Friday, 27 March 2015

The BBC Good Food Show Spring Ticket Giveaway

Spring is around the corner which means the days will start to get lighter and that the BBC Good Food Show Spring is almost here.

BBC Good Food has been around for 25 years and is the UK’s most popular food media brand with a total reach of about 10 million people. Good Food is the proud owner of the UK’s market leading food magazine, the UK’s number one food website, an expanding number of live events, including the UK’s largest food event - the BBC Good Food Show Live at the Birmingham N.E.C, and a hugely successful series of cookbooks. 

The BBC Good Food Show Spring will run at the Harrogate International Centre from the 10th to the 12th of April and with over 15,000 visitors in attendance at the first event in 2014, this year promises to be even bigger and better than then.

You will get to discover the tastiest spring ingredients as you eat, drink, shop and explore. You will experience the finest seasonal entertainment as you pick up cooking inspiration to freshen up your culinary expertise and enjoy a delicious day of discovery.

Great British Bake Off's Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood will be there to show off their baking delights whilst you'll get culinary magic from The Hairy Bikers, John Torode, Brian Turner and my personal favourite and fellow Yorkshire-person, James Martin. 

There will also be an interactive Interview Stage, where you can have your questions answered by the top chefs attending, how cool is that! 

How would you like to be a visitor to this great event? Well now you could be as I have 2 pairs of tickets to the BBC Good Food Show Spring to giveaway. These can be used for either the Friday or the Sunday. For your chance to win 1 of two pairs of tickets to the BBC Good Food Show Spring and get to see all those famous chefs, just enter below via the Rafflecopter form.

In the meantime, if you want to book tickets to go to BBC Good Food Show Spring then I have been given a promo code for 15% off for all my readers. When purchasing your tickets online here, use code: 1M6
Photo Credit ©Yuki Sugiura
Please remember to check the T&C's at the bottom of the Rafflecopter application and our full terms here. This giveaway is open to the UK only and any entries left that do not follow the required entries will be disqualified. After the one mandatory entry, others will open up to give you extra entries. You do not have to enter by all methods but these will give you extra entries into the competition if you do. 

And please, if you are commenting on the blog as 'anonymous' can you please write your name in the comment otherwise I cannot count your entry.

End midnight 5th April

3 Ways to Form and Stick to Good Habits

We all want a quick way to feel healthier, happier and more in control of our lives, but the truth is that long-term progress means working at your goals. That's not to say there aren't a few shortcuts if you're willing to concentrate your effort in the right places though. Here are three ways you can help form new habits and ensure you stick to them: 

1. Patterns are the key to success 
The key to sticking with a good habit is changing it from something you have to do into something you have to choose not to do. For example, if your goal is to exercise, it's no good vowing to visit the gym more, or even to go twice a week. That still means that your future self has to decide to go to the gym. It is far more effective to identify the exact time you're going to do it - say Monday from 6pm to 7pm. Once you've done that, it's not a matter of deciding to go, but rather of breaking plans you already made. You can swap 'time' for 'money' or any other resource you currently dedicate to a bad habit, or want to dedicate to a new one. 

2. Set achievable, observable goals and constantly update them 
As already mentioned, vague statements are the enemy of forming patterned behaviour. Saying 'I want to get slimmer' is a good overall goal, but there's no way to say how close you are to attaining it and therefore no way to say what you're losing if you ignore your plans. Good goals have numbers attached - whether it's how much weight you've lost or how much money you haven't spent on your vices. 

Take it one step at a time until you reach your target

Good goals are also attainable. Don't try to reach your ultimate goal the first time out, because then you can only either succeed or fail. Instead, aim for smaller successes, allowing you to succeed multiple times on your journey. Even when you fail, you'll still have that achievable goal within reach, and all your past successes to assure you that you can do it. 

One great tip for smokers is to start making an e-cig a part of your smoking routine. This can replace more and more cigarettes; each time you choose to use the e-cigarette, it is a small success and can lead to you eventually kicking the tobacco habit for good. 

Just remember not to get stuck on a low level goal - once you can lift the small weights, move on to the bigger ones. 

3. Be kind to yourself 
We can't help but acknowledge our failures, so be sure to reward your successes. The nature of the reward doesn't really matter - it's about providing yourself with evidence that you can use to motivate later behaviour. Even a sticker chart will be surprisingly helpful, as it makes your progress something you can observe.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Gro-Hush - The Baby Calmer

When I saw the Gro-Hush on social media, I have to be really honest and thought it wouldn't work at all. I mean, a machine that makes quiet sounds and settles babies? Come on, that's not going to work, is it?

Well, after getting the Gro-hush I thought that I would do a review to show what it is, what we thought about it, and most importantly, whether it actually worked.

The Gro-hush is a white noise baby calmer. Yes that's right, it emits a soothing ‘white noise’ directly to your baby which allows your baby to be soothed and calmed. This is done at a low tone so as to not disturb others around, so only your baby will hear the calming tones. It has a choice of three soothing white noise sounds to choose from, heartbeat, ocean waves or rain falling on a tin roof, which are all set at a safe volume. 

It comes with a high quality protective travel case so can be used whilst out and about and the cushion which goes against the baby's ear is made from soft 100% jersey cotton and is machine washable to make things extra easy.

To save battery life and to not keep running unnecessarily, it automatically switches off after 10 minutes which I think is plenty enough time to sooth a baby. just hold down any of the buttons to switch it on and then choose one of the 3 tones to start it off working.

So, does it work? In fact, yes it does!

I know, I know, even I'm shocked. I wasn't expecting it at all. When Joseph was a little unsettled I thought I would give it a go and within only a few minutes of listening to the heartbeat tone, he was asleep. Maybe this could have been a coincidence I thought, so I took it up to bed with us and used it during the night when he struggles to get back to sleep after his night time bottle, and yes it did settle him. It didn't always send him off to sleep, but it did calm him down to whereby he wasn't crying or grumbling.

Out of the 3 tones, we use the heartbeat one only as this seems to be the one that Joseph likes the most. He doesn't like the sound of rain and so the 'rain falling on a tin roof' one doesn't work for him. The ocean waves does settle him but he much prefers the sound of the heartbeat. I guess this reminds him of being in the womb and hearing my heartbeat to calm him.

So overall, I am impressed with the Gro-Hush. Not only how it works to settle babies and is super quiet to not disturb others, but I am happy to say that it proved me wrong and that machines like this do actually work.

you can find more information on the Gro-Hush and check out the rest of their products on the Gro website.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Cosatto Ooba 3-in-1 Travel System

I am a huge Cosatto fan, have been ever since I came across the brand a few years ago when I needed a smaller pram from Charlie. Something lightweight but not as small as a stroller. I fell head over heels for the Cosatto Yo! in the Ahoy There design. I loved how their eye catching designs and patterns made their products stand out from the crowd. They were so exciting and fresh and I loved pushing my Yo! around, having people come up to me in the street just to admire it. 

Then, a couple of month back, I blogged about how we had joined the Cosatto Brand Buddy Team (eek!) and as part of this, had received the gorgeous Cosatto Ooba 3-in-1 travel system to put through it's paces. All we needed was for Joseph to arrive and we could get to work.

Well now that time has come. We have been using the Cosatto Ooba rigorously since his birth and I have fallen deeply in love with it!

The Cosatto Ooba is at the top of the market when it comes to luxury pushchairs, and being a Cosatto, it means that it comes with everything you need and all the extras such as a coordinating changing bag and footmuff and even raincovers for the car seat, carrycot and seat unit too. 

The Chassis
Made from lightweight aluminium, the chassis has a leatherette handle with adjustable height (99 – 108cm) which is perfect for us as not only can it adjust high enough for my husband (6ft 1") to push, but it even goes low enough that Thomas can too. 
The flip-over handlebar means no need to remove the seat unit to change direction which is a great idea although personally, the pram looks a little odd when you're pushing it with the big wheels at the front. 

It has quick-release removable wheels with the front ones being lockable swivel wheels. Perfect for long walks as, on rough terrain, you can lock them to stop them from spinning over bumps and then put the swivel back on for easier pushing on flat ground. and when it rains and mud gets over the wheels, they come off easily to be cleaned. 

The Carrycot
I love that the carrycot is high up on the Ooba as with other pushchairs I have seen, they always seem much lower down which would be a pain when you're having to bend over to check on your baby. The Ooba doesn't have this problem though and because it can be parent facing too, it means that it is easy to keep an eye on Joseph as we wheel around.

It has a comfy lie flat bed which is perfect for newborn and the mattress gives comfort whilst on the move. Easy to attach and remove from the chassis and even has a carry handle built into hood to make it even easier. 

The Seat Unit
With Joseph still being so young, I haven't been able to use the seat unit yet as it is suitable from 6 months to approximately 15kg. It has multi-position recline on the backrest and adjustable calf support for extra comfort, coming complete with a cosytoes with zip off reversible liner
As with all Cosatto prams, it has a 5 point safety harness for extra safety when travelling and a 50+ UPF sunshade protection hood to keep those rays at bay. 

The Hold Car Seat and Base
The Cosatto Ooba has a matching Duck Egg Hold car seat (sold separately) which I featured in my birth story as this was Joseph's transport home from hospital. You can have a nosy at my birth story post if you fancy a read. 

The Hold car seat is a group 0+ and is suitable from birth to around 13kg. It has a 5 point safety harness with a quick release buckle and because it fits directly onto the pram chassis, it means that you can transport baby from the car to where ever you need to go without waking him. 

With the Hold Universal Base it makes the transition even easier. no having to mess with seatbelts when you're getting the car seat in and out of the car. The Cosatto Hold base fastens into your car with the seatbelt, this is super easy to install too. Once in place you can keep it in-situ and simply place the Hold car seat on and off it when you’re out and about with extra ease. 

Pram and Seat Positions
Just to give you an idea of all the options, I have created this short Flipagram to show you all the positions the pram can go in to...

Basket Love
The shopping basket is a decent size. Because the pram has such a big base, this also gives extra room in the basket area which I am really impressed with. I love that it's really deep too, as when using other prams, I always used to have to chase shopping when I went over curbs and the groceries took a dive for freedom. 

The Brakes
It took a while to get used to the brake as it is on the side of the pram handle instead of at the base near the back wheels. You need to press the lever on the frame to put the brake on which I didn't like the thought of at first but actually, after using the pram many times (even on the bus a few times) I can safely say that I now prefer it this way. No more having to try searching with my foot to find the brake, or having to move my bag out of the way so that I can see what I'm doing, just a quick click on the frame and it's on.  

The Niggles
After much use over these past few weeks, I was expecting to have a huge list of things that I didn't like about it. After all, I am a pushchair lover and know what I like and what I don't, but actually I was pleasantly surprised as there isn't much to moan about at all.

First up is the price. well, not really the price of the pram itself. Yes, £800 is a lot of money, but with the price of prams these days, and the fact that these have been put through their paces immensely to ensure the safety of our babies, I could justify spending this much on a pram. My problem is the extras. When you say 'travel system' you would expect that the car seat came in the package but it doesn't so of course, when you're sorting out your pram budget, you need to take in to account that if you need a car seat, this would need to be purchased separately. 

Lastly, the wheels. I love the wheels. They are big, they are chunky and they are robust. But, they are white. Yes, they look amazing on the pram, they match the design perfectly, but after a short walk on a rainy park, they are covered in mud. I know that this isn't really much of a problem in the pram stakes, but when you paying all that money for a pram that stands out from the crowd with its design, I think that the wheels could have been thought about a little more. Although I do like that they can be removed so can be easily washed. 

Overall Thoughts
Overall, I can honestly say that I love the Cosatto Ooba 3-in-1 travel system. I love the design, the size of the basket, the quality of the materials and how it stands out from all other prams on the market. Yes, there are a few niggles with it, but you get them with all prams and luckily, none of them are big issues that would put me off buying it.

It is funky and fresh with great designs and practical features. The huge wheels mean that it can go over any ground with ease. The different seat units give scope for the future as the baby will grow through the seats, going from the carrycot and car seat to the seat unit itself which is long and wide enough so will last for even the biggest child.

I love the leatherette handle which gives comfort whilst pushing it and the brake on the handle makes it super easy to put on and off. Putting it up and down is a little bit of a fuss as you have to take the seat unit off but to be honest, I'm not planning on putting it down much so this doesn't affect me.

I really am glad that I have been given this chance of working with Cosatto and reviewing the Cosatto Ooba 3-in-1 Travel System as I have fallen head over heels in love with it and I adore getting to go out and push Joseph about in the pram.

Now just to plan my next adventure using the Ooba!