Friday Favourites – My 5 Holiday Essentials

*this post contains items that I have been sent or previously sent to review. I will clearly state which items these are. All opinions and thoughts are my own*

Over the last 4 years (so not ok with saying I have a 4 year old *sobs*) we’ve got to use a lot of different travel products and I’m starting to know what we really need and what we can do without taking up suitcase space.

Recently we went on what’s becoming our annual family holiday to Portugal and we’re very lucky to be looking forward to a couple of staycations, camping trips and a holiday to France later this year. Packing space isn’t going to be excessive for any of these trips so these 5 products really are my must haves.

Babymule changing bag – I was sent this to review just before B was born and it’s still an essential these days, possibly even more so with two young children!

It’s the perfect bag to use for carry on luggage and for day trips. The different compartments and accessories mean I can pack plenty for everyone and access it all. The separate bag, I use for nappies and wipes, is perfect for a quick dash to the loos or to pass to someone else taking them to get changed without having to take the entire bag or pull everything out in the search for stuff.

Diono buggy buddy – there’s a fair few different brands of these organisers, but this is the one we use and love since G was tiny.

It always hangs at the right angle whenever the pushchair handles are adjusted, and it’s got a great amount of space to be able to hold some essentials. It’s also got two cup holders for yours or the kids’ drinks.

Nom Nom snack pouches – we’ve previously reviewed both the purée pouches and snack pouches and have been brand reps for them too, and I still can’t fault them. Snacks are an essential part of keeping everyone happy on holiday (and at home!) and these are a brilliant way to pack an easy to grab selection. And when they’re pressed closed they really are super strong, which means snacks aren’t exploding all over the place.

Nuby Flip It Beakers – there’s lots of cups and beakers we’ve tried and use in the house, but I’ve found these to be my favourite when traveling.

They’re suitable to be used by both kids, less arguments about who’s is who’s, and the straw can be closed easily to keep it cleaner. And it doesn’t leak much when launched across a restaurant *facepalm*.

Snoozeshade – we were recently sent the Snoozeshade plus deluxe to review, but we’ve been using the original for years and it’s just brilliant. It’s fantastic to have the reassurance that the children are able to have some safe space out of the sun and a darkened place to nap on the go.

The deluxe plus (not surprisingly) is even better than the original. The double front panels are perfect for nosey children (oh hi B!) to be able to see out but have some cover and sun protection even when not asleep, so there’s no need to take the whole shade off which is what we used to have to do. Now the shade can stay on, great for days out in the sun, and just close up the panels for an on the go nap.

It’s also great for light rain showers, so when packing space is limited I can get away without packing a rain cover.

There’s definitely a lot more that I like to pack for trips and holidays, but these are the 5 items that I really REALLY don’t like to be without. In fact on our recent trip to Portugal we didn’t take a Snoozeshade with us, and I genuinely missed having it every day we went out. I will not be making that mistake again!

What are your holiday essentials that you cannot be without?

Mrs H xxx

Summer Is Here! – Squid Disk Review

*we were sent the Squid Disk in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are honest and my own

I think it’s finally safe to say summer is here! The weather has been just lovely the last few weeks, long may it continue!

And as it is summer we have officially opened the Herniman House pool (aka hot tub – happy birthday Mr H!) and the whole family is thoroughly enjoying it. The kids get to spend the day splashing and playing and we get to set the iPad up for some relaxing box set bingeing once the kids are fast asleep.

We were sent a Squid Disk pool toy to review and it’s given the kids lots of fun!

You submerge the Squid Disk into the water, then throw it through the air and it sprays water everywhere. You can imagine the laughter at soaking mum and dad with the bright green squishy squid!

The water sprays out at 360* so do be aware if your washing line is nearby haha!

Honestly, I didn’t think much of it when I first opened it up, but actually it’s provided hours of fun, so I’m really pleasantly surprised.

I don’t think we’ve been able to have the full effect as yet as our garden is fairly little, but G is really excited to take it on holiday with us to use in the big swimming pools, and I’m sure his cousins will enjoy playing catch with it too. Actually I’m pretty sure the grown-ups will enjoy getting in on the fun as well. It’s a great toy to help coordination for all ages as the bright colours are easy to spot, and there’s been lots of giggles as the water sprays everyone.

It’s really lightweight and squishy too so it’s an easy toy to pack for day trips and holidays without taking up much space or weighing too much.

The Squid Disk is not aimed at younger children but B has been enjoying playing with it too, just sat with a washing up bowl of water, dunking it in and squeezing it out again which is great for his motor skills. He’s also more tolerant of water splashing in his face, something he’s become a little bit nervous of lately, when it’s from the Squid Disk. He finds it funny rather than having the water wobbles about it.

Mrs H xxx

Starting Friday Favourites – Instagram stories

I’m starting a new series on The Herniman House; Friday Favourites.

Ending the week with a little happiness and hopefully spreading a little bit of joy with 5 of my favourite things.

Topics are going to vary and cover lots of things, from my favourite blogs to read or Instagrams to see,to my favourite books, local restaurants, crafts and everything in between. Sometimes it’ll be to share some info or just to share some joy.

I think it’s going to be nice to be able to have a happy post and spread a little bit of happiness and love at the end of a long week.

So to kick it off I’m going to start with my 5 favourite instagram accounts for instastories (there’s absolutely LOADS I love, so I’m certain that this won’t be the only Friday Favourites about instagram, but these are my top 5 this week)

Teen Tween Toddler – always number one on my stories feed. Her stories are honest, funny, emotional and I just love having an insight into day to day life. Her children are so gorgeous and funny (and occasionally terrors, which I can feel all the solidarity with!)

And I can’t ignore our obvious connection, we both LOVE Harry Potter!! And a Harry Potter Primark haul! Perfect!

Instagram @teentweentoddler

Nomipalony – this beautiful Geordie is funny, honest and teaches me so much about the path of feminism. She’s wonderfully honest about all things breastfeeding, periods and parenting. And her patient and positive parenting is really inspiring to me.

Instagram @nomipalony

Candice Braithwaite – if you’re not following Candice by now you absolutely need to go and follow her NOW! No one has been more honest about pregnancy and postpartum life.

Her “Teatime” talks are honest and genuinely help teach and inspire people of so many life issues. And she is the founder and writer of “Make Motherhood Diverse” championing a space to highlight all stories of motherhood, from all backgrounds, cultures and walks of life.

Instagram @candicebraithwaite

Hi Baby Blog – I have a total woman crush on this wonderful human. The hardest working woman I think I know, and she does it all with pretty much ZERO childcare! As lovely as her little one is (I could listen to Lu talk aaaallll day long! Super sweet, and that accent?! Too cute!!) to achieve everything she does whilst looking after a small child is amazing.

Another account that inspires me with her honesty and her example of gentle parenting.

Instagram @hibaby.blog

(Can you sense my theme yet?!)

Toby And Roo – this supermum of three tops off my list of honest and inspiring women. Sharing the deepest, darkest details of her life as well as all the stuff you didn’t know you needed to know about life with kids. And to be able to watch her juggle working mum life and hear her honest stories about triumphs and fails is just the thing we, parents especially, need to see.

Instagram @tobyandroo
Please feel free to join in with Friday Favourites (it may turn into a linky one day!) and share your top 5, either using my theme for the week or sharing your own. And if you tag me to let me know I’ll share them over social media too.

Mrs H xxx

I’m Not Irish. But I Am A Woman. And I Urge You To Repeal

If you follow me on social media, either via my blog or on my personal accounts, you will see that I have been increasingly vocal regarding the irish referendum this week.

And I guess unsurprisingly I have received a couple of messages questioning my strong views because I’m not irish. That’s right, I’m not. None of my immediate family is irish. I have never lived there. In fact I’ve only ever visited northern ireland for one weekend (side note: definitely something to rectify travel wise!). So why would I care so much?? My answer; why would I not?!

I know it’s what everyone says, but seriously. it’s 2018!! Why are women across the world still not trusted to have autonomy over their own bodies. They cannot make decisions about themselves. Ireland is literally the closest country to the uk and the law is so unbelievably outdated that there are humans refusing other humans life saving treatment. Women are dying, suffering, physically and mentally hurting, because of the decisions of others. Decisions that are made on their behalf and in spite of what they need. And despite the divide in the actual country, the republic of ireland still has influence over the laws in northern ireland, so they do not have the same rights as the rest of the uk. Repealing the 8th amendment could mean that the rights of those in part of the UK are changed to catch up with the rest of us.

I cannot comprehend someone telling me what is right for me and my body and therefore I cannot comprehend keeping quiet about the rights of other women, mothers, sisters, friends, aunties, cousins, that are sentenced to suffer alone, ashamed and in a strange country or a darkened bedroom. That are left to take unimaginable risks to be able to control their bodies. That are quietly bleeding, unable to tell anyone in case they are reported and arrested. That are mentally struggling and recieving no help or support. If a woman was raped and fell pregnant, she could face longer in jail for that the despicable being who raped her. Because please make no mistake, abortions being illegal will never stop abortions. It merely stops safe abortions.

Let me just say that again. A woman could be pregnant as a result of a brutal rape, an event no one would ever forget or fully move on from, but would be expected to carry a pregnancy to term if it occured, and if she made a decision that that wouldn’t be possible, which I don’t know how anyone can argue with, she could face a longer custodial sentence than the person who violently and cruelly raped her. It’s like something out of a television drama, but this is what is facing the lives of every single woman in ireland.

Perhaps the story that stands out the most to me is the utterly tragic story of Savita Halappanavar who in 2012 – a mere 6 years ago – went into a Galway hospital at 17 weeks pregnant. She was miscarrying and the pregnancy turned septic. A miscarriage is a tragic and awful thing to happen and completely impossible to reverse. There was zero percent chance of saving that pregnancy. absolutely impossible. But when doctors scanned Savita, they found that the poor baby still had a faint heartbeat.

That poor baby that sadly would never, ever have the chance to live had the faintest of heartbeats and therefore for those doctors, took precedence over its mother. Savita requested a medical abortion as the natural process was very prolonged, but this was denied as her life was not seen to be in danger. She was denied medical treatment because of a baby who, very sadly, was not going to live. Because of this delay in treatment Savita developed fatal sepsis and died. So when I hear that keeping this archaic and outdated legislation is about saving lives, I really cannot get my head around it. Instead of saving a woman’s life, a life with history and much more potential two lives were lost, one completely pointlessly.

This law is about so much more than just abortions, and whether they are right or wrong.  The presence of the 8th amendment is quite simply a source of discrimination against women. It ensures that the health system discriminates against them. That professionals discriminate against them. It ensures that pregnant women are subjected to intense physical examinations against their will. It means that a healthcare professional can decide what a pregnant woman can and cannot do. All this in a country where contraception was illegal until as recently as 1980 and where a percentage of the population still opposes the use of artificial contraception.

Repealing the 8th will allow the regulation of pregnancy. It will mean that women are not psychologically tortured, that they are not forced to leave their homes to travel for treatment, victims of rape and abuse will not become more criminal than the vermin who subject them to it, and that those who tragically have pregnancies that are impossible to survive are not forced to prolong their pain and suffering.

No, I’m not irish. but I am a woman. I care deeply that others may have the same rights, may be trusted to make their own decisions, may know what is best for them and their bodies as I have.

You only have to look at the hashtag #HomeForYes to see how important this is, how far people are traveling to use their vote – as postal votes do not exist for Ireland, nor can you vote if you left Ireland over 18 months ago, even if it was your home for decades.

If by chance you are reading this ahead of the vote and you have the right to vote, I implore you to please vote yes. Vote to trust, vote to change and vote to care. Every single vote for yes matters. Please. Repeal the 8th amendment.

Mrs H xxx

When Birthdays Hurt

May is an important month for birthdays. This month G turns 4 and Mr H turns 30. My sister and my nephew also have their birthdays this month. 

But there’s another birthday this month, which will bring with it it’s usual ache in my chest and tears in my eyes. My beautiful cousin Jessica should be celebrating her 30th birthday on the 4th of May, but instead we will cry for her, laugh for her, remember her and honour her in the best ways we can. Because Jessie tragically lost her life to suicide and left such a hole in our family’s lives. A hole that will never heal, but that we learn to live with even if not by choice. 

I will never stop cherishing the memories I have of Jessie’s infectious laugh or her exasperated sighs at me as we grew up. I will never forget her style and how she helped me find my own over the years. I’ll never forget the sleepovers in her bunk beds, the late night chats and the early mornings on holidays. Jessica, I’ll never forget your confidence and how I dreamed of being as sure of myself as you were of you. I will never forget how you’d roll your eyes at me when I said something babyish and embarrassing. But mostly I’ll never forget how you hugged me, and loved me and looked after me. I just wish I’d been able to do the same for you. 

The worst thing about losing someone, is the split second you forget they’re gone. And the physical pain as your heart breaks all over again. All year round we miss the ones we’ve lost, but birthdays, anniversaries and holidays just hurt that little bit more. 

My wonderful Aunty heads up events to make sure that Jessie leaves a legacy behind, to help those going through their own challenges with mental health and to try and stop another family hurting the way we do. Fundraising events to support the mental health charity MIND are set up in memory of Jessica, with this year being even more important to honour her would-be 30th. 

A team of very brave people, two of which are also my cousins, will be cycling from London to Amsterdam at the end of this month, which has in turn created more events; raffles, bake sales, collections and concerts, to raise as much as we can throughout this year. 

This post wasn’t supposed to turn into a plea for donations, it simply started as the late night out pourings if someone unable to sleep. 

But if it can help even just one person turn for help, or help raise something so that the help is always there should they turn for it, then that’s just an added bonus. 

There aren’t any words that can adequately describe the hurt and pain that you feel losing someone. Especially when they’re lost so young and with so many in answered questions. 

Jessica, we love you and we always always will xxx

If you would like to donate and follow the progress of the cycling team you can get more information here