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2018 Book Review Roundup – YA Fiction

Last year I read so many books and I told myself I’d review them as I went. Did I do that?! Did I heck! So here we are at the start of 2019 and I’m having to go back and review all the books I read in 2018! They won’t be super in depth because it would take me until next Christmas to do that many, and I also think it can be a good thing to just do a little teaser.

5 Books to Read This Summer

As I am 100% swamped with exam prep (#prayforCodie) and wedding planning (www.quirkynuptials.co.uk) and general life, I asked the lovely Maisie to write me a guest post and, of course, it was about books! I haven’t read any of these, so I will be downloading a few for the honeymoon (62 days and counting!)

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Wilson in my 20’s: The Illustrated Mum

You may remember that a while ago I set myself the challenge of reading every Jacqueline Wilson book that had been published since my birth, as some sort of weird semi-midlife crisis. I was all set to start, but then other books happened. And I got a little carried away with life. But finally, this week, I picked up one of my favourite ever Jacqueline Wilson books, The Illustrated Mum. 

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The Devil’s Work – Mark Edwards

I’ve declared my love for Mark Edwards’ books plenty of times on this blog, however, after reading Catch Your Death and being a tiny bit disappointed (it just wasn’t as amazing as his others!), I was a little wary about The Devil’s Work. I needn’t have worried. In true Mark Edwards’ style, it was breathtaking. 

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Wilson in my 20s

I have always been a big Jacqueline Wilson fan – her books were such a huge part of my childhood but I struggled to keep up with them as I grew up and eventually I just kinda seemed to not bother. So here I am at 24 and a half and I have challenged myself to read ALL OF THE BOOKS. I headed to google to find out exactly how many books the Queen had written and no one could give me a good answer, but it’s clear that there is a whole load. I do know that it was over 100 in 2014… That’s a lot of books.

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Getting a Smear test with Vaginismus

I talk a lot about my difficulties with Vaginismus on the blog, because it’s something a surprising amount of people with vaginas suffer from, and are often not diagnosed. That said, these tips on getting a smear test with vaginismus will also help if you’re someone who is just a little anxious for your smear test anyway

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The (Broken) Vagina Monologues: Part 5 – A Vaginal Video Game

Hello again friends! It’s been a while! My broken vagina and I have actually been busy growing a little human (I am aware that it’s my womb doing the growing, but it makes more sense poetically to say it’s my vag), and in a few months time (December to be exact) I will be pushing him out of it too! If I thought sex was painful, I feel like childbirth is going to be a whole other level… However, I realise I left you on a bit of a cliffhanger (or a clit-hanger as my pals at My Dad Wrote A Porno blog would say), and it’s time to catch up! 

The (Broken) Vagina Monologues: Part 3: The Serious One.

This is the slightly crappy, intense one. The normal hilarity will return next time, but I felt it important to get this bit out on paper (or pixels) to give a true and honest representation of the whole condition. TW: rape, abuse, police incompetencies etc. 

The (Broken) Vagina Monologues – Part 2: Let’s talk about Sex

Steven, my future husband, is a very attractive man. The most attractive, I would say, and when we first got together, I was insatiable. We would rock up to everything, slightly late, with sex hair and that glorious haze that follows new couples around post-coitus. It was amazing. He was amazing and, fuck it, I was amazing too. Everything was wonderful.

Vaginismus and The (Broken) Vagina Monologues – An Introduction

I am an unashamed over-sharer. Whether it be ingrown hairs, repulsive (but hilarious) farts, or embarrassing moments, I’m not afraid to have a chat about the things that others shy away from. I’m not sure why this is – perhaps I just have no shame – or where it stemmed from, but one thing I have noticed, is that for every one person who is horrified and vows never to speak to me again, there are several who find it hilarious and one that finds it useful. That’s where the idea for this series came from. 

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AD| Imagining my Dream Office

My current working space is either on the sofa, or in bed, working (physically) around my children. Occasionally, if I’m really lucky, I’ll find myself working at a table at a soft play centre with a luke-warm coffee. I’ve not worked in a proper office for such a long time, but I’ve recently had a cheeky promotion in my “real” …

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How YOU can become a freelance writer in 2020!

I’ve written a few times about my journey to becoming a freelance writer, and over the past few years, I’ve been inundated messages about how to get into the industry. After all, who doesn’t want to be able to work for themselves, writing in the comfort of their PJs?  For ages, I shied away from sharing too much, as I …

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Viking Arty Party – Craft, Coffee & Cake!

I love me some crafts. We have an entire room dedicated to it in our house and a huge amount of my paycheck goes on craft supplies “for the wedding”, so when stationary bosses Viking got in touch and invited me to a crafternoon with coffee and cakes, you better believe I was all over that! 

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Blog Events 101

April is set to be a busy month for me in terms of blogger events (#humblebrag) and I thought it might be useful to write a little post about the various types of events and my top tips for attending, to hopefully help some newer bloggers, or those who have yet to venture to an event

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So you want to go freelance?

I’ve seen a lot of questions about this on various Facebook groups and, suffering with imposter syndrome as I do, I’ve never felt quite legit enough to write about it. Not “freelance” enough if you will. 

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Top Tips for Freelancing or Working From Home

On Twitter, a rather lovely follower asked me for any tips I had about working freelance. Weirdly, I hadn’t even thought of myself as someone qualified (is that the right word?!) to give advice, however I thought it would be fun to put together a post of the things I would say are my top tips, after the past few months being my own boss. More than anything, these are tips for working from home – maybe when I get the hang of this freelance lark I’ll do another post on the real stuff! 

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Freelance Expectations Vs Reality

When I decided that I was going to go freelance, it’s safe to say that I had high expectations of how my life was going to change. A few months on and it seems the reality is not quite the same. 

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How to be a Blogger’s Best Friend

In a frankly typical turn of events, an idea I’ve been harbouring for a while, for a blog post, was recently written by someone else (probably far better than I would have managed) and went viral. 

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AD| Mothers’ Day Gift Guide 2024

This post contains affiliate links – this means I get a little kickback if you buy anything from my links but you don’t get charged any extra 🙂 Mothers’ Day is a tricky one for me: on the one hand, I lost my own Mum when I was pregnant with my first son, so it hurts my heart a little …

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Ad| Spidey Web Crawler RC Review

In my house, if it’s got a remote control and wheels it’s an instant hit, and as big fans of Spidey and His Amazing Friends, you can imagine how much excitement this Spidey Web Crawler caused in the Wright household!  The remote control has two easy-to-use buttons, forward-straight and backward-curve. I won’t lie, I found it really hard to get …

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AD| Etsy Christmas Giftguide 2022!

It’s that time of the year where I spend all my wages on Etsy, shopping for every member of my family, and adding hundreds of items to my own personal Wishlist too. I truly believe that you can find something for everyone on Etsy and know that you’re supporting small creatives too. Here are some of the coolest things I’ve found recently.

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Ad| Stickle Bricks

I have such vivid memories of being a child, playing with Stickle Bricks. I can literally feel them in my hands while I sat on the floor in my childhood bedroom, building my own little spikey-world. So when this little box of Stickle Bricks came to the door (“for the children”) I was instantly transported back and the nostalgia was strong because the set was identical to the one I had as a child.

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AD| Paint Pop Paint Sticks

Look, I like to think I’m a fun Mum. The set-up-a-Tuff-Tray-of-messy-play kinda Mum. The spends-far-too-long-cutting-shapes-out-of-fruit-for-a-picnic kinda Mum – and I love getting creative with the kids. But there is something about the absolute faff of getting out the paints that fills me with dread. I always squeeze too much into the pallet, water always gets spilt, the paper is so …

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#Ad Celebrating Earth Day with Eco Plush Toys

I’d like to think we’re a pretty eco family. We’re vegan, we use cloth nappies, we do our best. But one thing I think can be easy to fall down on, is toys. So many toys are made of plastic and the guilt is real. So when we were sent these amazing Eco Plush Toys, to celebrate Earth Day on 22nd April, and found out that they are made from 100% recycled material, we were really excited.

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Alternative Gifts for Easter 2022

It’s almost Easter and I’ve been hanging ridiculous carrot bunting along my fireplace and looking up some fun Easter crafts for the kids to fill up the holidays. However, I’ll be honest. Ruben still has a few Easter eggs left over from last year, and Indiana can’t have normal chocolate because he has an allergy to cows’ milk protein – plus Steven & I are vegan, so I think we’ll leave the chocolate egg buying to the grandparents.

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#AD Peppa Pig Weebles Review

“Weebles Wobble but they don’t fall down!”- This has always been ingrained into my subconscious and sometimes I genuinely find myself just saying it out loud for no apparent reason. I never had any Weebles of my own, so when we had the chance to head to Smyths Toys Superstores and check out the new Peppa Pig Weebles, you better …

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#AD: Cats Vs Pickles New Reversible Plushes!

Hey cool cats and pickles!  One thing I didn’t predict to be a big part of life with a 3 year old is kissing several squishy cats and cuddley pickles from his Cats Vs Pickles collection goodnight every night – and this boy has a lot. So imagine his absolute delight when we were gifted two of the amazing reversible …

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AD: Toy Story 4 Plushies

My husband’s two favourite films are The Notebook and Toy Story. We’ve not yet introduced by two year old to Noah & Allie’s love story, but from the moment he first watched Toy Story, he was absolutely besotted. To the point that we spent a good 6 months watching the 4 films over and over and over and over and …

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How to go Vegetarian

I have been a vegetarian for six whole months (yay!), and I get that that isn’t a long time, but hey, we all start somewhere, right? That’s what I want to talk about today. A few people have mentioned to me over the past few weeks that they are considering becoming a vegetarian (most of them don’t eat a whole lot of meat anyway. I ate a lot so it was a pretty weird transition, but if I can do it, so can anyone :)) and I’m always too excited to word may response properly, so I thought I would write it here, so that if anyone needed that last bit of encouragement to quit meat, they could get it! 

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Party Planning

I love planning a party. My Pinterest is full of boards of different party themes, including the birthday party I held for my cat’s first birthday, and I start planning for the next party as soon as one is finished.  Do I feel super stressed and anxious in the run up? Absolutely.  But do I also love making decorations, curating …

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A fun way to gift money for a wedding

When we got married, we asked for money towards our American Roadtrip honeymoon and we had such generous gifts from our guests which allowed us to have the best time ever. So when our friends asked for money for their wedding gift, I was more than happy to oblige. However, there’s something about just putting some money in a card …

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We bought a house!

I cannot believe we have actually, finally bought a house. If you’ve followed me for a while, you’ll know it’s taken around 7 years to get to this point – partially because of Steven running his own business, and then me being self-employed, plus breaks to have babies and a global pandemic. It’s been A. Time. But here we are. …

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Is Gousto Suitable for Vegetarians and Vegans?

A few months back, I saw Katy from Katy Kicker talking about how useful she found Gousto when she was postpartum with her youngest Aurora and decided to drop her a message, asking if Gousto was suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Her being the good egg that she is, sent me a screen recording of some of the dishes on offer, and a discount code to use, and I decided to give it a go.

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How hiring a cleaner changed my life

I’ve really struggled with whether to write this post, but after I mentioned it briefly on Instagram, it turns out a lot of you wanted to know a little more, so here we are.  Honestly I have a lot of Poor Girl guilt. I grew up in a house where we literally couldn’t afford hot water, so I’d wash my …

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AD| Teenage Boy Gift Guide

I genuinely think that teenage boys are the hardest to buy for. I am not, nor have I ever been, a teenage boy and if I thought I was out of touch with teenage girls, it’s nothing compared to this. That said, I have to try because there are a few teen, and pre-teen nephews on my shopping list, and …

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AD| Teenage Girl Gift Guide

It’s been a long time since I’ve been a teenage girl, and I am very out of touch. Thankfully I had a helper or two to give me some advice on this one! Soph x Skinnydip Astro Wash Bag This wash bag is so beautiful and would make such a cute gift for a special teen in your life – …

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Fun-Filled Family Adventures: Deepening Bonds Through Outdoor Playtime*

*This post is a collaboration with TP Toys In today’s fast-paced world, finding quality time to spend with family can be challenging. However, there’s a timeless solution that not only fosters stronger bonds but also promises heaps of fun and laughter: outdoor playtime. Engaging in activities like those on Childrens climbing frames and a toddler swing not only promotes physical …

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Best Toddler Floor Beds: A comparison

My 20-month-old officially moved into a proper bed in March! It might seem early but honestly, the cot was a waste of time for this prolific co-sleeper and my back is already happier laying in his little bed, than it ever was bending over to get him out of his cot and then sitting in a rocking chair for an …

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Ad| Stickle Bricks

I have such vivid memories of being a child, playing with Stickle Bricks. I can literally feel them in my hands while I sat on the floor in my childhood bedroom, building my own little spikey-world. So when this little box of Stickle Bricks came to the door (“for the children”) I was instantly transported back and the nostalgia was strong because the set was identical to the one I had as a child.

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AD| Paint Pop Paint Sticks

Look, I like to think I’m a fun Mum. The set-up-a-Tuff-Tray-of-messy-play kinda Mum. The spends-far-too-long-cutting-shapes-out-of-fruit-for-a-picnic kinda Mum – and I love getting creative with the kids. But there is something about the absolute faff of getting out the paints that fills me with dread. I always squeeze too much into the pallet, water always gets spilt, the paper is so …

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Alternative Gifts for Easter 2022

It’s almost Easter and I’ve been hanging ridiculous carrot bunting along my fireplace and looking up some fun Easter crafts for the kids to fill up the holidays. However, I’ll be honest. Ruben still has a few Easter eggs left over from last year, and Indiana can’t have normal chocolate because he has an allergy to cows’ milk protein – plus Steven & I are vegan, so I think we’ll leave the chocolate egg buying to the grandparents.

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#AD Peppa Pig Weebles Review

“Weebles Wobble but they don’t fall down!”- This has always been ingrained into my subconscious and sometimes I genuinely find myself just saying it out loud for no apparent reason. I never had any Weebles of my own, so when we had the chance to head to Smyths Toys Superstores and check out the new Peppa Pig Weebles, you better …

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#AD: Cats Vs Pickles New Reversible Plushes!

Hey cool cats and pickles!  One thing I didn’t predict to be a big part of life with a 3 year old is kissing several squishy cats and cuddley pickles from his Cats Vs Pickles collection goodnight every night – and this boy has a lot. So imagine his absolute delight when we were gifted two of the amazing reversible …

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Newborn Baby Essentials (0-3 months)

When it comes to having a baby, there is just so much stuff involved. Having had two little ones now, I can firmly separate that never-ending list of stuff into two categories: Items I literally could not do without, and Nonsense that the internet told me I needed and are basically just taking up space in my already-cluttered home. I …

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Two Months of Two Children

I’ve been a mother of two now for two months. Two months sounds like forever and also no time at all, all at once. In some ways, Indiana feels brand new, but he also feels as though we’ve always had him. It’s strange, and wonderful – which is how I’d describe most of parenthood to be honest.  Indiana Hugo Atlas …

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Summer baby essentials

Some of these products were gifted, and this post may contain affiliate links – neither of these things affect my content. My first born Ruben was born in December – the frostiest of winter babies! My worries were all about keeping him warm enough, especially making sure that he didn’t get cold in the carseat, knowing that they can’t wear …

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Magic Kingdom with a Toddler and Preschooler

Our first day at Disney World could only have been Magic Kingdom of course, and we squeezed as much into the day as possible, but had to come back during our second week (when we were staying at Universal) to mop up a few of the things we missed.  As a group, we cover most of the things anyone would …

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Florida Part 1: The Hotels

So, after an amazing 5 days in New York City, it was time to jump on a plane over to Florida for the last 10 days of our trip. I’d never done Florida before, but the rest of our party were seasoned Florida explorers, so it was a weird dynamic change from how familiar I was with New York, but …

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Ad| Jet2Holidays set up in Liverpool Airport!

The kids may have only been at school for a few days, but I’ve already got itchy feet and am looking for our next family trip. Now that Jet2 are planning to start flying from Liverpool next year, our choices have opened up even more.

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Visiting Thomas Land in 2021

Thinking of going to Thomas land at Drayton Manor and want to know what the rides are like? Or what the COVID situation is? I got you!  I am an incredibly anxious person, which is totally at odds with the fact that I’m a huge adrenaline junkie who LOVES theme parks, and also someone super spontaneous. Which is how I …

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Visiting Center Parcs after Lockdown (With a toddler and children)

We’ve just come back from a lovely weekend in Center Parcs – our third time visiting Center Parcs but first time staying in Sherwood. I’d love to try one of the other locations next. I was a little worried about going to Center Parcs after lockdown, and for a while I wasn’t sure if our little holiday was even going …

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AD | Exploring Liverpool

I think it’s true for wherever you live, that because something is on your doorstep, you just don’t appreciate what it has to offer. Liverpool is just a short train ride away from us, and yet we rarely explore it properly unless friends from elsewhere are visiting for the first time! It only then that we realise just how epic Liverpool really is. 

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Why Centre Parcs is the best place for a UK babymoon

Being pregnant is really bloody hard. I won’t go into all the reasons why, but if there is ever a time you need a holiday, it’s when you’re pregnant. A baby moon might seem a little extra, but when you really think about the fact that in just a few more weeks your life is going to be turned upside down by a tiny tornado and this is the last time you’ll be able to travel with your other half as just the two of you, you’ll start to see why it’s a necessity. 

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Pre-Christmas Getaway Ideas*

As we will have a baby by Christmas(!) I am deffo feeling rather consumed by wanderlust. Sure, summer is great for holidays, but I love taking trips outside of the school holidays as things are quieter, cheaper and all-round better. I think if you only ever travel in the summer, you’re really missing out on seeing some beautiful places in the snow, or enjoying a bit of winter sun, and besides, the world is too big to limit when you visit! So, I headed over to Cickstay to check out some of their villas, apartments and holiday rentals to put together some dream destinations.  

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The Benefits of Zip and Link Beds

Zip and Link beds are the most versatile form of sleeping arrangement, popular at guest houses, hotels and even homes where two people sharing a bed have different support needs. They have the ability to revolutionise your bedroom occupancy and even help you (or your guests) have a better night’s sleep.  What is a Zip and Link bed? If you’ve …

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AD| Etsy Christmas Gift Guide 2023

It’s my annual Etsy gift guide! A highlight of my blogging year because your girl loves to window shop & Etsy has the best ideas. Here are a mismatch of things that I either plan to buy, or would like someone to buy me. The Gruffalo Story Sack Discs Oh help, oh no, it’s a Gruffalo! There are few things as …

#AD Violife Cheese

Whenever anyone hears that we’re vegan, they always say “I could never be vegan, I’d miss cheese too much”. And I get it. Vegan cheese has a reputation and it puts a lot of people off, but veganism has come a long way in just a few years and there are so many amazing options for those wanting to reduce …

Tween Christmas Gift Guide*

Disney The Little Mermaid Kiss The Girl Pink Sweater With Sleeve Print I love this sweater, but there is no way I could pull it off. I imagine as a tween you could absolute rock this while filming Tiktoks and singing along to Ariana Grande (my knowledge of Tweens is limited as you can imagine). I love that the image …

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Win! A 50inch Smart TV!

Tis the season for giving, and you know I love an epic giveaway! This time I’m teaming up with some of my favourite bloggers to give away this huge TV – perfect for watching those Christmas classics this festive season. I’m talking Home Alone 2 – Lost in New York on the big screen. I’m thinking sobbing at Love Actually …

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AD| Magical Touches for Christmas this year

I don’t think it’s unfair to say “What. A. Year”! I think we all need a little extra festive cheer this year, and so, before I start with my gift guides, I have put together this little Etsy guide of little touches for making Christmas extra magical this year.  This post features affiliate links. Christmas Sensory Play Kit I love …

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How I set myself up for a good week – Sometimes*

This post contains a gifted product A Sunday well-spent brings a week of content, or so they say. The way I see it, the more you can plan and prepare, the less terrifying the week might be (*depending on children/sleep/current events etc) and I’ve been working to hone this routine – it’s a work-in-progress but here’s where we’re at. Meal …

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#Ad – Personalised Socks with my face on?!

I don’t know if it’s because I’m someone who never found her name written in glitter on headbands, or on keyrings in gift shops – woe is me – but I am all about personalised gifts. So when Printsfield asked if I wanted to order some personalised socks with my FACE on them, I was super excited! I didn’t know just how much I wanted to see my mug on a pair of socks, until that email landed in my inbox and now it feels like a lifelong dream!

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Looking for Resilient Flooring Design

As the fresh season approaches you no doubt will be looking for a spring in your step to match the glow of the weather. That means that your home is about to get some serious attention to create the perfect feel for your sunnier mood. That means that that carpet you have been trampling over for the last year could …

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NumNoms: Crazy Creation*

NumNoms challenged me to create a #CrazyCreation and so – I grabbed some of our niblings (Did you know that’s the plural for nieces & nephews?!) and borrowed the mother-in-law’s kitchen and with an overly-extravagant video set up (perks of having a videographer as a future husband!) we got to work. 

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Chester Roomzzz Review*

impression that hotels should be nice and fancy (& a little pretentious), with an over priced restaurant and unnecessary room service. However, after staying in two Roomzzz apart-hotels, I am actually gutted that they’re not in more cities – I love them! (They are also incredibly priced if you’re on a budget!)

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Guess Who’s Back Baby?!

Happy 2016! My Vlogmas was something of a giant failure, but I managed to film a few videos this month before Panto started, so hopefully I’ll be back in the swing of things soon! If you’d like to subscribe, please feel free to – it makes me feel all fuzzy inside!

#BEDN: Whining with Wine

Y’know those days where your brain doesn’t want to work and you can’t think of a single thing to write? That’s where I am right now, however I’m 20 days into Blog Everyday in November, so I thought I would cheat a little and post a video today instead! If you haven’t seen any of my Youtube videos, you should …

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Being Diagnosed with CFS & Fibromyalgia

Last week, I was diagnosed with CFS & Fibromyalgia (incase you didn’t get that from the title – haha!), and I figured a video was a good way of getting all those feels out. It made me realise that I have stopped posting my Youtube videos on my blog, so I really need to try and get back on that. …

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A fun way to gift money for a wedding

When we got married, we asked for money towards our American Roadtrip honeymoon and we had such generous gifts from our guests which allowed us to have the best time ever. So when our friends asked for money for their wedding gift, I was more than happy to oblige. However, there’s something about just putting some money in a card …

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Speaking Love Languages

I’m one of those people that loves to do little personality quizzes in order to find out about myself. Whether they’re the silly Buzzfeed ‘ How Compatible with Jim from The Office are you?’ (91% thank you very much) or the renowned Meyers Briggs type test (I was an INFJ but recently scored as an ENFP – who even knows?!), I just like to know. 

The one that has actually been useful to my life, is the Five Love Languages. A short and simple ‘Would you rather’ type test which tells you your ‘love languages’ at the end – basically, how you like to be shown love. 

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HomeSense Wedding Haul!

The friendly beans over at HomeSense sent me a voucher a few weeks ago to spend in their store on wedding items. That’s like all of my favourite things!

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Hubby? Fella? Bird? Bae?

Being engaged to the love of my life is pretty cool. Don’t get me wrong, this announcement is very often met with a look of disbelief – why on earth would someone want to marry you, you giant dork?! Honestly, I have no idea. 

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BEDN: Where shall we go on our Honeymoon?!

Wanderlust-inflicted travel-lovers that we are, Steven and I are already thinking about our honeymoon. We have so many ideas and (sadly) we can’t do them all, so I figured there was a blog post in there somewhere! Our first thought was Disneyland Florida, spending our days screaming on rides and watching amazing shows and taking selfless with princesses – the …

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How my optimism has failed me…

Generally, in my everyday life, I’d like to think of myself as pretty low-maintenance. When it comes to buying gifts, for example, family and friends often remark how easy it is to buy for me. I don’t want diamonds or designer clothes, a battered old book, novelty socks or craft supplies would make me much happier!
So when it came to planning for the wedding, I figured my vision of a beautiful, outside, rustic themed ceremony was pretty low-maintenance too.

How bloody wrong I was!

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Cute, but easy Bridesmaid Proposal DIY!

My mantra for this wedding is ‘I only plan on doing this once, so let’s do it right’. Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean I want to spend a whole bunch of unnecessary money on it, but I do want it to be special. So, instead of just calling my friends to ask them to be Bridesmaids, I decided to make a little keep sake for them to pop the question as it were. I looked all over Pinterest but everything seemed to cost quite a bit, and with a fair few bridesmaids, I just couldn’t afford that!
As I was going home just a few days after we had gotten engaged, and I wanted to ask them in person, this meant I had to think fast, on a very tight budget. I got a multi pack of matches, in the bigger box, for about £1. Everything else used were just bits and pieces from my over flowing craft drawers.

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WTF I’m engaged!

Holy crap balls, I am engaged. I, Codie Louise Austin, who has no matching socks or earrings, who would eat chocolate for breakfast every day, who still thinks farts are hilarious, am getting married!

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