Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Review: Arbonne Skincare And Baby Products

A while ago i was invited to an opening event of a new children's hairdresser's and boutique called Pikku in Gosforth which looks amazing but i sadly could not attend. However the lovely woman who invited me Victoria asked if i would like to try out some skincare and baby products from Arbonne whom she is a consultant for. Having heard of how good Arbonne products were meant to be i was eager to find out if they were actually as good as everyone said. 

Arbonne was developed in Switzerland and has been around for 35 years so it is a product that has stood the test of time. Arbonne specialise's in pure, safe and beneficial products. All products are 100 % vegan and are made with botanical ingredients and contain no harmful chemicals making them kinder on your skin.

The packaging on all the products is gorgeous and has a rather luxurious feel to it and you can tell that they are high quality products. I think the fact that you can not buy any Arbonne products in the shops also makes them feel a bit more exclusive and luxurious too as you have to buy them from a special Arbonne consultant who is on hand to offer you advice and ensure you buy the correct products for your needs, and who also know the products inside and out and are so passionate about the products they sell. 

I was offered a range of different products to test out which were some skincare products, body care products and some baby skincare products and this is what i thought of them.

I was sent two skincare products the Hydrating Body Lotion and the Reactivating Body Serum. As i mentioned the packaging on the products is really nice, they were so easy to use and had a pump on the top to dispense the lotions so they were super easy to use. They smelt lovely a nice, citrus, fresh and clean scent.

 I found that i only needed a tiny amount of these products as they really do go a long way, so they will last you ages. The body lotion was a white cream and it just soaked into my skin straight away there was no greasiness's like you can get with some cheaper creams, it left my skin feeling super soft and hydrated all day long. And the Reactivating Serum left my skin feeling fresh and radiating.

I was also sent some skincare products which were Exfoliating New Cell Scrub, Hydrating Cleanser And Freshener, Nurturing Day Lotion with SPF 20, Moisturising Night Cream and a Hydrating Eye Cream. Again all these products were in nice packaging and had a nice fresh citrus scent to them.

 I used them daily for a week and the results were amazing, after just one day of use my skin felt so soft and smooth and even my partner commented on how nice my skin looked and said it was glowing. The Exfoliating New Cell Scrub was amazing , it left my skin feeling really refreshed and smooth even after the first use. 

The Hydrating Cleanser and Freshener really did leave my skin feeling hydrated and fresh. And the Nurturing Day Lotion has a built in SPF of 20 to protect skin from harmful rays and sun damage. It is a really nice cream that soaks into you skin straight away and you only need a tiny amount and left my skin feeling super soft. 

The Moisturising Night Cream was really luxurious and again i only needed a tiny amount and it soaked into my skin leaving it feeling super soft and hydrated. The Hydrating Eye Cream left my eye area feeling firmer and softer. My skin felt amazing and as you only need a tiny amount of each product as they are so nourishing they will last you ages. 

I was also sent some Arbonne baby skincare products to try out which included Hair and Body Wash, Body Lotion, Nappy Cream and Sunscreen with SPF 30. I did not try the Sunscreen as it is too cold for that at the moment and i did not use the Nappy cream either as neither of my babies have had nappy rash yet.

 I did try the Hair and Body Wash and the Body Lotion though on both Sophia aged one and Jacob aged seven months. The Hair and Body wash had a lovely fresh scent to it and a small amount lathers up well in the bath. I was a bit unsure about using this on Sophia as she has really sensitive skin and eczema but as it is made with all natural products and contains no nasty chemicals like so many other baby products do i thought i would give it a go. And she was fine with it and had no itching, she smelt amazing after her bath too nice and fresh and it was a nice change to her normal bath products. 

The Body Lotion was amazing on her eczema prone skin as the redness and itching seemed to disappear a bit when i used this on her. This left both of my babies skin feeling very soft, nourished and fresh smelling. 

What I thought

Overall i was very impressed with all of the Arbonne products that i tried out. The packaging is fab , the products are fab and you really do only need a tiny amount of each product as a little goes a long way. My skin was the softest and nicest that it has ever been after just one day of using these products and i now know why they are so recommend. Arbonne products are a little more expensive then some skincare products but they are made with all natural ingredients and they will last you ages and in my opinion are worth the money you pay for them. 

If you would like to know about Arbonne products then you can contact Victoria the lovely consultant i met as she knows everything there is to know about these products and she can be found on Facebook if you have any enquiries or would like to know about sampling any products yourself to see how amazing they are. Or if you would like to buy some of the products i tried then you can buy them on the website http://www.arbonne.com/pws/victoriaanderson/tabs/home.aspx  but you need Victoria's ID code which is 441208159. 

* Disclosure : I was sent some Arbonne products for the purpose of this review, however all words and opinions are my own honest account of the products i received. 


Sunday, 29 March 2015

March Degustabox

As you may know i have been really lucky to have been sent a monthly food subscription box each month for the last few month's to review from Degustabox. And on Wednesday i received the March box, and i have to say that this month's box was probably my favourite one so far. So here is a look at what was inside. Once again the box was well packaged and was full of goodies which arrived in perfect condition.

  • One Packet of Jordan's Granola RRP £3.69. This is a lighter version of normal granola with 40 % less fat in, so perfect for me as i need to diet. It is so yummy and does not taste like a lighter version either. It is so Moorish and is packed full of strawberry's and blueberries which are full of flavour. This is my new favourite cereal as it is so good. 
  • Two bottle's of Juiceburst juice RRP £1.25 each so £2.50 in total. These are scrummy we were sent the mango and lime skinny flavour and the cranberry one and they were so tasty and full of juice and nice and refreshing. 
  • One bottle of BBQUE sauce RRP £3.99. This is an original Bavarian barbecue sauce which is available in four flavours, we were sent the original one and this is perfect to use as a marinade, on barbecues or as a dipping sauce. We are planning on using this as a marinade on some ribs, but i have tried it as a dipping sauce and it is so good, the nicest barbecue sauce i have ever tried without a doubt.
  • Two packets of Lindor mini eggs RRP £2.00 each so £4.00 in total. I love how these were included for Easter and as everyone knows Lindor is the nicest chocolate ever. These went straight away in are household as they are just so delicious and we all love them. We normally just buy the milk chocolate Lindor but these bags also had dark and white chocolate eggs in too and the white chocolate ones are like a little bit of heaven they are divine. 
  • One packet of Bassetts Jelly Babies Berry Mix RRP £1.48. Bassestts Jelly Babies need no introduction as everyone knows what they are, these were a mixed berry flavour pack which was strawberry, raspberry and blackcurrant in a big sharing bag. My daughters were very happy when they seen these and have demolished the lot. 
  • One packet of Sour Patch Kids RRP £1.00. You have probably seen these in the shop's before as i know my oldest loves these. They are jelly's that are really sour when you first eat them but then they turn sweet. Of course i had to try them for research purposes and they are probably the sourest jellies i have tasted but very yummy.
  • Two bottles of Crabbie's Fruits RRP £1.50 each so £3.00 in total. These are alcoholic fruity drinks that surprisingly contain no ginger. We were sent the black cherry and the raspberry and rhubarb flavours, there is also a zesty lemon one too. The black cherry was really fruity and so nice they really are mouth watering and contain 10 % natural fruit juice. My other half has been telling everyone to try them as he liked them that much. 
  • One pot of Kent's Kitchen posh noddles RRP £1.75. These are a low fat, low calorie noddle snack that you add water too. These would be perfect for a quick lunch or snack or for taking to work like my other half did and he reported back that they tasted nice.
  • One box of Natvia RRP £2.00. This is a product i had never heard of before it is a 100 % naturally sourced alternative to artificial sweeteners and sugar which contains zero calories. You can use it in your tea or coffee or for baking. I have not tried this yet but it sounds great for someone like me who wants to cut down on there sugar intake.
  • Two packets of Brioche Pasquier baked bread bites RRP £0.50 each so £1.00 in total. These were 20g bags of baked french bread which were bacon flavour. They looked a bit like croutons but they were packed full of flavour and make a nice change to a bag of crisps. They also contain under 90 calories. I will defiantly be buying these again as my toddler demolished these and she is such a fussy eater.
  • We also recieved one bottle of green tea and fruit juice although i am not sure on the RRP of this and have not tried it yet. 

So as you can see are box was full of lots of great products this month and lots of treats. My favourite items would have to be the Lindor chocolate eggs, BBQUE sauce and the Crabbies alcoholic drinks. But we loved every single item in this months box and everything has either already been eaten or will be soon. There was a lot of well known products in this months box but there was also some products i had never even heard of such as the Natvia and BBQUE and Brioche Pasquier. 

If you are unsure of how Degustabox works then it is a monthly food and drink subscription box service which you sign up for at www.degustabox.co.uk you fill in your details and pay the monthly subscription cost which is only £12.99 per month including postage and packaging, you only pay for one month at a time so no high sign up costs are involved. When you sign up your box will be delivered around the end of the month and you will receive an e-mail the day before telling you that your box will be on it's way the next day and you can request to have rearrange delivery or have it left in a safe place if you will be out. You also get a text the morning of the delivery giving you a one hour delivery time slot so you don't have to wait in all day. If you want to cancel your subscription you can at any time and as long as it is before the 10th of the month then you will not be charged that month. 

I think that Degustabox is an amazing service as you get to try out lots of new products that you may never have heard of before. It is also amazing value as the box only costs £12.99 per month including postage and packaging fees and the contents of this month's box came to £24.41 so almost double what i would have paid for the box. I received ten different products in this months box but fourteen products in total. There was a good mix of drinks, treats and healthy products. I also love that each month you have no idea what will be in your box until it arrives so it is a nice surprise each month when you open it.

If you like the sound of Degustabox and would like to order a one for yourself then you can via there website  and i also have a discount code for you so that you can save £3 off the cost of your first box meaning that you would only pay £9.99 for your first box making it incredible value for money. The code is 2AEE8 and if you just add that when you sign up you will get £3 discount on your first Degustabox.

You can visit Degustabox on there website or Twitter and Facebook so you can see what others think of them, as i am not the only one who thinks they are pretty amazing. Or have a look at what i thought of the February Degustabox .

* Disclosure : I received this Degustabox free of charge for the purpose of this review, however all views are my own account of the service and products we received. 

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My Sunday Photo 29/03/15

When you are one the park is the best fun ever.

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Friday, 27 March 2015

What I Have Learnt In A Year Of Blogging

Last week marked one whole year since i started this blog and i wrote a post about my first year of blogging and what an amazing year it had been both blog and personal wise for me. I still class myself as a new blogger and i still have so much to learn. But in this last year i have learnt so much.

1.) Pick a name you love.

When setting up a blog spend time picking a name that you love and that will grow with your blog. I just picked the first name that i came up with and i wish now that i had of thought about it more and picked a better name, something more me. As it will be a lot of work and i will probably lose followers if i change my blog name now.

2.) Google is your friend.

If like me you are technophobic and have no idea what HTML and all that jazz is then setting up a blog might seem a bit daunting at first. When i set mine up i googled everything as i had no idea what i was doing and i managed to set up a blog, install a theme on my blog and even buy and install my own domain name all thanks to google. Seriously anything blog related google will have the answer.

3.) Blog about what you love

It might seem obvious but blog about what you really love, if you love food blog about it. If you have read a great book, blog about it. I read a lot of blogs and you can always tell when someone has just blogged about something for the sake of it as the post is a bit bland. But when a blogger has blogged about something they love, well it shines through in the post and those are the posts that readers love.

4.) Social media is brilliant

If you want to get people to read your blog and you want to discover other blogs to read and make some blogging buddies then you need to get on social media. I find Twitter the best place to meet bloggers and it is also where i have had most of my blogging opportunities from. I have accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest , but Twitter is where i spend most of my time.

5.) Have clear social media buttons on your blog

When i take part in linkies i often discover some wonderful blogs and i want to follow them on social media or boglovin and so many times there is no social media or bloglovin follow buttons. Mine are the top right on my blogs homepage where they are easy to find. If you are reading this and don't have any social media buttons please add them. It is really easy to do and if you are unsure remember google is your friend and will show you how.

6.) Be Yourself

Don't try and be anyone else, always stay true to you. People read your blog because they like your style of writing, your content and voice and they want to read what you have to say not what you think they want you to say. Don't try and be like someone else just be yourself and write what you love and you will soon get readers who keep on returning to your blog.

7.) Blogging is amazing

I have had some truly amazing opportunities via blogging which is brilliant, i have reviewed great products and discovered new brands. I recorded my whole pregnancy with my son and i have attended events and made friends. It has given me confidence, pushed me out of my comfort zone, it has given me a voice, a place to call my own. Its my "me time" its something i have created and built up all on my own. It has taught me things, it has stopped me being bored and helped me use my brain, it has inspired me and ignited my love of writing and reading. It has changed my life for the better and i don't think i ever want to stop blogging now.

8.) Your blog your rules

Remember it is your blog, you make the rules. If you want to post every day then do it likewise if you only want to blog once a month that's fine too. Blog about whatever you like, don't follow what everyone else is doing. If someone asks you to review a product you know wont fit with your blog then it is ok to say no, and i have only just started realising this myself. 

9.) I wish i had of started sooner.

I love blogging and i only wish that i had of started a one sooner. It has opened up a whole new world for me, i have made friends, i have earned money and reviewed some great products. It has given me confidence and most importantly it is something i enjoy. If you are reading this and thinking of starting your own blog, then just do it. Yes it can be hard work and you will have so much to learn to start with, but once you get going you will see how amazing it is and you will not regret it and it might just be one of the best things that you have ever done. 

10.) Have fun

Blogging is meant to be fun, its my hobby and enjoyable. The moment it stops becoming fun and becomes a chore then i know that it is time to either a.) take a blogging break or b.) stop blogging. And i hope that it always remains fun and enjoyable for me. 

So that is what i have learnt in a year of blogging, what have you learnt about blogging since you started? 

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Mums' Days

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Mr Tumble Is Coming To An Arena Near You This Easter

If you are a parent to a young child then you will be well aware of who Mr Tumble is as all young children adore him, and this Easter he is coming to an arena near you! As cbeebies live presents Justin and friends: Mr Tumble's circus tour across the UK this April. 

We are so excited to be going to see the show in Newcastle on the 13th April as it looks like it is going to be amazing. As Mr Tumble will be joined with a host of cbeebies favourites including something special stars Aunt Polly and Grandad Tumble along with cbeebies stars swashbuckle presenter Gem and Andy Day. And it promises to be lots of fun with jugglers and unicyclists and lots of interactive fun to keep little ones entertained and amazed.

The tour starts in Cardiff on the 1st April before visiting Wembley, Sheffield, Birmingham, Liverpool, Nottingham, Glasgow, Newcastle and then finishing in Manchester on the 14 April. Full tour dates and times can be viewed on the website here . 

It will be a Easter half term show that all the family can enjoy and with tickets starting at only £13.50 it would make a fantastic family day out that i am sure that children and adults alike will both enjoy. So don't miss out book today and make your child's Easter extra special with a trip to see Mr Tumble's Circus. 

You can view all the tour details and book tickets by visiting the website www.cbeebieslive.com/

An Afternoon Of Crafts With Hillarys Blinds

I was recently invited to an afternoon of crafts or a crafternoon in other words with Hillary Blinds and organised by Joe blogs in Newcastle. And when i was first invited i was not sure if i was going to attend or not as crafts really are not my thing, in fact i am really bad at them. But i thought i would go along as i have never attended a blogger event before and it would be nice to actually meet some other bloggers in real life.

So on a cold and windy Saturday afternoon at the start of March off i set to the venue , The Jazz cafe which is near Central station in Newcastle. As i had been unsure where i was going, i arrived stupidly early and was the first one there feeling pretty sorry for myself as i had came down with tonsillitis the day before. But i had no need to worry as the super lovely folk from Joe Blogs were on hand to chat to, seriously if anyone is invited to a Joe Blogs event then go, as they are so lovely and instantly put you at ease.

The room soon started filling up with lots of North East bloggers, most i am ashamed to say i did not know as they were mainly fashion and lifestyle bloggers and i only seem to follow parenting blogs. However they were lovely and i was sat with a group of friendly chatty bloggers. And there was one blogger i recognised fellow parenting blogger Karen from Monkey feet Blog   .

The event was part of  The Hillary's craft roadshow to celebrate the launch of there new blind fabrics which they launch every few years. And they had  ladies from  the crafty hen on hand to show us all how to make a fabric notebook cover with the Hillary blind fabrics which looked rather lovely, and i thought actually looked very quick and easy to create.

First we had to chose some fabric from the new blind range, fold it over the notebook we were provided with then decorate with ribbons and buttons and then stitch it together. However i can not sew to save my life. If anything needs sewing i either send it to my dads to get fixed or i throw the item away and i can not even thread a needle. So the nice easy little task that most people finished pretty quickly, ended up taken me nearly the whole afternoon to finish. But i finished it , thanks to the ladies from the crafty hens who were on hand to assist us.

Then we were shown how to make a fabric bird. These looked very sweet but i could tell just from the crafty hen demonstration that this was way out of my capability, i got as far as cutting my bird shape out of the fabric and then time was up and are craftenoon was over. Everyone else had lovely crafted birds and i had a fabric cut out, but it was ok as i had my notebook and that was more then i thought i would be coming away with so it was not as much of a disaster as i had first feared.

But i had a lovely afternoon , i met some lovely bloggers and had a few hours off from mummy duties which is always nice. Although my crafting skills are rather lacking. So thank you  Joe Blogs , The Crafty Hen and Hillary's blinds for arranging a lovely event. And after seeing all the lovely new blind fabrics i know where i will be going shopping for my blinds when i move house later in the year.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Badgemaster - Review

I have now been blogging for one whole year ! I am amazed that i have actually stuck at it as i normally give up any kind of hobby within a few weeks, but i have stuck at blogging even through those exhausting newborn days when i had my son seven months ago and became a mum of three. I never really took my blogging seriously , it was a hobby and i posted very sporadically to start with. 

But amazingly my blog has steadily grown and i have had some amazing opportunities through blogging and i am even starting to earn money from my blog and have had to register as being self employed. I have started to get invited to events and i even have my ticket to BritMums Live in June which is a two day blogging conference in London. Shameless plug alert but if any brand out there would like to sponsor me to attend then please do get in touch to learn about the great advertising package i can offer you in return. 

With events like BritMums lined up i have been wondering how people will actually know who i am, what if no one recognises me ? I talk to so many bloggers every day and i am ashamed to say i do not even know some of there names , i just know there blog name or Twitter names . And i am sure many people are the same with me they know my blog name but not my actual name , it is Lindsay by the way just in case anyone was wondering. 

So when i heard about Badgemaster a name badge design service, i just knew that i had to get a badge of my own so that people actually knew who i was at events. The website is so simple to use and it is so quick and easy to design your own badge with easy to follow step by step instructions. You can chose your own shape, colour, finish and even what kind of fastening you would like on your badge . You then add your own text and you can add your blog logo if you have a one, i don't so i have just added my name and then my blog URL underneath  in clear black text so hopefully people will now know who i am.

Once you design your badge you save your design and then request a quote for the badge you have created . I received an e-mail within a few hours from the lovely customer service team at Badgemaster and was given a price for my badge and postage costs. Which was very reasonable at £7.92 in total. I was then given a phone number to ring and order my badge and paid via debit card , which was quick and easy with friendly staff on the phone. And was told my order would be dispatched in around ten days.

However a couple of week's passed and no badge had arrived so i e-mailed the customer service team who said my badge had been sent out a week ago and as i had not received it they would get another made and sent out to me. And they did and i received my new badge just over a week later. The customer service team were very friendly and helpful. 

My badge arrived via royal mail and was well packaged and easily fitted through the letter box. I was very impressed when i opened it as you can tell that it very well made and professional looking. Which is no surprise really as if you look on the Badgemaster website http://www.badgemaster.co.uk you will see that they have a very impressive customer base with lots of big household brands using them to create there company badges. 

So if you are looking for a badge for your company or if you a blogger like myself who will be attending events this year then i really do recommend Badgemaster as they are affordable, professional and high quality badges and wearing this badge will make sure that people actually know my name and who i am at events. 

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* Disclosure : I was sent a badge free of charge for the purpose of this review , however all opinions are my honest account of the product and service i received . 

Monday, 23 March 2015

A Taste Of Newcastle - Mozzarella And Parma Ham Salad

Since baby number three is now seven months old i have decided it is now time to diet, as i have a lot of baby weight to lose and can no longer keep using the excuse " i have just had a baby ". Whenever i think of diets i always think of boring tasteless salads that taste nothing at all like the yummy ones i have when i eat out. So when Joe Blogs contacted me to see if i would like to take part in recreating a salad recipe from Newcastle's Copthorne hotel's head chef Andrew Scott i thought it would be the perfect to time to see if i could make a healthy salad taste tasty. 

The salad is made up of buffalo mozzarella with Parma ham, asparagus and cherry tomatoes on a bed of mixed lettuce leaves drizzled with a lemon, lime and olive oil dressing and with a pea puree side and a scattering of pine nuts. And you view the full recipe yourself A taste Of Newcastle here

We were sent the ingredients to recreate the recipe and it looked and sounded easy enough to make , even for a terrible cook like myself. Firstly i had to blanch the asparagus, then i was meant to make a pea puree but i was unable to as my daughter is weirdly allergic to peas. I then arranged the salad on the plate and added the chopped cherry tomatoes and topped it off with the mozzarella, parma ham and asparagus before drizzling over some dressing and a few pine nuts. 

The salad was super easy to make and very quick and took me less then ten minutes to prepare. It tasted delicious and all the ingredients worked wonderfully together and it is a perfect quick and easy meal for spring and summer. My photos and preparation skills are not the best, so i would recommend taking a look at just how amazing the salad can actually look on the website yourself so you can see how mouthwatering it really is. 

Sunday, 22 March 2015

My Sunday Photo 22/03/15

Now that it is getting warmer we decided to have a trip to the park. And i can not believe how grown up my little girl is now, she no longer looks like a baby but an actual little girl. She suddenly has hair and is fiercely independent and wants to walk everywhere on her own and loves to explore.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Ten Signs You Have Two Children Under Two

As i have now been a mum to two little ones under two for the last seven months (there is only a 14 month age gap between my children) i have realised just how hard a job it can be having two young children so close in age. The last seven months have been hard, there has been tears, there has been day's i wondered how i would cope. But it has also been amazing as i have watched my children grow together and learn to love each other and they are now such good friends who adore each other. I hope they will have the bond i shared with my own brother growing up as there is less then two years between myself and him also.

So here is a quick look at what it is like having two children under two. If you also have young children close in age i wonder if you can relate to any of these.

1.) Your washing basket is never empty. Even though the washer and tumble dryer are on non stop every single day i still seem to have piles of washing to do. It is never ending with a weaning baby who needs changed a few times a day and a messy toddler.

2.) You change nappies so often you can now change them in the dark and still put them on perfectly. Seriously i must change at least fifteen to twenty nappies per day.

3.) You also have no spare money to treat yourself to trips to the hairdressers or pretty shoes as all your money now goes on nappies, baby milk and baby clothes. And you wont have much money anyway as maternity pay back to back is pretty rubbish compared to your normal wages.

4.) Pushing a double buggy is hard work. Seriously they are so big and heavy compared to a normal buggy, especially once it is weighed down like a pack horse with a changing bag bursting to the seems with enough nappies and spare clothes for two children. And getting it in some shops and on public transport is just a nightmare.

5.) Everyone will say "oh you have your hands full there " when they see you. Especially old ladies who you have never met before in your life and normally when you are struggling to get on a bus and they wont move to let you in the buggy bay or when one of your children is having a mini breakdown because they are not getting any attention.

6.) When it comes to things like Christmas you will struggle to buy your youngest any presents as there older sibling will have got all the decent baby toys the year before and there is nothing else to buy. So you end up buying them a few outfits and about one toy and then feel guilty even though they wont have a clue about what is happening anyway.

7.) Your toddler suddenly seems so big compared to the baby and you actually forget that they are still so little themselves and kind of expect them to be doing things themselves. But chances are they will start acting like a baby again for mummy and daddy's attention.

8.) You have no spare time ever so your house is a mess, your eyebrows are overgrown and you haven't watched your favourite TV show for ages. As once your children are in bed you are just too damn tired to do anything and normally end up in bed by 9pm at the latest.

9.) You have not had a full nights sleep and a lie in for over two years so now you are actually use to no sleep and when you do get the rare chance of a lie in you are awake by 7.30am.

10.) Everyone will tell you to get out with your children but the idea of playgroup or soft play fills with you dread as you will try it and realise that you can't chase a rampaging toddler whilst feeding a screaming baby so you stop going and only start venturing as far as the shops and become a bit of a hermit unless daddy is home to come with you to chase the toddler around.

Now my baby is older things are so much easier and i am so glad that my little two are so close in age as there is a ten year gap between my oldest and middle child. If you have more then one child what else would you add to this list ?

Mums' Days

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Elias Superwipes

As a mum to a baby a toddler and a teen i am very aware of how messy children can be. The baby is always being sick on me, himself and the sofa, the toddler loves to cover herself in food and always seems to cover me in sticky hand prints. And the teen is at an age where she is discovering make-up and is always knocking over drinks. And i admit sometime's i make a mess myself too with coffee stains down my top being a regular occurrence.

It is safe to say that i have defiantly encounted my fair share of stains over the years and have even been knowing to throw stained clothing out in the past as i could not be bothered to keep trying to get the stain out. I know that the best thing to do with a stain is to steep it straight away but being a busy mum or when out and about that's not always possible to do.

This is where Elias Superwipes come in handy. They are a small pack of dry cleaning wipes that will remove food and drink stains from your clothing and they are the perfect size to pop into your changing bag / handbag for when you need them. The pack is smaller then a pack of baby wipes and each pack contains five wipes which look similar to a baby wipe.

They are very simple to use as soon as you spot a stain you just rub the stain with the wipe in a circular motion for a bit and then leave it to dry for ten minutes. And the stain vanishes just like that, no scrubbing at clothes or steeping them or having to pop them straight in the washing machine. I have used them to clean up baby sick, juice and ketchup stains and each time the stain has gone straight away. I was really impressed as i was half expecting them not to work but they really do.

I think that these are perfect for anyone to have at home for emergencies when you may spill something on your clothing or your children make a mess. They are ideal for keeping in your bag in case of any spillages when out and about or on holiday as no one wants to be caught out with a big messy stain down there front on a day out.

They are priced at £2.99 per pack but the only downside is that they are not available to buy in local supermarkets at the moment and they need to be brought online at www.elias-products.com and they are also stocked in various stockists in London which you can check on there website.

* Disclosure : I was sent some Elias superwipes for the purpose of this review , however all views are my own honest account of the product i received. 

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

My Blog Is One Today

Exactly one year ago today i sat down and started this blog. I never thought that i would still be writing it a year later, i honestly thought i would give up after a few weeks, like i do with most things. When i started my blog i had no idea what i was doing and my first post Why Write A Blog was pretty rubbish. But i remember being so happy that about five people had actually read my blog post! 

I started Newcastle Family Life as a way of recording my pregnancy with baby number three and to record days out with my girls, an online family diary to occupy me while i was bored on maternity leave. I never in a million years thought that anyone would ever read my blog and now thousands of people each month do, so i would just like to say a huge thank you to every single person who has taken the time to read or comment on my blog or followed me on social media. 

The past year has been rather amazing both personal wise and blog wise. I have recorded my whole third pregnancy and welcomed my baby boy Jacob into the world who has completed are family. We watched Sophia grow and celebrate her first birthday and Chloe my eldest turned twelve

Blog wise things have been equally amazing i have started making money from my blog and have registered myself as self employed, i am so amazed that i can make money doing something that i actually love doing. Early last year i was a Morrison Mum and got to take Sophia to Swimming lessons. I was a Mother and Baby Magazine award tester and a Baby's R Us Babyologist tester, I have reviewed for many brands on my blog including Sassy BloomTheralineTommee TippeeBright Starts and the The Gro Company to name just a few. I was also invited to a Motherecare re-opening event as a VIP blogger and i got to interview Myleene Klass .I attended a Baby Natal class and recently attended a craft event. I am also a Blogs For babies resident blogger, a Mama Academy ambassador and i have been working in partnership with Berry Clever. So many amazing opportunities which i am so thankful for. 

I heave learnt that social media is such a huge part of blogging, a year ago i had never even been on Twitter now i have over 2500 followers! I set up my Facebook page at the end of last year and have 150 followers (i would love some more followers, pretty please) and since joining Instagram in the summer i have 430 + followers. I have also recently joined Pinterest and have 40 + followers there too. I am now a social media addict, but i have met some lovely people through social media who make this such an enjoyable experience for me. 

Even though i have had such amazing experiences in my first year of blogging, recently i have been feeling a bit like maybe blogging is not for me. Now i have two very small children i simply do not have much time to spend on social media and don't always have very much time to write. I also feel like i do not have any close bogging friends like so many others have been lucky enough to find, i sometimes don't feel like i fit in. I have also found blogging quiet competitive and i have no interest in stats and begging people for votes for awards. I simply want to write because i enjoy it that's all. 

But now that i have made it to a year of blogging and after much deliberating about if i should carry on or not i have decided that i am going to carry on with my blog as i do enjoy it, its my 'me time' and i don't think i can imagine a life without blogging now. I am planning on making a few changes to my blog and hopefully writing more and making things even better in the next year. And i even have my ticket for Brit Mums Live 2015 where hopefully i will learn lots about blogging and fingers crossed make some close blogging buddies of my very own. 

So happy first birthday Newcastle Family Life Blog, thank you for an amazing first year and i can not wait to see what a second year will bring. 

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Friday, 6 March 2015

Safely Storing My Baby's Keepsakes

I am a bit of a hoarder , my home is full of the special mementos of my children's special moments in life. Both of my girls have special keepsake boxes full of memories , from the first outfits they wore to there first birthday cards. They are little treasure troves of wonderful and unforgettable moments in there lives. However my baby boy Jacob does not have a special memory box like his sisters, bad mum alert! I have kept all of his special items dotted around the house i just have never gotten around to actually buying him a box and sorting everything out. I am blaming it on the fact he is a third child and i never have time to do anything.

So when Safestore got in touch and told me about the blogger competition #Safestoreyourmemories  which was to create a memory box i knew this would be the kick up the bum i needed to organise Jacobs memory box so he is not left out. And  also more importantly so that i did not lose any of his special little keepsakes .Especially as we are planning on moving this year and i would hate to lose anything in the move.

The first task was to decorate the box, anyone who knows me will know that i am not in the least bit crafty , in fact i am terribly bad at crafts if i am honest. However my oldest daughter loves crafts so i thought it would be a lovely idea for her to decorate the memory box for her baby brother. So she got to work writing his name and year he was born and then decorating it with some stickers. It is not the best box but it was made with love off my daughter for her brother so that makes it extra special to me.

Then it was time to fill the box with special memory's. Jacob is only six months old so the box is only half full as i want to leave room for all his special achievements in life such as his first shoes, his first lock of hair, his first birthday cards and school reports.

So here is what i have added so far

  • His baby scan photos, i have kept all my children's scan photos and i had to include these so they were safe as i would hate to lose these.
  • His very first outfit he wore when he was first born, i can not believe how tiny it is.
  • His hospital tags he had around his feet, my dad still has mine off when i was born.
  • His first letter off Santa from his first Christmas when he was a few months old
  • His christening certificate and candle
  • Cards from family and friends he received for his christening
  • A card that i received last mothers day " from the bump" when he was still in my tummy.
  • Photographs of when he was first born and one every month of his life so far, so we can look back and see how he has grown. 
  • First curl and tooth boxes he got given, so i can store them somewhere safe
  • A newspaper cutting of my mums death, just so he can see what happened to her and read what an amazing women she was as it breaks my heart my children will never meet her and i want them to know as much as they can about her. 

It was so lovely making this box as myself and my eldest daughter loved looking back on the last few months and seeing how much Jacob has grown. Since losing my own mum i have realised that happy memory's are the best thing ever and i want my children to have boxes full of happy memories of there childhoods, I want them to know how loved they are and all the good times we shared , as memory's can be treasured forever. So now i just need to make sure i store this box somewhere safe as i would hate to lose any of these treasured possessions. 
* Disclosure : This is my entry into the Safestore bloggers competition #Safestoreyourmemories

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Time For Me To Switch Energy Providers And Save Money

I am currently on maternity leave and as most people will agree maternity pay sucks, it is less then half of my normal wages. With an extra little person to provide for we have had to start cutting back on are spending , goodbye takeaways and regular meals out and new clothes for mammy and daddy. With my maternity pay soon coming to an end and entering the non paid for part of my maternity leave i have started to worry a bit about money and have been looking at ways that we can cut down on are spending.

I have tried cutting down are grocery bill and failed and i have been looking at cutting down are sky subscription and cancelling all those unneeded direct debits, goodbye magazine subscriptions. But one thing that i had not even thought of changing was my energy provider, until i heard that families could save a whooping £200 per year just by switching provider.

I am one of the many customers who never compare energy tariffs and just pay whatever my energy provider charges me without even thinking about it. Which is crazy when i think about it as we spend a lot on are gas and electricity bills spending £200 per month on energy. It is are third biggest household expense after rent and grocery's.

We do not even have a big house we have a two bedroom terraced, which is very cramped with three children. Having a young baby means that we do have the heating on most of the day during winter and are washing machine and tumble dryer are on non stop throughout the day. We also use a lot of electricity using the steriliser and bottle warmer throughout the day too. And there are some steps i could do to reduce my bill such as hanging my washing on the line to dry instead of using my tumble dryer , turning off radiators in unused rooms , switching off lights and appliances at the socket that are not in use and only filling the kettle with as much water as i need. But £200 a month is a lot of money for such a small house, especially when i hear of other families spending half of what we spend who live in much bigger houses.

I would not say i am loyal to my current energy provider i have just stayed with the same one since i moved into my home almost ten years ago as i always thought that switching providers would be a lot of work. But i have found out that is not the case at all, thanks to The Department Of Energy And Climate Change and there recently launched  #PowerToSwitch campaign which is encouraging people to switch there energy supplies and save money simply by highlight the benefits of switching.

As well as the potential £200 or more per year savings some families can make by switching providers there is other benefits too such as some companies having fixed energy deals that are up to £100 less then they were just a year ago. There is now also 27 energy companies on the market here in the UK making it more likely that you will find a company and a tariff that is right for you and your family. There is no need to trawl through every companies website trying to find the best deal either as you can simply visit www.BeAnEnergyShopper.com a really easy to use site where you can find out the best deals for your household and also find out how easy it can be to switch.

All you need to do to see if you can save and switch is to get your hands on a recent copy of your gas and electric bill then visit www.BeAnEnergyShopper.com to find out about comparing tariffs then contact the company you would like to switch to . It really is as easy as that. And what is more it will no longer take you weeks to switch as switching times have been cut from the previous five weeks to only 17 days.

Since finding out this information i have decided that it is about time i switched over providers as it sounds so easy to do and potentially saving £200 or more this year by switching means that i can treat myself to some new clothes, although i will probably end up spending the extra money on treating my children like most mums do.

Baby's Are Expensive Little Things

 * I'm working with BritMums and DECC alongside the #PowertoSwitch campaign. I have been compensated for my time. All editorial and opinions are my own. Visit the website for more information about switching energy suppliers.

Monday, 2 March 2015

February Degustabox

Regular readers to my blog will know that for the last few months i have been lucky enough to have been sent a monthly food subscription box from Degustabox. Which is basically a box filled with lots of surprise food and drink items delivered straight to my door each month. And on Wednesday i received my February box. I love that the day before my delivery i will get an e-mail notifying me my box will be delivered that gives me a chance to change the day or request for my box to be left in a safe place if i will not be home, and then on the day of the delivery i get a text with an estimated delivery time.

I get rather excited when i know my box is on it's way, as i love subscription boxes as you never know what you are going to get until you actually receive and open your box. If you are unfamiliar with the concept of Degustabox subscription boxes it is basically a monthly food and drink service that you sign up to at www.degustabox.co.uk , you enter your details and you pay the monthly fee which is £12.99 including postage and packaging which i think is amazing value. Then once a month a box filled with between 9-14 surprise food and drink items will be delivered to your door. Each month the food and drink items will be totally different products and it is a great way to try out and discover new products that you may never of heard of or tried before. And there is no long sign up commitment either as you can cancel your subscription at any time as long as it is before the 10th of the month.

So here is a look at what was inside my February Degustabox.
  • One jar of Whole Earth three nut butter RRP £3.00 . I have never heard of this product before, it is cashew nuts, hazelnuts and peanuts butter. It is made with natural ingredients and has no added sugar making it healthy and suitable for vegetarians and vegans. I am not a peanut butter fan but the other half likes it and says this is really nice. 
  • Two bars of Beet It RRP £1.85 x 2 . Again a product i had never even heard of these are beetroot flapjacks. These are a sports energy bar and as i am not into health or anything there not really something i would eat, but if you were into fitness i am sure these would be useful.
  • One box of Melba Thins RRP £1.39 . I actually buy Melba toasts as i love them with pate on and the children love them with cheese spread on, although i had never heard of this brand before but they are really nice and i will keep an eye out for these when i go shopping.
  • Two packs of Schwartz Flavour Shots RRP £1.40 each. I have seen these advertised but i have never actually brought them myself, they are flavour shots to create a meal i received a paella and a masala one. These will be great for creating quick and easy meals so i am looking forward to trying these out. 
  • One pack of Lily O'Brien's cookie crunch RRP £2.60 . These are a pack of little crunchy chocolate biscuits pieces smoothed in chocolate and they are delicious. These were my favourite item in the box and i could have happily ate them all except everyone else in the house loved them too and they quickly disappeared. I will be buying these again for sure and i will be hiding them from my children.
  • One box of American Muffin Company muffins RRP £2.50. A box of six individually wrapped chocolate chip wheat and gluten free muffins. Again these were Delicious and quickly went in are house as the children loved them. I will be buying these again.
  • One tub of Peanut Hottie RRP £3.00. I have seen this before but never tried it, it is a peanut butter flavoured hot drink. My twelve year old daughter loves this and has been drinking it nonstop and has asked me to buy more of this, i have not tried it myself yet but it smells lovely.
  • One bottle of Laimon Fresh drink RRP £1.99. Again a drink i had never heard of , this was a lemon, lime and mint flavour drink. My daughter loved this and drank the lot before i could even try it. 
  • One bar of Jack Link's beef snack RRP £1.39. I had never heard of this and it is not something that i would normally eat so i have let my other half have this. 

So what did i think ?
 As usual there was some brands and products that i was familiar with but there was lots of brands and/or products that i had not tried before which i love as Degustaboxs are a great way of discovering new products. I think the balance of meal ideas, snacks and drinks in this months box was just right. I was really impressed with this months box and i think that we will be taken out a subscription to keep getting these boxes in future.

My favourite items in this months box were defiantly the Lily O'Brien's cookie crunch and i will be buying those again along with the American Muffins, Melba thins and Peanut hottie. The contents of this months box came to just over £22 so as always the contents are worth a lot more then the £12.99 that you actually pay for the box, making them great value as the price you pay also includes postage and packaging. 

If you like the look of Degustabox then you can order your own box which is so quick and easy to do just visit degustabox fill in your details and pay £12.99 per month via direct debit which includes postage and packaging fees too so no hidden extra costs. If you order before the 20th of the month your box will be delivered by the end of the month and if you order on or after the 21st of the month your box will be delivered on or after the 8th of the following month. You can also cancel your subscription at any time , as long as it is before the 10th of the month you wont be charged.

You can follow Degustabox on Twitter or Facebook and see what other people think of these boxes as i am not the only one who thinks they are rather brilliant. If you fancy ordering your own Degustabox then i have a discount code for £3 off your first box meaning that you would only pay £9.99 for your first box , which is amazing value for such great products and service. The code is 1U0T6 and you just enter it at the checkout to get your £3 discount.

* Disclosure : I was sent a Degustabox free of charge for the purpose of this review , however all opinions are my honest view of the product i received. 

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Weaning At Four Months Old

My baby boy Jacob is now six months old but when he was four and a half months old we started weaning him onto solid foods. I know that it is recommended that babies are not weaned until they are six months old and i am in no way recommending that parents start weaning there children at four months old. But for us weaning at four months was for the best for are son and we did seek advice from a health visitor before we started weaning on to solid foods.

The current guideline for weaning baby's onto solid foods is to start when your baby is around six months old as research shows that up until six months all a baby needs is either breast or formula milk. There is also a big shift in recent years for parents to try baby led weaning at six months, which is where you give baby finger foods and let them feed themselves rather then spoon feeding them purees like you do with traditional weaning. I know my health visitor is a big fan of baby led weaning at six months and all the information i was given for weaning Jacob was for baby led weaning at six months.

Loves his food
However Jacob is my third baby and when i had my oldest daughter twelve years ago weaning purees at four months of age was what was recommended and this worked great for her and she never had any problems. When i had my second child a year and a half ago guidelines had changed and it was recommended to wait until six months and to try baby led weaning. And we did do this rather unintentionally as we tried traditional weaning but Sophia would not eat of a spoon at all she would clamp her mouth shut or make her self be sick if we managed to get any food in her mouth. So we went down the baby led weaning route when she was six and a half months old and she would happily eat finger foods although on many an occasion she would choke on food due to having a sensitive gag reflex , thank god i am first aid trained! Now she is one and a half and she refuses to let us feed her at all as she likes to feed herself which is good but it is also a nightmare when it comes to trying to give her medicine.

Jacob is a totally different baby to his sisters though he is a lot bigger then they were he was 8lb 6 born and he had already doubled his birth weight by the time he was three months old. By the time he got to four months milk just was not filling him at all, he was waking for a bottle of formula every two hours during the night and was going through twelve 6oz bottles every day! This was way more then he should of been having. I was exhausted from feeding him non stop and he was really unsettled, so after a talk with a health visitor at the clinic we decided to try him on baby rice.

Jacob loved the baby rice and gobbled it all up no problem, we started giving him it once a day then after a few days we give him a few spoons twice a day and then built up to three times a day. After a week of baby rice we got him some baby porridge which he loves and he would have that three times a day and then after a week of that we introduced purees. Now i know i will probably get stick for this but i don't make my own purees he is fed on the 4 month plus jars , simply because they are easy and convenient and he likes them and they probably taste a lot nicer then any purees i could make.

Within a month of starting weaning he was having three meals a day he has banana porridge for breakfast then he will have a jar of dinner for lunch his favourites are cow & gate orchard chicken and the hipp chicken rice and vegetables. Then at tea time he will have a jar of dessert he loves the cow & gate mango surprise and the hipp mango & banana and the Heinz rice pudding. I have tried him on every jar of food available so that he gets to try different foods and does not get use to eating the same thing over and over.

He still has baby milk but not twelve bottles a day , he has about six bottles a day. He does still wake at night for a feed , weaning him has not stopped that but he only wakes twice and has a feed and goes straight back to sleep. He seems a lot happier now , he loves his food and he gets excited when he sees his bowl of food although some times he is not interested and will turn his head away or spit it out.

Weaning Jacob at four and a half months the traditional puree fed way was defiantly what was best for us. I don't think we could of waited until he was six months to start baby led weaning and for me personally after trying both baby led with my daughter and the non baby led way with my son i prefer the non baby led way. But every baby is different and i think that when it comes to weaning us parents should just do what is right for are children. Although if you are thinking of weaning before six months then i would ask some advice from a health visitor like we did.

Now Jacob is six months old and is eating his three meals a day we will soon be starting to introduce some finger foods and will be moving on to the next stage of weaning which will be given him some more lumpier textures rather then purees. So fingers crossed that goes as well as the start of his weaning journey did.