Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Pampers Wonder Week Of Deals

Having a baby is truly amazing and even though babies are tiny they can be so expensive! You think once you have decorated the nursery, brought your pram and filled the wardrobes full of cute little outfits that the expensive part is over, wrong! Baby's grow out of clothes so quickly I am forever buying my son new clothes and then I also have to buy nappies, baby milk and toiletries for him every week and it all soon adds up. 

So when I heard of Pampers Wonder Week of deals I thought what a fantastic idea as it is sure to save us parents some money on baby essentials like nappies in the run up to Christmas. As lets face it we will need to save all the pennies we can so we can ensure father Christmas spoils are little ones on Christmas morning. 

Pampers Wonder Week of deals starts tomorrow Thursday 1st October and will run for one week until the 7th October 2015. During the week Pampers will be working alongside selected UK online retailers to bring us some amazing savings on Pampers nappies, wipes and fairy non bio. All essential items we need when we have little ones. The whole process has been designed to be super user friendly for us parents, who lets face it are often short of time. You just visit the Pampers Wonder Week website select a retailer, pick your product place your order then sit back relax and wait for your nappies to arrive. Super quick, super simple and the best bit is you are saving money and don't need to go to the shops when you are running low on nappies. 

The retailers and the offers available will be at the discretion of the retailer but should be.

Asda          * Pampers baby dry giga packs 3 for £39 
                  * New Pampers baby dry pants jumbo packs 2 for £18.

Morrisons  * Buy 10 baby dry essential packs and save £25. 
                  * Buy 8 Active fit large packs and save £30.
                  * Buy 2 essential packs of new baby dry pants for £12. 

Tesco         * Spend £50 on Pampers nappies and wipes and save £10 off your order. 
                  * New Pampers baby dry pants essential packs £6.

Waitrose    * Buy 5 carry packs of active fit or baby dry for £15 saving you £10. 
                  * 1/2 price Fairy non bio.

Ocado       * Buy 6 essential packs Active fit or baby dry and get 3 free. 
                 * Pampers new baby jumbo packs 2 for £14.50. 

Boots        * Buy 5 essential packs of baby dry or active fit for £30.
                 * Pampers new baby jumbo packs 2 for £14.50

Amazon   * Up to 50 % off your first pack when you subscribe and save. 

It may seem like you are paying a lot for the products but you are buying in bulk which will end up saving you money in the long run. We often buy things like nappies and wipes in bulk as we find it works out cheaper. This is a sentiment shared by internationally recognised financial expert Jasmine Birtles an expert in money matters and saving who has teamed up with Pampers to celebrate The Wonder Week Of Deals. 

Jasmine Birtles

Jasmine has shared her top five tips on helping parents like us save money, her tips are 

1.) Buying in bulk might seem like a big investment up front, but making a larger one of payment can reap big rewards over time.

2.) The best bulk buys can often be found online and can make shopping a lot easier. Spend time finding the best online deals and then relax whilst the bulk order gets delivered direct to your door.

3.) You can get big discounts bulk buying nappies and wipes. Several supermarkets have offers on right now as part of the Wonder Week Of Deals. 

4.) When it's gone its gone with most special offers in supermarkets, so keep an eye out for these deals - purchase things like extra bedding or gifts for friends little ones or anything else and store them for later. 

5.) Try and avoid buying products in bulk that you have not used before, stick to tried and tested products for your family like pampers and fairy. 

So there we have it some fantastic deals for us parents to snap up and some useful advice from Jasmine on how we can save a few extra pennies. I will defiantly be stocking up on some of the new baby dry pants as we have been using them with are two year old Sophia and they are fab for her as she is starting to potty train as they are so easy to put on and very absorbent. I will also be stocking up on lots of baby dry nappies for Jacob and I am sure we will save lots of pennies for Santa coming. 

So if you have little ones in nappies don't forget to check out the Pampers Wonder Week Of Deals website and remember to tell everyone you know with little ones about it too so they can check out the fantastic offers for themselves. 

This is a collaborative post. 

Tips For Coping With Two Children Under Two

My youngest two children are only 14 month's apart age wise, I know I'm crazy. Having children so close in age meant that I had two children under two years of age for ten whole months. This meant two lot's of nappies to change daily, two lots of little ones to entertain and look after everyday and many sleepless night's. Having children so close in age can be amazing, but it can also be so incredibly hard. I thought that it would break me on many an occasion, sometimes I went day's without showering or getting dressed, the house was a mess, I cried most day's due to exhaustion and rarely drank a hot drink.

But it is not all bad as your children will have an amazing bond and grow up together, you also deal with all the sleepless nights and nappy changing all in one go. It also gets easier, it really does, you learn to cope and find way's that work for you. My children are now 13 months and 2 years 3 months old and I miss those crazy early days of having two under two. So here is a few tips I learnt on how to cope with two children under two. 

1.) Be Prepared. I found by being a little bit organised and always having things to hand made everything so much easier.I kept a supply of nappies and wipes and spare clothes for both children downstairs where I could easily get them, I also had some upstairs for during the night. I also always had the changing bag packed with nappies, wipes, spare clothes etc so that I was ready to go out.

2.) Have a routine. This is something that has been a massive saviour to us and I don't know how I would have coped without it. When we had Jacob we made sure that he just slotted into Sophia's routine which she has had since birth, this made her feel more secure with having a new baby brother and it also helped settle Jacob into a routine. It is not a rigid routine it is just they had the same nap time each day and meals at around the same time and then the same bedtime routine each night of evening meal, TV, bath, pj's, bottle and bed. 

3.) Order your shopping online. I found going grocery shopping impossible with two little ones as one of them would always cry and getting them both into trolleys and car seats was a nightmare. I now just sit and order it all online once a week and it is so much less stressful and takes half the time a regular shopping trip would. I also ordered most of the children's Christmas presents online last year too as I did not want to face the busy shops with two little ones. 

4.) Don't feel like you have to go out. When I had Sophia I use to go to so many baby groups and we were out every single day. When Jacob arrived everyone said to me "keep going out you need to get out the house when you have two little ones " or " getting out the house will give you a break" I felt like I had to go out so I tried going to playgroups, but I just found it so stressful as the baby was crying for a bottle and the toddler was running wild and it was just too much work. So I stopped going to the baby groups as I found it far less stressful staying at home. I found just going for a walk to the local shops and then waiting for my partner to be off work to go to soft plays much easier. So don't feel like you have to go out when you don't want to.

5.) Don't try and be superwoman. We all have visions before we have children of how we will be the perfect parent, but hands up who actually lives up to those expectations ? I know that I don't. When I just had the one baby it was fine I could go to baby groups, keep the house clean, keep myself looking presentable and the baby looking immaculate. Throw another baby into the mix and trying to keep up with everything is just impossible. So don't even try baby's are tiring, don't try and be superwoman thinking you can do everything no one will mind if the baby is in a sleepsuit, your hairs a mess and you have a giant laundry pile.

6.) Drop your standards. Following on from the previous point I think it is a good idea to drop your standards. I would get so wound up that the bathroom needed cleaning or the washing needed doing and that there was clutter everywhere. After the children went to bed I would be cleaning and not really getting anywhere as I was so tired, in the end I just decided to drop my standards. I now rarely iron and only iron things that need ironed so no more wasted hours ironing pillow cases. I have also realised the clutter is here to stay for the next few years so I may as well get use to it and as long as the laundry is done, dishes washed, bed's made and the house is a bit tidy then that's OK, no one else will mind so why should I.

7.) Ignore Criticism. I have heard so much criticism over the years I think it is part of being a parent everyone has an opinion on your parenting skills. I have lost count of the times I have had people comment on having two children so close in age. I have just learnt to ignore it now as what is the point of worrying about what others think, as long as my children are well looked after, clean and happy then that is all that matters. 

8.) Sometimes it is ok to have a pj day. If the baby has been up all night and you are tired then sometimes it is ok to have a lazy pj day. When I was tired I would often stay in my pjs with the children in their pj's and we would have a lazy day on the sofa watching Disney films and reading books, the toddler loved it, the baby enjoyed a day at home with cuddles and I loved it too I just left the housework and spent the day with my little people and It was bliss. 

9.) Make time for you. I always seem to put myself bottom of the list when it comes to anything as I look after my children, my partner, the house but never have time just for me and I end up getting grumpy and feeling low. Sometimes being a mum is tiring both mentally and physically and you just need that little break from motherhood whether that be a trip to meet friends for coffee or a soak in a nice hot bubble bath. Make sure you make time for you as a happy mummy makes happy children.

10.) Accept help. Us mums always think we should do everything for are children but having two children so close in age can be so hard at times so any offer of help you are offered accept it. We don't really have anyone to help us with the children and have never been on a night out since Sophia was born over two years ago. Sometimes family will offer to take one of them out for an hour or two and it is lovely when they do as it means I get a little bit of a break. If anyone offers you help accept it as it will make things so much easier for you. 

11.) Always make sure you have coffee and chocolate biscuits. I honestly think the only way I got through those first few months of having two under two was having lot's of coffee in the house and a stash of chocolate biscuits. Caffeine and sugar kept me going and gave me a little pick up when I was feeling exhausted, I would not have got through those sleepless nights without them.

12.) Enjoy it. Yes having two under two's is so incredibly hard but enjoy it, it goes by so quickly and I wish that I could I go back and enjoy it all over again. I wish I had of taken more photos and just enjoyed it more as I feel like I have missed out on it as I was always so busy and tired. Cherish watching your children's bond grow and enjoy those newborn cuddles as they will grow up and before you know it these precious days will be gone and be nothing but a distant memory. My eldest is almost 13 and I would give anything to have her a baby again. 

If you have children close in age what did you find helped you stay sane during those early month's? 

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You Baby Me Mummy

Christmas Stocking Fillers From The Works

This year seems to have flown by so fast and now that the children have been back at school a few weeks and the weather is getting colder and the nights darker it can mean only one thing, Christmas is coming! I love Christmas and being a mum of three I start planning what I am going to buy months in advance, in fact we have already started shopping for gifts for the children.

Each Christmas they get one big present and then smaller ones and I also like them to have lots of stocking fillers too. I normally really struggle with buying stocking fillers as I am so disorganised I normally leave them until the last minute and then never know what to get so just end up getting lot's of sweets.

This year I plan on being more prepared though and have already started planning what I am going to get my two toddlers, my teen and my partner in their stockings this year after rediscovering The Works. Where I use to shop all the time for books when there was a store local to me and which stocks a great selection of stocking filler gift ideas at fantastic prices. 

For my two toddlers I have found a great selection of items such as 1.) The Night Before Christmas book £2.00. 2.) My first little library book set £7.00 3.) Fisher Price Doodle Bear £14.99 4.) Sofia the first backpack £4.99 5.) Disney Junior Treasury £7.00. I know that my one year and two year old would love these items as they are huge Disney Junior fans. 

For my teen daughter who is normally really hard to buy for I surprisingly found so many great gift ideas like 1.) The Hunger Games trilogy book set £7.99. 2.) Green Jelly Baby light £9.99 3.) Snow scooter £19.99 3.) Nail Pen Salon £7.00 4.) Friendship bracelet set £7.00. With the latest Hunger games film at the cinema later this year I think these books will be a hit. I love the look of the Jelly baby lamp and snow scooter and I am sure she will have fun with the nail pens and friendship bracelet set. 

For my Partner and other adults in the family I found so much choice with a fantastic selection of books and novelty items. I opted for 1.) Hairy Bikers cookbook £12.00 2.) Sudoku book £4.00 3.) Cocktail box set £7.00 4.) Wooden bowling alley £5.99 5.) Puzzle ball £4.99. My dad loves cookery shows such as the Hairy Bikers so he would love this and I think most adults like little novelty gifts at Christmas so these items would make great stocking fillers. 

So if like me you are starting to plan your Christmas shopping already then why not check out The Works as I am sure you will find a gift for everyone at a fantastic price. I already have my eye on a few books for myself. 

This is a collaborative post.

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Monday, 28 September 2015

The Marriott Hotel Beamish Package

Living in the North East we are lucky to have so many great attractions but my absolutely all time favourite has to be Beamish. I have been visiting since I was a child and never get bored, If you are unsure of what Beamish is then it is an open air working museum based in Durham telling the story of what life was really like in the North East in the 1820's, 1900's and 1940's. So when Marriott hotel got in contact to tell us about their new Beamish package and invited us along to try it out how could I say no ?
The Beamish package is available at four Marriott hotels in the North East until 30/11/2015 and it includes one night in a Marriott hotel with breakfast and day tickets to Beamish museum. It is the perfect package for someone visiting the region looking for a great day out. 

This weekend we visited one of the four hotels, Gateshead Metrocenter. I have driven past this hotel so many times as we frequently visit the metrocenter but I have never actually been inside and I have to say I was impressed. Check in is available from 3pm and we arrived just after, even though the reception area was busy we were seen quickly by the really friendly reception staff who explained all the hotels facilities to us such as the leisure club and where breakfast was served and we were given are tickets for Beamish for the next day. 

Our room was on the 5th floor and I was a bit nervous about staying in a hotel with all three children as I was worried it would be cramped. I need not have worried as the room was huge, their was two double beds , a table and chairs , dressing table, TV unit and a small hallway with tea and coffee making facilities and a large wardrobe as well as a modern spacious bathroom. The room was very clean, nicely decorated  and very welcoming, there was so much space for the children to play even with two buggy's and are luggage in the room too.

Marriott bedroom Gateshead
Hotel Bathroom

Selection of toiletries 
When we arrived in the room we noticed there was no cot for Jacob which we had requested, so we called reception and within minutes two staff arrived to set up a travel cot and they also brought bedding and a Tommee Tippee nappy bin for the bathroom. This was a nice touch as I was a bit worried about where I would put dirty nappies in a hotel room. They also gave all three children activity pack's with colouring books and crayons in which kept them occupied for half an hour.

The hotel offered room service and had a restaurant but we decided to head out for a meal as the hotel is only a five minute walk from the metro centre shopping complex, which has lots of dining options. We spent a nice few hours looking around the shops and having a Chinese meal, having some rare quality family time before retreating back to the hotel to put the younger two children to bed. 

Whilst the little two were asleep Lee and Chloe decided to visit the leisure club to try out the indoor pool. The leisure club has an indoor pool, gym, steam room and whirlpool and children are aloud in until 9pm if accompanied by an adult. Chloe loved the pool and I wish that I had of had time to take the younger two as I know they would have enjoyed it too. 

We then retreated to bed and even though we were near the A1 motorway and the busy metro centre the hotel room was total silence. The beds were also amazingly comfortable, I have stayed in many hotels and these beds were probably the most comfortable I have stayed in so soft and cosy with big fluffy pillows and duvets. 

The children woke at the usual time of 6am the next morning and after quick showers we all got dressed and headed downstairs for breakfast, which is served from 6.30-11am. We arrived for breakfast at around 7am and we were quickly showing to a table by the friendly staff, who promptly got us two high-chairs and asked if we would like hot drinks which arrived in record time. 

Breakfast was a buffet selection with a range of different options such as a hot counter serving the usual sausages, bacon, beans, mushrooms, hash browns and tomatoes with a chef behind the counter cooking eggs how you liked and constantly replenishing the food. There was a chilled counter stacked with a selection of cheese and hams, fruit and yogurts. And a counter filled with a good selection of cereals, breads, croissants, pastry's and fresh fruit juices. 

We all opted for a cooked breakfast and the sausage were delicious very juicy and cooked to perfection. I also had a croissant which was warm and delicious and Lee and Chloe had waffles with nuttela. Sophia and Jacob had a croissant and a sausage each and we had clean plates all around. 

We headed back to the room to pack up and make are way to Beamish, which is around half an hours drive from the hotel, straight down the A1. We arrived at Beamish and as we already had tickets we were able to skip the queues and head straight into the museum. From the moment you step through the doors to Beamish you really feel like you are transported back into the 1900's as the whole museum is set out like a town in the vast open green countryside. All of the staff dress up in period costumes and all the vehicle are traditional 1900's vehicle with old fashioned buses and trams you can hop on and off to each section. 

There is the colliery where you can actually go down the mine on a tour. The 1900's pit village which is just like a real life pit village would have been with a row of cottages set up exactly how homes would have been back then with coal fires burning and chickens in the garden. The pit village is also home to a church and a school and they often have 'teachers' in the classroom to give the whole experience a realistic feel to it. Davy's traditional fish and chip shop is also located the village, the fish and chips are cooked in beef dripping on coal fires and served in newspaper, they are yummy. 

Fish & Chips at Beamish
We then made are way to the 1940's farm to see the animals which Sophia loved and she adored the horses, before making are way to explore the railway station and 1900's town. I love the town as it is home to everything you would expect in a town such as a lawyers, dentist, bank, cooperative store, garage, stables, and real life bakers and sweet shop in which you can watch bread or sweets being made and actually buy some to take home. We brought some Kendal mint cake, black bullets and fudge to take home and enjoy. 

Sweet shop
Cooperative store 
Beamish town
1900' s town house
We then headed for a ride on the coal steam train which all three children enjoyed before heading home utterly exhausted after a wonderful day. We were at Beamish from 10-4 and there is so much to see and do we did not get to see everything but we had a great day. I was a little bit nervous about going with two pushchairs but I need not have worried as we managed to get around fine and there was also baby changing facilities in every section of the museum. I also noticed lots of people in wheelchairs and there was a wheelchair accessible bus available for them to use which I thought was a brilliant idea. 

We had a fantastic time the whole package is a great idea and would make a brilliant break for a family or couple. You could spend the day exploring the Metrocenter and the hotels fantastic facilities before enjoying a comfortable nights sleep. A delicious breakfast would set you up for a day of travelling back in time to the 1900's. The package costs from £139 per room for bed, breakfast and day tickets to Beamish for two people which I think is great value.

Keep an eye out this week for a full hotel and Beamish review as I have so many photos and so much to say about the whole experience. 
Disclosure we were kindly invited to enjoy the package free of charge for the purpose of this review, however all opinions are my own. 

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Sunday, 27 September 2015

A Shared Children's Bedroom

Regular readers will know that I keep mentioning that we are hoping to move home soon, as we need a bigger house now that we have three children. Knowing that we will be moving home soon I have been busy thinking about what kind of decor I want throughout the house. One room that I am really looking forward on working on is a shared bedroom for my little two children, as they are so close in age we have decided that they will share a room. 

We have been thinking about what kind of a theme we want for their bedroom, as we have a boy and a girl. We have decided to go for something bright and colourful and gender neutral that will suit them both. I have gone a bit Pinterest crazy with ideas, but I think plain white walls will work best with pale laminated flooring, as we all know children can be messy and ruin carpets. I will then add splashes of colour to the room with accessories. 

One thing that we know that we defiantly want is bunk beds for the bedroom as they will take up less room and leave a lot more floor space for the little ones to sit and play with their toys. I love these white bunk beds from Bedstar as they will be perfect for either a boy or a girl. I think that white furniture gives the room the illusion of looking bigger and will also fit well with any colour scheme. 

I like things to match so I will have to get some nice white wooden wardrobes and draws to add to the bedroom to store all of the clothing in. I love the idea of having a story corner too,  I am planning on a getting a white wooden bookshelf that I can fill with timeless children story books and lots of fluffy cushions and beanbags that they can sit on to read. 

I hate clutter so I want some big wooden toy chests and storage units to store all of the toys in out of site. I also love the idea of having a dressing up rail filled with dressing up costumes for the children to enjoy. 

To finish the room off I think I would get some shelves put up to store all the precious baby mementos both children have. I would have to have a blackout blind fitted to keep the sunlight out as it is the only way I can get my son to sleep. I would have bright colourful curtains and matching colourful duvets on the bed. A bright lampshade and wall prints would finish off the look and give the room a much needed splash of colour. 

I think by decorating the bedroom this way it will suit both of my children as they grow and it will be suitable for both of them to enjoy. What do you think what kind of a bedroom would you create for a brother and sister to share ? 

My Sunday Photo 27/09/15

Last week my eldest took part in Gung-Ho the fun 5k inflatable obstacle course when it came to Newcastle racecourse. I love this action shot of her jumping down from the climbing wall. 


Thursday, 24 September 2015

Slimming World Week 21

Last week I was feeling a bit down that I had gained weight, as I really wanted to lose weight each week so that I would get my two stone award by the end of the month. I was feeling a bit demotivated this week but I did stick to plan and did not turn to comfort food like I would have done in the past. I think after following the plan for so long now I have broken the comfort eating cycle, hooray.

Anyway on to this week I meal planned once again and I tried some new meals this week and I also had a SP day which basically means that you just eat speed foods ( fruit and veg) and protein rich foods, so no rice or potatoes. I though I would find it hard but it was really easy and I found that I was still really full off my meals. I had fruit for breakfast followed by a big fry up for lunch and swede topped Shepard's pie with vegetables for tea. 

my meals this week
This week I have ate steak and new potatoes, nandos chicken with SW chips and salad, Chinese style chicken curry with fried rice and SW chips, swede topped Shepard's pie, fajita chicken with wedges, chicken salad and pasta bake. All delicious meals that do not sound at all like diet food, but they are all healthy and cooked the SW world way and the whole family enjoys them.

I was hoping for a loss this week and I did in fact lose 2lb so now I am only 3lb away from that two stone award. I was unable to stay to group this week as the other half  has hurt his hand so I needed to get home to get the little ones ready for bed. I was pleased with my loss and was feeling hopeful that I would get that much sought after two stone award next week.

 We went out for a pub lunch yesterday and I was really good and ordered grilled chicken breast with salad and a baked potato. Normally when we go out for a meal I see it as an excuse to cheat and eat whatever I like, then I end up feeling bad and eating more rubbish and giving up on my diet. Now I think I have finally realised I can still eat out and enjoy myself and just order something healthier that I will still enjoy.

Even though I have started off this week on a good start I am expecting a gain this week simply because it will be star week and we are also off to review a hotel this week and I just know that I will probably want to enjoy a cooked breakfast and something nice for tea. We are also visiting Beamish and I think I will be tempted by the fish and chips and old fashioned sweets, but as long as I don't go crazy hopefully the damage wont be too bad and I will have a good loss the week after.

How do you manage to stay on plan when staying in hotels or on days out ? I would love to know. 

To find out more about Slimming World or to find your nearest class visit the website

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Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Potty Training With Thomas And Friends Review & Giveaway

My toddler Sophia was two at the end of May and I had it in my mind she would be potty trained by her second birthday, just like her older sister was. She is not her sister though she is a completely different child with a different personality, so I waited until I knew that Sophia was ready. We knew that it would not be long before she was ready for potty training as she was starting to tell us if she was wet or dirty and wanted her nappy changed. We went out and brought her a potty which has been in the lounge for a few months so she got use to it and we also brought her some pull-ups and big girl knickers, which she liked to wear over her nappy and tights like superman. 

Two week's ago we knew the time was right to just go for it and give potty training a go. We had two accidents straight away and then she would start to wee, stop say "oh no" and run and sit on her potty and have a wee. This went on for a day or two and then she just started toddling off and using her potty herself whenever she needs a wee. 

Everything seemed so easy and straightforward and we thought we had cracked the whole potty training thing straight away. Wrong ! When she is at home with no pants on she is great at going on the potty but as soon as we put pants or clothing on her she must think she has a nappy on and wets herself. She has not quiet mastered taking pants up and down yet. 

But help is on hand as we were recently sent a Thomas and friends 'My Thomas potty training book' and a Thomas and Friends 'Well done Thomas activity book'. These books are perfect for Sophia as she is Thomas mad at the moment, as she is a bit obsessed with trains lately and is constantly saying choo choo. Her little face lit up as soon as she seen these books and they are strictly hers and her little brother is not aloud to touch them. 

My potty training book is a hardback book with card pages, which is perfect for toddlers to look at and enjoy themselves without fear of them destroying it. The book is all about potty training and is great for you to either read with your child or to let them look at on there own with pictures of everything associated with potty training on every page. It explains it is time to say goodbye to nappies and hello to potty and it is time to wear big pants which I am hoping will help Sophia realise they are not like a nappy. 

The book also encourages little ones to wash their hands after using the potty and that sometimes they might have accidents but it is OK as potty training is not always easy and you just need to try your best. The end of the book has a little envelope which is filled with reward stickers to help celebrate your little one using the potty. 

We were also sent the 'Well done Thomas activity book' which is a great book to complement the 'My Thomas potty book'. The activity book is full of stickers, certificates and reward charts and is a great way to reward your little one for using the potty. This book has lots of activities and colouring for little ones to enjoy as well as 10 reward charts and 8 certificates and two sheets of stickers. 

We are going to start using the reward chart and stickers for whenever Sophia manages to take her pants off and go on the potty, as like most toddlers she loves stickers so this should be a good incentive for her. 

Potty training really does not have to be stressful just be patience and wait until your child is ready and be prepared with a potty and pants. If your child is a train fan like mine then I really would recommend getting these books too as they are perfect for children getting ready to or starting out on their potty training journey. Having a familiar character in a book telling them about potty training is bound to be reassuring for them too. 

You can buy your own copy of 'My Thomas Potty book' from Egmont priced at £7.99 and the
 'Well done Thomas activity book' also by Egmont is priced at £5.99 and are available on Amazon. If you like the look of these books and are about to start potty training or have just started potty training your little one then I have a copy of these two books to give away to one of my lucky readers just fill in the rafflecopter form below for your chance to win. Good luck. 

Open to UK residents aged 18 + only. One winner will win a copy of each book, winner will be selected at random via rafflecopter from all correct entries received by the closing date. Prize will be sent direct from Egmont. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

why not enter more giveaways at The Prizefinder

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Monday, 21 September 2015

Gung-Ho Came To Newcastle

On Saturday September 19th Gung-Ho the fun 5k giant inflatable obstacle course came to Newcastle. If you are unsure of what Gung-Ho is where have you been hiding ? as it has been all over social media and the press for weeks. When we were invited to take part by the super lovely Alex Winters (yes the Cbeebies presenter ) I knew that we had to go as my daughter and partner were eager to take part and myself and the little two children tagged along to watch. 

Gung-Ho is like nothing you have ever seen before it is a 5k run but it is not any old run, oh no this is a 5k run that is an obstacle course and the obstacles are giant inflatables that are seriously fun. I am not just talking bouncy castles either they are really impressive huge inflatable obstacles that are fun for adults and older children. When I first seen them I really wished that I was taken part myself as they looked amazing. Their was a climbing wall, giant ball pool, foam filled maze and the giant Thriller which is a 5 storey high slide, which is Europe's biggest inflatable slide. 

The event was on for most of the day starting at 9 am with Waves of runners taken part every 15 minutes throughout the day. We were booked to take part at 9.30 am as my daughter Chloe who is 12 was taken part and the early morning sessions were quieter and I felt this would be better for her. We arrived at the event early and I was pleased that it was actually sunny for once here in the North East.

The event was clearly sign posted with ample parking available on site, when we arrived we headed to the registration tent to collect wristbands and numbers to show we were taken part. It was a really well organised event with lots of staff dotted around who were easily recognisably in florescent vests. There was lots of portaloos doted around and first aid and lost children tents. There was also lots of things to keep us spectators happy such as a free bouncy castle for little ones to enjoy, ice-cream vans and food and drink stalls. 

There was a stage near the start line playing music and with fitness instructors on stage helping the participating to warm up before the race. Alex done a wonderful job at keeping the audience entertained and was so cheerful and full of energy, waving each group of runners off to start the race. When it was time for Chloe to take part she entered a pen where the wave of runners in her time slot waited to start the race, only so many people can run at once so they set you off in groups. My other half Lee was meant to be taking part but he has damaged the tendons in his hand so was unable to compete, but he ran the course with Chloe to make sure she was ok and to take some photos.

The countdown started and as soon as Alex shouted "Be Gung-Ho" she was off and ran straight for the first obstacle which was giant stairs you had to climb up, she was one of the first over the other side and slid down the slide on the other side, which was amazing as so many people were falling back down and struggling to get up which was funny. Next it was a short jog to the next obstacle which was a climbing wall, she had a bit more trouble with this one being smaller then some of the other participants but the staff on hand give her a leg up and helped her over the wall.

After that the course went out of site of the spectators so Chloe had to tell me what it was like. After the climbing wall it was a 10 minute run to the next obstacle which was called the day tripper this looked like a giant connect four frame and it was big holes you had to jump through to get to the other side and everyone kept falling over on. 

Next up was the Labyrinth a maze filled with foam that you have to try and find your way out, this one was  really messy and funny as everyone got covered in foam. Another five minute run led to a giant ball pool which was a pit filled with giant inflatable balls and you had try and get your way out but you keep getting stuck between the moving giant 6ft balls.

Another five minute run to born slippy which is two ramps that are slippy and covered in  foam you have to run and jump over these. You jumped over one wall and then into a foam pit and then you had to jump over the second wall. 

The next obstacle was Chloe's favourite it was a climbing wall with a mini slide on the other side and it was really wet and slippy so whenever you tried to climb it you just slid back down again and it took her ten minutes to get over the wall but it was really funny as everyone kept falling down. 

Then it was the jungle which is 100 ft long obstacle course that you had to climb under tunnels, climb up stairs and down slides and dodge big balls that were hanging from the ceiling. This was great fun. Then it was time to go on walking on the moon a 5000 sq ft bouncy castle, this was really big and Chloe had to be helped onto it as it was so high and really bouncy. 

Then it was time for the grand finale the Thriller a 5 storey high and 200ft long giant inflatable slide, she quickly climbed up the steps and then went down the slide which looked amazing and leads to the finish line. She completed the course in around 45 minutes. When she finished she was given a t-shirt, wristband and headband at the finish line for taking part. She also grabbed a bottle of water. as she was exhausted, there was stands given out bottles of water around the course as well in case anyone needed a one.

We left the event in high spirits as it was such a great morning, Chloe had great fun on the course and I had great fun watching the event. There was lots of spectators and competitors and everyone was smiling and laughing and looked like they were having lots of fun. There was so many different people taken part from older children to adults and there was so many teams taken part for charities and people in fancy dress. As soon as Chloe finished the course she said that she wanted to do it again and the other half also said he wanted to take part too as it looked so much fun. 

So it is a good job that Gung-Ho is returning to Newcastle race-course on the 2nd July 2016 and tickets are available to book online on the Gung-Ho website now. Prices start at just £35 if you book before the 11th March, you get two free spectators per competitor and children under four can watch for free .Their is no age restrictions but you do need to be taller then 123 cm to take part, you don't have to run the course either you can walk it if you prefer as it is not a timed race it is all just about having fun.

Tickets to Gung-Ho would make a fantastic Christmas present for someone if you are struggling on what to buy this year. We will defiantly be going back and I am tempted to take part myself even though I am not in the least bit fit and have not ran for years, but it just looked like such a fun event. 

If you do not live in Newcastle then keep an eye on the website to see where Gung-Ho will be heading next year. If you live close to an event then I would really recommend going as it was so much fun and a lovely family day out that are whole family enjoyed. Don't forget if you live in London then Gung-Ho will be visiting this Saturday the 26th September at Windsor racecourse and  tickets are still available.

I would just like to say a huge thank you to Alex for inviting us along to Gung-Ho we had a great time and we will defiantly be returning next year. 

Disclosure We were kindly given free tickets to attend this event but all words and opinions in this article are my own. We genuinely loved it. 

You can follow Gung-Ho on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to keep up to date with all the latest news and photos from the event's.

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My Worries For My Children's Future

Being a mum I worry a lot, every single day I worry about my children and normally about really silly little things. I just can not help it I am a born worrier in life and always have something on my mind, my partner is forever telling me to relax and stop worrying. I don't just worry about how they are right now either I have fears about things in the future that are out of my control such as will they be safe when they are out with there friends, will they be happy in life, will they be able to have the life that I dream for them and be able to afford a home and family of their own someday.

So when I was asked to take part in a survey by Voucher codes all about family worries I just had to take part along with 1286 other UK families. We were asked to list what concerned us the most about the future of are families. I am quoted in the article with my response as I said " Safety is what I worry about the most and then house prices / money." That in a nutshell is what I worry about, like all parents I want my children to be safe I don't want them to be involved in a accident or to be harmed in anyway or become ill or god forbid ever be caught up in any terrorist attacks that are sadly becoming all to common these days.

Image courtesy of Freelart at
I also worry about the rising cost of house prices and money a lot too, we currently rent are home and we would love to buy a home but until I return to full time work in a few years we wont have the money needed for a deposit which is currently around £20,000 as four bedroom detached homes were we live are around £150-200,000. I dread to think what house prices will be like when my children are older, my parents brought there house for £16,000 back in 1983 it is now worth ten times that. 

I am not alone in having these worries as the survey found that 44% of parents asked were worried about financial instability and the economy. This comes as no surprise with recent Budget cuts and financial crisis we have seen in recent years. The second thing us parents were worried about at 40% was extremism, terrorism and safety. This is a huge fear of mine in recent years especially with all the events going on around the world these days. I really do fear that their will be some kind of terrorism attack and I fear for my own and my families safety. 

The survey also found 37% of us are worried about rising house prices especially in the South East, West Midlands and Northern Ireland as this was what parents in these regions were most concerned about. 24% of us are worried about crime, 14% fear bullying and 11 % drugs. As a parent I hold my hands up and admit that I am worried about every single thing on the list for my children. 

The survey then showed us what was the thing parents in each region of the UK were worried about here in the North East parents are most worried about Financial instability and the economy, which is no surprise as a lot of are industries have closed over the years. 

Mark Pearson founder of My Voucher Codes has commented on the findings himself he says "From what we have found from speaking to parents, it seems that many of them are worried about the effects of the economy, whether that is financial instability or house prices and high rents for their children's future. The recent budget announcement seems to have made parents concerned about what the future holds for their children. " 

He also added " We know that house prices remain unsuitably high particularly in the South East of the UK, so we are not surprised that this is the main concern for parents in this region. It's also unsurprising to see that extremism, terrorism and safety are also a concern for many parents especially at the moment when every day we seem to see a new terror related story in the news."

I agree with the findings of this article and with what Mark has to say about the results, as I have  already mentioned that I worry about every single thing on the list. Although personally I do worry more about extremism, terrorism and safety then financial instability and the economy as we are lucky that we don't have any money worries and my partner has a stable job and house prices and rents are much lower in the North East then other parts of the country, but I am aware that things could change.

Overall I feel that surveys such as these show us parents that we are not alone in are worries and that many of us have the same fears for are children's futures. Let's just hope that many of are fears do not become a reality for are families. If you are a parent what do you worry about the most for your families future?


Saturday, 19 September 2015

Slimming World Week 20

I am now on week 20 of the Slimming World plan, it seems so long and if I am honest I am feeling a bit deflated and disappointed that I have not lost more weight then I have so far. I have only lost one and a half stone and dropped a dress size, I can't help thinking that because I have a lot of weight to lose I should have lost double that in this amount of time. I know that I only have myself to blame though as I missed week's over the summer and did not stick to plan 100 % and if I had of stuck to it and not missed groups I could have lost more weight. 

Anyway what is done is done and their is no point in dwelling on it as the past can not be changed, as long as I commit myself to going to my new group every week and try my best then I will lose weight. It might just take me a bit longer then I hoped it would. 

Sw Spag Bol. Overnight Oats and gammon & Chips.

This week was ok diet wise I did have one takeaway which I hold my hands up and admit too but I was good and ordered a chicken kebab with salad, however I did also eat a few chips and two slices of garlic bread. Apart from that one cheat meal every single meal I ate this week was on plan, I made an effort to drink more water, I ate more fruit and I really thought I would have a loss on the scales and was hoping for 2lb.

However on weigh in day I felt really bloated and rubbish and I was not feeling so positive about a loss this week, I was proved right I had gained 1.5lbs and I admit I am disappointed. I stayed to group and realised that even though I had been on plan with my meals I really need to get back into the habit of writing everything I eat down and keeping track of my syns. The odd cheeky biscuit with my cuppa probably isn't helping my weight loss. 

I was all motivated to get back on track this week and get that gain off plus some more as I am so desperate for my two stone award. I am not holding my breath though and fully expect another gain this week as even though we have had no meals out or takeaways I am so tired as my son has not been sleeping and has been waking at 5.30am every morning. I am shattered and I am surviving on lots of coffee at the moment as well as toast for breakfast and the odd cheeky biscuit as I am craving sugar and carbs to get me through the day. 

I am determined not to give up and if I keep going to class and keep making sure my meals are on plan I am sure that I will start seeing some losses on the scales soon. I really want my two stone award and hopefully even a three stone award by Christmas if I am lucky. 

So that's how my week has been a bit of a write off but I am only human and sometimes life gets in the way of dieting and good intentions. I know I am in this for the long haul and losing weight is not going to happen over night. The positive is that I am one and half stone lighter then I was when I started and if I had not of joined Slimming World I probably would have gained more weight. 

To find out more about Slimming World or to find your nearest class visit the website

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Monday, 14 September 2015

Ready For Pre-School

My toddler Sophia turned two at the end of May and I kept hearing of children her age going to pre-school or nurseries between 2-5 times per week. At first I had no intention of sending her to pre-school, we don't need to send her as I am a stay at home mum now, and I will be at home looking after her younger brother even if she was at nursery. I just did not see the point in sending her when we did not need too.

 Also she is only two to me that still seems so young, she does not fully understand everything that you say to her and she has no concept of danger. I was also rather nervous at the idea of leaving her with people she does not know, she has never been left with anyone other then her grandparents and aunt and uncle which is very rare. I did not know how she would react being apart from us, what if she missed us or got hurt and just wanted her mammy and daddy.

 I know a lot of people get free childcare for two year olds but we are not entitled to that as her daddy works full time. I was just going to keep her at home with me until she started proper nursery school next year when she is three. However recently I have had a change of heart, a new pre-school opened up not far from where we live. We went for a visit and Sophia seemed to love it and went off painting with the other children straight away.

 Also after thinking about things I realised that pre-school would do her good, before we had Jacob last year I use to take her to so many baby classes she went to massage, yoga, toddlers, baby music and soft play every week. We were out every single day and she got to interact with other children which she loved. Since her brother came along it is too much of a struggle taken them anywhere on my own so I stopped going to all the baby groups, we often stay at home and she gets bored. 

We are also a little bit worried about her speech as she refuses to say her own name and has been referred for speech therapy as they think she may have delayed speech. I am hoping pre-school and being around other children will encourage her to talk more. We also thought that going to pre-school a few hours a week would help prepare her for going to proper nursery next year. It will also give me a little one on one time with Jacob which I know he craves. 

So today my little girl will be starting pre-school just for a couple of afternoons a week, she had an induction last week which her daddy took her too as I had to take her big sister for her tooth removed. I am feeling rather nervous about her going off to pre-school. I am worried she will run off if she is taken anywhere, I am worried how her potty training will go away from home and I am also worried if she will miss us and make friends. 

In my heart I know she will love it, she needs it she needs the chance to socialise with other children and make friends as whenever she goes to soft play she toddles off and befriends anyone she sees as she is so full of confidence. I know she will love playing with the toys and adore messy play, I can not wait for her to bring her first picture home so I can hang it on the fridge. 

But I'm going to miss her, it will be so strange not having her around for a few hours and I know her brother will miss her too. There will be no crazy whirlwind running around the room making a mess, no little girl curled up on my lap watching TV while her brother naps and I just know I am going to be worrying and clock watching the whole two hours she is there. But I know I will soon get over my fears and she will soon settle in and I know that I am doing what is best for her. It is the start of a new adventure for my little girl and I can't wait to see her grow. 

If your little one goes to pre-school how did you know they were ready ? And please tell me it is normal to be worried even though I know she will be safe and well looked after. 

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A Collection Of Nursery Rhymes : Book Review

Back in June when I was lucky enough to attend Britmums Live  I got talking to the lovely team from Parragon books. I was lucky enough to be given some of the little learners books for my little two to review, and they absolutely loved them. So when I was offered the chance to become one of the Parragon book buddies I jumped at the chance as it means I get to review a Parragon book each month on my blog. I adore reading and hope that my love of reading gets passed down to my own children. 

The first Book Buddies book that we were sent was an adorable book called A Collection Of Nursery Rhymes from the cute as a button range. As the name suggest this book is a timeless selection of over 100 nursery rhymes, many of which I remember fondly from my own childhood. With classics such as round and round the garden, three blind mice, hush little baby and my children's favourite Their was an old lady.

The perfect bedtime story book for babies.
The book is broken down into sections such as action, animal, counting and bedtime which is displayed at the front of the book with the page number next to it, making it easy for parents to pick out a rhyme to sing. We have found lots of new rhymes that we did not know before and also many that I had forgotten about and which I have loved rediscovering again with my own children. 

Five little ducks 
What makes this book so special is that it is simply gorgeous, it is a A4 sized hard back padded book with over one hundred pages filled with the most gorgeous illustrations to accompany each nursery rhyme. The illustrations look like fabric cut outs that have been stitched onto the pages and the effect is perfect for a nursery rhyme book. 

Five little monkeys 
The whole look and feel of this book is special from the amazing illustrations and the cute and timeless rhymes to the fantastic quality of the book as a whole. I think that this book would make a perfect present for a new baby or as a christening, birthday or Christmas present. My own children are one and two years old and they absolutely love this book and I just know that they will continue to love it and get many more years of enjoyment from it. 

Old MacDonald had a farm.
You can buy your own copy of A Collection Of Nursery Rhymes priced at just £7.99 from Tesco, TK Maxx, The Works and Easons. And you can find out more about this wonderful book on the Parragon website.

Disclosure : We were sent this book for the purpose of this review , however all views are my own. 

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