UK holiday essentials!

When holidaycottages.co.uk asked me what items I wouldn’t leave at home when holidaying in the UK, it wasn’t too difficult to think of a few must have essentials.  UK holidays means we can forget about luggage restrictions and subject to items fitting in the car then they can come with us.

For me, my number one item that I struggle to leave behind is my laptop.  I know, I know, you must be thinking I’m a complete internet addict!!  Well if the truth me told I do miss the internet although if I was to go abroad I would go cold turkey for a week.

With wifi being potentially available on a UK holiday I always like to keep in the loop with what’s going on.  I know I can check my phone for this but I use my laptop for more than just being online.  I always take a mountain of photos when I’m away with the kids on the beach, the kids in the park, what I’m eating, drinking, the sunsets in the sky, the scenery around us, you name it, I snap it!  So there is nothing worse than coming home to hundreds of photos that need sorting, deleting, editing etc.  If it’s just our little family away on holiday, I take half an hour or so each evening when the kids are in bed to add all the photos of the day to my laptop and sort them out ready for my return home.  I then pour a rather large glass of wine to unwind for the day and spend the rest of the evening with the husband.

holiday 1 UK holiday essentials!

One thing I like to pack if staying in the UK is my own beach towel.  I know generally abroad these are provided but in the UK I like to have something that feels and smells like my own, you can relax and sink into them so much better.  Also I’d never leave the house without my sunglasses, yes I may be a tad obsessed but there’s nothing worse than going on the school run and whilst standing in the playground a glint of sunshine peeks behind a cloud and I’m stood squinting at other mothers.  The same goes for UK holidays, they may not be predicted sunny weather but you can be sure it will poke through the clouds at some point and I can’t bear the the thought of any deeper wrinkles around my eyes than have already begun!  Along with that goes the regulatory suncream and aftersun, if you have the room, pack it – nothing worse than seeking strange, expensive brands from local shops once you reach your destination!

holiday 2 UK holiday essentials!

Reading material is essential, ok, most of my time is spent on a UK holiday playing with the kids on the beach, taking them to a local attraction, showering the sand off them, feeding them and having fun family times, but surely somewhere in there I can sneak a bit of me time to read a few novels.  Being in the UK doesn’t restrict me to kindles, tablets and the like, I can take real paper novels, as many as I want, so why not?

holiday 3 UK holiday essentials!

Not forgetting the kids, they adore the beach, they want to play in the sand.  If I was going abroad I’d restrict them to one bucket and spade each that would be tightly packed within a suitcase, the bucket stuffed full of socks!  But no, on a UK break they can take an entire range of beach accessories, packed separately from your clothes – an added bonus!

holiday 4 UK holiday essentials!

As you can tell, UK breaks definitely appeal to me these days, particularly with young ones, I love not having restrictions on what I take, I pack what I want, take what I want and we are all happy!!

This is my entry into the holidaycottages.co.uk must-haves competition

Win a Family Ticket to Octonauts Live

Octonauts is one program that both of my children love and watch every morning before school.  They love all the characters from Captain Barnacles, Kwazii, Peso, Shellington and many more that keep them entertained as they go down in their Octopods for deep sea adventures.

I’m rather excited to be surprising my two with tickets to the show in the New Year and can’t wait to see their happy little faces.

Octonauts Win a Family Ticket to Octonauts LiveYou can see a full list of UK tour dates including venues and performance times here:

http://www.octonautslive.co.uk/

or check out Facebook for more information

153 Win a Family Ticket to Octonauts LiveTop-selling children’s stage show producers Fiery Light will tour a brand new full-length theatre adventure for children, Octonauts and the Deep Sea Volcano Adventure. Based on the popular CBeebies’ TV show, Octonauts, this exciting new production opened on Thursday 16 October and tours into 2015.

081 Win a Family Ticket to Octonauts LiveIn Octonauts and the Deep Sea Volcano Adventure the entire crew of the Octonauts, led by intrepid ex-plorer Captain Barnacles, Lieutenant Kwazii and Medic Peso, embark on an exciting new underwater quest and visit amazing underwater worlds full of adventure, with surprises around every corner. This action-packed interactive show features new music (from BAFTA-award winning composer Mani Svavarsson) and all the Octonauts live on stage for the very first time.

111 Win a Family Ticket to Octonauts LiveRichard Lewis adapts and directs this new production for the stage. He also adapted and directed the hugely popular three Peppa Pig stage shows and last year’s Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom tour. Matt Lewis is lyricist, Simon Scullion is designer, Matt Haskins is lighting designer and Ian Horrocks Taylor is sound de-signer.

Octonauts 2 Win a Family Ticket to Octonauts LiveFor one lucky reader I have a family ticket to giveaway to a venue of your choice subject to availability – just fill in the gleam widget below and you and your children could be off to see the Octonauts Live Show!

Octonauts

T &Cs: A family ticket is for four people, minimum one adult. The tickets are non-transferable. There are no cash alternatives. Accommodation or travel are not included in this prize.

Halloween Accessories from H&A

Halloween is the time of year when all little ones love to dress up and H&A have come up with some simple little hair and nail accessories that make it easy to transform yourself into a scary being!  Available from Poundland they are great value and we tried some out with Miss M.

Halloween 1 Halloween Accessories from H&AThere are a wide choice of hair clips and bands from black cats, to bats and some super stretchy wide bands that are a bit different from the normal type of hair tie.  We found these stayed in the hair really well and didn’t get tangled but also doubled up as wrist bands!

The coloured clip in hair pieces are a great idea, simple to use and look quite effective.  Being the same length as Miss M’s hair they were a good match that she enjoyed wearing.

Halloween 2 Halloween Accessories from H&AThe nail stickers were easy to apply and just required a coat of clear nail varnish on the top to make them durable.  There are lots to choose from in the pack and enough to do a few times over or on several children.  There are also stick on earrings which are great for young ones who don’t have their ears pierced.

Miss M loved trying to be scary thanks to her H&A extra accessories!

Happy Halloween all!!

Halloween 3 Halloween Accessories from H&AAll reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the H&A accessories in order to write the review.

Parragon Life Canvas Stationery Collection – Review

Parragon have a fabulous new range out of Life Canvas stationery and I was lucky to received the Paris notebook and sticky notes in a tin.  Also included in the range are note cards, little tin set, journal, magnet set and file folders amongst other bits and pieces.  Their are also several designs in the Life Canvas range, including Paris, Wild and Butterflies.

IMG 20140826 162000 Parragon Life Canvas Stationery Collection   ReviewThe pocket notebook is a delightful design with pretty pale pink pages and an Eiffel Tower stamp logo in each corner.  The page are thick and easy to write on.  The cover is sturdy and will withstand being carried in your bag,  perfect for carrying round to keep notes in.  There is also a pink elastic to pull around the front to keep the notepad closed.

The sticky notes in the tin are so cute!  With eleven different shaped sticky pads each with a Parisian inspired background, you can find the perfect shape for every occasion.  The rectangular ones are perfect for marking a page in a book, the triangular ones are great for when you just need to write one word reminders and the squares are ideal for writing little notes to yourself.

I love the way they all fit into a tin, keeping them all together and ready to use.  I think these would make a lovely gift for someone.  I love mine and keep them next to my laptop ready to use as I go about my day.  A lovely stationery range from Parragon that any stationery fan will adore!

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the stationery in order to write the review.

Abney and Teal Magazine – Review

Abney and Teal is one of the hit tv show on Cbeebies.  My two both watch it which kind of surprises me as I’ve never really taken too much notice of it myself although if they like it, then it’s the sort of programme I’m happy for them to watch.  It seems to have a calm nature but one that keeps them intrigued hence why I was happy to review the new Abney and Teal magazine.

abney teal 225x300 Abney and Teal Magazine   ReviewFirst impressions where that it had a winning musical instrument set on the front – something my two loved!  Although I’m sure I’m not the only parent to say that the recorder sounded like a whistle that my little boy decided to repeatedly blow on for days on end – not that I’m complaining – he obviously enjoyed it showing that the magazine was a hit with him.

abney teal 2 Abney and Teal Magazine   ReviewI next looked inside the magazine and was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the  pages.  Either filled with stories or worthwhile activities that kept my just turned 4yrs old Mister B thoroughly entertained and wanting for more.  From adding stickers to practising letters, counting objects or making his way through a maze, Mister B didn’t want to stop.  He knew all the characters and immediately declared his favourite as Toby dog.  He was totally familiar with the neeps and the poc pocs – obviously I haven’t been watching it enough lately!

abney teal 3 Abney and Teal Magazine   ReviewThis magazine totally gripped my newly 4 year old. He was eager to learn through the activities and loved the familiarity of characters he knew.  I’d definitely buy this magazine again based on the amount of interaction my little boy has had with it, to be honest I’ve been pleasantly surprised!

The magazine was released on 23rd October, why not grab a copy now?

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the magazine in order to write the review.

Anovia Head On Range for Kids – Review

Anovia Head On is a range of haircare containing head lice repellents suitable for everyday use by the whole family.  We received a 3 in 1 conditioning shampoo and a 3 in 1 conditioning spray to try out.

anovia Anovia Head On Range for Kids   ReviewWith both children attending nursery/school, the last thing I want is for them to catch head lice, as with having long hair myself I know it is something that can be passed on easily and I really don’t want to experience it myself.

Anovia Head On uses 97% natural ingredients and contains a blend of three essential oils to help prevent, treat and repel head lice.  These are Tea Tree, Eucalyptus and Neem Oil.  I do think the products do smell quite strongly of these oils which is fine by me especially if I know head lice are rife, although Miss M did find it a bit strong at first.

The shampoo is rich and creamy, very easy to lather up and leaves hair clean.  You can definitely tell it has conditioning properties and it leaves the hair soft.  For Miss M’s curls, she definitely needs the conditioning spray as well, which is easily sprayed onto damp hair enabling me to gently detangle her hair before it’s fully dry.

I found the Anovia haircare products simple to use and left hair soft and clean.  Due to the essential oils used in this product the head lice repellent isn’t harsh, but leaves a gentle pleasant smell in the hair.

Even if you choose not to use these everyday, I always keep them in the bathroom cupboard for those times when a head lice warning letter comes home from school and then use this shampoo for a few weeks while the outbreak is going around to prevent my children from catching the lice.

Fingers crossed we have all been head lice free since September, even though I know they’ve been around the school already this term.  Let’s hope it stays that way!

For more information on Anovia find them on Facebook or twitter @Anovia_Bodycare

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received Anovia Head On in order to write the review.

 

Find out how to win 1 of 20 sets of Rescue Bots Books!

Autumn Publishing are challenging readers to create their very own creative Rescue Bot figurine using a template provided in Titan’s official Transformers: Age of Extinction Comic Issue #4, on sale October 16th.
35 Inside Back Cover AMENDED TF5.4 NAT 1 page1 204x300 Find out how to win 1 of 20 sets of Rescue Bots Books!cut out page1 204x300 Find out how to win 1 of 20 sets of Rescue Bots Books!
 
All you need to do is get your child to cut out and make a model or the Roll and Rescue figurine, then upload a photo of their creations to Autumn’s Facebook or Twitter pages.
The top 20 winning designs will then win a full set of Rescue Bots books so plenty of chances to win!!
The Transformers: Age of Extinction Comic costs £3.99, and comes free with one of two collectable mini Transformers and comes out today 16th October 2014 so get your copy today!
coverphoto fb Find out how to win 1 of 20 sets of Rescue Bots Books!

 

Primula Squeezy Cheese for Kids – Review

Primula Squeezy Cheese for Kids comes in handy, easy to squeeze tubes that make it simple to add to sandwiches, meals or even used as a simple dip.  With added calcium, reduced salt and no nasty additives this is great for children however young.

primula 1 225x300 Primula Squeezy Cheese for Kids   ReviewMiss M was intrigued when she saw them and wanted to have a “squeeze” herself so she set about making her own sandwiches using some squeezy Primula instead of butter then adding some ham.  She found it very easy to squeeze and spread herself which is great, allowing her to be independent in making her own lunches.

For Mister B I added some Primula to hot cooked pasta and allowed it to melt around the pasta giving it a soft, creamy cheese sauce.  I then added some ham and served and I have to say it was a resounding success.  Perfect for a quick after school meal.  I would also add some vegetables to it in future such as some frozen peas and sweetcorn or a little fresh brocolli.

primula 2 Primula Squeezy Cheese for Kids   Review

Both children also enjoyed using the Primula cheese as a dip for carrot sticks, cucumber and breadsticks!!   A very versatile cheese that kids enjoy!

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the Primula in order to write the review.

Mornings with Belvita

Mornings for me consist of chaos, being a mad rush getting ready for work in the morning and get the children ready for nursery and school.  Even leaving the children’s things laid out for nursery/school or on my days off, it still seems a mad dash to get the children up and out the door.  So I’ve really tried my hardest to be more organised recently, which comes mostly down to being prepared the night before.

That means clothes laid out for all of us, pack lunches made, school bags ready, my handbag by the door with everything I want in it!  If I’m working, it’s usually my husband that takes them to school due to his shift work, but that means I need to be up quick and out the door often not having time for breakfast.  An essential I keep in my bag are a healthy cereal bar or a pack of the new Crunchy belVita Breakfast biscuits!

belvita Mornings with BelvitaAt work I find them a handy snack on my desk that I can nibble at during the morning.  There are three quite chunky biscuits that do fill you up and are rather tasty.  Coming in hazelnut, choc chip and apricot flavours, I can actually say I recommend all three!!

Being honest I do think the hard crunchy texture tastes best dipped in a hot drink which is something I only achieve on the days I don’t work.  E.g. on a Thursday I’m at home with my youngest, we walk my eldest round to school, then come home again.  I don’t normally eat breakfast myself before the school run so when I come back I make myself a cup of Twinings detox tea (the only kind I drink!) and enjoy it with a pack of Belvita.  I honestly enjoy all three crunchy flavours, choc chip is moreish, hazelnut has a lush nutty taste and apricot has a fruity bite – they are all really tasty!!

What I really find great with Belvita, is that they are handy to keep in my bag as a a breakfast snack or as a mid morning snack at home with a hot drink.  The best bit is they come in a pack of three biscuits #MorningWin, great portion control which I love – if it was a an endless pack I wouldn’t know where to stop!

Belvita for me are a great snack that is versatile and tasty, take it with you, on the go, or have a home – a win win for me!!

This post is an entry for #MorningWin Linky Challenge sponsored by belVita Breakfast. Learn more at http://bit.ly/belVitaUK

 

Lelli Kelly Shoes from Charles Clinkard – Review

Lelli Kelly shoes come in shiny, sparkly designs that young girls desire to own and Miss M is no exception.  Having seen the adverts on television she’s often aspired to wear a pair and now she’s had a chance to try them out.  Available from Charles Clinkard who offer a wide range of high quality branded shoes, including the Lelli Kelly brand.

It didn’t take Miss M long to spot a rather sparkly pair of Lelli Kelly Glitter Olivia Mid Boots and her eyes lit up.  She really wanted them so I agreed they would be our choice to try out.

Lelli Kelli 1 Lelli Kelly Shoes from Charles Clinkard   ReviewI ordered the shoes online through the Charles Clinkard website and I have so say navigation was simple, the payment process was easy and delivery is free!  Delivery was a really simple process with update emails on dispatch, delivery date and even a text with the exact delivery hour – I love it when a company uses a good courier service.

The shoes arrived in a beautiful floral shoebox and came with an added make up accessory from Lelli Kelly, a make up palette in a tablet like case.  Miss M’s face lit up at the idea that she had her own eyeshadow like mummy, but I’m sure a bit of dressing up fun when her friends are round will do no harm!

lelli kelli 3 Lelli Kelly Shoes from Charles Clinkard   ReviewThe boots themselves immediately stood out to be of a really high quality, well made and looked good.  You certainly get what you pay for with Lelli Kelly shoes and these being £59.99 aren’t cheap but the quality is of a really high standard and the shoes have a lot of detail with the beads and a really solid, durable sole made to last!

lelli kelli 4 Lelli Kelly Shoes from Charles Clinkard   ReviewI love that the boots have a zip on the inside so no need to fuss around with laces every time you take them on and off.  There is a lot of pretty, detailed beadwork on the boot which really sets these apart from any other similar type of boots out there.  Miss M certainly loves them and can’t wait to wear them out and about – they are so sparkly and look glamorous for a high top boot!

lelli kelli 2 Lelli Kelly Shoes from Charles Clinkard   ReviewMiss M is by no means a girly girl but I like the fact that Lelli Kelly high top boots bring the best of both worlds with a sturdy rubber soled boot that she can run around in and scoot along in, but also have a purple sparkly finish that she loves making them more feminine than a lot of similar style shoes.

lelli kelli 5 Lelli Kelly Shoes from Charles Clinkard   ReviewWe love the Lelli Kelly Glitter Olivia Mid Boots and would highly recommend them along with the excellent website ordering service and delivery from Charles Clinkard.  Why not take a browse of the website today – they offer a wide variety of brands for both children and adults and you are sure to find a shoe that takes your fancy?

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the shoes in order to write the review.