Saturday, 20 January 2018

Shop small in 2018.

So,  I wasn't sure whether to write about this now or save it for February (I am longing for pay day don't know about anyone else).  But, after watching so many lovely ladies on Instagram supporting small brands over the Christmas period, I really wanted to write a post about which small brands we love and why.

All my life, my dad has run his own business.  It's a football merchandise business and I spent many a weekend working for him.  He, pretty much, works every day of the year with really long hours so I have seen first hand the blood, sweat, tears and passion that goes into running your own business.  This is why I think it is so important to support small brands and help their business grow if you can. At the end of the day,  supporting the brands I am going to feature in this post allows a mama to keep doing what she loves and spend more time with her children too - whilst allowing you to enjoy amazing products.

I hope you enjoy this post; let's get into it.

Brand 1.  Birdies and Bearcubs

This is a brand I have been admiring for about two years now.  They are a children's clothing brand and do a few items for adults too... after all twinning is winning!  They stock tees, sweaters, hats and hoodies.  Our most favourite items are the tees and sweaters.  Most recently,  we purchased their special edition Santa tees. For Christmas,  Posey received the gorgeous red 'we both matter tee' and Lochann got the Mumma's boy tee in a beautiful burgundy colour.  I also have my eye on the, 'darling you're different' tee for Posey and the, 'I am enough' tee for myself.

The quality of this range is really brilliant, I honestly cannot fault it.  The clothes are really comfortable and my children love wearing them.  In fact,  my son often strops if his momma's boy tee isn't clean! I often size up when I buy for my littles from this brand but that is purely because I want them to fit them for as long as possible as we love these items so much.  They wash really well too, which is a winner!

Jade, the lovely lady who runs Birdies and Bearcubs, is really friendly and super stylish.  She also gives me major hair envy as she has gorgeous locks and a fringe to be proud of! 😊 You can follow her on Instagram at

Tops: Birdies & Bearcubs.  Shorts Cribstar 

Tops  Birdies & Bearcubs 

Brand 2. Cribstar

Ok, Cribstar is another stylish children's clothing brand run by a lovely mama.  This is my go to shop for trendy little tops for birthdays.  Last year,  I got my children matching ones that said, ' not your basic 2 year old and not your basic 3 year old.'   This year, we went for something slightly different and bought the candle tees which both the children love.  Again, the quality is great and the prices are reasonable.  For P and L's birthday outfits this year, I also treated them to a pair of matching shorts each.  They are comfy little grey numbers with a leopard style print on them.  I love Lochlann's little bottom in his and Posey looks super stylish in hers.  I like to team these little outfits with their converse.  Honestly my children are far better dressed than I am!

Top Birdies & Bear cubs Shorts Cribstar 

Top: Cribstar Shorts: Next from a pack of three.

Brand 3.  TeddyandCo

This brand is a little different as it isn't a clothing brand.  This lovely lady sells prints and wooden peg dolls.  I have followed her instagram shop for a while now and have often sat and thought about how much my two would love the peg dolls.  I love the fact they are not plastic- fantastic, much more pleasing to my eye!   Plus I love the idea that these are custom made.  I decided to buy some for Lochlann's third birthday.  We are now the proud owners of Batman, The Joker, Woody and Buzz!  Both Posey and Lochlann love playing with the dolls.  They are brilliant quality and look lovely sat on the top of our Ikea play kitchen too!  Another fabulous thing about this brand is ' Fiver Fridays.'  Every Friday,  you can grab yourself a peg doll or a print for just five pounds.  How great is that?
I am planning on adding to our peg doll collection very soon.

Photo credit  Teddy and Co. 

That's it.  There are LOADS more small businesses that I could mention but these three are my favourites at the moment.  Three great quality brands, three lovely mamas and lots of beautiful products.

I know there is a general consensus that buying from small brands is too pricey and I do sometimes understand where people are coming from.  In all honesty though, the brands I have bought from have produced some lovely things that are really great quality.  I plan to buy less ' stuff ' and spend more wisely in 2018.  I am going to shop small in 2018.  I love so many small businesses and what they are all about.

Which are your favourite small brands?  Share yours in the comments!

Thanks for reading.

Lots of love,

Sunday, 7 January 2018

A typical Weekend for our little Expat Family.

It is time to go back to work but this weekend has been a pretty good one so I thought I would document it.  Being considered an 'expat' is a strange concept.  It is almost like you're on holiday but you have to do all the normal stuff like work, pay the bills and pack the school bags.  What I will say about being an expat is that the weekends have the potential to be pretty great.  Like a mini holiday and this weekend was just that!


As we have my lovely sister in law staying with us this week we decided to go to Dubai.  Our first stop was Riverlands Dubai.  This is one of the attractions at Dubai Parks and Resorts which also has Legoland, Motion Gate and Bollywood Park.  We hadn't been there before so thought it would be a good one to tick off.  We did toy with visiting Lego land whilst we were there but decided that our littles are still a little too small to get the most out of it.  Riverlands has a really pretty French village and lots of great places to eat.  We had a little wander, visited the park and then settled on having lunch at The Irish Village.  They served soda bread which made me happy and Guiness which made Sam very happy indeed.  Once we had eaten we headed off to The Dubai Mall to show Kate the Burj Khalifa.  As usual the mall was massively busy which can be a struggle with two small children but it was good to show Kate one of the main tourist attractions in the UAE.  We stuck around and waited for the foutains show, which is really great.  Posey and Lochlann love it.  Posey words literally were, 'oh wow!'

It was a long day but a lovely one.  Potentially the most memorable part of the day though was the fact that we drove home on a empty tank of petrol.  It was honestly so stressful.  We expected to be able to fill up on route home but the petrol station was bloomin' closed.  Over here they are few and far between.  Luckily though we managed to fill up with only 2km to go!! - I just read that back and it is so boring but Sam and I will remember the anxiety for years to come so I HAD to include it! HA.


Saturday morning came with a lie in... sort of.  Posey woke up early but got in our bed and went back to sleep.  Hallelujah! We all managed to sleep past 9am which is literally unheard of in the Brookes house.  After a slow start we finally managed to get out and headed Yas beach to soak up the winter sun.  It does annoy me a little that you have to pay more to go to the beach at the weekend but it is really lovely.  We paddled in the sea and in the pool.  Kate and I even enjoyed a cheeky little cocktail.  Posey and Lochlann really enjoyed playing the sand and building sandcastles.  It was a really good way to end the holidays.

I am still tired, but then again, I have been since I fell pregnant with Posey... I feel fairly refreshed and ready to take on a new term at school.  I am determined to feel more positive and I think spending more time at the pool and the beach at the weekends will really help this positivity! :)

Hope you had a really lovely weekend with those close to you.

Thanks for reading,

Disclaimer*  There were a few tears and tantrums along the way from the two small people don't get me wrong but hey sometimes it is just good to remember the nice bits! 

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

A letter to our boy.

Dear Lochlann,

My dear boy, my quiet sensitive little soul who happily plays on his own for hours, is almost three.  I am sat writing this not long after you had an epic tantrum down at the pool.  This proved as a stark reminder that you are still so young even though three seems so grown up.

Truth be told I probably do baby you a little.  Your daddy tells me I do.  But you're so quiet and with those beautiful blonde curly locks, how can I not?  You still use a dummy and we are struggling to potty train you but having spoken to many boy mamas recently I am not too worried.  We will get there, you're just not quite ready and that is okay sweet boy.

You coped with moving out here better than I thought you might considering you are such a home boy.  You are forever asking if we can go home yet, whenever we venture out.  It turns out though, that home to you is wherever your things are and wherever your mama, your daddy and your sister are.

Once in nursery you enjoy it, especially as it has it's own soft play and park.  I know you are safe there and happy.  Your teacher says you will always happily join in during teacher led activities but that you are most happy when in your own little world playing with trucks and trains.  You have made a couple of little friends though and you talk about them which is lovely to hear.  I worry a little for when you move up to our school in September.  I wonder whether you would be better off staying in a small, private nursery instead of in FS1 at school.  But I have faith in you and your sister will be a friendly face just down the corridor.

This Christmas you were an absolute delight.  You asked for one thing and one thing only- a fire engine.  Boy do you love fire engines.  Last Christmas you were more overwhelmed than excited so this year has been just brilliant.  You and your sister buzzed off one another's excitement and I will never forget the pure joy on your face when you finally opened that fire engine.  You seem to love anything with an engine, trains, trucks, tractors and diggers though we never pushed gender specific toys (after all your sister was here first so there were plenty of other toys around).  But there is no doubt about it you are an engines boy.  You love racing them round your road rug and will happily play with them for hours.  You also love playing kitchens and more recently you and your sister have started playing mummies, daddies and grandads which is just the sweetest thing ever.

We all love you so much little Lochlann.  You are a quiet one but come out with little one-liners that can leave us all howling.  I am proud to say that you are a mama's boy but of course you love your daddy too.  Lets see what the year of three has in store for you (apart from potty training, giving up a dummy and starting pre-school- phew).

We love you dearly Lochlann Armstrong Samuel.

Happy birthday my boy.

Lots of love,

Mummy xx