2018: My plans for the year

2017 was a year of changes for us.  Stuart changed jobs, meaning instead of working regular hours he was working different hours most days and working weekends and evenings.  I went back to work after maternity leave, which was a huge change for me and Oliver started his new childcare routine.  We’ve worked our way through it and worked out a new balance within our family.

2018 is going to be another year of changes.  One big change really, the impending arrival of our second child.  Come May Oliver will be a big brother and we will be parents to two little boys.  I’m so excited to see how the boys get on, but I’m also feeling a bit nervous.  Nervous how I will juggle two, and nervous how Oliver is with his new sibling.

This February Oliver is starting pre-school, the week after he turns 2!  I couldn’t quite believe it when they emailed to tell me he had a place from after the half term.  He is definitely ready for pre-school though.  Oliver loves spending time with other children and he loves learning new things so hopefully he really enjoys it.  He did really well at the settling in session and his childminder has said that when she has gone to drop off children there Oliver runs off and starts joining in the activities!

In March I finish work in preparation for my maternity leave.  I’m using my annual leave to go at 32 weeks so that I can spend as much time as I can with my little boy.  That and I really struggled last time round working until 36 weeks.  Working 11.5 hours a day, mostly on your feet isn’t much fun heavily pregnant!  Although Oliver will be in pre-school and at the childminders 3 days of the week, I’m hoping we can fit in a few days out and maybe even a short trip away.  Just spending time as the 2 (or 3) of us is so important.

Past May, we have no hard and fast plans.  I’m hoping we can take a trip away as a family of four.  I would love to go abroad, but my husband isn’t so keen.  Hopefully we can go somewhere within the UK or even a couple of mini breaks.  For the past couple of years we keep saying we will go on more mini breaks, and every year we get to the end of it and go ‘oh, that didn’t happen’!  We have some plans to do some work on the house, putting down new flooring in the living room.  Maybe we’ll re-do the bathroom if money allows as well (although I have a feeling that might be a job for 2019!).

This year I want to document more of our every day lives, the days out, the little moments.  I want to improve my photography.  I have a nice new Canon G7X (thank you to my husband!) and a really old DSLR, so between the two I can hopefully get some nice snaps.  At the moment I don’t really edit many of my photos, and I know that with a few little tweaks they would be much nicer.  So I am thinking of investing in Lightroom as well to edit them.  I want to be able to look back at the end of the year and see how far I’ve come, and how our lives have changed, and for my photography to have improved.

2018 for my blog

Blog wise, I have really been slacking the past few months.  When I went back to work I got in a routine, I posted on certain days and it was going well.  But then the summer came, I got out of the routine and then I fell pregnant.  I was ill for 2 weeks straight and I fell asleep on the sofa every evening, which is the time I would usually use to blog.  I have done the bare minimum to keep my blog going, posting once a week (and some weeks not even that!).  Most of these were reviews or sponsored work, rather than the personal posts I love writing.  I’m feeling a lot more motivated now and I have lots of ideas in the pipeline.  Come February when Oliver starts nursery I will also have a few hours 2 mornings a week to write, which is great.

My Youtube channel has been plodding along, but I have no regular upload schedule.  I am finding it hard to find the time to film.  I have all these ideas, but when Oliver refuses to nap, or when he sleeps when I’m out, I don’t have the time to film.  Generally I will only film when he’s napping or my husband is home to occupy his attention, so when he starts pre-school I should be able to film a bit more regularly!

Last year I was too focused on the numbers to begin with, how many followers I had on different platforms, how many views my blogs had had.  Instagram was doing well, but the changes in the algorithym meant that my steady growth stopped.  Now I seem to have sudden influxes of followers but my numbers will stay the same for weeks.  I have also changed the way I use Instagram, moving away from commenting on peoples photos because I have to, and liking and commenting on photos that I love or relate to me.  I don’t tend to look at my blog views anymore.  Occasionally I have a look and to be honest, I’m happy with what I see but I’m not so caught up on what does well.

Thank you to all of the readers and followers of Mummy Miller for sticking by me this year.  Hopefully 2018 will be a great year and you will join me for the big and little moments!  Happy New Year!

Hot Pink Wellingtons
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A new look at Pizza Express Guildford

We were recently invited to come and enjoy an evening at the newly refurbished Pizza Express in Guildford.  My husband and I rarely have the pleasure of enjoying a meal out alone, so we were very eager to go!  ‘Date nights’ have never really been our thing, and it isn’t something we regularly try and do either but it was really nice to have an evening out together!

The new Pizza Express in Guildford is beautiful, the colour scheme is really relaxing and really on trend.  I have been visiting this branch of Pizza Express for about 10 years, although it isn’t my most local, when I was at sixth form in Guildford most of us had our birthday meals out there. I was really surprised when we walked in to find this nice light room with modern decor and a really nice relaxed vibe.  They were heavily inspired by the works of Lewis Carroll, who lived in Guildford.  They have a range of quirky clocks and beautiful mirrors, as well as some amazing artwork which reflect many of his fantasy satires, such as Alice in Wonderland.

There’s even a gorgeous bar within the restaurant surrounded by lounge style seating, a high dining counter and beautiful fixtures and fittings which really add to the laid back feel of the restaurant.  One of my favourite things about the new look Pizza Express is that they also now have regular live contemporary music sessions on a Thursday night.  So you can go out for a meal accompanied by some great live music.

We were invited to try some of the new items on their Christmas menu as well as some classics.  I always love trying something new from their specials menu, so I was excited to see what this Christmas had to offer.  To start my husband had the roasted tomato soup which I tried and it was absolutely delicious!  For my main course I had the beef and horseradish pizza, which was amazing.  I was really worried the horseradish might be a little overpowering but they got the balance perfect, with just a hint of horseradish, nothing too much!  For dessert I had the snowball dough balls (I mean you can’t go to Pizza Express at Christmas without having them, can you?!) and finished it off with a hot chocolate orange.

To say I was stuffed is an understatement, I wasn’t even that hungry the next morning!  We had such a great time enjoying some tasty food.  I love it when you go to a restaurant and the staff know all of the meals really well.  So when we asked questions they were really friendly and helpful.  Even though the restaurant was really busy the food all arrived quickly and the service was very prompt, which is definitely what you want!

Pizza Express is always one of our favourite places to eat, especially as a family.  There’s always something for everyone and we will definitely be heading back there soon!

We were provided with a meal in exchange for this review, all words and opinions are my own.

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Getting ready for Christmas with the Disney Store

Growing up, Disney was always a big part of Christmas for me.  We would usually be treated to a new Disney video as a Christmas present and we lived very nearby to a Disney Store.  I remember my sister and I would spend what felt like ages walking around the store, and telling our mum what we wanted (although we rarely got any of it because it was mostly the ridiculously expensive bits that we would never use!)  We usually ended up going after Christmas and buying some bits with our Christmas money.

Since Oliver arrived I have always known that Disney would be a big part of his festive experience as well.  Last Christmas my mum bought him the 2017 Mickey Mouse soft toy, and he loved it!  I can’t wait for the next few years when he really understands Christmas and will enjoy the magic of Disney at Christmas.  Sadly our local Disney Store closed when I was a teenager, so we have to go a little further afield or shop online when I want to get something, but he will definitely get the magic of Disney at Christmas!

So when Disney Store contacted me asking whether I would like to get involved in their #GiftMagic campaign, I couldn’t say no!  We were very kindly sent a Christmas box, filled with advent ready gifts for Oliver to enjoy throughout the festive season.  I love their Christmas range, especially their range for little people.  Their products are all such great quality and are all so well made.  Oliver loves a gift box, so as soon as he spotted it under the tree he was intrigued!  He was so excited when we opened it up and couldn’t wait to empty it out and see what goodies he had been given.

The first item Oliver was sent the Mickey and Friends festive friends top, trousers and hat set.  Oh my word, isn’t it just the cutest?  He was also lucky enough to receive his very own Pluto soft toy which he loves!  Although he won’t cuddle him (nobody but his bunny gets a cuddle), he loves sidling up to him and tapping on the head (like a real dog)!  He also received a Tsum Tsum which is perfect for his little hands and I’m sure will be played with plenty.  Lastly, he was given a Mickey Mouse fun fill cup, which he adores.  He loves drinking out of ‘proper cups’ and this is the perfect one to get him started.

The Disney Store have such a gorgeous range of Christmas gifts and products, perfect for the whole family.  We are advent ready now, Oliver is going to be wearing his new Christmas outfit to plenty of the events we have planned over the next few weeks.  He’s already worn it to his childminders Christmas party!   Everything we were given would make a perfect gift for a child and would really help make their Christmas perfect.

If you are looking for a special Christmas gift for a Disney fan in your life, look no further than the Disney Store.  You can really #GiftMagic this Christmas.

I was sent these items as a gift in exchange for a post about the Disney Store’s #GiftMagic campaign.  All words and opinions are my own.

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16 week bumpdate

I can’t believe I’m already 16 weeks pregnant (and this is my first pregnancy update post..I’ve been slacking as was planning on writing these every weeks..oops!) the pregnancy seems to be flying by!  Those early weeks dragged out, but I think that’s just due to the fact you can’t really speak to anybody about it!

How am I feeling?

I am feeling ok, other than a horrible cough and cold which just won’t go away!  I’m so thankful that this time round I haven’t had any sickness, which I had with my first pregnancy.  However, I am struggling eating meals at the moment, I get halfway through and I feel full or I get really bad indigestion.  I find that certain foods are giving me indigestion, or give me really bad trapped wind, so I’m trying to avoid them as much as I can!

My energy is starting to come back now, the tiredness in the first trimester really got to me. Teamed with running around after an energetic toddler I wasn’t feeling too great.  But now I’m not struggling to get through the day without a nap, which I was before!

I’m firmly in my maternity jeans already, to be honest I have been since about 7 or 8 weeks.  I couldn’t do my normal jeans up, so I have been living in leggings and maternity jeans for weeks.  Bump wise, it has popped out so much earlier this time.  I think with my first pregnancy I barely even had a bump at this point, but at the moment I feel like I’m already massive!

My eczema on my hands has started to flare up again, which I think is a combination of pregnancy and cold weather.  I am pretty sure it got worse at the start of my last pregnancy as well, but calming down as I got further in.  My hair gets greasy really quickly at the moment, I wash my hair every other day, but to be honest if I have the time I wash it every day because on the second day it doesn’t look too great, a lot of dry shampoo is needed!

How’s the baby?

The baby is now the size of a avocado!  It can yawn, rub its eyes and blink. Its’ hair is starting to grow and even the eyelashes and eyebrows are growing as well.  Baby can also hear sounds, and even though its eyes are closed, their eyes are making little movements and can sense changes in light through their eyelids.  The bones are beginning to harden and the arms and legs are completely formed.  Their thumbs few also able to grasp.  I think I have felt those first few flutters of movement now, which is amazing.  I had forgotten how weird it feels when it’s just the flutters rather than the full on kicks, but it’s so nice to know baby is moving around happily.

 

This week I have joined in with Lets Talk Mommy’s Bumps & Babies Linky

 

 

 

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A Homemade Christmas Eve Box with Hobbycraft

I make it no secret that I love Christmas.  A lot of my childhood memories are from Christmas time.  We had some great family traditions, and many of them I have chosen to adopt for my family.  However one new tradition I have brought in to our family is the Christmas Eve box.

Christmas Eve boxes seem to be the new thing to do nowadays and I love it.  You fill it with little bits for your little one, like new pyjamas for Christmas Eve night, a story for bedtime, maybe some chocolate coins or a little treat.  Basically a treat to really get them in the mood for Christmas Day!

When the team at Hobbycraft invited me to celebrate the opening of their new store in Farnborough by getting crafty.  I knew that I would love to make a Christmas Eve box.  I must say, this sort of thing is completely out of my comfort zone.  I’m not a very crafty person.  I love baking and cake decorating, but I’m not usually great with paints but I wanted something that was something new to me!

So here is what you will need:

  1. Use some masking tape to make a level line along your box to make sure it’s level and work out how much space you have for your letters. (I forgot to do this and ended up with a few wonky words, but it only adds to the homemade feel…!)
  2. Get your letter stencils and paints at the ready, lay the stencil with the letter you want above the line and paint within the stencil with your chosen colour.
  3. Gently lift the stencil away, I found that when I lifted it too quickly I ended up smudging the paint around the edges.
  4. Wipe down the stencil with a wipe or cloth to make sure you don’t smudge any unwanted paint on your box!
  5. Repeat for the rest of the letters (you may have to let the previous letter dry slightly before moving on depending on your letter spacing).  I also chose to paint some little stockings either side of the wording.
  6. Leave to dry.  Once it’s dry you can attach some festive embellishments using double sided sticky tape to make it extra special.  I chose to use some little wooden stars and gold bows.

The Hobbycraft blog has some really great ideas for festive crafts.  They’re always my go to store when we want to make something or bake something amazing!  The new Farnborough store is located at Horizon retail park, and is packed with plenty of crafting materials for all ages and abilities.  The staff in store all have a passion for arts and crafts so are always very helpful and able to guide you to just what you need.

This is a sponsored post with Hobbycraft, I was given the items to create my Christmas Eve box however all words and opinions are my own.

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