14th April 2019

Why we are loving our TalkTalk Fibre Broadband

Sponsored Post

Like most families, we use the internet all the time at home, so before swapping to TalkTalk’s Fibre Broadband, I did a lot of research about whether it was the right provider for us. I need to be sure that if we’re going to make a change to our family’s lifestyle, it’s got to be right for everyone…

Firstly – and probably most importantly (although the kids wouldn’t agree) – I need the internet because I work from home. From sending emails, to uploading social media posts and managing my accounts, to researching which book I want to read next – even putting in a last-minute school uniform order – it’s imperative that I have ongoing access to the internet.

My husband needs the internet for work too – because when he’s not in the office, the nature of his job means he still needs to be able to get online at any moment. Wherever he goes, his laptop comes too. It’s like our fourth child.

The children use the internet both for fun – and to help them do research for their homework on ancient Greece or how exactly Black Holes were created in space (even if they don’t always find the answers!)

 

And we all use the internet to stay in touch with the people we love, via video calls, emails, and text conversations all the time. Just the other day I video-called my Mum and the whole family piled in to say hi.

So why does TalkTalk Fibre Broadband tick all these boxes for us?

In a nutshell, we have chosen TalkTalk Fibre Broadband because it’s fair for all of us.

‘The Great Connection Guarantee’ gives us 30 days to try out TalkTalk Fibre Broadband to make sure it is the right package for us.

It is also reliable. Very reliable. TalkTalk’s new Wi-Fi Hub offers customers its fastest, strongest and most reliable Wi-Fi signal yet. We’ve tested the signal from every corner of the house (my husband even used his laptop from the attic to see if it would work) and we didn’t lose connection once.

And finally, it is affordable. In fact, TalkTalk is the first provider to guarantee no broadband price rises for the entire length of our contract – and that is reassuring to know. Especially when there are so many broadband providers out there that know that even if they get someone to sign up on a cheaper plan, they can sap more money from their customers by sneaky price rises!

To find out more about TalkTalk’s award-winning, faster, and fairer Fibre Broadband, visit www.talktalk.co.uk/shop/broadband/fibre

 



11th April 2019

Why my family takes Fultium Vitamin D

Sponsored Post

I didn’t know how important it was to take daily Vitamin D supplements until I had a blood test a couple of years ago. I had a six-month old baby at the time (my third) and had been quite unwell for a while – and one of the things the blood test showed up was a severe deficiency in Vitamin D.

This was a big surprise to me, as I lived in Dubai – and believed the sunny climate would help me absorb it. What I didn’t realise is that the sun cream I regularly slathered onto my skin was preventing it from absorbing the rays – and hence the deficiency.

From that moment, the kids and I started taking Vitamin D supplements to make sure our levels were topped up. We are currently taking Fultium – and I’ve teamed up with them to tell you a little bit more about Vitamin D and why we need it…

 

Fast Facts (from Dr Sarah Jarvis, who has over 30 years’ experience in the NHS and over 26 years as a GP):

 

  • Vitamin D helps to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, which are needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy, it also supports the normal function of the immune system in children and adults.

 

  • Everyone in the UK, aged 1 and over requires 10 micrograms (μg) of vitamin D a day and 8.5-10 micrograms a day for infants under 1 year- particularly during the winter months when it’s harder to absorb it naturally. People who are housebound or living in care homes, pregnant and breastfeeding women are being advised to take 10mcg all year round.

 

  • Depression, breast and colorectal cancer have all been linked to low levels of vitamin D. There is also an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, predisposition to bone fractures, and the risk of a weakened immune system leading to other diseases such as respiratory infections.

 

  • The colour of your skin makes a big difference to how easily you can absorb vitamin D from sunlight. Pale skins make vitamin D more quickly than darker skins (but may avoid the sun for fear of burning, so may also be low in vitamin D deficiency).

 

  • A lack of outdoor space and a reduction in children spending time outdoors can also be a contributing factor to the increase of vitamin D deficiency in this country.

 

Fultium Daily D3 is one of the few vitamin D tablet supplements specially formulated in a high-quality oil, which, unlike dry powdered tablets, is easily and effectively absorbed by the body. This is the way I prefer to take my Vitamin D every day, whilst I use the Fultium Daily D3 Drops for the boys (Mabel still drinks two bottles of formula a day, so gets her dose already). My boys are generally quite fussy about supplements, but they honestly don’t mind these drops. It’s going to be easy to keep up the habit.

It’s reassuring to know we’re all getting the Vitamin D we need on a daily basis, especially while the weather is cooler and overcast and we aren’t getting a dose of sunshine outdoors. These drops bring the sunshine in.

 

For more information, visit http://www.fultiumdailyd3.co.uk

 



8th April 2019

Are you a more nervous driver since you had children?

As a mum, I’m wired to be safety conscious of my kids every minute and every hour of the day. Most of the time I’m in situations where I have control over this – however one of my main areas of concern is being out on the road. As with most parents, the majority of our driving consists of taking the kids to school, visiting family or doing the weekly shop. I was reading a recent survey conducted by All Car Leasinga contract hire and leasing firm based here in the UK which looked into the habits and priorities of parents when driving with their babies. Thinking about the results, I realised just how frequent accidents can happen along with how fortunate I’ve been to never experience something quite as significant when it comes to driving. A key aspect to the study was how long it would take parents to feel comfortable driving with their child alone following the birth. For me personally, when I first had Stanley, I was nervous about taking him in my car or any car for that matter just in case anything were to happen, but you find that you must embrace it to be able to go and do your everyday things. By the time I had Wilfred, it was second nature to pop the kids in the car anyway and the same with Mabel. However, I can agree with the study because It took me a few weeks to feel comfortable driving with a new born, as with most parents who answered the study.

According to the data, one in four parents have experienced some form of car accident and those parents’ biggest concern when driving is other drivers, which is quite scary really… I share the same opinion – though half the time I’m in slower moving traffic- so thankfully it’s rare that I experience driving I’d consider reckless; if I do it’s normally when I’m on the motorway. The statistics are even more worrying for 25 – 34 year olds, as apparently 37% of those young parents had experienced an accident whilst their baby was in the car! Before my kids were born, I’d always been confident on the road, but something changed when it wasn’t just me and my husband in the car. Kids can be a bit irritable in their earlier years and don’t always feel comfortable in their seats or will start screaming which can be really distracting, it could put me at further risk of having an accident.

One of the more interesting elements of the study is that two thirds of first-time parents will buy a new car when their baby is on the way. I suppose in the same way I spent time researching and choosing which pram or carrier to buy, cars could also almost be treated as a baby product. I agree with the three main reasons these parents bought their cars – safety aside, reliability and fuel economy are important to me as it helps keep our monthly spends under control.

Baby Driver - Parents and their driving habits

Baby Driverby All Car Leasing

 

Written in collaboration with All Car Leasing



7th April 2019

Our Stay at Court Farm Holidays in Bude, Cornwall (plus up to 10% discount)

We have just got home from another fantastic stay at Court Farm Holidays.

This was our third stay at the farm in Marhamchurch in Bude, on the North Coast of Cornwall. I found it originally via a google search back in 2015, whilst searching for a holiday spot for a trip back to the UK – and we loved it so much, we booked again the following year. We’ve got to know the family at Court Farm over the years and were very kindly invited back this year, so I could tell you all about it.

So why do we keep heading back?

1 – It’s such an easy, convenient holiday for families

Court Farm really is such an easy, convenient holiday when you have children. When you make the booking, you are asked what you need in your cottage – and these will all be waiting for you when you arrive. Most items are free, some carry a charge of just a few pounds – and the options are vast, with cots, high-chairs, booster seats, bathroom steps, buggies, double buggies, and baby carriers all included.

There is also a room on the farm where you can help yourself to wellington boots in every size, buckets and spades, nets, and windbreaks (just help yourself and return to the room when you are finished). You can also hire or buy wetsuits from the farm.

We always arrange a Tesco delivery for the first afternoon so we can fill the fridge and cupboards too, meaning I don’t even need to think about nappies, wipes, or food for the week either.

 

2 – The facilities are fantastic for kids

Most mornings at Court Farm start with animal feeding. You gather at the lower gates and follow farmer Vicky towards the animals. Children can feed the goats, pigs and chickens, then head over to brush a pony. The feeding always ends with children taking turns to collect an egg for breakfast the next day. My children (6, 5 and 2) all love this!

After animal feeding, they enjoy spending some time in the outdoor playground, which has swings, climbing frames, an assault course, a trampoline, and several play houses. The tennis courts are filled with bikes, small cars to drive, and scooters too. And inside, there is a small play area for babies and toddlers, complete with soft mats on the floor.

There’s also a covered heated swimming pool, which you are free to use whenever you like. This is really warm, so even small babies would love it.

And just five minutes down the road, you have the beaches at Bude – and the beaches all along the coast.

We really recommend the National Trust Sandymouth, which was about a 10 minute drive – and was really stunning, with rock pools to explore and lots of dramatic coastline to photograph.

 

3 – We love the accommodation

We’ve stayed in several Court Farm properties now – and the one thing that each of them shares is that they are very family friendly (think stair-gates, baths, and the option to make the beds either double or twin to suit your group) and they are very, very stylish.

Kevin – one of the owners of Court Farm – has a real eye for interior design and you can expect a blend of home comforts and very stylish, quirky touches. Each of the properties has a very five-star luxury feel, but still practical enough to ever have to worry that the children are going to wreck it! You really do feel at home almost instantly.

4 – Holidays are affordable

I researched for quite a while, before discovering Court Farm Holidays back in 2015 – and I really liked the fact that Court Farm makes holidays possible with a range of different accommodation options for different budgets. From smaller barns, to larger cottages, to giant farmhouses, there’s something for everyone.

 

We had such a good stay at Court Farm – and will definitely head back soon!

 

Court Farm Holidays are offering a discount to all my followers, with 10% off all holidays leading up to summer holidays and 5% off all holidays in the summer holidays. Just write ‘Mum of Boys & Mabel’ in the comment section of your booking and it will be taken off your invoice

(5% discount – 2019 holidays taken between 24th May – 1st June, 19th July – 14th September, 18th October – 2nd November, 20th December – 3rd January 2020, 10% at all other times).

 

For more information and booking availability at www.courtfarm-holidays.co.uk/

 

{ Gifted holiday in return for a review – AD }



15th March 2019

Mums and E-Commerce Solutions: A Surprisingly Beneficial Relationship

One of the most pervasive (and often incorrect) myths associated with motherhood is that women have little time for anything other than caring for their child. While there is no doubt that the role of a mother is a full-time venture, this does not necessarily mean that you are unable to leverage your talents through the use of home-based business solutions.

If you are into technology trends or should you be vaguely familiar with the concept of digital marketing, the chances are high that you have come across the term “ecommerce software” at one time or another. These packages essentially represent the electronic backbones of modern online sales platforms. So, why might now be a great time to consider an online venture and what do these e-commerce services have to offer?

Why Online Retail Sales? 

The notion of online sales first went mainstream with the advent of major portals such as eBay and Amazon. In the past, sellers would generally utilise these platforms in order to actively promote their products and services. While effective, there were a few obvious issues that could not be addressed such as:

  • It was not possible to personalised a web page.
  • Hefty commissions would sometimes need to be paid to the provider.
  • Trust was often an issue between buyers and sellers.These are some of the main reasons why independent e-commerce solutions were needed. In other words, were there any ways to leverage the benefits associated with larger retail portal through a standalone website? This is essentially when the concept of the home-base business was born. It was not long until many providers began manufacturing software packages specifically designed for the needs of the startup organisation. There are now a wealth of tools at your disposal if you have been looking to design a successful website from the ground up.

What are the Benefits of Choosing an E-Commerce Solution?

Many mothers believe that they will be forced to “go it alone” when starting a home-based online business. This is the first myth to dispel. The presence of modern and innovative software solutions such as those which have been developed by Shopify are intended to provide you with the most important resources. Some examples include (but are not limited to):

  • Customised website templates.
  • The ability to add your branding across numerous pages.
  • Secure and flexible payment gateways.
  • Easy software integration.
  • Mobile-friendly interfaces.

You can think of such a system as a digital toolbox that will provide your firm with the momentum it requires to succeed. It should also be mentioned that you will never be left stranded if a question or issue happens to arise. Modern e-commerce solutions are associated with dedicated customer service representatives who are always available.

If you have been looking to start a home-based business, the possibilities are nearly limitless. Starting off in the right direction and with a firm vision in mind is the best way to tip the scales of fortune in your favour.

 

A collaborative post



27th February 2019

Currently Loving… February 2019

It’s been a while since I’ve put together a ‘Currently Loving’ blog post, but all this beautiful sunny weather has got me in the mood for browsing online for spring wardrobes for the kids (and a few little treats for me!)

So here is February’s selection, just scraping in at the end of the month! I hope you enjoy it – and fingers crossed the sunshine stays for a little while longer!

1. Minomug. I’ve made a pact to use reusable coffee cups in 2019 – and Minomug is the perfect brand to help, with their pastel-pretty cups sold in packs of three (one for my bag, one for the cupboard at home, and one for the car). They are drip-proof, leak-proof, shatterproof, dishwasher-friendly, microwave-friendly durable, lightweight, insulating, odour free (unlike stainless steel thermos cups, which can affect the taste), and made from BPA free, biodegradable plastic. They cost £34.99 for all three, making each cup less than £12. Shop here.

2. Jellycat. I love the long legged soft animals by Jellycat, especially this gorgeous green frog (£11). I can imagine him sat on a nursery shelf to add a touch of fun and a pop of colour. He’s available in a few different sizes and you can shop here

3. Monica Vinader. I was lucky enough to be gifted a long, rose gold chain from Monica Vinader for Christmas – and what I love about it is that you can buy pendants individually to change the way you wear it every day. These initial pendants are top of my wish list (£85 each) – and of course, I would like S, W and M to wear stacked together. Shop here.

4. Boden. I’m in love with the whole spring collection for kids from Boden – and these duck wellies (£24) are just adorable for little girls and boys. I can imagine Mabel wearing them with jeans and knitwear, as she splashes in puddles on family walks. Shop here.

5. La Redoute. These unisex denim dungarees (£18) come in sizes up to 3 years old. I’d dress Mabel in them with long-sleeved nautical tops for spring and lightweight pastel-coloured blouses when the weather heats up. They look comfortable and stylish, which is a winner for me. Shop here.

6. Antebies. If you like your children to sleep in the softest organic cotton, preferably in soft colours and stylish designs, Antebies is for you. It’s a sustainable brand that deserves lots of lovely attention – and there are already so many gorgeous designs on my wish-list (from £5.90). Shop here.

7.Sweet Love Press at Etsy. I spotted this bespoke rainbow print while browsing at Etsy a few days ago (from £18.50) – and immediately wanted to treat Mabel to one for her bedroom. This company offer so many lovely designs at low prices, so it’s well worth heading over for a browse. Shop here.

8. L’Occitane. The new Shea Baby range at L’Occitane (from £18) is perfect for caring for the skin of the tiniest little people, with lots of nourishing ingredients and gentle textures. We’ve been trying the ‘Cuddles and Bubbles Foaming Cream’ and ‘Lovely and Gentle Moisturising Milk’ at home – and both get a big tick from both me and Mabel. Shop here.

9. Sweet Pea Pantry. The lovely company Sweet Pea Pantry were kind enough to donate boxes to the goody bags at my book launch for ‘From Mum With Love’ a few weeks ago. They make a range of healthy baking kits (£2.75 each), which you only need to add a few ingredients to (such as eggs, oil, and water) – and having already tried the Carrot Muffins, I can personally vouch for the tastiness when they come out of the oven! Each box has a vegan option too. Shop here

10. UK Lingerie. There aren’t many options for browsing and buying lingerie online, so was pleased to hear about UK Lingerie. There are literally hundreds of styles available on the website, so if you have a specific type you like (I personally prefer wireless bras, which usually makes the options a bit limited when shopping online) there will be so many different colours, styles, and price points. My order arrived this year and I’m really impressed at the quality. Shop here.

11. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. I listened to this book as an audiobook last month – and whilst I only usually listen when I’m in the car, I just couldn’t stop with this book and listened late into the night. I just loved it. Talking as an author, it was just so beautifully written and imagined – but as a reader, it was the best story I have in a very long time. If you haven’t treated yourself yet, make sure you buy it (£3.99). Shop here.

12. Babiators. Babiators make sunglasses for babies, toddlers, and children (from 0-2 years, to 6+ years) – and their summer styles this year are fantastic. I’m torn between ‘Think Pink’ and ‘Totally Turquoise’ (£22.50). I can’t wait to see my children wearing them this summer. Shop here.

13. Converse. I’ve always dressed my kids in Converse shoes in the spring and summer months – and I’m especially partial to a velcro pair, as it means they can pull them on quickly and easily. This season, the dinosaur collection has won my heart – and these All Stars are my top pick (£29.99). Shop here.

14. Two Farmers. This company also donated to the goody bags at my book launch – and having tasted the hand-cooked crisps, I had to tell you about them. Founders Sean and Mark met one night for a pint of local beer and a packet of crisps – and that night, they hatched out a plan of how to honour and celebrate the Hertfordshire countryside and the potatoes they grew there. Two Farmers was born – and you can find out all about it and shop here.

15. Love Roo. With Easter around the corner, I couldn’t resist including a bunny bonnet from one of my favourite handmade brands. The floppy ears on this Love Roo bonnet are lined with Liberty print floral fabric for a pop of spring prettiness. Shop here.

 

 

Written in collaboration with Minomug and UK Lingerie

Contains some affiliate links



22nd February 2019

Keep your family safe with Fairy Non Bio Pods and their child-lock system

Sponsored by Fairy

Having another inquisitive toddler in the house has reminded me just how adventurous these little people can be. Mabel managed to climb into her highchair this week by pulling it up to the sofa and using it as a step. I mean, seriously?! That is why I am all for cupboard locks, high shelves, and trying to grow a set of eyes in the back of my head at the moment – and that is also why the new child-lock system on the packaging of Fairy Non Bio Pods is a big relief.

Fairy know that little people can be inquisitive – and they have made their new packaging easy for adults to get inside (simply push the tabs together at the same time to lift the lid) but really quite impossible for children. And when you replace the lid, you just need to make sure you hear the click to ensure the child-lock is back in place – and it’ll be safe to store away until next time (see below video for child-lock instructions).

I’ve always used Fairy Non-Bio for my laundry as I’ve got quite sensitive skin – and when the children came along, I stuck with them. I’ve always been impressed – and when I noticed the new child-lock safety feature on the packaging, the product got an even bigger tick.

 

So what are the rules? Always keep children away from the washing machine drum and open packs when you are loading the laundry – and once you’ve finished and closed the packaging with a click, make sure you store it up high, out of reach, and behind a closed cupboard.

Safety should always come first – so why not make a New Year’s Resolution to make your laundry process extra safe for the whole family in 2019? Fairy Non-Bio Pods, with their child-lock system, are a great place to start.



21st February 2019

How to survive stay-at-home rainy days with the kids

Rainy day? Keeping kids inside the whole day isn’t easy – so how do we entertain them? Here are a few ideas to keep them entertained (and you sane!)

 

Host a movie afternoon

Pop the popcorn, grab the cushions and blankets, and settle down for the afternoon with a good movie. On platforms like Chili, there are hundreds of children’s movies that you can choose from. And for added fun, why not make your movie afternoon themed? Pick Frozen and you could bake Frozen-themed treats, colour snowmen, and get crafty with some icy-themed crafts.

 

Play games

Some of my favourite memories as a child involved playing games, with everyone laughing and just having a good time. You can play hide and seek, pull out the board games, get into a game of charades, or break out whichever games your kids love!

 

Get baking                                                   

It is always said that the kitchen is the heart of the home and so on rainy days, it is only natural to gravitate towards the kitchen at some point. You can have fun making a fun meal together (breakfast for dinner, anyone?), or whipping up some treats.

 

Read a story

Story time is a classic. You can huddle all together and take turns reading your favourite story. It’s a great way for your kids to use their imaginations – and who knows what sort of fun activities the story may lead you into?

 

Get crafty

A craft project is a great option for when you are stuck inside but you still want to do something. You can all use your imaginations and come up with something you want to create… perhaps a birdhouse that you can set out when the weather takes a turn?

Processed with VSCO with s1 preset

 

Indoor treasure hunt

An indoor treasure hunt is a fun way for your kids to use up some of their pent-up energy from being stuck inside. If you have one child, you can set up the treasure hunt that you both can do together. And if you have a couple little ones, you can have fun taking turns who plans the treasure hunt and who sets out on it.

 

What are some of your favourite things to do with your kids on rainy days?

 

In collaboration with Emily Jones



14th February 2019

Spotlight on: Laundryheap; the 24 Hour Laundry and Dry Cleaning Service available in 9 cities worldwide (including London, Dubai, Manchester, Birmingham and Coventry)

Sponsored Post

As parents, our lives couldn’t be busy. If we stay at home, our time is taken up with school and nursery drops, being a taxi driver for after-school classes, seemingly endless birthday parties to attend, and trying to squeeze in the household chores around it all. And if we are working parents, there are even less hours in the day to get things done – and this is why I love the idea of the company Laundryheap, who will pick up laundry from your front door shortly after you book a service online (or through the app) and will deliver it back within 24 hours, freshly washed, and ready to sort into drawers and wardrobes.

 

Laundryheap also cater for dry cleaning and ironing, ticking those off your ‘to do’ list too. Collection and delivery is free – and you can track the driver in real-time so you know when they will be arriving. Once your laundry has been picked up, you will be kept up to date with status notifications – and if you have any questions, the company offers live chat support.

 

 

Laundryheap is available in the following locations:

 

United Kingdom: London, Manchester, Birmingham & Coventry

U.A.E: Dubai & Sharjah

Ireland: Dublin

Netherlands: Amsterdam, Haarlem

 

Price wise, a standard, tumble-dried laundry-service is £14.95 in UK prices (60 AED in the UAE), with dry-cleaning and ironed laundry from £2 per item (4 AED in the UAE). Larger items, such as bedding and upholstery are priced per item, usually around the £8 mark (18 AED in the UAE).

 

Whether you use Laundryheap regularly or save it for the times you are very pushed for time (or from those times when you don’t have a washing machine at home), it should definitely be added to your bookmarks bar.

 

Head to www.laundryheap.co.uk or download the app.



5th February 2019

A family holiday to Italy: three regions on our travel wish-list

Going on a family holiday is something that takes a lot of planning and financial budgeting throughout the year – but ultimately, it’s well worth it for the memories that will stay with you and your children forever.

When it comes to destinations, Italy is always top of my wish list – and there are three regions that have made our family travel wish-list.

Sicily

Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, has a beautiful climate, and offers a unique landscape with numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites scattered throughout. It has an active volcano called Mount Etna and plenty of beaches for the kids to enjoy. There are also three main airports on the island so getting there is completely manageable, which is a major plus for travelling with kids. It is highly recommended to check out the Sicily villa rentals available through tools like Wishsicily for example. This kind of accommodation is perfect for a family holiday: you can really shift into relax mode in a peaceful and private villa, while avoiding separate rooms and noisy neighbours. For a trip to Sicily, trying local foods including fresh seafood is a must, as well as thinking up activities everyone wants to do beforehand so you can make the most out of the time there.

 

Umbria

Umbria is in central Italy and is often referred to as Italy’s green heart. It is bordered neither from a coastline or a border of a neighbouring country, making it the only the region to be so. Umbria has pristine countryside, delicious food and far fewer tourists than other parts of Italy. If you and your family are looking for a relaxing holiday surrounded by beauty, this region should definitely be on your list. You can spend your time visiting hilltop and Medieval towns and enjoying the beauty of nature.

 

Liguria

I have always dreamt of a holiday on the Italian Riviera – and Liguria is the place on our wish-list. A region in northwest Italy, it has a Mediterranean coastline. Liguria is well known, especially for Cinque Terre, the five colourful fishing villages that look like they are straight from a postcard. As a family, you can hop between the five villages by boat, go snorkelling and swimming in the open sea. If you want more energy of urban life, you can head to the city of Genoa, where you can visit the maritime museum ‘Galata Museo del Mare’ and explore the colourful port city.

 

Italy is the perfect place to travel with family and kids for so many reasons. Family is traditionally an important value in the Italian culture and it truly shows, even for and to visitors. The people are friendly, the food will make even the pickiest of eaters excited to eat, and there is plenty to do for people of all ages. Whether you want the sea, mountains, or countryside, big cities or small, relaxation or adventure, you can have whatever type of holiday you are looking for in Italy. And, you will all remember it forever.

post written in collaboration with Emily Jones