastic and very kind.

Upcycle It
Everyone seems to be into upcycling stuff these days so why not turn some of your old stuff into new stuff? This seems to work really well with old clothes and if you're crafty that's great however if you're like me and not very crafty then you can get someone else to upcycle for you.

How about a cute little keepsake teddy bear or stuffed animal made from your baby's old clothes or sleepsuits? Pretty cool I think and there's lots of people all over facebook and etsy who can do that kind of thing for you. Have a quick google and you'll see just how many come up.

If you have any ideas on what to do with your stuff after you've had a clear out then please do let me know. I'm always looking for other ways to recycle my unwanted but lovely stuff.

17 January 2016

Siblings in January

I've decided to join in with a few blogger link ups and projects this year to keep things fresh and also because it's fun. So without further ado I'll be along for the journey on The Siblings Project run by Lucy at Dear Beautiful. I'm hoping I'll be able to capture at least one photo a month of my precious two as it's so easy to forget and with Logan being at school I tend to take a lot more photos of Harlow, whoops! I'm a little bit late with sibling posts going live on 15th of every month but better late than never, right?

This month saw Harlow turning one and what a lovely day we all had. Logan was on his best behaviour and helped Harlow to open all her presents. He did get excited by one present and wouldn't let Harlow touch it but we'll let that slid! Generally Logan and Harlow get on great however with Logan having autism their relationship can be somewhat tricky at times. Logan seems to find it funny to annoy his baby sister but I try to get around this by giving him a job of some description. Often asking him to help her in some way works and the behaviour subsides. He does truly love her though which is plain for all to see and he likes her to be involved with everything.

Harlow finds her big brother absolutely fascinating and is desperate to be involved in everything he does. If he's chilling on the sofa she's toddling over beside him to see what he's up to or if he has a bowl of fruit to share. His toys are of course far more interesting than hers so she's always trying to pry them from his hands. Logan also gets the biggest laughs and giggles out of his sister, no matter what Daddy and I do we never get a full belly chuckle like the ones Logan can pull from her. It warms my heart when they share moments like that and I hope to see more of their relationship developing like this throughout the year.

Logan can be quite protective of his baby sister at times and I laugh to myself when I think back and he told his Granny Shir she wasn't taking his baby to her house, ha ha. He'll often shout on me in the house if he thinks Harlow's up to something she shouldn't be either, like grabbing the ornaments or the house phone. He does tend to pick her up a lot and move her away from 'dangerous' stuff but she of course hates this and wants to rush back and play with whatever it is she had.

They're a funny little pair together but they do love each other which I'm very thankful for. I always worried that Logan might resent Harlow in some way when she was born but he never has, in fact he's been asking for more babies to add to his family!

The Me and Mine Project

My Sunday Photo - 17.01.16



13 January 2016

#JustWrite with Bic

A new study, which was conducted across the UK last August on behalf of Bic, has shown a major declining interest in writing amongst teenagers. Almost half (49%) of 13-19 year olds have never written a thank you letter, 83% have never written a love letter and a quarter (26%) have never even written a birthday or Christmas card!

I honestly can't believe that 26% of teenagers have never written a birthday or Christmas card!? I get it that yes maybe parents tend to write thank you cards on their behalf and it's not really massively popular to write a love letter any more however come on! Surely writing a birthday card or Christmas card was drummed into you from primary school age? Heck I even loved writing postcards! Maybe I'm just getting old.

I think a lot of it will be to do with all the technology floating around these days. Why put pen to paper when you can text or facebook message, whatsapp or tweet etc. There's a problem with this though with nearly 7 in 10 (67%) admit texting and instant messages are detrimental to their writing, with 21% admitting it makes their spelling worse. I've seen some of the way people use short hand to text or message with and honestly it annoys me. I know its quicker but typing out the word is so much better plus you learn new words and of course better spelling.

Anyway I digress. What's really a shame is that many believe that handwritten letters and notes are more personal and heartfelt however people still choose to communicate via an electronic method. I know that when I have to do thank you cards I personally hand write them so it looks like I have put more thought and effort in. Two thirds (58%) say receiving a handwritten letter would mean much more to them than an electronic equivalent, 65% confess that any relative receiving a handwritten note from them would probably be delighted as they'd consider it more thoughtful.

Bic UK & ROI started this campaign to get young people, and all ages really, back into the swing of writing. It's a dying art and it would be a shame to lose it. Bic were kind enough to send us some of their kids range to help get Logan into writing. I have to confess that Logan isn't a massive fan of writing due to his autism but it is an important life skill and he has to learn it if he likes it or not unfortunately. Luckily the pencils we received from Bic are amazing and perfectly designed for little hands.

Logan is especially fond of the Crayon Graphite pencil as it's thicker and shaped to fit into smaller hands. He's been using this pencil quite a bit recently to write birthday cards for his friends and also when doing his homework. Homework has always been a struggle for him and these pencils have given him a little boost which is great. I'd definitely recommend them if your child has sensory grip issues or if they're struggling to hold a thinner pencil.

I'll definitely be encouraging Logan to continue writing to the best of his ability and although he's a mad gadget fan there'll be plenty of opportunities for him to practice his writing. As you might know we're heading to Legoland soon so I'm sure a few of his friends will be receiving some handwritten postcards.

This is a collaborative post.


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