There is nothing I love more on these icy cold nights, than rushing home with the kids from school, kicking our shoes off and getting snugly together with a Christmas movie. We have a sneaky hot choc or herbal tea (yes before dinner), and all grab a blanket each, before diving on to the sofas, shutting out the world, and reconnecting from our busy day before it all starts again for dinner and bed time!

As I wander around our village to and from school, I have been noticing more and more that lots of people not only have wood burners going (yes please) but also have beautiful shutters on their windows… I never really noticed it in the Summer, but there seems to be something so lovely and cosy about them (especially adorned in twinkly little Christmas lights). Wood burners and shutters – they both seem to be a thing here, and both are things I do not have but which I can only imagine add to a cosy home on cold Winter nights in! With this in mind, and our new love of cosy movie nights after school, I have put together a few essentials I see to having a cosy Winter home. Some of these things I can, and do do now, others will be DIY jobs hopefully done for next Winter.

Creating a cosy Winter Home

Blankets – Before having a family and owning our own home, I always imagined I would love to have a basket filled with throws and snugly blankets for the winter time. I wanted people/us/our kids to be able to come in and get cosy, and feel relaxed whilst we sat around talking, reading or watching films!

Only now has this become a reality, and just last week I pulled out all of our blankets and folded them neatly  chucked them into a basket by the fireplace. It instantly brought a cosy feel and made me immensely happy too.

Candles – I love candles burning at this time of year. It instantly brings a warm glow and lovely scents that scream “cosy room”! I have a love for Winter smelling ones, like cinnamon or gingerbread! A lovely bunch of burning candles on cold nights definitely bring the cosy factor!

Warm Socks/Slippers – These are such a small thing, and probably one we take for granted, but cannot be underestimated either. I love a good pair of chunky sock to snuggle in on cold winter nights (and days too for that matter). I love to see the kids take off their shoes and pop on some cosy socks or slippers. You know you’re home and can just feel all warm and cosy. What a treat for your freezing little toes!

Fire – I love a good fire in the Winter. It is super relaxing and inviting, and feels so homely and cosy! I think a good fire, especially now we live in the countryside, is an essential to creating a cosy Winter home! Whilst it isn’t a project we plan to carry out this year… we most certainly want a wood burner in time for next Winter. I have been pinning a few ideas and can’t wait to live the cosy Winter dream!

Shutters – This is something new on my list of ideas, all thanks to my nosy wanders around the village! But I think they look so beautiful and homely, and are incredibly beneficial too. Not only do they look modern and fresh, but keep the room warmer in the Winter and cooler in Summer!

I would like to get some in the bay window downstairs, and then work up to the bedroom windows. I remember on holiday in Italy that they made the rooms so dark, and it felt nice to shut the world out! I think shutters would be a lovely addition to making a home cosy at Winter, especially when you throw in some twinkling lights too. What a lovely way to shut out the world and create a little place of happiness!

Winter isn’t my favourite of seasons, but it is one I love for all of the cuddles and snuggles, the beautiful scenery, and the opportunity to get cosy! I love making my home Winter ready and relaxing with blankets and little candles by the light of the Christmas tree. I love to gather my little family together and shut out the world, and I look forward to accomplishing more of our DIY goals to make this even more cosy and joyful!

*Sponsored post 

Follow:

For the first time in 3 years I can’t wait for November to be over and welcome in December tomorrow, with all of its excitement and festivities. Despite the excitement of a snowy day today, November has been a bit of “meh” type of month overall! We have lots planned for December, and it already feels like it’s going to be good, so I am excited to see the end of the month and welcome in a new one, with moments planned with the kids of decorating the house, baking Christmas goodies, crafting and snuggling on cold nights watching far too many Christmas films (can you ever have too many?).

Our pictures this month certainly reflect that festive feeling that seems to be in abundance everywhere (and rather early this year). They were taken on our magical day last weekend when we visited Santa on a double decker bus and aside from the odd closed eyes, I think we look pretty good/fresh this month!

November has been a mediocre kind of month and im not sure really sure why. Its normally such a fun one, especially for me, but I guess it’s been a bit of a let down in many ways due to Mr Smith being unsuccessful with a couple of new jobs we had high hopes for, and then me turning 33!!! My birthday’s are usually such a big and exciting thing. Jam packed with joyful moments and celebrations, and sadly this year it wasn’t really that at all. The day it’s self made me sad and grumpy, which of course made the rest of the family feel awkward and grumpy too!! Eventually things seemed to sort themselves out and a few days later I had a nice American themed meal out with Nath, and a scrummy hotchoc with a friend.

I don’t particularly like odd numbers so I guess 33 was never going to be great, but I don’t like that the older I get the less fuss we seem to make. I never want to feel like that again on my birthday, and perhaps my hints or lack of communication were to blame, but either way I have learnt that in future years I certainly want my birthdays to be a big deal. Whether that means a kid free cinema trip and yummy meal, or a great adventure, I want my day to be out of the ordinary and feel that little bit different. I don’t want to feel mediocre, I want to create joyful hearty moments to make me excited for another year of life!

I love to celebrate each of us in our family, and I love birthday’s, and I think after this slip up, our little family have got that that needs to be reciprocated to mummy too HA!

The rest of the month held some better and more joyful memories, with a trip to Sewerby park to see the animals, and of course our little adventure to see Santa last weekend (which has been a fave!). We have held a stall for the kids to make some pocket money, decorated our porch, and grabbed a random bargain at William’s Den one Friday evening after school! I guess remembering these things, it was a good month, but that first week or so around my birthday felt naff, and we hoped (again) for a new job closer to home for Mr Smith which right now doesn’t seem to be happening!

But December is a new month and one we are excited for. That feels strange to say that as for so long, December and the Christmas season has felt so raw and painful, and I usually am feeling a little anxious around now about it all. I am sure there will be moments that that pain of not having poppy here will consume me again, it’s only natural when we are buying and wrapping gifts and hanging the stockings for the other kids, but right now I am embracing the joy and excitement we are feeling as we celebrate Christmas in our new home. The tree is out, the house is organised and we are ready for a fun packed, crazy December and end to 2017!

How exciting we get to be in our new home, with new exciting things around us, and of course lots of opportunity to see our families too – We can’t wait!

 In November we are grateful for…

Seeing Santa

Megan getting star of the week

Megan going up a reading level

2 great reports at parent’s evening

A spontaneous trip to William’s Den

Making £7 each selling tat

Seeing Alice walking outside more and chattering to us all

A sisters night with my sisters

Snow

The Me + Mine Project - Dear Beautiful
Follow:

In 2 days we will be in December and officially on the countdown to Christmas (whaaattttt!!), and whilst that thought is a little scary, it is also rather exciting too! Christmas for us, like so many others, revolves A LOT around family, food, chocolate, gifts and lovely decorations. But we also try to make it more, and capture the spirit of the season by remembering the birth of Christ through reading the stories of the bible, singing hymns/songs, attending Christmas services, and now my favourite thing – Following his example of love for others through daily acts of service.

Christmas is a time of year that is rich in family tradition and one of these traditions for several years now, has been to carry out random acts of kindness leading up to the big day! Before it was rather sporadic, but in recent years our Church has introduced #LightTheWorld and given us 25 ways over 25 days we can light the world through service and kind acts. Each suggestion is taken from the bible and relates to the life and teachings of Jesus!

Whilst I try to be kind all year and help in both big and small ways to those who need it, I love that light the world makes me really spring into action and get things happening! It helps me focus on the needs of others and it puts things into perspective at a time of year we can get carried away and perhaps a little self absorbed!

I am a strong believer in giving and helping those whose circumstances differ and are in need of help in someway! Saying this though, lets be real… I am also a busy mum to 3 kiddies, have oodles of cleaning and stuff, blogging and other commitments. So I also find it hard with said young family, to do things daily for others when some days I am totally lost and my limit! With this in mind, I have tried to be uber organised so that I don’t have that as my excuse or reason. I want to help others at Christmas time and show our love and appreciation too, and I want my kids to learn early to think of others too. And so I planned ahead, started weeks ago with our reverse advent box for the food bank (December 1st) and since that it has all just come together!

So here is a sneaky peak of our ideas to #LightTheWorld in December 2017 (we are also collecting walking boots and thermal socks for the refugees in Calais who have trench foot/are at risk of it, along side this!). I have contacted the necessary charities and organisations, and I am hoping others will jump on board too!

Last year we thoroughly enjoyed the days we joined in. From donating gifts and helping to sort at the refugee centre, to making dinner for some fellow church members we knew were having a hard time. We baked treats and delivered them and we donated food too. Whilst I am sure this was helpful to those we served, the blessing of joy and lessons we learnt were great for our family! And so we are choosing to #LightTheWorld again this December to celebrate the birth of Christ. I look forward to the people we will meet, the friendships we will build and the lessons we will learn. I hope it ignites kindness and thoughtfulness in my kids as they help too, and that it will make a season that can be hard for us, one of light and Joy!

You of course don’t need to be LDS/Mormon to join in! #LightTheWorld is an opportunity for us all to bring peace and kindness to others; be that in our families, our neighbourhoods or even our wider communities and the world! If you live near me then come and donate to these great causes too. If you want me to elaborate then leave me a comment, but really whatever you can do – do it!Then snap a picture and # it “LightTheWorld” … share the love as we light the world together for others one day at a time.

Follow:

As we approach Christmas I am excited for Alice to have her first Christmas where she is actually aware that something is happening. Because of this increased awareness of gifts, (and things that are hers) that comes with being almost 18 months old, I have been way more thoughtful about her gifts and what she will love! With this, I have had a lot of joy in choosing for her things she can play with and enjoy, all whilst building her confidence and skills.

At the top of the list has always been a Playmobil Noah’s ark, followed closely by a little toddler bike, and then a doll or something similar since she has taken a shine to Megan’s! I think all of these things will be so lovely for her and are things that grow with her and will be used for a good couple of years! The Doll and playmobil are very straightforward, however when it comes to a bike suitable for her age I have wondered, which would be most suitable?!

We have been excited to review with her (and then hide away before the kids get home) the Toddlebike2, and have found it to be a lovely little toy for toddlers with great benefits.

Toddlebike 2

The Toddlebike2 is a unique pre-balance bike for ages 18 – 36 months and will certainly make a great Christmas or birthday gift for the little tots in your life. Available in 3 lovely colours (red, pink, blue) it is fun looking and there is something for everyone. They are really reasonably priced too at £23.95 which I think is brilliant.

Whilst Alice already has a scuttlebug she has inherited (and I only bring this up as I am sure many will think they have no need for this as well), the Toddlebike2 is a lot different, as it is specifically designed to be more like a real bike and give the child their first cycling experience. I absolutely love it for its simplicity, and that it promotes balance, is light weight and easy to clean. It is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, and over all terrains so gives them lots of practice! It fills the gap from the baby ride on toys they have outgrown to the age when they can handle a balance bike or scooter.

As I said one of its great features (aside from being a pre-balance bike) is that it is super light (like under 1kg light) and so can hang on the buggy when out and about, be easily carried to the park, or the best part for Alice – she can easily manouver it and move it around the house when she isn’t on it too (goodbye frustrated tot). It really has been thought about from the perspective of little one and you can see how well it fits into their life. She loved riding it, carrying and pushing it.

When Alice first saw it she shouted some delightful gabble at it and then was itching to have a go! She sat on it and grinned, and then began shuffling around the room! She struggled a little to get her leg over the cross bar, but it doesn’t phase me because with practice I know she will tackle it – I just see it as promoting her problem solving skills!

I loved after we had been out on it, I could so easily wipe it clean and when she wanted to walk, we could easily carry it!

She has had lots of fun both inside and out trialling this, and has found great delight in her new toy bike! I loved watching her toddle along with it across the village green, and chatter away as she went. As it hung on the buggy she would periodically turn to check it was still there, and give it a reassuring pat, and then as we walked she kept pointing at it and smiling! Yes it’s safe to say it gets the thumbs up from Alice, and me… she loved being on it…so much so that she wailed a little when it went away for Christmas!

I am really pleased to have discovered the Toddlebike2 as it is perfect for kids around Alice’s age and a little older too. It has great benefits; promoting balance, steering and confidence and is something that will teach her all of the skills she needs as she grows into a preschooler and towards a balance bike. For now though I look forward to getting it out again on Christmas morning, seeing everyone’s excitement (especially hers), and for it to become a daily part of her life to have fun on and master!

If you are looking for a fun and yet practical gift that will last a good year or 2 for your tot, then give them a Toddlebike2 this Christmas! Hours of fun and adventure await for them in their little world whatever the weather!!

 

Family Fever
 *We were sent the Toddlebike2 for the purpose of this review! All thoughts and pictures are my own.
Follow: