One of my goals this year is to start a linky (Ta-da)! I wanted to do this for 2 reasons – firstly to break out of my comfort zone and invite other bloggers to hop along and link up their content that fits into my new title of “My Hearty Life”! And secondly because I want to focus more on the blessings and joyful things in life this year. The small moments that make life cheerful, wholesome and jovial, for these are the reasons I originally started my blog.

I realised when my 3rd baby was diagnosed with CHD and Trisomy 18 that life really can throw some curve balls and storms! There are all kinds of things that come our way and that will drag us down and make us feel sad and naff. They can be loss, failure, body image, health issues, unemployment, slog with little success, or losing our tempers! We may see the growth of others and their success and sometimes, when our progress is slow, we may feel jealous or not enough. We may be skint or fighting debt, we may just never feel quite enough! All these emotions are natural, and in some cases justified, but they are also not the only existing thing in life and we cannot allow them to dominate life, even though at times they are the major event in it!

I have learnt, since losing my daughter and then blogging alongside that … using it as an outlet to share the highs (as well as the lows) of life, that there are good things all the time in life. We are surrounded by people who help us, even when it seems others don’t care, and we are blessed with little successes all the times and reasons to be grateful even when life feels absolutely pants or generally chaotic! I have had terrible waves of grief and pain and suffering, I have days where I have asked 100 times “Why Me?”! And still now I do not know why, just as you will not know why you feel your battles are so unfair… but have you noticed the goodness recently? Did you remember what made you smile and laugh amidst the pain and tears?

I am a firm believer that there are always things in each day to be grateful for and things we have succeeded at (however big or small they may be). Sometimes those things a massive with a family holiday or day trip, sometimes they are the fact we got out of bed and got the kids to school clean and fed!

With this in mind, whether you are a parent, beauty blogger, bargain hunter, fashionista or traveller – each week I am going to share 3 things on a Friday in reflection of that week that celebrate “MyHeartyLife” and I hope you will too. It is so individual I feel it will fit for anyone, and you don’t need to be a blogger to join in the celebration of goodness in life – share it on Insta!

If you are a blogger linking up on Fridays, then I will have 3 prompts to help you focus on the good, and they can be summed up in a picture, words, or both! And feel free to share more than one thing (I find when I am grateful more and more things are noticeable)! So my Prompts are –

Gratitude – Was it a person? A new opportunity? The rain that never came? The bus that was late when you were too? The green light? The mysterious treats? The kids that went to bed on time with no fuss? The child that finished their dinner? Got 100% in a spelling test?

Success – An opportunity you’ve wanted? A new level of following on one of your channels? A weight loss goal? A shower that day? A tidy home? New decor? A charity shop find or voucher that saved some much need pounds?

Beauty – When did you feel beauty? When did you see beauty? Was it on a holiday? Was it when you found those perfect jeans? When you looked at your kids? When you glammed up for a do? When you were out for a walk? A drive? A sunset? on a picnic?

The options are endless as it is how you interpret it. And so I hope you will join in either on you blog or on Instagram and share with me (and others too) the good in you life that week! What made your life “Hearty”? What made you smile? What or who did you feel thankful for? What empowered you? # it with #MyHeartyLife!!

Forget the storms raging and the things you felt you failed at or are insecure about. Forget that you didn’t make the gym or shouted at your kids or made them rubbish for tea! Forget how you feel about your body or business or blog and take a few moments to reflect outwards in order to realise what was cheerful, joyful and wholesome, and what gave you reason to smile and feel gratitude! There is goodness in our lives and all around us, I want to notice it more this year and I hope you will too!

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!

Ahhhhh I am so excited – I know a linky is hard work, and I know it might be slow progress, but whether 1 or 30 join in, Ill be here every Friday (starting this week) sharing my joyful, hearty moments of life – see you there!!!

The Hearty Life
Follow:

Over the last few years I feel like my priorities for gifts and special occasions have shifted somewhat. I have moved away from wanting “stuff” on birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas and are more drawn to memory making experiences. Of course I do still love to write a wish list, and eye up the latest trends in Zara and H&M, and maybe I’ll need a new pair of pumps or boots or a jumper that I ask for, but I just think that there is something wonderful about a day out to my favourite place with Nathan, or a theatre trip, a night away, a cheeky spa day with a friend – just doing something completely different that otherwise you wouldn’t do! I love when we have taken the kids to theme parks or a zoo; something bigger and more special than the average day out, yes this is what makes me really happy.

20161110_100618

I feel so strongly that life is about feeling joyful, not just happy with it, but actual real joy! To me joy comes when I am on an adventure with the fam, or when I am accomplishing goals and ticking things off my bucket list. It comes when I see my kids achieve or be kind to someone, and it comes when we are together as family and with family. Joy is great because you can feel it even when you can’t afford the jeans you were eyeing up or the new highlights your hair desperately needed.

Joy is felt in the experiences of life and then for me can be rejuvenated at the memory of that experience again and again.

It is because of that we chose early on as a couple to do activities and have experiences together on our wedding anniversaries instead of buying one another gifts. And in the last couple of years we have decided on that idea for Christmas too. We just thought why buy each other another jumper, more make up (me not him obviously), perfume and “stuff” just because its Christmas, when instead we could use our budget to have a nice day out together? We could see a band, go to a spa, take a city break or just do something bucket listy like travel or hit the west end! We love getting stuff and gifts from other people, and its so lovely and exciting to see what they would think you would like, but for each other we love more that the stuff to have fun and wonderful experiences, we love opportunities to create memories and want more than anything when we are old to look back on life and say “Remember when we did”…

FB_IMG_1478772146013

I therefore really love companies like Red Letter Days that are all about the experiences of life. They are people that know how to have fun, how to create romance and how to give you something to remember for many years to come, and how to give your those stories to tell long after that new jumper has gone bobbly! They are couple friendly and family friendly and their gift list is fab for singles, groups and all ages, and what is even better is that they currently have a fab quiz online that I recently discovered, and that takes like 2 minutes to fill out – “The naughty or nice list“, and it gives you the opportunity to win a lovely experience this Christmas (free and easy – right down my street). I have already entered and hoping that that super car experience is mine as I have a little weakness for hot cars, but that’s another post for another day.

20161110_100651

So maybe think a little harder this year and see if a night away, a trip to the theatre, national trust, afternoon tea or a day at the spa in the new year would be more valuable than another handbag, jacket or bottle of perfume! Not only will it be wonderful to do and remember, give something to talk about for years to come, but it will save a lot of hassle fighting the crowds who are Christmas shopping!

Contains affiliate links

 

 

 

Follow:

Alice has been rather snuffly these past couple of weeks and on some days just whimpering whenever I put her down, this potentially could be such hard work but naturally and without thought on such days I have reached for my new Kangawrap and have been wearing her so as to keep her close and snuggly. This has not only helped her settle and relax and get some much needed rest, but it has also meant that I could still get on with things and not disturb her too much.

20160920_101549

Baby wearing is quite a new concept in our house hold – my sisters and sister in law have done it and love it, I used a baby carrier briefly with Ethan, but other than that it isn’t something I have done. However since being asked to try out the Kangawrap I can hand on heart say that I love it. I opt for it most days over the pram and find it so convenient and just a lovely thing to have my baby close and safe. It makes life with a baby easy and has become my go to when heading out.

On the school run I love it.

On days out I love it.

When Shopping I love it.

Walking in woods, the city and beach I love it.

On public transport I especially love it.

I love it because she sleeps well and is calm, I have both hands free to make sure Ethan and Megs are safe or if I need to carry things, and because its easy to manoeuvre places quickly. It has been great for weight loss as I can walk faster than when with the pram with of course the added lbs from baby and I tend to walk further too. It is just so convenient and easy to use and both Nathan and I thoroughly enjoy having little Alice snuggled close, occasionally popping her head out to grin and watch the world go by.

20160912_084107 20160912_083935 FB_IMG_1473749199501IMG_20160829_151456

The Kangawrap is so easy to use once you know how – initially I used a mirror but now I can now put it on whilst wandering around the house “encouraging” Ethan and Megs to get ready for school, and then quickly pop her in and off we go.

20160906_16593614141973_10153978906581553_1664384726128870333_n

It is made from organic cotton and is lightweight and soft. It provides ample support to baby’s head, hips and back and the way you wear them means  their weight is evenly distributed across you, and so we are both extremely comfy and therefore it is the perfect thing for our fast pace and busy lifestyle. But the thing that really appealed to me about Kangawrap is their Ethical values… The idea was manufactured in developing countries which does not only provide work for those who need it but also allows them to support their children. The wraps are then sold in the UK and the profits are sent back to maternity healthcare projects in developing countries. They work closely with Christian Aid and Asha India as they support countries which they have seen first hand such as Delhi and Kenya (You can find out more about their charity projects here).

Kangaroo care has a tremendous impact on babies in the early stages, and over the last few weeks I have grown to love it, as a novice it is unbelievably easy to do, but you would think by the reactions of some people that they had never seen someone carrying a baby in this way! Several older people have found it so funny, but to other mothers that haven’t tried it either, they can see how great it would be, especially on the school run where I use it most often. It has basically become a baby essential of mine, and whilst still a novelty I couldn’t live without my Kangawrap!

20160912_084004

NB: Kangawrap sent us a free wrap in return for an honest review. All thoughts and pictures are my own.

Follow:

20233_277550721552_8379719_n
I have 3 Sisters and so grew up in house full of girls. I am the second oldest and our relationships were very much love/hate… one minute the best of friends and plotting, gossiping (usually about boys) and sharing our stuff, having sleepovers, keeping look out for one thing or another, and the next it was physically fighting, ganging up on one and wo be to them if they go anywhere near our stuff! There was often an obvious division for a lot of our childhood/teen years; Myself and my older sister and then “the younger ones”, as kids we had secret clubs and long summer evenings on our bikes and making potions. As teens we had cinema trips together, snook out to the odd club (sorry mum), box set weekends, dances at church and even got Saturday jobs at the same place. These things and many more meant that we had a lot of fun despite the battles or disagreements and were always the 1st to defend the other from outside attacks no matter how our relationship was. Friends would agree that with 4 girls under one roof, our home was the mad house!

We laugh so much now about what we got up to together, how we drove my mum mad and how many secrets we shared. Each one of us brings something unique to the family and I love that we always have banter and laughs when we are together now as adults, and of course still the occasional “fight” too.. this is just our ordinary but moments I appreciate!

The word “Sister” and its relationship has been on my mind a lot recently. We don’t always appreciate our families or see eye to eye, and at times they can upset us, but as I get older I am certainly grateful that I have sisters and people to grow up with. In addition to these 3 crazy sisters, I also have 6 sister in laws whom I see frequently and also have lots of fun and jokes with. We are all great friends too and often have heart to hearts, outings, chill out sessions and just generally share family fun, tears and support when needed…and I am so very grateful for each of them too.  Everyday I try to be a good wife, mother, friend, daughter and whatever other role I take on, and recently as I think about sisters, I have found myself saying to Mr Smith “how can I be a good sister to…”. To me it is so important to maintain relationships and a close bond and friendship with each of them, for my kids to know their aunts and for me to be able to help them and do what I can to support them when they are having a hard time, I feel this is my duty and roll as their sibling. Each one of us at different seasons have faced tough times, families do don’t they? And I have always been grateful that no matter what we have been disagreeing on or how far we are geographically from one another, the sisters are there to help. They were all my bridesmaids, they all have visited when we have had a new baby, wrote letters and emails when I lived in America, all there to hang out with, and there the morning we had Poppy. My older sister has spent hours on the phone with me when I have been grieving or ranting, and along with my younger sisters been willing to watch the kids to help us out. My youngest before having kids helped me decorate our newly purchased home, and we work together when needed to surprise our parents on special occasions! I am grateful for what each one brings, though at times they wind me up! I love we have the same sense of humour, memories to reflect on and care for others when we hit hard times. I love that for the 1st time in ages we were actually all able to get together yesterday for Megans Birthday and that was nice that as mothers we could see all of our kids play together, we could chat and laugh with each other and wind up mum like old times! Sisters are great…

InstagramCapture_914f9ae4-6174-4183-9cf9-9f8dc6a71bb5WP_20160611_13_23_47_Pro

I also think my thoughts on sisters has a lot to do with the amount of times Ethan and Megan are asked about their level of excitement for a “new baby sister”!! I always want to jump in with “another baby sister”, but know its not intentional, yet I can’t help that my thoughts turn to the sister they had but never knew and how loosing a sister affected their lives; how they missed out on that relationship and making memories with her, and how they will take to another baby sister this time round. I ponder so much about this new babies arrival, and how she will be in our family, yet can never determine how their relationships will be as siblings or how it will change and be with another sibling in the mix and then specifically towards her. Its exciting and strange all at the same time. I hope they will be friends for life, I hope they will remember the sister that isn’t here and I hope they will try to keep a good bond throughout life. I hope they will be there to celebrate like we are for each other and that they will be able to support and help when life deals one of them a bad hand. I hope they appreciate what each brings to the family, and try hard no matter where their lives take them to keep in touch and get together regularly.

Yes having sisters (and brothers too) is great. At times frustrating, totally annoying and you question if you are even related, but it is a friend for life, someone who knows you and supports you when you need it the most, and someone you can make and share memories with throughout life. I am grateful for my sisters, my sisterly relationships with my 6 wonderful sister in laws, and to be the mother of kids who have sister relationships! I hope we are all never far from one another and can have our ordinary moments of fun and laughter, and rescuing when life causes us to sink! You certainly can’t choose your family but you can choose to love, to care and be there through thick and thin.. to me that’s an ordinary and very big part of life!

WP_20160611_13_27_11_Pro

Follow: