Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Pass Around The World For Your Chance To Win

Pass around the world is a great new campaign that Allianz have launched to celebrate their partnership with Saracens RFC and honour the 2015 Rugby world cup. They are encouraging people to film a quick video of a rugby pass and upload it to the Pass Around the World website where all the videos will be linked together to make one big pass, hopefully around the world. They are hoping that this fun campaign will bring people together through Rugby. And you can find out more on the video below.


I think that this looks like a fun campaign that will be great for families to take part in as I am sure that many of us parents have already heard cries of " I'm bored " these holiday's. Filming a quick video to upload would be a great way to get the family doing a fun activity at home or to encourage your children to get into rugby. As a parent to a teenage daughter, a toddler and baby my own children are not really into rugby but I know that they would still have lots of fun taking part in this campaign. My teen loves making videos, like most teenage girls she wants to be the next Zoella. And my toddler just loves any opportunity to play outdoors with her siblings.

All you need to do to take part is make a short video of your rugby pass on your mobile, turn your phone sideways when filming for best results. Make sure that the ball enters from the left and leaves from the right ,this is so that all the videos can then easily be linked together to create one big pass. Make sure that your video is less then 10 seconds long and under 30 MBs and then upload it the website, it is as easy as that. 

Everyone who uploads a video to the website will be entered into a prize draw to win some brilliant prizes such as £150 worth of Ticketmaster vouchers, Saracen prizes such as tickets to watch them play, signed rugby balls and one lucky person will win the top prize of lunch with the Saracen team and to attend a training session. If you know any rugby fans then get them to enter as I am sure they would love these prizes, I like the sound of them myself and I don't even know the first thing about rugby.

Hundreds of people across the world have taken part already such as Owen Farrel and his team mates ( he is a Saracens player ) the Bayern Munich FC team and racing driver Lewis Hamilton. So you never know your pass could be linked to a celebrity. I think that it will be lovely to see all of the passes linked together and if you are taken part you can tell people that you took part in it and it would be lovely to look back on.

To find out more about the Pass around the world campaign and for full terms and conditions please check out the website www.passaroundtheworld.com. Remember to tell all your friends to take part too for their chance to win some fantastic prizes and don't forget to search the #PassAroundTheWorld hash tag on social media to see everyone else's passes.

Disclosure: This is a collaborative post. Please refer to the Pass around the world website for full terms and conditions and to find out more details about this campaign. All entries are to be made to the pass around the world website and not to this blog, we are simply promoting the campaign. All prizes will be provided from Pass around the world as stated in their terms and conditions and will not be provided by this website. 


What Baby Jacob Wore : George At Asda

One of the things that I love about having a baby is being able to buy tiny little baby clothes and dress them up in cute little outfits. But having three children I have soon realised that baby's grow so quick and grow out of their tiny little outfits within a matter of week's. I also realised that it is pointless buying fancy designer baby clothes as 1.) they grow out of them so quick it is a waste of money 2.) they will probably just be sick on the outfit and 3.) a lot of fancy outfits are very impractical for everyday use.

One place that I often shop for baby clothing is George at Asda. I have brought all three of my children's vests and babygrows from here. My eldest wore a George babygrow when she was first born 12 years ago. Since then I have stuck to them for all three children as they are the best around in my opinion, as they are super soft and wash well. I sound like such a mum saying that don't I.

So when I was sent the challenge of dressing Jacob in George baby clothes for a week for the #WBabyWT ( What baby wore today ), showcasing the cute little outfits they have I was well up for the challenge. Firstly I could not believe how much we managed to get as the clothes were such fantastic value. We got a short and shirt set, joggers and t-shirt set, dungarees set with t-shirt and socks, a romper suit, 2 pair of shorts, 2 t-shirts, a hoody and two pair's of pyjamas for the bargain price of £44. There was enough clothes to last a week as well as the two pairs of pyjamas.

So here is a what Jacob wore this week. Day one was a lovely hot day so we spent the day playing in the garden and Jacob wore this cute slogan t-shirt which says "I'm the boss around here" and was only £2, he wore it with a pair of shorts out of a pack of two which cost £3 so his outfit only cost £3.50 which is amazing value. We teamed his outfit with a sun hat to protect him from the sun and a dribble bib as he is teething at the moment.

 Day two we went to the beach so Jacob wore this cute little denim shirt and cream short set which was only £8. He looked adorable wearing it and it was perfect for a day out at the beach.

Day three he went out with his daddy for the day to visit family and it was a lovely hot day so he wore these very cute dungaree shorts which were £10 and came with the t-shirt and socks. I loved this outfit as it was so soft and very cute and showed of his chubby little legs. 

Day four we went to soft play and Jacob wore a little jogger and t-shirt set which was £6. This outfit was super soft and perfect for a day at soft play. 
Day five we had a lazy day at home wearing another cute slogan t-shirt this one says "Mummy's perfect handsome little man" and has a camera on, perfect for a bloggers child who is forever having there photo taken. This was only £2 and he wore it with the other pair of shorts out the two pack we got which cost £3 for the pair, so again this outfit was a total bargain as it worked out at only £3.50.

Day six was another lazy day at home wearing this red and white striped romper outfit which says "Mummy's Little Dude". This was £4 and he wore it with some little red and white socks he already had from George at Asda. This outfit is perfect for summer as it is really soft and lightweight and very practical. 
Day seven we had planned to go out but it was wet and miserable day so we stayed at home watching films and baking cakes, well Jacob watched his sisters bake cakes. He wore the joggers from day four teamed with the t-shirt from day one, and they looked great together. 

We also had a little blue hoody which has adorable little ears on , I think babies look very cute with ears on there clothing. This was only £4 and is cosy and perfect for keeping him warm if we are out and it gets a bit cold. 

And lastly we were sent some pyjamas which were only £5 for two pairs and are really soft and comfortable looking, which I totally forgot to photograph him in. But trust me they are very cute.

I have loved dressing Jacob in George at Asda for the week as the clothes have looked great, been super soft for baby's delicate skin, they are practical and comfortable and very affordable. They also wash great too with no fading or bobbling which is testament to the quality of the clothes as they  are fantastic quality at great prices. 

I think that these clothes would be perfect if you are looking for some summer outfits for your little one or if you are going on holiday these would be ideal as you could get a weeks worth of outfits for only £44, probably even less if you brought different items. All the items can also be mixed and matched. I will defiantly be buying Jacob lots more outfits from Asda as he looked cute in them, mummy loved them and I am sure his daddy will love the price of them.

You can view the adorable range of baby boy and girl clothes from George at Asda on the website www.asda.com

Disclosure: We were sent a week's worth of George clothing for the purpose of this review, however all words and opinions are my own. 

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We're going on an adventure

Monday, 27 July 2015

We Are Vital Baby #WeaningWarriors

If you are a regular reader you may have noticed the new badge on my side bar that says we are Vital baby #WeaningWarriors. I am really excited to be working on this new campaign as I have absolutely loved weaning Jacob. Now that he has just turned 11 months old we are moving him onto family foods and encouraging independent eating, but I am looking forward to sharing how his weaning journey started and how he is getting on. 

As part of my role as a #WeaningWarrior I will be bringing you lots of posts over the coming weeks about how we have found weaning, some of our favourite weaning recipes, top tips that I have discovered for weaning and a review of the brilliant new weaning products that Vital baby have just brought out to celebrate their 10th birthday (we are big fans already).

As I mentioned Jacob has just turned 11 months old and we have been weaning him for a good few months now, but I thought that it would be best to look back on when his weaning journey began. It is recommend by health professionals to not start weaning until your baby is six months old, but we began weaning Jacob at around four and half months old on the advice of are health visitor. As Jacob was suffering with colic and reflux and was a very unsettled baby who just screamed in pain all day every day for four months. 

As we were weaning him so young we went down the puree spoon-fed route, we stuck to baby rice for the first two weeks giving him it once per day then building up to twice and then three times per day. We then moved onto baby porridge and plain fruit and vegetable purees,  I did use jars and packets quiet often as I found them more convenient. We were lucky that Jacob took to weaning really well and more or less ate whatever we gave him. Although he was unsure of savoury foods at first but we persevered and he soon loved them, with carrots being a firm favourite. 

I found the whole starting to wean experience really enjoyable and stress free as it was lovely watching him discover new foods. Before we started weaning I was really nervous as when i weaned my middle daughter Sophia just a year beforehand she had no interest in food. We went down the baby-led weaning route and she was really fussy and would only eat a few foods and she would refuse to take anything at all off a spoon and still does now, preferring to feed herself. She also has a really sensitive gag reflex and would choke on food at every meal which was a worry. 

It was 12 years ago since I weaned my eldest and things were a lot different back then, there was no baby-led weaning and it was recommended to start spoon-fed weaning on purees at four months old. After trying both the puree route and the baby-led route with the girls I was glad to be going down the puree route with Jacob as for me personally I just prefer it. I have a big worry about baby's choking and I also like to know that they have actually ate something and not just thrown everything on the floor. 

I think that the way that you wean your baby is down to you as a parent and also down to the child, as every parent and every child is different. If you are planning on starting weaning soon then I would just go with whatever weaning route you feel is best for you and your child. If you are feeling a bit worried about it all then Vital baby in house weaning expert Dr Rana Conway has five top tips for weaning that are sure to help you. 

1.) Offer your baby a wide range of foods so they get used to different flavours and textures. Babies naturally like sweet foods to start with, so offer slightly bitter foods like broccoli, spinach and green beans. Don't be surprised if they reject foods at first, every time you try, the chances of success increase.

2.) Let your baby set the pace. 'Responsive feeding' is key. So if your baby shows signs they have have had enough don't keep trying them for one more spoonful. Teething and colds can put a baby off their food and pressure to eat will just cause food battles.

3.) Don't give too much milk, as this is one of the main reasons for babies not taken solids. Babies under 12 months need 3-4 breast feeds or 500-600ml of formula a day and giving more than this can make them too full for meals. 

4.) Give your baby plenty of opportunities to handle food. Whether you're starting with spoon-feeding or baby-led weaning, give some finger foods every day. Steamed vegetables such as carrot sticks or pieces of broccoli and soft fruit like banana and pears are ideal.

5.) Make meal times enjoyable by sitting and eating together whenever possible. If you relax and take your time it will help your baby develop a healthy relationship with food. 

I think that the tips are really useful and after weaning three children myself they are things that I completely agree with. Although I am sometimes guilty of trying to get Jacob to have just one more spoonful of food, so I think I need to remember 'Responsive feeding' is key. Keep an eye out for my review of the brilliant new Vital Baby weaning products next week and if you are planning on starting weaning soon why not head over to the Vital Baby facebook page where you can often find some great weaning tips. 

Do you have any weaning tips ? If so I would love to know in the comment section below. 

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Sunday, 26 July 2015

Don't Fear The Mess With Pampers Baby Wipes

Being a mum of three and having two young children only 14 months apart ( I have a 2 year old and 11 month old and also a 12 year old) means that I am use to the mess that baby's and children can bring. My baby boy Jacob loves to be sick, have nappy explosions, wee everywhere as soon as his nappy is removed and cover himself and everyone else in food at meal times. And my toddler Sophia is even worse for mess she gets food everywhere when eating, and she loves to be creative and colour herself as well as her picture in with pen's and paint. 

Baby wipes have been my saviour these last two years, I clean a lot of little bottoms having two little ones in nappies. But Baby wipes are not just great for nappy changes they get used for everything in this household, such as cleaning sticky hands and faces, cleaning mess of the highchair /wall/ floor and even myself, getting pen off my wallpaper, the list goes on as they have endless uses. And they are also rather brilliant at doing what they are meant to do and cleaning little ones bottoms. 

Pampers Wipes
So when I was Invited by Pampers to try out their sensitive baby wipes and do a little experiment with my children, involving a little cute rubber duck to find out how the PH levels of pampers wipes compared to plain old water and cotton wool. I just knew I had to give it a try and find out for myself, as I was intrigued to see which was kindest to little ones skin. I was sent a pack from Pampers which included a packet of Pampers sensitive wipes, a rubber duck, a bottle of water, some cotton wool pads, a little dish for the water, some PH papers and some double sided sticky tape. Everything we needed to conduct are own little home experiment to see if cotton wool and water or Pampers baby wipes had the most natural PH balance.

Testing Kit
I made a little video with the help of my oldest Chloe and youngest Jacob which you can watch below and see how we got on with the experiment. 

As you can see in the experiment the Pampers sensitive wipes had a much more natural PH balance then water and cotton wool, making the wipes kinder to little ones skin then water. I was a little surprised with this as each time I have had my children I have been told on the post natal ward to use cotton wool and water to clean my newborns skin with. Although I admit I did use baby wipes instead as they are just so much easier and more effective then cotton wool and water for nappy explosions. 

We use these wipes on Sophia who has sensitive skin and eczema and they are so soft and gentle and have caused no irritation at all for her, even when we use them to clean her hands and face. Pampers wipes are dermatologically accredited by the skin health alliance which means that they are kind to little ones sensitive skin. And they are made with a unique soft grip texture which makes them thicker and super soft which provides gentle cleaning with less wiping. Perfect for two messy children like I have. 

Messy Sophia
So if you have a little one or you are due a little one don't worry about the mess a child will bring as no matter what kind of mess they create, even if your baby has a poo face. Don't worry as long as you have a packet of Pampers baby wipes it will be ok and there is no need to fear the mess as these baby wipes will help you clean up even those really bad nappy explosions. 

Why not check out the funny and adorable new Pampers video below if you have not already seen it. And if you are unsure what poo face is then this little clip will inform you #PampersPooFace. 

I'm working with BritMums and Pampers testing their wipes and featuring their new #PampersPooface video. I was provided wipes and have been compensated for my time. All editorial and opinions are my own. Visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrrnC62X6eA
for more information.

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Thursday, 23 July 2015

The Minions Come Alive With Crayola

Minion's are everywhere and the cute little yellow banana loving creatures seem to have stolen every bodies heart, as they are adored by children young and old. It is not often that my 12 year old and 2 year old actually like the same thing, but they both really like Minions. So when I was sent a Crayola Colour Alive Minion colouring book I knew that this would be something that they would both like and could enjoy together, as like most children they both enjoy colouring in.

Colour Alive Book

Before we were sent the Colour Alive book I had no idea what to expect and was just expecting a normal colouring in book, when it arrived it did look just like any other colouring in book. It came with a pack of coloured felt tip pens included and had pages of different Minion characters to colour in. But we found that Colour Alive is way cooler then just a regular colouring book as you use your smart phone or tablet to make your drawings 'come alive' in 4D. You simply download the free app from the app store or Google play, then once you have coloured your Minion in you quickly and easily scan the image on the app and it turns into a 4D image right before your very eyes. 

The app
My two were amazed with the 4D Minions, especially my 2 year old and my 12 year old wanted to get a 'selfie' with a Minion as you can easily take photos of the images or can move them around to place them in your desired photo location. The image that 'comes alive' is actually your image that you have coloured in not some pre loaded image, which just adds to the charm. 

Minion In 4D
This book is so much more then just a colouring book and I am sure it would bring hours of fun for children of any ages as they colour and then watch their creation come to life with the app. With the start of the summer holidays I am sure they would make a great addition to stop any "I'm bored " moments on day's at home or whilst travelling. I really think this is such a clever product and I only wish that I was still a child myself so that I could have a turn colouring a Minion to life. 

Colour Alive 4D Minion
Colour Alive books have an RRP of £6.99 and are available from all good toys shops, they also come in a range of different characters such as Barbie, Monster High and Skylanders . 

* Disclosure: We were sent this product free of charge for the purpose of this review, however all opinions are my own. 

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Monday, 20 July 2015

Why I Want My Daughter's To Be #LikeAGirl Unstoppable

As a mum to two daughters with my oldest being twelve year's old I worry a lot, as being a teenager in today's society can be hard work. You are expected to preform well at school, sometimes school can be tough as other girl's can be rather mean, your body is changing as you reach puberty and you have crazy hormones rushing around your body. You are also often expected to conform to how society think's you should be. It is fair to say my eldest daughter is turning into a huffy teen at times, but I try to give her some slack as I remember being a teenager myself all to well and how much I hated it. I felt awkward and self conscious all the time and sometimes felt like I did not fit in or did not behave how society expected me to. I don't want my own daughters to feel that way, I want them to grow up happy and confident in their own skin and for them to believe that they can be and do whatever they want in life.

So when I heard about the new #LikeAGirl Unstoppable campaign from Always  I knew that I had to find out more as I remember watching the original campaign last year. Last years campaign set out to challenge the negative perception people often have to do things "like a girl " as it is often used as  an insult, I know I have heard this phase said a lot of times with people saying things such as "don't cry like a girl " or "don't throw like a girl", often to boys. The campaign went viral last year and was viewed more then 85 million times in 150 countries and shared by more than 1.5 million people worldwide, which is phenomenal. 

This year on the 7 th July Always launched the follow up to last years successful campaign named #LikeAGirl unstoppable, which aims to help girls stay confident during puberty and beyond. Always have carried out a survey* which found that 59 % of girls lose confidence at puberty and many never fully recover. Which is a rather depressing fact for us parents, so if you are a parent to a daughter then you really should watch the video below as it is so powerful. I knew that I had to get my own daughter to watch it with me as I don't want her to ever feel like she is boxed in by society as 84% of UK girls who were surveyed felt that society putting girls into boxes had a negative impact on their lives. I want my girls to be whoever they want to be in life and full of confidence and self belief. 

As soon as I put the video on my daughter Chloe surprised me by saying " Oh I have already seen this, people were talking about it at school so I watched it on You Tube." Pretty impressive saying as the video has only been out for a couple of weeks but has already had a huge 14 million views. I asked if she understood what the video was about and she said that it is about when people say that girls cant do thing's that boys can, and that sometimes people think girls have to behave in a certain way. She is only 12 and already she understands gender stereotyping. 

I thought that it would be a fun activity if I gave Chloe a white box and and got her to write on it things that people have said that she can't do just because she is a girl. She spent a few moments thinking about it and then she wrote down be good at playing football. I asked why she said this and she said because people say only boys can play football and girls are rubbish at it. I asked if she likes playing football and she said yes it is her favourite PE lesson, she even used to be on a girls football team in primary school. I reminded her that girls can play football just look at the amazing British women's football team, her response was that she wanted to carry on enjoying football and is better then some of the boys, that's my girl. 

The second thing that she wrote on the box was being funny, I asked her why and she said because most people say girls should not be funny and that only boys can be funny and play tricks. Now I know my daughter and she loves playing pranks, telling jokes and making people laugh I reminded her of this and said that she can tell jokes and be funny as that is who she is and that is what makes her who she is. 

She then wrote cant be strong, again I asked what she meant and she said that boys are stronger then girls. I said yes sometimes as they are bigger then girls but girls can still be strong not just physically but mentally too which she readily agreed with. She then crossed everything she had wrote off on the box and asked if she could kick it over like in the video as she could do all of the things she had written down. Of course I said yes as I don't ever want her feeling boxed in or like she can not do something just because she is a girl. 

I think that the campaign is just fantastic for highlighting to girls and even women too that yes sometimes society may try and box you in or say you can't do something, but it is up to us mothers and women to teach our children that no matter what, you can do or be whatever you want and not to let others put you down as every girl deserves to be happy and confident and believe she is capable of anything she wants. 

If you have a daughter why not watch the video together, get a box and let your daughter write on it what she thinks a girl cant do and then help her squash those belief and let her know she can do those things as she is unstoppable and pretty amazing. Don't let puberty and society steal her confidence as she is unstoppable just #LikeAGirl.  

This is a collaborative post, however all views are my own and I really do think this is a pretty amazing campaign. 

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* Source The Always confidence and puberty wave 111 study. 


Sunday, 19 July 2015

The Perfect Child Friendly Cornish Holiday At The Valley.

We have not had a family holiday for the last few years as having two babies in quick succession meant going away was impossible. We have decided to stay home this summer much to my 12 year old's dismay, as taking a 2 year old and a 11 month old baby on holiday would probably end up being more stressful then enjoyable for us. But we have decided to have a holiday here in the UK next year as we want to wait until the children are older before we travel abroad with them.

 I remember having many happy childhood holidays here in the UK when I was a small child before my parents thought myself and my brother were old enough to enjoy a holiday abroad. One of my favourite UK holidays was when I visited Cornwall as a child, I must have only been about 7 or 8 years old but I remember it well. Every day was gloriously sunny a far cry from the weather back home in Newcastle, which is often cold and wet. We spent so many happy day's on the beach, getting pulled along the rock pools in a little rubber dinghy off my dad. I remember visiting Flambards and being terrified of the air raid sirens in the blitz section, and my brother getting locked in a toilet when we went out for a family meal one night.

Now that I am a mum myself I have always wanted to revisit Cornwall with my own children as I am sure that they would have just as much fun as I did all those years ago. They will love playing on the beach, feeling the warm sun on their skin, eating Cornish ice-cream and making happy memories that will last them a life time. 

So when I heard about The Valley Cornwall I instantly wanted to go as it sounds like the most perfect child friendly family holiday suitable for all of the family to enjoy. The website says 

" A Chance to breathe, a place to dream. Hidden away in thirteen acres of garden and woodland at the heart of Cornwall lies an Oasis of serenity, a unique collection of luxury self catering holiday cottages that offer the perfect escape at any time of the year." 

The Valley is located just a few miles from Truro and Falmouth so it is close to all the local attractions and beaches, yet secluded enough to be relaxing. The valley is a secure gated complex which as a parent to young children gives me instant peace of mind as I often worry about their safety when away from home. Accommodation at the Valley is a choice of five different styles of two or three bedroom self catering, five star luxurious cottages. And the thing that I love as a mum to small children is they offer complementary Highchairs, travel cots, safety gates and bed rails meaning no having to bring heavy bulky items with you or paying a high hire cost. They even have a selection of toy's, books and DVDs for children to borrow, meaning children will never get bored. 

Inside the cottage
Whilst staying at the Valley there is much to do such as play areas for children, an indoor and outdoor pool, a fitness suite and a spa pool, Tennis and squash courts with qualified instructors on hand and even the chance to have a beauty therapist visit you in your own cottage for a treatment, bliss! The on site Bar and restaurant cafe Azur will cater to any dietary requirements you may have, you can either visit for a drink or meal or chose the option of upgrading your stay to include a range of different dining options. And if mum's and dads fancy a night out on site babysitting facility's are available. 

Indoor swimming pool 
The Valley really does tick all of the boxes for a perfect family holiday it has a perfect location, Child friendly accommodation, on site activities to please all of the family from baby's to toddlers to teens to adults, an on site bar and restaurant and the chance to have a on site babysitter if you want to take advantage of a date night. It is close to all the amazing attractions that Cornwall has to offer for families such as the beautiful beaches, visiting farms and zoos, or maybe you will be brave and visit Flambards without running away from the sirens in the blitz section like I did all those years ago.

What do you think makes the perfect family friendly holiday ? 

* This is my #ParentPanel entry to win a stay at The Valley with Parent Friendly Stays 

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A Bella Bathroom Wishlist

We currently live in a rented house as we will not be in a position to buy our own home until I am back at work full time once Jacob starts school, which is a good few years away. Renting is okay but one of the downsides is that I can not make major changes that I would like to make to our home such as a new bathroom suite, as we could really do with a more family friendly bathroom now we have three children. 

However I have been looking online at ways that I can update our bathroom without having to replace the whole suite and I have decided that I am going to paint the wall's a light grey colour to make it nice and relaxing. I am also going to update all the accessories that we have which will hopefully give the room a whole new lease of life and which we will be able to take with us when the time comes to move into our forever home. 

I have been looking online on the Bella Bathrooms website for some inspiration on ways to transform the bathroom into a room suitable for the whole family. I want somewhere that is relaxing for me as I do like to enjoy a good bubble bath to unwind at the end of the day. It also has to be practical for a family with a teen a toddler and a baby. 

The Natalia LED Back-lit Bathroom Mirror From Bella Bathrooms
One product that has really caught my eye and that I know will make a great focal point of the room and give a slight luxurious edge is a LED Back-lit mirror like this Natalia one from Bella Bathrooms. It looks sleek and modern and would look great over the sink and be perfect for when my other half is shaving or when the teen wants to apply her make-up. Hopefully it will entice the toddler into standing in front of it to brush her teeth too, or maybe that is just wishful thinking. 

I also came across some other lovely handy little accessories on the Bella Bathroom website which would make are bathroom very practical and family friendly. I picked a Ultra Chrome Magnetic Towel Rail as it is great for space saving in small bathrooms like ours, and it can hold more then one towel. This will hopefully encourage the members of my family to hang towels up after use instead of just leaving wet towels all over the bathroom floor for me to pick up. I also love the look of this Croydex Compact 3 Tier Bathroom shelving unit, as my children seem to have so many toiletries between them and I hate clutter and bottles and potions around the bath as little hands grab them and empty them into the bath. So this would be great for tidying them all away and keeping them out of little ones reach.

A Bella Bathrooms Accessories Wishlist
I also need a new bathroom bin as I am sick of finding empty toilet roll holders scattered around the bathroom , I think I am the only person in the house who picks them up. So this Cryodex 5 Litre Soft Close Pedal Bin will be ideal as it can hold more rubbish then our normal bin and I love the sleek chrome design. Having a baby and a toddler means that we have to have a bath mat to prevent them for slipping over whilst in the bath and the one we have could do with getting replaced. They would love this cute duck patterned Croydex Bobbing Along Phthalate Free PVC Bath Mat. And I would finish of the look with a one of these rather stylish looking Croydex Euro Soap Dispenser Trio as we have three different hand washes in the bathroom, one that I like, a sensitive one for Chloe and a children one for my little two. This soap dispenser would look great on the wall and free up my bathroom sink from all the hand washes that are perched on it at present. 

I think all these items would update the look of are bathroom and make it less cluttered and more stylish and practical. I would also buy some new fluffy towels and add some of my Yankee candles and then it would be the perfect place to relax and enjoy a bubble bath at the end of a busy day.

What would be on your bathroom wish list ? I would love to know as I am always on the look out for interiors inspiration. 

Disclosure this is a sponsored post . 

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Saturday, 18 July 2015

The Reality Of Two Under Two

This time last year my youngest daughter Sophia was just 13 month's old and I was just over a month away from having baby number three. I remember wondering how on earth I would cope with two babies under two, mine are only 14 months apart in age (I also have a twelve year old). I worried if I would cope, how I would manage feeding a newborn whilst having a one year old running around. I worried if I would be able to spend time with my new baby, if my toddler would feel pushed out, what if they hated each other, what if both of them cried at the same time. The list went on and on with all the things that I was worrying about. 

I would tell people I was worried about how I would cope and they would either say it will be fine or they would say that I was crazy or would have my hand's full. No-one actually said to me what it would really be like. Although I am sure my own mum would have done if she had of still been alive ,as their is only one and half years between myself and my brother. 

So what was two under two really like ? For me it was really hard as Sophia was so young she did not understand what was happening when we brought Jacob home and she just totally blanked him for the first few months, although she would sometimes steal his dummy or bottle or poke him in the eye. Jacob suffered with really bad colic and he would scream from the moment he woke up until the moment he went to bed at night. He would just scream all day for four whole long months , and i had no-one at all to help me. That was tough and I admit I cried most days and did not enjoy those first few months at all, they have all just passed in a blur of sleepless nights and days stuck at home with a screaming baby and rampaging toddler. I am just glad we had a routine in place from day one as that is all that kept things from descending into utter chaos. 

In the early day's I rarely even had time to get dressed and brush my hair, sometimes it would be days before I could have the chance to have a bath or a shower. The house was always a mess, in fact it still is ten months later, I have not had an empty laundry basket since he was born either. And as for time with the other half , Ha forget that we have only been out once on our own for lunch since Jacob was born and that was for my birthday back in November. I also still feel so tired almost eleven months later too as unlike his sister Jacob still does not sleep all night, he wakes for bottles and often thinks 4.30am is time to get up.

I have found that having two under two is so much harder than having a bigger age gap, as getting ready to leave the house on your own with two little ones is like a military operation. I have to get them dressed, get myself dressed then one or both little ones need their nappy changed. I have to get the buggy out and set it up outside as a double buggy wont fit out the front door. It is a nightmare and double buggy's are so heavy and hard to push when out and about too. Everyone told me to go to playgroups, well that was a disaster as Sophia would need watched as she was wanting to climb on tables and eat paint while the baby was screaming for a feed, it was impossible going on my own as they both needed me and had different needs so I just stopped going. Same with Soft play or the park I can't go unless I am with someone as Sophia will run off and need someone watching her and Jacob needs someone with him too. 

Getting two babies to sleep at the same time is a challenge as well but so worth it as it is the only hours piece you will have all day and the only time you can have a cuppa / get dressed/ check social media do housework. Sophia stopped napping at 18 months and that was a sad day. Having two under two means you can never have a hot drink during the day as their is always a little person around wanting attention, also you rarely get time to eat as you never have more then two seconds peace, I really should be a size six or something but I ended up living on crisps, biscuits, toast and take aways for months. 

Somedays I feel like all I do is change nappy's one after the other, seriously I must change about 15-20 nappies per day. I can never sit down as I always have to change a nappy, get a drink or bottle, stop them from fighting or tidy up mess. And i always look a mess as I am forever covered in sticky hand prints, spilt milk or juice or baby slaver, nice! As they have got older they fight, a lot. They fight over toys and attention constantly and they have started fighting each other Sophia will push or hit him and Jacob will grab her hair or bite her. 

But despite all this if someone asked me would I change any of it the answer would be no. I do love the gap between them as they will grow up together and hopefully have a playmate for life in each other. They are only one year apart at school so the school and nursery days will be done in one go. They will have similar interested and be at similar stages in life which will hopefully make days out and holidays easier, as I have found the large age gap between my girls difficult for activities. I also had all the baby stuff we needed and hardly had to buy any big items for Jacob, the same with toys every toy he could need we already have which has saved us a fortune. And hopefully they will grow up to be life long friends and have the same close bond that myself and my brother have.

Yes two under two can be hard but for every hard day you have where you don't get two seconds peace and you are exhausted there will be a day that melts your heart, when you see your children smile at each other for the first time or you see them give each other a kiss goodnight or you see them looking for each other first thing in the morning. It is the little things like those that make all the hard work worth it and you realise that two under two is not so bad after all. 

If you had your children close in age I would love to know how you found it or any tips you have, as even now almost one year on I sometimes still struggle. 

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Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Blogger Scavenger Hunt With Into The Blue

I am taken part in a fun blogger scavenger hunt with Into The Blue today, three teams are taken part in the hunt and I am a part of the parenting team along with Lucinda from www.bakesbooksandmyboys.com Jade from  www.raisingtherings.com and Jenny from www.monkeyandmouse.co.uk.  We have all been given a clue to a experience on the Into The Blue website and we have to find out what we think our experience is and then head over to are fellow team mates blogs to find out  the winning word, which is made up from the first letter from each of our words. If you are reading this then do feel free to play along and help us out.

The clue that I was given is the picture below and I had to unscramble the words and see what I thought the clue was.

My Clue

This is the clue I was given and I think it spells out Family Portrait  which are available from just £20 on the website and I know I would love for myself as we have no nice family portraits yet.

Family Portrait

Do you think I have uncovered the right experience from the clue I was given? Now why not head on over to my team mates blogs to see what clues they were all given and see if we can work out the winning word using the first letter from each of our clue's. Or you can follow all the other team's on twitter using the hashtag #ITBScavengerHunt and see which team wins, keep your fingers crossed for the parenting team as we think the word is Fizz.



Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Thinking Of My Future Finances

Earlier this year my dad who is in his mid 50's took early retirement from his job, as he was sick of working long hours and wanted to enjoy life more. He was lucky that he was financial secure enough to do this as his mortgage is paid off, and he had built up a good pension during his thirty years service with his old employer. He is loving being retired and is able to spend time doing whatever he likes and is much more relaxed and happier in himself. 

My dad's retirement got me thinking that at the moment their is noway that I would be able to take early retirement myself in my 50's. I am 31 now and I am a stay at home mum with no regular wage coming in any more. Also being at home with my children means I do not currently pay national insurance contributions, so I am unsure if I will even be able to claim a state pension when the time comes to retire.You need at least 30 years worth of national insurance contributions to claim a state pension, I only have about five years worth so far. 

My partner has a workplace pension which he pays into straight from his wages each week and his employer also pays into meaning he will hopefully be financial stable in retirement. But what about me what are my choices ? I could either go back to work and hope I earn enough national insurance contributions to claim a small state pension. Or I could go back to work and get a work place pension, but I am not planning either of these things until my son starts school in four years time when I shall return to work full time. 

So where does this leave me ? Well I have been doing some research and I have found that their is three types of pension's available, as well as a work place pension and a state pension their is also the option of a private pension. A private pension is where I could save a small amount of money each month, which I could build up over the years for my retirement. I think this would be the perfect solution for someone like myself who does not have a regular wage yet still wants to be financially stable in later life. 

I have recently came across Nutmeg who are a investment management company who offer pensions that are tailored to suit you. The Nutmeg pension is easy to set up and even allows you to transfer any other pensions that you may already have from previous employers or savings. Your account is online and you can access it whenever you like 24/7 which is handy in today's digital world, as it also means no scary meetings with bank managers or trying to get through to call centres whenever you want to check your plan. 

You can start a Nutmeg pension from £5,000 and pay into it whenever you like. If you are a basic rate UK taxpayer then the government will add 25 % of whatever you pay into your pension yourself, up to £40,000 or the value of your annual salary whichever is lowest. Nutmeg also have low annual management fee's with no extra hidden costs making sorting out a pension straight forward for people like me who don't know a great deal about pensions. But remember if like me you are not clued up on pensions then you can get advice from a independent financial adverser who can help explain everything to you. 

Have you thought about your retirement plans and have a pension in place ? Or are you like me and now you are getting older starting to worry you have no pension plans in place ? 

 * This is a collaborative post.


Monday, 13 July 2015

Little Learners From Parragon Books

Anyone who knows me in real life or reads this blog will know that I just love books and adore nothing more then getting lost in a good story. My love of reading is one thing that I hope to pass down to my own children, as it is something that my own mother passed down to me as a child. My tween is not so interested in books these days but my toddler and baby seem to be following in my bookworm footsteps, they love nothing more then having a story read to them or exploring colourful sensory books on their own.

So when I attended Britmums live a few week's ago and found out that Parragon book's were attending I made sure that I paid them a visit as I could not wait to find out about their Little Learners book range. The Little Learner range of book's are designed for babies and toddlers to enjoy time and time again, they have cute appealing pictures and stimulating textures to capture little ones imagination and introduce them to the wonderful world of book's.

We were kindly given two copies of the Parragon Little Learners book Bingo was his name which is a fun hardback finger puppet book. I am sure that most parents are well aware of the fun Bingo nursery rhyme as I know I was and ended up singing the song along to my little ones whilst I read the book to them, which they totally loved. They both absolutely love the dog finger puppet and laugh at it and try and grab it. It is not often that I can sit and read a book to a 10 month old and two year old that they both enjoy, but this book really does amaze them both as they can get involved with the puppet and my toddler try's to sing the nursery rhyme.

As a parent I adore this book just as much as my children do as it just the right size for little hands to hold, the pictures are lovely, and the puppet brings fun to reading. Also due to the book being hardback it is fine if you have a baby like my son who likes to chew books as he has been chewing and dribbling on the book and has not damaged it at all. I am planning on buying my own children some more of these book's as they are so good and they are priced at just £3.99 which is amazing value.

These book's would also make such a lovely present for a baby or toddler for a birthday or Christmas present or special occasion. That is why Parragon have been encouraging 'the gift of reading' which is basically given a new baby a special nursery book such as the wonderful Little Learners range as a gift either at a baby shower, at birth, a christening or first birthday or Christmas etc. I think that this is a fabulous idea as the gift of reading is an amazing gift to give as it will last a lifetime, and a book gift can be kept and treasured and enjoyed for many years to come.

I was given two book's as I was meant to give a one away to a new baby and I had planned on given one to my baby boy and one to my newborn baby niece, but my toddler got a hold of the book and has claimed it as her own. Sorry baby Holly I will make sure I get you a Little Learners book for Christmas instead as I am sure you will love these book's as much as your cousins do.

Thank you Parragon for introducing us to these books and I can not recommend them enough to anyone who has a baby or toddler. The Little Learners range is available to buy from all good book shops and from Amazon.

* Disclosure: I received these books for the purpose of this review, however all opinions are my own. 

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I Am The Mum Who

A few week's ago I was tagged by the lovely Rachel from  www.themeltonhouse.com in the I am the mum who tag. As Jacob has not been sleeping for week's blogging has taken a bit of a back seat but I am finally getting a chance to sit down and catch up on blogging again, so here is my I am the mum who post.

I am the mum who is called mam not mum.

I am the mam who can not remember life before being a mam as I had my eldest when I was only 18 years old.

I am the mam who had a child in her teens, twenties and thirties. I had Chloe when I was 18, Sophia at 29 and Jacob at 30.

I am the mam who spent each of her pregnancies terrified that something would go wrong and never fully relaxed and enjoyed pregnancy.

I am the mam who has had two inductions and one normal birth and actually preferred the induced births, as I felt safer in hospital being monitored.

I am the mam who was so ill with gallstones when pregnant with Sophia I spent a week in hospital and lost two stone in weight in my last two months of being pregnant. I then had surgery when my baby was a few months old to remove my gallbladder.

I am the mam who was a single parent for many years and never thought she would ever have more then one child.

I am the mam who has a ten year age gap between my oldest and middle child and only 14 months between my middle and youngest child.

I am the mam who misses her own mam more then anything in the world. I wish she had of met all my children and been here to help me when parenting gets hard.

I am the mam who wishes she could do better and be as good a mam as her own mam was.

I am the mam who wishes she was good at baking or crafts but cant stand the mess so I give my children Mr Kipling cakes and a colouring book instead.

I am the mam who never seem's to have a tidy house any more and it drives me mad.

I am the mam who's children are always better dressed then her and have wardrobes bursting with clothes while I live in jeans or leggings.

I am the mam who wishes she could return to work but childcare for two little ones is to expensive.

I am the mam who would love to be pregnant and enjoy newborn snuggles again but knows that it is never going to happen as our family is complete.

I am the mam who gets more excited about Christmas and my children's birthdays then they do.

I am the mam who loves being a mam more then anything in the world.

Thank's for the tag Rachel I now tag Lauren , Kat and Nikki if they would like to join in. 

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