Choosing Noah's Birthday Presents With The New Smyths Catalogue

You know that it's almost the most magical time of the year when the toy shops start releasing their new catalogues. I don't know about you, but for me, they really adds to the excitement of Christmas. Spending hours flicking through them, circling the different toys I wanted that year was right of passage in my childhood and is now a popular tradition that I do with my own children. To be honest though, we do it year round too. It's not just a Christmas thing!

With this in mind, I was delighted with Smyths got in touch, offering to send us their latest catalogue, alongside a Smyths voucher to treat the kids. Bursting with over 300 pages, there's endless inspiration to be had when it comes to gift giving. Whether you need ideas for birthdays, Christmas or perhaps for just a treat, there's something for every child.

Noah was at school and Ava was busy playing with her dolls 
when the catalogue arrived, which gave me an opportunity to flick through it myself. I grabbed myself a cup of tea, sat down and I was able to really look through and discover all the wonderful toys and games which are available. I noticed how everything is set out in a way which makes finding things quick and easy, a plus for both children and adults alike. Looking through also made me feel so nostalgic; cabbage patch kids, lego and Barbie, oh my!

Noah was very excited when he came home from school to find the new Smyths catalogue waiting for him. It didn't take long before he had it on his lap, searching for his favourite toys. It came as no surprise that he headed straight to the Imaginext section, pointing out not one, but two playsets that are new and that he needs for his collection! His words, not mine! He then moved onto the WWE pages and circled the announcer microphone, the zombie wrestling figures, AND the WWE title belt! Ava, on the other hand, she was cooing at the realistic newborn baby dolls, so that's certainly a gift idea for her.

I'm impressed with the new Smyths 
catalogue, not only is it filled to the brim with so many great gift ideas, it's a great tool to gauge what the kids are interested in. You can also make it into a fun craft activity for them by helping them cut out the toys that they'd like, then by sticking them onto pieces of card, creating a visual representation of what they'd like for their birthday or Christmas this year. 

If you'd like a copy of the new Smyths catalogue simply, click here. It's free and will be sent straight to your door. Happy shopping!

- Wrote in collaboration with Smyths.


Noah's Dream Horse with Petplan Equine

Animals, you either love them or you're a little impartial to them. We adore them, often preferring the company of our furry friends to fellow human beings. I suppose it's only natural that our children are following suit, with lots of love and respect for animals. We only have one cat at home, but there are many other pets in the family and Noah and Ava both love visiting farms and rescue centers to visit the different animals.

A few weeks ago I received an email from Petplan Equine, asking if Noah would like to create his very own dream horse. His creation would then be made into a soft toy, making his dream horse a reality! Well, in a cuddly toy sort of way! I couldn't think of a more fitting collaboration and we were both so excited to get started.

Usually, Noah isn't one for sitting down to draw or colour. However, when it came to creating his dream horse, he sat and coloured for a good 15 minutes, something I've never seen him do before! Not for that amount of time anyway.

Once he got started his imagination ran wild, just like the dream horse he envisioned in his mind. I drew the outline of the horse, then he took over, adding stripes using his favourite colours. He used black to colour the hooves, mane, tail, and reign. Then he finished the look with black polka dots and two brightly coloured stars. I was really impressed with how it turned out and I think he was really proud of himself too.

We then sent our finished design over to Petplan for them to work their magic. 
With the soft toy being handmade they did say it could take a while, but we didn't have to wait long at all.

Our dream horse arrived a few weeks later, while Noah was at school. I couldn't resist taking a sneak peek, and I was blown away by how similar it was to his design. It was perfect. When Noah came home from school he was equally impressed. He couldn't believe that they'd included every little detail, from the red and white nostrils to the different coloured ears!

Noah's dream horse, known lovingly as Rascal, now sits proudly on the end of his bed. He often tucks him under his arm when we are reading a bedtime story, they've become such great pals.

Petplan Equine Horse Insurance ethos is to keep the horses of this nation, healthy and happy, along with their owners. They offer fantastic policies whilst providing great customer service. They have helped countless owners get their beloved horses back on to health following illness or injury over the years.
- This post is a collaboration with Petplan Equine, however, all opinions are my own.


Living Arrows #8 - Growing Up Way Too Fast

Last week, I shared a photo of Noah standing in front of our blue front door on the morning of his first day of school. Well, it appears to be Ava's turn for this week's Living Arrows!

Lately, I find myself using my DSLR more and more, taking so many pictures of the kids, a lot being of Ava while Noah's at school. I do the same with Noah, especially when he was a toddler, but I've found myself taking more photo's this time around. I think it's mainly because we aren't having any more children. Every 'first' that Ava has, is a 'last' for us as parents and knowing that makes everything even more bittersweet. I thought that Noah flew through babyhood at the speed of light, but nothing could have prepared me for how fast it goes the second time around. I blinked and Ava went from a 9lb 4oz chunk of love to a fully fledged, sass queen. I don't think it helps that she's so forward with everything that she does (second child syndrome) or the fact that she looks like she's two already! 

Lately, I've found myself trying to soak up every moment of her toddlerhood because before I know it, she'll be off to school just like Noah. Here are a few unedited photos of my little whirlwind of a daughter. People often say that she's been here before. Which is quite an eerie turn of phrase if you ask me!

Living Arrows


Diamonds - More Than Just A Girl's Best Friend

What's the first thing that comes into your head when you think of diamonds? Engagement rings, necklaces, earrings, a girl's best friend and all that jazz? It is for me. Beautiful and extravagant jewelry is what I associate diamonds with, but I have to say, now that I've read the Diversity of Diamonds by Element Six, I'm totally enlightened and amazed by the way in which they can be used. Here are some of the alternative ways that synthetic diamonds can be used.

Synthetic diamonds are invaluable in the healthcare industry and you may have reaped the benefits from them without even knowing. They are currently used when someone needs Radiotherapy or has to undergo minor operations. The use of this unique compound makes operations faster, which makes procedures easier for the patient. Hopefully, the use of synthetic diamonds will continue to grow in the healthcare industry as the benefits are astounding.

Synthetic diamonds on cars? No, the diamonds aren't used for bling on the dashboard or for a bit of glamour on the upholstery, instead, they are vital components for various parts when it comes to automobiles. They are used for such tasks as building the engine, fixing up the gearbox and for the windows and body panels too.

Consumer Goods
You may not know this but many of the gadgets that we use on a day to day basis have been touched by the wonder that is synthetic diamonds. Speakers, tablets, and computers, to name a few! This component increases sound quality, provides more precision and faster speeds, just what everyone wants and needs when it comes to our electronics.

There are so many ways other ways in which synthetic diamonds can be used, it's such an invaluable component, one which I think will be used more frequently in upcoming years.

- This is a PR Collaboration.