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Gretna Gateway Outlet Village | Outlet shopping

Tuesday, 14 August 2018
Hey everyone! It's been a while since I posted on here, and a life update post is on it's way (there's a lot to catch up on). I'm mainly on youtube now, and if you're not already I'd love it if you'd head over to my channel and check out some of my videos. I post 3 times a week on there just now and would love to have you over there too!

Today I thought I'd make an appearance on here, and tell you all about our trip to Gretna Gateway Outlet Village last weekend. If you've followed me for a while, you'll already know how much I love to shop. My problem is that I always go to the same shopping centres, to the same shops ... and see the same things. I do love a bargain and  really needed to try out somewhere new so when we were asked to visit Gretna Gateway Outlet Village, I had to try it out. I'd heard some good reviews on it and knew it would offer something different to my usual shopping centre experience. 

Gretna Gateway Outlet Gretna Green Outlet Review

Living in Glasgow, we were an hour and a half drive from the outlet which, for me, is the perfect amount of time to feel like you're going somewhere special but not too long that the toddler throws a tantrum. We timed it perfectly so that Oliver would nap on the way there, and I actually really enjoyed the drive down.

We were set the challenge of getting some homeware bits and given a gift card for the shopping centre. It's an outdoor shopping centre, and had such a nice vibe to it as soon as we arrived. There was a small kids play area with a huge connect 4 game and building blocks, with live music playing. This got Oliver into the best mood after his nap and he treated everyone to a dance before we started shopping! 

Gretna Gateway Outlet Gretna Green Outlet Review

We had a few things on our list for homeware and managed to pick up some amazing bargains. There were so many shops and brands that were normally far out of our price range, but the huge discounts made them an absolute steal. We needed new towels, and managed to pick up 4 new bath towels, 2 hand towels and 2 smaller guest towels for a total of £90 from Christy. These are some of the highest quality towels, and we got them for almost half price!

Candles are a must when it comes to home shopping, and we were so excited to stock up on discounted Yankee candles from Julian Charles. I'd normally expect to find the older or less popular candles in a discounted store, but we found all our favourites - shea butter, fluffy towels and fireside treats for later in the year. We also picked up two new pillows each, which were half price and down to £14. 

The last place we went for homeware, was the Molton Brown outlet. Me and Andy have a love for Molton Brown and their gorgeous handwashes, so we spent quite a while sampling all the different scents and eventually settled on a half price hand wash and hand lotion gift set in 'ginger lily'. It's so good and, as sad as it sounds, I love having a fancy hand wash and lotion in our bathroom. We picked up this gift set for just £14 - how perfect would this be as a gift at Christmas?

Gretna Gateway Outlet Gretna Green Outlet Review

We had a look around the other shops and there were so many discounted clothes. A huge Next and a Marks and Spencer that I could have spent hours in. Me and Andy have both agreed another trip to Gretna Gateway Outlet Village around Christmas time as it's the perfect place to pick up luxury gifts at discounted prices. We might also sneak in another trip before our holiday in September, as it should be the perfect time to pick up all the bargains from the summer sales.

We finished our day out with lunch in Pizza Express, and went back to the play area for Oliver to burn off some energy before the car journey home. 

I would definitely recommend visiting Gretna Gateway for a visit - it's perfect for homeware shopping, especially if you're just moving into somewhere new and need all the basics like duvets, pillows, pots and pans (there's a pro-cook there too with some fab deals). 

Click here if you want to find out all about the designer discounts at Gretna Gateway


Have any of you been before?

*This post is sponsored by Gretna Gateway.



A Weekend in Edinburgh | APEX Grassmarket hotel

Sunday, 17 June 2018
*This post was written a few weeks ago and I completely forgot to publish. So although we're wearing coats, I thought it's better late than never!*

So let's catch up - I said in my last post that we've been a few places recently that I've vlogged but haven't blogged about. One of my favourite places we've been recently (and for a long time) is the Apex Grassmarket in Edinburgh. Apex asked me, Andy and Oliver to try out their dinner, bed and breakfast deal and of course, we jumped at the chance to have a fun night away as a family. 

We'd never even considered going away for the night with Oliver. If we'd ever saw a tempting DBB deal, we'd automatically have considered a baby sitter but once it had been suggested it made me realise that there's no reason for us to go without him. I actually really don't like leaving Oliver overnight. I miss him like crazy and have only had a couple of nights away from him since he's been born so the thought of a night away without that hanging over me was quite nice actually! 

We were booked in for a Friday night and once I'd finished work, we picked up Oliver and jumped in the car to make the 50 minute drive to Edinburgh. We managed to miss most of the traffic and got there on time for our 7pm dinner reservation. First, we checked into our room to leave our bags and have a quick change before heading down to the restaurant. 


Let's talk about our room, seriously. I don't think I've ever had such an amazing view from a hotel room before. If you come to Edinburgh, the main attraction is obviously Edinburgh castle. It's just stunning to look at, so getting a room with a floor to ceiling window at the foot of the castle was just unreal. We also looked over the Grassmarket area which is a lovely little street of pubs and restaurants - a really pretty little part of Edinburgh with a real holiday feel about it (maybe that's just because I don't live there, but it definitely felt like it was somewhere special!). 

Our dinner in the hotel was fantastic. I was so impressed as in all honesty, I wasn't expecting much from a hotel restaurant on a DBB deal, but we had some really, really good food and the service was excellent. We both had haggis bon bons for a starter, steak for main, and then I had strawberry and shortcake ice-cream. They had a good kids menu too, although Oliver had already had his dinner before we left so he just had some garlic bread, some of my ice cream and then the waiter very kindly filled his bottle with milk before we headed up to the room. 


He had a bit of a late night, but luckily he had no problems going to sleep in our room for about 8.30/9.00pm. In fact, he was absolutely buzzing with excitement to be somewhere different. After running around in his nappy, turning all the lights on and off, and jumping on the bed, he went into his travel cot with no complaints and went to sleep while me and Andy chilled out and watched the telly. It was just so nice to have a lovely dinner, and hang out in a beautiful hotel room for a change of scenery. 

Our room was a 'family room' so actually had two big double beds in it, which was perfect when Oliver woke at 4am - Andy jumped into the other spare double and me and Oliver cuddled in until the morning. How much easier would life be if there was always a 'spare double?'.

Breakfast in the restaurant the next morning was lovely. It was a buffet of pasties, cereal and fruit and then you could order cooked foods like sausages, pancakes etc. We ate far too much, checked out of our room and started our adventure around Edinburgh. 


Our day was spent walking up to the castle, roaming around Princes Street Gardens, shopping and then going for lunch in a lovely little cafe (totally forgot to get the name of it). It was a beautiful day and, honestly, it's only been a few weeks and I am already looking back to nostalgically on that weekend. I'd love to do it all again and I definitely think we'll do more dinner, bed and breakfasts deals as a family in future. 

Here's the vlog - see how gorgeous our room was, and how unbelievably beautiful edinburgh is too!


Have any of you stayed in Edinburgh before?

Family Adventure to Loch Lomond & Trying out a Hybrid*

Sunday, 3 June 2018
Maisy Meow Scottish Lifestyle and Parenting Blogger

There’s nothing like sunshine to give you motivation to get out explore new places. Last weekend we had the most beautiful weather so Andy, Oliver and I decided to go on a little family adventure for the day. We packed up a picnic, a big blanket and our sun cream and set on our way to Loch Lomond for a day at the beach. Our trip was an extra exciting one too as we were test driving an electric car for the first time.

The team at Glasgow Audi in Hillington asked us to try out one of the hybrids in their range, the Audi A3 e-tron. I’ve never driven an electric car but I’ve always found the concept so interesting. It saves the environment, and the pennies, so it can only be a good thing! This hybrid car runs on electric in the first instance and when it runs out of charge, it’ll switch back to petrol. I do like the idea of having the petrol engine as a back-up. Lookers were a fantastic garage to deal with and took the time to show us around the car, how to move the seats and steering wheel so it’s as comfortable as possible and, since I’d never driven an automatic before, I even got a mini test drive with the salesman to make sure I knew how everything worked and felt confident.

Maisy Meow Scottish Lifestyle and Parenting Blogger

So with Oliver napping in our new fancy car, things were looking good for a trip to Loch Lomond. We usually go to an area called ‘Luss’ which is a gorgeous little town, with beautiful beaches and breath-taking views over the loch. On sunny days, it really does feel like being abroad with everyone sunbathing, jet-skiing and taking speed boat rides. I drove us there, and couldn’t believe how smooth it was to drive an electric car. It was completely silent – so much so, that I often wondered if the car was even on. Also, given that the car was automatic too, it just felt like such an easy drive. The car’s big boot was the perfect size for Oliver’s buggy and our ridiculously big supply of snacks – the perfect family car.

Maisy Meow Scottish Lifestyle and Parenting Blogger

We spent our afternoon on the perfect spot on Luss beach, on our picnic blanket, watching the boats and the jet skis and letting Oliver scream with every time a dog went past. We were so chilled – something I wasn’t expecting from a day out with a toddler. Oliver just loved watching what was going on around us. After our picnic, we went for a walk around Luss, took some photos (of course) then went for a drive again. This time we found a different beach by the Duck Bay hotel, with a huge grassy area for Oliver to run around before our drive home. If you’re looking for someone to take the family and you’re in the Glasgow area – Loch Lomond is full of hidden gems.

Maisy Meow Scottish Lifestyle and Parenting Blogger

Andy was itching to drive the car home. He’s always had a thing for nice cars and like me, wanted to see what it was like to drive a hybrid. He loved it too and we were pleasantly surprised when the car switched to petrol on the way back and was just as smooth to drive. There’s a handy little screen on the dashboard that tells you how much electric miles you have left and when you’ve switched to petrol. We talked about it on the way back and both agreed that we’d definitely consider a hybrid for our next car. The Audi A3 e-tron has totally converted us.

Maisy Meow Scottish Lifestyle and Parenting Blogger

We had such a lovely day at Loch Lomond and really enjoyed trying out the Audi A3 e-tron. Thanks to Glasgow Audi and their lovely customer service team for letting us have the car for the day and for giving us our first shot of a hybrid! The team are actually taking part in the #LookersEC4BEN challenge. BEN is a not-for-profit organisation that partners with the automotive industry to provide support for life to its peopleand their families. Lookers is supporting this charity by taking on the challenge of a 6 month long road trip across its dealerships form Ireland to Surrey between May and October 2018.You can follow The BEN group challenge and find out all about the hybrid vehicles available at this dealership over on the Lookers Facebook page , Lookers Twitter, and on their instagram page too. 

Have you any of you tried an electric of hybrid car before?

*This post is sponsored by Lookers Group

Glasgow Transport Museum and the Tall Ship

Thursday, 12 April 2018
RIVERSIDE MUSEUM REVIEW GLASGOW TOURIST FAMILY DAYS OUT IN GLASGOW

Well hello! It's been quite a while since I've written on here, but there's been a few occasions recently where I've thought something would make a good blog post as well as a video, so I'm going to start sharing some of our days out on my blog (alongside the vlog) for those of you that like to see the pictures and read a little bit about our adventures too. 

So in the last few months, Andy and I made a deal that we would start to explore more at the weekends. Rather than do the usual 'nandos, shopping, home for pizza and a movie' set-up, we've been planning a proper day out and visiting some tourist-y places with Oliver. It's funny how you can live in a city for almost 30 years, and never visit any of the major tourist attractions. My family came to visit from America a while ago and in the few weeks they were here,  they probably saw more of Scotland than I had! 

RIVERSIDE MUSEUM REVIEW GLASGOW TOURIST FREE FAMILY DAYS OUT IN GLASGOW

Anyway, I think I'll do a few catch up posts for the last few weekends but our most recent day out was the Glasgow Transport Museum or the Riverside museum as it's now called. A museum isn't somewhere you'd normally take a toddler but I'd heard it was a good free day out for a family, and knew that Oliver would love to run around and see all the cars (given his car obsession right now). 

It's free entry, and we had a really fun chilled out morning looking at all the old cars & trains, sitting on the old buses and trams and chasing Oliver around. It has an old street set up, with old shops that you can visit. It's actually really interesting to see how Glasgow used to look and there's loads of different interactive spots dotted around to tell you more about it. There were loads of children there and it's definitely not the usual dare-I-say-it boring museum set-up. 

RIVERSIDE MUSEUM REVIEW GLASGOW TOURIST FREE FAMILY DAYS OUT IN GLASGOW
RIVERSIDE MUSEUM REVIEW GLASGOW TOURIST FREE FAMILY DAYS OUT IN GLASGOW

Afterwards we headed out to The Tall Ship which is just outside. The museum is right by the water, and the huge ship is open for visitors all day too. We were able to push the pram onto the ship, and let Oliver run around on board. It's huge, and there's loads of space and lots of little rooms and areas to explore. It's a whole other museum in itself, and I really can't believe that you can visit these two places for free. It's somewhere we'd definitely visit again when Oliver is a bit older too. 

I'd definitely recommend checking out the transport museum and the tall ship as a free day out for the kids, especially in the easter holidays, if you're looking for something to do!

So here's the vlog from our day out ...



Have any of you been to Riverside Museum? 
What's your favourite place to go for a free day out in Glasgow?


When's the right time for baby number two?

Sunday, 14 January 2018
It usually starts around 3 to 4 minutes after the birth of your first child. You’ve barely had time to realise what’s going on before someone asks ‘so when are you having another?’. Okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration but we all know that it doesn’t take long for that line of questioning to start. A lot of mums say they feel the pressure from society to have another baby soon after having their first, but personally, the only person I’ve felt the pressure from is myself.

Before I had Oliver, I was firmly in the camp of ‘I want to have my kids close together’. I’ve always wanted at least two children, and I love the idea of having them close in age so they can play together and be ‘best friends’ – I’m fully aware of how naïve and unrealistic that image is, but just hear me out. I always planned to have my kids in close succession and that by the time my maternity leave came to end, I might even be pregnant again or at least for another. 

MAISY MEOW BLOG UK LIFESTYLE AND PARENTING BLOGGER

At 6 months post-partum, however, I wasn’t even thinking about baby number two. I’d only just started getting a full night’s sleep, I hadn’t yet mastered how to get out of the house at a decent time in the morning and I hadn’t had a night away from Oliver. On top of that, I didn’t even feel like my body had recovered from pregnancy never mind ready to start a new one. It took me way longer than expected to get a hang of being a new mum. 

It was only around Oliver’s first birthday that I realised I was more or less back to normal, or as back to normal as I’d ever be. I felt confident as a mum and I was getting a full night’s sleep again (and totally appreciating every single second of it). Finally having everything together meant that I was so much calmer, and rather than stressing out and running around like a headless chicken, I was able to just enjoy my little boy. It’s quite understandable, I suppose, that once I finally achieved that level of stability, the thought of throwing it all up in the air and starting again wasn’t my first thought.

Things with Oliver are *touch wood* perfect just now. He’s at such a fun age, he’s sleeping through and when he’s awake he’s such a joy to be around. And since I’m sleeping through too, I’m able to enjoy it. I love being a mum, and I suppose I’m just a little scared to rock the boat. 

On the other hand, every time I see a new born baby, I feel like my body screams at me to have another. When I think about Oliver being a big brother, my heart melts and it really is so important to me that he has a close sibling. I feel a bit selfish for being scared of pregnancy and the new born days, because it’s something I’d be so lucky to have. But it's such a huge decision. 

It's almost like I’m so aware of how naïve I was the first time around that now I’m overly cautious of having another, especially given that it might be twice as hard.

MAISY MEOW BLOG LIFESTYLE AND PARENTING SCOTTISH BLOGGERS UK

I’m in two minds just now. One side is telling me that I should enjoy this time with Oliver. It’s the only time that it’ll ever me just me and him, and he’s at such at fun age. The other side is yelling ‘tick tock! Tick tock!’ and telling me to get a move on. I know that having two children is going to be a shock to the system at whatever stage I chose to do it. In fact, a few mums have told me that waiting longer in between actually made things harder (but of course, there will be opinions on both sides of that one). 

It goes without saying that these things can’t be timed perfectly. We could decide to start trying today, and it might not actually happen for a year or longer. That in itself is another reason that I’m feeling the pressure – if I put it off for longer, and it doesn’t happen for a while then the age gap just gets bigger and bigger. Do you hear the ‘tick tock’ getting louder too?!

So there’s no conclusion to this post today. I’m still undecided on what my next move should be. I’m in baby number two limbo and almost waiting for a sign to tell me which way to go. I’ll need to make up my mind soon (and Andy, of course, he does get a say in this too!), but until then I’m going to enjoy minute of my time with Oliver (and every single minute of sleep I get!). 

Did any of you have a similar dilemma? 
How did you know when it’s the right time to have baby number two?

Check out this week's videos: 

2018: The Year of Just Living

Sunday, 7 January 2018
MAISY MEOW PARENTING AND LIFESTYLE BLOG UK

Well, I suppose I need to start with ‘happy new year!’ since this is my first blog post of 2018 (and first in a while, for that matter). Although I haven’t been around on my blog, those of you that follow me elsewhere will know that I’m still posting regularly on my youtube channel and, of course, my Instagram these days. I haven’t stopped blogging, but instead I’ve just been really enjoying chatting away on youtube and sharing bits of our life that are harder to capture in a blog post. 

This week I shared this video on why I’m not doing resolutions this year. I had some lovely comments on the video and I wanted to put some of these thoughts into blog format too. It's good to chat away to the camera but sometimes it's just easier to fully get across your thoughts in a blog post...


MAISY MEOW PARENTING AND LIFESTYLE BLOG UKBased on the last few years, I feel like calling something a ‘resolution’ is almost like the kiss of death that makes it bound to fail by the end of January. I can’t think of any of my past resolutions that have stuck around longer than a month or so. I actually think things have more of a chance of ‘sticking’ if you start them on a random day of the week, at least then you know you’re doing it for a good reason and not just because you need to have some kind of resolution every year. 




I feel like various things in the last year have shown me a whole new perspective on things and, now, writing a list of all the things I want in 2018 just feels a bit wrong.

When I look back over the last few years, I’ve always been looking forward to the next thing. Whether that’s finally finishing our house renovation, going on holiday, Oliver sleeping through the night .. there’s always something that we’re working towards. It’s even more apparent with a baby – when I look back at every stage, I was always waiting for the next stage rather than just enjoying him as he was and now that he’s achieved all his baby milestones, I kind of want to go back and relive each one and appreciate it more. 

‘Life is what happens when you’re busy making plans’

A list of resolutions almost feels like a list of things I need to achieve before I can be happy and just live my life. When does it ever stop? At the end of every list of goals, comes a new list of goals. We are always making plans for the next thing, instead of just living.

This year I want to just stop, and enjoy life as it is just now. After all, what I have just now is something that, years ago, I was looking forward to. This was on my list of goals - a house, a baby, a family.


MAISY MEOW PARENTING AND LIFESTYLE BLOG UK

I never want to take things for granted and I want to remember that for every little thing I have in my life, there's someone out there who is wishing that they had it. When I get up super early in the morning with Oliver, when I'm stressing over the mess of the house  - there's someone who is wishing they had the privilege of waking up to a beautiful little baby in the morning, or was lucky enough to have a house for their family. I don't ever want to forget that way of thinking. They say 'you don't know what you've got till it's gone' and it's true, but I want to try my absolute best to appreciate every little thing I have while I'm lucky enough to have it. 

So this year all I want to do is to live in the moment. It’s great having things to look forward to, but not when it’s at the expense of enjoying your life as it is. I want to just stop, and appreciate what I have just now because I am so, so lucky to have this. I'll appreciate the early mornings with Oliver - it's just more time with my favourite person. I'll put my phone away more and just be in the room with the people who are there. This is a time in my life that I’ll always look back on in years to come and I want to make sure I soak up every single moment of it.  


Are any of you making a change like this in 2018?

Check out this weeks videos..




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