Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Exploring Nature with Mud and Bloom

Mud and Bloom is a business created by mum of 3 Anja who despite living in the city, is a huge gardening and nature lover. Anja came up with the wonderful concept of Mud and Bloom after previously subscribing to monthly children's craft boxes but realising that there wasn't anything nature or gardening based on the market. The box designed for 3-8 year olds which aims to encourage children to 'engage and connect with nature' in a fun and interactive way has been designed with busy mums in mind and includes everything you need to get you started, including organic, peat-free compost pellets so it's perfect for everyone, including those without a garden as the rest of your materials can simply be picked up on a walk through your local park.

This educational and fun subscription box comes through your door at the beginning of each month and contains four seasonal activities for you to engage in with your child along with instructions, nature news and a quiz. We were very kindly sent both July and August's Mud and Bloom boxes* and without a doubt, Emme has been loving them! I have to admit, I'm not the most inventive person when it comes to thinking of activities for me and Emme to do, especially outdoors; about the only thing we do when it comes to nature is collect leaves in the Autumn to paint as well as watering the plants in Summer, luckily her Dad is always in the garden with her but the Mud and Bloom boxes have not only been educational and fun for Emme, they have for me too!

I think Emme's favourite part of the boxes definitely has to be the seeds we have planted, she was giddy with excitement when I first told her we were going to plant some seeds as it was something so new and exciting for her. The first ones we had to plant were organic lettuce and radish seeds and I have to admit, when I let her put the seeds into the compost herself, I didn't expect much to come from them but it turns out you pretty much can't do it wrong and as soon as she saw her first shoots, she was excited beyond belief! Now that daddy has planted them in the garden she proudly shows them off to anyone she can and I can't wait to see her face when they have fully grown! This month we have a herb garden which excites me so much, especially the chive seeds as I love chives on my salad and it most definitely feels good to grow your own.

The summer flower vases were such a lovely task to complete together, we took the activity out into the garden on a hot day which was a great success as I allowed Emme to do the glue herself and didn't have to worry about the mess. I loved watching her concentrate and couldn't help but laugh at her concentration tongue as she glued the buttons onto the jars and it was great to see her be so independent, wanting to show me how she could be a big girl and do it all by herself, straight from the get go. The jars are now proudly displayed on her window sill in her playroom and she likes to have a couple of stems of her own flowers when I buy a new bunch, to put in her vases, which I think is adorable.

The Nature Paint Brushes were a huge hit with Emme as she sure does love her paints! She loved picking some flowers and grass on her walk to make them with and it was a great way to coax her to leave the park early to come back home for tea. She was so intrigued by the different stroke marks each brush made and couldn't wait to show her daddy her new masterpieces when he returned home from work, this was such an easy and fun activity that we'll definitely recreate.

We're loving August's box so far but with four activities to do and a wedding to plan, i'm trying to spread them out with us doing roughly one per week and so far the Butterfly petal pictures and twig picture frame have been so much fun! There's even enough resources to make another two pictures so we can recreate this one again! 

We have absolutely loved receiving our Mud and Bloom boxes, the activities have encouraged us to do so much more outside and it turns out Emme is a lot more green fingered than I realised! 

If you're intrigued but still a little unsure, you can view past boxes here and if you fancy trying a box before you subscribe, you can purchase these past boxes as a one-off (subject to availability.)

If you love the look of the boxes and fancy subscribing, you can use the code ABEAUTIFULDELIGHT For 15% off your first box (Valid until 29/09/18.) You can cancel or skip a box at any time and you can even purchase a sibling box which contains enough materials for two children!

What do you think to Mud and Bloom? Have you tried one of their boxes yet?

Love Abbie x

* this post contains gifted items, please see disclaimer

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

5 Tips to Finding the Perfect Wedding Accessories

5 tips for choosing the perfect wedding accessories

Finding the perfect wedding accessories for some, is just as important as finding your dress! The accessories you choose can completely change your entire look and therefore isn't a decision to make so easily.

I was never that girl that grew up dreaming of the day she got married, I know some do and for them this is a day they have already planned out in their head a thousand times over and so I'm sure, they know exactly what they plan to wear come the big day, dress, accessories and all, even before they have found 'the one.' For me marriage has never been all that important, although like most, I thought I would some day get married, it has never been at the top of my to-do list and has always been the last step I wanted to achieve, maybe because my parents didn't marry until I was ten and I loved that all of my siblings and myself were all there to share their big day too. It wasn't until we had our daughter Emme that I actually wanted to get married, to me, it's the final step in bringing us together as a family.

I'm the most indecisive person ever and my biggest flaw is in decision making, so choosing my dress was one of the most stressful times of my wedding planning so far! I'm talking constant flowing tears, countless hours of lost sleep and just finding it so hard to just say yes to the dress even though I absolutely knew it was the one! Luckily with an encouraging nudge from family and friends, I finally bit the bullet and chose the dress of my dreams but the task of finding my accessories, I have found just as hard, if not even harder. Although to some people they are just accessories and really they are just that, however once the day has gone, these are details you can't change and they're accessories I will cherish forever and the idea of presenting some of them to Emme on her wedding day, should she want them, means they really do need to be perfect, so I thought I would share with you a few tips that I have found that have helped me with finding my perfect bridal accessories...

1. Take inspiration from the details in your dress

The thing that gave me the most inspiration towards my accessories was the detail in my dress. Many dresses have some sort of detailing from diamantes to pearls and if they have a band or belt that comes with the dress or is built into the dress, there may be some silver or gold detailing on there too, which can really help when choosing your accessories. My dress has some pearl detailing, so this was a big help as automatically I knew that pearls would compliment my dress really well. For some, there may be quite a lot of bling on their dress so taking inspiration from this detail and choosing diamanté earrings and a bracelet could work really well. This also applies to hair accessories, especially if they are both in eyes view at the same time, the details need to compliment each other as well as your dress.

5 tips for choosing the perfect wedding accessories

2. Choose your hairstyle first

Your hairstyle can play a huge part in the earrings that you choose to wear but most importantly what hair accessories, if any, to wear. If you're wearing your hair down, some styles may not need earrings as you won't actually see your ears whereas an up-do may work better with drop earrings and depending on if you choose to wear a hair accessory and where you wear it will depend on the style of your earrings too. If you choose to have a very detailed hair accessory at the front of your head you may want to opt for simple stud earrings or none at all whereas if it's at the back, even if it is detailed, you may get away with bigger and bolder earrings as they won't both be in eye's view at the same time.

When it comes to hair accessories, there are so many you can choose from, from intricately detailed hair combs to vines that you can weave in and out of an up-do to small pins that you can dot in and out of any hairstyle for finer details. One thing I did know that I wanted was a hair accessory that was floral in some way, I'm a very girly girl and so floral, pink and pretty is kind of my thing, so with my wedding theme being rustic I knew this was the way I wanted to go in terms of my hair details. Lace and Favour are a huge online wedding accessory retailer who sell an array of brands and everything from shoes to veils, wedding hair accessories and even flower girl dresses. An opportunity recently arose to work with them and I was very kindly gifted the hair accessory of my dreams! I chose the Angelina Porcelain Flowers and Leaves Bridal Hair Comb which is so so beautiful, it ticks all the boxes, has flowers, pearls, intricate detailing and will work perfectly with the hairstyle I have chosen. This will be in the back of my hair which allows me to go for more options in terms of earrings too and this is an accessory I know I will treasure.

3. Consider your neckline

There are so many different necklines you can have on a dress from illusion to sweetheart to a v-neck and so many more, which I find can really play an important part as to whether or not you wear a necklace or whether not to have one at all. I personally think that a high neckline or an illusion neckline doesn't need a necklace and therefore opting for some drop earrings may work better along with a bracelet. Some dresses also have a deep v at the back which can work really well with a long necklace turned the other way and draping down the back to draw attention to this detail of the dress. For a strapless dress or deep v neck dress, a larger and more detailed necklace could be worn as you have much more room to allow for more going on. My neckline is high and therefore I have opted not to wear a necklace at all.

4. Don't clash your colours

With champagnes, blush pinks and nude colour wedding dresses becoming the latest trend, traditional white and ivory dresses aren't the only colours you may see a bride in and if you too are a little more daring to go outside of the usual wedding traditions and choose a different colour dress, I think this plays a huge part in choosing your accessories. White and ivory simply go with almost any accessories but if you had a coloured dress like rose gold, this may not go as well with yellow gold jewellery as it could clash. I think silver jewellery compliments a blush pink dress really well along with pearls whereas I think a champagne dress would be go well with diamantes and nude dresses would go well with gold jewellery. I don't want to give away too much about my dress but I'm most definitely not a traditional bride.

5. Don't forget the length of your dress

The length of your dress can really help in deciding what shoes to purchase for your big day. If your dress is really long you could choose to focus your budget elsewhere as you might not see them at all,  a long dress could also mean you can afford to wear higher heels whereas if you have a knee length dress you may want to opt for more detailed shoes and really make them a focal point. My dress is long and I've paid for extra length as I'm tall however my fiancé is the exact same height as me so I'm opting for flats and because my dress is long and you won't be able to see my shoes, I've opted to go for simple sandals which allows me to use the budget I would have spent on them on my jewellery instead.

Did you find it hard to choose your wedding accessories?

Love Abbie x

* this post contains gifted items, please see disclaimer

Thursday, 26 April 2018

A Rustic Wedding On a Budget

All images via Pinterest

Pinterest is my go to platform for everything from parties to decor and everything in-between, I can often lose myself in it and spend hours pinning away until the early hours when Dan makes me turn it off and head upstairs for some sleep before our little one has me up during the early hours. So I thought I would put all of my hours pinning away to good use and share with you lovely lot, the inspiration and ideas behind our wedding day! I love to see other people's mood boards and ideas so I thought why not share mine too!

With only giving ourselves eight months to plan and prepare for our wedding (we're already half way there!!) I knew that our wedding would have to be on a budget and I'm actually quite liking the challenge as it allows me to use my best side, my creativity, meaning there are lots of D.I.Y projects well under way and many in the pipeline too! 

We've decided to go for a rustic theme with blush pink and hessian but we have already deviated from the plan a little. When attending our wedding decor appointment, the lady who is decorating our venue on the big day suggested going for a blush pink linen for the chair sashes and table runners as it still gives the effect of hessian but goes well with my colours and the linen sits better on the chairs than the hessian does so we decided to opt for that and I cannot wait to see how it turns out! We also have gone for soft tones of pink rather than just blush pink because bridesmaid dresses aren't easy to find on a budget and it's hard to match up all of the colour pinks when everybody's shade of blush pink is different. I'm hoping to add touches of greenery in there too because Pinterest has had me swooning over it!

We're not having a very traditional wedding, without even trying we have scrapped so many traditions with one of them being that we've decided to skip the wedding breakfast (the three course meal you have after your ceremony) because eating in front of others is something that makes me very uncomfortable and therefore if we had one it would only be for the sake of others so with Dan being happy to skip the extra cost, we decided not to bother. We are of course feeding our guests but with us not getting married until the afternoon, we're having canapes followed by an evening buffet. For that reason we don't expect people to be sat down for as long as they would be if they were to have a sit down meal and so we wanted to keep the centrepieces for our table quite simple.  

Gypsophila has always been a big favourite of mine, it's simple yet beautiful and this makes up the basis for all of the flowers at our wedding. We're opting for a simple vase of gypsophila on a log centrepiece with a tea light and one other item that we are yet to agree on. It's a really simple and inexpensive centrepiece and I'm hoping it will be enough and not look too bare!

I love the idea of confetti cones and at our venue the confetti has to be biodegradable, which I think is quite standard now. I had found a lovely company called The Confetti Cone Company who sells the biodegradable confetti and cones but my mum has already started drying rose petals and saving them for me each week which I think is such a lovely idea so I'm going to use the excuse to buy myself roses every week and start saving mine too.

I love the use of chalkboards, I think they really add to the rustic theme, we're hiring chalk boards from the lady who is decorating our venue but I am very tempted to create one of my own from the Ikea Mala Easel like they have here. We plan to have one at the welcome entrance, one next to our polaroid station and maybe a few extras for things such as our photo booth prop and cake table.

We have hired a set of three crates to make a crate display similar to the one in the photo above, this will be in the welcome entrance and I still need to get them items to go in the crates but I think they will fit it really well with out theme. I do have a wooden Mr & Mrs bunting sign that I bought in my Ginger Ray Wedding Haul which I think may look quite cute hanging from this along with some flowers and we also have the lantern in the photo so I might add that too.

One of the new items our wedding decorator has is a wooden floral arch which we keep umming and ahhing over having. It's an extra cost that isn't exactly necessary but if you can't go all out on your wedding day, when can you? If we do go for it, we plan to have it at the end of the isle during our ceremony and then I thought we could maybe move it to the conservatory and add a floral backdrop such as the Ginger Ray White Floral Back Drop which will then look a little similar to the above photo and can then be used with the photo booth props and polaroid frame that I showed you in my Ginger Ray Haul which should make for some cute photos all round.

The photo booth table is one of the features I am most excited for and really hope goes to plan. I had an Instax Mini 9 Camera for my birthday which we plan to use for this and have a few possible ideas. We had seen an idea on Pinterest for a Photo Booth guest book in which everyone takes a photo and clips it up on a frame instead of a guestbook, we had also seen an idea in which people took a photo and added it into the guestbook along with their writing and the final idea was the one above in which people drop their photo in the bowl which I think is most likely to go to plan more than the others haha so we have a few to choose from, maybe we'll do all three!

So as you can see Pinterest has been such a big source of inspiration for our wedding, most of these ideas are just that, ideas and aren't set in stone so there's still time for them to change yet but overall I'm so happy with out theme and ideas and I cannot wait to see it all come to light on the big day!

Aere you planning your wedding? what theme have you gone for?

Love Abbie x

Thursday, 19 April 2018

The Lipstick Palette You Need | Urban Decay Vice Metal & Matte Lipstick Palette

I haven't owned a lipstick palette since I was about 8 years old, so as soon as I saw the Urban Decay Vice Lipstick Palette, it was like an instant nostalgic feeling hit me and I knew that I had to have it, so when Dan's mum offered to buy it me for Christmas on a shopping trip back in December, I was pretty excited to say the least!

First let's talk about the packaging, this strikingly beautiful purple metallic case embossed with the Urban Decay branding is sure to attract attention when pulling it out of your bag and it's the perfect size to keep in your handbag, for those after work dinner and drinks or for taking on holiday because why would you only take 3 lipsticks when you can take one compact with twelve colours?! I know, it's a no-brainer right?! The lipsticks are also protected by an inner lid featuring the phrase 'lipstick is my vice' which could not be truer and you simply flip this over before and after use to protect the wells and it even has a retractable lip brush for ease of application, which I would usually just swap up for my own choice when these come with palettes however this one I actually do use and love!

The lip brush has gorgeously soft bristles that don't harden like some lip brushes do, yet are stiff enough to allow for precise application. It's easy to keep this brush clean and the retractable mechanism means it takes up much less space allowing it to fit in the bottom of the palette perfectly. The 'stair-step' wells that contain each lipstick colour allows you to wipe off any excess product, perfect to ensure that you don't waste any of your favourite colours and it also stops the colours from being mixed. The lid also encases a very handy sized mirror, perfect for touch-ups on the go and unlike some cases, the lid actually stays upright so you can balance your case on the table rather than needing to keep it in your hand and multi-tasking.

Top Row (L-R) Banger, Amulet, Fast Talk, Big Bang, Mad, Spark
Bottom Row (L-R) CSB, Tame, Backtalk, Double Team, Shallow, 714

Featuring twelve shades altogether, six metallized and six matte, with six of them being new, this palette has a lot to offer. The shades range from gorgeous neutrals to more daring brights, making it suitable for all skin tones and making it easy to go from office to date night in just one easy step, simply apply the metallized pairing on top and voila, you have yourself a glam lip, ready to go! The shade range for me was pretty exciting because it meant that I had every day colours to wear but also colours that I could experiment with and create makeup looks that I wouldn't usually wear day to day but that would be fun to create and photograph. I would say that Backtalk which is a matte nude-pink is most definitely my most worn colour so far thanks to it's versatility, followed by Tame, which is very similar but a little less pink, both are perfect for all occasions, whilst Banger and Fast talk made regular appearances over the festive period.

What I really love about the Urban Decay Vice palette is that the formula is the exact same formula as the vice lipsticks which gives a rich, creamy consistency that doesn't dry out the lips and the pigmentation is amazing meaning less application time, less touch ups and overall using far less product so you do get plenty for your money with this palette. The staying power of these lipsticks isn't quite as long as I would like, like quite a lot of lipsticks, they're good until you have food and drink and then they seem to disappear but I do find that to be quite standard for most lipsticks on my lips unless they have a very dry matte liquid formula and with how handy this palette is for travelling and touch ups I don't mind at all!

At £31.50 it is most definitely a splurge but if you think you get 12 shades making them just over £2.50 per colour, it's actually quite a bargain! Sure, you don't get a full sized lipstick but who actually ever gets to the bottom of a lipstick? I don't think I ever have! I love lipsticks too much to use just one colour so for me, it's most definitely the way forward!

Have you tried the Urban Decay Vice Lipstick Palette yet?

Love Abbie x

Thursday, 5 April 2018

My Top 5 Bridal Flats Under £150

Being 5ft 10 and having a fiancé the exact same height, what are the chances eh?! means that heels for the wedding are an absolute no from me! However finding a nice pair of bridal flats has been one of my hardest decisions and my decision is still not made! I figured that I won't be the only bride looking for no heels for the big day so I thought I would share my top 5 favourites incase you're on the hunt too!

If you're after something a little more luxurious for your wedding day, these Charlotte Mills Anabel ballet flats would be perfect! With Charlotte's signature silver sixpence in the left of every pair and the phrase 'something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a silver sixpence her shoe' embossed into the sole, these are definitely something a little more special!

The Brielee pointed flats from Dune are just such a beautiful, classic bridal shoe and has to be one of my favourite, with them possibly being the highest contender so far! I absolutely love the beaded brooch which will tie in perfectly with my dress and accessories and the padded insoles sound heavenly! The only reason I haven't ordered these yet is because they don't have them in stock in my area for me to try them on and they only have one of the two possible sizes I could be in stock online,  fingers crossed they're back in stock soon.

I just love that Dune have given us tall ladies more than one option when it comes to bridal shoes and their bridal collection is just beautiful! These flower garden trim flat sandals are perfect for summer weddings and with ours at the beginning of September, I could definitely see myself opting for these. Again these have latex and memory foam sock linings, how comfortable does that sound? and they would definitely add to the specialness of your big day.

With beautiful floral appliqué detailing, these pointed flat pumps will make the perfect addition to your wedding attire. They have such a classic look that will be sure to go with any dress and at just £55 are perfect for budget weddings.

Last minute wedding? On a budget? or would you simply rather spend your money on your dress? because let's face it, nobody's going to be looking at your feet! Then these shoes are perfect! At just £32 they're not only a fantastic price but they are beautiful too! 

Are you opting for flats for your wedding? Please do let me know if you found the perfect ones, I am still open to options! If not, I hope this gave you some inspiration!

Love Abbie x

Monday, 19 March 2018

Ginger Ray Wedding Haul

Ginger Ray Wedding Accessories with flowers

I like to think of myself as quite a creative person, I love making things, I love diy projects and I knew straight away that although I would want a professional to decorate our wedding venue for the most part, I also knew that I would want to pick up some selective pieces for the wedding as well as creating some pieces of our own. With the main decor booked, I decided to purchase the first few items that I'd had my eye on for a while from Ginger Ray and I thought I would share them with you all incase you're in need of a little Inspo or you just fancy a nosy, either way, let's get started...

Ginger Ray Wooden Guest Book with flowers

As soon as I saw this gorgeous wooden guest book, I knew I had to have it! With our wedding having a rustic theme, I knew it would fit in perfectly and the rose gold detailing is just so beautiful! I found a cute little idea on Pinterest where you have a table with a polaroid camera for people to take photos of themselves for the guestbook, were having a frame for people to clip their photos onto, so I think I'll place this on the same table and then it can either be used for people to write in or pop extra photos in.

Ginger Ray Giant Polaroid Sign with flowers

Ginger Ray Photo Booth Props with flowers

Best Day Ever Photo Booth sign £12.99 & Photo Booth Props £7.50

I absolutely love this polaroid style photo booth sign, I think it makes a great cheap alternative to the actual photo booths you can hire and gives your guests something fun to do. Our venue has a little conservatory that leads out to a little outside patio so I think I'll pop this in the conservatory for people to entertain them whist they're on their way out for some fresh air and the lighting will probably be best there for it too.

We picked up these photo booth props to go with the polaroid frame as we thought this would add a little fun for our guests and I'm sure they will make for some amazing photos, especially when everyone has a few alcoholic drinks down them.

Ginger Ray MR & MRS Wooden Bunting

We have a few crates that will be next to the welcome sign when people first walk into our venue, I plan to have a few vases of flowers on there and then I thought this bunting would look lovely on there too, I haven't yet got it out of the packaging though for fear of damaging it so I'm not sure how big it is but if it's too big I'm sure I'll find a place for it.

Ginger Ray Wooden Mr & MRs Wooden Cake Topper with flowers

Going with the rustic theme, I originally bought this cake topper to go on a naked cake, I'm sure you know what one is but if you don't....Pinterest! Though I have now fallen in love with another cake that I'm not sure this will go with, so maybe I'll just have two cakes so I can use it anyway? I mean I'm sure we'll need two to feed everyone right?!

Ginger Ray Hanging Glass Tealight Candle Holders with flowers

Ginger Ray Hanging Glass Tealight Candle Holders with flowers

 I wanted some cute tealight holders to go on my centrepiece and when I saw these ones for only £4.99 for four, I couldn't resist them so I ordered a few packs so I have enough for each table plus a few extras. I love that they have wire handles on them which would be perfect for an outdoor wedding hung from trees and that's exactly what I plan to do with them after the wedding. The handles are easy to take off for use on a table and I think the heart embossed sides make the sweetest touch.

I still have my eye on a few things from the Ginger Ray website such as the White Floral Backdrop and the Large White Confetti Balloons which I think will make for some amazing photographs. What do you think to the Ginger Ray Wedding accessories and decorations? Have you ever ordered any from them?

Love Abbie x

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

The Childhood Tag

My lovely friend Megan from Seekmyscribbles.com recently tagged me in The Childhood Tag which was created with Mulberry Bush and I thought this tag was a fab one to take part in, you can see megs post here, so let's begin mine...

1. What were you not expecting or not prepared for before becoming a parent?

Like many other first time parents I expected Emme to fit into our lives and not the other way around, I was not prepared for a very unhappy baby, thanks to colic and reflux, she most definitely called the shots!

2. What is your main advice for new parents?

Enjoy the baby days and don't wish them away, looking back I feel like I was always waiting for the next milestone to arrive instead of enjoying the one we were in, now I wish I would have just enjoyed my baby being a baby but I think we all do it and if we have another, I’ll probably still do the same.

3. How do you encourage family time?

Family time to me is so important, having that quality time together is what keeps us strong as a family and making time for that as often as we can is important. We try to do this by eating our evening meal at the table together so that we have no distractions and can just enjoy our meal together and catch up on our days. We also read books all together before Emme's bedtime when Dan is home for bedtime and we try going for a walk most days, even if it's only a 15 minute walk to the pond to see the ducks around the corner from our house and back again, it's still time spent together catching up and can make all the difference to our day.

4. How do you balance being a blogger with parental duties?

I don't think this is a question I really qualify to answer as I have really struggled to blog on a regular basis since I had Emme. Even though I am a stay-at-home mum, I find that blogging requires a lot of time online, not only typing up posts but promoting them and staying connected on social media, so I try to type up blogposts when Emme goes to bed or on the rare occasion that she naps and then I'll interact on social media and promote blogposts either in the evening or while she I’m encouraging her to play alone, though she is usually still at the table next to me with something like play dough or painting.

5. What was your favourite toy growing up?

I had to ask my Mum about this one as I honestly could not pinpoint a toy that I remember loving and my mum said as a child that I wasn't too interested in my toys and was far more interested in clothes, I remember reading a lot too and I loved designing, mainly clothes but I was never that child that went to sleep with my favourite toy tucked under my arm. I did have a Barbie house and Barbie dolls which I would say was probably my favourite but I used to set up their house, cut them clothes out of my old clothes, style them and their house and then move onto the next thing.

6. Have you kept any toys from your childhood?

One toy I do still have from my childhood is a Playskool Ladybird doll with a matching baby carrier, it's at my parents house and Emme absolutely adores it, its so lovely seeing her enjoy a doll that I enjoyed as a child and has been enjoyed by generations of our family already.

7. What are your child's favourite toys?

Emme is currently into her imaginative play at the moment so her favourite toys are her doctors set, dressing up outfits, cooker, dolls house, farm and figurines. Is that too many to choose? She just loves imaginative play and my favourite thing to do is pretend to be busy in the next room and then watch her play from afar because she has the sweetest imagination and I could genuinely listen to her play all day long.

8. Do you actively limit the amount of screen time your kid has?

This is something I wouldn't usually talk about, with so many people having such diverse opinions on the topic. I get such guilt about screen time, even when Emme has been to Ballet, on a long walk and has played all day, if she then has screen time, I feel guilty when she does. However I have found that Emme learns a lot from what screen time she does have so as long as she has had a lot of activity and exercise I'm happy for her to have a little screen time and sometimes I don't see the harm, we want to just chill out and watch tv sometimes, so it's understandable that they do too.

9. How do you reduce plastic waste in your home? - Reusable bottles, buying wooden toys, avoiding excessive food packaging, etc?

We do try our best to reduce plastic waste in our home, we recycle where possible, I also have reusable water bottles and coffee cups and I love wooden toys so if I can get Emme a wooden version of something rather than a cheap looking plastic version, I will always try to go for the wooden one.

10. What advice would you give parents that want to start blogging?

Just got for it! Do your research, choose your platform and go for it, the worst that can happen is you realise that it's not for you and that's ok, you have nothing to lose! For me, it's the one thing I can be creative with, put my mind to and be proud of, it’s something just for me and sometimes as a parent I think it's good to have something like that and maybe it could be that for you too!

Mulberry Bush created this tag and Megan tagged me, so I tag Simone from marriedtoageek.co.uk but please do join in if you would like to also!

Love Abbie x

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Aurelia | Toddler Bedtime routine with Little Aurelia Sleep Time Discovery Collection

Little Aurelia Sleep Time Discovery Collection Samples

I first fell in love with the brand Aurelia when I discovered their award winning miracle cleanser in a Latest In Beauty box last year, not only is their packaging luxurious, the kind you want to display on your bathroom shelf but they are also 'one of the first to innovate probiotics into skincare' which immediately intrigued me, especially with how beneficial probiotics prove to be internally, I wanted to discover how well they could work externally too.

So of course when I discovered that Aurelia had recently launched a skincare range called Little Aurelia for little ones too, I knew we had to try them! Luckily I managed to sign up for their introductory offer and received the sweetest set of very generous samples for just £5 which included samples of the Sleep Time Top To Toe Wash, Sleep Time Top To Toe Cream, Comfort and Calm Rescue Cream and my personal favourite Sleep Time Bath and Massage Oil, all beautifully presented in a velvet grey bag.

One thing I've realised since becoming a parent is that babies and toddlers go through phases all of the time, their habits change and what works for them will always change too, what works for them one week may not necessarily work for them the following week but Emme has never been a great sleeper no matter what we have tried and we have tried it all, or so it seems. It's not often that Emme will go down to sleep without a fight, she often has very restless nights and she varies with her wake up times but I don't think it's a fluke that since using our Little Aurelia Sleep Time Discovery Collection that we all seem to have been getting much more sleep around here. Although she has still had to be coaxed into going to sleep, overall our nights have been so much better since we introduced the products into her bedtime routine, something that had fallen by the wayside after a couple of stressful months and incorporating the collection into our routine couldn't have been simpler.

Little Aurelia Sleep Time Discovery Collection samples with bag

Our current bedtime routine with Little Aurelia...

After tea we head upstairs and run a bath, Emme gets so excited about bath time that she throws all her toys into the bath and has a mad five minutes running around whilst I gather her pyjamas, put her towel on the radiator and attempt to create a calming atmosphere ready to start winding her down for bed. We start by adding a couple of drops of the Sleep Time Bath and Massage Oil into Emme's bath, swirl it around gently to allow the oils to disperse evenly and get Emme undressed ready to get into the bath. Once she's in the bath, we play for a while, sing some nursery rhymes and then I wash her hair and body with the Sleep Time Top to Toe Wash, which she loves to help with, so I'm glad to see the full sized products have a pump on top. Once I'm soaked from all the splashing, I wrap her in a warm towel and take her into her bedroom, gently massaging her skin once dry with either the Sleep Time Bath and Massage Oil or the Sleep Time Top to Toe Cream which I alternate each night, applying the Comfort and Calm Rescue Cream to any dry areas. We then get her into some cozy pyjamas and dry her hair before retreating to her bedroom ready for the night, Dan will then bring her up a fresh drink if he's home, Emme has always woken for drinks during the night, along with her dummy and will read books to us whist we cuddle in bed, then it's lights off and cuddles in bed with mummy until she finally gives into sleep.

Little Aurelia Top-to-toe wash and cream

The Sleep Time Top to Toe Wash is a luxurious body wash which is sulphate-free and is great for both hair and body, it lathers really well and Emme is at that age now where she likes to put her own body wash on which means I have to ration it before she empties the entire contents onto herself. It smells amazing and is super gentle on the skin, Emme has always reacted to mainstream bath products so its lovely to find a product that I don't have to worry about bathing her in.

I absolutely love the Sleep Time Top To Toe Cream, from it's calming fragrance to it's nourishing ingredients, this lavender infused cream is most definitely a bedtime staple here. The cream glides onto skin with ease, helping to soften the skin, leaving you feeling relaxed and ready for bed.

Little Aurelia Comfort and Calm Rescue cream and Sleep Time Bath and Massage Oil

The comfort and calm rescue cream is a miracle multi purpose balm, its one of those products that you need one of in every room and every bag because it comes in handy for so many things from cradle cap to bruises and itchy skin, its one for all of the family. The Cream is quite thick so it works great as a barrier cream for sore bottoms and has definitely become a staple in my bag, Emme calls it magic cream because we pull it out for the 'paw paws'.

I would have to say The Sleep Time Bath and Massage oil has to be my favourite of them all, it smells absolutely incredible and a few drops added to your baby bath is sure to calm them instantaneously. I also love to use this to give Emme a massage before bed to relax her and she absolutely loves her massage time, this is something I definitely like to include in her bedtime routine if she has been particularly restless or poorly because anything that helps to increase my chances of some sleep when the odds aren't particularly in my favour, is a winner to me.

Aurelia have a handy guide to baby massage which is amazing if you're unsure where to start, you can find it here if you're interested.

Once Emme has finally gone off to sleep, she has seemed so much more settled since we have incorporated the Little Aurelia Collection into her bedtime routine, she hasn't been restless like she usually is and she only wakes up for toilet trips but goes straight back off to sleep with the icing on the cake being later wake up times! Hooray! I think the introduction of the Little Aurelia skincare collection has definitely been the most beneficial factor in our current bedtime routine.

If you haven't tried the Little Aurelia Sleep Time Discovery Collection yet and you have a baby or young child, or heck even if you want it for yourself, I've been happily using them too, then I would definitely recommend you trying them out. Not only do they smell incredible but they are so kind and gentle on skin too, a win for everyone!

What does your bedtime routine look like?

Love Abbie x

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