Monday, 24 July 2017

Keep your family safe on the road with Bridgestone DriveGuard Tyres

I'll put my hands up and admit I am one of those people that knows absolutely nothing about my car and especially the tyres. In fact shamefully enough I couldn't even tell you if my car carries a spare tyre (runs off to check). I wouldn't know the first thing about how to change a tyre and quite frankly if I had the kids in the car with me, I wouldn't even want to attempt it. 

I was kindly invited by Bridgestone to an event which was all about their DriveGuard tyres at the stunning venue of Chateau Impney in Droitwich. I wasn't sure what to expect but the event was lots of fun with plenty of hands on activities and games.

Firstly we had an introduction to Bridgestone DriveGuards. The tyres have been designed to remove concerns about tyre damage, including punctures, allowing motorists to carry on driving for 50 mph for 50 miles. It also delivers the highest standards of safety, wet performance, comfort and fuel efficiency. This makes them ideal for drivers like me that are nervous about changing tyres etc. 

Bridgestone DriveGuards are designed for passenger cars with a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). I have a Kia Sportage so luckily I have this my car. The tyre is able to be driven on complete loss of air pressure through innovative technology known as a cooling fin.

My favourite part of the event was when we got to drive around a track and test out the difference between driving on normal tyres and a Bridgestone Driveguard which was completely flat. I can honestly say there was no difference at all. It was still a very smooth drive and I felt incredibly safe.

We also got to try out some very cool virtual reality sets and see Bridgestone's test track in Italy.

We got to learn about Bridgestone's #nomatterwhat campaign. Bridgestone are currently Olympic partners and this campaign helps people realise they can chase their dreams, no matter what. It's a fantastic campaign and one I would love to be involved in. I felt incredibly inspired after watching some of the campaign videos including the one below featuring Chris Mears.

Overall, I really enjoyed the day. I learnt a lot about tyre safety and I really impressed hubby with my knowledge when I got home. I'm glad I attended the event as I now look at tyres differently and realise they are part of my safety blanket when driving with my children and that I shouldn't compromise on quality when our safety is at stake. 


Protecting yourself from Malaria whilst abroad

The summer holiday season has arrived and people are travelling to destinations all over the world. There are many worldwide destinations that require you to have immunisations or Malaria tablets before you travel. 

We are taking our summer holiday in Turkey. I've checked the precautions for that Country and we are all up to date with the vaccines etc that are required. For Malaria prevention it states that no anti-malaria tablets are required but the usual precautions of protecting yourself from mosquito bites should be followed. 

It is so important to check you are taking the right health precautions when you travel. I remember when hubby and I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro back in 2012. We had a whole list of vaccines to make sure we were up to date with and were also informed that we had to have protection from Yellow Fever and Malaria.

The Malaria tablets (Malarone) were very expensive but they were essential. You can buy generic Malarone tablets which are a non-branded version. Malaria is a disease spread by mosquitos and if it isn't diagnosed and treated properly it can be fatal. 

I actually became very ill whilst climbing Kilimanjaro and the doctor was worried I may have had Malaria but it was ruled out quickly. I had most of the symptoms such as a high temperature, fever, headache, sickness and muscle aches. It was quite scary as I was very ill and stuck in a tent on a mountain. I felt very vulnerable and frightened. Luckily it was just a chest infection but climbing back down the mountain with a chest infection was a challenge.

Are you going anywhere on holiday that requires Malaria tablets? Have you ever been anywhere where you have had to have vaccinations?

*This is a collaborative post*


Thursday, 20 July 2017

Win a family ticket to see Paw Patrol Live in Cardiff

Paw Patrol Live 'Race To The Rescue' has announced a UK tour calendar and it will be showing in Cardiff this summer during half term. I'm very pleased to announce that I am running a giveaway of a family ticket at the Cardiff Motorpoint Arena on 26th August.

PAW Patrol Live! “Race to the Rescue” shows that “No job is too big, no pup is too small!” and shares lessons for all ages about community, social skills and problem solving as the characters each use their unique skills and teamwork. When Mayor Goodway goes missing during the day of the Great Adventure Bay Race, the pups come to the rescue. Families can join Ryder, Chase, Marshall, Rocky, Rubble, Zuma, Skye and Everest for the show’s first tour in UK and Ireland. Running at 80 minutes, PAW Patrol Live! “Race to the Rescue” includes two acts and an intermission. The show is set to engage audiences with Bunraku puppetry, an innovative costuming approach that brings the PAW Patrol characters to life on stage with their vehicles and packs. 

“Using Bunraku, puppetry elements are built into costumes worn by real actors to create a wonderful combination of life-size pups and to make a stronger connection with the audience. The PAW Patrol cast sings and dances, which brings a fun, realistic parallel between the animated series and the live show,” says Jim Waters, producer, VStar Entertainment Group.

The performance features music, dance and an original script as well as classic theatrical scenery along with a high-tech video wall that visually transports families PAW Patrol locations such as Adventure Bay, The Lookout, Seal Island, Farmer Yumi's farm and Jake's Mountain. Special interactive video allows the audience to participate in the show via interviews, solving puzzles with the Pups, following Mayor Goodway and much more. 

PAW Patrol Live! “Race to the Rescue” is presented by Life Like Touring, VStar Entertainment Group and Nickelodeon. PAW Patrol airs every day on Nick Jr.

The 2017 UK tour schedule is now as follows:
Friday 4th & Saturday 5th August - The SSE Arena, Wembley London (show times 11:00, 13:30, 16:30 daily)
Wednesday 9th August - Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham (show times 10:30, 13:30, 16:30 daily)
Saturday 12th & Sunday 13th August - Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham (show times 10:30, 13:30, 16:30 daily)
Wednesday 16th August - Echo Arena, Liverpool (show times 10:30, 13:30, 16:30 daily)
Saturday 19th & Sunday 20th August - Manchester Arena (show times 10:30, 13:30, 16:30 daily)
Wednesday 23rd August - First Direct Arena, Leeds (show times 10:30, 13:30, 16:30 daily)
Saturday 26th & Sunday 27th August - Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff (show times 10:30, 13:30, 16:30 daily)
Friday 1st to Sunday 3rd September - SEC Armadillo, Glasgow (show times 10:30, 13:30, 16:30 daily))
Tuesday 5th to Thursday 7th September – The SSE Arena, Belfast (show times 10:30, 13:30, 16:30 daily)
Friday 8th to Sunday 10th September - Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin (8th Sept 16:30 show only, 9th & 10th show times 10:30, 13:30, 16:30 daily)
If you'd like the opportunity to win a family ticket to the Cardiff show on the 26th August at 10.30am then please enter via rafflecopter below. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions:
  • Closing date is 00:00 am UK time on Wednesday 26th July
  • No cash alternative to the prize stated
  • This competition is open to the UK and Ireland only
  • Entrants must log in and follow the directions given via the Rafflecopter widget
  • All entries will be verified
  • One winner will be chosen at random using Rafflecopter
  • The winner will be notified within 5 days of the closing date. The winner must respond within 7 days of receiving the email to claim their prize
  • The brand will dispatch the prize directly to the winner
  • The competition is not affiliated with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Youtube

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

A Moment in Time with Ice-Watch

Lately i've been wishing I could just pause time. Life is so busy and chaotic that one day turns into a week and then a week turns into a month. Life just seems like a blur. It only seems like yesterday that I gave birth to Eva, my first born child. Now, here I am 4.5 years down the line and only a couple of months away from her starting her reception class at school.

Eva and I were kindly sent some Ice-Watch timepieces from Ice-Watch and it was when I was looking at pictures of the two of us wearing them that I started to reflect on our time together as mummy and daughter. 

She currently goes to preschool for 2.5 hours a day. I'm angry at myself for wishing she was in school for longer and fantasising what it will be like with all my spare time. I feel like I've been wishing her life away instead of pausing and enjoying the precious time I have with her before she grows up.

I have such fond memories of when it was just me and her, all the special moments and days out we took together. Then her sister came along and our family dynamic changed. Life became hectic. I become preoccupied with daily life rather than focusing on those moments in time. 

If these last 4.5 years of parenting has taught me anything, it is to appreciate those small moments, those precious little exchanges between you and your children, the smiles, the laughter and even the tears. Believe you and me I have moaned through the clingy phases, the sleepless night phases, the terrible two's and now I would give anything to have that time back. I just wish I could make time stand still and soak in those moments.

I'm loving the stage where Eva and Ophelia still think i'm cool. We quite often twin or triplet each other with our clothing and instead of them thinking it's silly, they think it is amazing. These are the moments in time i'll never forget. They may want to forget it when their older but it'll be too late by then as i'll have the photographic evidence and the memories. Haha unlucky girls.

The gorgeous watches that you can see in our photos are from Ice-Watches. Mine is from the Ice sixty nine range and Eva's is from the ICE ola kids range. 

These watches will always hold a special place in my heart. I have a jewellery box of all of my special things from when I was younger which includes my very first watch which was a pink, my little pony watch given to me by my great grandparents. This Ice-Watch timepiece is Eva's first watch which is a super special moment in her life and I am so pleased that we have twinning watches to share this experience together. I'll keep these watches in that special Jewellery box when she grows out of hers.

Do you think time goes too fast? Do you have special moments in time? Have you got keepsake jewellery items from when you were younger?

*Thank you to Ice-Watch's for sending us our watches*


Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Dusting the cobwebs from my bike

Both my girls are now at an age where they love being outdoors, whether that is playing in the garden, at the park, walking or riding their bikes and scooters. It only recently occurred to me that hubby and I don't join in with their bike rides.

Cycling is not something i've enjoyed properly since I was a child and even then I wasn't that great at it. Before we had children hubby and I decided we were on a fitness mission and so Santa kindly bought me a bike and I can safely say I can count the times I have rode on it on one hand. Shameful I know. I remember being so pleased when I got it. We set out on the Taff Trail and whilst I enjoyed taking in the views whilst coasting downhill, I almost had a nervous breakdown attempting to cycle uphill which resulted in tears and the rest is history. The bike was banished to the back of the garage, never to be seen again. After reading this survey; British Cyclists' Survey by Cycle Republic, I decided it may be time to dust those cobwebs from my bike and enjoy cycling with my family. 

Cycling is very popular among adults and families alike. No longer is it a means of getting from A to B but it's a form of family bonding, days out, exercise and enjoyment. Many people cycle just for the thrill of the ride and that is something I would like to start doing again. I need to remember how much fun it was to ride a bike as a child. The perfect way to do this is with my children.

Usually when they go out on a bike ride, we often walk beside them but as their competence and confidence is growing, we should start cycling with them. I know they would love it and therefore so would I. I just want to cycle as fast as I can, laugh, take in the surroundings and have fun. I know cycling with my children will enable me to do that.

I do worry about safety though. I always kit the girls' out in helmets and other protective clothing. I don't think i'm brave enough to cycle on any roads yet and especially not with my children. In fact I feel like I'm having a mini heart-attack when I see young families cycling on a main road together and don't even get me started on roundabouts. 

We recently had the Velothon Wales here and I knew quite a lot of people taking part in the gruelling challenge. I wonder if I'll be entering something like that one day once I get a thrill for cycling again or will I be back writing a post about my rusty bike. I hope not. 

Do you cycle? If so, why?

*This is a collaborative post*

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Our family day out at Oakwood Theme Park and Giveaway

Oakwood Theme Park is engraved in my childhood memory. We had many school trips there and I always loved it, so when we were asked if we would like to visit with the girls, I jumped at the chance to show them something I enjoyed as a child. Both hubby and I haven't visited since we were teenagers so we were intrigued to see how it has changed.

Oakwood theme park is located in South Wales and is easily accessible by Car. We enjoyed the scenic drive which took us 1 hour 45 minutes from Cardiff. The parking is free (a bonus as other theme parks sometimes charge) and it is close to the theme park entrance which is always handy when you have children and strollers. 

You can enter the park via a short train ride. I used to love this as a child. They run every 15 minutes but we had literally just missed a train departure so we took the very short walk to the park instead which took a couple of minutes. 

We headed straight to the circus section of the park which is aimed at preschool age children so perfect for our girls. At that point it was lovely and sunny so they enjoyed the park area and the swings.

We then decided to sit on the grass and enjoy our picnic that we had brought with us for lunch. There are plenty of areas for you to sit down and eat your own food or alternatively there are restaurants and food outlets to purchase food from the park.

Next up we headed over to the Neverland area. This is quite a recent opening so we were looking forward to seeing this. Peter Pan is one of Eva's favourite films and one of my favourite books so we were hoping this section would do it justice. 

You enter into Neverland through the London area. There are a few things to see and do here. We enjoyed the London Cab ride and we loved the journey through the home of the Darlings. Eva thought it was amazing spotting Peter Pan's shadow and Ophelia found the whole house fascinating. She was mesmerised by the lights. 

Next up we ventured into 'Hook's House of Havoc' which is a giant soft play area. This was ideal for hubby and I to get a little rest whilst the girls ran riots.

The next ride we went on was a small log flume in skull rock. It's fairly safe to say we got quite wet.  Our last adventure in Neverland saw Eva and Ophelia running around 'The Lost Boys Adventure' area which was a themed outdoor play area. 

 JM Barrie's book is really brought to life in here and represents the essence of the story. I adored having the music from 'Hook' being piped around the park. It really added to the atmosphere. This section is themed very well and captures the essence of what theme parks are all about. It takes you back to your childhood and allows you to embrace it.

We then headed towards the 'Bobsleigh' which was one of hubby's favourite rides here when he was younger. Eva thought it was fantastic and went on it twice. Apparently she preferred riding with daddy as he was much faster than I was.

Hubby and I then decided to ride 'Megafobia' which is a wooden roller coaster that we both loved as teens. Knowing that the ride was quite old we wondered whether it would still be as exciting as it was back when we first rode on it. 

Luckily, it was as good as we remembered. It's fast and rickety and still has that wonderful wooden shaky sound which puts the fear inside you. It's a definite adrenaline pumper and in our opinion is still the UK's best wooden roller coaster by far.

Last up we visited 'Dahland' which will be opening fully at some point this year. As the name suggests it is themed around Roald Dahl. There is a rollercoaster based upon James and the Giant Peach and a walkthrough attraction based on Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spike's house, opening soon. This was a lovely section of the park with lots of flowers and nice decorations around.

Overall, we had a lovely day. The kids particularly enjoyed it. There was plenty there for them to do but hubby and I felt like the park could do with a few more 'thrill rides'. Our favourite section of the park was Neverland which is perfectly themed. The newness of this area and Dahland made some of the other areas look a bit tired and in need of a facelift.

It was quiet whilst we went so we managed to go on all of the children's rides that we wanted to go on. It will probably be busier during the half term so maybe the fast pass service would be needed then.

Hubby and I didn't get to ride all of the older 'thrill rides' that are there as we found it a bit of a task whilst waiting for one person to queue up per ride. I'd like to see them offer a parent swap service where one parent can queue for a 'thrill ride' and then the other can go to the front of the queue once they have rode. This is much easier when you are visiting parks with young children. 

I think the park is reasonably priced for what is there and if you book in advance then you can get some great discounts. If we lived closer then I would consider an annual pass as the kids really did have a great time. You can get more information here about them, Annual Passes.

If you want a better view of our day then make sure you watch our video on youtube.

I'm very excited to announce that I am giving away a family pass to Oakwood which includes 2 adult and 2 children's tickets. You can enter via rafflecopter below.

SaveSave a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions:
  • Closing date is 00:00 am UK time on Wednesday 26th July
  • No cash alternative to the prize stated
  • This competition is open to the UK and Ireland only
  • Entrants must log in and follow the directions given via the Rafflecopter widget
  • All entries will be verified
  • One winner will be chosen at random using Rafflecopter
  • The winner will be notified within 5 days of the closing date. The winner must respond within 7 days of receiving the email to claim their prize
  • The brand will dispatch the prize directly to the winner
  • The competition is not affiliated with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Youtube
*Thank you to Oakwood for providing us with a family pass in exchange of our honest opinions* 

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

5 Tips to Becoming Healthier in 30 Days

Health studies have shown that Americans who maintain bad health habits such as eating unhealthy foods, drinking alcohol, and smoking, are more susceptible to developing deadly illnesses than Americans who live healthily. In fact, according to a study from Yale University’s Prevention Research Center, the actual causes of premature deaths in the United States are not the diseases itself but the factors that cause those. Furthermore, the analyses have shown that 63% of deaths in the U.S. from 2008 to 2010 fall under the leading causes – heart disease, cancer, respiratory illnesses, and stroke. The good news is that the study determined that 40% of these deaths could be avoided through lifestyle changes; meaning, 92,000 lives could be saved from early death from heart diseases and 29,000 from lung diseases attributed to smoking.

Fortunately, being healthier does not mean a complete overhaul of your lifestyle. Starting on this fitness journey means taking few and simple changes and sticking to it. It is these gradual changes that will lower the risk of acquiring kinds of diseases and will eventually lead to a long and happy life. Here are 5 tips to jumpstart your fitness journey and to reduce your risk of having illnesses and become healthier in 30 days.

1. Eat a balanced and healthy diet.

A healthy diet and is considered as the most important component of fitness. Start by assessing your current diet and start tweaking some of the foods in it into healthier options. For every meal that you consume in a day, strive for a balanced nutrition like. This can be done by mixing fruits and vegetables with lean meat and whole grains. A healthy diet is not just a single type of food but a variety of it as the body requires different types of nutrients to function optimally.

2. Be more active and establish a fitness routine.

Exercising daily and being active throughout a day is beneficial to your health. This, however, does not necessarily mean going to the gym every day. Simply look for opportunities to be more active daily like walking instead of driving and taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Choose an activity that you enjoy doing and you will start noticing the benefits on your body in no time.

3. Get enough sleep.

Sleep plays a very important role in your physical and mental health. Sleep is involved in the recovery of the heart and blood vessels, and repair damaged tissues. Thus, prolonged sleep deprivation may be linked to an increased risk of developing different diseases. Sleep forms new pathways in the brain to help you retain more information and it also enhances your physical and mental performance throughout the day.

4. Change your lifestyle and quit bad vices.

Vices like smoking and dependence on alcohol are directly related to different forms of cancer (usually lungs and liver), heart failure, and stroke. For long time smokers and alcoholics, adjusting to abrupt changes in lifestyle is very difficult. It is therefore important to approach the changes gradually to decrease the risk of a crash and eventual relapse.

5. Get tested regularly for STD’s.

Although sexually transmitted diseases do not belong to the leading causes of deaths, acquiring them equally increases your risk of getting complications which could also lead to death. Many STD’s can be treated with antibiotics although they may cause serious complications if left untreated long term. Since the majority of STDs have no symptoms and the only way to know is to get screened, you must always get a regular screening. Visit and have yourself tested now.

*This is a collaborative post*

Monday, 10 July 2017

The ugly truth about PTA mums

So your first child is starting school. You're already a mixed bag of hormones and emotions and you have so many unanswered questions. You're crying cause you're eldest baby has grown up, what if they don't like it? What if they don't settle in? Did i get the right lunchbox? What if everyone else is having dinners? 

After you've sent yourself into a frenzy, the anxiety about yourself as a mother kicks in. You realise you're nervous about your first school gate encounter. You've heard all about the various mums at the school gate, the gym mums, the helicopter mums, the mean girls, the always late mums, the practically perfect in every way mums and let's not forget the rumours and horror stories you've heard about those PTA dictator mums. Admit it, you thought PTA was code for parents to avoid.

The PTA mums are usually the stay at home, stepford wife type who look preened from head to toe and are holier than thou. They are attention seekers, full of themselves, over achievers, self righteous know it alls who can't do anything wrong. They wear a smug, I can and I will look on their faces and they certainly see you as the no good slummy mummy who is less of a mum than they are because you won't 'volunteer' your precious time for the good of the school. They drive 4x4's, they wear heals and they will quash you with their clipboards faster than you can run away from them at the school gate. 

 Image from Flickr by Athena LeTrelle

You've heard all about their cake and coffee mornings. The pristine tablecloths, the Cath Kidston style napkins, the doily's and let's not forget about the perfectly baked cakes. Why would you want to offer your shoddy cake baking services when you have to compete with those pinterest crazy, Martha Stewart whipped, Mary Berry impersonating PTA dictator mums. You do not fit in that cliquey. Maybe you could buy your cake from the shop but if they find out they weren't homemade you will be made an example of. They will stand around you in a circle and hurl abuse at you and chant you are not worthy.

You've heard all about the meetings. The make up of the committee is like every family and army in Game of Thrones. Everyone wanting to get into power and everyone trying to take control. Make one wrong move or one stupid suggestion and you will face the axe. Anyway why would you even want to attend a meeting. You finally get an hour away from your kids so why on earth would you use that alone time to spend discussing kids and getting involved in school politics. Those type of politics that have you wondering whether you're 4 years old again in the preschool playground or defending yourself from the bullying 'mean girls' at high school. 

Now you've heard the rumours, let me tell you the ugly truth about the PTA mums. Spoiler alert....the PTA mums are normal, regular, mums just like everyone else. I know it's hard to believe but they are. 

I can assure you they are not what they are portrayed to be. Despite contrary belief, lots of them have jobs, they do want to join up for the good of the school, they do want to join to make friends and they want to join as they take pride in bringing a smile to their children's faces. I know this doesn't fit the PTA dictator stories but honestly they are just as down to earth as you are. The PTA is not a cult. You will not change if you join. You do not have to conform you can be yourself. 

As a working mum, I joined the PTA to help feel involved in my daughter's school. I knew I wasn't on the school run everyday so I wanted to take an interest in what she does in other ways. She loves the fact that mummy helps organise events and when she comes back from a disco or a fair and tells me how much fun she had, I know all the hard work is worth it. Even if it means staying up till 1am drinking a bottle of wine and being up to my eyeballs in shopping lists and timetables. 

I also wanted to make some mum friends. I didn't know any mums at my daughter's school and seeing as we are there for quite a few years I wanted to get to know people. I've made some fantastic friends since joining up. Some of which I may never have met had I not made that leap when I nervously attended my first meeting. 

If you've seen the film Bad moms, we are very much like Mila Kunis and her gang. We drink, we swear and guess what we actually have fun. Yes we work hard and yes it's tough but we are normal human beings. We are not robots. 

Why not try lending a hand? Sure you'll probably be jumped on straight away and welcomed with open arms of desperation but you never know, you may actually make some friends for life.

Basically what i'm trying to say is spare a thought about your PTA mums before you judge them and declare them as self-centred, control freaks. They are not the arseholes they are made out to be. 


Thursday, 6 July 2017

Wedding Gifts by Uncommon Goods

This year hubby and I have been invited to quite a few weddings. There's always the dilemma of finding something unique, special and different as a gift. Quite often couples request money but for the ones we are attending this year, they have left the gift choosing down to us.

Uncommon Goods have plenty of choice for wedding gifts which includes a lot of personalised items which I love. If you haven't heard of them before,  Uncommon goods are unique in that they are trying to make sustainability the focal point of their business. They are working to make the company more environmentally friendly, socially responsible and a rewarding workplace. They feature a lot of recycled, handmade and organic products which is great.

This year i've been invited to my first ever bridal shower. I've attended baby shower's before but never a bridal shower. I have to bring a gift for the bride.

I love the idea of this date bucket list gift. This is something hubby and I always struggle with so I think this would make a lovely gift for inspiration. It will remind them to actually spend some quality time together.

I also think these marital bliss cards will be a fun, quirky gift that the bride and groom can enjoy together. You can find more fun ideas for bridal shower gifts on this page.

They have some wonderful personalised wedding gifts on this section. I always love sending and receiving personalised gifts as I always think a lot more effort and thought has been put into them. My favourites are this personalised chopping board (ideal for foodies like us) and this super cute game.

One of the weddings we are attending this year is for my cousin. She came to mine so she's been asking me for lots of advice. She's been struggling to find gifts for the bridal party and in particular the bridesmaids. For ours, we chose jewellery for the girls and a watch for the boys. There are great gifts for bridesmaids at Uncommon Goods. I personally like this heart pendant. The bridesmaids could actually wear this on the day depending on their dresses.

What type of gifts do you normally get for weddings? Have you been to a bridal shower before?

*This is a collaborative post*

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