It's been a little while since I last did one of these round ups but I do enjoy them, so here's just three things that I have been reading, using or trying out this month which I really rate, all for different reasons...

1. Happy, by Fearne Cotton

I like a book that I can dip in and out of and this one is full of positivity, tips and just nice words. I am a fan of Fearne any way and it's nice to take a little time out to read this and reflect on life and what truly makes me happy.

There's a lot to be said for 'letting go of perfect'...

A friend of mine works tirelessly to host and promote the Birmingham Indian Film Festival (BIFF) and there is a great line up of family friendly films worth catching, so I wanted to share the festival's latest updates with you in case you are looking for something different, educational and cultural to enjoy from just a few days' time...

Birmingham Indian Film Festival is a cinematic treasure trove of carefully curated premieres of South Asian independent films, offering rare glimpses into some of the billion plus lives in the sub-continent.  

The festival is presented by the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival and returns for its fourth consecutive year at Cineworld Broad Street, mac Birmingham and The Mockingbird Cinema & Kitchen from Friday 22 June to Sunday 1 July.

Audiences can expect a spectacular 10 days of Midland premieres of feature films, documentaries and shorts exploring a compelling slate of controversial, entertaining and thought-provoking themes with global resonances, plus lively Q&As and panel debates.

New to this year is the annual LIFF Satyajit Ray Short Film Competition Entries showcasing the work of emerging film makers.

Much like his Daddy, Ethan isn't a fan of applying sun cream most days. Sometimes, he lets me apply it, but more often than not, he really isn't keen and of course when he goes to school, he's left to his own devices and unfortunately, that's meant that on quite a few days, he hasn't worn sunscreen.

He is meant to apply sun cream before he plays outside, and he has a sun hat too, but I have heard from him that he doesn't do this all the time and I have picked him up from school, playing on the fields or on the playground, and there is no hat in sight - and a pink flush across his cheeks.

He's got sensitive skin, just like me, and being so fair, with many freckles coming through now on his nose and the tops of his cheeks, we really are cautious and concerned about him in the sun.

There have been days where he has come back and it's clear that his ears have picked up the sun, or there's been a red streak on the tops of his cheeks, which makes me really upset. I know it's not the teacher's job to apply it, but they should be stricter about overseeing if the children are doing it before they are let outside.

I've been applying some cream to his face and ears in the morning, but you know how energetic they are at five years old, and the state he comes in at the end of the day, I just know that one application isn't enough.

The team at Calypso Sun Care kindly sent us what could be the solution to Ethan's sun cream woes. 

If there's one room in the house that needs some TLC, it 's our bathroom. It's a small space but it could have potential, but for now, it is outdated, worn and not really the welcoming retreat I would love it to be. 

* Collaborative post

Bathrooms can be a big project though, and whereas my DIY 'skills' are limited to hanging pictures, I know that to makeover this space would need some serious thought and some expert support too.

There's just so much to consider, and lots of different ways to turn a bathroom into the practical room all the family need to use but also the sanctuary where you can soak away the stresses and strains of the day. 

The sun is shining (at last) and the summer holidays aren't that far away so no doubt you're looking ahead to the warmer months and making some plans as a family. We're going to be having a staycation in the UK and will be looking to enjoy lots of adventures, making the most of our National Trust membership, across the country - so we can expect to clock up some miles in the car.

Our current must-do activities for this summer include: a trip to Legoland in Windsor, which is itself well worth a look around, maybe a trip to another theme park like Thomas Land at Drayton Manor or Cbeebiesland at Alton Towers, another visit to Hampshire to see some of the spots local to my home town, a stay with friends in Durham... and I am sure plenty in between.

* Collaborative post 

Before we set off on our UK travels, I know that my car needs some TLC first. I'm not very good when it comes to cars - I barely know anything at all - but as the only issues I've every really had (touch wood) relate to tyres, I know how important it is to take good care of them and the rest of the vehicle.

For a while now, I have been enjoyed relatively clear skin. Gone were the hormonal breakouts I used to suffer when it was that time of the month, with my chin being the worst hit are with at least one large, sore red bump appearing and sticking round for a couple of weeks before reducing and disappearing. 

* Sponsored collaboration

I'm not sure what caused my skin to clear up but the hormonal acne I used to get has really died down this past year. I still get blemishes and red patches, but these are mostly under the skin and I can't really complain too much.

Well, now I am 14 weeks pregnant, I can report that I don't have the pregnancy glow (yet, if it even exists!), but I do seem to have developed a spot of pregnancy acne. So far, it's not so bad, but those red bumps I haven't missed have started to pop up, over night, and I am really not keen - especially as it's warm now and any make up I put on seems to melt away as the day progresses.

Apparently, pregnancy acne is really common, with around 50% of expectant women expecting to develop it at some stage. It can vary in severity from mild to severe and from person to person, with the first and second trimester being the most tricky times, due to the changes in hormones. This can trigger excess sebum production, which is why your skin can feel more oily. 

This is what I think people mistake for the 'pregnancy glow'...!

With oilier skin, pores can become more easily clogged and therefore you're more prone to pimples and spots.

And did you know that an old wives' tale says that the spottier you are in pregnancy, the more likely you are to have a girl?!

Of course, those kinds of things are only ever right 50% of the time...

It doesn't seem like that long ago, but it will be Father's Day again soon (Sunday 17th June, if you need to add it to your calendar!) and time to think about marking the day with a thoughtful gift. 

I very much agree that it shouldn't be an overly commercial occasion, and spending time with your father figure or celebrating your other half with your children is of course the most important. 

I really do think that it's the thought that counts - which is why I love personalised presents and for this Father's Day, I have ordered some items through Truprint for my Dad and also for hubs, from Ethan. I was given £20 to spend and my total order value came to £45 with free delivery. This includes the items I'm sharing below as well as 79 photo print which I think is great as I was able to take advantage of some current special offers, including a number of free photo prints being a new customer and free delivery on orders over a certain value.

I wanted to pick some practical items that I know my Dad and Ste will use, whilst using recent photos from special moment to create gifts that would mean something. Just like Truprint and their #SwapSocksForSelfies campaign this Father's Day, I like doing something different and we all know that socks really aren't the most inspiring gift - BUT dads can be SO hard to buy for!

Within just a couple of days, all the items arrived (they came separately, as they were ready, which I think is a really good idea - so worth checking out as there's still plenty of time to order) and I am really pleased with the results.

All these items were ordered via my phone, using photos taken straight from my camera library - easy!

Summertime, and the living is easy. Until your see your energy bill, that is…

The summer months are finally here – hurray! Think long evenings, weekend picnics, rising temperatures and sun, sun, sun! But it isn’t all fun and games. With the six-week holiday looming, having your little ones around the house day in, day out can mean your bills can skyrocket.

* Content collaboration

We tend to worry most about our energy bills during the colder months, but did you know that there are so many actions you can take during summer to reap those financial benefits later on in the year? 

While we might expect higher energy costs in the summer, what with the extra washing and time spent on electronic devices, it’s easy to manage your energy use with a bit of planning and preparation.

Here, leading heating oil supplier, Rix Petroleum, fills us in on their top cost effective tips to cut back on summer energy use!
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