Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Don't make me feel stupid for being afraid

I don't usually write about the news or any controversial issues on my blog, I like to keep things light, but unfortunately there was no ignoring the terrible news over the weekend and I just had to write about it.

Having lived in France for most of my childhood it's a place that I hold very close to my heart and I was completely devastated to hear about the terrorist attacks. That doesn't mean that I don't care about the rest of the world, as many people are stating on social media that the focus has solely been on France when it's been happening all over, but to be honest I think that this has affected us so much as this is right on our doorstep, and it's scary!

I for one have been constantly checking the news, forever refreshing my browser like a woman possessed, looking for updates & new developments, because well, I'm afraid. I'm afraid that it will start happening here, my home, which in my heart I know that it's bound to, it's pretty much inevitable. But what has shocked me are the attitudes of some people, I've almost felt reluctant to tell people about my fears as it's sometimes met with sneers and is brushed off with a "oh well it's obviously going to happen here, don't let it stop you from living your life." As a mother don't I have a right to be afraid?  To fear for mine & my family's safety and to question the world in which I'm bringing up my daughter in?

I can understand what they're saying and I know to those who potentially have no children and who don't understand, that I sound neurotic but I shouldn't be made to feel stupid or weak because I'm scared. At the end of November we always head to my mum's in Milton Keynes and have a day in London, visiting tourist attractions and ending up at Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland. I've always looked forward to our trip but this year is obviously different. Being a self-confessed country bumpkin,  London makes me nervous at the best of times but I think that this year my anxiety would be through the roof. I've told Nath that I don't want to go but I'm happy to play it by ear for the time being. As much as I don't want my fear to get the better of me and I don't want them to win, I know that I wouldn't be able to enjoy it and would be on edge all day.

I have over a week to change my mind yet but we may be making alternative arrangements.

What are your thoughts?
Let's Talk Mommy

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Birds Eye Stir Your Senses review*

Since becoming a wife and mother I have also become a bit of a foodie. I think it's definitely something that I have taken from my mother who is a brilliant cook & baker.

I usually cook everything from scratch, bar the odd fish finger for Ava, so when I was asked if I would like to try the new Birds Eye "Stir Your Senses" meals, I was intrigued. I don't have anything against frozen foods, I just enjoy cooking, but being a working mum with a busy lifestyle I thought these may come in handy.

The Stir Your Senses meals come in a wide variety of well known, international meals such as Rigatoni all Carbonara, Pappardelle alla Bolognese, Thai Chicken with Basmati Rice, The South Indian Chicken Curry & Paella.

These meals are ridiculously easy, you simply put the contents of the packet into a pan, add a couple of tablespoons of water and stir until you have a delicious, bubbling meal. All in 8 minutes!

I bought 3 different meals so that we could try a variety, we tried the Rigatoni all Carbonara and the Pappardelle alla Bolognese and both did as stated on the packet, in 8 minutes I had fully cooked pasta with a creamy sauce to go with it. Ava and I both preferred the Carbonara which was full of cheese and generous pieces of ham. The bolognese was also good although I think it could have done with a little longer in the pan as the pasta wasn't cooked to my liking, I think I'd added a tablespoon too much of water as the sauce was a little too weak in my opinion but Nath enjoyed it.

We then tried The South Indian Chicken Curry, which I was slightly apprehensive about. I wasn't sure how the frozen rice would fair and thought the chicken might come out a little rubbery. Luckily it was perfect, my sister-in-law was over at the time and she was also impressed with how tasty it was, definitely my favourite out of the three meals. The chicken was tender and the curry itself was packed full of flavours and had a bit of a kick to it. Ava had a little try and did enjoy the taste but it was a little too spicy for her. I think she'd benefit from some cream or yoghurt with it in future . I was very pleasantly surprised with the curry and it would be something I'd buy again.

One thing I will say is that I didn't realise that the meals were single portions, which for £3 is a little expensive if you have to buy more than one. In our case I would probably need to buy 3 packs as Nathan eats quite big portions which would come to £9, far too much for a frozen meal. Maybe Birds Eye could bring out a family sized pack for a cheaper price. This is something that would be handy to have in the freezer on nights when Nath goes out and Ava just has a quick meal and the curry is definitely worth a try.

You can buy Birds Eye's Stir Your Senses meals from Sainsbury's, ASDA, Tesco, Morrisons, Iceland & Waitrose for around £3

*We were sent vouchers for the meals in exchange for an honest review. Thoughts are 100% my own.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

The last Autumn walk

I've said a lot this year how much I love Autumn and now that most of the trees are without leaves we're well on our way to dreaded Winter (although that does mean that Christmas is on it's way, which I love)!

Last weekend Ava and I went on a beautiful Autumnal walk with my dad & his dog Murphy. The weather was so mild & beautiful it was hard to believe that it was the end of October.

We live in Shropshire, which is, in my opinion, a beautiful part of the country. I love being so close to the countryside and we are close to Chester, Manchester, Liverpool & Birmingham and a stones throw away from the beautiful scenery of North Wales. Perfect really!

I don't think I'll ever tire of the beautiful colours of Autumn! And in this part of the country we do have some beautiful views.

Crafting is always something that I plan on doing more of with Ava, because she does love it! Autumn leaves are the perfect craft fodder.

This particular park is lovely as not only is it a gorgeous walk, it has small animals that Ava loves and it is completely free!

I do love the Summer but in this country you really don't know what you're going to get weather wise and it's usually useless. On the other hand I never have too much expectation of Autumn but it always delivers. I think Autumn is my favourite season of all.

Until next year, Autumn, you've been beautiful.


Thursday, 5 November 2015

Ava's room tour & My 1st Years review*

I thought that I would combine a tour of Ava's new bedroom with a review from one of our favourite brands, My 1st Years. Since moving into our new house, 6 months ago, Ava's room has quickly become my favourite room in the house. It's still not complete, I would like her new 3/4 bed to have a headboard and the tie backs for the curtains still need to go up. I'd also love to get her a new blind at some point as her current blind was left by the previous owners and is quite old.

Other than that I'm so happy with how her room has turned out. Before hand it was a tired looking room with plain walls and cold lino flooring. Ava chose the lilac paint and we had cosy, soft beige carpet put down. You may recognise a few things from her nursery tour. Including her Great Little Trading Company bookshelf which I love so much.

Ava had a cotbed until recently and it had become that small and narrow that she was coming into our bed every night, meaning we were all getting a lousy nights' sleep. My dad, who was moving house, asked us if we wanted a three quarter bed that had never been used. I bought a pink valance from Amazon along with this gorgeous Bluezoo bedding from Debenhams and since then she's been sleeping so much better!

Ava does have a playroom but I love the Rosebud range from Early Learning Centre and I think they look so cute in her room.

The bunting is some that we bought and hung up for our wedding reception last year which makes it extra special. The Ellie Goulding lyric print is from Notonthehighstreet and the panda print is from And Smile studio. Both frames are Ikea.

Another small touch that I love is her lightshade, also Ikea. I think it was around £15. The lace effect is so beautiful and it really compliments her room.

Her latest addition is her My 1st Years toy storage bag which is perfect for her girly bedroom. One of the things that I love the most about My 1st Years products is that they are incredibly well made. This storage bag is sturdy, with a beautiful bow pattern on the quilted material and her name embroidered on the front. It holds an awful lot of toys and keeps it's shape, no matter how many toys you squeeze in!

The storage bag retails at £40.00* and can be found on the My 1st Years website.

*We were sent the My 1st Years storage bag free of charge in exchange for a review. As usual thoughts are 100% my own.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

A day at Chester Zoo

I said that it would happen and boy, has this post come back to bite me on the butt! Ava's behaviour over the last few days has been so exhausting, I've been at my wits end! So when my auntie suggested a day out to Chester Zoo I thought that it would be a good excuse to get out of the house, to burn some energy and to hopefully have a day without tantrums.

We last took Ava to Chester Zoo on her 2nd birthday which seems so long ago now! I haven't been since but used to go so much as a child. Chester is only 45mins from us and it brings back so many happy memories.

My cousin desperately wanted to see the Komodo dragons so that was our first stop.

I'm not that keen on the slithery things myself, they look like they could gobble you up in one bite!

Throughout the day we could hear this rumbling sound, no matter where we happened to be in the zoo. We soon realised that it was coming from the lion's enclosure and quickly raced across to see what was making them so grisly.

Unfortunately we didn't get to see the lion in all his roaring glory but hearing the roars reverberating throughout the zoo was quite spine chilling!

After spotting the face panting station Ava was desperate for hers to be done. She waited patently in line whilst I tried to convince her to have her face painted as a tiger, but she wasn't having any of it and decided on a puppy, as usual!

We then moved on to Ava's favourites, the penguins & some of my favourites, the flamingos. The penguins were real showmen and so fast! So I didn't manage to snap a picture of them unfortunately.

It was then ice cream time! They sell ice cream from the Cheshire Ice Cream farm, somewhere we love to visit & the ice cream is amazing! Chocolate for Ava, raspberry ripple for my auntie & cousin & honeycomb for me.

We were lucky that although we went during half term (and did a communal groan when we saw how full the carpark was) it was never overcrowded. This could be due to the fact the Chester Zoo is so vast and there are so many different parts to explore.

There are lots of grassy areas, perfect for children to run around or to sit in the Summer for a picnic (something that I'm planning on doing next year!)

There is so much to do we only covered a very small part of the zoo and unfortunately didn't get to see the islands that are the new home for the tigers, but there's always next time.

One of the hardest parts of the day was trying to tear Ava & my cousin away from one of the many playgrounds!

Before long it was time to get on the monorail and head home.

The zoo closes at 4.30pm during the colder seasons and the day just flew past. As I mentioned earlier we hadn't even managed to see it all!

We weren't offered any tickets to review Chester Zoo, we just had such a lovely day I just thought I'd share it with you, If you're in the area you should definitely check it out.

Have you ever been to Chester Zoo?

Friday, 30 October 2015

New Disney Tsum Tsum range review*

One thing that Ava is completely obsessed with is unboxing videos on YouTube. I can't remember how this all started but she is seriously mad about them and given the chance she would sit for hours on end watching other people unbox toys and play with them! So when we were asked if we would like to unbox some goodies from the new Disney Tsum Tsum range there is no way that I could say no!

Tsum Tsum are the new Japanese craze that are swiftly making their way into the UK. They're stackable cuddly toys in the form of recognisable Disney characters but they have a very cute, Japanese look to them. The range has now expanded to include squishy toys, puzzles and even "make your own bracelet" sets. We were sent some of the new stackable, squishy toys aswell as the toyshop playset. All of the Tsum Tsum characters are collectable and there are even some rare, gold ones to collect!

I didn't tell Ava about the video and new toys until the day so she was extremely excited as you can imagine. I've included a video of the unboxing below.

The new range is released tomorrow (31st October 2015) and you can find them in The Entertainer stores or on their website.

Does your child enjoy the unboxing videos on YouTube? Have you heard of the Tsum Tsum range?

*We were sent the items free of charge in exchange for a review. All thoughts are 100% my own as usual.

Vicks Sweetdreams cool mist humidifier with projector review *

We were recently sent the Vicks Sweetdreams Cool Mist Humidifier with Projector to review, perfect timing as it happens as little Miss Ava "I don't like wearing coats" has got herself a cough and a snotty nose.

I'm sure that other parents will agree that there is nothing worse than when your child is ill, if Ava has a cough in the night I just cannot settle. In the past she has coughed so much that she's been sick so I am always completely paranoid, therefore when she does have a cough I barely sleep!

So when this arrived on our doorstep I thought that my prayers had been answered, and I wasn't disappointed! The humidifier is designed to temporarily relieve your little one of their coughs and colds and the projector creates a soothing & peaceful atmosphere.

I have to admit that I'm not the best with instructions and upon getting the humidifier out of the box I was slightly apprehensive about even being able to switch it on, but I needn't have worried. The instructions are very clear and comprehensive and I had it up and running in no time.

The humidifier can be used with or without the scented Vicks VapoPads but I found it slightly more effective with one in (there is room for two scented pads), although this is probably due to the fact that the rosemary & lavender scented pad smells gorgeous! The pads also come in menthol and both aromas provide up to eight hours of decongesting vapors. Each humidifier comes with two free VapoPads.

The humidifier can contain up to 3.8 litres of water in it's translucent tank-which is very handy as you can see how much water you have left- and therefore it can be used continually for up to 24 hours! The humidifier is extremely safe as it projects nothing but cool air and is quiet, always a bonus!

It also has a lovely projector which makes it all the more special and a bit brilliant. This can be switched on & off and although she's almost four, Ava loved it. You can choose between stars, safari scenes or the sea. Very cool!

Now on to the clever part, the humidifier can help regulate your household's moisture levels between 40-60% meaning that their is less chance for flu viruses to survive on surfaces or in the air, it also uses ultrasonic technology which enables the humidifier to produce extra fine particles of water which are able to land further down the respiratory tract, which brings that much needed extra relief to your child.

We have been so impressed with the Vicks Sweetdreams Cool Mist Humidifier. It really has stopped me from being so anxious every time that Ava has a cough and has lead us all to have a good night's sleep! It's also very easy to clean and store which saves so much hassle.

You can get the Vicks Sweetdreams Cool Mist Humidifier from Amazon for £54.99

*We were sent the Vicks Sweetdreams Cool Mist Humidifier free of charge for review purposes but as usual thoughts are 100% my own
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