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Month: October 2017

Red Elephant Baby Boxes – Review

Red Elephant Baby Boxes – Review

When I had our first daughter, the weeks afterwards were a total blur of sleepless nights and dirty nappies. There’s so much to think about, but all you want to do is catch up on lost kip! As well as being some of the toughest, the first months of our baby’s lives are some of the best we’ll ever have. They can be made even better though! This week I was asked to try out a baby subscription box from Red Elephant and I found that they’re the perfect subscription box for new mums and babies!

Red Elephant is a company that provides unique subscription baby boxes. They’re delivered monthly and are for babies from 0 – 12 months of age. Red Elephant aim to fill their boxes with items that meet the educational, fashionable and developmental needs of our littles, depending on their age and gender. What I love about this particular company is that they often include something for mums. It’s a great way to make them feel loved too, when all eyes are on the new addition!

 

 

There are different subscription boxes available, depending on the needs of the new family in question. Prices range from £25/month for a standard box containing 4-6 items, to £34/month for a premium box containing 7-9 items. The boxes have a retail value of over £70! You choose the box and length of subscription and Red Elephant even offer other super cute baby items, that you can add to your box or order separately.

 

Red Elephant, We Love You!

Having never had any kind of subscription box before, I wasn’t sure what our first would be like. When our order from Red Elephant arrived I loved what I saw immediately. You can tell by the packaging that the products inside are going to be of great quality, Attention to detail is so important and this company get top marks for their efforts. On opening the box I was surprised at how many products we’d received. Our favourite was the character dressing gown, it’s a task to get my littlest baby to take it off. The little shoes were incredibly cute too, so cute that they almost made me think having another baby was a good idea!

 

 

Whether you order a Red Elephant subscription box for yourself, or as a gift for someone else you will not be disappointed. As the worst gift buyer in the world, they’ll be at the top of my list when I need gifts for my mum friends. Red Elephant really do cover all bases with their boxes, if only I could get that dressing gown in my size!

 

The guys over at Red Elephant would like to offer my readers the chance to win a premium subscription box. All you have to do is enter using the form below…good luck!

 

Win A Red Elephant Baby Subscription Box

 

*This is a collaborative post.

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#MumisBest Guest Post – Aleena from Mummy Mama Mum!

#MumisBest Guest Post – Aleena from Mummy Mama Mum!

Welcome to another instalment of my new guest series #MumisBest!  #MumisBest is all about the ever-growing SAHM/working mum debate.  I really want this series to highlight that there’s no right or wrong way, but whatever works for you and you family.  If you’d like to take part do get in touch, I’d love to hear from you!  For now I will leave you in the hands of Ali from Mummy Mama Mum!

Before I had kids I would have definitely described myself as a workaholic. In many ways this hasn’t changed, but the nature of what I do most certainly has!

When I fell pregnant with my first child, Amelia, I knew that I definitely wanted to return to my full time job running a busy retail business, and I knew that I wanted to return full time. I mean, my business was my baby, and even the thought of handing over he reigns to someone else for 6 months brought me out in a cold sweat. Even during the first week or two after Amelia was born, I was itching to get back. When the time finally came around, I was eager to get back to real world, and eager to get back my salary and main breadwinner status. 6 very long and painful months later, I called the regional director on Friday and told him I wouldn’t be back on Monday.

It was both the hardest and easiest decision I have ever made. I felt like I was giving up on a part of myself, and I suppose in a way I was. But I was also creating a very new story for myself and my family, mainly one that actually involved weekends together! I didn’t last long being out of work completely, and ended up taking on a trainee position at the nursery that Amelia was enrolled at. The training has now ended, and I am now a fully qualified Early Years Teacher, which has opened up a whole host of new doors I hadn’t even considered previously.

I worked part time while Amelia attended nursery, until I very suddenly fell pregnant with Wills. I knew that I would return to work again after he was born, but I have to say that this time the lead up to my return was very different. I felt an actual desire to stay at home full time, especially as maternity leave the second time around was when I had started my blog. But return I did, and I must say it wasn’t as catastrophic as I had feared it might be. The washing still gets done, the dinner still gets cooked (batch cooking is most definitely my friend), and we still have lots of time together.

But it is all set to change again! At the end of July, we are moving over 100 miles away from our current home! While Mr C is able to take his job with him, I unfortunately cannot bring the nursery with us! This means that, as things stand, I will once again have no out-of-the-home paid work. I will be a SAHM once again, and while I dreaded it the first time around, this time I’m ready!

I have my blog to keep me focussed and driven, which is what I feel was missing after Amelia was born. And I think that just about sums it up for me; it doesn’t matter what you choose to do, as long as what you choose works for you. After 3 years of trying out pretty much everything, I have finally worked out that it’s not necessarily work that I need, but something that keeps me driven to succeed (aside from the kids, obvs!) That has now taken form in my blog, and I’m suddenly much less interested in dragging my un-makeupped face out of the house in the morning!

Work, no work, SAHM, WAHM, running around the forest barefoot mum! Just do whatever works for you and yours! Forget all the titles that came before; forget about being a stay-at-home-mum or working mum, or any of the others – focus on being a happy mum with happy kids. That is all that matters in the end.

 

You can see more from Aleena here!

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What Kind of Work Space Works for You?

What Kind of Work Space Works for You?

When I began working from home, productivity wasn’t my strong point. Having never had a job that I didn’t have to leave the house for, I had no idea how distracting working in your own living space can be. There’s always something to be done at home; DIY, housework and the Sky planner to work through. It soon became apparent that my working environment wasn’t helping my progress.

Our work space can have a massive effect on our concentration and the quality of our work. If you get it right, the sky’s your limit. If you get it wrong, you may as well stop wasting your time. This week I’ve teamed up with Pall Mall Estates and a fabulous group of my fellow bloggers, to find out what working kind environment is perfect for them. There are so many variations of what makes up ideal working conditions, what works so well for one person could be a recipe for disaster for another!

 

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What works for me –

 

When blogging and writing became a serious profession for me, I had to develop a fool-proof plan to make sure I continue to make the best of my time. My work station changes depending on what task I have at hand. If it’s something that requires my full attention, I need complete silence and a clean area around me. No clutter and no mobile phone in sight. This is how I spend most of my time, occasionally I’ll listen to a little music but only in between tasks to give my brain a little respite! There are times when I work in front of the TV, but only for jobs that I do day in and day out. The ones that I could do with my eyes shut!

 

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What works for others –

Stacey from One Small Human – ‘I like a window and lots of natural light to concentrate. And I do tend to play music too. But the natural light is the biggest thing for me.’

Beth from Twinderelmo – ‘Smooth radio! It is the best soundtrack to work to. I hate working in silence – feels eerie!’

Victoria from Lylia Rose – ‘Natural light and a clean and tidy desk. If I need to concentrate then I like to sit upright at my desk with no noise or distractions around me.’

Victoria from Mummy to My Little Cheeky Monkey – ‘My desk is by the window and if the kids are away I have music on, but if kids are home I normally have the TV for background noise.’

Kirsty from Life with Boys – ‘I need silence and a clear space. I can’t work in mess and this means I find it very difficult to really get into my work quickly. With a one year old my house is rarely tidy.’

Clara from The Balance Collective – ‘Now I’m writing a lot more than I used to, I’ve realised I get too distracted by music with singer’s (as I end up joining in and get carried away with the song. So now it’s classical music! Enough to remove the “loudness” of silence, but doesn’t transport me away from the words I am trying to write.’

Tricia from The Birth and Baby Academy – ‘Either total silence or a busy coffee shop. Both work really well for me. Sometimes less distractions in a busy coffee shop weirdly!’

Katy from Katykicker – ‘I listen to the ‘music for concentration’ playlist from Spotify on my Sonos and it really helps me focus.’

Louise from Pink Pear Bear –  ‘By myself, in total silence with a limitless supply of tea!’

 

Thankyou to each of these amazing bloggers for giving an insight!

 

What’s the ideal working environment for you?

 

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*This is a collaborative post.

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The Day My World Stood Still. Well, Nearly.

The Day My World Stood Still. Well, Nearly.

Blogging, writing, social media and emails galore. Sound familiar? I’m not moaning, it’s the theme tune to my life and I love it. However, since I found myself on this path I don’t think I’ve downed tools for even a day. I’m always conscious of deadlines, I squeeze work into my day any which way I can and when it’s finally time to go to bed I work for a couple more hours. You know, for good measure.

Well this week something amazing happened. I scheduled all content, put down my phone, closed the laptop, packed the kids into the car and took the whole day off to enjoy being a family. OK I’ll admit that I did have a few sneaky checks of my phone, completely cold turkey was probably a bit of a big ask! For the most part though I just enjoyed some time out, knowing that work would still be waiting for me when I got back.

I’ve written so many times about how taking a break is one of the best things to make your business thrive. It seems I’m not very good at taking my own advice. I’m always banging on about how refreshed a bit of time out can make you feel and how it can give you the motivation to crack through a load of work when you get back to it, I fully believe it too. So I just can’t work out why it’s taken me this long to act on it!

So what has taking a break taught me?

 

  • That the world won’t implode if I don’t reply to an email in 30 seconds flat.
  • That the day goes by in less of a blur if you take some time to enjoy it.
  • That my concentration improves markedly after taking some time out.
  • That going to bed at a reasonable hour once in a while is necessary.
  • That the world looks much prettier when you aren’t looking at it through a camera lense.
  • That I love my job and a break is necessary if I want to succeed!

 

It turns out that taking a break isn’t a bad thing at all. In fact it’s completely necessary for each and everyone of us to stop what we’re doing once in a while and take stock of where we’re at. I’ll definitely be taking another break sooner rather than later, all work and no play makes Zoe a very dull girl!

 

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#WorkshopWednesday – Easy Ways to Increase Your Domain Authority

#WorkshopWednesday – Easy Ways to Increase Your Domain Authority

Welcome to #WorkshopWednesday, my weekly feature with a focus on all things blogging! Each week there’ll be tips, tricks and advice on how to get your blog running like a well oiled machine!

 

If your blog is self-hosted, the chances are you’ve heard the term DA bandied around a bit. DA stands for domain authority. It’s a figure between 0-100, that determines the strength of your site in terms of search engine ranking. The higher the number, the better. A good DA takes a lot of hard work and effort to build up, it certainly doesn’t happen over night!

 

Check your DA score here!

 

If you’re feeling like your DA isn’t where you’d like it to be, or if you’re struggling to up that all important number, don’t fret! There are easy ways to increase your DA if you’re willing to put the time in. All it takes is a little know how, combined with an extra bit of graft!

 

Check for broken links regularly –

One of the best ways to increase your DA is to gain quality back links to your site. This often leaves people thinking that the outbound links on their site don’t matter so much, but they do! When Google’s bots are crawling your site and they hit a broken link, they leave. This means that any authority that page may have had, isn’t counted. So, making sure that all of your outbound links are unbroken is a vital element to increasing your DA!

Guest post on relevant sites –

Guest posting is a great way to increase your DA and your readership, but only if the content you write is relevant to you and to the site it will be hosted on. Building up links on sites from every Tom, Dick and Harry won’t necessarily benefit you. Give your site a solid grounding by making quality connections, with similar sites.

Spend time perfecting your internal links –

Google loves a good internal link structure. It makes your site user-friendly and encourages people stay for longer, it also makes it easy for Google bots to crawl your site. Simple things like linking to other relevant posts of your own, as well as making navigation to your home screen and other important areas easy, is the ideal way to make Google happy. Be careful not to stuff too many links in your posts though, they must be carefully placed and relevant!

Make sure your content is optimised –

I know that once the word ‘optimised’ is used, it makes it seem like there’s a mammoth task ahead. Breaking it down though, means optimising your content doesn’t have to be difficult. One of the easiest ways to optimise your content is to make is easy to read. Don’t use fonts that are difficult to decipher and black text on a white background is always best for the bulk of your text. Use variations of your keywords regularly, but not too often, throughout the text. Think about your headings too, use keywords in them to improve optimisation!

 

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Ryman Stationery Review

Ryman Stationery Review

A blogger’s life wouldn’t be made if they weren’t using the best stationery for work. From organisers to ballpoint pens and from sticky notes to highlighters. We utilise said products on a daily basis and love using quality gear. Personally, I have a penchant for a nice pen. I’m constantly scribbling down notes and planning ahead in my diary, I can’t stand it if my pen isn’t up to scratch. So for all of the stationery lovers out there, I’ve teamed up with Ryman Stationery to bring you a selection of quality products guaranteed to make the organiser in you smile!

 

Papermate InkJoy

I love these pens. They feel so nice to write with and with so many different colours to choose from, I’ve even coloured coded my diary entries – now that’s organisation for you!

 

 

Stabilo Boss Highlighter Pens

We get a lot of use out of highlighter pens in our house. Hubs is currently mid-way through a second degree and I’m always reading blogging texts and books, so you can image the amount we get through. Stabilo Boss pens always seem to last an age and with four in the pack, Hubs and I aren’t fighting over who get to use them first!

 

 

Weekly Organiser

Organisers always make me happy and this one is no exception. I particularly like the week to view aspect of this product, it enables me to visualise my working week – making sure I’m up to date and on target. This is a good quality product that not only looks the part, but also feels great!

 

 

Leuchtturm Notebook

Since I started blogging, I’ve been known to get though notebooks in record time. I take them everywhere I go, ready to scribble down my thoughts as they come to me. This Leuchtturm notebook is of excellent quality, it has a really luxurious feel and I know I’m going to love writing in it!

 

 

Colouring Diary 

These days I wouldn’t be able to live without a diary. With deadlines constantly looming and projects to plan ahead for, I’m always referring back to it. What I love most about this diary is that it has pretty pictures throughout that can be coloured in, as well as quotes for life. I’m no a stranger to adult colouring books, so I love this diary has this within its pages. I found this diary particularly useful when I’ve suffered with a touch of writer’s block, it’s therapy at its best!

 

 

Sticky Notes

Similar to highlighters, Post-it notes are a regular feature at The Tale of Mummyhood HQ. They come in handy on a daily basis – I’ve always got a pad at the side of my laptop. This pack comes has a variety of different colours, great for colour coding notes depending on the project!

 

 

*I was sent a selection of stationery for the purpose of this review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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#MumisBest Guest Series – Vicki from Mumma and her Monsters!

#MumisBest Guest Series – Vicki from Mumma and her Monsters!

Welcome to another instalment of my new guest series #MumisBest!  #MumisBest is all about the ever-growing SAHM/working mum debate.  I really want this series to highlight that there’s no right or wrong way, but whatever works for you and you family.  If you’d like to take part do get in touch, I’d love to hear from you!  For now I will leave you in the hands of Vicki from Mumma and her Monsters!

 

Being A Half And Half Mum

 

I love being a stay at home mum, but I also need that time for me, when I’m not mummy, I’m Vicki, So half the time I’m a volunteer at the local library, talking with actual adults for proper conversation that doesn’t include boogers is amazing and so refreshing! I volunteer mostly to help my mental health, I really struggle to get out and make friends so this makes me feel 10x better. Sometimes I do get that moment where I feel like I’m missing out on special moments or ‘firsts’ but ill always get to see it another time there is nothing they only do once, ‘Working’ is fun for me, not matter how stressed I get sometimes I know my babies will be waiting for me when I get home and it makes my day worth it.

 But being a stay at home mum brings me so much joy! I love spending time with my children, I mean who doesn’t? we love doing activities or playing board games or even just random adventures to the beach or park, being able to see them grow and learn is an amazing thing! I get to blog and write in my journal and enjoy making memories to cherish forever at the same time, even doing the washing or cleaning is okay, I mean its not everyone’s favourite thing to do but it has to be done and when they’re at school its so peaceful (until the toddler wakes up).

For me there really isn’t a preference between the two, It fits our family dynamic perfect, mike stays at home with Olli (our 1 year old) and I volunteer for a few hours, its brilliant and it works for us, I know not everyone will fit in the same category as me but being a half and half mum works so well!

You can see more from Vicki here:

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Getting Nursery Ready with Petit-Fernand – Review

Getting Nursery Ready with Petit-Fernand – Review

This week has been bitter-sweet for us. We’ve been visiting the schools and nurseries in our local area, in an attempt to find the perfect environment for our girls to be educated in. It’s bitter because as a mother, I don’t think I’ll ever be fully ready to let our girls out into the big wide world. It’s sweet because I’m so excited for them to experience the next stage of their lives!

There’s so much to think about when choosing the right school. Hubs and I have exhausted every option, finally finding what we feel is the perfect place. Now it’s time to get ourselves nursery ready! There’s uniform to buy, as well as everything else they’ll need to get them through the day. So this week I’ve teamed up with Petit-Fernand, to bring you a selection of their personalised labels, lunch boxes and water bottles. Perfect for making sure our girls start their nursery days right!

I’m sure all parents of school age children know, that personalising property that will be used at school is a good idea. There’s every opportunity for items to get mixed up, lost and left behind. Having unique products without children’s names on them can save a whole lot of bother!

 

Unique & Personalised

 

The great thing about Petit-Fernand is that you can personalise their products ’til your heart’s content. You can even get the kids involved! From colours, designs, fonts and text, you can make each product completely unique. When my eldest daughter starts nursery she’ll be staying for lunch with her friends, so I thought their customised lunch boxes were a great place to start!

We had lots of fun creating different designs for each of our girls, opting for a cute woodland theme for one and a pretty unicorn theme for the other. I added their names using a funky font, in a colour that complemented each design. We then went on to design our girls an isothermal water bottle each, matching their lunch boxes in pattern and colour. There’s also the option to choose cute lunch box bags, making it the perfect set!

 

 

As well as the lunch box sets, Petit-Fernand also offer personalised stickers for objects and school supplies. These are a great idea for all of the extra bits and bobs that our girls will need to take with them! These too can be personalised with colours, images and fonts. I ordered a two sets of stickers, including an image of our girls favourite animal on each!

 

 

Quality Products & Excellent Service

 

On ordering our products I had a confirmation email almost immediately, which also stated that our items would be dispatched within 48 hours. They were absolutely spot on and everything arrived in super quick time! I was immediately impressed with the look of each of the items I ordered, the designs on each look amazing – our girls adore them!

 

 

The quality of each product really stands out. The lunch boxes have clips around the edge to keep them secure, as well as a built-in ice pack and compartments for different foods. The water bottles are very impressive too. They’re able to keep things cool or warm, which isn’t something you get with your everyday water bottles. The labels arrived packed in a compact booklet, ideal for keeping them neat and tidy and ready for use. They’re pretty and colourful, I’m certain our girls nursery kits will be easily recognisable!

 

 

Overall, I’m super impressed with each and every item we received from Petit-Fernand. I highly recommend their products and their customer service. As our girls go through school, we’ll definitely be back!

 

The guys over at Petit-Fernand would like to offer my readers the chance win a lunch box and bag, all you have to do is enter using the form below. Please do take a peek at the terms and conditions…good luck!

 

Petit-Fernand Lunch Box and Lunch Bag Giveaway

*We were gifted items from Petit-Fernand for the purpose of this review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Gingersnap Colour Changing Light Box – Review

Gingersnap Colour Changing Light Box – Review

Recently Hubs and I have spent some time renovating our little palace. We’ve managed to regain a bit of the adult space that disappeared shortly after our first daughter was born. We’ve enjoyed relaxing in our new environment over the past few weeks, but we both felt that there was something missing. After having a big de-clutter, our living area felt bare and in need of a little life! So when I got the chance to review the Gingersnap colour changing light box, I couldn’t wait to spruce up our room with this super cool feature!

Before our light box arrived I spent some time looking over the Gingersnap website. Not only do they have light boxes, they also have vintage lighting and neon lamps, among so much more. I absolutely love the look of the vintage lamps, I’ll definitely be heading back to Gingersnap as we work our way through the other rooms in our house!

Light Box Love

I’ve always loved the look of light boxes and this one does not disappoint. When it arrived the girls and I had a great time sorting through the letter and emoji packs. The guys at Gingersnap also sent over an extra coloured letter pack, perfect for mixing and matching our messages. There are so many emoji’s to choose from and after much consideration, I found the social media icons most apt for this project!

 

 

The best thing about this Gingersnap light box is that, unlike some of the more standard options, it has a colour changing back light. You can choose from the traditional white light, or by clicking the button for a second time you can switch to an array of beautiful bright colours. Our eldest daughter has recently begun to learn her colours, so she’s had a total ball shouting out all of the different colours as they change!

 

 

Our new light box sits pride of place in our living area. I love spending time changing the messages, they’re a real conversation starter when we have company! If you’re after a super cool addition to your home then I can’t recommend this product enough, it’d make a really great gift for friends and family too!

 

Gingersnap would like to offer my readers the chance to win a light box of their own. All you have to do is enter using the form below…good luck!

 

 

Win a Gingersnap Light Box

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