Me & Mine - February

dear beautiful
I'm starting to get into this linky and thinking more about what photo I am going to share and so taking more family photos of us - which is the whole point! As yet I've not got a whole lot of choice, but I'm hoping this will encourage us to take family photos a lot more often as we go along.

I also want to use this linky as a regular update on H and J, so I can look back and see how they have progressed.

Low Energy Playtime - Foam Stickers

Having being recently diagnosed with CFS/ME, I have found the messy playtimes we used to enjoy a huge challenge. So I have been researching play that doesn't take too much energy, but gets the children exploring different ways to play and learn.

Ideas for play for parents who are chronically ill

Childhood Chic #6

I've not been taking as many Childhood Chic photos over the last month, but that hasn't stopped me buying! With the recent H&M sale and a trip to Tesco's the children's black, white and greys are growing! Here are our recent favourite photos.

I love J's lion top from Next! H is wearing her new Bluezoo top from my recent Debenhams shop.

After having them on my wishlist for a while I finally decided to go for some Salt City Emporium purchases. These are J's elephant print Harlem pants, which are pretty fab. Check back soon to see H's leggings!

After a trip to Tesco's with my mum I couldn't resist these - the zebra print dress was reduced to £6 and J's tops were £4 and £6.

Another day, another shop - this were my H&M online buys. I love the dress in particular, H wore it to a christening at the weekend and it was gorgeous on too. I also bought them some grey hi-tops each for £7 and H some more long sleeved tops.

Here is H modelling one of the above tops along with some old H&M trousers and her new hi-tops. Little poser!

What have you been styling your little ones in lately? I'd love to hear about your purchases!

Giveaway: Silver Cross Rag Doll

Silver Cross sell some beautiful products and whilst they are mainly known for their prams, they also sell a whole range of other things. From nursery furniture jewellery, there are so many products to choose from. With such a reputable company as Silver Cross, who have been around for over 100 years can be assured the products you are purchasing are of the best quality and with lots of care gone into them.

To celebrate the launch of the new Reflex pushchair, Silver Cross are offering one lucky reader the chance to win one of their beautiful Darcy Rag Dolls!

"A beautifully graceful and elegant ballerina, Darcey comes with a removable pink leotard, a satin tutu with mesh underskirt, ballet pumps with ankle ribbons and a wrap around cardigan with a lovely bow. She even has bendable arms and legs that can be shaped into different ballet positions. Darcey also comes complete with pink satin pyjamas and pink slippers ready for bedtime."

To enter this giveaway follow the Rafflecopter below, and good luck!

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Home: Monk's Bench Upcycle Tutorial

Over the years I've done various pieces of DIY and I love upcycling in particular. Today I thought I'd share this tutorial on a monk's bench I found on eBay and how I refurbished it into something that looked good and fit in our home decor.

DIY Monk's Bench Tutorial

Reflex: The Newest Addition To The Silver Cross Family

Silver Cross are one of the top British brands around. Established in 1877 it is safe to say they are a part of our history and heritage! After being around for over 125 years you can be safe in the knowledge that they know their stuff and you are buying into a quality brand.

Home Decor: Planning My Living Room

My next port of call for designing the interior of our home is the living room. The room is still very much a blank canvas and I am looking forward to putting my stamp on it.

Looking Forward

For most people the every day things in life are just that - ordinary moments that pass you by, that you enjoy and that make you smile without you even being aware of them. Your children laughing at something silly you do, getting breakfast ready for them, reading them a bedtime story, going out for a trip to the park. For me these moments are often such hard work and met with dread. Even the smallest moments with my children leave me drained and exhausted and wondering if I will ever enjoy them again.

And then there are days like today, which give me a bit of hope. A break in the clouds.

For the first time in a long time I missed the children when they were at nursery. And I looked forward to seeing them. This is not normal for me. I generally feel like the days without them go too quickly and dread when they will return home.

I am well aware this is not right and not normal. And believe me when I say I feel awful guilt for it. But at the moment, it is the reality. I find getting out of bed, getting dressed, feeding myself hard right now and for the most part I struggle to be with my children.

But today as the time to pick them up drew near I found myself looking at my watch and smiling. My little ones would be home soon, to return the life to our home.

At the moment I am trying to look forward. Look forward to my time with them, look forward to the things we can do together, look forward to watching them play. Most of all I am looking forward to the days when that becomes normal for me once more.

J is such a little treasure right now, just looking at him makes me heart melt. Whilst he has his moments and his tantrums, his innocence and the way he needs me and implicitly believes in me brings a tear to my eye.

And whilst H can definitely challenge me, I am so proud of her and her character and I can already see what a strong woman she will become.

So this evening, as the sun went down, we went for a little walk. Only about fifteen minutes, but that's a lot for me right now. I showed them the lake, the birds, the trees and the mud. And we had some happy time. Me and my babies, who I love so so much.

Giveaway: Smile Brilliant

I've always had pretty good teeth. Apart from an odd filling or two I rarely need much dentistry. Not being a fan of the dentist, I am grateful for that. I have however had my teeth whitened once by my sister, who is a Dental Hygienist. Whilst I thought the experience was a positive one, going to the dentist in general always makes me feel a bit anxious. There are now lots of at-home teeth whitening kits around, which is great news for me! Smile Brilliant are one such company who create custom-fitted bleaching trays and professional strength bleaching gel for many dentists and now allow clients to have their teeth professionally whitened without a visit to the dentist!

They have very generously offered one lucky reader the chance to win one of their LED Light + Pen's. An effective teeth whitening product at a great cost, you simply paint the gel on with the pen and use the tray and light to whiten your teeth! All it takes is 20-40 minutes! If you'd like to win one of these, simply follow the Rafflecopter below!

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Common Pregnancy Problems

When I was pregnant with my two I experienced several uncomfortable issues throughout the nine months. I thought I would share my experiences and how they can be eased.

An Announcement: Little Fun Fest

Today I opened a very exciting email, we have been chosen as one of Little Fun Fest's Blogger Extraordinaire! Little Fun Fest provide fantastic family fun days at York Maze in Yorkshire and Red House Farm in Manchester. I am so excited to be attending at Red House Farm, which takes place on 5th and 6th April.

An Interview with Little H

Today's vlog features Little H! You asked, she answered - plus you can learn all about the Popsy dance!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Home Decor: Planning Baby J's Bedroom Makeover

Last week I posted about my plans for Little H's bedroom, so this week I thought I'd share my idea for Baby J's new room. My baby will soon be a baby no longer as he turns two in May and pretty soon he will be out of his cot. We are planning on getting H a full size single, so he will inherit her toddler bed, bed rail included. I am sad that the baby days in our house are almost over, but keeping myself busy with one of my favourite activities - planning and pinning!

Tutorial: DIY Memo Board

I have been working on creating an office in my spare room for a while now and one thing I know I wanted was a memo board. I have been a fan of them for a few years now and considered buying one from Etsy. I recently saw Kerry over at Oh So Amelia had made her own so I decided to give it a try myself.

The Paths We Tread

Today was my last counselling session. After being referred 11 months ago for Post Natal Depression and after 15 session with my counsellor it is all over. Well, that side of things is, as I am now going through treatment for Chronic Fatigue and being referred for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

Nearly a year since I realised I wasn't coping. That trying to manage the two children on my own through the daytime just wasn't working and that those old symptoms of low mood, sleeping a lot and a fogginess in my mind had returned. Nearly a year since I admitted it and told my health visitor and nearly a year since that first session.

So much has changed since then and so much has been discussed. And yet not much has changed. Whilst I've dealt with a lot of my past issues, there are still presents ones that cause problems. And in that time my Chronic Fatigue has been diagnosed as I've rapidly gone downhill with my tiredness. My family has suffered, my friendships have suffered and I have been the lowest I've felt in many years.

And yet there have been positives. I have finally dealt with long standing issues from childhood and school. I have confronted my fears surrounding my dad and accepted them and the reasons for them. I have acknowledged problems that have arisen because of my schooldays and am dealing with them. I have realised things about myself and am moving towards accepting them. It has not been an easy road, but I have taken steps along it that I never thought I would.

Today we discussed how to manage my feelings around guilt and my illness. That comments like 'get over it' and 'appreciate what you have' only serve to make me feel guilty that I don't, when in fact I do. That there is nothing wrong with being a sensitive person, it is not a weakness as I have always been made to believe, and that in turns it brings compassion and empathy. That if I walk away from confrontation I am protecting myself instead getting involved in a situation I cannot handle and that will only serve to make me take on more feelings of guilt and not being good enough. And that acceptance doesn't mean I am happy about my situation, only that I acknowledge that this is the way things are right now and in the immediate future I cannot change it. I think that is the hardest one of all.

I feel like one chapter has now closed, but in turn it has created so many more pages. I am hugely thankful to everyone who has gotten me to this stage, but also aware that really this is only the beginning of getting better. And maybe I will never get completely better, or that my view on being 'normal' will have to shift. For now I feel OK about things and am looking to a brighter future. At least I made it this far.

It's all for them

Guest Post: A Dad's View on Choosing Girls Outfits by Daddy Space

My name is James I blog over at Daddy Space - UK Parenting, lifestyle and dieting. I have three children: Charlie, 4, Harry, 2, and Olivia, 1. I mostly cover parenting subjects on my blog, recently I have started to follow the Slimming World Diet and have really been enjoying posting recipes and weight loss updates. Lisa has been kind enough to let me write a guest post for you today.

Giveaway: Gourmesso Espresso Coffee Capsules

If you're anything like me, a good brew first thing in the morning is your staple. When the kids have had me up throughout the night or woken me before dawn I don't think I can function until I've had that first hot cup. Unfortunately I am not a coffee fan. I've tried it several times but I just don't like it, which is a shame as I could often do with the caffeine! Mr H is a coffee drinker though, and I often think it has a lovely, homely smell. Shame about my dislike for the taste!

The Next Stage

Yesterday I posted about my plans for Little H's bedroom. After turning three in December she left the toddler days behind and is now a little girl, or a little madam depending on her mood! Baby J is always leaving his baby days behind as he turns two in May, and he will take over the role of terrible toddler in our house.

With all that in mind we are quickly reaching the next stage when it comes to sleeping - beds. H went into a toddler bed at the young age of 15 months, ready for J's arrival. However at 21 months J is still in his cot, as there just wasn't a need to move him. However we are feeling now that the time is rapidly upon us, our little boy is ready for a bed.

H's first night in a bed
Still in his cot at 21 months
So we will be moving him into H's toddler bed, and she will migrate to a full single. Gulp.

I have been researching beds for a while now. We don't want to spend an absolute fortune on her bed, but I do want something nice and something that will last. After considering many types I have been leaning more towards the cabin bed. They look great, and are practical wit storage underneath, but not too high for her climbing in and out on a night.

I have looked all over the place, including Ikea and John Lewis, but in the end I think have decided on one from Argos. They have a great range of beds available here, and many of their prices are very reasonable. I like the Leo single and for only £99.99 I think it is a great price.

I ordered the bedding for her room yesterday, so the process has definitely begun. I cannot believe how quickly our babies are growing and am a little sad that those baby days are behind us. When I look at J snuggled up in his cot, still with a dummy and blankie, it makes me wonder if I'm ready to leave those days behind us. Yet I am excited for the next stages and to watch my two grow up together.

*This post is brought to you is association with Argos

Home Decor: Planning Little H's Bedroom Makeover

Since we moved into our new house last November we have done very little in the way of decorating. we bought lots of furniture and carpet, but the walls still remain magnolia throughout and there is very little cohesiveness in any of the rooms. H's room is a prime example of this - her toddler bed which will soon be J's, wardrobes from our old bedroom that are far too big, a spray painted bookcase that really doesn't work and no shelving to keep any of her nicknack's we've collected over the last few years.

Childhood Chic #5

Last week my mother-in-law and I had a lovely morning in our local shopping centre seeking out some end-of-sale bargains. We head to Debenhams first as often their designer ranges are knocked down considerably, and ended up with some pretty good deals. My mother-in-law bought two dresses for H, this white one from the Bluezoo range which was reduced from £20 down to £10 and will be lovely in the summer.

Giveaway: Bugaboo Wool Seat Liner

A couple of months ago myself and some other bloggers were invited to join Bugaboo in Manchester for the launch of their latest pushchair - The Buffalo. A beautifully crafted, sleek design that is both practical and stylish; it is a buggy many would be envious of.

Giveaway: Cornwall Garden Society Spring Flower Show

I have always loved gardening and something most people do not know about me is that when I was young I used to show flowers with my dad. He grew fuchsias, which are beautiful little trumpet-type flowers that come in all many of colours and sizes, and we travelled all over the north together exhibiting our best plants we had grown over that year. It was a pastime I loved - I have always been a bit green-fingered, plus I got chance to share a hobby and time with my dad. Since those years, whenever I step into a garden I just feel so much peace, and could happily while away a few hours tending lovingly to each carefully chosen plant. In fact, that is how I always thought I would spend my retirement - pottering about without a care in the world.

Me & Mine - January

dear beautiful
As last year drew to a close I decided I would commit to join in with the Me & Mine linky, sharing a monthly photo of our family. This month's was actually taken this evening, so I have cheated a little bit, but we are yet to get into the habit of taking photo with all four of us in!


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