Thursday, 27 August 2015

Birthday Gifts From Toxic Fox

My eldest daughter will be turning 13 in just a few weeks time and I have started to think about what to buy her and how to celebrate her turning into a teenager. I have been struggling for gift ideas for her as she no longer plays with toys and she does not let me buy her clothes any more, whenever I ask her what she would like she says says she does not know. She will probably decide on something she wants soon but I always like to get my children some little surprises to make things extra special.

So when Toxic Fox got in contact and asked if I would like to review something, I knew that I would find something that Chloe would love. If you are a regular reader of my blog you may remember me mentioning Toxic Fox before as I reviewed a scrabble frame for Valentines day. I am now a huge fan of the site and plan on getting some Christmas presents from there as they really do have a gift for everyone.

I had a browse of their Birthday range and a few things caught my eye but I soon discovered something that I knew Chloe would absolutely adore, a ClaireaBella personalised phone case. Chloe is like her mum she loves personalised items and like most teenagers she is glued to her mobile phone and has a bit of an obsession with phone cases. So when I spied this I knew that it was the perfect gift for her and was something she could use and keep. 

Personalised ClaireaBella phone case
The ClaireaBella personalised phone case is available for most iphone models as well as samsung S4 and S5 handsets. You get to customise your case so that you create a character that looks like the person you are buying it for and then you can add their name to personalise it.

Customising your case is really easy to do, firstly you get to choose a outfit from a range including glammed up or pregnant adults to princesses or relaxed kid outfits. I opted for the relaxed kid outfit as this is similar to how Chloe dresses in jeans and t-shirts. Next you get to pick a hairstyle from around ten different styles and I picked the kids ponytail as again this is how she normally wears her hair. You then select which colour hair, eye colour and skin tone and then add the name you would like and decide what colour case you would like from white, black, grey or pink and select which handset you would like the case for. 

On the phone
The case costs £24.99 and is handmade within the UK and is dispatched within around 5 working days. The case arrived within a few days via royal mail and I was impressed with it as soon as I seen it, it looked amazing and perfect for a teenager. It was fantastic quality, fitted her iphone 5c perfectly and the character actually looked like a cartoon version of Chloe. 

I know that it meant to be a birthday gift but I have already gave her the case as she seen it and instantly fell in love with it. She was over the moon with it and says that it feels nice on her mobile and she has shown it to her friends. As it was such a big hit I have already got my eye on a few more ClaireaBella items for her for Christmas, they do so many gorgeous items suitable for both adults and children such as bags, cups and make-up bags to name just a few. 

Side view of the phone case
If you are looking for a gift for someone for a special occasion, birthday or Christmas then I can not recommend Toxic Fox enough as their really is a gift for everyone from funny and unique gifts to gorgeous gifts and hampers for men, women and children too. If you get stuck buying a gift then their is a really useful ultimate gift finder guide which you can say who the gift is for and state your budget and then it will show you a selection of gift ideas to help make present buying so much easier. 

Disclosure: I was kindly sent this item free of charge for the purpose of this review, however all opinions are my own honest account of the product I received. 

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Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Penwizard The Snowman And The Snowdog Personalised Book

I am sure that regular readers will know by now that two of my favourite things are books and personalised items, as I am a huge fan of both. So imagine my delight when Penwizard offered me the chance to review a personalised copy of The Snowman and the snowdog and customise it to feature a little girl who looks just like my toddler Sophia who features in the book. I was in my element. 

Ordering and personalising your book is so quick and easy you simply visit the Penwizard website and select which book you would like from the huge selection available. You then decide if you want a hardback which is priced at £24.99 or a softback book £17.99 and then click create. You then select if it is for a boy or a girl and add their name and you also have the option of adding a personalised message in the book if you wish. 

You then get to create the character of the book to look like your child by selecting their hair style and colour, skin tone, if they wear glasses or not and you are also given a choice of what colour clothing you would like them to be wearing. You will then be showing a preview of your character and book and then you simply add your postage and payment details and that is it, it took me a matter of minutes to create and order the book. 

The book arrived in just a few days which I was really impressed by for a personalised book and I thought that it was fantastic quality. We have the hardback book just because I think these are better for young children, the pages of the book are lovely thick paper and every page is full of gorgeous illustrations and clear big black writing making them appealing to children. 

The snowman and the snowdog is such a lovely story perfect for Christmas and I am planning on putting this book into Sophia's Christmas eve basket so that she can have this as her bedtime story on Christmas eve. Children will love this story as right from the start they are in the story as they are the main character and their name is mentioned regularly throughout. 

Overall I really like this book as I think it is a lovely story, the quality is fantastic and children will love being featured in the story. I think this would be a perfect gift for a child as a Christmas present or as a special book to read on Christmas eve. I really do recommend them and think they would make a great addition to any book collection as it will be treasured and enjoyed for many years to come. 

Disclosure: I was sent this book free of charge for the purpose of this review , however all opinions are my own. 

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Slimming World : Week 17

A few day's ago I wrote a post about how I had not attended my Slimming World group for a few weeks and how I had falling off plan  and was thinking of changing my group to a one that would suit me better. Well on Monday night I attended my new group and I am so glad that I made the decision to switch groups, from the moment I stepped through the door I felt welcome and even though I have not stuck to plan the last three weeks I did not gain as much weight as I had feared.

Slimming World Book
I have joined a group that is in the village which I live in and is just a five minute walk away, I actually use to attend this group a few years ago for around six months before I fell pregnant with Sophia. It was nice to be back at this group as some of the members were still there from when I attended years ago. There was a new consultant Karen who instantly made me feel welcome and was so lovely and friendly and she explained she runs two groups one after the other so if I am unable to attend one due to my other half's shifts I can attend the later one instead. 

I was really nervous about stepping on the scales as I admit I have not stuck to plan the last few weeks as we have had meals out, family days out that have involved fish and chips and ice creams. It was also Jacobs first birthday so I had cake and we have also had a few takeaways the last few weeks too. So I was expecting to have gained around a stone, however I only gained 4.5lb which is not too bad. I think my eating habits have defiantly changed these last few months on Slimming World as I am not snacking as much and I have changed the way I cook and I am eating much healthier without really noticing these days.

I stayed to class which has really motivated me as everyone was so lovely and I learnt a few new recipe ideas. I also brought the new magazine which is probably my favourite issue yet as all the recipes look so delicious and not at all 'diet' like, with meals such as BBQ pulled chicken and Thai chicken curry. I am feeling focused and back on track and I am going to make sure that I try out all the yummy looking new recipes and mix my foods up a bit more as I was getting bored of eating the same things. I also have a review of the new Slimming World book Veggie Deluxe book coming up so keep an eye out for that as it is full of  scrumptious looking recipes. 

I am really hoping that I can lose at least 2lb this week but secretly I would love to lose the 4.5lb I have gained so that I am back to where I was before I mucked things up. I am feeling determined and inspired and I know that I can do this now. I am so glad that I made the decision to change groups as I know with the group support that I can get this weight off once and for all and finally feel confident in my own skin again. 

If you have been on a diet what have you found helps you get back on track after a setback ? 

You can find out more about Slimming World and find your nearest class on the website

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Sunday, 23 August 2015

Printrbook The Facebook Photo Book : Review

A while ago I was given the chance to try out a photo book from Printrbook, which is a clever way of getting your Instagram or Facebook photos printed out into a cute little photo book. I opted to
 print a Facebook photo book , as I am really bad at taken photos adding them to Facebook and then forgetting all about them and never printing them out. 

I have eight years worth of photos on there ranging from drunken nights out when I was younger to pregnancy photos and precious newborn photos and pictures of my children when they were small. I would be devastated if I lost these treasured photos, so I instantly loved the idea of them being printed out into a little book that I could keep forever. 

Creating your book is really easy you just visit printrbook and then you either log in with you Instagram or Facebook account, whichever you want to use photos from or if you log into both you can add photos from each account. You then select which of your photos from your account you would like to upload into your book and add either 25 or 50 photos to your book. It is really quick and easy and as their is only one photo per page you don't have to spend ages arranging photos and layouts etc. 

You then decided what photos you would like on your books cover or you can tick a box to let it automatically choose for you, which I opted for. You then give your book a title and are given the option of writing a paragraph in your book and adding captions to your photos if you wish. Then you preview your book and click order, add your details and that is it. I found the whole process really easy and very quick and totally stress free. 

My order arrived fairly quickly in around a week via royal mail and easily fitted through my letterbox, so their was no need for anyone to be at home for the delivery. When I first seen the book it was smaller then I expected it to be as it is only 10 cm x 11 cm in size. I like the size of the book though as it is handy and would make a lovely present or keep sake for someone. 

I was impressed with the quality of the photos in the book as they were all really clear and bright despite all being taken on my mobile. The pages of the book were nice and thick and felt good quality too. They are all printed in chronological order so my photos show my children from being tiny newborns to how they are now which I think is really lovely as it is like the last few years of my life in picture format. 

I really like these books they are super quick and simple to create and they are fantastic quality. I really do think these would make a wonderful gift for someone as a way of reminding them of happy memories. I think so many of us are guilty of taken photos adding them to social media and then forgetting all about them, so why not print them out with Printrbook so you can treasure them forever.

You can order your own Printrbook from the website a 25 page book costs £12.99 and a 50 page book costs £15.99 and they both include free shipping to anywhere in the world. And I have a discount code for 10 % off your very own book just use code newfamlife10 at the checkout, valid until the 30 th September 2015.

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Falling Off The Diet Wagon

If you are a regular reader you will know that I have been following the Slimming World diet plan and blogging my progress each week in the hope it would motivate me to stick to plan. It was working, I posted a weight loss update every week and I was enjoying the diet. However you may have noticed that I have not posted an update for a few weeks now. I hold my hands up and admit I have fallen off the plan and have not been attending group and have more then likely been gaining weight.

I feel really disappointed in myself that I am undoing all of my hard work. I also feel rather rubbish in myself if I am honest as I feel bloated and lethargic and my skin is not as clear as it was. I could blame the holidays for falling off my diet wagon as we have had family days out and meals out as well as many takeaways and ice creams. But it is not the holidays fault it is my fault as I could have still enjoyed meals out on the plan if I had of chosen different meals, that is the beauty of Slimming world no food is ever banned. 

Normally whenever I start a diet I do well for so long and lose weight and then I have a bad week, skip group and vow I will stick to plan the following week, only to have another bad week and then I give up on my diet think I am failure and slip back into my old eating habits and gain even more weight. 

I am determined that this is not going to happen this time, I need to lose weight, I am overweight and it is unhealthy. None of my old clothes fit and my weight is also preventing me from being the mum I want to be as I refuse to take my children swimming or on rides at the fair as I feel to fat. I can also no longer say "oh its just baby weight",  as my baby has just turned one this week. 

So this week I have been thinking about how I can get back on plan and focus 100 % on losing weight. I have decided that the best thing for me to do is join a different Slimming World class as I love the plan and I know that it really does work and is the only diet that I actually stick to. I have decided to change class for a few reasons mainly because I did not like the class I was at.

 It was a class at 9 am on a weekday morning which I felt was perfect as I always seem to weigh less first thing in the morning. However the class was really busy and sometimes I would spend up to half an hour just waiting in a line to get weighed. I also often had my children with me and they would get restless and prevented me from staying to class, which was a major disadvantage as the main element of Slimming world is staying to class as you learn and get support. As the class was so busy I never spoke to my consultant once in three months I attended and I never got the chance to talk to any other members. 

So I have had a look on the slimming worlds website and I have found a new class just down the road from where I live and it is at 7pm on a Monday evening. This means I will be able to attend on my own without the children as they will be in bed with daddy looking after them. I will be able to stay to group every week and it is also a much smaller and less busy group which is what I think I need. I am the perfect example that to stick to the plan and give it 100 % you need to find a group that works best for you. I need to stay to group each week as just weighing and then leaving is preventing me getting the support and motivation that I need.

So tomorrow night I am joining my new group and I am also going to stick to my weekly meal planning. I am going to make sure I try lots of new recipes as I think I was sticking to the same meals too much last time and getting bored. I am also going to Instagram my meals daily to help keep me motivated and I will be blogging my weight loss each week again too. 

If anyone else is in the same situation as I am don't give up on your diet just write things off and start again tomorrow. Or if you need to find a new class then find one, as I for one know that without attending group I wont stick to the plan and I will just end up gaining weight instead of losing it. It is time for me to get back on track, lose the weight and be the mum that I want my children to have. After all life is to short to keep putting things of and being unhappy with my weight. 

If you are on a diet what helps motivate you to keep on track ? 

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Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Jacob You Are One

Dear Jacob 

Happy birthday baby boy mammy can not believe that you are one today! The last year seems to have gone by so quickly and you are no longer a baby but a little toddler boy with lots of personality. It really does not seem so long ago since the day you were born, I remember it like it was yesterday. I had been so worried about being induced early with you as I was told you were a small baby, well the doctors got that wrong as you weighed 8lb 6.5 and you arrived super quick in just 40 minutes. 

You have only been a part of are family for one year but it feels like you have been here forever and you complete are family, your mummy's little dude, daddy's little man and Chloe and Sophia's baby brother. Mummy does not write about you or share many photos of you on the blog , but as it is your birthday I wanted to let you know how much you mean to us and what your first year was like.

You have been hard work this last year, the first four months with you were tough as you had bad colic and would scream from the moment you woke until the moment you went to bed every day for four months. At four months you stopped crying and your personality started to shine through but now at one year old you still don't sleep at night and have mammy and daddy up lots during the night and then super early every single morning. thanks son. 

Growing up with two big sisters you figured out early on how to get attention, by screaming loudly. You don't scream in pain or anything you just scream very loudly for attention or to get your own way. You and Sophia are only 14 months apart so you fight a lot you hit, bite and pull her hair when she is mean to you, but lately the two of you have started to play together and will kiss and hug each other and look for each other when the other is not around. I really think you two will be the best of friends. You love your biggest sister Chloe too although she never plays with you, but you love cuddling her and she is the only person you ever fall asleep on. 

At one you can do so much you started walking at 11 months and it is so cute watching you toddling around as you get so proud of yourself. You love to climb and are forever climbing on things, especially the sofa and then you like to pull all the cushions off and throw them on the floor. You also like to stand at the stairgate and rattle it really hard and loudly which you think is funny. You are such a daddy's boy these days and you follow him everywhere like a shadow and shout for him all the time.

You can clap, blow kisses, bounce up and down and if we say 'dance' you will say 'dance, dance' and wiggle your bum which is very cute. You give kisses and cuddles and wave hello and bye. You adore Jake and the neverland pirated and whenever it comes on you shake your arm and say 'yo ho ho'. It is the only tv show you will watch as you don't like anything else. 

You like playing with toys your favourite things are anything with wheels on that move, building blocks, happyland figures as you like to chew them, books and Sophia's little tikes car which you are always sitting in. You love being out in your buggy now which is a relief as you hated it when you were small. You love the swing in the garden and at the park and you have started to like soft play now too. You love your food and have always ate whatever we gave you, your favourites are apples, bananas, tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, toast, yogurt and pasta. 

I really can not believe you are one, you really have changed so much this last year and we have all fallen in love with you and your cute little cackling laugh and big blue eyes and cheeky smile make everyone else fall in love with you too. Happy birthday little dude I hope that you have a fantastic day today and that you like your pirate cake and enjoy going out for the day. I can't wait to see you open your presents and hope you like the toys we got you. 

 Happy birthday Jacob Oliver Joseph my little one year old boy, you will always be my baby and I can't wait to see how you grow over the next year. Love you lots love from mammy xxx

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Saturday, 15 August 2015

Calm Colour Create Magazine : Review And Giveaway

 I adored colouring in as a child and now I am a mum I enjoy colouring with my children.  In the last few months I have noticed that adult colouring books have became really popular and I have been tempted to get myself a one. Well now their is also a monthly colouring magazine available for adults called Calm Colour Create

The magazine is filled with 60 + pages of beautiful calming black and white designs for you to colour in, with a mix of patterns, mandala's and triangle designs. The magazine is great quality and very appealing and as soon as I received it I wanted to start colouring straight away.

Calm Colour Create Magazine
The magazine came complete with a set of five pencils, which was handy as all we have is half chewed crayons in our house. I found this magazine really relaxing and calming and it was the perfect way to sit and relax on a evening once my children were in bed. 

I was sent the first issue of Calm, Colour, Create which has a ocean theme which includes lots of fish and underwater designs. The next issue is available from the end of August and retails at £4.99 which I think is a good price for such a good quality magazine that will give you hours of relaxing colouring fun.

You can buy Calm, Colour, Create from all leading supermarkets and good newsagents each month and I personally will be buying the next issue as I really enjoyed the first one. If you fancy trying out the magazine yourself then I have a giveaway in which three lucky readers can win a copy of Calm Colour Create for themselves. 

To enter just enter one or more of the entry's on the Rafflecopter below. Open to UK residents only, three winners will be selected via random by Rafflecopter from all correct entry's received by the closing date. Make sure you enter correctly as all entries will be checked and verified. Prize will be sent direct from the prize promoter. 

Good luck

                 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure I was sent a copy of Calm Colour Create free of charge for the purpose of this review however all views are my own. 

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