My Engagement Story

12 December 2016

I'm still very much on cloud 9, so I thought I'd write about this special day whilst all the details were fresh in my mind. Thank you to everyone who has congratulated us on social media too!

Two weekends ago, Dan and I headed off to Belgium for our babymoon which we'd planned two months before. I was really excited to visit Brussels as I'd never been there before, and we were also going to stop off at Bruges on the way back, which is one of our favourite places. We set off at 3am for the Channel Tunnel and we were exceptionally excited for what is probably our last weekend abroad before baby arrives.

We arrived in Brussels just before 9am and checked in. I had booked the hotel as I'm the resident travel agent of the two of us. I was really pleased with the choice and they put us in a wondeful room away from any loud areas of the hotel, as they were aware that I was pregnant. Dan and I enjoyed a full day of wandering around Brussels and exploring the Christmas market. We didn't walk as fast or as far as we normally would due to me being pregnant, but sightseeing is one of my favourite things to do and I was in my element.

Around 5pm, we head back to the hotel so that we could both have a nap after our early starts before heading out to dinner in the evening. Before we left for Belgium, Dan had told me that one of his wealthy business clients was also in Brussels that evening and was staying in our hotel (this was true), and he'd like to meet us for a drink before we went for dinner. Of course, this was absolutely fine by me, so I just got ready to meet up with this client. About 6:30pm, Dan said he was popping downstairs briefly and I assumed it was to meet up with his client. I wasn't finished doing my make-up anyway, so I just carried on with what I was doing. About 10 minutes later, he came back and said that we would be meeting his client in his room which was a suite on the top floor - very nice indeed!

We headed up to the top floor where the suites were, and walked towards a room called the Royal Suite. I didn't think anything of it until Dan pulled out a keycard to get into the door. At this point, I kept thinking, 'Why does he have a key to his clients room?!' As the door opened, there were petals laid out on the floor and a bucket of champagne (and apple juice for me!) with two glasses, and flowers on the table. The suite was absolutely ginormous and I didn't know where to look first.

I remember that I kept saying 'What's all this for?!' and Dan replied that he wanted to do something special for us as it's our last trip abroad just the two of us. He suggested that we went outside onto the giant private terrace which overlooked the Christmas market & Grand Place, where the light show was happening on the buildings. I thought this was so sweet, and even then didn't expect anything further. I hadn't even thought about where his client friend was either!

We were looking over the Brussels skyline and all the Christmas lights everywhere when Dan turned me around and he then began to bend down onto one knee and produced the most beautiful diamond ring. I immediately burst into tears and just kept saying 'No way! No way! Oh my god no way!' He then asked me the words I'd always wished to hear from him one day: 'Will you marry me?'

In between my mixture of tears and laughing and exclamations, I answered 'Yes, of course.' It was a moment I will never forget.

We had a kiss and cuddle on the terrace and then it suddenly hit me that we were engaged. I was engaged to the man of my dreams. And he had TRICKED ME! So badly! And I was so gullible and had no idea! It was hilarious and we immediately decided to FaceTime our families. We rung my mum and dad, and unbeknown to me, they knew that Dan had planned to propose to me - Dan had asked my dad for permission and he'd also spoken to my mum about the ring. Cheeky devil! Dan's family also knew his plans and his sister had even been with him to pick up the ring on a night when I thought they were Christmas shopping. Gullible or what?

After ringing everyone, I had a tiny sip of the contraband champagne, and then we went out into the Christmas markets to celebrate. We watched the light show, kissed by the Christmas tree and shared some hot mulled apple. It was perfect.

I had known that Dan was 'the one' in the minute that I met him. I didn't think that sort of feeling existed, but with us, the feeling was mutual. Marriage was something we knew would happen one day, as was us getting pregnant, but until it finally happens, I don't think you quite believe it. Having the ring on my finger feels more right than anything (not to mention that it is absolutely stunning!) and knowing that when we get married, our little baby will be there too is something incredibly amazing.

Dan, I know you're reading this, so... you are a wiley coyote for organising everything so quietly behind my back, and you did so well keeping it a surprise! The detail you went to was incredible and it will be a moment that I will never, ever forget. I cannot wait to be your wife. You're my best friend, soulmate and I am more than lucky. I love you.

After our baby is born, I look forward to taking you on my wedding planning journey - what an exciting 2017 I have to come!

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Baby Bumpdate - 27 weeks pregnant

7 December 2016

I'vejust got back from the midwife and our little Peanut is very happy and healthy! Listening to the heartbeat is something I look forward to every time, and it's such a reassuring sound. I'm actually feeling pretty crap about my body image at the moment but I'm trying to work on it. I'm only 5ft and have always have bigger, more musclier legs from where I grew up doing so much sport, but right now it feels like I'm a short stumpy gnome! I keep having to remind myself that I'm pregnant and need to embrace the body changes and love my body - it is carrying a child after all! Other than that, I am happy as a clam!

How far along? 27 weeks. This means I'm now in the last week of my second trimester and will be heading into my third and final trimester of this pregnancy. I can't believe how quickly time is flying!

How big is baby? Apparently, baby is now the size of a cauliflower and the midwife measured 27cm this morning! - it's a weird feeling thinking that you have something the size of a cauliflower inside of you. Bizarre!

Gender: Unknown - I constantly look forward to us finding out on the day that baby is born!

Bump: It doesn't seem masses bigger than last week in my opinion. I seem to be a slower developer but I don't mind at all now. My bump is relative to my size and I'm happy with it. I'm still carrying very high and it's giving me a more rounded bump all over my tummy. I wore a black maternity dress for the first time last weekend and did feel exceptionally pregnant though!

Movement: Baby is definitely a mover and a groover! Most mornings, baby will wake me up, and it will be kick kick kicking when I'm trying to work at my desk, which I love! Sometimes, if I lie in bed with my bump pressed on Dan's back, he can feel baby kick through to him - such a funny feeling!

Weight gain: Not a clue! The midwife weighs me every time I see her, but I don't look at it as I've always had a bad relationship with the scales. All I know is that I'm still able to wear pretty much all of my normal clothes and haven't gone up sizes.

Maternity clothes: I haven't spent much on maternity clothes at all, as I wanted to try and stay in normal clothes for as long as possible. Other than the 2 pairs of jeans and my black dress, I'm still loving H&M basics and am wearing stretchy skirts, tights and jumpers for work which keep me comfortable.

Sleep: Fortunately, sleep has been ok this week again. I will get up once or twice in the night to nip to the loo, but I tend to fall back to sleep straight away thank goodness. Baby does its best to keep me awake though with its kicking!

Best moment this week: Dan and I had such a lovely chilled day on Sunday, blitzing some of our Christmas shopping, picking up our Christmas tree and cooking the most lovely roast dinner. I felt really relaxed and it definitely set me up for the week in a great way.

Worst moment this week: Being on my own on a Friday night, when it seemed like the rest of the world was out having Christmas drinks or at parties. It was the first time during this pregnancy that I felt lonely, but I tried to alleviate this feeling by catching up with my recorded programmes on TV and eating risotto. Yum!

Cravings: KFC. Having spent 5 months not eating chicken, I very quickly got my love for chicken back again, and I just needed some KFC in my life. It was an enjoyable experience.

Belly button: Very much still an innie!

Engagement ring on/off: I'm really pleased as it's still on. I haven't had any trouble with swollen hands or feet...yet!

Mood: Excited! I truly can't believe I'm nearly in the last 3 months of pregnancy. It seems like such a long time, but so short as well, and I really can't wait to meet our little one now. 

Missing anything: Alcohol - I haven't missed it at all during the pregnancy, but all the Christmas parties are making me a tad jealous!

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Baby Bumpdate - 26 weeks pregnant

30 November 2016

So this is the first of my weekly pregnancy updates, or bumpdate as I like to call it!

I can't quite believe that I'm nearly at the end of my second trimester already. When people say that pregnancy lasts 9 months, you think it will go by really slowly, but my gosh is it the total opposite! I feel like at points, I haven't been able to appreciate every second as much as I would have liked to, but life happens and you just have to go along with it the best that you can.

How far along? 26 weeks. Which means I potentially have (give or take) 14 weeks left of this pregnancy. Unreal!

How big is baby? Apparently, baby is now the size of kale!

Gender: Unknown - I constantly look forward to us finding out on the day that baby is born!

Bump: I'm finally starting to look pregnant, and people are more aware of the bump when I'm out and about. I'm carrying very high too! It is a very odd feeling getting a bump so suddenly though, and I will admit I had a little cry to my Mum whilst shopping last weekend. Apparently, it's totally normal to be shocked at how our bodies change during pregnancy, and I think going from tiny bump to looking pregnant in a matter of days was a big surprise. I am a lot smaller in bump size that what some people would be at this point, but I just keep telling myself that everyone's bodies are different and as long as my baby is happy and healthy, that's all that matters. I do love my bump very much though!

Movement: Baby is moving like crazy now, and this week was the first week I was able to watch my tummy moving all on its own. It's such a weird feeling! Dan and I love to lie in bed with his hands on my tummy and just wait for the kicking to begin. It definitely helps Dan bond with the baby too.

Weight gain: Not a clue! The midwife weighs me every time I see her, but I don't look at it as I've always had a bad relationship with the scales. All I know is that I'm still able to wear pretty much all of my normal clothes and haven't gone up sizes.

Maternity clothes: I've only bought 2 items of maternity clothes so far (jeans), as I don't want to spend too much on them if I can help it. H&M basics have been a lifesaver for comfort.

Sleep: Since I bought my V shaped maternity pillow, I have been sleeping a lot better and am far more comfortable. Absolute lifesaver!

Best moment this week: Our babymoon visit to Belgium - such a wonderful couple of days.

Worst moment this week: Being struck down with a tummy bug the day after we got home from Belgium. My body went into shock and we had to ring the midwife at 1am to check if there was anything we needed to do - fortunately everything was ok. I've had a couple of days off work to recuperate.

Cravings: Still vinegar but nothing major this week.

Belly button: Very much still an innie!

Engagement ring on/off: I'm really pleased as it's still on. I haven't had any trouble with swollen hands or feet...yet!

Mood: Feeling really happy and excited after an amazing couple of days. We've nearly finished decorating the nursery so I will feel even better once that's done!

Missing anything: Cheese and wine! It's the first time I've missed alcohol and yummy contraband cheese like stilton, camembert etc, but I think it's due to the festive time of the year.

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Pregnancy Announcement - 25 week update

23 November 2016

Back in July, I did the most exciting/scary test of my life. It was a pregnancy test.

Fast forward to today, and I’m 25 weeks pregnant.

It feels so good to type that.

Most people on Twitter/Instagram know I’m pregnant (thank you so much if you’ve congratulated us!), but I haven’t got round to sitting down and writing about the process until now. This is due to moving house, work, and general life stuff. Not to mention how rough I felt at the beginning of the pregnancy. But I feel that the time is now right to let this pregnancy be a part of my blog and take you all along with me for the next 15 weeks. I’d love it if you joined both Dan and I in our journey from here.

Dan and I are over the moon. This baby was so wanted and is already so, so loved. We feel incredibly blessed to have been given the opportunity to be parents, and have grasped the past few months in both hands, not to mention rapidly preparing ourselves for the future.

Whenever you tell people that you’re pregnant, there’s a whole host of questions that are asked, so I’ve put together a little Q&A so you can read into the last 25 weeks of my life.

When & how did you find out you were pregnant?
Thursday 7th July. Dan and I bought the tests together during the week, but I did the first test on my own. When I saw it had come up positive, I decided to take it on a dog walk with us that morning (it sounds weird, but I just wanted to be in the open and just the two of us when I told him.) Dan was running through the field with the dogs slightly ahead and I shouted at him to turn around. I was holding the test. When he turned around, he said ‘Oh my god. Is it positive?!’ and I shouted back ‘Well I wouldn’t walk around with a negative pregnancy test in my jeans pocket would I!’ We both cracked up laughing and had the hugest hug in the middle of a field. It was wonderful.

When we got home, we did a Clearblue Digital test, and it showed that I was between 4-5 weeks pregnant. We celebrated by going to visit our new house (knowing that our baby would be coming home there!) and having Mexican for lunch. It was an amazing day.

Did you know you were pregnant before taking the test?
Something inside of me just told me I was pregnant. I had been having odd symptoms when away on holiday the weeks before, and my body just felt different. Dan thought I was pregnant too and was getting really excited, but I just wanted to take my time, not get my hopes up etc. My main symptoms were severe fatigue (and I mean the worst fatigue in my life. I will never moan about being tired ever again), the worst breast pain in my life and finally, missing my period.

Did you suffer with morning sickness?
Unfortunately, I did. I had more chronic nausea than sickness itself, but I was sick too. The nausea I had was unlike anything I’ve experienced in my life. It’s like a force that takes over your whole body, and at points I was unable to move. I hardly ate between weeks 7-15 and lost a fair bit of weight. I would say that I didn’t start feeling more human until around 18 weeks. Fortunately, things have been a lot better since then!

How did you tell your family?
For the majority of people, we waited until after our 12 week scan to tell people the good news, but we wanted to let some of our close family and friends know. This was around the 7/8 week mark. We didn’t do anything crazy with breaking the news – literally just told them when they were all together. Everyone was really excited and happy. My particular highlight was telling my brother and his girlfriend. They both cried because it meant so much to them – I wasn’t expecting it at all and it made me so happy.

How many weeks are you now?
I am 25 weeks exactly, which means I have 15 not so long weeks left to go! It might seem like a long time, but it’s really not. Once Christmas is out the way, the countdown will be steaming ahead! Baby is currently the size of a large papaya!

When is your due date?
March 11th - this was weirdly my due date when I was born. I’m really pleased to be having a March baby!

Are you finding out the gender?
We’re 100% not finding out. We were both certain from the outset that we didn’t want to find out what we were having, as it’s the best surprise you can ever have. It’s 50/50 what you’re having, and whether it’s a boy or a girl, it’s going to be the best result. We don’t get many surprises in life anymore, and we can’t wait to meet our little one.

Do you have a nickname for the baby?
Yes! We call the bump ‘Peanut’ (even though it’s not much of a peanut size anymore!).

Have you picked out names?
Provisionally, yes. Although we will keep these quiet until we’ve had the baby!

Do you have a birth plan?
I would like to have a water birth in the most natural way possible. In a perfect world, I would have minimal pain relief and coach myself through the labour by breathing techniques and music. I’m currently exploring the potential of hypnobirthing, but have yet to decide if this is for me.

Do you have a bump?
Yes, but only just! It has genuinely taken me to around this point in the pregnancy to even look pregnant. I know everyone’s body is different, but I got down about not showing for a little bit. Some people show from the word go, some from around week 14, some around week 18...but for me, I just took until week 25. I’m carrying very high, so it’s still not a definitive round bump, but I’ve been assured that this will change in the coming weeks when baby drops a little. My bump is at its most prominent when I wake up in the mornings.

Have you had any weird cravings?
Yes! Vinegar – on everything! One day, I even made Dan march into a fish and chip shop and purchase one pickled onion, because I needed to taste vinegar THAT badly! I’ve also been going mad for fresh tomatoes chopped into slices and sprinkled with a little salt. One weird thing I’ve had is that I’ve hardly been able to eat meat, at all. I’m only slowly bringing it back into my diet as I feel like I can eat it now. It was the weirdest feeling to try and eat chicken, only for me to gag if it went anywhere near my face. So odd.

Hopefully these questions clear up the last 25 weeks or so. I’m still learning as I’m going along, as is Dan, and we’re loving the process of seeing my body change, feeling the baby kick and plan for the future. I’m aiming to do lots of updates from now, on the blog and on my YouTube, so please do stick around for the journey.

We’re so excited to meet Baby Gardner!

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Five essential tips for blonde hair

17 October 2016

This is a post I’ve been meaning to write for a long while, as I often get asked about the colour of my locks and what I use for hair care.
Many people are surprised to know that I was born a brunette. I don’t have many features that giveaway I’m not a natural blonde like some people might, and I’ve managed to get away with fooling people  of my hair colour for many, many years now. I’ve dabbled with a variety of shades of blonde over the years: honey, ash, platinum and silver, and one common denominator with all of them is that you have to massively nurture your hair to maximise the potential of the colouring.
With any dyed hair, it’s easy to make mistakes – believe me, I know and I’ve been there. I’ve put together five of my top tips for looking after blonde hair.

Tip One: Invest in blonde-friendly hair products
If you dye your hair blonde, you really cannot expect to treat your hair the same as the natural colour. It just doesn’t work like that unfortunately. Over time, you’ll find that cheaper shampoos and conditioners just won’t cut it, and will leave your hair dry and brittle. I use a mixture of products to keep my hair tip top. I cannot recommend toners enough to get rid of brassiness. I use products including purple toners & shampoos such as Bleach London & Pro:Voke Touch of Silver, blonde shampoos such as John Frieda 'Go Blonder'. I also like Aussie hair masks for a bit of a conditioning treatment. I'll also use a serum once a week to nurture the ends, and have been using John Frieda Frizz Ease as of late.

Tip Two: Avoid damage at all costs
When putting bleach onto your hair, you’re already forcing each hair strand under a lot of strain, making it more liable to breakages and dryness as standard. When thinking about damage, I’m talking self-inflicted damage. This includes heat damage, excessive styling damage and using the wrong brush for your hair type. I try not to dry my hair with a hairdryer for the majority of the time (unless I’m really under pressure for time) as this automatically gives your hair a bit of a break. I also keep the straightening or curling to a minimum these days, as thinking back to the daily regime I put my hair through as a teenager is almost too painful to remember. (Hands up if you religiously straightened or curled your hair before Sixth Form? Yep, me too!) It’s also worth considering the type of brush you use, as what may work for some hair types, may not work for another. I find Denman or Tangle Teezer brushes work well with eliminating breakages.

Tip Three: Use heat protectant in the sun
This is a super tip for when you’re on holiday and want to catch some rays. Rub some leave in conditioner to the ends of your hair or spray on some heat protectant to give your hair a bit of a mask whilst tanning. The conditioner/heat spray will create a bit of a barrier and massively help to keep your hair hydrated and happy during the hot temperatures.

Tip Four: Ketchup does eliminate green hues
Yes, it’s true. Ketchup really does get rid of the green tinge you might get after a holiday away swimming in the pool every day! Massage some ketchup into your hair, put a clear shower cap on and leave it for 30 minutes. I can’t promise you it will feel or smell nice, but it really will remove the green tone from your blonde hair. Many think it’s the chlorine that turns blonde hair green, but it’s actually a mixture of the metals in pools like copper and magnesium oxidising with chlorine. It’s been a plague for blonde haired gals for years but the ketchup theory really does work – don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!

Tip Five: Limit your hair washes
I used to be absolutely awful at this. I was a serial offender of washing my hair every single day. The only upside of doing that was that it always smelled amazing. In essence, I was just rinsing my hair of its natural goodness and it was ending up dry and scraggly. After some serious hair wash detoxing, I have managed to wain myself down to 3-4 washes a week. I know some girls wash their hair less than this, but for me, this is good – trust me. My hair is a lot softer and the natural oils keep my scalp feeling looked after. I’d also recommend a trusty dry shampoo for in between wash days. With blonde hair, it’s amazing what you can get away with when you brush a little bit of dry shampoo through the roots.

Personally, I believe that your hair is only as good as you treat it. Give it some respect, and it will definitely treat you well back.

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John Frieda products were sent to me for review. Opinions are my own.

Tailor-made dog food with

9 October 2016

It’s no secret that my Jack Russell Terrier, Max is one of the most important things in my life. To quote Forrest Gump, "we’re like peas and carrots" and I couldn’t imagine my life without my four legged baby. It’s been an honour to be able to share some pet related campaigns on my blog over the last 5 years, and I’m thrilled to be chatting about mine and Max’s experience with dog food specialists, tailor-made dog food

Max has a tummy a little on the sensitive side which has meant I’ve always had to be a lot more particular when buying his dog food. I’ve always been a big believer that you can’t buy cheap dog food and expect it to do wonders for your dog’s health, especially having watched a documentary a couple of years back about the additives and nasties that are thrown into some well-known brands dog food. In fact, feeding Max a couple of pouches of Pedigree when he was around 2 years old ended up with him being in the vet for a week, hooked up to an IV drip and being incredibly poorly. I vouched I would never put him through that experience ever again. Since then, I have bought his food online or from Pets At Home, and gone for brands that suit sensitive tummies, hypoallergenic and no preservatives. tailor-made dog food tailor-made dog food

When asked if Max would like to try their tailor-made food, I was interested to see how it would work. Personalised food to suit your dog’s needs? It sounds like the perfect solution, but how good was it really?

With Tails, you manage your dog’s details online. You enter the dog’s breed, age, details about how active they are during the day and their favourite flavours. The system then gives you the perfect food based on the dog’s information. Pretty clever indeed! tailor-made dog food

The food parcel arrived and Max knew straight away it was for him – he always does when he gets sent treats in the post! He was perked up and standing on his hind legs with the utmost excitement. The food bag comes with your dog’s name personalised on it – I absolutely loved this, and let’s face it, who doesn’t love things with your name on it, let alone your dog’s name? Along with the bag of food was a DIY scoop which told me exactly how much I should be feeding Max; very handy when the nutritional values are different in every type of food. Also included were the details of all the ingredients and the nutritional break down. tailor-made dog food

In terms of price, you can expect a unique price based on the dog’s details, i.e size and activity levels. I find that you have to wait a fair amount of time before you see the true benefits of how your dog is responding to a particular food where energy, coat and general health are concerned. However, a pretty good testimonial is whether your dog enjoys the food, i.e wolfing it down the minute you put a serving into their bowl. Max loved this food (a rarity with him) and I’ve seen no sign of an upset tummy or any digestion problems. For me, that equals a winning dog food!

Has got your attention? If so, you can use the code LITTLEGLITTER for 2 weeks free tailor-made dog food, with only £1 delivery. Don't say I'm not generous to your four legged friends!

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Written in collaboration with

An Overdue Update

26 September 2016

It feels like such a long time since I’ve sat down and written a blog post, and that’s because it has been. 9 months to be precise. But now feels like the right time to start writing again, and I’m really excited about it.

It’s incredible how life can fluctuate, moving in and out like the ever-changing tide. Flick back to Christmas 2015 and I was living in Bournemouth, happily single and just taking life a day at a time. Having gone through a period of ‘not so good’ within my well-being, I was just focused on the things that were important to me and finding my inner happiness. I had no interest in being in a relationship.

They always say that the right person comes along when you least expect it, and just when I wasn’t expecting it, I met someone. He’s wonderful, and I have a whole blog post coming in the next few weeks about how we met and just how crazy that meeting was (keep an eye out for that one…it’s like something from a film…seriously!). Dan is like the yin to my yang, and he can make me laugh like no-one ever has done before, not to mention treats me like an absolute princess.

Not only am I now in the best relationship I’ve ever been in, but I’m now back living in Essex. I’ve lived away for 8 years, but after time away at university, letting my career take me to different places in the country, meeting new friends and saying goodbye to old ones, I soon found my way back to my home county. Dan is indeed from Essex too so it made sense to move back, rationalising that we both want to be near our families in the long term.

We’ve just moved into our new abode in Chelmsford, about 15 minutes from where I grew up in Brentwood, and we’ve been busy decorating, painting, ripping up carpet…the lot. It’s the first place I will have lived in since I was 18 that isn’t a rented accommodation, and I can finally decorate things the way that I want! No more horrible walls in weird colours, and ugly flooring. Dan and I have really thought about the colour schemes in each room and we’re really happy. Once everything is sorted, I plan to do a little house tour, so keep an eye out for that one too!

It wouldn’t be an overdue update without mention of little Max now, would it? Max is, of course, absolutely wonderful as per usual. He's been his cheeky self as usual, and I'm hoping he's going to love the new house as much as we do.

Having the time off from blogging has been good for me. I've travelled, worked hard and given myself time to breathe and evaluate the writing that I really enjoy. I have lots of exciting things planned on this blog for the future, and I really do hope you come along for the ride.

PS - look out for my next blog post for some very, very exciting news!

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