This month has flown by, and I can't believe the summer holidays are over yet again. I promised myself and the girls that we would do so much more these holidays than last holidays as Freddie was newborn last year, so I was unable to do a lot with them. I have been making sure we have some good family days out during this month as it's the last month before they return back to school. My partner has been working most Saturdays which has been pretty hard to cope with as it just feels like such a huge change and I'm not good with changes. It also means that we miss a day of family day together and I get less time to work myself too. But looking back through this month I think we have done pretty well with family days out.

At the beginning of the month, we went to Liverpool for the day. The original plan was to stay in Liverpool overnight just my partner and I but plans changed. I've been going to Liverpool at least once or twice a year for the past 4-5 years now, and so I really wanted to go this year. Knowing we weren't going to go over my birthday made me a little sad and so organising a last minute plan to go there for the day with the kids was lovely. Unexpected plans really are the best. We had such a beautiful day and were so lucky with the weather. We went there on a budget and didn't spend much either. The forecast said it was going to rain after lunch, but the sun was out until we were ready to leave - which was perfect timing. The kids enjoyed themselves, and I've already planned to retake them in a few months time. My partner and I are planning to go there overnight to do our Christmas shopping in a couple of months.

One of many reasons I love to blog is the opportunities we get to have with them. We got to visit two places this month due to blogging. We went to Broughton's shopping centre as they were having activities and fun days for kids every Wednesday throughout the summer. We went one Wednesday, and the girls had such a laugh, well Elliw did. Mia didn't join as she was too shy, but she was still laughing and smiling away in the background watching. Another opportunity we had was to visit Oakwood Theme Park for the day. It's on the other side of the country to us, and so the drive was around 3.5 hours. We didn't mind it as we have actually done the drive down to South Wales a few times and kids have always been good on the journey down and back home. We had a lovely day there and decided to stay over in a hotel in Aberystwyth that evening. We ended up having another lovely day on Sunday too.

The last weekend of this month we decided to go out for the day with the new car we are reviewing. We hadn't taken it out for a long drive properly. We originally planned to go to Anglesey to buy some meat and do a food shop, but Freddie had just gone to sleep. So it was the perfect excuse to have a long journey and drive around. After driving for a while longer, Elliw wanted a toilet, and so we stopped somewhere, and it was a place we decided to go out for a walk. I've always driven past the place but never thought it was a family-friendly kind of place before but after getting to the car park and seeing so many families, we thought we'd see what it was all about. The day was absolutely lovely, it was a shame that Mia was in her Dad's as she would have loved it. It was a beautiful walk along the coast of Anglesey, and through the woods, we got lost a couple of times, but it was such a lovely day.

We've also been testing out the Cosatto Supa Pushchair for the whole month, and in all honesty, it's been amazing. It's been on every adventure and Freddie is sat so comfortably in the chair. You can read my review here. It's the perfect pushchair with plenty of storage behind the seat and in the basket. We've pushed it on bumpy grounds, grass and more and it's been great.

Last but not least... our monthly family photo

This post is linked up with: Me & Mine ProjectMy Family Adventuresa blogging good timeKCACOLS

* We were sent the Cosatto for an honest review. Although every image, words, and opinions are our own. We were not paid to write this post.

Why healthy and organic meals are a must for your family

Everybody who’s ever tried to organise a healthy diet for their families will know that it can often feel like an uphill struggle.

Not only are healthier options sometimes more expensive, but most of us simply don’t have time to rustle up that Instagram-perfect quinoa salad for our family!

However, we can all take a few steps to try and incrementally boost the amount of healthy and organic foods our families consume.

Whilst we once just had to cope with the advertising for sweets on children’s television channels, it seems that companies like McDonalds and Coca Cola are using evermore sophisticated methods to try and tempt youngsters into consuming their products.

This is why we need to make a little effort in informing our little ones about the dangers of unhealthy eating. Obviously be careful about scaring them too much with things like tooth decay and obesity, but something as simple as a nice day trip to a farm can provide plenty to think about in terms of understanding where our foods comes from.

By making the link from a local farm shop to tasty fruit and vegetables, it will hopefully make overly processed snacks seem like less of an automatic option. And whilst brands like Goodness Gracious provide us with a healthier alternative to carbonated soft drinks when we are out and about, our mealtimes also need to include plenty of fresh produce.

It can be a good idea to try and come up with a weekly food plan for the family to make sure that you have all of the major food groups covered. But rather than going grocery shopping once a week at a big supermarket, visiting your local greengrocer every other day can ensure that your family are getting a regular supply of fresh and unprocessed fruit and vegetables.

And even when you’re really pushed for time, be careful about what takeaway meals you order. New delivery companies like Deliveroo often have a good selection from healthier restaurants than the usual fast food takeaway, so there’s really no excuse for feeding your family greasy chips and fatty burgers.

So whilst it does often require a little extra work and money to implement an organic and healthy eating plan for your family, it’s essential to teach children about avoiding junk food early on so that they don’t fall into bad habits.

And whether this means finding a takeout near you that serves healthy meals, or just teaching your kids about organic farming, it will all have a positive effect in the future.

AMAZING! Magazine Review

One of the best things the girls like to receive (other than new toys or chocolate) is a magazine. They both love having a new magazine to look through, colour and read. Especially Mia, as she's at the stage now where she reads herself. As she is Welsh, English can be a little difficult for her, but she tries her very best to read English books and magazines. She absolutely loves word searches and reminds me of myself when I was a little girl. When we received the first couple of Amazing! Magazines to review, I instantly knew the girls would love it. More so to Mia as I think it's more appropriate towards Mia's age and upwards.

Amazing! is a magazine aimed towards children. It's a subscription magazine which is perfect as your child can receive a new magazine each month. There is so much to do in the high-quality magazine such as word searches, read stories, read facts and much more. Each page of the 36-page magazine is colourful, exciting and eye-catching. One of the best thing I really do like about this magazine is how it's educational, but the kids don't even know they are actually learning something as it's a fun way of learning. Each magazine covers many subjects such as Maths, English, Art and Design and much more.

The illustrations in the magazine are amazing and so eye catching. The girls have even said they love the drawings and have even learnt a few things too. Mia has mainly taken a huge interest in this magazine and really looking forward to the next issue. It's only £49 for a 12-month subscription and discount on school orders. To begin with, I thought it was a pretty big price, but after looking through the magazine and seeing as it is a 12-month subscription, it isn't that bad.

Have your little ones read the Amazing! magazine yet?

* We have been gifted a 12-month subscription in return for an honest review. Although all words, opinions and images are my own.

Tips For First Time School Parents with Petit Fernand

Kids grow up way too quickly, and before you know it, they are starting their very first day of school. You'll probably feel all the emotions of nerves, excitement, and sadness - all in one. If your little one has never been to a nursery or pre-school before their first day, it may be best to try and prepare them for their first day. It will be a huge change for them, even if it is for a couple of hours a day or if they are starting straight for the whole six hours or so. There are a few ways to prepare your child to start school, such as reading books, taking them to settling sessions or visit a school open day. It's always a good thing to start preparing them and let them meet their new teacher before the first day. Here are just some tips that may help you throughout the first year and beyond:

Label school uniform
Adding all the school uniform together, it can get costly. It's so important to label every piece of uniform, including their shoes. I'm guilty of not labelling my girls uniforms, and many of times they have come home with their friends jumpers or coats - which is quite annoying. Of course, we take them back and hope that we will receive the girls ones back too. 

Petit Fernand contacted me a few weeks ago to see if I'd be interested in reviewing their labels. I said yes and decided to go for the stick-on labels, so there is no need for an iron - which is perfect, as I don't own one anyway, anyone else? The labels can be personalised so will be unique and great for suiting your child's personality. Many icons are available to put on the label and different colours and textures for backgrounds. It was quick and easy to do and didn't take long at all. I ordered them in a pack of 10 each and ordered some for my friends kids too. They were delivered within 48 hours and arrived in a booklet. They're fantastic quality, and the girls have loved helping me sticking them on their new uniform. They have a bigger range of other labels too, perfect for all ages.

Buy more than one uniform
I would really suggest buying more than one set of uniform. For my girls, I bought 2 logo jumpers, 2 logo t-shirts, multi pack of plain t-shirts, multi pack of white t-shirts for gym, black shorts/leggings for gym, 2 pairs of leggings and 2 pairs of skirts. I have found myself buying more leggings through the year as either spares or replacements of others that have got holes or shrunk in the wash. You will probably find that most days when your child comes back home at the end of the day, the uniform will have paint stains (even though they're supposed to wear aprons during most crafts), mud stains (the joys) and even food. So, they will need a wash, or a quick wipe with a wet wipe (if you're like me and it's a Friday). 

Check out for head lice
Headlice is something I absolutely hate finding in my girls hair. It's become quite a problem in their school at the moment, one of my reasons I've loved the school holidays is because I don't have to check their hair constantly. I would advise you to check your child's hair quite often as headlice can be so easy to catch and can be a big hassle if you haven't caught them from the start. I would prepare by buying some head lice treatment just in case.

Prepare the night before
This is my biggest tip. School mornings are hectic, some may be good but I'm sure most will be full of stress, and you'll feel you want to go back to bed, even before you leave the house. Preparing your childs lunch box and uniform the night before really helps save a lot of time the following morning. I try my best to do this, but I do fail some evenings and regret it the next day. 

Bedtime routine
I honestly believe there should be a set bedtime on school nights. But of course, we all parent differently. My girls bedtime is 6.30pm-7pm, and if it's bathtime, then they typically go to bed around 7.30pm. This is mainly for them not to be overtired going to school, and I feel ok with them going to school knowing they have had enough hours to sleep during the night. But not only the kids, you too. Making sure you go to bed at a reasonable time the night before a school morning helps you function in the morning too. 

Give them your mobile number
If the school sends out text messages to update you with certain things such as school trips, upcoming events and so on, it's convenient, so make sure to give them permission to text you. 

Be prepared with all the parties
Saying this I have noticed as the years have gone by, party invitations have reduced - a lot. But probably for the first year or two, your child will receive a lot of party invitations. I normally buy a pack of 10 cards for £1 at Card Factory and buy cheap presents and put them in a box under the stairs. 

What tips would you give to first time school parents?

* We were given a pack of personalised school labels in return for an honest review. All words, opinions and photos are entirely our own.

Our Family Weekend in Aberystwyth

Last weekend we were lucky to have been given a family pass to visit Oakwood for the day. When I had the e-mail asking if we would like to review the theme park I got really excited and instantly said yes. It was a place we have all wanted to visit since our last stay at Bluestone in March, but just never got around actually doing it. I had so many plans for that weekend, but all plans were scrapped since neither of us could find a hotel nearby that wasn't fully booked. There were some around an hour and a half away, but we didn't see the point as the place we wanted to visit the following day was only 5-10 minutes from Oakwood. We live nearly 4 hours away from Oakwood and so driving even further for just one night didn't seem like the brightest idea, and it wasn't cheap either. We found a hotel in Aberystwyth, which is nearly 2 hours from Oakwood but it was more towards our way, somewhere we would have driven through on our way up back home. It seemed like a better idea and knowing we would only need to drive another hour and half the following day to get back home. So we settled for that.

Aberystwyth is a place my Dad always used to stop when he used to take us down South Wales when we were kids. It's also a place we've taken our kids a few times too. It's always lovely seeing the kids play and enjoy themselves in the same location that I loved when I was a child. Although we have stopped in Aberystwyth a few times and I've been there many times, it's always a place I've wanted to stay overnight. So now that is one thing I can tick off my list. We stayed in a Premier Inn at the seafront, but we didn't get the seafront view, we had the back view.

We decided to stay in the hotel to have food that evening as we knew the kids were shattered and we were tired ourselves. The food was lovely but fantastic. Freddie was an absolute nightmare that evening. He was throwing things everywhere and constantly moaning because he was tired. Straight after food, we went back into our room, and Freddie was wide awake and wouldn't settle. It took a good few hours for him to settle to sleep. The girls went to sleep pretty quickly, shockingly. It was a rough night as Freddie didn't sleep much. The following morning we went down for breakfast which was all-you-can-eat and was delicious.

After breakfast, we went for a walk along the seafront, and it was absolutely lovely. Sea air in the morning has to be one of the best things. We walked near to the end of the seafront and then towards the park for the kids to play. They were in their glory, especially Freddie. It felt strange having three little people walking and running around the playground. Normally Freddie is in his pram sitting watching. But he walked so much that day and the day before in Oakwood. It's amazing how quickly they grow, isn't it?

After a while, in the park, we decided to go to a place my Dad recommended, Bwlch Yr Arian. It was roughly 20 minutes away from Aberystwyth itself, but it was worth it. The place was fantastic. We weren't able to stay long at all because Elliw threw one of the biggest tantrum ever, and I mean it was big. There was high pitch screaming, kicking, hitting, shouting - yep you name it, everything. We tried to ignore her, tried to calm her down and even gave her a row too when it got too much, but nothing worked. We then decided to just leave and go. I was gutted as I really wanted to have a walk around the lake, but it's something we have now added to our list of places to visit (again).

Afterwards, we just went for a Sunday carvery, did a food shop and went home. It was such a lovely weekend and I am so glad we went. Every Saturday throughout these holidays my partner has been working and so the only family day we get is a Sunday and Mia is in her Dads every other Sunday on the weekend. So it was lovely all of us together and spending some well deserved and much needed quality time together.

15 Chicken Recipes

Having three kids to look after, cooking meals can be a right pain. Especially when I have my little shadow (Freddie) following me everywhere I go. Although I use the oven for a lot of meals, most of my meals are cooked on the hob. One of my favourites to cook is chicken. It's quick too cook and there are so many meals you can do with chicken. Here are just a few:  

1. Chicken with BBQ Soy Sauce
Such a simple and quick recipe. Perfect if you have little ones and want to make something quick. 
Cook your diced chicken with mushrooms and onions.
Add some garlic and then add some Organic Amino Sauce, Barbecue Soy Sauce from The Coconut Company. We recieved a bottle to try out a couple of weeks ago and I have since used it so often. Adding it to diced chicken and frying with onions and mushroom has been one of our favourite meals. The Barbecue Soy Sauce has such a delicious taste and I don't normally like Barbecue, but this is something I will most definitely be buying once we have run out. 

2. Thai Chicken Curry
My partner and mine's favourite meal. Since coming back from Thailand a few years back, I've fallen in love with Thai food. So full of flavour and you most definiteley won't be dissapointed with this Green Thai Chicken Curry. Very easy to make and you can check out the recipe here

Other ideas:

Other posts you may be interested in:

* We were sent the Barbecue Soy Sauce. Words, opinions and images are my own.

Freddie's 13 Month Update

How is Freddie 13 months old, already? Well, he turned 13 months on the 16th but my internet was down, and we've been super busy, that's why this post is super late. I have thought since he turned one if I should carry on his monthly updates but I think I will be until he is about 2 and probably cut it down to every 3-4 months maybe. He’s changed so much in such little time, and that was my reason to carry on writing. He’s at the age where he’s properly exploring absolutely everything now. He’s walking with a few stumbles in between, and he’s such a funny little character. Also, his sleep is improving.

Ah. The sleep. It’s improving (I hope I don’t jinx it now). The time I struggled with was the wake up time between 1 and 3 am. Although my partner can help during the nights now too, I mostly get up to feed. But he’s had about two nights this past month where has slept ALL night. It felt amazing. This was after a few weeks of not settling during the evening. He would go to bed his regular time around 7pm, but wouldn’t actually settle until either 9pm and some evenings 10pm. I felt like we were slowly going backwards.
However, things have slightly improved. He still has the odd evening where he won’t settle until late but most nights he has been waking up only once. Some it has been between 1 and 3am, and he will sleep until 6 or 7am. The other nights he will sleep until 5am then come into bed with me until 6 or 7am. He’s an early bird and has got into the routine of waking up before 7am each morning. He’s had two or three mornings where he had a lie in until 8am, and it felt amazing.
But yes, he’s improving!

He’s in 12-18 months clothes and fits some 18-24 months, but all depends on where they are from. He’s roughly a size 4 in shoes. I don’t know his weight as the Health Visitor still hasn’t come to see him for his 1 year check up. I’m going to phone once the girls are in school so we can arrange a date for her to come over.
His development is coming on brilliantly. Although, I know and from experience, that each child develops differently and in their own time. He’s started walking and can now walk from one side of the room to the other but with a few stumbles inbetween. But, he still likes to crawl most of the time, with that one leg dragging behind him. I haven’t seen him bum shuffle for a while now, and I miss it. It was so adorable when he did it. He absolutely loves his walker from Infantino.
He’s also learning to dance, and he looks so proud of himself when he does dance. He waves his little hands around in the air and moving his body. His favourite game is pee-bo (peek-a-boo), and his giggles are just the cutest. He will be in tears laughing. He still likes the nursery rhyme row row your boat and has giggles with that too.
He waves his hand when we say ta-ta (bye) and gets all excited when we say hello. When he plays with his toy phone, he passes it to me as has a huge smile on his face when I’m pretending to talk to someone. However, most of the time when I give it back to him he will just throw it and laugh. That’s another thing he loves doing at the moment. Throwing things on the floor, whether it’s his food or beaker from his highchair. Throwing his toys down the sides of the sofa and the most annoying one is his dummy, especially when he’s in his pushchair.

He has 3 or 4 meals a day and absolutely loves his food. He has the same meals as us all, and it’s so much easier and less hassle. He sits at the table with us, and he loves it. His favourite snack is snack a jack rice cakes and cheese sticks. His favourite meal is bolognese, and I’m sure you can just imagine the mess.
We are still breastfeeding, and if someone told me about three months ago that we were still breastfeeding, then I wouldn’t have believed them, at all. I wrote an honest post about my breastfeeding journey here if you’re interested to read it. I struggled, but I am proud of myself that we are still feeding at 13 months. He doesn’t feed often which really helps, I think. He will have a feed in the morning around 6am or 7am but some mornings he hasn’t as he’s so wide awake, so we just come downstairs, and he has his breakfast. His next feed is around 10 or 11am just before his nap time. He only has a 5 or 10 minute feed before he’s fast asleep and he can go without if he’s with someone else or if we’re out and about – which is handy. I think it’s more of a comfort when he’s with me. He won’t have a feed at all then during the day unless I put him to bed in the evening.
Most evenings my partner will put him to bed as it’s my time to work in evenings, but I don’t want to miss out on every single bedtime with him, so I will still take him up about 3 times a week. I will feed him formula, and then he will feed off me too but again, I think it’s comfort. Sometimes he will unlatch himself and other times I need to unlatch him. The only other time he will feed is during the night, which recently has been once or 0 times.

He’s such a funny little character. He absolutely adores his two big sisters and always has a smile on his face when he sees them or even hears their voices. He will get bored very quickly if they’re not playing with him and god help them he’s a bit older. I can see Freddie being quite hyper and wanting to play continuously throughout the day. He annoys the girls every now and then he tries to grab their toys of them, but in my eyes, I find it hilarious. The girls don’t, but it is, ha ha. It’s just so lovely seeing the bond between all three.

Kid-Free breaks, Beach and Minions Fun

I’ve actually really enjoyed these summer holidays. I’ve done many things with the girls like I promised them and they’ve had fun too. Usually, I get in a rut pretty quickly and can stay home for days, only for us all to end up stressed and in a bad rubbish mood. However, this year, I’ve managed to get the energy to take us out most days, with a couple of lazy days in between and we’ve all really enjoyed. It’s a shame that my partner has had to work most Saturdays, and so there hasn’t been many things that we have done as a whole family. However, we did go to Liverpool and Strawberry picking which we really enjoyed. We’re going to be strawberry picking again soon, but make sure Mia is with us too.

It can be a pain to try and think of things to do with the kids all the time, and I’ve been lucky that my Dad has offered to take the kids quite a few times. One of my little brothers is up for a couple of weeks from South Wales, and we don’t get to see him as often as we’d like, and so my Dad offering to take the girls out while he’s up is something the girls have really enjoyed. Freddie has gone out with them a couple of times too, but last week he went to his Nain’s house so I could finish my work before our weekend away in South Wales to visit Oakwood attraction park.

Last week when the girls went to Llanddwyn Beach in Anglesey with my Dad and little brother. They were super excited and have always loved to visit the beach. Freddie went to his Nains as it’d be a bit of a pain for my Dad to push the pram on the sand. My Dad took the Beach Magic with him and a few of the Minion toys we had received a few weeks ago. He sent me photos of them enjoying themselves and it’s so lovely that they are able to go out and enjoy time with their Taid. I also feel really lucky that I have my Dad and my Mother in law who will take the kids for me if I need to do work. Dispicable Me 3 is out in Cinemas now and the girls are so excited to watch it once it’s out on DVD. Have you watched it yet?