travel · Uncategorized

Explore Costa Blanca with your kids!- on a budget

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Hello there!

This October, while our kids were off from school, we traveled to Spain, Calpe- Costa Blanca. We booked our holiday almost a year in advance through It was our first time using the holiday booking website. We were a bit nervous, but everything went perfectly with no unwanted surprises.

We had such a fantastic time and managed to explore so many beautiful places in just 7 days with 3 kids under 8 that I decided to share how we did it all on a budget.



As I mentioned already, we booked our holiday ( hotel + plane tickets) using in January and traveled in October – extra season.  I believe that is the best time to travel, especially with small children. The weather is great,  the temperatures were around 25 Celsius, the beaches and all the tourist attractions were not too crowded, just perfect and hotels are so much cheeper.


Playa de la Fossa o Levante – Fossa Beach

I researched everything there is to visit around Calpe that was not too far to travel to by car, the kids will get bored if it’s more than 2 hours one way. Made a list on  TripAdvisor App and on Pinterest on my phone and my husband’s phone with the places we wanted to visit in every city. We rented a car and paid for insurance a few months before we left. If you are traveling from England make sure you get your EHIC cards –  European Health Insurance Card, it’s free from NHS – in Calpe, just for a doctor to see you ,you have to pay £120, don’t ask me how I know that.

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                                                                     In our beautiful hotel gardens

We paid for our holiday in installments throughout the year which was very convenient. We stayed in a ground floor apartment at Sunsea Village, it had three bedrooms (we only used two), bathroom and an open plan kitchen and living room and gorgeous gardens just outside our living room.  We did all the cooking, we ate out only 3 times in Calpe, Valencia, and Alicante. For two adults and three kids be prepared to pay over £50 for a meal out…not cheap. In Calpe, there are plenty of Supermarkets to shop from, even Aldi and Lidl. Just a note, usually in apartments like these there is no oven just a 4 spot electric hob, so keep that in mind when you shop for food.

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The most delicious Coconut Icecream in a Coconut shell – from Mercadona Supermarket 🙂

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Beach hair and coconut ice cream!



Just down by the Muralla Roja Hotel – La Manzanera, breathtaking views!

The first day we rested a bit and then went to the beach. The water was a bit cold as you went in but after a few minutes it was just fine, we spent a lot of time in the sea.

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We also wandered around the old town of Calpe. We struggled to find a place to park…I can only imagine how difficult it is in the summertime. There was an Art street festival for all ages, there where people and children on every corner painting and sketching.

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Making friends and learning Spanish.

The kids made a new friend, Luisa, the daughter of the restaurant owner where we had lunch.


Valencia! Oh, you are a magical city!…the light in that city is just beautiful.  The first place we visited was The Science and Art Museum. As you step in…you feel like you just stepped on a different planet. The architecture by Santiago Calatrava is amazing. They were having a special sculpture exposition by artist Manolo Valdes.

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We later drove to the old part of Valencia, parked our car and walked everywhere, we got lost a few times on the narrow streets, but thank God for Google maps. Yes, by the end of the day we were exhausted but in love with the city. We had a lovely lunch right in the  Plaza de la Reina. 

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 Plaza de la Reina – Valencia




So many beautiful tall doors with cool details!



Treasure hunting in a vintage bookshop. 

One day is definitely not enough to explore this city, we would love to go back, we didn’t manage to hit all the spot on our list. This post is getting way too long so I will split it in two. In the next blog post, I will share more on Fuentes de  Algar and Alicante. If you have any questions please leave them in comments and I will be more than happy to answer them.

Thank you for readying!





decor ideas · DIY · tutorials

DIY Botanical Gallery Wall

PicMonkey Imagelogo

So excited to share with you this DIY today. I love a good gallery wall, and after hours of Pintrest inspiration search I decided to go with a Botanical theme to our gallery wall. As I shared earlier in my Living Room Refresh post, we live in a flat with no garden, so I tried to bring in as much greenery as possible in pots and frames too. 🙂

The frames are the ones I shared in a recent haul post , I got them from a charity shop. Recycle & Reuse! I went for a symmetrical clean look. I originally wanted to paint them black but I think the contrast  would have been to strong, so I went with a Graphite Gray Color. I used Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish Furniture Paint in Graphite. You can find it at The Range and B&Q.


I had lots of help. 🙂


I used A3 card to cut out the white border and printed the botanical prints on mate  coated picture paper, both from Wilko. You can download the botanical Prints for FREE here.




I love how they turned out! You can see some of the new things like the new sofa, rug and coffee table in the pictures too. 🙂 We still have a bit more to do. I keep moving stuff around until it feels just right. 🙂

Thank you for reading! xx

decor ideas · DIY · Uncategorized

Decor Haul – charity shops & TK Maxx


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I am excited to share with you today a collective haul from different charity shops and my favorite shop of all times TK Maxx. 🙂  The one thing I am most excited about my charity shop finds, are eight picture frames (only four pictured) that I got for £24! I bought them for the good quality wood frames that I will spray paint black  and use them for a symmetrical black and white gallery wall. ( I will share on that on a different blog post)

Here is my inspiration for the gallery wall:

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Here are all the goodies I found over the last two weeks.

Also, those cotton branches were a quick DIY  I used to decorate for a ladies  western barn dance get together at church. There were really easy to make, I will do a cotton wreath and share the DIY, so watch out for that soon.


The large frames were £4 each but because I got all eight of them, the lady gave me two for free! I love a good deal!



I found two books that I mainly got them for their color, thickness and interesting title ..:) I love to read, I promise, but it won’t hurt if the books on display look pretty and complement the rest of the decor, right? £2.50 each!


This is now one of my favorite frames. I have a few in this style – Indian craftsmanship / hammered look, and I bought them from TK Maxx, this one was £1.50!



While at TK Maxx with my kids, we were admiring all the Autumn decor and there were these little acorns and pears ceramic boxes that we liked but ended up not buying. I am glad we didn’t. A few days later I found this gorgeous  pear shaped box. It has a lovely wight to it , I just love it! It was £ 1.50!!!


I also found this tall Dragon Leaf Plant on a Selling Group on Facebook for £8!! I just need to find it a nice pot. Maybe a basket?

On to the TK Maxx  and Asda George finds:



The silver frame (that will turn into a gold frame by the power of a spray paint can) was £1.75 and the No 5 candle was in the clearance section dor £0.50! (5 because we are a family of Five! 🙂 .

The table runner and the blue round frame are both from TK Maxx. That table runner spoke to me! I love all the details! It was hand made in India. Love, love it! It was £9.99.  The frame was £4.99.

Lovely tassels!!


As you might have noticed, the colors I am going for, when it comes to accessories   are, blue, navy blue, burnt orange with gold accents . Other colors will be : dark grey, black and white. Now the style that I like, it can’t really be defined in one word. I like what Melissa Michaels says in one of her books, Simple Decorating :

” You will define your style by living it first. Your life experiences and personal preferences should inspire the look and feel of your home. “

I am inspired by my faith, different cultures, history, nature, my kids, traveling.  It could be called, eclectic style or global decor with a bit of clean lines and structure ..I think it’s important to balance it or it might be perceived as messy and unorganized.

So far I am really enjoying the process !

Thank you for reading! Talk to you soon! God bless you and your family!


decor ideas · DIY · Uncategorized

Living room refresh

Hello, I know I know, it’s been a while. I feel like every time I write a new blog post I have to explain my absence on here…and you know, life gets in the way 🙂 .It’s the Summer Holiday, the kids are off school and I thought what better time to redecorate the living room… because we need more crazy around here.

Let me give you a backstory. We rented this flat (apartment) for the last 6 YEARS! It was supposed to be just a short, one year, stop on our way to renting (hopefully buying ) a house. God had a different plan for us and fast forward 6 years later we are still here and we will still be here for the next 3 years at least, until I finish my degree. It is a very good size two bedroom apartment, two bathrooms, open-space living room and kitchen.  All three kids share a room. It’s big enough to fit three separate beds ( no bunk beds…I don’t really like them, don’t know why) and everything else. I will probably share how we make it work in a room tour blog post in the future.

So as we recently decided that we will not going to be looking for a house for the next three years, I really wanted a refresh of our home. We were always thinking we might move in a few months and so all the things I dreamed about when I envisioned my home to be and feel where always for the future, pined on my Home Pinterest Board. Living in a rented place I am limited with what I can do, but I decided to take that as a challenge and see how I can have the things I love, like the window seat  for example, work for the space I have. We don’t have a huge budget, I am a full time student with three kids on one income ( God bless my sweet husband).  I do have a part time business as an event stylist but it’s not a steady monthly income so there will be a lot of IKEA, charity shops and DIYs.  But I am so excited to share the whole process with you. We are going to start with our living room/ family room/ dinning room…it serves a lot of purposes to our family of five. It’s an open space kitchen and living room so it’s the heart of the home, it’s where we spend most of our time as a family, where we entertain and were our guests sleep.

Today I will share some of my inspiration for the open-space living room with you and how I plan to make it work for our space.

The inspiration:


And this is the space we are working with, this is how the living room looks now:



I love the idea of a window seat with tall bookshelves on either side. A place where my kids can snuggle with a book or day dream looking out the window. So I am thinking Ikea Billy bookshelves on each side of the window with doors on the bottom for more hidden storage and a Kallax unit as window bench. Something like this.


The window is actually a double door Juliet balcony and the only natural light source for the whole room- living room and kitchen, so I need them to still open. So I am thinking to add castor wheels to move it around. Also there’s a low window sill that I have to work around it, I don’t really have a solution about that yet, any suggestions are more then needed.

We are also replacing the sofa for a sofa bed,  the TV stand for a chest of drawers  and the kitchen/ dining table. What I want from this space is more storage = less clutter, more seating areas, more light, and for the whole place to feel more grounded, I am thinking of an area rug too. We will love to replace the carpet flooring with hardwood flooring but that’s a no go in a rental.

The Ikea delivery is supposed to be here in 10 days!! We have to refresh the wall paint by then. I will love to replace the  magnolia color we have now with a bright white but our kitchen units are a glossy magnolia color and I am afraid it might clash and make them look like they’re  dirty…the same with the white bookcase on one of the walls, so the jury is still out on that one.

Can’t wait to share some Ikea hacks and DIY projects from this whole process with you all and of course the big reveal.

Thank you for reading!




family · for the Soul · things you should know

About last year…

It’s been over a year since my last post. And what a year has been! We serve an amazing God who is full of surprises and new beginnings. His ways are not our ways and His timing is perfect!
    I took a year off from blogging to start something new. I just finished Art and Design Foundation Course and in October this year by God’s will, I will start a three year Textile Design  Degree.
  Having  three children  and a home to manage it was all quite a challenge. I had my sweet mum moving in with us for a year to help me with everything. I am very blessed, I know!
            People who inspire others
are those who see invisible bridges at the end of dead-end streets.
– Charels R Swindoll, Wisdom for the way.
From getting accepted on the course to actually starting the course I had some challenges and I could see God’s hand over me.
 One of the challenges was tuition. I thought I could get a student loan to pay for it…well, on the portfolio review day, we had a lecture on the course and one of the tutors said: Oh by the way this is an undergraduate course so you can’t access the student loan for it, you have to pay for it, it’s free for those under 19…
And two weeks before the course started I  remembered noticing the price going up. I could not afford it.
 I remember trying to gasp for ideas in my mind  on how to resolve this, trying not to get discouraged …and honestly trying not to cry right there on the spot.
  I could see God working  in the months when I put my portfolio together, how He blessed my hands and  gave me wisdom to manage to fulfill the university requirements …I haven’t sketched since 8th grade…over 15 years ago and I could’t believe what I could do…He answered my prayers, every time I held a pencil I would pray : God guide me! And He did!
I knew this was His will for me…I took me two years to actually listen and obey…so I was really confused that day in the lecture room.
    After the lecture there was a presentation and a walk trough all the workshops we would be working in…and I was like…great…let’s see what I’m NOT getting…God why are you doing this to me?…I wanted to just leave,…and then I remembered my Pastor saying: If it’s His will, it’s His bill. I picked my self up and went for the walk.  I kept saying to myself : walk by faith and not by sight regardless of what human logic tells you!
God is not a man,so he does not lie. He is not human,so he does not change His mind. Has He ever spoken and failed to act? Has He ever promised and not carried it trough? 
Numbers 23:19 
Our ways are not God’s ways.
 Isaiah 55:8,9
After the presentation  I over heard a girl asking for payment options. The tutor said there are options to pay in installments and advised her to speak to the finance department and kindly offered to walk her over to the office. I followed them thinking this could be my solution too.
I still remember the lady’s warm smile when she said: Oh, there’s just been approved a new loan option…two weeks ago…it’s called Advanced Learner Loan for those over 25.  I went from discouragement to full on excitement. In the next 5 minutes I went online to check for my self..It was true! He had it all prepared, all I had to do is to trust Him! My blessing was right there in front of me…if I would have left I would have giving up literally with my blessing around the corner.
I am sharing this with you to encourage you to not give up. Whatever He has promised you He will fulfill it, in His time and perfect way. Trust, even when when it seams impossible.
There are no hopeless situations, only people who has grown hopeless about them! Don’t lose hope and trust Him!
              Enjoying  those Workshops! 🙂 Textile Screen Print was my favorite!
books · kids stuff · life

A few of our favourite books!

 Hi. Today I would like to share with you  some of our favourite books.  
Reading to your little ones and encouraging them to read on their own as they grow  is one of the greatest things we can do for them.
Especially in a world where technology seems to be taking over.
There are wonderful apps and tools for little ones that teach and encourage their young minds, but I strongly believe books are still the best option and I’m so thankful for my little’s love for  reading.
I personally love this one. There are many books on women and the strides that they have made, but this one is appropriate for little minds, with a beautiful collage design and spirited language.
2. Your Fantastic Elastic Brain  – Stretch it, Shape it!
This is a great book. It explains accurate information about the brain  and it encourages little children to learn and grow. I had a lot of : Aha! moments reading this book, so it’s great for parents too! 🙂
This has to be our favourite! I can’t recommend this book enough! It is brilliantly written, nothing like I’ve ever read when it comes to Bible books for children. It came with a CD collection and we listen to them in the car so much that my kids know most of the stories by heart.
 A sweet and simple book  with beautiful illustrations that my girls ask for quite often. It teaches little ones to be thankful.
We love Max Lucado’s books! This is the story of  Punchinello and how he meets his Maker for the first time. It’s a beautiful story that teaches children that what matters is what God think and not what others my think of us.  The one we have is a board book witch is great  with small children. There are more books in this series that we love and  still to purchase.
This is a board book too, great for little hands. It has no words so you can make up your own story. There is so much to explore on each page, Alex loves this page right here! He has a thing for lions and tigers. 🙂
Buying books can get expensive. Here are some ideas for where you can get books for your children that wont brake your budget and you get to recycle and reuse.
– buy books that are gentle used from Amazon or Ebay.
– charity shops ( thrift shops)
– car boot ( garage sales)
– borrow from your local library or their school/preschool. Sometimes library sell their book for as little as £0.20 a BAG! It’s worth to ask your local library when is their next sale.
– set up a library system with other moms were you can borrow books from one another. I do that with a friend in church.
– Poundland ( Dollar Tree)
– make a list of the books you are interested in and look out for Sales. I bought a book for £0.30, down from £9 from a fancy bookshop because there was a small dent on the book cover!!
Thank you for reading! 🙂
*this post contains affiliate link. When you choose to purchase the books from the link I get a small percentage from the sale. Thank you!
random friday

Discovering beauty under pressure. – The Pearl Press { guest post }

Hello Shine On readers!
I am so honored to have this opportunity to share about a brand new blog launching September 20th, for ladies just like you. My name is Rachel and I am the co-founder of The Pearl Press. I am on a team of 14 ladies who are 100% committed to living life as God intended it to be. So just briefly let me share with you what The Pearl Press is all about.

Every week on The Pearl Press we will share 3 posts addressing our spirit, soul, and body. Below is a post focused on cultivating our souls and is very similar to something you would read on The Pearl Press every Tuesday.

Inevitably at some point in our lives, we all ponder the meaning and the purpose of life. It turns out, life is meant for a whole lot of livingNot just the kind of living where you breathe in and breathe out and go through the motions of life day after day, after day.
The sort of living where every day is a new day and a fresh opportunity to make the most of the one life you’ve been given. The kind of living that looks for the extraordinary in any old, ordinary, day! The kind of living that can always find a reason to celebrate, because after all, every day has the potential to be a special occasion. Living with joy and passion and might I even say, a little zest !
Maybe it’s a bit silly that I celebrate things like National Teddy Bear Day, Make your own Pizza Day, and the birth of the precious little Prince Georgie over in London. Perhaps I would have scored a few points higher on my final exams in college had I not been up all night with the girls on my hall eating crackers and sipping tea in dresses while we watched the Royal Wedding. And maybe my fluffy little puppy doesn’t need homemade puppy cookies and cupcakes for every single birthday. But it is in those little occasions where life is the fullest.

If I reach the end of a year and in reflection can only remember a lot of check marks on a lot of lists, then did I actually do anything at all? Sure, I got a lot of stuff done, but did I make any memories or grow closer to any friends? Do I remember the times I laughed, the times I cried, or the times I thought I didn’t want to remember? Because I can tell you this much, while To Do lists are a necessary part of life (and believe me I love them) they do not add or fulfill the purpose of our life. Our itemized lists are full of stuff that truly have purpose, but none of them are our purpose. The stuff we have to accomplish every day is simply that… stuff. All of it is merely part of the greater, grander story!
Slowly I’ve gotten myself in the habit of expanding the concept of a To Do list. Now I don’t simply include tasks that need to be accomplished, I also include living on them. Here’s what a sample list might look like for me:

I laughed back in college when I made this discovery, but now I see I may have actually been onto something! I used to put “nap” on my To Do lists every now and again so that when I woke up I could cross something off. I wanted to feel as though I had accomplished something, and not wasted time. I guess it was silly, but now I see that there was something fundamentally right about that. Maybe if we would start including these seemingly silly things on our To Do lists, we would actually be convinced that in the simplest parts of life we are indeed accomplishing GREAT things! They may not be physical, tangible things that we can see or touch, but they are the things that truly bring purpose and joy to living. 

I admit it! I am so guilty of being a Do-er…I always need to feel like I am doing something or getting something checked off of a list. However, I have learned that far better than doing is being; allowing ourselves to simply be present in every moment. Doing often causes us to become unaware of our surroundings, causing us to miss out on a lot of beauty in life. But being, on the other hand, allows us to embrace and take in that beauty, fueling all the doing that must still be done.

It’s official now. I am (over) a quarter of a century old. Every single day I am closer to 30 than I am to 20. On one hand, that’s a little scary, but on the other I’m pretty okay with it. When I look at what Jesus and I have managed to squeeze into 27 short years, I feel like we’re on a roll! I am thankful for the one life He has given me and for the grace He has given that allows me to live it to the fullest. He has filled this world and our lives with endless amounts of beauty and joy, more than we could ever possibly even begin to see in one lifetime. So let’s get to it. See all your eyes can capture. Feel all your hands can hold. Breathe in as much as your lungs can hold. I can assure you there will be more living to do every single day. Enough to fill an infinite amount of To Do lists. Fill them if you must, but fill them with a whole lot of living.

We hope you stop by The Pearl Press. Remember September 20th is the big day!
Until then you can find us on Facebook. We would LOVE to connect with you! And a HUGE thank you to Erika for letting us share today and for your amazing support!


family · life


                                           Happy Friday! Realy excited it’s the weekend!

                                                 My nephew,sister’s son, got married! It was a beautiful wedding!

                 Some fun with chalk in the car park. Thank you Pinterest for the inspiration!

Date night with my hubby!

         My girls and a very pretty entryway! We try to visit new places every weekend …little villages with beautiful little cottages or …this beauty of a house! 🙂

All we got were some pillows…promise!: they were free…so I took all of them!

                                                                He’s on the move!! Barefoot in the grass.

                                                   this is a weekly thing…they love it!

                       I got the chance to go to an restaurant opening…a day late. It was so good!

She has such a beautiful soul.

                                                             I have a thing for red doors.

This little guy turned ONE!!

 We went to the sea side in Hunstanton. We had a great day with good friends and fish and chips. You can’t beat that!

Channelling my inner Martha and canned some blackberry jam.

The day before our trip to the farm…it was a rough one for mama so the next morning after breakfast I took the kids to the farm & a picnic. We had so much fun and I got a chance to relax and enjoy them without any other distractions…like the pile of dirty dishes I left in the sink. Don’t worry, they were still there when I got back..sadly.

Emma decided that the baby goats are just like them…two girls and one boy…I am mama goat.:)

My three blessings! My hands are full, yes, but you should see my heart…it’s about to burst!


Nature Scavenger hunt on our way to the park.

Were did the Summer go? I can’t believe that next week school starts!? …and Little Sister is starting school! She is so excited!
Our Summer was fun but I am so ready for Autumn! My favourite season!

baby/toddler food · kids stuff · wear

What’s in my diaper bag? + outfit of the day WIWW

These type of blog posts are one of my favourites to read.
So here I go, I would like to share with you today what’s in my diaper bag.
Let’s start with the bag.
 It’s actually not a diaper bag. After three children and many diaper bags I think a backpack is the wisest idea.  It’s a Betty Barclay backpack. I found it at TKMaxx for 20% off. You can easily attach it to the pushchair when you are on the move by its straps or using a mummy clip and keep it on your back while you play with your little ones at the park. This way you don’t have to worry about anyone stealing it from the pushchair (it can happen, trust me) and it’s out of your way, nothing slides of your shoulder. It’s great for travelling as well!
Jacket: Gap
T-shirt: a shop in Romania
Trousers: H&M
Shoes: Birkenstock ( Arizona in black)- the most comfortable shoe/sandals ever…I have the tan lines to prove it! 🙂
 Another thing when choosing a diaper bag that I have learnt is, are the one caring the bag, so it should suit you and not the baby. If you or your husband like wearing a bright pink polka dots puffy bag…more power to you! Rock it, if not, go with something that you enjoy and it’s durable…it will be spit on, stepped on and so on…I will stop at that, it such a nice bag that it hurts writing all the things it’s been trough. 🙂
This is what I carry with me most of the time. If it’s a Sunday I will add a small bag with crayons and two note pads for my girls to have in church.

A small nappy bag that it’s water Prof with wipes, I use WaterWipes, they are really good and with no nasty chemicals, 
diapers, just pampers, we started out with Nadine diapers but every night the diaper would leak so we went for Pampers,
 Sudocream to prevent and treat any diaper rash, a change of spare clothes and socks.
Water bottle, spoon , a pot of snack or food ( depends were we go and for how long)
Sofie the giraffe, a fun book that Alex just got as a present for his birthday.
Hand Sanitiser, a Neutogena travel size hand cream , fun plasters for the girls, a pen and note pad because I am always making lists. My Fossil wallet, and my makeup bag because I do my minimal make-up on the go.
That’s it.
I don’t carry any other bag with me, this is it, it doubles at as a purse and diaper bag. When I need to change my little one I just get the small nappy bag out and I have everything in without searching trough the bag for what I need.
Do you have any tips or a product that you find useful for your diaper bag?
Linking up with the lovely Pleated Poppy for WIWW. Join me!

Animals On Parade, First Birthday Party !

Yesterday we celebrated our little baby boy  turning  the  big ONE!  Both of my girls are born  in the winter months  and because baby brother is a Summer  baby  we took advantage of the great outdoors and the  nice weather to have a BBQ party at a country  park.
We had a good time with old and new friends, enjoying some Romanian BBQ.
On Friday  it rained  ALL DAY! we were really thinking about other  options. .a thing  you should do  no matter  the weather or season in this  country really. There  is  a saying  ( from the  wise pig in boots,  Papa Pig) : if you want to rain in England just start up a  BBQ.
 But thankfully  God blessed us with  a  lovely  weather.  The  girls  were  praying for no rain  on the  day and they were so  excited  to  see  God answering  their  prayers!
 The  theme of the party was Animals on Parade as Alex is just  starting to discover them. Here are some of the details:

All the animals got dressed up thanks to some coloured card,cupcakes liners
and my trusty hot glue gun!



For the berry cups I used paper flower pots. I found them on sale and I thought they worked perfect for an outdoor party.

The biscuits and cake were made by a very talented friend from our church.
 For the last few years she has made all our birthday cakes.

    The party bags.I used brown paper bags and made them into a cone and filled them up with jelly beans, some Kinder chocolate, an Animal chocolate bar & a small plastic toy animal and attached a thank you note card.

               When we all started singing Happy Birthday he started crying. He settled quickly and after 10 min he was ready for his nap. He had a full day! Being One and cute is so exhausting you guys. 🙂

Happy birthday little one!

by the end of the day he was out! 🙂
I say this often…but time..sure goes fast.