Friday 31 July 2015

Millie’s Top 5: Books

Millie absolutely loves reading at the moment. There are some books she can quote and ‘read’ along with too so I thought it’d be nice to share her favourites with you all. They vary from picture books to storybooks and even the occasional ones from the Library that I have to re-check every month because she enjoys it that much (Richard Byrne - This Book ate my Dog is such a favourite we’ve added it to her Christmas list to buy her!) Don’t get me wrong, there are some books that we love more than her and she more than us, but there’s only so many times you can read Peppa Pig in a week... She loves interactive books, ones that you have to lift flaps, or count along with, all of the ‘That’s not my...’ books that we’ve got from the library she’s really enjoyed too!

A lot of the books she owns we have picked up whilst out and about, The Works has some amazing offers on childrens books, some starting from 79p! Other places like Sainsburys and WH Smith often have good deals on too and some of her ‘older’ books are from Sainsburys so I can’t wait to show her those when she’s getting a little tired of the younger, more interactive books!

‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ by Eric Carle

'We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury

'Hide and Seek Pig’ by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

‘Green Eggs and Ham’ Dr. Seuss

‘Count with Maisy, Cheap, Cheap, Cheap’ by Lucy Cousins

I find books so much easier to read if there are characters to alter my voice for or lots of noises that we can both make or else she gets really bored of listening to a one-tone-story for 10 minutes, as we all would!

What are your little one’s favourite books, maybe we can add more to our collection! 

Tuesday 28 July 2015

Life Decisions

So much can change in such a short space of time and when you think you have everything panned out, one minor alteration can put you back where you first started and make you question everything all over again.

My ‘plan’ was to go to university, get my degree, go on to do a PGCE and become a Secondary P.E. Teacher... That was before I fell pregnant, of course. I only managed 1 year at St Marys University studying Sport and Education when 4 days before I was due to go back into 2nd year, I found out I was expecting Millie (you can read more about that here and here) and so from that moment on, what I thought my life was going to be changed drastically. I was hit with all these questions of “Do I continue to study?”, “How do I get a job?”, “How will I support our family with no degree?” but, I chose not to dwell and took up my Open University degree which I only have 8 months left of. Come May 2016, I’ll be graduating with a BA Honours in Childhood and Youth studies and so I’m preparing what to do after that. Initially, I had planned to do a PGCE, if I could get a 2:1 then I’d get a £4,000 grant to help me through that training year and I’d then be able to become a Primary teacher, a slight change from secondary P.E. due to lack of experience in the subject area. Unfortunately, what I had planned changed two weeks ago when I got my module result back for the first half of my 3rd year and I was 3 marks off getting a 2:1, this means that I won’t be graduating with what I hoped and will miss out on the £4,000 grant. Now basically, that means that if I still want to do a PGCE, I’ll have to fund myself for the year alongside having a 2, nearly 3 year old. It just wouldn’t be possible, so, now I’m contemplating other options.

I start a full time job in September at a local college as a Learner Mentor, someone who is there to support the students through their time at college, ensure they’re turning up to classes etc and someone who basically is there to guide them - something I can really see myself enjoying. However, this is only a maternity cover period so come next July, unless another role in the college opens up, I’ll be unemployed, again. I’d love to stay within the education sector, maybe move into schools rather than colleges, I’m not sure but one thing I am sure of is that my time in education is done as soon as I finish my OU degree. It’s been such hard work studying, working and bringing Millie up, who would have thought I’d be able to do all 3 and still be here to tell the story? Ha! 

Amongst all of this, I’d absolutely love to be in our own house within the next two years and be planning our wedding too - I’ve always said that I’d like to be engaged before I graduate, or even the same year that I graduate to make it extra special but as for the wedding, I can wait a little longer for that. I just want us to be secure, in our own home and all sharing the same family name as soon as it’s possible. Money is such a massive factor in all of these things as those of you who own your own home know, adding a child into the equation makes things a little more difficult as it’s not as easy to work full time, save as much money or even be able to splurge on the things you want - selfless as I have become, I can’t wait to see where I’d be in 5 years time but for now, my decisions have been made for me and I couldn’t be happier. 

Friday 24 July 2015

Sephora Wishlist

Having no money and lusting over 1001 things is never going to end well but being a Blogger, little wish lists like this one help that urge to spend an obscene amount of money and acts a little like window shopping. I’ve had quite a few things in my basket on Sephora for a while now but refuse to pay the extortionate shipping costs for a few bits that I could probably live without (minus the Cleansing Milk which they don’t actually have online and I NEED  in my life again!). 

Sephora Wishlist

1) Tarte ‘lights, camera LASHES’ Mascara - I’ve heard so many other bloggers brag about this mascara and you know when you just have to have something? Yeah, that.
2) Kat Von D ‘Shade and Light’ palette - I’m a sucker for a good contour and under eye setting powder and with so many good reviews, I’m dying to get my mitts on this!
3) Sephora ‘Ultimate Gel Lipstick Remover’ - for those lipsticks that literally won’t budge. We love them for it but hate them for it in equal measures. 
4) Sephora ‘Matte Lip Creme’ in African Violet - Just because the pigmentation of these babies is incredible.
5) Sephora ‘Gel serum Concealer’ - something new and a little different. A gel? concealer...
6) Sephora ‘Matte Lip Creme’ in Polished purple - As above, and just ‘cus it’s purple.
7) Sephora ‘Multi-tasker Contour Brush #55’ - I wanted to get a Brush when I was in Paris but was overwhelmed that I just didn’t bother. I wished I had got this one now though! 
8) Anastasia Beverley Hills ‘Artist Palette’ - another one of those highly raved about palettes that I just want to try. The purple and orange are just colours I love! 
9) Sephora ‘Shear Genius Eyebrow Trimmer’ - for you ladies with dark hair that grows faster than the speed of light, I’m pretty sure this is our eyebrows’  saviour. 
10) Sephora ‘Retractable, waterproof eyebrow pencil’ - what looks like another dupe for Brow Whiz, I’m just curious, that’s all...

Have you tried any of these things? Would you recommend paying the shipping costs or better still, do you want to go half on a Sephora order soon? Let me know! 

Tuesday 21 July 2015

Urban Decay Naked Palettes

I’m really loving Urban Decay at the moment and recently, I’ve managed to get my hands on the final palette to make my duo a threesome: The Naked Colletion. I have the Naked 1, 2 and 3 palettes and I must say, they’re probably my most loved piece of make-up or palettes, at least. They are so versatile and it actually came out earlier this year that they are Kate Middletons’ secret when it comes to make-up and they are her favourite baby-safe beauty products. She uses them to “Enhance Eyes” and the source revealed that she is, “famous for doing her own makeup for events, Kate relies on the Urban Decay NAKED Eyeshadow Palette.” Fancy that, hey? 

So, with all women alike, do you need a Naked Palette in your life? Well... take a look at the looks I have created below and decide for yourself! There are so many different ways to create a variety of looks using just one of the palettes never mind combining the shadows from all 3! I love mixing and matching and find that some of the shadows from each palette work really well together. When you’re paying £37.00 (RRP) for 12 shadows, you’re definitely getting your moneys worth - as you can see, I’ve hit pan on a much loved ‘Buzz’ and need to purchase the singular shadow soon! 

Urban Decay Naked Palettes

Naked Palette

Urban Decay Naked Palette

Naked 3

Naked 3 Palette

*Eyeshadows used (in picture order)
Virgin, Smog, Darkhorse, Snakebite, Buzz and Blackout
Foxy, Smog, Busted, Chopper and Sin
Strange, Buzz, Nooner and Darkside

Don’t forget, that on July 30th, you’ll be able to get your hands on the newest member of the Naked family - Naked Smoky. Price is TBC but I can imagine it will be the same price as the previous palettes. I plan on waiting until it’s online on FeelUnique as I get 10% off on Urban Decay products - you can too if you become a unique member and choose Urban Decay as your favourite brand. 

Sunday 19 July 2015

Top 10 Child Friendly Places to Eat

A bit of a different post today, I want to try and stem into the Parenting category a little more and will try and get at least one blog post up a week aimed all you other Mums and Dads out there. To start with, something a little simple but that isn’t controversial (although, I’m sure it could be depending on what sort of ‘judgey-parent-type’ you are), our top 10 Child Friendly restaurants/cafes to eat in.

For the first year or so, we really struggled to take Millie out to restaurants with us as she would play up so much that it just turned into more of a chore than anything but now, we’ve started to eat at more places that we know cater for children and help them do things to keep their minds occupied. I do strongly believe that if most restaurants had an area where kids could wonder off to then it would make all of our lives easier, just somewhere thats cornered off with a TV screen in constantly streaming CBeebies or Disney Chanel and some crayons! Do you agree?!

 If you know of any other places that we can try, let me know!
(In no particular order) 
1) Pizza Express - Most Pizza Express’ will have a little area on their bar where kids can make their own little dough shapes and if the chef has time/space in the oven, he will bake them too and bring them out with their food! 
2) BHS Cafe - We’ve eaten at BHS a few times and our local one used to have a small fenced off area with a table, crayons and toys where your children could happily play whilst you finished your lunch/breakfast, fuss free!
3) Ikea - Only saying this because who out of us hasn’t eaten in the IKEA restaurant? There is a small play area for the kids to scurry off to once they’ve inhaled their Meatballs! And not to mention the £1.90 price tag for Meatballs and Chips!
4) Hungry Horse Pubs/Restaurants - Pubs/Restaurants with TV’s in the booths are just the future and they have a brilliant mix and match menu for little ones so they get to choose pretty much everything they eat. Enough said. 
5) McDonalds, obviously.
6) Frankie and Bennies - With activity packs, loud music and balloons galore, I rarely struggle to keep Millie entertained whenever we go to F&B’s!
7) Fayre and Square Pubs/Restaurants - Same as Hungry Horse, some of these places have TV’s in the booths, play areas outside and little games machines inside to keep them busy!
8) Wagamamas - A quick ‘in and out’ feel is key when you’ve got a toddler and when they offer mini versions of your dinner, it always helps to get them to eat their own food and not yours!
9) Nandos - Another lively atmosphere, colouring pencils and again, a fabulous children's menu meaning they’ll be eating similar things to what you are which stops chips going missing from your plate! 
10) If you’re struggling still, let them choose where you eat and just hound them with ‘well it was your choice to come here!’ if they refuse to behave or eat their food!

Thursday 16 July 2015

Coming Soon: Naked Smoky

You may have seen the hype, you may have seen some preview reviews, so here’s just a reminder... Urban Decay are releasing a BRAND NEW Naked Palette for 2015 and thank god it’s not just another number. Hello, Naked Smoky! 

With 6 shimmers and 6 matte shades, ranging from Deep Berry’s and Warm Taupe’s and reviews so far rating 9/10, I think Urban Decay are onto another clear winner here. Did you know that 1 Naked Palette is sold every 5 seconds globally? Taking that into consideration, you should keep your diaries free and make sure theirs some money on your credit cards come July 30th as that's when this bad boy will hit stores and online at Urban Decay (£35-£37 prices tbc). A little different from its sisters Naked 1, Naked 2 and Naked 3, Naked Smoky looks like the darker of the collection with tones to suit all skin types and the ability to create a variety of different looks, obviously focusing on more of a Smokey eye rather than the lighter tones the other palettes give out. I know that I’ll be getting myself one (or it’ll be on my Christmas list if I don’t manage to grab one in time!)

naked smoky

urban decay naked smoky

(You can check out some swatches over on Temptalia)

Monday 13 July 2015

Birthday Ideas for Friends & Family: Experience Days

Is it just me, or does it seem like July, August and September are the months where it is everyone’s birthday, apart from your own?! I have so many friends’ and family birthdays coming up that I’m starting to gift hunt already and with such a mix of ages, what better than to start with Experience Days.
 With activities such as:
Afternoon Tea
and Gourmet experiences perfect for the ladies.

For those who seek a little more excitement:
 White Water Rafting
 Spitfire riding
Bungy Jumping 
and Monster Truck Racing,
Into the Blue delivers great experience days for everyone. 

If you’re looking for a treat for yourself, it’s also a good place to start and give a little gift of an experience day to yourself - why not try something you’ve never done before or even go ahead and plan a special celebration for an anniversary that’s approaching. The list is endless and just because you’re buying the experience for yourself, doesn’t make you a bad person - honest. With 2 for 1 offers on experience days, you could also split the day with a friend saving you both money!

So, if you’re looking to treat someone, why not give A gift of experience days with Into the Blue Experience Days (gift vouchers are also available) and you can be sure they’ll be spending their birthday doing something they’ll remember forever! And hey, you might be lucky and be asked to go along too!! 

*Sponsored post

Wednesday 8 July 2015

Boots Skincare Beauty Box

It happens a few times a year and it’s come around yet again... Boots have sent me one of their ‘Beauty Boxes’ packed full of their Skincare Favourites to help me out this summer. From wipes to eye cream, this Skincare Beauty Box is full of everything I’ll need to help replenish, protect and proof my skin after I’ve been in the sun. 

Boots have their own Skincare brand in store known at ‘Botanics’, I’ve tried a fair few things from them and have to say, I have always been pleasantly surprised by the quality of the products and how well they work in comparison to some better known brands. Inside this box (unfortunately, it’s not available to buy although I think they’d make a killing if they offered a few boxes to purchase!) you get a selection of products which are aimed to show you exactly how many products Boots have in their own line: 

Boots Tea Tree and Witch Hazel Charcoal Facial Scrub (£3.21)

I’ve only used two of the products so far but I’ll be doing an updated post on all of the products once I’ve used them a good few times and have honest feedback on them. Don’t forget, Boots have so much more to offer, head over to the website now to check out more of their Boots Essentials and Botanics range. 

Have you tried any of these products? I’d love to know what you think of them too! 

Monday 6 July 2015

Markeaton Park, Derby

We have been loving the weather these last few weeks and have been trying to get out as much as we can and make the most of it. We wanted to go somewhere with water that Millie could play in but not as far out as the Seaside as there is so much to do around us that we don’t really need to venture out that far anyway. 

Markeaton Park is 25 minutes drive away and is the perfect location to spend sunny days with your family, it’s a park in Derby with communal paddling pools, boating lakes, playground and a mini golf course plus much more. We took a picnic and all the other necessities that are a must on a day out with a toddler (change of clothes, toys, spare everything pretty much...) and Millie’s wet costume too! Parking is £4.00 all day, which is ace when you don’t really want to spend too much money and it gives you enough change to buy an ice cream later on! 

I love spending quality time with Adam and Millie, seeing her laugh and smile so much is what makes all the hard days worth it. I’ve put together a little video of her day too, I really want to try and document her more through film when she’s at this incredible age because it’ll be gone so fast...