My year in photos

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Happy New Years Eve everyone! Can you actually believe that today is the last day of 2013 and tommorow is the start of a brand new year! For me I have been doing a lot of reflecting and reminiscing over the past few days. 2013 for me was the year my life totally changed when i became a mother. It's the biggest and most overwhelming thing, but amazing and so fulfilling at the same time. I had a difficult pregnancy throughout the whole 9 months and complicated labour and at the time I swore that was it, no more babies but it's true what mums say, once you have a baby and see them grow, you forget all the bad things and you start wanting to go through the whole thing again lol! I must be insane but when I look at my little girl it really was worth it all as in my eyes she turned out perfect and I wouldn't change her for the world!

So with all the reflecting, I thought I'd put together a little Instagram montage thing of 2013! The first box is my pregnancy montage and the second box are some of my fave snaps of this year. There were so many and I'd liked to have put them all up but sadly I was limited to 9 photos per frame :( So, here goes.....!


1. This was our first scan at 12 weeks and was such an incredible feeling seeing our baby on the screen for the first time.
2. Taken around 23 weeks. We were on our way to meet friends for a meal and it was the first time in my pregnancy I was able to eat out.
3. A bump selfie! I think I was around 28 weeks.
4. This was taken at my best friends 30th. I was 30 weeks here.
5. One of my other best friends actually took this shot of me on her dslr. It's such a special photo and I have a print of it above my dresser :)
6. This was during the heat wave! I was 36 weeks here and we went for a little walk along the canal where we live. I look tiny in this photo but to the side my bump is quite big. 
7. My 38/39 week bump shot. We had just finished decorating the corner of our room for the baby.
8. The big 40 week shot. Jasmine didn't want to come out! Weather was still stifling and our flat was over 40 degrees! 
9. The induction! I was 41 weeks + 5 days and had to be induced. This is me trying to put on a brave face, all strapped up just before being admitted to the delivery room for further monitoring. 


1. Baby Jasmine arrived healthy and happy weighing in at 7ibs3oz after 14 hours of labour. 
2. Rewinding back to the winter with our first snowfall. This was taken from my front window.
3. I knocked up this yummy Chicken Caeser Salad whilst on maternity leave and it was soo good.  I'm going to make it again and get back into healthy eating. I use this photo for inspiration!
4 & 5. This was taken on my birthday. It was the first time Mark and I had been out since Jasmine was born. It was great to have a date night again and of course drink! ;)
6. My bestie Rachel and I! She came to visit me the weekend after my birthday and we went out for a pizza and cocktails. It had been well over a year since my last girly night! :)
7. Ahhh my Yankee Candle! Couldn't not post this haha! I bought this one for Christmas. It's Burnt Orange scent and it's gorgeous! 
8 & 9. It's Christmas!! I was so blummin excited for Crimbo this year and had a lot of making up to do as last year I was in bed Ill with preggo sickness and crippling headaches. I certainly went all out this year and enjoyed myself to the max! Here is Jasmine in her reindeer onesie. She looked so adorable in it! I'm going to keep it as a keepsake for her when she is older!

That's it folks! That's my year!
I'd love to see some of your year in photos so please leave any links below for me to read!

I hope you all have a wonderful New Year and have fun with whatever you are doing! Catch you guys in 2014!

Love Holly xx
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New Camera! Nikon Coolpix S6500

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Hello there bloggers! I hope you have all had lovely weekends and are looking forward to the New Year! Although I am slightly depressed at the thought of taking down my beloved Christmas Tree which I have to confess is my pride and joy, part of me is excited at the prospect of 2014 and what it has to offer! My little girl is growing so fast and by the end of 2014 she will no longer be a baby, but a toddler .. sigh ... they grow up so quick don't they! ...

Anyway, that aside! I have been having a nosy at all your Christmas Posts and what you all received this year from Santa and I thought i'd do my own little post featuring my best pressie which my man got me this year and that was the Nikon Coolpix S6500. Now, i'm certainly no photographer, never did any courses or anything like that and so it seemed a bit silly to be going out and getting a DSLR camera just for the sake of blogging ( as curious as i am to own one). For me blogging is my hobby i like to do once Jasmine is in bed and I have some time to myself and so I don't need an expensive camera. This is what I kept telling myself anyway and Mark must have got so fedup of me going on and on about cameras and blogging ect that he went out and bought me my very own Compact!


It was a complete surprise, I had no idea he was getting me a camera so when I opened the present on Christmas Morning, you could say I was one very happy bunny :) I am still getting to grips with it and playing around with the settings but for me the most important thing was the Macro setting as with blogging, my main photos are all close ups and I always envy other bloggers who have amazing sharp up close shots of products where the background is out of focus. I think its called using a wide Aperture... haha i'm so not technical with cameras, can you tell?! As this camera is not a DSLR it is very limited on what it can do, but I did some experimenting the other day and so far I'm really pleased with it and it does what I need it to.


The one thing I love is it's built in WIFI. This is a great little feature as it means you can upload your camera photos to another device such as your phone or tablet. No need for connecting to a laptop if you are in a hurry and as you can edit your photos on the camera using their many filters, it makes it quick an easy if you are blogging on the go and don't have your laptop with you! You can also take photos remotely using your device, which is quite scary and very big brother as you can set up your camera in another room and use your device to hone in on the viewfinder and then take a photo! 


Another thing I am impressed with, is its ability to take great photos in low lighting. Now we all know that lighting is always an issue especially at this time of year but with this little gem, I can take great quality photos in low light without having to use my studio lighting. Happy days! The photos I have posted here were all used without flash too.


I can't wait to get using the camera properly for my blogging and test it to the max! One of my NYR is to get out and about a  bit more and take blogging photos outside, so now I have a good excuse.


What cameras do you use for blogging?

Love Holly xx


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It's Christmas Night! Egg Nog Anyone??

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Hey everyone!

I hope you have all had fabulous Christmas's and are now so stuffed that you are stuck to the sofa. I definitely am! I was meant to get this post out yesterday so it is a little late but hey, it's never too late to whip up a quick Egg Nog :) There's still Boxing Day after all! 




I was an egg nog virgin until last night when I attempted to have a go at making it myself and I must say it turned out better than I imagined. I can wholeheartedly say I am now an Egg Nog fan, it's delicious! I made mine with dark rum and a bourbon (Jack Daniels) and cooled it down in the fridge. It's also nice to have as a warm drink too but I think I prefer it cold :)

Do any of you guys like Egg Nog? What do you usually add to it to give it that extra kick? 

Love Holly xx
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Sienna X Spray Tan Training Day

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Hello folks!

Yesterday I completed my days intensive training for my level 1 Sienna X Spray Tanning. It was held at Saks Academy in London and was actually free as it came included with the Tanning Kit which consisted of the Pop Up Tent, True Spray machine, the gun, the wheelie case and all the sundries and marketing bumpf.

At the end of the course you then obtained an accredited certificate in Sienna X Sunless Tanning which means you are then able to perform it on the public insured. 

The day started off with a bit of theory and an overview of the products that Sienna X retails and the trainer showed us how to maintain the spray gun and machine so as to ensure good performance. The last thing you want is for your spray gun to stop working mid tan! She also made us have a few goes at collapsing the big pop up tent. That was a giggle I can tell you! After lunch we went onto do the fun part - spraying!! We began practicing by using just water before going onto spraying each other with tan. I was expecting it to be quite complex with lots of movements but actually it was really easy and so much fun! 

One of the main reasons I chose to train with Sienna X is because their products are paraben, alcohol and cruelty free and being a huge advocate of au naturel products, this really appealed to me! They are now the leading brand in professional sunless tanning with a high media profile and very much demanded by it's clients. Ontop of all this, they have won Best Tanning Supplier at the Guild Awards of Excellence 5 years in a row! I would have been mad to train with any other brand!

I must admit I was slightly nervous about being tanned. I have never had a spray tan as I'm lucky in that I have olive skin already and the idea of spray tans always conjure up images of people with tangoed skin. But I had no need to worry as we used the solution with the lowest percentage of DHA (dha is the sugar which reacts with the amino acids in our skin along with oxygen, turning our skin brown) The higher the DHA the darker you will go BUT only if you use the correct amount of DHA for your skin type. Sienna do an 8%, 10%, 12% and 16%. They also do a 6% and an 8.5 and a 10.5 which are for dryer or more mature skins as they are more moisturising. For training purposes we used the 8% which is recommended for fair skin that burns easily. Because I am olive and burn minimally,  I would be able to use the 10 or even 12%. If a fair person who doesn't tan easily used a high dha, that's when the tango effect would occur because their skin doesn't naturally tan in the sun and so the reaction would be an orange looking tan.

With all spray tans you are left with the guide colour on until you wash it off. This is not the colour you will be once you have showered as the dha will turn your skin the colour it would naturally go in the sun. Therefore if 10 people all used an 8% solution everyone would come off a different shade as their skins are all different. Sienna X has to be left on for at least 8-10 hours for it to work. 

Initially I worried about smelling of biscuits Haha! But in all honesty I could hardly notice the smell and the solution itself is coconut. It is so yummy :) 

Overall I am really happy with the results. On me the tan was a shade darker than my natural tone and so has left me looking sunkissed and glowy. I'm definitely excited to try out their retail range and we were lucky enough to receive some sachets to try. I am in love with their gold glitter spray and have ordered a few for my kit along with Tonight's the Night which is a 2-4 hour spray tan for people who need it for the same night.

I would definitely recommend this training for anyone who is looking to start a career in tanning or even just to add to their existing skills. For me I am only trained in Beautytherapy Level 2 so I'm always on the look out for skills to train in to boost my credentials and build my business and client base! Abs with Sienna-X, you have the added support of their lovely customer service staff who are always on hand to help with your marketing or even if you have a problem with your equipment. Don't forget you also qualify for trade prices too once you receive your certificate!

For more info visit www.sienna-x.co.uk

Do you have regular spray tanning done?? Who is your favourite?






Love Holly xx


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My Birthday & Reflecting My Life After 30

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So just a quickie post while I'm on the train home to Stratford! (Don't u just love being able to blog on the move!) 

So yesterday was my birthday. I was 31...  Groan.... The years are just flying by at the moment! But even though I'm 31, life is so much more fulfilling and fun now! I am a mew mum, I have a fab boyfriend who is an amazing father to my daughter who one day will be my hubby. Life in your thirties is great and don't let anyone tell u otherwise! ;) 

In my twenties, I made some mistakes. I married my first boyfriend who I met at 17 at the age of 21 ( we were deeply religious you see) and then split at 25 and divorced finally at 29. Without saying too much, alcohol dependency  was involved and depression amongst other things on my husbands part and for a naive and inexperienced 21/22 year old that's a lot to deal with no matter how much you try to hold things together.  At 25 i decided I had to call time and I started my life again from scratch.  Moved back to my dads and began to mend. The summer after, I moved to London on my tod from my small country town in Sussex and haven't looked back! Met Mark and the rest as they say is History and I've never been happier.

I believe your twenties are there for making mistakes and learning who you are as a person. I have to say 25 was a big milestone. I found my calling for beauty and makeup artistry and really found myself. My confidence grew and I think that was when I found the courage to admit I was living a lie and not being true to myself. Walking away from a marriage u really believed was the right thing, putting having a family on hold and leaving the home I had built up over 6 years, was the hardest decision I have ever made but it's also made me a stronger person and a wiser person. I am now with the perfect man and can't wait to remarry as this time it will be on our terms and not because I am being told is the right thing to do by a religious organization. It will be because that's what we truly want in our hearts.

I had to go through all that in my twenties and kiss some frogs after my marriage in order to be happy now. I think what I'm trying to say is when you see somebody happy it's easy to feel jealous or envious as they seem like they have everything. But stop and think that that person may have had to go through some really hard and unhappy times to get to their happy place. They may have been unhappy for years and may deserve some happiness finally. 

A lot of you may be on your twenties and still finding your true self or may be struggling in a relationship and it might feel things will never get better. I just want to say, things do get better. Not straightaway maybe but they will. And it will be so worth the wait :)

I love being in my thirties now. If you had said to me at 26, that I'd be living in London with a baby of my own that I thought I'd never have and be with a man that treats me so well, I'd never have believed you! I'd have scoffed and gone yeah right, maybe in a fairytale!

But it happened and it will happen for you too if you are in a place where you would rather not be.

Anyways! I'm not sure where this post came from, i just felt I wanted to write it and open up the girl behind the smiles and makeup. 

The train is pulling into Stratford now so I had better bring my post to a close but thanku for reading until the end and I hope it has given some of you hope for the future :) I will leave u with some photos now to lighten the post! 





With love
Holly x



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Back on You Tube and December Favourites!

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Hi guys

So I recently resurrected my You Tube after deliberating for ages whether to do it or not. In the end I decided to bite the bullet and go for it! 

My latest video is a December Favourites video! I'd love it sooooo much if you have time to comment and subscribe! It's my third go at doing videos so hopefully this time I can stick it out :) xxx


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Everybody Loves a Lush Haul

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Hey guys

So who doesnt love a Lush haul? I know I do and especially at Christmas when they bring out all their lovely Christmassy Scented Bath Ballistics, Shower Gels and Soap... Yummy...

As you can see, I popped in there the other day to pick up a gift set for my mum in law and couldn't resist picking up myself a few bits! I always make it a tradition to buy the Snow Cake Soap and their Limited Edition Shower Gel and thought while I was there I may as well grab a few ballistics as well! Oh and I sneaked in a hair conditioner too .. Oopsey! 

First thing I picked up was of course the Snow Cake Soap. I just love this and always look forward to it coming out. It smells of Marzipan and leaves a gorgeous scent in the bathroom after washing your hands. I also find it's quite moisturising as well and I've been known to use it in the shower :)

Next thing I chose was the Ponche Shower Gel. Now, I wasn't too sure if I liked it or not at first. I stood there for ages sniffing it, the sales girls must have thought I was trying to get high or something lol! It is a mix of orange and tequila so quite a spicy scent and I think it's a love it or hate it kind of smell. I used it last night and I have to say it's actually very nice! Reminds me of orange wine gums. Mark nicked some and he loves it, which means I may have to buy a bigger size. I usually stay safe and buy Snow Fairy but I wanted to try something different this time and I'm so glad I did!

I then popped three ballistics into my basket - Twilight which is one of my all time faves as it smells gorge and starts off pink then turns into blue and you end up bathing in blue water. And Cinders and Bombardino. I haven't tried the Bombardino yet but Cinders I have and is another one I buy every year. Both smell very festive and I'm looking forward to relaxing in the bath with these after Jasmine has gone to bed. 

Lastly, I grabbed an American Cream Hair Conditioner. I adore this! It smells as though you want to eat it, it's very sweet  and what I love most, is the scent stays in your hair for ages. The scent is honey, strawberry and orange. My pillow always ends up smelling of it as well! Since I've had my hair cut into a pixie cut, I have been able to experiment more with hair products as I only have to use a small amount and I don't need to buy products specifically for damaged and long hair anymore. Because this product is lanolin based, I always find that It leaves my hair oh so soft which is want you need from a conditioner!  It doesn't weigh your hair down either so it can be used on fine hair too!
   
American Cream Conditioner - £4.50 for 100g
Ponche Shower Gel - £4.30
Cinders Bath Ballistic - £2.45
Bombardino Ballistic - £2.50
Twilight Ballistic - £3.25
Snow Cake Soap - £3.25 for 100g

What are your favourite Lush goodies?

Love Holly xx
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HIPP Organic Advent Calender!

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Hey everyone! Just a quick post to tell all the mummy bloggers out there about the HIPP Organic Online Advent Calender! What with all those Beauty Advent Calender posts that are flying about the blogosphere at the moment, I felt I should share the chance for other parents to take part in an online advent Calender especially for mums and dads of babies who are weaning or are on solids! 

Each day in December different HiPP Organic goodies will be up for grabs including HiPP Organic pouches, fruit pots, money-off vouchers and hampers of baby food.

There is also a very special prize to give away on the December 24th!

All you have to do is just visit hipp.co.uk every day in December and take part in the daily Advent Calendar competition!

It's worth a try even if it's just for fun! :)


Good Luck!

Holly xx


*image taken from HIPP.co.uk 


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Christmas Craft - DIY Ball Ball Wreath

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Hey everyone!

Now that we are well on our way to Christmas, and the tree and decorations are up, I have been looking at ways to make my home even more festive looking by making my own Crimbo Decorations! This year I am going all out as last year I suffered really bad pregnancy sickness and migraines and I just had no energy to get excited, let alone getting my arts and craft hat on! I made a vowel to myself that I'd make up for it this year and true to my word I have been! My other half says I'm being greedy by scoffing all the Matchmakers and After Eights in one go, but I think I am allowed considering I need to make up for not eating last Christmas hehe!

Right, enough waffle, let's get onto the task in hand! Last week I trundled up to Wilkos with Jasmine and purchased 4 boxes of ballballs and some glue. This was because I had just seen a tutorial on You Tube for a ballball wreath and it looked so good! It was dead easy to make so I thought I'd share it with you all!

Step 1 -Purchase around 70 ball balls. I just got a few value packs from Wilkinsons but Argos do them as well. Buy some glue. I got No More Nails as it was only £2.50.

Step 2 - Grab a wire coat hanger and untwist the top until you have two ends. If you can grab a coat hanger that isn't coated as this will be easier to bend into shape.

Step 3 - Bend the wire into a circle. It doesn't have to be perfect as the ballballs will conceal any bends in the wire.

Step 4 - (Optional) Glue around the silver part that is attached to the ballball. I have found that a couple of my balls have fallen of the wreath as I got bored of gluing all the balls. Oops my bad!

Step 4 - Grab a ball ball and slide it down one end if the wire. Keep going until you reach the top and then fill up the other side. I used a mix of large and small balls to make the wreath look a little more interesting. If you want to use small balls then you will need to buy more packs than if you were just using the large ones.
Make sure you have put as many balls as possible down the wire so as to make the wreath look full.

Step 5 - Once you have reached the top on both sides, twist the coat hanger hook onto the other end of the wire. Make sure it's secure.

Step 6 - Grab some tinsel and push into any gaps that are visible. I wound some round the hook but you can also stick a big bow or ribbon round it, depending on how creative you are!

Tadah! All done! See, nice n simple! And you end up with something that looks quite professional :)



Do any of you guys make your own Christmas Decorations? 

Love Holly
Xxx
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Black Friday Sale - Coastal Scents Makeup Haul

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Hey guys!

So who took advantage of the Black Friday online sales here in the Uk? I definitely did! Who can resist a good bargain eh!?

So, for a while now I have been meaning to purchase a Kabuki Brush after losing my beloved Mac Brush which to this day, I cannot find. I had a great relationship with that brush after having it for 5 years and was sorry to see it go :( 

Anyway, USA based company Coastal Scents sent me an email offering 50% off their whole stock for Black Friday Weekend and naturally I was curious to see what they had in  the way of Kabuki Brushes. I have only ever ordered from this company once and that was their 88 colour palette which I ordered back in 2008. Their eyeshadows are amazing quality for the price you pay and because everything was 50% off, I thought it would be a great opportunity to try out some of their other items. 

And so, I clicked on the brush section and there I saw the cutest looking Kabuki Brush in Pink. I opted for the synthetic brush as I already own a natural Kabuki brush and I personally prefer the synthetic because of how soft it feels on my skin. I also purchased their 12 piece brush set as I have had my eye on this for a while. Its perfect for makeup artists on the go as it has every brush you need. You can view the brush set HERE. It comes with a mix of sythetic and natural brushes and again, are great quality.

Of course I couldn't check out without browsing through the Coastal Scents Eye Shadow Palettes. They do so many now and It was so hard to pick just one, but in the end I opted for the Winterberry Palette as the colours were lovely and satiny and are the perfect shades for Christmas and New Year! This palette is also great if you want to customize it because you can remove the eyeshadow pans and refill. It's very similar to the Mac Palettes in fact and the pans are the same size as the Mac Refillables. I also chose a couple of pots of glitter and a pot of white mineral pigment to go with the shadows (I'm a sucker for anything glitter) and finally a pink lipgloss! 

I did a quick makeup look last night with the products and went off out to do some Christmas Shopping. The eyeshadow lasted all evening with not a single crease. These shadows really are amazing quality! I loved the Kabuki Brush, so so soft and densely packed to ensure a nice even coverage of powder. And the gloss is a lovely pink but quite sheer on my lips. I think on a fair skin tone, this gloss would come off more pinky. It's non sticky too which is great and again lasted well.

Altogether I spent $27.36 (£16.74) on the products and an International Postage cost of $24.37 (£14.91).

Usually this little lot would have cost just over £30.00 which to be honest for the quality you recieve, is still a bargain!

If you haven't yet had a chance to try out Coastal Scents Makeup, then take a look at their website. All their products are formulated (where possible) without the use of petrochemicals. And what's more they still have their sale on so a lot of their products are still half price!     Coastal Scents Sale


Lots of Love
Holly xxx

Pink Kabuki - $4.95


Winterberry Palette - $12.95



Glitter Pots 5grams - $4.95
Mineral Pigment Eyeshadow - $4.95
Swatches - Bottom colour corresponds to top left colour of palette and works across left to right.
Left Arm - Without Flash Right Arm - With Flash

Smacks Lip Gloss in Monroe a Go Go - $3.95
After 4 hours of wear, eyeshadows still look as if just applied.
Also wearing Estee Lauder Double Wear Light, Soap & Glory Concealer, Mac Mineralize SkinFinish & Bobbi Brown Blush.


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After 1 whole year, i'm back! AND I had a baby!!

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Well hello there strangers!

What can I say except to say yes i'm back and i'm back blogging after a whole year ( I can't believe it's been that long) I'm soo sorry I have been away so long and I expect many of you have probably forgotten me by now lol, I mean a year is a looong time not to write anything right?! But I am back for good and I have a new partner in crime to help me with my posts! Yes, in the year that i have been away from the blogging scene I was baking a beautiful scrumptious mini me and she finally arrived 19th August of this year! Her name is Jasmine  and she is now 3 and a half months old and the time has finally arrived for her to give Mummy back some 'me' time so she can get cracking on her blog posts, yay!!!

Because life is so different now, this means the content of my blog will also include a lot of lifestyle posts, day to day chit chat and last but not least, baby related posts. But dont worry, im not about to turn into a mummy blogger just yet! I still love my cosmetics and hauls and although money is tight now I am just on maternity pay, doesn't mean I will stop hauls. There are some fantastic bargains to be found and I am fortunate enough to have a Primark nearby for baby things and a Wilkinsons for home decor. Happy Days!!

I also hope to begin doing You Tube videos again, but I just need to sort out my lighting and get a tripod for my camera. It's a bit daunting doing videos and its been so long since I did them but I figured I'd try it again, why not eh! Nothing to lose and if it doesn't work out, well at least I had fun trying :)

So with all that in mind, I shall leave you now with some photos from the last 12 months taken throughout my pregnancy and a photo of my little Jasmine :)

Looking forward to reading through all your wonderful blogs again and get chatting with you all!

Lots of Love

Holly x


12 Week Scan


40 Weeks Pregnant


Being Induced at 41 Weeks


Jasmine at 1 month old



Jasmine at around 2 months


Look at that smile!


Family Pic taken last week!








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