Saturday, 31 October 2015

War of the Worlds Firework Spectacular at Drayton Manor Theme Park


Earlier this year I became a brand ambassador for Drayton Manor Theme Park, and it's a role that I absolutely adore. We live about 50 minutes from the park and the Tamworth area so it really is just on our door step. For Leo and I it really is the perfect day out, the commute is easy, the park is the perfect size and offers plenty for us to do, but not so much that we feel over whelmed and can't fit everything in. 

I last took Leo back in the Summer holiday's just before he started school, we had the best day. We explored the recently opened Thomas Land Expansion and went on our favourite roller-coaster - Troublesome Trucks. Of course no trip to Thomas Land would be complete without a ride on Thomas the Tank himself, so of course we made time for that! 


On Friday I had the exciting task of going along to Drayton Manor to help them celebrate their 65th anniversary! Can you believe that they have been going that long!? I have fond memories of going to Drayton Manor with my family as a child, and I love that Leo is going to have those same memories. 

They really did pull out all of the stops for this celebration, no expense was spared, I have to say that the end result was just INCREDIBLE, and they most definitely ended the season with a big BANG! 

The park invited guests to the lakeside after dark where we were all dazzled (and blown away) by a fantastic fireworks display set the Jeff Wayne's multi million pound selling musical version of War of the Worlds. 


I had high hopes for this firework display before it even commenced, and I am pleased to report that it lived up to and exceeded expectations. The fireworks lit up the night sky, and there was glitter in every direction. There were some fireworks that just seemed to sparkle and glitter long after the big bang, and they were truly beautiful. The War of the Worlds soundtrack was timed perfectly and it was just the perfect backdrop to the display. 


The fireworks weren't the only attraction though, oh no! Drayton Manor had brought out an exciting array of props, and really pulled out the big guns for this special occasion. War of the Wolds was brought to life right before our eyes with moving images appearing in a dome over the lake. I saw aliens, space ships... and martian lands. 


This display really was out of this world, it was absolutely fantastic and Drayton Manor definitely celebrated 65 years in style. If this incredible display wasn't enough, the park kept the rides open until 9pm that night and each night that the display was on (30th October - 1st November).

Congratulations Drayton Manor, and here's to another 65 years! 

Leo and I will be back at the park in November for their Magical Christmas event, and we are both very excited to get in the festive spirit! 

 
Disclaimer: I was invited along to the show but all thoughts and opinions expressed are completely honest and my own.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Holiday Plans for 2016

Mirage Beach Hotel Tunisia

The days are cold and the nights are dark, Autumn has taken hold and the warm days of summer are a mere memory that seems to have come and gone in the very blink of an eye. I am one of those people who just adores the warmer months, sipping a cocktail in a beer garden when the sky is completely clear and the sun is caressing your skin. I cannot wait to get these colder months over and done with, and swing back around to warmer days and sunshine.

Now Christmas hasn't even arrived yet, and my thoughts are surpassing it in favour of holidays. This year I want to get something booked up sooner rather than later and have something to look forward to, something to count down to and to get excited about. 

This year we went as a family to Tunisia, and it was the most perfect week that we could have hoped for. All of these months later, Leo is still talking about the adventures he had and the friends that he made, and in all honesty it had been my intention to return again over the course of the Summer. Of course with everything that happened, the timing didn't seem right, and now as I look ahead for next Summer, it has been an option that I have ruled out. 

Mirage Beach Hotel Tunisia

I want to travel a little bit further now that Leo is older. See more of the world and show Leo the different cultures, their beliefs and way's of life. I want him to grow up with an appreciation for difference. I want him to know that being different is a strength and something to be celebrated, and I believe that through travelling and letting him grow up experiencing these wonderful aspects of life, he is going to just accept it in his stride.

As I want to see so much of the world and travel around, a cruise is ranking quite highly on my list of holiday options at the moment. I think travelling with Leo on my own is quite a big responsibility, so heading off an a cruise could be the answer to our prayers, and because there are so many different packages available, I could definitely find something that ticks my boxes, and of course Leo's too. There is quite a lot for me to consider before I commit to anything, but I know that I absolutely will be taking Leo away at some point next year.

Mirage Beach Hotel Tunisia

Of course now Leo is at school, it means that I realistically have to travel during the school holidays. You have to love that curve ball right? As if planning a holiday wasn't a thought provoking subject enough, before you have to look at the school holiday's and in turn watch as the holiday prices shoot up, up and up right before your eyes!

For now I am going to look towards Christmas, focus on painting that smile on Leo's face and watch was the magic un-folds all around him. Then in January, I am going to start looking at our holiday options again.

Are you already thinking about next year's holiday?

Mirage Beach Hotel Tunisia

Kayla Itsines and BBG Midlands

Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide

In February I started a fitness guide. That was all it was, an e-book on my phone, laptop or tablet, a fitness routine that was hopefully going to get me from A-B. Not for one second did I think that this... Guide... Was going to be anything more than it said on the tin. 

Little did I know that this guide, Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide to be precise was actually going to become a way of life, it was going to take my world by storm, it was going to introduce ladies, amazing beautiful ladies from all over the world, it was going to to push me well and truly outside of my comfort zone and make me do things that I would never have done before. 

On top of course of pushing my body into realms that I never ever knew it could go....You can read more about that here.

Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide

Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide

In June I met the queen bee herself - Kayla Itsines! She was on her world tour and I was lucky enough to be there and experience #DeathByKayla in all of it's sweaty glory! Then... @Lisa_PittBBG and I decided that we had to re-create that buzz, that adrenaline, that empowering feeling that you get when you work out with fellow #BBGGirls!

Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide

So that's what we did. Together we put the word out, we created a Facebook Group for ladies from the Midlands area, we got to know local girls who all shared our love and passion for Kayla and of course fitness. We set a date, we found a venue, I designed BBG Hoodies and T-shirts and the amazing Colin of The Printed Gift Shop turned them into a reality! Lisa put together an awesome BBG routine that will forever be known as #DeathByLisa.


Once upon a time the prospect of meeting ladies I had never met before would have scared me out of my wits. I wouldn't have done it, no way, and absolutely no how. With the date looming (Sunday 25th October 2015) in Birmingham's Cannon Hill Park, I felt nothing but excitement. I knew that these ladies were going to be friends. They weren't to be feared, they were to be embraced. 

With my good friend Alessia (who I had roped into coming along only the day before), I drove us to the BBG Meet. I drove to Birmingham which in it's self was un-heard of. I had vowed a long time ago that I would never drive in or around Birmingham, but I was doing it. There was no worry, no dread. 

I was confident. 

I arrived, late as always and everyone was already there and waiting for us. We walked around the park to find the perfect spot. It was a sunny but chilly Sunday and the 9 of us were all feeling the cold (unless you count Lisa in her shorts!).

We kicked off with a warm up, and it wasn't long before we were drawing attention to ourselves. I glanced over my shoulder and saw a group of young guys snapping photos of us. I only hoped they caught the back of our t-shirts and made use of the #DeathByKayla hashtag! What surprised me was how I just didn't care that they were watching, that they were capturing the moment. 

Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide

The warm out expanded into the 4 circuits that Lisa had lovingly laid out to destroy us! They were only 6 minutes long but I am sure I am not alone in saying that we all felt them! Then of course there were the bonus work outs, just in case Lisa hadn't killed enough of us off as possible in the first few rounds!

Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide

The meet was so surreal, it's not everyday that you walk into a group of ladies (most you have never met before in your life) and feel like you have known them for years and years. That's exactly how the first BBG Midland meet went down. Everyone was incredibly friendly, and it didn't take long for the giggles to start, and if working out together doesn't break the ice... Well I really don't know what will.

Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide

Of course we seized the opportunity to talk all things Kayla, I can count on one hand how many people I can discuss this rather amazing lady with, without their eyes glazing over and them wondering when I may shut up. These ladies got it, they got all of it. They live it themselves, they know how burpees are the evilest invention in the history of exercise, and they know that there is no escaping them. They know first hand how fantastic this community that we are all apart of really is, and they know that we will support each other through thick and thin.

Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide

Shaena reserved us all a table at the Plough in Harborne and everyone soon experienced Laura and her love of food.. Most of us ordered the very tasty Quinoa Chipotle Chilli which just so happened to come with a mountain of flat bread. I guess I am pretty proud that I was the only BBG Girl to demolish the entire lot... 

The giggles and chatter continued and by the time we left, we were already discussing our next meet, which is now all organised in Nottingham for the 29th November at Gotham Memorial Hall. If you are local to the Midlands and want to come along, please do! You can join our Midland's Facebook group here.

I tell you what though... I cannot even begin to put into words how proud I am to be a BBG Girl and be part of this absolutely incredible community. 

Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide

Here's to Kayla Itsines, and here's to the BBG and all of the girls who complete it.

You guys ROCK!

Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide









Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Dining with Brewers Fayre

Brewers Fayre

Having an active 4 year old on my hands, I am always looking for fun places to dine that will provide the grown ups with good value/tasty meals, and of course entertainment to keep Leo occupied while the grown up's get the opportunity to catch up and relax. 

Brewers Fayre

Leo, myself and two close friends of ours were very recently invited along to our local Brewers Fayre at Elmbury Lodge in Tewkesbury to try out the new Autumn menu. Luckily for us they are one of the first places to have the new Dennis the Menace themed play zones, which boast fully supervised play areas for toddlers and children to play while they await their meals to be prepared. This was an absolute god send for us as it meant that the grown up's could talk among themselves, and because of the great seating from our table, we had the perfect view to keep an eye on Leo as he expanded much needed energy!

If you were thinking of a birthday party then this really could be the all inclusive stress free option you were looking for...

Brewers Fayre

Of course for us grown up's and our rumbling tummies, are eyes immediately diverted to the menus where we found a great selection of dishes, that ultimately made it very difficult for our party to narrow it down to just one course each! I very quickly settled on the 14oz Rib Eye Steak, but instead of chips I opted for the very delicious Pan Fried Mushrooms and a salad. Leo had decided on the kids hot dog before running off to play, and the rest of the table was a mixture of ribs and steak,

The service was attentive and nothing was to much trouble, Leo was instantly smitten when he discovered they had set him up with party bags and helium balloons! The way to my 4 year olds heart it would seem...

Brewers Fayre

The food arrived promptly and was exactly as we had wanted, piping hot and hit ever taste bud on the way down. Even Leo gave his meal a proper go, and understood that he had to sit down and eat his meal with us, and only then after he had finished (to our standards) could he go back of and play again. 

We were sat directly opposite the play area, and for us it was the perfect location. It meant that we go to enjoy the experience all the while knowing exactly what Leo was up to, but meant we weren't sat among the chaos of the kids playing like you are in some establishments, and I have to say that this made the entire experience much more relaxed. It wasn't busy, it was quiet and perfect for a catch up with old friends.

Brewers Fayre

The new menu for the Autumn months boasts a wide range of freshly prepared dishes, from steaks, Burrito Wraps, Pasta's and Burgers. There is something to suit everyone (even the most fussy of eaters, as Leo ticks that box!).

If you aren't familiar with Brewers Fayre, they offer pub classics at great value that will keep the whole family satisfied for less. New highlights include the Ultimate Sausage And Mash, with a new, larger Yorkshire pudding - perfect for a pick me up on a cold Autumn day. A new Chicken and Ham Pie provides a hearty lunch or dinner, whilst curry lovers can choose from FOUR brand new curry options, including Chicken Balti, Beef Rendang and Vegetable or Chicken Biriyani. For dessert lovers, a new Family Sharer Dessert means the whole family can indulge together.

When it comes to value, Brewers Fayre is hard to beat.Their Daytime Value offer runs from Monday to Friday and means guests can enjoy two starters for £2.50, two mains for just £10.99* and two desserts for £2.50, so eating out doesn't have to be limited to special occasions. 

Brewers Fayre

I hadn't ever eaten at a Brewers Fayre before this recent dining experience, but it is definitely a venue I will be re-visiting with Leo. It's only 20 minutes away from us, and makes a great after school treat for both of us (especially if I am feeling lazy and don't want to cook).

Thank you Brewers Fayre for a fantastic meal and of course keeping Leo entertained through our dining experience.

Disclaimer: We were provided with a £50.00 voucher in exchange for our meals and honest opinion. 

Monday, 26 October 2015

When Blogging becomes your JOB!



Everything in life starts off as a dream, an idea, a wish for your future. 

It may come to you in a way that seems completely random, you may even wish upon a star, but once you have those butterflies, that feeling and those stars in your eyes, there isn't much that you wont do to get you where you need to be. 

Dreams are creative ideas that light a spark in your soul, they provide you with direction and a purpose. 

They say life doesn't throw anything at us that we cannot handle, and it's so true. You can be dealt a hand that has the power to completely ruin you, a route to destroy you. You take that card and you rise up, you navigate a pathway out of the embers that were sent to burn you, and you see it as a pathway out of the darkness. The destruction ceases and you find yourself opening the next chapter to your life.

This year was my card, I have lost not one, but two jobs. In April I was made redundant and in August my shining light went out at a second position, where I can't help but feel that I was taken for a ride, but you know what? I left both with my head held high. I left smiling, I didn't stop smiling. I found a way to navigate around it and make the situations work for me. 

I didn't think that almost 2 months later I would be sitting here and writing this post, but here I am. I am now a full time blogger, I am sustaining my entire existence through a passion that I developed four years ago. I am fueling my car through a hobby that was born in the wake of Leo's arrival. I am doing something that I head over heels love, I am doing something that I quite honestly didn't believe was possible.

When I lost my position in August I wasn't worried. I didn't cry, I didn't shout. I didn't even pass blame. It was what it was and I was going to handle it like I handle everything, I picked myself up off the floor, dusted myself down and I moved on. I decided that I wasn't going to apply for any new job roles, I didn't even have a look to see what was available. My heart wasn't in it, and this time I decided to forget what ever my head was telling me, and just listen to my heart for a change. When I was made redundant in April my head told me to get straight back out there again, and my heart told me to give full time blogging a try. 

My head won out and look where that got me...But I knew that as one door closed, another was opening, I knew that I had something special at my disposal. My blog. I had an opportunity to see where this door that was opening and closing in the wind would take me if I gave it a chance and propped it open, I have always had the opportunity to earn a few pennies through my blog, but I didn't know if I could earn a full time wage through it. I didn't know if it was practical, if it was realistic, if I could do it or if it was even possible. 

I now know that it is possible, because I am doing it, and it really is the most amazing surreal feeling. I cannot quite believe that the place I write all of my inner most ramblings is enabling me to stay at home and do what I love. Today and for the foreseeable future I take Leo to school in the morning, I work from home, I attend blog events and I even get to attend gym classes at the leisure centre. In fact the world really is my oyster these days. If I want tomorrow off, then I know that I can take it. I am my own boss, and I absolutely love the flexibility that comes with it. Yes I have deadlines to meet, but that's absolutely fine. I have invested in a diary and write absolutely everything down, I really don't know how I functioned with out it...

I was looking to move out again in the next couple of months, because it is high time that Leo and I get our own space again. It's still on the cards, but I am giving it a few more months just to see how money goes and make sure that I am not jumping the gun. What I am most looking forward to about moving back out is getting my office set up, making it a place that I can happily sit and work on my musings.

What to think about when blogging becomes your business:

- How much money do you need to earn through your blog to cover all of your over heads?

- Have you built up a network of regular contacts that you can work with on a monthly basis to meet your financial needs?

- Do you have the self motivation and dedication to work on your blog?

- Considering procedures (health and safety plans) that you may need to put in place should you look at taking anyone on and really taking your blog to a new level.


I don't know where the next few months will take me, or if I have just been incredibly lucky these last few months, but what I do know is that I can raise from the ashes of absolutely anything. I can be kicked down, but you best watch me get back up stronger and more determined than ever. 

I am so thankful for the incredible opportunities that I have been blessed with because of this here blog. I take absolutely none of it for granted and I know that I am a very lucky lady. I also know that I work hard, and that these things are only possible because people believe in me and what I do. 

I am rather excited about the next couple of months and taking my blog to an entirely new level. A level that I didn't ever think was within my reach, but when you are thrown to the ground and you try again, that's when magic happens.


Halloween Party & Giveaway with Nick Junior


It's half term and what better way to kick it off then with a Halloween Party!?

Tomorrow marks the very first day of the Autumn break from school, and I know that Leo is more than ready to relax and take a break from the busy school week that he has been thrown into since last month. So to celebrate in style we are excited to announce that we are Twitter party hosts with Nick Jr, for their Nickelodeon Halloween Party!

We have been supplied with some pretty fantastic party boxes, which arrived earlier this week and they are full of Halloween activities which we are looking forward to getting crafty with tomorrow!

  You can join in with the fun and take part with us on twitter from 5pm through to 6.20 pm with @NickJrUK.and using the hashtag #NickJrPumpkinParty


Whilst taking part in the twitter party don't forget to tune into Nick Jr and watch the Halloween episode of Peppa Pig (Nick Jr. channel Sky channel 615, Virgin 715 and TalkTalk channel 318).


I am pleased to be able to give my readers the opportunity to win a Nick Jr Halloween bundle! All you have to do is enter below.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions:
Please only enter this giveaway if you live within the United Kingdom. A winner willl be chosen at random on the condition they have completed the entry form honestly.Once a winner had been chosen you will be contacted via email, if you do not respond within 48 hours another winner will be picked at random and the original winner's notification will not be valid. 

A classy guide to lighting your home for Christmas


While decorating your tree and festively accessorising your home to perfection are essential activities in getting your house prepared for Christmas, the lighting you choose at this time of year also requires some careful thought. Take a look at this useful guide for tips on how to keep your house looking stylish yet seasonal this winter.

Simple solutions

If you’re keen to keep your house looking festive yet sophisticated this Christmas time, simplicity is key. To maintain an element of class, you may want to opt for warm-toned lighting solutions featuring white or yellow bulbs and steer clear of illuminations of the multicoloured variety. Also be sure to have an even distribution of lighting throughout your home. Avoid making the mistake of cramming too much into one room. It’s best to keep your spaces well-lit without going overboard.

Atmospheric additions

While it’s cold and gloomy outside, you’ll want to make sure the interior of your house is cosy and snug. The lighting you choose can have a huge impact on the atmosphere of any room, so perhaps go for illuminations that radiate a gentle glow in order to achieve an enticing and homely environment. For example, you could simply add a floor lamp to the corner of a room. As mentioned by experts the Lighting Superstore, this can create the perfect reading area where you can curl up with a book as the chilly winter nights draw in. Alternatively, you might find dimmer switches useful when trying to perfect the ambience in your abode.

Inventive illuminations

Christmas is the perfect time for you to get creative with not only your home decor, but your lighting too. There are a whole host of unique ways you can incorporate lighting into your home to make it feel extra festive without having to compromise on elegance. For example, you could pop some twinkly string fairy lights into a large glass vase, or entwine them around your bannisters. You could even use them to line the inside of your windows to make your house appear more inviting than ever. This a great option if you’re looking to create a subtle yet magical festive charm. In fact, there are a multitude of inventive ways to incorporate these illuminations into the various rooms within your house.


Taking some of these simple suggestions into account before you deck your halls this Christmas might help you create the perfectly festive home you’ve always wished for.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Win a GoPro HERO+ Camera with Columbus Direct

Columbus Direct
Blogging has enabled me to capture so many special moments over the course of the last 4 years. I have used digital means to freeze time, capture the sparkle and hold it close to my heart. I own an array of different cameras and video recorders these days, they all have their own strengths that means they work great for some situations and not so great in others. A firm favorite of mine is my GoPro. I invested in it a few months ago for a blog campaign that I was working on, and it proved to be an essential piece of kit.
We took our GoPro to Drayton Manor and had an absolutely brilliant time on all of the kid's rides, it meant that we could capture Leo's reaction to everything he experienced. Some he liked... Others.. Not so much!
I am excited to be able to bring a fantastic competition to your attention, a competition from the team over at Columbus Direct, that means you have the opportunity to win your very own GoPro HERO+ Camera with LCD Touch Screen and a Luxebell® 10 in 1 Value Pack Accessories Kit!
Columbus is top dog when it comes to adventure; he loves going on long walkies, and this time, he has ventured a little further than expected. Can you work out from the picture where his four-legged travels have taken him?
For your chance to win a  pop over to the competition page and fill in the short form where you think Columbus has jetted off to. You've got a choice of three to choose from.
Good luck!


An Inspiration: Easy Steps on How to Make Lemonade When Life Gives You Lemons

Life gives you lemons


Has Life Given You a Basket of Lemons?

The old adage states "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." We've all had a bad day that has seemed to go on all week, and possibly even all month. Whether you're having problems at work, financial woes, family issues or emotional turmoil, all of these things can seem as sour as a fat lemon. You shouldn't let life keep you down. In fact you should take your misfortunes and make them into something sweet, or at least palatable.



If you need some help learning how to take bad luck and make it work for you, here's a few inspirations to help you keep your chin up during tough times.

Make a Difference

Nothing can help to put things into perspective more quickly than volunteering to work with those who are less fortunate than yourself. Whether you are passionate about helping the hungry, underprivileged children or homeless animals, one way to turn your frown upside down is to put a smile on the face of someone else.

Be an Individual

When the forces of life seem to be conspiring against you and make you feel as though you should step in line along with everyone else, don't! When you're out of harmony with your deepest self, life can seem sour and unfulfilling. Take the time to really connect with your innermost thoughts, emotions and goals, and in no time your attitude will be brighter and more optimistic. 

Throw a Party

It may seem counter-intuitive to throw a celebratory bash when your luck has turned sour, but there's really no better way to stay in touch with your friends, network to discover a great new opportunity and just let loose. Gather your dearest friends and favorite acquaintances together to knock back a glass of bubbly Andre Champagne and eat some delicious foods while you readjust your attitude to change the course of your luck.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Life Unexpected's Top Kitchen Gadgets

Courgette Pizza
Courgette Pizza and Polenta Fries 

It's been a busy few months around here, and the biggest change has seen me working for myself over going out to a conventional form of employment like I am used to. Before this change came around, I was at a point where I was starting to think about moving back out of the family home again, to give Leo and I some space just for ourselves. 

This is still something that I am pondering right now, as I often feel like I am sat around waiting for my life to start, and right now I feel like grabbing it with both hands. 

My biggest aspiration about getting back into my own place again is the kitchen. Oh how I long for my very own kitchen again. As many of you know I am really into my home cooking, I get quite experimental in the kitchen and I am always trying new and wonderful creations...Maybe you remember my courgette pizza

The thing about making a lot of these unique and wonderful creations is the equipment that you need in order to get you the finished product. I have the majority of the tools available, I have my own Vitamix blender, my own Nutribullet and all the little bits and pieces, but I cannot realistically leave them out while I am still at home. They take up a lot of work surface space, and for me being the only one really using them, they tend to just get in everybody else's way. 

Of course once I am out, in my own home with my own kitchen, I can set everything up in the exact way that I would like, It is going to make my culinary life so much easier, and I am a little bit excited about all of my kitchen gadgets coming out to play! 

Life Unexpected's Top Kitchen Gadgets

- The Nutribullet
- Russel Hobbs Food Processor 
- The Vitamix 
- The Sage Adjusta Grill 
- Spiralizer 
- Vegetable Peeler
- Nut Chopper

Once you start to get a little bit creative in the kitchen and cook up dishes that are a little outside the box, you soon begin to realise all of their unique uses. I once thought that because I had the Vitamix that I wouldn't need a food processor at all, but boy was I wrong. They both have their strengths but, I most definitely need the food processor in conjunction (Casts mind back to that time I made the Nutribullet smoke....)

Along with the equipment that I need in my kitchen, I also swear by a number of rather wonderful ingredients. Over the course of the 16 months that I have turned my lifestyle on it's head, my shopping list has completely changed. What I stock in my cupboards has transitioned beyond recognition. I have swapped up ingredients, dropped none essential items and even bought weird and wonderful additions that once upon a time I hadn't even heard of (and couldn't even begin to pronounce for that matter!).

Staple items in my cupboards:

- Quinoa 
- Coconut Oil
- Coconut Flour
- Porridge Oats
- Honey
- Cacao
- Coconut Milk
- Almond Milk
- Almond Butter
- Peanut Butter
 - Fresh fruit and vegetables
- Wholemeal Rice
- Wholemeal Pasta
- Meat 
(A lot of Chicken and Steak)

How do you have your kitchen set up? 

Do you have a top kitchen gadget that you just couldn't be without? 

My top kitchen gadget has to be the Nutribullet, I love how compact it is in comparison to the Vitamix, but I have to admit I am looking forward to getting it back out when I do find my new place, and get the kitchen exactly the way that I want it.






Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Don't take life to seriously

21st birthday party

I keep it no secret that I am perhaps the biggest kid to walk the planet, I don't take life to seriously and I will always find a way to smile through whatever is thrown my way, that is one of my most positive qualities, and I can see that, and I am proud of it.

My outlook on life keeps me feeling young, it keeps me happy and contented. Young being the operative word, as my entire being still feels as though I am only 18 years old (and not 26...But I guess as I still get ID'd to this very day.. I am not alone in thinking that I look young..)

I have been casting my mind back over the last couple of years this week. Birthday's that have come and gone, celebrations we have held, holidays we have taken... And it really makes me feel proud of all that we have done, all that we have achieved. 

A poignant moment that really stands out for me was my 21st birthday bash, if you were to turn up to it you would have most likely thought that you had arrived at the wrong place. You see for my 21st birthday I hired a adult bouncy castle and invited those nearest and dearest to me to help me celebrate in...well..style! 

I had gone round and round in circles about how I should celebrate such a special birthday, but as budget was a real factor in everything that I was considering and I knew that I only needed my friends and loved ones to be around me to enable me to have a good time.. This quite honestly seemed like the most fantastic idea ever.

21st birthday party

I looked into a number of different venues when I was processing the different ideas I had. A sit down meal at a local luxury hotel with generous amounts of Champagne to keep us going through the night. A night away with the best friend at a spa where again their would be more Champagne than you could shake a stick at... But budget seemed to crop up at every hurdle. 

In the end I decided that the perfect venue would be at my parents house, they have a decent sized garden, and with my birthday falling in August, it meant that we could potentially have the weather on our side, and of course an adult bouncy castle as the main attraction was the only obvious solution. 

I sent out the invitations and the party idea seemed to be a hit. The budget was met and actually came in under as all I really had to pay for was the bouncy castle, and the party food. Guests were invited to bring their own bottles of drink and enjoy themselves, and that is exactly what happened.

The day of the party arrived and the weather was completely on side,  I got to be the biggest kid in a wide audience of... big kids. 

The realisation of having such an un-traditional 21st birthday bash was that I didn't need to spend a fortune to have a good time. The memories that I made that day still put a smile on my face today, and I know that I didn't have to break my budget and empty my pockets in order to achieve it.

I may always be a big kid with a cheesy smile on my face, but it get's me through anything and everything that life can throw my way.

21st birthday party







Monday, 19 October 2015

Moochies For Kids

Moochies for kids

Kids these days are growing up a lot quicker than they did back in my day (Yup I said it!). The world is a very different place in 2015, and it couldn't be more apparent. If I cast my mind back over the years and look at the freedom that my own parent's allowed me in comparison to what I provide Leo, it is a very different state of affairs.

Now it's not that I am an wrapping Leo up in cotton wool, and it's not because I don't want him to have the experiences that I had as a child, it's because we are all so much more aware to the goings on that are splashed over our newspapers and timelines each and everyday. I couldn't relax knowing that Leo left at breakfast and didn't return until dinner time like I did as a young girl in the summer holidays. I would be on tender hooks from the moment he left until the moment he returned. That's if I could resit the pull to go out, find him and make sure he was ok...

This brings me on to my next point...
How do we feel about children with mobile phones?

It's not un-common to see children as young as 10 with a mobile phone of their very own today. I know I was much older than this when I managed to get my hands on my first phone, and it was nothing in compassion to what the tech savvy kids of 2015 have in their hands. Now I don't foresee Leo having a mobile phone for many years to come, but the fact has to be highlighted. If we did have a means to stay in contact with our little ones in the instance that they ever wandered off, or if we were out in a busy place and got separated, or heaven forbid that he was taken... Would we not want that additional method of contact?

I know what my verdict is. It's a resounding YES.

Now I am not saying that I am going to hand Leo and iPhone because I quite frankly think that it's ridiculous and it's most definitely not appropriate for a 4 year old. However I am saying that I would and I have... Handed Leo his own Moochies for kids.

Moochies for kids


Moochies for Kids are a wrist worn mobile phone for kids, if you were to just glance at the wrist of a child wearing one, you would immediately assume that they were wearing a watch. I recently went along to the press preview in London, and I have to admit that before I saw them in the flesh I was a little skeptical, but during the demonstration I fell in love with the concept. 

Moochies are suitable for children as young as 3 years old, they are simple to use and most importantly they are safe. You program the phone through your own smart phone and the Free App that can be downloaded through the Apple and Android stores. The app allows you to program the phone with 2 phone numbers (i.e Mum and Dad!) that can then be called via the two buttons on the right hand side of the watch. 

Those are then the only two numbers that your child will be able to call. It's a quick easy process and as it is a Pay As You Go system (Yup there is a sim card in there!) it means that you can manage everything directly.

You may be worried about outside callers getting hold of your child's number and calling them, but that has been completely covered, and using the app you simply program the numbers that you want to be able to call your child. So of course, Mum, Dad, Granny and Granddad and only those people who have a real reason to call them. So that means no spam calls, no strangers and no one that shouldn't be calling. Anyone who does call outside of that safe number list, will just go straight through to a answer machine and will never get through. 

Moochies for kids

What I really like about Moochies for Kids is that it has an SOS button in case of an emergency. So in the instance that something has happened but they can't call you, they can literally just press one button and it will automatically record a 15 second sound clip that will come through to your phone. This will give you an idea of what is going on, and if it really is an emergency you can act quickly, or if it was just pressed in error, you can rule out any horrific incidents right then and there.

If something had gone awry and you need to find out exactly where your child has wandered off to, then there's a feature for that too. Let's imagine that you have gone on a family day out to a theme park. There are people everywhere, it's a busy summers day. Your four year old is right next to you... And then out of nowhere they have vanished. 

This is something that I am paranoid about, I make Leo hold my hand everywhere we go, especially when I am trying to navigate him around London and on and off the tubes. It would be so easy for him to just slip out of sight, and the thought turns my stomach. 

The Moochies device has a built in GPS, and from your smart phone you can get an idea as to where they are. Put yourself back in the theme park on that busy summers day. There are people everywhere, but your child cannot be seen in any which way you turn. Your heart sinks. You need to start looking but it's like looking for a needle in a hay stack. With your little one donning one of the new Moochies phones for kids, you just need to open up your App and use the GPS to get a location of your little wanderer. 

The GPS may get mixed responses from some parent's but I personally think it is amazing. In fact on those days out the entire device is going to prove invaluable. 

Moochies for kids

During the demonstration I got to have a real play with this innovative new phone. The phone is used like a hands free device so that your child can make/receive a call and just talk without having to actually do anything other than answer the call. 

We have just started using Moochies with Leo, and he thinks it's absolutely amazing. He has been after his own watch for a while, and we were actually thinking about one as a stocking filler this Christmas, but now he is up and running with so much more than just a watch. 

I don't let him wear it to school as there is no need, but he has been enjoying wearing it on weekends, and if we go out, I will make sure that he has it on. Just in case. 

I will be writing an update in the next few months to let you all know how we are getting on, but I have to say that I absolutely love the Moochies concept and think it is a realistic way to keep in touch with your child. and make sure that they are ok, or even reunite you with them should they inevitably wander off.

Moochies for kids

Moochies for Kids are on sale now for £79.99 and would make a fantastic Christmas gift this year. There are 4 fun different colour ways available: Black, Pink, Blue and Orange. 

What do you think of Moochies for kids? 

Disclaimer: I was invited along to the press preview and provided with a Moochies For kids Phone for Leo. All views and opinions expressed are completely honest and my own.








Sunday, 18 October 2015

Halloween at Life Unexpected

Adult Halloween Zombie

I have always loved Halloween, as a young girl it was a night that I looked forward to as much as Christmas. I have always loved the mystery and spookiness that surrounds All Hallows Eve, if it was gory or horrifying and had the potential to put the shivers down my spine, I was all over it. 

Even as I have gotten older, the love for this night has stayed with me, and now I have my own little boy who is growing up and loving just how unique this night is, and he to looks forward to getting dressed up and trick or treating around the local area, with me by his side of course.

Last year was the very first year that Leo actually took part in any real Halloween celebrations, and we ended up at a family friends Halloween Party, where Leo had the most amazing time and continued to talk about the night right up until today. Leo is so excited about the festivities that he knows are just around the corner, and he has been thoroughly enjoying helping me prepare for our very own Halloween event this year!

So what is around for Halloween 2015 and how can you create the perfect spooky experience within a budget?


Home Bargains Halloween

Home Bargains is one of Leo's favourite haunts, in the small Worcestershire town in which we live, we don't have many shops left these days, you could say that it is somewhat of a ghost town... So it is very fitting that they are stocked the shelves to the nines full of the most spooky and wonderful additions to really help kick Halloween off with a BANG.

Home Bargains Halloween

Halloween Pumpkin Costume £5.99

From decorations for the home right through to costumes for the kids (and the big kids if you are not one to miss out on the Halloween action!), there is something for everyone. With prices to match the great selection available, you can kit the entire house and family out for Halloween without breaking the bank. 

We were sent a great selection of Halloween goodies to help us on our a way to our spookiest Halloween to date, and Leo is rather excited to get the house on the road to spooksville.




Aldi Halloween

In store now is everything that you need to throw the spookiest Halloween Party ever, but as the items are sure to fly on the run up to the big day, it is advisable to pop into your local store sooner rather than later. Our local Aldi is a popular store and you can guarantee that as soon as the special buys are in.. They are out again just as fast. 

From festive party wear to get you in the mood for trick or treating, to dressing for the occasion, there is a great selection of Halloween festivities to help get you in the mood. If you are planning a party don't forget to pick up some groceries that you can cook up for part of your feast. Why not get creative with some hot dog sausages? They make the perfect fingers, and Aldi have actually shared some fantastic food ideas that will help you put on a party to remember! 

Aldi Halloween

Dobbies Garden Centre:  Tricks and Treats this Halloween

With Autumn upon us, a trip to the garden centre is a must. Leo and I love to visit our local as it is a treasure trove of wonderful things that you quite simply cannot find anywhere else. Dobbies is no exception to this rule, and now they have a whole host of gorgeous Halloween items on display. They invite you to get spooked with the fun range that is ideal for inside and outside your home.  

Dobbies Garden Centre Halloween

Sainsburys

Leo's cousin Josh is an October baby, and with Halloween right around the corner it seems fitting to entwine the spooky date into his party plans. That is exactly what happened this year, with the theme of Pirates taking the driving seat and all of the children in attendance donning their pirate attire, they certainly brought a fun atmosphere to Josh's big day.

Leo wore a Pirate Costumer from Sainsbury's Halloween Range, and he looked incredibly smart. It came equipped with a sword and Pirates Hat, and that really helped Leo get into character. He spent the entire morning on the run up to the party in his costume and having sword fights with Josh. Once the party time arrived, all the children unleashed themselves on the bouncy castle! 

This costume would make a great alternative to spookier costumes and definitely looks the part! Leo ran, jumped, hopped and skipped in this costume and it will still live to see another day!

Sainsburys Halloween

Halloween Treats and Festive House Touches

Us big kids know that it isn't all about the children. After I put Leo to bed on Halloween I often like to stick a horror film on, light a few candles and enjoy a few treats. Of course you can bet money that the door bell will keep ringing all evening, but that's ok. Armed with my big Trick or Treat multi-pack of Haribo, I tackle the ghoulish visitors one at a time and send them on their way with a treat (usually!).

Yankee Candle Candy Corn Candle

Of course as the evening goes on, the door knocks get less, and less. Before long all is quiet and it is just me, myself and the television. If you find yourself in my position and have some quality time on your hands, why not treat yourself to a Candy Corn Yankee Candle (which actually smells good enough to eat) and stick your favourite horror on with a few snacks? 

I for one will be enjoying a Whitard of Chelsea Hot Chocolate with Mini Marshmallows melted on top, or if your feeling especially festive, why not try the Toffee Apple Halloween Caddy?
Whitards of Chelsea
Green Candle Lights by PK Green Shop
It's no secret that I have somewhat of a sweet tooth, in fact it's something that I work pretty hard to keep under lock and key, because as soon as I get a taste for the sweet stuff, I am like a kid in a candy shop. I was very recently sent a lovely Halloween box of fudge from Fudge Kitchen. It came beautifully seasoned in Halloween spirit and with 4 delicious pieces of tantalizing fudge.

With Screeching Moon, Treacle Toffee, Bats Eye Stew (My favourite) and Spider Web you couldn't really pick out anything more special for your Halloween snacks (once the kids are in bed of course because we don't want to share...)



Or if you are looking for a healthier treat this Halloween, then you definitely need to cast your attention to Soreen who have two delicious limited edition flavors out:  Toffee Apple and Chocolate and Blood Orange Lunch Box Loaves! 

Soreen

Disclaimer: I was sent the above items for the purpose of this post. All views and opinions expressed are completely honest and my own.