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Month: November 2017

Our Adventures with the Toddlebike2!

Our Adventures with the Toddlebike2!

As as family, we love to spend time outdoors. We enjoy nothing more than heading out into the fresh air, to get a little exercise. Now that our youngest is on her feet though, we’ve found that we do less walking as she gets tired so quickly. She doesn’t like being confined to the pushchair either, so we needed to find something that suits all of us. Luckily our saviour and founder of the Toddlebike2 Jo Hockley, got in touch to see if we’d like to try out her fabulous creation!

The Toddlebike2 is a kind of ‘pre-balance’ bike, best suited for children around eighteen months or who are stable on their feet. Founder Jo discovered the first generation Toddlebike when she was holidaying with her family in Belgium. Her young son had a great time on this version of the Toddlebike!  On returning home Jo negotiated the rights with the manufacturer and so the Toddlebike2 we know today was produced.

 

 

Cycling Fun with the Toddlebike2

 

Prior to our Toddlebikes arriving, I wondered how well our littlest would get on. She’d never used this type of bike before, so I thought it would take a little getting used to. I was reassured by Jo that even if she didn’t take to it immediately, she would find her own way with it and eventually love it. This was absolutely true! For the first couple of weeks, the littlest walked around with her bike, she then progressed to sitting on the crossbar. Now she rides her Toddlebike like she’s been doing it forever!

 

 

The Toddlebike is really lightweight so it’easy for both girls to push and pull around, when they aren’t racing each other up and down the room! This makes it great for taking out too, if the girls decide they want to walk for a while, it’s no trouble to carry the bike for them as there’s no weight to it at all. Even though it’s so light, it’s still a solid piece of kit that will stand the test of time. Ours have had so much use over the last few weeks and they still look like new, even after being outside!

 

 

One of the things I love most about the Toddlebike2 is the confidence it’s given our littlest whilst learning to walk. She hasn’t been on her feet long, but after using her bike she has improved so much as she’s constantly on her feet pushing or riding her bike around!   Our eldest daughter who is a little over two, took to her Toddlebike immediately. She loves taking her bike outdoors and racing against her sister!

 

 

Overall, the Toddlebike2 has been a huge success in our house. They may seem simple, but these bikes really are a game changer when it comes to heading out with kids. At £23.95 they aren’t expensive and you certainly get your money’s worth! They come with us everywhere we go, we’ve come to realise that you never know when a Toddlebike2 will come in handy!

 

Do you love the Toddlebike2? Then don’t miss out on 10% discount using the code BLOG17 at the Toddlebike shop!

 

 

*We were sent two Toddlebikes for the purpose of this review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are own.

 

 

 

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#WorkshopWednesday – Why your Blog Should have a Disclaimer.

#WorkshopWednesday – Why your Blog Should have a Disclaimer.

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!

 

You might have seen disclaimers popping up on the blogs you regularly read. Disclaimers are really important to protect yourself and your readers, as often people with take advice from your blog. There’s nothing wrong with sharing your pearls of wisdom, as long as you make it clear that the information you are sharing may not be 100% accurate. It’s therefore important that you include a disclaimer help cover yourself if an individual acts on your advice.

Your disclaimer should be thorough and easy for your audience to read. If you’re really unsure about what you need to include, then seeking professional advice may be advisable. Here’s a brief outline of what a good disclaimer should include:

Terms of use –

Basically, letting your audience know that they’re reading at their own risk and free will.

Copyright –

Explain that you are the legal copyright holder of the material on your blog. Make it clear that others may NOT publish or reprint any of your work, unless they have your written consent.

Content –

Let your readers know that the content on your blog is written for entertainment purposes only. It’s essential to make it clear that you are NOT offering legal, professional or medical advice.

Privacy –

Make sure your readers and subscribers know that you will not NOT pass any of their personal details on to third parties. You also need to make it clear that you are NOT responsible for the privacy practices of your advertisers of blog commenters.

Reserve rights –

It’s good to reserve the right to shut your blog down, change the focus of it sell it or change the terms at any point and at your own discretion.

Sponsors and advertisers –

Make it clear that you are not responsible for the actions of your sponsors or advertisers.

 

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Should You Stay Or Should You Go?

Should You Stay Or Should You Go?

https://www.pexels.com/photo/silver-van-traveling-on-highway-lined-with-trees-during-daytime-225607/

 

There will always come a time when you think about leaving. It doesn’t always have to be so extreme, or even something that you decide on doing, but at some point or another in life you will consider moving house. It’s something that crosses everyone’s mind – some more than others. Maybe your commitments have changed, or even your requirements? Maybe you just fancy a change, or you have no choice? Either way, when you’re unsure where to stay in your home or move house, you’re going to need to make the right decision for you. And that is going to be something entirely personal based on your circumstances. So let’s weigh things up.

 

You Love Your Home

 

First up, you’re going to want to think about how you feel about your house. When you’re absolutely in love with the property, you’re going to want to really analyze the factors that are pushing you to leave. Whether it’s a poor location, or you want to be closer to family, seriously weigh up what moving could offer you. Because if you truly love the property, you’re in, you have to be sure that you’ll have no regrets. It’s not always that easy to find a house that you’re head over heels for. So when you find it, it’s often a good idea to stick with it.

 

You Love The Area

 

Sometimes, it’s not so much the house itself that’s hooked you, but the area. When this is the case, you’re properly set on moving because you’re unhappy in your home. But if you love the neighborhood, you’re going to want to hold on. Properties in amazing areas don’t always come up when you want them to. So keep an eye out and be sure to bide your time until the right place comes up for sale in the neighborhood you adore.

 

You’re Running Out Of Room

 

When things start to get a little cramped, you may already know what the answer will be. Because when you’re running out of room, you don’t always have much choice. If you do happen to love your home and your neighborhood, consider extended. However, if you have no room to grow in, then you are going to have to move and find the right property for your changing needs.

 

You Need To Relocate

 

But what if your need to leave isn’t something that stems from you? Sometimes, you have to relocate for reasons out of your control, like work. When this is the case, you’re going to want to bite the bullet and just do it. If it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, take it, even if you’re scared. Get professionals like MyBekins behind you and it will all feel easier. Because they don’t come around often, and you’ll soon settle in, wherever you’re headed.

 

You Want More For Your Family

And sometimes, as much as you love where you are, you know it’s not enough. When you want more for your family, to add special places for your family to enjoy, and a better quality of life, you have to blink back to tears and jump. Because if it’s in the interest of your family, it’s always the best idea.

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Are our Screens Doing us Harm? The Importance of Reducing Exposure.

Are our Screens Doing us Harm? The Importance of Reducing Exposure.

When I think about how long I spend sitting in front of my laptop, I appreciate that it’s probably more than what’s recommended. Especially on the days when I don’t have time to take a break in between tasks. My screen time doesn’t end when I’ve finished writing though. When I do finally shut my laptop, you can guarantee that I’ll just migrate over to my smart phone and continue working discreetly on there. Throw in a little more time on the iPad and I’ve spent the majority of my day looking at a screens.

I know I’m not alone in this, but it really is shocking to think that screens are such a dominant feature in our lives. It appears that we’re now unable to go for long periods of time, without referring back to our trusty technology! I must admit that this wasn’t something I’d given much thought too until recently. Working is something that I love to do, so I don’t see spending time on my laptop or my phone as a chore. Often I’ve no desire to down tools, so I don’t and the hours keep on racking up! However, when I was contacted by Ocushield this week, it really hit me that I spend so much time looking at a screen with no concern for my health what so ever.

 

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What are the dangers of too much screen time?

Our computers are capable of emitting low-frequency and radio frequency electromagnetic radiation. This kind of radiation has been linked to many medical conditions including, but not restricted to; depression, Alzheimer’s and cancer. It’s frightening to think that something we use so much and on a daily basis could be so dangerous.

The symptoms of overexposure include; tiredness, headaches and dizziness among others. I for one have suffered with headaches on many occasions, when I’ve had a full day at my desk working on my laptop.

 

What can you do to protect yourself?

If like me, you need to use your laptop to work and if your phone is never too far away, there are a few simple steps you can take to make your working environment safer. Think about the following:

  • Sit a safe distance away from your computer screen, ideally around 10 – 12 inches away.
  • Take regular breaks, even when you have deadlines to meet. Walk away from your screen and have a breather.
  • When using smartphones and tablets, don’t hold them too close.
  • When you’re working, divert your eyes away from the screen at regular intervals. Blinking more often can be beneficial too.
  • Minimise glare from your screen by using a computer screen cover for eyes, you can get these for smartphones and tablets too.

 

Photo Credit

 

Looking after our eyes is so important, but it’s not always easy to down tools altogether to get away from our screens. Therefore it’s necessary that to take the rights step to protect ourselves from the effects of overexposure. After all, if we don’t look after ourselves now then our work will only end up suffering in the long run!

 

*This is a collaborative post.

 

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#MumisBest Guest Post – Sophie from Mama Mei

#MumisBest Guest Post – Sophie from Mama Mei

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 Sophie from Mama Mei!
Work at Home Mum: My struggle with being a career girl and a wannabe stay-at-home-mum.
I got pregnant with my first child during my final year at university.
I’d only been with my boyfriend a couple of months so needless to say it hadn’t been planned.
I was due to move to London as I had a work placement at The Guardian and most my freelance work was for ITN and Channel 4 News which are based near Kings Cross.
But it was whilst at the newspaper I discovered on my lunch break that I was up the duff (preggers).
So it changed everything, although I was fiercely determined to carry on working as an investigative journalist but from home in Sheffield and Wakefield (when I stayed at my boyfriend’s family home).
I had decided that I would work right up until I popped and then straight away once I’d given birth with no maternity leave.
I was sure that a baby wouldn’t change my career goals.
Oh how wrong was I?!
Even down to the labour I was still answering work calls, making sure I didn’t miss out on a story. I was obsessed about being a “success.”
But then this cute crying little blob sailed into the world.
I was smitten by my baby Jasmine.
But within weeks I was back freelancing. I felt I had to do it as I didn’t want to be forgotten.
This stubborn determination carried on for the next two years in which I completed a post-graduate diploma in Journalism and eventually secured my dream job as a broadcast journalist at the BBC.
I thought I could throw myself into it and relocate my little family to Media City in Salford where my offices were based.
I had every intention of achieving my “goals,” until I got pregnant again.
I continued to complete my training all over the country so I had the tools I needed to become a proper BBC Journalist.
But after working for a few months, I was off on maternity leave.
And everything crumbled.
I became very poorly with only a couple of months until the due date.
Luckily I gave birth to a healthy baby girl but my own health wasn’t great.
On autopilot however I was determined to return to work.
But as the my start date dawned I found myself in another hell.
A nightmare worse than my worst nightmares.
So that was the end of my career. The one good thing out of it though was that it put everything into perspective.
And whilst my daughter was in intensive care, I kept a video diary (as above) which sparked off my new journey in vlogging and blogging as well as being a stay-at-home mum.
As much as I felt happy with my decision, I couldn’t help but feel pain leaving the job I’d worked my whole life for.
My bosses had been amazing throughout but I couldn’t live with myself if I kept letting them down so I had to leave for my own sanity and to focus on my family and health.
Nowadays I’m more of a work at home mum, so I feel lucky to have the best of both worlds.
I blog, vlog at mamamei.co.uk and do PR as well as video production for evokemediagroup.co.uk
I also teach and perform bellydancing at bellydancebysophiemei.com

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Men’s Fashion – Looking Good without Breaking the Bank

Men’s Fashion – Looking Good without Breaking the Bank

Before Hubs and I had children we would often spend the weekends hitting the shops. We both worked full time and so loved to treat ourselves to some new threads every once in a while! Fast forward a few years and two children later, and heading into town every weekend isn’t at the top of our priority list.

Shopping these days has to be convenient. With two girls in tow, walking around the shops and heading for a late lunch lacks the fun and relaxation that it used to. We’ve found that heading to the shops that we know will have quality clothes, without us having to spend hours searching for the wears that Hubs likes, so much easier. There just isn’t the time to peruse over scores of shops, so these days we only use tried and tested places!

However much things might have changed since our children came along, Hubs does still like to look good. So we’ve found the perfect shops that offer great menswear choices, without breaking the bank. Here are a few favourites, that you’re sure to love too!

 

Photo Credit

 

Tesco –

This one is super handy as they stock a good range of clothing and there’s a store around every corner. We’ve found Tesco particularly useful for smart work clothes, they always have a nice cut and they certainly don’t cost the earth. Tesco is useful for when you need to get a few groceries along the way too, all items under one roof is a definite bonus!

River Island –

Hubs is a big fan of River Island, especially when looking for going out clothes. They have a good range that are bang on trend, this one is my go to store when it comes to buying gifts for him. One of the best things about this one is that is stocks everything from clothes, to shoes and even accessories. Perfect for a quick, all-round shop when you have the kids in tow!

Primark –

Primark is our go to place for Hubs’ casual clothes. They offer a great range of clothes that are perfect for everyday, wear and tear use! The beauty of Primark is that their super cheap price tag almost makes them ‘throwaway’. When you know you’re going to need clothes that may get worn out or dirty, items from here are definitely fit for the job!

 

What are your go-to menswear stores?

 

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*This is a collaborative post.

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Home Improvements – Creating the Ideal Office and Home

Home Improvements – Creating the Ideal Office and Home

Ever since we moved into our house over five years ago, we’ve struggled to decide whether or not it would be our forever home. In that time, we’ve gotten married, had 2 children and recently we finally decided that this place is where we’re meant to be. So over the past few months we’ve taken the time to make a few changes to our humble abode, it was time to get our four walls working for us!

 

Our Home Improvements –

The thing about the property we live in, is that it doesn’t have a great deal of storage room. We didn’t really see this as a problem until we had children, but these days we struggle to find the space to store all of the kids toys. It’s also not been easy to find the space to store my work things. Working from home suits me, but it means that I’ve had the find an area to fit an office into our home!

Luckily for me I have a very handy husband and he’s been a busy little bee! He’s created the perfect office for me, with heaps of built-in storage for all of my bits and bobs. I now have a large desk, giving me the space to focus when I need to, he also added a few of my favourite accessories to give my work space character and to make it a happy place to sit when I’m putting in the hours!

Not only did we need this room to include an office space, but it also needs to function comfortably as a dining room. So Hubs found us the ideal round, extendable table that we can all sit around as a family and enjoy our meals. Then once dinner is over the table can be made more compact, so that we have plenty of space to use the rest of the room!

 

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Long Term Home Improvements –

As well as making these small yet effective changes to our home, there are also a few bigger plans that we have in the pipeline! One way to increase the amount of space that we have is to add a conservatory onto the side of our house. I’ve always loved the look of lantern roofs and I know it would make the perfect, bright play room for our girls! Not only would this extra room would provide some much needed space, it would also create the perfect reading room for when I finally get time to chill out! 

Even though our dining room is feeling better than ever before, I can’t help but think it would feel so much better if it had doors that opened up onto our garden. Spending hours at my desk would be made so much nicer during the Summer months if I could open up the room to enjoy the weather at the same time. Hubs and I decided to get a bifold door quote, as these really would make or home perfect for all of us!

Our house is set to be our dream home once all of these improvements have been made. I can’t wait sit back and relax in our perfect little palace!

 

What improvements would you like to make to your home?

 

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*This is a collaborative post.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Endeavours of Highly Successful Procrastinators

The Endeavours of Highly Successful Procrastinators

Procrastination. We’ve all been guilty of it at one time or another. It usually hits when a deadline is looming, when you know you need to knuckle down and get some work done. That little devil pops up on your shoulder and diverts your attention to a meaningless task, that’s disguised as top priority. It’s so easy to while away the hours, being less than productive but loving every second!

Personally, my preferred method of procrastination is social media. Like many other bloggers before me, I already spend an above average amount of time perusing my channels for work purposes. You’d think I’d have my daily fix, but there’s always an hour to scroll through my Instagram feed and to pour over the amazing Facebook pages of my fellow bloggers.

Sometimes I feel like the Queen of Procrastination, but surely there must be more of us out there? Maybe others have far more exciting ways to pass the time when they should be working? So, I decided to get in touch with my peers, to find out their favourite ways to procrastinate. If you’re like me, you’ll be taking notes from this list too!

 

Bloggers on procrastination –

 

Laura from Woman in Progress: ‘That would be endless Facebook checking…’

Victoria from Lylia Rose: ‘Sorting through wardrobes and drawers to list on eBay instead of completing blog work first.’

Sarah from Mummy Cat: ‘YouTube.. I lose myself on YouTube sometimes, I’m so bad, I should be doing housework or writing but I’ll sit and watch stuff on YouTube or load up a game!’

Jemma from Mayflower Blogs: ‘Insta stories. I’m addicted. Procrastination at its finest right there.’

Jaki from JakiJellz: ‘Twitter. I lose HOURS! It’s totally ridiculous but it’s my guilty pleasure.’

Rachel from Rachel Bustin: ‘Refreshing my email over and over again waiting for exciting opportunities to rarely appear!’

Helen from My Crazy Family Story: ‘Facebook … reading posts reading comments watching videos I can loose hours when I have a million other things to do.’

Beth from Twinderelmo: ‘Netflix. So many hours wasted binge watching random American TV shows!’

Tracey from Pack the PJs: ‘TV… the Food Network channel mainly!’

Zoe from Lycra Widow: Cleaning! There’s always a skirting board that needs to be scrubbed or a floor that needs bleaching, I’m terrible at sitting down and doing work on my laptop, and seem to find any excuse to avoid it!’

Pete from Household Money Saving: ‘Music. I will start to go through my phone to find songs that I like, and get completely lost in doing that.’

Emma from Ready, Freddie, Go!: ‘Going in the loft. There’s nothing better than to waste time not putting stuff in the loft than by bringing more stuff down! Forgotten relics.’

Abi from Something About Baby: ‘Writing lists…shopping lists, Christmas lists, packing lists, decorating lists, lists of things I should be doing instead of writing lists….’

 

What are your favourite means of procrastination?

 

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#WorkshopWednesday – Three Ways to Sharpen your Writing Skills

#WorkshopWednesday – Three Ways to Sharpen your Writing Skills

*This is a collaborative post. 

 

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!

 

There’s so much more to blogging than writing. Having said that, if you don’t have quality content to share with your audience then all the hard work you’re putting in may be fruitless. I’m not saying you have to be the best writer in the world, but there are a few things you can do to make sure your writing is the best that it can be.

 

Plan –

Some people are capable of sitting down to their laptop cold and churning out killer content. I am NOT one of those people. If I sit down without a plan, you can guarantee that procrastination will get the better of me and the post will take much longer to write than it should.

I always make a plan, even if what I’m writing is only a few paragraphs long. Jotting down my thoughts and putting them in some sort of order helps me to fully grasp the points I’m trying to make. Planning helps me to structure my post in the best way possible, it gives me chance to explore my own thoughts and to develop my ideas before I hit the keyboard.

Lose the waffle –

Often in blogging we write quite colloquially and that’s OK. There is however a fine line between waffle and colloquialisms. One of the best ways to sharpen your writing skills is to cut out the bits you don’t really need. As an option you can easily improve your writing skills with AdvancedWriters.com, an academic writing company. Don’t dilute the point you’re trying to make with extra content that offers no value to the reader, all it does is make your posts difficult to read and reduces the clout your words have.

Learn from those you admire –

Don’t confuse this point with copying another persons work, plagiarism is never OK. What you can do though is appreciate the way they write and apply some of their methods to your own work. Maybe they structure sentences in a certain way, or maybe they write with an air of humour. Learn from what they’re good at and allow your writing to benefit!

 

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PlantPal – Review & Giveaway

PlantPal – Review & Giveaway

I’ve always thought that having plants around our house makes it feel much more homely. They give our place a colourful boost, adding a little life to each of the rooms. The trouble with plants and I though, is that more often than not I forget to water them. Either that or I over water them and plants don’t seem to be keen on that, they much prefer a happy medium. Truth be told, most of the plants that pass over our threshold, head out to the compost far sooner than they should!

If this sounds all too familiar, guys and girls I have the answer! This week I was sent a pack of three PlantPals to try and they are a complete game changer in the plant watering world. The PlantPal is a clear globe that you fill with water, it has a spike that you stick into the soil surrounding your plants and voila, your plants will get watered whether you remember to or not. It uses a handy bit of technology that recognises when your plant needs to be watered, avoiding over or under watering and so keeping them in tip-top condition for up to two weeks.

 

 

How did I get on with the PlantPal?

 

I really love this product, they’re perfect for me! They’re super simple to use, all you have to do is unscrew the globe from the spike and fill it with water. The fact that they last two weeks means that I don’t have to worry about our plants when we go away, no longer will I return to plants that have dried out in our absence! The clear globe is great too, as you can see when it needs topping up instead of having to open them up to check. The best thing about them though? Our house looks lovely with healthy plants and I don’t have to worry about taking care of them!

 

 

If you’d like the chance to win your own set of PlantPals, all you have to do is enter using the form below. Please do take a peek at the terms and conditions…good luck!

Win 3 Large Plantpal Watering Globes #2

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