Thursday, 30 April 2015

Kids Don't Come With A Manual : Book Review & Giveaway

How many time's have you heard the phrase " I wish kid's came with a manual?" lots of times i bet, i for one know that i have uttered those very words myself on more then one occasion. Everything you buy these day's has a manual, but when you have children who are the most precious thing in the world to you, we are expected to just get on with things on are own.

Being a parent is amazing and yes we do trust are instincts and manage to look after are children just fine. But sometime it is hard. I have a teen a toddler and a baby and there behaviours can be so challenging at time's. Sometime we may snap at are child, or they may reduce us to tears or they may be able to manipulate us by playing one parent of the other one. I know my children have done all of these things on a regular occurrence. And you know what i feel rubbish about it, i feel like a bit of rubbish mum at times when my toddler is having a tantrum or my teen is refusing to do something.

And this is where Kids Don't Come With A Manual comes in. A parenting book written by Carole and Nadim Saad a couple with three daughters. They are parenting coaches who draw upon there own experience of early years education and more importantly being actual parents themselves. Being parents themselves they know how hard it can be and what a juggling act family life can be and that is what makes this book so brilliant.

I am not normally a fan of parenting books, in fact i have never actually read a one before as i always thought they would be fairly strict and tell you what to do which i did not like the sound of. But this book is not like that at all, it understands that every child and every parent is different and that certain approaches wont work for everyone.

The book is broken up into sections making it really easy to read and enabling you to just dip in and out of it whenever you want to. Each section will describe a situation such as being a good role model to your children, it will then show this situation from a more stricter parents point of view and then a more softer or " all heart" parents point of view and also the voice of a child. This really made me think about the situations more and think what kind of a parent i am, and what impact my actions could have on my children. And also how i can deal with things in a calmer and more gentler way which would be beneficial for us all as a family.

There is also a troubleshooting section in the back of the book which lists many challenges we face as parents such as tantrums and sibling fighting. The troubleshooting section offers quick and easy solutions to remedy these problems that are very useful, and I can vouch that the tantrum solutions do work with my toddler.

This book really is like some kind of manual to help us through the many parenting challenges we regularly face. You can buy your very own book from  Best Of Parenting Website and one of my readers can win there very own copy by entering the rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions : Open to UK residents only. Giveaway closes on the 14.05.15 , one winner will be selected at random via rafflecopter  from all correct entry's. Winner will be e-mailed within 48 hours of the competition closing. Prize will be sent direct from best of parenting. 

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

What I Would Say To A New Mum

When you have a baby you are bombarded with well meaning advice from your relatives and even random people you meet in the street. Everyone will have something to say to you, no matter if it is your first or third child. My third baby is eight months old and i still get it all the time. You get so much advice, many of it conflicting and you don't know what to listen to and what not as having a baby is such an amazing and life changing, but let's face it sometimes rather difficult period in a persons life. 

With my sister in law and many of my friends about to have babies soon it got me thinking what would i say to a new mum? what words of advice would i offer? I asked some fellow parenting bloggers on my facebook page and this is what we would say to a new mum.

1.) Trust Your Instincts. 

Pippa from Red Rose Mummy has some brilliant advice she says

 " No-one knows your baby better then you do. If in doubt seek help, but you'll get lots of advice that might not sit right with you. Have the courage to nod and smile when people give you advice. " 

2.) Listen with a nod and a smile. 

Steph from Mental Parentals gives similar advice she Say's.

" Listen to everyone's advice with a nod and a smile, but only take on board and use the techniques that you think will work for you. Everyone is different as parents and every baby has their own needs."

I totally agree with this as i was told to put baby rice in Jacobs bottles when he was six weeks old so he would sleep through the night , i kid you not. Of course i totally ignored the advice as that is not recommended at all and is something i would never do. 

3.) Remember there is no such thing as a perfect mum.

I think as mum's we put far to much pressure on are self to have the perfect tidy home, to look immaculate at all times, to have well behaved and well dressed children. We see celebrities doing it and other people doing it on social media so we try to live up to these expectations are self. But there is no such thing as perfect and we need to remember that. So what if your house needs hovered and there dishes in the sink and your still in your pj's at lunchtime, nobody cares. As long as you and your baby are happy that is all that matters. The celebrities in the magazines probably have paid help and the people on social media are only shown you what they want you to see. Nobody is perfect. 

4.) Don't worry about baby number two when you have only just had number one. 

Jess from Mrs Helicopter mentions something that i myself was very guilty of

" Don't start worrying about how you will cope with two children when you've only just had one. I did this and know quiet a few others who did too and found it so overwhelming and scary that we immediately started obsessing about how there was noway we thought we could cope with another. The second time around is bliss in comparison. So just concentrate on acing the first and by the time you have your second you will be a pro."

5.) Enjoy the night feeds.

I know you will probably think i am crazy saying this, but honestly enjoy them as they really do not last long at all. I use to love when my son woke up for feeds as i would give him his bottle while he cuddled up to me and he always fell asleep in my arms. Everyone else was asleep, the house was quiet and it was just me and him. At the time night feeds were torture but i miss them now as they were special and so peaceful. 

6.) Take lots of photographs.

Seriously take millions of photos every single day. Until you have your own child you do not realise how quick they grow so take tons of photos so you remember. And don't forget to take a photo of them in all there little outfits as they grow out of them so quickly.

7.) It does get easier.

Those first few months are hard with a baby. Your hormones are all over the place, your tired, the baby will cry a lot. Someday's you will think you can not cope or wonder what on earth you have let yourself in for. But it does get easier your baby will soon sleep better, your hormones will go back to normal in a few weeks and you will get use to life with a baby. It gets easier i promise you that. 

8.) Ask for help if you need it.

You don't have to act like superwomen and do everything yourself, it is okay to ask for help if you need it. If the baby has had you up all night or your struggling with feeding your baby or you just want five minutes to have a shower in peace. Just ask for help, it is okay to ask. You don't need to do everything, remember a relaxed and happy mummy makes a relaxed and happy baby.

9.) Your doing a great job.

Andrea from Blogger Mumma gives the best advice ever

" Your doing a great job" is all she would say as she said that " sometimes those little words are the only words needed. Being a mum is an overwhelming and magical experience. Your told what to do and how to do it in 101 different ways. When sometimes just a simple compliment is the only 'advice' needed." 

So there we have it that's what us mums would say to any new mums or mums to be out there. Remember take lots of photos, ignore the advice, enjoy it, trust your instincts and above all else your doing a great job.

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Let's Talk Mommy

Mums' Days

Dreaming Of The Perfect Family Bathroom

As a mum of three i very rarely get any 'me' time but the minute i do all i want to do is relax and unwind in a nice hot bubble bath. But as soon as i sink into the warm water to relax i end up looking about and sighing as are bathroom is rather neglected and a bit of a mess if i am honest. We live in a very old house which was built back in the days when no one had an indoor bathroom, so are bathroom is actually an extension built onto the back of are kitchen. This makes it cold and damp and very small and not really somewhere that i want to spend a lot of time if i am honest.

I often dream of a nice tranquil spa-esqu (yes i made that word up) place where i can relax and unwind. Somewhere nice and warm and cosy, with a big fancy bathtub and beautifully matching decor. Somewhere that is not filled with stacks of toys and half full bottles of baby toiletries and everybody's dirty clothing scattered on the floor. I have even went as far as creating my very own pinterest board full of bathroom make-over inspiration.

Obviously if i lived alone i would have heated towel rails, dainty trinkets and glass jars filled with lush bath bombs. But of course that is not feasible with a teenager, a toddler, a baby and a very messy other half to live with. So i need something that is suitable for us all, somewhere stylish and peaceful yet practical and tidy.

First thing i would do would be to pick a suite, i would get a complete package as i know that everything would match and go well together. I love plain white as i think it looks clean and timeless.  I remember my parents had a ghastly green bathroom suite when i was grown up with a brown carpet, the joys of grown up in the 80's! I have my heart set on a freestanding bath as they looks so elegant but that's not possible with space being so tight for us. But i do love this Rax Compact suite from Bella bathrooms as it nice and simple and perfect for a family.

I would also have to have a shower, as i have such long hair i can't wash it in the bath, and the teen and other half prefer having a shower then a soak in the tub. I would love a separate shower cubicle but with space being so limited i would have to get an electric over the bath shower like we currently have. I love the Triton black pearl electric shower as it looks sleek and modern and much nicer then the plain white boring one we currently have.

I would also have a black Reina Neva double radiator radiator to keep us nice and warm as are bathroom is so cold and this one would fit into are colour scheme perfectly.

I would then have grey tiling and white walls, keeping things neutral and calming. I would have lino flooring down in a light grey colour as this is more toddler friendly then hard tiles, and also much easier for this mummy to clean. I would have silver light fittings and bathroom fittings to keep things matching, organised and tidy, as i like keeping clutter to a minimum.

And the star of the show would be a HiB Pulse Landscape Bluetooth mirror which plays music, i would score major brownie points from the teen for having this. Although it would probably encourage her to spend even more time then normal preening in front of the mirror, sigh.

I would finish things off with some grey fluffy towels, a laundry basket for everyone's clothing, some funky Munchkin duck bath toys for the little ones and a storage crate to keep there toiletries  and toys in. And  lastly a Yankee Candle for myself, as i adore Yankee candles and have them dotted around the home and the fluffy towel scent will be perfect. 

Storage box from  Not On The Highstreet. Laundry Bin from Argos. Yankee candle from Yankee Candle  Towels from John Lewis.  Ducks from Munchkin. 

So that is how i would have my dream bathroom, perfect for relaxing when i get the rare chance to  do so, and it is also a perfectly functional family bathroom that the whole family will love.

What would your dream bathroom look like ?

* Disclosure : This post is a competition entry to win tickets to Britmums Live and money towards a Bella Bathroom. However all words and ideas are my own and all products are sourced from the Bella Bathroom website unless otherwise stated. 

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Monday, 27 April 2015

Saving Money On Your Baby Shopping

Having a baby can be very expensive, having had three children myself i know that preparing for a new arrival can be both exciting and also rather stressful at the same time. You want everything to be perfect for your new bundle of joy and you want to make sure that you are well prepared for there arrival. But step into any baby store and you will be met with so many products all claiming to be the must have baby product. It can be so confusing trying to decide what you do and do not need, i know i have been there myself.

Image - by photostock
When i had my eldest i went totally overboard and spent a small fortune getting ready for her arrival, she had a beautiful decorated nursery with everything matching, a top of the range pram, a wardrobe full of tiny outfits and so many gadgets and toys. And you know what we did not even use most of the stuff, the clothes never got worn, she soon outgrew the nursery and i think i had brought enough baby toiletries to last her until she was six. 

By the time i had baby number three last August i knew what i did and did not actually need and it is fair to say i spent a lot less then i did the first time around. So what do you actually need for baby and how can you make having a baby a lot less expensive ? 

First make a list of what you actually need, yes you may have your heart set on gorgeous matching bedding and cot mobile but do you really need it ? the honest answer is no not really. So stick to the essentials which are 

  • Somewhere to sleep, you will need a cot or crib and remember that you will need a new mattress if it is a second hand cot.
  • Bedding, you really do not need to buy cot quits and bumpers , yes they look nice but they are not recommended for children under one. You only really need two fitted sheets and a couple of blankets or i use sleeping bags as i find them safer.
  • A carseat, you wont be able to bring baby home from hospital without a one and by law you have to have a carseat when travelling in a car with a baby. 
  • A pram so you can get out and about with your little one, it is the best feeling ever pushing your baby in there pram for the first time. Or if you are baby wearing you will need a sling or carrier for getting out and about.
  • If your bottle feeding you will need a steriliser about six bottles and a tin of formula. For breastfeeding you will need nursing bras and breast pads.
  • You will need nappies and baby wipes and baby bath products. You will also need some cotton wool balls as most midwives / hospitals will recommend you use cotton wool and water to clean baby's at first. Don't go crazy on the toiletries though you only really need bubble bath and nappy cream. 
  • Clothes this is where i spend far to much money but baby clothes are just too cute. You really only need vests, baby grows, hat, socks a jacket and plenty of bibs. Trust me everyone you know will buy you baby outfits once your baby is born. 
Then once you have all these things organised if you want you can buy all the lovely extras like nice changing bags and cute outfits and toys as i know i am guilty of this even when i had baby number three. But a great way to save money when buying your essentials and also those lovely extras is to visit websites like voucherbin which is a great website where you find many money saving vouchers on so many great baby and children products which could help you save on all those baby buys. And you never know whilst browsing the website you might also see some great offers on treats for yourself too, so what are you waiting for choose  and see how much you can save today. 

* Disclosure: This is a sponsored post , however all words and opinions are my own. 

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Sunday, 26 April 2015

My Sunday Photo 26.04.15

My eldest and other half love going in the rowing boats at the local park when it is warm.

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Saturday, 25 April 2015

The North East Baby And Toddler Show : Ticket Giveaway * Closed *

On Saturday the 16th of May 2015 the North East baby and toddler show will be coming to Gateshead international stadium and it looks set to be a great event for all us parents and parents to be here in the North East. And i for one can not wait as i love discovering new products and service and this event will be a great way to find out more about products and classes available for us parents here in the North East. 

There will be lots of different exhibitors attending including Capture forever photography (formally knowing as i just love babies) who done Jacobs amazing newborn photo shoot which you see here   and also Katy from Babynatal Newcastle who we reviewed last year and who runs brilliant parenting classes here in the north east that offer practical advice on how to care for a baby, and she also runs baby first aid classes and weaning classes too. Puddleduck Swimming lessons will also be attending and we were lucky enough to attend one of there classes last year and you can read what we thought here. Along with many other services such as rugby tots, little kickers and buggyfit to name just a few. There will also be stalls selling baby and children products, with stalls catering for everything from pregnancy, birth, baby, toddlers and childhood. 

As i said the North East baby and toddler show will be held in just a few weeks time on Saturday the 16th May 2015 at Gateshead International stadium which is easy to get to via car or public transport. It starts at 10 am and will be on until 4.30 pm and there will be lots going on to entertain the whole family. Tickets cost just £6 per adult with children going free and if you are one of the first 500 people to order your ticket online you will also receive a free goody bag at the event. You can book your tickets online on the website You can find out more about the show and all the exhibitors attending on the facebook page or via twitter as they are adding to the list of exhibitors all the time. 

The North East baby and toddler show have very kindly offered five of my readers the chance to win a pair of tickets to the event, all you have to do is sign in to the rafflecopter below with your email address (don't worry you are not signing up to anything, it is just so you can be contacted if you win) you then just follow the instruction by visiting myself and the North East baby and toddler show on social media and that's it, super quick and easy. So what are you waiting for get entering and i am sure that you will have an amazing day out, and if you see me there come say hi as i would love to meet you. 

T & C - Open to UK residents only. Five winners will be chosen at random from all valid entries by rafflecopter to win two tickets each to the North East Baby And Toddler Show, which will be held on 16.05.15 in Gateshead Tyne & Wear UK . Tickets will either be posted to the winners or if you wish picked up from the event. Tickets will be sent direct from the North East baby & toddler show, no cash or prize alternative. Good luck. 


Slimming World: Week Two

I have found my second week on Slimming World easier then my first as i have not been craving chocolate and crisps as much as i did on my first week. I am actually really enjoying eating lots of fruit and salads now that the weather is getting warmer.

After i got weighed last week  i did go off track a bit and i did eat a ham salad baguette with mayonnaise on from Gregg's and a cake but i synned them and got straight back on track and have found that i have stuck to plan all week. I have also found that i have been using less syns this week simply because i have been too full off all the meals and free foods that i have been eating to want anything else. I have mainly been using my syns on sauces to go with my food and the odd packet of crisps. 

This week i have ate a lot of salads i have ate steak salad, ham salad and turkey salads. I have also had salt and pepper chicken as it so tasty, chilli, roast gammon and i tried diet coke chicken which was delicious and you find the recipe here .

I was really hoping for a 2.5 lb loss this week so that i would get my half a stone award and i was overjoyed on Thursday morning when i got weighed and seen that i had in fact lost exactly 2.5 lb  meaning i have lost 7 lb in total. I got my first half a stone certificate and sticker and i am still slightly amazed that i have lost half a stone in just two weeks and have never once felt hungry or like i am dieting. 

I could not stay to class this week as i had both the little ones with me as the other half was at work so i had no one to watch them, and there was noway i could have stayed to class with a 8 and 22 month old, they would have caused destruction and screamed the place down. I find staying to class helps motivate me and inspires me so i am hoping that i can stay on track and still get a loss this week.

 I am hoping for another 2lb off this week although i am not getting my hopes up as i know that this week will be a star week and my chocolate and bread cravings will come back with a vengeance. But i am going to try and drink more water as i know i don't drink enough and everyone was saying last week that they had a good loss after drinking lots of water. I am also going to try and eat more speed foods and try some more new recipes so i don't get bored of eating the same things all the time. 

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

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Super Busy Mum

Monday, 20 April 2015

The DreamSnatcher By Abi Elphinstone : Book Review

A while ago my oldest daughter was sent a copy of The Dreamsnatcher a debut novel by Abi Elphinstone. Being a typical twelve year old she never got around to finishing the book as she is always out with her friends, so yesterday afternoon i started to read it myself and i was hooked and read the whole book in one afternoon.

The Dreamsnatcher is about Moll a twelve year old Romany gypsy girl who lives in a gypsy camp in the forest. Moll has recurring nightmares about a witch doctor with a drum and rattle who is after her, the nightmare drags her from her sleep and into the woods in her sleep each night. 

But one night Moll discovers that her nightmare is real as she stumbles into the deepwood to rescue her stolen horse from a rival gypsy gang, where she hears the rattle and drum for real. Moll discovers that dark magic is taking place in the deepwood by the dreamsnatcher and that he is after her life. 

The story sees Moll embark on an adventure with her trusted wildcat protector Gryff by her side where she will find out about her past and try to stop the dreamsnatcher and the dark magic before it gets so strong that it takes her life. 

This book was just so amazingly written as it draws you in right from the start and you just have to keep reading to find out what happens and if Moll can stop the dreamsnatcher before her gets to her. It was fast paced and action packed and left me on the edge of my seat with each turn of the page.

This book is aimed at older children but i found it quiet scary and spooky in places, although it reminded me very much of the Harry Potter books as the voices Moll hears and the dreamsnatcher is similar to voldimor. I loved Molls adventure and i did not want it to end and i was rather disappointed when it did as it left things on a rather big cliff hanger. This book is part of a series and i am not sure when the next book is realised, but i hate books that keep you in suspense as i like to know how a story ends.

I can not wait until the next book in the series is released, even though this is a children's book as an adult i really enjoyed it and would highly recommend it to others as i can guarantee that you wont want to put it down either. 

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

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Slimming World Diet Coke Chicken Recipe

Since joining Slimming World i have been trying out lots of new foods and recipes and one of the recipes i kept hearing was diet coke chicken. When i first heard of this i thought it sounded awful but people said it was nice so i gave it a try and i actually liked it and my twelve year old loves it. So here is the recipe. 

You will need

  • A bag of chicken or 2-4 chicken breasts.
  • 2 cloves of garlic.
  • 1 large or 2 small onions.
  • Red and green pepper.
  • 1 can of diet coke.
  • 8 tbsp passata.
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce.
  • 4 tbsp tomato puree.
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce.
  • 1 tsp dried mixed herbs.
  • 200 ml chicken stock.
  • Fry light cooking spray

To Make

Chop the chicken into chunks and also the peppers, finely dice the onions and garlic cloves. Then spray a pan with frylight on a high heat. Add the chicken , peppers and onions to the pan until they are golden brown. Once they are cooked add the full can of diet cola, the passata, tomato puree, garlic, chicken stock, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and mixed herbs and stir it all together well. Bring it to the boil and then simmer on a medium heat to thicken the sauce up. Once it is all cooked and the sauce has thickened it is ready to serve. 

To serve

I had mine with boiled rice and a few sweet potato slimming world style chips. But you could have it with anything you like such as chips, wedges, baked potatoes, rice or noodles. It is a really easy to make simple dish and it is all free on the extra easy eating plan so you can eat as much of it as you like. 

To find out more about Slimming World or find your nearest group visit there website . 

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Sunday, 19 April 2015

Cbeebies Live - Mr Tumbles Circus

Last Monday we were lucky enough to go to see Cbeebies live Justin and Friends : Mr Tumbles circus show at Newcastle's Metro radio arena. I took my toddler Sophia with me who is 22 months and also my brothers partner and my three year old niece Heidi came along too.

We were running late to the show as Sophia wanted to stop and stare at everything on are short walk to the arena from the Metro at Central station. But we made it to are seats just moments before the show started.

The stage was full of lights and music right from the start to keep little ones entertained. It was the first time i have taken Sophia to a show and she was amazed when she seen what was going on although she would not sit still and was trying to wonder about, but my three year old niece was enjoying the show so much she sat still and watched the whole show in amazement.

The show started with Cbeebies character Robert Robot from Justin's house followed by cbeebies favourites Andy, Kat and Gem followed by Justin himself. I think every child loves Justin and all the charceters he plays, i remember my oldest daughter use to love him twelve years ago when he was in Tikkabella on Cbeebies and we seen him at a show about seven years ago.

The show starts with Robert the Robot who is determined to get all of the jobs on his list complete before any one can enjoy the circus. This sees the cast feeding Tiddles the dinosaur who Sophia loved as she is a bit dinosaur obsessed. Keith Fit also took the stage with some dads from the audience to do some weightlifting and this was followed by getting the audience involved by splitting the audience in teams to cheer the dads on and passing a giant ball around the audience to see which team would win, are side lost.

Aunt Polly also made an appearance, appearing in the audience and squirting everyone with a water gun as she made her way to the stage. Where her washing machine broke and filled the stage with bubbles.

There was then a twenty minute break as the first half had been on for an hour. The second part of the show seen Mr Tumble himself take the stage singing Let me entertain you, and the audience went wild when they seen him appear at the back of the audience and make his way to the stage to loud cheers. He sang his hello song and you could hear all the children joining in with him. And he was whizzing around the stage in his rocket car which everyone loved.

Then Mr Tumbles circus took place and there was jugglers, acrobats, plate spinning and unicyclist to entertain us along with Mr Tumble himself. The second half lasted forty minutes and was full of songs, bright lights and all the fun of the circus.

The show ended with lots of songs from all the characters and the dancers on stage.

Overall i thought the show was great and the audience seemed to love it. The only bad thing i can say about the show is that Mr Tumble did not seem to be on very much and i know that a lot of children wanted to see more of him as every time he came on there was so much cheering from the audience. But Justin did an amazing job of playing so many characters in one show. And i am sure i will be taking Sophia to see another Cbeebies show in the future as they are perfect for young children.

Disclosure : I was sent four tickets to attend this show free of charge for the purpose of this review, however all opinions are my own honest account of the show. 

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Slimming World - Week One

Last week you may have seen that i joined Slimming World as i was feeling down about all the baby weight i have gained and felt it was time to do something about it. My first week went well i managed to stick to the eating plan really easy and was amazed at how much i could actually eat, as there was no weighing or calorie counting involved at all. 

 I did not feel like i was on a diet as i was eating big portions of the same meals my family were having and have never once felt hungry. I actually think i have ate more this last week then i did before i started, which is crazy. And after a few days i was feeling so much better i had more energy and my skin is starting to feel smoother which i am guessing is from getting rid of all the junk out my diet.

I have enjoyed roast chicken dinners, full English breakfasts, curry's, chilli and even cheeseburger in buns with chips and salt & pepper chicken with egg fried rice. All delicious easy meals just cooked the Slimming World way to make them healthy yet still very tasty. 

I was rather nervous about my first weigh in on Thursday as i felt like i had eating so much i could not have possibly lost any weight. So when i stepped on the scales and seen i had lost 4.5lb i was amazed. I am really hoping i can lose 2.5 lb this week and then i will have lost half a stone in just two weeks, fingers crossed. Although i may have ate a Gregg's sandwich and a cake after weigh in to celebrate, but i got straight back on track and had steak and salad for tea.

I found meal planning has helped me so much as if i know what i am having and have all the ingredients in then i am not tempted to eat anything i shouldn't be. I am not going to lie i am finding it tough at times to avoid chocolate as there is currently nine Easter eggs on the fireplace waving at me but i am trying to go cold turkey on chocolate as i know if i eat a bit i will end up scoffing the lot. 

I really did find my first week so easy and have been feeling so full off my meals that i have not wanted to snack. When i have snacked i have stuck to fruit and mullerlight yogurts and crab sticks. My biggest weakness is crisps and i have had some but i have a bag of wotsists if i fancy some as they are low in syns rather then the 3 bags of walkers i normally eat in a day. 

I am hoping that i can stick to plan this week and lose 2.5lb as we don't have any meals out or anything planned, so here is hoping i manage to avoid the Easter eggs and crisps. 

To find out more about Slimming World or to find your nearest class then visit there website here

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Super Busy Mum

Let's Talk Mommy

Thursday, 16 April 2015

A Teddy Bear Picnic Is Better With Cake.

Here in Newcastle it is still the Easter half term and being a mum to three children of very different age ranges means that finding activities that are suitable for all three children is near enough impossible. I have a twelve year old who would rather be out with her friends, a toddler who just wants to run wild all day long and a baby who just wants cuddles. And juggling all three on a day out on my own when there dad is at work is just to much hard work at times. So i have been staying in a lot more then normal and have heard lots of cries of  'i'm bored' and contending with a toddler trashing the house due to boredom. 

I have been thinking of activities that i can do with all three of them together that won't cause arguments, and they will all enjoy and one thing i know my older two children can not resist is cake! In fact i do not know anyone who can resit cake, my girls love it and would eat it all day if they could. But i can not bake at all as i am a bit of a disaster in the kitchen. So thank goodness for the yummy delights that Mr Kipling creates as they look and taste far better then any cakes that i could create. 

This week the sun was shining for once in the north east and i thought it would be a great idea to get all three children outside in the sunshine and have a Teddy bears picnic. My twelve year old was not keen on this idea at all, but when she found out there was cakes involved she was there in a flash. 

We had an afternoon enjoying the warm weather in the garden with a group of teddy bears and a little mini picnic complete with lots of tasty Mr Kipling treats. We had Cherry Bakewells, French Fancies and Viennese Whirls, iconic sweet treats that i remember fondly from my own childhood. It was so lovely watching all three of my children spending time together being happy and having fun in the sun. They ate, they played and laughed although poor baby Jacob is too young to eat cakes but he had fun playing on his mat. 

The girls loved the cakes, French Fancies seemed to be there favourite while i love Cherry Bakewells and there dad loves Viennese Whirls. There really is a cake for everyone in the Mr Kipling range, and it is  not hard to see why they are referred to as being exceedingly good cakes as they really are the best cakes around. 

I think it safe to say that life most certainly is much better with cake as its a delicious snack that everyone can enjoy no matter how big or small and it has brought my family together for a fun filled day which is a rarity these days. Thank you Mr Kipling keep up the good work because all us mums who can not bake love you dearly as do are children. 

* Disclosure : This post is an entry for  #betterwithcake Linky challenge ( sponsored by Mr Kipling. Learn more at

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Bennetts Baby Skincare Products Review

When you have a baby you do everything you can to protect them and when it comes to bath time you only want to use the best skincare products on them, as you know that they have such delicate skin. My two girls both suffer from eczema and that puts my baby boy at a risk of developing this himself so i am extra careful with what products i use on his skin. 

So when i was asked if i would like to review some Bennett's Baby skincare products which are suitable for eczema prone skin i thought these would be ideal for his delicate sensitive skin. I had never heard of Bennett's baby skincare products before but they are the best selling baby skincare brand in South Africa and were established over fifty years ago. 

I was sent two products Baby Aqueous cream and Aqueous bath drops and also a sample of Baby Bum Cream, which i have not used as my little ones have not needed it. They are all in identical packaging of plain white containers with simple designs on making them easily recognisable that they are from the same brand. All the products in the range have been specially formulated by a British pharmacist and are created to be gentle enough even for newborns delicate skin and even those who are prone to eczema. 

Baby Aqueous Cream

This came in a big 500ml tub and we were sent the colour and fragrance free one but there is a fragranced version available as well. It is a plain white cream which obviously being fragrance free has no scent. It is a really thick rich cream but it absorbs into skin really quickly and has no greasy residue that some baby creams can have. I used this on Jacob after his bath and it left his skin really nice and soft and it made mummy's hands nice and soft too. 

You can even dissolve a spoonful of this to your baby's bath to help prevent dry and flaky skin but i have not tried it myself. This cream does seem really soft and gentle on skin, even though this is suitable for eczema prone skin i have not used it on my toddler as she is on steroid creams for it off the doctor. But i normally get irritate skin after using some lotions on my hands and i have not suffered any reaction at all of using this cream. 

Aqueous Bath Drops

I use to use bath drops in my oldest daughters bath when she was a baby as she use to get them prescribed off the doctor due to her eczema so i kind of knew what to expect with these. They are  fragrance free and hypo allergenic and its just a oil that you add to the bath. Years ago when i use to use bath oils they made Chloe really slippy and greasy but these bath drops were not like that they soaked into Jacobs skin and there was no greasiness. 

It has no smell and it is just a clear oil and you can even use it to rub straight into baby's skin for a massage. I have even used this on my toddler who sufferers eczema and it nice and gentle on her skin and has not irritated her skin at all which i was really impressed with. Just make sure you don't wash your baby's hair if it is long when you have this in the bath as we did and her hair went all greasy. But it is really good and i will be buying some more of this as it brilliant and a lot more affordable then some other brands we have brought in the past. 

I was really impressed with the products that we received and after using them for the last two weeks i have noticed that my baby's skin is nice and soft and that they really are gentle and perfect for sensitive skin. I will be buying the Aqueous bath drops again and i am going to keep an eye out for the other products in the range as you can also get baby bum cream, nipple cream and the fragranced aqueous cream. 

You can buy the Bennett's range of products in the UK from Morrisons and independent pharmacies and also online at Amazon. You can also check out there website here or follow them on Twitter @bennettsforbabies. 

* Disclosure : I was sent some Bennett's baby skincare products for the purpose of this review however all opinions are my own honest account of the products we received. 


Saturday, 11 April 2015

Joining Slimming World

On Thursday i took the plunge and joined Slimming World. If you read my weight loss letter to myself  you will see that i have been unhappy with my weight since baby number three was born last year, and i was trying and failing to lose weight on my own.

 Every Monday i would start a diet and by Monday lunchtime i would have caved in, ate a bag of crisps and gave up. I was getting bigger and bigger so i knew that in order to change i had to join a Slimming World Class as it would help motivate me to eat less junk.

I decided to join Slimming World as i had been a member before many years ago after the birth of my first daughter, and i lost all of my baby weight back when it was red and green days. I also briefly joined a few years ago and knew that Slimming Word had changed and it was now an extra easy eating plan, which was as it suggest so easy to follow. However i was working shifts and often missed classes and i found out i was pregnant with baby number two so i stopped going to class after a few weeks.

Fast forward almost three years and here i am again rejoining Slimming World. Except this time it feels different, this time i really want to lose weight. I know where i went wrong last time by not staying to groups, not sticking to the plan and skipping a week if i knew i had a bad week. That is why i know i need the support of a group to encourage me to stick to the plan, to motivate me and inspire me. To cheer me on when i do well and pick me up when i don't do so well. To learn about new recipes and tricks other members have for staying on track.

So i searched online  and found that there was a group just down the road from where i live which i was going to join but as my other half works shifts i was not sure if i would be able to attend every week, as it was on a night time and i did not fancy dragging three children along to a meeting with me. But i noticed that there was another group not far from where i live which has two classes on a Wednesday night and two on a Thursday morning, i thought this would be ideal for me as if i can not attend one class i can attend another. That's the great thing about Slimming World you can go to any class you want once you are a member to help you stay on track.

I was so nervous the morning of my first class but there was no need to be as everyone was so friendly and welcoming. The consultant who runs the class was off ill and there was a relief consultant instead who was really lovely and talked me through the plan in detail. I was then given my books and sat to take part in IMAGE therapy. I learnt a lot of new tips and some recipe ideas by staying for this and it was so inspiring hearing how much weight other members had lost.

At the end of the class when everyone else had left it was then time to get weighed (new members get weighed at the end), i was dreading this. When i stepped on the scales i was mortified at how much i weighed, it was a lot more then i thought. No wonder none of my clothes fit! But nothing was said about my weight it was not shouted out or anything, it was just wrote down in my book and i was asked if i wanted to make a target and i said i wanted to just take it a stone at a time. You are never told how much you should weigh or how much you should lose, you decide for yourself how much you want to lose.

I am really glad that i made the first step in joining a group, the first time is always the hardest but i really had nothing at all to worry about. Yes i weighed a lot more then i would like, but i know that is the last time i will weigh that much. I know that with the support of the group and also publicly sharing my weight loss journey online that it will hopefully  motivate me to stick to the plan and help me to lose weight.

I am already two days into Slimming World and i have ate burgers and chips, curry and have just had a full english this morning for brunch. Slimming world is fitting so easy into are family life as there is no calorie counting or living on lettuce leaves. It is tasty healthy meals the whole family can enjoy. So fingers crossed i lose some weight this week and i am looking forward to documenting my weight loss journey on the blog and sharing some of my favourite recipes with you all.

                              You can find out more about on there website here

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Super Busy Mum

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

A Weight Loss Letter To Myself

Dear Lindsay

You have been thinking of writing yourself this letter for some time, but you always put it off. I am not sure if it shame that is stopping you or if it just laziness and the fact you are scared of change, but it is time to face facts and admit you are fat. Not just fat but really overweight, you are classed as obese and it is time to do something about it as your weight is getting you down.

It might sound totally crazy to write yourself a letter and publish it on the Internet, that is if you even press publish. But hopefully by writing this letter and admitting you have a weight problem you will face up to facts and actually start doing something about it. Start eating healthy, start getting active and losing all this baby weight that is getting you down. I know you have never been skinny and you never will be and your okay with that. You just want to lose your tummy and slim down a bit, be healthier and happier in your own skin.

You can not keep using the excuse you have just had a baby any more as your baby is now seven months old. And i am sure that you have gained weight since his birth, not lost any which is rather shocking really as you gained almost four stones in weight when pregnant. Although you have avoided the scales and have no idea what you actually weigh any more. You still look pregnant now and your tummy is something you are really unhappy with as it is a proper jelly belly since having baby number three.

Yes it is hard trying to lose weight when you have three children to look after and you often reach for the biscuits and crisps as you do not have time to sit down and eat some day's. I think you thought that you would just magically lose all your baby weight after Jacob was born, like you did with both your girl's. But two pregnancies only six months apart and with surgery on your stomach in between those two pregnancies has not been at all kind to your waistline.

Your life is on hold due to your weight, you keep putting things off due to your weight. You have no photo's of you and your children recently as you hate the way you look, that's not normal. None of your normal pre baby clothes fit any more and are all packed away, you live in leggings and high wasted jeans as they don't dig into your tummy. You even contemplated wearing your old maternity jeans recently for comfort, but thought that was going a step to far.

 At your son's christening you were in tears and nearly cancelled going as none of your pretty dresses fitted any more and the one you brought online emphasised to you just how big your tummy was. You were self conscious all day, a far cry to Sophia's christening just one year beforehand where you wore a dress everyone loved and everyone commented on how nice you looked as you lost all your baby weight as soon as Sophia's was born without even trying.

The fact that your blood pressure was so dangerously high and the doctors were pumping you full of drugs and saying you were at risk of a bleed to the brain when you gave birth to your son should have been a wake up call to get healthy. But you just put it down to having high blood pressure in all your labours, you did with both the girls and you were a normal weight when you had them. Yes your blood pressure is normal when not pregnant but your mum and dad both suffered high blood pressure, do you really want to be on blood pressure medication at only 31 years old?.

There is a history in your family of women dying young, your dad lost his mum to a stroke when he was young and you never got to meet her. And you lost your own mum when you were young and she was only 44 years old, yes she died in a freak accident, but you know what it is like growing up without a mum, how hard it is and you don't ever want that for your own children it is one of your biggest fear's in life. So you need to be healthy for them.

You don't want to be the fat mum at the school gate , or the parent to scared to go on roller coasters in case they get stuck. You want to take Jacob and Sophia swimming like you use to with Chloe but now you are too ashamed to be seen in a swimming costume. You want to be there for your children , a fun mum who has lots of energy who they will have lots of fun with. You want to set them good examples, encourage them to eat healthy and be active. You want them to be proud of you and never ashamed. It is time to change for your children's sake and be the mum you want to be.

Every Monday you say to yourself  "i will start a diet this week" but by lunchtime you have forgot all about it and have ate four biscuits and two packets of crisps. But you shrug it off and think oh i will start again next week and the same thing happens week after week. You are getting nowhere losing weight on your own, you need the motivation and inspiration to stick to a diet. You know that liquid diets will not work as you love food to much and hate feeling hungry.

So tomorrow you are joining Slimming World, you are feeling nervous and scared about attending. But you need to go, you have been before years ago and you know how friendly and welcoming it is. You know to lose weight you need to go to class and change your eating habits once and for all. You can do this Lindsay, you have to now you have told everyone on the Internet you are going too. It is time to be happy, time to be the happy confident mum that you have always wanted to be and time to actually get some photos of yourself with your children.

If your mum was hear you know that this is exactly what she would say to you, so follow the advice. Be brave go to class and i just know you will lose weight and be glad you went.

Lots of Love

Lindsay x

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Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Foods To Eat When You Have Gallstones

Having just spent a lovely Easter weekend with my family eating lots of delicious food made me think back to two years ago. This time two year's ago i was 32 week's pregnant with baby number two and i spent all of the Easter weekend in extreme pain in hospital. After a week in hospital and numerous tests it turned out i was suffering from gallstones. 

I had no idea what gallstones were and being on a maternity ward i don't think the medical team caring for me knew very much either as i was giving no information. I had an ultrasound scan, and was told i had small gallstones in my gallbladder and not to eat anything with fat in. That was it, no advice on what food to eat or anything. 

Anyone who has suffered gallstones will tell you the pain is horrendous, i have given birth three times twice were inductions and i can safely say gallstone attacks hurt a lot more then labour! You will do anything to avoid an attack. So i spent hours searching online for what foods were safe to eat and what to avoid, and there was not much information available. I become obsessed with checking food labels and i learnt what foods were classed as 'safe' foods and which foods to avoid.

I thought i would write up about what i found i could eat in case anyone else out there is suffering and has no idea what they can actually eat, that hopefully will not trigger an attack. One piece of advice i was told was not to eat anything with more then 5 % fat in, so i checked everything before i ate it to make sure It had less then 5% fat. By following this advice i never had another attack and i had my gallbladder removed when my daughter was four months old.

  • Don't eat anything with more the 5 % fat in.
  • Swap your normal milk to red skimmed milk
  • Avoid any kind of butter or margarine.
  • Avoid chocolate.
  • Cut out sauces such as mayonnaise.
  • Check all food labels before you eat.
  • Drink lots of water
  • Cut out coffee and alcohol
  • Don't cook anything in any kind of oil. 
  • Drink apple juice as this is meant to help with gallstones.
  • Try not to eat late at night, i ate at least two hours before bedtime.
  • Eat lots of fruit and vegetables.
  • Avoid red meat and eat lots of lean chicken and turkey and white fish.
  • Avoid spicy food's.


  • Cereal that is less then 5% fat with a dash of skimmed milk.
  • Toast with jam, no butter.
  • Toast with laughing cow extra light cheese spread, no butter.
  • Fruit and a fat free yogurt. 
  • Dry fried low fat Turkey rashers & mushrooms sandwich with ketchup.
  • Tinned tomatoes on dry toast. 

  • Turkey or chicken salad sandwich, no butter/margarine or dressing.
  • Turkey or chicken salad
  • Fat free super noodles
  • Low fat vegetable soup, such as Heinz vegetable soup or the big soup.
  • Tinned spaghetti on dry toast.

  • Chicken or turkey stir fry, with stir fry sauce (check the fat content in the label first)
  • Chicken or Turkey with steamed veg and a small amount of gravy.
  • Turkey mince (less then 5% fat) bolognese with pasta
  • Sweet and sour or lemon chicken with boiled rice.
  • Mild fajitas in a reduced fat wrap or with steamed rice.
  • Baked fresh white fish ( no sauce) with low fat oven chips and salad.
  • Grilled lean gammon steak with a baked potatoes.
  • Fruit
  • Crab sticks
  • Fat free yogurts
  • Very low fat crisps ( less then 5% fat) such as the special k ones.
  • Rich tea biscuits.
  • Low fat cake bars (check less then 5% fat)
  • Fat free jelly pot's.
  • Jelly sweets, such as harribo. 
  • Tea with a dash of skimmed milk.
  • Water
  • Apple juice
  • Diet coke
  • Diluted squash juice. 
Eating out.

I was so scared about eating out but i found a few things that i could eat without having any pain. I could have Subway chicken or turkey salad sub with no dressing or cheese. I could eat at carvery's i would just have turkey and then lots of steamed vegetables and a small amount of gravy and avoided the roasted vegetables, Yorkshires and stuffing. I could also eat salads and grilled chicken with plain jacket potatoes and salad if we ate out and i would ask for it with no sauces or butter. I could also eat a takeaway grilled chicken kebab with salad and pitta bread without any sauce. I found if i stuck to plain grilled meats and avoid any dressings or high fat foods eating out was okay. 

So that is what i ate when i had gallstones, it is just basically eating very healthy avoiding red meat and processed foods and only eating foods that are 5% fat or less. By changing my diet and eating this way i never suffered another gallstone attack and i lost a lot of weight too as i actually weighed two stone less after my daughter was born then before i fell pregnant.

If you are suffering and you are offered the chance to get your gallbladder removed then i would say get it done. I was petrified before my operation as i had visions of dying on the operating table but i am so glad i had it done, it was a quick operation i was awake within an hour and home the same day. I was not in a lot of pain and the recovery time was quick i had my operation on the Thursday and was out and about and back to normal by the Monday. And i only have four tiny scares, i can also now eat whatever i want and the best thing is knowing i will never have that awful pain again. 

* Please note these are just the foods that i found i could eat when i was suffering from gallstones, i just came up with this list of foods myself as these were my 'safe' foods. But everyone is different and what worked for me might not work for you as what you can eat with gallstones varies from person to person and is very much trial and error. 

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

HomeExchange Memembership Giveaway * CLOSED*

Since i had my third child last year i have noticed that if you have more then two children then holiday's can be pretty expensive and a tricky business, as hotel rooms rarely cater for families of five and the cost for the five of us going abroad will be rather expensive. So when i heard of HomeExchange i thought that this would be a great idea for someone with a larger family or for families who can not afford the sky high fee's hotels charge during school holiday's. 

HomeExchange is a company that helps you arrange to home swap with another member in over 150 countries worldwide for a holiday in each others home's. So you go and visit another country on holiday and stay in someones home rather then a costly hotel and they go and have a holiday in your home at the same time. HomeExchange have twenty year's experience with 65,000 listings on there website and have helped over 1,000,000 exchanges take place.

How it work's is you sign up and pay the membership fee which is £100 per year. You then add your home to the listings making sure you add photo's of your home and videos if you wish and then describe your home including any local attractions that people may be interested in, ensuring that you are honest with your review. 

You then search over 65,000 worldwide listings to see if there is a home in a country you would like to visit and see if they would like to swap homes with you for a holiday. This can save you a huge 58% saving on your holiday costs as once you pay the member fee that's it there is no extra accomadition costs involved. It also means that you can experience what life is really like as a local in the country you are visiting, and there will be lots of home comforts such as a kitchen to cook in and a homely environment which you would not experience in a hotel. 

You Could Visit Munich
Once you have found someone to swap with you just need to make sure that you are both happy with the exchange and arrange dates that will suit you both. You then sign a digital exchange agreement which helps make the exchange more official and stops any confusing.

One of the things that i think many people will be unsure of when swapping homes with a stranger for a holiday is safety. But HomeExchange is built up on a community of honesty, trust and commitment. When you are exchanging your home with someone you are entrusting your home with your swap partner and vice versa. HomeExchange also have lots of measures in place to ensure your safety such as your details are never shared with anyone, and there is a safe secure messaging system in place so your e-mail address and name are protected. 

There is also a verification process where members details are all checked and verified and members have detailed profiles. You can also check reviews that other members have left about a member to see what others thought. And there is also local support staff on hand who will speak your own language in case you need there assistance. And it is okay to say no to any potential swap that you may feel uncomfortable with. You only need to agree to a exchange that both parties are happy with. 

Being a member of HomeExchange costs £100 for a twelve months membership, if you do not exchange with anyone in that time then your second year's membership is free. There is lots of benefits to becoming a member such as you can list your own home, browse 65,000 listings, the chance to visit one of 150 + countries, you get to experience real life vacations and save up to 58 % compared to normal accommodation costs and there is also support 24/7 from the HomeExchage team. 

You  Could Visit France
There is lots of great reviews of what members thought which you can view yourself  here and you can also see some of the amazing homes that are listed on the website including the top ten family picks You can find out more about HomeExchange by visiting there website

If you like the sound of HomeExchange then they have offered someone the chance to a win a one years membership worth £100. So you could be swapping home's with someone for a holiday in a country you have always wanted to visit at a fraction of the cost a normal holiday would cost you. To enter then just enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below by signing in with your Facebook account or e-mail address and following the instructions provided. 

T&c's Open worldwide. One person from all valid entries will be selected at random via Rafflecopter to win a one year membership to HomeExchange worth £100, no travel or additional costs are included in the prize. Winner will be contacted via the e-mail address provided within 48 hours of the competition closing. The prize will be provided by HomeExchange who will be in contact with the winner to arrange the membership.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Why not enter more competition at

 You Can Find Out More On The HomeExchange Website

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