Like most people, I love my birthday and Christmas. I especially enjoy the build up; the lights being switched on, decorating the house, getting out my Christmas cups and plates (yes, I am that person!). I don’t even mind the short days at this time of year, as it adds to the festive christmasy feel. You know Christmas is close when it gets dark at 4 in the afternoon.

However, come January I’m ready for some sunshine! Christmas is over and by this point I also need winter to be over but of course it’s not! So if my husband’s stuck for what to get me for Christmas, I can tell him now that ‘all I want for Christmas is a holiday’. Preferably a winter sun holiday, a little break for the two of us in January or February would be amazing! And with some fab deals to Tenerife or Cyprus from operators like First Choice, it doesn’t have to break the bank! I know this because I’ve literally just been on their site and found some great options.

As Lili’s now at school a sneaky week away at the beginning of the year would be a romantic get-away for my husband and I. As much as I adore our family holidays, I think it’s important to have some quality one-on-one time with my husband. It gives us a chance to regroup and enjoy each other’s company without the usual stresses of everyday life. I think it’s so important not to take your other half for granted and these special few days of ‘alone time’ is our way of making time for each other.

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As I write this I start thinking about beautiful sandy beaches, brilliant blue seas and breathtaking sunsets. And my mind is transported to a poolside bar or beachfront lounger. Really is there anything better than a relaxing few days in the sunshine?

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As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I love discovering new places, finding small villages and lesser travelled spots. Next summer I hope to take the girls out to Greece, where we can stay on one of the beautiful islands and walk amongst the iconic white and blue houses. We can also go swimming in the sea and have relaxing days on fishing boats, eating fresh salads, flat breads and yogurt dips! Okay, I’m definitely getting carried away with this visualisation but you get an insight into how much I love our holidays and how much I plan for each one. I think I might start looking into flights right now, let’s see what deals First Choice have for next summer!

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This is a contributed post but all thoughts, opinions and copy are my own. I only write about things I genuinely love and would use.

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Since my eldest daughter was born back in 2010 I’ve been obsessed by finding beautiful dresses, stylish play pieces and general cool kids clothes. On the whole I love Next and Gap for everyday play clothes and Boden and Jools Oliver’s Little Bird collection (for Mothercare) for more special occasions.

Every now and again I come across a new brand, a brand  that really makes me sit up and take notice! One of my most recent finds is Poppy England. The brand says that they ‘aim to escape the fast track world of fashion’. Their prints and clothes are designed to become heirlooms, passed down the generations. I love the thought that these dresses will be passed down to my girls’ own daughters. The design, shape and quality means that this is a very real possibility!

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Always  inspired by children’s books the Poppy dresses are so much more than ‘just another dress’. In 2006 they decided to combine the owner’s love of books and illustration with the company’s tradition of creating beautiful prints. By doing this they were able to literally tell a story with the dresses. These days a storybook comes with every Poppy dress – so you can literally read the story and live the tale, by wearing the dress!

Poppy England design their own prints and the dresses are made from 100% natural cottons and linens. For me these are definitely special occasion dresses, for a wedding, a party of maybe even Christmas Day?

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I love the sweet patterns on these dresses and the pretty lines and shape mean that they will look beautiful on every little girl, regardless of her height or shape. Each dress has been designed and in most cases made here in the UK, making it a true British brand.

However, what really drew me into Poppy England was the matching ‘mummy dresses’! In 2010 (by popular demand) Poppy launched their first womenswear collection. Now I’m not usually a fan of ‘matchy matchy’ clothes but these are so gorgeous, I’d definitely make an exception.  My girls love wearing matching clothes. I wonder at what age does it become a big fashion faux pas to be seen dressed in the same clothes?

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The dresses are not cheap but as I’ve already mentioned they are a real fashion investment and worth every penny for the craftsmanship and quality that goes into each dress. The girls’ dresses start at around £60 and the women’s dresses start at around £134.

So there you have it a new brand (to me) that I love and not just because I have a Poppy of my own!

http://www.poppyengland.com/

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20things

I recently read a post by the lovely Lucy from Mrs H’s Favourite Things, where she listed 25 things about herself. I love reading posts like this, as you really get to know the person behind the blog, the face behind the name. This inspired me to write a similar post, a list of things about me and my life so far.

So here it is, 20 things about me…

1) Welsh in my first language, I learnt English at school and from the TV. I really wish my daughters could speak Welsh too but they don’t.

2) I met my husband at a wedding in my home town (in west Wales). He was an evening guest and caught my eye as soon as he walked into the room.

3) After we met my husband and I had a long distance relationship for five years – I lived in London and he lived in Staffordshire. As you can imagine our travel costs were very high.

4) I don’t drink tea or coffee and I don’t like wine – I know! I literally live on Ribena Light. Embarrassing but true!

5) During my placement year at University I worked at Marie Claire magazine, as the promotions assistant.

6) After graduating I worked for a small events agency, who specialised in film premieres. I worked on the premieres of Ice Age, Legally Blonde, XMen, American Pie 2 and many more. There was only two of us, so it was pretty ‘full on’ but fun.

7) I love a pub quiz, yes I know I’m a geek!

8) Two months into organising our wedding I found out I was pregnant. It was a big surprise as my husband and I had been together for ten years before we got engaged. Maybe that was the magic touch? Luckily I arranged my wedding in three months so a month after finding out, we were married. This also meant that there was no need to postpone the wedding and I wasn’t ‘showing’ on the big day but it was nice to know that our little baby was (in a way) sharing the special day with us. I’ve done a post on my wedding if you want to read and see more?

9) I love Christmas, no seriously I love it. I get all excited about it at the beginning of November (basically, as soon as I see the John Lewis advert for the first time) and it keeps going all the way up until the big day.

10) My first daughter was 11 days late, they were the longest, toughest days of my life.

11) Like Lucy I’ve never smoked. I don’t like the smell so the thought of inhaling just makes me feel sick.

12) I worked at Clarins head office for over ten years. Obviously I don’t like change!

13) I don’t have a middle name, my parents didn’t see the point. If I’m honest, I feel slightly deprived by this. Suffice to say my daughters both have a middle name.

14) I’m a total TV addict but don’t and have never watched any of the British soaps. I say British because, of course I watched Home & Away and Neighbours back in the day (you know, back when they were shown on BBC and ITV).

15) I have a Business Bsc degree from Manchester – a great place to be a student!

16) I’m not a big fan of sports but I do get passionate about the Welsh rugby team and have been to see them play on many occasions.

17) I don’t drive, which is a big regret. I failed my test twice before going to university and never went back to it. Well not until now, I’m planning to start lessons again in the new year.

18) I am not a morning person and love a lie-in. Luckily my husband knows this and lets me lie-in at the weekend while he entertains the girls.

19) My main vice is chocolate, it’s a problem!  I really am a chocaholic and can eat a big bar of Green & Blacks in one sitting.

20) I collect cake stands and old serving platters. This is what started my eBay obsession – more on this coming soon!

There you have it, my life summed up in 20 statements. Tell me a bit about you!

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poppy1 Yesterday, my little Poppy turned two so I decided to take her to see the poppies. By this I mean the major art installation ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ at the Tower of London – marking the hundred years since the beginning of the First World War. I’m sure you’ve seen it on TV or heard about it on the news, basically 888,246 poppies have been created (by ceramic artist Paul Cummins and Tom Piper) and placed on the Tower’s famous moat. Each poppy represents a British soldier killed during the war.

This may seem an odd choice of location to celebrating a two year old’s birthday but it was a beautiful day and it seemed fitting due to her name. One of the reasons we decided to name her Poppy was because she was born at this time of year. I’m so glad we made the effort to go into London to see this lovely memorial. On this occasion I think London has got it right, this was something beautiful, emotional and fitting to the occasion.

Here are some pictures of our visit… poppy6 poppy8 poppy2 poppy3 poppy4

Just in case you think I was mean, Poppy did also have a Tinkerbelle themed tea party on Sunday with our close family.  My husband had to work and my eldest daughter had school on the actual day, so this was the closest we could get.

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Before you ask, no I did not make that cake. My daughters are very lucky to have a talented aunt who makes them the most amazing cakes for their birthday every year.

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Tomorrow my baby turns two, I’m going to write that again, tomorrow my baby turns two. To be honest it doesn’t matter how many times I write, say or think it, I can’t actually believe it. How can it be two years since this little star came into our lives?

Two.years.onThis pictures was taken two years ago today. It was my due date and based on past experience (with my first daughter) I thought we still had a good few days to go. Unknown to me, 24 hours later she would be out and in my arms. Poppy literally came shooting into the world like super girl and has been amazing us every day since.

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Five things Poppy has taught me over the past 2 years

1) Not all babies cry for hours on end – my eldest daughter (bless her) had colic and suffered for 4 hours a day for three months. It was a difficult time but we got through it. The first few months with Poppy was calm and much more enjoyable.

2) How it feels to have a ‘mini me’ – Poppy is my double with her big brown eyes, cheeky smile and stubborn manner. My eldest daughter is like her dad in every way. When she was a baby a few people assumed I was her nanny because we looked so different. This time there is no question! I can literally see myself in her eyes, which is an amazing feeling.

3) That sisters who have been nurtured in the same way can be completely different. My two have a different temperament, personality, attitude and skill set. I now know that you are born with your own personality, of course the environment will shape a few things but on the whole you are who you are.

4) How special the relationship between two sisters can be – I don’t have a sister but watching these two together makes me very envious of this special bond. They’ll always have each other and I hope will always be as close as they are now.

5) That the amazing, overwhelming love you have for your first child CAN be repeated and IS as strong the second time. Before I had Poppy, I couldn’t imagine I could love anyone as much as I loved Lili. And so, as prepared as I was to give birth, I was scared that I wouldn’t feel the same for my second child. It turns out that I had nothing to be worried about, the love was there straight away, in a big wave just like the first time!

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Happy Birthday to my little Star!

 

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