The sun always shines at Westport House

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20180718_1547212156909244880771769.jpgWe are just back from our favourite place in Ireland…Westport. It is such a great stay-cation destination, especially for families. There is just so much to do – beaches? Check. Cinema? Check. Selection of interesting shops and restaurants? Check. Swimming pool? It’s there. Playgrounds, indoor soft play, scenic drives, cycle routes, yoga classes, magic shows, toy shops…sorry I could go on and on about the wonders of this small but perfectly formed tow

But the cherry on this cake? Its our home from home, Westport House.

You might remember from some earlier posts that we have been lucky enough to visit this gorgeous historic home several times. We’ve enjoyed summer outings in the grounds and even got to visit Santa at Christmas! But this year, with our little man not so little any longer, and raring to go on the Pirate Adventure Park rides, it was time to visit again and enjoy even more of the delights on offer.

At the moment, Westport House are offering a second day free with a family ticket, and

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the kids were beyond excited when they realised we had two days of fun ahead of us. Our visit began with a casual tour around the beautiful interior of the house. We grabbed a coffee (for the grown ups, of course) in the cellar cafe and ambled around the various exhibits and room displays. The kids particularly enjoyed Grace O’Malley’s spooky dungeon and the nostalgic child’s nursery, while my husband and I marvelled at the amazing marble staircase and elegant, original furnishings of this stunning historic home.

We were absolutely blessed with good weather, which made our time even more enjoyable – so we headed off to the Westport House Express train for a jaunt around the grounds. The driver even allowed our little man to sound the horn and bell – this was probably the most exciting moment of his life! This delightful little train incorporates sneaky glimpses of the Pirate Adventure Park as it traces its track alongside the beautiful lake, with an absolutely majestic view of Croagh Patrick in the distance.

Then of course we raced (well the kids did) round to the Adventure Park, where there was fun to be had for all ages, from those who prefer the gentle bounce of the bouncy castle, to the thrilling fun of the Log Flume and the Pirate Queen Swinging Ship. We never had to queue for long and the staff were so helpful, so the kids had several visits to each ride and spent almost 45 minutes on the Inflatable Obstacle Course. After that it was some exercise for Mum and Dad, while we ventured out on the Swan Pedalos, enjoying the lake and the views of the house – cue a minor but rather hilarious tantrum when my son realised his legs weren’t long enough to reach the pedals!

Our next destination was lunch and the Go Karts. The picnic area makes use of the old stable buildings, we enjoyed our picnic lunch (egg and onion ‘sarnies’ courtesy of Nana) and the kids squealed with delight while they raced around in their little Go Karts (thankfully the pedals were close enough for my son this time!) Then it was time for the Cannonball Run. OMG. I think I might save up and install one of these in my back garden. It kept them entertained for AGES and we had lots of promises to come back tomorrow  – sometimes old fashioned fun really is the best.

From 4pm Westport House offers Pony Rides (for an extra fee) and of course we had to give it a try. I have to say, it was one of the highlights of the day for all of us. The sunshine, the laughter and the excitement at meeting the two ponies, Dori and Molly, all combined to make it a perfect end to the day – topped off by ANOTHER pony ride, on the Vintage Carousel this time. Finally, we spent some time playing footdarts and enjoying the outdoor play area. Safe to say we were all gloriously exhausted.

Day two of course, offered just as many treats. Again, we enjoyed the Pirate Adventure Park, the Westport Express and the Pedalos, with the addition of some fun in the sand pit and also revisiting the Bouncy Castle Assault Course, Cannonball Run and the Go Karts. One part that I really enjoyed was the Fairy Walk, just around past the house along the river. The glorious weather really added to the experience, but what I liked about it was that it was pram friendly and not too long, so the kids enjoyed spotting the little fairy doors but didn’t get too tired before the end. Daddy even managed to sneak ahead and hide some ‘Leprechaun Gold’ at the fairy doors for our two to find.

Our two days at Westport House were absolutely magical as always and the kids are still raving about it – I’m sure that we will be back again to visit this unique and unforgettable place.20180718_1655361603462917992357306.jpg

 

Complimentary Tickets were provided by Westport House for our visit. All opinions are my own.

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Namaste

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Yes, I’m one of them.

I’ve been converted. No, I’m not becoming a nun. *snorts*

Once (or unbelievably, sometimes twice) a week, I leave my house and go to a……*chokes a bit*… gym. Yes, you heard me right. ME. AT. A. GYM.

But I don’t use the gym equipment, oh no. Or go to spin class. Or lift weights. Nope. Actually, I wish I could have recorded the look in the fresh, 12 year old staff members eyes when he offered to induct me on the gym equipment and I proudly said; “No thanks, you’ll not be seeing me on those desperate monsters. Ever.” I think he genuinely thought I was nuts. Anactivity-beautiful-blur-834893d I am.

I’m yoga nuts. Or more specifically, I’m on my journey to becoming a ‘Yoga Nut’ – I believe that’s an actual term? Since losing the weight, I’ve reached a point when I realised I had to start doing some form of exercise – and chasing the kids round the playground holding a caramel latte just wasn’t going to cut the mustard. So I tentatively looked around for a solution and remembered that I had attended a lovely baby yoga class when my son was little and it hadn’t been that scary. So off I went in my new Matalan yoga pants – oh, yes – only the best for me. And you know what? It was great. (And yes, that IS a photo of my new physique…)

I remember all too well those scary times in school PE when I was actually RELIEVED to have an ingrowing toenail because I was too scared/freaked out/embarrassed/worried/ anxious/paranoid/self-conscious (just pick any of the above) to jump on the trampoline/go swimming/do gymnastics/netball/running (again, pick any of the above). God, I WISH yoga had been available at my school when I went – I think I would be a different person now and might possibly have begun to have a love for exercise. Well, all I can say is thank God at least I’ve discovered it now.

What’s lovely about yoga is there is no competition – not even with yourself. I think that’s the thing that put me off sport and exercise all these years – because I wasn’t naturally sporty, the competition element always intimidated me because as my family and friends know, I don’t like to fail at things – if I’m going to do something I want to be the best at it – I just can’t help it. But in yoga, they talk about the journey and that’s what takes all the pressure off. It doesn’t matter if the woman next to you is so flexible she appears to be made of plastic and can practically put her head up her bum. (Actually happened). It doesn’t matter that the 80 year old man behind you is calmly sitting in the crow pose for what seems like an hour and you’re wobbling like crazy, and worrying about your boob popping out – NO ONE CARES. Not even me. I just want to feel calm, relaxed and loose – (not in the slutty sense, you understand). As the pace of my life has changed, so has my outlook and yoga has arrived in my life at exactly the right time for me.

I couldn’t touch my toes when I started. Last week I wanted to stop the class so we could celebrate as a group when I realised I was grasping them easily – it just makes you feel better. Even if you never manage to touch your toes or do a head stand – you will always feel better when you practice yoga. It’s for everyone. I even brought the kids to a family yoga class this week (which was actually wonderful) and they both loved it and I could almost literally see how, if I encourage them to follow this practice throughout their childhood then they will be able to feel more centred, relaxed and calm within themselves and they will develop a love for exercise early on. And that’s something I never thought I would be able to share with my children. I’m on a mission now to convert everyone to practice yoga. So, have a think about it – you might enjoy it more than you think.

Namaste.

PS: There is farting.

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Make Up Tips for Mums

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Makeup is one of my passions. I’m kind of obsessed with it. Since I’ve had kids, my makeup routine has definitely gone through some changes – I no longer have 30 minutes to myself in the morning to perfect my eyeliner or try out a new look; hate it, scrap it, and start all over again. I went through a bit of a makeup rut until recently. I mean, if we had a night out (rare) I still knew how to whack the slap on, but on a daily basis I was sticking to the same old tried and trusted foundation, eyeliner, mascara and blush.

Literally nothing else.

I don’t mean to upset die-hards out there but I didn’t even own a tube of primer.

Even with all my so-called artistic makeup savvy, I didn’t even know what primer really was.

Shhuuushssshhh!

I know. First world problems or what?

But in the beauty and self-expression category, I’m one of those girls that really appreciates how you can enhance yourself with makeup and really, simply, just have some creative fun.

But how to do it when you have kiddies hanging on the hems of your (only) good work skirt, fighting with each other and whinging at you? Here are some things I’ve done which enable me to still be able to enjoy my makeup routine in the mornings.

Invest in a good primer. Not necessarily an expensive primer, but one that agrees with your skin and that you like using. I thought they were a total gimmick but they really do make your makeup look better and last longer.

Get a setting spray. I use a cheap, chemist bought version and it makes my eye makeup in particular last longer and not run down my face when it is warm or sunny. It certainly completes the look.

Watch some YouTube tutorials. There are some FAB makeup artists and beauty vloggers online. I’ve picked up some fantastic tips and its great because, as a Mum, I never get to wander idly around the cosmetics counters alone any longer, so the best I can manage is to pick up my tips and ideas online.

Buy some acrylic makeup organisers. I used to have my makeup all packed away in a storage box, which is great if you’re a travelling makeup artist, but if it is sitting in the house you can’t actually see what makeup you have to be able to use it – if you have items laid out on your dressing table in mini-storage containers then you’re more likely to experiment more.

Eyebrow kits. Normally I would retch if anyone mentioned drawing in eyebrows to me, but I would imagine those scary, overly black, HD brows that so many women like the look of. Crazy ladies. But in reality, you can use a simple brow kit to add shape and structure to your already existing brow so that it frames your face better – it’s barely noticeable but just enough to look good.

I’ve found since making an effort to introduce these aspects into my makeup routine that I’m happier with my look and also it definitely lasts throughout the day. 🙂

And if anyone from, ahem, Make Up Forever or MAC is reading this and you need an everyday Mum to trial some new products…well, I won’t be saying no!

Self Care – why it is so important to me.

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Recently I’ve gotten massively into the idea of self care. I don’t know when this label for basically ‘looking after yourself’ was created, but I love it. I don’t know about other people, but until I knew the phrase existed, I felt it was harder to officially treat yourself or give yourself actual time out when you felt you needed it.

The focus on mental health in our society lately has become more open and accepting. I feel the increased dialogue and commentary from celebrities, high profile individuals and even us ‘ordinary’ people on social media has ensured that more people who struggle with their mental health feel like they can talk and ask for help. I’ve recently suffered with anxiety and panic attacks and now have a more personal awareness and understanding of the nature of mental health problems and how easily they can sneak up on you and scare the complete and total shit out of you.

Since my little visit to Anxiety-ville (I don’t go there often, but when I do, it’s horrible) I have started several routines/traditions/practices that have enabled me to engage in self care and to do so with the knowledge that I really am helping myself to have a healthier mind, spirit and soul – now none of that can be bad, can it? I always had certain hobbies and enjoyable pursuits that helped me to express emotions, escape or self soothe, but some had fallen by the wayside with the mania of every day life, while others I simply didn’t have the time for due to my responsibilities as a Mum – there really literally isn’t enough time in the day and I don’t want to set myself up for disappointment by promising myself that I will take part in a task (such as rejoining a choir, for example) that I know I simply will have to opt out of because I can’t attend rehearsals. Other self-care activities I’m doing are brand new, like the new bullet journal I began during the summer – and I absolutely love it.

Screenshot 2018-02-17 at 17.25.03But what is self care? For me, its ensuring that I am truly at my best with regard to my general well being – making sure I do whatever I need to do to ensure I feel whole, well and able for the demands of life. And for each and every single one of us, that looks different because it is so personal. I hope that by sharing my self-care practices (some of which are very straightforward and typical) that maybe I can inspire others and remind everyone that it is so SO important to look after yourself. If you want to be the best of yourself, then its vital that you take some time and space for you. If you do so, then when you are truly present for others, you will really be able to be there for them and with them; because you will feel rested, capable, and whole.

So what does self-care look like for me…?

  • Taking some time for my bullet journal – especially writing down one positive thought per day. Using pretty pens and watercolours helps, too.
  • Attending yoga class every Saturday morning – I am the LEAST sporty/fitness type person, yet I love yoga – it is for everyone and the little nap you’re allowed to have at the end is probably the best part of my week!
  • Bubble baths – with a proper music playlist. At the moment I really like Michael Kiwanuka, Walk off the Earth, and the The Greatest Showman soundtrack. My tastes don’t conform – and for God’s sake you don’t have to listen to calming or classical – if you love Black Sabbath (like my husband), whack it on the player and enjoy.
  • Watch comedies – belly laughs are the best. My favourites are Parks & Recreation, Arrested Development, Will & Grace and Modern Family.
  • Walking in the park with my kids – preferably stopping off first for a skinny chai latte. There’s nothing like a fancy coffee to make you feel like you’re having a treat while watching their happy faces as they run around.
  • Planning – separate from the artistic side of keeping my journal, I’m obsessive about writing lists and planning ahead for things like birthdays and family events – it makes me feel more in control and less stressed as the date approaches. Also helps with budget planning so I’m not panicking about that aspect.
  • Crochet and cross stitch – there is something so relaxing about it – I don’t know if its the creativity or the colour but its a great escape for me.
  • Actually, shopping (or even just browsing) for yarn – when I find a new shop that sells yarn I just like to go and look about, its just so pretty and gorgeous.
  • Bookshops too – they hold the same quiet loveliness about them. If I ever have an hour to kill in the city centre, one of my first ports of call is Waterstones and I will happily sit in the chair area and flick through some pretty books.
  • Lunch with my Mum. Food, gossip and fun.
  • Beauty/pampering – face masks, getting my nails done or going for a facial or a massage (definitely more costly, but a real benefit) and soooo worth it.
  • Watching a favourite movie; my personal faves are Gone With The Wind, The Goonies, Back to the Future, Cluedo, Lord of the Rings, and Pretty in Pink. Make no apology about what you like to watch – its your perogative. Some of them really remind me of my childhood so there is a certain escapism there.
  • Reading. What an escape. The Outlander Series got me through a tough year, they were a complete indulgence for my imagination.
  • Lighting candles – there is something so calming and serene about a candle flame. It transforms my room into a sanctuary.
  • I have also recently re-ignited my interest in crystals. I’ve bought a few new ones, as well as a reference book for their uses and benefits. I take some time to read up on ones that will help me with certain problems and I also like buying them for others as gifts.
  • Retail therapy – not to get extreme or to transfer my anxieties into too much spending, but even nipping to the chemists and buying a nice nail polish can make you feel better.
  • Cleaning. I might be in the minority here, and I know it is physically tiring but it is quite therapeutic to gut out a room and give it a good scrub!

I know I have more self-care strategies and I will add to them as I think of them, but I  would love it if anyone reading this wanted to comment below and share some ideas about how they self-care/self preserve – we all need it and it is so important.

Have a lovely day,
Emma

 

Halloween Fun

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Light Box

It’s been a while since I did a proper catch up on this blog about things we’ve been up to. Life just gets so crazy, doesn’t it? The first half of the year was dominated by some pretty serious family stuff, thankfully that’s come to an end with a good resolution and we are settling down to normality with a newfound appreciation of each other and life in general. So after the madness that the summer was (I literally blinked and missed it) I was very much looking forward to another favourite time of the year – Halloween break.

I think its the drama-queen in me, but I love any excuse to dress up and be silly – and having kids gives you a licence to join in and do this with them – which of course they really love also. So we had lots of fun activities planned for the break – and now that work looms ahead next Monday, I decided to think back over the last few days and share a little of it on here too – I also like to look back through these posts and use them as a sort of online journal – so even if no-one is particularly interested in this (quite likely) then at least it will record some fond memories for me.

Last weekend we took ourselves off for the day to the Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh – I hadn’t been since I was really young and had honestly forgotten how good a day out it is. The rain stayed off – amazing – and they had several Halloween themed aspects incorporated into the visit; ghost story telling in the Old Schoolhouse, fortune telling in the cottage and tasting autumnal food in various places – there were lots of spooky decorations around too. We had a fantastic day.

Fireworks

 

The next night we took ourselves out for dinner with our extended family and then had a visit to the Halloween Monster Mash in Belfast city centre, and enjoyed the fireworks – the kids squealed with excitement.

 

 

Monday saw us prepping for Halloween – we had a friend round for a play date and we made toffee apples, apple tarts and Halloween themed shortbread – messy but lots of fun.

 

Fancy Dress

On Halloween night we went out trick or treating in the local area – I used to get so jealous of seeing American films when I was young -seeing all the kids who lived in these amazing neighbourhoods where everyone had eye-wateringly scary decorations and went trick or treating for hours. In my day, all you had was a hollowed out turnip (pumpkins were literally exotic) and your Mum made you a ‘vampire’ cape out of a bin liner. Ah, the good old days.

My kids? Well they came home with FOUR containers worth of sweets, several bags of crisps, Halloween toys AND nearly thirty quid in small change! They have it sorted!

The rest of the week was filled with some nice lunches, visits to soft play and the cinema and some gorgeous lie-ins with the kiddies and me all cuddled up listening to the rain outside while poor Daddy had to get up at 6am for work…

…I laugh but, I only have two more days before I will be doing the same.

Happy Halloween-Break everyone.

(How many weeks until Christmas break?)

Mum & Daughter Date Night Ideas

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I remember when I was little I always felt so special when I spent individual time with my parents. My Mum would take me shopping, or to visit my Godmother’s house and I would just love to be ‘just she and I’ for a little while, enjoying each other’s company. I also have really fond memories of helping my Dad build furniture (he was once a technology/woodworking teacher) and for a while was always called upon to help friends and family put flat pack furniture together. I learned lots from him about it and it definitely taught me to be a hands-on, capable sort, and I also really loved that we always got some fish and chips while we were ‘working’.

But enough rambling. Well it’s sort of near-to-the-point rambling I suppose. Anyone still here? What I’m getting at is that I’m learning now from the parenting side of the fence, how important it is to spend quality time with your children. This isn’t preachy, not at all – I just thought I would share a little wishlist of things I’m hoping to do with my daughter (and with my son when he is a little older – at the moment he’s just happy sitting on my knee and reading a book and playing with my hair) as I think it not only allows for the creation of special memories, but for the opportunity to really get to know each other not just as relatives but as individuals. Some of these we’ve already done, but I certainly would like to repeat them again sometime. So what ideas are out there? Here are just a few I’ve thought of and also seen around:

  • Weekly movie night
  • Visit the library regularly
  • Go for a starbucks
  • Go shopping
  • Spend a day at the seaside
  • Take the train somewhere random for lunch
  • Go to a concert
  • Take an art/painting/sculpture class
  • Sing together in a choir
  • Do a fashion show at home for the family
  • Take a museum tour
  • Go geocaching
  • See a musical
  • Have a dinner date
  • Have a game night/board games
  • Go on a picnic
  • Camp out in the back garden
  • Spend a day doing something for charity
  • Do a family yoga session
  • Bake buns together
  • Watch the stars
  • Make a scrapbook
  • Go for afternoon tea somewhere fancy
  • Dress up as a family EVERY Halloween
  • Do a colour run
  • Go for sushi
  • Watch Lord of the Rings/Dr Who/Gone with the Wind/Star Wars/Harry Potter etc…
  • Have a spa/pampering night
  • Go horseriding
  • Go for a bike ride

I can’t wait to keep working through the list. If anyone reading has some new ideas that I can add to the list, please do make some suggestions.

Have you discovered Bullet Journaling?

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Omg. Bullet journaling.

Have you heard of it? It’s literally like, where have you been all my life?

I’ve always had a particular love and geeky adoration of stationery, journals, pretty books and pens. I can’t explain it, they just make the world a better place. They make me happy. I always loved each new academic year, zipping down to the shops to get my newest, most sparkly diary so I could start using it, scribbling, doodling and generally getting organised within its pretty, colourful pages. Using pretty stationery appeals to my organised nature, as well as my enjoyment of arts and crafts.

So you can imagine my sheer, unutterable joy and excitement when I discovered the existence of the bullet journal. If you haven’t heard of it, then let me enlighten you. Its a system of keeping a diary/journal that has a simple but organised approach that can be pared down to the basics, or can allow you to be free and expressive with your creativity. There are loads of tutorials and explanations online and various social media groups where the fans of the bullet journal share and interact – this post is about my excitement about it rather than a lesson in how it works. It’s creator calls it the ‘analogue system for the digital age’ and it really does allow you to go back to a simple, basic approach to  organising and scheduling – and it has certainly helped me move away from using electronic equipment – which in my case was becoming a little overwhelming.

Recently, I have gone through some personal stuff (when I’m feeling braver I’m hoping to share it on this blog) but the anxiety and issues that I’ve suffered along the way have been soothed and supported by using my bullet journal. It is an excellent tool for allowing me to record, remember, plan, organise my chaotic brain and also create and doodle, scribble and express with a freedom that I haven’t felt since I was doing Art in 6th Year. It’s very therapeutic.

So what is in it? Which parts of it do I find the most enjoyable? Well, the basic planner part is great, because you can do your usual calendar and to-do lists, but you can enhance them and explore them by adding in personal, creative touches. When you’re doing a long, onerous Monday morning do-to list, what is nicer than being able to draw something pretty on it or add some sparkly stickers? It definitely helps me stay cheerful when I’m extra busy or have lots of responsibilities. It helps me take life LESS seriously.

In addition to my calendar, I also have personalised aspects in my bullet journal – as do most users. That’s the joy of it – even if you’re not artistic and don’t want to create and doodle in your journal, you can tailor it absolutely to your needs. No longer is a blank page intimidating and scary! Some personal pages I enjoy adding to are; a savings page – where I list my savings goals and this helps me financially plan and stay focused, and I also have a little page where I record my children’s sayings and anecdotes so I can keep track of my early memories of them. I tick off my slimming world syns on each day and also use a habit tracker to keep a handle on how much water I’m drinking, etc. Also very enjoyable is my gratitude log, where I write down one thing each day which I am grateful for. You can see why people with anxiety or depression find it a therapeutic exercise.

If you’re at all interested in using a planner, or like to doodle or create in any way shape or form – then take a look at bullet journaling and see if it is for you. You don’t have to be the next DaVinci or Cezanne, you just have to take joy in it.

Oh, and its a great excuse to buy some new fancy pens…

 

Unique Wedding Gifts from Uncommon Goods

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If you’ve ever watched that hilarious show, Parks and Recreation, you’ll be familiar with Leslie Knope. She’s not only immensely, exhaustingly dedicated to her job, but to every aspect of her life, and is known for being able to give amazingly perfect gifts, that almost seem to have been invented for the recipient. Ultra organised and thoughtful, she’s sort of this generation’s Monica Geller from friends.

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There are many of us Leslie-Knope-Monica-Gellers out there who live to emulate these heaven-sent gift givers. We always want to find the most fitting, special and memorable gift, don’t we? For example, at the moment I’m on the lookout for a baby shower gift, and I won’t just settle for the first thing I come across. We want our present to trump every other one and we also desperately want to make the person who we give it to, cry their little heart out with friendship and gratitude. We will research and take special care to find a store (or more often these days) a website that offers variety, personalisation, individuality and thoughtfulness in the products if offers in giftware.

I have a few favourite websites that I like to visit when I want to find that special anniversarysomething for a wedding, baby shower, christening or birthday, and I recently came across a new one to add to my list; Uncommon Goods. I even like the name. My parents have a big wedding anniversary coming up and I’ve been enjoying browsing what wedding anniversary gifts they have to offer.

What impresses me about it is that it offers what many discerning shoppers are looking for, unique and special products that a borne from a notion of sustainability. This company says they are more than just ‘green’, offering handmade, recycled and organic products, but they want to encourage an awareness in their customers of the social and environmental impact of their purchases while at the same time offering something different and memorable for those special occasions that mark life’s important moments.

weddingSo, coming up for me in the future, I’m really excited about finding some presents for my friends and family that allow me to feel I’m shopping with an awareness of sustainability, but also that I’m giving a gift that is unique, affordable and captures the personality and tastes of the person I’m buying for. A special friend is getting married in September and I know I will find something quirky and interesting that I can get for her and her new husband in the wedding gifts at Uncommon Goods. I just hope she doesn’t read this post and guess what her gift might be!

Cozyphones Review

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Our two littles are getting bigger by the second and are most definitely in that demographic that you would call ‘digital natives’. I know there are LOTS of opinions everywhere about young ones and too much media exposure/screen time, and I agree with most of it – but I’m not going to deny that there are some really fun, interesting things you can do online with your kids – obviously with supervision, the proper parental controls and the biggie – time constraints.

We bought a pair of headphones for my son at Christmas, with the idea that if we needed it, we might be able to have a safety net for tedious car journeys, long churches services or similar. Meaning that if we needed the kids to be quiet, then we could pop their headphones on and no-one but them would be subjected to constant Peppa Pig on loop. Good idea? Methinks so.

But by Boxing Day the headphones were broken. By Adam. Of course. They were well made and a good brand but definitely not able to withstand my son’s (or any toddler’s for that matter) determined, and suprisingly strong chubby little hands. The fancy brackets and clips and wires were a shadow of thier former selves and he hadn’t even actually plugged them into the iPad at this stage!

So when Cozyphones contacted me to offer some children’s headphones to review, I must admit I didn’t think they were going to last long, going by my son’s track record. But I was completely wrong. They are most definitely one of those ‘must have’ products that parents will be glad they invested in. You can tell that it is a family run company, as the design, affordability and funcitonality could only have been dreamed up by someone who has kids. Of course, their website offers cozyphones headbands for adults, which look like they would make exercise easy (no earbuds getting sweaty and popping out) and also look like they would be really easy to wear in bed and enjoy listening to a relaxation tape or watch a movie and – wait for it – lie on your side and not get a sore ear!

When the headphones arrived the kids genuinely loved the bright, attractive designs and colours. Adam has the WhatIf Monster and Amelia chose Mystic the Unicorn (I almost wanted this one for myself, its so pretty). We’ve used them lots so far, during the designated iPad time that the kids get while I’m cooking dinner – it means I can enjoy listening to music without the sounds of Kids YouTube or Shimmer and Shine blaring in the background.

We’ve also used them at a family christening – they were an absolute hit! During the more serious and sombre moments of the church service, the kids were able to watch an episode of Thomas and Friends and didn’t make a peep, also the sound quality is good but with barely any noise pollution – we couldn’t hear what they were listening to. SO many other parents in the church wanted to know where we’d got these clever headphones.

Why are they clever?

  • They’re fun quirky and attractive to the kids
  • The speaker discs inside are moveable so you can locate them right next to your ear (no sore inner ear!)
  • They don’t fall off or slide back off the head
  • They feel soft and cosy
  • They’re adjustable with a 36 inc braided cord which is less likely to tangle and is also nice and strong
  • You can remove the electrical parts and put the fleece headband in the wash (music to any parents ears!
  • They work with any or all types of electronic device.
  • They come with a 100% money back guarantee.

Except why would you want your money back?

Cosyphones Kids Range is definitely one of the best children’s products I’ve come across in a long time and I’m definitely going to be recommending them to everyone. I’m also going to treat myself to a pair very soon and it will be top of my gift list for pretty much everyone I know for a long time to come.

Cozyphones 3

**Cozyphones provided us with two headphones to review for this blog. All opinions are my own**

 

 

Why I’m not ashamed to feel good about myself…

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Quite often now, friends, colleagues and family are commenting on my weight loss. “Gosh Emma, your legs are so slim!” or “That top is too big you need to get a smaller size!” etc.

Its so lovely when people say these things, because you can tell they really mean it as it comes unprompted. In the past, when I lost a lot of weight I used to dismiss compliments that came along with the weight-loss. I’m not really sure why that was, exactly. Maybe I was embarrassed, or simply because I wasn’t sure I knew how to accept a weight-related compliment (after all, I wasn’t used to getting positive comments about my weight), or maybe it was simply because I felt I didn’t deserve them.

But I have a whole new mindset this time around. I’m in my 30s, I didn’t appreciate aspects of my looks the whole way through my teenage years and my 20s, so this time around when I’m looking better and feeling better about myself then I’ve decided I’m damned well going to enjoy the compliments and allow myself to feel good about me. Very ‘Loose Women’ of me, but you know what I mean!

I’ve been thinking of all the little positive changes that have come along with the actual weight loss – some obvious, like fitting into clothes, but some are less obvious and ones that I might not have admitted to before but there are other benefits to losing weight than just looking and feeling thinner. So to motivate anyone who is wavering with their journey, or anyone who is fed up with themselves and thinking of making a start, here is a list of things that have improved/changed for me as a result of my weight loss. I began off feeling utterly shite about myself and I know some people reading this will be feeling the same. It can change. You can change it. I’m in the middle of doing it and this is what I’m enjoying now, starting with the most obvious to the utterly ridiculous..

  • I’m thinner and I look better, that’s a given. Not ashamed to say it out loud anymore!
  • I can fit into clothes with smaller sizes that I had packed away tearfully a few years ago.
  • I can walk into a shop (ANY SHOP – EVEN BLOODY TOPSHOP**!) and know that I will be able to try something on and not scream with despair.
  • My underwear doesn’t hurt me anymore. *cringe*
  • I’m more interested in fashion and creating an outfit – as a result I’m taking more pride in my appearance.
  • I can run around after my kids and play with them in the garden and not have to sit down, out of breath and red faced.
  • I don’t want to instantly change into my jammies when I get in from work just so I feel comfortable.
  • I rarely feel bloated any more.
  • I feel more organised about what I’m eating (it definitely gets easier the longer you do it)
  • My feet have shrunk! Which is a bit of a downer with some existing shoes, but means I can fit into a 7 rather than an 8 in shops (They NEVER have an 8 when you want it)
  • Shopping is FUN!
  • When another car parks too close to yours – I don’t freak out about having to squeeze in.
  • I’m sleeping better and having less headaches.
  • I’m not too embarrassed to go for a spray tan or a wax. Yay!
  • I’m not going to develop diabetes!!
  • No more bra back strap extenders. Thank Christ.
  • On hot days if I dare to wear a maxi dress, I don’t have to wear shorts underneath to avoid my chubby thighs rubbing against each other. OW.
  • I look forward to social events and get excited about going out.

 

And finally – I’ve posted a full length selfie for the first time EVER!!

Screen Shot 2017-05-18 at 21.38.41

13lbs remaining. 14 weeks until my birthday.

Now, is that a target or what?

 

 

**Unfortunately I have realised I’m now too old to buy from Topshop…**