A New Look With Blown Away London

[AD] My hair has never been my greatest asset, partly due to the fact I never spend more than five minutes on it. A quick rough dry, scrape it back into a ponytail and this is pretty my day and evening look.

When youth was on my side and five pregnancies hadn’t stripped the life out of my hair this was never a problem. I am now however in need of a little more tlc and when the lovely Frankie from Blown Away London asked me to visit I was hopeful she could work some magic!

Blown Away London is a mobile hair dressing company that also works from the gorgeous RE NUE London in Banstead a couple of days a week.

Frankie is an expert in both blowdrys and balayage, offers tape extensions and so much more.

I am one of those annoying clients that enters the salon with not much idea as to what I want. Frankie talked me through a lot of different options that would be good for me and we finally came up with a look that I wasn’t really expecting to go for.

I must admit I was a little hesitant as I hadn’t gone for a lighter colour since my teens but felt it would be a bit softer for me now unlike the usual dark brown I opt for.

The colour started and there was no going back! My faith however was in Frankie and she happily sat and chatted whilst I was waiting for the colour to develop which made the time fly by!

Next up was the cut and having such thin hair I always worry that it will be to thinned our as it has in the past which means me leaving feeling deflated.

In the end all this anxieties and worries were taken away as she unveiled an glossy, bouncy and much welcome change to my hair.

I really couldn’t have been happier with the cut, colour and most importantly the great company!

Turning 13 With A Bang At Project B

[AD] It wasn’t until this year I realised that 13th birthdays were such a big thing now. I happily breezed through this age with the other two having a simple day out…however it seemed this wasn’t going to be the case with Izzy!

Every weekend has been filled with ferrying her back and fourth to different parties and the planning started for her own months and months before the actual big day.

The brief for me was that she wanted somewhere ‘cool’. This is a dangerously brief description when it come to teenagers as it has the ability to go terribly wrong!

I took a look through the internet and with the help of Google I came across Project B in Croydon which looked like it would fit the bill perfectly.

I went along to meet one of the owners who was warm, welcoming and more than happy to cater for a room full of hyper teens!

They have home a huge variety of different events and parties and really want to make your event work as well as it can. I mean with hours fun I g all through the day until 4am they really do cover a whole host of angles.

The venue is split into two floors of which you can hire both or separately. We opted for the upper floor that has a huge open space, cosy sofas and tables, an area to home a DJ or bring along your own music and and an amazingly Instagramable wall which was a big selling point for me.

As well as the main room there is a smaller bar area to the side which would be perfect for adult parties and worked wonderfully for us as it gave the children their own space without us being to far away.

Izzy didn’t want a particular theme so we just went for lots of props to use while they were taking photos, a sweet table which went down a treat and as she didn’t want a birthday cake a popped some bottle sparked onto nonalcoholic fizz that went down a treat with a room full of screaming teens.

To be honest the decor is super cool and quirky so it all really speaks for itself and is a world away from having to try and make a dingy hall something special.

A few parents were a little apprehensive about the party being in the centre of Croydon but I can honestly say that the set up made it perfectly safe and there was no way they could venture out and do their own thing, and to be honest they didn’t even feel the need to as they were all to busy dancing the night away!

Project B made Izzy’s 13th one to remember and if you are looking for a children’s party then I highly recommend you get in touch as it was the perfect venue for us and could be for you too.

Making A Place At The Table For Everyone With Notty Reclaimed

[AD] My husband and I disagree on just about everything from where we want to eat to the clothing each other wear, and these disagreements are always magnified when it come to choosing items for the home.

I love something a little alternative while he always favours something a little more classic. Nine times out of ten I always win, but when it came to choosing our dining table we amazingly agreed on the first one we set eyes on.

After scrolling through Instagram simply for inspiration I came across a gorgeous feed called Notty Reclaimed. Just by luck they were a local company that produced amazing furniture from reclaimed wood.

It was one of their dining tables with benches that really caught our eye and after chatting I knew that the warmth and love they showed for their products was going to make for an amazing piece for our home.

Having a large family and more often then not a few extra visitors at dinner times we needed something that was going to seat a lot of people comfortably and this was the main reason we opted for benches as this way we could fit plenty of little bottoms round the table at one time.

Both the table and benches were made from gorgeous reclaimed scaffold boards that were homed on chunky metal bases.

The whole experience from ordering through to delivery was absolutely faultless and it felt great to be able to get something that was using reclaimed materials and from a local small business who have invested so much time and effort into everything they do.

They offer much more than just dining tables and will go above and beyond to make sure your own personal needs are met.

This really is a focal point for our dining room now and many great memories have been created around it. We can’t thank Notty Reclaimed enough and I urge you all to take a look as I know there will be some that everyone will love. If you do please feel free to use my discount code JOYOFFIVE10 to receive 10%discount on any dining set.

Getting The Kids Out And About With Micro Scooters

[AD] It is always a worry for me that the children don’t spend to much time indoors stuck to screens instead of getting outside and enjoying some good old fresh air and exercise.

I try my hardest to squeeze as much outdoor time into our days as we can and a great way to do this is through scooting.

All of my children have loved being able to hop on a scooter and pop to the shop, grab it from the boot and scoot to school or make a day of it at the skate park.

Over the years we have tried a large variety of scooters but have always favoured the three wheeled Micro Scooters for whole hosts of reasons; but the biggest pull was their amazing steering system that allows the scooter the turn the way the child leans into the turn. This saved so many falls that we had with other first scooters and allowed them to build confidence at a much quicker rate.

Now the boys are growing their need for a bigger, two wheeled style scooter was coming and Micro Scooters were not someone I would have thought about for this age range. So when we were asked to try some out I was pleasantly surprised what Micro Scooters has to offer.

For Oscar who is just five I wanted something a little sturdier to offer the transition to a two wheeler less daunting so the Micro Scooter Cruiser seemed to be the perfect option.

The Cruiser offers a wide foot plate, large wheels and bicycle style handle bars for a sturdy ride. This is brilliant for them to gain confidence and I really feel in love with the retro style so it was a win from all parties.

Oscar has loved nipping to the shops with me and when he has had enough as with all Micro Scooters it is super easy to fold up and carry.

Frankie wanted a little more than just a straight ride from a scooter so for him we opted for the Stunt Scooter. His older brother was a fan of scooting for many years and in fact competed so I think as he gets older this is something he wanted to try out for himself.

This scooter has been perfect for him to try out all kinds of jumps, spins and tricks due to its streamline and lightweight nature. The handlebars are also positioned higher than a traditional scooter allowing ease of movement.

As well as being perfect for the skate park this scooter has also been great for the trips into town and playing in the garden with his brother.

As well as the scooter themselves Micro Scooters offer a whole host of safety equipment and accessories to make you scoot safe as well as fun!

Micro Scooters always have been the first choice for me and since trying out these different styles I have fallen in love with them even more.

The attention to detail and really knowing what both kids and parents want shines through with every step of choosing, ordering and using the scooter.

What style do you think you would opt for, for your little ones?

Their Own Little Space:Evermeadow House Playhouse

[AD] Being a large family means that it is not easy to find time to yourself.  As adults my husband and I can factor this into our day, but for the children this can be hard to do and I try as much as I can to make sure they all get a little time to themselves, but with the reality of busy lives this isn’t always easy.

The youngest two really enjoy each others company…aside from the arguing! And they are both the ones the older children try to escape from for a bit of peace and quiet!

This is where having a little area in the garden that they can slope off to has been such a great addition for us and we have been able to do this with the help of the lovely people at Big Game Hunters who supply just about anything you could want for oudoor play.

They kindly sent us their Evermeadow Playhouse House to try out and it has been absolutely perfect!

Neither my husband or I own any DIY skills so the thought of errecting a playhouse sent my husband packing and me grabbing the phone to enlist the help of my poor Dad.  I actually didn’t need to panic though as one big box arrived full with our playhouse and instructions that did exaclly what it said on the tin(well box).

The panels have been made to simply slot together and with each pannel being numbered this was an easy task. The screw holes were in place and with the help of a power screwdriver the house was errect within under an hour. Even the windows were already in place so it really was a super easy build.

The house comes in its origianal state wood wise which allows you free reign on the colour you would like it. I was expecting the boys so go for something bold but they surprising they wanted to leave it natural so I just gave it a few coats of wood preserver to protect it from the weather.

The house is suitable for ages 18mths to eight years and has plenty of room for my youngest two to play inside together with their toys.

We have plans to get some cute plant pots outside, a doormat and some big cushions to make it a little cosier inside so keep an eye out over on Instagram for all our updates!

Room On The Broom – A Magical Journey At Chessington World Of Adventures

[Press Event] For a long time now the most loved ride at Chessington World Of Adventures for us has been the Gruffalo River Ride. The familiar characters from the Julia Donaldson classic has been bought to life and even the cynical teens of the family love to ride on the former ‘Bubble Works’ which we never thought could be replaced.

Fast forward a few years and I was over the moon to learn that another Julia Donaldson classic – Room On The Broom was going to be brought to life again and we would be one of the lucky few to see it first.

As always I was as excited as the kids as we set off to Chessington World Of Adventures. It was a pretty early start and we were over the moon to be greeted with a Room On The Broom themed breakfast of wand shaped fruit skewers, star shaped biscuits and mini caldron of sweets(bring on the sugar rush!).

Full up and eager to get to the ride we made our way over to the old Hocus Pocus Hall which was now home to the brand new Room On The Broom – A Magical Journey.

As we entered the familiar large doors we soon realised it had, had a real transformation and was now a library that was home to a bubbling witches caldron. We even got to see Julia Donaldson herself before we entered!

From the start I could tell this was going to be a very interactive experience which is always a hit with the boys.

A stormy wind gust in, blowing away the witches treasured possessions and from there we were sent on a mission to try and find them.

We weaved through woods and we’re challenged to release her hat from the trees, search through haystacks to find her bow and bash the fireflies to reclaim her wand; not forgetting to dodge the dragon who was looking out for a diner of ‘Witch and Chips’.

The boys were pleased to see that a couple of the original features of the house still remain and I will league it down to you to visit and find out for yourselves.

As well as this amazing new attraction there has been two new themed rooms added to the Safari Hotel they would make for an amazing addition to any trip.

This really is a must for all those Julia Donaldson fans out there and had made the perfect partner to the Gruffalo River Ride.

Little Tikes First Slide:Review

[AD] I don’t think there is a child on the planet that doesn’t enjoy playing on a slide and as well as being great fun there are a whole host of reasons why it is a fantastic piece of equipment for your child.

Helps With Balance And Coordination – Having to navigate the steps, positioning themselves at the top and finally letting themselves go down the slide all help to build their balance and coordination skills.

Grow Their Spacial Awareness – Not getting to close to the person in front and waiting until their path is clear when using a slide is a great way to get children to become aware of the space around them and how to use it.

Building Their Confidence – For some climbing those first steps and letting themselves go down the slide can be a little daunting so it is a great way to build their confidence.

Slides have always been the first choice for all my children when it comes to play equipment and being able to have a slide that is so versatile it can be used inside and outside the home is a real winner and exactly what you get with the Little Tikes First Slide. Its easy to assemble, rigid plastic is the perfect slide for children from 18 months to 5 years.

We put the slide together in a matter of minutes and due to the ease of this the slide can be moved around and stored away without any problems at all. Oscar loves being outside but not on his own, so for those times when he wants to play with the slide and I’ve got stuff to do it comes into the dining room and he can pay away whist I get on.

Little Tikes will always have our hearts as their toys are always faultless and we have found exactly the same with this slide.

Vertbaudet:Clothing, Homeware And So Much More

[AD] I first started shopping with Vertbaudet over twenty years ago now when I had my first. I loved that they offered something a little different to your run of the mill catalogues at the time and their clean and simple lines made for a range of childrens clothes that reflected their chic french background.

For some reason over the years they had fallen from my radar a little and when I was asked to work with then at the beginning of the year I was astounded at just how much they now offer and how the brand has grown into something pretty amazing.

They offer a huge range of clothing from babies to teens and even have a range of maternity and nursing wear which is something that is always tricky to find.

Not only can you find some great pieces for the little ones wardrobes but you can also get some gorgeous homeware pieces for their rooms that are as individual and beautiful as their clothing plus a fabulous range of indoor and outdoor toys.

The boys had great fun scrolling through their easy to use website and being the little fashionistas that they are selected a pair of skinny jeans each that is always their go to style. Their jeans were a brilliant fit, had plenty of stretch so that playtime wasn’t restricted and had plenty of length which is something I tend to find a problem when buying childrens jeans.

Giving the boys somewhat of a free rein  when it came to choosing an outfit can sometimes be a little dangerous and their faces immediately lit up when they saw some character sweatshirts. They are normally something I steer clear of but the retro design of the Mickey Mouse sweatshirt and the cool faded fabric on the Star Wars jumper was fabulous and they were definitely winners with all of us.

For me footwear is a tricky one to order online for children as getting a good for for them is so important. I needn’t have worried though as the suede boots that arrived for the boys were a wonderfully soft leather with good support for their feet and looked super stylish too.

All kitted out the boys were then ready to play with their new toy. I’m a sucker for wooden toys and their delightful wooden garage didn’t disappoint. It was easy to put together, looks amazing and has been one of the boys favourite toys.

I am yet to see what they have to offer by the way of homeware but it won’t be long as I already have a long wish list ready and waiting.

Lapland UK – Creating Traditions

The moment the boys clapped eyes on the familiar little box from the end of the hallway they immediately knew that it was a gift from Father Christmas inviting them to Lapland UK. The mere sight of it had filled them with joy and they hurriedly opened the box that had been pre chilled by me as it had come from the cold climbs of Lapland UK. The pretty wax seals were delicately opened and I was over the moon that Frankie could read his invite this year which really added to the magic.

For me when it comes to Christmas there is nothing as special as having traditions that you can create year after year and through the familiarity bring something a little bit special to this magical time of year. For instance a trip to the farm with a pit stop at the pub has been something we have done on Christmas Eve for many years and making our own mince pies to leave for Father Christmas is a lovely thing to do each and every year and I hope that these little things will be passed down to my grandchildren.

I’m sure that a visit to Father Christmas is always on the list for most people and after speaking to friends this can also be the point in which a lot of children begin to question the authenticity of Father Christmas.

‘Why did he have blue eyes this year Mummy?’, ‘Why does his house look different this year?’. These are all little questions that come into inquisitive little minds and if  like me you want to keep the magic alive for as long as possible then visit that brings you the same wonder, with familiar surroundings and of course the most authentic Father Christmas you are ever going to see then Lapland UK will never be topped.

After last years visit where I was brought to tears and Frankie left exclaiming he had seen ‘the real’ Father Christmas I knew that this was an experience that would never be topped and one that would keep the magic alive for years to come.

Last year we visited in the daytime and I thought it would be good to see Lapland UK in all its glory when it was dark and the christmas lights were at their best. We pulled into the carpark and there were squeals of delight from the back of the car – even from Izzy who is a non believer now.

We headed towards the entrance and picked up our passports and Jingles (Lapland UK currency). Its these little touches that really make you feel you have been transported to somewhere else.

It wasn’t long before we were greeted by the friendly elves and their special ‘elf wave’ that the children had remembered from last year and before we new it we had started out journey. We all loved listening to the story of Lapland UK and hearing what was going to be expected from us all on our adventure.

We then headed off in our teams which are either team reindeer or team husky through the huge wooden doors that unveiled a snowy winer wonderland that really is something to behold.

The children hurried onto the Toy Factory while I took it at a slower pace to enjoy the amazing detail that goes into everything. No stone is left unturned when it come to detail here, they really do get everything just right. When we arrived at the Toy Factory the small folk, as the children are referred to at Lapland UK head in through the super cute little door and take to their seats, whilst the big folk later around the sides leaving the children to feel extra special by stating the task on their own. Ordinarily in situations like this Frankie is terrible and clinging to me and nine times out of ten will refuse to join in. It is however a completely different story here and he is more than happy to get stuck in and they all throughly enjoyed stuffing their toy penguin that is then left at the factory to give to little girls and boys on Christmas Eve.

From here we headed to Mother Christmas’s Kitchen where we were treated to a story from Mother Christmas who is as warm and loving as you would imagine and then they set to decoding their gingerbread men that Oscar and Izzy demolished in seconds, whilst Frankie packed his away to give to Father Christmas on Christmas Eve.

The small folks work was now done and we were given some time to explore the village which was even more spectacular in the dark. The snow cover trees and colourful lights set the most amazing atmosphere for us to take to the ice, grab a bite to eat and dose shopping.

I am not a fan of ice skating at all and the fact that they offer special attachments for the little ones shoes makes me so happy. The can then skate with ease so I can concentrate on keeping myself up right! All of that skating calls for something to warm you up and I have it from my little babychinno expect that Lapland UK offer the best babychinno he has ever had.

The bauble shop is always one of my favourite places and somewhere you can get a lovely momento of your trip. The children adore the toy shop which had changed around slightly this year and to me offered some amazing toys that were very reminiscent of Santa Claus The Movie and brought back some lovely memories for me.

The children love to select some goodies from the sweet shop where there is just to much to choose from and again a lovely place to pick up a little treat…or two!

It was now time to see the main attraction – Father Christmas, so we made our way along the snow cover path looking at the little eves homes and stopping to greet the reindeer on our way. One of the highlights for the boys last year was definitely making some reindeer food to take home and they were very excited to do this again whilst also keeping an eye out for all their favourite reindeers.

Our last stop was nearly upon us and after a very short wait we were taken by a very excitable elf to see Father Christmas. The children sat on the little bench outside full of excitement and anticipation and butterflies filled my tummy at the thought of seeing their little faces one we were inside.

Father Christmas was exactly as we had remembered him, the children were grinning from ear to ear and yet again aa tear came to my eye as he spoke about thing the children had been up to and wether or not they had made it onto the good list this year.

All as pleased as punch they had made it onto the list they received a gorgeous golden bell and cuddly husky, but I think above anything that little bit of time spent with the ‘real’ Father Christmas again is what made our trip.

Yet again Lapland UK gave us an afternoon of magic and winer that we will never forget and something that doesn’t easily get forgotten about once you get back home. The love they have for their huskies is there all year and they come on many a day out with us and being able to scatter the reindeer food and putting the gingerbread man out for Father Christmas on Christmas Eve means that a trip to Lapland UK really is a gift that keeps on giving and one we will never forget.

* We were invited along to Lapland UK for the purpose of this review and they are all my own honest opinions.

A Restful Nights Sleep With Love Boo

A restful nights sleep and children don’t really go hand and hand in this house, in fact its the complete opposite. My eldest three were all pretty good but the last two have been a different story and bedtimes are a battle ground to say the least.

You name it we have tried it and to be honest the only thing that helps a little is getting into a good routine. When things are all up the wall and there is no set routine then things are certainly that bit harder.

Our routine always consists of bath and a bedtime story to try and get them as calm and relaxed as possible; so I was extremely happy when I was asked by Love Boo to try out their Sleep & Snuggle Room Spray.  The 100% natural spay is a combination of chamomile, patchouli and lavender which makes form the perfect combination to aid a restful sleep for you little ones.

Before seeing if this worked its magic though the boys enjoyed a warm bath with the gorgeous smelling Soft & Splashy Bubble, bubble bath that comes from the vast collection of goodies that Love Boo offer. They boys both suffer from eczema and can often be irritated by bath products but this left their skin silky smooth and not an itchy patch in sight.

Super clean and ready for story time the boys excitedly took the Sleep & Snuggle Srpay and spritzed it around the room whilst I informed them it had magical powers to help them get off to sleep. A gorgeous smell engulfed the room and amazingly the boys settled with ease.

I think a combination of the spray and the promises I had implanted in their tiny minds allowed them to settle really well and has now become an important part of our bedtime routine.

Love Boo isn’t just about the children either and once they were all settled I treated myself to a long soak in the bath with their Splendidly Soothing Bath soak full of rose geranium oil, white water lily and mallow followed by soothing myself in their Body Smoother which has my favourite shea butter with its hugely mosterisiing properties it was just what I needed.

I also added a few squirts of the Sleep & Snuggle Spay to my own pillow as I often have trouble with switching off at bedtime and it was a great help.

So if you are in need of some help at bedtime or you want to give yourself a little treat then head over and take a look at the whole range as I can assure you there will be something there you will all love.

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