Family Holiday with Boutique retreats – Dorset

It’s been so long since I’ve updated the blog! Now the yearly tradition rolls around and I find myself editing photos and updating it once more.

So much has happened in the past twelve months since we last went away with Boutique retreats! I’ve started back at work, going from working 4 day weeks ban to 5 days as I’ve recently been promoted to a director!

Stressful days and long hours meant I really needed a break. So back in January we booked another trip with our favourites at Boutique retreats.

As mentioned in previous blog posts we went away with Boutique retreats for our babymoon in Cornwall and then again in May last year when Max wasn’t even walking!

We have a completely different child on our hands these days, as he is now 2. I phoned Boutique retreats and asked them to recommend somewhere child friendly – they recommended a number of cottages but “The Strawberry Thief” really stood out with me!

Immediately is quaint location by a farm and the lure of the rolling hills got me hooked, perfect for a 2 year old to run around in!

Hubby is obsessed with BBQ so the Weber and the outdoor patio were also perfect choices for us – so we can kick back and unwind when Max goes to bed.

Max helping daddy with the BBQ

We’ve been so lucky with the weather being hot so we took the chance to eat outside tonight

Max was showered and safely tucked up in bed for the night, we haven’t heard a peep as the sound of the tractor acted as white noise and sent him straight off into a snooze!!!

Words cannot express how pretty this cottage is and we feel totally spoilt to be staying here!

Tomorrow we intend to hit the beach whilst the sun is still with us.

Watch this space for updates….

Becks & Nandy x

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He’s a Toddler for sure

It’s been a while since I had a little update on here, Nandy is growing up fast and I feel I haven’t really talked about him much.

As everyone may have read by now, I’m back at work and finding the whole work life balance thing really hard (don’t we all?). That has meant I’ve had not a lot of time for social media and all the fun stuff I used to – like blogging!

I’ve missed updating the blog and taking millions of photos for Instagram. I had such a well documented maternity leave that it proves really useful for looking back and reminiscing. Occasionally it smacks me square in the face that he is NOT a baby anymore. He’s a toddler! When did that happen!!

Nandy was very late walking – 17 months so the term “toddler” didn’t really apply to me in a sense he was still very much my baby still up until recently.

I was so desperate for him to walk like all his friends but my god, now I don’t! He is into everything! He even knows how to put keys into doors and lock them! He is one smart cookie. He nearly locked me out of my own house the weekend. Don’t even get me started on the car situation where he locked himself inside my car with my handbag phone and keys inside and sat in the front seat laughing and waving at me!

He certainly is becoming quite the character. Very independent and very head strong! (Wonder where he gets that from! Ahem).

The only downside to that is the tantrums. Yep the dreaded terrible twos have set in already and he constantly tantrums for me. He doesn’t listen to my instructions and if I’m harsh with him he screams and cries. For nanny and grandad he is golden and they profess that he’s an angel for them. Which leads me to fear – what am I doing wrong? What have I done to create such devilish behaviour that could make me cry daily?

My mums says “maybe it’s because you don’t see him enough?” Cheers mum. #1 crap mum award goes to me!

Some days I genuinely feel like he hates me. It’s very rare of late that we actually get a fun day together without him wiping the floor of the restaurant / shop / play area we are frequenting. I took him to the forest last week and dragged him around leading my friend to send me an article afterward entitled “understanding your toddlers tantrums and what they really mean….” cheers !

So clink clink of glasses to all you mums and dads out there downing the vino tonight because the toddler has gone to sleep and you can actually have 5 ministers without toilet tissue being thrown about the lounge or your phone being put into the bin or the attempt at Lego being stuffed up your nose.

Rebecca & Nandy 🙂

Advice to my 1st time parent self with Vicks Babyrub

Let’s talk straight. I was THAT mum, the over excited, I’m having a baby, stepping into mamas and papas after week 6 mum. I wanted it all, I wanted all the products, all the stuff!

It was my first baby. A baby I thought I’d never have. I’d always been non-maternal, career driven. Never been fussed about other people’s babies or any of my own. Then the clock ticked by louder and louder and we decided it was time for us to start the fam.

Once I discovered I was pregnant I was excited – so excited I created lots of Pinterest boards of inspiration of all the things I could buy for baby including nursery decor the works.

Immediately I started to nest. Converting the 2 large walk in wardrobe spaces solely for baby stuff. I bought so many clothes and products all before my 12 week scan!

Anything you could sell me and I would be onto it.

I had lotions and potions and creams for every possibility (or so I thought!).

HOWEVER, No-one told me about the sleepless nights and how all the stuff would mean nothing when he was teething or had a cold.

Turns out we had a particularly refluxy and snotty baby! Two of the things I hadn’t planned for (what are the chances??) I ended up having a cocoonababy given to me for him to sleep in (godsend) and all of the nasal salt sprays I had bought didn’t touch his blocked nose!! – making it a nightmare for breastfeeding!

It was when I was browsing the aisles for alternative products during one of those many days of maternity leave filled supermarket shop days, that I came across vicks baby rub!

My husband and I swear by the adults Vapour rub when we are congested and I was really chuffed to see they do it for babies!

Vicks BabyRub can be used at any time of the day to help to wind down and settle your baby. Some of these scenarios where we find it most useful to use are: -After his bath and before bedtime -If Nandy is irritable through teething (most of the time at the moment)

My friend recommended I run some on the soles of his feet when he has a cold and the lavender scent really helps to soothe him to sleep and calm him for a good night sleep for us all.

So I think the moral to my story is – perhaps less is more. Wait until you have met and bonded with your baby to find out what they really need. I mean NEED. As you’ll just end up with truck loads full of stuff you don’t!

Vicks BabyRub is a cosmetic, non-medicated product for babies aged six months and older

This post is an entry for BritMums #VicksBabyRub Challenge, sponsored by Vicks BabyRub. Specially designed for babies aged 6 months and over, Vicks BabyRub is available at Boots, Superdrug, Tesco, Asda, Waitrose and all good pharmacy chains. RRP £3.99.

Nandy & Rebecca

Is there ever a right time for a second?

It’s Christmas Day, it’s 2:30am, I’ve been wide awake for the past hour unable to sleep. I’m 33 but yet seems tonight I’m 8 years old again, hyperactive on an overdose of sugar and buffet food and eagerly anticipating the arrival of Father Christmas down the chimney.

Actually for some bizarre reason I’m wide awake not excited for Santa, but, debating in my mind when the right time comes for a second baby!

Lately a few friends have moved onto baby number 2, I follow a fair few people on Instagram who have also ventured into the world of a second baby and it’s gotten me thinking, when IS the right time for another?

On my Christmas party this year I was plagued with the reoccurring question from colleagues and I simply couldn’t answer.

So here I am at 2:30am on Christmas thinking about it. I know if I had another I seriously would not want to repeat the pregnancy and birth experience from the first. I think it is those points that are acting as major contraceptive at the moment.

Then secondly comes my career. When I had Max I seriously felt like I’d chosen my baby over my career and purposefully put my job on hold to have a family. Excellent choice at the time but now I feel miles behind my male counterparts having had a year off. I think if I got pregnant again it would be met with a lot of negative vibes at work. I’d be worrying sick about my career and what life would look like after number 2 for me career wise.

Thirdly there’s the finances – now I have a good job, my husband does ok, but with baby number 1 we managed to save a chunk of cash so I could go off and have a year off. This time, we have no savings. So how could we possibly afford for me to take a year out of work? I simply couldn’t. I think this would leave me feeling a bit sad inside.

So having reviewed points 1-3 above I think it’s safe to say I’m not ready, but those points will always exist.

  1. Is it normal to just have one baby?
  2. Why do I feel such immense pressure to do it again?
  3. How will baby 2 make me feel?

Really keen to get thoughts and comments!

Rebecca

Christmas Gifts with Sports Direct – #SDfiverchallenge 

Can you believe it’s only 10 weeks until Christmas! Where did the year go? 

It’s Nandys’ 2nd Christmas this year and he is more aware of the festive season than ever. Which adds to the pressure of finding the right gifts for him to tear open on Christmas Day.

Now, if you’re like me and hate tacky presents (I like useful things!!!) it can be a struggle to find affordable, useful gifts for the family – especially with the cost of childcare and living it’s nice to be able to spread the cost of Christmas out!
I’ve started earlier than ever this year – sportsdirect.com has a great range of gifts (not just sports related!) for affordable prices! 

Here is a selection of things we managed to purchased for just £5 – £6 an item! 


I was really impressed with the fact that all items we managed to purchase were branded and a cut at the price you’d pay in other high street stores! Playdoh and crayola are big names and I trust my baby with them! 


As Max started with childcare this year we realised he really enjoys his arts and crafts, what better way to kit him out with all the supplies needed.

This little bundle cost me only £26! With next day delivery options available it was perfect for any last minute panics too! 

I even managed to get a little something for my golf loving family for £5 – a Nike golf glove! 


I will definitely be using sports direct again for future gifts as the range of stuff available and affordability is second to none!
Go check out sportsdirect.com now for their range of gifts and inspiration! 

Rebecca 

Disclaimer:- All views in this blog post are my own and honest representations. This post is an entry for BritMums #sdfiverchallenge Christmas Challenge, sponsored by Sportdirect.com

Family Holiday Washing with Ecover 

Our first holiday abroad, that’s it! Done and dusted for another year! 

I was apprehensive about travelling with a baby. All the stuff you have to pack, I felt like I was packing up the entire house just for 10 days! I decided to pay for additional luggage so Max could have his own suitcase. Turns out that was a good idea, because it was full of outfits for him (see previous blog post on Nandys holiday wardrobe!)

I envisaged lugging half of it back home unworn, but I judged it perfectly. Well not so perfectly, we had to buy more trousers in France because he had a giant up the backer poonami on the last day and his clothing was wrecked. He had been suffering from a cold and all his bibs were snotty, not to mention the entire carribean chicken dinner he tipped over his blue shirt! I knew I had some serious washing issues when I got home! 

Seems dunking him in the sea to wash didn’t work!


So 

I’ve come home to – you guessed it – all of that to wash (in the washing machine not sea!) and iron and put away.
I’ve only just finished putting away all the dried clothes from before our holiday – I’m sure no-one enjoys washing. 

I’m also particularly careful with washing detergents because Max has super sensitive skin, so I’m really careful to select a detergent which is gentle on his skin and good for the environment. 

That’s why I’m so glad we discovered ecover washing liquid, it’s safe for his sensitive eczema prone skin and is tough on stains (for a non-bio) – great for all that food mess and other stains that he is capable of making!! (Rolls eyes). 

This bottle of detergent covers 25 washes so I know it will get us through the mountain of holiday washing we have just fine! 

Thanks Ecover for taking care of our family washing needs. 

Rebecca & Nandy 


This post is an entry for BritMums #EcoverLaundry Challenge, sponsored by Ecover. You can find them over at Ecover website

Beach Birthday Party … (indoors in the rain) 

Anyone that’s been following the blog for some time will realise that I have been planning Nandys 1st birthday party, a beach themed birthday party, for some time now. 

The plan was to host the party in our back garden so the past few weeks has been spent prepping said garden – clearing rubbish away, sorting out the rotten decking, digging out an old tree stump and making sure the grass looked lush and green (following a dry spell) all in preparation for it guests.

I’d purchase bunting and tassels in bright colours to adorn the garden furniture and the plan was to lie beach towels down on the grass area for guests to sit on..

Until the rain came

And boy did it rain…. it rained and it rained. I checked the forecast daily with the hope that surely no more rain could possibly fall out of the sky…. surely it was all rained out by now. But no, in typical law of sod fashion – the forecast for his party day was the worst of all days. 

I should have known after last years attempt at a garden based baby shower (equally a dreary June day!) that I didn’t have luck with weather. 
T minus 3 days to the party and I decided enough was enough and it was necessary to book a village hall and relocate the party indoors. 
The plan was to have the sandpit and paddling pools in use – those plans now redundant made way for a bouncy castle (so beach party right!?).


I hired a last minute castle for £60 and the hall set me back £55 – £115 I hadn’t intended on spending! 

Day of the party came and we set about the hall and tried to cheer it up as much as we could using the bunting the flags – sure enough as my luck would have it – the sun shone in all its glory just to piddle on my parade!!!!! 


Guests arrived for 1pm and soon started making light work of the huge buffet on offer and the soft play and toys which adorned the hall. 


I’d blown up beach balls and other various inflatable fish / whales for them to smack each other around the heads with (or play nicely with) also a suspiciously fallis shaped lilo! 


The time capsule cards went down a treat and I have spent a few hours reading through the messages left by the guests and weeping into my cuppa. 

One thing is for sure – we didn’t need the sunshine or the theme – friends are what make the party and they did not disappoint. We had a great turnout and everyone left smiling which is the most important thing! 


I think we did Nandy proud on his day and he behaved like a little star being passed around between people for hours. 

So that’s it for his first birthday – over in a flash. Sobs 

Now I just need something else to plan ….. 

Rebecca 

First Birthday Ideas

I Can’t believe it. I’m actually planning his first birthday and it’s actually only 4 days away now. 

The party buckets are done and the presents have been purchased. All that’s left to do is make his cake and wrap the presents. 

It’s safe to say I have my hands full of party prep! But, first things first – the photo garland. 

I wanted to capture the past 12 months and I’d seen a few others do similar things on Instagram along these lines. 

I decided to stick with the square theme and ordered Polaroid style snaps from Photobox and using twine and pegs strung the photos up along the length of the wire! Perfect display!! (Sobs into a massive bar of chocolate and glass of vino – especially at the baby photos). 


Next up has been the party food! (Ok so I can’t prepare most of the food yet as it’s still a week until his actual party), but, I can start to arrange all the non perishables out! We were fortunate to be sent a box full of Bensons Juices for the kids to drink at his party. I can’t wait to see how well they take to testing out these Orange and Apple drinks! 

We also had the buffet for labels perfectly crafted by Lottie and Lyla for the food. The labels match the beach party theme perfectly! 


Last but not least is the time capsule, I was flicking through Instagram the other week (standard right) and I came accross this fab idea for a time capsule. The guests can leave Nandy messages for when he turns 18 on 27/07/2034.

To top it off we have created a little box for the cards to go inside and it can be “buried” and opened in the future for him to read! 


I think it’s safe to say I’ve been a busy bee with all his preparations! There’s so much more to come – so watch this space for more inspiration / ideas / general updates! 

If you like any of these ideas then don’t forget to pin the post to Pinterest and give us a follow @lifeofnandy

Rebecca 

Beach party theme Party Buckets

Planning a beach themed party for your child? Stuck for ideas on party bags? Look no further…!!!

I planned the beach theme as Nandy turns 1 in July and hoped the weather would be hot enough to justify a beach theme!

I couldn’t just get away with handing out party bags after I’d been inspired by Pinterest to have buckets instead! It was just too relevant to the theme! 

Now if you’re looking for cheap options then this isn’t going to be for you, being honest the cost of the party buckets must be in excess of £7 each child perhaps even £10. Multiply that by 15 children and it becomes an expensive option. 

So what’s inside Nandys party buckets?

  • Inflatable beach balls
  • Sand mould
  • Sunglasses 
  • Beach colouring book
  • Shell or fish shaped crayon
  • Beach themed flash card 
  • Beach themed foam bath shape
  • Bubbles
  • Deck chair striped candy bags with goodies inside 
  • Plastic bath boat
  • Personalised thankyou tag 

Bucket contents

  • I sourced the sand bucket from Smyths toys for £1.69 each.
  • The flash cards were a steal at 20p a pack from the Range.
  • The foam bath shapes were £10 for a bag from Jojomaman Bebe.
  • The bubbles were from Tesco in their party aisle Approx £1 for 6.
  • The sunglasses were £1 each from Primark. 
  • The deckchair style stripe candy bags were from Homesense. Approx £5 for 20 bags.
  • The shells and fish crayons were from Craystion station at approx 50p each. 
  • The inflatable beach balls were from EBay at approx £1 each. 
  • The colouring books were from Tiger at £1 each 
  • The plastic boats were £1.50 for 4 boats from a local baby shop
  • The plastic sand moulds were £1 from Poundland for 3 moulds.
  • The thankyou tags were from Zazzle. 


Now it’s only 3 weeks until his party – the countdown is officially on! I can feel myself getting emotional already! 

Hubby says I’ve gone over the top on things but it’s not every day your first child turns one is it! I’m just trying to enjoy it as much as possible.

If you like this idea then please don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, twitter and pin to Pinterest @lifeofnandy
Rebecca 

Bento Box Ideas for Babies 

Not long ago I discovered the wonder that is the bento box! I sourced this epic one from yumbox @eatwelluk. 

It was such a great buy and I haven’t looked back.

Each day we pack Nandy off to nursery with a different selection of snacks. It works perfectly for my Husband as it encourages him to pack a healthy choice of meals for him to eat. 

We tend to focus on adding at least one of these food types:-

  • Fruit
  • Dairy 
  • Veg
  • Carbs 
  • Eggs 

Below are some visual ideas on what you could pack if you are baby led weaning your little one:-


Mixed berries, rice cakes, cheese spread sandwiches, cucumber sticks, Petite filous strawberry yoghurt and babybel. 


Banana malt loaf, raspberries, baby pasta with a tomato and lentil sauce, cheddar babybel, Petite filous strawberry yoghurt and blackberries. 


Cheddar babybel, egg, marmite sandwiches, banana yoghurt, berries and a banana 

The uses for these bento boxes are absolutely endless and I’m so glad I invested in one!

If you have any ideas then please share them with me in the comments!

Don’t forget to pin the ideas on Pinterest! 

Rebecca