Monday, 18 June 2018

Birmingham Indian Film Festival to showcase a selection of films that you can enjoy with all the family

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.


Sun safety made simple for kids

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. 


Thursday, 14 June 2018

Top tips for achieving the bathroom of your dreams

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. 


Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Keep your holiday plans on track this summer with these simple car maintenance tips

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.


Monday, 11 June 2018

Pregnancy glow? More like pregnancy acne!

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...


Thursday, 7 June 2018

Personalised gift ideas for Father's Day from Truprint #SwapSocksForSelfies

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!


Wednesday, 6 June 2018

5 cost effective ways to reduce your energy bills this summer

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!

Friday, 1 June 2018

Dressed for the occasion - formal wear from Roco Clothing review

I really do love dressing Ethan up. He's starting to develop his own tastes and preferences, but generally likes all the clothes we have for him - just enjoys picking things out for himself. 

When it comes to special occasions, I do find it trickier to find things for him to wear. You can pick up basic items on the high street, but often I think they don't have much choice or put much imagination into these clothes, for boys at least.

We discovered Roco Clothing a few months ago and picked Ethan a beautiful and versatile suit that could be used as a complete set or as separate items, and he has worn this for a few events and always receives compliments on how dapper he looks.

We had a family Christening a couple of weekends ago and Roco kindly sent us a different boys' suit for the occasion. I wanted to choose something different to the grey herringbone jacket and navy trouser combo Ethan already has, so opted for a lighter fabric and blue shade. 

This time, we chose the Boys Chambray and Brown Tweed Suit (RRP £64.99-£74.00). It comes with a jacket, trousers, waistcoat, shirt, pocket square and tie, which can be worn altogether or used separately, which is why I find this to be a versatile investment, as you can mix and match items to get a lot of good use out of the suit before they grow up a size.


Thursday, 31 May 2018

Still time to visit the Jurassic Seas event at National Sea Life Centre Birmingham

We love our visits to National Sea Life Centre Birmingham and have been getting the most out of our annual passes with several trips there this year (take a look back at all our past visits and top tips here).

We may squeeze one more into our May half term break as the Jurassic Seas event is on until Sunday.

Here's what you need to know:


Wednesday, 30 May 2018

My first pregnancy update - at 12 weeks, baby number two

So... the cat, or baby in this case, is well and truly out of the bag! I'm on my journey to become mum again and I hope you'll join me for the ride, whether you were here with me last time or if you are new to my blog. If you didn't see my pregnancy announcement, do take a look as it shows how we revealed the news to the big-brother-to-be.

To Become Mum actually began five and a half years ago, the last time that I started my journey to motherhood. Everything was completely new and I wanted to find a way to document things and to share updates with friends and family... and things just went from there!

Take a look at my photo diary of my Ethan bump, to see how pregnancy looked on me last time.

This time around, things still feel pretty new. I know I have been there, got the t-shirt, when it comes to pregnancy but it has been over five years since Ethan was born. I am older now. Memories fade. Things change. There's new stuff out there. And new advice too. I feel like I am going through everything again for the first time. Every pregnancy is different, that's what they say isn't it? Now that this space has grown to what it is today, I can share more with you - to help me document my days until baby number two arrives and to give updates on things I learn and love along the way.

So, how am I doing?

Here is my first pregnancy update - let me know if there's anything else you'd like me to add to these regular updates:

Bump photo


Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Starting a business as a parent

If you have a real entrepreneurial sense about you then starting a new business is something that you have done from the comfort of your bedroom. After all, depending on the nature of your business, you can grow somewhat substantially without having to leave the house. It is the dream of many.

* Collaborative post

However, with young children in the home, which is effectively an office, productivity can soon be lowered to the point that it becomes non-existent. Do you just no longer have the time to focus on your business? Or is it time that you took the plunge and ventured outside of the safety net of your home?

Monday, 28 May 2018

Have a MAMMOTH half term at intu Merry Hill

On Saturday, we headed to intu Merry Hill as we had heard about some mysterious goings on at this huge shopping centre, and we wanted to go investigate what kind of creature could be causing so much mischief...

* In collaboration with intu Merry Hill

You may have seen my post on Instagram about the crushed car found in the car park, with the only clues being giant footprints and some tufts of orange fur.


Saturday, 26 May 2018

To become mum... again!

So, we have a bit of news and I can't quite believe that it's really happening and that we can finally share this wonderful news...

We are going to have a new bundle.
Ethan is going to become a big brother.
Our family of three will become a family of four.
Just in time for Christmas (our due date is 8th December).



Thursday, 24 May 2018

Freshen up your home - 18 new design ideas

Our home is our very own space and whether it is an expansive pad or something far more modest, it is a place where we can just 'be'. It should reflect our tastes, our lifestyle and the things we enjoy the most.

 Written in association with Balustrade Components

Our house wouldn't be to everyone's tastes but that doesn't matter, as the way we have decorated it suits our style. I like white walls because of the clean finish it gives but I am also a big fan of colour so this makes a big appearance in all the rooms.

A feature wall of yellow in the lounge and deep blue in the bedroom; red alcoves in the dining room as a backdrop to our dresser and bureau; oranges and teals in Ethan's dinosaur themed bedroom.

The last rooms we gave a full makeover to were the lounge, where we opted for a yellow and grey theme, our bedroom, with steely greys and blues, and the hall where we went for soft grey/blue on the walls and monochrome frames with other accessories.

Life is in colour and so is our home! It really does reflect our personality and I like finding new things to add to our rooms, and can be influenced by changing of the seasons as well as new interior trends. I've loved the recent trend towards kitsch accessories and am the proud owner of a cactus vase (possibly the most Instagram-worthy item we have in the house!) but I am feeling the need to freshen things up a bit now that summer is on its way.

So what are the latest interior design trends to look out for? The experts at Balustrade Components have put together a round up of the 18 key looks and trends in home design for this year and I for one am excited. From vibrant ethnic fabrics to touches of glamour, there is plenty to be inspired by here...

#TBT - Today I don't like vegetables

Hubs, aka To Become Dad,started writing a series of poems about and for Ethan a couple of year's ago, to capture the funny little quirks of his character. I think they also perfectly sum up life with a toddler / preschooler and I'm sure plenty of other parents can relate, so I thought I'd share this post again for #tbt....

Here's the first poem that started the whole thing off - hands up who has a child just like this...?!


Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Get lucky and see fab shows at Town Hall Symphony Hall Birmingham this summer

I always like to have something in the diary to look forward to; a new event, a show to go to or a gig coming up on the calendar. Having worked with Town Hall Symphony Hall Birmingham for a while now, and reviewing so many fantastic events over the past few years, I know first-hand what an eclectic and exciting mix of events they have on offer, no matter your musical taste and for everyone in the family.


Friday, 18 May 2018

Dreaming of winning

Who hasn't dreamt of winning big? A lottery jackpot, at the bingo or perhaps through an online gambling game? I don't think there's any harm in dreaming about what could be (or in having a little flutter now and then) so I've been thinking about what I would do if I won a competition, prize draw or a big jackpot...

*Sponsored collaboration

Here's what I would probably do with our winnings...

It's impossible to really imagine winning a pot of money, even though I've played a few online games like bingo and we've both done the lottery, been to dog racing or done other small scale gambling - it's fun to have a go, and if you know your limits, it's can be really fun. So, if we were to be win big, I'd be a bit sensible but also a bit impulsive with spending our winnings - I just wouldn't be able to resist a bit of a splash to celebrate!


Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Is Your Home As Relaxing As It Could Be?

We spend a lot of time thinking about our homes. How to keep everything in order, the bills we need to pay, how to ensure everything looks as good as possible, as so on. But there’s one area of owning a property we very often forget to think about; how relaxing they are! Yet this is one of the most important aspects of the home. After all, after a long day of work, we all want to return to a place that’s tranquil, comfortable, and conducive to a healthy mind, body, and spirit. Below, I take a look at a few simple ways you can up the relaxation levels in your home...

* Collaborative post


Cosy Corners

Take a look at your home. How many spaces are there, really, where you can sink into a deep state of relaxation? If you don’t already have these spaces, then take a look at adding a cosy reading corner in one of your rooms; if you have a spare bedroom, then it can be especially good for this use - after all, you only have guests every so often, it doesn’t automatically need to become a guest room. And, as probably goes without saying, spend some time putting together the perfect living area, one in which you can spend many a chilly evening curled up watching films.


Monday, 14 May 2018

Be a mermaid / be a llama

There's a lot of people talking online about their personal journey learning to love themselves and how sometimes social media can be more of a negative experience than a postitive one. So much so, I'd say there is a real trend towards more people finding it ok not to always be ok, and not to always show the 'nice' bits but to open up and talk about the not so nice bits too. And I think that's flippin' brilliant.

I have a post in drafts that I will finish one day, all about why your thirties rock, as I am almost four years in and have to say, by-and-large, I am the most happy I have been, particularly within myself. It's not always easy and I have wobbles like everyone, but I have found a way to enjoy who I am, the way I am, and there is something to knowing yourself as you get older that makes the extra birthdays not really so bad.

If you ever have a wobble, or wobbles, sometimes some words of encouragement can make all the difference. And I have two books filled with word of positivity to share with you in case they're the kind of thing that might give you a boost or a smile when you need it.

The first book is called Be A Llama... and Stay A Little Calmer, (£5.99), by Sarah Ford, available from Octopus Books. It's a great little pick me up for anyone who is feeling stressed or overwhelmed, either by work or the pressures of everyday life.


Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Stains be gone! A handy guide for parents

I don't know about your little ones, but Ethan always seems to be a tad sticky. And you should see the state of him some days after school! It's great that he has so much fun during the day, of course, but his uniform can really take a battering with paint or pen stains, grass and mud around his knees, crumbs or stains from his lunch around his cuffs... he's obviously very enthusiastic in whatever he is doing!

We have to wash his uniform every couple of days to keep his clothes clean and on rotation during the week, but sometimes there's a tougher stain to remove. I'm not that knowledgeable when it comes to laundry (don't ask me what all the symbols or functions do!) so this guide shared by Muddy Puddles is a REALLY big help for parents like me.


Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Always Ready for Lovely Summer Days Out

Now that the summer is here, we can look forward to longer and warmer days. But, to be able to take full advantage of them you have to be prepared.

* Collaborative post

New swimwear
If you have not already done so, get everyone to try on their swimming costumes, shorts, and bikinis. You are checking to make sure it fits. Should anyone need a new costume you can easily order them online from somewhere like Fashion World. They sell women´s bikinis, tankinis and costumes in sizes 30 to 46. But, they also cater for men and children. Shopping somewhere you can buy what you need for everyone saves you time and, usually, you will save on postage, as well.

Monday, 7 May 2018

Bedroom colour scheme ideas - our inspiration

Over the past 11 years, our bedroom has probably been the room that's gone through the most changes. Not necessarily in terms of layout, as our king size bed predetermines this a fair bit, but in the colour scheme.

* In collaboration with Bed Guru

It took me a long while to find the perfect shade for to slumber in; it's been sky blue, sage green, monochrome and at one point, we even had a brick wall effect feature wall.

In our latest and current scheme, we have gone for a palette of soft grey and deep blue. In the winter, we layer this up with rich toned cushions and in summer, the bedspread we choose helps to lift the room and keep the feeling cool and inviting.


Sunday, 6 May 2018

Fun Family 5 - walk with Birmingham Children’s Hospital this June

I have a real affection for and am keen to support Birmingham Children's Hospital Charity. From The Big Hoot trail in 2015 to the even bigger Big Sleuth last summer, I have become more aware of the fantastic work that the charity does in order to help children who really are going through some tough times health wise.

I've been fortunate to get to know the charity a little more, on a personal level, knowing someone who works there and seeing what they do and the difference it all makes, so I was keen to share their latest fundraising event in case your family can help another family out.

Here's what you need to know about Fun Family 5, taking place in June:

Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity is calling on its kind-hearted supporters to get involved in its much-anticipated second annual Fun Family 5.

Taking place in Sutton Park on Saturday 16 June, the eventful sponsored 5K walk will raise vital funds for the sick children and families at the hospital, and aims to top last year’s event which saw over 400 participants raise nearly £20,000.

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Store, save or skip?

A couple of years ago, we gutted out our lounge and made some big changes. We hired a skip for the rubble and to get rid of old bits and bobs, and worked so hard that bank holiday weekend to makeover our family room. We even redecorated the hallway the same week, too!

Something about this time of year always has us busy around the house. Last year, we hired another skip and decided to clear out the loft. Ever since we moved in, over 11 years ago, we have put things up in the loft every so often. And because Ste is the only one who can fit up there, I had little idea of just how much stuff we had been hoarding.

And boy, was it a lot!

Spring is of course a great time to do some spring cleaning and to really look through your things to assess what you need and what you want, what you really don't need anymore but someone else might and those things that have no use at all.

It's a game I like to call store, save or skip!

Having a really thorough clear out can feel like a challenge at the time and takes effort but it is oh so worth it. You can be sure to keep a handle on what you have and organise things, so even if your house isn't big enough to have everything out, and you need a loft, garage or self storage space, you actually know what you have.

Christmas decs can take up lots of room.

When you have a baby, you don't like to throw things away and you might need them again one day.

And with our weather being predictable, you can have different seasonal clothes on rotation.


Friday, 4 May 2018

The Catchment Conundrum

Searching for a school is rarely easy. Given how long your child will spend in the place, it’s essential they like the one you choose. But, how can you make such a big decision after only seeing a building once or twice? Within a few months of school hunting, your head will hurt and your feet will, too. By that stage, you’ll be crying out for your child to PLEASE pick a school they like.

Then, one day they reach a decision. You’re so relieved you could cry. There’s just one problem; the school they like is out of your catchment area. At this stage, it’s easy to go into panic mode. You only put such effort into this because you want a bright future for your kids. But, now you have to tell them they can’t go to their chosen school after all. Or, do you? Not being in the catchment area is a pain in the backside. But, if you’re willing to make compromises, there’s no reason you can’t still make this work. All you’d need to do is move house, and keep the following pointers in mind.

* Collaborative post


Thursday, 3 May 2018

Which Property Professionals Should Be In Your Little Black Book?

As with many other areas of your life, when it comes to your home, it’s often handy to know who to call when you need something. Because we all know just how hard running a home can be. So, it’s something that we don’t always want to have to struggle with.

* Collaborative post

Having to go through a range of different professionals until you find the right one can be hard, but it’s still something that you might want to do - and ahead of time too. Because there’s nothing like panicking that you need to hire someone or help with something in a hurry and then choosing the wrong person for the job. So, it’s going to help you to get a little black book of property professionals together. By researching online, calling up and asking questions, and getting recommendations from friends and family, it should be simple enough to do. And here are the professionals that you should look to gather up first.


Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Win tickets to The Baby Show at NEC Birmingham this month - 2 pairs to giveaway!

When Ethan was little, I went to The Baby Show when it came to Birmingham and I really loved it. It was a fun and informative day out with so much to see and do; my only wish was that I could have gone sooner, when Ethan was younger, as it was a really informative day and there was lots to learn... and to buy!

My Sister-in-Law is expecting and due at the end of this month and she too went to the show and came away with a stroller, so it can be a really useful place to go if you have babies on the brain and want to get your hands on the latest kit. That's the best way of working out what's going to be best for you and your bundle.

I'm excited to share with you a competition for two people to win a pair of tickets to The Baby Show later this month - here's what you need to know about the show before you go, and how to enter my competition...

The UK’s biggest and best pregnancy and parenting event of the year is set to return to the Birmingham NEC in May – The Baby Show, with MadeForMums.  Taking place from Friday 18th until Sunday 20th, the event will showcase the latest innovations on the baby market, provide a wealth of expert advice and offer an incredible one-stop-shop for those shopping for their new arrivals – including the UK’s biggest range of prams, buggies and car seats all under one roof!


Common Mistakes That Cause Damage To Your Floor

In your home, it is so easy to get slip into unhelpful and comfortable habits. Your floor is no exception – there are many ways in which you could be dramatically reducing the lifespan of your flooring without even knowing it! 
* Sponsored post

That is why Luxury Flooring are here with some handy hints and tips to make you aware of the things you should change.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Keeping You And The Family Secure in Your home: Some Of The Things To Try

Let’s be honest, terrible things can happen when we least expect them to and it can be quite devastating to you and the whole family. Opportunists are always looking for the next chance they have to rob homes, and as burglary can be one of the biggest and most common crimes, it can certainly tip your whole world upside down should it happen to you.

However, you can do things to better protect your home from these thieves. I thought I would share with you what some of them are.

* Contributed post


Monday, 30 April 2018

Dining at Bistro Pierre - and special offer for TBM readers

I really do love finding new places to eat and dining out is one of my favourite things to do. I like to take a break from cooking and enjoy a nice atmosphere and tasty food. And I think I have found my new favourite... Bistro Pierre.

It's an independent chain of 21 French bistros, promising 'great value provincial French cooking', and our local one can be found canal side in a beautiful setting, partway between Birmingham's Mailbox and Broad Street destinations. 


Thursday, 26 April 2018

#TBT - Back off our post-baby bodies!

For #TBT, I thought I'd share this slightly ranty post I wrote a few years ago again, given the arrival of the royal baby this week and much talk around Kate and how quickly she appeared in front of the media...

Warning: this post is a bit of a rant but yet again, a Daily Mail story has ruffled my feathers. I know, why do I read it if it riles me so? Well, it does have good celebrity stories and shameless gossip on my lunch hour is always appreciated.

But I have just about had enough of how the Daily Mail, and all the other gossip magazines and sites, talk about women. Specifically in this instance, new mums.

Body image is a topic of much debate that everyone has thrown their twopence worth in. There can be no denying that what we see in the media has an effect on how we view the world and ourselves. Even when armed with the knowledge that what you're seeing may not be real - that the model has been airbrushed or certain types of people have been excluded altogether - if all you see is distorted images, then your concept of 'normal' becomes manipulated.

This is very true when it comes to mums. The media love to monitor every stage of a celebrity's pregnancy, from speculation - Mila Kunis anyone? - to a running commentary on how their bump is growing and what they're wearing to hide / show off said bump - step forward Holly Willoughby.

The real analysis is saved for when they have actually had their baby, to see who races towards the 'be skinny in just X weeks' finish line first.

The article that's prompted this rant can be read here and it's a good example of how the Daily Mail can turn anything into 'news'. In this case, 'woman has baby then wear bikini'.


Add Personality To Your Home This Summer

Every home requires a personality of its own, otherwise there will be no theme or reasoning behind anything you have. Of course, you require the essentials to live, but when you look past that, what else do you have other than four walls? If you aren't able to answer the question, then it's proof that you lack flair and purpose.
* This post contains affiliate links

When you walk into a home, you want to feel as though you are overcome by a sense - the sense is entirely up to you. It could be passion, romance, simplicity, abstract - it's whatever you make it. But if you aren't sure then you need to start thinking now.

A great tip is to reflect on yourself. What do you like? What traits do you have? And how would you best describe yourself in one word? Thinking about these things may open your eyes as to how you want your home to be so that it connects to that.

The summer is right around the corner, and if there was any time to redecorate - it would be now before the sun welcomes you and you no longer desire to do anything other than chill out.


Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Essential Rattan Garden Furniture You Need This Summer

With winter a distant memory, you want to enjoy as much of the summer as you can. And that means lazing in the summer sun, dining and entertaining in your garden. To get the most of your garden, you need superior garden furniture. Take a look at the options for 2018...

* Collaborative post

How do you make the most of a garden? As well as a fantastic garden design that makes it accessible, a combination of garden furniture options gives you more choice as to what you do in your garden.

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Your phobias and you

Having a phobia is a common thing. It could be completely irrational, and you have no clue where it stems from, or it could be from a traumatic experience as a child and you’ve not been able to move on from it. Whether your fear is a trip to the dentist, a fear of flying, needles, dogs, clowns or spiders – it might seem like something you’ll never get over. But everyone who has a phobia has the capacity to overcome it!

* Written in collaboration with Weybridge Dental

While some might tell you to tackle your fear of dogs by simply petting one or facing your fear of the dentist by heading to a professional and highly recommended practice like, for those of us with deep rooted phobias, it’s not as simple as that.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

How To Survive Your First Family Holiday Abroad

It’s safe to say that every year is a busy year. Even when you think that you’re going to slow down a little, it never seems to happen - especially when you have small children. So, you’re always going to want to be able to enjoy a break away from the stresses of everyday life.

* Sponsored post

When your kids are very small, you often want to stay in the UK, just to test the waters with holidaying, to begin with. But before long, you’ll want to travel a little more, explore different locations, and generally get out and chase the sun! 

When you’ve not been abroad together as a family before, you can often get a little weary. You’ll wonder if taking the little ones abroad is every a good idea! And it always is, because it’s nice to enjoy family holidays together. So if you’re starting to think about going on yours, here’s what you need to do.

Monday, 16 April 2018

An Aldi haul from their Baby and Toddler event

Spring has sprung, the weather is getting better and there seems to be babies springing up everywhere. So it must mean that it's time for Aldi's hugely popular Baby and Toddler Specialbuy event!

* Post in collaboration with Aldi

Online TODAY and in store from Thursday (19th April 2018), now is a great time to stock up and grab a bargain for the babies and toddlers in your life. Aldi got in touch to give me the lowdown on the latest special buys you can expect to see, and I have a few things to share with you, especially as I have a couple of friends and family members looking forward to welcoming their bundles of joy soon.

Here's a few things I have found that I just LOVE and think you will too (especially the prices)...


Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Snack time for avocado addicts

Hands up, who is an avocado addict? * ME! ME! * It's the favoured food of Millennials apparently and the humble avocado has become much loved by many a food lover and I simply can't get enough of it. I like it on toast, in a salad and LOVE it as guacamole - I've even blended it in smoothies for a creamy and healthy drink.

So, imagine my joy when I learned of a new avocado based snack. 

Snackamolé is a new avocado based snack that delivers you one of your five a day in a convenient pack that you can enjoy at your desk, on a picnic or on the go. In two varieties, you can choose between a Chunky Avocado Dip or a smoother, zingier Guacamole Dip, both of which come with popped paprika flavour chips.


Monday, 9 April 2018

500 pairs of tickets to give away to Grand Designs Live!

I absolutely love interiors and can spend hours on Pinterest, Instagram and flicking through home improvement magazines for inspiration for our own home. I love seeing what's new for the season and every year or two we plan a bigger home renovation project, so we're always looking out for what's new and expert advice.

If you're like me, I have something very exciting to share with you today...

To Become Mum has teamed up with Grand Designs Live to give you the chance to claim one of  500 - yes 500! - free pairs of tickets, worth up to £34 each, to the UK’s leading contemporary home show – Grand Designs Live at the ExCeL, proudly sponsored by Anglian Home Improvements. 


Sunday, 8 April 2018

#MySundayPhoto - star of the holidays

We've done lots of things together during the Easter holidays so far, with my week off with Ethan, and I've managed to get lots of snaps of my little guy out and about and exploring.

I've picked this one for My Sunday Photo because I like the detail picked up in the starfish, when we visited the National Sea Life Centre Birmingham, and how Ethan is in the background. I also loved some of the photos from our visit to Becketts Farm, but decided to stick to the one this time.


Friday, 6 April 2018

#LifeLately - what we got up to over the holidays

Ste and I have split the Easter holidays between us so we can both have some quality time with Ethan and make our annual leave go that little bit further to cover as much as we have to throughout the year. This has been my week and here is what we have got up to, and what we are planning for the second week of half term (you can read my top 5 tips for the Midlands here on the Free Radio website)...

Good Friday
We had a slow start then went into Birmingham to Town Hall to see Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales - another fun family show, really worth checking out their what's on list as there's always something different to enjoy.


Thursday, 5 April 2018

Baby animals at Becketts Farm

Today, I took Ethan to visit Becketts Farm - in Wythall, south of Birmingham City Centre - as they have a marquee for the Easter holidays full of farm animals, including baby chicks, lambs and goats. What better way to spend a morning or afternoon this half term?

I have passed Becketts Farm Shop and Restaurant a few times but had never been. I saw they were offering the chance to meet new additions to their farm animal family for just £1 entry per person (under 1's free) and knew this was something to add to the list for our Easter activities.


Our love of TV and films, and of Alexa!

Stephen and I first met when we were at uni and both started working at Blockbuster (remember them?!). We 'clicked' over our love for film and it quickly became one of our favourite pastimes; going to the cinema to see the latest release and building a pretty huge DVD collection. Between us, and using our Blockbuster discount in the beginning, we amassed around 700 DVD's. Then came the Blu-rays. Then the 4K HD discs.

* Sponsored post

We're quite a techy family, with various consoles (it's hubs' main passion, don't ask me to tell you which ones we have!) and subscriptions to Netflix, Now and Amazon Prime. Oh, and we welcomed Alexa to our home with our Google Dot over a year ago, and she even helps control our Philips Hue lights around the house.

Talk about living in the future!


Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Spring cleaning

Around this time every year, we have some kind of DIY project on our hands, be it our big lounge makeover, refreshing our hallway or making some updates to our bedroom, or at least a big clean. Well, it's a good time to get some housework done, right?! 

Clear the clutter, sweep away the cobwebs and welcome in the lighter, brighter days. Hear hear!

Whilst we have no DIY plans at the moment, it would be good to use some of the time we have off at home to sort a few things out (our spare room comes to mind...) and I do enjoy stocking up on my cleaning bits and bobs. Might be a bit sad to admit it, but I do love having a stocked cupboard with all the things we need to keep the house spic and span.

Thanks to Marigold, we have everything we need to put some elbow grease into our home and get things sparkling clean.


Friday, 30 March 2018

Enjoy being an Ice Age explorer at West Midlands Safari Park this Easter

We are big animal lovers in our family and a lot of our days out involve going to see animals, either at attractions or just going out and about in the great outdoors. It's been a little while since we last went to West Midlands Safari Park (we go to the fireworks there every year), and even longer since we attended the launch of the Land of Living Dinosaurs, and I am really keen to go back soon as Ethan gets really excited and would gain so much more from the experience now he's older too.

We have the perfect excuse to go this Easter holidays as the UK’s largest Ice Age exhibit is opening at West Midland Safari Park TODAY!

Here's what I have found out about this latest attraction...

Ice Age is an immersive, multi-sensory experience, allowing guests to step back in time and walk amongst the magnificent creatures that roamed the Earth millions of years ago. An investment of £1.25 million has been put into this project and the WMSP team has created three distinct and interactive time zones, plus there's an enormous rumbling volcano and huge atmospheric ice cave installations, both of which can be walked through by intrepid explorers.


Thursday, 29 March 2018

Enchanted by Disney - Disney On Ice, Worlds of Enchantment Show Review

Not sure if I have mentioned this before, but we LOVE Disney as a family (ok, so maybe it's slipped in once or twice - be it DisneyLife, Oh My Disney, Disneyland Paris or many other posts that make a mention of it!). We all have our favourite stories, from classics to the new Disney Pixar films, and Mickey Mouse is just the greatest character. So, you can probably imagine just how much fun we had at Disney On Ice: Worlds of Enchantment, which has just come to Genting Arena Birmingham.

On until 1st April in Birmingham, before heading off around the country to Nottingham, Liverpool, Cardiff, London and Aberdeen, this is a fantastic awe-inspiring show to go and see.

We went to the last Disney on Ice show last year, Passport to Adventure, and it is a bi-annual event that tours the UK with a cast of your favourite characters.

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