Wednesday, December 31, 2014

52 WEEKS OF MEMORIES | 52 - CELEBRATION (thats a wrap for 2014)

Wow I can't believe that its been a whole year since I started this challenge. Its gone so quick and I'm so beyond glad that I decided to do it because now I have a bunch of precious memories of bub growing up. Its so hard to imagine that when I started she was only a little 5 month old baby who couldn't even crawl yet and now shes a fully fledged toddler who runs everywhere and never sits still. Since bub's still waaaaay too young to celebrate new years and will hopefully be asleep long before midnight tonight I've gone with a photo of her celebrating on Christmas day unwrapping presents from grandma for the final prompt.


52| Celebration


Thankyou so much to everyone who has played along with the challenge this year and I'm overwhelmed by how many of you wanted to go ahead with another one next year. I've finished putting together the prompts for the 2015 challenge and all will be revealed here on the blog on January 5th. If you can't wait that long though and want to be in the know before everyone else then you can sign up to my brand spanking new monthly newsletter via the link in the sidebar or at the bottom of this page and have it delivered to your inbox on January 1st.


Toni x

Linky rules

2. Add your post for this weeks prompt
3. Grab the button below and link it to the bottom of your post or sidebar or text link
4. Visit some of the other blogs and share some comment love (because its the nice thing to do)

Finding Myself Young
<a href="http://www.findingmyselfyoung.com/2014/01/join-me-and-create-52-weeks-of-memories.html" target="_self"><img src=" http://i952.photobucket.com/albums/ae7/sammycatmeow/blog/138f6ffb-80c4-45a9-a338-157be2d37cad_zps36ad828f.jpg?t=1388666606" alt="Finding Myself Young" width="125" height="150" /></a>






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Monday, December 29, 2014

Your favourite Finding Myself Young posts of 2014

Its the end of the year and that means its time for those ever popular wrap up posts us bloggers love to do this time of year. Since I've already done my 10 things that happened in 2014 post I thought it was fitting to revisit the top 10 posts of 2014, as chosen by you guys. There were actually quite a few 2013 posts that came in within the top 10 posts for this year. Nice to know that you're still interested in my old stuff and its not just gathering dust in my archives.


1 - ANNIVERSARY GIVEAWAY



Without a doubt the most popular post of the year was my mega giveaway to celebrate my blog's 2nd anniversary in February. I had a bunch of awesome businesses join in to offer readers a range of prizes for babies, kids and mums. It was a huge success and the good news is I'll be running another one next year to celebrate my 3rd anniversary.


2 - 52 WEEKS OF MEMORIES

Coming in at a close second was the introductory post for my 52 Weeks of Memories photo challenge. I created the challenge basically to remind myself to capture memories of my daughter growing up. I also suck at sticking to the photo a day challenges so thought I'd make up a 52 week one that was just one photo a week to try and force myself to stick to a photo challenge for a whole year. Also being that it was my challenge I figured I kind of had to stick to it! And I did! Well technically the last photo isn't until this Wednesday, but I'm so excited that I managed to stick it out (not only because it would've been embarrassing if I didn't stick to my own challenge). The challenge also proved to be quite popular on Instagram and Facebook. I'm currently putting together the list for 2015 which will be revealed in the first week of January.




3 - IT'S ALMOST THE END A LETTER TO MY DAUGHTER

This is a letter I wrote to my daughter while I was 37 weeks pregnant in July 2013. I had originally planned on writing in a journal each day for her, but you know life got in the way, so one night I decided to jot down my thoughts before she came into the world. Hopefully my blog will be around long enough for her to read it one day.

4 - WHAT IS THE MEANING OF FAMILY?

This post I wrote back in 2013 but it continues to be one of my most popular posts of all time. It explores all the different meanings of family and the fact that family doesn't always have to mean blood relatives. I still love this post and I'm glad others do too.

This happens to be another post that I wrote back in 2013. Its a letter to my dad who, for those who don't already know, passed away when I was ten. After dad died my brother and I kind of made it a habit to write letters to him. We've always thought if we wrote down what we wanted to tell him then even though he wasn't here any more, somehow the message would get to him. I hadn't written a letter to him in ages and I was feeling very emotional being pregnant so I wrote a letter to him on his anniversary.

This year I was lucky enough to visit the Pregnancy, Babies and Children's Expo as a guest of Dorel. I got to attend a bloggers breakfast before the event and then we got to learn more about all their new products before the expo opened to the public. As a result of attending the event I was able to review the Safety 1st Wanderer which was only released this year. Its a fantastic pram and Dorel were generous enough to give one away to a lucky reader too, so naturally this post got a lot of traffic!

7 - LEAVING MY NARCISSISTIC HUSBAND CHANGED MY LIFE

This post was inspired by one of Kirsty's prompts for I Must Confess - the biggest chance you've taken. I'd been considering writing the post for ages beforehand but hadn't built up the courage to go there yet. I knew I should delve deeper into my story in the hope it may help others and the response I got was nothing short of amazing. I feared I would be judged, but instead I was contacted by so many women who had been in a similar situation. It makes me so happy to know that in some small way all the "bad" things I experienced during my marriage have now lead to something good by inspiring others.

8 - HOW DO YOU MAKE A BABY?

This post had a huge amount of Google traffic which I suspect mainly came from amorous teenagers who were no doubt disappointed with what they found. You see this post isn't about the normal, physical activity that's involved in makin babies; but rather about our infertility journey and how Queensland Fertility Group helped us to conceive. It got a large number of comments from those who had experienced a similar path so I hope it helped inform people about fertility options, just as much as it probably disappointed those teenagers surfing the net!


9. THE GREATEST GIFT A MAN CAN GIVE HIS DAUGHTER

This is another oldie but goodie from 2013. I wrote this post not long after having bub and it really sums up my parenting philosophy. When I was growing up I didn't get to spend much time with our parents because they were always working. The time I did spend with them I can't remember them being overly affectionate with each other or telling me they loved me. Of course it probably did happen, but not enough for me to have any memory of it. Growing up without dad after he died also, I believe, led to some of the mistakes I made with previous relationships. I don't want my daughter to grow up and make the same mistakes so T and I have made a decision to parent differently.

10 - 52 WEEKS OF MEMORIES | 4 - SMILE

Rounding out the top 10 for 2014 is week 4 of my 52 Weeks of Memories series - smile. And I can't blame you guys, who could resist this cheeky smile?! Gets me every time!




So there you go, that's your top 10 for 2014. Here's to an even bigger and better 2015. Thanks for reading!


Toni x




Linking with Kirsty and Alicia.

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Friday, December 26, 2014

52 WEEKS OF MEMORIES | 51 - CHRISTMAS

This week's post is running a bit late because the prompt came up before the actual day (whoops). This year we had 3 Christmas celebrations with different family members. 3 days in a row of travelling and get togethers was definitely tiring! Next year I've decided we're doing Christmas at my house so I don't have to go anywhere.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas day however you celebrated. Bub certainly got spoilt this year and I got a lightbox from Typo, so it was a very merry christmas for us here!

51 | CHRISTMAS


If you would like to join in 52 weeks of memories you can find out how to play here. Feel free to share with your friends on facebook or instagram, the more who join in the better!

You can follow me on Instagram and join in on Facebook. When sharing via Instagram or Facebook don't forget to use the hashtag #fmy52weeksofmemories so I can see your lovely photos.  If you have a blog feel free to link up your photos via the linky below and come back each week to link up each new prompt. 

Reminder - next weeks prompt is Celebration!

The 2015 prompts will be revealed soon! Watch this space.





Toni x

Linky rules

2. Add your post for this weeks prompt
3. Grab the button below and link it to the bottom of your post or sidebar or text link
4. Visit some of the other blogs and share some comment love (because its the nice thing to do)

Finding Myself Young
<a href="http://www.findingmyselfyoung.com/2014/01/join-me-and-create-52-weeks-of-memories.html" target="_self"><img src=" http://i952.photobucket.com/albums/ae7/sammycatmeow/blog/138f6ffb-80c4-45a9-a338-157be2d37cad_zps36ad828f.jpg?t=1388666606" alt="Finding Myself Young" width="125" height="150" /></a>



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Friday, December 19, 2014

Sydney Siege - The Helpers



I happened to be watching the news on Monday morning just as the news of the Sydney Siege was breaking. I immediately had similar feelings to when I was watching 911 unfold on the tv thirteen years ago. Shock. Sadness. Disbelief. However this time it was different. This time it was in my own country, not my state thank god, but still far too close for comfort. That's such a weird saying when you think about it because there's nothing comforting about the situation at all.

It was also different because instead of being a teenager sitting at home with my mum, this time I was the mum sitting at home with my 16 month old daughter. One of the first things I thought was thank god my baby is too young to understand what's going on. Thank god I don't need to have a conversation with her trying to explain what's happening. Thank god she could still spend the day with the Bananas in Pyjamas, Upsy Daisy and Thomas completely blissfully unaware of all the horror that was unfolding.

I wish she could stay in her blissful bubble forever. 

Unaware of the suffering and bad people in the world.

Unfortunately as the world faces tragedies like this far too often and with information so readily available I'm sure there will come a time when I'll have to have that conversation. The one where I try and explain why there are bad people in the world who do bad things. The one where I try and help her understand that, despite these bad people existing, she shouldn't be scared. She doesn't have to be afraid. Because mummy and daddy are here to protect her. And while I have that conversation I'll have to keep my own anxiety under wraps so she believes me - that I can protect her from the bad people and the bad things. Because if she doesn't believe me then the bad people have won, and I won't let them win.


There will always be helpers and the helpers will always outnumber the bad people.


Toni x


Linking with Grace, Ann, Bel and Sonia

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

52 WEEKS OF MEMORIES | 50 - FROM THE SIDE

Do you have any idea how hard it is to get a non blurry photo of a toddler from the side? Let me tell you, its hard! I spent all week trying to take snaps of her from the side hoping to somehow come up with a gem. Of course most of them were when she was asleep in her car seat and unfortunately shes not the most graceful sleeper in the car so I decided to spare her the embarrassment of those photos. I did manage to snap a nice photo of her from the side one morning while she was watching cartoons though (while she was relatively still for all of 4 seconds). It's still slightly fuzzy, but much more flattering than the car seat photos.

50 | FROM THE SIDE
~ watching cartoons in the morning ~

If you would like to join in 52 weeks of memories you can find out how to play here. Feel free to share with your friends on facebook or instagram, the more who join in the better!

You can follow me on Instagram and join in on Facebook. When sharing via Instagram or Facebook don't forget to use the hashtag #fmy52weeksofmemories so I can see your lovely photos.  If you have a blog feel free to link up your photos via the linky below and come back each week to link up each new prompt. 

Reminder - next weeks prompt is Christmas!

The 2015 prompts will be revealed soon! Watch this space.





Toni x


Also sharing with 
Trish from My Little Drummer Boys 
Raychael from Agent Mystery Case
Kelly from Mum-bo-jumbo


Linky rules

2. Add your post for this weeks prompt
3. Grab the button below and link it to the bottom of your post or sidebar or text link
4. Visit some of the other blogs and share some comment love (because its the nice thing to do)

Finding Myself Young
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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Liebster Award (x 3)



So, I am very slack when it comes to responding to these things. This is the third time that I've been nominated for a Liebster Award and only the first time that I've actually found time to answer all the questions. Yep, my bad. I was nominated by Kelly from mum-bo-jumbo and these are her questions below.


What ONE piece of advice do you have for anyone thinking about starting their own blog?


Get involved in the blogging community by joining blogging groups on Facebook and commenting on other blogs. Its a great way to make new friends and meet like minded people. Its also a great way to get tips when starting out and helps to build your following.

If you didn’t have a blog, how do you think you would spend your time?

I don't really remember what I used to do with all the time I spend blogging! I've been doing it for so long now. I mainly blog at night so I'd probably watch tv or get to sleep more than I do now. I dare say my house would be cleaner and I'd be more adventurous when it comes to cooking because I'd have time to experiment.

Favourite activities or past times?


Before I had bub I used to go to the gym all the time and I loved doing zumba too. If I tried now I'd probably have a heart attack though.

Your house is on fire and your family is safe. You have time to grab one item. What would it be and why?


Assuming my cats were all safe, it'd be my phone or laptop because they have all the baby photos on them.

Favourite childhood toy? 


I had a stuffed cat toy that I loved. I took it everywhere. One day I was on the toilet and my brother threw it at me and it somehow went over and behind me and fell into the toilet bowl. Mum was going to get it out and clean it up for me, but I didn't want anything to do with it anymore knowing it had been in the toilet.


Favourite holiday spot?


When we were younger we spent almost every school holidays with our grandparents down the gold coast at their unit. It was like visiting a resort. They had two pools,a spa and a gym in their apartment building. They also lived a few streets from two beaches. I loved going there for holidays and it really cemented my love of the beach. All our holidays are always near the beach, it doesn't matter where as long as the ocean isn't far away.


Chocolate ice cream or vanilla ice cream? 


Vanilla with chocolate sprinkles. Best of both worlds.


Preferred method of travel: planes, trains or auto mobiles? 


I don't really like any of them, for different reasons. When I was younger I had to catch the train into the city for specialist appointments and I was always paranoid that the doors would shut on me. It freaks me out that the driver isn't in the same carriage as me incase something goes wrong. So lets scratch trains.


I never had a problem with planes until I started watching Air Crash Investigations. FYI not a good idea to watch that show the night before you need to fly! Also a turbulent landing didn't help with the whole fear of flying. 


I'd have to say cars are probably my preferred mode of transport. Although I'm also a tad bit apprehensive in the car these days too. Purely because I've been in three car accidents in the last two years and none of them were my fault. But, my car is still the easiest and most convenient way to get around.


Favourite animal or pet? 


Cats (both of them, I can't choose a favourite)


How do you balance work and home? What is your secret? 


I do freelance writing and blogging from home, so I can time it around bub and our activities which is good. I usually write when she's asleep during the day or after shes in bed at night.



My Nominees:

I know we're meant to nominate bloggers with less than 200 followers, but I say screw the rules. This is who I'm nomiating:

Kylie from Kylie Purtell A study in Contradictions
Cate from Life Behind the Purple Door
Emma from Five Degrees of Chaos
Renee from Mummy, Wife, Me
Maria from Mummy Goes Mad

So these are my 10 questions for my nominees:

1. What's your favourite colour?
2. What did you want to be when you grew up?
3. What was your first pet?
4. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
5. Why did you start blogging?
6. Violet Crumble or Crunchie?
7. Coffee or Tea?
8. Where were you born?
9. Have you ever chucked a sickie?
10. Do you speak another language?

No pressure to respond within a certain time ladies, lord knows I've taken my sweet time getting around to writing my Liebster post.

Toni x

Linking with Jess

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Monday, December 15, 2014

The magic of Christmas




I still vividly remember sitting in the lounge room at the front of the house, surrounded by Christmas decorations, looking out the window at the Christmas light displays across the street and feeling so happy. For me the magic of Christmas wasn't just waking up on Christmas day and opening presents. The magic of Christmas was strongly cemented in the lead up to the big day. Decorating the house, planning our light display, putting the tree up, listening to Christmas carols and soaking it all in each night.

I loved how the community came together at Christmas. All of my friends in our street would set up light displays. Each year they'd get bigger and better and more houses would join in. I'd start drawing pictures of the front of our house and where the lights and decorations should go at the end of October. I was very, very serious when it came to our light display (and just a tad ocd). Everything had to be perfect. I wanted to make sure everyone who walked or drove past our house would stop and smile.

I loved night time because it meant the lights would come on. I don't know why but I've always had a fascination with fairy lights. I always loved that Christmas gave me a legitimate excuse to pull them out and look at them each night. There's something so special about all the colourful little lights twinkling away against the night sky.

Of course looking back now I feel sorry for my mum having to put up all the lights herself to turn my elaborate plans into reality. I also shudder to think what the electricity bill must have been. There were no such thing as solar lights back then, thankgod they have them now.

Even as an adult I still have a huge fondness for fairy lights and love that there are so many around at Christmas time. Living in a townhouse complex now I don't get to decorate like I did as a child, but hopefully when we finally move out into a real house I can make up for that. I've carried the magic of Christmas lights with me from my childhood to adult life and I hope to pass that magic onto my daughter too. We're starting slowly with sensory light play and Christmas tree lights, but I'm sure one day she'll be mapping out light plans for me to create at Christmas too, and I can't wait!

What do you find magical about Christmas?


Toni x

Linking with Alicia, Eva and Kirsty


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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

52 WEEKS OF MEMORIES | 49 - TIRED

I can't believe we're at week 49 already, this year has gone so quick! I got the cutest pic this week. Actually I took quite a few pics of her when she was tired, but this one took the cake. She climbed up behind me and sat on the couch and next minute I turned around and she'd fallen asleep. She very rarely falls asleep by herself, except in the car, so she must've been very very tired. It was so cute!


49 | TIRED
~ Poor tired bubba fell asleep on the couch ~


If you would like to join in 52 weeks of memories you can find out how to play here. Feel free to share with your friends on facebook or instagram, the more who join in the better!

You can follow me on Instagram and join in on Facebook. When sharing via Instagram or Facebook don't forget to use the hashtag #fmy52weeksofmemories so I can see your lovely photos.  If you have a blog feel free to link up your photos via the linky below and come back each week to link up each new prompt. 

Reminder - next weeks prompt is from the side.

The 2015 prompts will be revealed soon!





Toni x


Also sharing with 
Trish from My Little Drummer Boys 
Raychael from Agent Mystery Case
Kelly from Mum-bo-jumbo


Linky rules

2. Add your post for this weeks prompt
3. Grab the button below and link it to the bottom of your post or sidebar or text link
4. Visit some of the other blogs and share some comment love (because its the nice thing to do)

Finding Myself Young
<a href="http://www.findingmyselfyoung.com/2014/01/join-me-and-create-52-weeks-of-memories.html" target="_self"><img src=" http://i952.photobucket.com/albums/ae7/sammycatmeow/blog/138f6ffb-80c4-45a9-a338-157be2d37cad_zps36ad828f.jpg?t=1388666606" alt="Finding Myself Young" width="125" height="150" /></a>




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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Sensory water play for toddlers

This post is in collaboration with Crazy Sales



Bub is totally and utterly obsessed with water. She wants to splash around in it any chance she gets and thats not limited to only bath time. Being the little smarty pants she is, she worked out the cats water bowl splashes just as good as the bath and when she can't get to that she just tries to pour the water out of her sippy cup and splash it all over the table. We had an unfortunate incident a few weeks back when she poured water all over my laptop one morning (when daddy was watching her, enough said) and by the time I found it nothing worked. Thankfully after a few hours drying off outside it came back to life. It became quite obvious that I needed to introduce some structured water play into her playtime to avoid any more water damage around the house!

We live in a townhouse and while we have the biggest courtyard in the complex, its no where near big enough for a proper pool. Unfortunately our complex doesn't have a pool either (a major oversight on my part when I bought the townhouse). So, given the space constraints and wanting to avoid water damage inside the house, the next obvious choice was to get a sand and water table for some outdoor play. Whoever invented these was a total genius.



We got the Outdoor Water and Sand Activity Table in blue from Crazy Sales online. The table has two separate sides so it can be used with water and sand at the same time. Both sides have plugs in the bottom which make cleaning up really easy. The table also comes with funnels and water wheels that can be moved into different positions along the edges. There are also six sand moulds, a watering can, two scoops, a rake and two little floating boats. We received one extra orange funnel in our box (there's only meant to be two), but I'm pretty sure it was a fluke so if you order one don't be surprised if you only get the two funnels as advertised. We were just lucky.



So far we've only used it as a water table because I don't have any sand. I'm thinking I'll get some kinetic sand for it, that way it should be easier to pack away if I want to empty it out of the tray - or so they claim on the ads. Shes still been using the sand moulds, upside down as water scoops, even though we have no sand. Her favourite accessory is the watering can because she can watch the water pour out of it. Of course that means she just tries to pour water on me the whole time (but its been so hot lately it doesn't bother me). We've also added in some of our own plastic balls and stacking cups for added sensory play (because she found them and threw them in there).




The table is the perfect height for a toddler. It means she can have fun water play without needing to wear a swim nappy because she won't sit down in the water. She does get wet in the process though so suitable play clothes, togs or no clothes are advised when playing. I learnt that the hard way the first time when she got soaked because she just wanted to splash water out everywhere. The other afternoon when it was really hot I put her table over the shell pool we have to create a double story water play experience and she loved it. That definitely required a swim nappy, it was very messy, but so much fun.


To say she is obsessed with it is an understatement. She is always banging on the back door because she wants to go out the back and play with it. If it wasn't so unbearably hot outside most of them time I'm sure we'd live out there. For now we wait until mid afternoon to have a play when its a little cooler. She would literally spend hours playing at the table if I'd let her. I usually last an hour and then its either too dark or getting too cold so we pack everything up and come inside, much to her disappointment. The only downside to the table is that it causes tantrums when I try to get her to put it away and come back inside!

Overall I was really happy with the service I received from Crazy Sales and I'm extremely happy with the product. It arrived safely and quickly. Its as described (albeit with an added funnel) and is good quality. Shes given it a good work out throwing all the accessories around and there's not a crack to be seen. Even though bub is technically younger than the recommended age she absolutely loves this table and I haven't had any safety concerns while shes been playing with it (of course I supervise her at all times).

Crazy Sales also have regular online deals where you can get up to 80% off selected items and they have a huge range of products to choose from, including heaps more outdoor toys for kids. I could literally waste a good few hours trawling their site for goodies. Given T wants me to give him ideas for my Christmas present I may just do that.

Do/did you or your kids have a sand and water table?

I didn't so I'm totally living vicariously through bub.

Toni x

Disclosure - I was asked to review products for Crazy Sales and chose the sand and water table. I did not receive payment for this review and all opinions are my own based on using the product. This post contains affiliate links.


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Monday, December 8, 2014

10 things that happened in 2014

We're almost half way through December, how did that happen? This year has gone so quick its insane. I guess time flies when you're having fun. 2014 has been a pretty big year for us so, as is the tradition at the end of the year, I've written a post reflecting on the 10 biggest things that have happened to us in 2014.


I became an Aunty again

In February I became an Aunty again to another little girl. My SIL got pregnant just before I gave birth to bub so the girls are only seven months apart. We didn't purposefully plan to have close pregnancies, but I'm glad we did because now the girls will have so much fun growing up together and experiencing the same things around the same time. Its also great that bub has another little girl to play with because pretty much all my friends who had babies last year and this year had boys.

I extended my maternity leave to stay home with bub

I was due to go back to work full time in June, but given bub has so many food allergies I didn't feel comfortable putting her in full time day care and family weren't available to babysit on a full time basis. There wasn't an option to go back to work casual or part time so I extended my maternity leave for another year. Besides after taking years to conceive in the first place, I've really enjoyed being able to spend all my time with her.

Bub turned 1

You may remember the epic party I planned for her first birthday. Yep I went overboard, yes I probably spent too much money and yes she won't remember it - but you only turn 1 once! And besides I loved being able to make all the decorations and party bags. I think I discovered an inner crafting bug that I never knew existed. Plus the cake was to. die. for. - I can still taste it looking at the photo and I really really want more.




Bub was diagnosed with her eye condition

I can't remember the exact medical term, but basically bub has turned eyes (for her it alternates between both eyes). Its most likely genetic as I was born with a permanently turned eye. Hers isn't quite as bad as mine though so I'm hoping it can be rectified easier and quicker. She started wearing glasses at 14 months (which has been a challenge on occasions) and in a week we go back to the specialist to find out if we go straight to corrective surgery or stick with the glasses for a bit longer. I have a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach that they're going to recommend surgery, but I'm trying not to think about it too much. The thought of having to put my baby under anaesthetic pretty much gives me a panic attack.

We did V8 hot laps

I've wanted to do V8 hot laps for years, but it was always one of those things you think you'll never actually get to do. Well this year I finally got to do it. Mum bought T and I a V8 experience from Red Balloon for Christmas last year which included 4 laps in a V8. I was a bit scared for the first 2.00345 seconds, but then I was high on adrenaline. It was awesome!

I turned 30

Apparently turning 30 is meant to be one of those huge milestone birthdays. It was a pretty low key event for me, which is fine because I'm not really a huge party animal anymore, ha! I did relive my childhood a bit though by having an ice-cream cake. I still have some in my freezer, it tastes amazing.



Finding Myself Young was a finalist in the Bupa Health Influencer Blog Awards 2014

Some of my amazing readers were lovely enough to nominate me for the Bupa blog awards in the Parents-to-be and Babies category. I was honoured to be nominated and even more blown away when the judging panel picked my blog as a finalist.

I became a blogger for The Huffingtonn Post UK

I may not have won an award in the Bupa blog awards, but it did open other doors. The lifestyle blog editor from the Huffington Post UK found my blog through the awards and invited me to be a Huffington Post blogger. To say I was excited is a bit of an understatement. In fact I think I'm still riding high on the wave of euphoria. You can see all my Huffington Post articles here.



We renovated the bathroom

Ah yes the bathroom renovation.... When it started in the beginning of July T assured me it'd be done by bubs birthday (end July). HA! Instead of taking a few weeks it took a few months. It was pretty much done in little stages instead of all in one go. It's still technically not completed because we need to add a new shower screen, but other than that its done. Thankgod. Showering at my mums house for over two months was starting to wear thin. I'll do a proper blog post with photos once its all finally done, god only knows when that'll be.

52 Weeks of Memories

This year was the first year I've run my 52 weeks of memories photography challenge. I created the challenge mainly to remind myself to capture memories throughout the year. I used bub as a muse for my photos and its great being able to look back on the photos and see how much shes changed throughout the year. I'm getting a photo book made up of the photos so I can have them at hand on my coffee table all the time. The challenge was run via facebook, instagram and here on the blog. I've been blown away by how many people played along, especially on instagram. I'll be running the challenge again next year, I'm currently working on the prompts and images. All will be revealed soon.

2014 prompts


Overall 2014 has been a pretty good year. The part I have enjoyed most is being able to stay home and spend each day with my little girl. Watching her go from a tiny little baby to a fully fledged toddler who can walk, run, climb and somewhat talk has been amazing. Hopefully I can do the same next year.


Toni x

Linking with Kirsty, Alicia and Eva

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Friday, December 5, 2014

Learning the alphabet with AlphaPup

We have a new member of the family. She doesn't have a name yet, but shes fitting in quite nicely.

Shes very well behaved for a puppy. The cats aren't even bothered by her.

She has a lot to say, but only when bubs playing with her, otherwise shes surprisingly quiet.

She loves going for walks and playing games. And shes very, very smart.

Bub's already claimed her as her new best friend.

Our new puppy is an AlphaPup. Shes really easy to look after, she doesn't even need food.



The AlphaPup from Leap Frog is an interactive dog that helps kids learn letters, the alphabet and simple words. When bub presses a letter button AlphaPup says the corresponding letter followed by a word that starts with that letter and then uses it in a short sentence. The music note button plays three different songs. On the other side of the music button there's also a puppy button that says different phrases. Bub loves sitting down with AlphaPup and pressing all the buttons. She hasn't said any of the words herself yet, but she only knows about 8-10 words so far so I'm sure in time she'll pick them up. Especially when she spends so much time playing with it.

She loves taking AlphaPup for walks because when she walks she sings the alphabet and if she stops walking she stops singing. The idea is for kids to pull AlphaPup along by the doggy bone and she will wobble along behind wagging her tail. Bub is sometimes lazy though and has worked out that she can sit down and push and pull her back and forth by the nose and the music will still play.


I often find her sitting in a corner quietly playing with AlphaPup. She happily sits and plays with her for up to half an hour at a time. She's even brought her up to me to play with on a few occasions, which is a really good sign because she only does that with her favourite toys. She loves the alphabet song so shes always rolling her back and forth to make her sing. She also loves hitting the tail because she knows it bounces back when touched.


AlphaPup is such a great educational toy that not only teaches letters, but also teaches gross motor skills. It comes in a green and pink version. The AlphaPup can be purchased from any of these retailers. If you're still searching for a Christmas gift for a 1-3 year old, the AlphaPup could very well be their new best friend (and a great solution for little kids who want a dog, but without the added responsibility of a real pet).

Can you think of a name for our AlphaPup? (so I can stop calling her AlphaPup)


Toni x

Disclosure - We were sent an AlphaPup from Leap Frog. All opinions are my own based on the product itself and were in no way influenced by Leap Frog.

Linking with Kaz, Bel and Ann.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

52 WEEKS OF MEMORIES | 48 - WATER

Bub is a huge fan of water. She loves the stuff. The last few weeks shes taken to trying to steal the cats water bowl so she can splash it all around everywhere. When that fails (i.e. when mum stops her) she just tries to pour the water from her sippy cup all over the floor/table/couch and smack it to make little splashes. It became increasingly obvious she needed a sand and water table. So, we got one. Its safe to say she loves it.

48 | WATER
~ She's definitely a water baby ~


If you would like to join in 52 weeks of memories you can find out how to play here. Feel free to share with your friends on facebook or instagram, the more who join in the better!

You can follow me on Instagram and join in on Facebook. When sharing via Instagram or Facebook don't forget to use the hashtag #fmy52weeksofmemories so I can see your lovely photos.  If you have a blog feel free to link up your photos via the linky below and come back each week to link up each new prompt. 

Reminder - next weeks prompt is tired.





Toni x


Also sharing with 
Trish from My Little Drummer Boys 
Raychael from Agent Mystery Case
Kelly from Mum-bo-jumbo


Linky rules

2. Add your post for this weeks prompt
3. Grab the button below and link it to the bottom of your post or sidebar or text link
4. Visit some of the other blogs and share some comment love (because its the nice thing to do)

Finding Myself Young
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