Project 365 - Week 13/52

25th March 2018

26th March 2018

27th March 2018

28th March 2018

29th March 2018

30th March 2018

31st March 2018

This week has been the first week of Easter half term and we've packed so much into it. We started with a family day out to Blackpool on Sunday. I managed to win Merlin annual passes last year so we got to go to Madame Tussauds (Noah loved the new Marvel exhibit) and Blackpool Tower free of charge. We did plan on going to the Sealife Centre too but we ran out of time. We had such a great day, it was nice to feel a little bit of sun on our faces and cannot wait for it to finally start warming up. The rest of the week has gone by in a crazy blur, we've been so busy. We've had play dates, been on numerous walks, had an Easter egg hunt, been to an Easter party and so much more. We've not had one single lazy day, I'm worn out! I think I need a parent half term once Noah's back at nursery, ha ha.

What have you been up to this week?

Will a Dementia Care Home Improve my Loved Ones Quality of Life

Recent studies established that about 920,000 people aged 65+ are living with dementia. However, the number is expected to double by 2050. Data from the Alzheimer's Society also found that dementia is one of the most costly diseases. In 2020, affected people spent approximately 34.7 billion on treatment and care for those suffering from the condition. Out of the 920,000 people with dementia, 61% remain at home. However, most people are not aware of when should someone with dementia go into a care home. Despite care homes being costly, they offer exemplary care services and support to your loved ones to keep them healthy.

What Are The Benefits Of Taking Your Loved Ones To a Dementia Care Home?Most people choose to keep their loved ones at home during the early stages of the condition, sometimes with the assistance of a professional care team. For example, NDIS Service Provider In Sydney, Care For Family provides a high level of in-home care - which is not only professional but personal too. This is ideal when you just need a little support but don't feel the need to uproot their lives.

However, frustrations due to limitations increase as the condition grows. Family members become overwhelmed hence finding challenges on how to offer more support. At this point, most people opt for care services to help take care of their loved ones. Here are some of the benefits of taking your beloved family member to a dementia care home.

They Offer Specialized Care
Care homes offer specialized care services to your loved ones. The employees are well-trained in how to offer these services. Most companies also provide constant training to their employees to improve service provision. The employees can positively engage with your loved ones and help them manage unpredictable behaviours through validation, good communication, and redirection. Their actions are often logged with home care scheduling software to keep their care team organised, and families in the loop. 

They Engage Your Loved Ones in Meaningful Activities
All employees in a home care company have medical knowledge on the aspects of dementia. This knowledge helps them offer better services to their clients. It assists in enriching the quality of life through social interaction activities. Caregivers learn about their patient's interests and hobbies and offer a customized environment to improve engagement levels. They also use music therapy sessions that play a crucial role, especially in the late stages of dementia.

They Offer Customized Services to Their Clients
Care homes can offer customized services in line with their client's demands. Every patient has unique challenges that should be addressed differently. These plans are designed respectfully and responsively to ensure the improvement of one's quality of life.

When Should You Take Your Loved Ones To A Dementia Care Home?
Before deciding whether to take your loved one to a care home, it is important to understand the benefits. Care homes make things better and easier for you and your loved one. Deciding to take your loved one to a care home is difficult due to many reasons, such as resistance and other core beliefs.

Look for homes that offer specialized services to dementia patients. Their main objective should be to meet the needs of their clients. Do not get exhausted; reach out and find homes that can help provide specialized care to your loved one.


Mummy & Me - March 2018

On my Mummy & Me post last month, I wrote how it was a little bit of an emotional one for me. You can read more about that here. I'll be honest and say that this months post is no different. It's an emotional one, in the best kind of way. At the start of March it was Ava's 1st birthday and I still can't quite get my head around it!

March has been one amazing month, we've loved every minute of it. With having such a busy month we've taken so many photo's, it's been quite hard to narrow them down. That being said the first picture for this months Mummy & Me has got to be one from Ava's first birthday party. I've taken similar pictures with Noah 
over the years, him sat on my lap, with a birthday cake, blowing out the candles (Nov 2015 & Nov 2016) and I love looking back to relive those birthday milestones. I guess it's going to become a little tradition for Ava and I too.

I adore these photo's that were taken on our little holiday to Center Parcs a couple of weeks ago. These pictures show Ava finding her bearings, walking outside for the first time. I think it's lovely that she walked outdoors for the first time whilst we were away. Noah came over to help too, ever the protective big brother.

Last but not least is quite the signature shot of Noah and I. I've lost count of the amount of times that Nick has taken photo's of me holding Noah's hand walking through the woods, sometimes with Ava strapped to my chest or me pushing her in the pram. I never grow old of them though, I treasure them and I'm so grateful that he remembers to take photographs of me and the kids.

Nicola... Life Through My Eyes

Piccolo Organic Stage 1 Baby Food - Review & Competiton

One of my favourite journeys when it comes to parenting has got to be weaning. I think that it can be such an enjoyable and exciting experience for both baby and parent, thus creating positive association from the get go. When it comes to weaning I've always offered a wide range of different types of tastes, from pouches through to finger foods. For me, this is the best of both worlds and I like to think that it's one of the reasons why both children are such great little eaters.

Having weaned two children there are brands which have become household favourites, one of which is Piccolo. They are a breath of fresh air when it comes to baby food, they promote and are all about Mediterranean goodness. The Mediterranean is known for having good, honest, healthy and natural food, which is prepared lovingly, as a family. Piccolo believe that introducing a little Mediterranean goodness helps develop our little ones taste buds when it's needed the most, right at the start of their weaning journey.

With already being such a big fan, I was delighted when they offered to send out a large selection of their Stage 1 pouches to review. The Stage 1 pouches are suitable from six months and although Ava is now 1 year old she still really enjoys this stage of pouches.

I decided to start the review with the Stage 1 Pure Pouches. These pouches contain just one fruit and are available in four different flavours; Pure Banana, Pure Stanley Plum, Pure Williams Pear and Pure Mango. They are 100% organic, vegetarian, gluten free and contain no added sugar. The Pure pouches are ideal for first tastes, when your baby is at the start of their weaning journey. They are also great for a snack and I've also been using them as toppings in porridge and weetabix.

Next we have the fruit and vegetable pouches; Spring Greens, Pear and Apple with a hint of mint, Mango, Pear & Kale with a dash of yoghurt and Courgette, Pea & Leek with a hint of mint. These pouches are perfect if you don't want to introduce anything overly sweet before savoury. I've always introduced both at the same time and as long as you offer both I don't think they develop too much of a preference. These pouches are loaded with vitamins, nutrients and Mediterranean goodness. 

Last but not least we have a selection of the sweet combination pouches; Cherry & Yoghurt with Wholegrain Oats, Banana, Blueberry and Apple with a hint of Vanilla, Blushing Berries with Pear & Banana, Raspberry & Apple with soaked oats. These are Ava's favourites, she literally devours them in seconds and would probably have three in one sitting if we let her. She's been having them for her breakfast, a long side some fresh fruit or cereal or just as a snack or after dinner treat.

The organic ingredients which go into Piccolo pouches are planted and nurtured in independent family farms from across the Mediterranean, from countries such as Spain and Italy. A few of their more tropical ingredients are sourced from countries at the other side of the world. This is just another reason to love Piccolo.

"At Piccolo, independent family farms are at the heart of our sourcing decisions. We know our farmers and their stories, and have been lucky to have sourcing ethics very much part of our founder’s and her family’s background in food. It is an integral part of our Piccolo journey. We work closely with our farmers so that they grow for Piccolo bursting with flavour type produce to put in our recipes. It’s at the core of our promise to make sure we are getting the best possible ingredients for our range."

Knowing the brands values, and where their ingredients come from really make these pouches guilt free. They are a little bit of Mediterranean goodness, all packaged up in pouch form, ready for your little one to enjoy. I think Piccolo are the best of the best and I cannot recommend them enough. The whole range of Piccolo products are widely available at Amazon, ASDA, Tesco, Boots and many more.

How would you like to win a selection of Stage 1 My Little Piccolo pouches? To enter simply use the Gleam form below. Good luck and don't forget to
enter my other blog competitions!

A selection of Piccolo Stage 1 Baby Food Pouches

Terms & Conditions.         
1. There will be 1 winner who will the prize mentioned above (10-15 pouches).
2. Prize sent directly by the PR. 
3. Competition ends 29/04/18.
4. Incomplete entries with be disqualified.
5. UK entries only.

My Favourite Holiday Moment

Moving to the Mediterranean is a dream of mine, and over the past couple of years I've brought up the possibly of emigrating. The Balearic Islands, Majorca in particular feels like a home away from home to me. As soon as I step of the plane, feel the sun warming my face and breathe in the Spanish air, I feel at ease and utterly content. I think that is all it'll ever be though, a dream. Uprooting the kids, selling our home and moving away from family just isn't feasible anymore.

Thankfully we love to travel so the need to emigrate is kept at bay. We are very lucky to go abroad once a year and go on a couple of UK breaks every year too. It's something we prioritise and look forward to all year round, j
ust the two of us before we became parents and now as a family too. 

Holiday Gems specialise in short haul travel locations such as Majorca and they recently invited me to write all about my favourite holiday moment. Having been abroad quiet a few times it was hard to narrow it down, but one moment stands out to me more than any.

It was back in 2012, before we had children. We were in Majorca, in our new favourite hotel. Whilst we were enjoying the sun and the all inclusive cocktails, we were reminiscing about the past and making plans for our future. We looked around at all the families and made a promise to come back when we have a child and become parents ourselves.

Just a few years later we did just that. Here's a photo of Noah in Majorca, at our favourite hotel, just like we promised. It was so surreal and humbling to keep the promise that we'd made together and it was the most magical holiday. It was quite the feeling to sit there and watch him splash about in the water, he probably wondered why Mummy and Daddy were smiling so much. We made so many incredible memories that holiday.

What's your favourite holiday moment?

- This is a PR collaboration.

Project 365 - Week 12/52

18th March 2018

19th March 2018

20th March 2018

21st March 2018

22nd March 2018

23rd March 2018

24th March 2018

I cannot believe how fast this year is going! We are almost at the end of March and it's nearly Easter. We've had a lovely week, starting with my Mum's 50th on Sunday. We decided to invite and cook her a meal to celebrate. We let Noah choose her birthday cake too and he chose a pug cake for her, ha ha. Noah was back at Nursery this week, after a week off at Center Parcs. He was so happy to go back to see all his friends. Everyone wanted to know what he'd got up to and apparently he was telling everyone that his lodge was called 20 Badger Wood! Nursery had Easter themed activities all week and on Wednesday he came home with a chocolate crispy cake they'd all made together. On Thursday is was time for Ava's session at Hartbeeps, the best baby group we've ever been to. This was also Easter themed, with shaky eggs, egg baskets, rabbits, bunny ears, songs, bubble machines, foam machines, puppets and so much more! Ava enjoyed herself so much and is such a social butterfly. We then enjoyed the afternoon at the park before heading to pick up Noah from nursery. Then we all played in the garden together, it was great. It's made me excited for lazy afternoons in the garden once the sun returns. The rest of the week was spent visiting family and shopping!

What have you been up to this week?

Teletubbies Twist n Chime Figures & Dipsy Talking Soft Toy - Review

I've said it before and I'll say it again, it delights me that Teletubbies are still around for my children to enjoy. I adored them back when I was a kid and I have so many fond memories of watching the Teletubbies with my younger siblings. It's lovely to be able to relive that with my own children.

We've reviewed Teletubbies toys in the past, the last one being the Shuffle n Giggle Ping so I was very happy to accept some of their latest toys to try out. We were sent the full range of the new Twist n Chime toys and a Talking Soft Toy for the purpose of this review. I couldn't wait to see what Ava thought of them.

First we have the Talking 8" Soft Toy. We didn't know which would arrive and on opening we discovered that we had Dipsy! He's so adorable and just the right size for Ava to carry around. Simply press his tummy and he speaks all the Teletubbies phrases and noises that we all know and love. Not only is he great for chatting with but he's also great for cuddling as he's so soft and squishy! At just £9.99 each these talking soft toys won't break the bank either, the perfect excuse to buy them all.

Next we have the Twist n Chime figure's which are just a delight to look at and are such great quality too. They look like their going to withstand some rough and tumble which is great because the kids can be a little heavy handed at times. They fit nicely in the palm of your hand, they are the perfect shape and size for little hands to grasp and explore.

They are great little figures on their own accord but they have a lovely feature where you twist them and they make a chime noise. I only had to show Ava a couple of times before she figured out how to do it herself. She beams from ear to ear when she hears that little jingle! She's taken such a shine to them and I often see her role play with them which is very endearing to see at her age. The Twist n Chime toys retail at just £4.99 each which I think is fantastic value for money. 

We love our new Teletubbies toys and we can't wait to see what they'll release next. These toys are suitable from 18 months through to 3 years and are available now online and at Argos.

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

Combatting Exhaustion - Here's How To Do It

This is a PR collaboration

Tired. We all feel it and we all feel it in different ways. Whether you are getting exhausted from staring at a screen all day or you're tired out from your kids, you need to figure out what you can do to combat this exhaustion as much as possible. Getting fatigued is extremely common, but the unwritten rule is that we don't talk about getting too tired. You're supposed to wear it like a horrible badge of honor, and yet you don't have to be as tired as you currently are. So, with this in mind, we've got a few suggestions for combating exhaustion. You can stop rubbing your eyes so hard for a change! Let's dive in.

Keep Eating.
You may have been conditioned to eat three big meals a day, but really you don't have to. You can 
eat smaller, more filling meals throughout the day and keep your energy levels up this way. Food gives us all the energy we need, and it contains all of the nutrients that our bodies need to remain awake and moving throughout the day. Frequent eating - for some - leads to weight gain, which is something to avoid. However, if you have a distinct lack of food throughout the day, your energy levels will dip. So, focus on keeping up with meals of fruit, veggies, and protein, and don't fill up on processed sugars. You could also look into supplements, such as Energy Renew, to help you maintain good energy levels so that you can go about your days as normal.

Prevention. Exhaustion often is a result of overwork and undersleeping. Your eyes will feel dry and scratchy throughout the day as a result, but if you have Viscotears for dry eyes on hand, you can prevent this from happening. Eyes getting too tired can interrupt your day, and you can prevent that from happening with the feelings of fatigue far easier to combat - especially at work. Preventing your feelings of exhaustion with eye drops, cool wipes on the skin, and a moment to breathe away from your computer. Keep Moving. You may think you're too tired to manage some exercise, but even something as simple as a walk will make a huge difference to your exhaustion levels. The body shouldn't stay still for too long, so if you feel yourself dragging, it's time to get up and stretch, jog on the spot or have a walk around the block. When you try to do any physical activity next time, you will get too tired if you do too much after a period of sitting for too long. So, make sure that you keep moving at least once an hour. Lower Your Weight. If you are currently heavier than you are comfortable with, then you need to think about losing some of the weight. your body is under a lot of strain when it's carrying extra weight, and it's one of the biggest reasons you are feeling fatigued if you are overweight. When the body carries all of that around, it's exhausting for your limbs and your organs. Your heart, especially, feels the extra burden and cannot beat as effectively.

Sleep. Every single night, you should be getting at least six hours of sleep. Even if you have children and you have to wake up through the night, you need to consider trying your best to keep your sleeping routine up as much as possible. Ideally, you need at least eight hours, so if it's a possibility, sleep isn't something that you should be compromising on. Life is exhausting, and you should do all that you can to make it easier on yourself.
Avoid Stress. In a world where you are trying to balance work, social life, parenting, and more, stress comes with the territory and you need to try to minimize it as much as possible. Try your best to avoid situations that leave you feeling burnt out and stressed, and you will be able to feel more alive rather than exhausted all the time. Your brain needs to be able to shut off from time to time, and reducing your stress is important to enabling that to happen. Ditch The Coffee. Your coffee habit could be causing your exhaustion and if you are drinking too much of it you should cut it right back. You get the caffeine high, but the drop is just as exhausting as anything else. You need to relax sometimes but if caffeine is firing your body up, you're going to find that you are easily fatigued as a result. Working overtime is not easy and you shouldn't have to do it any more than is necessary.

PJ Masks Series 2 & Our Exclusive Viewing Party

There's a couple of children's shows that I don't just grit my teeth and tolerate but enjoy just as much as my kids! PJ Masks is one of them, my favourite actually. I'll happily cuddle up on the sofa with Noah and watch an episode with him. We've watched the first series so many times, so much so that we know the words in some places!

You can imagine my delight when I was told that the action packed adventures of Cat Boy, Gekko and Owelette are back on the 28th of March, for series 2! Not only that but I was invited to host my own exclusive home viewing party for the kids. During the party we would be able to watch the first two episodes of series 2 before they air, and we received a box full of PJ Masks goodies too.

We were sent a big box of branded products; a Gekko character 3d mask, an art and creativity set, a glow in the dark puzzle, an inflatable chair, a Cat Boy bedding set, a stamp and colour set, PJ Masks blind bag, and party wear (banner, plates, cups, balloons, invites, table cover and napkins!) All of which are available on Amazon. You should have seen Noah's face when we opened the box! It was priceless and the Gekko mask (RRP: £9.99) went on straight away and he's dropping hints that we need the other two too.

The PJ Masks glow in the dark puzzle (RRP: £7.99) was out the box in minutes as Noah insisted on doing it right away. With it being a 60 piece puzzle it took us quite some time and once it was complete he was so proud of himself! He actually asked to put it on his wall, not sure how we can do that without sticking it all together though, ha ha.

Another firm favourite has got to be the inflatable chair (RRP: £9.99) which I bribed my better half to blow up, as it took quite some effort. It's the perfect chair to sit and relax in ready for the new series and i ideal for every PJ Masks fan out there. The Cat Boy bedding set (RRP: £25.93) is also a must have and is now Noah's favourite bedding!

The Carry Along Art Case (RRP: £7.99) and the Sticker Set (RRP: 4.99) were thoroughly enjoyed during our PJ Masks screening party and Noah may have gotten a little stamp happy as he decided to decorate his hand with them. I know these will be a god send during half term too, they'll keep him very busy that's for sure.

After we had played and done some crafting it was time to sit down with some snacks and enjoy the screening. The first two episodes of series 2 are called Moonfizzle Balls and Soccer Ninjalinos and both had us glued to the screen! We cannot wait to watch more of the series and we just know it'll be as popular as the first.

The eagerly anticipated new series launches on Disney Junior at 4.30pm on Wednesday 28th March. Tune in every following Wednesday at 4.45pm to see the brand-new episodes.
- We were sent these products for the purpose of this post however all opinions are my own.

My First Baby Annabell & My First Baby Annabell Brother - Review

Baby Annabell are one of the most popular dolls here in the UK, and have been for the past 15 years. This doesn't surprise me at all as they are a favourite of ours too, for numerous reasons. 
These lifelike baby dolls enable realistic nurturing role play, building a bridge to the real baby world and allowing children to be like their own parents. This creates a social emotional bond and encourages key social skills from an early age and why they are important for both girls and boys alike.

Zapf keep their catalogue fresh and exciting by regularly introducing new products to their already extensive range of toys. A few weeks ago we were given a sneak peak of their SS18 collection and I was asked if we'd like to choose a couple of toys to review.

After a quick browse I decided to go for the 
My First Baby Annabell and the My First Baby Annabell Brother dolls. We already have a few of the regular Baby Annabell's but they are a bit big for Ava at the moment. I knew that these would be the perfect first baby dolls for her being smaller and lighter. 

I think that baby dolls can be hit and miss when it comes to how they look, sometimes they can look quite creepy, but as you can see these dolls are so adorable! They have the sweetest faces, a cute button nose, rosebud lips and big round eyes. They are similar in appearance but Annabell has big blue eyes and wears a pink sleep suit and matching hat where as Alexander has big brown eyes and wears blue. Both dolls come with a bottle and a removable hat. They compliment one another so well, they are the perfect set of twins!

The My First Baby Annabell and My First Baby Annabell Brother are classed as the beginner’s version Baby Annabell as they are slightly smaller at 36 cm long. They have sleeping eyes which close when led down and open again once sitting. They are a great way to gently encourages young children to engage in role play and provides initial stimuli for developing a sense of empathy and responsibility.

Ava has been quite taken with the pair of them and is always offering a bottle to them both, though I'm surprised she hasn't tried to breastfeed them yet! She tries to undress them and has even tried to put her shoes on them. I often find her cuddling them, their soft bodies make for great hugs. I think she'll grow to love them more and more as she gets older.

My First Baby Annabell and My First Baby Annabell Brother are suitable for children from 1 year old, are available online and at most good toy stores at just £19.99 each.

- I was sent these products for the purpose of this review however all opinions are my own.