2014 | Rosy Cheeks & Muddy Feet

Happy New Year!

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I always get antsy around the New Year. I see it as a new beginning. A clean slate. I want to do new things, learn new subjects, tackle new projects, create new things. The trouble is that I have no idea what those new things are. Therefore I end up, antsy. 

I finally decided on my word for the year yesterday.


I am a big scaredy cat. I fear a lot of things and I get scared to try new things. I like being in my comfort zone and I avoid anything outside of that. I don't like things that put me on edge or push me out of my self imposed boundaries. Whilst I was trying to think of all the new things that this time of year makes me want to try I realised that I won't be able to do anything if I'm always fighting them. If I am always scared.  

So this year, I will be brave. 

This year I turn 30 years old. I want to stop worrying about every little thing, all the tiny details that more often than not, I don't have control of anyway. I want to be adventurous. I want to embrace challenges and changes rather than resist them. I want to feel all the good things that this year has to offer but I also want to pay attention to the not-so-good parts. Both the good and bad have things that we can learn from them. 

As I turn 30 I want to be brave. 

“Don't be afraid of your fears. They're not there to scare you. They're there to let you know that something is worth it.” 
C. JoyBell C. 



Happy new year!  
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Christmas.

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I'm coming out of hiding.. The Christmas tree has been taken down, new toys have found their new home and I've eaten my body weight in chocolate. The temperature took a dip right as Christmas hit and this morning we walked to the shops in -4 degree weather. I love christmas, like a four year old does, but I also love the New Year. I love the fresh start that it offers and the chance to change things, to make things better..

A little re-cap of our Christmas week before I leave it too late and we're into 2015..



{New Pj's on Christmas Eve}


{He wrote his letter to Santa and offered him to take a rest in his chair.. "If you think you will fit.."}










And these two? They made it all worth while.. The stress, the planning, the preparations. To see them so happy and believing in all the magic. It was amazing..


2015.. Lets see what you've got! 


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Preparing For Christmas - A Day In The Life.

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Today's prompt for Blogmas 2014 is to share a day in our life as we prepare for the big day.

Because of my Type A personality, I have to have things organised well in advance. Even if I can't sort everything beforehand, I have to know what I'm going to be doing. I make lists, lots of lists. Lists for food, jobs that I have do, presents that I've brought, things that need to be done on Christmas Eve.. You name it and I probably have a list for it!

I have the meat for the Thursday already in my freezer and tomorrow the rest of the food is being delivered. The presents are all wrapped apart from the children's PJ's which I am going to do tonight, ready for them on Wednesday night. Also on Wednesday afternoon I will prepare all of the potatoes and vegetables for Thursday. We're off to spend Boxing Day with my family so all the clothes for that will be sorting on Christmas Eve also. I hate being in a rush on the day so if it's all done then there is less for me to worry about!


It doesn't help that Emilie is still poorly and not doing well at all. She is spending most of her days screaming and sending my nerves sky rocketing. I am keeping everything crossed that she is doing better by Thursday.. 

Can you believe that the big day is almost here?! I can't! 


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Five On Friday!

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With taking part in Blogmas 2014 this month I haven't had much time to just sit and write about what's going on in our world. So therefore I figured Five On Friday would be perfect opportunity :)

One//

Emilie has been unwell all week.. It started with a brutal cold and has developed into Croup. She isn't eating or sleeping, therefore not a lot of us are sleeping. Poor thing was awake with a coughing fit from 2.45am this morning. I could tell that she really wanted to sleep but every time she dosed off she would start coughing again. She's exhausted, I'm exhausted and neither of us have a lot of patients at the moment.. However she is the only one that can get away with throwing herself on the floor whilst having a tantrum..



Two//

James has his first wobbly tooth! I'm asking myself how he is even old enough to be hitting that milestone yet. He's excited but worried that it's going to hurt when it does eventually fall out. I think the promise of money from the tooth fairy is helping to alleviate that..


Three//

I want to take a minute to rave about my new iPhone 6 Plus! Going from the iPhone 4 to the 6 Plus there is such a big difference! It's quicker, the camera is a million times better and Suri is quite funny if you're bored! I was worried that it was going to be too big but I can still use it one handed whilst pushing the pushchair so no problems there :) It's safe to say that I'm very happy with my early Christmas present..


Four//

Anthony has eleven days off over Christmas and to say that he's looking forward to it would be a slight understatement. He's counting down the days until he finishes at lunch time on Christmas Eve. James finishes school this afternoon and I'm happy that we're going to have some down time. Towards the end of each term James is so ready to have some time off. He's tired and in need of a rest.. I foresee some Christmas movies, snuggles on the sofa and bundling up for some chilly mornings at the park in our very near future.


Five//

Do you make new years resolutions? For the past two years I haven't and instead gone for a word for the year. This past year my word was 'Connect'. I wanted to connect more with people. My family, my friends both in real life and online. I think I've managed to keep it in my back of my mind for the year and I've definitely improved my.... Connections :)

I've started thinking about my new word for 2015.. I don't have it yet.. Last year I struggled for weeks and then it suddenly came to me on New Years Eve. Maybe I'll figured it out sooner this year?





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Blogmas 2014 - Preparing For Christmas!

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I've missed the past few days of this link up but Emilie has an awful cold that has knocked her for six and also croup so she isn't sleeping and is clingy clingy clingy!

Todays prompt is all about preparing for Christmas..

I love Christmas Day but I find the run up to it stressful more than magical. I find myself worrying about everything, from the food to the gifts, do the kids have enough? will the vegetables go bad before I cook them? You name it and I worry about it.

Today though, James finishes school! He went in this morning in his 'festive' clothing..


I've brought all the children's gifts, I just need to wrap them, hopefully tonight! I just need to get a few last minute gifts for some family and then thats done.

I feel like now James is finishing school that it's starting to feel a bit more like Christmas.. That's not to say that I won't still spend the next five days worrying.. It's my type A personality :) 

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Christmas Tree & A Giveaway!

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I failed at Blogmas 2014 over the weekend. Last week & the past two days have been so busy and this week doesn't show any signs of things slowing down! It's James' last week at school so we have Christmas meals and a visit from Santa.

Today's prompt is to show off our Christmas decorations! I'm combining today and tomorrow because in England we only really do Christmas trees. I follow a lot of people in America and I am in awe at how their whole house gets decorated. I want to do that!

Two weeks ago my tree look beautiful but now that Emilie has had her hands all over it we have two broken branches and baubles all mixed up :)



{The Fox & boots are the kids new decorations for this year}



{Both James & Emilie's first baubles}



{My cousin won a Christmas Card competition a few years ago! This comes out every November and takes pride of place}

Keeping it simple this year because of a certain toddler... 


And now for a fun giveaway! Laura over at The Everyday Joys  & I have teamed up and are offering the winner 3 Scentsy bars of your choice! 







Good luck! 


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Not So Much... A Winter Wonderland.

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A Winter Wonderland
Show us Photos of where you live..

To me a winter wonderland means snow.. We haven't had any snow since the beginning of 2013. All we have right now is grey skies, wind and rain.. 

Evidence A - I took this photo this morning after dropping James off at school.. 



In the spirit of Blogmas though.. Here are some photos from our town.. 






I cannot wait to see some of the real 'Winter Wonderlands' out there! 

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Whats on your Christmas Day menu?

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Today on Blogmas 2014 we're being encouraged to share our menu for Christmas Day. I am so excited for this years dinner. Probably because last year was a bust between a teething baby and a husband in bed with tonsillitis so I want to make up for it! 

This year on the menu is.. 

Roast Turkey & Roast Gammon.. (I cook the Gammon the night before. Two years ago when I was pregnant with Emilie I was still awake at 3am cooking this massive joint of Gammon!) 

Roast potatoes

Carrots, Broccoli & Parsnips, 

Brussel sprouts - Anthony is the only one that eats them but they're a staple at Christmas, right? 

Pigs in blankets

Sage, Onion & garlic stuffing balls. 

Yorkshire puddings 

All served with gravy :)

For desert there will be the choice of Christmas pudding with double cream or ice cream - I have a feeling that James will go for the ice cream and I'll end up eating most of the christmas pudding. 

On boxing day my whole family are going to my Sisters house where my Mum is doing a buffet style dinner and then the next day my sister-in-law and her family are coming to us so we'll be having a second Christmas dinner.. I'm sure that I won't hear any complaints from the boys in my life about that :) 

What's on your menu this Christmas? 


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Blogmas 2014 - Day 10 - Cookies!

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The prompt for today was 'Show us your cookies or share your favourite cookie recipes' 

For the past two weeks I keep saying that I need to bake some cookies.. It's one of those things though that I keep meaning to do but then something else comes up so the baking gets pushed down the list again. I actually love to bake. There was once a time where everyday I would be baking, cakes, cookies or cupcakes but then I went from being a Mum to one to a Mum to two. Meaning I have less time :)

I like to change my cookies up.. Sometimes I like just simple plain ones. Other times I like ginger bread, or I'll throw some chocolate chips in. I always decide what kind I'm going to make whilst I'm making them.. That and it depends what I have in my cupboards at the time!

Here's my go to recipe for simple plain cookies..

Ingredients - 

8oz Butter
4oz Caster Sugar
10oz Plain flour.


Method - 

Preheat the over then 170 degrees.

In a bowl cream the butter and then add the sugar and beat until the mixture is soft and fluffy.

Sift the flour into the mixture and mix until it forms a dough. Then using your head separate the dough into walnut size balls. Place these on a baking tray and then flatten with the back of a fork.

Pop them in the over and bake for roughly 15 minutes or until golden brown.

If you want to add any optional ingredients, (vanilla essence, chocolate chips etc) then do this when you are adding the flour.

It's as simple as that and they taste delicious! After writing this I think I am going to make an effort and bake some of these tonight! I always tend to make gingerbread cookies on Christmas eve. James loves to have one before he goes to bed and also leaves one for Santa!

Do you have a go to recipe for cookies?


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Winter Must Haves!

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"Winter items you cannot live without" was todays prompt for the Blogmas 2014 challenge. It's quite fitting because today the temperatures plummeted and the wind picked up. It's brutal outside this evening.

One// Hot Chocolate




What is not to love about this drink. It's perfect for those cold rainy afternoons!


Two// My slow cooker. 


It's a staple in my house during the winter. I love just being able to throw everything in and then leaving it until dinner time. Plus I get the gorgeous smells around my home all day too. I could not live without this kitchen appliance :)


Three// Snuggie blanket. 

\

I want to meet whoever came up with the idea for this blanket and buy them a hot chocolate. I hate being cold and this blanket is perfect! 

Four// Slippers!


I brought these slippers last week and I now live in them. No more cold feet for me! I'm miserable when I'm cold and I'm always one of those people that if my feet are cold then so is the rest of me. Plus they're Christmas themed so they get bonus points!


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Day Eight - My Wish List.

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The prompt for today's Blogmas challenge is 'What's on your wish list?' Normally I don't ask for gifts because I would rather we spend what little money we have on the children rather than myself. Whenever Anthony asks me what I want then I struggle to answer. This year though, their was only one thing on my list and I honestly didn't think I would be able to get it.. An iPhone 6 Plus..



Last year I upgraded to the 5 but just one week after I brought it, it was stolen in the high street. I was so gutted! I then had to go back to my iPhone 4 which I still currently have.

Yesterday Anthony surprised me and after making a phone call to my phone company he informed me that an iPhone 6 plus is on it's way and should be here on Tuesday! I am so beyond excited.. I make no apologies, I am an apple girl through and through :)


Now if money were no object then here are three things off my 'Wish List'


L-R - A Nikon D7000. New clothes. To spend Christmas in a log cabin in the middle of nowhere! 

What's on your wish list this year? 


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Day 7 - Handmade Christmas Gifts.

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Todays prompt is about handmade gifts and whether you send them or not. Three years ago when I knitted all the time I had the brilliant idea of knitting all my gifts. I had previously made a scarf for my sister and all the other ladies in my family loved it so I thought it would be cool to knit them all a hat & scarf set. I decided this about two weeks before the big day so my idea quickly went down the pan when it took me a week to make just one set.. 

I am not crafty at all although I would love to be. I gaze at Pinterest and pin away at all these lovely homemade items and gift sets but whenever I try any of them I just end up frustrated and giving in before I've started. 

I think I just need to accept that I am not going to be that crafty Mum. 

Don't forget if you want to join in with Blogmas 2014 then head over to Sandra and link up :)

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Day Six - When Do You Open Presents?

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Day Six - When do you open presents?

Growing up, I was so envious of my friends who got to run downstairs on Christmas morning and tear straight into their presents. In our house we all had to get up and before we got to open presents we all had to be dressed and had eaten breakfast. {One year we had to wait until after dinner - that was torture!} After everyone was ready we would all sit around the tree and my Mum would pass the presents out one by one. That way we all got to see what each other had received. 

Now I'm older I understand why we had to wait. Firstly, it makes it last longer. If we had torn into them as soon as we had gotten downstairs then by 7.30am it would have all been over and secondly, looking back it was nice to watch my sisters open their gifts, to see the looks on their faces. 

Now that I have my own kids I do the same thing. {I don't think I'll ever make them wait until after dinner though!} I like them to eat breakfast first. I don't really want a melt down by 8am because of low blood sugar and also Anthony & I are not awake before we've had at least one cup of caffeine each. 

I love the process of all sitting around the tree whilst I pass the presents out one by one. Last year Emilie needed hers opening for her but I think this year after a gift or two then she'll be opening them like a pro. Sometimes James wants to stop after a certain present so he can open it and maybe put it together, other times he wants to open them faster than I can hand them to him!

How about you? Am I the only ones that make my kids wait slightly before receiving their gifts?!


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Day Five - Favourite Christmas Food.

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Since James came along we've always spent Christmas Day at home so this will be my sixth year cooking Christmas dinner and it's my favourite meal to make out of the whole year. I cook the Gammon joint the night before and peel all the potatoes and prepare the vegetables so that in the morning a lot of it is ready to go. I start cooking the Turkey early so that I can slow cook it. I think it's tastier that way :)


I love the hustle and bustle that comes with cooking the Christmas dinner. My kitchen looks into the living room so I can watch the kids playing. I always get requests from James to help and most of the time I do. He likes to help stir :) I love that we get to extend our kitchen table so that it fills the kitchen and looks all festive with the crackers and table mats. (I do not like the cleaning up afterwards!) I like lingering at the table after dinner with coffee whilst James runs off to play and no doubt Emilie this year will be wearing most of her dinner.


And off course. No Christmas would be complete with out....




Am I right? I may have purchased two tins this morning...


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Blogmas 2014 - Your Favourite Christmas Movies.

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Christmas movies are a staple in my house at this time of year. I love them. Anthony isn't a fan but he humours me anyway. I love snuggling down with a blanket and hot drink on a rainy afternoon and watching a movie or two.. My two absolute favourites are..

Miracle on 34th Street.



I watch this every year and it still holds the same feelings for me now as it did back when I was nine years old and I watched it for the first time. 


My next favourite is Elf!! 




I don't think I've ever met anyone who doesn't love Elf! I love Will Ferrell and he is so funny in the roll of Buddy. 

I am also a big sucker for the cheesy hallmark movies. You know the ones, they start of all happy, then a catastrophe happens but you know by Christmas Eve that everyone is going to be singing around the christmas tree all smiles and laughter. Single Santa Seeks Mrs Claus is exactly like that.. Single Mum meets a guy who is secretly Santa but he has to find his Mrs Claus by Christmas Eve. She freaks out when she discovers who he really is but then realises how much she loves him...

A few weeks ago I watched Christmas Mail.. 



It is cheese all the way but oh so christmassy and a proper feel good movie! 

What are your favourites? Don't forget if you want to join in with Blogmas 2014 just head over to Sandra and link up :) 

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Blogmas 2014 Day Two - What Christmas Means To You?

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Day Two - What does Christmas mean to me?


Christmas is my favourite holiday. More so now that we have children. I don't need to receive presents. Just giving them and seeing the magic in my children's eyes is enough for me. What does Christmas mean to me though?...


{James 1st Christmas - 2009}


Family, love, crackers, Turkey,
Battening down the hatches, 
Magic, children, festivities, 
laughter, joy, carols, 


{Christmas - 2010}


hot chocolate & gingerbread men, 
being together, giving, decorations, 
making memories, giving thanks, 
blankets, cozy evenings, lazy mornings, 


{Emilie's 1st Christmas - 2013}


Board games, singing & being silly. 
Christmas pudding & chocolate log, 
traditions, santa & mistletoe, 


{Christmas 2013}


What does Christmas mean to you?



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Blogmas 2014 - Day One - Your favourite Christmas tradition.

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It's the first day of Blogmas 2014! Lets get this show on the road :) If you want to join in then just head over to Sandra's blog and link up there.

Today's prompt is..

Your favourite Christmas tradition. 

Oh I have so many! I love the fact that now I am a Mummy I get to watch Christmas through my children's eyes and I get to create some of that magic for them. Every christmas morning when we come downstairs, the look in James' eyes when he see's the presents and realises that Santa has been, brings tears to my eyes. I remember that feeling of waking up and wondering what would be waiting downstairs. 

Since James came along I've started a few traditions and brought some from my childhood with me. I can't pick just one so I've gone for three :) (I'm breaking the rules on the first day.. Oops!) 

1 - This one I brought with me.. My Mum use to always cook sausage rolls on christmas morning. Just the smell of them baking takes me right back. I couldn't imagine christmas without them. The first thing I do when we come downstairs is break out a bag from the freezer and pop them in the oven to start cooking. 

2 - James loves this one. Fresh new PJ's for christmas eve.. Sometimes Christmas themed, sometimes not. I wrap them up and then he gets to open them before his bath. Last year it was the first time Emilie had worn PJ's and not a baby grow to bed so it was doubly nice :) I still need to purchase them both a pair for this year. 

3 - This is my favourite one. I think quite a few people do this but every year the kids get a new decoration for the tree. Sometimes James picks his, other times, like this year I buy it when he's at school and surprise him. This year he got a fox and Emilie got a pair of boots, in honour of her taking her first few steps! James loves going through his previous decorations each year and hearing the story about where they were brought. Their first ones were both 'Babies first Christmas' and then the year. When they're older I will give them their boxes of decorations for their own tree or just for memories sake. 



And theres my three :) Happy December! 

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Emilie - Sixteen Months.

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Sixteen months.. I was just saying to Anthony this morning that in some ways she now seems so grown up but in other ways she still feels like a baby to me. I try and not compare Emilie to James when he was her age but she definitely appears 'younger' than he did at sixteen months. Although they look so similar :) 

She is definitely our little diva. Still a temperamental soul and so unpredictable that she regularly gives me whiplash with her mood swings. Any change to her routine and she lets us know about it. On the other hand though she is so loving and this past month is loving snuggling up with either of us. Several times a day she comes to me with her dummy and cloth and I have to stop everything to sit down on the sofa and cuddle. I'm not complaining. This age is fun and snuggle time just adds to that. 

A year ago today at just four months old.. {Thank you Time Hop}



The biggest milestone achieved this month was that Emilie started walking! She can now walk from one side of the living room to the other.. She just chooses not to do it very often.. I'm guessing that she thinks that crawling is faster. She also refuses to walk if anyone other than myself, James or Anthony are in the room or on any other floor surface (i.e - the kitchen floor!) I know she'll get their in her own time but she's been teasing us for a long time now! 

A few photos of my phone from this month.. 


{The Mummy I pulled the plug out face}



{Feeding herself a yoghurt for the first time}


Happy SIXTEEN months Boo Boo!

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