28 August 2015

Weaning Update - Vital Baby Essentials

Joseph has taken to weaning like a duck to water. Loving to try every new food and always wanting a variety which is great to see. He's now on 3 full meals a day and loves this new routine. It seems to have settled him more too as he's now going for longer between feeds. 

All our weaning essentials have come from Vital Baby as we are proud to be #WeaningWarriors for them whilst Joseph goes through his feeding journey. So today I am going to talk about Vital Baby. About their products that have helped Joseph start onto this new path and how he is getting on with them.

So, who are Vital Baby? In 2005 the Vital Baby and their feeding products was born after a few years developing the range of baby feeding accessories and quickly became known for quality, innovation and family values that inspired its creation. 

When it came to weaning Joseph, I was apprehensive. Babies can be so fussy with foods and it's all about perseverance and finding what they like and then trying to grow that base over time. 

To help on this new journey, Vital Baby sent us a set of weaning essentials. We received:

  • First Food Pots
  • Weaning Set
  • First Tumbler
  • Soft Tip Weaning Spoons
  • Press 'n' Pop Mini Freezer Pots

When they arrived, Joseph had just started to try his first foods and so we got to using them straight away to see how they faired. The bundle of products that we received contained everything that we needed to start weaning. From the basics of bowls and spoons to freezer pots for making your own homemade weaning creations.

When it comes to Vital Baby products, I love that they think about problems that parents may come across. The weaning set combats one of the main ones that we have faced. Having food for Joseph when we are out and about. The weaning set comprises of a bowl which is sealed with a lid for easy travel and a clipped part on top of the lid which holds a spoon 

I think it's great that I can just prepare food before we go out and then throw it into the changing bag until Joseph wants it. No searching the bag for runaway spoons or worrying about opening my bag to a baby food bomb as the contents are kept safely inside the lidded bowl. 

For when we are at home, I have found that the first food pots, baby's first tumbler and soft tipped spoons are predominantly used at feeding time. 

The First Food Pots are the perfect size for feeding a full meal to Joseph and also have clip on lids for if you make up extra and put it in the fridge for dinner time or want to pop out on your travels. Holding around 6oz of food, this is well enough for young weaners or for keeping snacks in and also keeping them fresh by closing the lid.

The super soft spout on the Baby's First Tumbler is great for sensitive gums. With the option of having either non-spill or a free flow 2 in 1 valve, it gives you control of how the drink comes out. It is the perfect size for little hands and Joseph has no problem at all drinking from it although I do think it would benefit from handles to make this easier when baby's are first learning to hold the tumbler.

When it comes to the spoons, I think it's great that you et a pack of them as they always seem to be the thing that disappear. They are soft tipped to protect sensitive mouths and have curved handles which gives Joseph a better grip on them. 

By far though, out of all the products, my favourite are the mini Press 'n' Pop freezer pots. You get 8 in a pack and each pot holds 1oz/30ml. I make a lot of baby food myself as I try to get Joseph eating the same as us just a more blended, mashed and baby-friendly version. So when it comes to freezing food, these pots are perfect. 

The secure clip-on lids protect the food from contamination and from leaking and they stack up for storing neatly in the freezer. The soft Press 'n' Pop bases are inspired though as it means no more trying to force the food out of the pot when needed, you just simply press in the base and out pops the food. Joseph has 2 pots worth of food at a time so it means that I can have 4 meals ready and prepared in the freezer for when he wants them. 

Products with thoughts gone in to them, with attention to detail, with everything a parent needs when it comes to weaning time. They have made weaning easy and fun now that I'm no longer worrying about storage and freezing. 

You can find more information and purchase these products from the Vital Baby website (they are available in pink and blue as well as the orange that we received) and now I can see why these are award winning products!

26 August 2015

Life Lately #1: A Tale Of Adventure And Exploration

With it being the summer holidays, it has been the perfect time to get out and explore our local area. Visiting places we haven't been before and learning about new things with the boys. We're now over half way through the holidays and the boys have loved getting out and about as a family and seeing new places and visiting old favourites too.

Here are just a couple of our highlights from the past few weeks...

I spoke recently about our love of Yorkshire which you can read here. We get to go places all the time but have, in the past few week, visited the Royal Armouries, which is full of historical weaponry and armour.

The boys loved visiting the hunting area and seeing all the animal armour on the horses and the huge elephant which they did think was real and a little scared of it! The Hall of Steel is a masterpiece and a great thing to look at.

We then walked back to central Leeds on the canal which was a lovely walk to take.

Although the summer has mostly consisted of mediocre weather, we have had a few nice days and we took advantage of this with a trip to the beach.

We adore Scarborough and try to get there as much as possible. The beach does get very busy though in warm weather so we jaunt off to Cayton Bay which is about a 10 minute drive from Scarborough. A lovely Bay with its unspoilt views and not busy at all. They boys can run about and paddle in the sea on the long stretch of beach.

Not everything has to cost money and long trips on the train, so during the days that we have had nothing planned, we made sure to get out as much as possible to different parks and do different things each time.

Going to the park doesn't mean just playing on the swings and getting dizzy on the roundabout. There is so much more to do to keep little ones moving and exploring.

Taking a football or Frisbee is a great way to run off some steam if the play area is busy and we even take the bikes or scooters up too as the boys love being able to ride around such a vast area. One of the parks we went to also runs by the Leeds-Liverpool Canal but unfortunately we couldn't have a walk down there as we had the park and there are about 80 steps to go down to get to the canal.

There are many other points that we can get on to the canal though so that is going on a list of things to do in the next couple of weeks.

Being from a big family, there are a lot of family occasions to go to. Last week signalled a third birthday party. This was at Monster Kidz in Leeds. We have never been there before so it was good to visit a new play gym and see how it compared to the ones we've previously been to.

Monster Kidz was huge and had loads to do for the boys and even a small play area for Joseph who loved interacting with other babies that were there.

The party was great. All set in a little party room with flickery lights and music, the birthday boy getting a huge throne to sit on and a buffet of food as far as the eyes could see. The boys loved the day eating and playing, and even more playing.

It has been an amazing few weeks, spending time as a family and exploring the area around us. I now can't wait for these next few weeks to see what adventures we go on and new places that we will be visiting.

25 August 2015

Everybody Learns: Lexia Reading and Writing Workbooks

Lexia Reading and Writing workbooks are a part of a programme that have been designed by primary and special needs teachers to help children make progress with their early reading and writing skills. Providing repetition of exercises to aid children's learning as they follow along the books. 

The books include black and white line drawings that children can colouring in as they reach a new page and the books are very engaging, encouraging children to participate and learn with the books. 

Thomas' reading and writing skills have always been a little behind. Only last year, he was diagnosed with having a lazy eye and prescribed very strong glasses to aid his sight. This was when he started to get better with his skills and has slowly progressed throughout the year. 

He has been playing catch up ever since and, although he isn't behind in what they would expect his attainment level to be at school, I was worried that these school holidays would set him back if he had a full 6 weeks of no structured learning. 

So I was sent out a set of the Lexia Reading and Writing Books levels 1-4 for Young Children for Thomas to work through. Each level comprises of 2 books, each getting progressively harder as the books go up in stage.

The workbooks help children to practice reading, handwriting, phonics and spelling with engaging illustrations throughout and symbols to show and explain exactly what needs doing within each page. 

Starting from level 1 which helps with letter formation (a to z), phonics and sounding out words and spelling 3 letter words. Letters which need filling in are dotted so children know exactly what they look like and there are hints with pictures describing the word that they're supposed to be writing. 

Level 2 goes over what was learnt in the previous level but excels to words containing blends, digraphs and writing captions. They then progress to level 3 which is about words with a silent 'e', word meanings, reading short stories and answering questions to do with said story. The last level focuses on words with vowel digraphs, reading and spelling two syllable words and answering harder comprehension questions.

So far, Thomas is enjoying working his way through these books. Although not an avid lover of learning, he does like to try his best when doing work and is adamant that he will work through the books to help him gain confidence with his reading and writing so that he can show his teacher just how well he has progressed at home. 

It has been great to see Thomas work his way to the 2nd level 2 book since the start of the holidays and gaining confidence in his reading and writing abilities. 

The Lexia Reading and Writing Workbooks are £24.99 for the set of eight books and can be purchase from the Everybody Learns website.

23 August 2015

Choc Nibbles Frozen Dessert Slice Recipe

During the school holidays, it is hard to come up with ideas to keep to kids entertained whilst the weather is rubbish. We try to get out as much as possible, but it seems that the weather goes against us and so, on days like that, we stay at home and get crafty or make our own recipes up. 

And so, to celebrate the summer, Choc Nibbles has challenged us to use their delicious chocolaty treats as a core ingredient in a frozen dessert in their #iceicenibble challenge. 

So here is our recipe...

You will need:
200g digestives
100g melted butter
3/4 different flavours of ice cream
Choc Nibbles (as many flavours as you like)
Choc Lick

  1. Line a loaf tin with baking parchment (this will make the slice is easy to remove afterwards)
  2. Crush the digestives and 50g of Choc Nibbles into crumbs using a freezer bag and a rolling pin. Mix this with the melted butter and squash down into the loaf tin. Freeze for hour an hour.
  3. Add a layer of ice cream and then freeze again for half an hour. (it's advisable to get soft scoop ice cream as it will spread in the tin easier)
  4. Keep layering with different flavoured ice creams and Choc Nibbles in between each flavour. make sure to freeze in between each layer. 
  5. When the loaf tin is full, sprinkle with Choc Lick and freeze till ready to serve.
  6. Slowly lift the ice cream slice out of the loaf tin and remove the baking parchment.
  7. Serve immediately in slices.

And that's it, simple and easy to make, one that the kids can do on their own.

As you can see from ours, we went for a mint and chocolate theme. So we used mint chocolate chip, white mint, chocolate and vanilla ice creams and a mix of mint and regular Choc Nibbles. This was a favourite with the boys as they love mint ice cream.

I loved creating this recipes as it's something that the boys can do on their own with me just watching and helping with reaching the freezer and melting the butter. 

And it doesn't stop there. You can choose any flavour you like. Go for a jammy ice cream slice using raspberry ripple ice cream and Jammy Choc Nibbles. You could even put the Posh Choc Nibbles in the biscuit base to give it an extra chocolatey kick. 

A perfect recipe to make in advance and then use when needed. Do let me know if you give this a try, it would be great to see your variations.

21 August 2015

Do You Think Green Can Clean?

When it comes to cleaning, you want to buy products that provide a powerful clean and pack a punch against getting rid of dirt and grease, but there is also an aspect of wanting a green cleaner these days. 

We need to look after our planet and the harsh chemicals that are in cleaning products can be damaging, so for the first time ever, Ecover are bring a new generation of cleaning products to the table. Products that have a superior cleaning performance, cleaning 40% more plates, whilst also caring for the planet.

Their brand new washing-up liquid contains 20% more plant-based content than before. Ingredients such as sugar and coconut oil instead of chemical additives, resulting in a powerful cleaning product which is 99.8% plant-based. 

Even the packaging is great for the environment made from Plantplastic which is derived from sugarcane and recycled plastic in their ecological factories that are also sustainably built and are energy efficient. You see, Ecover have thought of everything when it comes to caring for the environment. 

So I was set a task to trail the new Ecover washing-up liquid against the product I usually purchase and see how it compares or differs. Over the past few weeks I had made many meals with a varying amount of washing up and elbow grease needed to see how Ecover worked against hard, burned on food. 

Most of our washing up is fairly easy, such things as sandwiches and light meals leave not much to contend with, but every Sunday we have a big roast dinner which I do hate washing up after. We regularly have lasagne's and pasta bakes too which usually results in having an oven dish with baked on excess food which is a pain to clean. 

So, did the Ecover washing-up liquid achieve a good enough clean...?

Yes it did. And I was actually surprised at how well it cleaned with it being such a natural plant-based product. I was expecting to have to put a lot of elbow grease in to clean the harder pots, but just like any other washing-up liquid, they cleaned very well but without the harshness and with a greener cleaning aspect to them. 

I was also pleased to note that all the ingredients contained in the product have been dermatologically tested and approved for sensitive skin so you're also looking after your skin every time you wash up. 

Personally, I find it hard to find products that are tough on grease and can pack a punch when cleaning but are also great for the environment. Finding a green product in Ecover and being able to still clean as well as I did before whilst knowing that I am helping the planet in the long run and with nice scents too that leave my kitchen smelling delightful. 

Ecover is available in four fragrances, Camomile & Marigold, Pomegranate & Lime, Grapefruit & Green Tea and the one we got to try out Lemon & Aloe Vera. You can purchase on the Ecover website and in most high street supermarkets too. 

18 August 2015

Joseph's Milestones: 6 Months Old

6 months! How have 6 months passed already? Well actually it's over 6 months as we've been so busy and so I forgot to write up this post last week. 

Joseph is now 6 months old...

Over this time, I have seen him grow, literally shoot up in size and also in what he can do, in himself. One of the most beautiful things, is watching you baby grow a little bit more each day. Seeing them notice more things, learn new things even try new things. 

From this tiny little baby that arrived into this world with the shortest labour ever, this gorgeous little boy has grown and become his own little character.

My little baby, my third child, my last child, is growing up, and it seems way too quickly. I sit and watch him sleep on a night and just reminisce about only a few months ago when he was teeny tiny and woke only to have a feed then going straight back to sleep or would grip my finger and hold it tight.

It feels so real now, that we'll never have another baby. Now that my littlest child is growing, getting bigger everyday and becoming his own person, no longer this little fragile newborn he once was.

I watch him and wonder where the time has gone. It has passed so quickly. From that first proper belly laugh (the one that wasn't wind) to his first coo. Watching him start to get moving, rolling over, sitting up to standing up and for a short time, standing unaided.

His first mouthful of food which made him smile with glee at the new taste but also getting to learn what he likes and doesn't like. Mango is currently a no-go.

This little personality growing up everyday and always learning. Watching him learn ow to crawl is so cute. More like a flounder struggling to swim, but at least he's getting there, or he will do eventually.

Joseph is fond of blowing raspberries, his Jumperoo and eating his toes, or trying to but usually ending up with his hand in his mouth. His brothers love to help him along the way playing with him, talking to him and trying to get him to talk albeit a little young but at least they're trying.

Still waking at night for a bottle (he just can't get enough of that milk) but does usually go to sleep around 8 at night, wake for his bottle then back to sleep till 7. So not bad really all in all. With regards to naps, he has a morning sleep and and afternoon one. Staying awake for a lot longer during the day to play an eat (and oh boy does he like to eat!)

As a growing lad, Joseph is comfortably into his 6-9 month clothing (actually, he's been in them about a month!) and is just about going in to size 4 nappies. He has proper cute chunky legs which need the extra space.

It is amazing how quickly a little baby can change and I now can't wait for the next 6 months of changes and new found experiences for my littlest and last child. I just hope it slows down so I don't miss a thing.

Back To School: Shoes With Style

When buying the school uniform for the next year, we all seem to focus on trousers with a good amount of length, stain-proof polo shirts and jumpers with school logos. The one thing that always seems to get left till the last minute though is the shoes. 

You'd think that these would be the most important part as, since your child will be wearing them for around 6 hours at school, they need to be a multitude of different things. They need to be formal enough to fit in with the school dress code, have a stylish edge and most importantly, be comfortable. 

So today I thought I'd put together a list of my favourite brands that I think would look great at the start of the school year to give that formal school look but have a dash of style added in. 

Fashionable Plimsolls
I think a lot of children wear plimsolls nowadays. I remember when I was a child and they weren't in fashion at all, they were the thing you wore for p.e. if you had to but now, they are a stylish item to have in your shoe cupboard.

These Vans Atwood plimsolls are sure to make a cool statement on the first day of school. A way to keep on-trend on the playground but give your child a pair of Vans shoes that are lace fastened and will give them comfort for the whole day. 

The Classic Pair
Again, a staple item that has come from years back when they were a big fashion item. In the 90's, you were on top form if you had a pair of Kickers to show off at the beginning of term

Kickers Reasan laced school shoes are a smart and sporty pair made from leather. These moccasin style shoes boast a streamlined silhouette whilst standing out with the green Kickers logo emblazoned on the back. 

For The Velcro Lovers
Younger children struggle with laces, especially when rushing after p.e. or when they don't have time to stop playing to fasten them. Laces are just calling out to be tripped over and cause accidents so for the runaway child it's best to stick with Velcro to make play easier.

These Timberland Woodman Park shoes not only have a Velcro fastening for getting them on and off with ease, but they are a trainer style for comfort whilst still looking smart enough for school. These robust leather shoes from Timberland are perfect for wear and tear in the school yard. 

I think it is quite hard when buying for children these days as shoes need to have it all. From the comfort factor with good branding, to having a good sole and being robust enough to last even the most adventurous child. 

When it comes to shoe shopping (even shoes for the kids) I'm indecisive and so will probably buy the boys a few pairs each so they can alternate styles and see which they prefer after prolonged wear.

So what do you think, are your children partial to a bit of Velcro, do they pull off the plimsolls with style or are they a fan of the classics? 

16 August 2015

Planning The Summer Holidays Around The Great British Weather

Every year we plan our big days out. Trip to the coast, walks down the canal, fun at the park. Frolicking around the garden and spending as much time as possible keeping cool by jumping in and out of the pool, trying to escape from the heat wave of the summer months. 

Why? Why do we do this?

Every year without fail, 'oh yes, the weather will be great and we'll be out all the time'. No, we are British, since when has the weather actually been nice in the summer. It. Just. Doesn't. Happen!!!

It's actually those last few weeks of the school year that the best weather comes and puts us under false pretence that this weather is here to stay, that we will finally get 6 full weeks of sunshine and a summer to dream about. 

But it doesn't...

So now we need to plan for a fun filled 6 whole weeks knowing that, for the most part, the weather will be rubbish and at best mediocre. 

And I don't mean setting up the Playstation or having Frozen on loop (oh gosh, I still have nightmares about that film. Let it frigging go!), I mean things that will entertain the kids, educate them and having them going to sleep knowing they've had a great day. 

So what can you do?...

Great British Bake Off - Children Style
You know, I know it, everyone knows it. Great British Bake Off is back for another series of cake, cake and more cake. Now is the best time to get out the scales, don a funky apron and get baking with the kids. 

Every week when it's on, figure out one of the bakes that you think you could master with the kids in tow and get down to business making your own version. Could you be this weeks master baker?

Super easy to do and cheap too as most items are pantry items that you'll most likely already have and it teaches your children a great life lesson of crafting their own culinary masterpieces whilst giving some great binding time between parent and child too. What's more, you get to eat the results... Win, win!

Visit Local Attractions
Now I can't talk about what it's like in your area but here in Yorkshire we have some great attractions. Places that are not only fun for kids but are educational too and will help your children to learn historical facts and see artefacts too whilst escaping from the rain.

We have visited York National Railway Museum a few times and are planning a summer jaunt there too in a few weeks. They are home to over 300 years of history and over a million wonderful objects.

The Great Hall houses some of the biggest locomotives and there is an indoor mini train for children to ride on and, if the weather cheers up at all, there is also a steam train which can take you on a small ride on the tracks for a few pound.

A must visit for train enthusiasts.

For historical photography and cinematography fans, there is the National Media Museum Bradford which is home to over 3.5 million items of historical significance. The UK's first IMAX theatre is there, the science of light gallery is a must see and there is a games lounge where you can learn about old games.

A lovely day out learning about the wonders of television and films.

The Royal Armouries Leeds is a wonderful place. It displays over 8500 objects throughout its six themed galleries and there is also an outdoor Tiltyard where live shows take place. Seeing all the history of weaponry The Hall of Steel is a stunning feature of the museum and can be viewed from every floor.

A truly wonderful place to marvel at beautiful weaponry and learn about how and why it was used and how things have changed since then.

If you live in or around Yorkshire then make sure you visit some of these attractions as you wont be disappointed. If not then I'm sure there are some fantastic museums and educational venues near by you which your children will love to check out.

So, make sure that you keep busy in these holidays. Even if the weather is rubbish, you can do a spot of baking indoors, pop to some museums that are fun and interactive or just don your wellies and get out there in the rain. 

Mum Tries | Say Goodbye Baby Bump With Kiqplan Fitness App And Fitbug Orb

A few weeks ago I wrote a post called Goodbye Baby Bump - Aiming To Be Confident In My Body about how I was feeling crappy about my figure and my self-esteem. I spoke about how I had been sent a Kiqplan app and a Fitbug Orb to try and help me on my fitness journey to lose to excess tummy that I had got from having children.

Well today is time to show you the results of using the app and fitness tracker for 8 weeks and tell you about how I got on with it. So here goes...

Being honest, I did struggle to get the Kiqplan app to track at first. It says that it will track automatically by taking the information on sleep and steps from the Fitbug Orb, but you actually have to load up this app and then press the Fitbug Orb button twice to get the stats to load up. Even then, it wouldn't process my sleep tracking and I ended up just having to manually fill this in myself. Other than that, I've had no problems with it.

As you can see from the shots below, I have drastically changed the amount of steps I now do each day. The left picture was my first day using the app and second shot was from yesterday, 8 weeks later. It's amazing how many more steps I have taken and I think that's down to this app as seeing the results spurs me on to try and beat previous steps scores and therefore gets me to workout and walk more.

The exercises were all devised to help with toning up and I found them easy to follow and not too hard working. It would tell you to warm up and then give you an exercise to do, after this telling you to rest fr 30 seconds before going in to the next. The videos were a help too to make sure that I was getting in to the right positions and doing them correctly.

I was excited to try it to see how it faired at tracking my sleep. I don't sleep much as, not only do I have a baby that feeds during the night but, I'm just not a great sleeper anyway. The sleep tracking didn't go to plan though. Because I get up during the night with Joseph, the Orb assumed that I had woken up and stopped tracking my sleep. I then I had re-press the button to get it to track again which was a pain as sometimes I forgot to do this.

Coming on to the recipes, I found these a great help to make yummy treats that were healthy also. The overnight oats were a huge success with even the boys having a try of them and it's nice to see an app thinking about not only the exercise that you do but also what yo are eating and helping to manage both things together to keep you fit and healthy. 

And now for the results. I didn't really need to lose weight as according to my BMI, I am a healthy weight for my height etc and so I was using this app to tone up and try to lose the 'mummy tummy' as I call it.

The above photos show my results and change in just 8 weeks. The photos (again taken on the first day of using the app and yesterday = 8 weeks later) as you can see, show a reduction in my bulged out tummy which is what I was really hoping for. I think, if I carry on using the app at the rate I have been doing so far, then at the end of the 12 weeks, I will be happy with the final results.

The Kiqplan fitness apps are available on Amazon and in Argos stores, or ready to download on the Apple app store and Google Play, as well as from the Kiqplan website and you can find more info on the Orb by clicking through to the Fitbug website

14 August 2015

Win 1 of 2 Wildlife Jack DVD's

The boys are always watching cartons on television. One of their favourites is Wildlife Jack. This is because, not only is it a cute cartoon of Jack (the main character) but he has been added to a wildlife scene of live animals in their habitats. 

The basis of the stories is that Jack lives in a city but his bedroom is transformed when he reads a book written by his grandpa. Jack explores animals whilst teaching the children watching about said animals and different kinds of wildlife and how they live together in the great outdoors. 

This simple and fun programme teaches children about all manners of animals whilst being short and sweet to keep their attention and now you can win a copy of the Wildlife Jack DVD so your children can enjoy it too. 

For your chance to win 1 of 2 copies of Wildlife jack on DVD enter via the Rafflecopter form below.

Please remember to check our full T&C's here. This giveaway is open to the UK only and any entries left that do not follow the required entries will be disqualified. After any mandatory entries, 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 31st August 2015

11 August 2015

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Our Date Night Film?

Since having Joseph, my husband and myself haven't really spent much time together as everything has mostly been about the boys. It's hard trying to find spare time when you're knee deep in toys and washing clothing of a night and don't even ask about getting to go out anywhere on our own as I think the last time that happened was on my birthday 2 years ago!

But we have realised that we do need to try and spend at least some time together and so my parents have offered to look after all of the boys for a few hours so we can do something, just us, together, and have a little break from nappy changes and bottle feeds.

After picking through the options of what we could do, we eventually settled on going to see a movie and got to looking at what is currently out at the cinema. A few caught my eye but the hubby just had to see Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. As you can imagine, I wasn't really up for this and he had to sell it to me. 

Would you believe that I have never seen any of the Mission: Impossible films before?

I do like action films but, for some reason, have just never got round to watching any of the movie franchise. So that kind of made our decision final. Not only at the end of the week would we get to watch the new Mission: Impossible movie, but it meant that for the most part of the week, we would spend the evenings watching the 4 other Mission: Impossible films. 

And I'm glad we did as they are quite the films. So much action and suspense. But would Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation live up to the other 4 movies?

Well, the premise of the film is that the IMF have now disbanded, Ethan Hunt is out in the cold with no one. A new threat called the Syndicate emerges to try and establish a new world order via an escalating series of terrorist attacks via a network of highly skilled operatives.

With what looks to be the most impossible mission to date, Ethan gathers his team together and then joins forces with Ilsa Faust (a British agent whom has been disavowed) who may or may not be a member of the deadly rogue nation. 

Will they all survive? Will Ethan save the world once again? Will Simon Pegg's character, Benji, help keep the humour throughout all the action? Well you'll have to go and see it for yourselves to see how they figure out this impossible mission...

But what about us? Wouldn't you love to try and do something exhilarating, I'm sure the adrenaline junkie inside is screaming out for you to try something fun and thrilling. Well Into The Blue are an experience day gift vouchers provider and have a huge range of activities to get your pulse racing. Maybe do some of the fast and dangerous driving off-road, parachute jumping or even tank driving just to give that extra pinch of thrill. 

Getting to experience just how Tom Cruise managed to pull of some of the most famous stunts from the Mission: Impossible movie franchise. Did you know that he did a lot of his own stunts? He's not alone too as a lot of famous actors have shown just how dedicated they are to their jobs and wanting to make the films as great and terrifying as possible by doing their own dangerous stunts. This fab infographic that I found on Hollywood News shows just some of the big actors who risked their lives doing what they do best, making movies. 

8 August 2015

Mia & Dom Soothing Skin Salve

As I've spoken about before, Joseph has a patch of eczema on his face. Not anywhere else, just his face and it causes his somewhat of a discomfort, especially in this weather when he's warm. It irritates him and, as he has a blanket which he sleeps with on a night and holds across his cheek to go to sleep, I find that it gets worse during the night and will be very red and flared when he wakes. 

We've been trying to look at remedies for his skin condition without having to go down the GP route and using a harmful cream on his face, so when Mia & Dom got in touch and asked if we wanted to try their Soothing Skin Salve, I couldn't turn them down and straight away got using it on his face where the eczema was. 

Mia & Dom is an organic skin care range for pregnancy, babies and sensitive skin founded by Jennifer Feltham who had a desire to use only natural products on her children Mia & Dominic, hence the name Mia & Dom. Dominic suffered with eczema (like Joseph) and so she began creating creams and balms in her own kitchen until the product range launched in February 2015.

These organic and hand made products combine skin-loving botanical oils and butters, infused with essential oils to provide nourishment for even the most delicate skin. 

The Mia & Dom Soothing Skin Salve has a soothing combination of Tamanu and Safflower Oil which helps the wounds to heal with Rosehip Seed Oil to promote healthy skin. Also containing essential oils Lavender and Roman Chamomile which help to sooth the skin. All in all, calming the redness and soothing the itching on his skin. Perfect for combating dry skin. 

Made using vegetable and plant based oils which contain vitamins, minerals and a wide range of Omegas 3, 6, 7 and 9 to give the skin and gentle, natural soothing sensation and they are product to say that they don't contain any petroleum based ingredients like liquid paraffin which can actually dry out the skin. All natural, organic and caring for the skin. 

So, how did Joseph get on with the cream? I'm happy to say that, after using the cream for 2 weeks, I am pleased with the results so far. The Soothing Skin Salve is easy to apply. Quite a greasy formula which glides on easily and absorbs quickly in to the skin.

Joseph started out with a vivid red patch on his left cheek which caused him discomfort and irritated him whilst looking very sore indeed. The photos above show Joseph's face at the very first day, before treatment start, at one week during use and after these 2 weeks where you can see that there is virtually nothing much there any more. 

So overall, I am so happy that Mia & Dom got in touch and asked us to give them a try. Joseph is looking much better and he is no longer irritable on a morning as there is no more flared skin. His eczema seems better everyday. 

You can find more information about the Soothing Skin Salve and purchase it from the Mia & Dom website.

6 August 2015

Mum Tries | Goodbye Baby Bump - Aiming To Be Confident In My Body

I've never been a confident person. Ever since I was young, I have been so self-concious, hating to way I looked. Not comfortable to show off my body and always staying covered up. Even more so now that I've had children as not only do I have stretch-marks but I also have excess skin and a bulge around my tummy.

I see all these women sharing their snaps of them in lovely dresses and wearing figure hugging clothing and get a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach when I realise that I would look a total mess in something like that, like a sack of potatoes.

Even if I didn't have the left over results from growing a human being inside me, I still wouldn't feel comfortable wearing a bikini or something showing my stomach, but in all honesty, I would just love to wear anything without feeling totally and utterly like a failure.

When I was contacted by Kiqplan, I initially felt a wave of horror pass over me at the prospect of having to exercise and show the results on here but eventually I realised that maybe this was the push I needed to help me get over this overwhelming feeling of just being an ugly fat fatty.

So I agreed and in turn was sent a Fitbug Orb and a Kiqplan app to help me on my way.

Kiqplan is a line of 12-week personalised training plans. They have released Goodbye Baby Bump which a fitness app tailored specifically for women looking to regain their pre-pregnancy body or get fit once your bundle has arrived.

The Kiqplan range has been designed by personal trainers, dieticians and qualified fitness experts to provide you with a personalised training plan, including “how-to” workout videos, nutritional advice, healthy recipes, sleep and step targets, plus much more and all the info from your fitness-tracker is sent over to the app to record exactly how you are getting along.

Kiqplan differs from other fitness apps by using the real data it receives daily and turning this into a 12-week training programme that works with you every step of the way, tailored just for you. In addition, Goodbye Baby Bump will provide lifestyle tracking of sleep, weight, and water intake, weekly schedules that include your workouts for the week, customised targets, tips, articles and recipes, and motivational rewards and badges for added encouragement.

Once you have been given the all clear from your doctor, you can begin this exercise programme which is designed to work in tandem with most smart phones and leading fitness-trackers, including Fitbug, Jawbone, Fitbit, Misfit, Nike+, iHealth and more.

All the workouts have been divided into four phases to start out lighter as you are just getting over the labour and getting used to a new baby and slowly progress to a harder workout.

The first phase is very gentle and uses light weights to get the body used to exercising again. Simple to perform exercises which includes a gentle core section designed to switch that core back on. Then onto the second phase which builds on from the first. This stage includes slightly more challenging exercises and heavier weights.

The third phase is a total body circuit workout designed to enhance overall body tone and increase fitness levels whilst still not being exhausting. Remember us mums are busy, busy people so the app is made to be able to fit into your routine and not exhaust you out.

Finally, the last phase is a PHA (peripheral heart action) circuit which will get the blood pumping around the body, maximising calorie burn, increasing fitness levels and help to shift some of that stored body fat.

With the Kiqplan app, I was also sent a Fitbug Orb so that I could get full use out of the app and see it in action. The Orb uses an advanced 3-axis accelerometer to accurately measure your every step and move whilst wirelessly sending all the data to be collated into its online results. The Fitbug Orb can be accessed whilst at your computer to track your stats, or you can download the app to your smartphone for even easier access.

It is fairly easy to set up and your tracking in no time. You just get walking and you'll see it slowly counting before your eyes. Walk past a certain speed and the tracker will also keep note of the aerobic steps that you take and provide more detailed results based on this. What's more, when you go to bed, just press the button in 3 times and it will track your sleep and give you a report on how you have slept.

All the information is then sent over to the Kiqplan app and shown on the dashboard. It shows steps taken with the target amount underneath, how many calories you've eaten and how much sleep you've had.

I have been trying out the Kiqplan app and the Fitbug Orb and am 5 weeks into my 12 weeks journey to say Goodbye Baby Bump. I'll be sharing my review of both the weight-loss aids, the Kiqplan app and the Fitbug Orb in due course, but for me, I don't need to look like a supermodel, I don't need a thigh gap, I just want to feel confident in myself.

Is that too much to ask?