Friday, 18 April 2014

One year old!

My little baby turned one last week.
She's been on this Earth a whole year, a full year, a year that has gone quickly and slowly all at the same time.

We spent the day celebrating in our own way, I didn't have a party or anything extravagant - Talia won't remember it and it's not the way I wanted to spend her first birthday. We just had some family over and shared a cake.

Talia was a little bemused by all the attention, but she did enjoy the toys she got once they were unwrapped.
It was more of a day of reflection than anything, I kept remembering to the time when she was born, as I think every parent does on their child's birthday.   Going back to the same time last year when we were to go from a family of three into a family of four.

It's hard to describe how I feel about her being one; at times, I still look at her little face and am in complete wonder that she is here.  Other times it feels like she's been with us always.

 I am so incredibly grateful for her and for her addition into our little family.  It really has been the most magical, amazing year.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Nearly Four Zero - March Progress

Where is this year going already?  What, we're in April now?  April?  Suddenly this year is not nearly so new any more, not so fresh and this is the time when all those New Year resolutions have clearly fallen by the wayside.  I'm sorry to report that mine to are in danger of going that way.

The March goal was to  'de-clutter & making our home greener'

As for the de-cluttering, I managed to sort out the cupboard under the sink in the bathroom and I put a couple of items from my wardrobe on e-Bay and another sack to charity.  I didn't quite go through the mountains of discarded photographs, or sort out the many items put aside for scrap-booking, or go though the kitchen cupboards or the bedroom so that bit of the March goal is still very much running into April.

However, the making our home greener bit I did to some extent.
I've had a clear out, starting with all the potions and lotions we use in the bathroom.  Mostly getting rid of everything that had parabens in, which are nasty things that can be absorbed in through the skin.  I found Green People who don't use parabens or any other horrid chemicals in any of their products.
I made an order and replaced our deodorant, facial wash, facial cream and shampoo.  I also use the eye-liner and mascara and can report that everything I have got from them is wonderful.  Fresh smelling, works brilliantly and most importantly, hasn't got any nasties hidden inside.

I've also been using coconut oil for loads of things, and not just cooking.  It's a great make-up remover and hand-cream and wonderful body lotion.  Also got rid of a tiny bit of dry skin Aidan was suffering from.  

As for cleaning, I've been using e-cloths on everything.  
They are fabulous, just a dab of water and they leave everything sparkling.  I also have a bottle of white wine vinegar mixed with equal quantities of water in a spray bottle that I use as a surface cleaner.  And another spray bottle with equal parts tee-tree oil and water that I use for mildew and mould.

So throughout April I will de-clutter as well as doing Aprils own goal which is to 'meditate mindfulness and become less anxious.'   Quite a biggie, I've got a yoga class planned next week so that's one step in the right direction. 

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

The Ugly House

Last weekend we took a much needed trip away.  We went to the beach, had long walks in forests and collected pine cones, had fish and chip suppers and watched family films.  It was blissful.

There was one place we stopped at though, purely by chance, and I knew when we got there that I'd have to write about it.

It's called The Ugly House and is a small stone cottage in Snowdonia.
The house is full of history - no one knows who built it or how long ago but the legend goes that it was a home to outlaws in the beginning, built from mismatched stone and put up quickly to avoid tax laws, therefore being known as the Ugly House.  It's had a variety of owners since then and is  now owned by the Snowdonia Society who run it as a tea room.

When we went past, we almost didn't stop.  It's so small and slightly hidden away from the road with the car park to the side, so it was lucky the traffic was slight and we were able to pull in.

You'd think the sign is telling fibs when it advertises tea and food, but to our delight, once inside we saw a real fire crackling away and and array of cakes and sandwiches to choose from.

It was exactly as I'd imagined the Hansel and Gretel cottage. Walking up the path to the little door,  with smoke coming out of the chimney and the smell of cooking as I entered, I really felt like we'd skipped into the pages of a fairy book.
The outside of the cottage was just as interesting as inside, with windy paths, collected logs for the fire and barrels dotted about to collect the rainfall.

We had toasted sandwiches of turkey, brie and chutney and scones with jam and cream and a pot of tea and it was all delicious.
Next time we're in that part of the world, we'll definitely be returning.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

March Center Parcs Challenge

The March Center Parcs challenge is to create a work of art inspired by the beautiful spring flowers that are suddenly appearing everywhere.

We've tried to do this challenge several times this month, but each time we couldn't get it done - due to not having the right colours, or deciding what flowers to paint, the weather being bad or  just not having enough time!  It was only when we had a look at the painting advice by Emma Hull on the Center Parcs website that we found the solution.

One of her tips is to "Create an effective blossom print by dipping your fingers in paint and using your fingertips for the flowers. "

So with this in mind, we abandoned the idea of painting outside and instead used Talia's finger-tips as the base for the flowers.

She was a perfect painter! Letting me dab colour on her little fingers and placing them on the paper to give a pattern of buds.

Then it was Aidan's turn.
He took each little fingertip bud and put colourful petals around, added a long steam and leaves.  In no time a all we had a row of pretty spring flowers done as a team effort.

It now sits on the wall, soon to be joined by many others as Aidan has plans to paint a lot more!

‘I’m a Center Parcs Family Blogger and will be visiting Whinfell village with my family. If you want to enter to win a place as a wildcard winner just go to the challenge page to find out how

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Speed Reading

I just found out about Spritz.

It's an app that's helps you read quickly - to speed read with ease.  According to Spritz, the time consuming part of reading is actually all about eye movement.  Moving your eyes from left to right looking up the words and sentences takes up time and Spritz gets rid of this by flashing the words right in front of you.

Have a go here.

It's a little hard core at first, but I can see myself quickly getting used to it.  It's not yet available but will be soon and I think it'll be something I'll be getting.  I have three books on the go at the moment and I'm really enjoying all of them.  I would love to be able to read quicker so maybe something like this will help, or maybe it'll just get really annoying after a while.  Either way, when it's out, I'll be giving it a go.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Climbing High

Our new hobby is indoor climbing.  We've been doing it a lot lately.  When I say we, what I really mean is Aidan and Stephen. Talia likes to crawl and practise taking steps on the hard floor and I like to watch, seeing Aidan build in confidence as he goes higher and higher.

I haven't actually given it a go myself, yet, but it's something I plan on doing.  Just as soon as I can add some extra hours into the day.

Things are moving fast, already we're half way through March and my little baby will be one year old next month.  I can't really grasp just how quickly time is moving by.  One year old!  Where did that go?

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Nearly four zero - February Progress

I'm not going to lie, February was a bit of a wash out.  My goal for this month was to 'exercise, regular and fun.'

I kinda failed on this one - but - I do already do regular exercise.  I walk the dogs each morning and I did up my pace, making it a fast walk instead of my usual saunter, but I did want to incorporate more this month. 
I had an idea that I'd pick up a new sport, or go to a new class, but with a small baby it's hard to commit to something.  Excuses, I know, so I'm going to carry this goal with me, and maybe try and look up something further down the line when the weathers a little warmer and it doesn't feel so hard going out in the evening.

Now, March. 
This months goal is to 'De-clutter & make our home greener'  

I'm already on it.  I've just this week started to sort out my wardrobe and have a big pile of stuff to give away, some to eBay and some to chuck.  Photo's will follow, but for now it's just bin bags and I didn't think that would look to appealing. 
We have friends staying over this weekend, so that  means that I have to sort out the spare room.  Nothing like a deadline to get you motivated, and having space where lovely friends can sleep over is just the thing I need.


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