Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Netflix Stream Team: September

Netflix Stream Team

These last few months I have been more addicted to Netflix than ever before, I have loved nothing more than tucking myself up in bed, flicking the TV on and relaxing with my latest box set addiction. Pretty Little Liars (Although I will be very careful about how I use the Netflix and chill terminology now I am familiar with the word on the street!).

I have finally come to the end of the line with Pretty Little Liars (well for the time being anyway!). I know who A is, and I never saw it coming, not for one single moment. That's what I have loved about the series since the get go, the twists and turns have really kept me on the very edge of my seat, biting my nails and reeling in shock. That's exactly what I look for in a series that I can really get into, each of the characters are all so unique and boast their own likability factors that you just can't help but love them. 

So with one love affair ending for the time being, I have left with a box set hole in my life, one that I needed to fill as quickly as possible, because if I am not writing on this here blog, if I am not at the gym, you can guarantee that I am taking advantage of my Netflix subscription. I told you all last month about the potentials for my next series, and I am now storming my way through the 3rd season of Orange is the New Black. 

This is a series I started watching not long after the release of the very first season. At the time I flicked that pilot episode on, I wasn't expecting great things in all honesty. It was a series that I didn't anticipate enjoying, but from the very start my expectations were just blown away. The Netflix original series are actually the exact reason that you should get an account if by some insane reason you have missed the explosion of television on demand in recent years, I have to ask the question, have you been hiding under a rock?

Demand television is the only way I get to watch anything these days, being a parent has meant that any TV that is used throughout the day, will undoubtedly be all of Leo's favourite programs and films, you can bet your bottom dollar that anything I want to watch...Well I can just forget it. That is exactly why Netflix is such a valuable asset to me, because there are evenings where I want to do nothing more than get into bed, turn the TV on, lock out the world and just simply lose myself in a story on the box. 

The convenience factor of Netflix has fit into my crazy existence and is perfectly suited to my busy (often hectic!) life. If I want to stay up until 1am and chain watch my latest series, then I absolutely can (and absolutely do!), if I want to pause it half way through and pick up exactly where I left of.. No problem. If Leo decides to get ill while i'm engrossed in what I am watching, the days of missing the ending are long gone. 


Disclaimer: As part of the Netflix Stream Team I am provided complimentary Netflix to meet my addiction. All views and opinions expressed are completely honest and my own.




Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Fireman Sam Heroes of the Storm DVD Review

Fireman Sam Heroes of the Storm

Back in the Summer Holiday's Leo and I were invited to London to a rather exciting premier. The premier of Fireman Sam's latest feature film: Fireman Sam Heroes of the Storm. Unfortunately we were busy that day and couldn't make the rather splendid event. The fantastic team over at Mattel very kindly sent us the DVD and a Fireman Sam Helmet with sounds so that we could still get involved. 

It made a lovely treat for Leo when he arrived home from school last week, as last week was the start of his first full day in the school setting, so when he arrived home to such a lovely surprise he really was over the moon. It is safe to say that school is tiring that little man of mine right out, so we are opting to spend afternoons following the school day, quietly and usually with a film. Of course the movie of choice last week was Heroes of the Storm!

Fireman Sam Heroes of the Storm

What's it all about?

The Pontypandy Fire Station has been closed down following the construction of a much newer modern station, and with that two new recruits have arrived. While the new station is being constructed the crew are having to work from a mobile command unit. Of course if something can go wrong...It wil go wrong and in this instance, it's the approaching hurricane that is about to hit Pontypandy!

The crew jump in to action to prepare the town, with Sam rushing to the old mines to warn Penny and Elvis left in charge at the station. As the wind whips up and the rain lashes down, it's a race against time to save the residents of Pontypandy. 

The film has so many different emergencies going on that it definitely helped keep Leo entertained and the entire duration of the film saw Leo sat on the very edge of his seat. He asked questions about what was going on, why was Sam doing that? And the entire time saw him sitting with his very special Fireman Sam Helmet on his head.

The film retails at: £5.99 and you can get your very own Fireman Sam Sound Helmet from Amazon for £14.97.


Fireman Sam Heroes of the Storm

Disclaimer: We were sent the Fireman Sam Sounds Helmet and Fireman Sam Heroes of the Storm DVD in exchange for our honest thoughts and opinion. 



Despicable Me 2 Talking Dave Soft Toy Review


Has anyone else noticed the Minion phase that has swept over the children of the nation? I am sure it isn't just me, from Despicable Me it was inevitable that these cute little yellow characters weren't going to capture the hearts of the nation. In fact for me the Minions were the only things to get me through Despicable Me 1 and 2 so I had high hopes for the film, which in my honest opinion was a bit of a flop after such a dramatic build up. 

Despite the film not living up to expectations, we still love Minions in this house. Minion Dave in particular. Leo has recently been cosying up with a Plush Talking Dave, and the play value that Leo has shown with this soft toy has actually provided more play time than I first anticipated. Leo has never really been one for cuddly toys, but then I suppose those cuddly toys weren't Minions...


Minion Dave is a nice size at 29cm tall, and he is made out of soft cuddly material. The only aspect of him that isn't cuddly are his goggles which are quite heavy. The Minion straight out of Despicable Me 2 has a variety of words and phrases that he speaks when you push his tummy. When you do push his stomach and he speaks, his eyes also light up and bulge out of his head which is a feature that Leo really enjoys.

Minion Dave has been Leo's right hand guy, and it has been rather nice seeing him take to a soft toy like he never has before. Leo has always been all about his blanket, a cot duvet that he has had since he was a baby, and even today he cannot go to bed without it. So Minion Dave has slotted in quite nicely between blanket and cuddles at bedtime, and it is not un-common to hear random Minion chatter coming from Leo's bedroom after the lights go out... If it's not Dave, then it is usually Leo shouting 'BANNANA'.


Dave requires 3 X AA batteries that come included when you purchase him and so far they seem to last rather well despite the non stop use he has had since arriving with us. Dave is currently on offer at the House of Fraser for £34.99, discounted from £39.99.

We really enjoyed Minion Dave, and it would seem that he will be heading off to sleep with Leo for some time to come.

With Christmas just around the corner, Dave could make the perfect gift to open on Christmas morning, so if you are already thinking about the big day (that isn't all that far away) keep an eye out for upcoming reviews that may help you make the all important gift selections. 

Disclaimer: We were sent a Despicable Me 2 Talking Dave Soft Toy for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are completely honest and those of Life Unexpected.

Monday, 21 September 2015

A Typical Food Day for this BBG Girl



I have been following Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide for the past 31 weeks now, and one of the biggest lessons I have learned is that when you are trying to achieve your goals, food is the absolute basis for everything. 

You can exercise all you like, but unless you follow through with your diet plan, long term you aren't going to for fill your all time objectives. I tell you this from experience. Back in August I was much leaner than I am today, and that is because my eating was working hand in hand with my exercise regime. 

Today my eating is getting back where it should be, but I expect it to be a good few weeks before I get back to where I was. It really does just go to show how much you can undo when you fall off the band wagon and your eating goes to pot. Today I wanted to walk you through a typical meal plan for a typical day in my shoes. I am no dietitian, I don't proclaim to know everything, because I am not trained and I quite simply don't, but this is what works for me personally, and they are meals that I enjoy...


Breakfast

Breakfast can be a variety of different things for me, after all it is the most important meal of the day. 

These are some of my favourite and a regular go to breakfast choice for me.

- Hard Boiled Eggs on Rye - It's a great way to start the day and always keeps me feeling full and sustained.
- Coconut Porridge with honey - This is an indulgent breakfast for me, I absolutely love it and I could eat so much more than I probably should!

- Green Smoothie - I enjoy these as it is a great way to kick start the morning, your getting a blast of everything that is good for you, it's filling and nutritious all at the same time.

- 2 Weetabix with coconut milk and honey.

Bikini Body Guide Food


Snacks

I snack throughout the day, one in the morning around 11am and once again in the afternoon around 3pm. It's so important to keep yourself fuelled especially when you are training so you want to pick snacks that are going to provide you with energy and there are many different options that can help you feel full and benefit your goals.

- Celery and Peanut Butter
-  1 Apple
- Almonds
- Water Melon
- Blue Berries
- Hard Boiled Eggs

I seem to be favouring eggs in every corner of my day to day life at the moment. For me they are the ultimate fast food and I think that is why I love them so much. I boil them up in batches and keep them in the fridge so that I have a protein blast to hand whenever I fancy one. The problem is..I can eat quite a few in one sitting!

Lunch


I find if I have a big breakfast, sometimes I am not feeling a huge lunch. A typical lunch for me could be anything of the following:

- Omelette with a sprinkling of cheese and a side salad.
- Chicken Wholemeal Wrap
-  Ham and Cheese on Rye Crackers
- Steak and Salad
- Chicken and Salad
- Water Melon

Dinner


Dinner is by far my favorite meal of the day. and I seem to go through phases of what I am really enjoying. If you follow me on Instagram then you will know that I am absolutely loving Steak at the moment. Thankfully there are so many different ways that you can enjoy steak.

- Chilli Steak on a bed of baked Broccoli, Spinish and Kale with a sprinkling of fresh Parmesan. 

- Chilli Steak with Sweet Potato Fries and Corn on the Cob

- Chilli Steak and Mediterranean Vegetables

Other dinner variations include:

- Chicken Pesto Pasta 
- Chicken topped with Pepperoni and Cheese on Whole Grain Rice
- Honey and Soy Chicken with black pepper and vegetables
- Chicken/Steak Stir Fry
- Omelette
- Vegetable Base Pizza - Why not try Courgette Base


Night Time Hunger Pangs

If you are anything like me than night time is the worst. It's when you want to just reach for the chocolate and be done with it, but you don't have to throw in the towel. When hunger strikes the first thing you need to do is drink some water. It could just be that you are thirsty. 

If that doesn't cut it, then maybe these solutions that I use regularly might to do the trick:

- Camomile Tea with Honey (my favourite flavour has to be Twinings Soothing Camamile and Spiced Apple! It's got a gorgeous taste and is a great way to un-wind for sleep!).

- Cacao Hot Chocolate with Cinnamon and Honey. You can find the recipe here.

I especially find that the Cacao Hot Chocolate stops you feeling hungry because it's so thick and indulgent, and not to mention that it sustains your sweet tooth at the same time! 

It's all about moderation...

I am currently taking my eating right back to basics and making sure that I am giving my body everything it needs for fuel. I let it get out of control but I am taking it back, and I am now ready to continue hitting my goals.




Thursday, 17 September 2015

The Thomas & Friends Take-n-Play Daring Dragon Drop Set Review


For any long term reader you will know that Leo has always had a little bit of a love for trains, and Thomas the Tank Engine in particular. Over the years we have seen A LOT of train track, and seem to have trains coming out of our ears, not the mention the abundance of Thomas and his friends that seem to be at the helm of each and every toy box. Yes...We may have a train problem. 

We have put a number of the Fisher Price Thomas range through their paces over the last couple of years, much to Leo's delight, and they are all toys that he still gets out on a regular basis. True love never dies they say, and the fire that burns for the reviews below has never gone out.


With Christmas just around the corner I thought it would be a great time to re-capture the love for these toys before telling you all about the latest Thomas & Friends Take-n-Play Set that we have been having a play with over the last few weeks. The new Thomas & Friends Take-n-Play Daring Dragon Drop Set.


So what makes a great train toy in 2015? Well for Leo if you have a nice amount of track, you have a few trains to help fuel his imagination... You have a winner, and the Daring Dragon Take-n-Play Drop Set has all of this, I can tell you before I even get any further into this review, that this latest set has been a big BIG hit with the four year old.

What's in the box?

A die-cast metal Thomas, a volcano, a dragon bridge with zip-line, a bridge track and a loop of track

The first thing to note about this play set is it's generous size, with a train track I think size is important. It definitely is for Leo. Bigger is most definitely better in his frame of thinking, and on the size factor this ticked every box. What's even better about opting for this play set is that you can fold it up and put it away at the end of the day. Yes trains are pretty cool, but it is also nice to get your living room floor back at the end of the day when the kids have gone off to bed! 

It comes included with the 2 AAA batteries that it requires, so that as soon as assembly has been completed, little ones can enjoy it right away.


The set has a rather exciting story behind it, and if this doesn't aid imaginative play then I don't know what will 'When Thomas finds a shield on Misty Island it inspires him to bravely seek out the legendary dragon on Dragon Island. As Thomas rides along the track from Misty Island to Dragon Island the volcano erupts and he must escape! He rides up the ramp right onto the dragon bridge. Can Thomas zip-line safely back to Misty Island?'


The story has prompted so many different play scenarios for Leo, and honestly watching Leo play trains is often just to humorous for words. There are almost always train crashes, trains getting stuck, other trains coming to the rescue...You name it. It happens. What really aids Leo's play with this particular toy is the 'erupting' feature on the volcano! To activate this you just need to push the top down, and then it is time to get Thomas away as promptly as possible. Or at lightning speed if your name is Leo.


Assembly

You would think that after putting a multitude of these sets together over the years, that I would be a pro at this by now. Well...You would be wrong. Even with the instructions being as transparent as they, detailing exactly what to do, I always seem to struggle and pass the building task over to someone more competent. Once it's together though, you are good to go.

Over all we really liked this latest addition to the Fisher Price Thomas and Friends collection, and it is currently lay in wait for Leo to finish school and complete the adventure that he started this morning. 

The Thomas & Friends Take-n-Play Daring Dragon Drop Set retails at £36.99 at Smyths Toys.


Disclaimer: We were sent the Thomas & Friends Take-n-Play Daring Dragon Drop Set for the purpose of this review. All views and opinions expressed are completely honest and my own.



















The Imaginext DC Super Friends Transforming Bat Cave Play Set Review

Imaginext DC Super Friends Transforming Bat Cave Play Set

Ever since the LEGO Movie stole Leo's heart, Bat Man has been a bit of a big thing around here (another sign that the little baby I once knew has grown up on me). The lovely team over at Fisher Price very kindly sent Leo the new Imaginext DC Super Friends Transforming Bat Cave Play Set to have a play with, and I cannot even begin to describe how excited he was when it arrived. Leo is at the age now where he is a sucker for adverts, you know...Toy adverts. I remember the age well from back in my day when I was all about the dolls and latest barbie, and now I am living it through the eyes of my 4 year old.

Imaginext DC Super Friends Transforming Bat Cave Play Set

Leo had seen this particular model on the television and that just made the unpacking that little bit more exciting for him. There isn't any construction necessary (Thank you Fisher Price) it was literally just a case of taking it out of the box and unleashing Leo and his over active imagination. It requires 2AAA batteries that come pre-installed so you don't even need to worry about having the batteries in, which is ideal when you have a 4 year old who is just wanting to get playing.

Imaginext DC Super Friends Transforming Bat Cave Play Set

The Imaginext DC Super Friends Transforming Bat Cave is an interactive play set with lights, sounds, 2 play characters (Bat Man himself and Joker) and gadgets to fight the crime that is always occurring in Gotham! The set is geared at children aimed 3 and up, I think that Leo at 4 years is the perfect age for it right now, at just turned 3 I don't think he would have benefited from the play value aspect as much as he does now. Leo can spend hours playing with the Bat Cave, one minute Joker and Bat Man are the best of friends, and the next Leo has concocted an evil play and Joker is back to his old tricks! Thankfully Leo knows how to handle the situation and it's not long before Bat Man is back on top, and Joker is locked away in the very depths of the cave in jail.

Imaginext DC Super Friends Transforming Bat Cave Play Set

Imaginext is a brand that Leo and I just love, there are so many different and marvelous creations. It is suffice to say that the Bat Cave certainly hasn't disappointed. As always with Imaginext toys there are hidden aspects that just make it even more exciting for the play dreamer to explore and un-cover. You can use Joker and Bat Man to transform the Bat Cave by using them to turn the power pods, resulting in the Batwings opening and Batman's eyes lighting up!

We have had this play set with us for the last couple of weeks, and it gets played with daily. For me that's what it comes down to, before I ever buy anything I want to know if Leo will actually enjoy it, if he will actually use it. My experience has shown that the less complicated the toy is, the more it will get played with. I mean that in the sense that if it is something that he can use his imagination for, he is more likely to play with it over say a all singing all dancing toy that bounces around the room, that has the potential to lose it's play value pretty quickly, where as with this he can make up a new adventure each time he plays, and he certainly does that.

The Imaginext DC Super Friends Transforming Bat Cave retails at £59.99 at Smyths

Imaginext DC Super Friends Transforming Bat Cave Play Set

Disclaimer: We were sent the Imaginext DC Super Friends Transforming Bat Cave for the purpose of this Review. All views and opinions expressed are completely honest and my own.









Crazy Legs Scooby - Review

Crazy Legs Scooby

Growing up I am sure we all caught Scooby Doo on the television, and all of these years later Leo is getting to enjoy the show for himself. We were very recently asked if we would like to put Crazy Legs Scooby through it's paces, and when I confirmed with the 4 year old, he was more than happy to put Scooby through his paces.

Crazy Legs Scooby is a fun addition to the toy box, aimed at children 3 years and over and comes equipped with 4  x AA batteries for the test features to be carried out in the 'Try Me' Option. To get Crazy Legs Scooby to go crazy, he requires 6 x AA batteries.

Crazy Legs Scooby

Leo has been getting Scooby out to play over the last few weeks now, and even now he enjoys watching him spin around the room. Standing at around 30cms he is a nice size and easy for little hands to enjoy, he is operated using his head, you simply need to push it down to make him go.

Once set in motion Scooby's paws start to spin and he starts to move forward, backwards and can even demonstrate a 360 degree spin! Alongside the movement features, Scooby of course talks which adds another aspect to keep little one's entertained.

Crazy Legs Scooby

Leo is 4 years old and he has enjoyed Crazy Scooby. It isn't a toy that he will spend hours playing with, but I find that he gets him out and sets him off on a regular basis. 

Crazy Legs Scooby is priced at £29.99 and is available from Amazon.

Disclaimer: We were sent a sample of Crazy Legs Scooby for the purpose of this review. All views and opinions expressed are completely honest and those of Life Unexpected.



The one where Leo goes full time at school


Leo has always marched to the beat of his own drum, there's a steady rhythm and his song plays loud for all to hear. It's not the typical chart music that gets over played and annoying, it's cosmic, bouncy and peaceful all at the same time, just like him. 

I knew that starting school was going to shake everything up, I knew it was going to be tiring for him. I knew that it was going to be hard, and throughout it all he has been so big and so brave. First days are always daunting and whether we care to admit it or not, they don't ever get any easier as the years roll by. 

We are into our second week now and Leo's steady drum continues to beat, he gets up each morning and I help him get ready for the day ahead. We have breakfast and slowly but surely we are getting there, getting ready to drive the short drive to school. As the days have gone by, Leo seems to have gotten more worried about going into school, he wants more cuddles, more kisses and he doesn't want me to leave. 50 hugs and kisses later he finally goes into his class room, sometimes there's tears, sometimes he's absolutely fine. He proclaims he's tired to the teacher as soon as we see her, and I know that tactic. That tactic is so that he can try and wiggle his way out of doing things, he tried this at nursery and for a long time really pulled the wool over everybody's eyes. Everybody except me of course. I know that little man of mine, and I know that he went to bed before 7pm the night before and slept like a log. 

I know that as soon as he get's through the door of his classroom and I am out of sight that he will be absolutely fine. 

I have been getting to school earlier so I can watch him play from the roadside, I can't help but be curious to what he get's up to when he is at school. When he is outside playing, witnessing how he plays with the other children, how he smiles, how he laughs. For the first week and a bit each time I arrived he was stood among the children, he looked a little lost and was holding onto the rope of the play castle that stands in the reception play ground. I edged closer, and finally walked into the playground to let him know I was there and it was time to come home. That's when he turned on his heels and walked away, back towards the play castle to hide. It was as though he was angry at me for leaving him, and I just wanted to scoop  him up and give him a cuddle.

That's how the first week went really. Leo was absolutely fine within minutes of me collecting him, and I worried that this may progress into something more. I watched as the other children were exstactic to see their parents, running towards them and throwing their arms around them, and there was Leo walking away from me as fast as he possibly could. Thankfully this week has been a turning point, and on Tuesday when I rolled up at 1pm to collect him, he saw me. Beamed a beautiful smile and shouted 'Mummy!!' and ran towards me for a mammoth of a cuddle. The first thing he told me was that school had given him Broccoli for lunch that day, and it was disgusting! 

Yesterday's collection was just as happy, and I picked up my happy boy from school to bring him back home again.

Today has been Leo's very first FULL day at school. I expect to pick up one very tired little man with a mood to match, but I am sure that underneath the sleepy eyes and busy day, he will still be marching to the beat of his own drum.

Zombie Blast - Revew

Zombie Blast

If there is one thing I have realised about little boys since experiencing one of my own, it is their love for anything and everything that has the potential to be either a little bit gross or scary. So when we were recently asked to put the new Zombe Blast toy through it's paces I decided that we should give it a whirl.

Zombie Blast allows you to take part in your very own Zombie apocalypse.I was a little bit weary of how Leo may react to it. I knew that the fact it was a target game would go down pretty well, as the aim of the game is to shoot the Zombie until it's limbs come off and ultimately to stop it walking towards you. 

In the Zombie Blast box you will find:

- 1 zombie
- 1 pistol 
- Instructions

 Zombie Blast

You have to shoot the Zombie down before your the time wraps up in around 30 seconds. You do this with the pistol provided, and you can shoot the walking Zombie from up to 2.5m away. There are 3 stages that you need to progress through, and each one becomes more difficult. Shoot him 3 times and one arm will blast off, shoot another 3 times and his other arm will detach, shoot him a further 3 times and he will die and fall over. It's actually really funny to watch and not gruesome in any way.

The game is controlled by the pistol which has the 'on/off'' switch  and of course the'start' button that sets up the games, If you aren't a fan of games that include zombies or guns, then this won't be the toy for you. We thought we would give t a whirl and see how we got on, and I think it has to be noted that the adults seemed to really enjoy this toy! Especially the 'grown up boys' i.e Dad's!

Leo enjoyed the game but it has to be noted that he was a little bit scared of the zombie, even if he doesn't care to admit it. He was never the one to put the arms back on the zombie and tentatively waited for me to piece him back together again. That being said though, he was more than happy from a distance to use the pistol... Just as long as the zombie didn't get to close to comfort which is pretty understandable.

Zombie Blast retails at £24.99.


Zombie Blast

Disclaimer: We were provided with a sample of Zombie Blast for the purpose of this honest review. All thoughts and opinions are those of Life Unexpected.



Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Decorating your childhood room

Life Unexpected

When I moved back to the parental home last year, it meant coming back to my childhood bedroom. A room with Pink walls, and when I say Pink. I mean hot Pink walls. I went backwards and forwards trying to make a decision on whether I should re-decorate or not, at then 25 I should have a room a little more grown up right? In the end I couldn't justify the cost, as after all I was only going to be here for a couple of months. 15 months later I still haven't gotten around to moving out again, but life has been anything but simple over those last 15 months, it has involved redundancy, change, loss of a job, they have seen Leo starting school. It has just been a busy old year, and moving out hasn't really been an option again right now.

Of course as I am now still at home, the decision of not decorating before I moved all of my worldly belongings back in is grating me. I wish I had taken the opportunity to give the room a complete over haul. The shocking pink paint job occurred when I was a mere 18 years of age, and to say that it is a little bit of an eyesore is an understatement in it's self. 

Still we live and we learn right?

Over the last couple of weeks I have been seriously thinking about giving the room a complete make over. I have been sourcing ideas from Homify, but I think the most I will be able to really get away with is a lick of fresh (Anything but pink) paint. In my head I think keeping it simple is the way to go, I have a gorgeous king size bed which is the main feature of the room, boasting a black leather headboard. Maybe even a feature wall with some darker boutique style wall paper behind the bed would make the room that extra little bit cosy. I would then be half tempted to just pick a creamy colour to cover up the glow of the pink paint. I am sure it would help me in actually feeling my age a little bit more, because as if being at home again isn't crazy enough, I actually still...at times...feel 18.

Working from home

Maybe in the next few weeks, now I am actually working form my desk out of my bedroom (high five anyone!?) I may actually put these dreams into action. It would definitely make it a nicer place to spend a substantial amount of my time... 

In fact I may just pop into the store after I collect little man from school. I am suddenly feeling inspired and should probably action it before I change my mind again.

How are your days shaping up?

New school, new dreams, new room

Starting School

Letting go of our kid’s hands as they start a new school can be a tough moment as a parent. It’s a time you have to be cruel to be kind, before they get used to this new environment.

Change is hard for even the most experienced of us, so I can only imagine what’s going on in those tiny little heads across the country as they take their first steps into the world of education. It’s a scary thing, but maybe there are a few ways to make change more acceptable.

One way I’ve been thinking about making the idea of school and change more appealing is to do a spot of redecorating. Create a place from your child’s room that is exciting and filled with all the new dreams and ambitions that school can bring.
These are my recommendations:

Do it together
When so much of our lives and our kid’s lives will now be spent at work or at school, it’s more important than ever to do activities together. Plus this is a perfect opportunity to help your child understand that change can be good and new experiences can be wonderful. Make it a fun and exciting activity for everyone.

Go beyond the limits
Involve your child as much as you can in the decorating process, from the choosing, the preparing and the actual decorating. This may seem daunting, but this is a test for you to. You need to start letting your child express themselves, push the limits and be independent. This is a terrifying thing for most mums, I know. When time goes so quickly you just want to bundle them up and keep them your baby forever. But let them be creative and independent, at least just in their own room. This means even letting them choose those clashing colours and patterns if they like.

Reflect their dreams
Education is a time when you start developing your hopes, dreams and ambitions. Yes they might change from year to year, but it’s so important to support these dreams each time. Your kid’s room is the perfect place to support these. I’m thinking wallpaper could be the best way to get across this is a fun way. Just looking through some of the designs in Dulux Decorator Centre’s children’s range, you could express anything from travel, engineering and science.

Rest and relax
The school day is so tiring for little ones, there’s no denying that. So, not only must their room be a fun place to be, it must also be a place to rest and recharge in comfort. Let it inspire a blissful sleep and happy dreams, ready to wake up refreshed and raring to go in the morning.

Make it last
Lastly, with all this fun and fantastical decoration, don’t forget to make the room practical. I wouldn’t want to go through all this work, only for the paint to flake off or dirty marks to spoil the look. Looking through some of my options for painting, there are certain paints that are designed to be hard wearing and durable such as Dulux Trade Diamond Matt, no matter how many little sticky fingers it ensures.

Now go out and create an amazing place with your child. Doing something fun like this will hopefully make going to school and leaving their mummy or daddy behind a little less frightening for your little one.


So good luck and keep your head up as you send your boys and girls of to the big wide world of education.

Monday, 14 September 2015

The first week of school


Reception class 2015

A week ago today I dropped you off for your very first day of school. I held your hand as we walked into your class room, and as the other parent's started to leave, you tentatively began to release your grip. You pulled me in for a hug, and then another, and then another after that. Your nerves showing through, your uncertainty for what was coming ahead in that very first day.

You were absolutely fine just like I knew you would be. When I came to pick you up you saw me and shot me a look, a look as if to say 'how dare you leave me here'. You were playing in the little wooden castle in the reception play ground. You hid behind a wall until I came to find you, while all of the other children threw their arms around their parents, you seemed angry at me, I had come to pick you up just as I had promised, I swept you off to McDonald's for a first day treat just as I had promised..But the story has been the same each day since then. You see me and march off with thunder in your eyes, as soon as I get you back to the class room to collect your things you are absolutely fine again, but that initial meeting after I arrive isn't quite where it should be yet.

School has completely tired you out and for the first week and a half you are only part time, I don't quite know how you are going to take to full time school hours just yet, but your teacher has been very supportive of this. She has told me that I can come in and get you if you get that little bit to sleepy, you have only just turned four in the last 12 weeks, so in comparison to some seasoned 4 year old's there is quite an age gap. 

I have been really lucky in the respect that for the first time ever, I am the one who is taking you to and from school. I am a school run Mum! I am really enjoying this as it's something that I never thought that I would get the opportunity to do for you, not consistently day in and out anyway. I am mingling with other Mum's, making friends and have a fighting chance of getting to know exactly who you are talking about, and it's a super feeling. 

Reception class 2015


When the bell rings you launch yourself at me, you give me a big hug and a kiss. I hold you tight and tell you to have a super day. You take your book bag and your water bottle and direct yourself towards your teacher. As you make your way into the courtyard by the classroom your lip starts to quiver. You stand still, you want another kiss, and another cuddle. I pop in and give you the reassurance that you need. There was one day last week where you went straight in and didn't back track for the additional love, but each other day it has been something that has eased you in.  

The afternoon's after school are what I am struggling with, it's been difficult because you are so tired. Really I know that you could do with a sleep and some quiet time, but I am in two mind's about giving you the luxury of an afternoon sleep simply because come Thursday you will be in school until 3pm, and it seems cruel to let you nap (even if you really don't want too) only for the end of the week to rock around and that option no longer be there..

I know it's a learning curve for both of us, I have always said that. I know it's an even bigger learning curve for you and I have to be patient, and I know at times I struggle with the patience side. I don't mean to get frustrated, but sometimes your bad mood get's under my skin and I just don't know what to do with you. It doesn't mean I love you any less. it just means that I am only human, and we could both benefit from some quiet time snuggled up with a movie and some popcorn. 

Mummy and son

As a treat in the next few weeks to celebrate your new school, I am going to whisk you away to the beach. Now the weather is getting cooler I cannot think of anything better than putting on our coats, and our wellies and taking a trip to the seaside just the two of us. It's something that I have never had the courage to do with you before because I am such a scaredy cat when it comes to the motorway, but suddenly it doesn't seem quite so scary any more. It was only the other week that you became my very first solo motorway passenger as we whisked ourselves off to Drayton Manor for a few hours of fun.

School may seem big and scary at times, but you are navigating it in your own way and in your own time. You have an amazing support network and they have told me that your absolutely fine when I am not there, so I can only hope that soon when I come to collect you, you will be happy to see me.

But this is just the very first week, and you are settling in so well.

Well done beautiful boy x

Brantano have put together a series of fun infographics in honour of the children starting school this month. They have hit little man's school uniform on the head, and it is suffice to say that he is looking incredibly smart.



Sunday, 13 September 2015

The Bikini Body Guide

Freya Venice Beach Bikini Set

'How do I get a bikini body?'
Take a bikini, put it on and VIOLA. 

I am a firm believer in being happy in the skin you are in. If you feel comfortable and happy in whatever you are wearing. Wear it, feel confident and shine.

You may sit there and say, but you didn't. That is true, I didn't feel comfortable, I didn't feel happy and I definitely didn't shine when I thought about donning a bikini. The thought of having to wear one aided my decision to avoid swimming, and any social situation that meant I may have to show more of myself than I was comfortable.

For me I did have to do a little bit more than just slip on a bikini to achieve my own personal bikini body mission, but I am certainly not saying that it isn't just as simple as that, because for the majority of people it should be that simple, and it is that simple.

I had to build myself back up, I had to remember that I was a person to and that I deserved to feel healthy and happy. It took me treating myself kindly to find my bikini body, because really all a bikini body is a testament to how you feel inside. If you feel good, you look good.

Freya Venice Beach Bikini Set
The Freya Venice Beach Bikini Set . Top £36.00Bottoms £20.00
Finding a bikini is all about dressing for your shape, if you have larger boobs this will most definitely reflect in the bikini top that you choose. For me personally it doesn't matter, I have never been large on top, and my fitness mission saw to the rest of that. So this means that I can get away with little to no support (and do you know what? I am actually quite grateful for this!). Years ago bikini shopping was a long drawn out process for me, simply because I was on the hunt for this magical creation that would abolish fat, gift me with bigger assets (who cares if it's deceptive!) and make me look like a super model. 

Today I am a much more realistic about the powers possessed by the conventional bikini, and I appreciate them that little bit more. The shopping process is that much easier these days since I am no longer expecting a miracle. I can pick what I want and know that it will fit, and my body will quite simply look how it is supposed to look. it won't make my stomach any flatter, it will simply be what it is.

Life Unexpected's Top Tips for choosing a bikini

1. Determine your body shape! 

2. Choose a top - The cut, color and fabric of your bikini top can all make a big difference in how it looks on you.

3. Choose a bottom - The bottom's that you select will determine how your bum looks! They also possess the power of emphasizing your legs or direct the attention away from them

4. Be confident and happy in your choice - wear your bikini with a smile. 


The Helly Hansen W Ignite Bikini Set  W Ignite Bikini Set: Top £25.00. Bottoms: £25.00

I believe that all women should have the right to feel confident and beautiful in their swimwear. Whatever shape or size, we all have that right to shine. If the process is as simple as taking the bikini out of the draw and putting it straight on that is absolutely amazing and completely inspiring in it's self. If like me you have had to dig a little deeper to find that sparkle, then that's fantastic too. and if you have been spurred into your very own fitness journey, you know exactly how exhilarating it feels.

We all have our own strengths and insecurities but we all have the opportunity to feel amazing in our swim wear.

'How do I get a bikini body?'
Take a bikini, put it on and VIOLA. 

Disclaimer: I was sent the Freya Venice Beach Bikini Set and the Helly Hansen W Ignite Bikini Set in exchange for this feature. All views are completely honest and my own.

Friday, 11 September 2015

The one with the Tarot Reading

Tarot reading

Regardless to your beliefs, sometimes things happen that can completely shake your views on the way the world works. Over the past few months I have been visiting a local bar that hold some pretty fabulous events. One of which is a Tarot and medium evening that is hosted once a month, and I have attended for the social factor on and off for the last 8 months or so. Now I am not saying that I believe, and I am not saying that I don't, but something happened last night that I quite simply cannot explain away.

The tarot reader took my ring, he didn't even offer me the cards to shuffle. The cards didn't come into play throughout the entire reading. He discussed my personal life, to which I could only muster 'oh my god' when he hit the nail on the head, he discussed my work life. He knew things that he quite simply could not have known, things I haven't even said out loud. He told me things I already knew, realisations that have only come to me very recently. He knew that I had some big decisions to make in terms of work and relationships, he knew that I wasn't overly committed to either at this moment in time. 

Out of the room full of people my reading seemed to last the longest, and was definitely the one that prompted the room to fall about laughing. I couldn't feign the truth that was coming out of his mouth, it was like he knew me inside and out. There were a few things that completely changed my mind set last night and I am so glad I opted to record what was said, I have listened to it over and over since I got home. It blows my mind each and every time. 

What really got me was when he told me that there was an elderly man stood there commenting on how much weight I had lost since he was alive. That right there was enough for me to almost choke on the big piece of cake I was now devouring and send shivers down my spine... Whether you believe or not, unless you know me, follow me on Instagram or read this here blog.. You quite simply wouldn't know that I had lost weight. He went on to say a few more things that made me believe that it could only have been Leo's Great Granddad who passed away in May 2014.

There was so much more, things that I would have forgotten in the sea of information that I walked away with last night. I have never had such an accurate, spot on reading where I have come away nodding along with absolutely everything that was said. He got it right down to specific people, he didn't name names, but the descriptions and information that came out were just on a whole new level of WOW. 

So today it may sound like I am losing the plot, maybe I am? Maybe I did a long time ago. Whatever it is I am feeling pretty amazing about what was said. 

Has anyone else ever had an experience like this that they cannot explain away? Just when you thought that there was no more wonder left in the world... Something like this comes along and blows your mind.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

15 Months of Fitness

Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide Transformation

Time passes whether you are think about it or not, one way or another you are going to move forward, and inevitably you can look back on the past few months with a smile, or you can look back and think 'Wow, I should have tried harder'. 

It has now been 15 months since I decided to turn my life on it's head when a lightning bulb moment popped into my head and sent my spiraling into a lifestyle that I never knew I would come to love so much. That's what happened though you see, through gradual changes, I grew and evolved. I can't quite fathom where the time has gone, and I often pinch myself to make sure that I am not dreaming.

I thought I would re-cap my journey at this stage, as recently I have been asked by numerous different people why I started and how I have achieved what I have achieved in this time frame... So let me start at the beginning...

It's June 2014, I have been un-happy with my appearance for a long time. The weight has been creeping on and I am at the point where I don't think there is anything I can do about it, I order another takeaway. I immediately feel guilty, but what's the point? There is nothing I can do about it so I may as well enjoy the Indian Takeaway and all of the accompaniments that have been added in for good measure. 

Why I decided to change
 It had been a deep seated dream of mine for a long time, but despite numerous efforts to better myself (usually only lasting the day) I hadn't ever gotten anywhere. It took someone close to me to tell me that I was 'Getting FATTER by the day' for me to think 'WOW! He is actually right. Let's do something!'. It was those exact words on that one day in June 2014, that kicked my bum into gear and sent me hurtling on an incredible journey where I have made friends with women all over the world. It was those exact words that enabled me to do this.

Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide Transformation

From then on I was a girl on a mission. It all started with small changes. Instead of my daily can of Coca Cola I drank nothing but water. Instead of my daily chocolate bar, I opted for fruit. The weight started to come away, and although I couldn't see change straight away, the scales told me that what I was doing was working, and time would show me that it was all more than worth it.

The journey may have been spurred on by words that were directed to hurt me, but really those words made me. They lit my fire and helped me chase a dream that I had always thought was out of my reach. I did it for me, I did it to show him how strong I was, how I could stand solely on my own two feet and smile. 

In 9 weeks I lost 1 stone and 3lbs. 17 whole lbs melted away between June and August 2014. I got back into my size 8 clothing and was feeling more determined than ever. I kept going over the next few months and in February I was ready for my next step. I commenced Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide. I was pretty much at my goal weight already and I was excited to start fine tuning my body. I had no idea what a roller coaster the next 28 weeks of my life were going to be, and just how amazing the community of ladies completing the guides with me were going to be.

The first 12 weeks flew by and I was noticing changes as early as 3 weeks in, I started to notice abs popping up from what felt like nowhere, I was slowly but surely getting leaner and stronger. People started to notice and I couldn't believe that I was now outshining my original goals. It wasn't even about weight loss anymore, it was about being the strongest version of myself that I could be. It was about being happy.

After I completed the first guide I jumped straight onto Kayla's Second Guide. The weeks past and I kept pushing forward, I invested in a bar bell, upgraded my dumbbells and began lifting and exercising more with weights.

Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide Transformation

I am now on my third round of the guide, I have completed the first guide once and by the time I finish the second guide again, that will be 2 rounds making my weekly count 36! Of course I won't be stopping there.. All I have to say is, you haven't seen anything yet. I am still warming up, and slowly but surly I am pushing myself to new levels.

I have been learning so much about myself over this past year, I feel happier, more confident and comfortable in my own skin. I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I am about dressing my new body in an entirely new wardrobe made up of hot pants, crop tops and beautiful dresses I could only have dreamed of wearing. I have come such a long way and I am taking part in activities and events that I never knew I could be a part of. I traveled to London and took part in Kayla's Boot Camp back in June, and as I type this I have just completed my very first Meta Fit Session.

I plan on going into more detail over the coming weeks and months about the training I am taking part in, the food that I eat and the typical day to day aspects of working towards my goals. If you are interested in the training that I do and you have a question, I am always happy to hear from you.

 Everything I have achieved has been through cleaning up my eating regime and working out. It's not a quick fix, it's a lifestyle. It's sustainable but results take time, it's all within reach for the people who want to make a change.

15 months of fitness has completely changed me. Not just physically, but emotionally.

15 months of fitness has made me.

Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide Transformation