Mama & Baby

The first of many

I’m a self confessed party planner addict. I’ll be the first to admit I get carried away but ever since planning our wedding it just sparked a little obsession for me. I love spending hours during an evening scrolling through Pinterest and Instagram and I just enjoy being able to get my teeth stuck into a little project. So when we realised that our whole family would be in our home town for our cousins 18th it seemed like the perfect oppuritiny to throw a birthday bash for the girls 1st birthdays. Evie and Isla are only 12 days apart in age and Lil and I are best friends as well as cousins so it just seemed so perfect for our girls to have a joint party. 

Our cakes were made by a lovely lady called Laura who is local to me and I found by chance when I ordered cupcakes from her a few years ago. It turns out she went to my high school, she lives round the corner from my Mum and Dad and she’s a slimming worlder too (@raising_3boys_sw). She currently only makes cakes for friends and family however when her youngest son starts school next year she will be focusing on her cakes so if you’re local to the Southport area keep an eye out on Laura’s page because you can see just how incredible her cakes are!

Our beautiful cake toppers and cupcake toppers were made by the lovely Anna at Lucy Rose Party who makes the most fabulous party decor. The toppers are the perfect finishing touches to any cake.

I came across @whirling.in.wonderland on Instagram and I was immediately obsessed with these garlands! Once I saw it I couldn’t get it out of my head (anybody else like me and just obsess over things until you get them!?) and I knew it would make the most stunning back drop for the party table. I messaged Kimberley and asked if she could squuuuueze me in as I knew her order books were pretty full but luckily she had a slot so I ordered the 15 twirl garland in pastel colours and as you can see from the pictures it looked incredible! I’ve never come across anything like this before I just think it’s so unique and eye catching!


I was lucky enough (and when I say that I really mean it. I’m so thankful and grateful when people send me things. I would never ever contact a shop or business and ask for something for free because I’m just not about that life but I am genuinely grateful when people do send me things out of their own choice. TANGENT.) to be contacted by Aimee who owns Make My Day Stationery and asked if I would like some unicorn party boxes. Of course I jumped at the chance because quite frankly they’re bloody fabulous! What I didn’t expect was all the extras Aimee sent to us too including personalised straws, thank you tags and some beautiful prints.

I have been following Pretty Little Maison since before I was pregnant and had been in awe of Alice’s talent. She kindly made us a family name sign which we’ve had for well over  a year before she ventured into working on chalkboards full time. I knew I was going to order Evie a birthday board for a very long time so when it came round to it I was so excited to design it with Alice. It’s such a lovely keepsake and we will be framing ours and putting it up in Evie’s bedroom.

Isla also had a beautiful birthday print which was created by the lovely Emma who owns Mackymoo Creations.

I decided to do the party ‘favours’ myself as it was just a little something for people to be able to take home if they wanted to so I made the cone popcorn bags which I purchased off eBay (click here) they were only £1.85 for 25 cones and pink ties which I then stuck unicorn thank you stickers on also from eBay (click here) and filled with popcorn!


Beaus Little Bakery then very kindly sent us the most beautiful unicorn biscuits which finished off the party favours perfectly! Look how cute they are! Shimmery rainbow unicorn biscuits. AMAZING.

Also I just want to say a huge thank you to the always lovely @_eviemichelle for the beautiful bows for Evie and Isla which went perfectly with their party dresses! I’m so glad I was able to include so many Instagram shops and businesses into the girls party as we have shared our first year of motherhood with so many of you through Instagram which has had a few lows but so many highs! There’s an mixture of gifted items but also a lot of things which I purchased with my own money here and I hope this comes across as genuine and grateful and not braggy in any way. I know this is slightly excessive to some and the girls won’t remember a thing but we created so many amazing memories and shared such a lovely day with our family and that’s what it’s all about. 


Oh and one last thing. What is a 1st birthday party without your own snapchat geo filter hey!? (Really easy and simple to do, just log into Snapchat on a computer or laptop, create your filter, select your location and purchase! Ours cost just £5!!)

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Mama & Baby

Collect with Clubcard

If you’ve followed me on Instagram for a while you’ll know that 70% of my maternity leave has been spent in Tesco. Okay maybe that’s an exaggeration but I have spent a hell of a lot of time over the past 12 months. I’ve just got a slight addiction to that shop . . . But with a baby in tow it’s without a doubt the best shop for our family as it literally has everything under one roof. Not only that but I always get sent vouchers and coupons through my Clubcard and as the saying goes “every little helps” (particularly on maternity leave!)

Tesco have re-launched their Clubcard which is now contactless so a tap is all it takes and it’s really simple to use alongside the newly designed app. It’s now easier than ever to collect your points, keep track of them, watch them tot up and then spend them in-store or even convert them into exciting days out. It’s that simple to turn your shop into big adventures. Which let’s face it, when you’ve got a family being able to save money on days out just by doing your weekly shop is win win!

If you’re anything like me I am constantly losing paperwork and most stuff that comes through the post gets thrown into a draw never to be seen again. That’s why I find the app so handy because it saves all of your vouchers and coupons in one place and you can simply print them off as and when you need them. It also gives you a running total of your points and the cut off date to collect points before you receive your vouchers. We’re saving ours up to take Evie to Nickelodeon Land as 50p of Clubcard vouchers coverts into £1.50 to spend at Blackpool Pleasure Beach; therefore a £24 adult ticket will only cost you £8 in Clubcard vouchers!

If you head over to the Tesco Clubcard website you can see for yourself just how many different rewards are available. I’ll be totally honest I thought the most you could get with Clubcard points was a cheap pizza when eating out but there is so much more that you can use your points on. From spa days to holidays, driving lessons to breakdown cover, a trip to the zoo or even paint balling. It’s a really simple and cost effective way to keep the whole family entertained as there are hundreds of places and activities to choose from. It’s always a bonus when a family day doesn’t have to break the bank!

And one last thing; before motherhood turned me into a bit of a self confessed Tesco addict (this is definitely confirmed when you are on first name terms with some of the checkout staff) I had no idea I had been collecting Clubcard vouchers so I had a lovely £19 voucher waiting for me when I logged into my account! So it’s definitely worth logging in to your account (click here) regularly to check for vouchers and keep track of your savings.

This post was sponsored by Tesco but as always all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Mama & Baby

Returning to work

There’s this thing that people will do all the way through your maternity leave and that is ask you “when do you go back to work?” It’s constant and consistent and it’s always said with a twinge to their face. It’s the dreaded question.

4th September 2017 in case you were wondering.

I have had the best 13 months of my life, 11 months and 3 weeks of them have been spent with Evie Pops and they have been more incredible than I could have ever imagined. But when I embarked on maternity leave I knew that it was exactly that; a period of leave. I’ve always known I’d be returning to work for financial reasons like 99% of the population I can’t just give up my job to stay at home with my child. If you can then you are super lucky. We have a mortgage to pay, we need food on the table and clothes on our backs. I’ve tried to cherish every day of maternity leave, from the days where we go on adventures and eat cake to the days where we sit in our pyjamas and watch CBeebies. My god some of those days have been testing and some days (most*) I breathe a sigh of relief when Daniel walks through the door but nevertheless I’ve tried to cherish it all.

I love my daughter beyond words; I genuinely think about how much I love her and realise there are not enough words in the dictionary for me to describe it. However that doesn’t mean I have to be surgically attached to her until she turns 18. As much as I adore being a Mum, which I honestly do with all my might, I also love being just Emma.  I honestly believe that me returning to work will benefit the both of us! It makes me all sorts of anxious at the thought of leaving Evie and her trotting of to nursery after spending near on every day together for the past 12 months but as I mentioned in my Instagram post the other day I’m also quite excited. She’s a sociable little soul and she thrives off being around other children. You can see the excitement in her eyes and those swirling wrists of hers when she interacts with kids whether they’re 6 months old or 8 years old! I’m excited that she gets to spend two whole days a week at nursery being stimulated, learning new things, being creative and making friends (in all honesty sometimes I feel guilty she doesn’t get enough stimulation when I’ve got to clean the bathroom, hang the washing out and nip to Tesco). It’s scary that she’ll have this little part of her life that I’m not a part of but in the same way I’ll have a little part of my life that she’s not a part of. No one at work will expect me to wipe up their shit bum (or at least I friggin hope not), I will be able to go to the toilet alone, eat my food without sharing (being snarled at) and swap Mr Tumble for meeting minutes.

It’s okay to be a mother but also want a bit of ‘you’ time; to continue to focus on your future, your career, your goals. My career path has changed dramatically since having Evie because I made the decision to go from being full time to part time and therefore it has closed a lot of doors. But I’m more than okay with that. I have chosen to give up a small part of my career in exchange for a larger part in my daughters life. That’s my choice but some people don’t even have the choice. I feel lucky that I’m able to go back part time. Some mothers don’t return to work at all, some mothers return full time, others work weekends or night shifts and you know what . . We’re all doing the best we can. We’re all doing what works for us. There is no right or wrong. 

I got slated on a certain “website” for returning to work after having a baby and I quote “it seems madness for them to have children and then need to go back to work. She’s going back to work in a few months and her little one isn’t even one yet” I honestly couldn’t believe what I was reading?! There are so many things wrong with this statement I wouldn’t even know where to start!!!! All I will say is YES I’m returning to work as I am contractually obliged to all thanks to occupational maternity pay (which I’m unbelievably grateful for) but also because I WANT to. How about that heyyyyyy? P.s. I return to work one WEEK before my daughter turns one *eyeroll.eyeroll.eyeroll*

Mama & Baby

Ella’s Kitchen 10 month goodies

We are huge fans of Ella’s Kitchen here in the Manchester household. As I’ve mentioned before; weaning Evie was one of the most daunting things I’ve ever done. Mostly because I didn’t have a clue where to start, what to do? How much? How often? Plus the fact your baby has just drank milk for 6 month so moving onto solids is scary! So when I came across the Ella’s Kitchen app and their Veg for Victory campaign it helped me massively! It had a plan of action and a ‘structure’ so to speak plus it was full of information which is exactly what I needed! Once I found my feet and I felt confident in what I was doing then we were away and weaning became so much fun! I genuinely believe focusing on veggies in the beginning has played a massive part in Evie’s weaning journey and she is now pretty open to all foods and enjoys the majority of things which in turn makes my life a lot easier.


Ella’s Kitchen recently sent us some new goodies to try out now Evie that has hit the 10 month mark as this coincides with their products going up a stage. Their 10 month meals have a lot more texture to them and are bigger in size and the snacks are also aimed at babies age and their development. For example the melty puffs (which have always been a massive hit with Eves) now come as melty hoops which are a lot smaller and encourage babies to start using the ‘pincer grip’ to pick up food.

We also received a chicken casserole, cheesy pasta, tomato-y pasta and cottage pie. As Evie has gotten older wherever possible I do try to give her whatever we are having for dinner (or a similar variation) but these meals are so handy to have in the house for when you just don’t have time to whip up a full meal. Sometimes you walk through the door at 5pm and Eves has the patience of a pea when it comes to being hungry (I do wonder where she gets that from . . ) so I need something super quick but still healthy! The thing I love about Ella’s Kitchen is there are no hidden nasties and the ingredients are clearly labelled on the back. Also they send their products in the best brightly coloured boxes full of shredded paper which Evie thinks is just the best thing ever.


Mama & Baby

Evie’s 10 month ‘update’


It’s hit me like a tonne of bricks this week. Ten months old. It feels like some sort of milestone because it’s double figures? Not only that but she’s come on leaps and bounds within the space of 4 weeks. Now its all ‘is she crawling yet?’, ‘When do you go back to work?’, ‘Is she talking much?’ And I’ve entered panic mode. Panicking that I go back to work in 8 weeks . . . am I soaking up every second of her?, are we having enough fun?, is she stimulated enough?, will she miss me?, will she remember me? . . You know all the normal daily crazy Mum thoughts. Of course she’ll remember me but from being with her for (pretty much) every single day for a whole year to suddenly handing her over to a stranger at nursery is a daunting thought. But for now I’m going to try and focus on the present and not the future. We will cherish every day and when we get to the next hurdle that’s when we will overcome it. There’s no point wasting today worrying about tomorrow!


We have entered 10 months old with 4 teeth! We’ve gone from none to 4 in the space of a few weeks; 3 on the bottom and one on the top. I won’t lie we didn’t even realise she had 3 bottom teeth, we just felt them one day and there they were, 3 little toothy pegs. But that top tooth. Wow. You my friend are a little bitch (in the voice of Kim from Kim and Aggy of course). You hear people talk about teething but when you experience it first hand it really does make for hard work. Thankfully we are out of it now and she’s back to her sassy little self . . Until the next one makes an appearance!

We have started to move! Finally! My little lazy lady has started to finally shift her bottom and make her way round the room. She’s not crawling yet but she is doing this hysterical bum shuffle roll and shimmy Lara Croft style to get from one side of the room to the other. I’m not exactly encouraging her to crawl because let’s face it once she starts moving she’ll have my life. All in your own time little one, there’s no rush.

If you watch my Instagram stories you will see she’s become quite the dancer. Not so much moves like Jagger but more like moves like Mummy (after a wine). She’s an absolute hoot and has us (and everyone else around her) in hysterics every time she does it. I honestly don’t know where she gets her rhythm from.

We are still being very screechy. Think high pitched. Think loud shrieks. Think sore throat roars. However we’ve started to actually ‘chat’ a lot more and Dada is still her favourite word. But it’s okay baby because we save the best till last don’t we and when you say Mama we will shout it from the rooftops!!

Don’t get me wrong when I see a squishy little newborn I get all sorts of broody however I adore her at this age. She’s so much fun, so responsive, so cheeky, so smiley, so mischievious and just a proper little character. 

Mama & Baby · Travel

Evie’s holiday wardrobe

Long gone are the days where I am obsessing over my holiday outfits months in advance. It’s now all about Evie! I was panic buying clothes for myself 2 days before we flew as I really didn’t give it a second thought until I began to pack. Whereas Evie’s holiday wardrobe had been building since March! I thought I would do a little blog post on her holiday essentials and outfits.

(Hat from Sunshine and Shade, costume from Monsoon)(Towel hoodie from Baby Gap)(Costume from Monsoon)(Sunsuit fromHatley)

(Top from Zara, sandals from Baby Gap, shorts from Matalan)

 (Jumpsuit from Primark)

(Dress from Zara)

(Dress from Zara)


(Dress from Next)

Mama & Baby

The things they don’t tell you about

So it’s 26th September 2016 and we have had our tiny little human being that belongs to us in our lives for two whole weeks. Two weeks of crying every day with happiness (me and Danny), two weeks of floating on cloud 9, two weeks of feeling utterly blessed and surprisingly two weeks of feeling confident. I felt like I was born to do this, it came naturally to me and I didn’t feel these ‘baby blues’ that people spoke of! The general rule of thumb is that the baby blues hits you a few days after getting out of hospital however I felt nothing but sheer joy. That was until I woke up near enough two weeks to the day after giving birth and BAM I was hit with all emotions you could ever contemplate feeling all at once. Sadness, happiness, fear, jealousy, anger, love. All at once. I freaked out big time. I cried non stop for 48 hours. I genuinely believed I had post natal depression as I could not stop crying and I couldn’t see how I would ever stop crying. My mind was hazy and I couldn’t think properly. I constantly worried I was going to drop Evie or fall down the stairs holding her and I couldn’t watch the news because every time I saw something I immediately thought it was going to happen to my baby.

At the time I couldn’t see how I was ever going to overcome these feelings, they were such strong thoughts and emotions that I believed they would be with me forever. Now I realise that my hormones were all over the place (I had also just been diagnosed with PUPPS but that’s a story for another day!), my body had just had to cope with a hell of lot and it was totally normal to feel this way! You now are in charge of another human being, a human being who you love like you have never loved before; of course you are going to be all over the place! Anxiety + wild hormones = a little bit cray cray and that is totally okay! It’s okay not to be okay! You’re not alone. I could not have got through those few weeks without Danny and my Mum they were incredible. Post partum anxiety is probably the most normal and natural thing that can happen to you I just wish I knew this at the time! 

I doubted myself so much when I was pregnant, would I be a good Mum? How would I cope? is Motherhood really for me? But from the second I met my baby girl my whole world just shifted. Everything fell in to place. No one had me down as a ‘natural’ mother and I’m okay with that! Even I knew that pre baby Emma didn’t come across as an overly ‘maternal woman’ (what ever that may be). Pre baby Emma was lazy, selfish, highly strung and stubborn. I make myself sound like a wanker, I probably was bit! I’ve never had confidence in myself with regards to anything, but surprisingly I doubted myself more during pregnancy than I did once I actually had Evie! Of course I still do doubt myself when it comes to parenting but at the same time I know I’m capable of making the best decision for my baby more than anyone else and that I was meant to do this. A lot of people say they lose themselves when they have a baby, well in fact I found myself and I’m not ever going to shy away that. Evie has changed me in more ways than I could have ever imagined and I am eternally thankful for that.

Food · Mama & Baby

Tuna & broccoli fish cakes 

Evie has really took to the baby led part of weaning so much so she doesn’t really enjoy to be spoon fed unless it’s porridge! However she does love a fruit purée straight from the pouch! We are not technically “baby led weaning” as she has purées also but more often than not she will feed herself. So where possible I am trying to make as much homemade finger food as possible for her because if you watch my Instagram stories you will see (lots of) videos of her picking food up and feeding herself and really enjoying it! Tonight I *kind of* followed a recipe/*kind of* made it up as I went along and ended up with some delicious fish cakes! I got my inspiration from the Baby Led Weaning Cookbook Facebook page however I altered it slightly and swapped and removed certain ingredients.

You will need;

  • 1 can of tuna
  • 2 slices of bread (grated into breadcrumbs)
  • 1 egg
  • 150g(ish) of broccoli
  • 100g mashed potato
  • 40g of cheese

To begin with I cooked a baked potato in the microwave for 8 minutes and kept checking until it was soft (as I wasn’t making a lot of mashed potato I found this way the quickest and easiest way to do it) and then I prepared the mashed potato and left it to cool.

Whilst that was cooling I cooked the broccoli and then blitzed it up in a food processor and added it to the mashed potato along with the drained tuna, cheese, 1 egg and half of the breadcrumbs.

I then used my hands to shape the mixture into fishcakes (or whatever shape or size you like). For Evie I made them into a thin fishcake shape and once cooked I cut them into sticks so they were easy for her to hold.

Then I coated them in the remaining breadcrumbs before frying in a hot pan with a splash of oil. I did mine until golden and they were honestly delicious and a huge hit Evie! (P.s. these are definitely not just for babies as they are so tasty and also slimming world friendly if using the cheese and breadcrumbs and your healthy extras!)

Mama & Baby · Travel

The first time – Travelling abroad

It’s a tradition within our family to take an Easter break! My Mum is one of four girls and the majority of my cousins are also girls, so every year we bin the boys off and take a vaycay during the Easter hols! For the past 10 years or so we have been visiting Anglesey or Wales until last year we decided to venture to Majorca where my Auntie owns a villa. Last year I was 17 weeks pregnant and this year I was travelling with a 7 month old!


I was apprehensive to say the least about travelling with a baby. I am very much a stress head Sally but with nothing to actually stress about! 99% of the time I create these situations in my head and in reality I have nothing to stress about. I was asking so many ridiculous questions before we travelled thinking of every possible scenario that could go wrong. Well it turns out it’s only as difficult as you make it! I was super lucky to travel with my Mum and Ruby (one of my cousins) and we had an absolute ball!

We flew with Ryan Air who let you check in 2 baby items in the hold for free so that was the stroller and the travel cot. I usually refuse to pay the extortionate prices of checking in a suitcase (£50+!?) but with a baby there was no way I was cramming all our stuff into hand luggage and lugging it round the airport!

I think understandably my main worry was feeding. After reading the gov.uk website (geeeeeek) about what you can and what you can’t take through security it very much put my mind at ease! Basically in a nutshell if you need it to feed your baby you can take it through security! For ease (and not wanting to hunt down boiling water) in the airport and on the plane I used ready made formula which I just tipped into a sterilised bottle.

Obviously with getting through the airport there isn’t much opportunity for a baby to sleep; they’re in and out the stroller to get through security and once you’re about to board the plane you also have to take them out so by the time we took off I knew Evie would be due a sleep. Usually when she naps in the day she lies down with a dummy and nods off, she doesn’t like to be cuddled, rocked or fussed over. So when she fell asleep after a feed about half way through the flight I got those kind of newborn cuddles, the ones where they lie on your chest and get all squishy.

As we were staying in my auntie’s villa it was pretty much home from home so I was able to make up her feeds as normal as I just took a box of formula in my case. Evie has Hipp Organic which I wasn’t sure if I could get it as easily in Majorca as other the brands which is why I took it with me. I packed a few Ella’s Kitchen pouches and I was meant to take porridge with me but in the midst of the madness that is packing for a baby I forgot so I just pinched Isla’s every morning instead! After our first full day in the Spanish sun I began to realise this holidaying with babies malarkey wasn’t as stressful as I built it up to be! In fact it was so much fun! Yes her ‘routine’ (I use that word loosely) was a bit thrown out and she wanted more sleep and more feeds (obviously because of the heat) but we had THE best time and seeing her interact with everyone and chat away to Isla just made me the happiest Mummy in the world!


We bought the My Babiie MB51 stroller to take on holiday and it was fabulous!! It has 3 recline positions including one which lies flat, an extendable hood which has UV 50 protection, a viewing window at the top of the hood and it’s super lightweight and easy to manoeuvre. Evie was so happy to nap in it and also sit in it whilst we were out eating.


In all honesty once I had got into the swing of things I soon realised it wasn’t as stressful or difficult as I was making it out to be. Travelling with a baby is just different to what you’re use to and preparation is definitely key!

A few things which made my life easier were taking ready made formula on the plane therefore I wasn’t worrying about not being able to get boiling water (during take off etc) when I needed it, not taking my own hand luggage; so just shoving my purse, phone and keys into Evie’s changing bag as it was then one less thing to carry, taking dummy clips so I wasn’t constantly searching for spare dummies, taking a stroller carrier with handles so just before we boarded I popped the stroller into the carrier and could just leave it at the bottom of the plane steps (also I was a bit neurotic about my cream stroller getting dirty, I know what you’re thinking . . Priorities). So yeah if you’re anything like me then just chill. People do take babies abroad every single day if you get organised you shouldn’t have anything to unnecessarily stress over . .  Now bring on Croatia!!

After speaking to a lot of you on Instagram I think we all feel the same about flying with a baby for the first time so if you have any questions at all just pop me a message and even if I can’t directly help or have the answer then maybe I can put your mind at ease!

Mama & Baby

Ella’s Kitchen – Tiny Tasters

We were recently contacted by Ella’s Kitchen to try out their brand new veggie pouches and of course we jumped at the chance! As I’ve previously mentioned I felt a bit clueless when I came to the start of our weaning journey and even before I had been contacted by Ella’s Kitchen I downloaded their First Foods app and it was really helpful! I felt like it was full of information, handy tips and it gave me a bit of guidance which is exactly what I was after! They previously ran their #vegforvictory campaign which was to encourage parents to wean with vegetables first, frequently and in variety! The aim being that the more variety of veg little ones eat throughout weaning, the more accepting they will be of new flavours.


The four new veggie pouches that have launched follow on the back of the success of the Veg for Victory campaign. Ella’s Kitchen aim to raise awareness of the importance of weaning with vegetables and the long-term positive impact it can have on little ones’ health and relationship with food. This is something that really resonates with me and if there is any way I can help to create a positive and healthy relationship between my daughter and food then I am all for it!!

There are 4 new flavours;

  • Peas, broccoli + potatoes
  • Carrots, peas + kale
  • Pumpkin, broccoli + sweetcorn
  • Squash, sweet potatoes + parsnips

The pouches have been designed to give little ones a variety of new and exciting veggie tastes once they’re ready to move on from single flavours and as with all of the Ella’s Kitchen range they are super convenient for when you’re out and about.

I thought Evie would prefer the ‘sweeter’ root vegetables such as squash or sweet potato but her favourite flavour seemed to be the peas, broccoli and poataoes! Which actually really surprised me as she has never taken a liking to broccoli before so it was lovely to see her enjoying it alongside the new mixture of flavours! It seems she thoroughly enjoyed the tasty sign too!


I have loved trying out the 4 new flavours with Evie and the greedy chops has certainly loved being a tiny taster! And although we have had some interesting faces pulled along the way and some raspberries blown with a mouth full of food I do think by continuously offering her vegetable based meals from the beginning of our weaning journey it has really helped with her acceptance of different tastes!

If you would like any more information on vegetable led weaning you can download a PDF called ‘A guide to weaning with veg’ from the Ella’s Kitchen website just click here or you can also follow them on Twitter @VegforVictory

This is a sponsored post.