Tuesday, 30 June 2015

What's In My Changing Bag

When i had my oldest daughter i had a changing bag that came with her pram and it was useless, i could hardly fit anything in as it was so small and it had no storage pockets or anywhere to keep her bottles. It was also made of fabric so if it rained everything got soaking wet inside. When i had my second daughter two years ago top of my list of must buy items was a decent changing bag, i had my partner demented as i searched online and in shops for hours looking for the perfect bag.

 One bag i kept coming back to was the iconic Pink Lining Yummy Mummy bag, as not only was it practical but it also looked amazing too. So of course i had to buy it and i opted for the purple bow one from John Lewis. I even used it for baby's hospital bag as it was so roomy it fitted all her tiny baby clothes and toiletries in. When i fell pregnant again just five months after having Sophia i had my heart set on another Pink Lining bag as i loved my first one so much and was still using it with Sophia, as i was having a boy this time i opted for the Blooming Gorgeous woodlands bag. Once again i used this as the baby's hospital bag and i love it. I keep trying to convince my partner i need a third Pink Lining bag but so far i have yet to convince him. 

I use both my bags everyday with my children as we often take them out on their own or in separate pushchairs and i fill the bags with toys and snacks to keep them entertained. But if i am gong out on my own with them in the double buggy i will often just take the one changing bag that is filled with everything that i need for a two year old and a ten month old. My bag is big enough to fit in everything i need as it has so many separate useful pockets and compartment and even a wet bag and changing mat included, it really is like a Mary Poppins bag. So here is what is inside my changing bag. 

  • Nappies, Sophia has just turned two and we have not started potty training just yet so i need nappies for both children. Depending where we are going i normally take between 2-4 nappies each.
  • Wipes, these are a staple in every parents changing bag and i think i am a little bit in love with baby wipes as i use them for everything from cleaning bums and sticky hands to wiping highchairs and changing mats.
  • Nappy bags, again these are so useful not only for change time but also for putting empty wrappers or rubbish in when out and about.
  • Spare clothes i have one spare outfit for each child as you never know what kind of mess they can get in when out so it is always best to be prepared, there is a wet bag attached to my bag which is perfect for putting dirty clothing items into.
  • Bib's, Jacob is only 10 months old and he is very dribbly and still makes a lot of mess when eating and drinking so i always have a few bibs in my bag.
  • Beaker of juice each, i never go anywhere without a cup of juice or water for both of them especially when the weather is warm.
  • Bottle of milk for Jacob, he has a bottle to go to sleep and is still napping twice a day so i like to have this just in case he needs a nap.
  • Baby food and a spoon, Jacob does eat fingers foods now but sometimes when we are out i don't know if there will be anywhere i can buy food or if the food will be suitable for him so i always have a jar of baby food and a spoon in my bag just in case.
  • Suncream, a must in this hot weather for little ones i keep them in the shade as much as possible but when we are at the park that is not always possible so i am always making sure they have plenty of suncream on.
  • Steroid cream for Sophia's eczema she has bad eczema and is always itching so we have to have this with us which was prescribed by the GP. 
  • A book, i like to have something to entertain them when we are out and about so i normally have a book and a few toys in the bag which are great for when you are having a meal or waiting in lines.
  • Hand gel as when you are out and about you can not always wash your hands so i have this to keep our hands germ free.
  • I also normally have a selection of snacks such as fruit and baby biscuits that both the baby and toddler can enjoy. 

Like many mums i have found that i no longer use a handbag as my changing bag has become my changing bag so i will have all of my bits and bobs in the bag too, such as my mobile, keys, purse , hair bobbles and brush and maybe some make-up. Have any of you other parents found that your changing bag is now your handbag? 

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Friday, 26 June 2015

Losing My Diet Motivation

I have been following the Slimming World diet plan in a bid to lose my baby weight and things were going well, I had lost one stone in weight. I was feeling happier about myself as my clothes were fitting better, I was eating better and I had more energy. I really thought that I had broken my bad eating habits. And then last week it kind of all fell apart.

I had a holiday put in for last weeks class as i was i was in London attending Britmums, and i think that knowing i was not going to class that week threw me off track. I had stuck to the plan all week but the night before i went away I went out for a meal to Frankie and Benny's and I ordered burger and chips. Then i went to London for the weekend and i drank wine, ate pizzas, chips, baguettes and had a Chinese takeaway when I returned home. 

I thought that I would have a weekend off Slimming World whilst i was away and then get back on the plan the next day, but it was fathers day so we had another takeaway for tea and I have well and truly fell of plan this week. I have had toast with butter on every day for breakfast, I have ate crisps and biscuits, I have had sausage and chips from the chippy and some of my meals have not been at all slimming world friendly. 

I know full well I will have gained weight as my clothes feel tighter, I feel bloated and pretty rubbish if i am honest. I was going to go to class yesterday and just face the music and see how much damage I had done but I chickened out, which is probably the worst thing I could have done as I have no idea how much weight I have gained. I wouldn't be surprised if I have gained the stone I had lost so far. 

I do this to myself all of the time I get down about my weight decided to go on diet and I stick at it for a few weeks and lose one or two stone and then I seem to just sabotage all of my good work by slipping back into old habits and over eating and then I end up feeling worse about myself. It is a vicious circle that I really need to break, I am a classic comfort eater who eats when I am down or bored, out of habit more then anything. 

 Normally I would just totally give up on a diet now and never go back to class but this time is different, this time I know that I need to keep at it. This is the biggest that I have ever been, I gained four stone when pregnant with Jacob and another stone after he was born. That is five stone of extra weight, I also could have done with losing one or two stone before I had him, so  as you can see I have a lot of weight to lose.

The thing is I know that I can do this and I know that this plan can work as I have been following another blogger the lovely Emma from Mrs Shilts who has lost a very impressive four stone on Slimming World and looks amazing! She is my inspiration to keep going as I want to be where she is a year from now. If you are wanting to lose some weight or you are on Slimming World then you really should visit her blog www.mrsshilts.co.uk as it is full of honest weight loss updates and yummy looking healthy recipes.

 I need to follow Emma's advice and draw a line under this week and get back on the diet and face class next week and I fully expect a gain but I'm ok with that. As long I get back on track and follow the plan 100 % I know that in a few weeks I will be back to losing weight. I just need to do the hard part now which is to try and break this cycle of comfort eating and get back on track tomorrow, as I have just ate four chocolate biscuits whilst writing this and now feel very sick!

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Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Slimming World Mushy Pea Curry Recipe

I have been on the Slimming World diet plan for a while now and i have found that i have been making the same meals all the time and getting bored of them. So when i heard people talking about mushy pea curry and saying how easy it is to make and delicious it tasted i thought i would give it a try. I will admit when i heard people talking about it i thought it sounded horrible but it really is tasty and very filling, it works well with rice or as a jacket potato topping. So here is the recipe i used.

Ingredients - Serves 4

  • 2 Tins of Mushy Peas.
  • 1 Tin of baked beans
  • 1 Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
  • Diced chicken ( optional )
  • 1 large sliced onion
  • Few sliced mushrooms ( optional )
  • 2 crushed cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 2 tablespoons of medium curry powder

To Make
  • I cooked my chicken thoroughly in a pan, you do not need to use chicken as the meal is very filling without it but i like chicken in mine. 
  • I cooked my onion, garlic and mushrooms until golden brown and then added the cooked chicken to the pan.
  • I then added the 2 tins of mushy peas, baked beans and chopped tomatoes and stirred it all together.
  • Lastly i added 1 tsp of chilli powder and 2 tbsp of medium curry powder ( season to taste) and mixed it all together.
  • I then i left it to simmer for a few minutes and it was ready to serve.
I found this meal so quick and easy to make it took me less then 20 minutes from start to finish and it tasted a lot nicer then i thought that it would. It made a lot of curry and it would easily serve four people or you would be able to freeze some for a later date. I have had this with boiled rice and also as a jacket potato topping and it was really tasty and very filling and best of all it was all free foods on the Slimming World plan with not a single syn in site. 

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The Queen Of Hearts Cookie Company : Review

Sometimes when i need to buy a gift for someone for a special occasion i have no idea at all what to buy them and i spend hours searching the shops or looking online for the perfect gift. Half the time i end up opting for a box of chocolates which is not very original and a bit boring if i am honest as i love giving people thoughtful gifts that are a bit different, and something that hopefully no-one else has given them. 

So imagine my delight when i discovered The Queen Of Hearts Cookie Company an online store that is full of the most beautifully handmade cookies. There is so many gorgeous designs to choose from such as Weddings, Christenings, Birthdays and all other celebrations such as Christmas and Easter. There is even the option to create your very own design as each batch is baked to order in Lancashire using the finest locally produced ingredients, and is made by hand with loving care and attention. 

Box Of Wonderland Tea Party Cookies
I was sent a box of Wonderland Tea Party cookies which arrived very quickly in just a few days and were packaged in a lovely box which instantly give them a luxurious feel, making them perfect for giving to someone as a gift. When we opened the box we were hit with such a gorgeous smell of sweet freshly baked biscuits which instantly made my mouth water. 

The Queen Of Hearts Cookies Box
And just look how pretty and amazing they look, they are so nicely decorated and they are instantly recognisable as being Alice and Wonderland themed. They look almost to good to eat as they are just so amazing and have such attention to detail. But of course they are cookies and i have children so they were eating straight away and they were so delicious! They really did taste as good as they looked and were probably the nicest i have tried. Even though they have been sent via mail they still tasted very fresh and oh so yummy. 

Yummy Cookies ready to eat
I was very impressed with these cookies as they look amazing and they taste amazing too and they also have brilliant customer service skills to match. The Wonderland Tea Party set which we received start at £16.99 per box depending on how many you wish to order and there is other designs available starting from £9.99 per box. This is probably more then i would normally pay for a box of cookies if i am honest but they are not something that you would buy every day and they are classed as more of a treat or gift. The fact that they are also freshly baked to order and each one is decorated by hand also makes me believe that they are worth paying that little bit extra for. 

Adorable White Rabbit Cookie
I really did love everything about The Queen Of Heart Cookies and they really did look and taste so good. You can find out more by visiting the website www.biscuit.gift or follow them on Facebook  or Twitter and i am sure if you give someone a box of these as a gift that they would love them as much as we did. 

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* Disclosure: I was kindly sent one box of cookies free of charge for the purpose of this review, however all words and opinions are my own honest account of the product we received. 

Family Fever

Thursday, 18 June 2015

The Summer Solstice

This Sunday the 21st June 2015 many people will be aware that it is fathers day here in the UK and people will be celebrating and spending time with loved ones and letting all those fathers out there have a well deserved day off. Sunday the 21st June 2015 is not only fathers day this year but it is also the Summer Solstice, something not as many people may be aware of. 

The Summer Solstice is basically the longest day of the year, when the sun is at it's highest point in the northern hemisphere. Many people class it as the start of summer time as it is the day that we have the longest period of sunlight in the calender year. It is the day that you normally hear of people descending on Stonehenge to worship or celebrate and is celebrated across the world as many people see this day as a day of positive change to celebrate the change of the season and be at one with nature.

When i think of nature i always think of the beach as i am lucky that i live near the wonderful rugged north east coast line full of grassy sand dunes, sandy beaches and the crashing waves of the icy north sea. Many people retreat to the coast on the Summer Solstice to spend time relaxing and unwinding by the sea as they find this spiritual, and what better way to spend the start of summer and the longest day of the year than at the beach, especially if like me you live along way from Stonehenge. 

Image from FreeDigitalPhotos.net By Evgeni Dinev

There is something so relaxing about walking along the sand, smelling the crisp sea air and watching the ebb and flow of the tide, i find it the perfect way to relieve myself of any stress i may be facing in life as it always reminds me of my late mum as she loved the seaside. Whenever i need time to think or to be cheered up i always head to the beach as it instantly lifts my mood and puts me in a more positive frame of mind. 

I think it is the perfect setting for being at one with nature and thinking of positive changes to your life now that we are half way through the year, such as revaluation all those new years resolutions that we often make and then quickly break. I have been thinking of making some new resolutions and what better time to do so then on such a spiritual day such as the Summer Solstice. Sometimes i think i need a little nudge and some guidance in life to make decisions to change my life and i often think of contacting somewhere like TheCircle to get some spiritual guidance on which direction my life is going in. 

So if you too have been thinking of making some changes why not join me on Sunday by making some new resolutions or visiting the beach to unwind and you never know we may just get the positive life changes we have been dreaming of. 

* Disclosure : This post is in collaborative post with TheCircle. 


Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Blog Business Cards From StressFreePrint

As you may know i am off to Britmums Live on Friday which is a two day blogging and social media event held in London thanks to my wonderful sponsor MAM UK. As i will be meeting lots of brands and bloggers at the event it came to my attention that i would need business cards to hand out to people i had chatted to, so they knew who i was and could connect with me after the event if they wished.

I had no idea where to start with business cards as i have never had to make any before and when i had a brief look online i was overwhelmed by the amount of different companies out there and i had no idea how to design my own as i am useless with anything like that. Luckily i noticed that the really talented and lovely Zoe Corkhill  was designing bloggers business cards for the event and i contacted her to see if she could design me some to match my blog. Zoe quickly got to work designing my cards which have my blog header on and the fonts, colour scheme and social media icons from my blog making them easily identifiable to my blog. She also included my Britmums sponsor and their logo and i was really happy with the finished result.

I then had a look around to see where to get my cards printed from and i came across StressFreePrint an online printing company who make a range of products such as leaflets, menus and business cards. They aim to make the whole print buying experience as stress free as possible which sounded perfect for me.

I found the website really easy to use with clear step by step instructions throughout you simply choose how many cards you would like between 50-10,000 then you select if you want colour on one or both sides of your cards, if you would like standard or recycled paper, if you would like matt, gloss or semi gloss finish on your cards. You can then either upload your own artwork to be added to the cards, get a one of the designers to create the artwork for you or use the online designer to create your own design. You then preview and check your design and then a one of the design team will check your cards for free and send you a on-screen proof which you then check over and approve before they go to print , giving you peace of mind.

I was kept up to date throughout the whole process and as soon as i give the go ahead that i was happy with the cards they were sent straight to print and i had an e-mail a day later saying when my order would be arriving and then i received regular updates from StreeFreePrint and the delivery company regarding my delivery with a one hour delivery slot. Delivery was free and super quick within 3 working days, you can pay extra to fast track your order if you are in a hurry.

When my cards arrived i was very impressed they arrived well packaged in little white storage boxes keeping them nice and tidy. And the quality of the cards is amazing the colours and design are great and the cards look and feel nice and thick and have a lovely finish to them and they wont tear easily. They look very professional and i can not wait to hand them out at the event as i am really happy with them.

So if you are looking for some business cards for an event like Britmums or any of the other blogging events this year or even for your business then i really do recommend StreesFreePrint their customer service skills are brilliant with super helpful and friendly staff, they check your artwork and send you a proof to make sure you are happy before they go to print and the turnaround time is quick. I was also really impressed that i got free delivery within a few days as a lot of other companies seem to charge a lot for delivery. And most importantly the cards are amazing quality and look great. 

You can visit StressFreePrint at www.stressfreeprint.co.uk 

* Disclosure: I was sent 500 Business Cards from StressFreePrint free of charge for the purpose of this review, however all words and opinions are my own. 

We're going on an adventure

Sunday, 14 June 2015

MamaBabyBliss : A Perfect Fathers Day Gift For A New Dad

Fathers day is just one week away and i have found the perfect gift for a new dad or a dad to be the Daddy's magic bag of bathtime bliss from MamaBabyBliss. This is a cute little bag full of everything daddy and baby will need for a special bathtime bonding experience. 

They say " Research has shown that new dads can feel alienated from the whole parenting experience in those first few months. Bath and Bedtime is a special time where daddy can really get involved and enjoy some special bonding with their baby, which is why MamaBabyBliss has launched the " Daddy's magic bag of bathtime bliss". 

I totally agree with this as every night my partner baths and puts our baby and toddler to bed and he has done since birth, it is his special time with the children that he loves as he does not see them during the day when he is at work. The children love it as they know it is their special daddy time and he loves it as he gets time alone with them and it is their special routine that they all look forward to. 

The set is perfect for creating a special bath time as it has award winning MamaBabyBliss product Splash baby bath wash, this is a bubble bath and you can also use it to wash baby's hair. It smells absolutely amazing as it is lavender and chamomile making it perfect for a night time bath. We have found you only need a small capful of this and it makes great bubbles and leaves baby smelling gorgeous. 

It also contains the award winning and paediatrician approved Hugs which is a natural baby oil made from sunflowers, jojoba and peach kernels, it has no nasty chemicals so it is safe and gentle for baby's delicate skin. This is a lovely addition to the set as it can be used for baby massage after the bath. I am a huge baby massage fan and both my little ones attended baby massage classes from being a few weeks old and they both loved it and it helped with my son's colic. I found massage to be such a great way to bond with baby and so relaxing for both parent and baby, so a little massage after bathtime would be a lovely way for a new dad to created a blissful bathtime experience with their baby.

The set also included a really lovely super soft white fluffy flannel and a yellow rubber duck as everyone knows it wouldn't be bathtime without a rubber duck. There is also a helpful little leaflet which talks you through some massage steps if you are unsure of them. Everything comes in a nice drawstring bag which can be kept and used afterwards as a wash bag, it says on the front Daddy's magic bag of bathtime bliss which i think is rather cute. 

Overall i think that this is a fantastic gift idea and that any dad to be or new dad would love it as it is something that he can enjoy with his baby, it could encourage a special bathtime routine like we have and help dad feel useful and get some much needed one on one time with his new child. Everything in the bag is of a high quality and looks and smells utterly amazing and is nice and kind and gentle on baby's skin. I really love this little bag and i know that if i was to get my partner something like this for fathers day he would love it. 

So if you are unsure of what to buy for a new dad this fathers day then i really would recommend this useful little set and daddy will love it, baby will love it and i am sure mum will love it too as there is nothing nicer then watching your partner bonding and spending special time with your child. 

You can buy a one of these Daddy's Magic Bag Of Bathtime Bliss priced at £23.00 from the MamaBabyBliss website www.mamababybliss.com , they also sell a range of gifts and you can find out about local pregnancy yoga, baby massage and baby yoga classes that they run too. 

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* Disclosure: I received a Daddy's Magic Bag Of Bathtime Bliss free of charge for the purpose of this review. 

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Slimming World Week Nine

I am now nine week's into my Slimming World weight loss journey and i am amazed with myself that i have actually managed to stick at it for this long, as i normally give up on diets within a few days or sometimes even hours. This just goes to show that the Slimming World plan is easy to stick to and incorporate into everyday family life. I eat the same meals as my family and don't ever feel like i am on a diet.

This week i have been fairly good i have had no takeaways or meals out and have ate all healthy home cooked meals. However i did go for afternoon tea on Sunday and had a few glasses of wine and a cake. I also have not been writing down what i have been eating and have not been keeping any kind of track on my syns so i have probably went over them. 

Anyway on Thursday morning i went to class feeling unsure if i would have lost any weight and was expecting a small gain as i was feeling bloated and rubbish thanks to it being a star week. However i had lost 1 lb , i know it is just a pound but I'm actually happy with that this week as it is still a loss and at least i am losing and not gaining any weight. This brings my total to 1 stone 1 lb weight lost in nine weeks.

 I also got my one stone award and sticker as there was different people on the weigh in desk last week so i did not get my award and i am shallow and like having my stickers and certificates as they motivate me to keep to plan. I was also sent this lovely little Summer recipe book full of tasty looking recipes that you can buy from the 15th of June priced at £3.95 at your local group. 

This week i am going to go back to basics and start writing everything down, keeping track of my syns and hopefully i will have a better loss next week. As even though i am losing weight every week i would like to lose more then 1 lb a week if possible. I have already done a weekly meal plan and have lots of different meals to try this week and the grocery shop has been done with no treats for me. Although it is the other half's birthday on Wednesday and we are having either a meal out or a takeaway and even though i will try and order something healthy i just know it probably wont happen. Fingers crossed for a loss on Thursday as i just know i am going to be having a gain the week after as i am off to London for the weekend to attend Britmums Live and i know a lot of wine and un-slimming world friendly foods will be consumed. 

You can find out more about Slimming World or find your local class on the website www.slimmingworld.com

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Friday, 12 June 2015

My Finances As A Mum

Three years ago i was working full time in a job that i enjoyed in social care and i earned a fairly good wage and had a lot of disposable income each month. I would always go on shopping trips on pay day with my oldest daughter for new clothes and toys, we would eat out at least twice a week and we had weekends away and lots of day's out. I never really thought about saving or planning for my future as i just presumed that i would always have a steady income. 

Fast forward three years and things are very different. I have had two lots of maternity leave back to back and have actually not been to work in just over two years now, and as any new mum will tell you maternity pay is really rubbish and is way less then half of my normal wages. I am now on the unpaid part of maternity leave which means that i have no income at all coming in. I am not planning on returning to work any time soon as i am planning on being a stay at home mum for the next year or two whilst my children are so young, as nursery fee's would cost more then i would earn. 

I admit that i am finding it really hard adjusting to not having my own income any more and having to rely on the other half for money is not something that i like. I was a single full time working mum before i met him and i am use to always having my own money and being able to buy whatever i like and to now not have any income or savings of my own is hard. 

Image by Ambro from Free digital photos
Looking back i wish that i had of been better with my finances when i was working, i wish i had of saved and made provisions for maternity leave and becoming a stay at home mum. Us women have never had it better in terms of equality but we do end up in different financial situations to men for the simple fact that it is often the woman who takes the bulk of maternity leave and suffer a drop in earnings. And then it is normally the woman who either reduces her hours at work or leaves her job to look after the children, as is the case with myself. 

So i was interested to read about an article from Legal and General about the value of mum an article which found out that all of those tasks us mums do such as childcare, cleaning, cooking, shopping etc all add up to a huge £31,627 a year, which is more then i use to earn in my old job. The article also mentioned about life insurance and how many of us parents do not have any when it could greatly benefit are families having some if the worst was to happen to us. 

As you may know i lost my own mum in a tragic accident when she was only 44 and i was 21, one minute she was here and fit and healthy and the next she was gone. Ever since i have lost my mum i have realised just how precious life is and to never take anything for granted as you never know what could happen. I was lucky that my mum left myself and my brother a large sum of money each in savings, I hope that i can do the same for my own children someday if the worst was to happen to me. So i think it is time to look at my own finances and start planning for the future as you never know what life has in store and it is best to be prepared. 

* Disclosure : This is a collaborative post. 

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Afternoon Tea & Cupcake Decorating

On Sunday i was lucky enough to attend a rather lovely blogging event #ToastOfTheTown at the Copthorne hotel in Newcastle organised by Joe Blogs for an afternoon of cupcake decorating and afternoon tea. It was only my second event and i was feeling rather nervous as i did not really know anyone attending but my nerves were soon quashed when i arrived at the hotel.

Situated on Newcastle's quayside overlooking the river Tyne is the Copthorne hotel which i had never been to before, on entering i was immediately impressed with the calm and relaxing atmosphere and took a seat in the lobby whilst waiting for the event to start. Once everyone arrived we were shown to a small room by the super lovely and friendly Joe Blogs staff and told to help our selves to the table's of Prosecco and delicious looking nibbles provided for us. I was having a rare day off mummy duties so of course i had a glass or two of Prosecco, it would have been rude not to. Although i did resit the scrumptious looking nibbles (as i am on a diet to lose my baby weight) but i was told they were delicious.

After chatting to some friendly bloggers and having a drink to calm are nerves it was time to head into another room for some cupcake decorating. The room was set out for the class and i headed to for a table where i sat with Sarah and Tracy two super lovely bloggers who i had a great afternoon chatting too.

I was expecting the cup cake decorating to be a bit of a disaster as i have never done anything like this before apart from the odd children's Peppa pig cake set which always turn out looking rather terrible. I need not have worried though as we were talked through and shown the decoration process step by step with the helpful ladies from Julies cake house on hand to keep us right every step of the way. We decorated four cupcakes each a flower made of marshmallows, a cute pink bear, a make up brush and lipstick cake and a petal one. All whist sipping Prosecco, chatting and enjoying the glorious view of the river Tyne from the window. I was really impressed with the cakes i made and who knew cupcake decorating could be so much fun.

After the class we were then broken up into two groups and taken on a tour of the hotel, The Copthorne hotel is part of the millennium group of hotels. I was impressed with the hotel as it has been designed with it's guests in mind and only has rooms on one side of the building facing towards the river giving every single guest a stunning view from the room. We visited a number of different rooms in the hotel from suites, to upgrade rooms to normal standard double rooms and every room was spacious and comfortable looking. I have to say the normal standard double room on the third floor was my favourite of all as it had a huge floor to ceiling window facing the  River Tyne and the bridges which would be a lovely view to wake up to.

Image courtesy of Joe Blogs
After the tour of the hotel we were served afternoon tea of various dainty finger sandwiches, mini cakes and huge scones with cream and jam served with tea or fresh orange juice. Of course i am on a diet so i gave the scones a miss but i did try some sandwiches and a slice of lemon cake which was utterly mouthwatering.

I had an amazing time the hotel was so inviting and the staff were lovely as were the Joe blogs staff who i enjoyed chatting too. The cake class was a lot of fun and the food was amazing, i would defiantly visit the hotels restaurant for a meal in the future. And if anyone is planning on visiting Newcastle then i would not hesitate in recommending the Copthorne hotel it has a great location as it is only a five minute walk from the city centre yet is very peaceful and quiet and the rooms look very spacious and comfortable. I would just like to say Thank you to everyone for such a lovely afternoon. 

Visit The Copthorne hotel  www.millenniumhotels.co.uk

Visit Joe Blogs                   www.joeblogsnetwork.com

Visit Julie's Cake House    www.juliescakehouse.co.uk

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Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Dreaming Of A Full Night's Sleep

I have not had a full night of uninterrupted sleep in over two years now, to say that i am exhausted would be an understatement as i constantly feel tired and grumpy every single day. If you read my blog regular you will know the reason for my lack of sleep is having two children so close together in age. I fell pregnant with my son when my daughter was only five months old and by the time she was sleeping through the night i was too heavily pregnant to sleep myself. 

The newborn day's are behind us now as my baby boy is now nine months old and really he should be sleeping through the night and letting me get such much needed rest, but lately his sleeping habits have been worse then when he was a newborn baby. He goes to sleep in his cot no problem at all at around 7 pm and sleeps soundly for a few hours, then he starts waking up during the night normally around four times and then he is waking up at 5 am thinking it is playtime and no matter what we try to do he will not go back to sleep. 

We have tried changing him, feeding him, putting him in our bed with us, giving him milk, giving him a dummy, putting him to bed later and even moving his cot. Nothing at all has worked, we are so tired as this has been happening for a couple of months now. I am living on copious amounts of coffee to get through each day and i am finding i am too tired to stay up on an evening to do anything. 

Something we have been thinking about is maybe the light is waking him up now that summer is here and the mornings are getting lighter, we have blinds and thick curtains in his bedroom and his cot is away from the window but the room still gets light early. We have been discussing getting a blackout blind for his bedroom window to see if this will help with his sleeping pattern as he use to sleep until at least 7.30 before the mornings got lighter. 

I have been searching online to have a look at blackout blinds and i came across VELUX a brand who are well known for their high quality products. They have a very cute range of Disney blinds with much loved characters such as Winnie the Pooh, Cinderella and Planes which would be perfect for a child's bedroom. But i really like the look and sound of the ITZALA range as they sound just what we are looking for. They offer almost complete darkness and are very easy to use, come in three different colour choices and also come with a two year guarantee and best of all they are very affordable which is great for us as we are planning on moving home in the near future so we do not want to spend a lot of money. 

I think that these blinds will be the perfect solution to my baby boys sleep problems and hopefully we will all be getting a good nights sleep with no more 5am wake ups, as this mummy is defiantly missing sleep. Do you use a blackout blind with your children and have you found they help ? I would love to know. 


Sunday, 7 June 2015

Slimming World Week Eight

You may have noticed that i did not do a Slimming World update last week as i had taken a week's holiday to celebrate my daughter's 2nd birthday. With it being her birthday i did have a few treats such as birthday cake and a tea party tea we also had a take-away and meal out, although i tried to be good and stuck to a carvery when we were out with lots of vegetables and i ordered a chicken kebab with salad when we had a take-away.

I have tried sticking to plan the rest of the time although i have not been as strict with the plan as i was at the start and i need to start writing down what i am eating and keeping count of my daily syns as i fear i am going over them every day now. All of my meals have been on plan though during the last two weeks and i have ate salads, roast dinners, chilli's, salt and pepper chicken with noodles and i even tried the mushy pea curry recipe which was surprisingly nice.

I was back at class this week and i was dreading weigh in as i was expecting a gain as my jeans are feeling a bit tighter and i did not feel like i had lost any weight and i know that i had not stuck to the plan 100 % the last two weeks. But when i stepped on the scales i had lost 1lb which i was more then happy with. I know it is just 1lb but that now means that i have lost my first stone since joining Slimming World eight weeks ago. I did not even realise i had lost a stone until i got home and looked at my book as i was not given a sticker or certificate in class so i am hoping i get them next week.

I admit that when i started the plan i was expecting to lose weight quicker then i have been, i thought that as i have a lot of weight to lose then i would lose weight quicker but sadly that does not seem to be the case at all. But like the old saying goes slow and steady wins the race and at least i am losing weight every week and everyone says the slower you lose the weight the more likely you are to keep it off in the long term.

My eating habits have defiantly changed in the last eight weeks and i think i have broken my habit of comfort eating when i am bored, i have also gone off a lot of foods that i use to eat such as white bread. I am eating a lot more fresh fruit and vegtables and we are having a fresh home made healthy meal each night which is benefiting all the family, my other half has lost more weight then me just off eating the same meals as me on a evening. Yes i am very jealous of him.

This week i am hoping to just lose 1lb if i am lucky as i have had a few treats so far this week such as a choc ice and a saveloy sandwich with pease pudding and stuffing on, oops. And later on today i am off to a blogging event at the Copthorne hotel for afternoon tea which will of course involve cakes. I am hoping that i can avoid some of the foods and not each much and then be extra good the rest of the week i might hopefully not put any weight on, but we will see on weigh in day on Thursday.

You can find out more about Slimming World or find you local class via the website www.slimmingworld.com

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Super Busy Mum

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Introducing My Britmums Live 2015 Sponsor

If you follow me on social media or read my blog you will know that in just two weeks time i will be off to London to attend Britmums Live which is a two day blogging and social media event. It will be my very first time attending any kind of blogging event and i am both excited and nervous all rolled into one. But i know that i will learn a lot, which will hopefully in turn help me to improve and grow my blog. I am also really looking forward to meeting the lovely bloggers i talk to online and hopefully making some new friends along the way.

And it is thanks to my amazing sponsor that i am able to attend this event and improve and grow this little space of mine on the Internet. I have been dying to tell everyone who my sponsor is for over a week now and you may have already spotted the lovely new badge on my blog saying who my sponsor is, but if you have not then i am so pleased to announce that my sponsor is MAM UK. A brand that i am sure will need no introduction as i bet all parents and parents to be are aware of the brilliant baby and toddler products they make and recognise the blue and white logo.

I am so proud to have such a great brand sponsoring me, a brand who as a mum with young children i love and have been using with my own children for the last few years. My baby boy is teething at the moment and the bite and play teether has been a godsend to us these last few months. 

MAM have been around for over 35 years now and they are a much loved and popular worldwide brand that parents know and trust. They sell a range of products such as soothers, breast and bottle feeding products and also teething and weaning products, such as the amazing looking baby's cutlery sets which i am planning on purchasing for my toddler. All the MAM products have been designed by medical and technological experts to create products that help support baby's development and make the baby's life easier and this is what makes MAM products stand out from the crowd. 

I am really looking forward to working with MAM throughout the year so expect some reviews and all the latest news shared on my blog and social media. And i would just like to say a huge Thank you to MAM UK for sponsoring me to attend Britmums live 2015, i am really looking forward to working with them and sharing what a great brand they are. 

You can visit the MAM UK website at www.mambaby.co.uk where you can find out about the company and all the great products they sell, they even have a baby club that you can join for free. You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter and they have just joined Instagram and i know they would love a follow on there.

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Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Signs You're A Parent To A Toddler

Every parent will tell you that they can not believe how fast time goes when you have children, one minute you have a tiny newborn baby in your arms and then the next thing you know you have a demanding, walking, talking toddler with a mind of there own. I often look at my two year old daughter and think that it does not seem five minutes since she was a baby, but now she is a proper little girl with a big personality. This got me think about signs that you're a parent to a toddler.

1.) You watch Disney Junior / Cbeebies and realise that you know every word to the theme tune and every characters name. You also often find yourself watching children's t.v programs without realising even after your child has gone to bed.

2.) Your once spotless living room will resemble a toy shop, and a messy one at that.

3.) Tantrums really do happen no matter how good your baby was. Tantrums also normally happen when you are in public so you end up getting embarrassed as everyone will stop and stare.

4.) They can become obsessed with random objects and will carry them around all day or try and take them to bed at night. The current obsession in our house is hairbrushes, shoes and pegs.

5.) The roast dinner you spent hours making as it is usually your toddlers favourite meal will end up on the floor.

6.) Mummy and Daddy's phone and the remote are the most sought after possessions ever.

7.) Going to do the weekly food shop or visiting the doctors on your own is classed as a treat and 'me' time.

8.) You find yourself hiding in the kitchen to eat a sneaky bar of chocolate / bag of crisps so you don't have to share.

9.) You have long since forgotten what a hot cup of coffee is like.

10.) 7 am is now classed as a lie in.

11.) You no longer have any handbags as you have been using a changing bag as your handbag for the last few years.

12.) You often end up going out with food stains or sticky hand prints on your clothing and you don't care.

13.) Your toddler is dressed better than you as you can't remember the last time you brought new clothes for yourself.

14.) You know never to leave anything like keys lying around as you will end up spending days looking for them and you will normally find them in the bottom of the bin or hidden in a shoe.

15.) When you clean your sofa you find odd socks, a half eaten biscuit and a toy under the cushions.

16.) You have little fingerprints on your walls and door's and if your lucky you might have some toddler art on your walls too.

17.) You dread unexpected visitors as your house will look like it has been burgled with toys and cushions thrown all over the place.

18.) You keep putting off potty training as you know things will get messy.

19.) By the time bedtime comes around you are exhausted and too tired to do anything and 10 pm is classed as a late night.

20. When they hug you and give you a kiss you realise just how lucky you are and your heart melts every time they do something new for the first time, unless it is pulling the wallpaper off as you really won't appreciate that.

If you are a parent to a toddler what would you would add to the list? I would love to know.

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Let's Talk Mommy

Mums' Days

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Sophia's Second Birthday

Last week my middle child Sophia turned two and you may have seen the letter i wrote to her on her birthday.We were unsure what to do to celebrate her birthday as originally we were planning on having a family BBQ on her birthday and then visiting Edinburgh zoo a couple of days later. We had planned to get the train to Edinburgh as it is only around an hour from Newcastle and Sophia loves trains so this would have been something she would have enjoyed, she also loves animals especially monkeys thanks to Curious George. 

However as it got closer to her birthday we realised that actually Edinburgh Zoo probably was not such a good idea after all as our baby boy Jacob is now at the age where he wants to be on the floor crawling around non-stop. The train journey would have been a nightmare with him and he would have gotten board and restless being in his buggy at the zoo all day. We decided to cancel the zoo and we are planning on going for either Jacobs first birthday in August or Sophia's third birthday in May instead. 

So we were left wondering what to do as we wanted to do something nice to celebrate her day. In the end we decided to book the local soft play where she had her first birthday last year. But as her birthday was on the bank holiday Monday we decided to have her party the day before as i did not fancy going to a soft play on a bank holiday. And i am such a rubbish blogger i totally forgot to take any photo's of her birthday as i was just so busy. 

She had a great time running around and playing on the slides with her cousin and little friends and her brother and sister had lots of fun too. She then had her dinner and a cake and loved blowing out her candles, although she did try and grab the flame. Last year we got her an amazing Sofia the first cake made but we ended up with loads of it left over and we were eating it for days afterwards, so this year we just got a little cake from Sainsbury's which she enjoyed just as much. 

The next day was her actual birthday and she woke up as normal and had no idea what was going on. When she came downstairs she was so happy and amazed to see Doc Mcstuffins balloons, presents such as a happlyland palace, a big yellow dumper truck, clothes, Doc Mcstuffins toys and a little tikes car. She dived straight into her car and spent all morning just sitting in it with her lambie teds. And when it is your birthday you just have to have birthday cake for breakfast, which was a minion one as she is a Despicable me 2 fan. 

After a morning of cake, chocolates and playing in her new car she got dressed into some new clothes and we went to a local pub with a children's play area in. My dad and my brother and his family joined us including my tiny newborn niece who was just a week old. We had a lovely meal and Sophia had a great time running around and playing with her cousin and she demolished her chicken nugget dinner. The pub we were at does a cake-away and ice cream service so of course we had to get some cake and ice cream to take home with us, bye- bye diet. 

We returned home and ate are yummy cake-aways and Sophia and Jacob were worn out so had an extra long afternoon nap each. Then we had a little tea party tea as a family, although we did not eat much as we were so full from lunch and all the cake we had ate. I think the excitement got a bit to much for the birthday girl as she was fast asleep in bed by 6.30 pm and did not wake up until almost 8 am the next morning. We had a lovely two days and Sophia received lots of lovely presents and had an amazing time, i can not wait to see what the next year being a two year old holds for her. 

Monday, 1 June 2015

Fathers Day Gifts With #TruprintDads

Fathers day is fast approaching and i am normally terrible at buying gifts for my other half as i never know what to buy him. The shops are full of gift ideas but he has the obligatory Daddy mug and pint glass and he has more then enough socks and would not appreciate a box of chocolates. And with his birthday being just a few days before Fathers day i wanted to get him something special for Fathers day that is a bit different and he can keep for years to come. 

Step forward Truprint a company i am sure you will have heard of as they are an online photo printing and gift company. They have a huge selection of great fathers day gift ideas such as mugs, photo books and wall art to name just a few of the lovely products they produce. What i love about these gifts is that you can choose any photo to add to the gift with a message of your choice making each gift unique and personal, perfect for fathers day.

One thing that my other half has been asking for lately is a travel mug so he can take it to work in the mornings, so when i seen that they had them on the Truprint website i just had to get him one. I personalised the mug with a photograph of each of are three children and wrote the message Love from Chloe, Sophia and Jacob. You can add up to 15 photos on these and they would make a lovely gift and are priced at £14.99 which i think is great value for such a lovely gift. I am really impressed with the quality of the travel mug and i just know that he will love it when he gets it on Fathers day.

I also decided to get him a canvas with a photo of our daughter Sophia from last year at her first birthday cake smash, we love these photos but we have never actually gotten around to getting them printed off the disc we received them on from the photo shoot. I have photos / canvases of my other two children in the house but have never actually gotten around to printing any of Sophia off as they are all online. The canvas prints start at just £24.99 and they are amazing quality and would make a great gift for all those parents out there like us who never get around to printing photos of there children off. 

And lastly i decided to get my dad a mug with photos of all three of my children on. Again my dad is super hard to buy gifts for as whenever we ask what he would like he always just says "i don't need anything". He loves his cups of coffee though and he use to have a special mug that my oldest daughter got him with three handles on that said grandad can handle anything but it broke so i though that a nice photo mug would be a nice replacement for him. These were priced at just £7.99 which i think is amazing value for such a lovely special personalised item. And is fantastic quality and i am sure he will love it.

If you are stuck for a gift idea on what to buy a dad or grandad this fathers day then do check out all of the amazing gift ideas on the Truprint website as there is a gift to suit everyone and every budget making Fathers day shopping easy and enjoyable. I also think that older children would have loads of fun creating a special gift for there dad's or grandads which will make fathers day extra special for everyone. 

Truprint have a special discount code which you could save £30 off an order of £50 or £10 off an order of £20- £49.99 by using the discount code LOVEMYDAD. Last order date is Monday 15th June 2015 and full terms and conditions can be found on the Truprint website www.truprint.com

* Disclosure: I received a £50 voucher to spend on Fathers day gifts from Truprint for the purpose of this review. However all words and opinions are my own honest account of the products and service we received. 
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