Greece 2021

Now that some countries are easing restrictions and allowing people to fly again there may be some families that may choose to head to a sunny beach or two with the kids in another country.

And one of those families are us. We booked our flights back in February in the hope that restrictions would ease and we could enjoy a beach summer. Now that time has finally come and we can’t quiet believe it.

The admin that’s now associated with travelling abroad can be lengthy not to mention the tests (if you’re not fully vaccinated) and the added complication of being from a country that’s no longer a part of the EU. There are a few things to look into to ensure you can even board the plane lol!

Dress – Arket, Sandals – Paul Smith

It’s our first time travelling as a family of four so I’ve had to be super organised with the packing and ensuring that both kids have what they need. With everything packed 7 days before our flight we were able to drop our bags at the airport the day before to make us more relaxed on the day of our flight.

Our main reason for travelling to Greece was for a wedding so we decided to combine the occasion with a family holiday and visit one of the neighbouring islands aswell. As recommended to us we picked the island of Thassos for the first 5 days of our stay and we absolutely loved it. A family friendly hotel combined with the most picturesque of beaches made this holiday one that we would remember for a long time.

I total we spent 7 days in Greece. Landing at Thessaloniki airport we hired a car and drove a total of 4 hours to the island of Thassos. This included a 30 minute ferry ride from mainland Kavala to the island of Thassos. Thankfully the kids were well behaved and we took breaks for them to walk when they needed it.

Dress – Mango

Road conditions were great and the satnav took us to our destination with no issues. Whilst in Thassos we stayed at Blue Dream Palace, a beautiful beachfront hotel with 2 restaurants a beach facing bar and lots of amenities near by. the island of Thassos is heavily reliant on tourism and that is quite evident when you travel around. There are lots of villas, hotels and private hire apartments as well as mini supermarkets and souvenir shops and that’s pretty much it.

We booked a room that came with a private pool and this was a great decision as it allowed the kids to use the pool under our supervision and we knew that they were safe especially as they are young and were using blow up floats. The service at the hotel was great and they really catered to our every need.

As we travelled at the end of June we were expecting high temperatures and it was in the low to mid 30’s for our entire trip, the temperature dropped to around 22 degrees in the evening which was a nice change to the sweltering temperatures of the day.

Greek cuisine is absolutely delicious and the produce is fresh and locally sourced on the island. We had lots of great seafood like sea bream, octopus and mackerel. The lamp chops paired with the Greek yoghurt sauce and grilled vegetables was a combination I enjoyed on more than one occasion.

Seafood platter for one from the hotel in Thassos

We spent a lot of time in the water as we found it was the best way to keep cool during the day. Whether on the beach or in our pool we were always in close enough proximity to the bar or restaurant should we want a snack or take a break for lunch or dinner.

T-shirt and shorts both from Arket (shorts linked) gold sandals and hat from Zara (sandals linked)

There are mosquitoes in Greece and they seem to come out more in the evening. We were well prepared for this and packed both kids and adult mosquito repellent. One evening whilst taking a stroll on the beach we even saw a swarm of mosquitoes flying together! To stay on the safe side we also stuck to bottled water and steered clear of tap water when eating out.

Dress and bag – Zara (dress linked) sandals – Birkenstock (sandals linked)

Our hotel were still exercising measures to comply with restrictions in the country. Which meant that the indoor pool was closed, masks had to be worn inside the building at all times and disposable gloves were supplied to be used when at the buffet stands. They were really strict with this and I did see a family turned away who had arrived for breakfast without masks. There were lots of sanitisation stands but in the hotel restaurant it was difficult to keep distance as the tables were fairly close together.

In the area there were lots of other beaches and restaurants to choose from. I’ll list our favourite restaurants below.

Places to eat in Thassos:

1. San Antonio Restaurant, Potos Thassos, 64002, Greece

2. Taverna Irene, Potos 64002, Greece

3. Elia restaurant by Blue view hotel, Limenaria 640 02, Greece Phone: +30 2593 058053

4. 6. Ayopaotóç, Kinira 640 04, Greece Phone: +30 2493 041225

How can I make screen time with my toddler productive?

This is an honest question that I’ve asked myself as I got to a point where I wondered whether all of this time in front of a tablet was doing her any good.

I’ll share some of my observations and tips for navigating this sometimes taboo subject

1. For me I feel that a lot can be learnt through the many educational and interactive apps and videos available on a tablet. My daughter has learnt so much through some of the educational videos and also enjoys the games in the apps too.

2. As an adult vetting what your child is watching is paramount. If you allow your child to watch video streaming sites such as YouTube please please ensure that you restrict the videos that you deem inappropriate. There’s a lot of content on there that can be scary for children, especially the Halloween themed content. Create an account and block any videos or channels that don’t look right to you.

3. If you’re not sure about the video streaming sites here are some apps that are great for children aged 2-5: Highlights Shapes, Build a Truck by Duck Duck Moose, ABC Fruit Alphabet App, ABC Kids tracing and phonics, NumberBlocks, Hey Duggee, NumberBlocks- Hide and Seek, Lego – Airplane Adventures

4. If you can, stay with your child whilst they are on the tablet. Ask them questions about what is happening. Ask him or her to describe what they can see. This avoids the passive consumption that can happen on the tablet.

5. Limit the time that they use the app. Plan other activities for them to do that doesn’t involve a screen. I typically don’t allow my daughters usage to exceed one hour in a day.

6. Where do they watch their tablet? Encourage the right posture by allowing them to watch setting in a chair with good back support where their neck isn’t strained and the tablet isn’t too close to their eyes.

Thank you for reading and let me know if you’ve found any of this useful x

I do not own the image used in this blog. Source: phys.org

Motherhood, social restrictions and faith

As I think back at how life has changed since January 2020, it’s amazing the opportunities it has also presented. The greatest one for me is having my husband working from home.

I say this a lot but these times are unprecedented. When I fell pregnant in September 2019, the world was pretty much a normal place. Yet, I spent my entire last trimester going to my baby scans alone, staying indoors to stay safe and popping out just for the necessary walks.

Recently I watched a documentary that talked about the strange blessings of Covid. How it’s bought people together, families looking out for one another more than ever. Friends and communities helping each other out, posting care packages or simply being a listening ear.

Having less outdoor activities with the kids forced me to pull out all the creativity I had in me lol. It was fun, as it created additional opportunities to teach and to bond with the kids.

Of course I did wonder when things would get better. What implications this pandemic would have on their experiences? When would they get to meet their family. Will they be able to make friends in the same way? When will play dates be a safe thing to do again? There were so many questions and as I type this I still wonder about these things. However, faith gives me peace in the midst of uncertainty and I have seen that although things are evolving, time is still moving forward and therefore life still has to be lived in a slightly different way.

Faith has played a role in me being able to remain calm whilst being cautious in these strange times. As parents our children look up to us and although they may not know exactly what’s happening they may get a sense that something is going on. Recently my two year old asked me why she isn’t wearing a mask when mummy and daddy are wearing one.

Faith to me looks like resting in the knowledge that whatever happens God is in full and absolute control. This means that I follow all rules of distancing and mask wearing but I’m not fearful. It also means that I trust and am hopeful that there will be better days, things won’t always be like this. Lastly it means that regardless of the circumstances I rejoice because the one who made the whole world has us all in the palm of His hand, how amazing is that?! 🙂

Thank you for reading, have a lovely weekend x

5 things that potty training my daughter has taught me

Hello hello! It’s been a while and I’ve missed blogging. Parenting two young kids has been a big adjustment and the adjusting is still taking place lol.

It’s been a few weeks now since I started potty training my daughter and I wanted to share some real life lessons that I’ve taken away from it.

1. Patience when trying to reach your goals is key. When your patient you’re less likely to become frustrated and give up. Patience helps you to see the bigger picture and keep the end goal in mind. I’ve learnt to understand that I’m steering my daughter into a new way of thinking and also negotiating with someone who is very independent lol!

2. It’s okay to change strategy. Changing your mind and being innovative keeps the challenge fresh and less laborious. I’ve asked for lots of advice from mums and I’ve implemented them at different times to help reach the end goal.

3. Stay positive. Even when my daughter has an ‘accident’ I assure her that she’s going to get there. I never make her feel bad for what she has done, make a scene about it and I most certainly don’t tell her off. Positivity and a smile goes a long way and will actually help in progressing with the training. The way we talk to ourselves and the thoughts we entertain are important, say good things about your plans and ideas, use scripture if you’re a believer.

4. Celebrate the small wins. There has been more dancing’s between singing in our home these past few weeks than ever before as we celebrate each successful use of the potty and the same can be said about life too. Don’t demote something to mediocre when actually it should be celebrated. It gives you motivation to continue and reminds you that progress is being made.

5. Stay the course. It would be easy to give in and put a nappy on but we are so determined to stay the course and finally have a potty trained child. The reward at the end far outweighs giving in now into what’s more comfortable and familiar for her. The same goes for any other goal you have, put in the work and the results will be something you’ll be so so proud of.

Thank you for reading x

The Fenty Skin review – Facial cleanser, fat water toner, hydra vizor moisturiser

As soon as I saw these new products I just HAD to try it. I have been so impressed with the fenty make up range that for me it was a no brainer. So let’s jump straight into the review 🙂

image source: fentybeauty.com

As far as cleansers go, this really does do what it says on the tin. It’s delicate enough to not irritate my skin yet tough enough on even the most oily of foundations and concealers. I love the creamy consistency and it smells amazing. I’m really enjoying using this on my skin and my skin loves it too. The twist to open device means you don’t waste any product. A little goes a long way with this cleanser so I squeeze just a little and it’s enough for my face and neck. I probably wouldn’t buy again simply because there are other cleansers that are equally as effective such as the La Roche Posay purifying foaming gel

image source: fentybeauty.com

I was unsure about this toner when I first started using it. As the name suggests, I was expecting a gel like consistency but it’s actually. I’m used to using cotton wool to apply my toner and I wasn’t sure initially that it was really making any difference to my skin. But after a week of using this morning and evening I started to notice that my pores were much smaller, my skin looked smooth and it didn’t leave my skin feeling tight. I let it sit for a while before applying the moisturiser. This toner is so gentle on the skin. I squeeze a little onto my middle finger, spread across three fingers and apply all over my face.

image source: fentybeauty.com
image source: fentybeauty.com

This is my favourite of the trio. A moisturiser that leaves my skin feeling and looking beautifully dewy. When I first apply it the cream seems to just sit on the skin and it looks like I’ve just put lots of sunscreen on but then its absorbed by the skin, leaving it looking juicy and supple. This does also contain spf30 which means I’m protect from harmful rays and I like that. It’s hard to find a cream that does that whilst keeping your skin moisturised.To me it smells of vanilla and roses- just delightful :). All three of these products work beautifully together. It’s evident that a lot of research, care and attention has gone into this and it shows.

Have you tried any of these products? How have you found them?

As always thank you for reading xx

Skincare and self care

I never knew these two went hand in hand until I started taking my skincare regime seriously somewhere around November 2019. Not only have I noticed a difference in my skin but it’s time I carve out for myself and do something for me. Which as a stay at home mum is important to have.

Prior to this I’ll be honest that I have used whatever cleanser I’ve had available including bar soap which isn’t really recommended for the skin on your face. Having a good skincare regime some day will save you money in the long run. Having a regime now could prevent deep wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and keeps skin healthy and moist.

Before starting my regime I did some research into what I wanted for my skin, what I wanted to achieve and did an assessment of the type of skin I have, which is combination oily but has changed a bit during pregnancy.

Getting good products is key but so is being consistent with your routine. I’ve seen a difference in my skin because I’ve been committed as much as possible to cleansing, toning and moisturising even when I’m at my most tired (which can sometimes take a bit of motivation!)

Here are the products that I use:

I start with this Caudalie cleansing oil which gets rid of the tougher make-up like gel liners and mascara plus oil based make-up like foundation and concealers. After this I use Simple moisturising facial wash for an even deeper cleanse.
I then follow with a cleanser on my face and neck, I have a few but this one is my favourite to use at the moment from Clarins.
This toner is great, it’s so gentle on the skin and I’m loving the results. Again I use this on my face and neck.
This serum is great and I use it during the day if I’m not wearing makeup and every evening after my toner. It’s got such a lovely smell and a few drops goes a long way.
I finish off with a gel moisturiser in the evenings. I prefer using a gel moisturiser because of how quickly they absorb into the skin.

I haven’t perfected this regime yet as I do need to add a daily moisturiser that contains an SPF so would love to know your recommendations. What other kind of products do you use on your skin?

With all that’s going on at the moment please do make the most of the time you have with family and check on your friends and relatives too. Have a great week! Xx

Third trimester fashion

So as my pregnancy develops and my baby bump becomes bigger I’m having to adjust my wardrobe quite a bit. Finding what is comfortable and also looks nice can be a bit of a challenge.

They say everyone carries differently in pregnancy which is indeed true even for one person your bump can be different from one pregnancy to another.

Top – Zara, Skirt – H&M

The biggest change I’ve noticed is how soon I was showing with this pregnancy. Having an elongated bump means opting for longer tops that cover my bump in its entirety. This also meant going for over the bump maternity jeans and midi-length dresses.

Jumper – Weekday, Skirt – H&M

As I don’t have much longer to go I won’t be adding any new pieces to my wardrobe but I have started thinking about my wardrobe post baby. Especially the weeks/months following the birth which I remember were filled with lots of breastfeeding! Being a nursing mum means ensuring that I’m wearing items I can easily feed in whether I’m at home or out and about. For me tops that button up are the most convenient. I’m not a fan of having to hoist up my t-shirt in order to feed my child so having to just undo a couple of buttons to allow baby to quickly latch on worked best for me.

Here are some ‘breastfeeding friendly’ dresses that I quite like:

Zara
Zara
And Other Stories
Hugo
Espirit
Isabel Marant

As always thank you for reading and I hope you found this useful if you’re an expecting mum x

Purpose Beyond Motherhood

I knew once I got the hang of what I was doing that I was going to absolutely love motherhood and I honestly believe that (by Gods grace) I am doing a good job. The rewards that come with nurturing a little one are absolutely priceless but this doesn’t take away from wanting to achieve more and to be more. Besides the fact that children grow up incredibly quickly, there was a purpose and a drive inside of me long before children, meaning that there are still things that I am passionate about and projects and ideas that God has laid on my heart to (by His grace) bring to fruition.

This of course doesn’t take away from those who are solely stay-at-home mums, its not an easy job and is one that takes up all day and some! Especially if you have more than one child.

I know that first time around I definitely became swallowed up by all that motherhood required of me and delved into this role with everything leaving very little time for any of my own interests. Finding the balance can be hard especially when each stage of your babies growth requires you to adapt just when you feel as though you’re getting the hang of things.

If you’re like me and believe that actually the passions, interests, desires you had pre-children are still very much there I encourage you to dedicate a little time to it everyday. Whatever it may be. It could be 10 minutes of research or a good 40 minutes of brainstorming/planning a few times a week. I believe there is more fulfilment to be found in nurturing the gifts that we have and balancing home, family and personal interests.

As always thank you for reading, please share this with someone that you think will enjoy reading this too.

 

Have a great week! xx

Am I making the most of my time as a mum?

Being a stay at home mum means that I sometimes feel as though I’m not being productive, even though I’m maintaining a home and raising a child my efforts can sometimes feel as though they aren’t really bring forth any tangible benefits.

This is when I must remind myself that I am investing in my children’s future and what I am doing now will put them in good steed for the future.

I must also remember that this is just a season and one that I must embrace and enjoy because it will pass and it will be before I know it, my daughter will be much older and independent not needing my help in many day to day things.

Remembering this also helps me to relax and doesn’t give me the feeling that I’m in some way ‘missing out’ by not being at work. I must say that after you’ve cleaned up food off the floor for what feels like the 55th time in one day, being in an office does sound very very appealing 🙂

Having worked since my teenage years this new season has taken some adjusting to but watching my little grow and blossom has been so so rewarding, it’s such a honour. I’ve gained a new perspective on life and I’m thankful for that.

Thank you for reading x

Hair care for my little one

Hey everyone! It’s been a while and why not kick off my return with an easy haircare routine.

I’d like to point out that What I’m going to share with you has been based on trial and error and me studying my daughters hair pattern and how it reacts to different products. I hope you find it useful for your little girl/boys delicate tresses 🙂

– Firstly, I wash my daughters hair once a week. I do this because her curly hair locks in moisture very well and doesn’t get dirty that quickly. I wash her hair using Cantu Care for kids tear-free nourishing shampoo

– I then finish this off with Cantu Care for kids leave in conditioner. I use this rather sparingly and work it through the hair with my fingers, I don’t comb her hair at this stage. I then put a shower cap in her (if allowed lol) to let the leave-in really do it’s work

– I also have the Cantu Care for kids Conditioner, I use this after the shampoo every other week because for me I feel like it does a very similar job to the leave-in conditioner with the only difference being that I rinse out the conditioner. The consistency and smell seem identical to me but that could just be me.

– After leaving the shower cap on for 10 minutes or so, I remove and pat dry any excess leave-in and style her hair. I begin with the Cantu conditioning creamy hair lotion. This is the adult one so I use very little.

– I follow this with some Castor oil, I bought this one on amazon and it’s pretty good, with its nice thick consistency, you wouldn’t need much.

– Then finally I use Cantu Care for kids curling cream to define her curls. Again you don’t need to much of this but can always adjust quantity depending on the thickness and length of your child’s hair. I’m really impressed with this product, it leaves my daughters hair so shiny and the curls stay defined for most of the day.

– For creating styles that require hold like cornrows or putting the hair into bunches I use the Cantu Care for kids styling custard. I really like how it holds the hair and there is no residue what’s so ever, no bits in the hair, the hair doesn’t become hard, it’s still soft and nourished. This is my favourite product out of the range.

– For day to day care I do not use a comb on her hair, I tease out any knots with my fingers and run my hands through the hair gently, even if I’m putting it into bunches I don’t come it, I just tease it out with my fingers then gather it into a hold. For slicker styles I do use a very soft brush.

– I gently message the scalp concentrating on the hairline with castor oil to keep her scalp moisturised and promote growth, I do this daily.

– I was putting a silk headscarf on her head at night but that didn’t last long lool! May be when she’s a bit older. The cotton bedding really dries out the hair and saps the oil out, but will keep moisturising her hair daily to combat that.

I hope you’ve found this useful. If you have any questions please leave it in the comments or drop me an email 🙂

Thank you for reading xx