Friday, 16 February 2018

5 Money Saving Tips for Mums

There isn’t a right time to start saving but it’s good to know that you have a little stash of cash put aside for all those things that happen all at once, you know, the MOT fails, the kids need new shoes or a coat, the dog eats a teabag, yeah, those. I’m sure I’m not the only one to admit that I struggle to save money if I don’t have something in particular to save for... Book me a holiday and I’ll pay it off in a few months, yet tell me to put money aside and I’ll find it difficult not to dip in it every now and again.

Now I’m a Mum, I do find that saving money is a little easier knowing there’s 2 little humans relying on me for various things and it’s just a peace of mind knowing there is a little bit of money set aside incase we need it. I’m useless at the whole credit card thing and have quite a bad credit score, which I *think* is what most people would use if they had money issues and even though some companies offer loans for those with bad credit which can help you out if you’re desperate but, I wanted to share some everyday money saving tips that we can all do to help save money in the long run and make it aimed more towards Mums or Mums - To - Be. 

1 - Buy second hand
If you’re a first time Mum then you will probably have had a lot of help from friends and family in regards to buying all the things you need but, if not, a great way to save a lot of money is to buy second hand. There are some great shops and second hand boutiques out there that have the more expensive items in for a fraction of the price! I bought Mylo’s travel system and saved over £500 yet it looked brand new! I think the term ‘second hand’ tends to put people off but if you look around enough and find the good bits, you can really save yourself some dosh! eBay is a great place to start and to save more money, narrow your search results down to your location so you don’t need to pay for P&P! You never know what someone around the corner is selling! 

2 - Bulk cook meals from scratch 
It’s easy to take the easy way when it comes to cooking - whether you’re cooking for your weaning baby or your picky 5 year old, it’s so much cheaper to bulk cook and make food from scratch. We’re lucky that both kids will eat almost anything but a lot of the time, it’s some sort of pasta dish that’s being made. I try and feed Mylo the same as us or as Millie but if not, I boil some vegetables up and pop them in the fridge so that he has something to eat on an evening if he doesn’t eat the same as us. You can also bulk make and pop into the Heinz/HIPP jars and keep them in the fridge for up to 5 days. If you’re struggling for recipes, just use the same ingredients as what you’d find in the jars if you were to buy them from the shops! It’s easy to do and cheaper too! 

3 - Use Loyalty cards 
A lot of places these days have some sort of loyalty scheme, whether it be Boots, Superdrug, H&M (this is new but it’s pretty good if you buy their kids clothes, which are fab!) or Nandos, using the loyalty scheme will often mean that in future, you get discounted products or, quite often, money to spend. Boots is a great one as you get 10 points for every £1 spent with 100 points = £1 to spend in store. If you join their parenting club, you also get seasonal vouchers sent through too which can again, save you a heap of money on all of the essentials. 

4 - Free activities - Use your community 
Rather than splashing out on trips to the Zoo, Meals out, take advantage of your local community. More often than not, there are community centres that run family activities whether it’s for babies, younger children or youth clubs for older kids, there’s always something to do even if it’s just a couple of quid. Get out and about and visit the park more too! Millie loves running around the park and although it’s a little boring to sit and watch, it’s burning their energy and gives you a little ‘you time’ too! Plus, doing this you’ve saved yourself money and are using the community too! 

5 - Don’t be afraid to buy non-branded items 
There is SO MUCH stuff out there for babies and children, a lot of it made by the big old brands but, some of our favourite products have come from home brands including nappies, baby formula and even snacks! You will notice a considerable difference in price with a lot of necessities, one being baby formula. We actually use Aldi’s home brand of baby milk which is £4 cheaper than the alternative (read my comparison post here)

Do you have any great money saving tips that could be added to this? Let me know in the comments below or Tweet me @emmaloub_ 
(This post was in collaboration with CashLady)

Monday, 12 February 2018

Buckley London Jewellery

Whether it’s a treat for you or a gift for someone else, jewellery is always a good choice. I’m quite picky when it comes to jewellery, not really owning or wearing much of it apart from my Pandora bracelet and my gold triple stone ring, earrings are usually my own from Pixel Stones and that’s about it. I think it’s usually because I forget to take it all off when I go to bed and then either loose it or break it but if I do get something or wear something new, I love to show it off and keep it for best.  

Buckley London have a huge and gorgeous range of jewellery that suits all budgets! If you’re looking for a certain thing for someone else or fancy buying something new, you’ll definitely find something over on their website. With Valentines  day and Mothers Day  coming up, it’s also a great time to have a browse and see if there’s something on there which would be great for someone else too! 

I’m a huge lover of gold - I don’t usually wear silver as I just prefer the look of gold against my skin but with a mixture of the metals, I can wear them both. My Pandora bracelet is the rose gold version so with it being mostly silver, there are subtle rose gold aspects to it and I love it. The same with this Angel Feather Pendant Necklace. The perfect split between the gold and silver, with the additions of the gorgeous gems, it’s a cute necklace to wear to give any outfit just a little something different. It’s also the perfect length chain and I think it would make a great gift for Mothers Day as the feathers could symbolise Mother and Daugther/Son. Any jewellery on Mothers day is going to be a winner but something as beautiful as this will really give you top marks! It also comes beautifully packaged too with a little hook on the box so that it can be hung and doesn’t get tangled! 

If you’re more into bracelets and bangles, the Pimlico Rose Gold bracelet is just the thing. Its elasticated so will fit most people and the beads are a gorgeous rose gold colour with 5 added beads that are crystallised with gems. The beads sit on a grey rope which I think is the perfect contrast of colours and works so well together. I wear mine daily as I think it can be dressed up or down and usually double it up with my Apple watch which is on a Rose gold strap. Such an affordable item too at just £15.00 - if you’re looking for ideas for Valentines day then this is the perfect thing! 

There’s so much more to look at on the websites with gift sets, bangles, earrings and more - you can definitely bet that you’ll find at least one thing you love so make sure you tab the page and drop a hint if you’re looking for something sparkly! 

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Family Holiday Destinations

I just can’t stop thinking about them... No, not those! Summer Holidays! I’m gutted we won’t be getting on a plane this year but I am excited that we’re heading back to our favourite UK holiday place - Cornwall. It’s somewhere we’ve re-visted over the last 4 years and it’s become our little home away from home too! It’s perfect to explore Cornwall and great if you’re a small or large family - you can even take the dog!! 

But, if you’re looking for somewhere to take the family this year I’ve got a couple of other suggestions for you too - just because I can’t jet away doesn’t mean you can’t! 

The Canary Islands seem to be our go-to destination when we’re in the need for a bit of sun. I think because it has good weather all year round, we have a good chance of having a weeks worth of sunshine whenever we do decide to go! Our first trip was back in 2012 when we first met and we stayed in a gorgeous hotel called Marina Suites which was on the harbour in Puerto Rico, Gran Canaria. Even though we didn’t have any children at the time, the hotel was family friendly having a playground for children and a separate shallow pool for kids too. It was in such a great location being around 10 minutes walk from the local shopping centre and the same to the beach with the gorgeous sands of Amadores beach another 20 minutes away. The hotel itself was perfect which huge rooms and a self contained kitchen - the perfect thing for any family. 

If you want to venture to the other side of the islands, you can head to Lanzarote. We went here for our first family holiday when Millie was 1 and it was a lovely break. We stayed in a hotel and was All inclusive so we knew that we had food whenever we wanted it however, I think that we would have been best self-catering as there were times Millie didn’t eat and we quickly got bored of the food available too. The hotel was fab though with a little in-room kitchen to use if you needed and 2 pools, one being family friendly with a separate pool that was closed off for families. 

Gran Canaria is most definitely our favourite place to go and I think when we next visit, we’ll look at getting a Villa instead of a hotel so that we can really enjoy relaxing and do what we want, eat what we want and have the luxury of having our own space rather than being in a hotel. I think when you have children, Villa’s are great because its a small enough space that you can relax in and the kids can take advantage of the pool or inside areas to escape the heat from the sun there’s nothing to worry about when you have to go to bed early too - I’m not sure if you’ve had to do it but there’s nothing worse than having to lie in the bedroom in silence at 8pm because the kids are in bed!?

A lot of places have villa’s scattered all over the island so there will be villa’s tucked into the mountains and villa’s closer to the beach so be sure to have a good look and know where you want to be based. Clickstay have a great variety of villa’s available in Gran Canaria, the more central ones being in the capital, Mogan and then the ones nearer the beach being in San Bartolome. You can pick and choose between large villas with their own pools or villas that are in resorts like the one below that is in the Golf Resort of Salobre Sur. 

You really can’t go wrong when you choose a villa holiday so I guess it’s just up to when you want to go and who you’re taking with you! 

(Collaborative post with

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Baby-Led Weaning

Mylo is now 9 months and we’re well into the whole ‘baby led weaning’ stage - it’s something we did with Millie and it worked really well so we knew we were going to do the same thing with Mylo too! Although it’s quite a scary thought for a lot of new Mums, we find Baby led weaning so fun and a great way for your baby (and you, sometimes!) to explore new tastes, different textures and also get to grip on their hand/eye co-ordination. 

We use a mixture of baby led and spoon fed, depending on what he’s eating, but we’ve found the older he gets, the more independent he is too and also, the better he can eat his food meaning he takes the lead with most of his meals now. He also eats such a wide variety of things and so for anyone starting out or wondering what to give your baby, this post should come in handy for some of those un-answered questions or worries! 

So we started weaning with Mylo at around 18 weeks (4.5 months) because he took to his milk so well, it just seemed like the right thing to do. The guidelines state that your baby should be 6 months old but it can start from 4 months depending on your baby - please remember that all babies are different and you should do what is best for your baby. 

We started on Baby rice, just a few spoonfuls each night before his bedtime bottle and then we added in a little after his morning (breakfast) bottle too. I do think it’s important to have an established bottle routine or else weaning just isn’t going to work how you want it. In the end, you want baby to fit in with your dinner times, not be making food at different times so ensure you have the bottle feeding sorted first and then move on to weaning. Mylo was having 4 bottles a day at 6months meaning we could establish his food times around these, they looked like this:

7:30am - 7oz Bottle + breakfast 
11:00am - 7oz Bottle 
3:30pm - 7oz Bottle 
6:30pm - Dinner + 7oz Bottle 

After a short while, we got rid of the 11am bottle as he had more breakfast and then brought in lunch instead. We started at 11am and then gradually pushed it back and his lunchtime now is between 12/12:30pm. The same with his evening meal, it started late but we gradually brought it forward and its now anytime between 4:30/5pm the same time as Millie eats. We spoon fed his breakfast which was simply baby cereal or fruit puree and then would give him some sort food afterwards for him to eat/play with, perfect breakfast foods to start with are:

- Banana 
- Mango 
- Strawberries 
- Avacado 
- Scrambled egg 
- Toast (usually he would just suck on it and then I took it off him)

At around 8 months old, we had a good, established feeding routine and started to properly incorporate everything he needed such as dairy and protein. We still spoon fed him at times, for example if we jar fed him a meal or had puree, we did it because it was easier but he always had something to eat himself afterwards. 

Now he has dropped his 11am bottle, his feeding routine now looks like this:

7:30am - 7oz Bottle 
8:30/9am (after school run) Breakfast + sippy cup with water or juice 
10am - 11am Nap
11am Snack 
12/12:30pm - Lunch (Protein based so make sure you include Meat here!)
1pm - 3pm Nap
3:30pm - 5oz Bottle 
5pm - Dinner (no meat) + Pudding (usually yogurt or jelly)
7:00pm - 7oz Bottle 

This is pretty much what each day looks like. We had a solid routine nailed since he was around 6 weeks old and we stick to it whenever we can (we notice a massive difference in his mood/behaviour if we don’t!) and it works perfectly for us. I’m not saying to follow this completely, but find something that works for you and stick to it! It makes life so much easier knowing what’s going on each day, especially if you are planning on putting baby into childcare in the future. 

So, with everything else covered, here’s some examples of the food Mylo enjoys for his breakfast now he feeds himself:

Porridge (spoon fed), soft cereals dry, toast/bagel with spread (Nutella, jam, Philadelphia, lemon curd, marmalade, butter), Pancakes, Oat cakes 

Some ideas for Lunch and Dinner if you want to do more baby led meals are:

Vegetables (cook until soft and cut into pieces large enough so they can hold) - Carrots, parsnip, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, baked beans, pasta with sauce, fish (cook until soft), rice cakes, cucumber chunks, oranges, pear, blueberries (squish them first), jelly, yogurt, cubes of cheese, fairy cakes, biscuits, wotsits/skips. 

Of course, there are so many more foods you can try - these are just items that are easy and quick to make and keep and things that Mylo eats really well. Pasta is a favourite at the moment whether it’s tubes or spaghetti, he loves it! We also make our own jars of food if I know we’re going to be out at some point in the week but I simply cube vegetables and add some small pasta shapes, add a little passata and some chicken or tuna and portion into tubs or jars. We buy Heinz jars as they’re usually on offer and wash these out so that we can re-use them!

 I’m not against spoon feeding or jars as sometimes it is usually quicker and cleaner so it’s great to have the option but I think allowing babies to explore food, they are more likely to be good eaters when they get older. Millie loves everything, she isn’t put off trying new food as she ate whatever we did when she was younger - she can actually eat a chunk of Lemon now too because we used to give them to her as a baby haha! 

So if you’re weaning your baby and looking for ideas, I hope this has helped! Don’t be scared to have them try something new - as long as it’s soft enough, most babies will mush most things up and they also have a really good gag reflex so will cough something back up if it’s still too big!