Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Happy 9 Months!

So it's official, Emilia has been out in the world for as long as she was in my tummy! She is just the most lovely little girl, very cuddly and is developing the most amazing personality. She's very determined, happy, smiley, and sure of what she wants though she isn't afraid to let everyone know if she's not happy about something!  Here's a little update on her developments this month.... 

 Down to 3 milk feeds a day and eating 3 solid meals a day now! Her favourite foods this month are tuna sandwiches, Cheerios, porridge with fruit mixed in, mashed raspberries, banana and strawberries, slices of cucumber, crumpets, breadsticks dipped in cream cheese, spaghetti bolognese and bread! She's also rather fond of ice cream as we discovered on holiday! Although she definitely has her off days, she'll pretty much try anything and enjoys picking food up to feed herself now! 

 Discovering if she drops food from her highchair then Elsie will come and eat it! Emilia absolutely loves this and I'm certain she's dropping it purposely now to make the doggy come and get it! 

 Sleeping better but still wakes anywhere between 4am and 6am wanting to play! Usually she'll have a little more sleep if we bring her in our bed but now she's on the move she sees this as an opportunity to climb all over us! Her naps have gone from quite a good routine to all over the place, sometimes she'll go for 20 minutes and sometimes a couple of hours.... She gets very grumpy and frustrated when she can't sleep but we're trying to stick to her routines hoping it will get better soon! 

 Mastered going from laying down to sitting up and has started to crawl during the past week or so! She's absolutely into everything now.... No drawer, bag, book or object is safe anymore and we are having such fun watching her move around the house so effortlessly! 

 Imitating sounds and movements! Everything from bum wiggles and waving to blowing raspberries, it's so incredibly cute. She loves music too and is often found dancing in caf├ęs or when we have the radio on at tea time! 

 Still loving In The Night Garden just before bed. I swear she can barely breathe with excitement when Igglepiggle comes on and she loves waving goodnight to him! 

 Also loving lots of tickles, story time, soft toys and noisy toys, bath time, going on the swings at the park, picnics, animals, playing with water and anything that isn't a toy, emptying anything and everything (her toy box, packs of wipes, bags, etc!)

Happy 9 months, my princess!

Money Saving from March to June....

I thought it might be about time that I updated here on where we're at with our money saving mission seeing as I haven't done it for a few months now!
To be honest I've not updated purely because I've been a bit (ok, a lot) rubbish at saving recently. We've had quite a few unexpected large bills including everything from fixing broken windows to a rather pointless £600 vets bill. On top of that, Emilia's not been sleeping recently so sometimes it's just much easier to reach for the ready meals when you're delirious from exhaustion instead of planning and preparing from fresh.... I know it's bad but needs must! Onwards and upwards though, ay?! 

still the dream!

Here's a few steps we've been taking recently to save a few pennies here and there....

 We're currently trying to work out if it would be worth overpaying on the mortgage or of we can rethink it in any way in order to reduce the monthly payments. We obviously have to consider any unexpected house/vet related bills (we've had enough of these recently so we know how much of a blow they can take to your finances!) and leave enough for essential work that needs doing on the house, etc but we intend to talk to the bank about all this very soon! 

 I currently have two sealed tins for coins on the go. I'm currently collecting any 5p's and £2 coins I have in my possession and don't plan on opening each one until they are completely full! These will be used for a treat or a night away so I'm really looking forwards to filling these! 

 We've been doing a lot of online grocery shopping recently using Morrisons, our proffered supermarket. We love that delivery is only £1, items are always fresh and so far we haven't had any missing items. Shopping online means we are less tempted by offers and products on the shelves which helps us stick to a budget! 

 We have also very recently started using Aldi for baby basics such as nappies, wipes, etc. This will be saving us a significant amount of money as their nappies are £4.49 for example as opposed to the £11.99 we were paying for Pampers.... The quality is just as good too!

 Picnics! We've been making the most of the warmer weather by sometimes swapping eating out for a lovely picnic in a park..... even if we are getting the picnic from M&S, we're still saving on eating out! I've really enjoyed doing this, especially as we don't have to worry about Emilia throwing food everywhere and Elsie wandering off to other tables! 

 Outlet and sales shopping for discount designer brands. I'm a big fan of The Little White Company for Emilia's clothes and by signing up to their mailing list they often send out discount codes such as 20% off so this is excellent for saving a few pennies! We also visited their outlet shop in Bicester where I went a little bit mad buying her pyjamas, toys and clothes..... Everything was at least 30% off though so that's ok! 

 Car boot sale shopping throughout the summer. Here is where we find a lot of toys for Emilia and clothes for all of us. We've found some amazing bargains recently so it's worth getting up early for! We're also planning to stand at a car boot soon as we have a lot of stuff to get rid of.... Hooray for decluttering!  

 I'm still using coupons wherever possible and cashing in Tesco club card vouchers in exchange for admission tickets to various attractions. I've also been using Valued Opinions for a while and recently received vouchers to spend on Amazon so I'll be using these towards some books and toys for Emilia's birthday! 

 Continuing to track our spending using this app on the iPad. Still spending way too much on eating out and entertainment but hopefully we can make a real start on cutting back!

 Not buying 'stuff'. I know this sounds simple but I'm a sucker for buying stuff, especially candles and bath products. For now we've agreed to not buy any more and I'm really enjoying using up some of my stash! 

If you're interested in reading about what I did during past months you can hop over to the following posts by clicking on the links below: 
February 2014
January 2014 
New Year 2014

If you are trying to save money for a special occasion or just cut back a bit please do let me know your top tips and favourite websites for saving money!

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Happy Father's Day....

Happy father's day to all the wonderful daddies out there, hope you have all had a lovely day! 

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

In Photos: A Midweek Family Day Out at Wentworth Garden Centre....

Today was the three year anniversary of the day we bought Elsie home to live with us so my husband took the day off work and we all headed out to one of Elsie's favourite places for a family day out at Wentworth Garden Centre

Wentworth Garden Centre is not just a garden centre but has everything from a stunning gift shop to family farm, beautiful historic walled gardens, restaurant and pet centre to unique craft shops and regular farmers markets. 
Amazingly, almost every area is dog friendly (they are allowed on-lead pretty much everywhere apart from inside the restaurant and the farm.... Elsie loves looking round the gift shop!) so we visit here quite a lot. Plus i'm a big fan of the strawberry tarts at the restaurant, they are so good

It was a lovely day today so we had a potter round the walled gardens whilst the rest of my family visited the farm then we all met up for lunch at the restaurant. Afterwards we visited the pet centre where Elsie recieved an awful lot of fuss and she chose herself a selection of treats to take home! 

It was a lovely day out and i'm glad I snapped a few photos during our time there....

Monday, 9 June 2014

Whirlow Brook Park: In Photos....

The sunny weather has prompted many family picnics recently in our favourite local park, Whirlow Brook Park. We love it here, it's so quiet.... I don't think many Sheffield folk know about it or appreciate it enough so often we'll have the place to ourselves if we go early enough! 

It'll be a fab place to go exploring when Emilia is older too, the woods go on for miles out onto the edge of the Peak District. It's beautiful! For now though, we're happy with a short walk with Elsie then getting comfy on a rug sitting in the sunshine with a picnic from M&S! 

Here are a few photos from our recent trips.... 

Mr Nutcase Personalised Phone Covers....

It's fair to say that my phone gets quite a bit of use so I like to ensure that it is protected with a phone cover at all times, especially as I now have a baby who is quite literally obsessed with phones (and putting them in her mouth!). 

Mr Nutcase make personalised phone covers for a wide variety of phone brands including Apple, Blackberry and Samsung. As well as being super customisable in terms of design you can choose from different finishes to the actual case too such as an ultra lightweight slimline version or an executive flip leather style.

If having a personalised cover isn't your thing, Mr Nutcase also stock an expansive range of ready made designs and with categories ranging from vintage to street art, there really is something for everyone! 

I'm a bit of an Instagram addict so I chose to create my own custom iPhone case* by using a collage of six of my favourite recent photos. Designing the cover was super simple as it was just a case of selecting a template, uploading the required number of photos then dragging and dropping them into place until I had a design that I was happy with!

After you have finished creating your cover you can take a look at a high quality preview so that you can make any adjustments if necessary. The checkout page was simple and speedy and I'd say that overall the whole process is pretty much effortless. As a bonus, if you 'like' their facebook page you can get yourself a free screen protector too with your order which is great! In under 15 minutes I had designed and placed the order for my phone cover. Simple! 

After placing my order I was really impressed with the speed that my order was processed. Only a few hours later I received a dispatch confirmation and the phone case was impressively delivered by the postman the very next morning!

I have to say that I am really pleased with the quality of the phone case. It feels very sturdy and I love the semi-matte finish to the photographs. The colours are also amazing and just as vibrant as on my computer screen.... I was a little worried that colour and detail would be lost on a printed item like this but I was proved wrong! I'd very happily place an order with Mr Nutcase again.

If you're interested in purchashing a cover yourself, the team at Mr Nutcase have very kindly offered readers of my blog a 10% discount off any cover if you use the code "Thanku10" at the checkout. 

* I was sent this product to review but all words are my own!

Yankee Candle "Sweet Dreams" Swirl....

Once the baby is tucked up in bed our evenings are usually a blur of catching up on each others day, walking the dog, cleaning, washing, catching up on paperwork and getting ready for the next day. Admittedly it can be hard to find the time to wind down before bed but we do try our hardest, even if its just 10-20 minutes each day!

I am a huge fan of using scent to help create a relaxing atmosphere and the Yankee Candle "Sweet Dreams" medium swirl jar candle* is amazing for creating that perfect bedtime scent as the evening quickly turns into night.

Sweet Dreams contains a unique combination of two favourite true-to-life Yankee Candle scents "Lavender Vanilla" and "Soft Blanket" which complement each other beautifully. If you haven't tried either of these scents before, Lavender Vanilla is a gorgeous blend of fresh lavender and warm vanilla with hints of musk and bergamot whilst Soft Blanket is a fantasy fragrance of clean citrus, luxurious vanilla and warm amber. I can assure you that these scents are utterly beautiful on their own so together they are an absolute dream!

Once lit, Sweet Dreams fills the room with a delightful sweet and tranquil aroma that's just perfect as a background scent in the bedroom or during bath time. The scent is calming and isn't at all overpowering, it is such a delight to burn.
Sweet hints of lavender and vanilla are evident but are balanced with the clean and warming notes of Soft Blanket. It's a truly comforting fragrance and it would be a great candle to light on those cold winter evenings!

I have used the swirl candles a few times before and visually, I love the way the wax is poured into the jar. My husband likens the appearance of these candles to old fashioned sweet shop jars and I can see where he's coming from! Definitely one to keep out on display in the bedroom I think!

Sweet Dreams is currently available to buy exclusively online at for the price of £16.99.

What are your favourite relaxing Yankee Candle fragrances?

* I was sent this product to review but all words are my own!