29 December 2015

8 Tips To Staying Healthy During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a wonderful time. You have this little being growing inside of you and get to feel all of these movements, kicks from this little person that you are keeping safe. well, it's wonderful most of the time. 

If you're anything like me, then pregnancy is just one problem after another and the whole reason that my husband and I have decided that 3 is our magic number when it comes to procreating. my pregnancies are hellish. Getting worse with each one and so here are my tongue in cheek tips to staying sane and healthy during pregnancy...

1. Eat Well
Aim to eat a healthy, varied, balanced diet whenever you can. Plenty of fruit and veg, choosing wholegrain carbohydrates rather than white, so you get plenty of fibre, lots of milk and dairy produce and try to get 2 portions of fish a week. 

Well, that's if you can manage any of that. If you're like myself, then the thought of eating fish will make you heave. Milk makes you throw up, veg, again is hurling material. In fact, whatever goes in, more than likely will come straight back out. My tip is to just find what doesn't make you throw up and just stick with it. Pregnancy is hard work and there is no point stressing about getting your 5 a day.

This brings me on to tip number 2...

2. Hyperemesis Gravidarum
If you've followed the pregnancies of our royalty, Kate and William, then you will probably know what this is... This is NOT just bad morning sickness. This excessive nausea and vomiting often needs hospital treatment as it can result in dehydration, ketosis, low blood pressure (hypotension) when standing and weight loss. Hyperemesis Gravidarum can last through the whole pregnancy. 

Why am I telling you this? Well, I think this condition needs to be talked about more. I had it throughout all 3 of my pregnancies but it was never diagnosed in the first as I didn't know what it was and just thought I had morning sickness. If you suffer from any symptoms that you think are worse then morning sickness, then get it checked out by your GP or midwife, just to be on the safe side. GP's can treat this condition and help to ease the symptoms of Hyperemesis Gravidarum.

3. Take a Supplement
If, for any of the 2 reasons above, you cannot get all the vitamins you need, or just want a boost of your supply since you're growing a person, then try taking a supplement. Supplements are great for before, during and after pregnancy with a different range for each stage, packed full of the vitamins and nutrients you will need for a healthy pregnancy and beyond. 

4. Exercise Regularly
Well, as regular as you can when you're lugging around an 8lb ball in front of you. Regular exercise has many benefits for us mums and can build strength and endurance which will help during labour and may help you cope better with the extra weight of pregnancy and losing it afterwards.  

For me, I found that a brisk walk around the park lifted my spirits if I was a bit down. Swimming is also great as it takes all that bump weight off you and allows you to just relax with none of the back pain and aches of pregnancy. Other options are also aquanatal classes, yoga and pilates. 

This can also help to tone your stomach, giving elasticity to your skin to ward off stretch marks. You can also use a good cream or oil too to help combat stretch marks that will occur whilst your skin stretches to fit the baby in there. 

5. Be Careful About Food
Food is a hard one during pregnancy as you could have a craving for anything and there are some things that need to be avoided during pregnancy. The following foods may harbour listeria and so are best avoided during these 9 months: 

  • Soft, mould-ripened cheeses, such as brie
  • Blue-veined cheeses, such as roquefort
  • Pate of any type
  • unpasteurised milk
  • Undercooked ready meals
It's also important to mention that nuts are one that people are never too sure about when it comes to pregnancy. When I was pregnant with Thomas, I was told not to eat nuts as this could cause my baby to have an aversion to them when he was born. Then, with Charlie, I was told that nuts were allowed as they didn't cause any effects at all. And then, this time round, when I had Joseph, I was told that they were encouraged as eating them may stop a baby from having an allergic reaction to them when older. I think this will never end as they can never be too sure about the effects of eating nuts so I think you just need to exercise caution. 

6. Begin Doing Pelvic Floor Exercises
I think that people always shy away from this subject and I never know why really. By the end of your pregnancy, you are going to have some total strangers looking down there getting a baby out of you so talking about your Pelvic Floor should be no problem at all. 

Your pelvic floor muscles are like a hammock at the base of your pelvis that holds everything in. They support your bladder, vagina and back passage and can feel weaker than usual in pregnancy because of the extra pressure upon them from the amniotic fluid, sack and baby on top of them. 

Weak pelvic floor muscles put you at risk of developing stress incontinence. This is when small amounts of urine leak out when you sneeze, laugh or exercise. I've had 3 kids so I can tell you that this does happen! So make sure that you do regular pelvic floor exercises throughout your pregnancy. You can read my post, Pelvic Floor Muscles - What They Are and How Pregnancy Affects Them, for more information. 

7. Cut Back On Caffeine
Coffee, tea, cola and energy drinks are mild stimulants which contain caffeine. There are concerns that too much caffeine may increase your risk of miscarriage in the early stages of pregnancy and also can cause a low-birth-weight in babies also. Current guidelines state that 200mg of caffeine a day won't hurt your baby. 

That is equivalent to around 2 cups of instant coffee. It's easy to check too as all products have a table of what's inside them with measurements and caffeine will be listed there. For me, any caffeine made me dizzy so it was avoided for the whole of my pregnancies but I could drink decaffeinated coffee which was drinkable. 

8. Get Some Rest
Now I'm  not tell you to sleep now ready for when baby arrives as that doesn't really mean a thing. Once baby arrives you'll be tired from the whole business of having a baby and everything that goes with so sleeping now wont help. 

But when pregnant, you may feeling fatigued during the first few months. This is due to high levels of pregnancy hormones circulating in your body and later on in your pregnancy, it's your body's way of telling you to slow down. If you can't sleep at night, try a maternity pillow which will support you back and bump to give you a comfortable nights rest. 

Win a Pregnancy Care Bundle

Yesterday I featured my 8 Tips To Staying Healthy During Pregnancy and to get you on your way to ticking off part of this list, I have a giveaway for you today. You could win the whole Centrum Pregnancy Care range and a bottle of Bio-Oil. 

Centrum developed this range of multivitamins with key nutrients for each stage of your pregnancy, Conception, Pregnancy and Post-Pregnancy. Formulated with a unique new blend of nutrients tailored to each of the three stages, to ensure they have optimal nutrition throughout their pregnancy journey. 

Centrum Pre Pregnancy is a new multivitamin that is scientifically formulated to support the specific nutritional needs of women who are trying to conceive, containing 400 micrograms of Folic Acid which is the level recommended by the Department of Health. It also includes Zinc to support normal fertility and reproduction, Vitamin C to help support the normal function of the immune system and Vitamin B6 to help regulate hormonal activity.

Centrum During Pregnancy has been formulated with 21 nutrients tailored for women to take from the moment they see two lines appear on their pregnancy test, until birth. Including Chromium, a nutrient need to help maintain normal blood glucose levels, Calcium and Vitamin D which are recommended for pregnant women to support healthy growth and development of the baby's bones during pregnancy and Iodine which is essential for brain and nervous system development.

Centrum Post Pregnancy contains 12.5 micrograms of vitamin D to support breastfeeding and it contains a combination of essential vitamins and minerals to support maternal wellbeing and the healthy growth of their baby. It also includes Vitamin A, C and D to help support the normal function of the immune system, Vitamin B2 and B3 to help reduce tiredness and fatigue and Biotin, Zinc and Selenium to support maternal hair, skin and nail health.

Bio-Oil is designed to maximise the skin’s elasticity, helping to prevent the appearance of stretch marks. Combining some of the most important skincare ingredients including vitamin A and E with Calendula, Lavender, Rosemary and Chamomile oils, plus the unique ingredient, PurCellin Oil™ which creates a dry non-greasy oil to ensure the ingredients are absorbed deep into the second layer of the skin, where they can provide targeted treatment to combat stretch marks. 

For your chance to win this bundle of the whole Centrum Pregnancy Care range and Bio Oil, just enter vis the Rafflecopter form below. No options are mandatory so enter as many or as little as you like to be entered. The more you enter, the more chance you have to win!

Ends midnight 10th January 2016
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. 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.

24 December 2015

The Quest For The Perfect Bed

Seeing as the New Year provides all of us with the perfect opportunity to give our homes a proper makeover, I thought that I would investigate the options of treating myself to a brand new bed.

It's strange that although we spend approximately one-third of our lives in bed, we often don't treat beds with the seriousness that they deserve. But seeing as January is the month when many furniture retailers advertise their latest offers, I thought I'd get ahead of the rush and do a little research!

Those familiar with my blog will have already seen my efforts in trying to find my little one a decent bed rail, and whilst this revealed a bewildering array of shapes and sizes, it seems that the range of beds is no less confusing!

The introduction of many European furniture manufacturers into the marketplace brought a great deal of confusion over the many different bed sizes. But this Guardian article shows that there has been a degree of standardisation in the UK bed industry that should help all of us find our perfect bed.

The main thing to realise is that it's always good to aim for a bed size slightly larger than you'd expect. For kids it's a good idea to make sure that they can get something that they can grow into. And if you're anything like me, the problem of being a light sleeper means that getting at least a king-size bed is definitely a good bet to stop you being woken up by your significant other!

The choice of mattress can also do much to affect the quality of your sleep. I've been doing a little bit of research on memory-foam mattresses which seems to suggest that these can help quality of sleep in that if your partner moves around a lot, then you 'should' be able to doze through the night relatively unaffected.

As quality memory-foam mattresses can be relatively expensive, the New Year can be a really good time to pick up a quick bargain, particularly when Bedstar's latest discount offers seem to suggest that it could be easier than ever to afford a good night's sleep in 2016!

Environmental concerns are also massively important when considering a new item of furniture. Not only is it important to ensure that any old bed is disposed of in an eco-friendly manner such as offered through Bedstar's handy removal and recycle service, but I like to make sure that any wooden furniture is made from renewable sources as the last thing that we want to leave to future generations is the legacy of long-lasting environmental harm.

20 December 2015

My 7 Top Tips For Baby's First Christmas

If you have recently welcomed the pitter patter of tiny feet into your home then you will probably be preparing for your baby's first Christmas right about now. Whilst this may be a very exciting time for the family, it will also be tiring and very stressful indeed, which is why I am sharing these top tips with you, to help you prepare for a happy festive period with your bundle of joy.

1: Take baby to meet Santa
This is a must! We went this week with all three boys and it was Joseph's first ever meeting with the big man. Joseph did really well and sat with me and the boys whilst Santa chatted to us about Christmas and toys, even giving Santa a big grin when he was talking to him, feeling Santa's beard. It's a great way to keep that memory of a child's first meeting with Santa.

My 7 Top Tips For Baby's First Christmas, George at Asda,

2: Make Your Family Traditions
A family tradition is something that you can do every year and it's good to prepare and start this as soon as your baby hits their first Christmas. We have 2 traditions, the first is that we always make our own decoration each year. Just one that we will have and use every year so that eventually the tree will be full of homemade decorations. And secondly, one of Father Christmas' elves drops by on Christmas Eve to see how things are going and leaves some yummy chocolate coins on his trail.

My 7 Top Tips For Baby's First Christmas, George at Asda,

3: Snap, Snap, Snap
Christmas Day goes by so fast and it's over in an instant. Make sure to take loads of photos throughout the day so that you can remember those precious moments in years to come. Don't forget to get the obligatory 'baby dressed as Santa' snap. 

My 7 Top Tips For Baby's First Christmas, George at Asda,

4: Get A Christmas Outfit
Come one, it's only once a year and so make sure that your baby has their very own Christmas outfit to wear on the big day. It doesn't have to be formal or expensive, but something that is comfortable and warm in case you go and play out with any new outdoor toys. Plus, it needs to look good in photos too. 

My 7 Top Tips For Baby's First Christmas, George at Asda,

5: Don't Go Over The Top
Your baby wont notice and wont care if he has all the latest and best gifts and you'll only end up disappointed as he would much prefer to play with the wrapping paper and the box over the gift that cost you so much money. I remember that Thomas spent most of his first Christmas just hiding inside a cardboard box, just popping out to giggle at us. 

My 7 Top Tips For Baby's First Christmas, George at Asda,

6: Stick to Your Routine 
Don't, and I mean do not, in under any circumstance, change your baby's routine. The excitement of the festive period can throw off your routine and just leave you feeling stressed after it's all over and done with. Instead of this, stick to your routine as much as possible as your baby is more likely to sleep even with all the Christmas excitement around them.

My 7 Top Tips For Baby's First Christmas, George at Asda,

7: Keep Calm, It'll All Work Out
This is probably the most important piece of advice I can give. Don't expect miracles, don't strive for perfection, Christmas is better with a surprise or two so it doesn't matter if it doesn't go according to plan. Enjoy Christmas with your baby, and savour every moment you get as it goes so quick and then you have to wait a whole year to do it again!

19 December 2015

My Love Of Christmas Decorations

Okay, it's safe to say that at Christmas, I go overboard. I like a bit of everything. Light, tinsel, a tree, baubles, wreaths, tack, tack and more tackiness. I can't help it. I adore Christmas and always go over the top. But why not, it's only once a year and it makes it so much more special for the little ones. 

This year, in a bid to find out what type of Christmas tree and decorations us Brit's preferred, Baytree Interiors polled 1,000 residents to ask them a series of questions when it comes to festive decorations. When asked 'What type of Christmas tree do you have?' the fake tree came out top with a staggering 49% of respondents opting for this whereas 18% said they preferred a real tree and totally shocking to me, 23% said that they didn't even have a tree. 

Now I realise that the reason that nearly a quarter of those polled said that they didn't have a tree is down to lack of space or having small children and pets which I guess is understandable. But, to be honest, I couldn't go all Christmas without having a tree. Even when we didn't have kids, I still had a tree every year and decorated the house up all shiny and bright.

When it comes to decorating the rest of the house though, I choose a bit of everything. I love a good bauble and some lights to brighten up the place but I also love candles and rustic wood decorations too. When asked another question, it was deemed that the nations favourite Christmas decoration is Christmas lights, with them getting 42% of the votes, the tree coming slightly behind with 38%. Baubles came third with just under a quarter and tinsel and Christmas wreath coming forth and fifth with 15% and 145 respectively. 

I personally would have said that the tree is may favourite decoration with baubles coming second and then lights third. This is only because the tree is like the big sign that Christmas is coming. Everyone gets excited about putting the tree up and showing off photos. 

Baubles to me are sentimental and something that we take much care in choosing. When our children were born, we started collecting and making our very own decorations for the tree, slowly building up the collection each year. When each of the children were born, they got their own personal decoration, and each year in between we have made a different one to have on the tree. 

Like I said, I love Christmas, I love the tree, the decorations and the tradition that is getting to spruce the house up for Christmas. Do you have your own traditions for Christmas?

18 December 2015

KidzInMind App Review

With the technological age we live in, it's inevitable that children will want to use our smartphones and tablets for their own uses also. The boys have a tablet which they use every now and then and enjoy playing on my phone although I am very aware of the dangers of them using such things and so try to let them use only certain parts of my phone to keep them safe from the big world of bad websites and apps. 

KidzInMind is a new app which is designed specifically for children by parents which guarantees that any part selected through KidzInMind is free from advertising, hidden payments and has been created for educational purposes. This is an app that is fun and engaging for children but has all safe practices in place to give us parents peace of mind when it comes to children using technology. 

KidzInMind is an award-winning app, receiving the kidSAFE Seal, Mom's Choice Award and was nominated Best Mobile App for Children and Toddlers in 2014, featuring a carefully curated selection of apps for preschool kids aged 2-6 years old that are safe, secure and most importantly educational. 

What's more, with the built in parental control timer, I can decide just how long it will allow the boys to play the app for. You also have the bonus of being able to turn off the internet, and turn off access to other apps, so I know that my children wont be accessing anything else whilst playing the KidzInMind app.

Each app from KidzInmind is evaluated and fully vetted before it is featured, working closely with experts in paediatrics, nutrition and education, ensuring its content is educational and fun. Featuring apps that include nutritional, handwriting, brushing your teeth correctly and much more. Over 40 apps to choose from with more being added each week!

Thomas and Charlie have so far been loving the KidzInMind app, the drawing app is super cute and a favourite of Thomas', featuring a paint brush with a choice of colours and a rubber for any mistakes. Charlie loves the alphabet feature and it does seem to be helping with recognising bigger words using images. Each letter has a choice of different words, from smaller ones to harder, longer words such as 'alligator' to help children learn longer, more complex words. 

Certain parts of the app are locked from children gaining access to them. For these to be opened, a simple sum needs to be answered. I think this is a great idea as, although the app is child friendly, the lock screen allows you to see what your child is clicking and also gets older ones enjoying sums as they answer the question to open up more parts of the app.

I was shocked to hear that in a recent GPEN report on children’s privacy online, the results showed that nearly 60% of websites and apps redirect children away from the site or app, meaning there is a greater chance of discovering inappropriate content. With KidzInMind, there is no chance of this happening as it is fully secure for children to play and learn. 

With Christmas nearly upon us and children asking for tablets and such, KidzInMind is a great app to have as it means that they can play and learn whilst us parents know that they are safe with no chance of seeing anything they shouldn't.

The new iOS and Android app offers parents peace of mind with age appropriate and approved educational apps, videos and games for kids. The app is subscription-based and after the first week, which is free, KidzInMind is priced a 79p per month for limited in-built apps and features. Parents can pay £2.99 per month for unlimited access to the full app, video and game catalogue and all the parental safety controls.

For more information or to download the app, visit the KidzInMind website or search for it in the App Store/Google Play Store. You can also follow them on Facebook and on Twitter

17 December 2015

Christmas Gift Guide For Older Boys

I find that buying for boys is so much fun. There is so much choice though so it's all about buying the perfect present for the recipient. Below is my Christmas 2015 Gift Guide for Young Boy with a range of gifts for all budgets, I'm sure there's something that will suit the little boy in your life.

We all need that one big present and for boys, a scooter seems to always be at the top of the list. This Slamm Stark Scooter comes in green and black and is perfect for the beginner. Sitting between the Classic and Urban models this scooter is for those newer riders looking to pick up the pace and learn some new tricks.

With a new lightened deck and steel dipped t-bar with BMX style grips, this is a very robust scooter with High Rebound Urethane Wheels and a Slamm Flex Brake. Fully upgradeable so will last the years and stay with your child way past the early stages of freestyle riding. 

Who isn't into Thunderbirds at the moment. ever since the new series was released, the boys have been mad for it. That's why I know that they'll love this Thunderbirds Are Go! Scott Tracy Costume which is from Pretend To Bee. Getting to dress up as Scott Tracy and defeat bad guys in this fully printed all in one suit, and loaded with added extras.

The all in one suit has a velcro back fastening and a detachable printed satin sash. A pair of gauntlet forearm accessories finish off the outfit which includes a sound chip and, when pressed, will count all the way down to BLAST OFF!!!

If you have a DC Comics lover in your midst, then this super cute Batman Egg Cup And Toast Cutters are a great idea as a stocking filler. Your boiled egg gets to become Batman, dressed in his own little egg cup costume. Includes a spoon to bop the egg open and some fab plastic superhero symbol cutters for cutting toast to go with your egg.

My boys love drawing. They love anything crafty and so some little stocking filler stationary is a great gift idea. We have this range from Maped Helix which gives innovative ways to store stationary and great educational items too.

The Color'Peps Jungle Innovation mean that all the felt pens stand upright in a pop-up base so they can no longer lose their lids. This is amazing as we always seem to lose a lid whenever felts pens are out. I love the Color'Peps Gel as they glide colour onto the page, with thick strokes and are perfect for smaller children who aren't ready for felt pens yet.

I think the Color'Peps Flex Bos is so innovative. An accordion design pencil pot which flexes down to allow you to easily pick pencils out of it with ease. It is the first flexible pencil pot, exclusive from Maped and comes with a range of coloured pencils to start off your artistry. To compliment this is the Croc Croc Inno. A rabbit-shaped pencil sharpener which teaches children how to sharpen as the teeth move if the pencil is turned in the right direction. 

The one I love is the Kidy'Board as this is a transparent, clean and unbreakable board which is ideal for learning to write on. The non slip frame allows you to add themed sheets underneath so that children can copy them above the clear plastic. Once done, the pen just rubs out so that they can keep practising. 

This Black Ukulele from The Jumping Flea Trading Company is a great way for your little one to start learning their very own instrument. This instrument is really robust with superior strings and has a choice of colours and styles to pick from. A beautiful item that will last the years and give children something to learn. These adorable Ukuleles are only £39.99 and are exclusively available on Amazon.

For a bit of fun, this Natural History Museum Dinosaur Guess Who game is an amazing recreation of the original, Guess Who. This time though, instead of searching for people, you have to work out which dinosaur your opponent has. A great way of helping kids to identify dinosaurs.

My kids, like myself, have a sweet tooth and so I always like to get them some goodies amongst other things. Chocolate is a great stocking filler and these gorgeous Lindt Chocolate Santa & Lindt Gold Reindeer are just the best chocolatey gift. 

The hollow reindeer and Santa are made from gorgeous Lindt milk chocolate which has been moulded into the iconic characters for the festive season. Luxuriously hand finished with a little gold bell it also makes the perfect Christmas gift for your loved ones to enjoy.

For a smaller treat, I like to give these super cute Lindt teddy bears which come in a 5 pack. With these and the equally cute pack of gold reindeer which also come with some fluffy antlers, I like to hide them around the house on Christmas Eve and explain to the boys that the elves have been to check on their behaviour, leaving treats as they go. 

The kids love the fact that the elves have been in our house and are also on their best behaviour just in case an elf is still around. Win, win!

I always like to stock up on sweets and treats and so, end up with some goodies as stocking fillers for the boys. Favourites such a Wham and Fruit Salad come in a cute box, perfect for wrapping as a little treat. Those fruity tastes just bring back memories of me snuffling them when I was a child.

If you want to give something else a try though, how about the brand new Butterkist Gingerbread Popcorn which just oozes Christmas spirit. Popped to perfection to create a warming sweet & spicy flavour, they're the perfect way to share the festive spirit. I've never tasted anything like it before. The spices just remind me of Christmas and give a warm, festive feeling as you munch the popcorn. 

It is a great time of year and I cannot wait to show off everything my children received. For now though, I hope you enjoyed my recommendations of what I think older boys would like this Christmas. 

Christmas Gift Guide For Younger Boys

This year, I thought I would split my gift guide up for the children. They are getting to that age where they are starting to like different things and collect new toys, toys for older children, so splitting up this guide was best so that I could show everything that I recommend.

Today I am showing you what I think are great gifts for younger boys. From babies upwards, to the school starting age of 5. Let's take a look and see what there is on offer. 

For The Littlest Ones

If you're looking for a gift for a new mum or a baby, then look no further then BabyBlooms. BabyBlooms are the UK's premier online baby gifts store selling baby clothes bouquets and now have a large range of beautiful and useful ideas for mum and new babies. Luxurious products, all arriving in gorgeous gift boxes and are super stunning.

For a special gift, Raggy-Tag are a traditional British company producing stylish, elegant baby products. Raggy-Tag baby comfort blankets are the perfect choice for babies, with their silky soft, durable fabrics, with a varying selection of ribbon tags around the outside to introduce basic sensory stimulation for little ones.

If you decide to opt for clothing for a little one, then Rockin' Baby clothing are the perfect brand for Christmas giving as, not only will you be gifting a gorgeous clothing item to one of your nearest and dearest, but for every item sold, they will also donate a piece of their clothing to a child in need. 

For super fun toys, the Little Tikes range, Lil' Ocean Explorers are ideal for those little ones who are learning to get around. The Crawl 'n Pop! Turtle is a favourite of Joseph's as it moves around the room, allowing Joseph to practise his crawling, and when it stops, out pop the shapes from its shell. Helping to learn shapes and colours whilst your baby plays also. 

If you want a gift that not only helps babies to drift off to sleep, but also is a godsend for parents, then look no further than Ewan The Dream Sheep. This beautiful sheep is not only a soft and snuggly animal for your baby to cuddle up to, but he has a hidden secret, he emits soft noises to help sooth your baby off to seep. 

A warm pink glow which is supposed to help babies associate this with being in the womb. This gently shines as the sounds play. Starting off with a heartbeat sound, followed by womb sounds, vacuum cleaner, rain or harp music depending on which of the buttons you press. 

For Pre-School Children
My sons love anything to do with balls. Football, throwing balls and bowling. So I know that thy'll adore this super cute Soldier Skittles set.
I mean, a fun skittle sets but with a military theme.  Provide your whole family with hours of fun with these colourful soldier skittles. Perfect for some indoor bowling!

Then we get to the arty stuff. The boys adore art, drawing, colouring and anything crafty, so mixing that with their love of superheroes, I know that this Superman Stationery and Colouring Set will be a winner.

How cool is this DC Comics Superman stationery gift set which is packed full of stationery emblazoned with the Man of Steel graphics. Coming complete with a pencil tin and colouring book, a great gift for any superhero lover.

From toys to goodies. My kids are just like me and have such a sweet tooth. Cadbury's Chocolate is one of our favourites, with the sumptuous Dairy Milk which just melts in the mouth. They have a huge range out for Christmas, all perfect for stocking fillers, for your little ones.

The Marvellous Christmas box has 3 amazing treats inside. Two bars of Jelly Popping Candy chocolate which is just so yummy, and finishing off with a pack of Marvellous Mix-Ups. This is a mixed-up bag of yummy Cadbury Dairy Milk Pebbles, Cadbury White Buttons, Cadbury Dairy Milk Giant Buttons and adorable mini Oreos.

Dairy Milk Snowmen come in either vanilla mousse or chocolate mousse and are the perfect stocking filler, as are the ever famous Freddo's. That pesky frog is back with a popping candy treat. The boys enjoy the Snow Bites which are solid milk chocolate balls in crisp sugar shells dusted with icing sugar and obviously the Bitsa wispa are delicious little treats.

I personally adore the Winter Edition Dairy Milk bar. This festive bar is made of milk and white chocolate Christmas Tree shapes. I mean, who doesn't love a bar of festive chocolate!

And there you have it, my gift guide for younger boys. I hope you enjoy my recommendations if you are struggling to buy for the little ones. 

16 December 2015

Christmas Gift Guide For Women

When it comes to buying gifts, I think that both women and men are hard to buy for. Kids are easy as there is always something that they like but that's not the case with adults. Everyone has different tastes and you might not always know where to start. 

So below is my Christmas Gift Guide for 2015. A range of different products that I myself would be happy to receive, wrapped up with a little bow, for Christmas.

For The Jewelled Up Mamas
When it comes to jewellery, I go for the more understated look, which is why I think this Real Sterling Silver Double Coin Necklace from Warren James is absolutely stunning. This expertly crafted double coin necklace features St George and Dragon on the coins and has an 18" chain.

Worn by the likes of Holly Willoughby, and a host of other celebrities, you know you'll look a million dollars wearing this beautiful necklace but wont have to fork out for the cost as this comes in at only £29. A bargain gift for someone you love!

Or how about an adorable place to store said jewellery with this beautiful Black Floral Jewellery Stand which is only £10. The floral design is stunning against the white stand itself and shows off the jewellery adorned over it beautifully.

The perfect gift for jewellery lovers as it give a focal point to display all of their most treasured pieces on this super stylish stand. This large stand is a practical way of keeping necklaces from getting tangled and boasts six hooks for neat and easy storage.

For Flower Power Lovers 
Flowers are a great gift as they just brighten the whole house up. And who doesn't love to receive a gorgeous bouquet of flowers. Beards & Daisies are a subscription service that allows you to choose from their beautiful range of flower boxes and then send them through the post, either to yourself or as a gift. 

Flowers are selected from the New Covent Garden Flower Market in London and then wrapped in the signature Beards & Daisies packaging with a hand written card to accompany them. 

This is a perfect gift for family members that you might not see over the festive period. You can send direct to them and even if their not home, the box is letterbox friendly so can be slipped straight through to them.

For the Beauty Obsessed Chics

Gift sets are an ideal present for Christmas as they hold products that every woman uses regularly. This KAESO Rebalancing Facial Gift Box features their moisturising range to tone oily/combination skin for £18.95 which includes 5 products all formulated to rebalance the skins natural oils.

A great gift for someone who loves a good pamper. Includes Rebalancing Mask, Exfoliator, Cleanser, Toner and Moisturiser to leave the skin feeling clean, smooth and rebalanced. This nourishing gift box range is designed to moisturise and tone skin and the set will complete your everyday face rebalancing regime

Then of course you can go for some cute stocking fillers as little extras such as Vaseline Lip Therapy Sugar Coated.
This is a perfect little filler and is something that most women will use daily and is priced at around £2.99 per pot.
Vaseline is a great product as not only does it make lips soft, but it is great for tackling fly away hairs although the Sugar Coated Vaseline is limited edition, giving a sugar-like gleam to lips keeping them soft and supple.

For The Choccie Lovers
Chocolate is big deal at Christmas. Who doesn't love to search through their stocking to find a treat or two. Lindt Lindor is the perfect way to show a loved one how much you care with a special yummy treat.

I adore Lindor truffles as you break through the delicate shell to a smooth melting filling that is just irresistible. Being obsessed with chocolate, I know exactly what I like and Lindor are great to give that choccie fix and give a touch of luxury to the chocolate market.

The brand new and exclusive for Autumn/Winter 2015 only, Lindor Chocolate Orange Truffles just ooze with that citrus flavour that works so well with the smooth milk chocolate. An ideal stocking filler for the choccie mad women in your life.

If you're looking for something a little more extravagant then look no further than this stunning limited edition Lindt Teddy charm Gift Box which comes in at £99.00. Lindt have teamed up with jewellery designer Thomas Sabo to create this little beauty which contains a delicate re-enamelled heart charm pendant with sterling silver clasp and a 500g milk chocolate Lindt Teddy. Almost too good to eat.

For The Cocktail Lovers
I don't drink that often now that I've got kids, not that I did anyway. But when I get the chance to let my hair down, I love a good cocktail. A good quality gin like Tanqueray London Dry Gin is the perfect spirit to gift for Christmas and you can even splurge on a matching Tanqueray Copa Glass so there is no excuse not to have a cheeky taste whilst opening the presents.

Tanqueray London Dry Gin is a blend of the purest four-times-distilled spirit and is said to have been Frank Sinatra’s preferred gin. Perfect with a splash of tonic or get fruity with a dash of both pineapple and orange juice and a splash of lime.

For Owl Lovers
Owl seem to be such a great design to use at the moment and I see them everywhere, on everything. I think owl designs are super cute and there are some great items out there that would make perfect gifts for Christmas. Take this beautiful Country Rose owl print motif cross body bag from The Edinburgh Woollen Mill. The navy bag features purple and pink owls and has a brown trim, an ideal general purpose bag that is suitable for most occasions and a perfect gift for an owl mad loved one.

I adore this bag and think the pattern, although very cute, is understated and looks very hippy like. I also love a good cross body bag, especially one that is just the right size to hold all my junk.

Carry on with the owl theme, you can also go with this super cute hot water bottle which is perfect for this freezing weather we are getting. Again, from The Edinburgh Woollen Mill, it is adorned with a little owl on a red and cream background. Perfectly festive, this hot water bottle is sure to get the bedroom hotting up when it's opened.

And there you have it. my take on the best Christmas gifts for 2015. Everything that I love and hope you do too. Fingers crossed, my husband takes note!

Christmas Gift Guide For Men

Men are the worst to buy for when it comes to Christmas I find. No matter what I ask my husband what he actually wants for Christmas, he will just say 'anything' and get on with his day. You can never be sure of what they actually want. 

Below is my 2015 Christmas Gift Guide for Men which incorporates what I think the men in my life would love now modern times have hit.

For The Coffee Lover
It's officially, my husband is an addict. Addicted to coffee that is. No matter where we go he'll want a cup of Joe and will make us go on a witch hunt around the city till he finds the best place. This is true, don't ask about how long we were walking around Alcudia in Majorca till he found the perfect cup!

So I think a gift that keeps on giving would be great when it comes to coffee. There are so many blends to try and so a monthly subscription coffee service sounds like a fab gift for those with the need for coffee. Cafédirect Handpicked offer a monthly subscription that showcases the finest coffee from around the world.

Each month, the recipient will receive a different coffee from Cafédirect Handpicked's Discovery Collection, specially curated by experts who have unearthed hidden gems from the finest farms across the globe - from Tanzania and Vietnam to Brazil. Arriving with a fascinating Tasting Booklet that tells you all about the coffee you are drinking. How Cool is that!

For The Personalised Touch

I always find that personalised gifts go down well because it has been personally picked for that person in mind. So I know that my husband will adore this Personalised Zoo Adventure Book from itsyourstory.co.uk as it is a gift that features a photo of daddy and talks about the adventure that he, and our three boys take to the zoo.

The book celebrates the relationship between an adult and a family of three children. The adult being daddy, grandparent or a special grown up in the children's lives. All aspects of the book can be personalised, from the photo and children's names, to talking about the adults favourite food, their age, and even their favourite colour too.

I think this is a great gift for children to parent as, although the children do feature in the book, it is the adult's face which is incorporated into the illustrations. The grown-up gets to swing in the trees with the monkeys, hang upside down alongside bats and hides in the bamboo with a panda, making story time fun.

To Keep Them Smelling Good
Aftershave gifts are always a good bet because it's something that is worn a lot so you can easily sip into conversation about their scent of choice so you get that hint of the correct one to get. My husband loves Joop and so this Joop Homme Aftershave Gift Set is perfect for him.

Joop is a classic refreshing fragrance with an aura of masculine sensuality, enriched with allantoin and hamamelis, which moisturises, conditions and soothes just-shaved skin. The gifts set includes 3 products, Joop Homme Eau de Toilette 75ml, Joop shower gel 50ml and aftershave balm 50ml to keep the skin clean, smelling good, leaving you feeling as soft as silk.

Treat loved ones this Christmas with the ultimate gift sets from Dove Men+Care. A great little gift for the man in your life is this fab Dove Men+Care Minis Gift Tin which includes a trio of travel sized products including two Clean Comfort Body & Face Washes 55ml for a refreshing clean and a Clean Comfort Anti-Perspirant 35ml with its 48hr powerful protection.

The perfect size to have in your backpack for when needed. Whether it be out on a walk in the countryside, at work when working up a sweat, or on holiday, it will leave his skin feeling protected, cared for and the face washes fight the causes of skin dryness too.

For Those Who Love A Good Tipple
When it comes to spirits, Christmas is the time to try out some new flavours and that's why I think Beinn Dubh Ruby-Black Whisky from Speyside Distillery is the perfect tipple and Christmas. Beinn Dubh, single malt whisky, has a unique twist in it's flavour, with hints of rich chocolate, spices, fruits and currants, making it taste exactly like Christmas cake in a glass.

The taste of the whisky is deep and dark, just like the mountain - fruits, currants and chocolate dominate at first, but these gradually give way to both bitterness and sweetness. Ideal for those who are yet to build up a palate for whisky, making it the perfect introductory drink.

Those Stocking Fillers
Men love a good gadget, my husband especially and he also loves watching sports on his phone whilst moaning about having to hold said phone at the correct angle to see the footage correctly. Hence why Standeazy is the perfect stocking filler for him.

Standeazy is the practical credit card sized phone and tablet stand that easily fits in your wallet so you can always be hands-free when it comes to watching anything on a device. Coming in three different colours and in either polymer or a metal version, Standeazy will hold your device horizontal or vertical and the angle can be altered to suit. I think it's amazing, as will me husband who will be able to watch his football hands-free on his phone in peace now.

I think these would be perfect gifts for the man in your life this Christmas and I cannot wait to see my husbands face when he opens his presents and see what surprises he has in store.