6 UK day trips we’ve recently taken

6 UK day trips we’ve recently taken

Sunday is family day in our household, and we try to spend as many of them as possible going on a day trip.

As we moved to the UK last year, there are many places we have yet to explore. So we have heaps more adventures ahead of us.

But for now, here are 6 day trips we’ve taken so far. Each of them is easy to get to, have great town centres, and have attractions for all ages.

1 & 2 Salisbury and Bristol
Mel offered to babysit Ryan in August for an entire weekend. So Nick and I took an overnight trip to Salisbury and Bristol.

Our first stop was Salisbury, where we visited the magnificent Salisbury Cathedral. This Cathedral is one of the nicest I’ve seen. Its ceilings are crafted to precision, the windows are stencilled beautifully, and the outdoor garden is expansive. It also has one of only four original Magna Cartas that you can view at an interactive exhibition.

Salisbury Cathedral

After Salisbury Cathedral we visited the Old Sarum, the site of the earliest settlement in Salisbury. It was great to walk around and get a sense of the town’s origins.

To end this jam packed day, we had dinner at Baroushka, a Turkish and Lebanese restaurant. It was great to eat without Ryan trying to grab food out of my mouth.

The next day we explored Bristol by foot. Bristol was much larger than Nick and I expected, we both agreed that we could easily live there.

We walked around Millennium Square, which has many shops and restaurants dotted around its waterfront. We also visited Bristol Cathedral, and Clifton Suspension Bridge, the bridge had amazing views of the city.

Bristol Millenium Square Waterfront

3 Bath
In September we went to Bath. It was my second visit, but on my first I didn’t go to The Roman Baths so we made this our first stop.

I loved The Roman Baths, it was really interesting to read about each area’s history and construction, and surreal to think about the people that bathed here many, many moons ago.

Bath Roman Baths sculptures

We spent a couple of hours walking around the Sacred Spring, the Roman Temple, the Roman Bath House, and the Pump Room.

After all our walking we grabbed a burger at Smashburger. Ryan of course had his own, which he wouldn’t share with anyone.

4 Brighton
This was mine and Ryan’s second visit to Brighton, but Nick’s first.

We went to Brighton Pier, where Nick was just as impressed with its size and variety of rides and food as I was when I saw it for the first time.

Brighton Pier

We also visited the Royal Pavilion, which was built as a palace for King George IV. It’s interior is very oriental, and whilst the Palace is expansive, it doesn’t feel like it as you enter its many rooms.

Brighton The Royal Pavillion

There were many people eating a picnic out on the gardens, but we decided to eat at one of the many surrounding restaurants. We chose Wahaca as Mexican is one of my favourite cuisines. Ryan had the best looking nachos I’ve seen in a long time, and my burrito was amazing.

5 Winchester
In October we visited the medieval town of Winchester and checked out its Cathedral as well as Wolvesey Castle.

Winchester Cathedral is one of the largest cathedrals in Europe, but it doesn’t take very long to get around. It’s also walking distance to Wolvesey Castle, which we visited as well.

Winchester Cathedral

Wolvesey Castle was fantastic. It was great walking amongst its ruins and imagining the events that were once held there. Whilst we were walking around Ryan said his first word – oh no, when he dropped some food.

6 Warwick Castle
Another day, another castle, however, this time the castle wasn’t in ruins.

Warwick Castle

There’s so much to do at Warwick Castle, including Princess visits, dungeon tours, and amazing views of the Castle and its grounds from various towers.

Warwick Castle Tower views

We still need to visit so many areas, so if you have any day trip suggestions I’d love to hear about them. In particular, do you know of any beachside towns, or towns that are baby friendly?

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Combing a bullet journal and Google calendar when planning

Combing a bullet journal and Google calendar to plan

I recently started bullet journaling to plan my life, and I love it! (If you’d like to read more about this then please click here).

As well as using a bullet journal, I also use Google Calendar to plan out my days. However, lately I’ve been wondering if I really need to use both.

The more I think about it, the more I realise that I do need to use both, as they each assist me in different ways.

Here’s how each planning tool plays its part in planning my life:

Google Calendar

Prior to starting a bullet journal I used Google Calendar to remind me of everything. This included birthdays, events, to dos, and shopping lists.

As a result my phone was constantly going off to remind me of something. In addition, I deleted entries once they were completed, so I never had a record of anything.

Since starting a bullet journal I’ve changed the way I use Google Calendar. My phone is always with me, my bullet journal isn’t. Therefore, I still have a need to use Google Calendar, I just don’t rely on it like I previously did.

Instead, I now use Google Calendar as follows:

1. To provide location information
Birthdays, appointments, or anything my sister needs to attend are recorded in my Google Calendar along with their location. These items are also in my bullet journal, minus the location. Once the event has passed I delete it from my Google Calendar, but keep it in my bullet journal.

2. To make appointments on the go
I put any appointments made whilst out straight into Google Calendar, and then copy them into my bullet journal once I’m home. I keep them in my Google Calendar until they’ve been completed.

3. To remind me of out of the house to dos
If there’s something in my bullet journal that needs to be done out of the house I’ll put it in my Google Calendar and delete it once done. For example, any groceries I need on a particular day are written in my bullet journal. Once that day comes I’ll put the items into my Google Calendar to remind me to get them when I’m out.

These are the only things I use Google Calendar for. I no longer put every to do, every reminder, or every thought into Google Calendar, that’s what my bullet journal’s for. In doing so, I’ve minimised the amount of disruption my phone has on my day.

Bullet journal
Any date related items are in my Google Calendar and bullet journal, and that’s where the relationship ends.

My bullet journal goes beyond listing date related events. It also keeps information on anything I’m thinking about, goals I’m working towards, and most importantly lists yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily to dos.

An example of some of these items include:

  • To watch, read, and buy lists
  • Moving list
  • Holiday packing list
  • Weekly chores
  • Yearly schedules
  • Ryan’s baby book to dos
  • Blog post ideas
  • Blog content plan

The biggest chunk of my bullet journal is dedicated to planning out my days.

Every Sunday night I plan for the week ahead. I list any to dos that need to be done, and then go to my Google Calendar and enter any events that are happening that week.

During the week I’ll add to dos or events that arise into my bullet journal. I also make notes of conversations I’ve had with suppliers, or record anything else I need to remember. My bullet journal has much greater detail in it than my Google Calendar ever will.

I love using my bullet journal to plan my days. I like the physicality of crossing something off once it’s done. Plus, I have everything recorded, so if I need to refer back to a conversation I’ve had, or find out when I purchased something, it’s there.

Google Calendar, for me, is used as a reminder tool. It reminds me of an event and gives me the location. Or it reminds me to put something into my bullet journal.

My bullet journal has the same date specific information in it as my Google Calendar, but records all my thoughts, and plans out my year, months, weeks, and days. It handles the bulk of my planning needs.

Both of these tools assist me with my planning needs, but in different ways. And I’m happy with that.

Do you have a preference on whether you use analogue or digital tools to plan?

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Ryan’s toddler favourites Winter 2018

Ryan’s toddler favourites Winter 2018

Ryan is starting to show a preference for certain items, including TV shows (I’m talking to you Duggee!)

So, I thought it would be fun to list eight items that are currently in high demand in our household.

Just as an FYI, the above images are not my own, they’re taken from the supplier’s website, and are linked against their corresponding number below.

Also, I’ve purchased all of these items. I don’t have any affiliate relationships with any of the brands mentioned in this post. They’re all 100% Ryan’s current favourites (some are actually mine!)

1. Leapfrog count along till (£22)
This toy comes with 10 plastic coins and a credit card that you use to buy food, the prices of which are relayed to you by the till. Ryan loves putting the coins into the slot, and pressing all the buttons. When he’s old enough I’ll teach him how to listen to the cost of each item, and how many coins he needs to buy them.

2. Fisher Price hippo projection soother (£23)
This soother plays music for approximately 30 minutes, which lasts through Ryan’s bedtime routine, and finishes after he’s fallen asleep. The soother can play either lullabies or white noise, and it has a light function that projects stars onto the roof.

3. Little People swing and share tree house (£53)
Ryan loves this toy, he knocks it over and puts the little girl, boy, and dog through the tree house door. I also find the girl, boy, and dog in shoes, other toys, in the couch….. The toy plays songs about sharing, and has the flexibility of growing with Ryan as it can be attached to other Little People products.

4. Fuel bento lunchbox (£31)
Ryan knows that this lunchbox means snacks, so as soon as he sees it he giggles and opens it to get a snack out. This box is so versatile, you can stock it with or without the boxes it comes with, which means it will grow with Ryan’s food needs.

5. Marks and Spencer sleeping bag (£18)
Another part of Ryan’s bedtime routine is getting into his sleeping bag. This sleeping bag is thick, soft, and opens right up so it’s easy to get Ryan in and out of it.

6. Bonds wondersuit ($18)
Bonds is my favourite Aussie brand, and I especially love their kids clothing range. The range is colourful, comfortable, and practical. This wondersuit has two zips, so if I need to change Ryan in the middle of the night I can unzip the suit from the bottom so it’s less disturbing. Bonds offer free shipping to the UK if you spend over $100, so future Bonds purchases are definitely on the horizon.

7. JoJo Maman Bébé rabbit comforter (£10)
Ryan knows that bedtime means bunny time. When he sees bunny he gets so excited he giggles. If he’s really tired he puts bunny’s ears in his, it’s very cute. We have four bunnies at home, just in case we loose one.

8. Baby Jogger City Mini GT pushchair (£359)
This is more my favourite than Ryan’s. In November I bought this pushchair to replace the one I had, which I hated. I chose this brand because I see it everywhere, it was the first pushchair brand I saw after having Ryan. It’s small, easy to push, and has a wide canopy. I love it.

I’m really interested to see how much Ryan’s favourites list will change next season, when it’s not as cold and he’s a bit older.

Does your toddler have any current favourite items that they, and you, can’t live without? I love hearing about the items that these little humans treasure.

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Life Lately December 2017

Life Lately December 2017

December wasn’t as hectic a month this year as it usually is in our household.

By this time of year I’m usually wrapping presents, baking, and packing for Christmas at Nick’s family’s house.

However, now that we’ve moved to the UK, the lead up to Christmas is much slower paced.

So, here’s life lately in December;

Eating:
I worked my way through my first advent calendar ever. I don’t know why I waited so long to get one. It’s the best excuse to eat chocolate everyday ever (like I really need an excuse!)

Reading:
I’m currently reading The Dying Game by Asa Avdic. It’s about 7 people who have been put on a remote island to compete for a top-secret intelligence job. Part of the selection criteria is to see how they handle a staged murder, but from what I’ve just read it looks like a real murder has been committed. I’m very intrigued.

Watching:
I finally watched the movie Lion, based on the book I read back in May. The movie was fantastic, and even though I knew what would happen it was still a tear jerker.

Buying:
I still love online shopping. This month I’ve purchased items for Ryan’s new buggy, a griddle pan, a bookcase for Ryan’s room, and a book called Your Best Life Yet, which I’m hoping will set me on a better mood track then I’ve been in this month.

Visiting:
Due to our Munich Christmas plans falling through, we decided to do a road trip around Oxford and Birmingham instead. We visited Blenheim Palace, and the Frankfurt German Christmas Market and Magical Lantern Festival in Birmingham. It was good to get away as just the three of us.

Feeling:
For the first half of December I felt really crappy. I started each morning in a really bad mood, and it wasn’t a good feeling. I have no idea what was making me feel so rotten. All I can think the cause was is the time of year. It’s been a hectic year with moving from Australia, moving within the UK, Nick being away a lot, and missing my friends terribly. Christmas is the time of year where you spend time with your loved ones, and this year I couldn’t as they’re in another country.

Loving:
I love the idea that I can start fresh next year and perhaps shake off this bad mood of mine. In the past I’ve used one little word to set the intention for my year, in fact it’s the reason I started this blog. My previous words of the year have been create, focus, and action.

Instead of one little word, next year I’m going to base my goals on a new book I’ve just purchased called Your Best Year Yet. I’ll let you know how this goes.

Hoping:
To treat my body better next year. This always seems to be a hope at this time of year. I don’t believe in diets, but everything in moderation. However, moderation hasn’t been my friend this year, so it’s time to incorporate more fruit and water into my life.

Planning:
This month was about planning our Christmas meals, which was quite last minute. We managed to get bookings in Birmingham, wherewe all ate ourselves crazy.

Parenting:
Ryan is throwing little tantrums, which involve putting his head on the ground and crying whenever we take something off him, whenever another child tries to play with a toy he has, or even if another child just comes near a toy he has. It’s kind of cute, but I feel like these tantrums are going to grow in size the closer to two he gets.

Well that was December; it wasn’t too hectic, which I’m thankful for.

I hope your December and holiday period was just as peaceful.

Have a fantastic 2018, see you next year!

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My top 5 favourite moments of 2017

My top 5 favourite moments of 2017

Lately I’ve been feeling very, very blah. And by blah I mean irritated, annoyed, and generally sad.

I think I’ve been feeling like this because the emphasis on this time of year is to spend time with those you love, and the majority of those that I love are in Australia.

In order to get over these feelings and appreciate the good in this year, I’ve decided to take a look at my top 5 favourite moments of 2017.

1. Watching Ryan grow

I’m very lucky to have a healthy, happy little boy (I hope this never changes!) This year has seen Ryan grow from a five month old baby who hadn’t started eating solids, to a 16 month old cheeky, adventurous, eating machine little human, who is the love of my life. I’m very lucky that I’m able to spend as much time with him as I do, and I’m excited to share with you our adventures in 2018.

2. Mel saying yes to the UK

There’s no way that I could have moved to the UK if Mel didn’t say she’d join me. Having her here was the biggest help I could have received in adjusting to this new life.

3. Checking out Amsterdam

Still on the topic of Mel, we got to spend some sister time in Amsterdam in March (well, sister and Aunty time as Ryan joined us). I’ll be doing a post about Amsterdam soon, but the highlights of this place were chips, chips, more chips, and windmills.

4. Living in Windsor

I was extremely lucky to live in Windsor for the majority of the year. Its shopping packed town centre was a massive drawcard. I also made a really close friend there, and I’m hoping that we, and our sons, will be friends for life.

5. Blogging – properly this time

Moving away from friends has given me a lot of spare time; time that I’ve decided would be best spent re-energising this blog. This year I realised that I needed to do something just for me, something apart from motherly duties. So, I’ve redesigned the blog a bit and will focus on four categories, which are life, parenting, organisation, and travel.

I still can’t believe that another year is nearly over, and what a year it’s been!

I hope I’m in a better headspace in 2018. Usually by now I would have set one little word to drive my intention for the year ahead, but I haven’t yet. (If you’d like to learn more about this then please visit here, here, here, or even here).

I’m still undecided on whether to set goals for 2018 or take it as it comes, so stay tuned for this one.

I’d love to hear about your favourite moments of 2017, and if you have any ideas on how to be more positive about the year ahead please let me know.

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Stay, see, and eat in Salt Lake City

Where to stay, visit and eat in Salt Lake Cityå

In April Ryan, Nick, and I went to New York, Washington and Salt Lake City.

I’d never thought about visiting Salt Lake City before, so I was intrigued when Nick suggested we add it onto our US itinerary.

I’m glad we added it, as it was unlike any other US city I’ve been to. It was spacious, quiet, and had enough to keep us entertained for the week we were there.

So, here are my recommendations on where to stay, what to see, and where to eat in Salt Lake City.

Where to stay

Hyatt Place Downtown/The Gateway

This hotel was fantastic. We were lucky enough to stay in one of the high floor rooms, which was like an apartment. There was a bedroom with its own bathroom, living area, and kitchen. At the time of this trip Ryan was two months into eating solids, so the buffet breakfasts were prefect. The hotel is walking distance to public transport, restaurants, downtown, and The Gateway and City Creek shopping centres.

What to see

Shopping – The Gateway

The Gateway is a less than 5 minute walk from Hyatt Place. I love shopping centres that are laid out in a way where I can systematically visit all the shops, and I couldn’t do that here. The layout was weird, plus it is predominantly outdoor, so on the days it was raining Ryan and I had to seek shelter in Barnes and Noble until the rain stopped.

Where to stay, visit and eat in Salt Lake City The Gateway Shopping Center

The Gateway doesn’t have the range of shops that City Creek has, but it has a lot of entertainment options including a Megaplex, Planetarium and even a Day Spa.

Shopping – City Creek Center

City Creek Center is about a 15 minute walk from Hyatt Place. It’s a large undercover shopping centre, which has over 100 stores and even a creek running through it (hence the name).

Stores and restaurants include Anthropologie, Apple, Macy’s, Michael Kors, Nordstrom, Tiffany & Co, West Elm, Sephora, and H&M. There’s even a food court with a children’s play area.

Where to stay, visit and eat in Salt Lake City City Creek Center play area

What I loved the most about City Creek was its layout. It was so easy to visit all the stores. It’s split into two buildings, which are divided by a pedestrian bridge. Plus, all the food is in one area so you have a lot to choose from when hunger strikes.

Attraction – Temple Square

Where to stay, visit and eat in Salt Lake City Temple Square exterior

This is Utah’s most popular tourist destination, and I can see why. The Temple and its grounds are stunning.

You can spend a good couple of hours here admiring the Temple’s architecture and perfectly sculptured gardens. You can also learn about the Temple’s construction at the visitor’s centre, and stroll around the Assembly Hall and Tabernacle.

Where to stay, visit and eat in Salt Lake City Temple Square garden surrounds

Temple Square is located in downtown, so once you’ve finished here you can spend the rest of the day shopping or eating to your heart’s content.

As a tip, make sure you drive past this attraction at night, it’s all lit up and looks gorgeous.

Attraction – Gigal Sculptural Garden

Nick is not a shopper, so trying to find something we both like to do when we travel can be challenging.

Where to stay, visit and eat in Salt Lake City Gigal Sculptural Garden

I stumbled across this little gem when I was trying to find something Nick and Ryan friendly. It’s a free to enter garden located on a street in amongst houses. If you blink you’ll miss it.

The garden has 12 sculptures including a birdhouse, cave, eagles, and even a sphinx.

Where to stay, visit and eat in Salt Lake City Gigal Sculptural Garden The Sphinx

Each sculpture has a quote, poem, or other type of description written to provoke further thought. To find out more about this garden please visit here.

Attraction – Park City

Park City’s website describes this attraction as “one of the premier skiing destinations in the world”.

Where to stay, visit and eat in Salt Lake City Park City

This is the first place we visited when we arrived. It was off peak ski season, so many of the shops and restaurants on the main street were closed.

However, it was still worth visiting as there were a couple of places open, and the view of the mountains was fantastic.

Where to eat

Eva’s Bakery

Eva’s Bakery was one of the few shops open on the Sunday we were walking through the city centre.

From the entrance it looks like this is just a small bakery selling a handful of cakes and loaves of breads, but just past the counter there is a large seating area where table service is provided.

We came here for lunch. I had the tuna melt and Nick had the steak sandwich. Both were filling enough to keep us going until dinner.

Squatters

Nick has been to Salt Lake City a few times, and each time he always eats at Squatters.

I loved it here, it had a great vibe. On the night we ate here there were work parties happening, families were eating at the tables, and people were drinking at the bar whilst watching sport.

The menu is extensive covering nachos, pizza, spring rolls, sandwiches, burgers – the list goes on. Nick always orders buffalo wings when we’re in the States so he had this here too. For mains Nick had Jambalaya and I had a burger. The food was fantastic, as was the service.

I highly recommend this place.

The Bridge Café and Grill

Whilst in Park City we ate at The Bridge Café and Grill, another place with a great menu. I had fish tacos because they came with chips and I normally do whatever I can to eat chips! The tacos were amazing! Nick had the Carioca (pork, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and chimichurri sauce in a baguette). I also recommend this place!

Where to stay, visit and eat in Salt Lake City City Bridge Cafe and Grill

I would definitely go back to Salt Lake City. In fact, whenever I think about this trip Salt Lake City is normally the part that I think about the most. Maybe because we were there the longest, or maybe because it wasn’t overcrowded and everything was easy to get to.

Do you have any other great Salt Lake City gems that I can visit if I go back?

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5 future log spread ideas for your bullet journal

5 future log spread ideas for your bullet journal

Recently I wrote about my love for bullet journaling, which detailed what a bullet journal is, and how to set one up.

There are so many ways that you can set up your bullet journal. So to make it a bit easier, I’ve decided to start a series providing inspiration on how to set up your future, monthly, weekly and daily spreads.

The first post in this series is to provide inspiration on your future log, as this is generally the first collection you’ll have to assist you in planning out your days.

Ryder Carroll (the creator of the bullet journal) describes the function of the future log spread as follows:

“This Collection is used to store items that either need to be scheduled months in advance… or things that you want to get around to someday.”

As it’s nearly the start of a new year (I still can’t believe it!!), now’s the perfect time to start thinking about what future log spread you want in your 2018 bullet journal.

With this in mind, here’s five future log spread ideas to provide inspiration for your 2018 bullet journal.

  1. Official bullet journal spread

Future log official bullet journal spread Image source

How does it work?
This is the layout Ryder Carroll suggests for your future log spread. I love how clean it is, plus it’s really simple to draw up.

Simply divide a double page into a maximum of 6 months, and list all your important dates for each month.

Pros

  • Super easy to use and draw up
  • Allows you to follow the official bullet journal layout

Cons

  • There’s very little space to list a lot of dates
  • Dates aren’t in chronological order
  1. Official bullet journal spread plus calendar

Future log official bullet journal spread plus calendar Image source

How does it work?
This is the design I use in my bullet journal (this image isn’t of my bullet journal though).

It works in the same way as the official bullet journal spread, but it also shows a calendar of the current month.

I use the calendar to get around the lack of space this layout has.

For example, I have certain chores that I do each month. I circle the dates that these chores need to be done on the calendar, and have a key at the end of my future log spread showing what the chores are.

By doing this, I don’t use the limited space to the right of the calendar for detailing recurring dates.

Pros

  • The addition of the calendar allows you to record recurring dates so you can utilise the lack of space to the right of the calendar better
  • You can see what days belong to what dates (if needed)

Cons

  • If using the calendar for recurring dates, you need to refer to a key to find out what the details of the date are
  • There’s still not a lot of space to the right of the calendar if you have a lot of important dates for a particular month
  1. A vertical layout

Future log a vertical layout Image source

How does it work?
I really like this layout; it has elements of the official monthly spread (more on this soon), but in the form of a future log.

To draw up this layout divide a double page by four, then list the days of the month down each column. Once done start recording dates within their corresponding month.

Pros

  • Dates are listed chronologically
  • Allows you to block out dates. For example, in the above image a down arrow shows that a date goes over several days (e.g. a holiday).

Cons

  • There’s still not a lot of space if you have a lot of dates for a particular day
  • You can only see a maximum of four months at a time (any more months and there would be even less space)
  1. The Alastair Method

Future log the Alistair Method Image source

How does it work?
Alastair Johnston created this design to streamline his future planning needs (more about this here).

To use this layout list as many months as you want to view on the page (this image shows four months) and divide them by lines.

When you’re ready to enter a date, put a dot in the column of the month that the date refers to, then write the date and its details to the right hand side.

Pros

  • You can view as many months as you want
  • Easy to draw up and use

Cons

  • Dates aren’t listed chronologically
  • The more months you have, the less space you have to write details
  1. A calendex

Future log a calendex Image source

How does it work?
Eddy Hope created this future log spread as a calendar/index hybrid. You can find out more here.

If you want to use a calendex for your future log spread, draw 12 columns (one for each month), then add horizontal lines to break up each week.

You will also have weekly or daily spreads in your journal (more about this soon). These spreads are where you will write details about each important date. When you’ve done this, go to your calendex, find the relevant date, and write the page number of the corresponding weekly or daily spread (where you’ve put the details about the date) in the relevant square.

Pros

  • Only takes up a double page
  • Dates are chronological

Cons

  • You have to refer to your weekly or daily spread to get more information on the date. If you don’t add weekly or daily spreads to your index, it may take some time to access the details of the date
  • It’s not as simple as the other layouts

Conclusion
Prior to writing this I didn’t know about the Alastair Method, and I’d seen the Calendex but didn’t know how it worked.

This just highlights the adaptability that the bullet journal has. There’s a solution to fit any need that you may have.

The best advice I have is to try what’s best for you, and if it doesn’t work try something else.

And if in doubt on what layout to use, there are so many fantastic ideas on Instagram and Pinterest.

If you have any ideas for a future log spread, or want to know more about how to find inspiration I’d love to hear from you.

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Life Lately November 2017

Life Lately November 2017

November has been a month of sickness. Prior to having Ryan I rarely got sick, now I seem to get a cold every few months. This month both Ryan and I had a cold and cough for three weeks.

In addition to his cold, Ryan also had a molar cutting through, and he had a nasty viral rash on his leg, which looked like chicken pox.

There were many sleepless nights in the household, which Nick managed to avoid as he left for Australia for a couple of weeks for work.

However, it finally seems like our colds are on the way out, in the same way as November. So lets take a look at Life Lately in November.

Eating:
Chocolate – every night. I love that I can buy a whole bag of Kit Kats for £1! My new addiction is Cadbury’s Mint Oreo, it’s so good.

Reading:
This is the first month that I’ve started and finished a book, the book was Sunshine on a Rainy Day by Bryony Fraser. Amazon describes it as a funny, feel good romantic comedy, but that’s not how I saw it. It’s about a couple that get divorced a month after they’re married. It’s the only book I’ve ever read that I yelled at in annoyance at some of the fights the couple had, and I was annoyed at the ending that was unrealistic and finished very abruptly.

Watching:
I’m still watching The Goldbergs, and I still can’t get enough of it. I’m up to the current season, so I can take a break soon.

Buying:
Online shopping is so good here, heaps better than in Australia. It’s how I’ve been buying most things lately. This month’s purchases include a safety gate, a fold out bed, dummy holders, container labels, a lunch bag, and even a stroller.

Visiting:
Mel, Ryan, and I went to a Scandinavian Christmas market in London and it was so much fun. There was great food and really unique gifts. I love these types of markets; so will be on the lookout for more.

Feeling:
Like it’s time to blog more seriously. I’ve made some changes to my about page, and some aesthetic changes, but now it’s time to make content changes. I’ve added a parenting category, and am working on making content to inspire you guys to travel more, organise your lives better, and share the ups and downs of parenting.

Loving:
The way the leaves fall like snow whilst I’m driving. Autumn really is a beautiful time of year.

Hoping:
That the flat pack construction ends soon. I still have a bedside table, chair, and drawers to put together. We bought two sets of drawers, the one that I’ve put together took over four hours! On the plus side, no flat pack scares me anymore.

Planning:
I’ve been slack at planning anything this month as Nick’s been away, so there hasn’t been a great need to plan family days out.

Parenting:
I’ve finally put Ryan into some classes so we can have more of a routine. He’s doing music and gym classes weekly. He loves gym class, but is undecided on the music one.

Well that was November, it wasn’t too stressful and we laid low due to being sick. I’ve said this a thousand times, but the lead up to Christmas is fast approaching – our first as just the three of us.

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How to feed your toddler with minimal planning

How to feed your toddler with minimal planning

Recently I posted about changing my weekly meal planning routine to make it more time efficient.

Prior to making these changes, I was doing a separate meal plan for Ryan. This meant that I was planning 56 meals a week covering breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Talk about ridiculous, time consuming, and exhausting.

So, pumped up on how well the new way of planning Nick’s and my weekly meals was going, I decided to change the way Ryan’s meals were planned as well.

Ryan has been baby led weaned from 6 months. This means he ate solids from the start. It also means that he can eat the same meals as Nick and I.

Ultimately this means that Ryan doesn’t need his own meal plan, he can join in on Nick’s and mine. Hence minimal planning is needed to feed him, as he can fit into an already existing plan.

After much thought, this is how Ryan’s meals now look like on a weekly basis, all with the aim of feeding him with as minimal amount of planning as possible:

Breakfast
Breakfasts take the least amount of planning.

I have a tub in the fridge labelled Ryan. It holds the following:

  • Crumpets
  • Wholemeal muffins
  • Wholemeal bread
  • Croissants
  • Brioche loaves

Each of these along with muesli are on rotation, so Ryan has something different for breakfast each morning.

Spreads include butter with vegemite (he is an Aussie after all), peanut butter, or jam. Sometimes he has cheese and ham in his croissant.

Together with whatever is chosen for that morning, Ryan also has a Babybel cheese or yoghurt and fruit.

Lunch
In order to make lunches easy I capitalise on the batch cooking I do for Nick’s and my dinners.

Whenever I make a dinner I fill up two containers with Ryan size portions of the dinner and freeze it. Before I freeze it I stick masking tape onto the container and write what the contents are and when it was cooked.

This means I have a freezer drawer full of meals that can be heated up for Ryan’s lunch in an instant.

If my stock is running low I resort to premade meals like:

  • Mini quiches
  • Pasta
  • Pasta bakes
  • Mini sandwiches
  • Fish fingers
  • Salads

Here comes the planner addict in me. On the Google Sheet I have Nick’s and my weekly meal plan on, there’s a tab titled Ryan. On this tab I have a box with two columns titled lunch stock and snack stock.

Any time I freeze a meal for Ryan’s future lunches, or snacks, I type the meal into the sheet. This way I know exactly what I have on hand for his meals.

Right now the sheet looks like this:

Lunch stock Snack stock
2 x Greek pasta melts 8 x Strawberry nutty bites
1 x Home made pizza 2 x Pitas
1 x Mexican mince 4 x Macaroni and cheese muffins
2 x Tortellini packets 5 x Ham and cheese rollups
15 x Nuggets

Dinners
Ryan eats the same dinners as Nick and I.

As I batch cook my dinners they’re ready a couple of days before they’re needed.

So each night I dish up a portion of what Nick and I are due to have that night for Ryan, heat it up, and let him eat. He eats earlier than Nick and I. This way I don’t have to think of a separate meal for Ryan. It’s pre planned.

Snacks
I have a drawer in the kitchen that holds Ryan’s store bought snacks like:

  • Sultanas
  • Rice cakes
  • Wafers
  • Fruit bars
  • Muesli bars

Now that I’ve finally settled into the new place, my aim is to get back into making home made snacks so Ryan will have store bought and home made snacks daily.

I still have a few home made snacks in the freezer, which are shown in the above table.

Just like lunches, any future home made snacks will be frozen and added to the snack column to make snack time easy.

If I ever need meal inspiration I refer to my Baby and Toddler Food Ideas (BLW) Pinterest Board, which has helped me heaps of times.

So that’s it, that’s how I feed my toddler with minimal planning.

If you have any other tips or food ideas I’d love to hear them, I’m always up for varying Ryan’s meals and making his meal times super quick and easy.

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A fond farewell to Windsor

A fond farewell to Windsor

After seven months Nick and I decided to move from Windsor, which was our first UK home after moving from Australia in March.

What made Windsor our first choice of location was simple; its bustling town centre was walking distance from our new home. Ryan was only seven months old when we moved, so my number one must have for our new home’s location was to have entertainment options that we could easily access.

So in honour of our departure from Windsor, I thought it only appropriate that I give it a proper send off, by talking about some of the gems that kept Ryan and I sane during our first foray into living abroad.

What to see

Windsor Castle
You can’t go to Windsor and not visit this magnificent Castle. It’s definitely the largest Castle I’ve ever seen. Everyday my sister and I would look for The Royal Standard flag, which signifies that the Queen is in the Castle. On our last day in Windsor the Queen was in, it was very exciting. Within the Castle walls lie The State Apartments and St George’s Chapel, which on their own are worth the admission. They’re stunning, spacious, and photo worthy.

A fond farewell to Windsor Windsor Castle

The Long Walk
Nick, Ryan, and I were walking here when I decided that Windsor was for me. It’s a 4.26km walk from the Castle to the 1829 Copper Horse statue of King George III, which you can see in the distance from the start of The Long Walk.

A fond farewell to Windsor the Copper Horse Statue

It takes about 45 minutes to reach the statue, where you’ll also walk straight past deer – it’s incredible. Just as incredible is the view of the Castle from the first section of The Long Walk.

A fond farewell to Windsor The Long Walk

Changing of the Guards
Keeping in line with Castle attractions, the Changing of the Guards is well worth viewing; this is something that Ryan loved. The Guards march up the High Street led by a Regimental Band, which adds a special touch to the ceremony. It only takes about five minutes and happens most days at 11am.

A fond farewell to Windsor The Changing of the Guards

Playgrounds
Now that playgrounds have become a thing in my life, I’m always looking for ones that are friendly for a crawling baby. One such park is located on Bachelors Acre. It has a playground with a soft surface, water fountains, a sculpture called The Windsor Lady, which is of the Queen surrounded by six dogs. Oh and there’s a café, where you can get a delicious soft serve.

A fond farewell to Windsor The Windsor Lady

Eton
Although not technically Windsor, it’s immediately next door and can be reached by walking over the Windsor Bridge near The Thames, where the Swans peacefully swim.

A fond farewell to Windsor the Windsor Bridge

Take a stroll up the High Street and you will come across Eton College, which of course is made famous by the attendance of Princes William and Harry. One of my favourite things to do was spot the students wearing their uniform of a black tailcoat, waistcoat and collar. This year on November 16th Eton will be turning on their Christmas lights, which will be a great night out for the whole family.

A fond farewell to Windsor view of Windsor from Eton

The Savill Garden
This garden has something for everyone. There’s a playground with a sandpit for the kids, food for sustenance, beautiful gifts for yourself or someone else, and spots to take a picnic.

Where to shop

Windsor Royal Shopping Centre
Windsor has an array of retail outlets, many of which are located in Windsor Royal Shopping Centre. This Centre has kept many of its original Victorian Station features including the Jubilee Arch, cobbled stones, and even Queen Victoria’s waiting room. Stores include Bobbi Brown, Crabtree and Evelyn, Pandora, and French Connection. Food options include Bella Italia, Bills, All Bar One, Café Rouge and many others.

Windsor Yards (formally King Edward Court Shopping Centre)
Immediately next to Windsor Royal Shopping Centre is Windsor Yards, I was here daily. Here you’ll find Daniel – an upmarket department store, Zara, H&M, Top Shop, Next, New Look, Costa, Nero, Pret A Manger, Waitrose, Paperchase, Smiggle, Lakeland, Swarovski and many more.

Where to eat

Meimo
This is one of Nick’s favourites and it’s where he took me for my birthday. Here you’ll find Moroccan and Mediterranean food from meat dishes, tagines, cous cous and burgers.

Marmara
Also serving Mediterranean but with a Turkish twist is Marmara. I went here with a friend and loved it. I had the Chicken Shish, which was so good. They also have Boreks, Köfte, Meze Platters and heaps of dips, all food that I love.

The King and Castle
For a hearty pub meal head to The King and Castle. I’ve eaten here a few times and taken both my family and Nick’s family here when they’ve visited. The burgers and meat platter are so tasty.

Sebastian’s Italian
Windsor has a lot of Italian restaurants; one of my favourites is Sebastians. I had delicious seafood marinara here.

So there’s my Windsor loves. I was extremely lucky to be part of such a close knit and collaborative community. I’ll miss Windsor for sure, but will always make time to come back.

If you have any Windsor news, must see’s, must eats or anything Windsor related please add them to the comments. Any excuse to go back is a good one for me.

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