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Thursday 6 December 2018

Miele Complete C3 Pure Red Bagged Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner - Review

We were recently sent a Miele Complete C3 Pure Red Bagged Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner to review from AO, here is how we got on...

Miele Complete C3 Pure Red Bagged Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner standing upright in the corner of my lounge with the blog post title displayed

It's been a while since we've had a bagged vacuum cleaner, we've been using a hand held vacuum  for a few years now, but we always said that if we were to switch back to a corded vacuum then a Miele vacuum would be one of our top choices. My Parents in law have a Miele vacuum and rave about the quality of their products so we were really keen to see if this lived up to the hype! Plus, we haven't been able to use the storage vacuum bags for clothes since switching to a handheld vacuum because you need a 'straight' edge to get the suction! As it happens, we've also been doing a lot of clothes sorting lately so this product review was perfect timing for us...

Friday 30 November 2018

You Can Keep Me A Secret - POEM

A little creative poetry post for a Friday - something I wrote in the middle of the night a few weeks ago and had no recollection of until I found it on my phone the next day...

a poem - you can keep me a secret

Sunday 11 November 2018

EYFS activities using rainbow test tubes and pipette droppers

A few EYFS child development activity ideas using plastic rainbow test tubes in a stand and pipette droppers...

A few child development activity ideas using plastic rainbow test tubes in a stand and pipette droppers...

If you follow my social channels then you’ll know that I regularly post quick activity updates and ideas of things to do with young children which don’t often make it into a full blow blog post on here. After sharing my link to my Amazon store (USA store here)which show cases some of my favourite tried and tested activity products, one of my followers asked me how I use the pipettes from the store. Below I have pulled together and embedded some of my past Facebook activity posts using the resources. Facebook is notorious for not showing all posts to all followers unless you check my page regularly so you may have missed some of these along the way...

Tuesday 6 November 2018

Struggling with heavy periods? You need to read this... #WearWhiteAgain

I was going to start this blog post by stating that if you are my Father-in-law, ‘look away now!’....and then I realised - THIS is exactly the problem we are trying to solve here. The taboo around discussing women’s health issues openly. The feeling that there are only certain people within our inner circle we can openly talk to (and even then in hushed tones) so, I did the complete opposite. Never one to shy away from the gory details, I went and spoke to him first, in person, and told him all about this campaign for Wear White Again – because I am a part of the more than 1 in 5 women who suffer from heavy periods… 


There are lots of things in this post that can help you, but first, let me tell you a bit about my’s been a long old road, and I implore you to please read on - ESPECIALLY if you are feeling uncomfortable...

Sunday 21 October 2018

When blogging is hard to do...

When blogging is hard to do...

After writing that title ^ I sat here for a good ten minutes unsure of what to say next. I'll probably sit here for another ten after finishing this sentence and do the same thing. I have numerous half written posts in my draft folder and I can't seem to finish any of them, because at the moment - blogging is hard to do.

when blogging is hard to do - black and white  side portrait photo

It's not just a case of writer's block, although that does play a part and I'm sure this is something that we can ALL relate to - whether we write for a living or not. Sometimes its just hard to find a way. Good old Motivation has taken a long walk in a vast desert and lost its bearings. Ever elusive miss Energy has done her usual disappearing act and Colonel Clarity has clearly trod on his own specs. I don't know if I've lost my 'why', my 'who for', or if I'm just finding it too tedious setting up my laptop in order to write, only to get interrupted after 20 mins that I just can't fully immerse myself into the task at hand ... just in case I forget to feed my child lunch, or leave the house in time for preschool pick up. Clearly Mrs Multi-tasker has taken a long walk off a short pier as well. Farewell my marbles - you shall be next!

Friday 28 September 2018

Enhancing imaginative play with personalised books - Librio - The Tree, The Key and Me

 For this activity post, we will be using Librio’s beautiful, personalised book - The Tree, The Key and Me. The book tells the story of a little girl or boy who finds a key in their garden leading them on an awesome adventure. You can find out more about Librio and their personalised books here: Facebook​ | ​Instagram​ | ​Twitter​ | ​YouTube​ | ​Librio Blog​

Enhancing imaginative play with Librio personalised book the tree the key and me

If you follow me on social media, then you will know just how much Arthur loves imaginative play. Whether he is playing alone with his toys, or alongside others, he will usually be taking on the role of a character he has read about or seen on TV and encouraging others to join in his role play ideas.

Books are a great way to help children to build up ‘story language’ when taking on a role, and what better way to encourage this level of imaginative play than with a personalised book where your child is the main character?!

To make this story especially engaging, I put together some story props to use while reading and retelling the story, alongside some activities to really make the story come to life....

Monday 24 September 2018

The Rainbow Fish Activities and planning for EYFS

Using props and activities to bring a story to life can not only help to instill a love of reading and excitement around a book, but it also helps little minds to understand and follow a storyline better. 
The Rainbow Fish Activities for EYFS

  In the year when we saw Niall from Love Island 2018 talk about his ‘rainbow fish’ and seemingly describe a completely different moral to the story, here are a few activities that should hopefully help your little ones pick out the right message and also retain the plot of the book!

Wednesday 19 September 2018

Charlotte's 12-13 month Toddler Update

Charlotte has just turned 13 months, so I thought it was about time I did a blog update for her as I did a 12-13 month toddler update for Arthur! (Complete Mum guilt if I don't, let's be honest!) It was lovely to look back at his and see the similarities, plus read about a lot of things I had forgotten...but thought I never would!

Charlotte in a trilby hat - 12 to 13 month toddler update and routine

Friday 7 September 2018

How to make a Quilted Princess Birthday Cake - step by step

This summer we saw Charlotte turn one, and as is the tradition in my family - I make the cakes myself. I don't come at this from a professional angle (ha!) I am very much an amateur and this 'how to' guide is really aimed at other parents who just want to give it a go themselves but need a little visual guidance! 

Quilted Princess Birthday Cake - how to make step by step

Arthur's 1st birthday was a star themed birthday cake based on his first word and obsession! His 2nd was a Fireman Sam cake (made whilst suffering badly from morning sickness!) and earlier on this year I made him a Bin Lorry Birthday Cake for his 3rd birthday. For Charlotte, I didn't really have a set idea in mind except that I wanted a quilted cake, so I set up a Pinterest birthday cake ideas board and decided to just get started and let it evolve as I went along! 

Thursday 2 August 2018

How to set up an EYFS Thinking and Feelings Talking Station Provision Area

It might sound like a bit of a mouthful, and of course you could change the name, as long as the intention stays the same - but a 'thinking and feelings talking station' was a KEY area in my Reception classroom and the name allowed for me to make sure it was accessible for all whatever the emotional need....

Thinking and Feelings Talking Station Provision area free printable

Have you made a sad choice and you need to have a think about how we can make it better? Go to the thinking station. Are you feeling upset about something and would like some help and support? Go to the feelings station. Fallen out with a friend and need to come to an agreement? Go to the talking station. All of these scenarios are linked to a child’s Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED) - but the idea of doing something about these big feelings that you can’t see can feel so abstract to a child, it can be impossible to control. Giving children a designated area where they can go to for support, advice, resources or even just to feel heard is crucial in order to help them learn how to manage their personal, social and emotional development independently...

Sunday 15 July 2018

Wicked Uncle Big Kidz Review

This isn't the first time you will have read about Wicked Uncle on this blog - a few years ago I wrote a post about whether children's toys should be based on age, ability or interest and we had a look at some of the fab items available on the website, grouped by age, which Arthur still plays with to this day!

Wicked Uncle have now launched a new section on their site which is aimed at 'Big Kidz', for ages 13-33 ... which is lucky, because that last number just so happens to me my age!

Wicked Uncle BIG Kidz review

The idea of the Big Kidz area is that children shouldn't be the ones to have all the fun, and there are plenty of ideas for older ages too. I couldn't agree more with this, fun and games are important at any age - but it was lovely to see such a wide range of items available which in my opinion could also work well for a large age range....

Thursday 5 July 2018

End of Term Gift Guide for Teachers

It's that time of year again folks - the one where you show your appreciation to the person or people who have put their heart and soul into helping your child to develop and grow within a school or nursery setting....

End of term gift guide for Teachers

Now, before you jump on the high horse with cries of "but it's their job! Why should they be rewarded for it??" (Yes I have heard this many times, which is why I'm addressing it straight away), let me remind you of a few things:

Thursday 28 June 2018

I've always been a writer...

Writing has always been my therapy. From as far back as I can remember, I would write...letters to friends, songs, poems, diaries....I remember writing a poem when I was 11 years old, and my Dad was adamant that I'd copied it from somewhere. When I read it back now I can understand why - I don't know where those words, ideas and thoughts came from. I'm not sure I even understood the meaning behind what I had written - the topic seems far too dark and complex for an 11 year old (living a very sheltered life) to have any semblance of knowledge of...and yet I remember writing it...lying on the wooden floor in my sister's bedroom, in between the bed and window with the light shining through....stopping every now and then to continue to draw a picture ... (of a male model from a 'little black book' of men that had been acquired as a joke present from a gift shop on our seaside holiday...laughing at this now!)

I've always been a writer

The thing with writing though is that you need space for your thoughts and time for your penmanship. Its why the best blog posts come into your mind as you drop off to sleep, or are in the middle of a shower....not when you are rocking a baby bouncer with one foot whilst simultaneously cooking dinner and trying to dodge the Lego bricks on the floor.

Wednesday 20 June 2018

I sent my child to nursery* for a better life - and what happened next shook me to the core

This nursery was the kind of place where dreams come true - or so we were told. Our children would be happy and safe. They would have better life chances and the opportunity to make friends with a diverse range of people. Of course, there would be a settling in period and like most places, we would be able to stay with our children until they were confident and comfortable with the adults in the setting...

I sent my child to nursery for a better life - what happened next shook me to the core - replace nursery with America and classrooms with cages

This particular nursery can be rather exclusive and over subscribed. Places are usually reserved purely for those of a certain level of financial wealth, a family or friend recommendation or those who simply ‘fit the mould’....but we had heard about an opening and we took our chance. We clawed together a reservation fee to save our place and went on our way.

The first day of nursery arrived and we were all feeling a little nervous about how it would go. We packed our bags and waved goodbye to our home ready for our adventure. Holding hands tightly I tried to hide the fact that I was slightly worried about the kind of reception we would receive once we arrived, we aren’t the usual type for this particular setting but I told myself we had just as much right to a great future for our children than anyone else in this world right?


Tuesday 19 June 2018

5 reasons why the early days are the easy days...


You know how it goes when you have a new baby, everyone tells you "it gets easier". You'll be walking around in a sleep deprived fog, week old hair hanging onto an entire can of dry shampoo whilst you 'lose' your glasses in the dishwasher and put your shoes in the fridge...but the advice is always there and readily available: It gets easier. 

In many ways, yes it does. They don't feed ALL night forever. Eventually they can walk and it gives your aching back a much needed rest. They learn to feed themselves so you aren't chained to the table at mealtimes. They learn to 'give back' and it makes every single thing absolutely worth it when they say 'I love you' and mean it......but when you've done this whole baby thing once already, you already know that there are just a few things that are already as easy as they are going to be...a few things you don't want to take for granted...or ok, a few things to feel grateful for now...

Friday 8 June 2018

Birthday Gift List of a 30 something year old

Birthday gift lists change massively as we make our way through life. Our youthful demands of 'get me something I want' as we circle ALL the toys in the back of the Argos catalogue make way for our maturing ideals and moments of 'get me something I need'.  Suddenly, the idea that your other half might actually get you a new vacuum for your birthday seems quite exciting, and lets face it, your kids could give you a snot covered hankie as a 'present' and you'd love it anyway.

Birthday gift list guide of a 30 something year old

This gift guide includes products that some women and mothers (or men!) may initially believe to be luxury rather than necessity products (Cultural pendantsgold earrings, I'm looking at you!). I would like to highlight why, in fact, they may be an investment in terms of longer term well-being and self care - and lets face it...THAT is a birthday gift we ALL need...

Thursday 24 May 2018

Setting up a Betty's Café Afternoon Tea Role Play area & Tuff tray

Ever since I walked into my local Betty's Café Tea Rooms as a young 20 something and asked for a Dizzee Rascal instead of a Fat Rascal, I've had a bit of a love - hate relationship with the place...

Bettys cafe tearoom role play area

Most recently because I LOVE the cakes, but I'm dairy and soya free so I can't eat them anymore. Arthur, however, can eat them...and does eat them as often as he is allowed! He has a BIG interest in Betty's Café Tea Rooms at the moment and likes to play and pretend that he works there...anything he can find that look like a counter, or a till and hes straight into Betty's mode, "hello, what would you like?"

The best way for a child to learn is through play, especially when the theme is something that they are really interested in, so with that in mind I have spent the last couple of weeks turning our (still unfurnished!) playroom extension into a Betty's Café Tea Room...

Monday 30 April 2018

The new MAM 2 in 1 Single Electric and Manual Breast Pump - review

When choosing a suitable breast pump to express your milk, it can be hard to know which choice is right for you - especially if you have never used a breast pump before. You may have different needs for different situations, such as a quiet hand held manual pump for expressing from one side whilst feeding your baby to sleep, or a more efficient electric breast pump which you can use comfortably with minimal effort.

MAM 2 in 1 electric and manual breast pump review

MAM have just launched their new 2 in 1 electric and manual breast pump which means you have the choice of either depending on your needs, whether at home or away - with an additional option of mains power or battery power (rechargeable!!) to make life even easier.

We were recently given the opportunity to review this product ahead of the launch and here is what we thought of it....

Tuesday 24 April 2018

When words and phrases go wrong - a giggle at malapropisms

We all need a giggle now and then and I have to admit, some of the funniest moments I have come across are when people have got words and phrases totally wrong!  My husband once got "boils my blood" and "gets my goat" mixed up and declared that something really "boils my goat!"  and someone I know who shall remain nameless, in order to spare their blushes, labelled the pain au chocs in their shop as "pannow shocks" 

Comedy examples of when words and phrases go wrong - a giggle at malapropisms

My youngest sister thought 'make ends meet' was 'make ends meat' like the end cuts of a joint of meat, and I only found out recently that a hand glider was actually a hang glider....

A long time ago now, I asked some of my fellow bloggers about some of the funniest malapropisms they had come across and they didn't disappoint! I have finally found a spare few moment to put them together for your enjoyment....

Sunday 22 April 2018

Charlotte's Christening with ROCO Clothing - review

Last week we celebrated Charlotte’s christening day. Unlike Arthur’s christening which we had planned meticulously for months in advance, the day this time around just sort of sprung itself upon us and we were still trying to figure out what we were doing about setting up the venue for afterwards and sorting out food in the morning!

Christening outfits from ROCO clothing

Luckily one thing I didn’t have to worry about was finding a suitable outfit for both Arthur and Charlotte as we were sent a gorgeous set for each of them from Roco Clothing....

Sunday 15 April 2018

Extension clean up with the Vorwerk Kobold VK200 and new SP600 vacuum mop - review

If you’ve ever had building work undertaken in your home (or let’s face it, even if you’ve just drilled a few holes into the wall!) then you will know how unbelievably messy this can get - the dust just.gets.everywhere!!

 Vorwerk Kobold VK 200 and SP600 2 in 1 vacuum mop review

Add a toddler, a refluxy baby and less than 8 hours sleep a night into the mix and you’ll need a pretty good home cleaning system to tackle what’s left. It needs to be quick, it needs to be powerful, it needs to be easy and for the love of god it needs to give results on the first mama has the time, energy or toddler tidy enough to keep going over and over and over...

Friday 6 April 2018

Sensory Fairy Mark Making Tray

This little sensory fairy mark making activity was cobbled together using a few bits and pieces we already had at home, during one of those moments where we really needed to find something new and interesting to do on a freezing snowy day in the Easter hols!
Sensory Fairy Mark Making Tray
The dry cornflower has the added benefit of acting a little bit like snow when pressed together and I think Arthur thought I’d been outside to collect some at first!

Naturally, this activity took its own turn and swiftly moved on from a sensory mark making tray to a builder’s tray. After watching a man lay the screed and floor in our extension, Arthur pretended that the cornflour was the cement and rolled it out onto the tray ‘floor’ and filled in the gaps using a spoon. He used the lollipop stick as a floorboard.

To set this activity up, you will need:

Friday 23 March 2018

When Breastfed Babies Bite - 5 solutions

I know some of you winced in pain just reading that title. Me too. I've been there before. I'm there again. I've been blessed with children who are completely affected by the eruption of teeth in a way that only biting down on the nearest thing can relieve....and multiple times a day this includes the source of milk. I have silently screamed. I have bled. I have DEFINITELY asked Google about plasters for nipples. I have persevered...

When Breastfed Babies Bite - solutions to help and a Lansinoh Breastpump review

With my first child, Arthur, the biting started at about 7 months old. At the start of every breastfeed he would clamp down. The first time caught me by such a surprise I yelped, which he found hilarious of course and proceeded to do it every.single.time.

I began to dread feeding him and became desperate for a solution. If I tell you that I came to breastfeed Arthur until he was over the age of 2 yrs then you can safely assume we found a way.

Thursday 15 March 2018

What's in my Makeup Bag?

Strictly speaking, this blog post should probably be entitled 'What's in my Makeup bag number'. I'm not even sure if I could fit all of my makeup into 22 makeup bags, but it seemed like a good guess as I stood in front of my makeup cabinet this morning and tried to estimate. I can almost hear the chuckle of my husband right now, sat at his desk 14 miles away, shaking his head at my lack of spatial awareness. He would probably describe the scenario as 'at capacity'. I would say, 'still room for more'....

Arthurwears What's in my makeup bag

Anyway, it would indeed take me days, possibly months to tell you about  everything in my makeup bag so I have basically just picked out the products I am wearing today. You'll probably have realised by now that I have a bit of an obsession with bareMInerals makeup and I love a natural look. Thanks to Nicola from Mummy to Dex for tagging me. Here is what's in my makeup bag today...

Thursday 8 March 2018

You misunderstand why I blog

Being a blogger has been a real eye opener as to the thoughts and opinions of others (some) who don't blog... The keyboard warriors who tap away furiously with all their might, as if you could feel the physical force of their words... the unknowing trolls who spurt intentional typos such as 'blagger'... and the acquaintance who pops on their judgy pants and thinks its fair game because of what you do... which is ironic really, as typically bloggers are the ones penning their thoughts, feelings and opinions and sharing them with their audience...aren't they?

Monday 19 February 2018

Squished kisses against the window glass - a poem

squished kisses against the window glass poem

Squished kisses against the window glass. 
Carefree wondering in the wet grass. 
Searching for worms. 
Discoveries to share. 
Wind blowing his curly hair. 
Making the most of these childhood days. 
Oh to go back to those childish ways.

Sunday 4 February 2018

Project Playroom Extension - Planning and Building

Project Playroom Extension planning and building

It has always been my dream to have a house with a playroom (and a utility room, but fun comes before washing in our household!) and sometimes, you have to take a bit of a gamble and spend a bit of dosh to make the best out of the situation you are in. We spend SO many moments talking about what we will have in our 'forever home', but nothing makes you realise the speed at which time passes like watching your children grow. I had started to feel a bit sad that by the time we could afford this 'dream home' our children would be too old to really make the best of it. By practising a bit of mindfulness and attempting to live in the moment a little more, we took the plunge and 'project playroom extension' began earlier on this year...

Thursday 11 January 2018

How to make a bin lorry birthday cake

Last week Arthur turned 3. He had requested a 'blue bin lorry cake' for his party, and so armed with his toy bin lorry for inspiration and a guide, I set to work...

how to make a blue bin lorry recycling garbage truck birthday cake