Reindeer Food

It’s officially Christmas! well in our house anyway, the decorations are up! Yes everything tree, gel gem window gels, knitted nativity, corner tree, stockings… you name it I have it up! Now Don’t judge me, I have it up because hubbs is still away working and only home weekends, I have a craft fair this weekend coming and the next few weeks are going to be busy. Also this is Mini’s first Christmas and even though we are not home a lot at the moment I still want to have the house Christmasey looking for her for when we are there.

Any how your thinking what has this got to do with Reindeer food, um nothing I just thought I’d tell you since it relates to all things Christmas. So onto reindeer food, I have saw little packets emblazoned with this slogan in the shops both recently and last year. I have even bought a few packets over the last few years for the little ones I used to mind. They are essentially packets of super expensive oats and glitter some costing £5 (yes really £5)! I decided hey Mini and I can make these for a quarter of that. This is the first Christmas crafty thing she’s ever done, shes nearly 11 months so probably wont remember but Iv’e taken loads of pictures to include in her (first) Christmas scrapbook.

Here’s our Recipe: Malt wheats, porridge oats, baby museli and pot of glitter, stir in a little magic and shake to bake!

I didn’t think there was any point in going out and buying loads of ingredients that are expensive and wasting money, unless you are going to use the things like oats etc. So we used what we had in the kitchen cupboards hence the Malted wheats, porridge and baby museli. But you could use cornflakes smashed up, shredded wheat, loops etc.

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I popped the malted wheats into a clear sandwich bag with a zipper popped onto the highchair tray in front of Mini gave her a stacking cup and her fave maraca and let her bash the malts to smithereens til her little heart was content. Mean while I got a pot of glitter (which I had for crafts £1.00 a pot but you can get multipacks of like 8 for £1.00 in poundland or supermarket craft aisles) and poured it into a another bag, added the oats, museli and gave it a little shake.

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I then helped Mini to pour the smashed wheats into the oaty glittery mix. This was lets say not a 100% smooth transfer! We ended up with glitter in our hair, all over our clothes, socks, vest, you name it was glitterfied, even doos our schnoodle was glittery for days!  Many due to Mini getting so excited and grabbing a handful and throwing it like confetti.

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After we had got what was left of the mix into one bag I gave it a little mix and wha-la done! Reindeer food. I had made up a few cellophane cones using cellophane I wrap my Elliebearbabi items in, the night before so I spooned some into each cone and tied with a little ribbon.

We had a small bowl left over so I let Mini do some messy oaty play for 10 mins, aka tip the oats on your head, throw them all over kitchen and put down your vest! She had such a fun time. We are going to use the Reindeer food on Christmas eve and maybe give the other cones to her cousins too!

Her little smiley happy glittery face made this first Christmas Craft so special.. just the beginning I hope of  many happy Christmas memories to come.

If you fancy doing this at home or to give as gifts here is the little poem we are including on our reindeer food tag!

Pop over and visit me at my new blog http://www.elliebearbabi.co.uk/

Mini’s midweek memories

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An “out-take” from our little photo sesh

#week 3

Yes yet another Mini’s midweek memories that is rather later than midweek. I will manage to get it posted some week actually mid-week I swear.

Any how this week started off with a few cheesy holiday snaps! We popped on Mini’s “my first Christmas” pjs from George & a cute santa hat also from george for the photos.  Yes I dressed the dog up and yes he loved it 😉 ! No this wasnt just for a laugh, ok it was kind of for a laugh but also for our Christmas cards. I got a pack of cards that are little frames that you can pop your own photo into, so I decided to take some funny festive shots for them. The “outtake” photo’s are funnier than the posy shots, as Mini decided to try and strangle doo’s whilst laughing, she also decided to hit him on the head with a toy egg and I managed to get it as a sequence action shot including her shocked face when she hit him and her saying “ohh deer” afterwards. Cutest thing ever and doos has the patience of a doggy saint. Bless him he puts up with a lot.

2013-10-28 08.22.13 As the week has went on things have went down hill Mini’s got the cold, full on nose running, chesty cough, lost her voice cold! Cue very sad, tearful and slightly grumpy baby. So we have spent most of everyday since having “duvet days” basically me attempting to get Mini to rest, me failing to get Mini to rest, Mini wrecking the place, hiding under the duvet, climbing over the duvet, crying, giggling, sneezing, coughing and rubbing snot over everything in sight including me!

Sleep has been few and far between, not helped by the crazy wind, rain and hail battering the windows throughout the night, come on weather give me a break! I’m still soloing now week 3 so I am officially running on caffeine and teetering on the fine line between ready to laugh and or cry at any given moment so please don’t show me that sainsburys Christmas advert or ill be a blubbering mess within minutes (dont know what i’m on about have a peek at it below, go on try not and cry. Warms my heart 😉 )

Pop over and visit me at my new blog http://www.elliebearbabi.co.uk/

Funky Monkeys – Review

2013-11-17 13.06.04The fabulous Rebecca from Rainbow Mummy Blog and I were offered the opportunity to review funky monkeys soft play cafe, a branch of indoor soft play areas based in Northern Ireland. I was super excited as I had heard great things about Funky monkeys, the Larne funky monkeys was named Netmums soft play runner up recently and I was so looking forward to bringing Mini to the Lurgan one for the first time. We decided to go on a Sunday as we wanted to go together and Rebecca’s lovely lad is at school during the week, so weekends suited us best.

Funky monkeys is for children under  the age of eight. The space is well designed with a small open plan reception with seating area, with a gate dividing it from the main area. The main space is well laid out, with “party rooms” on the right, then the larger “play frame” . In the middle is tables and chairs with two smaller soft sofa seating areas. The  separate baby play area is at the left of the space, close to the baby changing & toilet facilities. There is a small cafe attached to the reception which opens onto the seating area, serving a range of healthy eating options as well as tea and coffee.

The staff were really friendly, I wish I had asked what the ladies name was who was dealing with us but I didn’t, she was lovely though. She apologised that the baby changing room lock had recently broke meaning there was no lock at all just two holes in the door, which wasn’t ideal as the changing room is directly beside the seating area but that wasn’t her fault. We didn’t need to use the changing room during our visit so it was all good. The staff took our shoes gave us a little ticket to get them back at the end, explained how long we had to “play” (90 mins).

We took a little table close to the baby area, plonked down our bags and set off to play. This was the first time Mini had ever been, I didn’t know how she would react. She is a really active 10 month old  always on the go, she can stand up on her own and move about holding furniture etc so I was hopeful she would love it. To begin with she wasn’t quite sure what to make of everything, she sat just looking around, taking it all in.  Then set off and there was no stopping her.

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The area is Brilliant, there is a great variety of  brightly coloured play equipment. The floor is cushioned, perfect for little tots to clamber over,  lots of lovely soft number cubes that can be moved about. Soft flower domes Mini loved these, they are secured down so they wont tip if they are jumped on! She’s a little small to get on top of them despite her best efforts.

There’s a small coloured “log bridge”  which she attempted but then abandoned every time when she got to the middle as she couldn’t figure out how to go down the slope bless her.  There are squishy frog and monkey see-saws the frog is slightly smaller than the monkey one so we had a little go on it. She giggled her head off! I remember playing on something like this when I was small at the play area we went too, so was lovely to see her play with and have fun on something that I loved when I was little. 2013-11-17 13.41.02

There are two fisherprice bounce and spin zebra’s one at each end of the play area. Mini loved these, so much so I have a feeling one may have to be added to her Christmas or Birthday gift list. I thought she wouldn’t be able to hold on herself as she’s only little but I was wrong.  I popped her on and she bounced up and down, put her foot down and spun herself round and round. Each time I took her over to something else she always seemed drawn back eventually to it again. For a toy like this that is i’m sure used so often they are in fabulous condition!

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The walls are all padded too with soft cushion/mats so if you have a toppling toddler you don’t have to worry about bumped heads off the walls! The walls are decorated with lovely pictures, a little sing along frog song and interactive monkey, frog, banana large soft shape sorter.

The area is surrounded by a soft wall, the wall has a few interactive things on it like little beads, squishy shapes, and a shape that squeaks when pressed Mini loved these.

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A couple of times a few bigger children probably around 6-8 years old charged into the baby area, they seemed to be with a few families who had smaller babies too and Mini was nearly toppled a couple times. I have quick reflexes though and saved her from a little ninja jumping off a flower dome but Rebecca came to the rescue and nicely but firmly pointed out to one father that his bigger children shouldn’t be in a “baby area” incase they landed on a little one and he kindly asked his kids to go back to the big frame.

2013-11-17 13.55.58After a while we stopped for a little cuppa and the little ones had some juice. The break didn’t last long for me though as Mini was far too excited to be there to stop for long and just wanted to go straight back to play.

We ventured into the bottom of the bigger play area as it was much quieter by this stage as most of the children seemed to be at one party and had gone into a party room so we popped over to have a nosy. There are two areas perfect for bigger toddlers, Suzie’s house an imaginative kitchen play area and a little car track area with a number of cozy coupe cars. Mini loves blocks, stacking cups and things that make alot of noise when clashed together, so she was so pleased to find some lego and a drum in the play house!

I didn’t really get a good look at the larger play area beyond the bottom bit but  it looked to have a great variety of things to do including mini football pitch, twin wavy slide, horizontal rollers, dizzy discs, splat pads, sky glides, vertical rollers, v-net bridge, cargo net, spiders web, bash bags and more. So lots to keep the kids entertained. Pop over to Rebecca’s blog for more info on bigger play area.

Funky monkeys have great party packages  catering for small to large party groups, including play time, use of party rooms and food (food can also be arranged for the adults attending).Party prices can be found online.

The entry prices for use of play centre are fab for under 4’s- £4.50 for over 4’s- £4.95 for under 1’s is £1.00 or free if with an older sibling that is amazingly good value. There are also membership options.

To top it off funky monkeys also run Activities during the week between 11-11.30 including breakfast club, arts and crafts, cookery and musical movement.

All the play equipment is really well maintained, clean and in great condition. The staff were really friendly and approachable and because of the size of the centre even if you where sitting at one of the tables you would still be able to see where your little one was most of the time. It really has a lovely family friendly atmosphere and I would highly recommend it to any N.I mum. Mini and I will be heading back soon for sure hopefully get to the musical movement too!

*We were given free passes to Funky Monkeys play cafe and free tea&coffee/juice, for review purposes. However all the views and pictures in this post are honest and my own* We loved it!!

Pop over and visit me at my new blog http://www.elliebearbabi.co.uk/

Christmas Gift Guide 2013

This year I am officially stepping into the role as Mrs Claus and hubbs Mr Claus as this is our First Christmas as parents as Mini was born early in the New Year. We are both super excited about starting our own family Christmas Traditions with Mini and of course about buying her some lovely bits and pieces from SANTA. We also have a small niece and a newborn nephew as well as a few friends little ones which we are buying for too, so I decided to put a little gift guide of items I love that I think are perfect for a special little one this Christmas.   I have been searching for lovely little nick nacks for stockings, bits and pieces for both mummy and little one so grab a cuppa and have a peek!

Firstly press play and listen to this whilst you read! Get you into the Christmas spirit!

Firstly let me introduce you to Butterflies and Dragons wooden and traditional toys!I came across Butterflies and Dragons firstly on twitter, once I had a peek at their site I was hooked! They stock beautiful  toys  much nicer than the average toy store on an everyday high street. The toys are vibrant colours and most are perfect for either boys or girls so great for all the family like this lovely crocodile track see picture below! They have the most amazing range of wooden play foods and kitchens including wooden  Pizza’s, doughnuts and the cutest play food I have seen yet Tea bags  which I adore. They have a great variety of stock which caters for all price ranges, a must stop shop for Santa…

I adore handmade items especially fabric/ knitted toys for little ones,  Mippoos make unique beautiful handmade toys such as this gorgeous stuffed fox  £32.33 . I think its so special to give or receive an item that has been handmade and this fox would be perfect for a little boy or girl (I want it for myself!).

Pygmy Cloud are a design duo Diana and Dave from London. They make gorgeous quirky  homeware, plush toys and accessories inspired by in their words the “world of  bears, beards and beasties”. They are a little obsessed with the British weather and clouds and raindrops feature in lots of their pieces. I think this grumpy bear cushion is gorgeous and would be perfect for any little ones room, i’d put it beside a book shelf or box with Goldilocks and the three little bears story(the bear is £27.00) This handmade felt coaster cloud set will add a quirky uniqueness to any cup of tea £14.00, this would make the perfect gift for any yummy mummy (hint hint).

For any style conscious mums out there with tiny teething tots, I introduce to you MikaB teething jewellery .All of MikaB’ pieces are baby safe, designed to be perfectly safe for little mouths to munch on. MikaB range includes bangles Euro 9.50, necklaces Euro 16.50 and pendants Euro 12.50. They come in a range of colours from blacks to turquoise. All the necklaces and pendants have a baby safe snap clasp that releases with light pressure. I have one of each of these pieces and adore them. They go with literally every outfit and give me piece of mind as Mini can tug and chew on them without me worrying my jewellery will break or she would swallow a small piece. They look like pieces of fashion jewellery and I get compliments about them all the time. Unless I mention to people they are made for teething most wouldn’t know! I think they would be perfect for presents for a sister, mum, aunt etc even if they didn’t have a little one. Great stocking fillers (hint hint bf’s, partners and hubbies!)

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PlayDuvet I really love the idea of this as it is geared towards not only babies but the whole family! This duvet is different from traditional playmats as it is big enough for little ones to crawl and roll on without going off the edge. It is perfect to keep little ones cosy and safe whilst playing on hard or cold floors. Perfect for tummy time, play time, story time, all the time! The play duvet provides a great space for younger and older siblings  to play and interact together. This is an investment piece as it will go well beyond the baby years, through to toddler and early childhood. Perfect for summer days in the garden (if we get the weather) or cosy winter afternoons.  I think this would make a perfect “Family Gift” from santa. (75.00 )

Holly Surplice is an artist and illustrator who creates the most amazing illustrations I have seen in a long time. She sells greeting cards, mugs, wrapping paper, prints and has also published a few children’s books. I have purchased about a bear and peek a boo bunny for Mini from Santa. The illustrations in these books are beautiful I know Mini is going to love them and hopefully treasure them for many years to come. You can purchase these books by searching for them on Amazon and for the greetings cards etc click the link here to take you to Holly’s shop.

Bumfy  is a cushioned 100% organic cotton  seat designed to fit into trolleys, baby swings and high chairs. I think this is a fab idea as now that Mini is bigger we pop her into the trolley when doing the weekly shop. Most of the local supermarkets keep their trolleys outside in shelters but let’s face it with our winter weather they are hardly ever dry and the baby seats are always freezing which cannot be nice for little bums. The seat is padded and cosy and provides support especially for smaller babies. I have never seen these used before but I think they would definitely be cosy for a little one and would stop them bumping off the metal trolley bars when you make an emergency right turn for the choccie isle 😉 . This seat also fits highchairs which would be great for out in restaurants and fits baby swings so good for the park too! It also provides the added benefit of keeping them clean, as I don’t know about you would sometimes highchairs etc when out and about can be a bit grubby. I think this is a perfect baby gift if your looking for something a bit different and unique. Perfect for keeping in the car for out and about £35.00.

Copperbutton   Nancy makes Unique and handmade gifts which feature a bespoke piece of enamelled copper in each. I have admired Nancy’s fab work for ages now on twitter. All her items are handcrafted and no two pieces are ever the same. She stocks items perfect for baby showers, christenings, birthdays, etc. Her winter themed pendants are stunning, perfect stocking fillers or gorgeous gifts for friends and family. I personally love this Blue star Christmas pendant and at £8.00 it is a absolute Christmas bargain!

Hoobynoo World   Is made up of  husband and wife Chiara and David Stone. They have a  beautiful range of items ranging from necklaces and brooches to wall stickers and temporary tattoo’s. All the items are quirky and unique. Perfect pressies my fave is this Handmade felt hedgehog brooch costing £6.50 .

Jkhoo Designs by Jeanne Pring. Each piece Jeanne makes is unique and made to order, bespoke items can be ordered to the customers specifications. I adore statement pieces of jewellery and love items that are a bit different from what you can buy on the highstreet. Jeanne’s designs would add the finishing touches to any outfit. I love big rings iv’e a jewellery draw full of over sized and quirky colours and shapes so my pick would be this beautiful – simply spiral ring £23.00 made from non-tarnish silver plated wire. Gorgeous!

 

Elliebearbabi Of course I had to sneak in a few of my own creations too. At EllieBearBabi HQ aka my kitchen table I have been busy creating a few new pieces for Christmas including these limited edition Christmas exclusive design bibs 8 available in each print £5.00 including p&p (hurry they are going like hot buns as they say).

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Keepsake blankets, I designed and made this for Mini using her babygrows, leggings, hats etc and a friend suggested I add the to the Elliebearbabi collection. If anyone would like one made for Christmas please get in touch as soon as possible to allow time to get them made and posted to you for Christmas day. (£20 for standard baby blanket, £2.50 for name appliqued and £3.00 p&p) 

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Wooden Stockings exclusive design, this has been a joint effort as I designed the template, hubby cut them, and my lovely mum hand painted  each one. These can be personalised with a family name such as “Christmas at the Claus’s) or “Mini’s first Christmas 2013″ or anything you wish” £8.50 each, two for £15, three for £21, four for £28 (or ask price for larger amounts) including p&p and includes personalised names etc) can see them here too.

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I am also taking a few orders for Handmade Personalised with a name fabric Christmas Stockings these are totally custom made, will be big enough to fit a few pressies in! Perfect gift  and no two will be the same £14.50 including p&p. To order leave comment below or email or tweet me. I will post them the beginning of dec!

None of the companies above paid or subsidised me in any form to be included in this post! I have added items I honestly think are perfect for pressies and genuinely like.

Pop over and visit me at my new blog http://www.elliebearbabi.co.uk/

Boo’s Box Swap

During a #pbloggers sunday evening chat in October Boo from Blooming Boo tweeted asking would any pbloggers (parent bloggers) be interested in a “box swap”. I was intrigued, I wasn’t entirely sure what that meant but it sounded interesting! Boo explained what the “Box swap” entailed, a group of pbloggers would sign up, be allocated another blogger to swap with who had a little one/s around the same age as your own. You find out some info about that other blogger and their little one/s and you would make up a little treat box of lovely bits and pieces that you think the other blogger and their little one would like. The budget was £20ish. I was lucky enough to swap with Boo herself as she has a gorgeous little boy not much younger than Mini. I loved making up my box, if you want to see what I sent have a peak at Boo’s blog in the coming weeks to see her Box Swap Post.

Any how lovelies on to what Mini and I received in our Box swap Box.

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2013-10-24 12.48.44When “Boo’s Box Swap Box” arrived through my letter box I could hardly contain my excitement. It was wrapped in a lovely pink box with a lovely note attached from Boo.
Inside was a pile of lovely little treats for both Mini and I all neatly packed in. The first thing I saw was the Maybelline New york 24 hour color tattoo eyeshadow. I had my eye on this little lovely when it first came out as an eyeshadow that stays put 24hours appeals greatly especially as a busy mum who normally applies make up at 7am and doesn’t look  in the mirror again until last thing at night. Its a cream shadow which I don’t normally use as i’m a powder shadow gal at heart but this was lovely. Not too shimmery goes on smoothly and is really easy to blend. It really does stay put for hours about 16 hours or so. So big thumbs up!
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The next treat to come out of the box was Tomy eggs. I have seen these before but couldn’t quite put my finger on where. The box is a shaped like a little egg box and yellow in colour. There are 6 little eggs, each little egg has a shape on the base which fits into the correlating shape on the base of the egg box. Mini’s still a little small to use these as a shape sorter but she adores the eggs. They come apart and each has a little coloured chick inside that when pushed tweets. These eggs have become her absolute top toy. We even had to pack them up and take to my parents when we have visited over the last few weeks as she loves them so much and plays with them every day.
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The next item was a Chocolate face masque for Me, I have not used this yet. I am waiting to use2013-10-24 12.51.30 this some evening when I can relax have a bath put my feet up and treat myself , so it maybe a while before I use it! 🙂
The last lovely item was a gorgeous top and leggings for Mini from the F&F range at tesco. I adore the clothes from F&F and am not ashamed to say Mini has quite a few bits in her winter wardrobe from F&F. Luckily she doesn’t have either this top or leggings! I love owl prints, they are very popular at the minute and the burgundy colour works so well with Mini’s hair and skin tone. I have always found the leggings from F&F really great quality and great when washed, they are perfect and comfy for crawling about and clambering in and out of the ball pit as Mini does a 100 times a day. I love the print so autumnal, and great for mixing with alot of different tops too.
There are 9 bloggers in total signed up to this first Boos Box Swap so keep your eyes peeled for the box swap posts over the coming weeks and have a nosy at what the other all received in their parcels! (The links are at the end of this post).
The plans at the moment are for another box swap in 6 months if you fancy joining in get in touch around that time with Boo.
Lastly a huge Thank you to Boo for not only my gorgeous box but for planning and running the box swap, it’s such a wonderful idea and I really enjoyed taking part!!
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Pop over and visit me at my new blog http://www.elliebearbabi.co.uk/

Solo parenting

Solo –noun-  a thing done by one person unaccompanied:. verb –perform something unaccompanied.

Hubby works within the construction trade, he used to work away on mainland UK for a few years before we married whilst we were dating. He would work one week and home at weekends or two weeks and off a few days or three weeks and off a week etc. When we married he didn’t want to work away nor did I want to live in a house on my own for weeks at a time. Work has always been steady but a couple weeks ago  a job offer came in to work for 6 weeks away again. With the run up to Christmas and my new role as stay at home mum the offer was too good to turn down. So these last 2weeks I have been solo parenting, not a single parent but a solo parent mon-fri.

Now as a sahm I am well used to being on my own with Mini for a large amount of the day. I get up with her every morning at 6-7ish and we spend all day together doing general housey things, washing, tidying. We paint, we play, we go walks, we meet friends for coffee and playdates, we go food shopping, we pop to my grans Mini’s great grans for cuppas and we generally have a lovely normal everyday time. I normally do dinner bath and bed too. Hubbs arrives home normally half an hour before  Mini’s bed time so they get a snippet of time together. But the majority of the day to day parenting/looking after is done by moi. I love it though every second truly. I was surprised over last couple months to see other mums on twitter complain they have to solo dinner bath and tea one evening a week? Huh?I solo every day and it never occurred to me that this possibly isn’t the norm? Growing up my mum did the majority of the parenting as my dad worked super long hours. I have always been used to my mum being the main care giver and I can see traits of her’s now in my own parenting. I think I am completely content at home with Mini “soloing” because that is what I have always known myself. Don’t get me wrong hubbs is a really hands on dad he adores Mini and at weekends they are bff’s but during the week it’s Mini and Mummy time!

I am missing having hubbs home in the evenings though, as Mini goes to bed between 6.30-7 , hubbs and I have our dinner, a cuppa and a catch up and I love this time together everyday. Instead I have filled my evenings with crafting and booked into a few Christmas crafts fair this sat, the 26th and the 7th dec. Iv’e also decided to make a few Christmas gifts this year again at the moment i’m mid way through hand sewing “chicken scratch” hearts onto a country chic table runner for mum for Christmas though it’s taking me much longer than I thought might be Christmas 2014 before she gets it at this rate. Any how it gives me a little goal to work towards and keeps me occupied.

I  still have another 4-6 weeks to go of solo parenting to go but I’m keeping a positive outlook its only short term, a couple weeks and when he’s finally home it will be Christmas our first as a family of THREE so that’s really something to look forward to!

Pop over and visit me at my new blog http://www.elliebearbabi.co.uk/