A Quick Cuppa With… Devon Mama

Today, I have the pleasure of ‘meeting’ Hayley, who blogs at Devon Mama​. Here she is talking about her whirlwind 18 months, her love of the beach and her hatred of lasagne… 

A Quick Cuppa With, Devon Mama, blogger, interview, Q and A


Hi Hayley, thank you for taking part! Tell me about yourself…

Hi, I’m Hayley and I live in rural Devon with my husband, son and our very bouncy dog. In the last 18 months, we’ve gotten married, had our little boy and I’ve turned 30 – it’s been a bit of a whirlwind! 

Exciting times – congratulations!

Tell me a random fact about yourself, anything at all…

I have a genuine fear of lasagne. It makes me feel physically sick just thinking about it!

Who is your biggest inspiration? 

Anyone who manages to juggle parenting with his or her career and get that balance right. I love the uprising of mum-preneurs. Although I REALLY hate that term! 

Tell me about your blog. What is the main theme? What inspired you to start it? 

Devon Mama is primarily about parenting and the ups and downs that go with it. I try to cover family friendly recipes, reviews of products that we’ve used and insights into how I’ve found parenting… things like ‘The 6 Stages of Making New Mum Friends’ or a piece on bullying by medical professionals when I felt like my health visitor was railroading me. 

I started the blog when I was midway through my pregnancy as a way to keep a bit of ‘me-time’ and document how I was feeling. I didn’t really commit to it properly until my son was four months old. I got lost in a baby mist and just didn’t have the time. Since that point I’ve tried to give myself the time to do it and use it as an outlet for frustrations as well as a memory book of our adventures.

Do you blog full time or do you work as well? How do you juggle your time? Any tips?

I blog in my free time (well, the late evening and early morning!) alongside working part-time and raising our son. I’ve recently returned to work two and a half days a week with some of that being at home. The hardest bit has been getting that balance between the two and not feeling like I’m compromising on both. My tip? Make sure you find childcare that you LOVE. We found a great nursery that goes on walks around the village, has a huge outdoor area and plenty of staff-children. I’ve heard nothing but great reviews and can only praise it so far. If you’re happy that your child’s being looked after then it makes it far easier on you all.

What is the best piece of advice you can give to fellow bloggers?

Get involved with other bloggers. I always thought it was a bit airy-fairy when people talked of ‘the community’ but I’ve found a number of friends through blogging. I’ve found Twitter to be the best way to connect to people at the beginning and from that I’ve joined Facebook support groups, general chat groups on Twitter and blogging support on Instagram. It’s like having a cheerleading squad of likeminded people that previously I never would have met. Plus, they’ve inspired me to do more with my blog! 

How do you relax/ spend your ‘free time’? 

I enjoy walking the dog – thankfully we live in a beautiful part of the world for it. I’ve made some great friends through my son and often catch up with them. If it’s just me at home, I love blogging, reading and watching trashy US TV shows… There’s just not enough free time these days!

Since Living Life Our Way is a family lifestyle blog, I’d love to hear more about yours…

What are your favourite family activities? 

We love to cook and I can’t wait until our son is old enough to join in more. We live by the beach so can often be found down there, especially in the winter. It’s a beautiful place to go for a stroll and blow away the cobwebs. Finally, we spend a lot of time with our extended family. 

Both my husband and I have huge families that live within a 15 minute radius of us. Our weekends are normally jam packed with visiting them and catching up with grandparents, parents, cousins… the list goes on! I loved growing up with family members so close and I want that same upbringing for my children.

Where is your favourite outdoor place to visit?

The beach, for all the reasons mentioned above. In the summer, it’s always heaving with people so we prefer to stay home but I’ve spent many a summer’s evening on the beach with friends; eating, drinking and being silly! In the winter, it’s even more special. There really is nothing better for the soul, especially if you’re in a little bit of a baby funk. We strap on the baby carrier or get out the pram and go for a good walk by the sea. It’s definitely refreshing!

Best family day out? 

Stourhead Estate in Wiltshire. The gardens are beautiful, there’s loads of space for children to run around and there’s a pub on the estate. Plus it’s National Trust so it just FEELS educational! I’ve written before about my extreme love for the place, it’s one of my absolute favourites.

Thank you so much for taking part!

A Quick Cuppa With, Devon Mama, blogger, interview, Q and ADevon Mama is run by Hayley; a 30 year old mama, wife and recovering sleep addict. Living with her husband, baby and the world’s bounciest dog in rural Devon, Hayley can be found attempting to cook, Googling everything and embracing the strange new world that is parenting. Add in a house with ‘a lot of potential’ and a return to her ‘real’ job as a Company Director and it’s organized chaos at the best of times.


You can follow her adventures here:

Website:
 www.devonmama.com


Twitter:
 @devon_mama


Instagram: 
devonmamaonline 

A Quick Cuppa With… Stephanie (Avec Amour) 

Today, the wonderfully creative and very lovely Stephanie from Avec Amour is chatting to me about her recent wedding and honeymoon, and how she found herself running a lovely little business selling gorgeous handcrafted home decor items and gifts shortly after…

A Quick Cuppa With, Avec Amour, handmade items, creative, interview, Q and A, guest post, small business, competition, giveaway, picture frame, candle jar

Thanks for taking part Stephanie! Tell me about yourself and your business…

My name is Stephanie and I’m almost 23 years old. I live in a town called Workington which is in Cumbria, North West of England. My hobbies include: animals, shopping, photography, horror movies, travelling (especially to USA) and anything that involves creativity! This year has been a very busy one for me because in the summer something wonderful happened; I married my best friend, Joe.

Joe was my high school sweetheart and we have now been together for over 8 years! Like all relationships it has been a roller coaster but I’m lucky and grateful to have such a loving, caring and family-oriented man for a Husband. We are planning to travel a bit more before we start our family.

After leaving school, I took (a few more than average!) wrong turns in my life. Joe started an apprenticeship in Mechanical Engineering which he absolutely loved, so I thought an apprenticeship would suit me too after hearing so many great things about them. I was an apprentice teaching assistant in a primary school for one year and then they didn’t have enough funding to keep me after that.

For a while I took some time to think about something else I could maybe try. I thought that because I am a very organised person, maybe office work would be suitable for me. I worked in three different office environments in 2014 and 2015 and because I was young with a sensitive personality, I was picked on and bullied in all three of these places with the last one being being the worst. It got so bad that Joe and my parents told me that they wanted me to leave, so I did for my sake of my health.

I have since got my health back on track and I’m much happier! My creativity started to shine through at the beginning of 2016 and at least once a week I got the urge to be creative. The results were handmade wedding invitations and a lot of handmade wedding decor; and subsequently many compliments from our wedding guests!

We spent our honeymoon in Florida. We did the lot, including Disney World and Universal Studios, which includes The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! My Husband and I are both huge fans of Disney and Harry Potter. We thoroughly enjoyed our honeymoon; Joe even more so, because it was his first time in the USA.

So after getting home I got the urge to create some Disney and Harry Potter themed home decor items, and then I thought… I love doing things like this, maybe I could start a little hobby business, because why not? Take a risk and do it, because life is too short. Joe was 100% for it too because all he wants is for me to be happy. Then I gathered up all of my ideas and started my business.

Wow. That’s such a lovely answer, thank you for sharing!

Do you have any specific goals or hopes for your business this coming year?

My only goals are: to create items that brighten up the days of others and to continue to gain joy out of it. If I’m inspired enough to come up with any ideas for a brand new product then that would be a bonus!

Love it, what a great goal!

Tell me one random fact about yourself…

A random fact.. I’m addicted to drinking tea!

What is your favourite outdoor activity?

I will admit that I don’t do lots of outdoor activities at the moment but I enjoy the occasional long forest walk with my Husband.

A lovely long walk in the woods is very relaxing I find! And you live in such a beautiful part of England too; fabulous for outdoor walks I’m sure! So if you could tell someone visiting your part of the country for the first time just one outdoor place they simply must go, where would you suggest?

For someone visiting Cumbria for the beautiful outdoors and scenery, I would recommend Whinlatter because the forests are absolutely beautiful and Go Ape! is also there, which is great fun for families/couples.

Sounds amazing!

Thank you so much for chatting to me Stephanie, and all the best with your fab business. 

Check out Stephanie’s beautiful range of items at www.facebook.com/avecamourx  

She has generously offered a wonderful prize to one lucky winner, consisting of a pretty Lace & Ribbon Candle Jar (with a choice of 10 different ribbon colours) and a gorgeous Themed Picture Frame (either Disney, Harry Potter or Wedding themed). Enter via rafflecopter below. (T&Cs apply)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’m sure she would appreciate some love over on her page, so do pop over to take a peek! 

The (Not Big Or Fat) Quiz Of The Year!

Since it’s the end of the year, here is a little Q&A quiz just for fun, to reflect on this past year and look ahead to 2017…

What was your highlight of 2016?

Getting my first paid opportunity from my blog! (Not because of the money itself but because of the sense of achievement and what it represented!) There were lots of non blog-related highlights too, of course, but since I am currently writing this as a blog post and my head is on blogging goals etc… it’s the first thing that came to my mind at this moment in time lol!

Name one thing you are most likely to remember about 2016 if asked in five years time?

Hmmm. Brexit and Trump sadly I think will come to my mind. And the loss of so many greats. Hopefully I will also remember it as the year of so much personal growth in all aspects of my life too though.

Sum up 2016 in one word.

Change.

Name one pearl of wisdom from 2016 that you will carry with you through 2017.

I have surrounded myself with some hugely inspirational people this year. They have helped me to grow in a number of ways that I most certainly will carry with me. I think this deserves a separate post of its own to be honest!

Do you have any new year resolutions?

I don’t really do new year resolutions as such, I prefer to set myself goals throughout the year instead.

How are you seeing in the new year?

I’ll be at home. We do a fake new year earlier in the evening so Squiggle can get to bed when she is tired, due to her needs. Hopefully she won’t get disturbed once asleep but that’s probably abit optimistic!

What would you most like to do in 2017?

Travel. Anywhere really!

What are your main goals for 2017?

Continue to grow my blog. Help Squiggle to develop her etsy shop selling sustainable clothes with her own designs. Collaborate with others, and support some awesome charities.

I tag Mummy FoxThey Grow So QuickThe Baby Boat DiariesJust Average JenSophie Ella and MeAccidental Hipster MumBig Man in the WoodsEmma Plus ThreeWaffle MamaTo Aufinity And BeyondLisa Cowan and Living With A Jude to answer these questions next. I look forward to reading your posts! 

The Not Big or Fat Quiz of the Year, end of year quiz, 2017, new year resolutions, new year tag, Q and A, blogger, about me

Wishing everyone a very happy and healthy New Year! 

A Quick Cuppa With… Kerry (Discovery Bubbas)

I am so excited to have the lovely Kerry of Discovery bubbas as my very first guest on this new series! Here she is, talking to us about being an ‘outside of the box’ thinker, her love of outdoors, and her future hopes…

A Quick Cuppa With, Discovery bubbas, sensory class, creative play, baby and toddler class, educational activities, family fun, Hertfordshire, interview, Q and A, guest post, small business, competition, giveaway, free sessions

Welcome Kerry, and thanks for being my first guest 🙂 Tell me about yourself!

I am a mummy to one 2.5 year old girl and a wife to a musical and hard working man. I was a nursery nurse prior to having my little one, so I am qualified and experienced in childcare and early years education. I initially took up some nannying when my daughter was 11months old, which was lovely because I could take her with me and she became friends with the family’s own little girl. I stopped nannying because I was at the same time just developing my ideas and starting up my Discovery bubbas group- which is sensory, messy exploration and creative play sessions.

Sounds interesting! What inspired you to set these sessions up?

I decided to set up and run these type of sessions/class because I love it! All of that kind of play was my favourite thing to plan for and watch the children enjoy, and it is very beneficial to their development as it links in with many areas in the EYFS- EARLY YEARS FOUNDATION STAGE. 

Totally relate- we love creative activities and really value the importance of sensory activities/ messy play too! I’d love to hear more about your family and how you spend your time, when you’re not busy with Discovery bubbas of course!

As for my family life, my husband and I like to think of ourselves as ‘outside of the box thinkers’ – in tune with the wider picture of things, and we are quite compassionate people. If we could, we would live in an open space or wood and help animals and people who need it. I am very much into nature and natural ways of living and approaches to health, and I do try to use natural based products for home and on ourselves. I try to get outside every day with my daughter, even if it’s a quick play in the garden or park, but I do love a good walk and climb of the trees in the woods. My daughter has developed quite good balance from walking along fallen tree trunks. 🙂 

We love outdoors and nature here at Living Life Our Way… Where is your favourite outdoor place to visit?

Our favourite outdoor place to visit is Shenley Park, its just a lovely place to visit with the orchard and little wooded bit to walk through. Plus tea rooms for a bite to eat or drink, and a little animal area with rabbits, guinea pigs and chicken to look at, and feed if you want to. There’s also a walled garden which regularly runs events or can just be a nice quiet place to walk round and sit.

It sounds like somewhere we would love too, especially with the animals to feed! What’s your favourite animal and why?

We have 2 cats and I always have had cats since I was little, love them, they can be playful and affectionate but also they have their own personalities. I have also always loved Dolphins- not quite sure why I just think they are magnificent animals, so intelligent and kind and interesting to watch. 

It’s been lovely getting to know you! Anything else you want to tell us about yourself or Discovery bubbas before you go?

I am hoping to develop a range of busy bags, create, make and do craft kits, other ‘on the go’ activity kits, mini treasure/discovery baskets, STEAM challenge/activity kits and maybe more. 

Sounds exciting- we will watch this space! Thanks so much for taking part!

For more information about Discovery bubbas see their website or facebook page.

Kerry is also kindly giving away four free Discovery bubbas sessions to one lucky winner! Simply enter via rafflecopter below. 

T&Cs apply. Please also remember that the classes are for children from 6 months to 5 years old, and you need to be able to get to these Hertfordshire based sessions under your own steam – transport is not provided! Thank you and good luck 🙂