Monthly Archives: April 2019

28th April 2019

Life is better when it’s reliable

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There are lots of things that need to be reliable to keep life ticking on smoothly, especially in our house. My husband remembering our anniversary… The washing machine not giving up half-way through a load… The car starting on frosty mornings… The babysitter turning up at the time she promises… I could go on!

And the internet. Honestly, that one is probably right up there at the top of the list of things that need to be reliable for me. If it goes down, or slows down, or buffers frequently, or fails to connect, or is even just a bit hit and miss, I can’t get my work done. Or my workouts done. Or my messages sent. Or my phone calls connected. Or my kids entertained while I try and cook the dinner! And if my husband can’t connect to the office when he gets home from work, that won’t be good news.

That is exactly why we are trialling TalkTalk’s Fibre Broadband – and I wanted to tell you about what reliability means to me.

TalkTalk’s new Wi-Fi Hub offers customers its most reliable Wi-Fi signal yet– and believe me, we’ve been through a few.

In fact, it’s smart enough that it can tell which phones or laptops need more signal and will send the internet that way. The kids love playing with this – my eldest has been studying black holes at school, so they’ve been running around the house trying to find a ‘black hole’ where the internet can’t find them. So far, they’ve had absolutely no luck!

Clever stuff. And reliable stuff. And that is exactly why I trust TalkTalk.

To find out more about TalkTalk’s reliable Fibre Broadband, visit www.talktalk.co.uk/shop/broadband/fibre



25th April 2019

Currently Loving – April 2019

Somebody asked me what my favourite time of year was recently and I instinctively replied ‘summer’ – but I think I got it wrong. On reflection, spring is my favourite time of year. I love the candyfloss-pink blossom, the milder temperatures, the lighter mornings and evenings, and (most importantly) the fact that the kids are at school and we still have some kind of structure to our lives… Summer is lovely, but that long stretch of school holiday does push my parenting skills and my patience, so I am going to make the most of these lovely spring days and the routine that comes with it, so I have the energy to take on three kids 24/7 when the time arrives 😉 And in the meantime, here are a few things I have have been loving or coveting over recent weeks.

 

  1. Fy Print. I love this print for a little girl’s room – and I am sure that Mabel would concur! It costs from £19 in various different sizes here.

 

  1. Alex Monroe. I’ve fallen in love with the floral alphabet collection at Alex Monroe. Each necklace is available in either silver or gold, with prices starting at £105 here.

 

  1. GAP. These coral daisy-shaped sunglasses are high up my wish list for Mabel for summer. And they’re just £6 here.

 

  1. Mothercare. I love this T-Shirt and will definitely be snapping it up for Wilfred’s wardrobe. It’s available in sizes 3 months to 6 years – and starts at just £5.50 here.

 

  1. Mothercare. These rainbow sandals are so popular they’re flying off the shelves – and it’s no wonder with such a stylish design and £14.50 price tag. There are a few sizes left online here – or find them in store.

 

  1. The Alex Edit. I’m in love with this scarf with its soft grey hue and pop of neon coral for spring and I’m wearing it every day! It’s £18 and available here.

 

  1. Chilly’s. The compact, double-walled coffee cups by Chilly’s keep coffee warm for hours – no exaggeration, mine is often still too hot to drink after half an hour (I am not a fan of steaming coffee!) I’m coveting this 240ml baby pink version for £20 at Amazon here.

 

  1. The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary. The best thing I’ve read in ages! Available in paperback for £7.03, Kindle for £6.49, or via Audible as an audiobook here

 

  1. La Redoute. Just looking at these sweet star-print baby joggers is making me broody… Available from 1 month to 3 years for just £12 here.

 

  1. Cath Kidston. I’m loving the new floral initial keyrings by Cath Kidston – both for car keys and for hanging on school bags. They are £10 each here.

 

  1. H&M. If you haven’t yet discovered it, the online exclusive baby range at H&M is well worth a browse. Such simple, lovely pieces, in the gentlest fabrics and most delicate prints. This romper is my favourite at just £12.99. It also comes in a nearly-sold-out ditsy floral yellow – and both are here

 

  1. Boden. These woven bonnets are perfect for baby girls for the summer. I would’ve snapped one up in an instant if Mabel was still small. They’re £16 here

 

  1. Baby Annabel. Baby Annabell My First is a great starter doll for little people, with its soft body. The brand kindly sent one to Mabel and she’s enjoying carrying him around the house and cooking for him at her play kitchen. Available here.

 

  1. Yeti in my Spaghetti. Lay the yeti on top of the spaghetti – and then pull out a strand carefully in the hope he doesn’t fall through. Wilfred loves this game and it fills the house with laughter when the Yeti falls. Available here.

 

Some of these links are affiliate links

With thanks to Smyth Toys for sending Mabel a ‘Baby Annabel’ and Wilfred ‘Yeti in my Spaghetti’ 

With thanks to The Alex Edit for sending me the beautiful scarf to wear this sping



21st April 2019

What does ‘Fairness’ mean to you?

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We all try to do our bit to make the world a little fairer for everyone, but some things are easier than others.

To my children, ‘fairness’ is ensuring that they are each given the same amount of pocket money every week, have exactly the same number of grapes in their bowl when it comes to snack time or are given the same amount of time playing on their consoles as their sibling.

To my husband, it means that the price we find for our summer holiday on the internet will be the price we have to pay when we rock up to Normandy – without suddenly finding out that the electricity, the water, and in fact the air that we breathe will cost extra. It just means that those ice creams on the beach and a few fizzy drinks won’t put us over budget.

To me, it means that my husband will get back at the time he promises after I’ve had a long day with the kids – and if he doesn’t, he picks up his phone to let me know.

And when it comes to signing up to an internet provider, fairness means that the terms won’t change before the ink is even dry. Best of all, TalkTalk guarantees no mid-contract broadband price rises across all its plans.

Not only is the price fixed and guaranteed for the terms of our contract, but TalkTalk’s ‘Great Connection Guarantee’ allows 30 days to make sure its Fibre Broadband package is right for us – and if it isn’t, we can simply leave or move to a different plan.

And, just like my children expect life to be fair when it comes to equal pocket money distribution, I expect fairness from the utility providers I choose for my home – and that is exactly why I value TalkTalk.

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

 



14th April 2019

Why we are loving our TalkTalk Fibre Broadband

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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

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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 }