Monday, 30 December 2019

4 Ideas For Toys Your Children Have Grown Out Of

Children can grow out of their toys pretty quickly, and their bedrooms are soon filled with toys that they aren’t playing with anymore. Instead of just throwing them out, why not do something with them instead? Here are some ideas for old toys. 

* Collaborative post

With the children, go through all their toys and decide which ones they don’t want to keep. Choosing together is a good way to encourage them to keep their toys tidy. If you don’t have the space to store the toys while they decide, book out a storage unit  in to keep things out of the way.  


Thursday, 19 December 2019

#TBT - My labour story with Sullivan, baby #2 (and a year old today!)

* Originally shared in January 2019: Sullivan has been in our lives for two whole weeks now, which seems like such a long time and no time at all, all at once. The day and details of his birth I don't think I will forget so I have written up my birth story, of baby number two, to share what happened and to document such an amazing yet intense time...


Friday, 13 December 2019

Choosing the right moving company for you

If you’re planning a big move across the country, it’s a great idea to hire the services of a moving company. Why? Movers will take the stress and hassle of moving off your shoulders.

* Sponsored post
Instead, you can focus on your family and the excitement of moving to a new home and city. Your items will also be professionally handled. No more worrying about that well-meaning but clumsy friend dropping your grandmother’s china.
So how do you choose a long-distance moving company that’s right for your family? Read on for the best tips in the industry.

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Step into Christmas with Twycross Zoo’s Festive Fancy Dress Weekend

Twycross Zoo is calling all families to get in to the Christmas spirit and join the Midlands-based conservation charity for its Festive Fancy Dress Weekend on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th December.

* Press release 
Twycross Zoo (11)


Monday, 2 December 2019

Festive fun at Snowdome - 3 experiences in 1!

Life has been hectic of late but now we are in December, we've put the tree up and are determined to get in the festive spirit - it is the most wonderful time of the year, after all! My annual Santa's grotto guide is sadly sat in my drafts folder so it'll have to make a comeback next year... but in lieu of this, I do have a fantastic, festive and fun family day out to share with you. It's Snowdome's Winter Wonderland event, on now, and I can tell you first hand that it's fab (#gifted).

It offers three experiences in one action packed visit, and will certainly get you and the kids into the swing of the season.


Christmas at MAC: Kipper’s Snowy Day

The Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) Christmas show for 2019 is Kipper’s Snowy Day, and it's on now! Here's all you need to know...

This heart-warming production by Slot Machine Theatre will be a real treat for children at MAC, showing from Tuesday 26 November – Tuesday 31 December.

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Get in the festive spirit with BBC Good Food Show Winter, at Birmingham's NEC

I love this time of year and it well and truly is the season to eat, drink and be merry when you hear that the BBC Good Food Show Winter is coming round again at Birmingham's NEC.

It's a fun, festive and food-tastic day out and one where you'll need a wheely trolley to take home your haul of delicious treats and tipples. I enjoyed having a day at the show last year, and the year before too with my Mother-in-Law, and cannot wait to go again (#gifted tickets - follow me on Instagram for updates on my Stories when I do go).

Here's all the information you need to know before you go...


Monday, 25 November 2019

Are You a “Typical Busy Mum” or on the Brink of Burnout?

Stress, anxiety, and sleep deprivation are very common symptoms of motherhood. You’re responsible for a lot so, it’s normal to find yourself a bit worn out at times.

* Sponsored post

You’re doing so much for the children (preparing their meals, running errands, maintaining their health, etc) that it’s also not unusual for a mum to neglect her own needs. So overwhelmed with responsibilities she slowly loses the time for things like showers, eating, resting, exercising, and doing things she enjoys (that doesn’t involve the children). 

Though these are all common occurrences for mothers, if a woman is overly stressed, anxious, sleep-deprived, or consistently neglecting her own needs for her children, it will catch up to her. There’s a thin line between simply being a busy mum and burning out. Knowing the signs can help you to get help or make necessary changes before things get worse. 


Thursday, 14 November 2019

#AntiBullyingWeek - 7 things you need to know if your child is being bullied

I wanted to share this guest post with you as it is Anti Bullying Week and the information is really useful as no-one wants their child to go through this kind of thing, and I certainly want to be prepared to know how to spot it and help handle the situation if needed (note: this is not an ad).

By the UK’s first Children’s Happiness Coach, Simon Benn.

I’ve helped more than 1600 children understand how to be happy and what I’ve learned is that when it comes to being bullied, how the parent responds is one of the most important factors in the determining the outcome and future happiness of the child.  So, if your child is being bullied, here are 7 things you need to know as a parent.  


The Best Audiobooks To Keep Your Kids Happy In The Car

We all know that car journeys with the kids aren’t always easy! Those road trips that were meant to be a bit of fun quickly turn a bit crazy if your children get bored. Thankfully, audiobooks come quickly to the rescue.

* Collaborative post

Using audiobooks can be an excellent option for the car because they are both engaging and educational. You can easily find them in your children’s favourite stories to keep them good and entertained on those long car rides. For those looking for a little inspiration, here come some of the best audiobooks for kids. 


Monday, 11 November 2019

4 Flooring Types For Your Home

The flooring is one of the major decisions that you will need to make if you are designing your own home. Whether you’re building a new place from scratch, moving into a pre-existing building, or you just want to renovate your current dwelling, you can be sure that at some point you will need to look into which flooring to use. It is a decision which affects how modern the home looks, what kind of atmosphere it is going to have, and what general decor themes are going to be used. So let’s take a look at four common flooring types which you might want to consider.

* Collaborative post


Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Staying In A Rural Holiday Cottage In Sussex

Planning a holiday is for a lot of people the thing that they look forward to all year. With all the stresses of everyday life, people need the time to unwind and relax. Sorting out a holiday and having something to look forward to can do a world of good.

* Collaborative post

Friday, 1 November 2019

Sleep like royalty - tips for a relaxing bedroom

A relaxing bedroom is essential for a healthy lifestyle. Mostly you forget about the bedroom, and it's supposed to be a space to calm, comfort, and relieve you of stress. 
* Sponsored post

We usually take care of other rooms that are visible to people and forget about the most important one. Most rooms in your home are always full of activities, for example, kitchens, living rooms, and bathrooms, but the bedroom gives the most important, peace of mind after a long stressful day. 

SnOw much fun at Snowdome, Tamworth

Can you believe, none of us have ever been to the Snowdome in Tamworth, despite living just 30 minutes away and it being a really popular West Midlands attraction? Having visited last week, I can't believe that we haven't visited before as it's fabulous family fun.

* Review - gifted tickets

Run away with the circus this Halloween with Gandeys


On Wednesday night, we went to Gandeys Circus and had such a fun night. From funny moments to shocking stunts, this is a great show for all the family - even Sullivan enjoyed the lights and noises! Ethan's jaw was on the floor much of the time, as he couldn't believe the acts he was seeing. It was evident that the whole circus team works incredibly hard to make it an enjoyable show, and there were Halloween elements weaved into the programme.

The atmosphere was electric and we highly recommend a visit if you are looking for something to do over the last few days of half term.

Read on for all the info and view my Instagram stories highlights to see what the show has to offer, from our visit...


Tuesday, 29 October 2019

What your doctor really thinks about the clocks going back

It’s that time of the year again. The clocks have gone back, and we are officially back in winter - RIP daylight! Many of us will have relished that much-needed extra hour of sleep, but as blissful as that was, the shorter and darker days aren’t exactly great news. 

* Guest post

London and Birmingham private GP Dr Preethi Daniel, Deputy Medical Director at London Doctors Clinic, warns that as the time shifts and the darker, longer and colder nights roll in, some people may find that having less daylight has a negative impact on their health and mental wellbeing.  


Monday, 28 October 2019

It's Brick or Treat this half term at LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre Birmingham

Now's a great time to visit LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre Birmingham as their Brick or Treat event is on until 3rd November, making it even more exciting than usual to plan a visit.

* Blogger ambassador

National Sea Life Centre Birmingham turns into the A-scarium this half term

A visit to National Sea Life Centre Birmingham is always at the top of our list for half term and they have some Halloween themed activities on right now to enjoy.

* Blogger ambassador


Saturday, 26 October 2019

Fill up on filthy burgers and dirty fries at CockNBull Co. #review

If you are looking for somewhere to fill up an food, sip a good shake and even enjoy a video game while you wait, may I introduce you to CockNBull Co. - a cosy, welcoming bar and restaurant in Mere Green (plus their first joint in Stourbridge) which offers something different and more personal than the mainstream.

* Gifted - review 

We went along to try it out the other week (you might have seen my Insta stories - check out my Instagram page and click on ‘CockNBull’ highlights for some mouthwatering temptation) and we weren’t disappointed.

The friendly team are very accommodating and you are soon right at home, enjoying the rustic, industrial style decor (there’s graffiti art on exposed brick and even a wall made from reclaimed painted doors). We had a booth and the look of delight on my husband’s, and eldest son’s, face when he saw it came with our own personal TV, hooked up to play a host of retro games.

The atmosphere is really chilled at CockNBull and the music is eclectic, playing a mix of 90s indie hits and soul classics; the group of guys sat behind us, enjoying a drink or two, were really in their element, singing along to Oasis.

There’s a lot of choice to take in on the menu, with burgers and loaded fries being their speciality - and not forgetting their shakes, both straight up or with an alcoholic twist. The manager talked us through popular choices and his recommendations, and we eventually picked some starters as well as mains. It felt rude not to try what was on offer, although I seriously doubted if I’d make it through it all (*spoiler: I didn’t!).

Ethan has a kids option of burger and fries, which came as we had our starters so he was happy (even though he had to stop playing the games console to eat). We had halloumi fries with chilli jam (excellent), jalapeño poppers and cherry cola brisket (unusual but oh so tender and highly recommended). The presentation and taste was very appealing indeed.

To follow, hubs went for the bourbon burger and added OMG fries - cheese, ketchup and jalapeños - which are apparently the most popular side. I decided to go for the buffalo burger, which has a homemade blue cheese sauce, and cheeseburger fries - which are just what they sound like, chopped burger with cheese sauce and gherkins sprinkled over chips.

It arrived, and I knew I would be beat. CockNBull burgers are the kind where you have to either a) use a knife and fork to eat, or b) prepare to get dirty!

You can tell it’s all handmade and you can’t complain for the price and portion sizes (burgers start from £6.90). Essential tip before you go: don’t eat breakfast and / or lunch that day to make sure you have plenty of room.

Mentioning breakfast, CockNBull also offer a breakfast and brunch menu which looks as packed as their standard offering - think grills, pancakes and waffles - so I think our next visit will be to sample an epic morning feast.

For hubs, CockNBull had him at ‘peanut butter and bourbon milkshake’ and for me, the choice of sides and nibbles made it more than just a great burger joint.

If you’re in the area or want to try something different to your standard restaurants, you’ll enjoy filling your boots at CockNBull Co.

CockNBull Co. has two locations:

109, High Street, Stourbridge DY81EE

Mere Green
312-314 Lichfield Road, Mere Green, Sutton Coldfield B74 2UG

View their menu online: 

*We were invited to enjoy a meal in return for an honest review 

Thursday, 24 October 2019

8 Ideas For Family Days Out This Autumn

The Summer holidays are often the focus for many parents planning days out with the family. In the Autumn, we often retreat indoors, swapping outside fun for days in front of the television. The Autumn can actually be a great time for lots of fun activities for all the family, so get the coats out and head off for a great trip. 

* Collaborative post

Image - free for commercial use

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Why contract hire could be your shortcut to a luxury car

Do you have a range rover taste but a Nissan budget? Luxury car hire might be the answer. The ads you see all over the newspapers and TV for low monthly leases on high-end cars are real. Dealers in luxury cars have discovered people want high-end cars without owning them. 
* Sponsored post

If having a prestigious car matters to you or you do not have a plan on keeping a vehicle for more than three years, and you dislike the process of trading in a car, then you should explore getting a luxury car on contract hire.

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Family time at The Hazelwell #review

We love to dine out as a family and we're not fancy, we just look for somewhere that's welcoming, serves a good range of food to suit everyone and at a good price (plus places that have colouring or other activities to keep Ethan amused are always a winner!).

And the other week, we found just that at The Hazelwell - a Sizzling pub in Stirtchley, Birmingham.

#AD -gifted

We went along after school, all four of us, with hungry bellies and looking forward to some family time and a change of pace from the usual frantic dinner preparing that goes on when I fly in the door from work. We had such a warm welcome from the pub's manager, Claire, and she could honestly not do enough for us. It wasn't just us either; we could see how her hospitality extended to all guests, many being regulars, and she really made us feel at home.


Monday, 14 October 2019

Moving house - what I've learnt this time around

* Sponsored content

When we first bought a house - the very one we live in now some 13 years later - I was (a lot) younger, didn't really understand how mortgages worked (still don't) and remained blissfully unaware of a lot of the things that go with the whole process.

Fast-forward to today, and it's been a real roller-coaster of an experience, with so much to take on board - and now, as we approach completion, an awful lot of stuff that needs shifting!

We were a young couple when we first got our house and this move sees us taking our two boys (obviously) along with our dog, two cats and two rabbits on to a bigger house around 14 miles further north than where we currently live, ready to start the next chapter of our family life.

Ste couldn't resist starting packing a few weeks' back and to be honest, he had the right idea as life is, as ever, busy and when you start looking in cupboards and under the stairs and in the loft, it's actually pretty frightening just how much stuff we have accumulated.

And that's after several clothes culls, toy sort outs and a big sort out of the loft in the past year or so.

I have no doubt that we will be filling our new home in next to no time.

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Be skin confident, share your story, become an Epaderm ambassador – why you should enter the Epaderm Ambassador 2020 competition #AD

Around this time last year, I was going through a difficult phase with managing my psoriasis. At the time, I had been living with this irritating dry skin condition for over seven years and often struggled with how it made me feel and the impact it could have on my daily life. Like anyone dealing with something similar, it can often be a case of mind over matter, and finding something that eases day-to-day symptoms can be a real godsend.

#AD - blogger ambassador

Enter Epaderm.

Despite it being specially developed by dermatologists and recommended by doctors in the UK for the management of dry skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis, I hadn’t come across the range before but as soon as I tried the cream and the ointment for the first time, it made a difference and I haven’t looked back.

As these conditions can be persistent and flare ups can occur at any time, it’s really important to find a management system that works for you and Epaderm does just that – keeps on top of things and helps topically treat my skin.

I then discovered that Epaderm was looking for an ambassador for 2019, who had experience of dry skin conditions and would be interested in collaborating with them for a year, to help other people going through something similar.


Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Win a complete bundle of Epaderm skincare so you can #OneTwoFreeYourSkin #AD

Did you know that around 15 million people in the UK have eczema? And one in fifty people have psoriasis? They may be relatively common conditions, but that doesn’t make it any easier for those who suffer with them, day in and day out. But relief can be found - and if you want treat yourself, get entering this competition to win a bundle of Epaderm goodies.

#AD - brand ambassador


Monday, 7 October 2019

Top 3 favourite things about the new-look Thorntons Birmingham High Street store


Last month, I visited Birmingham’s very own chocolate wonderland – the new-look Thorntons store on High Street, with its shelves brimming with chocolate delights. There were so many treats to sample, many of which can then be personalised on site by the expert Thorntons team.

Ahead of its official re-opening on 11th September, I had the chance to enjoy some me-time and look around the new Craftery, where you can discover a host of delicious chocolate treats lovingly created by Thorntons chocolate makers. And boy, do they know their stuff!


Wednesday, 25 September 2019

This isn’t just any food store, it’s an M&S food store – open in Sheldon!


I am a real foodie and I love trying new things. Discovering new recipes and trying out different ranges available in the shops excites me and keeps the weekly food shop exciting. I am pretty time-poor as a full time working mum of two now, and I can struggle to come up with new ideas for family meals, so I do love a trip to M&S Food to tantalise my taste buds.

I’ve never been disappointed by the choice or quality of their ranges and fresh produce, and I actually enjoy doing ‘the big shop’ there every so often as it makes a break from the routine.

I was therefore excited to learn that a new Marks and Spencer food store was opening in Sheldon today – Wednesday 25th September – because it's a great excuse to see what’s on offer and pick up something new.

How fun!

So, what’s new and what do you need to know about the new store?

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Win a family tickets to the National Pet Show at Birmingham's NEC!

Now in its seventh year, the National Pet Show returns to Birmingham’s NEC on 2nd and 3rd November 2019.  Bigger, better and furrier than ever, the UK’s ultimate day out for animal lovers of all ages is back!  Not just pups and pussycats, there’ll be reptiles to rabbits, ponies to parrots, goldfish to guinea pigs – and much more.


Friday, 20 September 2019

Real Life Parenting - panel event at Town Hall Birmingham, 12th October 2019

Sometimes, becoming a parent can leave you bewildered and as if you are alone. Sure, you know that plenty of people have come before you, but it can feel like you're isolated and that you're the only one going through the tougher times. It can be hard to find where to turn for help or an understanding face to talk to, and it's for this reason I began my blog and why I started following other bloggers and parents on Instagram and the like.

To know it's not just me.

There's a great event coming up at Town Hall Symphony Hall Birmingham which brings these people you may already follow, right out of your phone and into the very same room as you.

I will be there myself to review the show, as an ambassador for THSH (#gifted tickets), but I wanted to share the information with you in advance in case it's up your street too, so you can nab some tickets yourself...

You have a baby, maybe you have two. Why not, it’ll all be ok. That’s what social media tell us. It’ll all be fine… So who is this person who now has baby sick on their t-shirt even when it’s clean on? Who always forgets something as they leave the house, or frequently turns up to work with their toddler’s toys in their bag? And why is the phrase “put your shoes on” so hard to understand?!


Do you worry about your finances? Ultimate guide to mortgages for mums

I’m sure you will all agree with me that two of the biggest challenges for any family today are having enough living space and making ends meet financially.

* Sponsored post

How is it that the smallest people in your home take up the most space with all their toys and belongings?! The balance between spending quality family time at home with our children versus returning to work to pay all the bills is a tricky one to strike.

But what if there was a way to carve out more time and space for you and your family without having to cripple yourselves financially?

Thursday, 19 September 2019

Day of the Dead at Umberslade Farm this Halloween - bonfire, fireworks and a lot of spooky goings on!

Something wicked this way comes... and it promise to be a lot of fun, for the whole family. If you love all things Halloween and your little ones are fans of a trick or treat or two, Umberslade Farm has a really unique event coming up that you won't want to miss.

I was sent the following information and will be attending the event to review it on the night (#gifted tickets), but wanted to share with you all the details as I haven't heard of such an all inclusive event for Halloween and think it'll be one not to miss.

It sounds like Disney's Coco come to life and I can not wait!


Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Deliciously Healthy Homemade Snack Ideas

Finding yourself hungry between meals can be challenging, considering the most popular snacking options are generally drenched with calories. However, there are several delicious healthy options out there that you will simply love. Rather than arguing the worth of a slice of cake or forcing yourself away from a bag of crisps, you should consider trying these decidedly decadent healthy snacks that are also incredibly easy to prepare.

* Sponsored post


Friday, 6 September 2019

Date for your diary: Mama Meet & Market at The Custard Factory, 22nd September 2019

There's nothing I love more than finding beautiful things for my family and my home and I have always loved a good craft fair. You can imagine my excitement when I came across the Mama Meet & Market events, which are coming to The Custard Factory, Birmingham, later this month.

With over 80 stalls, this market promises to be THE fun and stylish parenting event of the season, so I wanted to share with you the information in case you're like me and you love cake, crafts and things for families...


Friday, 30 August 2019

Ideas to make mornings easier as a working mum

I like to think I’m organised but in reality, I can easily fall out of good habits and find myself thinking about planning but never really carrying through with my plans.

I’ve got myself into a bit of a mental block at the moment when it comes to organising our daily lives. A rut of buying things on the cuff and getting behind on chores. I have good intentions and maybe it’s just because of maternity leave, but I do need to get my butt into gear. Life is going to be busy when I’m back at work and handling two drop offs and picks ups every day. I need to be on the ball with Ethan and what he needs for school, and making sure we eat well and don’t make bad habits a, well, habit!

I know I can do it if I have a plan of action. I actually get a kick out of planning things out as it makes me feel good to map out what we need, what’s in the budget and how to help things run like clockwork.

I feel that having sorted out our house these past few months has made things a lot easier as everything has its place, so now it’s about getting a system and routine in place so that each morning can run a bit smoother and each evening is a little easier, so I make the most of my time and actually have some left over too each day. 

I tell you now, our mornings are going to be like military precision! *crossed fingers*

The two main times where I need things to run smoothly are in the morning when we all head out, together, on time, and when we get home and everyone is hungry.

With this in mind, and with some advice shared by you guys, I’m going to introduce the following:

Thursday, 29 August 2019

Reflections of a mum of two - what's it really like having another baby?

For over eight months now, I have been a mum of two. In many ways, it feels like no time at all, and in others, it feels like our second son, Sullivan, has always been with us.

What does being a mum of two feel like?

Well, if you have a child yourself, do you remember thinking about what it would be like to have a child, before they were born? And do you remember how you felt afterwards, as life adjusted to being a parent? Second time around, it's almost exactly the same. For me, anyway.

Trying to picture myself with one child was really hard, so when we had Ethan and then tried to picture a second child, it was so hard to do. I remember this time last year, when I was around 25 weeks pregnant, finding it so difficult to believe we were having another baby and trying to think what it would be like, what it would feel like, how life would change.

And now, on the other side, I can't really remember what it was like before!

Until you become a parent, the first time or the second or any number of times after that, you don't really know what it'll be like. I think it's fair to say you have more of an idea of what to expect. You have been there and done it before, and you may even have the t-shirt or jumper to prove it (courtesy of Selfish Mother or Ada and Alfred), but that doesn't mean the next time around it'll be the same. Happen in the same way. Make you feel the same way.

In my experience, I've found motherhood to be a series of adjustments. Some are unavoidable, others are negotiable, and many are unpredictable.

Deciding to have a baby is often a decision you make on assessing the information, facts and your emotions and choosing that it's the right thing for you. You might have a good feeling, but I don't think you're ever sure it's the right time, you just know you're going for it and that, well, you have to prepare for the unexpected.

The second time around, the same applies. Yes, you know what pregnancy, birth and the first child has brought you, and on that basis you are more informed than the first time, but there's still a lot of unknowns and you can't know them fully until you've taken the plunge.

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