Lifestyle

Balance

The main thing I’ve come to learn since becoming a Mother is that life becomes one big juggling act. There is always so much to do. So many places to go, things to buy, people to see and rooms to clean that we barely stop to just enjoy our time with our family. Danny and I became homeowners and parents within the space of six weeks so as you can imagine this was one hell of an adjustment for us. Things we had never done before like pay utility bills and do the food shop we now had to do regularly as well as look after our brand new tiny human. 12 months later . . I’m back at work doing 3 days a week so throw that into the mix along with wanting to focus on my blog and I feel like I’m constantly chasing my tail. The toss up between getting stuff done and spending quality time with my family is what tugs at my heart strings the most! It’s so difficult to find the right work life balance but what I’ve come to learn is there a few things you can do to help you regain the balance.
The biggest struggle for me at the moment is that fact that Evie is walking now that she really isn’t a fan of sitting still for very long. If it’s in a high chair you can probably push her to 20 minutes but that includes constantly bribing her with food for the whole duration. So as you can imagine the food shop has become very “interesting” shall we say. If I manage to get there on my own (on my own meaning without Danny as Evie is surgically attached to my hip) during the week then it’s a reenactment of Supermarket Sweep running round as fast as I can throwing stuff into my trolley following no list as such just random notes I’ve made off the top of my head. If we go during the weekend when Danny is off then it’s a pretty full on job involving one of us pushing the trolley/entertaining Evie/handing out snacks like they’re going out of fashion whilst the other follows the list and tries to bring home our supplies for the week. And it almost always ends up with a cuddly bear/rubber duck/singing toy joining our bread and milk on the conveyor belt. So in order to make my life a little bit easier I ordered my Tesco food shop online and not only that I used their new same day delivery service. Shopping online saves me time and money (no extras creeping into the trolley) and takes out the fuss (and stress) of taking Evie to a supermarket because as much as she loves Carol behind till 9 I’m not sure she is stimulated by the food shop as she is when we’re out at the park or playing in a ball pool having lots of fun! But it’s with the new added benefit of the same day delivery service that really appeals to me because even when you leave your shopping to the last minute (always me) then you’re still able to order it, get on with your day and still have it arrive that same day! It just means there’s no hassle of ordering online and having to wait a few days for it to arrive which means you don’t have to plan in advance which suits me down to the ground. So we ordered our food shop in the morning, booked our slot for between 7pm – 8pm (as it meant no little sticky fingers would be trawling through the shopping as we try to unpack) which left us with only one thing to do . . Decide how we were going to spend our new found freedom!? (Okay I’m being dramatic but not trekking to Tesco with a baby in tow frees up a good chunk of our day!) So we opted for a brisk autumn walk to the village where we met Grandad and Maisie (or the woo woo as Evie calls her) for coffee and cake!

So at half 7 that evening we had a knock on the door and our shop was delivered. I could just be easily pleased but I am pretty made up that someone had not only done our shop for us but also delivered it to our door in the same day! And with Evie fast asleep we were able to unpack it within minutes, make a cup of tea and actually relax.

So this is my reality. I’m a mother, a wife, a sister, a cleaner, a chef, a daughter, a blogger, a friend, a walking talking Filofax, a children’s entertainer, the list goes on. I am many things but what I need to remember is I can’t be everything all of the time. That’s why by doing something as simple as ordering my food shop and having Tesco bring it straight to my door all within the same day gives me that little bit of relief from life’s list of never ending tasks. I can work on getting the balance right and spending my time more wisely (aka eating cake and drinking coffee)

Thank you to Tesco for kindly sponsoring this post. As always, I would only promote a brand or product that I believe in and all words and opinions are my own.

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Lifestyle

Be quids in with Quidco

The pre-baby, pre-homeowner Emma would quite literally rinse her bank account on payday on clothes, shoes, make-up, food, holidays without a second thought. Now I have a mortgage to pay and baby to provide for and after a 12 month stint on maternity pay you could say I’ve become quite the tactical spender. I’m not ‘stingy’ by any stretch of the imagination but I like to look out for a voucher code or do my research and see if I can find a cheaper price elsewhere. So when I do spend my hard earned cash it’s an added bonus if I can save myself a few quid or even make some money back!

I’ve spoken about Quidco many times before on my Instagram account and I must sound like a broken record at times. Even before I collaborated with them I was shouting about them from the rooftops and it wasn’t long ago that we switched energy suppliers via Quidco and received £40 cashback! If we were to have switched energy suppliers by going direct then we would have missed out on £40 cashback bonus. So, how does it work you ask? Simply put, when you spend money online and on the high street (after registering your debit card) with Quidco you then receive cash back on thousands of purchases. I initially found out about Quidco about 6 months before we were due to move into our first home, my friends in work told me about it and in all honestly I didn’t really think it was all that it was cracked up to be. I, dubious as ever, thought that there must be a catch somewhere!? However I signed up anyway via their recommendation and I began to purchase things like furniture and electrical goods for our new home. By the time we had kitted out our house with the essentials we ended up saving ourselves over £200 just through cashback we received! Absolutely.no.catch.whatsoever.

So when Quidco got in touch and asked me to part of a campaign that involved online shopping (all in the name of research of course) I obviously jumped at the chance! They asked me to track my purchases for 2 weeks to see how much cashback I could make on everyday items. As much as I thought this was a brilliant idea I did also think this could possibly end in divorce when Danny sees an itemised list of all my spending. So during the 2 week period I made 8 purchases via the Quidco website, one of them being train tickets to London (Chrizz Up here I come!!) which is something I would never have thought to do before. There is actually a whole section dedicated to travel where you can earn cashback on train tickets, hotel rooms, airlines etc so this is something I am definitely going to make a note for all future getaways! The other purchases I made during the 2 weeks consisted of 2 transactions to Dominos Pizza (am I giving away all my dirty secrets here?!) and a few Christmas present purchases from online retailers such as The White Company, Boohoo and ASOS (at the time of purchase Asos actually had an offer on of 10% cashback!). So *drum roll please* . . In total over the 2 week period I made £8.54 in cashback. That’s £8.54 from simply clicking through a website, £8.54 made through money I would have spent anyway, £8.54 being returned to my bank account. The way I look at it is you might not always make a huge amount of cashback in one transaction, for example my cashback from Dominos Pizza tracked at £0.38, however even from a 2 week period it’s clear to see that it all adds up!

It’s so simple to sign up and at the moment there is a £10 welcome bonus for new customers (just in time for you to begin your Christmas shopping!) all you need to do is click here. It’s so quick and easy to register, all you need to do is enter a couple of details, and then you will be able to benefit from genuine rewards just simply from shopping via the Quidco website. For me, it’s a no brainer. I earn money back from shopping, it goes straight into my bank account, it’s absolutely free and I can also use it to my advantage to convince my husband it’s totally fine that all these parcels turn up to our house every day! 

Thank you to Quidco for kindly sponsoring this post. As always, I would only promote a brand or product that I believe in and all words and opinions are my own.

 

Lifestyle

Pumpkin Patch

I feel as we come towards the end of October that it’s only right I dedicate a blog post to pumpkins because I’mma miss them when they’re gone! However not the smell. Definitely not the smell. It’s probably the most ‘basic’ thing I’ve ever participated in and I’ll admit at first I was going just for the cute photos (because yes I’ve become that mother) but in all honesty we had such a lovely time pumpkin picking that I couldn’t care less about it’s new found ‘clicheness’. Suddenly the leaves start turning and everyone goes crazy for autumn (me included) but I swear there is something in the October air that makes me so giddy. I am right there loving the classic autumn cliches of dark nights, wrapping up warm, scarves, jumpers, fireworks, golden leaves etc you get the jist! However I will point out now that I think pumpkin spiced lattes are repulsive. (Prepare for onslaught of outraged Starbucks lovers).

We probably spent about half an hour picking our pumpkin (inclusive of said photo shoot) and Danny and I started to take it very seriously. “No that one isn’t round enough”, “no that’s not orange enough”, “is that one too big?”. I mean seriously if we went to Tesco we would have paid a quarter of the price and not faffed about the aesthetics half as much but you know, it’s all about the experience! And it did make me feel all October-y and festive. Is there such a thing as feeling festive for Halloween?


Although Evie is probably (definitely) too young to realise what the hell we were doing I think it’s such a cute tradition to start and I genueinly can’t wait to see her running around the pumpkin patch next year picking her favourite pumpkin even if it might not be up to mine and Danny’s standards! 

It’s fair to say she didn’t really take kindly to the pumpkin which we painstakingly selected this year even after my impressive name carving. Oh well, better luck next year hey Eves!

Lifestyle

Mama you’ve got this

Pregnancy is no walk in the park. You’re tired, swollen, nauseous, chubby, hangry . . The list goes on. I know some people are super lucky and don’t have any ‘side effects’ when pregnant but the majority of us do. And it ain’t pretty. No I’m not glowing Sheila, I’m profusely sweating.

Besides the fact your body is rapidly changing and your adapting to a new way of life you also have to adjust to a lot of big changes to your lifestyle. No alcohol, no cured meats, no soft cheese etc etc but where do you go to ask all the burning questions? Your Dr? Your GP? Your friends? Everyone has conflicting opinions or information and sometimes you just want it simply put. You don’t want to be preached at or thrown into an oblivion of scientific jargon. For this exact reason Mama Mio have teamed up with Melissa Schweiger Kleinman and created the ‘Mama You’ve got this’ e-book. A totally free, informal, friendly and honest guide to help you through pregnancy. The book covers so many topics such as sleep, skincare, mindfulness, recipes and fitness to name a few.

I was invited to Manchester to celebrate the launch of their new e-book and to celebrate all things pregnancy. We started the day with meditation followed by lunch and a session in the spa at Hale Country Club. Then later on we went for a meal at Grand Pacific which was simply delicious! It was so lovely to meet and and chat to like minded women. It’s nice to know there’s a brand out there like Mama Mio who are doing it for the pregnant ladies. Because with pregnancy it might not be easy, but it’s always worth it and like the book says ‘Mama you’ve got this’!

A huge thank you to Mama Mio for inviting me I had the best time and met some gorgeous ladies! It was a brilliant day and I’ve just added a few photos of our day and what we go up to. I wish I took more photos but we just had so much fun chatting and getting to know everyone!

Lifestyle

BMW 2 series Active Tourer

One minute you’re 17 years young and jumping into a tiny little Corsa with only your purse and your keys in tow . . next thing you know you’re a Mother and you’re lugging the pram, the changing bag, a spare outfit, a baby and the kitchen sink into your family car.

Bowker BMW were kind enough to lend us the 2 Series Active Tourer which we had the pleasure of driving to Ribby Hall Village for a family weekend. 

Edit
If you hadn’t of noticed I am no car expert. I don’t know any of the fancy lingo and I can’t tell you what half of the buttons do. Let’s be honest here, Danny and I drive my Mum and Dad’s old Ford Focus that was gifted to us because, well it’s free and I am on maternity leave. And for that we are super grateful! However, I am no Jeremy Clarkson but what I can tell you is that this car was an absolute dream to drive and as a Mum it genuinely did make my life that little bit easier! I mean any car that has an auto boot is a winner in my eyes. When you’ve got your hands full with a baby, 10 shopping bags and a pram to put in the boot then auto boot is the one. The boot was big enough to fit our pram in without taking it apart and for those of you who have a Joolz you will understand what a momentous occasion this is! In fact I managed to fit a Joolz Day, a Bugaboo Chameleon, 2 car seats, 2 babies, 2 adults and a lottttt of shopping bags into this car!!!

Whilst we had the car we fitted our isofix car seat in it which is the Britax Dualfix. Definitely not a small car seat but it was the perfect fit in the Active Tourer and it’s always a bonus when the passenger doesn’t have to sit with their knees touching their chin because of a car seat in the back!

We had an absolute ball test driving this car and I will be so sad to give it back! I never really thought about BMW as a brand that makes ‘family cars’ but they have managed to merge the practicalities and needs of a car for families with the sleek design of a classic BMW and I love it! 

Thank you to the guys at Bowker BMW for lending us this car for our family weekend adventure! Keep an eye out for my Ribby Hall review coming very soon. 

Lifestyle

Play that funky music 


I’ve never known life without a TV in the kitchen (saying it out loud sounds a bit ridiculous) but that’s how I grew up. We always all sat down at the dinner table every night and ate together as a family but we still had a TV in the kitchen and it would usually be on in the background. Now that Danny and I are hardcore Netflix addicts we decided to have the TV in our bedroom rather than in the kitchen. Of course we could go out and buy a new TV for the kitchen but I rather enjoy it this way now! However what I do miss is background noise. I’m just one of those people, I need a bit of background noise and 9 times out of 10 I will opt for music! I’ve been going on and on about getting a radio for the kitchen and then I came across a radio that dreams are made of! Not just any radio but an Emma Bridgewater radio from VQ Radio!


I mean c’mon just look at it! I wouldn’t even care if it didn’t play music as it’s just so beautiful! But boy oh boy does this play music . . It’s a DAB digital radio and also has a bluetooth speaker meaning you can play music from any smart phone. As well as that it has a USB port meaning you can charge most devices from it too! If you choose to purchase the additional battery pack you can get up to 25 hours of playback so it’s perfect for on the go.


I chose the Hepburn Mk II design in the Emma Bridgewater wallflower print but there are so many other designs and prints to chose from! 

If you can’t tell I’m pretty obsessed with my new kitchen addition! So I’m super excited that there is going to be a giveaway over on my Instagram where you can be in with a chance of winning your very own VQ Radio. Keep your eyes peeled this Friday!

Lifestyle

Evie’s Bedroom Tour

I remember spending hours and hours on Pinterest when I was pregnant looking for nursery inspiration, it’s one of the most exciting things in my opinion!! Absolutely everything I pinned was white and grey . . quite the opposite of the pretty pink super girly room Evie has ended up with! I was so ‘anti pink’ when I was pregnant but since she was born I have no control over my pale pink obsession!

Throughout the whole of my pregnancy we were still living with my Mum and Dad as we were waiting on the completion of our house which awkwardly happened to be a few weeks post due date! (Turns out there was nothing awkward at all about it because living with my Mum and Dad for the first six weeks of Evie’s life was the best thing ever!) The only reason I was actually so desperate to move in before she was born was so we could decorate her room! As a first time Mum the prospect of decorating your baby’s room is beyond exciting! You have all these ideas and dreams of what it will look like and it’s so easy to get carried away. The funny thing is for the first few months of their lives they don’t even spend any time in there (well Evie didn’t anyway, I never even dressed her in there) and during that time it just becomes a dumping ground for clothes, nappies, toys and everything else! 

Now that we are totally settled into our home and Evie is sleeping in her own room we have finally completed the finishing touches and I have to say I am in love with her bedroom! It’s exactly how I pictured it would be and it makes me stupidly happy every time I go in there.

The first things I purchased for Evie’s room were the 3 prints above her cot from Sweetheart Foils. I wanted these to be the main focus and knew, even at 20 weeks pregnant, I wanted these to sit above her cot. Simone was so helpful and even designed the ‘you are so loved’ print from scratch for me as I had seen something similar on Pinterest! 


As we are in a new build it is recommended that you don’t wallpaper for at least a year howver I’m kind of glad we had that restriction as I’m prone to jumping into decisions quickly and then changing my mind! (I’m the girl that ended up with two wedding dresses) With having no wallpaper and just using accessories to add colour it has made the room feel really light and fresh even though it’s not the biggest of rooms.

When we moved in we settled in really quickly and managed to get everything ‘decorated’ and all the furniture built within a week or two. It’s the finishing touches that took a bit of time and making a house a home can’t just be done overnight but we are finally there (with Evie’s room anyway!) and it was definitely worth the wait.



I absolutely adore everything about this room and it really did turn it just how I imagined! I will list below where everything is from . . now to start adding some life into our bedroom which is currently a blank canvas!!!

  • 3 piece furniture – Mamas & Papas
  • Changing mat – Mamas & Papas
  • Ballpit – Misioo Handmade
  • Foil prints – Sweetheart Foils
  • All frames – IKEA
  • Hot air ballon – Somewhere Only We Know
  • Snuggle up cushion – Pretty Little Home
  • Star knit cushion – Zara
  • Dream big cloud – Fox and Weave
  • ‘Mummy’s girl, Daddy’s world’ print – Foil Prints UK
  • Piggy bank – TK Max
  • Letters – Matalan
  • Rug – IKEA
  • Chandelier – Argos
  • Curtains – Next
  • Footprint cast frame – Memory Makers at Mothercare
  • Bookshelves – IKEA
Lifestyle

February’s TreatBox


If you’ve seen my review of January’s TreatBox from Not Shabby Very Chic you will already know I love their monthly subscription boxes, they are just so cute & full of lovely little bits! You can personalise them for Mother’s Day or a wedding etc and I just think it’s the cutest idea and something a bit different! I received February’s box this month which was full of floral cuteness and loads of bits by Sass & Belle which are just my favourite! Here is what was included in Feb’s box . . .






 This gorgeous print is from Sweet Pea Paperie who I also follow on Instagram and coincidentally I have already purchased some gorgeous prints from her previously! I love all her stuff!




I think you’ll agree February’s TreatBox was pretty darn cute!! Go and check out Not Shabby Very Chic on Instagram because they don’t just do monthly boxes they also sell loads of gorgeous stuff and I am all about supporting the shops on Instagram!

Em, xo

Lifestyle

Not Shabby Very Chic – January’s TreatBox

Monthly subscription boxes have become so popular in recent years & I admit when the glossy box was first released I was straight on their mailing list paying over £10 for a box of samples. God knows why! Don’t get me wrong there were some months and the boxes were great . . but there were other months and I was literally spending over 10 British pounds to be sent a cute pink box full of samples that I could have gathered from a hotel bathroom. I am easily unimpressed I will be the first to admit but this just didn’t float my boat! However last week I received the January TreatBox from Not Shabby Very Chic and I was blown away by its sheer cuteness!! If you ever needed a pick me up then January has to be the month you need it the most! To receive what can only be described as a bundle of general all round loveliness really brightened up my week! So let me explain; the TreatBox can be bought as a one off (£12.95) or as a monthly subscription and each month Not Shabby Very Chic will send you a surprise collection of goodies!

As soon I opened this box I did a little jig because I bloody love a good quote & I flippin love unicorns!!! In my box I received 2 quotes (which just so happen to be 2 of my all time favourites!), a 2016 pocket diary, a natural wax melt, a teapig teabag, pencils, a unicorn magnet (hells yeah!!), a notepad, mini sticky memo pads & a small purse.









I’m a sucker for anything cute and I just love this little bundle of happiness that landed on my doorstep! If you don’t already follow Not Shabby Very Chic on Instagram (notshabbyverychic) head over to their website as they have some gorgeous things in their shop! I can’t bloody wait for February’s TreatBox!

Em, xo

Lifestyle

What I got for Christmas (& birthday!)

I know some people hate these blog posts/YouTube videos because they see it as bragging or showing off and I am forever seeing disclaimers insisting these posts are not meant in that way . . But I bloody LOVE these type of posts/videos! As previously mentioned I am super nosey and get so intrigued and excited to see what other people get as gifts! So if you don’t like this kind of thing then you may want to exit now! If anyone else has a post or video with what they got please let me know so I can and have a look! Here are some of the gifts I received for Christmas 2015 and also some from my birthday which was 3 days after.


This is my first white company candle and I am just obsessed with this scent!!! Danny picked it all by himself and I am one impressed wife! (just one of the 6 candles I received because everyone knows Emma loves a candle!)


My first few bits of Charlotte Tilbury make up which I was soooo excited about and the Real Techniques bold metal brushes which have been on my wish list since they were released! And some good old benefit essentials!

 I posted this jumper on my Instagram months and months ago and Danny stalked me and bought it haha!


Really cute shabby chic grey drawers which go perfectly with everything from my mini home haul which I posted yesterday.

A bloody waffle maker!!!!! Enough said.


The fleekiest mirror everrrrrr. So exited for many outfit selfies in this bad boy.


Flowerbomb. Wedding day perfume ❤️

Danny’s sister got me this gorgeous rose gold bracelet with my initial on it, a little heart & a pearl.

I’m not really a trainer girl but these are just my idea of dreamy! So I picked these out and my Mum & Dad got me them for my birthday.


My Mum & Dad also got me the Babyliss curl secret & hairdryer gift set. At first I was a bit sceptical about the curlers as I usually just use a wand however it’s amazing! They curled my hair so fast and once brushed out created the perfect waves that stayed in all night without hairspray.


I’m already obsessed with the pomegranate noir candle so I was so happy when my sister bought me the perfume for my birthday! It’s so strong you literally need one spray and it lasts all night!


I love Minnie Mouse. I’m 25 and I love Minnie Mouse! My Mum is very aware of this and she got me these adorable make up bags which I love so much! They’re not as ‘obvious’ as other Minnie Mouse merchandise I have so I’m telling myself they seem more grown up!

I’d love to see what everyone else got for Christmas! I do hate the phrase ‘I’ve been so spoilt’ but I am very grateful for all the thoughts and efforts everyone puts in when buying gifts but I realise now more than ever it’s not what’s under the Christmas tree it is who’s around it! I hope you all had an amazing festive period! Lots of Christmas love . . .

Em, xo