Friday, 30 November 2012

Snapfish Photo Gifts

Anyone that knows me will know that I am forever taking photographs. Weather it's with my camera on a day out or a quick snap with my phone, I have hundreds, so besides putting them in frames and ending up with no free wall space, I was looking for ways to create unique items using my photographs. So when Snapfish offered me the chance to make a unique photo gift on their site, I jumped at the chance. I have used a few websites before to order prints but this was by far the easiest site to use. Some of the others are so difficult and confusing to navigate around the site and upload your files, but Snapfish have simple to use upload tools and give clear instructions all the way through. It only takes a few minutes to register on the site and once you have signed up you are ready to go. You are immediately taken to your control panel where you can upload multiple image files, save them to specific albums, use the very handy auto correcting tools, which make sure your photo is at its best by correcting exposure or red eye. There are even easy buttons which allow you to upload files directly from sites like Facebook, which made it a lot easier.

Once you have uploaded your files, you can search through the products and decide what you want to create. There are so many things to choose from you are bound to find something you will love. You can create photo books, key-rings  mugs, wall art and so much more. Once you have decided on what you want to create its very simple to personalise it. You simply click a button to choose which photo you would like to use and its done. You will always see a preview of the item with your photograph on, so you can judge if its okay or not, plus you are given a warning if the resolution is too low as this may cause your printed image to be blurry or pixelated when finished.
I ordered a keyring, mug and a wooden photo panel, which is a panel or wooden with your image printed onto it and then it's given a high gloss finish. I love the photo panels as they save the need to buy or hunt round for frames that match your d├ęcor.

Even though I was given a low resolution warning on my photo, the finished product was absolutely stunning. The finish was immaculate and the picture was so sharp. Snapfish offer a high quality product at such an affordable price. They are without a doubt the best company I have used for my photograph printing and they have delivered the highest level of quality work. With this is mind, I would recommend anyone looking to create something great with their photos to join up to snap fish. They have great offers on at the moment and have some great ideas for special Christmas presents. Head over to Snapfish now and create some beautiful gifts to treasure your memories forever..

Playing Catch Up..

I have been out of Twitter and Blog land for just a few short weeks, but its seems like a lifetime! It seems to have the same kind of ratio as human to dog years and I have so much reading to catch up on it is unreal. Things took priority for the past few weeks and with Christmas fast approaching, I had so much to do, so my poor blog had to take a back seat.

Things are still going great with Weight Watchers, I have officially lost 2 stone and reached my 10% milestone so I am very happy with that. So besides the weight watching, Christmas shopping and catching up on bits and bobs, that's pretty much what I have been up to these past few 

I have so much reading and writing of posts to be getting on with so TTFN.. :-)

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Saturday Caption Day - #SatCap

Its Saturday again, which can only mean on thing... SatCap time :-)

We were watching a movie the other day and it was chilly so I told Aalliyah to go and get her fleece and pick  a teddy... Well it seems she couldn't decide as I came in from the kitchen and found her like this!

Do you have a fun caption to go with this snap? Why not head over to Mammasaurus and have fun captioning many more photos.

Friday, 16 November 2012

My Reasons To Be Cheerful #R2BC

OK, So here they are.. A little late but could not find enough minutes in the day yesterday!

  1. A really good weigh in at weight watchers this week. I lost 4 pounds which means I am only 3 pound away from a 2 stone weight loss. I am so proud of myself, having always been big, I never thought I would be complaining that my clothes are too big lol.
  2. I have made a nice big dent in the Christmas shopping. I have picked up some fantastic bits online and in town. I think I am more excited than Aalliyah. I have noticed a lot of people have started to xmas decorate already. I am looking forward to decorating the tree with Aalliyah..But not till December.
  3. Aalliyah had her first gymnastics class this week. I knew she would take to it like a duck to water as she is forever springing about at home and at the end of the lesson the coach told me how impressed she was with Aalliyah. She told me she was a natural and would definitely be interested in Aalliyah joining their squad :)
So there are my reasons to be cheerful this week.. What are yours?

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The Gallery - The Eighties

OK, So the theme this week is "The Eighties", but being born in 84 meant I only had 6 years of the eighties to endure, so no perm pics here lol.

I think this picture was taken in around 89, so just in the "Eighties" bracket.

I am on the left in the "nice" lime green costume. Needless to say I have never had a photo taken in a costume since! In the middle is my very good friend Siobhan who I lost contact with for many years and in the past few years have got back in contact with each other. She is also a mummy now, so we can share in our experiences as parents together too. Not only that, but her beautiful little girl was born on Aalliyahs birthday :-)
On the right is a girl called Jade, who I will only ever remember for the biting and pinching that she did and the constant temper tantrum screams coming from her flat lol.

Head over to Sticky Fingers Blog and check out the other entries :-)

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

How Your Child Sees You Meme

I was tagged in a fantastic blog post over at The Olivers Mad House, and jumped at the chance to take part. Those of you that know me, and Aalliyah, will know that one thing Aalliyah does constantly is draw. So when I asked for her to draw me, she quiet happily agreed.

So this is how she sees me!

I am very chuffed! So much slimmer in pencil lol and I knew I wouldn't be drawn without my famous face full of freckles.

Thank you Aalliyah.. I love you xx

I am tagging the following fabulous peeps to take part! 

Bubbly Apples -

(Apologies if you have done this meme previously - Please ignore)

Monday, 12 November 2012

Office Hero

One thing I buy a lot of is stationary  I am forever buying pens, pencils, erasers, sharpeners, paper etc. Having a budding little artist/writer/poet as a daughter means I am always having to replace things in her big box of goodies. Aalliyah is constantly writing or doodling and I go through so many notebooks and pads its unreal! So I was super pleased to find out that Office Hero are offering 1000's of stationary and office supplies at the cheapest online prices and far cheaper than the leading retail stores. 

They stock so many essential items such as paper, notepads, drawing pads, all kinda of pens, stationary sets (which are perfect for students) as well as the useful office items such as staplers, hole punches, flip chart easels, whiteboards and more.

They also sell office furniture and essential office machinery such as photocopiers and printers, so which ever end of the scale you are, you are sure to find what you need at Office Hero.

Check out the links below to view all their fantastic offers.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

CeraKook Ceramic Knives

Since starting weight watchers, I have been eating a hundred times more healthy which means I am filling up on my fruit and veg all day everyday. But with so many new meals being cooked my kitchen knives are failing to cut the mustard when it comes to the chopping and slicing of all my vegetables. So when I heard about new CeraKook knives, I was keen to learn more about the product.

The ceramic knives are extremely durable and lightweight making them easy to handle, with a lesser risk of any "chopping" mishaps  They are stain resistant and the ceramic coating on the blades make sure nothing sticks to the surface, making chopping and slicing all the more easier.

The knives are available to buy separately as well as in a set. Every kitchen should have a decent set of knives and you can't go wrong with the Cerakook range. They offer different sized knives for your different needs, from a 6 inch chef knife to a 3 inch paring knife. They also have a fantastic nifty peeler, making your fruit and veg a doddle to peel. The knives are available with a white or black coloured blade. 

The site is fairly new and any orders currently placed online are "pre orders" as the knives are not ready to be shipped until the end of November. Hardly a long wait at all, but to compensate for the hold, CeraKook are offering up to 20% off their products. Meaning you could pick up this fantastic knife set for just £59.95! But hurry as they will soon shoot back up to full price!

They come in a beautiful presentation box, and if you spend more than £40 they are offering free UK delivery. So with Christmas round the corner these would make ideal gifts.

Check out the links below to see the latest offers

Reasons To Be Cheerful #R2BC

I love how the #R2BC is on a Thursday, as this is also my weekly weigh in day at Weight Watchers. So I can always wait until later on in the day as the scales might give me reasons to be "not so" cheerful! But today was another fab day with regards to weight loss. I have lost another 2.5lbs this week bringing me up to a total weight loss of 21 pounds! Which earned me my 3rd silver seven. I am over the moon at how well I am getting on with the pro points plan.

My second reason to be cheerful this week is that I finally repainted my lounge. I know its a pretty simple one, but I have had all my paint for months! I kept saying next week and it turned into months, so I finally got it done.. Only 4 more rooms to decorate now!!

My 3rd and final reason to be cheerful is the Christmas spirit which has started oozing out of all the shops with their window displays, the T.V with its festive adverts and all the people I speak to on Facebook and Twitter commenting on how they have started their Christmas shopping or how much they want to start decorating for Christmas  I love Christmas so much and get more excited than Aalliyah I think! I have started my Christmas shopping and bought some new decorations for my tree today :)

You see.. Simple things that make a big difference to my week. What has made you happy this week?

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Saturday Caption Day #Satcap

Its Saturday!! Which can only mean one thing.. Time to caption! Here is Aalliyah and "Dolly". For those of you who haven't read my previous post, Dolly was a dead, hung girl we made for our Halloween party. Here she is before we made her "dead" and "hung".

Head on over to Mammasaurus and have fun captioning more! I am spending the day repainting my lounge but will come on later to check out all the entries.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Knowing Me Knowing You Meme

For those of you that don't know me, My name is Emma and I am a complete newbie to the "blogging" world. I have been blogging on and on for the past month or so, but I would say it has only started to gain momentum in the past few weeks. 

The purpose of this meme was to bring bloggers together, to learn about the person behind the computer screen. I myself know how hard it is to form new friendships as a new blogger so to me this is a great idea!

The Rules:

  • Nominate five other blogs in your post ( All must have less than 250 subscribers)
  • Post five random facts about yourself.
  • Answer the five questions that the "tagger" has asked you, and then list your own five questions to ask others.
  • Let your five friends know you have tagged them by commenting on there blog/tweeting them.
My five random facts:

  1. My confirmation name is Monica and was only chosen as a group of us all chose names from the show "Friends" (Great religious meaning there lol)
  2. I still have an irrational fear of the dark. (Have to have hallway or bathroom light on when I'm in bed lol)
  3. I'm a bit of a Call Of Duty addict. Granted I can't play half as well as the guys on there.. But I give it my all and get very angry in the process lol
  4. I have 2 tattoos. One of my lower spine and one on my shoulder (Both wording)
  5. I am a massive Dr Who fan! But can't stand the new episodes with Matt smith lol

Here is the five questions I was asked to answer:

  1. What is the most embarrassing experience you have ever had?
Hmmm.. How do I choose? I am the most clumsiest person ever so have taken an embarrassing tumble more times than I can remember, but I would say the most embarrassing thing to happen to me was being in labour and having to have the normal "dilation checks" as you do and being escorted to a ward with zero power, so having a friendly little helper having to hold a huge JCB builders torch over me while I was examined.

    2.  What is your most treasured childhood memory?

The number one thing that stands out for me is sharing a room with my sister. I remember we had everything matching, and I believe at one point it was a Pierro Clown theme. (No wonder I have a fear of them now) I remember constantly making up dances and performances with my sister and one that sticks out in particular was a dance we did to Shakespears Sister's Stay. We practised for hours and them performed it for our parents.

   3.   What is your favourite meal?

That's easy.. Boiled gammon joint, potatoes and cabbage. Proper comfort food!! Haven't had it for so long (Following pro points plan and trying to be good) 

   4.   If you could go to any destination in the world, where would it be an why?

OK, So it's not a far away land or exotic location, but I would love to go to New York. Having struggled with work and finances, I have not been in a position to be able to go on a holiday like this and so Aalliyah is yet to experience her first plane holiday. She would absolutely love New York more than me. So now I have quit smoking (Nearly a year now) Hopefully back in employment very very soon! This is definitely our first holiday :-)

  5.   If you could wish for just one thing for your child, what would it be?

This is by far the hardest question of the lot. How do I choose just one?? I guess one of the main ones, is that I wish that she is happy in whatever she chooses to do. Many people can have big bank balances, big cars and even bigger houses and be the loneliest people in the world.

I am tagging the following five people to take part:

Your five questions to answer:

What one thing (material object) could you not live without?
What is your favourite blog post?
If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go and why?
If you could go back in time what one thing would you change and why?
If you had one wish right now( at time of writing post) what would it be for and why?

Let me know when you have done your post and I'll check it out :-)

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Halloween On A Budget - The Gallery - Frightful

I am always on the look out for a good deal and ways to save money, so the first thing that came to mind when I thought about Halloween, was what I could make myself. Having ran out of nearly everything crafty I decided to round up some household things and see what I could do.

This is Boo! He was made with an old sheet, a balloon and some string, and some markers or paints to create the face.

Start out with an olds sheet and very roughly draw a large circle made from zig zag patterns. Dont worry about being neat. Next cut out the design, be as rough as you like as it all adds to the jagged effect when hung. Next blow up a balloon, and cutting a small hole in the centre of the sheet, pull the balloon tie through and "voila" . Design your own face and then hang him up with some string. Very easy and very inexpensive.

We also made a hanging ghost face decoration, using pretty much the same method, but with a bin bag, then popped a spooky mask onto the balloon.

And then there's Dead Dolly, Not for the younger ones or the squeamish, but looks fantastic when the light is dimmed. Piece of cake to make. Took some old clothes, stuffed them with rolled up newspaper balls, taped on a balloon head and them finished off with a rope noose. Add a hat/shoes/socks or what ever you like at the end and don't forget to draw on a face.

Last but not least was my 10 second table cloth. Cut open an old pillowcase so its laid out flat, then get the kids to have fun with some fake blood. As you can see Aalliyah made scratch marks, drips, splats and even a hand print!

Have fun this Halloween and remember to stay save in whatever you do!

I am linking this post up with "The Gallery" this week as the word is frightful!
Head over to Sticky Fingers to view more entries.


Sunday, 28 October 2012

Learning Resources Hot Dots Hands On Review

Learning Resources offer a fantastic range of learning aids and toys, with their main customer base being teachers and other workers in the education field. They manufacture a varied range of items which have been specifically developed to aid in children's learning and development.

As a parent I think it is extremely important that my child learns through play, so when we were given the opportunity to review something from Learning Resources Hot Dots range, I was delighted.

We were askled to review a Hot Dots pen and set of accompanying flash cards which were the Hot Dots Junior - Numbers and Counting set.

The pen is very easy to use. Easy to hold onto - even for little hands, and with only 2 buttons, not overly complicated for children to operate. One button switches the sound on and off while the other alternates between sound effects and sound effects with voice (For when you get an answer right or wrong)

The cards are brightly illustrated and feature a question and a multiple choice answer selection. Each answer has a corresponding dot next to it, which when you place the pens nib and push down onto it will let you know if you have got the correct answer or not. To do this it will either light up green or red and will actually speak and tell you if you right with phrases such as "Err No!" and "Good Job!" They come in a handy little box making them easy to carry around and perfect to take with you anywhere.

This innovative new idea, is a fantastic way of letting children check there own answers and with so many different card sets available, which cater for a range of different ages and levels, the fun never has to end.

Take a look at the following video which shows how easy the set is to handle, use and understand.

As I mentioned before there are a wide range of card sets available which covers topics such as Spelling, Vocabulary, Numbers, Counting, Telling the time, Mathematics and more. Click on the link below to be taken to the Learning Resources site, where you can view the full range of Hot Dots Accessories.

Fancy winning a Hot Dots pen and set of Hot Dots Junior cards? Head over to their Facebook competition now by clicking the link below, but hurry as the closing date is Friday 16th November. Good Luck :-)

Overall I was really impressed with the pen and cards. They are a fantastic learning aid for children at all levels and I would definitely recommend them to teachers and parents alike.

Please note: I was not paid for this review and it is all of my own honest opinion.

Silent Sunday

Thursday, 25 October 2012

My Reasons To Be Cheerful :-) #RTBC

Well I've had a long horrid flu (Yuk) More bills than you can imagine these past two weeks and EVERYTHING running out in EVERY cupboard, total nightmare! But yet I still have reasons to be cheery (Believe it or not lol)

OK, You knew it was coming.. The gushing, overly proud paragraph about how well my daughter is doing at school? Well yes , I am in fact over the moon with Aalliyahs parents evening, she is working above her targets and if I give her a little shove this year she is possible of a level 6 in her SATS next year. I did think.. "Hang on a minute, SATS go to level 5" But my concerns were quickly cut short as the teacher informed me they have added a higher level this year. So I am very happy with my little brain box.

My second reason to be cheery this week is my weigh in at Weight Watchers. The scales tipped in my favor yet again and I lost another 3.5 lb this week. I have so far lost 18 lbs in 5 weeks, and 5% of my total body weight, so I'm a very happy lady! The weight loss has definitely given me a bit of a confidence boost especially when people comment on my slimming waist line ;)

My final reason to be cheerful this week is that I got my hair done!! Yes I know, bit of a lame one, but I haven't had a processional cut in good few years now! Always doing the old D.I.Y snip! To go along with the new style, I also coloured it too (Dark Violet) See..the weight loss is bringing a whole new side of me to light!

Feel free to comment below, and if you like what you read, then please subscribe/join. I look forward to reading all your Reasons To Be Cheerful

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

The Gallery - Books! ..(Glorious Books)

I think there is nothing more important than reading for a child, get rid of every learning aid and toy you have, but as long as you have a book, there is no reason why your child can't learn from it. Reading, pronunciation  spelling.. All comes from picking up a book. I used to read to Aalliyah when she was a matter of weeks old! 

Aalliyah is a massive bookworm. She always has her nose deep into the pages of a book whenever she has some spare time. She reads every night before bed, when she comes home from school (as part of her homework) and all the spare minutes in between.

She took part in a summer reading challenge at our local library and has since fallen in love with the place. We visit every weekend and she gets lost in the rows upon rows of books. She normally comes out with around 10 books.. Enough to see her through the week, but if she enjoys a particular book there is no doubt she could read it in one sitting.

One of her favourite authors is Roald Dahl , so there is no surprise what costume I made her for world book day?!

"Ooompa Loompa Doopadee Dooo.. I've Got Another Puzzle For You"

As for me? I prefer the darker side of the library ;-)

Have used ebook reading apps before but there is something magical about getting books out at the library, the crinkle of the pages and the smell of the print! 

This weeks Gallery theme is Books.. Head over to Sticky Fingers and check out some other entries :-)

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

TV Time.. How Much Is Too Much?

Most children are introduced to television at a young age. I remember when my own daughter watched her first bit of television and watching her nearly burst with excitement as she watched the colourful things bopping around on screen and listened to the music. She would often sit in her bouncy chair after breakfast and watch something (Fimbles , If my memory serves me right) But did this make me a bad parent? Did that hour of television make me a lazy parent? Regardless of what the other hours in the day were filled up with?

There have been endless studies into the link between how much time a child spends watching TV and their weight. Personally I think this is ridiculous. Children of overweight parents are more likely to be overweight and children that do not participate in games/sports/outdoor play are more likely to be overweight but the fact is that nine times out of ten the parents and the lifestyle they choose for their child will determine weather or not your child will be a healthy weight. Not how much time is spent watching TV.

You will always find contradictions in what ever research you come across. My daughter is 9 years old, and in very good shape athletically as well as having a good and balanced diet. She still enjoys her not so good sweet things (in moderation) and YES! she does watch television. In the mornings , after getting up, having breakfast etc there is no time for television, which is good as we would end up being late! Even I tend not to watch as I always end up sucked in to some story on daybreak and end up running late. But when she comes home from school, she normally spends the first hour, getting changed, doing homework etc then I will let her have a few hours of television (Providing her homework/reading is complete). During this time she will no doubt have dinner. I live in a ground floor flat so Its not a case of laziness having dinner infront of the TV, but I have no dining room and no where to eat other than our small coffee table that we sit at and eat. Yes the TV is still on at this time, but more or less not being watched and we still enjoy conversation over dinner abot her day at school and so on.

Aalliyah has watched TV from a very young age. She has also (past year) began using the internet a lot more. She does research for projects and homework, but also spends a lot of time on various websites, such as Cbbc, Mathletics etc. I have yet to find her on a game which had no learning value! She is doing fantastically at school, with high levels in Maths and English. Again yet more information which contradicts most of the research you will find online.

Overall I would say Aalliyah watches TV on average 2 hours a day, more at weekends, if we are not out somewhere and she will play a DVD at night when she goes to bed. The DVD is never watched past 5 mins and she is asleep. But these are all choices that I make for her as her parent, I feel they are right for us as a family, and If I felt they were affecting her behaviour or abilities in anyway, I would change her routine.

Every single parent is different, and I guess there is no right or wrong answer to the worldwide debate of TV time.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Quorn Tikka Masala With Bulgar Wheat (WW Friendly)

A delicious meal and very Weight Watcher friendly at only 9 pro points total meal value.

Using the Weight Watcher Tikka Masala Sauce.

This is what I call a "bung it in" recipe. So if you are not hot on a certain ingredient you can replace with something else and put in whatever you fancy.

Start by gently frying off some mushrooms for 2-3 minutes.

When they start to turn golden brown add in your frozen Quorn Chicken 
pieces. (100g = 3 pro points)

Gently fry off until chicken pieces are cooked through.

Next pour in your Weight Watchers Tikka sauce (Half a jar = 3 pro points)

Gently stir ensuring all chicken pieces are covered, turn down heat and allow to heat through until you are ready to serve.

Preparing the bulgar wheat...

To cook bulgar wheat you use 5.5 parts water to 1 part bulgar wheat.

Start by measuring out your bulgar wheat. (60g Dry = 3 prop points)

Place your water in a pan (with stock if required) and bring to boil.

When boiling put the wheat into the water, cover and turn down, letting it simmer for approx 15 minutes, or until all the water has absorbed.

When ready leave pan to stand for 10 minutes, gently fluff up with a fork and serve.

Add some vegetables on the side to complete your meal and remember if you are a "Weight Watcher" fill your plate with your zero heroes.

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Saturday Is Caption Day #SatCap

What is it with children and cardboard boxes? I could have the most amazing thing ever inside but my daughter still eyes up the box and the bubble wrap. I guess her crafty side takes over as I have always taught her to reuse things if she can. (As I experienced with my beautiful toilet tube binoculars she made me)

Anyway hear is my Sat Cap entry this week. Have fun captioning :-)

Why not head over to Mammasaurus and check out the other Sat Cap entries for this week :-)

Friday, 19 October 2012

My Second Super Seven!

Well it's official! I have now lost over a stone (Biggest grin ever) My total weight loss for the past 4 weeks is 14.5 lbs. I am over the moon as I never imagined I would have such a good loss. If I am honest I was rather sceptical about Weight Watchers, and really did not expect to lose any weight. I have loved getting proved wrong!

Onwards and upwards! Here's to another loss next week!

Fancy shedding a few pounds yourself? I cannot recommend Weight Watchers highly enough. If you follow the plan than you will get the results you want..

Head on over to there site now and take advantage of there £1 joining offer (That's both online and weekly meetings)

Weight Watchers

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The Gallery - Old

Another day and another grey hair! I have actually bypassed grey and gone straight to white! I suppose it is in keeping with Halloween coming up, but white hairs springing up when I am just 27 reminds me of the fact I am getting OLD. But I am sure no one would really appreciate a picture of my pale strands, so I quickly put it to the back of my mind (As I wrote "Remember to buy hair dye" on my notice board!)

Nothing says old quite like your treasured photographs. I have barely any photographs from when I was young, which is why I probably over compensate and take so many of Aalliyah. I want her to have endless memories of her childhood that she can treasure forever.

So here is my photograph for this week. One of the only pictures I have of both me and my sister as children. I'm not keen on the hair do (Thanks Mum) but I do love the photo. I looked up to my big sister then and I continue to do so everyday. With all I have been through , I would be lost without her.

Why not head over to Sticky Fingers and check out some other Gallery entries. This weeks theme is "Old".