20th May 2019

A review of Little Scribblers Busy Bags (plus 15% off everything)!

If you follow me over on social media, you will have heard me talk about Little Scribblers last week; the genius zip-up bags that each contain an activity to keep little people busy at home, while travelling, dining out, or simply when you have a spare moment to fill. And today, I wanted to tell you a little more…

Little Scribblers busy bags are designed to tie in with the National Curriculum Early Years (with support from both teachers and occupational therapists) – and each zip-up pouch contains an activity to educate, develop, and entertain little ones.

A fair few of packs focus on writing – and for those aimed at the youngest children, it’s about developing a pincer grip by working the small muscles in their hands so they can hold a pencil. This is achieved with fun, achievable tasks, such as threading a length of cord through the card, using tweezers, or by sorting pom poms into different containers.

When they are ready to hold a pen, they can move onto the pre-writing packs such as this fun ‘Ready, Set, GO’ road set. Mabel loved this set particularly – and seriously impressed me when she picked up the pen and managed to draw lines down the roads at the age of 2.5 years!

And when they have a strong enough foundation with these sets, they can move onto actual letter writing – but still with lots of fun! The glossy surface of the cards and wipe-off pen included in the pack means that the cards can be used over and over again and shared between siblings – just use the eraser on the lid to rub the pen away when you’ve finished.

But it isn’t just about writing… There are packs that focus on space recognition, sequencing, early numeracy skills and mathematics too. Whether it’s through creating patterns by linking together a chain, or by counting the number of holes in a giant button, or by filling in shapes with colourful tangrams, every pack is both educational, but very fun.

We took a selection of the packs to London on the train with us last week – and there was something to entertain all my children from aged 2 to aged 7. If you are heading away this summer, they’d be fantastic for keeping them busy on flights, trains, and long car journeys.

The instructions are brilliant too, taking both the parent and child through the cards, its different ways to play, and its benefits. This isn’t something I’ve seen frequently before in activities for children and I really appreciated the option of reading through before or during the children playing.

They are wonderful quality and affordable too – as an example, the pre-writing set with roads that Mabel draws on in the pictures above is just £8.50, which will be just £7.22 with your 15% discount!

 

Little Scribblers really does come very highly recommended by me. We’ve taken them everywhere since we received them a few weeks ago and I can already see the benefits, especially in the way Mabel is using and controlling a pen. I love the company, the ethos, and the price – and I’m very happy to pass on an exclusive 15% discount below.

To shop, head over to https://www.littlescribblers.world/shop/ and use the code Mabel15 for 15% off!

 

 

 



2nd May 2019

5 Ways to Get Back into Exercise as a Mum

Prior to having kids, you may have been a total gym-bunny, or perhaps a swimming fanatic. Whatever your chosen form of exercise was, it’s likely that you stayed active in some way.

However, there’s something about having children that makes exercise an unappealing prospect. The big question is, how can you get back into exercising again?

Why it matters

Most people know the physical benefits that exercise offers. But often, the mental advantages are overlooked. Keeping fit can boost your mood, and can also help to tackle anxiety and depression (something us mums are prone to). It can also be a social activity, and a chance to connect with others. In short, it might be just the pick-me up you need right now.

Getting back into it

  1. Get your partner’s support. Sometimes, relationships get tricky when you’ve had kids. Hopefully your partner will be in full support of you taking greater care of your physical and mental wellbeing. Work out a time you can head to the fitness class, swimming pool or gym, that works with his diary too. Better still, encourage him to get active again – then you can engage in a bit of friendly competition!

 

  1. Look what’s on in your area. There are plenty of exercise groups across the country; from local basketball teams (desperately seeking a new member) to aerobics classes run by fellow mums. Browse online and see if any events take your fancy. For example, the Vitality Parkruns take place across the country, and they’re a good way to get back into running.

 

  1. Motivate yourself with a treat. Set yourself an achievable milestone. This might be walking for 10 kilometres with the dog, or swimming forty laps in the pool. Once you’ve achieved it, award yourself a point. Three points, and you’re officially allowed to treat yourself to something, like a new top from H&M or a perfume like Neroli Portofino. It’s a powerful motivational tool!

 

  1. Get the kids involved. Sometimes, you’ll want to exercise alone. In fact, this is an important thing – it provides you with a bit of a break from being a mummy, and the chance to ‘reconnect’ with yourself. However, on other occasions, you might like to get the kids on board. For example, kicking a football around in your local park is a great way to get moving, and your children will love that you’re spending time playing with them.

 

  1. Stay committed (and be reliable!). When it comes to fitness, reliability and commitment are vital. Adopt as many tactics as possible to ensure that you don’t give up your new exercise regime. The following may help:

 

  1. Remember why you’re doing it in the first place. What’s your motivation? It helps to keep this in mind at all times.
  2. Write it down. Set yourself a rough ‘schedule’ for exercising. It doesn’t matter if you don’t stick to it rigorously; it’s just there as a useful guideline.
  3. Don’t be too brutal on yourself. If it’s too hard / not very fun, you won’t stick to it. Identify activities that you enjoy doing, then go for it.

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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



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

 



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



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)

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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.