Wednesday, 28 September 2016

The Baby & Toddler Show, Manchester - Freebie Ticket Offer

Just a quick Wednesday "Hello" from me today...

I know that I'm not alone in my love of spending money - I take zero persuading in wanting to splash that cash - even when my bank account is seriously crying at me I just can't help myself.

These days however, it is very rare that I spend anything on myself and when I do it's a very forced activity.

But buying things for the kiddies, oooh well I love it - the things seem to just levitate towards's effortless.

Especially now that I'm allowed to go mad with all of the pretty pink, glittery, fluffy girly things - it's great.

Imagine then, me being let loose at an event put on entirely focused on things for the little that could get a tad dangerous...

But danger is my middle name, so I'm doing it - I'm preparing myself and I'm ready to attend my first ever Baby & Toddler Show in Manchester this year.

I had planned to go last year but decided I was a little too pregnant to chance it - there was a week to my due date - but I intend to make up for it this time round.

I'm think I'll be heading straight over to the Red Cross for their #RappedUp feature - I seriously need some first aid knowledge and I may (read as "must") check out a few of the brands who will be there...well it would be rude not to pop over and say "Hello" now wouldn't it...

And if you yourself fancy winning a ticket yourself to the show, well I have a pair to give away to one lucky person for the Manchester event being held over the weekend of 7-9 October 2016.

Just check out the Rafflecopter below...

You win, you pick your date - it couldn't be simpler.

Oh and even if you don't win, don't fret - code BTN31 gets you a third off of adult tickets (under 16's go free) when you purchase your ticket.

Aren't I (well, The Baby & Toddler Show) good to you.

Come say Hi if you spot us won't you

* I shall be attending the B&TS with a pair of free tickets gifted to me - words all my own, image isn't but I have permission

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

On Roundhay - A Fabulous Family, Fun-Filled Festival Hits Leeds

I quite like to think of myself as being a bit of a "cool mum"
(I do realise that by actually stating this it makes me VERY un-cool)

I'm quite open and honest with my kiddies and I know Charlie has no problem at all in talking to me about anything, and long may it last.

I wouldn't say we are particularly strict parents either - we obviously have boundaries and have rules which, so far anyway, Charlie understands, respects and on the whole, abides by.

I actually couldn't be prouder of the young man he is becoming - my little star.

Anyway, being all hip and "with it", when we had the opportunity to attend On Roundhay festival in Leeds (see post here) a few weekends ago we jumped at the chance.

The whole day, for us, was focused around the kiddies and there was so much for them to to whilst running about outdoors - it certainly sounded like a whole lot of fun.

And fun it was.
(I even got myself a new job title...!)

On the day, the sun was shining, the kiddies were very well behaved and so off we went.

We arrived really early - more or less as the gates were opening - so the festival was fairly empty at first but having an eleven month old with us we knew there would be no chance of staying until the late hours so we wanted to enjoy as much of the sunshine as possible.

So where did we head first?

Do you even know us?!

The food area of course!

The boys tucked into some of the delights on offer - a familiar Rola Wala for my son and a mahoosive Piggie Smalls Hot Dog for the Hubby.

I was very tempted by the offerings coming out of the Crabbieshack but I sorted my little lady out first and then grabbed a grilled cheese sandwich (yum!) from The Sela Bar Food Truck whilst everyone else devoured some very amazing smelling Churros which were covered in yummy, warm, gooey melted chocolate...

~ Yum ~

And so, as our days always revolve around the children now, we spent most of our time in the child friendly area.

~ We relaxed on the grass listening to a Beatrix Potter type lady reading lovely stories...

~ We watched sack races and we hoola-hooped.

~ We listened to some fabulous music too but, unlike some of the other seasoned festival go-ers, we settled for coffees rather than beers...or wine...

Well, when you need a brew, you need a brew.

And boy did we enjoy it.

I do have to add though when I pop out for the day with my little lady I always have a few little worries niggling away at the back of my mind - where do I feed her and where do I change her but On Roundhay had these aspects totally covered.

And I was mega impressed...

I mean just look at those changing facilities - they were better than a lot of shops, restaurants and even fancy hotels I've been to recently and it made such a difference to the day.

No worries meant more fun and enjoyment could be had.

Oh - and everything was replenished and checked for cleanliness constantly throughout the day too - twice within a ten minute block when I was there, which was fabulous.

There was even a buggy park and a very well equipped feeding area too...

Everything was simply spot on.

On Roundhay was the first festival of it's kind to hit Roundhay Park and I for one really hope it becomes a regular feature because it was simply amazing.

The adults had their fun and the kiddies had their fun - both combined made for a very perfect family day out.

Well done On Roundhay - a family festival done very, very right

* tickets provided free of charge - words, thoughts & pictures all my own

Thursday, 22 September 2016

A Slim Boost Shot From Reviv, Leeds

I make no secret here on this blog of my love for food - I mean all you have to do is click on that little "Food & Drink" tab up there and you'll see some of the fabulousness I've had the pleasure of consuming over the years.

Food is simply amazing.

But then I also make no secret of expressing my struggles with trying to slim down, loose weight and stick to a healthy eating plan, especially since having Willow.

The two don't always go hand in hand and it can be really hard to find a balance that works.

It is especially difficult on the days when I've been up numerous times through the night with a grouchy, teething baby and then am actually "up-up" at 4.30am - seriously, by 8.30 a breakfast of overnight oats, a banana or a Mullerlight don't have quite the same "help me through this day" kick as a packet of chocolate digestives dunked in a bucket sized mug of coffee would have.

And then exercise - after days like the one above, a run would probably do me good...but all I want to do is squeeze in a hot bath between baby settling sessions and then clamber into bed.

Needless to say I'm finding being healthy harder than I used to and even when I think I've cracked it, when I think I'm "on it" - nope - here comes that takeaway order.


So when it does all fall into place and I'm back on plan, doing things properly, eating well and feeling good I really, really want to see a loss on the scales at my Thursday weigh in - just to keep me motivated for another week if nothing else.

And anything that helps me get this result is more than welcome.

So when Reviv in Leeds invited me along to their clinic to have a Slim Boost shot a few weeks ago I have to say I was really rather intrigued.

The Slim Boost shot is actually just one of many well being shots and IV hydration courses Reviv offer.

This particular injection contains a mix of vitamins, amino acids, B12 and fat burners - a combination which is put together to help boost energy levels, speed up the metabolism and, as well as make you feel better, when combined with a healthy diet and a regular exercise regime it could help with weight loss.

Hmmm, healthy eating and exercise - the two main components of Slimming World - this could actually really give me the boost I'm looking for...

And so, I arrived at the clinic...

...and was greeted by two very friendly and obviously very super health conscious members of staff who asked me to fill in a medical questionnaire and were then on hand to answer any questions that I had.

After this, I was taken into a small room and introduced to a lovely, very friendly nurse who would be the person giving me the injection.

She put my mind at ease straight away, clearing up any remaining queries I had before checking my blood pressure, enquiring about any allergies I had, explaining exactly where the injection would go - into the muscle at the top of my arm - and then making me aware of the potential side effects of the shot.

And then it was given.

And whilst it wasn't pleasant (what injections are) it didn't hurt too much really.

Then I left and that was that.

Until my side effects kicked in - nothing major let me quickly add - but my arm around the injection area was so sore and really achy for hours and hours after - it did fade eventually but the uncomfortable, heavy feeling lasted quite a while - longer than I was expecting anyway.

The next day that feeling had completely gone though and I found myself being extra aware of how I was feeling, looking for signs that the shot was working.

I can't say I noticed any sort of boost in my energy levels or anything but there were certainly times when after running up the stairs or from one room to another I could certainly feel my heart rate accelerating quicker than usual and I felt warmer a lot more too - things I can only put down to the shot working it's magic.

Admittedly my diet over the rest of that week wasn't particularly great but I actually still managed to loose a little bit of weight at my weigh in a few days later.

And I can't grumble with that.

I do wish I had eaten 100% to plan and worked out a little bit more now though, if for nothing else just to test the effects of the Slim Boost properly because if I had, I'm sure I would have seen even better results on the scales than I did - but I'm not complaining with what I got at all.

Like I said, anything that can help, even a little bit, certainly is a winner in my book.

I guess I now need to be on plan 100%, dust the exercise DVDs off and get a Slim Boost course booked in.

With all three combined, I wonder how fast I could get myself to my target weight...

* slim boost given free of charge - words, thoughts, pictures & opinions all my own 

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Fitness & Fashion Go Hand In Hand With BoohooFIT

Over the past few weeks - admittedly minus a few slip ups - I've slowly started to put a bit of effort back into my healthy eating/weight loss regime again.

I haven't lost a whole load of pounds on the scales as of yet but hopefully, with focus and dedication, that will come.


But whilst my eating is steadily getting back onto the track that I want it to be on I know I have a long way to go before my fitness levels reach anything near where they were pre-pregnancy.

At one point I was a two hour a night, six days a week gym bunny and then I moved onto street running...and then Spinning - I always did something.

However, whilst I've recently tried - and totally failed - at running again, the past nineteen months have included me taking part in next to no exercise at all.

And I really want to change this now.

I'm ready to do something about it.

I know I'm not going to step out tomorrow and run a marathon straight away - if anything, my confidence at the minute in my ability and my appearance wouldn't allow it anyway - so I've decided that I'm going to simply start off small, taking increasingly longer daily walks with the pram which I can then build up into jogs and then (hopefully) start to run again.

So I've decided it's the Couch to 5k route I need to be going down - start off steady and build up gradually.

But I'm going to need help.

And what could be better in way of help than looking fab and fashionable whilst I'm sweating it out?

It will certainly be a step in the right confidence boosting direction that's for sure - I mean when doesn't looking good make everything seem a whole lot better?

So when the ever popular Boohoo team set me a bit of a challenge - to find a fashionable fitness outfit from their Boohoo FIT range I couldn't wait to begin.

To be honest though, the only "challenge" part of this task was deciding what not to pick.

The choices were endless but in the end I settled for three pieces...

~ The cropped trousers will be ideal to team with my neon yellow running jacket...when I'm back at that level that is

~ The legging type jogging bottoms are ideal for the beginning stages of my journey when I feel like I need to cover up a bit more but still want to fancy myself up a bit
(the side leg detail is really pretty and really flattering too)

~ The vest is perfect - slightly baggy and longer at the front to cover up my Mum Tum, whilst still being loose and comfy allowing me to breathe...and it has such a brilliant exercise friendly slogan emblazoned across it too

And all for £30 - amazing right?

Oh and if that wasn't enough, everything arrived in a fabulous and very useful pink tote bag complete with a drinks bottle and mega useful hair tie

~ I feel fabulous.

~ I feel fashionable.

~ I feel fitness ready.

Job well done Boohoo, job well done

* items provided free of charge - thoughts, words & images all my own

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

The Magnificent Cirque Du Soleil - Manchester

Have you ever had one of those totally amazing experiences where, no matter how much time passes, you just can't seem to get it out of your mind?

Literally no matter what you do throughout the day it is always there, replaying over and over again.

~ No?

~ Yes?

Well, either way, if you do ever want to experience something so fantastic then you simply have to take the opportunity to be swept away in the magic within a Cirque Du Soleil show.

I have always wanted to go to see one and have heard such brilliant things from people who have been before, but even those amazing stories couldn't prepare me for actually being there, watching a show myself as a member of the audience.

I was very lucky to be invited along to the intu centre at Manchester's Trafford Centre last week to attend the opening evening (get me, eh!) of the mesmerising Amaluna performance.

And I still can not get the sheer brilliance out of my mind.

The evening began under the Big White Top Tent...

...where we schmoozed with the rich and famous - Sally Webster was seated just a stones throw away from me don't ya know - we drank prosecco and (ah-mazing tasting) Three Rivers gin...

...we ate popcorn and candy floss and nibbled on delicious canapes before we, very excitedly, took our seats...

It was all so breathtaking right from the very second we sat down - I would have adored being able to take hundreds of snaps of the night but I think by not being allowed to meant that I had the opportunity to be completely focused and swept away within the story...

The whole thing was simply majestic and the pure talent of the acrobats had us all in complete awe.

I was so glad I had the opportunity to enjoy it with my family too, especially my Grandma who loved it so much...

But as amazing and "we shall stick in your mind forever" the performances were, there was so much more to enjoy, to take in and to appreciate too - everything was just put together perfectly...

~ the story telling, right down to simple facial expressions, was executed amazingly

~ the live music and instrument playing strengthened the importance of the scenes without flaw

~ the very lovable, more pantomime type characters were so funny, so entertaining and very clever in that they drew attention away from the stage onto themselves for short periods, allowing the performers opportunity to set up the next acts discreetly.

~ the audience were included in the fun side of the show giving everything a more personal, more emotion-filled feeling

And I have to mention it again, but the the sheer talent of the performers was beyond anything I was ever expecting - I mean the things these people make look effortless is more than my mind could take.

~ It was all out of this world amazing ~

And if you don't believe me, check out the official video and see what the celebs thought...

I'm certainly a huge fan now anyway and I think I may need to try and get myself (and Charlie who couldn't make this show) back again before Amaluna leaves Manchester on 9th October.

Cirque Du Soleil - you have me hooked

* tickets provided free of charge - thoughts, opinions & photographs are all my own

Monday, 12 September 2016

OnRoundhay, Leeds - The Fab Festival's Continue...

Well, as much as I didn't want it to - the blog's taken a bit of a backseat over the past week and I am totally holding my drilling-into-his-own-arm Husband accountable for the set back.
(Silly boy - he'll do anything to get out of the washing up that one...)

But never mind - new week, new start, a whole load of new intentions and lots of lovely things to be looking forward to.

One such thing is the amazing sounding OnRoundhay Festival which, I'm very pleased to say, we shall all be heading on over to Leeds this Saturday (17th September) for.

It really does sound like it's going to be a lot of fun...let's just hope the rain holds off...

The event will actually be the first of it's kind - a festival dedicated to live music, food and family entertainment - to ever hit the park and it will be the first time in a whopping ten years that Roundhay have seen any form of live music at all.

One certainly not to be missed then.

OnRoundhay have managed to gather a very amazing mix of live talent for the event - there will be James, Primal Scream and Wolf Alice in attendance (to name just a few) and then, alongside these amazing acts, there will be a whole host of yummy delights courtesy of the John Lewis Food Court too.

~ Fabulous ~

And for myself, attending the event with two kiddies in tow (one who will be more interested in the grub than anything else!) having something around to keep them entertained is always going to be a winner.

There will be famous Puffin book character favourites dotted around, a few familiar CBeebies stars waving "Hello" and even sports day style races, lots of prizes and I think we may even see Spot The Dog walking about...

...I can't wait to see Willow's face when I try to take advantage of that photo opportunity...

The whole day looks brilliant and could possibly be the perfect end to a brilliant summer.

There are still tickets available for the day too if you're interested...
(find them here)

...oh, and under 12's go free!

Let me know if you plan to pop along - it would be great to say "Hi"

* a ticket will be given to me for letting you know about this event - words are my own. Images are not

Friday, 9 September 2016

Baby Baker Friday - Kidly & TOMS Are A Fabulous Combination

So as you know, I decided that Friday's on the blog would be dedicated to my pregnancy and my status of "Mum".

I know it's not something everyone wants to read about but it is something that I really wanted to do - so I'm doing it - after all, being pregnant and having two beautiful children is huge and I really wanted to share bits and pieces of what is going on in my life amongst these pages.

So here we go

~ Baby Baker Friday ~

Having little ones, there's never a day, an hour, a minute, even a second that passes by when you aren't worrying about something.

~ Are they eating enough?

~Are they eating too much?

~ Are they OK at school?

~ Are they making friends?

Anything and everything goes through your mind.

Even right down to thinking about their tiny little toes and worrying if they are getting all squished up inside of their shoes.
(Trust me, this is a huge worry for me - we don't want Willow's cute baby toes turning out "just like Daddy's"...eek...hehe!)

Seriously it is worry after worry a lot of the time, but that's what we are there to do us parents, we are the ones to pick apart each and every "problem", doing our very best to get rid of it with our little lovelies being none the wiser.

And this is why, at almost 11 months old, Willow doesn't really "do" shoes yet.

...that and the fact that I love seeing her tiny toes and fat, chubby feet as much as I possibly can of course.

But I know this whole baby barefoot thing isn't going to last especially with one of her next milestones to conquer being walking.

* introduces a very welcome, fabulous delivery from Kidly consisting of cute, baby footwear *

...a very lovely black crocheted piece of footwear, all detailed with lovely silver glitter at that...

...AND from TOMS too no less.

They are absolutely adorable - the oooh's & ahhh's when I opened the teeny box were at a crazy level let me tell you.

They are just so tiny.

It did take a few attempts to actually get them onto Willow's feet I must say but she had no idea what I was doing at first and once they were on she really seemed to love them...

There were no faces pulled or cries and struggles to pull them off which shows me that they felt comfortable to her - which is great - and as they have a velcro fastening it meant they were very easy to slip on and off - brilliant for me.

We really do love theses shoes and I feel they may have now started a little shoe collecting hobby within us...

But I suppose they aren't a bad way to start a collection off now are they

* item provided free of charge - thoughts, opinions & images all my own
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