Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Ideal Home Show | Money, Beauty, Home and Food

So in March I was lucky enough to be handed a complimentary ticket to the Ideal Home Show from Joe Bloggers. I was super excited because I'm actually slowly but surely improving the house bit by bit.  Though this has slowed down even more now as Matthew's got a new job.  It's more secure which is good for the baby but it's now minimum wage. As I got given 2 tickets I decided to take my dad as he is always looking up ways to improve his house.  Not only that but when we looked at the timetable we noticed Martin Lewis was going to be there!  It's safe to say we were both interested in that as we love saving money, who doesn't!?

So off we went on the train.  It took a while to get there as we had to get a bus replacement service from South Kensington station.  They did have mascots though showing you the way which was good. However we did have to cross a very busy road after getting off which we found odd and would of much preferred getting off at the same side as the building.  The building was beautifully decorated with fake greenery on the outside.  Despite arriving at 11am we went straight in.

The place was huge and there was garden and homeware everywhere.  I was also pleasantly surprised to see a beauty and food section. We started off by making sure that the table I had booked for us in the Gregg Wallace restaurant was booked (more on that later).  Afterwards we went to the Martin Lewis presentation and I'm SO glad we went.  I managed to find us some seats, they were really uncomfortable and there was no where near enough.  I suppose in a way the positive thing was that we felt up close and personal with Martin Lewis but I would of preferred a seat with a back cause damn it hurt!

Martin Lewis gave some great tips and he was a great speaker.  He spoke really fast so some people might of found it hard to keep up but he reminded me of because I do exactly the same.  He spoke about how we don't really actually have a credit score!  There is no black list!  So it's safe to say I'll be having words with Santander possibly.  His #1 tip was that when applying for credit whether that be through a credit card or a loan was to always use the same information.  So the same mobile/home number and the same email address.  Obviously if your phone number changes then that's fair enough, but try to keep it consistent.

Another great tip I'll quickly message was that with school holiday fines (which for almost every parent is a nightmare).  Was to find out if it's cheaper to book a flexi-flight with Easy Jet a week before the school holidays start and then after 24 hours you can change it to a week in the actual school holidays.  He said to only do it if there are more then 20 seats left though as otherwise the odds are stacked against you.  Feel free to click this link if your interested in more information and great saving tips in general.

When Martin was finished it was time for me and my dad to go to our 3 course lunch meal at the Gregg Wallace restaurant.  This was an optional extra I paid for as it wasn't that expensive for what it was and it was one of those experiences that were rare in life.  We arrived and had some problems with the tickets as there was no where to collect them.  So I just showed them my receipt on my phone.  I did ask about the ticket collection when we first walked in but no one knew what I was talking about etc so it was a bit un-organised but eventually we got in.  The place felt a bit empty in my eyes not by population but well love there was a few decorations but it seemed....hollow?  I can't word it that well.  We were shown to our seats and ordered some tap water which was always re-filled the waitress was so lovely.  I started off the Ham and Mozzarella board

Salsa, breadsticks, ham and mozzarella
Picking the main was really hard but in the end I went with the pulled pork burger that came with a mix of regular and sweet potato fries alongside some coleslaw.

For dessert I had the cheeseboard.  I didn't fancy anything sweet.  I didn't take a picture but believe me it was yummy...I was sadden I couldn't eat my brie.  Damn pregnancy!

When we were finished we took a walk around the beauty section.  We found some useful for dad's bad shoulder straight away.  Some woman were selling heated salt packs and it relaxed dad straight away so that was the first thing that was purchased.  I wanted to explore a bit before buying bits and pieces.  I did some nice fairy lights but I could easily buy them online or in Primark and I haven't even started to decorate my room yet.  I did see a demonstration on some curlers and well..I had a weak moment and ask her to do my hair....I then brought said curlers.  To be fair they were a good price and they did do a really god job and when she was doing my hair she didn't just sell them to me but instead told me how to use them which was much better then just someone "selling" them to me.

Yes yes lets ignore the creepy guy in the back
There were a lot of massage sections and dad tried out a few.  Some worked some didn't but it was good to try them out to see how they worked etc.  I don't like massages myself I dunno why ha ha.  I looked around the food section too but there were only a few good stalls that took my interest like a juice stand etc.  Many were meat stands and well I get my meat from a local butchers so they didn't interest me at all....though it smelt divine. 

I dunno if it was just me though but I didn't find the home section that good as I'm renting but they had plenty of options for home owners to install fancy new luxury showers etc.  However I did see Hillary blinds there and that did interest me as I need new blinds for the kitchen and David's room.  My kitchen is going to be pastel pink and white and David's bedroom is pirate theme which would work out a bit difficult.  They had some beautiful Spring styles though one of them being green and grey! Which is what I'm decorating my living room with.

There were lots of cute little stands and as well as the curlers I walked home with 2 cute mason cups with lids and straws (which I use all the time) and a heart chalkboard.  All in all it was a great day out and I'd love to go next year.  I was worried one day wouldn't be enough but I think apart from maybe some of the timetabled shows I would of liked to have gone to one day was plenty for me.  If I did want to go more then one day then I would of booked a hotel so I was nearby as I dunno if it was because I am pregnant but I was knackered afterwards.

Sorry for the lack of photos and more writing but I only just found my camera and was using my phone for the day.  Until next time folks!

Friday, 17 April 2015

Review | Little Tiger Press | Farm jigsaw and puzzle book

Hello everyone, yep it's another book review on the blog. God I love children books so much and this one is so unique!  So what is it?  Well if you haven't guessed from the title it's a sticker books that also comes with a puzzle!  A bit confused how that works etc well let me start the review!

 First off it comes in this cute little box that neatly stores not only the puzzle pieces but the book itself.  I think this is great because you don't need to worry about storing the puzzle pieces in a tupper wear box or infact finding a tupper wear box even large enough!

You'll also find a retractable handle.  This means that not only can little hands carry it around the home etc (because I dunno about anyone else but my son is now like "me! I'll carry it!") but it's also great for travel.  Okay maybe on the plane or train wouldn't be a good idea purely for the fact of how large the puzzle is (which you'll see in a moment). However going over the grandparents for the night/day or even staying in a hotel I think it's a great way to beat the boredem that you'll eventually face.  Heck even on your caravan holiday on a rainy day!

So on to the puzzle then......I told you it wouldn't be ideal for a plane and train trips didn't I.   Can you see my point now?  I mean just look at how big it is!  Not that it's a bad thing as it helps children's motor skills without them stressing out about it being too fiddly.  It also helps that the pieces are big so they have quite a big section of the picture on it to make it easier.  My son found this really enjoyable as he was able to quite easily find the pieces that went together despite only being 2 (though he's 3 in May).  However due to the size he did get bored with it sometimes but that's okay because he could come back to it.

Once completed around the border it gives you object and animals you can spot in the puzzle.  I asked David for example "how many cows are in the puzzle?"  He loved counting them and was very proud of himself when he found them all. You can also reference back to the book.  For example "right you've added all the pigs to your book, can you see any in the puzzle?"

The sticker book has several "blank pages" you can add stickers to which you can find in the middle of the book.  I'm pretty sure you could possibly take the stickers out of the book to make it easier but I didn't want to risk it.  A great thing about these stickers is that they easily peel off and you can re-stick them down.  This is great for young children as often they change their mind and stops any stickers from ripping.  I also thought the size of the stickers were perfect.  Not too small so that David had difficulty peeling them off and sticking them down and not too big so they didn't cover the whole page with just one.

In the book it will make suggestions like "add some little chicks around the henhouse".  Of course these are only suggestions and they can add what they like to the page.  As you can see David preferred to have them all in the henhouse and not around it.

This cute little sticker book and puzzle set can be found here for £8.99.  What do Little Tiger say about this book?

"This set offers something for every child, with a sticker book to complete and puzzle set to piece together. With hours of farmyard fun, kids can explore and find solutions on the farm whilst discovering all the animals with confidence."

Watch out for my next review which will be called "what's the time Clockodile"  It's a book that teaches children about time so if your little one is touching the clock subject this will be a great review for you to read!  Until next time!

Friday, 27 March 2015

Soap and Bath Bomb making event

So a few weeks ago I was invited to a Bath Bomb making event.  I was super excited as, as anyone could tell I love Lush and relaxing baths etc (saying that I might have one tonight)!  It was held at the rather lovely and lush Amba Hotel at Charing Cross by Midas Touch Crafts.  On upon arrival I bumped into Becky from Beckybedbugs.  I have followed her on twitter for a while but never met her.  After she wrote down her blog name it finally clicked!  So that was a great start to the day.  We were greeted with drinks and spoilt to an amazing lunch (I wish I could of taken the chef home with me).

After everyone had mingled and introduced themselves Naz from Midas Touch Crafts gave us a little history on soap.  Now normally history bores to sleep but it was actually really interesting how much soap had such an impact from an early date!  Once we brushed up on our history it was time to get stuck in.  First up was the soap making.  So first off w had to put in 2 drops of colouring in a small container.  I decided to put a drop of pink in and a drop of purple in mine instead of just one colour.  We then added the crushed up soap.

So as the room was very busy I miss heard what Naz said.  We were to stir the soap and colouring together before the hot liquid soap was poured on which makes sense.....Yeah I kinda did it the other way round...opps.  Naz was kind enough to top my soap up with extra liquid though to give it a smooth finish.  Much nicer then the lumpy one I had created.

Next up was the jelly soap.  Now I've never used jelly soap as I only have a bath but I must remember to buy some when I go on holiday cause mine smelt fantastic and it seemed kinda fun to play with.  We started off with food colouring, gelatine and liquid soap.  We then stirred to mix it all together until it became of an icing sugar consistency (that's what I called it anyway).

Next we poured it into our moulds.  Bubbles appeared on top so we had to spray on a mixture of vodka and water to try and get rid of them.  Apparently my bubbles were really stubborn and no amount of spraying would get rid of them!

Now for the final I should really say that loosely.  Making Bath Bombs was the final thing we had to make.  Now I thought this would be easy.  I mean it does look that hard right?  Nope wrong and you'll find out soon enough.

So first things first we had to mix cornflour,  Bicarbonate of Soda and citric acid together.  We had to measure them out VERY carefully.  Then we had to add a tiny drop of water to when I say tiny I mean tiny. I swear I only added a little but well I obviously didn't as you will see in a moment.  Then after adding the water you had to mix it together until it came out like a dough not being wet though.  After that was done we placed it into our molds.  After waiting for a few moment we then had to do the brave thing and tap our bath bombs out.  So what did mine look like.  Well just to warn you I hold no responsibilities to any bad reactions that may happen after you look at this.

 So yeah....I mean on the bright side Naz did lame the temperature of the room and I agree!  Also at least I had I put mine on the plastic bag other people had the same problem as mine and they put it straight on to the table.  It gave plenty of us a good laugh though that's for sure.

Either way I'm very proud of what I learnt and what I achieved and after talking to Naz about how she uses coconut oil and chocolate to tan herself I'm definitely interested in attended more of her classes.  Heck I think it would make for a really fun and interested Hen Party.  Not that I'm getting married any time soon or anything, just an idea ha ha.  That's it for this blog post now and I hope you enjoyed reading it and laughed at my bath bomb at least.  Until next time!

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Little Tiger Press Book Review | Train & Zip it

Hi everyone, first all I just want to warn you all that the pictures shall be of iphone quality.  My SD card reader has gone missing and my laptop SD card reader decided to break a while ago.  I'm sure I'll find it soon but just wanted to warn you all.  So the lovely guys at Little Tiger Press sent David 2 books to review.  I absolutely love getting books for David to review, in fact I think it's the best products I get sent to review.  Reading is so important and David is getting more and more into it.  He's even starting to read back to me from memory it's amazing I couldn't be prouder.  

£8.99 coming soon

So if you haven't already guessed from the title the two books they sent me were Train and Zip It. Lets talk about Zip It first.  Zip it is a great interactive book that really gets the mind and fingers moving.  It's has fun rhyming instructions that will help your little reader pick up new words but to also learn how to follow instructions via books. My only problem with this book is that the button for the pig was far too stiff.  I had a play with it before David did and I had a feeling he was going to rip it off.  He did just that after my attention was distracted for 30 seconds.  I don't blame him though as it was really hard even my dad who I showed before David had a go felt the same.

It has to be said though that my favourite page is the "shoelace" page.  It's never too young to teach children how to tie their shoes or even just a knot for that matter.  Infact the earlier the better in my eyes as it is quite a challenge do achieve when your younger.  

David's favourite page though was the kitty collar.  I think he likes it as it makes a fun popping sound when you undo it and pop it back into place.  Earlier I said about how the instructions rhymed so in this picture you can see it for yourself.  Over all I think it's a cute little book where your little one can not just read the book but really get involved.

The next book is a book literally called Trains!  Yes you've guessed it, it's all about trains.  If your little one doesn't know how to say train then I can guarantee you s/he will by the of this book.  It may even send slightly bonkers with how many times you have to read it aloud.

£4,99 Buy it now

This little delightful story is all about a little elephant that loves trains.  Maybe a bit too much.  Throughout the book different animals are introduced that you can teach your children as well as the many vehicles.  Another aspect about this book that I missed until I read it with my son was that it can teach children not only to share but also how being angry is okay but there is a time and place.  My son picked up straight away when the main character was having a strop and we talked about why he was angry and how he could calm down.

This book does have a happy ending though as he makes friends through the experience of sharing.  This I find VERY important.  I've always taught David to share at a young age and I will continue to do so.  This is a thick board book so it's easy for children to turn the pages. 

That's it for this review I hope you enjoyed it.  I will be back soon for another book review which includes and sticker book with puzzle (hint great value). Until next time bye!

Saturday, 14 March 2015

A Tetley Tea review and Food pairings

So unlike a lot of Brits I am not a huge tea drinker.  I do however LOVE Green Tea.  Their are so many health benefits to Green Tea it's unreal.  A cuppa in the morning after a hot lemon drink is sure to get you going in the morning.  With that being said I don't actually know much about tea.  Well did you know just like wine, tea can be matched alongside food to refresh your palette?  I've selected just a few but you can find more here.

Green Tea

Well come on you all knew that was coming.  It's my favourite tea after all!  For this fresh herbal tea Tetley recommends health conscious dishes like salads and fresh fruit.  You know those healthy lunches we all dream to pack and are jealous of our work colleagues when they bring out their amazing packed lunch.  Yep those.  I couldn't agree more.  I love having some Green Tea along side some fruit or my most often breakfast muesli.  They do however also state that it can be eaten alongside a cheeky bowl of ice-cream though I prefer Sorbet.

Cranberry Tea

Cranberry is most known for having a sharp but cut clean taste.  Due to this it makes sense to pair it alongside strong fruit flavours such as museli topped with yoghurt or pineapple.  

Earl Grey Tea

Ah the good old Earl Grey Tea.  You could call him Mr Grey maybe not.  Anyway this is a classic.  So have been eating it with the wrong foods?  Let me guess you think of Earl Grey and think naughty delicious cream cakes.  Well stop right there my friend.  As Early Grey provides the palette with citrus, floral and bergamot flavours, it is then best suited with more light but sweet subtle foods.  These can be foods like Strawberries or a lemon and poppy seed muffin (very posh!).


So Tetley was kind enough to send me not 1, not 2 but 3! samples of their new green tea range (probably because I boosted how much I love green tea....I can't help it it's the only tea I'll drink).  The first one I used all up (opps) was the Raspberry and Pomegrante Green Tea the second one as you'll see below is the Peach and Apricot Green Tea.  Both were new for my tea palette as I'd never before drank fruit teas of any kind.  I found them to be great to drink in the morning as they would wake me up.  I also found them particularly handy to drink when I had a sweet tooth.  It would get rid of that need for sugar which for me what a big bonus.  The flavours weren't too strong in my opinion they were just enough to give it that zing in your mouth.

So now we move onto the bled of both Green Tea and the original Tetly.  To me it tastes just of normal tea this is probably because only 28% of the tea is Green Tea.  That's okay though I don't mind as I like the taste of "normal" tea every now and then.  I think this is a great option however for people who may not like the taste of Green Tea but perhaps want to seek the benefits.

That's it for this review thank you for reading and I hope enjoy this post. See you in the next post. 

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Healthy eating with #Ryvitaanythinggoes

So a lot of my Facebook friends will probably know that I have changed the way I eat now (though I could never live without a cheeky take away now and then).  I now get my meat from a butchers and try and buy most fruit and veg organic.  I also don't buy cow's milk anymore but instead almond or hazelnut.  I also try and buy organic bread but this can be a bit difficult.  I often to get people asking me "urgh I really want some bread but I can't have it" to that I turn them to the magic that is Ryvita's. So here I am with some new suggestions some of which you may be familiar with, some may be new.

I think a lot of people see Ryvita as this open sandwich and that they must stack things on top.  Although this is an option this isn't just the only thing Ryvita's can be used for.  Have you ever thought about using it to dip in your soft boiled eggs?  Crispbread Soldiers is an excellent way to start your day.  You can also try yoghurt topped with fresh berries on some sunflower seeds and oats crispbread if you want something different other then layering it all in a bowl. 

This is another one of my favourites.  Although we are slowly breaking into Spring now we still have those mega windy days where the cold hits us like we are in the North Pole.  What better way to kick start your lunch with a warm bowl of soup.  Have you ever run out of bread though to dip or are wanting those deep fried but oh so delicious croutons? Well what I love to do is break some pieces off into my soup to give the soup different textures OR even better dip a Black Pepper Ryvita Crispbread into the soup.  Especially with tomato soup. I mean black pepper and tomato soup hello! Winning combination right there.

Okay, okay I know what your thinking the old classic.  Seriously thought if you haven't tried this on some crisipbread where have you been!!! It's simply devine.  Heck even without the soft cream cheese it's amazing!  I think it's a great way to introduce more fish into your diet too if you eat quite a lot of meat.

Ryvita's don't always have to be savoury and you can even treat yourself from time to time.  I think chocolate and strawberries on some crispbread would of been an excellent treat on Valentines Day.  But Mothers Day and Easter is just around the corner!

So what are my favourite ways to eat Ryvita, well other then dipping in soup? I have one last favourite topping to have on my Ryvita's and that's homemade guacamole.  I haven't got the best picture to show you guys but my god it was so good.  I don't even like Supermarket brought guacamole but I LOVE this.

Like I said not the best photo but oh so delicious! All it is, is;

1 Avocado
a few drops of lemon and lime
a sprinkle of salt
and a handful of parsley and coriander.

You can also add some chilli if you'd like.  So what is your favourite use of Ryvita's?  What is your favourite topping?  Have you ever used Ryvita's even?  Until next time.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Being safe on the internet with Club Penguin.

Hi everyone,  let me start off by giving massive apology for not posting in a good few months.  I went rouge and I don't expect to be forgiven for this. I'll explain this in a different post.  So last year I got the chance to play around on Club Penguin.  My son is way to young for this but as an avid gamer and also a parent it really intrigued me to see just how safe and user friendly this game is.  I've heard a lot of stuff about Club Penguin mostly about how people have been banned for saying outrageous (and sometimes funny) things. 

So first things first registration. How was it?  Well it was both easy and difficult.  Easy due to the layout and options very user friendly....apart from one thing that bugged me too kingdom come.....picking a username.  It literally took me ages.  In the end I finally found I could pick cndyflosscld.  I felt a bit worried because if I was getting stressed about this then my dear lord I couldn't imagine the frustration a child would have.  I was surprised it didn't give me usernames that were available for me to chose maybe that would make it easier?

Once activating the account you will get to chose between two different chat modes. 
1. Standard safe chat mode (players type their own messages which are filtered before they appear in world).
2. ultimate safe mode (plays choose from a menu of set phrases and only see other ultimate safe chat messages).  
For older children I would trust the standard safe chat mode but with younger children (age 10 or under) I personally would chose the ultimate safe chat mode.  I chose ultimate safe chat mode to try it out but found that there wasn't much talking going on anyway.  Everyone seemed to keep to themselves. Obviously children might have a different experience but I feel relaxed as a parent knowing that their chat options are monitored and some what limited.

At the log in screen as with most websites it has a box that allows you to save your password.  I was pleasantly surprised that it warns you about saving your password, as anyone that gets into your account could get your penguin banned or spend your coins.  I think this is a great starting point for children to learn about internet safety.

So once in the game what happened?  Well you get a fairly standard but fun introduction. your shown how to do many things.  One of these being how to buy clothes to dress up your penguin.  I did find it odd however that it didn't tell you how to actually put the clothes on.  I had to figure that out for myself which was a tad bit frustrating. I also noticed that when you went to adopt a puffle there seemed to be no back button.  The good thing I found though was that quests were added regularly and I'm a gamer who LOVES quests.  Wen I complete quests in a game and there is no more I find myself becoming really bored and I just stop playing it.  

All in all I think this is a great fun and SAFE game for children to play.  I wouldn't say it's educational but then not every game has to be right?  It's okay for children to play a game just for fun. I'd be more then happy when David is older for him to play this considering how much thought and consideration Disney as put into making this a safe but friendly and fun game.  So with all that being said what are your thoughts?  Do you have any children that already play this?