What would you do with 12 hours?

Well, apparently, I spent it doing nothing important.

I discovered the screentime function on my iPhone the other day….and I learnt that I spent nearly 12 hours in a week on social media. 12 HOURS!!!!

I then found myself trying to justify it – well, its how I keep in touch with my friends (cough “rubbish” cough), but it’s good research for me to see what others are talking about in the planning world (cough “rubbish” cough). Ok, but if I didn’t look at social media, how would I know what’s going on in the world (cough “rubbish” cough).

I succumbed to accepting that the reason I was on social media that much in a week is because I was filling my empty time (and maybe even my family time…..ok, actually my family time) with mindless scrolling and comparison.

How did something which didn’t exist 10 years ago now take over my week quite so catastrophically? I heard someone say that we don’t open our door every 5 minutes to check if anyone is there so why check our phone?

And to be honest, it scared me. What had I missed in those 12 hours? What had I not paid attention to? What could I have been doing in those 12 accumulative hours that was valuable and important. Well, I could have been writing this blog post for a start!

So, I thought about what I should do – and I didn’t start mindless scrolling to avoid making some decisions.

Don’t think that by realising my failing, I STOPPED and deleted my Instagram account in a vain attempt to think it will help or threw my phone in the bin. Because it won’t help – I’ll find another way to look, be it logging onto the computer at home or peering over someones shoulder on the train, or even just uploading the app back onto my phone.

That’s what people with addiction do. They look for the loophole. And yes, I said addiction because actually, the thought of being without my phone and being connected to the world wide web, freaks me out and if I haven’t looked at my phone for a good hour, I feel lost – like I haven’t ticked something off the to-do list.

So, let’s get real – my phone IS a way of connecting with my friends and family – sharing family photos via WhatsApp, creating something and sharing with all of you on Instagram – as well as checking the weather, my bank balance or my train time. The honest truth is without our phones, things would be pointlessly difficult and painfully slow so I’m happy to embrace that part of technology.

But I do want to reduce my mindless comparison time – because that is what it is – comparing yourself with the world as much as you may think its about admiring other peoples talent and it makes you feel pants. Research has suggested that Instagram is the worst for young peoples mental health with negative results such as anxiety, depression, dysmorphia and FOMO (fear of missing out).

As a mother, the above worries me more for Little PB than me – so I need to change my habit drastically to ensure he understands the positives you can gain from technology in your pocket.

These are the steps I’ve taken and you are welcome to do the same:

  • Deleted my Facebook app – I really don’t need to know (or even slightly care) what a school friend who I haven’t seen or spoken to for 15 years ate for dinner last night
  • Filtered my Instagram – if I felt a sense of comparison or frustration with a series of posts from someone, I have unfollowed them – its no different from what happens to me by others and its widely accepted as OK.
  • Set limits on a my ScreenTime function – 20 mins of social media a day and once you are over that, it reminds you (and effectively tells you off for trying to access more!)
  • Set a downtime on my apps between 9pm and 6.30am so all my non-important apps become inaccessible during that time to avoid scrolling before bed and first thing in the morning
  • Rearrange my home screen so I’m only focused on opening apps that are useful and beneficial to me – Audible, podcasts, BBC News and the weather app
  • Just turn my phone off (I used to make the excuse that I had to keep my phone on if Nursery called – I just changed the number to my work phone because they will only call me during working hours anyway!)

I’ll be sure to update you on my progress but please also share your views & comments

x PB x

 

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

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

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

Why I love my early mornings

It’s 5.56am and I’m up, writing this blog post. Some of you will be shouting at the screen saying why, why, WHY?! Well, I’m about to tell you.

Since becoming a mummy, I have become increasingly grateful for the time I have to myself. Please be reassured that I would of course prefer to spend time with Little PB over and above anything else, but working full time and being mum means stuff needs to get done.

With the sun rising and the birds entertaining my with their dawn chorus, I potter in the silence of the house, preparing for the day.

I tried the Miracle Morning method in its entirety for a bit – that didn’t work for me. And I think its because I took it too literally. The principle behind Miracle Morning is to set you right for the day by giving yourself time to reset your mind, focus, do some exercise and rehydrate.

So, my morning is a deconstructed version of this and here is my routine:

  • Sunrise alarm set for 5.50am. Little PB usually wakes by 7am so I know I have around an hour to get s!@* done.
  • 5.50am – Get up! (I do have to push myself to get up straight away but it’s improving!)
  • 5.55am – A big glass of water and a lemon tea (basically 2 slices of lemon in warm water)
  • 6am – Feed Pineapple & Button Co. whilst the kettle is boiling
  • 6am – 6.30am – Spend 30 mins either planning my day, painting my nails, writing blog posts, or having a pamper session in the shower. I also pack my bag for the day (although I do try to do this before I go to bed in the evening)
  • 6.30am – 7am – Get myself ready (with a cup of builders tea!) because trying to do a decent attempt at hair and make up with a toddler to entertain is never going to work

By the time Little PB stirs, I can give him my full attention until we go to nursery and I feel ready for the day.

I have had experiences where I haven’t achieved the above and I can honestly share that I feel discombobulated that whole day as a result.

So, if you want to feel more productive, positive, motivate and in control of your world, set that alarm for an hour earlier…..and then share how it goes! Good luck!

x PB x

The National Trust….a national treasure

Mr PB and I were married at a National Trust venue – The Vyne near Basingstoke. A romantic ceremony in the stone gallery and the party of all parties in a set of Stunning Tents in the walled garden.


So, you would think that we have been avid members of the Trust for years. Well, whilst we had membership post our wedding day, we didn’t visit many of the houses or gardens apart from our wedding anniversary visit back to the gardens at The Vyne.

As a child, visiting a national trust property always felt like a chore. Attractive to the older generation, it felt like an extended history lesson.

But over the years, The National Trust have genuinely upped their family game, offering so much more than dusty, cold rooms in large homes with some gardens to look at but not touch!

Since becoming parents, we have explored, walked, laughed and smiled around so many of the houses and gardens that I’ve come to realise that this organisation is something special.

Where else can you have a slice of delicious cake and pot of tea, a wander through stately country homes and then play chase on the lawns.


Here are some of my favourites:

The Vyne, Basingstoke – of course it holds a special place in my heart but it has grown over the years to be a chosen destination for families for picnic on the lawn. The addition of a small play area for children with bouncing cows, ride on tractors and push along lawn mowers is great as well as the ability to visit to renovation being carried out on the roof.

Mottisfont, Winchester – with expansive lawns surrounding the stately home, there is plenty of room to play and have a picnic. A beautiful river walk and the choice of 2-3 great tea rooms/restaurants makes this a great meeting place for big groups.

Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury – the formality of the gardens make it less about picnics and more about wandering taking in the gorgeous planting schemes and overwhelming views of this incredible mansion. 

Basildon Park, Reading – like Mottisfont, this property is not short of grassy areas to play rounders in! It also benefits from walking routes taking you out into the parkland – varying lengths so you can choose what best suits you and your family.

Cliveden House, nr Windsor – the play area here is by far my favourite of all National Trust properties we have visited. Based around classic children stories, you are surrounded by beautiful wooden sculptures of Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan. The house is also a hotel so not one you can visit without staying but the restaurant is great with lots to offer and the grounds are never ending. A great place to get lost in.

If you don’t have membership, please do so. Whether you are a smal family and expanding family or just a couple, this is the best amount of pennies a year you will spend! 

This weekend, most National Trust properties are running Easter Egg Hunts. https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ 

x PB x