Barcelona with a toddler

Spontaneity isn’t something I usually go in for but with the desire for some much needed sun, time away and a British Airways companion voucher about to expire, Barcelona felt like the perfect trip for a long weekend…..with a toddler!

I’ll be honest. I was a little apprehensive. Long haul trips to the US with plenty of days out to keep little one entertained felt like a breeze compared to a short(ish) flight, transfer via public transport to a hotel and stuck in a city not being able to enjoy the nightlife as you may usually do pre-children.

How wrong I was. In fact, I would go as far to say that Barcelona is by far my favourite city to take a young family to, because it has so much more to offer than just being a city.

We started the trip off with an overnight stay at the Sofitel Heathrow Airport to ease the early flight of 7.45am the following day. It’s such a great base for a one night stay and makes travelling with young ones very convienient. The added bonus was a new feature of BA bag drop and check in. A fully functioning check in desk with weigh scales and printed barcode stickers meaning that we could drop bags off and then head straight to Terminal 3.

We travelled by Heathrow Express and it was super quick! We were through security and in the lounge with an hour to spare before boarding. An enjoyable breakfast of pastries and coffee with a view of the planes kept Little PB entertained.

The flight is a little over 2 hours. With films downloaded on the iPad and a helpful love of his headphones, Little PB was quite content for the whole flight. 

Upon arrival, we were greeted by our driver from Sun Transfers. I definitely recommend a private transfer as it avoids the hassle of buggy, bags and baby to contend with. The transfer took less than 30 minutes.

We arrived at Midtown Apartments, locates between Eixample and the Gothic Quarter. We were very impressed with the amount of room and facilities. A great space for a few days and very central.

With plenty of the day still to enjoy, we headed off to the aquarium. We walked from our apartment which took around 30 minutes but you can get the metro or a bus – the whole city is well connected by public transport. The aquarium is a good morning or afternoon spot – it certainly wouldn’t take you more than a few hours to work your way around.

For our first evening meal, we tried some fantastic tapas just round the corner, El Camino. Tapas is great for little ones – such variety and as much grazing as you like. We now know we have a 2 year old who loves a charactuerie board, melted cheese and squid.

Day 2 involved a bus ride up to the top of the mountain to Tibidabo, the theme park. You could  enjoy the scenic route via the Blue Tram and funicular railway but we opted for the direct bus service from Place de Catalunya at only €3 euros each.

The theme park is a great day out with young families. Lots of great rides for all ages and even better are the views back down to the bay.

The evening tapas was at El Nacional. A fantastic array of small restaurants all under one roof and they do the best dulche de leche ice cream.

Day 3 centred around some traditional sight seeing. We bought tickets for La Sagrada Familia and found there is a significant benefit in having a buggy with you as we jumped most of the queues.   A short metro ride took us down to the beach where we enjoyed the only chicken burger I’ve eaten in it’s entirety.  I would highly recommend a lunchtime feast at Bacoa Burger as not only is the food exceptional but the view of the sea isn’t bad either.

From the beach it’s a short walk to the base of the cable car. The queue was long but was well timed with Little PB’s nap and the weather was glorious! It was worth the wait though as the view from the cable car is breathtaking. The cable car takes you up to the Olympic Park. You can usually get a funicular back down but, you guessed it, it was closed so bus it was! This time less crowded and better air conditioning.

Despite being full from lunch, we still found time for some tapas – fois gras flatbread and grilled squid with squid ink risotto soon became firm favourites.

We booked a transfer back to the airport for the final day. A prompt pick up at 11am, it only took 20 minutes back to the airport so plenty of time to enjoy some brunch in the lounge. The lounge facilities were excellent – a wide choice of food and plenty of space. All went to plan with the flight home and we were soon back in grey British weather.

Barcelona will certainly be a city we return to. It was easy. Relaxed with lots of variety and still plenty to do on our next trip. Mr PB, when can we go again please?

x PB x

 

Spring has sprung! 

With the sun shining and temperatures set to reach a beautiful 18c this weekend, you could be fooled into thinking that we’ve skipped Spring and gone straight to early Summer!

But do not fear, for those temps are short lived. And so, there is still time for a refresh around the home (and you!) to welcome in the longer days. 

1. Get those windows open! On beautiful sunny days when the air is fresh, turn the heating off and open the windows. Unsurprisingly, during Winter, we rarely sit having dinner with the doors open but when the opportunity arises, recirculating the air brings freshness into the home! It’s almost like your home is taking a deep breath after hibernating.

2. Get your bed linen on the washing line. There will never be a smell more sweet than clean linen that’s been spinning on a washing line in the sunshine

3. Time for a declutter. Get everything out of your wardrobe and drawers and start a mindful sift of the items you no longer love. It will give you a spring in your step wearing older pieces you had forgotten about or perhaps fixing that button on your favourite dress or shirt making it wearable. You don’t need to spend money on a new wardrobe – you just need to shop within your current one!

4. Book a haircut. Or a treatment or something that makes you feel that you are dusting off Winter and striding into Spring

5. Treat yourself to a home DIY pedicure. I rarely paint my toes in Winter but adding a splash of colour can make you feel positive to those heady days of Summer to come (even if you only see your toes when you’re in the shower!)

6. Buy some daffodils and tulips. Such a simple but beautiful way to add some sunshine into your home

7. Do some gardening. If you have a garden, give it some care and attention with a bit of de-weeding, some careful cutting back and a tidy. If you don’t have a garden, perhaps buy a houseplant or a window box. The evenings are still set to be cold so don’t plant anything that might not survive a frost but just the preparation towards planting can be therapeutic 

8. Go for a walk. It’s easy to stay indoors when we’ve been used to it for the last few months, but push yourself to take a walk round the block and enjoy the sounds of nature around you

9. Get up early to hear the dawn chorus. I really encourage you to get up before sunrise one morning and listen to the dawn chorus. It’s been a beautiful way to start each day listening to the birdsong in the garden – awakening into a new day

10. Reset your intentions. You may be doing great with your New Year intentions or you may be in need of a refresh so spend some time reflecting and adjusting for the coming months

Hope that is all helpful! Enjoy the gorgeous weather this weekend

x PB x

My top 5 stress relievers 

In a world where we are always on the go and social media can take over, how we notice we are stressed and what we do about it can soon be forgotten.

So, I have 5 key steps to help calm and relax whenever I feel overwhelmed or just not myself

1. Write things down – I finally found a purpose for all those notebooks I bought over the years. I pretty much have one in every room I use in the house and one in my bag. Whenever I start to feel overwhelmed or worrying that I’m missing something, I write it down. I have a master to do list in my home planner and work notebook that ensures I capture everything

2. Getting up early – I certainly feel more stressed if I don’t start the day off right. Dragging myself into the day does nothing for my overwhelm. So, I 5-4-3-2-1 myself out of bed an hour or so before Little PB and that ensures I can get the house tidy and clean, make a cup of tea, shower and be ready for the day

3. Listen to a mediation app – I listen to Insights. I love it and use it on the go and at home. It’s fabulous for guided mediation (cos I ain’t no good at the DIY version!) and some only last 15 minutes making a perfect quick pick me up 

4. Pamper night – I’ll grab a face mask, my favourite skin care and the self tan! A tan in winter can do so much for my wellbeing – it helps to remind you of those heady days of summer (whilst smelling of digestive biscuits for 24 hours)

5. Reading – whether it’s an audiobook or an actual paperback, reading puts me in a different world and helps to suppress some of the overwhelm and calm the racing heart beat down

What do you do to alleviate stress levels?

x PB x

January Favourites

Thank you to all those who voted on my Insta Story last week – the chosen blog topic was January Favourites (not sure if the title gave it away!)

Wellbeing:

Affirmation Cards – those who follow me on Instagram will have seen that I started dabbling in Affirmations in January. I was very selective on the cards I purchased – it took me a good long while as I’m not particularly spiritual and I’m not religious so I wanted a set of cards that would match with my values along with a bit of humour. And these cards do just that! I purchased the Work version because, lets face, we spend more time at work than we do at home and working full time as well as being a Mummy, you sometimes need that extra push of  motivation and positivity

Reading – Apart from a brief pause whilst I was poorly at the end of January, I’ve been loving reading at the moment. I find its the best way to wind down at the end of the day, and even though I’m guaranteed to fall asleep mid sentence, I certainly find I’m more refreshed the next morning from having that de-stress. You will have seen my earlier blog post on my 2019 Book List – I keep adding to this and will share my purchases on Instagram
Hazlenut porridge – I never thought that porridge would appear in my favourites! I normally hate the stuff BUT I’ve found a brilliant combination which makes me want to eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Here’s my recipe:

1 cup jumbo oats

1/2 cup hazelnut milk (Innocent do the best I think!)

1/2 cup full fat milk

Leave the oats to soak for about 30-45 mins – I will usually put them in a bowl when making my tea first thing and then by the time its breakfast, they have really plumped up.

For those with time in the morning, I would suggest a gentle simmer on the hob but I usually microwave for 1 minute intervals being sure they don’t go too thick.

Add a bit of honey or brown sugar (or golden syrup) and your good to go! The hazelnut milk makes it taste like you have chocolate spread in your porridge!!

(Excuse the empty bottle pic but that shows just how much I love it!!)


Beauty

I have cleaned my face every day with Estee Lauder Perfectly Clean twice a day and I can honestly see a difference in my skin texture and pores. It leaves such a squeaky clean feeling and a little goes a long way


I’m not usually an eyeshadow fan, partly due to time and partly due to no talent! It normally goes everywhere. But, I was intrigued by the burgundy reds I’d seen across social media and thought I’d give it a go. I found the perfect palette for me – Barry M, Fall In Love 2. I didn’t purchase for the brand but the range of colours. I literally sweep across the crease of my lid and the pigment gives enough colour without being dramatic. I purchased mine from Boots.


I love when I do a show and I get to wear false eyelashes! I’ve finally found a masacara that recreates the look without the faff of eyelash glue! Benefits Bad Gal Bang….


A well-timed business trip for Mr PB meant I was treated to some duty free. Having had a sample of Twilly D’Hermes in my John Lewis Beauty Advent Calendar, I fell in love. I’m usually only a fan of Jo Malone but this fragrance is so unique and the bottle is adorable with its little Hermes scarf!


Clothing

Having watched Styled By Susie on Instagram for a while, I’ve picked up a lot of her tips on the importance of basics in a wardrobe. My shopping routine for clothes is always a bit ad-hoc and I will generally buy something and then a few weeks later fall out of love with it. So, I’ve gone back to basics and purchased some well fitted basic jumpers from good old M&S and its really helped me to pair with my more colourful scarves as well as my long-forgotten jackets and accessories. I highly recommend you follow her and even download her brilliant PDF’s for guidance.

Home

This may sound bizarre, but I’ve been loving my cleaning routine this month. I’ve finally nailed The Organised Mum Method (TOMM) and am now in a rhythm of 30 minutes cleaning a day leaving the weekends free to play! I’ve adapted the routines to suit me and my work commitments but I’m thoroughly enjoying what I’ve achieved and Little PB even helps too!

x PB x

My 2019 book list…..so far

My heart beats a little faster whenever I see a bookshop in sight. I would often meander through the aisles of a Waterstones on my lunch break to browse (and sniff, cos who can’t resist the smell of a new book!)

And I always endeavour to include reading as part of my day, even if it’s just a few pages. 

So, I thought I would share my book list for 2019 so far and add to this post each time I find a gem!

I just don’t stick to books in this list – I include audio books too via the Audible app, and there are also a couple of magazine choices too because not all of us have the time or desire to read a book from front to back.

1. Secret Barrister, Anonymous – I started this at the beginning of the year. Whilst hard work at times to make sense of the legal jargon, it is fascinating. To get an insight behind the court room doors satisfies my nosey personality!

2. Becoming, Michelle Obama – at the top of the bestseller list, I couldn’t not include this one. And being a fan of the Obamas, I can’t wait to get stuck in

3. Your Dream Life Starts Here, Kristina Karlsson – as an owner of 4 Kikki-K planners, I was already a fan but then listening to Kristina on a recent podcast, I became inspired by her life story, so the launch of her book was perfectly timed.

4. My Thoughts Exactly, Lilly Allen – I’ve seen a lot about this book on social media, and I’m intrigued. I’ve purchased as an audio book as it’s read by Lilly herself so watch this space.

5. Girl, Wash Your Face, Rachel Hollis – in anticipation for Rachel’s next book, I want to re-listen to this gem

6. Re-Script Your Life, Reeta Gupta – just something I stumbled across when browsing Audible. I’ll let you know my thoughts

7. I’ve become a fan of Planet Mindful and Breathe magazines. Beautifully written and presented articles covering a wide range of health, wellbeing and mindful practices

What’s on your book list for 2019?

x PB x

Mind”FULL”ness or Mind”LESS”ness

Towards the end of last year, I became very intrigued in the true benefits of self-care and how it can be used to both better ourselves and sometimes set us back.

After much thought and chatting through with friends, I came to realise that there are 2 versions of self-care.

We talk often about mindfulness – defined as clearing our mind and focusing on the here and now. But actually, taking the word literally suggests you should be filling your mind, not emptying it.

So this got me thinking – why would it be such a bad thing to have both mindfulness and mindlessness.

There are many activities/actions I undertake that fulfil both emptying my mind and filling my mind – both are beneficial for different reasons and I consciously choose what works for me at the time

For example, if I need inspiration or motivation, I fill my mind with podcasts, audio books, chatting to friends or reading (mindfulness)

But if I need that time to clear and cleanse and reset, I may go for a walk, make lists, tidy, minimise my screen time or rest (mindlessness)

What do you do to for mindfulness and mindlessness?

Love Hannah x

New Year, New Start?

Day 11

Intentions planned on 1st Jan = 11

Intentions that are continuing = 5 (ok….4)

Hands up who finds the whole New Year, New Start thing a little tedious. And yet, we seem drawn to pushing ourselves and jumping on that bandwagon.

On 1st January, I created a little 1 page spread in my planner documenting the 11 intentions I wanted to stick to this year.

Maybe 11 was too many to start with but I, nonetheless, bounded out of bed on 2nd January with gusto to start my fresh routine and make 2019 the year of a new me!

Days 2 – 5 went well – I drank lots of water, I walked a lot, I read quite a bit and I made some plans for my blog

Day 6 – I forgot to drink water

Day 7 – I forgot to take my book for the train journey

Day 8 – I fell asleep on the sofa at 8pm

Day 9 – I finally sat down with a gluestick and some paper and created something

Day 10 – I sat absorbed watching Manhunt

Day 11 – I was too hungry to try and be healthy

So, some of you may read this and think I have no handle on my intentions and I can’t hold down a habit for longer than 24 hours. An accurate assumption to make….but….I see the above as a true reflection of what intentions are about.

Some days, I won’t do any of what I’ve set out to achieve. Other days, I’ll do it all. As a mum of 1 and working full time, I’ve learnt that this is ok. I still pat myself on the back even if the only thing I have managed that day is read the news.

Don’t let the expectation from social media make you think you’ve failed if your ability to hold down intentions every day gets bulldozed by life. That’s just how we roll!

What intentions/resolutions have you made this year?

Love Hannah x

What I’ve been loving…..

It’s been a while since I put pen to paper but with the summer days now firmly behind us, I’m in Fresh Start mode. And that seamlessly moves me onto my first love of recent months….

  • Reset Girl – Camp Reset 2018 – I took part in Camp Reset 2018. I took a different approach to last year where I went at my own pace and was quite selective on what challenges I complete – being a full time business woman as well as a Mummy, I needed to ensure that I used my time valuably. But that is the best thing about Camp Reset 2018 – you can be involved in all of it or some of it whilst still benefiting from it. The community is fantastic and this year was organised so well ensuring the Facebook feed was dedicated to each theme making it easy to keep on top of updates. There is talk of a Winter Camp Reset – I would highly recommend
  • Reset Girl – Fresh Start collection – with Camp Reset now coming to an end, the Reset Girl team have produced the most incredible collections of digital products to celebrate newness and starting over. I have always said that my version of January and New Year is September – it was ingrained in me from school that September signalled a new year and a new pencil case of course. And this collection brings all those feels together
  • Journaling – I started a Travellers Notebook for documenting Little PB’s 2nd year and I’m now a convert to journaling. A great opportunity to use all the goodies I hoard into a collection of memories that I hope Little PB will enjoy browsing when he is older
  • Day Designer/Reset Girl mash up! – I’ve been decorating my daily pages with Reset Girl digital ephemera. Using an old Reset Girl YouTube video for inspiration, I’m certainly using my DD more frequently
  • Felicity Jane – I ordered my first stash of craft goodies and I was so impressed with the quality. I’ve ordered again from the Lola collection – I particularly love that you don’t need to commit to the subscription box and can purchase individual items once the box has been launched

Please click on the links for more information and I hope you enjoy these beautiful products as much as I do

x PB x

I just love to tidy!

A friend very kindly complimented on how tidy our house is and asked how I achieve it given I work full time and have a 2 year old.

Well, I think given that I am out of the house most of the week and little one is at nursery goes a long way to keeping the house tidy but it did get me thinking if my method and storage choices would be helpful to others, so here goes.

  1. Everything has a place which I think is a huge help in putting it away – and if it doesn’t have a place, it doesn’t last long in the house. I honestly think I could find anything in our house with my eyes shut!
  2. Little PB doesn’t have a play room so I have ensured that his toys are kept to a minimum sorting through them every birthday & Christmas and passing them onto friends or charity. Little PB also loves a good game of tidying up…..no, really he does
  3. Cheap canvas drawstring bags are great for storing a collection of toys. You can buy them via Amazon and as well as looking prettier and lasting longer than cardboard boxes, it makes putting toys away super quick and easy
  4. Storage is in keeping with our interiors , for example, a toy box that is a distressed travel chest, dresser with drawers and shelving for maximum space and wicker baskets (I do love a pretty wicker basket!)
  5. I tidy each room completely before I move onto the next – if something in the lounge belongs in the kitchen, I just put it in the kitchen and finish the lounge first. This lessens distraction as well as multiple trips up and down the stairs! I work clockwise through the house so I know if I’ve missed anywhere easily
  6. Well plumped cushions – this may sound odd, but a set of cushions on a sofa that make it look complete, will help to allude this vision of tidiness!
  7. I always make the bed!! I dont think I would function properly each day if I left the house without making the bed – it makes a bedroom go from messy to tidy in minutes!

I hope this gives you some good ideas! Please share any tidying tips you have – I find tidying quite a mindfulness task and feel so much more prepared with a tidy home

x PB x

#The100DayProject

I’ve lost count on what day we are on, but we are certainly half way through so I thought I would share my thoughts on how its been going.

Simply, I am loving it. Around 6 months ago, I experienced a real low with creativity – questioning what was the point, why should I bother if it’s not for a purpose and can I create pretty things? So, committing to the challenge was a big step for me.

As I’ve shared on Instagram, I limited my supplies in order to limit the procrastination as well as set a timer for each day to ensure I didn’t spend hours and hours creating something that I was then unhappy with. And although I missed a couple of weeks whilst on holiday, I’m persisting in catching up.

Here is the progress so far:


x PB x