Tuesday, 13 February 2018

When Did 'Blogger' Become A Dirty Word?


Recently there seems to have been a real surge in blogger hate. Maybe that’s too strong a word- blogger dislike perhaps? I’ve seen it on forums, on websites and recently and most frequently on social media. We’ve been called freeloaders, attention seekers, self-indulgent and cheeky. You name it and that term will have been bandied about. So much so that bloggers now feel they have to justify themselves or to call themselves by a different name- a content creator, for example. Throw at us what you will, but one thing is for sure, work shy we are not. Bloggers are writers, they are editors, they are photographers and social media marketers. Sometimes work finds you but sometimes you have to seek it out and yes that can mean pitches to brands, something that’s had a fair bit of attention on social media recently after a blogger received criticism following her enquiry to a hotel regarding the possibility of a stay there in exchange for social media promotion. A good collaboration means there’s something in it for brand and blogger. A blogger may receive an item for review for example, and in doing so they may attract new visitors to their site or may gain new followers. The brand will gain from the promotion, the exposure and the advertising.

When I started my blog it was because I was on and I’m still on a mission to help parents navigate the complexities and trials of parenthood. When I had my first baby nearly five years ago, I thought I was awful at it. I had no idea that the overwhelming feelings, of love, guilt, tiredness and cluelessness were all entirely normal. I’d look around and all I could see were mums that appeared to be nailing it. Mums that seemed to have it all together while I had Weetabix in my hair. But then I was introduced to the phenomena of ‘real parenting’ through other blogs, where parents wrote openly and honestly about their experiences and then I realised, for the first time, that not only were these feelings normal but I was doing ok. It was their words that helped me and so I endeavoured to do my part too and thus my blog was born. I’ve put the hours in, nurtured it and now my hobby has become a bigger part of my life and that’s not something I will be apologetic about. Call me what you will but I’m happy to be called a blogger and I’m pretty proud of my little corner of the internet.  


quiet, shh, blogger

Me, Being Mummy
3 Little Buttons
Motherhood The Real Deal
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Monday, 12 February 2018

Rustlers Burger Hacking Challenge with BritMums!

Any parent will know only too well just how chaotic family life can be at times. Our weekday activities consist of work, school-runs, appointments, family visits and play dates to name just a few! Our weekends often consist of swimming lessons, food-shopping, family-time, homework and many loads of washing (!) all in preparation for the week ahead. Sometimes after all the rushing and dashing about, you just crave a quick and easy meal solution. Rustlers Southern Fried Chicken Burger Twin Packs are just that! They take just 90 seconds in the microwave and then you can add your favourite toppings and sides to create a tasty balanced meal! 

As part of the Rustlers Burger Hacking Challenge from BritMums we created a delicious meal in just a few minutes. When my children help to prepare their meals, they are always really proud of their creations and this means they enjoy eating them too! My boys had a great time in adding cheese and salad to their burgers as well as helping to make the side salad too! 

So just how did we serve our burgers? Well firstly we cooked the burger and then we added a layer of sliced cheese. We then topped this with crispy iceberg lettuce, fresh tomato and cucumber. Delicious! Then we served it with a fresh salad of lettuce, red pepper, cucumber and cherry tomatoes and a side of spicy potato wedges! 


burger, meal,

Rustlers Burgers are a convenient and affordable meal. Why not try Rustlers Southern Fried Chicken Burgers and get creative by adding a variety of tasty toppings and scrumptious sides?! 

Enjoy! 

This post is an entry for BritMums Rustlers Burger Hacking Challenge, sponsored by Rustlers
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Saturday, 3 February 2018

Five Reasons why Utah is an Ideal Holiday Destination.


Now my boys have moved past the baby stage, I’m starting think about places that we could travel to as a family when they are a few years older. I’ve always wanted to visit America as there’s just so many varied and exciting places to visit! One place in particular that is definitely on my bucket list is Utah. There really is something for everyone in Utah. Whether you come to ski, to shop, to hike or to simply take in the unspoilt and outstanding natural beauty, Utah Vacations certainly tick every box. So here are five reasons why Utah is an ideal holiday destination.

Skiing
Utah is one of the best ski destinations in the US. With up to 500 inches of snow falling annually, it makes some of the best ski conditions around. Park City Utah along with it’s sister mountain Deer Valley is the largest ski area in the USA. With 14 resorts to choose from, whether you’re looking for deep powdery snow or tailored slopes, you’ll find them all here.

Photo by Jake Spurlock

Scenery
Utah is home to not one but five national parks! They include Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Zion National Park, Capitol Reef National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park. With utterly breath-taking scenery, visiting these national parks would surely provide you with unforgettable memories. With a vast array of deep canyons, huge sandstone towers, snow-capped mountains, coloured cliffs, red rock pillars and beautiful waterfalls, you’ll be completely spoilt for choice! There is also a plethora of wildlife in Utah, as rich and abundant as Utah's climate and terrain. It is home to over 600 different species of birds, mammals, fish, amphibians and reptiles. Utah offers huge areas of untouched natural landscape which is ideal for wildlife to thrive in. 


Outdoor Recreation 
The number of outdoor activities you can partake in while in Utah is extensive. Here are just a few examples of the types of recreation you can enjoy:
Boating: Utah has vast stretches of desert so you might be surprised to learn that while it may be the driest state, it is also ranked sixth in the US for the amount of water per capita! There are many beautiful lakes and reservoirs in Utah, perfect for a range of different boating opportunities.
Horseback Riding: I can’t think of anything more thrilling than horseback riding across Utah’s stunning National Parks. This would truly be my dream activity. With many guided tours on offer you’ll be able to really explore the area and observe the stunning backdrop.
Fishing: With streams, rivers and even mountain-high lakes, there are many opportunities to fish in Utah. Fishing is open all year round on most waters too!
Hiking: Hiking is one of the very best ways to explore the surreal landscapes on offer, allowing you to take in the surroundings at your own pace. Whether you’re an experienced backpacker or enjoy gentler walks, there is lots on offer for you. Guided tours can help enhance your experience as they focus on the history and geology of each area and allow you to get up close and personal with the varied terrain and geological features of the area.


Extreme Sports: For the thrill seekers out there, there are many extreme sports on offer. With skydiving, hang gliding, rock climbing, river rafting, canyoneering and mountain biking opportunities aplenty, one thing is for sure, with its captivating scenery as your backdrop, you certainly won’t be bored! 
Stargazing: For a truly exhilarating experience, how does a night sleeping beneath the stars sound? Not that you'll be likely to get much sleep with the incredible sights to behold. There are even night time ranger talks and stargazing parties on offer!


Shopping
What holiday is complete without a perusal around the local shops? With large shopping malls like City Creek Centre in Salt Lake City or South Town Centre in Sandy which feature well-known shops and restaurants, there will be plenty to take your fancy! There are also many unique independent shops, antique shops and craft stores. You’ll be sure to pick up some keepsakes to take home!

Arts and Museums
Utah is home to many museums serving to educate and engage its visitors. The Utah Museum of Fine Arts at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City has over 20,000 works of art from the representational to the abstract and showcases the very diversity and depth of humans across the globe and throughout history. You can also visit The Natural History Museum of Utah where you can observe and explore the natural world and the place humans hold within it. It features over 1.6 million items and has an emphasis on the natural history of Utah. There is also a lively and exciting performing arts scene within Utah with ballets, operas and theatre performances aplenty to name but a few! You could even catch The Utah Shakespeare Festival held in Cedar City from July to August or the Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre which takes place in Logan during the Summer!

So there you have it! Utah really does seem to have it all. Whether you prefer a relaxing or active holiday, you can be safe in the knowledge that Utah will have something to offer you.  With its eclectic mix of arts and entertainment and with its breathtakingly beautiful landscape with many recreational activities on offer to you, this will surely be not only the holiday of a lifetime, but one you will never forget!

*This post was written in collaboration


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Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Valentine's gift guide

As Valentine's Day is swiftly approaching, you might be beginning to think about that special gift you can present to your loved one. I've put together a guide of some unique gifts that you'll be sure to love. I've included some beautiful gifts, some quirky and even a little bit cheeky too! Happy shopping!

I'm in love with this stunning bag by Ella Doran from her Surreal Succulents collection. Its design is abundant with succulent plants and the colours compliment each other perfectly!


This leather black belt from Luke is stylish, smart and sturdy. The perfect way to finish off his outfit!

belt

Olverum is a beautiful bath oil consisting of 10 pure essential oils. This divine bath oil can help soothe, comfort and aid a perfect night's sleep. It looks smells divine and is beautifully packaged too. A little bit of heaven!


If you have a special evening planned, it's wonderful to get dressed up. I loved this outfit from LOTD. The gold bracelet is perfectly complimented by the rose gold strappy sandals and well,  you just can't beat a little black dress can you? This black tassel swing dress is really unique, I love it!



Gold Aftershave Splash provides a cooling post shave finish and features a spicy, oriental scent. He will smell gorgeous for your romantic Valentine's night! You can buy it here.


Is there anything more romantic then a beautiful bunch of red roses? Prestige Flowers have a wide selection of fresh bouquets which you can have delivered directly to your loved one. Their valentine's selections even arrive with delicious chocolates and you can even select your flowers to arrive complete with a cute teddy bear, balloon or a bottle of champagne!


This hamper from 7th Heaven will provide you with a complete pampering kit to ensure you are treated from head to toe. This kit contains a hair masque, face masks, hand masques and a pom pom, all presented in a cute sparkly party bag!


I just love the design of this stunning hairbrush from Rock and Ruddle with its cluster of red hearts. With an array of different designs to choose from these hairbrushes will help make your hair look shiny and healthy!


Why not raise a glass and toast the two of you with this bottle of award-winning wine from the Champagne house Philizot & Fils available at Aldi? Aldi have a range of special wines to help you celebrate Valentine's Day whether you start the day with champagne in bed or end it with a romantic meal!


This cute rose soap box available here is really sweet. It contains three pretty soap roses and they smell beautiful too!


Lastly, perhaps you're after a quiet night in? Why not spice up your evening and treat yourself with this Kiss Kiss Vibrating Rabbit from So Divine. It warms up to body temperature so leave you with a warm glow!



So there you have it, a few Valentine's Day gift ideas! Even if you're not loved up this Valentine's day be sure to treat yourself to a little of what you fancy. You deserve it!

Can’t spend the special day with your Valentine? Not to worry, you can still make sure that they receive a beautiful gift, no matter how far apart the two of you may be. Take a moment to have a look at My Parcel Delivery where you can find the fastest and cheapest courier service deals so that you can have your gift delivered to your loved one. No destination is too far with a range of courier services delivering across Europe and the rest of the world. With trusted brands such as UPS and Parcelforce, you can drop your parcel off at a designated drop-off point or have it collected from your chosen location.


*I was kindly gifted some of these items in exchange for an honest review. Written in Collaboration.
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Sunday, 28 January 2018

Valentine's gifts for her from jewellerybox.co.uk

Let me introduce you to jewellerybox. They are an online jewellery retailer based in London and they stock a vast array of unique and beautiful items. If you're looking to buy or request a special valentine's gift this year then look no further! I've picked out some of my absolute favourite pieces to show you which I think would be just perfect to treat yourself to or receive this Valentine's day... 

This beautiful eternity ring features nine delicate hearts. It looks so pretty!

ring, hearts, valentines

These heart stud earrings are the perfect way to complete an outfit. They are so sweet.


This light and stylish necklace is really unique. The word 'love' looks just like handwriting!

necklace, love

This stretchy, beaded bracelet features a gorgeous heart charm. I absolutely love this, it's so stunning.

bracelet, heart, charm

These beautiful heart-shaped stud earrings are so cute!

heart, earrings

Jewellerybox features so many different pieces of jewellery that you will really be spoilt for choice. They offer real jewellery at costume jewellery prices! 

jewellery, valentines

I also loved the gorgeous packaging they arrived in! 

jewellery, valentines, hearts, roses

Why not visit them today? I'd love to hear about which pieces caught your eye.

You can visit jewellerybox here.

*I was gifted these items in exchange for an honest review.
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Friday, 26 January 2018

Ghosting- How To Let It Go

Last year, out of the blue, I was unceremoniously friend-dumped. What I had truly believed to be a happy, unique and special friendship apparently wasn’t all it seemed because without warning, at least any I had observed, it ended. There had been a lovely meet up, Christmas presents were exchanged, there were hugs and promises to do it again soon and that was the last I ever saw of her. To say that it stings would be an understatement. I was, I am, completely devastated. There’s not been a day since that I haven’t wondered what went wrong, where it went wrong, when it went wrong and what I could have possibly done to cause or deserve it but I draw a blank every time because simply, I don’t know. But it seems I’m not the only one to have experienced this, so much so that a word has been coined to describe it; Ghosting. Ghosting is when someone you care about cuts contact without explanation. Ghosting is a rejection. It’s the ultimate silent treatment and it leaves you powerless.

Letting it go
This year I know I’ve retreated into my shell a little bit more as a response. It feels safer in there. I’ve held people at arm’s length and while I do cherish my friendships, I’m sure I haven’t nurtured them the way I should have. To be frank, I’ve been scared that if I throw myself into a friendship the way I did before, then it’ll hurt just as bad, if not more, again. That will change for 2018. My friends treat me with respect and deserve to know how special they are to me.   

Friendships can change and evolve the way that people can. Sometimes one person changes, grows or changes in ways that no longer sit in harmony with the other person and so that friendship dwindles, begins to flicker and fade or goes out completely. If you’re left behind, it’s not your fault. It’s no reflection on you as a person or your worthiness as a friend.

I can’t claim to be healed from this experience yet, it’s still pretty raw, but what I’ve learnt is that you cannot control what others do, what they say or how they treat you, but you can control how you react to it. And this for me, means holding my head up high, accepting this and peacefully letting her go.  

ghosting, sea, lonely


Rhyming with Wine
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Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Why I'll Always Be Two Steps Behind

To my littlest boy,
Tomorrow you are two. I’ve been thinking about this fact a lot the last couple of days because truth be told, I’ve not quite wrapped my head around the fact you are one and have been for a whole year. Since you arrived it feels like the laws of time have shifted. Sometimes I go to pick you up expecting a baby and there’s a toddler in my arms, I fetch you a toy from the toy box and realise that developmentally, you’ve outgrown it. And sometimes I hear a little one talking, proper words, sentences even, and I catch my breath realising that it’s you. This began the very moment we met, when my hour-old baby was suddenly two days old, my two-week old suddenly a month old. I was aware of it every-time I tried to put you in a baby grow that you’d suddenly grown out of, every-time you hit a milestone; clapping, crawling, walking, running, jumping… time runs away and it feels like I’m always a few paces behind. But this feeling, this simmering panic that my baby is passing me by, has taught me to slow down. It has taught me that time is so very, very precious. That if you want a cuddle, or to read a book, or to show me a car out the window, then nothing, no household chore, no outstanding email, no pressing work enquiry will ever, ever triumph over that. Over you. My beautiful boy. By the rules of this new law of time, you may well be sixteen ‘next week’ but today you are still one. And so this evening, as I tuck you in to bed, as brief as I know this will be, I think I’ve caught up.

Happy birthday Squish.     


3 Little Buttons
Mummascribbles
Mum Muddling Through
Hot Pink Wellingtons
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Friday, 19 January 2018

Pago Juices- A Review


My husband absolutely swears by a glass of orange juice in the morning. He says that nothing will quite wake him up in quite the same way which is exactly how I feel in regards to that first cup of tea. Juice is also my go-to drink when out in restaurants and pubs as I’m not a big fan of sweet fizzy drinks. When the guys at Pago got in touch to see if we would like to try their juice I was really keen to give it a try. We opted for the orange juice but Pago do offer a diverse range of juices from cloudy cherry to pear for example! Pago is 100% fruit juice without the addition of artificial sweeteners or flavourings.

So what did we think?
Firstly, I loved that this juice was served in a glass bottle. For one, I’m very aware of the environmental consequences of the global overuse of plastic and it’s certainly a concern seeing how much we seem to accumulate in our household over the course of just a week from packaging alone and so this made a welcome change. Secondly, I really do feel drinks taste so much nicer in a glass bottle.

orange, juice, pago

The juice tasted sweet, but not overly so. It also tasted fresher than the usual juice we buy and did remind me of some of the holidays we’ve had in the past where we’ve sipped juice in beach bars! There was just enough in the bottle for a refreshing drink! So all in all I was impressed and I would certainly be happy to buy this juice again. I was really intrigued by the range of different flavours they have available as this would make a welcome change to some of the more traditional fruit juices you can buy. The only difficulty is deciding which one to try first!

*We were kindly gifted some Pago juice in exchange for an honest review

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Valentine's Day with Love Layla Designs

As Valentine’s Day approaches, perhaps you’re looking for a greeting card for your loved one that’s a little bit different this year? Love Layla Designs offers a wide range of really unique, quirky and hilarious greetings cards. In fact, I spent a good hour having a good old chuckle at some of the cards on their website recently! Their Valentine ’s Day cards most certainly don’t disappoint. Now I should warn you that if you’re easily offended by somewhat cheeky adult humour then look away now! This, however, is exactly my sense of humour so I just loved these.



The cards are really lovely quality, they are sturdy and stylish as is the envelope provided. They also offer a range of Valentines wrapping paper, balloons, wine labels and badges, again with a range of unique and cheeky phrases.


I absolutely love the little calendar they have too, it has a different quip every month and is again really appealing in design!


Love Layla offer a wide array of cards, not just for Valentine’s but for many different occasions. When it comes to buying greeting cards, I always think the more unique the better and so Love Layla Designs are just what I’ve been looking for. They will certainly be my go-to company from now on for friends and family that share my sense of humour. In fact I’m just counting down the days until I can make hubby wear the Valentine’s Wanker badge for the whole day!



Visit Love Layla here! You won’t be disappointed!  
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Sunday, 14 January 2018

Little Elephant Books: A Review

We were delighted to be given the opportunity to review a personalised book from Little Elephant. When ordering a Little Elephant personalised book you can firstly choose the story you would like, the name of hero in the story and can also set the location where you would like the story to take place. Now, my little boy absolutely adores animals, it’s no exaggeration to tell you that he spends most of his waking hours thinking about animals, playing with his toy animals, reading his books about animals and so I picked the Africa story for him. This follows the story of a little blue elephant that takes your child on an adventure across Africa, introducing them to different animals. The story is really educational too with lots of fun facts thrown in about the different animals. The hardcover book was beautifully presented with bright, clear and enticing illustrations, perfect to capture the attention of little ones. I loved how the little blue elephant would visit the boy in his dreams as this really captured my little boy’s imagination. The book is 37 pages long and so we read a couple of pages a night which was the perfect amount for him. I felt it was a lovely story to read before bed as he would be able to snuggle down and think about the little blue elephant visiting and taking him on lots of animal adventures. Little Elephant have a range of personalised stories for children of different ages. Being able to feature my child’s name in the book was a really lovely touch and it’s definitely a special keepsake that he can enjoy for years to come.
You can visit Blue Elephant here.


Happy Reading x




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