Inject some colour…

As adults we have to think carefully about what we wear (some more than others) whether it’s finding something that fits or colours that suit us, but children on the other hand… children can wear anything!! 

As you probably know I have two boys, Rex 4 and Mack 3. I always swore when I was pregnant with Mack that I’d never dress them the same but I have totally gone back on my word because I do sometimes and quite frankly they just look so cute in the same outfit. 

Recently a company called Tootsa got in touch with me and asked if the boys would like to try out some items from their new Amazonian range. 

Obviously the first thing I did was popped over to their website and when I saw the gorgeous colourful clothes I was immediately on board! 

If you haven’t heard of Tootsa then they are an award winning unisex brand for children. Their kid’s clothing and accessories are stylish, practical, colourful, hardwearing and designed to be worn by both girls and boys alike. How cool is that? 

Tootsa MacGinty is a young company where everyone is passionate about what they do. They take pride in sourcing the best fabrics, getting the right fit and designing graphics and motifs in colours that work well together. They work closely with their manufacturer in China and their small family run factories in Portugal.

When their clothes arrived the boys were so excited, as was I! I mean, is there anything cuter than boys in dungarees? 


One awesome thing about these dungerees is not only are they amazing quality but they have a detachable ‘bib’ so they can wear them as shorts too. 


I adore the prints within the Amazonian range, and had a really tough time choosing my favourites. In the end I asked the boys to choose their own. Rex went for toucans and Mack chose frogs! 

One thing that is so clever is that the colours of the clothes have been so well thought out so that they are suitable for girls and boys, as well as being eye catchingly fun and stylish. All of the items in the range compliment each other too, so you can have fun mixing and matching. 

As well as the dungerees and T shirts we chose some colourful shorts for the boys to wear on hot summer days. 



They loved the designs on them and said they are really comfortable. 

When it comes to children nobody should be scared of colour, the brighter the better I say! 

On Thursday 8th June, its Amazonian day and I will be sharing an exclusive discount code over on my Instagram page @iamhayleystuart to celebrate the launch of Tootsa’s new Amazonian range. If you have a holiday booked or need to get your children some new summer clothes then you should definitely take advantage. They do some seriously cute rain coats too! 

Check out Toota’s Instagram page and give them a follow to see more of their gorgeous childrensware. 

Until next time 

Hayley x

*this is a sponsored post but all views and opinions are my own. 

When Testosterone Trumps Oestrogen 

Growing up, apart from my mum and the various female pets we owned, I was the only girl in our household. I’ve got three older brothers, so you’d think I’d be an expert in the field of testosterone.

I always hoped I’d have a girl to make up for the years of male company I was subjected to, but deep down I knew I’d have boys, I just had a feeling.

Turns out I was right because we have two gorgeous, very different boys. Rex aged four and Mack aged two. Just call me mystic meg!


If you looked up boy in the dictionary you would find Rex. He loves anything to do with Super Hero’s, mud, wrestling and football. He is confident, funny and a little charmer. He also has VERY selective hearing which must be a talent that develops around the age of 3, as it’s not the first case I’ve known of.

“STOP FIGHTING!!”, is something I hear myself saying about a hundred times an hour. I’ve even considered investing in a dictaphone to save my voice, and my sanity!


Mack on the other hand, is even more confident than Rex (if that’s possible), but he also has a lovely sensitive, caring side. It was only last night that I was saying my tummy hurt, to which he disappeared and came back two minutes later with the calpol bottle and said “here you go mumma, here’s some medicine”. My heart melted, what a little sweetheart. It also reminded me to put it back in the fridge where he can’t reach it…Ooops!

I am a complete girly girl, so doing some of the things my boys like doing is like speaking a different language to me. I have learnt a lot about boys over the past four years, and some of it ain’t pretty…

Willies are funny and so is poo.

Yes you read that right. Apparently willies are funny and so is poo.
I picked Rex up from his friends house the other day and as I was chatting to his friends mum, Rex shouted “mumma, come upstairs, he’s got his willy out”. Neither of us seemed shocked by this, so I can only assume my boys aren’t the only ones fascinated by their genitals.

Girlfriend talk

Rex has just started school and is in the transition between hating girls and taking an interest in them. As I was tucking him in to bed the other night we had a little chat, that went as follows;

Rex – “mama, I want a girlfriend”

Me – “okay well who do you like?”

Rex “I like a girl in my class but she’s not my friend”

Me “okay, well why don’t you play with her tomorrow and then maybe you can ask her to be your girlfriend at the school disco”

Rex – *sigh* “can’t you just come in to my class and say “my son wants a girlfriend?”

If only it was that easy! Oh well at least I’m not embarrassing (yet)!

Mud

I’m not going to lie, mud scares me, and what scares me more is muddy puddles. I’ll tell you what peppa bloody pig has a lot to answer for. Mack cannot walk past a puddle without jumping in it. I know I should lighten up, he is a child and blah blah and I swear I’m learning to, but he is so clumsy that my heart is in my throat every time he goes near one.

Wrestling

For me this is the only thing that really stresses me out. The constant wrestling and fighting. I don’t remember my brothers wrestling and I was too busy talking to my imaginary boyfriend on dream phone to be fighting with anyone, so it’s a complete shocker for me. I thought my boys were the only ones until I spoke to other mums of boys who confirmed my children aren’t hulk hogans in the making but in fact completely normal. Phew!

Fancy dress

Before I had children I boldly quoted “I’m never letting my children go out in fancy dress”, I whole heartedly take that back!! My boys loved to dress up and I’ll be honest, I love to encourage it!


Weapons

As a mum of boys I always have to be on my guard, they have the ability to take anything and turn it in to a weapon. Thinking about it, I should probably invest in some body armour.

All being said, I love being the only female in our little family. Even our dog is male! It makes me the hub of our family and as nice as being able to go to the loo without an audience would be, I wouldn’t change them for the world! (Well maybe just the wrestling bit!)

Let’s talk about it…

As its mental health awareness day, I thought I’d share my experience.

For 27 years I had been fortunate enough never to suffer from depression or any other mental health issues.

The closest I came to it was when I was on my period as my hormones have always caused a ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ effect. My parents used to call my bedroom ‘the lions den’ because sometimes they’d be scared to knock on the door in case I shouted at them! 🙈

Even now, hormones are something I am in constant battle with, I am not myself when I have pmt and often lash out on the closet people to me. I wish I didn’t, and I need to find a way to manage it, I know.

I’ve talked briefly about my experience with post natal depression before on my blog post ‘Instagram saved me’ but never really gone in to depth.

When I was 27 I gave birth to our eldest son Rex and my whole life turned upside down. In good ways of course, but also in very confusing ways too.

I struggled with Rex because I had a horrible 3 day labour, had problems with hip afterwards so had to be re-admitted to hospital, then he had colic and would scream for 5 hours solid. I was overwhelmed, tired, and found it really hard to cope.

I was never ‘diagnosed’ with post natal depression, because I never spoke to anyone. I didn’t speak to anyone because I was in denial. I felt like a failure and didn’t want people judging me.

I cried a lot. In my bed, on the kitchen floor, whilst driving, everywhere.

Sometimes I’d wake up and just the thought of getting myself and Rex dressed and out of the house for an appointment felt overwhelming and impossible. I hated committing to anything because the pressure I felt when I knew I had to be somewhere or that someone was relying on me was unbearable.

I ended up staying in a lot, and anything we did was in the afternoon when I was able to prepare myself to get out of the house without having a panic attack.

I think a lot of the way I was feeling was down to my loss of identity. I didn’t know who I was anymore. I loved shopping, and going out with my friends. I felt like I had sacrificed everything I was, my body, my finances, my career and my freedom.

Everything I thought I’d feel when I had our baby was different. I’d built up expectations of motherhood and how it would be in my head but the reality was somewhat more complex than I had anticipated.

I thought I would be just me, with a baby.

But I had said goodbye to me, and had to create a whole new me.

The me I am today, 31 years old, still hormonal for one week of the month but coping. I’m winging it daily, but coping.

I work part time at an IT distributor where I worked before I had children. I look after our two beautiful boys, and I’m enjoying it. I’ve got a new found love for photography, and a passion for interior styling and upcycling.

I did speak to my husband and my mum about how I was feeling and it helped a lot. Once I recognised that I had post natal depression it became easier to manage, so please, if you are feeling the way I did, speak to someone, because it does help, I promise.

Sometimes all it takes is for someone to listen.

Hayley 😘

Why you should join The National Trust…

I’ll be honest I’d never given the national trust much thought before I joined.

I knew it existed and it is renowned for attracting elderly people dressed as a modern day Christopher Columbus, but I didn’t know much more than that.

Since I bought my Nikon camera I’ve discovered that flowers are my favourite thing to shoot. So during the summer holidays I was searching for things to do outside with my boys that I could tie in with a bit of photography. That’s when the National Trust came up.



I was surprised at how many sites there were around where we live, and how beautiful they all were. I was even more shocked at how little it costs for a membership. I pay just over £5 a month for me and my two sons (2 & 4) and with that membership with can visit any national trust and at any time.

Hinton Ampner 

Hinton Ampner 



There are loads of family friendly places, and sometimes taking your kids back to basics and just letting them run on a beautiful green with other children is all they need.


A lot of the national trust sites have houses you can explore. I was nervous of taking my very active children in to the one at Hinton Ampner but as soon as we entered the boys were given picture cards of something to find in each room, it really helped keep them under control and interested in what we were looking at.

Hinton Ampner 

Mottisfont 
If you live near Berkshire then I can really recommend Clivedon. It has beautiful gardens, loads to do for children and even free pushchairs to hire for babies and toddlers. It is absolutely huge and we will need to go back as only saw a fraction of it whilst we were there.

Clivedon 
I’m looking forward to exploring more of the National Trust sites, they have such a sense of peacefulness about them as well as being visually stunning! I can totally recommend signing up!

If you would like to join The Natuonal Trust or find out more information then Click here.

Thanks for reading

Hayley X

School Run Mum

My son Rex, has been looking forward to starting school for ages now, and I won’t lie, I’ve kind of been looking forward to it too.

Having two boys 20 months apart is hard. Yes I know I am lucky and blah blah but I didn’t really have time to enjoy having one before another was in my arms.

Boys are hyperactive and sometimes it’s like having two miniature Hulk Hogans (I don’t know any other wrestlers), so having that halved is a weight lifted. The school holidays were tough, but also memorable.

It has however, only just dawned on me that he will now be at school for most of the week until he is 16, I haven’t prepared myself for that. Now I’m thinking he’s too little to go. What if he needs a poo? Can he get himself fully dressed for P.E? Is he eating enough? The anxiety is taking over!

I feel guilty for having fun days out with my two year old Mack, and telling Rex about them knowing he has missed out. I’m lucky because he does love school (so far) but I still feel the mum guilt.

Rex is really confident and he walked in with pride on his first day. I noticed on Monday he rocked up through the school gates, smiling at every child he recognised in an attempt to get some conversation out of them, only to be shunned. It broke my heart to see it, but I also understand that not every child is as confident as Rex.

Because I’m normally unorganised and ALWAYS LATE, the anticipation of getting ready for school and out of the door by 8:30am everyday was overwhelming. The first week I had 5 shirts, 3 pairs of trousers, and 3 jumpers all ironed and ready to go. Ironing is not my thing and is something I try to avoid if I can. I usually get creases out using my hairdryer or GHD’s (try it, it works!) and I even put watered down fabric softener in the iron, thinking I’d created a dragons den-esq way to make clothes smell nice! I was wrong, now every time I iron it gives off what I can only describe as a medicated aroma (yeah, don’t try that one!) This week however, I’m rush ironing in the morning and not half as organised! I knew it wouldn’t last! Haven’t been late yet though and had to make up some extravagant lie about the donkey escaping from the garden (we haven’t got a donkey) so in my eyes, that’s winning in itself!

Rex starting school has brought back so many memories for me. Arts and crafts, orienteering, Christmas plays and even the girl that smelt like TCP that I seemed to get lumbered next to in assembly every day (maybe her mum put lenor in their iron too.) Looking back though, I absolutely loved infant and junior school, so I’m hoping Rex will too.

After reading things online I was a bit worried about the judgemental mums that you hear about. I don’t really know anyone in our village so I’m a bit of a loner in the playground. Thank god I have a two year old to talk to. I’m cool with that though, there are other loner mums, and maybe by next year we’ll be in a gang and there will be new loner mums stood there talking to their toddlers! And if you haven’t got a toddler, there’s always your phone. Just refresh your Instagram feed every two seconds until someone makes conversation with you.

One thing I have noticed though, is the attitude and tears when I pick him up! I’m putting it down to tiredness and my endless questions about his day that I never get answers to. First rule of infant school is ‘you never talk about infant school’ 🙄

Has your child just started school? Or are they at school and can you relate to this? Let me know how you’re getting on.

Much love

Hayley X

Declutter your life…

You know what they say… ‘A tidy house, a tidy mind.’ For me this is so true so today I have been decluttering…

To be honest I have been feeling bogged down by all the junk we have accumulated in our house and avoided sorting through it because if you have kids you will know it’s hard to concentrate on one task for a length of time without being distracted by the ‘little darlings’.

TOYS…

Toys are the bane of my life! They are everywhere and I hate all the little bits that are at the bottom of the toy box where you have no idea which toy they belong to. Luckily I have two children of the same gender and of a similar age, so they are starting to play with the same toys which potentially means they can be halved (I can dream!) My youngest, Mack is approaching two and a half, so out of that baby stage, yet we still seem to have an abundance of baby toys dominating every storage box. Today I have learnt a few things so here are some tips for decluttering toys…

1. Make sure the kids aren’t around.

So I messed up on this one. In my head my plan was to remove anything remotely babyish and get rid. By get rid I don’t mean chuck in the bin (unless broken) but rather put it in to boxes so it can be sold at a car boot or dropped off at the charity shop. However my boys noticed what I was doing and started getting the toys I had put in the ‘get rid’ box out and saying ‘hey this is mine.’ I admit it, it pulled on the heart strings a bit, which is why I suggest doing it alone!

2. Ensure you have plenty of storage.

Boxes, boxes and more boxes. We have a huge wicker toy box, and loads of other canvas ones to store toys in. The boys both have a cube unit thingy from IKEA (you know the one) so they are full of toys too. I also store things like puzzles and train sets in vintage suitcases. I have put all but the wicker toys box, in their rooms now so less toys downstairs hooray!


Images Pinterest 

3. Have a system.

When you put things away, group similar items together and store in their own boxes. For example, fancy dress, Lego, puzzles, playmobil. This will make tidying up easier because you will know where it all goes.

The living room.
In case you didn’t already know, I have two new sofas on the way (well in about 5 weeks or so) which means a complete living room makeover. We don’t have much clutter in the living room but we do have a sideboard which of course is mainly full of the shite you don’t know where to put. The drawers are stuffed full of those shitty kinder egg toys, old batteries, and other useless junk. I can’t even list what’s in it, which is a bad sign. I wish I could just tip the drawers in to the wheelie bin, but I have that fear that there might be something I need in there.

I will be decluttering the living room in preparation for its makeover, and will be going by ONE SINGLE RULE… if it’s not pretty or practical, it’s going!!!

Bedroom…

This is one I’ll probably have to dedicate a child free day to! I would blame being a woman but my husband is just as bad, we are both guilty of having loads of  clothes we don’t wear and will probably never wear. I need to remove the ‘just in case’ thoughts from my mind and just be ruthless.

I will put the clothes, shoes and bags in to four categories..

eBay

Carboot

Clothes bin thingy up at tesco

Bin

I know once it’s all done I will feel so much better, and being organised always makes me feel like I have loads more time on my hands.

Now that the toys are out of the way, and my bench will need to be moved for the new sofas, I have decided to bring back the dining room! 👏🏼


If you have any tips for decluttering and organising then please share them with me, either comment on this post or on my Instagram @bettyscottage.

Until next time

Hayley X

A little bit of freedom goes a long way…

So as you already know I am a homeware addict. I’m constantly changing room decor and always on the look out for things to buy.

However just recently I’ve taken my focus off of homeware and started to focus on myself instead.

I never go out looking a mess but I probably don’t make the best of myself.

In my last post I wrote about ‘the no dinner diet’ that I’m doing. I’ve managed to lose 8lbs so far and I’m feeling so much more confident. I’ve even started to wear my hair down more (which takes a good hour to do.) It’s very thick and curly, and I look like Tina Turner before I get the straighteners on it! So many people have paid me compliments which of course is always welcomed, although I’m shit at accepting them.

I bought some size 12 petite jeans the other week that were a bit tight when I tried them on. I nearly took them back but I decided to try them on again on Friday and the fit was lovely! They felt great!

It’s amazing how a little weight loss can boost your confidence and allow you to feel happier within yourself.

This week I have felt desperate for some me time. Being a mum is hard work and sometimes it gets the better of me, especially when I’m due on. Just having a day to myself every now and then is a big deal so I try to soak up every second of freedom.

My parents very kindly had the boys over night last night and took them for a day out today.

So I put some fake tan on last night and dyed my hair today. It was meant to be red, but the only thing it coloured was my scalp and the bathroom! Bit annoyed now because I did actually like the colour my hair was before. Why do I do things like this?! 😫

I also met some friends for Brunch at Molly’s den (vintage warehouse) in Winchester this morning. We laughed because the two ladies I was with have both seen my ‘nu nu.’ No we didn’t have a lesbian encounter, they are midwives. One of them delivered Rex and the other one sewed me up afterwards! Awk!! 😳

Normally I’d be like a child in a sweet shop somewhere like Molly’s den, but instead I had a little look and then made a move. There is nothing I want at the moment apart from Botox and lip fillers! 😂

Jokes aside, I’m enjoying paying myself a bit of attention. I’m going to carry on with my diet and spend a bit of money on a new wardrobe!

Don’t worry I’m sure they’ll be some homeware purchases as well, I can’t go cold turkey on its arse! I’ll be sure to share them with you.

Thanks for reading.

Much love

Hayley x