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We've Moved to Devon

Hi there, remember me? You may have noticed that I've been a little quiet on here recently. Well I've got a good reason for that - I've moved to Devon! If you've ever moved house you'll know that it's one of the most stressful things ever. I can certainly vouch for that. There's been lots going on and it wasn't the easiest of moves but we're here, we're safe and a month on it's now starting to feel like home!

Devon is where I've dreamed of living for years and it's somewhere my family have always enjoyed visiting on holiday. But a change of address isn't the only news I've got to share - I'm also excited to tell you that we've taken over a village pub here and will soon be opening a vintage-style tearoom. Again, running a tearoom has been a dream of mine for so long and although in the first couple of weeks at least one of us was having a meltdown every day (it's probably too soon to joke about it) and there was plenty of 'oh god why are we doing this?' 'I want to go home!' and 'What have we done?' (add swear words where you see fit), I really am so happy we're here and can't wait to get our new business up and running!

Of course, blogging is still a great love of mine and something I plan on continuing, alongside running the tearoom but posts may be slightly less frequent for a little while. If you want to see how things are going at the tearoom, I'd love it if you followed The Galleon Inn & Seashells Tearoom social media pages! I'll obviously be using my Twitter & Instagram as normal too.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.
 Enjoy your New Year celebrations!

Prestige Flowers Perfect for Christmas!

It's not very often I go to the door, for the delivery guy to hand me a big, beautiful flower delivery. I'm not complaining...I can totally go out and buy my own bunch of flowers but you know, there's something just that little bit special about being sent flowers, isn't there?

So when the lovely team over at Prestige Flowers got in touch offering to send me one of their luxury bouquets, well, I think I did a little happy dance before saying YES PLEASE.

The Grandeur bouquet from their luxury range features stunning Avalanche Red Roses, complimented with foliage encased with golden orbits. It looks expensive, certainly has the wow factor and I love that it has an almost christmassy feel to it! The beautiful bouquet was packaged up in a tall box and came with both a gift bag and presentation vase. It arrived in perfect condition and you could see that care had been taken to preserve the flowers, which came wrapped, with the stems soaked in water. There was also a little flower care leaflet to provide guidance on getting the most from your roses, along with flower food, which I added to the water.

Oh and if the flowers weren't enough to make my day (they totally were by the way) Prestige Flowers had also sent me a little box of chocolate truffles, which lasted all of ten minutes! They were sooo good.

Fresh flowers like these exquisite red roses are the perfect way to brighten your home in the dark autumn / winter months and they certainly put a smile on your face. The dark red petals create a real sense of warmth in my living room and are the perfect addition to my sideboard. A statement bouquet like the Grandeur would make a lovely romantic gift or could even be sent as Christmas Flowers.

If you are looking to treat someone to a bouquet this Christmas, be sure to check out Prestige Flowers' beautiful collection. Their bouquets vary in design and price, with something to suit all tastes and budgets. You will also have the option to add-on extra gifts like a vase, cuddly bear or even balloons. The company offers a number of different delivery options, with next day delivery available 7 days a week.

I couldn't be happier with my beautiful Grandeur bouquet and look forward to admiring it for a while longer.
I was sent these flowers free of charge for the purpose of the review however all thoughts and opinions are my own.
 Please see my disclaimer for more information.

Magnetic Cupboard Locks | My Favourite ChildProofing Product

A couple of months back, Arthur learnt to open cupboards and drawers and it soon became his favourite activity. Nothing was better than opening a cupboard. Not toys, not Mummy...nothing. And that's when I realised, it was time to start childproofing! It wasn't so much the fact he enjoyed taking stuff out of my cupboards that was the problem (although very messy) it was more that I was worried about him swinging off the cupboard doors or trapping his lovely little fingers.

Now, I can't speak for everyone but personally I find many of the childproofing cupboard products downright ugly. I spent enough time and money sourcing the perfect sideboard and TV unit for my living room - I wasn't about to go and spoil them with big, visible locks. And thankfully, I didn't have to!

Upon searching Amazon UK I came across these magnetic cupboard locks for childproofing cupboards and drawers. These fantastic little magnetic locks allow you to keep the contents of your cabinets and drawers completely off limits without spoiling the look of your furniture. You don't even have to drill them onto your cupboard doors, as they actually come with adhesive tape backings. Now, you probably don't think that tape sounds all that permanent but it really does work! All my locks have remained perfectly in place and even though Arthur has tried the cupboards and drawers a few times, the locks haven't budged.

The only downside to these locks is that in order to open your cupboards and drawers, you'll need to use one of the magnets provided with the childproofing locks. For me, this isn't much of an inconvenience, especially since the locks help to keep both my child and the contents of my cupboards safe. I'd much rather have to grab the magnet and use it a few times a day than Arthur trap his fingers!

I'm not the best when it comes to fitting household things but even I managed to childproof my cupboards and drawers with these magnetic locks, thanks to this handy YouTube video. The key is to make sure you work out where to put the locks before you actually stick them down. Once you've stuck them down, it's quite hard to reposition them - you may just about manage it if you do it straight away.

You can get a pack of 8 locks and 2 magnetic keys on Amazon UK for £15.99 and Prime delivery (if you've got it). I know this is much more expensive than some of the other childproofing cupboard locks out there but if you want to avoid spoiling the look of your cupboards and drawers, these really are the best option and totally worth the price in my opinion.

The reason I wanted to share this post is that another parent blogger on Facebook was so happy when I told her these things existed! If she didn't know about them, I thought maybe other parents may not have come across them either. They've really made such a difference to me and Arthur has lost all interest in attempting to open the cupboards and drawers now. I call that a win! Don't you?

The Magnetic Cupboard Locks can be purchased from Amazon UK.

This post contains affiliate links.

Tips for booking a holiday & travelling with a little one!

Winter may be fast approaching but that doesn't necessarily mean you can't still enjoy a little sunshine! Many people choose to jet off on last minute holidays to beat the dreaded winter blues. Of course, when you've got a baby or young child, doing anything spontaneous can be pretty darn difficult but not entirely impossible! Whilst I'm yet to take Arthur abroad, we have been on a few rather spontaneous UK holidays this year, so I thought I'd share some of my top tips for booking a holiday and travelling with a baby. Whether you plan on jetting off somewhere before the season ends, enjoying a staycation or are thinking of booking your summer holiday early, I hope you'll find some of these useful...

Ask for a travel cot and highchair
Most family friendly holiday accommodation will give you the option of using a travel cot and highchair, so make sure you request them. Thankfully all the places I've stayed at have had travel cots but one didn't have a highchair, which wasn't ideal at meal times. Luckily I had the Totseat with me! Keep in mind that not all holiday homes will have stair gates either.

Extra Note: Booking with a website like Tots to Travel will make finding the perfect family acommodation easy. You'll easily find a place with everything you need for your little one from cots and highchairs to sterilisers, baby monitors, changing mats and more!

Get a passport for your baby
Your baby will need their own passport if you're holidaying abroad. Sometimes they can take a few weeks to get, so make sure you send off the paperwork in good time. If your little one already has a passport, check that it hasn't expired prior to booking your holiday.

Check the baby / child seating requirements with your airline
If you're travelling by plane, it's a good idea to check the seating arrangements. Firstly, make sure you reserve seats as soon as possible, so you have the peace of mind that you'll all be sat together. Babies under two years old can often share a parent's seat, using an extended seat belt provided by the airline. However, over the age of six months, they can have their own seat if you're prepared to pay for it. They are likely to need their car seat to sit in, so check the airline's requirements. If you're going on a long-haul flight, you may also be able to request a carry cot for a young baby.

Pushchair or no pushchair?
Something else you need to consider is how you will carry your baby on holiday. If you're going on a plane, you'll need to check that they will take your pushchair or buggy and whether they charge extra. When looking for holidays, I've come across family accommodation that actually includes a pushchair for you to borrow while you're there, saving you from having to take one with you. It's definitely worth enquiring, before making your decision. Of course, there's always the option to take a baby carrier, particularly if you're going on a beach holiday, as pushchairs aren't so practical on sand!

Buy a bath plug
It's a good idea to invest in a universal bath plug - not all holiday accommodation has a bath but one of these can turn a shower into one. The alternative is to buy a travel-friendly baby bath like the Munchkin duck bath we used.

Dress your baby in comfortable clothing
You wouldn't wear something uncomfortable or restricting to travel in, so why should your baby? I tend to put Arthur in something like a vest and sleepsuit  if we're travelling a long distance by car. Tops and dresses (I imagine) can bunch up in car seats, which may be pretty uncomfortable. Remember to pack at least one outfit change in your bag or hand luggage, just in case.

Buy removable window shades
These will help to protect your baby from the sun. Even in winter time the sun can be pretty bright and obviously, it's UV rays can still cause damage.

Check your baby car seat
Make sure that your baby's car seat has been installed properly. If you're using seat belts - are they threaded around the seat correctly? If you're using an isofix base, have you got it correctly installed? Make sure you also secure all luggage down in the boot of your car to help prevent accidents.

Plan plenty of stops
It's important to make sure your baby isn't sat in their car seat for extended periods of time. Whether you're travelling a long distance to the airport or you are going by car to your holiday destination, it's important to plan plenty of stops. Be realistic - your journey is going to take you longer than it would have done before you had a baby. That's just how it goes!

Extra Note:It may be worth planning your journey so that you're travelling when your baby usually sleeps - so through the night (I'm laughing to myself as I write this, as Arthur still wakes up through the night) and early morning. Obviously it's important to make sure you're not tired yourself.

Don't forget their toys
Toys obviously provide a great distraction on journeys, so don't forget to pack their favourites. If you have a young child, it's likely they might be a little nervous going on a plane, so I imagine having their favourite toy (or dummy) with them will provide some comfort.

Make sure you pack enough food, drinks and snacks
Whether you're travelling by car or plane, it's good to stock up on plenty of food, drinks and snacks for your baby or young child. Hand luggage restrictions on liquids don't tend to apply to baby food and drink, so you'll be able to take your baby's milk, whether it's expressed breast milk (obviously you can breastfeed on a plane too), formula or cow's milk. You can also take baby food in your hand luggage. If you're travelling by car it's good to have ready-made snacks for your baby as I've found there isn't always a great deal of choice at service stations. If you're exclusively breastfeeding, make sure you pack enough snacks for yourself!

Extra note: I've read that feeding your baby (breast or bottle) can actually help to distract them from the discomfort of their ears popping during take-off and landing when travelling by plane.

Baby wipes are your best friend
I think this is something you learn within days of becoming a mummy anyway but when you're travelling with a little one, baby wipes are the answer to everything. Make sure you pack plenty, wherever you're going and however you're travelling. 

Pack a baby first aid kit
If you're travelling abroad, check to make sure your baby doesn't need any jabs before they go. It's also worth packing a baby first-aid kit, whether you're going on a staycation or abroad. This should include general first-aid items (like plasters), as well as infant paracetamol (Calpol) and other supplies like teething powder.

Enjoy yourself!
Booking a family holiday and travelling with a baby may feel daunting but it doesn't have to be as stressful as it seems. With a little extra planning, you can have the peace of mind that you will survive the journey with your little one and have a wonderful time once you get to your family-friendly destination!

What tips do you have for parents booking holidays and travelling with babies?
Post in collaboration with Tots to Travel.
Please see my disclaimer for more information.
Images sourced via Pexels

Autumn Styling For The Home

Although I don't enjoy cold, dark autumn mornings, there's many things about the season I do love. For me, autumn is the season of family and friend's birthdays (making it a happy time of year), it's the season of great fashion (who doesn't love a chunky knit?) and of course, it's the season of cute, cosy homeware - which just so happens to be what today's post is all about.

Dressing your home for autumn is easy. You don't need to redecorate and you certainly don't need to spend a fortune. A few small touches and a few key purchases can completely transform your home; giving it that warm, cosy and snug feeling that is oh-so-desirable at this time of year.

All available via LoveTheSales

I think one of the easiest ways to style your home for autumn is to invest in a few new home furnishings like throws and cushions. Textiles can make all the difference to your living room and bedroom. Throws can be draped over your sofa or bed to give them a more cosy feel and they can even double up as extra large blankets - perfect for the cold winter nights ahead.

When choosing a new throw, I like to focus on texture. I love large knitted throws and think they look equally as lovely in both contemporary and traditional homes. Faux fur throws are also a great autumn / winter accessory and will add a touch of luxury to your home. They look super snuggly and will instantly create a sense of warmth.

New bed linen can also give your home a more autumnal feel. I always find patchwork and checked bedding has a somewhat autumn feel to it or if you fancy, you could go for something that makes more of a style statement like stag print bedding. Scatter a few cushions over your bed to make it more cosy and comfortable. You can never have too many cushions!

All candles available via LoveTheSales

Scent is important to me and I love lighting up my home with candles in the autumn time. For me, it's all about warm scents like sandalwood or spiced berries. I've also spotted quite a few log fire candles from various brands, which I imagine to be perfect for the upcoming festive season.

As I said before, you don't need to make drastic changes to your home in order to get it autumn / winter ready. Small buys such as new mugs for your hot chocolate, twinkling fairy lights that add a romantic glow to your rooms and cosy blankets perfect for a night in front of the TV will make all the difference to your home. It's all in the detail!

LoveTheSales may be known for it's fashion sales but did you know it's also fantastic for homeware too? In fact, all the items on my Autumn Home Styling wishlist are from LoveTheSales and available at very competitive prices. If you're looking to transform your home this season and save a few pennies and pounds in the process, I definitely recommend popping over to the site and seeing what it has to offer.

How do you transition your home from summer to autumn?

Post sourced via LoveTheSales
Please see my disclaimer for more information.

Nursery Rhymes, Stories & More with KidloLand!

I'm the first to admit that before having Arthur, I had all these ideas of what I would and wouldn't do with my child and let's say not all of them were that realistic. Let me give you an example - 'Oh no I'm not going to let my little boy watch TV or play on my tablet.' Fast forward to actually being a mummy and you soon realise a little bit of TV everyday isn't all that bad and sometimes when you need to grab a few minutes to get something done, Peppa Pig, In The Night Garden and The Twirlywoos are a great distraction.

Whilst I'm yet to let Arthur 'play' on my iPad, I do let him watch nursery rhyme videos on there as he loves them and is even starting to recognise them, having had them sung to him since he was tiny. So when KidloLand got in touch to see if we'd like to review their app, I thought it'd be a great opportunity to get some easy-to-access nursery rhymes for Arthur to enjoy!

The KidloLand App* is designed for children ages 0-5 and comes with a wide range of features including over 800 nursery rhymes, songs, stories, activities and games. Some of the features like the activities and games are a little old for Arthur at the moment but he's been loving the nursery rhymes. There are plenty of classics including Humpty Dumpty, The Grand Old Duke of York and Twinkle Twinkle but some are possibly a little too old fashioned (i.e. There Was An Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe - not a favourite of mine but hey-ho.) The nursery rhymes for kids are all illustrated with bright colours, which appeal to Arthur and also have lots of interactive elements, which he's started using the last couple of times. I even spotted him having a giggle at something on there!

We've been lucky enough to receive a year's subscription, so I imagine Arthur will explore more and more sections of the app as the months go by. In fact, I think it'll be good if I do another post in a few month's time when I can properly share my thoughts on KidloLand's other features. I've already spotted that they've got a Christmas Songs section and can't wait to download the songs for him this week. November isn't too early for Christmas songs right?

Speaking of downloading more songs - the great thing about the KidloLand app is that you can download features as and when you want them, rather than them taking up all the space on your device. The downloads are easy to manage in the settings section of the app, where you can also create a playlist of nursery rhymes and check your subscription status.

So far we've had a positive experience with the KidloLand app and the nursery rhymes in particular have provided a great source of entertainment for Arthur. As I said before, I think he'll get more and more out of the app as the months go on and I look forward to exploring some of the more educational sections with him, once I feel he's ready for them.

The KidloLand App is priced at $4.99/ month, $24.99/ 6 months or $39.99/ year.

If you'd like the chance to try the KidloLand app with your little one, then you're in luck as KidloLand have kindly offered free 3 month subscriptions to 3 of my readers. All you need to do is fill in the Rafflecopter form below to be in with a chance of winning! Please read the full terms and conditions on the Rafflecopter entry form before participating.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
*I received a free one year subscription to KidloLand in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Please see my disclaimer page for more information.

#BinBeautiful (Because nappy bins don't have to be ugly...or smelly!)

You know you're a mummy when you get excited about a nappy bin. But look at it, it doesn't look like your average nappy bin does it? For starters, it's mint green. To be honest, I was sold on that alone but after nearly a month's use, I can tell you that the Korbell Nappy Bin is so much more than a beautiful-looking-nappy-bin. Yep, it's practical, convenient and makes #mummylife a hell of a lot easier. My own mum even made the bold statement 'It's the best thing you've ever been sent to review!' It's definitely saved her a few trips to the big bin outside with Arthur's nappies too. So mummy's happy and granny's happy. I'd call that a win!

The Korbell Nappy Bin (£27.50)* from Cheeky Rascals has an innovative design that traps away dirty nappies and the smells that they produce in a biodegradable bin liner. It's conveniently designed with a foot-pedal, making it easier for you to dispose of nappies with a baby in your arms and has a double-seal to keep things contained. The bin comes in four stylish colours (mint green, pastel blue, soft pink and pure white) and three sizes. It is also supplied with a roll of biodegradable lining.

I have the Standard size 15 litre bin, which holds up to 45 nappies at one time. The liner is designed to last for up to 495 nappies, which they've estimated is around 10-11 weeks. The Korbell nappy bin is also available in Mini (9 Litre holding up to 25 nappies at a time) and Plus (25 litre holding 65 litres at a time).

The unique thing about the Korbell Nappy Bin is the way in which the liner works. Basically, once you're ready to 'take the bin out' to your outside bin, you open the door at the front, pull down the bag and cut it, before making a knot to seal the bag. You'll notice that the pre-loaded Korbell Nappy Bin Liner already has a knot at the bottom. So now your bin bag is sealed at both ends and ready to take out to the bin. There's actually a cutter built into the door of the bin, so you haven't got to go searching for a pair of scissors. As I said before - it makes disposing of nappies so much easier!

Once you've done all that, you simply pull down the liner and knot the bottom so you're ready to start again, filling it up with more nappies. There's instructions on the inside of the bin door, so if you get stuck, you can refer to that.

I'm seriously impressed with the Korbell Nappy Bin from Cheeky Rascals and really do feel like it's made such a difference to me. Before I had an open bin, which meant that I was having to make trips to the big bin a few times a day (or Granny was) because we didn't want the nappies to make the bathroom smell. This simply isn't a problem with the Korbell Nappy Bin as it's very well sealed. Of course, the fact it's #BinBeautiful is a bonus. It looks lovely in my white bathroom where I prefer to keep it but would look equally as lovely in Arthur's nursery, which also happens to be mint green!

As an honest reviewer, I've got to say that in my opinion the price of the liner (£15.99 for Standard size on Cheeky Rascals website) seems slightly expensive. Well that was my initial thought but on reflection, if they last the 10-11 weeks estimated, then the price isn't actually that bad. And once all the benefits of the Korbell Nappy Bin are factored in, for me the price of the liner is totally worth it.

The Korbell Nappy Bin from Cheeky Rascals is one of the most useful baby products I've tried and it's definitely something I'll be recommending to my mummy friends. I only wish I'd got one sooner!

*The Korbell Nappy Bin was kindly sent to me for the purpose of this review.
All opinions are my own. Please see my disclaimer for more information.

You Are One.

Today you are one. A year has gone by
Since you entered the world with a beautiful cry.
It’s been the best year and that’s down to you.
My sweet Arthur Daniel, I love you, I do.

No longer a newborn but a lovely little boy
Watching you grow, learn and flourish has given me such joy
For every new stage is a pleasure for me
And our love for each other is easy to see.

Happy Birthday Arthur Daniel, my one year old son,
Enjoy your special day, full of love, laughter and fun.


New Flavours from Piccolo

Arthur's a big fan of the Mediterranean-inspired Piccolo pouches so I was delighted to receive this lovely package from them yesterday morning, featuring two of their new stage two baby food pouches, along with a couple of old favourites. Not only had Piccolo been kind enough to send over a few pouches for Arthur to try but they'd also created a suitcase full of little treats including playing cards, crayons, a playlist CD and herb seeds - how lovely is that?

The Three Grain Vegetable Risotto went down a treat with Arthur and I've got to admit that I thought it was delicious too (I like to try these things so I know what he's eating!) Arthur's past Stage 2 in terms of weaning but that doesn't mean he can't enjoy a pouch every now and then, as something to keep him going or as an addition to his meal. But if you've got a younger baby, around seven months old and are puree feeding, the Stage 2 Piccolo pouches are well worth trying. They'll help to introduce new flavours and textures to your baby, whilst giving you the peace of mind that they're packed full of goodness. Other new flavours from their Stage 2 range include:

- Spring Vegetables and Chicken
- Sweet Potato and Beef Ragu
- Sweet Tomato and Ricotta Spaghetti

Along with launching their Stage 2 weaning pouches, Piccolo has also recently announced that their products are now available to buy in Asda. So if that's where you do your weekly shopping, I definitely recommend popping some in your basket for your baba. They're sure to love them!

Read more about Piccolo's Tasty Baby Food here.

This post contains PR Items. All opinions are my own.

Things I've Learnt in a Year of Motherhood

Arthur's One on Friday - a whole year old. A lot has changed in this magical year and I wanted to share a few things I've learnt a long the way...

I can survive on just a few hours sleep.
My stretch marks don't bother me.
Losing the baby weight hasn't been a priority.
I have the most caring, loving and supportive family.
My boobs are magical - they've fed my baby for a whole year.
Though breastfeeding is very hard at times.
Being a single mummy doesn't make me feel sad or lonely.
The little things that used to scare me aren't as frightening any more (apart from spiders).
But motherhood brings new fears, worries and challenges on a daily basis.
Everything becomes less embarrassing when you've gone through child birth.
Motherhood makes you strong.
My bestest friends are still the best.
Motherhood brings new mama friends and even new best friends.
Baby sick, dribble and snot are daily accessories.
Nursery rhymes are always in your head.
Baby shopping is way more exciting than clothes shopping.
I have a whole new appreciation for my parents and how they raised me and my brother.
Arthur's happiness and safety comes above all.
You will sacrifice anything and everything for your baby.
Hearing Arthur say mama, mummy or mum is the best thing in the world.
Joy can be found in the smallest of moments with your baby.
Seeing your baby smile, sit up, crawl and clap for the first time is everything.
Baby kisses can be very wet and sloppy.
As can baby nappies...sorry.
You never get tired of people cooing over your baby and saying they're beautiful.
Or saying they look 'just like their mummy' (that gets you bonus points).
Putting your baby down to sleep requires serious ninja skills.
And even when they're sound asleep, you'll still want to check them a billion times 'just in case.'
Baby poo is a regular topic of discussion.
Watching your baby have their injections is the worst, despite knowing how important they are.
Just as you become comfortable with something, everything changes.
Babies like to keep you on your toes.
You're tired 99% of the time.
But they're worth it.
Time for yourself is important though, even if it's only a few minutes each day.
Seeing your baby take interest in their toys and books is magical.
Babies can sleep through loud noises like dogs barking but if you dare cough, whisper or even think a little too loudly they'll wake up.
'Sleep when your newborn baby sleeps' is the most stupid piece of advice ever.
Your baby can have all the toys in the world but they'll still prefer your iPad or the TV remote.
Babies are super clever. They watch your every move and learn so quickly.
Celebrate milestones - your baby's and your own as a mother.
Trust your instincts as a mummy - you know your baby better than anyone.
Being a mummy isn't always easy but it's more amazing than I ever could ever imagine.
Cherish your cuddles. You'll never look back on your life and think 'I should have done more cleaning' or regret spending time cuddling your baby. (Best piece of advice from my own mum).
There's no shame in asking for help and advice.
Time triples in speed when you're a mummy.
Make lots of memories, take lots of photos, remember what's important. Start a scrapbook.
My love for my son grows stronger each day.
I can't remember what life was without Arthur.
There's no other love like it.

Arthur will forever be my biggest achievement, my greatest adventure, the love of my life.


Finding the Perfect Gifts for Kids with Wicked Uncle

Buying gifts for kids when you have no idea what interests them can be a tricky task. There's all different things to consider, like if the toy is suitable for their age group and whether it will drive their mummy crazy (oh c'mon no one really enjoys hearing their baby's musical toys a million times a day!) But that's where Wicked Uncle comes in. Wicked Uncle is an online toy store that specialises in helping you find the perfect gifts for kids. It's particularly useful for those who either don't have kids themselves or are just generally clueless when it comes to buying presents (we all know someone like that right?)

For a bit of fun, Wicked Uncle has come up with a challenge that requires an adult with no kids to use their website to buy a present for a child they know. I put forward Arthur's Uncle Danny (my younger brother) to see how he got on. He's not always been the best at actually choosing gifts (preferring someone else to do it for him), though I was very impressed with my birthday present this year, so maybe he's turned a corner! Anyway...I sent over the link to the Wicked Uncle site and kept my fingers crossed that he'd pick the gift I had in mind.

What's so great about the Wicked Uncle website is that it makes searching for a gift so easy. You can choose to shop by gender, age, interest or even just look at what's popular. With Arthur's 1st Birthday in just a couple of weeks, Uncle Danny rightly chose the 'Age 1' category and thankfully picked the toy I had my eye on for Arthur - the Walkalong Wooden Puppy*! Arthur loves our dogs so I knew he'd love his own little toy dog to pull around.

Even though Arthur's not walking yet, he's had so much fun pulling the dog as he crawls around the living room. He also loves holding onto the dog and rolling it up and down. For the last few weeks, I've got the feeling that Arthur is ready for his 'next stage' toys so this is really perfect and will keep him going until he gets all of his birthday toys (I'm so excited!) The Walkalong Wooden Puppy is very well made and for me, is extra-lovely because it's made from wood. There's just something so charming about wooden toys in a world full of plastic isn't there?

If that wasn't enough, Uncle Danny also chose another toy for Arthur from the Wicked Uncle website, perfect for one of Arthur's favourite times of the day - bath time. He picked the Tomy Rescue Boat*, which looked great! Again, Arthur's been getting a little bored of his bath time squirters that he's had since he was tiny so it was brilliant to have a more interesting toy for him to play with. This Tomy Boat is sound activated, which makes it all the more exciting for little ones. You squeeze the squeaky remote control once to get the motor going on the rescue boat and again to get the water shooting out of the cannon. Arthur's so interested in how the boat works (he turns it over to have a look) and laughs when the water gets him - or even better, squirts at me! 

I'm really impressed with Uncle Danny's choices and love that Wicked Uncle makes finding the perfect gifts for kids so easy. They have a fantastic selection of toys for all ages, so with Christmas just a 9 weeks away (uh-oh) now's the perfect time to see what they've got to offer!
*These toys were purchased with a voucher provided by Wicked Uncle for the purpose of this post.
Thank you Wicked Uncle - we loved working with you!

Arthur Daniel - Why Your Name is Special

Baby names are something that have always interested me, even before I was pregnant with Arthur. For years, I was obsessed with the name Edie and was certain that if I had a little girl, that's what I'd call her. Edie Rose. It's funny though as when I found out I was pregnant, I didn't even consider the name Edie for a girl! I had two names I liked, Olivia and Devon.

Now, I know what you're thinking - but you didn't have a girl and no, no I didn't! But strangely, before I found out I was having a son I really couldn't pick a boy's name. Then once I found out it was a little boy in there, it was like something clicked in my head - he was Arthur. My Arthur. I didn't tell anyone I was set on the name at first, as I wanted to be 100% sure but when I was, I told my mum and knew how much choosing that name meant to her.

You see, Arthur isn't the first Arthur in our family. My mum's dad (my grandad - or Gonga as I chose to call him) was called Arthur too. Well actually he was called Thomas Arthur but it seems back in the day people often went by their second names instead. It was the same with my dad's dad, funny isn't it? My mum loved her dad very much and even though I only got to spend the first few years of my life with him (and therefore unfortunately don't remember a lot of our time together) I have always felt a real connection to him. I think it's because my mum has so many lovely memories of him and stories to share. I feel like I knew him well. She also says that my brother is a lot like him and I can see the likeness when I look at pictures too.

My Gonga once appeared to me in a dream. I think it was a couple of years ago. In the dream I didn't realise it was him, nor could I place the man he was with but I was speaking to him and he was telling me he was proud of me and that he hoped I had a happy life. It was only in the morning that I realised it was my Grandad in my dream and when I told my mum she wondered if the man he was with could have been his twin brother John. It made me feel quite emotional and actually what he said means even more to me a couple of years on, now I'm living a much happier life.

Because my Grandad Arthur was so important to my mum and our family, I wanted to honour him in some way by naming my little boy after him. Arthur is apparently derived from the Celtic name 'Artos' which means 'Bear.' It is also a name associated with being noble and courageous. It's a good name and the perfect choice for my little love.

My Arthur's second name is Daniel and yes, that's another family name as my brother is called Daniel. It's a name I've always loved - in fact my parents said that when my mum was pregnant with my brother I was set on the name Daniel and when my dad suggested another name, I said I was going to call him Daniel anyway...or so the story goes! But I also chose it as Arthur's middle name as my brother was really there for me when I was pregnant (and not exactly having the easiest time). I wanted Arthur to be named after another good man. Arthur absolutely adores his Uncle Danny so I think he'll love the fact he shares his second name with him once he's old enough to understand.

A special name for a special little boy. I feel like it's a name that'll suit him no matter his age and I look forward to sharing the story behind his name with him in years to come.

Most names have a meaning to them and I love reading about other people's baby name choices, so feel free to share your link if you've written a similar post or tell me how you picked your baby name/s below.


H&F Vintage Tearooms, Chesterfield Review

Going out for Afternoon Tea is one of my favourite things to do with my family and earlier this year we found a gem of a place in Chesterfield - the H&F Vintage Tearooms. For me, a good Afternoon Tea isn't just about the cake (though the Vintage Tearooms in Chesterfield has plenty of that) but the experience as a whole.

One of the things I love most about the H&F Vintage Tearooms is that it has so much character and charm. You feel like you're really getting an authentic vintage afternoon tea experience. I love everything about the place from it's gorgeous decor, down to the team's uniforms and the way they address you as 'mam' and 'sir.' It's all in the detail and it's all so lovely.

You feel really welcome at the Vintage Tearooms and I personally feel the team go the extra mile to make sure everything is to your liking. We recently went for mine and my mum's birthday and had the most wonderful time. The service was quick, the waiter serving us was so friendly and polite and the Afternoon Tea itself? Well that was simply delicious!

As a mummy, it's really important to me that I visit child-friendly places and I've always felt really comfortable taking Arthur here. There are highchairs available for use and the waiters and waitresses always make a fuss of him. Once when we visited, Arthur spent the whole time staring at one of the waiters who was sorting out the cutlery - he was fascinated! The lovely waiter spoke to him and kept him entertained, which was so kind and made all the difference to my visit.

Of course, you're probably wondering what the Afternoon Tea is actually like...well between us, my family have had quite a few Afternoon Teas around Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire and this has to be one of our favourites!

For £11.95 you get a pot of tea or coffee for one, a selection of sandwiches (they're happy to cater for vegetarians and even put it on a separate stand), a choice of scone with jam and cream, a choice of cake and a serving of fresh fruit. There's usually plenty of scones to choose from (I love the cherry scones best) and a vast selection of cakes. I had the chocolate fudge cake last time I visited and it was delicious. The strawberry milkshake cake that my mum picked also looked so good. I believe the cakes change from day-to-day but with so many flavours to choose from, you're bound to find at least one you like.

If you're not a fan of Afternoon Tea (what's wrong with you?!...I kid...well kind of) there's plenty of other things on offer on the Vintage Tearooms menu; from basics like teacakes and toast, to homemade classics like pates, seasonal tarts and ploughman's lunches.

I'm not so adventurous when it comes to my tea - English Breakfast Tea will do me just fine but if you're after something a little different, there are a number of different loose teas on offer, which can be paired with a nice big slice of cake.

Whether you're going out for a special occasion or simply fancy treating yourself to an Afternoon Tea, the H&F Vintage Tearooms in Chesterfield is a must-visit place. It's somewhere the whole family can enjoy themselves (just look how eager Arthur was for his share of the Afternoon Tea in this picture) and the vintage charm of the place is sure to put a smile on your face.

I dare say we'll be visiting again for Arthur's 1st Birthday - definitely a good excuse for more of that delicious cake!


Chewy Chocolate Button Cookies Recipe

Chewy cookies are probably one of my favourite ever treats - especially with a cup of tea, so I thought I'd share a little recipe that I have adapted here on my blog. I originally used this Millies Cookie Recipe but after making a couple of batches, I decided to change things up a little, so the cookies were more to my taste. Rather than being Millies-style cookies, these are Chewy Chocolate Button Cookies. They taste absolutely delicious (if I may say so myself) and even have my family's approval (they are quite the critics when it comes to my baking - trust me!)

Ingredients (makes around 19-20 cookies):
125g of unsalted butter
100g light brown soft sugar
125g caster sugar
1 egg
1tsp of vanilla extract*
225g of self raising flour
1/2 tsp of salt
56g of Giant Chocolate Buttons

1. Preheat your oven to 180°C
2. Cream the butter and sugars in a large mixing bowl
3. Lightly beat the egg and add into the mix along with 1tsp of vanilla extract*
4. Add the flour and salt, combining them with the mixture
5. Break up the chocolate buttons into smaller pieces and mix them in
6. Roll into walnut size balls and place on trays lined with baking paper (no need to grease it)
7. Bake for 7-9 minutes until the edges are lightly golden
8. Remove from the oven and leave to harden for a few minutes
9. Transfer onto a wire rack to cool
10. Enjoy them with a big mug of tea!

*I just thought I'd add that you don't necessarily need the vanilla extract. I made a batch of these cookies today and didn't have any in the cupboard. Personally, I don't think it's made a lot of difference - they still taste SO good.

The reason I decided to use chocolate buttons for my chewy cookies, rather than chocolate chips is that my dad and brother are quite fussy when it comes to chocolate (that's the polite way of saying they're chocolate snobs). Originally I used a cheap packet of chocolate chips from the supermarket in the cookies and they didn't think the taste was quite right, so I swapped them for giant chocolate buttons and even I've got to admit that they taste much better now. I tend to use around 2oz, which is just shy of a full pack but you can use as many as you like - it's all a matter of personal taste.

The first time I made these cookies I was so worried about taking them out of the oven after such a short time and was adamant that they'd just fall apart but if you leave them to harden for a few minutes, you'll be able to transfer them all to your wire rack in one piece. I also recommend spreading them out on your baking trays so they don't merge together. I tend to do mine on two large baking trays, baking one batch at a time.

If you're a fan of Millies-style cookies, I reckon you'll like these. The recipe has certainly been created in that style, resulting in likely baked cookies that taste amazing whether warm or cooled. They also keep for a few days, if you can resist eating them...they don't last that long at our house.

So there we have my Chewy Chocolate Button Cookies recipe! If you have a go at baking them yourself, I'd love to know what you think of them.


Tasty Baby Food from Piccolo

When you think of puréed food, you probably think of younger babies enjoying their first tastes but did you know that fruit and veg pouches can actually make healthy, tasty snacks for older babies too? Piccolo has recently launched a wonderful range of mediterranean inspired fruit and vegetable purées, ideal for first tastes and beyond.

The Piccolo purées* are beautifully packaged in colourful, illustrated pouches, which immediately drew me in and with a wide range of flavours (listed below), I was sure I'd find some that Arthur loved!

Piccolo Flavours:
Apple and Apricot with a pinch of Cinnamon
Squash, Red Pepper and Chickpea with a hint of Rosemary
Banana, Blueberry and Apple with a hint of Vanilla
Cherry and Yoghurt with Wholegrain Oats
Peach and Apple with a hint of Basil
Spring Greens with a hint of Mint

New Piccolo Flavours:
Mango, Pear and Kale with a dash of Yoghurt
Raspberry and Apple with Soaked Oats
Sweet Potato, Beetroot, Apple and Pear
Banana, Strawberry and Peach with a hint of Mint

Over the last couple of months, Arthur's been working his way through these and surprisingly he loves them! I say surprisingly because just like his mummy he usually likes things one minute and then goes off them the next but not with Piccolo - these pouches he really loves! 

If you've caught up on my recent weaning posts, you'll know Arthur's past the purée stage of weaning (I did a combination of purée and BLW) but he enjoys a Piccolo pouch as a tasty snack or sometimes even a pudding! Like many of the other Piccolo-loving babies on Instagram, Arthur takes his straight from the pouch - no spoon necessary. The baby food pouches are great for throwing in your bag when you're going out and are particularly useful when you're on holiday, as I found out on our recent trip to Devon. It gave me peace of mind (and no mum guilt) knowing that Arthur was eating organic baby food with 100% natural ingredients.

Arthur seems to like all of the flavours - even Spring Greens, which he'll happily drink straight from the pouch or enjoy as a pasta sauce. The new, rather more adventurous flavours, containing ingredients like Kale and Beetroot also went down a treat. I feel like Arthur's already way better than me when it comes to trying new foods and I'm 26! I'd say his least favourite flavour is probably the Apple and Apricot pouch, though I'm wondering if it's something to do with the pinch of cinnamon. Cinnamon's an acquired taste right? He seems particularly taken with the Cherry Yoghurt and Banana, Blueberry and Apple pouches, so they are at the top of my list to buy now we've run out.

All in all I'm very impressed with the My Little Piccolo pouches and think they're up there as the best purées Arthur's tried (yep they've even beaten that very well known brand!) I love watching him savour his Piccolo pouches, knowing that they're packed full of good, honest and natural food. And if that wasn't enough, My Little Piccolo has also formed a partnership with the NCT; donating 10% of all profits to help fund food education. So we've got cute packaging, great tasting, healthy snacks and good morals - what more could you want?

The Piccolo pouches are stocked in Waitrose (currently on three-for-two**) and online at Ocado and Amazon. Head on over to the Piccolo website to find out more about their stockists, story and the tasty ingredients that go into their wonderful weaning products. 

Has your little one tried Piccolo yet?
*I was sent the above products for the purpose of this post however all opinions are my own
**Information correct as of date of publish