Sunday, 8 December 2013

Where Should I Go For My Holidays In 2014

Ok, So I know it is only a matter of weeks until Christmas, but I have already started to think of places to visit next year. Now obviously I would love a holiday abroad but with my current position at work being only temporary, holidaying abroad will have to wait for a more stable work front. I have however been looking at all the wonderful places within the UK that wont break the bank and still be an enjoyable and memorable holiday for us both.

More and more families are taking short breaks within the UK and Butlins has always been a holiday I wanted to take with Aalliyah. I think the thing that appeals to me most about a Butlins holiday is the vast amount of activities and adventures that there are to enjoy. Whether you are an active, sporty family or prefer to relax more on your holidays there is literally something for everyone in the family to enjoy on a Butlins holiday. Everyone knows that Butlins are most well known for there infamous shows that they put on but there a many other things to indulge in such as traditional fairground attractions, sports activities and coaching and plenty of water fun with their fabulous pools and slides. I know Aalliyah would be in her element and would jump at the chance to enjoy some professional sports coaching and would definitely enjoy trying out some activities for the first time like archery or rock climbing. A holiday is the perfect reason to try something new so what better way than taking part in some fantastic activities.

All this fun isn't just for the young ones either, there is plenty of fun to be had by the adults too with wonderful evening shows, aerial adventures, bowling or relaxing in one of gorgeous luxury spas. Plus who says you cant enjoy the fairground or the Splash Waterworld as much as the youngsters? I know we could have so much fun on a Butlins holiday and certainly have every opportunity to make some wonderful memories. After looking at the parks I think I would be most likely to visit the Skegness or Bognor Regis parks, both such beautiful places and perfect for beach sports. I am strongly considering booking a Butlins break and look forward to planning our break next year wherever it may be.

Have you started making holiday plans yet? Where are you planning to go? Why not find out more about 2014 UK Holiday Breaks at Butlins and see if its something you fancy for your family.



Silent Sunday




Saturday, 23 November 2013

Funky Giraffe Christmas Stocking Review

Funky Giraffe are best known for their fantastic range of baby bibs, socks and other delightful accessories sure to make your baby look like a star but this year they have a new Christmas 2013 range featuring these wonderful stockings!


The stockings are absolutely gorgeous. You only have to feel them to know they are made from high quality material and are super thick, not like the thin cheaper stockings which you can find on the high street. They are deep enough that Santa will have no problems in fitting in all those little treats on Christmas eve.

Aalliyah has already got hers ready for the big man. I think I need to follow the pattern here and get the rest of the decorations up now! These stockings start from only £8 and you can even get a personalized one from as little as £10. Perfect for making those first Christmas's extra special.


Why not head over to Funky Giraffe and see all the wonderful things they have to offer. From dribble bibs to socks, you are sure to find something you'll love.








Corned Beef Bolognese - Princes Recipe Challenge

I was recently contacted by the wonderful people at Princes who were looking for bloggers to take part in a recipe challenge. As a mum I am always on the look out for quick and simple meal ideas which are equally affordable yet healthy. I was eager to take part and received some samples of Princes 3 new corned beef flavors that are now available. Corned beef with Chilli , mustard and onions. Typically when cooking with corned beef, people usually do a corned beef hash or stew so I was eager to try something different. The rules were simple, to cook up a quick and tasty dish using only the corned beef samples and other ingredients costing only £5 or less and it had to be done in 20 minutes or less.


So I decided I was going to make a super simple corned beef bolognese. Yes, different I know and not what you would normally associate corned beef with but if you never try new things you will never know if you like them!

So I went with the corned beef with chilli as I like a little kick to my meals. Here are my other ingredients used:






I make that a grand total of just £2.14 (loose onion cost 20 pence) for all the extra ingredients.. Even the seasoning!! 

Method:

Start by gently frying the chopped onion and a few crushed garlic cloves.
When they start to soften and brown, add in the corned beef (roughly diced)
Gently fry the ingredients until the corned beef starts to soften and cook.
Add in the chopped tomatoes and a dash of herbs and leave simmering for 10-15 mins stirring once or twice.
After 10 minutes add spaghetti to a pan of already boiling water.
Once pasta is cooked drain and serve immediately with the bolognese mixture on top.

Then simply enjoy!


This meal was a big hit with my fussy eater and has been requested for dinner again and given that it cost so little I will gladly oblige! 

All these new flavors will are now available in Sainsburys stores nationwide at £1.99 rrp.

*I was sent a sample pack including various flavors and a gift card for the purpose of purchasing ingredients. All thoughts and recipe ideas are 100% honest and my own.




Heat Holders Review and *Giveaway*

Its official, winter is well and truly here. Even as I write this I am full of flu shivering away in a dressing gown and 2 pairs of socks! Sometimes its just so hard to get warm and stay warm. I was lucky enough to review some gorgeous socks recently. Heat holders are wonderful socks that are proven to lock in heat and keep you feeling warm. 


They come with a tog rating just like your duvet and they literally raise your body temperature in minutes! I love them! They are extremely comfortable to wear even with boots and wellies as well as just around the house. They have a super warm fleece lining and should be in "everyone's" stocking this year.


I'm giving three lucky cold footed people the change to win some for themselves. Fancy bagging a pair? Then just enter the simple rafflecopter below! 




a Rafflecopter giveaway

*I was sent a pair of Heatholders for the purpose of my review. All opinions are 100% honest and my own.

Forgotten Birthdays

With so much emphasis right now on Christmas and finding the perfect gift a lot of those December born people seem to get a lot less thought put into finding the perfect gift. I am a December baby and have both my nieces and brother in laws birthday in the same week as my own. Yes there are plenty of Christmas gifts in the high street but I love birthdays as they are all about that one person and I love seeking out unique and sometimes novelty gifts. I am a sucker for personalized items too! There is nothing more unique than a gift tailored just for you and there is a lot less chance of them selling it if they are not too keen! ;-) (Not that my family would ever dream of doing such a thing- I hope!)

Do you put more thought into birthday or Christmas presents? Or do you like me, always like to surprise people with interesting gifts? My sisters birthday has been recently and given that she has a new found love of wine (something she barely touched before now) I was looking for a wine related gift, maybe a personalized wine glass or a funky wine bottle stopper, something really interesting and unique and I came across this fabulous wine cork cage from Homewetbar which stores all of your corks in a fun and decorative way as well as acting as a funky wine bottle holder also. 




I truly believe that it is always better to give than receive. No matter who you are buying for or for what reason, there is no greater feeling than watching someones delight when unwrapping a wonderful gift that you have taken the time and effort to ensure that its something unique and interesting and ultimately something that they will love.

Do you enjoy putting thought into peoples gifts? Or are you one of these people that go out the day before and just grab the first thing you see? What fun and novelty items have you given or received in the past? I'd love to know :-)

*This post was written in collaboration with Homewetbar.com







Braun ExactFit 5 Blood Pressure Monitor Review

Having high blood pressure is just one of the many risk factors for developing heart disease and or circulatory problems and the worrying thing is that as many as 5 million people in the UK are walking around undiagnosed with high blood pressure. With high blood pressure increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke it is imperative that we take blood pressure seriously and take measures to ensure we stay at a healthy level.

The only way to know what your blood pressure is, is to get it measured. It is recommended that everyone over the age of 40 get there blood pressure monitored regularly to asses their risk of getting heart disease or suffering a stroke, but with the increasing amount of younger people being diagnosed with diabetes and obesity it seems that people who are suffering or at risk of high blood pressure are getting younger and younger. Having suffered with my weight in the past I suffered with high blood pressure and the fact that my mum is a diabetic If I had carried on the way I was going, I would have certainly ran into some serious health issues. Thankfully after shedding over 5 stone so far, my blood pressure has returned to normal and a previous diagnosis of inter cranial hypertension along with problem with my eyes has dramatically reduced.

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to review a fantastic new blood pressure monitor from Braun. The ExactFit 5 . The monitor itself is really simple to use and features a large display screen making the readings really easy to understand. The soft inflation means that it is far more comfortable than other upper arm blood pressure monitors which can sometimes feels very painful and restricting when inflated.




I really wanted to give this monitor a thorough road testing so I gave it to my sister who is a District nurse. She visits countless patients everyday and has to cover a wide range of counties so having quality equipment is a must. I gave her the ExactFit 5 to see how her previous models would measure up. All she received was positive feedback on the monitor. The patients have expressed how comfortable it is when in use and being that it is so simple to input and extract data from it makes the whole process quick and easy. The monitor comes with an additional different sized cuff which is also a plus and comes with a smart little carry case which means she can always have it with her. It has certainly made that aspect of her job a lot more simple and continues to use the ExactFit 5 everyday now. 




You can find the ExactFit 5 over at Boots right now and its currently on sale at only £69.99!

For further details visit www.braunbloodpressuremonitors.co.uk .Packed full of information and advice, Brauns new microsite includes tips on controlling your blood pressure as well as practical videos showing you how to fit your blood pressure monitor and understand your measurements.The Braun blood pressure monitors are available nationwide at selected Boots stores.Visit the microsite for more information.

*I was given a Braun ExactFit 5 blood pressure monitor for the purpose of my review. All opinions are 100% honest and my own.


Monday, 28 October 2013

Keeping Your Children Safe Online

As a parent of a pre teen girl, there is nothing more worrying than her safety. As much as I worry about her staying safe outside in the big wide world, there are even more reasons to be cautious when she is indoors and online. You hear horror stories everyday about terrible things that happen online from cyber-bullying to grooming, and with using the internet becoming more and more of a necessity for our children, especially with school work how can we ensure we are doing the very best in keeping our children safe online? There are ever increasing opportunities for children to get online now. Through laptops, smart phones, tablets and games consoles. By following these simple steps you can ensure that your children stay safe when online and still enjoy all the wonderful benefits of the “World Wide Web”.




  • Brush Up Your Own Knowledge of the Web - The more you understand about the internet, the easier it will be to inform your children. Make sure you are aware of the different sites your children will be visiting. Get used to browsing different sites including social networking sites. Remember if it’s easy for you to find online it will be easy for them too!

  • Keep The Internet “In Sight” – Whether they are using laptops, tablets or even their smart phones, make sure your children are always using the internet where everyone can see. Never allow them to be locked away in their bedroom or out of sight from anyone.

  • Explain The Dangers That Can Be Found Online – If you feel your children are mature enough to be using the web then they should be mature enough to understand the different dangers inherent to being online and when using social media. Explain the different situations that they could find themselves in and always make sure they know exactly what to do and who to inform if any such situations occur.

  • Use Filtering Software – There are many marvellous software programmes available to purchase and or download which block out adult/harmful/explicit material. Most programmes can be tailored to block our different sites and content according to the parents’ specifications that are set.

  • Always Be Open And Honest – Always be open with your children. If they have questions about the internet and or its dangers, be honest and explain things truthfully. The more open you are with them the more likely they are to be open with you if anything should happen online. Having an honest and open understanding of what they get up to online will ensure they feel comfortable to come to you should they encounter any trouble online.

There are many resources online for children and parents so if you are in need of any advice then do look around online and stay safe.

My Big Night In

The X-factor has recently returned to our screens which for me means one thing.. Christmas is well and truly on the way. With the sub zero temperatures outside, the nights drawing in at 4 o'clock and the return of some great Saturday night TV many of us are ditching the girls night out plans and making do with a night in front of the goggle box. Since becoming a parent I find that I don't necessarily go out as much as some of my friends who don't have children, but surprisingly that doesn't bother me in the slightest. People (without children) always ask me how I cope without going out all the time! Quite easily actually as I can still find happiness and fulfilment without going out every single weekend. It’s so annoying when people assume because you have children and commitments and choose not to spend every free night hitting the town that you are somehow missing out. I love a night out with the girls, granted it doesn't happen very often but its makes it much more enjoyable when we do meet up and go out together.





Now as much as I love a good night out, I love nothing more than my home comforts. Whether it’s getting the girls round for a catch up with some good food and a bottle of fizz or simply vegging out with Aalliyah and catching up with some latest movies. I must admit the latter seems to happen the most regular!  We are always back and forth from Blockbuster, popcorn and DVD's in hand.





I am a huge movie buff so when it comes to choosing between going out on the town and fighting frostbite or staying indoors with the heating on, some good comfort food and the latest movie release I know what I would prefer (Most of the time anyway) .. and it seems I am not alone in this as a whopping 70% of ladies prefer a night in. Nights out can also prove to be very expensive and although there is lots of fun and excitement to be had hitting the latest clubs there is no reason why a night in has to be a sombre event. Here are some top tips to have the best girls night "IN" ever!


  • Have a pamper session - Dig out the towels and indulge in some DIY spa treatments. Manicures, facials, pedicures... Have fun relaxing and socialising while treating each other to some much needed TLC.
  • Play Games - Games are not just for children. Some of the funniest nights I have ever had included playing games. From the bog standard board games to some truth or dare. Let out your adolescent side and have some fun playing games.
  • Movie Marathons - You can't beat a good movie. Weather it’s a chick flick or a good action movie (purely for the eye candy) All bring a movie and have a movie marathon. You could go from watching Harry Potter to Die hard! Just don't forget the munchies!
  • Theme nights - Why not make a theme for the evening. Maybe you could dig out your leg warmers and hair crimpers and have an eighties night. Just don't forget the music!

There are so many ways to have fun without having to leave the house and a night in is most definitely the new night out! What do you like to do to have fun when staying in? I'd love to hear your girls night in essentials. I have a feeling wine is going to be top of most peoples lists.




*This post is in collaboration with Ladbrokes Bingo

** Survey conducted on over 2000 women in UK

Friday, 18 October 2013

My Reasons To Be Cheerful This Week - #R2BC

I haven't joined in with this linky for a while now, just keep forgetting or putting it off. I have decided I have a lot to be happy about this past week and want to share it. That is the beauty of this linky, even if you feel you have had a fairly mundane week, it really makes you reflect on past events and be thankful and happy for things that you wouldn't normally give a second thought to.


The first thing that I am not only happy but "over the moon" about is that I got a job which I start next week. Being out of work and a SAHM for so many years has always made getting back into employment a very daunting prospect and as much as I am nervous about starting I am excited about all the wonderful opportunities which will hopefully be achievable now.

Another thing I am happy with this past week is reaching a very big milestone in my weightloss journey. I have officially said goodbye to 5 stone of weight! Can you believe it? I have to keep pinching myself honestly. I never thought I would lose anything when joining and now look at me. I have had a bad few months with weight watchers so I am happy I seem to be back in the swing of things.

Finally, I got to go to an event last week and meet a bunch of lovely ladies who are all wonderful bloggers. The event was for a company called Tinyme. We enjoyed a luxury meal and it was set in a beautiful hotel, Brownsover Hall. It was fantastic chatting with so many established bloggers and was a privilege to be invited.



Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart
What has made you happy this week?



Thursday, 17 October 2013

Using My Noodle Again

Some of you may know that a couple of months back I decided to enroll on an adult learning course which was being held at my daughters school. It was a functional skills course covering English and Mathematics at level one. The course went well and I passed. It was a shock to the system at first being back in that classroom environment and doing homework but I am fairly confident in my maths and english abilities and found level one to be fairly easy to complete.


Last week I started level two. My oh my what a different kettle of fish level two is. I knew it would be harder and welcome the challenge of upping my game. Level two covers a lot more varied subjects and in greater detail. Even the questions seem to be worded differently to trip you up. But regardless of how challenging this course will become I am determined to stick it out, knuckle down and get a pass. A pass in this level would be the equivalent of a GCSE A*- C. Now thats got to look more appealing on the old CV rather than a big blank space under qualifications.



Aalliyahs school work has got a lot more difficult and is even receiving extra study support in Mathematics as she is on the verge of pushing through to a level 6 which is fantastic! As you can imagine she brings home some pretty mind boggling homework. Just the other day she asked for my help with some fractions questions and I may aswell have been looking at one of those magic eye illusion pictures where you have to try and find the hidden picture. No matter how many times I read and reread the question, nothing stuck. I guess another big reason I chose to go ahead with level two was to build my confidence and knowledge so that I may be able to assist Aalliyah with her studies which is something I would normally shy away from.

My brain is totally fried today! The amount of information I took in has left my brain feeling numb I dont even want to think about numbers for the rest of the day. I want nothing more than to get in a nice hot bath and crawl into my not so comfortable bed until morning. Yes its like sleeping on a cactus and I'd give anything to be drifting off to sleep on a luxury memory foam mattress but I am so drained after this mornings lessons I could sleep on a rock.

*This post is in collaboration with Zleeps.co.uk



Speedy Spaghetti Carbonara *Weight Watchers Friendly Recipe*

This is taken from the Weight Watchers 20 minute meals book but this super quick and easy  meal isn't just for the weight watchers, this tasty and satisfying meal can be enjoyed by the whole family.
Propoints per recipe 38 - Propoints per serving 10
Serves 4 - If cooking for less people divide the ingredients as required.

Ingredients:
250g Spaghetti or linguine
Bunch of spring onions
150g Button mushrooms
Cooking spray or oil
1 Large garlic clove
1 Large egg
200g Low fat soft cheese
150ml Skimmed milk
15g Grated parmesan cheese - Or another cheese if preferred 
100g Ham
Black pepper
Parsley to garnish.

Method:


  1. Put the spaghetti or linguine into the saucepan and cover with plenty of boiling water from the kettle. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until just tender.
  2. Meanwhile, thinly slice the spring onions and mushrooms. Heat the frying pan and spray or add oil. Add the spring onions and mushrooms to the pan with a peeled and halved garlic clove and cook gently for 5 minutes until softened. Then discard the garlic clove (it is only added into the cooking to give flavor to the finished dish)
  3. Beat the soft cheese and egg together in a mixing bowl, then add the skimmed milk and half the cheese. Add the parsley (chopped/dried) and season with black pepper.
  4. Keep 2 tablespoons of the boiling water before draining the pasta into a colander. Return the pasta to the saucepan with the 2 tablespoons of water and stir in the egg mixture. Once mixed add in the mushrooms and onions and gently mix. Finally add in the chopped ham, return to a gentle heat for 5 minutes mixing occasionally.
  5. Serve with the remaining cheese sprinkled on top and some parsley if you wish.






Thursday, 10 October 2013

Lego Ninjago Garmatron Playset Review

I absolutely love Lego! It's something I have grown up enjoying. We didn't have all the wonderful varieties that are available now but there was something magical about having a pile of rubble in front of you and being able to let your imagination run wild and build anything you wanted. I have always bought Aalliyah construction toys and she is a huge fan of the Lego sets in particular. 

Aalliyah loves the sets that you have to build piece by piece. My patience runs out after 5 minutes but she will happily sit there for hours until the last brick is in place. The Lego Ninjago Garmatron playset was a perfect choice for Aalliyah as it had enough pieces to be a challenge and I knew It would keep her entertained for a long time. The Garmatron is just one of many sets available in the Ninjago range. 


The set itself is a 328 piece which sounded like a lot, but it was actually a lot of little bits and bobs which added on so was in fact an easy build. The instructions were very surprisingly easy to follow, I thought they would be confusing but Aalliyah got on with it no problem. They set out each stage really clear with pictures so the children can get on with it themselves . I think its nice if its easy to follow as it give the younger ones the confidence to be able to build with limited input from the adults. This set was great as it came with the mini figures and featured an extra mini vehicle and a hidden prison inside the battle vehicle. I had almost as much fun playing with it as Aalliyah did, especially when we found a cool feature which shot out a bullet! Its sturdy too so can take a fair amount of play without breaking up.



Aalliyah has put an endless amount of Lego sets on her Christmas list this year but with so many to choose from there really is something for everyone. You can find more great action sets from the Ninjago range here.

Aalliyah gives this set a 10 out of 10 and seeing that it kept her quiet and entertained for near on 3 hours? So do I!




Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Coping With Loss

Having to deal with the loss of a loved one is one of the most traumatic, emotional and heartbreaking things to happen in your life. Often when we are faced with loss it leaves us feeling alone and vulnerable and it many cases isolating ourselves to the people closest to us. In 1969 a psychiatrist named Elisabeth Kubler Ross came up with her theory on the five stages of grief. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance. The most important thing to remember is that each and every emotion that you experience while grieving is totally normal no matter how alien it may feel. What's also important to remember is that no two people are the same. Never compare how you are grieving to someone else. Everyone deals with grief and loss in different ways.

For many people grief is like a rollercoaster of emotions with feelings of shock, anger, sadness and in many cases physical symptoms can also manifest from our grief. Many people experience nausea and weight loss while going through the grieving process. It's called a process for a reason, you don't suddenly wake up the next day to find your grief has gone and you are feeling yourself again. It is a long process with many steps to getting to a place of acceptance. 

The number one thing you need when dealing with a loss of any kind is "Support". Don't lose your support network. Accept the support of people around you. Turn to family and close friends and don't isolate yourself. If you have your own faith you follow then use that to give you strength. If you think you would like a wider support network get in touch with local support groups. Contact your GP. There are so many different support outlets around you. Use them. Grief can be a lonely time but that doesn't mean you have to deal with it alone. Find someone you can trust who can take over any legal matters or paperwork. If you don't feel up to doing something, then don't do it. There may be issues to deal with surrounding the funeral arrangements, will disputes, children etc. Don't let arising problems set you back. Entrust your problems with someone and let them help you through it.




There is no set timescale for grief. It is normal to feel numb and empty following a loss and these feelings will take time to go away. They wont suddenly dissapear but gradually over time they will not be as overbearing and you will slowly start to accept your loss and start moving forward.. It doesn't matter how long it takes to come to terms with things what matters most is you take things one step at a time and at your own pace. If you do feel that things are not getting any better after time or your feelings seem to be getting worse then seek help/advice from your local GP.
Remember there are no right or wrong ways to deal with loss but there are many methods of support available to us to ensure we get the help we need through our grief and help us to move forward with our lives.

*This post is in collaboration with Redress Law

In The Blink Of An Eye

Isn't it scary how quickly the years seem to fly by? I know people say it all the time but time really does seem to pass us by so quickly especially when it comes to our children growing up. It seems like only yesterday I was choosing Aalliyah's pushchair and cot bedding and yet Monday I found myself choosing her secondary school! I went to an open evening at a local secondary school that both myself and Aalliyah are eager for her to get in to. It really was an amazing evening touring the school but as I sat there in the auditorium surrounding by hundreds of girls and their parents it suddenly dawned on me, this time next year Aalliyah would be in her secondary school and more than likely helping out on the next presentation evening for prospective pupils. Its not like I am totally unaware of her age, but it just hit me like a bullet. 



I got thinking about all the "firsts" that I would never experience with her again. Her first words, steps, smile. Her first day of school, the first bit of artwork she brought home for me. It is sad to think that I will never get them years back but then as I looked at her watching the presentation with so much excitement in her eyes I started to think of all the new wonderful things we were yet to experience together. Starting secondary school, her first love, her first heartbreak, university, her graduation, passing her driving test and buying her first house. There are so many exciting adventures that lay ahead of her we will have so many "firsts" to still enjoy. Although she needn't think I'm going to be purchasing all these "firsts"! Who knows, maybe when she graduates and makes her "first" million she can actually buy me my "first" mansion. Ok, so not a mansion but there are plenty of beautiful country houses for sale that I wouldn't say no to.



Time really is precious and although its sad to see her leaving those baby years behind it is exciting and wonderful to watch her blossom into a beautiful, intelligent and independent young lady.

*This post in in collaboration with Strutt&Parker



Tuesday, 8 October 2013

The Easiest Daydream

Isn't it amazing how quickly our minds can travel? I mean one minute we could be sat at the bus stop waiting for the number 31 and the next minute we could be sat on a sun lounger in the south of France and what's even more amazing is how elaborate these day dreams can quickly become. They seem to evolve at the speed of light. I found myself in that situation a few days ago at a job interview. Now I should start by telling you this has been my first job interview in quite a few years as I have been a stay at home mum. As you can imagine interviews are few and far between especially with my all too vacant looking C.V.




Anyway, I found myself sitting in the "break room" waiting for the interview process to commence. It was just me and a little lady who was fixing the tea and coffee vending machine. As I watched her work and tried not to listen to the sound of my heart beating like it was coming out of my chest through nerves, I was suddenly in the interview room and half way through the interview. I was like an unstoppable force answering any and all questions put to me. The interview was going swimmingly then suddenly I am walking into the store and being shown to my workstation ready to begin my first day.

Well the first day must have been a success because quick as a flash I am going to the bank ready to take out my first wage! Then I'm buying that beautiful leather sofa I have been wanting since being given a second hand one when I moved in. I am replacing all my old mix match furniture with new matching items, upgrading the the ten year old television set, replacing all the outdated flooring and then buying that gorgeous shaggy rug I had my eye on. (Boy has this wage packet stretched!) But hang on.. Its six months down the line and I'm taking driving lessons. I have been saving hard and I have purchased a nice little run around for when I pass my test. Perfect for ferrying my daughter to and from school. Then I find myself sitting in a travel agents discussing my holiday plans..




Then I feel a tap on my shoulder and a lady asks me if I could follow her into the interview room. Turns out I had only been waiting for a few minutes and yet had managed to day dream the next year of my life away with great ease. Now to be fair, I wasn't interviewing for a job that paid a yearly wage in the millions and I'm certain all my worries would not cease to exist as soon as I was employed but a regular income right now would be the answer to my prayers.

We are only human and as much as we tell ourselves not to get carried away, it's what we do best. When there is something we really want we can spend all our time dreaming of what its like when we actually get it. It is funny how quickly things can change for us in a daydream. If only real life were like that. 

The easiest daydreams are the ones that are achievable but sometimes the most enjoyable daydreams are the most elaborate ones that seem out of reach. You should never stop dreaming (or daydreaming) as the case may be.. Anything is possible ;)

*This post in in collaboration with SCS

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Center Parcs Family Blogger Club - #CPFamilyBreaks.

Center Parcs has always been a place I wanted to visit, In particular their Sherwood Forest village. There is just something magical about that place! With all the activities you are able to do at a Center Parcs resort I know it would make for a perfect holiday for Aalliyah, who likes nothing better than activity and adventure. Which is something I love too! But I fear I may enjoy the spa just a tad more :) Well I need to relax somehow after all the non stop action throughout the day. Bike rides, nature, sports... Fantastic!

We would love to become an official Center Parcs Family Blogger and have made a video showing how we like to have fun as a family. This is our entry into the Tot100 Center Parcs Family Blogger Challenge which you can find out more about by clicking here.



What ways do you like to have fun as a family?

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Gourmet Meals.. From A Microwave?

I love it when I have the chance to go to a nice restaurant and indulge in some top quality dishes. Being able to pick something sumptuous from the high class menu and enjoy every morsel because you know tomorrow you will be back to the bog standard quick meals you are so used to grabbing in between parents evenings, work, hair appointments or what ever else life throws at you. Being on Weight Watchers means that not only am I watching what I eat, but I am also planning my meals for the week ahead. I do try to be adventurous and try new recipes but half the time I just simply do not have enough minutes on the clock to indulge in a recipe that is going to take longer than 30 mins.

Here is a wonderful recipe idea.. Salmon and prawn crumble. Sounds devine doesn't it? I must admit when I heard the name I immediately thought "No, too complicated and time consuming". But what If I told you this gorgeous twist on the standard fish pie could be easily made using a microwave? I am not talking about those 2 minute meals where you pop a few holes in the film and then zap it, I am talking about actually creating a 5 star meal with a microwave and minimal effort.




In this video celebrity chef Jo Pratt shows you how to prepare this fishy delight using a Panasonic combination microwave oven.



With so many delicious meals you are able to cook from scratch in half the time,  what will you make?

*This post is sponsored by Spreaditfast

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Personal Planner Review And **Giveaway**

I must be one of the most forgetful people on the planet! Whether its doctors appointments, peoples names, birthdays even collecting Aalliyah from school!! (It was the last day of term and I forgot about early pick up - Do not judge me lol) So when the opportunity arose to review a wonderful planner from Personal Planner I was eager to get started and hopefully inject some order into my daily life and have a place to note down EVERYTHING in the hope of not forgetting. Its working so far ;)



Personal Planner offers a fantastic service and allow you to personalise so many different features from size, colours, content and even images that you really can make it truly unique. I decided to make a large planner so I could fit everything into it., whether it be related to my personal or blogging life.



When you are on the website, you are guided through a very simple step by step tutorial of how to edit and personalise your planner right down the colour of the elastic binding. I chose to take full advantage of the personalising options and added a front and back image to my planner. You can also choose what content you would like included. So if you travel a lot you can add maps, gym queen? then add a weekly workout table. There are so many different tweaks you can do to make it tailored to suit your lifestyle.


Fancy winning one for yourself? The lovely people at Personal Planner are giving one of my lucky readers the chance to win a planner or notebook of their choice. Just fill in the simple rafflecopter entry below.
Open to UK residents only. Winners details will be passed to company for emailing/delivery of voucher code.


Good Luck! 



a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Complimentary planner received for purpose of review. All opinions are 100% honest and my own.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Holidays Are Coming

You cannot look at Facebook or Twitter without being reminded that Christmas is on the way. With Christmas being 95 days a short time away, I decided that today would be the day I sort out my "Christmas Drawer". I'd like to think of myself as fairly organised and like a magpie do spend most of the year collecting little things perfect for Christmas gifts and hide them away. The main advantage of starting early is the money you save. I haven't got as much as I had this time last year so I need to play a bit of catch up. What I did get so far, was stashed away and forgotten about so needed sorting, and in most cases unwrapping as they were still in the packaging from when I received them in the post. I had forgotten about some of the things until I opened them.





Whilst I was sorting the things out I got thinking about Aalliyahs Christmas list which she had written a few days ago (Early bird) and how much it had changed from last year. It was like I was looking at the list of a teenager. Gone are most of the toys and games requests and in their place are things like an iPod, a mobile phone and a laptop. Rather than wanting roller skates she wants a pair of Converse shoes. Granted she will always be grateful for whatever she receives and will always love her yearly hoard of board games she accumulates every Christmas but when did she grow up so quickly? When did she start caring about having the latest mobile handset, designer footwear or stylish clothing and accessories. It seems like only yesterday she was asking for a Scooby Doo teddy and a mystery machine! If anything I have realised how quickly they grow up and I should treasure every moment as pretty soon she will be asking me for driving lessons, a car or money for uni! 


What have your children asked for this year? Are they early birds like Aalliyah? If not, what are you planning on purchasing for Christmas 2013? I'd love to know.

*This post was in collaboration with John Lewis