26 September 2014

Guest Post - Recipe For Chicken Tikka and Quark Rice

Today I have a lovely guest post recipe from Joanna Victoria. Joanna is 24, married to Stuart and a mummy-to-be expecting their little bundle in December. 

I am sharing with you a very yummy and healthy recipe using one of The Lake District Dairy Co Cooking sauces. I have been trying out some very yummy recipes over the week trying out the three yummy flavours: 
- Garlic and Herb 
- Tikka
- Tomato and Basil 

The Tikka and Tomato and Basil flavors will be out sometime this autumn and the Garlic and Herb one is already out in supermarkets across the UK. Today I'll be sharing my recipe of Chicken and rice in a Tikka sauce.

So onto the recipe:

Serves 4 (382 Kcals each) 

You will need: 
- 1 tsbp vegetable oil 
- 400g of boneless, skinless chicken thighs (cubed) 
- 1 red onion
- 1 red pepper
- 200g of basmati rice 
- 250ml chicken stock
- 50g raisons 
- 200g of Lake District Tikka cooking sauce
- 2 tbsp fresh coriander
- 2 tbsp toasted almonds (flaked) 

1. In a large frying pan or wok, heat the oil, then add the chicken and stirfry over a high heat until it starts to brown. 
2. Add the onion and pepper and stirfry over a high heat for 4 mins or until soft
3. stir in the rice and stock, then bring to boil, cover and simmer for 10 mins
4. remove the lid and stir in the Tikka cooking sauce, add the raisins and recover. 
5. Simmer for a further 5 mins stirring occasionally until the rice grains are plump and tender
6. scatter over coriander and almonds to serve.

We really enjoyed how this one turned out we chose not to use the raisins on ours though as I'm not keen on raisins on this type of meal. We also left off the almonds due to hubby having a nut allergy. 

For more yummy recipes, reviews and mummy posts please head over to my blog www.joannavictoria.co.uk

25 September 2014

Aldi Baby & Toddler Event

I love that you can now pop to your local Aldi and stock up on baby items at the moment as their Baby & Toddler event is on. During this time, there are Special Buy items and discounted baby essentials as well as maternity wear.

Even better for us because, not only am I pregnant, but so are 2 of my sisters and my niece also. I am having a boy and the rest girls, so I can stock up on items for all of us whilst at Aldi. 

We were sent a range of their items that are in store, from maternity wear, a changing bag and some baby girl items. You can click through to see my review of the baby changing bag on my earlier post as well as seeing what I thought of the rest in this post.

The baby girls items are so cute, and when I saw them, I couldn't wait to show my sister exactly what you can buy from Aldi. Great quality socks and tights that will come in handy for my little niece and the bright pink boots would suit any budding diva. 

I have found it difficult to buy maternity wear that isn't so expensive. I always think, what's the point spending a fortune when it'll only be worn for a few months. So I am so glad that Aldi have done a range of maternity wear that is cheap yet durable and will last throughout pregnancy and baby-hood. 

Both the dress and the top have easy to access breast fitting for breastfeeding. The top simply has an extra flap of material that pulls to the side to reveal a hole for easy access and the dress has a grey panel that pulls away to do the same. 

The leggings are stretchy and cover the whole of my bump whilst leaving enough room for bump growth and feel comfortable to wear. All items are extremely comfy and are made of a stretch material so will grow as you do. 

The Aldi Baby & Toddler event is on in store already so make sure you get there quick before stock disappears. 

22 September 2014

Travelodge St Nicholas Hotel, Scarborough

When it comes to going away with the kids, I want somewhere that is close to everything and easy to find. My worst nightmare would be finding out that accommodation is in the middle of nowhere and far from amenities and the fun. 

So when it came to booking our trip away to Scarborough in the school holidays, I searched for the best place to stay. After searching various B&B's and hotels, I found that there was a Travelodge in Scarborough and was offered to stay there for a few days with my husband and the boys to show what we thought. 

Travelodge is situated on St Nicholas Cliff, on the south beach of Scarborough. It is actually in the most perfect position when it comes to getting to the beach and finding shops. 2 minutes from the train station and slap bang in the centre of town, everything is in walking distance. 

Upon arrival, we were met by a lovely receptionist who took our details and gave us our key card to our room, showing us to the lift and pointing out the restaurant and bar areas too. It all looked clean and very tidy so we were happy to be staying. 

It is a very old building and this shows as you are walking around to find your room as there are various hallways you can go down to find different room numbers. I think that this is very quirky and loved that the period features in the hallways stood out. 

I was surprised at how spacious the room was. I was expecting a family room to just have a sofa bed squashed into the corner but it had a double bed plus 2 singles and space to walk around too. Big thick duvets to keep us toasty warm and heaters too. A full length mirror for posing into, a television with a few channels (all you need really) and a small seated area which had tea and coffee making facilities. The tea, coffee and milk was provided as was decaf coffee which was a plus from me as that is all I drink. 

Being that there was 4 of us, I was a little disappointed that there was no wardrobe or shelving unit adequate enough to put clothing on, just a small shelf and rack in the corner that was only really big enough for one persons clothes. We did remedy this by having our suitcase opened up on the floor which is where the size of the room and the floor space came in handy as it meant that we could leave it open and not have to worry about it getting in the way.

The room did look a little dated in d├ęcor and the bed was a little creaky but I saw little signs and notices around about how the hotel was getting a make over in the months to come, so I guess that would remedy all of this. 

The bathroom was big also. Brightly decorated in red, there was a full sized bath and a toilet and sink. A small canister of bath and hair wash is left on the sink for if you forget your own. This was great for us as I hadn't brought bath stuff for the boys and the size of the bottle was perfect to last the few days we stayed at the hotel. 

A huge bay window with black out curtains shined light straight in to the hotel room. I just have to point out the black out curtains and how fab they were as I cannot sleep in there is one ounce of light in the room and so these were great for helping me get a good nights sleep. 

Out of the window was a fabulous view. Truly stunning, straight over the cliff-side and out over the ocean. I loved waking up and seeing this every morning. 

We visited the restaurant both mornings for our breakfast. I thought it was a great deal as, when we paid for our adult meal, the kids got theirs free. 

The breakfast was a buffet setting so you could choose from a hot fried breakfast with the choice of bacon, sausage, scrambled egg, beans and tomatoes, cold food such as croissants, cereal and freshly cut fruit and they also had a toast machine with jams and chocolate spread. Tea, coffee and juice was included on the breakfast price too and the staff were so friendly, one asking about my pregnancy and going off to find me some sachets of decaf so I could have a morning coffee. 

We also stayed for dinner one evening too. The boys picked their favourites of sausage and mash for Thomas and chicken nuggets and chips for Charlie, both plates finished off with loads of peas. Me and the hubster went a chicken fillet burger each which came with coleslaw and chips. 

There was a bit of a wait for the food but that can be expected when they are cooking for a hotel full, and the fact that you can order pizzas and chips to take-away too. The boys didn't mind so much about the wait as they had been given a huge colouring and puzzle sheet and crayons to play with. This kept them occupied whilst we waited. 

The boys did so well with their food that they both got a chocolate sundae for dessert. This was made up of vanilla ice-cream, cream and loads of chocolate sauce with wafers sprouting from the top. So huge that we even got to try a bit each too. 

Going out of the hotel, there are loads of things to do that are just minutes away. The city centre has a range of shops and eateries to dine in and there is the long walk down to the beach front if you fancy going that way. If not, just to the side of the hotel is a huge bridge going over the road that has steps down to the beach from there. If you have a pram or wheelchair then the tram is also just round the corner too which takes you directly down to the beach. 

A plethora of different amusements to play in. The all time favourite 2p machines were there in the hundreds and we even managed to get a Peppa Pig keyring to fall from one which made me so happy. I've never managed to get a prize before from one of those machines and it was great to see the boys winning.

Teddy machines were fun too. I hate seeing the boys playing on them and coming away disappointed when they don't win. So instead, I let them have a few goes on the machines, and then pop them over onto the ones that cost a few pounds to go on but you're guaranteed a prize. After a couple of tries, the machine will pick a teddy up and you win. It's great to see the excitement on the boys faces as they win. 

We were a bit unlucky with the weather as it wasn't that great but it didn't stop us from playing on the beach, Thomas even braved the freezing water a had a little wonder through the sea. He even managed donkey ride too and gave us a laugh as the donkey decided to stop mid ride to relieve himself. 

Walking along the pier to watch the boats going in and out of the port, admiring the lighthouse and seeing Scarborough Castle were all great experiences to finish off our break away. 

I really can't wait for our next adventure in Scarborough, we go every year. And I know that next time we'll definitely be staying at Travelodge again. 

For more information about Travelodge and to book, visit the Travelodge website

21 September 2014

Saving Water, Energy and Money

Nowadays, everyone is talking about ways to save energy, in turn help the environment and saving a few extra pounds in our pockets, but no one ever mentions water. How hard it it to save water? How do you save water? Is there advice on how to save water? Can it save you money in the long run?

There are ways you can save water in your house and, in turn, save yourselves money but of course you would need to be on a water metre for this to take be a practical way of saving money. If you are more focussed on the helping the environment aspect then it is a little easier as there is no messing changing to a metre, just a few steps to saving water. The best way to do this would be to follow a few simple steps.

Using a dishwasher
Yes, this shocked me too as you'd think that it would take more water powering a whole dishwasher, but no, you use 11 times less water when washing with a dishwasher as opposed to by hand. 

Use cold water for cleaning
With a little extra elbow grease, using cold water to clean about the house saves a lot of energy that would usually go in to heating the water making it a more cost effective way of cleaning. 

Reusing water
When having a bath, do you run a clean tub full for every person in your household? To be honest, there is no need. For us, I always get in whilst the water is red hot and then, once I'm finished, it has cooled enough for the boys to get in. Thus meaning only one bath has been run. 

Use the amount you need
I am very conscious of saving water when it comes to filling up my kettle and I've got good at knowing just how much water I need to put in it to make myself and the hubster a cuppa. Using the right amout of water means that it isn't taking as long to heat the whole kettle up and uses much less energy. 

Work out what you could save
Comparing past years water bills to this years is a great way to see if you have consumed more or less over a yearly period and a good way of trying to limit how much you use. You can also try out this water saving calculator to see what changes could help you save. 

It's amazing how many people I hear moaning when the government announces that we are having a drought. Yes, the Earth may be filled with water, but that doesn't mean that we can use it all. In fact, less than 0.5% of the world's total water is freshwater available for humans. The rest is made up of 97% salt water and 2.5% is frozen in glaciers. 
So basically, we have a minuscule amount of water from the Earth that is available for us to use and consume. 

So next time you are leaving the tap running whilst cleaning, or filling the kettle full for a cuppa, just think about saving water and energy and turn off the tap. 

20 September 2014

21 Week Pregnancy Update

I haven't done an update post for a while as these few weeks seem to have merged in to one and there wouldn't really be much to update on. 

I am now 21 weeks. I had my anatomy scan this week where we got a second confirmation of our little boy. Well, not that we needed it as there was definitely boy bits on our gender scan. 

It was nice to see our little baby again although he didn't want to play ball. We couldn't get a great shot of his face as he kept his hands covering over himself as though he was playing peek-a-boo. I also have an anterior placenta which means that it is harder to get a clear shot as the placenta is in the way. 

Hyperemesis seems to have worn off now and I only really feel nauseous when I smell certain things or haven't eaten for ages. 

My bump feels massive now, by the time this baby is born I will be as big as a house but I've managed to find some great deals on maternity wear so am now comfortable which feels great. 

Since we are now past the half way stage, I have started looking at big baby items now. I am in love with the Cosatto Ooba in Duck Egg. It is absolutely stunning to look at and I love the Cosatto brand so have faith in it. The fab patterns and the colour are perfect for my little boy and I cannot wait for him to arrive so I can start pushing it around. 

We are going into town this week to finish off getting Christmas presents for the boys and get some more clothing for bump. Make sure you keep an eye on here to see te haul we come back with. 

19 September 2014

Great Arts and Crafts Gift Ideas for Under £20

When it comes to buying a gift for someone who has an interest in arts and crafts, it can seem pretty tough to find them something that’s great but for a more modest budget. However, with a bit of know-how and a few tricks up your sleeve (and after a bit of searching online) you’ll realise you can find the perfect gift for that special someone, and it doesn’t have to cost the earth.

Here are some of our favourite finds and ideas to get you inspired and to help you on your way to find the perfect present.

Colour wheels or mixing guides
This may sound like an odd present, but to someone starting out painting it can be really useful and is unlikely to be something they may have purchased for themselves. You can get them really cheaply from sites like http://www.artifolk.co.uk/ too as part of a set or on their own which is great, along with lots of other arty gifts to take a look at.

Calligraphy starter kits
If they seem to be into lots of different types of art, getting them interested and involved in a new one is a great idea. Calligraphy is the perfect example as you only need a few items to get started, such as a pen, calligraphy paper and a guide book teaching you the tricks of the trade. You can pick up sets from most good craft stores or online too.

‘How to’ books and guides
If you don’t think calligraphy is their bag, or there’s something in particular you think they’d like to learn more about in the world of art, a book or guide book about that certain style (or even artist) is a great idea. It’s something they’d actually really appreciate as well as the fact that it shows them you’ve thought about what they’d like.

A sketchpad
A true artist is likely to love nothing more than a new sketchbook to get their hands on and start scribbling away in. If you have no idea where to start with choosing something like this, there’s a handy guide here to help you choose a new sketchbook.

A tabletop easel
Easels are great, particularly if your arty friend likes to work with materials such as acrylic paint as they avoid shadows from casting on a horizontal page, and help keep proportions. The floor length ones (that are used when standing) can be quite pricey, but you can actually get small tabletop ones for well under £20.

A set of new pens, pencils or paints
A brand new set of the tools of the trade is sure to be a winner, as they can never have enough pens/pencils/paints! You could always go for a slightly more frivolous option that they’re unlikely to treat themselves too to make it a little more special too, and you can get these for under £20 if you shop at the right places which is great.

18 September 2014

Baby Changing Bag From Aldi

As a mum of 2 and a bump on the way, I know just how important a good changing bag is. It needs to be big enough to carry everything bar the kitchen sink but, it also doesn't want to be too bulky as it may need to get carried around whilst also struggling with a baby. 

When Aldi sent me out their new changing bag, which is in store as part of their Baby & Toddler Event, I got straight down to using it and seeing how it coped with being used vigorously by me and my 2 boys. 

Priced at £14.99, the bag comes in navy or brown, which is more of a maroon colour, and is fully waterproof with many compartments to keep everything safe. With straps for carrying around and a detachable shoulder strap too, an elasticated pouch to store a babies bottle in and comes with a changing mat too.  

The main zip compartment has enough space to hold everything needed for a small baby and more. It managed to hold nappies, wipes, spare clothing, a bottle, my purse, phone and my camera (I never leave the house without my camera). It then has a small zipped compartment to the back which is perfect for things you need to find quickly like keys or a spare bib for wiping away messes. 

At the front, there is a huge zip which goes the whole way along the front. This folds down and reveals another compartment which again has more storage and also the part which holds the changing mat. 

The bag itself it very durable. The waterproof fabric means that it can be wiped clean of any marks and the shoulder strap is thick and robust and comfortable to wear over the shoulder whilst carrying it around. 

Overall, I like the pattern on the changing bag and the colour too, the size is adequate enough to hold everything a new mum needs and it is made from good quality materials that will last. I can't wait for my bump to be born now so that I can have this on the back of my pram.

This baby changing bag is in store from today in the Baby & Toddler event so make sure you get down there whilst stocks last. 

17 September 2014

Wrapped For You - Personalised Chocolate

When it comes to buying special gifts, it can be a daunting tasks. I often worry that I'll buy the same gift as someone else or choose something that the recipient doesn't like and it can get me all flustered. 

So when I cam across Wrapped For You, I knew that they would come in handy for all my personalised gift needs as they personalise chocolates for all occasions and being honest, who doesn't like chocolate.

The chocolates come in three different sizes, minis which are 20p each, midis that are £1.20 and maxis which are £3.95. Once you have decided on size, you can then pick from any design on the website to have on your bar, failing that, you can even send your own images or logos for the wrapping. You can then personalise more with the recipients name, a message or anything you like that would suit. 

I decided that I would love some of the personalised chocolate for Charlie as it was his 3rd birthday and it would be nice for him to have something made for him. I gave Kerry, the owner of Wrapped For You, free reign on the design, just letting her know that Charlie loves any sort of vehicles. And I was pleasantly surprised when the delights turned up a few days later. 

The bars come well packaged and thoroughly wrapped to ensure that they don't get broken in the post. Inside the package was a mixture of the mini and maxi bars. 

The minis came with a cute little dumper truck on the front of them and the words 'Charlie is 3!' which was so adorable. Inside the paper and foil wrappers, there is a yummy little chocolate bite-size piece which is the perfect size for a child.  

The maxis had 3 diggers on the front with the words 'Happy 3rd Birthday Charlie' but instead this time is a huge bar that would be great just as a gift on it's own. The chocolate is absolutely divine. The kids loved trying out the minis and one evening, we all sat down and shared one of the big bars. Smooth milk chocolate bars which are sumptuous, the minis come in mint too just for an extra flavour. 

The whole range included a little card and a mini chocolate wrapped inside a cellophane wrapper. This is supposed to go in a memory box or whatever you use to store memories in, as a keepsake of your personalised purchase. I love this idea as it means that you can look back on a certain birthday or event and remember all those precious memories. 

We had a little tea party for Charlie and a few family members came around to celebrate. They all loved the fact that they got their own little chocolate to eat and I thought that these would be great for party bags for small children. 

Overall, the ordering experience was simple and receiving the lovely lot of personalised goodies was not only lovely but they tasted super nice too. I think that personalised chocolate would be ideal for parties, party bags and even for little special treats for events and gatherings.

You can find more information and order from the Wrapped For You website and using my code yorkshiremum10 will get you 10% off any order. 

Top Tips on Back to School Photography

It’s important to capture all the defining moments of your child’s life. From baby pictures and nursery snaps to back to school photography and their first holidays, these picture will be ones you’ll want to go back to again and again. When it comes to starting school and all the benchmarks thereafter, you will want lovely pictures to match these great occasions. Here are some tips to ensure you get top quality back to school photography:

Embrace the Mood of the Day
Your little one may be excited, nervous or (as they get older) moody. If you are struggling to coax a smile from their face, make light of the situation and snap away anyway. One day you will all be able to look back and smile.

Natural Poses
You will want the classic picture poses but make sure you capture some more candid moments as well. Get some shots of your offspring with their new friends and the siblings together having a laugh (or more likely, bickering).

Capture their Favourite Things 
The back to school shots can serve as a record of all your child’s hobbies and favourite things at the time. Get toys, favourite books in the images and take pictures in their bedroom to show their interests at the period the photos were taken.

New Teacher
If possible see if your child’s new teacher will pose in a picture – the moment they meet for the first time may make for a sweet image.

Go In Situ
Take some snaps at the school – your child’s new natural environment. Pictures in front of the chalk board or on the playground make for nice settings.

Get the Whole Family Involved
If possible invite all the relatives over to celebrate the occasion and capture the image using your camera’s timer so you can also be included.

Get a Professional in
Such a special occasion calls for the professionals. Book a session at your local photographer’s studio and get some images you’ll be proud to hang on your walls.

Devil in the Detail
Get some close-up shots of details like your child’s new school bag, stationary and badge on their uniform.

Get Arty 
Get some chunky pavement chalks and get your child to draw some pictures or ask them what they want to be when they grow up and write it yourself. Your child next to these pictures and phrases will add another element to the pictures.

Mix it Up
Go classic with some black and white images to make the colour ones even more vibrant.

Hard at Work
Back to school isn’t over when your little ones leave home in the morning. Get some shots when they come with the work they’ve done during the day.

16 September 2014

E45, Skin Problems + Giveaway

When it comes to being pregnant, us mums know just how much our skin changes. This is the most important time to look after our skin. To keep it hydrated and to stop it from going dry. Just remember, soft, hydrated skin is said to reduce the amount of stretch-marks you might get. 

I try to keep to a routine when it comes to my skin. I always keep hydrated as that shows is the skin and then I use products to keep myself glowing. Making sure I wash off make-up on a night, rinse, and cleanse and then moisturise too. 

Of course, finding the best products can be easy for one person and hard for others as not everyone has the same skin type. From oily to dry and sensitive and combination up to having skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema can all affect the products that you can use on your skin. 

I have always had dry, sensitive skin. Many products I cannot use because of this and I try to be careful and stick with brands I know to stop my skin from going blotchy or getting rashes. I had a bit of a trial period of going through a range of skin care products to try and find which ones worked best for me. This was the same with make-up too as that can cause bad skin reactions too. 

I have used E45 lotion for years. In fact, ever since I was a child, I remember my mum using it on us and herself and I do the same now with the boys. Especially when they were both newborns. this was because both of the were 2 weeks overdue and this can have bad effects on babies skin causing it to dry out immensely. I remember every night, rubbing E45 into their bodies to hydrate their skin. 

I love the fact that they have different products for the various skin types and that they explain what the best uses are for each product. You know that if you are using E45 then you'll be using the best product for your skin. 

And now is your chance to win some for yourself. 2 winners will win both the E45 Intense Recovery Lotion & the E45 Moisturising Lotion by just telling me what your skin type is. 

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 one compulsory entry of answering the given question 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.

Closes 30th September 2014

Hopeless Cooks Waste Billions Each Year

New research has found that £3billion worth of home cooked food is being wasted every year as 75% of Brits admit to ditching inedible dinners. A third of Brits say even their own family can barely ‘tolerate’ their cooking, and one in ten hopeless cooks confess to passing a takeaway or ready meal off as their own. I know if you asked my brother then he would definitely agree with you on this. Although my mum is great at baking, cooking isn't one of her strong points and she regularly has to throw out burnt or nasty tasting food. 

The research, released to celebrate the launch of Kenwood’s Disaster Chef campaign, also found that, rather than motivate their audience, cookery shows such as Great British Bake Off made one in ten people feel inferior and intimidated. I totally agree with this as, although the food always looks yummy, it also looks very hard work and puts me off. 

Fronted by self-proclaimed kitchen rookie and actress, Hermione Norris, Kenwood’s Disaster Chef campaign is taking on the challenge of transforming the nation’s cooking skills, starting with identifying the nation’s 15 worst cooks.

Hermione says “As a kitchen novice myself, I can sympathise with those whose enthusiasm doesn’t quite match up to their skills in the kitchen. The Kenwood Disaster Chef campaign is such a great opportunity for aspiring cooks, like me, to develop their cooking skills with the help of Kenwood’s expertise.”

For this year’s Disaster Chef campaign, the contestants will be using the next generation Kenwood Chef – CHEF Sense. The new features, such as load sensing technology and unique fold function, are all key to ensure the machine is intuitive to use, for both professionals and novices alike.”

Kenwood Disaster Chef will be open for entries from Monday 1 September via the Kenwood Disaster Chef Facebook App – www.kenwooddisaster-chef.com

After the 15 worst chef's compete against each other, the winner will be decided and win a host of fab prizes. The prizes include:
  • A Symphony Kitchens makeover (including fitting), up to the value of £3,000
  • A cookery course worth, up to the value of £500
  • A selection of stylish kitchen appliances from Kenwood, up to the value of £500
How great is that! So, if you think you could easily win the title of Britain's worst chef, then get entering. 

12 September 2014

The Original Theraline Maternity and Nursing Pillow

I am a lucky mummy at the moment because I seem to have found the most comfortable pillow for pregnancy. Now, if you've never had a baby, then you probably wont understand why I'm so excited over a pillow but, it's not just a pillow, it's a sleep saver. 

During pregnancy, as your bump grows, sleep can be a bit hit and miss. With an ever expanding waistline and bump, getting comfy is hard and the fact that you have a baby constantly moving around inside you (and trust me, they prefer being awake at night). So when you come across a product that helps with this, it feels amazing. 

The Theraline Maternity and Nursing Pillow isn't just an ordinary pillow. It measures approximately 190cm x 38cm and is filled with around 42 litres of odourless polystyrene micro beads which are light as a feather. This filling then moves to the shape of your body and it always remains firmly in place without giving way to give you support and comfort. It can even be washed at up to 60°C too. 

The Theraline Maternity & Nursing Pillow keeps your legs and tummy supported and even your head and shoulders are too. It is more beneficial during the last months of pregnancy when you may become more restless with a bigger bump and constant movements and using it, you’ll experience less strain on your back and legs.

During breastfeeding, using the Theraline Maternity and Nursing Pillow gives less strain on neck and shoulders as it holds your baby up into place meaning no slouching forward for mum alleviating any stress on the back too giving a more relaxed breastfeeding experience. 

My Theraline Maternity and Nursing Pillow came with a purple jersey cotton cover which is extra soft and has been pre-shrunk to stop it from disappearing in the dryer and coming out mini sized. This gives it an immense amount of durability which is great as all that pulling and pushing around during the night and the fact that it can be used whilst breastfeeding and holding you baby too means that durability is key. 

I now don't have to use all my pillows to try and get comfortable as the Theraline pregnancy and baby feeding pillow is so versatile that I can change position very easily and as it is so long, it gives full support to my whole body giving a comfortable, good night's sleep.

It can also be used whether you’re pregnant or not. Even my husband uses it sometimes as he had spinal surgery 2 months ago (and may need further surgery soon) and he finds it super comfortable. Some nights I have to fight it off of him.

For me, I am now satisfied that as the months go by, and my bump gets bigger, I will be supported through sleep by the Theraline Maternity and Nursing Pillow and even once my bump has gone and breastfeeding starts, it will help to keep comfortable. 

You can find more information about the maternity and nursing pillow on the Theraline website and it can also be purchased from John Lewis too. 

10 September 2014

Child's Play – Kids' Personal Injury Claims

Children are inspiring. Their inquisitive sensibilities, their wide-eyed curiosity and their playful naivety are exhilarating characteristics that make children “children”. Playing the roll of Devil's advocate, however, when it comes to sustaining injuries, it is three traits that are often the cause of many close-shaves for our kids. And let's face it, when it comes to our children getting hurt, it is more of a case of when than a case of if. 

Now, not to scaremonger, we don't want you to suddenly begin over-protecting your child. But let's just get some basic truths out in the open that every parent is already aware of: These injuries can occur at any-time and in any place. In fact, it is frighteningly common to see children injured in school, in playgrounds, in the street and at home, and while we would never advocate using an injury your child may sustain in order to seek financial reward, you should be aware that children are just as eligible for compensation as adults. After all, our bodies break in the same way. 

Don't be overprotected and stop the fun things
In the UK, the age of responsibility is 18. Therefore, children under that age are not able to log, file or fight a personal injury claim themselves. The only way for the courts to be able to consider the case is for a 'Litigation Friend' to act on behalf of the child, a representative usually coming in the form of a parent or guardian. This Litigation Friend will be considered by the courts beforehand, in order to determine whether the child is fully informed, comfortable and willing to proceed with this person, as well as ensuring that they are operating with the child's best interests at heart. 

The Claim Process 
The claim process, as with adult claims, is often a rather drawn-out affair. As anyone who's ever tried to push their way through the cogs of liturgy will know – they don't rush; be prepared for the long haul. Of course, there are times when the process can be sped up to match certain features of the case, and in the cases of severe injury – something requiring immediate, costly care – then the courts can provide back-dated pay outs to cover the expenses. 

Until a long-term prognosis of the child is actually determined, however, it is actually impossible for any one to estimate an appropriate amount of compensation. After all, a rough idea of the future needs to be reasonably demonstrable in order to know the extent and cost of future care. 

Time Limits After an Injury 
When an adult wishes to pursue a personal injury claim, they usually have to act within a time limit of three years. Any claims made after this time – except in extraordinary cases – will generally be ignored by the courts. For children, however, this time limit doesn't begin until they hit the age of responsibility: 18. This means that children have up until their 21st birthday to determine whether or not a claim is applicable, giving both parents and children appropriate time to determine the long-lasting effects of any injuries. 

When May Compensation be Received?
Of course, should the claim prove successful, large sums of money will not simply be handed over to your child. The usual discourse is to save the money and release it into a bank account on the child's 18th birthday, allowing regular withdrawals in the case that on-going care needs to be paid for. 

This is especially common in cases where smaller sums of money are concerned. For example, should an amount less than £2,500 be awarded, the courts may ensure that the money be kept in a National Savings Bank or a building society to accrue interest and for safe keeping ready for release when the child comes of age. In the cases of larger sums, however, especially when receiving considerable compensation (over £10,000) , the court may take any money that is not immediately required and invest it under the discretion of the Courts Fund Office. 

Fundamentally, children are prone to danger. By the very grace of their childish sensibilities, they are exposed to a host of various situations of which any could lead to severe injury. Of course, that's not to say we should keep our children indoors, protect from the outside and worry about their every move. No. Children need to be children, let them roam, investigate the world and find out things for themselves. Just know that in the tragic case that something does happen to your child, there are things you can do to partially remedy the situation. 

If you're reading this after your child has already fallen victim to an injury, or are looking for advice on how to pursue a claim on before of your child, may we recommend contacting Yorkshire's own Coles-Law Personal Injury Solicitors.

7 September 2014

Back To School With Boots

Thomas started back at school on Tuesday. Even though he has loved having the time off to play, he couldn't wait to get back as he loves school. I couldn't wait for him to get back as well, not to get rid of him, but for him to continue on his journey of learning, and the fact that he was getting bored towards the end of the holidays. 

I find the first few weeks back a little bitter-sweet though as that's usually when all the germs start flying around again and he Thomas will come home with sniffles and illness. 

Now it's not just Thomas though as this week Charlie also had his first visit to his daycare centre which he will be going to 3 times a week and will be starting in the next few weeks so now it's 2 children that will be coming home full of germs. 

Check out these tips from Boots for some help with combating germs.

I make sure to try and keep germs at bay in various ways. Read my tips below for a quick guide on keeping germs at bay and combating them quick.

  1. Repellent Shampoos - Try and combat the dreaded head lice before they happen by using repellent shampoos on your child's hair and always keep some treatment in the cupboard just in case.
  2. Vitamins - I find that buying the chewy children's vitamins is a great way to build your child's immune system and help them fight germs before they take hold and cause illness. 
  3. Supplies - always have remedies and supplies ready just in case your child comes home with a sniffle. Paracetamol, vapour rub and nasal sprays are a great way to start. 
  4. Check-ups - Always keep up to date with dentist and optician appointments and make sure your children have the necessary immunisations too. 
When it comes to buying everything we need, I always pop to Boots as it has everything to combat germs, from vitamins and medicines to shampoos and first aid kits. We can even get our eyes tested there too. 

I asked the boys to give me their very best 'germie' (a selfie of what a germ would look like) and they did so in the photos above. Thomas said that they would have nasty faces because they like to be mean to people and Charlie didn't really understand and just tried copying Thomas but with a grin instead. 

So, what are your tips for keeping germs at bay, for fighting them or for stopping them before they hit? Comment below to give us extra ideas. 

4 September 2014

Cantaloop Pregnancy & Nursing Tank Top

Finding clothing during pregnancy is hard work. I find that loose tops end up making me look like a tent and tighter ones make me uncomfortable. Not only that but wearing a bra in pregnancy is horrible. The under-wire and cups seem to press against the top of my bump causing aches and pains. I want something that is loose around my bump but supportive around my breasts. Something that will mean that I don't have to worry about wearing a bra. A miracle probably. 

That's when I came across the Cantaloop Pregnancy & Nursing Tank Top.

The Cantaloop Pregnancy & Nursing Tank Top is perfect for someone who is looking for a comfortable top to wear during pregnancy, and for one that will last the duration as it also doubles up as a nursing top too. It is A-shaped below the bust meaning that it can be used from even the early stages in your pregnancy and will grow out with you as your bump gets bigger. It adapts to the changes in the body's shape perfectly.

The top is seamless so there is no stitching digging in at all and has an integrated nursing bra which is tightly knit underneath to give support and lift to the breasts. There is also no under-wire so the top part is super soft and comfy to wear whilst also giving a lot of support. 

One hand clasps on the top allow easy access to breastfeed quickly so are suitable for any occasion. You can breastfeed discreetly without exposing your stomach or much of your body at all.

Overall, I love the Cantaloop Pregnancy & Nursing Tank Top. It has been a godsend during my pregnancy so far as it's stretchy materials hugs my bump and flares out at the bottom without pushing into my bump at all. The bust holds my breasts in place whilst also being comfortable to wear and ultra supportive. I know that when my baby is born and it is time to breastfeed, I will be able to use this top without fear of people seeing more than they bargained for.  

For more information about the Cantaloop Pregnancy & Nursing Tank Top visit the Cantaloop website and you can purchase from Amazon.

3 September 2014

Sudocrem: Ready, Steady, Change Game And Giveaway

Test your metal and see how quickly you can complete Ready, Steady, Change! This is Sudocrem’s latest competition which tests your speed and gives you a chance to win an amazing prize whilst playing. 

This unique game is made up of 3 parts. First of all you have to clean the baby. To do this, you have to make sure you click when the temperature is 'just right' until the baby is clean. You then have to use a towel to wipe down the baby until he is completely dry. A lastly you have to apply Sudocrem Care & Protect onto the baby at the perfect spot. 

Do all this within 80 seconds and you will win a money off voucher for your next purchase of Sudocrem Care & Protect, but do it within 50 seconds to receive the voucher and also be put into a draw to win 1 of 8 iPad Air 32GB's. How fab is that!

To play the game and enter the competition, visit the app on the Sudocrem Facebook page and get playing. You can play once per day but can gain extra goes by referring friends, following Sudocrem on Twitter and Tweeting about the game also. 

And now, for my readers, I have a mini giveaway for 3 of you to win a tube of Sudocrem Care & Protect. All you have to do 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 required entries will be disqualified. There are no compulsory entries, you can do any to gain entry into the giveaway. You do not have to enter by all methods 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 28th September 2014

Daniel Footwear Perserve High Top Trainers

Trying to find stylish footwear that are comfortable for walking in whilst pregnant can sometimes feel like a chore. You can never have the best of both worlds, style and comfort, especially in pregnancy. 

I'm not one for pumps or the like but have been having to wear them recently because all my clothing has become uncomfortable and I have found myself living in leggings to take pressure off my growing bump meaning that, to stay with the casual vibe, I have been wearing pumps and canvas shoes. 

When I saw the Daniel Footwear Perserve high tops, I just knew that I wanted them. High tips aren't usually my thing but I knew that these would be perfect for wearing with leggings and they were pretty too. 

I chose them in black, and they come with a beautiful silver star on the side and silver studs all around the sides of the star to compliment them. The leather is super durable and so is the thick sole which makes the whole pair extra comfortable. The trainers are finished with a zip side as well as a lace up front featuring a thick black lace. I like this as it means that you can get the laces tied up where you like them but then not have to mess with it every time you need to take them off, you can simply unzip them and slip the trainers off. 

Not only are they super pretty and stylish though, they are super comfortable too. The trainers cushion the feet and even after having a long walk in them and playing with the boys I couldn't believe how comfortable they were. 

I really was surprised with the comfort element and so glad I picked these now and what's more, if you purchase these at the moment, you can snap them up at only £16.99. Check them out on the Daniel Footwear website for more information.