Friday, 26 August 2016

Creative curls - review of Curlformers hair styling kit


I'm well known as the girl who changes her hair. A lot. From different styles to many different colours - and sometimes more than one at a time - I like to experiment and change my look up.

One thing I can't do, very well at least, is style my hair. More often than not, it's down and straight, sometimes with a twist at the bottom. It's not that I don't love other looks; it's more that I find it hard to recreate them on myself (it's always easier doing someone else's hair, don't you think?) and I often don't think a style will suit.

For special occasions, or when I can be bothered to do more than a quick blowdry and GHD routine, I will curl my hair. To varying degrees of success. To date, I've used sleep-in rollers, which are great for volume but do make it hard to lie on a pillow as your head is mahoosive, the bendy foam curlers, which are fool proof to use but more for a general wave / more of a messy look, and then my GHD's, although I can never create those loose curls that hairdressers seem to achieve with ease.

Step-in Curlformers.

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Tuesday, 23 August 2016

A sweet way to spend a Saturday - Carex launch event at Mr Simms

* Sponsored post


Never one to turn down an invitation, I headed to Liverpool on Saturday for a launch event for anyone with a sweet tooth.

I really like Liverpool having visited a few months ago for a hen do so it was nice to have another reason to go back. This time, Carex had invited me especially to cover the launch of their new Love Hearts hand wash at old fashioned sweet shop, Mr Simms.

There couldn't be a more fitting place really, could there?!

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Monday, 22 August 2016

10 things my toddler has taught me

Coming up for three years ago now, I wrote a post about the skills you learn when you become a mum for the first time and I thought it would be fun to do the same kind of post again, now that I have a toddler - and a spirited one at that!

These past couple of weeks, I have seen such a change in Ethan. He's always been chatty, sure of himself and able to tell us what's going on, but now he's reached a whole new level. He's picked up new phrases, can use different tenses when he speaks and he's not afraid to pick us up on something if he thinks we're wrong.

I continue to be amazed by him and it's made me realise that as much as he learns from us, we are learning a lot from him, too.

So, here's a few things my toddler has taught me...

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Thursday, 18 August 2016

Spread the love, not germs Carex Love Hearts launch at Mr Simms, Liverpool ONE, this Saturday!

* PR collaboration

This weekend, I'm heading to Liverpool for a fun new launch from Carex. I tried some of their Fun Edition products at the start of the year and their hand wash has become a sink side staple ever since; on hand to keep our hands clean and a part of Ethan's routine he really gets into.

Launched for summer, Carex has introduced a special new hand wash to their collection, and it's an exciting collaboration too. The new Fun Edition hand wash is... Love Hearts!


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Wednesday, 17 August 2016

New Flying Tiger store in Birmingham - review and haul post

I love finding new stores and if they're quirky and offer a broad range of bits and bobs, I'm there quicker than you can say 'pass me the shopping basket!'.

That's why when I heard that Flying Tiger was coming to Selfridges, Bullring, Birmingham, I couldn't resist a lunch time trip.

I'd first seen Flying Tiger - previously known just as Tiger - from the store that popped up in the old Woolworths space in Grand Central. A friend had been in and come back with an array of goodies and so I had to check it out for myself. And then when I went to Benidorm for a hen do at the end of May, I saw that they had some stores too and even then I couldn't resist buying a few bits and bobs.

In a similar vein to IKEA and HEMA, Flying Tiger sells an eclectic range of products for the home, for children and for any number of reasons you can think of. It's a brand from Copenhagen and it's fresh, fun and affordable to, with so many items just being a couple of pounds.


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Tuesday, 16 August 2016

A review for AO.com - Vax Power Pet C85-P4-Pe Bagless Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner


I was recently invited to be a reviewer for appliance specialists AO.com and was kindly given the chance to try out a new vacuum cleaner.

With Ethan always creating crumbs plus a scruffy dog and two cats, keeping our floors clean is a real challenge and just one of those jobs that always needs doing.

Our previous vacuum cleaner was of the bagged variety and the bags have now been discontinued - so our new Vax Power Per C85-P4-Pe Bagless Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner arrived just in the nick of time.

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Friday, 12 August 2016

Be good to you - Begu tea review


Earlier this week, I wrote about trying to find time for 'me' time, and there's one thing that has well and truly become part of my routine, as a daily treat or a pick me up - Begu tea.

I've always enjoyed a cup of T and have tried various flavoured teas, but I'm often disappointed by the lack of taste. Fruit teas often smell better than they taste but with Begu, I've been onto a winner.

The Chinese see tea as an art form, and the act of making tea has a great deal of ceremony and occasion around it. Aside from my essential cup of English Breakfast first thing when I wake up, I've been trying the Begu tea blends as an alternative to coffee (I was having way too much, too often) and to give me something sweet to enjoy (to stop me snacking so much).

Begu is actually a holistic lifestyle brand and I really like the whole ethos. I'm trying to focus more on wellbeing and have found that drinking specialist tea is a treat but also fits in to a more mindful lifestyle.

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Thursday, 11 August 2016

Is a bullet journal for you?


If you're a stationery addict / hoarder like me, you'll no doubt have heard about bullet journals. An idea from America, as these things often are, a bullet journal is a form of note-taking that has a few rules and symbols connected with it, but generally can be set it up in any notebook and in any way that works for you.

The main thing is you use your bullet journal to mind dump everything in your head, organise your life and also reflect on what you have and want to achieve.

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Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Switched on / switching off - making time for me time


For some of us, making time for ourselves is a challenge. I'm talking about real me time - not the kind of free time that we decide to 'put to good use' to tick things off our to do list, involving housework or anything else relating to our children, husband or our working lives either.

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Monday, 8 August 2016

A fix for sensitive skins

I've long shared my skin issues on here, as a way of release and to show support for other sensitive types or psoriasis sufferers, and I know that when it comes to little ones, sensitive skin is a common issue.

From the day we know we are going to have our children, we take care when choosing what to use and to consume so as to take the very best care of them. And this doesn't change when they are in the world, either; everything we use on them or feed them is chosen carefully.


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Sunday, 7 August 2016

#MySundayPhoto - giggles with Daddy

My pick for this week's #MySundayPhoto is one taken last weekend at a party at a barn conversion overlooking the countryside surrounding Durham. It was early evening, the weather was warm and Ethan was enjoying running around and generally entertaining himself.

I managed to take a few snaps of him playing and running to and from his Daddy in a game - all on my iPhone but they all have a really lovely quality about them.

Perhaps it was the beautiful surroundings, the peace we were feeling at the time or just the pure glee of a three year old who's playing outside. I just know that I love looking at the photo sequence I took as it's captured Ethan as he is right now.

This is my favourite shot - one of those that you can't plan and you're lucky if it turns out well and not a blurry mess.

Spontaneous. A real moment, captured.

The best kind of photo, really.



Photalife
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Win a ‘smarter way to potty train’ pack worth £17!


We've taken baby steps with Ethan's potty training for the best part of this year. We've tried to encourage and not force things and to be fair, whilst he's still in nappies, I feel like this way of doing things has helped him come around to the idea in his own time.

After a period of ignoring the potty, we are now in a routine where he will use it every evening at least once for a number one, and he's telling us more regularly that he needs a wee when we're out and about, so all is going well.

It's just the consistency now and also encouraging him to use the potty for more than a wee. He's done it a few times at nursery but again, not consistently, so I think now is the time to really focus on this and get a training routine in place.

And that's why I'm joining in with the Dry Like Me 'Potty Training Live' programme that's currently underway.

Dry Like Me is the new, smarter way to potty train. The award-winning, handy little potty training pads turn all pants into potty training pants by adding an absorbent layer to give your little one extra confidence when learning to live without the nappy, and help to ease the pressures on you.



To celebrate the launch of their free summer potty training programme, Potty Training Live!, Dry Like Me has given me a ‘Smarter Way to Potty Train’ pack worth £17 to giveaway. 

The packs contain each variety of award-winning Dry Like Me pads and a lovely reward chart and stickers – all the tools you need to help your little one achieve potty training success! 
Dry Like Me pads help your child to recognise their body’s cues for the loo, a key part of potty training.  While they are learning, they capture small accidents and so reduce the mess and stress.

Soft and comfortable, they are suitable for children of all.


TIME TO START?


Research shows that around the age of two years old is the best time to start potty training.  In fact, nappies could be ‘masking’ that your child is ready.  Look for the clues…

* Can your child communicate with you?

* Does he/she have good physical skills, such as being able to walk and climb stairs?

* Can he/she take direction, like being shown how to wash hands? 



If you answer yes to these and your little one is around two or more then don’t be afraid – go for it!


Sign up for Potty Training Live!


Jude and Di, the mums who created Dry Like Me, have lots of tips to help with potty training.


One of their top tips is that, before you start, begin teaching the routine of going to the toilet.  Take your child into the bathroom with you to ‘practice’ everything from turning on the light to waving off the poo, washing hands and closing the door.


For more information, practical advice and special offers go to www.drylikeme.com.


Dry Like Me are available from most major supermarkets both online and in-store, on Amazon, and directly from Dry Like Me in their online potty training shop.


***

Some really helpful advice there, and I'll let you know how we get on. 

If you'd like the chance to win the potty training pack I have to giveaway, just click on the Rafflecopter link below to enter - competition closes midnight on Thursday 11th August 2016.


a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Friday, 5 August 2016

Life Lately #9 - two weddings, new shoes and a VW campervan


For a long time now, we've been building up to two weddings in our friendship group. We're a close group but we all live in different places so rather than popping over for a cuppa or hanging out on a whim, we have to plan in visits and things to do which is nice as we have something to look forward to but it is a shame that we aren't around more day to day for each other in person.

With two weddings taking place just four days apart, we've seen a lot more of each other recently for hen and stag dos and catch ups.

And this past week, both weddings finally came around.

Hurray!

We've been living and breathing the weddings so in terms of what's been going on lately, this is the main thing I have to share!

I was bridesmaid for the first wedding, which took place near Durham. We were wearing pale pink multi-way dresses and preparations started early on at the hairdressers. The morning flew by and soon there were us four bridesmaids all rushing to get our make up and dresses on before seeing the bride ahead of the ceremony.


I was near tears before walking down the aisle as they bride looked beautiful and I heard one of my favourite songs playing - 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' by Israel Kamakawiwo'Ole.


The ceremony was lovely and we all did a reading for the newlyweds.


The day flew by and we were all so excited and happy to be together and celebrating the special day, dancing the night away in raucous style and posing up a storm in the photo booth area.


The next day, we went into Durham for a big lunch with everyone before heading to a house party of a friend of a friend, who lives in an amazing barn conversion overlooking rolling fields and a castle. It was pretty spectacular to say the least!

Saturday was our day 'off' wedding duties, so hubs, Ethan, my friend Bex and I headed to the Metro centre in Gateshead for a spot of shopping and to see Finding Dori (loved it, of course). I also found a cute new pair of Cath Kidston shoes...


On Sunday, we headed to a village in Yorkshire to have a church rehearsal, get-together with bride and groom number two, a meal and then a slumber party at the venue's private cinema. Only one film would do for us ladies - Dirty Dancing!


Monday came around and it was time for two of our best friends to tie the knot. I was Maid of Honour and after getting ready in the bride's suite and being stunned by how stunning she looked in her elegant gown, I was surprised with the special treat of a VW Campervan that was to take us to the church. It's my dream car and they had booked it especially for me.


Her name was Cali and we drank champagne on the drive back to the venue after a lovely church ceremony, which included a reading from my husband and one about Pooh (of the Winnie variety) which caused a few chuckles.


Hubs even turned the bride and groom into Disney-style characters for the orders of service.




The rest of the day flew by with a strong quartette playing Disney songs, children's games, mini meal canapes, a jazz duo, a live band, a DJ, a selfie station, a pimp your drink station... the works! 


I gave a speech as my friend had done so at my wedding and I wanted to do something special for my two friends. It went well, although I was really nervous, and the whole day was amazing.


I remember the last few songs playing in the small hours of the morning. 'Greatest Day', Take That (a repeat of their choreographed first dance), then 'I've Had the Time of My Life' before 'Never Forget'. We were all in a circle and those three songs sum up how I felt.

Our week of weddings had come to a close and I will never forget those special people or their special days.

To Nat and Stu.

To Lindsay and John.

Love you millions.


Here's the main part of the speech I gave; they're Disney fans and I put together some 30 quotes to create something special for them...

***

Can you feel the love tonight? I know I can, and it means so much to be celebrating this special day for these two special people.

And what a magical day it has been. To see Lindsay finally marry her prince charming. John, as most of us know him.

They say a dream is a wish your heart makes. And to say that this day has been a dream for so, so very long, would be very true indeed. In fairness, we all knew that one day, her prince would come… come though that is, and get down on one knee and pop the question.

They say if you dream about something more than once, it’s sure to come true. We told Lindsay that sometimes, you have to just keep swimming, swimming, swimming, and then the dream that she wished for would come true.

Some people are worth melting for. Or waiting for, in John’s case.

To be here, as man and wife, is a declaration that you mean more to each other than anyone else in the whole wide world. In front of your family and friends, and those who are very much with us in spirit.

As soon as you saw each other, you knew an adventure was about to happen. Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart – and with mini Linds and mini John, this is certainly true. They just fit together, don’t they?

People do crazy things when they're in love and your story over the past 12, almost 13 years has taken you from London to Birmingham to Yorkshire to today. And it hasn’t always been easy but you’ve trusted your heart and let fate decide.

You know that any day spent with one another is your favourite day. It’s a feeling. Like “when I look at you, I'm home. You're the best thing I never knew I needed. I wouldn't have nothing if I didn't have you.”

One of Lindsay's favourite Disney films is Wall-E. I'd say it's safe to say that John has found his Eva and Lindsay has found her Wall-E.

I’m sure that when John laid eyes on Lindsay today at the church, he thought to himself “I know you, I walked with you once upon a dream.” And Lindsay thought, when looking at John in his dapper suit, “everything is different, now that I see you.”

To spend a life of endless bliss, just find who you love through true love's kiss.

Now, John, you’ve got to show her you need her, each day do something to lead her, to believe how much you love her.

And Lindsay, you’ve made a promise to John that he will be in your heart, from this day on, now and forever more.

Everybody wants to live happily ever after. All you need is faith and trust, and a little bit of pixie dust. (And all the patience in the world!).

Because love is a song that never ends.

To face the future with another who means more than any other is to be loved.

A whole new world.

Adventure awaits you.

Please raise your glasses to Lindsay and John, the happy couple, as they begin their happily ever after. 

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Thursday, 4 August 2016

Sound asleep



I've been told I'm a snorer. And a sleep talker. I don't doubt it, as I can get in a really deep sleep quite quickly and have on occasion woken myself up with a slight snore. I believe it's usually worse when I am super tired, have had something to drink or when I'm sleeping in a new environment.

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