Hey blog, well it’s been a while! You take a few weeks off to enjoy the summer holidays with the kids and before you know it, it’s November! I wish I could regale you with tales of international travel to exotic locations but we only ventured as far as the Isle of Wight (the kids think that’s abroad though, don’t tell them). It was wonderful making the most of the holidays before they both started their new schools and I’ve photographed some beautiful weddings over the last couple of months which I am really excited to share with you soon. Oh! And most exciting of all, we got a puppy!


This is Bessie Rainbow Twilight Sparkle, the latest addition to the Willis household and was named by Honor (given that I gave her Sunshine as a middle name, I wasn’t sure if that was immediately obvious or not). Bessie is a Cavachon which is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Bichon Frise cross, although she is much more cava than chon which has lead to a lot of teasing from my friends that she is probably neither of those and is in fact, a Springer Spaniel. She is very sweet but very lively! This is the first time we have had a puppy (our previous dog, Saffy, was fully grown when we got her) so it’s been a learning curve. She loves to steal our things, particularly clothes, Shopkins and Lego models and she loves going outside. A couple of weeks ago she decided she just couldn’t wait to go out and bolted out the door when Bevan left for school, I was hysterical and running after her in my slippers and an old breastfeeding nightie (I’m classy like that) and I’m sure I mooned the neighbours at one point…. I’ve also cleared up more wee and poo than I thought possible but we’re slowly getting there….

One of the best things about having Bessie is that some of our friends got puppies at the same time so we can get together for walks and puppy playdates (and commiserate over ruined carpets). It’s like the days of playgroup all over again only we aren’t so sleep deprived. We have been meeting up in the local woods to practice recall (Oh yeah, I know all the lingo…) and get them used to being off the lead. I’ll be honest, Bessie mainly likes to roll in the mud with the other pups but it’s bound to click at some point, right?

A few photos from our walk with my friend Gemma, my little goddaughter and their puppy, Coco.



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Yesterday was the last “Honor & Mummy Day” for us *sob*. Today and tomorrow are preschool days and then both kids are off until September (um, yay!) so it was the last day with just my smallest BFF and I decided to do something special with her. When Bevan started school he was an only child so I didn’t plan a special day out (which he was quick to remind me of!). I asked her what she wanted to do and while her suggestions of Disneyland Paris and Butlins were brilliant ones, we settled on Whipsnade Zoo which isn’t too far away from us. She’s only been to the zoo once before, it’s a pretty spendy day out and I *was* planning to take them in the holidays (don’t tell Bevan that…) but how often can you just spoil them for no good reason? It was quite nice to just indulge her and say “yes” to everything. You want to go and see the elephants for a fourth time? Absolutely! You want an ice cream even though you only ate a penguin biscuit for lunch and didn’t eat the £3 sandwich I just bought you? Let’s get you one! This is what it must be like to be a grandparent.

Obviously, there are an obnoxious amount of photos of our day out because that’s just how I roll. These are all taken with the Canon 40mm 2.8 pancake lens if you’re like me and appreciate knowing these kind of details!

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She INSISTED on bringing along her favourite camera even though I didn’t think the zoo was really the place for it…what do I know…we have some great pictures of my flip flops and her hand (x3) though, so that’s nice…

whipsnade zoo-001whipsnade zoo-002whipsnade zoo-003whipsnade zoo-004whipsnade zoo-005whipsnade zoo-006whipsnade zoo-007whipsnade zoo-008whipsnade zoo-017whipsnade zoo-016whipsnade zoo-019whipsnade zoo-020whipsnade zoo-021whipsnade zoo-022whipsnade zoo-024whipsnade zoo-023whipsnade zoo-018We actually managed to see a lot while we were there and she loved being in charge of the map and deciding where to go next. She’s a pretty bossy little tour guide too (must get it from my mum). It was really hot and there’s a lot of walking for little legs so we didn’t make it to the playground (which looked fantastic!) because she was so over it by that point and actually asked to leave so she could have a nap in the car! She also told me off for pointing to a Yak and commenting on how large it was because “You’ll hurt his feelings and make him feel bad”. Fat-shaming applies to animals too.

I had the loveliest day with her and it absolutely melted my heart when she said it was the best day ever! Going out with a bang. I feel so so lucky that I have been able to be at home with them so much. I do find it really difficult juggling everything with my business and I don’t have as much time for work as I’d like but I will never regret spending time with the children.

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Part of me wishes I could keep her this age forever. So much love for this sweet girl.


  • Clare wilson - These pictures are gorgeous, what perfect memories!ReplyCancel

  • RachelSwirl - She looks like she had an amazing time, I adore her camera!ReplyCancel

  • Donna - oh how i love these…she looks so, so happy you girls must have the most gorgeous day xxxReplyCancel

  • Karen - Just beautiful and how lovely to get to just spend the day together xxReplyCancel

One thing that I really love about Living Arrows (aside from the project itself!) is that it gives me the chance to discover new blogs and chat to new people and one of those is Donna from What The Redhead Said (formerly Redhead Babyled). Donna is mum to 3 year old Little Pickle and Little Man, who just turned 2. She works part time for a high street bank and spends the rest of the time juggling family life, a shift working husband and her blog. And she loves Maltesers, gin & tonic and pedicures, just incase you were wondering. We realised when were chatting one evening that we weren’t actually that far from one another and our daughters are only a few months apart, so we decided to get together one sunny Tuesday. My previously shy poppet has really come out of her shell the last couple of months and within a couple of minutes the girls were the best of friends, swapping dressing up stuff and admiring each other’s shoes!

playdates redhead-001playdates redhead-002playdates redhead-003playdates redhead-005Meet Donna!

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What’s a typical day like for you?  

No day is typical for me – every day is different. Because Hubby works shifts and I work around his shifts some days I’m at work 9-5 and other days I’m at home with the kids, doing the school run, LP’s swimming lesson and housework. I work every Saturday too but Sundays I can generally be found at home baking, playing with the kids and catching up. We do squeeze in some family time where we can too.

playdates redhead-007playdates redhead-010What’s the best parenting advice you’ve been given?

I think the best advice was to trust my instinct and follow the baby’s lead. From the day LP was born we were very much baby-led and tried to feed her when she was hungry, let her sleep when she was tired and we really just rolled with it. We did the same with weaning, sleeping through the night and pretty much everything else – all babies get to the same point in the end eventually and we found it easiest to just go with the flow and see what happened so trusting my instincts has worked pretty well.

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What inspired you to start your blog and what do you blog about?
I started blogging when LP started weaning and documented her weaning journey on my old blog ‘Redhead Babyled’. The blog has evolved so much over the last three years and now I blog very much about our family life but under a new titles ‘What the Redhead said’, a space that can grow with my family and I.

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How has having kids changed you?
I think since having children I am more content with my appearance and less hung up on the physical things – my body has done an amazing thing in giving me two beautiful children and after 20+ years of criticising myself I think it’s about time I gave my body a break. Apart from that I think I am more laid back, more organised and better prepared for anything since having children – they keep you on your toes!

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Both your babies were born at home. What was that like?
Amazing. I had always planned to have home births and having LP at home and being alone as a family unit an hour afterwards was a surreal experience. Little Man was born in the birth pool at home but we had to transfer to hospital soon after as he was having breathing problems but I’m glad I got to experience the hospital side of things too – although I was glad to get home three days later!

playdates redhead-026What are your hopes for the kids?

As corny as it may sound I just want them to grow up happy and healthy, going wherever life takes them. I hope they find someone to share life with, have families of their own and live life as fully as they can until they are old and content.playdates redhead-027What has surprised you most about having kids?

The amount you can love someone. Every single day since having LP has been a rollercoaster of emotions, pure absolute love for that tiny ginger bundle of squishyness that has grown into such huge pride in everything she learns, everything she does and everything she is. It’s an honour to be her parent and the same goes for Little Man. When you’re pregnant with your second child you always ask yourself whether you’ll have enough love for two and whether you’ll ever be able to love another as much as you love your first. You do, it happens. You don’t love the first one less, you just have another to love equally – and that love is the best thing about being a parent.


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  • Maria (One Tiny Leap) - Aw, great post! Stunning photos, and just how sweet are your two girls all dressed-up? I remember following your blog when it was in its earlier stages Donna, and think it’s great how you’ve developed it to grow with you and your family. xxReplyCancel

  • Hayley @hayleyfromhome - Lovely post, the photos are so beautiful and they all look so alike. Love that your two little ladies got on so well and sounds like you had a fun day! xxReplyCancel

  • Katie @mummydaddyme - Wow Hayley these photos are beautiful, I bet Donna is thrilled with them. Sounds like a lovely day. xReplyCancel

  • Emma Shilton - These are absolutely beautiful photographs. How wonderful that your little ones met up and played lovely together xReplyCancel