Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Best Days Out in London with Kids

Hi Guys,

Here is a little video blog on three of our favourite places to go (with kids) in London.  We live in Essex and are luckily only 20 minutes away from town so we can go there and enjoy the sites and museums.


1. Natural History Museum (and museums in general - South Kensington)
2. Kidzania, Westfields London (Shepherd's Bush)
3. A London Show for kids (we have been to Peppa Pig and In the Night Garden at the O2)

I know there is so much more to see and do in town but I thought I would share ones that are indoors as Autumn is definitely here!

I post videos on my vlog every Monday, Wednesday and Friday (Monday is always my weekly vlog).

Thanks so much and see you soon xxx


Tuesday, 8 September 2015

First Day of School

Dearest Fraser,

Yesterday you started school. Big school.  Reception!  To say I have been a little emotional over the last few weeks is a huge understatement - I have been over the top emotional whenever I think about you starting school.  I don't know what has come over me.  I have known that this day was coming for a very long time.

For months we have been planning for this day, trying to prepare you (and I).  We got you dressed in your smart green uniform (you refused to wear the blazer and I wasn't going to push it) I did your hair as best I could and off we went to your new school.  You were being really brave the whole way there but when the time came for parents to say 'goodbye' you broke down and cried and clung on to my leg, just as you have done since you were a baby.  So, I of course welled up and burst into tears and even little Caleb started getting upset that I was leaving his crying brother behind.  As we left Caleb kept saying 'Aw, Fraser, back!'.  I hung around outside peering in to your classroom window trying to catch a glimpse of you happily playing and eventually your teacher came out and said 'Mrs Norris he's absolutely fine now!' but I think she actually meant 'Shift it you crazy mum, he's fine!' :-)

You and I have always suffered from separation anxiety from each other.  You have always created and got upset when I've dropped you off at nursery (at just 10 months), preschool and now school.  Although you are so social, popular and have a great time when you are there - I don't think it's that you don't like school, I think it is just that you love your home comforts.  You still crawl in to our bed every night once Daddy and I are asleep and sleep in the middle of us and we're not about to put a stop to it as we know that you're only going to be little once and for such a short time.  

I can't believe how quickly the past four and a half years have gone and I cherish the time we have had together.  Especially when I was on maternity leave with you and it was just you and me, every day, all day together - I used to lay you on your blanket in the garden and you would gurgle and do the cutest little ninja moves whenever the wind blew the trees above you.  You got so excited, you were just the sweetest little baby.  It is so sad and so exciting at the same time that you are starting school and off on your next adventure, I just wish sometimes that you didn't have to grow up and you could stay little forever.  You are so innocent and I just hope Daddy and I have done a good enough job of building your confidence up so much that if any knocks do come your way that it doesn't keep you down for long.  

While you were at school, Caleb and I went shopping to get you some sweets and a Paw Patrol toy because you did so well.   You came running out of the gate shouting 'Mommy' and smiling with a 'Deputy Head Teachers Award' sticker on your uniform for being such a good listener.

Daddy and I couldn't be prouder of you, our handsome school boy! 

Love you,

Mommy xxx

Fraser's first day at preschool - he looks so little!  

Baby Fraser in the garden

 His little cute ninja moves when the trees move :-) 


Thursday, 3 September 2015

An Emotional Date

My first born, Fraser, starts school on Monday and yesterday I planned a ‘date' day for us. Every now and then my husband or I take Fraser on a date to the cinema or bowling to make him feel special and to do an activity that he doesn’t get to do when his baby brother is around.
I had planned our date, I'd booked a day's annual leave and paid a small fortune for tickets to Kidzania at Westfields, London.

We woke up, sent baby Caleb off to nursery (guilt!) so we could have our precious day together, just hanging out, enjoying each others company.
It was all very exciting, we got on the train and a tube to London and arrived at Kidzania. We checked in, got our boarding cards and walked in to what can only be described as Las Vegas for kids, where you can be or do anything that you want to. Be a fire fighter, a pilot, a chocolatier, a smoothie maker - anything! It all looked amazing, so much to do and see!
And….. Do you know what he wanted to do first? NOTHING! He did not want to do any of it, because doing any activity meant stepping about 5 steps away from me. Adults were not permitted in the activity rooms, but I’d be right there, behind glass watching him. But he wouldn’t join in, the one thing he did want to do was play board games with me in the board game room.
All the planning, the journey, the money and all he really wanted to do was spend time with his Mom. I could’ve cried right there in the middle of Kidzania. He just wanted to play a flipping board game or jenga with me! I’d put so much pressure on this big fun day out before he goes off to school but it was all unnecessary.
We played board games for an hour or so and did one activity - the only one that they would let me in to (which was drumming and music) and then I said lets go and get a pizza. We went via the Disney Store and then to Pizza Express.
As we were travelling home on the train, I was thinking about our day and looking at my handsome little guy and wishing that he didn’t have to go to school. I KNOW, I KNOW, he is so raring to go, he’s ready and it will be great for him blah blah, but I am going to miss my little best friend when he’s there, our little chats and his jokes, I have loved having him at home all summer.
Time is one of the most precious things that we all have or can give to our children. You can’t buy more of it and it stops for no one. There is a famous quote that says ‘Life is what happens when you’re making other plans’ and it is so true. It is such a cliche but time really does go by so fast.

From now on I am going to stop putting pressure on making memories. After all some of our best times are unplanned and spontaneous or just relaxing at home! Some of my best memories as a child are just building a fort with my sister, jumping off the dock into the lake 100 times at our cottage - simple things, just spending time with the people you love.

I’m also going to (try to) stop being upset about him going to school. I am going to put on a brave face on Monday when he walks through those school gates (and then obviously run back to my car and ball my eyes out) but in front of him I’ll be strong. I am excited for what’s to come, watching him grow and flourish at school - I know he will thrive there and learn so much more than I could teach him. He’s so bright and funny and Matt and I couldn’t be prouder the boy that he has become.

(Lots of cute photos below :-) xx

Enjoying his Drum lesson!

Rockstar in the making!


Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Top Breastfeeding Tips

Hi, I recently uploaded two videos to my YouTube Channel about breastfeeding tips and my breastfeeding story and thought I would also put the information into a blog post.

I breastfed each of my boys for 1 year successfully and I feel that I have lots of tips and that I learnt a lot. Also, in the first week after birth, both of my boys put on weight where babies normally lose weight so I was very proud of that! 

To watch my video on breastfeeding tips:

To hear my breastfeeding story: 

My top breastfeeding tips are:

  1. Make sure your latch is correct
    Make sure the baby’s mouth covers the whole nipple.  This is SO important and this NHS video really helped me to understand the latch:
  2. Drink plenty of water
    This is so important for your milk flow and your healing after birth! To help me remember to drink water I hid large bottles of mineral water all over the house - under the baby chair in the nursery, in the sofa and everywhere I would feed. I always tried to drink water when I was feeding (and do my pelvic floor muscles).
  3. Remember to eat!
    For some reason I went from being pregnant and getting ‘hangry’ almost every 2 hours when I was pregnant to completely losing my appetite once my baby was born. Remember to eat enough to give yourself and your milk nutrients. You require an extra 500 calories a day too so don't diet straight away! I used to also eat a pastry or cake at around 5:00pm so that the fat from that food would be in my 7:00pm milk.
  4. Get help
    In the beginning feeding is a 24 hour job – tell your spouse, mum etc. to get you a pint of water and a snack every time you sit down to feed. You look after baby, they look after you.
  5. Nipple pads When I was breastfeeding my chest got HUGE! And normal breast pads would slide around and not protect my clothes sometimes. So I found a solution, thin sanitary pads. They cover so much more and the big strip of glue alog the back meant they never slid around!
  6. Don’t clock watch When I first started breastfeeding I downloaded apps on my phone to record what time they fed, how long for etc. and I got a bit obsessed with it. I would recommend not doing this in the early days and feeding on demand and by your instinct. You never know when your baby is having a growth spurt!
  7. Predict hunger and try If my nipples were sore I found it less painful if I tried to feed my baby when he was nearly due a feed then wait until he cried and was wound up and starving.
  8. Relax
    I know this is easier said than done but it really does help with the milk flow. I noticed this when I was expressing – if I was slightly stressed, I got way less milk. Try not to think about work r argue with your partner etc. when you are feeding.
  9. Support
    In the form of a breastfeeding chair or pillow. I had the ‘My Breast Friend’ pillow from John Lewis and I loved it!
  10. Take a supplement
    I took the Vitabiotics Pregnacare Supplements throughout my pregnancy and while breastfeeding to enrich my milk with omega 3 and other vitamins.
  11. Buy nice bras
    It is hard to feel glamorous or attractive when you are feeling like a cow being milked! Your saving lots of money on formula so treat yourself to some nice breastfeeding bras. I loved Elle McPhearson bras, H &M and Figleaves.
  12. How to know if a baby is getting enoughAs long as your baby is gaining weight, seeming satisfied after a feed e.g. ‘milk drunk’ and having yellow poo twice a day then you are doing great!

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

How motherhood will change you...

  1. You discover an inner strength you never knew you had.
    I pretty much found this out the second I gave birth to my son, by going through labour. After child birth (with just a paracetemol!) I felt like warrior who could take on anything. From the day your child is born you have to be strong for them and can get through almost anything.

  2. Life becomes magical again.
    Now that I have children I can enjoy the magic of Santa, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny again. I love that my children wake up and everyday is so exciting, full of new experiences and discoveries. When we were recently on holiday I watched my boys eyes light up as they gazed over some new rocks they’d never seen before and were touching them like they’d just found gold!
    It is so sad that we lose excitement as adults in our mundane routines, but when you have children you get a little magic back.

  3. You genuinely want to know about someone else’s bodily functions.
    This is so true and so weird for me (a bit of a prude when it comes to all that!). I now think nothing of asking the nursery if my son has had a wet or soiled nappy. I also like to know at exactly what time it happened and the consistency of it. That way I can think about how he’s feeling, what he needs to eat more of and when it might happen again. EW.

  4. Little things in life become a luxury.
    A hot coffee, a walk in the park – hell a wee or shower without an audience is an absolute LUXURY!
    I cherish the one morning a week I drive alone to work and can blast IGGY loud rather than our Peppa Pig CD (although I normally get half way through the journey listening to Peppa before I realise obvs).

  5. Where you once believed you were fearless, you now find yourself very afraid.
    Pre children I really didn’t think much about my safety at all, it wasn’t something I really worried about. That might just be me or maybe young people in general. I thought nothing of throwing myself out of plane from 15,000 feet skydiving or jumping from a bridge with a bit of bungee and some towels wrapped around my feet.
    Now my stomach turns when I look over the edge of an escalator while shopping at Bluewater! The fearless me has gone and been replaced by a responsible adult that knows I need to keep myself safe so that I can keep my kids safe.

  6. Although you are afraid, you stand up for your kids.
    I have never been the best at standing up for myself; I can sometimes be a bit shy and let people walk all over me… BUT where my kids are concerned; I will f*cking take you down and break you like a f*cking twig... (Oops, I don’t know what came over me) I meant I will speak my mind! :)

  7. You have a new found respect for your parents and love them in a new way.
    I say parents but in my case it is really just my Mom. My mom raised my sister and I pretty much single handedly (with a couple useless father figures involved here and there). When my son was a newborn and I was in the blur of sleep deprivation it occurred to me ‘HOW did my mother do this?’ ‘How, as a 20 year old, poor, single mother? And she had my older sister to think about (just 2 years older).
    Since then I have thought a lot about it and how many times she must have changed my nappy, tried to get me to eat ‘just one little bite’ of a meal she’d prepared and how many sleepless nights I’d given her.

  8. You find that your baby's pain feels much worse than your own.
    There is nothing worse than seeing your child in pain. Whether it be teething, a sickness bug or much more serious it literally hurts my heart to see my children in pain and I feel sick myself. When I catch a cold or inevitably get their sickness bugs the pain is nothing compared to what I feel when I see them sick.

  9. Priorities and standards change.
    Priorities like taking a shower every day and having a spotless house will all go out the window and be replaced with priorities like picking up the right batteries for the bubble machine – cause my 18 month fricking loves it and it’s run out again!

  10. You want to take care of yourself.
    I’ve always been a little bit healthy but terrible at exercising and sticking to diet plans. I used to be the kind of girl that will lose 5lbs for a night out and then put it back on in wine the next week :-/ BUT since I have had children I have been making a conscience effort to eat well and generally look after myself better.
    I am very aware that I need to set a good example for my children and how can I preach about eating their greens and taking their vitamins if I am not? I also want to feel well and be healthy for them, I want to be around as long as possible to see them grow, fall in love and have children one day... 

Like and share if you related to any of these points. 

Friday, 20 March 2015

A Few of my Favourite Things Tag

Hi Guys,

So this week I thought I would do the 'A Few of my Favourite Things Tag'.

The answers have to be quick and all within 3 minutes - I tried my best but it was tricky!  Hope you like it - I now tag you - your it! xx


Friday, 13 March 2015

Spring Haul

Hi Guys,  It is that time of year again, the sun is shining, the birds are singing (it's still slightly freezing - but who cares) Spring is on it's way!

I filmed a haul of what I got when I went shopping last week.  This is mostly a Primark haul but I picked up a few bits from Topshop and Lipsy too :-)

I hope you like this haul and that it gives you a little Spring wardrobe inspiration.

Thanks so much for watching xxx

Products List:




All the other items shown were from Primark and I can’t add links.


Monday, 2 February 2015

Marshmallow Pops

My eldest son Fraser is now 4 and seems SO grown up.   I have been looking for things to make with him to give to his school friends for Valentine's.  So we made these marshmallow pops and we had so much fun making them.

My mom is also visiting from Canada at the moment so Grandma helped us too.  It is so lovely that even though Fraser doesn't see her all the time he instatntly warms to her when she is around - like he knows she's family.

All you need is: 
- Marshmallows (or we made Oreo ones too)
- Cake pop sticks
- Chocolate 
- Sprinkles, smarties or anything you want to top it with :-) 

Melt the chocolate.  Place marshmallow on a cake pop stick and dip in the chocolate and then sprinkles.  Leave to dry.  Enjoy! 

We filmed us making these: 

Now here are some cute photos of my boys making and enjoying them. 


Sunday, 18 January 2015

My Everyday Makeup Routine

These are the products I use in my everyday makeup routine.  I LOVE makeup and have tried a lot in my life.  All of the following products have been in my routine for some time now...

My base makeup consists of Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay in Place Makeup (my shade is ‘Pebble’), I love that it stays in place all day and has SPF 10.  This foundation gives great coverage without feeling cakey. I use Clarins Instant Concealer (in 01) to brighten my under eye area and although this product is a little more expensive, it lasts forever! I also use Rimmel’s Wake Me Up Concealer on any blemishes and around my nose.  I then set my base with the Rimmel Stay Matte Long Lasting PressedPowder (in ‘Translucent’) for even more staying power.

For my eyes, I have been loving Benefit’s ‘Gimme Brow’ (in Light/Medium) it is the quickest way to define your brows and I can do it half asleep with a toddler hanging off one leg! I then use my Urban Decay Naked Palette, you can see I’ve hit pan on the colour ‘Sin’ and I also love ‘Virgin’ and ‘Toasted’ for everyday makeup.  As it is January, my eyes need a little more than just eyeshadow so I have been using Rimmel’s Exaggerate Liquid Eye Liner for a little bit of winged liner and Bobbi Brown Mascara.

For my blush and contouring I have been favouring a bright, shimmery pink Bella Bamba and my old friend Hoola (I’ve been using this for 12 years now!) from my Benefit Sweet Cheeky Spot Palette.

For lips I have been using Benefit’s tinted ‘Benebalm’.  My lips get dry during the winter months so for everyday makeup I favour a tinted balm over lipstick.

These are my latest everyday products, if anyone can recommend a really smooth applying liquid liner please let me know. :-)


Saturday, 10 January 2015

Returning to Work After Maternity Leave

Going back to work after having my first son Fraser was THE hardest thing I have ever done in my life and I suffered from A LOT of anxiety.  I went back (4 days a week) when Fraser was 10 months and with my second son, Caleb, I went back (3 days a week) when he was 1. 

I’ve been back at work for two months now and we’re in a good routine so I thought I would share my top tips for returning to work following maternity leave.

1.       Settle In
-          If you are about to return to work, you probably already have your childcare sorted.  If you haven’t it’s time to sit down with family, work out who can help and get your name down on nursery or childminder waiting lists.
-          Before you start back, have ‘settling in’ visits with your chosen childcare provider two weeks prior to your actual start date.  Doing a dry run will help to get some of your emotions out before you’re due back and you’ll be a lot more comfortable with the process because you’ve practised it.
-          When your child is at their settling in visit don’t go home and cry – book afternoon tea or do something fun with a friend to take your mind off of it!

Fraser Ready for Nursery - aged 2

Fraser's First Day of Nursery - he looks so small :-(

2.       Get Organised
-          Lists are your friend! I keep an ‘admin’ list on my phone of things I need to get done.  I try to do house admin in my lunch break such as order a birthday card online or pay the gas bill etc.
-          I keep a shopping list pad next to the fridge so my hubby and I can add to it as soon as we have run out of something and then we’ll both try to pick bits up when we can.
-          Get everything ready the night before.  Organise the baby bag/nursery bag, school uniforms, decide what you’ll wear, iron clothes etc. all the night before.  I even put the nursery bag in the car the night before so that all we need to do in the morning is get the kids fed and clothed and out we go.

3.       Meal Plan
-          Meal planning REALLY helps me to stay organised.  I have a chalk board that I fill out each week.  If you don’t fancy a meal one night you can swap the choices around a bit. 
-          Use a slow cooker.  It is the best; you can throw things in at breakfast time and come home to a lovely dinner and the whole house smelling delicious! I also have a recipe book but there are great recipes online: Slow Cooker Recipes
-          Freeze ahead. When I went back to work we bought a second freezer so that I could make and freeze baby food and meals for us too.  I tend to make a huge chilli, store it in Ziploc bags and bring it out once a week for chilli night! It is quick and easy and healthy.
-          Internet food shopping is a working mum’s best friend.  Do your big shop each week this way and you’ll only have to pick up little forgotten bits from the corner store during the week.
My Meal Planner Chalkboard

4.       Lower your standards or Hire Help
-          If you like to live in a show home, accept that this will be difficult when you’re back at work!  When you’re on maternity leave it is easy to clean and tidy during naps but now it is a bit trickier.  We have a cleaner that comes every other week to do a clean, this is a huge help as I can keep the house clean day to day but every two weeks it is so nice to have a deeper clean by a professional!
-          My husband used to spend hours and hours gardening on the weekends and didn’t even enjoy it that much.  We decided to hire a gardener and recently we even had a fake lawn laid to replace our grass.  This may sound extreme but it always looks great, is soft for the kids to play on and is zero maintenance and means he gets more time playing football in the garden with the boys than pulling weeds!

5.       Quality Time
-          Try not to spend your precious days off with your baby hoovering and doing the washing.  Book a music class for your baby, go to the park, feed the ducks, visit the library etc.  – makes you feel less guilty. I always plan to be home during Caleb’s long nap so I can get housework done while he’s snoozing.

Baby Fraser on a Trip to the Park 
On a Day Out to the Farm 
6.       Work as a Team
-          It is the 21st century, so split tasks with your partner!  They may have been a little bit spoilt when you were on maternity leave and may have become used to coming home to a clean house, with dinner ready etc.   Now that you’re back at work they may need a gentle reminder that you now need a little help around the house! J
-          Don’t nag or struggle on your own – if you want to talk about help or house work with your partner, bring it up and ask them for their thoughts on how to make things easier.  When a man thinks it was their idea it is a lot better and easier!

7.       Don’t Vent at Work
-          If you have had a terrible night’s sleep because your little one is ill or teething it may be tempting to tell everyone at work how hard a night you have had.  Don’t.  Be professional and keep going.  Colleagues who have older children will have forgotten how hard it was and those who haven’t yet had children don’t care.

8.       Think Positively!
-          Your baby will learn so much, love bonding with others and making friends and become more social and outgoing. 
-          There are many reports that suggest part-time working mums are happier than full-time stay at home mums: Click here (for just one, there are many more)
-          You’re doing what is best for your family and career and your children will appreciate it when they need help with university fees.

Guilt and motherhood go hand in hand so get ready to feel a lot of that.  After 3 – 4 weeks you’ll all be in your new routine, far less emotional and enjoying a little bit of adult conversation.

Good Luck! xx

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Primer is Lingerie for your Make Up!

I love the Arbonne Primer

Two years ago I had no idea what a makeup primer was but now I have heart palpitations if I can’t find mine!

Primers basically do for make up what lingerie does for clothes! Smooth’s everything out and makes it look a bit better.  Many of us will know that a primer for painting walls is a paint product that allows finishing paint to adhere much better than if it were used alone. A make up primer is the same principal.

Primers help to refine pores and smooth out skin providing a better surface for your foundation so that it takes more easily and most importantly to me – stays put longer. 

I barely have time in the mornings to apply makeup, let alone time to reapply it later, so staying power of the products I use is vital to me.  For even more staying power I use a long wearing foundation on top of a primer.

I love that even though I run around like a mad woman all day, after two boisterous boys, my makeup is still there in the evenings when my hubby gets home - so I'm a little less scary looking!

I personally love the Arbonne Primer – it is a lovely smooth texture and it leaves my face with a matte, velvety surface ready for my foundation.   I have also heard great things about the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer and Benefits ‘Pore’fessional.  There are even primers specifically for your eyelids to aid your eye shadows (Urban Decay’s Eyeshadow Primer Potion is a great one!) 

I like to use Estee Lauder's Double Wear Foundation on top of my primer so that my makeup stays all day.
I use it in 'Fresco' when I'm pale and the shade 'Pebble' during summer months (or when I fake tan).

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