My Family

My Family

Thursday, 31 December 2015

2015 - Our Year In Pictures.

2015 - Our Year In Pictures.

January was a quiet month for us, with Christmas over we chilled out and enjoyed some home family time. It saw us trying new foods and finding a consensus love of Sorbets.

February was an amazing month for me as I got to join a lovely bunch of ladies on my very first Blogging trip to Paris with Febreeze. We got to travel in Business class sipping on Champagne and Stuck our heads inside the bins of Paris to see what they smelled like.

 March was my birthday month (I turned 33) but turning 33 was okay I guess. Nothing could be as bad as turning 30 in my opinion - that was a bad year for me. I hated that birthday. With the warmer weather starting to set in we adventured out on a few more family days out like our trip to the Birmingham Sealife Centre where Ryan got to see him favourite pals.

 April was a game changing month for us as a family. We were invited along to Drayton Manor for their Thomas Land expansion opening in the hope of writing a good post and winning a spot on their 2015 Ambassadors Team, which I'm happy to say that we did and what an amazing year we had there. This was the month that I felt my Blog and my online presence had finally been noticed and people were actually wanting to work with us.

 May took us all on a caravan holiday to Dorset where we had a wonderful week simply being us. Walks in the countryside, building sandcastles on the beach (on the odd days it didn't actually rain on us) and just generally spending quality family time together. 

 June was a lot sunnier and a lot busier for us. We took our first trip to Drayton Manor as Ambassadors, the first of many I must add. I wasn't actually planning on writing a post about it but what happened that day changed our Theme Park lives forever. My eldest two kids who were previously scared of the 'big' rides became complete adrenaline junkies.

 July was my baby boys birthday but he wasn't a baby any more. Ryan turned 5 and I have absolutely no idea how that happened. When did my baby boy become so grown up? Sometimes I wish I could just freeze time and keep him this age forever but I know that's not going to happen so I'm just going to have to get used to having a Big boy around now.

August was a really nice month for us, by now Summer was in full swing and we actually managed to get a few days of sunshine whilst we were on the beach. This time we were in Norfolk but again in a caravan holiday park. Yes we do like our caravan holidays! The kids got two short breaks this year so they were very happy. Making memories is what childhood is all about so any time we can travel, we are going too. Travel is our friend.

 September was very fruitful, quite literally! With being back at school our days out started to slow down as we got back into our everyday routines but the garden was beautiful. Bright coloured berries were ripe and just waiting to be picked. My little man loved picking the berries whilst my girls loves eating the pies that the berries went into that Nanny cooked.

October was Halloween so the kids and I, Yes I got crafty with the kids ( for just one day) making a Halloween themed wall. Anyone who knows me knows that I hate mess so crafty activities are a big no no in this house but they caught me on a good day, hour, few minutes.

November was a really fun month as I got to take part in a lovely online campaign with Popchips. I was set the challenge to share 6 'uplifting' moments throughout one week which was great fun to do. I took my kids to see Disney On Ice, we went to Drayton Manor and enjoyed a day out at Hatton Country World but my favourite day of all was a simple shopping trip and coffee shared with both my Mum and my sister which never happens. 

Well what can I say, December was Christmas and what a lovely Christmas we had here. We may not have been spoilt with fancy gifts, posh food and expensive wines but we were showered in love, peace and happiness which is all I could have ever have hoped for.

2015 has been a good year for us. Yes it's had it's ups and downs but what year doesn't?

We don't know what the future holds but I do know that we've lots of adventures just waiting to happen and If 2016 turns out to be anything like 2015, then I will be happy.

Happy New Year Everyone xo

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Why does Everyone keep Asking Me 'Are You Ready For Christmas?' NO! I'm Not - OK?

Why does Everyone keep Asking Me ...
'Are You Ready For Christmas?' 
NO! I'm Not - OK?

Over this past week or so I've found myself being asked the same annoying question, over and over again. By different people of course because being asked by one person over and over again would be just really weird. My reply to them, has been ... 'Yeah ..... Almost'. 

LIES! Why do I find myself lying to people? Why don't I just say 'No, I'm not ready'. Why don't I just tell them truth? Why do I feel like they'll be totally disappointed in my if I say no?

I do this every year, I leave everything to the last minute and then fall into complete PANIC mode when I realise that Christmas is nearly here. In fact, it's only just over a week to go!

I'm normally such an organised person but I don't know what it is about Christmas that just throws me out. Don't get me wrong, I've got all the toys my kids wrote to Santa for and I've got the gifts my family have hinted for, for the past few months but I still don't feel ready.

Nothing is wrapped, nothing is organised and nothing is written down on a list - I love lists. 

There's presents hidden throughout the house, presents that I bought months ago and have no idea where I've hidden them. There are presents hidden in boxes and cards waiting to be written. Wrapping paper rolls still covered in their plastic and sellotape rolls still untouched.

I'm like a duck on the water right now, looking all cool on the surface but paddling like crazy underneath just trying to stay afloat. So the next person who asks me .. 'Are you ready for Christmas?' You're going to get a rather rude but very honest - 'NO I'm Not!'

BUT ...

I may not be ready for Christmas but my kids will wake up to the gifts that they have dreamt of left under the tree from Santa. My family will all have something nice to open and smile at even if they don't like what they've gotten. Our dinner will be hot, plentiful and delicious and our Christmas will be a good one so whether I am ready for it or not everything will be OK.

I know that I am truly blessed to have such a wonderful family around me so the next time I get stressed or start to worry, I'll just remember that and smile. Everything will be OK.

The moral of my story (or rant) is ..

Don't be a stress head like me this Christmas and Have a Good One! xox

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Snack Time with Tommy Tucker #Review

Snack Time with Tommy Tucker 

Tommy Tucker are a family business driven by success to the largest independent popcorn manufacturer in the UK and “the supplier of choice to the cinema industry”. Their business is built on the requirements of their customers and from 20+ years of trading within the cinema, Leisure and Retail industries. They've developed the ability for flexing their business to meet demands for innovative new products, packaging design and changes in consumer tastes whilst maintaining balanced margins with the very best of services. 

Over the past week we've been trying out some of their popcorn flavours, it's been a tough job but someone had to do it. We were sent a selection of flavours, some classic favourites and some not so but we were willing to try them all and see what they were all like.

With my three children ready to help me out we set out a fun taste testing station where we filled small bowls with all the different flavours of popcorn to try. Some flavours were liked more than others but that comes down to the individuals personal tastes. The Toffee and Luxury Toffee were a huge hit but everyone loves Toffee popcorn, right? The Sweet and Sweet & Salt were also delicious, I think they were the overall majority winner on the day.

The Cheddar Cheese and Coconut were not so popular but they were interesting to try. 

One thing that I can say though is whether we liked the flavour or not the overall popcorn quality was really good. Each bag was full of fresh popcorn coated well in it's flavour and tastes just as they should. One thing I liked was at the bottom of the bag there was lots of bits of broken popcorn but hardly and unpopped kernels like you find in some brands.

We have had a fantastic time testing out all the different Tommy Tucker popcorn flavours and have to say, it's been one of our favourite taste tests this year. We may not have any left now but they were fun and very yummy whilst they lasted. Thank you Tommy Tucker!

Disclosure: We received our samples for free in return for an honest review.

We've been Shopping at the Wicked Uncle Christmas HQ! #Review

We've been Shopping at the Wicked Uncle 
Christmas HQ! 

Last week we went shopping at the Wicked Uncle Christmas HQ! Wicked Uncle is a wonderful website that helps you to find the right gift for the right person. It's all so easy to use and really works well. They have sections for every age, every theme and more.

You can narrow down your searches quickly and easily by selecting boys or girls and then their age or what they like. Finding a gift has never been easier and the range of gifts they have is very vast. There's something available to suit every budget, style and taste. 

When browsing the site I had three children in mind for the gifts I wanted to buy. A 3 year old boy, a 6 year old boy and a 6 year old girl. I didn't want to spend too much money as they are friends of my children, so I was looking for something fun yet reasonably priced.

My budget was £40 (which was kindly provided by Wicked Uncle) for me to try out the site. After a few quick searches and a few minutes research into what was my best choices, I had 3 little gifts to make up my 3 Christmas presents. I was very happy.

I choose 3 lovely torch sets in three different themes so that they would all have something different yet the same (If you know what I mean) I didn't want any arguments. I choose an Animal one, a Shark one and a Dinosaur one. They're all very sweet little gifts but not quite sweet enough so I also bought 3 little chocolate gifts to go with them which are lovely.

When the end of term comes and it's time to hand out our gifts, I know we're going to have three very happy children. Thanks to Wicked Uncle, I was able to search for the perfect gift quickly and easily. Their website is bright and well laid out and very easy to use so if you're looking for a gift for a child this year, maybe pop on over and have a look for yourself.

Disclosure: We received our samples for free in return for an honest review.

Friday, 27 November 2015

#Win a Christmas Stocking full of HARIBO Treats ..

#Win a Christmas Stocking full of HARIBO Treats 

You may have seen our post earlier this week showing you some of the new treats for Christmas from HARIBO but now we're back giving you the chance to win some for yourself.

The lovely people at HARIBO have given me a lovely prize to give away. One lucky winner will win a premium Christmas stocking filled with four fantastic HARIBO treats: Share the Fun Tub, Starmix Gift Tube, Minions Gift Box and a Christmas Mix.

Because I want to make sure this prize gets to you before Christmas, it's only running for two weeks so you'll need to get your entries in pretty quick. It's all very exciting.

To Win: Simply enter using the Rafflecopter Form below (It will load in a few seconds).

Terms & Conditions: Open to the UK Only. Ends Sunday on December 13th. Winner contacted by email. Winner drawn at random from all correctly made entries.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Check out my Lumie Bodyclock Iris 500 #Review & #WIN your own.

Check out my Lumie Bodyclock IRIS 500 Review
 & Win your own.

Over the past week I've been trailing the very interesting Lumie Bodyclock Iris 500 and have to say that I'm really pleased with how it's gone. Being a busy Mum of 3 I don't tend to get many lay ins as I have to get up early every morning to get the kiddies ready for school.

My morning wake up calls are usually one's of either loud 'Muuuuuuuum' shouts or someone's finger poking me in the head trying to get my attention. Either way, let's just say my wake up calls are not nice ones but that's what being a Mum is all about really.

So, when I heard about a clock that not only could help to wake you up more naturally but could also help you to get to sleep easier too, I was intrigued and just had to try it out.

Bodyclock Iris wakes you up gradually with light that mimics a real sunrise. The brightening light brings you more gently out of your sleep, prompting your body to reduce the production of sleep hormones such as melatonin, while increasing the levels of hormones like cortisol that helps you to get up and go. This provides a fantastic start to the day for sufferers of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and the winter blues, and helps anyone who is not naturally a morning person to feel brighter and more energetic first thing. It's not just a nicer way to wake up. Waking to natural light resets your sleep/wake cycle and has been shown to boost your mood, productivity and energy levels throughout the day. Our physiological body clocks are aligned by sunrise and sunset. As most of us experience a mix of early starts, late nights, weekend lie-ins and sometimes travel disruption, our internal sleep rhythms are thrown into disarray. We feel tired and stressed trying to wake up for work, school or sports training. A dawn simulator device re-sets your body clock to run in time with your day, helping you feel more awake during the day and more ready for sleep at night.

The Lumie Bodyclock Iris lets you complement the light therapy with aromatherapy by letting you add your favourite aromatherapy oils to the two specialised chambers to create a nice fragrant and calming bedtime and an invigorating waking up experience. 

I don't have a huge amount of time to stay in bed from the moment I wake up to the point where I have to get up, so I'm not sure if I got the full benefit of this body clock but I sure did enjoy the wonderful smells and colours that came from it. My overall experience using it was great, my bedroom now smells amazing and my sleep patterns are much happier. I loved having the light there by my bedside as both my son and I like having that nightlight comfort.

A Lumie Bodyclock Irir 500 would cost you around £160 which is a lot of money but it's up to you really, what price you would put on a good nights sleep and a peaceful waking?

If that's a little too pricey for you but you'd love one then here comes the best part. The lovely people over at Lumie have given me one to give away to one of you too!

The Competition:

If you would like to win a Lumie Bodyclock Iris 500 worth £160 for yourself. Simply enter using the Rafflecopter form below. It's easy to do but please be patient when loading it.

Terms and Conditions: 1 winner will be drawn at random on Monday December 21st from all the correctly made entries. Open to the UK only. The winner will be emailed after the draw.

HARIBO is wishing everyone a very Happy Christmas. #Review

HARIBO is wishing everyone a very Happy Christmas.

HARIBO is wishing everyone a very Happy Christmas with its latest selection of tasty themed treats. I've been lucky enough to have been sent a small selection of them to have a look at and try for myself. I'm a huge Minions fan so you can imagine how pleased I was when they arrived and had my favourite Minions characters plastered all over them.

HARIBO Minions and Tangy Minions Duo Tub: Brand new for Christmas is the HARIBO Minions Duo tub. Double the fun, the Duo tub brings together the fruitiness of HARIBO Minions with the tang of HARIBO Tangy Minions each in their own handy compartment. 

HARIBO Minions Gift Box: The HARIBO Minions gift box is an extra special treat that’s perfect to place under the tree or inside stockings this Christmas. Showcasing Minions Kevin, Stuart and Bob from the Minions movie, this gift box contains strawberry, apple, raspberry, cherry and blueberry flavoured Minions shaped jelly and foam pieces. 

HARIBO Penguin Character Gift Box: This penguin themed gift box, a tasty selection of sweet treats to warm hearts. Perfect for popping under the Christmas tree or in a stocking.

HARIBO Starmix Tube: If you’re stuck for stocking filler ideas or sweet gestures for Secret Santas, HARIBO’s Starmix Tube could be just what you’re looking for. Packed with HARIBO’s most popular treat, this tube is great tasting and great value! 

The Minions duo box is my favourite but the Penguin is pretty cute too. I love all the HARIBO sweets anyway so these for me are just ideal for small Christmas gift ideas.

Disclosure: We received our samples in return for an honest review.

Need a Little help this Christmas? I've found some lovely gifts for Children #ChristmasGiftGuide

Need a Little help this Christmas? 
I've found some lovely gifts for Children.

Having three children who are quite spread out, age wise. I know what it's like to struggle when it comes to finding the right gifts at Christmas time. I have two girls aged 8 and 12 and a little boy aged 5 so I have a huge struggle on my hands keeping them all happy.

I've got a few nice gift ideas to show you and there's something for all ages.

For The TeenagersPaul Frank Pyjamas are a range of cosy yet stylish pyjamas:

This Paul Frank Ladies Print PJ Nightwear Set costs around £25 and is available from I love this set as it's bright, funky and full of fun. The top is perfect for the colder nights coming up as it has long sleeves and the bottoms are well fitted with cuffed bottoms to keep the cold out too. The Paul Frank logo is nice and large in the top and printed all over the bottoms in smaller prints. These are now my favourite pyjamas ever, they're just so cute, I never want to take them off. They look great and feel so comfy on. For me these would make the perfect gift for my twelve year old girl who loves animals and bright colours. They'd make a cute but practical gift that would be loved and used.

For the Cuddle Monsters: Kuddleez Microwaveable Toys:

These Kuddleez Microwaveable Toys are lovely and perfect for the children in your life who love a cuddle. They'r from a company called The Heatpack Company and cost just £10 pounds each. There are three different ones so hopefully an animal to suit everyone. There's a grey Elephant, a brown Monkey and a purple Hippo. They're all very cute.  They're designed to bring comfort and warmth to your little ones and are perfect for snuggling up to at bedtime. Each one is both attractive to look at and soothing to hold providing kids with a safe alternative to hot water bottles. Each toy comes with its own removable wheaty pouch to put in the microwave and a colour box, making it an ideal gift.

For the Little Girls: Baby Born Interactive Doll + Mini Chou Chou Birdies Cuckoo clock.

The Baby Born Interactive doll is the original and well loved Baby Born doll. She comes with so many lovely accessories and has lots of great features without requiring batteries. She costs around £40 but is well worth the money as she's just such a loveable doll. She features eight life-like functions where she will drink, wet, go on her potty, cry, feed and open and close her eyes! She's even bathable and comes complete with 10 accessories. My little girl loves her Baby Born Interactive doll and plays with her almost every day. For little girls who love to play with dolls, this is a great one to go for this Christmas.

The Zapf Mini Chou Chou Birdies Cuckoo Clock House is a lovely little set perfect for girls who loves smaller dolls and playing with them in their own little houses and sets.
The Mini CHOU Chou dolls live in this charming little cuckoo clock-house, where they experience all kinds of fun things. The dial of the clock opens to 10.00 clock.
Window can be opened by pressing the chimney and the little dolls can sit on their garden terrace, climb the dial-balcony on the head or enjoy a little relax in the cosy nest. This set costs around £30 and includes the cuckoo clock house with lots of accessories and a mini CHOU CHOU doll Birdie and owl. It's a sweet little set perfect for play on the go as it's a great size to carry around with you when you may go out and about. The dolls are beautiful and the house is bright and cheerful. It really is a lovely little play set that made me smile.

That's four nice gift ideas that will hopefully help someone out this Christmas and won't break the bank. You don't have to spend a lot of money to make your children happy.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Have a Magical Christmas at Drayton Manor Theme Park .. #Review

Have a Magical Christmas at Drayton Manor Theme Park 

Today was the day that Drayton Manor opened it's doors and welcomed everyone to share a Magical Christmas with them. From now until December 31st you can go along to join in the festivities. Thomas Land has been decorated with beautiful Christmas trees, pretty lights and snow, yes real snow - well not real snow but it's just as pretty and not as cold.

We went along today for a family day out to see what all the fuss was about. Although only selected rides were open, Thomas Land was fully open making their Magical Christmas weeks perfect for younger children. Out in the rest of the park, the only two rides that were open was the Carousel and the Jolly Buccaneer which was great for my youngest two but a bit boring for my eldest who loves the bigger, thrill seeking rides but we still had fun.

It was very cold out today so do dress up warm if you are planning on going. There are lots of indoor eating areas but it's mainly outdoors so do dress ready for the cold weather. 

Our favourite part of our day was the new Ice Rink which is now in place of the Dodgems (Just over Christmas so don't worry, they haven't replaced them). This does cost extra but it's only £2 per person and you get a fun filled 15 minutes on the ice which was great. It's not proper ice (I'm not actually sure what it was) but it was very slippy as people were falling over everywhere. I had a go myself and found it OK but my children absolutely loved it.

Back Inside Thomas Land there was lots going on. As well as all the rides in action, there's also three short snow showers throughout the day, live Christmas shows and a Christmas parade too. My little man loves Thomas Land so he was very pleased with it all.

Seeing Father Christmas was something that my children were very excited about and although they were happy with the whole experience, the waiting time was very long. Everyone gets a time slot for when they will see Santa, ours was 4pm as we had planned to see him just before we headed home, to end our day on a real high but we didn't get in to see Santa until 4:40pm which was 40 minutes after our allocated time slot. We were in the queue at 3:45pm as we didn't want to be late but the queue was very long and all outside which was also very cold. They had tried to add some heaters along the way but we were still freezing. There was also some small TV screens playing videos and Christmas songs but as we were all so cold, the children lost interest really quickly. Once at the front, you get shown straight into a room where Santa is waiting. Santa himself was lovely, very friendly and great with the children and the gift they received was really very nice. Overall Santa was very good but the wait just kind of ruined it a little bit for us as we were so cold.

Our day itself was lovely even if we were all very cold but that was the naughty weathers fault not Drayton Manors. The park looked lovely and the decorations were great. There was lots of photo opportunities dotted around the park with little pop your head in decorations. My three loved them and had to stop for a photograph in each one, they were very funny.

If you're little one loves Thomas Land then they'll love Drayton Manors Magical Christmas. You get all the fun of the rides (in Thomas Land) plus lots of fun extras too. Overall we had a very pleasant day and made lots of little moments and magical memories of our own.

You can get tickets online on their website - Check out Drayton's Magical Christmas.

Disclosure: We are Drayton Manor Ambassadors and were invited along today to review their Magical Christmas but all the opinions expressed were 100% honest and my own.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Barbie Dance & Spin Ballerina Doll #Review

 Barbie Dance & Spin Ballerina Doll

This week, we've been playing with the Barbie Dance & Spin Ballerina Doll, sh'es so pretty. We love her sparkling blue and pink dress, it's got a lovely layer of blue and then a sheer pink overlay with blue glittery sparkles which really completes the Ballerina look.

My little Barbie fan Lily (aged 8) has always wanted to be a Ballerina so she was very excited when she saw this doll. Lily loves pink and anything that sparkles so again, this doll was a huge hit. It was really nice to see a Barbie doll without the totally 'over the top' usual glamorous hair. This doll is pretty yet very simple with her hair done in a classic pony tail just like my girls have in their hair every day. Lily was delighted.

With this Barbie Dance & Spin Ballerina Doll you can dance the day away as she's a twirling ballerina doll that brings performance and possibilities to life! You control the choreography by choosing when your beautiful prima ballerina spins. She's simple and magical, and it's great that the mechanism is really easy to work. You simply clip the pink wand, adorned to the waist of the doll, and press down. Your Barbie doll will then bend into a classic pliĆ©, and her body begins to spins gracefully, causing her foot to rise and her skirt to float and flow. 

She's aimed at children aged 3 and over and costs around £19.99. 

Lily loves her Barbie Dance & Spin Ballerina Doll. She really likes her sparkling dress and loves the little ballet shoes that she's wearing. There's one thing that Lily doesn't like and that's the fact that the right leg doesn't go down to a normal standing position for when she doesn't want to make her doll dance. Overall though, we really liked this doll and loved the fact that the doll can twirl, spin and dance all day long with no batteries required. 

Lily has now happily added her new Ballerina friend to her ever growing Barbie collection.

Disclosure: We received our doll in return for an honest review. All the opinions expressed within this review are 100% honest and entirely my own.

#SilentSunday 15/11/2015

Silent Sunday 15/11/2015