Saturday 31 December 2016

Top 9 Instagram Pics 2016

You've probably seen everybody finding out their top 9 pictures on Instagram for 2016. I decided to see what my most popular one's were and I have to say I was quite surprised which one's came out on top. I've written this post to give a bit of a background to each pic.

1) This picture is actually one of my favourites from the year. I adore my selfish mother tee. This pic was taken when we decided to head out for an impromptu meal at a pub and we had a fab time. I need to get this one printed and framed.

2) This was taken at Barry Island. It's hard to believe it's one of our local beaches. I loved the colours in this. 

3) This was taken on our holiday to Turkey. It just sums up motherhood for me. The baby in the carrier and Eva in the stroller. They are such life saving products for parents. You can read my reviews of them here, BabyBjorn Carrier and Cosatto Stroller.

4) This pic of Ophelia and I was from our recent trip to Disneyland Paris. I love how natural it is. We are a huge Disney loving family and this just epitomises our trip. It was full of laughter and happiness. 

5) This pic is of Ophelia in soft play. It was when she finally started to enjoy herself there. I must admit I hate soft play at the best of times but to have to go with two children, when one of them couldn't do anything was a nightmare. Now she can actually have a play it's not so bad.

6) This flatlay features the gorgeous Jord watch I was sent to review. It's fab. It matches everything and is so unique. You can read more about it here, Jord Watch.

7) This picture was taken at a blogging event at Ken Picton Salon. We were invited to have a pamper night out where we had our hair and nails done. It was great. I was taught how to give myself a bouncy/curly hair style that is shown in the picture. You can read more about the evening here, A pamper evening at Ken Picton.

8) This picture was a surprise for me. I do adore the picture but I was surprised to see it was one of my most popular this year. It's one of the doors at the stunning Dewsall Court. I'd love to have a door like this to my house. It's rustic but homely. You can read more about Dewsall Court here, Dewsall Court.

9) This was a special day. This was Ophelia's first birthday. I love this capture. Hubby and I made the cake so to see how happy she was when she saw it, is amazing. I can't believe she is 1 already. That year went very quickly.

So there you have it. I'll try and do a post with my personal favourite images but these were the most popular. Which one is your favourite?

Friday 30 December 2016

Dewsall Court - An Introduction

I was recently invited to spend the day at the beautiful Dewsall Court which is set in stunning Herefordshire countryside. Dewsall Court is now an exclusive venue for any of your events or family stays. 

The house is steeped in history with it being built in 1644 by Richard Pearle who stayed there with his family for over 100 years. It was then owned by Guys hospital for over 300 years. After the war the house changed hands a couple of times but was left is despair. The current owners, The Robinson family bought the house in 1989 and spent a decade restoring it to a lovely family home. In 2009 the family moved out and decided to make the house the exclusive venue that it is today.

I drove from Cardiff and it took me just over an hour. The drive was very scenic but nothing compared to the spectacular views I was treated to as soon as I drove through the gate into Dewsall Court. The house is surrounded by gardens, a barn, out buildings, a lake and a church. 

There was a gorgeous wreath on the door which I had to capture. Upon entering I immediately felt at home. Amongst the grandeur of the house there is a cosy, welcoming vibe in which you instantly feel relaxed. Perhaps it was the rustic smell of the wood fire or the sweet scent of the home made chocolate cookies (which were divine by the way). We sat down in the kitchen for a fresh cup of tea and introductions. I was pleased to see familiar faces in my blogging friends Mel from and Laura from

Next up we had a tour of the house. I couldn't wait to explore it. The grand dining room is the perfect place for large parties whilst the smaller dining room provides a more intimate setting. The study was spectacular. It reminded me of how my grandad had his study decorated. The lounge area was big with plenty of seating areas. 

We then headed up the grand staircase to an open games room. You could envisage lots of fun to be had on that floor. 

We were then shown around all of the unique yet in keeping with the house, bedrooms. They were all stunning. With every room I entered I declared that as my favourite. I would want to sleep in all of them. They all had bathrooms that were equally exquisite with bathtubs that I just would not want to jump out of. The views were all breathtaking, no matter what room you were in.

We were also given a tour of the Wainhouse barn which is used for events and weddings. It was magical. It had a rustic feel to it and I can only imagine how beautiful it would look decorated. 

Picture Taken from Dewsall Court Website

After the tour of the house we sat down to enjoy their 'Fire and Ice' menu. The menu was seasonal, showcasing the best of local winter ingredients. To start we had a beetroot Borsch which was served in a teacup. 

Next was smoked trout, brown shrimps, rye crisps and pickled rainbow vegetables. I found this course very refreshing and light.

Our main meal was my favourite from the menu. It was lamb, blackened potatoes, confit onions and kale. Kale is one of my favourite things to eat so I was very pleased to see this on the menu.

Last up was the dessert which was very special and right up my street. It was a hot chocolate and sloe gin pudding. I love sloe gin this time of year but this was the first time i'd had it in a dessert and I was not disappointed. It was incredibly rich but super delicious.

I had the most wonderful day at Dewsall Court and I didn't want to leave. It is truly an enchanting place. It is perfect for a wedding. It makes me want to renew my wedding vows. Dewsall Court is the ideal place to celebrate a momentous occasion or simply for a family get together. It sleeps up to 27 people so there is plenty of space. The house has the ability to make you feel at home but is also magical, unique and extra special.

Keep your eyes peeled on their events section as they have dinner parties and other unique events.


Tuesday 27 December 2016

The Disorganised Mother at Christmas

I've decided to be a bit honest about Christmas. I'd love to tell you that it was the most fantastic time of the year and that I enjoyed it 100% but honestly it was pretty stressful. Every year I tell myself I will be more organised but it never happens and it all ends up being a mad rush and I don't get to enjoy half of it.

Last Christmas I said the same thing. Next year I will start my shopping early. We didn't have a very good Christmas last year as my mother in law had died about 4 weeks before so my husband's heart just wasn't in it. It was a crap Christmas in fact.

I desperately wanted this year to be different but September came and went and I hadn't made any lists. Then my husband got made redundant so that put a bit of a dampener on this time of year and that I had to return to work. This meant that I wasn't free to keep the house in shape and of course start the Christmas shopping.

My mum and family also decided to come back for a holiday from Australia for 3 weeks and were landing on 23rd December. I couldn't wait but there were home improvements that needed to be completed by the time they came back and we also had to buy new beds for them to sleep on as our spare room became Ophelia's room when she was born.

My husband is extremely easy going. He's so laid back, he's horizontal. He's always late for everything and seems to do everything very last minute. You can imagine how much stress this caused me over the Christmas period when we needed to get everything done.

So let me take you to December 22nd. I was still Christmas shopping in town, buying anything. I was gutted as I knew I hadn't thought about gifts properly and was just getting whatever was left at this point. I got home at 10pm, exhausted.

Then it was December 23rd, the day I had to pick my mum and sisters up from Heathrow. Instead of doing nice things with Eva and Ophelia I was ironing, cleaning and wrapping presents. My husband was in IKEA buying any beds he could find. It was a nightmare. He was then moving furniture around and in general causing chaos. I left to pick my family up from the airport and got back after midnight and didn't go to bed until 1.30am. 

I was then up at 6am to look after the kids. I was one tired, stressed out mummy. Christmas eve should be a day to be enjoyed but what was I doing, manically wrapping all the presents in a very haphazard manner. We did manage to pop to our local winter wonderland for a couple of hours which was lovely. I threw together a Christmas eve box with anything I could find in the local supermarket. This really upset me as this was a tradition I started on Eva's first Christmas and all i'd put in this basket was a load of crap and she knew it. She didn't like it at all. That was the start of the mum guilt.

We finally got Eva to sleep and I realised that we hadn't put anything out for Santa. She'd made bags of reindeer food and I felt awful. So what did I do? I woke her up. Bad mum alert. She loved putting the plate out for him but again the mum guilt started as not only had I woken her up but it was once again a half hearted attempt at something that should be so special to a child.

Christmas morning started early (after a very late night to bed the night before). Eva was happy but then I heard the words that Santa didn't bring me what I wanted. My heart sank. Hubby also upset me but i won't go into that. I managed to keep it together for a while but then had to take myself off to bed for a nap where I just cried. Silly I know but I sobbed for a good hour. 

Mum guilt can be such a bitch (excuse my language) and don't our kids have the ability to make us feel like heroes once second and the worst parents on the earth the next. I knew this year was mostly my fault for being so disorganised. I really wanted it to be stress free, easy and enjoyable as it was Eva's first year of really understanding and she was so excited. 

I've put all this in a blog post so that next year I can remember just how horrible it was and hopefully get my shit together. Christmas should be a time for family enjoyment and special moments not rushing around trying to make everything perfect but missing out on all the excitement.

How was your Christmas? Were you a disorganised parent or did you manage to get it all sorted with plenty of time to spare?


Saturday 24 December 2016

The Christmas Blogger Interview - Twinderelmo

Next on my Christmas blogger interview is one of my blogging besties, Beth who writes at

1 Do you have any family Christmas traditions?

We kick off Christmas with putting the tree up just before Charlie's birthday and a trip to the pantomime has become part of the build up. Everyone usually comes to ours on Christmas Eve for a takeaway and everyone goes to bed in new pjs.

2 What’s your ultimate Christmas movie?

I love Home Alone and Charlie too has fallen in love with them. It reminds me of being young and my sister watching them on loop thanks to her crush on Macauley Culkin!

3 What 3 songs would be top of your festive playlist?

A Fairytale of New York as it always reminds me of my Dad belting it out in the car as kids! I also love Do They Know It's Christmas and Slades Merry Christmas. I love the old ones

4 Are you an online shopper or do you go to the actual stores?

Online all the way for me but my sister and I always have an annual trip at the start of November as she's old school and likes to go to the actual shops so that's the only time I really go.

5 Do you make shopping lists or buy things when you see something nice? 

I never make a list, totally just wing it and buy as I spot stuff.

6 Do you send Christmas cards?

Oh definitely. This year I've sent some from the girls to their nursery classmates too.

7 Do you have an elf on the shelf? What do you do with it?

No luckily we've got away with it but I've friends who do it and it sounds far too stressful!

8 Do you have chocolate advent calendars or something else?

We still have chocolate advent calendars but they've not seemed that bothered this year so I might not bother next year.

9 Do you do a Christmas eve box? If so what’s in it?

No I don't do them. I like to save all the gifts for Christmas Day as we once let Charlie open a present on Christmas Eve and it occupied his complete attention so his attention was diverted on Christmas Day!!

10 Do you make any gifts?

I am the worst crafter EVER so for everyone's sake I don't embarrass myself.

11 Do you do any Christmas crafts?

Assembling a gingerbread house was about as crafty as I can muster

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12 If you could only eat 3 things from your Christmas dinner, what would they be?

Pigs in blankets, turkey and (controversially) Yorkshire puddings. I could have Yorkshire puds with any/everything

13 What’s your favourite festive tipple?

Not very festive but I'm all for prosecco by the bucket full at Christmas!

14 Where are you spending Christmas this year?

At home. My Dad, Gran, sister and brother in law are coming for lunch at ours and I'm sure other relatives will pop in on the day too. My husband absolutely loves cooking for everyone (genuinely- crazy fool!)

15 If you could go to any Christmas market in the world where would you go?

My Dad always raves about the German markets but can I say Disney just so we can go back?! 

Thanks for taking part Beth. You can keep up to date with her blog by clicking on the following social media:


Tuesday 20 December 2016

Marriott's Village d'ile-de-France - Review

If you're a regular reader of my blog then you'll know that there's one thing as a family that we cannot resist....Disney, so when Marriott offered us a stay at their vacation club near to Disneyland Paris at Village d'il-de-France, we couldn't say no.

I'd already heard very good reviews of the accommodation from a friend who has stayed there a couple of times with her children. When we have visited Disneyland Paris before we have always stayed close to the resort in a hotel so we were excited to give this self catering accommodation a go.

We travelled by Eurostar directly to Disneyland Paris. Once we arrived we took a taxi to the Marriott Village d'il-de-France as it was the quickest, most convenient way to get there. After having travelled on the train for quite a few hours we were eager to get there as quick as possible. The taxi rank is directly outside the train station. The ride took us about 10-15 minutes and cost 20 euros.
My sister and brother in law drove their car from London directly to the accommodation so look out for a separate blog post on how they found that journey which will be live very soon.

We arrived to a peaceful resort surrounded by French countryside. The resort seemed large but very picturesque. The taxi pulled into a very quaint courtyard which resembled a French village. 

The reception area is lovely. The staff were very welcoming and informative. They told us all about the facilities at the hotel and most importantly how we could travel to Disneyland.

We were then shown to our 2 bedroomed townhouse. We walked to it from reception using a map. The map was easy to follow and the resort itself was easy to navigate around with appropriate signage.

When we arrived at the front door, Eva was ridiculously over excited as she couldn't believe this huge house was our 'holiday house'. Upon entering we were blown away. Eva quickly ran into every room talking in her high pitched/very fast voice that she uses when she is very happy and excited.

Downstairs there was a hallway with a kitchen, living/dining room, toilet and a cupboard leading off from it. The cupboard was large with room for shoes, coats and bags. 

The fully equipped kitchen was a decent size. There was a dishwasher (which I was very happy about) and a coffee machine (which hubby was very happy about). There was also a bag with a few teabags, filter coffee, dishwasher tablets etc which I thought was a nice touch as we could straight away use the amenities without having to pop to the shop. There was plenty of crockery available.
There was also a utility room attached to the kitchen which featured a washing machine.

The living room/dining room was a large, spacious area. It featured floor to ceiling windows/doors which opened to a spectacular view of the resort surrounding us. There was a seating area, coffee table, tv, telephone and a dining room table. Outside was a terraced area with a table and chairs. Unfortunately, we didn't get a chance to sit outside (it was the end of November and freezing cold). I'm sure in the spring/summer this would be a wonderful feature to the house as we could have breakfast outside or simply sit down whilst the kids ran around and enjoyed the open space.

Upstairs were 2 bedrooms and a bathroom. The master bedroom was gorgeous and overlooked a lake.. It was very spacious with plenty of closet and drawer space. The bed was huge and I have to say we had a very peaceful, comfy sleep on it. It was so big that Eva actually slept in it with us. 

The ensuite was large with an amazing bath. I think the bath was one of my favourite features in the house. I can't tell you how good it felt to shut that bathroom door, run myself a deep, warm bath and just relax in it whilst sipping a glass of wine. 

The other bedroom was also large with enough room for suitcases etc. I don't think i've ever stayed in accommodation where the bedrooms have not felt cramped when you unpack but these ones were perfect.

The house was wonderful. It was a home away from home. It's the ideal place to unwind after a busy day at Disneyland. 

The Marriott Village d'ile-de-France is a fantastic resort with plenty of things to offer. There is a fully equipped gym, indoor swimming pool with sauna, bistro, outdoor heated swimming pool for adults and a separate one for children, a bar with a happy hour, games room, golf, badminton, football, basketball, movie screenings, kids activity centre and outdoor play area.

There was also a children's club in the activity centre. Eva popped in to do some drawing. There are adult activities available too which unfortunately we didn't have time to take advantage of.

There is an on-site marketplace to buy food, drink and necessities. You could also buy cooked pizza's there too. Plus a bar in reception with a very tempting happy hour in the evenings and a lovely cocktail menu.

We used the hotels shuttle bus to travel to and from Disneyland Paris. It was very convenient. You simply booked and paid for it at reception which cost 3 euros for adults which was a return fair, so ideal and the shuttle was not busy so less stressful than ones wed used when staying nearer to the park. 

I can honestly say this was the best accommodation I have ever stayed in for visiting Disneyland Paris. We had such a wonderful time. It has everything a family could need to make a stay as easy, comfortable and enjoyable as possible. I only wish we could have stayed for longer but we will definitely be returning.

Look out for more of my posts about this trip on my blog very soon.

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