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!

playdates redhead-028

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.

playdates redhead-012playdates redhead-011

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.

playdates redhead-016playdates redhead-018

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!

playdates redhead-021playdates redhead-022

playdates redhead-024

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.

 

playdates redhead-031

Donna’s Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

share/tweet/pin/email
  • 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

december siblings-001

 

I was tagged by Mandy from Raising The Rainbows to share five life lessons I want to share with my children. My biggest wish for them is to send them off into the world, happy, confident and for them to succeed at whatever it is they want to do. And what a huge privilege it is to help them become those people. So here’s some of the things I’d like to share with them before then.
Hayley Living Arrows-005
Family and friends are everything. We will love you no matter what and we’ll always have your back. There’s no situation we can’t work out together or anything so terrible that you can’t confide in us. Get to know your parents and grandparents. Love your siblings. You never know when you might need a kidney.
october sibs-003
Experiences are more important than things. One day you will realise that things don’t matter, they can all be replaced. Memories and time spent with the people you love can’t.november-001
It’s okay if you don’t know what you want to do with your life and it’s okay if you change the path you’re on. You’re never too old to try something new. Life is short, do what makes you happy.
Photo 24-08-2014 23 38 52
Love your body. It’s the only one you will ever have and is the most precious gift given to you. Treat it well.
summer-011
You don’t need to be the best, just try your best. We are ridiculously proud of you whatever happens.
hayley living arrows-006

What 5 things do you want to share with your children? I’m tagging Donna from What The Redhead Said, Natalie from Little Jam Pot Life and Emily from Life & Pictures to share theirs!

Hayley Living Arrows-024

share/tweet/pin/email
  • Lauren - Woah!! Not all emosh over here at all….ok I am. This is beautiful Hayley. Such wise words xxReplyCancel

  • Donna - Oh Hayley! How am I meant to follow on from that?! If you kids learn all that and take it with them they will grow happy, live long and be wise beyond words xReplyCancel

Syndol better places Rushmere-001

I wouldn’t exactly say I’m an outdoorsy kind of girl, I’m usually the one on a hike that’s wearing Converse. I do think there’s nothing like a bit of fresh air though and I try to make sure the children spend as much time as possible outside. We’re really lucky to live where we do, we’re surrounded by woods to explore and our house backs on to a field which is just picture perfect in the summer. I used to wish I had a photography studio but I’ve come to realise that it’s the nicest backdrop I could possibly have and I have a list of local places that I like to visit. One of my favourite places is Rushmere Country Park. I LOVE this place, there’s so much to see and discover and I love that around each corner is something different. The kids love it here too, they love the little fairy houses and building dens. I think it’s a shame that they can’t play out like we did when we were little so it’s great being able to take them somewhere where they can run riot and really enjoy themselves without me worrying, even if they do end up completely filthy! Apart from rambunctious kids, it’s so calm and quiet. All you can hear is birds and the rustling of the trees and there’s no phone signal so if you really want to escape, it’s the place to go. And they have a cafe that overlooks the woods. What more could a girl want?

Syndol better places Rushmere-002Syndol better places Rushmere-003Syndol better places Rushmere-004Syndol better places Rushmere-005Syndol better places Rushmere-006Syndol better places Rushmere-007Syndol better places Rushmere-008Syndol better places Rushmere-009Syndol better places Rushmere-010Syndol better places Rushmere-011Syndol better places Rushmere-012Syndol better places Rushmere-013Syndol better places Rushmere-014Syndol better places Rushmere-015Syndol better places Rushmere-016Syndol better places Rushmere-017Syndol better places Rushmere-018Syndol better places Rushmere-019Syndol better places Rushmere-020Syndol better places Rushmere-021Syndol better places Rushmere-022Syndol better places Rushmere-023Syndol better places Rushmere-024Syndol better places Rushmere-025

Taken with  a Canon Eos 3 & Agfa Vista 200 film 

This #BetterPlaces post is in support of the Syndol Find Your Better Place campaign with BritMums. Syndol is now formulated for headaches. Visit www.syndol.co.uk for online resources with information about headaches and how to restore calm in your life.

share/tweet/pin/email
  • Donna - This place looks beautiful. I love forests and could spend a whole day in them easily. We used to spend a week every summer camping near forests in school holidays growing up and have loved them ever since.
    I love that you wear converse for forest walks – totally my kinda girl! xReplyCancel

    • Hayley - I’m regretting that now, it was sooooo muddy! xReplyCancel

  • North East Family Fun - Oh wow! This place looks so magical! I want to visit! #betterplacesReplyCancel

  • You Baby Me Mummy - Such fabulous photos and what a wonderful place huni xReplyCancel