18 November, 2015

The Guinea Pigs // Meet Lilo & Stitch


Some of you will know especially if you follow me on Instagram and Facebook, in September we expanded our family with two more additions........ Meet Lilo and Stitch our two female Guinea Pigs! 
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13 November, 2015

5 Ways To Help Boost Your Immune System





With Autumn and Winter slowly approaching I am trying to think of ways to boost my immune system to keep those pesky bugs and colds away. 


Below I have listed 5 ways to help boost your immune system. 


1. Drink 


A lot of us don't drink enough, especially water, I know I don't. Drinking plenty of fluids when ill will help keep your body hydrated as well as helping to flush any bugs through your system, they say you should aim for about 2 litres a day. 


As well as drinking water, ginger and honey in hot water is extremely beneficial not only will it help sooth sore throats but will also help clear sinuses and boost your immune system. I've started to drink more of this regardless if I'm ill or not. Ginger has so many health benefits, from reducing inflammation, to pain reduction and reducing sickness. I remember when I was pregnant I lived of Ginger biscuits for the first 12 weeks!  







2. Eating Well 

Eat plenty of foods packed with vitamins and minerals. Foods such as kale, fish, garlic, ginger, fennel and blueberries are perfect for the fight against colds.  Prepare from fresh and make some delicious homemade meals not only will they taste great but you will be packing yourself with all the goodness your body needs. 







3. Supplements 

Supplements are a perfect way to up your daily intake of vitamins, there are many supplements to choose from to get the best for you pop into your local pharmacy or Holland and Barrett and ask for more info. 


4. Sleep 


Rest and sleep as much as you can, aim to sleep for at least 8 hours a night. That is a lot easier said then done if your a parent, but once the kids are in bed get an early night yourself. Sleeping helps your body to repair and protect to fight off colds so get those zzz's in whilst you can. 



5. Exercise 

Exercising is a perfect way to get you in shape but did you know its also good for preventing colds? Moderate exercise helps to strengthen the immune system.  I would prefer to hit the gym or go for a bike ride to up my cardio each week. Going out on your bike is much cheaper than a gym membership, if you don't have a bike you can get some fantastic bike bargains online.  If you don't have time to go to the gym then why not try a fitness videos from home.



What do you do to help prevent colds?



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04 November, 2015

Extreme Couponing




A few of you will know that I love a bargain. I love to shop for sales and I also love coupons!
This post was requested through my own personal Facebook account so for all my friends and anyone else, this is my personal guide to couponing.


Over the last couple of years, coupons and the activity of couponing has become rather popular. I started to coupon because I saw the American show of Extreme Couponing and thought why can't we do something like that here? At the time I was also pregnant and babies are expensive! I wanted to save our family money and I see no shame in using coupons.





In the beginning, I wasn't sure where to find the coupons so I took to good old Google for help. There is a list of couponing sites that have done all the hard work for you, all you need to do is click on and see what coupons you want!

So the sites I personally use for coupons and freebies are:

Latest Free Stuff
Magic Freebies 
Free Stuff
Coupon Shop 
Hot Uk Deals 
Voucher Codes 
Super Savvy Me

Most of the sites are updated daily som weekly but you will always be able to find the newest deal, coupon or freebie.

I  also use Facebook for an easy way of receiving any new coupons or glitches.
What is a glitch I hear a few of you say? A glitch is when there is an error most of the time you can end up getting items for much less then they are supposed to be. Sometimes you can end up using several codes at one time or you can get offers that overlap etc. These have to be done quickly though as when people know it can crash the site and as soon as the company spots the error they can easily remove it.

I use these the following Facebook sites for  quick alerts and deals:

10 ways to have more money as a student

Uk extreme couponing and freebies

Extreme couponing UK 



Here is my guide to become an extreme couponer



1.  Multiple coupons - Most coupons won't let you print doubles so use several email accounts!

2. Overage -  Say you brought a pizza for £1.00 but you had a £1.50 coupon, some stores will actually let you use the overage on your other items. 

3. Email / write to companies - Just say how much you like their products and some will send you vouchers in return. 
I emailed Special K to say how much I loved their cereal when pregnant and they sent me £5 in coupons!

4. Use store point cards - If you use your cards enough every now and again you can receive special money off coupons. Boots, Tescos, Nectar, and Morrisons are my favorite ones. 

5. Save all your store card points - Every year we save our store card points so that at Christmas we can use them for presents. On certain cards, you can boost your points by almost 4 times! Think how much you could have and save towards christmas!

6. Bulk Buy - If there is a good offer or glitch this is the time to bulk buy!

7. Plan - If you need a gift or an item start looking before the time you actually need it as your more likely to get it on offer!



As you can see these are really easy and basic tasks. There is no real secrete to couponing, just depends if you are prepared to spend a couple hours on the computer searching and printing them.
I really get a buzz watching my bill come down, the other day I bought £12 worth of pizza for nothing!

Shaz wanted to know how I get deals like this, this is where you become an extreme couponer.....

I printed off several coupons which I got off the boxes of previous Ristorante pizzas. You have to get the code off the box and then you enter them online and they email you 2 coupons. 1 is worth £1.00 and the other was worth £1.50. These pizzas were on offer in store at £1.50 so using my several coupons I was able to bulk buy.

To break it down incase anyone is confused:

1 box = 1 x £1 & 1 x £1.50 coupons

 If I had 4 coupons I would have 2 x £1 and 2x £1.50.  So I could get 2 free pizzas using the two  £1.50  coupons, with the two £1 coupons I could either get 2 more pizzas and pay the 50p difference or I could use it for one pizza and have a 50p overage. If the store allows overages then I could buy another item for 50p and get that for free too.

Always check the T&C of the coupons and of the store before using your coupons.
The pizza coupons say only 1 voucher per person but most of the time the cashier never checks and it just goes through. You can also use self checkouts as this is sometimes easier to use coupons.





I hope this is of some help and if there are any other questions you have please leave them below. 
Happy Couponing! 


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22 October, 2015

A Disney Inspired Toddler Hamper


I absolutely love Birthdays and Christmases, my favourite thing to do is all the gifting. At Christmas I'm terrible, I love to spend ages picking the right gifts. I'm one of those people that love's everything from choosing the theme (if one is chosen), right down to the wrapping and the extra detail
I had to make a hamper for my partner's niece so thought this would be a great idea to use as a guide for others. All items in here are age related but also able to be played with as she grows.




I decided to make a very pink Disney inspired hamper. I love that I was able to go super girly and buy things I may not have brought for my sons. Both of them are really into their cars and Minecraft at the moment. 




I firstly found this cute Minnie Mouse wagon on offer online, most places I had seen it around the £5 - £10 range, however, I was able to pick this up for brand new for less than £3! This would be the base for my hamper. It can be used for storing toys and also for Olivia to pull along when she is able to walk. I brought Archie a Mickey Mouse one and he loved it!
A very pretty and practical piece, I love it! 




The princess books are a must, all children love books and these ones are super colourful and the little library set is perfect for Olivia's little hands.  The Minnie Mouse toy was from a promotional offer from the Disney store buying one and getting one for a £1. I was purchasing one already for Archie for Christmas so picked this one up at the same time saving me about £6! 


The Minnie Mouse handbag and dolly were from an Argos toy event which they had on. Even though the doll isn't a Disney character she is still in with the pink and princess theme. 



I then picked up these cute little bath toys from Asda whilst I was browsing and even though they aren't Disney I know Olivia will enjoy them when it comes to bath time! 






The last thing I need to do is to wrap it all up in cellophane and attached a big pink bow. 
So there you have it, a simple Disney inspired hamper. You could do so many different themes and tailor to your exact budget. 













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14 October, 2015

Helpful Advice to New Drivers




It will be 7 years this November since I first passed my driving test, I cant remember what it's like not to be able to drive. Driving has given me so much freedom and even more independence, I can take my children on day trips out and I can take my car to the shops if it's pouring it down with rain, I don't feel so restricted.
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22 September, 2015

School Hacks for Parents


2 weeks ago I became a mother to a primary schooler and let me tell you primary school is on a whole other level to preschool and nursery!!

At preschool we had a routine, but it was very laid back and not much was asked of us from the pre school. However, in the last 3 weeks of Alfie starting Primary school I've had a letter practically every day with some sort of form or fee to pay and items / projects to bring in.  My son has created almost double the amount of washing because his uniform is always covered in some form of craft/paint/muddy activity, so I need to up my game!

I'm stepping up my organising routine with these helpful tips to help make life a little bit easier!





1. If you have more than one child, put all their school items in a labelled basket. You can put everything from their uniform to their bags, coat and shoes in. That way each child has everything they need in one place, no more running around looking for the other missing shoe or that swim cap you swore you put in the top draw!


2. Pre make all pack lunches the night before, it will save you time and if you are low on anything you can also grab it the night before. Just leave it all in the fridge until you are ready to leave.


3. Make sure you have enough uniform, there is nothing worse then finding out you didn't wash that toothpaste stained jumper the night before! Yes I've already done that!

4. Have a designated area for school kit, I keep all of Alfie's stuff in the bottom of his wardrobe in a basket. Every day he puts his bags away in his wardrobe ready for me to find and sort out for the next day. It also means his book bag isn't getting kicked around the house.

5. Put all homework and letters into a letter tray, it will keep everything neat in one place and you can keep on top of your child's school work.


6. Make a meal plan for the week, Alfie comes home starving every singe day all that learn is hungry work!
I've been planning all my meals in advanced and even pre-making some of my meals. Chopping vegetables and freezing them will save you 5 - 10 mins and on days when you know you are going to be stuck for time why not pre make something healthy and tasty the night before? The boys love a cottage pie or pasta bake and they both freeze well.




7. If your child has lots of activities and clubs after school make notes on your fridge, notepad or phone anywhere so you don't forget! If you want to be super organised then a chart on the wall is perfect for keeping track on everyone.


8. Breakfast time can be a hassle so why not set the table the night before or leave out most of the stuff you will need.



9. Turn the tv off! I find that if the Tv is on in the morning Alfie gets too distracted and takes twice as long to do anything. So whilst he is getting dressed and eating the Tv is turned off.


10. School trip money, I know Alfie is going to be bringing home lots of slips for trips, non school uniform days and what not so I am now putting any left over change from the week into a pot. This way if I need to hand in some money to the school I have it ready at home.  Also if you put a bit of money in each week it won't seem too bad when you get a rather large fee to pay!






Do you have any tips for making life that little bit easier when you have children in school?


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18 September, 2015

Girls Night In


As a mother going out in the evenings is a very rare occasion, especially when babysitters can be hard to arrange, so I like to have a girls night in every now and then. It's great to just relax with my friends have some food watch a dvd and forget about all the stresses of the day. 
Below I m going to share with you ideas for a perfect girls night in!
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Barking Rad Subscription Box



Daisy is a valued member of our family and occasionally we like to give her the odd treat. 
A few weeks ago I discovered a company called Barking Rad, a company that sells monthly subscription boxes for dogs.
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14 September, 2015

Angel Delight Cheat Cake




 Archie is starting to take an interest in baking but because he still a bit too young to help me I thought I would put together a really simple way for him to experience "baking". 

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31 August, 2015

The Santa Maria Fab Fajita Challenge


A few months ago I attended one of the biggest blogging events of the year, BritMums Live and there I met the lovely ladies at the Santa Maria stand. They were launching there Fab Fajita Challenge and with my family's love of Mexican food I had to take on the challenge.
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28 August, 2015

Planning a Christening on a Budget




Planning a christening can be expensive but it really doesn't need to be, here is how we planned our christening for under £100.

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24 August, 2015

My Challenge with Contiboard


I've spent many hours building flat pack furniture, decorating and hanging frames on the wall. I like to think my DIY skills are pretty good so when the challenge from Contiboard came up I knew it was something I had to try.

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16 August, 2015

My Pregnancy Triggered Arthritis







Pregnancy is a beautiful thing or a nightmare depending on how you coped through yours. I actually loved being pregnant, it was my deliveries I didn't like. My body just doesn't understand that bit and both of my pregnancies ended up with traumatic deliveries.  If you want to hear about Archie's birth story please click here. 
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14 August, 2015

My Favourite Foundations









Foundation is a must have in any woman's make up bag, but there is always that one question we ask... Which one to get? 
I personally think we should spend time when choosing our foundation, making sure we pick the one that's most suitable to our skin tone and skin type if you want more information take a look at my post on Choosing the right foundation. 
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02 August, 2015

A Family Day Out to Blenheim Palace



Yesterday myself and the boys, along with my mum and younger siblings took a trip to Blenheim palace.
If you've never heard/been to Blenheim Palace it's an 18th century stately home which is currently resident to the 12th Duke of Marlborough and his family in Woodstock, Oxfordshire. 
Blenheim palace is a truly beautiful and breathtaking place, with it's beautifully landscaped gardens, water features and of course the history enriched palace it has something for everyone.

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26 March, 2015

Choosing the right foundation




When buying a foundation there are a few things you need to consider.


Formulation 

Picking a type of foundation that suits your skin's needs is important, not only will your foundation look more natural and have a better finish, it will also stay longer on your face. Pick the wrong formula and it can lead to highlighting those 'problem' areas.


What type of foundation should I be buying for my skin type? 


Oily skin - Look for oil free or a matt finish foundation.

Dry skin - you should look for those that hydrate or are extra rich in moisture.

Combination skin ( oily and dry) - If you have this type of skin then its better to decide on the season for your formula. For instance in the summer choose a light and oil free foundation in the summer and then in the winter go for a rich hydrating formula.

Normal -  If you fall under this category then your lucky as you can pretty much wear any type of foundation.  All you need to decide on the type of finish you want.





So know you've chosen the right formula lets look at the coverage. 


This is down to personal preferences, basically how much or how little coverage do you want from your foundation?
If you want a full coverage then foundations that are thicker and more cream like are your best bet.
whereas for a lighter coverage look for tinted moisturisers or BB creams.  You may also want to look for  SPF in foundations especially for the summer as this will protect the skin.



Choosing the right shade ..... 


Last but not least you need to determine what shade to go for, picking the right shade will help your foundation look more natural to your skin tone and not looking like an oompa loompa . So you will need to decide do you have a warm, cool or neutral undertone to your skin?
If your having trouble determining this then look at your veins, if your veins are blue then you have cool undertones, if they look green then you have warm undertones and if you can't really tell then you have neutral undertones.



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24 March, 2015

The Baby Bloggers: Bedtime Routine



Hey! Archie and Alfie here and today we are discussing our bedtime routine. Hopefully this may help any Mummies and Daddies suffering with their little ones and bedtime. Our mummy started this routine when Archie came home from hospital. I was co-sleeping with my mummy beforehand, but now I am a big brother I share a room with my baby brother and it's so much fun!

See our steps to bedtime below 


1. Start earlier - Bedtime starts way before actual bedtime!  - Our mummy starts after we have had our dinner which is about 4.45pm.
As soon as we have eaten we start the down time process, so no more running and jumping about!


2. Responsibilities - Mummy gives us each a responsibility, so after tea we will both put away our toys. Sometimes I have to do Archie's bit as he likes to put his toys in and take them all out again and which makes such a mess!

3. Five min break - Once all our toys have been tidied away mummy lets us watch a quick programme on our favourite channel, Disney Juniors whilst she gets our bath ready.

4. Be prepared - Mummy makes sure she has all our drinks / milk and teddies in our room for the rest of the night. ( This is where we can't catch her out she is too organised!)

5. Bath time and don't forget the bubbles! - This is my favourite bit mummy will make us a big bubble bath and fill it with some fun bath toys.  Mummy says she likes to use lavender bubble bath to help us relax and sleep well.



6. PJ's on! - Once we are all clean and mummy has applied our lavender baby lotion, mummy dresses us in our PJ's. I have Toy Story One and Archie has a blue and white stars one, we go to bed in style!

7. Milk and story - We love having a story read to us whilst drinking our milk, mummy makes sure the lights are down low and the blackout blind is up. Making it dark makes me feel really sleepy!



8. Brush those teeth! - We've had our milk now its time to clean our teeth. 

9. Teddies and Night lights - Mummy tucks us into our beds and makes sure we have our favourite teddies to join us.  We also have on Archie's slumber buddy that projects stars and planets on to the ceiling, It's so cool!!!

10. Leave the bathroom light on! -  Mummy turns all the upstairs lights off except our bathroom one. That way we have a little bit of light incase we get scared.



Extra helpful tips: 

Always be calm and patient during the bedtime routine, we can't react if you'r talking calmly, it also makes the whole process a lot more easier and enjoyable.

Be consistent, set your routine up and stick with it, the first couple of weeks are normally the hardest but we will get the hang of it very quickly if you keep to the schedule.

You can always use a reward chart if your little one needs that extra encouragement.

Speak to your child to see if there is anything that is worrying them or upsetting as this can effect them going to bed.



And that's our bedtime routine! Archie do you have anything to add??? 
...... Oh looks like he's fallen a sleep ! 


And last but not least, enjoy your peaceful evenings when us little ones are in all snuggled up in bed, you deserve it!




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19 March, 2015

Homemade Banoffee Pie Recipe




When I was growing up my dad would always make banoffee pies especially, for parties or special occasions.   It's one of my favourite desserts and so simple to make, you don't need to be a Mary Berry in the kitchen to be able to make this one. So if you fancy a super easy, no bake banoffee pie then carry on reading.


Ingredients 

Double cream
 Bananas
Digestives biscuits 
Flakes
Caramel 
Butter 


Method


Weigh out 8oz of digestive biscuits.


and blend them into fine crumbs.



Next weigh out 4oz of butter and heat till it's melted.



Add the melted butter to the biscuit and mix together.



 Once all mixed add the buttered biscuit base into your dish, you can either leave it overnight in the fridge or if you want it ready quicker pop it into the freezer for an hour.... 


 Once set it should look like this.


Taking a can of caramel spread the whole contents of the can over the biscuit base. 
You can either buy condensed milk but that will mean you will need to cook it for 3 hours, turning the cans over every 45 mins, or you can buy the pre-made caramel which is exactly what I am using as it taste the same. 


Now you will need to thinly cut some bananas and place them all over the caramel until its covered.



Whip the double cream up to a thicker consistency before applying it all over the top of the banana. 



Apply the cream and then break up a flake or two over the top and that's it!


Mmmmmmm all made and ready to enjoy!



What's your favourite dessert to make?


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