Our March…

March seems to have come and gone in the blink of an eye and as I still here going over what we have been up to I think it’s probably the fact we have been so busy it has just flown by.

Archie started off the month with landing himself his first real part time job. It is on a church retreat and he had the job of cooking, cleaning and serving the guests. He seems to be thoroughly enjoying the more tasks he is set and meeting new people who all seem to have sixth amazing stories to tell.

I have to admit when he first told me about where it was(down a load of country lanes with no public transport) I was moaning like made as I knew this was going to fall back on me to get him there and back. But it wasn’t until someone said instead of moaning you should be proud of him for taking the time to find himself work and apply himself that I realise I should suck it up and praise him for his drive and want for independence.

Frankie has one of his routine trips to the hospital for an eye check and the good news is he is nearly done with patching. There has been a huge improvement in this sight and they have got it to a leave that is now remaining stable, so the daily battles with the patch I’m am happy to say are now over!

I fast forwarded the year and stepped straight into summer at the Next Happy Hotel event where I got to look at a whole host of products from homeware, clothing and beauty that are set to make for a pretty great summer. There were some fantastic pieces in each and every section but I think I was most surprised by the amount of other beauty brands that are available through next. I had no idea they stocked Benefit…did you?

From a event on my own to one with all the family at Chessington World Of Adventures. For those of you that regularly read my blog you will know that I have been an ambassador for them for the past few years now and absolutely love watching the changes each and every year. This year the have a new interactive attraction based on the much loved book – Room On The Broom. The children loved it and it’s a must see for any fans of the story.

I have been up and down with my exercise but Jemma’s Health Hub has kept things pretty constant for me so I’m hoping to feel a lot healthier and less self continuous this summer.

Whist we are in the subject of health I had a little bit of a scare with some chest pains that I was referred to the hospital for. My blood pressure isn’t really what it should be and I am waiting on a scan just to check that everything is ok and it’s actually given me more of a push to shift these pounds and get my exercise back to being an everyday routine rather than a chore.

Peppa Pig is still very much a favourite in this house with the boys…even though Frankie wouldn’t let on to anyone; so we were very excited to go along to Leicester Square to see the new film that is put this Easter. The boys absolved it and I’m sure it’s going to be another big hit.

From this screening we went straight to the Royal Opera House to take a look at one of their family fun Sunday events. I was more than a little apprehensive about taking the youngest two as they don’t really scream Royal Opera house! I needn’t have worried though as it was such a relaxed atmosphere where they got to enjoy lots of crafts, storytelling sessions and witness the most amazing ballet and modern performances. It really would come highly recommend from us.

With Mother’s Day on everyone’s minds I was invited along for afternoon tea with Paperchase. We got to chat to lots of lovey mummies and take a look at all the amazing products Paperchase had to offer this year.

A highlight for me probably more than the children this month though was a screening of the new Dumbo movie. It is most definitely a childhood favourite for me and I was so pleased that Disney had worked their magic and managed to recreate a different but equally as thought provoking and heart warming movie as the last.

Spring definitely seems to have been making an appearance and we have been enjoying this with some time in the garden, plenty of hot cross buns and some spring flowers. I really do love this time of year.

The last few days of March will always be ones to remember as the day we were celebrating Izzy’s 13th birthday party my eldest daughter Alice decided to give birth to my beautiful second grandchild. We don’t like to do things by halves in this family and it was a whirlwind 24 hours but I wouldn’t have changed it for the world.

After all the chaos it was time to celebrate Mother’s Day and this is traditionally a nightmare day and this year didn’t disappoint.

I think I have this ridiculous expectations that my children are going to turn into angels for one day and the arguing and bad behaviour are all going to disappear! Sadly of course this doesn’t happen and we started the day with two of them devouring my chocolates before I even sat down to breakfast, one then decided to throw the said breakfast as their sisters head and so the day started.

Next year I’m going to lower the expectations in the hope that this will help!

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.

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.

Cetraben Skincare:Review

This house is home to a few sensitive soles of the skin variety and this has come with its challenges over the years.

My skin causes problems with seasonal changes but is pretty easy to manage even if it can be a bit of a pain. A good thick moisturiser usually gets the problem sorted and I don’t have to worry to much about it.

My husband and youngest two however have extremely problematic skin that has caused them a huge host of problems from itchiness that is so bad they can’t sleep, weeping skin that has lead to infections and for Frankie even the extremes of hospitalisation to get the problems sorted.

I actually thought that we must have tried every single emollient on the market until Cetraben asked me if I would like to try out some products from their range.

This actually couldn’t have come at a better time as this harsh weather has caused all of us to have varying degrees of problems that need some attention.

Cetraben is a range that has been developed especially for dry, problematic, eczema prone skins and works by re-hydrating the skin and protecting it from all those nasties that can cause irritation.

The mixture of light paraffin wax, white, soft paraffin wax and glycerin work together to replace lost oils from the skin, provide deep moisturisation and form a protective barrier across the surface of the skin.

The first product we tried was the Cetraben Daily Cleansing Cream that can be used either as a body wash in the bath or applied afterwards like a moisturiser.

I found this perfect to use during bath time for the boys as they are not fans of having to stand there and have a moisturiser applied after their bath and this can be applied whilst they are playing with them barely noticing.

The cream absorbed well and left them with very moistened and less itchy skin which is exactly what we were looking for.

I tried it as a moisturiser after my bath and although my skin was noticeably softer and my dry patches completely disappeared I wasn’t so keen on the clinical smell, although this did fade pretty quickly.

Frankie had a pretty bad flare up of his eczema after an unsuccessful allergy challenge last week and was suffering pretty badly with very angry, red patches of eczema that needed something a little stronger so I tired out the Cetraben Lotion on these localised areas.

It worked wonders on this very irritating skin by getting deep into the skin and giving a really deep and long lasting moisturisation; in fact during these times emollients have to be applied to Frankie several times a day but morning and evening was all it took to keep him happy.

We were all really pleased with the results we got from both of these products and it is certainly something that is going to be a staple in our bathroom cabinet from now on!

*We were sent these products for the proof this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

Sanctuary Spa Wet Skin Moisture Miracle:Review

Over the past few years I have come to realise that my very basic beauty routine needs a bit of an over haul as youth is no longer on my side.

I’ve always been a soap and water girl but as I’ve got older I have noticed that my skin has become a lot drier and now needs a little more tlc.

One issue though as my lack of time and to be honest want to spend hours pampering myself.

Having such a large family means that I need to be in and out of the bathroom at breakneck speed and any products that save time are a winner in my book.

This was in fact the first thing that appealed to me when I was asked to try out the Sanctuary Spa Wet Skin Moisture Miracle.

The rich moisturising cream that is infused with apricot and avocado oil needs to be applied onto wet skin straight after your shower. Once applied you simply towel dry yourself and get ready as normal.

One of the things that has always put me off of body moisturisers is the sticky feeling you can get once its applied, I was pleasantly surprised that this moisturiser leaves not tacky residue and is absorbed into the skin really quickly. Due to the way the cream is applied it is in fact the best was to keep moisture locked into the skin.

The real selling point for me though was the familiar Sanctuary Spa fragrance that lingered on my skin all day and complimented their other products beautifully.

I would highly recommend this product to anyone that wants a deep moisturising product that is quick and easy to apply whilst still offering a good level of fragrance.
*collaborated post

Spa Seekers Parents Retreat At Brooklands Hotel

It had been an absolutely age since I last had a spa day…and infact until the other week I had only ever visited a spa once before!

I always have big plans to get away for the day and switch off from the outside world and have some mich needed me time bit something always comes up as as is the same for most parents time for ourselves is out on the back burner.

So when I was invited along by Spa Seekers to have a day at Brooklands Hotel in Surrey I jumped at the chance…it is work after all!

I arrived and met up with another four lovely bloggers – Katy from Modern Mummy UK, Hannah from What Hannah Did Next, Carissa from Little Likely Lads and Rebbeca from AAU Blog.

Firstly we were shown around the hotel that was built on the old Brooklands racetrack and carries that theme very tastefully throughout the hotel. 

The rooms are all beautifully decorated with many of them having a stunning view of Mercedes World’s racetrack.

 

Once the tour was complete we settled down to a beautiful lunch and glass of bubbly in the hotels restaurant.

I had already been informed by a reliable source that the food was outstanding and they were not wrong.

I tried to be a little healthier and opt for a salad but the lure of the cakes from the afternoon tea was to much and my resolve faded pretty quickly.

Fit to burst we made our way to the BSpa where there attentive staff got us kitted out with the obligatory robes and slippers and gave us all the information we needed to enjoy our afternoon.

I had a massage and wrap booked in for later in the day so had plenty of time to try out the roof top hot tub that also had a brilliant view of the race track.

As well as the hot tub there is a choice of an indoor or outdoor area to kick back and relax in or a meditation room fully equipped with warm water beds and plenty of magazines to really switch off and take some time out.

I always get a little nervous when it comes to baring all for treatments but I couldn’t have been put more at ease by my lovely therapist.

She made me feel so comfortable that I could easily have drifted off to sleep during my treatment that left me we silky soft skin and thoroughly relaxed.

We all tried to drag our day out a little longer with a coffee and another dip into the hot tub before leaving.

With a whole range of treatments from massage to manicures there is something for everyone and it really makes for the perfect getaway for a group of friends or even a date with your partner.

This experience was just the tonic I need to give my frazzled mum brain a break from the bickering at home and my body some much needed tlc, and u won’t be leaving it so long next time.

If this sounds like the kind of thing that you would enjoy then go ahead and enter a great competition ‘here’ for touchable to win a trip for yourself.

*I was invited along to this event by Spa Seekers and they are all my own, honest opinions.

#TeenTalk With Gaby Logan And Boots

Those foreboding teenage years sadly have to come to us all.

I remember as clear as day that awkward moment when my mum thrust an Usbourne ‘Our Bodies’ book into my hand looking decidedly more embarrassed than me, and the day my dreaded period arrived seemed much more filled with the worry of telling my Mum than the actual mechanics of it all.

This all happened for me in the early 90’s and you would have thought that by now things would have moved on  and these subjects that parents once feared and avoided would now be much easier to broach.

Sadly 68% of parents still find it difficult to approach puberty topics with their teens, a quarter of parents asked in a poll avoid these subjects all together and 33% of parents wish they could talk openly with their teen.

The other week I was invited along to the Haymarket Hotel in London to have afternoon tea with a group of lovely bloggers that was headed up by Gaby Logan and teen expert Sarah Newton.

Armed with tea and cake we chatted about the #TeenTalk campaign that Boots are running for it’s second year to try and support parents as they navigate their teens through the tough years of puberty by providing parents with much needed advice and support to talk to their teens with informed confidence.

Gaby Logan is currently hitting this phase in her life with her preteen twins and this is how she has been handling this phase with her children. 

 “As a mother of twin teens, I understand the challenges of communicating with teens all too well! They suddenly go from wanting to tell parents everything, to one word answers. But as every parent knows, you desperately want to give your children all the guidance, help and support they need and being able to communicate effectively with your teens is crucial to this. What I love about the #TeenTalk campaign is that is helps to give parents the confidence to start and maintain a strong, open and honest conversation with their child through puberty and beyond”

For me broaching the subjects of changing bodies, personal hygiene and sexual relationships is something that I have never shied away from with my own children and I have always tried to answer  questions that arise at any age instead of leaving it to a big, built up ‘chat’ as they approach their teens.

As a mother of a daughter that I have already been through it all with and a 14 year old son I do also know that as with everything no child is the same and the way you broach these subjects can’t be the same for them all, but as the teen guru Sarah Newton said we need to keep the conversation going.

My own parents were very closed shop about it all and simply giving them a list of the things that should happen and leaving it at that probably isn’t the best way to go about it.

Let their inquisitive minds be filled with all the information that you think they need to confidently go into thier teens with the ability to make informed choices on what path they are going to take when one of these hurdles come along.

Be it a boys first shave or a girl feeling ready for her first bra are all huge steps in the eyes of a teen and they still really need that help and reassurance from thier parents that the decisions they are ultimately making are right.

From the 10th May -6th June Boots will be giving away a free #TeenTalk guide with every purchase of Venus, Always, and Tampax products.

These products are perfect for helping teens through this transitional period and they are even kind enough to be giving away a free gift for anyone with teen daughters.

It was an fabulous afternoon filled with relieving memories of our own teen years and experiences some of us had already had with out own children.

By listening to all these stories on thing that has stuck in my mind is that as long as you are well informed, open and honest then you can’t go far wrong.

Relax And Regroup At Camp Bestival

Last year was our first time at Camp Bestival and we were a little overwhelmed with the amount of fabulous stuff going on; So much so that there were a few areas that we didn’t really make the most of, with the Slow Motion area being one of them.

Last year was all about the kids for us really and all our activities were planned around them. What would have been fabulous would be to get a little break from the excitement and take a little time out for ourselves.

Slow Motion has a range of massage treatments from sports massage to reflexology, Reiki sessions that you can go along to on your own or with your children or a relaxing and revitalising Shiatsu massage that will help you restore the calm and leave you ready to enjoy the rest of the festival.

The indulgence doesn’t stop there though. The Transformation Station allows you to get away from the communal showers and hop into a solar power shower and treat yourself to the use of a hairdryer and straighteners which I know is something missed by a lot of people when camping!

From here you can head over and enjoy getting your hair braided, some nail art done or get really festival ready with some super cool body and glitter art by the talented Jingo.

I know that after a few days of one to many G&Ts and lots of indulgent food my body was craving something a little healthier and this is the perfect place to grab some healthy and nutritious food and drink.

Something my husband was keen to try last year was the nature run. It’s a perfect way to set yourself up for the day and allows you to step off site for a while and take in the beauty that surrounds Lulworth Castle with the chance to clear your head and slip in some peaceful meditation too.

I know this is a must for us this year and I’m sure something that would be a big pull for many busy parents.

 

Olsson Haircare Collection Review

We are a pretty sensitive bunch in this house with my husband and youngest two being eczema sufferers and psoriasis causing regular problems for me.

Over the years I have found plentiful products that deal with sensitive skin but not so much in the realms of haircare.

I found this particularly hard with the boys as I have always been very careful to keep their baths product free so when it comes to hair washing it always has to be done before they get in the bath which they hate and just adds extra time and stress to bath time.

We were asked by the Scandinavian company Olsson to try out their haircare range that has been formulated especially for sensitive skin.

Their products have been geared towards allergy and asthma sufferers but would be suitable for the whole family to use.

All additives, perfumes and parabens have been avoided, leaving a haircare range that would cover a huge range of allergies and sensitivities.

It is a complete collection that covers cleansing, conditioning and styling and offers shampoos, conditioners, mouses, hairspray and styling wax.

I am always a little apprehensive about trying new things on the children but given they all have the seal of approval from Allergy UK it put my mind at rest and was happy for us all to see how they stood up to the test.

The volume shampoo left us all with squeaky clean hair and I didn’t miss the fact it wasn’t scented like I thought I would be.

It caused no irritation to the boys scalp or their skin even though the suds were I the bath with them for a good while.

The wash off conditioner was a great addition to our haircare routine and the addition of aloe vera and B5 left all our hair really soft and conditioned.

Number three has very unruly, long hair that always need a little extra TLC so the spray in conditioner was easily combed though and didn’t leave any sticky residue like a lot of leave in conditioners can.

The styling products were left down to my to try and first up was the spray, lift and hold mousse. Instead of spraying into your hand and applying to your hair it is sprayed directly onto the roots.

It was a little watery for my liking but still gave me good hold and was easy to blow dry once on.

With my flyaway hair a good hairspray is an everyday essential for me and Olsson have created a medium hold hairspray that didn’t sting my scalp like many hairspray a can and controlled my straggly hairs perfectly all day.

I found the whole of Olsson’s range perfect for the whole family. No irritations and perfectly cleansed and styled hair for us all!

*we were given these products for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

The Drama Of Antenatal Hair Loss 

Those first few months with a new born are the most precious you will ever have and something that flies by in the blink of an eye.

They are also the most problematic and whilst you are getting to know your precious little bundle your body will be going through nearly as many changes as it has in pregnancy.

Your body will be slowly getting itself back to it pre-pregnancy state and those pesky hormones levels will be trying to get themselves back onto an even keel.

Unfortunately for me and around 40% of women the drop in hormones means that the long thick hair you have been sporting will leave; causing thinness and sometime receding hairlines and bald patches.

After five pregnancies and what seems like more hair loss each time I have been left with extremely lacklustre locks that has been a real knock to my confidence.

There are however some things you can do to help improve this:

  • A Good Diet – a diet rich in fruit, vegetable and good fats such as oily fish and nuts will help feed your hair from the inside and in turn rejuvenate hair growth.
  • Over Brushing – avoid over brushing your hair, especially when wet as your hair is at its most brittle.
  • Stop The Pigtails – putting your hair up in a ponytail of plaits everyday can put your hair under a lot of strain so make sure you give your hair a good break.
  • Advanced Trico Pigmentation – This is something for those of you that want to try something to really help you recreate fuller and thicker hair as well as recreate a hairline that may be missing from hair loss.