Category Archives: Sponsered Post

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When an idea is sold to me on the basis that I will se a metre long arm and a head that doesn’t belong to a body I’ll be honest with you, I cannot help but be intrigued (and a little scared!!).

Luckily this wasn’t the start of a scary horror movie, it was three members of the amazing dance group Diversity showing off their crazy skills and giving us all a few ‘how to’ tricks and tips to help create optical illusions with our bodies. Celebrating the launch of the fab new unexpected flavour combinations from Cadbury’s Marvellous Mix-Ups, Ashley, Jordan and Perri have produced a set of amazing videos for the whole family to enjoy, and hopefully even inspire some people to create their own. Read More →

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When I was pregnant with Scarlett I got into playing poker online.  My husband worked a shift pattern back then so I spent many evening alone, and the poker games kept me company.

As it turned out I was quite a good player, able to know when to hit and when to fold.  I won more times than I lost.  Only thing was I played 1p poker, so my winning totalled about £5.79 in the entire 9 months!

Would I have been as reckless with my money, upping the stakes on hunch, if I was gambling £100 instead of 1p? Maybe not. Perhaps I am more of a conservative gambler than I though.

Now, thanks to Costa Bingo‘s fun online test, I have a way to find out.   Read More →

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It may be raining outside but there is no reason why we cannot #freethejoy and spread a little happiness about the place now is there. And that’s just what I am here to do.

What brings me joy? Where do I start? I guess the top 5 things that bring me joy are

  1. My beautiful family
  2. My amazing friends
  3. Watching Leyton Orient win a game
  4. Laughing like I don’t think I will ever stop
  5. Chocolate! Lots and lots of chocolate.

It’s funny how chocolate can change your mood so drastically isn’t it?

There is so much more though aside from this. Rom Coms, tickling my girls and hearing their giggle, pictures of Jude Law, Diet Coke, Blogging, new shoes, trips to NYC, snow….the list goes on and on.

I believe in finding the joy in every day.  Making the ordinary, extraordinary. Everything thing you do, every day you live had the potential to be a memory that last forever, you just need to look for the joy in the moment.  Life’s simple pleasures.

Cadbury Dairy Milk #freethejoy

James Corden, the wonderful man who is always game for a laugh, has been up to his old tricks, creating a storm and spreading the joy with his hilarious new #freethejoy video.

Never one to miss a great opportunity to#freethejoy and make my wonderful readers smile, I am giving you lovely lot a chance to watch James perform this ultimate lip-sync video to Estelle’s Free through the streets of London right here. James, helped by members of the great British public and a little bit of Cadbury Dairy Milk magic, this song and dance extravaganza is a sure-fire way to banish away those winter blues and drag ourselves smiling towards the spring and summer. Read More →

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They say that age doesn’t matter unless you’re a cheese. This is true for a select few who refer to themselves as “young at heart”. What does this term mean you ask? Well, in its simplest form, it means that seniors who believe that even though their outside appearance may look old, they are young and fit on the inside.

Have fun but don’t be foolish

While an upbeat attitude is great, don’t confuse this positivity with bravado. Be honest about what activities your body can do easily without excessive strain or resulting in injury. Be realistic about exercises or routines that you haven’t tried before and ensure that you do these new routines properly.

Always do exercise under the provision of a professional. The gym is the perfect place to do this as you can exercise safe in the knowledge that should something happen, you will receive the best treatment and attention. A gym at a retirement village can also provide great support and allow you to train with like-minded individuals.

Alternatively, call on the help of a personal trainer who will be able to tell you exactly what exercises you need to include in your daily plan. Personal trainers will also be able to monitor your health and fitness as well as your progress. If you have battle wounds or have previously undergone medical operations it may be best to seek the assistance of a Physiotherapist, who is best suited to make recommendations on the needed exercise regime to be followed.

Don’t be afraid to try something new or challenge yourself. Again, just keep your health in check and don’t overdo the exercise.

Mental stability

A large portion of exercise and training success is based on mental strength and stability. Often times we talk ourselves out of training – at an older age this is particularly important as a number of factors may play on your mind, such as:

  • Inadequacy
  • Inability to keep up with the younger generation
  • Fear of injury
  • Inability to train as hard

While all of these thoughts are important considerations, often it is just a state of mind. Practising mental health is just as important as physical health.

A Change of Scenery

Many people prefer to retire in smaller towns or relocate to the seaside. The unassuming town of Camberley, for example, has much to offer those planning their retirement and looking for a more settled, healthier kind of living both spiritually and physically. Known for its mammoth amount of Pines trees, which is said to contribute towards its healthier air, the county of Camberley may be just the place to start over. This is especially true if you’re looking for a fresh start and want to completely change your state of health. With a close knit and active sports driven community, this may be just the place to start your clean slate as you grow older or retire. Should the time arrive for you to make the transition to a residential care home, Randell House Care Home amongst others is located in this vicinity and is known for its superior medical support.

80% eating, 20% activity

If relocating wasn’t on your list of things to do to improve your health and develop the balance that healthy living entails. Shift your focus to the more basic things, like keeping fit and eating properly.

Finding the balance

80% of a healthy lifestyle lies in the food we consume. Old age is a particularly important time to consume foods rich in nutrients that will not only provide vitamins, irons and minerals that you require daily but also the needed fuel for the activities that your “young at heart” body wants to embark upon.

Always consult a doctor before exercising or changing your diet as the diet you ate when you were younger may not necessarily be the one you can enjoy when you are older. As we age, our bodies require more or less of the various food groups and it’s a good idea to be educated on what these foods are.

Whether you reside in your own home or find yourself enjoying your retirement in a residential care home, always remember the importance of living a balanced life, they say you are what you eat and this is true, but your diet alone will not increase your longevity. Focusing on finding the balance between diet, exercise and mental stimulation is of utmost importance.

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What is bingo hall hopping and why would you do it?

Bingo hall hopping involves moving between online bingo halls in order to continue to play bingo at a new site. Many people do this because they believe that they will receive increased welcome bonuses by periodically switching from one bingo hall to another.

However, this approach does not take into account the more lasting bonuses players can be given for sticking with one online bingo provider. Many players prefer to stick with one online bingo hall in order to collect the maximum loyalty bonuses.

Welcome bonuses are only one time offers Read More →

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“When I grow up….”

I hear these words a lot from Scarlett at the moment. Its another reminder of how fast the years are passing.

“When I grow up I want to be a Doctor Mummy” (thats fine with me!), “When I grow up I want to live at the beach Mummy” (again no complaints here), “When I grow up I’m never leaving home” (umm…about that one)

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When I was younger I first wanted to be an actress, then a lawyer and finally a journalist. Somehow though I ended up being a teacher, and now am quite happy being a mother who is slowly making her way in the world of writing (maybe one day I will realise that journalism dream after all).

Being an actress would have been fun though I think. Spending everyday pretending to be someone else.The costumes, the red carpet events the rock star boyfriends (if I was going to be an actress I would have been an A list one of course). Ok so I would have had to have specialist car insurance (did you know certain professions can affect you car insurance premiums) but that would have been a small price to pay for the lavish lifestyle of the rich and famous.

I often wonder what my girls will become. I dream of their graduations, their weddings, their success, their children. I’m not wishing our lives away, if anything I am constantly willing time to slow down, yet I can’t help but yearn for a glimpse of what the future holds. I guess really I just want to know they will happy, they will safe and that they still think the world of their mother.

I have ideas of what they may do based on their characters. They are so very similar and yet so very different all at the same time. They compliment each other perfectly.

Ultimately though I just want them to make their way in the world with a smile on their faces. If they are happy, I’m happy.

Simple as that really.

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Is it too soon to plan Easter? I’m not talking about buying chocolate eggs or making bonnets, that would be a little too forward planning even for me. No, I’m talking about holidays. Is it too soon to plan my Easter holidays?

Before Scarlett started school I was quite free and easy when it came to my holiday bookings. Happy to leave it up to the last-minute to see if we could get a good deal somewhere. That was of course before we only had set times we could go away, and before I knew that sometimes the price I would have to pay to go in these times may be a little more than I had paid before.

So now I think that maybe preparation is the key. Plan ahead, look for deals, packages, early bird discounts. Anything that means we still get to have wonderful holidays as a family without having to remortgage our home.

Another thing family holidays have taught me is that you don’t actually need to leave the UK to have a great time. Children are quite simple when it comes to their holiday needs. Swimming pool, entertainment and lots of family friendly places to eat. We could get this all on the Med next April, but equally great would be an Easter Break at Butlins in 2014.

Butlins may not have been my first choice of destination pre-children, but now with 2 children under 5 it suddenly has a renewed appeal. As a child I loved it, it was like an endless adventure from start to finish. I really want my children to experience that too.

Plus, you’re never too old to spend a holiday remembering your childhood are you?

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It doesn’t matter what time of year we’re talking about, a weekend break will always be appreciated. While Christmas is just a few short weeks away, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some time away from home this side of 2014. Here are five ideas for inspiration.

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A Cottage Break

There’s nothing more relaxing than escaping to a country cottage with your family for a weekend, and while the summer may mean better weather, the winter shouldn’t be ignored. Plenty of families head out on a cottage break over Christmas, to spend the festivities as a group, huddled around the log fire and watching the snow fall through the bay windows. Many cottages also allow pets so you can all spend Christmas together, swapping gifts and stories.

Choose a cottage in the middle of the countryside for a real rural retreat, where you can take walks through acres of countryside before cuddling up on the sofa during the evenings. Grab one or two cardigans from George at ASDA so that you stay nice and toasty for the duration.

A UK Theme Park Stay

While the peak season may have been and gone, there’s still time to consider a stay in one of the popular UK theme parks such as Thorpe Park or Alton Towers that often do a firework and bonfire night extravaganza around the 5th November. Choose Alton Towers and you can stay onsite at the fabulous themed hotel, whilst being able to enjoy more than one day riding the rollercoasters and appreciating the fireworks display.

A Holiday Park

There are plenty of holiday parks across various regions of the UK that offer festive-themed weekends which would be perfect for all of the family. Book a couple of days in one of these resorts and you can not only enjoy a relaxing stay away from home as a pre-Xmas treat, but you can also provide your children with some activities and experiences that they’ll treasure forever. From meeting Santa in his grotto to pony rides through the woodland, there’s something for everyone. Center Parcs provide some magical Winter Wonderland opportunities in Cumbria, Wiltshire, Suffolk and Nottinghamshire.

Disneyland Paris

If you fancy heading further afield, a quick visit to Disneyland Paris is enough to fill any child (and adult!) with glee. Disney’s Enchanted Christmas begins at the start of November and runs right through until January, giving you plenty of time to book a couple of days off work and enjoy a long weekend in this magical place. Don’t forget to pack accordingly – weather in Paris will be very similar to the climate we have back home. Cardigans, jeans, chunky knits and a waterproof jacket would be ideal – you can pick most of this up from George at ASDA without breaking the bank.

A European City Break              

Alternatively, explore a little more of Europe during your weekend city break and do a spot of Christmas shopping while you’re at it. Whether it’s Barcelona, Amsterdam, Bruges or Munich, the possibilities are endless. If you do head to Germany, be sure to check out the world class German Christmas markets that can be found there!

Why wait until after Christmas for a weekend away with your loved ones? Enjoy a pre-Christmas treat this year and start celebrating the festivities a little early.

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I make no secret of my love for lists.

I have lists for everything; things to do, things to buy, blogs to write, people to see….the list goes on and on, excuse the pun. I love the satisfaction of ticking something off my list and the feeling of accomplishment when a list is complete is thrilling for a geek like me.

There is one list though that has no chance of ever being completed. I call it my ‘Other To Do List’. Its full of things that I need to do, but that I never quite get round to finishing. It’s not even that jobs are complicated, just things like comparing energy providers,  cleaning the car, seeing if I could save money by switching bank accounts online or defrosting the freezer.

I always set out with such good intentions, but then my other lists take over.  Shopping for Christmas presents or checking out restaurant reviews for New York start to enter my mind, and then before I know it I’m on the Joules website planning my ideal sightseeing outfits.

It’s not even just the fun things that distract me, my housework list is often the first one I have to tackle each day, then there is writing work to complete, meals to prepare and emails to catch up on.

Maybe I’m just too easily distracted. Who knows.

What I do know is that I need to make some headway on this list before it gets out of control.

Maybe I’ll start today.

Well, once I’ve made a coffee, done my food shop and wrote my blog posts, oh and looked at some Cats dancing on YouTube.

Yeah….maybe i’ll start it tomorrow then.

Do you have an ‘other’ to do list? How do you keep on top of it? are you as distracted as me?

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The list of things I never even thought I’d worry about before having children is endless.  I never realised I would spend my life second guessing every decision I make.  Never did I think that I would research what washing powder to use, what soap is kindest to a child’s skin or what foods may or may not bring on an allergic reaction.

I’m lucky that the most I have to worry about allergy wise with my girls is what shampoo can cause them to develop dry scalp and cradle cap, but I am fully aware some parents have it so much worse. Eczema may be a common childhood condition, affecting around 1 in 5 children, but that doesn’t mean the treatment of it is simple. Ask any parent of a children with dry skin or eczema and they will tell you, it’s a minefield out there with advice of how to treat it best.

The lovely people at Comfort Skin Therapy, in partnership with Oilatum, have got together with parents and industry professionals to compile a ‘go-to’ booklet for all your dry skin and eczema questions.  These helpful hints and tips are tried and tested by actual parents, meaning they come with real-life advice that works, not just suggestions from a textbook.

Studies have shown that parents of children with skin conditions find bath-time incredibly stressful, with around 38% of them saying they were likely to skip it completely to avoid the struggle.  This booklet, available to down load here, hopes to address these problems and help to make bath-time fun once again with great tips for parents in the know.

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The booklet is available for you to download now via the netmums website 

This post is in partnership with Comfort Skin Therapy 

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