27 March 2015

The BBC Good Food Show Spring Ticket Giveaway

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

End midnight 5th April

3 Ways to Form and Stick to Good Habits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

23 March 2015

Gro-Hush - The Baby Calmer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

22 March 2015

Cosatto Ooba 3-in-1 Travel System

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now just to plan my next adventure using the Ooba!

21 March 2015

Family Love - Our Family of 5!

The boys have always been close to each other. Yeah, they have their moments when they argue and fight, but most of the time they are loving and kind to each other.

Since Joseph has been born, they have been even more loving, not only to Joseph but even more to each other. 

Charlie has been going through the jealous stage and has been getting upset with the fact that he is no longer the littlest one. Not able to cuddle mummy as much as he used to or climb on my knee all the time as now Joseph is here and needs a lot of my attention. 

But since Charlie is going through this jealousy stage, Thomas has taken him under his wing and makes sure that if I'm busy with the baby, that he will keep him occupied and give him extra cuddles and snuggles. 

It's been great to see them bonding together more and lovely to see how they're reacted to the new addition to our family. 

I was worried that they would hate having a little baby in the house. It's not only hard for mummy and daddy having a new baby to look after but children get effected too with how much the whole household changes. Babies take up a lot of time, feeding every 3 hours, winding, nappy changes, by the time you've done and got the baby to sleep, it's nearly time to start again and so, in between feeds, there isn't much time. 

I think what has been luckily for us though is the fact that my husband works early shifts and finishes before Thomas comes out of school, this means that we then have the whole rest of the day to get stuff done. And since both us parents are there, we can tackle doing stuff with the boys and looking after Joseph easier. 

Since he's been born I think we've actually done more baking then normal as it gives us something to bond over, something to do, you get a great reward at the end of it and it's just a great thing for boys to learn about. I want them to grow up knowing how to cook and bake. 

I'm not gunna lie, it has been hard work trying to keep on top of things since we became a family of 5, but by working together, helping each other and concentrating on our family, it has been a great ride so far. 

I can't wait for the boys to grow up together and get to know their little brother as he grows up with them. Seeing the look on Joseph's face when he spots Thomas or Charlie across the room, his whole face lights up, he stares at them in adoration and Thomas was actually the first one to get a smile from him. Our own perfect family. 

Easter With A Difference At Asda

When it comes to Easter, I like to get away from the usual Easter eggs. With having young children, I find that eggs end up lasting months as they don't eat much chocolate. And of course, the fact that there are 4 newborns in my family (including Joseph) means that I have to think of other gifts suitable for them. 

Starting off with foodie item, the hot cross buns. I'm not usually a fan of these as I don't like cooked fruit, but Asda have a fab range of caramel & white chocolate Hot Cross Buns which are divine and so moorish. If you're not into sweet treats though, opt for the bunny shaped crumpets which are cute and the kids love.

Get Creative With Chocolate
If you're not a fan of the massive eggs, how about a Decorate Your Own Egg kit. It comes with a slab of milk chocolate shaped like an egg, yellow icing and some mini eggs to decorate. Such a great idea for a gift for children but to also give them something to do to get crafty with. 

Thomas loved trying this out. Squirting the icing onto the egg in patterns and then using it like glue to attach the eggs in place. Even better that he got to eat the end result afterwards.

Newborn Gifts
Joseph is learning to grab at the moment and so we try to keep plush toys close by. Something that he can grab easily and is soft so wont hurt him when he starts throwing it around. Asda have a huge range of Easter themed plush toys in at the moment, perfect for little ones.

We received 2 from Asda. A cute grey bunny that is holding its very own carrot. Its a soft, sweet little bunny that will be great in his collection. Secondly, we got a gorgeous knitted chick. Larger in size than the bunny and knitted so makes it extremely soft to the touch. Joseph especially loves this one as its snuggly and bright.

Of course, there are all the Easter eggs in stock too. From little ones to big extravagant ones and all those in between. Whatever you decide you want for Easter, I'm sure Asda have something for you. You can find all of these and more on the Asda website and in store too. 

17 March 2015

Chocolate Brownie Buns Recipe

As you all probably know by now, I am a lover of chocolate. I am, as some may say, a chocoholic. When I was pregnant this time round, I couldn't eat chocolate at all, it made me feel so ill and that was by far the worst thing to do with my pregnancy, not been able to eat chocolate.

So now that Joseph is here, I am making the most of the fact that I can now eat it again and have been taking every opportunity to devour it. That's when I came up with the chocolate brownie buns. Similar to brownie slice, but made into buns instead so there is none of the faffing trying to get them out of the tin afterwards. 

To make my Chocolate Brownie Buns, you will need:

250g bar of chocolate
85g of butter
140g plain flower
2 eggs
200g sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 180c.
2. Line a muffin tin with bun cases.
3. Melt 200g of the chocolate in a saucepan with the butter, heating gently and stirring constantly.
4. Whisk the eggs and sugar together and then slowly add the flour into the mix, a bit at a time. 
5. Stir in the melted chocolate.
6. Finally, use the 50g of chocolate leftover and break in to chunks, add this to the mix and stir well.
7. Spoon the mixture into the bun cases and bake for around 30 minutes.
8. Leave to cool and then enjoy.

And that is it! Super simple to make and so yummy to eat.

You can then of course mix it up a bit. Use white chocolate for the chunks to add into the mix for an extra bit of flavour. Maybe even add in some nuts. Hazelnuts, almonds or even walnuts would work well in this recipe. I've even tried it with Nutella instead of chocolate and that works well too and gives you the nutty flavour without the chunks. 

Whether you decide to follow my recipe to the 't' or add in a few extras to make them extra special, make sure you enjoy them. And send me a cheeky photo on Twitter if you do bake them, I'd love to see your bakes @Yorkshire_Mummy

15 March 2015

Our Week In Pictures

I haven't done a weekly update post in a while, pregnancy and a newborn took their toll and I just wasn't well enough or didn't have time. Now that we are all sorted and in a routine, I thought I'd better get back to my weekly updates of what we've been doing, showing you this is photos. 

First up, we went to the park a couple of times this week. I love the fact that it is only round the corner from us so, when the weather is nice, we can just pop there all the time for the kids to play and the wear them out too. 

Taking their Micro Scooters up with them, they enjoyed the slide and fireman's pole and also just getting some fresh air outdoors. It's great to be able to do this again now the weather is a bit better. It was the first time Joseph got to visit the park too. He wasn't really impressed with all the kids shouting but did like being out in the sunshine. 

I'm obsessed with baby clothing. There is so much out there to choose from and I'm a lover of big prints such as on this all-in-one that I bought from Boots. As you can see from Joseph's face, he isn't very happy at all. He has had a cold this week so has been very grumpy. Hopefully it'll go soon though.

Then, on Friday it was time for a bit of relaxation for me. I had won a voucher for Sassoon Salon back at Christmas but had been too ill to go in, so used the voucher this week instead. The prize was a colour, cut and treatment which cost a small fortune, but luckily I didn't have to pay. 

It was an amazing day. The stylists were lovely and went through everything with me. What I wanted and their advice. I knew that I wanted quite a bit cut off and then they got to work. I had highlights put in and then it coloured in between the highlights. I then had a treatment put on to protect the colour and then it was time for it cutting. I absolutely love the end result. What do you think? 

So we end on Mother's Day. I got some lovely bits from the kids and my hubby, my favourite chocolates (Guylain of course) and handmade cards. We then had a yummy chicken roast dinner and settled down to do a bit of drawing. 

I showed Thomas what I used to do when I was a kid. Did you ever do this?

14 March 2015

World Book Day 2015

In the UK and Ireland World Book Day is on the 5th March and is there to celebrate all the books out there, the adventures, the thrillers, the family novels, the best reads, our favourites. 

Not only that, but it's a day when children get to dress up as their favourite character for a special school day to celebrate it. Both, Thomas and Charlie's classes had a dress up day and they both had to decide on who they wanted to go as. 

For Thomas this was simple, Captain America of course. He has been in to the Avengers so much the past few months, reading books about them all the time and collecting figures too. Out of them all, his favourite is Captain America, and so when I found this fabulous Marvel Captain America Fancy Dress Costume I just had to get it for him. I knew that he would absolutely love to be Captain America for the day. 

An all-in-one, onesie style outfit comes with a face mask and the shield. The torso is padded to give the effect of the huge muscles that Captain America has and the costume fastens together with Velcro so it's easy to get on and off quickly for toilet breaks. I love the vivid colours on the costume and the fact that it is stretchy so will fit for a while as it will grow slightly with Thomas.

Charlie was a bit harder to pick for. He is a lover of any books and doesn't really have a favourite character as yet. I let him view a few different costumes and got him to tell me which books they were from. The one thing he does like are pirates. Not necessarily a certain one, but any stories whereby pirates feature and save the day (why are pirates always good guys in kids books!). 

After much deliberation, he picked out this Disney Jake and the Neverland Pirates Fancy Dress Costume which he got so excited about. Not only does he love me reading stories to him about pirates and their adventures on the seas, but he also loves watching the Jake and the Neverland Pirates cartoon on television.

This Jake and the Never Land Pirates costume has a velvet-style fabric top and elasticated waist trousers. A foam hat headband and cutlass sword completes the outfit. Again, like the Marvel costume, it fastens with Velcro for ease when putting on and off and even the headband has a Velcro fastening so you can alter the size slightly to make it fit better. 

I think that it's great that it comes with the cutlass sword as this completes the outfit but this is also the bit that disappoints me slightly. Because it is made from foam, it bends easily and is flimsy. A shame that it doesn't have a plastic one like the shield in the Marvel costume. 

The boys loved dressing up as their favourite characters for World Book Day 2015, what did your children dress as?

13 March 2015

Aldi Bedroom SpecialBuys

It's safe to say that I am a lover of Aldi and their SpecialBuy events. I am always checking it out in store and online to see what is coming up next and love the browse their ranges to see if I can pick up any bargains. This week is the turn of the bedroom. Aldi have a whole host of bedroom essentials on sale this week and sent me a few of the items out for us to put to the test. 

Feels Like Down Range
The Feels Like Down Kingsize Mattress Protector adds an extra layer of comfort while helping to protect and prolong the life of your mattress and is super comfy to sleep on as it's made from quilted microfibre. Priced at £6.79, it is a bargain and a great way or protecting your mattress.

Another from the Feels Like Down range is the Kingsize Duvet from Slumberdown which is £15.99. Coming in at 10.5tog, it is perfect for this weather at the moment. Not a big hefty, heavy duty duvet, but still warm enough for a cool nights. 

The 4 pack of pillows (£12.99) complete the Feels Like Down Range and are super comfy, huge and squishy and are soft to the touch. These 3 items not only are a steal at those prices, but they are so comfy to sleep on, giving a bit of luxurious comfort to bedtime. 

We then needed bedding to finish off the range. 

Covers and Sheets
Receiving an Easy Care Fitted Sheet (£5.99) and a Printed Duvet Set (£12.99). The sheet is fitted so holds perfectly to the mattress, available in cream, pink, white, grey, blue and purple. It is quick drying and because it's easy care, there is no need to iron it once washed. 

The duvet cover comes in 6 designs so there is something for everyone and every design is reversible for you've got 2 styles in one. I'd pointed out that our bedroom is black, purple and cream and so Aldi sent us the gorgeous lilac designed one. This is a floral design but has a little pattern so is not overbearing for people who aren't fans of floral. One side is darker in colour and the other a little lighter so you can choose which side suits your room best.

All the items above are available in single, double and kingsize (pillows come in either a 2 pack or 4 pack) so you can kit out all your bedrooms at Aldi. Make sure you get down there quick though as the bedroom Specialbuys event is on now and you don't want to miss out on the great prices. 

Visit the Aldi website to get the lowdown on the next SpecialBuy events and see what's coming up next.

Aldi's Best Budget Bake

Anyone who knows me will tell you just how much I love baking. It's something I have done since I was a little girl. I would always be in the kitchen with my mum, creating our own masterpieces. With my mum being a professional baker it meant that she had a passion for all things cakey and she passed that down to me. 

I want that to be the same for the boys. I want them to grow up knowing how to not only bake and eat the treats, but to get creative and give me ideas so that we can try them out in our recipes. We have loads of recipes already, from treacle sponge and yummy biscuits, to Christmas cakes and Easter treats. And Easter is what I'm focusing on today. 

Aldi have a huge range of home baking supplies and kitchen accessories on offer at the moment. The Aldi Home Baking Specialbuys range is on sale from the 15th March whilst stocks last. They invited me to get involved with their blogger challenge, the best budget bake and sent me out a lovely hamper of products to get good use out of whilst baking and a voucher to buy all the foodie items that I needed to create it. 

So, I decided to go for something that we love baking over Easter time. Our take on the cornflake bun. Cornflake buns have been a staple at Easter for as long as I can remember, but they're a bit boring. No baking involved, super easy to make, but just not satisfying enough as a treat for me personally. I always found them to be more of a decoration to something much bigger. And that's when our Chocolate Nest Cupcakes were created. 

I find it easier to pre-measure everything out. I get everything ready so that the combining part is simple. For this, I received a fab new set of stainless steel slimline electronic kitchen scales from Aldi. These are great, you simply place your ingredients on the top of it, choose between lb's and oz's or grams, and then it will digitally tell you it's exact weight on the screen. 

What's even better about these scales is that they have a setting that will put them back to zero. It means that you can put a bowl onto them and instead of having to take in to account the weight of said bowl when weighing things out, you can put the scales back to zero and then weigh out the ingredients as normal. The scales won't show the weight of the bowl on this which makes it a lot easier than trying to figure it out yourself.

Chocolate Nest Cupcakes Recipe
There are quite a few ingredients to make these cupcakes so I find that if you measure everything out beforehand (as mentioned above) it makes it easier when combining everything together.

For the buns
125g self raising flour
125g butter
125g sugar
2 eggs
20ml milk

For the chocolate nests
200g milk chocolate
50g butter
2tbsp golden syrup
1 pack of mini eggs to decorate

Making the buns
Preheat the oven to 180c
Place 12 bun cases into bun tins. 
Mix the butter and sugar together until soft and creamy. 
Sieve the flour
Slowly add the egg and flour a bit at a time, mixing as you add to stop lumps from forming.
Finally, pour in the milk and mix again. 
Spoon the mixture into the bun cases and then place into the own for 25 minutes or until golden brown. 
Take out and set aside to cool. 

Chocolate Nests
Melt the chocolate, butter and golden syrup in a jug oven a pan of boiling water. 
Pour the melted mixture over the cornflakes and mix until all of the flakes are coated. 
Dollop a spoonful of the chocolate flakes on top of each of the buns and gently spread out to create the nests. 
Add a couple of mini eggs on the top to create the eggs in the nest.
Leave for an hour for the chocolate to set.

After baking them, it's best to store in a cool dry place. This can be hard to find in a kitchen but luckily Aldi have you covered with this great cake container which is only £4.99. It is approximately 31 x 15cm. It is very deep so will fit a good sized cake inside it, we easily fit our 12 cupcakes under the lid.

2 clips on the sides seal it shut and the handles on top make it easy to carry around. The cake container is temperature-resistant up to 100°C and is dishwasher safe too. Available in a range of colours, they are a great way to keep your baking fresher for longer. 

I've loved taking part in this challenge and getting to grips with new products from Aldi and their range of SpecialBuy items that were sent to me. They will definitely come in handy when we do more baking.

All these products and much more are available from Aldi from the 15th March, whilst stocks last, so make sure you get down there sharpish to get your hands on them before they go. 

10 March 2015

Mum's Pride from Bunches.co.uk

Bunches is a family business, originally founded by Erik and Sandra in 1989. Back then, Bunches was a small flower stall and they began as a flowers by post company in January 1990 sending flowers via Royal Mail and being very successful doing so. 

They reward their loyal customers by offering a 'Posy Points' scheme which enables people to earn points with every purchase and are the only mail order florist to offer a customer reward scheme which enables you get a little something back every time you buy a beautiful bouquet.

I love this idea. It means that every time you buy someone a gift, you are slowly earning yourself something and will eventually be able to treat yourself to a lovely bunch.

Since it's Mother's Day soon, flowers are a must for our lovely mums and so Bunches sent me their Mum's Pride bouquet to write about. My mum is a lover of flowers, I have already seen the bouquet I am getting her and cannot wait to see her face when she receives them. Even better that I can get them delivered, from Bunches, straight to her door.

The Mum's Pride bouquet features pink aqua roses which are accompanied by elegant purple tulips, white Euro chrysanthemums and hot pink carnations. The purple phlox flowers give this bouquet a wonderful finish, wrapped lovingly, making it the perfect gift to send for Mother's Day.

Optional extras including chocolates, cakes and gift cards can be added at an extra cost and come with the flowers as an extra gift. 

The Mum's Pride bouquet is priced at £23.99 which includes delivery. This product will earn you 240 Posy Points which is £1.20 off your next order.

For more information about Bunches or to purchase a lovely bouquet in time for Mother's Day, visit the Bunches website.

9 March 2015

Personalised Mother's Day Gifts from Getting Personal

I'm sure we all love receiving gifts, especially surprise ones from our loved ones, but what makes them more special is when they've been personalised as that means that the person buying said gift has actually taken a keen interest into what you like and have purposely bought something, just for you. 

Getting Personal have a huge range of gifts for mum and grandma, perfect for Mother's Day and have sent me a range of them to show you just exactly what you can buy, from only a few pounds right up to more expensive gifts. 

The whole website is set out really well and so when I was asked to pick my favourite items from their site, it took me no time at all the find my way around and look for gifts that, not only I would love, but ones that I thought were perfect Mother's Day gifts too. Different sections set out to make finding the perfect gift super simple. 

Although the website is easy to search, it did take me a while to actually find what I wanted as there was so much choice, so many lovely items and I just seemed to want everything I looked at. But eventually I picked my favourite items.

If you're a lover of a good glass of Cava like me, then you'll love this personalised bottle, unique, just for mum. And now Joseph is born, I get to enjoy it for myself. 

The bottle has a navy label with ‘Happy Mother’s Day Mum’ written in golden lettering, with a golden border. You then get to choose the next 2 lines of writing to make this bottle extra special. I went for - First line: All our love, and Second line: From Thomas Charlie & Joseph.

Yummy Cava inside to enjoy but for now, I have decided to keep the bottle for something special. I like the fact that it personal to me, and even when the Cava has been drank, I will keep the bottle as a little ornament, sitting nicely at the side of my wine glasses. 

But of course, if you are getting a bottle of Cava for Mother's Day, then you'll need something equally special to drink it from.

The wine glass has ‘Happy Mother’s Day’ engraved on it in script font with cute heart and flower designs and you can write a caring message underneath to make it a personal gift for a loved one. I decided that 'to the best mum ever' would be apt. The glass is so pretty and sits nicely at the side of the bottle of personalised Cava.

This cute notebook is only £5.99 and can be personalised with a name on the front. I thought, for me, this would be perfect as, being a blogger, I am constantly writing things down on pieces of paper which then get lost. Having a notebook means that I can carry it around in my bag and write down ideas as they come to me.

Personalised with my name on the front, you can choose from a few different designs on the website but I went for the 'Time Management for Manic Mums' notebook as I found it cute and quirky. It has plain sheets inside but you can also choose lined too if you need it for writing on. Me personally, I like that I can use it to take notes at events, but to also doodle on too and,when where stuck in traffic on a long journey, I can pass it over to one of the boys to draw on to keep them occupied. 

The most expensive of the items I chose was this gorgeous family print which is priced at £29.99 if you want it with a standard A3 frame, or £34.99 for a large frame with mount. 

You can personalise it to have as many keys as you need (up to 6) with names underneath, your family name and established date at the top and also get to choose between a black or white frame. The personalisation is so easy to do, just fill in all the boxes, choose everything you require and then you can click to 'preview your print' and it will show you exactly what it will look like. This way you can see how it looks and make sure that there are no errors before purchasing.

I absolutely love this print. Our own little family wall plaque just for us. The print in the frame is bigger than I expected and it went up on the wall super easy as it already has fixings on the back. The frame is thick and solid, and the print inside is of a high quality and stands out so well, showing off our little family.

Now all of us, each and every member of the family, has their own little identity on the wall, their own little key to the door.

Need something for Grandma, then look no further...

Mother's Day isn't just for mums, my children adore their grandma. We go round to my parents house at least 4 times a week and they'll always be playing with my mum. Even when I went into labour, my mum was there to look after Thomas and Charlie and so I thought a gift for my mum from the boys would be a perfect little extra for her, to say thank you for being great. 

With it's high gloss colour finish and vibrant wrap, I love this mug. The cute birdy design with hanging letters is so sweet and on the back it can be personalised with what ever you like. I went with a sweet message from the kids and can't wait for them to gift it to her and get to see her face when she receives a present from her grandchildren.

Overall, I am thoroughly impressed with the gifts that we received from Getting Personal. Not only are all the items of a very high quality, but they are fab gifts for those special days and even better that they can all be personalised to make them even more special.

To see what other lovely items you can get, or to order, pop over to the Getting Personal website.

8 March 2015

Our 3 Boys - One Month On

Today, the 8th March, marks one month since I gave birth to Joseph. You can read the birth story here about how quick my labour went and that I was in and out of hospital quicker than I thought I would be.

4 weeks! how can it be 4 weeks already. Time has just flown by. So I thought I'd do a quick update to tell you how we've been getting on over the past month as a family of 5.

I was a little worried about hos the boys would react to having another brother in the household. Charlie is a mummy's boy and I thought that he would hate the fact that I would now have someone else that would be taking my time up too. But no, both Thomas and Charlie have taken it very well and even try to help out with everything. 

Thomas and Charlie are both loving being big brothers to Joseph. Thomas, constantly asking to hold him, feed him, help in any way, and Charlie just loves to cuddle and kiss him, although I think Joseph is starting to tire of being prodded and touched all the time. 

Joseph himself is thriving. Putting weight on and growing well, loving his milk too. I get to see him grow as a little boy everyday. Watching him as he notices the world around him, getting mesmerised by glimmers of light or sounds that he's not heard before.

Seeing his brothers get home from school and he just watches them, wondering where they have been all day, just staring at his big brothers, those same brothers that sat on my knee chatting to my bump whilst he was tucked up inside me. You can see his eyes light up when he hears the boys voices, knowing that he recognises them.

I made this Flipagram to show just how much Joseph has changed and grown over the past month. It's amazing how quickly baby's change, some days looking like me, other days, like his daddy or even his brothers, I love looking back and noticing those little things about him. 

I can't wait to see how the boys develop together over the next few months, to see how Joseph grows and starts to get more active, waking for longer and starting to play. I just can't wait!

7 March 2015

Peter Rabbit – Tales Of The Start Of Spring DVD Giveaway

Beatrix Potter’s wonderful stories have charmed and entertained children for generations. I remember having the whole collection of books when I was a child. My sister and I would take it in turns at reading the books at bedtime and we both loved the stories and the journeys that the characters went on. 

Now fans can enjoy the brand new adventures of the timeless children's classic, Peter Rabbit, in the first ever DVD collection of episodes from the new animated series. Peter Rabbit – Tales Of The Start Of Spring DVD is released by Abbey Home Media on the 30th March. And what's more, I have been lucky enough to be able to give a copy of the DVD away ready for it's release. 

In the DVD, you follow Peter and his friends, Benjamin Bunny and Lily Bobtail, on their adventures as they encounter real dangers, overcome obstacles and outsmart predators, all the while finding fun and excitement in the most unexpected places.

With a taste for radishes and a thirst for adventure Peter Rabbit is a lovable friend and when danger lurks, there’s no better friend to have around than Peter and his boundless courage will always see him through. 

The collection features a free Hop Outside insert with outdoor activities for little ones and over one hundred minutes of adventure to treasure including the special 22 minute episode ‘The Tale of The Start of Spring’.

For your chance to win a copy of Peter Rabbit – Tales Of The Start Of Spring DVD, enter below on the Rafflecopter app. 

Please remember to check the T&C's at the bottom of the Rafflecopter application and our full terms here. This giveaway is open to the UK only and any entries left that do not follow the required entries will be disqualified. After the one mandatory entry, others will open up to give you extra entries. You do not have to enter by all methods but these will give you extra entries into the competition if you do. 

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

End midnight 29th March

6 March 2015

Aldi Specialbuy’s - Mother’s Day Gift Range

Whether Mum is jet setter, loves to be pampered or simply enjoys relaxing at home, Aldi has all you need to make her feel special this Mother’s Day without you having to spend a fortune! In store from 1st March, whilst stocks last, are a range of fun and funky gifts, perfect for mums without having to break the bank. 

A woman can never have too many bags, so ensure Mum’s latest is the Ladies Patch Leather Handbag which is only £7.99. Stylish yet practical, this quality range is made from real leather and is perfect for both special occasions and every day wear. Choose from 3 styles in Black or Multi-colour.

If you're mum loves her make up, then how about a pack of three cosmetic bags which come in at £4.99. Includes a Large Zip-up Carry Bag with Handles, a Zipper Pouch and a Slim Case, the set is available in 4 styles.

These scarf's are super cute for Mother's Day and come ready to gift, in  little pillow pack saying Happy Mother's Day on the front and available in 6 different designs.

How about some great hair styling treats. The Remington Sleek and Smooth Straightener and is only £19.99 whereas the Remington Ionic Hair-dryer is £15.99. I love that the hair-dryer uses ionic conditioning for frizz-free styles and has different heat and speed settings, including a cool shot, to make drying your hair easy and simple.

Whatever you decide to get your mum, make sure you get down to Aldi soon, whilst stock last. Don't forget to keep an eye on the Aldi website to keep up to date with their SpecialBuys. 

Celebrating 125 Years of Boots Baby

Times may have changed, but babies haven't. From those precious first smiles to the joyful first steps and Boots Baby is celebrating 125 years of caring for our nation's babies. 125 years, that's a lot of care and love right there!

Gentle and kind Boots Baby cares for you and your baby's needs. Always there to offer straight forward advice that is drawn from their very own pregnancy experiences and baby experts. They believe that all mums and dads deserve the right to feel good and be the best parents they can be.

Whether it's nappy wipes, bottles and spoons, or expert skincare for dry and eczema prone skin, Boots baby products are recommended by mums, dads and carers since the 1890's. 

To mark this proud milestone, Boots have created the #Bootsbaby125Years celebration film which you can watch below...

I love the Boots Baby brand and always try to use their products where available. From the gorgeous scent of their Baby Bath and Moisturising Lotion, to their maternity products, the maternity pads I have think are the best on the market. 

Have a watch of the fab, nostalgic video above and then let me know what you think. Have you used Boots Baby products before?

All Boots Baby items are available on the Boots website and in store too. 

4 March 2015

Superlove Merino Superfine Merino Baby Sleep Gown

Superlove Merino was founded by Suse Fletcher and Becky Sayer who sourced the best quality merino wool in the world to create a fabric that is Superfine, Supersoft and Superwarm and made this into clothing and sleep bags for babies, toddlers and children aged 0 - 6 years.

Merino wool is the ideal fibre for babies as it is soft, hypo-allergenic, highly breathable and helps regulate both body temperature and moisture. Not only that but Superlove Merino is of the finest quality & is ethically sourced too. 

But what's the difference between Merino wool and regular wool?

What is Merino wool
Merino is an extremely fine and silky soft type of wool that comes from the Merino Sheep. These are an ancient breed that has evolved over thousands of years to inhabit some of the most extreme environments on earth, suffering temperatures of 35°C in summer to -15°C in winter. Because of these cold, dry conditions the Merino sheep grow huge soft fleeces of Superfine wool renowned for its quality, purity and luxurious softness.

Merino naturally regulates body temperature in tune with baby's environment which is great to hear since little babies cannot regulate their own body temperature and studies show merino wool improves sleep patterns in babies, helping them to settle more quickly and stay asleep for longer. 

Superfine Merino Baby Sleep Gown
When Superlove Merino got in touch with me and asked if they could send me a little something for my impending arrival, I obviously couldn't wait to try them out. Sending me a gorgeous Superfine Merino Baby Sleep Gown in dove grey, I couldn't wait for bump to arrive so that I could try it on him. 

The Superfine Merino Baby Gown is perfect for ensuring the warmth and comfort of babies whilst they are trying to sleep. Made here in Britain, the sleep gown has press-studs at the bottom which allows easy access for nightly nappy changes. 

Now Joseph is here, we have got some good use out the sleep gown. At first touch, I just cannot believe how super soft it is. The sleep gown is stretchy and so clings to Joseph as he wears it, making him look super comfortable in it. 
With the poppers being at the bottom of the gown, this makes taking it off easy and nappy changes, a doddle. No more having to fight to get Joseph's feet in and out of the legs or trying to pair up poppers in the night. Just a simple, easy to fasten, gown that not only looks stunning but feels super luxurious too.

I now try to use the Superfine Merino Baby Sleep Gown as much as possible at night as it makes nappy changes so much easier. What's best is that no matter how many times it has been washed, the natural elasticity in the material ensures that the gown keeps its shape and still has its gorgeous soft feel too.
This will also help as Joseph grows as, although the sleep gown is a size 0-3 month, it's stretchy enough to fit him for even longer than that and will give him the soft comfort that he's used to for even longer. 

Overall, I am thoroughly happy with not only the quality but the look, and feel of the Superfine Merino Baby Sleep Gown as well knowing that the item is ethically sourced and that I am helping a British business grow too. Now I just need a pair of their organic cotton and merino booties to keep Joseph's toes warm whilst we're out and he'll be in Superlove Merino heaven!

For more information about the sleep gown or any other product, check out the Superlove Merino website.

3 March 2015

Pelvic Floor Muscles - What They Are and How Pregnancy Affects Them

Everyone has an idea of what happens in labour. You know, pains, ouch, ouch, ouch, a lot of pushing and then a baby appears into the world. But no one tells you just what it's like afterwards. I don't mean how to cope with a baby, but just how much your bits downstairs are affected. 

You can't have a baby pushing down on your bits for 9 months and then push him out of said bits without it changing somewhat. And what part is most affected? Your Pelvic Floor muscles.

What are your pelvic floor muscles?
The pelvic floor muscles hold your pelvic organs, the uterus, vagina, bowel and bladder, in place. They support the bladder and bowel, and give you control when you urinate. Located between your legs, they run from your pubic bone at the front to the base of your spine at the back and, as you get older, your pelvic floor muscles get weaker.

Pregnancy also has a big effect on your pelvic floor muscles. As I said above, for the whole 9 month of pregnancy, the baby, amniotic fluid, placenta, everything, is resting on top of the pelvic floor muscles with great pressure, causing them to stretch and become weaker too. 

Weakened pelvic muscles can cause problems such as urinary incontinence and reduced sensitivity during sex so making sure you do pelvis floor exercises is essential to keep them toned and to strengthen them too. 

How to do pelvic floor exercises
To be able to locate your pelvic floor muscles, simply imagine that you are urinating and then try to stop it mid stream. You feel that tensing? well that is your pelvic floor muscles. 

To strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, you have to squeeze said muscles in and hold it there for about 10 seconds before letting go and doing it again (do not hold your breath or tighten your stomach whilst doing these). Repeat this about 10 times. It is advised that you do this a few times a day. 

The joys of children
Now, having children may be one of the best things I have ever done, but my pelvic floor muscles don;t thank me for this. You see, when I had Thomas I was a bit naive about the whole, having to do exercises part, and didn't take them seriously at all. Now I've just had my third child I am suffering because of this and need to get it sorted.

My husband is going for the big snip in a few months as we have decided that 3 is our magic number and we'll be having no more children so now is the time for me to focus on getting my feminine health back up to scratch and to make sure that my pelvic floor muscles are strengthened. 

The Elise Pelvic Floor Exerciser
The Elise Pelvic Floor Exerciser is an easy-to-use, flexible pelvic floor exerciser with a range of clinically tested programs, providing relief from stress, urged and mixed incontinence as well as improving sexual well-being. 

It has just been awarded the ECRM Award for Most Innovative Product 2015 which TensCare Ltd are very proud of and, I, well I will be putting this to the test over the next few months to see how it can improve my pelvic floor muscles and hopefully tone and strengthen them.

The Elise works by sending a gentle stimulation to your pelvic floor through a vaginal probe working your pelvic floor muscle for you, gently strengthening and toning your pelvic floor muscle which in-turn improves the symptoms of incontinence. To get full benefit from it, it is to be used every day with eash session lasting for 20 minutes. Many people will see improvements within as little as 3-4 weeks but the Elise should be used for a period of 12 weeks. 

The Elise has a One Touch Memory which remembers the last program, strength and settings used and will turn off after 20 minutes to ensure the pelvic floor muscle is not overworked and I cannot wait to start using it to see how it works for me.

For more information about TensCare and The Elise Pelvic Floor Exerciser, pop over to the TensCare website and I'll be back in a couple of months to let you know how the Elise has worked for me, the results and my overall thoughts.

2 March 2015

Sooty ABC - Learn The Alphabet DVD Giveaway

To celebrate the launch of the new Sooty ABC - Learn The Alphabet DVD which is out today, I have a fab giveaway for one person to win a copy of the DVD. Join Sooty and his friends for fun, laughter and learning in this direct-to-DVD specialwhich introduces young children to the alphabet. 

As well as being great fun following Sooty, Sweep, Soo and Richard in their Alphabet Adventure, it also supports the Early Years Curriculum and helps children to learn whilst they are watching something fun. 

This special programme, produced by Redan Publishing’s Fun To Learn brand, Tvoli Entertainment and Abbey Home Media who are also distributing the title, features all the fun and mayhem from Sooty and his pals, while engaging children and helping them develop early literacy skills.

Sooty remains one of Britain’s best loved children’s characters, I'm sure all us parents remember watching him and the gang as children ourselves and so it's great to see such an iconic character coming back to help teach our children about letters and the alphabet. 

A perfect Easter gift the DVD is packaged with a printed A-Z poster and also features three classic episodes from the hit CITV series: The Swimming Lesson, The Farm and Beach Patrol and includes printable worksheets to enhance the learning experience.

For your chance to win a copy of Sooty ABC - Learn The Alphabet DVD, enter below on the Rafflecopter app. 

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 22nd March