Monday, 27 March 2017

A Spring Weekend

There is something so beautiful about each season and I made the decision when I had children to stop having a favourite, and to appreciate the little things each time the weather changes.  The excitement of snow and frost has gone, Christmas feels like a distant memory and it has all been replaced by blooming flowers popping up everywhere we look, the grass turning a healthier shade of green and that familiar warmth that promises summer is on the way.

I am an outdoor person whatever the weather, but with four small ones some things are just a bit much in the winter.  In the spring it all seems a bit easier, there are so many options, so much to explore and it becomes easier to go out earlier and stay out that little bit later.  

Last weekend in the absense of any plans, we revisited a beautiful local gardens with a museum attached.  We are lucky enough to have lots of local parks, but this one is so clean, dog free and full of things to explore.  I took my camera along to capture some pictures of the bigger boys in their new shoes as Bobux kindly sent us some of their new Kid+ range (they now go up to 7 years!) and I love the images I took.  They capture spring in all it's beautiful glory and the adventures we will be having for the next few months.

quex gardens, quex house

spring photography, daffodil photos, quex gardens


Bobux kid+, Bobux



Bobux kid+, Bobux shoes






The boys love their Bobux shoes because the barefoot soles mean they can really flex their feet as they run and climb.  There are some low hanging branches and trees that are perfect for little adventurers and they kept them entertained for ages.

Inside there is a museum full of animals and artifacts that they love looking at.  The highlight is the interactive room though full of instruments to play and stations to draw at complete with mircrosopes and fancy lights. (If you live locally this is Quex gardens and Museum).  It was a great place to calm down before heading home and there was something for everyone. 




The weather still seems to vary so much daily and there is still plenty of rain but this is what our Spring weekends will look like I hope - full of colour, sunshine and fresh air.  
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Thursday, 23 March 2017

Mother's Day Experience Inspiration

When I was a child, my Dad would always take us out to choose our Mum a present.  We usually went to the local newsagents on our bike and we would pick her a chocolate bar or packet of sweets.  I am pretty sure we went for our favourites in the hope that she would share, but we chose them ourselves and that is what mattered to her.  

We would go downstairs with him in the morning and help make some toast and a cup of coffee and Mother's Day would begin.  As we got older, choosing a gift got harder.  A bar of chocolate no longer seemed enough, but that didn't mean we had great ideas.  I don't think I really appreciated my mum enough until I had my own children though - suddenly picking a gift to symbolise how much she means to me, to all of us is really tough!


Flowers and chocolates are always appreciated, but I like finding a gift that is a bit different (especially as I know that my brother and sister will be buying her something too).  This Saturday (25th) Tesco have an inspiration station in 300 of their stores (I will be popping down to Broadstairs on Saturday to check it out) for some last minute help.  I answered a few questions online and the team helped pick out the perfect gift for my mum and they will be on hand to help anyone who has left it last minute but wants to show their mum just how loved she is.  

22% of people admit they don't know what to buy their Mums (me included) so the help team can choose an experience based on your answers and you can even use your clubcard points to exchange them for your gift.  Many of the experiences encourage us to spend more time with our Mums - and I am looking forward to a day out with my Mum when we go on the Chocolate Delight Workshop that the team picked for us (They totally nailed this one, we are a pair of chocoholics). 

16% of men are sending their partners out to buy a gift for their Mother-in-law (again, me) and I am hoping to find something perfect with the help of the team on Saturday. I have been accruing my clubcard points all year too so it will be a bonus if I can use those.



I can't wait to give my mum her gift on Mother's day and I am thinking of letting the boys all pick something for Grandma from the chocolate aisle in Tesco on Saturday to keep the tradition going.  




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Wednesday, 22 March 2017

What the Baby Wore // From Babies with Love

As soon as that crisp winter chill disappeared, we have been down at the beach.  Often still wrapped  up in coats and hats or at least keeping warm in multiple layers, we have been making the most of the sunshine and the sand.   Cora is fascinated by the sand, and loves searching out small stones that I have to quickly remove from her before they make it to her mouth.


From Babies with Love is one of our favourite ethical companies who support orphaned and abandoned children through the sale of their clothes.  They sent us this beautiful crab babygrow which of course felt perfect for a spring beach outing.

Their clothing is made from the softest organic cotton  and is so unisex that it makes a wonderful new baby gift.  


On the FBWL website you can see exactly where the money is going through an interactive map. You can see whether your support is giving a child access to an education, keeping children off the street or helping abandoned babies find a home.  All the garments are made in fair trade factories that have banned child labour and every part of the process from cotton to your child is ethical.


From Babies with Love have a great range including clothing, blankets and toys and the characters are sweet and so unisex.  Check out the From Babies With Love website to read more stories and shop the new collection.

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Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Ears what you need to know

The parks are full of beautiful spring flowers and I can't get enough of the colours when we are out.  With spring comes allergies though and three of us suffer with hayfever at this time of year.  I struggle with itchy eyes and itchy ears and often can't take anthistamines whilst pregnant or breastfeeding.  This year I have some Earex products at hand to try and keep my ears healthy and itch free and I have some tips from Earex Ear Care Expert, Dr Henderson to share on ear health;


1. Try to keep your ears dry 

‘Swimmer’s ear’ - more correctly called otitis externa - is a condition that affects more than 1% of the UK population every year. It is given this nickname because it can be caused by water getting into the ear canal – the tube between the outer ear and the eardrum – and so is more common in swimmers. Other causes include infection and allergic reactions but it can also occur for no obvious reason. Although any one of any age can get it, women appear to suffer slightly more than men. As well as swimming, other factors triggering it include excessive ear cleaning or overuse of ear piece headphones, as can pre-existing skin conditions such as eczema, acne or psoriasis. The general advice is to always avoid getting the affected ear wet, and resist the temptation to use cotton wool buds inside the ear or pushing a towel into them. You may also be prescribed anti-inflammatory or antibiotic eardrops by your doctor 

2. Limit your exposure to loud noise 

Music and machinery can expose us to over the safe noise limit – 85 decibels (dB) for long periods. MP3 players in Europe have a default limit of 85 dB. As a general rule of thumb, if other people can hear your headphone music then it’s too loud! (Remember that the earbuds on MP3 players funnel the sound waves directly into the ear.) Long-term exposure to high volume levels can gradually wear out the tiny hair cells of the inner ear that convert sound into nerve signals that go to the brain. Take breaks if you must listen to music through earbuds, and try out noisereducing headphones. Don’t fall asleep with earbuds in and make sure your devices are set at 60 decibels or lower - the level of normal conversation. 


3. Try to avoid flying when you have a cold 

‘Aeroplane ear’ is the term given to pain in the ears that occurs during take-off and landing and is due to unequal air pressure inside the ear in comparison to the atmosphere outside, due to blockage of the Eustachian tube and can be very painful. Not equalizing pressure in the ears on planes is called barotitis and is usually more of a problem when landing than taking off. Try to chew, yawn or swallow as this helps to equalize pressure when landing and if you have to fly when you have a head cold try taking an oral decongestant before flying. Don't let your child remain asleep during landings, and don’t worry too much if they have mild ear discomfort when landing as this is due to the pressure equalizing. 

4. Use eardrops to dissolve impacted wax 

Ear wax is important for ear health as it helps to protect the lining of the ears. After it is produced, it slowly makes its way to the opening of the ear where it either falls out or is removed when you wash. However, too much wax can sometimes build up, causing mild hearing loss, known as conductive deafness, as sounds can’t pass freely through the ear canal because of a blockage. Olive oil is often recommended, and although it’s not as effective as some other drops it can soften wax prior to the ears being syringed. Earex drops can be very effective here too. There's an old saying – ‘Never put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear’ and it’s true! You can easily hurt your ear by poking around in them, even with cotton buds as these can push wax deeper in your ear or even irritate the ear canal causing an infection. Never put anything sharp in your ear because it can cause bleeding or serious damage. 


5. Remember that the weather and allergies can affect your ears. 

Millions of people suffer from allergies, often at their peak in spring and autumn. This usually presents as hay fever type symptoms, but household dust and pet dander are also triggers here and allergies can affect your ears as well as your eyes, nose and throat. The most common symptoms affecting ears are itching, fullness, difficulty hearing and earaches. These can often be treated by over-the-counter allergy medicines, such as antihistamines and decongestants but itching can also be eased by using ear drops. An allergic reaction can sometimes lead to a temporary loss of hearing too due to the middle ear becoming inflamed but this usually goes away when the allergy is treated. In colder weather, our ears become vulnerable to the cold because they have no protective fat tissue and so cool down quickly. There is only a thin layer of skin protecting the nerves in the ear canal, and cooler weather (along with wind) may cause discomfort in your ear canal. Covering your ears when you’re outside for longer periods of time will help keep them warm and healthy.


Earex products are suitable for children over 5 years old and adults, and for children between 1 and 5 on medical advice.  We will definitely be using them for Dylan as he has struggled with ear infections in the past.  You can find Earex products in your local supermarket or chemist or direct from Earex.co.uk.

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Mother's Day Gift Guide // South Aylesford Retail Park

Today we visitied South Aylesford retail park to check out some gift ideas for Mother's Day.  I always find it so tricky choosing the perfect gift for my Mum and Mum-in-Law but I managed to come up with 9 great choices (admittedly a couple were more things I would like).  These are my top Mother's Day picks from the retail park . . . 


I love the cute patterns on these water bottles from Halfords, the whole range was really pretty with cool bags and bike seats too.  These would be perfect for summer picnics and I think both Mums would appreciate the spring colours.


They are a classic Mother's Day gift for a reason and Marks and Spencer's food hall had an amazing array of flowers to suit all tastes and budgets.  I don't know many mums that wouldn't appreciate a beautiful bouquet. 


Marks and Spencer's food hall had a great selection of gifts by the front door and this bottle of pink sparkling wine with chocolates caught my eye.


 Homebase had a great alternative to a bunch of flowers with their selection of potted plants.  The colours were stunning and I can really imagine these in my Mum's garden.


We also noticed this sign whilst we were in Homebase (although they were still finishing it off).


This may be a bit out of my budget this year but Finn and I both agreed that Grandma would love this for her garden.  We got a bit carried away admiring the garden furniture (and testing it all for comfiness).


Ok so admittedly this one was more something I would want, a new camera from Currys PC World.  This is a step up from mine with built in wi-fi and would make a tempting Mother's Day gift from me to me. 


These tablet cases were on sale in Currys PC World too and I know that both Mums love their tablets.  My favourite is the map print but I can imagine they would both choose the floral.


I popped into Smyths toy store not expecting to find much for them, but I think that the boys would love to buy a new board game for Grandma.  They love playing Bingo when we go round and I think as they get older this would make a lovely gift - something they can do together.


All this window shopping got a bit much so we stopped for coffee and a sandwich at Costa - Our final gift idea is a voucher for here - who doesn't love an excuse to go out for cake?

All of these items are available from the South Aylesford retail park near Maidstone, Kent.

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Monday, 20 March 2017

Win // Skin Doctors

I was recently sent some lovely items to include in a Mother's Day gift guide which included Skin Doctor's Beelift face cream and Younger Hands hand cream.  I am only a few days into using them, but I am really enjoying pampering myself and looking after my skin.


Here is what Skin Doctors have to say:

Beelift helps fight premature ageing ensuring that your skin is nourished, renewed and revitalised. Beelift contains the Bee Venom (Melittin), Manuka Honey, the collagen treatment Trylagen® and Hyadisine® - a complex mix of peptides, amino acids, proteins and key enzymes. Together these ingredients trick the skin into thinking it has been lightly stung, instantly working to control facial muscles for cumulative tightening, lifting, plumping and firming of the skin.
Beelift is clinically proven to 
  • Increase Collagen by up to 300%
  • Cumulative skin tightening
  • Plumping and firming of the skin

Take 10 years off your hands in just 6 weeks! The combination of active ingredients in Younger Hands works on the most common skin concerns, with dramatic results:
  • Skin is visibly plumper with thickness and texture returning to the levels of 10 years ago
  • Fine lines and wrinkles are dramatically reduced, with the appearance of wrinkle depth and roughness reduced by more than half in 28 days
  • Age spots and freckles are visibly lightened. Skin is resurfaced, unveiling a smoother, more uniform appearance
  • Skin is hydrated and softened
  • Contains SPF 15 UVA/UVB protection to help prevent further ageing


I have a wonderful Mother's Day bundle to give away consisting of beelift, younger hands and a pair of The White Company cashmere socks, total RRP is over £100!  his is perfect for the Queen Bee in your life and entry is via the simple rafflecopter form below.

Good luck!!
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Saturday, 18 March 2017

Win // aden + anais

It is just over a week until Mother's Day and aden + anais have offered me a wonderful bundle to give away to a reader.  If you have a little baby then they may struggle to show their appreciation next Sunday so why not treat yourself? I have a set of three muslins and a co-ordinated layette to give away this week and these muslins are perfect for use as a scarf for Mum if you don't want to keep them for baby.


aden + anais, muslin romper

I am a huge fan of aden + anais muslins, they are so soft and wash really well and I had never thought of using one as a scarf before, but I am totally going to be pinching this idea now! Cora has one of their muslin sleepsuits and it looks so comfy and cute - I am a little jealous that I am giving this one away and not keeping it for her!  The layette is available in 0-3, 3-6, 6-9 or 9-12 months.

The swaddle pack retails at £38.95 and the layette is £23



To be in with a chance to win this bundle, then follow the instructions on the rafflecopter below.  I will announce the winner on Mother's Day.


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