HAPPY NEW YEAR

Happy New Year!

I’m so sad that all the festivities are over and that my husband will soon be back at work and regular life will resume.

We’re still out of town, visiting my in-laws, so I haven’t taken our Christmas decorations down yet and to be honest I’m dreading it!

But with a new year comes the feeling of a fresh start. I’m not setting any resolutions because I can’t stick at them (I couldn’t even stick at Blogmas LOL!) but I am ready to get back to the gym after weeks off, clean eating and trying to live a healthier lifestyle in 2018.

I’m also working on having a more positive attitude. This year will be rough since my husband has to go to Korea for most of the year and I think the only way I’ll cope is with a positive thinking.

Also, I’m really going to try and make 2018 the year where I find out what it is I’m going to do. I’ll be 25 in the summer, I feel like I should have some idea of what I want to do for a career by now. I like everything from writing/blogging to crafting to doing hair and make up. I’ve never truly felt like I know what it is I’m supposed to do with my life but I’m determined to explore all my options in 2018.

Most of all I hope 2018 is a happy healthy year for my loved ones. I hope it’s a year where my blog will see some growth and I hope it’s a year that I can dedicate to self-growth.

I hope you all have a wonderful 2018! Let me know if you have any resolutions or tips for self-growth!

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15 Fun Fall Family Activities 

Go to a pumpkin patch 


Go to an Orchard 

Drink your favourite Fall drinks. PUMPKIN SPICE FOREVER! 

Paint a Pumpkin 

Carve a Pumpkin 


Decorate your House

DIY a Halloween costume 

Watch Halloween movies – Hocus Pocus, The Addams Family, Caspar etc 

Visit a haunted house

Visit a corn maze (haunted or regular) 

Go on a Hayride (haunted or otherwise)

Gather leaves and make a Fall collage

Play in the leaves 

Spark up the fire pit and roast some marshmallows 

Drink warm apple cider and watch your favourite Fall-Autumn TV shows. Mine is This is Us. Jack Pearson is a sweetheart. 

12 Things That Happen When You’re a Brit Living in America

1. No one understands a word you’re saying when you use words like ‘petrol’ and ‘path’ so you use the American alternative and then everyone you know in England is like ‘you’re English, use English words’.

2. You realise that two countries that both speak English have entirely different languages when you ask an American for a rubber or tell them you’re cooking a joint on Sunday.

3. Your confidence takes a boost because a U.K. size 10 dress size is only a 6 in America.

4. Of course you quickly end up a US size 10 because the food is so good and they don’t have Jamie Oliver running round taking the sugar out of everything.

5. People you meet ask you if the weather in England is really that bad. No my friend, it’s worse.

6. You resort to paying crazy shipping prices just to get some English chocolate/gravy/biscuits/tea bags. American food is good but nothing beats a cup of tea and a chocolate digestive.

7. You’ll always get that one person that wants you to say Harry Potter words. And if you’re like me you’ll love it.

8. You’ll have this conversation:

‘Where are you from?’

‘Norfolk’

‘How far is that from London?’

9. People will try to do your accent (after asking if you’re Australian/South African) and it usually goes like this ‘o’right mate, wunt sum tea and crUMpets. Cheerio’ and you ask yourself if you’ve ever heard an English person use that sentence in your life.

10. You order lemonade instead of sprite.

11.  People ask you what soccer team you support and if it’s not Man U or Chelsea the bonding  ends immediately.

12.  You get up to the register with the exact cash and then realise you forgot to add tax.

9 Things That Need to be Invented to Help Parents of Toddlers

Parenting isn’t easy. And parenting a toddler is even harder. I mean, surely this is the hardest age because you can’t ground a toddler? You can’t just tell them ‘no cartoons for a week’ and hope they stop being a brat for at least 30 minutes.

The whole job is a case of trial and error. You buy 50 million teething treatments, go through countless poop-stained vests, spend your life willing things to NOT WAKE YOUR BABY UP and just thinking how easier life would be if that one teeny tiny thing had been invented.

Here’s my list of things that need to be invented to help a mother (or father) out:
1. A toy that doesn’t perform a whole song and dance when you turn it off. 9/10 times you turn it off because you accidentally kicked it while your baby’s asleep and you want it to shut up immediately!

2. A lock button on the iPhone that can keep your child’s YouTube video/nana-on-FaceTime on the screen without the little darling pressing buttons and sending random, autocorrected words to your contact list.

3. SIPPY CUPS THAT DON’T LEAK.

4. Remote controls/phones for toddlers that look like their parent’s remote controls/phones. Kids can tell if they’re being given a fake phone.

5. High chair trays that don’t stain. If your toddler gets a bit of bolognese sauce on that clean, white tray it’s game over.

6. Also, high chair fabrics that are easy to clean.

7. Wrists straps to the stop your child throwing their cutlery on the floor.

8. Bibs that can’t be pulled off/bibs that can’t be pulled off that are waterproof. Why are all bibs with poppers not water proof?!

9. A baby swing/crib hybrid. Basically a crib that swings (all night) so your toddler is rocked to sleep all night. It can also play lullabies, have a nightlight built in and maybe an intercom so you can talk to your baby.

What things would you like to see to help parenting a toddler a little easier?

*Some of these may have already been invented but I’ve never seen them.
** If you take one of my ideas and invent them, I want 50% of the profits.

Manchester Strong 

I’d planned another blog for today but after Monday night’s atrocity, I can’t bring myself to write about anything else.

When I first heard the news it said that it was a gas explosion. I didn’t question it. Why would a terrorist go to an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester on a Monday evening? We don’t have terrorists in Manchester. And no matter how awful they are, they wouldn’t target children would they?

As the evening went on (my time zone is 5 hours behind the U.K. so while you were all asleep, it was unraveling on my evening news) I came to the horrific realisation that yes, yes they would attack children. They targeted and killed innocent families.

I’m sure we all squeeze our babies a bit harder now. I’m sure we’re all trying to talk ourselves down from wrapping them up in cotton wool and never letting them out of our sight.

I cried for most of that night imagining how excited these children would have been. How they should have tired for school the next day because they’d still been hopping around in the car at 11pm telling their poor dad how amazing Ariana was.

Parents who arrived to collect their children, believing that no harm could come to their babies between their seats and the foyer, were killed or left standing there unable to find their children.

It’s too sad. It’s a true act of terrorism. They’re targeting our kids and England’s future.

And we won’t stand for it.

‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ is a British phrase – nay, a British way. Us Brits are known for keeping calm and carry on. We don’t let terrorists stop us. We continue to go to work, go to football matches and concerts, shopping malls, on the underground. We come together and comfort each other, we mourn for our lost ones but we never let the terrorists win.

During the World Wars our men went to fight and our women went to work.

With any horror comes the offer of a cup of tea, a chat and it’s back to business. We will never forget these innocent victims. We will never get over them. Even if we didn’t know them, we’ve taken them into our hearts and prayers and we will keep them there forever. But we won’t let the terrorists win!

I haven’t even bothered to learn the suicide bomber’s name. I don’t care to. Let him be forgotten. Let him have died for nothing.

Instead, let’s do the British thing. Offer a cup of tea to our neighbour. Love them and embrace them no matter their religion or ethnicity.

We won’t let the terrorists win. We won’t hate innocent people because of extremists. We won’t hide in our homes while they destroy our beloved country.

I’ve only been to Manchester once. I went with my brother in 2011 for Manchester Pride and I loved it. The city was dedicated to love and accepting people. It had such a buzz about it and you knew it was a special place.

Mancunians have a real sense of community. More than I ever saw growing up in rural Norfolk. This cowardly attack will make them stronger.

My thoughts and prayers are with Ariana Grande. She’ll be carrying a guilt for the rest of her life that isn’t hers to carry.

And with everyone who survived the attack. I hope they find strength and peace and that they won’t let this stop them enjoying their lives.

And my thoughts and heart will always be with the victims and their families. You were taken too soon. The world mourns for you and will remember you. God bless them all.

Georgina Callander 

Saffie Rose Roussos 

John Atkinson

Olivia Campbell

Kelly Brewster 

Alison Howe 

Lisa Lees

Angelika Kils

Marcin Klis 

Michelle Kiss

Jane Tweddle-Taylor

Martyn Hett 

Nell Jones

As our county grieves let’s remember to do something nice for our neighbours. Let’s show the world that we’re not afraid. Let’s keep calm and carry on.

The 10 Best Things About English Summers

This is an old post that I wrote in England, however I accidentally deleted it and reposted it in 2017 when I no longer live in England. 

I love everything about summer, life just seems a bit better, everything goes a bit slower and everyone seems to have a lot more free time(?).

My last two summers were amazing! I spent one in Florida and one in Georgia, mostly sunbathing and drinking. They were two of the best summers of my life.

But there’s something so amazing about spending summer in England. I don’t know what it is, but England seems to change and everyone’s in a good mood. So here are the 10 best things about an English summer:

1. Sunny days

I’m not completely delusional; I know it’s extremely rare we get sunshine during an English summer, but when we do its fabulous. Everyone seems to get a buzz about them, no one comes home from work tired and wanting to crash on the sofa. Everyone wants to go out and do stuff all the time. No matter what it is, even just sitting in the garden. You cannot be bored on a sunny day in England.

Which leads me onto point number 2…

2. Drinking

I don’t want to sound like an alchy here, but how good is it when you can just drink all day and no one judges you?!

It’s just so acceptable to drink throughout the afternoon and evening. Everyone heads to the local beer gardens and sits outside in the sun until about 10 o clock when it gets cooler and everyone tries to stumble home. It’s so much fun!

Of course this year I’ll have a baby so my days of drinking will probably be limited but I still can’t wait.

Also pre-drinks outside are 100x better than pre-drinks inside!

3. Sunglasses

It’s so much more acceptable to wear sunglasses and sunglasses means less eye make up. Win.

PSA: Summer does not mean it’s okay to wear sunglasses inside.

4. Colour

For someone who only wears black, white or grey, I am super exited for all the colourful clothes that come out in summer. I can’t wait to wear pinks and corals and white jeans.

Last summer I tried to branch out into colourful clothes a bit more and it made me feel a lot happier.

Summer shoes look way prettier than winter boots too. Brightly coloured sandals, strappy heels ugh they’re all so gorge!

Also, you can’t forget all the pretty lipsticks, blushes and nail varnishes!! I die.

5. Sunbathing

Once we get a hint of sunshine, everyone in England decides that they simply don’t need to wear clothes anymore – this is not one of the best things about summer. The fact that you can go and lay out in your own back garden and get a tan is though!

6. Festivals

Confession: the only festival I have been to is T 4 on the Beach. It was pretty amazing, it was my 18th birthday and there were some decent acts there. But yeah, I’ve never been to Wireless or V or Reading/Leeds.

Anyway, in my opinion, as long as there’s music and people gathered together outside, it is a festival. And there’s nothing better than being out in the sun (or probably rain), with your friends, good music and a drink (obv).

My town hosts ‘Europe’s Largest Free Festival’ or something and we get some pretty amazing people. One year Lemar came and he said Happy Birthday to me and I almost cried.

7. BBQs

   

 I don’t know why I made this number 7 because WHAT IS BETTER THAN A BARBEQUE?! It’s go everything I listed above : drinks, music, friends but there’s food too!!

8. The Ice Cream van

You know you still get a little bit of excitement and have to resist the urge to scream ‘DAD GIVE ME A QUID’ when you hear the sweet, out of tune, melody of the ice cream van.

9. Holidays

Whether it’s Maga, Ibiza or somewhere a bit fancier, us Brits are lucky to have all these holiday spots practically on our doorstep. My Ibiza days are behind me, at least for now, but that doesn’t mean you sassy little beasts can’t go and have an amazing time for me!

10. English Beaches

 If you live somewhere like Cornwall then you’re lucky enough to have gorgeous beaches on your doorstep.

If you live in King’s Lynn, you’re less lucky. Hunstanton beach isn’t dreadful, but it’s not the Maldives and the closest seaside resorts are Great Yarmouth or Skegness.

But you can’t deny there’s nothing better than going to an English beach, spending all your money on arcades and ending the day with fish and chips!

Let me know your favourite summer activities in the comments!

Caleb Carter Norwood

Today’s post is the best post I have ever written. Maybe not to you but it is to me, because today’s post is all about my beautiful baby boy, Caleb.

After weeks of willing him to hurry up, he finally arrived on May 1st.

I’d gone to the hospital for a membrane sweep (not as gross as it sounds, but suuuuper weird) on April 28th, when I was 38 weeks and 1 day. I’d begged to have the sweep because my fiancé – that still feels weird to say, good weird though – only had a certain amount of time to be in the UK before he had to go back to the States for work.

We went home where I spent the next few days sitting on a birth ball, watching Hannibal and by the Saturday night I had started to get cramps so I took some paracetamol and went to bed. I thought it meant the baby was coming but I still thought it would be a few days away. However, by 3 o clock the next morning I was in a lot more pain. I kept having hot baths until about 6am and still thought I was days away from giving birth.

Even though I was in labour and didn’t realise I was in labour, I’d had the strongest feeling that my baby would be born on May 1st. I knew he was coming early and I knew he would be born in May and part of me thought he’d be here on May 1st. I think it was my mother’s intuition!

Before my sweep. April 28th 2016.
My friend is a midwife and we’d arranged for her to be my midwife when I gave birth, so I text her and asked her to come and check me over before she went to work. 

By the time she arrived I was on the sofa, breathing through the pain and still unable to believe that my baby was actually coming. Bermon was fast asleep and had no idea I’d even left the bed! My midwife (I won’t share her name in case she’s not allowed to be in blog posts) went upstairs to fetch my hospital notes and tell him to get up as we were going to the hospital! What a nice way to be woken up on Sunday morning!

When we arrived at hospital at 8am, I was 3cm dilated and expecting to be there for a while. However, by 10am I was 7cm and in active labour!

I always get cramps in my back so I knew I’d get back labour, thankfully I was able to borrow a tens machine from the hospital. I love tens machines and recommend them to anyone with back labour. I swear, it relieved me so much that I was sitting on the floor, drinking tea and munching on biscuits while I was having contractions!

When my waters broke, I was convinced that I’d begun to wet myself. It didn’t even cross my mind that it would be my waters, I was just horrified that I was (I thought) peeing myself!

By noon my nana had arrived and I was in the birth pool puffing on the gas and air like it was the only thing keeping me alive. In terms of pain relief, I’d had a bath, a tens machine, some gas and air and a water birth. 

I’d been desperate for a water birth because I like baths when I’m in pain and I would recommend them to anyone!! Just be careful, I rested my head so hard against the bath when I was pushing that I had a bruised forehead for a couple of days.

t around 3pm I couldn’t fight the urge to push anymore and at 4.39pm our son, Caleb Carter Norwood, came into the world weighing 7lb 15 ounces (warning ladies, contractions aren’t anything compared to pushing a baby’s head out)!

I had taken my mum’s photograph with me to the hospital and it had been resting on the edge of the pool all day. Once Caleb’s head was out, my mum’s photo flew into the pool with us. Think what you will, but I truly believe she was with me. When I felt like I couldn’t push any more from pain and tiredness, my mum’s face appeared in my head and I found strength I didn’t even know I had to get him out.

Bermon cut his cord but Caleb wouldn’t cry. He kept making grunting sounds, but he just would not cry. I was so loopy from the gas and air that it didn’t register to me, all I was concerned about was getting photos and if I had definitely had a boy. 


We had an hour of skin to skin and I was told that the baby needed to cry or he would have to go to intensive care. Unfortunately, he continued to grunt and couldn’t get a cry out. The hour passed too quickly and before I knew it my new baby was being wheeled away from me. I was too out of it to realise at the time, but thinking of it now makes me want to cry.

I had to stay behind and be sewn up, get showered and have something to eat before I could go and see him.

Eventually, at around 7, we went into the NICU and saw him in his cot, covered in wires. He was hooked up to oxygen, a feeding tube and had a canular pumping antibiotics into him. We don’t know why but he had been born with an infection and was struggling to breathe alone.

He had to stay in the NICU until the Thursday and then he was allowed to come into my hospital room.

Bermon had got us a private room and was allowed to stay with me, thank goodness. That week was one of the best and worst. It was so worrying being brand new parents with a poorly child, but we also got time to be together without life getting in the way.

A week after Caleb was born, we were allowed to bring him home. He’d got a touch of jaundice still and a small hole in his heart (which will heal itself), and had lost over a pound in weight but his infection was gone and he was breathing all by himself!

Now, a month on he is healthy, gaining weight nicely and a far cry from the poorly baby who was hooked up to those wires.

He’s beginning to take in the world and knows what he likes and what he doesn’t.

He likes his daddy, he likes milk, he likes baths (he didn’t at first), he likes being held and he likes to hear my voice.

He does not like to have his clothes taken off, his hair washed and he HATES having his nappy changed!


He’s amazing and I thank God for him every night before I go to sleep (for about an hour before Caleb wakes up for a feed).