OMG, 22. 

Abigail (3.5 years old) has now been to 22 European countries in the span of 2 years since moving to London. She’ll have some stories to tell but definitely iPhone pictures to share. Isn’t it crazy how tech savvy kids are?

This trip to Cyprus was a little painful since she was sick with a cough and probably a sore throat, but she toughed it out for the most part and only made it apparent she was just a toddler 30% of the day and wanted tons of cuddles from us.

We stayed at The Royal Apollonia for this holiday and we would definitely recommend it. It’s been renovated nicely and the hotel room floors are tile which makes it feel so much cleaner (plus, they provide hotel slippers!). We had a spectacular balcony view of the pool and Mediterranean Sea.

📷: Outside our balcony 💟 Already drooling at 13 weeks but this Frecklebaby bib makes my list as absorbent, soft, bamboo, and the cutest prints on both sides. But wait, imagine nothing dropping on the floor with the unique snap on leash for a teething toy or paci.

P.S. Use CODE: GIVE for $4 off any of my sets of books. Free shipping. Visit www.ajangsley.com 

 

Breakfast is included and there is a pretty yummy range of food to choose from so get there before 10:30am. Oh and parking is free!

📷: 💟 cutest organic panda bear outfits from Turtle Dove London. Super soft material, monochrome patterns, modern, and a new shop. Love!

📷: one down, one more to go.  

The pool. We went when the pools were not heated (indoor is) so it was pretty cold water. I think the ocean was warmer! They have their own beach which is great because there is also a jetty so the waves are not so big. Perfect for swimming in the sea.

📷: the kiddie pool (this is sectioned off and the adult pool with pool bar is next to it).

What was really sweet as I think we were also one of the few families with kids on the property was when the staff came at night for turn down service (they usually just give us chocolate) and gave us a jar of honey for Abigail’s cough. So thoughtful – thank you Royal Apollonia 

Visiting the capital, Narcosia, was pretty neat. We got to see more locals, have a typical Greek lunch, and do some shopping (no, we didn’t bring home a bird!).

 


📷: We had to get another Bebeaulait muslin infinity nursing scarf as she is constantly seeing Addison in it and wants to be just like mommy.

Travel tip: bring a scarf (muslin would be ideal since it folds up so compact in your bag) as it comes in handy in so many ways for you and your little.

📷: See you later Mediterranean Sea. 💟: Thrilled to wear my Bellaha flip flops to see the world. This shop gives back to support infant and maternal health around the world. Win, win ladies – pretty and comfy sandals that give back!

Cheers for now and thanks for reading. xx

Home Stretch. 

OMG, 38 weeks pregnant and I should probably have my hospital bag packed and ready to go (along with bottles and baby products that go in the mouth sterilized and clothes/bibdanas/muslin blankies washed). Good thing my mum came in this past Saturday to help with my super chatty little bugaboo, Abigail. ♥️

Back to the hospital bag, I was finally able to talk to a doctor and nurse about the whole labor/delivery/after process (quite the waiting game at the hospital is what it looks like) and now I’m all set on what I need to bring/provide for baby girl NHS style.

  • Nappies
  • Hat
  • Formula
  • Clothes

Guess that’s everything (I won’t be needing a spare empty bag like the US). 😉

To note: private rooms can run to £800/night but being in the hospital ward (4 to a room) is free. Earphones/plugs – hello, I will need you.

No worries on bunking with other Brits as I’ll still make our stay comfy with some key items below.

  • Lalabu soothe shirt – I can’t wait to baby wear my newborn. Also, they’re an amazing shop, they give 2% of all sales back to moms in Africa, supporting mom entrepreneurs through micro-finance. I can’t wait to use my shirt with my little as the material is so soft. They also just came out with new colors. 😍
  • Belly bandit bamboo wrap – I recommend the bamboo material as its much softer and we’re so sensitive in that area with just giving birth. I also got the belly shield to apply oils and lotions since sadly I did not get the lucky genes of stretchy perfect skin to keep my wrap clean.
  • Small Stuff bibdana to keep baby clean and styling 
  • Thebobbinbelle Muslin swaddle and Muslin blankie – I can’t rave enough how this new small shop has the cutest designs.  This mama also does custom ones so definitely ask! The blankie is approximately 45″ x 45″ so something even my now 3 year old still uses.
  • Nuby breast pump – Oh so portable and looks easy to use. I know the hospital will provide a pump should I need it, but figured I will bring to get used to this new device.
    • Digital Breast Pump has won the 2016 Prima Baby Magazine SIlver Award for the best electric breast pump.

  • Anna Crochet Knit panda bear beanie – found this sweet mama on Instagram and she takes custom orders as I’ve been getting so many panda bear prints (monochrome love). If you’re interested, her email is anna.crochet.knit@gmail.com
  • TWELVE little changing pad – this one came with my diaper backpack and has 12 different animals on it to represent one year of the 12-year cycle based on the Chinese zodiac. The year the person is born determines their animal sign. Curious which animal you are? Check here.
  • Wubbanub hippo – Abigail loved hers so we figured we would get one for baby.  With the stuffed animal attached to the pacifier, it helps to not fall far away from baby
  • Motherlove nipple cream – I swear by this from Abigail. All organic ingredients. LOVE
  • Footed onsies – I even got zippered ones just to make my life a lot easier. 

Of course, even with the new baby girl coming, we want to make sure Abigail isn’t forgotten and always my #1 bugaboo. We took her out and about with a new dress from Petit Peony and she was ecstatic (she insists on wearing a dress daily – rain or shine). I hope this dress-loving toddler lasts forever. 👗

We are swooning over Petite Peony for a couple reasons that will get you to fall in love with this mama of three.

  • She donates to children from Room To Grow (I also donate 25% of my net proceeds from my F is For Fox book to this amazing non-profit! #lovebooksbyAJ)
  • Petit Peony‘s designs are a modern take on classic designs
  • This mama’s shop is in over 85 boutiques in US and was also just featured in British Vogue August issue. Awesome!
  • They only use 100% premium and organic cotton.

📷: Background of the Shard – the tallest building in London.

📷: I thought this would be my favorite #bfgdreamjars piece to bid on but looks a lot different live. More on the dream jar trail (see previous post).

📷: Walking the line on Tower Bridge

📷:: A little break at this cool and yummy establishment. 1st floor – tavern, 2nd floor – pizzeria, 3rd floor – grill.  We ate at the pizzeria and enjoyed a nice outdoor view with tasty food!

📷: Seriously, moms helping moms on getting a reversible wrap dress – two dresses in one. Stains be gone in a flash.

📷: Cheers for now and thanks for reading. xx

Mommy & Daughter France Trip. 

It was a little crazy to go on a trip without the hubs at 32 weeks pregnant but I did have some of my besties there so I guess technically it wasn’t just the bugaboo and me.

We took the Eurostar from London to Paris which is a smooth and quick 2.5 hour ride. The journey is pretty seamless so I would just advise getting to the station at least 1.5 hours in advance if you’re traveling with little(s). Oh, and if you’re preggos – you just may get special treatment. 😎

This trip was mainly just to visit the main sights since it’s pretty amazing now how Abigail actually remembers things at age 3 versus age 2. We did Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, walked along the Champs Elysees to shop, Versailles & Giverny (Monet’s house). Relatively pretty relaxing as we used both the metro and uber along with walking of course.

Thoughts traveling with a 3 year old (from my experience):

  • US people – get used to no toilet seat covers for your little (or yourself)
  • bring an extra change of clothes if you’re going to be out for the day
  • anti-bacterial wipes for everything they’re touching
  • ice cream is everywhere – this is perfect for bribing along with Haribo gummies. 😜

 

📷: Rocking it “Thriller” style even after having to go potty right before in let’s say not a toilet. 😁 What do you parents do when they say they have to go and there is not a toilette in sight? #pleaseshare

Product Review LOVE: EleStory

OMG, I can’t stop raving about the quality and details of EleStory dresses. They really bring out the magic in dresses and where you’re at. I received several compliments during the day about her dress and how she was twirling about in it. Love the linen material, length (this is toddler 2/3), and of course the flutter sleeves.

Product Review LOVE: TWELVElittle

We have the Companion backpack in Plus (shown above) and it’s the perfect fit. It doesn’t feel or look like a diaper bag but has the compartments for easy access to baby needs.

  • In my backpack, I was able to easily put in snacks, ipad w/kid cover, 2 changes of outfits, light jacket, sunscreen, lotion, medicine, coloring book/pad with markers, and of course some of my things with room to spare to go shopping.
  • Another perk is the hidden zipper section on the bottom of the bag to put dirty nappies or something you want separated from the rest of things.  Since right now it is just for my toddler, it has straws, napkins, and paper (things won’t bend in here).
  • Maybe it’s the OCD in me, but one detail I noticed is the 4 metal balls at the bottom of the backpack so the waterproof material doesn’t touch the ground.  How nifty is that?
  • Of course, not every bag is perfect so I would note if they’re making new bags, I would love to have one bigger compartment to put papers/ipad in and also it would be great to have the jacket hang on the side of the bag instead of inside (probably wouldn’t look as fashionable but it sure will save space inside).

📷: No Paris trip is complete without macaroons from Laduree.  We also had the pistachio milk shake and I was sure I was in heaven. Money well spent as it was also my last sweet I am to eat for this pregnancy now since I got the phone call from the hospital that my blood glucose level is too high. Buggers. 😓

Product LOVE: Bows!

I’m thrilled that she wants to wear bows and accessories in her hair so have found some amazing shops I support and love as they have the cutest prints and are well made. She doesn’t wear headbands so I can’t vouch for that, but future baby girl will be able to.

Mia_Handmade – her amazing butterfly designs have made me fallen in love with this shop and the mama.  She also has pom poms and my personal favorite genuine leather bows. LOVE.

Maddie and me London – who doesn’t love liberty of london fabric?  This American mom makes them and they are adorable.

James and Faye – I love the way her bows are made. They look so cute in Abigail’s hair. Well made!

📷: Versailles Palace was gorgeous! It was a cloudy day, but great for the girls pretending they were ballerinas in their dresses from Taylor Joelle Designs. What I would recommend is getting a golf cart (32 euros a hour).

Product LOVE: Bella | Ha shoes

These sandals are amazing and very comfortable (no joke!). What is probably the best part about this shop is they give back. With every pair of Bella | Ha shoes, it will help send solar suitcases to an area of the world in need. What is a solar suitcase?  It’s a portable, suitcase-like device that equips off-the-grid medical clinics with solar power so they can have light. Get your pair today! They can easily dress up an outfit.

📷: Giverny – what a cute countryside and home to Claude Monet. We decided to drive from Paris to Versaille to Giverny so we weren’t confined to the hours of a day tour. It was a nice drive.  Sadly, I wasn’t able to visit inside Monet’s house since Abigail had too much fun at Versailles and was still snoozing in the car when we arrived and by the time she woke up, Monet’s house had closed (6pm).

Product LOVE: Tiny Tinks

How cute is this doll?  We couldn’t be more happier with her.  Ours also came with a tutu but we left it at home as this traveling dolly didn’t want to get her clothes dirty.  There are different accessories you can add on and you can pick your colors to make your perfect dolly for your little. This will be a dolly she won’t let out of her sight as she also sleeps with her!

…and that wraps up our mommy/daughter trip before baby girl comes in August.

Cheers for now!

First Day of Summer. 

Well hello, first day of summer in London & worst morning ever.

I’m not going to make my blogs a rant or vent session, but this one takes the cake as capturing it all with a huge bit of “sweet” in it.

It’s June and yet another pouring rain morning. I had thought of uber – my favorite means of transportation, but thought “hey, it’s not too bad of a downpour and I save £5 which can be shopping money.”

So, we both trek off with our umbrellas and holding hands. I’m also holding her big art folder which serves as a great belly shield from the sideways rain. Good times. 😡

While crossing the street, Abigail trips and takes me down with her. Both of us are sprawled on the gravel! I immediately pull her up and ask if she’s ok. She’s fighting back tears and says she’s wet but ok. She asks me if I’m ok and then proceeds to ask if baby is ok. 😮♥️ Wow, did my 3 year old just ask about her future little sister? In the midst of the dreadful rain while she’s all wet with probably sore or bloodied knees, she thought of her little sister. I couldn’t have had a more proud mama moment and know she’s ready to be a big sister.

Ok, well back to being a 3 year old – she couldn’t hold her pee in for the rest of the walk (.6 mile walk to nursery) and had an accident. Nothing like rain water and peepee to change her out of before 9am.

I, on the other hand, have an swollen left ankle, cut up knees and 31 weeks pregnant. But, I think of the silver lining behind all this – this little bugaboo is ready to be a big sister. ♥️


📷: Current favorite reads & toy (included in GH special edition set – size to scale!). #lovebooksbyAJ side note – thank you for all the orders. Keep it coming to donate more to building a school for Bangladesh children. www.ajangsley.com #giveback 

She’s ready to give hugs. 📷: With her favorite big doggy, Buzz.

She’s ready to push her around. 📷: With her gal pal in NorCal.

She’s ready to play. 📷: With her nursery mate at the playground.

She’s ready to walk to nursery on her own. Kidding!

Product LOVE
📷: Serious love for this shop – peytons lane. This mama from Texas handmade this and it’s adorable. The details down to the stitching and patterns chose are perfect.  Check her out!

Cheers for now and hope your Monday is better than mine!

On Cloud 9. 

What can I say about being on cloud 9? I’m 30 weeks pregnant and enjoying the pregnancy cravings a little too much. Fingers crossed on gestational diabetes and how the test turns out since I’m above average and now I have to take the 4 hour test (I had to do this for Abigail as well).

I would say the second time around I’m much more relaxed about everything. The must haves I swear by to have for baby are the following (based off my experience with Abigail):

  • Rock n’ play – it’s not necessary to get the auto rock n’ play (but nice to have) as it’s pretty easy to learn to sit on the couch and rock it with your feet (good exercise for getting rid of cankles!).  This is perfect during the day to keep them angled and actually helped my little nap much better.
  • Zippered footed onsies – I got the cotton ones from Old Navy and like them! Wait for a sale (now, tomorrow, everyday!).
  • Muslim swaddle blankets – the brand I used before was Aden & Anais, but I’m really digging Modern Burlap with their neat monochrome designs.
  • Burpy bibs by Aden & Anais – lived by them and it was the perfect size for putting on the shoulder to burp baby as well! This also soaked up drool perfectly and has a snap to hold the bib together.
  • Aquaphor – this has been my go-to for literally everything that needs a little “fixing” or moisturizing.  I know everyone’s skin is different so hopefully trying this one out first will do the trick.
  • Wubbanub pacifier – not only do they have the cutest animals connected to their pacifiers, but it helps keep the pacifier in their mouth when they are on their back. My little used it to both soothe and as a security “toy.”
  • Just born – terry wash cloths – any small wash cloths will do but these were the perfect size and to this day, my 3 year old uses them to wash her face and another for her body.

📷: naptime in her rock n’play with her wubbanub giraffe pacifier at 6 months.

New products to give a whirl from hearing about and/or I love to support up and coming businesses.

  • MiaMily Hipster Carrier  – the new generation has storage space to fit all the necessities (e.g. keys, bottle, diaper, phone) for that quick run out!
  • Dockatot (USA)/Sleepyhead (International) – raving reviews on helping your new bundle sleep well and give you some sleep as well! My first had some problems sleeping so hopefully this product will help.
  • Cosatto pushchair – OMG, can their patterns be any more amazing, bright, and colorful? They are also functional and light – what more can you ask for?
  • Nuby breast pump – I’ve been looking for something smaller than what I previously had and plus with a UK adapter and found this.  Also, it’s nice to note that the Nuby Digital Breast Pump has won the 2016 Prima Baby Magazine SIlver Award for the best electric breast pump.
  • Lil Dandlelion Bib-danas –  so soft and organic. They feel great and are super stylish (my 3 year old wants to wear as an accessory)
  • Lalabubaby soothe shirt – triples being amazing by being a nursing bra, soothe pouch (use instead of a carrier), and a stylish top.  Looking forward to wearing on the even quicker errands I have to run with baby #2.
  • TwelveLittle Diaper Backpack – I couldn’t resist and tested it out already and in love.  Not only is the Companion backpack padded, but the details with it are fabulous (e.g. 4 metal balls on the bottom of the backpack to avoid having the material touch the floor!) It also has the ideal amount of pockets and most importantly things all fit.
  • Dribble Dry – just got mine and it’s so soft! I’m sure my new bundle will love taking a breather from a bibdana and burpy bib!

Product LOVE: North Star Knits 

  • I couldn’t stop myself and got two handmade crochet rugs from this small shop and they are perfect.  Perfect thickness and really shows the love put into these rugs. My little loves to take naps on them as well.  They are also machine washable but air dry so the shape holds.
  • Anna has many other designs and products she does (e.g. beanies, socks) so definitely check out her etsy shop by going to her website above. I promise you won’t regret it as she is a sweet mama to work with.

📷 : northstarknits rug

Any products you have that are must haves, please do share with me! I would love to know.

Cheers for now!

G is for Great Greece. 

Part 2: Delphi & Meteora

Simply amazing. Pictures don’t do these two cities justice especially Meteora and the majestic monasteries sitting atop these cliffs dating back to the 1300s.

Delphi

📷: On the drive to Delphi

📷: Cute little town of Delphi

Travel Recommended Product:

  • Bobble is our go to bottle for Abigail as it has a filter and doesn’t leak. Although, after looking at it’s website, I don’t see the small bottle that Abigail uses listed anymore (18.5 oz is what they have which may be a little heavy for a 2 year old). #bobble help!

📷: Our guide at the Delphi Ruins


📷: Finally warmed up a bit to not wear a jacket (end of April).

  


Product LOVE:

  • This girl has to take off the bracelets while eating. We love our pineapple bracelet from Zopihi.  They have the cutest children’s jewelry designed in Austin, inspired by Maui.  The best thing about their products are they are lead, cadium, and phthalates free. Mums – go check them out!


Meteora


📷: Crazy wind makes a crazy #mombun


  

📷: The Meteora – one of the largest and most important complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries in Greece, second only to the Mount Athos. More info, check out wikipedia


📷: Along the drive in the mountains there were these stands – I wonder exactly what the significance is. Anyone know?

Travel recommended product:

  • We are in love with our passport holder from Up & Away. It’s easy to hold the passports together with up to a family of 5, putting your cards in one spot, and some cash as well. If you travel as much as us, you can also stick extra landing cards in there! And, I can’t forget that you can choose from a variety of colors and patterns for the interior and exterior – keeping the jet setting family in style!  LOVE – make these a perfect Mother’s Day present. *hint, hint.

📷: The town of Meteora. We ate at the Gardenia (pictured left) which was just OK, but as always friendly service.

Product LOVE:

  • My little loves her Mini Melissa shoes – she thinks she’s walking the catwalk!  Definitely be prepared for how quickly they will get scuffed up.  Cool thing – they have this baby powder smell. No stinky feet for her!

📷: We stayed at the Grand Meteora Hotel which was nice that it is new with a gorgeous view of the rocks. However, if you’re looking for strong wi-fi or pool after your hike around Meteora, this definitely isn’t the place for you.

  • Tip: I always read and write reviews from trip advisor.  I’ve found them generally pretty accurate for the hotels. Food wise – it’s definitely a hit or miss. 



📷: view from our balcony

Cheers for now!