31 March 2014

How affordable is life in a care home?

One of the biggest issues elderly people and their families face when it comes to care homes is that of affordability. Research by analyst Laing Buisson has shown that the average annual cost of care home fees is £27,500 although this can be a lot more in London and the South East.

It’s important that you talk your situation through with people, whether that be friends, family members or professionals. They might have helped someone in a similar situation and could provide some invaluable advice. There are also a number of charities and organisations that are on hand to provide help and advice on how best to approach not just the financial side of things, but all other aspects of moving into a care home. With extracare.org.uk, for instance, they have specialist support workers on hand to assist with economic well-being, such as how to prioritise any debts.

There is ongoing discourse between care homes, local authorities and national government about the price of care, but is there anything you can you do to lessen the financial strain?


Are you a homeowner?
One of the most common ways finding money for care is for homeowners to sell their home. This is a very tough decision to make, but it’s one that should be considered. Obviously, if there is another person living in the house, then this option isn’t really viable, but if not then it’s an effective way of raising money. There’s also the option of renting the house out, which could be preferable if you intend to continue living there at a later date or want to keep the house for any other reason. The money coming in each month wouldn’t be as much if you rent out but is potentially a more secure source of money long term.

Do you have family members who can contribute?
You may feel awkward asking family members to contribute towards your care home fees, but there’s every chance they will do what they can to help. If you have a big family, then you may be able to ask several members of the family to pay a smaller amount rather than ask one person to make a significant contribution.

You may be entitled to financial support
In certain circumstances, you may be able to apply for funding for yourself or loved one. Your local authority will require you to take a means test and will look at that to establish whether or not you’re eligible for support.

Take a look at the table which shows the savings threshold for local authority funding in the UK

England £23,250

Wales £22,000

Scotland £24,750

Northern Ireland £23,250


If your savings are above the quoted amount for the different parts of the UK, then you will have to pay for your own care. However, it may still be worth contacting your local authority as your needs can still be assessed and you may qualify in some other way for funding.

Additionally, if you have a disability or other complex medical needs, you may also qualify for NHS Continuing Care Funding. This care can be undertaken at home if that’s where you live, or if you live in a care home, then this may mean that at least some of the accommodation costs is covered by the funding. 

For more information about NHS continuing healthcare, click here. Turn2us may also be a useful resource, allowing you to search for grants, benefits and other funding you may be entitled to - click here to visit the their website.

29 March 2014

Getting Crafty For Mother's Day

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There are so many gifts on the market for Mother's Day this year and although I would love anything that my boys got for me, I love the fact that you can buy crafty items and make them yourself. What's better than a homemade card?

So when Cuticura got in touch asking if we wanted to receive some items for the perfect Mother's Day gift, in support of the Cuticura’s ‘crafty creations’ charity campaign supporting The Princes Foundation for Children and The Arts, I couldn't wait to receive them so that we could get crafty. 

Education through play and learning is paramount to The Prince’s Foundation for Children and the Arts, who believe that every child has the right to be inspired by the arts. “Engaging with a variety of the arts from a young age has a hugely positive effect on children; nurturing vital skills like self-esteem, confidence and communication. By learning through play, we give children the best opportunity to learn, grow and achieve,” says Jeremy Newton, Chief Executive of The Prince's Foundation for Children and the Arts.

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We received a 'Paint your own mug' set and a Mother's Day card which needed to be finished and a host of Cuticura products. I knew that the hand washes would come in great handy after the activities to get us back squeaky clean. 

Starting with the card, I asked Thomas what he would like to put on the front of it and he decided on a flower but since the card came with stickers, he wanted a butterfly on it too, pointing out that butterflies land on flowers all the time so it would look 'perfect' like that. 

We had a bit of a practice first on some paper, trying out finger painting and brush styles and eventually settling on using the brush for the flower and pressing the colour on sideways in a triangle shape to do the petals. Thomas decided on the colours and was on his way painting, choosing to also add a couple of butterflies on the sides too. 

After the front had dried, Thomas started on the inside. He wanted to write 'I Love You' inside but then picked to have a heart sticker instead of the word love. 

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We then moved on to the cup and again did a bit of practising on some paper fist as Thomas wanted to do stripes and we wanted to make sure that they were straight. 'Pink and blue stripes will look lovely' according to Thomas and so he got on to painting the stripes onto the cup and doing a matching purple handle. 

Since the cup was hard to write on, I did the text for him by painting the word 'mum' on it in red and then we left it to dry. 

It was such a nice activity to do with Thomas and great to see his creative side. Here are our finished creations:

28 March 2014

Liquorice Bracelet from Niteo Jewellery

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When Niteo Jewellery did a shout out on Twitter (@NiteoJewellery), looking for bloggers to review their jewellery, I couldn't wait to get in touch with them throwing my hands in the air. They had recently followed me on Twitter and I had popped over to their site to check out their range when I realised that, they too, were based in Yorkshire, Leeds to be precise, and that their range of jewellery was so pretty that it made my husbands wallet scream in terror. 

Niteo Jewellery creates sleek and stunning items and only genuine Swarovski Crystals and Pearls are used in the making of them but they are still at affordable prices. All items are handmade to order so this means that you can also get in contact with them to discussed customised pieces, just for you. You can chose between different sizes, colours and styles and they aim to make your piece of jewellery within 4 days of the order being placed. 

After much deliberation I decided on the Liquorice Bracelet. I chose this one predominantly because it is very much the style I love but also because it would match in perfectly with other jewellery I own so I can layer it up. 

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The Liquorice bracelet is made with 8 mm Swarovski white pearls, black and grey 10 mm shamballa beads and gunmetal diamante encrusted spacer beads and is approximately 8 inches in length and at only £12.50 is a very good deal also. 

When it arrived, I was surprised at the quality of it. For the price, I was expecting a cheaply made bracelet in a clear plastic bag, but in fact, what I got was a beautiful bracelet, enclosed in a solid, white gift box with Niteo Jewellery printed on the front. You could tell, just from the bow itself, that much care and attention has been put into the preparation, making and execution of the jewellery and the service too. 

The bracelet itself is stunning. It has a slight bit of stretch in it so you can comfortably place over the hand onto the wrist. The different beads and pearls marry together perfectly to create a truly beautiful bracelet. I'm not usually a fan of shamballa beads but because this bracelet only has a couple and they are paired with other styled beads too, they work well and look fantastic. 

Overall, I am thoroughly pleased with the bracelet, the quality and durability is fab and I cannot wait to start growing my Niteo Jewellery collection.

You can find this bracelet and many more beautiful items on the Niteo Jewellery website and you can also get a discount using my code YORKSHIRE15 which gives 15% off purchases over £10. 

27 March 2014

Mecca's Mother's Day Memories Blogger Competition

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How would you like to win a £250 Amazon voucher to spend on anything you like from the site? Well, you're in luck as now you have a chance in the form of a blogger competition. 

It's called 'Mecca's Mother's Day Memories' and all you have to do is to create a collage of family memories. This can be from past Mother's Days, memories, days out with the family or special days to you. Anything you like. 

Within your blog post, simply include the images and write about what you were doing when you took these pictures, for example were you on a family holiday? Birthday celebration? whatever it may be but try to explain why they are important to you. What's the story behind your memories? 

You could also include what your mother means to you, or why you love being a mum, there are no real boundaries as to what you can include, just try to be creative, think outside the metaphorical box as they say. 

Within your post you will also need to include a mention of the competition, and a link back to Mecca Bingo and then send your completed post to debbiefletcher90@gmail.com for your entry to be included.

The most creative and imaginative post will be picked on the 31st March, and the winner will be announced on the Mecca Facebook & Twitter pages. 

The closing date for this competition is Mother's Day (Sunday 30th March) so make sure you get entering quick for your chance to win a £250 Amazon voucher!

26 March 2014

Our First Family Holiday

The last Holiday we had was when Thomas had just turned one year old, nearly 4 years ago. Charlie has never been away. 

I have always wanted to get the boys out to different places and to try and have as many seaside breaks as we can but it always ends up coming down to cost. 

Whenever we do have spare money to book somewhere, something breaks and it ends up going on that instead. The dryer went, then the camera and last month the boiler too. Everything just adds up and means we are skint. 

We managed finally to get a bit of spare money together and book a short break during the April school holidays which we then thought we would have to cancel as my husband has to work. 

After much compromise we worked out that we could go away for an extra short break, only 2 nights, without affecting the hubsters job and at least have a few days away. 

So, in 2 weeks, we go on our first seaside break and I for one, cannot wait. 

It might not be some sunny paradise but it's perfect for us. I can't wait to take the boys to the beach, paddle in the sea, play in the amusements and eat as many fresh doughnuts as we can, and that's just me haha. 

Our first ever family holiday, a few days away. Away from work, school, routine and my blog. 

25 March 2014

Mother's Day at Asda

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As you all know, I am a big advocate for Mother's Day, I love the fact that we have this one special day that we can make an extra fuss about our mums. To remember everything they have done over the years and for me, everything that my mum does now for me and my children. 

So, for this one day, I try to spoil my mum, find things that I know she likes and make a fuss. Asda do a huge range of gift ides for mum from scrummy chocolates, to handmade cards and I was delighted to receive some of their range from them. 

The teacup with truffles is a very quirky idea. Having a nice cup of coffee and a couple of choccies is my mums idea of heaven, and getting to drink from some a beautiful cup makes it even more worth while. My mum collects cups though, so I'm guessing this will be going in her collection rather than bunged into a cupboard.

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My mum has a bad memory and so is always keeping notes around the house. So when I saw this chalkboard, I knew she would love it. Perfect for the kitchen, to sit on a shelf and be there, ready for when she needs to write something down. A measurement for a her baking perhaps or a reminder to buy more eggs, or even just to look pretty in the corner. It comes with a stick of chalk so that you are ready to write!

I know a lot of people who say that cards are a waste but I don't agree, in fact, I think they are the best bit. Getting to search for a card that your mum will love, and writing inside, all the things that you want to say to her. To say thanks, thanks for being my mum, for caring for me, for loving my children and helping us all out so much, thank you!

The fact that cards are so fancy means that after the day is over, my mum cuts all the shapes out and uses them for crafty things when my children call round to her house, it means that they will always be there, in the paintings, the drawings, the toilet roll figures, and she keeps them all in a box to show the boys when they are older. 

These ones from Asda are of superb quality, beautiful designs and lovingly thought out.

You can purchase all of these items and more from Asda online and instore.

Bugaboo: Icon Meets Icon

This spring, Bugaboo continues its exciting collaboration with The Andy Warhol Foundation by launching a collection that puts one of the pop-artist’s most iconic images in the limelight. 

The Bugaboo + Andy Warhol Banana collection is inspired by Warhol’s legendary print created in 1966 and subsequently chosen to adorn the first album cover of The Velvet Underground and Nico, produced by Andy Warhol. 

Including a complete Bugaboo Cameleon3 as well as a footmuff and seat liner that can be used on all Bugaboo pushchairs, everyone can go bananas now!


The original all-in-one all over
The Andy Warhol + Bugaboo Cameleon³ Banana combines the Warhol Banana print in black onto a striking and outspoken yellow base and a black chassis. 
The all-over print covers the sun canopy and continues on both the bassinet and backside of the seat fabric. 
With the Andy Warhol+ Bugaboo Cameleon3 Banana, Bugaboo introduces a versatile, functional and stylish pushchair at once.

Andy Warhol + Bugaboo Banana Accessories
Is a hint of Warhol’s rebellious Rock n’ Roll attitude just the fun element you we’re looking for to customise your pushchair? Well don’t sweat it, Bugaboo’s Banana Accessories are available for all pushchairs. 
Simply add an extra dash of pop-art to your pushchair and at the same time keep your child warm and cosy on cold days with the Andy Warhol + Bugaboo Banana footmuff. Made from water repellent material, the black coloured shiny footmuff is equipped with bamboo charcoal. 
This eco-friendly and sustainable fibre extracted from wild bamboo regulates temperature and humidity and provides more comfort during chilly months. 
The cover of the footmuff can be partly opened or completely removed when it becomes too warm. You can further customise your pushchair with the breathable and padded off-white Bugaboo Seat Liner, which also features the iconic ‘Banana’. 
The seat liner has an extra top layer made from bamboo charcoal that wicks away moisture and ensures a comfortable and cool ride.


Andy Warhol +Bugaboo Cameleon³ Banana is £969, Footmuff Banana is £129, Seat Liner Banana is £54.95. The Andy Warhol + Bugaboo Banana Collection is in selected stores nationwide from May 2014. Check the Bugaboo store locator on bugaboo.com to find where everything will be stocked. 

Helping your Family Take Care of your Pregnant Cat

If your cat is expecting kittens, they will most likely be very capable of taking care of themselves to a degree. However, there are things that you and your family can do to help them as pregnancy can be a difficult time for any expectant mum – fury or not! My sister has just found out that her cat is expecting kittens, and this got me to thinking, how do you look after a pregnant cat?

I've put together some tips for things that you can do to help them as much as possible.

Know the facts
Understanding what your cat will be going through is the best way to help her at each stage of her pregnancy. Their pregnancy generally lasts for around 9 weeks, and they can give birth to 1-8 kittens at a time. Your vet may be able to determine how many kittens she is expecting during an examination of the abdomen.

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Ensure they have good quality food
It’s essential that your queen (pregnant cat) has a good diet with lots of useful nutrients for themselves and the new arrivals. Vitamins that are specially designed for pregnant cats alongside good food are a great idea, and you can get these and other cat products online by vet-medic.com. Also avoid giving them medication whilst they are pregnant – if they do have any medical problems consult your vet who will be able to form a good plan of action.

Give her time to herself to rest
Queens generally don’t like a lot of attention from other cats or people whilst expecting, even if they are familiar with them very well. It’s important that your little ones understand this and know the importance of giving their cat some privacy. Set up a cosy bed for her to spend some alone time at different stages in the day to help keep her comfortable and relaxed. They should also generally be left alone when it comes to the labour unless you have any concerns in which you can discreetly check in on them a couple of times.

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Prepare a nest for the birth
Have your little ones help prepare a place for the labour that will be warm, comfortable, cosy and private. It would be ideal if there is a window that overlooks this space so that you can keep an eye on her without disturbing her as she gives birth. This should also be the cat’s private space to feed and groom her newborns for the next 4 weeks. Don’t panic if your cat loses quite a bit of weight after giving birth as this is normal. Just ensure that they are receiving a strong supply of nutrients to help them get back on their feet as well as being able to provide enough milk for their young.

Have a plan for the new kittens
If you’re not planning on keeping some or any of the litter, having a good idea as to where they are going after the recommended 4-6 weeks with their mother is a good plan as this will take a weight off your mind. It will also help little ones to remember this as they fall in love with the newborns! Ensure you are confident and comfortable with the people you are giving the kittens to.

23 March 2014

A Photo A Day Project Week 11&12

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This lovely weather means that we have managed to get out quite a bit. Having a yummy picnic in the garden one day, Charlie cooling down with a yoghurt another and popping to out local reservoir to feed the ducks. 

My sister-in-law is currently moving house and so 2 days out of the past fortnight, her newborn baby daughter, Laurel has come to our house so that I can look after her whilst they are getting the house ready. Both boys love having her here and she is so adorable. 

I couldn't not take a photo of these beautiful windows. My lucky husband gets to see these everyday as this is the building he works in. It is an old church and still has all the original windows in it, truly beautiful. 

Thomas loves taking photos and so this one of me is what he took using my phone. I think I have a budding photographer growing up. I then receiving my fab new camera and am currently enjoying working it all out.  

We did some baking this week. We made heart and star biscuits using our recipe and then dripped chocolate on top of them. The next day we enjoyed cut out sandwiches and the biscuits we had made for lunch, yummy!

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Riding, Scooting and Jumping The Days Away

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Now the weather has finally cheered up, we have been able to get out and play more often and the boys have loved it. Been able to play in the garden without our coats on, lapping up the sunshine whilst having fun riding around. 

Boys are very rough though, I never knew how rough they actually would be until I had 2 of them. Throwing themselves around, jumping in the mud, rolling along the floor, all of which I don't mind, but, it does mean that their clothes can get ruined quickly. 

Then we come to the age old battle of, do we buy nice clothes that will be more expensive and better quality, or cheap clothes which aren't as good quality but it doesn't really matter if they get ruined? I go for the first option...

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I am a very frugal buyer and regularly search for outlet stores in the UK which sell designer brands but at a fraction of the cost. These shops usually sell the older season ranges, all still very much in style, still fab quality, but at around 70% off the retail price. 

This way, we all get to wear nice quality clothing and because I haven't spent a fortune I don't have as much of a heart attack when one gets ripped of stained. It means that we can all, ride, scoot and roll to our hearts content without worrying. 

I have loved having this good weather and cannot wait till summer. Getting to go out more, play at the beach, paddle in the sea, ride our bikes, play on the scooters, I cannot wait to get out and about.

- featured post

Mother's Day Gifts at Aldi

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As you all know by now, I am a big supermarket lover. I love that nowadays, you can go to a supermarket for your weekly groceries and leave with toys, clothing and even furniture. 

With Mother's Day just around the corner, Aldi sent me out some of their range to show just what you can get from there. And it's great, there is so much choice, different things for different styles from jewellery to recipe books and cushions.

I received 3 pieces of jewellery, a necklace, bracelet and a brooch all priced at only £3.99 each. They each come tightly packaged to keep them safe but also have a box inside so that they can be removed and placed into the gift box ready for wrapping up.

The necklace and bracelet are perfect for my grandma. She loves the whole quirky jewellery/pearls/costume jewellery and is always buying new pieces to add to her collection. The brooch is staying with me. I love, love, love it. The chic style of it and all the little gems shine the light off them making it stand out.

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The book is called Make Your Own Whoopie Pies and it is full of ideas for making yummy whoopie pies. From chocolate to fruit filled, there are so many different options. I know this is something that my mum would love as she is forever baking and trying out new recipes.

The cushion is so pretty and, I think, would look fab as the centre cushion in the middle of the bed. It states 'Mums are always, always, always, always, always right!' and features a mix of colours so as to fit into any room perfectly.

I also received a couple of the Mother's Day cards that Aldi are selling. These are a snip at only 79p each and have some cute designs too, for the price, they are great quality.

I don't know about you, but I am super happy that I can buy the whole of my Mother's Day presents whilst out shopping, it means saving so much time and getting good quality items at unbeatable prices.

The whole Mother's Day range is available in-store at Aldi now.

Why I Love My Mum...

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When talking to children about their parents, especially the younger ones, you can get all sorts of funny replies as to why they love them. I remember that we once had to write about it in primary school and I wrote:

 'I love my mum because she cleans my room'              

Oh, the things we think of when we are small. 

After thinking about this, I went on to ask Thomas why he loved me. His reply:

'I love you because you give me food,                                            
                     I love daddy more though cos' he gives me sweets'

Charming! 
Nothing about how much I bake with him, play with him, look after him whilst daddy is at work. No, daddy is better as he gives out the sweets. Kids eh?!

Monsoon have created this cute film full of children talking about their mums, why they love them and wishing their mums and Happy Mother's Day, how sweet! 


In truth, my mum (and dad for that matter) have been such a great help to me over the years. 
Not just for bringing me up and, of course, cleaning my room, but even as I grew up. They paid for the whole of my husband and my wedding, they wanted to follow tradition they said, but I actually think that they knew that we couldn't afford to have the bash we wanted paying for it ourselves. 

When I had Thomas, they could see that I was shattered (what new mum isn't) and offered to look after him overnight every Tuesday so me and the hubster could catch up on some sleep. 

I love you mum because you are always there for me and my children. And just because you are you... lovely...

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My parents and me
- PR Collaboration 

22 March 2014

NSPA Gifts For Mother's Day At Asda

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I love Mother's Day. I think it is great that we have a day where we can celebrate and thank our mums for being there for us. For everything they have done for us and to just treat them instead of the other way around. 

After scouring around, trying to find something perfect for my mum, I came across the NSPA range at Asda. Their luxurious ranges are designed especially to treat, care for and de-stress whilst bring you affordable spa-inspired products to enjoy every single day.

After chatting to Asda about the range, I received the Beauty Rituals Beauty box and the Eau de toilette fragrance in Bloom to try out. 

The beauty box is basically a facial in a box. Created by the experts at Nirvana Spa, this taster collection contains 4 travel sizes of NSPA's most popular beauty products. The box contains:
  • Melting Cleansing Gel, 50ml
  • Hot Cloth Polish, 50ml
  • Illuminating Beauty Serum, 50ml
  • Brightening Day Cream with SPF 15, 50ml
  • A muslin cloth
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Packed with natural vitamin E to protect the skin, essential oil of neroli and moisturising ginseng, the beauty ritual box will boost and enhance the skin leaving it hydrated and radiant.

The Bloom eau de toilette fragrance has a floral scent with tones of Rose, Jasmine and Tuberose. The fragrance is infused the with essential oil of Vetiver for a beautiful aroma and one that will last the whole day. 

The NSPA range is available exclusively at Asda and they have some gorgeous gifts, perfect for Mother's Day too. You can purchase the NSPA range from Asda online and instore.

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My Favourite Mother's Day Meal and Recipe

A lot of people like going out for Mother's Day. A posh meal, nice wine, spending the day with family, doing exciting things. But I'm different. I love nothing more than being at home with my husband and children, celebrating them being beautiful children and having a lovely home-cooked meal.

I love cooking so any time I get to do it, and a big meal too, is a bonus and there's nothing better than a good old roast. Roast chicken with new potatoes, roasts, veg and, of course, Yorkshire puddings. Well, I am a Yorkshire lady and so need to know how to make good Yorkshire puddings, I think it's in our genes.

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Sometimes, it is hard to find the time to cook everything from scratch though and I use packaged items instead. Well, isn't it better that we are having a roast rather than processed food. Supermarkets serve ready-made chickens for parents with little time, Aunt Bessie’s with a roast dinner in the form of Yorkshire puddings and roast potatoes and all that's left is putting the veg and new potatoes on to boil. A simple and quick roast. 

I love Aunt Bessie's, or rather the grannies, Margaret and Mabel, who are on more adventures, this time with a mobility scooter. Check it out here:


Making a roast is perfect for Mother's Day, getting to eat warm, hearty food that is comforting. The only problem I have, is that Thomas doesn't like roast chicken and so I make him something different. His very own chicken breast nuggets. They are super easy to make and are ready in no time too. 

What you will need:
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 100g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 100ml beer (a good quality bitter)
  • 50ml fizzy water
  • pinch of salt
You simply sieve the flour and then mix all of the ingredients, bar the chicken, together until smooth. Cut the fresh chicken breast into small chunks and then place into the batter whilst you heat up a fryer to full power. Once the fryer is hot enough, pop the chicken in and cook until golden brown. Leave to the cooked nuggets to rest on kitchen roll whilst you use the excess batter to make some scraps in the hot oil. 

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And that's it. You will be left with scrummy chicken nuggets, made from chicken breast with super crispy batter. Perfect homemade chicken nuggets that take no time at all to cook. 

I find that when I make a chicken roast dinner, if I make Thomas these instead, it works just as well and they always get eaten straight away. 

But, in the end, I don't really mind what we do this Mother's Day. As long as I get to spend it with my husband and children and get to pop and see our parents, then I'll be a happy lady.

- PR Collaboration

Toddler Training Toilet Seat from Splashdirect

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If you're a regular follower of my blog, you will know that I am currently potty training Charlie. Well, I say potty training but he actually prefers the toilet so it's more toilet training. The only problem that I found is that every time he needs the toilet, I have to dig out the child seat and fix it to the toilet and, although I don't mind doing this, it can get a bit annoying when we are in a rush. 

Splashdirect have come up with an idea to combat this though, the Toddler Training Soft Close Toilet Seat, from Infinity, is a 2 in 1 toilet seat. It has a base seat which is for adults and regular use and then it has a top toilet seat which can come down and has a smaller hole so is perfect for youngsters. 

Made with High Grade Pressed Strong Thermoplastic the seat fits our toilet perfectly and it has the added benefit of being a soft close seat. This means that you can gently tap the top of the seat and it will slowly close, avoiding that horrible bang when it hits the toilet and it also protects tiny tots fingers from getting caught as it closes.  

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The seat itself is super easy to fit. You basically fit the clips and screw it to the toilet and that's it, simple! But that's not where it stops. 
The seat has Fix-Clip Hygienic Mounting whereby you can simply twist a clip and the whole seat will come off from the toilet so you can give a deep down clean underneath where the seat would be. It then easily clips back on with no fuss. 

No need for a screwdriver to fit it or remove from the toilet basin, and makes fitting a new seat even easier as you can just un-clip the old one a fit a new one with a simple twist of the clip. 

Not only is the seat aesthetically pleasing but it is also practical, eliminates clutter and the need for an extra child seat in the bathroom and will blend in with your bathroom d├ęcor with ease. I am now contemplating buying another so that we have one in our downstairs W.C. and one upstairs in the bathroom. 

Pop over to the Splashdirect website where you can purchase the Toddler Training Soft Close Toilet Seat.

Twinkle, Twinkle Print from Little Sweet Designs

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When Little Sweet Designs got in touch and asked if we would like to receive one of their prints, I couldn't wait to pop along to their website and peruse the range. Little Sweet Designs offer modern wall art to evoke the imagination of your little ones. The company originated in Miami Beach and when they had record sales, decided to launch in the UK also which had outstanding success. 

After much searching and deliberation, I chose the Twinkle, Twinkle print in azure blue from their website. It comes with the quote:

'Twinkle, twinkle little star.                               
          Do you know how loved you are!'

It is a high quality print on fine, luxury gesso paper and the print is  supplied with a snow white mount and backboard. Once it is mounted, it is about A4 sized so will fit easily into a frame perfectly matching to the bedroom it will be joining.

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When it arrived, I was surprised to see how the standard it was at. It wasn't just printed onto paper, it was lovingly designed, processed and printed on thick, durable paper and then mounted, wrapped, then tied with string to keep it protected whilst in transit.

The colours on the print match perfectly and even though I chose the azure blue colour, it is actually quite unisex as the colour is very pale and would also look gorgeous in a girls room, which is exactly where it is going. My brother-in-law is currently moving house with his wife and gorgeous newborn daughter and they have been designing the babies bedroom with stars. I think this print would look fantastic in her room and so baby Laurel will be the lucky little girl receiving this beautiful print for her new room.

I actually love that the print is mounted but also that the backboard isn't fully connected to the front meaning that it opens like a card and for me, I thought that this would also make a very luxurious, stylish card to give to new parents. Something that they could keep forever and then mount on the wall as the child gets older.

I absolutely love the print and the quality of it too. You can buy the Twinkle, Twinkle design on the Little Sweet Designs website and choose from many more too.

20 March 2014

Win A Pair Of Children's Pyjamas From Gifts For Urchins

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Gifts For Urchins are passionate about searching for the latest ranges from desirable brands to bring you something different for the children in your life from craft kits to vintage inspired nightwear. The products they sell are handpicked from companies that share their philosophy for all things ethically produced. As well as promoting the best of British, they also source original products from around the world too to give a wide variety of designs. 

After noticing that thy had followed me over on Twitter, I decided to follow them back and pop over to nosey at their website and there I found a gorgeous range of boys pyjamas with cute automotive and nautical themes.

We got to chatting and they so kindly offered me to run a giveaway for them. One of you lucky readers will win a pair of pyjamas from either the girls range or the boys range, subject to sizings and stock for a lucky boy or girl to wear. 

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For your chance to win pair of pyjamas from Gifts For Urchins all you have to do to is fill in the Rafflecopter form below.

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 mandatory entries will be disqualified. After the two compulsory entries, the Rafflecopter will then open a round of optional extras, you do not have to enter any of these but these will give you extra entries into the competition. 

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.

Ends midnight 6th April

Getting To Pamper Myself With The Help Of Pebble Grey


Like every other woman out there, I love being pampered. My husband isn't the most romantic of men though so I have to usually buy myself things or treat myself to a Mother's Day present that I know that I will truly love. This year, I don't need to though as Pebble Grey have done it for me. Sending me out this haul of gorgeous pamper products to really treat myself for Mother's Day. 

Pebble Grey was born in 2008, when the Director, Helena Sheldrake, wanted to earn some money so she began to sell bathroom mirrors via eBay. After a research trip to China, Helena officially registered Pebble Grey in late 2008. From there she began to moved away from eBay and started building a website and a brand. In 2013 Pebble Grey had to move into new, bigger premises to cope with demand that they were receiving and this is the brand they are today. A website full of mirrors.

I was so happy when they got in touch to send me a pamper pack out and was even more shocked when it arrived, to see the amount of goodies I received. All packaged up in a red and white polka dot box, wrapped, lovingly in crepe paper was a plethora of gifts. 


From one of their very own cosmetic mirrors to bath soak, creams and some very comfy looking slippers too. 

Well, it's not often that I get a night to myself, but this week, my parents looked after the boys and I took the chance to relax, have a bath without toys in it and pamper myself without the worry that the boys will run off with the creams and squirt them down the stairs (this has happened before!)  

The Pebble Grey LED Cosmetic Mirror is the perfect little gift. It had a gorgeous silver design and is mirrored on both inside panels, the top mirror has lighting around the edge which is great for seeing the face more clearly whilst trying to get make up on. Beautifully packaged in a luxurious velvet pouch and boxed in a black Pebble Grey box, this is a useful product that fits easily into your handbag. 

Agent Provocateur Maitresse Seductive Silk Body Scrub is so luxurious. It's not often I get to splurge on expensive beauty items and so it was nice to try this one out for myself. It is a truly gorgeous body scrub that leaves the skin cleansed, nourished and silky-smooth but also leaves the mind fully relaxed with its beautiful scent. 


The Spa Luxury Bath Soak just pours into the bath and gives the feeling of pure relaxation. Jasper Conran moisturising body lotion keeps my skin silky smooth, Elizabeth Arden moisturising hand treatment stops my hand from drying out and the Baylis and Harding foot soak crystals and soothing foot lotion are great to sooth the feet after a hard days work (or running after the children).

After the joys of soaking it up in a relaxing bath, complete with a glass of wine, scented candles and lathering myself up in these gifts, I took to painting my nails with the gorgeous pink shade of Tutu from Calvin Klein that was also in the pack and chilling in my very comfy new slippers. 

It was a great, relaxing night and the amount of stuff means that it will all last a while so I will get to pamper myself again. I am so thankful to Pebble Grey for sending me everything out. 

You can find the cosmetic mirror and all other styles on the Pebble Grey website.  


14 March 2014

Personalised Peppa Pig Book from Penwizard

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Penwizard was formed in 2004 when they decided to develop products using 'web to print' technology, linking customers' data to a digital printing press, in this case, your children's details into their very own personalised book. 

They produce a range of personalised children's books including Adventure Books, Peppa Pig, Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom, Noddy, Fifi and the Flowertots and Roary the Racing Car. 

Thomas loves Peppa Pig and so when they asked us to pick any softback book from the website, this was our first choice. Peppa Goes to Your Childs Party! is a fully personalised story which can be altered to match in with exactly what your child looks like and their name too. 

You can personalise it to include:

  • First name and surname
  • Hairstyle and colour
  • Skin tone
  • Eye colour
  • Age of child in balloon (ages 1-9 only)
  • Optional personal message

I worked my way through the options on the website, filling in Thomas' information and then going through to checkout to pay and it all felt so easy and straight forward. Confirmed the order and that was it, a few days later the book turned up. 

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A full colour gloss cover  which had Thomas and Peppa on the front, Thomas' name also appeared and a balloon with the number 5 to signify Thomas' age at the party (he will turn 5 shortly). The book if filled with 24 full colour pages following the adventure of Thomas planning and having his birthday party. 

The premise of the story is that your child (Thomas in this instance) helps Mr Zebra deliver all the invitations to his birthday party around the village, stopping by various houses, including Peppa's, on the way. You then celebrate with Peppa and friends at the biggest bash of the year!

Overall, I am impressed with the quality of the book and the fact that you can also purchase more personalised books to create your own collection is great too.

You can buy the Personalised Peppa Pig book from the Penwizard website and also check out the other ranges they do too. 

13 March 2014

Get Your House Sparkly Clean With My Top Spring Cleaning Tips

When I was asked to write about my top spring cleaning tips, I knew that this would probably end up being a long post. I grew up with a very thrifty mum who would always be trialling new cleaning techniques and this rubbed off onto me. I now use various techniques to get a range of items clean and am now here to tell you my cleaning secrets. So hold on to your hats and get ready for the sparkling, quite lemony ride...

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Lovely, Clean Living Areas

Television Hell
Cleaning the television has always been a bug-bear of mine. These newfangled flat screen televisions need more care than the old style and cleaning sprays can not be used on them. For best results, you will need a microfibre cloth and a mixture of half water, half white vinegar. 
First of all, turn off the television. Cleaning it whilst the screen is dark will make it easier to see the dirt patches. Use the dry cloth to gently wipe the screen. If it doesn't completely remove the dirt then do not press harder as this can cause pixels to burn out. Instead dampen the cloth with the water and white vinegar mixture and again, gently wipe the screen in a circular motion until it is sparkly clean.

Dust In The Bed
To reduce dead skin, fibres and dust  from settling, make sure you wash your bedding weekly and flip your mattress every month You can even take rugs and cushions outside and take your anger out on them, beating them to get rid of any dust particles.

Bananas For Cleaning?
Yes you heard me right, bananas can actually help to clean. Banana peels will clean silver items and polish leather shoes. So, not only do you get an healthy snack, but you also get the peel to rub onto silver or leather and then buff it out afterwards for a lovely polished look with no expense. 

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De-Scaling The Bathroom

To get rid of pesky lime-scale on your shower-head, simply soak it in a mixture of white vinegar and water to remove any nasty minerals from building up. 

Lemon is also my big top tip for cleaning the bathroom. It is perfect for cleaning taps and stainless steel shower handles. Get a lemon and cut the lemon in half. Rub it into the tap and push it down so that it covers most of the tap, leave it for 2 mins to get to work. Then rinse with cold water and let it air dry for bright, shiny, clean taps. 


Combating The Kitchen

Cleaning Stainless Steel
Now, you can use the lemon option above to clean stainless steel but, for the kitchen, you also want the deep down clean but to also remove grubbing fingerprints and dirt. For this, I simply rub a drop of baby oil into the stainless steel and then remove any excess oil by buffing with a dry microfibre cloth.

Gunge At The Bottom Of The Bin
Going to empty the bin and finding that horrible, grime at the bottom can be so off-putting. To combat this, put old newspaper at the bottom of your bin to absorb food juices so emptying is easier. 

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The Dreaded Microwave
The worst thing about using a microwave, is when you set it for a few minutes, go to do something, and the food inside explodes all over the inside of the machine. That hard, dried on food is horrible to try and remove, it's not as though you can dip your microwave in the sink to scrub it, so instead I put the machine itself to work. I fill a cup with cold water and add 2 tblsp of vinegar. Then stick it in the microwave and set for 5 minutes. The vinegar will coat the inside of the machine bringing off any dried in food and horrible grime. Just simply give it a quick wipe afterwards to remove the excess. 


Scented House
Whenever I have someone coming over to my house I get paranoid. I have to make sure the house is sparkly clean and am usually scrubbing nearly everyday as I hate muck. When I have someone coming over though, I go one step further than just simply spraying a little air-freshener around. 
To make you whole house smell glorious, you will need some vanilla extract and an oven. Pour 10ml vanilla extract/essence into an oven-proof dish and place it in the base of the oven, set it at 100c and leave it for an hour. The scent will be heavenly and will last ages too, filling your whole house with a scrummy smell that your visitors will envy. 

Now I've told you my tips, please do pop back and let me know how you get on with them. And remember, the best cleaning products aren't necessarily the ones that cost most. I find that all natural products clean better and are better on the bank balance too.

Do you have your own cleaning tip? Then comment below and let me know how I can get my house even more clean.

This post is written in conjunction with the Intellicig E-liquid Survey which found that ECOpure e-liquid was found to be the ‘cleanest sample’ in an e-liquid survey. 

12 March 2014

Asda Launch Premature Baby Clothing Range

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George at Asda have this week launched the first supermarket range of premature baby clothing in partnership with Tommy’s.

The new range will be the most affordable on the high street and 10% from the sale of each garment will be donated to Tommy’s to fund research and support families with premature babies. 
The new range catering for babies who are born weighing anything from just 1lbs to 5lbs and it has been in development for over a year alongside Tommy’s midwives to ensure it meets the care needs of the 60,000 premature babies born in the UK every year.

Emma-Lees Laing, Midwifery Manager at Tommy’s said:
“Premature babies can spend many weeks in hospital being cared for by medical staff, and often dressing their baby is one of the few ways that parents can care for their newborn. However, getting clothes to fit a 3lb baby is a real struggle and often parents are reliant on hospital gowns or nothing at all. This new affordable range means that parents will be able to choose clothes for their children in the same way as other parents, dress them in clothes personal to them, and start the journey of daily care for their baby.”

According to the survey by George and Tommy's, 80% of parents of a premature baby found buying clothing to fit their baby a challenge and 87% had no idea where to shop for premature baby clothing. The new range from George will ease the stress as it will be stocked in 70 of their stores and online so that parents can browse the selection whilst buying groceries. 

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Annette Briley, Tommy’s research midwife at St Thomas’ Hospital London said:
“Every parent loves the process of choosing pink clothes for a girl or blue clothes for their boy, and with babies that are born very early and are not yet fully developed, the sense of identity that clothes can bring is even more important. It’s great to see cute, colourful clothes for premature babies that are both affordable and widely available.”

George’s range starts at just £5 for three bodysuits which is a hell of a lot cheaper than similar garments for premature babies and the range includes special features such as a flat open-out fitting, extra poppers and irritation free seams to ensure clothing is comfortable and easy to secure around medical equipment. 

The premature range is available online on the Asda website and in selected stores also. 

Creating Our Perfect Bedroom

Well, I say 'our perfect bedroom' but to be honest, I mean mine. Simon is not bothered what our bedroom looks like, as long as it has a bed, he doesn't care. He is just there to paint it and move the heavy stuff, I concentrate on everything else. 

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So I got out my designs, my colour wheel and started creating a mood board of what I wanted in the bedroom, the colour scheme and the overall feel of the room. Purple, I knew it just had to be purple and I chose a gorgeous dark shade of Berry Burst purple for the big walls and Pastel Purple for the side walls. 

The bed would be the main focus in the room and so I knew that we'd need to save quite a bit of money to buy a good quality one. A kingsize for when the children try to work their way in and a divan so that we had draws underneath to store all of our bedding. 

After much searching, checking out reviews and budgeting, we settled on the one we wanted. A black, kingsize divan which has a 12inch thick memory foam mattress and a leather headboard. I had focussed on this one so much since it had the memory foam mattress which is great for my husband. He has back problems, this month is going for an MRI scan to see if they can find what's wrong, and so I wanted to make sure that he got a comfortable sleep.
I also splashed out on some revolutionary anti snore pillows but this is more for me, so that I can get a good nights sleep. It seems that our sons have got their dads snoring genes. 

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After the main items were bought, paint, furniture and the bed, I then concentrated on the accessories. The gorgeous cream, floral curtains and the huge canvas were both great deals from scouring the web but then I wanted something more personal. I had the mirrored photo frame at the back of a cupboard and when I dug it out, I knew that it would look perfect with photos of myself and my husband in it. It has been placed opposite the window so that the reflection shines around the room.

I then finished with some wooden heart personalised items from Calico Gifts who hand makes all the items herself. I chose the words 'Only you can give me that feeling' in the centre of the large heart and it looks extra special in our bedroom, all the colours match perfectly in my colour scheme.

It took us a while to get there, but I think that eventually, we have the perfect bedroom. Well, the perfect bedroom for us, until I get bored and want to redecorate...

- Featured Post

Designing A Nautical Themed Bedroom

The one thing I hate about decorating is that you know that after a few months, you will be bored of the colour, the style, and will want to redo it all. This is very true with the boys’ room.

A few years ago, we ripped out their whole bedroom, re-coloured, redecorated and redesigned, going for a Fireman Sam theme, the character that Thomas just loved... at that time. Now, he's not so bothered, he prefers a mix of characters and it's left me feeling a little deflated that it cost us so much money to buy everything which now aren't really needed.

We also had problems with space. Although we do have a three bedroom house, the boys hate been separated and so share one bedroom. Having 2 beds in there has caused problems though. It is a big bedroom but a full wall is cut off with a radiator and a huge walk-in cupboard so trying to configure it has been a problem. At the moment, Charlie's junior bed is blocking the cupboard off which means having to pull it out every time I need to get in there.

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And that got me thinking... Why don't we design a bedroom which can grow with the children instead of one we need to keep changing? A bedroom which can fit the 2 boys in, look boyish but still be simple to change as and when they do. 

So I made a mood board of what the boys would like. I was thinking that the best way of doing this was to have plain walls but then use accessories, pictures and bunting to style the bedroom. A blank colour that could grow with them with the pale blue and then a theme that would suit now but that could also be easily changed as and when the boys tastes grow.

Then I have to combat the space issue. I looked at a host of single beds, mid-sleepers and bunk beds and eventually set my sights on a gorgeous set of pine bunk beds that not only look durable and good quality, but can also be separated if the boys wanted to be in different bedrooms in the future. This would also combat that space issue too and give the rest of the room for cupboards and toys.

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Working on a nautical theme, I will base the bedroom around a red, white and blue colour scheme, the blue being the base colour on the walls and then the rest in accessories. I love this theme, it is so modern but will also look great and is something that the boys will love too.

The amount of choice at the moment has left me in design heaven.

Imagining the things I can do to the room, what I can buy, make ourselves and fix up. Having a painter for a husband comes in handy also, I give him the paint and off he goes.

Now I just need to start collecting items and get down to the business of creating the masterpiece of a bedroom. Letting my imagination run wild and giving the boys a beautiful, nautical bedroom that any little pirate would love!