Category Archives: Lifestyle

The Adventures of the Valley Fairies – A Children’s Book Review

**I must disclose that I was gifted this book from a friend of ours. I was always going to write about it because I’m so proud of him. However I must disclose that my views are completely my own and my recommendation wholly genuine. **

Have you ever read a book that when read aloud sounds completely different to reading it quietly in your head?

I’ve never been a huge reader, until I had George. Now we read every day and it’s obviously always aloud as George hasn’t learnt to read yet.

Now if there was ever a book that should be brought to life aloud it was this. The Adventures of the Valley Fairies, New Beginnings by Matthew C. Hasler. Set in the Welsh Valleys, this is a wondrous tale about fairies and magic and everything nature.

fairies

A little about Matthew, or Matt as I know him. We met through our love of the local footie team and always chewed each others ears off whilst watching the match.

As the book intro will tell you, Matt relocated with his wife and their cat from Essex to Maesteg in South Wales. He and his wife also own and run a fabulous craft shop in Maesteg which is well worth a visit if you are local to that area. Checkout Florries on their Facebook page and Instagram @florriesmaesteg1 .

The book follows the adventures of 4 young fairies, Holly, Bridee, Poppy, and Keirah as they enter the world and learn its ways. With the guidance of their elder Mama Rose, they soon learn that not everyone in the world is true to their word.
As they go on a quest to find the source of a noise coming from the mountains they learn how to work as a team, a family even. Solving problems and making friends along the way, it isn’t long before they meet the baddies of the tale.
I won’t spoil the story for you but it definitely reads like part of a series. Ending with a huge suggestion there will be a second instalment to get excited about.
fairies

Throughout the book, Matt describes the surroundings so beautifully. Alongside the illustrations, you really begin to imagine the story unfolding right in front of you. He makes it so easy to visualise the goings on in the story.

The story is being marketed for 6-12 year olds but George loved it at 4 years old. There are 11 short chapters over 50 pages.

If you would like to grab yourself a copy of The Adventures of the Valley Fairies, it’s on sale in Waterstones and Foyles.

You can also get all the latest info on The Valley Fairies on their Facebook page.

The Top 7 Tag with Gorgeous George’s Mama

One Frazzled Mum blog is one of my faves. Written by a fellow blogger who I’ve become online mates with, you’ll find fab competitions and family days out as well as my fave, her fictional stories. Tracey is a big inspiration and has always helped me with all the problems I encounter along the way of blogging. So I just had to get involved when she tagged me in her latest idea.

The idea is called “The Top 7 Tag“. The Top 7 Tag’s aim is to highlight the personal faves of your own year blogging and in life for 2018, whilst sharing your hopes for 2019. Any blogger can take part and this is how;

  • Your Favourite 7 Posts from 2018. They can be any posts at all that you are proud of.
  • 7 Things You Loved The Most About 2018. Whether you visited somewhere, or just had one of those moments you will never forget, if you loved it, list it!
  • 7 Things You Are Looking Forward to in 2019. Whether those plans are set in stone or you something you would like to do this year, share with us.
  • Tag 7 Bloggers to Take Part. Share the love and tag 7 others who would like to take part.
  • Say Thanks. Link back to the person who tagged you and One Frazzled Mum so people know where to find the tag to join in too.
  • You can also tag Tracey on Twitter @frazzledmumblog or Facebook and Instagram @onefrazzledmum.

So here goes. Here’s my top 7 posts of 2018. Because sometimes it’s ok to say, “I love my own work”.

  1. I kicked the year off with a pretty blasé discussion about my vagina. As you really should. My Vagina’s Not Pretty Enough For Cervical Screening
  2. January 2018 brought with it my first sponsored holiday through the blog at the fabulous Bluestone, Wales, during their annual Winter Lights event. It also saw me try my hand at my first vlog.
  3. I absolutely love The Royal Hotel in Southend-On-Sea, Essex and was ecstatic that I could take my mum along to a blogging event there. Breakfast and Champagne at The Royal Hotel, and Dr Legba’s Emporium.
  4. I got to attend my first press event at Christmas in July hosted by Tomy Toys UK.
  5. A friends fabulous forest based birthday party inspired me to write this witty little piece, The Hunger Games, Insects Vs Toddlers
  6. Of all the items I’ve reviewed through the blog, this was one of the most fun to write about. Sex in a Candle, Scents Unusual.
  7. Me and George had great fun exploring many new toys this year but this goody box of Stink Bomz went down a treat and allowed me to expand on my vlogging further.

7 Things I Loved In 2018

  1. Bluestone. Aside from Snowdon, this was my first taste of Wales. It was a shock to the system. In January it is blooming cold and the weather changes like 15 times an hour. Bluestone is incredible though and their Winter Lights spectacular is phenomenal. Checkout my Youtube video to see what I mean. The full review on food, fun and accomodation is here.
  2. We had some fab family staycations in the Isle of Wight, Norfolk, Butlins. As well as a fab drop through our favourite, the New Forest with two hotel stays for two family weddings. George made his first holiday friend, I lost a bit of knuckle, the diamond from my engagement ring, and got a fat lip but we all laughed and made memories.
  3. I got me a Netflix addiction. I think I’ve watched so many series on there that it’s about time I starred in one. Honestly though it’s my new favourite thing to do once George has gone to bed. It’s my way to wind down. If it wasn’t for Netflix I probably would have blogged more to be honest.
  4. So many firsts. George may have turned 4 years old towards the end of last year but he had his first time trying popping candy which was hilarious. First time on roller skates. I’m sure there were more but the year is just a blur.
  5. We sold our house! Granted we still haven’t exchanged and we are still living in the bloody thing but after half a year’s hard slog getting it ready for sale and keeping it “showhome ready” we did it. We are ready to start an exciting new chapter in our lives.
  6. The Ava women’s bracelet came into our lives. A conception aid with a difference, this gave us hope that a sibling for George may be achievable in the not too distant future.
  7. Hubs and I celebrated 20 years together. We had some fab child free dates watching an Elvis show, seeing the incredible Bohemian Rhapsody in the cinema and just grabbing a cheeky McDonalds breakfast together. We’ve rarely spent time alone since George arrived 4 years ago and it’s made a nice change.

7 things I am looking forward to in 2019

  1. January – hopefully moving into a bigger house and getting more organised.
  2. February –  The Only Fools and Horses stage show. I saw it advertised last year. It looks fab and hubs and I are huge Only Fools fans so it’s a belated present for his January birthday.
  3. April – A family wedding reception. I love weddings so so much and I can’t wait to see this beautiful couple tie the knot.
  4. June – Spice Girls!!!! In case you missed it. I GOT SPICE GIRLS TICKETS!!!
  5. George starts school in September. Whilst I am by no means looking forward to it as such, I can recognise it’s a huge step in our lives. It may be my career advances. He may feel more settled than he has at preschool as it will be a more frequent routine. It could be we are having another baby by then? So much to ponder but I am in no hurry for the next 9 months to hurry by.
  6. Travel abroad. Hubs and I promised each other we would extend our holidaying out of the UK. George needs to experience life on an aeroplane. We don’t have any arranged plans yet but I am excited where the year may take us. We are going to need a holiday after all this selling houses business.
  7. Saying yes more. I’ve vowed to say yes more this year. I am determined to attend a Blog On event and meet some of my favourite bloggers in real life one way or another this year.

So there we go, these are my top 7’s. I would love you to take part if you fancy it but I am tagging the following people to join in with me;

  1. Naomi from Nomipalony
  2. Susie from So Happy In Town
  3. Lisa from Lisapomerantzster : Are We There Yet
  4. Abi from Something About Baby
  5. Kate from The Less-Refined Mind
  6. Penny from A Penny For Them
  7. Shân from Mam Rants and Reviews

Enjoy.

3 for the price of flu

I’m gonna let you in on a not so little secret by telling you the worst way to lose weight this time of year.

(Don’s Del Boy flat cap) And I’m giving you this for a fantastic price. I’m not telling you this god awful secret for £34.99, oh no. I’m not even telling you for £9.99.

I’m giving you all the wisdom and knowledge you need to possibly, maybe not, but it’s definitely not a guarantee, on how to lose weight for absolutely free.

Ladies and Gents, and all those who identify elsewhere, I give you to, the FLU! Influenza by its technical name. This beauty won’t set you back a penny. Only your time and possible sanity needs committing to this one.

If losing weight whilst sleeping is your thing then here’s your answer. You’ll sleep so much you won’t even realise you’ve missed three mealtimes. And you’ll just want more. No amount of sleep is enough. You can still nod off whilst on a brief trip to the lav.

Now time is something you’ve gotta give this one. This is no quick fix. You are gonna need to commit at least 5 days so you can tell all your friends and family it’s FaceTime only for the next week. There’s no rushing the flu. It’s gotta be allowed to take you down fast but drag it out slow and long.

flu
Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos C/O Pixabay

Now if it’s a detox kind of weight loss you’re after then the flu is almost certainly your bag. A friend gave me the wonderful term “The Purge”. After a few days of sleeping without much food, you start to feel a little peckish. I’d recommend some trusty dry staples. You know the ones, toast, biscuits, crackers. This may be enough to start the purge or you may need to up the ante.

It doesn’t matter if you have lived off of baby rusks for 3 days, your purge pursuit comes complete with Johnny Cash soundtrack. You won’t have even thought about a chilli but that burning ring of fire will get you regardless. And you’ll have no idea why. Hubs and I had our theories about unused stomach acid but it’s better to just accept… it’s gonna hurt.

flu
Image Credit: Geralt c/o Pixabay

Whilst the squits take full effect you will still have your old friend with you. The chest burner. The phlegm stirrer. The place where it all began. The Cough!

Sounds harmless but this is where it all began. Now, the cough has never really been your friend. You can argue you are toning your abs a little, being as it feels like you’ve been kicked in the ribs by a donkey.

But the cough really comes into its own during purge phase. Every cough is a game of pants roulette. With a washing machine ready and waiting on a boil wash, it’s anyone’s guess which pairs will enter the drum and which remain intact on your now withering frame.

Now I don’t know about you but thanks to The Flu, I’m already four pounds down and I’ve hardly lifted a finger. My seemingly sloth like energy levels allowing little else.

I forgot to mention the need to place a leak proof bowl in every room you may frequent. The cough follows you anywhere you are able to crawl and often doesn’t relent until you’ve thrown up what little food you’ve managed to eat. It really is as fun as it sounds.

So to summarise. If you don’t want to miss out on this fab weight loss product, get yourself round to my house now and I’ll give you a good face licking.

It hurts

It’s squirts

With coughs

With splurts

It’s a totally ill recommended weight loss regime.

T H E F L U

Hurry. This great deal is almost gone ( I hope). Grab yours today while you still can to ensure you see in the New Year, coughing, crapping and retching your way to a slimmer you.

Happy New Year.

The fear of being a woman

It’s no secret that I am a woman. I was once a girl and grew up with 3 sisters and no brothers. It’s a given that my mum, would’ve been told countless times “oooh but you have to worry about girls more!”

How often have you heard the above statement when someone announces the sex of their unborn child or their desire to have a particular sex. Only for someone to chip in with “well boys are less of a worry, they can look after themselves.” “You always have to worry about girls!”

Isn’t it about time we started to question why it is exactly that we need to worry about girls more?!

I was raised to be a strong, independent, self-sufficient woman.
That aside, I’ve grown up with the constant reminder that you don’t go out alone at night.

If I’m out with a group of girls we all text one another to say we are home safe if we drive ourselves. If we are getting dropped off we wait to make sure “they are in safe”.

The majority of men DO NOT have to do this. The thought doesn’t even cross their minds. Yes there is a risk of a man getting mugged, attacked or even raped when they are out alone.But for a woman it’s almost a constant worry.

How many times have you seen in the news that a girl walking home through the park at 11pm or 1am was attacked, raped or even murdered! I will guarantee that a huge majority of us thought or said “well she was silly being out on her own that time of night”.

Social media is rife with women and men realising this and speaking out about it. Articles such as this, highlight how women everyday feel fearful of this world we live in. I can’t believe myself that in 34 years, I haven’t questioned why we live this way.

It wasn’t until Mollie Tibbetts murder earlier in the year that I began reading tweets and stories from women who no longer feel safe to jog alone. Women who change their jogging course daily to avoid becoming predictable and an easy target for assault.

woman

My social life would be a completely different story if I didn’t HAVE to worry about getting home alone on the train. I’ve got to the grand old age of 34 and thankfully never had anything horrifying happen to me. But I’ve always played it safe and careful. Isn’t it sad I’ve had to live with that thought always in my mind.

Take this Thursday for example. I was invited to an event in London, I live in mid Essex. The event is in the evening and I so wanted to go and meet the fellow blogger who organised it. But I declined. On the basis I wasn’t comfortable travelling home at night, alone on the train.
Even if this wasn’t a hesitation of my own, my husband, mum and no doubt anyone that cares about me, would think this was dangerous and foolish.
Even in the daytime I often go for walks round the river alone. Sometimes there is no one else for miles. Other times I see a man approaching in the distance or from behind and I have to make a decision.
Should I up my pace or slow down? If I let him get in front of me I can be better armed to protect myself, rather than him attack me from behind? These are not the kind of thoughts that make me feel like I’ve had a leisurely walk.

The more I think about it, the more I realise we have such a long way to go before women can ever feel comfortable in this world.

 

woman

Over the past 50 years, society has become a more accepting place. Women are finally gaining a sense of equality. I know there are many other groups and identities that are continually fighting for acceptance and to put an end to prejudice. I can only speak for being an able-bodied, heterosexual woman.

This post actually isn’t attacking all men. Of course it’s not. I have and have had male friends and family, I have a son! I know not all men are likely to commit these crimes. But it doesn’t mean the threat isn’t very real. Some call it toxic masculinity.

I personally can’t ever see an end to this. In many countries such as the UK, US, Denmark and France, women have gained a lot more respect. That’s not to say there aren’t still men in these countries attacking  women, there are.

But there are still many countries around the world whereby women are considered to be second-rate citizens.

In Saudi Arabia, where in only the last 10  years women have been deemed legally allowed to drive a car, play sports and compete in the olympics, and attend university.

A quick internet search reveals Iraq, Mali, Sudan, Niger and Pakistan  are in the top ten for countries in the world where women are treated the worst.

Deprived of education, abused, raped, mutilated, married off during childhood, sold into the sex industry! And here’s me worrying about the simple task of taking a walk down the street at night.

My point is that we have the ability to travel between countries and continents with ease now. Cultures and nationalities merge like they never have before, but attitudes towards women vary vastly from country to country.
So it’s not a case of educating and changing the mentality in just one country alone. This has to be a worldwide thing.
I honestly cannot imagine it for hundreds of years. And of course there always be rebels to the cause. Just another reason I despair at the world.

Will it ever feel safe to be a woman?

woman

 

Selling houses – Weird Things to Worry About

Those of you that know me or are regular visitors to this blog will know we are going through the process of selling our home. After making the announcement here , I’ve had a lot of support from friends and family and interest in how the process is going.

I’m so excited to announce after 5 weeks, numerous viewings and four offers, we sold our house last wednesday.

We are well underway with solicitors and the buyer is hopefully scheduling a survey for the end of this week. He is selling to first time buyers and as you know, we are moving into rental. So fingers crossed it should be a short process and we can be in our new home by Christmas. Although I’m in no particular hurry.

moving

One month into this selling houses business I realised how it could quickly become stressful. I’ve absolutely loved the house feeling clean, fresh and tidy. Mrs Hinch totally came into my life at the right time.

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A post shared by @mrshinchhome_x_ on

 

But living the showhome life with 3 cats, a bearded husband and a three year old did make me a little highly strung. As they each took it in turns daily to undo my hard work and efforts. Life must go on though, as everyone told me. I made sure that I stayed on top of everything cleaning and tidying wise., and still do. George is allowed his toys out but everything has to be considered under the motto;

“can this be tidied and showhome ready in 30 minutes”

If the answer to the above is no, then we had to stop what we are doing and have a little speed tidy. George was wholeheartedly on board. Whilst he may cheekily jump on the beds I have just smoothed out, he is happily tidying one thing before getting another out. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

Ok maybe for hubs to shut his sock drawer and take his coffee mug downstairs but we can’t all be perfect! (*winks coyly).

home

Whilst our house is now sold subject to contract, we aren’t in a position to look at rentals yet. The rental market moves quick. Well round here it does. We are at least another two to four weeks away. In order to secure a rental we would need to put a deposit down. We would be silly to do this until we have exchanged contracts. There is always room for things to go wrong. Should the sale fall through, we would be left with the commitment of paying two sets of bills.

There have recently been a few houses that have come and gone onto the rental market that have caught our eye. This has boosted our optimism that when the time comes, we will be able to find something local without having to relocate.

So whilst your typical human type will be worrying about… well I don’t know what you normal humans worry about??? I suspect top of the list of your average mindset would be school catchment, crime rate, access local facilities?

Meanwhile in overactive imagination land, I am worrying about the following;

moving

  • Ghosts and the supernatural – Literally top of my list. Luckily I live with three cats so they are walking supernatural detectors. It doesn’t stop me worrying though. Literally it’s one of my biggest fears and I would have to move out the day I saw one!
  • Spiders and creatures – I know what kind of creepy crawlies are within our current vicinity. After living in our house for 11 years there haven’t been many surprises. The odd spider but nothing like the beasts I see some people posting on social media! What if our new house is a magnet for regular tarantula sized arachnids! Someone I know locally moved house and kept finding weird lizard things in her new home! What the actual fuck will I have in store for me. I try to love and respect all living creatures but it doesn’t mean I want them in my home.
  • Temperature – Whilst everyone was complaining about the heatwave this past summer, I was pretty content at home. Our house retains the heat pretty well but it also maintains the coolness. By far, of all the non air conditioned places I visited during this Summer’s heatwave, our house was the coolest place to be as long as the windows were pulled to. What if our new house is a sweat box in the Summer and an ice box in the Winter! Annoying more than anything.
  • Noise – Where we currently live is dead quiet. The neighbours are well behaved, dogs included. We are spoilt really. What if at our new house they play loud music all day? Road noise, yapping dogs that are left out and neglected all day… the list goes on.

Maybe it’s a good thing we are renting and will only be tied into a six or twelve month contract!

moving

Have you had any unusual worries when moving home? I’d love to hear them.

 

Lucy At Home UK parenting blogger

Postnatal depression or normalities of motherhood?

There have recently been some new babies born to friends and extended family of mine. It’s led us to chat about the early days and months of motherhood and I’ve offered my support and shared some of my own experiences. I can’t help but constantly be on the lookout for their mental health. I don’t want another woman to have to be trapped inside her own mind wondering is it, isn’t it and struggling more than she needs to.

It’s only when doing this that I realise that I’m not as truthful as I’d like to think I am on this blog.

My experiences may have been tainted by the now obvious and apparent fact that I had some form of postpartum depression. This lasted well into George’s second year, if not beyond. I continued to believe I could fix it myself but it always crept back in. One good day would be marred by two bad days.

I have worked in and around the mental health sector for the entirety of my Pharmacy career the 11 years prior to George’s birth and solely being employed by a mental health trust the 8 years previous to leaving my job to become a stay at home Mum.

I knew the mental health system relatively well. I had been in close contact with many types of mental health conditions when people were at their absolute lowest. Yet when I myself felt that I needed help, I was so scared of seeking it for fear that I would lose George. It was never going to be the case.

If you are considered to be a threat to yourself or others you may be sectioned under the mental health act. Despite having very desperately low thoughts, I was avidly aware of them and it upset me that I didn’t want to feel like this but I couldn’t stop it. I wanted to just run away. I told my husband countless times I wanted to leave him when all I really wanted was to vanish. He was the only person I could fully confide in despite his own issues.

Not more than a month after George’s birth, hubs own father died suddenly of a heart attack. He was in his fifties, the same age at which hubs grandad also died of a heart attack. We now look back and realise that hubs always suffered with mild anxiety. Who doesn’t. But losing his father and witnessing me have a severely traumatic birth was the trigger to make him have what in the olden days would be referred to as a nervous breakdown.

He couldn’t even bear to be in the same room as his own mother due to the intenseness of his anxiety. Running upstairs in tears during a visit, leaving me to see them out. Quickly realising he couldn’t bear to be in a room by himself without feeling desperately scared and anxious of having an heart attack. Thankfully this intense week was exacerbated by the GP starting him on Beta Blockers which had the opposite effect to what they should have. (This can happen and is known as a paradoxical side effect). After stopping the tablets he slowly improved but it was a long road.

Having had an emergency Caesarean section and needing to stay in hospital with George with us both suffering with suspected infections for 6 days I was weak and in pain at the start. By the time of hubs breakdown I was healed and able to be strong for all of us. It was hard and we had some great support from family.

Hubs wasn’t able to work and I had given up my job due to struggles with health and being able to juggle what was expected of me in my work role and as new mother. This all added to his anxiety over needing to support his family and being unable to. Although self employed, the guys he was contracted to were very supportive and understanding.

As hubs grew stronger, my own mind must’ve relaxed and with it came flooding through all the negative thoughts. My mum said with what we had both been through it was a wonder we hadn’t experienced this sooner. George was now almost one years old. I could still cry several times a week. I remember if I couldn’t console him, feeling so helpless I would just cry. Then I’d feel better and he would soon settle.

I’d tell people and no one made it seem unusual. A few suggested I go to the doctors but I was so scared of explaining it wrong to the doctor and being sectioned or George being taken away. I was absolutely no danger to George and I knew it and deep down I knew this wouldn’t happen but the depression made me irrational.

In the end anyone who made me feel even slightly unhappy I shut out and pushed away. Even now I still don’t know if I lost friends because of my behaviour or theirs. I don’t know if I took my frustration at myself out on them or if they genuinely were not compatible with me now I was a Mama. I changed. I’m still me but I have changed.

The mask became a powerful thing. Sometimes I couldn’t hold it together and I found myself quickly rushing George to the car so I could hide the tears that I couldn’t hold back. I cried over the stupidest of things. But overall when I saw people the mask came up and I smiled and it was a brief relief from the negativity I dwelled in behind closed doors.

 

mental health

I no longer enjoyed things I previously enjoyed doing. I went along but just willed it to be over. I wasn’t interested. I was flat. I didn’t care. Eventually when George was around 16 months old I visited the GP and was put on Fluoxetine. It made me feel so, so nauseous. You’d think it’s a small price to pay but food was the only thing I found enjoyment in and to lose the willing and desire to eat made me feel even worse. What’s more they didn’t make me feel any better.

Antidepressants can take 4-6 weeks to have an notable effect. My GP agreed they wasn’t doing me any good after 3. Ultimately this was because they made me feel so nauseous, I lost my passion for food and eating. Food was all I had left that I enjoyed. The thought of losing that was just too much. I know it sounds ridiculous, especially since I need to lose weight. It was how I felt though. I had to stop the fluoxetine. From there the GP follow up was non existent. Presuming I would return if I felt low again, there was no further contact to see how I was doing.

mental health
Cake is the answer to everything.

Thankfully after that period of time, something changed. I don’t know if maybe even the short amount of time I took the Fluoxetine was enough to reset the chemicals in my brain. It also coincided with my neurologist introducing some new medication for my migraines. They happened to fix my long term vertigo and I was able to drive again. I had my independence back and I think this contributed massively to my self worth and happiness.

What I do know is that I feel better than I have for a long time. Stronger, fearless, happy. Once you’ve considered your life worthless you tend to lose your fear of things. You realise nothing is as scary as the thought of escaping your life.

So what’s the point of sharing this with you? I suppose I want mums out there to distinguish between what is normal and what really isn’t when you have a baby. If something doesn’t feel right then please speak to someone. Your partner, parent, friend, health visitor or GP. Okay,  my experience with the GP wasn’t wholly positive but I wasn’t completely honest with them and I should have been more persistent.

mental health

I got so good at the mask, my GP visits saw me sitting with a smile on my face. I felt stupid. No way someone sits there trying to explain how low they feel whilst smiling. People break down and burst into tears. But I’m too polite I just smiled. If you’re the same, maybe take someone along to the appointment with you who has seen you at your worst. Don’t suffer in silence.

Can you relate to any of this? I find it so hard to know if I can say I had/have postnatal depression. Does it ever go away? My moods are certainly more changeable but is that how parenthood feels? I genuinely still have no idea.

The Hunger Games – Insects Vs Toddlers

It was a fresh, crisp Sunday morning in October. The creatures of the woodland were going about their daily life, little knowledge of what was due to descend on them in a few hours. We had our boots on and were ready for one of George’s little buddies fourth birthday parties. But this was not going to be your typical birthday party. There would be no soft play, sugar and screaming children. As much as we love those types of parties, I was excited to see what would happen at a wild wood birthday party at the local reservoir.

We buckled up after bundling wellies, pressies and a change of clothes into the car of another mummy friend who had kindly offered us a lift.

creatures

Things quickly escalated from standard 10 minute journey to complete comedy sketch show. My influence clearly rubbed off and despite being a frequent visitor at the reservoir, we quickly found ourselves pulling over to ask for directions.

My phone had decided to play silly buggers and was going through a reboot so I could program the SatNav before I quickly realised I didn’t actually know what I was programming in and where we were supposed to be headed.

I messaged our host for the party and fellow Mamas in the group chat to ask for the address. I quickly had to abandon their response in favour of calling the police to report seven rogue Shetland ponies trotting merrily down the centre of the road. After leaving my poor friend driving blind I finally switched my phone call from the emergency operator to a mama friend who put us on the right track.

With the party underway we were having a fabulous time. The sun was shining, the leaves were crunching and the toddlers were marching. The party guide was a lovely lady who commanded their attentions well. We soon found ourselves searching for creepy crawlies. We each had a magnifying pot and flitted from log to leaf looking for something to catch.

I think over the years I’ve watched too many a cartoon and Disney film, giving me a knack for humanising any living creature. After playing some games we continued on through the woods, pots in hands, taking our creatures on a merry tour like they’ve never had before. Or had they?

Had this snail and woodlouse been collected by many a child at many a party and toured the woods like a pair of mismatched backpackers? The pot behind me contained a fly being devoured by a spider, taken fresh from the web. As I imagined the crane fly in front of us screaming “where the hell are we going”. Our own woodlouse was wondering when he would see his mum and dad again. Having carried him the equivalent of here to Australia for a woodlouse, we came to a new home.

creatures

Let the den building commence. As 20 toddlers collected wood and sticks to build our very own big brother house. For our unsuspecting creatures, they were about to meet their new housemates. Or were they?

With the house build complete (basically a pile of twigs on the floor), it was time to set our creatures free and introduce them to their new home. Our snail had ventured out of his shell and was roaming the inside of the pot, acquainting himself with the new neighbourhood.

However as the toddlers descended upon the new twig house it quickly became apparent that this wasn’t the Big Brother house. In fact these creatures were about to enter their very own Hunger Games. An insect Fornite if you will. As varying species of insect were dropped (minus canopy) into their new environment, it was every creature for his or herself. Ladybirds scarpered, the woodlouse foolishly didn’t roll into a ball and the snail quickly realised it was time to retreat into his safe haven shell.

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For those that hadn’t already eaten one another or climbed a hiding spot deep into the ground, another challenge began. Forget your purple rain storms, it’s no match compared to a toddler armed with a huge log. With a crash, the den was flattened, or rather ‘complete’ in said toddlers eyes.

And so we left our creatures to rebuild their lives in the wood of nightmares as we ventured on in our party activities.

Honestly it was a great experience. It was just so lovely to be outside in the fresh air without all the carnage that can come from a kids party. We loved it.

How did you spend your Sunday?

Sex In A Candle – A Review of Scents Unusual

** Disclosure – I was provided with a Sex Candle (how often can you say that in a week) in return for my honest review. All opinions are my own **

Candles! We all love them don’t we? With the exception of my husband who is scared of fire, candles fill the majority of our homes with love.

Candles have come a long way from being mere providers of light. They create mood, ambience, scent and for some can become a bit of a collectors hobby.

I leave you with that thought whilst I briefly detour. Trust me. This post is like a well planned comedy routine. Stick with it and it will all marry up in the end.

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There are items and experiences in this world, for which the terms “nice” and “good” just won’t cut it. I get easily excited about things and I like to share that excitement with others. I think this is one of the reasons I blog.

In order to enthuse and excite others about things I have seen, eaten or visited, I’ve got to describe them well. I reached a point where “lush” and “brilliant”, “amazing” and “fab” rolled off my tongue with ease. I use them daily. So when something is that bit more special, I had to  get inventive.

I honestly do not remember what inspired me to first start comparing things to sex. Maybe it was the cocktail, Sex on the beach? I think most of us human types would agree that orgasmic sex is probably one of the best things out there. So why not use sex as the yardstick to judge everything else by. If your tongue isn’t in your cheek right now then you are reading this wrong.

And so it was born. During a visit to my fave The Royal Hotel, I tried one of their unique cocktails which was pretty quickly declared by myself as “Sex in a martini glass”. At our local seaside resort you can get a chocolate and cream covered waffle on stick which is quite clearly “Sex on a stick”.

I’ve had sex on a plate numerous times and the ultimate was when I told my husbands seventy something Nan that her homemade stew was “sex in a bowl”!

So imagine my utter excitement, and if I’m honest, sheer intrigue, at seeing the opportunity to get my hands on a sex candle by Scents Unusual.

Sex….in a candle!!!

It’s literally got my name written all over it! “Send it over Dave!” I shouted. Well I never because that wasn’t the PR guys name but you get the gist.

Now as you may know, we are in the process of selling our house. Whilst waiting for the candle to arrive I contemplated what a sex candle might smell like? Could I sell my house with au de sex lingering in the air? Would it make potential buyers feel a little fruity? Hell perhaps I should add that to the Rightmove listing….. “this property is pure sex in a house!”

Now back to that thought I left you with earlier. Candle lovers this is your paragraph! So you wanna know what a sex candle has to offer you and whether you should buy one and I’m here to tell you.sex

The Sex Candle is a bit of novelty gift so that’s your Secret Santa sorted for this year. It’s a simple white candle in a clear glass container, labelled with the Scents Unusual sticker.

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The candle is packaged in a tin with some comical sexual innuendos. My favourite being “Issue:69”. I like the obvious and silly gags. Simple minds and all that. The attention to detail is perfect and the more you look at the tin labelling, the more you see. Say it out loud, “Sex candle”, dya get it?

Light this candle and you will get an initial intense aroma of that moment of passion, gradually turning into the fresh and comforting smell of clean cotton – it’s as if you have just changed those bed sheets! – taken from scentsunusual.com

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With an approximate burn time of 40 hours, I’m yet to reach the linen scent. As for the “aroma of passion”, I literally cannot compare it to anything . You really need to smell it for yourself.

To me it’s not offensive once lit, although the smell knocks you back a bit as you open the can. It’s also not an overly appealing smell such as vanilla but it has a weird addictive hint to it. The smell isn’t too obtrusive either. I had to get quite close to be able to smell it and I have a super human sense of smell.

At £15 I’d be unlikely to buy it for myself now my curiosity as to what it smells like has been fulfilled. I’d definitely buy one as a novelty gift. This would definitely have been my secret Santa gift this Christmas, had I still been at my previous employers. I’m intrigued by the Cuban tobacco and oak range. I imagine it’s  uniquely appealing.

Do you like the sound of this? Would you buy one for yourself or someone else? Check out Scentsunusual.com for their other products.

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Lucy At Home UK parenting blogger

My September beauty faves – Inspired by Mam Rants and Reviews

I’m about to do something a little different to my usual posts. My world has recently been brightened by a fellow blogger Shân Williams. Living approximately a six-hour drive from one another and technically in different countries, we are yet to meet in real life. Nonetheless, this lady and I have clicked and she’s definitely one of my new faves.

New to the blogging scene, Shân is already inspiring me. I learn something new about her everyday. She first caught my eye the day I watched her #BraveTheShave on Instagram. An act she completed to mark her eighth year since she got given the all clear. Each year she does something different. I’ve always wanted to shave my head but never been brave enough and here was this woman, whacking on her fave lippy and braving it.

So Shân blogs over at Mam Rants and Reviews. She recently blogged about her Fall Fashion Faves and asked me to join her with some of my own faves. Life being as it has in the Gorgeous George’s Mama household, fashion has been bumped off the budget list of late. I’m hoping things are on the up though as I’m desperate for a few new key pieces for this Autumn/Winter. Beauty is an essential though in my eyes and I can always find the pennies to look after my ageing bod. Stick with me…I’m not a beauty blogger and I’m not about to impersonate one.

ANEW Anti Wrinkle, Line Erasing Serum with A-F33 by Avon

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I’m proper pleased with myself about this stuff and not least because it’s a great product. So I’ll tell you the story about how this came into my life. Whilst attending the last of the Summer family fun fetes, hubs took George to a tombola stall. I needed to park ym aging bod for a moment as I;ve been suffering with my hip. I reminded him that we didn’t need to be taking any toot home as I had just decluttered our home ready for sale.

“Don’t worry” he reassured me “this time I’m going for something for you”.

So off he trots and a few minutes later and £2 lighter he appears with a gorgeous set from Boots and this wonder serum. This stuff retails at £25 from Avon! I effectively got it for a quid! I’m already loving it. I started to use it every morning as a must and I will never got back. This is going to be part of my morning routine for life!

Avon were the first major cosmetic company to end animal testing nearly 30 years ago. The serum isn’t greasy at all and it’s currently on sale for £18 (prices as of September 21st 2018). What’s not to love!

Before and after. See the difference? Me neither but it feels lush.

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Coconut miracle penetrating oil by OGX.

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This little beaut presented itself to me in the reduced section during my weekly shop in Asda. Again OGX Beauty ltd are a company that do not support testing on animals and this particular miracle oil is vegan friendly too.

I’ve been going grey since I was 15 and it reached a point where I was home dyeing my hair every 3 weeks to cover the greys. This became something I couldn’t maintain once I became a Mum, so I started getting highlights at the salon. This does involve the use of bleach as I am a natural brown.

After this summer’s heat wave and the bleaching, my hair was feeling a little dry on the ends. I needed a quick solution so I thought I would give it a go. It was reduced from £7.99 to £4.99.

I wash my hair every other day and literally just put an amount the size of a penny in my palm and run my fingers through towel dried hair. It makes it feel silky again without being greasy and removes frizz. It’s definitely revived my hair.

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.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/IMG_22251-e1537562226369.jpg” alt=”faves” width=”270″ height=”480″ /> Couldn’t resist a Snapchat twat pose[/caption]

nSPA Cherry Body Mist

nSPA Cherry Body Mist

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This spray was a gift from my sister along with some other nSPA goodies. nSPA are another of my faves that is vegan friendly and against animal testing.

Just before the summer break we visited the step up room at George’s preschool. Another Mum, who I have made friends with was sat with me. I asked her what she thought of the place whilst we were there and she replied;

“It smells nice so that’s a bonus….oh no that’s you”

 I’m rarely complimented on my scent. I rarely wear one as it can aggravate or trigger my migraines. Now every time I spray this I feel like I’m one of those people you walk past in the street and think

“mmm they smell lush”

The nSPA range is available from their website or at Asda. Their Blooming Gorgeous range served me well during my pregnancy with Gorgeous George.

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So there you have it. Some fab products for you to checkout, each with their own story of why they are my faves for this month. This post is not sponsored or paid. They are just products I wanted to shout about after Shân inspired me and suggested we collaborate.

Be sure to go show her some love over at

Mam Rants and ReviewsFacebookTwitterInstagram.

Much Love x 

Lucy At Home UK parenting blogger

Leaving the Property Ladder – What’s the Big Deal?

So finally. The second part of my big revelation. We are selling our house! If you follow my Instagram stories you’ll know that already. So if you are a regular visitor of my social pages you will remember me declaring last month that I am feeling really positive and optimistic. An exciting next chapter is beginning in our lives and I’m full of hope. Focusing on the hope and possibilities of a situation helps me remain excited and not get stressed. The first reason I told you all about here.

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The property ladder is constantly something pushed to us but what’s the big deal?! Since I can remember, society has forced the idea upon me that it’s the be all and end all to own your own property. I totally get that there is security in owning your own home.

Hearing buzz phrases like “you need to secure your future for your retirement” are heard from a young age. But times are not what they used to be. People are living differently to how they used to back in the day.

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As a society we are travelling more, some of us living on the move for quite some time. But to the older generation I think the thought of not having some bricks and mortar to come back to is a scary prospect.

It’s September 2018, with a deal still not agreed for Brexit, there is a potential for the housing market to crash and property prices to drop by up to a third…or so I’ve read. Although this is of course speculation but it seems like a good a time as any to sell up. George isn’t getting any smaller and we’d love to add to our family.

Myself and hubs are stuck on an interest only mortgage, stuck in a house that’s no longer fulfilling our needs, our life jackets are on and we are full heartedly jumping ship. When I say we are stuck, trust me, we are. We’ve consulted financial and mortgage advisors. Without blacklisting ourselves the only way out is to sell.

I don’t particularly wish to divulge the detailed ins and outs of our financial situation or how we ended up in this position. In short we purchased our house with a 105% mortgage just before the last recession back in 2007. We had no deposit, no bank of mum and dad and wanted to consolidate debts.

Some of our debt had been accrued through putting commute expenses on credit cards as hubs was working within London but not earning enough to pay the expenses. Such is life at times. Having a job doesn’t mean you are thriving. So many in this country work damn hard but still struggle to pay for the essentials of life.

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We were both raised by parents who didn’t really believe in not paying for things in full. They tried not to take out credit or “HP” as they call it. Hubs and I have always been of the mentality “you only live once, if you want it, have it”. I’m not talking silly things like Ferrari’s or Caribbean holidays. We only took staycations (aside from a med cruise we booked to celebrate my first pay packet). We bought a nice tele and simple things. If we saw some nice chocolate cakes we had them. We don’t own designer clothes or expensive handbags. We’ve lived within our means….or so we thought.

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So we have reached a point where we have outgrown our house. We have potential to extend but no funds to do so. It could be years before we could. All the while our quality of life is affected. We are living on top of one another 24/7. Hubs needs a home office. We know we have a pretty decent amount of equity in our property because the housing market has reached ridiculous prices. So why not cash in on that and move into rental?

Yeah I actually said it. We are going to LEAVE the property ladder and join the RENTAL market.

We could never even dream of buying anything bigger than our 2 bed in our county. Not without moving to the type of area most people wish they could get out of. We are also at the stage where wherever we move, the schools have to be good for George.

But the rental market is a different ballgame. Not least because we will have more cash available on a monthly basis because we will be debt free. Using the equity from the sale of our property, we can clear our debts, all outstanding loans and start a fresh. We can rent a larger property whilst stashing a potential deposit in the bank or a limited access saver.

When the time comes where we are feeling it’s the right time, we can hopefully jump back on the ladder. It may not be in our current area. But by that point we may be better suited to moving away. The further north you go, the cheaper it seems to get. It’s crazy how much prices vary!

We have even considered buying in maybe years time in our potential desired area for retirement, Norfolk. We may then rent it out until we are ready to move in ourselves. No one knows what the future holds for either of us and the security of a roof over our heads is obviously paramount.

There are so many options. We can continue to build that deposit. This is an exciting time for us. For many though the ladder is the dream. It’s so hard to get on to. All you read in the papers is how hard it is for young people to get on the ladder. And here we are, willingly leaving it. Oh the travesty. But to us it has cons but right now, the pros outweighs the cons by a mile.

Do I worry that we will be retired with little or no income coming in and having to find money for rent or mortgage payments? No. Hubs has his finger in many pies. Although I’m self employed, my input to the business will grow as George starts full-time school next year, increasing our earnings further. It will all work out. I’m willing to return to my previous career if need be as I can join that back at the top-level I left it, with a little retraining. There are ALWAYS options.

Sometimes you can’t always do what’s right for the future. Sometimes you have to do what’s right for now.

Whilst I’d love to know your thoughts on this, we are so sure this is the right decision for US. We know our situation better than anyone so don’t try to convince me otherwise. I know many may frown upon this idea which is one if there reasons I’ve been reluctant to share the news for so long.

What next? Well at the moment we have to wait for the sale of our house to be around one month away from completion before we can look for a rental. Obviously the rental market moves a lot quicker than all the legal stuff involved in the sale of a house. Estate agents just aren’t interested in showing us rentals until we are further into the process of selling our house.

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For many this is alien. People are asking me if we have “found anywhere to live yet”. Which I don’t mind because I wouldn’t expect people to understand this unusual process. But this is how it is. We wait for a potential buyer to make an offer on our house, once accepted we have to let the process evolve. When everything is looking good to go, then we can view rentals and hopefully get the keys before moving day. As long as we have exchanged contracts on the house so we don’t end up paying two lots of bills. That way we can also ease the transition of moving rather than it being all one big moving day.

Stay on the lookout for some more lighthearted posts from me on selling houses the Gorgeous George’s Mama way.

Have you ever left the housing ladder to join the rental market? I haven’t met anyone who has and would love to know your experience. Estate agents we speak to our surprised by our decision. They haven’t come across many people who do what we are. We have found a fabulous estate agents who are helping us through this process step by step.