Indra Celtic Tree Of Life Leather Journal

It is no secret that I love stationery and I am a massive fan of having a journal. I’m always writing down lists or notes of some kind or another and I love to have one to hand at all times. I believe that you can never have enough journals and notebooks and the one I’m about to talk about is absolutely stunning!

journal

Paper High offer Fair Trade leather journals that are made by a family business in Rajasthan, India. We were kindly offered the Indra Celtic Tree of Life Leather Journal to review.

The journal is completely had made and the detail in the leather cover is just amazing. This particular journal has a Tree of Life design and you can tell that a lot of effort has gone into making this.

The leather cover is a sort of reddish brown colour and is incredibly soft! As the detail has been done so well, you can feel every ridge, dent and impression in the material.

The paper is made from recycled cotton so it is not as smooth as you would probably be used to. It certainly isn’t the same as paper in a journal bought from a high street shop. The paper is known as  khadda, kaddi or khaddi and it comes from there being so much left over material from the garment industry in India. I really love that the paper is made from something that would otherwise go to waste. It’s always good to reduce waste and this is a fantastic way of using up the left over cotton!

This is the kind of journal not to be wasted on random shopping lists. This is a journal for detailing something important or amazing. I’m thinking of using mine to write letters to my daughter in for when she’s older! I know I would have loved to have been given something like this myself!

This journal costs £17.95 and it is worth every penny. The quality is fantastic and the detail is superb.

Disclaimer: We received this item for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own.

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Storytime Saturday: Also an Octopus

Storytime Saturday a weekly blog feature showcasing any new books we’ve been reading with Erin, reviewing picture books and talking about our monthly library haul! Basically, Storytime Saturday is all about books! This week we’re talking about Also an Octopus by Maggie Tokuda-Hall and Benji Davies. It was published by Walker Books on 5th January 2017.

octopus

 

From Benji Davies, the illustrator of The Storm Whale and Grandad’s Island, comes a metafictive story about … how to build a story! First, a story needs a character. So why not a ukulele-playing octopus? And since this is a story, the octopus has to want something – maybe it dreams of travelling to faraway galaxies in a purple spaceship. But every character needs an obstacle to overcome, and when the octopus sets out to build its own spaceship out of glue, umbrellas, glitter and waffles … well, he doesn’t have much luck. Could there be another character that could help? Debut author Maggie Tokuda-Hall sets up a funny, smart and warm-hearted story all about storytelling, then hands the baton to imaginative readers, who will be more than prepared to take it away.

octopus

Oh what a wonderful book this is. It amazes me how people come up with such good ideas for children’s books. The premise for this one is so super simple but it works so well.

Always an Octopus starts off with nothing. I mean nothing. As in blank white page nothing. This is how all stories start out though, which is the whole point. Always an Octopus helps to teach children how to construct a story and what they need to make one up. After the blank beginning you need characters! You need something that happens, a problem, a resolution. You need an ending.

The book is so bright and colourful, with pages and illustrations being mostly blue, purple and yellow. The characters and story are just as bright and interesting and it each page will be sure to capture any child’s eye, and hopefully their imagination.

Disclaimer: We were sent this book for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own. 

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Tommee Tippee Essentials

Just before Christmas we were sent a fantastic selection of products by Tommee Tippee. January was a very busy month and it took us a little while to try some of these out. Here’s what we thought:

Tommee Tippee

 

first cutlery set

I was a bit apprehensive about letting Erin use this set. Even though she has been trying to feed herself with normal weaning spoons for quite a while she has never had a proper set of cutlery and these have a really different feel to them, and they’re heavier than she’s used to. However, she’s taken to them a lot  better than I thought she would. She isn’t able to really use them properly yet but she knows what she’s supposed to do!

easy scoop bowls

Since we started weaning at 4 months we have been using the same bowls. They were great to start with but they do only hold quite small portions. Erin is a bit of a gannet at times and needs a bowl that holds more. The Tommee Tippee easy scoop bowls are really well designed and come in bright colours, which I love.

Tommee Tippee

Snack n Go Pot

So Erin doesn’t do very well if something isn’t either nailed down or stuck down. If we give her a bag of anything, they end up all over the floor in 2 seconds flat. She is a monster. The Snack n Go Pot is amazing! The pot has a silicone lid with slits cut into it, meaning you can put your hand in and get whatever is inside. However, if you shake the pot around nothing will come out. Perfect for little children like Erin who shake and throw things as much as they can.

We have been big fans of Tommee Tippee since we started bottle feeding Erin. We have never been let down by the quality of the products and that is no exception for those mentioned here. We haven’t managed to try the cup yet because Erin is a very picky little girl and will only use a straw cup at the moment. I do love that it came with filters though as we only give Erin filtered water anyway.

We received these products for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own. 

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When to take the dummy away

Erin is 13 months old now and has probably had a dummy from being about a month old. I really don’t remember when we first gave it to her anymore. All I remember is her having really bad reflux and the dummy was the only thing that stopped her crying long enough to go to sleep. I’d always said that Erin would never have a dummy but I soon realised what a life saver it could be.

dummy

Now that Erin is over a year old I’ve been thinking about when we should attempt to take away the dummy. It’s not that I’m planning on doing it right away but I’m certainly thinking about how to go about it or when to do it.

I’m really not that bothered that Erin has her dummy while she’s asleep. I’m more than happy for her to keep it as a comfort thing for quite a bit longer. If it means she sleeps then I’m okay with that. I’m more worried about her relying on it sometimes during the day. She doesn’t have it all the time right now but she does use it for comfort and for when she’s teething.

dummy

The problem I’m worried about it getting her to give it up during the day when she really doesn’t understand what no means or why she won’t be able to have it anymore. I wouldn’t even know where to begin with trying to stop her having it. I know a lot of places recommend for children not to have them anymore after a year because of something to do with their teeth.

I’d love some advice about getting your child to give up their dummy. What age did your children stop having one and how did you go about stopping them having it?! 

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Going back to work: Does it get easier?

Last week someone came back to work after being on maternity leave. She was not happy to be back at work, and I don’t blame her at all. The first thing she asked me, knowing that I have a young daughter myself was ‘Does it get easier?’ People had been telling her that it does get easier.

I had to tell her the truth from my point of view. I honestly don’t think it does get any easier. I have been back at work now for about 5 months. I went back earlier than I had planned and to a different job completely. Although the job I have now is a lot better than the one I would have gone back to, I still never want to go. I work three evenings a week from 530 to 930. As jobs go, mine is pretty easy and I have no responsibility whatsoever, one of the reasons why I took the job in the first place.

Every evening at 515 I have to leave the house, watching John and Erin giggling and having fun. I want to be there with them. I understand how John has felt this whole time now. It’s even harder to leave when she cries for me and reaches out her arms waiting for me to take her back again. No matter how Erin reacts to me leaving, I want to stay and be with her and John.

I know that really, going to work is good for me. Having PND means that some time away from Erin is vital. I know I need adult only time and unfortunately, that only comes in the form of going to work. I do enjoy my time at work. The people I work with are fantastic and I get on with everyone really well. I have fun at work. That doesn’t stop me wishing I was back at home for every second that I’m there.

work

I count down the minutes until I can go home, sneak into Erin’s room and check on her as soon as I get in. I count down the minutes until I can listen to her snoring away in her cot.

So, my answer really is no, it doesn’t get easier. Not for me anyway. I assume it might do years down the line when Erin is at school but I can’t see it being easier any time soon.

Did you find that going to work got easier as time went on? 

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Valentine’s Gift Ideas

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and I thought I’d share a bit of a gift guide. There are a couple of items here that I would love and a couple I know John would love!

mr nutcase personalised mugs*£4.95-£6.50

John drinks a lot of tea. He has a couple of his own mugs at work and I know how much he misses me and Erin during the day. With it being Valentine’s Day soon, I thought what better than to get him a personalised mug with pictures from our wedding day. Mr Nutcase offers either a standard 11OZ coffee mug or a 12OZ latte mug, which is what we have.

You are able to choose different layouts for your photos and you’re also able to change the colour of the mug as well. These are my two favourite photos from our wedding day in Florida and the mug turned out really well. I’m so happy with our mug and it’s going to be great for John to take to work with him.

lisa angel Interlocking Hearts Necklace – £89

Although I tend to wear silver or white gold mostly, I fell in love with this as soon as I saw it. The interlocking hearts are lovely and I would love to have both mine and John’s names on it with  our wedding date!

OAKDENE DESIGNS – Solid Copper Wallet Photo Card – £19

John isn’t really into anything too fussy and we don’t really do gifts for Valentine’s Day. However, he has just lost his wallet and I know there would have been a picture of us in there as well as a picture of Erin. I know that he would love to have this replaced at some point and I love the look of this. It’s a bit more solid and protected than a flimsy photo! To be honest, I would love one of these myself!

A lie in – free!

This one isn’t even a gift idea for me. If this was to be given in our house it would be me letting John sleep in. He gets up early every single day for work. He only really gets Sunday off and he still gets up early so I can sleep in until whatever time I like. Normally this is until at least 9 or 10am. I can’t remember the last time John slept in past 7am. He really deserves it.

What would be your ideal gift for Valentine’s Day? 

*PR Sample

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Meal Plan Monday: Edinburgh Life with Kids

Welcome to Meal Plan Monday, our weekly feature where we talk all things Meal Plan. This week I’m handing over to Laura from Edinburgh Life with Kids!

Meal plan Monday

I’ve always been a fan of Meal Planning. Through working out what we eat in advance, I’ve found that we save money and end up with a lot less food waste. It also takes away the hassle of thinking what to cook each day – everything is always there ready to go. By heading to the supermarket once a week (instead of everyday) I also save time and energy – which is always a bonus!

In the past, I’ve always sat down and planned the week ahead. Whilst this has generally worked for us, there has been the occasional hiccup. On weekends that have been unusually busy we’ve sometimes just not had the time. This has resulted in weeks that are just chaos.So we decided to try something a bit different:

Instead of working on a week by week basis, we decided to plan the entire month at once. Writing the shopping lists for each week in one go. I was tempted to also just book online food deliveries as well, but actually quite like the half hour I spend in the store each week. But all the planning was completed a month in advance.

To start with, I decided that each week needed a pattern. We would have a type of soup on Monday, salad on Tuesday, Stir fry Wednesday, and so on. I’m sure you get the idea! This gave me a really clear framework and I found it made thinking of what to eat easier.

The problem was – we got fed up with this pattern after two weeks. Mondays were just a bit rubbish!

I also switched focus to try an include more protein in my diet rather than just losing weight (I want to increase my muscle to fat ratio). When a neighbour loaned us the ‘Lean in 15’ book by Joe Wicks – it was time for a change!

We decided that the initial idea had been a good one. We had saved time in the previous weeks so simple re-jigged the next two weeks just using the one recipe book. For those familiar with the format of the book, it’s actually divided into two types of meals so provides variety. I know what days I go to the gym (and need carbohydrate meals) so this made planning a lot easier too.

We’ve enjoyed this approach greatly. We’ve eaten loads of new meals and tried new things – and not spent a great deal of time planning!

I had to work this past weekend but my shopping list had already been written. This has resulted in me feeling a lot less stressed about the week ahead as I haven’t really had to think about anything. My husband had a really clear shopping list – and thankfully, hasn’t diverted from it that much.

The downside I guess, is that it doesn’t really cater to whims. Last night, I really wanted to have a take out. Like really wanted one.

But we already had food in and this would’ve been a colossal waste. I suppose this could also be viewed as a good thing given that we didn’t then waste money on a take out. But I’d still quite like to have some crispy beef!

Overall, planning ahead has been successful. I think going ahead I’m more likely to plan two weeks ahead rather than four. But for people who know their routine, and have a good idea of what the month ahead holds. I’d really recommend this approach!

where to find me

edinburghwithkids.com – A Scottish Lifestyle & Parenting blog

Find me on: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

Thanks so much Laura! We’ve tried the same meals for each day of the work but we got bored really easily too! 

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Erin’s 13 month update!

I have no idea where January went but it zoomed by and that means we now have a 13 month old on our hands. I haven’t really done an update on Erin for such a long time so I figured it was about time. I’m hoping to make this a monthly thing from now on though. It’s on the calendar and everything!

health

Erin has been quite poorly for most of the last month. If it hasn’t been one thing it has been another. She’s had a really bad cold and a cough. Then there has a been a lot of teething going on. At first I thought she had one tooth coming through, then I noticed a second. I then noticed the third a week later. A couple of days after that I noticed tooth number four! Being ill on its own is bad enough but add in horrendous teething too and it is pure hell!

Poorly, snotty toddler!

eating

This is not going well at all. Due to the collection of teeth Erin has coming through eating has been a bit of a challenge at times. Sometimes all she wants is much from a pouch. Sometimes all she wants is toast. I never really know. All I do know is that she’s really gone off homemade food at the minute but I have no idea why. However, we have been trying some Ella’s Kitchen snacks and the new For Aisha range (reviews coming soon).

update

You want some parsnip?!

sleeping

This is a bit of a strange one at the minute. We’ve gone months and months with Erin getting up at the crack of dawn. Just recently though she has changed completely. She will go to sleep in her cot at night but never stay there. She wakes up sometimes at midnight just before we go to bed (I swear she knows) and sometimes it is 4:00/4:30. Whenever it is, she screams and screams and screams. However, the minute she lays down in our bed and snuggles up to one of us, she’s fast asleep again. I know co-sleeping isn’t for everyone but John and I love it, mostly! John gets some extra Erin cuddles and I’m getting to sleep in until roughly 8am. It’s been lovely!

I think we’re probably looking at getting Erin her own bed pretty soon!

mobility

Erin started taking steps on her own just before Christmas. Up until earlier on in the week, Erin was still quite unsteady and would only take a couple of steps on her own. She relied on the furniture to help her get around the house. Then, on Friday she decided out of nowhere that she could walk across the whole dining room on her own. A day later, she could walk the length of the living room as well! No, there’s no stopping her. She has cheekily learned how to run away from me a bit as well.

Erin also has her first pair of walking shoes now too. I’m so bad though because I keep forgetting to put them on her while we’re in the house. I definitely need to do this more this month so she gets used to them.

What are these things?!

personality

Erin has really changed over the last month. I have no idea why! When my sister was here for Erin’s 1st birthday party Erin quite happily sat with her and had a cuddle while reading. She had never done that before! Now, Erin loves nothing more than a cuddle on the couch while reading or watching a cartoon in the morning. She’d never really been that into cartoons either. I hate to say it but that damned pig has been allowed on our screens!

Erin has also learned how to play certain games on her own. She loves to play hide and seek with me, either using the curtain or a cloth. She also spends hours with her cookie jar putting the blocks in and getting them out again. However, she knows that it is easier to put the blocks in the top after taking the lid off rather than using the holes in the side!

I really love seeing Erin learn new things and grow every day! I’m so proud of how far she’s come. 

 

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Storytime Saturday: A Child of Books

Storytime Saturday a weekly blog feature showcasing any new books we’ve been reading with Erin, reviewing picture books and talking about our monthly library haul! Basically, Storytime Saturday is all about books! This week we’re talking about A Child of Books by by Sam Winston and Oliver Jeffers (Published by Walker Books on 1st September 2016).

a child of books

I am a Child of Books. I come from a world of stories, And upon my imagination, I float.

In this inspiring, lyrical tale about the rewards of reading and sharing stories, a little girl sails her raft “across a sea of words” to arrive at the house of a small boy. There she invites him to come away with her on an adventure. Guided by his new friend, the boy unlocks his imagination and a lifetime of magic lies ahead of him. But who will be next?

Forget the kids, this is a book for adults as well. More so, it’s a book for book lovers and story enthusiasts.

A Child of Books doesn’t really have a story to it, which makes it a bit strange. However, what it does do is explain the magic of reading a book. The girl in the book explains all the things that can happen through reading, like going on an adventure, discover fairy tales or go into space. The whole point of the book is to make other books and stories seem really exciting!

The illustrations are what really make this book for me though.

books

As you can see, the words of other stories make up the illustrations. I love how inventive this book is, using the actual words from other books to get the point across. I think this is why adults will be able to appreciate this book a bit more than children will.

However, I still think this is a lovey one for slightly older children, especially if you’re trying to get them into reading a bit more.

Disclaimer: We were sent this book for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own. 

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Greetings Cards from Creased Cards

Part of the problem of living in a small town is ending up with the same greetings cards over and over again. I can either go to Sainsbury’s which is across the road, an independent shop in town or Waitrose which is about a 25 minute walk away. I absolutely hate boring cards that everyone gets so I’m always on the look out for something different. Creased Cards offers exactly that, different cards with something for everyone!

Valentine’s day greetings cards

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, what better cards to show off then a selection for the occasion.

greetings cards

I have to say, each of these cards fit mine and John’s relationship perfectly even though they’re all really different. I’m not sure that I could pick a favourite. I guess my pick would depend on what mood I’m in when you ask me.

 

father’s day GREETINGS CARDS

Yes, I know Mother’s Day is well before Father’s Day but I could hardly pick cards for myself could I? What I love about the two cards below is that they’re quite simple but say exactly what they need to. They’re not fussy or overly annoying.

form 3d GREETINGS CARDS

These cards are absolutely amazing! These are by far my favourites of everything that I ordered from Creased Cards. To me, a 3D card is something really special and different and I would personally love to receive something like this. What’s even better is that they’re only £3.95 each.

Now, I chose very family friendly cards because this is a family blog after all. However, Creased Cards offer a very wide variety of slightly more strongly worded greetings cards. I say slightly more strongly worded but what I mean is downright rude! They’re also fantastic though.

Creased Cards is based in Brighton but they have an online shop as well. Delivery is fast and cheap and they also offer a handwritten card service. I hate those other online card shops that send our with a printed message. Doesn’t exactly say personal does it? Luckily, you get a very personal service from Creased Cards

There is still time to order fir Valentine’s Day so pay them a visit!

Disclaimer: We received these products for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own. 

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