Welcome to ‘5 Things’, my Sunday series, which covers everything and anything. After a couple of deep posts, this week I am sharing;
I love to watch
I love TV, it is rarely off in our house, although now it is Disney Junior on loop…. I find watching TV really relaxing and although I adore reading, I can watch TV while doing other things.
Although I have to admit, I haven’t got very sophisticated viewing taste. In fact, I do love more than my fair share of trash TV, much to Mr Hubby’s dismay! So here are 5 things; I love to watch.
Googlebox - Who knew that watching people on TV watching TV could be so entertaining! I remember when the show launched, I thought it was a ridiculous idea. I was so wrong, it is genius! Just so funny. Dom & Steph are fabulous entertainment!
Suits – For those of you who have never heard of it. Suits is an American Law drama, following a guy, Mike Ross, as he tries to run away from the cops. He seeks safety in a hotel and bursts into a room where interviews for a legal associate are taking place. Although Mike was a pot head, he had a photographic memory and earned money passing the bar exam for students. Needless to say he got the job in a weird twist of fate and the series follows him, his mentor Harvey and the other lawyers at the firm.
Err….do you need any other reason to watch?…..
Made in Chelsea – Reality television at it’s finest documenting the lives of the rich youth of Chelsea.
Great British Bake Off - I love this show so much that I feel like I am in a cult. Mary Berry is an institution and in my eyes should be worshiped. What she doesn’t know about a Victoria sponge isn’t worth knowing. I am less enamoured with Hollywood, but the fabulous Mel and Sue more than make up for him. I actually applied last year, although I didn’t get very far. I’m sure Mary would have loved my signature Millionaire Shortbread!
Strictly Come Dancing – Strictly is my favourite show, I adore it! I am a big fan of dancing shows anyway. Add in some sequins and celebrities, then you have a winner in my eyes.
Do you share any of my favourites? What shows do you love? Any guilty pleasures?
I love the process of writing a weekly gratitude list, as it ensures I consciously take in the small, but lovely things that happen every day. Then, they are immortalized here on the page, so I will always remember.
This week I have loved;
Watching how much Baby loved going to see the animals at the pet shop.
Going to the park the day before our holidays and the three of us just playing together.
At the beginning of the month I set myself some goals for 2015. The mistake I have made in previous years is not revisiting the goals often enough. They then slip to the back of my mind and sometimes get forgotten about completely. I am guessing I am not on my own.
So a month in, how am I doing? As I explained some of my goals are long term, to be achieved at some point in the year, but I do need to be making progress towards them. Let me recap;
Find a better work life balance – Sadly there has been no progress on this front so far. Working hard to give myself breathing space.
Continue to beat PND – I am doing a few things, which are helping me to stay in a good place.
Meet up with friends more – I am doing quite well on this and have had some fun times with friends this month.
Reach my target weight – Not at target, but I am doing well, so hopefully it will be my year!
Become proficient in French – I have made no progress at all with this. I haven’t even put the CD in the computer….. pas bon.
Home Life Goals
Organise our clutter – I have made a start! It really does make a difference to your attitude too.
Sell/Re-home all Baby’s unwanted things – oops nothing has happened here, I must focus on this in February.
Implement a cleaning schedule – We have talked about it…..does that count….?
Spend more screen free time with Hubby – I have just had a whole week with Hubby on holiday, so successful so far.
Have a night out – not yet, but I am hopeful.
Make blogging a viable career – I have now started as a freelance professional blogger. January has been promising with lots of new connections.
Increase my blog subscribers – This number is ticking up nicely and I have a plan to help increase this, I just need a little time.
Improve my use of Pinterest – Ah, still not pinned so many of my posts…..
Get involved with my US peers - I have joined a primarily US Facebook bloggers group.
Increase followers on all my social networks – These are steadily increasing.
Vlog more – I have plans for one, which I think will go live next week.
Secure regular advertising – not focused any efforts here so far.
Work S.M.A.R.T.E.R – T.R.Y.I.N.G
More collaboration – I have LOTS of plans and there are a few interesting projects in discussion at the moment.
So overall, after only 4 weeks I am happy with what I have achieved towards my goals. Sometimes I wish I had a crystal ball and could look into the future (even just to the end of the year) to see if I manage to achieve all of them. I have even thought about consulting The Circle Free Horoscopes to see if they can shed any light on what I should be doing over the next few weeks and what might be on the horizon for me.
Have you set any goals for this year? Do you read horoscopes?
Hi and welcome to ‘The List‘. If you are new here, ‘The List‘ is a great linky that I co-host with amaze-balls Hannah from Mums’ Days. The idea is simple, just link up any post that is in list/bullet point format, easy! I use mine to record my weekly highlights and remind myself of my hit list and targets, but yours could be a ‘top ten’ list or anything you fancy. Your posts can be old or new, all welcome.
I genuinely love hosting this linky and feel very proud to be part of this wonderful ‘The List’ community, so thank you for your continued support. Each week both Hannah and I pick our own top 3 lists and give them a little shout out in our posts. This week my favourite three are;
This post is fab! Ideas for toddlers breakfasts, with different options depending on how much time you have…AMAZING!
If you didn’t read this, go and do it now! Lauren’s post highlighting the 10 enemies of the sleeping baby was fabulous!
I loved this post by Jenna on how walking every day has benefited her. A very inspiring and uplifting read.
I am travelling back from holiday today, so I may not be able to RT all of your tweets. Normal service will be resumed on Saturday.
Now time for my list; (a bit shorter than usual!)
We have been enjoying our first family holiday at Bluestone Wales.
Real life high; Our holibags!
BLOG & SOCIAL MEDIA
My most popular blog post this week was; No idea! I haven’t been here to check!
1. You can link up to 3 posts per week! Be sure to paste The List badge on each post you would like to link up (code below – paste it into the HTML option of your blogging platform).
2. Comment on this post to say hi!
3. Comment on at least 2 other links – share the love man, it’s what makes this community great!
4. It would also be amazing if you could share your post and the linky party (using the hashtag #TheList) on your social media channels to help grow the community. Hannah and I will also retweet all your posts via Twitter if you mention us in your tweets! (@youbabymemummy/@mumsdays)
Have you got the man in your life a Valentine’s gift yet? No, me neither (shhh don’t tell him!), but don’t worry I am here with some inspiration for you all.
PLAYBULB™ Bluetooth Smart LED speaker lightbulb by MiPow – £60^.
The PLAYBULB is an LED light, a speaker, a wireless, Bluetooth smart, music playing device. Is your mind blown yet? Amazingly you screw it into a light socket, light it up and let it play using the MiPow app on your mobile device. Find me a man who wouldn’t LOVE this! Fabulous gift for the man who lights up your life (ha ha couldn’t resist!).
Worx SD - £39.99 Argos, Homebase and B&Qor direct fromWorx^
The Worx Slide Driver is quick and easy to use on a range of jobs around the home. The ideal present for DIY lovers and novices alike. A convenient cordless screwdriver, which comes fully loaded with six different SD bits, meaning there’s no need to worry about wasting time looking for loose bits. The LED light makes easy work of dark or enclosed areas so users will be able to complete a range of tasks quickly and efficiently. The powerful battery holds its charge much longer than standard batteries so users are always ready to go – whatever the situation. The tool is small, compact and loaded with all the bits you need, so there’s no limitations about where and when you can use it and no need to worry about lugging around a heavy toolbox.
Clinique For Men Essentials Kit for Oily Skin* – £30 available from House of Fraser
What a treat for your man! Customised formulas to meet the daily needs of his skin. Clinique is the science behind smooth, comfortable, revitalized skin. For prep and cleanse: Oil Control Face Scrub 50ml and Face Wash 50ml. For Hydration: Oil Control Mattifying Moisturizer 40ml and Anti-Age Eye Cream 15ml. I am sure your man would love a pamper!
Distressed buffalo leather and a waterproof lining to give vintage character – ideal for travelling in style! Each bag is handmade to ensure their longevity. They can be personalised, by hot pressing monogrammed initials, a name or a message to make it the perfect gift. Available in dark tan or black leather.
Commemorate a special date with this unique number art print using photographs of door numbers on different textured backgrounds. The black and white photographs are subtly tinted blue, brown and green, or just black and white. Available in landscape or portrait format. This unique designs is also available in a white leather photo album.
What are you getting the man in your life?
Disclosure: I was challenged by House of Fraser to create a Valentine’s Gift List.
^We received these items for their inclusion in this guide.
Hello! Welcome to Share Your Wedding. The weekly feature that gives you the chance to re-live your wedding day and may just give soon-to-be–weds some inspiration.
This week we have an invitation to Claire’s wedding. Claire blogs over at Tin Box Traveller and can be found on Twitter @tinboxtraveller.
Hi Claire, Introduce your family,
Hi all, I’m Claire aka Tin Box Traveller. Despite the blog name, I’m not a full time gypsy (just a weekend one), so I’m afraid my wedding didn’t involve a dress that required a fire extinguisher or a 45-tier wedding cake. I’m also a bit of an ‘old married’ as Mr TB and I tied the knot nearly seven years ago. Since then we’ve got a caravan, started our family by acquiring a loopy Labrador Retriever, bought a house, had our first non-fury baby and have another on the way (due April).
Let’s set the scene.
How did you meet?
We were both working in a pub while studying. He was a doorman and I worked in the kitchen. I can confirm that the way to a bouncer’s heart is definitely via his stomach!
How long have you known each other?
A loooong time! Nearly 15 years now.
How did he propose?
It was six years after we met and a million miles away from pub life. Mr TB had joined the Royal Navy and I was visiting him in Dartmouth for his passing out parade. After all the formal marching about, family and friends were invited inside for drinks. Mr TB asked me to take a picture of him in front of a statue of King George V. I thought it was a bit strange at the time, but it turns out this was his way of getting me on my own so he could pop the question. I trotted over to the centre of the room on my ridiculously high heels and was completely gob-smacked when Mr TB dropped to one knee and pulled a ring box out of this pocket. After what seemed like a lifetime (so Mr TB tells me) I managed to pull myself together enough to say ‘yes’.
How long were you engaged before you were married?
Just over a year.
Share Your Wedding
When did you get married?
Did you have a large wedding or a more intimate affair?
We had about 200 guests, three bridesmaids, one best man and a guard of honour made up of eight of MR TB’s mates from Dartmouth.
Tell us about the venues?
We were married at St Ann’s Church in Portsmouth Naval Base and held our reception in HMS Nelson wardroom just down the road. Both are absolutely stunning places and really wowed our guests. The dining room where we ate our wedding breakfast has a mural of the Battle of Trafalgar painted on the walls.
Did your wedding have a certain style?
With all the military elements there really wasn’t a need to incorporate too many other style ideas in the day. I choose a light green as my colour. This featured on our invites, seating plan, favours and my dress.
Tell us about the most important thing, the Dress?
I loved looking for my dress and trying on different styles. In the end I settled on an Alfred Angelo design. I hadn’t gone out to find a dress that incorporated colour but fell in love with the long train and coloured panel.
Describe your wedding
When we began planning our wedding we knew we wanted a traditional day. Along the way we picked up lots of inspiration from our Royal Navy links that made our wedding unique to us.
Both of our dads, and my mum and brother were also in the Navy so we named our tables after ships and bases where they had served and had our toast with Port rather than Champagne.
Our favours were pin badges for the Royal Navy Benevolent Trust – we decided to make a donation to them rather than spend the money on trinkets or sweets.
What was your favourite part of your Wedding?
The whole day was a whirlwind of highlights, but if I had to pick one moment it would be the speeches. I say a moment, but actually the speeches went on for over an hour! They were full of funny stories and the most beautiful sentiments.
There also seemed to be an awful lot of toasts. Mr TB’s Navy pals taught the whole room to bang on the tables rather than clap after each toast was proposed. Our friends and family still talk about it.
What extra touches made it special for you both?
We lit a candle during our wedding ceremony to remember my brother and our grandparents who had passed away. It was so important to us to make them part of the day.
Did anything not go as planned? Any funny stories?
We had two hiccoughs in the days before our nuptials. The first was our vicar going over the handle bars of his push bike and smashing up his face. Thanks to an emergency trip to the dentist he managed to recover in time for the service.
I was hardly aware of the second near disaster thanks to my bridesmaids. Our DJ pulled out at the last minute. My bridesmaids got the call because they had asked to use his projector to surprise us with a presentation of baby photos and how we’d met. They managed to agree a replacement DJ. He wasn’t great and his equipment kept shorting out, but I was enjoying myself too much to care.
Would you do anything differently with hindsight?
I had to think very hard about this question as there really wasn’t much. If I’m splitting hairs I would have liked a sponge cake rather than a fruit cake. My flowers were also a bit yellower than the ivory that I had asked for, but no one a part from me would have known.
What song did you or your wife walk into and what was your first dance song?
I walked down the aisle to Pachelbel’s Canon in D and our first dance was ‘We have all the time in the world’ by Louis Armstrong. I was slightly sceptical about the latter as it was the theme song to the James Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in which 007’s wife gets shot! This seemed to amuse Mr TB and I am yet to meet an untimely end, so it worked out OK.
Do you have any advice for the soon to be married?
Plan your day for you. Everyone will have suggestions and things that they ‘simply have to help with’. However, remember it’s about you, not them. Be polite and say you already have something in mind.
Where did you go on honeymoon?
We went on a ‘three centre’ tour with Virgin Holidays, with stays in Las Vegas, Cancun in Mexico and then New York. It was the most amazing trip and I’d love to do it all over again.
Thanks so much to Claire for sharing her wonderful wedding with us all!
If you want to Share Your Wedding just drop me a line firstname.lastname@example.org
There are two and a half weeks until Valentine’s Day, have you got your gifts organised? I thought I would share a few lovely things to buy for the lady in your life, or to provide inspiration for your list to the other half!
Mood boosting LED lighting and aromatherapy mist and oil make this the ultimate luxury when it comes to foot therapy. Perfect for the lady who is on her feet a lot or just someone who loves a pamper. The innovative design allows for both integrated hydro and vibration massagers and acu-pressure nodes that stimulate reflexology points. Functional inter-changeable pedicure attachments are included to meet indispensable beauty needs for picture perfect feet.
The new wet and dry brush provides a 4 in 1 body treatment and simple way of keeping skin exfoliated. It can be used in or out of the shower and has a comfort grip handle. The brush has four different heads, including a cactus dry brush, a loofah, a pumice stone and facial cleansing brush, which enable the user to tailor the experience for their skin type.
Elle explains “A key part of my beauty regime is exfoliation. The benefits are amazing helping to remove dead skin cells, increase circulation and aid cell renewal. I always feel a noticeable difference leaving my skin smooth and glowing. Take the hassle out of dry brushing with my new 4 in 1 wet and dry brush. The battery-powered rotating head means it does all the hard work for you! You can use it all over your body and it’s even suitable for the shower.” If it’s good enough for Elle, it’s good enough for me!
Pink Babydoll – TU at Sainsburys – See in store for pricing
This pretty babydoll is ideal for us mummy’s who may not like our post baby tummy’s. A little coverage but still super pretty and sexy.
HoMedics Perfect Reach Body Massager £24.99 (Boots)
For the ultimate in relaxation, ease tired and tense muscles with this new handheld massager from HoMedics. It has three custom massage attachments: wide area for comforting larger muscles, roller for kneading massage and spot for targeted relief. Having two speeds, low for relaxing or high for an invigorating massage. It is lightweight and ergonomic with perfect reach handle. Comes with it’s own storage bag.
Victoria Green Love Hearts Print Traveller Bag - £15 Debenhams
New for this season, the traveller shape is brilliant for keeping your toiletries organised, with two spacious waterproof compartments and a zip closure. The coated cotton canvas has an easy-clean, spongeable surface, and is printed with the gorgeous love hearts design with pretty polka dot detailing. So pretty!
A perfect gift for loved ones or newly married couples. This set of 2 lovely heart coasters are available in cream and dark coloured marble. Due to the natural properties of marble the colour and markings will differ between products. The pictures shown are a good representation of our current available stock. All heart coasters come in a box. If you request gift wrap we wrap them in such a way that you can have a peep without damaging the packaging. If this is a gift why not send it straight to the recipient and add a gift message? Hand carved from beautiful quality marble.
A gorgeous bra and knicker set from Bestform Lingerie, at a really reasonable price. Check out the website for lots of other pretty sets.
Rokit Gel Polish Professional Kit (£99.99) is available from select Debenhams.
This is a great gel manicure kit that promises a rok-hard, high shine and salon quality finish from the comfort of your own home, with a simple one step application. Reduces a typically five stage process to an easy one step application. Just polish and cure for shiny, salon quality nails that last up to 14 days. The kit comes complete with a high performance LED lamp which combines the latest LED and gel nail polish technology. With 32 LED lights, the Rokit lamp promotes a super-fast curing time, as well as a built in treatment timer for ease and even better there’s no drying time!
Lumie Bodyclock Iris £160 (currently on offer for £120).
Combines the benefits of a gradual sunset and sunrise with aromatherapy options to drift off with a sunset and wake up with a sunrise. It’s effective for healthy sleep, sports training, energy at work and is a useful complement to a lightbox in treating SAD. Lumie Bodyclock has a fading sunset to help you naturally unwind at bedtime. This is a signal for your body to step up production of the sleep hormone melatonin so you’re ready for bed. In the morning, gradually brightening light has the opposite effect, readying your body for activity. Wake-up lights help to keep your sleep cycle on track, boosting mood, energy and productivity levels all day.
Two removeable aromatherapy chambers for sunset and sunrise oils (oils not included). Continuous or intermittent diffusion. Sunset, sunrise and aromatherapy have a range of options (intensity, duration, 7-day programming) that can be used together or independently, Dimmable for use as a bedside light, Nightlight feature, Snooze feature, Remote control, Security option to turn on the light randomly while you’re away, Back-ups: optional alarm beep, power failure back-up
Attending your first blog conference can be a little nerve wracking. Especially if you are a relatively new blogger, and don’t know many people. Each year in June, BritMums Live takes over most parenting bloggers lives and their social media feeds too! Held over two days, it is the largest conference of its sort and so can seem a little intimidating for a newbie.
The reality is, it is a fabulous event, not scary and you will learn so much. I thought I would ask a bunch of my friends who have been before to share their top tips with you all. Hopefully it will all seem less scary then!
I am going to kick things off. My top tip would be to make a plan to meet people before hand (Hannah from Mum’s Days agrees with this tip), maybe for lunch, then all go to the venue together. There are various ‘organised’ meet ups, one by the BritMums butterflies (to help newbies) and a few others. However, last year I contacted some bloggers who I was friendly with online and met up them for lunch. The two lovely ladies I met are now among my best friends – the power of BritMums!
“I would say book at least 2 nights accommodation if you can – there’s nothing worse than having to rush off to catch a train and miss the keynotes. I would also say – wear comfy shoes! There’s a lot of standing around when you are chatting and there’s a walk to the tube and coffee shops etc” – Kate Fever, My Family Fever.
“If you’re feeling nervous, join BritMums Butterflies on Facebook who will help hook you up with someone. The group is lovely and so helpful for first timers. Take a BIG bag or suitcase, there are lots of freebies and last year I had to carry a fully inflated football all the way home on the train, I’m taking a suitcase this year for sure!” Em, Snowing Indoors.
“Bring some spare carrier bags or drawstring bags with you for all the freebies! I’m so glad I did this!” Twin Mummy and Daddy
“Don’t be afraid to say hello to people – everyone is lovely. Take a phone charger with you and extra bags for the things you will pick up.” – Over 40 and a Mum to One
I know it sounds a bit anal, but it really is worth making a kind of ‘hit list’ of people you want to meet before leaving. Arrange to meet at breaks and dare I say it….maybe even miss a session or two?! You will kick yourself when you get home and remember all the people you so wanted to meet, if you don’t go prepared. Suzanne, 3 children and it.
“On the Friday night for the awards, sit on a table with the breastfeeding mums and you will get more wine”, Clare Nicholas, Emmy’s Mummy.
“Good thing about taking a baby – it makes everything a bit less daunting as lots and lots of people will talk to you and your little one. They are attention magnets! But also do make sure you take a baby carrier with you, getting pushchairs around is a bit of a mission. And don’t arrange to go for after conference drinks at All Bar One – they won’t let babies in!” Lauren Gee, Spoon Paws.
“Don’t take babies – I took Sebby last year and the sea of faces really unsettled him and I felt like I missed so much as I was tending to him!” Kara, Chelsea Mamma.
“A massive DON’T……….Do not lunge gleefully at people in Starbucks that you think you recognise………….I did this only to find out the poor woman was just getting a coffee and a Panini in her lunch break.”, Sam, 40 year old Domestic Goddess “Oh and don’t wear high heels!”
“The first day can be overwhelming, so don’t worry if you feel like it’s a bit too much, just step out and take a breather” Lisa, Hollybobbs
“Be brave and talk to anyone and everyone. It was liberating to be able to talk to complete stranger and instantly have something in common. I haven’t really had that experience since uni.” Clare, The Supermommy Club.
“Write a list of people to meet – I still missed a few, but so glad I had a prompt of people to look out for!” Donna, What The Redhead Said.
“Keep hydrated, it can be a long two days chatting and meeting new people and you don’t want to get yourself a headache or start to feel run down” – Sarah, Boo Roo and Tigger Too
Another tip from me. I think name badges are a great idea. You are given a lanyard and name tag, but quite often they turn round and there is nothing worse than talking to someone and not knowing who they are! You will meet so many people and it is such a fabulous opportunity to make lots of new friends. Make it easy for them to remember your name! Name Badges from Simoney are a really good choice. I was recently sent mine, how posh does it look!? Also with these name badges you can incorporate you blog logo/design, so that might ring bells with the people you meet.
So hopefully this will reduce any awkward moments!
Are you going to BritMums Live this year? Have you been before?