Mummy & Me - October




It's the end of October already and time for Mummy & Me. My photo this month is very different from anything else I have posted but it's my favourite. I may look atrocious, I was tired and I had no make up on but this is pure bliss. I was cuddled up in bed with my baby boy and there was nowhere else I would have rather been. 

Nicola... Life Through My Eyes

Project 365 - Week 44 - 44/52



25th October - 31st October / Week 44

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Sunday we were that lazy that we didn't even take a photo, so here is one for the previous day. Noah visited my Mum for the afternoon so Nick and I both did a few chores amongst some blogging and comping. Nice easy going Sunday. 


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Monday we actually made it to playgroup! It's on that early that it's always a struggle to make it on time but Noah didn't sleep in this week so we did attend. He was so excited to be there and enjoyed every moment. He loves playing in the outside area, in the water tray and the wooden play kitchen. We also did a spot of painting and rode the scooters outside too. 


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On Tuesday we decided to try on Noah's Halloween outfit! Here he is, Frankenweenie! He looks so cute, I love the little bow tie! 


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The weather was awful on Wednesday so we had a day indoors. We played, played and played some more. Noah's absolute favourites are his cars and he has just started sorting them into colours which is so entertaining to watch. He also likes to line them up like this and then use the car at the end to push them all a long. It's fascinating to watch him actually playing properly with his toys now rather than just throwing them about. 


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Well this photo just says it all doesn't it! On Thursday we decided to carve our pumpkins for Halloween. I chose to create a "friendly" pumpkin for Noah so he wouldn't be so daunted by it and he just loves it and keeps kissing it all the time! 


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On Friday we all went into town to do a bit of shopping. Eagle eye Noah spotted this "choo chooooo!" and ran right over to it as soon as he set eyes on it. I was impressed to actually find one that is still 20p a ride and not £1 a go! 


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Halloweeeeen! We spent the day visiting family and then we visited Brewers Fayre to review the new menu and refurbishment. We had such a good time visiting Noah's Great Grandparents earlier in the day, as we always do. We hadn't seen them for a few weeks because his Nan hadn't been well and she didn't want to risk Noah becoming ill. Our meal out was also great!

Have you had a nice week?

4 hacks to make your family more frugal




Being a parent and caring for a family can be financially challenging. Between providing clothing, food and an education for your kids, it’s easy to see how your bank balance can take a hit. However, budgeting where your brood is concerned may be easier than you think. Here are four simple hacks you can put into action to make your family more frugal.


Shop around for the best deals

From your TV package to your internet and phone plan, it’s important to seek out the best deals if you want to become more savvy with your spending. For example, when it’s time to renew your home insurance, make sure you look around to see if you can bag yourself a cheap deal. Using a broker such as Chill.ie can be an effective way to suss out what’s on offer before you purchase. If you’re paying for a satellite TV package, you could bargain with your provider to cancel any extras or add-ons in an attempt to save some pennies. For example, if your kids are not so little anymore, you could scrap the children’s channels in return for a lowered monthly fee.


Be more energy conscious

It’s no secret that being more energy conscious can save you money, so why don’t more of us take note? From switching lights off in empty rooms to turning appliances off at the plug socket, there are a whole host of quick and simple tricks you can use to save yourself some cash. You can even install the importance of this into your kids. Not only will you be teaching them a valuable lesson, you’ll also begin to see your energy bills fall.


Plan your meals

While visiting a restaurant now and again as a treat is perfectly acceptable, you may want to think about cutting back on how often you and your family head out for a bite to eat. Making meals from scratch using fresh ingredients will enable you to keep an eye on your purse strings and it’s a much healthier option too. You can also plan your meals in advance. This will save you a lot of time and effort and it’s a guaranteed cost cutter.


Arrange a stay cation

Instead of splashing out on an expensive holiday for you and your family, why not arrange a staycation instead? While taking a week off to spend it at home might sound unappealing at first, you might be surprised to learn how much fun you and the kids could have without breaking the bank. For example, you could take a trip to the local museum, visit the zoo or simply go to the cinema. There are a wide variety of fun and inexpensive activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to venture too far.


Becoming more frugal doesn't necessarily require any drastic measures and with a little extra effort from you and your family members, you should be able to make improvements to your financial situation.

Noah - 22 & 23 Months Old


I don't know where these past two months have gone, they seem to have flown by. I ended up being late with Noah's 22 month update so I thought I would combine both 22 and 23 month together, a sort of bumper edition.

Noah turned 23 months old last week and I can't believe he turns 2 years old in just under a months time. It's such a cliche saying when we say "they grow up to quickly!" but they sure do. How is it possible that I was 8 months pregnant 2 whole years ago? I still remember those little feet wedged between my ribcage, those somersaults in my tummy in the middle of the night and every ache and twinge. I remember it and I miss it. 


Anyway, let's get to it! 


Character
Well Noah has turned into a little imp, that's for sure. He doesn't have tantrums as such but he will just cry if he doesn't get his own way and I find it so frustrating. He is really pushing his boundaries now but I am always watching him and correcting him. Sometimes he will be mischievous with a smile on his face and he knows he shouldn't be doing what he's doing but because he has a smile on his face he thinks he can get away with it. Little monkey! Although he is going through this "terrible two" phase a little early he's still the cheeky, funny, caring, gentle and sweet little boy that we know and love, just not all the time! 



Size
Everyone always comments on how tall Noah is and he is when stood next to most children his age but he still wears 18-24 month trousers so he can't be that tall. As well as being tall he is slender in places but also stocky? He is almost 2 stone and he's solid! He is size 5 on his feet and he wears a size 5 disposable nappy at night. The majority of the rest of the time he's in a one size fits all cloth nappy.



Health
Health wise he's been fine but he is still cutting in those 4 canines which are just taking forever to come through fully. I think that the teething has been contributing to his mood, sleep and appetite so I hope they hurry up! 



Feeding
Noah is still a machine when it comes to eating and isn't fussy in the slightest. He's recently eaten salmon, prawns and muscles and enjoyed the lot. He is still drinking 24oz of full fat cows milk a day, drinks water and has 3 set meals and snack. 




Sleep
This is the biggest change we've had in the past two months. Noah has always been a great sleeper and has most of the time always gone down without a fuss. Around a month ago his Scout toy started glitching as he was trying to settle and it really frightened him. So much that he was stood up in his cot hysterical. We ran up wondering what what was happening and could hear this awful noise coming from Scout. We took it away and then the next day put new batteries in the toy and demonstrated to Noah that he was all better now but he's not had it in his room since. After that incident his sleep just seemed to go down the pan. It started where he would cry when we were putting him down and just be fussy but then all of a sudden he started being scared of being in his room on his own. We tried everything, multiple night lights, lullaby music, bedtime stories, cuddles, door open, door shut, staying in the room with him, bringing him into our bed, converting into a toddler bed etc but it had zero effect (he got on great with his bed but we've switched back to the cot) but nothing seemed to work and his cries at night were pure terror. I think these sleep issues were a combination of many different things and the main reason is that his imagination is developing tenfold at the minute and I've read that this can sometimes result in night terrors or new fears. We had weeks of broken and bad night sleep and I honestly don't know how people do it. Thankfully we are back on the right track now and he is starting to sleep through again and he still has his nap in the afternoon. 




Speech
Noah has learnt a lot more words in the past two months but he isn't saying two words together yet. I can see he's really trying to communicate verbally with me at the moment and he often gets frustrated that he can't properly express himself yet. New words lately are; boat, bee, dodo, choc choc, star. 




Milestones and New Tricks
Imaginative play! This is probably the biggest milestone Noah has reached these past two months. I can really see his imagination blooming and he often plays make believe. He will lay on the floor, pretend to be asleep and snore. He also pretends there's a bee and will run around shouting "oh, bee, bee, bee!" and run for a cuddle like he's scared! So cute.

His speech is coming on a lot as he is saying more words and using them more frequently. He's also learnt for example that Nick's guitar isn't "dada" it's "dada's!" 





Favourite things this month 
Vehicles, cars, ambulances, aeroplanes, helicopters, trains, trucks, tractors. Animals and farm animals. Music especially One Direction, The Weeknd, Little Mix and Bruno Mars. PEPPA PIG! Toy cars. Being outdoors. Running, jumping, dancing. Playing make believe. Painting, play doh, baking, stickers. 



Decathlon Oxelo B1 Scooter - Review‏



Noah is 2 in just over two weeks time and is thoroughly enjoying his new found toddler independence. He thrives from learning new things and accomplishing tasks on his own accord so when I was asked if he would like to review the Decathlon Oxelo B1 Scooter I thought it would just be perfect for him and the stage that he is at now.

When the Scooter arrived Noah was napping and my partner was at work so it was down to me to assemble and I was a little worried that I wouldn't be able to do it. This is because I am useless at anything like that but thankfully it was fool proof and I had it set up and ready within minutes. 




My initial impressions were great! I noted that it was super light whilst also being great quality which I've noticed you don't find very often. I also appreciated how the handle bar can be adjusted. For the moment Noah has it on the lower setting but as he gets older I simply need to adjust it to the higher level. The handlebars are also easy to grip and easy to steer. 

With Noah being 23 months old we have been practising with the scooter indoors for a few weeks and he is slowly but surely getting the hang of it. With his growing confidence we decided to take it for a spin outdoors this weekend.







Although Noah is still a little wobbly on the scooter he is learning how to use it very quickly. I think this is all down to how much of a perfect first scooter this is. Like I mentioned previously it's so light weight which makes it easy for parents to cart around but also easy for the little one's to use too. 





The Oxelo B1 scooter chassis and scooter shell costs just £25.98 which I think is an absolute bargain. I really couldn't of asked for a better first scooter and the fact that the Oxelo B1 will last Noah years is just outstanding. I can't praise this scooter enough! 



- We were sent this product for the purpose of this review. However all opinions are my own. 

Miles Kelly - Convertible Book Review & Competition


I've been a bookworm for as long as I can remember and some of my fondest childhood memories are curling up with my parents reading a good book together. When I was pregnant with Noah I really wanted my love of books to rub off on him and began buying him books long before he was even born. Now at 23 months old he has quite the collection and he really enjoys sitting down and unwinding with a good book.

A few weeks ago I saw a call out from Miles Kelly as they were looking to work with bloggers and I literally leapt at the chance as I was such a fan of their website already. They offer such an array of different books, for many different age ranges and at such excellent prices too.


We were sent the Old Macdonald had a Farm story book and the Old Macdonald had a Farm sticker book a long with the Convertible Tractor book to review. Noah absolutely loves farms, animals and tractors so the minute he set eyes on them he was sold. 


Old Macdonald had a Farm Sticker Playbook
Sticker books are amongst Noah's favourite things so we were delighted to see this included. The sticker play book is priced usually priced at £7.99 but is currently £5.99 in the sale. The book folds out into a play mat and within are 50 reusable stickers to play with and learn from. With the book being reusable I think it's such good value for money. 




Old Macdonald had a Farm Rhyme Time Story Book
This book was a surprise as I initially thought it was a book just about Old Macdonald and his farm but I was pleasantly surprised at how many other rhymes are included. Noah loves to sing and dance so he always enjoys hearing a new nursery rhyme. 
The book is usually priced at £5.99 but is currently £4.49 in the sale. Such a great price! 



Convertible Tractor

Last but certainly not least we have the Convertible Tractor book which is priced at £17.99 but currently £13.49 in the sale. This has gone down a storm with Noah as it's not only a book but also a play mat and a also turns into a tractor! It's like his dreams have all come true!

The convertible range comes in a wide range of different vehicles; tractor, fire engine, spaceship, pirate ship, train, princess carriage, pink convertible car, four whel drive and bulldozer. There's something for every child. 


Noah has spent the most time with this in the play mat form as he really enjoys to push his toy cars and tractors down the road and through the farm. He also likes to point out all the different characters and is always discovering something new.






As you can see the Convertible Tractor has received a thumbs up from Noah! I can see him having countless hours of fun with it and think it would make an excellent Christmas present for any young book lovers out there. 

How would you like to win a convertible book of your choice? To enter all you need to do is use the Rafflecopter form below. Don't forget to check out all my other competitions and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

t&c-

1. 1 prize to 1 winner.
2. Prize supplied directly from the PR.
3. Competition ends 23/11/15
4. Incomplete entries with be disqualified.
5. UK entries only.

Project 365 - Week 43 - 43/52



18th October - 24th October / Week 43

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On Sunday we visited another of our favourite places, Forest of Bowland Wild Boar Park. It's a little drive a way but so worth visiting if you live in the North West. It's has lots of animals to see and feed including deers, wild boars and even meercats and owls. 


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The sun decided to come out here and there on Monday so when it did we were straight outside soaking it in. I would be surprised if we see anymore sun this year now. Bye bye sun. 

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Noah really enjoys baking and sampling our goods afterwards so I find myself baking at least once a week these days. I feel like I'm getting better the more I practice and I think it helps that I finally bought digital scales!

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After a 3 month wait we finally had our hospital consultation for the lump in Noah's neck. I wasn't really worried about it as swollen lymph nodes are common in young children, especially after a virus but I did want a second opinion. We went in thinking he would need a blood test but after speaking to the doctor she quickly reasured us that there was nothing to worry about and that it wasn't needed to look at it any further. He had a complete bill of health. 


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This isn't the most flattering photo of myself but I just had to share it. Cuddling up to my son whilst he naps, absolute bliss! I might of had 40 winks too! 


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Friday we had a chilled out day and then went shopping and visited family in the evening. I love easy going days like these.

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The weather was miserable on Saturday but we didn't let it stop us venturing out and exploring as a family. We are lucky to have places like these to visit right on our door step. We went to the cafe for a snack and collected fallen leaves for arts and crafts next week. 

My Mummy Time Wishlist


The minute you become a Mummy you wave goodbye to any freetime you ever had. It's a fair trade for your gorgeous offspring but occasionally you do long for those hot bubble baths and warm cups of tea, especially on those hectic sort of days. I often find myself fantasising about a stress free, full on pamper day.

I thought I would put together a bucket list of ways I would like to pamper myself. By having this list it will give me something to work to and it will also remind me to take a break and have a pamper every now and again. So here it is, my pamper to do list.

1. Have a spa day
Pools, steam rooms and hot tubs, oh my! One thing I have always wanted to do is go to a spa. I've never heard a single negative comment when it comes to a decent spa day. I hear they work wonders and a wonder is what I need! I have been browsing through local spa's and I'm hoping I can book myself into one soon or hope that a nice relative will read this post near Christmas time! *hint hint*

2. Do yoga.
I used to practice yoga years ago and found it not only great for my fitness and posture but it was also extremely relaxing. After not stretching in years and after having a baby I think it may be a struggle to get back into the swing of it but it will be worth it. Like they say, no pain no gain. 

3. Get a hair cut.
I've had the same hair style for as long as I can remember and I am in dire need of a drastic change. I have been thinking about going blonde and getting a long bob but I think that may be a little much considering my hair is long and dark. All I know is I need a change!   

4. Paint my nails
Something as simple as sitting down and giving myself a manicure once a week makes me feel great and I must of painted my nails twice in the past year. It's something that doesn't take long and something that I intend to do at least once a week. 

5. Trip to the salon
Ever since having Noah my skin has felt so tired and dull. I've always had combination skin where it's dry yet oily and it's so difficult to find a product which works with my skin. I would love to have a professional facial or skin peel in the near future as I think my tired complexion could really benefit from it. 

6. Go to bed before 10pm
This is something I really need to work on because if I am in bed before midnight it's a miracle. I have always been a night owl and find myself deciding to tackle all my chores the minute the sun goes down. This doesn't really work when you have a toddler waking up at the crack of dawn. The ultimate pamper treat for me would have to be an early night!

What is your favourite way to pamper yourself?

5 Places Germs Live In Childcare Centres




As a child's immunity develops, they're prone to all sorts of bugs and infections – many of which they'll pick up from other children they meet along the way. While a little exposure to coughs, colds and kiddie viruses can boost their immunity in the long term, the economic and emotional cost to the household can be high if they're constantly taking sick days from childcare.
Childcare centres are some of the most common places where children catch their nasties, so it’s important to ensure this environment is clean to limit sickness. Here are 5 places germs love to reside within these centres.


Toys

Toys get chewed on, thrown around and touched by grimy little hands that have little idea of hygiene. Because of this, toys become prime real estate for childcare germs. Just imagine the amount of sneezes and slobber blocks, dolls, trainsets and puzzles are covered with in a day. Toys should be regularly washed in hot water with disinfectant or wiped down to prevent the spread of germs.


Food areas

Whether your childcare centre provides meals or you pack them for you child yourself, the areas where food is stored and eaten is typically a breeding ground for bacteria. At most childcare centres, children have access to the fridge for their lunchboxes, making the fridge door a nice little zone of micro-bacteria.


Bathrooms

Quality childcare centres encourage good handwashing and restroom practice in their bathrooms, but as children are children, these areas are not immune to germs and bacteria. It goes like this: dirty little fingers that may well have been in noses touch a tap to wash their hands, then pick up the germs again when they turn the tap off. Bathrooms are a great area to look at when you initially assess which centre you wish to send your child to. Always make sure the area is cleaned professionally to give your child the best chance at avoiding serious illnesses. Companies like AMC Commercial Cleaning offer commercial cleaning in Brisbane, Sydney, Perth and Adelaide. The nappy change area is also a natural zone for germs, so check that the centre has a policy of wearing gloves for changes and for wiping down change tables between children.


Floor

It can't be helped, but with the spills that children inevitably have and all the dirt they unwittingly track around, floors also bear the brunt of bacteria. A good childcare centre will be well aware of this, ensuring their floors are vacuumed and mopped daily.


Handles

From the front door to the back and all the knobs in-between, childcare centres are home to a host of germs enjoying their own personal day care. It's not just children contributing to this little party either – parents and staff touching doorknobs on their way through also unknowingly add to the problem. This is why a lot of centres require children and parents wash their hands upon entry.
Childcare centres are not so different from the family home, other than the amount of people that pass through with – inevitably – different types of bacteria. A little hygiene and regular cleaning goes a long way in eliminating the spread of germs and causing constant illnesses.

Blade & Rose - Review & Competition



As a lover of children's fashion and British brands I was more than excited to be contacted on behalf of Blade & Rose last week. Blade & Rose is home born and home grown and is a company was started by a lady named Amanda Peffer while she was on Maternity Leave. To add an even more personable and meaningful touch she named her brand after her two children using both their middle names, Blade and Rose. 


Blade & Rose leggings are becoming quite iconic, especially in the blogging community and on social media. They are known for not only looking super cool but by being fit for purpose too


We were sent the Solider Leggings to review and they cost £10 which I think is good value for money. We love this design but there are also so many others to choose from online in a wide range of different sizes too. Other favourites of ours are the Reindeer and Bear designs, though we really do love them all. 

We found the leggings to be soft, comfortable, stretchy and such a lovely quality but they are also durable, hard wearing and easy to clean and dry, they tick so many boxes. I think they are perfect for toddlers and babies alike as they are so comfortable for them to wear and are so easy for them to toddle or crawl about in too. 



Blade & Rose are quickly becoming a leading children's clothing brand here in the UK and are also seen across the world from Germany through to Japan. It's inspiring to see how a British mumpreneur can go so far, very much deserved.

How would you like to win a pair? If you would like to win a pair of Blade & Rose leggings of your choice then enter using the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck and don't forget to check out my other blog competitions

a Rafflecopter giveaway

t&c-

1. 1 prize to 1 winner.
2. Prize supplied directly from the PR.
3. Competition ends 16/11/15
4. Incomplete entries with be disqualified.
5. UK entries only.