Valentines Day Gift Guide 2019 | Blog

Note: These items were sent to us for the purpose of this post but all opinions are honest and my own

HOORAY!!! January is finally over!! It has felt like the longest month ever and now we are finally in February we can focus on one of my favourite days of the year. Valentines day!!

Now I know that people say that you shouldn't need a day to show someone that you love them and I do agree as I like to show Hubs I love him every single day BUT I am a bit of a sucker for the gifts and roses and cards. Basically I like to have an excuse to buy Hubs some gifts and for us to go for a date which is a rarity. So, seeing as I love finding the perfect gift for my loved ones, I thought I would share with you my top finds for Valentines day 2019

1. 4711 Original Cologne
This is such an interesting and unusual gift and it is actual a scent that is unisex! 4711 by Muelhens is a refined, fruity fragrance. This scent is a blend of citrus oils lemon & orange, light floral rose, and sandalwood oil. It's under £20 but looks a lot more expensive thanks to its ornate bottle and luxury scent. I'd definitely recommend this if you want something that is going to be a lovely gift without breaking the bank. 


Lazy Food Slow Cooker Paste Pots | Review

Note - this is a collaborative post with Very Lazy. We were sent these items for the purpose of this review but all opinions are honest and my own. 

Being a Mum means that life is busy! School runs, washing, housework, clubs, baby sensory classes...the list goes on and on. Dinner is always a bit of a stress for me because I want to feed my family healthy, home cooked meals but sometimes that means having time to prep and cook which can prove challenging when you have a 4 year old and a 7 month old like I do. Thankfully, Very Lazy have come up with a solution for all of us stressed out, time pressed parents out there.
Very Lazy's Slow Cooker Paste Pots are a must have for any parent. These paste pots are basically little pots full of flavour that help you to create a delicious, healthy meal for all the family using just your slow cooker. Minimal fuss, minimal washing up...what more could you want??
There are 4 different paste pots to choose from and they are only available from Tesco for the amazing price of £2!! That's £2 the 3 paste pots you get inside each box!

Aromatic Thai Chicken Curry

Sausage & Lentil Casserole

Harissa Lamb Tagine

Chicken and Chorizo Stew

I decided that the first one I was going to make was the Aromatic Thai Curry and it didn't disappoint. The instructions on the box were so simple to follow and the dish didn't require much prep at all. The box also had a veggie recipe on it too which I thought was a great touch as there aren't a lot of veggie options out there for slow cookers. Once the minimal ingredients needed were chopped I simply threw it all in the slow cooker along with the paste pot (which smelt UNREAL!) and popped it on low. Fast forward to dinner time a few hours later and I had a gorgeously aromatic smelling, creaming looking curry ready and waiting.

The meal was a hit!! It was spicy enough to keep hubs interested but mild enough for Pickle and I as we aren’t the biggest fan of spicy foods. The meal was healthy, yummy and so easy to prep! I looked into the amount of prep I’d have to do if I made this meal from scratch with out the amazing paste post and I’d need to prep for at least 30 mins and cooking time (where I’d actually have to stand over the hob, not just chuck it in and go) was 90 minutes!!!!
I can’t recommend the Very Lazy Slow Cooker Paste Pots enough! They are amazing for busy families, working parents, busy people... basically everyone! Make sure you grab some when you do your food shop next (they are available exclusively in Tesco AND from 30th January 2018 until the 19th February 2018 they are half price so only £1!! ) and I promise you won’t be disappointed.


Who looks after me?  |  Blog

I don’t know about you but in our house I am the person who holds things together. I tend to keep everyone’s lives running like clockwork and that includes looking after everyone when they are ill. My family are the most important thing in the world to me so why wouldn’t I look after them and always put them before myself? But what happens when I’m ill? Who looks after me and the house then?

Who makes the beds?
Who opens the curtains? 
Who sterilises the bottles? 
Who makes breakfast, lunch and dinner for all the family? 
Who empties and re-stacks the dishwasher?
Who goes to get food and medicine? 
Who sets the alarms so that the family get their antibiotics and cold and flu tablets at the right times? 
Who cleans the toilet after the family have thrown up? 
Who sprays dettol everywhere and cleans the house to stop the germs from spreading? 
Who washes all the towels and bedding to clean up the sick/snot/sweat? 
Who picks up all the used tissues that get left everywhere?
Who folds all the laundry and puts it away so we have clothes to wear? 
Who walks the dog because she’s not been out in days and going stir crazy? 
Who changes dirty nappies and dresses the kids? 
Who remembers that a magazine the boy had wanted for 2 weeks is going on sale so call the shop to get a copy but aside for him? 
Who contacts work and school to explain everyone is sick? 
Who empties the bins that are overflowing with tissues and empty tablet packs?
Who makes drinks for everyone all day long to make sure they are staying hydrated? 
Who makes snacks to make sure everyone is eating? 
Who tidies up the toys for the hundredth time in the day because the kids are now tired? 
Who has tired to make a coffee 5 times by 11am but still hasn’t managed it? 

Who does all of this in your house? Because in my house I am pretty sure that the magic housework fairy is expected to do it. Well...if she doesn't turn up then I suppose I will just have to do it then! 

Do you know the #stoppingdistance ? | Kwik Fit Collaboration

Note: this is a collaborative post 
With the cold weather really starting to hit it is so important that we give our cars a once over. Not only do you need to make sure your car isn't going to break down and leave you in freezing temperatures, you need to make sure that it is safe when the roads get snowy or icy. Your tyres are one of the most important things that you need to check when winter comes as the weather conditions can really effect your stopping distances.

Tyre giant Kwit Fit and released a really handy video to show you just how much winter can effect your stopping distances. I really would suggest that everyone who drives takes the time to watch this as it really shocked me!

But, it isn't just the weather that can effect your stopping times and distances. The other huge factor is the quality of your tyres. Day to day wear and tear on your tyres can reduce the tyre tread which in turn can reduce their effectiveness and increase the risk of skidding if you needed to break sharply. It is so important that you keep an eye on your tyre tread and make sure that they aren't too worn. It is actually illegal to let your tyre tread drop below a certain point...that is how important it is! I actually saw the other days that one of my friend had their tyres explode when they were driving because they let it get too worn. Luckily she wasn't on a motorway and didn't have her children in the car but it was still a scary experience for her.
The best way to avoid having problems with your tyres this winter is by keeping an eye on the tread and if you think they are worn then heading to a specialist like Kwit Fit. We have our tyres fitted at Kwik Fit which gives me the peace of mind that they have been done properly and are safe. We tend to go online to see all of the different types of tyres available for our car and the website even tells you the next possible date that the tyres are available.


SEO... what is it and why is it important? |  Collaboration

Note: This is a collaborative post

I love being a blogger...sharing my experiences and recording my memories, the opportunity to work with amazing brands and being able to work around my babies. It’s a business and a brand that has taken me almost 3 years to build up and it has been a huge learning curve. Blogging is more than just writing and posting on social media. There is so much that goes into a blog behind the scenes and SEO is just one of those things. So what is SEO and why is it so important? Read on to find out!

So “SEO” refers to search engine optimisation, or the process of optimizing a website so that people can easily find it via search engines like Google. It basically means optimising your website and it’s content so that people can find it and see your page. It’s essential if you want to reach as many people as possible as sharing your blog content on social media will only you so far. It also means that if people were to search a word or phrase on google then if your post has the correct SEO and is optimised then it should be suggested to the person searching. That’s what SEO is but how do you do it?

The easiest and most efficient way is to use a SEO company such as Click Consult that can optimise your site for you. Using a company such as this is the best way to optimise your site as they are professionals and know exactly what they are doing. However, if you’d prefer to do it yourself then here are some tips -

1. Be active with your blog -
You need to be active and keep posting content

2. Include your main key word in your posts title

3. Don’t forget to add keywords to your images as well as your posts as images can be searched too

4. Write engaging content with eye catching titles (without being too click bait thought as no one likes that!!)

5. Fix broken links-
Run a broken link checker to see any links that may be old or broken. By updating or removing these you make your site more user friendly which google always likes!

Happy SEOing!!!


To the 'bad' people in this world | Blog

Are you really 'bad'? People aren't just born 'bad'...there is usually something that happens to make them 'bad'. Did you have a bad childhood? Did you get in with the wrong crowd? Are you struggling with your mental health and no one is helping? Are you crying out for attention? Do you have an addiction you need to feed and no one is there to help you? Have you experienced a trauma or had a bad life experience? Whatever has happened to you, I want you to know that you have my sympathy BUT I also want you to know that you need to stop as your actions have consequences that you probably haven't even imagined. 

What am I talking about? Well, a week or so ago my car was broken into. The window on Smidge's side of the car was smashed and the person reached in and opened the door. Then then obviously rooted around all the crap that comes with having two children and using the car a lot and stole my instax camera that I'd had for less than a month and also a Disney on ice bag with a plastic Olaf cup inside. When I first discovered what had happened I instantly imagined what had gone on. I pictured a desperate, sad man rooting through my car searching for anything that he could steal and sell to pay for his next hit. Maybe it wasn't drugs...maybe he was so hard up that he needed to steal to buy food? Maybe that was it? I actually felt sorry for whomever broke into my car and I came to the mindset that the person who did it clearly needed my belongings more than me. I figured that even through they were a 'bad' person, they must have had good reason to do what they did and they were obviously desperate as no one breaks into cars and steals for fun right?


#instagramyourcar with Tyre City | Collaboration 

Note - this is a collaborative post

Instagram is obviously a huge part of my life because as a blogger I am on there quite a lot. I’m not the kind of person who has a theme or anything like that. I post pictures of whatever I want, whenever I want and recently when I posted a picture of my poor car after it had been broken into, I was introduced to a whole new world of instagram!!

Cars of Instagram!!

How did I not know that this was a thing before?? People take some really amazing and professional shots of their cars and share across social media. My brother actually takes some amazing photos of his car (I used his photo above!) and I never really understood why until recently. I suppose that these cars are like children to the owners. They are their pride and joy so why shouldn’t they want to show them off?

Tyre City, who offer the best range of car tyres at low prices, sent me an infographic that they created to help people take “Instagram - worthy” shots of their cars. I think I could use some of these in my day to day instagramming too!!

They also sent through the list of the most instagrammed cars as you can see above and I was amazing (and secretly a little pleased) to see that some normal, family cars made the list like the Ford Focus and the Honda Civic!

So there you have it! Top tips to help you become the next top car instagrammer!

You are welcome :)


Why is self care so hard? | Blog

Recently I was told by someone that I needed to self care. She said that my heart was heavy with pressures of the day and that I couldn't pour from an empty cup. To be honest, it came as no great shock. I can't tell you how many times my friends have told me to slow down and how shocked people are when I tell them all of what I do. It wasn't until I really thought about how much I actually do and what responsibility I carry around that I realised how much I need to slow down.

The daily care of the children
Food shops
Meal plans
Clothes shopping
Cleaning the house
Keeping track of the extra curricula stuff
Running my blog
Maintaining 3 social media accounts
Part time work at a bank (although I am on maternity leave at the moment)
Insurance renewals
Pet grooming appointments and vet appointments 
Planning a 30th birthday party
Running our calendars
Directing a pantomime
Walking the dog

Basically I am trying to run a house, look after, raise and teach two children in the hopes they will become decent human beings, look after a dog, run a business and direct a panto. No wonder I am burning myself out! But...I thought I gave myself 'me' time. I go to the gym...I see my friends...I do things for me. Why isn't that enough? Have I got self care wrong?  I think I have. 

The more I have thought about things recently the more I have realised that self care isn't going to the gym or getting out of the house for a couple of hours. It's not expensive spa days and trips away. Self care is listening to what you want to do deep down. It's putting what you want first for once and actually doing it. It's eating that bar of chocolate or making time to go for that bath. It's watching the end of Eastenders before you start tidying up. 

It is more than just doing something for you though. It's about being kind to yourself. 


Grieving for the loss of your breastmilk  |  Blog

It always seems to be the way that the things we long for the most seem to be the things we see most often. When your trying to have a baby if feels like all you ever see walking down the street is pregnant people. When your suffering with a loss it feel like all you can see is other people happiness all around. It’s like the universe is constantly reminding you of what you can’t have.
Ever since I stopped breastfeeding 3 months ago I feel like all I see is breastfeeding mothers everywhere. Don't get me wrong...I am so proud that so many women have the confidence to feed in pubic around others and I honestly want to go and give them a high five as I know how hard it can be but I swear I didn’t see that many breastfeeding mothers when I was feeding. Everywhere I go it seems like I am in the minority when I get out a bottle for Smidge. I know that statistically that’s not true and I am not a minority anymore but I can’t help but feel like I am. It sometimes feels like everyone was able to continue their breastfeeding journey until they chose...just not me.


Sounds Right Phonics Classes Leigh on Sea | Review

Let me start this post by explaining that we were gifted out first half term of lessons in return for this review BUT we love the classes so much (for the reasons I will explain in a moment) that we have paid for the next term worth of lessons ourselves. So yes this post is an #ad but it is my honest opinion and if I didn't think that the classes were brilliant then I wouldn't have paid to go back. Now that is out of the way...let me introduce you to a class that has changed Pickle in such an amazing way! 

If you have read my blog for a while then you will know that I have always worried a little bit about Pickles speech. There was a time when he was about 2/3 years old that I actually tried to get speech therapy for him because I was so worried. It wasn't that he didn't talk...my god that boy can talk for England...it was more that he wasn't pronouncing certain sounds properly and if you didn't know him then you couldn't really understand him. But, because health visitors and doctors told me that developmentally he was fine, I pushed it to the back of my mind.


2019... the year of less  |  Blog 

When I look back on 2018 it feels like it was the year of more. More pressure than I’d ever felt before. Pressure to be perfect and the best mother I could be. More comparison. I compared everything I did to everyone around me and that was not healthy! More spending. On 2018 we went on 2 holiday, loads of days out, brought loads of toot we don’t actually need... it was a bit ridiculous. More tears. I think I cried more in 2018 that I’ve ever cried before. Becoming a mother to two and the pressure I put on myself to be supermum was unreal and caused me a lot of upset and tears. 2018.. the year of more and not in a positive way!! 

That’s why I’ve decided that 2019 is going to be the year of less. 

Less waste... so using up all of our food rather than chucking it away. Selling on clothes and things rather than throwing away. Buying clothes (apart from underwear, socks and vests) second hand as it’s a waste to buy brand new. I saw on someone’s social media recently an article all about how much fabric goes to landfil. I am the WORST for throwing away clothes because I can’t be bothered to sell them on or take them to the charity shop. It even worse now we have Smidge because he’s growing at a crazy fast rate meaning new clothes all the time. I realised late last year that they don’t have to be new?!? I order a couple of bundles of clothes for him from eBay and they were amazing! So I’ve decided to do that more and for myself too. I want to reduce our footprint even if it’s only by a small amount as every little helps. 

Less spending... who doesn’t want to spend less?!? But after an expensive year with two holidays, a new baby, lots of days out and being very slack with how much we spend on the food shop, I want to tighten the purse strings this year to start saving again. We will still go on holiday and have days out but we will make smarter choices like shopping in Aldi rather than Tesco. The only reason I don’t is because Tesco delivers so its more convenient but it’s so much more expensive! Time to stop being lazy, organise myself and get my bum to the shops.

Less pressure... I’m going to put less pressure on myself to do everything. In 2018 I put so much pressure on myself to be perfect. I saw the way that others coped with 2 children and how they were able to do arts and crafts whilst baking home made bread in their spotlessly clean and tidy house and I thought I should be doing that. Reality is that I CAN’T do that and that is okay. In 2019 I want to stop pressuring myself to be “perfect” and accept that perfectly imperfect parenting is okay 😊

Less weight! I want to loose some weight this year and it’s not because of how I look or because I want to “conform” to the fact that society says I have to loose weight in January. I want to go back onto the Microgynon pill and I’m not “allowed to” (hate that phase) unless I drop my BMI. That pills is so perfect for me and my hormones that I just desperate to get back on it. If loosing some weight is what it takes then that’s what I’ll do. And anyway... even if I did want to loose weight to feel better about myself then I don’t think that’s a bad thing. There has been a lot on social media recently about deleting diet accounts and unfollowing those who promote dieting but I don’t understand why?!? If people are doing it in the right way and because they want to then what’s the problem?? 

I just want 2019 to be the year of less! Less rushing around, less stress, less complication, less wishing the time away. I want to enjoy as much of this year as I can and keep it as simple as possible. I think these are all achievable goals which won’t require me changing my whole life. They are simple but should have a big impact. 

What do you want from 2019?