Category: Lifestyle

“Who Are You?” – #Blogtober16 Day 1

Hello all!! 

Once I get going I am a great talker (aka waffling on and on) but I’ve found this post really hard to get started for some reason. I’ve not really known where to start, or what to include about me. Is it interesting? Are you even bothered?? I suppose the the good thing about blogs is that you can skip on by if you’re not bothered, and it won’t hurt my feelings so much!!

First of all I’ll start with the most important thing about me is my family. I am a proud wife, mother to a toddler boy and soon I’ll be a mum to two boys, with Baby Herniman 2 due at the end of this month. 

We are really lucky to have close relationships with both mine and my husbands families, and they are all the most important things in my life.

Professionally I am an office administrator, part time, but would love to be able to turn writing into a future career, possibly publishing some short children’s stories that I am writing, or writing a personal column for a magazine. I would certainly need to learn to manage my productivity at home, I get far too distracted by lots of stuff, and dream of having a beautiful office to work from home in.

Picking just one random thing about me I thought coming into this time of year there’s one big thing you need to know about me right now. I am a major Christmas person! 

I love everything about the build up. The television adverts (I’m a self confessed tv addict), the festive colours, everything from nail varnish to cake sprinkles needs to be red or green and preferably glittery. 
The carol concerts, cheesy films, gingerbread baking, list making, dinner planning…ok you get the idea! 

It’s all about spending time together, making plans and generally just getting over excited about it all. 

This year it’s going to be very interesting, from the planning to the actual day, we’ll have a newborn baby joining our little tribe, so it’s all going to be a bit different. I’m sure I’ll be keeping you all updated during the night/early morning feeding sessions. Wide awake social media club here I come!

I’m going to stop here, before this turns completely random or self indulgent! If you do happen to have any burning questions you’d like to know about me please feel free to get in touch or leave a comment. 

Mrs H xxx

#Blogtober16

Urban Armor Gear Phone Case – Review

I recently had the opportunity to review a phone case from Urban Armor Gear, one that promises the ultimate protection for your devices.

It’s no secret that I’m a really clumsy person, and add a toddler into that mix and my precious phone is always in a dangerous predicament! So naturally I really wanted to try out a UAG case, and see if it could give me some peace of mind.

It hasn’t exactly turned out that way, at least not for my phone…

The designs of the cases are fairly limited, and overall are quite masculine.

Not a lot of choice if you want something pretty, however protection was more important for me. I did choose the ‘Composite Case’ in Ice as this is mostly see through, so thought if I was ever really bothered about the design I could always lay some pretty paper underneath to show through.

There are other colours available too, but I liked that there was the possibility of customisation at some point.

Once the case arrived, it had barely been in the house an hour when it mysteriously disappeared! And I’ve not had it back since. Mr H however has been putting it through its paces on my behalf.

The case is really robust, and has a raised edge around the front that keeps the screen from hitting the floor if it’s dropped. It’s also a lot sturdier around the back than other ‘protection’ cases I’ve tried in the past.

Mr H has commented that it is quite difficult to get the case on and off, something he does in order to use a charging case when out at work, but this does also give reassurance that the case is well fitted to the phone.

The side buttons have also impressed. Many cases we’ve had before either have a gap in the case or are not placed properly and make it hard to push the buttons. This case is full, so protects the buttons too, but they are really easy to press and operate.
The other great thing is the charging slot. The case fits perfectly around the slot and doesn’t affect the charger being used, or place any pressure on the cable as some do when we’ve had to wiggle the charger to fit.
We’ve not really been able to ‘test’ the protection side, as in we’ve not purposely launched or dropped the phone, however it has had a few minor falls and been ‘borrowed’ several times by G and so far it’s still in perfect condition, barely a scratch on the case.

Overall the case has been really well received by Mr H (I’m definitely not getting it back!). the only slight downside for me is the design options, but it’s really not that big a deal in the scheme of things, the protection factor is much more important, and I’ll be looking to get one for myself too.

Does your phone or tablet need the extra protection?

Mrs H xxx

Disclosure – I was sent a case for the purpose of a review, all views and opinions are my own (or Mr H’s!) 

Meal Planning Monday – Getting Started

  
I’ve threatened to meal plan for so long. I know that it would be good for our budget, and it would stop the daily (and I mean every. Single. Day.) “What do we want for tea?” questions, that usually results in a starved raid of the freezer…or a takeaway! Neither of which are healthy or cheap options.
 
With Baby Herniman 2 due in a matter of weeks, organisation of food prep and cooking times is going to get even more difficult. So I’m going to try (again) to get into the meal planning habit and try and get some batch cooking done so that we can switch it up if needed, but still have healthy and delicious options to heat up whenever we want.
 
Instead of jumping in head first and deciding today would be Bolognese, tomorrow tacos etc, I thought I’d take a more useful first step and think first, not start panic buying ingredients.
 
This week we are going to try and eat out of the freezer as much as possible, to use up whatever is hiding in there, and make space for meals that we want. And also get rid of whatever is past its best. I won’t lie, it’s going to hurt to just throw things out, really wasteful. But if they’re questionable or beyond saving then they’re no more use just living in limbo in our freezer!
 
So as a start I’ve come up with some ‘theme’ ideas that will help us choose meals for the week, and hopefully make meal planning a bit more interesting for us…maybe we’ll do better at sticking with it!
 

  • Soup and Sandwiches
  • Chinese  
  • Fish and Seafood
  • Pasta
  • Mexican
  • Slow cooker stew
  • Indian
  • Autumn classic
  • Breakfast for dinner
  • Focus on dessert
  • Meatless
  • Indian
  • Lamb/Chicken/Beef/Pork
  • Freezer surprise

 
A good few of these can be combined of course, but it’s just a few ideas to get started.
Are there any others you would add? What are your favourite meals to plan and make?
 
Mrs H xxx

National Burger Day – Five Guys Review 

 
 
Today is National Burger Day, so what better way to celebrate than to tell you all about one of our favourite places to eat burgers!

 
And a few weeks ago I was lucky enough to join some fellow blogging mums for an evening out having a really good laugh and eating some delicious food at Five Guys, curtsey of The Red Dragon Centre in Cardiff.
 

Me and Mr H went to the Five Guys in Cardiff’s Brewery Quarter not long after it first opened so I had an idea of what to expect, but it had been a while so it was really helpful when the waitress sat down with us all and explained how the menu works.

First Time Valleys Mam’s gluten free burger and menu

Five Guys has a great selection of burgers and hot dogs, and a ton of toppings and sauces that will help personalise and create your perfect meal. I know that the vegetarians among the group were a little underwhelmed at the veggie choices, but that the toppings did help improve them a lot. They were able to accommodate one of us who is gluten free really easily and without issue though, which was really great and pleasantly surprised me. 

The best thing is you can add as many toppings and sauces as you want, no need to pay extra per item. This makes for an epic personal creation! Mine was piled with all my delicious favourites, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, pickles and relish. I was a very happy pregnant lady!

a fraction of the fries mountain

They also have two options for the fries, regular or Cajun spiced, and they are really generous serving sizes too!

Although it’s not what Five Guys is most famous for, my favourite thing about going to Five Guys is the drinks machine. You can judge me all you like, I am a proud pop addict, and although I try to indulge less whilst pregnant, it’s a pretty serious habit to break. 

So you can imagine how happy I am when faced with a drinks machine that not only has unlimited refill options but a crazy amount of choices and flavours! Seriously, there are hundreds! Coke, fanta, dr Pepper and loads of flavours in each. My personal favourite is raspberry coke, which you cannot buy anywhere else, so I really over indulged whilst I had the chance.

My burger creation

If you thought that was the height of pregnancy indulgence then I’m afraid you were wrong. So very wrong. Someone had to take it just that bit too far, and in the interest of an all round review (just thinking of the pro review…honest!) I was that person. Five Guys do a great range of milkshakes, loads more flavours than just the usual banana, strawberry and chocolate. 

But being an American import of a restaurant, they offer an unusual extra for the milkshakes, which honestly, I’ve been dying to try…bacon! Yes I know it’s crazy, but it’s the whole salty/sweet thing. Don’t tell me you’ve never tried crisps and chocolate together (if you haven’t you really should. Ready salted and Cadbury’s is the best just fyi).

Cherry milkshake…with bacon!

If I’m honest, it wasn’t as successful as I’d hoped. Only because the bacon was blitz a bit too small for my personal taste. I’d have preferred big chucks, but I get why they are so small (straw size, I’d have gone for a spoon straw and been happy to scoop them out) so the salty hit was limited. It was still worth trying though, even if I did resort to dipping my fries into the milkshake too!
 

Look, if the thought of bacon milkshakes is turning you off, then just remember its optional, and you don’t have to succumb to the weirdness of me (I’d love to say that it’s a pregnancy thing, but honestly, fries in milkshake is a regular McDonalds occurrence for me!)

 
If all of this delicious food and drink wasn’t enough, we all had such a great evening, chatting and laughing, and staying out way later than expected (told Mr H I’d probably be home about 10…don’t think we left for at least an hour after that!) and it was so good to have an evening out for some “me time”.

 
Please check out the #11mumsFiveGuys for more reviews of our evening out!
 

Have you tried a Five Guys restaurant yet? How adventurous would you go?

 
Mrs H xxx

Swimming Lessons with Waterbabies

A few months ago I’d written about finding G some new activites that would help him burn off some energy, and learn some new skills.
  

cool dude getting ready for lessons (and a scratch 😂)

 
We were looking into sports based activities, as he has so much energy we knew that they would be something he would enjoy.

After recommendations from many parents and other bloggers too, we decided to try swimming lessons with Waterbabies. After two taster sessions that went really well, we started the very next term.

Every Friday has been swimming lesson day, and G has had an absolute blast! He gets so excited when he knows where we’re going and literally skips into the venue where we attend lessons.

dressed in his swimsuit and ready to go!

I wasn’t sure what to expect from a baby swim class at first. They’re still so little, and I know many start classes a lot younger, some only weeks old! So I just thought it might be a confidence building thing, enjoying the water and just having a splash about. But it is so much more!

It is of course fantastic for building their confidence in the water, but they are learning lots of skills and techniques, many of the safety based, so as well as learning to be in the water, they’re learning how to get in and out safely and how to behave around water.

Like I said many start a lot younger so I thought G may be behind and need to catch up, but he took to it so well and soon caught on to what to do.
Even so, I never thought that in just 10 weeks he’d be able to swim a short distance without any support! I was almost crying with pride and he was beaming.

From having no swimming skills at all, apart from how to make a splashy tidal wave, he can now get in and out of the pool safely, make doggy paddle arms, make breast stroke arms, swim with the aid of a float and dive underwater. So many new skills that we can use on our holidays soon! 

Totsbots swim nappy on
But even more than all the skills learnt (I am really pleased with them of course!) is that I’ve really enjoyed the lessons too. If you’ve got toddlers then you’ll know its near enough impossible to get them to stay still for our much longed for cuddles! Swimming practically forces them to stay close to you for a while, something I made the most of!!

not the Waterbabies venue just fyi!!
We have really enjoyed our time with Waterbabies, and we’re signing up for the next term (although it runs through my due date so Nanny and Mr H will be taking over at some point and I’ll be cheering from the sidelines!)

Do your littles have swimming lessons? What other activities do they enjoy the most?

Mrs H xxx



Disclosure – we were offered a discounted term in return for an honest review of our experiences. All views are my own. 

Extended Rear Facing Car Seats – Diono Radian 5

 
There are many discussions about the pros and cons of extended rear facing, but for me personally the safety aspect far outweighs any of the superficial reasons for forward facing. Extended rear facing car seats are extremely popular across the pond in America, and are becoming more and more popular here in the UK. 

Extended rear facing refers to children staying in a rear facing car seat position until at least 2 years of age, but car seats are increasingly catering to rear face until 4 years of age.

Studies are showing that remaining rear facing can be up to 5 times safer in an accident, that’s 500% safer! In an impact the seats are absorbing the majority of the force, and helping to distribute the impact better.

When forward facing any impact can send young children forward, putting strain on their necks and spine, like a whiplashinjury  that we would sustain. But their delicate bones are not able to deal with this kind of force as well as we may be able too, often leading to incredibly serious injuries, sometimes even from the most minor incident.

But to rear face after the 1 year mark you need the right car seat to do this. As with all car seats height and weight limits still apply. It’s no use leaving them rear facing in an infant seat when their head is clearing the top of the seat, the intended use to protect them from impact wouldn’t work.
 

Having looked into the best seats for extended rear facing, and with even more available than ever before, we were really taken by the Diono Radian 5. Based on the best seller in America where extended rear facing is becoming the norm, its safety features are brilliant, and as a bonus it is also really stylish and extremely comfortable.

It’s not a cheap car seat, but you can’t really put a price on your child’s safety. Plus it’s made to last until they are approximately 7 years old. It is not solely a rear facing seat so can be used when your rear facing days are finally over. We’ll have to use it forward facing if we need to put it in the family van or it just wouldn’t fit without restricting the driving view! 

We’ve only been using the car seat for a few weeks so a full review will follow once we’ve really put it through it’s paces.

Initially what I noticed was the weight! Because of it’s higher weight capacity it has a unique steel frame, not only providing incredible protection against crash forces but also meaning that it can be used up to 25kg. It means that the seat is really heavy, but it folds up to be able to carry it better. It even comes with a travel case.

Despite the heavy frame, the car seat is really narrow. Much narrower than the car seat we had before. It’s a lot more comfortable whe you have to sit next to it in the back of the car! They reckon you could even fit 3 comfortably in the back of some cars. Obviously we’ve not tested this theory out but I can certainly see that it could work.

The seat and interior is really nicely padded. As with the rest of the seat it’s not overly chunky but it has memory foam meaning that it is extra comfy. Perfect for all of our day trips and holidays that we’ve got planned this year!

G’s already given it a sleepy seal of approval a few times, and he loves the cup holder. So do I for that matter, no more mid trip scrambling for a dropped cup or bottle.

Have you, or would you consider extended rear facing? What are your thoughts?

Mrs H xxx

The Herniman House is Going to #BML16!

 So in typical Mrs H fashion, it’s last minute, rushed and slightly panicked, but I’m going to Britmums Live! 
I’m ridiculously excited and terrified all at once. I feel a little bit of a fraud, like I’m not good enough to join in with the ‘big’ bloggers, but then I’m also hoping it means I can learn lots from them. 

 
My name: 

I use Mrs H here, but I don’t expect anyone to actually call me that! Sarah is just fine, though I’d definitely answer to The Herniman House too.
 
My blog: 

The Herniman House
 
Find me on social media at:
Twitter
Facebook  
Instagram  
How I look: 

Colossal! Ok so maybe I’m slightly smaller than that, but you’re sure to see my bump coming before you notice the rest of me. If tonight’s hair dying session goes well I’ll also have copper/brown hair. If it’s really bad I’ll be the one in a woolly hat all day long!
 
Is this my first blogging event:

 I’ve been to a couple of smaller local events, but this is my first time at such a big event. I’m feeling quite sick, very excited, but nervous too.
 
I will be wearing

Whatever is comfy! Definitely flat shoes and I’ll be digging out the nicest maternity tops I can find. Paired with my usual uniform of maternity jeans of course. I may take a dress (if I can find one that fits) for the awards in the evening.
 
What I hope to gain from #BML16: 

Knowledge! I’m looking forward to picking up lots of new tips and tricks, a whole load of inspiration, and most importantly connect with some fab people, bloggers and brands. I’d really like to make more of the blog in the coming year whilst on maternity leave, and really create something that I love and love working on. And if it could become a little business alongside my part time day job I would really love that. To have something to ‘work’ at that I enjoy and want to do is a lovely dream.
 
My tips for a great conference: 

Comfy shoes are my only tip so far. I’m not brilliant in anything other than flats even when I’m not pregnant, so it’s all I know for now. I look forward to picking up some great tips to pass on for future events.
 
 
I’m really excited for this weekend, I hope to get to speak to lots of you and meet you in person! Please come say hi if you see me wandering around. Especially if I seem a bit dazed and confused, baby brain is a very real thing this week!
 

Mrs H xxx

*Thank you to Dr Browns for sponsoring my conference ticket! 

The Family’s New Four Wheeled Friend

When I was younger me and my mum spent many evenings after school, and weekend day trips doing the same thing. Dreaming. For as long as I can remember, and probably for as long as my mum can remember, Mum has dreamed of owning a motor home. We used to go to motor home shows and showrooms dreaming of the trips we could take in our own van. Caravan holidays were lovely, but how great would it be to travel around in our very own mini home on wheels.
Well it’s been a long time coming, but I’m so happy so say that we have a new family member, and mum has her dream! A beautiful motor home has joined us for adventures!

Meet Lexie!

We’ve already been on a couple of very small day trip adventures to test things out, and Mum and Dad (and G) have explored slightly further afield for a weekend or two. But we are so excited to really explore in the summer. We’re going to be heading to find some sun, good food, and wine…well for everyone else. Watch out France, the Herniman House is going on tour ;)

Smiling on the drive to take her home!

Now some of you may have missed the news, but those close to me certainly haven’t missed my ever expanding bump. Actually you don’t have to be close to see it, I’m only 17 weeks but I’m pretty sure I can be seen from neighbouring counties! so as well as the usual holiday must have lists I’m looking out for what can help me be as comfy and happy as possible, but at the same time not add to much bulk or weight to the things we’ll already need. I’ll be 7 months when we go so I imagine I’ll be visible from space by then.

I think he approves…

We’ve already got a new airbed, as we’ll be camping alongside the motor home, its fantastic! A triple layer, all singing and dancing one. After a brief trial run in the living room I can’t wait to test it out properly, it’s so comfy!

Certainly going to need better summer shoes

Apart from the mattress though I’ve not looked into what else might be useful. Has anyone else taken camping/caravanning trips when pregnant? Or long driving trips? What items did you find you couldn’t live without, and what was a waste? Or generally what are your essentials for a camping/caravanning trip?

 
Mrs H xxx