Let’s be honest, chocolate and flowers are nice but they aren’t for everyone.  It might be that you enjoy giving and receiving more unusual gifts or you just might not be into the whole ‘standard’ Valentine’s Day celebration.

If you are looking for something a little different this year, then I have put together this handy gift guide to help you along.  With 7 days to go, I’ve picked up a variety of items for a range of budgets so I’m sure you will find something that you like!

Personalised Our Song/First Dance Poster

This poster is such a sweet and unique idea.  It costs £9.99 for an A4 size and although you’d probably also want to purchase a frame I love that you can choose something which would be a nostalgic trip down memory lane.  You can also get A3 versions and there are different colour options too.  It’s going to sound incredibly cheesy but The Scientist is a significant song to us because when we were first going out James sang it to me and played the guitar.  Clearly I had dreams of marrying a rock star!

Itty Bittys

Who doesn’t love a cuddly toy to celebrate all things romantic?  Hallmark have just released three new couples in time for Valentine’s Day: Belle and the Beast, Miss Piggy and Kermit and Lady and the Tramp.  If those don’t grab your attention however they do a whole range of well known and loved characters and the miniature size means they make a sweet but thoughtful option.  Prices start from around £6.

We are very familiar with Itty Bittys is this house with the kids having a number from the Star Wars and Disney ranges and I think these are some very cute additions.

Rock and Ruddle Hairbrush

If you truly want to think outside the box then why not buy your loved one a Rock and Ruddle hairbrush?  These brushes are made using boar bristles which are strong and resilient and they pull through the hair incredibly smoothly.  You can buy them in a range of different styles and a handbag size brush costs £20.  We tried this brush out on James’ hair as he has incredibly thick hair and we were interested to see whether it lived up to its claim of brushing through without pulling and I can honestly say that it did the job perfectly.  The bristles also have microscopic scales which release and drag the natural oil from your scalp along your hair to keep it healthy looking.

The Perfect Mug

Whether your loved one’s beverage of choice is tea, coffee, hot chocolate or just good old plain hot water, there is something about drinking from a nice mug which just takes your experience to the next level.  I wouldn’t say I’m a mug connoisseur but I definitely know a thing or two about having an obsession with nice mugs!  I adore this Tinkerbell one from Find Me A Gift (£9.99).  It’s quirky, perfect for Disney lovers and would make the perfect receptacle for a Valentine’s morning brew.

A Good Read

It wouldn’t be a gift guide written by me if I didn’t include the option for a good book to read!  If your partner is anything like me then I’m sure they will have a wishlist just waiting at the end of their fingertips with books they are dying to own but if not then I was sent a copy of H.O.Charles’ first book: City of Blaze which James has been reading and enjoying just recently.  It’s the perfect option for anyone who loves Epic Fantasy with a good dash of magic and some romance (it is Valentine’s Day after all…)

I was provided with the items in this post for the purpose of the gift guide.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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I feel like it’s as good as giving something the kiss of death to say that I am starting a new, regular post on my blog but that is certainly what I intend with A Little Bit Of Us…

I have enjoyed dipping in and out of Morgana’s Little Loves linky each Friday but find that I join consistently for a period of time and then lose my rhythm and this has certainly been true since I began working three days a week in October. For that reason, I can’t promise that these posts will be weekly but that is my aim. My true purpose though is to give you an update on where we are at, and the things we have been up to which don’t warrant their own individual post.

This week, James and I returned back to work (boo!) and the kids went into a holiday club. It was a bit of a shock to the system for all of us following the Christmas break. I don’t know whether it’s because Christmas fell on a week day this year but it just didn’t feel like we had that much time to spend together. Once we had visited my family and James’, we only had a couple of days before it was back to the grind.

It was no fun for anyone come Tuesday morning when we had to leave the snug warmth of the house and head out first thing in the morning; I’ve been drinking far too many cups of tea this week and the kids looked completely bewildered when we headed outside and it was still dark, although I think they have enjoyed being at the holiday club, simply for the opportunity to do something slightly more exciting and with different faces. We were perhaps heading towards that level of cabin fever which sees them bouncing off the walls and falling out over every teeny, tiny thing.

Going back to the weekend, we did manage (James and I) to get out for New Year’s Eve which felt like a major achievement; being the first time in 8 years that we haven’t sat at home, watching the clock and wondering whether we are even going to make it until 12am! We were invited to three different gatherings which we popped into and it was lovely to spend the evening with friends, knowing the kids were being well looked after by their Nana and Grandad.  It’s a terrible picture, I know, but the only one I captured of the whole evening!

The biggest news this week for me was the announcement of a new book club I am helping to run: Bookish Mamas. You can see the full story here, but we have picked The Power by Naomi Alderman as our first book and I am currently racing through it. It isn’t such a long book to begin with but the premise is very interesting, if a little dark! I’ll let you have my full thoughts in due course, naturally.
This weekend we are away on a review trip in Dorset which I am very excited to share about with you; I’ve been invited to vlog it so there will be a video following once I’ve had time to wade through and edit the mammoth amount of footage I am sure to come home with. Fingers crossed that Storm Eleanor doesn’t rear her head and ruin the plans we have for our time there.
I am also making the solemn promise that I will share some house updates here next week; we are putting some final touches to Meg and Eli’s rooms and then they will be completely ticked off and done and we can move onto other rooms in the house. I’ll also sort out full room tours both here and on Youtube in the coming weeks although I’m sure there will always be bits and pieces I want to add in. The trick is going to be in stopping myself long enough to sort out the other parts of the house which are crying out for redecoration!
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Last year I was oddly quiet when it came to sharing my resolutions on my blog. I filmed a chatty video sharing about some of the things I wanted to achieve as we headed into our busiest year for quite some time but oddly left this space a little blank.

If you follow me at all on social media you will have seen that we had a crazy busy year.  We are talking my 30th birthday, our 10th wedding anniversary, two family weddings, a number of BIG trips, the need to move out of our rented house hanging over our heads and so much more to squeeze into the 365 days which made up 2017. Even knowing all of that, we decided to take the plunge and move areas, buying a house which needed a lot of work doing to it…I think we have some kind of issue with keeping things simple! I recently made a highlights video and just looking at all the things we did (and I didn’t film every last thing!) reminded me just what a mad year we’ve had.

By comparison, 2018 is going to be a little more tame. I’m sure that we will somehow manage to fill up our spare time and weekends but the main focus of this year has got to be on renovating our newly purchased house and turning it into the kind of home we are proud of. It needs a lot of work to get it there but with some hard graft I think we could manage some serious progress in the next 12 months. Of course that means forgoing trips away and holidays, but I’m looking forward to spending next Christmas in a lounge which isn’t a deep purple and perhaps cooking in a kitchen which is fully tiled!

All that being said, I do think it is important to go into a year with some idea of what you want to get out of it. Otherwise one tends to procrastinate, don’t you think?

The house is a major endeavor, obviously, but there are some other things I would also like to achieve. I would like to fully settle into the new area by getting the kids back into their after-school clubs for one; I know that Meg has really missed being a part of a gymnastics class and when the nights get a little lighter I’ve heard there is a great outdoor climbing club which I think Eli would adore.

I’d like to blog a little more regularly: I’m going to aim for at least two or three posts a week with my focus being spread between family lifestyle, books and travel. I was, at best, a sporadic blogger last year with much of my focus being on building my Youtube community. I’d like to try and find more of a balance between the two and with some forward thinking I should be able to manage this (famous last words perhaps!)

I always have itchy feet when it comes to travelling but, as I mentioned, that’s likely to be off the cards this year with the house, although we do have one short break coming up which I am very excited to share with you all. I’d love to be dreaming about an upcoming week in the sun but I very much doubt we will get there, although I always have my fingers crossed for the UK weather to finally get its act together! A girl can wish…

I’d also like to read more.  I know someone, somewhere, is falling off their seat at that as I read 61 books in 2017 but I’d like to push myself a little bit more to read some bigger books that are currently sitting on my shelves and intimidating me.  I’d also like to buy less books and read more of the ones I already own but we will have to see how that one turns out.  Every time I put myself on a book buying ban, I just seem to purchase more!

Other than that, it will be the usual standard family events. I am currently pretending that I will not have a 9 and 7 year old by the end of this year because frankly, I don’t see how on earth that has happened. I’m sure they will both want to celebrate with a bang and given that I spent my 30th birthday with my head in the toilet bowl, we are also planning a 30.1 party for me so I can celebrate being older than I’d really like to be. There is something about being 30 which feels significant, although don’t ask me if I have my act together because I still really don’t have a clue. If someone knocked on the door tomorrow and congratulated me on giving adult-ing a good try but they were here to take over now, that would make perfect sense to me!

But enough waffling. I hope to have enough interesting content to share with you, particularly as we make progress on the house, and I hope you will come along on the journey with me. Despite putting a lot of effort into making vlogs and discovering that I have a real love for it, I also still adore the written word and hope to continue writing here this year. I’ve committed now so do feel free to remind me of it!

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The New Year is often a time when people begin to think about ways to save money.  You might have a special occasion coming up such as a wedding or a big birthday, you might want to take an exciting holiday as a family or you might just want more flexibility with your cash-flow.

We definitely fall into that last category so when E.ON got in touch with me to share about their online tariff comparison, I was intrigued.  E.ON say that the Ofgem national average UK household could save up to £200 per year by switching to the E.ON Go Online Tariff.  You simply pop in your postcode and house number and away you go.

It’s interesting that you could make such a significant saving (imagine what an extra £200 a year could get you!) and yet I bet that changing energy supplier is often bottom of the pile when it comes to looking at ways to save money.  I know if it was left to me, I would go for the easiest option and in my mind, having to change suppliers seem like a lot of effort.  Yet it really isn’t.

Our energy bills are an expense we are used to paying out for, and it is something we definitely don’t think about from month to month.  We have our direct debit set up, and that is that.  Yet when we put our details in, it churned out that we could save around £10 a month.  Although that doesn’t seem a lot at first glance, it’s actually £120 a year which could be put towards something.  For us, it would most likely go towards a family day (or two) out somewhere.


In all honesty, it would be nice to have money ready for a family day out without having to worry it was taking away from something else and as we are already used to paying more for our energy, we could simply pop that £10 a month straight into a savings account.  If you’ve ever costed up a trip to the zoo, or theme park, or even just a staycation…they can quickly add up in price once you’ve paid for entry, and food etc.  Having money ready to go would be a real financial blessing and would enable us to plan a couple of fun days out without any additional worry.

One thing to consider is the fact that the saving might seem pretty minimal from month to month but the point is that it adds up.  So even if you came out as saving only £5 a month, that is still £60 over the year.  As some of the other bloggers who were also asked pointed out, the little things can still make all the difference whether it’s a couple of fancy coffees or a takeaway a few times a year!

So if you are looking at saving money in 2018, then I would highly recommend having a look at how much you could save with E.ON.  You might be pleasantly surprised by the outcome.

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by E.ON, to help advertise their wide range of tariffs.  Although I was paid for this advertisement, all views are my own.

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There’s nothing like having to do the school run or head out to work in the blistering cold to make you start dreaming of the summer sun, is there?!  I am a big fan of the colder months; when you can stay indoors and wrap yourself in a big blanket with a steaming mug of hot chocolate but I didn’t feel quite so pleased when I was trying to scrape ice off my windscreen first thing this morning!


That said, when I received a hamper full of Christmas goodies from Jet2 earlier in the week, it definitely put me in a more festive frame of mind.  As you can see from my unboxing video, I do love a good surprise and this one definitely contains enough to keep us going throughout December as Meg and Eli (and let’s be honest…me as well!) get more…and more…and more excited!



Better yet, if you are craving that summer sun then Jet2 are running a superb competition: every day from the 1st to the 26th December someone will win a Jet2 holiday!  All you have to do is correctly answer the holiday-themed question and you’ll be in with a chance of winning.  Imagine if you could be popping that underneath your Christmas tree this year.

If you pre-register before tomorrow you also get an extra daily entry.


Thank you to Jet2 for sending me this lovely hamper.

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