6/30/2017

Mummy & Me - June



Another month calls for another Mummy & Me post and I chose two photo's which I absolutely adore. The first photo was taken on a family day out to Bowland Wild Boar park two weeks ago. I was sitting in the shade feeding Ava while Noah cooled down with an ice cream. We'd just had a big hike, fed lots of animals and been on the park and all needed a sit down and a little refreshment. I just love our family days out, even more so now as a family of four and I know they are only going to become more fun (and tiring!) as Ava gets older. 

Last but certainly not least is the photo below. I don't look very presentable but I'm totally besotted with this shot and it's because my Noah took it. It was first thing in the morning, we'd just woken up and he asked to take our photo. I lifted Ava up, gave her a kiss on the neck and he captured the moment perfectly. Just three years old and already a budding photographer I think! 

It's starting to seriously freak me out with how fast this year is passing us by. You think time goes quickly when you have one child but oh my it goes even faster when you have double trouble on your hands!



Nicola... Life Through My Eyes

6/29/2017

Have A Super Summer With The Kids With These Extra Income Ideas



No matter how much you have saved and prepared, the six weeks holiday with the children inevitably sneaks up on you a bit sooner than you had expected. No one can be fully prepared for what the kids are going to ask to do and when they are going to ask to do it. Many people tend to look for ways of making extra income before Christmas, and completely forget that the summer holidays are also a very expensive time. Fortunately, there are a few ways that you can supplement your income, and also still work full time.

Online Trading

When people suggest online trading as an income source, it can sound incredibly intimidating. The reason for this is that trading in stocks and shares, and other instruments like Forex have always been left to the experts like financial advisers. Now there are online trading companies like CMC Markets, you can take your trading account completely into your own hands. You simply log on and sign up for an account, provide some verification details and then you can start trading. Most online trading sites will let you get started for as little as £50, and you can also invest monthly by direct debit. Most of the well known online trading websites will also have a mobile app, so if you can't get to a computer during the day to see how your trades are doing, you can check on the app, and complete all of the actions you would on the desktop site. One top tip is to use the practice mode first - then you can get used to all of the markets and the way the website works before you invest any money.

Sell your stuff at a yard sale

In the last couple of years, companies like eBay have remained popular in general, but have in some ways priced themselves out of the market. The increase in postage fee's has left many a small time seller feeling like there must be a better way for them to sell their stuff. In the summer months, a yard sale is the perfect option. Most pitch prices will range from £10 - £20, and as long as you don't mind getting up early, all you need to do is pack the car up. You won't believe how true the saying is 'one mans trash is another mans treasure' when you do a yard sale, and some items can fetch quite a lot of money, especially clothing and electrical items. An added benefit to this one, is that you can take the kids with you. If they are old enough you can even let them join in the fun by being in charge of some of the products and keeping the cash to go and find something for themselves to buy. Not only does this solve the short term cash situation, but it is also an extra day out with the kids that shouldn't cost you any extra. Pack a lunch and a flask of tea, and you won't need to spend money on food there.

Sell your photo's

If you are out and about with the kids during the summer, the chances are you'll have some great photo opportunities. But what do you do with the photos after? If they stay strictly on your phone only for you to look back on fondly, then you may wish to consider selling your photos. There are a number of websites like Fotolia, where you can sell your photos online for a small price. The benefit of these is that there are a lot of users on the site, and you have a good chance of getting your photos sold. If you feel your pictures are a bit more worthy of a better price, then why not invest some initial cash and get them printed. Setting up a social media page for your online shop is completely free, and you would be surprised at how well a lovely landscape scene on a canvas will sell to people looking for an addition to their home decor.


- This is a PR collaboration.

6/27/2017

Design, Peel & Wear with Gel-a-Peel - Competition



Rainbow earrings, sparkly bracelets, neon necklaces and cool customised gear… make your very own accessories with Gel-a-Peel! The cool craft kit for creative fashionistas, Gel-a-Peel is the perfect way to design and create your own jewellery. It’s simple to use; just design, peel, wear and share with all your BFFs! 

Now with even more colours including Glow In The Dark and Pearly Pastel, each Gel-a-Peel pack has everything you need to get started - including a range of pens and drawing templates. Place the template on a flat surface and trace over it with your chosen Gel-apeel pen. Once it is dry, you’ll be able to peel it off and show off your newest accessory. Plus, the new gel trays allow you to create cool jewels to stick on your designs! 

What's more, you can pick different designer tips to go on your pen; use the Round tip to create a circular or beaded effect, use the Star tip to make cute star shapes or use the Rake tip to make your design wavy. Once you get started, there’s no end to how creative you can go – make beaded or ribbon shapes, add some spiky effects or mix colours to make a rainbow design! 


The Gel-A-Peel Range includes: Starter Kit, SRP £4.99, includes one tube of Gel-a-Peel, a designer tip, eight cool design templates and cleaning tool. Accessory Kit, SRP £14.99, includes three Gel-a-Peel tubes, five tips, sixteen design templates, two pieces of accessory hardware and cleaning tool! New colours include Glow In The Dark and Pearly Pastel. Sparkle Bead Station, SRP £24.99 Design and create your own beads and beaded jewellery with gel-a-peel's sparkle bead station. Make rings and pencil grips too! The Gel-a-Peel Sparkle Bead Station comes with three sparkle gel colour tubes to make over 100 beads! 

Bring out your softer side with this Gel-a-Peel™ Accessory Kit with additional pastel shades. Design and create your own fashionable accessories with 3 Pearly Pastel gel tubes. It’s so easy and fun!

Gel-a-Peel can be used not only to create your own jewellery, but also to decorate and customise your own items to help little fashionistas stand out this summer. For tips & tricks, cool how-to videos and much more, visit www.gel-a-peel.com


How would you like to win a Gel-a-Peel Pastel Kit and Purse to decorate like the one above? To enter all you need do to is use the Gleam form below. Good luck and don't forget to
enter my other blog competitions

Gel-a-Peel Pearly Pastel Kit + Purse To Decorate

Terms & Conditions.                                                                                                 
1. There will be 1 winner of the prize mentioned above.
2. Prize sent directly by the PR. 
3. Competition ends 30/07/17
4. Incomplete entries with be disqualified. 
5. UK entries only.

6/26/2017

June Degustabox - Review



Our monthly Degustabox arrived just on time, towards the last week of the month. It's a delivery that we look forward to every month and we always sit down as a family to open it because there's always a little something for each member of the family inside. June's box was named the BBQ box and you can see why when you see the contents!


What was inside June's Degustabox
:

1. Eisberg Sauvignon Blanc Alcohol Free Wine - £1.49
2. Capsicana Brazilian Chilli & Coconut Cook Sauce
 - £1.99
3. Haribo Summer Frenzy Sweets - x2 £1.00

4. Spoon Apple and Peanut Granola - £3.70

5. Original O's Savoury Cumin and Seasame Nibbles - £2.99

6. Walkers Pure Butter Shortbread Scottie Dogs - £1.95

7. Light Bites Mango with Vanilla Yogurt Fruit Chips - £1.49
8. Light Bites Superfood Fruit Bar - £1.25

9. Schwartz Authentic American Flavour - x2 £0.85p

10. Westons Cider - x2 £1.99

11. Berrywhite Organic Drinks - £1.39

Total: £21.94



The BBQ box went down a storm because as mentioned previously there was a little something for every member of the family. Inside the box were brands that we already know and love but also a plethora of brands that I'd never heard of before. This is one of the reasons why I love Degustabox so much, I'm always introduced to new and exciting products! Noah eyed up the Haribo in a matter of seconds and he's been having a couple every other day to avoid a total sugar overload. My partner Nick really enjoyed the granola and cider and the shortbread was a hit with me, although I could have easily eaten the entire pack! I was really pleased with this months box.

Degustabox costs £12.99 per month but if you would like to try it for the first time use the code: CTOMW at the checkout to receive a huge £7.00 off! That means you can get your first box for just £5.99!

What products or brands would you like to see in Degustabox next?


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

Which Floor Is Best For Family Life?



Living with kids can be a testing time, and not just for you, but for your home as well. Your home has suddenly become increasingly busier and often more chaotic, so how can you family-proof your home?

It’s not just your furniture that needs protecting it’s also your floors. Your flooring is the thing that is going to endure the endless running around, dropping of toys and the temper tantrums at dinner time. Your floor is a lot more important that you may have first thought. Choosing a floor that will stand the test of time will save you trouble and money in the long run. A carpet floor will need replacing more than once in your lifetime and is easily stained from spillages whether that be food or paint or anything your kids can get their hands on. With all of this in mind, the best floor for a family home would be a laminate.


What Is A Laminate Floor?
The laminate floor is made from four layers with the bottom layer being referred to the at the ‘backing’. The backing layer protects the floor from moisture so that the product does not become warped or damaged from exposure to liquids. The layer to follow the backing is the ‘inner core’ made of a material called fibreboard. Fibreboard is made from wood chips, plant fibres, sawdust and other similar recycled materials. The layer helps to build the floors durability and stability. The third layer is the ‘design layer’, the most important layer in terms of the products unique look. The design layer uses a high-resolution image of a wood species and shade that is then pressed on to the design layer. Once this is done the final layer, the ‘wear layer’, is applied to the surface which helps to preserve the look and quality on the floor.

Why Choose A Laminate?
When you have kids, sometimes you can forget just how much mess they are capable of making. This is why having a floor that is easy to clean is so beneficial. Laminate floors are incredibly easy to clean as they don’t absorb liquids as a carpet would. The previously mentioned wear layer helps to make wiping up those spillages quick and painless. Laminate flooring also offers the advantageous non-porous property. This basically means that laminate floors don’t harbour dust and or allergens, which makes them very hygienic and improve the general air quality of the room. Considering how much times kids spend on the floor playing with toys or just pottering around, this is an invaluable benefit. Laminate floors are definitely the cheaper cousin to a solid wood or an engineered wood, but that doesn’t mean they offer any less quality. Laminate floors look beautiful and are often mistaken for a real wood floor - so there’s no downsides!

How Do I Maintain A Laminate Floor?
As much as we wish, nothing is indestructible, but we can take measures to make sure things last as long as possible. Luckily a laminate floor is very easy to care for and will leave you time to worry about what your kids are up to. Here are some top tips from the team over at Luxury Flooring:

- Cleaning spillages as soon as they happen will help to prevent any possible stains from occurring.
- Putting down a rug in key kids play areas such as bedroom or lounges. This will protect your floor from scratches or impacts of toys being dropped for example.
- Not wearing shoes will also make a noticeable difference as it will bring in less dirt and stop the floor from wearing in busy areas. This one isn’t applicable as much to younger kids as they rarely keep their shoes on for long enough as it is!
- Adding feet to your furniture will help to stop scratches and dents from showing on the floors surface. Feet, similar to rugs, will stop your furniture from moving around quite so much and causing visible imperfections.

- This is a PR collaboration.

6/24/2017

Project 365 - Week 25/52


 18th June - 24th June

18th June 2017


19th June 2017


20th June 2017

21st June 2017


22nd June 2017


23rd June 2017


24th June 2017

Seriously, these weeks are flying by! We are halfway through the year already and Ava is 3 months old, well nearly four months now! I'm currently typing this one handed as she sleeps in my arms, it's pretty much how I do everything these days! This week has been good! We spent Sunday at one of our favourite places, Bowland Wild Boar Park. It was a beautiful warm day, not too hot and Noah had such an amazing time, just like he always does. Even Ava was happy to be pushed around in her carry cot staring at all the tree's. The rest of the week was back to our usual routine, which I mentioned last week has had a bit of a mix up recently as Noah now attends nursery every weekday afternoon. He absolutely loves it now and I think it's because he has so any friends there. He's always coming home and telling me the names of all the children he's been playing with, he's always making new friends and is so very sociable. My Mum visited on Wednesday, which was lovely as ever and we all enjoyed the warm weather whilst it was here.

What have you been up to this week?


6/22/2017

Ava - 3 Months Old



Okay, I'm ready for time to slow down a little now. How is my little newborn baby now three months old? I could cry because she's growing so quickly. I feel like I just have to blink and she's changed a little bit more and it's so bittersweet! As much as you want your row, to bloom and to witness every one of their milestones it's also sad how quickly it all seems to happen. As I type this she is fast asleep in a rugby style hold after having a feed. I'm looking down at her as she makes the sweetest noises in her sleep. There's nothing better than this. Anyway, lets get to it. Here is my sweet Ava's 3 month update.


Character
She is one of the happiest babies I've ever known or come in contact with, I only have to look at her and she coo's and smiles from ear to ear, she's so lovely. She needs constant physical contact, is very social and doesn't like to be on her own for a second. She can go from perfectly happy to screaming in the flick of a switch and that tends to be when she's in the arms of someone else and she realises she wants to be back with her Mummy. She's very much a Mummy's girl and I absolutely love it. 


Size
My little chunky monkey now weighs around 14lb, she's a whole stone in weight! She fits into mainly 3-6 month clothing now but some 0-3 sleep suits still fit her, she's already in size 3 nappies too! I can't believe how big she's gotten in such a short amount of time, maybe being 9lb 4oz at birth gave her that big head start!


Health

Nothing to complain about this time on the health front. She's had the sniffles a few time, caught off her brother but they quickly subsided and didn't bother her at all. She's had no nappy rash, cradle cap or dry skin.


Feeding
We are still breastfeeding and Ava is thriving, I'm so happy. We don't have a feeding schedule or anything, everything is baby led but I do find her wanting a feed at set times every day. I've really enjoyed our breastfeeding journey so far and really hoping we can do it for a long time, till whenever she wants to wean from it. 



Sleep

Ava can be a monkey when it comes to sleep. She won't nap anywhere other than in my arms or in bed with me, the minute I put her down or walk out the room she instantly wakes up and cry's her eyes out. So nap time is very hit and miss, unless I hold her! At bedtime she will stay awake or doze in my arms until I go to bed myself, she then feeds and usually sleeps between 4-5 hours, feeds and then goes back to sleep for another 4-5 hours. Sometimes she has one feed during the night, sometimes two. When Noah was 3 months old he was sleeping through already but he wasn't breastfed so I can't expect that of Ava just yet.



Milestones and new tricks
*Ava had her first holiday, to Marbella with all her family.
* She also giggled for the first time on holiday! At the moment she will only laugh but only when tickled! She isn't laughing socially just yet. 
* Last month she discovered her hands and this month she's discovered her feet! She loves grabbing a hold of them and talks to them too! We are just waiting for her to pop them in her mouth now.
* She's almost rolling over and I think in the next week or two that she'll master it. I think she will be really quick at reaching her milestones, quicker than Noah anyway as he really took his time. 

* She is so good at grabbing things, our faces, hair, her toys.
* She's really interested in her toys and loves to lay on her play mat or activity mat.
* Ava is a lot more vocal now and is using consonant sounds and not just vowels.
* She's very steady when doing tummy time and controlling her head and neck.



Likes and dislikes
Being held, talked to, kissed, cuddled and sung too. Having her hands held or stroked. Sleeping in Mummy's bed. TREES! Mummy and Daddy. Her cuddly toys and play mat. Lamaze toys. When Noah is being silly and performing for her. Baby TV and Peppa Pig. Teethers and anything she can chew on. Feeding. Her snuggly jellycat bunny's. She doesn't like getting dressed, being put down or left alone for two minutes! 



6/21/2017

Kingdom Of You Personalised Book - Review & Competition



Lost My Name, the personalised children's gifts company have gone and done it again! Following on from their last release The Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home they have just released a brand new book called The Kingdom of You and it's just as good, if not better than all their previous releases! 

I was given two voucher codes to order personalised books for both Noah and Ava which I liked because it allowed me to get face to face with their ordering system and I can happily report that it was very easy (and quite enjoyable) to order from them. 
For the purpose of this review I'm going to use Ava'a book as the example as I don't want to flit between the two different books and confuse you all. 



To order Ava's book I simply headed to the Kingdom of You section of the website entered her name and gender, then selected the character I wanted to use for her. I chose the little blonde girl because although Ava has dark hair at the moment I can see strands of blonde coming through, beneath the baby hair.

Personalising doesn't end there as and the choices you make when creating the book can really change up your story. The kingdom is named after them, you can choose your cast of characters (from dinosaurs, superheroes, animals, princesses and vehicles) and pick your child's favourite mouthwatering treat (pasta, pizza, ice cream, chicken and fruit.) You can also write a personalised dedication at the back of the book which I think is a lovely touch.


The story begins with the protagonist sulking in her room, she's fed up of being told what to do and above all, she's not going to tidy her room! Let's just say, she's a bit of a monkey! Beneath all the mess a laundry genie appears and grants her three wishes, which certainly turns her frown upside down!

For her first wish she asks to become a Queen of her very own kingdom because that way nobody would be able to tell her what to do anymore. Next up she wishes for princesses because she loves them just as much as she dislikes being told what to do. 


The characters had so much fun in her very own Kingdom, surrounded by hoards of princesses that she forgets how hungry she is. With that in mind her third and final wish she asks for a monster cone of ice cream and that is what she gets, literally! An ice cream monster appears and takes over the kingdom, creating utter chaos and bedlam! After lots of protests from her citizens she comes up with a master plan, to attack the ice cream monsters weak point, it's cone! Once she's won the battle with the ice cream monster she looks around and realises that everything is such a mess and she has to clean it up, it's her mess after all. She then takes off her crown and realises that she wished things were back to normal and thankfully the genie had a secret fourth wish up his sleeve and grants it for her.



Being able to personalise the book in so many different ways is so exciting for both parents and children alike. For Ava's book I chose her kingdom to be full of princesses and I chose ice cream for her food and for Noah I chose superheroes and pasta, his two favourites! These different choices make both stories quite unique from one another, both visually and story wise.

Noah thinks it's so cool (his words, not mine!) that he's a king in his story, that his kingdom is full of superheroes and that there was a monster made from pasta! It's his favourite book at the moment and we've not put it down since it arrived. Ava on the other hand, although she's small she's already enjoying books and I know that as she gets older she will love her Kingdom of You book just as much as her brother.


Kingdom of You is so much fun and one that can be read and enjoyed for years to come. It follows your child on a wild and wonderful adventure, with lots of twists and turns, I can't recommend it enough. It's also visually stunning, have you seen the illustrations?! It's suitable for up to 10 year old's and costs a very reasonable £19.99. 

How would you like to win a personalised copy for your child? To enter all you need to do is use the Gleam form below! Good luck and don't forget to
enter my other blog competitions

Kingdom Of You Personalised Book

Terms & Conditions.                                                                                                 
1. There will be 1 winner.
2. Prize sent directly by the PR. 
3. Competition ends 23/07/17
4. Incomplete entries with be disqualified. 
5. UK entries only.

6/19/2017

Siblings - June 2017



You can't tell by looking at them but this months Siblings photo's were taken on our holiday in Marbella last month. I took so many of the pair of them during that week but decided to go for these three because I love how they flow and have the same colour temperature. I also love how it shows them bonding and just being themselves as this is what Noah is like with Ava every single day, he just seems to love her more and more as the months pass by. Can you believe she's now 3 months old? It's absolutely flown by! We are looking to book our next holiday abroad for next year sometime soon and it's so surreal to imagine how big they'll both be by this time next year and I imagine there will be lots of squabbles and not as many cuddles between them by then!




The Me and Mine Project

6/17/2017

Project 365 - Week 24/52


11th June - 17th June

11th June 2017

12th June 2017

13th June 2017

14th June 2017

15th June 2017

16th June 2017

17th June 2017

Another week has just flown on by and we've had a little mix up with our weekly routine this week. Noah usually goes to nursery in the afternoons on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday but on Monday morning he was asking to go. He's entitled to 15 hours for free but was only using 9 of them as I didn't really want to send him all week (albeit only three hours an afternoon) when I'm at home but I've always followed his lead. With him asking to go I took him and he ended up going every afternoon, all week! I'm so happy with him and that he's finally enjoying it so much that he's asking to go at every given opportunity. My Mum came to visit us on Tuesday which is always nice, she came to pick Noah up from nursery with us and then we went to the shops. On Wednesday after nursery I could tell that Noah was unwell and in the space of 30 minutes I was ringing 111 and they sent an ambulance. He basically overheated at nursery but it wasn't their doing, it was because he had a viral infection (unbeknown to me because he only had slight cold symptoms) so he would have already had a slight temp already. When we got home he was scorching hot to touch, had goosebumps and he saying he was cold, he was all spaced out and wouldn't talk to me. He couldn't speak because his body was working so hard to cool itself down and it was so scary. Thankfully we weren't at the hospital too long and we were back home before we knew it. He soon perked up too cause he was asking to go to nursery the next day! Friday and Saturday was the usual shopping and visiting family affair and today being Sunday and Father's Day we are going to have a nice day out.


What have you been up to this week?