Wednesday, 29 July 2015

How to help create the perfect bedroom for your child

As your child grows up, their personality and interests will very quickly develop. Soon they will be choosing their own outfits and however questionable their dress sense will be, it’s important to grant them some of this independence. Whilst they're bedroom is there's to sleep and play in, it's still in your house, so you make the final decisions. Finding a way to merge both your own tastes and your child’s can be tough. Here are four steps to providing the perfect bedroom for your child.

Pick a theme

If your child has a strong interest or passion, it might be fun to theme their bedroom around that. Katie Price’s son Harvey, for instance, loves frogs. Katie Price themed his bedroom around them, painting the walls a bright green and making the space into something that is unique to Harvey. The little man is mad about tractors at the moment, so I suspect he'd love the walls emblazoned with big yellow tractors. If the thought of living garish frogs or tractors isn't for you, what about a theme such as Britain; there is a wide range of decorative elements available based around the union jack. Be sure to check out Pinterest for some creative design ideas, such as beefeater prints and union jack storage trunks.
Finding the perfect bed

It’s in the name: this is their bedroom, so the one piece of furniture that deserves more attention than anything else is the bed. Following on from the first step, if you are looking for a fun bed that will fit a British theme, this bed from Bedstar is a fun London Bus that children will undoubtedly love (and parents will appreciate the £369 price tag!). This bed will provide them with a comfortable place to drift off as well as being easily transformed into a play space, complete with its own steering wheel!
Choosing paint wisely

If your child is a budding artist, they may be inclined to grab some crayons and start creating a masterpiece on their freshly painted wall! Don't worry too much, ass there are special paints you can buy that are designed to accommodate the stresses and strains of a child’s bedroom. A strong, durable paint would be ideal, and a neutral colour will add a calming element to the room. Whilst white would be more likely to show up scuffs, a lighter blue shade would be ideal for a British themed bedroom.

Enjoy the process

Whether you’re looking for the perfect accessories to finish the room or still on the hunt for the perfect storage solutions, try to take some time to enjoy the process as much as possible. Your little one won’t be “little” for long and before you know it; they will be grown up and wanting to paint their ceilings black or cover the walls in One Direction posters!

My top 5 TV series

When the little man and Hubby go to bed on an evening I tend to stay up for a little while. I enjoy the peace and quiet and it means I can binge watch whatever TV series I am obsessed with.

I'm quite picky with my shows. If a series doesn't grab me in the first episode, I usually switch it off and it's never watched again. There are some, that I really love though. My top 5 are listed below.
White Collar picture
White Collar
Super straight FBI agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay) and extremely clever and talented con man Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) are thrown together in partnership when the FBI decide to let Neal out to help the FBI with some of their more difficult cases. He is tagged and monitored and his freedom is dependant on whether he helps track down criminals for the FBI.

I love both of the main characters in this series. Despite the fact Neal Caffrey is a criminal himself, his character is extreme charismatic and likeable, and it doesn't hurt that he's very easy on the eye. Watching is easy and the I love the banter between Neal and Peter. If you like light hearted American crime shows, this is for you. There are 6 seasons of episodes to watch so you can definitely get your fix if you like it.
Blacklist picture
Blacklist
This is a recent discovery for me despite being around since 2013. Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone) is a brand new FBI profiler. On her first day she is contacted by Raymond (Red) Reddington (James Spader) who is a an elusive criminal who has been on the FBI's 'Most Wanted List' for over 20 years. 'Red' hands himself but will only speak with Liz and decides he wants to help the FBI catch a whole host of mastermind criminals. James Spader plays a fantastic part and has been nominated for numerous awards because of this show.

There's a web of secrets and no one seems to be who they say they are in Liz's life, including her husband. Why will Red only work with her? How was he involved in her childhood? The third series of Blacklist has just started so there are still a lot of mysteries yet to be solved. It's another American crime mystery series, with lots of twists and turns along the way.
Nashville picture
Nashville
Not my usual genre but I absolutely love Nashville. With the main stories focusing on older Country superstar Rayna Jaymes (Connie Britton) and a younger, newer but equally as successful singer, Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere). It's jam packed with huge selection of famous actors who fit perfectly into the roles. It's set in the busy Nashville music scene and digs into affairs, addictions and indicates just how cut throat the music scene can be,

I absolutely love it. The characters all sing their own songs and there are so many original tracks featured across the series, it's like a much more upmarket Glee without the cheese. 4 series have been aired so far so there's plenty for you to get your teeth into.
House picture
House
I'm really quite sad that I binge watched all 8 series this and have now seen all of the episodes. I loved it.

Hugh Laurie plays the ever cynical and unorthodox Gregory House, a extremely witty and talented doctor who is able to diagnose the most complex of cases. House is rude, arrogant and addicted to painkillers so you'll either love him or hate him.  Regardless, there's no getting away from the fact Huge Laurie plays the part to perfection. The show touches on the medical side of things but also looks at Houses own life, the reasons he's the way he is and the trouble he gets into.
Greys Anatomy picture
Greys Anatomy
Grey's has a whopping 12 series so far and it's still being aired. Based at Seattle Grace hospital it focuses on the lives of a group of interns who start at the hospital and their journeys to become full fledged doctors. It has may twists and turns, deaths and revelations along the way and probably one of my most favourite series ever.I challenge you not to fall in love with 'McSteamy' and 'McDreamy'

What do you like to watch on TV? Do you have a favourite program?

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Things to consider when buying a TV

When you're in the market for a new TV it's a potential mind field of resolution, size, type of screen and other terminology I know very little about. Choosing the right TV to suit your needs can be time consuming and a bit of a headache.

Budget
Try and work out what you want to pay and stick within budget. It's easy to be dazzled by features and pretty buttons but this may result in you spending more than you can really afford.

Size
Measure the gap you have for your new TV BEFORE you purchase a new one. Just because a 60 inch TV looks amazing in store, doesn't necessarily mean it will look quite as good on the wall in your two bed roomed semi.

Safety
Make sure your TV will be secure and away from wandering hands. I'm sure you don't want a broken TV or a squashed child. It's worth considering mounting your TV on the wall, as it reduces the likelihood of it falling.

Warranties
TVs are scarily complicated pieces of equipment which are by no means cheap. Ensuring you have up to date insurance and warranty is important to cover all eventualities.

Type of TV
You need to choose a TV that suits your own personal needs. There's no point in buying a top of the range Smart TV if you have poor internet connectivity and no interest in streaming services.  On the other hand there's also no point buying a basic TV with limited features to then realise a few weeks down the line that you need to purchase extra products such as set top to increase the features to match you needs.

There are so many different types of TV now, it's very easy to become confused. This helpful infographic from Panasonic explains about the latest type of TV to come onto the market and the amazing advanced features if offers.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Win a Outlook Universal Solar shade from Baby's Mart

We've been luck enough to see some sun recently which is lovely but also a worry for parents. Little people shouldn't spend long periods of time in the sun so a sun shade is an essential piece of equipment for the summer months.

This one from Baby's Mart is perfect, with it's universal fitting and zip open viewing panel it's suitable for even newborn babies. The shade can be used on most prams, pushchairs and car seats and is full adjustable and can be extended to offer maximum protection for your little person. 

99% of dangerous UV rays are blocked out and the shade offers UPF50+ protection to help protect brand new skin. The shade is pretty handy too, it folds up neatly into it's own storage pouch when it's not in use.






The lovely people at Baby's Mart are offering one of my blog readers the chances to win themselves a fab Outlook Universal Solar shade.

To enter you need to complete the rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions 
  • A winner will be chosen randomly via Rafflecopter 
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  • ALL entries are checked and if any of your entries are found to be fake ALL of your entries will be disqualified. 
  • Fake entries/automated entries will be disqualified. 
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  • The prize will be sent directly from the company.
UK competitions at ThePrizeFinder - See more at: http://www.theprizefinder.com/content/solar-shade#sthash.cZpAFPri.dpuf

Bath time safety products from Dreambaby®

The little man is at the age where getting him to sit still is a struggle, particularly at bath time. Whilst he loves the bath it can be quite a stressful experience trying to get him to sit still,washing him and still ensure he has fun. 

The bathroom can be a dangerous place for toddlers. Even the toilet can be a hazardous things, did you know children can drown in less than 1 inch of water? I try to be on my guard as much as possible but sometimes you do need a little help. 

Dreambaby® is an international company renowned for is child safety products which are available in over 100 countries. They say 'our extensive range of products is specifically designed to provide parents and carers with modern home safety solutions that make it easy to help keep children safe in and around the home'. 

We were recently sent a couple of bath time safety products from DreamBaby® to help make our bath time routine safer.
Dreambaby® bath spout cover
The Bath tub spout cover is a simple but effective idea. The spout is make from thick and durable plastic that inflates with a few quick puffs of air and then fits over the end of your bath taps. It provides a safe covering to prevents knocks, bumps and scalds. The spout cover can be easily deflated for transported and is ideal for taking with you on your travels. 

Complete with cute whale pattern, the bath spout cover is cute and and eye catching for little people whilst providing safety and reassurance for parents. 

We really like the spout cover, it's very easy to use, the quality is great and at only £4.35 it's ideal for a practical baby gift or simply for your own home. 
Dreambaby® anti slip map
If I'm honest I'm not really sure how we've got through the last 17 months without a Dreambaby® anti slip bath mat. With it's pretty animal design and super sticky suction cups on the underside, it's been a fantastic addition to our bath times since it arrived.
Dreambaby® anti slip map suction cups
The mat literally doesn't move once it's placed and pressed on to the floor of your bath. It prevents slipping and sliding for even the most adventurous toddler.
The colourful ocean themed pattern is great for encouraging your child to sit down. Even the little man likes to sit down and point down through the water at the picture. 
DreamBaby® anit slip mat in the water
The mat also has a handy colour changing star fish that alerts you if the water is too hot for little people. 

I love this clever two in one product - anti slip mat and temperature gauge. I honestly can't believe we've been without one for so long. They little man has recently started having a morning shower with me as well as his evening bath and it's taken him a little time to get used to standing still and not sliding round under the shower. The mat has helped him steady himself and prevented many incidents already. 

You can read more about Dreambaby® and the products they stock on their website or their Facebook page.

*We were sent the products to review. Opinions are honest and my own*






Shared Parental Leave

From the 5th April 2015 parents have had the option to take Shared Parental Leave once a baby is born. The new policy gives eligible parents, partners and adopters the flexibility to decide themselves who will care for their baby in the first year of its life. 

The changes mean that maternity cover can now be split between a mother and father. It's a great idea for families like ours where the Mother is the main breadwinner. It allows the Mother to go back to work if required and allows the Father stay at home with baby. 

When the little man was born I ended up taking almost a years maternity leave whereas Hubby could only take two weeks Paternity, it wasn't ideal when we had a newborn and I was recovering from a C Section. 

Although I think the new policy is a great idea, I really enjoyed my Maternity Leave so I'm not sure I'd have wanted to change. It would have been nice to have had the option to swap with Hubby if I'd wanted too though.

You can read more about Shared Maternity Leave on the infographic below provided by GoToMeeting

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Before you walk down the aisle: Five Financial Tips

Scrolling through the pages of financial forums on the internet, you come across one horror story after another that feature the same plot: “I married a lovely man/woman only to find out after the wedding that his/her credit was in the proverbial toilet!”While these tales of woe can make for some interesting reading for those on the outside, the reality for the affected individual can be harsh and life altering. Just as they are ready to start a new, partnered life with the person of their dreams, the honeymoon ends abruptly and all future plans come crashing down around them. A few bad past decisions on your partner’s behalf can spoil your chances of buying a home, leasing property and even opening a bank account.If you are about to get married, you must ensure that you are aware of your future spouse’s current financial situation. Here is a list of financial concerns to address before you make that walk down the aisle and link your finances to another individual’s credit rating.
Check your credit ratings together – In order to guarantee that there are no surprises after the wedding, it is a great idea for both of you to sit down together and check your credit rating together. This can also help you catch any old unpaid bills and prevent a small missed payment from ruining your future. Check your credit rating here and encourage your partner to do the same.
Emphasise openness and honesty – How you two talk about financial matters is a good indicator of your future honesty and overall marital success.  If either of you have been holding back some bad news about debt, the best time to share this is before the ceremony so that you can determine the best joint course of action.
Open a savings account together, before the wedding – Opening a joint savings account is a great way to start your future together on the right track, and can also help you to assess your credit rating. How you handle the process together is a good indicator of any conflicting views you both may have about financial proceedings, and this will help you to broach the topic early and assuage any problems.

Speak to a financial advisor – If either of you does have a high interest loan, student debt or even a bad credit score based on past bad decisions, a financial adv`isor can help you to determine your best course of action for the future, in terms of applying for loans jointly, debt repayment strategies and other fiscal advice.
Take a class together – If you do all of this and find out that one or even both of you are hopeless with finances, it is never too late to get back on the right track and get your credit rating in good shape. Consider enrolling in a class or even an online budgeting course in order to learn new financial habits and educate yourself in budgeting, saving strategies and financial literacy.

*Pictures courtesy of Pixabay*

Little Dish toddler meals

Whilst I try my best to cook as many meals from scratch as possible sometimes life gets in the way. Hubby and both work and get in late, so it's often inevitable that the little man will need to eat earlier than us. I've always been quite reluctant to go down the microwave meal route but I was recently introduced to Little Dish, a company offering quick and easy to heat toddler meals.

Little Dish have brought out a new range of toddler meals, suitable for children aged 1 to 3 years. Each meal is made with 100% natural ingredients, with no added sugar, additives or preservatives and the salt levels are low. They also provide one of your child five a day. 

We were recently sent four meals from the new range as pictured below to try out at home with the little man.
The meals can be found near the adult ready meals in the chilled aisle at your local supermarket. Our local Asda stock a good range and we've already bought some more meals from the range.
Cottage pie with seven veg
The cottage pie is made with British beef mince in tomato sauce and seven veg sauce. It had quite an orange colour which I presume was the tomato. The little man ate some but didn't seem massively keen on this one. He doesn't usually eat a lot of mince anyway though so it's not out of the ordinary. I though it was a little bland in flavour for me, I couldn't really differentiate between the different food layers. They were all a little 'samey'. 
Chicken and butternut squash pie
A cheesy sauce containing small pieces of chicken, butternut squash and petit pois, this was an instant favourite. The little man wolfed this one down and I have to agree it was very tasty!It was full of flavour and very moreish. We've already bought this one again. 
Turkey meatballs with herby tomato pasta
Another favourite, the juicy lean Turkey meatballs come in a tasty tomato sauce with bite size Orzo pasta pieces. The little man love this. He's a huge pasta fan and has a meatball obsession so this was perfect and much more healthy than the beef meatballs we usually make. 
Chicken and veg risotto
The soft risotto rice is perfect for little mouths. The little man loved this one too. It contains generous amounts of chicken, tomato, butternut squash and sweet potato. It's full of flavour and I was secretly wishing the little man didn't like it do I could pinch it!

Another great addition to the Little Dish meals is the added activity sheet on the inside of every container sleeve. It will keep little people occupied until the meal is ready to be eaten. 

I'm very impressed with the Little Dish meals. The portion sizes are very good, they tasty great and they're so simple to heat up and serve. As I mentioned we've already bought more, they've become a life saver for busy days and quick meals.

The toddler meals cater to 12 months plus and can be ready to eat in minutes while meals for Bigger Kids are ideal from 3 years, with bigger portions and chunkier textures.

*We were provided with the meals for review purposes. Opinions are honest and my own*

Save 25% on Graham and Brown's children's range

You may have gathered I'm currently working with the lovely people at Graham and Brown as a Brand Ambassador for the year. That means I get sneaky updates on sales and fab new product launches and I've just been informed there's a fantastic sale starting tomorrow on their entire Children's range!
There's a rather impressive 20% off across the range but my lucky readers can also get an additional 5% off if you use the code KIDS5 when you checkout. 

All products across the Children's range will be in the sale including the Comic-tastic Marvel range, all wallpaper, wall art and decorative items such as cushions and bedspreads. 

The sale will end on 2nd August so you need to be quick if you want to grab yourself a bargain.