Blog, Brew & Biscuits

Blog-Brew-and-Biscuits-cover-Photograph-B-Social-Media-advert-Canva-blogpost

Over the next few weeks, I am opening up my blog to some lovely bloggers to share their blogging experiences with you! There is a thriving community full of bloggers who have already walked in the steps I am about to take and also relatively new bloggers, who are full of questions and finding their feet. So, make yourself comfy, have a brew, some biscuits and get to know Emma from Wanderlust and Wet Wipes

Tell me a bit about yourself and what do you when you are not writing your blog?

My name is Emma and I am an expat stay at home mum to 2 completely bonkers but usually adorable kids aged 5 and 3. Since they are both at school full time now, I have a lot more free time than I used to. I fill it with a variety of things including the blog, obviously, but also volunteering at school, helping with a Brownie Pack and running events for a women’s network where we live.

Tell me about your blog and how long have you been writing it?

I’ve been writing Wanderlust and Wet Wipes for almost 1 year now and I’m totally loving it although it can be overwhelming at times! I describe myself as an expat adventure family travel blogger which is a bit long winded but hopefully describes what I do! My aim is to help and inspire other families to travel together. For some people this might mean pushing themselves out of their comfort zones. For others who used to take super adventurous holidays pre-kids, it might mean finding a balance where they feel the holidays work for all of them.

What inspired you to start writing your blog?

Basically we had a series of holidays which just didn’t work for us for various reasons. They were either too relaxed and didn’t do enough for my husband and I, or they were too full-on and ended up overwhelming us all. THEN we had an amazing holiday in Bali at the end of 2016.

I’d been looking for inspiration on what to do when I grow up since leaving my 9-5 in the UK to come and live in the Middle East. And suddenly it struck me that I should do something in travel. I’d always thought I could write a blog but never felt there was anything I could really contribute that wasn’t already being covered by other more established bloggers. A friend (now my blogger bestie!) really encouraged me to get started and I haven’t looked back.

What advice would you give to someone thing about starting a blog/just started writing a blog?

Don’t underestimate how hard it can be. It is lonely and it is definitely NOT just about writing something well and posting it. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes. I wasn’t naive going into it myself, particularly with a friend in the business so to speak. I knew there was much more to it than met the eye but just educating yourself on what it all is and how to do it can be overwhelming! I still get frustrated at just how much I have to learn.

Let’s talk Social Media, how do you balance this with your blog and everyday life?

I split social media in to 2 parts. The first is the blogging bit. I’d say I probably do around 50/50 blogging to social media and other promotion of my posts but I’m conscious that if I want my stuff to get out there then I need to make that more like 80/20 in favour of self promotion. It’s hard, especially as a newbie, to understand the changes that are happening all the time in social media. The change in Instagram’s algorithm affected me and I didn’t really understand what had happened until later. Facebook has recently announced that it will be requiring much more interaction in our content for it to show it to more people. It’s not enough just to like something anymore. On a personal level I really applaud this but it will make my blogging life more difficult, at least for a while.

The second is what I want to see which is actually less and less these days as I find myself following lots of other bloggers. Ironically I spend way less personal time now on social media than I used to.

Where do you see your blog going in the next few years?
I’d love to be earning money for travelling the world but I guess I’m in a rather big group there! It would be brilliant if I could get myself a reputation for being a super honest and reliable writer. My writing style is a bit warts and all to show that you can still have a great time on holiday even if stuff goes wrong.

What do you find is the hardest part about writing a blog?
Self promotion. And working long hours which I know I need to do if I really want it to go somewhere.

And the easiest?
The research part – travelling! It is my passion so who can say better than that?!

Lastly, for a bit of fun, if you could only watch one movie, listen to one song and read one book, again, what would they be?
Movie – Love Actually
Song – Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen
Book – The Time Travellers Wife

The Lupie Mummy would like to thank Emma for joining me on my blog, please take the time to visit her Blog – Wanderlust and Wet Wipes.

Emma is also on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter

Blog-Brew-and-Biscuits-cover-Photograph-B-Social-Media-advert-Canva-blogpost

Memories: Reykjavik, Iceland

Memories-Iceland-Reykjavik-Mountain-Cold-snow-Northern-lights_pregnant-solo-traveller-bucket-list

This week Facebook kindly reminded me that two years ago I spent 4 days exploring Iceland, as a solo traveller! Well, I say a solo traveller, Pumpkin was slowly beginning to grow inside me and was I was about seven weeks pregnant!

So, let’s rewind eighteen months before that adventure, I was determined to tick something off my bucket list and on the spur of the moment booked myself on a break to Reykjavik, this was with the hope to see the Northern lights! I have no problems or fear in travelling solo, I have been to Australia, America, Tunisia and Greece before on my own and have had some fantastic times and made wonderful memories!

Should I stay or should I go?

Between the time of booking the holiday and actually going, I met the man who is now my fiancé and the very proud Dad to Pumpkin! We looked at all the ways in which he could come on this holiday too, but it just was not possible, so this was going to be my last solo adventure! However, shortly before heading off on my adventure, we discovered that I was pregnant…this raised all sorts of questions to whether I should still go, did I want to go?, could I still go?, and all sorts of things ran through my head! Anyway, I decided that I was still going to go, as I had already bought all the thermals, hats, gloves, boots and a winter coat that would keep me warm on the coldest of Icelandic days! Yes, I could have returned these items, but do you know what, I really wanted to go.

A little panic…

Memories: Iceland This week Facebook kindly reminded me that two years ago I spent 4 days exploring Iceland, as a solo traveller! Well, I say a solo traveller, Pumpkin was slowly beginning to grow inside me and was I was about seven weeks pregnant! So, let’s rewind eighteen months before that adventure, I was determined to tick something off my bucket list and on the spur of the moment booked myself on a break to Reykjavik, this was with the hope to see the Northern lights! I have no problems or fear in travelling solo, I have been to Australia, America, Tunisia and Greece before on my own and have had some fantastic times and made wonderful memories! Between the time of booking the holiday and actually going, I met the man who is now my fiancé and the very proud Dad to Pumpkin! We looked at all the ways in which he could come on this holiday too, but it just was not possible, so this was going to be my last solo adventure! However, shortly before heading off on my adventure, we discovered that I was pregnant...this raised all sorts of questions to whether I should still go, did I want to go?, could I still go?, and all sorts of things ran through my head! Anyway, I decided that I was still going to go, as I had already bought all the thermals, hats, gloves, boots and a winter coat that would keep me warm on the coldest of Icelandic days! Yes, I could have returned these items, but do you know what, I really wanted to go. When I arrived in Reykjavik, I immediately remembered that I get scared when walking in the snow and ice - I somehow loose my ability to walk properly and all of a sudden I was gripped in fear of falling over and hurting myself and my little growing Pumpkin. No, this had not at any time come into my thought process during my wonderfully brave spur of the moment booking, or dreams of the Northern Lights in the preceding eighteen months! I felt silly, what had I done! So I sat on my bed (in my little single hotel room) and gave myself a little talking too! I remembered that the people in North Face, assured me my boots were fine for the weather and terrain, and that I had also packed some extra grippy ice clamp things to put on my boots make me feel better/more confident. Which did the trick (and “I will be fine” also became my little mantra for the next four days), and went off to explore! I got to see some wonderful places over the next four days, frozen waterfalls, mountain ranges, National Parks, and Geysers. Whilst I mention Geysers, despite the boiling water shooting up into the sky, this hits the ground and turns into ice rather quickly, so if your pregnant and visiting this, watch out for the very, very slippery ice. However, it does also double up as a good place to take a step back and people watch (from a distance, as you can still see the Geyser) and oh it does make great comical viewing! One of my favourite places that I visited, was the Blue Lagoon, it was absolute pure bliss. Before I went, I did my research, and I could go into the pools; but being pregnant; I just had to be aware of the water temperatures and how long I was in the pool for at any one time. I enjoyed wallowing in the pools, having a face mask and feeling the cold Icelandic air around me. The careful walk from the changing room to the pools and back again was rather bracing, but that was part of the fun, I think (I must admit, it was at this point, I did wish I hired one of the lovely fluffy bath robes!). Of course one of the biggest lures to Iceland in winter are the Northern Lights and like many of the other people staying in my hotel, I was eager to see them too! Many of the excursions that go off in search of the Aurora Borealis, will often take you out each night of your stay until you get to see them. On my third night, I was lucky enough to catch to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights and it was beautiful. I chose to watch them and enjoy them with my eyes, rather than through a camera lens, so apologies for no photographs! Iceland is famous for its local delicacies; most of which I couldn’t sample being pregnant. Now, I don’t know whether or not this was a good or bad thing really! I was really careful what I ate, and I felt that this did somewhat limit what I could have and where I could go and eat. However, I did find some lovely restaurants/cafes) near to the hotel which I visited throughout my stay. However, what really helped me during my stay and calmed my sickness, was hot chocolate! Weirdly, hot chocolate was the only thing that helped my morning sickness during the early stages of pregnancy, and I took advantage of this and took numerous hot chocolate stops around Reykjavik to warm up! What didn’t help much on the food side of things, was I went off a whole host of foods and the blander the food, the better. I had completely gone off fish, and the smell of fish and anything fishy induced waves of nausea; so, as you can imagine this was rather problematic in Iceland! I did have a lovely time, and Iceland was a beautiful country; Reykjavik was and felt a safe city for a solo female traveller. I must admit, I was constantly aware of the ice and snow, and worried about slipping, which I probably wouldn’t have been so bothered about if I wasn’t pregnant; but for those braver than me in the snow, it really wouldn’t put you off having a lovely and adventurous time! Would I go back? Yes, but I would like to go back in the summer and hire a car to be able to have a driving holiday, to be able to explore more than where the coach excursions are able to get to!

When I arrived in Reykjavik, I immediately remembered that I get scared when walking in the snow and ice – I somehow loose my ability to walk properly and all of a sudden I was gripped in fear of falling over and hurting myself and my little growing Pumpkin. No, this had not at any time come into my thought process during my wonderfully brave spur of the moment booking, or dreams of the Northern Lights in the preceding eighteen months! I felt silly, what had I done! So I sat on my bed (in my little single hotel room) and gave myself a little talking too! I remembered that the people in North Face, assured me my boots were fine for the weather and terrain, and that I had also packed some extra grippy ice clamp things to put on my boots make me feel better/more confident. Which did the trick (and “I will be fine” also became my little mantra for the next four days), and went off to explore!

Exploring!

I got to see some wonderful places over the next four days, frozen waterfalls, mountain ranges, National Parks, and Geysers. Whilst I mention Geysers, despite the boiling water shooting up into the sky, this hits the ground and turns into ice rather quickly, so if your pregnant and visiting this, watch out for the very, very slippery ice. However, it does also double up as a good place to take a step back and people watch (from a distance, as you can still see the Geyser) and oh it does make great comical viewing!

One of my favourite places that I visited, was the Blue Lagoon, it was absolute pure bliss. Before I went, I did my research, and I could go into the pools; but being pregnant; I just had to be aware of the water temperatures and how long I was in the pool for at any one time. I enjoyed wallowing in the pools, having a face mask and feeling the cold Icelandic air around me. The careful walk from the changing room to the pools and back again was rather bracing, but that was part of the fun, I think (I must admit, it was at this point, I did wish I hired one of the lovely fluffy bath robes!).

Memories-Iceland-Reykjavik-Mountain-Cold-snow-Northern-lights_pregnant-solo-traveller-bucket-list

Of course one of the biggest lures to Iceland in winter are the Northern Lights and like many of the other people staying in my hotel, I was eager to see them too! Many of the excursions that go off in search of the Aurora Borealis, will often take you out each night of your stay until you get to see them. On my third night, I was lucky enough to catch to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights and it was beautiful. I chose to watch them and enjoy them with my eyes, rather than through a camera lens, so apologies for no photographs!

Being pregnant and local Icelandic delicacies

Iceland is famous for its local delicacies; most of which I couldn’t sample being pregnant. Now, I don’t know whether or not this was a good or bad thing really! I was really careful what I ate, and I felt that this did somewhat limit what I could have and where I could go and eat. However, I did find some lovely restaurants/cafes) near to the hotel which I visited throughout my stay. However, what really helped me during my stay and calmed my sickness, was hot chocolate! Weirdly, hot chocolate was the only thing that helped my morning sickness during the early stages of pregnancy, and I took advantage of this and took numerous hot chocolate stops around Reykjavik to warm up! What didn’t help much on the food side of things, was I went off a whole host of foods and the blander the food, the better. I had completely gone off fish, and the smell of fish and anything fishy induced waves of nausea; so, as you can imagine this was rather problematic in Iceland!

My thoughts:

Memories-Iceland-Reykjavik-Mountain-Cold-snow-Northern-lights_pregnant-solo-traveller-bucket-list

I did have a lovely time, and Iceland was a beautiful country; Reykjavik was and felt a safe city for a solo female traveller. I must admit, I was constantly aware of the ice and snow, and worried about slipping, which I probably wouldn’t have been so bothered about if I wasn’t pregnant; but for those braver than me in the snow, it really wouldn’t put you off having a lovely and adventurous time! Would I go back? Yes, but I would like to go back in the summer and hire a car to be able to have a driving holiday, to be able to explore more than where the coach excursions are able to get to!

Blog, Brew & Biscuits

Blog-Brew-and-Biscuits-cover-Photograph-B-Social-Media-advert-Canva-blogpost

Over the next few weeks, I am opening up my blog to some lovely bloggers to share their blogging experiences with you! There is a thriving community full of bloggers who have already walked in the steps I am about to take and also relatively new bloggers, who are full of questions and finding their feet. So, make yourself comfy, have a brew, some biscuits and get to know Mercedes from Mercedes Prunty Author, The Walking Mumbie!

Tell me a bit about yourself and what do you when you are not writing your blog:
When I am not writing my blog, I am either running around after my two young daughters, taking them for days out, cooking or playing Lego, or I’m sitting in some sort of peace when they are at school and nursery writing my books.
I’m a self-published author of 5 books to date, soon to be 8 by the end of this year. My genres are mainly Zombie Horror and Fantasy but I hope to (by the end of the week after writing this) to have published my first children’s book!!!

Tell me about your blog and how long have you been writing it?
I have been writing my blog for a couple of years now but at first it was mainly a hobby, a way to write when my mind couldn’t focus on books, but I still needed to write to stay sane. It’s mostly a blog about me, my books, writing tips, author interviews, book reviews, film reviews, days out – Just anything that I feel needs to be blogged about.

What inspired you to start writing your blog?
What inspired me to start my blog was a woman who came to do a talk at a writers group I belonged to. She told us all that to succeed in growing our audience for our books we needed an author platform, our author platforms needed to be Blog, Facebook and Twitter (The BFT). And she was so right, although my blog isn’t huge it does have some hardcore followers which is fab and those followers follow me and my books.

What advice would you give to someone thing about starting a blog/just started writing a blog?
My advice would be to find your niche early on. I waivered with mine and stepped into a few niches till I found my voice, so it took me a while to build the brand I wanted to become. Also – Plan, Plan, Plan – Keep a notebook with blog post ideas in and keep track of what you post, this way you will never run out of ideas.

Let’s talk Social Media, how do you balance this with your blog and everyday life?
How do I balance it all – Badly!!! It’s hard to keep on top of social media just because you can get lost in it and not do what it is you really need to be doing. I try to stay away during my work time (So I can write those books) and go on more in the evening when kids and hubby are asleep, as I want to keep my precious family time social media free to a certain degree.

Where do you see your blog going in the next few years?
Hopefully booming into the success that you see others have but I feel mine is so different to the ones that make a huge success because I’m not the normal mummy and make up, I’m mummy and books which is hard to grab readers for. But I have had people tell me my blog posts help them, so I know there are people out there who do like it.

What do you find is the hardest part about writing a blog?
Sourcing images. That is hard because I am on as tight budget so can only use the free sites which can be limited in their photos, but in saying that the images I have used from those sites are still high quality and eye catching.

And the easiest?
Just the whole writing it, I love writing, writing is me. I feel at my happiest once I have written something each day. So to me the writing part is easy.

Lastly, for a bit of fun, if you could only watch one movie, listen to one song and read one book, again, what would they be?
Chandelier by Sia – Love, love, love this song and it also helped me to write my book ‘Alone’.
City of the dead by S.D.Perry – It’s a book based on the hit Resident Evil 2 video game by Capcom but put into a book by the author. But it’s not just a quick scribble of what happens, the author gives the story detail the game misses and I have read it at least 20 times over so could happily read it again.
Resident Evil the film – This made me scared back in the day and can still scare me now even though I know it word for word and scene for scene. I think it’s the music in it by Marilyn Manson. Just gives me Goosebumps thinking of the music in the film.

The Lupie Mummy would like to thank Mercedes for joining me on my blog, please take the time to visit her Blog Mercedes Prunty Author – The Walking Mumbie.

Mercedes is also on Twitter & Facebook

Blog-Brew-and-Biscuits-cover-Photograph-B-Social-Media-advert-Canva-blogpost

Blog, Brew & Biscuits

Blog-Brew-and-Biscuits-cover-Photograph-B-Social-Media-advert-Canva-blogpost

I have been opening up my blog to some lovely bloggers to share their blogging experiences with you! This week, Cath from Battle Mum is sharing her blogging story and some fantastic advice.  So, make yourself comfy, have a brew, some biscuits and get to know Cath!

Q&A-Blog-Brew-Biscuits-Battle-Mum-Blog-Stories-Advice-Social-Media-Writing-Music-Film-Book-Blogging-Bloggers

Tell me a bit about yourself and what do you when you are not writing your blog:
I’m a 40-year-old Irish ex-pat now living in Portugal. We lived in South Wales before our move to Portugal last year and we have a little boy who recently turned 4. I used to be a scientist before giving up my job last March before our move. Nowadays, when I’m not writing for the blog, I’m pottering around the house, walking the dog, trying to learn Portuguese or helping my folks with their shopping. It’s a quiet life compared to 12 months ago.

Tell me about your blog and how long have you been writing it?
My blog started life over three years ago as a parenting blog during the last two months of my maternity leave. I had kept pregnancy diaries and thought it might be a good way of documenting life with our son. However, due to a long recovery from birth I didn’t start writing until our son was 10 months old. Since then the blog has evolved and is now a family travel and lifestyle blog. I write more about our travels than anything else, and my blog naturally change pace last year.

What inspired you to start writing your blog?
My husband and sister-in-law were both writing blogs at the time and I admired them. My husband was writing a blog about life as a first-time-dad. He wasn’t necessarily sharing things about our son, more his own experiences alongside geeky things, and I thought I could fill the gap. My sister-in-law is a very successful beauty blogger in Ireland and I admired her for it. So, my inspiration came from them.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting a blog/just started writing a blog?
Before you type one letter, buy your domain name and go self-hosted. I didn’t know anything about this, but my husband insisted I wait until he set me up and I’m so glad I did. It meant I never had to worry about going self-hosted later and brand opportunities passing me by because I wasn’t.

Let’s talk Social Media, how do you balance this with your blog and everyday life?
This is something I struggle with, as I’m sure many other bloggers do. Social Media takes up a huge amount of time and I find it hard to balance this with everyday life. To gain a presence and followers, you need to be seen on social media and be engaging, and as one successful blogger puts it, social media is a time suck. If I check my phone with the intention of only doing a couple of minutes, an hour later I’m still on one platform or another. I try to limit my social media time when our son is around as it’s not fair for him to see me on my phone a lot. I also don’t check social media in the evenings when I am relaxing with my husband as we get very little time together as it is. If we’re out and about, I’ll try avoid it at all costs, and only post to Instagram when we get home. I also try to limit it as much as possible to during the day while my son is in school. But it’s a real struggle for me.

Q&A-Blog-Brew-Biscuits-Battle-Mum-Blog-Stories-Advice-Social-Media-Writing-Music-Film-Book-Blogging-Bloggers

Where do you see your blog going in the next few years?
I’d like to see other parents and families get value from my blog now that it’s focused on travel. I want to share our travels and advice to encourage more families to travel with their kids, even from a young age, and I hope we can inspire them to do that. I’d love to make a living from my blog, but I do think this is going to be difficult without sacrificing family time for more blogging time. But now that I have a focus, I can see me enjoying writing even more over the next few years.

What do you find is the hardest part about writing a blog?
The hardest thing I find is that it is so much more than just typing a few words about a subject. A lot of my travel posts also include some level of research, to do the post justice. Then you’ve got the photos to sort and edit, the graphics to prepare, find the best keywords for SEO, and all this before you hit that Publish button. After that, it’s promotion on social media, taking part in Facebook groups and everything else that goes on afterwards. People who don’t write a blog themselves think it’s easy and is ‘just writing’ but it’s so much more than that. And even more so if you are working with a brand as there is an added level of pressure to do a good job. I sometimes wonder how I kept a blog going while working full-time in the UK.

And the easiest?
The easiest part is when the words are flowing because you feel passionate about the post, or it’s a post about something you have/do enjoy. Those ones are the easiest for me to write and are the ones that are completed very quickly.

Lastly, for a bit of fun, if you could only watch one movie, listen to one song and read one book, again, what would they be?
If I could only watch one movie again it would have to be Some Like It Hot, my all-time favourite movie.

The one song is more difficult. Music plays a big part in my life and it’s hard for me to pick one song. Perhaps Africa by Toto or Everybody’s Talking by Nilsson. Both have special meanings for me.

As for the one book it would probably be Lord of the Rings. I’m probably cheating but I’m sure someone has published the three as one somewhere!

Thank you Cath for joining me on my blog – please take the time to visit Cath’s Blog – Battle Mum.

Cath is also on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube

Blog-Brew-and-Biscuits-cover-Photograph-B-Social-Media-advert-Canva-blogpost

Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

Valentines-gift-guide-book-star-map-bath-bomb-cake-stand-matching-personalised-t-shirts-paws-with-opulence-dog-collar-ID-tags-book-love-valentines-personal-special-gifts

Valentine’s Day will be here before you know it, which for many of us means thinking about getting something special for our loved ones. Over the last few weeks, I have had some fun working alongside some fabulous companies to put together a rather special Valentine’s Day gift guide, which will hopefully give you some ideas and take away some of the stress in finding the perfect gift!

To be honest, I always get a little bit stumped when it comes to Valentine’s Day, I like to try and find something a little bit different, yet something personal and thoughtful too; and I think the following gift ideas certainly tick all three of those points!

Personalised Star Map – Under Lucky Stars

Under Lucky Stars is a company that creates personalised Star Map’s, which shows the alignment of the stars, where you are, at a moment in time special to you. All you have to do is visit their website and start creating and I challenge you to try and narrow your special moments down to just one! Or, you can do what I did, and get lost in stargazing for well over a hour!

When I designed a Star Map, I thought about all the special moments my fiancé and I have had together and I thought about our last weekend as a couple (before Pumpkin). We had planned a romantic weekend together and “surprise surprise” Pumpkin decided to make an early appearance and share the weekend with us! So, I chose our Star Map to reflect the moment our little star said hello! The result? See for yourself, it’s really beautiful and is a constant reminder of when our lives changed forever!

Valentines-Day-Gift-Guide-Star-Map-under-lucky-stars-beautiful-memories-special-to-us-celebration-to-us-only-star-gazing

Star Maps start from $55

A New Map of Love – Abi Oliver

To me, a book is a really personal present, as it shows the person who has gifted it has taken time to think about the recipient; their likes, dislikes, their humour and also taken the time to have a sneaky peek at their book shelf to get an idea of the kinds of books they like to read!

Since becoming a Mummy, I have not been able to read any where near as much as I would like and to be given a book for Valentine’s would be wonderful, although I would also be telling my fiancé to expect to see me with my nose stuck firmly in the book every evening until it’s finished too! Perhaps, not quite so romantic, but such a gift of a “little bit of me time” though!.

A New Map of Love is such heart warming read about a gentleman called George Baxter and the journey into his new life following the loss of his wife of twenty-six years. It’s a novel about second chances in love and do you know what?, that is all I am going to say about it as I don’t want to spoil the book for you! Yes, I know that’s rather mean of me, but, I loved it and savoured every reading moment and I want everyone else to have that experience too! Plus, there is the little issue that I have passed the book on to my mum, who no doubt will be reading this and will not have finished the book yet and will be cross at any “spoilers”.

Valentines-gift-guide-A-new-map-of-love-Abi-Oliver-journey-into-his-new-life-heartfelt-heartwarming-love-book-hardback-paperback-reading-love-valentinesday

Couple’s Personalised T-Shirts – Genie Gadgets

Personalised couple’s T-shirts are a big thing and Genie Gadgets have some amazing ones to brighten up any couple’s wardrobe! Whether you and your partner are “Sweet Peas” or “Huggy Bears”, you are sure to find a T-shirt to personalised to suit and reflect your personalities! These are such a fun idea, the only problem you will have is choosing what ones to get, will you be matching or will you be independent personalities?

When I showed my fiancé, he wasn’t to sure whether I was joking or serious about them! I don’t think he could even disguise the look of pure terror on his face when the T-shirts arrived, perfectly cuddled up together in their packaging! Terror was replaced with relief when I assured him I wouldn’t make him wear it out, although I can guarantee the one day he does wear it to take the bins out, he will be caught by the neighbours and stuck chatting for ages! I shall enjoy that moment (and promise to update this post with photographic evidence)!

Valentines-day-gift-guide-his-and-hers-matching-personalised-t-shirts-funny-kookie-would-i-wear-it-in-public-cute-old-and-new-relationship-love-valentinesday

Personalised T-Shirts £12.99 each

Cupcake Bath-Bombs 

I love bath bombs, especially if they come with the promise of a disturbance-free bath! Is it just me, or whenever I get in the bath or shower after my son has gone to bed, I can mysteriously hear him cry and when I go to check, he is actually snoring away! If I dare to have a bath whilst he is awake, I will hear a knock at the door, followed by “mamma mamma” – which gets increasingly louder until an ear piercing cry is about to be let loose in the hallway!  So, bathing, always comes with a big “do not disturb sign” and Daddy is on duty during this time!

These Cupcake Bath Bombs, are just so pretty and come packaged as a Little Box of Love! There are Six Bathbombs in total: Chic & Cheerful, Love Buds, Kiss Me Quick, Rosebud Buttercup, Feel The Love, Urban Rose.

Valentines-day-gift-guide-his-and-hers-matching-personalised-t-shirts-funny-kookie-would-i-wear-it-in-public-cute-old-and-new-relationship-love-valentinesday

Cupcake Bath-Bombs £9.99 – as an added bonus, you can get 10% of all orders, use the discount code LUPSIE218 at the checkout!

Luxury Dog Collar ID Tags – Paws With Opulence

Dog’s are important members of the family and why should they be forgotten about on Valentine’s Day? This is where Paws With Opulence comes to the rescue with these incredibly beautiful broken heart dog collar ID tags!

Valentines-Gift-Guide-Paws-with-opulence-9ctgold-dog-tag-ID-broken-heart-valentines-dog-present-best-buddies-posh-pets-valentines-spoil-our-pets-love

They are available in Sterling Silver, 9ct Gold and 9ct White Gold, and also available in 2 other different designs, with hand-engraving available too. All of Paws with Opulence’s products are all handmade using the finest quality materials, so you can be certain your dog is going to be well and truly spoilt!

Whilst your choosing your dog collar ID Tags, why not have a look at Paws with Opulence’s collars, leads and accessories and I dare you not to fall in love with their gorgeous range and spoil your dog a little bit more!

Valentines-Gift-Guide-Paws-with-opulence-9ctgold-dog-tag-ID-broken-heart-valentines-dog-present-best-buddies-posh-pets-valentines-spoil-our-pets-love

Broken Heart Luxury Dog Collar ID Tags: Sterling Silver £89 9ct Gold £229
9ct White Gold £289

Wooden Toy Two Tier Cake Stand & Cakes

I have covered presents for pretty much everyone in this gift guide, except for the important little people in our lives. When I was a nanny in the USA, I was surprised at just how big Valentine’s was! It was also a day for friends and family members too! So, it would be rude not to include the little ones too!

Pumpkin enjoys making everyone imaginary cups of tea at the moment and would absolutely love these toy cakes and cake stand, to make it a proper tea party! Plus, its wooden, so it will withstand some of the rigorous testing that only toddler can give it!

Valentines-day-gift-guide-his-and-hers-matching-personalised-t-shirts-funny-kookie-would-i-wear-it-in-public-cute-old-and-new-relationship-love-valentinesday

Two tier cake stand and cakes – £19.99 – to get 10% of all orders, use the discount code LUPSIE218 at the checkout.

I hope you like the gift guide, below are links to the retails main websites, where you’ll find a wide range of other gift ideas too!

Under Lucky Stars

Abi Oliver – A New Map of Love

Genie Gadgets

Paws with Opulence

What2buy4kids – Don’t forget if you use the discount code LUPSIE218 you will receive 10% of your order!

Disclaimer: Some items were gifted for the purpose of this gift guide, all opinions are my own.
Contains affiliate links.

Blog, Brew & Biscuits

Blog-Brew-and-Biscuits-cover-Photograph-B-Social-Media-advert-Canva-blogpost

Over the next few weeks, I am opening up my blog to some lovely bloggers to share their blogging experiences with you! There is a thriving community full of bloggers who have already walked in the steps I am about to take and also relatively new bloggers, who are full of questions and finding their feet. So, make yourself comfy, have a brew, some biscuits and get to know Debbie from My Random Musings.

Debbie-My-Random_Musings_Blogger_Questions_and_Answers_Q&A_Blogging_Getting_to_know_you_helping_others

Tell me a bit about yourself and what do you when you are not writing your blog:
I’m Debbie, I’m 36 and I live in North East England. When I’m not blogging, I’m usually writing my novels (or someone else’s as a ghost writer), reading or having a Netflix binge.

Tell me about your blog and how long have you been writing it?
My blog, My Random Musings, is a bit of a mixture. It started out as somewhere I posted whatever was on my mind, hence the name. Now it’s main focus is motivating people to go out and live the life they truly want with some writing and blogging based posts and posts about books thrown in for good measure.

I’ll have been blogging for three years in March of 2018.

What inspired you to start writing your blog?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer and when I finally decided it was time to stop saying it and start doing it, a blog seemed like a good place to start. I hadn’t written anything in years and I wanted to get back into writing before I started on my first novel.
The blog was meant to be a short term thing but I fell in love with it and now I couldn’t imagine ever not blogging.

What advice would you give to someone thing about starting a blog/just started writing a blog?
To someone thinking about starting, go for it. Just do it.

To someone who’s just started, I would say enjoy the ride. Learn as you go, talk to other bloggers and don’t compare yourself to someone who’s been doing it for years.

Let’s talk Social Media, how do you balance this with your blog and everyday life?
I don’t lol. Seriously I try to schedule blog post updates when I schedule the actual post and then I can concentrate on the fun part of social media daily. I allow myself half an hour to catch up on everything I’ve missed overnight, then I just pop in and out throughout the day – probably way more than I should.

Where do you see your blog going in the next few years?
I would love to have more readers of course, but content wise, I think I’ve finally found a balance I’m happy with. My main goal with the blog is to keep posting daily and (hopefully) produce content that my readers enjoy and find useful.

What do you find is the hardest part about writing a blog?
I’m hopeless with the techie stuff. I spend more time Googling and messing up than actually getting the thing done lol.

And the easiest?
Writing the content. I love writing and that’s the part I enjoy the most, so I guess by extension, it feels like the easiest part compared to the dreaded techie bits and the marketing.

Lastly, for a bit of fun, if you could only watch one movie, listen to one song and read one book, again, what would they be?
Oh wow that’s hard.
Ermm, ok the movie would be Grease. The song would be A Thousand Years by Christina Perri.
It’s way too hard to choose just one book, this is killing me lol. Right now, it would be Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin. It was one of the first horror books aimed at adults I ever read when I was around twelve and I’ve loved it ever since. But if you asked me the same question next week, my answer might well be different haha.

The Lupie Mummy would like to thank Debbie for joining me on my blog, please take the time to visit her Blog My Random Musings.

Debbie is also on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & Amazon Author Page

Blog-Brew-and-Biscuits-cover-Photograph-B-Social-Media-advert-Canva-blogpost

Brain Fog

Purple-for-Lupus-Brain-Fog-Flare-visiting-again-family-are-important-the-Lupie-mummy-quiet-on-the-blog

I have been a bit quiet on my blog for the past week, and that is because Flare is in town again. If you don’t know who “Flare” is, please take a moment to read one of my earlier posts, where you will get to learn about my frequent unwelcome visitor.

This time Flare has brought with her a particularly horrible sidekick and that is what is known as Brain Fog or what I call “Bee-isms” to try and make light of it. Brain Fog is where my thought process can sometime get a bit jumbled and the wrong words come out of my mouth, despite my brain knowing the word I actually want to say. Sometimes, this can be a bit amusing, other times it can be downright frustrating and I feel a little bit silly.

However, to my family this is often a sign for them that I am pushing myself too much and I am needing to slow down. I am grateful, that they recognise this, as I am stubborn and will keep pushing on each day until I will make myself poorly and now they will step in before this happens. Even as I write this, I know that sounds an incredibly selfish thing to do, but to be brutally honest with myself, it is down to pride; I want to be the best mummy I can be and I want to be able to lead a completely normal life.

This is where I need to give myself a reality check and pull myself up from feeling too sorry for myself during “Flare’s” visits; I do lead a normal life, a normal life for me. I accept that pain, fatigue, medication and numerous hospital appointments will be part of my life, for the rest of my life and this is where I need to be organised. If I recognise that things are worsening, I deal with it, by consulting with the team of medical practitioners working with me. If my Lupus is in a period of remission, then I focus on what is working well at that time and try to remember what lead me to that point for future reference. Equally, I need to try my hardest not to fight on during “Flare’s” visits, swallow my pride and most importantly try to recognise the early signs and speak more openly about them to my family.

I know that all sounds idealistic and easy, but believe me it’s not and my fiancé often needs to remind me of the above and bring me back to reality gently. Especially when I am feeling sorry for myself or feeling that I am crap Mummy, yes, that thought frequently goes through my head when “Flare” comes to visit.

In my eyes I have the most wonderful family, a family who I love, adore and I am fiercely protective of. Over the next few months, I am making some big decisions, which I am doing in my own and my family’s best interests. I will write about them when the moment feels right, at the moment, I am not quite ready to share them yet. In the meantime, I will focus on being healthy and spending some quality time with my family.

Blog, Brew & Biscuits!

Blog-Brew-and-Biscuits-cover-Photograph-B-Social-Media-advert-Canva-blogpost

Over the next few weeks, I am opening up my blog to some lovely bloggers to share their blogging experiences with you! There is a thriving community full of bloggers who have already walked in the steps I am about to take and also relatively new bloggers, who are full of questions and finding their feet. So, make yourself comfy, have a brew, some biscuits and get to know Sam from Travelling With Our Kids.

Tell me a bit about yourself and what do you when you are not writing your blog:
I’m Sam, and I have just turned 30! I have 2 little boys who are 6 and 2. I’m married to Nick who I met in 2009 on an online dating site. We got engaged after 3 months and married in 2012. When I’m not writing my blog I am working full time for the family business. My husband works in our bike shop along with my younger brother while I work alongside my parents running the holiday business

Tell me about your blog and how long have you been writing it?
The blog is about family travel and days out. I have also started to add in some posts about gluten and milk free travel as our boys are intolerant to both. I started writing when my youngest was born, so it will be 3 years old at the start of February.

What inspired you to start writing your blog?
I had been reading other blogs (What Katy Said being the main one) and loved the idea of doing my own. I also have no hobbies whatsoever so the blog gives me some “down time” in the evenings.

What advice would you give to someone thing about starting a blog/just started writing a blog?
Go self hosted straight away if you plan to make money from your blog. Also it is a lot of work, so get organised and schedule your time on your blog to get the most out of it.

Let’s talk Social Media, how do you balance this with your blog and everyday life?
Badly? I normally ignore all social media during working hours unless its for our family business. Once the boys are in bed I spend an hour or two just doing social media. It isn’t the best but it works for me. If I did the blog full time then I expect this would be different.

Where do you see your blog going in the next few years?
At the moment my blog is just something to keep me sane after a hard days work. I would love for it to take off and be able to spend more time on it. However, our family business is pretty important so this always has to come first.

What do you find is the hardest part about writing a blog?
Trying to find my voice. I still don’t think I have quite mastered it. However, my writing has improved greatly over the years and I spend some time each month updating old posts.

And the easiest?
I don’t think anything is really easy when it comes to blogging. Ha! I love social oopmh and it takes the stress out of scheduling twitter on a daily basis.

Lastly, for a bit of fun, if you could only watch one movie, listen to one song and read one book, again, what would they be?
I like comedy so something like Bad Moms, one song Want to Want me as my boys love the song. I don’t tend to read any books, so probably read a children’s book to the boys.

The Lupie Mummy would like to thank Sam for joining me on my blog, please take the time to visit her Blog Travelling With our Kids.

Sam is also on TwitterPinterest & Instagram

Blog-Brew-and-Biscuits-cover-Photograph-B-Social-Media-advert-Canva-blogpost

Art and Crafts With Pumpkin

Ziplock-pain-non-messy-play-no-paint-on-me-Toddler-Art-Paint-Messy-Play-Stickers-Collage-Glue-Sequins-Diamonte-paper-glue-fun-crafts-pumpkin-learn-through-arts-and-crafts

Up until a month ago, Pumpkin loathed all things to do with Art, crafts and messy play. The moment he glimpsed the table loaded with paint, paper or crayons, he would let out an ear piercing shriek and would grab the paper and screw it up. This would be followed by an almost involuntary movement, as his arms would suddenly sweep left to right like windscreen wipers, sweeping all traces of anything arty or crafty from the table and onto the floor.

I must admit, I felt so disappointed that he didn’t like doing art or crafts, as I loved doing them and couldn’t wait to do them with him. So, what did I do? I tried the non-messy variety; where you squirt paint into a zip-lock bag and it can be squished about with no little fingers getting paint all over them and technically no mess anywhere. What was Pumpkin’s response to this? An ear piercing shriek and the Zip-lock bag being screwed up and thrown across the kitchen.

Toddler-arts-crafts-art-craft-paint-in-ziplock-bag-non-messy-play-toddler-fun-introducing-messy-play

I decided to leave all things art and craft for a while, and packed away everything. About a month later, on a particularly wet winters day, Pumpkin and I were stuck indoors, and he was drifting from toy to toy and not finding anything particularly interesting to play with. So, I decided…no, let me rephrase that, I seized the moment to get some paper, pens and stickers out. This was greeted by one very curious little boy and lots of ooo’s, aaah’s and ooh mamma’s! This was responded by a happy little dance in the kitchen by me!

The paper, pens and stickers were a success, so much so, that Pumpkin asked for more “Paper and sticks” that I took advantage of only having Christmas themed stickers and started making some christmas cards too!

Toddler-Art-Paint-Messy-Play-Stickers-Collage-Glue-Sequins-Diamonte-paper-glue-fun-crafts-pumpkin-learn-through-arts-and-crafts

Pumpkin’s growing love for art’s and crafts has enabled him to make Christmas and thank you card’s for our family. We are now at a place, where a day doesn’t go by without Pumpkin asking for his “Paper and sticks”, although Pumpkin now loves to stick his stickers in all sorts of places! Yesterday, I found a unicorn sticker on my bum, this was six hours after we had done sticking and after a trip to the supermarket!

Over the next few weeks and months, I will be adding lots more to our art box and I am excited to see Pumpkin get stuck in with as much confidence and as many belly laughs as he has done so far! I just wish he was as enthusiastic about the clearing up afterwards or washing the paint off himself…cue another ear piercing shriek and more sharing of his art work by me!

Toddler-Art-Paint-Messy-Play-Stickers-Collage-Glue-Sequins-Diamonte-paper-glue-fun-crafts-pumpkin-learn-through-arts-and-crafts

 

Blog, Brew & Biscuits

Blog-Brew-and-Biscuits-cover-Photograph-B-Social-Media-advert-Canva-blogpost

Over the next few weeks, I am opening up my blog to some lovely bloggers to share their blogging experiences with you! There is a thriving community full of bloggers who have already walked in the steps I am about to take and also relatively new bloggers, who are full of questions and finding their feet. So, make yourself comfy, have a brew, some biscuits and get to know Carol from A journey to a lifetime.

Tell me a bit about yourself and what do you when you are not writing your blog:
When not writing a blog, I am a stay at home mum to 3 children aged 7, 3 and 2 years old. So, my life when not writing is a lot of playgroups and a whole lot more craft and imaginative play

Tell me about your blog and how long have you been writing it?
I am a money blog aiming to help families to save money where they can, so they can enjoy what really matters. I have had the blog for close to a year but only really started to blog since August.

What inspired you to start writing your blog?
As a family we have been on a budget since finding out I was pregnant with our second. We didn’t have as much saved as with our first and we didn’t want to get in to debt again. Being on a budget has now become a way of life, since my third child was born I became a stay at home mum and we still get to have all the fun we used to have. So, I wanted to share my hints and tips with others to show how you can live well on a very tight budget.

What advice would you give to someone thing about starting a blog/just started writing a blog?
Find your niche, I blogged many years ago and because I didn’t have a niche I just followed others and I got bored very quickly as it just was not me.

Let’s talk Social Media, how do you balance this with your blog and everyday life?
This is my struggle, I am finding it takes a lot of time now but hopefully over the next year something will click, and balance will get better.

Where do you see your blog going in the next few years?
My goal at the moment is to grow, I am a fairly new blog with a small following and I want to help more families to save money where they can, so they can enjoy what really matters.

What do you find is the hardest part about writing a blog?
Social media, I am not really winning at any platform yet and, so I find it takes up so much time.

And the easiest?
The writing, once I have the blog idea (slightly harder) writing the post I really enjoy and certainly find the easiest.

Lastly, for a bit of fun, if you could only watch one movie, listen to one song and read one book, again, what would they be?
These are hard, but movie would be Pretty Woman, song Elton John I’m still standing and book Tillie Cole’s Rome (a total chick lit but it kicked my love of reading off again so has memories).

The Lupie Mummy would like to thank Carol for joining me on my blog, please take the time to visit her Blog: A journey to a lifetime

Carol is also on Twitter, Pinterest & Instagram 

Blog-Brew-and-Biscuits-cover-Photograph-B-Social-Media-advert-Canva-blogpost