Little Pink Teacup

Little Pink Teacup: June 2013

Saturday, 29 June 2013

What Moo Wore - a Holiday OOTW

So as you probably know, we were on holiday last week in France. Moo turned into quite the fashionista (possibly taking after her idol, Minnie Mouse) and so I've decided to do a little OOTW post for her key holiday outfits. There were more but this is the pick of lot.

Jumper - Next
Gilet - Peter Storm
Leggings - Tu at Sainsbury's
Trainers - Vans

Hat - Mini Club at Boots
Cardigan - Matalan
Dress - Disney at Sainsbury's
Tights - Primark
Sandals - Timberland

Tunic - Mini Club at Boots
Leggings - Mini Club at Boots

Cardigan - George at ASDA
Dress - Autograph at M&S (via eBay)

Play suit - Primark


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Saturday Savings - Vertbaudet

Hello all! It's Saturday so time for some savings, hooray!! Today for you I have a fashion deal for you that I stumbled across by chance.

I've never shopped with Vertbaudet before, though I'd heard of them from the television and I vaguely remember reading something in a Bounty (ooh...probably shouldn't say that word at the moment) magazine. However a friend of mine recently brought her daughter round to play in the most gorgeous little top I have ever seen! When I asked where it's from, she told me Vertbaudet and that first time customers get quite a bit of money off. Me being be (I prefer the term frugal but you may call me cheap), I love a brand that gives you a discount on your first purchase. This is because I'm very careful about how and where I spend my money and trying new brands can be daunting when you are on a tight budget. If you don't get on with it, for whatever reason, it's money that you won't get back. So I love if I get offered money off to effectively try a brand out for size (quite literally with clothing).

So I popped over to the website and sure enough, they were advertising an impressive £15 off of your first order over £20. A maximum saving of 75%. Amazing! On top of that you get a free bath toy which if you have older children could be given away to a younger child or donated to a charity shop (please note that charity shops are not allowed to sell items which state they were a free gift). So I read on to read the fine print which says that only full price items were valid. Seemed fair enough so I started to browse.

The thing I liked most about Vertbaudet, especially their girls clothes, was that they were so child-friendly. The cuts, the patterns, the shapes...we're all dreamy and care-free. I am a massive fan of children looking like children. I hate to see babies and toddlers dressed fashionably like teenagers and so I love a brand that designs clothes that are visually appealing, exciting and yet still age-appropriate. And of course, from a brand who's strap line is 'Children First'.

Soooo...I digress, somewhat. Whilst browsing I realised that they're in the midst of a huge sale. This is due to it being a French brand and over there at the moment is one of their two annual sale periods. There are massive savings in their sale but I instantly saw a problem. If near-everything was in the sale then would I be able to find enough to even reach £20. I took a gamble and loaded up my shopping basket with things in the sale just out of curiosity, popped in the code and bingo, I got £15 off!

Here's what I chose to give a try from Vertbaudet.

Convertible dress for Moo. Starting price; £23. Sale price; £9.20. After discount; £2.65.
Polo Shirt and Trousers set for Bear. Starting price; £19. Sale price; £9.50. After discount; £2.75.
Baby socks for Bear. Starting price; £6. Sale price; £2.40. After discount; £0.70.

Once you've chosen your items, the code to get your £15 off is 4614, your free bath toy will be automatically added to your shopping basket. Please note that shipping is £3.99 on top of your discount, however if you spend over £60 (which can be so, so easily done) it is free!

If, like me, you decide to give it a go, happy shopping and happy Saturday!!


Please not that I was not compensated for this post from the people at Vertbaudet, it was a saving that I stumbled across myself and chose to share with my readers.

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Friday, 28 June 2013

My Changing Bag

When I was pregnant with Moo (our daughter), I packed and re-packed my hospital and change bags (yes, I had two) about seventeen times. I was obsessed with having everything. I had to have all that I needed, plus spares, plus extra room, yknow...just in case...

I was daft and unguided. I relied, as many pregnant woman do, on online 'checklists' written by companies and brands that make money off of selling you what you need (and what you don't).

My change bag was an over-loaded, military-organised brick of an accessory. It didn't take me long to realise that I was hauling a hell of a lot of stuff around with me that actually wasn't necessary. I was only popping to town...not the Himalayas.

So here is what my typical change bag when with baby looks like (Moo is no longer a baby and obviously it's different for toddlers, however I'm currently expecting Bear, or baby number two, and so it's on my crazy, obsessive mind...again).

The bag.
As you will see from the image below, my change bag is of the 'Yummy Mummy' variety from the fabulous company Pink Lining. They change their designs every season which is both good (never too many of the same bag) and bad (because every new season I want a new one). Depending on the bag you want, they range in price from £35 to £95. Mine was given as a gift from my parents, there are lots and lots on eBay at a fraction of the cost. When Moo was born I also had a Skip Hop in black which I bought so that my husband wouldn't feel silly. Turns out he actually didn't care and has happily hauled around the Yummy Mummy bag for nearly three years now so I sold that on the Netmums Nearly New board fairly early on. This is another great place to get bargains!!
You don't have to have a change bag that was made exclusively for that purpose, any reasonably sized and sturdy bag will do. Change bags are often very pretty but can be pricey. Saying this, you can join the Boots baby club and get one for free when you buy a pack of newborn nappies. One advantage in favour of change bags is that they often have insulated compartments for milk (not of significance if you are breast feeding), come with it's own change mat (you can buy these individually quite cheaply on eBay and Amazon) and have LOTS of pockets. You will love pockets as a parent. You can never have too many. Trust me.
My bag came with a mat as well as a dry bag which I use for wet/sticky/soiled clothing. Nappy sacks are also just as good for holding back the stink/wetness.

1. Dry bag and change mat - mine were included with my bag.
2. Bottle.
3. Toy/book.
4. Nappies and wipes.
5. A change of everything and a cardigan in case the weather changes.
6. My 'little bag of tricks' contains things like hair elastics, hand sanitizer, lip balm. Whatever bag I'm carrying, this goes in it.
7. Keys and purse and other usual life things.

Not included in the photo is the sun cream which I carry all year around in a side pocket. That way, I always know where it is.

So there it is, my little bag of super-mummy-ness. It's always good to be prepared but travelling light has definitely been the best for me!


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Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Toddler Sleeping; a Rant?

'I miss you Mummy when I'm in my bed.' - Moo, 2013

The above statement was said by my two-year-old when I was putting her to bed. You see, the previous night she had slept 6:15pm-7am without waking and calling for me once. Very occasionally we have these evenings, but they are rare and to be honest, right now, it's starting to take its affect on me...

Let me start from the beginning. Once upon a time, I gave birth and was the smuggest mare going. I had heard horror stories all through my life about how bad babies were for sleeping. I am one of those disgusting people that needs a LOT of sleep (unfortunately so is my husband so you can only imagine how much gets done in our house first thing), were talking optimum nine hours. Throughout my pregnancy I would often sleep ten or eleven hours in the night and have a nap in the day also. But I was smug because at five weeks my angel of a daughter who hardly ever cried started sleeping through the night. People told me how perfect she was, how lucky I was and I just nodded along and said 'thank you, I know'.

It was not to last.

At nine months separation anxiety hit. Big time. I had just started a new job in retail management and was out of the house a lot on week days, not just at work but the travel was around forty minutes each way. This is when problems started to hit. Moo is now two years and nine months and her sleep problems seem to go from one thing to another.

Her most recent thing? Getting up in the middle of the night and popping up in our bed. She has never co-sleeped, it is not something we've ever practised or encouraged except when she has been horrifically poorly and she has slept in our bed with just me.

I am an incredibly heavy sleeper and so often don't notice when she's appeared until I've awoken for whatever reason (usually to pee) and discovered her hogging my pillow with her blonde curls and dribble. I'd be so much more inclined to do something about it upon discovery if I wasn't pregnant. Unfortunately it's teamed with her reverting back to not settling herself, also so some evenings I won't get any down time until nine, go to bed around ten and then she's in my bed by one!

This week my SPD has ramped up about ten notches on the pain scale (just in time for our holiday to Paris, yay) and I'm struggling to move around, roll over in bed even. Please somebody tell me that it gets better/easier/that there's something I can do!!

I know that toddler sleep problems are common and that I'm not alone...I personally think that this might be karma getting me back for being a snobby cow when she was born...damn it.


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Monday, 24 June 2013

Changing Your Energy Meters

We recently moved house. It is my dream house. A two-story Victorian terrace on a quiet road of other families close to town. It has three generously-sized bedrooms, two reception rooms and a ginormous kitchen. It had recently had a total refurb including a brand new kitchen!

It was for one small thing (well, minus the odd bailiff that shows up looking for the previous occupant)....

...the utilities were all metered. Gas, electric and water all on a meter. Now, the water isn't such a big deal, it's probably better for us, however pre-pay gas and electricity is notoriously more expensive than credit meters. My first flat was on an electric key and although I managed my time and money wisely, I still found it a very stressful method of using electricity.

Electricity is powered by a key and gas a card. Pre-pay energy can require a massive amount of faff trudging about looking for somewhere that does it...not everywhere tops them's usually corner shops and I think maybe the post office. Supermarkets do not offer this service so it is far from convenient. Some providers are now offering devices for their prepay customers so that they can top up through the Internet. How they work is you receive a reader for your payment method (key or card) which then plugs into our computer via USB, allowing you to top up using a credit or debit card online. While this is easier, it makes it no cheaper.

As parents of a toddler and with a baby on the way, we were concerned about having to monitor our utility usage so closely and so decided to change our meters o the credit method that we were accustomed to. Our meters were changed free of charge by British Gas who were very efficient,

Below is a quick and basic step-by-step guide to changing your meters from pre-pay to credit.

- If you are in rented accommodation, you will need to ask the permission of the landlord to change the meters. If you think that they're likely to oppose your request, write a list of pros to put to them in your initial 'pitch' so that you can effectively sell it to them. Things like it being more reliable and cheaper are good to start with but also mention that it will be more attractive for any future prospective tenants. If you have quite a grumpy landlord, maybe consider a list of cons that they might put to you so that you can prepare a defence,
- Once you have permission, find out who our suppliers are (if you don't already know). It's usually written on your key/card but if not, here is a list of the appropriate numbers you can call that I found in a simple Google search. Alternatively you can call the supplier you would like to be with and ask them to find out for you. You will need your meter serial numbers for this.
- Once you've established who your supplier is/is going to be, you need to tell them that you would like your meters to be changed from prepay to credit. Some suppliers charge for this service but not all so if your supplier is one of this kind then tell them you will take your business to another supplier. This may sway them to do it for you for free, it may not, either way, there are better deals out there to be had.
- They will most likely run a credit check on you. HOWEVER if you have previously held a credit account with them at a former address, they will still have your details on file and this will work in your favour (a great peace of mind for those with any concerns in regards to credit), so long as your paid your bills on time/had a good relationship with your provider.
- Your supplier will arrange a time and date to come and change your meters over for you (usually a couple of weeks in advance). You will need to be present. Your engineer will also test the safety and the efficiency of your supply once he has installed your new meters.
- Once your meters are installed and registered on your suppliers system you can then choose your payment method (we prefer monthly direct debit...we end up paying more than we need through the summer but it provides a comfortable buffer in the winter when we use more).
- Once you're up and running, it's worth checking your tariff on a price-comparison website to ensure that you're getting the best deal that's out there so that you are not over-paying for your supply. Try to get a deal that locks you in at a certain price for a fixed term, that way you will be unaffected by any sudden rises in rates from your supplier.


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Saturday, 22 June 2013

Saturday Savings - £15 off at Sainsbury's

This week's Saturday Savings is a super quick one from Sainsbury's regarding their current promotion for home-delivery of their groceries.

Currently if you spend £60 or more online on your first grocery shop, you receive £15 off! So that's £60 worth of food for £45!

All you need to do is head over to the Sainsbury's site, set up your account and do your shopping. Once you've got all that you want, pop the following code in to redeem your discount.


This offer is ideal for my household as our weakly shopping budget is £50. We always shop online to stop ourselves from putting naughty, little extras in the trolley that we don't need. By doing this not only do we get essentially £5 off of our regular shop, we get an additional £10 to sneak something a bit more fun in that we wouldn't normally have. Bottle of wine for mummy and daddy? Why yes...that would be lovely (when not


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Friday, 21 June 2013

Holiday essentials - Mummy's Make-up

When it comes to everyday essentials, I'm somewhat ashamed to admit that make-up is up there for me. I've never been a 'hair' kinda girl, but I must say I do love a bit of 'slap'.

As I've dedicated today's posts to the theme of holiday, I thought I'd throw in one about my holiday make-up bits. I like to travel light-ish, opting for little variety in base products and choosing a few versatile ones for eyes and lips. Below is the make-up bag I'm packing for our trip and its contents. The bag is from Boots and is a super cute and quirky international print on lovely pastel colours. It has a matching wash bag too! I bought them for our trip to Paris last May and they've since had a re-design though this is similar if it's something you like.

Accessorize eyeshadow palette in Lovely Day.
Benefit That Gal primer.
Benefit Girl Meets Pearl highlighter.
Ted Baker bronzer.
Benefit Erase Paste in shade 2.
Max Factor Xperience in Raw Silk 45.
MUA eyebrow pencil in brown.
MUA Professional eye primer.
Collection Extreme felt liner in black.
Miss Sporty Dr Balm in shade 1.
Revlon Just Bitten Kissable lip stain in Cherish Devotion.
Collection pressed powder in shade 2 Daydream
Max Factor MasterpieceMax mascara in black.
Max Factor cream blush in posy.

A lot of these products are not my go to, every day items and I choose to travel with them because they are either miniature or long-lasting as I'm not easily able to re-apply throughout the day. It seems like a lot, I am the kind of lady that likes to wear a full face, even on holiday. On a hot day of sight-seeing I can be known to look a little bit of a mess but hey, I try!


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Holiday Budgeting

So as I'm going on my holidays on Sunday I thought I'd do a few 'going away' themed posts for you today! So this is the first and probably the most serious, I present to you my top tips of holiday budgeting when you've got children.

- Budget yourselves as parents.
You know how much money you have, in cash or card so sit down before you set out or on your first evening and divide it up over how many days you are away for. Sometimes things crop up, especially whenever children are travelling too, however take this into account for future days, you will have to reduce your budget over multiple days OR from one, depending on how much has eaten into your budgets. I usually carry an extra $20/€ on top of my daily cash allowance plus we carry cards (as an example).
- Budget the children.
It sounds so, so cruel but children honestly do not need everything. They are no less of a person if they don't have things and you are no less of a parent by denying them. Their eyes can get very big when away, especially in attractions such as Disney and other theme parks. Give them spending money at the beginning of the day so that they know how much they have. This is better for older children, younger children obviously don't understand that value of money but it is still a nice experience for them to have their own cash in their own purse to spend. I'm a firm believer that children should not share adult concerns and never tell my child that we cannot afford something (even if we can't), I would like her to be young and enjoy it for as long as possible.
- Get them involved early.
A piggy bank/jar/tin is a wonderful thing. By getting them to save early and put money towards their own holiday spending money you will feel incredibly grown up and excited as they watch their balance grow over the weeks before you go away. I typically give Moo 50p pocket money a week and everything 20p and smaller from my purse at the end of the week. Even if its just a few pence, it all adds up and she's at the age where she's just excited to put the money in! Just before you go, take them to have the money changed (lots of supermarkets have those CoinStar machines), then to have it converted into currency. It's a big adventure for them and kills a morning successfully.
- Buy in bulk where you can.
If you're self-catering (even if you're not) try to go to a local supermarket and stock up on things that you think you will get through a lot of. An ideal example for this is bottled water. You will always need to have drinks throughout the day. You will save money by taking your own bottled water out with you.
- Avoid excess luggage charges.
If you're flying, watch out for excess luggage charges when travelling with a baby. Unless you're going to outer-Mongolia, chances are the will be nappies on sale near you. Buy them when you get to your destination and only take enough for your journey to save space and weight in your luggage.
- Exchange your currency early.
I know everyone knows this but I'm going to say it anyway. It's important. NEVER BUY YOUR CURRENCY AT THE AIRPORT/FERRY/YOUR DESTINATION it is notoriously bad value. Everyone and their dog does currency now so there really is no excuse. Research rates online in advance, I find that the Post Office and Marks and Spencer are the best though my mother-in-law swears byThomas Cook. If you live in a large or destination city/town there will be independent currency shops dotted about also that often have very competitive rates.
- Get a pre-paid travel card.
This is my husband's thing and he swears by it. We hold one for dollars and one for euros with Fairfx. There are a lot of different ones out there, this is just the company that we happen to use. You usually have to pay a small fee when they issue the card, then you load up your money and use it as you would your regular credit and debit cards. You get a slightly worse exchange rate on your money on a pre-paid card than you would cash currency, however you do not have to pay a fee for every time you use it like you do with your regular credit and debit cards, you also have the security of not carrying all your money in cash. You can have second cards issued so you and your partner have one each though we just carry one. If you have a credit card, take that also in case of emergencies. If you had planned to use your credit card for your spending money, you can load up the pre-paid from your credit card without facing any charges for using it abroad. Avoid using your debit card abroad wherever possible. They are incredibly expensive to use; you will be charged heavily per transaction.
- Going to a resort? Make it work for YOU!
All inclusive? Got meal vouchers? Get the full 'bang for your buck'. If your resort offers unlimited cold drinks/snacks/food etc make sure you get your money's worth and minimise dining out. If you're staying at a resort such as Disney that offers a meal voucher scheme and you buy into it, make sure you are getting full value. They are usually charge at one flat rate and offer dining at a variety of venues. Do your research, the only restaurants that they're actually worth buying for are usually the highest rated two or three. Most do not offer great value for money and it would be cheaper to 'pay as you go' so look up the menus before purchasing and ensure that the more expensive food is cuisine that your family are likely to eat. If not, it's probably cheaper to just budget for your meals out of your money rather than paying in advance
- Check your bank.
It's not said often, but banks are great! By upgrading your account you can usually save big time on things like home insurance, break-down cover, gadget-cover and yes, travel insurance! We are with Lloyds TSB and have the basic upgrade of silver on our joint account. It is £10 a month and we use all of the previously mentioned services. It saves us money on our gadget cover alone. Because we are paying it anyway, it meant that we didn't have to take out travel insurance, we are already covered and only need notify them should we need to make a claim. Most bank upgrades offer travel insurance as basic though be sure to call them if you're travelling with children, it usually only covers two of you and you will need to pay an excess to add your children (ours is £25 to add Moo for the year). Do it at the last minute so that you get the maximum usage out of it (you might be able to squeeze a second trip out of it if you plan your holidays accordingly).
- Buy in advance.
If you have an idea of what you're going to do whilst away, you can often by tickets for events and attractions cheaper online in advance before you go. It's usually around 20% off of the gate price.

So there we are, just a few little things that we use when travelling. I'm sure there're other things that I've missed or forgotten, if you know of any handy hints yourself, please comment to help others!


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Thursday, 20 June 2013

Embracing the Bump - 30 weeks

Here's Bear at 30 weeks, he's still wriggling so much I almost cannot stand it, it makes me feel so uncomfortable and is painful at times. Oh well, he's the last one so had better enjoy it, huh?

I'm lying down today as it's pretty much a reflection of my day in general. I'm lounging. Moo is with her grandfather and my husband is out working so I have the house to myself. Cue Spotify, the new Sainsbury's magazine and a bit of bloggage.

By the way, if you don't already (but would like to) follow me on Twitter, you can! I'm @belledidyoutell but fair warning; I tweet a lot, it's usually nonsense and I do occasionally retweet swearing and coffee geekery. You have been warned!!


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Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Barry M Summer 2013 Limited Edition Nail Paint in Pink

Last Saturday my regular feature 'Saturday Savings' featured a bit of a Barry M haul when I was taking advantage of their free limited edition nail polishes when you spend £6 or more in Supadrug. I got a hold of both, the 'coral pink' and the 'bright green' and so have selected the coral for my holiday toenails.

As with all their nail paints, the coral pink limited edition nail paint comes in their trademark rectangular bottle and tall lid making it very easy to open with wet or dry nails. The colour applied quickly and easily, going on to my toenails with just a couple of swipes (depending on nail size). It was quite a translucent colour and so required three coats to achieve the result below but as it was quite quick drying this wasn't a problem at all.

I do have five toes by the way, my pinky toe is just a bit teensy.

To paint all ten nails with three coats it took me about twenty minutes from start to finish which I think is very good timing considering the amount I needed to really get colour pay off and opacity.

Now, for the colour. I'm not entirely sure that I'd describe it as a 'coral', when on my nails it looked more fluorescent pink though I suppose that could be up to interpretation. It definitely has a warmer tone to it than say a Barbie pink, but it still doesn't scream coral at me. That said, it is still a lovely, quick-drying and attractive polish that is utterly perfect for summer nails (assuming the summer ever makes an appearance)!


The Barry M nail polish in this review was purchased by me with my own money. I was not compensated in any way for my opinions, which are my own.

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Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Nine things...

There are so, so many social rules. Fashion, conversation, etiquette...all of which go out of the window if you are a lady with child.

There are many things that I personally wouldn't do if I weren't 'preggers', but because I's suddenly acceptable. Here are my nine things that're a-okay during your nine months!

1. Wearing leggings as trousers.
Normally unacceptable for obvious foofi-viewing reasons (so nauseating) but a bump hides a multitude of sins and YOU try telling a heavily pregnant woman to wrestle into a pair of jeans...I DON'T CARE IF THEY'RE STRETCHY, THEY'RE EVIL!!
2. Leaning over your dieting friends and loudly asking for another piece of cake.
Is it just my friends that all decided to transform themselves the same year I've spent the majority of it preggers? No? Good! Cake for you.
3. Being a wuss.
It's amazing how many people volunteer to do things when you have a bump. I don't really need your seat on the bus but hell yes I will have it if it's going. I don't remember the last time I made myself a sandwich.
4. Letting other people parent your child.
What's that? She's stuck on the rope bridge in soft play? Oh would you be a sweetie and help her? If I get in there, I'll never get out again... *evil chuckle, eats cake*.
5. Getting the bus...two stops.
What?! It was raining...
6. Having no shame.
Forgot to lock the door at Starbucks' toilets, man opens door, all I can muster is 'sorry...needed to pee'. Best friend was longer returning calls and texts...
7. TMI.
Goes along with having no shame really. Did my work colleague need to know that at long last my lactose intolerance is working in my favour because it counteracted the pregnancy constipation? Probably not. Did I tell her anyway? Yes. Yes I did. At least she wasn't eating at the time.
8. Banning certain things from the kitchen.
If I can't eat chèvre, no one can.
9. Crying at everything.
Sad stories, the news, ducklings...anything and everything brings tears to your eyes. Embrace them and dry those suckers on the biggest slab of cake you can find!


(In case you hadn't noticed, I REALLY like cake).

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Monday, 17 June 2013

Salt Dough

Last week was grim. It was grimmer than grim it was...British weather. It was cold, windy and wet, especially down here on the supposedly sunny south coast. The children were bored and acting up as a result...something HAD to be out came the salt dough!! A mother's best friend (though only when wine and chocolate are strictly post-bedtime amigos).

If you've never made it before or if your little one is just coming of age then I'll quickly run through, it is so ridiculously easy and cheap, you'll never buy branded play clay again!

You'll need some flour (I prefer plain though I'm sure if you used self-raising you'd probably be okay until you cooked it), salt and water (warm as its nicer to touch than cold). How much you use of each depends on how much dough you want (or how many children you have). Find a container that'll be good for measuring out your ingredients like a cup. I use one of our multi-coloured picnic beakers. Place one full 'cup' into a mixing bowl followed by half a 'cup' of salt. You'll then need to half-fill the 'cup' with water. Time to start mixing...add the water gradually so you can gauge whether or not it's too moist. If it is, add some more flour, if its still quite dry, add more water. Mix it until its all clinging to the spoon in the annoying way that it does, then get stuck in with your hands!! Knead it until it's at the right texture; non-sticky and firm. Then you're ready to roll (and cut)!

Grab everything that you can to have some salt dough fun, cutters, rolling pins, utensils....if you've got food colouring kicking around (I sadly didn't...did you know that food colouring can go off? I didn't...) then you could split up your dough and dye it different colours for even more fun.

There are a few different ways you can dry your salt dough, it makes fantastic-children-made Christmas decorations, gift tags for presents or even place settings if you're having a hand-made wedding! You can bake them, let them air dry or my personal favourite...the microwave! I place the shapes between two plates (one on top of the other) and then put it on for around thirty seconds for small pieces. I'd rather undercook and have to keep checking than completely chargrill them, which is something that I have done before. If you're using them for decorations or gift tags, don't forget to make a little hole with a kebab stick or toothpick for the ribbon/string etc.

Another great thing is if you pop it in an airtight container and whack it in the fridge you can use it again and again. So it costs mere pennies to make and lasts for ages! Bargain!

So there we are, my go-to rainy day activity. It's cheap, cheerful and never fails to entertain a does jumping in puddles which is just as much fun!


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Saturday, 15 June 2013

Saturday Savings - Kiddicare Sale

Happy Saturday! I hope you're all having a nice weekend and that the weather has cheered up for you! I'm over at the Kallikids event in Lewes, East Sussex but over here it's time for Saturday Savings!!

I received an email on Friday telling me about the new Kiddicare sale which is apparently the biggest ever that they've ever done!! I took a quick look and picked 6 things that I think are real bargains or have been shopping for myself recently. There are some fantastic savings to be had but you've gotta move fast as the bargains won't hang about long!!


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Thursday, 13 June 2013

OOTD - Ice Cream Sundae

So I have for you today my first maternity OOTD! My husband and I had a meeting at the bank to look over our accounts and also our life insurance policy in view of our impending arrival. These are always good to do as although they often try to sell you loans/credit cards etc. they also have some handy tips on where in your outgoings and savings you can save pennies.

Unintentionally this whole outfit, except the belt, is from Primark (The belt is New Look)!

Apologies for the blur and the scraped up ponytail, I started the day with neat hair and lipstick...


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Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Baby Wishlist

So I'm in my first week of maternity leave and so far my mind has turned to nesting and more specifically, being prepared. The job I do typically is quite a busy one and so far this week I have eaten a lot of cake and last night I went out to my local Chamber of Commerce AGM where I got to sample some lovely canapés at the hotel where we got married. I must say, I felt very 'grown-up' (apparently you give me a bit of duck on a twirly stick and I am giddy with excitement).

Anyways, I digress...

So in my free moments over the last couple of days I have been flitting about the Internet (Twitter specifically) and tracked down some things that I have the major wants for! I thought I'd share them here with you today.

Clockwise from top...

Around £400.
This is a great-value travel system that has already caused a lot of attention. Cosatto are well-known for not only their fabulous prints and 'funky', innovative designs, but also for their hard-wearing quality. As a brand, Cosatto is superb value for money (I have a few products from when Moo was a baby that will be making a re-appearance for Bear) and let's face it, £400 is an excellent price for such a diverse system, especially when you consider that other products that I personally would consider to be rivals in quality would set you back well over the £500 mark for a travel system. It's a bargain. And it's pretty. I want it. Husband not so keen (sadly bold prints are not for everyone).

From £25.99.
I'm not a lover of cot bumpers. They worry me and although their pretty, they're certainly not recommended (yet they seem to be EVERYWHERE...why is that?). I always ended up putting mine at the foot of the crib/cot because it seemed wasteful not to use them, but at the same time I didn't really want them near my baby's head. Enter Safe Dreams and their innovative, breathe-safely cot wrap which they say provides peace of mind when baby is sleeping, should they happen to roll over and press their face against the fabric. This is a fantastic idea and ideal for fellow worry-warts like myself who stress over every little thing. They have a bit of a celebrity following AND make toys too...

£4.68 (from Amazon).
A simple idea, there's lots out there like this; a clip to attach things to your buggy. I like this one because of the sturdy, karabiner design.

£79.99 for five.
I'm really becoming quite interested in the idea of reusable nappies. They are by far the most budget-friendly way forward. I'd really, really like to try some but I'm very nervous. That said, TotsBots have a great reputation. If I was going to dip my toe in the reusable nappy waters, it would be with them! I'm in love with their designs, their colours and there's a great page on their site that explains all the differences between their nappies and who they do/do not suit. It's the initial expense I think that makes me so hesitant. I'm a give-up easily kind of girl when it comes to trying new things and I just don't have the faith in my own character to follow it through. I think these have pretty much sold me, however...

From £19.99
This is my absolute top want on this list (and by gum I'll be getting one)! When I had Moo I thought these types of slings to be tricky and complicated-looking. I bought a Babasling instead. BIG mistake. I used it a handful of times before giving it to a friend who got on slightly (but not amazingly) better with it. It just did not suit my large bosom. Now that Moo is older and I am a bit more 'in-the-know' about babies (before I had her I had no infant relatives or friends with babies or know any babies...), I really, really want one! I did a lot of looking around and prices seem to vary dramatically. Joy and Joe seem to be within my budget and have some beautiful designs on their patterned wraps. A friend recently left a comment on my 'Double Buggy Dilemma' post suggesting that I try a sling so I am taking her advice and doing just that! I think it's time I went and smiled sweetly at my husband...

So there you have it, my Wishlist of practical and useful baby wants!!


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Monday, 10 June 2013

Father's Day Top 5

So this Sunday (16th June) is Father's Day and here are my top 5 gifts for under £20, you'd better be quick though, time is running out!

1. Personalised Daddy dictionary print. £14
2. Nerf 'Shoot to Snooze' alarm clock. £10.82
3. Freaker bottle insulator. £9.99
4. 12oz Keepcup. £9
5. 'Daddy Cool' Terramundi money pot. £17.50

All of the above gifts are ideal if, like me, you have younger children who are too young for hand made but you still want to give a little something that won't break the bank!


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Saturday, 8 June 2013

Saturday Savings - Barry M

So I have a bit of a fun Saturday Savings for you today. Something for the mummies that deserve a little treat.

Barry M have released two limited edition summer shades for 2013, a bright coral pink and an equally bright lime green, perfect shades for holiday toes (or fingers, or any nails really) now that the sun has finally made an appearance! They're distinguished over their regular 'nail paints' from the Aztec and Zebra patterned lids.

Currently in Superdrug if you spend £6 or more on ANY Barry M make-up, you receive one of the limited edition shades for free! That's a saving of £3.99 per bottle. This offer is only available in store, I can't find it online.

If you've not tried Barry M before, they're such a good brand, their nail polish formulas are legendary and they're well-known for introducing new effects to the high street.

Here are my goodies...

Nail art pen in white £4.99
Glitter polish in Bubblegum £3.99
Nail paint in clear £2.99
Lipstick in 311


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Thursday, 6 June 2013

Embracing the Bump - 28 weeks

So here he is, 'Bear', still a bump, and what a wiggly, active bump he is!

My 'Embracing the Bump' posts will always be 'nude' (the bump, not myself, fear not)! This is because I've never been proud of my body, but this is the last baby that I plan on having. If I'm going to man up and whip out my bump, now's the time and I personally feel I have nothing to be ashamed of.

Yes, there are stretch-marks and I wasn't the slimmest of people pre-pregnancy (I was a size 12) but they are my stretch marks and jiggly bits and I think more women should bust out their bumps!

I'm genuinely sorry if it offends anyone!


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Tuesday, 4 June 2013

The Double Buggy Dilemma

I'm hoping everyone is enjoying the wonderful summery weather that we're having!

So I have about eleven weeks until baby number two (or Bear as he is nick-named) is due to make his grand appearance into the world and I've begun to second guess myself in regards to pushchair choice.

Early on in my pregnancy I bought a second-hand Quinny Buzz off of eBay from a local couple. It was a bargain at £150 for chassis, dreami carrycot, seat, both rain covers, adapters, parasol, puncture repair kit, cosy toes and blanket. It is a fantastic bit of kit and will look fabulous when I finally get around to washing it all though it is in perfect condition anyway.

For Moo I had a travel system from Mothercare which has worked fine until recently when the brakes started to play up. It didn't have a carry cot, only a car seat which has since been lost in the many moves we have done since gaining said child. So that has now joined the cupboard under the stairs though I use it if we go out for the day.

When we have our niece-let, we use their double buggy, it's a McClarren and a big ol' beast of a double buggy. I find it heavy and clumsy, but I do have a bump so I should probably give it the benefit of the doubt. My friend has an Out and About three-wheeler and that seems much easier to handle.

Anyways, the point which I am making almost three too young to no longer have a pushchair? Initially I was going to get a buggy board, however I've heard that they are very tricky to fit your toddler on when you have the carry cot attached on the Buzz. I have bought a Maxi-cosi car seat so I suppose there is always the option of taking baby in that when walking with Moo.

The reason for this sudden change of mind is because recently I have been having some behavioural problems with Moo, primarily some running off (once into a road) but also leaving the playground this afternoon, I had to wrestle her into the pushchair to get her home. There was a lot of screaming and a lot of tears which is incredibly rare when it comes to her. I'm concerned about how I will manage when I have a tiny baby in toe also.

So below I have given my top choice for low, medium and high budget doubles...yknow...just in case...

Dream Weavers You and Me - £118.99 -
Baby Jogger City Mini Double - £399 -
Bugaboo Donkey Duo Pram and Pushchair - £1099 -

Has anyone else experienced the double-buggy dilemma?


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Sunday, 2 June 2013

Choosing a pre-school activity

Pre-school activities are becoming more and more popular and if you live in the 'right' sort of areas, there's just about everything on offer.

The most dominating genre would be sport and why not? There's nothing wrong with encouraging a healthy lifestyle through exercise from a very young age. Just flicking through my latest copy of 'The Family Grapevine' (my local children's directory) I come across dancing, swimming, football, karate and gymnastics to name the most popular. Moo, our daughter, does football with Little Kickers which is a franchise-based pre-school activity which started in the UK and has since expanded all around the world. She's been doing this since she was eighteen months, football is a big deal to my husband who is a football coach and his brother who is the goal-keeper for one of our local teams down here in sunny Sussex.

The are lots of things to consider when selecting a pre-school activity for your child which I will quickly run through.
Pick something that is suited to themI know that the idea of them prancing around in a tutu is enough to make your ovaries ache, trust me...I know. But is your climbing-since-eleven-months-old toddler really ready to stand still and follow instructions like ballet? I know mine isn't (sigh). Or is your future-football star really more interested in doing his own thing and not the games laid out for them? Yes, children learn but like adults, some things are not for them and finding something that they enjoy is the point here.
Don't force it. Please don't be one of those people. The parent that drags their toddler to an activity they hate and don't participate in. Not only is it a waste of your money, it puts a strain on the both of you and potentially disrupts other children who are willing to participate. They may not be ready or they may not be interested. Take a step back, maybe try something else or try again in three months. No responsible business owner/coach/teacher would want you distressing your child for the sake of your money in their pocket. If they do then you'd be best seeking an alternative (see further down).
Be conscious of your budget. Don't get involved in something that will potentially become costly and put a strain on your finances if you think you will struggle to work it into your budget. Performing arts are wonderful and I did years of it growing up. It's only now as an adult that I look back and realise how much money I cost my poor, long-suffering father. On top of classes there was my uniform and three types of shoes. Then there were my medals and awards, my practising for said awards and also for performances. Costumes, rehearsals and performances for which he had to attend EVERY ONE. Factor in the time he had to take off of work and petrol money driving me to all of these things...yeah...I was expensive. It's only now as I am conscious of money that I realise these things. If I am honest, right now I could not afford for Moo to do this. Look at costings of things; most pre-school activities will have a one-off registration followed by your weekly class fee. Generally with activities for this age, any uniform or kit is included in the registration. Your local children's centre will also run a selection of free or very low priced activities and will have information on others that are going on around you. My local library has a range of children's story and music activities. Local church halls and community centres often run their own play groups and small activities for usually only a couple of pounds a time. Remember, a huge part of this is your child learning to interact with others.
Things to ask. There are lots of things to consider when choosing an activity. The first and foremost should always be are they CRB registered. You like to think that this is obvious but you'd be surprised how many people don't bother. Find out if you are required to stay with your child, if not, are they offstead registered? Find out if they do a free-trial so that you can try the activity before you invest your money into it. The first session won't always give you an answer either way but it will give you an idea of what it is they get up to in that time. Ask if there are any additional costs; will they need special equipment or clothing? Always find out if the classes are term-time only or all year round. A lot of providers will penalise you for not attending, even if you thought it wasn't running because it's half term.
- Trust your instincts. If something doesn't feel right, don't second guess yourself. If you think that the coach/teacher is too abrupt with your child or you're not getting good value for money, speak up. Remember that typically these activities are people's businesses, that the people working with your child are doing a job. Do not accept anything less than a great experience. A business owner would not want unhappy customers or to pay staff that are not good at their jobs. Feedback should be given where necessary, don't be afraid to speak up and if things don't change, consider changing activity/provider. Would you go back to a restaurant with bad service and/or food? No. AND your child's happiness is longer lasting than a bit of tummy-ache and over-priced tip!

So if you're considering enrolling your child in to a pre-school activity, take your time, try several things and remember that the name of the game is fun!

Image owned by Little Kickers

Some great nation-wide activities are;

There will be lots and lots of local businesses to, try your local children's directory, Netmums or children's centres!


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