Yesterday morning I took Alice across to soft play in our neighbouring village and whilst super freezing cold, the sun was shining and it felt so good to get out after a week of being indoors resting from a heavy cold and feeling blah!

Our whole week has literally been spent at home, playing, resting and doing very little as I have felt unwell and just like my brain and body needed a break from everything normal! I of course did the school runs, made dinners and kept the home half decent, but I have just really felt ill and needed a break!

Aside from a few remains of a mega coldsore, I am doing well now.

Grateful for

I haven’t really cared much for January. Perhaps it’s the good ol “January Blues”, but either way I am so grateful to see the end of it and welcome a new month. I am grateful to see that the nights are getting a little bit lighter week on week and that we are having slightly warmer days here and there with some sunshine too! It makes me hopeful that Spring won’t be too far away and that is exciting that the world will soon come alive again.

I am most grateful thought this week that Nath and I took the plunge and booked a holiday to America in March! I might be chatting about this for the next few weeks, so sorry if it bores you, but I am just so so excited and thankful to be able to go back and see treasured places and friends in a few weeks. I am looking forward to the kids first experience of American life!

Succeeded at

My biggest success this week was baking a great cake for a get together with our neighbours on Saturday. I’ve never been the best of bakers and it was so fantastic to see how well it all came together and how nice it tasted too. It made me feel good and has really built my confidence to bake a little more here and there.

I also succeeded at getting Ethan to clean his room! Get out the trumpets and party poppers because this is the ultimate victory. We completely blitzed it and cleaned every inch! He is by far my messiest child and a real hoarder too, so I feel it the ultimate mum win this week to see his room so neat and clutter free and it makes me so calm!

Found Beauty in

Walking over to soft play always looks lovely as it’s a nice country walk, and yesterday didn’t fail to disappoint. After dropping the kids at school I decided to walk a different way and with the sun shining on the little village church, it just looked so beautiful – I had to stop and take a picture.

Blue skies, Winter sun and the historic stone of the church with its green church yard was possibly the biggest beauty of the week and I always feel so happy to live in such a charming place.

I think that Alice was so relieved to finally get out yesterday and be in a normal routine again (cabin fever comes to mind) and it was nice to have some fresh air and a good walk and talks with other mums and the childminding crew, (even if we did get caught in icy showers on the way home!). I say it all the time, but I love that all this is right on our doorstep now.

#MyHeartyLife Rules

You can link up one post a week that fits into either or all of the “Prompts”, and I ask that you at least comment on mine and one or 2 others too. Kindness costs nothing and a comment on your blog feels amaze!

Please use the #MyHeartyLife on Social media whenever to share the goodness and cheerful moments in your life that day! It might also help when summing up the week into a blog post to link up!

 

The Hearty Life

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Facebook last week reminded me that this time 3 years ago, Nathan and I were in Prague. What a great place that was and the trip itself was amazing, we carry some great memories from it. But then there’s nothing like seeing the fun of being elsewhere and the drag of January in the here and now to make you feel a great desperation for some travel, and lots of wanderlust.

And so, on the last day of the Month we decided to take the plunge and booked a 2 week vaycay in America that we’ve been talking about for months! It’s going to be epic!

It’s been on the cards for us for a while as I want to go back and show the fam where I lived in Mesa, as well as visiting a few big things too like HollyWood, the Grand Canyon and Vegas, and our family and friends in Utah! I will do either a post or Vlog about it at some point soon, because in my true thrifty style, it was a right barg! But yes, we are ending the month on an absolute high with a great trip on the Horizon for us all!

January for us, like most has been littered with some seasonal illness, new starts and hibernation! We bought a new (to us) car a couple of weeks ago and Nathan and I started to eat better and cut out Sugar. So far we have been doing great and between us have lost 10lb. I am excited for Springtime and the hope of a flatter stomach and less bulges on the sides.

Megan and Ethan finally started their swimming lessons, which we go to every Thursday and they absolutely love it. They spend most of the time with huge smiles and laughter on their faces and it’s such a delight to see, despite the mad rush getting there! Megan also started Gymnastics and Rainbows, both of which have really built her up and given her some independence.

Alice and I haven’t done a huge amount out of our ordinary, and in fact probably not even that much.

But the highlight for us all this month (aside from the epic Vay-cay coming our way) was certainly the snow and cake we enjoyed right here at home!

We had several days of scattered snow showers and then a week or so ago we had a really good covering which was a lot of fun and very pretty too. The village looks great in snow and I feel being in the countryside its all so much prettier and fresh. And then last week we welcomed friends and neighbours over for an afternoon of fun and frolic (and tasty cake) as part of a collaboration I have been working on with Baking Mad. It was so much fun and lovely to socialise with everyone and have them in our home!

January has been nothing special and no major news to report, but it has been great to get back into normal life and routines and think about our goals, plans and what we want to make happen this year. I am really excited for the year ahead and to welcome in February with new fresh moments to enjoy – Not just because its a shorter month, but because we have half term to look forward to and buckets full of love coming our way too. I really love it and all the things you can make and do together around love!

Today the sun has been shining (and feeling somewhat spring like), and that combined with 4 or 5 days of feeling weak and rubbish with a cold virus, I just can’t stop smiling at what’s to come! We are all soooo excited for a trip, for a new month and for what lies ahead in 2018 for our family. I won’t miss January but I will be thankful for it teaching me a lot about patience!

Sorry about these dreadful pics!!! I promise more lovely ones of us in the coming months!

I hope if you have had a bit of a blue January that February will be kinder and filled with love for you!

This Month we are grateful for 

Grandma Smith lending us her car whilst ours is in the garage
The cake turning out brilliantly
Our Neighbour for taking Megs to Gymnastics
Ethan being Star of the Week
Megan and Ethan starting swimming lessons
Megan starting Gymnastics and Rainbows
Mummy having more work through her blog
A USA trip to look forward to

The Me + Mine Project - Dear Beautiful
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If I had to pick a style for Alice then it would most certainly be traditional and a little vintage. Unlike Megs and her street/sporty style (mini me), Alice has always been a bit more girly and gentle in her look, and as a little baby often suited vintage and girly styles far better than anything else. For convenience I dress her day to day in practical leggings and tops but know she much better suits girly dresses and things with florals and lace!

It was no surprise then that she looked quite the part and right at home in her new La Coqueta dress that was recently sent to us for review. Its beautiful and we all love her in it!

La Coqueta is a spanish brand founded by Celia Munoz, and inspired by the wardrobe gifted to her for her first daughter back in 2008. Many of her clothes were from Spanish designers and possessed a vintage yet timeless feel and this is reflected in everything from La Coqueta. You only have to hop on to the site to fall in love with frills, lace, florals, knits and beautiful little accessories. From dresses, sets and rompers, each is unique and simply stunning, and comes packaged with great care.

Alice was sent the Cantillana baby set which is currently on sale! It was originally £64 but now on offer at £32. I love it for so many reasons!  One of my favourites is the matching little pants underneath that look so adorable when she bends down or climbs the stairs. Next is that I love its not pink, and that they have so many colour options for baby’s and little girls that look super feminine with out been pink! And then the floral print, which helps to carry it through any season, making it a great purchase.

She wore it now in Winter with her tights and little boots, but the florals with little sandals or shoes in Spring/Summer would also look totally fine I think.

I love the double breasted detail on the front, the peter pan collar and the french style lace. But my most favourite are those sleeves…. oooo I just want to squish her with love when I see those teeny hands poking out of such lush little sleeves!

To me this, and many of their other things are a little more high end but certainly worth it, and I am certain that if I had a few extra pounds I would love to kit Alice out completely in their things as they are all so beautiful. But for now I aim to have this (and hopefully a few others) for those special occasions and days where she can really overflow with cuteness and let her vintage girly self shine.

La Coqueta is traditional, beautiful and timeless, and everything has a story behind it. It is personal and well thought out, and uses quality materials.Their things are simply stunning and I would love more in Alice’s wardrobe for her to toddle around in – looking chic and stylish, because I loved how absolutely adorable she looked in her little dress and matching pants…please excuse me whilst I sale shop their upto 60% offers in search of some beautiful bargs!

*We were sent this outfit for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and pictures are my own.

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Since moving to the village I have been fortunate enough to meet some lovely new mum friends. Most of them are my neighbours too (which tends to happen when you all live in such a small community), and it was brilliant to be able to have a bunch of them over with their kids on Saturday for a “Baking Mad” Peter Rabbit party and natter!

We had 17 kids in our home (with parents), which Ethan and Mega loved, and as you can imagine was also a little nuts! But what a great afternoon we all had, and how much fun it was to host a very happy “un-birthday” party for our new friends!

 

Baking Mad

Baking Mad is an online company rich in recipes and kits sent straight to your door, to help you make the perfect bake! Whether breads, Pizza’s, Pastries or celebration cakes like the one we had, they have them all (and more) at your finger tips!

We were sent a box filled with the instructions and ingredients to make a Peter Rabbit Celebration cake. The box was packaged lovely, the ingredients neatly packed, and the instructions clear to follow.

 

As baking is not my strong point, I was more than a little nervous to get cracking with it. The usual scene whenever I bake is me ranting and getting stressed, followed by a creation that only a 2 year old could have thrown together. But when I tried my hand at the Baking Mad kit last Friday, I was over the moon (and a little very shocked) to discover that it all came together so well. Not only that but it looked really cute and impressive as well, and tasting absolutely delicious too.

Also in the kit was enough ingredients and accessories for 12 Cupcakes too – I again made these with little stress and found that they too worked out really well.

Never in all my years of attempting to bake/decorate cakes for the kids parties has it ever worked out as well as my Peter Rabbit cake that I made for Saturday’s Baking Mad party. I really enjoyed doing it, and I loved the results too, and so for that I give them a big thumbs up!

The Peter Rabbit party

Once the cake was made it was time to crack on with party prep! Baking Mad also sent us some of the peter Rabbit accessories that compliment the party well and are available in their shop.

I set the table in the conservatory with a garden green table cloth and food and drinks. At one end I had the regular little buffet and drinks, at the other the cake, cupcakes and favours. For the favours I put marshmallows in piping bags (99p for 20) and called them “Bunnies Tails” – they went down a treat! For the little tots I put them a rabbit chocolate and little toy in the party bags and again they mostly loved them too (I think some felt jipped when they saw the marshmallow cones)!!!!

 

I did some dancing/Action songs with the kids to start off with that all had a rabbit theme to them, and then we played pass the parcel (with a Peter Rabbit Magazine as the prize) and pin the tail on the bunny! After all of the shannonigans we fed them pizza, crisps and veggie sticks whilst watching Peter rabbit, and then ended with the cutting of the cake and scoffing it!

From parents to kids alike it was a unanimous vote of thumbs up!

 

Verdict

I don’t know what it was about this kit or it’s instructions, but I feel like I opened a miracle! Like I say this is the first EVER time I have ever done a party cake and it has not only tasted nice, but looked absolutely amazing too. I was in shock!!! It is the first time I have baked something and being able to really proud of it, and with that had loads of people impressed by it too (in person and on line!). Because my bakes are normally so naff, this definitely gets a thumbs up from me as being a successful idea and product.

Price wise however I’ll be honest and say I’m not so sure. The kits are £40 But then you need like 700g of butter and 9 eggs on top of that cost, as well as a couple of pounds on the carrot toppers for the buns! So for both the cake and cupcakes the thrifty part in me can’t help feeling like the ingredients on their own are a fraction of that and so am questioning whether or not the pride and satisfaction and lovely taste out weighs the costings of it? What do you think?

 If you do like the idea and want to make a Pirate, Unicorn, Princess, Superheroes or this Peter Rabbit cake, then hop over to their website and click on “shop” and get 25% off all party cake kits til the end of the month.

Saturday was so much fun with friends and family, and yes – There ain’t no party quite like that of a Baking Mad Un-birthday party!

I work as a TalkToMums rep and was sent this kit (and extras) for the purpose of sharing it with friends in person and reviewing it online. I have been compensated for this.

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