Saturday, 22 October 2016

Staying Safe This Halloween With Smiffys

There is never a dull moment here in this household of mine and last week, it was no different.

It involved a last minute Wednesday night dash around the house grabbing make-up brushes and eye shadows because, as usual, my son changed his mind about his school disco Halloween costume.

Forty minutes before it started.


Luckily all it took was a little bit of fake blood and he was more than pleased and good to go.

Thank goodness.

But then that got me to thinking a little bit - Halloween is really soon and as fun as it is, I can't say it's my most favourite time of the year.

For a start off it's blooming freezing and then I go out, buy loads of these on-offer-extra-large-bags-of-chocolate, trying to do my bit, and then no-one knocks at my I end up sitting under a blanket, eating all of the blooming Maltesers myself.

~ Disaster ~

And then there is the whole Trick Or Treating thing, I'm not a big fan of it myself but I don't want my son to miss out on the fun of it all - I loved going out with my friends when I was younger and have so many fun, fond memories of it - but if he does decide he wants to go, then myself or the Hubby have always taken him.

It's always cold (yak!), it's always dark and then this year, there are silly clown people being all daft and threatening to worry about - it's no good for my nerves.

(there always has to be one doesn't there!)

...this year the son has asked if he can go out with his friends - without one of us...

~ Eeek ~

It's a bit much for me to deal with really - I mean he has only just started (during the last Summer holidays) playing out with his friends after school and if I'm honest I don't really like him doing that either - but he's going to high school next year and whether I like it or not I have to try and give him a little more independence.

But there are always rules - there has to be...

~ he uses the island to cross the road

~ he checks in regularly

~ he knows how far (not far!) he can venture in any direction

And being the "head screwed on right" kind of kid that he is he always follows them with no arguments and no issues.

And so, if he does go Trick Or Treating without me, the trusty old rule book will be back out in force.

Smiffys  - the costume retailer - have put together an infograph which I thought was quite fab at stressing a whole host of important hints, tips and safety points relating to the Halloween period...

They have covered sensible costume wearing, how to keep kiddies safe and even how to throw a Halloween party as safely as possible.

I'll certainly be going through it all with my son anyway.

...and I think I will be insisting on being a "ten steps behind Trick Or Treating buddy" too.

Well, safety has to come first after all

* two Smiffy's Halloween costumes sent free of charge. All words my own. Infograph used with permission from Smiffys

Friday, 21 October 2016

Baby Baker Friday - My Baby Turns One

So as you know, I decided that Friday's on the blog would now be dedicated to either my pregnancy stages or my status of being a 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 a beautiful new baby is a huge thing to be happening in my life and I really wanted to share bits and pieces of what is going on amongst these pages.

So here we go

~ Baby Baker Friday ~

Here comes that age old saying...are you ready...

"Doesn't time fly when you're having fun"

And do you know what that is so true - this past year has been so amazingly awesome it feels as though it has been and gone in the blink of an eye.

Seriously, sometimes I sit back and can't even comprehend how my tiny little 6lb 12 1/2 oz newborn doll is now a (still tiny!) 18lb 11oz one year old.

It's madness and sometimes I wish I could just pop back and revisit all of the days that have passed, just so I can take another look at her teeny tiny face.

But whole year

We decided we wouldn't bother with any kind of party this year - we did have a play-gym party for Charlie's first birthday but there was no point with Willow really - there are no family members or friends with kiddies at a similar age to her at the moment and we know there's going to be plenty of lavish parties in the coming years to enjoy - plus I'm sure she didn't mind (didn't have a clue!) missing this one.

We decided a nice, chilled out day at home was the way to go, and it was, it was brill.

Some family members popped in to see Willow and they all made a bit of a fuss of her, which was lovely...until we sang Happy Birthday of course...and then she cried.
(that's one video clip to be archived for her 18th right there!)

And anyway, who needs a party when you have a cake smash shoot to enjoy...

I decided - after a bit of coaxing from some friends - that I would give the shoot a go myself and I was actually a little bit nervous at first, but we soon got into it and it was so much fun.

I bought all of my birthday bits and pieces from yet more fantastic little Instagram shops - I just love them all far too much.

The fabulous Ginger & Spice made all of the mega bright decorative props that I needed for the shoot.

They really made the photographs work perfectly and then when matched with the amazingly bright cupcake cake the result was really striking and just brilliant (if I do say so myself!)...

I really wanted to keep Willow's actual outfit quite simple, plain and unfussy for the smash shoot to counteract all of the rainbow bright colours everywhere, so I opted for a cream and gold tutu, some pearls, a mini gold crown clip and a gold and pearl wand...

And didn't she look just incredible?!

And the cake - well - how fabulous was that?!

It was actually made by an old high school bestie of mine - she and her sister are amazingly talented - who works at a local to me cake shop, The Cake Emporium

And yes, it tasted as good as it looked too.
(hence my refusal to go to Slimming World that week)

But then for the actual big birthday day, well, we just mooched about in our PJs for most of the morning - which was fabulous - and then Willow donned her birthday outfit...

A peachy, pink and gold themed number.

And obviously her birthday crown had to be bigger than the cake smash one - isn't it just stunning - it sparkles so beautifully and is really well made too.

Pretty Bow Baby made it for me - I decided not to opt for an number on the front of it because now I can use it for all of her other birthdays too...well, the ones she will let me get away with putting it on at least.

I then had a tutu made by TinkyWinks Boutique to match the colours of the crown...

...and the "One" t-shirt was made by the fabulous Primrose and Bear which completed the look perfectly...


...and there was another Cake Emporium cake too...

Well you're only one once ya know - what's wrong with having two cakes!?

I've absolutely loved the past year so much - we all have as a family - and I can't wait to see how my cheeky little diva develops and blossoms over the next year.

But no wishing time away - I shall enjoy every passing moment, one day at a time

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Everything £5 Offer A Helping Hand To Shake Up My Wardrobe

When it comes to clothes shopping for myself I'm really quite a disaster zone these days.

I used to love nothing more than spending every spare minute I had flitting around the shops - I don't think a week went by without me picking up at least one full new outfit.

But not these days - nope - now my wardrobe is filled with either really old tatty, baggy things which could never be worn again or really fancy, sparkly, way too small numbers which will remain hiding out of sight for a good while yet...until I can fit back into them that is.

I find it really hard to part with cash for myself though and I suppose part of that comes from the fact that I still want to shift another stone and a half in weight.

Spending loads on a full new wardrobe only for it not to fit soon (well, hopefully soon!) isn't really my idea of fun so I'm avoiding shopping of any kind.
(unless it's for the kids - then I go blooming crayzee...but that's another story)

But then, Everything £5 stepped in...

And I now have a way to be able to shop for the size I am at the moment and then, when I hit target, I can shop again and feel no guilt whatsoever.

~ How marvellous ~

I did actually discover Everything £5 way back in the early days of my blog and I wrote a little wishlist type post all about them but, until recently, I had never actually placed an order.

Which I think was because I was a little worried about the quality of the things I would be getting and I suppose that is only natural when you hear that every item - from boots to t-shirts to coats and shoes - will only ever be £5.

But do you know what - I was so impressed with what I saw that I actually placed two orders within the space of a week and, although I did get the sizing wrong on a few things and had to return them, I was on the whole really pleased with what I received.

But how do they do it?

How do they manage to offer up a snazzy pair of winter boots for just £5?

Well Everything £5 don't actually produce the clothing themselves, they source items from a whole host of different stores - many are very well known highstreet/online places too - and they are then able to sell them onto us with the very cheap and cheerful £5 pricetag.

I mean yes, OK, some of the things weren't to my taste at all, but I could log onto any online shop and find things that I'm not keen on too so this wasn't an issue, I simply focused my attentions on the things that I did like.

And so, as I sat and waited for my two orders to arrive Everything £5 actually contacted me and asked if I would like to choose another twelve pieces (yes - twelve whole items which totalled to a not so massive £60 - what a bargain!) and feature some of them on my blog...

...and well yes, yes I did fancy doing this very much...

Didn't I shop well!

Between all of my items from the three fairly huge deliveries I've managed to piece together some fairly fabulous outfits.

The majority of the things I chose were because I really need to step away from my grey hoodie and become less of a Slummy Mummy and more of a person not to embarrass my son on the school run...

I love this super comfy and loose fitting floral trousers with this very well matching white casual top...

And I blooming adore these biker boots - the look fab with skinny jeans tucked in or with little tea dresses and thick black tights...

...they are SO comfortable too - perfect for this cold, dreary, wet weather I keep waking up to.

Within my orders I did included a few more dressy bits too - I mean, I may not have been "out-out" for over two years now (!!!) but you never know when an occasion may present itself, and now, well now I am prepared...

The heels are just fab - high without being too high and the fringe detail at the back adds something a little bit more to any outfit...

I reckon at just £5 an item I'm totally justified in having nice outfits stashed away for those rare occasions out now aren't I.

I was so pleased with everything.

But as I mentioned above, I did have to return a few things and I found that whole process really easy and stress free too.

I covered the returns cost myself on eight items, which I think was actually only a few pounds, and then within a matter of days I received a returns confirmation email and then the money hit my account shortly after that.

And what I did approve of - a lot actually - was that, whilst the initial postage costs are slightly higher than most other shops, when you return items, Everything £5 will also refund a portion of the postage back to you too, so there's no loosing out at all.

~ Fab ~

I had a really good few experiences ordering from Everything £5 and I 100% will be placing an order (or two!) again soon.

Well, for the sake of a fiver, it would be so rude not to...

* 12 items sent for free - all words, opinions & pictures are 100% my own

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Bed Guru Help Me Get A #CosyWinterBed

You may have seen me moaning (what time I hear you ask!) over on social media recently about the teeny tiny size of my house.

It's not the disaster of the year I know, but it really is far too small for us all now - I mean who knew a little one year old human came with so much stuff?

I've had to relax my slightly OCD tendencies and face facts that my usually tidy living room will now be littered with brightly coloured plastic and flashing, singing, dancing toys for quite a few years to come.

I actually can not wait now until we are in a position to be able to upgrade to something bigger - something with actual storage space - and not just so I can stop moaning about it either - Willow adores going to sit in her brother's room and I would love her to have a little space all of her own.

But, because this isn't happening anytime soon I decided I had to make a few changes to make a little bit more of our bedroom for her.

Now whilst I was pregnant we totally gutted our room (see here) but even after that change nothing was yelling "Little Girl's Bedroom" to me so, just in time for her first birthday, I had a little shuffle around, shoved things up into the loft and came up with this...

It's not finished yet - there are still a few finishing touches to add but I think it's a start for her to be able to think "Yep, this is my room".

(there's always a "but" isn't there!)

...this then led to the problem of me not being happy with my bed and how it looked - it made the room look really drab and mismatched and I wanted comfy and cosy.

And so, with the help of Bed Guru (who are a bed retailer specialising in sleep who, because they love what they do so much, have recently launched a new range of bedding specifically sized to fit their custom made beds and mattresses) and their #CosyWinterBed campaign I was able to tweek things a little bit more this weekend using the fab kit they sent me...

And I am so pleased with how it all turned out.

I think there's a real difference in how things did look... how things do look...

And it didn't take much to create either - I added a super soft, fluffy throw (which Willow just adores touching) and some cute fairy lights...

...and then I obviously had to nip out to buy a lovely new bedding set to complete the look too and now I think the room as a whole flows so much better - it looks like one complete space now, fitting together properly without looking all disjointed.

I love it.

But what else could I do to amp up the cosy factor?

How about adding some toasty-toe socks, a steaming mug of hot chocolate, a hot water bottle tucked under my arm and the relaxing scent of a lovely vanilla candle, flickering away in the background - oh and put a good book in my hand too of course...

Yes - now that will do nicely - a #CosyWinterBed in all it's glory.

I really love my cosy bedroom so much more now

* #CosyWinterBed kit sent free of charge - pictures, words, images 100% my own

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

The Real Junk Food Project, Leeds

I'm sure the majority of us struggle with our finances and a lack of cash from time to time.

At the moment we only have one wage coming into our home, and I won't lie, things are a bit hard right now.

But we by no means find things as tough as some people.

Take my Mum for example - with the situation she is currently in, as much as she hates it, she has to rely on help from family quite a lot of the time or, put simply, she doesn't eat.

And it's crazy things are like this in 2016, but unfortunately, I've seen it first hand, they really are.

But even as bad as things are for my Mum there are so many other people out there in an even worse situation than she is.

People who probably don't eat for days on end.

And then when you think about the vast amounts of food that supermarkets throw away each and every day because they can't sell it as it is "past it's sell by date", well, it seems quite criminal really doesn't it.

I'm sure a bag of Muesli dated June 2016 tastes exactly the same in June as it does in July, but into the bin it must go.

However there is now an initiative out there tackling this issue and this morning I popped along to a base of theirs located fairly close to where I live in Pudsey, Leeds to take a look...

The Real Junk Food Project was set up in a bid to offer the food that supermarkets can't sell to the public for a small Pay As You Feel (PAYF) donation...

They want to stop so much food being wasted and get in into people's bellies - there are now even cafes dotted around which use only "junk food" in their creations.

The warehouse I went to in Pudsey was a fairly large space with shelves packed full of cans and jars all lined up...

...there were pallets and pallets full of a whole range of different foods simply waiting for people to go in and take.

And all of it would have usually simply been thrown away.

~ Crazy ~

Now a lot of the things were obviously stamped with past dates, but a lot were also dated late 2016 or early 2017.

There was bread (perfect for bread puddings or breadcrumbs) drinks, fruit - a whole load of things which would seriously help people who were struggling to get through today.

There was even donated clothing too...

The warehouse was a really informal space with a donation bucket and a sign in sheet at the door - no one was stood peering over at you which, even in a situation like this, can be really off putting.

Getting anything for next to nothing often seems a little too good to be true doesn't it, even to people who have nothing, so the whole informality of the place really helps make people feel like they aren't doing something they shouldn't be.

It really is a place set up simply to help people out.

And so, I decided to write this post, not because I was asked, but because I wanted to.

I know all too well what it's like to watch people, very independent people who want to fend for themselves, worry and not be able to feed themselves and it is not a nice thing to see.

I figured if I wrote a post - with the address of the warehouse - I may reach at least one other person who could benefit from The Real Junk Food Project, especially with Christmas around the corner, and that makes me happy.

Unit 11
Grangefield Industrial Estate
LS28 6LF

Open Monday- Sunday 9am-5pm

I hope it helps

Monday, 10 October 2016

A Bundle Of Fabulous Clementoni Surprises

Do you ever receive lovely surprises and are left so pleased and happy because someone has gone and got it just right, perfect and spot on?

It's such a fabulous feeling isn't it but is unfortunately not one I experience for myself much these days because all of the gifts, surprise or otherwise that hit my doorstep are usually for the kiddies - and trust me - these two do very well.

Take last week for example, I was baffled when a knock at the door led to the biggest box ever being shoved in my direction.

My first thought?

I won't lie, I had a mini panic attack trying to rack my brains to think what I'd been ordering and how on earth I could possibly hide the contents of such a large parcel from the Hubby.

But as it turns out I didn't have to worry - the lovely gift was actually our first Clementoni Brand Ambassador bundle and wow were we impressed...

Willow, the little diva that she is, loves peering at herself, shouting "Ahhhh" and popping the occasional smooch towards her reflection, so her fabulous treat of the Clementoni Baby Mirror Rattle was perfect...

She loves it - it lights up, it flashes, it sings and it shows her herself - I mean, what's not to love...

And then Charlie, well, Charlie was gifted a massive, fantastic educational globe.

Now a bit of a back story here - when Charlie was little we would go to visit my Grandparents and he would always, always, always nip off into their bedroom and bring back my Grandad's learning globe.

He would sit for ages spinning the globe and showing us where all of the different countries were- the clever little thing that he was.

But time passed and whilst he is still a clever not-so-little thing now, things like the Xbox and a love for WWE have snatched away his attention and I'll admit, being the "try to do your best" Mum that I am I sometimes worry that he will start to loose his educational thirst.

And I don't want that to happen - ever.

However the second he spotted this globe on the kitchen table he said "Oh sick! Is this for me?" and I haven't been able to get him off it since...

There is just so much to do and learn within it.

Simply choose a category - Fun Facts, Currency etc - and click on the country of choice, then voila - a fact is revealed - it never gets boring or old and helps him pick up new bits of information at the same time.

~ Brilliant ~

Especially with him heading to high school very soon (sob!), anything which grabs his attention and pulls him towards knowledge and learning will always get a massive thumbs up from me.

So I have to admit, if the surprises that are arriving at my door are as fab as this Clementoni bundle then I really don't mind that things are no longer for me.

Because these really are brilliant

* toys sent free of charge as part of an ambassador programme - words, thoughts & images 100% my own

Friday, 7 October 2016

Baby Baker Friday - A BIBaDo Review

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 ~

I do realise that this is a fairly obvious thing to state, but I really love having Willow dressed all nice and looking mega cute most days.

Actually, I like both of my children to look nice but I don't get much of a say with Charlie these days - he's at an age now that when he's not in his school uniform he chooses his own outfits.

So I'm left to get my daily dressing up fix via my little lady - which is fine by me - but I have to admit there are a few downsides to loving all of this baby clobber.

Obviously the costing of things is one negative - I really do spend far too much money on my little one but it really can't be helped - which links straight into the second downside - mealtimes.

I always - especially in a morning - seem to be in a crazy mad rush because both kiddies (and myself) need to be up, dressed and ready to go by 8am at the latest most mornings.

So when I'm trying to give them breakfast, wash the dishes and empty the washing machine before running out of the door, the last thing I need is for my carefully picked, probably very new, cute, lovely baby outfit to be splattered from cuff to neck with Weetabix, raspberries or yogurt.


This, I do not like.

However no matter how lovely the baby may be dressed, she must also be fed.

But I think I may have actually found a solution to my "all the expensive clothes are ruined" dilemmas.

And that solution would be BIBaDO...

...which is a bib to be used at mealtimes (or whenever things are going to get a little messy really) but it offers something a little extra and actually, it's unlike any bib I've ever used before.

It is very bright and fun looking - which appeals to the kiddies - and it is easy to wipe clean, easy to fasten and easy to fold up to take out and about.

What makes it different though is the fact that rather than simply fastening around the neck, allowing all those drips, food bits and milk spills to gather all over those lovely, brand new white leggings we are wearing for the first time (sob!), this is designed to stop all of that happening.

By being worn like a large apron it totally covers the arms and upper body and then fastens with velcro underneath the high-chair tray to create a totally mess free barrier between baby clothes and food spills...

And it really blooming works too - it is perfect for busy mornings and for days out or parties when there's no room to be having the extra special, extra fancy outfits ruined...

I have to admit though, Willow wasn't a fan of wearing it at first - she is a real fuss pot and wasn't happy with the crinkly, waterproof material being on her arms, but she soon came around and forgot it was there...

I for one think the BIBaDO is a really useful, time-saving, clothes-saving item and it now comes everywhere with me.

~ It is fabulous ~

And if you fancy winning yourself one of the fab BIBaDO's, there is one up for grabs - simply follow the steps on the Rafflecopter below...

I mean anything that makes parenting easier is a winner, right.

* item sent free of charge to review - words, images & thoughts are all my own
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