Monday, 21 October 2019

8 Top Tips for Pumpkin Picking



We've been going to pick our own pumpkins for the last four years and it's one of our favourite autumn activities to do, even before having Joshua. We have a wonderful pick your own farm that is really local to us and we head there regularly throughout the year for strawberries, blackberries and sweetcorn too. 

Pickwell Farm in Southampton can be found on Grange Road and with free parking and really reasonable prices, there's never been a better time to support our local farm and of course, pick your own. Pumpkin Patches are great if you're near one and there are a number that pop up this time of year but supporting a local farm is so much more worthwhile!

I've put together some of our top tips for making the most of pumpkin picking and with half term right around the corner now is the perfect time to go. 
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Sunday, 20 October 2019

Why you should be encouraging Pretend Play with your Little Ones


When I look back on my own childhood, it's full of memories of fun, pretend play and cooking people pretend meals in my kitchen and it's something I feel is so important for children. Arran and I are relatively laid back when it comes to parenting Joshua, we have television time and he also has time to play on his own but one thing we agreed on equally is that there should be fun with pretend play too. 

Encouraging Joshua's creativity and mind is something we do a lot of because the pros are invaluable for children. It was one of the many reasons we wanted Joshua to have a kitchen for his second birthday. He adores watching me cook and helping me when it's safe so we just knew it was the perfect gift for him and I've been enjoying a number of pretend coffees since his birthday. 
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Friday, 18 October 2019

Essential Money Saving Tips For Mums



Being a mum can be most rewarding job in the world, while you can't say it is easy, the joy you feel watching your child growing into this amazing little person is definitely worth the stress. Nonetheless, there is one reward we all wish parenthood would provide - a financial one. Everyone knows that children are expensive, but it's not until you become a parent that you understand how much so. If you're running your household on a budget, adding children to the mix makes it difficult so with that in mind, here are seven money-saving tips everyone should know. 
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Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Afternoon Tea at Lakeview Hilton Ageas Bowl



When it comes to relaxing afternoons with family or friends, there's nothing better than afternoon tea and a trip to the spa which is exactly what Emily and I did recently. We were invited to Hilton Ageas Bowl for Afternoon Tea at Lakeview Bar followed by a few hours in the Eforea Spa and it was the perfect way to while away a Friday afternoon. 

The Hilton Ageas Bowl is somewhere we visit often as paying customers and as guests to review their latest offers, seasonal food and hotel stays and we always have an enjoyable time. The hotel is based in West End, Southampton and is the ideal location for pre flight or cruise stays as well as being great for escaping the city. 

Who doesn't want to do that every now and then? 
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Monday, 14 October 2019

What's in Joshua's Trunki



We recently had a staycation in the city which meant Joshua was able to use his Trunki for the first time so it was the perfect time to show you exactly what we packed inside for our little lad. Trunki recently contacted us about designing our very own and with over one billion options, we couldn't wait to get started. 

Trunki is the perfect luggage for children, it;s hand luggage sized and little ones can ride along by sitting on top of the Trunki which will make airport dashes a breeze. There's every colour, animal, creature and theme available and with the option to design your own, you can make yours completely one of a kind. I sat with Joshua one evening and pointed to the different colours and that is how we came up with our blue and purple Trunki with black horns. 

Looks fab doesn't it?
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Sunday, 13 October 2019

Room2 - The Perfect Place to stay with children in Southampton



We vowed to take more staycations while Joshua was younger and so what better way to start than with a staycation in our home city at one of our favourite places? 

Room2 Hometels opened a little over a year ago in Southampton and it's somewhere we've frequented a lot in that year. I actually stayed on the opening night so it was great to come back and see the Airbnb come hotel a year later. You can still view my first post - Room2 A Home away from Home but in this post I'm going to give you a second look from a family perspective.




We spent the weekend at Room2 Southampton at the end of September with Joshua and honestly had the loveliest time. One of the many things I love about Room2 is that check in and check out is at 2pm so you always get a full 24 hours in your room rather than having to rush in the morning to get out on time. Plus check in is so easy! You check in the old fashioned way, check in via the Flexipass app which will send your access code to your phone or just head up to the desk and do it yourself. It's so simple and it means no more waiting around with restless little ones! 

We were staying in one of the master loft rooms which is perfect for families especially as they can place a cot in the room if you need one too. The room has a fully equipped kitchen, spacious bathroom, a large dining table, mezzanine floor with another bed and the most incredible velvet couch stretching the length of the room. It has incredible views over Queen's Park!

There's room for all the family and it's pretty child friendly too, sure you need to keep an eye on the stairs to the mezzanine floor but overall we had absolutely no concerns with letting Joshua run wild and explore to his hearts content. 

I love the concept of having a kitchen within the room especially when staying with children as it makes things so much easier if you need to make food or heat bottles or pouches. We bought some essentials like Oatly and snacks with us so that Joshua could still have some warm milk before bed and I could settle down with a cuppa and a book once he was asleep so it was just like we were at home. 

The kitchen features a stove, kettle, dishwasher, microwave and a recipe book if you need some inspiration for dinner as well as everything you could possibly need to cook in your room or you could order Deliveroo to your room. We decided to head out for dinner as a family as Room2's city centre location means you have plenty of restaurants right on your doorstep. 




Coming and going from Room2 is a breeze thanks to the handy swipe card and there is lift access to all five floors which meant using the pushchair wasn't a problem. We wandered back to the hotel after dinner around 9pm and popped into the Living Room to get some drinks to take up to our room. 

The Living Room is my kinda hometel eaterie. During the day and at night you can choose from a selection of hot dishes to eat at one of their many comfortable tables or you can grab something from their deli shop and cook in your room. There is also a buffet in the morning where you can choose from a range of warm pastries, toast, fruit and granola including gluten and dairy free options.

Back in the room, we set the temperature control to exactly how we wanted it and dimmed the lights. Each room has gorgeous black out curtains so you can block out the city if you need to. Even though Room2 is a city centre location it is in a much quieter end and we didn't notice any disturbances through the night. 

We were a little wary with how Joshua would settle but we needn't have had any worries because he had a bottle, cosied inbetween us in the huge kingsize bed and drifted off peacefully. We did have a cot put in our room but it wasn't worth the battle to get him to sleep in it so we all slept in the same bed. 

Once Joshua had drifted off, we were able to potter about with a cuppa, read a little and just chill out. The master loft rooms have a mezzanine floor so if you have two or more children, it's the perfect size for a family. I snuck up there myself for a while to read after Arran fell asleep so I didn't disturb them. 



After a restful nights sleep, we all woke around 7am the next morning and settled down with Netflix on the TV in bed. Each of the rooms are set up so you can stream things such as Now TV and Netflix from your phone straight to the TV so you won't miss out on your favourite shows or in our case, Joshua wouldn't miss out on his Hey Duggee fix which suited us fine. We let the sun stream through the windows and we all cosied up in bed before grabbing showers and heading down for breakfast. 

The bathrooms are fab, with gorgeous tiles, huge mirrors and funky quotes such as Hey good looking and Fix up, look sharp, toiletries from Malin + Goetz and a huge walk in shower with a choice of two heads. It was the perfect wake me up and Joshua loved it too.

Made a change from a bath for him that's for sure! 



Breakfast as mentioned is buffet style but you can have certain bits made to order. We were quite happy with what was already available especially as they provided us with a dairy free milk for Joshua too. I ordered coffee which is always good at Room2 then started on my full English which I only ever eat in hotels and it was delicious even if Joshua did steal my hash brown. 

It was really nice to sit and have breakfast together and there is so much space to do so at Room2 from tables to super comfy armchairs with views out to the park. It was a pretty perfect Sunday morning. 

After finishing up downstairs, we picked up some fresh pastries and headed back to our room for a few hours. We had no real plans other than finding somewhere for lunch so we just enjoyed some time together in our room. Joshua loves dogs at the moment and the views from the windows meant we were in prime dog spotting location so while the boys did that, I finished my book. 

We could not have had a more perfect stay and the feeling of not wanting to leave set in pretty quickly. 



Room2 really is one of my favourite places to stay in Southampton because not only is the location brilliant, the atmosphere and experience is incredible. The staff are friendly, helpful and nothing is too much, they were brilliant with Joshua too. 

I also found it interesting to head back after a year and see what the wear and tear was like and to be completely honest, it was minimal! I was super impressed as everything really did look just as it did that first time I stepped through the door in June 2018. The appearance and cosmetic look was still the same, coffee and food was still great and the staff were just as lovely as ever. 

Amenity wise - it's probably the best place to stay in Southampton with children as there's more space, the extra bed is up and out the way and with secure parking, easy check in, longer stays and the option of cooking in your room it completely takes the hassle out of a night away from home and we all know how anxiety ridden they can be with small ones! 

If you're looking for somewhere to stay in Southampton you really should check out Room2, you can find out room information and more via room2.com/southampton and their social media team is really helpful if you have any burning questions. 

We loved our stay and can't wait to visit again soon.

Complimentary stay for the purpose of review - see disclaimer. 
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Friday, 11 October 2019

Latest in Beauty Grazia Advent Calendar



If you thought Latest in Beauty's 24 Days of LiBmas was packed full of beauty treats, you're going to love the Grazia Beauty Advent Calendar. It's the first ever Grazia Beauty Advent Calendar and it is going to turn up the luxury this December! The Christmas edit features some cult classics as well as some new beauty wonders and with a value of over £326, you are not going to want to miss out. 

The Grazia Beauty Advent Calendar (£85.00) features products from Clean Reserve, Spectrum Collections, Nars, Weleda and so many more and if you order yours by 13th October, you'll pay just £80 with the code GRAZAC5!

If you're here reading this then I'm going to assume you're dying to know what's inside but don't worry I won't tell you which door features what product so there's still that element of surprise. If you're not then look away now because there are some serious spoilers up ahead!
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Wednesday, 9 October 2019

A Day at Paultons Park & Peppa Pig World



Paultons Park is somewhere I've visited since I was a child and I remember so many fun days out there with family. It first opened its doors in 1983 and with over 70 rides and attractions there is something for all ages which is why it ended up being the perfect day out with my friend and both of our sons. 

The theme park has been voted the UK's top family theme park repeatedly over the last few years and I'm not surprised at all. In recent years, it has welcomed Peppa Pig World and the Lost Kingdom as well as Critter Creak and Little Africa so finding something to do with children of all ages is a breeze. 
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Monday, 7 October 2019

Autumn Bucket List



Creating bucket lists was a way to pull me out of a slump in 2016 and it's something I've done ever since. I find they give you a little push to do something different be it big or small. I share Autumn bucket lists most years so I've created a new one for this year. Autumn is my favourite season and in the spirit of falling leaves, pumpkins and chai teas here is this years list with a dose of toddler activities too. I'm going to document everything I get up to on my Instagram again and I can't wait to tick everything off my list and share in a post before Christmas. 
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Sunday, 6 October 2019

Perfect Presents for a Two Year Old



With a certain little boy turning two in a few weeks it was time to start looking for the perfect presents but I struggled this year, really struggled. We decided on his main present quite some time ago and we also wanted to get some smaller bits but when it came to it we were a bit clueless on what to actually buy. Joshua has a real love for anything wheel related and the lucky guy has plenty of cars, tractors and trains so we needed to be a little more imaginative as we knew others would be adding to his wheel collection. 

We've gone down the play route so think puzzles, books, building blocks and of course play-doh to help his imagination and coordination. I spoke to a number of friends and we were all struggling for ideas so once we'd finally decided on what we would be wrapping up, creating a gift guide seemed like the obvious answer so I can help any of you that may be struggling too. 

The best bit? Everything is square or rectangle so wrapping will be a doddle! 
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Saturday, 5 October 2019

Motown the Musical at Mayflower Theatre



With the Autumn theatre season in full swing it was time to head to Mayflower Theatre for the latest show gracing the stage. Motown the Musical is one I've been looking forward to for yonks. My parents regularly played Motown while I was growing up so I'm really familiar with the music and having seen rave reviews about the show, I really couldn't wait to see it live. 

And the wait was worth it! It was truly sensational and I would watch it again in a heartbeat because it just totally blew me away. The singing was incredible, the way the story was told was completely captivating and it was so hard not to get up in the aisles and have a little boogie. 
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Friday, 4 October 2019

Molton Brown Guard Perfume Collection



Fragrance is quite personal, it can take you back to a memory or moment in time which is why I always love fragrances by Molton Brown as they help you tell a story. The new Guard Perfume Collective is exactly that and more. The new collection allows you to explore their new scentscape thanks to a stunning collection of 27 eaux de parfum and eaux de toilettes. 

It's been heralded as a new pioneering movement in British fragrance and a complete industry game changer. The collection went live at the end of August and a little while after a beautiful bottle of Heavenly Gingerlily landed in my hands. 

It's gorgeous and I'm completely in love. 
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Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Latest in Beauty 24 Days of LiBmas!


Tis the season of beauty advent calendars and I can't get enough of them. I've been following along with Chloe's beauty advent calendar unboxing videos recently so when Latest in Beauty's advent calendar arrived I did a little squeal of excitement! 24 Days of LiBmas features a whole host of fabulous products including Aromatherapy Associates, Sanctuary Spa and many more. 

Latest in Beauty 24 Days of LiBmas launched yesterday and retails at £65 or £58 for subscribers. The contents is worth a massive £274 and having seen what's behind each door, you'd be mad to miss out. 

If you're here reading this then I'm going to assume you're dying to know what's inside but don't worry I won't tell you which door features what product so there's still that element of surprise. If you're not then look away now because there are some serious spoilers up ahead! 
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