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BIRCHBOX | REVIEW | May

Another month gone by & we have the next months Birchbox. I told you I really liked this monthly subscription. 
This months box was just as good as last months if not a little better... 


Birchbox May
Let me show you what I got. 
BEAUTY BONUS
FULL SIZE
1. WAH LONDON 24 Press on nails -  £9
I don't know where I've been in the world as I've never ever used 'press on nails' so getting them in this months box was quite exciting & I was impressed easy to put on, perfect for an evening out. 
2. Absolution youth activator mask - £29
I get dry skin, my face is very sensitive this 10 minute leave on, wipe away excess intense moisturiser is just what I needed. 
3. Parlour by Jeff Chasten - £17 
Moisturising sea salt spray is great for my shorter care free hair. I love how it makes my hair look.

4. Caudalie Tinted Moisturiser - £27
Possibly the best tinted moisturiser I've used in ages. I love this. My face looks like i'm not wearing foundation yet the coverage is perfect.

5. Number 4 Lumber d'hived reconstructing masque - £36
What can I say? It's magic in a packet. My hair feels brand new.


6. Jelly Pong Pong bronzer duo - £15.95
Amazing bronzer duo perfect for feeling brighter.

7. Colouring pencils free your mind. 
Birch box this month wants us to colour our boxes & then you can enter the competition here

Birchbox

WAH NAILS 

WAH NAILS

WAH NAILS

If you like what you see (how could you not) then pop over to www.birchbox.co.uk & order your June box now -
You can find them on Facebook & Twitter 

Bored of bedrest.

Coco the cavapoo puppy has been amazing she's been such a cuddle monster. 

It's been a week tomorrow since I had my operation. I'm bored, bored, bored, bored. There is only so much 'bed rest' I can take. Though I'm also very aware that I need it. We went out to get afternoon tea & scones yesterday for Bank Holiday Monday afterwards I was exhausted. All I could do was get into bed & relax. Luckily the support around me has been amazing. Amazing friends & family helping me & helping look after my smalls. Makes such a difference.
Hugo cuddles.
 Glad it's half term so I don't have to rush around with the school runs. I haven't driven for a whole week now & I miss it so much.
Hugo's currently napping after a chilled morning playing with his happy land toys in the garden. Even that got all a little bit much & I had to come inside to lay down on the sofa.
The children have been fab actually, they know when to be calm & just sit & watch a film with me, they quite enjoy cuddles in my bed too. It's a bit of a treat.
Happy land toys 
The positive is each day I'm feeling better, each day I feel I can do a little bit more. Hopefully by this time next week I'll be almost me again.



I'm the not a perfect Mum

Source
Dear not so perfect Mum, 

I just wanted to say hello, to explain that I myself am not a perfect mum, nor do I try to show myself to be. You see I've seen you around. I see you on the school run being dragged down with school bags, balancing one hand on the buggy & the other dragging your child. Who then decides to have the most mammoth tantrum on the path just because it's only Tuesday & he forgot his show & tell that begins with a 'w'
I've seen you at the park staring into the woodland trying to get your head around the fact that even after telling your children 15 times it's now time to go home & they just wont listen to you, I've seen you shouting back & forth with your children to just get in the god damn car. 
I've seen you having to listen to your oldest child scream & tantrum & yell very hurtful things at you because the amount of sugar consumed that day seemed like the better choice to 'keep the calm' than the argument to not give out the sweets. 

I've seen you around & I just wanted to say hello.

I've seen you begging with your children, bribing them, threatening them with the naughty step. 
I've seen you running around with your children, getting dirty & rolling down the grass hill to keep them amused. 
I've seen you sharing every possible food & drink with them because hey it makes life easier.
I've seen you wiping your child's snotty nose with your vest top because you'd run out of tissues. 
I've seen you catch the leg of your child just before they were to fall head first off your bed. 
I've seen you run after them playing the crocodile game. 
I've seen you exhausted in the baby & toddler group drinking coffee trying to make as much adult conversation as humanly possible.
I've seen you gritting your teeth whilst your child screamed at you for making her do the ballet show that she so desperately wanted to do.
I've seen you when you screamed and shouted back at you children.
I've seen the tears rolling down your face after the words "I can't do this anymore"

I just wanted to say hello & tell you, you're not alone. 

I've seen you close your eyes & count to ten after finding the rather melted sticky ice lolly dumped on the floor of your clean car.
I've seen you crying into the sink whilst you desperately try to scrub off the paint on your brand new blouse. 
I've seen you in the local supermarket trying to keep all the children happy stressing over what nappies to buy whilst they are all screaming in harmonised sequence. 
I've seen you in town after you dropped your Starbucks coffee over the floor & your child's screaming she hates you over & over again. 

I've seen you a lot, I see you everyday. 

I just wanted to say hello & tell you, you're not alone. 

Some days are hard, mind blowing with difficulties that are thrown at you.

I just wanted to let you know that its ok. 

It's ok to cry in to your pillow after taking three long exhausting hours to get the children to go to sleep
Why don't they like sleeping? 
It's ok to lose your temper once in a while.
They deserve it really. 
It's ok if you feel exhausted & beans on toast for dinner is all you can manage it is good enough!
It's ok to say "I give up!"
It's ok to walk out the room or the house for a 5 minute breathing session. 
It's all going to be ok. 

I just wanted to say hello.  

I know that some days are so hard, that all you want is for it to be bedtime. Then when bedtime comes your children hug & kiss you over & over again & you wish that moment could last a lifetime. 
I know that you struggle to fit in with 'the perfect mums' 
I know you doubt your self worth over & over again.
I know you struggle day to day to get everything done.
I know you try to make the best out of every situation. 
I know a smile on your face could be hiding a thousands tears inside.

You're not a perfect mum. no matter just how hard you try to be. You will never be a perfect mum. 

Perhaps that haunts you. Perhaps you've accepted that you'll never be. Or maybe its never even crossed your mind.

No matter how much you do, or how little you do with your children, how much money you spend or memories you make, or how little you spend time doing things with you children, when the day is over & they're tucked up in bed, they are still loved. They still smile at you, they believe every thing you tell them. They still think your magic with supernatural powers like queen Elsa (Frozen fan here yes I know) They expect you to be able to fix just about anything & everything. No matter whats happening in your personal or work life. Just remember the next day when your children hop merrily out of bed & expect breakfast before the cockerel has even woken up to do this good morning 'cockadoodledooihng' they will still think your a rock star who can give them the world & beyond. 

I just wanted to say hello & tell you, you're not alone. 

Unfortunately, a perfect parent? Well that just doesn't exist. No matter how far from perfect you are, you are so much better than you think. 
Your children think you're the most amazing mum in the word. 
They will only knowingly admit to that though when they're a mother themselves. 
We have no idea just how amazing our mums are until we are thrown in to the lions den to experience it personally. 

So no matter how many doubts you might have, you never need to doubt this one thing.
You are not perfect. And thats good. 
You know why? because really, no one is, not you, your child or husband or nanny or gramps. 

Congratulations you're not alone we can be not so perfect mums together

I'll see you around. You are awesome. 

My favourite Summer Totes for Mummas with tots

Both my smalls are potty trained now & both are at pre-school/primary school. So what the heck do I use when I'm tot free now? My changing bag though beautiful is a bit excessive. So this summer I'm so loving the practical sizes of shopping totes. Because for some strange reason us mumma's still take so much around with us. Here's my top 6....





Skinade | Better skin from within | Review |

Skinade drink your way to a healthier, better, and younger looking skin. 
Ok so for the past 20 days I have been drinking Skinade
Skinade is a collagen drink, yep you read that correctly. Collagen as in the stuff that's meant to plump up lips. This is just in a form that you can drink. 
Collagen plays a vital role in the appearance of your skin and helps to preserve its firmness, elasticity and youthful appearance. 
Skinade is the only liquid food supplement recommended by beauty professionals, dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons. 
Skindade has become such a huge part of my life over the past month, I rarely go anywhere without it now. 
I've been documenting my #SkinadeJourney on Instagram & been getting a lot of interest with people wanting to know where to buy it & what it does... 
You can follow me on Instagram here
You can get more information from here 

So what's Skinade made from? 

It tastes like summer. A bit like robinsons orange squash. It's tasty. 

Now the good bit....
What do I really think about Skinade ?

Lets talk skin shall we? I've been fighting with bad breakouts of spots & blemishes forever. Each day my skin has improved & today I'm sat here with a completely clear face. My skin is flawless.
I've always been one to look after myself, I eat healthy & exercise most days. Skinade has somehow urged me on to keep going. Giving me the motivation that some days I lack. 
I would class Skinade as a new way of my life & will carry on using it. 

My legs I've always struggled with eczema. (the joys) Since drinking Skinade guess what! My legs look amazing. My skin all over feels refreshed & the dry skin on my hands has disappeared. 
Skinade

I can only thank Skinade for this. I haven't changed anything else in my life & i'm carrying on with everything as normal. 

For £90 for a 30 day trial course I honestly think its a brilliant price. 

I'm feeling healthier, happier & hydrated. 

Skinade
The appearance of your skin will continue to improve for as long as you incorporate Skinade into your daily skincare regime. If you stop taking Skinade for a short period of time like over a weekend, results will be maintained. However, if you stop completely, your skin will begin to slowly lose the benefits you have gained. 

Still want to know more? 
  
Skinade


Individual results may vary depending on genetics and lifestyle. Factors such as smoking, sunlight, diet, including sugar and alcohol consumption, stress and lack of sleep all play an important part in your health and your skin’s appearance.


Disclaimer - I was sent Skinade for the purpose of this review. All opinions & thoughts are my own.

Having to take a step back. Bed rest after operation. Mum life.

Rocking the hospital gown
As a mother it's hard for me to take a step back from my motherly duties that include seemingly everything life throws at us. 
I won't got too much into detail, but after having Hugo three years ago his labour left me with severe damage...being typically stubborn it took me three years living in pain before I decided to get myself to see a Doctor to finally be referred. (Why did it take me so long!) 
Amazingly the referral was quick & they booked me in (after meeting with my surgeon & having my pre op) very quickly beginning of June. 
Then a few weeks ago the hospital rang to say they'd had a cancellation & would I like my operation next week. YES! that would work out so perfectly with May half term the following week. 
Yesterday (20/05/15) was the day. eeeekkk.
I arrived at the hospital at 7:30 to be checked in. 
I did however enjoy reading in peace. 
Then to wait around till 10:30, when I finally got called into theatre I was actually relieved strangely I know, I was so hungry & thirsty! I just wanted it over & done with. 
Once I was in recovery I think it was about 1pm after I woke up.... then given co codamol to ease the pain then also made me go back to sleep again. 
Back on the ward Mr.H came to collect me about 4pm so glad to be back home. 
In recovery now & should be ok 'ish in about a week. 
I just hate the whole not being able to do anything. Sounds crazy but the dishwasher needs emptying & the dinner needs preparing. 
Leaving the children with Nanna & Mr.H is hard also making sure they're dressed ok hair done, teeth brushed. I am such a control freak & hate having no control over the situation.
Bed rest takes its toll too. 
But after being awake most of the night in agony, strong painkillers have worn off. Bed rest it is. Blah blah blah....
I miss exercising already. I miss running with the puppy. 
Think I'll be able to start moderate exercise in 3-6 weeks again. Fingers crossed. 
Here's to a speedy recovery.


Enjoying reading before the op.




Busy is the new Happy

Source
Yep this pretty much sums up my life, I've been crazy busy but wouldn't have it any other way. 
Family, friends & being busy with life. I want to say hopefully everything will calm down soon & I'll be able to catch up on the blog properly but at the moment I'm just not sure when my crazy busy life will settle down....

Contemporary Mediterranean Living in the English Garden


Heritage Gardens, the Premier UK Online Garden Centre & Garden Buildings & Furniture specialist, announces a range of outdoor living products designed to capture the al fresco mood of the Mediterranean this Summer.
As well as a range of Solid Teak Patio Dining & Bistro sets there are three ranges of luxury rattan garden furniture which have proved especially popular over recent years according to leading UK garden specialists, Heritage Gardens. For 2015 they are especially promoting their own Garden Lover brand of competitively priced all weather rattan furniture sets.
The company, which specialise in low-cost, high quality garden furniture, buildings and other garden products, also sell a range of outdoor living accessories for Summer. Personal prompt service from the Customer Service Team is key to keeping customers happy & they can submit product enquiries via online live chat or by calling Freephone 0800 694 1841.
Founder, Gilbert Stedham, comments: “By combining say a rattan patio dining set with a contemporary chiminea such as the Ellipse, the ambiance of a Mediterranean setting can be achieved in the typical English garden. For those who like to relax in sun or shade, a colourful hammock from Amazonas will certainly fit the bill.”
There is a wide range of garden arches, arbours, pergolas, gazebos, and similar structures available from the Heritage Gardens website, catering to everyone from keen gardeners looking for top-of-the-range tools, greenhouses, potting stations and cold frames to families seeking to entertain and relax in the garden. Heritage Solid Teak or Oak benches make a superb & durable investment for any garden but there is also a choice of benches priced more economically.
Heritage Gardens stocks superior brands such as Rowlinson, Mercia & Gardeco in both traditional and contemporary styles. Pretty summerhouses are on offer as well as garden office buildings such as the contemporary Rowlinson Carmen Pavilion. A surprising aspect of the Heritage Gardens business is that they are able to sell many of their brand name garden buildings & structures at less than the multiple retailers such as B & Q & Homebase for identical products.These opportunities are brought to customers attention by way of Offers on the website Home Page.
Gilbert Stedham continues, “Traditional garden games are also a popular seller in the Summer months where giant games such as chess, draughts and mega Connect 4 are ideal for keeping both children and adults occupied." 


Heritage Gardens is a fast growing UK online garden centre specialising in garden buildings and furniture that stocks a comprehensive range of upmarket garden furniture, garden buildings, ‘Grow Your Own’ products, exotic plants, roses and garden games.
Founded in 2009 by Gilbert Stedham, Heritage Gardens is a website designed by gardeners, for gardeners – providing unique, professional monthly gardening tips and advice through blog posts and social media, as well as supplying low-cost garden products to consumers and the trade.
The ethos since the early days has been to offer an unrivalled personal, prompt and efficient service to all customers and provide advice and gardening help to anyone, through the Freephone number or the online live chat.
 Heritage Gardens comes highly recommended, chosen by The Times Gardening in 2011 as one of 'Six of the Best' and the company is also an authorised supplier to The National Trust, where you'll find its all-weather rattan furniture at Beningbrough Hall and Gardens, near York. A listing in The Good Web Guide 2014/2015 is further endorsement of the Heritage Gardens website as a reliable source for consumers seeking to buy quality garden products online.
Heritage Gardens also supplies to the trade, working with garden designers and landscapers, as well as the hospitality industry including hotels, pubs, holiday cottages and historic houses. A number of Memorial Benches have been supplied to the Bishop's Palace Gardens, Wells in Somerset..
Heritage Gardens is associated with the Into Gardens App created by celebrity garden designer and RHS Judge James Alexander Sinclair, supplying a Solid Teak Lutyens Bench as a competition prize in 2013, and look forward to further collaboration with Into Gardens.



What is a 'boys boy' toys; say NO to gender stereotyping

My two dressed up

My spider babies.

Today this hit me slap bang in the face - 
"No to pink. 'Cause my son is a boys boy, he goes for cars over the sparkles lol"
So tell me what is my son then? Not a boys boy? Because he likes dressing up & enjoys playing with dolls? 
What am I then? 
I love all the colours, I love having my hair & make up done, I love dressing up looking girly, I also love getting my hands dirty, doing D.I.Y & gardening. I'm not afraid to change a car tyre either. 
If we are here to label then what the eff am I? 
A Tomboy? or a girly girl? Or am I confused?
NO I am a female.  
Who are we to label out our children?

I thought after my blog about Say no to gender stereotyping I had calmed & recollected myself. Then whilst cooking dinner tonight I read the above....

In my eyes I'd actually class my son as a complete lad. 
He's loud, loves football, loves & adores cars, loves play fighting, loves dolls, loves playing mums & babies, loves barbies, loves pink, black, blue, purple, loves duplo & lego the list is endless. 
The whole say no to gender stereotyping what i was trying to get my point across this morning is exactly what this particular lady totally missed. She obviously doesn't get it. 
Toys are toys & colours are colours. 
Our children don't care & as we have seen majority of the time its adults that are telling children "no thats for girls or no thats for boys".... Blah blah blah. 

We should be teaching children yes your a boy. yes your a girl. 
none of this 'you're a boy so you must do what boys do.' 
You're a girl so you must do what girls do. 
It's simply bull.

My dream job? I would happily be a female lorry driver (If it didn't cost so much to actually get a lorry licence now) 

What have we learnt here today then? The fact that to children there's no such thing as 'girls toys' or 'boys toys' to them there is just 'toys toys' well unless they're taught otherwise.

I should do a diagram 
THIS:
Source.
I'll put my neck back in now. Sorry for ranting. Frustrating when things are aimed at MY SON.... 


Say NO to Gender Stereotyping


I was shocked to see this morning, shall I call her 'small minded' human comment on the main Quinny Facebook page about my son. Quinny had posted "Before the 40s, pink was typically a boy's colour. Do you think a pink stroller and a baby boy go together?".... 
of course do. Hugo had a choice between this Coral pink buggy & the lime green buggy. He wanted pink. No questions asked, we got the pink.
Then I woke up to see this comment this woman had the audacity to slate my son - 
 "pink quinny + long hair = poor lad". HA! 
What the actual Eff?
Why exactly is my boy a 'poor lad'? 
Pink for girls & blue for boys? Seriously? 
Long hair for girls & short hair for boys? 
Oh my goodness we would all look like clones if that was the case. 
How narrow minded can someone be? 
All I care about is, my children are happy. 
Yes I allow my son to wear pink, he dresses up in dresses & ballet costumes. 
He also has his nails painted & asks to have his hair plaited to 'snap' his big sisters. 
I would never in a million years stop my son dressing the way he wants. 
We are a family who love colour. My children dress themselves & pick the clothes they want to wear. 
As for his HAIR... yes he has long curly locks. Will he let me cut it? No. He loves his hair. 
My children have their own personality & brains.
Back in 2014 I blogged about "boys in dresses? does this 'turn them gay?'" 
Why, just why do people care so much about colours? pinks, purples, blues, greys, A colour is a colour. 
We as adults shouldn't be saying pinks for girls & blues for boys. 
& If your son wears pink... thats WRONG. That could be so damaging to the poor child, I couldn't imagine telling Hugo that he's done something wrong for wearing X, Y or Z....
It's just a colour. 

Say NO to gender stereotyping. 

Conservatives are in and so is Tax-free Childcare

Conservatives are in and so is Tax-free Childcare
The votes have been counted and the Conservative party have won a majority in the 2015 General Election. This has been one of the closest and most unpredictable elections in decades. Many topics have been at the centre of this election campaign including the NHS, the economy, housing and childcare. Childcare costs have considerably risen over recent years, becoming an ever-increasing burden for working parents. High childcare costs can deter parents from returning to work and all parties have cited childcare costs as the main barrier to increasing female employment.
The Conservative party’s childcare policies are to increase the free childcare entitlement for three and four year olds to 30 hours a week and to introduce Tax-free Childcare. The Tax-free Childcare scheme in the autumn will provide parents with savings of up to £2,000 per child, each year. This new scheme will see the closure of the current Childcare Voucher scheme, which enables each parent to save up to £933 per year, to new entrants after the autumn. 

Looking at the savings available, Tax-free Childcare seems to be the obvious scheme for parents to use to maximise on childcare savings.  However, with Tax-free Childcare, the Government will be subsidising 20% of a child’s childcare, on costs of up to £10,000 per year.  Therefore, to get maximum savings, parents must spend £8,000 per child, each year.  To get the maximum savings using Childcare Vouchers, parents are only required to spend £2,916 each year.  Both parents can use Childcare Vouchers; therefore savings could double to more than £1,800 at an outlay of only £5,832 per family to get maximum savings.
Your family’s circumstances will determine which scheme is best for you.  To use Tax-free Childcare, both parents have to be working, whereas with Childcare Vouchers, only one parent needs to be working to access the scheme.  Therefore, if your household has only one parent working, Childcare Vouchers are always the best option for your family.
Childcare Voucher provider, Busy Bees Benefits, have been offering parents individual assessments of their circumstances to help them decide which scheme will be financially better for their families. From these, Busy Bees Benefits have found that at least 80% of parents will be better off continuing to use Childcare Vouchers after Tax-free Childcare is launched in the autumn.
Parents were asked to supply their child’s details including their age and childcare costs, as well as parents’ earnings. From the information provided, Busy Bees Benefits were able to calculate whether they would be financially better off using Childcare Vouchers or Tax-free Childcare. John Woodward, Busy Bees Benefits CEO said “we knew a lot of parents would be better off using Childcare Vouchers, however we were surprised at the figures we calculated. Childcare Vouchers already help over 500,000 working parents, it is now time for employers to increase their responsibility to employees by promoting their Childcare Voucher schemes to ensure all eligible parents can join the scheme and benefit from the savings before it’s too late.”
After Tax-free Childcare is introduced, the existing Childcare Voucher scheme will be closed to new entrants, which means that parents wanting more affordable childcare will only be able to use Tax-free Childcare to make savings.
Parents who will be better off using Childcare Vouchers include those falling into the following categories:
  1. Middle-low earning parents if not eligible for Working Families Tax Credit
  2. Basic Rate tax payers spending less than £9,336 on childcare each year
  3. Families with only one working parent
  4. Families with low childcare costs e.g. only using a few hours per week and before and after school clubs
  5. Families using Childcare Vouchers for extra curriculum activities through an Ofsted or Independent School provider
  6. Families using childcare for children over the age of 12
  7. Families who want to start saving towards childcare costs as soon as their baby is born
  8. Family run businesses where savings can be made on PAYE, Employers and Employee National Insurance and Corporation Tax
  9. Families where one parent earns above £50,000, can use salary sacrifice to reduce their salary, which could enable them to receive more child benefit
Are Childcare Vouchers better for you? 
You will need to join a Childcare Voucher scheme now to retain your right to choose and to ensure you do not lose out in the future, making one deduction from your salary from now until August to guarantee access to Childcare Vouchers. Once on a scheme, you can start accumulating Childcare Vouchers now for as little as £10 per month, even if they aren’t needed until a future date.
If your employer doesn’t offer a Childcare Voucher scheme, you can contact Busy Bees Benefits who will get in touch with your employer to set up a scheme. For more information about Childcare Vouchers and the savings they provide, please visit www.busybeesbenefits.com.
Ends

2 months down wearing the new ADM's. Talipes


We are almost 2 months into Hugo wearing his Boots. All night, every night! 
Can I do a little happy feet dance? 
I blogged when Hugo was two weeks into wearing them here
It's just such an amazing turn around. 
After 3 whole years of no sleep & him not giving up now we are here & he's wearing them. 
Ok so not every night goes as smoothly as I would like it to, he does still fight me when its time to get boots on but it's so much better & the fact he won't scream all night & he will wear them till morning is amazing, amazing, amazing. 
Some mornings he doesn't want them off, it's fabulous, i'm typing this smiling. Really beaming with pride. 
I think he's pretty proud of himself too if I'm honest. 
With us having such a hard start to the ponsetti this was just a far away dream of the land of 'what if'.... 
I always aspired to it becoming our reality but with night by night going by horrendously it seemed too far into the future to ever believe. 

All I can say is I truly believe his previous boots hurt him. He told me night after night he was in pain & I had that awful decision to make heart take them off or head he must keep them on. 
Now he rarely cries with pain & if he does I loosen them slightly. 

Positivity all the way....



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