Why after nearly a year of blogging, I’m taking a break….

I’m not really sure how to write this post. I’ve been meaning to write it for days….

The thing is, I’ve decided to take a large step back from the blogging world for a little while. My blog started when I was pregnant and so far has seen and taken note of almost everything Austin has done, what we’ve been up to, how he’s developing with food etc And that’s why taking a break has been a very hard decision. There will be a big chunk of his life missing from the blog and it was originally started as something for him to read back on, so I feel that will be a shame.

The other side of things is that I feel I’m spending too much time on my phone and laptop. I always said to myself that as soon as I feel that way, I’ll stop for a while. If he naps in the day or after his bedtime I’m usually blogging/editing/filming/replying to a PR’s email from days ago – the list goes on. That only takes a certain amount of time, but it’s added to the million other things we have to do online these days – banking/emails/social media etc. As much as I have loved blogging (I really have), I feel like, along with everything else online, it’s consuming me a little. Sometimes when Austin naps, I quite fancy going to cook some food for him to freeze, or hanging the washing out, or putting his old clothes in the loft (sob) – you know, mum jobs. I always ignore these and find myself rushing to get online before he wakes up. I am prioritising the wrong things and find myself getting stressed about that, as I’d much rather concentrate on being a mum at the moment and sticking the laptop in the bin! When I said the wrong things, I mean wrong for me personally.

The things that make me happier should be top of my list right now. It may sound like I’m being dramatic – blogging and online banking is hardly the hardest job in the world, but I’ve always been old-fashioned and really do prefer the simple things sometimes. A lot of it comes from my old career as a nanny – I’m used to spending my days with babies, painting, baking, playing, colouring and I want to get back to that for a while with no distractions!

Anyone that blogs knows it takes time to create and edit posts, vlogs and everything else that comes with blogging – I knew that when I started but lately I feel like when I return, I’ll have had time to reassess what I want to do with my blog, which direction I want it to go in and how much time I’ll spend doing it. When I was pregnant, I just started documenting, but now that’s it’s grown a lot I need to work out where I’m going to take it next.

I’ve noticed that there can be so much pressure as a blogger – an insane amount! You should post every day to maximise exposure, get PR’s interested, get your stats higher, Tweet all the time….. Are you exhausted yet?! I do understand all that though, I’m just not sure a big successful blog is what I’m interested in anymore. What’s all this ‘like for like’ ‘follow for follow’ business as well?! Don’t people want others to read their blog because they enjoy it, or would they rather have fake likes to up their numbers?

I’ve found, sadly, the blogging community can sometimes be very fake and that’s not enjoyable for me at all. The majority, and those I keep up with on social media, are absolutely lovely but as with everything in life, there’s always a few that ruin it for the rest. I don’t enjoy being around fake people and fake things so maybe when I return I should steer clear of some of the Facebook blog groups. I  love some of them, they have a great social presence, the admin can be vey sweet and they really do help grow readers, but some of them are just full of the usual “Leave your Twitter page below and people will follow, you also MUST follow the 5 above you”.  I get why people want to do it, as stats are key when growing a blog, but that’s not me – I don’t want to be following a load of unrelevant, boring people just because they follow me back! Anyway, I digress….

Talking about how much time the internet takes up sounds silly as I see mums with 3 kids, twins, a full-time job and a husband away at sea who still blog daily, bake a cake and do the school run! I’ll be honest, I have absolutely no idea how they manage it – they’re superhuman, I swear! Amazing mummies! I’m very lucky to have my husband working from home, so he’s around with us all the time. You’d think that’d give me more time to blog as he can watch Austin but actually I find it makes it harder. If I am on my computer too much, I find that I would rather be making the most of the time we have as all 3 of us.  If all 3 of us are around all the time, I can get internet guilt. Why am I rushing online all the time when I could be relaxing and enjoying my family? It’s mad because I have more time than anyone – no job, a cleaner, husband at home – but whatever my reason, something is telling me to take a step back from the internet for a while.

Whilst on holiday recently, I realised how nice it was to be away from my laptop, phone and decent wifi. Basically the modern world. Do you know what? Grant and I talked more than we have in years! Nothing exciting, just chit-chat throughout the day, but in our house at home the internet and modern lifestyle definitely gets  in the way sometimes.

Family time by the pool

Family time by the pool

Do you ever find you both sit at home staring at your phones and forgetting to talk?!

It definitely happens with us lots and my blogging definitely adds to that. I’ve decided that I’m going to enjoy my family a little and stay away just for a bit. It’s a very hard decision as I absolutely love my blog and it’s something I’m very proud of.

Do you ever feel like you want to take a step back from the modern world, grab a pen and paper and do things the old-fashioned way? If so, you’ll know where I’m coming from.

Thank you to each and every one of you that reads my blog every week – if you enjoy it, please do stay following me as I’ll definitely be back. My Weekend Baby Style linky is the one thing I am absolutely certain will be staying. I started it only 11 weeks ago (terrible timing to take a break, right?!) And I absolutely LOVE it. It’s insane how much it’s grown and it’s something I’m going to really, really miss until I’m back! Fortunately, I roped in a co-host recently, a bloody good one at that. Sarah from Knott Bump & Us will be keeping it warm on her own – please keep linking up and give her some support, she looked after it alone whilst I was on holiday and did a fantastic job!

WBS3_zpscxyafxqgMost importantly I will definitely be staying on Instagram (and my personal FB page)  just as much as ever so please stay with me there, I can’t vanish completely, now can I? 🙂

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Love ya and thanks for reading. See you soon!
hannah

APH Gatwick airport parking review

Before I go into detail, let’s get this out there – I cannot recommend this company enough! I may have been given 2 spaces for a week for free of charge, but that has nothing to do with it. I have actually used this brand twice before over the years (paid for by myself) and have always received fantastic service.

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Before we arrived, we had been emailed a confirmation of our booking, plus a very detailed list of directions which we printed off for reference. We got to our parking site around 6am and pulled up right outside the office. I left Austin and Grant in the car and popped in to let them know we’d arrived. We were instructed to leave our key in the car and unload our bags. One great thing I noticed is that they wouldn’t take my house key on the car keyring – they said it was for insurance purposes but would I really want to leave lots of employees of any company with my home address and key?! I was pleased they reminded me to remove it and keep hold of it myself.

There were APH men milling around ready to move the cars into their own parking spot for the week, so we left them to it and jumped on the bus to the South terminal. The bus is right next to the office, so the rain didn’t trouble us as it was also under cover. The bus driver was helpful, lifting our bags and prams on for us and tucking them away. The journey was less than 10 minutes and was a pleasant ride right to the airport door. The driver helped us off again and from there we disappeared onto a plane and off to the Canaries!

Fast forward a week and we were home. We got on the bus, which arrived around 30 seconds after we got to the bus stop – they come so often you’re never waiting long at all. We had the same route back and an even more helpful driver than last time! He was chatty, interested in our holiday and had lots of questions about the babies too – really great service. When we arrived at APH site again, we popped inside the office and gave our names. They wouldn’t let my husband sign the car out as it had been me that signed it in. You may think that’s annoying but think of the security – these guys have your car, they need the same signature checking it both in and out and I totally understand why. After all you wouldn’t want anyone being able to stroll in and sign your car out now, would you?

We were absolutely exhausted but were finished in the office in under 2 minutes. The lovely ladies behind the desk let me feed Austin in there too, ready for the journey home. The car was waiting right outside – we hopped in and drove home. Absolute success. Our car had not a scratch, our odometer read the same, it looked exactly as it did when we left it. I would absolutely trust this brand with any car I owned, no matter how expensive the car was. It’s the 4th time I’ve used this company and has been so smooth and easy every time. Even with two 7 month old babies, the parking and bus journey were completely stress free.

If you’re heading abroad and don’t want to pay silly money to park in the airport grounds, contact APH now!

Thanks for reading!

hannah

Fisher Price Newborn-to-Toddler Play gym review

Even though Austin has been sitting up unaided for around a month now, he’s still a little wobbly. We were recently contacted by Mattel to as if we’d like to review the Fisher Price Newborn to Toddler Play Gym, so the timing was perfect.

There are three ‘grow with me’ stages and even though he is a little too old for the newborn setting, the stage 2 Sit and Play setting is great for his age. It has a comfy mat, plus has lots to do and play with to keep his attention. I’ve found it helps to keep him upright as he has more to focus on and hold on to.

Newborn stage 1 playmat setting

Newborn stage 1 playmat setting

The stand up stage looks good to – Austin will be tall enough to put the balls in the top and watch them roll down the sides – something I’m sure he’ll find hilarious! The dancing lights and great range of music is a fab feature. There is baby-activated short play music, or long play for up to 20 minutes of music. Another good thing to know is that the ball/chute game (if a little clunky and noisy) helps develop fine motor skills, gross motor skills, balance & coordination.

stand up stage 3 toddler setting

stand up stage 3 toddler setting

Austin has had lots of fun testing out this product and I’m sure he’s going to love it for months to come!

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stage 2 setting

 

stage 2 setting

stage 2 setting (large playmat is my own)

How do I rate this item?

This product all-round is pretty good, I’m a fan of the lights, music, soft mat and ball game. There are a couple of downsides for me though….

I think it’s quite pricey retailing at just under £50 and I’m also not sure whether I’d want to keep it up in my front room until Austin is walking – I think it would feel like an unnecessary piece of equipment unfortunately. He already has so many items downstairs – a playmat, toy baskets, sensory box, Jumperoo, ball pool, bouncer chair, V-Tech walker – the list goes on. He’s only 8 months but I’m already looking forward to being able to put things like the playmat, Jumperoo and bouncer up in the loft very soon – I have a large house but my lounge and dining room honestly look like a nursery!

I think the aim for a lot of parents is to eliminate big items that take up space as their baby gets older, especially by the time they’re walking. Once they’re up on their feet they are off discovering everything at their new higher level. For me, it’s a chance to clear away the baby gear and get some of my house back! Older children don’t need quite so many huge contraptions – I feel that by the time most people had a toddler, they’d probably want rid of play gyms and such which, for me, sadly leaves the 3rd stage of this product slightly redundant 😦

That is just my take on the 3rd stage though. If you’re happy to have a play gym in the house with a toddler, then it’s a lovely one to choose! Another thing to think about is if they’ve had it since very young and used it through the first 2 stages, I’m not sure that the 3rd stage offers enough to keep them interested. After a year of putting balls down the chute, the novelty may wear off a little. However if you plan to purchase it around Austin’s age then I think your little one would still find lots of fun to be had even at the 3rd stage.

Even though I’ve wrestled with a few of the main selling points – it being a newborn-to-toddler item, plus the size and type of toy still being in your home with a walker, I still think it’s a good product. I’d give it a score of 3/5.

Thanks for reading!

hannah

Weekend Baby Style | Week 11

Welcome to Weekend Baby Style! This linky is very simple and is basically just an #OOTD. Click here for full linky explanation. My co-host is Sarah from Knott bump & Us so make sure you pop by her post and say hello! 

First thing’s first – let me say a HUGE thank you to Sarah for flying solo over the last two weeks! I’ve been on my holidays and had terrible wifi so couldn’t host. I got back last weekend so have missed 2 WBS posts in total. Boo! To save confusion I’ve kept this week as Week 11 on my blog, just so that I’m always running the same week as Sarah. I’ve really missed taking part and hosting so I’m very excited to be back this week! Secondly, let me thank everyone that came back to link up while Sarah was hosting alone. We have such loyal linkers, it is so lovely to see everyone returning each week – and very exciting to keep seeing new people too! Welcome! We’re also going to keep the style of the temporary gold spotty badge Sarah used – I came back from holiday and loved it! So even though we may tweak it over the next few weeks the style will stay the same. We hope you love it too!

We’d love you to share your little one’s outfits. It’s so simple! Join in below…

 Austin’s WBS:

I chose to choose one of Austin’s midweek outfits this week as it was simply too cute not to! It was also the day that he was celebrating turning 8 months old. Where is the time going?!

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White long sleeved vestM & S

White #OOTD t-shirt – Rocket and Rose

Leopard print leggings – Zara (girl section!)

White socks – Baby GAP

Slouch beanie and scarf – Posh Kiddos (don’t forget to use code AUSTIN15 for discount if you visit their site!)

Could this t-shirt BE more appropriate for the linky?! I love it! We ordered a couple from this brand so look out for Austin wearing those soon. We didn’t do much that day – popped to my sister’s house for a play, then back home for a bath and early bedtime. This boy really loves his sleep!

Today (Friday) Austin will be wearing:

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Grey slouch beanie – Posh Kiddos

Black and white scarf – Enjoy Essential

Black and white stripey top – H & M

Jeggings –  Zara (girl’s section)

Leopard Print Converse – Available from Office

This is one of my favourite outfits – I love black and white, plus the Converse are just amazing! Although this morning I’ve had to make the devastating decision to sell them 😦 They’re a little too small for Austin even though he’s only worn them twice – indoors for about an hour each time so they’re like new! Keep an eye out on my Instagram page soon if you’d like a chance to nab them at less than retail cost.

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I love Austin in beanies and scarves lately too and as some of you may know, we’ve teamed up with Posh Kiddos as their rep! We’re really enjoying it and their site is absolutely amazing for leggings, tops and beanies/scarves! Well worth a look – don’t forget to use our discount code!

Special mentions this week goes to:

This fab ladybird outfit from Baby Sausages – such a gorgeous little girly outfit!

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And: The lovely boys from Little and Big Well done guys!

DSC_1738Will you be next week’s special mention?!

The rules!

  • Add the link to your post below and join in with the fun
  • Copy the code to grab my badge below and use it on your entry post
  • Don’t forget most importantly to visit other entries and share some love for their outfits too! 🙂
First Time Mummy
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