Wednesday, 29 August 2012

The Gallery - Movies

The first thing that came to mind when I saw Tara's Movie theme this week was when we took the girls to see the premiere of Justin Biebers 'Never Say Never' in 3D at the 02. It was such a fun experience for the girls...and admittedly Papa and I had a good time too.


From the moment we arrived at the 02 the excitement of the girls was evident. In fact everywhere we looked there were hoards of screaming, crying girls with homemade banners patiently waiting for their idol to arrive, just to catch a glimpse as he introduced his movie. We even bumped into Lisa and Mario from Big Brother 9 and they were so lovely.


We had VIP red carpet tickets, or in Biebers case purple carpet. As the evening drew near and the queue began to form I thought the girls would struggle to contain themselves, especially as we were right at the front and knew we would get a good view of Bieber.


Then there he was, Bieber standing there right in front of us and the screams could probably have been heard across the whole of London.


We were ushered down the purple carpet along with Birds of feather star Linda Robson and street dancer Akai Osei who won got to dance 2009. The screaming fans must have been thinking 'who the hell are that family' but their camera's kept flashing and their hands were waving to us as we made our way along the carpet. The atmosphere was electric, like nothing I have ever experienced before. As we reached the end film crews were waiting to interview us and our eldest was pushed forward as two Sky cameramen fired questions at her.


 We watched the movie with front row seats and our popcorn. The girls loved the movie and we giggled all the way home on the tube about how funny it was to walk the red/purple carpet and have screaming fans either side of us...An experience we will never forget.



Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Guest Post - Great Getaway Destinations in the UK



Many people are now opting to stay in the UK for their holidays, taking advantage of the lower costs and the natural beauty on their doorsteps. When combined when more traditional tourists, Britain is enjoying a ‘staycation’ boom in terms of quick getaways to beaches and the countryside, with many opting to stay in cottages rather than in large cities and towns. In terms of the best getaway destinations in the UK, some of the most distinctive include Cornwall, the Lake District, West Wales, Devon, and the Yorkshire Dales. These areas, and more, are discussed below:

1 - Cornwall
 
The Westernmost part of England is ideal for a beach or surfing holiday, while also offering great camping and cottage opportunities inland. Beaches at Newquay, Penzance and St Ives are popular all year round, with Cornwall similarly offering smugglers’ coves, castles, and small villages along its coast.

2 - Scottish Highlands

The North East of Scotland represents one of the most remote parts of the UK, broken up by the Grampian Mountains, lochs, and neighbouring island communities lie the Orkneys. Visitors can enjoy peace and quiet, as well as the chance to visit significant historical sites like Balmoral Castle and Loch Ness.

3 - The Lake District

The Lake District National Park is home to some of the UK’s best walks and hikes, as well as large boating lakes, and beautiful towns and villages like Keswick and Grasmere. Located in the North West of England, the Lake District is ideal or camping and cottage holidays.

4 - West Wales

The West Coast of Wales is distinguished by its small towns and harbours, as well as a wide range of holiday cottages and campsites like Tenby. The coastal towns of St. Davids and Fishguard are particularly popular, and only a few hours from the larger cities of Swansea and Cardiff to the East.

5 - Devon

This Southern county features the cathedral city of Exeter, as well as beaches and sailing along the coast, with notable spots along Exmouth and Sidmouth. Devon also features the Dartmoor National Park, one of the most popular spots in the UK for hiking and climbing, as well as

6 - Norfolk
 
Only a short train or car journey from London, Norfolk is recommended for the busy market city of Norwich, as well as for seaside resorts like Great Yarmouth. Walkers and birdwatchers can enjoy the Norfolk Broads.

7 - Yorkshire Dales

The Dales are another of the UK’s many National Parks, and is distinguished by its rolling hills, small towns like Skipton, and several castles, as well as comprehensive cave systems and hiking and camping opportunities.

8 - Hampshire

Home to the New Forest, one of the most popular camping and cottage sites in the UK for a weekend away, this Southern county is also worth visiting for the busy city ports of Portsmouth and Southampton, and for its diverse wildlife.

9 - Nottinghamshire

Defined by Sherwood Forest and its ties to the Robin Hood legend, Nottinghamshire is also a popular getaway site for quiet market towns, and its historic regional capital of Nottingham.


Rob James is a father, who enjoys family holidays with his wife and four girls at holiday parks in the UK. He can be found blogging about various staycations and his experiences travelling around the globe.






Monday, 27 August 2012

My Sister in Law, My Best Friend



I first met my Sister in Law, Miss S way back in 1988 when I first engaged to her Brother (my now, hubby). We are the same age, I felt an instant connection with her from the start and we very quickly became firm friends. I remember my Mum noticing our new friendship and one day, she told me that she hoped that I would have the kind of relationship that she had with her own sister in law. They were the best of friends too and she and my Mum would spend lots of time together as me, my Brothers and cousins grew up together. Mum trusted her, confided in her, wept on her shoulder, supported her, helped her, advised her, laughed with her, cried with her and loved her with all her heart. I remember agreeing with her and telling her that I hoped so too.

During the first few years of my marriage I spent a lot of time with Miss S. Papa and I were teenage parents and she was a big part of my eldest two children's early years as she would often help out with the boys with babysitting, going shopping with me and a double buggy, walking teething babies to sleep and generally offering a lot of support. When Miss S became Mrs H we were thrilled for her. Both Papa and I adored her new Hubby and we all got on like a house on fire.


As the years progressed and both our lives became busier and more hectic we slowly drifted apart. It didn't help that she lived 150 miles away so visiting became less and less. It wasn't intentional, we just let life get in the way and didn't take time out for each other anymore.

This year that all changed...
Due to family circumstances and a yearning for a slower pace of life Mr and Mrs H decided to adopt mine and Papa's lifestyle and opt out of city life. Yes, they have moved to the country, wellies an all and the best bit is...only down the road from us. 

We couldn't be more thrilled, especially as relations in my own family are what I can only describes as 'pretty damn c**p'. Mr & Mrs H, plus 2 of their kids have been living in their new country cottage for just over a week now and having them around has been like a breath of fresh air. Papa is overjoyed to have his Sister back in his life and He & his Brother in Law, Mr H are the best of pals. I love to see my Husband so happy and he looks so content. Plus Mr H totally organised Papa's shed for him, I think he is going to be a very good influence on Papa, ha ha!


I have my Best Friend back and I keep having to pinch myself as to whether its real. I'm so happy I could burst.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Nuture Skincare Review


I suffer with quite dry skin and have been using moisturisers on my face since I was 16. I remember people were always telling my Mum how young she looked and I know her secret was daily moisturising. Mum always told me to never forget to moisturise so I started using my Mums face creams from a teenager. It became a habit and now I'm in my 40's my skin feels naked before I apply my moisturiser. 

According to a recent poll by Nuture Skincare women spend around 20 minutes on their beauty routine everyday, but after having kids that time dramatically drops to 10 minutes or less. Us Mums still need a bit of time for our beauty routine and for me personally skincare is the most important part of my routine. I was sent some skincare samples from Nuture to review and I have been using them every day for the past 8 weeks.

The products that I was sent to try:

Nuture protect moisture boosting face serum - £9.95 for 30ml

Key benefits
  • Deeply moisturises skin
  • Antitoxidant protection to help your skin against premature ageing
  • Calms and soothes irritated skin
An intensively hydrating serum containing a unique blend of active ingredients and natural plant extracts to help protect the skin against the daily environmental damage which stimulates premature ageing. This calming serum is Enriched with Neutrazen™ to soothe redness caused by skin irritation, also squalane, vitamin E and panthenol help to condition the skin, with a deep moisturising effect. These ingredients also protect your skin from becoming dry.




Nuture Intensive night repair treatment - £12.45 for 30ml
Targeted anti-ageing overnight treatment for face & neck. Contains retinol (Vitamin A)

Visibly combats signs of premature ageing; reduces age spots and pigmentation patches; fewer wrinkles after just four weeks use; contains pure retinol; quickly absorbed for smoother skin
This special intensive night cream has been formulated with pure retinol (natural vitamin A) and vitamin C, two of the most effective ingredients in the fight against skin ageing. Many other companies use cheaper alternatives such as retinol derivatives, which are less effective. 
Thanks to our unique micro-fusion technology, it works overnight from deep inside skin cells to trigger regeneration and visibly reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It also improves texture and tone, and refines pore size, to reveal smoother, younger looking skin. The light non-greasy formula also helps reduce the appearance of age spots and pigmentation patches. A great skin booster.

Nuture Nourishing Recue Balm - £8.95 for 20g


Intensive overnight eye treatment. Contains retinol (pure vitamin A) 

The ultimate beauty balm with 100% pure essential oils, plant essences, and vitamin E, blended in a super luxurious natural wax base to soothe and restore the most stressed out skin. Melts effortless into dry, fatigued skin to boost moisture levels and revitalise complexion. Helps calm, super-moisturise and nourish skin in an instant, for the ultimate natural skin defence and recovery system.

Perfect to condition, protect and calm dry patches on face or body, lips, cuticles, heels, elbows and even to dab on breakouts - carry everywhere for divinely aromatic on the spot relief. Need a calming moment? Just dab on pulse points and the gentle aroma melts away stress. With pure sweet almond oil, shea butter, cocoa butter and gentle lavender. Free from preservatives, artificial fragrance and colourants.

Bottom Line - What did I think?
I love this skin care range and I will be buying it again. My skin is lovely and soft and my crows feet that were starting to appear feel and look visibly smaller, so much so that they can hardly been seen. I so recommend this range. Love it!





Thursday, 23 August 2012

Guest Post - The Gifts We're Giving


The world of gifts has vastly expanded over the past decade with the ability to order neat, quirky and unique gifts online, and we're doing so in significant numbers. Research shows that during the first six months of 2011, we spent in the region of £31.5bn for goods and services online in the U.K. which is an increase of 19% on the same period of 2010.

The benefits are clear. It's quick, convenient and we can do it 365 days of the year, so is it really any wonder that we're flocking to the Internet to shop? The current economic climate is a factor, with people hunting out bargains in an attempt to save money in all areas. Cheaper goods can often be found online, with average savings of 15% over the high street.


The range of gifts available is enormous, allowing us to shop for birthday cakes for delivery, wedding gifts, anniversary presents, Christening and Christmas gifts and all manner of other special occasions. The list just goes on and on.

So what's out there? What's popular? What's on-trend? We thought we'd seek out our top five most original, precious and truly memorable online gifts for women.

1. A photo book is a wonderful idea which you can create yourself for your mum, daughter, sister or grandmother. Use family photos to produce an incredible keepsake which will be treasured forever.

2. Send a message to a loved one with a bespoke poetry scroll. Whether celebrating an anniversary, wedding or a significant birthday, the gold embellished parchment tied with a silky ribbon is contained in a scroll box for safe keeping.

3. What lady doesn't like to be pampered? So show someone just how special they are by booking them a spa day with all the revitalising relaxation it brings.

4. A favourite picture of children, grandchildren or a treasured family portrait looks amazing on a large photo canvas taking pride of place at home.

5. Put the fizz into someone's special celebration with a personalised bottle of Champagne and chocolates. A first class idea delivered first class.

With so many gifts to choose from online it is no surprise your loved ones will always feel special.



* Disclosure Policy

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

The Gallery - Sky

I love to take photo's of the sky so I have hundreds of them at various times of the day and during different seasons. I particularly love skies with a dramatic look to them.



Linking up to The Gallery

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Guest Post - How to Make the Most of Storage in a Small Room


I live in a small house and I am constantly on the lookout for space saving ideas. Today's guest post is from Sarah
Whether you and your family are struggling to find space for all your possessions in a house where the room dimensions are not on your side, or you and your partner are crammed into a small apartment and are wondering how you ever accumulated so much stuff, let’s face it storage is a key issue.  And no matter how big the room seems, you always manage to run out of space. Fear not, as we have the answers to all your storage problems. Read on to find creative and cost effective ideas that will ensure a car boot sale is not your only option!

Our Shelving Savior
If you are struggling for floor space, move on up! Adding shelving to walls and existing features such as closets and alcoves means you can have a clear floor space and optimise unused space. They aren’t hard to put up, and you can have anything from the odd shelf dotted here and there to wall to wall shelving, depending on how much stuff you want to store. Shelves are great for books, CDs and DVDs, ornaments and pictures, toys and more!

Everything Has Its Purpose... Or Two
In a small room where space is sacred, furniture must often be limited. Why not opt for furniture that has more than one purpose, like this suede ottoman from LDUK that doubles as a storage box, so you can put your feet up and rest in the knowledge that you have somewhere to store some of your clean linens! 

Or a coffee table with storage baskets so you can sit down with a cuppa knowing your magazines and DVDs are neatly stashed away.

Hanging Around
Hanging things up is another great way to make use of wall space all over the house. The kitchen is a great place to hang up kitchen utensils and gadgets on the wall or from a ceiling rack if the ceiling is high enough, and in the bedroom why not create a pretty display out of jewellery by using wall hooks and pegs to hang up all your best items.

Box It Up
All that space on top of your wardrobe, kitchen cupboards, under your bed, etc. is all going to waste! It may be hard to reach or awkward to use, but with the aid of storage boxes and baskets you can optimise these spaces and make the most of even the smallest rooms. The boxes and baskets make the place look tidy while keeping everything dust free and organised, and make things easier to get down or out of usually awkward places.

Vacuum Pack and Stack
A popular storage solution in most households is stackable storage containers such as plastic storage boxes with wheels which fit perfectly under the bed and easily roll out. Stackable storage comes in all shapes, sizes, and colours so you can encourage kids to be tidy and organised without sacrificing space in their small bedroom. Another popular space saver is vacuum packing bags, like an EZ storage vacuum bag from LDUK. They are ideal for storing large bulky items that are squash-able like quilts, clothes, pillows and linens.
 
Got your own space saving tips and ideas? Share them with us!



The Gallery - Emotion

About four years ago I plugged my camera's memory card into my laptop and began uploading my photos that I had taken that day. I was very amused to discover that my then eight year old, had been playing with my camera. I guess she wanted some self portraits...


Of herself and her rather attractive dolly...


Once the serious snapshots were out of the way she decided to share some real emotion...
Surprise...maybe? Or too many E numbers?


Disgust...
My cooking isn't that bad... I swear!


The last one is confirmation of too many E numbers!
One hyper kid who thought she had one over on Mum...
She thought I would never know she had been playing with my camera.

Now age 12, my Daughter probably wont Thank me for sharing these photo's but they are just too funny to stay hidden away.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Reasons to be cheerful

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart


I'm still here, just been so busy watching the Olympics running around after the kids that I'm a bit behind with blogging. But, I'm back now and with good reasons to be cheerful...

1) I'm obsessed with the Olympics, absolutely obsessed! I've enjoyed every minute of it especially the cycling and rowing events which we have done so well in. I persuaded my eldest Son into going up to Hyde Park to watch the Brownlee Brothers win Gold & Bronze in the men's triathlon and you can imagine my utter delight when he met two rowers from the GB team, Greg Searle and I think the other fella was Ric Egington (not sure who the half athlete is). I was thrilled for him, how exciting.


2) More Lillie's have bloomed and they look and smell beautiful! Wish I could put one of those scratch & sniff thingies on here so you could smell for yourself. They are lovely, so glad I planted them right by my back door.


3) Its the summer holidays and we get to spend time with our Granddaughter, which as you know we love doing.


#R2BC is being hosted over at Glass Half Full


Saturday, 4 August 2012

The London Dungeon - A Superbreak Review

Looking for a good day out with the kids during the holidays? We are two weeks in and are the kids beginning to drive you mad and you feel you could do with a fun day out? I was offered a review from the lovely people over at Superbreak and Thanks to them had a fab day out. I recently blogged about our family day out in London when we visited The London Dungeon, Tower Bridge, City Hall and Monument.

Superbreak is the market leader in the provision of UK and European short breaks. It has been established for over 25 years and from day one, they have specialised in providing short breaks within the UK. They aim to make their customers’ life easier by allowing them to book packages, be it for theatre breaks or just short city breaks across the UK.



I received my London Dungeon tickets via email from Superbreak, I printed them off, popped them in my handbag, packed us a lunch and made up a flask of tea. It takes us under an hour to get into Liverpool Street and from there we walked across the river to The London Dungeon. There is a tube station (London Bridge) right across the road from the Dungeon but we decided to make a longer day of it by walking across the fabulous Tower Bridge and taking in the sights.


When we arrived at the Dungeon there was quite a large queue, however because our tickets were booked through Superbreak we had priority entry and was able to jump the queue and go straight in. At the ticket office we produced our printed off email - please remember to take the credit or debit card that was used to book the attraction or proof of identity as they will ask for this at the ticket office.

Immediately we could hear screams and laughter from the customers in front of us, we were more than apprehensive to go any further and we giggled as we pushed each other forward to lead the way.

I wont give too much away as it would spoil the surprise if you visit but lets just say we were given a thrilling, creepy, funny, jumpy and exciting tour of the Dungeon. We also incorporated some educational content into our trip before we went by studying all about Bloody Mary, Sweeney Todd, The great fire of London and the plague.

Please be warned that this attraction will frighten younger children or those of a nervous disposition. We took  a 12 yr old and a 16 yr old and they absolutely loved it. In my opinion kids under the age of about ten would find this too scary but it is a fabulous day out if you have older kids.



Why not visit London yourself and enjoy a great day out.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Groupon Review

Have you ever purchased a Groupon offer? I know a few friends who have, and as a result have had some really good deals but I've never bought any vouchers myself so when I was offered a review I was eager to try the Groupon site out for myself.

When you first land on the Groupon site you will be asked to register. This is a very simple process and all that is needed is to enter your postcode. Once in, select the area in which you would like to view offers.


Groupon is a great way to enjoy your local area, offering lots of discounts of up to 70% off from a macaron making class to a hovercraft experience. Groupon vouchers are offered daily cover a wide range of  services, including shopping, beauty, restaurant, leisure, travel, wellness, tickets and healthcare.

I had a good mooch around the site for a deal that might interest me. I had £50 to spend and to be honest there were quite a few different offers for the money that I could have picked, however my eye was drawn to a very sexy looking Nescafé Dolce Gusto Piccolo Coffee Maker by Krups

I eagerly clicked the 'Buy Now' button and was swiftly taken to a payment page where I submitted my order. Once payment is confirmed you wait for an email containing your Groupon voucher code, which I received the next morning. Once you have your voucher code you pop along to the website of your chosen offer and purchase your item.

Four days later I received my shiny new coffee maker, along with a starter pack with a selection of coffee's. Yum! I saved 44% with my Groupon voucher, normally my coffee maker would have cost £89.99 but with Groupon it cost just £49.99.


Bottom line - Would I recommend using Groupon?
Yes, I would. At first I thought it was a bit of a long winded way to get a discount by waiting for vouchers in my email. I wasn't sure what I was supposed to be doing, but now I have used the site and know what to expect I realise it isn't brain surgery and is actually a very simple process and the huge discount Groupon offer is well worth waiting a day for an email. I will be using Groupon again.

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