It’s Sunday morning, and that can only mean one thing.

Time for another round up from my little Instagram community #ShowYouWereThere.


My first pick for this week is this festive family throwback photo from Kerry at Kerry Louise Norris.

I love Christmas traditions like the one Kerry and her family seem to have started with visiting the winter wonderland in Cardiff each year, it’s so lovely for everyone to look forward to!

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I’m still ill. Not even joking. I feel like shit so whilst on the snuggled up under a duvet today, I made a Christmas bucket list for us. One of the things was heading to Cardiff’s winter wonderland as it’s one of Eva’s favourite things to do at Christmas. She still remembers what we did there last year and the year before which always amazes me. This was taken of us there last year (before I took Eva ice skating and almost pulled my back pushing her and the penguin around)! What’s on your Christmas bucket list this year? #meandmineproject #lifecloseup #christmasincardiff #welshbloggers #ukparentbloggers #clickinmoms #myhappyviews #myhappycapture #beinthepicture #showyouwerethere #capturingthesedays #treasuringlittlememories

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Next up is this brilliant photo from Adam at IronStyles.

I just absolutely love this moment that he’s captured, and the smiles on both their faces!


My third choice is from Lucy at Mrs H’s favourite things.

I’ve always loved feeding the ducks with the children in the park, and remember going to do the same with my mum when I was little.  It’s such a simple activity, but so lovely to do with our children.

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*HAPPY MOMENTS* __________ I do love this photo of me and Little Mister H feeding the ducks at @wwtslimbridge . We had such a lovely day there a few weeks ago. And it is one of my happy moments from October. __________ I’m over on the blog today sharing those moments from October that bought a smile to my face. (Link in profile). Including our day at Slimbridge, where the kids had a wonderful time feeding ducks and splashing around in welly boot land. What were your happy moments from October? __________ #mama_pals #ig_bbcc #ponderingparenthood #myhappycapture #littlefierceones #raisinglittlepeople #happylittlebuttons #letthembelittle #childhoodunplugged #rememberingthesedays #developinglife #lifecloseup #littlestoriesofmylife #highlightsofhappy #thisparentlife #mycolourfulkids #themagicineveryday #borntovoyage #beinthepicture #countrykidsfun #whatevertheweatherkids #myfamilyadventures #explorerkids #freespiritedchildhood #letsgolittles #lovelifeoutside #showyouwerethere #mytinytribe #wheremywelliestakeme

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My last pick for this time is this rather dramatic photo from Jaymee at The Mum Diaries.

I don’t think I’d really appreciated how big the Angel of the North is before seeing this photo!


Thank you so much to everyone who is using #ShowYouWereThere, I love seeing your photos popping up over on Instagram, they always make me smile so much.


Now my turn.

Actually, it’s my husband’s turn this week.

This was taken last weekend as we walked along the seafront from the cenotaph to the civic centre to see the Pages of the Sea event.

show you were there


If you’d like to join in with my little community and possibly be featured in my next round up (with a nice link back to your blog!) then just share a photo of yourself over on instagram using #ShowYouWereThere.  It’s all about getting more parents in more photos.  And if you’d like to take part in my guest post series ‘The photo I’m thankful for’ then take a look at this post or email me at for more information.


There are many reasons why you might want to purchase a second home.

For many people, it’s a chance to have a holiday home you can head to whenever you need to get away and spend some time in the sun. Or there might simply be a place in the world that you love but you don’t live there. If that’s the case, it makes sense to push ahead and start looking for a second home that’s going to meet your needs.

There are lots of things that you need to get right as you start the process of looking for a second home. It’s never a good idea to rush things because you’ll then risk making mistakes and spending a lot of money on a holiday home that’s not right for you. The tips below will help you move through the stages of buying a second home carefully and successfully, so read on.

Tips for purchasing a second home

Get the finances in order first

First of all, you should make sure that you have your finances in order and as organised as they can be. You need to do this before you start calculating how much you’re going to be able to spend on this second home. You should never stretch yourself too much or push your finances to a point at which they break. So be sure to assess things carefully and make sure this purchase is one that is actually going to be financially viable for you over the long-term.


Set a budget and don’t move from it

Next, you should set a strict budget for the second home purchase. This should be based on how much cash and spare income you have at your disposal. As I mentioned above, don’t try to spend more money than you can really afford to because it will come back and bite you in the end. Once you have a budget in place that you’ve spent a lot of time thinking about and working out, try to set it in stone and don’t let it move or grow when you see an expensive place you like.


Think carefully about where in the world you want the second home to be

Arguably, the location of the second home you purchase is the most important people of all. You should look at the different options, consider the benefits of each location and decide which place you want to spend time in on a regular basis. If you decide you want to buy a property in Singapore, for example, you choose to buy a place in Singapore, look at the latest property news in Singapore and get to know the market. Knowing the local market will help you during the buying process.


Factor in things like travel time and costs

There are lots of things that have to be taken into account when you’re choosing a place to buy. You shouldn’t forget the amount of time and money aht will have to be spent getting to your location each time you want to spend time there. You might not want to be travelling for a whole day just to get to your second home. Then again, maybe that works for you and your lifestyle. Just make sure you take all of that stuff into account.


Decide what kind of space you want to buy

There are plenty of different options when it comes to choosing a holiday home. You might want a classic cottage, a cabin by the sea or an apartment in a modern city. It’s up to you to decide what kind of place you want to be spending your free time in. If you’re part of a family making this decision, be sure to listen to everyone’s point of view so no one gets ignored or left out of the whole process.

Buying a second home - essential tips


Ensure it’s accessible

It’s best to choose a second home that’s going to be accessible. If you’re going to have to fly to the location where it’s situated, for example, you will want it to be relatively easy to get to from the airport. If you choose a holiday home in the middle of nowhere, you will waste a lot more time and energy trying to get to it. That’s not what you want, especially when you consider that having a break at your second home is supposed to reduce stress not pile it on.


Make sure second homes are legally viable in the location you want to buy in

There are some areas in the world where it’s actually not legal to own second homes. These measures are usually put in place when the local area is suffering as a result of too many people buying up second properties, using them as holiday homes and depriving local people of decent housing. So before you decide for sure where you want to buy, make sure that the location you want to buy in allows second home ownership.


Do you want to let it out when you’re not there?

This is one option that can be considered if you’re going to be able to visit your second home a handful of times each year. By letting it out, you’re able to put the property to work and get it earning you some money when you’re not using it. With the rise of platforms like Airbnb, it’s now more possible to do this than ever before, so definitely look into it if you haven’t considered this option yet.


Decorate the home and keep it easy to maintain

Finally, you should make sure that you leave time to decorate the property, and when you’re still in the buying process, you should try to look for a home that seems relatively easy to maintain. You don’t want it to cause you even more headaches and problems than it needs to.


Purchasing a second home can be great for your family because it gives you all a place to escape to when you want to relax and spend time together in a location you love away from home. Just make sure that you don’t rush into any decisions and make sure you find the time to locate the ideal second home for your family.


Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post

I can’t quite believe that we’re halfway through November.

I also can’t quite believe that my siblings photos for this month are of the children outside in short-sleeved t shirts!

The pictures were taken a few weeks ago, before the weather really started getting wetter and chillier.


I’d taken the children out to the car park area in front of our house after school one day to take some photos for another blog post.

They demonstrated some power poses for me beautifully, so do go and check that post out to see how well they did!

After they’d helped me out with that they were looking out over the fence to see the sea and the light was just right for taking a few siblings photos.


Siblings November 2018


Along with the lovely autumn light I really like the fact that you can see the trees behind them, starting to change from green to orangey-red.  With the children dressed the way they were, I’m not sure you’d have any idea that these pictures were taken so late in the year if it wasn’t for the autumn colours behind them.

Things are definitely starting to feel more wintry around here now though.

We went to St Helens at the start of November to see the fireworks display, and it was absolutely brilliant.  The choreography of the fireworks and the music was spot on.

Bonfire night sort of signals the start of the new season for me, and with that now done I have a feeling we’ll be on a fast track to Christmas.

Nerys is already bringing the festive spirit home from school as they’re busy learning all the songs for their Christmas play.  Last year in nursery class they just sang a selection of songs, but I think they’re doing a full nativity play this year.

Funnily enough, as I typed that she turned to me and told me that one of the songs starts, “we’re counting the miles to Bethlehem” so it seems pretty certain that’s what they’re doing.

I don’t know what parts the children will be playing yet.

What I do know is that I’m already looking forward to going and watching them.  I always get quite emotional for some reason.

I’m not the only one am I?

Sadly, as much as you may try to avoid it, there will be times when you’ll have to carry out some DIY work around your home.

As a result, although you may not need to stock the latest and greatest power tools, there are several essential tools that you’ll need around the home.

Here are a few of the essentials you won’t be able to live without.

Tools you can't go without around the house


  • Hammer

Simple, versatile and often cheap, a hammer can be used for many jobs around the home, for straightening things out to helping put pictures up for decorations. Plus, you can select a type of hammer to suit your needs. Wooden handled hammers are the traditional form, and these remain lightweight and comfortable. However, for larger tasks in need of a bit more power, the newer rubber style grip may be more appropriate, as this provides more weight and power.


  • Adjustable Wrench

Got a small drip, something that needs tightening, or a radiator to bleed? Then an adjustable wrench or spanner is perfect for the task at hand. In days gone by, many people would buy wrench sets for every possible task around the home, but an adjustable wrench is cheap, functional and allows you to take on any problem. Plus, by having a drawer full of wrenches in one tool, you can save valuable space.


  • Screwdriver Set

From building flatpack furniture to assembling purchases and disassembling things to move around the home, screwdriver sets are perfect. Make sure your selection includes a range of different heads, such as phillips-head, flat-head, etc. If you’re looking to save on space, you can buy a multi-bit screwdriver set where you have one body and multiple and interchangeable heads. If you don’t like the idea of manually removing screws, then you could consider a battery powered screwdriver. The opportunities are endless and they’re all available from online providers.


  • Needle Nose Pliers

Has something gone wrong while you’ve put a nail into a wall? Or do you need help removing something from a tight space? Needle nose pliers are the perfect tool to help you. The thing with pliers is that you never realise you need them until you make a mistake or spot a problem, and then you need to stop mid-task. Prepare yourself in advance by adding some to your toolkit.


With these simple and cost-effective tools, you should be able to take on any minor DIY job around the home.


Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post

Christmas is coming.

It may still be several weeks away but it is coming and now is the time to start getting organised to avoid last minute stresses and rushing around.

If you want to go into the festive period feeling calmer and more on top of things, these 13 tips should help you get organised and save time this Christmas.

13 ways to get organised and save time at Christmas


1. Get a family calendar

If you already have a big family calendar up on the wall then use that, if not get a special one up for December.

Anything and everything that you need to do, go to or remember goes on that calendar.

As soon as you get the letters home from school about the Christmas concert, non-uniform days, and class parties put the dates on the calendar.  While you’re at it add a note with each event as necessary with the things you/your child needs to take along with them.


2. Arrange a childcare swap

If you need to get bits of Christmas shopping done in town, and could do with some peace to do it, then arrange a childcare swap with one of your friends.

Basically, you take care of their children for a few hours one day so they can crack on with their shopping by themselves, and they then return the favour.  This is also a great idea for when you need to get other Christmas-related jobs done in peace.

Just imagine, you could wrap a whole pile of presents in front of Love Actually completely undisturbed while your friend watches your children.  As long as you make sure to do the same for them to keep things fair!


3. Start shopping early

You can avoid some of the stress of Christmas shopping by getting started with it as soon as possible.

This way you’ll avoid the big crowds and the queues and have more time to find the perfect present for everyone on  your list.

You can make the whole experience even less stressful by doing as much of your shopping as possible online.  If you’re not already a member then think about getting an Amazon Prime account to get next day delivery on loads of items.  There’s normally a free trial period so you can test it out and see if it works for you and your family.


4. Phone ahead

If there are some presents that you can’t get online then you can still save yourself some time by phoning the shops before you head out to make sure they have what you need in stock.

A few phone calls could save you from hours of traipsing from shop to shop looking for the presents you’re after.


5. If in doubt go for a voucher

Some people are just really hard to buy presents for.

For these people you could spend hours searching for a gift that you think they might like, or you could save yourself a lot of time and just get them a gift voucher.

It might not feel as personal as you’d like, but pretty much everyone is happy to receive one and then get to choose something they’d actually really like.

You can save yourself even more time by ordering gift vouchers online.  A good safe option is an Amazon gift card as there is something for everyone on there.


6. Pick up some extra presents

While you’re doing your shopping thing about picking up a few extra presents to put aside for those people who unexpectedly get you something.

A few boxes of chocolates and bottles of wine are always good options, and are also handy to take along to any parties you might be invited to.

get organised and save time this Christmas


7. Do your food shopping online

Instead of battling the crowded aisles of the supermarket (after spending ages looking for a parking space) do your big food shop online.

Try and book your slot as early as possible and then you can keep adding items to your basket as you think of them up until the day before your delivery slot.


8. Sort out presents for teachers

If you have school-age children then you’ll know how tricky it can be to sort out presents for their teachers and classroom assistants.

As tempting as it might be to buy a ‘world’s best teacher’ mug, I have a better option for you.

Make a batch of something really easy but really tasty, like some chocolate bark or truffles, package them up nicely and give some to each teacher and assistant.  You’ll have everyone sorted with something they’ll love in no time at all.


9. Pick up stamps

Stock up on stamps next time you’re in town.

You don’t have to go to the post office to get them, you can a book of stamps from most supermarkets while you’re doing your weekly food shop.

Then when it comes to sending out your Christmas cards you won’t have to do an extra trip to the post office.


10. Knock out those Christmas cards

Get your list of everyone you want to send a card to and your address book.  Then go through and address all the envelopes first, instead of writing the cards and the envelopes one by one.

To make life even easier for yourself next year you can type up all your addresses and make labels that you can just print and stick on the envelopes.


11. Check your batteries

To save any frustration or disappointment over Christmas stock up on AA and AAA batteries in advance.

Make sure your camera batteries are charged too, and that you have enough space on your memory card for all the photos you’ll want to take.


12. Organise your wrapping

When you stock up on wrapping paper think about getting a different design for each member of the family.

This makes wrapping presents for stockings in particular much easier.  You won’t be worried about working out which presents need to go in which stocking once you’ve wrapped them all.

If you carry on using the same paper for the presents under the tree you can save time by skipping the gift tags.  Just tell your family that their presents will be wrapped in the same paper as their stocking presents.


13. Keep on top of your thank you notes

Have a piece of paper or your phone handy on Christmas day as presents are being opened so that you can note down who was given what by whom.

It might not be the most fun job in the world but will make things so much easier when it comes to writing thank you letters.


Hopefully these tips will help you get organised and save a fair bit of time this Christmas, so you can go into the festive season feeling full of cheer rather than stress.

Do you have any other tips or advice to help get organised for Christmas?


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This post is linked up with Blogger Club UK.

Moving house can be an incredibly stressful time, putting you through a lot of emotional and physical strain. In one poll, two-thirds of people voted moving house at the top of their stress list, with many claiming it caused greater anxiety than starting a new job or relationship breakdowns.

But it doesn’t have to be this way; there are many things you can do to easily reduce stress when moving to a new home.  

Easy ways to reduce stress when moving house

Have a Second Viewing

In many ways, your second house viewing is more important than the first. For the initial viewing you will get a good feel for the house and probably make a decision that you want to buy it. The second or third time you need to be prepared with a range of questions about the practicalities. This can reassure you about any worries that may crop up later, such as where the fuse box is found, how the boiler works, when the bins are collected and more.  


Label All Boxes

When it comes to packing up all your stuff, labelling the boxes clearly and using a coding system is a real stress-buster. Colours or numbers should be used to show how urgent the items in each box are, along with writing on their contents where possible and even using a different code for the room they’re needed in. This should make it simpler to know which boxes have to go where.


Use a Removal Firm

After buying your new property it can be tempting to try and cut further costs, especially if you’ve bought close to your budget. However, trying to transport all your belongings from your old home to new can be highly stressful and time consuming, going back and forth for ages. Even though it may cost a bit more, the benefits to your mental and physical health will be worth it if you just use a removal firm instead.


Move on a Friday

It makes sense to move house on a Friday if you can get the day off work, as this way you have the whole weekend to unpack and sort out any delays. If there’s a bank holiday on the Monday, then you’ll get even more time. Otherwise moving on a Saturday is the next best option as you won’t be stressing as much with more time to play with.


Create a Moving Day Survival Kit

You won’t have access to much of your stuff in the process of moving, so create a moving day survival kit. This should include food, cutlery, toiletries, baby supplies and pet food if necessary, phone, laptop, first aid kit and anything else you will need during the day.


Reduce the stress of moving house by following these tips and hopefully everything will run smoothly.  


Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post

I’ve been struck down with the lurgy.

I’m tired and achy and, if I’m honest, a bit complainy.

Luckily we didn’t really have plans for the weekend so on Saturday I was able to spend a fair chunk of the day in bed and on the sofa resting.

On Sunday though I thought it might be worth trying a different approach.

So after the children’s swimming lessons we headed down to the beach for a blast of fresh air and to have a look at the events taking place to mark armistice day.

Living Arrows

We walked down to the cenotaph first and spent a few minutes reading the notes on the wreaths that had been put down there.

Nerys in particular seemed to enjoy doing that, asking me to read various ones out to her.

Then we walked back along the beach all the way to the civic centre to see the pages of the sea event in progress.

The main portrait of Dorothy Watson wasn’t quite finished by the time we left, but I’ve since seen photos of it and it looked great.  I think it was such a brilliant idea by Danny Boyle, and so emotional to see the photos last night of the various portraits in the sand slowly being washed away by the tide.

I’m not sure quite how much Rhys and Nerys understand about the war, but to be honest I still struggle to get my head around it at times.  Which is why it’s so important that we keep talking about it and reading about it and never, ever forgetting.

Did you do anything with your children for remembrance day?


Living Arrows