Saturday, 15 November 2014
Friday, 24 October 2014
|Win this awesome prize!|
Coincidentally we recently acquired a BMW through a company car scheme - and I have to say on the day it arrived I was pretty excited, though probably in hindsight the beige seats were a mistake. We did have a slight problem with one of the indicators, but luckily BMW Servicing is so good that it was immediately rectified, yay!
Anyway, back to the giveaway, the car is suitable for ages 18 months to 3 years and has all the cool features of a full sized BMW. To enter, all you need to do is leave a blog post comment saying what your favourite car is, then follow the instructions on the widget below.
Terms and Conditions
Ends 31st October at midnight
UK Residents only
Sunday, 19 October 2014
We were met by the lovely Rachael from the PR agency, and treated to a VIP brunch by Thorntons, which was very nice and made us feel pretty awesome. I met the lovely Esther from Inside Out and About, Laura from A Forte for Fashion, and another lovely blogger Hannah, whose blog name I will find out!
At first, it was loads of fun, trawling round shops without children looking for a perfect outfit for the school rub (every blogger had a different outfit challenge), but I soon realised that shopping under pressure with a particular "look" in mind, is not that easy, at all! The other bloggers and I kept running into one another desperately chanting, "have you found anything yet?!" to which the answer was usually a panicked, "no!". Still, it was nice to see what Junction 32 has to offer and I thought the variety of shops was pretty good for a shopping outlet. Basically, it tends to have last season's offerings at hugely discounted prices, and shops range from M&S, Next, Mango, and the like to quite a few homeware and outdoor type shops.
I thought the best clothes were in M&S, mainly because of the size of the store and the fact that it wasn't all Summer clothes. After much searching, I found a fitted black cotton/wool mix dress with leather shoulder pads, it sounds hideous but actually it's lovely and really versatile, I can wear it dressed down or dressed up with accessories. I also spotted a really warm and cosy leopard print wrap that I can wear over the dress and sort of perks it up a bit, they go really well together, here is the finished product!
|M&S Woollen Mix Winter Dress £19.99|
|Leopard Print Wrap £25|
|Copper Bracelet £5|
|In the changing room...|
|All the ladies with their outfits on...|
I was given a voucher to purchase an outfit at Junction 32 Shopping Outlet, but all thoughts are my own.
Tuesday, 7 October 2014
“I wrote this review while participating in an influencer campaign on behalf of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care and received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.”
Thursday, 18 September 2014
Waves and waves of coffee
The fall of tea
Friday, 29 August 2014
Tuesday, 26 August 2014
It’s often said that the kitchen is the heart of the home, but if you’re not careful, this part of your property can end up feeling more like a prison. After all, so many vital household tasks are completed within this space and it can take what feels like an age just to keep it clean and tidy. However, by following these simple tips, you should be able to streamline your chores, ensuring you’re able to spend more time relaxing with your family.
Invest in a dishwasher
If you don’t yet have one, instead of slaving away at the sink why not get a dishwasher? These handy appliances can dramatically reduce the amount of time you spend keeping your washing up pile under control. It takes a matter of moments to load and unload the machines and dishwashers tend to do a more thorough job of cleaning crockery, cutlery, glassware and other items. As an added bonus, they can even help you to reduce your utility bills, if you use them carefully.
Sort your storage out
Because so much happens in kitchens, they can quickly become chaotic. This is why effective storage is so important. Simply installing user-friendly cabinets that pull out can save you time, stress and hassle, making it easier to find items and put them away again. Using dividers in your drawers also comes in handy. They help to keep things in order and mean you should spend less time searching for objects.
To take full advantage of the square footage available in your kitchen, full height cabinets and corner units are useful to have. Creating a home for all the items in this room makes keeping things in order much easier, and it’s especially important in busy family homes.
Prioritise a practical layout
Ideally, the three main areas within your kitchen — namely the sink, the cooker and the fridge — should be located close together. This ‘work triangle’ should be compact but not too small. Experts suggest making the distance between the three areas no less than four feet and no more than nine feet. Being able to move quickly and easily between these stations will really speed things up. Of course, you can only work with the shape and size of kitchen that you have, but you should certainly bear this principle in mind.
By following advice like this, you stand to complete your daily kitchen tasks and cut out a whole lot of hassle. A complete kitchen revamp can prove pricey, but if your budget’s under strain, you can make the changes gradually.
Karen Jean is a mum of four and part-time receptionist and can’t stand a messy home. When not tidying up after the kids, she likes to relax with a glass of red wine and a good book.
Monday, 18 August 2014
When we had our first son, we broke the "middle class code" and found out what gender our baby was going to be. I am way too impatient to wait for something as interesting as that. I was happy to find out we were having a boy since we would almost certainly be having another one, and there was every chance I would get a girl right? Wrong.
Again, breaking the unspoken code of people who deal with delayed gratification - we found out the gender of our second child - a boy. I remember shedding a year afterwards and thinking, oh no, I have to go through all of this and it's ANOTHER boy! How silly I was.
Actually having two boys has loads of benefits. First, it is cheaper, as they are into the same things (hopefully). It's a friend for life, a buddy to go through things with, stick up for, fight and wrestle with, learn from and teach. I actually quite like being the only girl in our family as it means I get special treatment and they adore me. They are totally straightforward and show their emotions (sometimes too much) in a very frank way. I never have problems working out what's going on with them, as it's so obvious. They've actually taught me quite a few things - aside from totally changing our lives, they've taught me not to care so much, since they clearly don't care what anyone thinks - at all!
So boys are pretty awesome. I wouldn't change them for the world and actually Son 2 slotted into our family quite beautifully. Son 1 has a playmate and they do everything together, I am pleased that, most of the time, they are best friends and miss each other massively. I am actually quite envious of their relationship as it's something I never had as a child, and I often felt very lonely.
Here's to boys!
Tuesday, 12 August 2014
Summer health risks for humans
If you intend to enjoy your garden during the summer, try not to sit in direct sunlight between the hours of 11am and3pm. The sun is at its hottest during this time and you really should take advantage of the shade to avoid its harmful rays and extreme heat.
Take measures to keep yourself well hydrated by drinking plenty of water too. Conditions including sunstroke,dehydration and heat exhaustion are all too common during the summer months, so make sure you take adequate steps to prevent against this.
Create a shady garden
The UK is known as a ‘green and pleasant land’ thanks to William Blake and Britain’s temperate climate. A few weeks of prolonged summer sun and heat will soon transform your verdant lush lawns into a dry patch of scrub, so it’s important you stay on top of garden maintenance.
One way of coping with this is to water your lawn every evening, and when you do mow the grass, try not to cut it too short. Create a shady alcove by planting Cornus(dogwood) and jasmine, which are hardy plants that produce beautiful flowers.
If you’re worried that you’re too old to pick up a plough, then think again! Recent research reported by retirement home experts McCarthy & Stone have revealed that one fifth of Brits don’t class themselves as ‘old’ until the age of 90! McCarthy & Stone’s retirement homes often come with landscaped gardens that are cared for by the firm too – so you won’t be expected to tend large patches of lawn yourself.
Hanging baskets need a lot of love
Whether you grow fruit or flowering plants in your hanging baskets, they will need attention from the watering can in order to withstand the rigours of the hot sun. If possible, try and water your baskets in the early morning and repeat the exercise in the evening once the sun has started to go down.
You can even add a couple of ice cubes to the soil as the water from these will evaporate slowly and give your plants more moisture.
Compost can catch fire
If you have a compost heap in a plastic bin and keep on topping it up with plant debris and grass cuttings, you should be aware that in some extreme circumstances the grass cuttings could catch light if placed under direct sunlight. Make sure that you keep your bins in the shade and turn the pile over on a regular basis.
Don’t forget to nurture your pond
Anyone who has an ornamental pond in their garden should make sure that the pond water is regularly topped up. Tepid water is better than very cold, as this won’t shock the fish with a sudden change in temperature.
A garden in the summer can be a delight, and if you follow these guidelines you’ll still be able to sit outside and enjoy its beauty.
This is a guest post.
Sunday, 27 July 2014
Friday, 25 July 2014
Monday, 21 July 2014
However I am determined we will go away SOMEWHERE just the two of us, and I'm starting to do some research!I really like the idea of staying in one of the many Henley Hotels as it's somewhere I've never been before and we can really make a weekend of it! While we are there it's nice to look at the history of the place:-
"The first Henley Regatta was held in 1839. Prior to then the same stretch of river had been used for the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race along with other events. In its early days the Regatta was more about socialising and entertainment than sport and initially was just a single afternoon event. As its popularity grew more events were added and its duration was gradually extended until 1986 when it became a five day event, which it has remained to this day."
I love stuff like this, it's really Pimms and cucumber which we don't really have up north all that much! The Regatta was before national or international rowing federations and consequently it is unique in the world of competitive rowing and has it own set of rules that are not governed by either British Rowing of the International Rowing Federation, whoever it is recognised by both bodies.
I'd really love to go to something like this and I think I've got in mind exactly where we will spend our anniversary this year! It's really nice to do something a bit different and see a different side to English life - even though it's only a few hours from Yorkshire. I love learning about the heritage of it all, having a few much needed glasses of Pimms and enjoying a good row! What more could you want?! In collaboration with Superbreak
Friday, 11 July 2014
If you're reading this blog you probably know how rewarding it is having kids - but you'll also know that to appreciate it (and stay sane) you have got to make time to relax at some point!
It's amazing to think that, fifteen years ago or thereabouts, we were all just starting to get into this internet business. Now it's everywhere, and we're literally carrying stuff around in our pockets that would have been science fiction when I was growing up. Weird to think that children now will never know anything different!
One of the brilliant things about modern smartphones and iPads and the like, is that we can grab a bit of downtime when we get the chance - that's so important for mums of young kids (or any age kids, really), as it means we can take the opportunity when we get it. If your kids have a nap after lunch, you can use your phone for half an hour of Words With Friends, Angry Birds, or even to play bingo online. Imagine having to run out to a bingo hall a few years ago if you fancied a game! Now that wireless is everywhere, even the hassle of getting on the internet in the first place is gone.
The way the technology has changed is amazing. I remember the phone I had ten years or so ago - a tiny black-and-white screen and that was about it. It seems like phones got as small as they were going to get shortly after that, and suddenly, as everyone started getting online on their phones, and the graphics got better, everyone wanted bigger screens. Apple's next iPhone is supposed to be coming with a bigger screen and I'm quite tempted...
I also remember the days when the internet was basically just sites that told you stuff. Now there's a forum for just about everything (various parenting ones spring to mind!) and everyone can contribute. It's the sharing of information that makes going online so different these days - nobody, including new parents who often feel like they don't know what they're doing, needs to feel alone.
At the moment though, for me it's the ability to "tune out" when the moment presents itself that I value most. With two small boys I never quite know when it's going to be, but as long as I've got my phone to hand I'm always going to be ready!
(Image courtesy of mashable.com)
Tuesday, 8 July 2014
|My first day at school in 1983|
There's something definitely special about a "first day at school". I guess it's the end of an era, a big transition between staying at home with mum and venturing into the big wide world.
Anyway, back to uniforms wearing out in two minutes! I buy all my uniforms from George at Asda - they are one of the few uniform providers to make navy blue trousers which wash well and last 100 days! That might sound short but in the life of a school trouser it is very long indeed! In fact, if you have any issue at all with your uniform, Asda have a no quibble guarantee which is really reassuring.
|George at Asda Navy Trousers only £3!|
Where do you buy your school uniform?
This is a sponsored post although all thoughts are my own.
Monday, 7 July 2014
It's always going to be a stressful process, and in the past we've always gone for new builds which has been great - everything is perfect when you move in and there is NOTHING to do to it - the downside being that the value of the property does slide over the first few years. This time we're not going to make that mistake, we're not going to take the easy route and in fact we've already got our next house in mind! I'm a really impatient person and I know that when we do make the move, I'll want to have everything looking "perfect" (ish) as soon as possible. I think the way to do this is to get some ideas beforehand so it's not all last minute. I've been having a look at what to do with the bedrooms already and for the boys bedroom I like the idea of something bright and bold and think this quirky crocodile head is pretty awesome!
Singoli Crocodile HeadIn keeping with the safari ish theme, I think this giraffe cushion is super cute and a great accessory!
Gola Children's CushionI've also come across quite a few lovely blogs on this very subject, I like this one here called My Little Lovebird, there are loads of great images on there with various ideas and concepts. Looking at blogs for home design ideas now seems like a total no brainer for me!
That's about as far as I've got thus far! If you spot any awesome kids bedroom stuff please leave a comment below!
Friday, 4 July 2014
A few weeks ago we had the chance to put this into practice by spending the day at Lightwater Valley! It's quite near to our house, probably about an hours drive away - so we set off quite early to make the most of the day. I remember going to Lightwater Valley as a child with school and having a great time, it's nice to revisit old haunts with your own children years later I think.
When we walked through the ticket barriers, this little guy was on hand to greet us! I thought it was a nice touch, especially as my boys LOVE Angry Birds. They were thrilled!
|Angry Birds Fun!|
|Angry Birds climbing frame|
|More Angry Birds stuff!|
|Fun on the swings|
There were LOADS of rides suitable for toddlers as these photos show, though there were some height restrictions on some rides it didn't affect our enjoyment at all. It was quite hard to get action shots of the children on the rides as they all came out blurry!
|Looking serene on the swans.|
|We went on this ferris wheel several times!|
We had a typical fast food lunch in one of the cafes at lunchtime, there was plenty of choice including baked potatoes, pizzas, hot dogs that kind of thing. Not mega healthy but then that's what kids seem to like on days like that!
All in all we had a great time, the weather was fab, staff lovely, rides lots of fun - what more could you want!
I received these tickets as a gift but all thoughts are my own.
Sunday, 22 June 2014
Anyway, I was lucky enough to be given a £75 Karen Millen Voucher as a gift at Christmas and unbelievably I've had the will power to hold onto it for 6 months in time for the Summer sale! Here's what I chose...
|Karen Millen Palm Print Skirt £49|
|Snake Devore Top £25|
I was REALLY tempted with this block heel sandals too, were £110 now £55. They looks pretty as well as practical.
|Karen Millen Two Part Block Heel Sandal £55|
Friday, 13 June 2014
|Floral Print Dress from Dorothy Perkins, £22|
|Gingham Jeggings from Topshop, £22|
|White peasant blouse from Dorothy Perkins, £22|
|Coral Texture Jumper from Dorothy Perkins, £22|
- wear the dress on its own
- wear the dress with the jumper making it look like a skirt
- wear the dress with the white blouse, again making it look like a skirt
- wear the jeggings with the white blouse
- wear the jeggings with the jumper
Winner! I also bought a light blue shirt from Gap but I think it hindsight it was a mistake for me - it's not very structured so it sort of hangs off my narrow shoulders, strangely it's not on the Gap website but I do like wearing it over the gingham jeggings, but only tied at the waist over a white tee.
Shoes wise I'm all for buying a couple of new pairs of pumps each year, as even expensive ones get worn out. I like these and they also go perfectly with the items listed above!
|H&M Ballet pumps £7.99|
Monday, 9 June 2014
Friday, 30 May 2014
I was lucky enough to be offered the chance to review something from My 1st Years and I chose a personalised art apron for my youngest son - he loves painting and always seems to be getting paint all over himself (and everywhere else too) so I thought this would be a nice choice. Best of all, the apron also includes a lovely paint set with matching brush - which he absolutely LOVED!
Anyway, onto my review. The apron and paint set arrived inside a lovely gift box, this is a really good idea as I like sending things direct to people online but it seems a total waste of money to pay for gift wrap. The box is free which I think is a great idea and makes the item seem a bit more special. Plus my boys were keen on using the box to create a space ship for their lego men so it was a total win win!
Inside the box there was the lovely apron complete with the paint set neatly tucked inside the apron's pounch, I was thrilled. The quality of the apron was outstanding and I loved the way his name had been embroidered so carefully and lovingly. The apron is totally wipe clean so I won't have to wash it, I think that's a total must.
He's already had a go at using the paints and I have to say, they were great. The paintbrush was also a "proper" one that he could use over and over again.
All in all I was really pleased with the apron and at £14.99 it's the perfect price for a present.