Friday, 22 February 2019

5 Fun Ideas for a Family Trip to the UK

The United Kingdom is one of the world's favorite destinations for tourists and business people. Being a place that is rich in history, the United Kingdom is one of the most amazing places to be. With some of the oldest and famous cities in the world, a trip to the UK is meaningless if you do not do the following...

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Sullivan so far - two month update, baby boy number two

Our second baby boy has just turned two months old this week and every day, his personality is developing and we are getting to know our little Sulley bear more and more.

You can read his five week update here, and now it's time for Sullivan's two month update (read Ethan's here):


Thursday, 21 February 2019

5 Health Tips For Seniors

We all yearn to have a perfectly healthy body. With most youngsters suffering from obesity and related conditions, there is a reason for concern, and especially once the said individuals approach seniorhood.  Most of these health-related conditions are as a result of heavy drinking and leading a sedentary life. Learning to take care of your body and health holds the key to leading an illness-free life in the future.

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While youngsters may not care about their health, older persons need to be careful with their health. This is because the body's ability to replenish and repair continues to fade as we get older. Leading a carefree life will only bring about serious health issues in the future, which is why you need to switch to a positive lifestyle. Outlined below are a few ideas and tips on how seniors can take care of their body for optimal health.


Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Half term fun at intu Merry Hill - and why it's great for families

We're midway through February half term and I haven't been driven completely mad... yet! I've tried to plan an activity each day to get us out and about and so Ethan has specific experiences and memories to take away - and yesterday, he met two beloved characters of his, which indeed made for a memorable day.
Photo by Shine Pix

intu Merry Hill had a very special guest for the day - Paddington - who was at the shopping centre for one day only, meeting happy children, posing for photos and giving out jars of marmalade to shoppers like us. 

Does Your Child Need A Maths Tutor?

We were all young students once and we also remember the days when we had to sit and learn math. It's a known fact that most students have great difficulty understanding mathematical concepts, but ignoring the problem can negatively impact a child's psyche. You may have even attempted to offer your own help with little in the way of positive results. Teaching a child math involves patience as well as a solid understanding of the subject.

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How can you help your child, you ask?

Getting your child the help he or she needs is as simple as hiring a maths tutor. In fact, one to one tuition offers a wealth of overlooked benefits we'll discuss below.


Tuesday, 19 February 2019

A Guide - How to Balance Working from Home with Motherhood

Working from home is worthwhile for new mums who want to earn but don’t want to sacrifice time with their newborns. Being a work-from-home mum does come with its fair share of problems, though. If the right kind of balance isn’t achieved with regards to this kind of venture, everything can become incredibly difficult, incredibly quickly.

*Collaborative post

To see what you can do to balance working from home with being a mother, consider the following guide:

Find ways to relieve your tension

Having to get on with your workload while dealing with the wants and needs of your child will stretch you thin. If you’re not careful, it will stretch you to the point where you are stressed and unhappy.

To avoid packing your work-from-home venture in before it’s gotgoing, you have to take looking after yourself very seriously. More to the point, you have to find ways to relieve your tension throughout each working day. It can be five minutes spent here and there watching a video on the Internet or it can entail you taking twenty minutes to yourself every few hours to sit down and have a cup of tea — whatever helps you to escape from all of your stresses, make sure you find the time to indulge in it. If this means taking on less work or easier deadlines, then so be it. If you’re tense, your work won’t be up to the standard required, and that’ll only ever see you worse off with regards to your career.

Have the equipment you need on hand

You’re going to make this venture even more difficult than it already is if you’re constantly having to leave the house in search of the equipment you need to do your job, so make sure everything is always within your reach.

Here are some of the basic tools you should have on hand at all times:

• A laptop, desktop computer, and/or tablet
• A printer, scanner and spare ink cartridges — you can source quality printing equipment and goods for a reasonable price at Cartridge People
• A dedicated phone line
• A strong Internet connection

Be flexible at all times

Flexibility is key if you’re going to make working from home and being a parent at the same time work for you. This means that you have to keep your schedule as open as you possibly can, mainly because you never know what problems are going to befall you. Your child could have a particularly difficult night sleep, for instance, which forces you to get up and start your working day later. Being able to work whenever you can, makes it much easier and less stressful. 

If you have a flexible timetable, the hours missed in the morning will not impact your day too much going forward. Of course, you can also rely on family to help you look after your children, or if they are at school, work during school hours and finish before they return home.

Monday, 18 February 2019

3 tips for making your money go further when on maternity leave

Planning for a baby and then going on maternity leave involves a lot of planning, and is likely to be an expensive time for you as you accommodate for your new bundle of joy whilst also ensuring you have enough to cover your monthly expenses. We all know how hard it can be to resist those cute, tiny baby clothes, but before you know it, you could be working away through any savings you have quicker than you would like - with months still to do before you return to work!

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With this being my second baby, I have learnt from experience and found a few things to help me make my money go further during this maternity leave period.


Thursday, 14 February 2019

Visiting Cornwall: 5 Reasons Why You Should Not Skip A Visit to the County

Culturally unique and a mostly water bound county full of legends and myths, Cornwall in South West England is a beautiful place with rich historical values. Cornwall holidays are inherently relaxing, peaceful and informative at the same time,and just in case you have never paid a visit to the homeland of the Cornish people, here are five reasons why you shouldchange that as soon as possible.

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The Beautiful Beaches
There are over 400 beaches in the county and almost every one of them is well-kept and worth a visit. However, since you will never really be able to visit even a quarter of that in one outing, try to make sure that you at least don’t miss out on experiencing a few hours at the Kynance CoveMawgan Porth Beach, and Harlyn Bay. Some of them are more crowded than others, but the beaches in Cornwall are seldom too crowded for comfort.


Half term plans: Paddington is coming to intu Merry Hill

  • Next week is half term for us and I am planning ahead to think about what we can do in and around Birmingham, as it will be the first time that I have this particular half term off with Ethan, and the first time I will have both my boys to entertain and take care of.
Wish me luck!

One of the things on our list is visiting intu Merry Hill, for a shopping and coffee date with the little men in my life, and because if you go down to intu on Tuesday, you're in for a big surprise...

Paddington is coming!

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Here's all you need to know about the event - and be sure to follow me on Instagram so you can follow my stories on the day, meeting the marmalade loving character himself.

Marmalade sandwiches at the ready... Paddington is visiting intu Merry Hill this half term!

  • Venue: Lower mall near Customer Services
  • When: ( - )

Everyone's favourite bear, Paddington will be stopping by at the centre on Tuesday 19 February.
The much-loved children's character will be making appearances at intervals throughout the day between 11am and 3pm.
Famous for his love of marmalade, Paddington has delighted children and families all over the world for more than 60 years, his adventures have been adapted several times for television and in 2014 Paddington even made his debut onto the big screen!  A second Paddington film launched in 2017.

Come and join Paddington's latest adventure when he visits intu Merry Hill this February half term.


Paddington teddies are being given away to the first 200 people who sign up to intu Family Club during February half term (Monday 18th to Friday 22nd). What is the intu Family Club? Well, it's an easy way to fast track you and your family to benefiting from exclusive offers and discounts, a gift for your little one, a membership pack, a magazine and much more - and it's completely free to join! 

Marmalade the Mammoth with also be there throughout the week - find out about when we first met Marmalade ourselves last year.

So, what are you waiting for? Maybe we will see you there...


Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Our slumber style - new pyjamas from The Pyjama Factory

Being on maternity leave, I think I have a free pass to stay in my pyjamas a little bit longer - if it’s ok for Sullivan, it’s ok for me too, right?!

We are big fans of being comfy and spend Saturday mornings slowly easing into the weekend and not in all too big a rush to get dressed. I love buying new PJs and they’re the first thing I put on when I get home - I just like to get home and feel relaxed.

Another thing to know about me is I am a Harry Potter fan and I’m hoping that my boys will be good. Ethan’s watched the first couple of films and now he’s learning to read and doing well, he’s started to look at my collection of books. We also went to the studio tour last year, Ethan dressed as the boy who lived himself, so it’s safe to see he’s a Potterhead in the making.


If You're Experiencing Mental Illness, This is What You Need to Know About ESAs (Including How to Get One)

Mental illness is a serious issue in this country. This huge health problem affects around 1 in 3 people at some time in their lives - and these are statistics that include the entire world population! Feeling that you are unwell mentally can seem like a hugely isolating experience, but in reality, you are not alone. These days, the stigma of mental illness is slowly being broken down, and there are more effective treatment options available than ever before. 

* Guest post

If you believe you may be experiencing or have been diagnosed with a mental illness, then this article is for you. One of the most exciting new developments in treating mental illnesses is as surprising as it is cute: the use of emotional support animals. Here, we go through what you need to know about this amazing form of therapy, how it can help you and the simple process for getting an ESA to help heal your mental health condition. 


Friday, 8 February 2019

A comedy club for Birmingham parents at Symphony Hall

Getting out and about when you have a baby is really important and now that we are starting to find out feet a little with Sullivan being seven weeks old, I am looking at things we can do together and new experiences to try.

The lovely team at Town Hall Symphony Hall Birmingham has been keeping me posted on their family friendly events (and other things they think will be up my street), as their proud blogger ambassador, which is how I've learnt about a new comedy club for parents. That's right, comedy events you can go to during the day and enjoy some adult entertainment whilst your baby plays!

It's such a great idea and something different to add to my maternity leave 'must do' list.

Here's all the details in case this is something you'd enjoy going to too...

A new comedy club for Birmingham parents comes to Symphony Hall

Families can enjoy a different kind of day out with Bring Your Own Baby Comedy, the UK’s premier baby friendly comedy club which launched at Symphony Hall on January 24th. 

The opening event was a roaring success with Mums, Dads and little ones from around the region enjoying an afternoon of amazing comedy, with local acts Karen Bayley, who recently supported Joe Lycett on his UK tour, Josh Pugh and MC Chris Purchase.

The show will return to Symphony Hall on 12th March at 12pm with comedians Dana Alexander Harriet Dyer and MC Chris Purchase. Each show includes two acts, plus a compere, with a 15 minute interval, with the whole show lasting approximately 75 minutes.

Soft flooring, toys, buggy parking and baby changing are all provided so that babies are happy and parents can relax, have a coffee and be entertained. If parents need to whip out a bum (the babies please!) a boob or a bottle, please feel free and comics won’t mind being heckled by younger guests!

Bring Your Own Baby comedy was ‘conceived’ over a glass of wine, as friends and professional comedians Carly Smallman and Alyssa Kyria were discussing the world of comedy and motherhood.

Mum of one, Alyssa, who suffered with post natal depression after the birth of her daughter, was recounting how nervous she felt about going out with her baby and how she really needed a good old laugh! Would there be good facilities for a little one? Would people judge her for whipping out a boob or a bum?

Co-founder of BYOB, Carly Smallman said;

“Alyssa and I started BYOB when she was having a tough time after the birth of her daughter.  Since then we have wanted to share to laughter with as many new parents as possible.  Our first show at Symphony Hall was a huge success - we absolutely loved it, and loved seeing so many Brummie Mummies (and Daddies!) smiling, laughing and enjoying something just for them.  We are so excited to be bringing more shows to Birmingham and hope the word spreads!”

Programme Manager at THSH, Chris Proctor said;

“We were delighted to welcome Bring Your Own Baby Comedy to Birmingham for their first ever show in the city. We’re constantly looking for opportunities to welcome more people to our venues, and diversifying our programming offer, and this opportunity was too good to miss. From a personal perspective, having become a father for the first time in the last year, I was really taken aback by the approach that Bring Your Own Baby Comedy take towards these kinds of events – empowering new parents to get out and about and to have a bit of fun over a lunchtime - so the decision was an easy one to make! With the first show selling out, we’re very much looking forward to the upcoming shows in March and June, and to developing this new working relationship over the long-term.”

Town Hall Symphony Hall hosts a range of family events including the free monthly Midweek Explorer and Musical Picnic sessions. February’s Musical Picnic features Kora­ playing maverick Jally Kebba Susso who will take you on a journey into past, present and future with his wonderful 21­-string West African instrument.

Musical Picnic with Jally Kebba Susso will be on the Symphony Hall foyer on Saturday 9 February at 10:30am.

Bring Your Own Baby Comedy returns to Symphony Hall on Monday 12 March and 20 June at 12pm. Visit  or call the box office on 0121 780 3333 to book tickets.

*Please note: each comic will be performing their usual adult material, which is why there is a 12 month age limit for little laughers.


Thursday, 7 February 2019

#TBT - the first two months of being a mum, the first time around

For #tbt, I thought I'd share this post again from June 2013, when Ethan was just about to turn two months old. Sullivan is seven weeks old now himself, so it's really interesting looking back and reflecting on how I felt then, the first time around, and how my two baby boys compare...

A snapshot of Ethan's first eight weeks in the world

My baby boy will be eight weeks old this coming Sunday and I'm coming to terms he's no longer a newborn. I know he's still very young but the time has already come to pack away some of his first sleepsuits, as he only fit tiny baby clothes until just recently.

Weighing in at a healthy 9lb 9oz last Thursday, my little boy is growing up and already I'm facing the conflicting emotions of a new mum who wants her baby to remain tiny forever but also can't wait for the next milestone. We've already reached quite a lovely one - Ethan gave us his first 'real' smiles last week! He's always looked like a smiley baby but these smiles were different, in response to seeing mummy or daddy's face up close and often accompanied with 'ga' and 'goo' noises. Heart melting.

It's crazy to think he's almost two months old and whilst I can remember labour day clearly, it also feels like he's been here for much longer. Perhaps that's the sleep deprivation talking or the fact that we have taken over 1,500 photos of our little man already, not to mention videos of his flailing arms and hiccup fits (everything he does is just so cute).

The first week we perhaps took on too much, with visitors every day. I think we were quite rattled by our new addition and after week one we were shattered, so buttoned down the hatches and kept it just us three pretty much for week two. This was the best thing we could do; we knew beforehand that we should take it easy and not do too much too soon but we hadn't counted on my recovery being quite so painful. I developed an infection in my episiotomy wound but once I managed to get hold of some antibiotics, things started getting better and I could sit normally again. It made such a difference and it was like I was a new woman. Not as well as before birth but getting there.

The whole sleep deprivation knocked us for six, particularly as little man wanted feeding every two hours, day and night. My top tip to anyone who has a pregnant friend or family member is never utter the words 'you best get plenty of rest now, you'll need it!' This phrase is said all too often and makes the whole thing seem like a joke and having gone through it, I can tell you losing as much sleep as you do once baby comes along is no laughing matter. I had hallucinations and we both felt ill, we were that tired.

But thankfully, things have got better and we have been able to establish feeds every three, and sometimes four, hours now. Not great but certainly much easier, as it means there's one less feed during the night. We've also got over our addiction to Google; our main source of information whenever we needed to check if something was normal or if we were doing something right, which was pretty much every other minute. Sadly, we felt that the midwife care we received before, during and after birth left much to be desired and honestly, if we weren't as savvy as we are, we don't know how new parents are expected to cope.

We've survived our first trip away - down to Hampshire to visit my parents - and we got through a week where it seemed after every feed, Ethan was sick. We've been out to meet other mums for coffee and we even visited Twycross Zoo - it's been quite an eventful time for little man. 

In between, I'm trying to find a balance between having quality time at home, having cuddles, appreciating every moment, and getting out and about so that we get some fresh air and don't get cabin fever.

I'm not sure if it's even sunk in yet that I am a mummy. I certainly felt our connection grow with Ethan's first real smiles and I commemorated that day by getting a new tattoo (it was something I had been planning, but I spontaneously got it done there and then when I went to make an appointment). I chose a swallow, which is a symbol of love, family and loyalty, as they always return home, and I had the tattooist form the tail feathers into the shape of an 'E'. It's not everyone's 'thing', but to me, it's a permanent tribute to my beautiful son (he really is gorgeous, I know I'm biased but just look at him!).

My latest body art, still healing

We're all doing well and every day just gets better and better.Sure, the washing up piles up and simple tasks like having a shower are much trickier these days, but Ethan is simply wonderful and I am very, very proud to be a mummy. It could just be the best thing I ever do.

5 Ways to Keep Elderly Parents at Home as Long as Possible

The main reason that caregivers provide care for their elderly loved one is to help them stay at home as long as possible. The children of elderly loved ones have probably promised their parents that they would never put their parents in a facility and that they would keep them home. In addition to these promises, many children find that they cannot afford an assisted living facility. This is something that is quite close to my heart at the moment, with my Dad facing care needs of some kind in the near future.

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If your elderly parent or grandparent is safe, it is a great idea to keep them home and you provide the care that they need. However, it is important to realize that one of the most stressful and toughest things in your life will be caring for your loved one. Don’t be afraid to seek help from a senior care centre who can advise on many aspects of care. Many caregivers spend so much time caring for their loved one that they end up developing a serious health problem or get stressed out and burned out.

One of the most important things you can do to care for yourself while you are caring for your elderly loved one is to pace yourself. We have listed the top five things you can do to decrease your stress while caring for your loved one and keeping them home as long as possible.

Monday, 4 February 2019

Baby boy bargain clothes haul, February - Tesco, Sainsbury's, Morrisons, Primark, Boots, Matalan and John Lewis!

Why is it that boys clothes often seem so unimaginative? Awash with greys and blues, and usually with a car motif, it really does seem to me that clothes for boys just aren't as interesting or fun as they could be, or as they are for girls.

Am I right?

Sullivan is my second boy and the problem now isn't much better than it was when I had Ethan, or when I shop for Ethan now. Go into many stores, and you'll see the girls' section is usually far bigger than the boys. Whilst pink still dominates quite often, clothes for girls seem to be more playful and they have far more clothing options; boys seem destined to wear joggers, tees and sweatshirts forever.

Of course, Ethan and Sullivan will wear joggers, tees and sweatshirts, but all I want is a bit of personality and something more creative than just block colours in the most obvious shades, and the odd giant slogan to try and pep things up a bit.

On a mission to inject some colour and something different into Sulley's wardrobe, now he's firmly in the 03 month category and will no doubt be in 3-6 months before I know it, I went to Tesco, Sainsbury's, Morrisons and Matalan, plus Boots and John Lewis, in one day to see what I could find for my baby boy... without breaking the bank and trying to break from the norm just a little.

Here's what I picked...


Love these joggers and yellow is my fave colour - both £5 each


Lots of colours to choose from, £5 each

All £6 each


£8 for the three piece tiger set (good to mix and match with other items)


Dinosaur bottom joggers, about £6 I think

£8 for three tees

A bargain at £3


Each set was £12 I believe, but there's currently a buy one get one half price offer on


I love dungarees! These were £9

John Lewis

I was surprised at JL as I thought they'd be expensive - some things are, but generally the baby clothes are creative and a good price for good quality, these were £9

Love this print - comes in trousers and a dress too

Bargain in the sale, £5 for the pair

Where do you find is good for boys' clothes?
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