MissB is developing a serious shoe addiction and her collection is starting to overtake mine however her favourite wellies had developed a hole and it was so hard persuading her that they needed to go in the bin. Luckily Jelly Egg offered me a pair of boots for her to review at the perfect moment and so she has been distracted from her wellie loss by a pair of gorgeous pink croc boots
Looking through Jelly Eggs website, I was spoilt for choice at their huge selection of shoes available but I eventually narrowed it down to this pair of croc boots simply on the basis that MissB is getting more obsessed with anything pink by the day
It goes without saying that from the minute MissB saw them, we’ve been struggling to get them off her feet! We’ve finally reached the terms that they can be worn outside only after much persuasion. Unfortunately the boots arrived just after the foot of snow we had in the back yard had melted but we’ve still had plenty of mud and puddles to test them out in. Needless to say they aren’t quite as pink and sparkly now I’m sure they will be restored to their lovely pinkness when mummy can get them off her long enough to wash anyway lol.
The top part of the boot is padded and elasticated around the top to keep toes toasty warm and snow and rain out. They must be comfy as MissB would wear them 24/7 if it were up to her The boots sell for £34.99 which is more than I’d usually pay for a pair of wellies but these are lovely, they are warm, waterproof, look cute and more importantly MissB loves them so it would be a price worth paying. I doubt I’ll ever get her to settle for normal wellies again now I think the sizing is always generous with croc shoes and I’m fully expecting these to last MissB through next winter as well.
I’m always looking for ways to make our household more environmentally friendly and to save money so when I was asked to review some Ecozone Eco Balls from BigGreenSmile.Com I was more than happy to help With two toddlers in the house, I seem to permanently have a full washing basket. I must do at least 4-5 loads of washing a week and despite only ever using one tablet in the wash rather than the two as recommended by manufacturers (I’ve always been doubtful about washing powder you see) I still get through rather a lot of washing powder each month. I’ve seen these products around before and I’ve always had a doubt in my mind about whether they can really do the job but I have to admit I’ve been pleasantly surprised and I’m a definite convert!
“100% hypoallergenic, residue-free and anti-bacterial, Eco balls are a more natural alternative to conventional washing powders and are ideal for sensitive skins. If everyone switched to Eco balls, 700,000 fewer tons of detergent would end up in our water system every year.
Ecoballs’ scientifically formulated filling of mineral salts produces ionised oxygen that penetrates deep into fibres, lifting away dirt and grime without fading colours or damaging delicate fabrics.”
What you get in the back is 3 Eco Balls and a tube of stain remover. They are so simple to use I reckon even MissB could do the laundry for me nowadays (not that I’d ever let my toddler play with any detergents of any kind) All you do when washing is place either 2 or 3 of the balls at the back of the drum on top of your washing and wash as normal. You can even reduce your rinse cycle and use even less water as there are so little chemicals that need to be rinsed from your clothes.
As most of my washing is quite heavily soiled (as you can image with two toddlers) with food, paint and whatever else my grubby little children manage to get their hands on, I use all three of the eco balls in each wash and I have been so impressed! I would say my clothes are coming out just as clean as when I use normal washing powder, the only difference is that they don’t have a manufactured flowery smell to them. They smell fresh just not artificial if that makes sense. The clothes feel lovely and soft and as bright as ever.
I’ve been using the balls for a month now and they still seem exactly the same as the day I started using them, if they do last for 1000 washes then at the rate I wash (4 times a week x 52 weeks = 208 washes a year) then these should last me almost 5 years. Now I’m not expecting them to last quite this long as per the box it states that this is how long they would last using an optimum washing cycle of 30 minutes and my wash cycle is 60 minutes. But if they do last me over 2 years then I’d be very happy. There is no mess, no need to remember whether I need to buy washing powder in the supermarket and my clothes are coming out clean, soft, bright and fresh. Yes I’m definitely a complete convert and when these Eco Balls eventually run out then I am definitely going to be buying some refill pellets for £8.99 to top them up again
You can buy the Ecozone Eco Balls from BigGreenSmile.Com for £19.99 which includes 3 eco balls and a tube of stain remover. A great price I think for at least 2-3 years and maybe longer of environment friendly washing
MissB is rather obsessed with dolls at the moment so when Llama Fair Trade got in touch recently and asked if I’d like to review some of their dolls, well I was more than happy to oblige. Looking at their website I just knew that MissB would love them. I chose to receive a Bianca Play Doll and a Phoebe Rag Doll. Llama Fair Trade is a family run company based in Bristol who currently sell a whole range of items which have all been Fairly Traded from reputable suppliers from around the world.
From the moment MissB set eyes on her new dolls she hasn’t let them out of her sight. They go to bed with her every night and she carries them around everywhere. There is something really endearing about rag dolls that I love and MissB obviously feels the same. I think it’s the fact they are huggable whereas plastic dolls aren’t
Another thing I love about these dolls is that they are fair trade and hand made in Sri Lanka. High standards are set where the dolls are made for example:
- No children are employed
- The factory employs 75 full time workers
- Employees are paid 10% more than the minimum wage for garment factory workers stipulated by the Sri Lanka government labour department
- Employees are also paid a living allowance, travel allowance and attendance allowance
- Purified bottled drinking water is provided free of charge
- Tea is provided free of charge
- The factory has an employee canteen area
- The factory is fully furnished with tiled floors and toilet facilities
- Standard 44.5 hour week (8 hours Mon-Fri, 4.5 hours Saturday)
- Employees are granted paid annual leave and all public holidays are respected, including any religious holidays
- All female workers receive paid maternity leave and have the right to return
- Employees are taken on a two day paid company trip every year
- Less able people are employed
Knowing that people aren’t being taken advantage of to produce the dolls and that their standard of living is helped through their work makes the dolls 100 times more appealing in my eyes
I’m extremely impressed with both the dolls we received, the quality is excellent, they really are beautiful and I am actually surprised that they sell for so little, the Bianca Play Doll sells for £12.50 and the large rag dolls £14.
My little brother has just returned from a few weeks travelling in Australia and New Zealand and its got me thinking back to my travels. In 1996 at the young age of 19, I flew out to Australia for a year of backpacking. It seems a lifetime ago now and a whole world away. Back then I wasn’t able to update my friends and family through twitter and Facebook like my brother did! I suppose one lovely thing from back then was the letters from my family, we wrote at least once a week to each other and I still have every single letter and card that they sent me stored upstairs in my memories box.
I spent most of my time over there working in Cairns and living in a backpackers hostel. I don’t think I could manage the backpacking anymore and I’d much rather stay in a lovely hotel but I still dream of taking my family back there to experience what I did. This time round I want to sleep in a comfortable bed without worrying about bed bugs and have a nice ensuite bathroom that I won’t have to share with a dozen other people Maybe it’s my age but I like my creature comforts too much nowadays
I might not take them skydiving but I’d love to take them diving on the Great Barrier Reef and out to the red centre to see Uluru and The Olgas. Of course we’d visit Sydney and all the other places that I saw back when I was younger. Realistically I think the kids will need to be a little older to appreciate everything Australia has to offer but that just gives me even more time to plan it Well actually I’ve already started planning it and I’ve been drawing up a wish list of gorgeous hotels There certainly won’t be any standing at pay phones with a phone card trying the “phone trick” to get free calls in the middle of the night to speak to my family this time round
And for now….well back to the real world….
Hello there You may have noticed it’s been a little quiet on here recently but life has been pretty hectic recently and as with most accountants at this time a year, I’ve had my head buried in tax returns and accounts for the last couple of months.
Many people have the image of a “mummy blogger” as somebody who stays at home and tweets and blogs all day whilst raising their kids but here is a rough breakdown of my days at the moment, bearing in mind I’m currently working for another company 40 hours per week as well as running my accountancy practice and the blog (oh and raising my family!)
5:45am My alarm goes off and I drag myself out of bed and into the shower, before getting myself ready.
6:30am I pass my husband as he heads for a shower and I go to get the kids up for nursery, we then spend 30 minutes having breakfast, getting them dressed and ready for nursery before handing them over to my husband.
7am I set off on an hours drive to work where I then work before driving home and arriving back around 5:30pm
5:30pm we have dinner followed by bath and bedtime routine. MasterB is still a nightmare to get to sleep and so it is usually 8pm before I am back downstairs with both kids asleep.
8pm Open the laptop and start working on client work and blog posts, this usually carries on until midnight before I drag myself off to bed for a few hours before it all starts again.
If I could get those few hours at night of I disturbed sleep it would be great but MasterB still usually wakes up at least once a night (hubby and I alternate night duties). Needless to say, life is exhausting right now for all of us and I’m missing spending as much time as I would like with my kids but in order to build an empire to hand down to them at some point in the future, these things must be done
I’m not complaining though, I love my life and wouldn’t change it for the world. MissB gets more witty and funny every day, MasterB is getting better health wise. His vision is stabilising and his prescription has decreased to 8.25, the patching seems to be working well on his weak eye. We have been discharged from the consultant for his asthma and we haven’t had a hospital stay all winter with it (touches wood). He is still suffering with ear infections but we are back at the ENT in March to see about grommets. Despite his glue ear and moderate hearing loss, his language is slowly coming on and he even said Dinosaur the other day
Watching my kids playing together makes me realise just how lucky I am
I am always lucky to receive lots of gorgeous goodies for MasterB and MissB through blogging but occasionally it’s my time to be spoilt a little Last week I received a lovely pamper hamper from the lovely people at pregnancy support site Bounty.com which was all about a little “me time”.
The hamper contained a book, candle, chocolates and a mum-to-be pamper set. Now I’m not a mum-to-be at present and I’m certainly not planning on being one again, my baby days are over and in just under two weeks MasterB will turn two and I’ll be saying goodbye to the baby days forever I do however work with a lovely lady who is pregnant and so it made me feel really good about myself to give her the gift set for no reason other than because I could
I’ve always been a believer in random acts of kindness, I’ve done a few over the years and I’ve been on the receiving end myself. I love being able to make complete strangers smile just because I can and I have noticed that it really does make a huge difference to the way I feel too! You can’t help but walk around with a smile on your face knowing you’ve made somebody happy. It doesn’t have to be a huge gesture but I’d highly recommend trying it, it can become addictive though and I now try to do at least one random act of kindness a week. Just think how much nicer the world would be if everybody did it!
Each year at this very same period comes the time to write down new resolutions that we will strive to keep for the year ahead. It is a great way to look back on what we have achieved, or not, over the past 12 months and to set up some new objectives. The chance are that most people will realise that they didn’t keep their last year’s resolutions … so why not start this year with an easy one to warm you up for bigger achievements?
What about sleeping better in 2013, being well-rested all year round in order to better keep all the other resolutions? Whether it is due to a physical condition such as sleep apnea or the sleeping environment in itself, almost half of us confess to not getting a good night’s sleep every night. This is why we have put together 5 easy steps to implement right now that will allow you to get a better sleep:
1- Create a great sleeping environment
In order to create a restful environment when bedtime is getting close you should make sure that your curtains are thick enough to prevent the light outside from keeping you awake. Try also as much as possible to keep the noise down and the room cool. If external factors such as the flashing light of the alarm clock or the inevitable bustle of the night life outside can’t be avoided, the best solution is to wear a sleeping mask and ear plugs!
2- Ensure that your bed, mattress and pillows are supportive and comfy
Once you have made sure that nothing around you can prevent you from getting the beauty sleep you deserve, you should then double check the quality of your bedding, pillows, mattress and bed. Creating a restful sleeping environment is one important thing but if you are sleeping on old mattress that is not supportive enough for your spine and joints the risk is that you will keep tossing and turning at night and wake up as unrefreshed as before.
3- Give in to temptation of luxury
Have you ever dreamed of sleeping on bed sheets made of silk, Egyptian cotton or other luxurious materials? Are you tired of feeling restricted by the size of your double bed? When it comes to sleep, anything is permitted so why not take advantage of the January sales to treat yourself to breathable bed sheets and a luxurious king size mattress to sleep like a King?
4- Set up a sleeping routine
Synchronise your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. Try to get between 7 and 8 hours sleep every night, to go to bed and wake up every day at the same time. Keeping a regular sleep schedule will help you get up quicker and more refreshed so you can stay attentive all day long.
5- Read a book
Switch off the TV, turn off the electronics and immerse yourself in a good book that will keep your attention up for 15 minutes before you feel the physical need to close up your eyes and drift off to sleep.
Interior design enthusiast and furniture lover, Camille writes on behalf of Wedo-Mattresses.co.uk, an online supplier of beds and mattresses.
MissB is becoming more and more obsessed with anything princess all the time and so when The Disney Store asked me if I’d like to review something, I saw this Disney Princess Deluxe Figure Playset and I just KNEW MissB would love it It just seemed perfect for MissB who loves playing with little figures at the moment and I wasn’t wrong. From the moment we opened the box MissB has barely let the princesses out of her sight
I admit it’s been a while since I last saw any Disney films but now MissB has reached three we are gradually getting round to watching them. But it does mean my knowledge about all the Disney princesses is pretty rusty, in fact I only recognised Cinderella (I remember the very first film I ever watched at the cinema was Cinderella and so this is the princess that I instantly recognised), Snow White, Belle and Rapunzel (we watched Tangled over Christmas).
We’ve had great fun learning about who all the princesses are together and memorising who is who. MissB is now an expert on Disney Princesses and has patiently been teaching her Daddy what they are all called
The set contains 10 static Disney Princesses, Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Mulan, Ariel, Rapunzel, Aurora, Jasmine, Pocahontas and Tiana. Each one is around 10cm high which is the perfect size for sneaking into pockets and taking them out with us. Not something I usually encourage but when waiting for meals in restaurants it is usually handy to have a couple of toys to keep them occupied
Considering the figures are small, the attention to detail on the outfits and faces is really good and the characters really do resemble the princesses. The set sells for £20 which I think is pretty good value for 10 figures. They have provided hours of fun for MissB and she really has enjoyed playing with them (although I bet in the films they never had to cope with dinosaur attacks and being run over by trains ).
I’m now planning on getting all the disney films so that we can watch them together and see the Princesses in action. I’m particularly eager to see The Princess and The Frog and Mulan. It’s lovely to see my daughter loving the same films that I grew up with and now we can discover the newer Disney films together
The lovely people from Simon and Schuster Children’s Books have sent us a lovely selection of their latest publications to review. My children seriously love books and so any package we receive from Simon and Schuster is eagerly opened.
Snug As A Bug – Tamsyn Murray and Judi Abbot
“Would you prefer to be snug as a bug rolled up in a rug? Like two cosy bats in thick woolly hats? as hot as three pigs in big purple wigs?…Well that’s what George has to decide for himself on a day out at the park with Mum”
I absolutely love this book and so does MissB. With the recent cold spell of weather we’ve been having it is something that we can really relate to and we have had lots of fun practising our counting together over bedtime stories.
The book is beautifully illustrated and so easy to read. I love books which have rhyming text and this book does it so well. It is everything you want in a children’s book, funny, entertaining, educational, bright and colourful and it really is one of my favourite books at the moment There is a link to it on amazon below.
Octonauts and the Undersea Adventure
“Dive into action with the Octonauts as they save some sea creatures from an undersea volcano! When a dangerous volcano threatens to erupt, the Octonauts must evacuate all the sea creatures nearby. But there is one creature that won’t budge – a slow moving, gelatinous Blobfish. Can Captain Barnacles, Kwazii and Peso get the Blobfish to safety before the volcano blows it’s top?”
Something both MissB and MasterB love is seeing books with characters that they recognise from TV. We watch Octonauts on TV most mornings before nursery and it has particular meaning for us as MasterB has to wear eye patches every day so we like Kwazii the Octonaut who also wears an eye patch. MasterB even has his own cuddly Kwazii that we got him for Christmas
This book is based around a tv episode we have already seen. I like the little fact boxes that it has as you go through the book explaining things such as volcanos and blobfish. We particular like blobfish If your children like Octonauts then these books are great little books. Watch out for other books in the Octonauts series also being published in January and February. With our current obsession for sticker books, I will definitely be keeping an eye out for Desert Island Doodle and Sticker Book . I’ve included links to all the new titles on amazon below.
Mike The Knight and The Real Sword
“Mike is desperate for Evie, his fun and free-spirited sister who is a wizard in training, to change his enchanted sword back to a real sword – as a real knight needs a real sword! But when Evie’s spell goes wrong, Mike has to learn to make the best of what he has got.”
Mike the Knight is another popular TV program in this household and so unsurprisingly this book was very well received. MissB loved pointing out all the familiar characters to me. She loves Sparkie and Squirt the two dragons As is always the way with Mike the Knight, there is a lesson to be learnt and doing it right is always the way Any Mike the Knight fan would love this book, along with a couple of other titles being release in January. I particularly like the look of Dragons on the Loose which is a hardback push and pop up book! I’ve included links to all the latest titles on amazon below
It’s been a great weekend here One of the joys of having young children is that it gives us the excuse to get out and play in the snow with them! We don’t get snow very often so it was lovely to have a weekend of snowy fun. We are lucky enough to have a big garden which is great for sledging so we didn’t have to go far
Here are just a few photos from our weekend