Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Fun Ways to Get Your Kids Active this Summer

Now that summer has finally arrived, it is time to encourage your kids to turn off the television and get outside for some healthy exercise and sunlight. Most little ones enjoy playing outside, but if you are struggling to come up with ideas to get them active this summer then read on for a few suggestions:

Sports clubs
Sports clubs are fantastic for kids as they encourage them to socialise and make new friends, plus competitive sport can be very healthy for youngsters. Football, tennis, basketball, netball, cricket and rugby are just a few options to consider and it should be relatively easy to find a suitable club in your local area or at the school. If they are not into sports, encourage them to try an activity like martial arts, rock climbing or swimming.

Family walk
Organise a regular mid-week or weekend walk for the whole family and this will be an activity that you can all enjoy and benefit from. This is a great option if you have a dog too as they love the opportunity to run free and enjoy the great outdoors – especially if it’s near a stream or reservoir! If you’re on a budget, then packing a picnic is an easy way to save those pennies, and your little one’s will love eating al fresco!


Heelys
Heelys are great fun and an easy way to get your kids out and about. They will love gliding around in style and there are all kinds of trendy styles available when you shop at specialists like Skate Hut. For the more adventurous kiddos, skateboards, rollerblades and scooters are all popular options.




Image taken from Skate Hut
Beach trip
Everybody loves going to the beach and there is plenty for the little ones to do here whether it is making sandcastles, playing frisbee or paddling in the ocean. Planning in at least one beach trip over the summer will definitely put a smile on your little ones’ face – especially if you treat them to an ice-cream or a cone of chips!

Garden games
If you’re lucky enough to have space in your backyard for your kids to play, make sure that this is a child-friendly place where the kids can play games to stay active. There are many great lawn games that you can all play together which will keep them in shape and happy.

Pedometers
Pedometers have become extremely popular within the last few years. They may not seem like much fun at first, but once you start to pay attention to how many steps you are taking then you will quickly want to improve on this each day. Try giving pedometers to your kids and then setting up rewards if they reach a certain number of steps.


These tips will help your kids to stay fit and active this summer and you will all have great fun in the process.

*This is a collaborative post*
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15 Moana quotes for Mindfulness

Recently i've had a few lapses with my postnatal depression and therefore I am trying my hardest to focus on some mindfulness techniques. As you know I love Disney. I like to read Disney quotes to help me reflect and put a smile on my face. 

Incase you missed them you can read my older posts in the series my clicking the following links, Winnie the Pooh and Beauty and the Beast.

Next up in my series is Moana. Moana has some truly inspiring quotes and lyrics which are great for reflection.


Image from Flickr via http://www.bagogames.com/best-moana-movie-based-games/

1) Fear holds you back

2) Know your purpose

3) You will do great things, but first you must learn who you are meant to be 

4) Scars can heal and reveal just where you are 

5) The gods aren't the ones who make you Maui, you are 

6) They have stolen the heart from inside you. This is not who you are. You know who you are

7) There is nowhere you could go that I won't be with you 

8) Come what May, I know the Way 

Image from Melissa Hillier on www.flickr.com

9) There comes a day, when you're gonna look around, and realise happiness is, where you are

10) But this does not define you

11) I can make us strong

12) And when we look to the future, there you are

13) What's beyond that line? Will I cross that line

14) You can be a hero

15) One day i'll know, How far i'll go


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Tuesday, 27 June 2017

New Chuggington Toy Range

Eva and Ophelia are both fans of the TV series Chuggington so they were delighted to be asked to review a brand new toy range which has recently launched. Unfortunately they arrived whilst we were on holiday so we had to eat a while to receive them and collect them.


The new collection features 24 little chuggers and ConnecTrax pack. They come in a sealable carry bag which is great for storing them in. They are suitable for ages 2 years and up but as you can imagine, Ophelia who is 19 months old, is also having fun with the set with her older sister.



What makes these toys extra special and unique is that they are actually compatible with most other pre-school systems which is perfect for us as we have many other tracks and trains. I think this is such a fab feature as we can connect them together for extended fun and games.


The trains themselves are made our of rubber, except the wheels which are plastic. This makes them feel nice and soft for small hands and means they are easy to grip unlike the other die cast ones we have at home. This also means they are lightweight which is ideal for taking out and about with us on adventures. They are great entertainment for if we are going out for a meal or away for the weekend.

Eva found the tracks easy to put together. They don't have a magnetic join, they simply slot together by links. Finally a track she can build by herself. 


Overall, we think they are a great set for preschoolers. I do think Eva will outgrow them quickly but Ophelia will be able to enjoy them for quite a few years to come. They look exactly like they do on the tv show which is great, they are easy to hold and the tracks are simple to put together. Even though they are soft to hold, they are very sturdy and they are surviving lots of bashing about.
We would have liked to have seen a few more pieces of track in the set but as we have other tracks at home that wasn't an issue for us.


You can keep up to date with the latest Chuggington toy news over on twitter at @Jazwares and @Chuggington.

*Thank you to Chuggington, Jazwares and Playtime PR for gifting us with these toys in exchange for our honest opinion*








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Monday, 26 June 2017

My favourite LBD by River Island

The 'Little Black Dress' or LBD as it's better known is something that every woman should own in her wardrobe. Some fashion rules are plain stupid, this one is gospel. Think of it like an oath. When you start becoming fashion conscious you should take this oath and swear that you will buy and own an LBD for the rest of your life. 



The LBD is simple yet effective. It's intended to be versatile, flattering, a head turner and something that will stand the test of time in your wardrobe. It's something that can be dressed up or down and will suit every occasion you have to attend. Think of it as an investment.



The LBD stems from the wonderful Coco Chanel in the 1920's. It was later when Vogue published a sketch of one of her designs that the concept was formed. It then become a staple piece for every fashion icon through time. When I think of fashion icons in an LBD, I think of Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, Jackie Kennedy, Kate Moss, Victoria Beckham, Olivia Palermo and most recently HRH Kate Middleton.







When I was younger an LBD for me was a body con dress whether it be a maxi or midi. If you've read some of my previous fashion posts before, you will know that since having my girls, I am extremely body conscious and quite unconfident. This usually turns my much beloved shopping days into the stuff of nightmares.

However, as time goes on I am starting to get passion for fashion back along with some body confidence. I am beginning to embrace my post baby shape, after all, how can I not like something that produced 2 beautiful little girls? 

On a recent shopping trip in River Island, I came across a gorgeous black dress. At first I wasn't sure whether it was a playsuit or a dress. Its style was unusual and to be honest, I didn't think it would suit me but I knew if I didn't try it on I would regret it.

I took a size 12 and a 10 into the changing room with me. I tried the size 12 on first and I fell in love. It looked perfect. It was everything you needed in an LBD and more. It was quite loose so I decided to give the 10 a go. This is where I usually end up in a strop as I can't get clothes over my hips or chest. 




The 10 slipped on like a glove and hugged my body like a dream. I was ecstatic. It certainly gives me a fantastic shape and hides my mum tum which is always a bonus. I adore the tie neck neckline and the front split. It gives the dress the wow factor.


I don't get out much these days but on the 2 occasions I have done over the last couple of months I have worn this dress. I was hoping to capture some more fashionable shots rather than just being infront of my garden fence but with 2 young girls, I just haven't had the time or energy.



If you're looking for an LBD then I can't recommend this one enough. You can get it here, Black Dress for £45. Do you own any Little Black Dresses?





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Saturday, 24 June 2017

Finding a local Gardener with Bidvine

We've been attempting to have our garden redone since the middle of April this year. We had found a gardener but unfortunately after laying the artificial grass he has disappeared off the face of the Earth with our deposit to complete the remaining work. It has been so stressful and we are gutted. We have spent a long time googling gardeners in our area and to be honest it's more hard work then we'd anticipated. Luckily, I was asked if I would like to try Bidvine.


Bidvine takes the hassle out of trawling the internet for providers. You can either visit their website or download their app to your phone. You are able to find providers and services within your local area by simply answering a few questions and then hey presto, quotes will start to arrive. This was going to be ideal for me to find a gardener asap and stress free.


The website was so simple and easy to use. You type in the search bar what you are looking for, so in my case it was gardening services. You are then asked specifically related questions to help find you the perfect matches.

I was asked questions such as:
1) What type of gardening project is it?
2) How many and what type of plants do I want?
3) When do I need the gardener to start etc


I think this is such a great feature as it cuts out a lot of the middle man talk. It's allows the responses to match your specific needs which saves you time and effort in the long term. 

Hubby and I have been so pleased with how easy it all was. The website was very easy to navigate.

I've actually recommended Bidvine to a work colleague who is looking for a local cleaner. I'd recommend it to anyone that is looking for a professional or service.

Bidvine has such a wide variety of services on their website so you're sure to find what you're looking for. It has everything from photographers to guitar instructors. You name it, it's there.

*This is a collaborative post*





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Wednesday, 21 June 2017

This is PND for me

Every time I think of my Postnatal Depression (PND) journey, there is one thing that makes me very upset and that is how long I suffered before I was diagnosed. I don't blame this on anyone and I certainly don't blame my health visitor. In fact she was the one that picked up on my strange behaviour and finally got me to admit everything. I believe it was overlooked on my part due to my total lack of understanding of the mental illness. 


Before I had a better understanding of PND I thought that depression presented itself in one way only, which was all doom and gloom. I thought you had to be crying constantly and basically locking yourself away. Don't get me wrong I do have those emotions and actions but actually my PND presents itself in many different forms.

I think this is such an important thing to comprehend when you are dealing with PND yourself or trying to help someone who is a sufferer. I couldn't recognise my PND as I was dealing with many different symptoms, many of which you may not necessarily associate with a mental health problem.

This is how my PND presents itself, this is PND for me:
  • A low mood - This sometimes lasts an hour, sometimes a few hours, sometimes a day, sometimes a week and sometimes it's extremely prolonged and can last for weeks.
  • Irritable - Every little problem bothers me and I snap very quickly.
  • Feeling ill - When I am suffering I always have a headache or I feel sick.
  • Feeling overwhelmed - The usual day to day tasks that I normally do become too much for me to handle.
  • Lack of concentration - This is always a contradictory symptom as I usually go into overdrive when I have bad days and I create lists of tasks to myself of things I need to achieve which then leads me to have no concentration at all. I am quite zoned out when I am suffering. I am an aware of anything going on around me.
  • Rage - This is one of the surprising symptoms. I become so angry. Everything and anything gets me angry. I have no tolerance for anything. When I was very bad I actually used to smash things to let out my rage.
  • Scary thoughts - This one always frightens me. I constantly run through 'what if' scenarios and send myself into a bit of an emotional frenzy.
  • Insomnia - When I am suffering, I don't sleep. If i'm not crying then I am running through lists in my mind etc and I just can't shut it off.
  • Feeling Guilty - Mum guilt is everywhere in my life but when I am having a lapse with my PND, I feel guilty about everything. I always say I am a rubbish mum and I always feel like I've let my girls down.
  • Comfort eating - My goodness can I put on some weight when I am going through this. I literally eat anything and everything in site to attempt to make myself feel better.
  • Crying - Sometime I cry hysterically for hours on end. I lock myself away and scream.
  • Laughter - This is a symptom I never would have recognised. Sometimes I am unusually happy, I am overly smily and I am constantly laughing. This is a charade. This is to cover up how I am really feeling. I become very silly and very excitable. It's very up and down behaviour. 
  • Workaholic - I get the sense of urgency to please anyone and everyone. I don't like the idea of failure and I like to look busy. I will take on way too many tasks and immerse myself in work, not wanting to let anybody down and especially not myself. 
  • Having cabin fever - I refuse invitations from friends and family. I shut myself away and  make excuses not do to things.
  • Lack of confidence - When I am suffering I lack confidence in every part of my life. That being my body, my mind, my personality, my clothing, my ability to parent etc.
  • Exhaustion - I get so tired. My mind is heavy and my body is heavy.
  • Noise Sensitivity - Suddenly noises all become very loud. Everything hurts my ears and it's all too much.
I'm still yet to overcome my mental illness, maybe I never will but I am now able to recognise my behaviours and symptoms and so is my husband. It's very hard to understand the behaviours of someone with PND when they can present in so many different ways. I guess it's important to recognise erratic behaviour and over compensating when they experience different emotions. 

Some people will never understand how I can behave in these ways especially those that are closest to me and that is because they just aren't used to seeing me that way. Just know that if you have a friend or relative that suffers with PND that they are doing just that. They are suffering. This is not something they asked for. It may change them but if you look closely they are still there deep down. They just need that bit of extra support and patience. 




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Travelling with the Omnio stroller

As a family we love to travel. We've never let having children stop us from enjoying travelling the world, we've just embraced it. I won't lie, sometimes family travel can be stressful but the majority of the time it's wonderful. Thankfully there are lots of great products being invented to help make travelling with children easier and stress free.

One of these wonderful inventions is the Omnio Stroller. The stroller was designed by two parents who were looking for something on the market that helped them with days out, travel and the day to day struggles with venturing anywhere with a pushchair. They are from Wales and are a British business which I love. I think it's always great to support anything made from home.



We were recently sent a stroller to review which arrived just in time to take with us on our family holiday to Florida last month. We knew this would be a great opportunity to road test its use when travelling as we would be using it an the airport, at the theme parks and in general day to day. This post will focus on using the Omnio at the airport. 



One of the things that impressed hubby and I was how compact it is when it is folded. We had to drive to the airport and as you can imagine there was hardly any space in the car. Between the 2 adults, 2 kids and car seats, 3 big suitcases and hand luggage, there was little space for a stroller but we obviously had to take one. Luckily, the Omnio folds into a perfect compact size which fits neatly into tight spaces. We actually had it on the floor behind the passenger seat.



Once we arrived at the airport I was able to wear the stroller on my back like a rucksack. This is one of its special, unique features. Both the girls were super excited to be at the airport so they wanted to walk around and explore. 
All of the airport staff were very curious and amazed at the stroller. They all wanted to have a good look at it and were asking lots of questions. 
When we got to security I was very grateful that I had the Omnio. I was able to simply take it off my back and pop it on the x-ray belt with ease. There was no faffing around and it all took literally seconds. Even if one of the girls had been in it at the time, it still would have been a quick and easy process. It folds down very quickly and as i've already mentioned it's compact so you're not worrying about bashing any other passengers with the end of your stroller (yes I have done that before). 


After running around the airport like a lunatic, Eva wanted to be chauffeur driven to the aeroplane. This is one of the great things about the Omnio, it can be used roughly up to the age of 5 unlike other strollers. 

As always we were running a bit late to get to the gate. You know what it's like when you have kids, you are always chasing your tail and then there's toilet breaks etc to contend with. We flew from Manchester airport which is a very big and very busy airport. There were hundreds of people everywhere and of course our gate was quite a walk away from us. This is where the strollers' awesome wheels kicked in to play. 

Daddy took control of the stroller like some kind of racing driver. Lewis Hamilton eat your heart out. The Omnio is very agile which is a result of its ultra responsive wheels. He was able to dodge, weave, pull some swanky backward driving manoeuvres and basically beat everyone to the finish like (aka the gate) in record speed. 
The wheels have a series of curved rollers which allow the stroller to be moved traditionally and also side to side. Daddy and Eva loved this feature. They regularly practised their 'drifts' as they called them, but that's another story. You'll be able to view that in an upcoming youtube video. 


We decided to leave the stroller at the gate. You can actually take it onto the cabin section of the aircraft but we had enough hold allowance for us to leave it underneath. The ability to be able to take it onto the cabin is a fab feature. If you're travelling short haul and are limited on your weight and baggage allowance etc then you can simply carry it onto the plane like a rucksack and leave it in the overhead compartment. This is also handy if you are taking car seats etc too. Most airlines allow limited baby items to be taken without having to pay extra.

Once we arrived in Florida we were able to pop Ophelia in the stroller whilst we were collecting our suitcases. We then made our way to exit the airport. This was like the Krypton factor itself (yes I remember that show). There were various obstacles in our way to get out of the airport but thankfully the stroller was one less thing to worry about. We had stairs, lifts, escalators, heavy suitcases and no help to contend with. The Omnio is very versatile for these such problems as it's light to carry (even when a child is in it), you can fold it up quickly, carry it on your back or simply push it. 


Overall, we found the Omnio stroller perfect for using around an airport. It certainly made our experience a lot easier. Both of the girls enjoyed being in it and both hubby and I found it light to carry and easy to manoeuvre. It's the ideal accompaniment for travel loving families.

Make sure you pop back to my blog soon so you can read about how we got on with it at the Disney theme parks and a review of the stroller overall. 

You can buy one in black, teal or red from various retailers, Stockists which also now includes Mothercare. 

*Thank you to Omnio for sending us a stroller in exchange for our honest opinions*






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Sunday, 18 June 2017

Dreaming of Travelling the World with a Lottery Win

As you may know we are a travel loving family. After recently booking our next trip we fantasised about what it would be like to travel the world full time. We'd love to just quit our jobs and take our girls on a worldwide adventure but of course we sadly haven't got the money to do that. We imagined what it would be like to do this if we had a massive lottery win.

We would travel first class by aeroplane to every destination. Imagine that?! No airport queues, a place to yourself on the plane where you could just sit back and relax. If only. If we had a huge lottery win, we could even travel by private jet and live like celebrities. 



Top of our destination list would be a couple of weeks of serene, luxury in the Maldives. We would love to stay in one of those little villas that are out at sea. Just imagine being able to wake up surrounded by all that ocean. 



We'd also visit Santorini. It's a bit closer to home than the Maldives but it still looks breathtaking. It looks like an instagrammer's idea of heaven with all those pristine white buildings against the bright blue skies and sea. 



Even though i've been to New York before, I've always wanted to visit at Christmas time. It always looks so magical. The lights, the snow, the cold and the decorations. I'd love to see the sites and then Christmas shop till I drop. I'd love to shop Pretty Woman style and turn up in a designer shop dressed in awful clothes and just flash the cash.



We would definitely visit DisneyWorld every year. We adore everything about Disney so we'd have as many holiday's there as we could. We'd stay in any of the hotels. In fact if we won lots of money then I think we'd try staying in every single one of the Disney hotels. I'd also stay in the secret suite in Cinderella's castle in Orlando. 





What would be on your bucket list if you could travel the world on a lottery win? We regularly play the UK lottery but did you know that we can actually play the USA lottery online through Lottoland? Signing up to Lottoland gives you access to their draws including the Megamillions which actually created the second biggest jackpot win of all time. With supersize jackpots every week, that's the lottery I need to take part in.

You can also play the Powerball which last year gave away a jackpot over $1.6 billion dollars. Wowzers. What on earth would you do with all that money? I'd have more than world travel on my list of how to spend it. What would you spend it on?

*This is a collaborative post with Lottoland. Please gamble responsibly*


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