This will be the first month this year that our Me & Mine photo has been taken somewhere different. If you can’t tell, we’re all bundled onto the trampoline in our back garden with a selfie stick. Some of us are still in our pyjamas and one of us is in her new wetsuit – and why not! We’ve all been quite busy and the chance to go on a day trip slipped through our fingers this month.

My Husband has been up to his eyeballs in Uni assignments and even has an exam in just a few days time. He’s a big worrier and the anxiety is seeping in about it all but I have every faith in him that he will do well. 

My eldest girl also has her Year 8 Summer exams next week and she has been studying hard. She has had a few friends round too for a study day, naturally, I was the pizza delivery person and I honestly could not have been prouder of them all – taking something like their exams so seriously was something I was really proud to see.

My little Jakey is excited but nervous about ‘almost’ being in P5. He’s so cute about it all and a bit worried because his school work will get harder. He is a smart little guy though – even though he doesn’t give himself enough credit for it. But he will mash P5, just like he has P4 and everything before it.

Little Belle is busting and has had me tortured about when she will be going to ‘Jakey’s school!’ and because she doesn’t quite grasp the month’s of the year yet, getting to September is going to be long! She asks me every single day! God love her though – I love that she is so excited about going to Big School. 

Family Photography
Family photography
Photography
Photography
Even though our photos from this month were rushed and last minute…and not to mention taken with a selfie stick! I love them just as much! We all look slightly dishevelled – living in our PJs for a day of quiet {if that’s possible with this bunch!} after a super busy month and with another busy month ahead!   

You can find our Me & Mine | April post here, and also our Siblings in May post too {in case you missed them & fancy a nosy}.

D xx

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We all know that one person who is so calm & collected in all situations. Nothing ever seems to get to them – my Husband is one of those people. And if I’m honest, I am not one of those people, I am a complete stress-head. My husband calls me ‘She-hulk’ & my kids have nicknamed me ‘the angry Dragon’. I think those nicknames speak for themselves.

I think some of the things I stress over, like; being late for an appointment or maybe not being on time to catch the next train shouldn’t be stressed over. As appointments can be rearranged and there will always be another train, but I do stress over those things. Massively so. Or perhaps the kids decide on a random night to not go to their beds when they are told {and your ‘me-time’ is calling for you!}. Queue the stress! 

I’m aware of my emotions and I am even more aware that I should try out something, like meditation, to help me relax. I mean, if anything I need to consider the strain I am putting on myself when I get stress. It’s not healthy and I would like to stay around long enough to go to the weddings of my future Grandchildren – thank you very much!

I have never tried meditation as a relaxation method before because hiding in the farthest corner of my kitchen {with cake} seems to have done the job up until now. However, more could be said for my poor wobbly hips! Aside from the over consumption of cake to reduce my stress levels I always wondered – Is meditation all it’s cracked up to be? I mean, does it actually work. Or perhaps it works better for some people than it does for others. Or perhaps meditation isn’t for you at all!

I’ve tried yoga and it wasn’t for me and I understand that taking five minutes to yourself to breathe and relax could also be seen as a form of meditation {minus all that spiritual fluff that’s attached to it!}. And even though finding time to relax can be a challenge, it can have great benefits too – such as mental and physically wellbeing. Always helpful.

So I guess I’m really not a big believer in yoga style meditation or sitting on a mountain top in a robe with my legs over my shoulders, but I am a believer in taking time out for yourself. Being kind to yourself. Making sure you get that 8hrs sleep a night in your big comfortable King size bed would give a great start to any day of the week. Knowing that as busy as we can be as parents, taking what little time we can {here & there} for ourselves, whether it’s to scream into a pillow, eat that second slice of chocolate cake or even to just sit, with our eyes closed and breathe for a little while – they all help.

Do you meditate? Do yoga? Or just take five minutes out when you can, like me? 

*This is a collaborative post.

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Welcome back for another week of #Developinglife – the weather has been so lovely all over the UK lately that we’ve been having a total influx of sunny photos, people enjoying ice-cream, days on the beach and so much more. It’s been so lovely to see and I am so thankful that you guys share these memories with the Developing Life Instagram community.

To kick off my favourites for this week, can we just take a beat and enjoy this gorgeous capture from Dancing Dandelions Blog! I found this shot so striking – it’s definitely a favourite of mine.

Next, I spotted this gorgeous photo of a little girl looking over the sun setting. Clearly, this little one had a fun-fueled day in the sunshine and even a little swimming? Either way, a really sweet photo from Pretty Little Scribbles.

In this next capture, have you ever seen a happier face? I mean, for starters, whatever our age we all love some bubbles, right? Kudos to Dave from The Dadadventurer from capturing this because it is super cute. So many bubbles! 

Safe to say that someone is pretty chuffed with her new bubble machine.

A post shared by The DADventurer (Dave) (@the_dadventurer) on

I couldn’t go without sharing a few more of my favourites from the last week with you guys – so from the top right we have; LifewithMrsLeeJackPeacock44SimplyCoreyPhoto_myhappyeverafterTreasureeverymTopsyTurvyTribeMummyandMooseBlogTea_or_WineCharlotteRawles //

Instagram community
Thanks so much to everyone who continues to use the hashtag – #Developinglife to share their life with the community feed. We’re are almost at 22,400 which is just crazy! So thank you once again to everyone for joining in and I will see you again next week!

Did you miss last week’s #DevelopingLife round-up? Perhaps you were featured! – #Developinglife Instagram Round-up | Week 20

D xx

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Ever since my youngest daughter was little, she has loved her fruit & vegetables. You could put anything in front of her and she would eat it, no worries. However, as she has got older, her taste buds have been changing ever so slightly and her love of vegetables has been dwindling. Her love of fruit has remained, however it makes me sad when she doesn’t enjoy her sweetcorn or carrots as much as she used too. 

We were recently sent out a package containing a whole range of Googly fruit products, from the crunchy puffs, squeezy pouches & real fruit made crunchy. Annabelle couldn’t wait to taste them all. Googly fruit snacks are made from 100% organic fruit & vegetables and they are also really handy when you are on the go. I will always have snacks in my bag for my daughter – especially ready for when I pick her up from preschool because she will always be hungry. So being able to give her a bag of crunchy puffs or even a bag of the Googly fruit ‘real fruit made crunchy’ packs, is really handy.

Googly fruit is trying to help children develop a lifelong friendship with fruit and vegetables, so to help with that they have given their fruits some fun names: Bob the Banana,  Penny Pear, Rory Raspberry etc. You can check out the Googly fruit blog and read up on each character & your children can find out more about them. For example, Bob the Banana loves to make people laugh has a really bendy body and he’s always full of energy.

100% Organic fruit
100% organic fruit

I have, to be honest though, she wasn’t the biggest fan of the squeezy pouches. I personally think the range of flavours sounds amazing, but perhaps she was just a little too old for this product. She is 4yrs old and didn’t really take a shine to them. Perhaps these would be better aimed at a little one during the baby lead weaning stage. Gosh, I remember those days well! I also miss those days too. However, the dried fruit pieces & crunchy puffs have made great additions to Annabelle’s preschool backpack.

100% organic fruit snacks

Along with this bundle, we were given some googly eyes to add to our fruit & vegetables – to make them more fun! My daughter really enjoyed giving her orange and Alfie apple a little face each before building them into a tower!

100% organic fruit

The Googly fruit website has a ‘Fun for Kids‘ section, introducing Googly Fruit TV that introduces your child to each of the Googly fruit characters. There are colouring in and learning printables, a timetable printable and even the chance to join in on ‘Mission googly eyes‘ for a chance to win prizes.

Disclosure: We were sent this Googly fruit bundle in return for this post. All photos, thoughts & opinions are my own. 

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We are huge Minecraft fans – we {as in my Husband & I} have been playing it ever since the game blessed us with its presence in 2011. Over the years our children have grown to the love the game too and we can regularly be found in our own world designing, creating, building, mining and destroying! It’s such a fun game and we’re excited to see Minevention Plus, which is a Minecraft focused event coming to Belfast this July.

As soon as I told my kids about Minevention Plus they immediately chimed “We HAVE to go!” and it just so happens that we are! They will have the chance to meet & greet some world famous YouTubers, such as; BigBStatz, ChooChoosGaming, NettyPlays, Tomohawk {and so much more!} who my kids currently already follow and are fans of. So you can imagine their excitement with that.

The event will be held in the Titanic Exhibition centre, Belfast. On 22nd & 23rd July 2017. As for the time it all kicks off, this depends on the ticket that you buy. Diamond VIP – 10am, Early access – 11am, General admission – 12pm etc. 

There are a few different tickets choices available to attend Minevention and I’ve had to let my bunch know that waiting in the queue for the YouTuber meet & greets may be up to an hour wait – but they’re so keen to meet them all that they are cool with that. So if you’re going yourself, just keep that in mind.

During the event, there will be all sorts of amazing things to keep you entertained. You’ll be able to try the Minecraft VR and play some retro games, as well as jumping on board the double-decker gaming bus. You can take part in battle tournaments and also learn about how Minecraft is changing education. You can get creative in the Lego Zone with Bricks4Kids, dress up for the event, enter at the door for the costume contest and be in with the chance to win some awesome prizes.

Also, do you like to draw? Fancy having your artwork {whether it is Minecraft related or one of your favourite youtubers} featured up on the big screen at the event? Check out this link on how to do that and where to send your artwork.

Lastly, who fancies winning a family press pass for four people to the Minevention Plus event in Belfast, for both days {22nd & 23rd July} allowing you access from 10 am onwards.  This prize is worth £75 with an extra two-hour early entry as an added bonus. You can enter via the widget below. Good luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Northern Ireland is a beautiful, beautiful country and the majority of it still remains a mystery to me. Craigavon was a place in particular that I had never been too before and we excited to visit. We were actually there to have a little shop around Rushmere Shopping centre ahead of National Children’s Day and if not for the bus driver telling us about Craigavon Lakes, then well, we would have missed a treat.

Where you get off the bus at Rushmere Shopping Centre, you can walk across a flyover bridge & that leads you straight down to Craigavon Lakes and it really is just the most beautiful place. On the day we went, the sun shone, ice-creams were had and we even had a mini-picnic on the grass too. It was pretty perfect truth be told.

Now, we were told that you could walk around the lake in about 30 minutes, but sadly we didn’t have the time to do that on this particular day {as we were just visiting before our bus home was due – but it’s certainly something to go back for!}.

It’s honestly like you were transported away from the busy highways, and people shopping and everything in between. It is such a beautiful and tranquil place and it wasn’t long before we got comfortable, opened up some games we had bought and enjoyed some fun in the sun. 

Craigavon Lakes - Super Busy Mum Blog

Craigavon Lakes - Super Busy Mum Blog
Craigavon Lakes - Super Busy Mum Blog
Craigavon Lakes - Super Busy Mum Blog
Craigavon Lakes - Super Busy Mum Blog
Craigavon Lakes - Super Busy Mum Blog
Craigavon Lakes - Super Busy Mum Blog
Craigavon Lakes - Super Busy Mum Blog
Craigavon Lakes - Super Busy Mum Blog
Craigavon Lakes - Super Busy Mum Blog
Craigavon Lakes - Super Busy Mum Blog
Craigavon Lakes - Super Busy Mum Blog
Craigavon Lakes - Super Busy Mum Blog
Craigavon Lakes - Super Busy Mum Blog
Craigavon Lakes - Super Busy Mum Blog
Craigavon Lakes - Super Busy Mum Blog
I cannot wait to go back to Craigavon Lakes, from the small part of it that we saw, it’s a stunning place. There is also a local Watersports centre on the lake too which I must have a look into because my eldest girl loves to canoe – so I will be looking into that. I will also be adding some of their activities to our Summer bucket list {which I will share very soon!}.

D xx

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On September 1st, this year, it will have been a year since we said our “I dos”. A whole year married. Wow! In reality, we’ve been together for almost 7yrs already, so being married for just one of them doesn’t make a whole lot of difference. But it does allow us to have an ‘official’ anniversary and a Wedding anniversary at that. So, being as organised as I usually am with birthdays and such, it’s no surprise that I am already thinking of First Wedding anniversary gift ideas.

I’d love to incorporate at least one traditional Wedding gift for my husband each year because I think it would be a lovely annual traditional to do. So here are a few ideas…

A beautifully Framed Wedding photo print – from Not on the High Street {RRP £48}. I think this is such a sweet gift idea and photographs can count as a paper gift, right? Either way, I think it’s such a sentimental gift choice, and who doesn’t love looking at their Wedding photos on their anniversary.

Each anniversary is a huge milestone for any couple. Another year together, more memories made and making that goal of ‘happily ever after’ a true testament to the vows you both took on your Wedding day. So, I love this Personalised anniversary print {again, from Not on the High Street – RRP £14 – Unframed}. You do have the option to frame it via the website, however, {and this isn’t anything against Not on the High Street} but throwing on a £45.00 fee for a frame? Is just bonkers. Get yourself to Ikea and you can get a beautiful A4 box frame for £10, or less!

Your Wedding day can go by in a blur. I know ours did. We had a 4 pm ceremony and we also had both our girls have their first days of both High school & preschool that day too. It was chaos – but also lots of fun. So many memories were made that day and not with just our wedding. But new school adventures, new friends being made and journeys being taken. It was so special to us for a whole heap of reasons. Did we read the paper that day? No chance! I don’t think I ate anything until the buffet that evening! So that’s why I really like this Original Newspaper gift idea from Getting Personal {RRP £39}.


This paper gift idea is perhaps a little cheesy but I think it fits {with us, personally} because in reality I really don’t tell my husband why I love him enough. Which is why I think these Reasons I love you notes {From Not on the High Street – RRP £13}.


This is a DIY paper gift idea for your First Wedding Anniversary and that is to make a cute ‘First Dance’ lyrics print. So simple to do before any of you non-PC folk freakout! You can use free software programs such as PicMonkey or Canva to create these. Once done, print them out, pop them in a frame and voila!


As for any other ideas for that all-important First Wedding Anniversary you could maybe consider getting your partner some tickets to a play, or for a cheeky night away in a swanky hotel. You could put together a calendar, a scratch card, a map print of your honeymoon travels or even a journal {if your partner is a fan of writing}.

There are so many fun, thoughtful and traditional first wedding anniversary gift ideas. Now roll on September so we can celebrate our first official year as Husband & Wife!

PIN FOR LATER!
23

D xx

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I’m a little late with my sibling’s project post this month. I guess I am in denial that I am even writing up their ‘May madness’ antics already. That’s exactly what May has been for us too, madness! My three younger children go through phases in their relationships. Some days will be lovely and go by with barely a hitch and other days I wish I could click my fingers to just *POOF* away to somewhere else for a breather. Two kids bickering is frustrating but when there is three of them all barking at each other for this reason or that reason – ugh – it gets annoying.

May has given us some glorious weather, and for Northern Ireland, the sunshine is far from a regular thing. In fact, it’s a real treat when the sun has his hat on. All the sunshine has also made my children grow an inch or three! My girls especially are shooting up like weeds at the moment whereas my little Jakey is still waiting on his growth spurt. The poor kid has his Mums ‘shorty bum’ genes, but I am hopeful he’ll make a sprout soon enough. He’s so sweet though, it’s clear he’s frustrated with being short but he’s so cute about it because he says “It’s OK, Mummy. Sure good things come in small packages!”.

Siblings in May
Siblings in May
Siblings in May
I really need to start bringing my DLSR with me when we pop out, but it’s just so bulky! Does anyone else have this problem? If only they made dinky DLSR cameras, now that would be cool, right?

In May, Ellie has been loving: Drawing. She’s going through so many doodle books and paper. She’s even made up and designed her own character that she hopes to develop into a comic book. Quite impressive. She’s asked for Adobe Photoshop & Adobe Character {an animation program} for her birthday along with a graphics tablet. So it seems I have a serious artist on my hands. Ellie is also revising for her Year 8 Summer exams and has also decided that she would like to be a zookeeper when she finishes school.

Jacob has been loving Overwatch {nothing new there}. He’s a very simple little boy when it comes to the things he loves. They rarely change. He has been doing more reading eggs and mathletics every day which has been lovely to see and with the lighter evenings has been out playing with friends for longer. 

Annabelle has been loving Minecraft. She’s become quite the little miner. My littlest lady has been loving the good weather and the lighter evenings. This combination means she can stay outside playing with your friends for longer – also a bonus!

Siblings project

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On Saturday 27th May {2017}, Smyths Toys Superstores around the UK will be hosting a family party. The family party is completely free and will be starting at 9 am and carrying on until 2 pm. So plenty of time to get yourselves down to your local Smyths Toys Superstores to join in.

Of course, there is going to be a few things to entertain the children, from face painting {for over 3’s}, a DJ playing some funky tunes and candy floss available for the children too. There will also be a number of special guests, such as; Shopkins Strawberry Kiss, Playdoh, and Smyths Toys very own Oscar making an appearance in selected stores.

There will be a free live raffle every hour on the hour in all stores between 9 am – 2 pm where you can be in with a chance to win a £50 Smyths Toys voucher to spend in-store. Lastly, for all children who attend the family party in any of the leading toy store retailers will receive a free goody bag {while stocks last} including some of their favourite toys; such as, My Little Pony, LEGO and play-doh.

If you have nothing to do this Saturday morning/afternoon – then perhaps pop along to your local store. It sounds like it’s going to be fun!

Disclosure: This is a collaborative post. 

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When my children were younger, planning their birthday parties were much easier. We hired out a local church or community centre hall, rented some inflatables, baked some cupcakes and we were good to go.

The older they get, however, those church halls & bouncy castles are no longer their thing. Although if I was asked if I wanted a bouncy castle at my next birthday {coughs…37!} I’d respond with a “HELL YEAH!”.  But apparently, the tween or preteen age of today have some sort of ‘street cred’ that has to be maintained. Last year, my eldest girl asked for a picnic style party in Belfast zoo, and we did just that. It was relaxed, no venue required and she had a really fun day hanging out with her friends.

This year, however, she turns twelve. This will be her first birthday celebrated from a High school perspective and it took a while before any of the ideas I had appealed to her. The first idea she liked was to have 8 of her closest friends join her for a party at We are Vertigo – which in fairness sounded like a pretty cool idea. Then the ideas kept changing and the weeks until her birthday got shorter & shorter. Finally, she decided on wanting to hire a party bus & having her friends back to the house for a party.

Her wish is my command!

I have booked her Hummer party bus {I’d like to see that try to park in our little car-filled cul-de-sac!} for an hour of disco lights, dancing and karaoke. Followed by a movie themed party at home with chocolate fondue, popcorn &hot dogs. It all sounds very grown up to me but now all I can think about is 12 girls, flushed from dancing spreading themselves out in my not-so-big living room, drinking, eating and giggling like the little school girls that they are.

Naturally, I’ve been scouring Pinterest for fun movie theme party ideas. It’s the place to go for inspiration! So with only a few weeks to go, I had best get sorted.

Twelfth birthday celebrations here we come! 

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Last night I stood on the scales for the fifth time in my fifth week of Slimming world. It’s quite daunting standing on those scales, isn’t it? More so if you know you’ve not been sticking to the plan – which I’ve been guilty of, 100%. I walked out with a 3lb gain. 3lbs! I was so unbelievably annoyed at myself. Did I really need that pizza over the weekend? Did I really need to eat the entire bag of popcorn? Kicking myself repeatedly for not doing more exercise – the list goes on.

So here I sit, feeling incredibly beaten, bloated {I think it’s almost ‘that’ time – the months are just mashing together lately} and hoping to gain back my mojo. I’m unsure how but I do know I want it back. I think that’s a good mental step, right? I hope so because, at the moment, that’s all I have.

Since starting the slimming world programme, my weight has been like a yo-yo. I had a great first week where I had a 2lb loss, then from there, it has been a weight gain, a loss, a maintain and then my biggest gain yet. I have bounced from 13st 1lbs, down into 12st and back up into the 13st region again. You can imagine the frustration. So right now I think it’s understandable to feel how I am feeling – however, in reality, I have no one to blame but myself.

My frame of mind just isn’t there and I am stumped how to kick-start it into gear again. My priorities are all aimed at my children, my husband and our home I have nothing left to give to myself. Or, by the time I have time to myself, I’m just too darn tired to do anything worthwhile. I mean, who wants to get on an exercise bike after they’ve put the kids to bed at night?

NOBODY!!! That’s who…

So, those are my Slimming world struggles. As for how I plan to get my butt back on track? I’m going to take a shot at positive thinking, using my smart fitness tracker more and to really try and exercise more as a whole. I don’t want to overload myself and take on too much, but I hope to finally get on the exercise bike my husband and I bought a few months ago and also get back into running too.

Wish me luck!

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