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Finding Balance in Motherhood

Here are a few photos from a lazy morning in the week when we stayed in PJs and baked banana bread!  We used a recipe from my Ella’s Kitchen cookbook and added Pecan’s too..Gracie gave up helping at that point and just sat munching on them!  I love having busy weeks that are full of play dates, classes and activities but I also love keeping some time free so there’s no schedule to keep to or plan in mind.

This week we joined the gym!  I’m so happy, I found one with a great creche that we were able to try out first before signing up.  Gracie loved it and just got stuck in with all the arts and crafts tables they had out.  Once a week I’m booking us in for an hour and I will go to a class then take Gracie for a swim after.  I’ll go a couple more times a week when I can in the evenings or early morning when Gareth is playing with Gracie.. but it feels good to be able to go when it suits our plans and to know Gracie is having fun and well looked after.

I didn’t need to really work at finding balance in life before I became a mother…this little person is a lot of work ha!  So right now I’m working on trying to organise our days and weeks so I feel like I accomplish the things on my to do lists.  Often I end up trying to do so many things and get frustrated by how little I get done, and get done very well…it’s annoying how cliche it all is!

I’m watching Mariah’s world on E! as I’m writing this (Gareth isn’t back yet!)  and it is sooo addictive!!  LOVE her so much!  Actually just downloading a load of her music now too!

Have a great weekend!xx

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Things I’ve learned in my 30’s

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Just a few snaps from our weekend walking in the woods then stopping off for a hot chocolate after Gracie’s swimming lesson this morning!

It wasn’t such a big deal for me turning 30, it was one of the happiest years of my life and I spent it celebrating with my love in the Hunter Valley immersed in wine tastings and fine dining.  Now I’m a bit further in, I can really feel the difference in my outlook on life and I’m enjoying this stage in my life so much more than my 20’s!

Here are some of the things I’ve learned

 

MOTHERHOOD

‘The challenge is in the change’ is what Gareth said to me when Gracie was just weeks old and I was asking him; will it get easier?!  And he was bang on the mark because one of the things I struggle with is when all of a sudden you don’t know what the hell is going on again??  Just when I think I’ve got it sorted and we’re in a good groove, Gracie goes and changes again and I have a whole new set of things to figure out!  That very same statement also helps me to remember that the harder times will also pass when things get tough.

LOVE

My mum always says that if you put each other first then you don’t need to put yourself first.  I’ve got the most loving, kind and amazing man I could ever wish for and luckily he seems to feel the same way about me as I do about him!  I think we look after each other pretty well

CELEBRATING OTHERS

I always felt like I would sound a bit patronising dishing out the compliments to others.  But I’ve come to realise that if it’s genuine then it will likely sound genuine too.   Whether it’s recognising a fellow mama who does something particularly well or a friend taking a risk and doing something new I think it’s so important to let people know if you’re proud or that you like how they do something.  When I first started this blog about 4 months ago, I was so surprised and warmed by the lovely comments and support, some from the most unlikely of people too!   Basically I have learned to spread the love – and you get back what you put out!

BE KIND TO YOURSELF

‘Comparison is the thief of joy’ – Theodore Roosevelt

I love this quote and it always pops up in my head when negative thoughts try to creep in. I’ve learned it can be so destructive to compare especially if it means that someone else’s accomplishment makes you feel like a failure in some way.  I think comparison can be a positive thing if it means you’re inspired to do something new or want to improve in some way – or just to keep you motivated!

THE IMPORTANCE OF SKINCARE

SPF is a no brainer and not really a lesson from my 30’s but it’s something I’m already glad I was diligent about in my 20’s.  The thing I’ve learned is to really research products and get into a routine.  I often do it a lot earlier in the evening before we get comfy as it’s just the worst to be sleepy, ready for bed and have to then go do a skincare ritual with the effort it needs!  Skincare products are definitely worth investing in, as are treatments and it can be so daunting to choose which will be the best one for you.

COLLECT MEMORIES

Whilst I adore Chanel handbags, Prada sunglasses and covet a Carrie Bradshaw style shoe collection, I’ve learned that my best investment is in experiences.  I choose travel with my family, afternoon tea with my mum, a spa day with a friend or something totally new!   That’s pretty much the reason for starting this blog, to document the memories, big and small for Gracie to look back on.  It may mean I have to forego my PJs on the sofa when that’s all I feel up to in an evening or to survive on 3 hours sleep ahead of a flight alone with my toddler (that’s what happened before our Berlin trip…teething nightmares lol!).  It’s worth it for the memories we make and that’s worth more to me that any shoe or handbag!

What are your biggest learnings in life at the moment?

Happy Sunday all xx

 

 

 

 

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My 5 favourite indoor activities with my toddler that make very little mess!

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I love to have a busy and full calendar with lots of play dates, toddler classes and days out.   Sometimes though we have those days where plans fall through or I just didn’t make any for that day and it’s cold or rainy OR I just don’t want to leave the house!  Pintrest is my saviour and I’m so grateful to all those creative mama’s who provide such amazing inspiration.   I love getting Gracie involved in messy activities but sometimes I just want to keep it simple and not create a load of extra mess in the house, I know some of you are with me on this?!  So here’s my favourite indoor activities with my 19 month old 🙂

1.BAKING is something I’m loving at the moment.  I’m a bit rubbish in the kitchen department except when it comes to home made pizza or baking cakes.  It’s only recently that Gracie has been taking a big interest in what I’m doing in the kitchen and I love to watch her recreating things she’s seen me doing in her own little play kitchen she got for Christmas!  We baked a lemon drizzle cake from The Primrose Bakery cookbook this week as it’s Gareth’s favourite and it was his birthday!  It was such an easy and quick recipe with lots that Gracie could help with.

2. BATHTIME..not actual bath time though she’d probably LOVE that because it’s her favourite part of the day… but making a little bath out of a washing up bowl in the kitchen and giving her animal toys a good scrub!  Gracie gets water play and role play all at the same time and the toys get a well needed clean!  I’ve got a large waterproof sheet I got from Jojo Maman Bebe and I just stick that down to contain the splash.

3. SORTING…Gracie’s all time favourite toys are:  My make up brushes and their container, my purse and my bedside table drawer.  See a theme lol?!  So I start off with a few of my empty cosmetic bags or washbags and fill them with various things including toys and everyday objects.  Gracie plays around zipping them open and closed then picks things out and we name them and pass them between each other.   Packing them away is just as fun for her as she gets so much joy out of passing me an item I have asked her to find!

4. DEN…We got Gracie a teepee and decorated it with fairy lights, strings of pom poms and got a fluffy rug to make it cosy.  This is my lazy activity as we just get a stack of books and hide away in there reading.  I take a couple of snacks with us, some of her tea set bits and a few teds so we can have a little picnic too and she LOVES it!

5. AQUADOODLE…This is essentially painting with water and it’s genius!  It comes with a pen, a paintbrush and some stamps that you dip in water and use on the mat.  The mat then turns rainbow coloured as the water hits it and all you do is leave it to dry out then it’s ready to use again.  We bought ours from Toys R Us.  Love this as we can just lay it out in the lounge and get our hands and feet involved too!

Thanks for reading, what are your favourite indoor activities with kiddos?

Katy xx

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Farm day & Beating January blues

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Here are a few snaps from our day at the farm!  It was such a lovely experience for Gracie to be feeding and petting the animals – we’ve been to farms before and I always say afterwards I will take her more often!  It was good to get some fresh air too as it’s been bitterly cold lately so we’ve been hiding away a fair bit!

Like a lot of people I find this time in January a bit of a struggle.  I’m yearning for the warmer, sunnier weather and I’m finding it hard to get back in the fitness groove I got in around September/October last year.  When we spent a weekend in London (post here) I was feeling so good about myself – I was exercising regularly and for the most part eating healthily.  One of my New Years resolutions was to get back to this routine!  I’ve done the odd HIIT workout in my living room and still choose healthy food a lot, but my usual 80/20 balance or 1 cheat day a week is now more 60/40 and 2 cheat days!

I decided a few days ago that I’m going to be kinder to myself about it and put my energy into getting back on track rather than beating myself up about it or pining for the fitter me.  I’ve booked into a couple of fitness classes and feel so much better knowing I’ve taken some action rather than writing yet another ‘to-do’ list (I’m the queen of them ha).

Anyone else struggled to get back on track too?!  Let me know what you’re doing to beat the blues!

Happy Friday all!

Katy xx

 

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BERLIN & TIPS ON LOW COST TRAVEL

Here are some of our snaps from our weekend in Berlin!  We spent 2 nights away and had such a fun family time.  Below are some tips for travelling on a budget too

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My favourite parts of the trip were taking Gracie to the aquarium and seeing her reaction to the fish and copying them, finding these cute little boutique shops in courtyards that we could play around in, strolling around chatting with Gareth while Gracie was napping in the pushchair and having the most delicious brunch!

TIPS FOR FAMILY TRAVELLING ON A BUDGET

Accommodation

Aside from booking out of school holidays etc, a cost effective alternative to hotels is using sites like Airbnb and HomeAway to rent property directly from the owners.  It can be way cheaper than hotels and more spacious too!  Having a separate room for Gracie to sleep in during the evenings just makes it sooo much more relaxing.    For this trip we actually found a good deal and booked into the Adina Apartment Suites in Hackescher Market (10 min walk from Alexanderplatz station) as location is high on our priorities as well as being able to have a kitchenette in our room.  The hotel even provided a box of toys for us too!

Flights

Budget airlines Flybe, Ryanair and Easyjet are what we frequently use and to keep the cost really low I sometimes pack super light so we’re not checking any luggage into the hold.  This only works on really short trips though, Gracie doesn’t tend to travel light!  We buy nappies wherever we are too so only really take enough for our journey plus a little extra.

We flew with Easyjet for this trip and travelled early in the morning.  It was the cheapest flight of the day and although it meant a really early start (7:15AM flight) we landed at 10AM and had the whole day to explore.   Gracie and I flew alone as Gareth was already in Berlin for work so I chose to pay to reserve our seat – I didn’t want to be jammed in the middle with a wriggly toddler!  As it was the flight was half empty (another bonus of early flights) and we had a row of three seats to ourselves!

Getting Around

Public transport and walking are definitely the most cost effective ways to get around.  We like to go on the hop on/hop off bus tours and often they combine them with river tours or other tourist sights.  For this trip we did exactly that and got tickets for the aquarium too so we could make sure Gracie had fun and we could escape the cold.

Eating

We LOVE brunch and it’s always kind of an assumed thing for us that when we are away we have brunch!!   We found a cool little cafe called Father Carpenter that was a bit hipster (no highchairs of course) but was sooo friendly with the most amazing coffee, beautiful poached eggs and delicious Pain Au Chocolat.

We didn’t really need lunch so just survived on little snacks until dinner.  One night we ate out and the second night we ordered Deliveroo to our room and shared pizza.  Gareth grabbed a bottle of wine from a local shop so we were set!  Sometimes it’s just more fun for Gracie this way too so she can just have a good stretch afterward without us worrying about disturbing other diners!

I do love to eat out to really experience the culture and enjoy researching places to go.  Local cafes for breakfast or street food by an iconic site definitely appeal more to us than a standard hotel buffet with rubbery scrambled eggs and cold toast!  And they charge so much in hotels too?!

Hope you all had a lovely weekend, I’m glad to be home now curled up on the sofa getting ready to catch up on The OA on Netflix (new obsession, it’s so good!)

Katy xx

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BEAUTY ADDITIONS FEBRUARY

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1. I have such high hopes for this NARS Creamy Concealer in ‘Vanilla’ £22.50.  I’ve always suffered with dark circles easily and can remember trying to navigate the beauty counter in House of Fraser as a self conscious teenager desperately trying to find a cure!  Fast forward and add a good 15 yeas of ageing (I’m being so kind to myself here lol) plus 18 months of on/off sleep deprivation and not only do I seek a fix for the persistent shadows BUT I also now have little lines that have crept into the space under my eyes.  Anything on the cake-y side instantly highlights the lines by gathering.  So far I’m pleased with the coverage and the longevity of it, it’s a light and creamy texture to apply and blends really well

2. BARE MINERALS Bare Pro foundation £27  is a pressed powder that I bought after seeing fellow bloggers raving about it.  It’s medium coverage with a promise to stay put for 12 hours.  For me, using it alone doesn’t give me the finish that I really love – BUT using a light amount over my foundation does add a gorgeously smooth matte effect.  I do favour full coverage because I’m pretty self conscious of the dark circles aforementioned.  If you’re lucky enough to have a more even skin tone then this would be fine to use alone (and please share with me your secrets?!)

3. I’ve only had the TANGLE TEEZER Blow Dry hairbrush £16 for a week and am so pleased I got it.  I’m so so rubbish at blow drying my hair – usually drying my hair involves Gracie clambering all over me and trying to help with the brushing!   I followed the instructions and just brushed my hair while drying and not directly applying heat to the brush and my hair was a lot smoother without spending any more time than my usual routine.  It’s not as good as a hair dresser blow dry but it certainly improved a standard dry.

4. LAILA LONDON Activated Charcoal Toothpaste £9.99.  I’ve vowed to quit coffee and red wine in the hope of improving the colour of my teeth.  I’m doing well on the wine front but for the last week I’ve averaged about 4-5 hours broken sleep a night (teething nightmares!!) so I’m not quite ready to relinquish my caffeine saviour yet…but once those teggers pop through we will officially have a full set of baby teeth and I will be running out of excuses ;-).  I’ll let you know how I get on with this one but basically you brush twice a day for two minutes with a dab of this charcoal toothpaste.  Yes it is black and it doesn’t taste very pleasant so I still brush with my normal toothpaste after too

5. STILA Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in ‘Dolce’ £16  I’m a huge fan of a liquid lipstick and one of my favourite bloggers recently did an amazing round up of her favourites (post here).   I’m so glad I found this post because I love the Stila ones but did find them on the drier side…having taken her advice on applying balm 15 minutes before and I much prefer the finish now!

6. CHARLOTTE TILBURY Lipstick in ‘Miranda May’ £23.   This shade is just a beautiful coral pink and as it was inspired by sunsets on Bondi beach it gives me another reason to adore it because Sydney holds such a special place in my heart!  Whenever I use a lipstick I always use a liner to add fullness – I even overline a little which if done carefully really transforms my lips and keeps it natural looking.

7. ESSIE Nail Polish in ‘Ready to Boa’ £7.99.  I love dark nail colours and always choose Essie.  I love how fast they dry and how smooth the colour applies.  This shade is a rich bronze kind of shade with a little shimmer.

8. LIZ EARLE Hot Cloth Cleanser £26.  This was actually a Christmas present that I’ve only just started to use so technically I can include it in this list?!  This cleanser is so impressive at how well it removes my make up (including mascara) without using loads of product.  Also the soft muslin cloth means no excessive use of cotton wool pads and really makes my skin feel clean.  I use the skin tonic and moisturiser afterward too and so far very impressed.

xx

 

 

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SPRING WISH LIST

spring-wish-list-2017 1. FREE PEOPLE Bell Sleeve Jacket £111  // 2. GENTLE MONSTER Tortoiseshell Sunglasses £199  // 3. REISS ‘NAYA’ Striped Jumper £110  //  4. FRENCH CONNECTION ‘Antonia’ Lace Dress £150  // 5. GUCCI Pink Leather Tote £1290  // 6. TOPSHOP ‘Jamie’ Split Hem Jeans £46 // 7. FRENCH CONNECTION Scarf £45  // 8. DUNE ‘Pale Blue Gondola’ Loafers £70  //  9. CLUSE Rose Gold Watch // 10. H&M Ballet Pumps £17.99

I looooove the feeling of a new Season approaching, especially when it means Winter is almost done!  I’m really just not made for the cold ha!  I’m really drawn to a more casual Spring style and I think it’s just reflecting my mood lately.   I’ve been quite content with letting my hair do it’s natural wave thing most days or quickly curling in some gentle beachy waves.

We’re going to Berlin for a couple of days and it’s going to be so so cold but it’s such a cool City and I can’t wait to stroll around and explore with my loves.  Gracie and I are flying alone again and meeting Gareth over there and I’m kind of excited as feels like a little adventure for the two of us!  I feel like it makes us a little closer when we are away, especially if Gareth is working and it’s just the two of us – I love exploring with my little bud!

Anyway, back to my Spring wish list!!  The jacket is my favourite piece by Free People and I’m just a little bit obsessed with them, I seriously could have made this whole wish list from them, in fact I may just do one!

xx