5 Creative Ways to Manage Your Money

This is a collaborative post

When did you last take a good look at your money management skills? Do you know what your current account looks like? For many of us, our salary comes in and goes out again just as quickly, and it can be so easy to get into the routine of paying off bills without thinking of the biggerpicture.

There are over three-quarters of Brits in employment – the joint-highest proportion since 1971. That’s a lot of people having to manage their salaries. As one of these people, do you think it’s time to take charge of your finances and get creative with your bank balance? If so, read on for some inspired ideas to refresh your approach to money.

How to manage your money

Be logical

Before you do anything, take a look at your finances as they stand right now. What spending habits have you fallen into? 

You can do this by assessing your incomings and outgoings over the last six months. Weigh up the essentials, such as the mortgage or rent and the utility bills, and the non-essentials, like shopping sprees and evenings out. By examining your money management as it is, you can then be creative about how you set your budget and track your spending. 

easy ways to manage your money

For example, you could set up an Excel sheet, colour coding each financial area. Checking in on this daily or weekly will give you the chance to chart where your finances are heading and get them on track as the month progresses.

Set goals

Keeping in mind why you’re taking a fresh approach to your financial management can go a long way. Setting goals gives you the chance to get into good saving habits and gives you the opportunity to start your new money management path with smaller achievements to aim for before going for the bigger things. 

So, you could begin by setting a goal to save £50 of your salary into an account each month. This could then become a separate, larger goal to aim for, such as better handling your outgoings by shopping around for deals on insurance or looking at how the money you’re saving can go towards repayments.

Make a money map

Why not move your money from the screen to print? Writing out what your finances look like and mapping out where you want them to go on a piece of paper can be both useful and potentially therapeutic.

Take a large piece of paper; divide it in two, separating the incomings from the outgoings; and stick notes in each section. By visualising your finances in this way, you can easily see where things can be moved around and updated.

Get technical

There are plenty of budgeting apps available that are designed to help you manage your money on the go. Take your pick from apps like Emma and Money Dashboard for free access to budgeting assistance.

Some will categorise your spending habits, others let you set and review your goals. There are several available for smartphones and tablets, so it’s possible to play around with different ones to find the right fit for you.

Sell your things

Have you been hoarding a lot of old gifts or barely worn clothes? If so, now’s a great time to see if you can sell them. There are online sites such as eBay, or you could look into the local car boot sales near you. 

selling items on ebay can help add to your money pot

The cash you raise from selling your unwanted items could pay off your phone bill for the month or cover the cost of your weekly food shop. 

How to manage your money easily.It doesn't take alot of time and effort but taking few minuties a day to concentrate in your finances can make a difference #finance #householdmoney #savingmoney #finances #easywaystosave #family #money #moneymatters

Green homes: a step-by-step guide to installing a water butt

This is a collaborative post

Not so long ago the only butts in most gardens were… discarded cigarette ends (not the other butts we’re more accustomed to on a day-to-day basis!). However, more recently there has been a growing trend in trying to be more energy efficient in the home – and the trusty Water Butt provides anyone with a drainpipe the opportunity to reduce their water rates, even just a small amount.

Attaching a water butt to your guttering

How much money will I save with a water butt?

An article published on thisismoney.co.uk estimates that using a hosepipe in the garden can cost around £1.50 per hour – using approximately 1000 litres of water in just this short time. Water butts, which cost anything from £25 for a basic, 100 litre model, and up to around £200 for a 500 litre barrel, are free to use, as they collect water naturally from above.

So, you could say that after nearly 170 uses of a 100 litre model, you’ll have started saving money. But the benefits are more than just small savings on your water rates. The benefit of natural rainwater to the natural environment is immense, and it is perfect for plants, lawns and even topping up ponds.

Water butt making watering the grass easy

Can I install a water-butt myself?

As it will involve risking the integrity of your downpipe from the guttering system above, it’s not an entirely straightforward task, although anyone with a bit of a DIY background should find it no problem. Although you can place the water butt directly below the downpipe, it’s recommended to use a rainwater diverter, and stand the butt beside the downpipe itself. 

Your water butt should also come with instructions but, if not, complete the following simple steps.

1) When you’re sure the water butt is level on the ground, or a stand, mark its height on the downpipe.

2) Cut the downpipe 3cm down from the mark you’ve left, attach the diverter to the hole, and reattach the piece of pipe you cut off to the bottom of the diverter

3) Approximately 8cm down from the top of the water butt, drill a hole in its side that fits the open end of the diverter

4) From here, you can then attach the diverter to the water butt, with the short piece of pipe supplied

5) Place the lid on the water butt, and wait for it to rain!

What if my water butt is overflowing?

If installed correctly, overflow water should bypass the water butt and head straight for the drain, as before. When they overflow, it could be that they have been positioned incorrectly, or that excess moss and debris from the guttering, above, has become clogged in the diverter.

In contrast, however, if you find that your water butt isn’t filling up whatsoever, it’s the guttering system above that may need some attention. If you’re not comfortable inspecting the roof yourself, look for a local guttering specialist. Alternatively, many roofing contractors, like Findley’s roofer in Sunderland, will be able to inspect your entire roof and roofline systems for damage.

Ultimately, people all over the UK are installing them for the environmental benefits primarily. They do certainly save regular gardeners money, over time, but the joy of knowing you’re doing something positive for the environment is reward enough for many -why not join the many and get one installed at your home this year?

Benefits of having a water butt

Getting your car winter ready

This is a collaborative post

With the winter months coming it’s important to make sure your car is ready for the bad weather. You will thank yourself for getting organised when it’s an icy school morning and you have everything you need.

Check your tyres

One the most important things to do to get your car winter ready is to check the tyres. Check to make sure that they are in good condition.Although the minimum tread level is 1.6mm, during winter it’s advisable to have 3mm of tread on your tyres to help with traction and grip.

Getting your car winter ready

Also make sure to check your tyre pressure. As this is the cars only connect to the road. It’s vital that tyres are in good condition and inflated correctly.

Window screen wipers

This is something I always forget to check if I’m honest . I normally remember they are needing to be changed. Having window screen wipes that don’t properly clear your window screen can be dangerous especially in heavy snow and rain.

Top tip: always make sure your screen is fully clear before using window screen wipers. If your window screen is frozen don’t try and use your wipers. As you could blow a fuse.

Always having a ice scraper handy is a good idea. You just never know when your going to get caught out and need to clear your window screen, remember never to use hot water to clear your window screen as this may cause it to crack.Ice Scrapers you find easily with ONLINEcarparts.co.uk.

Getting your car winter ready

Check your coolant

Check your car’s coolant level. The last thing you need is a frozen engine or for your car to overheat. Believe me this has happened to me before and it’s not a nice experience to go through.

Electrics

Walk around your car and check that all your lights are working. Lights are so important and they essentially for you to see and so others can see you also.

Also make sure to clean the lights. During the winter months cars can get dirty. So making sure that the lights are clean is essential.

Screen wash
Check your screen wash level and top up with wash additive or pre-mix which is effective down to at least -15 degrees celsius.

There’s more dirt on the roads during the winter, as well as salt, so it’s important to make sure you can keep your windscreen clean. Also remember to keep checking your screen wash level as you will find yourself using more during the winter months.

AD childcare.co.uk for finding childcare,jobs in childcare and for promoting your childcare setting

AD: I have been asked to honestly share with you all what I think about the childcare.co.uk website. All words are my opinion.

If you have Read my blog for a while now you will know that I work in the childcare sector. After having Ava I really had to think long and hard about whether she was going to come to work with me at the nursery I worked at. I didn’t know what to do at first .I didn’t know if her being at the same nursery was going to be beneficial or whether it was going to be detrimental to her. As she wasn’t going to have time away from me and would always see me during the day.

Finding the right nursery

When looking for nurseries I started by looking at the childcare.co.uk website .I find this a really useful website for looking at nurseries in my local area. It’s so easy to use you just put your area in the search box and see what nurseries come up in my local area .I can see all different things about the nurseries from opening times, the fees they charge, staff qualifications, and if they actually have any availability.

Before searching it’s a really good idea to make yourself a profile. All you need to do is pop in a few details about yourself and sign up using an email. The reason for needing a profile on the childcare.co.uk website .Is so when you have found the nursery you like you can message them using the safe and secure messaging service. This means you don’t have to go searching around for different email addresses you can do it all in one place and then you can get responses in the same place. Which makes it so much easier.

For me as a parent I really like the fact that other parents can leave reviews on the nursery . So when you’re searching through you can see what the parents think about that setting. Like with anything reviews are really important when it comes to childcare recommendations.What other parents think about a nursery can be really influential . So if you have a nursery profile that has loads of positive reviews you are more likely to want to go and visit that one.

It’s so easy to do a search . You can specify what it is your looking for . The location and the radius from that location your wanting. If your wanting something really specific then you can go into their advanced settings and narrow it down more from there.

Finding a nursery using childcare.co.uk

I have also used the childcare.co.uk website to look for a jobs . Which I found was much more user friendly than a lot of other job websites I have used. You search as you would when looking for a childcare establishment. Just this time you change the what I’m looking for filter to childcare jobs. Then fill in the rest of the information for the area your looking for. Here you can see jobs that people have posted to the site and what they require. Just like you would with a nursery search you can message that person directly from the website . Then start a conversation that will hopefully lead to an interview.

Searching on Childcare.co.uk

The last way I have used the childcare.co.uk website is in my day job as a nursery coordinator. I have set up profiles for all the nurseries in the chain. Which is really easy to do. Having a profile means that the nurseries are seen by a wider audience. Resulting in showing more parents around the nurseries and then hopefully themstarting with us.

I also get emails sent though which alerts me that. Someone local to the nurseries have posted that they are looking for a nursery. I can then message them to arrange a show around. I can also see if we can meet the needs they require.

I can really see why childcare.co.uk has 2 million users. It can be used by parents,childcare organisations and also someone looking for work in childcare. Each and every step is simple and easy to do . The website itself is really user friendly. If I needed to find childcare or a job in childcare in the future I would be sure to take a look on this website first.

This little introduction about what to expect on your child’s first few days at nursery may be handy when you have chosen a nursery.

Children’s gift ideas- for 2 and 4 year olds

We have been sent the products below for inclusion in this gift guide. All opinions are my own. This post also includes affiliate links.

Christmas is fast approaching I know I know you don’t want to think about it but just be glad you don’t have Christmas and both your children’s birthdays within weeks of each other ! So some children’s gift ideas are really needed. If you can think of anything else please do let me know.

Let’s start with 2 year old children’s gift ideas

Hape 2-1 kitchen & grill set

Alby is really staring to get interest and excited by role play . At the moment we have a big play kitchen downstairs but it just takes so much space up . Where as the Hape 2-1 kitchen and grill set is a lot smaller and can be put away so it’s not always out.

Gift ideas for 2 and 4 year old children

The set included adorable mini metal accessories. The clicking turntable knobs on the front of the set can be turned to replicate the knobs of an adult cooker. They can also move the hands of the clock around . Which I know Ava will love as she started to ask more about the time and tries to guess the time by looking at the clock.

His little imagination can run wild with this play set . I love the fact that I can put it away when his not playing with it . Making more space in our downstairs playroom area.

The Hape 2-1 kitchen and grill set can be purchased from amazon for £31.69

Hape Bath cascade

Bath times in our house are a little crazy. Alby is that child who loves to splash and throw himself around the bath . So we were needing something to keep him occupied whilst in the bath . Which the Hape bath cascade really does.

gift ideas bath toys

The adorable ocean creatures and accessories suction either to the bath side or a tiled wall. When positions correctly water that’s poured into the little down the different parts creating a fun bath toy for your little ones to explore.

bath toys Hape

My kids have been loving this . Interchanging all the different bits to see if they can make the water cascade down. I really like that it comes with a little jug also which is perfect for little hands. Having a toy like this in the bath has really calmed down bath time as it gives them something fun and exciting to concentrate on.

You can purchase the Hape ocean cascade from amazon for £16.17

Count with Peppa

Peppa has become a new interest for Alby. I think the fact George has a dinosaur really drew him into loving Peppa . Another love of Alby’s is posting things. Normally pushing them back out the letter box! So with this Count with Peppa . He can have two things he loves in one toy. Which also hopefully will stop him posting my post back through the letter box !

count with peppa

Like all Peppa pig toys this interactive count with Peppa come with three songs you know your little ones will love . Along with 10 interactive play coins. Peppa asks the children to insert different colours, number and pictures into her purse . So it will keep them busy for ages . I also love the fact it has two different learning levels meaning it will last then for so much longer.

Count with Peppa

Like all good toys should come with Peppa has two different volume settings !! Also to stop you scrambling around for batteries count with Peppa also comes with batteries included !!

I can see this isn’t going to just be a toy Alby will love but a toy Ava is going to go crazy for !

You can get your hand on this count with Peppa from Amazon for £19.50

Teamsterz Light and sound fire engine

The fire engine has realistic lights and sounds . Along with an extendable ladder and turning wheels. So it can vroom onto it’s next emergency.

Teamsterz gift ideas

Alby is loving all vehicles at the moment . On the way to nursery he will get so excited when he sees a tractor out the window. The other day we saw a fire engine and he lost his tiny mind . He was so excited so the light and sound fire engine is something I know he will love !

With Multiple buttons to use and sections that pop open children will be entertained for ages.

gift ideas for 2 year olds

The fire engine does come with 3 AAA batteries so no need to scramble around for batteries ! You can get this Teamsterz fire engine from amazon for £17.60

Now onto gift ideas for a 4 year old

Little bit of background about Ava . Ava has recently turned into a very girly girl who loves her dancing, unicorns and anything that sparkles . So you may notice a theme with the next lot of gifts

Fairy Garden

Ava has been asking for one of these for such a long time and is on the top of her Christmas list .

To create the cute my little fairy garden children need to add soil and then some grass seeds . Then watch as your fairy garden grows beautiful green grass . This flower Edition also come with beautiful flowers to add to your garden along with a cute little flower house.

fairy garden

Children can really let their imagination run wild with a my fairy Garden. Along with the adorable little house you also get a door mouse, a fairy and other magical props to keep children’s play going for ages.

My Fairy garden have a wide range of different gardens to pick one and I even spied a unicorn one which I might also get for Ava.

fairy garden gift ideas

The fairy Garden new flower edition is available from amazon for £8.99

Fuzzikins school edition

Now this combines two of Ava’s interests playing schools and drawing. Children can decorate the teacher owl , four pupils and school using the special pens that come with the pack . Not to worry if they want to change to look of their characters as the pen can be washed off with water!

Fuzzikins

Children can rein-act things that have happened at school . Or just let their imagination run wild and act out all kinds of different sevens . Using the different animal character and the pop up school.

gift ideas

The pop up book opens up to reveal three school scenes all with built in furniture.

Just a word of warning the pens can stain certain services so make sure they have a Matt out whilst they are using the pens.

The Fuzzikins school edition is £24.75 from amazon.

Pop hair surprise

Ava has just started to actually let me do her hair . It’s been a long hard struggle and this pop hair surprise has made her excited to have her hair done each morning without any kick offs.

Pop hair surprise

These cute little brushes offer so much more than just a brush . The bottom second pulls off to reveal a spray bottle . Which is great for us as Ava has to have spray in conditioner on her hair so that it doesn’t get too knotty and horrible. The brush itself is a really lovely brush that doesn’t pull on her hair.

pop hair contents

Now this is where the fun begins. You can open up the brush section to reveal a secret wrapped up pop hair pet. Along with with a packet with some small elastic hair bands and clips. Which can be used in your child’s hair or on the pop hair pet.

pop hair pet

The hair pet can be unraveled and used as a hair bobble which Ava loves ! As she said it was like long princess hair . The fact that it’s pretty colours is also a big plus for Ava . You can if you wanted to style your pop hair pet in an array of different ways . The information booklet that comes with the pop hair surprise shows you all the amazing ways you can style your hair pet along with all the different hair pets you can get.

gift ideas

You can purchase the Pop hair surprise from amazon for £9.99 . Making it a great stocking filler or a small gift for a child’s birthday.

Ion8 water bottle

How many of you brought your child a water bottle for school in September and they have already lost it !

Why not help a parent out and think about getting their child an Ion8 water bottle as a gift . Yes it may not seem like the most fun and exciting gift but sometimes the most practical gifts are the best.

Ion8 have so many amazing and interesting designs to their bottles . Children for sure won’t want to loose them . The main thing that I as a parent want from a children’s water bottle is that it doesn’t leak . There is nothing worse then them throwing it in their book bag to get home and find everything swimming in water. The Ion8 water bottles are 100% leakproof 100% of the time .

children gift ideas

I will say though that once the bottle top is open then the liquid inside will flow out freely. So make sure if you have little ones around they don’t get their hands on the bottle. The best way to do this is to use the clasp on the top of the bottle to ensure the lid is secured into place . The clasp is a little tricky to open so younger children won’t be able to open it by themselves.

This great little bottle and loads of other designs can be found on amazon for £9.99.

children's gift ideas

Love Leggings

If your kids are anything like mine then they go through so many clothes. Especially Ava and her leggings they get so mucky at nursery. Or they just loose their shape around the knees. So a good pair of leggings is a great gift . Help a parent out and get them some they they actually need. I’m always happy to receive clothes for my two as it saves me a fortune.

These Love Leggings are amongst some of the only leggings I have found to actually fit Ava. Normally they don’t cover her bottom. So she ends up with a builders bottom all day long which isn’t the look we’re going for.

These Love Leggings are really great quality and are really thick . Which is perfect for the time of year ! What most important is that they wash well . They haven’t lost their shape at all and the colour still looks as fresh as when we first got them.

love leggings for children
gift ideas for children

I myself have Love Leggings sports leggings and I love them. If you would like to get some for yourself or for a little one check out their website.

So there’s a whole bunch children’s gift ideas for you . I hope this helps ! if you looking for adult gift ideas make sure to check out my gift guide for adults.

How to find the best broadband deals

When we moved house I took the opportunity to look at if we could save money on any of our household bills. Even if you can save a few pounds on each bill it really does make the difference. Just think the extra money could go on days out . Or give you a bit more financial freedom. One of our biggest outgoings was on our Tv and broadband. So this was one of the first areas I looked at.

Finding the best broadband deals

Here are some of the things I took into consideration

What deals match my household needs

Some broadband deals may look amazing but If you’re a family that uses a lot of devices that need an internet connection . Are these deals going going give you the speeds you need ?

Some deals also have a usage cap so if your going to go over the usage amount . Does the charge you may get for going over the usage still make it a good deal still?

Landline charge

This is something to look at . I don’t think we’re alone when I say we don’t have a landline . We haven’t had one for years . Some broadband deals come with line rental. If your not using a landline then this may not be any use to you . Some broadband providers have started to do broadband to which you don’t need a landline.

Making sure to see how much the Additional landline charge is can make the difference. what looked like a bargain can quickly turn into a pretty big expense.

Before changing broadband providers make sure to check your current providers contract. There may be an exit charge for leaving before the end of your contract period.

How to find the best Broadband deals

Finding the best Broadband deals

Shop around would be my biggest piece of advice . Use multiple comparison sites as some sites have offers others don’t. Make sure to check all the terms and conditions for each deal . Each deal will have a different set of terms and conditions.

Don’t go for the first deal you find . Take a moment to look at them all and check they are right for you and your family.

Check cash back sites. Do they do money back on the provider you have chosen? . As this is a great way to get some money back off purchases you make.

Most importantly check that the provider you have chosen provides broadband in your area !

Does Santa Bring all the presents in your house at Christmas ?

Flicking though Facebook the last few days I have seen a lot of posts about what we tell children about Santa. Does Santa bring all the toys children receive for Christmas or does Santa bring them a few bits and the rest come from parents.

The first few post I skipped past not really thinking too much about it . Then I stopped and actually ready one that Ami from Through Ami’s Eyes had wrote.

Santa bring all the presents

She made a point that I had never thought of before and that was. One of the reasons why she doesn’t tell her children that Santa bring all the toys is because. Some people aren’t as fortunate and Christmas can cause real finical hardship. So that child may only get a few presents form Santa. Where as Bob down the road gets loads and loads from Santa. So does that mean Santa loves Bob more ?

It’s something I have never thought of before . I quite often say why don’t you ask Santa he gets you the presents. I didn’t think about the implications just saying something like this could have. I for one second didn’t think that me saying things like this to my child could upset another child further down the line . Which makes me feel so sad.

This really struck a cord with me . I would hate that any child would feel like this at such a magical time of the year. It’s really made me change how I think about Christmas in our house. I don’t want my kids going into school telling their friends what they had from Santa making another child feel sad because Santa doesn’t like/love them as much as my children.

We are in the position that we can buy the gifts our children are asking for . But for many children that doesn’t happen and that’s sad enough to think about children not getting gifts at Christmas. Let alone them thinking Santa doesn’t love them or like them as much.

It’s also really made me reevaluate how much I buy my kids for Christmas. Do they really need piles of toys and stocking full of bits. No not really they would be happy with a few bits that don’t even have to cost a lot . Christmas is meant to be about spending time with family and loved ones. Shops have really taken that away with the constant adverts for the newest gadget or toy.

With many parents wanting to outdo another parent so they can say that there 7 year old had the newest IPad and IPhone. Which they really don’t need and probably would of much preferred a toy or a trip somewhere special with their family.

Santa bring all the presents

Another important point she made is if we tell children that all the presents are from Santa. How are they going to know to say thank you to that person who used their hard earned cash to buy the present.

Saying thank you to people when they have brought something or done something nice for them . Is something I make sure my kids do and understand why they need to say thank you . So this is another really valid reason why Santa shouldn’t bring all the presents to children.

What are your thoughts on this ? What happens in your house ?

Picking the right primary school for our daughter

One of the biggest decisions we are going to have to make for Ava is going to happen very soon. That is what primary school we will send her to. I cannot believe that this is a decision I’m going to have to make very soon. I know it’s a cliche but it really doesn’t seem like 5 minutes since she was born and it has gone so fast !

Ava at the moment goes to nursery three days a week and she loves it. She has loved going to nursery since she was little . I have never had to crying goodbyes or the not wanting to go . She has gone in everyday happy and content. She has made such a great circle of friends at nursery and it does make me a little sad that she won’t go to school with any of them.

Getting her ready for primary school

Ava’s nursery is a 30 minute drive from our house and the main reason she goes there is because the nursery is one of the nurseries that I work for. The nursery itself is attached to a school. So she does ask me a lot when she can have a blue jumper like the school children. She also talks about going to school with the friends she has at nursery. Which isn’t going to happen I do try and explain this to her but I don’t think she really gets it.

One of Ava’s amazing qualities is that she can make friends wherever she goes. So I’m really not worried about her not making friends. I just hope we can keep in contact with some of her nursery friends as I know she is going to miss them.

We have been looking at what schools we want Ava to go to for such a long time now. knowing what school we liked really determined where we could look for a new house . As we wanted to make sure we were as close to catchment area for the schools we liked.

When looking at what schools we wanted Ava to go to we took a few things into consideration and they were

Factors for deciding on the perfect Primary school

Ofsted rating

Working in early years I know this isn’t the bee all and end all . Ofsted only see a snippet of what you do and what opportunities you offer the children. This is why I like to dig a little deeper into the Ofsted reports . Looking at what the schools did well at and what they need to improve. Some of the schools we like have outstanding teaching elements but we’re let down on other aspects I don’t deem as important.

School ethos and way of life

Now this may be one not many people think about . I want to know that the school follow the same ethos ( way of life ) as I do . Are they all about the numbers and children attaining a certain grade . Or do they enable children to develop at their own rates and support them with their learning. Even if that does mean that child is ‘bringing their statistics down’ . I know that sounds horrid but some schools do still run this way and it’s not a school I would want Ava to be apart of.

Wanting a creative primary school

I also wanted to make sure that the schools teach in a variety of different ways. Ava loves music and anything active. One of the schools I like brings music into a lot of their sessions and this is something I really like. I know Ava will learn best this way that’s why this school is top of my list.

School’s Location

With both me and Jordan working sometimes we have to call upon our parents for help. My mom doesn’t drive so I wanted a school that was close enough to all the people that may help us . Just Incase she needed picking up because she was poorly and I couldn’t get to her quick enough.

Again this is the reason we moved to the area we now live in. As all our close family live within a 10 minute drive.

Wrap around care

When Ava goes to school I’m hoping to change my working hours to work opposite Jordan’s shifts . So that it means there will always be either me or Jordan there to pick her up.

Sometimes though life happens and we may not be able to pick her up . Family members may be at work so a school with a wrap around club is really handy. Mainly because it means I don’t have to stress I know I can give them a call and they will be able to have her. Not all the schools we like have a wrap around club but our top two do so hopefully we get either of those.

Nursery class

In a bid to make my life easier when Alby is old enough I’m hoping he can go to nursery at the same school as Ava. So it means I can drop off and collect all at the same place. This would make my life so much easier but it’s not a deal breaker.

These are the main things that we took into consideration really when picking our top schools . I have just found out that we can pick 5 schools not 3 . So we are going to see what others we can add to the list.

I’m really not ready for her to go to school . As she comes to work with me I have never really had to leave her. So this is the first time she will be spreading her wings all by herself. I know she will be fine and she won’t be bothered by it at all. I just know I’m going to be in the crying moms club on those first few days.

Was there anything in particular that swayed your opinion on a certain primary school ?

Finding the right primary school is a hard decision and one that needs to be thought about. Here are some of the things we took into consideration. 
#newschool #parenting #parentingdecisions #primaryschool #primary

Christmas Eve boxes made by The Enchanted Wood Company

I’m actually really excited about this Christmas. Mainly because it’s the first year I feel Ava actually understands what happens. She talks very often about the things she would like to ask Santa for. Also that she’s not going to cry when she she’s Santa this year ! Yer I bet lets see hey when we go and see him what she does.

A few years ago I wrote a post about Christmas traditions which included a wide range of traditions that families do. One that came up a lot was Christmas Eve boxes. These have really grown in popularity over the last few years. I’m seeing more and more people have these beautiful boxes filled with treats for their children. This is something I really want to do with my kids. Christmas day itself can be so busy I think it’s nice have Christmas Eve to chill as a family. Watch films eat all the nice things and basically do nothing but sit in pj’s all day. So to fill a box with all the things that can enable you to do this sound perfect to me.

When looking at all the different styles of Christmas Eve boxes there are around. I quickly came to the conclusion that I wanted it to be wooden and simple. Something that would grow with them. When I say grow with them I mean something that doesnt look babyish so when they are older they can still use the same box. Because lets face it items like this are used once a year so I want to buy a nice one that I can use year upon year.

A lot of these lovely boxes were from major retailers and I much prefer when I can to use small businesses. So this is when I started chatting to My lovely friend Jade has her own business called The Enchanted Wood Company. Where she makes the most beautiful things from wood. So I asked her if she could make a Christmas Eve box for the kids. I left the design to her I just said I wanted it to be simple but still fun. A few weeks later I got some happy post that I just had to share with you all.

How beautiful is this Christmas Eve box. They are so beautifully made and the details on them are perfect.

Christmas Eve box

They have a little clasp on the front of the box so you can close the box securely. I also love the fact that they dont open fully. As with kids around they are bound to break the hinge bending it too far.

Enchanted Wood Christmas Ee=ve box

Jade listened to what I wanted and executed it so perfectly. She also did the kids a little extra gift which was this Santa please stop here hanging star. Ava has asked if she can put hers on her door so Santa knows what room is her room which I just think is so adorable.

The Enchanted Wood Company

My good friend Faye from Glossytots has also had a Christmas Eve box made for both of her children. Faye wanted to add a bit of sparkle to her box. Which you can see in the post that she did.

After asking Jade if she minded me posting this on my blog to share with you all. She gave me a discount code Bibs2019 which you can use to get 10% off any of their Christmas products. If your going to order I would order sooner rather than later though as I can see she’s going to be very busy with orders.The last day for orders is 16th December . The Christmas Eve box’s start at £18.99 plus p+p for the boxes shown in my post. There is an additional cost if you wanted the glitter snowflakes like Faye’s.

Orders can be made via the Enchanted Wood Company website or Via their Instagram page.

What to put in a Christmas Eve box

So now I have got the box I just need to get things to put in them. Here is a few things I’m thinking of putting in. Please do let me know if you think I have missed anything.

  • Christmas pj’s ( Im wanting to get family ones ! )
  • Christmas books ( I have ordered The dinosaur that pooped Christmas and
  • A new cup to have a special drink in
  • Hot choclate pouches
  • Reindeer food mix that they can mix themselves
  • Christmas activity set ( pen,pencil,colouring book)

Adults Christmas gift guide

We have been sent the below products for inclusion in this gift guide. All opinions are my own.

Year upon year I’m finding it harder to buy gifts for the adults in my life. Mainly because they are in a position to buy themselves the things they want. So I like to find them things that maybe they haven’t used before or things that would be a bit more of a treat for them. So take a look below at some of the bits I think would make a perfect gift.

Self care gifts

As parents finding time to look after yourself can be hard . This is why for my parent friends I like to buy them things that enable them to have time for a little self care . Even if it’s 5 minutes a day. 5 minutes can make a huge difference.

Procoal activated charcoal

This as part of a little hamper basket would be lovely. It helps to gently exfoliate, cleanse and detoxify the skin. The Allantoin encourages natural skin exfoliation. Whilst the calendula oil helps restore skin’s water balance. Basically it leaves the skin feeling amazing and refreshed.

Unlike other charcoal products I have used this isn’t black as soon as you squeeze the product out . As you gently rub it into you skin the sand like cranuals pop and then charcoal can be seen.

This great face scrub can be purchased from the Procoal London website for £8.99

CM LA VIE organic coconut oil

Have you got a friend who is trying to make small changes to be more eco friendly . Who’s looking to use products that are 100% natural then if so this is the product for them.

I cannot believe the amount of ways you can use this product from a moisturiser to a hair conditioning mask. To my personal favourite lip balm. It leaves you skin and hair feeling amazing. Just take a look below at the different ways you can use this amazing product.

This coconut oil is 100% natural and ethically sourced it’s also vegan friendly and free from any nasties. The thing that amazes me most is not only can you use this on your body it’s also edible. So you can add a spoonful to a herbal tea or coffee so you can be nourished not only on the outside but on the inside also.

You can get you hands on this amazing product from amazon for £9.99

Sleep Master sleep masks

Since having the children I haven’t slept half as good as I used to . This isn’t just because they keep me up during the night. I find it really hard to fall asleep because of many things one of those things is because it’s too light. The upstairs of our house is lit up at night with nightlights as Ava something comes into our room during the night and gets scared of the dark.

A sleep mask is the perfect present to help anyone relax into a good sleep. The soft fabric of the sleep Master sleep mask feels amazing against your eyes.

What’s different about the Sleep Master Sleep mask

Unlike most sleep masks the Sleep Master sleep mask actually offers sound reduction too.As the sleep mask covers both eyes and ears . It also had a thick adjustable band which goes around the head . So no rubbish elastics that slip off your head during the night . The Sleep Master Sleep Mask stays comfortably in place all night.

This great little sleep mask can also be washed on a normal wash cycle. It also drys in no time so you don’t have to go a night without it. Perfect for someone who needs a little help to sleep better or just for a sleep mask lover that is looking to upgrade their sleep mask.The sleep Master sleep mask is £18.95 and can be purchased from their website.

Motif photo book

Over the year we have had some amazing memories. From moving house to going on holiday . It’s nice to have these memories in one place to look back on.

A present like this is something I like to buy for grandparents to keep and treasure. In today’s society it’s really rare that we print pictures out so I think it makes it even more special . Ava especially loves looking though this book and telling me about all the people in the picture and what she remembers from those moments.

The best thing about Motif is that it can all be done on your mobile. Pictures can be easily uploaded onto the app. Then personalised with a tap of the screen . Changing the layouts and additional decorative touches.

At the moment Motif is only Available MacOS and also IOS platforms. This photo book was £19.99 and was so easy to make using the Motif app on my iPhone.

Tomatin Whisky

We all have that family member that we buy a bottle of their favourite tipple each year . Yes they love it but maybe it’s time for a change something different that’s more of a treat . If whisky is their tipple of choice then take a look at this Tomatin whisky selection.

Tomatin Whisky is matured in a combination of bourbon barrels and virgin oak casks which makes the light sweetness taste that Tomatin is known for.

To find out where you can get your hands on a bottle check out the stock lists on their website.

Love Leggings

For many people the New year is the kick up the bum to get them self healthier. Be it eating better or doing more exercise. I don’t know about you but the one thing that makes me want to do more exercise is having new clothes to wear.

I don’t know why really but it just makes me feel more ready for the activity . Maybe it’s because I look the part. Even if I do look like I have two left feet whilst taking part in an extreme Zumba class.

These leggings form Love Leggings are some of the most comfyest leggings I have ever worn . I love the fact that they are high Wasted as they keep my mum tum under wraps. They fit perfectly to my body and just feel so nice on.

They also have POCKETS! Which I love I’m a lover of a pocket and to have them in these leggings is just perfect. I’m able to have my earphones in and keep my phone secure in my pocket.

If you like the look of these love leggings then you can get yourself a pair of a loved one from their website .

If there you are still searching for ideas then take a look at last years gift guide.

Moving house checklist: what you will need to do on the run up to moving

This is a collaborative post


We moved house before the summer . The run up to it was one of the most stressful thing I have done . Having two kids adding to the mix made for a fun time ! I would pack a box and they would unpack it. They would then ask for their ‘favourite toy’ which they hadn’t played with for months. Which resulted in me unpacking more boxes to find this one toy that they didn’t even want that badly it turns out. There are however something I’m glad I did which made things less stressful so I though I would share with them with you my moving house checklist.

Moving house check list

A few months before you move house you will need to

Moving house checklist
  • Order loads of packing boxes more boxes then you think you will need. As when you start packing you will realise how little you can actually fit into a box . Or if like us you have family members that work in a shop ask them to keep some boxes aside.
  • Ring around several removal agency’s and collect a few quotes. Check what they include one of the major things that swayed us . Was that some companies charge if your not moved in by midday and charge per hour after that time . Which can make it really costly. If your local to Wolverhampton I would highly recommend Ace removals they are fantastic.
  • If your not able to move straight away into the house your moving to them maybe look into self storage. I wished we had Self store like Shurgard Self-Storage Greenwhich as it looks so modern clean and has loads of different facilities.
  • Start to declutter your house doing bits at a time makes it less overwhelming.

A month before you move house

  • Start letting all your providers know that you will be moving. So they can set everything up ready for when you move. This I’m glad we did as it meant we had internet and telly straight away which was needed to keep the kids entertained whilst we sorted everything.
  • Sort out postal redirect and changing addresses on all things bills and financials.
  • Sort out childcare for the big day . We were really lucky that my mom wasn’t at work so had both our kids . Meaning we didn’t have the added expense of paying for another nursery day.
  • Rope in people to help on the day. Even if it’s to get the main areas sorted . Like putting the kids beds together.
  • Then pack, pack and more packing. Pack as much as you can so that when the day comes you have less to deal with. One thing to remember is don’t pack the kettle and tea like I did . Removal men and ladies love a cuppa!
  • Start running down the food you have. So don’t do a big shop use all the bits you have so it’s less to move. Then book an online shop to be delivered the day after you move in.
  • The day before I packed a bag which went in my car and not with the removal people that contained the kids pjs, medicines thing I would need to put my hands on straight away.

On the big moving day

Moving house checklist
  • Ship the kids off as early as you can so you can make sure your ready for the removal company to come.
  • Go round each room and pick up everything not in a box and pack it . Even if it’s a random box you can sort that out at the other end.
  • Once the removal people have cleared a room give it a hoover and shut the door .
  • Give the house the last once over once the removals have gone . Check all the cupboard and hiding places you have. Nothing worse then leaving a smelly trainer behind.

Then once the day is done crash with a fish and chip dinner and be glad that it’s all done ! Hopefully never to be done again ! Hope you find my moving house checklist helpful ! Good luck with the move and don’t forget it will be over soon !

Are you in the process of moving house . Well here is my checklist of things you need to do to make it a little less stressful ! #movingday #movinghouse #foreverhome #housetoahome

Win a Cadbury’s Christmas party pack with wow free stuff

We have been sent the Cadbury’s Christmas party pack for free. In return for sharing with you the wow free stuff giveaway

Right I’m going to come out and say it . It’s nearly CHRISTMAS!!!!! Yes I know it’s only October but for us we don’t celebrate Halloween. So as soon as October starts I start thinking about Christmas. Plus the fact that I have both kids children’s Birthdays in the festive period . I really need to be on my game . Be organised if only to make my life easier and less stressful.

Can you believe I actually brought my first Christmas present in July. Which for me is really early but sometimes when you see a bargain you just have to get it . Now we have a garage at home it makes the perfect place to hide the presents away from the children. So buying things earlier and spreading the cost out has really helped me this year.

I think I have sorted a large portion of their presents. Either they are stashed away in the garage or friends and family have said they are getting them . This year I have tried to really cut back though . I’m not getting every last thing I think they will like cause let’s face it they won’t play with them all . It will be put away and forgot about until you do next years big Christmas clear out.


The main thing I have got left to buy for is their stocking fillers. Now these mainly consist of stationary, note pads and hair accessories bits for Ava. Then little cars, crayons and stickers for Alby. Not forgetting of course chocolate treats. My kids love chocolate like most kids do. Especially Cadbury’s chocolate.

Christmas stockings

we have been sent this amazing Cadbury’s Christmas party pack to show you. Full of all the yummy Cadbury’s chocolate that everybody loves.

Cadbury’s Christmas party pack

If you like the look of this Cadbury’s Christmas party pack then you need to head over to the wow free stuff website. Where they have a fabulous competition to win your very own Cadbury’s Christmas party pack.

I will be wrapping a large amount of these chocolates up for their stockings. Of course I will have to try a few before I wrap them just to make sure they are okay !

Help with energy bills for a family home

This is a collaborative post

Having a family and a busy home means there’s never a dull moment. It’s chaos, but it’s wonderful too. Despite it being extremely rewarding, there are drawbacks, the main one being money. Let’s face it, kids are expensive!energy bills go through the roof once a little one comes along.

If you need help with energy bills and keeping a lid on your monthly outgoings, here are some simple yet valuable tricks to save money.

Replace your old appliances

How to keep your energy bills down

It may seem daunting to think about buying new home appliances, but the money you’ll save in the long run completely outweighs the initial investment. Older models of ovens, fridges, dishwashers, and most importantly, boilers, are simply far less efficient. If the appliances around your home are using more energy than necessary, you could be losing out on a ton of money long term. 

BOXT are a boiler supplier and installation company who stock only the most efficient and top-quality Worcester Bosch boilers. To help with energy bills, they can have a brand-new boiler installed in your family home as soon as the next day. Plus, you can opt to pay in affordable monthly instalments, so you don’t have to break the bank.

Draught-proof and insulate your home.

Another easy way to help with energy bills is to draught-proof and insulate your home. This doesn’t have to cost you a fortune – there are plenty of DIY options for draught-proofing. 

Ways to keep your energy bills down

For your windows, placing plastic film around your windowpanes can make a huge difference, especially if your home doesn’t have double-glazing. With doors, simply buy some draught excluders to place along the bottom and stop any cold air from creeping through. Letterboxes are another culprit where draughts are concerned, so make sure yours are sealed up and protected. 

If you live in an older home or think your home may be lacking insulation, it is probably worth investing in some proper blanket insulation materials to place around your loft and walls. Heat rises, hence a quarter of all heat escapes through the roof. Although the cost of loft insulation isn’t cheap, it is a worthwhile investment that will last decades.

Be smart

This next tip to help with energy bills might go without saying but be smart. Don’t let yourself become careless with leaving the TV or dishwasher switched on overnight. Every little helps where energy bills are concerned.

Make a conscious effort to turn your appliances off at the plug when they’re not in use. Have quicker showers or hop in the bath with your little ones instead. Even small efforts can make a big difference!

Install a smart thermostat

If you haven’t already, why not have a smart thermostat installed in your home? They don’t cost a bomb and allow you to stay in complete control of your energy usage. 

Smart thermostats can be set to heat certain rooms to certain temperatures, as and when you see fit. You can even turn your heating on or off using your phone whilst out and about, so you never have to come home to a chilly house. We’ve all been there, where we leave the house and realise, we’ve left the boiler on full blast – smart thermostats can save the day and, in turn, save your hard-earned pennies.

Having a family can cost a lot but there are some things you can do to reduce costs . Energy bills is an easy one to cut and reduce by doing some simple things . #energybills #familyhome #bills #cutcosts #reducebills

A quick guide: taking a baby outside on a windy day


This is a collaborative post

As Autumn has already caught up with us, we are likely to encounter some very blustery days in the upcoming months, therefore when it comes to taking your newborn baby outside in these conditions, it’s important that you dress them up right so that they are comfortable for the entire trip. Let’s look at some of the top tips to make sure your little one is kept warm in the blustery conditions:

Taking you baby outside on a windy day in the Autumn

A Myth: Wind causes ear infections

As there a lots of myths surrounding this topic it is important to clear up that having a baby out in the wind will not result in them getting an ear infection.

This is because the location of an ear infection is found behind the ear drum and way back in the inner ear. Therefore, external exposure like wind or even water will not affect this area. 

Remember to bear in mind their age (ear infections are prominent in children aged between six months and two years old), family history, exposure to smoke and to a small effect, the use of a dummy.

Your baby will always be colder

It is completely fine to head outside with your baby right,however, many paediatricians advise that you keep newborns away from crowded places due to germs being prevalent in such locations. It’s best to delay that trip to a shopping centre, supermarket or a restaurant with your baby by a few months then!

Also, Ed Glasser, M.D., F.A.A.P., clinical associate professor of paediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver, has pointed out to Fit Pregnancy and Baby: “Infants lose about 50 per cent of their heat from their heads.”

Babies also cool down a lot quicker than adults. It is also harder for them to generate heat once they have lost it, therefore the need to protect them when it’s cold outside is very important.

One rule to remember: dress your baby in one more layer than you’re going to be wearing when venturing outside. Ensure they are wearing both thermal and waterproof layers to protect them from the weather elements, and checking that their fingers, toes, ears, nose and chin are all covered but that they can still breathe easily.

Wrapping babies up for windy weather

Try to only stay outside for short periods of time with your baby when it’s cold and windy, as well as heading inside as soon as your newborn looks uncomfortable and you’re unable to shield them from the blustery conditions. If you have a double buggy that has the storage space, it is a good idea to take a blanket out with you during the colder season, just for extra protection.

Windy weather

Remember the windy weather can cause issues to your baby’s tender skin, as the conditions run the risk of sapping precious moisture and leaving their rosy cheeks feeling leathery and wind-burned.

Make sure to protect hands and feet, as they are prime target areas when there’s a chill in the air. You could use a snug pair of mittens and ensure their hands and feet are nice and warm.

Wrapping babies up for windy weather

Keep a fresh pair of mittens or socks, just in case an original pair get wet. This will avoid skin becoming irritated and applying some baby moisturising cream as soon as you spot any of your baby’s skin which looks or feels dry.

3 year engaged and still no wedding plans made

In December 2016 Jordan proposed to me in the most loveliest way ever . It was really a magical moment we had put the Christmas tree up making the house feel all festive. Then he comes down with Ava in a baby grow saying Mommy will you marry my Daddy ? It was just so beautiful and I couldn’t of asked for a more magical way of him asking me to marry him.

Proposal and a 3 year engagement

Nearly three years on and we haven’t made any plans for a wedding . When I say any plans I mean none we haven’t had the urge to look at venues. I haven’t been dreaming of going wedding dress shopping nothing . Now that’s not because we don’t want to get married but some times life is just so busy . Life takes over and let’s face it weddings are expensive no matter how you do them they are an additional expense and one which we really haven’t had the money for . I know that sounds awful but we have got some very valid reasons I promise.

A year after Jordan proposed to me we welcomed our second bundle of joy , well I should say bundle of crazy ness was born . So with a new baby on the way it really wasn’t the time . I didn’t want to be pregnant at my wedding . I wanted to enjoy it as much as I could.

 New Additions

With our family growing we soon came to the decision that our house was getting too small for us . So just before Alby was born we put our house on the market . Which was a complete emotional rollercoaster if I’m honest and the thought of planning a wedding at the same time would of done me in.

We eventually got a new house and have been spending what money we have on doing bits around the house . To make our new house a home.

New house

We have more recently started to talk more about our wedding. Saying we really should at least start thinking about what we want . We both know we don’t want anything massive. We just want people we love there . I don’t want to invite a random second cousin that I haven’t seen since I was 5 just because we should as they are family.

Jordan’s pretty set on wanting to get married abroad . Which if I’m honest I was all for . Then I get the little niggles of ‘oh but so and so won’t be able to come because they don’t like flying or may not be able to afford it’. I also don’t want to put a huge money burden on family members and close friends to have to pay to come to our wedding aboard.

But then when I see all these weddings in the sun . Beautiful sunsets and amazing photos and memories it makes me want to do it . I think I just need to stop thinking about everyone else and do what I want to do. If people come then fantastic if not then that’s fine as well. As I will be marrying the man I love and my children will be there .

We did go to a wedding party on the other weekend of one of my closets friends and her husband . Who actually got married in Disney and had a party back home for everyone to come together and celebrate their marriage. Which I really liked the idea of . Which may be something that we could actually do . Plus you get to wear your dress twice which is always a good thing.

The main reason why me and Jordan haven’t really jumped head first into wedding planning. Is because we have a beautiful family . We aren’t waiting to get married to have that we have it already and no matter what Jordan will be in my life forever. As we have two children together . For me marriage is just a piece of paper . The only thing that gets me about not being married to Jordan is that I don’t have the same last name as him and my children . Being referred to as Mrs Davies when I’m actually not isn’t nice . I have had this mainly at the doctors and hospital when they haven’t read the notes fully when in there with the kids.

I know the day will come and it will be magical . I’m looking forward to it don’t get me wrong but for the last 3 years we have been content with how we are and have had lots of changes . So who knows in 3 years time we may be married ! Will have to wait and see.

3  years engaged and still no wedding plans but that’s fine I’m totally happy and here’s why . #wedding #engaged #engagment #weddingday #noplans #weddinginthesun #weddingdecisions

My bodies still changing 18 months after having a baby

I know all to well how pregnancy can change your body . For one moment I didn’t expect that my body would still be changing 18 months on . Since having Alby I have had heavy irregular periods . I wasn’t on any form of contraception to control my periods either as I wanted to get back into my normal cycle naturally. I really don’t like taking any form of medication unless it’s completely necessary.

Irregular periods after having a baby

As the months passed by I noticed that my periods were getting heavier and heavier . To the point where I was worrying about going out the house . For the fear of being away from a toilet and leaking. This happened a few times but thankfully at home . It just took me back to being younger when my periods first started . How insecure and nervous I was about the whole thing . It was a horrible place to be both mentally and physically.

Then around may/ June time ( Alby would of been around 18 months now ) . I had a period which lasted a whole month and only stopped because of me taking a contraceptive pill . I was drained and exhausted all the time and was having constant headaches.

As the weeks got on I was getting more and more concerned but still shrugged it off . Thinking to myself I really haven’t got time to deal with this let alone try and get a doctors appointment. So I turned to Doctor Google which was the worst thing you can do in any situation. Having a look through the reason why women can have prolonged periods just made me feel ill . Especially as one reason could of been because of cervical cancer . Which is something my family has had to go through with grandparents . Que to panic !

I eventually went to see the doctor and she recommended that I went back on the pill to see if it could regulate my periods . She then went on to say if it didn’t I would have to go back for swabs and tests. She did also say I could try different medical methods to control my periods but for me the pill is the way I wanted to go. The thought of having the implant makes me fell a bit ill . If I was to catch it or touch it and feel it I don’t think I would be able to cope with that.

Contraception  to control  irregular periods

Going on the pill wasn’t something I wanted to do if I’m honest for many reasons . Mainly because in the past I have put weight on and also had really bad skin problems due to being on the pill which made me really self conscious . But if it was the solution to my problem then I needed to give it a try.

I’m now three months on from starting taking the pill and thankfully my periods are a lot better. The pill has made it more regular and lighter. The doctors said it’s really common for women to experience heavier irregular periods once they have had babies. Yes my skin has gone rubbish which isn’t doing a lot for my self esteem but I’m happier that I don’t have to worry about constant bleeding and heavy periods.

I have just changed my pill to see if a different pill will help with my skin. So I’m just hoping that it helps with the breakouts I’m having at the moment. I was originally on Rigevidon and now I’m going to try Microgynon.

It’s just really crazy that 18 months after having a baby my body is still changing. It’s something I really didn’t expect.

Did you find your periods were different after having babies did you have irregular periods ? What helped your body get back to normal ?

After having babies your body your body continues to change and this  can still be happening 18 months on. From heavy periods to irregular periods it can all happen #postnatal #newmom #afterbirth #periods #contraception #birthcontrol

The Rose and Crown Wolverhampton : review

You may have seen a few months we reviewed the Merry Hill pub and grill which is part of the Sizzling pubs chain . We were very kindly asked if we would like to review another of their pubs . This time we went to the Rose and Crown on the Penn road in Wolverhampton. 

The Rose and Crown Wolverhampton

Sizzling pubs serve what I would call typical pub grub. Feel good meals that fill your tummy without a huge price tag. The food though is still of a good standard and tastes yummy. 

There are a variety of deals going on through the week . One of them being kids eat for £1 with a paying adult . Which for us is a great deal and makes for a cheaper mid week treat .

Rose and crown wolverhampton menus

The thing I like about sizzling pubs kids meals is that they do and under and over 5’s menu which I think is great . Ava isn’t the biggest eater and I hate to see waste. So having a meal that’s a smaller size is so much better for Ava. I also like the fact that children can choose from the sides and extras they have . So if they don’t like chips they can have something different. Which I think is great if like us you have a fussy eater. 

The kids meals cost £3.99 for under 5’s and that includes a drink and a pudding . Which I think is amazing value for money. I also liked that it wasn’t just a fruit shoot for the kids drink option . There was Ribeana, Fruitshoot H20 and also Pepsi and lemonade which if you had older children may be more appealing. 

Kids food

Ava had Fish fingers, chips and beans followed by a create your own chocolate Sunday. Which she actually ate all of both. Both of her meals were really good quality . The fish in her fish fingers was white and flaky. The pots that came with her create your own Sunday were full of yummy things the add to her ice cream. 

Alby is an easy one to get food for he loves food and his favourite meal to eat is pasta. So I was happy to see pasta on the menu. Alby had the travel-shaped pasta bolognaise. Which is wholemeal pasta severed with turkey mince and bolognaise sauce. Which was actually really yummy. On the menu it said it came with a side salad but Alby’s came with garlic bread which he was happy about. 

Under 5’s pasta meal

For pudding of course Alby had the same as Ava and it went down a treat. 

Adult food at the Rose and Crown 

Last time we visited a Sizzling pub me and Jordan had steak so this time we decided to go for something different. We both actually went for burgers. I went for the BBQ chicken burger which is basically a hunters chicken on a bun . But I’m all for that hunters chicken is one of my favourite meals. A big plus for me is that it also came with a pot of BBQ sauce. I always find that they never put enough sauce on for my liking . As I like it swimming in sauce. 

BBQ chicken burger

Jordan went for the pepper Jack stack. Which is made from two beef burgers with pepper Jack cheese,streaky bacon and onion rings served with chips. 

Pepper Jack stack

Both me and Jordan really enjoyed our burgers . Both the chicken and the beef were really good quality and cooked to perfection 

Now we couldn’t let the children have all the fun with yummy puddings so both me and Jordan had a pudding. Jordan had the Belgian chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream. Which he really enjoyed . He said it had the perfect balance of sweetness and bitterness.

Chocolate brownie

I had the Lotus Biscoff® crumb topped vanilla and caramel cheesecake. Which sadly I was a little underwhelmed by . The Lotus Biscoff® crumb wasn’t as much as I would of liked it was more like a dusting and the cheesecake itself lacked flavour . Which was really disappointing.

Lotus Biscoff® crumb Cheesecake

Service and staff at the Crown and Rose Wolverhampton

The staff I found the be fantastic . They were really welcoming and helpful . The lady waitresses even made a point of stopping and talking to the children which I thought was lovely . As I could see she was very busy . She also went and found some colouring to keep them entertained.

The wait between meals I thought was fine . Meals came in a timely manor and were hot and well presented.

The Rose and crown Wolverhampton

The restaurant and facilities were really clean and well presented.The Rose and Crown looks a lot nicer than other sizzling pubs we have visited and I wouldn’t hesitate to visit again.

*we were very kindly gifted this meal at the Rose and Crown Wolverhampton.However my review is honest and all opinions are my own*

BABY born surprise eggs by Zapf creations : review

I don’t know about your kids but Ava is obsessed with anything that comes in a blind bag and that’s miniature. She goes crazy for them . I was recently contacted by Zapf creations to see if we would like to review their BABY born surprise. These are a new collectable dolls that come wrapped like a blind bag . When I showed the picture to Ava she was so excited to see what they were like.

The dolls come in a plastic like egg inside the egg is the doll and some accessories and a blanket and which keeps them covered . To make it more fun so the children don’t know what there going to get . I do like that Ava was able to open the packaging herself . The plastic flap and perforated section meant she was able to do it all by herself.

BABY born surprise doll packaging

Opening her BABY Born surprise doll

Wrapped In the blanket is a cute little baby . We noticed though that the babies eyes seemed to be closed . Once we had a read of the leaflet it became clear that the wake your baby up you will need to wipe her eyes . Ava loved this the only thing is that this is a one time thing . So once you have wipes the chalk like product from around the babies eyes. That was it it couldn’t be repeated . Which she didn’t understand why that was.

Waking up her baby
Wipe their eye to wake the baby up

Along with the babies you also get an outfit for you baby to wear from unicorns to a baby duck . There are so many different outfit designs I can see we will be getting Ava more of these as she really wants the unicorn one. She did however love the bumblebee and mermaid ones we got from our two BABY born surprise eggs.

Ava’s mermaid BABY born surprise doll

The bit Ava loves most of all is the fact that you can make the baby do a wee in her nappy. In the bundle you get one small bottle. Which if you use this to give the baby a bottle she or he will then do a wee in their nappy.

Feeding her baby
Waking her baby up with a Feed

The other part which I thought was particular clever is the nappy . Once the baby has done a wee in their nappy the nappy will change from being plain white to having a pattern on. Ava also loved this aspect on it and the excitement on her face waiting for the baby to wee was just amazing.

Pattern changing nappy

The swaddle wrap that it comes with also comes in very handy. Ava has to use it to put her baby to bed each night. Or to wrap her baby up in if they go outside as it’s cold.

Wrapping up her new babies

Our overall thoughts on the BABY born surprise doll

Overall I think this is a really great gift for children that love to play with dolls. It being miniature makes it easier for me to carry around in my bag and Ava just loves all the small toys at the moment.

I love the fact that there are so many combinations. Making it the perfect gift for children that want to add new and exciting outfits and nappy designs to their collections . I’m sure we will be seeing these cute little dolls on Ava’s Christmas list this year for sure . Yes I’m already thinking ahead to Christmas crazy I know .

BABY born surprise dolls

Inside the surprise egg comes a little sheet and a birth certificate. Which you can use to record the babies weed and also determine their name and birthday. This didn’t interest Ava too much but I’m sure as she gets older this aspect of the surprise doll will really appeal to her.

Having a look on a few sites like Smyths I found that these are retailing in the region of £10 per egg . Which I don’t personally think is that bad a price . Ava’s played with hers loads so for us it’s definitely worth that price tag.

The BABY born surprise doll is the perfect gift to children that enjoy dolls. They are a smaller cuter version of the bigger dolls . Perfect for taking around with you . It comes with a great selection of  accessories #babydolls #dolls #childrenstoys #roleplay #children #review

*We were sent the BABY born surprise for free in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own *

Why it’s important to teach children to give to charity.

Today we did a job that I like to do at least twice a year . This is sorting through the kids toys . Deciding what they want to keep and then sending the rest to charity.

I know most people do this sort of job when the kids aren’t around. As their kids like to hang on to everything and it becomes a very stressful situation. But it’s a great learning opportunity for children to be apart of . Children need to learn that there are other people in their world . People that are less fortunate then they are . That we should help these people and the charities that support them.

This is why I explain to Ava before we start having a clear out what is it we are doing . I explain to her that her toys will go to one of two places . Either to a charity that gives the toys to children who’s mommy’s and daddy’s haven’t got money to buy them lots of nice toys like they have . Or they will go to a charity shop for the shop to sell . They will then use the money to help lots of people both young and old.

What Ava decided she wanted to give to charity

This is something I have done with her for a long time so she really understands what’s happening now. She loves the sense of helping others and this is something I hope stays with her for ever . I want her to think about others. People that are less fortunate that her , I want her to be giving and understanding. That there is something she can do to help . It’s something so little but it can make a huge difference.

I also find doing this regularly stops you having those baby toys that your child out grew years ago . They actually have toys that they want to play with . The play room part of our house becomes less messy and everything has a home . Which is something I like . I like to be tidy . I am that person who will make sure all the kids things are away before I sit down at night . Mainly because at least when I come down in the morning for all of 5 minutes my house looks tidy .

Going back to giving to charity I think it’s a really important thing to do. You don’t know what life may throw at you . At some point you may be leaning on these charity’s for some help yourself. So the way I look at it if I can help these charities now whilst I can . Then if I need them in the future they will still be there to help me . If we don’t support these Charities and keep them open then they won’t be around to support people who really need them.

The Wonder Weeks : A stress-Free guide to your Baby’s development: review and Giveaway

Knowing what’s wrong with you child and is there a reason for it can be hard . Is it developmental or is it just them ? That’s where the Wonder Weeks book comes it . It’s a book that’s full of information on stages of a child’s holistic development.

The Wonder Weeks

This book gives parents the piece of mind that’s what their child is doing is actually ‘normal’ . I don’t know about you but I find comfort in the fact that I’m not the only parent on the edge because their child is going through a faze. Especially with sleep . Being sleep deprived is something you cannot practise for before coming a parent.

I found comfort recently after reading this book that Alby was in fact in a leap . Which was the reason to why he wasn’t sleeping . Just like the book said he would soon be out of it and he was . It was just nice to know there was light at the end of the tunnel . That this wasn’t going to be how it was forever.

You may have heard this title before but as an app not a book . That’s where I first heard about it. But you know what I love having it in a book version. I’m a lover of actually having a book and not having everything electronic. There just something special about holding and reading from a book isn’t there ?

When reading through the book I found the first tip in the book to be a very good one . It says before your baby goes through a development leap read what the leap entails. This way you know what to expect , you understand what they will be going through . Then you can make a plan of action to make the next leap as easy as possible and guide them through it.

The Wonder Weeks

This book is full of information about child development and also covers postpartum anxiety. Which I think is so important to cover. Reading this section gave me a sense of comfort . It gives you strategies to help with anxiety’s and also explains what to do if it all gets too much.

The wonder weeks book covers the first 20 months of a child’s life . Which consists on 10 leaps . The book is set out in sections for each leap and contains all the information you will need to know about this leap.

If you want to know more about the Wonder Weeks book be sure to head over to their website

Want to understand your child’s development then you need this book . For your chance to win a copy please enter the giveaway below. I have 5 copies to giveaway to 5 lucky winners . Make sure to enter below to be in with the chance of winning a copy of the Wonder Weeks book.

The Wonder Weeks book
The Wonder Weeks book shows you that the hard stages that your baby is going through are normal . It reassures you that all will be okay . That it will pass and their is light at the end of the tunnel. #parenting #development #babydevelopment #WonderWeeks #bookreview #parentinghelp