Thursday, 1 October 2015

Hot Slings Review

I suffer quite frequently from what's known as "baby stuff envy". I first became aware of this condition when I had my eldest son, and because obsessed with the idea that the pushchair I had chosen was rubbish and not at all trendy and cool. About five pushchairs later and I wish I had kept the original pushchair! All around me I see other mums with what I consider to be better pushchairs, cooler baby toys, more easily accessed changing bags etc etc. So a few months ago when I was on a train, and I saw a very calm looking mum with her Hot Sling baby carrier, I knew I had to have one. Luckily the kind people at Hot Slings sent me one of their beautiful carriers for the purpose of review, and here it is!
The idea is that rather than faffing around like some sort contortionist trying to attach your baby to your body with a complicated sling/carrier, you simply pop this over your head and baby slides right in. I have to say it is much quicker and simpler to use than any other sling I have tried.  There are also foolproof hints and tips on the sling itself so you literally CANNOT get it wrong. See below.
There are a few positions for holding baby which you can see ably demonstrated in this video.

For us, the best carrying position is definitely the hip carry. It's a very natural position to carry your baby in and also means that if you are at a playgroup or something, you can carry your baby around with you without the impact this usually has on your back and arms.

We chose the Overcast Design as I thought it's quite a neutral colour it will go with anything.

Times when I would choose to use this sling:-

  • on the school run
  • nipping out quickly into a shop
  • going from car to play group
  • whilst in a play group - walking around
  • sitting down
Times when I would probably not use it:-

  • on a long walk
  • if I had several heavy bags as I like to use one hand to hold baby girl in place
I think that's it! But then I would probably not use any sling or carrier in these situations.

I was very impressed with both the thoroughness of the instructions and the quality of the material for this sling - to me, along with the safety of course, these are the two most important factors. I also like the fact that it packs up really small in its pouch so I can easily put it in my changing bag. There are two sizes - regular and large. I think in hindsight I might have been slightly better with the large, mainly because baby girl is quite a big baby and I (ahem) am not as slim as I once was. Having said that the sling is totally adjustable so you can alter it to make it work for you.

I really recommend this sling - it's great quality, good value for money, safe, looks awesome, is comfortable (more so than those carriers with loads of clips and straps), and most of all baby girl loves it! In fact she seems to drift off to sleep as soon as she is in it, probably because of the warmth and closeness of our bodies.

I'm also pleased to announce that I have a 25% off offer code to share with my lovely leaders! Use code bargainmum to claim your offer and can be used across the whole Hot Slings website. Shipping is $5.95 even to the UK.

I was sent this Hot Sling for the purpose of review, but all thoughts are my own.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Top five gifts for children...

I can’t really speak for every child in the world, but I can speak for a few of them and for my own! If you are stuck for ideas for birthday presents for your child (after all who wants more plastic tat in their lives?) then here are a few of the best...

Give a child the an ability to learn new things! For instance, pay for a dance, music or art class and help to learn new stuff and improve skills as well. Also, classes are a great way to encourage children in their interests and let them know that you pay attention to them and what they enjoy. So that is really the perfect gift for sure! With long term benefits too.

Gift Vouchers
Better than money as it won't get frittered away -  you can give children gift vouchers he or she can spend in special stores. There are loads of options for this, for instance overstock coupons from! Or you can create your own  like “I'll do one chore no questions asked” or “movie and popcorn night, you pick the movie!” It will not only empower your child but also let them feel really appreciated.

I love to give books too since it lets children learn new stuff and is a nice quiet activity. Just know what books are appropriate and in keeping with your child's interests. Or maybe you have your own favorite book from childhood you loved a lot?! We've done that a few times and it's so much more meaningful if it's a book you've read yourself.

Subscriptions also work well as a present. My children are always hassling us to buy them comics and if there's a free gift, it's even more of a crowd pleaser. I also like the fact that it gives children an incentive to read. My 7 year old loves reading and I think he finds comics more manageable that a whole book.

Spending time together is obviously also a great gift to a child - the gift of time. Go to the theatre, a theme park, the cinema or out for a picnic, it doesn't have to cost a lot of money.  Local fairs and shows though mainly in the Summer, are a great way to spend time together and support local events at the same time. We always go to that kind of thing as there is something for everyone and it gets us out of the house.

What are your top tips for finding the perfect gift?

This is a guest post.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Scooby Doo Lego - Yes That's A Thing!

We went into Leeds on Sunday with the aim in mind of going to a super hero convention at the Marriott hotel. Unfortunately when we got there, we realised we had got the wrong day. To say the boys were disappointed would be a massive understatement! It was highly annoying especially as we had got up really early to go and it had taken an hour to get there. Argh! 

To make it up to them we took them to the Lego shop. Although it didn't open until 11am, so we had to wait around, have some delicious brunch, that sort of thing. When we did eventually get in we gave a £10 maximum spend per child (which severely limited our choice let me tell you) but in between tantrums I DID notice that Lego are now doing Scooby Doo sets! YIKES how awesome is that? Sadly my boys aren't into Scooby Doo at the moment, mainly because they find the cartoons rather terrifying. But I know plenty of kids are - I used to be one of them! If yours are also fans of Scoob, check out these amazing Scooby-Doo stop motion videos created using the brand new LEGO Scooby-Doo sets!  New videos will be uploaded weekly – so be sure to visit and subscribe to the WB Kids YouTube channel

Even more excitingly, you can complete the instructions on the widget below to be in with a chance to win £150 gift voucher from Smyths Toys so you can get a set yourself!  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This is a guest post. 

Friday, 18 September 2015

Top Tips for Moving House With Children...

Last April, a very heavily pregnant woman (me) with only four weeks to go before my due date, moved house along with my husband and two children. I was actually geared up for it to be MEGA stressful, and in the event it was actually ok. I think we were lucky in that the people who bought our house, and the people we bought from were nice people, so no-one tried any funny business at the last minute.

We accepted less on our house in the end than we wanted, but it was last chance saloon for us really to get moved before baby number 3. I'm really glad we did that now as it's impossible to do very much when you've got a small baby in tow, plus being woken up night after night is REALLY tiring, which makes things even more stressful. We were lucky that a suitable house just happened to come on the market after we accepted an offer on ours, and those people were happy to ship out and go into rented, even though their house sold a bit quicker than they were expecting. It can happen that way sometimes.

The legal process was quite straight forward, with the only minor hiccup being a tree preservation order in our old garden which we required some paperwork for. The hardest thing was definitely the packing, it seemed to take forever. Luckily we had a garage to store all the packed boxes in, so we just piled them up and up. We also sold and gave away a LOT of stuff, which was really important as there's nothing worse than paying to transport things you don't even need. Our kids naturally found the whole thing rather trying; having to stay out of the way when people came round for viewings, not being allowed to get their toys out until people had gone etc. My oldest son found it particularly hard as that house had been his home for seven years and he was very attached to his large bedroom. Incidentally our moving day was the same day he started a worrying head tic, but that's another story.

This infographic from Volition Removals is super helpful, I wish I had seen this before we moved, some really helpful tips...

Moving House With Children 
attribution to
Here are my top tips, including some of these:-
1) On moving day, DEFINITELY have someone else look after your children. It's downright dangerous having the kids wandering round with all the furniture being shifted etc. Have them stay overnight if possible so you can get some proper rest after you've moved.
2) Hire a local company to move you - steer clear of the national companies, they are much more expensive than going local.
3) Do not try and do any heavy lifting yourself. That' what you are paying for!
4) Get wardrobe boxes so you don't have to take all your clothes off their hangers - wardrobe boxes are big enough to just hang everything up, this saves a LOT of time.
5) Start packing about two weeks before your move, if possible pile up boxes in one place, preferably in a secure garage or near the front of your house.
6) Warn your neighbours! We didn't do this and by a bizarre twist of fate ended up moving on the same day as our next door neighbours. This involved me shouting a bit as they nabbed the space we were saving for our removal van.
7) Definitely arrange for the children to say goodbye. We didn't do this and even now the children yearn for the old house. For them there has been no closure.
8) Arrange a treat for the children for when they come to their new bedrooms, a little present or something. It's a big upheaval for them and it's worth remembering that.
9) Be prepared for them having trouble sleeping for the first few nights, or even weeks! You may have trouble sleeping yourself as you get used to your new environment.
10) Let your children have friends over to play as soon as you are settled in your new home. Let them explore the house together to make it seem more exciting! Play hide and seek together!

What are your top tips for moving with children?

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Batman Unlimited Clip and Super Hero Giveaway!

What is it about little boys (and girls I'm sure) and super heroes? Batman especially is mega popular in our house at the moment. It's taken a while for my oldest son to get into that sort of thing, but now he's SUPER obsessed, which means by youngest son is obsessed too, naturally! I know they are going to be super excited when I show them the clip below for Batman Unlimited. Superheroes, villains, bad guys, robberies and a bit of mild violence, what's not to like?! If like me, your house is a super hero fun ground (!) you can create your own ultimate super hero with a fun name, look, powers and more by clicking here!  Also check out some of the amazing new videos from Warner Bros, including favorites such as Scooby Doo  & Batman Unlimited . There will be many more updates over the next year, so don't forget to subscribe to their channels! Yippee! 

Click here for DCKids Channel 
and here for WBKids Channel:


There is also an awesome giveaway to win an amazing gift set from Warner Bros. Including Teen Titans Go action figures & T-Tower set, A Batman Unlimited action figure, DC Super Friends gift set and Batmobile. ENTER HERE!

This is a guest post.  The giveaway is run by a separate organisation and has just been mentioned here for interest and is in no way connected with Pret A Mummy. Thanks!

Brogue Tan Chelsea Boots - How Much?!

So as is traditional at this time of year, I've been on the lookout for a new pair of boots. I wear boots so much in Winter that I pretty much wear out a pair every year. Last year though, I got wise to it and bought a better quality pair in the first place that can be repaired each year for further wearing. But I can't shake the habit! One thing I've been on the lookout for, for many years, is a really stunning pair of chelsea boots. Having size 8 (and the rest) feet, I have to be really careful with flat shoes as they can make my feet look even bigger (if that's possible). With that in mind, I thought it might work if I get some boots that are not a simple block colour to sort of, break my feet up a bit. Not literally of course.

So this year I've decided to go for it, I'm going to get some! Thing is, I've got in mind that I want tan, which makes my search that much harder. Maybe they will make my feet look bigger than black would, who knows?

After extensive googling I have narrowed it down to two pairs, only thing is, they don't come cheap.

Here is my first option from Moda in Pelle.

Moda in Pelle Calisee Boots £109
Now the thing is, although I love the colour and brogue design, I'm not so crazy about the rounded toe-ness of these boots. More to the point, I've already tried them on and they were a smidgin too tight. Thwarted! I also noticed that the spray that they've used to make them tan is a bit uneven around the buckles and you can clearly see the bits they've missed, not great for £109. Now I don't know if these still work, but there are two offer codes you can use to get money off Moda in Pelle - try GIFT4H9 or EVENT20 if you do fancy these.

Now back to business. Since these were clearly a no no  I've decided to go for these Slow Tan Chelsea Boots from Kurt Geiger, though at £165 they are seriously exxy. What do you think?
Kurt Geiger Slow Tan Chelsea Boots £165
They also have an offer code which gives 20% off - KGTWENTY.

From what I can see, I think I prefer these ones due to the better detailing and the more pointy toe. Whether I can get my mammoth feet into them is another matter.  I did spot cheaper deals than this in various places but alas not in my size. ASOS have some for £115 here, wish I was a 7. The reviews are great, feeling excited! I promise to look after these...

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Little Bou Review!

I have a giant baby. Actually, all my babies have been giant babies. I don't know if it's genetic or a case of overfeeding/greed but there you have it! My baby girl is almost four months old already and has jumped up from the 75th to the 98th centile. Eek! Funnily enough she isn't feeding loads, though she does like to lie next to me at night time and have a feed pretty much whenever she feels like it. Tiring.  What this means though in practical terms is that my four month old baby is now in 9 - 12 clothes! I'm never sure about sizing anyway as it seems to vary so much from shop to shop .M&S are usually quite generous sizes for instance, whilst I think Next are quite small.

Anyway, I wanted to share with you a LOVELY online boutique called Little Bou, which was originally aimed at boys, but now has lots of girls clothes as well! It's actually quite refreshing for boys to be considered for a change, with my two older children, it was always a battle to find them really nice clothing, and my eye was always drawn wistfully to the girls section in shops.

Seems I'm not the only one;-

"Since its foundation in 2009 Little Bou was on a mission: offer a wide range of stylish, high quality, practical and playful clothes for boys. Spurred by the very limited choice of style and quality in boys’ clothing offered by major retailers we handpick from the best children’s brands across the world: Mini A Ture, FUB, Bonnie Baby, Yporque, Finger in the Nose, Ej Sikke Lej, Milibe, Boys & Girls to name just a few."

Anyway, I was lucky enough to be sent this beautiful romper suit from Little Bou, which can be found here. What really sets it apart is the quality of the fabric, the cotton is thick and soft and is totally different to the sort of thing you buy in high street shops. I showed it to my mum when it arrived and her first words were "ooooh!" I also love the design, a few years ago I wouldn't have even noticed this sort of thing, but my colleagues at twinkl have educated me about good design, and I think I have a much better eye for it now.

Anyway, here is the little lady in all her glory. This was as still as I could get her to stay so sorry for the blurring...

The sizing on this is great as the suit is 6 - 9 months which fits her perfectly. You really do notice the amazing quality, and as my friend Jemma says, you're better spending a bit more in the first place as then it lasts SO much longer. True words.

Beautiful outfit and I will definitely be looking for clothes for the boys at Little Bou in future.

For the purpose of this review I was gifted the romper suit mentioned in my blog post, but all thoughts are my own and I do really love Little Bou!

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Free Your Mind!

Recently we took the decision to get rid of one of our cars, taking us down to a one car family. The decision to do this wasn't really financial, it was more us not being able to make a decision about what we wanted to do. I had a Fiesta on a lease deal and when the deal was up we either had to buy the car and hand it back. In the end we ran out of time and so simply handed the car back and haven't got around to getting another one yet! With three children it's difficult to know what's best to do, so we've just done nothing! The one car thing is actually fine and to be honest, I feel quite "free" not having to maintain and pay for two cars. It's sort of liberating not being "owned" by something that's actually quite demanding - I had to keep it clean and was continuously having to put petrol in (imagine that!). Funny how you think you own something, but actually it ends up owning you.

When we moved house a few months ago, in the same way, it felt really cathartic to get rid of so much JUNK. A lot of it I sold to people in the local area of gave to charity. But one thing we still have masses left of are our books and CDs. Now that we both have kindles, we rarely buy books anymore. Part of me is sad about that - I remember reading books of my parents as a teenager, books that I otherwise would never have heard of and it has stood me in good stead. Stuff like the Brontes and Jane Austin, who are still my favourite authors today. But the fact is that we just don't have the room for a load of books anymore, and I can't stand the smell! My husband has a LOT of sports related biographies and they all seem to be hard back, they are HUGE and take up so much room. At the moment all our books are still in boxes in the garage, which is where I think they will probably remain.

CDs as well, since we met in our late twenties and were both teenages in the 90s, we have many many CDs, a lot of which are duplicate. Back in those days, CDs were pretty expensive, often £15 each (hard to believe now) so I'm a bit loathe to just give these away. We have thousands of pounds worth of CDs, but once I've downloaded them all onto iTunes (which one day I WILL do), I'm not really sure what I will do with them all? I did see an advert on TV though for something that I may give a try, a website called Ziffit. The idea is that you scan all your unwanted books and CDs using an app to get an instant price, then put them all into one large box ready to be collected by a courier. Ziffit then transfer the money into your PayPal account - easy eh! As a busy mum I particularly like the idea of things being collected from my house = little effort on my part!

So get rid of your stuff, declutter, feel freer and earn money!

Monday, 31 August 2015

Feeding baby on holiday and BIG flood...

Holidaying with three young children certainly has its challenges! We've had a great week away in Cornwall, but I was pretty glad to be home yesterday. Well sort of, that is until I opened the front door and a huge stinky smell greeted me. Yes, our downstairs toilet had leaked - something as simple as  washer that needed replacing but OH the damage. The flooring has all started curling up already and the smell, well, it's indescribable. Worst of all our brand new carpet needs totally replacing. Weep!

The flood

Total nightmare. Back to Cornwall, it's definitely my favourite place to holiday in the UK. There's loads to do for young children and even things for grown ups too - especially if you are a bit of a foodie. We actually managed to fit in TWO visits to Camel Valley Vinyard this year for some tasting. The only thing that annoys me about that place is that you have to pay for a tasting, even if you buy a crate of wine. And the tastings are not cheap. Still, it's worth it for the beautiful views and "champagne".  Course we visited Padstow as well for Fish and Chips a la Rick Stein. I also highly recommend Tintagel - lots of things to do there especially for battle obsessed boys (or girls!).

Padstow, Cornwall
Being on holiday whilst breastfeeding pretty much sucks (pardon the pun). Breastfeeding at home is no biggie but when you're on the move it presents many challenges; the pillows are never the same as the ones you prop yourself up on at home, the sofa is too soft to sit comfortably, baby will never sleep in the cot, you are constantly forced to feed outdoors which means sitting in the cold and rain with your bits and bobs exposed. It was actually when we were on holiday with Son 1 that I gave up breastfeeding many years ago, and I can see how it happened.  Course my little girl did choose this week to start "fussing" whilst feeding which resulted in many innocent customers in various cafes being inadvertently squirted whilst she faffed about.  Now we're home it's much easier again, maybe because I'm more relaxed too, who knows.

All this sofa time means that I need plenty to entertain me whilst baby is feeding - which has resulted in me spending a lot of time on the internet. I know a lot of mums enjoy playing free bingo online whilst they are on maternity leave to help pass the time and as a bit of a hobby which makes total sense. I know the feeding won't be forever so I'm trying to stick with it and stay positive, and of course there are many many benefits both for baby and me. 

What do you do to help pass the time when you're feeding?

This post was written in collaboration with Bingo Extra.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Summer Holidays

Last May I was pretty much stuck in a rut. Despite having a job I love and working from home so I could theoretically spend time with my children, I was actually more exhausted than ever. I had become very tired and was unable to switch off. I don't think I realised how wound up with stress - all self imflicted - I was. I needed a break and so we took the family down to Cornwall for May half term. The different pace of life struck me immediately, and I started fantasizing about how life at that pace is so much more enjoyable. I realised that I hardly ever went outdoors and the exposure to the sun had an impact on me psychologically. I started enjoying food again and actively sought out my favourites like lobster and seafood. That holiday was a real awakening for me and reminded me to live my life, rather than just watch it pass me by

Wine Tasting in Cornwall, such a happy memory.
 We spent time as a family doing things we all enjoyed - eating, playing on the sand, exploring castles and caves. Having many many cream teas and just generally chilling out. I realised I had been living on caffeine to get me through the day, and waiting for a glass of wine in the evening to calm me down again. It's no way to live. The silly thing is though, that the stress was totally self imposed and I guess is one of the down sides to working on your own at home - I was forgetting to take breaks and was blurring the lines between work and home life. Even in the evenings I couldn't switch off from checking my emails and social media accounts. I was trapped in a prison of my own making.

Goat feeding in Cornwall
 The break also gave me a chance to reconnect with my children again, find out what makes them tick and I discovered my youngest son's love of animals - and my oldest son's fear of them!

Our swiss style chalet in Cornwall
When I came back from holiday I was determined to not slip back into my old habits. I started going for walks or runs at lunchtime. I finished work on time having achieved my objectives, and in the evenings I started leaving my iPhone on my desk rather than constantly picking it up in the lounge. I also ditched the caffeine and the alcohol for a while and started BREATHING deeply again. It was amazing how much better I felt in a short space of time.

I still harbour fantasies of moving to Cornwall someday. It's my favourite place to holiday - as long as the weather is good.

This Summer we are going back to the same place in Cornwall and I can't wait. There's something really special about the place and it will always be a place of retreat for me and my family. With my oldest son having major problems with change, holidays aren't always easy for us. But I'm hoping as it's somewhere we've been before it should make things easier for us all.

Post in collaboration with TheCircle

Friday, 7 August 2015

No more shampoo...

I don't know what's wrong with my hair. In the past year or so it's become really pathetic. It ranges between super dry and fly away to super oily and horrible feeling. I don't know how to get it to behave! I have to dry it to within an inch of its life, or else it looks like I've just got out of the swimming pool - all day! I started to do some research about what hair products I needed to actually make my hair look decent again, or at least half decent again. It never shines, it just looks sad and dull. I actually found out something really interesting. It's possible that whilst applying lots of hair masks, deep intensive conditioners and the like, I've actually been conspiring against my own hair and making it worse! What I actually needed to do was STOP with all the products and chemicals and let my hair sort of, roam free again. So that's what I decided to do. If you google about this subject, you'll find a wealth of info about the chemicals shampoo contains and how bad it is for you in lots of different ways. But I find that sort of scary and boring so I won't write about it here, this is more about getting my hair to look as good as possible. Vain? Yes.

I actually found out that it's possible to just use water on your hair, and eventually it rejuvenates and sort of self washes, but I wasn't prepared to do the leg work for this, so I opted for another method.

Friday, 17 July 2015

When you know something is wrong...

Have you ever had a hunch? A gut feeling or just some sort of sudden light bulb moment when you suddenly start to suspect all is not right with your child? Maybe it was as soon as they were born - you didn't connect, they didn't reach their milestones when you expected? Or maybe it was more gradual - as they got older they started to stand out from their peers. Your child is different, but maybe they are just a bit eccentric and don't like to follow the herd. Or maybe, just maybe. It's more serious than that?

For us we had a light bulb moment following many months, maybe years of kidding ourselves. It all started the day we moved house about three months ago. Our two sons had been staying with relatives whilst we did all the shifting and carrying and we thought it best if they were out of the way to minimise disruption. My husband went to collect them and proudly brought them to our new beautiful home. And that's when I saw it. Just a flick of the neck. Nothing major, blink and you'll miss it. But there it was again. And again. As the day wore on it got worse and worse, my oldest son was violently flicking his head backwards and forwards seemingly constantly. I had never seen anything like it. We examined his neck and asked if there was any pain or if he had hurt himself in some way. Apparently not. 

A trip to the doctors confirmed there was no damage, it was behavioural and I was assured it would most likely go away and was probably due to the stress of the house move. Over the next few weeks I tried ignoring it and when that didn't work I tried reminding him not to do it - until I realised he was running to his room to do it in secret many many times before  coming downstairs again. It became clear that flicking his neck was a way of relieving stress. But what did this mean?

The more I googled this, the more worried I became. I started to realise that this might be an indication of something more serious underlying. Other behaviours came to mind as I read through the list of symptoms. His reluctance for change, his need for order, his dislike of anything messy, his detailed knowledge of several things including Thomas the Tank Engine, World War II, Star Wars, the hobbit, and much much more. The more I thought about it the more I realise the signs have been there all along. I remember when he was 14 months old when all the other children were pointing at things saying dog, cat etc my son was talking in much more adult language. "That's a splendid notion", I remember him saying at one toddler group to the amazement of the other parents. 

Worst though are the meltdowns. It seems for our son the terrible twos have lasted much much longer than we expected. I now know that it is not usual for a seven-year-old to have a complete meltdown about wearing suncream. It is not usual for a seven-year-old to have a meltdown because some Weetabix is on the table. It is not usual for a seven-year-old to have a meltdown about something that is totally out of our control like the toy he wants being sold out. But we didn't realise. We didn't realise that parenting is not meant to be this hard. We just carried on as normal coping as best we could.

But then the neck flicking started and we couldn't ignore it any longer. It is possible that our son is on the autistic spectrum. And facing up to that is the hardest thing we have ever had to do.  We started the assessment process and hope...well I don't know what we hope.  For understanding, for compassion, for people not to judge us as parents and think we've done a terrible job. For people not to pick on our son because he zones out, or he doesn't say please and thank you, or he doesn't behave exactly as they want him to. For people not to stare when he is having a meltdown in public and he's creating a scene.  Most of all I want him to be happy, to find his place in a world that creates so much anxiety for him. And for us to realise that even with the diagnosis, he is still our son, he is still the same person. He still makes us laugh with his unique way of seeing the world, his turn of phrase, his sweetness, and his kindness. Yes he is different, but that's part of who he is, and I wouldn't change that for the world.

Friday, 26 June 2015

MooGoo Review!

I've always been one for natural products and am obsessed with parabens - or lack thereof! I'm super keen to ensure that everything I use on my skin is as natural as possible, and of course that goes for my children's skin too! I was therefore, delighted when the lovely people at MooGoo asked if I would like to do another review (see my last review here) of some of their new skincare products - including their Udder Balm( for breastfeeding mums), Nappy Balm, Brown Cow Tanning Cream and the Dusty Girls tinted earth cream. Lucky me!

First of all the Udder Balm (£9.90)  this is made from edible materials so there's no hassles putting it on your skin to help soothe those "areas" mauled by babies! I liked the feel and thickness of this and found it very soothing indeed. There were tiny grains in it which were a bit different but I assume are all part of the process. I think I would have liked to see some sort of recommendation from a medical body or midwives association on the packaging though just to totally reassure me it's ok to use whilst breastfeeding?

The Nappy Balm (£9) is lovely and very soothing, unlike high street creams it contains natural materials which are good for the skin - the ingredients are also not harmful if ingested, as we all know that babies love to put everything and anything in their mouths! The true test though is does this balm prevent nappy rash? It definitely created an effective barrier and stopped redness on my baby's skin. So a double win! t doesn't have the potent smell that a lot of other nappy creams contain which can only be a good thing. I would say it doesn't work quite as quickly as something like Sudocrem but then it also doesn't contain the same chemicals so that's to be expected!

Onto the Brown Cow Tanning Cream (£15.50)- I look like a ghost at the best of times so I do like to tan every now and again. As a breastfeeding mum I have to be careful what goes on my skin as my baby is in very close contact with me and she is prone to rashes. I found this tanning cream very gentle and natural looking, and best of all it didn't have that weird smell that so many tanning creams seem to have. Very happy with this and again, close the fact is contains natural ingredients. 

The Dusty Girls Tinted Earth Cream is probably the one I've used the most! 

At first I thought it was going to be both too dark and too thick for me, even though it's actually a tinted moisturiser. But actually I was just using it wrong. You have to use a really tiny amount as this spreads really well on your skin, and creates great coverage too - AND contains sun protection. It's great on hot days too as it doesn't feel cloggy and left a light feeling on my skin. I had to blend quite a bit at my jaw line but that's mainly because I'm very very pale and so that's normal for me. It's available in two shades - light or medium. I would love to see an even lighter shade for ghosties like me if possible though.

So I'm a little obsessed with MooGoo! Natural products that look great and are good for your skin. What's not to like?!

I was sent these products from MooGoo for the purpose of review, but all thoughts are my own.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Online bingo basics for newbies

When it comes to playing any game, be it online or in real, there are certain basics of the game that as a player you need to know. Only then will you be confident with what you are doing. Online bingo is a very easy game to pick up but since this game involves money there are certain precautions one must take.
Few of the most important features that you must look into while choosing a site to play on is whether or not they have a reliable customer support team that is both efficient and friendly. This makes a huge difference especially when you are new to a site. There will be hundreds of offers and you may not know how to make use of them or where to look, these questions and doubts can only be cleared with the help of the customer support team. However, in most sites there also are experienced players and chat hosts that are available to answer your queries as well.  
Try to gather as much information and reviews as you possibly can before registering. The internet has a billion review sites and portals providing you with all the bingo related information that you need, so make use of it to the fullest.


The best way for a player to familiarize themselves with online bingo is by beginning to play on sites that offer free bingo games. The only reason why these sites aren’t too popular is because there isn’t any big prizes that you can win. 

However, if you choose to play on a site that provides free sign up bonuses and cheap bingo tickets, it will be the most ideal. New Look Bingo offers all newbies a free sign up bonus of £15 plus bingo room to which the tickets are as cheap as 1p. So come, join the fun!

This is a guest post.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Presents For a New Mum...

When you have a baby, it suddenly turns into "present time", not that I'm complaining of course. Third time around, it still seems to be present time, and I was pretty happy when my mum treated me to this lovely top from Laura Ashley. I love the silky material, and it's also great for feeding as I bought a size larger than usual.

Laura Ashley Pocket Detail T Shirt - £30 but currently has 30% off
Laura Ashley has 30% off fashion at the moment which brings this t shirt in at £21, pretty good value considering how lovely it is. Speaking of pink, and baby girls, I also couldn't resist this beautiful butterfly blanket also from Laura Ashley, but that will only be of interest to you if you've recently had a baby girl!

Laura Ashley Butterfly Fleece Blanket £20 but currently has 30% off!
It is the nicest most fluffiest blanket ever, I love it!

It hasn't gone unnoticed that the hubby is yet to pull a nice pressie out of the bag for me as my "push" present. Previous pressies include a Louis Vuitton hand bag and a Tag Heur watch. Though he did buy me (from our joint account) this lovely dress yesterday from Crew to cheer me up. Note the button down front, definitely a good feature for a feeding mother...

Crew Belinda Dress from Crew - £50 in current offer
I'm not sure it's the sort of thing I would normally buy, but it fit, looked nice, and I can feed in it. Bonza!

Anyway, back to pressies for new mothers. Of course the obvious thing to buy for every new mum is a lovely bunch of flowers. I've recently found Aussie florist FreshFlowers Australia who also deliver internationally! EVERY new mum likes flowers after all.

What was your favourite pressie when you became a mum?

Friday, 22 May 2015

I got me a girl! My birth story...

I can hardly believe I'm writing this, but last Sunday I gave birth to my third (and definitely final!) child, a baby girl! I think I'm still in shock, but I was 100% convinced I was going to have another boy, one of life's little surprises I guess?  After having two boys, having a girl has completed our family, and we are over the moon and can hardly believe our luck. Now I will have an ally against boy stuff, war films, cricket and lots of other boring stuff that I formerly believed I would have to take part in. Happy days!

Although I was expecting to have a C section due to a low lying placenta, the consultant sent me for an MRI scan which showed that in fact, the placenta was 3cm from the "exit route", with the magic number being 2.5cm. My waters broke last Friday night/early Saturday morning though unfortunately I didn't start having contractions naturally. The hospital told me to wait 24 hours to see if anything developed (it didn't) so I had to go in at midnight to be induced. The induction worked REALLY well for me (some might say too well!) and I went into active labour two hours after starting the Syntocin drip last Sunday morning. I was totally unprepared for how painful it was to be honest, bearing in mind that during my last labour I managed without any pain relief at all, even gas and air.

I managed to get to 2cm dilation with no contractions at all, then they started coming on thick and fast and I was totally unable to cope with the pain! After begging for an epidural I actually suddenly needed to push just as the anaesthetist was setting everything up.  With only two pushes I gave birth and could hear everyone shouting, "it's a girl!" I definitely think that induced labours are more painful as last time I was in labour for two days and managed really well.

So here is my darling girl! 8lb 7oz and thriving.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

New Baby Money Saving Tips!

When you find out you're expecting a baby it is the most exciting time of your life, but after the bubble of finding out pops, you then realise that you've got a new person to pay for and you need to budget wisely.

Nobody really wants to think about finance when there’s a bundle of joy to get excited about, but being money savvy can ensure that you save essential pennies for the things that really matter. Following just a few simple steps will give you a helping hand in budgeting for your bundle of joy, and ensuring you don’t have any money worries in the most important months of pregnancy.


Childcare is the most expensive element in raising a child and its often the most essential too, but with the average parent spending an average of £30,000 over 3 years according to this Baby calculator , childcare is cost that not everyone can afford. You could try to ask family members if they are able to help out with childcare as this could reduce the cost of nursery fees or child minders. Luckily, as of autumn 2015 a new tax free childcare voucher scheme is coming into place saving you up to £1,200 a year. Do your research on these avenues and see what you’re able to save and the opportunities that are out there.

Reusable Items

It’s lovely to have brand new clothing items and you should definitely buy a few things brand new but buying some itemssecond hand will save you a lot of money, especially in the early stages as babies grow out of clothing so quickly. This is also the same for items such as pushchairs, toys, furniture. If you’re a dab hand at DIY you could also try making it yourself!

Alternatively if you’ve had a child before and plan on having another keep your items and reuse them for your next baby asthis will reduce the cost next time around. You can also ask friends and family if they have anything that they no longer use that could be passed onto you.

Items to Buy

There are a few things that you should buy straight from a reputable retailer such as your baby’s car seat; you should never buy a second hand car seat as you have no idea if it has been in a car accident before or if it has certificated protection for your baby. There are many online Child Car Seat Guides available that can help you to find one that fits your budget as well as the safety precautions.

Also items such as sheets, duvets and other bedding accessories should be brought new so you know they are fresh and clean ready for baby’s arrival.

General Money Saving Tips

Do your grocery shopping online as this will stop you from impulse buying and therefore reduce how much you’re spending, allowing you to either save the money or spend the money you’ve saved on something useful for your little one.

You may end up spending a lot of money on parent and baby classes or just general socialising events, so why not bring that into your own home and create your own group filled with neighbours and friends.

Have a look into making your own baby food also with the help of a good blender and experiment with different vegetables and fruit to find out what your baby likes, you can then make batches and save money buying pots every week!

Track what you’re spending and each month reflect on what you have brought and see whether in the oncoming months you’re able to take it down anymore.

Having a look online and comparing brands and retailers will save you a lot of money rather than just walking into a shop and picking up the first thing you see, which we all do!

Research is the aim as you’ll see the incredible savings that can be made.


 This is a guest post. 

Friday, 15 May 2015

Easy Peasy Joules Dress and Lovely Oasis Culottes!

So I only have two days until my due date. Woohoo! So obviously I can't wait to get rid of my hideous maternity clothes and get back into my normal wardrobe. My old clothes look so TINY, especially my skinny jeans. It's hard to believe that I once managed to get into them to be honest. We've recently moved house and bizarrely now have LESS storage space even though we've moved to a bigger house. So I keep telling myself I have no room for more clothes, though it is tempting to treat myself to something new post baby.

I spotted these little lovelies in Joules the other day, and managed to negotiate a 15% discount at the til, so what the hey. What do you think? (click on the caption under each photo to take you to the website!)

Joules Striped Dress £29.95
I bought this colour in the end but was also tempted by the pink and the blue.

Joules Blue Dress £29.95

Joules Pink Dress £29.95
I think these will be great throw on dresses for Summer,  for wearing around the house or dressing up with a silk scarf or accessories. I've got some Joules pumps that I think would go well with them also. But do I need all three?

Speaking of footwear, I bought these very sparkly sandals in George the other day, and I'm really pleased with them. Super cheap and super comfy also. Winner!

George Footbed Sandals, Gold, £10
I've also noticed there are various other flootbed sandals including some polka dot ones that might actually go better with these dresses. Nice!

If you're looking for something a bit more fitted and less sack like (my mum did mention that these dresses have a slightly "nightie" type appearance) then this might be for you. I keep seeing culottes everywhere and I think these are my favourites so far!

Oasis Culotte £28.50
There's actually a photo on the Oasis website of the model wearing them with this pink top, I think it's a great pairing.

Pink Plain Dip Back Cami £22
Here you can see both items together, I LOVE this outfit. I'm not acutally sure it's the same vest but I reckon any pink will do.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Is your garden BBQ ready?

Summer is finally coming  around which means BBQ season is almost here!

The warm weather will bring back those memories from wonderful past BBQ’s with family and friends, which are just going to leave you wanting more.

One problem though. You remember you haven’t paid any attention to your garden since that last BBQ, probably of September last year. Most likely you’ve left the chairs and table out all winter which have now gone rusty, and are also now looking a bit tatty. The grass is looking like its seen better days and there isn’t a section of that once beautiful garden that isn’t swamped with weeds.

Don’t fear. There are a few simple steps to get your garden looking in tip top condition for those BBQ’s, ensuring your family and friends will leave feeling in awe of your garden.

Tidy up

Before you do anything, have a tidy up of the garden. Cut the grass, pull the weeds out and go down to the local garden centre and pick up some beautiful flowers to plant around the garden, this will liven up the space by spreading some colour. Try buying some more soil or overturn what you already have to make those flower beds look really fresh and new, also putting lawn edging down around flower beds to make it look neat and tidy. Just doing these few simple things will give you the basics of a beautiful garden again, just a little more to go until its perfect.

Create storage

Having somewhere to store the lawnmower and other garden devices is really handy but having somewhere that’s big enough to also store children’s garden toys when they’re not being played with is a great idea. Especially if your BBQ is an adult’s only event, you don’t want your kids’ push bike, tennis rackets and balls scattered all over the lawn. Take a look at investing in either a shed or a garage, both are really good storage options and give you a lot of space; I’m sure there are plenty of good offers out there this summer too so have a shop around.



Furniture is a really important part of making your garden BBQ ready, there is no way you can attempt to host a BBQ without having anywhere for your guests to sit. Try looking online at a new table and chairs; as I’m sure last yearsfurniture that has been left out for most of the winter is no longer in its best condition. To avoid buying new furniture every year which is far too expensive and very excessive; store it during the winter in a garage or shed and place a waterproof sheet over it for extra protection.

Finishing touches

It’s the little things that matter at BBQs to make it feel more special and personalIdeas such as hanging bunting around the garden, putting candles out around the tables, adding extra lighting for when the evening goes on a little later than planned. For more inspiration and ideas have a nose around on Pinterest and you’ll be sure to find some really creative ideas for your BBQ and for your garden.

This is a guest post. 

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Asda baby and toddler event!

I love a good bargain - clearly. And since I swore I would never ever have another child and chucked or sold all my baby things, I've had to eat humble pie and beg, borrow or buy cheaply (no stealing) everything I need for my third child - who is due a week today?! 

Although I plan on breastfeeding for at least six months, there's no harm in being prepared, so I was lucky enough to be sent these tommee tippee bottles fresh from the Asda Baby and Toddler Event. 

In love all the different colours and I can easily use these with my tommee tippee breast pump should the need arise. I know some people are anti bottle but I think it's always best to be prepared.

I also went and bought this play gym as at £12 it's a total steal. And cheaper than buying second hand I'm sure! 

There's lots more bargains to be had, just going for a quick browse now! 

I was sent a pack of tommee tippee bottles for the purpose of this blog post. 

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Rough Guide to Family Finance - The Kids Take Control!

Over the years, I think I've become quite savvy about ways to save money and how to get the best deal. I never buy anything without a voucher/offer code, and I use cashback websites like Quidco to get up to 10% cashback on everything I buy online, it soon adds up and I just think - why wouldn't you?

A few years ago when I was on maternity leave with our second child, we suddenly had a whopping big tax bill - my husband worked for a bank at the time and we'd been using his staff discount to get a good mortgage rate, but what we didn't know is that we were supposed to be taxed on that as a benefit in kind.  Thousands of people were hit with thousands of pounds to pay in one go, it was pretty horrendous. Ever the adapter, I suddenly went into famine mode and did everything I could to save money on our weekly bills, from changing energy supplier, cutting back on our sky subscription, limiting lunches and lattes out and changing car insurance companies.

Thankfully we're no longer in that position, though obviously with a third child on the way things will probably be a bit tight for a while. Last month, we made the decision to get rid of my car, so we are now a one car family. Hubby now gets the train to work and I drop him off and pick him up every day. We've been doing this for a month now and I can honestly say there have only been a few occasions where it's been a bit of a pain. We are saving on car insurance, the lease fee of the car and all the other costs that go along with car ownership. I feel strangely liberated from car ownership since our remaining car is a company one, so we have no responsibility for servicing and the like, it's just one less hassle in my life as far as I'm concerned.

One thing I don't think we have got right though, is making our children see the value of money. It seems that every other weekend they are bought a toy, and every outing seems to involve them getting bought a cupcake or comic to keep them quiet! We don't really do pocket money at the moment, maybe we should?

What I decided to do then, was to give them a budget for the day to see what they came up with, and how they spent it, to see whether they understood that money does not grow on trees.

There's a new book out for families - The Rough Guide to Family Finance which has loads of good ideas for families to save money, and there's a great quote that fits in nicely here, "Though it may be convenient for one person to be in control of the family budget and pay the bills, it’s a good idea if everyone is involved, including the youngest members. Encouraging a sense of financial responsibility in children helps them to be aware of the importance of budgeting as they grow up"

I gave them £25 for the day between them to spend, which had to involve paying for an activity and ensuring there was enough money left over for tea. Immediately they decided to head for Toys R Us which I immediately had to veto, this wasn't going to be easy! 

We sat down and talked about the cost of going to various places - bowling, cinema, museum - and how much they would be left with at the end of the day.

They both immediately decided on visiting Eureka in Halifax, we already had a yearly pass for this so it seemed to make sense, so off we went! Arriving at Eureka they were dismayed to discover that there is a £3.50 parking charge, which they had never been aware of before. Dutifully they dipped into their £25 budget and paid it, Son 1 commented that it seemed unfair that we had to pay it since it wasn't in the middle of a town or near anything else - haha! I also factored in £5 for petrol so they now had £16.50 left.

Eureka in Halifax - total crowd pleaser and you only have to pay once for the whole year!

Once in there they immediately wanted a drink, I gave them the option of drinking from their water bottles or buying a carton for £1.50 each. Again, they sensibly opted for their water bottle, maybe we were getting somewhere!

We had a good time at the museum and as it edged towards lunchtime, they started to talk about being hungry. I reminded them that they had £16.50 left to spend, and asked what they wanted to do. They agreed that a picnic would be cheaper but we didn't have one with us, so I pointed out a nearby Pizza Express or a Morrisons Cafe. We looked at the different prices and they soon realised that Pizza Express was unaffordable, so we headed to Morrisons. We all had lunch for under £10 which is pretty reasonable, though now they only had £6.50 left! 

They were pretty fed up of money saving by this point, so we had a quick look round for something for tea, and we decided to make our own pizzas. We already had bread flour and semolina at home so we bought some cheese, ham and tomato puree as a topping. When we got home, we actually had a great time rolling out the dough and making our own pizzas - we had a grand total of £1.50 which I said we could save for buying sweets as a well done for thinking so carefully about our budget. 

Afterwards I asked the boys what they had learned from their budgeting day and they responded, "I didn't realise things were so expensive", and "saving money is really boring, you can't do what you want". I explained that although it's boring in the short term, being careful with money is actually a good way of ensuring that you can do more exciting things in the long term. We don't waste money on things like smoking and going out loads, as to me that's not the behaviour of a responsible adult. If you want good things in your life, sometimes you need to deny yourself in the short term, to achieve your long term goals. I think this delayed gratification is a really important lesson to learn, and it's those people who can't seem to delay gratification that always seem to end up being unhappy. Lecture over!

My top tips for budgeting: 

1) Be organised - if you leave things until the last minute you will always pay over the odds. This is true for holidays, Christmas, travel and lots more!
2) Shop around. Ring around insurance companies and energy suppliers. Lazy people always pay more!
3) Before you buy something, e.g. clothing, online, sleep on it. When you wake up the next day reassess whether you actually need it.
4) Buy season tickets and yearly passes and use them! It gives you a reason for getting out and about at the weekend and means you don't have to keep paying out.
5) Buy a coffee machine and save on your latte costs! We paid £35 for ours in a sale and we use it every single day.

What are your top tips?

This post was written in association with Legal and General.


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