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Our New Christmas Traditions

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Christmas has to be my favourite time of year and I am definitely one of those people that love when Christmas decorations hit the shops and start listening to Christmas music in October. I love all the warm Christmas scents and indulging in the most wonderful treats. Most families have certain traditions that they need to do in order to get into the Christmas spirit and now that we are a family I think it's time we made our own. My daughter will be 18 months old on Christmas Day and obviously she won't fully understand what is going on but I know I will enjoy playing with her and her new toys. 


Christmas Eve Basket

I have seen so many people make up their crates, boxes and baskets for their little ones to enjoy on Christmas Eve, and so we have decided to put one together for our little lady. I think it will become on that she will love and hopefully something that we can all enjoy before Father Christmas comes and visits. I must admit, I really wish we had something like this to enjoy, as a child my parents would get us festive pyjamas and we would sit and watch a Christmas film. Was this a tradition that you and your family did?

Christmas Baking 

Who doesn't love to do a bit of Christmas baking? It was always something that I enjoyed doing with my sister and Dad, and of course mince pies were always the choice. So you could say that I am eager to get into the kitchen with the little lady seeing as we had so much fun making cupcakes a while ago. Festive baking is always so much fun and get every into the spirit of Christmas and so perhaps some Candy Cane Cookies, Shortbread or we may even attempt to make a Gingerbread House, however I do have a feeling that we will be take]ing a trip to a supermarket to get one of those ready made ones. 

Book Advent Calendar 

This is a tradition that I know my daughter would love, as she's becoming quite the book worm. Every night without fail we will read a story together, and she loves to sit on my knee and turn the pages while pointing out things in the story. However, she may be a little young to understand this tradition of a book calendar, but it's something we could look at doing in a couple of years. I will wrap 24 individual books for her to open each day and read with her at bedtime, I think it's such a great way to encourage children to read and beats a chocolate calendar. 

Milk, mince pies and carrots

Now milk and mince pies for Santa has been a favourite tradition for many years, and one tradition that will carry on for many years for everyone. This year I have seen lots of people making their own reindeer food with porridge and glitter to sprinkle outside their back soon, an idea I love, however I think a animal friendly version without glitter may be an option for us so that Rudolph and his reindeer will have even treat to go around everyone. 

A visit to see Father Christmas

Every year we had decided to take our daughter our for an adventure to go and see Father Christmas, last year we decided to take her to Baytree Winter Wonderland, it was such a lovely day, even if she was just six month old. We are hoping that this year when we take her Baytree Winter Wonderland that she will remember and enjoy seeing Father Christmas, I know that not all children like to sit on his knee but we will just have to wait and see. 

Christmas Crafts

Festive crafts? Oh we love to unleash some creativity and what better way to do that will some festive crafts, and this year we have decided to be creative and made our own greeting cards. We got some blank cards and envelopes, brown paint, stamps and got to work on these Reindeer Foot Print Greeting Cards. The little lady wasn't too keen on the coldness of the paint, but I managed to get them all done because she got too upset. 

Christmas Day Jumper/Outfit

This is a tradition that my husband and I have been doing since we got together. We would wake up, open our gifts and then put a very Christmassy outfit on and one we would like to continue now we are a family of three. Any excuse to dress her up in a cute, festive outfit. We are having our own Christmas morning and lunch but we are seeing family in the evening so she has to have the perfect outfit when seeing everyone.

Christmas Light Hunt

This will be added to our must do tradition list. I can always remember going on these Christmas light hunts when I was younger with my brother and my sister. My mum and dad would make us wrap up warm, pile us in the car and hit the road with us giving them directions and see who could spot some Christmas lights. Not everyone goes all out with the Christmas decorations as much anymore, but we will still try and find the loudest, most colourful and twinkly house we can find. 

A snuggle watching a festive film

Having a snuggle on the sofa whilst watching a festive film is the best tradition. Our favourite Christmas films have to be 'The Snowman', 'Santa Claus' and 'The Muppets Christmas Carol' with a hot chocolate, marshmallows and whipped cream - what more could you want? Mmmm

Christmas Pizza

Yes, well technically this isn't going to be a tradition that we will be doing as a family, because little lady isn't fond of pizza. Both my husband and I will be indulging on some Christmas pizza, legit the best festive pizza.  So we can enjoy some good pizza with a glass of wine while finishing any last minute wrapping.

Does your family have any Christmas traditions?

Explore The Adventure: Baytree Winter Wonderland Christmas Grotto

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It's time for our annual visit to see Father Christmas and we are all very excited. The first time we took the little lady was when she was just six months old, and she was very little and probably won't even remember going. However the same can't be said for this year. Now that she is a little older she is beginning to understand the magic that comes with Christmas and this year we have taken her to Baytree Winter Wonderland Christmas Grotto which is a best-known Christmas grotto in the region. A visit to the Winter Wonderland, a ride on sleigh ride, a visit to Father Christmas, a gift and a small Christmas tree for only £9! What a great price. Accompanying adults and children are £1.50. 

 

This was the first year we took the little lady, my husband thought that it would be a good idea to actually put her in the manger. Thankfully, we went earlier in the year and the place was completely empty. However this year, a week before Christmas and there was a bit of a wait! Two hours! But it was well worth the wait. One of the first displays that we cam across was this huge teddy bear, which in the weird scary lighting was quite frightening. When she pressed the button he began to tell a story and that made me run away, I must admit it was rather strange. 



After a couple of hour we finally made it to the entrance of the Winter Wonderland where we were greeted by some very friendly elves and even got to have a ride on a magical sleigh that went around in a loop a couple of times. After our ride there were a few more displays to be seen from singing owls, elves making toys, reindeers, polar bears and snowmen. It was a very magical journey. 


After a two hour wait, a ride on a sleigh and a magical journey it was time to actually meet Father Christmas. Before actually meeting him, we were greeted by another friendly elf who asked our daughter her age and her name and then we went through. As this was her first time in meeting Father Christmas I was a little dubious about how she would react, but she turned around as if she wanted to be picked up but then she decided to hide under his seat. Father Christmas even said that this was the first time a child has ever sat under his chair, but she did eventfully sit on his knee. 


After have a chat with Father Christmas, she got a present and a Christmas tree. It was then that we discovered that there were real reindeer too, you could even feed them some carrots. It was a truly a magical day and if you ever get the chance to go to Baytree Winter Wonderland, you need to go, you will not be disappointed. 

Amelia's Christmas Eve Basket

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Last Christmas my daughter was only 6 months old, it feels like only yesterday we were all gathered around her eagerly waiting for her to unwrap her gifts. This year she will be 18 months old and my husband and I are so excited. I hope she will understand more than she did last year and be able to open most of her gifts. We were so excited to take her to see Father Christmas this year and it was so lovely to see her face light up and see how magical Christmas is. I love Christmas, it's my favourite time of the year. I loved decorating our house, listening to Christmas songs, eat lots of naughty food and as much as I can manage and even Christmas shopping! I have some great memories as a child and would love for my daughter to have fond memories to look back on when she's a little older. 

Many families have their own traditions and now as a family we have to begin our own traditions so I have decided every year I will make up a basket full of goodies for Amelia to have on Christmas Eve to get her feeling Christmassy and we can sit around and watch films all day in our Christmas pyjamas. I have been prepared this year and we have her basket all ready and waiting for her. I cannot wait to see her face of Christmas Eve and from every year hear on out. A new tradition in the Combes household is commencing so here is what is in her Christmas Eve basket. 


Christmas Fleece Pyjamas | Frozen DVD | The Nativity Story | Peppa Pig - Christmas Show | Is it Christmas Book | Disney Frozen Elsa Doll| Candy Canes | Chocolate Coins | Christmas Plate | Hot chocolate sachet | 

Will you and your family be having a Christmas Eve basket?

The Best Christmas Breakfast

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Christmas morning is often a time of family traditions. It usually involves getting up early to jump on everyone else's bed then opening your stocking and gifts, but other traditions can also be attending church, going for walk or visiting other relatives. But of course there is always the food...many families have a special Christmas morning breakfast. Traditionally in my family I would get up early, jump on my mum and dads bed, open stocking and gifts and then help cook a big grill up for everyone. But this year as we are having our first family Christmas in our new home we thought we would begin some new traditions with PANCAKES.


Get your Christmas off to the best start with these light and fluffy pancakes. I love these pancakes so much because you can add any topping from honey and Greek yoghurt, bacon and maple syrup, or chocolate chips. These pancakes are so versatile and what could be better than chocolate chips in your pancakes on Christmas morning!!! 

To make these, you will need:

3 large eggs
115g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
140ml milk 
A pinch of salt

METHOD 

Your first task is to try and separate the eggs in to different bowls. Add the plain flour, baking powder and milk to the bowl with the yolks and mix ingredients into a smooth thick batter. Whisk the whites with the salt until they form stiff peaks. You will need to bare in mind that if you are whisking by hand it will take a while, so a mixer or electric whisk would be great. Who wants a work out on Christmas? 


Fold the egg white mixture into the batter and then heat a non-stick pan on a medium heat, try not adjust the heat as you don't want to burn your Christmas pancakes.


Pour your batter into the heated pan and fry a few minutes until it looks golden brown and firm. It's during this step that you may want to add your ingredients whether it's blueberries, bacon or chocolate chips. Once your pancakes look firm, flip them and let them cook for a few minutes. 


What do you have for your breakfast on Christmas morning?

Reindeer Foot Print Greeting Cards

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Christmas is just around the corner 8 days away to be exact and what better way to get your toddler even more excited about the big day than helping them create their own personalised greeting cards for their loved ones.


This year we decided to make a footprint reindeer and it was one of the most easiest projects Amelia and I have done together, as it simply involved painting her foot and pressing onto card. However if you have a mischievous toddler they will try to make it their mission to avoid you at all costs, leave brown footprints everywhere or even try to get their foot in their mouth. I found it easier once I strapped my mischievous Amelia in her high chair. 

To make these greeting cards, you'll need:

Child safety paint 
Wiggly eyes 
Red pom poms 
Black/Brown marker pen 
Stamps (optional) 


Firstly you will need to prepare your paint, if you have already made brown paint you can miss this step. If not, keep reading, all you'll need is red, blue and yellow child safety paint. You need to mix yellow and red to create a dark orange (it should be more a red than a yellow). Then mix in a small amount of blue with the orange until the colour begins to turn into a rich chocolate colour. 


So grab your brown paint and brush the paint on to your little ones foot - it may tickle them. Then simply press the painted foot onto a piece of card or paper, be sure to do one foot at a time and keep those baby wipes at the ready!!!



Once you have completed all the required reindeer prints, allow them to fully dry. Then it's time to make your reindeer prints come to life by adding wiggly eyes and a red pom pom nose. Draw on their antlers and if you want to can either stamp your greeting on the card or get your little one to write their greeting and you are done. You now have a personalised reindeer foot print greeting card! 

Our Daily Routine

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Being a Mummy to a toddler can be hard and stressful at times, but I find having a good routine in place I feel that anything can be possible. Even when we get a time to sit down and catch a breath I will always try and make the most of those times. My daughter has been in her routine for quite some time now and I am sure that it will change as she grows but for now this is our family routine! 


7.00am: I normally wake up and will try to get ready before she wakes. I do like to get dressed, apply make-up and style my hair as it makes me feel more awake and refreshed so I can take on the day. Now I am not saying that we don't have days where we stay in pyjamas because we do and we love them.

7.30am: This is when the little lady normally wakes if I manage to get ready without making too much noise. If not she will just happily chat to herself until I finish getting ready before make her a morning drink.

8.00am: Breakfast time! We will always eat breakfast together as this is perfect time to bond with each other. I love that she loves to share her food with me whether it's toast, peaches or mashed up bananas. 

9.00am: After breakfast I will clean up while my daughter plays with the fridge magnets and then we will go upstairs to get her dressed for the day. Then I will make the beds, do some laundry and then begin the daily cleaning.

10.00am - 12.00pm: This is when I schedule any doctor appointments, classes, play dates or anything else than may need doing. I find that this is when Amelia is most active and has so much energy and I like to keep her entertained for as long as possible to ensure she's goes down for a nap. 

12.00pm: Lunchtime! Most afternoons we will eat at home but we do venture out sometimes. After lunch I will clean up whilst she plays with her toys before putting her down for her nap.

1.00pm - 3.00pm: Nap time! I will put my daughter down for a two hour nap but this all depends on her as it can vary. I will also use this time to take time out for me, drink tea, write blog posts, edit photographs or what I should be doing more of - exercise!

3.30pm: I don't really like my daughter sleeping past 4.00pm as this can interfere with her bedtime routine and we both will be out of sync for next day. Once I get her up I will give her a drink and a very small snack like raisins or grapes and let her watch some television.

4.30pm - 5.00pm: Dinnertime! We will wait for Daddy to get home before tucking into our dinner and we will sit down and eat together I think it's just so important for my daughter to have this during mealtimes.

6.00pm: Bathtime! Normally my husband will run her a bath while I tidy up after dinner, there is nothing more that I hate than a messy kitchen. I will clean her high chair and tidy her toys away ready for the evening with my husband. 

6.30pm: After a while in the bath playing lots of games I will then get getting her dried and dresses in her pjs. We will then have some cuddles and settle down to read a book together. Lady is obsessed with books and will always try and turn the pages.

7.30pm: Bedtime! My daughter will have her night time bottle and go straight to sleep without a peep. If she does struggle I will try and soothe her, sing her a lullaby and/or put her elephant night light until she lulls into her sleep.

8.00pm - 11.00pm: This is Mummy and Daddy time where we like to chill on the sofa watching our favourite programmes on television until my husband falls asleep. Some nights we may even share some chocolate with a cup of tea before going to bed together.

TBT | Baby foot and hand cast

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It's a Thursday and I think it's time for another throwback. Last time we looked at our newborn photo shoot, and if you have a little one you should get one too. I want to tell you about the hand and foot cast that I had made for my husband for a special gift for Christmas. I wanted to get him a gift that would be personal, unique and something he wouldn't expect. After a lot of research I came across baby casting, what a unique gift this would be. If there are any pregnant ladies or parents with a new-born who are reading my blog post I would highly recommend having a cast done, something that you can cherish forever.




I had my daughter's hand and foot cast by Francis Mortin at 3D Castings and I cannot recommend this lady enough so please check out her website and her Facebook page out. I was so excited about getting her casting but it was so difficult to keep it under wraps from the husband. Turns out he figured it out anyway. Francis was so great with our daughter and she knew exactly how I wanted the castings. We were at her studio for an hour then we went home awaiting an email with photos of the finished casts. But unfortunately they didn't turn out the way we had both hoped so we arranged another appointment, free of charge. The second casts were amazing and we both were really pleased at how they turned out.

It was time to give my husband him his gift and he was so pleased, however he had worked out what we had been up to. It turns out my husband found a small piece of plaster under her finger nail. Even though he knew he was still happy and loved his gift, it's such a unique gift to get for someone. Francis did some beautiful work on the new-born casts of my daughter's hand and foot that we will cherish forever.

WICKED WEDNESDAY | #15 Cue the tantrum...

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I hope you're having a good week and all your Christmas preparations are well under way its not too long until the big day. We have been well and truly into the festive spirit. As it's Wednesday it means that it's Wicked Wednesday time and we have a great one for you. My daughter has become quite obsessed with blocks and stacking, however she isn't fond of them when they decided to fall over. 

The Best Concealer, EVER!

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There's nothing I like more that have a browse in boots or superdrug every now and again, I'm sure that I am not the only one. I love beauty products and adore makeup, I probably have too many products, but I still can't help buy more. I know that  I am not the only one. When it comes to beauty product most of us check reviews and recommendations. Ever since becoming a blogger, I have been pretty obsessed with so many beauty blog and Youtubers, and so I rely on their recommendations, A LOT! A little gem that is mentioned again and again the these beauty videos are the most amazing concealer, I'm pretty sure you have heard of this little gem too. 'Collection-Lasting Perfection Concealer'.


Considering so many bloggers swear by this product I thought I would give it a try and at £3.99, it's hardly going to break the bank. First impressions? Why am I only now using this concealer! Seriously! Pretty much ever since I brought this product I have not been able to stop using it! I do have to agree with many of the bloggers and Youtubers, it's like the holy grail of concealers.  It's fantastic for blemishes and it has helped me create the flawless look that so many of us want to achieve. Dark circles? Not any more with this little gem . It is such a good quality product which is very affordable, the only fault I can find is...only finding this out now. 

The Christmas Post

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It's the first of December so it's official, we can all get excited about Christmas! I am one of those types of people that get so excited when shops dust off the baubles and get the decorations up, yes even if it's in September. 


As it's the first of December it also means the beginning of vlogmas and blogmas which I fell in love with last year but as I have started my own blog there are so many new blogs that I have found that will be taking part. Are you taking part in vlogmas or blogmas? If you are, leave a comment and I will come and check your channel or blog out. My husband and I are looking forward to Christmas this year. Our daughter will be a little older and we are kind of hoping that she will actually play with her toys instead of the boxes or try and eat the paper. But this year is very special as it's the first year as a family in our new home and we are actually attempting to cook our first Christmas dinner. Normally we would alternate each year and go to our parents house, however this year, there's none of that! Just the three of us and the dog!

Anyway as I said we are preparing for Christmas. So let's see how we got into the Christmas Spirit. We actually put up our tree and decorations in November!!!! However, as my husband works random shifts we got to do it early in the year and even got the little lady involved. As soon as my husband went in to the loft to get all the decorations out, our daughter was very intrigued. When my husband and I tackles the tree she was busy with tinsel and baubles getting into lots of of mischief. The little lady and I got bored quickly as my husband is very OCD when it comes to his tree, taking over 40 minutes to put the tree together without any form of decoration, lights or tinsel!!! Yes, I am not kidding! So after two and a half hours here's our tree...


Our daughter really enjoyed helping with the decoration and was fascinated with all the tinsel and twinkly lights and even managed to put the star on the tree with Daddy's help of course. We have decided that this type of photo is going to become a kind of tradition for us, you have to admit it's pretty cute. 


However minutes after my husband put her on the floor she was away with a candy cane I couldn't believe it. What a cheeky little toddler!!! So now I have to move all the candy canes up the tree because with her and dog! Little thieves. 


We also got matching stockings this year and I think that they are still available from Matalan, we got them for about £6 each but I would get yours quick as they are great value for money. I love these stockings are so big and soft, most stockings that are made available today are always too narrow and small, these are perfect.

Perfect Christmas Gifts for Ladies & Gents

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Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?! Nope? Don't panic we still have a few weeks before the big day. This weekend we finally made a start on our daughter's Christmas shopping but now we have to think about all the adults in the family, some are so difficult to buy for - my husband particular. But for those who don't have a clue where to start I have put together a few Christmas ideas for both ladies and gents. I hope my ideas will help you on your way...

Ladies first...

Whether you are shopping for your mother, sister, wife, or friend I have rounded up my favourite ideas that meet a variety of price points. I have always thought that buying gifts for women are far easier than for men, but even us ladies can admit we get stumped sometimes so here goes.


From left to right

1. The Chocolate and Gin Collection, £20 from Hotel Chocolat. - Want to treat your special women in your life this Christmas? Yes, you can do this with chocolate and a collection of gin inspired recipes. For that extra special touch include a free personal card just to say you care.

2. "I love you" Disc Charm and Bracelet, £140, from Tiffany & co. - What better way to say I love you that with a beautiful bracelet in a lovely blue box. All women love a piece of jewellery, but before purchasing make sure you know her taste and colour preferences as it can vary between ladies. I do think that Tiffany & co do the most adorable and dainty jewellery but they do offer more statement pieces too. But whichever you decide opening that little blue box will bring a smile to their face, trust me gents!!!

3. GHD White Plantinum Styler, £165, from GHD - Go and treat your lady to the ultimate styler that will give them great, healthy-looking hair without any compromise. I am a big fan of GHDs and they are always bringing out great innovative products, the platinum collection looks so great.

4. Strawberry Festive Gift, £18, from The Body Shop - I can never get enough of The Body Shop I love their products and I am sure that I am not the only one. This year they have released products that have a festive feel about them, I would love this strawberry scented 'feel so good' collection that has lots of goodies for everyone to enjoy. A perfect gift.

5. Chanel Coco Mademoiselle Eau De Parfum, £48.50, from The Fragrance Shop - You can never go wrong with a perfume as the perfect gift for Christmas. Every year my husband gets me a perfume but he buys me a different one each time and I have loved every single one of them, he knows what I like. I love this fresh oriental scent and it comes in a beautiful pink bottle and would be great for any lady in your life.

6. Fiorelli Black 'Mia' Bag, £44.25 (REDUCED FROM £59), from Debenhams - This beautiful bag is on my Christmas list *HINT HINT HUSBAND* and would be the perfect handbag to add to any bag collection.

For the Gents...

Is it just me, or does the shopping get harder each year? Whether its my husband or brother I always find myself struggling to find gifts that I think they genuinely would love. I don't really want to get them just anything and I want their faces to light up Christmas morning. I have come across some great ideas this year and no matter what man they are for I think they will truly enjoy them.


From left to right

1. Braun Cruzer 6 Face, £42, from John Lewis - The 3-in-1 shaver, styler and trimmer turns any facial hair into a stylish beard, giving you a close shave, neat trim or defined edges. I am sure that the man in your life would be grateful for one of these. There are other grooming gadgets available from the Braun Cruzer range from Cruzer Body, Cruzer Beard & Head and the Cruzer Precision - to cater to all needs.

2. Paco Rabanne Ultraviolet Eau De Toilette, £39, from The Fragrance Shop - I always like to get my husband an aftershave for Christmas and his favourite has to be this Paco Rabanne Ultraviolet as its a bold, strong and masculine fragrance.

3. Emporio Armani Chronograph Watch, £129, from The Watch Shop - I am in love with this classic style and simplistic design as it can be worn casually or saved for best. To make it personal you could get it engraved with a name, a special date or just a loving message. I have ordered from The Watch Shop before and I cannot recommend them enough, great communication, fast shipping and great quality. I got my Dad a watch for his 60th birthday and I was pleasantly surprised that his gift arrived within two days.

4. RFID Signal Blocking Leather Wallet, £34.99, from Presents For Men - I never heard of these signal blocking wallets before but they contain a shield that prevents any scanning for personal information. This would make a great gift for a partner, relative or a friend that is a budget friendly, it would also make a great stocking filler.

5. Elemis Perfect Man Collection, £49, from Elemis - I don't know why men don't look after their skin, but it is one of missions to get my husband in a regular skin care routine. Perhaps a gift such as this will help him in the right direction. This gift comes with a range of products that help to firm, sooth and hydrate their skin - you will get £77 worth of products for the price of £49, what a bargain.

6. Sony Headphones, £29.99, from John Lewis - If any of your guys love their music these headphones are going to change the way they listen to music. Not only do they feature powerful, incredible clear sound they have fixed two-sided cord with AP remote for hands free calls. These are also available in a range of colours and I think that there are so budget friendly, what could be better?

Amelia's 17 Month Update

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17 months old. As the days fly by she is  truly developing into a very independent and beautiful little toddler. She is learning so many new skills but I am also learning new ways to help nurture and allow her to explore her new surroundings. As much as I hate the fact that she is growing up it's also so wonderful seeing her explore her world and to some extent laugh at all the mischief she gets herself into.

HEIGHT/WEIGHT

We have been crazy busy this month so we haven't had the time to weigh you, which is a shame. All I know it that my upper arms are increasing as you grow. I did manage to measure her and she is still 33 inches. She has become quite the fidget bum though, even though you're wearing pull ups nappy changes are awful! Seeing as we are preparing for the winter it make complete sense to go shopping for winter clothes and we came across the Sainsburys sale and managed to bag a few bargains, two new winter coats for under £16. However, winter boots were not so easy to come across because most shops only get one in your size and they go straight away, but we did come across a cute suede pair online. But I want to get them in all colours.


FEEDING

She has become a fussy eater and that is something that I am not use to as normally she is  so great with food. Mealtimes have been thrown up into the air with her fussiness but she is still quite happy to walk around eating a snack or eating cheerios out of her snack pot. As she is becoming so much more independent she will insist on feeding herself and she is doing so well with your knife and fork. However, if she does struggle she will resort to using her hands. Normally she is such a good girl when we go out to eat but it has become more of a challenge because she is a nosy toddler and she hates being in a high chair. 


BEHAVIOUR

She is a normal toddler who loves to get up to mischief and to push boundaries especially if someone tells you no normally resorting to a temper tantrum. These temper tantrums are taking some time to get use to and she also started to bite that is so hard to see. I know its not an excuse but she normally bite because she gets frustrated with herself but when she does I am firm and I tell her that its not nice to bite. I do think that we are getting somewhere and she understands as when she has gone to bite she will just blow raspberries now. However, it's not all doom and gloom this month as she is also pretty funny and such a sweet girl who loves to look at herself in the mirror, and I love to watch her catch baby to herself in the mirror. 



SLEEP

Bedtime is still no problem but we are struggling with a nap in the afternoon, she has been refusing to go down for one for weeks now, however as soon as we hit the danger zone 4pm -6pm she can fall asleep after her dinner or on the sofa if I don't keep an eye on her. I do have to say that I really miss nap time, it would always give me a change to finish my chores and get a head start on my blogging, organise myself or take some photographs. I know that you will be off to nursery soon enough so I must enjoy that game of hide and seek that she demands everyday. 


WHAT YOU LIKE AND DISLIKE

I have found that she seems to like playing with toys that she wouldn't normally go for. She still loves her dolly and she goes everywhere with her and she will even try to feed her...with wooden blocks. My daughter also seems to be going through a nervous stage at the moment where some toys will freak you out and will run straight to either of us. We actually decided to buy her some talking plush In The Night Garden toys, as soon as I pressed Makke Pakka's tummy she would run and hide behind the curtain or just anywhere in general as long as Makka Pakka wasn't near you. There are some large stuffed robotic hippos that play instruments at Tesco that she hates, I have tried to encourage her to touch them but she screamed and cried.

MILESTONES

I have noticed that this month she seems to be able to entertain herrself for a short while, especially with a wooden shape sorter. Her new love of toys are also making her reluctant to want to share them with others and wanting any toys that they are holding, so this is something that we are going to work on. She is learning so many new words each day sometimes it's hard to keep up with what she is saying but it's around 20-25 words. Now I am finding that you are trying to string sentences together, well sort of. As I mentioned in the previous updates she is still climbing all over the place, even people.  She will whine to get on peoples laps and then after all that fuss you will try to climb them before getting off and do find something else to do. 

Catch my Daughter's previous updates?



WICKED WEDNESDAY | #14 The awkward sleeping positions

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I hope you're all having a fantastic week. This weekend was quite a busy one for us as we had to brave the awful cold weather to continue with Christmas shopping. On the Sunday we did the food shop, some cleaning we decided to put our Christmas tree and decorations up. I know it's a little early, but we are one of those couples...especially as this year will be a Christmas that our daughter will remember and our first Christmas in our new home. However, enough Christmas talk. It's time to laugh at our Wicked Wednesday photo. Yep, they seem to get themselves into some of the most awkward positions. All I could think of is how on earth can that be a comfortable position. I am always finding her in some really random positions during the night, my favourite has to be her bum in the air position. 

Paris. What's Next?

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Paris...


I was unsure as to whether I should publish this post as it has effected so many people in the world. I actually cannot believe that it has been a week already since the awful Paris attacks. I have thought of nothing else all week, it's just so scary. But those poor people, those poor families, my heart goes out to them. I cannot even begin to understand, it's such a sad world we live in that some can go to those extremes. 

To those that have been affected I am just so sorry for your loss as this news falls heavy on my heart. My thoughts and wishes are with you all. I am in no way here to tell you about all the details on the attack because I am finding so hard to comprehend such behaviours. But these recent events have filled me with fear and I am so scared of what could happen next. 

I am sitting here watching my beautiful daughter sleep and I ask myself what kind of world have I brought my daughter into and I wonder what will this world become for her. Was I selfish? It scares me to know that one day my beautiful daughter will have to be without me and her Dad. It fills me with dread that one day I will leave her in world with so much hatred, it breaks my hearts.

Even though we never know when our time will come. I cannot begin to think how selfish it is of some to take that away from us and take it upon themselves to make that choice. It actually makes me sick to my stomach to think that some people can actually be responsible for such behaviours. It's a scary world. I can never understand why someone would willingly hurt another and be okay with it, it just doesn't make sense to me. 

My child will have to grow up in this world, a world where people harm innocent people, a world where people have that much hate for others, ideas and things that they will go to such extremes. But more so without thinking about the consequences or the devastation they leave behind, the poor families ripped apart, or how they make people fear for the future of this world. I for one have changed my outlook on life and will cherish every single moment I have with my family. As we do not know what is yet to come but then again I don't want to know. 

Over the Internet there are so many stories, opinions given about what should we do. What we need to do. What the government should do. But does anyone actually know what the best solutions are that will be good for all? I don't think that there is a simple solution there is so much to take into account. What works for one, may not for another. We have to go on with hope in our hearts, we all want peace for everyone and if we stand together perhaps one day the world that we live in will become a better place.

WICKED WEDNESDAY | #13 I can't take this anymore

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I hope you're all having a wonderful week so far, I'm afraid that this will have to be brief as it's my birthday and my lovely husband has to decided to take us girl out for the day and spend some time together. Perfect. You may have caught a recent post where we decided to encourage our daughter to get creative in the kitchen and bake cupcakes. As you can see from this picture she wasn't a happy lady. But you wouldn't believe these tears are because we had to put the muffin tin into the oven. Got to love a Wicked Wednesday.

Baking with the Baby

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The last couple of week have been absolutely horrendous in this household, you may have noticed that I have not been publishing blog posts or on social media. My poor little baby has an awful cough and cold making it hard for her to sleep at night, actually none of us are actually getting sleep making us all super grumpy. A quick trip to the doctors as she started to get a rash, but she's fine and just need fluid, rest and cuddles. So after a couple of days on the sofa and watching lots of Peppa Pig she started to feel much better and so we thought that we would get into the kitchen to bake some cupcakes, a first for the little lady. Usually when it comes to baking sweet treats she will sit on the floor entertaining herself with the colander or other kitchen utensils, but this time it was time to get her more involved and embrace the whole baking with the baby idea. Not I must admit, it's not easy and they will get messy so you have been warned. Washed hand, a brand new personalised apron and we were both good to go.  


As a blogger, you could say that I like to take a photo or two when it comes to activities with the little lady. I am sure one day she will become bored of an iPhone or camera in her face, but until then I shall continue to snap away. So the first task for me was to measuring out all the ingredients making it less messy and easier when it came to combining the ingredients. My daughter did a fantastic job mixing all the ingredients together, even if some did go onto the floor. But she's a baby it is to be expected I guess. We both thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon making, banking and decorating cupcakes together and I am sure that it won't be the only bake we make together. 


When it comes to baking with little one there is always so much to think about, so make sure that you pick a time that they are not tired and you have lots of patience. Baking or cooking with children is a great way to encourage them to take a more active role in choosing, preparing and cooking simple food that may even help them to discover new foods and new tastes. While you’re cooking, let your child hold the ingredients, talk about where they came from and discuss how you think the recipe will turn out. The more familiar children are with ingredients and the more they feel involved in the process, the more likely they are to eat the food at the end. When she's a little older I think that baking and cooking with her will become a time for other learning, such as reading numbers in the recipes or on the scales, not forgetting about all those ingredients that she can learn about too. 

Preparation is everything. I think I have said it enough in this blog post now, but there is no escaping the fact that when it comes to baking and cooking with the little people, it's going to be messy. So it's best to try and be as organised as you can from the start and face up to the fact that you will end up with a super messy kitchen. It's always best to dress children up in old, baggy clothes and put them i  an apron too. Try and give them a larger bowl that is needed for combining the ingredients, you'll understand why soon enough. Not forgetting to allowing extra time for the recipe when it comes to baking with children, giving them plenty of time to explore and learn all about the ingredients and being in the kitchen. 

Get your child involved. Always try and involve them in every stage of the process, from choosing what to make to cleaning up afterwards Even though it may be hard to let them loose with the spatula. Use this an as opportunity to teach them about kitchen safety, reminding them about hot ovens, hobs and show them use utensils correctly and safely. Let them help with the safer jobs like sieving, mixing and whisking and practise cutting through things (like pastry) with a plastic play knife, or safety scissors. So with that, are you ready to actually bake some cupcakes?

THE ONLY MADEIRA CAKE RECIPE YOU'LL EVER NEED

What you will need:

6ozs/150g butter
7ozs/200g sugar 
1 tsp vanilla essence
3 eggs
8ozs/225g plain flour
1 1/2 tsp of baking powder
3 tbsp hot water

Prep: 5-10 minutes (longer with children)
Cooking: 10-15 minutes
Temp: Gas mark 4/ 350 F/ 180C


METHOD

1. Place muffin paper cases in a 12 bun tin . Pre-heat the oven to the correct temperature – Gas mark 4 / 350.F / 180.C. Start by blending the butter and sugars together until the mixture is light and fluffy.

2. Add the vanilla essence. Then add the eggs one at a time. To stop the mixture from curdling add a spoon of the flour as you add each egg.

3. Once all the eggs have been combined, add the rest of the flour with the baking powder and continue to mix. Ensure all the ingredients have been mixed to a smooth consistency then add the hot water-slowly- till it is completely blended.

4. Pour the batter into the muffin cases put in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Once they have been cooked leave them to cool. 

5. To test if the cup cakes are ready lightly press the top. If the surface springs back straight away it’s ready. If it slowly comes back it needs more time. 

This recipe can be used if you want to make larger cakes you will just have to alter the timings of your cooking. For us, we made two batches of cakes and there was more than enough batter. So bare this in mind before you go ahead.

Amelia's 16 Month Update

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Wow what a month we all have had. I must admit, I really enjoy writing about my daughter's development and tell you all about how big she's getting, but it's also a great way to document about it all in early days so she can go and look back through these posts. So the 16 month update, well what can I say I think that the baby days are well and truly behind us. I no longer have a baby, I have a toddler who can run, jump, climb everything and even knows the basics of using an iPhone. Seriously. It's all thanks to Talking Tom Cat. It’s inevitable that she will grow up and leave the baby phase and move on to the next set of challenges as she grows older and her needs change. I am looking forward to the next stage but also nervous as time is going so fast.


HEIGHT AND WEIGHT 

Well my not so little girl is weighing 22lb and is measuring 33 inches, she has increased slightly from last month. However, let's not get ahead of ourselves as compared to other children her age she is tiny. You are most definitely shorter that your cousin Lily-Grace and weigh less that your cousin Elliot but if I am honest I think that its unlikely that she'll be short like her mama. Wow, her hair is growing thick and fast and that fringe! It needs cutting that's for sure. However, until I pluck up enough courage to take her to the hairdressers we are rocking the side fringe look and she looks super adorable. 

Yet another growth spurt this month, as this rate she won't get to wear all those nice clothes we have just brought her. My daughter is getting pretty tall as she can reach up and remove the glass candles from our television unit, something that I will have to move. I always vowed never to removed anything out of her reach because she has to learn, but seriously this girl doesn't get it! We are now looking to buying the next size up with clothes to prepare for a growth spurt, no doubt.

FEEDING

So this month she's being really fussy when it comes to her food. There is no way that she is letting me or my husband spoon feed her at the moment, she becoming quite the independent lady. When we are out and about for dinner however, I don't like the idea of my daughter being messy and feeding herself so I will encourage her to feed herself with finger foods like bread, crudites, chips and vegetables but when it comes to soups or pudding I like to take over. However, she will tell us if she has had enough food as she with either throw it at me or her dad, yoghurt in the face or the pooch. I do have a feeling he may be quite the chunky beagle soon though. 

In terms of her food like and dislikes is pretty much the same but this month I have started to give her bananas with the skin on instead of chopping them for her, not sure why I never really thought about it before though. We had to move the fruit bowl into the dining room table because can help yourself and I was finding lots of teeth marks in the apples and now I can monitor the grape intake. We still have two cups of milk a day one in the morning and one just before bedtime, other than this she usually drinks water, or fruit juice. 

BEHAVIOUR

So as I said earlier we have said goodbye to the baby day and she is well and truly becoming quite the toddler. It's been quite the learning curve this month as she seems to be really happy and cuddly one minute and then she becomes a really grumpy toddler the next. Bath time is still her favourite part of the day and she even tries to climb in and out of the bath, cheeky lady. While in the bath you always ask to have your toothbrush to have a good ole brush, which can only be a good thing. I am also finding myself becoming one of those shouty mums this month, I really hate telling her no and constantly finding myself pulling her away. Some days it actually upsets me, and it feels completely draining too as I don't want her to think all I do is tell her off. Perhaps I will be less shouty next month. 

Eurghh the fake cry! This has been step up a notch or five this month but it's pretty tiresome by the time 5 o clock rolls by, but I do fall for it every time. Let's hope that I get better at seeing through the falseness. My daughter is still a little clingy at times where I find myself assuring you that I will return when I leave the room for the toilet or make a cup of tea. But she really isn't keen on other people and crowds at the moment, which is quite upsetting to see. 

SLEEP

Towards the end of month my daughter wasn't very well, poor little lady and this has effected everyone's sleep. So you could say that we were a very grumpy household. One night I went into her room as she seemed to be really struggling with her cough and she thanked me by vomiting all in my newly washed hair and pyjamas, so we both went downstairs to watch the television. 

Naps are becoming few and far between, if I am honest I really wish they were more regular because she can be a really grumpy sod in the danger hours between 4pm and 6pm! But if you do managed to go for a nap around 9am and 10am I will take full advantage and get all the chores and even a little bit of blogging ticked off the to do list. But most days, I will have a little 'helper'.

LIKES AND DISLIKES

Yep, this month she has developed a love for books and every night without fail she will sit on my knee and turn the pages while we read together. Whenever we get the opportunity we always like to buy her some new book to add to her ever growing collection. 

Small children love to help and my daughter is no exception. Recently she has become quite the little helper and she will watch and follow me as I do the cleaning, creating mischief on the way of course. I think its great that she is always willing to help and I want to build on that by making it a FUN and fulfilling experience for her. Furthermore by 'starting her young' will help her become more independent as she takes on a few responsibilities. However, when she does get distracted she likes to follow the vacuum around and switch the button on and off, quite frustration when you have lots of rooms to clean. 

We have had a few dislikes this month, especially with some foods. You still won't touch meat, mashed potato or melted cheese, however wiggly worm pasta and vegetables are still firm favourites. One thing that she have been pretty vocal about this month is the fact that she no longer likes her highchair and as soon as she's finished her last mouthful of food, she wants to get out. Whether that's a fake cry or a full blown temper tantrum, I think it's time we got you a one for the dining room chairs so we can all start eating together for meals. 

MILESTONES 

This month she has loves to run fast, and to climb everything. Whether it's the sofa, television unit or trying to get out of the bath. Some days is pretty full on with as she is into everything and gets everywhere. The living blinds are a new obsession, she seems to love the noise they make and she thinks it's a good place to hide.  As she has become quite the climber this month, the stair has been something that has taken her interest and with a little encouragement form the grandparent she like to come down the stairs on her front. 

My daughter is saying so many new words but I am actually beginning to understand what  she is trying to communicate. I will ask her question like 'Where is Daddy?' and she knows that he will walk into the house at certain times and go to the back door. Even things like asking for a drink are becoming really clear, I really thinking going to Rhyme Time sessions at the community centre is really helping with her communication and we have the best time together. 

We are still in the process of introducing the potty and using key words so she can begin to associate these words with the potty. It is rather sweet to see her get so excited when she claps her potty behaviour and we FINALLY did a wee!!!! Only a parent will understand why we get so excited when they do their first wee. I am confident that she will be well on her way to being potty trained very soon, it's a long road ahead but we we totally smash potty training. 

Catch my Daughter's previous updates?


WICKED WEDNESDAY | #12 I don't like my top!

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Happu hump time, and it's that time of the week yet again. A cheeky Wicked Wednesday post. And this one thought that it would be a good idea to try and undress herself before lunchtime, but as you can see it didn't go to plan. I had to take a quick picture before helping her out of her top. Toddlers, eh?

WICKED WEDNESDAY | #11 This is how we roll at play time.

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I  hope you are all having a fab week. This week we haven't been a very well household, however despite all the germs we still have some material for our Wicked Wednesday. My little lady found it highly hilarious that she could actually get her little head stuck in this bag, don't worry she couldn't fit it all in. 

TBT | Our Wedding Day

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Hello everyone,

Its a Thursday and therefore I would like to take a moment throw back to 2013...

My favourite moment from 2013 was no doubt the day that I married my best friend. Our wedding day was truly beautiful, it was all we could have dreamed of and more. Both Tony and I were so thankful that we could spend our special day with our closest friends and family. It was all exciting and surreal and I thought it would be the perfect time to take a stroll down memory lane to one of the most important days of my life so far.

So without further ado, here are some of my favourite photos from our perfect wedding day...

16th March 2013...
After what seemed hours I was finally ready. 

I will never forget this emotional moment with my Mum.
Our Vows
The Newly weds - Mr and Mrs Combes

The Confetti Shot

Ohhh Another Confetti Shot

Taking a moment to breath and have a drink! :)
Our First Dance as Husband and Wife
This photo even made it into a venue brochure! :)
What made this year unforgettable was not only did I marry my best friend, but we found out that were expecting our a little girl. 2013 was definitely a year that I will always remember and be thankful!

Have a great day!

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