Cake Smash Time With Layrish Photography

I actually can’t believe its been a year since we welcomed Isla into the world and I became a Grandmother. I have to say that this time has passed even quicker than it did with my own children and because of that capturing and celebrating milestones is something of great importance to me.

When I was asked by Layrish Photography if we would like to take Isla along to a cake smash photoshoot to celebrate her first birthday both Alice and myself were extremely happy to go along.

Layrish Photography offer a whole range of photography sessions from weddings to birthday parties, cake smashes to family photoshoots and so much more. They take place at locations of your choice or for from the comfort of your own home.

Cake smashes are a relatively new concept to me and certainly something I was very happy to experience with Isla as a first for us both.

We were all made to feel at ease as soon as the session began and Isla was eased into the whole process by playing with some toys and chatting before the photography started.

With pretty balloons, bunting and bubbles to distract her attention the first few photos in her pretty dress were taken effortlessly before she became a little restless.
Isla (8)Isla (9)Isla (13)Isla (15)

What better distraction could there be though than a quick change of clothes and the most beautiful cake being placed in front of you!

Isla (5)Isla (21)Isla (29)

A little hesitant a first she poked and prodded around for a while and then dived in…face first!

Isla (27)

I wasn’t long before she got a real taste and was well away digging in with her hands and trusty wooden spoon.

Isla (38)Isla (37)Isla (44)Isla (41)

Once she was sufficiently covered head to toe in cake it was time to wrap up the session and of course sample some of the cake ourselves…I mean it would be rude not to!

If you like the look of this session then I couldn’t recommend it enough for an experience that will stick in our mind for years to come and amazing image to look back over time and time again.

In fact the whole package is finished off beautifully as Layrish Photography send over a stunning case that comes with a handful of images all ready and printed out for you that are tied together with a pretty bow and covered with confetti along with the memory stick continuing all your photos that you can do exactly what you want with.

This was also accompanied with a slideshow that includes live footage of the cake smash that actually bought a tear to my eye when we received it, it was certainly a really lovely and unexpected addition.

https://thejoyoffive.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/img_9206.mov

It will certainly be a day to remember for us and I couldn’t recommend it more.

*we were given this session in exchange for this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

Gifts For Teens From Prezzybox.com

Teens and pre-teens are notoriously the hardest group of people to buy for, and for me it’s especially hard when it comes to little stocking fillers for Christmas morning.

Mine always have a stocking until well into their teens so that nobody is left out from that exciting treat of dipping into the long sock filled with goodies.

This year I have got together with prezzybox.com and managed to find some fun, affordable and quirky gifts for Izzy and Archie that I know they are going to absolutely love.

Izzy who is twelve loves anything pink, glittery or social media related and they had gifts aplenty to fit this.

The Iris The Unicorn Travel Mug which will be perfect for keeping warm in this freezing weather, a Neon Magic Hairbrush that is a super vibrant colour that fits perfectly inside her schoolbag and the one that I think is going to be a favourite is a Selfie Light that attaches to the back of your phone to create that perfect selfie.

Archie the moody teen who has just turned fifteen is now and has always been so hard to buy for. I love the fact that he rarely asks for gifts, but this is not much help when trying to get ready for Christmas.

However it only took a few minutes to find some gifts that were just perfect for him.

What teen doesnt love sweets! well mine certainly do and the tub of Personalised Retro Sweets is going to go down a storm I’m sure. Next up was a set of six Emoji Golf Balls that come in three different colours with a cool emoji on each ball. Lastly he was a real fan of the fidget spinner when the craze hit a few moths ago so I went one better with the Baffle Puzzle that is a little like a Rubik cube in a cylindrical shape.

Prezzybox.com not only caters for teens but for all different ages, genders and occasions and can be easily ordered from the comfort of your home to avoid that manic high street shopping. It’s the perfect site to stock up on different gifts at this time of year and there really is something for everyone.

* I was gifted these products for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

Teaching Children To Give A Little This Christmas

With the media whirlwind that surrounds Christmas it can be very easy for children to get wrapped up in the commercialisation of it all and loose the true meaning.

It is very easy to get swept up in all the splender that surrounds Christmas and loose sight of the fact that this time of year is not a happy one for all of us.

Christmas is the perfect time to teach children the gift of giving and set them up with skills to show understanding and compassion for those less fortunate.

Something small such a helping out an elderly neighbour with odd jobs or simply a gift of their time is a simple way to give something back.

There are many ways to get the children involved and below I have listed a few charities local to me that offer a great way to do this:

  • Loveworks Christmas Appel Loveworks are a Reigate based charity that’s aim is to help the most vulnerable groups of people in the local area. Over Christmas they run a campaign where you can collect non perishable goods during November and drop off to your local Loveworks food bank in the first week of December.
  • Stripey Stork, Help Santa StorkStripey Stork is a charity created by a group of mums who wanted to make use of their unwanted baby and children’s items by giving them to people in need in the local community. Over the Christmas period they run a campaign called Help Santa’s Stork that allows you to either pick a brand new gift for a child either directly from Amazon or chosen by purchasing and dropping off at local collection points.
  • Give A Christmas Gift – Give A Christmas Gift campaign allows you but a gift from the list they have compiled and then drop your special gift off to several collection points that will then be distribute the collections amongst several local charities.

I hope this post has given you some food for thought and I would love to hear any ideas of charitable acts that you carry out with your little ones at this time of year.

Home Of Black Friday Pop-Up Experience With Amazon

Christmas is well on the way now and for many of us the worry of being able to get everyone their much longed for gifts is something that is hard to deal with.

Christmas is a truly magical time of year but the pressures of financing everything can make this happy time dampened by the pressure.

There are however ways around this with Black Friday being one of the best ways to save a fortune in the run up to Christmas.

Amazon are streets ahead when it comes to Black Friday and have taken things a step further this year with a super quirky pop-up experience in the heart of Soho Square to celebrate.

I was lucky enough to be invited along to the launch last night where we got the chance to see what is going to be on offer and listen to the thoughts behind Black Friday from retail expert – Clare Bailey.

Claire was explaining that for most of us over the years we have realised that giving money is a better option of gifting as the January sales start the minute Christmas finishes and all those gifts we have spend our hard earned money on are dramatically reduced.

However there is no thought or love behind gifting people with cash so being able to make huge savings before christmas is a great way to allow people to enjoy giving an actual gift.

The pop-up shop is a way of showcasing over 100 curated Black Friday deals with the addition of being able to try out games in their super cool games room, take part in games for your chance to win some great prizes and partake in workshops from Amazon Handmade Artisans, YouTube stars and TV chefs.

I had a wonderful evening meeting talented sellers from Amazon Marketplace such as the lovely Lavinia the owner of Lavolio who makes delicious and beautifully packaged handmade chocolates. And the guys behind Cozy Glow candles that would certainly give that well know candle male a run for their money!

They have such passion for their brand which makes their products so much more appealing.

One room in the shop was set up like a beauty salon where I was treated to a hair makeover from GHD and tried out some fabulously vibrant Max Factor lipstick that lasts for an amazing 24 hours.

The shop is open from 12.30-7.30 from Tuesday 21st November until Friday 24th November and is certainly worth a trip for a fantastically interactive shopping experience and some fantastic bargains.

Ain’t No Party Like A Num Noms Party

Last Sunday we were up bright and early to catch the train into Shoreditch to celebrate the launch of Num Noms Series 4 at All Stars Lanes in Brick Lane.

For those of you that aren’t familiar with Num Noms, they are basically a collection of super cool collectables that come in the shape of scented characters, lip glosses, nail varnishes and light up characters that can be stacked, raced and traded to your hearts content.

After trying out a collection of Series 3 Num Noms my guys were super excited to see what the new collection would have to offer!

We walked into the most spectacular party where there were literally Num Noms galore, from a whole play area dedicated to them, images of them all over the big screens and a creative area where the boys loved trying out the new nail polish maker.

This fab new toy allows you to make your own individual nail polish with scents such as strawberry and banana with a sprinkling of glitter if you fancy.

Im sure this is going to be on the top of many Christmas lists this year!

The fun didn’t stop there and we had after a game of bowling that was made pretty competitive by Izzy they tried their hand at icing some Num Nom inspired biscuits with the lovely people from Biscuitiers.

I was more than impressed with the level of concentration that was kept by my extremely active children and the results were pretty tasty too.

They then all headed off to get their faces painted while I got treated to a much needed manicure at the nail bar.

Suitabaly worn to from all the fun it was time for some lunch and a chat about what they had thought of the day.

They were on an absolute high from such a fantastic afternoon…probably a little to do with the pic’n’mix and yummy milkshakes too.

What I really love about Num Noms is the fact that even though they are branded more towards girls, my boys absolutely love playing with them alongside their sister who even after hitting high school this year is still very much a fan and has loved building her collection at home.

Do you have any Num Noms fans at home?

Vintage Carboot And A Stroll Along Southbank For Mother’sDay



Cuddles in bed, homemade cards and the love of my beautiful children is all I need on Mother’s Day.  I won’t get drawn into the hype of overpriced set menus at resturants and tacky gifts that cost a bomb.  The simple things in life is what makes being a Mum special, and Mothering Sunday to me is just a reminder of how truly blessed I am to have five beautiful, happy and well children.

This said I had seen a advert a while ago for a vintage carboot sale at Southbank that happened to fall on Mother’s Day.  I have a real passion for all things vintage and find Southbank is always a hub of entertainment that the kids love.

After my breakfast in bed and snuggles I had to begrudgingly leave number one at home feeling poorly and set off to meet my Mum, Dad and Sister at the train station.  Getting a train is a rarity for us so the kids are always super exited.





Once we had taken a short walk from the station we were greeted at the quirky ticket stall that was homed inside an old fashioned ice cream van.  Once inside there was a fabulous waft of cooking coming from the many funky food stalls serving a variety of splendid foods such as hot waffles, kedgeree, bacon sandwiches and much more.





The stalls and the holders really took you back to a by gone era with collections of clothing, household items and music to name but a few. The children were all intrigued by the well kept old cars and the numerous people dressed in outfits from times gone by.





After a fantastic trip back in time at the carboot we made our way over to the river and walked along taking in the atmosphere of the street entertainers and people watching.  Number three wanted to stop and watch the skateboards at the skatepark while the others stood watching the boats going up and down the river.







We ended our special day playing the steel drums with a super friendly street entertainer and a run around the great play ground, that finished of with my action man Dad falling from the climbing frame, much to our amusement!!





It is special days like this that will remain forever in my heart and make me thankful for all that I have.





Mother’s Day gifts For Nanny

My Mum truly is one in a million, and goes way beyond her motherly duties for all of us.  My children have a very special relationship with her and she deserves to be treated by all of us on Mother’s Day.

My older two now prefer to go to the shops and select a special gift for her; but the younger ones still love to do something homemade which I alway feel is more heartfelt.




With paints at the ready we got out some coloured card and placed blobs of three different coloured paints on three paper plates.  Number 4 then covered his hand in the paint and placed it on the card to form a bunch of flowers.  He then took some green paint and painted three green lines to create the flower stems.


We did ours as a picture but this could easily be turned into a card with wording added.

The plan was to then for number 5 to make a card with an owl on the front using his cute little feet.  Once taking off his socks I began to immerse his feet in the bright purple paint which I had visions of him loving.  How wrong could I be!  He took a massively high pitched scream, kicked away the plate and covered me and the kitchen in the paint!


With number three back from drama we set about making the fingerprint necklace.  I chose DAS air drying clay on a recommendation from a friend as it is softer than most clays and will show up the fingerprint the best.  We took about half an iches worth of clay and rolled it into a ball.  We then used a pen to flatten it into an oval shape and then gently press her finger into the clay to create the impression.  Just above the fingerprint we made a hole with a toothpick to pull the thread thought once it was dry.  It took about three hours for ours to become dry enough to tread.  We pulled the length of thread so that the ends were together, they were then put through the hole from the front to the back and bought back through the loop to complete the necklace.




With everything completed and kids all tucked up in bed they can’t wait until tomorrow to give the special lady in their life the lovingly prepared gifts.

How will you all be spending Mother’s Day?

Mother’s Day Cards With Monkeybeans At Mother Kitty’s

Our house on Mothering Sunday usually involves my husband having a last minute panic and rushing off the the petrol station to get a quick card and the obligatory croissant breakfast.

To save him one little stress this year I thought I would take number four along to Mother Kitty’s in Coulsdon to do a craft session with a group called Monkeybeans.  The sessions are run by a super friendly Mum and daughter team that really engage the children in their activities.  They also run sessions at the Caterham Arms which we have been to before that involve a sing-along session at the end which rounds the activity off really well.  These sessions are perfect if you like your little ones to expore their artistic side without the mess in your own home!





With a beautiful glue sodden card in hand number four and five had a run around the soft play and then donned their Mother Kitty masks that they were given in the session to take home and colour in.



What are your plans this Mother’s Day?