2017 – The year of Ultra Violet

Wow, I can’t believe I’m writing my 2017 review post, already. Where has this year gone? How is Violet nearly a year old? Time has flown by, even more so since having Violet, it seems once you have a baby your life goes in double time. It’s just crazy, but this year has been amazing. Maybe one of the best of my life, it’s certainly been life changing and different to say the least! I’m not sure I remember life without having a baby, what did I do with all that sleep, all that spare time? So, I really wanted to write my annual review so I can capture the memories before they start to fade – it seems my memory doesn’t seem to be as good since having a baby either!

If you fancy a quick jaunt back in time, here are my posts from 2015 (where we bought a house and travelled a LOT!) & 2014 (a year of new beginnings). It seems in 2016 I was too fat and pregnant to remember to write my post. Oops.

JANUARY

In January this year I was 8 months pregnant, so with only a few weeks left of pregnancy I was feeling gigantic, waddling about and as soon as my maternity leave started, I started nesting like a crazy thing too. The freedom of maternity leave was a pretty exciting prospect, I kicked off the first week with coffee with friends, scrapbooking and even a massage at The Grand hotel in Brighton. Shame the rest of maternity leave hasn’t been so luxurious!

We also had our baby shower, which was so lovely. Surrounded by my very favourite people, we drunk tea and ate cake, whilst playing silly games whilst excitedly talking about our new arrival.

FEBRUARY

February was spent getting ready for ‘Baby Peaches’ arrival, putting up the Snuzpod, washing baby clothes, hypnobirthing lessons, NCT classes and such until, on the 24th February….

Violet was born at 02:54, weighing a dainty 6lb 2oz! You can read our full birth story here (things didn’t really go to plan, but do they ever?). From this moment our lives turned upside down and we were parents. We were in hospital for a week with Violet as she had jaundice which was a tiring and difficult time, it’s so horrible watching such a tiny, helpless baby so poorly.

Luckily, she recovered well and we were able to finally go home, taking us into…

MARCH

After the flurry of visitors following Violet’s birth, March looked a lot like this – lots of sitting on the sofa with our new baby, watching box sets as she endlessly cluster fed and fed (and FED). I thought I may never leave the house again. We did however get into town to get Violet registered and celebrated with Afternoon Tea at the Harbour Hotel, which was lovely but our first jaunt into town with a baby was rather daunting, I remember she wouldn’t stop crying and we practically ran through the streets in a panic to find somewhere to sit down and feed her. Thank goodness we are calmer now, those new parent nerves were severe, but we soon relaxed into it all!

APRIL

In April, we had our first family photoshoot, which I’m so glad we did as the photos are beautiful! I started to gain a bit more confidence as a new Mum, taking trips out for coffee with friends on the bus and into Brighton and feeling a bit more like ‘me’ again!

MAY

In May, well and truly on our feet as parents, we did lots of lovely things. We took Violet for her first ever visit to London, we spent the day at the Tower of London and finished with Mexican food at Wahaca, we even made a little video of the day which you can watch here (Violet looks SO small).

I had an amazing Afternoon Tea at The Salt Room with my good friend Andrea and well needed glass of champagne!

We also started Water babies lessons, which we still do now and is one of Violet’s very favourite activities. It’s the highlight of our week, although it took her a while to get used to the water when she was this small!

JUNE

June was a quiet month, Violet practiced her rolling skills at home doing lots of tummy time and eventually mastered rolling from her front to back! For ages she couldn’t roll the other way and would get so frustrated. During this month she also started to ‘chatter’ to herself in a mirror and would spend ages just sitting looking at herself, babbling away. At the very end of the month, Violet tried her first solids, starting with some baby porridge.

JULY

In July, Violet went on her very first holiday! We went to France to visit some of my relatives that live near Bordeaux. It was a lovely trip, but looking back it was a bit too hot for Violet and it was pretty stressful travelling with a baby so young as we drove over 7 hours (broken up into sections) but we did it!

AUGUST

August was a month of fun family days out, we visited the farm, went for Afternoon Tea at Patisserie Valerie and we went to the circus, which I thought Violet would be a bit small for but she LOVED it. Violet also started her weaning journey properly, although the below pictures are not a great example of that!

SEPTEMBER

September was all about the blog events! I went to quite a few, my favourites being the Jo Malone event to celebrate their new English Oak Fragrance and heading up to London with some of my favourite girls to the Ecover Fragrance launch – this photo of Lauren and I sniffing the fabric softener just never stops amusing me!

V also turned 40, so we had a lovely Spa day at the Brighton Harbour Hotel followed by Afternoon Tea at Terre a Terre, which has got to be my favourite restaurant in Brighton!

OCTOBER

Christmas festivities begin early this year with an amazing Secret Santa present of a Kenwood K-Mix! I can’t actually bake so I challenged myself to learn to bake and get busy in the kitchen, actually surprising myself as my first chocolate cake was not that bad, if I do say so myself! So my new years resolution in 2018 is to continue teaching myself to bake and try and to try few more complicated recipes!

Violet and I worked on a really awesome campaign with American Express (which you can see in full here & here). We headed out into town with a photographer (the amazing Kitty Wheeler Shaw, who did our family shoot) and celebrated all things small business in Brighton. It was one of my favourite blog projects so far and I got some lovely photos of us to keep too.

We also had a lovely family day at The SeaLife Centre and Violet LOVED all of the colours, fish and sea creatures!

NOVEMBER

November was a mixed month – usually my favourite of the year as it’s my birthday, but sadly this year my Nan passed away on the day of my 32nd birthday. She was 97 so had an amazing, long, happy life but that doesn’t seem to make it any easier. We still tried to get on with my birthday as I know my Nan would have wanted that, but it didn’t quite feel the same and was a really sad time.

To take our minds from things, we had a weekend away in Odiham which was nice to have a break away from it all and a family day out at Drusillas too.

DECEMBER

December has of course been ALL about Violet’s first Christmas. We put the tree up (which she is fascinated by!) and decorations all round the house. This is the first year in 4 years we’ve gone all out on the decorations so we really went to town for Violet. The weather has been cold and miserable, so we’ve spent lots of days in watching Christmas movies and hibernating.

Violet’s first Christmas was such a lovely day – just a great day of quality time at home with family, lots of food and a LOT of presents (for Violet, not for us!). She was very spoiled by all our close friends and family, lucky girl.

So, that was our year! If you’ve written a post like this, please do leave your link as I’d love to read it, plus you can link up your post over on Lauren’s blog too:

Scrapbook Blog

HAPPY NEW YEAR – BEST WISHES FOR 2018 😘

 

Family Weekend Away in Hampshire Part 2

Welcome back to our little mini-adventure away in Hampshire! You may have read Part 1 (if not, read that first!) we arrived at our little B&B – The Red Lion in Odiham, had a lovely dinner and spent our first night, so this post is all about the next day….

It was a grey and drizzly day so we decided after breakfast head to Little Play Town which is a couple of doors down. I thought this would be like soft-play but it wasn’t, it was actually such a lovely idea – it is a complete mini town for children. It had different sections like a market, shops, construction site, beauty salon, vets and more. In each section children can role play and dress up. Violet was a bit little for it all really as it was aimed at walking babies and onwards but we still went along. She did enjoy exploring all the sections and watching older children playing, she learns so much from older children so I’m sure she was taking it all in. I wish we had something like this in Brighton, it was SO sweet and perfect for helping little ones learn too. Violet would love to go again when she’s a bit older!

After that we had a little explore around the quaint village of Odiham. It was a bit rainy, so we didn’t go far but we got a good feel for the place, I loved the cute shops and tearooms! We went for a spot of lunch at the French Creperie, which had an awesome undercover garden area, so we got to sit outside whilst keeping warm!

I think the theme of this little break away was relaxing and eating as we headed back to our room for a rest before dinner time. Violet chilled out and played with the toys that were provided so we could have a bit of a doze – perfect!

For our dinner on the second night, we headed out to the Duke of Cambridge in Tilford, this took us around 15-20 minutes in the car and is a sister pub to the Red Lion.

The Duke of Cambridge is a gorgeous country pub, the perfect place for sitting in the sunshine in the summer or a cosy evening by the fireplace in the winter. We were shown to our table which had lots of space for the pushchair (which we brought along this time, after Violet’s meltdown the night before!).

For starters, we both went for the Halloumi fries – and no, I don’t mean we shared this dish, we ordered ONE EACH. Whoops, that was a lot of cheese for a starter, but worth it as they were delicious. 

Next up the main courses, I went for a special of the day – the Fishcake, which was presented impeccably and tasted amazing, the green beans were so fresh and cooked to perfection. V went for the Vegetarian Wellington  (are you noticing a pattern here, she loves a Wellington!) – this was a good variation on the one from the previous night, with the lightest, fluffiest pastry that gave me proper food envy.

Onto the best part of the meal…. thank goodness this time Violet kept her cool and let us have pudding as we wouldn’t have wanted to miss out on these….

We went for the warm Chocolate Brownie with Salted Caramel and the Earl Grey Eaton Mess – which we just popped in the middle to share – yum!

After our giant dinner – honestly, I was STUFFED, we headed back (rolled) to our B&B room to snuggle up for the night. Thankfully, we had a much more restful night. Violet was a bit more sure of her surroundings and didn’t seem so unsettled, so we slept SO much better. The bed was so comfy too!

As this trip is all about eating, it wouldn’t be right to leave it without one more food snap. Needless to say the breakfast on our last morning was also amazing.

All in all, going away to Hampshire was a real treat. It wasn’t the relaxing mini-break we had before Violet came along, but we made the most of it – to be honest, just having all our food made for us with no washing up is a mini-break in itself! We had a lovely time with memories I’ll never forget.

** If you fancy a stay at The Red Lion Odiham (I recommend it!) then you can get a complimentary bottle of wine to your room with this code: Fizzypeacheswine (see T&C’s below) **

Travel: Snippets of Paris (+ Vlog!)

So this week we FINALLY went back to Paris and I couldn’t be more excited than to tell you all about it. After our disaster trip last year for my 30th birthday – this year, on my 31st we decided to head back to Paris for a second go, to do everything we missed out on the first time!

As we only had 3 days I decided I didn’t want to stress about getting the perfect blog photos or Instagram shots –  and we just relaxed and enjoyed ourselves. It was a bit drizzly and my hair was frizzy but I was ok with that. I was just pleased to be there! I also found walking around a huge city with a giant pregnancy bump pretty hard, on a couple of the days where we walked a lot I had a lot of Braxton Hicks – I’m sure the local’s were wondering what I was doing as I was leaning on walls and lamp posts in the street to try and get them to go away, my pregnant body wasn’t a fan of Paris, sadly. But, I was determined not to let this get in the way!

So, of course even though I said I wasn’t going to blog – in an amazing city like Paris I still had my camera to hand and have taken a few shots and video clips of our weekend in Paris, which I’ve cobbled into a low-key post and vlog…. I can’t help myself.

Sightseeing: We spent a busy day seeing the main sights of Paris. Of course, we had to visit the Louvre Museum, although it was so huge I feel I have only just scratched the surface! I saw the highlights though, such as the Mona Lisa and the Venus De Milo, plus I loved the Egyptian section too. One day I need to spend a whole day there and see everything from top to bottom.

One of the things I’ve always wanted to do is take a trip up the Eiffel Tower! Even though Vee is scared of heights she said she’d come with me, although I had to do the top bit on my own and leave her on the second level. It was amazing and so worthwhile, you can see for miles from the top! It was a bit of a cloudy day but it didn’t spoil the views at all, it was a dream come true to finally all the way to top!

Food:  One of my favourite things about France is the amazing food – mainly, all the sweet treats! On our first day we went for afternoon tea at my very favourite tearoom, Angelina. I ordered exactly the same as last year (and quite possibly my favourite combination in the world) – Tarte Au Citron with the famous rich Angelina Hot Chocolate. I then made it my mission to find the best Tarte Au Citron in Paris, and ate quite a few over the 3 days. Nothing beats Angelina though!

Going Out: On our last night we got all dressed up for a night at the Moulin Rouge. Even though I love being pregnant and having a bump, I haven’t felt glamorous or stylish at all in months. I find maternity clothes so frumpy! So, I when when Tiffany Rose got in touch and sent me their beautiful Willow Gown in Eclipse Blue to wear for my birthday celebration I couldn’t have been more excited. I spent ages on my hair and makeup and honestly felt like a million dollars for the first time so long. It’s the most flattering dress I’ve ever worn, plus it was super comfortable too.

Our evening at the Moulin Rouge was fabulous! The show wasn’t quite what I was expecting, I was picturing burlesque, but I’d say it’s more of a cabaret, crossed with Cirque du Soleil – but it was crazy, colourful and fun nonetheless and a real experience. The only slight dampener of the evening was that they used live animals in the show (who didn’t look very happy to be there) – this made me feel a bit awkward and sorry for them, which is a  real shame.

We also enjoyed eating out in our favourite district of Paris, Montmartre. Snuggling in blankets we sat outside and watched the world go by over French Onion Soup and a (very small) glass of wine.

 

Lastly, here is a little video I made of the best bits to capture the moment too ….

 


Collaborative post with Tiffany Rose & Eiffel Tower, all words opinions are my own

Paris Attacks – One Year On

Today marks the anniversary of the Paris Terrorist Attacks and a year since this picture was taken in a devastated, deserted city. It was also my 30th birthday weekend and one of the scariest experiences of our lives. Thankfully, we were safe and thats all that matters. Last year we didn’t really get to see much of the city, my birthday present of tickets to the Moulin Rouge were cancelled and we went into hiding until we could get home again. It was truly terrifying.

A year on, I refuse to let terrorists ruin a beautiful place and taint our memories. We’ve decided to go back and relive the moment that should have been. Tomorrow marks a new day and a new experience – we are going back to Paris and will hopefully I will finally get to see the city in all it’s glory, once and for all. Plus I get to turn 30, again!

May this post be a reminder to keep those who were lost on 13th November 2015 in our hearts and to be thankful we get to live and experience new things again. We have been given a second, third, or fourth chance at things, however there are so many on that day that weren’t so lucky……..

A little update and my first travel vlog!

So, you might have noticed it’s gone a little quiet around here. I’m so sorry about that! The last couple of weekends have been super stressful as my blog was hacked, repeatedly by an unknown person. I spent hours fixing it, only for the hackers to get back in within hours, I couldn’t have been more angry and suddenly quite scared as to how they were getting past all of the security I’d put in place. I’m not even 100% sure what happened, but I’ve had some super people looking after me and I’ve paid for it to be professionally cleaned up so I’m hoping – fingers crossed – that we are out of the woods with it all, but every time I type in my URL, I still hold my breath and hope for the best. All I can say is if you are a blogger, take care of your security, update EVERYTHING (plugins, themes etc) every day and change your password regularly. I did all of that and they still got me. RAGE.

So, while my blog was down I got busy and created something a bit different this time – it’s my first proper vlog! I made the first part on our holiday to Malta. We spent 5 nights on the island of Gozo, so this is all about that, part two will be coming soon too. I absolutely loved vlogging and think I might do a couple a month now –  this was a first attempt (apart from a dodgy one I made in 2014 that is 80% photos) so be kind and please do let me know what you think!

After a dramatic couple of weeks, I’ll be back to normal posting now things are back on track –  so until next time!