March 2016 | Modern Mummy

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Brilliant Bargains with Pampers Wonder Week


Babies might be adorable little things - but they are also expensive! - so it's always a good idea to stock up on baby necessities when there are deals on. I've always been fond of a bargain, so this is something I did a lot when my two were little.

Last year Pampers introduced a week of deals that proved to be so popular that they're bringing it back again in 2016, only this time with even more amazing savings! Pampers Wonder Week runs from today until 6 April 2016, and sees Pampers working with selected retailers across the UK to bring you some seriously fantastic deals on their entire range. It's all about buying in bulk to make savings - and also for convenience, as your nappies and wipes can be delivered straight to your door (a godsend in those early, sleep deprived days!). I only ever used Pampers nappies with the girls - other 'leading' and supermarket brands just didn't come close to giving the comfort, reliability and absorbency that Pampers give - and I still always have a packet of Pampers Sensitive Wipes in my handbag to this day.

All you have to do to take advantage of the offers available is visit the Wonder Week website, choose your preferred retailer from the list, pick your deal and click through to their specific website to make your purchase - it really is that simple! And this year Fairy Non Bio have got in on the action which makes the deal an excellent one, even for parents of older children.

Pampers have also been taking advice from my bargain-loving fellow blogger, Miss Thrifty, who has these top tips to share on successful bulk buying:

1. Always compare costs and check the price per unit.
In the UK, a product’s price label on the supermarket shelf will also specify the price per unit: if you are considering a bulk purchase of a product, then check this price-per-unit, compare it and make a judgement call as to whether you will be saving money in the long-term. 

2. “Stack” coupons and offers for additional savings.
To “stack” is to put multiple coupons towards the purchase of a single item. You can collect coupons from magazines and websites. If the supermarket with the best bulk-buy offers isn’t your closest, remember that you can obtain the savings anyway, if you take advantage of price match schemes. 
3. If you are buying baby products, think long-term.
Think ahead if you are bulk-buying baby items such as clothes and nappies - my little one has already outgrown his 0-3 month outfits, Babies grow so quickly, so it’s sensible to buy a size up, or mix and match your bulk buy products. Disposable baby wipes are something you’ll be buying for years, so your bulk buy will definitely get used! 

4. Be wary of bulk-buying a product or brand you haven’t bought previously.
Fortunately, many of the baby brands are available to try at no cost or low cost: Pampers, for example, will send you free samples.

5. Remember to adjust your household budget.
For those new to bulk-buying, here is a neat idea from an American money-saving blog, which is applicable to UK shoppers: raise your grocery budget, temporarily, by 25% - “take advantage of big sales when you see them…eventually, you won’t need that extra 25%” (The Simple Dollar)

All of the product offers and pricing are at the sole discretion of the retailer, but you'll be able to make the most of offers like these:

Amazon

  • 30% off voucher* with Amazon’s ‘Family’ discount, meaning up to 50% off’ for Amazon Prime members*

Asda

  • Baby Dry Giga Pack £12 (instore only)*
  • Baby Dry Jumbo Packs are 2 for £18*
  • New Baby Jumbo Pack are £6*
  • 12x Sensitive Wipes for £8*

Boots

  • 5x Baby Dry or New Baby or Active Fit Essential Packs for £25*
  • 12x Sensitive Wipes for £8* 5x Pampers Mega Packs for £45*

Morrisons

  • 3x Baby Dry Essentials Pack for £15*
  • 3x Baby Dry Jumbo Pack for £25*
  • 12x Sensitive Wipes for £8*
  • New Baby Essential Packs 2 for £13*

Ocado

  • 5x Baby Dry or New Baby or Active Fit Essential Packs for £25*
  • 12x Sensitive Wipes for £8*

Superdrug

  • 5x Baby Dry or New Baby or Active Fit Essential Packs for £25*

Tesco

  • 2x Baby Dry or New Baby Dry Pants Large Packs for £14*
  • New Baby Jumbo Packs 2 for £14*

Waitrose

  • 5x Essential Packs for £25*
  • 3x 5 packs Sensitive Wipes for £12*

*All pricing is at the sole discretion of the retailer


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Win a £75 #PizzaExpressFamily Giftcard


Last week, the girls and I headed over to our local Pizza Express restaurant to try out their delicious new spring menu (and to indulge in some of our favourite classic dishes too). You can read our review here.

But it wasn't just us reviewing our local branch; this past couple of weeks has seen a team of thirteen of us working together to show the world what a fantastic, family friendly place Pizza Express is - you can read everyone's independent reviews of their own local restaurants here:


Today we all hosted a Twitter Party on behalf of Pizza Express and for an hour and a half we talked about dining out as a family; what we like about it, what we don't, what restaurants do right when it comes to keeping the younger members of our family happy and, of course, the new Pizza Express menu was the main point of discussion throughout! We also gave away four £25 gift cards - and now have one final voucher to giveaway, this time for £75!

To enter, simply follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter widget below. Up for grabs is one £75 gift card, which will be sent direct from Pizza Express HQ. Entrants must be over eighteen and UK residents. No monetary value will be given in exchange for the voucher. There are fifteen ways to enter, but only two are mandatory. The giveaway closes at 11.59pm on 7th April. The winner will be announced and contacted shortly after. Good luck! xoxo



a Rafflecopter giveaway

More competitions at ThePrizeFinder
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Butcher's Gin Red Snappers with 31DOVER


Just before Easter 31DOVER sent me a bottle of a gin that is brand new to the UK market, and which is available exclusively through them.

Butcher's Gin is, as it sounds, no ordinary gin - and is not suitable for vegetarians! Created by luxury Belgian butchery, De Laet & Van Haver, it is based on the flavours of the award winning Secreto 07 dry-aged beef which is the finest produce from rubia gallega cattle and is loved by Michelin-starred chefs all over the world.

The gin itself is distilled the old fashioned London dry way - but with two new distillates added to the process; herbs and meat! The top secret blend of herbs and spices that form part of the rub for the Secreto 07 beef is macerated before the gin distillation - with a little of the meat also added to the spirit.

The outcome? A very interesting and spicy gin, with added hints of juniper, cardamom, coriander, orange zest and black pepper.


I realise that this may not appeal to all, but I personally recommend that you give this bad boy a go! I'm really into my gin at the moment and thoroughly enjoyed mixing a 25ml shot of Butcher's Gin with tomato juice, a splash of tabasco and Worcestershire sauces (to taste) and a stalk of celery to mix (aka a Red Snapper - a gin based Bloody Mary). Another option is to add a few drops of lemon juice, some pink pepper tonic, a whiff of black pepper and some fresh basil - perfect BBQ drinks or what!

If you fancy trying Butcher's Gin for yourself (or if anything else on the 31DOVER website takes your fancy) then use the code 31DMM at the checkout for 10% off your order! Everything comes beautifully gift wrapped and a bottle of Butcher's Gin would make an excellent present for meat-lovers, gin connoisseurs - or even your old Dad on Father's Day (which is only round the corner!) x
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Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Birthday Gift Ideas For Fashion Conscious Mums


Now that the clocks have sprung forward and Summer is on its way I'm allowed to start thinking about my birthday, right? 

If you have someone special to buy a present for soon (oooorrrrrrr if you want to buy something for me! ;)) then here are a few gift ideas for Her

A Clothes Voucher
You can’t go wrong with a clothes voucher. It may seem like an easy way out – but choose one for the birthday girl's favourite shop and she will know you have put thought into it. 

A Magazine Subscription 
A magazine subscription gift will provide her with fashion tips and inspiration all through the year. Choose one of the women’s titles such as Marie Claire, LOOK or InStyle – and give the gift that keeps on giving. 

A Pamper Pack 
A mum needs to pamper herself regularly so why not create a pamper pack filled with all her favourite products – such as bubble bath, a facemask, hair products and so on. You could even include vouchers so she can treat herself to a trip to the hair or nail salon! 

A Fashion Book 
Does your mum love to relax with a good book? Then why not get her one that will widen her already expansive knowledge of fashion. How about In Vogue: The Illustrated History of the World’s Most Famous Fashion Magazine or The Little Black Book of Fashion?

Stylish Accessories
Everyone needs stylish accessories; it's the finishing touches that make an outfit – so think sunglasses, a handbag, shoes, a watch, jewellery or a hat. Fedoras, for example, are extremely popular at the moment, seemingly glued to the heads of the top fashion bloggers and celebrities. Available in a range of colours, they are the perfect way to finish off any outfit, so your mum is guaranteed to love it! 

A Fashionable Day Out 
Take the opportunity to spend some quality time with your mum, doing something she loves! There are several fashion events throughout the year that will give you both something to look forward to. How about London Fashion Week, The Clothes Show Live or a trip to the V&A Museum to see one of the many interesting fashion exhibitions they hold?

Luxurious Nightwear
Women don’t just want to look fashionable during the day, their nightwear is just as important! Buy her a pyjama set so stylish, she will be happy to open the door to the postman in them the next morning! 

A Stylish Print  
Buy your mum a print for the home that shows all who see it her love of fashion and that will make her smile every time she looks at it. This could be a fashion quote print such as ‘Give a Girl the Right Shoes and She Can Conquer the World’, the Fashion Capitals print ‘New York, London, Milan, Paris’ or a canvas of her fashion idol.  

Also, every birthday has to involve cake! Never forget the cake!


This is a collaborative post.
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Saturday, 26 March 2016

Celebrating the end of term with Pizza Express


I'm a big fan of eating out as a family. I think it's important that children get to try different flavours and cuisines while they're young, and also that they learn how to behave when in a restaurant with siblings and grown ups. Another reason I'm so fond of eating out is because I'm an absolutely terrible cook. But I love to eat - so heading out leaves me off the hook and we all go home happy, with bellies full of delicious, well cooked, good food - and with no washing up to be done either, which is definitely an added bonus.

As a family, Pizza Express is one of our favourite restaurants to visit. They are massively child friendly, we love the constantly evolving menu and their service is always super speedy - three key factors in dining out with children, so far as I am concerned. I also think the piccolo menu is really well priced, I know that the girls will eat every morsel. Our local restaurant is in Haslemere and we're on pretty good terms with the lovely staff, we go there that often. It has recently been refurbished (to a very high standard) and has a lovely big open plan kitchen, where the kids enjoy watching the chefs make their food.


Its almost a tradition for us, that any small milestones are celebrated at Pizza Express; good school reports, new badges at Rainbows, the end of term. And that's exactly why we headed down there after school on Thursday - to celebrate the fact we now have over two weeks off together!

We arrived at the restaurant after school, at half 3 for a nice early dinner. We like to come when it's a little quieter; then it doesn't matter so much if the girls are noisy or fidgety, plus the chefs often have more time to give them a running commentary on how they are preparing their food!

With a brand spanking new menu for spring that launched on 22nd March, we were looking forward to sampling a few new dishes so we kick started proceedings with dough balls for the kiddos (a grown up's portion for Daisy Hollow Legs, who demolished them ALL!) and the new classic Italian antipasto for me.

A mixed plate of antipasto is my favourite Italian starter and I was thrilled to see it on the Pizza Express menu at long last (I've suggested it many, many times!). Comprising of a selection of cold meats, olives, roasted tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, peppadew peppers, marinated aubergine and bread baked with Gran Milano cheese, it was seriously delicious. They also had a special of parma ham and melon, which I was pretty close to ordering - but I'm glad I went for the bigger option this time!




Daisy went on to have an adult margherita pizza for her main course, Evie had a piccolo La Reine and I had a Soho 65 on a romana base. The Soho was my favourite pizza on the menu for YEARS and I couldn't hide my excitement to see that it had returned. It tasted better than before on the thinner, lighter base too.


Photo by Daisy!

NO meal is complete without dessert, and we were ever so slightly piggie when ordering ours. I opted for the honeycomb cream slice with ice cream (yum!), Daisy had the (grown up) chocolate glory (a kind of knickerbockerglory, made with chunks of brownie, vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce, topped with a chocolate straw) and Evie had the sundae that came as part of the piccolo menu. We also ordered the new salted caramel profiterole dolcetti (with an espresso for me) - and really, REALLY wished this was available in a full sized dessert - it was SO good.





As always, we had a really lovely meal, with really great service, and are happy to report that the latest additions to the menu are delicious!

I'm really excited to announce that, together with twelve other bloggers, I am part of the #PizzaExpressFamily campaign. As well as this visit to our local restaurant, we will also be heading up to the Stratford branch for a Pizza Party at the end of the Easter holidays.


I will also be co-hosting a Twitter party with my fellow #PizzaExpressFamily bloggers on Thursday 31st March, from 2pm - 3.30pm. Tune in to discuss all aspects of dining out as a family and to win prizes - including a meal out for a family of four!

We received a complimentary meal in exchange for this honest review.
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Friday, 25 March 2016

Complete PANDAMONIUM at Chessington World of Adventures


This time last week the girls and I were at the Chessington World of Adventures resort for the press launch of their brand new, one of a kind show, Pandamonium.

We had been invited down to meet the stars of the show, as well as to experience the food at brand spanking new restaurant, The Smokehouse, and to enjoy a stay in the Azteca Hotel. The best bit of all was that we got to do it all with some of our favourite blogging friends!


We kicked off our weekend in style at a brilliant panda themed launch party, complete with cocktails for the grown ups, face painting for the littlies and real life animal meet-and-greets for everyone, before continuing over at The Smokehouse where we got to sample a number of delicious dishes from the new menu (I'm talking slow roasted pulled pork, beef brisket, ribs and mac + cheese, oh my!)

We then got to explore the new, improved Trail of the Kings before taking our seats for the main event; Pandamonium!


It's fairly obvious from the title that the show is all about one of the world's most endangered and loved animals - the giant panda. However it gives you the chance to be just inches away from a family of seriously life-like animatronic giant pandas, which is something that a UK theme park has never done before! It's an educational show as well as an entertaining one, with lots of facts to take in, as well as plenty of audience participation and some cheeky behaviour from it's stars to boot. Both the girls absolutely loved it and it was obvious that the rest of the audience enjoyed it too.

After the show we had a gorgeous Asian inspired meal back at the hotel before heading over to the bar so that the kids could do some dancing with the children's entertainers, and us parents could sit down enjoy a glass of wine and a gossip.

The following morning, we were up bright and early to make the most out of our hotel fast track passes (which meant we could queue jump for the first hour that the park was open). This is complimentary for all overnight guests and is a really brilliant idea. We managed to get onto the Bubbleworks and the Vampire pretty much straight away with these - the queues were rather long later in the day.

Our favourite rides were:

The Vampire - this was always my favourite growing up (it opened in 1990, would you believe!) and this visit Daisy got to ride it for the first time. We even managed to get seats right at the very front! What a brilliant first roller coaster experience.

Zufari - a great ride where we got to see some animals on 'safari' (and got to spend some time with Carolynne from Mummy Endeavours and her gang)

Peeking Heights - on a clear day, like it was when we visited, you are able to see the London skyline in the distance. We spotted Canary Wharf, the Shard, the Gherkin and the BT Tower!

Treetop Hoppers - the Penguins of Madagascar themed ride that opened last year.

We had a really wonderful couple of days and are already planning on going back in the Summer. Thanks to Chessington for inviting us to be a part of the launch!



PS another thing to note: the Azteca Hotel breakfast buffet is AMAZING..... there is SO much choice, the coffee is incredible and kids got to eat their body weight in pancakes with nutella. That was an excellent start to our second day!

We were given complimentary overnight stay at the resort and day tickets to the park in order to review the new show. All words are entirely honest and my own.

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Thursday, 24 March 2016

A Post about Messy Play


This week, thanks to the RSPB, who sent us a brilliant book full of free, outdoorsy, nature based activity ideas called Born to be Wild by Hattie Garlick (more on this another day), and also thanks to the lovely people at ASDA who sent us a hamper full of Easter crafting goodies, we've been getting creative both indoors and out. There's nothing my kiddos enjoy more than getting mucky - whether that's stomping about in muddy puddles in the rain, or painting their hands in PVA glue whilst sat up to the kitchen table!

Have you ever wondered why kids are so good at learning new things? Part of the reason is down to the fact that they learn through all of their senses – which requires exploring their environment. And this is why messy play is an essential part of their education.

Messy play helps children to:
  • make sense of the properties of the materials they’re using
  • understand what happens when materials combine together
  • and recognise that they can effect and interact with the world. 

There are loads of online messy play resources for early years if you need some ideas, but let’s get a little more specific first… what does messy play actually teach children?

Messy play encourages their inquisitive nature and aids cognitive development
Children have an inquisitive nature, and messy play gives them a prompt to indulge their natural curiosity. Messy play enables children to discover how the world works, informs them about the world outside their homes, and also aids their cognitive development

Messy play helps to refine motor skills
Grasping, squeezing, holding, pouring, scooping, digging and cutting are essential fine motor skills that children need to refine. Messy play is a great opportunity to strengthen these skills, and useful activities include finger painting, painting with brushes, drawing, cutting and playing musical instruments.

Messy play enables adults to observe and identify potential challenges
Messy play also enables carers, parents and teachers to identify children who are struggling to develop key motor skills – whatever the reason – opening a dialogue about any additional needs a child may have as they progress through the education system and life in general. 

Messy play teaches more than the immediate task in hand
Children need to use speech in order to communicate with other children during messy play, and with you too. Take the opportunity to ask them what they’re imagining whilst playing, and ask them to describe what they’re doing: this will get them practising how to articulate their thoughts and feelings, and will strengthen their social skills too.

Messy play encourages imagination and creativity
Indulging in handfuls of paint, goo, glitter and glue is great fun, and allows children to get as creative as they want to be. There’s no need to ask them what it is they’re making or why the person they’ve drawn has three eyes. Instead, unguided, unchallenged messy play without an output-focused approach allows children to learn in a way that feels comfortable. It’s a valuable, relaxed learning experience.

Messy play sets the scene for added academic value
Messy play can be a great opportunity to develop problem solving skills. For example, why not challenge children to move the contents of a pool of water into another container using smaller cups and watering cans? This kind of task encourages children to think mathematically and scientifically. You can also use messy play as an artistic exercise, or use it to introduce foreign languages by using descriptive words and encouragements in other languages they’re learning. 


This is a collaborative post.
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Green People Beauty Boost Skin Restore: A Facial in a Bottle



I might not be a beauty blogger, but I've really been getting into my products recently.

Last month some friends recommended a facial scrub and moisturiser from Green People, which I duly ordered and LOVED - and this month I was invited to join a select group of bloggers to try out a brand new product from their organic skincare range.

Introducing Beauty Boost Skin Restore - a brilliant, fuss free, weekly treatment which I think is pretty darn perfect for busy women that don't have much time to indulge in a spot of pampering on a regular basis. It's a leave on treatment with all the benefits of a nourishing clay face mask - but without the wait while it works its magic, and without the messy clean up at the end!

Here's the scientific bit:

It contains green marine macro algae, which hydrates the skin and has a smoothing and plumping effect on it, everlasting flower extract, which is rich in antioxidants and neutralises free radicals which means the skin is less likely to show signs of ageing and wakame, which increases oxygen consumption within the skin cells and stimulates the production of collagen, one of the key factors in maintaining skin firmness and flexibility.

Here's my verdict in non-beauty blogger lingo:

It left my skin looking really bright and smooth, and feeling extra moisturised without any of the tightness I often feel after using a face mask. In fact, since replacing my old skincare products with Green People ones over the past six weeks I've actually stopped wearing foundation altogether. My new regime involves using the fruit facial scrub and Vita Min Fix 24hr moisturiser every evening, splashing my face with water every morning and then treating myself to a beauty boost treatment once a week (or twice, if I feel I need an extra pick me up). I've never been that fussed about fancy skincare products before, but now I'm seriously addicted!

The Beauty Boost Skin Restore costs £18.50 and is available to pre-order from the Green People website here from today, with a 10% discount up until it's official launch date of 31st March.

I was sent a complimentary bottle in exchange for this honest review.
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Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Spring Cocktails with Aldi


Yes, yes, I know you know that I love gin. Mother's Ruin, Ladies Delight - whatever you want to call it, its bloody delicious - especially at 5pm as we are entering the witching hour and the kids are driving us crackers.

Whether it's served with a simple tonic water or mixed into a glorious cocktail - it's one of my favourite alcoholic beverages, so when Aldi contacted me and asked if they could send me a bottle (along with some other bottles - hic!) I was hardly going to say no!

They've created a new range of cocktails for spring and summer - and I gave their gin based Blackberry Smash a go. It's super easy to make but looks seriously impressive - and will be perfect served at an Easter party later this week, or as an aperitif at a summer BBQ.


Blackberry Smash
Ingredients:
50 ml Oliver Cromwell London Dry Gin
½ a cup of white sugar
½ a cup hot water
10-12 blackberries
25ml fresh lemon juice
6 mint leaves
Sparkling water to top

Methodology:
1) Fill a tall glass and a cocktail shaker with cubed ice
2) To make blackberry syrup dissolve the white sugar in the hot water. Once dissolved add in 10/12 blackberries and allow to cool down to room temperature before straining and chilling in the fridge
3) Add 25ml of blackberry syrup and all ingredients (except the sparkling water) to the cocktail shaker
4) Shake hard for ten seconds and then strain through a tea strainer into the ice-filled tall glass
5) Slowly top with sparkling water

Decoration / to serve
Garnish with a lemon wedge, blackberry and large mint sprig. Finely dust with castor sugar to give a frosted look.

Tasting notes
Delicious fresh berries and fresh lemon juice combine with the crisp taste of gin to make this cocktail the perfect drink for a summer afternoon. With its uplifting citrus and berry notes, Blackberry Smash is an excellent drink to pair with a summer picnic or a cocktail you can enjoy in the garden.

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Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Nosh Detox 3 Day Juice Fast: A Review


This time last week I was about to embark on a three day juice fast, my first one of 2016.

I'm no stranger to juicing. Generally I juice every single day - whether that's a shot of lemon and ginger first thing in the morning, a blend of juiced vegetables to sip throughout the course of the day or a quick nutriblast for breakfast - and I also juice fast a couple of times a year, usually as a bit of a pick me up after I've over indulged, like at Christmas or after a holiday.

But juice fasting is not for the faint hearted - and not just because you don't eat for a few days. As much as I love my juices, someone has yet to invent a juicer that isn't a complete and utter pain in the arse to clean. A large part of a juice fast day is spent at the kitchen sink. When the Nutribullet came out, I started making a lot more smoothies, as opposed to juices, purely because it took minimal effort during the busiest part of the day, when you're trying to get three people out of the house to nursery, school and work.

For these reasons I have always been very keen to try a ready made juice fast, one where I could reap all the benefits - without having to spend my mornings rushing around like a maniac preparing everything, and my afternoons cleaning juicer parts!


And then Nosh Detox got in touch and asked if I'd like to try them out. They offer pre-bottled juice fasting programmes (as well as healthy eating ones) which are completely perfect for the busy, fast paced lifestyles we all live in this day and age. You can pick a 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 day programme and Nosh will send everything you need, ready to drink, directly to your door. You receive a bottle of lemon and ginger tonic and four bottles of fresh, raw, unprocessed fruit juices blended with superfood supplements for each day of your detox, as well as genuinely excellent ongoing customer service, including motivating emails and a telephone call half way through the detox to make sure you're getting on OK. The juices also come with a schedule, clearly labelled bottles and little notes of encouragement which are very handy and a nice touch!

Having completed a number of juice fasts in the past, I knew what to expect from this one. Day one is  always pretty easy, although the caffeine withdrawal can cause annoying headaches and make me a bit grumpy.... day two gets a little easier and although I generally don't feel hungry, I always start to miss chewing actual food... and then day three is when you get what I call the Day Three Juice High and I feel as if I could go on juicing FOREVER! The Nosh Detox pretty much followed the usual pattern, although the grumpiness seemed to last until the morning of day three this time ;) - possibly because it's been almost eight months since I last fasted.

The one thing that did make me wonder about how I would get on was the amount of fruit in the smoothies. As a rule, when I juice/blend, I stick to vegetables with an absolute maximum ratio of 1:4 fruit to veg. The Nosh smoothies are primarily made from fruit, which obviously makes them taste delicious, but means they have a pretty high sugar content. I needn't have worried. As the fibre is blended in with the fruit, the sugar is released gradually and actually means you stay fuller for longer which makes the detox much easier to do. Although I wasn't doing it to lose weight, I did weigh myself before and after and ended up losing 2.9kg in three days - that's over 6lbs!

Juice fasting is a great way to rejuvenate your body with vitamins and minerals, give your digestive system a well earned break and you expel toxins, making yourself feel truly wonderful, in the process. It's also a brilliant way to kick start a healthy eating/weight loss regime. Although Nosh Detox's ready made programme is more expensive than making the juices yourself (only slightly - I'd say it costs about 25% more than buying all the necessary organic produce and supplements to prepare the juices from scratch) it is SO worth it when you take into account the time and energy you save not having to do it yourself!

Take a look at the options available from Nosh Detox here. Prices start at £110.54 for a two day Juice Fast programme.

I was sent a complimentary three day programme for the purpose of this review. All words are honest and my own.


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Friends, Photography + Blog Awards Season


Last week nominations opened for two very prestigious award ceremonies within the parent blogging community - The MAD Blogging Awards and The BiBs - and this weekend I was chuffed to pieces to discover that I have been nominated in them both. The best bit of all is that in both cases I have been nominated in the photography category, which was a massive surprise and really does mean a hell of a lot to me.

I know I don't stand a chance of winning when there are so many talented bloggers out there with professional equipment, software and training, but it really is an incredible honour to be nominated, and even if I made it through to the short list it would be an amazing achievement. I can't afford the fancy camera - I take all my photos on my iPhone and only edit them using filters and effects from iPhone apps - but photography is one of my passions, and it just goes to show that you really don't need to spend a fortune to be able to take nice pictures if it's something you enjoy and have an eye for. I like to capture memories as we, as a family, are making them, and most of the time my iPhone is on hand to do the job. I'd love to get my mitts on a Nikon or a Canon, but I kind of feel that I might miss things in the time it takes to get it out of it's bag and take it's lens cap off. Although there is a time and a place for posed shots (and I do take plenty)  I much prefer the natural ones, especially when the girls are the subject of my photographs.

You can vote in the MADs here up until 8th April, and in the BiBs here up until 13th April. Nominations will be counted and the shortlists will be announced later in the month. If you read family blogs regularly and have your favourites, make sure you give them a well deserved nomination to show them that you care. And if you think I'm worthy of another nomination in the Photography category of either and you have two minutes spare to pop my URL in the relevant box, then you will seriously make my day. Thank you, thank you, thank you x
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Friday, 18 March 2016

How to Add a bit of Green to your Home


I'm really conscious of doing my bit for the environment and and am of the belief that we should all be considering ways of adding more green to our homes. If you’ve been thinking about going green too, then here are a few options for you to ponder over: 

Swap the bulbs 
If you still use those ancient lightbulbs, and haven't yet swapped over to energy efficient ones simply because you hate waiting for them to warm up (I was so guilty of this up until a year ago!) then bite the bullet and get down to your local DIY store or supermarket and pick some up now. Not only are they better for the environment, they will also save you money on your electricity bill in the long run - and once you've made the switch to all the bulbs in your house you won't notice the difference. 

Create a windowsill planter 
Kitchen windows are great spaces for windowsill planters that enjoy soaking up all the light and can either be put together to create a colourful display with sunshine loving plants - like sunflowers, pansies and chrysanthemum – or with fresh herbs that you can prune and grow and use for meals. Growing your own herbs is a great way of being a little greener and self sufficient. Plants last longer than cut flowers, so long as you look after them of course. 

Go tall 
Plants such as Dracaena, Yucca and Scindapsus are all great for creating a striking effect in your home and adding green to a space and cleaning the air – bakker.com sells all of these varieties for affordable prices. 

If you have more of a ‘brown thumb’ than ‘green fingers’ then perhaps air plants are a good starting point. These little guys are very difficult to kill and literally need just a spritz of water every week. You can keep them in terrariums or in pretty plant pots on the sideboards. They don’t require soil so there’s no mess and you can move them around a room easily. They can also help to purify the air and are super affordable. Really, they’re the best option. 

Cut out the toxic cleaners 
Instead of picking up the nearest bottle of bleach, try alternatives that aren’t full of poisonous chemicals, which are not only toxic to you but the environment too. You’d be amazed what you can achieve with some white vinegar, baking soda and some scrubbing. Here are some alternatives to regular household cleaners that you can make using the contents of your kitchen cupboards. 

Invest in microfibre cloths
Sure, kitchen roll is convenient, easy to quickly use and throw away but microfibre cloths are a much better alternative. Not only are they designed to pick up as much dirt as possible they can be put through the wash and minimise the amount of rubbish you’re throwing out. 


Creating a greener home is really easy; you just need to make a few simple changes and introduce some easy to care for plants to your indoor space. Try out some of these options today and see if you feel better for it! 



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Thursday, 17 March 2016

A Weekend in West Wales: #FindYourEpic



Last weekend, Ruth from RocknRollerBaby and I headed off on a whirlwind road trip to Wales, sans bebes, which was a bit of a treat.

My love affair with Wales is well publicised on this here blog (here, here, here and here are a few posts, if you fancy reading about some of me and the kiddos' past Welsh adventures) so when Visit Wales approached me to work with them on their #FindYourEpic campaign I didn't need asking twice!

The thing I love most about Wales, aside from the lovely people and the amazing food (laverbread! Welsh cakes! Nick Tonkins Wild Welsh Honey - which, I have to inform you, is THE BEST HONEY IN ALL THE LAND!) is the breathtaking rugged coastline and the beautiful rolling countryside. I've travelled around the British Isles a fair bit and the west coast of Wales really takes some beating. Yes, there are plenty of towns and cities (which I also love) but the vast majority of the coast and countryside is raw, unspoiled perfection. Whenever we visit our family in South Wales, we literally spend all our waking hours outside - on the beach, hiking, visiting castles (bar a couple of hours here and there which we spend in the pub, of course). When the sun shines in Wales it is absolutely incredible, but I love it equally (possibly even more so) when its blustery and grey.

So last Friday, Ruth and I set off on our epic road trip and headed to Pembrokeshire. We were booked in to stay at Glebe House B&B in the village of Nolton, and had plans to hike on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, before going beach riding on Saturday afternoon.

Four and a half hours (and two numb bums) later, driving through the picturesque village of Nolton was like arriving at the gates of heaven. Dating back to 1352, and overlooking the ancient and picturesque church of St Madoc, Glebe House is, without doubt, the prettiest house in the village.


It has four bedrooms, each named after local islands, and Ruth and I were staying in the Caldey room which was beautifully decorated, with thick black-out curtains, sumptuous bedding and lots of gorgeous finishing touches, like a big old fashioned cast iron radiator and a digital Roberts radio. There was also a huge claw foot bath in the en suite (as well as quite possibly the best, most powerful shower I've ever had in my life - and goodies from The White Company!) and a gorgeous view of the churchyard.






After dropping our things off and having a quick freshen up, we decided not to waste any precious time and so headed straight out. We had a table booked at The Druidstone Hotel for dinner, which was half an hour's walk away along the coastal road.

If you're ever passing through Pembrokeshire and want a brilliant, beautiful, awesome, quirky place to eat/drink/stay then PLEASE promise me you'll call in at The Dru. It's a big old house on the edge of a cliff, with a cosy bar, a beautiful dining room and seriously impressive views across the Atlantic.



Getting wrapped up warm and drinking chocolate stout whilst watching the sun go down over the Atlantic was one of my favourite parts of the weekend.... we even saw dolphins swimming a couple of miles out! Eating steak and salted caramel chocolate tart in this beautiful restaurant was up there too...


The hotel had a ceilidh planned for the next night, which meant we got to listen in on the band rehearsing after our dinner. It was brilliant - and made us wish we were staying longer!


The following morning we were up bright and early to make the most out of our day. After nursing our slightly delicate heads with cups of tea, and filling our bellies with eggs and bacon, and jam on toast, we headed out on a coastal hike. I've spent the last six months planning a road trip of the west coast of Wales for this summer, and if the rest of it is anything like the teeny tiny bit we explored this weekend then I know I won't be disappointed.



Then, for the main event. Horse riding on Druidstone Beach!

I rode regularly as a child, but the last time I was on a horse was back in 2001. Turns out it's just like riding a bike, and everything comes flooding back to you, even after fifteen long years ;)

The ride was organised by Nolton Stables, who also offer countryside rides and one to one lessons. They have a large selection of horses and ponies so they can cater for riders of all ages and levels of experience.

Ruth was paired with Thunder, and my steed for the afternoon was Phantom!

We set off on our hack in a group of twelve, with six staff spread throughout the ride to give us a few pointers and to assess our abilities. Once we reached the beach we split into groups and spent almost an hour trotting and cantering across the sand. I've never been on a beach ride in my life and to say I Found My Epic would be an understatement. It was incredible! An hour and a half wasn't enough, although my butt and thighs will probably tell you otherwise ;)


Ruth and I had an absolutely wonderful weekend in Pembrokeshire and are already planning on returning with the kiddos in the Summer. Special thanks to Penny at Glebe House for her hospitality (and amazing cooked breakfast!) and everyone at Nolton Stables for a wonderful ride xo

This post was written in collaboration with Visit Wales.
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Tuesday, 15 March 2016

David Deyong Jewellery: A Chocolate Free Easter Alternative!


Earlier this month I wrote about a monogram pendant that I was gifted from a new company called Kaya Jewellery. In the photograph that I took of it, I had layered it with two other necklaces; my Links of London chain complete with an assortment of charms that I've collected from here, there and everywhere (which I wear every day) and also a brand new locket.

Quite a few of you commented on the locket on Instagram so I thought I'd give it a little mention over here, especially seeing as it's Easter next week - and I think it would make a pretty neat alternative to chocolate if you're looking to get a gift for someone special.

It's a sterling silver polished oval locket from British jeweller, David Deyong. I really, really love it because it's such a perfect, simple, classic design - but you can make your own mark on it by putting a photograph or teeny tiny object inside it to make it extra meaningful.

You all know how much I like timeless jewellery that never goes out of fashion. I've always thought of lockets as being particularly special - they always seem to get handed down the generations within families - but there's always a time and a place for on-trend pieces, and it just so happens that lockets are very in Vogue at the moment, so now really is the perfect time to invest in a piece like this.


This pretty little egg shaped locket will last way beyond Easter Day, unlike the millions of chocolate bunnies that will get devoured before breakfast in my house ;) It costs just £79.99 (although you can opt for a longer chain length at a premium) and it is available online here, or at a number of stockists across the UK (check the store locator here).

David Deyong very kindly gave me this locket as an Easter present. I didn't have to write about it but I chose to because it's one of my favourite pieces of jewellery! As always, all words are my own and are entirely true.
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Tuesday, 8 March 2016

#RedCarpetGlamour on the School Run











Right now, we're coming to the end of Awards Season, where we've seen celebrities from across the globe sashaying down the red carpet dressed in their finery. Checking out everyones outfits at the Oscars and the Brits is one of my favourite things to do!

To celebrate, Kaleidoscope asked me if I'd like to be a part of their #RedCarpetGlamour campaign, and of course, I was delighted to.

Unfortunately as a busy single working mum of two children that never (EVER!) sleep (at least that's what it feels like), I don't get the opportunity to go to the supermarket on my own very often, let alone get glammed up and head into town for a fancy pants part-AY, complete with sparkly frocks and sparkly drinks. But that doesn't stop me from making an effort when I get dressed every morning, so I thought I'd contribute my own take on #RedCarpetGlamour - school run style!

I love dresses and I wear them most days. In fact I would say that about 70% of my wardrobe is made up of them. I've never understood people that say they wear jeans and tops 'because they're easy'. Surely it's easier (and quicker!) to throw a dress on in the morning? And that's exactly why my 'mum uniform' isn't the standard jeans//t-shirt//pumps combo that most favour - I prefer to go frock//cardie//boots.

Kaleidoscope offered me a dress of my choice and I chose this chevron print shift dress. I also chose this slightly more casual shirt dress, which is currently my FAVOURITE dress in the WHOLE WORLD (and which will get a write up of it's very own soon), and these amazing gold peep toe shoes too (ditto). I love monochrome right now, and am also rather partial to a bold print so this pretty much jumped out at me on the website - and didn't disappoint when it arrived in the post a couple of days later!


Aside from the print, I love the length of this dress - its a slightly longer-than-usual shift which means that for me, at 5ft 7, it falls just on the knees and looks great with a pair of heeled ankle boots. The cut is also FANTASTIC. The material drapes at the shoulders (instant glamour) and also at the waist, making you look slimmer.


I wore my dress on Mother's Day, with a black biker jacket, black tights and black ankle boots and spent the day feeling glamorous, but comfortable, which is a pretty awesome combination I've got to say. It might have been an easy outfit to put together, but taking a photo of it was not so easy (say hello to my photobombing Dad ;)).

But just because I don't get the chance to attend any black tie events, it doesn't mean I don't want to. I love the idea of getting super dressed up for a special occasion, and could quite happily day dream about glamorous outfits for days. Which is pretty much what I've been doing ever since Kaleidoscope approached me to work with them on this project. So with posh parties and award ceremonies at the forefront of my mind, here are five more of my favourites from the Kaleidoscope occasionwear range.




1. Stripe prom dress, £65 // 2. Bow top dress, £99 // 3. Bardot bow detail top, £29 // 4. Floral print satin skirt, £65 // 5. Sleeveless sequin dress, £39 (on sale)


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