SOCIAL MEDIA

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Hill's Science Plan Adult Dog Food: A Review

When it comes to feeding your dog you want to ensure that their food is high quality, providing them with all the nutrition they need to maintain their health and well-being as well as being one that they enjoy too! We were recently invited to review Hill's Science Plan Adult Dog food for our lovely Cockapoo and I couldn't wait to see what she thought!

Hill's dog food

I'd heard only good things about Hill's; my initial thoughts when hearing the name Hill's was 'oh, that's the one the vets use!' and similarly, when telling others about this review, they said exactly the same thing! And so it's safe to say this brand comes with a certain degree of prestige and I couldn't wait to see if it lived up to it's reputation. We reviewed the Hill's™ Science Plan™ Canine Adult Advanced Fitness™ Medium Chicken dog food. 

The packaging of the food looks great, it's both sturdy and sleek in appearance. I really loved that the bag was resealable with a velcro fastening so there are no worries about the food becoming stale.

The food has been developed to support lean muscle and healthy vital organs. It is made with high quality ingredients and Hill's are so confident that your dog will enjoy the taste that they offer a 100% money back guarantee!

Hill's dog food

So what did our dog think? Well it's safe to say that she certainly enjoyed it, she got stuck in straight away and then licked the bowl clean! With her usual food, she doesn't seem to eat it with quite the same relish! The food is a complete dog food so there's no need to mix with dog meat and to be honest, she certainly didn't seem to be of the opinion that anything was missing from her meal. The food retails at £33.99 so it's not a budget option but when you consider the high quality ingredients and the fact that it's a carefully balanced food containing omega 3's, lean proteins and proven antioxidants which has wonderful health benefits to your dog then I'm confident that's it's certainly worth the money!

It's certainly highly recommended from this little lady!

Hill's dog food

Disclaimer: This is a collaborative post
Thursday, 1 August 2019

To The Moon and Stars

As you approach your sixth birthday, I wanted to write to you to tell you how loved you are and how proud I am of you but each time I try, I wonder whether my words are enough. The other day, out of curiosity and anticipation of the funny answer you might provide, I asked you if you knew what love is. You said it was 'something to do with the heart' (your brother argued that actually it was something to do with the park but that's another story!). You were right of course. It is. Love is everything wonderful and happy; it's warm and it's tender and it's as fierce as it is gentle. But it goes beyond all this, to somewhere unknown, to an all encompassing, unfathomable place. For me, it creeps into my pores, it sneaks up on me and makes me catch my breath. It is the flip of my heart when I see the school is calling me for some reason. It's the protectiveness I feel when someone says you're quiet (you've an inner confidence that I'm so proud of). It's in the second before I hear the sound of your breath when I check on you in the night. It's the panic when I lose sight of you for a few seconds. It's woven into the trust I have to place in others when I hand you over to the school each day. It's in my most terrifying and scariest thoughts. It's in the giggles and in the tears. It's there when I'm asleep and when I'm awake, when my mind is on other things and when it's solely on you. It's out of my control now. It's in the silence, it's in the guilt, it's in the calm and it's in the storm. It's the happy and it's the sad, it's the hurt and the fear. It's what life is now.

Everyday, I stand on the edge looking down, knowing this life is as fragile as a whisper. And I fall for you over and over. You were the one that tore my heart wide open, that made me both stronger than I knew I could be but also more vulnerable. Love is all of this. It was and it always is. A trillion times over and over. But I don't say any of this to you. I will simply summarise with 'I love you'.

 Happy Birthday Bump. 



Wednesday, 31 July 2019

It's Not Just You: Loneliness In Parenting

When I was anticipating becoming a mum for the first time, loneliness was the last thing I expected. If anything, the addition of an extra person in my life that I would spend most of my time with, would surely mean I'd have all the company I could ever want. I pictured happy trips to coffee shops, my baby sleepy and content by my side, walks in the park as we chatted away and lazy mornings snuggled in our pyjamas enjoying each other's company. In reality it wasn't like this. Our first trip to a coffee shop was quite eventful as I couldn't make his bottle up fast enough and he screamed blue murder. It was a small coffee shop and so his little wails filled the whole room. Everyone seemed to have stopped talking and was waiting for me to feed him. I became all fingers and thumbs and so it took twice as long. When I finally placed the bottle in his mouth he instantly stopped and everyone burst out laughing. It was all so dramatic that it WAS funny in hindsight but at the time I was so flustered I just wanted to leave! Baby groups filled me with horror (in a strange twist of fate I actually run my own now) as I felt like the only one that hadn't managed to get out the door on time, that hadn't managed to breastfeed and that had ventured out of the house styling a baby sick stain! In reality I wasn't the only one but this was my perception of it. And the result of that perception is that it made me feel lonely. As the years went on, this feeling didn't go. Whereas others can appear to have parenting down to a T, I still feel like I'm just winging it. I think the truth is that this is how many, if not all, people feel but on the surface it's not always evident.

baby, parenting

Loneliness is not exclusive to parenting of course. Loneliness is a feeling of isolation; from either physically not having people around you or from having people around but feeling like you don't always connect with them. You can feel lonely when you're surrounded by people and when you have friends. I'm a bit of an introvert and sometimes I fold into myself and shy away from social interaction and other times I'm so worried I will say the wrong thing that I try not to say much at all.

So what can you do?
Be kind to yourself- If you take one thing and one thing only from this post, know that it's not just you. It's really not. The seemingly happiest, most sociable person in the room might be feeling just as you do. Don't struggle alone, talk it through  a therapist or reach out to family members and friends. 

Reach out- Contact an old friend, pop a card through the door of a neighbour, smile at a mum on the school run, just initiate that first step. You never know where it might lead.

Don't compare- I might do myself out of a job here but don't be afraid to take a social media break. Social media is an odd phenomenon. You're only going to see a polished, edited version of people's lives which will never seem to compare to your unedited reality. If it doesn't help to look at it, look away.

Do something a little bit scary- Baby groups did fill me with horror BUT I met some wonderful people through them. My children are past the baby group stage now so my scary things are to go to events or social things that I would usually shy away from. 

Hang on in there- This feeling will pass. You'll see. 

xxx

For more information about loneliness and the ways it can be combated, visit the Jo Cox Loneliness website.
Thursday, 25 July 2019

A Week Well Spent With Ableforth's Bathtub Gin

What could be more refreshing than a a beautiful, fresh gin and tonic? I was recently invited to try Ableforth's Bathtub Gin; a delicious copper-pot distilled gin containing fragrant botanicals including coriander and juniper which is then infused with a further six botanicals which takes seven days to complete! This gin is really something; with a unique flavour derived from it's exceptional ingredients and uncompromising methods, you can see why it's an award winning gin with every sip you take! 

bathtub gin

To celebrate the seven day process used to infuse the gin, Ableforth's is running a competition to ask you what your week well spent would be? Simply head to their website to enter, sharing details of your dream week and you could actually win it! The prize will be up to the value of £1000 (or AUS $1000 for Australian entrants) and entries close at the end of July!

What would your Week Well Spent consist of? For me, and this is something I constantly daydream about, it would be a blissful and beautifully peaceful week spent at a yoga retreat! In my much longed for daydream, I imagine arriving at a picturesque, stunning coastal retreat where for the next seven days, I could enjoy taking part in yoga classes, or do yoga by myself, whilst listening to the waves crash on the beach. Each morning would begin with a leisurely breakfast, followed by some yoga before time to relax and unwind in a quiet area with some books to read. There would be a delicious lunch each day and the option of horse riding on the beach. The evenings would consist of more yoga, beach walks and staring up at the stars all the while enjoying a crisp and delicious gin and tonic!! 


So there you have it, my Week Well Spent. How would you spend yours? I'd love to hear! 

Disclaimer: I was kindly sent a Bathtub Gin pack for the purposes of this post.


Tuesday, 16 July 2019

I'm ok!

For me, anxiety manifests itself with a very real fear that I'm not a good person. It's the analysis of hundreds of thoughts and actions to see if I've said, done or implied something that proves my fear.

Anxiety causes a feeling of panic to surge through every part of me. It can act like a weight that presses down on me when I lie down at night. It can cause an intense tiredness that makes my words slur and leaves little room for anything else to come or go in my head. 

Anxiety takes my biggest fears and taunts me with them. So that sometimes this is all I can hear. It whispers that I'm not a good mum, a good wife, a good friend, a good person. That I'm not worthy. That any happiness I feel isn't deserved and so I take it in snatches. I try and rebel from it by acting carefree- silly, funny, flirty- but it always catches up with me, casually whispering that I don't deserve that happiness, that I'm not worthy. And then I feel guilty about it for days after.

One thing I know though, is that anxiety will never be stronger than me, though often it feels it. It never will be. And like all bullies, eventually they lose steam, lack credibility and ultimately trip themselves up. And so I'm ok. Really. Perhaps it also means that actually I am a pretty good friend because while anxiety might kick the crap out of me most days I'll be damned if I let it do that to my friends without joining their fight.

So if any of this rings true for you, know you're not alone.

I get it. 




For help and advice on the benefits of therapy. just click here.  
Sunday, 7 July 2019

8 Places You Need to Visit in Singapore

Image credit Pexels


If you are looking for a holiday that has that extra something special compared to your average city break, you will love Singapore. Singapore is, after all, not your average city, located just off the southern coast of Malaysia, Singapore is an island-state and made up of the main island along with over 60 smaller islands, which are known as islets. 

There is no shortage of places to explore and things to see and do when staying in Singapore, and no matter the length of your stay you will find it hard to fit in seeing all the highlights that this vibrant city has to offer.

Singapore brings together both the sleek city lifestyle you would expect of a bustling metropolis and then pairs it with a wide variety of cultures and religions co-existing across the city. This mix of history, culture, religion and urban life is part of the city’s charm and what makes it such a fascinating place to visit.


If you are planning a trip to Singapore, then you will find that there’s so much to see and do here, that it is best to plan ahead so that you can use your time wisely and fit in seeing as much of the city as you can. Here are some suggestions to help you decide where you should visit during your holiday in Singapore:

Gardens by the Bay
The Gardens by the Bay are quite simply stunning and like nothing that you have ever seen before. The Gardens by the Bay span an impressive 101 hectares and enjoy beautiful views over the water. The Supertrees are the most distinctive feature of the gardens, and are hard to miss as they are up to 16 storeys tall! To enjoy spectacular views over the Gardens by the Bay, you can stroll across a walkway that stretches between the Supertrees, to get the ultimate bird’s eye view.
If you time your visit to the Gardens by the Bay so that you are there in the evening, you will be able to enjoy a stunning sound and light show, known as the Garden Rhapsody, which brings the Supertrees to life with colour.

Little India
Singapore is divided up into distinct neighbourhoods, all different, but all well worth a visit. Little India is one of these districts and is home to Singapore’s Indian community.

When visiting Little India don’t miss following the Little India Art Trail and enjoying the murals which adorn the walls of this neighbourhood. The murals depict elements of Little India’s history and people.

While you are in Little India, you may want to make a trip to the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, which is an unforgettable sight.


Chinatown
Another of Singapore’s bustling districts is Chinatown. If you are feeling peckish, then your first stop should be Chinatown Food Street, which, as its name suggests, is jam-packed with delicious food.

Chinatown is also home to a variety of religious buildings. The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum is a must-visit destination, and while you are there, make sure you check out the rooftop garden!


Marina Bay
Marina Bay is a cosmopolitan district and home to a lot of the buildings which make up Singapore’s stunning skyline. One incredible sight to see is the infinity pool at Marina Sands Bay, the hotel’s vast pool is three times bigger than an Olympic-sized swimming pool, making it an incredibly impressive place to take a dip while enjoying a spectacular view, and is believed to be the world’s largest infinity pool!.

If you prefer, views of Marina Bay can be enjoyed surrounded by nature rather than skyscrapers from the Gardens by the Bay.


National Museum of Singapore
Singapore has a rich history, and if you are interested to learn more about this charming city, a trip to the National Museum of Singapore is well worth it. At the museum, you will discover more about Singapore’s culture, history and art throughout the many exhibitions that the museum has to offer.

1-Altitude

If you have a head for heights and a taste for cocktails, then you need to visit 1-Altitude. 1-Altitude is a rooftop bar, but not just any rooftop bar - it has the honour of being the highest al fresco rooftop bar in the world. 1-Altitude also boasts 360-degree views of the city. So, if you are looking for somewhere extra special to spend your evening, then this is the place to go!


Botanic Gardens
Enjoy Singapore’s green space and pay a visit to the Botanic Gardens during your stay. The Botanic Gardens are the perfect antidote to an overload of city life, and the great news is that you don’t have to pay to visit them.

This beautiful outside space has been open for over 150 years and is an official UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you are visiting the Botanic Gardens with the kids in tow, then make sure you check out Asia’s very first garden dedicated to children; the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden. The Children’s Garden provides the opportunity for plenty of family fun in the fresh air.


Image credit Pixabay

Universal Studios Singapore
If you are a fan of theme parks and movies, then how about visiting Universal Studios Singapore during your stay? Universal Studios Singapore offers 28 rides for thrillseekers to enjoy, and the theme park itself features seven different zones to explore. Universal Studios Singapore is located within Resorts World Sentosa.

Planning to Stay a While Longer?
If your visit to Singapore has given you a yearning to stay on and experience more of what this unique destination has to offer, then you may choose to extend your stay and rent an apartment here.

Once you begin your property search in Singapore, you will find that hdb rental price is a cost that varies significantly depending on the area that you wish to live in. Think carefully about exactly where in Singapore you would like to live to give you a better idea of what you can afford to rent here.

*Collaborative Post
Saturday, 15 June 2019

Baby Annabell Alexander from Zapf Creation

Is there anything more adorable than seeing your little ones pretending to be Mummy or Daddy? We were recently sent a Baby Annabell Alexander doll and what a fun week the boys have had! The doll has lots of lovely interactive features: it can drink, eat, suck, cry real tears, gurgle, wee and sleep!

Baby Annabell

The doll is absolutely beautiful, with large brown eyes, pink rosy cheeks and a wonderfully soft and cosy velvet-style sleep-suit and hat. There's obviously been lots of attention to detail in the production of the doll, from the cute little curled up fists, long eyelashes and cute little button nose. There's also a slight weight to the doll to make it feel just like holding a newborn. 

Baby Annabell

The doll makes cute babbling sounds and even cries like a real baby. The sounds are quite realistic too and took me right back to when my boys were tiny. When the doll cries, he can be soothed with a pat on the back or stroke of his cheek or by giving him his dummy or bottle. 

A really lovely feature of the doll is how the eyes can open and close and he makes a sucking motion when you place the bottle or dummy in his mouth; it's very sweet! You can feed the doll with water from the bottle and then he can sit on the potty or fill his nappy when you press the heart symbol on his tummy.  

Baby Annabell

I’m a strong believer that we need to break the stereotypical associations of toys being either for girls or for boys. Playing with a doll can help your child learn important skills in how to nurture, care for and comfort another person and that certainly is not a skill that is ‘just for girls' so I'm more than happy for my boys to play with dolls if they want to. It's lovely to observe them gently rocking the doll or feeding him the bottle. 

I really love this doll; I would have loved it as a child myself and have certainly enjoyed reviewing it with the boys. It comes highly recommended from us! Now I'm off to convince my husband that the boys will both make good big brothers! 

You can find out more about Baby Annabel Alexander here!


*Disclaimer: We were kindly sent a doll for the purposes of this review. All opinions are my own.











Thursday, 13 June 2019

The Best Things To Do In Koh Samui

Koh Samui is one of the most popular destinations in Thailand and there's certainly a good reason why. With an array of beautiful beaches, plenty of leisure and sporting activities on offer and a wonderful selection of restaurants, to name just a few things, it's easy to see why Koh Samui is such a sought after holiday destination.

For those wishing to stay in a family villa in Koh Samui, Villa-Finder goes that little bit further in helping you to find the perfect villa. You'll be given your own villa consultant to assist you in selecting the perfect one as well as a concierge service to arrange anything you might need whilst away. The villa consultants have travelled to each villa in order to familiarise themselves with every one so will be able to advise on the villas that will be most suitable for you and your family's requirements.



There's so much to do and see whilst in Koh Samui. Here's my pick of the top 5 things to do!

Big Buddha Temple
Perhaps Koh Samui's most famous landmark, the Big Buddha shrine is located on a small rocky island just off the northern coast. It's a 12-metre high, golden Buddha. It is reached by a causeway that connects it to the mainland. For those arriving in Koh Samui by air, it's usually the first landmark they spot! A staircase with a colourful dragon design leads up to the platform where the Buddha sits. Around the statue are restaurants and food stalls as well as a vendor area where souvenirs can be purchased.


Buddha
  
Namuang Waterfall
There are several waterfalls in Koh Samui but the Namuang waterfall is arguably the most spectacular. There are two stunning waterfalls; one 18 metres high and the other 80 metres high. For enthusiastic hikers, they will surely enjoy the hike to reach the summit of the highest waterfall!

Koh Tao
Koh Tao which means 'turtle island' is the ultimate scuba diving destination in Thailand. The island is 55km to the north of Koh Samui and is surrounded with white sandy beaches and turquoise seas featuring vibrant, coral reefs with an abundance of marine life. An idyllic tropical paradise! 



Ang Thong National Marine Park
Ang Thong National Marine Park is a beautiful archipelago of tropical islands. Featuring limestone mountains, tropical jungles, hidden coves and white sands, there's so much to explore. Book a day trip using one of the few licenced tour operators to Ang Thong to explore the stunning scenery where you'll also be able to observe an array of wildlife. Most day tours consist of hiking, lounging on the beaches, kayaking and sightseeing!



Secret Buddha Garden
Hidden away high in the hills is a secret garden with a collection of statues. Surrounded by leafy jungle and lush vegetation, unique statues of deities, animals and humans reside. The garden, found in Samui's interior, is the perfect place to explore, taking in the peaceful surroundings. 

Have you been to Koh Samui before or would you like to visit? I'd love to hear from you. 

*Collaborative post.
Tuesday, 11 June 2019

The Falconer's Quest at Warwick Castle

Recently, much to my delight, we were invited to Warwick Castle to observe the new bird of prey show; The Falconer's Quest! I had last visited Warwick Castle on a school trip many years ago and had been keen to take my little boys for some time now so we couldn't wait to explore it together.

Visitors to Warwick Castle can enjoy exploring the castle itself as well as the 64 acres of landscaped gardens! There are also daily shows and activities on offer such as displays of archery. The popular castle dungeon experience is also not to be missed with its live actors and spectacular special effects. There really is something for everyone. 

peacock

The Falconer's Quest is the UK's biggest bird of prey show featuring over 70 different birds including the spectacular Andean Condor which has a wingspan on 9ft! 

The show is really quite something! It's a live action show telling the story of Hobby, who goes on a quest to discover and befriend birds of prey, bringing them back to Warwick Castle in his quest to become the best falconer Warwick Castle has ever seen. The show takes place right next to the river and begins with Hobby arriving on a boat. The atmospheric music really adds to the suspense and excitement!

falcon

During the show, different birds of prey fly over the top of the audience who are seated on wooden benches. The birds often fly very low, so close that you can feel a rush of wind as they pass by. The show builds in pace reaching its thrilling conclusion as over 70 birds take to the sky! This was my favourite part of the show, there were just so many to look at. I'd not seen anything like it before. 


bird of prey

What was really special about the show was seeing how much the falconers were enjoying the show. They obviously cared a great deal for the birds and and their passion for them was evident throughout.  

At the end of the show the falconer who played Hobby, was able to answer any questions. He was very kind and patient with the children which was lovely to observe. My six year old asked him where the birds slept at night and my three year old randomly told him he has strawberry ice-creams at home! 

children

We really recommend The Falconer's Quest. It's on everyday until the 3rd November and is suitable for all ages; it's just as thrilling for adults as it is for children. 

Warwick Castle is a wonderful day out. We enjoyed exploring the castle, climbing the towers and looking at the beautiful gardens. Not even the rain could dampen our enjoyment. 

We will definitely be back soon! 

castle


*Disclaimer: We were kindly gifted tickets to Warwick Castle in exchange for an honest review.
Monday, 10 June 2019

Essential Tips For a Smooth Sailing House Move!

Moving house can be a stressful experience, there’s no two ways about it! When we moved into our house, at the time I was eight months pregnant and also had a toddler in tow and so it was imperative that our house move was as stress free as possible. It did take some planning and organisation but because of that, it wasn't half as stressful as I'd expected it to be, all thanks to the helpful tips and suggestions, from family, friends and internet articles, that I picked up along the way in the weeks before the move. So if you have a move on the cards, just check out these top tips to ensure your house move is as smooth sailing as possible!


Pack a little starter kit
The last thing you will want to do when you arrive at your new house is to have to rummage in boxes to find the essentials for getting through the next 24 hours so pack a bag containing a few essential items you will need on that first day. This could include; toothbrushes, mugs, teabags, soap, toilet roll, etc. Keep this in your car so it doesn't end up getting lost among the sea of boxes.

Accept offers of help
If you get people offering to lend a hand either on the day or in the days prior to the move, why not take them up on the idea? You could make it into a social occasion, everyone helps to pack one box in exchange for a cuppa and a slice of cake! If anyone is willing to offer free childcare for an hour this is worth its weight in gold! My toddler loved nothing more than unpacking all the items we had packed!

Stickers
Choose coloured stickers (or in our case, animal stickers)  to pop onto boxes so that you can distinguish between boxes for specific rooms. This was a great way of getting our toddler involved as it was a really fun activity for him. All toddlers love stickers!

Hire a van and a man
This will save you so much hassle. Hire a van and a man online and they will take care of moving your home contents to your new home. They will pack up the van and unpack the boxes at the other end!  Removal van hire will save you a considerable amount of hard work.

Make up your beds
Make the first thing you do, when you arrive at the new house, to make up the beds ready to crash into whenever you're ready to call it a night! The last thing you will want to do at midnight is struggle with duvet covers and bed sheets.

So there you have it, just a few little tips for making your house move smooth sailing. 

Have you recently moved or do you have a move on the cards? I'd love to hear more!


*Collaborative post