Friday, 29 November 2013

Competition: John cotton Christmas bed bundle

It's that time of the year again when you get unexpected guests and expected guest that end up staying the night.

Now wouldn't it be nice to have brand new clean and cosy bedding for them?

I have got a John Cotton double bed bundle to give away that contains:
  • 13.5 tog duvet
  • 2 pillows
  • pillow protectors
  • mattress protectors
  • A bag to store them in.
If you can't wait to win one, the bundle is currently on offer at Argos for £19.99 until 24th December.

What are you waiting for? Enter below...





Terms and Conditions

  • UK entry only
  • The prize will be posted out by myself
  • Closing date 10.12.13
  • Prize provided by Slumberdown

Thursday, 28 November 2013

My Christmas wish list

Christmas is mainly about the children in our house and I'm sure most people's houses with children. But this blog is mine... so this Christmas post is all about me :)

So here's some things that I'd *really* like to have! Some (probably most) are unrealistic thats why its called a wishlist right? Because I wish I had them.

I *need* a tartan scarf because I bought a jacket with tartan elbows and the only scarf that will match is this lambswool one...honest! Thats at the top of my list, I'd really like one before Christmas but I don't think that will happen!

Next on my list is a Kitchen aid mixer, artisan have the best looking design by far. This has been on my wishlist for about 3 years but I still don't have one. Like I said Christmas is for children in our house and all our Christmas money is usually spent on them! (sulky face).

I would LOVE a Mulberry purse (and bag for that matter) and a big chunky watch, I have a couple of D&G diamante watches that I never wear because I don't want to loose the diamantes... crazy I know but I've had to get so many of them replaced I really only wear them once or twice a year.

I'm obsessed with candles at the moment and I'm fed up of candles that only last a coupe of nights. I pretty sure these Jo Malone candles would last hours and send off a lovely smell too.

I really want to try biscuiteers biscuits that look delicious and loads of work obviously goes into the icing. Its just something I would never buy myself as they are quite pricey but you've got to experience the taste at some point, right?

Finally last on my wish list is the necklace from John Greed, I spend far too much time browsing their website and I love pretty necklaces. A girl can never have too many and this one is cute!




What's on your wish list this year?

Monday, 25 November 2013

Feeding the ducks and Christmas Fun

I haven't felt particularly Christmassy until I spent the afternoon with my Mum and Millie last week. We went out to feed the ducks at a local lake. We thought they might be hungry and its one of Millie's favourite things to do! They were very, very hungry. As soon as we stepped out of the car they crowded round and some of the naughty swans tired putting their heads in the bread bag! Cheeky!



We had a really nice time its such a lovely place to feed the ducks. There are so many different types of ducks and swans that live there.

This is Millie pretending she isn't posing for the camera. My Mum bought her the hat from Next I can't see it online but they have them in quite a few stores.  She has also had so many comments on her snood which was a steal at £4 from Asda.

The garden centre that we went to is renowned for putting on a good display of Christmas treasures. We go most years and the children have a fab time. It has about 8 rooms of colour themed Christmas goodies, it is crammed full of stuff but somehow never looks too much or cluttered in any way!


 We all had a lovely time and its well and truly put me in the mood for Christmas. Millie was mesmerised by everything, I think she's going to love Christmas this year, she really doesn't seem to be able to remember much from last year and I still don't think she knows whats going to happen on Christmas morning! Its so exciting when you see how excited they are!

Friday, 22 November 2013

Review : Travelogue scratch maps

In the Summer I bought a Luckies scratch map for my sister and her husband as a wedding gift. They love to travel and once I'd had it framed it was a perfect gift. The quality and looks of it were very impressive.

When I got the chance to review the Travelogue which was also made by Luckies of London I expected the same quality and my expectations were high.
I am pleased to say I wasn't disappointed.
The Travelogue is in a plain, thick cardboard wallet and has two sides once you open it. The left hand wallet contains your 8 mini scratch maps which each has a different region of the World. Although we aren't yet 'World' travellers as a family, we have visited quite a few places in Europe. I scratched off the places we have been and it was really easy and fun to scratch off.
It also includes a travel journal that you can write in your travel plans, record your visits, useful information and contact details. Its a good sturdy journal and I would say that it would be very robust on your travels.


This would make a great gift for anybody that like to travel or is interested in the World.  This would also be a perfect gift for my 7 year old son who is fascinated with maps, countries and travelling. It would be lovely for him to start writing about his travels and where he would like to visit next and when he is older. Its defiantly something you would keep forever.
You should really have a look at all the other Luckies products iwoot.com sell.
The only downside to the Travelogue is that it makes you want to travel more and my bank balance doesn't think this is a good idea...
*I was sent the Travelogue free to review but all opinions are my own.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

My perfect Wayfair item

When I saw Sarah at Life in a breakdown hosting a competition with Wayfair.co.uk I had to enter, there are always things you need for the home and especially in the run up to Christmas when you have a lot more visitors. With £150 to spend I knew exactly what I was going to go for!

These beauties:


A bit boring you might think! But these Lamboro Aldo Bar Stools are just what I have been dreaming of for quite some time. At £44 each I would be able to get 3 for the £150.

These would make my life and Christmas so much easier because...

No more trying to squeeze onto the kitchen table to eat breakfast in the morning I can eat it in peace while the children eat theirs and usually have their 'stuff' (colouring, crafting etc.) next to them.

I can actually use my breakfast bar for what its for...



Instead of somewhere to put our bits and bobs and piles of washing ready for ironing...


And as our kitchen is the largest room downstairs its our gathering point for visitors so with three extra chairs there will be no more standing up, sitting on foot stools, or boxes piled on top of each other.

These would really *really* make my Christmas soooooo much easier not to mention stylish :)

Gift guide for the outdoors type

In the media there has been such harsh reports of what weather we should expect this year. I personally hate being cold, I love to wrap up over winter and keep as warm as I can. In my opinion you can never have enough scarfs, gloves and woolly socks.

I find it quite hard to find gifts for male members of the family, particularly Dads! I (and I'm sure most people) buy my Dad socks most years,  but instead of just ordinary socks I'm going to buy him some socks that are bound to keep his feet warm, a good investment, not socks that will get holes in the toes after a few wears and ones that will keep his feet snugly warm!

So with the weatherman's advice I'm hunting for warm gifts and I have put together some ideas, for the males on your gift list, Bush Wear has some excellent gifts to help keep them warm this winter.



And everyone appreciates a hot cuppa, over the past week I've seen Mums on the school run with their hot brews waiting to pick up their children. Plain black would suit a man just fine!


I think the Zippo Hand warmer is an absolutely brilliant idea, my father-in-law has rheumatoid arthritis and suffers with cold hands and feet. This would be great to slip inside his gloves, or socks once his gets home.

Will you be buying any 'warm' gifts for anyone this year?

*Feature post



Tuesday, 19 November 2013

My Dream Car #DreamCarDesign

I am a bit of a petrol head and I often find myself fantasising over the super fast and stylish sports car. Or day dream about racing round the top gear lap.

But if I could design my own car... What would it look like? How would it work? Well I think I've just about sussed it... I could NEVER afford it but I can dream :)

My car now costs me a fortune to run and isn't the best for the environment so I tailored the car to our needs and one that will be eco friendly too.


Here is the key features of my car:

  • Powered by solar panels. No petrol costs!
  • Dual pane low-emittance windows. They will keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
  • Non wearing tyres, you will never need to replace them.
  • Scratch proof paint, no more marks on the edge of the doors where the kids have opened them onto walls etc.
  • Solar CREE (for extra brightness) LED headlights.
It would be quite 'normal' looking on the outside but on the inside it will be luxurious and fun! 


It would have super cool batman car seats for my boys.
Slick leather comfy seats for us in the front.
A coffee machine to keep us going on long journeys.
And an up to date gaming system for the kids to keep them entertained.

So what you think to my dream car?

This is my entry into Car Craft's Dream car design competition.




Monday, 18 November 2013

Weekly weigh in

I'm a bit fed up this week. I weigh the same even after a 4 mile run last night and a big swim on Friday. 

I'm getting abit disheartened. 

I've have Toby off school ill last week and he kindly gave it to me, so I haven't been eating great. I feel like I'm always full of excuses and I don't want to be.

I'm going to try one more week on carb-free and see how I go if i still don't lose I think it might be time to change tactics. The thing with carb free is that the food is so boring and very much the same things. Today I have had mushroom omelette for breakfast and three sausages for lunch. Tonight dinner is going to be chicken fillet stuffed with sausage meat and wrapped in bacon with veg.

Start weight: 12st 10lb 
Weight now: 12st 6lb
Weight loss: 4lb

DIY: Christmas Facepaints


Over the past few weeks with parties, Halloween and more birthday parties, my children have become quite obsessed with having their face painted. And, I in turn have found something that I quite enjoy and I'm improving at each time.

So with Christmas fast approaching and outfits in mind, everyone is going to be looking for inspiration. So to complement your novelty Christmas outfit, should that be the case, I thought I share a reindeer tutorial and some other easy to do Christmas face paints.

First of all you need to get some quality face paints to ensure the best coverage. Although I coverage on the first picture doesn't look great it actually did its just the way the camera kept picking it up! Its really simple to do when broke down like below.

1. Cover the entire face brown apart from the mouth area. Dab with sponge for better coverage.
2. Draw the white bits above the eyes, don't worry if its not straight you can cover with the black afterwards. Do three spots on each cheek and cover around the mouth.
3. Use the black to draw the antlers and along the white above the eyes. Around the mouth, make sure your brush is as thin as possible to do the strokes and top lip.
4. Add a red nose and red bottom lip.
5.Finally add glitter to the nose and white spots on the face.


Some other Christmas face paints that would be easy to do:

This is me posing for a competition photo, I did this myself in the mirror and this is a simple snowman that I found online.

Both these face paints are great as they will go with any father Christmas or Mrs Clause costume. It'd obviously also work excellently if you are going to dress up as "Rudolph the red-nose reindeer".

So who are you or your little ones planning to dress up as this year?

*This is a PR collaboration.



Sunday, 17 November 2013

Furniture Choice come dine with me menu





Ok so I'm not inviting everyone to come to my house for dinner! This is my entry to furniture choice's blogging competition, who are giving away some fabulous prizes.

everyone that knows us, knows that we love a good fancy dress up! So the theme would be famous couples and as we are Victoria and David we would have to be the ever so famous Beckhams... naturally. 

I would dress the room in an Italian style with olives in little ramekin dishes and bread sticks at the table. And I would put olive branches in vases. Its would be a very calm theme which would be a great contrast to the loud fancy dress. 

So after we have dressed in our super stylish clothes and piled on all our millions of pounds worth of jewellery we would start our super tasty Italian Menu. We got married in Italy so its the obvious choice of menu for us. For our wedding meal we had a really laid back menu in fact some guest had chips with their meal, whilst others just had a massive pizza! Carry on reading to get your taste buds going!

Menu
Starters
Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil 

Main
Original Spaghetti Bolognese
(includes carrots, celery and red wine)

Dessert
Super strawberry and meringue Sundae

Afters
A Lemonchello drink

Our Entertainment would be good old fashioned charades and quiet relaxing music in the background. After all I think our guests will be noisy enough. 

Our guests would have a fabulous time and we would expect to open the door to some creative outfits, but just in case our guests got stuck they could dress as:
Mr and Mrs Incredible

Minnie and mickey

Shrek and Fiona

Ahem... I'm hungry now! Who would you come dressed as if you were invited to my dinner party?


Friday, 15 November 2013

My New Fireplace

Over the past few days, weeks, months.... years, I have been trying to declutter my house and now the children don't touch and mess with everything they aren't suppose to, I want to make it more homely.
One of the things I have done is spruced up my fire place abit. It used to be the dumping ground for things that the kids shouldn't have.. batteries for the remote when they figured how to ping off the back... lose bits of change they found down the sofa, bits of receipts and other unuseful bits and bobs... please say you know what I mean!
My uninspiring fireplace used to look like this:

And no your eyes are not deceiving you- we actually don't have any coal in our fire place. We don't use it and when the boys were little they used to use them as balls, missiles, snacks... and anything else they can possibly think of.

I've been on the look out for different things I can buy to make it look nicer. I wanted bargains as usual :) So after trips to Instore and Matalan this is what it looks like now.


I still want to add I few things as it just looks like something is missing. I think the fire surround would look much better painted- my the hubby is having none of it. I think dark grey, what do you think? The 3 hearts are from B&M a while ago. The single heart and the white heart candle holder are from one of the local garden centres.

Clock £6 from Matalan, we have lived here nearly 8 years and never had a clock in there!

I really liked this simple glass candle stand for £5. I like the fact it will go with any colour and you can change the colour of the candle with the season, I think there will be red ones on there soon!

More candle holders (I'm slightly obsessed with candles at the moment) I want some small light pinky ones to go on here.
And this is what inspired me to start, I thought it was really cute, not only that its a steal at £1.99. Instore have loads of cream pillar candle too.
I like that candles instantly update an area and when your a bit bored of them you can burn them and replace them with different theme or colour etc. Its a really cheap way of updating.
So that fireplace what do you think? To paint or not to paint?



Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Weekly weigh in

I knew I wouldn't lose weight this week as I've been making tasty cakes and hearty meals all week. So when I stepped on the scales this morning I was hardly surprised I had put on 1lb. 

I should have actually weighed myself yesterday but I was rushing around in the morning and I had ate my breakfast before I remembered and there is no way I was weighing myself afterwards!

Whilst at work today I found some inspiration, in the form of Cheryl Cole's 'belfie'. Now I'm not saying when I look like this from behind I'm going to start posting 'belfies' all over my blog and social media.... but it would be nice if I could...you know if I wanted to :)

HOT!

I will probably NEVER get this toned and slim, but it did inspire me to go for a run tonight!

Weight: 12.6 stone
Total loss: 4lb

Monday, 11 November 2013

Review: Slumberdown quilted mattress protector

My little man is five now and still has problems with bed wetting. He's not an anxious child or one to worry out things in fact he's quite the opposite. I often wonder if this is the problem he's not actually bothered his does wet and can't actually be bothered getting up.

I carry him to the toilet every night and he has a huge long wee even though I make him go before bed. Some times I don't make it up to him time, in fact this very often happens.

As you can imagine we need a good mattress protector for him as  it gets so much use! We have currently been using the Slumberdown kids waterproof quilted mattress protector. We are hugely impressed.

Firstly I was so surprised at how thick it was, which is great because it just makes the bed more cosy. Its a generous size and we don't have to stretch it over the corners. The biggest difference is that it doesn't crackle and squeak during the night when he's turning over. 
Its a perfect fit!

Sure enough the first night it was on he wet the bed. It was so impressed with the protector. There was no puddle of wee lying on his sheet or protector- it had completely soaked it all in. When I took the protector off, the mattress wasn't wet or the slightest bit damp, it was bone dry.

Straight away I bunged it in the washing machine with his sheet, and dried it on the radiator the next day. Its perfect still and back on his bed.

Its really thick!

You can buy these at Tesco for £10.50, and for that you get a comfy, thick, QUIET mattress protector. Its well worth the money. Everyone should have one.

* We received the mattress protector free for the review. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

How to make delicious Millionaires cake

I've being baking and cooking everyday this week. I'm like a women on a mission and I'm supposed to be on a diet, so its not a great combination! I made these yesterday and they taste devine so I thought I would share my recipe with you!

Here's what you will need;
250g plain biscuits 
160g butter (for the base)
400g tin of sweetened condensed milk 
125g butter (for the caramel)
90g caster sugar
115g golden syrup
250g milk chocolate (cadburys works well)


Start by lining a tray with foil and greasing with butter. Then crush the biscuits and mix with the butter. I usually melt the butter its much easier to mix. Then press into the tray. Put it in the fridge whilst you make the caramel.

Next combine the condensed milk, butter, sugar and golden syrup in a pan and stir on a low heat for about 25 minutes.

When the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has thickened and changed to a darker brown colour it will be ready. Leave to cool slightly. I left for about 15mins

 

Spread out over the top of the biscuit and put in the fridge. Leave for about 1 hour or until the caramel has hardened (not hard just so its not sticky!) and cooled down.


Melt the chocolate in the pan and spread over the caramel and put back in the fridge until set.


Cut into pieces and devour!


I want to make marshmallows next. Anyone got any good recipes for them?

Friday, 8 November 2013

What's wrong with a bit of fakery?

Now we are coming to the end of the year I spend lots of time reflecting on what we have done over the past year. We always set little or big targets at the beginning of the year outlining what we would like to achieve in the house. This year has been a big and very busy year.

Our main project this year was to do our driveway, it was just a single tarmacked driveway with a falling down wall at the side. We wanted to create a double block paved driveway with a smart new wall at the side and we wanted to do it ourselves - mainly to save costs. We dug it out, packed it up and block paved it and built a new wall. It looks great!

During all this we used some of the mud from the driveway to level out our back garden and the rest just got dumped on the front garden. Both garden ended up being such a mess but we had a lovely driveway!

When we finally got round to doing the back garden we wanted fuss free and as low maintenance as possible, so we decided on just a plain lawn, we cut every bush shrub and tree out! We really wanted artificial grass, we looked online and in many stores. Its as low maintenance as you could get! But at the time we really couldn't afford it so we just turfed it. This is what it looks like now:

It needs mowing regularly and strimming just as often, admittedly it doesn't take forever but who wants to spend time mowing? Can you notice the worn grass patches already in the right hand corner, its worn down so quickly.

As for the front garden we never got round to doing that before the winter set in. Its larger than the back garden and it seems to get over grown more than the back aswell. The grass doesn't grow the same, it all different kinds of grass and green weeds. I think it really lets the front of our house down especially with the new drive. 




In the spring I would really like to invest in the artificial grass. I just feel we have invested so much of our time and money in the drive and I don't want to be gardening every weekend for the rest of my life! And we need something to keep up appearances. Artificial grass is such low maintenance we wouldn't have to bother getting the mower out, watering it in the summer, or worry about weeds and the kids ruining it.

Now a days you can hardly tell the difference between the two either. Take these two lawns for instance – can you honestly identify which one is real and which one is fake…and trust me, one of them is:

Come on you can't even tell the difference! The only thing is if we had real grass it would NEVER stay green!

I am completely sold on artificial grass and I can't wait to start looking into it again for next year!

What are your thoughts and has anybody else already got it?

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Motorbike gift wishlist

Its that time of year when myself and everybody else are starting to think about the perfect Christmas gifts. My boys (this includes my husband) are HUGE motorbike fans. 
I often get dragged into the World of motorbikes and find myself oowwwing and arrring at the TV screen during Moto GP. 

I find boys so hard to buy for especially when they have everything already. Dave obviously has all the gear needed to ride a bike so I've thought about the less obvious things... things that every motorbike fan should have in their life!

As for the younger boys they have motorbike models, bikes that look like motorbikes, helmets that look like motorbike helmets and just about everything Rossi (the World's best motorbike rider... apparently) branded you can think of.

So I have thought of different things this year, possibly things that might make my life slightly easier - but nether the less things that they will like too :)




Motorbike slippers would be perfect for all the boys in my family.
Motorcycle cake mould This would make my life so much easier when I'm asked for motorbike cakes.
Motorcycle sign Great to remind me to leave a space for Dave on the drive!
Motorcycle Key holder  Perfect for Dave to put his keys AWAY....

Do your have motorbike fans in your house?

*Featured post.

Competition - win boys toys

I recently found my comping mojo and thought I would treat my readers to a competition. These are runners-up prizes I have won. My boys already have similar things so they are things they won't use these. That's why I'm offering them to you!

There are three prizes up for grabs- so 3 winners! You have until 30th November to enter.

First up are these magic scribblers (etch-a-sketch in my day)



Next up is Don't you Dare book full of fun things to do. This is a great little book but like I said my boys have similar things and it just wouldn't get the use!


So you know what you have got to do....

Terms and conditions
  • UK entry only.
  • Closing date 30.11.13
  • There will be 3 winners chosen at random by rafflecopter.
  • All prizes are provided and posted by myself.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Weekly weigh in :)

As you can probably guess by the smiley in the title I have lost weigh this week. I must admit though I didn't completely stick to the carb free for 6 days.In fact I only did carb free for Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday. I was very careful about what I ate on the other day though. 

A big thanks to my sister who dragged me out on a 3 mile run last night. I feel much better, I love running I just find it hard to get motivated and go out and do it. 

This week I have lost 3lb. I'm pleased with that-I feel its steady.

Total loss so far- 5lb





Also this week I've got my slow cooker out. I have it for nearly two years and never even had it out of the box. I made bread in it last week and a sausage and bacon casserole.

Fresh out of the slow cooker.

I making sausage and bacon casserole for dinner tonight. Its a low carb recipe and super tasty! Its so easy to make slow cooker meals, for recipe all you need to do is bung everything in and give it a stir!

Brown off 6 sausages and 6 rashers of bacon under the grill. Whilst they are browning, chop 1 swede, 3 carrots, 2 leeks. Put meat and veg in, add 1 tin of chopped tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of tomato puree, 2 tables spoons of plain flour, a teaspoon of mixed herbs and 1 oxo cube. Stir and add 300ml of water!

Leave to cook on low for 4 hours!!

Anybody else in love with slow cookers and have any tasty recipes to share?