07 August, 2018

50 Free Things To Do With The Kids This Summer

With the summer holidays in full swing, I have been making it a mission to keep the kids entertained. I know many parents and even myself, worry about the cost of entertaining the kids and its not just for a week it's 6 weeks or more depending on where you live! I feel like I need a medal by the end of it!

The reality is many can't afford to spend money every day or even every week and I always like a challenge so this summer we have been trying to do as much as we can for free. If you are on Instagram please do follow us at @andrealouiseblog as we are sharing all the fun and free activities we have planned over the summer.

For those needing some inspiration, I have listed some easy and free activities to keep your little ones busy this summer. 

I hope you have found this useful, so far myself and the boys are working through our list don't forget to join us on Instagram for all the latest! In the last couple day, we have been out on several long walks with the dogs in the evenings, we've built our own lego houses, visited an old ruin and lastly, we went to a local ford to play in the river.

There are so many websites you can search for free days out such as Day's Out With The Kids and Money saving supermarket. Also, check out Facebook for free activities in your area.
If you have any fun and free/ low-cost activities I'd love to know. 


23 June, 2018

Be Tyre Ready this Summer

This summer the boys and I are going to be touring the Cotswolds. Our plan is to visit as many new and exciting places as well as rediscovering some of our favourites. 
One thing I have been doing is preparing the car, as the only driver in the house and the only one that has any interest in cars that aren't toys, means all the maintenance is down to me.

I have already started a list of what I want to pack and keep for the inside of the car but what about the outside of a car? The first thing I thought about was my car's tyres,  it’s what links you to the road and without those tyres, you aren't going now here!

I remember when I took my test almost 10 years ago my instructor always told me to check my tyres and to this day I still do.

What do you need to look out for on your tyres? 

PSI -  Do you have enough air in your tyres? Keeping your tyres inflated actually makes the car more cost-efficient. Low PSI can cause your tyres to wear out faster and affect the handling of the car.

Over inflating your car will also have an effect causing a faster wear on the tread depth. If you feel your old tyres need replacements because of tread issues, you can opt to book tyres online for Dorset (if you are local there or for any other place) at Point S.

Tread Depth - is your car road legal?  Tred depths should be checked regularly and if you're unsure on how to check this then you can check with a 20p.  Place the 20p in the tread depth and if you cant see the outer band then your tyres are above the legal limit. 

Overal Condition - Does your tyres have any unusual appearances, check for cracks and nails and glass as these catn be picked up whilst driving. 

Its very important to keep on top of your cars test a study by confuse.com found that 2.5 million cars failed their MOT due to tyre issues in a 12 month period. Think about how many accidents could have been caused or where caused due to bad tyres. 

Experts say you should check your tyres weekly for any physical damage and monthly for the tread depth and tyre pressure. 

Is your car summer ready?


11 June, 2018

The Quick Guide to A Memorable Kitchen Makeover

The Quick Guide to A Memorable Kitchen Makeover

 Flipping through home d├ęcor magazines, you come across those exquisitely remodelled kitchens with latest culinary gadgets to cook fancy meals and then you look over to the dull, out-dated version you have at home and feel disappointed for not having enough funds to refurbish. A very basic average cost for kitchen remodelling ranges from £20,000 to £25,000. These figures leave you at a place where you keep wondering if you could ever have your kitchen makeover after all. The best of regular kitchens that sends out hearty meals don’t look as good if they lack maintenance. While maintenance is the key to a clean and tidy kitchen, if you wish for a more revamped look where you don’t have to keep the dollars rolling out of your pocket, here are a few things you can do for a modern interior design in your kitchen space. 

Shelf and storage- How to do them some justice

 No, we are not shopping yet; let’s see what you can do with what you already have. If your kitchen space is not that big and crowded with cabinets, you can consider opening the sides up and going for an open shelf look to exhibit your beautiful serving dishes and bowls. In case you are blessed with an empty wall in the kitchen you can have bought in open shelves with brackets to install them on the wall. What to do, when none of these options are good enough? Read on! 

Paint your way to new cabinets 

So, you love how your cabinets safely store away every kitchen utensil you need and don’t wish to get rid of them any sooner. If your cabinets are in good shape you can just get some paint and carry out a DIY project yourself to avoid extra costs of installing roll-out shelves or other storage units. While paint is a safe choice to stick to a low budget, you can also consider switching up the hinges, pulls or knobs on the cabinet with contemporary ones for an updated version. If your cabinets are made from wood you can also get them sanded and re-stained for a better look. 

Buying an island 101

 Kitchen islands can be really expensive with all the storage space and the high-end finish, but since we are looking for a quick fix without spending way too much for a revamp you can get something unusual and make it work. You can go for vintage pieces at local flea markets or opt for ones with a table like features, for example, a factory cart, repaint and update with a marble top to make your own personal kitchen island without having to spend a buck load of money. Increasing the aesthetic with a gorgeous backsplash If you don’t mind spending a bit while getting a makeover for your kitchen, you can opt for trendy styles and textures when it comes to the backsplash. Make sure you don’t have a cabinetry that’s from the 70’s and pair it up with trendy and fun colour and texture. As an easy option when Sensitivity: Internal & Restricted, it comes to installation you can use stick and peel backsplash. Stencils and paint are also another option to opt for a stylish look if you want to spend less on the backsplash. If you are ready to spend more than just a few bucks you can go for Shiplap. 

Let’s shop for budget countertops

 Stone countertops no doubt look extremely beautiful but what if that’s not something you are ready to pay for? No worries, you can get granite to replace the stonework concept and get a similar upgraded look for the countertops. Formica is a great option when you wish to go for that rocky look for your countertops and it’s cheaper. Now, if you are short on space you could just opt for the island instead but make sure, you choose something that stands out a little and not just some big chunk of a table that would just gather dust in the basement later on.

 More Greens Please!

 That’s not something you often here in a kitchen, especially with kids, while it’s up to you how much green you add to your plate, a kitchen could always use a little green in the makeover process. You can opt for a small herb garden to go just by the sink and use them while cooking or get some small potted flower plants as a part of increasing the aesthetic value in your kitchen. While water is always available in the kitchen, you would need to put a little effort into keeping these babies looking fresh at all times. So what happens when you go for a vacation and come back to dull green wilted plants in your food paradise? 

The faux greens

 We don’t know if you’ve ever been on the red carpet but faux plants have definitely been there and done that. Some of the best indoor plants are succulents and small potted bushes which work great in case you don’t have a lot of space to cover in the kitchen with large indoor plants. These silk plants are customized with fire retardant chemicals that are non-allergens along with UV protection. Since most kitchens are not in the open, you don’t need to opt for UV protection. These technologies along with the fact that they won’t grow and do not need any looking after means when you go for a vacation you will come back to the same old greens you left back at home. 

Lights, Camera and Cook!

 When you have the right light setting in the kitchen, you would get some Instagram worthy pictures of delicious food. Drop the fluorescent and go for can lights or halogen fixtures under the cabinet. It’s all your call, after all each kitchen means something different to the owner. 

Summary: Here’s how you can transform how your kitchen looks with just a few changes within your budget. No high-end gadgets, just a few smart lights, paint, stick and peel backsplash with a few green faux plant toppers can leave your kitchen looking comfy and welcoming for the guests. 


29 May, 2018

Is your Car Summer Ready - Better to be Safe than Sorry Campaign

With the summer fast approaching my focus has been on my car and making sure that it's ready for all the fun activities we have planned. The last thing I want is to be handed with a large bill for breaking down, so it's extremely important to check my car regularly to avoid these mishaps.

The first thing I do is make a list on my calendar and in my diary when my car is due its servicing and MOT.  It's a legal requirement by law to have your car MOT if your looking for a reliable garage then Fife Autocenter in Stirling will be happy to cover all of your vehicle needs.

Next, I make a list of all the things I need to do to my car on a monthly or weekly basis an example of these are;

Cleaning out the car // coolant and antifreeze levels //Air pressure 
Wiper blades // Lights // Tyres & tread depth // Screenwash // 
Oil levels 

These little checks can be the first signs of detecting problems that could potentially lead to bigger issues and a huge bill from your garage!

It's vital to check your tyres on a weekly basis, checking for any punctures, changes in physical appearance and the tread depth.  This will make sure your car is safe, road legal, and running efficiently.

(Image from Pixabay)

One area that often gets forgotten/ignored is the exhaust.  The exhaust is a vital part of our car because the exhaust provides a range of jobs from improving the fuel consumption and engine's performance to redirecting the fumes away from passengers and also helping with noise reduction.

When driving listen to see if you can hear any unusual noises as these can be an indication there is a problem. As well as listening look at your exhaust, check for any cracks, rusting and holes. Getting to know what your car looks and sounds like can help you detect problems earlier.

My last tip would be to make sure you have breakdown cover, you may think you may not need it but its always better to be safe than sorry.

Do you check your car regularly? 

* This is a collaboration  post all words and opinions are that of my own.

08 May, 2018

Disney Emoji Range Review

As many know we love Disney in this household, with myself heading the Disney obsession there was a high chance that my boys would be Disney mad. We have regular  Disney Nights where we wear our favourite Disney PJs and watch a Disney film altogether. 

Recently we were asked if we would like to review the newest Disney Emoji line which we, of course, jumped at it was also something all three of us could get involved with which is always a lovely thing. 

The boys love unboxing videos at the moment and so instead of doing the usual blog post, we decided to up our game with an unboxing video. Archie was to be our star in front of the camera whilst Alfie decided he wanted to be the director, the star behind the camera and help with the final edit. 

The items that feature are: 

Chat Bubble 

The Chat Bubble is a cute and brightly coloured speech bubble blind bag. 
The container features 2 Disney Emojis along with a flyer of all the others you are able to collect in the series. 
Each bubble can be stacked on each other for fun display! 

Retail Price £2.99

Chat Pack 

This is a larger pack containing 4 visible emojis and one hidden surprise! 
Children will love to see whats behind the mystery cube. We found Beast in ours! 

Retail Price £5.99

Chat Collection 

This large tin designed like an iPhone is the perfect storage for your growing collection of Emojis. 
The tin also comes with two emojis which are visible from the outside. 

Retail Price £9.99 


Children will love Chatties with 4 different designs to collect hear Olaf, Sulley, Ariel and Nemo produce 10 different sounds. To activate just squeeze! 

Retail Price £9.99 


Our movie nights just got a whole lot more fun with our Belle Swapsies pillow. 
The boys can now snuggle up with their cushion or create fun emoji expressions using the expression pieces whilst we are watching a film. 
The boys love using the secret pocket for hiding their favourite Emojis in! 

Choice of Minnie Mouse or Belle

Retail Price £19.99

If you're are a Disney fan you will love the emoji range it's cute and colourful and emoji-tastic!

In the comments below tell me what your favourite emojis to use are, I love to use the crying with laughter emoji along with the heart eyes and shocked face. 


05 May, 2018

Hasbro Toy Tribe // Baby Alive Sweet Spoonfuls Review

Archie absolutely loves babies, I have always said he would be a fantastic father when he's older as he's so attentive to any babies he meets. He always wants to check on them and it's a behaviour that I have noticed from a young age. If there is a baby Archie wants to take care of it no matter what it is may it be a human or an animal or even a soft toy!  Recently he's been asking for me to give him a baby brother or sister and whilst I would love to right now is just not the best time to be adding another addition to the family.  However, Hasbro offered us the chance to review the newest  Baby Alive doll which I thought would be the perfect sibling replacement.... until we are ready for the real thing. 

Baby Alive Sweet Spoonfuls is an interactive baby doll that children will love to play with, children are encouraged to feed Baby Alive with her magic baby food then wait to change her nappy! 

Baby Alive comes with a selection of accessories, a comb, spoon, bottle, pack of two nappies, a mixing pot for her food and the food sachets. 

The first thing Archie wanted to do was, and this is in his words, typical gross small person style "mum lets make her poo!" so that was what we did! 

With only two sachets of baby food, you may want to stock up however, these can be expensive for what they are ranging from £6.99-£10 for a pack of 8.  You can search the web for homemade alternatives just make sure you thoroughly rinse your Baby Alive out or she may go mouldy! 

What I personally like about Baby Alive is the variety. You can choose between having a baby girl or baby boy and there is a selection of hair and eye colour to choose from. 

Pricing is also very good whilst I personally think the food sachets are slightly overpriced the doll, however, comes in at around the £20-£25 mark which I would be happy to pay for. 

But the real question is what did Archie think? 

Archie really enjoyed playing with Baby Alive who he has nicked named Bee. His favourite thing to do was to make her go to the toilet and after that, he loved being able to interact with the other props especially the bottle.  

He did say he wanted Bee to be squishy, Baby Alive is an all plastic doll. I think Archie would prefer those newborn dolls that have the plastic head and hands with a soft torso as he likes to cuddle and take certain toys to bed with him.  Other than that there were no negative comments from Archie. So from the eyes of a 4-year-old, it gets the thumbs up!

* We were kindly sent this item for the purpose of the review all thoughts are my own unless stated. 


22 April, 2018

Disney Magic Movers Ariel Playset by Hasbro

As a huge Disney fan family, we are always excited when Hasbro releases their newest range of Disney toys. 
One of their newest releases is the Disney Princess Magical Movers, a selection of your favourite Disney princesses that twirl and spin when charged.

Today Archie is going to help me with reviewing of our product, we were sent the Ariel set which features Ariel and her under the sea purple charging stand. To active Ariel place into her charging stand and pull the cord, then remove Ariel from her stand and place on a flat surface to see her twirl.

Archie loved watching Ariel spin, it is something he can easily configure himself. It's also a good size to put in my bag to keep the kids occupied when out for dinner. Parent Hack: always carry a couple little small handheld toys/snacks in your bag for any emergencies or long waiting periods.
There is nothing more stressful than a small child having a meltdown due to being bored!

The magical movers set features many of your favourite Disney princesses from the two small sets featuring Ariel and Rapunzel to the larger sets that include Jasmine, Cinderella and Belle.
Prices range from £7.99 to £22.99.

*We were sent these items for the purpose of a review all thoughts and opinions are my own. 


28 February, 2018

PayDay Board Game Review

Originally released in 1975 PayDay is a classic board game for many of today's adults. I myself never played Payday but my partner remembers this game extremely well and was on hand to show us how to play. 

The game is set up like a calendar, it shows one month with 31 individual squares. Each square has a task that needs to be completed, the aim of the game is to get through the month with the most money once you reach payday and all your bills are paid. 

The game comes with a playing board, 4 counters, 100 task cards, 2 dice, a loan pad and money. The game is designed for 2-4 players and you can either play for one month or two depending on how long you wish to play the game for. For our first go, we decided to choose a one month game and also use only one of the dices as we thought it may be too complicated for Alfie. Again just like the option to play for one or two months, there is an option to play with 1 or 2 dices. 

As you go through the board you have the choice to pick up 3 types of cards these cards will help you with strategising. You can buy and sell items, receive money and even take money from your opponents.  

The game is designed for children 8 years +, however, I would say its quite a grown-up subject (bills and money) so it may be better suited to slightly older children as we did have to stop and explain a lot to Alfie as we went which did prolong the game. I also noticed that he started to lose interest towards the end but I don't blame him adulting isn't always fun! 

I would love to see this game modernised maybe by using a card machine of some sorts as I think it would appeal more to older children and teens this way. 

However, those who have played this game before will love this revamped edition and if you are a bit of a board gaming family it's a classic to add to your collection. 

*I was sent this game in exchange for a review all opinion are my own unless otherwise stated. 


30 January, 2018

Make a Statement Using Wall Murals

Walls don't have to be a blank canvas, whether you want to make a statement of colour, pattern or imagery wallpaper murals are a fantastic focal point for any room. 

The beauty with wallpaper murals is that you can choose from a huge variety and you can even use your own photos! 

Below I have listed 4 important tips to note when including a wallpaper mural into your home. 

1. Style 

Choosing your style/theme is extremely important, you are going to have to live with it so make sure you love it and also does it match in with the rest of the room's decor/style?

2. Size 

Decide on your size, there are many ways in which you can put up a mural it all depends on the space you want to transform. Also from experience make sure you measure up the right size for your Mural I always measure twice to be on the safe side!

3. Preparation 

To get the best from your mural you will need to make sure that your wall is freshly prepared.  a flat and clean wall is ideal for creating a smooth finish. Make sure to give the walls a quick wipe down so that it is free from any dust or residue that may spoil the application/overall finish.

4. Accessorize

This is probably my favourite part, picking all the little accessories to pull the room in all together.
Your mural should be the main focal point so go for colours and patterns that compliment your mural instead of clashing against it.  If you're stuck for accessories plants, storage boxes, cushions and small tables are my go to for the perfect finishing touches to any room!

What do you think of wall Murals? Have you ever used a wall mural before? 

* collaboration post- all opinions and words are my own unless otherwise stated. 

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