Thursday, 17 August 2017

Our visit to Moors Valley Country Park














Last weekend we finally took a trip to Moors Valley and boy did it not disappoint! So many people had recommended it and it's only an hour and half away from us in Wiltshire. Moors Valley is free to get in to but you do need to pay for parking. It really is an all day trip out so four hours or more is £10 which I think is really good value for money considering the amount there is to do on site. You can hire bikes, go on segways and go ape is also in the park. 

We started of by going on the train which was just brilliant. A return trip lasted around 15 minutes and it was a couple of pounds each. If we could have we would have definitely gone on it again but unfortunately we ran out of time. It was like Charlie's dream true as he is obsessed with trains and it was a fab experience for the children. 

We then headed off on the gruffalo trail, which FYI you do need to download the app before you go as the signal is not brilliant once your there. You can do this here. It took us around an hour to complete and you have to find check points were the gruffalo will magically appear on the app and you can take a picture of them. Charlie loves the book but he's going through a bit of a stage at the moment were he thinks it's actually real so he was scared at the end when we found the gruffalo. It was brilliant though and I highly recommend it if your children like the gruffalo books.

Next we had a lovely picnic and we were spoilt for choice with places to sit. We found a bench in a lovely clearing which happened to be next to some sculptures of the gruffalo's child. Which meant we could eat while the children were kept occupied playing. We then headed off to the play trail which has ten different play zone's including the ant's nest and tree top trail. It took us just over two hours to complete the trail and the kids were totally shattered by the end of it. Sign of a good day!

There is so much we didn't have time for including even more trails and den building so we will definitely be heading back soon.  A brilliant family day out and a new favourite place too.





Tuesday, 15 August 2017

About Me/Work With Me


About me

I was born in Bath in 1987 and shortly after my family moved to Wiltshire. I lived in the same small village until I left home at the age of 18. I met my husband when I was 17 and we have been together ever since. We have two children, Isabelle who was born in 2012 and Charlie who was born in 2014. 

Up until 2016 I had always worked in customer service but I am now a stay at home Mum. I started this blog In December 2016 and I haven't looked back since. I had originally planned on it just being parenting based but I very quickly realised that writing about my mental health really helped me personally. The support I have received since starting has been incredible and I am so thankful.



This blog is my little place on the internet to share my journey as a Mum, my battle with anxiety and everything in between. You will find reviews, days out with my little explorers, updates on my anxiety, the trials and tribulations of being a Mum and much more. 

I am PR friendly, if you would liked to work with me I welcome you to contact me HERE, I look forward to working with you.

You can find all my social media links below, come over and say Hi! 




Disclaimer

This blog is a personal blog written and edited by Laura Stevens. This blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship and other forms of compensation. I am sometimes compensated to provide opinion on services, products, websites and various other topics. Even though compensation is received for these I will always give my honest opinion, beliefs or experiences on what I am reviewing. I will always fully disclose, upfront, if compensation has been received. This blog is not responsible for what you might click through from advertisements. Any views or opinions that are represented in this blog are personal and belong to the blog owner, Laura Stevens. The views or opinions do not represent those of people, institutions or organisations that the owner may or may not be associated with in a professional or personal capacity, unless otherwise stated. 
All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog takes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries or damages from the display or use of this information. The blog owner is not responsible for the content in the comments. Please do not use the pictures on this blog without prior permission first. 


This blog disclaimer is subject to change at anytime without notification. 

Monday, 14 August 2017

National Allotment Week 14th - 20th August 2017




Potato Harvest

L to R - Parsnips, white onions and cauliflower

Carrots

Runner Beans

Tomatoes 

Strawberry Plant


Those of you that follow me on Instagram will know that we got our first ever allotment in May this year. As it is national allotment week this week I thought I would share some pictures of what we have achieved so far. We were supposed to get our allotment back in March but unfortunately it was not ready in time. When we did finally get it it was all actions stations to try and plant as much as we could so we could actually get something back from it this year. 

I had already been growing some veg from seedlings since around February which I'm so glad I did as it really helped get things going. The only things we did buy as ready grown plants are the strawberries and we also have sweet peas growing in one corner just to add some colour and to break up all the green! Around 75% of what we have grown has come from seed and I'm really proud of that. 

Considering we have never done this before I'm really pleased with how the allotment has done so far. The only thing we have harvested is the potatoes and basket upon basket of sweet peas. We also have these growing in our garden at home so the house has been full of them constantly, not that I'm complaining as the smell is incredible. I'm very excited for when everything else is ready to be picked, which shouldn't be long now.

The main reason we wanted to get an allotment was to become slightly self proficient with some of our veg and also to teach the kids how to grow their own food.  The kids have loved coming up to help and of course getting dirty! Having an allotment is a commitment as it does require a good chunk of time to get it set up. It took us a good few weeks to sort the ground out before we could plant anything. Once things have been planted and have started to grow the main thing is upkeep. Every week (well we try to) we go up to weed as unfortunately we do get stinging nettles growing on our plot. We also love that it has brought us closer to our community and Isabelle's school also has a plot up there too. 

When next May arrives we will have to decide whether we want to have the allotment for another year. Myself and my husband have already agreed that we would like to. It's the best feeling to put hard work in to something and get a brilliant reward. This being growing and eating our own fruit and veg. 

If you are considering getting an allotment or you would like more information, you can do so by speaking to your local council or by visiting The National Allotment Society's website.






Friday, 11 August 2017

Asda Little Angels nappy review






In the next few months we will be saying goodbye to nappies forever (sob). As we have used little angels nappies for five years and with both children I thought it was time that I did a review on them.

The reason we initially went for Asda's own brand of nappies back in 2012 is that we had already heard such good things about them. Also being that it was where we did our weekly food shop it just made sense to give them a go. 

We have gone from the newborn size all the way through to our latest find being the paw patrol pull up nappies which I should add Charlie is obsessed with. We now go back and forth between these and the size 6+ comfort and protect.

Now down to the nitty gritty, what do I actually think of them? Well I think they are brilliant. From day one we have never had any problems with them. Yes we had the new born stage with both children were there was the classic poonami stage were leaking is just unavoidable sometimes considering the situation. But at the time we did try a few other brands and we found that they were just not up to scratch with little angels. Charlie especially would tug on them as if they were uncomfortable and with little angels this never happened.

I have found some other brands really do not fit well but with these they are very true to size. Both children have never had any issue with rubbing around the legs or leaving a red mark from the elastic. The price for me is also another bonus, they are so reasonable. The little angels comfort and protect nappies are only £3.50. I should also say both of my children have never had nappy rash apart from right at the beginning (when let's be honest we're all figuring out how to look after a brand new baby) and I'm sure that's down to these nappies. 





We have also used their sensitive baby wipes since day one and I highly recommend them. I'm sure I will continue to buy them long after Charlie is potty trained for wiping dirty hands and faces. Mum hack, there fab for dusting too when you only have a few minutes to make your house look reasonably clean, oh come on we have all been there. 

Overall I can not recommend the Little Angels nappies and wipes enough. As we come to the end of our nappy journey I'm so glad we picked these for the past five years. Let me know if you have tried them and if you have any other staple products.



Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Am I strong enough? Self Doubt





Today was hard. Now that the children are asleep and I am sat in a quite house I'm not sure how I continued to carry on. I feel fear, I feel ill and I feel exhausted. 

Life will always throw obstacles but it's how you deal with it that matters. Most can resolve what ever it is and move on with their life. I however make myself ill with how much I let things consume me. 

Today was another example of this. Something unexpectedly happened and although I dealt with it well at the time, hours later I started to shake and the room was spinning. Then that dreaded feeling washed over me. Panic. I wanted to give in, I wanted to let it just do whatever it wanted to me so that it would be over. But no, I fought it. I pushed the feelings away and did whatever it took to not let it consume me. 

Over the past year I have started to notice that stress is affecting my anxiety more and more. The two just go hand in hand together. I find myself thinking am I strong enough to be a wife, a mother or a friend? When anxiety is my life is there enough room for everything else?




If you saw me today you wouldn't have been able to tell, as usual I put my face on and pushed through the day. What I hate is that it is hard enough to receive bad news or to go through a difficult situation but then I get a second kick to the stomach when my anxiety replays everything. It's like a double attack. 

I have been lacking in confidence recently. I have been finding it harder and harder to speak to people and to break out of my comfort zone that my anxiety puts me in. I have had to remove myself from certain friendships and situations purely because they were having a negative impact on my life. A few years ago I would never have done this but I have to do what is right for me. I can only have supportive, character boosting, loving people around me. 


The fear is setting in of waking up tomorrow and that well known feeling of panic suddenly hitting. I need to remember that it is not in control, I am. All I can do is stay true to myself and continue to fight this.  Today was bad but that's exactly what is was a bad day, everyone has them whether it is anxiety related or not. 























Friday, 4 August 2017

Do you really ever get over a traumatic birth?



The answer for me is no, it will always be with me. I still don't think I have ever really come to terms with the fact that I could have died. I look back on Charlie's birth with such happiness but with Isabelle's what happened over shadows that this was the day I became a Mummy. I do feel like I have blocked it out and for some this may work but for me it has been slowly eating away at me for five years. I also think because her birth was so quick, I never gave myself chance to understand what actually happened. 
I have written about Isabelle's birth story which you can find here. I do fully explain what happened in that post so it might be worth reading that first. 

I can still remember how utterly terrified I felt and how it was both the best and the worst time of my life. I can't bear to hear the word haemorrhage it sends a shiver down my spine. I had that moment of feeling like this is it, I have brought our baby into the world and now I won't be around to actually be her Mummy. At the time my husband never let on to how severe the situation was. As we approached the birth of Charlie we found ourselves going back to Isabelle's birth and for the first time he opened up. I could tell he was just as scared as me that it could happen again. Not to be overly graphic but all he could say about Isabelle's birth was the amount of blood that he saw in that room.   




As long as your baby is healthy and you recover the memories of a traumatic birth should fade away. Well no. Even though I did not experience PTSD it is still hard for me to not be able to look back on Isabelle's birth with complete happiness. It has though made our bond even more special. I feel even luckier to still be here to be her Mummy and that's what I strive to remember when I do think of that time. 








Friday, 28 July 2017

Review | Thrive : Feel Stress Free App




So normally with reviews you have to wait until the end for the overall opinion of what it is the review is featuring. I can't wait until the end and this might sound like a total over exaggeration, but it's totally not! This is a big statement for me to say but, this app is amazing! 

This could not have come into my life at a better time. Those of you who are regular readers of my blog will know that I have been seeing a psychology practitioner about my anxiety. I have been mentioning to friends and family that I felt like I needed something long term to help keep my anxiety under control. The appointments I have been having are all good and well but they are once every three weeks and sometimes I just need something extra. I have a huge passion for mental health and helping others so I was over the moon to have an opportunity to try this app. It covers so much more than I could have ever expected so lets start from the beginning. 





The app is bright, colourful and if an app can be welcoming it definitely is. When you first log into the app it asks for some basic details for an assessment all the while reminding you that it is always best to contact an NHS health care practitioner if you are feeling unwell which I really appreciated. Once signed up and upon opening the app on a daily basis it will ask you how you're feeling and this is how it works out what kind of tasks you should complete that day.




It will also ask you a series of questions about what it could be that's making you feel the way you are and what you think you can do to help change your mindset. This is very much CBT related and this is something that has worked for me in the past. Once it has assessed you on that particular day it will give you a few recommend tasks to complete. 





These can be breathing, meditation, deep muscle or zen garden. I have tried the app for three weeks and my favourite has been the breathing tasks. I have been using the app at night once the children have gone to bed and I never thought it would actually make me feel calmer. It also allows you to keep track of your progress along the way. It has been improving my sleep and has given me something to focus on of an evening especially because I find it so hard to wind down. 

Nothing I have tried before has helped and I am honestly amazed that this has. Something so simple yet effective at the same time.

The app is £5.99 a month but believe me it's worth it's wait in gold! It's so important to see your GP if you are not feeling OK, I cannot stress this enough. My anxiety is something that I will live with for the rest of my life but it has been brilliant to discover something that can actually help manage it.

The lovely people at Thrive have given me a discount code for my readers to get one month's free usage of the app for August. 

The code - FSFAUGUST310717. 

For more information visit the Thrive website here.



*Not sponsored. Thrive kindly let me try the app for free for one month in return for an honest review. All opinions remain my own as always.