Sunday, 17 March 2019

Treat Your Mum: 2019 Mother's Day Gift Guide

If you're looking for that beautiful and unique gift to present to your mum this Mother's Day, or perhaps are looking for something special for yourself, then look no further with my 2019 Mother's Day Gift Guide! 

Full Scroll Heart Engraved Locket
This stunning silver locket from Engravers Guild of London will surely be treasured forever. It's made from solid sterling silver and has an intricate hand engraved design on the front. It can be engraved on the reverse with a personalised message or names of loved ones, making this the perfect keepsake for any special mum. Find one and explore the range here.

silver locket
Personalised Heart Handle Mug
Every mum loves snuggling on the sofa with a hot cup of tea and with this cute and uniquely designed mug from I Just Love It, she will enjoy it even more. The mug has a fun heart shaped handle and a gorgeous pink heart design on both sides. What's more, it can be personalised with your own choice of text on both sides in a handwriting effect font! Find one here!

heart mug


Howarth Cotton Traders Cotton Duvet Set
Your mum deserves to relax and with this stunning duvet set from Howarth she'll enjoy the comfiest of nights. This 200 thread count duvet cover is beautifully soft and has a really lovely soft green leaf print design. On the front, it features the leaf design on a natural base and on the reverse it features the design on a green base. She can relax in comfort and style this Mother's Day! Find one here!

green duvet cover

Blue Wave Covered Bowl
If your mum enjoys cooking, then this unique and stylish covered bowl from Sous Chef will make a real feature in any kitchen and at any dining table. It's designed to keep food warm on the journey from kitchen to table and has a really interesting blue textured design on the outside and inside. What's more, it can be teamed with matching items from the range too! Find yours here.

blue covered bowl
Snowdonia Cheese Gift Pack
If your mum enjoys luxurious cheese, perhaps teamed with that perfect glass of red wine, she will love to receive a gift pack from Snowdonia cheese. This one features The Black Bomber; a wonderful, award-winning extra mature cheddar as well as the delicious Red Storm, a Red Leicester cheese which packs a real punch!. They are both designed in a smart wax coating and presented in a black display box! The question is, will she share them or keep them for herself? Find out more here.



Goes To Sleep Book
For any mum with young children, is there anything in the world more desired than a good night's sleep? With this beautiful book you truly can give the gift of sleep. It's designed to support little ones with their bedtime routine and to encourage them to drift off into a sound sleep. The book can be personalised, firstly with their name and also via the illustrations in the book so they can actually feature within in it! You can leave them a dedication and even have their photo printed at the front too. The book uses methods from world renowned hospitals, The Children's Sleep Charity and sleep specialists too! Find out more here!

For more gift inspiration, why not check out my 2018 Mother's Day gift guide too?

*I was kindly sent these items in exchange for an honest review
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Monday, 4 March 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. 



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Monday, 25 February 2019

Body Confidence With Simply Swim

It's that time of the year, with promises of spring in the air, that I start thinking of booking a summer holiday! This year we're planning to take the boys camping for the first time. We've decided on the week and the location (it has to be Cornwall!) but we've not settled on the campsite yet. I've found some great campsites that feature swimming pools which my boys would absolutely love. One thing is for sure, swimming pool or not, we'll certainly be donning our swimming outfits and taking a trip to the beach to dip out toes in the sea! 


pool, sunglasses, body confidence

We're all in need of some new swim wear; mine predates the children and the boys' trunks have been washed so many times they are starting to look a little tatty. Simply Swim stocks a wide array of high quality swimwear and accessories from trusted brands such as Speedo and Adidas and at great prices too. They stock swimwear for both adults and children as well as an array of accessories from goggles to towels and everything in between! Quite simply, they stock everything you could need for swimming, whether that's for a leisurely swim or as a seasoned competitor! 


swimming costume, body confidence

I love that they have a range of women's swimming costumes to support those with body confidence issues and for different body shapes including cup-sized swimsuits, padded swimsuits and maternity ones for example. Since having children, I've not felt entirely confident wearing a costume, wondering if it's highlighting my post-baby tummy and boobs. When swimming, I tend to hide behind a towel and then sink into the water as fast as I can. Simply Swim has a range of tummy control and shaping swimwear to smooth and create beautiful hourglass curves s so this year I can stroll into the sea with confidence (jellyfish fears aside!!).

Check out the wonderful range of swimming products from Simply Swim here!

*Collaborative Post
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Sunday, 3 February 2019

Creating An Outdoor Play Area

If you have an outdoor space or a garden, you'll know just how much your children love being outside. My boy's would literally spend all their waking hours outdoors, they just can't get enough of being in the garden. They are two little whirlwinds with a whole tonne of energy and so I am more than happy to allow them to play outdoors and we've spent a bit of time creating the ideal play area for them to enable this. There are many products on offer to encourage outdoor play, just take a look at Lionshome, for example, for a whole host of quality products. 



Here are a few ways we have created a fun outdoor play area for our little boys... 


A Playhouse 

We were extremely lucky to have recently been given a lovely little playhouse after its previous owners outgrew it. My boys have already spent many happy hours playing in it and they like to pretend it's their home which is great for imaginative play! It also means they can be in the garden when it starts to drizzle as they will stay nice and dry in their little house! 

Sand and Water Table

My little ones also love playing with the sand and water table. It provides so much entertainment and they like to pretend they are at the beach!



Art area

When there is dry weather I like to set up a little area with an easel and paints so they can get creative. It also means I don't need to worry about paint on the carpets and walls! I also like to put out some chalks so they can decorate the patio! 



Trampoline

We bought a trampoline for my eldest son's fourth birthday. Now his little brother is at an age to enjoy it too. If they've still got excess energy after all the outdoor play, they can bounce on it until they haven't! 

Play tent

Sometimes, the boys like to pretend they are camping. They put their pillows and favourite soft toys in the tent and pretend it's night time. The tent is also their secret den and I can often hear little giggles coming from it! So cute! 

Do your little ones love playing outdoors? Do you have any tips for creating a fun outdoor space? I'd love to hear them! 


Disclaimer: This is a collaborative post. All opinions and words are my own  



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A Toddler's Guide to Life

Grown-ups are rubbish at seeing things. Therefore you must place any object you wish for them to observe as close to the surface of their eyeball as possible. 

Bedtime is not one specific time but a bed period-of-time encompassing a minimum of three hours. This is YOUR time. Enjoy it. 

In times of crisis, being horizontal helps. 

We absolutely and categorically CAN put on our own shoes and coats and we most definitely can feed ourselves and brush our own teeth. Except for when we can't and then someone else should do it. 

It's mine. 

The word 'no' should be your default word. If you're unsure about something, say 'no'. If you don't want something say 'no'. If you do want something say 'no'. You can always cry about it later if needed.

No grown-up shoe is complete without the addition of small objects or snacks.


We are the masters of hide and seek. How grown-ups ever find us is one of life's inexplicable mysteries. 



Motherhood The Real Deal
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Saturday, 2 February 2019

Bedtime Battles

In my head I know how bedtimes should go; sleepy cuddles with warm milk, lullabies and stories, kisses and tucking them into their soft comfy beds. HOWEVER, putting my pair to bed is akin to capturing and tucking in, a pair of overtired, mini tornadoes intent on resisting their bedtime for all they are worth. 



Bedtime, I should also specify, is not one particular time but encompasses a significant proportion of the evening; a bed-period-of-time, if you will. When they finally do drift off to sleep, it's not because I've successfully eased them towards the land of nod, it's because their little bodies have surrendered for the night from the sheer effort of resisting it. Come the next night and they are up for the fight again. 

I've spoken before about how my little boy is the master of prolonging bedtimes and now his little brother is in on the act too, I can hand on heart say I've had easier 13-hour shifts at work. 


A typical bedtime routine in our house
The usual routine starts with me telling them 564 times to get ready because their bedtime is approaching. On the 565th time I threaten them with the removal of all sugary snacks for the foreseeable future. They then weigh this threat up in their heads to see whether carrying on with their shenanigans will bring them more joy than the occasional chocolate biscuits they will manage to consume over the course of the week. They usually decide in favour of shenanigans. 

Once a suitable threat has been issued and they are upstairs, next comes the changing into the bed clothes segment of the evening. I'm too tired from tonight's bedtime to walk you through the process of this but just trust me when I say I want to punch myself in the face by the end of it. 

Then they come downstairs for a glass of milk which they then either have a sip of and then leave, or spill on the carpet.

Next up, it's a further 565 requests for them to return upstairs to clean their teeth. This should be a relatively stress-free process but they both just suck the toothbrush to enjoy all the minty flavour and then flick spit water at me before shrieking with the hilarity of it all (it wasn't funny the first time). Despite begging them to do some sort of upward downward, side to side brushing motion, the littlest one clamps his jaw shut with a strength I did not know he was capable of. 

Next up, it's story time. This used to be 4 stories but this week it's down to one because they both keep spinning round in circles and no one knows what book I have just read.

Now it's time for the tucking in part. You'd be forgiven for believing that the end of the bedtime process is in sight. The toddler will NOT be tucked in and stands at his bedroom gate (yes, there is a safety stair-gate on his room) protesting. The older one then requests a series of enjoyable bedtime related activities which currently is this; a kiss, a cuddle, a tuck in and a 'yes/no' game (the one where we ask him questions and he's not allowed to answer yes or no). If this sounds like a lot, I'd like to introduce you to his previous routine and I promise you I'm not exaggerating. He would request; a kiss, a cuddle, a nose honk, ear wiggles, ear pulls, a tickle, a raspberry on his tummy, for us to pretend to pull him out the bed via his legs, to scoop him up and drop him on the bed, to fold him up like a parcel in the duvet, to open it and be surprised by the contents and finally, to then tuck him in. DON'T ASK. He then repeated this process with the other parent. It got a bit ridiculous and so we had to scale it right back to a four step process.

So we're finally out of their rooms. Free to enjoy our evenings. Only we're not. Next up come bedtime bowel movements, begs from the little one to sleep in his room, water to be fetched and drank, wees to be had, more hilarity to be attempted, more threats to be issued, bad dreams to be comforted from (I'm onto them on this one since they've not been bloody asleep yet), songs to be sung to each other through the bedroom wall, explanations to be given about what they can smell cooking, it goes on. And on. 

BUT... 
When they do finally fall asleep from the sheer exhaustion of it all, I creep back into their rooms and stare at them and sniff their hair like a weirdo because they are so peaceful and cute. I wonder how I ever got so lucky and I even miss them a little bit (not enough to give them later bedtimes or anything). And I know that one day they will be older and the craziness of bedtimes will be a thing of the past and I will long for the hustle and bustle and demands for cuddles, tickles and stories that they don't really listen to, and the fact that those days are no longer here will break my heart a little bit. So for now, as exhausting and as frustrating as it can be, long may their bedtime shenanigans continue.


xxx


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Friday, 1 February 2019

10 Reasons Why Birmingham Is Brilliant For Families

Birmingham’s Britain’s second-biggest city — but although it’s a bustling multicultural metropolis, it’s not usually top of tourist to-do lists. However, the west midlands powerhouse is actually the perfect place to entertain kids because there are simply so many amazing attractions.With that in mind, here are 10 reasons Birmingham’s brilliant for families.


1.    Cadbury World
If you and your kids love chocolate, visiting Cadbury World is the real-life equivalent of winning a Willy Wonka golden ticket.  There’s a 4D adventure that let’s you fly in a giant creme egg, an Aztec jungle where you’re whisked back 1000 years in choccy history, and much more…

2.    Bear Grylls Adventure
The Bear Grylls Adventure is located at the Birmingham’s NEC. Suitable for children aged 11+, the TV star and former special forces soldier has included activities like scuba diving, archery and skydiving in an indoor wind tunnel.

3.    Ackers Adventure
Ackers Adventure is a 75-acre outdoor adventure site with super activities like skiing, tobogganing and guided canoe tours. If your kids have excess energy, they can burn it off here in a supervised environment.

4.    Cineworld
Cineworld at Resorts World Birmingham offers an amazing array of celluloid experiences for the whole family, with 2D, 3D and IMAX options across 11 screens. And with restaurants like Las Iguanas onsite, there’s more than popcorn to perk your appetite.

5.    National Sea Life Centre
Experiencing National Sea Life Centre stimulates kids’ senses splendidly, with sharks, stingrays and penguins all on display in living colour.  They even offer undersea sleepovers where kids have a whale of a time.

6.    Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park
If sea creatures don’t float your boat, Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park is located at Cannon Hill Park between Moseley and Edgbaston, not far from the city centre. It’s home to red pandas, European lynx, monkeys, antelopes and wallabies.

7.    Legoland Discovery Centre
Kids interested in colorful construction absolutely adore Birmingham’s Legoland Discovery Centre — there are rides, Lego build and play zones, a 4D cinema and life-size Lego characters for them to meet.

8.    Thinktank
Thinktank is an award-winning science museum located at Millennium Point and with a Spitfire fighter plane gallery, science and industry collection and planetarium, it’s ideal for children passionate about tech and science.

9.    Residential districts
Some Birmingham visitors love the city so much that after a few sojourns, they decide to move there permanently. According to the Birmingham Mail, the most family-friendly residential areas are Bournville, Harbourne, Halesowen and Sutton Coldfield.

10. Birmingham Airport BHX
Birmingham’s air hub is a brilliant base for family holidays to destinations throughout Europe and worldwide hotspots like New York and Tokyo. There are all the mod cons you’d expect from a modern facility like BHX, such as airport parking from Looking4.com and food from Giraffe.

After reading these 10 reasons Birmingham’s brilliant for families, we’re sure you’re ready to book a break and become an adopted Brummie.

Do you have more Birmingham family travel tips? Share them in the comments section.

*Collaborative post

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Smart and Stylish Men's Suits From Jacamo

Finding a well-fitted, fashionable, yet tailored suit can be hard to find but for most men there will come a time when one is needed whether that's for a wedding, christening or job interview, for example. Jacamo stocks an array of smart and stylish men's suits at great prices as well and in a range of different sizes to suit different body shapes. We were invited to explore the range and we discovered these great items...

Joe Browns Navy 365 Suit Jacket
This fashionable and sleek suit jacket has bundles of personality. It has a navy base with a unique contrast lining. It can be teamed with smart trousers and a crisp white shirt for a formal look or can be worn casually with a t-shirt and jeans. The quality of this suit is wonderful, it's soft yet hard-wearing and there has been real attention to detail in the production of it. It will certainly last a long time! 

Joe Browns Navy Men's Suit

Joe Browns Navy Suit Trousers
These suit trousers compliment the jacket beautifully. They are made from high quality fabric and are built to last. They are tailored to provide a fitted look and can be purchased in a range of different sizes and leg lengths. For a casual look they would look great when teamed with a shirt.


Why not take a look at the great range of stylish men's suits available from Jacamo? They also stock a wide array of other clothing items for all your styling needs! 

*We were kindly gifted these items in exchange for an honest review.


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Thursday, 31 January 2019

Cosy Winter Fashion With Fashion World

As much as I love the spring and summer, you just can't beat wrapping up warm in a snuggly hat, coat and gloves. Whether you're dashing about on the school run, blowing the cobwebs away with a winter walk or simply travelling from A to B, you can do it in style with these cosy winter fashion items from Fashion World! 

Ribbed Knitted Bobble Hat
I love hats, in fact it's rare I step outside without a hat during the colder months. I'm loving this grey knitted bobble hat. It's chunky, warm and features a big bobble on the top which is bang on trend for the cooler months!
grey knitted bobble hat



Knitted Gloves
These grey knitted gloves can be paired with the bobble hat to keep your hands warm as well as protected from the elements. They are wonderfully soft and comfortable to wear. They are also not too bulky, so you don't have to keep removing them to find your phone, purse or keys for example! 
grey knitted gloves
Black Memory Padded Parker
This super stylish Padded Parker will keep you warm and dry this winter. It has soft and light memory padding as well as an adjustable waist drawstring. It is also lightweight without compromising on warmth. Available in classic black or cool khaki, you won't want to take it off! Explore the fabulous range of women's coats available at Fashion World here!

black padded parka

To explore the range of products from Fashion World, just visit here! What are your favourite winter fashion staples? 



*I was kindly gifted the above items in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 
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Wednesday, 16 January 2019

The Importance of Winter Tyres

Winter tyres which are also known as cold weather tyres can help you stay safe on the roads during the colder months. During winter, road conditions can become rather challenging so it's important to stay safe when driving during this time. One way to do this is to consider changing your tyres to winter tyres.


snow, road

What are winter tyres?

Winter tyres are specially designed so that the rubber does not harden in low and freezing temperatures and they are also able to grip to snow and ice due to an improved groove ratio.  

What are the advantages of winter tyres?

Driving with winter tyres has many advantages including:
  • Added safety due to the specially designed rubber and improved groove ratio of the tyres. 
  • Shorter stopping distances compared with summer tyres. 
  • There is a reduced risk of aquaplaning which is when your vehicle loses traction with the road in wet conditions.
  • The tyres are not just useful in snow and ice conditions, they are also useful for travelling on wet roads too. 
  • If you're planning to take your car abroad, in many parts of Europe it's a legal requirement to have winter tyres fitted during the winter months.

It's important to get your winter tyres fitted before the colder weather strikes.To buy new Winter Tyres online, select Jet Wheel Tyres.



*Post written in collaboration




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