Thursday, 14 August 2014

I'm So Tired....

I've been eyeing up the gorgeous "Hello" pullovers at Hello Merch for a while now but I think with Emilia's recent bedtime antics I might go ahead and treat myself to this one instead along with coordinating vest for her soon....

.... Story of my life at the moment! Aren't they amazing?!

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Out and About in Sheffield....

My husband had some time off last week and we had lots of things planned including days at the seaside and trips out into the Peak District. 10 months into this parenting malarkey we're still getting used to not being able to plan too far ahead though and after two weeks of Emilia not sleeping seemingly at all we had to change our plans and try and make the most of our time together whilst surviving on complete zombie mode!

We spent the week instead at local parks, having picnics and admittedly eating far too many chips at park cafes! Emilia had lots of fun on the swings and we gave her plenty of chance to crawl, play and wear herself out (didn't work!) and just enjoy being outdoors. It was lovely to spend time as a family even if we couldn't get far and I am so grateful that we have so many amazing and peaceful parks within minutes of our house! 

You might remember that the park and woods at Whirlowbrook Hall is probably our favourite place to visit nearby and i'd really recommend it if you're after somewhere quiet and full of places to explore. You can literally walk for miles there and always see something new! 
They have also reopened a little temporary cafe (which will be there until they build a permanent one!) within the last few weeks and i'd really love to see them do well after my family worked the cafe in the hall before it closed down a couple of years ago. They do lovely cakes and a variety of sandwiches, etc so please pop over if you're in the area! 

Friday, 8 August 2014

Happy 10 Months!

Emilia turned 10 months old today. How did that happen?! Her age is now in double digits and through each day that passes she gets less baby and more toddler! Her personality is developing rapidly and she is the most wonderful, smiley and happy little girl.... I love spending my time with her!

Here's a little update on her developments this month (& i'll start with the bad!)....

This month we've started to have massive problems with sleep. She's gone from waking very early to barely sleeping at all with hours of hysterical crying throughout the night which has led to a very tired family completely stumped for ideas! She doesn't appear to be teething and we had her checked out by the doctor so we're just riding it out, hoping to get more than a couple of hours sleep in one go soon!

She's enjoying three meals a day and her eating is going very well. Her favourite foods this month are cubes of cheese, pasta, spaghetti, blueberries, yoghurt, green olives, anything with marmite on, and cheerios! She loves eating with her hands, especially at breakfast time where she will pick out her cheerios one by one eating the coloured ones first and leaving the white ones until last! I love watching the way she eats, it's all very methodic and when she's finished she'll do a glorious windscreen wiper arm across the table throwing everything left down on the floor for Elsie to eat!  

Crawling everywhere, discovering everything! She's also standing confidently now and pulling herself up on anything and everything. We tried to 'babyproof' the house before she got to this stage but I never anticipated that she would become so active so quickly! She's quite a tall baby too so she can reach up and grab things off tables and surfaces! All fun.... she's keeping us on our toes! 

This month she loves dancing and music. She's a bit of a headbanger but if we hold her hands she'll get up and have a dance to any song! She also adores us singing to her, especially at bedtime. It really helps settle her down! 

Her noises are sounding more like words each day! She'll excitedly say "DA!" when she sees the dog approaching her and tries to copy words we say. When she's enjoying eating something we'll say something like "Cheese? No problem!" and now she'll pick up her favourite foods, pop them in her mouth whilst saying something that most certainly sounds like "No problem!"..... it's hilarious! 

Other things she's enjoying this month include messy play, 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, opening cupboards, opening drawers, and sorting stuff into piles! 

Happy 10 months, my princess!

Yankee Candle "Napa Valley Sun"

Napa Valley Sun is one of my all time top favourite Yankee Candle fragrances so I was thrilled to see that it has been re-released for a limited time over on the 'special appearances' section of the Yankee Candle website.

The scent of Napa Valley Sun* is described as "fragrant rays of a golden, powdery amber with a vanilla flower finish".
I really truly think that it would be hard for anyone to be disappointed by this candle. It is a lovely rich warm sun drenched scent which is just perfect for burning during warm evenings and in late summer. The powdery notes are vaguely reminiscent of baby powder but the delicious amber and vanilla scents offer a really grown-up fresh scent which is well worth a burn in any room of the house.

I'm going to be honest, I just can't get enough of this candle!

Napa Valley in California is considered to be one of the premier wine regions of the world. I have no experience of the place (and I don't know much about wine!) so I can only imagine what the fragrance of this candle represents. 
My first experience of "Napa Valley Sun" however was our first wedding anniversary when we spent a week in a lovely cottage at Padstow in Cornwall. My lovely hubby gifted me the candle before we had the most amazing meal at Rick Stein's Seafood Restaurant to celebrate. I kept it on my bedside table for the remainder of the week and it's glorious aroma filled the room without me even having to light it.

Upon lifting the lid from this candle I am instantly transported back to that beautiful week we spent in Cornwall and the first time I experienced this amazing fragrance. This wonderful magic of Yankee Candle is one of the main reasons I love them as a brand! 

As always, the burn and scent throw of this candle is exceptional. I am pretty sure that I have tried it in all formats that have been available (small jars, votives, etc!) and I have never been disappointed. 

I haven't tried layering it with other scents yet apart from "Black Coconut" which I had burning last night..... the mix of those two was amazing! I anticipate that it would go nicely with a lot of scents though, i'll definitely be having a go at layering this and seeing what works! "Pink Sands" next, maybe? 

Yankee Candle large Housewarmer jar candles provide 110 to 150 hours of enjoyment and retail for £19.99 on the Yankee Candle website. 

Other scents that have been reintroduced recently and are available for a limited time include:

Tahitian Tiaré Flower
Reminiscent of sweet gardenias . . . love blooms in the hypnotic fragrance of this snowy white flower.

Early Sunrise
A new day dawns crisp and fresh in this clean lemony citrus scent with hints of ginger and tea.

.... all of which are gorgeous scents (Early Sunrise is another longstanding favourite of mine!) so grab them now before it is too late!

What Yankee Candle scents have you been burning recently? 

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

Friday, 1 August 2014

Seasalt Cornwall Autumn Wish List....

It's that time of year when the autumn catalogues start creeping through my letterbox, making me very excited for my favourite time of year. I'm so glad that the first one I received this summer is the Seasalt Cornwall catalogue which is absolutely crammed full of absolutely everything I could ever want in a brand. Stunning photography, perfect scenery and gorgeous clothing..... i'm certain that if I ever came into money i'd head straight for their website and order ONE OF EVERYTHING!

I have put together some of my favourite items from the autumn collection. I adore the new Eventide colour of the Seafolly jacket (I have the jacket in mustard already, it's a firm favourite for rainy days!) and the anchor detail on the wellies is right up my street! 
It looks like we'll not visiting Cornwall this year now (boo hoo!) but i'll definitely be putting in an order for the Carn Kez jumper. Those bold bands of colour will brighten up dark autumn days and luxurious soft lambswool fabric will keep me nice and cosy all through the winter! 

Have you popped over to the Seasalt website recently? I'd love to know what your favourite items from the new collection are! 

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 cafés 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!