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Abstract Cherry Blossom Nail Art

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Keeping with our pink October theme I decided to try out cherry blossom nail art. I’ve seen this around and definitely wanted to try it out. I did a little research beforehand and looked for tutorials. The search was a bit daunting. I found amazingly beautiful nails and some that were not so great, so I felt a bit intimidated knowing that it could turn out looking meh. The last time I did flowers I felt they looked a bit like fried eggs, so I decided to make these flowers more abstract to try and avoid that. Let me show you what I came up with.

 

I started off with a base coat of Tip Top Miraculous Results to protect my natural nails. I painted 4 coats of Tip Top Cream Puff on all of my nails. Yes. 4 coats. Cream Puff is a sheer off white jelly and I only felt comfortable with the opacity and evenness at 4 coats. 4 coats is a real challenge for me. I don’t want to go over 3 coats of the same colour, but with jellies you often don’t have a choice. My problem with 4 coats is that it makes drying a challenge, even if you add a fast drying top coat, it is still a problem and takes longer than usual to dry. I used an unnamed brown polish with UShine printed on the bottle and a striping brush to free hand the branches. I used China Glaze Dance Baby and a small, wide flat brush to try and sweep “flowers” onto my nails. They mostly came out looking like large round blobs, but I managed to get them to look irregular. I went in with the same brush and Revlon Optimistic to add darker pink centers, but this didn’t work out so well, so I grabbed the striping brush again and managed to fill in darker pink portions and even some smaller dots. I took some essence mr. big glitter and randomly added this over the flowers. I sealed it all in with a coat of Seche Vite. The result:

Cherry Blossom Nail Art

 

The photo doesn’t really do these justice. The glitter made them sparkle really nicely in the sun and they just looked nicer in person. I enjoyed wearing these. I was really chuffed when one of my colleagues bumped into me, she always looks at my nails and said “I love your cherry blossoms!”. I was so stoked that she knew exactly what I was trying to do without me telling her! Even Rudi looked at these and instead of saying that they look “fine” which is his usual response to my request for his opinion, I actually got a “Nice!”, even though he thought they were “roses”. At least he knew they were some type of flower.

 

What do you think of this design? Would you have figured out these are cherry blossoms?

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Nails

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Hi everyone. Happy hump day! 15 October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness day. Despite having lost a baby myself, I was not aware such a day existed until this year! I actually came across some ladies discussing it in a polish group on Facebook of all places. They were asking who was going to do manis for the cause and some voiced their frustrations about how this day gets lost between all the breast cancer awareness stuff that goes on in October. It only seemed fitting that I would do a mani for this. So very many women are affected by pregnancy and/or infant loss. I can mention a handful of women I know off the top of my head. Those of you who have been following my blog for some time will know Jamie’s story and how my pregnancy with her came to an end at 22 weeks on 5 November 2008. I can’t believe that it all happened 6 years ago, sometimes it feels like it was a lifetime ago. We still observe her birthday every year and speak openly to the children about her.

 

The awareness logo is a pink foot and a blue foot and the awareness ribbon is half pink and half blue. I tried to incorporate those aspects into my design. Let us see what I came up with. I started off with my usual base coat of Tip Top Miraculous Results to protect my natural nails. I painted 3 coats of Sinful Colors Snow Me White on my thumb, middle and ring nails. On my index nail I painted two coats of China Glaze Dance Baby and on my pinkie I painted 2 coats of Tip Top Beach Babe. Once my nails were dry I used Snow Me White and some cling wrap on my index and pinkie nail to try and make whispy clouds. The “sky” nails symbolize the heavens and home of our angel babies, I made both pink and blue for boys and girls. On my thumb I placed 2mm pastel studs that I purchased from Born Pretty Store (purchase here*) over tacky top coat to form the awareness ribbon. I stamped the pink foot on my middle nail with an image from PUEEN 30 and essence sweet surprise colour changing polish. In the awareness logo there is a left and a right foot. I thought to make a decal to reverse the stamp. I did make a decal, but was so frazzled when I removed it from the stamper (I feared I was going to tear the decal, ruin it and had no time to redo it) that I just put it on my nail without thinking to reverse it or flip it over. I’m quite annoyed with myself for not having the presence of mind to do this. I could have saved myself the trouble of making the decal and just stamped it straight onto my nail and it would have looked the same as it does now. So here we are with two right feet. The blue foot was stamped with essence wonderlicious green colour changing polish (gift). If you would like to see a tutorial on how to make decals on your stamper, look here. I sealed everything in with a coat of Seche Vite. The result:

 

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness

Despite the two right feet,  I like the way these turned out. I think they are very cute 🙂

 

I read an article the other day titled Confessions of a funeral director: The silent grief of miscarriage. The article struck a chord with me and I think people should read it. I used to think my loss was “not as bad” as someone experiencing a still birth or having a baby live for a few hours, days or weeks, months. I’m not sure why I minimized my grief that way. The bottom line is, there was a baby who had the world of possibilities and an entire life before them and that all disappears. All the hopes and dreams for that life that could have been are gone and there is no shame in grieving that, whatever the stage of the life that was lost.

 

To all the mommies of angel babies, you are not alone *hugs*

 

 

*Don’t forget you can use my affiliate link in the sidebar on the right to register on Born Pretty Store, as well as my 10% discount code for non discounted items :)

Grazia Unnamed

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It’s Monday again, isn’t it? I worked the weekend and am totally pooped! I took leave for tomorrow, just to have a small break. I can’t wait! Today I have the other half of the Grazia duo I purchased earlier this year to show you. Remember I used the green in a challenge mani in May? This is the other polish that was in the pack I bought. There are no names on the polishes, so I am just describing them by their colour.

 

I started off with my usual Tip Top base coat to protect my nails. I painted 3 coat of the pink Grazia polish on all of my nails. This polish was a little sheer and felt like a jelly to me, which is why 3 coats were necessary to obscure any visible nail line. I stopped at this point because I knew I planned to stamp over it, which would compensate for any transparency.  Once my nails were dry I used Sinful Colors Black on Black and the left hand image on PUEEN 34 to stamp on all my nails except my ring finger. I placed a square 3 mm patterned stud purchased from Born Pretty Store (purchase here*) at the cuticle on the accent nail. I chose the pink and black stud as it matched the polish. I sealed it all in with a coat of Seche Vite. The result:

 

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If you look at this photo, you will probably be thinking this looks pretty red. It does, doesn’t it? In person it may even look like a bright, dark orange. It really looked pink in the bottle, but it totally went bright red/orange on me. This is neon pink jelly just like China Glaze Rose Among Thorns and I suspect that it might have been more pink if I had layered it over white. It became more red/orange with each layer I applied. So, even though it looks red/orange, the intention was totally to stick with my pink theme for October! The fact that it turned out red/orange doesn’t count 😛 It also has me completely doubting the colour in the stud. I’m not sure if it was pink and it just seems to blend because of the surrounding colour. I am definitely going to try and layer it over white when I use this polish or Rose Among Thorns again as I am not crazy about the colour of these polishes on their own.

 

What do you think of this colour? I really love jellies, pink and red polishes, but somehow these colours I just don’t love. I wonder if part of the reason I feel this way is because I expected them to be pink and they turned out more red/orange when I painted them. Maybe I was a bit disappointed by that. I won’t let them go just yet. I will first try them over white (which will also require less layers of the actual colour) and might just change how I feel about these 🙂

 

*Don’t forget you can use my affiliate link in the sidebar on the right to register on Born Pretty Store, as well as my 10% discount code for non discounted items :)

Post Modern might Light Your Fire

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Happy Friday everyone! I decided that I’m going to try and rock pink nails for the entire October. I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to do this. I certainly have enough pink polish (it is my favourite polish colour), but I am known to get bored easily I might grow tired of wearing pink nails for an entire month! It is still early days, but I have just about run out of pink untrieds. I might just dip back into my holo stash now that the sun is finally shining! When planning this mani it was my intention to stamp (again). I then realized that I might not have stamped for a while, but there are so many other nail art techniques that I haven’t done for much longer. This mani was done mid week, so it needed to be something quick and easy and so my idea for a cling (saran) wrap mani was born. Lets get to it 🙂

 

I started out with my regular base coat of Tip Top Miraculous Results to protect my natural nails. I painted 3 coats of Revlon Post Modern on all my nails except my ring finger. Post Modern is another duo from the Revlon Expressionist collection. I only used the regular polish (not the striper) side for this mani. Post Modern is a very light pink polish. It was very sheer. I wasn’t completely happy with the coverage, even after 3 coats. An extra coat might have solved the problem, but there is a slippery slope between 3 and 4 coats. Just like I experienced problems on my 4th coat when I did this mani, I felt a 4th coat here would make it nearly impossible for this polish to dry properly and would start getting thick on the nail. On my ring nail I painted 2 coats of Catrice Light Your Fire from the Créme Fresh collection. This is a gorgeous pink polish. It is very pigmented, but unfortunately it is very frosty. Ordinary Misfit sent it to me recently as a gift and I have it on good authority that it stamps well, so even if I am having a bad application day and can’t apply it streak free – at least I can stamp with it 😉 Once my nails were touch dry I used a piece of cling/saran wrap that I had frumpled up into a ball and painted the polish directly on to it. I dabbed the excess polish off onto some paper towel and then dabbed it onto my nails. If you get too much polish onto your nail, use a clean part of the cling wrap to pick some of it up! I really struggled to use the Post Modern for this. I suspect because it is so sheer, the polish coming off wasn’t opaque enough to give the effect nice definition. Because the pattern is random, it is difficult to try and do more than one coat. I blobbed a lot onto my nail just to get it to show up, so the ring nail doesn’t look great. I really prefer the marbled effect on the other nails. I added a clear triangular rhinestone at the cuticle on my middle and ring nails and sealed everything in with a coat of Seche Vite. The result:

 

 

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I love this mani. I really liked the way this shade of pink looked on my nails. Maybe I’ll make it through October with pink nails, after all. Maybe. I was super sad when I had to take this off. I’m definitely going to do more cling wrap manis soon! With all the colour combinations the possibilities are endless! You could even use 3 colours. Woo!

 

What do you think of this mani? Anyone can use this super simple technique and step up their mani to another level. Would you try it?

Hobbyist

It has occurred to me lately that having developed this nail hobby is not completely unexpected. My grandfather was an avid hobbyist. He was a lithographer by trade. One of the best in South Africa at one point! He had a loads of hobbies. It drove my grandmother absolutely batshit! I think if he was a Disney fairy, he would be a tinker fairy 🙂

His first love and hobby that he never quit was hiking. He often went for hikes and at one point he used to take the youth from church for hikes as well. He loved nature. He loved walks on the beach. He also did bird watching at some point and dabbled in photography. He researched World War II. He did wood work and collected figurines. At one point he collected Lord Of The Rings led figurines which I inherited. He had bought the Lord Of The Rings books for me one Christmas after I showed an interest. He also took me to a class one Saturday where we learned to paint ceramic statues. I painted quite a few of them and kept some of them, unfortunately when my mother lost all her furniture and belongings some of my things (statues included) were also lost. My grandfather also collected stamps, glasses, limited edition cans that he printed at work, books and built model ships and airplanes. He used to do tapestries, paint by numbers and decoupage. He built large puzzles on the dining room table with thousands of pieces.

He didn’t always finish all the projects he started, but he tried his hand at almost everything short of painting his nails 😛 Sometimes when I’m blogging about my nails, dreaming up designs or taking photographs I think of him. I wonder if he would be proud of me and my hobby. I wonder if he would have tried to participate in some way or encouraged me to do things.

All I’m trying to say it that I’m not sure why I am surprised that I have taken up this hobby and run with it to the extent that I have. Being a hobbyist is in my blood!

Lady Luck is Berry Intense

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Hi everyone. Happy Hump Day! Halfway through the week already! A while ago I did galaxy nails for the very first time. One of the polishes I used in that mani was Nubar Berry Intense. It seemed like such a beautiful shade and I felt I needed to wear it again to really do it justice. The small sponged areas just did not show it off enough. Sally Hansen Lady Luck from the Gem Crush collection has been standing in my untrieds for AGES. I just never knew what to wear it with. When I saw these two polishes standing side by side, I knew I had found the perfect combination! Let us get to it.

 

I started off with my usual Tip Top base coat to protect my natural nails. I painted 3 thin coats of Nubar Berry Intense on my thumb, index and pinkie nails. Berry Intense is a dark purple toned pink with a soft gold shimmer. I think “berry” describes the shade quite well. I’m not actually sure if it is pink at all…but berry isn’t exactly a colour, so I’m going to go with that. The golden shimmer is not extremely obvious on the nail, but it is there. On my ring and middle fingers I painted 3 thin coats of Sally Hansen Lady Luck. Lady Luck is a clear polish packed with glitter. I managed to reach acceptable opacity for what I wanted to do with the 3 coats. There are loads of dark pink microglitters and larger silver holographic glitters throughout. Once the glitter nails were dry I used zig zag guides that I bought from Born Pretty Store (purchase here*). The zig zags are quite big and I only managed to fit one onto my short nail beds. On my middle nail I painted over the guide and the rest of my nail with Tip Top Armour Plate and removed the guide immediately with a tweezer. On my ring nail I painted a coat of Berry Intense over the the guide and the rest of the nail, counted to 10, painted another coat and removed the guide immediately. I sealed it all in with a coat of Seche Vite. The result:

 

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You can clearly see the gold shimmer in the bottle on the first photo. The silver nail is rather eye catching and people quickly noticed it and commented on it. The contrast between Berry Intense and Lady Luck is barely there though, so you could only see the zig zag if you looked really closely. I liked the way this turned out, although I will probably choose colours with more contrast if I do something like this again.

 

What do you think of this mani? Do you like zig zags?

 

*Don’t forget you can use my affiliate link in the sidebar on the right to register on Born Pretty Store, as well as my 10% discount code for non discounted items 🙂

Projection

A short while ago I found this blog. Tam writes so honestly. Her posts are raw and it was not long before I was in tears. I dug through her links to old posts and she really gave me some food for thought. She talks about healing, about self love and about your body not being the enemy. She paints pictures of you mistreating another human being the way you mistreat yourself. Those pictures are terrifying. Her blog really resonates with me. I have joked before that I have an eating disorder, but the “wrong one”. It is no laughing matter. Self deprecation in the form of humour has been a coping mechanism for me. No eating disorder is funny. Whether you suffer from bulimia, anorexia or compulsive eating resulting in obesity. Tam talks about being conscious when you eat, something which I have a lot of trouble doing. I will eat without realizing how much food I am putting into my mouth and suddenly realize what I have done when it is too late. She talks about being kind to yourself, something I am most definitely not. Since reading about it I have found myself saying the nastiest things in my head. Why am I doing that? So many reasons. So many excuses. Why do I let what happened to me in the past, define who I am now? It certainly is easier to go through life without reflecting, without being present, but the results of this could be dangerous for me health wise. I don’t have any nagging health issues right now that I am aware of. I have no diagnosis of blood pressure, cholesterol, insulin resistance, etc. I don’t want to wait for it before I make a change. I am not going to go on a diet. I am not going to join the gym again. I won’t be banting. I am going to stop being an asshole to myself and take it from there.

 

In our CT Meetup goodie bags we got a voucher to go to a spa and The Stiletto Mum decided to organize a spa day for whoever wanted to come. This gave us all an opportunity to get together again and use our vouchers at the same time. There would be a jacuzzi involved. My first thought was “OMG NO!”. Clearly we are going to be required to wear bathing suits and I do NOT want to be seen in mine. I made a comment along these lines on the Facebook post inviting me along with the others. All the comments were positive and encouraging (along the lines of “What the hell are you on about, suck it up!” – in a nice way). A light bulb went on for me. I am likely by far my worst critic. What I was doing here was projecting my own insecurities and my own body issues onto everyone else. “I don’t want you to see me in a bathing suit, you’ll go blind! I’ll scar you for life!”. Really. Would I say that to someone else? Would I tell someone else “I don’t want to see you in a bathing suit, I’ll go blind! You’ll scar me for life!”. That really changes things, doesn’t it? How can I be so nasty to myself? Why treat myself like that when I would not treat someone else that way? This way of thinking has started to creep into my mind since reading Tam’s blog.

 

This is going to be an ongoing process. This is not something I can fix overnight. I will take one step forward and two steps back, repeatedly. I will continue to read Tam’s blog, because I am going to need reminding. All.The.Time. Tam also talks about words having power. I really think that there is truth to that. I need to be kind to myself and to others. From a young age I’ve said (mostly to my mother who called me selfish) that I need to look out for number 1, because nobody else will. The irony is, I haven’t been looking after number 1 all along. I have been an absolute bitch to number 1. Why, I don’t know.

 

With awareness comes change.

 

When we went to Avalon Springs this year, I decided before the time that I was not going to fret about how I looked in my swimming costume all weekend. I was not going to look around to see if someone was staring. I still wore cycling shorts underneath my costume, because I am not an unreasonable woman 😛 It was freeing. I swam with my children and walked around in the sun allowing myself to dry, instead of throwing a towel or robe over myself the moment I left the water. I don’t even know if anyone noticed. I didn’t feel ashamed to be alive, healthy and to play with my children in the water. I have come to realize I need to stop robbing myself of my own quality of life.

 

So slowly, I will start to change myself. Stop treating the symptoms and try to treat the problem. Maybe I’ve been trying to do it ass backwards all my life. Hopefully this time I have found the right path. Hopefully I will stay on it and if I don’t, I will not berate myself and I will find my way back. This will be an ongoing process and I will update on how it is going. If you can spare some time, go and read Tam’s blog. It is truly inspiring.

 

 

Throwback Thursday

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Hi everyone!  With October dawning upon us, I thought I’d post a quick throwback Thursday of my breast cancer awareness nails I did last year. I was and still am super proud of them! My pin of this mani on my nail blog Pinterest board has started getting some attention again, which gave me the idea for this post. Here they are:

 

Breast Cancer Awareness Nails

 

You can find the original post with details on how I did this and polishes used here. I had no idea how I would do anything this year that even compares because I loved this mani so much. Did you see my Breast Cancer Awareness nails that I posted yesterday? If you missed it, click here 🙂

Are you doing anything for the cause this month? Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

Breast Cancer Awareness Nails 2014

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Hi everyone! October is here and it is widely known all over the world as Breast Cancer Awareness month. I thought I would kick October off with a Breast Cancer Awareness mani 🙂 Let’s get on with it!

 

I started off with my usual Tip Top base coat to protect my natural nails. I painted 2 coats of L.A. Girl 3D Effects Dazzling Pink on all of my nails except my ring finger. Dazzling Pink is a gorgeous pink scattered holographic polish. It is very pigmented, even the 1st coat looked good. I firmly believe you don’t judge a polish by the first coat, but this one was great even then! It also dried very well. On my ring nail I painted 3 coats of Tip Top Melting Marshmallows. Once my index nail was dry I stamped over it using my essence white stampy polish and the right hand image on PUEEN 41. I used the interlocking hearts to symbolize how everybody has been touched by some form of cancer at some point in their lives. I painted a regular top coat on my middle nail and used 2 mm pastel pink round studs I purchased from Born Pretty store (purchase here*) to form the Breast Cancer Awareness Ribbon. I was quite pleased with how it turned out! Over the Melting Marshmallows on my ring nail I painted a coat of L.A. Girl Sprinkle from their Splatter collection. Sprinkle has bright pink and matte white glitter in varying sizes suspended in a clear base. This is definitely a blob and spread glitter. I sealed it all in with Seche Vite. I added a macro shot of Dazzling Pink to show you the holo goodness 🙂 I realize the polish itself is out of focus, but my camera completely freaks out when I show it sparkly things. The result:

 

Breast Cancer Awareness Nails

Breast Cancer Awareness Nails

 

L.A. Girl Dazzling Pink Macro

 

 

I finally got the light tent and camera lenses I ordered. I am still getting used to them and learning how to get my lighting, etc right so please bear with me while I improve on my photos 🙂 I really loved how this mani turned out! I really am very chuffed with it 😀 I also think the Sprinkle looks awesome over Melting Marshmallows! Almost like the O.P.I. Breast Cancer polishes for 2014 layered over each other. I really wanted that set, but now I’m thinking I don’t need it!

 

What would the point of all this be if we didn’t do something more than just “create awareness”? I think there is sufficient awareness about cancer, like I said before…everyone has been affected or knows of someone that has had cancer. Personally, I lost my grandfather to cancer almost 4 years ago. More recently, this year @sanitashimmy‘s godmother passed away from cancer that started in her breasts. Cancer touches us all in one way or another. To donate to the Breast Health foundation, I sent an SMS to 40158 with the keyword nailcancer. SMS cost R20.00. Below is a screenshot of my confirmation SMS:

 

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As always, early detection is the key to surviving breast cancer. Examine yourself! Have yourself checked. If you are not sure how, you may check out this link which has pictures and an explanation on how to examine yourself in 5 steps. Did you know that breastfeeding helps reduce the chances of developing breast cancer and the longer you breastfeed the better the benefit? Of course there are never any guarantees, but it is nice to know that breastfeeding also has health benefits for me and not just my child/ren.

I hope that those that are able will also help to donate to this cause. Thanks so much for reading!

*If you do not already have an account with Born Pretty Store you can use my affiliate link in the right hand side bar to register as well as my 10% discount code for non discounted items 🙂

Avalon Springs 2014

For the past 4 years we have gone to Avalon Springs with my in laws for a weekend away. My father and brother in law celebrate their birthdays in September, so it is always around that time of year that we go. It is a lovely resort with hot springs and jacuzzis and we always enjoy it. We stay in the mountain chalets which are beautiful self catering units. They also include housekeeping services and you can order some room service if you wish. The outdoor braai (BBQ) facilities are lovely and each chalet has its own jacuzzi a stone throw away. It is quite a mission to get to the chalet from the main pool area as they are literally situated on the mountain slope and it is a steeeeep climb!  They do have a golf cart that transports guests to and from chalets which is especially handy when you have luggage. I climbed to our chalet twice over the weekend and my legs definitely felt it! The rest of the time I either had Gabby with me or some form of shopping/luggage to carry, so took the golf cart up.

 

We arrived on the Friday evening around 18:00, everyone else was already there. I unpacked, but it was already getting chilly, so we didn’t swim upon arrival like we normally do. The next morning we headed down to the hotel for their buffet breakfast which is always a hit. Gabby destroyed half an omelette, while Elijah was so excited about swimming he barely ate. I took advantage of the bulk bacon and blue cheese on offer 😛 We went shopping in town for food supplies for the rest of the weekend and swam before we all had a braai together. We have discovered that Gabby does NOT like swimming. She is okay in the bath, but we had to pick her lip up off the bottom of the swimming pool. She absolutely hated it! I’m not sure why, but hopefully she will outgrow this.

 

I actually didn’t get to take many photos. I was too busy relaxing and enjoying myself. Elijah was off on his own mission often, so most of the photos I got are of Gabby. I did, however, get to spend some one on one, quality time with Elijah which I rarely do and it was lovely. I think I should make a concerted effort to do so more often in future. Since Gabby has been born I have spent the majority of my time with her (breastfeeding has contributed towards this, more so in the beginning) and Elijah and I don’t get to be alone together. Here are a few pics I managed to snap:

 

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Morning swing

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Blowing out the candles with our uncle

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Could she get any cuter?

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Little poser with ouma

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Baby ducks!

 

All in all we had a good weekend. Coming back home was traumatic. Our Monday started with checking that all the towels, cutlery, crockery, etc for our unit were still there and packing up all our stuff. Somehow we couldn’t fit everything we brought back into our suitcase! We managed to stuff everything into the little gaps we could find and ventured down the mountain again. We decided to make a stop at Boogaloo’s house in Swellendam. It took us an hour to drive there. I thought it was on our way to Montagu, but it turns out it is about an hour out of the way. When we got there Boogs was meeting with a client and the meeting went on for loooooong. The kids got tired and cranky and we decided that we needed to leave. I didn’t want to disturb Boogs while he was with his client, so I had to send him a message to say goodbye. I felt so bad! Our journey home from there was 3 hours, instead of 2 which was frustrating. I just wanted to be home. About an hour in the kids started going nuts. Gabby was tired and kept crying. We stopped off for some food and after eating and chucking most of the food out onto the back seat Gabby finally dozed off and a little later Elijah did too! The rest of the journey was quiet and peaceful 😉 When we arrived home it was time to unpack everything and prepare for back to work/school the next day. I also had to do my nails, so it felt like a Sunday night which sucks!

 

The little break was a lovely change of scenery, but it doesn’t matter where you go or how awesome it is, it is always good to be home!