Lake Como, Italy

Back ground Information – Lake Como can be found in a stunning location nestled in the foothills of the Swiss and Italian Alps. It is huge body of water surrounded by dozens of little villages, each offering its own beauty and charm. We were lucky enough to enjoy three adults only nights here on a romantic getaway. We chose to holiday in the charming village of Bellagio, with its gorgeous outlook of the lake and quaint stone streets. We chose this area as it came highly recommended by multiple friends who had visited Lake Como, and thei recommendation did not disappoint.

Getting too late Como Como – For our trip we hired a car and drove from Nice in France, choosing to stay for two nights in Monte Carlo in Monaco, before making the journey to Lake Como. This took at least 5 hours and took us via Milan. There is a closer airport in Milan that you opt to fly into and take a much shorter drive to Lake Como. The drive was absolutely spectacular, the Italians are ‘crazy’ but knowledgeable drivers, and the traffic moves really well. Many times we have been warned not to drive in Italy as it is dangerous however I have never seen this to be the case, and we have driven their multiple times there. I would however encourage you to have some knowledge of the tolls before setting off, as they can be quite confronting for first timers! When we arrived in Lake Como the outlook took my breathe away, and was viewed even better via our convertible rental car!

Accommodation – There are a number of absolutely beautiful hotels around Lake Como. In particular in Bellagio a stunning hotel located on the Lake with a swimming pool and jetty to jump into the water. Prices in this area can vary quite a lot. I would highly recommend doing some research on Airbnb, as we picked up a gorgeous apartment in the centre of town right on the lake, for a fraction of the price of a hotel room. We had a kitchen, bedroom and a private terrace with an insanely amazing view!

A note on the parking – Make sure that you read the street signs regarding parking legislation. You need to pay for parking, and can also only drive in and out of Bellagio at certain times of the day. This makes the area such a quiet and relaxing location.

Things to do and places to eat – We had two full days on the lake, so we had to map out our time and spend it very wisely. Below is a list of my favourite things to do and places to eat:

1. Take the local passenger ferry over to Varenna for an afternoon walk and dinner. This is another beautiful village located on the lake very close to Bellagio. We were able to enjoy delicious Italian pizza and pasta, right on the waters edge. Al Prato Restaurant was our choice for our evening there. You can also find a beautiful church in Varenna. (I always light a candle when I visit churches whilst travelling.)

2. Join a boat tour and head to Villa del Balbianello, which is located in the commune of Lenno. We highly recommend Bellagio Water Limousines which is run buy an Italian and his Australian wife, they have lots of great options for tours or private boat hire. The Villa del Balbianello is where James Bond Casino Royale was filmed, and one of the Star Wars movies. It is absolutely out of this world, and is steeped in history. It acts as a museum of pieces from all around the world and focused on exploration. Once owned by an adventurer called Count Guido Monzino, he used it as his summer house. After we toured the home we purchased a bottle of local sparkling wine from the gift store and enjoyed it in the gardens. The view from this area is probably the best of all.

3. Walk through the through the gardens of Giardini di Villa Melzi which sits right upon the lake. Once you get to the end of the garden have lunch at Ristorante Alle Darsene di Loppia. They have a beautiful garden on the lake to dine in.

4. Get a takeaway pizza and a bottle of processco to enjoy on your balcony.

5. Experience a wine tasting in the wine caves. We headed to Enoteca Cava Turacciolo.

6. Head to the local store to buy some fresh bread, cheese (and salami if you wish,) then walk over to Borgo di Pescallo. I recommend doing this for breakfast and sitting right on the edge of the lake. Where are some very pretty swans who will join you.

7. Take a kayak tour with Bellagio Water Sports. We did an early morning one where you paddle around the tip of Bellagio. It was so amazing to see the lake and Bellagio from the waters perspective.

8. You can’t do to Lake Como without jumping into the actual lake! If you are daring like me you will sneak into the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni and ‘borrow’ their jetty!

I found Lake Como to be incredibly romantic and I was really glad that I holiday there with only my husband. I did not see very many children there at all including older ones. That is not to say that you couldn’t do it, and I am sure that children would have a lovely time. It was very quiet and had a lovely relaxed feel. I would highly recommend this for a romantic getaway.

Enjoy!

The Christmas Recipes I’ll Be Preparing This Festive Season!

Christmas is a time of year where there can be a lot of food preparation, and with it come certain dietary requirements and preferences to suit all of the family. In our home we have a variety of different needs, so on Christmas Day I’ll be cooking lots of different options. I thought this would be a great time to share with you what I’ll be preparing for our Christmas Day menu. I choose to prepare food before hand and make a cold Christmas menu. This way I don’t spend the whole day in the kitchen and can enjoy the day with me family.

See links to recipes and more details below….

Morning Tea –

Fruit Mince Pies, I found a recipe on Taste.com that I will use as my base. I have chosen to take the brandy out and use fruit juice instead, all of the ingredients I use will be organic and I’m swapping the brown sugar for coconut sugar. Oh, and I am going to add in dried cranberries because the children LOVE them!

Christmas Cake, something my Dad normally makes but he is in Europe this year so the job has been left to me! Again I found a recipe on Taste.com and will do all the alternatives mentioned above under Fruit Mince Pies.

Short Bread Biscuits, I found this really great recipe for healthy shortbread biscuits which don’t contain any of your generic sugar.

Cold Lunch –

Baked Salmon, for the past three years I have been making this Salmon with salsa verde recipe from Taste.com and serving is cold.

Honey Glazed Ham, the perfect Christmas Day lunch addition and great for leftovers for the days to follow. This one is a fantastic recipe.

Cold Cooked Prawns with Tartar Sauce and Thousand Island, it wouldn’t be an Aussie Christmas without prawns. My favourite sauce recipes are here and here.

Garden Salad, a perfect addition to any cold lunch. My favourite recipe is here.

Pumpkin and Feta Salad, this would have to be my favourite salad and it just feels like Christmas. This is the recipe I’ll be serving.

Potato Bake, is the only warm dish I will be serving. Everyone has their own way they like to make potato bake. Here my recipe.

Dessert –

Pavlova Ice Cream, the perfect dessert for an Aussie Christmas. I love this recipe.

Individual Plum Puddings, the something more traditional. Recipe with brandy cream here.

Enjoy!

Completely potty trained in two weeks! Here’s how…

“At what age should I start to potty train?” and “how long will it take?” These are two questions that most parents ask themselves at some point in their parenting journey. Of course every child is different and there is no one solution that fits all, however I really wanted to share with you my take on potty training and the success I have had with my own children. I used a basic two week plan which has resulted in both Ari and Chloe being basically potty trained during that timeframe, with no regressions.

Both of my children were potty trained at the age of two years and three months. There were certain signs that I looked out for, like when they would tell me that they needed to go to the toilet or they would go in a different room to do their business (in their nappy.) These are just a few of the signs that made me realise that they might in fact be ready to potty train. Basically at this point they were aware of their need to pass urine and have bowel movements, and we are capable of going to the potty, pulling down their pants and potentially using it.

It is important to note that the success of potty training isn’t just a result of your child being ready, but also you being ready too. It takes dedication on both parts to master this life changing event. All too often mothers share stories of how difficult it was to potty train, what a nightmare it was and how long it took, however I would offer the opinion that perhaps they themselves weren’t quite ready yet to take on the task. (And that is totally understandable!) It’s important to choose the right time to potty train, for example not right before you head off on a trip, move house, or before a new baby comes along. To train your child quickly and successfully it is very important that you are in a relaxed state of mind, and also that everything around you including other siblings are relatively stress free and organised too. This way you will be able to concentrate on the potty training that is about to happen.

Here is a list of signs which helped me to know that my children were ready to potty train:

1. Their nappies were frequently dry when they woke up from their lunch naps. This was a good indication that they had some bladder control.

2. They showed signs that they were aware they are going to the toilet.

3. Eagerness to take their own clothes off and put them back on.

4. The ability to be able to occupy themselves for five or 10 minutes with something like a book.

5. Understand simple instructions like ‘Can you put that toy away?’

There are a few things that you will need to start potty training so I have put them in a shopping list below:

1. One or two potties. If you live in a home with one floor you can probably get away with one potty, however if you have two floors you will want to have one on each level of your house.

2. One or two children’s toilet seats to progress onto.

3. A dozen pairs of underpants purchased in a couple of sizes bigger than what you would normally buy. I suggest buying in a bigger size so that they are able to easily pull their pants on and off with little assistance.

4. A selection of story books or movies on your iPad. This is to provide some entertainment if your child needs to sit on the potty for a while before any business happens.

5. A star chart is a great idea to encourage positive reinforcement. With Ari and Chloe made our own star charts which made things even more exciting for them. We had days listed Monday to Sunday, with several places to be able to pop sticks when they did each urine or bowel movement. At the end of the week they were rewarded with a toy for their efforts.

6. A booster step is important to enable children to be able to reach the basin themselves to wash hands. They loved this!

7. Lots of spare clothes which obviously don’t need to be newly bought, just be aware that you will want to take lots of spare clothes wherever you are for a few weeks.

Stage one of potty training –

First of all I spent a minimum of two weeks preparing my children to potty train. I did this in a number of different ways, such as pointing out the fact that I was going to go to the toilet myself. I would tell them that I needed to go to the bathroom and let them know that they could come with me if they wanted to. When I went to the bathroom I would explain in a step-by-step process what I was doing, for example ‘Mummy is pulling down her pants now,’ then ‘Mummy is going to the toilet,’ and so on right up to washing and drying my hands. When I washed my hands I always encouraged them to join in.

As they began to show more interest in what I was doing, I would allow them to sit on the potty with no nappy on for 5 to 10 minutes as I prepared their evening bath. If they did anything on the potty I would praise them very excitedly. It was important to praise them by saying how clever they were for sitting on the potty, or for how clever they were for going to the toilet on the potty. This is as opposed to saying that they were a good boy, as they may start to think that they are a bad boy if they don’t. Once the children were happy to sit on the potty at bath time I moved to sitting them on it after breakfast, and when they would wake up from their lunch nap. During these two weeks, once I felt like they could control themselves a little more, I started to put underpants on them when we were home.

Stage two –

After a minimum of two weeks of stage one I moved onto the next stage of potty training. I have laid out below that I did each day for 11 days.

Firstly it was very important to choose a week that is free from activities so that you can both focus on what you’re about to achieve. Personally I cancelled all activities, or chose school holidays because that is when all of our plans cancelled for the term. (Your child needs constant attention and encouragement during this first few days, so it is important you are able to provide this to them otherwise they will lose interest quickly.)

Day one –

The first point I want to make is that when I took the nappies off I did not under any situation or circumstance put it back on, other then for sleep times.

On the first day of training after they had breakfast I put them straight into their big girl or boy pants. At this point they already had some knowledge of what was expected of them because of stage one. I explained simply that they were now a big girl or boy, and could wear pants like mummy and daddy, and that they were able to use the potty now if they needed to go to the bathroom. I continued to take them to the bathroom with me whenever I needed to go and explained what I did. I would suggest that they sit on the potty at the same time that I went to the toilet. During the first couple of days they needed constant reminders of going to the toilet. Ari needed to go at least every 15 minutes, whereas Chloe could wait an hour, so it’s important to be guided by your child. Each time I would sit them on the potty for about five minutes unless they went sooner. During this time they would read a book or listen to a movie.

The length of time it takes to get children to regularly use the potty depends on each individual child.

If they have an accident don’t make a big fuss or show that you might be displeased. The trick is to be really enthusiastic with the encouragement and not show when things haven’t gone as well as you had hoped, because at the end of the day children respond better to encouragement. Lots of praise, hugs and reward as well as using the star chart is what I found to be the key to success.

A great idea is to have a separate chart for your own progress reporting. Have a column for time, a tick column for potty, a tick column for accident and a comment section to write what kind of movement they had. This way you will start to see a bit of a pattern as to what is exactly happening. In the comment section be sure to include the time that your child use the potty.

Day two –

So by the second day of potty training my chart began to show a bit more of a pattern of regular intervals between the time that they needed to pass urine. This served a guide to show me how often I needed to remind them to sit on the potty. Obviously the aim was to have fewer and fewer accidents, and a longer stretch between going to the toilet. As time passed I gradually moved the potty from right next to us to inside the bathroom. It was important to slowly allow them some responsibility over going to the bathroom. So I changed my process from telling them we needed to go to the potty, to asking them if they needed to go.

Day three –

One day three I had a definite pattern of how often they were using the potty. The progress chart helped when planning the best time for our first outing. Ideally you would choose a short visit to a friends house where there is a toilet. With Ari I couldn’t leave the house until day six, but Chloe was ready to go to play group on day three. Before leaving home it was important to encourage them to go to the toilet to avoid accidents in the car. (Do not be tempted to put a nappy back on them as this causes confusion.) I have always stayed nappy free once taking the nappy off, other than nap time and bedtime. Consistency is the most important thing here. It is advisable to take some spare changes of clothes where ever you go and plastic bag to put items in. Until the children were used to going to the toilet on an actual toilet I took the potty with you. I have a portable potty which is in the shape of a ladybug, it has a lid on it, and the children love to use this.

Days 4 to 11 –

By the fourth day, Chloe especially, was able to regularly use the potty without prompting. Just with the occasional accident here in there. Over the next few days I put the potty closer and closer to the toilet, until I eventually took it away, and the children went to the toilet on their own seats. I did this once they showed signs that they were able to hold their bladder for long enough to get to the bathroom. By the end of the first week they were dry most of the time, with the very occasional accident. I want to stress again that I never put them back in nappies unless it was for a sleep time, as this would only confuse them.

Day 12 and beyond –

After almost 2 weeks potty training I could successfully call my children potty trained. Of course we had the occasional accident, and we still do from time to time. Once finished I found no nappies to be a breathe of fresh air, and honestly not as challenging as I ever thought it would be.

I hope that this information serves to help you and your little ones in their potty training journey. It was a busy and testing time, but mostly I found it to a bonding experience, where I felt so proud of us both once we were finished.

Enjoy!

‘Me Time’ with Tea & Wine

In search of the perfect way to relax and have some ‘Me Time’? Then here is your answer!

As a mother, ‘Me Time’ is something that I am always striving for. Little moments of quiet and still, and time to re-coop in peace. For me, ‘Me Time’ can look very different depending on what I want to achieve from it. Two of my favourite ‘Me Time’ moments are either when I take a quick five minutes for myself to relish a cup of tea, or when I organise a catch up with my girlfriends and enjoy nibbles, great wine, and chat about life. These daily and weekly rituals have become key components to keeping me happy and fulfilled as a mother and woman. Never underestimate the value of ‘Me Time.’

Well, would you believe how elated I was when I heard that there was a product which combines both of my favourite ‘Me Time’ moments! 

Tea & Wine is a wine that has been carefully and subtly created by infusing the delicate notes of some of our favourite teas into a beautiful wine. It doesn’t surprise me how delicious this product is, of course, tea and wine are two of the world’s most ancient and well-loved beverages. Both rituals have been brought together to produce an alcoholic beverage which really does taste like both tea and wine! One of the reasons that the founders of Tea & Wine created their product was to encourage people to make more time for themselves. “You cannot pour from an empty cup. It is important to make some time for yourself, particularly at the end of a long day.”

There are two varieties of Tea & Wine available…

Unoaked Chardonnay infused with organic Egyptian chamomile blossoms. (My favourite!) – A floral and fragrant palate with a backbone of golden apple and citrus from the Chardonnay grapes are enhanced by the infusion of organic Egyptian Camomile blossoms that introduce a bright aroma with a touch of balanced sweetness.

Cabernet Sauvignon infused with organic Sri Lankan Chai tea – Aromas of dark berries and bay leaf from the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes combined with the aromatic, traditional Chai spices ginger, cinnamon and pepper.

Not only does Tea & Wine taste amazing, but it looks incredible too, with its bright and bold labelling. It would make such a beautiful and much appreciated gift.

‘Me Time’ moment tip – If you are struggling to fit moments of ‘Me Time’ into your daily or weekly life, try scheduling them into your calendar, phone or diary. Aim for at least one short moment per day, and one or two longer moments per week.

Both the Unoaked Chardonnay infused with organic Egyptian chamomile blossoms and Cabernet Sauvignon infused with organic Sri Lankan Chai tea, are available at selected Dan Murphy’s for an RRP of $22.00 AUD. 

Enjoy! 

*Disclaimer: At times this website contains posts where items and experiences have been sponsored, gifted or blog posts have been paid for in return for advertisement/promotion. Where this applies it will be clearly stated at the bottom of the blog post. Natalie Sullivan and http://www.thissweetlife.blog only endorses brands/items that her family uses, loves and highly recommends. To read the full disclaimer see here

Spring Statement earring trends that you don’t want to miss!

Spring is without a doubt my favourite season to style, and the current trends for 2019 are not disappointing! I mean it’s Spring… which means it’s time to have even more fun with fashion!

Accessories can make or break a look. They can bring you from night to day, and night to day. They can enhance the body and facials features that you love, and even detract attention from places you don’t want it.

From dripping crystals, to gold sea sells, vibrant graphics, and beautiful colours… It’s time to be vibrant, get playful and unapologetically bold in our choices!

Earrings are without a doubt my favourite way to accessorise a look. They can completely change an outfit, and really draw attention to you face.

So let’s explore some of my favourite earring trends for 2019. I have included easy shoppable links, and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog and receive a list of up to date discount codes!

Dripping – Layers of tassels, diamanté’s and metallics. Drips add length to the neck and help excentuate it. The pair above are called Gold Acrylic Flower Cup Chain Hoop Earring and are from Lovisa.
Peach – My favourite colour this season would have to be a juicy peach tone. Matched with an all white outfit and a bronzed glow, a look like this will see you through into Summer. This pair is from Lovisa and is call Pink Acrylic Swirl Oval Earring.
Thin Drops – A thin drop earring really elongates the neck and slims the face. I particularly like these Diamanté Star Drop earrings from Adorn and think they would look extra special for a sparkly Christmas!
Geometric – Jewellery which resembles an architectural structure is huge at the moment. These Rose Gold earrings are extremely on trend. Geometric Rose Gold Rubber Drop Earring from Lovisa.
Flowers – Florals were made for spring right? There is no exception when it comes to jewellery. Pretty petals in gorgeous pastel and bright floral tones scream Spring to me. These Bead Centre Floral Earrings from Adorn are perfect for this season. tSpringtime.
Pearl – The glistening look of pearls has been hot for successive seasons now, and has continued its rein into Spring 2019. Personally I love pearls mixed with gold, and am obsessed with these Clio Pearl Diamanté Tear Drop Earrings from Adorne.
Palm Springs – From fashion, to vacations, to home decor, Palm Springs is everywhere at the moment. These Beaded Palm Trees from Adorne are so much fun and I can see myself wearing them by the pool even through to Summer!
Art Deco – I am a long time lover of Art Deco pieces and I particularly love this fan style. They are simple enough to add to a casual look or can be dressed up for the evening. Jewelled Fan Stud by Adorne.

A big thank you to Adorn and Lovisa for providing the pieces featured on this blog post so that I may share them with you all.

Enjoy!

Heading to Bali? You don’t want to miss this!

It has been a few months since our memorable trip to Bali, and we had such a fantastic time that I wanted to share with you the reasons why it was so successful.  Below I have included the resturants, beaches and pool clubs that became the highlights of our trip! 

So here is my list of bests….  

Best beach – Without a doubt my favourite beach in Bali is Sunday’s Beach Club. It’s location is beyond stunning nestled on a sandy strip below the breathtaking

Best pool club – Tropicola cannot be matched for its bright decor, retro beats and tasty cocktails. It is quite literally a feast for all of the senses and one not to be missed on a trip to Bali.

Best for sunset – Finn’s Beach Club is Bali’s premium beach front location with the most epic view of sunset. I have written a full blog post all about why I love Finns which I have linked below.

Best family friendly activity – Definitely the most diverse place I have been to in Bali would be Finns Rec Club. From it’s waterpark, bowling alley and restaurant, to the children care center where you can leave your little ones and get a massage. Again I have linked below a blog post full of information on Finns.

Best meal – This modern Italian restaurant in the Osteria style features stunning interiors by Roman architects Lazzarini Pickering. Da Maria highlights the diversity of Italian food, wine, music, fashion, art and friends, with more than a little Capri in the heart of Seminyak.

Best relaxed vibe – Uluwatu Cliff House offers the most wonderful chilled out atmosphere for a sunset dinner in Bali. The space takes in a beautiful view of the Uluwatu Cliffs, the food is scrumptious and there is a pool for those hot nights.

Don’t forget to screen shot this list and save it for you next trip to Bali, I promise you won’t be disappointed!

For more on Finns Beach Club and Finns Rec Club read here – https://thissweetlifeofmine.blog/2019/08/20/why-finns-is-a-must-visit-for-your-next-family-vacation-to-bali/

Enjoy!

The Burn Out

Mum life, work life, wife life, and well all my life has got me feeling busy of late, and if I am honest at times quite drained. That is exactly what has prompted today’s blog post.

If you have been following along for a while, you’ll know that I am quite a deep thinker, and lately I have been thinking about all of the pressures that the modern-day mother feels. Mothers are under for more pressure than I ever realised… until I was one.

I used to dream of the day when I would have children and be able to go for lunch dates with my friends, read books for hours, cruise into the gym whenever I pleased, cuddle on the couch, and Disney movies in the middle of the day. The reality is that even when I am seemingly doing these things they look and feel far from what I had imagined. What I am actually doing is scoffing down my food, folding washing while the movie is on, and grabbing any chance that my children are occupied to get on top of work or chores. It feels like currently Mothers are expected, and expect of themselves, to be more than they ever have been before. A cook, a cleaner, a taxi driver, up hold a full-time job, keep on top of all the bills, walk the dog, and the list goes on and on. It is as though we have evolved to a point where we can be and do it all, but we are still figuring out exactly how we can achieve it. How do we be all that we want to be whilst still maintaining our balance and our sanity? 

Don’t get me wrong, in the beginning I was all about the gooos and the gahhs. The first sits, steps and swims. But then the children changed and so did I! They were less about the mamas and dadas and more about the nos. I couldn’t just pop the sleepy newborn in the pram and go get my shopping done. I found that I was losing my patience, getting cranky and feeling tired. Always rushing them because I had too much on my plate. Not taking the time to explain things, to teach them to tie shoe laces or chew their food properly. I was tired of taking them from place to place, and it all just seemed too hard. The household chores were drowning me, and I felt more and more resentful every time I did them. I felt like a hamster on a wheel with my life just spinning around and around, without actually getting anywhere! What was the point of it all?

This is what I like to call ‘The Mum Burn Out.’ You know, that feeling where you are tired, you feel nothing, and you put simple you are just over it. Its ok, I can almost guarantee that it has happened or will happen to just about every Mother at some point in her parenting journey. Like I said before the expectation is simply too high. Being accountable for other people 24 hours a day 7 days a week is exhausting and overwhelming.

SO what can we do to avoid ‘The Mum Burnout’ or ease when it strikes?

1. Get enough sleep.
2. Eat a healthy and balanced diet.
3. Exercise.
4. Phone a friend or catch up with your girlfriends.
5. Stop over committing yourself.
6. Get help in whatever way you need.
7. Get out of the house.
8. Spend some time alone.
9. Do something you enjoy just because you want to.
10. Implement a daily routine.
11. Reset your morning and evening routines if they aren’t working for you. 

12. Get dressed up. So, most of all today I wanted to remind you to stop, that you don’t have to do everything, and you don’t have to be everyone. Break it down and get back to basics. Simplify your life. All of us have elements of our lives that have grown to be far more complicated then they need to be. Stop living the rat race. Being busy can be extremely addictive but it’s not worth it. Remember the beauty in simplicity and being present with your loved ones. Give them your time. Laugh, smile, watch those movies if you want to. Just enjoy your now and set aside those expectations.

Lots of love!

Gratitude is more than just a #

What does the word gratitude mean to you? How does gratitude feel? Is it more than just an Instagram caption with a hashtag at the end? Is it more than a few lines in a journal once a month when you can remember? Is it just saying that you’re grateful and not really feeling it? Or are you someone who had mastered the important art of being a grateful person?

In my opinion gratitude is the most important thing you can practise and is the core of a happy life. It is a marathon, not a race, and needs to be worked on everyday. A life of gratitude, is a life of self fulfilment and personal happiness. Gratitude helps to create a balance between your body and your spirit in a way that they work together in harmony. If the mind is ungrateful the body is punished. Without gratitude we worry and we have doubts, and it is worry and stress that lead to sickness and illness. If we live a negative life of stress this can manifest into our bodies.

To live a life of true gratitude is one of my life goals. It is not hard to find things to be grateful for and is as simple as being grateful for the fact that you are alive today. Or for the fact that the sun was in the sky when you woke up this morning, or that it set at night. That you have good clean water to drink and food to eat. It sounds cliche but you can simple be grateful for today.

Lately I have found myself feeling like I am not grateful. It wasn’t that I was actually acting ungrateful or necessarily being an ungrateful person. It was just the fact that I was not being grateful for the things that I did have, and paying gratitude for them. I was thinking of the things that I didn’t have and focusing on the fact that I didn’t have them yet. I have so many things to be grateful for, and as soon as I stopped to think for even five seconds I realised that.

So the fact of finding things to be grateful for isn’t the difficulty, but the hard part is actually practising being grateful on a day to day basis.

In particular recently I had been focusing on my desire to have a third child, and the fact that this might take more time then what I would like in my ideal world. I had been so focused on that third child who doesn’t even exist, that I had forgotten to be grateful for the two healthy and happy children that I do have. To thank the universe, god or whoever for the things that I am grateful for. Isn’t that already a better place to live in, where I am grateful instead of full of worry and sadness.

So I had a realisation that this is something that I need to work on. I know so many people in my everyday life who need this same reminder. I see them acting negatively, and focusing on the difficult or challenging parts of their lives then all of the amazing bits in front of them. Perhaps you do this too? I’m not going to tell you how to be grateful and I’m not going to tell you the things that you can do to practice gratitude. I simply want to remind you to be grateful today, just as I have needed this reminder lately.

So… what are you grateful for today? Think about the, then think about them again tomorrow. I PROMISE you and your life will be happier for it.

Enjoy!

Note – my outfit in the photo above is from the gorgeous Bonnie and Harlo

My no brainer list of must have travel essentials for holidaying with children!

Without a doubt the question I am asked most is ‘how do you make traveling with children look so easy?’

I am not going to pretend to you that it is a walk in the park.  We all have our days, we all have our moments.  I still remember the reality check of our first family vacation and the sudden realisation that things were ‘different’ now.  Call me crazy but I wouldn’t swap back to those lazy beach days, and genuinely love the beautiful chaos of travelling as a family of four.

With that said, there is a small but non negotiable list of travelling essentials which I ALWAYS pack for our trips.  These items are guaranteed to make holiday life easier!

Each store in linked for easy shopping…

CoziGo – The CoziGo is a dual purpose cover which can be used on both airline basinets and prams.  It provides 97% light blockage, so that babies and toddlers can fall asleep faster and stay asleep for longer.  The fabric is UPV50+ keeping children safe from the sun, and is 100% air permeable to allow air to flow freely through the cover.   The design is a universal fit meaning it works on all strollers and most airline bassinets.  This is a simple and far more effective (and much safer!) solution to draping blankets over a pram.  I love that I can not only use this during travel but also on my pram at home.

Plane Pal & Packing Pal – Pane Pal have two incredible products; the Plane Pal and the Packing Pal.  Both products massively enhance your travel experience whether in a plane, car, camper van or bus.  The Plane Pal is a custom designed inflatable cushion which fills the space between your own seat and the seat in front of you.  This creates a bed like arrangement making sleep time so much more inviting.  We have one each for Ari and Chloe, and when they let me I sneak my legs up on it too!  The Packing Pals are mesh packing shells which help you to effectively pack and organise your suitcase.  I use a system of packing tops in one, bottoms in another and so on.  They com with a separate bag for shoes and another for dirty laundry.

Very Busy Bag – The perfect take anywhere entertainment for busy and time poor parents.  The Very Busy Bag is vital for keeping children entertained during travel.  It can be used on planes, car trips, trains, buses, in hotel rooms, you name it!  Each bag is filled with age and gender appropriate toys, activities and games for little ones to enjoy whilst on the move.  There is so much variety in these bags, Ari and Chloe’s kept them entertained for three weeks in Europe!  There are straps on the back of the bag so that older children can carry it themselves. My favourite thing about it is that the Very Busy Bag provides screen free time!

Bubba Bump Baby Bag – After lots of trial and error I have found the perfect solution for hand luggage when traveling with little ones.  A back pack is hands down the way to store all of your essentials.  This way you hands can be free to manage children, negotiate customs and all the other busy parts of airport travel.  The Bubba Bump Baby is the baby bag I chose to use not only when traveling but also at home, which means I don’t have to purchase addition items.  Its also great to use for day trips, once we have arrived at our destination.  This bag is luxurious, stylish, and many pockets are perfectly positioned to store all of those quick grab items like dummies, bottles and comforters.

Nordic Naturals – Staying healthy whilst travelling is key to the success of all holidays because no one wants to be sick on a trip!  Nordic Naturals is made from purified Cod Liver Oil, which benefits multiple body systems including brain, eye, heart, bone and joint health.   It also aids in overall energy and  vitality, which is so important on busy holidays.  Nordics Naturals have products to suit both adults and children, lots of which are naturally flavoured to test delicious.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to receive my exclusive discount codes PDF which includes some of the brans listed above.

Now that you have all of your travelling essentials its time to book your next family holiday.

Enjoy!

Thank you to the wonderful brands mentioned above for sponsoring this blog post so that I can share our favourite products with you. My opinion is of course and always is my own.

The current hair accessory trends that I cannot get enough of!

I have to say that I am all for the incredible hair accessory trends that 2019 has produced.  Clips, headbands, wraps, you name it… my accessory cupboard is stocked to the brim with the latest hairpieces to complete all my looks.

Today I wanted to share with you five favourites that I am head over heels for now!   All these pieces are easy to use yet look great.  I wanted to show you items that don’t require a lot of time, rather choosing ones that make your hair look amazing with minimal effort.

Before I get into it I wanted to thank Neutriderm for sponsoring this blog post.  Neutriderm is my chosen haircare solution which leaves my hair strong, soft and shiny.  I use their hair in Hair Enhancer Shampoo and condition.  Both are perfect for women who might have hair loss issues, so are perfect post pregnancy and breastfeeding.   90% of people notice less hair breakage within one month of use.  Both products deeply penetrate and nourish each strand of hair to protect and improve the overall health of the hair.  In times where I my hair suffers from dandruff, I do one wash with the Enhancer Shampoo and the second with their Anti Dandruff option, before conditioning.  I have linked below both products that I use.
Shampoo – https://uaspharma.com/shop/neutriderm/hair-enhancer-shampoo-250ml-bottle/
Hair Enhancer Conditioner – https://uaspharma.com/shop/neutriderm/hair-enhancer-conditioner-250ml-bottle/
Anti Dandruff Shampoo – https://uaspharma.com/shop/neutriderm/anti-dandruff-shampoo-120ml-bottle/

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Also a big thank you to Lovisa for providing the hair accessories for this post, I have also linked them in the images below, to make shopping easier for you!

  1. Paisley Print – I have long been obsessed with paisley print.  Scarfs are so versatile, you can get creative and use them as a choker, hair scarf, bag tie, or wear as a wraparound top!

2. Serpent – I am seeing snacks everywhere now.  Whether its snake print patterned shoes or clothing.  Or serpents adorning rings, earring or hair clips.  This three pack features a pearl, snake and glittery acrylic hair clip.

3. Turban – I practically love turbans as a poolside accessory paired with a cute one piece bikini.

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4. Velvet – I absolutely adore this fabric, whether as a dress, top or headband velvet is super lux.  this hair accessory is the perfect way to complete your event ensemble!  This headband boasts a pink velvet pleated design.

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5. Mini Butterfly Clips – Whether you are heading to brunch, a wedding or just wanting to look glamorous for a party, this hair accessory is the perfect way to complete your event ensemble!  This pack comes with 4 acrylic hair clips in a variety of designs

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Enjoy!

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Thank you to Neutriderm for sponsoring this blog post so that I can share some of my very favourite products with you.  My opinion is of course and always is my own.  #AD