Storytime Saturday: Penguin Problems

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 Penguin Problems by Jory John and Lane Smith.

Have you ever considered running away to Antarctica? Of course you have! Because it’s a land free of worries and responsibilities! Think again, my friend. This penguin has come to tell you that his life down there is no picnic. For starters, it is FREEZING. Also, penguins have loads of natural predators. Plus, can you imagine trying to find your mum in a big crowd of identical penguins?

Penguin Problems

For the adult reading them, children’s books are annoying as hell. They can be too sweet, too cutesy and too boring. Very rarely is there a book that is perfect for children but will also have adults laughing as well. Penguin Problems is exactly that though!

Penguin Problems tells the story of a young penguin who moans a lot. He doesn’t really seem very happy about his life. When he’s hungry, there are no fish about. The ocean is too salty. He can’t fly. He can’t even find his own mum or dad because they all look the same. He’s a miserable little sod of a penguin.

However, this is not a book teaching children how to be miserable and how to hate everything they have. No, a wise old walrus comes to talk to the penguin to show him what good things he has around him! The walrus tried to teach the penguin to look on the bright side of life.

Does the penguin change? You’ll have to read to find out.

Honestly, I could not love this book any more than I already do and I cannot recommend it highly enough. BUY IT!

Penguin Problems was released by Walker on 3rd November 2016.

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Bidvine: finding local service professionals

Being a homeowner and a parent means that there is always something that need doing, whether that be a room decorating, something plumbing in or photos needing to be taken! Up until recently, I wouldn’t have even known where to start when looking for someone to do something like this. Luckily, Bidvine offer a fantastic service of finding people for you!


Something I love about Bidvine is how detailed thing are when you’re putting in your request. When I searched for a photographer, I got loads of different options; baby, headshot, wedding, engagement, pet photography etc. You also then get to say whether the shoot needs to be indoors, outdoors or in a studio. You can choose what kind of products you want and state your budget. I really feel as though all options have been thought of and are taken into account before your request goes off!

Once you send off your request you then sit back and wait for your responses! You can expect for these to come in anywhere between 12 hours and 4 days!

For me, Bidvine takes out a lot of the stress of finding someone to do the jobs you need doing! It also gives you the opportunity to pick and choose who you would like to do the specified job based on their responses. It also means not having multiple strangers in your house to come and give you quotes!

As a busy parent, I don’t have time to do everything myself and I know I’ll be using Bidvine to help me find people to do loads of jobs I either can’t do myself or just don’t want to do myself!

You don’t have to commit to any responses to your request if you don’t feel they’re the right fit for you. Give it a go and see if you can find someone to do one of the jobs you put off in 2016 and get it finished this year!

Disclaimer: This is a collaborative post. All opinions are our own. 

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2017 family goals

2017 family goals

Last week I posted about my goals for the blog in 2017. Today I’m talking about my family goals. I think that there is a lot I would like us to achieve this year so this list will be quite varied.

family goals

Family days out – We didn’t do nearly enough of this in 2016. Funds are always quite tight seeing as I only work part time now so we have to be quite careful. John also works a lot of 6 day weeks so sometimes we only get a Sunday together. Even if it’s a walk to the local park, that will do for me!

Sell, sell, sell – I have been selling on my local Facebook sites for quite some time now. (I have a post coming up about this) Sometimes I do okay and other times are pretty awful and I can’t shift anything. I have a spare bedroom full of Erin’s old clothes and other bits and pieces that I need to get rid of. We’re not having any more children so there’s no need to keep much.

Donate to charity – This one really ties in with the previous goal. Sometimes, some items don’t sell no matter how much you try. I have a box of stuff that has been sat there for months. I am going to give things like this one more chance and if I can’t sell them, I’ll donate them!

House and home – We haven’t been able to do much to the house in the last year as we were busy with Erin! This year I would love to get a couple of things done. We have a big list of things that need doing and something from this list would be great:

Central heating

New front door

Fix guttering above the front door

Get blinds put up in Erin’s bedroom and spare bedroom – Our windows are stupid sizes so normal shop bought blinds don’t fit. I’m too scared to cut one down myself.

Shelves in Erin’s bedroom and living room – One alcove in her room is wasted space right now but we need custom made shelves due to the size

Paint the living room – I used to smoke and a muddy dog does not do anything for white walls! We need the room freshening up!

Fix coving in living room – this fell down months ago and we have a big hole in the ceiling now!

Home office – I desperately need some office space so this is high up on my list. A desk is a must!

Holiday – I have put my holiday requests in at work for the year March ’17 to March ’18 (that’s when our year runs). As soon as they are confirmed, which should be soon, I want to book us a family holiday. Our first family holiday. We’re not going far, only to Center Parcs but we’ve never been before and don’t want to go abroad yet. It will also be a getaway for our 4th anniversary in September.

London trips – My sister and her boyfriend live in London, as does John’s Dad’s family. We don’t get to go nearly enough because of the days I work and the cost more than anything. This year though we have at least 2 trips planned and both for a couple of days. Again, I need to wait for confirmation of my holiday dates and work and then we can get the first trip in April all booked!

I feel like this is actually quite a lot to achieve this year. I know we won’t get everything done but I really want to try to do as much as possible. Do you have any personal goals?

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2017 blog goals

2017 blog goals

blog goals

Last year, one of my biggest goals for the blog was to get a domain and I did that! Me, him, the dog and a baby! is a serious part of my life now and I have lots of things I want to achieve this year. So, here goes:

Schedule in advance – this is something I used to do all the time. I don’t know what happened. Maybe it was Erin getting more mobile. Just recently though I have been writing the day before a post is due and never actually ahead. I need to sort this out so that I can have a day off if I want to.

Social Media – I really want to spend some time trying to grow my social media accounts this year, Facebook in particular. I think I’m doing okay on Twitter and Instagram but I just don’t get Facebook really. I’m setting my goal for Facebook quite low because in all honesty, I have no idea how to get new likes. This is what I’d like to achieve in terms of followers and where I am now:

Facebook – 269/ 500

Instagram – 960/1300

Twitter – 2117/ 2700

Giveaways – I don’t feel like I hosted nearly enough giveaways last year. I love the excitement of a giveaway and I love entering them so I figured my readers would too! Brands, if you’d like me to host a giveaway please get in touch!!

Interact more often – I am so terrible for forgetting to reply to comments. I think I need to set aside a bit of time every day, or every other day, to catch up on what people have said. I think with so many things posted across different accounts each day I kind of forget to reply to everything.

DA – I’m really happy that my DA is currently 27. I remember being so excited when it hit 20. I’d love to get to 30+ this year.

Tots100 – I am so close to being top 500 so this would be a great achievement this year I think. In fact, I should probably aim for top 400 as I’m only 33 away from top 500.

I’d love to know what your blogging goals are. Also, do you have anything you think I should aim for this year? 

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Erin’s homemade smash cake shoot

I have known for months that I wanted Erin to have a smash cake for her 1st birthday. This is the only year she’ll get to do this I think and I wanted her to do something really fun on her birthday. I know you can go and have professional smash cake photo shoots done but I wanted this to be something John and I did together at home.

I am crap at baking so I didn’t even attempt to make a cake myself. My wonderful friend from work picked us up a chocolate smash cake from Asda.

I can’t remember where I saw the idea now, and I wish I could so I could credit them, but I made my own photo shoot at home.

I taped a white bed sheet to the wall, added some banners and some balloons and there was our set! It was nothing fancy and nothing expensive but it was perfect for us. However, if you want to do this at home then I would advise taping the sheet to the floor as well if you don’t want creases in your photos. Erin moved around like a mad little thing and the sheet went everywhere.

My photos didn’t come out quite as well as I’d hoped, mainly because Erin moved around more than I thought she would. Now, none of my photos are professional quality. In fact, they’re far from it. The good thing about doing your photos at home though is getting to look through the good and the bad. I’ll be keeping the not so good pictures to laugh at in years to come. While the photos aren’t amazing, I have edited some of them and I’m actually really happy with how they turned out.

I could have had amazing photos from a professional but I’d rather have the memory of doing this as a family!

smash cake

Erin quite obviously had to go in the bath straight after we did this. Chocolate cake was everywhere, even up her nose.

I honestly think that this was a great way to spend a birthday cake. Fun with chocolate cake. Who could ask for more!?

Please note: Erin did not eat the entire chocolate. She barely even ate any of the top. She just ended up covered in it. 

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How Erin spent her birthday

how erin spent her birthday

So yesterday was Erin’s 1st birthday ad seeing as we’ve never done this before, neither John or I knew what to expect. I don’t really think it went as we thought it would.

We started the day off getting up quite early. Erin doesn’t really sleep at the minute. She obviously didn’t understand that it was her birthday but we did try to make a big deal about it. After how long presents took on Christmas Day we did things a bit differently. Erin showed no interest whatsoever in actually opening presents. She would pick one, bring it over and then get distracted by something else. Because of this, we opened most things for her so we weren’t there for hours on end.

Presents were followed by Erin’s DIY smash cake. Well, I didn’t bake the cake but I did set up a bit of an amateur backdrop and took a load of photos. I’ll write about this in a separate post though so you’ll have to wait for the photos for that!!

It’s not very often that John and I get to go out for the whole day with Erin together as a family. Either we have no money or we don’t have the time off together. We decided to go into Norwich for a few hours and it was lovely. We did a few things that were needed and then went to Five Guys for lunch. It was John’s first time there and thankfully, he loved it! I’ve been raving about their burgers for weeks. Erin had a packed lunch and a couple of chips.

Thankfully, Erin crashed not too long after lunch and she slept until the train pulled in to our station for home. She’d been exhausted from the busy morning but didn’t want to miss anything exciting. When we got home it was more play time right up until she had a bath and went to bed.

I love that Erin spent the whole day in a top with her age on it. Sgt. Smith do some amazing t-shirts and the one you can see Erin wearing costs £15. 

The t-shirt comes in a variety of colours. You can get the one you see Erin wearing, with blue stripes or with pink and red stripes. Personally, the grey top that Erin is wearing is my favourite as it really goes with anything.

Something I absolutely loved about this t-shirt was the quality. Although £15 isn’t overly expensive for a t-shirt, this feels like it should be more expensive. The material is lovely and thick and it feels super soft.

This t-shirt is available in two sizes, 12-18 months and 1 1/2-2 years. We got this in 12-18 months and it is a little bit big on Erin but she’s a bit small for her age really. Although it has her age on it, and was great for her birthday, I will put in her in it loads more until she grows out of it.

I don’t think it was the most exciting birthday in the world but she won’t remember it anyway. She’s also having a birthday party in 2 weeks so she can see her friends and have some more fun.

What did you do for your little one’s 1st birthday? 

Disclaimer: We were sent Erin’s ‘1’ t-shirt for the purpose of this post. All opinions are our own. 

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Happy 1st Birthday Erin

happy birthday erin!

A whole year since my baby girl was born. Okay, I may have moaned about it the other day when I posted ‘This time last year…’ but when I look at Erin, I forget about everything that was bad. I thought I’d do a year in photos to celebrate her birthday today as there will be more posts to come over the next couple of days! I am just going to pick one photo for each month because otherwise this post will be huge!














Considering I’m always the one with the camera, I’m in a lot more of these photos than I thought.

Happy Birthday Erin!! I can’t wait to see what we get up to next year. 

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This time last year…

Sometimes it seems like 2 minutes ago that I went into hospital to have Erin. It actually all started this time last year, sort of.

On 29th December last year I had a final hospital appointment to see how Erin was developing and to decide on what was going to happen. During that appointment I got told to go to the delivery suite to be induced. I actually refused and told them I’d go back in the morning, a year ago today. I wanted to go home and get myself sorted out before being induced!

So, this time last year I headed to hospital at 8am, ready to be induced. We got there on time but had to wait about 4 hours for anything to even be done. I remember being so annoyed because I had to wait around for nothing. The first day is a bit of a haze to be honest. I remember nothing happening a lot. After finally being induced there was lots of checks being done and lots of walking around to bring on labour. That did not happen.

Day 2 came and still nothing was happening. 24 hours after induction and we tried again. More waiting around for something to happen. I walked. I ate. I got bored. I slept. Then, after being hooked up to machines for 4 hours solid I begged and begged to go for a cigarette. My midwife was not very happy but I threatened to cry and have a melt down so she let me and warned me to come back immediately if anything changed. This was about 8pm if I remember right. When we got back I had a ‘show’. She was not pleased. Ooops.

From here I don’t remember an awful lot. I remember having my waters broken for me. I remember the anesthetist being mad at me for not staying still when she put in my epidural ready for the emergency section they thought I’d end up having. I was in the middle of a goddamn contraction. Cow! I remember being put on a hormonal drip and Erin getting herself all wound up and stressed because of it.

Then, I remember being rushed of for that emergency c-section at some time in the morning. I don’t remember when. I remember being prepped for it and sort of remember what it felt like to have someone rummage around in my stomach. That was not fun, especially as Erin got her head stuck and they had to pull everything out to get her out! Then, my gorgeous girl was with us and John sort of didn’t realise. I had to tell him that he could hold her.

this time last year

Then it all kind of went wrong. The local newspaper wanted to speak with us not long after being back on delivery suite as we had Erin on New Year’s Day. I don’t remember one thing I said to them, only that I looked like shit in the pictures. I don’t remember anything from my first day with Erin. I don’t remember holding her or trying to feed her.

I think it was the next day that the infection set in. The c-section hadn’t gone as well as it should have. I was super ill. I kept trying and trying to breastfeed and couldn’t. I can’t remember much apart from getting so upset. A few days later and apparently I was getting better. I should have been going home. Nope, the day that the doctor cancelled all of my tests things got a lot worse. The next day I was having surgery again after having tubes down my throat and a drain in my stomach.

It took 2 weeks of being in hospital before I was allowed to come home with Erin. John was there with us the whole time and looked after Erin for all of this time, because I couldn’t. So, this time last year was the start of a absolutely horrendous experience and not something I ever want to repeat.

People ask all the time when we’ll be having another baby. The answer is never. John thought I was going to die. I think I gave up on everything while I was in hospital. I still have infections every single month because of that hellish c-section. My little girl is absolutely perfect and I would do it all again in a heartbeat to make sure we had her but god, I never want to do it again!

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Ella’s Kitchen Jingle Belly Christmas Dinner

Although Erin has been eating since she was 4 months old, it has only been a couple of months since she started having finger foods. Erin loves food but it really does depend on her mood as to what she’ll eat. If she doesn’t fancy eating with her hands, she won’t eat.

As John and I were eating a proper Christmas dinner, the plan was to get Erin to have this too.

Apart from the parsnips, which were apparently amazing, Erin was not into eating Christmas dinner. She all all sorts and didn’t want any of it.

Thank goodness for Ella’s Kitchen and their Jingle Belly Christmas Dinner.

Jingle Belly Christmas Dinner

What is so great about the Jingle Belly Christmas Dinner is that it really is a full Christmas dinner. The pouch, which is suitable for babies 7months+, includes turkey, cranberry sauce and even sprouts, just to name a few ingredients.

Unfortunately, once out of the pouch, the food looks pretty awful. Luckily, Erin doesn’t care what colour her food is at the moment.

Erin was much happier with this as her Christmas dinner. She at the whole pouch really quickly and I think she could have eaten a bit more. I was so glad we had this to hand as it really saved our dinner!

Another great thing about the The Jingle Belly Christmas Dinner is that at least 30p from the sale of each pouch will be donated to Save the Children’s award winning Families and Schools Together programme. I love that Ella’s Kitchen have come up with such a great product to help out families in very different ways this year.

The Jingle Belly Christmas Dinner is a limited edition pouch so if you want one, you need to be quick!

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

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I am who I am

Sometimes I feel like people want me to apologise for being who I am. Sometimes I feel like people would rather me keep my mouth shut rather than say what I think. Sometimes, I feel like people don’t like me because of who I am.

who I am

I have gotten to a point in life where I just do not care what other people think. I honestly think that this is something that has come more and more with age. I know I was never like I am now as a teenager or even in my early ’20s.

I am quite outspoken and not everyone likes that, even my husband. He is forever telling me that maybe I should try being a bit less blunt and that I should be a bit more tactful. I say I’m being honest. Part of people’s ‘problems’ with me is the way that I say things. Yes, I am quite blunt at times and I know that I can come across in the wrong way. It’s just how I am. My mother in law thinks that I was rude to her earlier in the year. It wasn’t rudeness, it was just the way I speak. If I had been rude, she really would have known about it.

I don’t have the time or the energy to go pussyfooting around people’s feelings. If I don’t agree with someone or something then I’m likely to tell them so. If I’m having a shit day, I speak like I’m in a bad mood. I won’t sit around and pretend to be happy or cheerful when I’m not. The only exception is when I’m at work because that would be unprofessional!I may sound like a spoiled child here but also, if I don’t want to do something or go somewhere, I won’t.

I don’t think I should have to hide who I really am, or give people a nicer, more careful version of myself. I just think that if you have a problem with the way I am, and who I am, then that is your problem, not mine.  I won’t lie about my feelings or opinions just to make someone else happy, not even my husband. If that makes me mean or rude or obnoxious then so be it.

Life is too short to pretend to be someone you’re not.

Are you like me or the opposite? 

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