Friday, 31 August 2018

8 Interesting Facts Related To Laminate Flooring

If you are following home renovations shows like Love it or List it, you might have seen the interior designers opting for practical and stylish flooring that fits for every type of homeowner. This kind of flooring is called laminate flooring and it is definitely trending. Below are some facts related to laminate flooring that will surely surprise you.
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Thursday, 30 August 2018

Enjoy the last of the summer holidays - visit ThinkTank #review

Last week, before our Bank Holiday break away, we visited ThinkTank, Birmingham's award winning science museum, and boy was there a lot to see! We have never been before - well, Ethan has but on a preschool trip, so it was our first time visiting as a family - and there's plenty to take in across the four floors of interactive displays, plus the outdoor science garden.

There's everything covered; animals and dinosaurs, the human body and medicine, materials and manufacturing, transport and trades, and even space in the Planetarium (extra cost applies).


Making your money go further this Christmas

Ok, I'm going to mention the 'C' word. I know that it's still August and technically still summer. And I know it's crazy when the shops start to stock festive cards before we've even had the need to turn the heating on at home. I know, I know. BUT, I am one of those people who likes to be prepared and with a baby coming before Christmas, my planning is starting even earlier.

I have started making lists when present ideas pop into my head and it won't be long until I am compiling my annual Santa's grotto guide for the Midlands (it'll be my fifth one this year!) - although we will have to think about when we book in to see the man in red ourselves as my due date is 8th December...

Planning is also my way of spreading the cost. We'll all have our own ways and tricks for saving moneys, bagging bargains and making sure we budget for the big day, and the earlier you start thinking about these, the less stressful life is all round, I find.

* Collaborative post


Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Catching up on our magazine reading with Readly

There’s a week left of summer holidays for us so we are fitting in a few last adventures, and moments of quality time at home, before the routine all kicks in again. And today, I am taking Ethan on the train to London (so excited to reveal what it’s all for... follow me on Instagram for live updates on my Stories!) and I have got everything packed in my bag to keep both of us entertained on the journey. 

Including the Readly app.

I’ve been making an effort to sit down and relax more and to read more too. I love reading but often feel too tired and it’s been an age since I last bought a magazine. I pick up free ones and Ethan gets the odd one too to keep him happy and occupied, but generally they do cost quite a bit, especially if you or the rest of your family have varied tastes, and it can be hard to find the time.

But not any more!

How to get your house ready before starting a family

When it comes to starting a family, there’s never going to be a perfect time. However, there are ways to prepare your household for the changes parenthood will bring.

* Collaborative post

The key to starting a family is preparation. The longer you take to prepare for a new child, the better equipped you’ll be to tackle the challenges family life brings. Of course, you’ll never be truly prepared, but the tips below will definitely help to get your house as ready as it can be.


Wednesday, 22 August 2018

6 stress-free ways for creatives to earn extra cash online

These days, it seems like everyone is on the hunt for a fast way to start making cash on the internet. In a world where companies everywhere are beginning to embrace the benefits of hiring part-time remote workers, contractors, and freelancers to help them with digital tasks, there are endless ways for people to start padding their bank account with a little extra income while working from home. 

* Sponsored post

If you've got a creative mind or a particular skill that gives you something special to sell, then you're already on the right path towards success. Here, we're going to look at some of the simplest and most stress-free ways that creative people can earn cash online. 

Capturing summer memories with Truprint #WhereverLifeTakesYou

This is the first summer holiday for us where Ethan has been at school and we have had the juggle of taking care of his six and a bit weeks off alongside work, annual leave and all the things we want to pack into it.

So far we have... visited Monkey Forest. Had breakfast with the Cadbury characters at Cadbury World. Enjoyed a day out with Thomas the Tank Engine at the Watercress Line. Done lots of crafts, including painting rocks and playing with a Fuzzikins Campervan playset. Wolfed down a delicious meal at Oldbury Cookhouse and Pub. Spent days at home enjoying simple things and time together. Dressed up as pirates at Cannock Chase. Visited the sea animals on an Octonauts Shark Mission at National Sea Life Centre Birmingham.

And we've stayed with my parents, went to family parties and probably a few other things that I have forgotten but my phone will remind me of when I scroll through the photos!

But like so many of us, I keep those memories locked in my phone and don't often take time to print them, save them or display them. Which is a shame.


Tuesday, 21 August 2018

August beauty finds

I love a bit of a pamper (who doesn't?) and have been taking much better care of my skin of late, with a few new things being added into my routine that I am really loving.


Monday, 20 August 2018

Two transitional dresses for autumn from Boohoo Maternity

Following on from my little red dress post, I have a couple more to share with you, gifted from Boohoo Maternity, that are so comfortable to wear but have a really nice look to them - and they're great for this transitional period, as autumn starts to approach.

Autumn is my favourite time of year and it's a good time to start stocking up on a few things to update your wardrobe, particularly when sleeves will be needed again and if you have a growing bump like mine, you may need some new staples.


Saturday, 18 August 2018

How I'm trying to Boss My Birth - birth and baby course review

Any website or course that starts with the proclamation that 'you are going to boss your birth' is something that I want to find out more about.

I am 24 weeks pregnant with my second child. I've reached the viability stage (I hate that word, but it is a milestone that you can't help but think of as it approaches). I am slowly realising that yes, I am growing a human (pregnancy can be such a surreal experience,  but it's all sinking in now) and that said human is going to have to come out, one way or another.

And I can't help feel a bit anxious about that. 


Friday, 17 August 2018

Plan your kitchen renovation for smooth results

Getting a new kitchen is super exciting. You'll have a brand new room that's sure to continue looking shiny and new for a while - until the kids have an impact on it, anyway. A new kitchen is one of the top choices if you're trying to raise the value of your home, but it's also just a great way to carry out an awesome transformation.

It can take a little while to complete, though. Even if it only takes a couple of days, it can still be a huge inconvenience. If you want to make sure it gets done as quickly as possible, do these things to help it go smoothly.

* Collaborative post


Thursday, 16 August 2018

A lighter slice - Dr Oetker Yes It's Pizza review

Anyone who knows me knows I love pizza. I LOVE it! In fact, so does hubs and Ethan. It's easily our favourite takeaway, and we regularly buy a frozen pizza or two to have in the freezer as a quick meal option. What's not to love? The crispy base, rich sauce, melting cheese... I'm making myself hungry just writing this!

Well, one thing not to love so much is perhaps how eating too much pizza isn't really a good thing, as they aren't the lightest meal you can enjoy.

Until now!

Indulging my love of the round Italian delight that is pizza, I've discovered a lighter alternative that's full of veggies and flavour, and is really quite delicious.

Yes It's Pizza, from DrOetker.

This range offers two different colourful pizzas, one with 35% beetroot used in its base, the other with spinach, so create something that's different and a lot lighter than other pizzas.


Making your interview outfit work for you

Did you know, that it takes an interviewer seconds to decide how they feel about you? As, believe it or not, when it comes to interviews, first impressions really do count. You might have the best CV they’ve seen, the handshake you’ve been practising might be just right and your interview questions are on point. But one thing that many people trip themselves up on? Their interview outfit.

* Collaborative post

Whether you’re going for a job at your local, a big interview at an up and coming office in the city or support worker jobs with your local council, you should never underestimate the power of a great interview outfit. So here are 3 of the best tips on how to get it just right on the day.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Review: Fuzzikins Campervan Carry Case

So we've reached the halfway point of the summer holidays, and for many of us, there's still three weeks of so to fill. ANOTHER THREE WEEKS! Don't get me wrong, having so much time with Ethan has been so nice, but it is a struggle with work and sharing annual leave with hubs, and it can be easy to run out of things to do. 

Every child will have a 'I'm so bored' day so in these instances, I bring out the creative kits and get Ethan making something to play with.

We were kindly sent a pretty cool new colouring carry case from Fuzzikins. Cool, because I love campervans myself, and fun for Ethan as he loves playing with figures and colouring, as two of his most favourite things.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

A little red maternity dress

Take one simple t-shirt style bodycon dress, one pregnant lady and a dramatic manor house backdrop and voila! You’ve got yourself a photo shoot!

It’s crazy just how good this £10 dress from Boohoo’s Maternity collection looks. I wore it when we were just having a typical family day out on Saturday, which included a trip to Monkey Forest than Shugborough Hall and when at the latter, there were just some great opportunities to take a few photos - and my red dress made me feel super glam despite it being quite a basic staple.


Sleep soundly with Leesa - and save £100 on a new mattress with TBM!

Sleep. Something that everyone needs. Some more than others (that's me!). Something that can elude you when you're pregnant, or have a newborn, or there's a heatwave. Of course, a good night's sleep comes down to having a good routine and a welcoming bedroom environment to promote those zzz's, and nothing is more important than your bed.

Your mattress, to be precise.

We invested in a new mattress around six years ago, which was long overdue, but of late, we've been a bit uncomfortable and with baby bump growing each day, my sleep routine has been affected, so the sound of a new mattress was music to my ears.

Enter Leesa - a magic mattress (my words) that comes tightly packed in such a relatively small box and then when you open it up (magic words optional), it slowly unfolds and expands and within an hour, you're ready to test it out.


Monday, 13 August 2018

Top tips for family holidays on a budget

Ethan is five years old now and aside from a trip to Disneyland Paris in January (which was fantastic, but far from a budget holiday!), we have never been abroad together on a family holiday. Paris is as far as Ethan has gone so far, but at least it involved an aeroplane!

This is our first summer with Ethan being at school age, so we are getting used to the holiday time juggle between hubs and I, taking it in turns for annual leave, and with me being 23 weeks pregnant now and looking ahead to maternity leave, we knew we wouldn't be able to squeeze in a holiday this year. I guess the heatwave has meant we haven't missed out all that much...

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Friday, 10 August 2018

Written in the stars - beautiful star map prints

I am a bit of a romantic at heart, unashamedly so, and I also enjoy personalising my home with meaningful touches that reflect our personalities, our interest in some way document our life together. From when hubs and I met almost 15 years ago, to our wedding day nearly eight years ago, to Ethan's arrival, this new bubs on the way and all the adventures and jobs and life changes along the way.

We have photos, mementos and all sorts around our home from holidays and events, including our wedding, Ethan's milestones and presents from friends.

And now we have something really special.

Something I have seen before and that I think is just really beautiful, in its look and in its meaning.

We have a stunning star map, designed especially for us by Jennifer at Modern Map Art, depicting the night sky and constellations on the day, time and location of our wedding day, on 18th September 2010.


The importance of teaching kids car safety

It’s important to teach kids how to behave in any vehicle - keeping the family safe in the car should be everyone’s responsibility, don't you agree? We are always reminding Ethan to sit up properly and to make sure that his seatbelt is in the right position, and think it's important that children are aware of the dangers of unclicking their seatbelt and moving around the vehicle when it’s in motion. Even altering the belt’s position could have a devastating effect in the unfortunate event of an accident, and it really doesn't bear thinking about. 

Here's some useful advice and links on when and how to approach the subject, which I thought would be really useful to share...


Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Bing Live! at Birmingham Town Hall

Have you heard of a little bunny called Bing? If you have a young child, chances are you have come across Bing, the excitable bunny who has a parent figure / toy called Flop (does anyone know what Flop is meant to be?!) and who learns about sharing and good manners and how to be a nice friend.

Bing was an early find for Ethan and I am sure he would still jump up and down if he saw that familiar face.

Unfortunately we have plans when this is on, but I wanted to share news of a new Bing event coming to Birmingham Town Hall later this month, as I am a blogger ambassador and know that other parents in the area might be interested in going to this.

So here's all you need to know about Bing Live!...


Go the whole hog on your wedding day

It'll be our 8th wedding anniversary in September and when I look back, we had such a great day as we did things our way, choosing what we wanted at the time to make it a personal, special and memorable day for us and our friends and family. Just the way it should be! You want to splash out on some super heels? Do it! Hubs-to-be wants a full hog roast and all the trimmings? Go for it!

* Collaborative post

Your wedding day is something that should be all about you, and whilst there's always going to be some compromises along the way - be it accommodating a distant relative or doing a few things yourself to save some pennies - it's important to remember that it is your special day, so if you and your partner want to make something happen, then there shouldn't be anything holding you back.


Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Peep peep! Our Thomas adventure on the Watercress Line

We had a great time visiting my parents this weekend, and a highlight was visiting the Watercress Line because, whilst Ethan knew we were going on a steam train with Nanna, he didn't know that Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends were going to be there too!

The special event is on now so you can enjoy a day out with Thomas until end of play this Sunday, and there isn't a better time to go if you have little ones because not only can you see Thomas, but there are other friends to spot, plus passports and colouring in certificates, fairground rides and miniature trains, and lots besides so you can make it a packed day out.


Monday, 6 August 2018

Garden ideas and home security

It's summer, we are still in a heatwave and so of course, our attention turns to how we can make the most of the warmer, brighter months. Getting the chance to take some time off work and enjoy being at home, and the sunny climes we're experiencing, means that I have started to spot odd jobs here or there or think about ideas as to how we can improve our home and our very own great outdoors - our garden.

* Collaborative post

Our garden, front and back, is neglected most of the time and we only really use the patio space to care for our two rabbits, so with the weather being that much kinder, it's really nice to use our outdoor space a little more.


A big baby bargain to be had at Aldi's Baby and Toddler Event

I'm 22 weeks pregnant now and starting to pick up a few things here and there as baby bump gets bigger and we start to think ahead to what it actually be like to have another baby again. We're going to be parents... again!!!

I'm really proud to have worked with Aldi for the past three years - can you believe, that before that, I had never been in an Aldi store? - and I particularly love their special buy events, so I am pleased to share with you information about their upcoming Baby and Toddler special offers as they are always really good and not to be missed if you are expecting or have little ones.

You can see what we picked up last time around, and I've been sent a few preview items for our little Peanut which I am so pleased with, so couldn't wait to share with you...


Saturday, 4 August 2018

FREE pair of tickets to the London Homebuilding & Renovating Show this September for EVERY reader - worth £36!

I am a big homebody type person, as much as I do love to explore and enjoy days out, and our home really is our castle, however humble. I have loved interior design for as long as I can remember and seek inspiration from magazines, Instagram and also home related shows - I just can't get enough of decor! That's why I am really excited to share this special offer with you... as all To Become Mum Readers can claim a pair of free tickets to attend the London Homebuilding & Renovating Show (21 - 23 September 2018, ExCeL, London) - worth £36!

Across three packed days, visitors to the show can speak to over 500 exhibitors and access free advice sessions, seminars and masterclasses on essential topics which can tackle any problem, from implementing the latest intelligent security systems to funding a remodelling project.

And thanks to the team and this little blog of mine, YOU could be going with your DIY mad hubby or interiors buff buddy for free.

I've included all you need to know about the show below, and you can also follow this link for more details. Just keep scrolling for my exclusive free ticket link to claim. And be sure to tell your friends too, there's really no catch - just free tickets to the show for everyone who stops by this post!

Friday, 3 August 2018

Using credit cards abroad – the things you need to know

If you’ve ever struggled with your credit score or history, the chances are you’re probably wary about securing new lines of finance. This is often a false economy, however, as opening lines of positive credit can actually boost your score and standing in the eyes of individual lenders.

If you take out a new credit card, however, you’ll need to use this responsibly if you are to have the desired effect. This can be challenging at the best of times, but the pitfalls become even more significant when you look to use your card abroad and encounter the complexities associated with this. 

In this article, we’ll offer some advice on how to use your credit card abroad while minimising the costs with potential transaction fees.

* Collaborative post 


Best activities to do outdoors with the kids

If you want to get the whole family outdoors this summer, there’s a lot of fun outdoor activities you can try. However, it can be difficult coming up with ideas when you’ve already exhausted your brain during the first week of the school holidays!

* Collaborative post

To help, here you’ll discover some of the best activities to do outdoors with the kids.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

A day out with Thomas on the Mid Hants Railway Watercress Line

This weekend, we are taking a trip down south to the leafy place I call my hometown, in Hampshire, to visit my parents, celebrate recent birthdays and enjoy a day out with none other than Thomas the Tank Engine on the Mid Hants Railway Watercress Line.

I was probably not much older than Ethan is now the last time I went on the Watercress Line steam trains so I am really excited to be taking him to enjoy this experience - and he has NO IDEA that Thomas will be making a special appearance.

We're really looking forward to a fun day on the railway (be sure to follow me on Instagram and see my Stories on Sunday whilst we are out and about), and I will pop up a review and photos following our visit, but as the event starts this Saturday, 4th August, until 12th August, I wanted to share the details with you now in case it's something you'd like to book onto for this weekend too...


Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Starting to buy for baby - onesies with personality from Lavender Sun

It's really hard to resist buying baby things once you find out you are pregnant but I have been quite good this time around, with it being my second pregnancy and us keeping quite a few things from when we had Ethan.

My one real weakness is baby clothes and I have finally let myself buy a few things for little Peanut as I'm one of those people that I see something, I have to get it there and then rather than miss out.

I was introduced to Lavender Sun, and online shop that specialises in onesies and other baby outfits, all of which are full of personality. From cheeky slogans to pop-culture references and fun prints, there's a lot to choose from and, as we don't know what baby is, it's great to find plenty of gender-neutral items too.

When picking baby clothes, I like to stock up on the basics - plenty of plain onesies and sleepsuits, so you can layer these up with other more colourful or bold outfits - but I do love a good design too. I try to search further afield and look for anything that's a little bit different. Of course, the feel of the fabric is really important too, which is hard to judge when buying online, and you definitely need items that will wash and wash because even though babies grow quickly, they do go through their clothes on a cycle fast.

I didn't have trouble finding onesies or rompers from Lavendar Sun; as I say, there's a great selection of different designs, but I managed to pick just a couple for now.


Have breakfast with the Cadbury characters at Cadbury World - EXTENDED!

* Update: since first posting this last week, Cadbury World has announced that due to popular demand, their character breakfasts will be running again from 2nd August to 2nd September 2018, so you have even more time to plan a visit before the end of the summer holidays!

When we told Ethan that we would be going to a real life chocolate factory (a bit like the one from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl), he understandably was very excited... and little did he know that he would be meeting the Cadbury characters over breakfast too, during our visit to Cadbury World on Sunday.

The excitement as we waited to go in was almost like we were back at Disneyland Paris, as Ethan eagerly tried to spot Cadbury Parrot, Caramel Bunny, Bertie Bassett or Fredo the Frog (his personal fave).

The character breakfasts start at 9.30am and as you are shown into the conservatory style room, the fun starts straight away with the Parrot ready to meet you and your table ready with your name and colouring sheets for everyone in your group.

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