Sunday 31 December 2017

My Most Read Posts in 2017

I thought it would be a nice idea to put together all of my most read blog posts in 2017 to see what you've been enjoying reading. Some of the top 10 surprised me and others I knew would do very well. Disney, Mindfulness, Post Natal Depression and Travel feature heavily in the top 10 which is great as they are what I enjoy writing about the most.

Here they are counting down from 10 with number 1 being the most read:

I was very surprised to see a review post in the top 10 but this one was unique. It was for a lovely personalised charm from Hand on Heart Jewellery. The charm featured both Eva and Ophelia's hand prints so it it something I can cherish for ever.

I was so pleased to see this post in the top 10 as I loved writing it. I can remember how excited I was about planning our Disney World trip. Ironically, I didn't manage to do a lot of the things on it. Hopefully we can return to Disney again soon and get them ticked off.

This year i've been trying to practice mindfulness to help combat my postnatal depression. I started a blog series of Disney quotes for mindfulness and this was the very first one I wrote. I've always enjoyed reading Winnie the Pooh and the quotes included in this post are lovely.

This was one of the first posts I wrote in 2017. At the end of 2016 I embarked on a health and exercise regime which worked incredibly well for me and I ended up dropping 2 dress sizes in 6 weeks. Unfortunately, postnatal depression (PND) has kicked my arse a lot since then and I fell out of love with doing anything. I need to re-read this post myself and hopefully have a healthy, motivated 2018.

I am so happy this post was one of the most read. I joined the PTA at my daughter's school and it quickly became apparent that people have the wrong idea about the people on it and what it is. There are lots of misconceptions so I decided to write a comical post to clear them up.

Another one from my Disney Mindfulness series. Moana quickly became one of mine and my daughter's favourite Disney films. It features lots of strong, powerful quotes to encourage you to remember who you are.

Going for Afternoon Tea is one of my favourite things to do and we are very fortunate in South Wales as there are plenty of places to try. I wrote a post featuring some of our preferred places. I think i'll update this for 2018 as there has been quite a few new offerings in 2017.

This was one of my personal favourite posts. I wrote it when I was in quite a dark place with PND but I decided I wanted to try and raise awareness of mental health issues so I began to  discuss it on the blog. I wrote this poem to try and make other sufferers aware that they aren't alone and they should speak out. I received lots of messages from parents after writing it which was encouraging. 

I knew this post had been well received but I didn't realise it was enjoyed so much that it was my second most read post of the year. Both the girls loved the party and the range available from The Disney Store is perfect.

I am so pleased that this was the most read post of 2017. I loved writing it. I laughed so much whilst putting the ideas together. Even though it was written in a comical manner, every tip is truth. 

Which posts in my top 10 did you enjoy reading? What would you like to see me write more of in 2018?


Diono Quantum Travel System Review

A while ago the lovely people at Diono sent me their first ever travel system to put through its paces. The Quantum travel system is designed to be #adventureready and with us being a family that can't keep still, we couldn't wait to try it.

When I say I was sent this a while ago, I mean it. It has made its way comfortably into our lives and it feels like we've always had it. We've been using it everyday. It goes on the school run, to the beach, on dog walks, mountain adventures, to the zoo, on caravan holiday's and more. The only place we haven't tried taking it, is abroad. 

The Quantum comes in 4 different colours, Black, Navy, Teal and Red. It costs £500 and comes with everything you would need such as raincover, seat-liner etc. The only thing it doesn't come with is a car seat but it is compatible with lots of different brands of car seats such as Cybex and Maxi Cosi. I've also heard that Diono may be making their own car seat which will be compatible with this system very soon.

This travel system is like none we've ever used before, you can tell it has been designed with parents in mind. The first thing that makes it stand out from other travel systems is the fact that it comes with so few parts. Previous systems we've used have come with at least 3 or 4 separate components making them the stuff of nightmares to store. The Quantum comes with a very clever convertible 3 in 1 smart seat. The carriage can be transformed to a seat by connecting 4 clips. It's easy to do and is a great space saver. This makes the travel system ideal for people who lack storage space and those with small boots on their cars.

Image from

The carriage can be laid completely flat. This means it can be used from birth. With Ophelia being the age she is, we've hardly used it as a carriage and therefore haven't tried it with her in the lie flat position but if we ever have a baby number 3, we'll definitely utilise that feature.   It can also be tilted in lie flat mode and this makes the travel system perfect for babies that suffer with reflux. 

My favourite feature by a mile is the brake. That is a phrase you would never here me say about any other travel system or pushchair. The brake is amazing. I can't begin to tell you how many times I have stubbed my toe or scuffed my feet and nails on our older pushchairs. This genius design has been a lifesaver or toe saver for me shall we say. 
The brake is large and centralised in the middle of the bar so no hunting around on corners trying to find it. It's a simple one step movement to activate it. All you have to do is step on it to lock and step again to unlock. It's as easy as that. You can do it in any shoes. It's been amazing to use in the summer as my toes have been saved from injury when wearing flip flops and sandals. 

The huge hood is also one of my favourite features. It extends far enough to give good coverage. It has a UV extender attached to it. It keeps the sun out of Ophelia's eyes (when it finally makes an appearance that is). It has a mesh section on the canopy which allows airflow. There's also a magnetic viewing flap so you can have a peek at your little ones without disturbing them. 

The Quantum Travel System has the perfect sized storage basket. You can fit plenty under there so it's great for using on shopping trips. It's wide and easily accessible. I think the only down side to the amount of space (and the travel system in general) is that it makes the pram quite large and bulky. 

It has a one hand fold system. Hoorah!! This is great for us busy parents that never have enough hands free. It also has a handy shoulder strap for carrying once it's down which is fab for when you're trying to juggle holding bags and children's hands etc.

For almost a year Ophelia has wanted to be parent facing but since we've had the Quantum she has wanted to face the world to absorb her adventures. This travel system allows for both parent and world facing. 

The Quantum is great on all terrains and provides and incredibly smooth ride even on grass and rough surfaces. It has large wheels which means hardly any punctures! Wahoo. It has great manoeuvrability  I am able to push the Quantum with one hand whilst walking the dog in the other. The only thing I notice (and this may be due to my lack of muscle) is that I struggle going up a curb. 

I would definitely recommend the Quantum travel system to parents. It has made my school run like a dream. It's great for all weather conditions and all surfaces meaning it is ready for any adventure. 

*We were kindly sent the Diono Quantum Travel System in exchange for this blog post. As always may opinions are my own and honest and truthful*


Friday 22 December 2017

Charlotte Tilbury's Beauty Icons

The Charlotte Tilbury brand is one which I lust after. From Charlotte's own reputation as an amazing make up artist to the products' beautiful packaging, you know the brand oozes quality. I recently received the Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Icons set which makes the perfect gift.

The set contains 5 of Charlotte Tilbury's most iconic and award winning products from her make up and skin care range and therefore makes it ideal for first timers of the brand or simply someone that can't get enough of the range. There are 3 make up products and 2 face creams. All are travel sized except a full sized lip liner.

Here's what's inside:

Lip Cheat Lip Liner - Pillow Talk
I've heard fab things about this lip liner so I couldn't wait to try it. It's safe to say it does not disappoint. The lip liner is designed to re-size and re-shape your lips and it does just that. It's the perfect nude colour for all skin types. I'll admit, when I first saw the colour, I didn't think it would suit my skin tone but it is a match made in heaven. 
It glides on easily and I can definitely see a difference in my lips when I use it. It makes them look fuller and more defined. I've actually been using it with just lip balm and gloss alone and it looks great. I really need to try the Pillow Talk lipstick now.

Full Fat Lashes Mascara 
This award winning mascara comes in a mini size and is designed to give you curl, separation, volume, length and drama. It has fine tipped bristles to catch every lash on application. 
I've been using it as a day mascara. It makes my lashes long and is great for separating them. I can't stand clumpy eyelashes and this mascara doesn't create that effect. It is as buildable as you like so you can make your lashes as thick and long as you wish which I will try for an evening look.

K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipstick - Penelope Pink
I must confess I was very disappointed with the size of this mini lipstick. It is tiny which is such a shame. The colour is a lovely nude with a slight pink undertone. It's very creamy and leaves may lips feeling hydrated and moisturised. 

Wonderglow Face Primer
I've loved using this primer. It certainly does give you a wonder glow. It leaves my skin more radiant and creates a dewy look. I have a couple of small wrinkles now (damn my age) and this is helping to smooth them out. I find when I use some primers and foundations they make my wrinkles stand out more which I am mortified with but this makes my skin look more youthful. I will definitely be buying this in the full size.

Charlotte's Magic Cream
Believe it or not, I'd first heard of this product from my nan. She swears by it and hasn't got a bad word to say about it. I couldn't wait to try it. It's one of Charlotte Tilbury's most coveted products and is adored backstage by celebrities and models.
It contains an anti-age BioNymph Peptide complex which stimulates collagen production whilst flighting free radicals. 
This cream really is what it says on the tin. It's magical. It feels luxurious when you're applying it and I can hear my skin screaming thank you. I do suffer with dry skin in certain areas but this cream is incredibly moisturising. I will be purchasing a full sized one once this is finished. 

This set comes in at £55 which may be off putting to some people. However, you can't put a price on quality and all of these products are great. It's been the ideal way for me to try the most loved Charlotte Tilbury items to decide whether I want to purchase the full sized ones. I am obsessed with the Lip Liner so i'll definitely be looking at the other colours avaiable and I can't wait to try some other shades in the lipstick. 

Have you used Charlotte Tilbury make up? Which products are your favourite?


Wednesday 20 December 2017

Visiting Santa at Pugh's Garden Centre Cardiff

Visiting Santa at Pugh's Garden Centre has become a family tradition of ours since we first took Eva there in 2014. The theme that year was Frozen which Eva adores. I wrote a blog post about our visit which you can read here, Pugh's 2014. We were lucky enough to be invited this year to experience 'Santa's Magical Candyland'. We knew it would be magical but we didn't know whether they'd be able to make it better than previous years.

Tickets cost £14 per child and £5 per adult. I must admit as a parent, I find that price quite off putting. However, the cost can certainly be justified by the experience. The price includes a 30 minute journey through Santa's Candyland (5 different rooms in total) to eventually meet Santa. It also includes a surprise tasty treat to take home, a toy and a discounted hot drink.

It's advised to book online before visiting to ensure you get a spot. Once you arrive you can wait in the waiting area where you can write a letter to Santa. An elf then calls you in to start your journey to Santa. 

You then go through to a room to board a train. This was my favourite part of the experience. It's very realistic and certainly unique. The video is also quite comical for the adults which is always a bonus.

Next up you head to the gingerbread factory where you have to help power things along by throwing balls through holes. Both my girls loved this part.

Then you head to Mrs Claus' kitchen which is beautifully decorated. It looks incredibly festive and cosy. 

You then wait in a forest before visiting Santa. Your group visits Santa together but your child has individual time with him for a chat and photo opportunities.

Once the journey ends your child gets to pick their own toy from a wide selection. I think this is a great idea as you know your child will like their gift. I can't tell you how many times we've been to visit Santa in other places and the gift has not been up to scratch. 

Overall, the experience was wonderful. The kids thought it was amazing and so did we. There are so many special touches that make Santa's Candyland truly magical and stand out from any other experience in South Wales. I can't recommend it enough.

My only negative comment was the parking. We went on a weekend and the car park was utter chaos which was incredibly stressful. It took us over 45 minutes to park the car. If you are going to visit on a weekend please keep this in mind. 

Have you visited Santa this year? Where are your favourite places to visit him?

*We were invited to experience Santa's magical Candyland in exchange for this blog post. All opinions are my own*


Friday 15 December 2017

15 The Lion King Quotes for Mindfulness

Next up in my Disney quotes for mindfulness series is 'The Lion King'. These quotes help me on the days when I am struggling with my PND. There were so many to choose from in this film. I probably could've written this whole post based on quotes from Rafiki.

1) Everything will be ok in the end. If it is not okay, it's not the end

2) Look inside yourself. You are more than what you have become

3) HAKUNA MATATA - It means no worries, for the rest of your days

4) Never forget who you are

5) Look beyond what you can see

6) Change is good but it's not easy

7) The past can hurt, but the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it

8) Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance

9) You got to put your past behind you

10) Being brave doesn't mean you go looking for trouble

11) As you go through life you'll see there is so much we don't understand, and the only thing we know is things don't always go the way we planned

12) More people would learn from their mistakes if they weren't so busy denying them

13) If today is the worst day of your life then you know tomorrow will be better

14) Can you feel the love tonight?

15) Life's greatest adventure is finding your place in the circle of life 

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you check out the previous ones in this series:


Toddlebike2 Review

Ophelia has been confidently walking and running (running mostly) for a while now, so we thought it was time to get her some sort of bike. After much research and asking friends, we were recommended a Toddlebike. This was not something hubby and I had heard of before. With Eva, she went straight to a normal bike and she still struggles riding it, even now. She's not very confident on it at all. 

As luck would have it, we were asked if Ophelia would like to try out the Toddlebike2 so we jumped at the chance. We chose to receive a pink one but it also comes in blue and red.

When it arrived, I thought we'd been sent an empty box. Normally when we get a parcel, I end up asking the poor postman to bring it into the house but this time when he handed it over, I was rather perplexed. 
You hear the word bike and automatically assume it'll be heavy but this one is honestly as light as a feather. Even Ophelia can pick it up. It actually weighs less than 1kg. 

It also arrives fully assembled!! Anyone that has had to put together a bike or any children's toy will know just how frustrating that can be so this was fab to see.

The bike is designed for children who are confident in walking so around the age of 18 months old, until they are ready for a big bike.The Toddlebike helps improve little one's confidence in their balance which will then help then in the future when it comes to learning to ride an actual bike.

Whenever Ophelia isn't riding it around, Eva is on it. Luckily it has been tested up to 100kg so older siblings are fine to test it out, just prepare yourself for the arguments. The girls always end up fighting when the other one has it but that's typical sibling rivalry at its best. 

Ophelia took to the Toddlebike straight away. Some children need a bit of practice but others will be just like Ophelia. The minute she sat on it she knew what to do. She whizzes around the house thinking she's the bee's knees. The handle bars and seat aren't adjustable but they are within easy reach. 

My favourite feature is definitely how light it is. The bike has come around everywhere with us. It goes on the school run (such a godsend as it gets Ophelia and me, there and back quicker). It has been to the beach with us and it has also been on our recent caravan holiday. It's small enough to pop in the car and not take up too much room. You can even pop it on your stroller or in the basket. We also regularly take it to grandparent's houses to keep Ophelia entertained.

The bike can even go through water which is great fun for kiddies that love puddles. It is water and rust proof and therefore all weather fun.

Ophelia loves everything about this bike. It's honestly one of the best things we've got for her in a long time. 

You can purchase the Toddlebike2 for £23.95 here, but I have a 10% discount code you can use to help with your Christmas shopping. Simply add BLOG17 for your discount.

*Thank you to Toddlebike2 for sending us the bike in exchange for this blog post*


Wednesday 13 December 2017

Men's Christmas Gift Ideas

This Christmas gift guide will focus on ideas for men which will include stocking fillers and presents. 

1) Living DNA Ancestry Test*
This is such a unique and fascinating gift. The Living DNA Ancestry test allows you to view your ancestry going back up to 10 generations. It covers not only your family line history but also that of your mother and father. You simply take a swab, pop it in the post and then once that is analysed your results will be online. I think this is such a cool, personalised gift for someone. If you pop back to my blog in a few weeks you will see my results.

2) Aftershave 
Aftershave always makes a great stocking filler and I often go to Boots to buy it as they have great discounts and advantage card offers this time of year.

3) Shaver*
The Braun Series 3 is a great size for a stocking filler or a gift on its own. It's a rechargeable, electric shaver, that charges faster than others. The 3-pressure sensitive shaving elements adapt perfectly to every facial contouring shave in intuitive straight lines.

4) Lego
There are so many awesome lego sets out at the moment that you'd be spoilt for choice. Any of the new Star Wars sets would be perfect with the upcoming film release and a must for any Star Wars fanatics.

5) Socks*
Socks and underwear always seem like the cliché gift but yet most of the time they secretly love to receive them. Mainline Menswear have a wide selection available by some great brands. The Tommy Hilfiger 4 pack of socks arrive in a lovely, festive tin that could be used afterwards for storing things (if you know someone with a man drawer, then you'll know how many small things they have in there).

Image from Mainline Menswear Website

6) Gift Experience
I always love to give a gift experience as a gift. Red Letter Days has lots of different ones on their website from foodie experiences to extreme adventure. There is something unique for everyone. I can't recommend the Go Below Ultimate Xtreme underground adventure enough. Both my hubby and I loved it. You can see more of it by watching my youtube video or reading the experience here, Go Below Experience.

That's it for my ideas. What do you normally buy for any men in your life? I always find them pretty tricky.

Catch up with my other gift guides here:

*These items were gifted to me to include in a gift guide*


Tuesday 5 December 2017

Me and Mine Project - November 2017

You may remember that in my last Me and Mine project post, I was annoyed that I hadn't taken many family pictures during our holiday (you can recap here, Me and Mine). Well, I'm ashamed to say i've not improved. It is so hard to find someone to get a pic of all of us and we always forget to take the tripod with us whenever we go anywhere.

November was such a chaotic month for us with lots of highs and sadly lots of lows. During the month we had a tragic family death and both girls ended up with chicken pox. However, Ophelia turned 2 and we were also able to have a few fun family experiences. 

At the beginning of the month we were invited to Cardiff's Winter Wonderland for their opening evening. We got to try out everything from the rides to the ice-skating. Eva remembered it from last year so she couldn't wait to go. She was slightly nervous on the ice but i'm sure in her head she thought she was Elsa from Frozen. Ophelia loved the rides. It honestly made our night seeing her little face on one of the kids rides. She was ecstatic. You can find out more about our night here, Cardiff's Winter Wonderland. We're hoping to return before we go on holiday.

Towards the end of the month we had Ophelia's 2nd birthday. We took her on a day out during the day whilst Eva was at school and then threw her a tea party in the house for family at night. She is a Disney obsessed child (she would be having me as her mum) so we had to decide between a Frozen or Moana themed party. We've had to do Frozen a few times already with Eva so we decided on Moana. She was so happy when she saw all of the decorations. She didn't quite understand what was going on but she enjoyed it none the less. 

We didn't manage to get many pictures that night of all of us or of Ophelia on her own because she was so preoccupied with her presents and with having family around her. We did manage to grab these selfie's at the end of the night.

We also got matching pyjamas from Next recently so we tried to get a pic of us all wearing them but failed. They are such cute, snuggly, pyjamas and they'd be perfect for Xmas day but we must've taken the pics when we were tired as we all don't look very enthusiastic. 

Together this month we've loved:
Ice Skating
Winter Wonderland
Cinema Trips
Rugby (even the girls have been watching it)
Party Food
Christmas Films

In a week we go to Australia to spend Christmas with my family. We can't wait. I have made a vow to myself to take as many family pics as possible when we are there so check back next month for my Me and Mine Project post to see them.

The Me + Mine Project - Dear Beautiful
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