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Sunday 19 December 2021

Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cinderella - A Brilliant Musical!

Image Credit: https://andrewlloydwebberscinderella.com

{This is a collaborative post}

Back in October my husband and I took the girls up to London to see Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cinderella and straight off, I'll tell you, we all loved it! It truly is the most brilliant show, but I suppose you'd expect that as I've never seen a bad show written by Andrew Lloyd Webber. It was also a bonus that we were able to use a Theatre Tokens gift card I had been given for my birthday in the summer. 

This musical comedy show is loosely based on the story that we all know but don't be fooled into thinking this is a panto or anything like Disney's version of Cinderella. This one is much more adult in content and it has quite a few laugh-out-loud moments. I think it was so clever the way that Emerald Fennell recrafted the story; there are still all the poignant moments of the original show that we know - the mean stepmother, the glass slippers, the Fairy Godmother, the clock sticking midnight and the handsome prince, but there are also clever twists and a deeper tale. 

Andrew Lloyd Webber describes David Zippel's lyrics as "hugely witty" and he is so right. There were many bits in the songs where I looked at my husband with wide eyes and smiled! The witty and racy lyrics were just perfect to engage my teenage daughters that had come with us, but I wouldn't advocate the show for children under about the age of 12, as they just won't get some of what is going on. There were a number of occasions when children sat close to us were heard asking their parents what was going on, or why people were laughing. Here is the official trailer, to give you a little taste.


Tuesday 7 December 2021

Occasion Wear for Teens from Femme Luxe

 Teen girl wearing Femme Luxe shacket

{This is a paid collaboration with Femme Luxe}

No matter your age you want to feel comfortable and beautiful in the clothes you wear and when you're a teenager you don't have infinite amounts of money to spend on fashionable clothes, so it is great to be able to go to an online shop like Femme Luxe which has a massive selection of on-trend clothes at really reasonable prices.

Miss M's friend El was happy to help us out with modelling some new items from Femme Luxe. With it being winter she wanted items that she could wear over Christmas to parties, ice sharing with friends, Christmas shopping in London and maybe a meal out with her boyfriend. Luckily Femme Luxe can provide for all occasions. 

Let me show you what E chose. 

Black PU Faux Leather Long-Sleeve Button Detail Blazer - £22.99

I'll be honest when I opened this blazer I wondered what E had chosen as it just looked really crumpled, but after a couple of days on a hanger the creases from being folded had dropped out and just look how amazing it looks on her. She choose to team it with a lovely bright red top and stonewashed jeans for an elegant look that will work well for a special day trip out or maybe a date. 

It's a double-breasted jacket that you can wear undone or done-up and it has 2 front slant pockets. It is super lightweight to wear and feels comfortable. Available in sizes 6-12.

Teen wearing Femme Luxe Faux Leather jacket

Saturday 6 November 2021

Perfect Personalised Christmas Gifts from ASDA Photo

I love giving personalised gifts for presents to my family. Sometimes you're just not too sure what to get someone as it feels as if they already have everything but who doesn't love photos of their nearest and dearest?

I've used ASDA Photo quite a few times over the years on both gifted projects and ones I've paid for as I know their quality and trust their products. Here, I have rounded up some of the items that I have made as there is such a great variety available nowadays. I hope this helps you to choose something suitable for someone you love. 

ASDA Photo Cushion - £26.00

I've made a few cushions over the years and the ASDA one is by far the best. Miss M just created one for herself this year and it isn't what I'd have chosen but it suits her personality and makes her smile, so that is what is important. I wasn't sure how well it would turn out as she used lower quality photos than ASDA recommends but actually it is fine. See below -

The images are not anywhere near as crisp as Miss E's cushion below, as I used much higher quality ones when I made that cushion. Miss E has had this cushion for over 3 years now and it is still in perfect condition, despite her sleeping with it each night. She really loves it and the suede martial is so soft to the touch. The size is 25" x 14.5"  and the cover is removable for washing at 30 degrees.

Wednesday 3 November 2021

2022 The Perfect Year for a Trip of a Lifetime - Four Ideas

Photo by Nadine Rupprecht on Unsplash

{This is a collaborative post}

We've had a really tough couple of years thanks to Covid and most of us have had to cancel trips and holidays, which has been miserable but necessary. Thankfully, as the vaccine program has rolled out and more has become known about this disease we are able to travel more freely again. This is like music to my ears as there is nothing I love more than travelling to a new place or country and exploring somewhere new and exciting.

With a serious dose of wanderlust, I've spent a very enjoyable few hours fantasising and researching where I could travel to next year if money was no object. Sadly, for me, money does play a part in the choice of where I can travel to and therefore if I want to make any of these trips a reality I'll need to play the Lottoland online lotto with the hopes of winning a few million pounds! Or even up to £188 million if I play the US Powerball. Just think what you could do with that kind of money, nothing would be an obstacle again, you could live off the interest!

Here are four trips that I would love to take, all a little different, but each one uniquely special -

1.  See the Wildlife in Costa Rica

Photo by Zdeněk Macháček on Unsplash

My husband is an enthusiastic wildlife photographer and it would be his dream to see toucans up close and personal. A trip to the Tortuguero National Park and the Toucan Rescue Ranch would be amazing and would also allow us the opportunity to see wildlife that is native to Costa Rica (or the Rich coast as it translates) such as sloths, hummingbirds, jaguar, puma, sea turtles scarlet macaws and crocodiles.

Costa Rica is a country of great diversity and as well as the wildlife we could indulge in some thrilling activities such as white water rafting, zip-lining and cave tubing. It doesn't all have to be action-packed though as there are plenty of white sandy beaches with warm tropical waters where we can enjoy some downtime and the beautiful sun on our faces. 

Monday 4 October 2021

Getting Autumn Cosy with Femme Luxe

{This is a collaborative review post}

The weather has definitely made a turn towards the colder climes and the trees are now starting to change colour, so we know Autumn has arrived. With the change of weather comes a desire to stay home and be cosy, especially for one of my twins, Miss E. She got a nice new double bed about a month ago and I can hardly get her off it, or even out of it now. Her bedroom really is her sanctuary.

Femme Luxe gave Miss E the chance to choose some new clothes that she can be snug in this Autumn. They have a wide selection of loungewear, joggers and hoodies to choose from and practically every colour of the rainbow. I think she made a great selection of items and the colours all tone so well together. 

Wednesday 28 July 2021

Finding Freedom with Modibodi Period Pants

{This is a review post, we received these pants in exchange for an honest review}

As someone who has seriously suffered with her periods over the last decade, I really wish I had known about Modibodi. It is a brand designed by mum Kristy, offering period, pee and sweatproof underwear - knickers, bras, camis, active leggings and swimwear. 

I introduced my teenage girls to their period pants about a year ago and it was interesting to see the response I got. The one with the heavier periods was on board from the start and excited to see if the knickers could stop us from having to change her sheets frequently and the other one just looked at them and declared them old people, ugly granny pants! She's now having a change of heart when she saw how well they are working for her twin and she asked me to get some knickers for her too. So now I have two converts in the house!

Thankfully my periods seem to have gone away, thanks to my second TCRE operation in January this year so I had assumed I had no need for Modibodi pants anymore, but actually, I'm now seeing a pelvic health specialist about those little 'opps' moments and realising that I probably ought to get myself some Modibodi pants to try out too. It will be far more comfortable than having to wear pads all the time. 

Sustainable Agenda

Talking of pads, who realised that it takes 500 - 800 years for a pad to biodegrade. I had no idea it was quite as bad as that, so moving to a reuable product like Modibodi pants can really make a big difference as each woman will use around 11,000 single-use sanitary products in her life and if you're a heavy bleeder like I was then it would be far more. Modibodi is serious about sustainability and making a difference.

Sunday 25 July 2021

Super Summer Giveaway - Win a £100 M&S e-Gift Card

At long last, the summer has arrived and I have certainly been enjoying some days on the beach and the sun on my face. It's not quite the same as going abroad though and I'm dreaming of a break in Spain with nothing to do except sip long cool drinks and read my book. Maybe a bit later in the year if I'm lucky. 

But how about you? Do you have a holiday planned for this year, or have your plans been put on hold? Whichever it is, I bet you could use a £120 e-gift card for M&S to buy yourself some nice new clothes, lingerie or swimwear. Or if you're already all kitted out for the summer then why not use the money to get some beautiful accessories for the garden, fabulous meat for a BBQ or maybe one of their luxury picnic hampers. Whatever you choose, you know it will be high quality as it is M&S.

Meet the Bloggers

The following UK bloggers have all come together to contribute towards this giveaway, offering you a chance to win an M&S e-Gift Card worth £120. Kindly support us by visiting some of the websites below or following us on our social media pages. CatsKidsChaos | Spillinglifetea | Real Girls Wobble | Missljbeauty | Monethalia | Koody | Felifamily | Hannah and the Twiglets | A Life Of Lovely | At Home With Alice | Make Money Without A Job | Earn Money Do Good | So Nostalgic | Craft Multimedia | The Grumpy Olive | Cantwells Cabin | StressedMum | Alice in Sheffield | Dull to Desirable | It's Me Chrissy J | Best Things to do in Cambridge | Two Plus Dogs | Thrifty Chap | Jupiter & Dann | Miss Tilly And Me | Being Tilly’s Mummy | Internet Wages | Life With Ktkinnes | Christmas With Katie | Life in a Break Down | Simply Saving | A Suffolk Mum | Fresh Design Blog | Wotawoman Diary | StaceyLBlogs | Socially Rach | Best Things to do in York | Brunch or Breakfast? | Lodges with Hot Tubs | Fruit Picking Farms | Citrus Spice and Travels | A Life With Frills | Life Changing Side Hustle | Honest Mummy Reviews | Wander & Luxe | My Tunbridge Wells | Travel Bugs | Mind over Money Matters | Discover Kent | A Life Less Plastic 

The Giveaway Prize

One lucky winner will win a £120 M&S e-Gift Card! An M&S eGift Card can be used online at marksandspencer.com or in over 700 M&S stores across the UK.

Terms and Conditions

1. There is only one prize of a £120 M&S e-Gift Card. 2. There is no runner up prizes. 3. This giveaway is open to UK residents aged 18 and over, excluding all bloggers involved with running the giveaway. 4. The closing date for entries is midnight on 08.08.21. 5. The same Rafflecopter widget appears on all the websites involved, but you only need to enter on one website. 6. Entrants must log in to the Rafflecopter widget below and complete one or more of the tasks - each completed task earns one entry in the prize draw. 7. Tweeting about the giveaway via the Rafflecopter widget will earn five bonus entries into the prize draw, increasing your chances of winning. 8. One winner will be chosen at random. 9. The winner will be informed by email within 7 days of the closing date and will need to respond within 28 days with their email address, or a replacement winner will be chosen. 10. The winners' names will be published in the Rafflecopter widget (unless the winner objects to this). 11. The prizes will be dispatched within 14 days of the winner confirming their address. 13. By participating in this prize draw, entrants confirm they have read, understood and agree to be bound by these terms and conditions. 

To enter the giveaway, simply complete any or all of the Rafflecopter entries below: a Rafflecopter giveaway Good luck!


Thursday 17 June 2021

What is the Best Flooring for Everyday Peace of Mind?

{This is a collaborative post}

Life tends to be hectic no matter who you are. You may work from home or be constantly outdoors but there are times when you just need to relax without finding distraction from the next thing that needs your attention.

For nine out of ten people your space to destress and relax will be a room within your own home. So it is important that the room is well decorated and has flooring that helps you to unwind and feel calm. You'll want comfort in both how the flooring feels underfoot when you walk on it, as well as what you can visually see and of course, how little time you have to invest in looking after it.

Thankfully you can find a great solution for all your needs with luxury vinyl flooring, such as the lowest price Amtico flooring.

Less Cleaning

When choosing a new floor covering one of the first thing you are going to consider is cleaning the floor. There is no denying this is a major concern for anyone looking to install new flooring and have a simple life.

Whilst many people begin to look into what carpet cleaning devices and chemicals they required and others want to ensure their flooring for damages, Amtico vinyl flooring provides some peace of mind guarantees. Such as, it is super easy to clean simply with warm water and a sponge or mop. You can clean up spills of food or drink, or even trampled-in dirt in moments. 

Also, there is no chance of spilt water seeping through the floorboards to your subfloor due to the moisture-resistant manufacturing process. Both of these factors are reason enough why many households choose Amtico vinyl flooring.

Comfort Levels

Luxury vinyl flooring provides you with a natural cushion feel underneath your feet and it lends itself as a perfect partner for underfloor heating, meaning you'll be snug and warm in your home.

Unlike other types of flooring which could rise or bubble due to temperature changes, vinyl will stay in place and keep it's professional look. Also, the cushion quality of the Amtico vinyl flooring increases the safety of household objects that would usually smash when dropped. That means plates, glasses and ornaments have a higher chance of bouncing than being destroyed upon impact if you do have a little accident. 

Larger Selections

No need to be intimidated by the sheer size of the selection you have of the lowest price amtico flooring as you can quickly narrow down your choices and there are enough designs to guarantee you the right flooring for your needs.

Whatever home look you enjoy, that allows you to relax, feel safe and spend time without worrying about your home, you can have it the way you want with luxury vinyl tile flooring.

Thursday 10 June 2021

Review: Dinner at Mill Arms, Dunbridge, Romsey, Hampshire

Review of our meal at Mill Arms, Dunbridge, Romsey, Hampshire. We'd recommend and would eat there again.

When we stayed at Michelmersh Manor Farm near Romsey recently we wanted to try some local fayre one night and when I started to look for pubs that were close by, the first two that came up were the Bear & Ragged Staff and The Goat. They both looked really nice but they also looked pretty pricey and the menus appeared quite limited. As we were going to be eating with our twin 13-year-old daughters we wanted to make sure there were some comfort food type dishes or crowd-pleasers like pasta/ pizza on the menu. We, therefore, choose to dine at the Mill Arms, Dunbridge.

It turned out to be a good choice as we all enjoyed our meals and we paid £53.00 for a main course and soft drink for each of us, so that was good value. That worked out to just £13.25 each.

From the direction we arrived at the pub, we entered through a side door from the front car park, where there are just a few spaces but then there is a large car park to the rear as well. The pub/ restaurant was not very busy at all and I took this to be because the Covid restrictions had only just lifted and people were still being cautious. On that note, we felt very happy with the precautions put in place.

Saturday 3 April 2021

Making an Inexpensive Letterbox Gift for Fathers Day

Easy ideas for making an inexpensive letterbox gift for Fathers Day

 {This is a paid collaborative post}

After a year of hardly being able to see anyone other than those we live with, I have become an expert at sending gifts and care parcels by post, but what I learnt early on was that it can end up costing a fortune. So, the way to do it cost-effectively is to send letterbox gifts. You can still make a really nice personalised gift but do it on a small and lightweight scale.

I send mine via Royal Mail and second class post, and this currently costs me £1.53 for a parcel up to 250g and £1.99 for up to 500g. The dimensions of the box need to be a maximum of 2.5cm thick, and up to 25cm wide and 35.3cm long. You can make your own boxes (if you're clever at that sort of thing), recycle ones you've been lucky enough to receive or I buy mine for as little as 30p each.

With Fathers Day coming up in the UK in June, I thought I'd show you an idea for making a letterbox gift to send to your Dad or a man you love like a dad. The great thing about making something like this, rather than buying it, is that you can make it really personal and include things you know the recipient will love.

Friday 26 March 2021

Keeping the Creativity Going Post Lockdown

{This is a paid collaborative post}

I think we are all feeling optimistic now that the end of lockdown is insight. The UK roadmap out of the restrictions may be slower than some of us would like but it looks like it might actually happen this time. Thank goodness for the scientists who developed an effective vaccine so quickly and for the task force who have done an amazing job rolling out the vaccine effort. Add that to community testing and we have a much better handle on the damage that Covid can do in our country. 

Whilst some of us are raring to go and for normality to resume, there is also the chance to think about what habits we have developed over the last year that we want to carry on with us into our new normal of everyday life. With more time at home in the last year and not so many places to go many of us have taken to crafty pursuits and been really creative. 

For me, and I suspect for many others, creativity has been a wonderful outlet for expressing myself in this difficult time. So here are some suggestions of ways to keep the creative juices flowing in the coming months as we can go out more and do more things.

1.  Create with Others

Once we can meet our friends again, why not set up or join a crafting circle/ group. There are plenty of groups like 'Knit and Natter' or the W.I. where groups of like-minded women meet and create things together, but with separate projects. Do a shout-out in your local area Facebook group, ask in the library or keep an eye on community notice boards. I bet you'll find loads of groups already established, or set something up yourself if it isn't already there. It doesn't have to be complex, just 3 or 4 women meeting in a coffee shop to crochet together. 

Thursday 25 March 2021

Teen Spring Looks with Femme Luxe

Twin teen girls wearing new clothes trends for Spring 2021 from Femme Luxe

{This is a paid collaboration with Femme Luxe}

Thank goodness the weather is starting to improve.  We all need some good news and things to help us feel a bit more positive this year, so the easing of lockdown and the sun are definitely positives. My twin girls ordered some new clothes from Femme Luxe ready for this warmer weather and are looking forward to being able to get out more and wearing them.

They both opted for a shacket (a cross of a shirt and a jacket) as they are the perfect item for layering. In the warmer weather, they can be worn open over a long or crop top as a jacket and in the colder weather, they are still thin enough to be worn under a thick coat. Femme Luxe has a range of shackets. in checks and plain colours, as well as regular length, longline or even a hoodie version.

The girls went for the oversized button front shackets, Miss E chose the lilac colourway and Miss M wanted the sage colour. These are currently £21.99, although there is a 15% sitewide discount at the moment, which takes the price down to £18.69 which is great. They are styled with breast pockets, slant pockets at each side and metal buttons down the front. As you'd expect with fast fashion you do get some hanging threads etc, but I think the quality is commensurate with the price and we've found that our items from Femme Luxe wash up fine. 

Thursday 25 February 2021

DIY World Book Day Costumes on a Budget

Photo by Steven Libralon on Unsplash

{This is a collaborative post}

It’s nearly World Book Day, which means it’s time to start thinking about costumes. And with 40% of us parents choosing to make our kid’s costumes, according to a recent survey from Kiddi Caru, it’s time to turn to the arts and crafts, and for some, even dig out the sewing machine.

Whilst the majority of parents seem to enjoy making costumes for their children, dressing up for this event can soon rack up in costs, as over half of parents surveyed admitted to spending up to £30 on their child’s World Book Day costume. But if you’re on a budget this doesn’t have to be the case. We’ve put together some of the most popular costume ideas for World Book Day and given you an insight into how to create these characters’ looks easily and cheaply.

Read on to find out more about our top tips and tricks.

Harry Potter

According to the survey by Kiddi Caru, Harry Potter is expected to be the most popular costume for this year’s World Book Day. And it’s easy to see why, as it’s a pretty simple costume to pull off. Pair some grey trousers, or a skirt, with a white shirt and a V-neck jumper, and you’re already most of the way there – plus you’re likely to already have these items in your child’s wardrobe.

If your child wants to be in the Gryffindor House, then make sure to also include a red and gold tie. See if a family member has one in a similar style to borrow, or you can use some fabric paint to draw the stripes onto a plain tie. Simply change up the colours if your child would prefer to be in Ravenclaw (blue and silver), Hufflepuff (yellow and black) or Slytherin (green and silver). You could also make things even easier for yourself by using felt, which can be stuck onto a coloured tie, or added as a trim of your chosen House colour to their jumper.

If it’s Harry Potter that your child wants to be, then add some round lens-less glasses that can be bought online for an affordable price, or make some from a piece of card. Add a black cape that can also be handmade (see below) and draw a lightning bolt on their forehead using a makeup pencil, and the costume is complete.

But the wizardry costume ideas don’t have to stop at the main protagonist. Add some funkier glasses and unusual clip-on earrings to create Luna Lovegood, or re-use a wizard costume from Halloween, with the addition of a fake beard, for a Dumbledore-inspired look.

Photo by Rhii Photography on Unsplash

Thursday 21 January 2021

An Easy Guide to Understanding Allergies

An introduction to what allergies are and how they can be diagnosed by use of a home blood test kit.
Image by cenczi from Pixabay 

{This is a paid collaboration with Klarify}

It's reported that over 20% of the UK population is affected by one or more allergy (1) nowadays. I find this a staggering figure and the growth has been rapid over the last few decades. I suspect none of us have managed to go through life without being impacted by allergies. One of my earliest memories is of my Nan being stung by a bee whilst we were shopping on a summers day. Within 30 minutes we were calling an ambulance for her as she had gone into analphaltic shock. It was a scary experience that has stayed with me and reminded me never to underestimate the potential severity of allergies.

I, personally, had manged to live an allergy free life until I was 41 and developed asthma; my GP and I believe this was bought on by the gasses and pollen emitted from the rape seed fields that I had moved close to and decided to take a walk though to appreciate their beauty. Even with a pretty mild case of intermittent asthma I've realised that there are life changing implications of having allergies. 

What is an allergy?

You can go through most of your life allergy-free and then all of a sudden your immune system is exposed to something new and it becomes sensitised and can go on to evelop an allergy. Simply put, an allergy is an overreaction of your immune system to a substance that is normally harmless. The first time you are exposed to this substance, that we'll now refer to as an allergen, your immune system memorises the particular structure of the allergen so that it can produce specific IgE antibodies in defence. This is called sensitisation.

Each time in the future that your body is exposed to this allergen it will produce IgE and some people can go through life sensitised to a substance/ allergen but never experience any symptoms and thus it is not an allergy, as they don't have any outward or adverse impact to being sensitised.  Other people will have symptoms and thus they have an allergy. Your allergies can flare u and subside throughout your life.