Blog, Brew & Biscuits

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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

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Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

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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!

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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”.

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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)!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

Dear Google, (Other search engines are available)

Dear Google

Over the past year you have become a good friend to me, there for me in my times of need, moments of panic, and pure baby related paranoia. You never once laughed at the random things I searched, questioned my parenting abilities, or mocked my already growing worry that I was failing as a Mummy. As for in that brief moment that I confided in you, it felt like I didn’t have a clue what I was doing.

Here are some of my searches I have made over the past year (I am hanging my head in shame/embarrassment right now):

1. What are the black wiggly things in my baby’s pooey nappy? (Yes, google images were also required for this). Worry not, Pumpkin had not been infected with a biological disease, it was the aftermath of eating a banana for the first time.

2. Is it normal for a baby to….feel/do/smell/look? Believe me, I probably asked this at least 5 times a day. Just thinking about it now makes me cringe!!

3. What does teething really look like? Followed by are Amber Bracelets just a load of hippyguff? (Sorry to the believers out there). Pumpkin didn’t cut his first tooth until he was 11 months old, I thought he was teething at 5 months!!

4. Too much information warning!!! How long am I going to bleed for, as this does not feel normal and seriously don’t you think my body has gone through enough as it is?

5. What is the difference between baby blues and Postnatal Depression/Anxiety? I love Pumpkin more than anything in the world, so why did I feel like I wanted to cry one minute and the laugh hysterically the next or at the other extreme not go out?

6. What consistency should food purées be? Believe me…I made purées ranging in consistency between water and wall paper paste; and I am still unsure what was right for which stage of weaning, but still Pumpkin loved them all (or at least pretended he did)!

7. What jobs can I do working from home? I found my self searching this almost daily for the first four months of Pumpkins life, as I couldn’t imagine life away from him; it just broke my heart. Then I realised, that as Pumpkin got more mobile, there was no way on this earth was I going to be able to work at home and have him playing at my feet happily and contented. The reality would be far from the romanticised view I had after he was born…I would have a trashed home, a little boy with arms reaching up for cuddles and big blue eyes that would look at me and give me immediate mummy guilt for not paying him enough attention.

8. How can I make bath time safe? Pumpkin turns into Houdini at bath time, so far, he has managed to break/escape out of 3 bath seats and triumphantly stand in the bath whilst shouting “I do” at us. Sadly, my dear friend Google has failed on this point and therefore bath time for the foreseeable future is a two man job!

9. Where has my baby learnt the skills of a poo ninja when it comes to changing a nappy? I feel like I have lost all control of Pumpkin when it comes to a dirty nappy; he has mastered stealth moves which means he can flip out of a half-off nappy (taking half the contents with it) whilst fighting off all my attempts to catch him and turn him back over. Again, a Google fail in terms of advice…short of early potty training (I don’t think I can handle that quite yet), I have to sometimes, OK, who am I kidding, quite frequently turn to YouTubeKids, to distract Pumpkin long enough to clean him up.

10. Am I wasting my Doctors time if…? I quickly learnt the quick answer to this is NO! If you are worried, your parenting instinct has kicked in and you need to get your baby checked over. Who cares if you have made a fuss over nothing and your baby smiles contentedly at you and the Dr (Thank you, Pumpkin for that one!!). It’s always best and safer to get them checked out, after all not all of us have medicine degrees to give us that ability to rule out the worry that every cough, cry and scream that comes out of our baby, isn’t a serious illness.

Over the past few months, my searches have changed and seen me look up fun things like birthday cake ideas, tricycles and things to do in Somerset. Like old friends, Google, our relationship has changed; always dependable, we pick up where we left off and there are always good laughs to be had – after all when you your trapped in a chair with a toddler asleep on you, the searches can become a bit random…like conversations with a best friend after one to many Ciders/Gins/Wines/Vodkas/Coffees/Proseccos.

Thank you for being there!

The Lupie Mummy x

*please drink and use Google wisely.
**or like me, liken the feeling of being drunk to being sleep deprived and googling random stuff to keep awake, so not to wake the baby (before they are in a deep enough sleep) with the sound of heavy duty snoring that only a person with sleep deprivation can do when sleep finally washes over them!!
***This blog has not been sponsored by Google, it is just my own personal choice of search engine…others are available, I think!