Monday 31 July 2017

10 things that distract me from blogging

I used to think I was a very organised, focus driven person but upon reflection I now realise I am easily distracted and I waste a lot time doing things that aren't productive at all. My blog planner is usually full of things I need to do and posts I need to write yet why can't I just get these things done and dusted? I get a small window to actually do some blog work but then my mind wanders and bam, an hour later and i've achieved absolute zero.

Here are 10 things that distract me from blogging:

1) Social Media 
Good old social media. How many times have you thought, 'i'll just quickly check Facebook, Twitter and Instagram' and then half an hour later you've finished but instead of starting your blog work you go back to check Facebook etc again just incase you missed anything new in the last half an hour? And then the cycle continues.

2) The TV
If you're a parent like me then you'll know that the only window you actually have to watch the TV is once your children are in bed which can end up being very late. I sometimes try and watch TV whilst blogging but the usual soap crap coming out of Eastenders is just far too enticing to focus on the task in-front of me.

3) Writing Lists
I can't tell you how many lists I've got on the go. I've got lists about my lists. Lists in notepads, my phone, post it notes on the fridge, my blog planner and my diary. If I just focused on ticking off these tasks rather than writing new lists about the tasks then I may be more productive. However, I am a sucker for coloured pens and a new notebook and I just can't help myself.

4) Online Shopping
I am a self proclaimed shopaholic. There's nothing I love doing more than browsing endless shopping websites looking at clothes I can't afford to buy and placing them in imaginary shopping baskets.

5) My Husband
As i've already said earlier there is a short amount of time in which you can actually adult when you have kids. This is usually when the kids are in bed. This is when normal conversations begin etc. I'll be writing a really emotive post or one that i'm really enjoying and hubby will start chatting. Chatting like there's no tomorrow. The endless questions about anything and everything which of course then ruins my writing flow. I love him really, honestly.

6) What's app
Most of my conversations I have these days take part on what's app. If you're in a group conversation like me you'll start getting palpitations at the thought of not checking your what's app regularly and then having 500+ messages to catch up on. It's honestly the stuff of nightmares.

7) Wine
It's no secret that I love a glass of red wine. For some reason I always think it's a great idea to pour myself one whilst blogging. One, becomes two, two becomes three and the rest is history.

8) Reading other blogs
One thing I love doing is reading other blogs except the only time I actually get to do this is usually when I need to be blogging myself. 

9) Catching up on emails
Emails can sometimes take me hours to catch up on and every time I go through a mission to clear them, I swear an oath to myself that I will never let them pile up that big again. It's the same oath I take with my ironing. Needless to say this is an oath I break quite regularly.

10) My Kids
Last but not least my kids cause me the biggest distraction ever!!! There are just no hours in the day to work whilst they are awake.

Can you relate to any of the above? What are your biggest blogging distractions?


A 4 year old's guide to packing hand luggage

With our next holiday imminent, it's time for the dreaded task of packing the suitcases. I find this stressful enough for myself, let alone packing for the kids too. You may have read one of my recent posts which is part of my unconventional travel guide series which was The Unconventional Guide to Packing a suitcase with young kids. In that post I state that one thing that makes packing easier is to allow your children to pack their own hand luggage. They love feeling responsible for themselves, the task creates great excitement and it keeps them busy whilst you crack on with the actual suitcases. 

Eva was sent a fab Disney Nemo hand luggage size suitcase and wallet from Samsonite to take away with her on her travels. It's a good size for her to pull along herself and she finds it easy to manoeuvre. It's big enough for all her aeroplane entertainment essentials and the zip compartment is handy. It's also very sturdy. As you can imagine, it gets bashed about quite a bit but it is surviving very well which is exactly what you want when travelling.

I asked Eva what she thinks is essential to pack in your hadn't lugage. Here's what she came up with:

1) Snacks 
2) Teddy 
3) Small toys 
4) Colouring books
5) Pencils
6) Stickers
7) Ipad
8) Pillow
9) Lego
10) Cozy hoody

I think she's spot on with what she wants to pack. I'd just add a spare change of clothes and she's aeroplane ready.

Does your child have their own hand luggage bag? What items do you pack for them? 

*Thank you to Samsonite for sending us the Disney Nemo suitcase*

Sunday 30 July 2017

I've Rebranded - Welcome to

If you're a regular reader of my blog then you'll have noticed my blog name and url has changed. All about a mini Norris had served me well but I felt the name didn't reflect the direction the blog had taken. When I started this blog it was solely written about my eldest daughter Eva and parenting. When I became pregnant again, it documented my pregnancy. It was mainly about my girls and nothing else but that has changed.

For a while now it has been more of a lifestyle blog talking about their lives as-well as my own personal one. This is probably to do with the fact that as the kids have gotten older, I'm feeling like I have more of my own identity back and i'm starting to enjoy my own passions in life again. I've been discussing fashion, travel, beauty, mental health, food, fitness, my own days out and life etc.

After speaking to lots of my close blogging friends we decided that my name would be the best name for the blog,. After all, this blog is documenting every aspect of my life so it was the perfect fit. I purchased the domain quite a few months ago but it's taken me this amount of time to actually bite the bullet and change over. It's such a difficult thing to do when you have an established blog as you lose a lot of your statistics and you worry your readers won't find you etc. 

I needed a new logo etc for my rebrand and I was advised to ask a fellow blogger Alex from What Alex Did. He was fantastic and came up with the perfect logo that reflects everything i'm about.

He also created an into video for me which is just perfect. I wanted it to show that i'm still working so it features me in my scrubs, the kids, travel and the fact we love Disney. Oh and we got me with a glass of red wine in it which is a regular look for me (haha). 

Anyway enough rabbiting on. Welcome to A family, lifestyle and travel blog. 

Friday 28 July 2017

Breakfast at Servini's Cardiff

One of my favourite meals of the day is breakfast and lucky for me Servini's in Cardiff kindly invited myself and hubby along to try out their menu. Servini's is located in the wonderful Wyndham Arcade which is the oldest arcade in Cardiff. They are an independent cafe who have been around for nearly 50 years offering freshly cooked food.

The cafe itself is very cosy but with a modern theme. You can sit inside or outside in the arcade which is ideal for sipping a coffee whilst people watching. The staff make you feel welcome as soon as you arrive and they are very accommodating. 

The breakfast menu is big and varied and the best thing about it is that it is served all day long. We honestly couldn't choose as it all sounded amazing. You can have things such as a cooked breakfast, pancakes, smoked salmon, porridge etc. 

There are also plenty of drink's choices ranging from coffees to Bloody Mary's. I chose a latte and hubby had a filter coffee which we both enjoyed.

After much deliberating I chose the 'Avocado muffin' with Halloumi and Bacon and hubby chose 'Egg's how you like them' with Black Pudding and Bacon. My mouth was salivating whilst watching other people's breakfasts arrive at their tables. It all looked so tasty (especially the pancake stack which I will definitely try next time we go). 

The food arrived quickly and we were desperate to tuck in. My food was honestly heaven on a plate. It tasted as amazing as it looked. The mashed avocado was so fresh and it was paired with lime, onion and tomato to give it an almost salsa vibe. It added a kick to the dish and tasted of summer. The eggs were poached to perfection. I was really glad I decided to add the Bacon and Halloumi as it gave the dish a salty texture which combined with mashed avocado, made a perfect contrast. All of the ingredients bounced off each other. 

The portion size was very generous and I was comfortably full until I had my dinner in the evening. 

Hubby was also massively impressed with his breakfast. He said the hollandaise sauce was spot on and you could easily tell that it was cooked fresh. He was also impressed with the portion sizes.

Overall, we had one of the best breakfasts we've had in Cardiff for a long time. The venue itself is ideally located. The atmosphere is lovely. You could easily sit there for a while sipping coffee watching the world go by. The food was out of this world. It was all perfectly cooked and tasted so fresh. The dishes are incredible value for money as you are getting quite a lot on your plate. The staff also added to the experience. We will definitely be returning and I have been recommending it to everyone I know. Top tip if you go there - be sure to get yourself some Welsh cakes to take away, they are divine. 

*Thank you to Servini's for providing us with breakfast in exchange for our honest opinions in this post*

Monday 24 July 2017

Keep your family safe on the road with Bridgestone DriveGuard Tyres

I'll put my hands up and admit I am one of those people that knows absolutely nothing about my car and especially the tyres. In fact shamefully enough I couldn't even tell you if my car carries a spare tyre (runs off to check). I wouldn't know the first thing about how to change a tyre and quite frankly if I had the kids in the car with me, I wouldn't even want to attempt it. 

I was kindly invited by Bridgestone to an event which was all about their DriveGuard tyres at the stunning venue of Chateau Impney in Droitwich. I wasn't sure what to expect but the event was lots of fun with plenty of hands on activities and games.

Firstly we had an introduction to Bridgestone DriveGuards. The tyres have been designed to remove concerns about tyre damage, including punctures, allowing motorists to carry on driving for 50 mph for 50 miles. It also delivers the highest standards of safety, wet performance, comfort and fuel efficiency. This makes them ideal for drivers like me that are nervous about changing tyres etc. 

Bridgestone DriveGuards are designed for passenger cars with a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). I have a Kia Sportage so luckily I have this my car. The tyre is able to be driven on complete loss of air pressure through innovative technology known as a cooling fin.

My favourite part of the event was when we got to drive around a track and test out the difference between driving on normal tyres and a Bridgestone Driveguard which was completely flat. I can honestly say there was no difference at all. It was still a very smooth drive and I felt incredibly safe.

We also got to try out some very cool virtual reality sets and see Bridgestone's test track in Italy.

We got to learn about Bridgestone's #nomatterwhat campaign. Bridgestone are currently Olympic partners and this campaign helps people realise they can chase their dreams, no matter what. It's a fantastic campaign and one I would love to be involved in. I felt incredibly inspired after watching some of the campaign videos including the one below featuring Chris Mears.

Overall, I really enjoyed the day. I learnt a lot about tyre safety and I really impressed hubby with my knowledge when I got home. I'm glad I attended the event as I now look at tyres differently and realise they are part of my safety blanket when driving with my children and that I shouldn't compromise on quality when our safety is at stake. 


Wednesday 19 July 2017

A Moment in Time with Ice-Watch

Lately i've been wishing I could just pause time. Life is so busy and chaotic that one day turns into a week and then a week turns into a month. Life just seems like a blur. It only seems like yesterday that I gave birth to Eva, my first born child. Now, here I am 4.5 years down the line and only a couple of months away from her starting her reception class at school.

Eva and I were kindly sent some Ice-Watch timepieces from Ice-Watch and it was when I was looking at pictures of the two of us wearing them that I started to reflect on our time together as mummy and daughter. 

She currently goes to preschool for 2.5 hours a day. I'm angry at myself for wishing she was in school for longer and fantasising what it will be like with all my spare time. I feel like I've been wishing her life away instead of pausing and enjoying the precious time I have with her before she grows up.

I have such fond memories of when it was just me and her, all the special moments and days out we took together. Then her sister came along and our family dynamic changed. Life became hectic. I become preoccupied with daily life rather than focusing on those moments in time. 

If these last 4.5 years of parenting has taught me anything, it is to appreciate those small moments, those precious little exchanges between you and your children, the smiles, the laughter and even the tears. Believe you and me I have moaned through the clingy phases, the sleepless night phases, the terrible two's and now I would give anything to have that time back. I just wish I could make time stand still and soak in those moments.

I'm loving the stage where Eva and Ophelia still think i'm cool. We quite often twin or triplet each other with our clothing and instead of them thinking it's silly, they think it is amazing. These are the moments in time i'll never forget. They may want to forget it when their older but it'll be too late by then as i'll have the photographic evidence and the memories. Haha unlucky girls.

The gorgeous watches that you can see in our photos are from Ice-Watches. Mine is from the Ice sixty nine range and Eva's is from the ICE ola kids range. 

These watches will always hold a special place in my heart. I have a jewellery box of all of my special things from when I was younger which includes my very first watch which was a pink, my little pony watch given to me by my great grandparents. This Ice-Watch timepiece is Eva's first watch which is a super special moment in her life and I am so pleased that we have twinning watches to share this experience together. I'll keep these watches in that special Jewellery box when she grows out of hers.

Do you think time goes too fast? Do you have special moments in time? Have you got keepsake jewellery items from when you were younger?

*Thank you to Ice-Watch's for sending us our watches*


Sunday 16 July 2017

Our family day out at Oakwood Theme Park and Giveaway

Oakwood Theme Park is engraved in my childhood memory. We had many school trips there and I always loved it, so when we were asked if we would like to visit with the girls, I jumped at the chance to show them something I enjoyed as a child. Both hubby and I haven't visited since we were teenagers so we were intrigued to see how it has changed.

Oakwood theme park is located in South Wales and is easily accessible by Car. We enjoyed the scenic drive which took us 1 hour 45 minutes from Cardiff. The parking is free (a bonus as other theme parks sometimes charge) and it is close to the theme park entrance which is always handy when you have children and strollers. 

You can enter the park via a short train ride. I used to love this as a child. They run every 15 minutes but we had literally just missed a train departure so we took the very short walk to the park instead which took a couple of minutes. 

We headed straight to the circus section of the park which is aimed at preschool age children so perfect for our girls. At that point it was lovely and sunny so they enjoyed the park area and the swings.

We then decided to sit on the grass and enjoy our picnic that we had brought with us for lunch. There are plenty of areas for you to sit down and eat your own food or alternatively there are restaurants and food outlets to purchase food from the park.

Next up we headed over to the Neverland area. This is quite a recent opening so we were looking forward to seeing this. Peter Pan is one of Eva's favourite films and one of my favourite books so we were hoping this section would do it justice. 

You enter into Neverland through the London area. There are a few things to see and do here. We enjoyed the London Cab ride and we loved the journey through the home of the Darlings. Eva thought it was amazing spotting Peter Pan's shadow and Ophelia found the whole house fascinating. She was mesmerised by the lights. 

Next up we ventured into 'Hook's House of Havoc' which is a giant soft play area. This was ideal for hubby and I to get a little rest whilst the girls ran riots.

The next ride we went on was a small log flume in skull rock. It's fairly safe to say we got quite wet.  Our last adventure in Neverland saw Eva and Ophelia running around 'The Lost Boys Adventure' area which was a themed outdoor play area. 

 JM Barrie's book is really brought to life in here and represents the essence of the story. I adored having the music from 'Hook' being piped around the park. It really added to the atmosphere. This section is themed very well and captures the essence of what theme parks are all about. It takes you back to your childhood and allows you to embrace it.

We then headed towards the 'Bobsleigh' which was one of hubby's favourite rides here when he was younger. Eva thought it was fantastic and went on it twice. Apparently she preferred riding with daddy as he was much faster than I was.

Hubby and I then decided to ride 'Megafobia' which is a wooden roller coaster that we both loved as teens. Knowing that the ride was quite old we wondered whether it would still be as exciting as it was back when we first rode on it. 

Luckily, it was as good as we remembered. It's fast and rickety and still has that wonderful wooden shaky sound which puts the fear inside you. It's a definite adrenaline pumper and in our opinion is still the UK's best wooden roller coaster by far.

Last up we visited 'Dahland' which will be opening fully at some point this year. As the name suggests it is themed around Roald Dahl. There is a rollercoaster based upon James and the Giant Peach and a walkthrough attraction based on Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spike's house, opening soon. This was a lovely section of the park with lots of flowers and nice decorations around.

Overall, we had a lovely day. The kids particularly enjoyed it. There was plenty there for them to do but hubby and I felt like the park could do with a few more 'thrill rides'. Our favourite section of the park was Neverland which is perfectly themed. The newness of this area and Dahland made some of the other areas look a bit tired and in need of a facelift.

It was quiet whilst we went so we managed to go on all of the children's rides that we wanted to go on. It will probably be busier during the half term so maybe the fast pass service would be needed then.

Hubby and I didn't get to ride all of the older 'thrill rides' that are there as we found it a bit of a task whilst waiting for one person to queue up per ride. I'd like to see them offer a parent swap service where one parent can queue for a 'thrill ride' and then the other can go to the front of the queue once they have rode. This is much easier when you are visiting parks with young children. 

I think the park is reasonably priced for what is there and if you book in advance then you can get some great discounts. If we lived closer then I would consider an annual pass as the kids really did have a great time. You can get more information here about them, Annual Passes.

If you want a better view of our day then make sure you watch our video on youtube.

I'm very excited to announce that I am giving away a family pass to Oakwood which includes 2 adult and 2 children's tickets. You can enter via rafflecopter below.

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Terms & Conditions:
  • Closing date is 00:00 am UK time on Wednesday 26th July
  • No cash alternative to the prize stated
  • This competition is open to the UK and Ireland only
  • Entrants must log in and follow the directions given via the Rafflecopter widget
  • All entries will be verified
  • One winner will be chosen at random using Rafflecopter
  • The winner will be notified within 5 days of the closing date. The winner must respond within 7 days of receiving the email to claim their prize
  • The brand will dispatch the prize directly to the winner
  • The competition is not affiliated with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Youtube
*Thank you to Oakwood for providing us with a family pass in exchange of our honest opinions* 
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