lifestyle, Uncategorized

De-stress Your Morning Routine

Before I became a mum I spent quite a bit of time getting myself ready and there was no real rush felt in the mornings. I would pad about the house, taking my time to get ready for work; wash, dry and style my hair before heading out the door. Since becoming a mum I’ve had to change my morning routine as I have a little person to care for and have learned that organisation really is key. Here’s what I do to ensure a positive start to the day.

Lay out Clothes the Night Before – This makes life so much easier for me in the mornings as it’s one less thing to think about. I lay out my own clothes and keep Oliver’s clothes downstairs for after breakfast. We also keep a toothbrush in our downstairs toilet for convenience, so that I can brush Oliver’s teeth straight after breakfast.

Restock your Changing Bag – Every night I make sure I have nappies, wipes and essentials in my changing bag so that I can grab and go in the morning. We have toddler groups and just generally like to be out the house early to enjoy our day so this is a huge help.

Prepare Snacks & Lunch – I usually prepare Oliver’s lunch when I’m making Scott’s for work. Since I’m pregnant I’ve been packing snacks for myself too. I pop everything in a seperate bag in the fridge to grab in the morning. You should never leave the house with your toddler without bringing food – you will regret it!

Shower in the Evenings – Up until very recently, I’ve always been a morning shower person but I find it so much easier if I’ve showered, washed and dried my hair the night before. It saves me so much time and I feel less stressed in the mornings. I can quickly throw myself together, as I wake up only 10 minutes before Oliver – I like my sleep!

Get Dressed First – I found that especially when Oliver was younger, if I didn’t get dressed before getting Oliver up for the day, I just wouldn’t find the time. Now I make sure to get myself ready first in the morning and I feel so much better for it.

Run the Dishwasher Overnight –  There is nothing worse than waking up to dirty dishes. I make sure to fill and start the dishwasher before I head to bed and quickly empty and re-load after eating breakfast.

Evening Speed Clean – Once Oliver is in bed I quickly tidy up the bathroom from bath time, toys or mess in the living room and quickly go over the kitchen. I will load the washing machine to switch on first thing, it saves me running around in the morning gathering laundry.

Make the bed – I don’t know about you but making my bed in the morning makes my bedroom look instantly tidier. It takes two minutes and really does boost my mood.

x

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lifestyle, Uncategorized

Morning at Roslin Glen

There are so many beautiful country parks and green spaces in Edinburgh and the surrounding areas, we have lots to cross off our list. We decided we would get up early on Sunday and head to Roslin Glen country park, set on the North Esk Valley near the village of Roslin. If there’s anything Oliver needs, it is wide open spaces and places to explore. We packed our picnic, put on our wellies and headed on our adventure.

We walked through woodlands, crossed a little bridge and climbed a million (not really) steps and found Roslyn Castle ruins – which was very high up! Oliver collected sticks, stones, leaves and whatever else he could scavenge and jumped in lots of muddy puddles. There are many paths and walk ways through woodlands, riverside and meadows, but for little legs we didn’t venture too far. We headed back to enjoy our picnic on one of the benches and Oliver had a little play.

Roslin Glen is a lovely place to enjoy a walk with family. If you have little ones, be on your guard and help navigate them; there are high drops, slippery surfaces, steps etc, but it’s a really good morning or afternoon out for them and Oliver was absolutely worn out by the end of it!

You can find lots of information on the park noticeboard, including different events happening throughout the year for children and adults alike. According to the Midlothian council website there are ‘free resource boxes’ available from the Ranger Service which includes equipment for pond dipping and mini beast hunts.

We spent around 3 hours here so there is loads to explore, take a picnic and make a longer stay of it. Let me know if you decide to visit and what you think of this beautiful place.


Please feel free to leave your recommendations below of places to visit in and around Edinburgh! 

lifestyle, parenting

Fairy Trail Archerfield Walled Garden | North Berwick

One of our favourite things to do is explore the outdoors. Oliver loves being able to run free and collect treasures and at Archerfield Walled Garden, he can do just that.

The grounds and surrounding areas are beautifully kept, the cafe offers a lovely range of food and drinks and it won’t be difficult to pick something up from the deli and shop. You can enjoy sitting outside on the benches whilst your little ones play in the enclosed play area.

The trail leads you past several willow structures for kids and adults alike to explore and play. You can tie your ribbon, purchased from the shop, around the wishing tree on your way to the fairy trail.

The magic begins with a little red door for the children to enter and begin their search for fairies. Unfortunately, no fairies have been home whilst we’ve been there, but we’ll keep looking! As you follow the trail, you find out who lives behind each door and what their jobs are. Oliver gets so excited running up to open the fairy door to check if someone’s home. The magic and excitement of it all in his face is truly wonderful to see.

I would definitely a visit whether it’s to enjoy the fairy trail or a dog walk in the woods, there’s something for children and adults alike.

You can find more info here on the Archerfield Walled Garde website.

 

Natalie x

 

lifestyle, parenting

Briarlands Farm | Stirling

As fellow parents will understand, I spend a lot of time outdoors with my son Oliver and we are always on the search for new places to visit. We decided to meet up with friends at Briarlands Farm in Stirling, about an hours drive from our home in Edinburgh.

There are plenty activities to suit all ages and although we were there almost four hours, we didn’t see half of the park – but that’s the norm for us parents of toddlers! The farm boasts wide open space for kids to let off steam; jumping pillows; toddler trike tracks; sand pits; feeding the animals using feeding tubes and tractor/trailer rides amongst others. You can even meet some of the furry animals throughout the day.

Here’s some photos from the day:

Cred: @raimonda_days

Cred: @raimonda_days

Some activities and animal feed bags incur an additional charge (around £1 each), but with the low entrance fees you can’t complain. As Oliver is under three years and therefore free, I only paid one adult at £5.50!

We enjoyed a quick coffee and scone in the cafe whilst the boys played in the soft play. The cafe offers a soft play climbing frame as well as a large kids area filled with toys, play equipment and books. It’s free to play in the inside play areas – another perk. Oliver allowed me my full hot cup of coffee as he was having so much fun – result!

I would definitely recommend this farm to friends and it should go on your must-visit list.

We are always looking for new places to go, please leave your recommendations in the comments below!

Natalie x

 

lifestyle, parenting

My Priorities Have Changed

The second Oliver was placed in my arms, my life changed. My outlook, priorities, everything changed. I no longer wanted to rush into a career, all I wanted was to be a stay at home mum to my beautiful son.

Becoming a mum has most definitely given me a sense of purpose. I’ve been at home with Oliver for two years now and I’m honestly loving every minute of it – even the challenging parts. To me, there’s nothing in comparison to seeing first-hand your baby grow, achieve each milestone and experiencing new things together. Being at home with my child is extremely important to me and I’m so lucky to be in a position that enables me to do that.

My decision to stay at home attracted mostly positivity but I have had some negative comments along the way, mainly surrounding my future career. The way I see it is I’m only twenty-five, I will no doubt be working way past my seventies, probably eighties! so I have plenty time to find a career. For now my main priority is raising my child.

Every parent is different, some work some stay at home, we do what we feel is best for our family. I will never understand those who judge other parents decisions on the subject. How can my choice of staying at home to bring up my son be such a negative? From where I’m standing, there’s absolutely no negative.

Apologies for such a sporadic post, but I needed to vent. I’m interested to hear if anyone has encountered negativity with whatever decision you made; whether it be staying home or working. Us parents have a lot of guilt as it is, without other people adding to it. Do whatever works for you and your family, that’s all that should matter at the end of the day.

 N x

 

lifestyle, Uncategorized

Minimalism; Is it for me?

pexels-photo-1

It’s a bit of an inside joke that I’m pretty cut-throat when it comes to chucking things out. Every so often I fill bin bags with ‘stuff’ and off to the dump they go; I donate; I sell things on. And yet, I still feel suffocated.

If I said I didn’t like material things – I’d be lying. I love pretty things as much as the next person. But I’m starting to question why I long for such items. Am I trying to fill an emotional void with material things to make me feel better? I can yearn for something for months and when I finally have it, I move onto wanting for something else. I don’t seem to enjoy and appreciate things for long. Do material things bring any happiness to my life?

Over the years I have witnessed just how negatively clutter affects my mood and mental health. I have a personal limit when it comes to my home, if the mess and clutter exceeds this, I can completely shut down. Fortunately I haven’t been in that position for a long time, but am constantly aware of the threat. To some my limit might seem like nothing, but I know how quickly I can deteriorate, so it’s important to me, to keep on top of things.

I have recently been decluttering our home, slowly but surely. I worked through my wardrobe, throwing things out which hadn’t been worn (some still with tags on!) and others which when I put them on, I just didn’t feel good in. Already it feels like a weight has been lifted. I no longer waste my mornings trying to find an outfit, everything in there is wearable and ready to be thrown on. Decluttering our home is important to me, I truly believe a tidy space aids a tidy mind. Room by room, I’m throwing things out which we don’t like or even use, I’ve set myself the goal of one room per week, so will keep you updated on that.

Minimalism isn’t just about a tidy home, it includes everything cluttering our lives and our mind. Recently, I’ve found myself procrastinating, scrolling through social media and losing myself in a world of perfectionism and consumerism. I realised I hadn’t been living in the moment but constantly attached my mobile. I still post a photograph on Instagram, or write a status on Facebook, but I leave longer periods between checking my notifications – how many likes I have, who’s left a comment. I’m also trying to dedicate more time during my evenings to check-in with social media, or during my boy’s nap times. This means more quality time with my son and loved ones in the here and now – the way it should be.

My next move is to watch the Minimalism documentary, the two guys from The Minimalists  I find truly inspiring and motivating. They offer podcasts on their website exploring ways to declutter, organise and free yourself from stress, amongst many others. They’ve definitely got me thinking about every part of my life, I find myself totally fascinated by the minimalist concept. I’m only at the beginning of a very long journey ahead, I might fail, I might later realise the minimalist life isn’t for me. But I definitely feel inspired from what I’ve read thus far. I find myself re-evaluating what’s important to me, and even more so, what’s not.

I don’t believe in drastically reducing the number of my belongings and I don’t fancy living in a show home. I want our home to feel warm, cosy and child-friendly; I just want less of the unnecessary, unused stuff. I want to be able to breathe.

Would you describe yourself as a Minimalist? How are you getting on months or a year down the line? Has it changed your life for the better? I would love to know any tips, please leave a comment!

N x

lifestyle, parenting, Uncategorized

Seeing the World through a Child’s Eyes

There is something quite invigorating when you slow down to view the world from a child’s perspective. I am a mother to a 1.5 year old crazily beautiful toddler, who keeps me on my toes and opens my eyes and my heart every single day.

As someone who battles anxiety, my world can be tainted by stress, over-thinking and sometimes sadness. Heck, life for us all can become heavy; it’s easy to forget the beauty in life’s little treasures.

This blog post came about after I suddenly realised that my son finds everything so innocent and intriguing. And how different my world could be, if I viewed life as if I were a child myself. Oliver points out birds, planes, trucks and “busy yellow diggers” daily and yet, they never stop amazing him. We took a walk through the woods and my son collected twigs and stones for one whole hour; every twig and stone was a triumph and deserved an ‘ooh’, ‘ahh’ and ‘wow’ of its’ very own.

Within the last few weeks O has become interested in our cat Millie, he speaks screams (lovingly!) at her, cuddles and kisses her and every dog we meet, he has to stop and give them his full attention.

His confidence to make friends with children he only met two minutes ago, and bond like they’ve been friends forever, completely melts my heart.

The fact that an empty cardboard box and pots and pans can gift endless amount of entertainment.

The way he roars with laughter when I flick his rubber duck into the bath, over and over again. How he smiles, is so content and finds joy every single day.

Becoming a parent has opened my eyes to what truly matters in life, for myself and my family. It has taught me to slow down and live in the moment, instead of becoming bogged down with things that are quite simply – out of my control.

Spending time with loved ones has become more important to me, as time can be pulled from under us without notice.

Beauty can be found in the ugliest parts of our lives, you just have to look for it. It has taught to me to stop dragging the past alongside me; I must let go, in order to move forward.

Seeing the world through the eyes of a child gives you a total sense of freedom and a new lease of life. It is teaching me to rid myself of anxiety, to stop over-thinking every minuscule detail and enjoy life.

Thanks little man for making life so much brighter.

N xx