Friday, 20 April 2018

L.O.L Surprise! Pets Series 3 Review

L.O.L Surprise! dolls are possibly the most popular of all the "blind bag" craze that have been taking over childrens' bedrooms and emptying parent wallets for the last few years, they are definitely the one that I have heard most about.  Along with the original L.O.L Surprise! Tots doll (now in series 3 and with added confetti) there is the Big Surprise, which was one of the must have toys for last Christmas, Lil Sisters doll, Charm Fizz, Surprise Tots, Pearl Surprise and Fizz Factory. Last but not least there are the L.O.L Surprise! Pets series which we were sent to review.

A young girl with lots of plastic packaging on front of her on the table
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Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Recreating the for aisha dishes at home


As you will know from my previous post about for aisha meals we are big fans of the tasty pouches and tray meals. They are full of flavour, dairy free and low in salt. One of the things I love most is that when I read the ingredient list everything is recognisable and I even have most of the ingredients in my cupboards and fridge . For aisha are bringing out a cook book so you can recreate the recipes at home, but how similar do they taste? They gave us a sneak preview to find out.

A bowl with blended fruity tagine in
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Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Review: Organic Shop Lavish Avocado & Honey Hair Products


If you want your hair products to be full of natural ingredients then you might want to check out the new Organic Shop haircare range exclusively available in Tesco and at www.organicshop.co.uk. We were sent their Honey and Avocado Shampoo, Conditioner and Hair Mask to review. They are designed to give hair an intense moisture boost which my hair is always in need of. Avocado is so popular at the moment I somehow don’t find it surprising that it should be in my haircare.

A bottle of conditioner being squeezed into a wet hand in the shower
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Monday, 16 April 2018

Aldi Baby & Toddler Specialbuy Event April 2018

I love a bargain and whenever I pop into Aldi I can’t stop myself checking out the specialbuy aisle. The Aldi Baby & Toddler Specialbuy event is back this week (online now and in store from Thursday 19th April 2018). The event has a huge range of products from an awesome rocking chair to highchairs, from nappies to books, clothes and more. So what can you get?

Collage of images below with Aldi Baby & Toddler Specialbuy event April 2018 text
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Sunday, 15 April 2018

That Monday Morning Feeling...About Toddler Group

My thought process this evening: “Oh yay it’s Monday tomorrow, that means back to school and I get to see my big girl again after a week at her Dad’s.” My joy was short lived as I quickly realised that term time meant toddler group was back on. I love a good catch up with friends, but that is not toddler group for me. For me it is often dull, lonely and long.

A toddler sitting in front of a tray of coloured rice with a spoon, bowl and funnels
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Friday, 13 April 2018

Nail-a-Peel Deluxe Kit Review

If you have read my previous posts you will know I am a big fan of Gel-a-Peel. The range has so many different options to create your own jewellery and personalise items that it is a great product for creative girls. MGA Entertainment has now created Nail-a-Peel which uses the same concept, but comes with everything you need to design fun and individual nails. 

8 tubes arranged in a circle
Nail-a-Peel gel polishes and nail décor
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Monday, 9 April 2018

Looking After Baby Skin With Baby Dove

From that first moment when I held my newborn daughter in my arms I have wanted to protect her in every way possible. Everything from the hair on her head right down to her tiny toes felt delicate. I instinctively knew she needed special care so as a new mum I bought her baby products from some of the best known brands. It was only after her skin went dry and angry in places I started investigating what was best for her. 6 years later there seem to be lots of brands targeted at little ones and it is more confusing than ever. After spending a morning with my youngest daughter, Baby Dove, Water Babies and a lovely group of bloggers I have learnt a lot more about baby skin and how the Baby Dove range is developed to look after it perfectly.

A baby in the shower having her hair washed
Photograph by Lunette Opperman Photography
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FabLab Activity Kits Review and Giveaway | Nail Art, Glitter Tattoos and Hairlights

As my daughter grows older she becomes increasingly drawn to make up. Make up for young girls should be about fun, bright colours and sparkles. They don’t need make up to enhance their beauty or to make them look older. The FabLab activity kits are the perfect way for girls to express themselves in a fun and creative way and we love the products we were sent to review.

A young girl doing a silly pose to show off her nail polish, glitter tattoo and coloured hair
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Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Little Tikes Fountain Factory Water Table Review

What is it about toddlers and water? As soon as my youngest could crawl she made straight for the cat’s water bowl to have a splash and the interest has never waned. Some children refuse to wash their hands, I struggle to get Little to turn the tap off. We were sent a Little Tikes Fountain Water Table to review and it's a great alternative to annoying the cat or running up our water bill. 

A side view of the Little Tikes Fountain Factory Water Table showing lots of colourful and clear tubing
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Thursday, 29 March 2018

20 Weeks (Not) Pregnant

*Trigger warning, baby loss*

At 20 weeks excited pregnant ladies are attending their anomaly scans. It’s the scan where you can find out if you are going to have a boy or a girl. I should be having my 20 week scan around now, no, not should, would. Should implies that I did something to stop it happening and I have to believe that what happened was fate, that losing my baby before our first scan was meant to be. Yet I can’t stop saying “should”.

20 week pregnancy scan image
20 week scan image from my second daughter
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Seeking Home Inspiration At The SEH BAC Showcentre

Do you go on Pinterest to seek inspiration for your perfect house? Or maybe you prefer to browse interior magazines? I spend far too long each week on Instagram enviously looking at other people’s beautiful homes and wondering how I can transform mine. When I went to the grand reopening of the Chelmsford SEH BAC showcentre I came away buzzing with ideas.

*This is a collaborative post*

4 photos from the SEH BAC Chelmsford showcentre showing options for privacy glass, window and door handles
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Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Preparing For Nursery: Our First Days and What To Buy (Plus Giveaway)


As she left the house wearing her new bag Little was excited to go to nursery, in fact she had been waiting at the front door for a while as her sister and I finished getting ready. It was a struggle to persuade her she had to take her bag off to get in the car seat, but she eventually conceded to holding it on her lap (before emptying out the contents during the car journey). Throughout the school drop off, the walk to nursery and the wait for the doors to open Little was happy, but as soon as they opened the door she ran the other direction. I eventually persuaded her to go in, but she clung to me and asked me not to go. The staff coaxed her over to the play dough and while she was distracted I disappeared out the door with a promise from the staff they would call if she got too upset.

Back view of a toddler wearing the Skip Hop Zoo Dinosaur backpack, a purple coat and pink wellies
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Monday, 26 March 2018

Giveaway: 4 Teletubbies DVDs including Follow The Leader



The weather for the next couple of weeks is meant to be rainy so I thought I would cheer everyone up with a giveaway. You could win 4 Teletubbies DVDs including the brand new series: Follow The Leader which is out now on DVD.

Cover art for Follow The Leader Teletubbies DVD featuring the Teletubbies doing a conga dance next to Noo Noo the Vacuum cleaner
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Thursday, 22 March 2018

Finally Getting My DIY Done With The Help Of ManoMano

We moved into our house when I was 38 weeks pregnant so my urge to nest competed with the limitations of my heavily pregnant body. The most urgent work got done and everything else we learnt to live with helped by the distraction of a newborn baby. My newborn is now an energetic 2 year old and I have started to look around my house with fresh eyes. My to do list has grown and I just need to find the motivation, time and money to work through it. 

A mother and daughter in pale blue shirts painting a wall with white paint
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Saturday, 17 March 2018

Magical Family Moments With My Eldest and The #OreoCookieQuest

There are lots of great things about becoming a big sister, but do they really make up for getting less attention from your parents? M loves Little, but over the last couple of years she has had a lot less time with just me. It won’t be long before she reaches the age where she wants to shut herself away in her room to listen to music and she already spends afternoons with her nose in a book so I need to make the most of now. At the weekend I turn Little's nap time into Mummy & M time, a special time where it’s all about just the two of us.  


Selfie of a mother and daughter with fluffy pink ears and pink noses
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Monday, 12 March 2018

Exotic Taste Adventures With for aisha Infant Food

Daddy likes super spicy food, Mummy like fairly spicy food, baby likes? Well we don’t know but she is happy to eat the curry mummy likes. It always seems strange to me that most baby food is bland and boring when babies like their food full of flavour, you only have to see their response to fruit to understand that. Of course we don’t want to give children food high in salt and sugar, but there are so many herbs and spices we can use to make food more interesting it doesn't need to be bland. There's evidence that exposing infants to more flavours (and continuing to give them the flavours) helps to encourage them to eat those foods as they get older and enter the “fussier” stages during toddlerhood.

Little with a spoon in her mouth and a for aisha bib
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Friday, 9 March 2018

How Will You Be Spending Mother's Day? (With Baylis & Harding)

This year my Mother’s Day is going to be a bit different: it will be just me and my girls. That means no lie in and no breakfast in bed. M has recently learnt how to make tea and coffee so I might get a hot drink made for me while I hover a few metres behind her watching nervously as she pours water from the kettle. How well the day goes will probably depend on how long before 6 am I have to get up. I’m lucky and G normally gets up at 5 something am every morning when the cat or toddler has had enough of sleeping, but this weekend he will be on a stag do in Spain.

The Fuzzy Duck Pink Gin Fizz Trio Candle Set of two white candles with gold spots and a pink and white candle burning on the side of the bath with lots of bubbles
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Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Highlights From The SS18 mini club Collection

Yesterday I washed my hair, found some cleanish clothes and headed to the elegant surroundings of Somerset House to see the new Spring Summer Collection from mini club. Mini club clothes are easy to miss if you don’t have a big Boots near you, but they are worth checking out because they have some great pieces at affordable prices. The full collection features clothes for 0 to 6 year olds and is available online including Fearne, the collaboration with Fearne Cotton. I'm going to share some of my favourite pieces from the collection in this post.

A photograph of the front of a brochure saying "mini club only at Boots" Spring/ Summer Collection 2018
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Tuesday, 6 March 2018

The Sensio Home Electric Food Steamer Review And Cooking Ideas

I’ve always known steam cooking is a great way to make healthy, low calories food, but in my head that is synonymous with boring and tasteless food (side note: always may be a small exaggeration). I didn’t see the point in getting an electric steamer, but I have used a bamboo steamer a few times (before it fell apart from getting too wet) and a metal collapsible steamer which goes in a saucepan. Both work fine for the occasional steaming need, but even if you have the right size pan they don’t have a lot of space so I hadn’t really explored cooking with steam until I was sent the 800w Sensio Home Stainless Steel 3 Tier Steamer to review.

The steamer set up and ready to go with roses and a welsh dresser in the back ground
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Monday, 5 March 2018

Snow Day Memories and an Update on Little's Face


The snow melted over the weekend and it was back to school today for Big Sister. Memories of snow ball fights in the garden have taken on a fairytale nostalgic tint already and fortunately I am forgetting the arguments from two bored, house trapped children even faster. A couple of minutes running around the garden was no compensation for actually going out, but I did get some photo’s of the fun including Little’s impressive first snowball.

Two sisters in the snow with a snow ball
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Friday, 2 March 2018

The Ultimate Essex Easter Egg Hunt and Activities list for 2018

Easter is fast approaching and fingers crossed there will be some warmer weather. Each year more venues are putting on Easter Egg Hunts and other Easter themed activities over the holidays, but it can be hard to find all of them so I have pulled together as many as I can find. If you are looking for ideas of places to go with your children then check out this list with over 25 places to go in and around Essex. Some events are just one a particular day, others run throughout throughout the school holidays.


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Thursday, 1 March 2018

Review of The Gentle Eating Book by Sarah-Ockwell Smith

Probably best known as the author of The Gentle Sleep Book parenting expert Sarah Ockwell-Smith has a new book out and this time she is applying her gentle parenting approach to eating. The Gentle Eating Book aims to help parents: understand their children’s eating habits, resolve common eating problems and establish a healthy relationship with food for life.

Image of the front cover of The Gentle Eating Book It is green with drawings of vegetables and a knife, fork and plate
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Friday, 23 February 2018

Babysitting with BABY born Interactive Doll

Do you ever watch your children do something and wonder where they learnt it? It's when my girls are role playing I think it is most revealing how they see the world. While they are happily entertained it is the perfect time for me to get on with some work, but I often find myself sitting there watching them or listening outside their room as they act out the every day world they witness with their own special interpretation. I have been capturing some of these moments on video to share as part of the BABY born Babysitter campaign, but my children are smart, they save their cutest moments for when their back is to the camera or they walk out of shot.

Close up of girl giving BABY born doll water from it's bottle
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Friday, 16 February 2018

My Daughter's Cut Face And The Glue Which Didn't Help

I’m annoyed.

Last week my youngest had an accident. It was just one of those things and nothing could have stopped it. She ran across the room and face planted, hitting her cheek on the grate in our (now ornamental) fire place. If it had been a little bit either way she would have hit her head on the wall with force, so even if we had protected the fireplace you can’t pad the walls and she could still have been injured. She got a cut on her cheek which was deep and gaped.

A toddler with a cut on her face cuddled up to her Daddy and reading a book together
At Children's A&E waiting to be seen 
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Thursday, 15 February 2018

One Point Five Children


It’s Thursday and for me half term is over. I have one daughter of school age and while she doesn’t go back to school until Tuesday for now our holiday time has passed. This morning I took her over to her Dad’s house and gave her a big cuddle before her little sister and I drove away.

M jumping up and down in excitement with her mouth open
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Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Valentine's Day Card Inspiration with Gel-A-Peel


I have always been a fan of Valentine’s Day even when I was depressingly single and the only card I received was from my sister (anonymously of course). There is something special about making a card or present if you have time so when I was challenged to make a card decorated with Gel-A-Peel it was just the motivation I needed to get thinking up cheesy puns. I created a few designs which work well whether you are sending them to your partner or your BFF for "Galentines".

Group selection of 4 Valentine's cards with messages on as described below
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Tuesday, 13 February 2018

360 Play in Basildon With A Toddler | Soft Play And More

I had heard good things about 360 Play, but for some reason I hadn't thought about going with my just turned 2 years old. I was invited to visit the Basildon centre so I headed along on a Tuesday morning to find out what it is like for a toddler. 360 Play in Basildon is based in the Festival Leisure Park which has a cinema, bowling, restaurants, bars and plenty of free parking. It took me a while to spot the 360 Play at the end of the row next to Bella Italia, in fact I saw the carousel on the first floor window before I spotted the 360 Play sign. I managed to park right outside and we wandered in to check it out. 
If you are considering visiting don't miss the Giveaway at the end of this post.

A view of the end of toddler soft play across to a pretend pizzeria, supermarket and post office
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Sunday, 11 February 2018

Review: Brio Pull Along Bumblebee

Little was sent a Pull Along Bumblebee from BRIO and she has fast become a big fan. For my part the review has been challenging, not because of the toy itself, but because trying to get a photo of it while my youngest runs around the living room in circles resulted in rather a lot of images with blurry flashes of black, yellow, white and red.

My toddler holding the Brio Pull Along Bumblebee in front of her face
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Friday, 9 February 2018

The Speed Tower Burger Challenge and Our Rustlers Burger Hack

After school or a busy day out we have a race against time for dinner to be on the table before M has managed to consume crisps, biscuits, several slices of toast and more. I like to have meals which I can prepare in advance and finish off in minutes when we get home. With Rustlers Southern Fried Chicken Burger I can do just that. Get them out the fridge and they only take 90 seconds in the microwave. M can even cook one herself. *Collaborative Post*.

A close up on a breadcrumbed burger in a sesame bun with spinach, cucumber, tomato, pepper, onion and mushrooms
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Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Sounds Right Phonics Class Review for Preschoolers in Loughton and Woodford

With my eldest I had no time for toddler groups. Going back to work full time after maternity leave meant my daughter was in nursery for 50 hours a week. I didn't feel guilty for taking the weekends easy as I knew nursery gave her new experiences and made sure all her developmental needs were met according to the EYFS. In contrast Little Sister has the luxury of her mummy being with her all the time and too much Peppa Pig. As she gets older I increasingly feel she needs time socialising with other children and learning new skills from adults outside the family. I believe strongly in the importance of play and not pushing children into structured learning too young, but I also want her to be ready for school when she starts. We were invited along to Sounds Right Phonics classes in Loughton to see what they are and how they help prepare children for school.

An adult and a child playing with play doh with disco lights on
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Happy Valentine's With Baylis & Harding With Their Rosé Prosecco Fizz Range | Review and Giveaway




Valentine's Day is just next week and if you are like me you haven’t even bought a card yet. I’m not sure when I became so disorganised, actually I am, it was around the time I got pregnant and gave up my right to sleep and have time to myself. Fortunately I’m not worried about what I’m going to get because I’ve already had some lovely gifts thanks to Baylis & Harding and because it’s Valentine's I’m going to share the love with a giveaway.

Baylis & Harding currently have a limited edition Rosé Prosecco Fizz Fragranced Range which make the perfect Valentine's gifts. Unlike chocolate or alcohol there is no need to worry about if the recipient is on a diet or can’t eat dairy. The delicately scented range has lots of different gift sets and I was kindly sent three of them.

A metal van shaped tin, 2 mini pink bottles and a body polisher with hearts in the forground
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Wednesday, 31 January 2018

How I Got My 1 Year Old To Sleep Through The Night (Without Leaving Her To Cry)

My youngest was a bad sleeper until 15 months. When I say she was a bad sleeper I’m not one of those Mum’s complaining about my baby waking up once or twice a night, or complaining about early starts. It reached the point where a really good night would start with a 3 hour block followed by hourly wake ups. In a state of desperate exhaustion I contacted Sarah Ockwell-Smith saying "My 1 year old just wont sleep". I paid for a sleep consultation and with her help my youngest finally slept through the night.

My one year old asleep in a sleeping bag on a toddler pillow and in a cot

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Monday, 29 January 2018

I'm Still Sad

There are only so many posts I can write about being sad so I will try and make this the last one. There are only so many times I can tell people I am struggling. People don’t want to hear about sad things. This morning I did the school run, something I have mostly avoided for the last couple of weeks. I was greeted by the Mums I saw with the normal “Hi, how are you?” Fortunately the “how are you?” is essentially just saying “hello” and there is no actual need to respond to it. I say “hi” back and smile. Does anyone notice the smile doesn’t reach my eyes? That I barely make eye contact?

A photograph looking out through an ornamental waterfall so that it looks like heavy rain
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Thursday, 25 January 2018

January Sale Shopping at B&M Stores

January is all about fresh starts and bargains. My January hasn’t gone to plan, but there is something about bargain hunting which excites me even on a bad day. If you haven’t been to one of the 500 plus UK B&M stores then it is worth visiting to explore their huge range of bargains and with their January sale your money will go even further.

A collage showing a bath tub with bath mat, a teal duvet cover, toes in a bubble bath and a bamboo style glass candle
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Saturday, 20 January 2018

My Miscarriage | A Few Days On

Less than a week ago I was thinking through all the practical things I needed to do ready for having my 3rd child this summer. Now none of them matter any more and I keep being reminded that I am no longer pregnant. It’s a strange thing when your pregnancy ends without a baby. With my previous pregnancies I had spent the last few months looking forward to the food and drink I would be able to have post birth, but now when people encourage me to have liver to build my iron levels up it stabs me in the heart. Oh yes I can have that now I suppose.

A view from a hospital trolley being wheeled down a long hospital corridor
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Wednesday, 17 January 2018

I Don't Feel Like Talking

Today I should be 9 and a half weeks pregnant, I guess I am 9 and a half weeks pregnant, but the baby inside me stopped growing a few weeks ago. They have no heart beat. I will no longer be having a baby this August.

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Monday, 15 January 2018

Review: Peppa Pig My First Floor Puzzle from Ravensburger

If Little was going to choose her absolute favourite TV programme it would be Peppa Pig. Frequently when we are watching something else she will start demanding “Peppa”. I don’t know what it is about that little pink pig, but she sure holds a lot of appeal to little people. It’s not just the programme either everything becomes more attractive once it has a picture of Peppa or George added. I’ve even managed to persuade a reluctant Little to put socks on thanks to the Peppa characterisation so the Peppa Pig Jigsaw we were sent to review from Ravensburger was always going to be popular with my toddler.

My toddler in a stripy dress holding the jigsaw box which has a picture of the whole puzzle on it
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Friday, 12 January 2018

5 Facebook Posts Not To Share In 2018

Facebook claims that it has super clever algorithms to show you more of what you want to see, but I’m not sure they always get it right. At times my feed is full of posts I have already read and posts I don’t want to read. Maybe I need to unfriend a few a people, but I am interested if they share any actual life news. I am interested in my friends, but I would like to see less rubbish shared by them.  So please, for the sake of your friends, please think before you share these kind of posts on your Facebook wall.

Title text over a blurred Facebook thread and the Facebook logo
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Thursday, 11 January 2018

My Toddler at 23 Months

Eeek the last update before Little turns 2 years old. I can barely remember my life without her in it (but I do have a rubbish memory) yet the last 2 years seem to have gone by so quickly. I guess it's something to do with having no time to actually do anything and each day blurring in to the thrilling tasks of cooking, cleaning, nap time, bath time, bedtime etc. How does it work exactly? I am constantly busy, spend most of my time with Little yet I don't seem to achieve anything. Little on the other hand is achieving a lot. While running around and causing chaos she continues to develop language and skills at an alarming rate.

A collage of 9 photographs of my daughter including playing with her sister, eating ramen, in a princess dress, next to a Christmas tree, in the snow, ice skating and asleep
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Wednesday, 3 January 2018

What I Have Learnt From Going To The Gym

Having recently rejoined the gym it reminded me that private gyms aren’t like any public swimming pools or changing rooms I have ever experienced. I don’t think the people are particularly different, but the set up seems to encourage some unusual behaviour. I have been watching how things work at the gym and it’s taught me a few things, plus I’ve had to challenge some of my beliefs about the world based on what I have witnessed. 

A large studio room with wooden floor and exercise class equipment such as free weights around the outside
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Monday, 1 January 2018

My Personal and Work Goals for 2018

What would a New Year be without a few goals? Some targets to keep us on track and give us something to reach for in the year ahead. I have a combination of personal and work aims I want to achieve in 2018, some big and some small. I’m excited to see how 2018 is going to pan out.

Page from a diary saying Goals and The big Goal
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