10 things I love and hate!

What do I love and hate?

I was tagged by new mummy Hannah over at hibabyblog who shared her 10 loves and hates, asking for me to share mine. Well of course, I thought, how hard could it be?

Well it turns out it is actually quite hard but I got there.
10 Things I love

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  1. Family :) (I feel this may the top option for many!)
  2. Making things (knitting, crocheting etc)
  3. Irn-Bru (diet, from a bottle not a can)
  4. Animals (I have a cat, two dogs and two guinea pigs)
  5. Cloth nappies (they save a fortune and there are so many different designs)
  6. Traveling around the world
  7. Finding a bargain on pre-loved sites (have saved ourselves a fortune when buying toys or baby items for M)
  8. Bright colours (loathe dark and dismal things)
  9. Spending time outdoors, especially now M can walk and is happy to explore her surroundings.
  10. Watching M sleep. That peaceful innocence. Love it.

10 Things I hate

  1. Baby/child comparisons (they all develop differently and no child is more special than the next).
  2. Competitive parenting (why? Let us all just enjoy what we are doing without being made to feel we are doing it wrong).
  3. The dentist.
  4. People who are just too loud and boisterous, wanting to be the centre of attention at all costs. No. Just no.
  5. Know it alls. Need a say more?
  6. Creepy crawlies.
  7. Feeling tired all the time.
  8. Sweet and sour chicken.
  9. The breast vs bottle feeding debate.
  10. Cleaning – You clean and it just gets dirty again.

I tag:

 

 

Something Borrowed, Something Blue

Weddings don’t have to be expensive

As I approach the due date of my second child I have been looking back to my wedding day and the main comment from everyone was “we can’t believe you did all this with so little stress” – and it was true, our wedding day was one of the least stressful days in our lives!

Leading up to the day we did very little planning as to us getting married was the most important thing, decorations and such like were secondary concerns. Although we did not do it on the tightest of budgets we did get some greats deals along the way and I would imagine our wedding was by far cheaper than the average wedding and so I have joined Ocean Finance’s “Something Borrowed, Something Blue” campaign to share with you some of my money saving tips and best memories.

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Look for deals

This is what made us choose the venue for our wedding, which just so happened (unbeknown to me), the same venue that my parents got married many moons before.

We found a deal online that means we got the venue, wedding car, bride’s bouquet, photographer (hundreds of pictures, wedding photo book and all discs on a disc watermark free), wedding ceremony and three course meal for 60 guests, evening venue for up to 200, wedding compare and table decorations, first drink for all guests, bridal suite and two rooms for family (B&B), all for one set sum (there may have been more but it was over two years ago now). The cost was cheaper than had we just booked some venues for the ceremony and evening without all the added extras.

When we went into the hotel we found that the deal was for weekday weddings but because our date was free (it was 2013 so it seemed people were avoiding this year to get married due to superstition) we got the deal for a Saturday saving ourselves over £1000.

They say the average cost of a wedding os £22,000 (how?!?!) and this deal was for £5000.

As well as saving money it meant we had to do next to nothing when it came to organising things as our wedding planner did it all for us. Fantastic.

Don’t tell them you are getting married when booking hair appointments

Okay I will admit I am very bad at looking after my hair so hairdresser appointments are a bit alien to me but as it was my wedding I had to get my hair done professionally. I will also admit that the ladies in my office were having heart attacks as I had not even looking into getting an appointment when I only had two days until the big day. So I just went ahead and booked an appointment, not saying I was getting married, asked for the cost (£25 I think) and booked it.

I do feel a bit sorry for the hair stylist who made the mistake to ask me if I had a special occasion when she was doing my hair – when I said it was my wedding day she looked like she was going to pass out. Now had I booked this as a bridal hair appointment the cost would have at least doubled if not tripled just because I said the special wedding word. Don’t say it so you don’t have to over pay.

Ask for recommendations for local business people

1240300_10151830700180731_176046935_nWhen it came to our wedding cake I had an idea in my head about what I wanted the cake to look like but it was going to cost £500+ so I asked for recommendations for any local people who could do it.

Luck would have it that there was someone who I knew through my work that made cakes and she made the most spectacular cake for just over £100. It looked identical to the design I had given her.

Was made to the flavours we wanted (chocolate orange and vanilla and raspberry) and was a proper head turner. The owner of the chain of hotels had been at our hotel that day and commented that he had seen thousands of weddings but never a cake so bright! And it matched my flowers so well!

I also needed my dress altered and again got someone local who altered it for me for only £50 (I would have given more but she refused to take that much until I made her).

Make your own bouquets

Our package deal only included the brides flowers and for additional bouquets you were £50+. So on the morning of my wedding I nipped to Tesco and we bought a selection of bouquets from there which we then split up and made into bouquet for the two bridesmaids and flower girls. In total the flowers would have cost far less than that of a professional bouquet and they looked perfect.

Best Memories

How can you possible just choose a few memories from such a great day? It is so hard.

I think the fact  that everyone got up to dance in the ceilidh was fantastic, we never struggled to fill the dance floor all night.

Giggling through my vows. Embarrassing at the time but so funny now. Just got told that it just summed me up. I just forgot what I was meant to be saying. We still laugh about it to this day.

Knowing that in that day we were the only ones that knew we were expecting a baby (I was 8 weeks pregnant at the time) and no-one even noticed I was not drinking.

Being called Mrs for the first time. Love it!


I was provided with dinner voucher for writing this post but all hints and tips are what I wanted to share


 

Monkey and the Little One

A great story about friendship

In our household anything monkey related has become a point of huge joy for M since she adopted her toy monkey as her favourite comforter. We now find ourselves being drawn to anything monkey related so when I was offered a copy of Monkey and the Little One by Claire Alexander I just could not refuse!

IMG_4892Quite quickly this book has become one of M’s favourite bedtime books and she loves pointing at the pictures of the monkeys throughout the book.

The story itself revolves around Monkey who lives alone, enjoying the peace and quiet until Little one (a mouse) joins him and disturbs his quiet lifestyle by making himself at home alongside Monkey.

This intrusion, at first, doesn’t go down well with monkey who tries as hard as he can to move away from Little One.

At last he manages to evade Little One, who by now has worked out that he is not wanted by monkey, but is this what he really wants? It is not and soon monkey is out searching for Little One so they can  live together in harmony.

As I said before M loves to point at the monkey images throughout the book and this book is full of wonderful illustrations. I would buy posters of the characters for M’s wall if I could as they are so sweet.

At the moment this is just a story to M but as she grows older it will be a perfect way to discuss friendships and help her understand about getting on with others.


I was given a copy of this book for free for the purposes of this honest review. All thoughts are my own.


 

 

Melissa & Doug Shopping Trolley

Cute, study and long lasting

Recently I was so excited to go out an buy a shopping trolley for M that matched a trolley that I had at the same sort of age. I have wanted to buy one for her for ages as she loves putting things in boxes at home or putting things in the trolley when we go shopping. I bought one that was identical, or so I thought, of the one I had as a child but sadly I was so disappointed in the quality of the item that it ended up being binned almost as soon as we got home. The plastic was thin, the wheels warped and M just could not push it as it was so badly made. I will admit I was gutted.
  We then started to google shopping trolleys for kids and found the Melissa & Doug Shopping Trolley but with prices ranging from £50 – £60 we just could not justify getting one. Luckily I saw one for sale on Gumtree for £15 and jumped at the chance to buy it, even though it was a wee drive away we had wanted a trip down that way for a while so killed two birds with one stone.

On collecting the items we thought it looked pristine, though not knowing what one looked like new we were not sure. As soon as we got home M instantly loved it and I will say that the price tag of £50-£60 suddenly became understandable. The trolley is of such great quality, Imagine a supermarket trolley but shrunk. It has a good weight and is made, from what I can see, the same materials as a supermarket trolley and having worked in a supermarket I know they are not cheap.

I was worried it might actually be too heavy for M to push but she can manage it across carpet with a bit of effort but manages fine when it is on the wooden decking outside or when we took it for a trip round Tesco. Although not needed the trolley has three stoppers that help prevent it tumbling if being pulled up on.

We then saw a brand new one for same in a garden centre near here and I can honestly say the trolley we have is in good as new condition but had we not managed to grab ourselves a bargain I would be happy enough to buy at full price for a Christmas or birthday present. In fact I would buy one in a heartbeat for a gift.

I can see this being used for years and not a mark being made on it.

I have found it reduced to £45.69 in Amazon and would highly recommend this to anyone with a child from 1+ (although it says 3+).

Blair Drummond Safari Park

A fun day out to see the animals

Sometimes I am taken by surprise about how fast M is growing up and I did just that when we went on a family trip to Blair Drummond Safari Park recently.

The first time we visited the safari park with M was when she was around 4 months old but fast forward 14 months and her experience of the park was so, so different.

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Last time I don’t think she was overly aware of there being animals around her, this time she proudly sat on my knee as we drove round the animal reserve and pointed at the animals with such delight (until a deer came right up to the passenger window and gave her a bit of a start).

One thing I love is that she constantly waved and said tata to the animals as we left them behind, so cute! I love seeing her grow up.

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Of course no trip to any safari park would be the same without getting overly excited about playing in the park which is something that she was far too young for last time. This time she wanted to have a go on every chute, dig in the sand and just generally have such a great time. The park is worthy of a day out in itself and I can see it being the main attraction of our visits here when M and Button grow up.

For someone who only really found the joy of chutes at the beginning of the summer I am amazed at how brave she is now and how the bigger the slide the better.IMGP2297

One of the best parts of the park was the petting farm which allowed M to get up close with the animals and she loved it. Of course she wanted to push her pram and monkey round but she was so keen to say hi and bye to every animal that she encountered even though she was exhausted and could really have done with having a sleep.IMGP2254

Included in the price of entry are a number of different attractions including a boat trip to monkey island and the sea lion show. As it was summer we ended up being in a huge queue to get into the sea lion show and then had to sit and wait for 20 minutes whilst everyone got seated and the show began. All the while the pool area was boiling and I think it all became a bit too much for M. She was fine to start with and excited to see the sea lion but when it went onto the diving board and dove off she thought it had fallen off and got upset so we left as we thought the show had just begun and didn’t want to annoy other people round us. Turns out that the show only lasted 10 minutes so we only missed a couple of minutes of the show.
IMGP2223Overall the day was fantastic and M loved it so much. We spent four or 5 hours there and could quite easily have stayed longer had M not been so tired. I can see us becoming frequent visitors to the park over the coming years and M will certainly enjoy seeing the animals. We also did not realise that we could have used the onsite kennels and so been able to take the dogs with us which is another reason we set off when we did.

You know that you have children when you go to the safari park and your camera has next to no pictures of animals and 100s of your child on it!