Happy 6th Birthday Albi!

Yesterday was Albi's 6th birthday! He is my oldest baby...even if he is a dog I still consider him the first baby I ever had. Obviously Emilia is my first child and nothing compares to the love I have for her & Eduardo but Albi changed my life in so many ways! Although he has always been a daddy's boy and Jonathan is very much his #1, before I got Albi I had longed for a dog my whole life! Getting a puppy is a huge commitment and it was the first time I had to be responsible for somebody other than myself...I think having a dog (or several dogs in our case!) definitely prepares you for parenthood. It's different of course, but in a way I feel like it made the transition of becoming a mum a bit easier because I already felt like Albi, Sina & their puppies' mother if that makes sense! (I'm sure non-dog lovers will think I'm absolutely crazy but if you're a dog person you know what I mean!)

I worked out again yesterday, as I knew I wouldn't be able to make the gym today. Luckily I went at a very quiet time so I had the whole place to myself! Best time of the day...it means I even managed to take a gym selfie in some good lighting, ha ha ha!

It was another sunny day (although quite cold) so Emilia & Eduardo wore their swimsuits underneath their clothes and made some use out of their paddling pool! Needless to say it was filled with warm water...my kind of pool ;) Here they are learning to share. Emilia's dress and shoes are from H&M, Eduardo's t-shirt is from Disney World and his trousers are Zara Baby.

Hope you all had a good day! 

Fresh Mani and New Rings

Busy mornings at nursery & ballet for Emilia mean more one-on-one playtime for this monkey! Eduardo loves to crawl into his tent and hide until I come find him which is when he always gives me this mischievous little grin! These pyjamas are age 6-9 months, far too small (from John Lewis) but I love them so much on him I can't bear to part ways just yet! Monday mornings are always absolutely crazy in our house so I try to spend as much quality time with Eduardo as possible. Now that he's dropped his first nap I'm trying to find some baby groups to take him to!

I also managed to squeeze in a gym session yesterday in an attempt to balance out all the cupcakes consumed over the weekend! I'm trying to get in about three workouts a week which is harder than I expected, especially when I've never been a regular gym-bunny in my life! I just keep telling myself it will be worth it by the summer ;) Ha ha...we can hope! (My gym outfit is all Victoria's Secret Pink and I definitely need new trainers, let's be honest. Mine are about 500 years old.)

Later in the afternoon I got my nails done! Two weeks ago I got my first gel manicure (that wasn't done by myself) which was a decision I made based on the fact that I'm trying to grow them healthy & strong again. My nails are SO different to how they were before being pregnant with Eduardo! They used to be so strong and long with minimal effort, now they split all the time and I wonder if it has something to do with breastfeeding taking all my nutrients!? Now that I've stopped I'm hoping to get them back to where they used to be. I heard that gel nail polish will help them grow & protect them from so much breakage so I'm willing to give it a shot! Last time I went for red so of course this week I chose the complete opposite! I got a clean, natural nude pink called Bubble Bath from OPI's Gel Colour range. Part of the reason I chose this colour was because I've been feeling quite bridal lately! I know it's already been mentioned on the vlog but in case you didn't already figure it out, last week Jonathan upgraded my wedding/engagement rings! It was a big surprise and something I wasn't expecting. This month marks 8 years since we first met which is crazy to think about! I am so grateful to Jonathan for this beautiful present (though he still won't wear a ring himself...I tried! But this man is stubborn when it comes to wearing jewellery!). I'm not actually wearing my new wedding band in the picture as it was being resized and hadn't come yet but I received it today so I'm really happy to have the full set!

Before ending this post I just wanted to say that initially I was not going to share a picture of my new ring, as I was apprehensive about the backlash/criticism I might receive...but then I got so many questions and comments from people begging me to put a photo up that I gave in. I also feel like this is my life, my blog, my social media and whether I have 1 follower or 1 million, it's a photo I would want to share only because I'm proud and happy about it! Ultimately material things are not really what matter in a relationship...if Jonathan & I had an unhappy marriage but he gave me a shiny new ring it wouldn't mean anything and I probably wouldn't feel like sharing it at all because it would feel fake. I'm a girly girl and of course I like shopping, clothes, shoes & jewellery as much as anybody else but those are not the things that will make you happy - it's the relationships you have with yourself and those that are closest to you that are worth so much more than money can ever buy. 

Baking and Books

I took hardly any pictures yesterday but Sunday is normally pretty quiet in our house so we didn't get up to much! It had been a while since I baked cupcakes (surprise surprise, eh!?) and I was a bit inspired by Zoe's cookies and our recent trip to Lola's so I attempted to recreate Eduardo's Oreo one! I made these Cookies & Cream Cupcakes which contain actual crushed up Oreos...they turned out absolutely delicious! I got the recipe from my Keep Calm and Bake Cupcakes book but it's basically just a regular vanilla cupcake with crushed Oreos added to the mixture, a vanilla buttercream icing and some cocoa powder & a mini Oreo on top! Very easy and yummy! I enjoyed way too many of these while watching Vikings yesterday afternoon (which I've recently really got into...it's not a bad show! Very violent though so be aware!).

Emilia helped me bake and after devouring her cupcake later that evening, she turned around to me in her chair and said "best cupcake ever!" She really knows the way to her mother's heart! Ha ha ha! Other than baking, we had a very lazy day getting back into the kids' routines in preparation for the week ahead. As you probably already know I've stopped breastfeeding (which I'm still struggling with by the way...I admit I sometimes cry about it :( I miss it so much!!) but one of the good things that came from this is that I get to put Emilia to bed again. That was one of the hardest things to let go of when Eduardo was born as I always loved reading her books and tucking her in at night but it became daddy's job for the past year. Now we've swapped over again and Jonathan usually puts Eduardo down while I read to Emilia. Eventually when he's a bit older we'd like to read to both of them together but for now they're at quite different stages of attention spans when it comes to books so Eduardo gets a much shorter story! I took this picture while Emilia was snuggled up in bed waiting patiently for story-time to commence...she looked so cute! 

What books do you enjoy reading to your children? Or which ones do you remember reading when you were young? I have such nice memories of when my mum read me books as a child and I'm really happy to pass this tradition onto my kids too!

Family Shopping Day

Yesterday was a pretty eventful day - it started off with me winning the hair battle between Jonathan & myself, hahaha! I had been trying to convince him to shave his head for SO long as I think it suits him the best and he finally agreed with me. I love him with a tighter haircut! I think it shows off his face & makes him look younger and slimmer. Needless to say I am very happy with his decision :)

We headed to Bluewater (again) but this time with the whole family in tow. Although it was a bit stressful getting both children organised and working around their napping schedule, it actually turned out to be a lovely day out! I wore my pink & rose gold trousers from Ted Baker, Forever21 olive green blouse and New Look leopard flats.  

We ate lunch at Jamie's Italian again as they are very child-friendly and I love that the highchairs are all TrippTrapps so Emilia & Eduardo feel like they're at home! This time I ordered the crab spaghettini which were delicious and Eduardo had home-made fish fingers and potato wedges which he completely polished off!!! He is a monster! He also insisted on clutching Donny (Doc McStuffins' brother in case you didn't know) the entire time he was eating! 

As a special treat I told Emilia we could go to "the cupcake shop" which she was super excited about! Her eyes nearly popped out of her head when I brought her over to the Lola's Cupcakes stand!! It was so cute! I don't think she truly believed that there was such thing as a cupcake shop, (and I don't blame her...it does seem like something out of a dream) so when she saw all the different flavours, colours and sizes she squealed with excitement! She picked chocolate of course and I got red velvet. Her daddy got a brownie and Eduardo had a mini Oreo cupcake! 

After that we went to the Disney shop which we had been bribing both children with all day. Emilia was equally as excited about that and marched around the shop picking out things for both Eduardo and herself...she quickly learned that the double buggy makes a perfect shopping trolly to store things in (I followed behind putting everything back!). Some of the items she picked for Eduardo included a Snow White doll and a Mickey Mouse beach ball. Her choices were noticeably more extravagant such as a Doc McStuffins doll & accessories set, Sofia the First ship with mermaid dolls...but in the end they were allowed to pick one toy each so she got a set of Disney Princesses and Eduardo got a Mickey Mouse train station (or at least I think that's what it is, I'm really not sure!). 

I hope you all had a good weekend! 

Family Day in Brighton

Yesterday started with Eduardo giving me a series of mini heart attacks with his newest party trick...climbing the bookshelf. The worst thing about it is the cheeky grin he gives me every time I catch him with a foot up on the bottom shelf. He makes it so difficult to be cross with him!!! 

Emilia spent the morning at nursery where she acquired this little toy in her hand. I was pretty horrified when I found it in her backpack but she showed no signs of remorse and instead seemed very proud of herself! A serious talk about not taking things that don't belong to us ensued but I'm still not sure she understood what I was saying! Having said that, I'm not exactly one to talk as I know my mum used to discover a whole collection of toys I would "borrow" from kindergarten. Emilia's whole outfit here is from H&M (except for her headband which was a PO box gift!). She looked so cute with her little backpack going off to "school"! 

Later that afternoon we headed to Brighton to see Zoe & Alfie! We had such a lovely time with them and Zoe & Emilia shared this sweet moment together which I'm so happy I captured! Emilia's hair has just barely become long enough to play with and Zoe was plaiting it for her. She was in heaven! I think I need to get her some tiny elastics but right now she is still pretty attached to her bows. She doesn't like to wear it any other way!

For dinner we had Wagamamas as Jonathan had been craving it since there isn't one in our town. I got the chicken ramen which is my favourite (aside from yaki soba - I always get either one of those two). For me the highlight of the day was Zoe's amazing milk & white chocolate chip cookies which she spontaneously whipped up later that evening...they are by far THE BEST cookies I've ever tasted! (They're actually Tanya's recipe - check them out here!) They are super dense and filling but realistically if I could I would eat a whole batch of them in one sitting! The shirt I'm wearing here is from MiH Jeans and my belt is from Zara. 

I hope you're all having a fantastic weekend. :) I'm still dreaming of those cookies.  

Pub Lunch

Today the sun was shining so we headed out for a lovely pub lunch with the whole family! I dressed appropriately in a flowy top that would hide a multitude of sins...ha ha ha! The top is from Maje and I also wore my olive green Michael Kors jeans and some blush pink ballet pumps from LoveClothing. We went to The Jolly Farmers as it had been highly recommended to us and it didn't disappoint! 

It was a beautiful day so we sat outside where Emilia & Eduardo could both enjoy the children's play area. If you have ever experienced dining out with small children you'll know that things like these are a godsend! Bored kids forced to sit at a table are never a lot of fun, so this way they could burn off some of their energy while waiting for their food! Emilia wore all navy today - her dress is from Benetton, shoes are by H&M and her bow is from Layniebug Designs

I ordered the veggie burger (not pictured) which was amazing and absolutely could not say no to this heavenly creation also known as sticky toffee pudding WITH CLOTTED CREAM. Oh my goodness...I don't even care that I looked like I was expecting baby number three after I'd finished every last bite - it was so worth it!! Yes...the summer diet is going very well indeed. *tumbleweed*

Poor Eduardo was so tired by the end of his meal but that didn't stop him from devouring his own brownie before attempting to polish off Emilia's as well...ha ha ha! I had to go through about 75 wet wipes to get all the chocolate off his face/hands/hair/ears etc. 

We had such a wonderful family day out. I am so in love with pub lunches now (this was only our second since moving here!) I want to do it every week!

Trip to the Groomer's

This morning I was greeted by this beautiful baby (two beautiful babies actually but the other one is more difficult to get a picture of ;) who decided to have a cuddle with mummy's shoes while I was doing my makeup & rushing to get ready! These baby blue cloud pyjamas are from H&M - they have some really cute kids stuff actually! 

The reason why I was in such a rush is because today was grooming day for our dogs and their appointment was for 9am (we were 20 minutes late of course...as always I underestimated just how long it would take to get six very excitable dogs into their harnesses and out the door). After I dropped them off I headed to the gym to squeeze in a workout. Since I stopped breastfeeding I gained 5lbs (*boo*) and with summer fast approaching I feel the need to shape up & try to get the pre-baby body back! I've already seen some comments speculating that I'm pregnant again...I'm not, but after having two kids back to back the "mummy tummy" struggle is real, folks! Especially after eating a big meal! 

And here is what my six furry babies looked like after their trip to the groomer's! I wish they'd stay like this all month long but then they probably wouldn't enjoy their walkies so I shouldn't complain. But for at least a couple of days they look and smell amazing! If you don't already know who is who...here's the "secret bow code" ;) Who is your favourite puppy?!

dark blue = Albi
light blue = Theo
purple/lavender = Sina
pink = Nivea
yellow = Nuvies
red = Bianca

When I went to collect them, everyone was calm & quiet except for Bianca who yapped non-stop until I picked her up. The groomer said "ooh she's always so chatty isn't she?!" Ha ha ha, that's one way to describe her!

Where would we be without a little bit of a What I Ate Wednesday?! Here's what I made for dinner - sweet & sour prawn stir fry with spinach noodles! This was my first time using these noodles, they are an organic Japanese brand that I randomly found while doing my shopping on Ocado. I figured they'd be a good way to sneak in some hidden veggies to the family's diet without them noticing and my plan worked! Emilia & Eduardo loved them :) 

What did you eat for dinner today? 

Date Day

Throughout all the craziness that's happened over these past few years, the one thing that has remained constant and which I can always rely on is my relationship with Jonathan. Unfortunately it's also something I often take for granted. I recently realised that as much as we have the luxury of jobs that allow us to spend a lot of time together, we don't tend to make time for each other without the children unless it's something work related. And while our relationship is strong a marriage takes work and it's important to me that we look after it so we can be the best parents possible to Emilia & Eduardo! So we've decided to make a conscious effort to organise a weekly "date night" or in today's case "date day" where we don't talk about work and do something nice for the two of us. 

Today's date actually exceeded all of my expectations! I had anticipated maybe going for a meal in our local town (I'm a simple girl!) but after showing Jonathan an Instagram pic of the kind of amazing deliciousness that is a s'mores milkshake, he suggested Bluewater which is home to the red velvet Lola's Cupcake shake - my all-time favourite treat! The excitement nearly kept me up all night...I couldn't wait to go! We decided to beat rush-hour traffic and go during the day when it's quieter...hence the "date day" was born! Here's what I wore on our lunchtime date - a pretty simple outfit which is nothing you haven't all seen before! The blue shirt is an old Tommy Hilfiger one, my jeans are beaten up €5 ones from a Zara sale rack, the pink bow flats are from ASOS about 4 years ago and my pashmina was from a stall in Sorrento. My bag is by ChloĆ© (my 21st birthday present from Jonathan ;)

Bluewater has a huge selection of restaurants but we finally decided on Jamie's Italian for lunch as the last time we were at one was probably in Dublin. I went all out and ordered my absolute favourite pasta dish...black squid & mussels spaghetti! Seafood pasta is pretty much all I eat when we're in Sorrento - I am obsessed! This certainly didn't disappoint...the spaghetti was amazing and super filling! So much so that I passed on dessert (totally unlike me) and didn't even feel like my cupcake shake! Instead we opted to do some retail therapy which mostly involved spending a ridiculous amount of time in toy shops picking out presents for our kids, Jonathan trying on and subsequently falling in love with the Apple watch (I still don't get it) and me filling the void in my heart after finishing up with breastfeeding by buying 12,000 push-up bras.

Here is some of the damage that was done today! As you can see it was a very pink haul...poor Jonathan! This is minus the kids' toys of course...but I did pick up a little flannel beach dress for Emilia from Juicy Couture which I thought would be so cute over her swimsuits this summer! I also got a set of hot pink heart print pyjamas which were on sale. From Victoria's Secret PINK I did pick up some bras as I'm in dire need of new (smaller...*SOB*) ones! And one boring pair of white undies. The bras are all from the Push-Up range and I got four "The Date" ones (in black, grey, indigo and berry) as well as one plain "Wear Everywhere" white one.

There was one more major, unexpected and very exciting thing we did today that I haven't mentioned yet because it's not the right time BUT I will tell you about it soon ;)

Meanwhile back at the zoo...here's what this monkey was getting up to! I swear to god, my children could not be anymore different! Emilia would never do anything this crazy but this ladies and gentlemen is little Eduardo Jonathan...professional furniture climber and the sole reason for which I will most likely go grey in my late twenties. 

All jokes aside, today was pretty amazing and we both came home feeling refreshed, renewed and even more in love. I highly recommend setting aside some quality time for each other every week especially if you have kids! Life can get stressful, crazy and sometimes you end up taking out your daily frustrations on the very person you are closest to. So it's important to give your relationship a little TLC to remind yourselves why you got together in the first place! Let me know what you think of date night/days. Do you have them and if so, do they make a difference to your relationship?

Eduardo's 10 Month Update!

Obviously Eduardo is no longer 10 months old - it was his 1st birthday last week! But these were old pictures & a video I filmed 2 months ago that were too cute not to post. Plus I really enjoy looking back on these updates...so here ya go! 

He was so alert and feisty in this video for some reason! I think he had just woken up from his morning nap and was in a great mood. I have so much to update on since doing this video as A LOT has changed so I will probably post that next week! Stay tuned!

Eduardo's Mickey Mouse Party!

Last weekend we threw Eduardo a vintage Mickey Mouse themed 1st birthday party...and here's how it turned out! All photos are courtesy of Chris Brock Photography, who took some wonderful candids of our very special day. 

I got almost all the decorations for the party from Etsy. I got inspired on Pinterest and started pinning all my favourite Mickey Mouse party details a few months ago. Then I basically took all my favourites and searched for handmade items on Etsy to give the party that vintage feel. Eduardo is obsessed with Mickey, everytime he sees his face he wants to kiss him and makes a "mmmmwah" sound. 

Here's a brief list of the items I got along with where I sourced them: 

Personalised Eduardo bunting & high-chair bunting - Fancy Flags & Banners
Mickey Mouse paper straws - BA Collections
Mickey Mouse garland - Bluefin Works
Fabric cake bunting - Backyardprims
Mickey Mouse cupcake toppers - Ava Lane Paperie
Mickey Mouse paper windmills centrepiece - Aubabi78 
Mickey confetti in red black & yellow - Mountain View Creations
Mickey Mouse themed loot bags/goody bags - Scraps to Remember
  Mickey Mouse invitations - Styles with Charm

The catering for the party was all by a company called The Icing on the Cake which I was lucky enough to find on Facebook. I got so disheartened & frustrated while looking for the perfect Mickey Mouse cake...I found that a lot of them looked cheap or flat looking which I don't like. I want a cake to look yummy, even if it is themed! So the one I chose was similar to Emilia's 1st birthday cake that my cousin made with the petal icing but obviously in the classic Mickey Mouse colours! I also got red velvet cupcakes, cookies and both kids & grown up sandwiches. This catering company specialises in pop-up vintage afternoon teas so they provide beautiful china tea-sets with all the accessories. It was really gorgeous and everybody commented on how fancy everything looked! 

I also baked some Mickey Mouse shaped cookies with Mickey sprinkles from The Bakers Confections on Etsy...these didn't turn out very professional looking but they were home-made and special, so I put one in each goody bag and everyone thought they tasted great! (Especially Emilia ;)

We had an absolutely wonderful day spent with some of our close family & friends...Eduardo & Emilia had a blast and the sun even made an appearance later in the afternoon! We had planned on getting a bouncy castle but unfortunately it was spitting rain that morning so they couldn't deliver it - but in the end it didn't really matter as the kids hung out on their swing-set and trampoline. 

Thank you to everyone who came to Eduardo's first birthday party and helped make it special! And I hope you all enjoyed the pictures! Any questions, let me know in the comments! :) 
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