Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Tips For Children Starting School!

I can't believe its been almost 2 years since James started at Primary school! In September he will be heading in to Year 2 and has settled in to school so well he is happy, settled and doing really well which I am of course incredibly proud of.

(Here is James on his very first say of Primary School!)

I wanted to put together a post about a few of the things we did with James before he started school in the hope they would help him settle better and whilst im no expert I wanted to share those with you.

Talk to them about school - As soon as we started applying for schools for James we started talking to him about going to school which meant it became familiar. We kept it lighthearted and kept the conversation open for him to ask questions etc if he felt he needed to. Talking about it made it seem less daunting and more a part of every day conversation for James.

Let them help purchase school uniform - More than likely going to school will be the first time your child will have to wear a full uniform which can be a confusing for a child who is used to wearing and selecting their own clothes. I took James along with me to pick up his uniform letting him try it on both in the shop and at home. He felt grown up helping pick his own school clothes and he was so excited to wear them for his first day at school.

Have them present during the home visit - Our primary school have a home visit for pupils who are joining reception class where a teachers / teaching assistant come to your home to meet you and the child and find out a little more info etc about them. I felt it was really important for James to be here for this so that he could meet his possible teacher but also so they could get a look at him at home rather than just hearing information from me. It enabled them to see how he interacted in an environment he was comfortable in too.

Go along to settling in/ stay and play sessions - Lots of primary schools will offer settling in sessions or stay at play sessions for all children starting school. These will be on certain dates and it will give your child a chance to have a look around the school and what will be their new classrooms. It will also give them a chance to meet teachers and other children who will be joining them in September so that when they start some faces will be familiar making it less daunting.

Get Everything prepared - The day/ evening before school begins talk to them about what is going to happen the follow morning. Let your child help set out school uniform etc and make packed lunch the evening before if needed. This way the morning can be relaxed and not frantic and stressful for your child. I found James wanted extra cuddles and had lots of questions the morning before so it helped that I had everything prepared before hand so that I could take my time with him and answer them all.

Practice the school run - Before James started school we did the school run several times it gave us a chance to see how long it would take but also a chance for James to see the school again. We did it several times when other children were in school too so he could see them happily playing outside which made him excited to go. I found practicing walking the school run got him familiar with our morning routine and the surroundings which made it less daunting on the morning of school.

So thats a few of my top tips that I found helped us! Do you have any to share for all those mums and dads with children about to start school? I would love it if you could share them in the comments below.

Good luck to all those parents and children who are going to be starting their exciting journey in school this September!


Weight Loss Diary - Week 1.

Well its the end of my first week on my weight loss journey and I am not going to lie I have found it tough!

I decided not to weigh myself last week, I didn't want the first week to be all about the numbers on the scales but more about getting back to healthy eating, cutting out the junk food and finding my love for cooking from scratch again.
I will start weighing myself from this week onward and from next week will be sharing how many lbs I have (hopefully) lost each week in case you wish to follow my journey. I will also be taking pictures once a month and sharing these to in the hope that seeing some weight loss will keep my spurred on!

This week I have upped my water intake, fruit and veg intake and focused more on what im eating and how much. I have to admit I have felt so much better in myself already! I used to start getting lethargic and tired around 2pm which has totally stopped this week, I am also finding it easier to get to sleep at night and even finding it easier to get up n the mornings which is unheard of especially for the school run!

I have switched from picking at foods like crisps and toasties to salads for lunch often adding chicken or lean meats for flavour. I have made my portions smaller and got back in to cooking in the evenings and making things from scratch rather than over replying on quick and convenient foods. Breakfast is something I need to work on this week as I often skip it whilst rushing around in the mornings before getting the kids to school, but then when mid morning hits and I start getting peckish this is when I am most at risk of picking I think.

How is everyone else doing this week?


Sunday, 22 May 2016

Prezzo, Bristol **REVIEW**

We were recently invited along to enjoy a family meal at our local Prezzo restaurant in Bristol, having never tried it I was really excited to visit having taken a glance at the menu! 

Despite the weather making it wet and rainy outside stepping inside Prezzo instantly changed our mood. The atmosphere was welcoming and lively and the building with its high ceilings and classic yet modern decor and huge windows was beautiful. The building is beautiful and upon arrival you are greeted by the sight of the open kitchen with amazing aromas coming from the pizza oven in the centre which was lovely to see. 

We were quickly greeted upon arrival and shown to our table which was a cosy booth style area situated near a large window looking out in to Bristol. We were given menu's and shortly after our waitress came over to offer drinks. The service was attentive and very quick, I would have liked a little more time to look at our menu before ordering drinks etc preferably however it didn't impact on us and it was lovely to not have to wait to long for a drink upon arrival. 

There is plenty on offer on the Prezzo menu and after seeing the starters menu we had to give them a try! We ordered the Baked Mushrooms which are mushrooms Stuffed with bella lodi cheese and mozzarella cheese, garlic, onion and breadcrumbs and served with garlic mayonnaise. I can confirm these are so delicious both me and my husband thoroughly enjoyed them. We also had the Large Pane Con Cipolla which is a huge Garlic pizza bread topped with balsamic onions and mozzarella and we added goats cheese too. Again this was absolutely delicious and the melted cheese with a golden top and crispy super thin base made it extremely mourish!.
We then moved on the the extensive main menu offering so many choices of Pizza and Pasta you are sure to find something you like. If pizza and pasta are not your thing though there are also a few other things on the menu including the Italian Burgers my husband chose. The Italian burgers consisted oTwo burgers – one with crispy prosciutto and smoked scamorza, the other with mozzarella and pesto, both served in a fennel, black onion and sesame seed bun, with garlic mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato and red onion. These got the big thumbs up from my husband who said they were so juicy and packed full of flavour. 

I had heard so many great things about the pizza at Prezzo I just had to try one so I went for the Tre Gusti V-I-Pizza and it was absolutely delicious and absolutely humongous! This pizza could have very easily been shared by 2 people it was so big. The Tre Gusti pizza features Pepperoni, seasoned chicken, pancetta, rosemary, mozzarella and tomato which were all generously applied to the top of my pizza. It tasted fresh and full of flavour and I was very pleased with my choice. 

Prezzo also have a very cute kids menu with a select few dishes on especially for the kids. They have two types of kids menus one for toddlers and one for bigger kids which I thought was fab, especially as we took Evelyn and she isn't a huge eater so the toddler menu portions were perfect for her. Both James and Evelyn chose the garlic bread starter from their menus and both ate it all so it must have been good. James then chose the pizza for main and chose pepperoni for his topping (they can chose from pepperoni, mushrooms or pineapple). Evelyn had the penne pasta with a bolognaise style sauce which she loved, I don't think I've ever seen her tuck in to something so quickly!

After all our food we weren't sure if we would have room for pudding, however one glimpse at the mouth watering menu and we were sold! Both myself and my husband had the honeycomb smash cheesecake which was creamy, chocolatey and scrumptious, I would have loved a little more of a honeycomb taste to it though.
James chose the nutella and banana mini calzone which was served with a scoop of ice cream, James said it looked and tasted like a pancake and was very yummy with the oozing chocolate and warm banana inside. Evelyn had a fresh fruit strawberry lolly and I loved that they had something smaller and refreshing like this available after a pretty heavy meal for a especially for a toddler.

We finished of our meal with a drink and let the kids finish the colouring sheets they had been given upon arrival (big thumbs up for these as they definitely kept the kids entertained between courses!). We didn't feel rushed whilst we enjoyed our drinks and the staff ensured our table was kept cleared of empty drinks the whole time we were there. The waitresses were so friendly and even took time to speak to Evelyn when she was getting a little grumpy towards the end which was so lovely to see.

If you love Italian food Prezzo is the place to be its relaxed friendly atmosphere makes for an ideal setting whether its a romantic meal, gathering with friends or just a family meal out you are looking for. Staff are friendly and attentive and the food gets a huge thumbs up from us.

Have you ever been to Prezzo? What is your favourite meal there?


**I was not paid for this post, We received a complimentary meal, I then wrote this honest review. 
All thoughts and opinions in this post are my own and written by me. **

Wicked Uncle Toys **REVIEW**

I was recently contacted so see if James and Evelyn would like to choose something from the Wicked Uncle website and knowing my children all to well I new they would never turn down new toys!

The Wicked Uncle website is a huge gift buying website designed to make buying gifts quick, easy and ensuring you pick a great gift every time. Wicked Uncle have searched high and low to ensure their website is packed full of fun, interesting and unusual toys so you are sure to find something to suit. During the checkout process you can even choose to have your gift wrapped and include a hand-written card (I love the handwritten touch!). Taking all the hassle out of gift buying.

Wicked uncle makes buying gifts extremely easy with its simple to use system. You simple select whether you are buying for a boy or girl and then select their age (between 1 and 12 years or there is teen section if they are older). Wicked uncle will then show you a wide selection of toys and gifts suitable for this age range saving you the stress of trying to find something age appropriate when buying gifts.

I found the Wicked Uncle site had such a fantastic range of gifts available there were so many choices for each age range. I chose the Triop world set for James as he is absolutely fascinated with bugs and animals at the moment and I know he will have lots of fun watching them grow. I chose the Aquadoodle stencil and doodle mat for Evelyn which is perfect for her at this age as she is just begin to love mark making and this means she can do that without the mess of pens etc. The range available is huge and diverse with the selection of toys available ranging from classic wooden toys to electronic toys and gadgets!

The Wicked Uncle website takes the stress and guess work out of buying gifts and if perfect for any family members who may struggle with what children may like or buying something that is age appropriate. I will also be using this website for buying gifts for parties for my son and daughters school and nursery friends as it means I can simply select the correct age and know I am getting a fab gift.

Delivery was quick and everything was well packaged upon arrival and as I mentioned above you can even choose to have your gifts gift wrapped before hand to save time. I would definitely recommend trying out Wicked Uncle next to you have to purchase a gift for someone and are unsure what to get it really does make purchasing gifts simple!


**I was not paid for this post, We were given the opportunity to choose some items from the website and in return I wrote this honest review. 
All thoughts and opinions in this post are my own and written by me. **

Sunday, 15 May 2016

My Weight loss Journey - The Beginning!

Weight is something most of us have worried about in the past, whether its loosing weight, gaining weight, toning up or getting fitter we never seem to be 100% happy with our weight.

For me my weight is something I have struggled with for quite some time, probably since I first met my now husband almost 10 years ago! I was at college and grabbing food on the go and when I fell pregnant I used to snack rather than eating proper meals whilst at work, then eat rubbish when I got home because I felt to tired to cook. This continued and has done since then and the weight has crept on. Fizzy drinks, sweet treats and larger portions of rubbish food are all part of the problem and all this has to change.

Now I am overweight and feeling very self conscious and its no way to live at all. I hate swimming, going to the beach and even cover up so my husband can't see me. I worry about what impact my lack of body confidence and poor relationship with food is having on my children too and its time I did something about it!

For me this journey is not just about weight loss its about becoming fitter, happier and more confident. Its about being able to run around with my kids without being out of breath. Its about being able to go swimming or go clothes shopping without feeling self conscious about my size. Its about jumping on rides at the funfair without worrying I won't fit. Mostly its about being happy and not letting my weight dictate my lifestyle.

I ummed and ahhed about posting this picture, for me this represents everything I have tried to hide, everything I hate but I know that to start my journey I must first be honest to myself about where I started so here it is, me right now unedited, raw and at the beginning of my journey.

Each week I will be posting a weight loss diary sharing my week, how it went and my progress. I will also be sharing what I did that week food wise, exercise wise and if I have tried out any new products I will be sharing those with you too! I am also hoping to include some reviews on the blog of products I have found particularly useful so keep an eye out for those!

I would love it if you would join me in sharing your weighloss stories, results and tips each week on my posts!

Good Luck for all those of you on your own journey too, we can do this.


Saturday, 14 May 2016

Ecoegg win a Queens award! + a Ecoegg bundle Giveaway.

You may have recently seen our review of the EcoEgg here on the blog if not you can find it here

As you can tell from our review we loved the Ecoegg and are still using it at the moment as it lasts so long making it so cost effective! So I was delighted to hear that the fabulous people over at Ecoegg have won a prestigious Queens Award for Enterprise in Innovation 2016. 

(image from the Ecoegg website)

The Queen’s Awards are made annually by Her Majesty The Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister, who is assisted by an Advisory Committee that includes representatives of Government, industry and commerce

Rob Knight Founder and Managing director of Ecoegg said "We are thrilled to have been awarded a Queen's award in such a competitive category. We have worked very hard as a company to develope products that make a real positive impact on the lives of people that use them as well as to the environment."
"Innovation drives everything we do ay Ecoegg and the Laundry egg along with 18 other eco-friendly products, have each revolutionised the categories in which they compete. Providing a cost effective and natural alternative to products that have remained the same for decades, and changing the way wrethink about everyday tasks such as cleaning, is something we are very proud of."

There was also a lovely and well deserved piece about Ecoegg's prestigious award which featured in The Kent Messenger Newspaper. 

To celebrate Ecoegg receiving this fantastic award I have a great bundle of Ecoegg goodies available to giveaway to one lucky reader today! Entering is simple just fill out as many entries in the Rafflecopter form below as you wish and keep an eye out for a winner announcement! 

The bundle will contain a 210 wash Laundry Egg, Dryer Eggs, 1 pack of Detox Tabs, and a Stain Remover!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 8 May 2016

An open letter to my babies.

James and Evelyn,

Its been a while since I have written to you on here its not been intentional its just that you both like to keep me on my toes and its hard to find the time. Your both still so young right now and so I like to write to you both occasionally on here as a way to look back in the future when you are old enough to understand.

Evelyn I am pretty sure you are finding things quite frustrating at the moment. Your almost 2 and your language is coming on so well but you get so frustrated when we don't now what you want to say straight away. You are finding it hard to settle for naps and bed time too which has been hard for us all but I know we will get there eventually its just a small bump in the road.

You never fail to make us laugh Evelyn, in fact I can't remember a day in the last year when we haven't laughed at one of your funny babbles or dance moves in particular. You love causing trouble and then glancing back with that cheeky grin that means we can never be mad. You are intent on walking EVERYWHERE even when its not really ideal or possible and the mere sight of the pushchair sends you in to a melt down. I can't believe you will be 2 soon it feels like time is flying by before my eyes and before I know it you will be at nursery!

James you have made me so proud particularly the way you have handled school recently. I know when the teachers changed in your class you found it tough and had some tricky days where you just didn't want to be there. Both myself and your teachers are so proud at how well you have adapted since your new teacher started and seeing your work at parents evening made me exceptionally proud. I probably don't say it enough but I love you little man!
I often feel a little guilty once you have gone to bed and I recall the day, I worry that you sometimes feel a little left out like when I am wrestling your sister in to the car seat and you have got in all by yourself and I forget to thank you. Or when Evelyn has driven me mad all day and I seem stressed when I collect you from school. I worry you think this is because of you but its not I promise and from now on I am going to make more of an effort to leave my stress behind.

James you are an incredible big brother and I often joke that you would make a better parent than me (although sometimes I don't think im even joking!). You are such a kind, gentle and caring young man and one day I hope you get to share that with a wife and children of your own.

Parenthood for me is like taking the scenic route in life, there will be bumps, turns, hills and the occasional u turn but hey how would we know just how beautiful the scenic route was if we just took the straight road, the quick route.

When I gave birth to you both I made a promise that I may not have all the money in the world, I may not be able to give you everything you want but what I can give you is my promise of unconditional love and support and that is a promise I still hold today.

Love Mum x

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Little Tikes spinning seas water table **REVIEW**

As summer fast approaches my mind has turned to getting the garden ready for the summer. Both James and Evelyn love being out in the garden and now that Evelyn is a little older this year and can really get around outside and enjoy it I wanted to make sure they had plenty to play with.

So when the lovely people at Little Tikes offered us a Spinning Sea's water table to try out we couldn't wait for it to arrive. If the splashing they do in the bath is anything to go by I knew it would be a big hit!

When the spinning sea's water table arrived it came in several pieces with clear to follow picture/text instructions. Its pretty simple to put together though with most pieces just clicking in to place and only a few screws needed to hold together the centre column, then it was ready for the kids to play.

The water table is made of sturdy plastic with a smooth finish and chunky plastic legs which provide a stable surface and the perfect height for little people to play. When built the water table stands at approx 17 inches tall which is a perfect height for Evelyn who is 2, she found it easy to reach all the bits within the table without struggle or having to lean over or stretch to much.

The bright colours on the table make it eye catching and it looks great in the garden! It comes with plenty of accessories including the centre column with a large basin on top which leads to 2 windmill style spinners, simply throw the ball in the top and see where it lands! There is also a catapult to spring the balls in to the water table and a ferris wheel style ball catcher that can be spun around.

The Spinning Sea's water table has already provided hours of fun for James and Evelyn and I know it will be getting lots of use for summers to come. The water table is well built, sturdy and really built to last even against boisterous toddler play as would be expected from a fantastic brand like Little Tikes.

If you are looking for something for your garden this year I would highly recommend the spinning sea's water table as it provides hours of fun and doesn't take up a huge amount of space (especially important if you have a smaller garden like us). My children are aged 2 and 6 and both enjoyed splashing around in it.

The Little Tikes spinning seas water table is priced at around £49.99 and is available to purchase from lots of stores including Argos, Amazon and The Toy Shop,

Do your children love being in the garden? What is there favourite outdoor toy?


**I was not paid for this post, I was sent this item and we used the item to produce this honest review. 
All thoughts and opinions in this post are my own and written by me. **