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BAKES | Candy Cane Cookies

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Just popping in for a quick blog post folks. I hope that you are all having a great Christmas break with your families and making lots of plans for New Years Eve. I'm only popping in because I just couldn't stay away and I wanted to share this really simple bake with you.
Over the last few days I have been seeing lots of posts from people who have already taken their Christmas decorations down, some even on Boxing day. I don't like doing this too early because I just love Christmas and want to draw it out for as long as the husband allows it. But he's assured me they are coming down soon. I have just looked at my tree and seen that I have gone overboard with the candy canes this year, the top of the tree is full of them - the little lady has already seen to the bottom of the tree. I needed to create a recipe that would require candy canes! Do you have lots of candy canes left over? Try this recipe I'm sure they will tickle those taste buds.

You'll need:
125g butter, softened
100g light brown soft sugar
125g caster sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
225g self-raising flour
½ tsp salt
Left over candy canes, crushed

1. First things first preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. It's also best to try and prepare your crushed candy canes while the oven is heating up. Put all your candy canes in a zip lock plastic bag, wrap the bag in a tea towel, take a wooden roll pin and bash them. Then set aside until step 4.

2. Cream butter and sugars, once creamed, combine in the egg and vanilla. Sift in the flour and salt

3. Roll into walnut size balls for a more homemade look, or roll into a long, thick sausage shape and slice to make neater looking cookies.

4. Place on ungreased baking paper. I prefer my cookies to be doughy and delicious so I will cook them for about 7 minutes and for these candy cane cookies half way through I will take them out to sprinkle the crushed candy canes before finishing baking. If you prefer harder cookies then cook for 10 minutes until golden brown.

5. Take out of the oven and leave to harden for a minute before transferring to a wire cooling rack. These are great warm, and they also store well, if they don't all get eaten straight away!
Happy Baking!
Don't forget to let me know if you've tried this recipe, I'd love to see your bakes.

Amelia's Christmas Eve Basket

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Can you believe it's Christmas at the end of the week? December has flown by and so I really need to tell you all about my daughters Christmas Eve basket. As with many families, we started our own Christmas Traditions and my favourite one is making up her Christmas Eve Basket. We attempted one last year and it went down really well with her, and so this year I may have gone over the top with all her goodies but I know she'll love her basket.


So what's included?

The Night Before Christmas Santa Plate | Christmas Plate | Rudolph Glass | Minnie Mouse Pyjamas | Christmas Hat With Plaits | Christmas Activity Pack | Christmas Pencils & Erasers | 2000 Stickers Christmas Book | The Girl Who Saved Christmas Book | Elf DVD | Milky Way Selection | Choceur Bunny | Candy Canes | Chocolate Coins | Snowman & Santa Biscuits | Reindeer Food


My Dream Home Office

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Out with the old and in with the new...Around this time of year we all like the idea of changing the old for new, leaving old things and ideas behind in order to make room for new things and new ideas. This whole changing old for new is something that we will be doing in our home in the upcoming new year. I have a two year old daughter  who seems to have accumulated more belongings than both my husband and I, and so it makes complete sense to upgrade the size of her bedroom. But as she goes into the bigger bedroom it does mean that the smaller room will be vacant, no we are not having a man cave, we are have decided to create a home office. I have always dreamed of the perfect office space and I've been putting together some ideas to execute when the time finally comes. So let me show you what I'm dreaming about...

Copper & Pink Perfection


Nothing would be more fitting for my office than layering pale pink with the oh-so-in-the-moment copper hues because they are a match made in design heaven. They are like one of those couples that look good together from the get go and then you can't really imagine them with anyone else. And like most couples they bring out the best in one another - the copper gives the pink a bit of edge and the pink brings out the warm rose tone in the copper. However when the two colours are paired with a grey or a marble effect it really looks so beautiful so let me show you what I have in mind.

Flooring

So if you didn't know already I am head over heels with the colour palette of coppers, pinks, light greys and whites that would work  beautifully. As a base I would paint all the walls a pale pink and have beautiful white wooden flooring to help set off the room. White wooden flooring is such a stylish and an attractive option for any interior design, it's a colour that really goes with a whole mixture of furnishings and would be great for the copper and pale pink theme I have in mind.


Lighting

Staring at computer screens and paperwork is hard on your eyes. Especially if your office doesn’t have windows or a natural light source, so finding the adequate lighting to brighten up my space is a must and will help create the ambience and set the mood in room. I have been scrolling through the internet for the perfect copper lighting that will help bring out the pale pinks and white flooring to give them a certain edge. These are my favourite finds.

Standing Copper Stars | Copper Bedside Lamp | Copper Work Lamp | Couple's Initials Carnival Lights


Windows

In our soon to be office we have a large window space and we currently have nets and some black out curtains, and we are looking to upgrade our windows and we know that the company VELUX offer a wide range of options. So we can finally get rid of those nets and have beautiful windows and some blackout roller blinds from VELUX Blinds Direct, my favourites are the pale pink and light grey. With VELUX you can combine them with other products they offer, for additional heat protection, we can simply install an awning blind or a roller shutter. During the summer, we could have an insect screen which will protect us from any annoying pests like flies and wasps.

You really are spoiled for choice with the company VELUX so why don't you take the time and see what they have to offer, I'm sure you won't be disappointed.  

Décor
I have so many Pinterest boards that would be the perfect fit for my dream copper and pale pink home office. And as much as I would love to fill my office with lots of décor I don't like clutter, I know with a toddler too. Everything in my home has it's place and dare anyone try and move anything, haha. I know that I will be exactly the same with my dream office but I would like to try and be creative with the space I have and so I have put together a few pieces that will be copper and pink perfection.

   
Rose Gold Binder Clips | Marble Effect Clock | Modern Rose Gold Colour Block Cushion | Pink Geometric Holder | Copper Diamond Weave Storage Basket | Ombre Planter Trio | Blush Pink Storage Cube | Peonies Pink Parfait In Vase
 
What do you think of my dream home office? Do you like the colours? Let me know in the comments

BOOK REVIEW | The Girl Who Saved Christmas by William Thomas Thach

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One of the most magical parts of Christmas has to be the stories and my daughter adores books. Every night we will read a bed time story together and she loves them even more because they can take on a Christmas theme. I was thrilled that my daughter and I got an opportunity to read a new magical Christmas story, The Girl Who Saved Christmas. What would happen if one year all the children found themselves on the naughty list?


I was very excited when the book arrived in big red packaging with a beautiful thank you note from the writer - a lovely touch. The book cover was a deep red velvet that was embossed with gold writing, it also had a gold read ribbon and a privacy clasp which made it all the more festive and will be sure to become the perfect Christmas classic.

The Girl Who Saved Christmas is a festive tale that begins with Santa being disheartened after finding out that the world's children have been naughty. Santa decided that no children would receive presents and orders the elf to load the sleigh with coal. That was until he meets a very good little girl called Molly McAme who reminds Santa the real meaning behind Christmas 'marks the birth of a glorious child' who taught us that it's best if we learn to forgive. Little ones will fall in love with Molly McAme and the magical story of Christmas forgiveness, this story is such a remarkable treasure that lifts your spirit and reminds us of the joy of Christmas.

My thoughts on the book

Even though the concept of all the children being bad and forgiveness went over my daughters head. The story, the language and the illustrations kept her attention and she would point out what she could see as we read each page. A wonderful story with a beautiful message conveyed through one little girl who was filled with so much love and her power to forgive gave Santa the message so that misbehaving children would still receive gifts from Santa.

The playful rhymes and illustration immediately captured my daughter's imagination and held her attention right up until the last page where she asked if we could read it again, of which we did of course. I also liked the fact that there was a glossary at the end of the book for all those words that children may not understand, and there was also a page for my daughter to write down her Christmas list to Santa. A truly beautiful Christmas tale that's suitable for all ages.

The book is currently only available in America on Amazon.com – however, the e-book version will be available shortly in the UK. In the meantime, you can listen to the full story on YouTube.  It’s the perfect Christmas book to read whilst snuggled up on Christmas Eve in new PJs with a festive hot chocolate with marshmallows and cream.

#MOTHERHOOD MONDAYS FEATURING MUM OF 2 POINT 5

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Hello everyone,

I hope that you've had a lovely weekend and well on the way in getting organised for Christmas. Thankfully we finished Christmas shopping for our relatives so we can miss the mad rush next week and enjoy the last week leading up to the big day. I am beyond excited! Anyway let's get back to why you're here. If you follow Mimi Rose & Me you will know that we are trying to launch a new series on the blog, Motherhood Mondays! If you would like to find out more or think that it's something you'd like to part in come and take a look at our first post in the series.


 First up we have the lovely Katie Mulford from Mum of 2 Point 5 who is fairly new to the wonderful world that is blogging and is finding her feet with her fantastic blog and I am so excited that she wanted to get involved with our new blog series.



A little more about Katie and her blog. My name is Katie and I am mum of 2.5 kids.  Why 2.5 you ask? That's impossible right? Well, I have 2 kids plus a stepdaughter who is with us for half the time – hence the 2.5 kids!  So that’s that part out of the way.  Now to introduce my little monsters….. I mean darlings.  My stepdaughter Lilian is 9 years old, my daughter Lois is 6 years old and our little man of the house Cody is 3 years old.  Daddy to all 3 and my co-pilot on this crazy parenting adventure is Danny.  As a family we love to get out and do things and visit places but with such a wide age range this can sometimes be tricky. 

I absolutely love this post from Katie because as she says being a parent is the hardest job in the world and it's not always fun and games. But we've all been there when little ones think is hilarious to push those boundaries, my daughter can be quite the madam when we are out and as much as it makes me feel bad I have to stand my ground with her, even with that smile of hers. Katie, you are most definitely not a horrible mum, you're doing an amazing job.

I Am A Horrible Mum

I wrote this over the weekend then changed my mind about posting it as I was worried how people might take it.  I think its important though to be realistic about life as a parent.  It's not all plain sailing. Its not all fun and games. In fact sometimes its down right lousy and can leave you feeling like utter crap. Its important to realise that all Mums have been through it at some point and we all need to support each other and make it ok for people to be open and honest about how hard it can sometimes be. So here goes…..
Today I have been a horrible Mum. I’m not proud of it. In fact I feel heartbroken. Today has been one of  those days where my darling beautiful son has driven me (and half of Ikea) to the brink of insanity. Today he is tired after an exciting sleepover at Auntie’s house last night. Today he is grouchy as he is full of cold and my God hasn’t he let everyone know about it.
We walked into Ikea and within moments it began. I’m looking for our number to be called at the customer service desks. As I glance round, all of the cushions from the waiting area benches have suddenly vanished. “That boy has taken all the cushions” I hear a small child say to his Mum. That boy was my boy. After a wrestling match that WWE fans would have been proud of, I finally manage to return the cushions to their benches and rapidly remove ‘that boy’ from the area. We head over to the touch screens to search for the items we are hoping to purchase. Only every time we get close, a little finger appears from nowhere and taps randomly over the screen sending our product search all over the place. Not just once. Oh no. This has become too good a game. Picking him up I hold him in a vice grip so he can’t reach the screen and he screeches at the top of his voice for all to hear. And I look like a horrible Mum. Product search abandoned. Let’s get some food.
Stood in the queue for hot dogs and  meatballs to keep us going on our trek round the Ikea showrooms, he spots the doughnuts. I say no he can’t have one. And he screams. I am a horrible Mum. He screams and cries for the next 25 minutes while we try to eat until I abandon him with Daddy and go back to the queue (which by now is half a mile long ) to get a drink. I’d have preferred something stronger but coca cola will have to do. I go back to the table and he’s whinging that he doesn’t want his hotdog. Daddy takes a bite and suddenly he’s screaming because he wanted that hotdog. “There’s space in the crèche?” I say hopefully. I am a horrible Mum.  “No he’ll be fine.” Famous last words.
We head up to the show rooms and the real fun begins. So many things to touch, so many places to run, so many places to hide. We hand out stern warnings in that ‘don’t frickin mess with me’ voice saved for public areas when you really are ready to lose it but try desperately to hold it together and look like you are in control. And then I said it. “That’s it. Enough is enough. You’re not going to your friend’s birthday party this afternoon”. I am a horrible Mum. I am a horrible mum because he has been so excited about that party. And his little friend has been so excited about him coming to her party. And I feel awful. I am a horrible Mum but I have to make a stand. Amid hysterical tears and tantrums we pay and leave as quickly as possible  (much to the relief of the Ikea staff I am sure) and get in the car. He falls asleep. I knew he was tired. I am such a horrible Mum. He sleeps all the way home and I message the birthday girl’s mum to let her know we wont make it. He is too tired and grumpy. I am a horrible Mum.
At dinner he’s perked up and seems in a better mood but the devil is in him once again. He sits swinging his legs and repeatedly kicking the chair next to him. I ask him politely to stop and he does. For a second. Then he grins and carries on. I tell him again to stop. He doesn’t.  I warn him there will be no pudding unless he stops. He doesn't. “Right, no pudding.”  More screaming. You see its not just any pudding. It’s the apple crumble made by his big sister that they’ve been so looking forward to trying and his favourite custard. But I don’t give in. We eat our pudding and ignore his screams. I am a horrible Mum.
You see my darling boy, you have to learn boundaries. You have to understand that certain behaviour is not acceptable and it is my job to teach you right from wrong. There are times you will think I am a horrible Mum but please know that it is for your own good, because I want you to grow into a wonderful person.  I hope one day you will understand. I am a horrible Mum, but I love you unconditionally, with all my heart, tantrums and all xxx


Thank you so much for taking part Katie! And you my lovely readers don't forget to check out Katie's blog and follow her on her social media platforms.

Travelling With Toddlers

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Today is the day! We are finally all packed, everything is in the boot and we are on the road. But before we are even at the end of the road I can hear this little squeaky voice in the back 'Ooooh' 'Mum, look' 'Raisins please'! Any car journey with a toddler can be difficult and so I thought that I would share my top tips in surviving those car journeys with them. So sit back and relax, we got this.


As with most car journeys being prepared is a must as you may never know what these little people can throw at you -  an unscheduled nap, a meltdown because they've dropped their favourite toy, becoming hangry little people (we've all been there), explosives poops or even vomming everywhere. It's best to be prepared for EVERYTHING. But you do have to bare in mind that even with the best planning in the world little ones will pick and choose their own routines. My daughter will normally be asleep after an hour or so of travelling so we will try and prepare for this by making sure that she's comfortable, has her yellow blanket and we are prepared for a later night time routine.

Timing is everything. It goes without saying, but I will anyway, try and avoid rush hour. Even though some delays are inevitable but by leaving an hour earlier or an hour later can make a big difference to journey times and stress levels. Plan to travel at a time that includes nap time if possible. Then, get your favourite tunes on, relax and let the miles go by!

Distractions. You will need lots of them with a toddler. My daughter has pretty much taxed my kindle and we do have a portable DVD player and so before we set off we will always make sure that they are both fully charged or have enough leads in case we need to recharge. My daughter has a fantastic app on my her kindle and this is perfect for car journeys, you can find my review here if you'd like to know more. Obviously you don’t want your little ones plugged in to screens for too long so ration their screen time and use it as a tool for rewarding good behaviour if necessary.

I have found from our car journeys that keeping a stash of books, toys, and dummies in the front is the way forward because let's face it most toddlers like to drop and throw things, don't they? But even if they do you'll be ready with your secret stash in the front. We also have this backseat and pushchair organiser which secures to the back of the driver or passenger car seat and it's the perfect distraction for my daughter. It has several compartments to hold drinks, toys, snacks and so much more. We have also decided to do something a little different this year because it's Christmas and wrap up a few gifts for my daughter to unwrap along the way, nothing too expensive a few crayons, colouring books, stickers and perhaps a new DVD to help keep her occupied.

Food. As parents we are not supposed to use food to bribe our children, but on long car journeys, regular snacks can help alleviate boredom and keep little ones happy. A hungry travelling child is NEVER a happy travelling child. Dried fruit, crackers, rice cakes and cubes of cheese are all great choices for snacking. Avoid anything too sticky, because a few chocolate buttons were a great idea to give to my daughter.

Take regular breaks! It always a good idea to stop for regular breaks because you don't want your toddler to become a grumpy bum and consequently becoming grumpy parent for the rest of the journey. So make sure that you take breaks, so sit back and give everyone a change of scene, refreshments and a chance to stretch their legs.

Make sure you are fully equipped. You have packed your suitcase so the last thing you want is to pull out your heavy suitcase to try and get a change of clothes for your little poop machine, so be sure to have some essentials in your car.
  • A change of clothes, without a doubt. Make sure the changing bag is in the front with you to prevent any inquisitive toddlers pulling everything out and eating all your prepared snacks.
  • First aid kit. You never know what could happen so best be prepared. My daughter is going through a stage where if she so much as bites her own fingers she needs a plaster. But it's always a good idea to keep any medicine to hand should you need it.
  • Portable Potty. Even though we are not fully potty trained and most of the journey due to napping she will be in her nappy it's always an idea to take a potty along for the car journey.
Happy Travelling!!!

BAKES | Christmas Gingerbread Men

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Nothing says 'It's Christmas' more than baking gingerbread men and not forgetting the amazing smell they leave behind. A good gingerbread recipe is always a delicious bake to make with your little one, and this recipe is super easy to follow that will give you perfect little gingerbread men every time. My daughter loves baking with me and this recipe would be a great way to get your little ones in the kitchen to help create those festive treats.

To make these you will need:
350g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
125g butter
175g light soft brown sugar
1 egg
4 tbsp golden syrup

Start by sifting the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon then add to a food processor. Add the butter and mix together in a bowl until you have a crumbly consistency , then stir in the soft brown sugar. Lightly beat the egg and golden syrup together before adding to the food processor, blitz and then work together until a dough forms.

Wrap the dough up in cling film and refrigerate for an hour. When you're ready, pre-heat the oven to 180c and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper. Then lightly flour the surface, roll out the dough to 1cm thickness. Use a cutter to cut out your gingerbread men in the dough and arrange on the lined baking tray making sure you leave a gap in between each shape.

Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until they are golden brown, leave on the tray for 10-minutes and move to a wire rack to finish cooling. Then you can get creative with the children and decorate with icing and cake decorations. We used icing and chocolate chips after taking this photo but hey were so good that we forgot to take a photo of the finished gingerbread men! Why not try - swapping the ginger for cinnamon or vanilla essence if you don't like ginger, or swap the golden syrup for treacle?


Happy Baking!!!


MOTHERHOOD MONDAYS | I would love to hear your stories

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My daughter will be turning two and a half on Christmas day and I cannot actually believe it, how can this be? Its been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster for all of us, we've laughed, we've cried and even played with toys at 4am in the morning. We have watched her through the milestones and created so many great memories as a family of three. I know it's what everyone says as they watch their babies grow up, but time really does fly by...

Due to being such an emotional prat, please tell me that I am not the only one? I thought that it would be a perfect time to begin a mini series on the blog, featuring real stories from those who have experienced how tough, rewarding and confusing motherhood can be. After all its the hardest job in the world. I would love to hear your stories whether they are good, bad or ugly, please message me and share your stories for Motherhood Mondays!




Let's kick off the first post of the series about my journey into motherhood.

This next part of this post has been in my drafts for some time and I have been in two minds whether to share this part of my life on my blog . I would read the post over and over and steer clear of that publish button, however today for some reason or another I wanted to share this part of me.

I have said it before on the blog nothing can really prepare you for being a mother. You can read all the books, attend antenatal classes and listen to the vast amounts of advice, but when it comes down to it you never really know what it's like to be a mother until you are one. For me, becoming a mother has been one of the biggest accomplishments that I have made and probably will ever make in my life. Any decisions that I have made have never brought me so much joy and so much love into my heart. I'm pretty sure many will be with me on this one when I say that I thought I knew what is was to love another, but being a mother is a love like you have never known. An unconditional love, a love that's impossible to break. But our journey into parenthood has by far not been the easiest.

In order for you to understand I need to take you briefly back. I promise it will be brief. Ever since I can remember I have always been at the doctors, the hospital or seeing specialists at one time or another. I cannot tell you the amount of times I have had to show people me down belows, one time there was at least five doctors down there having a gawk. As I'm sure you can imagine, it was terrifying for a young girl. All these appointment were for a reason, right up until the age of sixteen I would have random bleeding patterns from my down belows, which was a cause for concern for my parents and the doctors. But after all these appointments there wasn't much that they could advise until I began puberty and my menstruating cycles, which wasn't until I was sixteen.

Back in the same old room, legs akimbo, doctors having a gawk, scans and more tests we finally got some answers. I was told that both my ovaries were extremely small and that they weren't developing as they should. Then he went onto say that it would be very difficult for me to conceive naturally, when the time comes. At sixteen years old, children were the furthest thing from my mind but I knew I wanted to be a mother with out a doubt, but not yet. However as I got older and everyone around me started to have their own families, my thoughts led me back into that doctor's office. I began to convince  my family, friends and myself that I didn't want children and this would be the best way not to show that part of me, but while I was holding their babies, it broke my heart as I knew that this may never be me.

This was also the same time my husband came into my life. Ssssh don't tell him but I knew pretty much straightaway that he was the one for me and we soon became attached at the hip. I knew that it was getting serious between us and it would only be fair to him to tell him that I may never be able to have children of my own. After a long time building up the courage to tell him he was just perfect and told me that we would concentrate on building a life together and deal with that side of things when the time comes. Life was pretty busy after that. I graduated, my husband completed his engineering degree, we moved out of our parents. We got engaged and finally we got married.  We enjoyed holidays, spending our spare cash on whatever we wanted, enjoyed lay ins and arranging things on a whim. It was such a wonderful time.

Then the questions began...when are you starting a family? Ooh isn't time you had a baby? Is there a bun in the oven? Obviously we wanted to start a family but nobody knew that part about us. One negative test after another, it was disheartening and I think it's because deep down we knew becoming parents may never happen for us. Our future in becoming parents was bleak and we decided to stop because trying for a baby was the only thing we were focusing on and it had taken it's toll on us and our marriage. We began focusing on us again, trying to discover what we wanted to do with our lives and then something amazing happened. I was incredibly fortunate to become pregnant with our daughter Amelia, a true blessing that I would never ever taken for granted. I just stared at the positive pregnancy test trying to comprehend what I was seeing. I was finally going to be someone's mummy.

The only way that I can end this post is to say, be thankful and appreciate the things we have in life and remember whenever we meet new people to stop and think that they could be fighting a battle that you know nothing about, so be kind!

If you'd like to be part of the series then please feel free to send me an email to mimiroseandme@gmail.com  and I'd be thrilled to get back to you with more information! Please get in touch even if you don't have a blog and you would simply like to share your story.


Remembering The Early Days Of Parenthood

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My daughter will be two and a half on Christmas day and it's hard to believe, even now, that I can remember every moment with her during the early days. After what seemed like forever we were finally holding our daughter in our arms and immediately fell in love, we were so happy that we had become a family of three. Those first few days as new parents was an emotional time for us, with exhaustion taking over one minute and then feeling total elation the next - and there was much that neither of us anticipated.

I guess we were feeling so over whelmed to really understand what we were actually going through in the early days of parenthood. Even though we were ridiculously prepared, nothing can quite prepare you for becoming a parent - the exhaustion, the black poos, understanding each others needs, and more importantly making sure that our daughter bonded with both my husband and I.  Our daughter came into the world and turned our life upside down and right side up again but we didn't mind, we were very thankful for her. So remembering the early days of parenthood...

 
Tiredness is relative.
 
Every new parent is sleep deprived. It was pretty much all we were told at our antennal classes, midwife appointments and by family. But I guess until you have actually been awake six days straight you cannot really understand the sheer exhaustion new parents feel in those first few days. I was actually that tired I thought I was going to die, I know it sounds a little melodramatic but dealing with that type of exhaustion is just awful. Being that exhausted does make me wonder how on earth did I manage to still function like a normal human being I think that there's just something that drives you, that and lots of coffee!!!
 
Everyone has an opinion.
 
On everything! Isn't she too hot? Is she cold? If you keep cuddling her you'll make a rod for your own back, it never ends! I quickly realised that it was best to smile, nod and accept unwanted advice, gracefully. For whatever reason, people love to offer their advice on babies - everyone has an opinion and everyone likes to share. Don't get me wrong I knew that most of the advice that was given was well intended, everyone wants you succeed in getting this parenting malarkey down - no one is out to get you. I spend nearly every waking minute with my daughter and majority of the time she was happy in the early days and when she wasn't she would soon tell me. We created our own ways and they have been working ever since.
 
I wanted it all.
 
Just because I became a mother doesn't mean I was going to completely give up on myself. I remember wanting to find a way where I can be a great hands on mother and also be happy with myself, my career and anything that gives me a fulfilling life. But life and situations change and after much thought I became a stay at home mum, but it has also lead to doors opening and leading me into directions that I never thought was possible. After all I need to be happy and my daughter deserves to have the best role model I can possibly be.
 
Reading blogs and exercise kept me sane.
 
All any new mother needs is a little time for themselves, my husband and my family made sure that I had a few hours off mum duty, and it made all the difference for me. It helped with my stress levels, helped me feel more refreshed, energised and more motivated which was the perfect combination to tackle the early days with a new born.
 
Baby giggles.
 
Aren't they the best sound in the world? Except at 3am, no noise is good at 3am!!!
 
Often quality was worth it.
 
Having a baby without a Moses basket and other such baby items is like building a house without a hammer or a drill. You will still find a way, but it's a lot more difficult. I found that by talking to other parents, family and asking them about what they couldn't do without and then going out to buy those items helped us prepare for her. Some baby items don't come cheap but they are so worth investing in. I can't put a price on our baby swing, slumber elephant or rocking chair! But even though there were items that we couldn't have managed without we still bought so many baby related items that we really didn't need - did we really need two different play mats? What about that special net that was a must have in Mothercare for the Moses basket? How about that gro egg room thermometer? No, No and No!
 
Supportive network.
 
Not everybody is blessed with a supportive family, but you do have control over the family and friends in which you surround yourself. It helps to have people around you that truly care about your happiness and the success in getting this parenting thing down. My family and friends did everything the could to enable me to be there for my baby, it's a great feeling knowing that you have people you can count on during these special moments in your life. I wouldn't be the mother to my daughter if it wasn't for them.
 
I actually liked my daughter.

Now I know what you may be thinking. Of course I love my daughter that's unconditional but I actually liked her during those early days, she was so much fun, and even though she would sleep during the day and be awake most the night she would always find a smile for me during feeds, nappy changes and the night time cuddles. This is pretty much the same now that she's two and a half years old, she makes me smile, she makes me laugh, she amazes me everyday.
 
I love being a mother.
 
Nothing can prepare you for being a mother. You can read all the books go to the antenatal classes but when it comes down to it you never know what it's really like to be a mother until you become one. There are loads of things that I would love to have done before my beautiful daughter came in our life, but you know what, I wouldn't trade places with anyone. I am so lucky to have an amazing little girl, to me she is perfect and I couldn't possibly imagine my life without her.

Can you remember the early days of parenthood? If so what stood out for you?

My Top 5 Christmas Films

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Happy Thursday everyone! Can you believe that we are already in December. Where did November go? Better still, where did Autumn go? All those gorgeous golden crisp autumn leaves have turned into mulch, and the days you could get away with a thick knit jumper have well and truly gone. There's a fresh, crisp, chill in the air for sure. Now I look forward to wrapping up with blankets, hot chocolates, candy canes and turning the heating up to full, it's December so we can!
 
 
With all this festive excitement I thought it would be a great idea to share our favourite Christmas films of all time, and there are so many fantastic ones to choose from. I have been asking all my family and friends about their favourite Christmas films and there seems to be quite a few popular ones in this list. So let's get to it...
 
The Muppet Christmas Carol
 
Ever since I can remember this has been a sort of, tradition in our family. My parents would settle us down with blankets, hot chocolate and sweets in preparation for our Christmas Eve film and this would always be our choice. The Muppet characters tell their version of the classic Charles Dickens novel, A Christmas Carol which is a tale of an old and bitter miser's redemption of Christmas Eve. A must see for all families especially because in this adaption there are some modern songs, who doesn't love a good sing-a-long?
 
The Polar Express
 
I actually watched this film for the first time with my Nan, a few years ago. I can always remember how much she adored this film and know that this would be the perfect film for families over Christmas. My daughter and I watched quite a few films during our Christmas Eve film marathon and this was by far her favourite one. This exciting adventure is based on a children's book by Christ Van Allsburg. The film takes a young boy on a magical train journey that shows him that wonder of life never fades, if you believe!
 
The Santa Clause
 
This was a film that my little sister loved when we were younger and because she watched it so many times, it became a favourite of mine, too. This film is about a Dad, Scott Calvin, who accidentally causes Santa Claus to fall from his roof on Christmas Eve. When he and his young son, Charlie, finish St. Nick's trip and deliveries, they go to the North Pole where Scott learns that he must become the new Santa and convince those he loves that he is indeed Father Christmas.

The Grinch
The Grinch is a film from the beloved children's tale by Dr. Seuss. We love Dr. Seuss in our household my daughter is obsessed with the Lorax, I can't even hazard a guess at how many times she has made me watch the Lorax. This year we are going to introduce her to The Grinch who is a grumpy ole bugger who hates everything  do with Christmas. So much so that he lives so far into the mountains with his dog so he can't be disturbed. But, one day he has an idea to steal Christmas. The Grinch then travels down to the village and tries stealing everything he could and meets a little girl, Cindy-Lou. Can she change his mind about Christmas?
 
Home Alone
 
A timeless favourite! In my opinion Home Alone 1&2 are the best films out of the sequels and they would always get me excited about Christmas. When Kevin McCallister acts out the night before a family trip to Paris, his mother makes him sleep in the attic. After the family mistakenly leave for the airport without Kevin, he wakes the find the house empty and assumes his wish to have no family has come true. But soon not all is what it seems as he realises two con men plan to rob the McCallister residence, and that he must protect the family home.
 
What are your favourite Christmas films?

WEEKLY ROUND UP #4

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Hello everyone,
 
Well it's been a while since we've been here folks, but if you do follow my blog, you'll know that I have been very poorly! But you'll be happy to know that I am feeling much better and just in time for preparation for Blogmas! Are you taking part?
 
 
So what have we been up to this week?
 
Well the week didn't have the best start. My daughter, like most two year old toddlers is inquisitive, but being inquisitive nosy led to her somehow burning her finger on the lamp on my mums sideboard. It was awful. I felt like the worst mother in the world and as everyone was trying to help I couldn't help but feel angry, not at my mum, the lamp, or my daughter, but myself. I couldn't believe she would even think about actually touching the lamp. But my mum, as they do, made me see sense. After twenty minutes and my mum putting plasters on all her fingers, even though she only needed one, she was singing and dancing again. The next day she was absolutely fine other than wanting me to kiss her finger every two minutes but we managed to get outside as the sun was out. We played with leaves, jumped in puddles and met Bonnie the dog who loved her tummy tickled.
 
 
We also started our Christmas shopping for the adults in our families and looking for inspiration for  our daughter and a main present, she hasn't really mentioned anything. But every time we think of an idea a family member has got there first, the buggers! I am leaning more towards a small wooden kitchen for her but again there are just so many to choose from, she's going to move into a bigger room in the new year so space wouldn't be a problem. Any recommendations for a wooden kitchen play set would be appreciated. Did anyone get any good deals during the black Friday sales? As my husband was working I decided to do a little online shopping and to be honest thought it was a bit pants - there wasn't any 'oh wow I must get this' deal! Maybe next year?
 
 
 
This weekend my husband's brother and nephew came down. It was so good to see them both and we had so much fun, it so lovely to see my daughter and nephew play together. The age gap between them is four months and you can already tell who is going to be the bossy one. I wonder who our daughter gets it from. We took the children for a walk around our area and the two little ones were seeking every opportunity imaginable to run away from us, in either direction, let's just say I hit my steps target for that day. Then we dropped by some relatives for some tea, cake and more fun. They both found a burst of energy from somewhere and went absolutely crazy and my daughter? Had to have two time outs in a day, I very rarely have to give her one.
 
 
How was your week?

BAKES | Salted Caramel Drip Cake With Caramac

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A delicious sweet and salty cake that everyone will enjoy.

I love baking and I'm always looking for an excuse to make cake but at the moment, I have been extremely poorly and not up to baking, yet I have somehow managed to find the time to bake my Dad a cake for his birthday. It never fails me that almost everyone I know has a birthday during the months leading up to Christmas which makes me a busy little baker. Now that I have rambled on a little bit, I want to give you all the recipe for my Salted Caramel Drip Cake with Caramac, which will sure be the perfect cake for any Caramac fans.

So what you'll need:
Cake
400g Unsalted Butter, softened
400g Light Brown Sugar
400g Eggs (6-7 eggs)
400g Self-Raising Flour
2tsp Baking Powder
4tbsp Whole Milk
Salted Caramel Buttercream
250g Unsalted Butter, softened
600g Icing Sugar
175g Carnations Caramel
Pinch of Sea Salt
Decoration
Carnations Caramel
Pinch of Sea Salt
Salted Caramel Buttercream
Caramac
First try and prepare all your ingredients into separate bowls so adding them together will be much easier. Heat your oven to 180c/160 for fan assisted ovens and line three 8inch cake tins with baking parchments and set aside.
In a mixer beat together the butter and light brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the flour, eggs and baking powder and beat until combined. As I have used this recipe for a few cakes I have found that if you add the ingredients into the mixer in parts prevents you from over beating the cake mixture. If the mixture is a little too thick now would be a great time to add some of your whole milk. Then divide your mixture between the three tins and smooth over, I have found that if you weigh each cake tins ensures that they rise to the same level when placed on the same shelf in the oven. Bake your cakes for about 25-30 minutes until the cakes are golden brown and the cake springs back, placing a skewer should come out clean too.
Once you have baked your cakes, set aside to cool in their tins for 10-minutes and then remove them from the tins to fully cool on a wire rack. Once they have cooled you can prepare them for decoration. Even when you weigh out the mixture evenly there may be a dome on the top of your cakes so cut off any excess with a knife or cake leveller, and brush the crumbs off with a crumb brush.
Next comes the exciting part, the decoration. In a stand mixer, beat the butter until smooth and beat in the icing sugar. But be careful, unless you want to look like a snowman! It's best to try and beat in the icing sugar a little bit at the time to prevent any lumps and looking like a snowman. The first time I done this recipe I put all the icing sugar into my mixer and it went everywhere, it look liked Santa's Grotto in my kitchen. Keep beating the buttercream for 5-minutes until fully combined. Add the carnations caramel and beat again with a pinch of sea salt for a further 5-minutes.
As the cakes are already prepared we can start adding the first layer of buttercream. Put the first cake onto the serving plate and some of the buttercream onto the top of the first layer, add the second cake on top, and then top again with some of the buttercream and add the final layer. Cover the sides and top with a thin layer of buttercream and set in the fridge for 10-minute. Repeat again with a thicker layer of buttercream until it's smooth.
Once you have finished set aside in the fridge again and pop the rest of the carnations caramel into a bowl and beat, microwave for 10-seconds and beat once more. Using a disposable piping bag, pipe it around the edge of the cake to create the drip, fill the top of the cake with more caramel so the top is covered completely. Pop back into the fridge for 15-minutes. Then pipe the rest of your Salted Caramel Buttercream around the top, add some Caramac pieces in your buttercream and grate any left over Caramac for the middle of your cake.

Enjoy!

This post is linked up with

The Christmas Clean Up

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 We all look forward to the Christmas holidays - spending quality time with our nearest and dearest,  sharing a tub of Quality Street, and deciding what to watch after you have eaten your body weight in turkey. But where there's celebration, there's guests, there's mess so therefore a good clean up before Christmas is essential to ensure there's no rush two days before. We've all done it! Running around like a headless chicken on Christmas eve with the last minute wrapping, baking more mince pies as eating them all the night before was a good idea and the Christmas Clean Up. This year I thought that I would be a little more organised and actually have a plan to tackle the Christmas Clean Up before Christmas Eve arrives.
It's a good idea to get prepared by cleaning and tidying different areas of your home. I have found that is becomes easier if you divide each part of your home and perhaps get other family members involved, even children. After all they have to be good for Santa Claus.

Let's get started...
KITCHEN
Every year I always start my Christmas clean up in the kitchen, it's where the magic happens and where most people congregate. So with this in mind it needs to be spotless and look presentable, showroom style. First task would be to clean the oven so that it's ready to cook that turkey to perfection. I normally opt for a safe, natural and effective way to clean my oven - no harsh chemicals and no high heat auto-cleaning with smoke alarm funny business. All it takes is a little time and some good ole elbow grease along with some vinegar, baking soda and rubber gloves!
Next, is the fridge! Before you start to stock up on all that oh-so-naughty food for Christmas you need to have a clean fridge and clear out any out of date food. Then pull out all the left over food, shelves, draws and the bottle shelves and set aside for cleaning with warm water, soap, baking soda, and a cloth. I prefer the natural way to clean my fridge. The warm water helps the soap bubble up and is perfect for dissolving any stickiness and picking up crumbs. The baking soda helps naturally deodorizes any stinky corners or drawers, cutting a lemon in half will also help. Boom! A nice sparkling clean fridge. Now for the oh-so-naughty food shop...

BATHROOM
This is probably one of the most important rooms to clean as it's a room that most family and friends will visit. While you have visitors it's best to check that it has clean towels, toilet roll and top up the soap dispenser if it's needed. I have a toilet and a bathroom in my home so it can be quite the challenge to keep them both clean for any guests and as much as I hate cleaning the bathroom it needs to be spick and span for any guests over the festive period.
Begin with removing any items that don't belong in the bathroom such as clothes, cups, rubbish, toddler toys - take any removable units out of the bathroom while the clean up is in progress so you can clean under them. Then pour some bleach or another disinfectant into the toilet bowl, pop your toilet brush inside the bowl, after an hour or so clean around the exterior, lids and handle.
In general, when cleaning any room, start from the top down. So clean cobwebs in the corners of the bathroom, and brush other dust and dirt directly onto the floor to sweep up later no forgetting those skirting boards. Cleaning the shower can take some time, spray cleaning product on the shower walls, and the shower head and let it rest for a couple of minutes, then scrub and rinse. Then it's time for the bath! Spray cleaners that are especially designed to help get rid of soap scum around the bath, good ole scrub and then rinse away. Cleaning the sink any counter top should be the last task in the bathroom so start by scrubbing any soap scum and toothpaste off with cleaner, rinsing and wiping as you go along. Then sweep or vacuum the floors, spray air freshener and finish up by mopping the floors with some cleaning product, phew, glad that's done.

LIVING ROOM
This is the room where you are most likely to entertain your guests so a clean, clutter free living area is a must. In our old house we had carpets and would hire out a carpet cleaner but thankfully our new home has wood flooring so it's easier to keep on top of the floors clean. Vacuum to your hearts content, move any furniture where you think any dust bunnies are lurking and the dust everywhere - units, shelves, skirting boards, TV and ornaments. It would also been an idea to try and keep on top of the vacuuming so the last days leading up to Christmas won't be so stressful when you're already running around like a mad woman, because you forgot to buy some cranberry sauce!
Once the Christmas Clean Up is complete in the living room and you finally get all the Christmas decorations down there are a few things that you could do to help create that lovely Christmas smell in your home. The first and most obvious would be air fresheners and plug ins, winter spice smells are just the best. We buy Christmas scented candles by the truck load during the winter and then for the tree? You can buy a Scentsicles that are scented ornaments that emit a fresh smell over the Christmas period, you are able to attach them to your tree, wreath or garland.

BEDROOMS
When it's time to clean the bedrooms there are a few things you have to consider - the bed and bedding, wardrobes, carpets, windows, units, and mirrors. It's best to start with the beds by stripping the duvets, bedsheets and pillow cases, then bung them into the wash, while they are in the wash it gives the mattress a chance to breathe. Then just before you put cleaned sheets back on, vacuum the mattress and add fabric freshener to keep any odours at bay. Try and remove anything that is not supposed to be in the room, if you're cleaning the children rooms make some time to clear out their wardrobes and toys boxes to make room for their new ones from Santa Claus.
Next you will need to dust, dust, dust. The bedside units, chest of drawers and wardrobes. While you are cleaning the wardrobe it may be an idea to rearrange your clothes, if you're anything like me they can get messy. If there are clothes that you no longer want or need there are ways in which you can dispose of them, my post on what to do with old clothes may inspire you. When moving the furniture make sure you keep an eye out for those dust bunnies and suck them up into the vacuum and don't forget the ceiling and skirting boards. Check the windows, curtains and blinds usually I will take my curtains and nets down and add these to the ever growing washing pile, wipe down blinds with soapy water. Once a month I normally grab an old toothbrush and scrub around the inside of my window anyway, but during the Christmas Clean Up it will only take a wipe down and they are good to go. Once everything is cleaned, dusted and back in it's place vacuum the flooring and go outside to bash any rugs if need be.
Phew, that's a lot of cleaning. If you're looking at this list and thinking that's way too much on top of everything else I have to do for Christmas, you could always seek professional help with Sparkling Clean Apartment By Handy, who are more than happy to help with your Christmas Clean Up!

Do you ever do a Christmas Clean Up before the big day? What would your tips be?

BOOK REVIEW | Taboo by Thomas Piggott

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I'm an avid reader and so I thought that my blog would be the perfect place to tell you about some books that are unforgettable. An opportunity arose with Taboo by Thomas Piggott and I knew from the title that it would be a good read and I wasn't disappointed.

This book is fascinating and heart-breaking all at once. It's an eye-opening book into the reality of the horrendous childhood abuse at the hands of person who was thought to be trusted and a friend. Thomas Piggott depicts the survival techniques of a young child and despite it all having the amazing ability to survive circumstances that are beyond imagining.
 
 

The Plot
 
Set in the Midlands during the 1970s, Taboo tells true story of Thomas Piggott who as a child was subjected to the most brutal sexual abuse imaginable and by a person who was supposed to be a trusted authority. But it also follows Thomas into adulthood, highlighting how the pain and emotional damage caused by the abuse caused a domino effect into his life.
 
The book begins with Thomas Piggott explaining why he's decided to share his story and what he hopes to gain from writing down all his thoughts. In a unique way, writing his book acted like a type of therapy where by sharing his story he could help others who have been through child abuse to feel less alone and to speak up. You have to admire the courage that Thomas has with Taboo as it couldn't have been an easy writing about your life for the whole world to see.
 
My thoughts on the book
 
As I have said Taboo immediately grabbed my attention. But I do have to be completely honest and say that some parts of the book I found quite difficult to read, due to the narrative nature of the story it did seem to jump from one thing to another. I understand that this book is a true account of a victim of child abuse and therefore it cannot be so clearly set out, chapter by chapter, but this alone cannot detract from the serious focus of the book. In my opinion this book teaches you about child abuse through an unforgettable account. But it also teaches you about the seriousness and the effects that child abuse can have on an individual creating a domino effect into their adulthood.
 
Thomas is so courageous to write about his life experiences. No one should have to go through that pain, but unfortunately it does happen. This books goes into quite graphic detail about the child abuse which can be hard to take at times, whilst reading I wanted to put it down because it made me so angry. Beware it's an emotional one! But even though at times it was graphic, I don't think that it would get the same reaction from it's readers if it was sugar coated...it's very real.

Sadly, I believe that many people will be able to relate to Thomas and his life story. Child abuse is something that no one ever wants to share however over recent years it happens more than we all realise and usually by someone who thought could be trusted. I would like to think that because Thomas Piggott found the courage to share his personal experiences of his childhood it may give his readers who may have been through similar experience the courage to speak out.
 
Conclusion and rating

Overall, I would have to say that Taboo is an unforgettable book and reading this certainly put me on an emotional rollercoaster. At times it was hard to read due to the sheer descriptive nature but also because it's jumps from one thing to another. It's reasonably fast-paced with plenty going on with a select few characters that play a crucial part for Thomas Piggott and his life. Nonetheless it's an unforgettable read and I would give this a rating of 4/5. You can buy your copy on Amazon and it's currently retailing at £6.99 and twenty per cent of royalties will go to Children In Need.

Our Honeymoon in Cuba

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As I have said before 2013 has to be one of the most memorable years I will ever have. In March I got to marry my best friend, in April we honeymooned to a beautiful country and then in October we found were going to have a baby. What a year! I want to take you back to our honeymoon where a newly married Mr and Mrs Combes caught a plane to Holguin in Cuba. I am so glad that my husband and I decided on this destination as we took part in so many adventures that I never thought would be possible.


We honeymooned and stayed at the hotel Playa Pesquero for 17 nights and we decided for the first week we would relax and recuperate and the second week we would take part in some excursions on the island. During the first week...BOOM...I am in the doctors office getting a shot in my bum because someone cannot have too much sun, damn you pale skin. I was advised to stay inside during the day but Tony and I did make our own fun and he taught me how to play pool. Now even though the rum cocktails were amazing I do remember that I won at least one game during our honeymoon. Also in the first week Tony and I made a big mistake in not putting sun cream on our feet, what absolute plonkers! Always, always put sun cream on your feet.


The second week was the week we began the excursions on the island and the first one was called the Green and Blue Jeep Safari where we were driven around in our own 4x4 to discover the real Cuba. We also visited a fishing village and went to a local farm that had the most adorable family who opened up their home and even gave us a shot of their home-made rum. Next we got to drive our own speedboat and this was so much fun as you can imagine Tony had the best time, I wasn't allowed to drive, but I thought that was for the best as I was learning to parallel park back then. Okay I must confess I am an awful driver!


The last activity that we did on this excursion was horse back riding, this was something I was least looking forward to and I hadn't been on a horse since I was about seven. But nonetheless I got my riding hat on listened to instructions from the leader about the 'well behaved' horses, but mine started to go the opposite way to the group. I just knew something like this would happened, my horse scared the living day out of me when he got too close to a sheer drop edge. You can clearly see from this...


The second excursion on our honeymoon was Dining with Dolphins the one we were both looking forward to and a chance of a lifetime. We enjoyed a swim with these beautiful creatures while they showed us some tricks, the truly are a magnificent animal. We even did some tricks with them, pushed across the water by water-skiing on the dolphins nose and the pulled around the pool by the dolphin. Next we watched a dolphin show where they really showed us what they could do followed by the sea-lion show.


As we were a newly wed couple our tour guide stitched us up and poor Tony had to participate in the sea-lion show. I was quite glad to be honest. I love this photo and as Tony was relieved that he could change into clean dry clothes after the swim and then Cecilia the sea-lion literally laid all over him. He smelled like fish but I didn't notice so much during our lobster meal. 


Our final excursion for the honeymoon was Island Paradise on a catamaran. It truly was an fun filled day as we sailed out to the Cayo Saetia, and even went snorkelling. Something that I was excited to try and I was a complete natural...NOT. There I was looking out to the beautiful blue ocean in my snorkelling gear and my flippers and I was urged to get off the boat as others were waiting. I then thought I will use the steps, but because I am so short it...but they were too steep. So I thought just jump - yes ladies and gentlemen I literally belly flopped into the sea with my snorkel going one way, flippers the other and me coughing as I swallowed lots of salty water. Where was my husband??? Oh being a snorkelling natural...typical 


Once we arrived on the island we could go exploring the beautiful and tranquil place. Amid the greenery Cayo Saetia has been stocked with both local and introduced wild animals such as antelopes, deer, ostriches, turtles, water buffalos, zebras and others. Alongside the wild animals, a camel and a few cattle and horses as well as a number of parrots roam freely on the island. After our lovely meal it was time to go, sailing back on the catamaran it was so calm and peaceful as the ship glided through the waters without a sound, a memory I shall cherish. 


Our honeymoon was amazing and I am so glad that I got to share so many new experiences with my new husband. If you ever get the chance to go to this beautiful country, please do. You will not be disappointed.

L'Oréal Elvive Extraordinary Clay Range

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I don't know about you but I do feel as if I have tried everything to get my hair looking shiny, healthy and try to eliminate my dry ends. Regular cuts, letting my hair dry naturally and trying every hair care product going to battle these problems. FINALLY! A hair care range to targets oily roots and dry ends! L'Oréal you beauty! I have always struggled with oily roots and dry ends I could even go on to say straw like ends that break so easily. I have tried no end of products to try and nourish my dry ends but these can leave my roots looking very greasy, so greasy that it doesn't always even look as if I wash my hair. It is rather frustrating, as my hair only lasts a day and I am having to wash it every other day, everyone knows that regular washing can create more problems rather that combating them. So when I saw this L'Oréal Extraordinary Clay range in Boots that promises to purify roots and hydrate those pesky dry ends I had to put them in my basket and give them a try.


L'Oréal have combined 3 refined clays which aim to absorb oil and balance the hair from root to tip. This clay range includes a Clay Masque Pre-Shampoo Treatment, a Re-Balancing Shampoo & Conditioner, an Anti Dandruff Shampoo and a Dry Shampoo. I picked up the Shampoo, Conditioner the Masque and the Dry Shampoo.

Let's start with the Clay Masque Pre-Shampoo Treatment and seeing as it's a clay I expected it to be a grey colour but the masque was a vibrant blue colour. The recommendation is to leave the masque on your hair for 5 minutes to deeply absorb excess oils and impurities before rinsing the clay out whilst massaging the scalp until the water runs clear. The consistency of the product is easy to apply to the hair but it does feel strange applying to dry hair because it feels so heavy. I really thought that the clay masque helped my roots feel really light and my hair wasn't oily after three days. 

After using the Clay Pre-Shampoo Masque, I applied the Re-Balancing shampoo onto wet hair, gently massaging into the scalp and then rinse. This product is great! It smells lovely and my hair feels and looks so great. And when paired with the masque and conditioner it has truly extended the length of time my hair has stayed clean and grease free. It is so easy to use and is great value, I also think that colour of the packaging is cute too. I could even go on to say that without the masque the shampoo and conditioner combo improved the length of time my hair has remained clean, grease free and nourished!

The Re-Balancing conditioner claims to deeply purify roots, hydrate dry ends to create perfectly balanced hair condition. For best results it's recommended that after shampooing, apply onto the hair focusing on the mid-lengths and ends, then rinse. I absolutely love the rich texture of the conditioner which makes it so easy to apply and to be honest you don't need to use a lot. I have long hair with split ends, that is prone to frizz and gets greasy quickly, this conditioner eliminates all of those problems. 


By using this trio has left my hair feeling soft, nourished and I feel as if there is a definite lift at the roots so my hair has more body. It has to be one of the best products that is available at the moment that promises to combat any grease build up in the roots to hydrating dry ends - this perfect trio will help break the vicious cycle of oily roots and dry ends in no time.

Have you tried the Extraordinary Clay Range?

Have you heard of the KidloLand app yet?

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What are your thoughts about screen time for children? Generally I think it's quite a mixture of opinions and a case of choosing what you think is best for you and your child. A big yes for technology or a big no-no - I believe that there are advantages and disadvantages to screen time.
Even though most parents try to limit screen time for their children, I believe that it can be a great learning resource.  I have used a number of different apps and educational programs to help and encourage further learning with my daughter. I would go as far to say that these apps have helped my daughter in her learning development but also encouraged her to go through certain learning milestones at a faster rate.
As a parent it's quite fascinating watching my daughter learning and developing because it means that she's becoming more independent and even if I don't like it she is growing up. That is the reason why I like the KidloLand app so much. My daughter is two years old and can quite easily navigate herself around the app without prompting, but I can also see that by her interacting with this app she is beginning to understand key parts that is crucial for her development.
What's the KidloLand app?
If you own a pre-schooler and haven't heard of the KidloLand app - then you really need stay and find out what it's all about. KidloLand is a fun and educational app that is jam-packed with Nursery Rhymes, Songs, Games, Stories and Activities that will be sure to engage your pre-schooler and promote further interaction.  The app teaches about different fruits, vegetables, animals, ABCs, numbers and shapes just to name a few. But what makes this app even better is that while my daughter plays with each activity she is learning something new each time.  I'm not just saying this but it really is a 'must-have' app for any parent with children of a pre-school age.


But the greatest thing about this app aside the educational aspect of it...there's NO advertising. KidloLand that gets a big thumbs up from us because my daughter can't get onto Amazon and order me something that she shouldn't be able to.
In a nutshell
This app is probably one of the best thought out apps aimed at under 5s on the market at the moment. It's an app that is engaging with the bright, colourful characters and illustrations that will be sure to encourage an interaction with your pre-schooler. My daughter found navigating herself around the app and it's content easy and thoroughly enjoyed the fact that there was just so much to choose from, we are still getting through some activities.  More songs, stories, activities and games are added every month so there is always something new every time she plays.
What the toddler thought?

As I'm sure you can imagine my daughter absolutely loves KidloLand and sometimes I struggle to get her off it! I'm really glad that my daughter took to the app pretty much straightaway and this has become her go to app now, which means I can get rid of all the ones that have the annoying advertising!
When I asked my daughter what she liked about the app she said that she loved the Dinos, Fruits, and Vegetables and she will sit there for some time happily singing along. My daughter likes the chomping monsters which is like a puzzle where she has to fit the pieces together to make the fruit. The musical petals is also becoming a firm favourite where she chooses a song and touches the petals to sound out the song. There is so much to this app we haven't even managed to get through all the activities yet. But while we discover all the new activities not only is my daughter is being entertained but she is learning!



Would I recommend the app?

Without a doubt!!!
KidloLand have created the perfect app that is fun, educational and interactive. It has been designed to help stimulate babies through to school starters and I would highly recommend this app, I wish I found out about it sooner. The app is available to download on the App Store, Google Play and Amazon App Store. Due to the amount of apps on my phone I decided on this occasion I would download it onto my kindle and now I have pretty much lost my kindle to the toddler and this app!!! You can buy a 3, 6, or 12 monthly subscriptions, we were send a code to try the app out for free to find out exactly what you get for a yearly subscription which retails at about £27.99 - great value.

If you are looking for the perfect app for your pre-schooler then honestly don't look any further than KidloLand, you won't be disappointed!

*DISCLAIMER*  MIMI ROSE & ME IS A PERSONAL BLOG WRITTEN AND EDITED BY MYSELF ONLY, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED. MY REVIEWS ARE COMPLETELY BASED ON MY OWN OPINION OF THE PRODUCT REVIEWED. THESE PRODUCTS WERE SUPPLIED TO ME AS GIFT TO TEST AND REVIEW. THE FACT THAT I DO RECEIVE A PRODUCT AS A GIFT TO TEST AND REVIEW, WILL NEVER POSITIVELY INFLUENCE THE CONTENT MADE IN THIS POST.

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