30 May 2016

Hola Spain - Nerja and beyond - My dream holiday

When I heard that Clickstay were asking bloggers to plan their dream holiday in Spain...I couldn't wait to play along and share my dream holiday.

I flirted with the idea of one of the luxury villas in Ibiza, a place that is more than the hype of the young scene and clubbers around the world, with its lovely beaches and stunning cliff top views that don't often get a mention. The villa's all look amazing and I could see myself going with the girls for an ultra modern adventure and staying in a stunning location...it's a fantasy rather than a dream as at the moment whilst my babies are little, holidays are all about sandcastles and family adventures.

Deep down I knew instantly where my dream holiday would be and its somewhere I grew up knowing but has become a distant memory in adulthood. I have so many good memories and fun family times and know I want to share this special place with my family.

My dream Spanish holiday would be in Nerja, the eastern point of Malaga's Costa del Sol.  I only knew the unspoilt landscape and winding coastal roads down to the best beaches ever and would love to go back now to see how its changed. Even now my memories of the beauty of the place still stay with me and I can remember car journeys where we all just stared out the windows on our way to another sunny day full of adventures.

This is a special place for me as we stayed there every year when I was young, we had our own villa that became a home from home in the school holidays. We'd swim in the pool, go out into Nerja town in the early evening and I thought it was so glamorous and fun . We spent many a day at our favourite beach, Ayo's, (& there are lots to choose from in and around Nerja), making new friends and playing in the sea. It's now famous for its huge pots of paella (apparently it is the most photographed) and the sardines cooking under the sand. Here is an early picture I took on my polaroid of Ayo and the amazing paella...as a youngster I never had it because of the tentacles and prawns poking out all over the place but now I'd be first in that queue.

So I would love to take my babies to the place I called holiday home. I want to take them to the beach for the day and jump in and out of the surf, make sand castles and go to Ayo's beach bar. Watch as they turn the massive paella and dig our toes in the soft, cool sand at the table and talk about the fun things we could do in the afternoon.

I found the perfect accommodation on Clickstay's website: it sleeps 6 so we could easily take nanny and granddad with us so they too could relive a bit of their youth too. It'd be the first holiday abroad for the children and the first with their grandparents so you can imagine the excitement for them.

I've picked an apartment near the beach as there is nothing better than sitting outside eating breakfast and seeing the sea and getting excited for the day to start. It'll also be my dream apartment because it'd allow me to have a bit of a rest and relax knowing that it might be early (my little ones are usually up at the break of dawn...yawn) but I could relax with a coffee, take in the scenery as they safely played on the veranda.

We'd hire a car and explore the towns nearby and especially Nerja town, I remember the shops selling shells and little spanish dresses that I always badgered my parents to buy me.  As well as all the amazing family friendly beaches nearby that we could just arrived at and watch the sunset or run around as an after dinner treat. Not forgetting the caves of Nerja which I think would be a big hit for hubby and the kids.

Hopefully the hubby and I would leave the little man napping in the apartment under the watchful eyes of nanny and garg (granddad) and go down to the beach with bubba. I don't spend nearly as much time with her alone now as I'd like and we would search for shells to bring home to remind us of our holiday. Or paddle our toes in the crystal clear water and laze around until it was time to collect the whirlwind of a boy and go onto our next adventure.

We might even manage a date night at a little tapas bar if we're lucky. Or if not, enjoy a bottle of wine whilst the children sleep and cook up a Mediterranean feast. Just look at that view, amazing and the perfect place to chill out after a long day in the sunshine.

I know we'd go back to the airport, past the big bull on the hill, sun kissed, relaxed and happy. It's my dream to go every year just like we did when I was a child. Mostly this would be my dream holiday if we could make some new memories and take some pictures of the kids smiling and enjoying themselves. Just like I used to.

There is an exciting readers competition too: For a chance to win your own £500 villa voucher and camera visit the Clickstay website. You must check out all the other amazing villa's with the hashtag #blogyourwaytospain on twitter.

26 May 2016

What I'm reading - folding and being badass

I seem to be buying lots of books lately and I'm also starting two at a time - one is always upstairs so when I do my nightly sitting on the door waiting for Bubba to go to sleep and the other is downstairs for when I get a few minutes to sit and read (not very often I might add).

You are a Badass....my downstairs book

I saw this book on an Instagram feed and instantly wanted it, I umm'd and err'd as I have lots and lots of books but I'm so glad I got it. It's slightly sweary (& I kinda like it for that), its not stuffy and it makes sense. It explains the Universe and how you can start living a better life. Sometimes I struggle with books like this but this one is really easy to read and I'm enjoying it greatly so far....I feel empowered when I read this book and makes me want to fist pump the air in a winner stylieee. I love the sense she makes “maybe, if you put your disbelief aside, roll up your sleeves, take some risks, and totally go for it, you’ll wake up one day and realize you’re living the kind of life you used to be jealous”
― Jen Sincero, You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying...my upstairs book

I had seen interviews with Marie Kondo in the national newspapers earlier in the year and resisted buying this book purely through my own laziness. I didn't want to have to feel compelled to tidy, I'm a working mother of two with a job on the side and two guinea pigs. I didn't need to tidy up aswell!!

But my very wonderful best friend sent me an email and a picture of a jumper she had folded raving about this book. She mentioned how it was transforming the lives of her family and how she had cleared lots of her stuff out. Well I'm such a sheep and cannot live without the latest fad so quicker than quick I ordered this book.

Already I'm slightly hooked, there is a lot of waffle at the beginning about how it will change your life so I get a bit restless with this (but I think that's more because I knew the folding bit was coming soon.) I must admit though it all makes sense and its easy to get hooked on this book, I have already tackled a couple of nightmare cupboards and the trick according to Marie is to sort categories rather than the worrying rubbish draw that everyone has. So I started with make up and technology and next I'm moving on to shoes and then clothes.

“the best way to choose what to keep and what to throw away is to take each item in one’s hand and ask: “Does this spark joy?” If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it. This is not only the simplest but also the most accurate yardstick by which to judge.”
― Marie Kondō, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing 

Warning....it does get addictive and also look out for my folding pictures on Instagram (@bubbababble) when I get to clothes.

23 May 2016

Being away from my babies was bittersweet

For a long time I've been a mother first and everything else afterwards. Life carried on but as a new mother my whole focus on life and the world shifted. Things that never bothered me before suddenly become scary as hell because my main desire was to protect those babies I'd given birth to.

As well as learning new skills I also lost lots more to make room for all the new information. I never realised but when I became confident in my ability to be a good mum, I lost my confidence in the world and in pushing myself to try new things. Big things I simply had no time or energy for and I forgot to help my mind grow.

Last weekend is the first I've spent away from my family for more than one night. It was a real push for me to go and for a few weeks before I started grinding my teeth in my sleep and manifesting stress related ailments. I wanted to come away but leaving my babies for three nights was outside of my comfort zone. Let's not even start on the guilt, I felt guilty that hubby had to do it alone, guilt that I was missing swimming lessons in the big pool (my girls 1st), guilt guilt, guilt about anything you can think of.

I went away to a Leaders retreat at Centre Parcs, with twelve other women. I didn't know any of these women outside of my computer screen. It was a massive learning curve and I missed my loves. But it was also one of the best things I've done, I put my business first this weekend and it was one of the best things I have done for my mind.
I've learnt lots and I've got used to all different personality types. You may be thinking 'I go away on business all the time' but this wasn't enforced at all and there for me to take my business forward. More than that, I've learnt my family doesn't fall apart when I'm away, I can do things other that expand my mind but I don't think I'll venture too far from my loves because I missed them.

Although when I picked up Bubba from School, she ran towards me and then right past to ask Daddy if she could go to the Kinder Egg shop!!!

And if you haven't been to Centre Parcs Longleat then I would definitely recommend it for the gorgeous views but beware, it is very hilly so you'll get a good work out.


9 May 2016

Five top holiday reads for a five year old

As the weather is getting warmer, our attention usually turns to holidays and travel but this takes on a new slant when its no longer lounging at the pool bar and sleeping in the sunshine once you have a young child.

So this year, to prepare for holiday (or if you aren't going away but still need to prepare for those half term or summer holidays) these are my top picks for children and adults.

1. Holiday Activity Pack

These packs are great because you get four smaller versions of books in a handy carry case. They are great to whip out on a plane or in a car and there is something to keep your little one busy no matter their mood. Stickers, puzzle books and doodling to name a few, great to pack away and carry to the next destination. I love the holiday pack but there is also a variety of others available from dinosaurs, fairies and pirates (7 in total).

2. Card games

This is new territory for us as bubba has only just got the idea of playing cards. Happy families is a favourite as she is learning to read so can recognise some of the names of the families. There are variations on this and loads of snap games you can get (we like fairy snap the best and my boy likes the monster ones).

3. Bedtime Stories

We read to both kids every night and it's no different whilst we are away. It's a lovely way to wind down after a busy day and usually we take a couple of books each. This time I'm getting a lovely collection of stories in one book which saves space and is an extra holiday treat for us all.

4. Activity books

For long car or plane journeys there are some wonderful books with a collection of puzzles and games to play in them (there is also a train version). Something different on every page and great for older kids who are too cool for school and won't carry the activity case. For the younger children there are also cards that  have an activity on one side and an explanation on the other. We have them to use as a family in the car (games such as pulling faces at each other and having to guess the mood).

5. Something for me

I used to read lots and frequently but with a five year old and a toddler I don't seem to have time. When I do, I find my levels of concentration are depleted and I can read the same sentence about five times. Also I can't read anything scary, sad or in any way nerve jangling. So you don't adult fiction is perfect for me, it's the perfect beach read. They deal with real issues and I'm loving Holly Bourne novels at the moment.

For all of these books there is a variation on a theme and can be read by older and younger children (or we have a different age appropriate alternative). So if you are planning a holiday then it's great to check out www.Babblebooks.co.uk for all your holiday book needs.


6 May 2016

Mixed Messages

Motherhood is a random mixture of ups and downs. I'm often caught off guard at how amazing and clever and brilliant my small humans are. I also forget how confusing it is for them sometimes trying to navigate this big wide world.

Don't touch that please...
What a mess! Pick that up please

Don't run, you'll fall over
Quick run...we're late

Slow down, it's not a race
Hurry up we haven't got much time

No you can't eat that
Please eat all of your dinner now

There is no need to shout!
Stop mumbling please as I can't hear you

Share with your brother please!
Don't give him that, he's too little

(Said in my best shouty voice)

Look out for other people please
Don't look at what they are doing, concentrate on what you do

Just go to sleep please
Don't fall asleep now

You will always be my baby
Wow aren't you growing up fast

No you can't eat that...it's dinner soon
Come on...lets eat doughnuts before lunch, one won't hurt


3 May 2016

You know they are growing up...

It seems to happen so quickly and within the blink of an eye your baby goes from needing you constantly to telling you that you are doing everything wrong. Ways to know when they are growing up:

When you leave stair gate open and only use it to lock them in for convenience rather than safety.

You realise they've gone downstairs alone and you didn't rush in front of them

The buggy starts gathering dust and is used on the odd occasion.

When you ask them to do something and they understand or say "why?"

When you pick your cup of tea up its not four hours later and stone cold

You can all enjoy watching a film for more than five minutes before someone wanders off

You contemplate taking them on longer car journeys or holidays

They start squabbling with their sibling and just as quickly they are cuddling!

You are safe to offer them any food without checking if it's safe

They shout out the words 'crisps, chocolate, sweets'

Negotiations get serious and can take up lots of time and energy

They run off (intentionally) in the opposite direction to what you want

You are thinking about potty training 

Falling asleep on you is a lovely treat

Every other word out their mouth is either 'NO' or 'Why?'

They have a full on tantrum because you have them the wrong colour cup or the cheese is touching the bread!

You get less sleep than when they were babies....dreams, nightmares, an active brain!

The guilt goes into overdrive...am I doing enough, are they happy, I forgot something...on and on and on

You start thinking it would be a good idea to have another baby....

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