Friday, 15 September 2017

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

15 Autumn fashion favourites

Well I don't know about you but I love the Autumn.  Don't get me wrong I'm always sad to say goodbye to the Summer (if we actually get one).  Long lazy days in the garden and wine filled nights by the chiminea.  But there's just something about the nights drawing in that makes me want to snuggle up with the candles on and a mug of hot choccy.  I love the changing fashions too, going from floaty dresses to thick jaquard skirts and warm woolly jumpers.  You can't beat it!  

Here is my line up of my current Autumn faves.

WAREHOUSE - Wild Garden Jacquard Skirt - £39.00

WAREHOUSE - Crew Jumper - £26.00 

NEW LOOK - Mink Suedette Waterfall Jacket - £44.99

GEORGE at ASDA - Floral Print Pyjama Shirt and Trousers - £15 

NEXT - Tea Dress - £30

NEXT - Bow Block Heel Shoes - £36 

WHITE STUFF - Jennifer Peplum Dress - £59.99

FAT FACE - Carrie Lace Up Boots - £69 

Pink Floral Jacquard Mini Skirt - £24 

NEXT - Embroidered Sweater - £32 

WHITE STUFF - Conniston Moleskin Coat - £110

M&S - Cable Knit Round Neck Jumper - £35

NEXT - Slim Twill Trousers - £28

NEXT - Coatigan - £38

PRIMARK - Brown Waterfall Cardigan - £13
Thanks for stopping by! x

Sunday, 3 September 2017

How I broke the nail biting habit

I've always been a nail biter as long as I can remember.  Where I got the habit from I have no idea as neither Mom or Dad were biters and they say you tend to mimic those around you.  I used to bite my nails so low when I was little that my fingers would bleed, not a pretty site I can tell you.  As I got older I longed for lovely long nails I could paint and show off, but still I couldn't break the habit.

Finally at the age of 33 (yeah, 33 not sure why?) I did it! With a mix of using Sally Hansen's Maximum Growth and Vaseline Intensive Care Hand & Nail Cream I managed to abstain from the biting habit and for the first time ever I had the lovely long nails I'd only dreamed about.  From here on my nails stayed this way pregnancy with Eliza.  Whether it was the pregnancy anxiety, sleepless nights or changing hormones, I once again bit my fingers to shreds.  Once again I grew them back for a short time until.......yes, you guessed it my pregnancy with Freddie.  Once Freddie was born in fact, I actually bit them more than ever yet again returning to those horrible stubby finger ends.  It was time to take drastic action.  This time I really was finding it hard to succeed using my previous techniques and my nails looked so awful that I hid them as much as possible.  Someone suggested trying acrylics or gels so I went to see Rachel who was recommended by friends to see what she could do.

When she saw them she was shocked to say the least but was adamant that she could do something. She suggested that gel polish wouldn't look great at this stage as they really were so short so we went with acrylic tips with gel polish.  I was really concerned that they wouldn't stick but she did a fabulous job and they stayed on for about 2 weeks.  I went back again to have infills and for her to repair a couple of tips that had come off.  By this time the nail bed had grown a little so the next lot of tips stayed on even better.

On my next visit I had the tips removed and just had gel polish put on my own nails that were growing fabulously.  From here on I went back every 2 - 3 weeks each time getting another coat of gel.  I found with the gel polish on I wasn't the least bit tempted to bite my nails.  The gel makes the nails much thicker and quite hard.  It helps to protect them while they repair themselves.  My one bad habit however is that I tend to peel the gel off once it starts to flake instead of waiting to have them soaked off.  This doesn't really do your nails a lot of good, however, it's still an improvement on biting them.

From left going clockwise: acrylic tips, acrylic tips then gel polish and
gel french polish on my own nails
As you can see from my latest picture my nails have grown considerably now.  They still break from time and I somehow damage them doing silly things but I'm proud of how they look now and love to show them off.  I've had so many people comment and ask how I managed to break the habit that I thought I'd post my advice to help other nail biters out there.

My nails here are painted by myself with Barry M - Dark side of the shroom - gel nail polish.  This is the first time I've used a Barry M polish and I'm really impressed with the results.  With this particular polish you're supposed to use the Barry M gel top coat which I didn't realise at the time.  However, I used my previously bought Rimmel Gel Top Coat and this worked perfectly well.

Good luck and good growing!

Thanks for stopping by! x

Parenting, it's a rollercoaster

Ok, so my last post was a rather negative one but hey, I'm not apologising, everyone needs to vent at times.  But following on from that I can't believe the change 3 weeks has brought.  Freddie will be 10 months next weekend and in that short time since my last posting he has learned to sit up completely unaided, has his first tooth through (yesterday), has developed an interest in TV, but best of all......wait for it......drum roll..........HE'S SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT!  Not quite sure how this change came about but he just suddenly did it.  He now goes up to bed around 7.30/8pm after having a bottle, goes straight off to sleep and doesn't stir till around 7 ish the next morning.  It's absolute heaven!  You can imagine the relief hubby and I are both feeling.

After trying to keep Eliza occupied at home unsuccessfully I made it my mission over the last few weeks to take her and Freddie out more and wow her behaviour improved no end.  Don't get me wrong, we still have the occasional 'terrible twos' moments and she's getting rather argumentative and defiant in her old age, but she seems to have got so much out of our days out.  More to come on our day trips in future postings.

The house has gotten a little tidier.  I've tried my best to de-clutter a fair bit and moved the lounge furniture to open up the space a little.  Freddie can now scoot about in his walker to his hearts content while Eliza dances around to her latest Disney favourite.  We've had a quote for the kitchen floor (finally!) which at least feels like a bit of progress, the garden has been tidied and de-weeded and I'm almost at a level playing field with the constant piles of washing.

Abi is all enrolled to start at college again next week after a not so good start last year.  I'm confident that the lecturers in her subject field will give her all the help and support she needs to get through.  Sam has been working hard and is off on his jollies tomorrow, lucky so and so.  He's off to beautiful city of Venice which is definitely one on my to do list.  So whilst extremely jealous I'm looking forward to the piccies.

All in all life is good again.  So onwards and upwards we go.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

A motherhood moan

It's been a while and I'm afraid my returning post is a moany one I'm afraid.  Why the long absence?  Well you may remember I'm one of those very strange individuals who decided to start all over again in the child rearing department.  Freddie will be 9 months old on Thursday (oh my god where did that time go?) and Eliza is nearly 2 and half (28 months to be precise) and don't we know it!  That should go some way in explaining my lack of presence.

I'm not saying that motherhood is a chore but it can sure be hard sometimes especially when only Mommy's assistance will suffice and Daddy has suddenly become the big bad hairy monster.  I guess we all have days where we're sick of watching Toy Story for the umpteenth time (Eliza's current favourite), trying to be creative with baby meals or changing yet another stinky nappy.  Yep, some day's I just don't want to 'adult' or more specifically 'mom'.  Don't get me wrong I love them all with an absolute passion (yes, even the older ones!) but even mom needs a break from time to time.  On the odd occasions where I get half a day completely child free the feeling of love I have for them upon collection time is so intense.  I guess it just gives you time to recharge your batteries before starting again.

I must add, Freddie is a nocturnal creature by nature.  Wherever he got the idea from that this was acceptable behaviour is beyond me.  Sam, Abi, Eliza.....all slept through the night from around the 6 week mark, but Freddie? No, he thinks he's quite within his rights to wake us up gone midnight and then maybe again around 2 or possibly 4am.  You see there's no real pattern.   People ask "oh, is he really hungry or can he just not settle himself?" but believe me give him a 5-6oz bottle and he'll polish off the lot!  That's on top of 3 - 4 bottles during the day plus ready brek, fruit purees, finger foods etc.  This child has hollow legs I swear!  I know it could be worse, I read stories of 9 month olds who still wake every couple of hours through the night and I do wonder how these parents are still sane.  The truth is I'm nearing the end of my tether atm. I think 9 months of disturbed sleep can do that to a person.

Eliza has her 'moments' and currently I'm pleased to say they are getting fewer though I know they will no doubt return when I least expect them.  She's a happy girl but very wilful.  She knows what she wants and will often cry and shout till she gets it.  She hasn't yet realised that Mom is just as stubborn though and shouting and screaming will get her nowhere.  On the whole her behaviour is good at the moment (aside from a lot of I want, I want, I want) but we find late morning/lunchtime she gets very whingy and moany and we can tell it's a tiredness thing.  Couple of hours in bed on an afternoon soon sorts her out.

I think the thing that's hard is that you lose a little of your identity.  I am Mommy. I feel that all of my hobbies and interests have had to be shelved as there is no 'me' time now.  Even if I'm not looking after the kids I have housework to do.  If it's not housework then there's admin to do for our business.  In my rare child free times when the kids are in bed I have to weigh up which is more important the housework or work-work.  I then get a couple of hours to cram in a much as possible before they're awake and the whole cycle begins again.  4 o'clock rolls around and we're into the realms of "what shall I do them for tea tonight".  Queue google .........'9 month old meal ideas'....Pinterest can be a god-send!  My one saving grace is Ladies Choir which has just started up again.  Tuesday nights are mine and you will not take them.

I think the long and short of it is, there's just not enough hours in the day.  Where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, every other Mother of a large family.  Trouble is if there were more hours in the day I'd just be too knackered to appreciate them anyway!

Sorry, I will stop moaning now.  It's 5pm, teatime and Pinterest awaits my perusal :)

Thanks for stopping by!x

Friday, 27 January 2017

And then there were six!

Been a while my friends but as the title suggests we have grown in number!

Frederick (Freddie) Stanley Griffiths finally arrived at 12.06 am on Thursday 10th November.  Almost a re-run of Eliza's birth 20 months before, he decided he would vacate the mothership through the sun roof due of a decreased heart rate.  Nevertheless, he appeared fighting fit and at a healthy 7 lbs 2 oz.  He seemed so tiny for the first few weeks but now at 11 weeks it's amazing how quickly he's grown.  He's giving us lots of smiles now and gurgles and coos when we chatter to him.  Eliza has loved him to pieces from the first day we bought him home.  She gives him lots of kisses and can't seem to understand why when she says "Freddie, Freddie, Freddie, Freddie" for the millionth time that day, he doesn't answer!

Life in the Griffiths house is a little crazy nowadays.  During the Christmas period there's been as many as 9 of us in the house at times with kids, boyfriends, girlfriends, friends etc and it has got a little overwhelming at times.  The constant tidy up is enough to make Mary Poppins weep.  There are also days when I feel all of my (nearly) 41 years and think "I much too old to be doing this again".  But then there are those fabulous moments, the moments of smiles and giggles, music and laughter and of course the usual and somewhat smutty Griffiths humour.  We do know how lucky we are though to have such a big and wonderful family and that our house is filled with life.

Thanks for stopping by! x

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Majorca 2016 - Travelling with a 15 month old, a survival guide

Just got back from another fantastic 11 day holiday to Puerto Pollensa in beautiful Majorca.  I say 'another' as we've actually holidayed there most years since 2007.  Absolutely love the place! It's so relaxed and family friendly, I just can't imagine finding anywhere better.

This year was Eliza's first holiday abroad as last year, we decided, we weren't ready to brave the plane journey and heat with her only being 5 months old at the time.  I was a little worried this time around as we've never done an overseas holiday with a toddler before as Abi was 7 the first time we went.  However I have to say it all went a lot smoother than I could have possibly imagined.  

One of my major worries was the travelling involved.  I know it's only at 2 hour flight but nevertheless after a drive to Luton airport, a wait in the airport, a 2 hour flight and an hour bus transfer I thought I may be tearing my hair out.  I have to say she was the most miserable on the drive down to Luton which I think was just a little over-tiredness.  Once we got to the airport we kept her in the pushchair till we'd gone through security and then one by one we took turns at walking her round and round the departure lounge which she thoroughly enjoyed.  I'd taken her tons of snacks and even some sandwiches which she ate just before the flight.  After eating she had her nappy changed and we put her sleepsuit on ready for the flight.  We wheeled her down to the gate in her pushchair and then handed the pushchair over to the ground crew for storage in the hold.

Once aboard the flight I expected her to start fidgeting the way she had done on numerous train and bus journeys.  As with most 15 month olds, Eliza is not one for sitting still for very long.  I was actually pleasantly surprised as once strapped in (using a lap extension belt) she sat beautifully for the majority of the flight.  I'd taken an array of toys, snacks, gadgets and gizmos after reading lots of online blogs and pinterest posts (more on this below) but I didn't even need to get these out till about half way through the flight.  She was quite happy to play with the magazine and laminated safety instructions in the pocket in front of us. I even got the Easyjet sickbag out and put it on my hand like a puppet! I can't actually believe how long these mundane things kept her occupied! 

Snacks & Drinks for the Plane

I did a shop at the big Boots before our holiday and found they had a great choice of snacks, most of which Eliza had not tried before.  Hence we made sure that she liked everything before the journey.  Here's a selection of what we took with us, the mini rusks in particular were a hit and great for while we were there too:


We were a little concerned about the lack of fluids allowed in hand luggage so I did a lot of reading up beforehand.  I learned that although the normal allowance is 100ml you can take more than this in the way of baby milks.  Due to the length of time the milk would be sitting out we didn't think fresh milk would be suitable so we took several cartons of Cow & Gate Growing up Milk 1+ (200ml).  I put two of these into a plastic bag and put through the security screening in the normal way.  I anticipated having to open the cartons and take a swig to prove their safety but didn't have to do this in the end.  I took an empty bottle which I then poured the milk into on the plane and Eliza had this as we were taking off.


I filled Eliza's cup with water and she drank from this before security.  I then just emptied it out and refilled once through security.

Toys and Gadgets

After reading online, I spent a lot of time scouring the pound shops and so on to look for cheap colourful items that would occupy Eliza on the plane.  I ended up buying bits from ELC, The Works and Amazon to create our novelty goody bag.  I bought a cheap plastic 'swim bag' from Primark to store everything in and then put the lot in my hand luggage.  Picture below:

iPad Apps

On top of our novelty goody bag I also packed our iPad.  Yes, I know, I know, all you defenders of the 'electronic gadget free toddler world' are probably now rolling your eyes at me but who cares, it worked for us.  We didn't actually use it until around the third day of the holiday when she was having a bit of a grumpy hour, at which point the BBC Kids iPlayer came into its own.
First word of warning with iPad apps is if you intend to use them on the plane or don't have access to wifi whilst abroad, you need to make sure they will work.  As I've mentioned above, BBC's Kids iPlayer is a fantastic app but you need to make sure you download the programs you'd like to watch beforehand.  I downloaded a couple of all of Eliza's favourites and they were then on hand for stressful or tired moments.  In additions to this, here are some of the apps we downloaded (but didn't actually use in the end):

  • Ladybird - Baby and Toddler Toybox - App bundle - £3.99 (2016)
  • Shapes Toddler Preschool - FREE
  • Smart Tot Rattle - Cause and Effect Sensory Stimulation - FREE
  • Fisher Price - Laugh & Learn Where's Puppy's Nose? - FREE
  • Fisher Price - Laugh & Learn Animal Sounds for baby - FREE
  • Fisher Price - Soothing Sights & songs for Baby - FREE
  • Fisher Price - Development with Contrast Colours for Baby - FREE
  • Touch Animals Lite - FREE
  • Bubble Wrap - FREE
  • Nursery Rhymes:Volume 1 - FREE
  • BBC iPlayer Kids - FREE

Sleep Aids

Eliza finally decided to fall asleep on the bus transfer from the airport to the hotel which was nice.  When we arrived in our apartment the travel cot was already set up for us but I'd made sure to take her favourite teddy and a new addition, the Fisher Price Soothe and Glow Owl
At home Eliza is used to having either her mobile or Winnie the Pooh Sweet Dreams Light show at bedtime, both of which were much to bulky to pack in the case.  I was looking for something to replace these that would play music and also light up and the Soothe and Glow Owl was just the thing.  We gave it to her a few days before the holiday so that she could get used to falling asleep with it.  The first night in new surroundings it took her a while to settle but from then on it worked a treat.



As we were staying in a self catering apartment I can honestly say I took her way too many clothes as we had the use of a washing machine and she spent most days in a UV swimsuit!  Plenty of hats are advisable however and at least a couple of swimsuits.  At night she slept in either a short sleeved bodysuit or a shortie sleepsuit (H&M) with no covers.  I did take her thin cotton sleeping bag but she just didn't need it.


Between myself and the 2 Nan's who travelled with us we took Eliza around 7 or 8 ready meals, mainly Hipp Organic or Asda for 12 months plus.  These were very useful as were not available in the local supermarkets.  Just having them there made things a lot more convenient as we could feed Eliza first if needed before heading out later to eat ourselves.  She loved the yogurts from the local shop though!


Besides the 3 or 4 nappies in the changing bag itself I packed 10 nappies in the suitcase just to get us through the first couple of days, I took an extra packet of wipes too.  Pampers nappies were readily available even in the local Spar along with baby wipes etc. so this was never a problem. I took a whole pack of Boots swim pants and found this was enough for our whole holiday as Eliza never spent more than a couple of hours a day in either the pool or the sea.  I would take her to the beach on the morning in her normal nappy and change her into the swim pants when she was ready to go in the water.  That way she was never in the 'less absorbent' swim pants for too long.

Sun Protection

Obviously a no brainer, but we used Ambre Solaire Kids Factor 50 sun cream which was just fine.  However, we decided that our usual pushchair parasol was just simply not up to the job so invested in the Snoozeshade Plus which was such a great purchase. The temperatures hit 35c while we were there so the Snoozeshade was invaluable.  
Eliza asleep under the Snoozeshade Plus
Initially, Eliza would have a small tantrum at being unceremoniously covered up and unable to see the world around her but she soon realised it was a much better option than melting away in the sun!  It wasn't long before she'd be fast asleep and oblivious to the scorching heat outside.

A first for Mom too!

All in all a superb holiday and one which was also a first for my mom.  Mom-in-law has been coming with us now for several years and each year we ask my mom but the answer is always the same....."you won't get me on a plane!".  So this year, for the first time ever at the age of nearly 70, Mom had her first trip abroad.  After much apprehension she absolutely loved the flights and I think she now has the bug for overseas travel.  I'm glad she got to experience Eliza's holiday first too.

Thanks for stopping by! x