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A FAMILY LIFESTYLE BLOG

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!

BAKES | Easy Peasy Smartie Slices

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Any opportunity to get into the kitchen to bake and I am there, and I have to say that it's something that my daughter enjoys too. But baking with the baby isn't for the fainthearted, especially if you like a clean and pristine kitchen. When it comes to baking with a 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. How making baking quick and easy will alleviate the stress and hopefully keep the mess to a minimum, which is why I wanted to share this Easy Peasy Smartie Slice Recipe with you all today. 


And all you will need is three ingredients: 

250g of Rich Tea, fine crumbs

2 tubes of Smarties 

400g sweetened condensed milk 

METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 160c and grease and line a baking tin with parchment 

2. Place your Rich Tea biscuit into a processor until you have fine crumbs, if you don't have a processor added them into and bowl and crush with the end of a rolling pin. 

3. Next, add the crumbs into a bowl, add the smarties and then the condensed milk. The combined mixture smells amazing and requires taste testing. 

4. Place in the mixture into the lined deep tray and place in the preheated oven, cook until golden brown. Once it's cooked through, remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes. Slice into squares and enjoy!

WICKED WEDNESDAY | #10 Mummy I am stuck, help me!

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How are you all? So this week for Wicked Wednesday my daughter has got herself into more mischief. She had become obsessed with throwing her ball down this little gap so she could squeeze herself into this little gap. Toddlers are such funny little people sometimes. 


How To Get Your Baby To Nap For Longer

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The one thing that so many new parents are most concerned with is about sleep. When your new born comes along you will not sleep very much even though you wouldn't change it for the world sleep deprivation can be tough. I feel that the hardest part of becoming a parent for me was the first few weeks and the sheer exhaustion that overcame me. I cannot say this for all babies but getting them to nap is the easy part but making it last is where it can get complicated.

So I would like to share my top tips in getting your little ones to sleep through and hopefully with as it of luck become a little sleeper.

Routine

As I have said before having a routine is so important for your baby. It's human nature to want a routine and therefore, babies who have one, generally sleep better. In the first few weeks trying to get your new born into a routine can be hard. I can remember the countless days of staying in, missing out because I needed Amelia to stay in her routine. But it was all worth it! I think that it's best to try and get them into a routine as soon possible.

Dummy
Love them or hate them parents have been using these little gems for years. I know that there are some parents that choose not to use a dummy to soothe their child to sleep but for Amelia it helped soothe her instantly. Aside from the fact that it soothed her for sleep there are actually some benefits to using a dummy. I am however not here to say that you should use a dummy if you don't, whatever works for you. So the benefits...the sucking motion can teach them to self soothe and it relives pain, especially when they are teething. It has been said that a dummy may even help to prevent SIDS, however there not much evidence to support this as of yet.

I don't mind Amelia having a dummy at 15 months old, normally she only has a dummy if she is teething or if she is having a bad night. But when she is ready I am sure that she will give her dummy up and hopefully not be too bothered about that transition. Well that's what's I am hoping anyway.

White noise/night light/lullabies

When Amelia was a baby we used a hair dryer to calm her down. It was like magic, I couldn't actually believe it helped soothe her. But after this I was straight on my phone to download the latest white noise app and it was best purchase I ever made.

When it came to night time I would use her
elephant night light which plays lullabies and projects different coloured stars on her bedroom ceiling. When we travel or stay at other people's houses we use this cute seahorse which again plays lots of lullabies and has a night light. These have been known to be used with neo-natal babies.

Using your hands to soothe

Whenever I put Amelia to sleep, even now, I always with out fail stroke her face to help soothe her. But if she did stir during the night I would stroke her face or tap her tummy and once she started rolling and sleeping on her tummy, I would always rub her back.

Humming

If you hear your baby start to stir and you feel as if you want to comfort them go in their room and hum to them. Amelia loves its when I hum or sing to her (even though I can't) she somehow settles almost immediately. I sing to my little one most days, the comfort of my voice lulls her into a sleep.

So, now that I've given you my tips I will let you know what  exactly I do if Amelia does wake up during the night. I will be honest with you though it's not that often that we have wake ups in the night unless she's teething or going through a growth spurt (these suck).

If Amelia wakes I will try and give it a few minutes just to see if she can settle herself back to sleep, usually no more than 10 minutes. But if there is no way that she is falling back to sleep and is screaming or sitting up I will go to her. But I will try and go in with a soft approach and put her elephant night light back on, give her a dummy and place her yellow blanket across her, then pat her tummy. I will then try and leave and if I am lucky she will go straight back to sleep but if we have some trouble I would pick her up, give her a cuddle and slowly make my way out of the room.

If you are consistent with your methods I am more than sure that these wake ups with become less and less.

WICKED WEDNESDAY | # 9 Oh the mess!!!!

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I hope you are all having a great week. It's Wicked Wednesday time. Over the last two weeks this little monkey thought it has been highly hilarious to pull all of mummy and daddy's DVDs out of the unit. Cheeky girl. But when I tell her no that's naughty, she runs away and hides in the curtains. :) 

Little Ways To Get Your Baby Into a Routine

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If you have or are struggling to get your baby into a routine or just want to make life with a new born a little easier, then you have come to the right place. Why don't you go and stick the kettle on, stay a while because I am going to share all my secrets in how I got my daughter into a routine at six weeks old.

After what seemed like forever we were finally holding our daughter and immediately fell in love, we were so happy that we had become a family of three. Those first few days as new parents was so overwhelming. The emotions that you go through in those early days are tough, feeling sheer exhaustion one minute to feeling total elation the next. Our daughter came into the world and turned our life upside down and right side up again, we didn't mind of course, but this little person will depend on us. I do feel as a first time parent it can take some time to adjust to your new life, but I think one thing that many new parents forget is that your baby is probably experiencing the same feelings as you. But I can assure you that this does eventually change, all the adjustments you make soon become normality.
But in the midst of normality there is one thing that I am afraid for some, doesn't become easier. And that's sleep. Some of us will be lucky and get a great little sleeper who sleeps through before they can walk, whilst others get an night owl who is awake for the best part of two years! I'm afraid it does happen. Now if you are one of those parents who have a little night owl, I feel for you, I really do. But I am also very sorry to say, not in a smug way, but my little one started to sleep through at six weeks old. But I'm not here to tell you that we were fortunate enough to have her sleeping through straight away. It was hard graft, that's for sure. I can wholeheartedly say that both my husband and I worked so hard with our daughter and believe that establishing a routine as soon as you can helped her sleep through.
Being the good person I am I want to share all my secrets with you. I have written a complete guide for you to use in order to establish a routine with your little one, and one that actually works. So if you want to sleep again, then please read on...
Why should you get your baby into a routine?
Before I share all my secrets with you, there's one thing that we should all consider. Why should you get your baby into a routine? Apart from the most obvious - to get sleep. There are actually so many benefits in getting your baby into a routine as soon as possible. Let's just sit here and think what we are like when an alarm doesn't go off, if you're like me, you will feel completely off sync all day. I know that if my alarm doesn't go off, I feel cheated by that blasted alarm. It's not my fault that I am late to a meeting, or an appointment or to a very important coffee date with a friend. By getting your baby into a routine as soon as you are able to will give your baby a sense of security and even give your baby some comfort. When you've established the routine they know what to expect.

It will also come in handy when it comes to leaving your precious bundle of joy with your family or friends, they are able to help soothe the baby with the help of the established routine. They will know the difference from night and day and providing the don't get too excited before bedtime will sleep through the night and be refreshed through the day.  Even when it comes to traveling or holidays try and keep the routine in place, as some babies are unable to cope with different places and different people outside the comfort of their own home. With my daughter, she wouldn't take to travel cots or different rooms too well. But I do have to say that with the help of the routine she began to feel at ease when we were away, unless separation anxiety rears it's ugly head, but that's a whole different post.
  
When should you start introducing your routine?

Like with most things, time is all you need. The early days of parenthood can be tough and you are just getting to know on another. You are trying to figure out what works best for you and trying to establish a routine on day two will just create an extra pressure that no new parent needs. It will not work. The early days is a time to figure out what it's like to be a parent, being in complete awe of them and trying to catch up on sleep. Sleep deprivation is awful.  For us we started to think about a routine in between 3 and 6 weeks old, anytime before that could be too much for the both of you.
What you need to do next!
Teaching your little one the difference between night and day...

With this one you can try and start this straight away. When your baby wakes up change their clothes. keep their feeds and nappy changes lively and fun. During the night, try and make all nappy changes and feeds quiet, feed with just a nightlight and give no eye contact WHATSOEVER, even though it will be hard to not want to stare at those beautiful blue eyes. Resist the temptation, you will understand why soon enough. It would also be an idea to purchase some black out curtains so when it comes to their night time, no light comes through. I do have to say that this is one purchase for my new born that wasn't a waste.
Introduce a bedtime routine...
A good bedtime routine is the perfect end to the day for both you and your new born. We all know how it feels to wind down, have a hot bubble bath, a cup of tea and read a book. So it will be the perfect end to the day for your baby. You could start introducing this in between 3 to 6 weeks old. This is the routine that we live by today and it's never failed us, yet. Try introducing a bed time routine by using the four B's

Understanding your baby’s cues...

This something that comes with time. So try and watch out for certain behaviours that will help you understand your baby and when they are tired, hungry or wet before they become too upset. At first it was so hard to understand my daughter's different cries, but it did get easier. You could also set cues for your daily activities s your baby can learn and understand what to expect. So, for instance, putting a bib or muslin on will show then that it's now mealtime. As I mentioned earlier behaviours such a dimming the lighting in the room, or getting your baby in their pyjamas will let them know that it's bedtime and soon enough it will come naturally.
Growth spurts changes the routine...

I hate growth spurts with a passion just when I thought I was actually getting somewhere with a routine, dare I say, nailing it she would have a bloody growth spurt and we would have to start again. But this is not the case for every baby you may be lucky parents and if you're are consistent and you may slip back into the routine with growth spurts. With my daughter during her growth spurts we would always try several changes but to stay within the margins that we set out in her routine.
Your baby will not always understand what you want them to do...
Remember they do not know what you want them to do but they will sense your mood straight away. So if you are becoming stressed your baby will too. So take a breath, relax and take a minute. Each baby is different and it won't always run smoothly and there will be a few bumps along the way...but I think it makes it fun, right? Okay not so fun when you don't sleep but the extra cuddles and kisses at night will make up for it. You will soon miss them when they are a little older! I know I do. 

So there you have it everyone, my complete guide in getting your baby into a routine. It's going to be hard work, lots of late nights and you will have no form of social life for some time, but soon enough your baby will sink into a routine that fits both you, your baby and your lifestyle.

WICKED WEDNESDAY | #8 Its all too much for this one

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Yep, this weeks Wicked Wednesday is pretty funny. It was lunch time and I think it got a little too much for one little lady, yay it's nap time! Now shall I nap too? Or shall I blog? Hmmm....

BAKES | Broccoli and Cheese Muffins

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Do you have a fussy toddler? Yep me too, so I am always try to find ways to get more vegetables into my daughter. Let's face it muffins are a tempting treat for most children so why not try a savoury version to help with your child’s recommended 5-a-day! These Broccoli & Cheese Muffins are so easy and quick to make, great fun to do with the children and a great alternative for a lunch option. This recipe freezes really well so bake in batches and defrost for lunchboxes and snacks. I have found that these muffins have be a fantastic option for those who are beginning to start their weaning journey, especially those who are using a baby-led weaning method and of course perfect for fussy eaters too.


To make these Broccoli & Cheese Muffins you will need:

80oz of plain flour 
5oz of cheese, grated 
1-2 small florets of broccoli, finely chopped 
6fl oz of semi-skimmed milk 
3 tbsp of olive oil 
3 tsp of baking powder 
1 egg, beaten 
a good pinch of salt and pepper


METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 180c and grease a 12 hole muffin tin.

2. If you prefer to cook your broccoli before adding into the recipe then you should add some broccoli to the water and cook for 10 minutes. Once cooled chop the broccoli very finely. In a bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, finely chopped broccoli and grated cheese

3. Add the oil, beaten egg and mix well thoroughly and the spoon the mixture into a greased 12 hole muffin cases, making sure they are 2 thirds full.

4. Place in the oven and bake for around 30 minutes or until golden

What to do For Halloween.

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It's the first of October which means that Halloween is just around the corner When I was younger my mum and dad would never let me go trick or treating as they said it was begging and they also didn't like that we would be disturbing people at home. I thought it was so unfair but on a few occasions I did sneak out with friends to go trick or treating but I soon understood why they wouldn't let us go...people don't always open their doors :( Nowadays there is more of a hype centred around Halloween and more people are are getting involved even shops have aisles and promotions dedicated to Halloween. However even though we are becoming more accustomed to Halloween many parents don't want to go door-to-door and lets face it not everyone wants visitors at their doors. Last year my daughter was too young for Halloween and due to sleep deprivation we didn't get involved. Even though she may still be too young to go trick or treating but there are so many other activities we could get up to so I have complied a little list of different things that you and your family could get up to this Halloween. 

No to trick or treating? Still let your children dress up and have lots of fun in the comfort of your own home. Its a win-win situation as one your children are getting involved and two you don't have go around your neighbourhood getting cold. There are so many activities that you all can take part in...why don't you get creative? Help your children make their own costume (how easy would it be to make a ghost!!!) or let them loose with paper, crayons, paints and create a masterpiece. I will definitely be letting my little lady loose and getting creative with her, she absolutely loves messy play. 

What is Halloween without a bit of pumpkin carving? Carving pumpkins is a really fun activity that all the family can take part in. However take great care with sharp knives and obviously make sure that children are supervised at all times. But once you have scooped out the insides don't forget to try and cook up a pumpkin feast and get the little ones involved to create the ultimate Halloween food or treats. 

You could have a Halloween party. This could be a small gathering just for the children or you could get involved and have a big party for everyone to enjoy. My Auntie always holds a Halloween party for adults and children, it is so much fun watching people arrive in their Halloween costumes (no costumes - no entry) and then get stuck into some fun-filled Halloween games such as the apple bobbing. Remember how fun this game was?

How about organising a Halloween themed night in with the family? There are so many ways to keep them occupied at home why don't you let them indulge in Halloween treats, watching scary movies (my favourite has to be Hocus Pocus) or share the best ghost stories with a torch under your chin - my brother was always great at doing this with me and my sister. But if you do want to venture into the garden you could hold a Halloween scavenger hunt. What is not to love? Just hide all those treats in places not too hard to find and if your children get tired you can call it a night. Yay!

Take your children to locally organised events. As Halloween has become more popular I am sure that there events being held in your area. For my area there are lots of craft fairs, the library hosts an event called 'Spectacular Spooky Stories' for children and the there is a big trick or treating route around the main town where most shops like to get involved in the Halloween spirit. Go to Goggle, research and find out what is happening in your area!!!

You could also take your family out for the day. There are so many great locations that host events for Halloween that will sure to get you all spooked! I came across this Halloween guide that has a big selection of events that will be taking place around the UK that will be perfect for you and your family. I would love to go to London for Halloween as it has so many scary locations such as the Tower of London or the London Dungeons I think these would be really great this time of the year! So I think that is about all I could think of at the moment. I love these different ideas for Halloween instead of going door-to-door and let face that is soooooo last year! :)

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