Our Decade, 2010-2019

We're heading into 2020 and I'm feeling quite sad. Not sure about anyone else but I always get a little sad at the end of each year. I always catch myself sitting at the end of my bed, reading through my yearly diary and just think back to all those memories we have made. I have always said, no matter how bad things were, the positives always out do the negatives. However, this year feels slightly different. I feel a lot more sad heading into a brand new year and a brand new decade because one of the most important people in my life won't be joining us.

My Nain sadly passed away at the end of August and anyone who has lost someone who was very close, will probably understand how I feel. Grief is something that won't go away and I'm learning new things every single day. I'm not heading into the new year with resolutions this year, but my only 'goal' this year to hit is to smash what I want to do and be that strong person my Nain always was.

Although I'm finding it pretty tough right now, I have still liked to go through the past 10 years and I thought, why not just share it here with you all too.

2010 saw me raising my eldest daughter on my own. It was a very tough journey. I went down some dark roads but rose up again. Not only that, but I also got my first job as a Nursery Assistant 5 months into the new year.

2011 was the year where my life really started to change. I met my current partner, fell pregnant and moved from my childhood home to live in the village where my partner lives.

2012 was the year I gave birth to my second daughter. We also moved to our second rented home. It was a tough year mental health-wise. It was also a sad year, my Great Nain passed away two weeks after my daughter was born.

2013 was the year I started my little space on the internet, this blog - Life as Mum. This blog is one of the things I am so proud of. I've learnt so much over the years. This year was also the year my middle got christened.

2014 was the year I climbed Snowdon. It was bloody tough, but I am so proud of myself that I did it. This was also the year that we bought our first home.

2015 was the year my little family and I went on our first holiday abroad together. We went to Thailand for three weeks, it was absolutely amazing. Another amazing news was, I found out I was expecting my third baby.

2016 was the year I gave birth to my baby boy.

2017 was the year our breastfeeding journey came to an end. It was also the year full of adventures and memories too.

2018 was the year my partner travelled around New Zealand and Freddie saw snow for the first time.

2019 was a huge year for me. In February I got myself a job as a retail assistant and I'm still there. It changed my life, a lot. Something else that changed my whole life, was losing my beautiful Nain. I can't even begin to explain how much I miss her.

What was your decade like?

Our Life In Squares

I have always loved to take photos, ever since I owned my first camera. Over the years, my passion for photography has grown. But as the years have flown by, I've noticed less and less photos are getting printed and being put up on the wall. I do miss the times where we would need to pop into a supermarket to get our pictures printed because the roll in the disposable camera had finished.

I recently received this beautiful frame from Life In Squares, and it features various of my photos over the years in a collage style like Instagram. The photos I decided to go for were the ones that meant something. I wanted to keep the images as photos of my partner, the kids, dog and myself to make it that extra personal. I love how each picture tells a story. One of my favourite things to do is to repeat the story of the memory of the photo that's in a frame to the kids.

Life In Squares is a small North Wales business that offers high-quality products and all finished by hand. There are six products to choose from such as Frames, Floating acrylic (in 2 sizes), MDF, Chromaluxe Aluminum and Single image blocks. They are the perfect gifts for any special occasion.

I was kindly gifted one of the frames. There are 3 types of frames to choose from; White Loft, Black Loft and White Cotswold. There are also 5 different sizes to choose from, the lowest being 25 images and the biggest that will fit 64 images. I went for the White Loft and the print that includes 25 images.

I was able to order online, and I personally think it's a good way to see what the service is like and how the ordering process was like. You upload your photos using a website YourTransfer, and it was straightforward to do. I did get contacted about one image being particularly low in quality, but as I was super busy with my retail job and other personal things, I missed the email. However, they were very kind and patient. I sorted it out by re-sending another image that I'd like instead to replace the low-quality image. So, overall, the online ordering process was no bother at all.

Since receiving the frame I have received many good comments about it. I am overly pleased with the quality of the frame and the high quality of the images that have been printed. I am yet to hang it up the wall, but we are in the middle of decorating. But it sits nicely near our front porch door, so people get to see it when they come into our home, which I love.

There's a lot more information about Life in Squares on their website which you check out here:
I was kindly gifted this item in return for an honest review.
All words and images are my own.

Dora and the Lost City of Gold

As a Mother, over the years I've read many books and watched many shows of Dora The Explorer. Even when I was younger, my younger siblings loved watching Dora. When I saw that there was a film about Dora coming out on film, but aimed more towards older ages, I was super excited to give it a watch.

If you've never heard of Dora before, she has a best friend called Boots, who's a monkey! There's also a fox called Swiper that they have to keep an eye on. In this particular film, Dora and the Lost City of Gold, Dora is preparing for a huge life change by starting high school. Starting high school is a huge challenge for her as she has spent most of her life exploring the jungle with her parents.

Her parents then mysteriously disappear while they search for the Lost City of Gold which then Dora goes straight into action with her gang of high-school friends to go and save them. The film is a great family film and I won't give any spoilers away. From actors such as Eva Longoria, Eugenio Derbez and Isabel Merced, who plays Dora, I'm sure the film won't disappoint you.

* I was gifted a DVD in return for this post.

Preparing For A Loft Conversion: The Things You Need To Think About

Many of us these days are choosing to build extensions and convert garages and lofts to create
additional space in our homes. Moving can be expensive, and if you otherwise like where you live,
it can be a pretty effective way of making more space, and if or when you come to sell, it
can improve the value of your home

A loft conversion is an ideal way of gaining an extra bedroom, a games room or a home office. You
do not need any additional land, and as long as you have the correct planning permissions in place, it
is relatively straightforward. However, there are some things that you need to bear in mind before the
work starts, and that is what we are going to be looking at in this post.

Whether you need a bat survey

Bats are one of the protected species listed under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. This means
that you cannot kill them, injure them or remove them. You also cannot intentionally or recklessly
damage, destroy, or obstruct access to any area used as shelter or protection by a bat.
Unfortunately, bats like accessible spaces that are warm and dark - and the lofts of older houses are
often a prime spot for them. They are not quite so keen on newer homes, because they are harder to
get into, but if you have an old house with high beams in the loft, you will need to think about having a
bat survey done from Arbtech Consulting Ltd, especially if there are any other signs of bat life. If you
do have them, it will not necessarily stop your conversion, but it may make the process a little trickier.

Empty your loft

This sounds like common sense, but actually, it is so important that it needs pointing out. Whether you
are doing the conversion or are hiring the professionals to do it, you need to make sure your loft is
empty. This gives whoever is working up there a safe and clear space to work in. Lots of us tend to
have old childhood toys and seasonal items such as Christmas decorations lurking in the loft. This is
the time to have a good sort out - take anything you no longer need or use to the charity shop, get rid
of anything broken and neatly organise and store everything else somewhere for the duration of the

How you will get rid of debris

This depends on who is going to be doing your conversion. If you are hiring a professional builder to
do it, this may be something that they organise on your behalf, but if they don't, or you are doing the
work yourself, you will need to think about how you will get rid of the debris. A skip is usually the best
way, but if you do not have a driveway or space on your property, you might need to seek permission
from your council to put it on the road outside your house.

A loft conversion can be a fantastic way of adding extra space to your home, but it needs some
careful consideration first to make sure it all goes to plan.

collaborative post

Pre-Christmas Plans For A January Detox You Actually Stick To

Ahh, the January detox. The time we make all manner of health promises only to break them within
minutes of waking up on new year’s day. If you’re anything like most, the health habits you don’t keep
have become something of a festive tradition. But, this is one tradition that you could do with breaking
this year.

The thing is, starting the year on a health kick is always a good thing, and not least for shedding
Christmas pounds. Health is more about lifestyle than anything, and getting into habits early is your
best chance at finally bossing body and mind next year.

If you’re worried about failing all over again, though, fear not, because we have a detox secret that
could be a game-changer this year. It’s just possible that all you need to do to get on top at last is to
plan your healthy January during this pre-Christmas period. That way, your lazy holiday head has a
whole lot less chance at stopping you from getting around to this. And, all you need to do to make it
happen is the following.

variety of sliced fruits

Book exercise classes now

How often have you waited until the pre-Christmas rush to book exercise classes because you knew
there wouldn’t be any spaces? This is the oldest trick in the book, and it’s one you can avoid by
booking classes now. Give that yoga teacher a ring tomorrow, or see about joining that Zumba class
now. It’s still far away enough that you don’t need to think about it, but getting your name on that list
means you can’t just ‘forget’ or let this slide when the January blues start setting in.

Invest in the cause

Investing in your January detox ahead of time is another excellent way to make sure you stick to it,
especially given how tight your funds probably are right now. Scrimping your pennies to
buy yoga clothing or a new smoothie maker is a sure way to commit. You worked so hard to make it
happen alongside all those presents that you just won’t feel right not putting those items to good
January use!

Research recipes ahead of time

If your detox is food-based, then researching recipes before Christmas is another must. The festive
season typically involves a whole load of time in the kitchen, after all, and checking out
healthy soup recipes is the last thing you’ll want to be doing when you finally get a chance to put your
feet up. Too often, this can lead to healthy eating plans going out the window. Don’t let it happen by
doing that January research now when you still have the appetite to get excited about the countless
health cookery possibilities on offer.

These three tips couldn’t be simpler, but trust us when we say that they’re critical to a successful
January detox at last. Simply set your mind to the task, and you’ll (nearly) be a whole new person by
the time the new year rolls around. 

- collaborative post

Adding Photos to Your Walls

I'm sure we all have hundreds or thousands of photos on our phones and cameras. We all say we're going to print them, but we end up never doing it. Your Surprise have a great range of photo products. You can find photo albums, photo cushions to canvases, there are all kinds of products you can print your best photos. I was kindly gifted a couple of canvases, and I've chosen two of my favourite photos; one of my Nain and Taid and another photo that features three of my kids in one of my favourite places.

This photo of my three children was taken in one of my favourite places, called Llanberis. It's a place I visited a lot when I was younger, so I always love to take my own kids there when I can. That day it was a really sunny and warm day. We took a walk around the lake, visited the Welsh Museum and even went on a train ride around the lake too. It was a lovely and memorable day. 

I love to put pictures up on the walls and on shelves, as we always end up having conversations about the day and the kids telling stories about what they remember from the day too. But not only is the photo a great way to remember the day, but it also adds that personal touch to a house and makes the house a home.

Before buying our home, we previously rented two houses and weren't allowed to put holes in the walls, which meant we didn't put any photos up on the wall. So I was really looking forward to place some photos up in our current home. We haven't finished our home properly, so there's still a lot left to do, but we are getting there. 

Back to the photo canvas, I was given a voucher code, so I was able to order the canvas myself on their website. The website was really easy to use, and you're able to preview your order before check out, which is always a bonus when you're ordering a photo or personalised product online. I'm really happy with the quality of the photo, and I've had many comments about the photo ever since I've added it to the living room. 

- I was gifted this item in return for an honest review.
All words, images and opinions are my own. 

Christmas Gifts for Food Lovers!

I'm sure we all know someone who loves food, whether it's eating it or cooking it. Here's a gift guide that may help you find the right gifts for those kind of people, this Christmas. Hopefully, you will find a gift for the right person in this gift guide.

Firstly, a diary. Do you know anyone who loves a diary and writing recipes too? This is cook diary from Dairy Diary will be a huge hit for someone who loves to cook, try out new recipes and be organised for the new year ahead. This diary is also filled with different delicious recipes throughout.

Talking about people who love to cook, what's better than having a brand new set of saucepans? These marble and copper set of 3 saucepans from TOWER are just stunning. Marble and copper are the very 'in thing' at the moment and will be a great addition to any cook's kitchen. Tower also have a large range in their marble and copper collection.

If you're looking for something a little different to gift someone this Christmas, this Japanese Ramen Bowl Set from Sous Chef is an ideal gift. This beautiful set includes everything for a meal for 2, aswell as recipes to help someone become a ramen expert! This set is also packed in a reusable drawstring cotton gift bag.

Do you know someone who loves sweets? What about delicious Jelly Beans? This huge Jelly Belly Beans Gift Box from Cool Stuff will be a big winner this Christmas. There's a choice of 10, 20 and 50 flavours. Who even knew there could be 50 flavours of sweets?!

From sweets to chocolates, these delicious Chocolate and Love Gift Sets are perfect for chocolate lovers this Christmas. You can't go wrong gifting chocolate, and there are some delicious flavoured chocolate in these beautifully packaged chocolate from Chocolate and Love.

Tea and coffee lovers, if you know one, Whittard have a great range of gifts that they would love. From infused tea mugs, loose tea, delicious biscuits to have with their hot beverage, as well as some delicious hot chocolate gifts too. They also sell some beautiful hampers, that are always a great gift for Christmas.

Lastly, are these stunning barista mugs from Barista and Co. This is a pack of 2 glass coffee mugs that have a metal handle in electric stainless steel. They are really high quality and will make a great addition to any kitchen. They're an elegant design that will be loved, especially those who love mugs.

There you have it, my gift guide for food lovers, this Christmas. Hopefully, you've found yourself some ideas.

I also want to thank every single brand for gifting these items in return for being featured in this gift guide.
All words, images and opinions are my own.