Back On Track With David Lloyd Purley

Today hurt, it pushed me to my limits, it made me want to just give up but I didn’t. Today was my first day back in to David Lloyd – Purley since before Christmas and although each and every minute in that spin class pushed me to breaking point I got through it, enjoyed it and it has given me that much needed motivation to keep going.

I know at the moment their is a huge buzz around accepting our bodies for the way they are but this is something that doesn’t sit well with me. I have always been taught to strive to be the best I can when it comes to things such as work and parenting so why shouldn’t this be the same for the way my body looks and feels. Yes my body has carried five babies and age is no longer on my side but that is no excuse to neglect the body that has done so much for me and why shouldn’t I strive to get it looking and feeling the best way it possibly can. I know its not going to be easy and since I first started back on my fitness journey last year I have both good and bad moments but I have learnt from both.

Over the last few months I was utillising the gyms fantastic kids clubs and cafe area to catch up on work rather than for looking after myself and my own well being and although it was fantastic for allowing me to hit targets with work it meant that my fitness and weightloss were suffering. Im using this New Year to get things back on track, manage my time better and smash those goals and I hope you will join me on my journey!

  • We have been given a family membership for the purpose of these posts.

Pines And Needles – A Family Tradition

When it comes to Christmas I’m sure that for many of you traditions are something that come hand in hand with this special time of year. From preparing the mince pie and milk for Santa to visiting the big man himself our family have a whole host of traditions that we added to with Pines and Needles a couple of years ago now.

Just before Christmas I told you all about the benefits of getting a tree from this amazing company from being able to select your tree from the comfort of your own home, the ease of it being delivered straight to your front door and even the option to have it completely set up and decorated for you.

For us though the decorating part is one of our traditions and as soon as the children came in and saw our grand tree in situ they wanted to get their hands on it and begin the decorating.

The 7ft beauty smelt as good as it looked and we all had such fun adorning each branch with our favourite decorations, even if getting the angel on top was a bit of a struggle!

One worry with real trees is that they won’t last the distance but ours is still going strong and will defiantly still be a focal point for our New Years Eve celebrations.

We really couldn’t recommend the Pines and Needles trees enough and I assure you if you get you order in for next year you won’t be disappointed.

* We were gifted this tree in return for this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

A Festive Clean With Fantastic Services

Cleaning the house is never something that is top of my wish list and when there are so many other things I need to get done during the week taking a huge section of time out the clean the house is frustrating although of course something that can’t be missed.

So when Fantastic Services offered to come round clean the entire house I was over the moon!

Two super friendly cleaners arrived at my door and asked me a few questions about the priorities I had for the clean and if there was anything I specifically wanted them to focus on and then they set to work.

Each and every nook and cranny was covered, the tops of the kitchen cupboard were even got to and the windows that I just couldn’t get clean since moving in were left super sparkly.

I was worried that I would feel uncomfortable about being in the house whilst they were there but I easily got on with my work whilst thinking how this wouldn’t have been possible if it hadn’t have been for the team coming in.

It isn’t just a ordinary domestic clean that Fantastic Services offer, they have gardening, pest control and even Christmas tree delivery services on offer plus much more.

If you are looking to get thing spick and spam over the Christmas period then head over to their site for your chance to win some great prizes in their special advent calendar before booking your clean and once you are all booked in there is a lovely festive treat to keep the kids busy with over Christmas which I’m sure you will agree is something we are all looking to do.

I was astounded by how quick and thoroughly my clean was from Fantastic Services and they come highly recommend from us, so much so that I have a discount off £10 off your first online booking by clicking HERE and using the discount code JoyOfFive.

* The clean was carried out for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

Tots To Teens Gift Guide

This year I have decided to bundle all the kids gifts into one as lets face it no one child likes something just because it is aimed at their age or gender so here are a few of my top pics for this christmas from tots to teens and everyone in between.

Matchstick Monkey – These super cute teethers are made of super soft material that has been made into an ergonomically designed teether suitable for each and every teething stage. Matchstick Monkey are the perfect size for little hands to grip and can easily be taken anywhere you wish.

Johnson’s Baby Bedtime Giftset – The gift of sleep is as enjoyable for us as it is the babies and this gorgeous set from Johnson’s comprising of a baby bath, baby wash, baby lotion and baby oil makes for a lovely gift.

Jo Jo Maman Bebe Christmas Dinner Set – This gorgeous set first caught my eye at an event in the summer and I real in love. The wooden set is a complete christmas dinner with a full turkey, pigs in blankets, roast potatoes, broccoli, brussel sprouts, carrots and a delicious looking christmas pudding. I can’t wait for the boys to serve me my own christmas this year!

Robo Chameleon – I think this is going to be my favourite toy this year never mind the kids! This cute portable robot has an illuminated, colour changing body and a tongue that shoots out to catch its food. The remote control allows the chameleon to move in four different directions as well as moves his tail and eyes. He moves around with ease collecting his food and storing in his mouth ready for the next game.

Dash – Coding is a big thing for kids at the moment and Dash the robot is a great way to get kids interested in a super fun way.  This interactive, educational and customisable robot who is able to sense his environment, moves, glows, makes sounds and can even interact with other robots. All of these activities are easy to program for children aged 6+.

Ready2Robot – Ready2Robot is an brilliant battle set offering 10 hidden chambers, 40 battle weapons and 100’s of ways to customise your battles. This is going to keep my boys busy for more than a while this Christmas.

The Original Den Kit – I love being outdoors with the kids and anything that makes them want to explore the great outdoors is a big hit in my book. This brilliant Den Kit from Muddy Puddles provides them with everything they need for a brilliant outdoor adventure.

Inside the green haversack there is everything you need to build the perfect den anywhere you like including a camouflage tarpaulin, waterproof groundsheet, wooden mallet, a mug, a tube of super cool faceprint, a rope, 8 tent pegs and institutions to help you along the way. This really is a present that will keep on giving!

Kids Kanteen Sippy Bottle – If you have children like mine then being asked for a drink is continuous. Having a super cool bottle for themselves is a great way to get them to take charge of their own drink. The Kid Kanteen is designed for children from 6 months and the the stainless steel and sippy lid is the perfect way to get your little ones to start thinking about reusable drinks bottles.

Bundle Beds – In my eyes Bundle Beds are one of the best inventions I have come across for a long time! Instead of pulling out your old sleeping bag and trying to get comfy on the hard floor a Bundle Bed offers a fully self-contained bed complete with a self inflating mattress, built in luxury duvet and pillow in a slimline and easy to store design.

Never before have I had such a good nights sleep in a ‘put up’ bed and it makes for the perfect extra sleeping space for sleepovers, camping or just cosying up in front of the TV.

A Few Minutes Of Design – I love something a little different to the norm and this pack of colourful cards is sure to get those creative juices flowing , allowing you to grow skills in creativity, invention and design.

On each card you will find an activity that lasts for around 15 mins and can be anything from how to name a project to how to say it without words. It is a very different gift that will certainly challenge the little ones and keep the away from the screen this Christmas.

Venom Mini BMX  – Going with our love of the outdoors, this mini BMX from Skates.co.uk is just the thing to get them out and about and exploring. This Venom bike to only looks super cool but also offers high pressure tyres, tappered treadless forks, upgraded CNC dropouts an  brand new colour-way.

It the perfect BMX to get there passion for riding flowing.

Knitty Critters – Crochet is something that has certainly come back into the spotlight over the past few years and I love anything that opens up ways for the children to learn new skills. Geoffrey The Giraffe is perfect for those with intermediate skills and will give your child a real sense of accomplishment once they have finished.

LushLush products have made it into my kid and adult guide this year as I think they span absolute every age. I know they each and everyone of us in this house loves there products and Izzy especially loves to receive one of their gorgeous gift boxes at this time of year.

MiPac Rucksack – A new bag always goes down well in our house for Christmas and you can’t go wrong with one from MiPac. A favourite of mine this year has to be the Tatty Devine collaboration and I know they there are a lot of teens out there that would love to receive this.

Crate Creature Basher Figures And Moj Moj – Two little stocking fillers that come top of my list this year are the Moj Moj cute and squishy collectibles and the mini crate creatures basher figures that come in a little box that can be used as a target.

* I was gifted this products for the purpose of this guide.

The Snowman Experience:Review

We are huge fans of the Backyard Cinema and the themed cinematic experiences they offer.

Over the past few year we have swung through the jungle to see the jungle book and walked through a winter night garden to watch Elf, but this year when we were asked to come go along to Winter Wonderland to The Snowman Experience it was even more amazing than I had imagined and they have certainly built in their fantastic idea and gone all out to create the mot spectacular experience.

Inside the hustle and bustle of Winter Wonderland is a huge cinema offering much more than just a screening.

This year the iconic book – The Snowman by Raymond Briggs is celebrating it’s 40th with this extra special showing.

As I’m sure you will all agree, The Snowman is the epitome of Christmas. The charming tale of a small boy and his adventures with his snowman friend fill my heart with the joy of Christmas and I will never tire of this story. However I didn’t expect it to be transformed as it was for us this weekend.

We stepped inside a wooded area and weaved our away into the cinema, stopping for a photo first. As we took to our seats we saw the screen surrounded by brilliant props that made the illusion we were inside the story. As the film began we were treated to a few surprises from the stage that the kids were amazed by.

After a short while we were unexpectedly whisked through to another room where the huge curved screen allowed us to feel that we had taken flight with the snowman himself.

The last room was set up ready for the grand finale where everyone was ready to party. With flashing lights and familiar tunes the boys loved dancing along whilst watching the big screen. But the biggest surprise of all was The Snowman himself making an appearance to a crowd of excited children all eager to meet him.

The Backyard Cinema really have excelled themselves this time and have given us a experience to remember for many years to come.

The experience is running from 10am – 10pm up until 6th January 2019 and it’s not to be missed!

* We were given tickets for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

Adults Christmas Gift Guide

When it comes to Christmas presents in our house we kind of neglect ourselves and concentrate on the children, but isn’t it nice to be able to unwrap something a little special too or gift that special person in your life something lovely.

I’ve compiled a few gifts here that will be sure to bring a smile to anyones face this christmas.

Tipsy Treats – I’m sure you will agree by the end of the year and after all the stress of the Christmas preparation the treat of something alcohol related is always welcome and here are a few options that I would love to find under the tree.

The Duppy Share Rum: I have to say it was the beautiful bottle design that first drew me to rum. The Duppy Share is a blend of unique, premium rums from the Worthy Park Estate in Jamaica and the Foursquare Distillery in Barbados.

These tropical, fruity flavours make for a stunning combination, perfect for any Christmas party.

The English Drinks Company: I am ashamed to say I am a stereotypical blogger and love a good G&T. I also love a bit of variety and with this cute set of miniatures from the English Drinks Company you get the chance to try out a their gorgeous pink, orange and cucumber gins…and if you like them then why not treat yourself to a bigger bottle!

Monthly  Drinks Subscriptions: If you want a gift that keeps on giving then why not opt for a monthly subscription so that the receiver can enjoy a gift each and every month and who knows they might even share the love with you!

Pimp Your Gin: Move over ‘pimp you prossecco’ there is a new guy in town in the way of Pop A Ball. Pop A Ball are tiny, jelly balls that pop inside your drink releasing delicious flavours inside your favourite tipple.

Something Cosy: You can’t beat something cosy to get on your feet at this time of year and   here are a couple of things to keep those toes toasty.

Fluffy Slippers: Slippers are always a welcome gift and these supper fluffy slippers from Lazy Dogz are something a little special with their top quality material, memory foam footbeds and faux fur lining.

Got To Be Socks: Christmas lists always have to include a few pairs of socks, but they don’t have to be your usual run of the mill multipack. I’m sure something like the bold and colourful socks from the London Sock Company. Their vibrant colours, superior quality wool and hand finished gift boxes make for a very special way to receive those familiar Christmas socks.

A Litte Bit Of Self Care: We all need a logotype bit of self care from time to time and here are a few ways to help you make the most of it.

Bath Bombs: I Think when the word bath bomb is used the majority of people will automatically think of Lush. I know for me they are the epitome of bath time treats and their vibrant, gorgeous smelling gift boxes are always a wonderful gift to receive, just like this Snow Fairy gift set which is full to the brim with all kinds of goodies.

Sit Back And Relax: We could all do with a five minutes peace to relax and recoup sometimes and with the help of the amazing Spacemasks this can be the best five minutes you could take out of your day.

They have been created with a collision of intergalactic material mixed with some human imagination which together with give you a way to escape from todays hectic lifestyles and leave our problems behind. What could be better than

A Clean Shave – Razors have come a long way since the days of the throw away plastic style ones and can now make for a pretty stylish present. The limited edition Mach3 razor with its sleek design, razor stand and chrome handle in a gorgeous gift box would make a brilliant gift for the man in your life.

Something To Remember- Personally I love to receive a gift that has a little meaning behind it and something that I look back on and gain fond memories from. Here are a couple of gifts that will allow you to do just that.

Casting Experience: This is something I wish I had done when mine were little and this set from the Edinburgh Casting Studio offers a super professional set to do in the comfort of your own home. It enables you to create everlasting sculpture of your families hands or feet to cherish for many years to come.

Personalised  Jewellery: I don’t wear a lot of jewellery but I absolutely love the personalised range from Bloom Boutique. They have a fantastic range of jewellery that you can get personalised to suit whatever you want. I have given myself a little pressie with this gorgeous silver heart engraved with ‘Mum’.

Packing Things Up: My sister finds my love of a rucksack hilarious, and often asks me if I think I’m still at school, but for me the practicality they offer is so handy when you have kids.

We have loads of trips out with kids and instead of breaking my back with an over loaded handbag, spreading the load in a rucksack is the best option. MiPac are one of my favourite brands and offer something a little bit different such as this leopard print beauty.

Eating Out – We love eating out, either together as a family or sneaking out for some time on our own so anything to do with eating out would be a great gift.

Dining Out Card: Mitchells and Butlers off a brilliant dining out gift card that lets you add as such money as you would like to be used in a whole range of different restaurants such as Toby Carvery, Harvester, Miller and Carter Steakhouse and many more.

Something Techy – My husband loves anything techy and would be more than happy with a gadget to play around with over the festive period.

Dash Cam: The deluxe in-car dash cam from Next Base gives you security of being able to record important details of your car journey in Full HD. The SD card will never run out and space as the footage is automatically looped over unwanted recordings.

It is super easy to install and invaluable if you were to sadly get caught in an accident.

*I was gifted these products for the purpose of this post.

Investing More In Creating New Memories

Memories are wonderful things. They can transport us back to precious times and amazing places as well as allowing us to remember moments that may not have been so pleasant. Regardless of how the memories make us feel they can aid us in the future decisions we make which is oh so important.

I was very fortunate to have a wonderful childhood and my parents have built some amazing memories for me that I love to think back on. Many of which I probably bore my children with time and time again and lots that I use to recreate those happy time with my own children.

At this time of year especially I think back to all of those wonderful christmas traditionans my parents created and have probably been passed down through the generations. One that my Mum will certainly agree with is letting the children decorate the tree and then as soon as they are tucked up in bed completely rearranging it again!

My blog was first set up to capture all of these memories we make and as a digital tool to look back on in years to come, an online diary that can be accessed as an when we need to see all the amazing adventures we have shared as a family over the years. But last year I realised that it was all of the big things that were being documented and those little moments that are just as important were getting lost and probably forgotten about in the fast passed, hectic lives we live today.

This is what got my “celebrating the small things’ section of my blog started so that each week I can record all those precious little moments such as losing a tooth or getting an award at school – simple little things that actually mean a lot!

Due to the nature of my work I find it pretty easy to get out with the younger children and create precious memories but as a family on a whole with my husband working long hours and the older children having their own social lives or being drawn to the online world rather than getting out and about; making these memories can sometimes be pretty challenging.

This is why in the new year I am setting a challenge that at least twice a month we will all get together and do something as a whole family so that we have precious moments to look back on and hopefully this will help to shape a good memory bank of things to look back on in their adult life a give them experiences to relate back to when they start to stand on their own two feet.

How do find ways to create precious memories with your families? Do you agree with me that events and memories from your past shape your decisions in the future? I would love to hear your thoughts on this and hopefully I can pick up some tips and ideas for my New Year challenge.

*collaborated post

Baby Shark Xmas No.1 GIVEAWAY

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past year you couldn’t have failed to have missed the phenomenon that is Baby Shark!

I was actually first introduced to it when my granddaughter was a tiny baby and I couldn’t believe how the catchy song had her completely mesmerised. It wasn’t long before the boys then found a love for it along with millions of other children.

Baby Shark has in fact been such an internet sensation that it has amassed a huge 1.9 billion views, making it one of the most watched YouTube videos ever! It has amazingly spent seven weeks in the Official UK Top 40 Singles chart and is in a great position to become this years Christmas number 1.

To help celebrate the success of this song I am giving away a fantastic bundle of Baby Shark goodies over on Instagram. My boys have had an amazing time playing with their bundle and I can assure you it would certainly put a smile on your little ones faces this Christmas.

The bundle comprises of a limited edition Baby Shark plush toy that are currently completly sold out online, a promotional copy of the official Baby Shark album – ‘The Best Of Baby Shark’, an official heather grey unisex Baby Shark t-shirt, official sticker sheet, exclusive official Baby Shark socks that aren’t available anywhere yet and finally snap on Baby Shark official wristbands.

I’m sure you will agree this is an amazing prize so head over to my Instagram page by clicking HERE and get entering!

*We were sent these products for the purpose of this post and giveaway and they are all my own, honest opinions.

A Laid Back Trip To Santa At The London Transport Museum

A trip to the London Transport Museum always goes down well with my lot, especially at Christmas. I mean being in the heart of Covent Garden which is always brimming with festive cheer has to be one of the most perfect settings; and last weekend as we caught sight of the beautiful red and blue christmas tree standing proud outside the museum we were filled with excitement and anticipation of what the day would hold.

We made our way inside where the boys immediately jumped on board the buses letting their imaginations run wild, asking where we wanted to travel to and recalling all the London landmarks they could think of.

When they had finished we made our way to the magical forest to see if we could find Santa. Unlike last year where you went inside a cabin to meet Santa as a family things have been changed around a little and the whole experience is less formal and has a lovely laid back feel to it.

We sat on cosy cushions whilst the boys played with wooden toys and read books until the big man himself arrived. He sat amongst and chatted to us all, asking how far we had come and what the childrens wishes were for christmas. He gave each child a special badge and was more than happy for you to take photos with him.

There were lots of tiny tots there which for me seemed like the perfect introduction to meeting Santa without the long queues and hefty price tags. Santa will be there until the 23rd December from eleven to three so keep an eye out for him throughout the museum.

The festive fun doesn’t stop there as there is the opportunity to sit amongst the magical forest for the story time sessions that run everyday at 11.30 and 1.30 and use an array of different props and instruments.

The boys also took a chance to get crafty by making glittery, sparkly christmas decoration with all manner of glitter glues and pretty pom poms.

All the sessions are completely free of charge and come in with the entry price which at £17.50 per adult and children going free is amazing value. This entry price also gives you admittion for 12 months so you can enjoy the museum time and time again.

We headed around the rest of the museum where the boys got to play at being train drivers, took me for a ride in a taxi and played for ages in the play area which is always a big hit.

One area of the museum which seems to have eluded us until now is the Upper Deck cafe where we had an amazing lunch. On previous visits we had eaten inside the hub of the museum which was a great way to grab a quick bite whilst the kids play, but the Upper Deck gave us a much vaster menu and an amazing view of Covent Garden whilst we ate.

We were all super hungry and we filled our bellies with delicious juicy sausages, oozing burgers and crispy chips. There was a great choice from salads and sandwiches to coffees and cakes and the cake were certainly the piece de resistance for us with a super cool London underground icing top.

To finish our day we headed back down to the museum shop which is probably within the minority of attraction shops I don’t wizz the kids through.  They have a gorgorgous range of eclectic gifts, stunning christmas decorations and pocket money toys that are a far cry from the usual brittle plastic rubbish you usually come across.

I really can’t stop singing praises for the London Transport Museum and it really is a brilliant place to visit at this time of year.

* We were gifted this day out plus gifts for the purpose of this review and they are all my own honest opinions.

Premier League Writing Stars Competition

Earlier in the year a few of you may remember that I was lucky enough to attend the Premier League Primary Stars One Year On event which introduced me to the fabulous community project that has been set up to help develop literary skills amongst primary aged children.

After hearing the children recite the winning entries I was absolutely astounded at the time, thought and love that had gone into these entries and the look of pride that beamed from the children’s faces was a clear indicator of what an amazing initiative this is.

Last year the project reached out to over 25000 schools and brought a fun and different way to engage the children in learning, opening up a different world to so many of them who ordinarily may not have had an interest in the written word before.

This year they are back with another poetry competition that has the theme of diversity. This is a great way to get the children thinking about and celebrating everyones differences as well as similarities and why these are so important.

This subject is close to my heart as since starting school the differences and segregation that comes with Frankie’s food allergies have been hightened and I think that getting his feelings written down about this could be really cathartic for him; and reading through other entries may open his eyes to all the differences in the world and how each and everyone of these makes that person special, individual and just as important and anyone else.

They have inslisted the help of poet Joseph Coelho who has written a poem entitled ‘Beautifly Different, Wonderfully The Same’ which I’m sure you will agree is just perfect to get the childrens imaginations and creativity flowing.

Again this year they have a star studded panel comprising of former Premier Leaugefootballer – Rio Ferdinand, author – Lauren Child,  singer/songwriter – Olly Murs and Joseph Coelho himself who will have the tough job of picking winners based on a whole range of different criteria. The lucky winner will get their poem published in a limited edition book whilst there are other great prizes such a Premier League trophy school visits and author-ledwriting workshops up for grabs.

I’m sure that after reading this many of you will see just how much this project could enrich your children’s own school and if they are not already signed up to Premier League Primary Stars then all they need to do is sign up HERE.

The competition is running until 21st December 2018 so there is still plenty of time to get those creative juices flowing.

*collaborated post