SOCIAL MEDIA

Monday, 20 May 2019

Embrace Your Garden This Summer!

If you're lucky enough to have a garden or patio area, there are many ways to make the most of this outdoor space enabling you to sit back and enjoy some fresh air and (hopefully!) good weather this summer! I've talked before about how I like to think of our garden as an extension to our home, like a whole extra room if you will! Now that my boys are aged three and six they seem to have a surplus of energy which I just can't seem to contain within the walls of our house. They need to walk and run about and so I really do encourage garden time for them. British weather is notoriously hit and miss but that doesn't mean they need to be contained to indoors. Rain-suits and wellies on and off they go! Here are a few that you can make the most of your garden this year! 

Grow plants 

I love growing plants and I'm keen to get the boys interested in this too. My eldest has certainly been excited to plant some seeds and see them sprout recently. We are lucky enough to have a greenhouse left for us by the gentleman that lived here before us and so this year we have started to grow green beans! Garden Tool Box has a huge array of gardening tools for all those gardening essentials!


A Vegetable Patch
There's something truly wonderful about growing, harvesting and eating your own fruit and vegetables and what's more it helps encourage children to eat them too! 




Create a dining area
What could be better than enjoying some alfresco dining on those warm summer days! It's also a real treat for children to eat outside and having BBQs encourages them to try a range of meats, fish, vegetables and salads that they might otherwise be reluctant to try. I can't wait for BBQ season!
There are lots of different styles to choose from, from wicker, cast iron and wood, for example. Accessorise with patterned cushions to add some style!


Create an outdoor play area
Little ones have amazing imaginations and so you'll find that they really don't need much in the way of toys for the garden. Provide them with a bucket and they can make little insect homes, mud pies and collect daisies for example. We have a little sand and water table in our garden which has provided endless fun! We also provided our boys with a play tent which has been played with so many times I'm surprised it's still standing. They make little homes in there and make a secret hideout to spy on the grown ups! 

Outdoor Lighting
Solar lights can create a wonderful ambiance in the evenings enabling you to sit outdoors for longer enjoying the fresh air and looking at the stars! 


So there you have it, a few ways I'm planning to embrace the garden this year. Do you have any plans and ideas for yours this year? I'd love to hear them!

*Collaborative Post 
Saturday, 18 May 2019

Travel In Style With Trunki! A Review and Giveaway!

When you're travelling with children you want to ensure that the process is as stress free as possible for both you and your little ones. That's why I love Trunki; they make fun and exciting travel gear for children to help make the journey there and back  just as exciting as the holiday itself! Their range of ride on suitcases are quite frankly, ingenious! Waiting around in airports can be boring but your child will love being able to ride along next to you on their very own suitcase. The Trunki designs are fun, engaging and colourful and even include stickers for them to decorate it. What's more, children can actually design their very own Trunki with the Trunki Customiser. We were very kindly sent a Trunki to put through it's paces along with a backpack too. Perfect for our upcoming camping trip this year! 

We selected the Trunkisaurus Rex design. I have a dinosaur-mad little boy so the design suited him perfectly! He likes to pretend that it's his pet dinosaur that he is taking on holiday with him! 

Trunki

From a parent's perspective, the Trunki ticked every box. It's lightweight yet durable and has a generous capacity (18 litres to be precise!). It has lots of useful features including a carry handle, an internal pocket and a strap to help you pull them along.

Trunki suitcase

My little boy was able to grip onto the horns for stability and the lockable catch ensures that the contents are kept safe and secure. 

Trunki suitcase

From my three year old's perspective, he loved the bright green colour, and the stickers too! He also loved putting his favourite soft toy in the teddy bear seatbelt inside too. 

Trunki, stickers

The Trunki was a massive hit in our house! The boys are even more excited for the holiday now (we purchased my eldest son a Gruffalo-themed Trunki afterwards so they each have one for the holiday!) and I'm happy that the children each have a sturdy and reliable case to transport their belongings in! 

The range of Toddlepak Backpacks are also fun, practical and of high quality. With their 4-litre capacity, they are a perfect place to keep snacks, drinks, notebooks and pens to keep them occupied during the journey. 

Dino, Toddlepak

We tested the Dino Toddlepak Backpack which features a cute and bright dinosaur design. It features a handy grab handle, a chest strap and wrap around arms so their favourite soft toy can hitch a ride too! 

Toddlepak, toy

Safety is a key feature of this design, it's bright colour as well as the reflective patch and piping help your child to remain visible in lower light. I really liked the front pouch that serves to keep items separate from the main part and the drinks holder in the side is also very useful to help prevent spillages.

I am happy to recommend products from Trunki; the items are of wonderful quality, the designs are bright and appealing and they really have children's safety and comfort in mind! 

For your chance to win a Trunki, just enter the competition below! 

Good luck! 

Win a Trunki! *Disclaimer: We were very kindly provided with a Trunki and Toddlepak for the purposes of this review. All opnions, as always, are my own. 

Sunday, 5 May 2019

EasiYo Fresh Yogurt Maker: A Review

The boys and I love yogurt and so we were all excited to try the EasiYo Yogurt Maker! 


It couldn't have been simpler to use. Firstly you mix one of the yogurt packets with room temperature water in the EasiYo Jar, give it a really good shake and then add a little more water until the jar is filled to 5mm from the top. 


Next you ensure the red spacer is pushed into the yogurt maker and then you pour boiling water over it until the spacer is covered. Then you pop your EasiYo jar inside and twist on the lid. 

8 to 12 hours later your yogurt will be set and the jar can be moved to the fridge! 

We were able to try the Greek Style Strawberry and Rasberry yogurts which turned out thick, creamy and delicious. The boys loved it and they can be quite fussy so it was an all round success in my eyes; easy and fun to make and tasty too! The yogurts contain live cultures, no artificial ingredients or stabilisers and they are suitable for vegetarians and are Gluten Free! They are also a great source of calcium. 


EasiYo is stocked at Morrisons, Lakeland, The Range and a large number of independent stores as well as online at EasiYo.com.

We loved testing the EasiYo Yogurt Maker and will definitely now be making yogurt regularly, who knew it could be so simple?

*We were kindly sent an EasiYo Yogurt Maker Starter kit in exchange for an honest review.

ZZZZZ... Tips For A Great Night's Sleep

When it comes to getting a good night's sleep there are times when it can be hard to drift off. We've all been there, wide-eyed at 2am, silently panicking that time is running out before the alarm goes off. Most people will experience insomnia at some point in their life but there are ways to help prepare yourself for a great night's sleep. Here are five tips to help ensure you get the best nights sleep. Sleep tight! 

sleep, woman, duvet


Relax... 
It sounds obvious but taking some time to properly relax is a great way to prepare yourself for the night ahead. Simple breathing exercises, meditation, listening to calming music and reading are all great ways to get your body and mind to relax. When you lying down, this is an act of conserving energy in itself so when sleep just won't come, stay calm by reminding yourself that actually, you are still resting. 

Reduce Screen time... 
Looking at screens such as phones, televisions and laptops at bedtime can interfere with our sleep as the light emanating from the devices is activating to the brain. Try switching them for a good book instead.

Reduce Clutter... 
Clearing your external environment can help clear your mind so try and keep your bedroom free from clutter. Make your bedroom into a little haven with a just a few things that bring you happiness such as a scented candle, a photo of your children, a plant and a lamp for example. 

bed, plant

Be Comfortable... 
We spend one third of our lives asleep and so you want to ensure you are as comfortable as possible. Invest in a new mattress if you can and you'll be amazed at how the quality of your sleep improves.  Fresh and soft sheets like these from Julian Charles are another way to ensure a comfortable and relaxing night's sleep. 

Routine, Routine, Routine...
Human beings are creatures of habit and so one of the best ways so help yourself fall asleep is to set yourself a bedtime and stick to it. Lot's of late nights can disrupt your body clock and prevent you from getting into a deep sleep. 

Do you have any tips and ideas for ensuring a great night's sleep? I'd love to hear them. 


*This is a collaborative Post


Saturday, 20 April 2019

Get Holiday Ready With UK Swimwear

In the past, my pre-children holidays were filled with relaxing by the pool or beach as we lazed about enjoying the summer sun without a care in the world. I never really gave too much thought to swimwear for these holidays; I was happy enough with how I looked on the whole. When my first little boy arrived I must admit I became really self-conscious about my appearance. I was finding it really hard to shift the baby weight, my boobs had grown and I just didn't really feel like me anymore. We actually haven't really had any holidays since the children arrived that would require any holiday swimwear but this year we've booked (along with my brother's family) a camping trip to Cornwall on a bit of a fancy campsite which is right on the beach and also has an indoor and outdoor swimming pool! And so when UK Swimwear got in touch to see if we would like to try one of their pieces, it came at just the right moment. 


woman swimming

UK Swimwear has a large array of absolutely stunning swimwear items including bikinis, swimsuits and tankinis as well as a wonderful selection of accessories too. I spent a long time browsing the site. I really liked how they feature a range of shaping as well as underwired swimwear to encourage confidence and enhance one's figure. I was particularly drawn to both the boho chic ranges and the floral ones, they were so pretty! 

After looking at the site for a long time, I had a bit of a realisation. I'd spent years being negative about my own post-baby body yet I actively encourage body confidence on the blog, on social media as well as to my friends. Women are beautiful in all shapes and sizes whether they are slim, curvy, tall or short. Each woman is unique in her own way and that should be celebrated. I truely believe that, yet for many years I hadn't extended this belief to myself. And so with that in mind, I decided there was one thing for it, I'd opt for one of the floral pieces I'd been coveting (but worried might draw attention to me) and in a bikini style too! 

The piece I chose was the Anita Rosa Faia Aurora underwired bikini. What I loved about this piece was the stunning floral design. The bikini top has a unique crossover design on the bust with a gathered cup. The straps are adjustable and it's also underwired for extra support. The bikini briefs feature the same beautiful design. 


bikini, sunglasses, tulips

To compliment the bikini, I chose the Pia Rossini San Remo Sarong in red for those times when I'm sat around the pool, hopefully enjoying some good weather! This is a fabulous item, it's adjustable, versatile and  lightweight and looks beautiful teamed up with the bikini. 

I'm so pleased with the items from UK Swimwear, they are the loveliest swimwear items I've ever owned. I can't wait for our holiday now and promise I will try to practice what I preach and show myself a bit of kindness! 

To explore the wonderful items from UK Swimwear, just visit here.


*I was very kindly gifted the above items in exchange for an honest review
Wednesday, 10 April 2019

An Eggcellent Easter Gift Guide!

Easter is just around the corner, so if you're looking for a bit of inspiration for gifts to buy your nearest and dearest, just check out my cracking Easter Gift Guide (last Egg themed pun, I promise!).

Cadbury Easter Range

There's a huge array of Easter themed chocolate goodies from Cadbury this year! There really is something for everyone. I absolutely love the range of Dairy Milk bunnies, they are so cute and completely moreish! I also really love the Easter Egg Hunt kit which contains everything you need to create your own egg hunt; chocolate eggs, bunnies and packets of Mini Eggs! You can explore the range here!

chocolate bunnies

cadburys easter hunt

Blacksticks Blue Cheese Easter Egg
Who said Easter eggs had to be made of chocolate? Introducing the world's only blue cheese Easter egg made entirely from delicious Blacksticks Blue and teamed with oat cakes and caramalised onion chutney! Made with 100% natural ingredients, this rich and creamy cheese is seriously tasty, you won't be able to resist! Find one here!

cheese egg
Mighty Fine Honeycomb Treats
Made from beautiful honeycomb, these light and crisp treats would make a unique and exciting gift this Easter. The honeycomb is made with British honey and the ingredients are gluten free too and what's more, they are dipped in delicious high quality chocolate! The Honeycomb Dips, made with salted caramel, milk or dark chocolate, are the perfect treat to share (or keep all for yourself!) Find out more here! 


honeycomb

Moshi Monsters Egg Hunt
Your children will surely love one of the Moshi Monsters Egg hunt sets. Featuring 4 Moshlings, one of which is hidden in the egg, they can pop the egg open to reveal the character. There over 40 to collect and each set also contains a code for a digital gift too! You can find out more here!


moshi egg hunt


Happy Easter! 



*I was kindly gifted the above items in exchange for an honest review
Thursday, 4 April 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. 



Monday, 1 April 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.

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.
Sunday, 31 March 2019

Micro Motorz A Review

We were recently given the opportunity to review Micro Motorz from HTI. Micro Motorz are a collectible vehicle series for any vehicle loving little ones! They are presented as blind bags which when opened, contain three chambers. One chamber contains a new tool to use with your car as well as a leaflet about the range, the second chamber contains a new tuning accessory to use with your car and chamber three contains the vehicle itself presented in a display capsule which also works as a launcher for the car. There are over 20 different vehicles to collect, including six Nitro Chargers which pack a powerful punch. The six Speed Demonz come with interchangeable spoilers made for the race track. The Hot Rodz come with interchangeable air scoops and feature a range of bright colours. Finally there are the rare Monster Truckz to crush their opponents! 

So what did we think? 
The boys love a blind bag, it really adds to the excitement as they anticipate which one they might get; my eldest boy especially loves keeping the leaflets to find the toy he has and to see which he has left to find. I did feel that they needed some support to set the vehicles up ready to be launched from the display capsule each time so this is worth considering if you have younger children as it's a little bit fiddly. They enjoyed launching the cars and racing them against each other and my eldest has liked displaying his in it's display case! The display cases stack together so you can make a feature of them too when they are not being played with. 







Micro Motorz retail at £4.99 which is good value for a blind bag toy. They are available from all good supermarkets and toy retailers and are aimed at children aged 3 years plus. 

*We were sent these in exchange for an honest review. 
Saturday, 30 March 2019

Satisfaction Minus the Splurge - Tips for Budget-Friendly Online Shopping

Whether you’re buying a gift for a distant aunt, or trying to fit your kid’s birthday gift into your monthly budget, there’s always a lot of ways to save. As mums, spending less without sacrificing the quality of our purchases is a basic instinct. But for as budget-conscious as you might be, there are probably a few shopping hacks you haven’t discovered just yet.

If you’re planning a bit of an online shopping spree but you want to stay within your projected budget, then try to fit these tips into your strategy.




Coupons, Coupons, Coupons 
When it comes to online shopping, coupons are your best friend. These days, it’s not hard to find a discount code or promotional voucher for different brands that sell online. So do your research and get your hands on a code before you speed through checkout! Free shipping, price cuts, and freebies are just some of the wonderful perks you can get when you take your time to find a coupon.

Check for Brand Membership Discounts

Lots of brands reward buyers simply for joining a mailing list or a text alerts program. Make sure you shop around and check for these easy offers to get a hassle-free discount on your first purchase. Most membership programs are absolutely free, so all you will really spend for the process is a few minutes of your time.

If you have a friend who you know might need to purchase a few things from the same online destination, check if they have a referral program. Friends who shop through your link are given a discount, and you earn one discount voucher for every buyer you refer.

Buy Everything You Need Under One Receipt
 If you’re shopping for the holidays, then you might find the need to purchase several different items. Of course, there’s a whole lot of fun in discovering your options. But try to stick to just one online shopping destination and get all of your items from the same source. Why? Brands will often reward buyers depending on how much they’re spending on a single receipt.

For instance, some online shops will give you a freebie if you meet a minimum purchase requirement. Others will offer free shipping. Then of course, there’s the aspect of rewards points which can multiply whenever you buy more.

Look for Budget-Friendly Alternatives
For as much as we’d all love to gift our family and friends branded picks, our budget might not always allow it. So, try to shop around for viable alternatives that can help you cut down on prices without sacrificing quality. A favorite destination for online shoppers looking for top-quality scents minus the heft price tags is Copycat Fragrances.

Their shop offers scents that compete with expensive luxury fragrances at just a fraction of the cost. Plus, their unique packaging makes each fragrance look and feel luxuriously sophisticated, so they really make the perfect gift for anyone in your family.


*Collaborative Post