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A New Stationery Obsession- And a Sticker Stack Giveaway...

on Thursday, 22 May 2014.

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a *teeny* obsession with stationery.  For as long as I can remember I have been what you may call a stationery geek, and our house is overrun with pretty pens, notebooks and folders I genuinely have no use for.  At school I used to get excited every term to buy a new pencil case (I was one of those children) and vividly remember going on 'extremely important' shopping trips with my Mum to buy new pens and pencils every Summer.

Although I am actually pretty unorganised I like to pretend that I am not and therefore I have a notebook for every occasion.  However since my freelance work has stepped up a gear, I decided I needed a monthly planner to sort my life out.  A quick browse around the wonderful world of instagram via Hayley led me to Sticker Stack.

Sticker Stack is a site full of gorgeous East Asian stationery and I wasted pretty much an hour browsing all their gorgeous things.  I have had an obsession for Korean and Japanese stationary ever since one of my childhood friends went to live over there and used to send me back amazing sticker albums.  

I bought the Apple Simplanner, a large, colourful monthly planner with no start date and a huge note section, which was a bargain at £6.00 and a really very cute set of memo stickers that Mads has her eye on.  I am a sucker for a post it note.  With a team based in the UK and a team based in Korea, my goodies arrived beautifully packaged a couple of days later.

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I was so impressed with the service and the quality of the products I just had to email and say thank you and I soon found myself chatting to Ben the owner of Sticker Stack.  He is really lovely and although originally from England, he moved over to Korea a few years ago where he met his wife and had his children.  After a few emails back and forth and with me mentioning I would love to support his company on my blog, he very kindly asked if I would like to give away some bits in a competition.

I only review a few products on this blog, but I really was so impressed with my purchases and wanted to shout about them as I know that there are lots of people who are also stationary lovers like myself.  I love it when small business owners are so passionate and this definitely came across when I was chatting to Ben.

 

If you want to be in with a chance of winning the goodies below then all you need to do is leave a comment below with your favourite item from the Sticker Stack site.  


You could win...

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This gorgeous 100 Stories journal/notebook which I very very nearly bought myself, I love the idea of capturing tiny little snippets of our story.

A4-briefcase

This super stylish A4 briefcase wallet, perfect for storing receipts, artwork, photographs or your endless supplies of scrap paper, if you are anything like me!

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It's wonderful to receive a handwritten note, I love to get happy post, so brighten up someone's day with these super cute letter writing sets.

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Coral is one of my favourite colours, perfect for summer, and so I would love this corner wallet to store my cards, coins and other bits and bobs.

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These two way Deco pens look stylish (they remind me of the Pantone colours brand for some reason) and they will make your notebooks look positively pretty!

 

 

 

If you wanted to support this fabulous small business on social media too then then you can follow them on facebook, instagram and twitter- I am sure they would appreciate it!  

(Competition ends on 12th June at midnight...)

 

NB.  I paid for my Sticker Stack goodies and have received no payment for this post but I wanted to shout about them because I really do think they are fab.  

 

Intense.

on Tuesday, 20 May 2014.

It's approximately ten past eight in the morning and there are big salty tears running down my three year old's rosy cheeks.  Her little face is screwed up in some form of anguish, her mouth is open wide and she is wailing.  Loudly.  I know that it is early, but I glance down at my watch and note the time regardless.  Ten past eight.  We have been up little less than an hour.  And already I am thinking 'This is going to be a long day.'

This particular meltdown was over the fact that she wanted to wear her leggings rather than her shorts, but to be honest it could have happened over anything really.  She is tired, I am tired and the day hasn't even really begun.  I feel defeated, like I am fighting a losing battle...that the day isn't going to go well, yet it hasn't even really started.

There's only one word to describe it.  Intense.  

Before you actually become a mother you don't really realise just how enormous it is going to be.  Of course, you know it will change your life, but you don't really factor in that intensity.  The exceptional highs and the exceptional lows.  And all the little bits in between.  

You imagine life to be a little bit like something out of glossy baby magazine, you walking round in trendy clothes with a full face of make up and an immaculately clean, pristine baby cooing happily in their buggy.  You imagine the trips to the seaside, the cute little baby clothes and the euphoric feeling of bringing a little person into the world that is part of you and the person you love most.  There's the thought process of plenty picture perfect moments of delightful scenes of motherhood.

Which of course there is.  There are those 'pinch me' moments where life is exactly how you want it to be.  Where you feel like you are walking round in a dream and this is all you ever wanted.  Where you can't quite believe that you are lucky enough to be known to these two little people as 'Mummy'. There's the cuddles, the kisses, the lying together and reading a bedtime story...the little ordinary moments that are everything you wanted and more.  Motherhood is powerful, extraordinary and a complete and utter blessing.  

There's also the other side that you don't read about in the magazines or learn about in the baby books.  Of course, there is the raw intensity of loving someone so deeply it actually hurts a little.  Of being afraid of the 'what if's?'  The fear of something bursting the little bubble of family life that you are so happy to be a part of.  Or being constantly anxious or worried that you are indeed doing a good job as a mother.  That you are getting it right. Those are the big emotions, the ones that can knock you sideways and take your breath away in a second.

But there's also the other intenseness, less fierce than those large emotions but powerful all the same.  And that's the intensity of day to day life.  Of being the person they shout for in the morning the second that they wake up.  Of being responsible.  Totally and utterly responsible for shaping these two innocent little people into who they were meant to be.  Making meals, reading stories, putting them in their car seats, teaching them, guiding them, wiping way their tears, caring for them, loving them...the list goes on.  It's all consuming.  It's exhilarting but it is exhausting.  It's incredible but it can be frustrating.  It's the best thing ever but it can push us to the limits.

It's intense. 

And just like there are days when you feel you have it all under control, there are those days where you feel like you don't have it figured out at all.

Sometimes you need to wipe away those tears at ten past eight in the morning, plaster on a smile and think that today will not become 'one of those days'.  Sometimes you need to go out and just let off some steam.  Blow away the cobwebs and the negative thoughts.

Sometimes it just really doesn't matter if you all eat far too many chocolate digestives and then they don't want to eat their lunch.  It doesn't matter if you then all have an ice cream on top of that as well.  A big Cornetto, not even a child friendly Mini Milk.   It doesn't matter if they get mud all over their new shoes as they really want to jump in that dirty puddle.

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Sometimes the only option is just to embrace it all and laugh.  As if you don't then you may cry.  And laughing totally is the better option.

And then that laughing becomes genuine as you see little faces enjoying the most simple moments together, the pure and innocent smiles plastered across their rosy cheeks.  The way the swings make their little curls blow in the wind and they get breathless from a combination of excitement and giggling.  

And that intensity comes back again, but this time it takes on an entirely different form.

Intense happiness.  

And that feeling that even though it can be the hardest job in the world at times, motherhood is most definitely 100% worth it.

 

{The Ordinary Moments 14} #20 'My Grandparents'

on Sunday, 18 May 2014.

I have mentioned on previous posts all about my Nana and Grandpa- they live on the border of Wales and we don't get to see them very often, so when we visit them or they come down here it is often a very special family day.  However I don't often mention my other set of Grandparents, my Mum's parents.

My Grandma and Grandpa are without a shadow of a doubt, the most wonderful people I know.  They live within half an hour of us, on a beautiful farm and so many of my childhood memories are from adventures on their farm.  My Grandpa was a very successful farmer and I would spend summers riding with him on the tractors, or climbing and sliding in the massive wheat piles that were stored in the barn.  Or we would race up and down the road on my Uncle's quad bike, ride horses in the paddock that they rented out to a local riding school or make cake after cake with my Grandma.

Nearly every single Christmas Day of my life I have spent with them, bar if they were ever away or the twice I have been away, once in hospital having Mads and the other on my honeymoon.  My Grandparents are seasoned travellers, going all over the world a few times a year.  Australia, Malaysia, Thailand, India...there isn't a country they haven't been to or that isn't next on their list.  I definitely think that is where I get my travelling spirit from. 

Ever since I was at university and a supposedly 'poor' student (hello student loan to buy endless amounts of clothes from Topshop, more like rich!) my Grandma has been making me what she calls 'Red Cross Parcels' - just random bits and bobs that she would give to me every time she saw me in the holidays.  Just the essentials, like pasta, tomato ketchup, biscuits, washing up liquid and toilet roll.  That kind of thing.  However it became a tradition and to this day she still does it, whenever we go up to see her she will hand us two or three bags of bits and bobs.  It's progressed to chocolate and naughty treats for the girls too, as well as wipes and nappies.  Since my girls have been born we have only rarely had to buy a pack of nappies- if I think about how much that has saved us it blows my mind a little.  I love this little tradition, it is so sweet and caring.

But they also support me in everything I do and now they support Mr E and our girls too.  Mads and LL adore Great Grandma and Grandpa and we go there for dinner at least every other week.  Mads loves getting the box of old toys out and going to feed the 'big fish' they have in their pond.  And I love a good old home cooked meal, why is it that Grandma's make the best roast dinners? 

Like when we went over there one night last week.  LL was rather enjoying her rather large bowl of Vienetta (hello 80's does anyone else remember Vienetta back in the day?!) and Mads was sitting on Grandma's knee reading a story...

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And even those are exceptionally ordinary moments for us, they are actually pretty extraordinary.  I feel privileged that my daughters get a chance to get to know their Great Grandparents and I get to make memory after memory with two people who I adore more than anything.  And who I feel so lucky to have in my life.

Because these ordinary moments won't last forever.  Nothing does.  

And so I treasure each and every single one of them.

 

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My Little Bits of Life #1

on Wednesday, 14 May 2014.

If you have been reading this blog a while, you may remember that ages ago I started recording little moments from my iPhone.  I don't know why but I just stopped doing it mainly because I was busy doing other things and forgot.  However I have decided to bring back 'My Little Bits of Life' - just little snippets from my phone.  I record everyday memories with the Ordinary Moments, my 'big camera' memories with 'Miscellanous Memories' and so therefore it makes sense to record those little bits and pieces on my iPhone that otherwise would get forgotten somewhere in a folder on my computer.

I am incredibly nosey and I love to see little details of other people's lives, Instagram is by far my favourite form of social media.  It's the first thing I open in the morning (after my eyes!) and I follow some amazingly creative, beautiful and inspiring accounts. I really do adore it. 

Some of these photos have been on my instagram account, but either way they have all been taken with my iPhone.  I adore my DSLR the most but you can't beat the camera that you have on you 99% of the time!

Here are some little bits of life recently...

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From left to right...

1.  LL and I had a lovely day a few weeks ago attending the Next Bloggers Event.  90% of the girls clothes are from Next, we love them, so it was great to see the new range.  And hang out with people like Sonia and Becky over lunch.

2.  I am obsessed with colour at the moment.  I can't get enough of updating my home with bright things.  Like my new doormat I bought.  My muddy feet have never felt so cheerful.

3.  LL never wants to wake up from her afternoon nap.  I constantly have to wake her up from her nap to which causes immense grumpiness.  Until she has a biscuit.  Then all is forgiven!

4.  I bought this little rabbit for Mads for Easter but then I realised he goes perfectly with my new living room so I accidentally 'forgot' to put it in her Easter basket.

5. We went to a garden party at my Mum's neighbours house. It was a lovely afternoon with my family and the cupcakes were amazing.

6. Wedding 'selfies' with one of my best friends from uni and his date.  These two made me laugh all day long and Mads loved having their undivided attention.

7.  When the sun stays out longer than two minutes, we love to have a picnic.  We had our first one of the Spring last weekend.  There is nothing better than kicking off your shoes and feeling the grass between your toes.

8.  Strawberries are compulsory at Springtime.  I am terrible for not eating breakfast but on a Tuesday and Thursday morning when the girls are at nursery I love to eat strawberries with natural yoghurt.  Delicious and healthy.

9. I had a child free weekend at Blogtacular last weekend.  The conference was amazing, full of creative and inspiring people, including some of my favourite bloggers and fellow Living Arrows peeps- Fritha, Carie, Xanthe, Lucy, Emily and Hayley.

10.  My fellow I Heart Snapping girls and I enjoying a brief spell of London sunshine.

11.  You can't beat a toilet selfie.  Here I am with Jess and Lucy.

12.  On the Saturday night I went to Shake Shack with Lucy, Kara, Hayley and Emily.  The burgers and crinkly chips were delicious, and the milkshakes wer the best thing ever.  You can't beat a thick and creamy vanilla milkshake- yum!

 

 *****

BiB2014familyVote

There's only a couple more days to vote in the BIBS awards.  My blog is on the shortlist and we would love it if you would take a minute or so to vote for us if you like my tales of family life, even if you don't normally vote in these things.  We are under 'Mummy Daddy Me' in the Family category.  Thank you so much! 

 

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