THE IMPORTANCE OF OUTDOOR PLAY


We love being outdoors, in fact, try and keep my boys inside for a day and we all go a little stir crazy, they're just happier with dirt under their fingernails and muddy puddles beneath their feet. For me if we didn't get out and explore at some point over a weekend, I'd feel like I'd done not only them but myself a disservice, because everything just feels a little less stressful when we're outside. They can run, jump, scream, stomp and it doesn't feel half as alarming as it does when we're stuck inside the confines of four walls with the theme tune of peppa pig in the background. Outdoor play for us isn't an option, it's essential.

A YEAR GONE BY


It feels like the cliche statement to make as we get closer to the end of the year but my oh my has twenty eighteen flown by. It truly feels like moments ago we were in the depths of winter with crazy snow that never seemed to go away, and yet here we are headed straight for the colder months again, seemingly in the blink of an eye. I've found myself looking back this week on photos, very much giving my own take on Facebooks 'this time last year' pop up, and I can't quite believe the difference. Sure it doesn't feel like a hot minute since we were donning woolly hats and wellies, but the photos show me just how much life has changed it that time period. My boys are most definitely boys now and really shaking away the last elements of babyhood - it's bittersweet but I just love reflecting back and seeing how much they've grown.

PARENTAL WORRIES


I think from the moment you see those two blue lies, the word 'pregnant' or a little red cross on that stick, you're saddled with worry. It's natural, and I think I'd be worried if I didn't worry which is every bit as silly as it sounds. It can vary drastically, from worrying if your kids will eat their lunch at school that day - maybe they'll be hungry, what if they don't drink enough and feel super thirsty? Then there are the bigger things, the stuff that creeps into your mind at three o'clock in the morning to keep you awake at night, what happens to my kids when I'm not around? Will they have their own family, house and life? The scale of worry is a vast one, but it's never ending as a parent, you can't escape it from the moment you're aware of their existence.

PEPPA PIG MOBILE MEDICAL CENTRE | REVIEW


It's no secret that Peppa Pig is a hit in our household, as with most families as I think Peppa Pig is a little bit of a staple in most households these days. Patrick is very familiar with all the characters so when we were given the chance to review the Mobile Medical Centre, as soon as he saw the box he began to shout 'Brown Bear, Brown Bear'.


OUR AUTUMN BUCKET LIST 2018


I'm a tad slow off the mark with this one, as I know we're well in the midst of autumn now, even if the weather hasn't quite got the memo. I can't complain, I like that we're able to wear chunky knits and chelsea boots again now - but it's not even nearly hats and gloves weather, it's perfect for us. Autumn always has, and will be my favourite season, not just for the weather but the fact it always holds so much excitement - that big run up till Christmas is undoubtedly the best time of the year. If I'm entirely honest though I've been stuck in a bit of a slump and it's only over the past week has that fog slightly lifted for me so I wanted to cheer myself up by planning out the things we want to do this autumn.

VAMPIRINA TOY COLLECTION | REVIEW


I know with the run up to Christmas in full swing, there's a huge focus on toys and what to grab for your little ones. I'm sure I'm not alone in having already begun to pick up pieces for my boys, and if you're on the look out for some fantastic toys this Christmas, then definitely look no further than the Vampirina collection. We were lucky enough to be selected to review some of their new and existing line and I can tell already that they're going to be a huge hit, as my two have loved getting stuck into all of the pieces. We enjoy nothing more than snuggling down watching episodes of our favourite vampire so when the toys arrived, the boys were over the moon to see what was in store.

PJ MASKS SUPERMOON ADVENTURE TOYS | REVIEW


The boys are huge PJ Masks fans, so we jumped for joy when we found out we were being sent a big selection of new and existing PJ Mask toys, and I truly mean jump for joy - with Noah asking if it was Christmas when he opened the box. We were kindly send the items and you can be in with a chance of winning some of them during a fantastic Twitter party that will be hosted on October 17th from 1-3pm following the #PJMasksToys hashtag. Definitely make sure you check that out and see all the fun games we'll be getting up to whilst the party is in full swing.


WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU TAKE A SOCIAL MEDIA BREAK | A MONTH OFF


Social media is all consuming, I don't envy teenagers today who have grown up in a world where the amount of likes on an Instagram photo dictates your mood for the rest of the evening, when life is a constant competition over who has more followers and who looks better with the cat filter on snapchat. I love my job, I really do, working for yourself is so liberating and full of a lot of perks but the pressure to constantly be active on social media is hard, it's a swamp and if you don't move fast you can so easily be bogged down.

BRIO LIFT & LOAD WAREHOUSE REVIEW


The boys in this household love playing with train tracks, and I say boys because it really isn't just Noah - no, Patrick and John are as equally dotty about curating their own little worlds with tracks and trains. And me being the practical parent, when I think of train tracks I never really look further than Brio, our house is littered with their toys, from their push and pull cars to their tracks themselves so when the opportunity came up to get our hands on the brand new Lift & Load Warehouse set and expand the boys train tracks, I couldn't turn it down.

WORKING FROM HOME - FINDING YOUR PURPOSE


The number of people working from home has increased rapidly over the past few years, is it any wonder with the extensive digital industry we now have? While this is an attractive option for many of us, it has it's fair share of downsides as well. One of the main issues I've found is you can quite often struggle to find the same sense of purpose working out of the house, as you do in a more traditional environment. Not only can a lot of people suffer from loneliness, but there is a myriad of distractions too. So, here are a few top tips to help with increasing the sense purpose that working from home gives you.

PEPPA'S LAUGH & LEARN LAPTOP | REVIEW & GIVEAWAY


Peppa Pig, what household with children doesn't know the familiar theme tune or can't recite 'flying high, in the sky' off the top of their heads? Certainly we do here. Noah never really had his head turned by Peppa, but Patrick is another story and his is well and truly spun. That being said we don't actually have many of the Peppa toys at home so when the chance came to check out the laugh and learn laptop, we took it with both hands.

TO NURSERY OR NOT TO NURSERY


Since Patrick turned two, and truthfully the months leading up to his second birthday, I wondered when he'd start nursery again. We took him out in December last year once I began to work from home and it was probably one of the best choices we made, for a dozen reasons, but knowing when to put him back in hasn't been such an easy choice. It's actually a playgroup we're uhming and ahhing over, and it doesn't accept little ones till they turn two, hence the wait - but yet I've found myself almost three months after his second birthday and I still haven't filled in the registration form.

STICKLE BRICKS REVIEW


Working in nurseries for over five years, it's rare that I wont have seen most toys in some variation before. Of course with that, toys fall into ones that I think are fantastic, and ones that aren't so much. Stickle Bricks have always fallen into the former category, yet for some reason we've never owned any at home ourselves, so when the opportunity came around to test out some sets, we grabbed it with both hands and here's how we've found them.

SO SCHOOL BEGINS


It always felt so far away, that first year they're born sometimes the days pass like weeks and the weeks themselves feel like they're never ending. But from a parent that just waved her son off at the school gates, I promise you time flies. Not when you're having fun, not when you're having bad days either, I don't really know how or when these years passed us by but they have and whilst I'm tinged with a bittersweet feeling, I'm excited for Noah to begin what I'm sure will be one hell of a roller coaster ride through education.

WHAT THE SUMMER HOLIDAYS TAUGHT ME


We're officially in September and with Noahs' first day at school mere days away, I wanted to reflect on the six weeks holiday as a whole. Initially when they rolled around I was thankful, Noah before now was attending school on a part time basis every afternoon (a strange set-up that any child who turned four before December last year was able to do) and whilst he loved school it was really disruptive every day going back and forth four times. I craved the holidays. But as they came closer the realisation that it'd be me and the boys flying solo for 95% of the time was in truth, a little intimidating - they fight like cat and dog at the minute and I didn't want to end the month of August being able to add referee to my CV.

WORKING FROM HOME IN THE SCHOOL HOLIDAYS


I'm always going to be one to scream from the rooftops all of the benefits that come with working from home, but of course with the perks come the pitfalls too - of which they are plentiful, believe me. Yet during the summer holidays this year, I've realised just how truly lucky I am to be working from home. Sure it's been difficult at times, and not having the most reliable childcare situation has meant a lot (and I mean A LOT) of super late nights, but it's also meant I'm home with my kids and whilst a lack of sleep is apparent, there are so many other issues we've managed to avoid that had I been still in my 9-5 job out of the house, we would of had to face.

BACK TO SCHOOL WITH TESCO F&F


With the fresh school term creeping closer and closer, I knew I had to bite the bullet and accept that Noah is starting school. Internal sobbing aside for a moment, it was time to go uniform shopping and whilst it's still upsetting that I'm losing him to education, the idea of kitting him out top to toe and seeing him all suited and booted was exciting. We headed to Tesco as we'd heard such great things, with an 82% 'would buy again' rating on Mumsnet, that spoke volumes to me along with a whole host of fantastic claims F&F are making this year - we knew it would be a crime not to road test them.

PJ MASKS LIGHTS AND SOUNDS ROBOT REVIEW


If you haven't heard of PJ Masks then you must have been hidden under a rock, my boys are absolutely infatuated with them. Having met them in the flesh this weekend, you can imagine how many times we've heard the words Owlette and Catboy in the past twenty four hours. So when the opportunity to road test the brand new PJ Masks Lights and Sounds Robot came up, we grabbed it with both hands, which I'm grateful for as having had a good week or so experimenting with it, I know it's one of those toys that is going to be kicking around the house for quite some time.


DOING IT FOR 'THE GRAM'


We all laugh and joke don't we, as bloggers or just as people who are pretty active on social media, that something is 'instagrammable' or 'insta-worthy'. I've watched every blogger and their dog this summer head to lavender fields, sunflower farms and pick your own patches, the photos are always beautiful, fit in with any Instagram dream grid and firmly tick off a box for being part of the bandwagon. But why? Why do we do it? I thought it over this weekend, as I debated making an almost two hour drive for lavender glory before giving my brain a reality check and talking some sense into myself. And perhaps these are the reasons I'll never be the owner of a swipe up function, or never truly be '#goals', should we be pushing ourselves to visit beautiful places every weekend or is it all for the sake of a picture and selling a dream that is so far away from our reality?

DISNEY PUPPY DOG PALS TOY COLLECTION REVIEW


If you've got little ones, you'll almost certainly have heard of Puppy Dog Pals, the friendly animation series on Disney Junior where little pugs Rolly and Bingo go on crazy adventures around their town (yes I'm thoroughly invested myself - ok) Well when we received some of the brand new launched Puppy Dog Pals toy collection, I knew the boys would go bonkers and rightly so, it's pretty amazing. I always find little figures really long lasting toys, Patrick enjoys them at two and Noah is still really into them at almost five, so naturally when I opened the box and saw what was released, I was excited for them.

TO INFINITY AND BEYOND | LITTLE LIFE BACKPACKS


The summer holidays are in full swing, so with what seems like every other British family, we're enjoying as many days out as we can. Who knows how long this beautiful weather will last (it's already been months it feels like, I know) so we truly want to cherish every moment as when autumn and winter hits I'm sure we'll be doing what we do best and having a good old moan. My boys need a exercising, like animals, they have to get a run out or they'll be going up the walls and ultimately send me crazy in the process. When LittleLife sent us some of their Buzz Lightyear backpacks, it was the perfect excuse for another fun filled summer day out - just with that little Disney magic on top.

THE BENEFITS OF VILLA HOLIDAYS FOR FAMILIES


I feel as though we've tried and tested most varieties of holidays as a family. We've done all inclusive, half board and villa vaycays too, all of which have their own pros and cons but in terms of family holidays I do tend to lean on the side that staying in a villa just slightly outweighs the other options for a variety of reasons. Don't get me wrong it's lovely to have someone cooking the food for you, cleaning the plates from your table and making you drinks on tap - but when it comes to having children in the mix sometimes there is a convenience in a villa that you just can't get anywhere else. When we head off on our own it's usually my parents villa in Alicante, it's picturesque, a home away from home and thanks to all of the below, it actually feels like we had a holiday when we come home.

GETTING A GOOD NIGHTS SLEEP


It's fair to say good sleep feels a bit of a myth to me, I would say John too but I think that boy could sleep on a washing line as my Nan would say. Sadly, our youngest hasn't adopted this trait from his dad and alas has caused complete havoc with this thing they call sleep, for the last two years. I'm probably giving him a bit of a bad rep as *touch wood* over the few months we have come to see more full nights sleep than broken, which is a huge achievement. But whilst my little Pip isn't a big fan of a good nights sleep, I certainly am and it's something I've lusted after since becoming a parent almost five years ago.

OUR TRAVEL REGRETS



Given that no matter how much we travel, it's always going to be something we don't do all too often - we're bound to make mistakes, do things wrong and generally regret some of the choices we make. I'm no exception, though with each journey we take as a family we learn a thousand new things, there is so much we realise that we haven't quite worked out yet and actually, are still getting massively wrong. Just last month we ventured off to Turkey and I already know a dozen things that I'd do differently if we had our time over, but there's a dozen more that I learnt from our trip last year to Spain. With children especially they're ever changing and always growing meaning that while you can plan every last detail till your hearts content - you can't always predict what will happen and how things will end up.


HOME RENOVATIONS AND THE LESSONS I'VE LEARNT


We've lived here now for long enough to know a little bit about DIY, or so you would think. In truth we probably know about as much as we did when we first moved in and held our first paintbrush - utterly clueless and completely winging it. But that's all the fun of decorating, right? Making mistakes and hoping you learn something along the way. Maybe we're an exception and most people do get it right after one or two shots, but we're still here years down the line trying to get our house exactly how we want it. I thought I'd share with you the tips and some advice I wish I'd knew when we started out all those years ago.


27 FREE ACTIVITIES FOR TODDLERS THIS SUMMER


With the summer holidays here for most people (or about to begin for the lucky ones who got an extra week of school) it can be seriously hard keeping everyone entertained 24/7. Whilst it's perfectly acceptable to sit around and do nothing, I could happily do it all day, my boys would not take as much enjoyment from it as I would - they need to be kept busy. Funds are unlimited so not everyday can be a day out and we all have things we have to get done at home too, so I've put together a list of 27 things you can do this summer with your little ones that wont break the bank.

THE FIVE STAGES OF A TODDLER TANTRUM


The terrible twos aren't a myth, if you've escaped them then just count yourself lucky though I'm sure the threenager or the what-the-fuck fours will most definitely haunt you instead, it's so rare anyone gets away unscathed by their toddlers. You may even be in the elite category that ends up dealing with all three and if you've found yourself there then I salute you because I am well in truly in the midst of a classic terrible two-er. His name is Patrick and he likes to yo-yo between the loving, cuddly and carefree boy he's always been to then the feisty, temperamental and quite frankly emotionally unstable state he's grown to enjoy showing off. The peak times to relish this aspect of his personality appear to be during public outings, particularly if the setting is a calm or tranquil one OR at bed time - because who doesn't love a meltdown when you should have been asleep an hour ago?


FEELING LIKE WE'RE ON FAST FORWARD


Life has been manic, for the past month everything has been non-stop and just as we're starting to swing back into our normal routine over the next week or so, Noah will break up from school and the holidays will begin, oh the joy! I am excited to have him home, I truly am but I don't feel as though I've had a minute to even blink lately as everything has been so full on. Between holidays, broken cars, school trips, inset and sports days, I've not really known whether we're coming or going and feel like I've got 101 plates being spun at any time. It's mentally exhausting and I'm definitely being a bit of a jack of all trades.

MARK WARNER HOLIDAYS FOR FAMILIES


When you're looking to go abroad as a family it's so important that everyone is catered for, from the kids, right the way through from babies to teenagers and then the adults too. You all want to come back feeling like you've enjoyed yourself and actually had a break which is something that isn't entirely easy when you have smalls in your family. Under 5's aren't exactly easy normally, so chucking them into unfamiliar surroundings is always a big risk but if you're like us and enjoy your holidays in the sunshine - then it's one worth taking. My boys need to be busy, they're on the go 24/7 and I worried if they'd be a little restless on our latest trip to the Phoakia Beach Resort in Turkey, thankfully I couldn't have been more wrong as Mark Warner seem to have family holidays down to a tee.

FLYING WITH A TODDLER | TOP TIPS


A flight with a toddler is never going to be a walk in the park because let's face it, even a walk in the park isn't always that pleasant with a little one in tow is it? Patrick is no exception, he's wild, independent and the very last thing on his to-do list is to sit still for almost five hours on a flight. Which just so happens to be exactly what we needed him to do a couple of weeks ago and I'll be honest and admit I was nervous, this isn't our first time travelling with our babes on a flight, far from it - Noah is a seasoned flyer. But our wild child is another kettle of fish and I knew it would be a constant battle of wills, which it was. Looking back at both the departing and returning flights, I know what worked and what really didn't and if I can help one person have a slightly smoother journey then my tips will have served well.

A HOME AWAY FROM HOME - TRAVELODGE STOCKPORT


As a family we generally try to keep our trips away from home, overnight, minimal. That is unless we're heading off on holiday of course, because in truth it can be really hard when you have small children. When you're used to spreading out across a house and all having your individual space, the thought of being holed up in one small hotel room hasn't hugely appealed to me. But with a flight departing from Manchester I didn't really want to risk driving up the same day as I just knew traffic wouldn't be on our side. We opted for a Travelodge, mainly because I roughly knew what to expect, we'd stayed in them before and my main priority was a good night sleep which I was pretty confident we could get there.

MARK WARNER PHOKAIA BEACH RESORT


Where oh where do I begin with our Mark Warner break? There is so much to talk about that I'm going to be dividing the posts up over the next few weeks, with this being a general round up of our thoughts on the entire trip. If you're here looking for the in-depth reviews of the childcare, facilities, hotel or food then stick around and hold tight as I want to give them the detail they deserve. So, cast your minds back to March when we were selected to be Mark Warner ambassadors, it was a huge deal for me as we're so passionate about travel and showing our boys as much of the world as we can - we were delighted. Even more so when we realised we'd be headed to the brand new resort in Foca, Turkey, only opening a mere month before we made our trip, I knew it was going to be something special. And that it was.

JOIE PACT PUSHCHAIR - A TRAVEL MUST HAVE



When I found out that we had been selected as Mark Warner Ambassadors this year, I knew that travel was on the cards, but more importantly, travel with a toddler. Patrick has just turned two and whilst he is fiercely independent, there wasn't a cat in hells chance I would be visiting another continent without a suitable pushchair for him to travel in. As much as I'm sure he'd protest that he doesn't need to sit in one. I researched long and hard on which pushchair would be best, we have a fair number of previous flights under our belt so I had pretty specific expectations in mind for what I wanted, after all if we were in Turkey and suddenly realised that the stroller wasn't working for us, there wouldn't be much we could do about it. You could say my standards were set a little too high, so I was wary nothing would match up.


PATRICK YOU'RE TWO


I can't believe I'm writing this given it only feels like yesterday we eagerly anticipated your arrival, wondering who you'd be and how you'd change the dynamic of our little family of three. Nothing could have prepared us for you though, my fierce, wild boy - the child that ultimately had we had you first, I'm not sure we'd have considered a second. You're testing but you're worth every single challenge you throw our way, and believe me there have been many. I knew during your first year that your personality was shining through and as predicted, over the last twelve months it's grown even more - you've come completely into your own and turned from a baby to a toddler (welp!)


SLOW SUNDAYS


The weeks lately have been hectic, I say weeks but it's probably been more months if I'm being entirely honest. I spoke about it briefly on Instagram, you know the analogy of being a duck seemingly gliding through the water but actually beneath the surface they're furiously pedalling with no signs of slowing down. That's me, I'm the duck. There isn't one specific thing nor are there any huge reasons as to why life is so full on right now, it just is and with Noah about to break up for school break in just over four weeks, I know it's going to get a whole lot busier, so with that in mind I wanted to really flick the brakes on and try and appreciate the art of slow living, even if my version of slow is more like a canter.


ENGAGEMENT OVER FOLLOWERS



As a full time blogger a large portion of my job requires social media activity, I'd probably guess it around half. Whilst the likes of Instagram and Facebook are a bit of fun for most people, it may seem that it's the 'easy' part of the job, but you'd be mistaken for thinking that. Posting a quick photo with a seemingly fitting caption isn't the hard task, though capturing said photos can be, it's building a loyal and engaging following - that's the difficult part. There may be a small amount of social media influences who gained a following quickly and authentically for one reason or another, but the majority have to work hard at it day after day, and it can be a pretty gruelling task, especially today in a era of bots and fake followings.

CHERISHING MEMORIES WITH TIMESPRING



I think as parents it's part and parcel to feel bittersweet as you watch your babies grow. I'm always so scared of missing moments that I'll never get back or forgetting the way their voice sounded at a certain age. Whilst there is so many key points that stand out from the past four years of motherhood for me, there are so many that don't too, it doesn't mean they weren't as important or valuable to me, but that's just how life works.

STRAWBERRY PICKING - DAYS OUT WITH KIDS


If you've been around for a moment, you'll know that strawberry picking was on my summer bucket list for the year. Nothing pleases me more than ticking something off pretty promptly, so we decided to do that by heading to a local pick your own farm in the East Midlands. Our farm of choice was the School Farm near Retford, after visiting last year on our second pumpkin picking mission, we noticed that they were opening for the strawberry season and we couldn't resist. I wasn't sure how much they'd have and if there would be any that were truly pick-able, but thankfully the ripe strawberries were plentiful and we managed to fill our baskets up with ease.


SUNDOWN ADVENTURELAND - DAYS OUT WITH KIDS


Where do I start with Sundown? It's undoubtedly our favourite place to visit with the boys, and has been that way for almost four years now. I could shout and scream from the rooftops about it all day, every day, but instead I save that for my Instagram stories when I visit. If you've never heard of Sundown Adventureland, it's a theme park specifically targeted at the under 10's, situated between Retford and Lincoln in the East Midlands. A stark contrast to most other theme parks I know which usually have a small area for the little riders in your group, and generally focus on adults and teens for the rest of the park. Sundown is a toddlers dream, and as an owner of two small children, it's my dream too because they're both completely in their element when we visit. Just last week we weighed up the options of what to do for the day on Patricks birthday, it was a no brainer, and off we went to Sundown.


OUR SUMMER 2018 BUCKET LIST



Am I allowed to use the word summer? I'm going to anyway as when we gain one day warmer than twenty degrees in my head I've already predetermined the season, and by that reasoning, we're in summer. I do love the lighter evenings it makes the days feel so much longer and that somehow we've gained all these extra hours of activity that we don't have in the winter months. The ability to step out the front door without having to round up matching gloves, a hat, welly boots and a coat is something of a novelty now after what felt like the longest cold snap in history - I'm still not over the snow in April.

I SPY WITH VISION DIRECT


I spy with my little eye, something a little different about myself. You wouldn't be wrong for double glancing and wondering what's different, but spoiler alert - it's my eyes. I think I've harped on enough in the past how indecisive and fickle I can be when it comes to anything from interior decor, what candle to light in the house or what shoes to wear. My eye colour doesn't elude this trait of mine unfortunately. I've dabbled in wearing contacts throughout the years but more recently it's been for a reason, such as Halloween, rather than a fashion statement or wanting to shake up my appearance.  That's not to say I haven't really felt out of love with having brown eyes, they're boring to me, which I'm sure everyone feels about their own - my hair falls into the same category, I've always wished my curly mane was less Worzel Gummidge and more sleek, straight and shiny, whilst my friends would call me crazy and use every curling wand possible to recreate what fell naturally to me - you always think the grass is greener don't you? We can pop into a hair salon and let the assistant go wild with the scissors, any colour under the sun is just about doable these days and the same can be said for our nails but there is something that holds me back when it comes to my eyes, after all you only get one pair, so whilst I was looking to give them a little spruce up it was important to me that I chose a reliable brand to do so with.

TWO YEARS WITH TWO CHILDREN


We're less than a week away from Patricks' birthday, and whilst that's a huge celebration for him it's also a big one for our family - it marks two whole years since we turned from a three to a four. It's been a whirlwind it really has, it still feels as though I have the right to refer to myself as 'postpartum' twenty four months down the line because truthfully, those have been the quickest twenty four months of my life. It feels like yesterday we welcomed Patrick into the world and whilst I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat for him, I can't lie and say it's been the easiest two years of my life because that wouldn't be honest. Likening it to a roller coaster is the only similarity that fawns a resemblance to our journey.

FIVE FACTS ABOUT US


Over the month of April I feel as though every post I did was very specific, there was a lot of travel and child related content and not very much of anything else. Whilst I love reading that type of thing myself, I'm all to aware it can become a bit tedious for others who tune in and so I wanted to shake things up by sharing some simple facts about us, that I can't recall ever discussing over here. I love personal posts, it's one of the reasons I fell in love with blogging as opposed to magazines, because I could feel the person behind the words, to me they had more clout.

LETS GO TO THE BEACH, EACH


With our upcoming beach break, we are, (I say we are, I think we all know I mean me) in that furiously writing two hundred lists and trying not to forget to grab everything we need. It's inevitable somethings will be left by the side of the door as we turn the key and dash for our airport bound taxi, but there are a few essentials that I've been sure to remember thanks to Simply Swim & Simply Beach. If you didn't know we're headed of to the brand new Mark Warner resort, in Foca, Turkey, I'm counting down the days till we've got the sand between our toes and some real Turkish sunshine, quite frankly it's a liberty that I haven't downloaded an app to remind me every single day just how long it is till we fly.

BEAUTY ON A BUDGET


There is nothing quite like the feeling of knowing your skin looks smooth, creamy in the right places, cut in the right places, and your makeup sits just right. Aside from all the work it took you to get the base for all this hard work looking pretty, the peels, the scrubs the masks and the endless glasses of water – what is the one ingredient that you can’t afford to skip or skimp on?

PULLING A SICKIE WHEN YOU'RE SELF EMPLOYED



The perks of self employment are plentiful, there is no denying that, and it was a huge allure for me when I took the plunge in leaving my 9-5 day job. I can drop Noah to and from school, I don't have to worry if the boys are sick because I can just make up the work in my own time on an evening. But what happens when I'm sick myself? Ordinarily if you're really too unwell you'd call into work and spend the day resting, but when you're self employed and know there isn't anyone else who can pick up the slack, what do you do? Do you take the day off, knowing you'll be behind, or push through and run on empty?

CELEBRATING FATHERS DAY WITH DEBENHAMS


With Fathers day less than a month away, and June looking to be super busy I thought that for once I'd be a bit more organised and grab Johns presents nice and early. I'm usually quite last minute and nothing screams 'I wasn't organised' like a pair of socks and a 'best dad' mug does it? Well, not this year, because I've teamed up with Debenhams to show that actually, even with a few days to spare before the big day, we can definitely do better than the last minute supermarket trips. There's no worst feeling that seeing the hours tick down before the shops close and knowing you haven't got around to picking something up just yet, being forced to grab something that you know isn't entirely thought out. Dad's deserve more, I know John certainly does, it's not often he asks for the limelight so I think that on June 17th he can have every moment of it.

ITCHING LESS AND LIVING MORE WITH BALNEUM


With Spring finally taking centre stage, every aspect of me is grateful for the warmer weather, except my skin. My skin can't cope with the roller coaster temperatures. One day it's searing and we're needing to slap on sunscreen, the next it's blanket on the sofa weather and I have to pop the heating on. I've always suffered with psoriasis, ever since I can remember and though there has been periods of time when it disappears, it always comes back. Since having my boys it's been worse than ever, popping up in areas that I'd never had it before, my back and scalp being the worse affected. After trying almost everything to help it, I'd decided to switch to Balneum for the past month and I couldn't be more pleased with the results.


A TELETUBBIES PLAYDATE


If your toddler is anything like mine, then Teletubbies are high on their priorities. I'm sure if Patrick had his way and there was an opportunity to trade me or anyone else in our immediate family in for a tubbie, we'd be gone quicker than you can say 'Eh-oh'. And even though we're finally going full steam ahead into the British summertime, the weather is still pretty unreliable so we're constantly swapping between sandals and welly boots, never knowing from one day to the next what our plans can be, because it's so hit and miss. So when caught sight of the new Teletubbies Playdate packs, we were certain they'd be a hit in our household and we were not wrong.

DELAYED FLIGHTS - HOW TO PREPARE IN ADVANCE


There's nothing more frustrating that a delayed flight, especially if you have children. You factor in everything when you're travelling but inevitably there are some things out of your control, and timings are one of them. Sometimes you will know that a flight is going to be delayed or you will get an idea that it might based on weather reports, strikes at airports or things like this. It is always good to be prepared just in case, but if you know there's a high chance it'll be delayed, then you can do even more preparation.