Category: Lifestyle

Hello January!

A new year and a new chance to set goals, make resolutions and make decisions, big or small.
 
I can’t say that I have a great track record with resolutions, I don’t always choose what’s actually important or realistic, but I do like to take a little time to set some out. Whether they’re hit or skewed along the way it’s just a great time to start a fresh outlook on things.
 
I’ve set out a yearly plan of goals for the blog this year. I won’t bore you all by listing them all here! But I can say that I want to make more of an effort with it. I really love the writing and everything (well mostly!) that goes along with blogging, and I’d love to be able to make it a hobby that starts to pay its way.
 
Health! I am not going to be making a resolution to lose weight (that’s a whole other blog post and rant!) but I am going to aim to be healthier and fitter. I absolutely will not be giving up chocolate or crisps, but I need to get out and moving more. I’ve tried different gyms and activities over the years, but I just haven’t found what works and motivates myself yet, and fits in with my time around the kids. So, I’m hoping that this year I’ll be able to find what works best for me. I won’t lie and say that a bit of weight loss would be welcome but I’m more concerned about being able to chase after the kids without passing out haha!!
 
Being more selfish! I’ve mentioned before that 2017 was a bit rough for me personally and my mental health, and I want to take this year to make sure that I stay on track. The last few days I haven’t taken my medication, purely by accident, but I could really feel the negative effects of not taking them, even after 4 days! And why hadn’t I taken them? Because I found “more important” things to do and forgot. But really, what’s more important than my own health? Self-care isn’t selfish, and I can’t expect to look after everyone else if I’m not looking after myself. I’ll be trying to take more time to look after myself, whether that is an evening reading or a trip out to the coffee shop by myself, or even just getting an early night! Mental health is just as important as my physical health, so I’ll be trying to take care of both of those this year.
 
Travel more and enjoy family time. Mr H is getting busier with work, I’m getting busier with my work which are both great things, but it does mean that it’s more important to spend quality time together and as a family when we can. We did pretty well with this last year, so we’ll definitely be continuing this and making even more of an effort to visit new places, visit some well-loved places and enjoy all the time we can together.
 
 
Have you made any goals or resolutions for 2018?
 
Mrs H xxx

Wrapping Up 2017

 
This past year has been chaotic, hard but wonderful.
 
I wouldn’t have been able to survive half as well without my fantastic husband, and family. They were there through all the best and worst and mundane parts of 2017. Also I’ve had some new and old friendships really develop. Both online and in “real life” though some are crossing over which is just fantastic! I’m really starting to feel content with who I’m surrounding myself with, and have such a supportive village. That’s not to say there aren’t many more people I don’t get to see so much, who I’d like to see more of. But all our lives get so busy it’s not always easy to do.
 
2017 has been a year of learning for me. Learning how to parent two small children, learning to let go of the eldest when he went to school, learning new systems when returning to work after maternity leave, learning what I want from myself in life, and also learning to deal with my own mental health.
 
None of these have been particularly easy, and all of them will be on going learning experiences. However as the year ends I finally feel content. Not that I can sit back and do nothing, there’s plenty of hard work to be done in the new year, in all parts of my life. But I feel happy with the way things are progressing and the plans I’m starting to have to push forward in all these areas.
 
As with any year, I guess, there are regrets. My biggest one is not focusing on my mental health sooner and taking so long to sort it out. It’s only really within the last two months or so that I finally feel like I’m in control of it and that I’m in a good place. I’m sad that it took so long, mainly because of the affects it had on my parenting and my behaviour around the children. Not that it was a drastic as that may sound, but I just know that it could have been so much better, with more patience and understanding.
I’m not dwelling on the negatives, as much as I might regret things in the last year, there’s nothing I’m able to do to change what’s been, I can only focus on learning from the experiences and making for a better 2018.
 
This year hasn’t been all bad, far from it. It’s been an amazing year for travelling and exploring new places with the family.
Abroad we visited Portugal and France. Portugal has fast become one of our favourite places to visit, and we already have the next visit booked! France was the first ‘big’ trip in the motorhome. It wasn’t without struggles (family sickness bug whilst cooped up in a caravan on wheels anyone!?) but mostly it was a lovely trip, great company (thanks mum and dad!) and plenty of lovely food.
In the UK we were lucky enough to visit Bluestone, Minehead, and our annual trip to Tenby.
We certainly were very spoilt travel wise – hopefully we can continue that into 2018!
 
It’s been a big year for the boys too. G has started school, and is now going five full days a week! He’s thriving and absolutely loves it, and despite all the stress beforehand we are so happy with our choice of schools. The staff are just fantastic and are a great support for G and also for us as parents.
B is no longer a baby but a hurricane of a toddler. He’s a force but incredibly sweet too. His personality is really coming through, and they’re both learning to share and play together, which is just wonderful to watch. I’m so excited to watch them grow together this coming year, and see what new experiences are in store for us all.
 
So overall it’s been a bit of an up and down year, but then I guess all years are really. The most important thing is that it’s finished feeling positive and looking forward. I’m happy and excited to build on everything in the New Year.
 
Wishing all my wonderful readers a very happy and prosperous new year, and I look forward to chatting to you all through the year!
 
Mrs H xxx

5 Things Guarenteed to Cheer Me Up

After a particularly trying day we all have those things that we turn to that will help cheer us up.

Food or alcohol? Your favourite pjs? Whatever it may be, I’m sure we all have things that help.

Today, I give you my favourite 5 cheer me up’ers (totally a real word yes?):

A blanket or jumper – the best thing about the cooler weather is finally being able to cuddle up with a sofa throw without sweating to death. 
Blankets and hoodies or sweaters provide the perfect hug of an evening. 
Even better if you have a “mama merch” jumper that has a kick ass inspirational slogan emblazoned on it, an extra little confidence boost.

Comfort food – there is a very simple explanation as to why I’m not (nor ever likely to be) a size 12. I love food. I guess you could say I’m an emotional eater, and never more than during the colder months. Who can say a bowl of cheesy mash doesn’t cheer them up? (Possibly vegan carb avoiders, but you know, I’m generalising).

Binge watching TV – it depends on the mood I’m in as to what it is, but the urge to binge will always be there. I am a self confessed tv addict so I can find something always. 

If I’m emotional and in need of a cathartic release Grey’s Anatomy is a great one. If I need a reminder that things could be worse it’s Criminal Minds. If it’s something that doesn’t need too much concentration or effort it’s Teen Mom (OG, 2 or UK – love them all). 

Music hopping – I don’t know how else to explain this. But it’s basically searching through the Apple Store and playing the samples of songs. It’s a favourite “game” of mine and my husbands. 

“Remember this?!” “Oh! This is a good one!!” Exclaimed as we play 90’s childhood favourites, songs from our early dating years, and throwbacks that our parents played us. 

It’s wasteful of time, completely indulgent but always leaves me feeling really good.



Candles or wax melts – again, the autumn scents are so much better this time of the year, but a cinnamon scent wafting through the house as I sit snuggled in my blanket makes everything even cosier. 

A lit candle adds wonderfully to the atmosphere, flames gently flickering (just make sure you remember to put them out before bed!!) but a warmer with a few wax melts can be just as lovely. 

What are your go to things to cheer yourself up after a long day?

Mrs H xxx

#Blogtober17

Prezzo La Famiglia Challenge and Review

Does this some up a family meal or what?!
We’re a family of food lovers. He’s not exactly been eating long, Baby B is yet to find something he doesn’t like. And whilst not as experimental as he used to be, G still loves his food and plenty of it to fuel all of his energy. 

I’m not sure any of us could pick just one favourite food, but Italian is certainly up there in the top 5, which is why we were so excited when Britmums & Prezzo invited us to go along to our local restaurant to try Prezzo’s new La Famiglia sharing pasta dish. 

This post is an entry for the BritMums #PrezzoLaFamiglia Challenge, sponsored by Prezzo, as well as a review of our meal at the Penarth Prezzo branch. 

It’s well documented that families don’t get to sit around the table together like they used to, and with Mr H’s crazy work schedule this is certainly true for us. Sometimes eating out is the only chance we’ll get to sit and eat together. But it’s not always easy, especially when taking the kids, trying to decide what to order and choosing quickly so that the kids aren’t waiting ages for it to arrive! 

The La Famiglia challenge eliminates this. Having just four delicious pasta dishes to choose from ( Penne Arrabiata, Spaghetti Bolognese, Spaghetti Carbonara or Penne Alla Rusticana) you can order one big dish for everyone to share, and you can also be more in control of portion sizes. No more puny meals for the older children and no more oversized portions for the littles that inevitably go to waste! 

“Wow! Mum, that is MASSIVE!”
And when I say “one big pasta dish for everyone to share”, I mean a bloody HUGE bowl of pasta!! It recommends it serves up to four people, but I really didn’t expect it to be just that big. It fed us all easily, and I hadn’t eaten all day and was super hungry!

We chose a big bowl of spaghetti bolognese, always a guaranteed favourite with us and the kids. The staff asked whether to serve it with the sauce sat on top or all mixed together, knowing that sometimes kids (and grown ups!) can be fussy with the way food is served. Ours came all mixed together, the “proper” Italian way, and a generous helping of Parmesan was sprinkled over once we’d dished up. 

The bolognese was really fresh tasting, and not too heavily seasoned, perfect for delicate palates. The option to add our own salt and pepper to our grown up bowls was there, but it didn’t need it that much. It was a real hit with us all. 

Dishing up our portions
The pasta dish alone would be enough to make a meal for a family, and at £18.90 it’s exceptional value. But if you were needing to make the meal stretch further, La Famiglia challenge allows you to order a pasta dish, two large garlic breads, four soft drinks AND four ice creams for just £30! For a family meal that is just amazing! 

“I sharing with Dad” Just what it’s all about
I believe it would comfortably feed the hungriest family, and having the bowl sat in the middle of the table encourages a more relaxed experience. Or at least I imagine it would if you weren’t trying to wrestle the worlds grumpiest, wriggliest and noisiest baby! B was just a nightmare, but the staff were brilliant, really helpful, and didn’t even flinch when G had the biggest accident he’s had since potty training (he’s been accident free for nearly two weeks so I didn’t even see it coming!) seriously the kid must have been saving up all of his wee for the day. Cue flustered mummy sprinting back to the car for a change of clothes. The staff just cleaned it up like it happened daily. It really is as family friendly as it claims to be! Phew! 

The other really great thing about the giant bowl is that it keeps the rest of the pasta nice and hot. I thought it would go cold as we waited for second portions, but even after the break to change G, the remaining bolognese was nice and hot when I dished myself up another bowl. 

Mister and the grubby child!!
The garlic bread was delicious, and even managed to keep B quiet for a few precious seconds, but not as quiet as the ice cream made him! I fed him way too much vanilla ice cream, but he LOVED it. And it meant G got to enjoy his strawberry, I enjoyed a scoop of strawberry and chocolate and Mr H enjoyed the intense chocolate and sea salt ice cream. I stole a spoonful and it was delicious! I’d have chosen the same but I was worried about kids stealing it…food is never my own anyomore! I guess that’s why the La Famiglia is even more perfect to share with your family. 

Our delicious ice creams

Yum yum!
I’ve not visited Prezzo before, but we’d  certainly like to visit again in the future. If they’d have us of course. I wouldn’t be surprised if they let out a sigh of relief when the family with the noisy baby left. 
One quiet child….

Two quiet children! Phew

The staff at the Penarth branch were really friendly and attentive, clearly relaxed and used to families visiting. A relief for parents taking kids out. 
The food was delicious. Nothing was super complicated or fancy, but family favourites done really well, that you can rely on for a great family meal out. 

Crazy kid! Loved colouring in whilst we waited
We have a lot of family in and around the Penarth area that we don’t get to see as often as we like, and this would be a really lovely and affordable way to do it. Grown ups and kids alike will enjoy sitting down and tucking in to a delicious feast, and being able to chat and enjoy being together. 

Do you eat your meals at the table together? Or is it more for special occasions?

Mrs H xxx

Disclaimer – Prezzo, via Britmums, gave us a voucher to cover the cost of La Famiglia Challenge, any extras were paid for by ourselves. The review of the branch and food, is honest and my own. 

Easter Traditions and Must Dos

We’re never massively prepared for Easter. I always have lovely visions of spring decorations, pastel coloured wreaths, a tastefully adorned Easter tree. But every year it seems to arrive without any decorations, a big panic about who and how many chocolate eggs we need to buy. And I’ve still not got an Easter tree!

But there are a few things that we try and do every year, apart from scoffing far too much chocolate.

Easter egg hunt – 2017 seems to be the year of the hunt, as theres one on Good Friday, Easter Sunday (morning), Easter Sunday (tea time) and Easter Monday! All in different venues. Easter Sunday morning is just going to be a little thing for G in our house. We did it for the first time last year and it was so lovely to watch him tear around finding them that we wanted to do it again this year. All the other events will be joined by friends and cousins which will be really nice to see.

Easter breakfasts – is it even easter if you don’t eat more than your fair share of hot cross buns for breakfast!?

Making treats – even before having children I’ve enjoyed making chocolate egg nests so having children to make them with is just a better excuse. Although if I’m honest, ends up being a few days after when we realise just how much chocolate we have!

The big question of course?? Cornflake or Shredded Wheat nests!? Always mini eggs on top though.

Roast Dinner – we love a good roast dinner, and easter is no different. Just another excuse for me to make sure lamb is the star of a Sunday roast. It’s my absolute favourite Sunday dinner.

I asked my fellow bloggers what they’re up to this Easter and what their usual traditions are.

“We really focus on an Easter Egg Hunt around the house. We set up clues and little poems to get the kids hunting high and low for treats! This is the main focus for us at Easter 😘”

http://www.kellyallenwriter.com
 

“We always have a roast dinner with family on Easter Sunday”

http://www.allaboutamininorris.com

 
“We always go to my parents for dinner. We don’t over do it as it’ll be too much for Z. This year my sister an niece are down to visit too, so will be a nice family day!”

http://www.firsttimevalleymam.com

 
“We always make Easter nest cakes on Easter weekend. I have photos of my kids doing them every year and it’s lovely to see them growing over the years… and their faces covered in chocolate where they sneakily try to scoff loads of the ingredients and I pretend not to notice!
We also have an egg hunt in the house and our dining table decorated in all sorts of Easter tat.”

http://www.cardiffmummysays.com

 
“With our children grown up we have a visit to a garden centre before Easter and spend the time in the garden. If the sun comes out we have a BBQ and admire our work”

http://www.teddybearsandcardigans.com

 
“Easter Sunday we always have a big roast dinner 😊 and the easter bunny leaves lily some treats too of course! This weekend we will be decorating our living room and just chilling out! Xx”

http://www.bettertogetherhome.com
 

“Each year we have family and friends round, we always do a giant Easter egg hunt in the our garden. We get an annual photograph of the 5 children so we can see how our group has gown over the years, we do this before the egg hunt starts. It’s lovely to be all together for the day.”

http://www.chamoagneandpetals.com

 
“Every year, we spend the entire Easter weekend with family. On Good Friday we do Easter crafts at home and take our son out for the day to do something fun. On the Saturday we have a family get together with a roast dinner and a little Easter Egg Hunt for the children. Then on the Sunday and Monday we see more family for fun activities etc. In our family, Easter lasts from Friday to Monday and we usually get gifted with an egg for each day, per person. That’s how it’s always been since I was little and now we’re carrying it on for my son.”

http://www.kaidenlaverty.com

 
“We always have a day out over the weekend to an Easter egg hunt at an attraction or stately home. We don’t always manage days out on normal weekends so make the most of the bank holidays!”

http://www.themamastory.com
 

“Egg hunt and little Easter basket for the girls! Then starting a new tradition of a yummy roast dinner, just the 4 of us and quality family time :-)”

http://www.runjumpscrap.com

 
“We tend to go out on Good Friday with family to a National Trust place. Then we do an Easter Egg Hunt on the Sunday followed by a roast dinner with the other side of the family for a catch up! :) x”

http://www.sophiesnursery.com

 
“On good Friday we spend the day making Easter bonnets, decorating Easter cakes and making Easter cards for family.”

http://www.fivelittledoves.com
 

“My sister has an amazing enormous garden and every year she hosts an Easter egg hunt for all our little ones. My mam crocheted the kids little Easter baskets that they can use every year. It’s very cute and has become our little tradition.”

http://www.nomipalony.com

 
“On Good Friday our village school hosts a run, so we wander down to that and watch my husband and others run it! It’s lovely to see lots of people we know and have a hot cross bun whilst sat waiting… plus I feel sporty by association!! The rest of the weekend is spent with lots of food and family time!”

http://www.devonmama.com
 

“We do an egg hunt for my daughters and neice / nephew / cousins. Currently packing treats into plastic eggs!!”

http://www.realmumreview.com

 

 

 

What do you like to do for Easter?

 

Mrs H xxx