Thursday, 31 December 2015

Christmas Sales Fashion Picks!

This is the first time in quite a while that I've been excited about the Christmas sales - this time last year I was 20 weeks pregnant and the year before, well it's a blur. I always prefer the sales at this time of year to any other - usually it's stuff I've been looking at for months and all of a sudden there's a massive price drop, Frankly I love it.

For the past six months I've been desperately trying NOT to buy any clothes, convinced that very soon I would be able to fit into my pre pregnancy clothes. However 7 months down the line and I'm nowhere near, and I'm getting sick of constantly wearing and washing the same three pairs of trousers, so the time has come to take the plunge and actually buy some stuff. The hardship.

I've been a bit of a fan of Laura Ashley clothes for a few years now, mainly because there's a huge Laura Ashley just near us and it's easy to get to and park. Yesterday I bought this boiled wool jacket - though weirdly in store it was £39 not £45, but it's lovely. Warm, cosy, smart and versatile.

Laura Ashley Boiled Wool Jacket in Navy - £45 though £39 in store.
Speaking of lovely jacket/cardigans = coatigans, I love this one from Karen Millen - a real classic and good value for £70.

Karen Millen Two Tone Blazer £70.
While I was having a browse in Leeds the other day, I tried this grey cardigan on - lovely Karen Millen zip on - only XS left online but more in store. I think I needed a medium - which they didn't have in Leeds so I didn't buy - but for me I like this style as often their cardigans and jumpers are a touch short on me.

Karen Millen Zip Front Longline Cartigan £65.
On to something totally different but very wearable all year round, this Soft Stud Detail dress from Warehouse. Not great value at £35 in the sale, but I bought it because I've had my eye on it for AGES.

Warehouse Soft Stud Details Dress £35
To go with it I bought these Piped Detail Leggings - they look SO much nicer in real life!

Piped Detail Leggings Warehouse £15
Now to Baukjen - I still love their clothes SO much. For Christmas my mum bought me this v neck jumper, which is cosy, warm and a beautiful colour. I love it. But for £119 so I should!

Pink Dahlia V Neck Jumper BAUKJEN - £119
Also this looks great with the grey leggings. Double love.

A few weeks before Christmas I bought myself a black all-in-one from Baukjen and again, I love it. The quality is great - though it does have a tendency to attract bits of fluff and jumper etc which is annoying, though maybe because I'm rolling around with baby all the time.

Weston Jumpsuit now on sale at £79 from Baukjen

There is a Felton Jumpsuit which is equally nice, though maybe that one is a little more fitted.

Maybe time to stop spending now!

Friday, 11 December 2015

The Book of Everyone Review

One of the biggest perks of being a blogger, are the great products I get to review, and this one is a cracker! I was approached by the lovely people at The Book of Everyone to see if I would like to review a book for Christmas - however it's my husband's 40th coming up soon, so I thought I would get him a book instead (sorry to hubby who is probably reading this post!)

"The Book of Everyone is a beautifully crafted book that can be about anyone you wish, printed and dispatched in under a week!  The Book of Everyone showcases through the options of digital, paperback, hardback and deluxe books the journey through the world they were born into. Full of glorious personalised facts and fun statistics. The pages have been created by some of the world's best designers and the copy crafted with care and charm.  With the option of personal touches, like photos, quotes and dedications."

I really love the modern design of the website, where you can choose to either make a birthday or Christmas book - what a great idea for a present that's a bit "different" 

It honestly looks like a "proper" book,  as if it's been professionally published -which I guess it has! You can choose between paper and hardback (prices start at £19.50) in a choice of colours and designs!

If you get a birthday book, you can choose to have the person's age on it, and you can personalise it to add your own message, photos, and more! It's got a really modern twist to it, I think it would particularly appeal to people in their thirties and forties.

The website is really clever and pulls out key events that happened at the time of the birth of the person the book is for - it's really nostalgic which I think people will love!

The customer service is also brill. I accidentally put my code in too soon and had to ask for my order to be cancelled, and the service I received was amazing! Thoroughly recommend  The Book of Everyone, great easy present literally for everyone! If you want one of these books for Christmas, don't delay, last day for ordering is 17th December.

Want to spread some Christmas cheer ? Then why not make and share a unique snowflake using the hashtag: #snowmyname  

I was given a promotional code to get my Book of Everyone for the purpose of review, but all thoughts are my own.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

DC Super Hero Girls

When I was a little girl, there were precious few girl heroes in cartoons. Even the ones who were pretty awesome also had to be beautiful, which basically means not only do you have to look amazing, but it helps if you are super strong and have super powers as well. I'm not sure many girls identified with them - the likes of She-ra never really took off. Basically, the Spice Girls were pretty much my first introduction to girl power, how bad is that?

This time around, if your kids are looking for action-packed girl power, look no further than DC Super Hero Girls. DC Entertainment’s latest animated series, features a dynamic group of Super Heroes on their journey of discovering the power of their unique abilities and friendships. What I love is how dynamic the characters are, from strong and fearless to edgy and fun; there is a character for everyone, this is really important for girls who need to see that female characters are sort of real people as well as being amazing.

Like a lot of children these days, my two sons are pretty obsessed by YouTube, although I'm keen for them to identify with good role models. It's good news to me therefore, that the DC Super Hero Girls YouTube channel makes it easy for kids to watch their favourite characters, on-demand, and from any device. Click here for their YouTube channel.

For even more fun for your kids, there is an extended online experience on the website where kids can play games, download free printable activities, and more.

AND if that wasn't already a LOT of good stuff, you can also enter a giveaway to enter a £100 gift card, what's not to like?


Thursday, 3 December 2015

How to spend time online...

I sometimes wonder what mums did before the time of facebook. God it was lonely. We had to rely on emails, and people wrote LONG ones. Ridiculously long. And they had to be funny! Oh yes, if they weren't funny they wouldn't get responded to. Those are the rules.

I sometimes look at other mums and wonder what they do all day. Honestly, if it wasn't for my social media addiction and my baby, I don't know how I would spend my time! I am still very much into online shopping, in fact I spotted this lovely skirt and jumper combo from Warehouse the other day.

Very nineties, but like my email style..

Warehouse Skirt £40
.It's a lovely way to get suede without the price of suedette - they call it suedette!

Stripe Rib Lurex £28
Such a great combo for Winter and a great nineties throw back look too!

So how do you spend your time online? One way of passing the time and relaxing in the evening is using bingo sites as a sort of hobby! And why not? Lots of people spend time these days playing bingo both in real life and online. It's a fun way to pass the time and everyone needs a hobby!  For a while I was totally obsessed with Mah Jong, especially when I was pregnant. I found it so relaxing, I think it's used for meditation techniques. These days I spend my time chatting to friends on social media, watching reality TV and drinking sherry... heaven.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

How to Host a Successful Birthday Party in Five Easy Steps

While the message of the popular hit song, ‘it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to’ resonates for its humour and truth, the fact of the matter is that most of us throwing a birthday party do not want to be putting on such displays of emotion in front of their closest friends and family. 

So, the question is, how do you go about throwing an awesome party that everyone gets a kick out of and talks about years down the road?

Step 1: Have friends

It is seriously hard to throw a good party if you have no one to invite. This does not mean you have to be the most popular kid in your school, or the funniest man in the workplace. You can put together a small, intimate gathering, or throw a massive pool party inviting everyone you know. Figure out what you want, and what you think would be make for a fun time.

Step 2: Invite them when they can come

If you figure out a perfect date that only works for you, and your friends and family cannot make it, then what kind of party will you have? An empty one, that’s what. You might as well spend your time alone playing new bingo sites 2016.

Step 3: Cater to their/your preferences

Chances are you and your friends and family have mutual interests, so get creative with fun activities that everyone can enjoy. This might simply mean getting wasted and dancing your booty off until the sun comes up, a fairly generic (but perfectly valid) way of partying. Alternatively, if you are into singing, why not host a karaoke-themed fiesta. Along the same lines, theatre buffs would probably get a kick out of a murder mystery event, a kind of live role-playing game ofCluedo.

Step 4: Find ways to introduce people if they don’t know each other

If you have a diverse group of friends who don’t necessarily know each other, finding activities to break the ice can help make things go smoother. This can be simply serving copious amounts of liquid courage aka alcohol, or it can mean playing group games where you ask questions about each other to get past the awkward stages.

Step 5: Find a killer spot to host it at

For the perfect party, you will need enough space and amenities. Consider asking a friend to use his house for the evening, or even shop around to rent out a healthy space. If you want to go old school and are on a budget, perhaps your parents’ basement will suffice, but make sure to dress it up nicely with colourful lights and decorations.



Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries Partnership!

When I was a child I was always on my bike. We lived on a "modern" estate which was very soulless, but was actually great for children to grow up on. There was hardly any traffic so we could easily play tennis and football in the road, and I rode around on my bike from a very young age all on my own. I discovered pathways and short cuts, raced my friends, explored and best of all, got a shed load of exercise. These days, I am ashamed to say I cannot remember the last time I got on a bike - I seem to be fearful of traffic, in a way I never used to be. Which is a shame, and something I am at pains to work on, as I would really like the boys to become more confident cyclists. 

I was quite excited then, to learn that     Yorkshire Bank has partnered with Cycle Yorkshire to launch the Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries initiative across Yorkshire (where I live!).          Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries is a 3 year joint project (from December 2014) with Welcome to Yorkshire’s cycling initiative, Cycle Yorkshire.     The aim is to make cycling more accessible in Yorkshire by providing communities with bike libraries! What a cool idea! Very London/New York.          People are encouraged to amnesty their old bikes and drop them off at the designated donation stations, the donated bikes will make up the Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries and be available to individuals, local enterprises and community groups to borrow, so more people, young and old, can enjoy the benefits of cycling! Genius!

So far Yorkshire's bike libraries are located at:-

o   Streetbikes CIC, Huddersfield
o   BeCycling, Bradford
o   Bradford Trident
o   Yorkshire Children’s Centre, Huddersfield
o   Get Cycling, York
o   Club Doncaster, Doncaster
o   ReVolution
o   Fearnville Centre, Leeds

However donation stations are located here and bike libraries can also be seen here.

Fore more information on the whole project, please click here.

Personally I think this is a really exciting idea and something I am behind 100%. The idea of borrowing a bike in a very similar way to borrowing a book is a wonderful idea, especially as new bikes can be really expensive. We actually bought a mountain bike for our 7 year old and it is WAY too heavy for him to ride, so we could just go along to a bike library and borrow something far more suitable. Win/Win!

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Kids On A Train: What You Should Know

After the kids watched a Christmas movie about a young boy who travels to the North Pole on a 
train they decided that they wanted to go on a train journey during the following holidays. The fact 
that I’ve always sort of romanticized this type of transportation didn’t hurt either! I will never forget 
that journey nor will I forget the sometimes hard lessons about train travel that I learned either. I did 
a little research online and finally chose a cross country trip that lasted two nights and three days 
(although this actually worked out to two full days on the train).

Save With Coupons

Planning for the trip might involve a lot of different expenses, not only the price of the tickets. 
Rememer to be prepare yourself for all kinds of situations and get everything you need in advance, 
such as appropriate clothes or first aid items, which doesn't have to be expensive when you use a 
Discountrue coupon or take advantage of some of the amazing occasions available to you when 
shopping online.

Book In Advance

Long distance train travel is not as cheap as you might have believed. Depending on what train line 
you’re traveling on and how ‘luxurious’ the compratment is, it could cost as much if not more than 
a plane ticket. But by booking in advance as well as taking advantage of any applicable discounts, I 
was able to save a fair amount on the total price.

Arrive Early

Train travel is not like plane travel in that you have an hour reserved for boarding, then a bit of a 
wait before you’re finally taxing down the runway. Trains have a schedule to keep and they’re very 
often running behind so you have a maximum of about 15 minutes to board and get settled before 
you’re pulling out of the station. So, whatever you do – make sure you arrive early! At least 30 
minutes when you have kids with you, although if they’re very much into the whole experience you 
might just get away with arriving an hour beforehand. This will also give you time to make sure 
you’re on the right platform and find out anything you need to know from the info kiosk or 

Power Outage

Power points are becoming more common on trains but they’re still pretty hit and miss so don’t 
count on them. You may be able to make sure of this beforehand, we booked a sleeper that 
specifically stated there was an outlet available, but again – no guarantee! Some carriages will have 
power outlets at every seat, others will have just one in some weird location like the roof. The 
power outlets in the dining or ‘common room’ carriages will have queues waiting to use them so 
you may be considered a god if you happen to have a power strip in your luggage!

Small Space Entertainment

There is only a little more freedom to move around on a train than what there is on a plane so pull 
out your small space entertainment kit. Remember that power isn’t guaranteed so bring along items 
that don’t need to be charged, are not going to annoy you or fellow passengers and that don’t have 
small parts that can be misplaced. Coloring/puzzle books with triples of each color, matchbox cars, 
action figures and a couple of reading books are great ideas, but if you like child friendly tablet 
games then I would suggest investing in those ‘battery packs’. If you’re using a laptop for movies, 
games or anything else then maybe buy extra batteries – both of these are an investment that will 
never really go to waste!

Pack A Picnic

Pack your own food for the journey and make sure you have plenty of bottled water. The food on 
most trains is exorbitantly expensive and not always edible so you’ll be doing your pocket and your 
stomach a disservice if you don’t have your own snacks and meals. Keep an eye out for stops where 
you can hop out to refill water bottles but do not get out if the train is only stopping for a few 
minutes because they will not wait for you! You won’t have microwaves or anything like that so 
pack a cooler with ice bricks and choose picnic food that is best eaten cold and will keep for a 
while. Things like cold meats, bread rolls, chicken pieces, salads, cheese and crackers as well as a 
couple of soda pops and packets of crisps are good choices.

Final Tips

My last tips are to stock up on baby wipes even if you’re absolutely sure you’ll have shower/basin 
facilities and also your own toilet paper because running out is a highly unpleasant experience for 
everyone involved! But most of all have fun, play a few train games, take plenty of photos and 
watch the scenery rolling past while the clacking of the train lulls you to sleep!

This is a guest post.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Jamie's Italian Leeds

So it's no secret that we love eating out as a family. It's something we did regularly together well before we had children and as soon as Son 1 was born, we introduced him to the joys of eating out early on. All our children are used to sitting in restaurants - they are not always 100% perfectly well behaved but they know the score; they know they have to sit still and can't go running round, they know they have to use their manners and they know we expect them to eat what they choose. We always ensure they choose their own main course so that way they cannot complain! We love going into Leeds and trying the new restaurants that keep popping up all the time, and one of our favourites is Jamie's Italian on Park Row, Leeds. We've been a few times but to be honest never with the children before, so when we were invited along, it seemed like a good chance to try it out en famille!

We booked for midday but owing to an unexpected fun run in Bradford - we were stuck there for over an hour with a screaming baby which was fun - we were AN HOUR late. We rang Jamie's who were very accommodating and told us to not stress and just to get there when we could. I hate being late so this calmed me a little. When we got there I was impressed to see a sign outside that said, "kids eat free" - brilliant idea. But what would the Jamie's Italian Kid's Menu be like? The children were given a pack each full of goodies and fun stuff. Someone really knows their stuff as the contents were perfect for children of 4 and 7. We got stickers, crayons, a puzzle, a game and good colouring. Win!

Now for the really fun stuff and something I have NEVER seen before - the kid's menu could be viewed through this slide viewer (I cannot work out what they are called!) which you "click" to get to the next photo of food! The kids had never seen one before and we had a lot of fun flicking through and explaining to them how it worked. Genius! There is also a paper menu for those who do not like clicking.

Son 2 chose meatballs and pasta for his main course - the waiter was great and let them have as much parmasan as they wanted (they are obsessed with it!) the food tasted great and was perfect for someone his age. He was even given age appropriate cutlery which restaurants NEVER do - but really is quite obvious. Again, genius.

Our five month old baby (I could NOT get a picture of her keeping still so apologies for the blur!) tried out a brand new high chair which was probably one of the best I have seen - I hate those cheap wooden ones you usually see in restaurants - this one had obviously been chosen by someone who actually has experience of eating out with kids - maybe Jamie himself? Who knows? She damaged many serviettes but the waiter kindly replaced them and was not grossed out by the dribbling. Luckily.

Right behind us was this awesome looking servery with delicious breads and oils - sort of sums up Jamie's Italian really. The smell is intoxicating, makes you hungry as soon as you walk in...

Son 1 chose salmon in a bag which came with a "shake me" salad. I had to keep reminding myself that the kids meals were free - the quality was absolutely awesome. He wolfed down the salmon but was less keen on the green beans - maybe peas could have been an option?

I was really impressed by the kids salad - it had ribbons of carrot, grapes, lettuce and tomato. It was a really cute idea and the boys loved it. Anything in a mysterious jar is always a crowd pleaser with kids eh?

Both hubby and I ordered the porchetta which was amazing. It's the sauces and dressings that really set this place apart - the attention to detail is second to none. Yet it's informal and relaxed at the same time as being quite posh if that makes sense?

For pudding the boys chose ice cream which again, was divine. I thoroughly recommend the caramel flavour which was RIGHT on.

For child friendliness you really can't beat Jamies. There were actually loads of families in there - maybe we would have felt slightly more comfortable if the families had been sitting together, I think we would have felt less self conscious about the toilet related jokes that our sons are currently into...

I asked the boys a few questions about their experience...
1. What did you do until your food arrived, "we messed around with this red thing and I drew a lot of pictures of Angry Birds. Only they are secret so do not show ANYONE."
2. What did you eat and did you like it? "I had salmon which was very tasty and healthy at the same time. Salmon makes you live longer so I always order it. Plus it's my favourite. I liked the carrot ribbon I have never had one of those before".
3. Where do you think Italian food comes from? "Obviously it comes from Italy. My best friend is Italian so I know a lot about it. He makes his own pizzas, he didn't like our pizza when he came over to our house to play. He likes playing Fifa on our computer. I also like pasta, in fact salmon with pasta is my most favourite meal ever."
4. Do you like eating out in restaurants? "Yes I do, I like being altogether as a family and we spend time together and chat. Sometimes we play noughts and crosses or spot the difference which is fun. I like sitting next to my mummy. My favourite food is pizza and pasta so I like coming to Italian restaurants. I wish I could have coca cola but mummy said no."

So there you have it! A success! We will be back...

Monday, 26 October 2015

Roxy Lanes Leeds Review

As a family we love a bit of bowling. What's not to like? Family fun? Check! A bit of competitiveness? Check! Problem is that I really do NOT like most bowling alleys. They are kind of dated looking and I always leave feeling slightly grubby, not least because I do NOT like sharing shoes. But the kids like it, it's relatively inexpensive and I get to sit down for a few minutes.

However, now, my feelings about bowling have totally changed thanks to Roxy Lane Leeds. I'm not sure how long Roxy Lanes has been there, but I'm already a MASSIVE fan. They have nice beer, a well stocked bar, and it's in Leeds city centre which is great! I was just saying to my husband that now it's in Leeds, it actually gives us a reason to go into Leeds aside from eating - and it's something for the children to do that doesn't involve trailing around shops too.

Here is the interior - it's super cool, sort of a cross between a trendy New York bar and a beer hall. Throw in some bowling alleys and you've got a recipe for fun times.

There are four lanes, which means there won't be loads of people milling around - great for those trying to keep an eye on their children. The staff were really child friendly and found shoes for my picky children without so much as a quibble. Perfect. We were offered drinks straight away which were the brought over to our lane. I didn't see this myself, but my son claimed to have seen an Angry Birds bowling ball over on one of the other lanes - superb. They have a clever system for bowling whereby the computer knew who was playing and who needed the bars up on the side (though seeing my score at the end maybe I needed them too?!). There is also a rail for children (that you can see in the photo below) as the balls are quite heavy so this solved that problem.

In this photo below you can see hubby bowling with our baby in his arms. A first?!

As you can see it's super modern and sleek - such a refreshing change from most bowling alleys that are pretty grubby and unappealing. We were offered food but due to traffic in Bradford we had a very late lunch so actually didn't have anything to eat. We did see someone else have a burger though and it looked DIVINE. I was actually regretting my decision not to eat on the way home as I kept remembering the smell.

Sleek and trendy
Roxy Lanes is open to children Sunday to Friday 3 - 6pm, and Saturday 10 - 3pm and for £10 a head you get pizza, bowling and unlimited soft drinks. Bargain! A great way to spend a Saturday and Sunday in Leeds or even half term!

To book ring 0113 3221781 (option 2).
1st Floor, The Podium, Bond Street, Leeds, LS1 5BQ (it is above Tesco close to Pret a Manger/Park Row.

For the purpose of this review I was offered a free game of bowling with my family, but all thoughts are my own.

Be Cool Scooby Doo! Giveaway Time!

There's nothing more entertaining than rewatching retro cartoons from childhood - and of course singing the theme tunes. Lol.

One of my favs was Scooby Dooby Doo. I think there are few of us who didn't hide behind the sofa during the scary bits in Scooby Doo. Even hardened horror film watchers. My own children watch it now and are clearly, at times, absolutely terrified, despite watching Star Wars with absolutely no reaction whatsoever. What does that tell you! 

Now, you can watch your favorite team in an all new show,  Be Cool Scooby-Doo!  While one of our favorite cartoons continues to provide entertainment for the whole family, the way our kids watch cartoons is certainly not the same and they seem to expect more than we ever did as children. They want the whole package. Luckily now, they can watch videos, play games and download printable activities on

The Warner Bros Youtube Channel  makes it easy for our kids to watch their favorite mystery squad, on-demand, and from any device.

Scooby-Doo! is giving away a £100 gift card for Amazon, which makes it a great time to check it all out. Watch the video and enter for your chance today!


Friday, 23 October 2015

York's Cold War Bunker

Don't you just love it when your child's new obsession is something totally obscure - like the Cold War for instance? Yes this is an actual thing. I guess it sort of makes sense - for ages Son 1 has been preoccupied in a BIG way with WW2. It started when we went to Normandy a few years ago and has just gone on from there. He is absolutely fascinated with the details of the whole thing - the names of the landing beaches, the different fighter planes, the names of the tanks and various U Boats - I suspect he knows more about it than your average A Level History student! Anyhoo, now his interest has passed to the aftermath of the war - the Berlin Wall, communism and the Soviet Union. I guess it sort of makes sense - the only negative part to this is that is not a huge area of knowledge for me, and so it made sense to go somewhere that would enable him to find out more and have his questions answered! Therefore I jumped at the chance to go and visit York's Cold War Bunker which is looked after by English Heritage. A bit random but there you go!

Luckily it's not too far from our house, but when we get there I was surprised at it's location - it's sort of nestled in between some trendy flats just off a small high street outside of York. Random. We parked up and waited for our tour to begin at 1pm - you have to go on the tour at certain times (see bottom of the post) so make sure you look into that before you go. The other people on our tour seemed to mainly include students from York and other families. The students looked so pleased when they realised they were going to share their tour with small children. Not. The tour guide was a lovely guy - very friendly and knowledgeable. I explained that my son is a bit eccentric and into the details but he said it was fine and that's usually the case with quite a lot of the children who are interested in the bunker. The bunker itself is quite cramped and there is not room for a pushchair so we used a baby carrier. There are toilets but no cafe or anything like that although you can find places to eat on the high street. Going back to the tour guide - he was absolutely unflappable even when my younger son decided to spend quite a lot of time trying to velcro his coat to the tour guide's jumper. Thankfully after twenty or thirty attempts he succeeded - much to the relief of all.

Inside the control room!
I won't go into the contents of the tour as I don't want to spoil it for anyone who goes themselves, but suffice to say it was quite an eye opener as to how serious the threat of missiles during the Cold War actually was. The living conditions inside the bunker looked pretty horrendous - I honestly don't know how people could stand it. It was interesting seeing the locations on the map of all the bunkers across the UK - there are thousands of them all over the place. Who knew?

The only thing I would say is not recommended for children are parts of the video about the effects of nuclear weapons - some of it was very distressing especially as the aftermaths of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were shown, I covered my son's eyes but my older son got quite upset and left the room until it finished.

Some sort of army related jacket

Outside the bunker. Why wouldn't you take a baby in there?

It was a really interesting tour and something a bit different. I would really recommend it for anyone who has an interest in the post war era and who is keen to expand their knowledge of that area. It's also a part of our heritage so take advantage of it while you can!

Ticket prices are £17.60 for a family and remember you have to go at the following times - no need to book - Entrance by guided tour only, at the following times: 10:00, 11:15, 11:45, 13:00, 14:15, 15:30 and 17:00.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Chunky guacamole and home made tortillas...

Something fun, zesty, healthy and delicious to make on a Sunday afternoon or for a gathering. Total crowd pleaser and super quick to make as well. So here's what you need.
One ripe avocado
One salad tomato
One onion (red if you have one)
Bunch of coriander
Juice of half a lime
Bit of salt
Fresh chillies (use those "lazy chillies" you get in a jar
So, basically put all these things in a bowl like you see in this picture...

Then using your hand mixer thing (you know, the sort of thing you use to puree baby's food) turn it into this! That's it! Obviously you can make is as smooth or chunky as you like depending on taste.
100g of self raising flour
Pinch of salt
Olive oil
Warm water
Mix the flour, salt, a spoonful of olive oil and enough warm water to make this dough.

Break the dough into small balls and then roll them out individually onto a floured surface. They need to be quite thin. When done, heat some more olive oil in a pan and when hot put in your first tortilla. As you can see it doesn't have to be perfectly round. (good job).

It will need flipping when one of the sides is cooked. You will need to keep an eye on it or you may end up with slight burnage (see below).

Break up into strips and place in a bowl with some guacamole on top for a healthy snack. Serve with a Mojito. Standard.

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!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...