28 February 2015

Pocket Money Gifts for Mother's Day

I remember when I was young, I loved to save my pocket money to buy my mum a present every Mother's Day (and my dad on Father's Day too) as not only did I like to see their faces when they got a present from me, but it also made me feel so grown up too.

So, I thought I would look into gifts that you can purchase for mum that are only a few pounds, pocket money gifts.

I wanted to find gifts that aren't the norm. I mean, not many young kids would really surprise their mums with flowers or chocolates, but it would ideally be something fun, that they can do together. A crafty gift maybe, or a game that can be played by the whole family, bringing everyone together. That's what I am focusing on. After having a look around, I found that Hawkins Bazaar have a lovely range of gifts that would be perfect for little ones to gift to their mum this Mother's Day. 

Make Your Own Sock Monkey Or Rabbit
Learn how to make an adorable soft toy from a pair of stripey socks for the monkey or pre-cut pieces of fabric for the rabbit. Using the easy-to-follow instructions to sew the bits together, add the stuffing and then decorate, it's not only a cute gift for Mother's Day, but it's something that kids can do with their mum to spend quality time together. Or, for older children who are more competent at stitching, they can make the item themselves and then gift it to their mum as a home-made gift, even more special. What's more, these are only £6!

Glitter Glass Set
Make your bottles stand out with this Glitter Glass Set that is priced at £10. Now, I don't know about anyone else, but my mum is a big collector of bottles. She has loads from over the years, vintage perfume bottles to collectables and so to gift her something that is handmade by her children would be ideal for my mum. Something sentimental and from the heart. 

Wildlife Origami
Why not go for something a little different and learn the art of origami. This cute set includes an elephant, lion and zebra and whilst you have a nice fun, crafty day, you and mum can learn a new skill and create your own mini animals. 

Colour and Shrink Keyrings set
This cute little set is only £1.50 and kids can colour in their own little styles and then simply bake them in the oven to create a cute keyring to gift to mum this Mother's Day

All these gifts and so many more to choose from. Not only can children buy them to get crafty with mum on Mother's Day but they could instead make them themselves and give mum a cute home-made gift straight from the heart.

27 February 2015

The Death of the Beard

Over the past few years, the one fashion statement that has been prominent in men, is the beard. Nearly every celebrity has sported one at one point in time and everyone I know seems to love a good beard. Everyone from David Beckham to Hugh Jackman have had one and, even though they do suit them, if just can't stand them. 

Men seem to grow a beard thinking that they look stunning, just like these celebrities, but no matter how men try to style them, they just end up looking untidy to me. There is nothing I love more than a clean shaven man. 

What's worst about beards, is kissing a man with one. They're either short and stubbly, which means getting a scratched face from them, or they're long and itchy and that puts me off more as no matter how clean someone is, I don't want their body hair rubbing over my face. 

And it seems that it's not just me any more, Fashion Beans have created this infographic based on what people find most attractive in men and, surprisingly, clean shaven took 50% of the vote. I can't say I'm surprised though. 

Look below for more information, and to get tips on what is the best option when it comes to shaving off a beard. My husband uses a cartridge razor and usually shaves daily to make sure he is clean shaven, but most of all to make me happy as I just cannot stand stubble. 

You can also read about the 5 steps to the perfect shave. Tips like washing your face with a hot cloth before shaving to get a better shave as it softens the stubble and to make sure that you use a good moisturiser afterwards to stop dryness and skin irritation. 

What do you think? Do you like a beard, a bit of stubble, or are you like me and prefer men clean shaven?

26 February 2015

Children, Technology and Online Safety

We live in an age now whereby most people have some sort of computer, phone, tablet device and use them quite often. Heck, even my children have tablets that they play on and mess around on. But just how safe are children using technology?

I recently read an article on Tech Lounge about just this. The online voucher code website, My Voucher Codes​ have spoken to parents to find out their concerns over children using technology as part of their everyday lives, asking 'How would you rate the following parenting issues related to technology?'

And you want to know the results? Well, it's quite shocking really. 58% of people asking were extremely worried about online bullying and 48% were concerned about grooming. I was surprised that these figures weren't higher actually, being a parent means that I constantly worry about my children, not just now, but about what will happen in the future too. I worry about my children going online and having access to a world full of negativity and bad things.
Photo by patrisyu from freedigitalphotos.net
The effect of technology and social media on education was the main concern for the majority of parents along with addiction to social media and privacy. 
As a parent, you want to make sure your children have boundaries, limiting access to these sites, setting time limits as to when children can go online and making sure that they don't lose themselves into the world of social media is all part of protecting children from anything bad happening. 

When asked about how parents would stop any of these online issues from arising, most parents said that they would block access via router to stop their children accessing adult content as well as monitoring what their children are doing online and on social media to keep them protected. 

I'm lucky at the moment that my children are still young and so only go on their tablets to play games and read. Also, their tablets have full privacy settings on them and have access to the internet blocked to make sure that they don't accidentally access anything inappropriate. 

But of course, it wont always be this way. There will come a point where my children will go online and use social media and it does worry me. It worries me a lot about how easy certain things are to access online, but when it gets to this point, I will make sure I try my hardest to block any content that I feel is inappropriate and am already teaching them about using technology safely and setting limits on the amount of time they spend on computers and tablets.

What is your biggest worry when it comes to children and technology?

24 February 2015

Asda's Half Term Toy Event

If you popped in to Asda over half term, you will have noticed that they have a huge toy event on at the moment. Well, this event finishes tomorrow so I thought I'd just let you all know and give you a reminder, to get down there and check out what they have on sale, before it finishes. 

Turtle Toys
If your child was a big fan of the Ninja Turtles film that came out last year, then they'll love the action figures that accompany this. In the toy event, these are on sale at £7 each, including the turtle and a range of the bad guys from the films too. The DVD itself is even in the sale too. 

Princess Sofia
If you have Disney Junior then I'm sure you have watched Sofia the First millions of times. my boys love it and are always singing along to it whilst watching on the television. This week the Sofia doll is in the Asda event at only £15 which is an amazing deal. 

Lego Movie
Probably one of the biggest kids films of last year, The Lego Movie. 'Everything is awesome' when it comes to the sale price of only £7 for this fab, funny film that is not only a great kids film, but adults love it too!

Well, you can't have a good toy event without Barbie being involved and this week, the Mega Barbie Camper Van is only £15 which is fantastic value for such a fab toy. 

And it's not just these, there are many more amazing toys on sale in the Asda toy event and loads of DVD's too. 

I'm definitely popping in to Asda tomorrow to stock up on DVD's for the boys to watch when the next school holidays arrive!

You can find all these toys and much more on the Asda website and in store.

The Cuddle Box

The Cuddle Box is a family run business located in the Cotswold's supplying individual baby gifts in sturdy keepsake boxes. The company was created in July 2013 when they realised, that although there were a lot of hampers on the market, there wasn't one that came in a box that can be kept as a keepsake. 

Each of boxes is made up with a selection of items, starting from only £25, and come in either blue, pink or unisex cream. We were offered a Cuddle Box to review since Joseph had just been born and here's what we thought.

We received the Cuddle box, Baby Boy Gift Box B (as named on their site), which is priced at £35 and is perfect as a gift for a newborn as not only does it contain some super cute items inside, but the box can be saved and used as a keepsake box for years to come.

Upon receiving the box, I unfastened the organza and satin edged ribbon and peeked at what was inside. A little handwritten card was on the top of the gifts, which were all sealed up with tissue paper. Inside, the box contained:  

  • A super soft ‘Prince’ blanket
  • An extra soft comforter
  • 1 pair of super cute blue shoes
  • A ‘Prince’ photo frame in blue and white
  • A gorgeous soft blue baby teddy
All lovingly placed into the box and set out for me to fawn over as I peered inside.

The card is lovely and just gives it that personal touch if you are buying as a gift for someone and the little leaflet has the companies details on so you can pop along and view everything for yourself as well as liking their social media pages too.

The photo frame is fab, around the same size as the box in size and has the word 'Prince' across the front. I can't wait till we get Joseph's birth photos printed so that I can put one in here and show it off in his nursery. I adore that the blanket coordinates with the frame too as it has the words 'Handsome Prince' embroidered on the front of it. So soft and cuddly to the touch and washes well too. Joseph loves snuggling into it for his nap time.

I find comforters a great invention. Not only do babies get to have their own little mini blanket to cuddle up to, but they have a teddy head on them so that they actually get something to snuggle with and the little teddy is so sweet too to add in to the mix as are the socks which are just adorable. with a shoes design on them and little laces, Joseph looks super cute in them.

Overall, I am thoroughly impressed with The Cuddle Box. I like that you can pick a box that suits your needs, budget and style and even add little extras too if required. I also love that the box is so hard-wearing and durable that it can be saved and used as a memory box, to keep all those little items inside that you want to cherish forever.

For more information or to see what other boxes they do, check out The Cuddle Box website

23 February 2015

Hampers For Mum This Mother's Day

Now I'm sure it's not just me that is a chocaholic and secretly hopes that most gifts I receive include some sort of chocolate or goodies to treat myself to. So with Mother's Day around the corner, now is the time to start getting your hinting going so that you receive just what you want for the big day.

For me, I am not even hinting any more, I'm full on telling my husband that there will be trouble if I don't receive something that is covered in chocolate and tasty on Mother's Day. 

As you all know, I haven't eaten chocolate properly in 9 months with being pregnant. For some reason, my bumps don't like chocolate (why the heck not?!) and so I haven't been able to eat it. So obviously, now that Joseph is born and I've got my taste-buds back, I am divulging as much as possible. 

What's more, now that I have 3 children, surely that means that I get an even greater sized present!

When it comes to Mother's Day though, I'm sure all us mums end up telling or hinting to our partners about what we want. Although I hate sounding ungrateful, my shelves are getting packed to the edges with perfume, smellies and bath bombs (seriously, I think my husband is trying to tell me that I smell or something!) and for Mother's Day I prefer something that wont get stuck on a shelf or into the cupboard, something that is a treat, just for me, something that I love. 


And when it comes to chocolate, there is so much to choose from. Nut crunch, truffle bars, Continental fillings, fruits, caramels and so much more. Just thinking about it makes me salivate with desire. I love a big gooey box of nutty and caramel chocs that are just for me to devour.

If it was up to the kids I'd probably end up with a colouring book and some half eaten sweets from the shop haha, so I have taken to leaving my laptop on the side with hampers for her from Thorntons left open on the front page, just so my husband gets the hint. 

Obviously, you need to stick to a budget and there are loads out there, from only a few pounds, right up to big, elaborate hampers full of chocolatey goodness, all full of variety and different boxes packed with amazing flavours and fillings. When it comes to chocolate and treats, there is something suitable for everyone. 

I know it doesn't really matter about presents. Really, I'd be happy with spending the day with my children and hubby, or a simple card. But if you're preparing for your mum or wife/partner, and want to get her something that you'll know she will love, think chocolate!

21 February 2015

Win Henry Hugglemonster Goodies

I haven't ran a giveaway for a while so I thought I'd launch one today to win a cute prize for kids. A Henry Hugglemonster stamper set, which includes 6 Wooden handle stampers and stamp pad, and a coin purse too in the shape of Henry himself. How cute are these?!

For your chance to win, entry is simple, just let me know, who is your child's favourite character from Henry Hugglemonster, and by filling 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. After the one mandatory entry, others will open up to give you extra entries. You do not have to enter by all methods but these will give you extra entries into the competition if you do. 

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

Ends midnight 15th March

20 February 2015

Don't Underestimate House Updating Costs

When it comes to buying a house, there are many aspects that you need to factor in before making that big offer and stamping down your routes. Not only is the price of the house a big part of it, but also, what needs doing to the house itself. Things that you might not think about at the time can become really expensive once you move in. 

So I thought I'd write a post about rooms in the house and what to look out for.

Kitchen Woes
The kitchen is obviously the place where all the big, expensive appliances go and, therefore, you need to make sure that it is capable of holding everything you need. When we got our house, our kitchen was the perfect size for us, but at that time, I didn't factor in the fact that we would have more children, and after buying a new, huge freezer to pack all our food into, I realised that it wasn't big enough. Short of building an extension to fit everything in, we had to settle on keeping the freezer in the hallway for the time being. 

Also, think about the fixtures and fittings. Is the kitchen to your taste? If not then make sure you factor that into the price as good quality kitchens can cost thousands to replace, even more so if the appliances are integrated into the cupboards. 

Our cloakroom, 3 months after moving in after damp took hold 
Bathroom Problems
Bathroom retailer, UK Bathrooms ran a survey (which was picked up by, and featured in the Independent) which asked more than 1,000 people what they would find most off-putting in a bathroom if buying a house? and surprisingly, half put black mould or a bad silicone finish at the top of their list which did shock me as, like a quarter of the people asked, I would say an outdated bathroom suite. 

Imagine, moving in to a property with an ugly coloured, or outdated bathroom suite. Not only would you need to spend more money to replace it but to also have a bathroom health check too as it is more than likely that the pipes, fittings, etc may need replacing too if they are as old as the suite. 

Redecorating is a pricey job
Another one that people forget about. Oh, it doesn't matter what the décor is like as you'll replace it right? Well yes, obviously, but do you know how much painting, wallpaper, re-plastering costs, not to mention new carpets and wooden flooring, it all adds up in the long run. 

Obviously, it's not just these areas as the garden costs can add up too. Not to mention to make sure that the house is big enough to grow in to. You don't want to be having to move a few years down the line when you've had another child and the house no longer fits your requirements. 

So make sure, before you go handing out all your savings, that you have taken everything into the equation, house size, what needs doing and work out whether the house is then worth it to you. 

19 February 2015

Reboot Your Blogging: 2015 Best Practice

These days, everyone is blogging and sharing content, but the best bloggers are the ones with an efficient system behind the posts. If you’re an aspiring blogger, looking to get your message out into the world, then you've come to the right place. In this article, I'm going to share four easy steps to blogging regularly and efficiently. 

Have a clear theme 
Before you begin posting, decide on a general theme for your blog. Will you be writing about travel, food, music, parenting, like mine, or something else? Whilst it can be good to mix things up occasionally, if your content is too broad, you’ll find it harder to gain a solid readership. You’ll also find it easier to keep focused when you have a central theme to get your teeth into. You’ll find you can approach your subject from different angles and measure your audience’s response accordingly. 

Photo by Salvatore Vuono from freedigitalphotos.net
Verify your email subscriber list 
One great way to let people know about your blog is to send snippets out via a regular email. Include two or three article titles within the email, along with the first couple of lines from each. (you can sign up to mine over on the right hand side of my blog) This will be enough to grab your reader’s attention, encouraging them to click through to your blog. However – your emails will only be effective if they reach your followers. Email verification will ensure that every email address you’re sending to is valid. If your list isn't verified then you risk being penalised, meaning your messages won’t get through. 

Keep an ideas list 
We all know how it goes – you sit at your computer trying to think of ideas for a blog post and nothing comes. Then, when you’re on the train the next day you suddenly get inspired. Rather than trying to remember all your ideas or jotting them down on the back of your hand, set up an on-going ‘ideas list’. This can be in the form of a notebook you carry around, or it could be an app on your phone. Just make sure it’s something you can keep with you when you’re travelling and that you don’t need an internet connection to access it. I have a notes section on my phone which I am always using to jot down ideas for new posts.

Set up a posting schedule 
Great bloggers know that using a schedule is the best way to post consistently. This can be as simple as setting up notifications in your desktop calendar, or creating a spreadsheet of dates. You can then schedule your posts, which will help you keep consistency. This is also a great way to plan your content, coordinating it with things like public holidays and events.

So there you have it, my tips on becoming a blogger and how to keep up with your blog.

18 February 2015

Toxic Fox Mother's Day Competition

With mother's Day just around the corner, now is the time to get prepared and buy the perfect gift for your mum. Or you could just enter the Toxic Fox competition that is currently running and try to win something instead.

I am a huge fan of the Toxic Fox website as they offer gorgeous items from ClaireaBella and Typography of Love which are truly stunning and much, much more. And now you have the chance to win one of 4 £50 vouchers to spend on the Toxic Fox Mother's day collection. 

I had a quick browse around the website, all the Mother's Day gifts are set out into different sections so it's easy to look around and find something that your mum would love, and if I was lucky enough to be a winner, I think I would go for a lovely ClaireaBella mug from the 'Unique Mum' section as I my mum loves her coffee and would get loads of use out of this. 

To enter all you need to do is go and browse around their fabulous Mother's Day Gifts and Ideas, pick your favourite present and share it on your social channel of choice. Choose between, TwitterFacebookPinterest or G+ and to ensure Toxic Fox can see your entry please use the hashtag: #toxicfox 

How easy peasy is that!

To check the full terms and conditions of the competition visit here and don’t forget to enter before 1st March and the four lucky winners will be announced shortly after closing.

And whilst you're over there, if you do decide to have a cheeky purchase, use the code: TFMother at check out to get yourself a lovely 10% off (valid until the 15th March and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer).

Planning A Family Friendly Break

The school holidays can get a little boring for the children after a few days. Not only that but, since we have a newborn little one, it means that we can't get out much to do everything that we usually would. 

That's why I am already thinking about and planning what we can do during the July holidays as not only will Joseph be a few months old then and be more alert to do things, but those holidays are 6 weeks long so we need to make sure that we have a packed calendar to fill up the days. 

Usually, I would book a break to the seaside so we could spend a few days at the coast, playing on the beach and paddling in the sea, but since this wont be possible with having a newborn and trying to get a pram around the beach, I've decided instead that we'll book a break to somewhere else, somewhere that the kids will love just as much and that will give us places to go to whilst there too.

Photo by Tim Beach from freedigitalphotos.net
That's why, this year, we'll be going to Farnborough. Farnborough is a town in north east Hampshire and is home to 2 activities that the boys will love. The Farnborough Air Sciences Trust Museum and the Farnborough International Airshow. 

Charlie loves anything to do with aviation and Thomas loves vehicles of any sort, including planes, this is why we've been looking down south. Both of the places are perfect for the boys and they will love getting to see an airshow and view planes and aircrafts flying through the sky, but to also go to the museum and see old planes, military ones and see how they work etc would be ideal for the boys. 

After looking around, I found that the Holiday Inn Farnborough is quite close to all amenities and would give us an ideal location and starting point in our holiday jaunt away. From there we can easily get to both the museum and airshow with ease. 

Photo by Dan from freedigitalphotos.net
Not only will this give the little ones a fantastic opportunity to view some great old and modern planes, but the Hampshire countryside is stunning also and it means that we can also go on long walks through the fields, seeing wild animals and have picnics in the sunset whilst watching over the rolling hills. 

It will be nice to get away on our first holiday as a family of 5, and to not only go to some amazing places, but to get out into the open air and have a break away from technology and city living for a few days.

Have you ever visited the Farnborough Airshow or the Museum? I would love to know what other people think about them before we go. 
- Featured Post

17 February 2015

I Think My Home Hates Me

You know when you finally think that your house is sorted, you have everything you need, everything is working, and it's perfect, but then something breaks. Why does that happen? I don't think we've even gone a day without there being something in the house that is playing up.

Why is it me that they always break on? I seriously am starting to think that my house does hate me, as no matter what is going to pop it's clogs, it will always wait until I'm using it and then pop, broken!

It's always in the kitchen too. You know, where all the expensive things are. It might start off small with the toaster playing up, bang, £30 down the drain to replace it. Or the microwave. A bit more expensive if you want a quality one, but again, is a doable replacement. But then comes the biggies. The things that cost more than a chunk of the shopping money. 
Photo by cooldesign from freedigitalphotos.net
After deciding that I hated the kitchen as it was, I got the hubby to redecorate it. Whilst doing so, why don't we defrost the fridge freezer I thought. It hasn't been done for a while so is probably due a good clean out. Then, it comes to turning the fridge freezer back on and I realise that something isn't right. It doesn't seem that cold. What good's a fridge that wont keep things cold. 

At the moment, it seems to be holding out, but I don't think it's going to be long until it goes to the big appliance storage in the sky. So I've been looking for a replacement, not to buy straight away but to gage a reasonable price and so we can start saving for when it's needed. After having a quick look around, I've found that the Panasonic fridge freezers are not only a great price and are energy efficient, but they are uber modern too. 

Now we just need to start saving. but it doesn't stop there... 

Our kitchen tap has been dripping for a while. Nothing serious, it just needs a new washer. Or that's what we thought. It turns out that it needs a new part inside it, but to replace this certain bit would cost more than replacing the whole tap. 

And so that means more money down the drain, quite literally actually! Like I said, I think my house hates me!

16 February 2015

Ways To Make Your Home A Healthier Place

Looking for quick and easy ways to make your home a healthier place to live? Here are four ideas you might not have thought of before: 

Ration the remote 
It’s so tempting to come home, eat, then flop down on the sofa in front of the telly. But as we all know, that’s a great way to get earn yourself couch potato status. So why not declare your TV remote ‘out of bounds’ for an hour or so? 

No telly will force you and your family to do something that can’t fail to be healthier than slouching around, like going for a walk, pottering around the garden or dancing to some music. 
Photo by samuiblue from freedigitalphotos.net
Swap the biscuit tin for a fruit bowl 
Out of sight, out of mind. That’s the best place for the biscuits and cakes of this world. A biscuit tin that’s on show is much more likely to get dipped into by snacking fingers than one that’s tucked away in a cupboard - preferably a very high up cupboard. 

Much better to put a fruit bowl out on show, and fill it with fresh, delicious bananas, apples, pears, and even kiwis if you’re feeling adventurous. Encourage people to dip in, and don’t tell them where you've hidden the biscuits. 

Get a dehumidifier 
Damp in the home isn't just unsightly, it’s downright dangerous to your health. Investing in a dehumidifier will eliminate dastardly dampness. But these cool little machines pack so many more health benefits for your home. Dust mites - microscopic meanies that increase allergies and asthma symptoms - thrive in humid conditions. 

Dehumidifying will see them pack their bags and head off out of your house to somewhere more to their liking (best warn the neighbours). Many other pesky pests, like millipedes, will do likewise if you reduce the humidity. 

Photo by arztsamui from freedigitalphotos.net
Go green 
No, I'm not suggesting you paint your walls a bold shade of lime (although there’s nothing wrong with that). I'm talking buying some house-plants. Why? Because plants and people live well together. We breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide, and plants do the exact opposite. Having more oxygen around is obviously healthier for you. 

Plants are also good at removing toxins from the air, including nasties like formaldehyde (found in things like shopping bags, vinyl and cigarette smoke). Of course, most plants also look and smell nice, making us all feel that little bit better about life.

15 February 2015

Meeting Our Baby - A Birth Story

So, since it's been a week since the big event, I thought I'd better had write my birth story, to get it all down and give my experience of my third labour. 

To be honest, it wasn't anything like I'd expected. Both my other labours were near enough exactly the same. I'd had high blood pressure throughout the labours, I mean, off the chart blood pressure and had the choice between having the epidural which would bring my blood pressure right down, or a caesarean. Well I didn't want a caesarean so had the epidural both times which slowed down my labours but did help my blood pressure. 

So, when I'm writing about this labour, it feels weird that it's the total opposite of how I thought it would go. 

Here goes then...

It all started at 3.30am on the 8th February. I woke up, for what felt like the one hundredth time to go to the toilet. But this time I felt weird. I wasn't in pain, well not any more pain than usual, but I just had this feeling that something would happen soon. 

You know when someone tries to explain labour and says 'you'll know when you're in labour, you just know' yeah that, well it annoys me too. How can you 'just know'. Well I'm sorry to tell you all, but you just do. I think as your body starts to prepare, your brain works in overdrive to get ready for the event that is about to take place and these are the signals that cause you to 'just know'. 

Anyway, let's get back on track shall we. 

As I said, I just knew that something was going to happen and so between then and around 6.30am I spent trying to sleep which didn't really happen. It was more of a skipping between being awake and a slight, very light sleep. Then I woke up feeling like a needed the toilet, and to my embarrassment, a little wet too. I went to the toilet and felt a trickle. No, I hadn't wee'd myself. I tiny little trickle of my waters. So that was the sign and I knew that we'd shortly be meeting our little boy. 

I got a towel and laid it on the bed before trying to get some more sleep. In all this time, I'd still had no pains at all. 7.30am arrived and I woke with a totally weird feeling. It's so hard to explain. Like someone had flicked the bottom of my bump, near to my cervix. But kind of a twisting flick. And that was it, water went leaking everywhere. 

At that moment in time I panicked. Not about labour, but my memory foam mattress that had cost us hundreds. I didn't want it ruining. (isn't it weird what you think about when stressed haha) So like some stealthy ninja, I grabbed the towel and jumped out of bed, screaming at my husband to go get towels, quick. 

And it kept coming, and coming, and coming. Seriously, how much water was in there? I was starting to doubt being pregnant and maybe I just had a bump full of water!

But no pains, nothing at all. 

I rang the hospital to let them know and, as it's my third baby, they told me to come in when I felt ready, when the pains start and just really, when I can't bear it any more. What's the point in going in now I thought, I didn't even feel like I was in labour. 

So we got the kids dressed and warned my mum that we'd be dropping them off at some point. 

Then the pains. 

not even starting off small. Just a smack in the face with horrendous, agonising pain. Just after 8am, and they were coming every 3 minutes. Better get ready I thought, still no rush though, labour takes hours. 

I walked, with the kids and my hubby, to my parents house, only 3 doors away like and then we rang a taxi. By this time it was about quarter to 9. 

Getting out of the taxi at hospital, I felt like I couldn't walk. The immense pain was debilitating and I was gripping my husband as we walked to MAC (maternity assessment centre). 

After checking me, I was already 5cm dilated and they said I needed to go straight to delivery and they brought me a wheelchair. Now all I remember was feeling really angry. How did they expect me to get up and sit in a wheelchair when I was in so much pain. I just remember screaming at them (oh the shame) but I managed it, and we went the short distance to the delivery suite. 

After getting on the bed and my delivery midwife arriving, she went to check how far I was. I started screaming that I just couldn't do it, get me something. Something to take the pain off, I needed the epidural. 

Then she said it, 'it's too late'. In the 5 minutes in coming from MAC, I was 10cm dilated and he was ready to come. My husband asked if it was okay to pop to the vending machine to get a coffee just as I screamed, no, more like sounded like a possessed donkey, that I needed to push and the midwife pointed out that there was no time, he was coming now. 

3 pushes, THREE! And he was out. 

I remember sucking the gas and air like it was going out of fashion and the midwife then put this baby on my chest. What, already I thought. My brain just couldn't get around the fact that he was here. 

And then I cried!

I'm not really an emotional person, but giving birth does this. This overwhelming feeling of relief, pride, everything all rolled in one, and I just laid there stunned, cuddling this little boy that I had just given birth to. 

Joseph looked so snuggly in his Cosatto Hold 
car seat which we used to take him home in. 
The placenta was delivered shortly afterwards and the cord was left attached to the baby until it had stopped pumping as this is supposed to be good for baby. The cord was then cut and, after the midwife getting both me and the hubby a cuppa and some toast (nice that they think of the partner too) we were left to have some bonding time with our baby. 

So, now I can finally let you all know, Joseph was born on the 8th February, 9 days overdue, at 9.28am weighing 8lb 3oz and is just adorable.

As I had previously had 2 normal births and this was went so well too, they said that I could have a quick discharge, I didn't even need to go onto the ward. We spent a few hours in the birthing room, admiring our little boy, then they discharged us.

We spent the rest of the afternoon just fawning over our new arrival, the boys just adored meeting him, and we are so happy to now be a family of five!

13 February 2015

How To Survive Half Term

Half term can be a very stressful time. Your already in a routine of getting your children ready for school in the morning and then having those few hours to get things done. I mean, I know that most people think that the house is cleaned by the fairies that fly in at night, but that's just not true, us stay at home parents are the ones that keep the house running daily.

So when it comes to the school holidays, this routine goes out of the window and all hell can break loose. That's why you need to prepare in advance, so that you can survive the next week.

If you are struggling to come up with ideas for what to do in the holidays then check out the AttractionTix blog as myself and a few other bloggers have given our tips on how to survive the school holidays but here is what I think.

Photo by Stuart Miles from freedigitalphotos.net
Plan, plan, plan!!!
I have my weekly planner which I use for blogging and this week it will be a saviour as I use it to write down a plan of things that we will do each day. Keeping a note of everything will also keep me sane and on track for school holiday happiness.

Get stocked up
We have a huge craft box which I keep filled to the brim with different supplies for our crafting days. Everything from paper and paint, to glitter and beads. It means that no matter what we decide to make, we have the tools to get the job done.

Get prepared by stocking up over the year and keeping a box so that you aren't running to the local craft shop in the morning so that your children can get crafty, this will only cause unnecessary stress when you could be enjoying the time with your children instead.

Get Printing
If you're planning on baking during the holidays, find recipes now. Pop along to the recipe websites that you love and print the recipes off that you will be using, sticking each sheet into your organiser on the day that you'll be using them. This way you don't have to hurriedly search for recipes and will know what you are doing.

If you are planning on going on days out during the holidays, make sure you do your research first. Yes, attractions are usually open in the school holidays but remember that some will have special events on that may cost a lot more to get access to or may even have private events on and be closed to the public. To avoid disappointment, check out the places beforehand to make sure that they will be open on the day you're visiting.

And most importantly, have fun. The school holidays aren't just for children. these are the precious few extra days that you get to spend with your children before they have to go back to school so make sure you enjoy every single day. 

12 February 2015

Get Your Craft On This Valentine's Day

When it comes to Valentine's day, it doesn't just have to be about you and your partner, you can get your children involved with some lovely crafty ideas. We love doing crafts and so anything to get the children involved into these special days is great, not only that but it means that we get to celebrate Valentine's day as a family too.

Wayfair have come up with some fantastic Valentine's day printables which you can use to get crafty at home and make your own romantic gifts for your partner. From gorgeous gift tags to surprise date night cards, there are a few options that can even help keep your children occupied such as the Children's Colour-In Valentine's Cards which can be printed out too. 

I love that, even though Valentine's Day is about romance and couples, you can also do things to get your children involved which is why I will definitely be printing out the card templates for the boys to colour in. Not only that but it's the school holidays soon too so having a few extra sheets of colouring pages will help to keep them busy. 

Simple to do too, all you need is a printer and some card or thick paper. You just printout the designs and then get to work creating a masterpiece. Using any textile you can think of. Colours, paints, crayons or even get crafty with offcuts of material, glitter and beads to make your cards truly unique.   
The one thing we love to do as a family is bake. We are always making cupcakes or trying out new biscuit recipes, and so the Cute Cupcake Flags will come in handy when we create our pink Valentine's cupcakes. 

Again, these are super simple to make. All you need is some paper, a printer, scissors, glue and toothpicks and you're good to go. 

Simply print out the sheet of cupcake flags and cut out each individual template. Fold in half and glue the toothpick into the inside of the fold. 

Then all you have to do is get baking. You could try our super yummy ginger buns recipe or, if pushed for time, buy the buns and decorate to finish them yourself. 

What will you be doing this Valentine's day? Have you bought your partner gifts or will you be getting crafty and making your own personal ones?

11 February 2015

Investing In My Children

When you decide to have a child, you don't just need to think about the here and now, but also, the future. You have to make them top priority for the rest of your life not only with their upbringing but with their biggest decisions such as college, university, having children of their own. Everything that matters. 

The one thing that you know will be important, is money. No matter what your children want to do, it will not doubt cost a hefty amount of money and that's why it's best to think about that as soon as you have children, an investment in their future if you will, and getting organised now, means that you'll be prepared for any eventuality in their grown up years. 

As soon as Thomas was born, I opened him a Child Trust Fund. This is an account that I pay money into every month and that he (or anyone else) can not access until he is 18 years old. I did exactly the same with Charlie too, although his was a Junior ISA and will also be getting an account for Joseph in due course. 

Not only are they super easy to set up, most being able to do online and set up a monthly direct debit out of my account, but they are practical and it means that I am helping towards any costs that they may have when they enter adulthood. 

The set amount comes out of my account every month and is transferred direct into theirs. It works out that they will all have around £3,000 each when they turn 18. This amount is an estimate though as it could go up or down with inflation, deflation, interest etc but it will be around about that figure. 

It means that no matter what my boys grow up to be, they will have some money behind them to get them on their way. Whether they want to splash it all out on themselves or use it for education or for their own family, it'll be theirs.

Do you put money away for your children? It would be nice to hear other peoples tips for investing in the future.

10 February 2015

My Mum Is My Valentine

When people talk about Valentine's Day, it's always about the romance, the flowers, the doing things with your partner, but never about the other people that matter in your life, just as much as your partner. 

Yes, my husband is my soul mate, the one I love and will spend the rest of my life with. He gave me three gorgeous boys and we have been together for years and, when we took our vows, they were something that would never be broken. 

meeting her newest grandson
Yes, my husband is one that is always in my heart, but my Valentine, well, that's another special person entirely. My Valentine is my mum!

You see, valentine's Day isn't just about everything I said above, it doesn't only apply to our romantic relationships with our other halves. It applies to love with anyone that has a huge impact on our lives and that is just how I see my mum. 

I have always been close to my mum, not only me, but the boys too. They spend a lot of time with her and adore her so much. She has the biggest heart and always helps us at the drop of a hat without even thinking of herself. 

The same size in clothes, shoes and similar tastes too, I am always round her house pinching things out of her wardrobe, going shopping together or even if we're sat at home having a good old gossip, reading our weekly horoscopes and having a brew. Sometimes, more like best friends rather than mother and daughter. 

In fact, if it wasn't for my mum helping me out so much these past few months, I really don't know how I would have coped, being pregnant and looking after the boys. Even when I went into labour, she was round within 5 minutes, picked the boys up and took them home with her until I had given birth and been discharged. 

So that's why this year I'll be making a fuss of my mum this Valentine's Day. No red roses and heart shaped chocolates, but treats with my mum and maybe a good old pamper together. 

Is Valentine's Day just a day for you and your partner or do you also, like me, have someone else that is in your heart, and who is truly your Valentine?
- Featured Post

Getting In The Mindset After Children

I'm sure every mum knows that after children, you can get a little confused, what is known as 'baby brain'. No, it's not a myth, it really does exist. It can last for years not just whilst your children are babies and is more to do with the fact that you constantly have your children on your mind and everything you need to do with them, this is why you end up forgetting everything else. 

Being too busy sorting out children means you get distracted and that's why the remote ends up in the fridge or why your 3 year old gets your babies bottle instead of his dinner. There are thing that you can do to try and keep your brain working though.

I try to play games that get my brain working. Card games are great for this. They get your brain ticking, thinking about different things, and poker, the game that I love playing, teaches you how to multi-task in your game. You have to think about the cards, your opponents cards and trying to keep up your poker face too.

That's why Poker Stars have come up with this fab infographic which shows you how you can learn to play poker by thinking about different aspects of yourself rather than the game. Thinking about how your brain, emotions and physical fitness can affect how you play.

Although this is showing you how you can improve your game and learn how to have a great poker face, I find that a lot of these can relate to parenting too and will help to get your mindset back on track. If you learn these skills then not only will you be able to be a boss player at poker, but you can also use that poker face on your children and learn how to keep your cool under pressure. 

Do you play any sort of games to keep your bran ticking? Check below to see how doing different things and learning about yourself, your brain and exercise can affect how you play in games and in life too.

Tech21 - Valentine's Gifts For Men

When it comes to Valentine's Day, my husband and I aren't really the romantic types. Yes we'll get each other a card, but we don't do the mushy, mushy roses, chocolates, meals etc and usually opt for a gift that is useless and will come in handy. Something that will actually be loved by the recipient. I mean, yes, roses are lovely and all, but they don't last long and cost a fortune. 

This year, I wanted to get my husband something practical. I knew that he was waiting for his new phone coming out, the iPhone 6, and so was trying to think of ways that I could get him something practical to do with that. That's when I came across Tech21. 

Tech21 are phone cases that are designed to withstand accidental knocks and drops making them perfect for romance in the digital world. Each case provides market leading impact protection thanks to Tech21 Impactology’s promise to always provide the most intelligent impact protection. Tech21 use scientifically proven impact absorbing materials, ingenious design and unbeatable user friendliness to create cases that look great and protect too. 

Tech21 Classic iPhone 6 cases deliver 4 features:
  • Scientifically Proven Materials – D3O® inside the Tech21 iPhone 6 case range offers unrivalled protection against accidental drops and falls by absorbing and dissipating impact
  • Advanced Protection – included in the iPhone 6 case is Tech21’s best-selling TPU formula which is recognised for its flexibility and abrasive resistance
  • Slim Fitting design – the Tech21 iPhone 6 case offers the ultimate protection without interfering with the overall design of the phone.
  • Access to all the ports and features – with an Impactology case protecting your iPhone 6 it will be kept in pristine condition whilst still giving full access to the phones ports and features
I was sent 2 of the range out. Firstly, the Classic Shell with Cover which gives full protection all over the phone as it has the shell with back and a flip open front too. Secondly, the Classic Trio Band Case which is the ultimate minimalism as it is just a band around the edge of the phone. 

I love the idea of the full shell with cover as it means that the phone is fully protected, something that is great for my husband whilst he's at work as he's forever dropping his phone. When he doesn't need the full case though, like when he's at home, he now has the option to have just the band. I like this idea as it means that you still get to see the elegance of the iPhone 6 but you get the impact protection from the band. the fact that this is so lightweight and thin too means that you barely even see that it is on the phone. 

The range of Tech21 iPhone6 and iPhone6 plus cases are available direct from the Tech21 website and also from O2, Carphone Warehouse and EE stores. 

6 February 2015

Valentines Day at Asda

Valentines Day doesn't always have to be about big lavish gifts or huge romantic gestures, when you have been married for a few years, Valentines Day becomes more about those little things. A card just to say that your other half has remembered, breakfast in bed, a little text just to say that they're thinking of you. The big things don't matter any more when you are comfortable with your partner. 

My husband and I have been together for over 10 years now and don't really do anything romantic for each other. We have our children, treat each other every now and then, but don't really do the whole, meals, couple time etc together. 

But, when I do pop into Asda, I do usually pick up some of their deals, and this week, that is Valentines items. Even if it's not really as a Valentine's gift but instead, just cute 'I love you' crumpets which are heart shaped, I can't resist getting them. 

Those and the Breakfast In Bed Kit which has cute little heart napkins, pink glitter hearts, heart shaped food picks, a cute menu and a toast stamp (you can also buy a toast stamp separately too). How cute that you can treat your other half to breakfast in bed with these little treats, not only can you get creative with these and make something yummy for your partner but there are little bits in this set that can be reused and I love the toast stamp. 

Chocolate brownies are a good thing, no matter what time of year, but these Valentines ones are so sweet. I love that you can buy these and treat your other half to some gorgeous chocolate brownies. Although I am a bit confused as to why there are 3 in the pack when it is something that I would associate with couples and so should have two in the pack. Although it did mean that I got a cheeky extra brownie which is a plus!

Candles are something I love and the little set of 3 heart shaped ones are lovely. I don't think I would actually light them though and instead will place them on a little stand in our bedroom, just to give it an extra romantic touch. 

The Hunky Monkey is obviously more of a little novelty gift. Most people love getting heart shaped plushies or bears, but this monkey one is super quirky and something that I much prefer for me personally. Not only that but he is super soft and cuddly too. 

Whatever you want to buy for Valentines Day, make sure you get down to Asda and grab the goodies soonish so that you can treat you other half. You can find all these items and much more on the Asda website and in store. 

5 February 2015

Week Overdue: The Waiting Game

Well, I was supposed to be taking a break from the blog as bump was due last Friday and I want a few weeks to get my head around having three children. But alas, he I'd still holding out, well holding in actually and won't budge at all. Today, I am 6 days overdue and getting very impatient waiting for bump to arrive. 

On Tuesday I went to the midwife who gave me a stretch and sweep to try and get him moving. A stretch and sweep is basically where she (the midwife) places 2 fingers into the cervix and sweeps around the edge of it whilst also stretching it a little. This is the try and separate the membranes and can bring on labour. The stretch and sweep itself isn't painful. It does feel a little uncomfortable, as you'd expect when someone is fiddling down there, but it's not that bad really. 

After the visit to the midwife, I went for a little walk as I thought this may help to push bump down and hopefully out. Towards the afternoon I was getting little achy pains so decided to try a hot bath. Hot baths aren't recommended in pregnancy as they can bring on labour, so now in overdue, that doesn't really matter. 

The hot bath actually started to work a little and I lost my plug. Not the bath plug haha but my mucus plug which is what covers the cervix. This usually happens before labour although the mucus plug can replenish itself so isn't actually a sign that labour is imminent. Oh, and in case you were wondering, a mucus plug basically looks a little like thick snot (tmi I know) and can have blood in it. 

I got myself quite excited at this point as the midwife had already pointed out that I was 2cm dilated, the stretch and sweep, walk, hot bath and fact that I'd lost my plug might actually work. Was this labour about to start? I decided, to help things along and probably make myself look like an idiot, to dance around the room, wriggling my hips and moving as much as possible. Again the aches were there. 

But then, it all wore off. As fast as it had started to be painful, that was it. It just disappeared. I was totally gutted! 

So now, it's back to the waiting game. If bump isn't born by Monday then I will have to go into hospital to be induced. Well, not induced really, as I'm already 2cm dilated, they don't have to induce me, they'll instead just busy my waters and let labour start itself then. 

Once again, I'll let you all know as and when anything happens. You can keep track on twitter where I do my daily moaning. Give me a follow if you don't already @Yorkshire_Mummy