Thursday 22 March 2018

Getting ready to enjoy the Summer...

After beast from the east and its nasty, cold friends visited the UK over the last few weeks, summer feels like a long way off. However, it will soon be time to put your winter clothes away (if you haven’t done so already?!) and turn your attention to getting summer ready! You can almost smell the spontaneous BBQ’s and feel the long, lighter evenings!

There are a few things that you can do to make sure you’re ready to make the most of even a hint of nice weather:

Tidy up the garden – Whilst your garden shouldn’t have grown much over winter, if you didn’t cut back your bushes and trim your trees then you might have a bit of work to do to make it a bit more pleasant to sit in. Also, you don’t want to be blocking out any sunshine from coming into your garden. If you haven’t got much storage space to put toys, bikes, garden furniture etc. then now is the time to buy a simple storage space or shed - ours live in the wendy-house!  If you have a barbeque then you might want to give it a thorough check over to see if it is still working and if you need to buy any more equipment for it, I think well be getting a new one this year as ours has been uncovered and looks a little battered! You could start stocking up on things like charcoal because you know what it is like trying to buy it on a sunny day when everybody has had the same idea! 

Set up your suntrap – If you like to spend time in the sunshine then you will want to set up your garden furniture in a place that has the most sunshine hours. So think about where the last bits of sun will be each day and set up your furniture there. Check your garden furniture is going to be comfortable and if it needs a lick of paint or some new cushions then get that taken care of early on.Spending time outdoors provides you with essential vitamin D and will help to boost your mood, so try and spend as much time outdoors as you can, whilst you have the chance.

Get your summer wardrobe and accessories – Sort through last year’s summer outfits and see if it is time to send some to the charity shop, Ive had a huge clear out already so start thinking about your summer accessories and maybe treat yourself to some new jewellery. There are some really captivating summer jewellery collections out at the moment, view this website to see some examples. The jewellery trends for the summer include shoulder-grazing earrings and ultra-thin, layered necklaces. There are some stunning bracelets that will really get you in the mood for summer with floral patterns and lovely bright colour schemes.

Make plans – Whilst it is difficult to get an accurate weather forecast for a few weeks in advance, keeping an eye on the forecast and making plans will ensure you make the most of the nicer months. If you’re thinking about taking a camping trip, why not do all of your research now and then when the weather looks good you can just head off without delay. Have a list of events and places that you want to visit and then you can head off in the car or on the train for your adventures. If you don’t have any plans in place then you might find that you get busy with other things and before you know it, the summer will have passed without all of the magical memories that you were hoping to make!(Guest written post)

Tuesday 20 March 2018

Insta Memories

Since having children, making and keeping memories has been something that I’ve always wanted to stick with and continue to do, not just for my sake but for the kids to look back on too! I usually just take photos and little videos on my phone or try and grab some better quality images on my camera if it’s out but sometimes it’s hard to capture the moment if you’re constantly waiting for something to happen thats worth photographing. That’s why I love my Instax so much! 

Back in 2016, Adam got me my Instax Mini 8 for Christmas along with some cute accessories like a cool case and an album to put some pictures in. Ever since, I’ve used it for pretty much every special occasion we’ve shared and store them all in my little photo album. It’s such a lovely way to document life and look back on them without sitting in front of a screen and using the digital kind. 

Instax Mini’s are the newer, more modern version of your old school Polaroid camera - we actually have an older one but have no film for it. But the great thing is that the pictures are instant (obviously) and are great sizes as they’re not too small but they’re not large like the originals. The quality of the images is great too - once you’ve figured out the best way to use it, it works great in most lighting and is perfect to stick in your bag and take everywhere! 

I try and use mine for special occasions so Christmas’s, Birthdays etc and I always scribble a date on the bottom too so that when we look back, we know exactly what was happening or how old the kids were too. Millie loves looking through the little book at older photos and I also like to know what was going on and when. You can get really creative with your images as they can sometimes come out quite retro and old school but if you’re just after a point and shoot, it’s perfect for that too!

Getting to grips with taking a selfie is probably the hardest part as the button to take the picture is on the front and there is no viewfinder to know if you’re point it in the right place but with a little bit of practise, you’ll soon get the hang of it and you’ll have selfies printed and popped around the house in no time! I like to put my favourites in these cute little shaker frames - I got some of mine from Boots and Urban Outfitters but you can also get them from TK Maxx and ASOS! 

If you’re looking for a different way to document 2018 I can definitely recommend getting an Instax, they start from around £60.00 but you can get newer versions and different colours too so just have a look for what you’re after and let the memories begin! ASOS currently have 20% off for students too so grab yours here now!

Monday 12 March 2018

Travel: Jurys Inn Hotel Birmingham

We love the city and love any excuse to venture there for a day or two and so when we had the opportunity for a weekend without the kids, I knew 100% we’d be spending it in Birmingham and wanted to make the most of it so I booked us a night in the Jurys Inn on Broad street. After staying last year for a hen party, I knew it was a great, central hotel with super comfy beds and reasonably priced so, we got it booked and had a child-free weekend in one of our favourite places! 

Based right in the middle of Broad Street, the Jurys Inn Birmingham hotel is the perfect location if you’re a heading for a night out or a weekend of shopping! Easily accessible to the city centre where you’ll find 100’s of shops, restaurants and cafes but also within walking distance to lots of other bars, restaurants and clubs including those in the Mailbox and in Arcadian. We went with the intention of having some food, having a wander and grabbing a few drinks before heading to the cinema to see the final instalment of the 50 Shades series. 

The Rooms
We booked online and had a great deal as the weekend we booked included tickets to Cadburys world and Breakfast for just £99.00! We have actually kept our Cadburys World tickets for another time so be sure to read the review of that when it comes! But for that price, it was such a bargain and I’m glad we decided to book! I requested a high room too, knowing that a Saturday night in the hotel meant lots of noise and in-comings from people who had been out drinking and dancing and I didn’t want to be woken. 

We were on the 12th floor, amazing views of the city and a huge room too! Our room was just a standard double room but was really spacious and had plenty of room if you need a cot or extra bed too! The beds, oh, the beds, the comfiest hotel beds I’ve ever stayed in! They’re huge too - meaning we can both spread out and not worry about touching each other (not that we care about that...). The bathroom was great too, with lots of light, a great shower and a shower gel there incase you forgot your own! Everything else in the room was standard but you did get an ironing board, iron and hairdryer which were great additions! 

The hotel has a restaurant downstairs where you can have dinner and breakfast with a coffee bar serving Costa coffees so you know you can get a decent fix of caffeine if that’s your thing. The rooms also had tea and coffee making facilities with some yummy shortbread biscuits too and complimentary bottled water, however, I am a Jurys Member so I’m not sure if this is a standard thing but I’m sure it is. Upon check-in, we were also given 2 complimentary Costa vouchers and 10% off any other food/drink in the hotel which was fab - perfect if you wanted to grab a little room service or a drink from the bar! We also had a complimentary bottle of Prosecco left in the room but have no idea where this came from as the staff on reception knew nothing about it but just told us to enjoy it on the house! 

The breakfast in the morning was amazing, with all sorts to choose from including Smoothies, pastries, hot and cold food, drinks and fruit, there was definitely something there for everyone and I’m pretty sure we ate more than we should have but it was nice to be able to pick and choose a variety of things! 

The hotel is also very secure with a keycard operating system to get into the hotel after 10pm meaning you don’t need to worry about people wandering in and out and the staff are really helpful too. There is a water container in reception which is great in the summer to ensure you can refresh if you’ve had a long journey to get there. 

As I said, the hotel is really central so is great if you want to head to different parts of the city - being a 15 minute walk to the Bullring/Selfridges, 10 minutes from Grand New Street Station, 10 minutes to the Mailbox and smack bang in the middle of Broad street, so whatever your reasons for visiting, it’s perfect. 

The hotel also has a private carpark too which is £14.00 for 24 hours - the cheapest you’ll find in the city, so if you prefer driving to taking the train like me, it won’t cost you an arm and a leg to park in the city. Simply pull into the carpark and just keep hold of your ticket and pay on departure.

If it’s food you’re after, your in the right place. With Brindley Place being just opposite and some fab restaurants just a stroll along the canal, you’re spoilt for choice with where and what you can eat! Be sure you check out Rub Steakhouse if you love dirty burgers and huge hot dogs! 

Wednesday 7 March 2018

Makeup Revolution Fast Base Foundation

There’s no denying that Makeup Revolution are pretty much taking over the world of makeup. With new releases pretty much every month, if not every week, they have really upped their game since they established back in 2014. With 1000’s of affordable yet amazing beauty products including skincare, lipsticks, eyeshadow palettes and highlighters, not to mention they are now officially CRUELTY FREE they have really shown that budget beauty can compare to higher end brands and you can get a lot of bang for your buck! 

Their newest release of the Conceal and Define Concealer has taken over the makeup world and has left professionals and bloggers astounded at the quality of the product and it has been compared to the more expensive brand Tarte and their Shape Tape Concealer, so can this Fast Base Foundation do the same?! 

Makeup Revolution Fast Base Foundation stick

About the Foundation
Matching their concealer shades, the Fast Base Foundation has 18 different shades matching a variety of undertones from yellow to pink and the lightest of the light matching a lot of you pale-skin beauties out there perfectly! The formula is described at ‘Satin’ and leaves a more dewy finish, something I don’t usually go for as I’m an All or nothing kinda girl but I thought I’d give it a go anyway as the glowy look is in.

The website states that: 
"the Fast Base Foundation quickly perfects, contours and highlights your complexion. The easy-to-apply stick melts into the skin blending seamlessly”

I already have 2 of the Conceal and Define Concealers and going from the shades I have (C4 and C7), I went for 2 similar shades in the Fast Base sticks and got F5 (light with pink undertones) and F7 (medium with pink undertones) as C4 was just a little too light for me. The undertones in F5 are a lot more yellow compared to C7 however when mixed together, they make the perfect shade so I think I may need to grab F6 and F8 just to compare. 

Makeup Revolution Fast Base Foundation stick F5 and F7
F5 & F7
Makeup Revolution Fast Base Foundation stick swatches

Application and Coverage
The coverage is amazing and it goes on super quick and easy, I know that hand swatches don’t really show much and of course, they aren’t blended out, but you can see the pigment and the intensity of the coverage from just one swipe. So, I applied the foundation to one side of my face for comparison (you can see the results below) and I used a mixture of both shades to give me the perfect colour. I am quite tanned but have pigmentation and my neck is lighter than my face so I always go for a paler shade in foundations. I do prefer a matte finish as I have quite an oily T-Zone, especially my nose, around my nose and mid forehead so I was really interested to see how well this would last. 

When I first applied it I wasn’t too keen - even after applying primer, my pores were visible and I could see that the formula was completely different to what I am used to. I used a damp Real Techniques Beauty Sponge to blend the foundation in and it literally took seconds! I simply patted the product into my face and it gave me amazing coverage - redness gone and my spots pretty much concealed! 

It blended like a dream and also seems to have the ability to be buildable, as it’s only a medium cover foundation, it’s a great thing if it’s buildable as those who like a full coverage foundation can use it to their delight and get the intensity they want! It’s also really lightweight and you barely feel like you have any foundation on, whether that’s because I’m so used to such a heavy base I don’t know but I really do like how it feels on my skin...

*Ok, I’m starting to really like this*

Makeup Revolution Fast Base Foundation stick

Makeup Revolution conceal and define concealer

With a full days wear, I applied the foundation at 9am and at around 3pm, I noticed that I needed to powder my nose and forehead as it had gone oily - 6 hours wear is pretty good though as I would usually get this with most other foundations anyway! Come 7pm, I had to take it off as it had gone patchy all over and it was just breaking up on my skin but for nearly 12 hours wear, thats some good going! 

You can see from the pictures below the coverage that it gives - this is with no other products applied (apart from my eye makeup). I definitely need a shade darker I think as it’s just a little pale but it works for me when I don’t have a tan. The shade F8 would be ideal as it’s for Medium skin with Yellow undertones.

I used the Conceal and Define concealer (£4.00) on top of the foundation for more coverage especially on my under-eyes and on the more visible blemishes and redness I have. I again, used my beauty sponge to blend that out and it worked brilliantly. I usually bake the ‘eff out of my face to make sure it all stays in place but as it’s more of a dewy foundation, I decided not to and simply just used a little powder to set my entire face

I then went on to complete my face as I would usually using the Makeup Revolution Pressed Powder in Translucent to set everything and help mattify the look a little and the Rosie for Autograph Bronzer in Bronzed Beauty for contour and definition. I used the Primark Beauty Pure Glow palette for highlighter (and inner corner) and a little Blusher from the Primark Beauty Chocolate palette to complete my face. 

before and after of Makeup Revolution Fast Base Foundation stick

Makeup Revolution Fast Base Foundation stick makeup

So, with before/after pictures proving just how good of a foundation this is, don’t just take my word for it. You can find raving reviews all over the internet and its very quickly becoming one of the must have products of 2018 with a lot of the shades being out of stock on Superdrug already! They’re available to buy from Tam Beauty but aren’t due in stores until March 28th so I recommend keeping an eye on Superdrug and ordering to your local branch if you want to get your hands on one! 

With amazing results and at just £5.00 its the cheapest foundation I’ve ever bought and tried and will actually continue to use. I’ll definitely need to use a powder to set my oily areas to help it last longer through the day but those who have drier or normal skin types will get on great without having to touch up or apply a setting powder. 

You can take a look at the full shade range on TamBeauty and also check to see if they have any in stock! 

Lashes - Ardell Wispies 
Eyeshadow - Colourpop 
Brows - Younique Brow Palette 
Lip - Primark Matte Lip creme 

before and after Makeup Revolution Fast Base Foundation stick

Makeup Revolution Fast Base Foundation

Tuesday 6 March 2018

Mothers Day Gift Ideas

For all those who need a friendly reminder, MOTHERS DAY IS THIS SUNDAY!! Yes. THIS SUNDAY! So I’ve done a fab post to give you an idea of what you can buy all those Mums out there or even if you just fancy treating yourself. From beauty to budget, there’s something for everyone and you’ll be able to get your hands on most things just in time for the weekend! 

Take a look at what I think would make the perfect gift... 

Any type of jewellery is a winner but I am loving my Pandora bracelet at the moment. Every so often, I will treat myself to a charm but I usually ask for one at special occasions such as Birthday, Christmas and of course, Mothers Day. I have the Rose gold and Silver bracelet and it’s full of animal themed charms with a few other ones that I have got in the sale. Millie loves picking the animal ones so I love that thought goes into it from her and it’s not just something that Adam has bought on behalf of the kids. 

Watches are also such a fab gift because it doesn’t matter if you already have one, you can wear different watches for different things and dress them with your outfits. This Rose Gold one from Redherring is so beautiful and really affordable at just £35.00

mothers day jewellery

Skincare can be a bit tricky if you’re buying for other people but stick to the essentials and you can’t go wrong. Face masks are a great option as it gives the receiver a chance to pamper themselves, team with a box of chocolates and you have the perfect gift! This Hempz body mask is a great alternative to face masks as it can be used all over. Pair it with a head band or some cooling eye patches for a simple pamper treat. 

If you’re looking for something a little more luxurious, the Charlotte Tilbury skincare is amazing. I love the Magic Cream as it eases dry patches and leaves the skin feeling smooth and soft. You can buy the Magic Skincare Trilogy which contains the full sized Magic Cream, Magic Night cream and Magic Eye Rescue cream for £190.00 if you really wanted to go all out! 

You can also get some fab gift sets that have everything you need for a pamper and Pixi is a great brand to go with as its suitable for most skin types. This Fast Flash Facial kit is just £20.00 and includes a Peel and Polish face mask, Glow tonic toner and a Rose Flash balm - the 3 things that make for the perfect facial! 

charlotte tilbury magic cream

You all know that I’m a huge makeup lover and My Mum loves makeup too! Whether you’re buying a whole new collection or just a few important items, makeup is always a winner and will always have me excited whenever it’s given to me as a gift. 

Eyeshadow palettes are a great option for makeup as there’s so many shades and colours there’s bound to be at least one that they love! No7 are always a great shout for Ladies too as their products are super affordable and always look beautiful. If you want to get something a little more daring, Colourpop have some insane palettes that are super affordable but you may have to consider paying customs fees and they won’t be here on time for Mothers Day! 

Eyelashes and Nails are sure fire way to make someone feel like a million dollars and the Kiss false lashes are one of the best and more affordable lashes I’ve tried! With natural lashes and more volumising lashes, they’re perfect for Mums who don’t want to go OTT with eye makeup! You can also grab some great press on nails from impress which are really affordable too and they’re not 6 inches long so they’re manageable too! 

And not forgetting a red lipstick. A classic, bold red lipstick is the perfect finish to any makeup look and would look gorgeous on any woman! I picked out my favourite Loreal Colour Riche Lipstick as the formula is super creamy but matte and it lasts all day long! Perfect for Mums as they dish out all the kisses! 

mothers day makeup

impress nails

loreal colour riche red lipstick

It really is the perfect gift. You cannot go wrong with perfumes and with lots of lovely gift sets, there’s something to suit everyone. My 3 favourites at the moment are Cerruti 1881 - something that my Mum actually used to wear and I loved it when she wore it, Charlotte Tilbury, Scent of a Dream and Vince Camuto, Amore which is a gorgeous floral scent. 

Don’t worry too much about what the scents are about as I find perfumes are just so easily worn and everyone loves receiving a new fragrance as a gift. You can get some great deals from Cult Beauty too with free gifts alongside some of their products!  

mothers day fragrance

Monday 5 March 2018

Our experience of ‘Trying for a Baby’

With people announcing pregnancies left right and centre, and babies being born all around us, I thought it would be nice to reminisce on our experience of trying for a baby. Of course, Millie wasn’t planned - but Mylo was and it was a completely different experience of actively trying to conceive and get pregnant. There are so many tips to help you conceive too but I’m not sure all of them work for everyone. 

We have so many friends who have had difficulties with conception and trying for a baby isn’t actually as easy as it sounds! We know people who have been trying for years to conceive, we know people who have battled with miscarriage after miscarriage, we know people who have taken on IVF, we also know people who accepted that maybe having children wasn’t going to be something they would be able to achieve and we also know same sex couples who have looked into sperm donation to conceive! However, there is always a solution and there’s always a miracle waiting to happen and for lots of people, that’s exactly what happens and a miracle arrives in the form of a beautiful baby. But just what are the options for those who struggle? Well, there is, as mentioned, IVF, surrogacy and adoption but there’s lots of questions that come with those forms of conception too - Just how expensive will IVF be? How much does it cost to go to a sperm bank? Will I be able to have children after a miscarriage? If you’re looking at any of these options, it’s good to know all of the ins and outs and knowing what is available can really help ease the situation. Read more about all of the different options here.

Luckily for us, we had no problems when it came to trying for a baby, we had discussed when the best time would be for us to have another and we agreed that we’d like Millie to be in school so that I could have some 1 on 1 time with the baby once he arrived. It also meant that Millie was old enough to know what was going on which has made a huge difference now that Mylo is here. So, we actively started trying in August 2016, I had come off the pill in June to make sure that my periods were regular and that I could track ovulation etc if needed. We had figured it would take us a good couple of months to actually get pregnant and so set to it but not having our hearts set on getting the deed done right away. Realistically, I wanted to have a summer baby, around July/August time meaning that Millie would be off school and wouldn’t be effected by the sleepless nights and then she would return to school in September and I’d have nearly a full year off work... However, it didn’t quite work like that.

To our surprise, towards the end of August/Start of September, I was showing signs of pregnancy - sore boobs, nausea and just a constant bloated feeling. I brushed it off for a week or so and then my boobs just became so painful that I knew I had to take a test. I wasn’t really expecting anything and so I did a test - actually filming it to show Adam and some close friends and to my absolute delight, it came back positive. After just 4 weeks of trying, we fell pregnant and I just couldn’t believe it! 

10 months down the line, we have a beautiful baby boy and a very loving big sister! We are so grateful that it happened so quickly for us as like I said, we know so many people that struggle to conceive or have had to look into donors or adoption and so along with this, we know that we have to take contraception after having children very seriously because we’re super compatible and I don’t think we could handle baby number 3.... 

Could we?! 
(Post in collaboration with 

Friday 2 March 2018

5 Ways to Save Money on the Family Food Shop

If your family eats just as much as mine do, then you’ll understand the battle I have when it comes to the dreaded food shop. There’s always something new to try or something that just doesn’t get eaten and food is quite often wasted and so I’ve been trying to save money whilst on maternity leave, I’ve become a lot more savvy with my food shopping and started to do some extra bits that helps to save those pennies and pounds!

It’s quite often that I feel like I need to take out a personal loan just to cover the months food bill, especially now that Mylo is weaning and with lots of people trying to ‘eat healthy’ at the moment too, myself included, shopping for healthier foods can also tally up on the shopping list and they don’t come cheap but take a look at some of my tips to become a savvier food shopper and even take the stress out of the shop!

1 - Shop Online
I try and shop online as often as I can and I usually use Asda as I can pick it up for free from my Asda Petrol station that is 2 minutes away from me and it saves on delivery costs! Shopping online allows you to simply buy the items you need nothing more! You’re not tempted by end of isle bargains or chocolate at the tills - plus, if you shop with Asda, you can use the Asda Price Guarantee to get vouchers for money off your next shop if it wasn’t cheaper than all of the other supermarkets! 

2 - Plan your meals
I meal plan as far as 2 weeks ahead - this is lunch and dinners for us all. It means that once I’ve planned the meals, I know what things we need to buy. I often repeat weeks and save the plans so that I don’t have to rethink about them all. You can get cute little fridge planners from Aldi at the moment too! Here’s an example of a weeks worth of meals that would cost less than £20.00 to buy:

3 - Bulk make meals 
Don’t just make meals to eat then and there, make some for another day - lunch or dinners or even for the kids! Along with bulk making them, bulk them out too by using more vegetables or pulses if the meal will take them. I only use 250g of mince in dishes like Bolognase, Chilli and Cottage pie meaning I’ll get double the amount from a 500g packet of mince. You can use another tin of tomatoes, mushrooms, grated carrot, another onion, anything that you’re using anyway just double up on them as you’ll find that vegetables are cheaper than meat! 

4 - Use meal plan boxes
If you get bored of your meals and are prone to sacking off the chicken and veg and ordering a takeaway, then make use of meal subscription boxes. We use Gousto once a month and get a 4 meal box which means for that week, we have a new selection of meals to try and use again in the rest of the month. They come with handy recipe cards so if you find something you love, it’s easy to remake and shop the ingredients again! Also, you can save yourself some money too as they offer a loyalty scheme where if you recommend a friend, you get £15 credit meaning you won’t pay full price for your box! You can try it out by following this link and get your first 2 boxes for half price (saving up to £35!!) and then simply cancel once you’ve had them!  

5 - Shop yellow labels
If you choose to go to the supermarkets, go later at night as you will find more of the ‘yellow label’ items at this time of day. Dependant on what supermarket you go to, most will discount that days items at around 7pm and you can grab some real bargains on fruit, veg and meat - all things that can be frozen or even eaten past their best before dates. Just because it’s cheap, doesn’t mean it isn’t as good as it would be full price! Here is a little list of stores and (approximate) times they reduce their daily items:
Asda - Reductions happen throughout the day yet most are between 7pm-9pm 
Co-op - Between 5pm-7pm but can differ from store to store
M&S - Some smaller stores can start as early as lunchtime however most are around 5pm
Morrisons - Reductions are usually late afternoon but some can start around lunchtime
Sainsburys - Depending on location, some can start at 1pm others later at 7pm
Tesco - Reductions can happen throughout the day with most at around 5pm

(Sponsored post)