Saturday, 21 April 2018

Personalised Phone and Tablet Cases from

photo phone case

Let's be honest, personalised phone cases are nothing new. They've been around for years now and there are hundreds of suppliers of them. I've never had an interest in them before as the ones I've seen have mostly been low quality hard cases or wallets and that's not what I like. I know what I want and I'm quite a hard woman to please.

Since I got my first iPhone back in 2012 its always been a soft silicon type case I like, usually plain as I like to keep it simple. I choose silicon or rubber as I love the reassurance of the big plastic bumper around my fragile glass screen and in the four iPhones I've had I've not had a broken screen yet! So for me its the right choice.

My New Phone Case
However, now I have a personalised phone case I have to admit that I didn't know what I was missing. I haven't compromised, I still have my flexible silicon cover but I also have the most divine picture of myself, my twin girls and my mum smiling at me each time I grab my phone. It is the best photo and it reminds me of a great day together.

My phone cover came from and cost £14.99, this seems a very reasonable price to me as the generic ones that I can find in the shops are either that price or more. It's also one of the better silicon covers I've owned as the material is nice and thick and fits my phone very snugly, so it can't escape. The lip (or bumper) over the glass screen is also thick and quite raised to give the best protection.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Fancy Changing your Teens Life with NCS?

teens kayaking

If I told you that your year 11 could develop leadership skills, build their confidence and make new friends this summer would you be interested?

Would you be even more interested if I said all this would cost you just £50 (maximum) and that your teen would be fully engaged in the most amazing outdoor team-building exercises, a residential for participants to learn ‘life skills’, a community-based social action project and an end of programme celebration event, all over a period of two to four weeks?

The National Citizen Service (NCS)
It sounds amazing, right? I'm sure you want to hear more about the National Citizen Service (NCS), the providers of all this fun. My JJ isn't even 15 yet but I am so pleased to have discovered NCS as I'll definitely be chatting to him about taking part once he has finished his GCSE's. He despairs of me sometimes as I'm forever on at him about being a good citizen; it is one of the most important values I aim to instil in JJ (and my girls to as they grow) as I feel it is far too easy in this day and age to be self-centered and to forget the value of community and working together for the greater good.

“Programmes like NCS are a good way to develop confidence and leadership skills to encourage a new generation of business and community leaders.” Sir Richard Branson

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Easter Happy Holiday Days

We've had a lovely couple of weeks with the kids off school but I have to be honest, I am now ready for them to go back to school. I haven't really done any work and my house is feeling neglected BUT if you asked my girls I bet they'd say they've had a wonderful time and whilst JJ hasn't done half as much with me as they have I bet he'd say he was happy too, as I let him indulge his online gaming passion with his mates these last couple of days!

Easter was spent at home relaxing and we had a great early morning service up by the cross on Easter Sunday morning. Then Monday we headed to Bridgwater and stayed over there before a stop at the beautiful Dunster Castle.

Monday, 9 April 2018

Booking a Cottage via Airbnb: The White House, Fakenham, Norfolk

the white house

Booking with Airbnb
Last summer for my birthday we took our first Airbnb break. I was a little nervous as I booked because I'd heard both good and bad stories of people's experiences. We just wanted a few days away as a family of five but because it was the Summer school holidays everything costs a bomb. Luckily we’d already had our main family holiday so I figured if it all went wrong we’d still be OK, only four hours from home.

Nothing went wrong though, I need not have feared, we had the most amazing stay at the White House, Little Snoring, Fakenham, Norfolk. The owner Ceila was efficient from my first email communication and when we met her it was clear she could not do enough to make her guests stay memorable. We stayed for three nights and it so was good to be able to choose our length of stay rather than being dictated to by a holiday park. I paid £275.35 in total for the three nights, so that's less than £100 a night for the five of us and I think that's good value for the school holidays. 

With Airbnb bookings it is worth noting that you have a price per night quoted when you search and then there will be a cost on top for cleaning he property and also the service charge, which goes to Airbnb for running the website and providing the support.

I found all the communication very good via Airbnb, you can send questions to prospective property hosts and then communicate with the host of the property you book. I got both emails and text messages from Ceila and she was happy to help with all my queries.

Each host has their own terms and conditions in regard to cancellations, so it is worth checking those out before you book and see if there are any reviews. I like to book a tried and tested property with a number of good reviews. I have seen a few properties and the only reviews are that the host cancelled the booking at short notice, of course I wouldn't dream of booking one of those. 

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Reasons to be Cheerful: Social Media, Baptism and Italian Food

Happy Thursday friends. How are you doing? Can you believe it is Easter tomorrow? This month seems to have gone by in a flash and next Thursday Reasons to be Cheerful will be back over with Becky at Lakes Single Mum for the month of April.

I've had a good week and here are just a few of the things that have been making me really cheerful in the last week -

*  I've been getting great feedback on the social media work that I'm doing for Ashburnham Place. It's so nice to be doing something that is appreciated and hopefully making a difference to the number of people who know about what we do and perhaps want to volunteer here.

*  One of our community members got baptised on Sunday evening.We had a great time of worship and prayer by the bonfire and then she braved our lake for a full-immersion baptism, it was really beautiful.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

A Beginners Guide to Giving Blood in the UK

A beginners guide to giving blood in the UK, It is safe, quick and simple and could save a life

Last week I was super happy to give blood. A pint, that's all they take. My body doesn't miss it and luckily for me I've always found it a really easy and painless process. This time I was at the donation centre for 35 minutes start to finish and that blood I gave might save someones life. It's worth it, right?

This was my 23rd donation and I'm already booked in for my 24th in September. As a woman I can give blood every 16 weeks and men are able to give every 12 weeks but of course you have to do what is convenient for you and that's why I've only given 23 times since 1998. But I refuse to beat myself up that it could have been far more because that is 23 pints of blood that have made a big difference to some people and I really love the fact nowadays that I get a text after donation to tell me where my blood has gone to, it really helps me feel connected to the process.

Surely they have enough blood already?
I bet you know someone who has received blood. Most of us do whether we realise it or not. The NHS need 6,000 blood donations every day to ensure there is enough blood to meet demands within England. This means they need 200,000 new donors every year to replenish those who can no longer donate. Over half of regular donors are over 45 years old and as such more young people need to start donating to ensure there is enough blood in the future.

There is a particular need for more people from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities to give blood so there is adequate supply of certain blood types. Especially blood from black donors that can be given to black patients with sickle cell disease.

A beginners guide to giving blood in the UK, It is safe, quick and simple and could save a life

Saturday, 24 March 2018

JJ, Age 14 Reviews the Young Driver Experience at Bluewater, Kent

boy in front of young driver sign

Today we took the 90 minute drive from our home on the South-east coast up to Bluewater, the massive shopping centre in Kent. Shopping wasn't our main reason for the visit though, no today was about JJ enjoying one of his Christmas gifts. He had received a gift voucher for a 1 hour Young Driver experience and he was super keen to get behind the wheel of the car.

He's nearly 15 but hasn't tried out driving before so we had no idea how well he would take to it. On the one hand he is very intelligent and takes in information really easily but on the other this was the kid who had occupational therapy for a few years as he could hardly balance and had no spacial awareness. I need not have worried though as JJ took to it like a duck to water.

young driver lessons
Off they go to start the lesson

What are Young Driver Lessons?

If your child is between 10 and 17 years of age they can sign up for a 30 or 60 minute lesson at one of over 60 venues across the UK. Young Driver have been giving lessons since 2009, delivering over 500,000 lessons with hand-picked, DBS checked instructors. The cost is £36.95 for a 30 minute lesson or £67.95 for a 60 minute lesson. I also see that they do birthday party packages and I think the price of £66 for a 15 minute lesson for four children is excellent. Do keep your eyes peeled on money saving sites too, as I've spotted a number of special offers around.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

24 Hours in London - Reasons to be Cheerful #R2BC

This week I'm dedicating my reasons to be cheerful post to a great 24 hours last weekend spent with my Mum in London, belatedly celebrating Mothers Day. We've done this the last few years and it is a really nice treat to look forward to.

We start the weekend off with me heading over to meet Mum at Waterloo and enjoy a good cup of coffee at Costa, of course having a right old natter to catch up on what has been going on since we last spoke. The weather is then far too nice to head down to the underground so we walk along the South Bank and take in the street performers and the great atmosphere on the way to Westminster tube station.

There we pick up the tube to go to High Street Kensington as we are staying in the Holiday Inn just off the High Street and only a few minutes walk from the tube station. It proves to be an excellent hotel and I'll write up a review, even though I paid for it as my Mums Christmas gift.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

The Importance of Spending One-on-One Time With Your Children

If you invest in one-on-one time with your child when they are young then you will build your relationship and their trust in you for when they are older

Every parent wants to have that joyous bond with their child. One where they are both respected as parent and cherished as friend. I think one of the keys to that closeness and developing a special relationship that will last a lifetime and weather the storms is spending intentional one-on-one time with each of your children.

Now before you start telling me that you have six kids, no money and your partner works away from home, this doesn't have to be expensive or too time intensive.

Yes, of course you can have those kind of special times too. Both my girls chose time as their main Christmas present this year, so during February half-term Miss M will go away with my husband to London to see a show and stay overnight. Then a few days later Miss E will go away with me to see my Mum and stay in a great hotel with a pool. We will all have the most amazing time I'm sure and in doing so we cement our relationships further.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Yippee, Its National Slime Day Today! Glam Goo Deluxe Pack Review

Well who knew there was even such a thing as national slime day? I certainly didn't but it seems fitting for this year as my girls love to make slime and there is always a collection of tubs of the gooey stuff on our side.

When I asked the girls if they wanted to have a play with Glam Goo for National Slime Day they were thrilled and said yes straight away, as we make tons of white and coloured slime but good clear slime is a much harder make and that is what comes with the Glam Goo Deluxe pack. The RRP is £22.99 but to be honest it seemed to mostly be selling for £29.99 at well-known toy stores such as Argos and Smyths Toys.

In the Deluxe pack you get the clear Glam Goo in a pink storage case, 3 sprinkles, 2 colour pigments, a scent and of course the glamorous slime storage handbag and ring. The girls love it that you can mix and match all the sparkles and colours to make lots of different small batches of slime and as you can see in the handbag below, they really are very pretty.

The bag has a pink cover that goes inside it to ensure it stays air-tight and the slime lasts. We have had ours made for a couple of weeks now and I find you have to play with it to warm up the slime a little but it then still has good stretch. If you try to do it too quick, it does snap a bit.

My girls have done a full vlog review of the Glam Goo Deluxe Pack. Why don't you take a look at their video and see how they got on?


And if you fancy making your own slime then do head over to YouTube and have a look at our Easy Homemade Slime playlist.

Disclosure: We received 2 packs of Glam Goo for the purpose of this review. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest. 
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Thursday, 15 March 2018

A Week of Reasons to be Cheerful

Home sweet home and the sun is shining!

It's time for our weekly dose of cheerfulness and I am feeling a lot more like myself than I did last week. Sadly my lovely aunt passed away, so I'll be heading to her funeral on Tuesday but I'm so thankful she is no longer in loads of pain.

Here's my week of cheer -

Thursday - I had a good session with the little boy I coach through the charity TLG. Then in the evening I headed to Tesco whilst my girls were at Guides and I got a new coat for the Spring. It is raspberry coloured and I love it.

Friday - We headed out for a meal for my friend Annie's birthday and the food was exquisite. I had a chicken breast stuffed with spiced lamb and spinach and coated in a mild curry sauce with pomegranate seeds, sultanas and sunflower seeds.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Super Lucky to be Here: Happy Mothering Sunday #isurvived

JJ, my boy who made me Mummy

Happy Mothering Sunday Friends. I wish every woman out there an amazing day, be she a mother herself or a mother figure. This day isn't only to be celebrated and enjoyed by those who have given birth it is also for those who selflessly offer their heart and soul loving others in the way a mother often does.

This is the 16th Mothering Sunday that I have celebrated. Of course JJ isn't actually that old yet but my hubby bought a card from the bump (AKA JJ) back in March 2003, seven months before he was even born. I remember being so thrilled to receive that first card and some flowers (if I remember rightly) as it was the start of my maternal journey, having thought previous to this that I might never have children.

I do remember feeling very special when I was pregnant but I had quite a lot of sickness for the first few months and I just looked extra fat rather than glowing with a perky bump. I did then get about four good months with JJ just before he was born but then stupidly I decided it would be great to have him in September rather than October, as was his due date. So I cleared and cleaned the house and then started to gut the garage. I remember I worked like a Trojan and it was very satisfying, well up to the point when I saw my midwife that afternoon and she started to worry about high blood pressure, excessive oedema in my ankles and belly, and protein in my urine.

Yes, it turns out I had pre-eclampsia. I've no idea if all my 'nesting' added to my getting this condition but it surely didn't help it and I was taken off to the hospital that evening for monitoring and a scan. It was decided that they wouldn't let me go too much over my due date and thus I was booked in for an induction on 3rd October 2003 when I would be 40+2 weeks.

Whilst my induction with JJ was a bit of a debacle and took me quite some time to emotionally recover from, I am still enormously grateful that we have the NHS in this country and that when JJ's heart rate kept decelerating, I could have the C-section without any delay. Then when the spinal blocks and epidural didn't work, there was an anaesthetist on hand who was able to give me a general straight away. Luckily JJ was fine and he hadn't swallowed any meconium as was feared and over the next few weeks I healed too.

Friday, 9 March 2018

Sunset Scooting at Bexhill-on-Sea

Bexhill beach

Isn't it good to break out from the norm sometimes? During half-term we grabbed my husband out of work early on the Friday afternoon and dropped JJ off so he could go away for an adventure weekend with our church. Then the rest of us headed down to my favourite local seaside town, Bexhill-on-Sea for some fresh air and exercise.

bexhill sunset

girls scooting on bexhill prom

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Happy Thursday - Seeking Out the Reasons to be Cheerful

I love the ice fountain but am happy it is now about 10 degrees warmer and has running water again

It's been a funny old week. I've had moments of elation and others of almost despair. However nothing is massively wrong with me, so please don't worry but I think the news that one of my aunts is terminally ill is having a real impact on me. She is the most lovely woman and I only found her about twenty years ago and haven't even seen her that much but I just knew she was there and we spent a lovely couple of days together last year when she came to stay. I'm really hoping I can organise to get up to see her very soon. Whilst prayer is great, it isn't quite the same as seeing her in the flesh.

Anyway, this is supposed to be a cheery post, so I'm going for some quick-fire reasons to be cheerful:

1.   I love streaming TV. I know it may sound a naff reason but the US box sets do make me so cheerful. I'm particularity loving Netflix right now, we just started to watch Quantico. Everything sucks was an easy watch and I'm getting into Riverdale too.

2.   I've got some new paid work doing social media for the conference centre where I live. It's only short-term initially but it is something I used to do on a voluntary basis a couple of years back and I really enjoyed it, so I'm glad to get back to it and be rewarded for it too.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Beautiful Silver Child's Locket from Molly Brown London: Review

Have you heard of Molly Brown London? I hadn't until last week but now I am so glad that I have. Molly Brown London is a British high-end children's jewellery brand established in 2006 and upon its launch it was dubbed ‘Tiffany for girls’ by VOGUE Magazine. I can certainly see why, just look at their packaging, if you changed the beautiful pink and chocolate brown packaging to robin egg blue it could easily be mistaken for the iconic brand. No wonder it is widely accepted as some of the best in the business.

The founder Erica Illingworth believes that “A love of jewellery can be inspired at any age and hopefully indulged for a lifetime.” My girls really did feel very special from the moment they took their individual Molly Brown London bag out of the delivery box.

A piece of Molly Brown London jewellery might be the first taste of luxury that your little girl has experienced and what a wonderful introduction to the finer things in life. Don't think that it has to be super expensive though as the price for a beautiful necklace starts from as little as £30 and actually at the moment they have some amazing sale items for just £12, I'm definitely going to be picking up some gifts.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Returning to Work after Maternity

Mother and Baby Image, thanks to Pixabay

Not so long ago you were preparing for the arrival of your little bundle of joy. You were setting up the nursery, getting hold of all sorts of paraphernalia - bibs, baby grows, toys and soothers, and eagerly awaiting for the initial pangs of labour to kick in. Your other half had got the hospital bag, you were eating spicy food to try and kick-start your baby's entry into the world, and you couldn't wait to start your new life as a family of three. Fast forward twelve months and you’ve had a year off with your little one and you’re relishing the joys of mummy hood, but the time has come to go back to work. Perhaps this terrifies you? You don’t know if you can leave your little darling in the hands of a stranger, albeit a well-qualified professional, and you panic that going back to the world of employment will make you a bad mother.

Hang on - Take a step back and assess your situation. Maybe going back to work is a positive step. You will have the chance to reconnect with colleagues and friends, and you’ll have the chance to be professionally fulfilled once again. You won’t have to spend twenty-four hours a day speaking baby babble, and you can have an adult conversation. You’ll be able to challenge yourself and continue your professional development. While you may ache to return to work, you may also fear the pangs of missing your precious offspring. This is normal and shows just how much you unconditionally love your child. However, heading back to work will never make you a bad mum.

Part Time Or Full Time
If venturing back into the throes of full-time work leaves you reaching for a brown paper bag and developing heart palpitations, you need to reconsider how much time you can dedicate to your job. Returning to work full time will result in a greater financial contribution to the family home, but it could also mean a higher childcare bill and less time spent with your toddler during his or her formative years. If you can afford it, consider heading back to work part-time or enquire about working from home more often. Many employers are now welcoming the concept of flexible working with open arms. They appreciate that a happy employee is a productive employee, so by proving your worth when working from the comfort of your own sofa, you could find the perfect balance between your work life and mummy hood.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Reasons to be Cheerful - Snow, Rock Hunting and Community Day

Happy Thursday #R2BC friends, sorry I haven't been around for a couple of weeks. I really need to get myself a bit more organised when it isn't my turn to host as I find that I forget to schedule in the time for my Reasons to be Cheerful post and then get lost in paid work and other commitments. I really am trying not to spend too much time blogging but still make enough money to cover some niceties like weekends away and days out.

It's been a good week for me generally. I wouldn't say I've been the most productive work wise but so what, that's not everything, right?

A New Gym
I've joined a new gym and had my induction. It's a great little place and I'm going there twice a week whilst the girls are at trampolining club and Guides. I love the idea that it fits in with lifts I need to do anyway, it feeds into my need for efficiency! lol

Sick Of Bouncing Off Diets?

Image courtesy of Pexels

Few words are likely to fill a lot of people will more frustration and misery than that word "diet". Sure, most people are totally on board with the idea of adopting a healthier lifestyle, but the truth is that there's a big difference between doing that and going on a diet. Of course, a lot of diets can be great. They can allow you to improve your health, look the way that you want, and increase your self-confidence. However, that only happens if you can actually stick to it. A lot of people will tell you that all you really need in order make a diet work is to stick to it, but that might well be the very definition of the phrase "easier said than done" Being able to stick to a diet can be a serious challenge for a whole host of reasons. Luckily, whether it feels like it or not, a lot of those challenges are within your control. With that in mind, here are some ways that you can really make your diet stick!

Set clear goals
One of the most common mistakes that a lot of people make when it comes to starting any kind of diet is that they try to jump in without really thinking about the kinds of results that they want. Things like "lose some weight" or "be healthier" are great as motivators to start a diet, but when it comes to actually trying to stick to something, you need goals that are a little more specific and clear. Figure out exactly how much weight you want to lose and try to figure out how long that will realistically take. Not only should your goals be clear and specific, but they should be something that you can actually achieve. The last thing you want is to end up getting discouraged because you haven't reached some kind of overly ambitious goal that you were never going to achieve in the first place. By having goals that you can aim for and can tick off your progress over time, you're going to find it much easier to stay motivated, even when things get difficult.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Spring and Easter Inspiration - 30 Great Ideas for Families

Tulip fields post header
Tulip Garden Image, thanks to Shutterstock

Hip, hip hooray Spring is finally arriving. There are gorgeous yellow daffodils all over my house, the sun has been out more days than not this week and Easter is only five weeks away. Spring is my favourite season of the year, the days get longer, it’s sunny without being too hot and I just adore seeing the cherry blossom everywhere.

It therefore seems perfect to share this round-up of Spring and Easter inspiration from loads of amazing bloggers. Read on....


1.  Fancy some fun with Easter crafts with the kids, then Cat has nine great ones for you, including chick bookmark corners and paper bunny ornaments.

2.  Make your own Easter Egg Sun catchers from Hodge Podge Days

Make your own Easter sun catcher

3.  If you need to craft your little one a costume for some Easter celebrations, then what about a donkey costume to remind you of Palm Sunday.

4.  How to make a complete Easter tree for under a tenner. I love any excuse to have a decorated tree even when it is not Christmas.

Friday, 23 February 2018

We're Going on a Rock Hunt #KindnessRocks

These amazing rocks were painted by the super talented Helen at The Crafty Norman, our local craft shop

In the middle of last year I read a post over on The Holy Mess about Kindness Rocks. I loved the idea and saved the link, thinking that at some point I'd write a post about it and maybe do something similar where we live and then I forgot all about it, until last week when I saw a friend post on her FB timeline that her daughter had been rock hunting in our home town, here in East Sussex.

It turns out that Kindness Rocks and rock hunting in general have become big news over the last year. It looks like the initiative started in the USA but I could also find early evidence in Australia too. But no matter where it started, it is wonderful fun and a really positive initiative that I wanted to be involved with.

Basically it is a pay it forward project where you paint a rock with a positive picture or phrase, such as breath, be kind, you matter, be brave, laugh often etc and then you hide it in your local area for others to find. When they find the rock there's a message on the back asking them to share a picture on the local FB page so others can see what has been found and so the creator can enjoy the joy of it being found.

examples of decorated kindness rocks
These are all rocks we have found in our local town Battle

They can then either re-hid the rock for someone else to enjoy or take it home and ideally put one into the project themselves, paying the kindness forward.

"One message at just the right time can change your entire day... outlook... life!" Megan Murphy, founder of The Kindness Rocks Project
If you put #Kindnessrocks or #TheKindnessRocksProject into Instagram or a search engine you'll find loads of information and so many amazing pictures and tutorials for painting stones. But it is super simple to be honest.

Children rock hunting

Making your own Kindness Rock

1.  Find a good rock to use. If you don't have any in your local area then please buy some from a home store or on Amazon. Don't take from another persons garden or such.

2.  Ensure your rock is clean and dry.

3.  Paint on it or draw with something like sharpies. There needs to be a good strong colour, so it will last.

4.  Put a message on the back so that the finder knows what to do with the rock. You can write on the rock but as I don't have great handwriting, I have printed out small labels to stick on the back. (They say - This is a #Battlerock, please take a photo and share it in the Battle Rocks FB group, then re-hid this stone, thanks.)

5.  Varnish the rock on both sides so it is weatherproof. I use DecoArt DuraClear varnish and a small tub goes a very long way.

A post shared by Michelle Trotta (@michelletrotta) on

Hiding your Rock

Search on FB for the name of your town and then Rocks, so my group is Battle Rocks and if there is one there, great you can join and get straight on and hide your rock. If not you might have to be the pioneer and start the group and drop a few rocks and see if it will catch on in your area and people will join in.

You need to be respectful as to where you put your rock as they should not be a nuisance.
  • Don't put in grass as they will damage lawnmowers
  • Don't put one too far into a large flower bed as you don't want people to have to tread on the bed to get it
  • Make sure it is not a trip hazard wherever you leave it
  • Make sure they are just in public areas, you don't want to encourage people onto private property

Now go rock hunting! We hope you enjoy. Our best day has seen 14 rocks found so far and we took one home as my daughter loved it and we re-hid all the others for more people to enjoy. We are currently making some new rocks to put out so we can pass on the kindness too.

Why not pin this post for later?

Kindness rocks project

I'm linking this post up with Fiona at Coombe Mill for #CountryKids.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall 
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Tuesday, 20 February 2018

6 Great UK Slime Tutorials - Floam, Cloud, Glow in the Dark and More

Slime making fun for all the family. Six great tutorials for making slime with UK ingredients

If you or your kids enjoy making slime and you need recipes that use ingredients readily available in the UK then you are in the right place as my kids adore making slime and we have loads of tutorials over on Youtube.

Great, stretchy slime is not difficult to make and all you need are some basic ingredients - PVA glue (the white stuff is far easier to use than clear which tends to be much more runny), bicarbonate of soda and something to activate it. I use contact lens solution, saline solution or eye wash (but it must contain boric acid, so check the ingredients). You can also use Lidl Foril washing detergent, Aldi Almat washing detergent or Kershaws washing starch, all readily available in the UK and not too expensive.

You can then add in all sorts of fun things to make different kinds of slime if that is your bag. Shaving foam is a great addition as that makes your slime all fluffy and of course different colours can be added via food colouring or paint. Then you have glitter, sequins, foam balls, beads, bands, gems, instant snow and anything else you fancy really!

Check out my YouTube channel - Michelle Twin Mum if you want to see all our slime tutorials.

Glow in the Dark Slime - Made by miss E using ingredients from Hobbycraft.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Taking the Road Less Travelled with Simpson Travel

Are you one of those people who get a bit excited when they discover something fantastic? Do you find yourself waxing lyrical about your discovery or the amazing service you’ve received and by the end of the week every one of your friends knows?

That’s me, I just can’t help it. When I make a discovery about something fabulous, be it a bargain bath bomb that smells divine, the AA man (or our angel in yellow as I dubbed him) who rescues your family or an airline that makes sure everything is perfect I just have to shout about it, both via my blog and in real life too.

I don’t want any of my friends to miss out and this is how I feel about Simpson Travel. Despite not yet having travelled with them I feel fully confident that they are the kind of company who will fulfil and even exceed every one of my expectations.

“The road less travelled is about making an effort and going the extra mile” Graham Simpson, Chairman of Simpson Travel

And I have lots of them. It was only two years ago that we first travelled abroad with the children. Prior to having them my husband and I travelled extensively and we loved staying in a gorgeous villa in an exotic Mediterranean destination but then along came three (expensive) children so we stayed in the UK and of course if the kids were having fun then so were we. However once you’ve experienced that glorious sunshine, the deep blue sea, the friendly locals in a Greek taverna and all that amazing fresh food you can never keep that longing at bay for too long.

So in 2016 and 2017 we headed to Spain, first to a hotel and the next year to a holiday parc and each holiday was delightful and special memories were made but I felt sure the kids weren’t quite old enough for a villa yet as what would they do? Well, it shows how much I knew as I was bowled away by how chilled my busy kids can get when presented with a pool and the Mediterranean sunshine. Last year our holiday highlights were time spent cooking meals together, family walks along the beach, a glass of something chilled in the bar on the evening and just relaxing together with a pack of cards or even some colouring.

As I looked at the Simpson Travel site I knew this was a company I wanted to travel with. Heck I want to work for them, you can see it is a company that care for its staff and that for me says they will also care for their customers. It’s great to see that they pride themselves on personal service and are keen to listen to what I, as the customer want. They are not just fitting square pegs into round holes they truly want to find the best holiday to make our family’s dreams come true.

The personal service doesn’t just stop when you leave the UK though; no, their in-country representatives are knowledgeable and personable with many living in the area you are visiting. I love the idea of all that insider knowledge they can share with me, the best beach cave to visit, where to park the car on market day and which restaurant serves the best steak.
“What really matters to us is Treating guests as we would like to be treated” Graham Simpson, Chairman of Simpson Travel

I kid you not when I say I’ve spent around three hours perusing the Simpson Travel website picking and choosing where we might travel to and I have found the perfect destination. Do you want to see it?

Twenty-three years ago my husband and I took our first holiday together and we flew to Mallorca, staying in the busy resort of Magaluf and it was perfect for us as 21 year old fun-loving youngsters. However we are now forty-something parents and I think it would be perfect to head back to Mallorca but to experience a very different aspect of the island.

Ca'nSion villa, image courtesy of Simpsons Travel

Instead of the busy south and a very commercial resort we’d love to head to the North-East to the town of Pollença where I have found the Ca'n Sion villa which has three bedrooms to house our family of five. There is plenty of room to cook and eat outside, comfy sofas to curl up on for a family Netflix night (there’s free Wi-Fi to help that happen), a master bedroom that leads out to a balcony and of course a 9 metre pool to keep the kids happy whilst I laze on the lounger with my book.

All accommodation “has the same common denominator – a wonderful location, stylish with comfortable beds and a professional and caring team” Graham Simpson, Chairman of Simpson Travel

What will my hubby be up to? Well, he’ll be out exploring the local area on foot. It is what he does every holiday and how he captures the most amazing photos. I’m sure we’ll join him to jump in the car and head to the Port de Pollença to experience the local culture, or go to the Pollença beach for some kayaking and swimming. Then of course Mallorca isn’t a massive island and with a car we can really take on board Simpson Travel's philosophy by taking the road less travelled and seeing how the Mallorcan’s really live.

Port de Pollença, image courtesy of Simpsons Travel

As well as the amazing villa Simpson Travel will also organise our flights and an air-conditioned hire car for use when we are there. For me that is perfection as it just takes all the strain out of booking a holiday and I think the price is reasonable too, it came up as £5,059 for our family of five to travel for a week from 24th August 2018.

I really do have an incurable case of wanderlust now and I’m praying that I might be lucky enough to be picked to be an ambassador for Simpson Travel. It would be my privilege to help spread the word to my 30,000 followers and blog subscribers about the amazing holiday experiences that they offer and if Simpson Travel are wondering if I am up for the job they should take a peek at my Work with me page where examples of recent collaborations and some client testimonials can be found.

In the words of my twins Simpson Travel, “Pick us, pick us please!”

Why not pin this post for later?

Sunset over cap salou

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Tuesday, 13 February 2018

There’s Positive Changes Afoot in 2018 with #BootsLittleBoosts

healthy supplements

We are now well in to February and my year has started off well. January was all about having my operation for menorrhagia and then healing from that and now I feel like life can really take-off. I no longer have a lack of energy, nor am I anaemic. 2018 is a year that I plan to believe more in myself and in God’s great plans for me, I wrote about it at the beginning of the year and posted my first update last week. The area of my life that I really need to get a grip on is my health and specifically my weight, which sadly, is affecting my health and not in a good way.

However, I am feeling very positive and I am going to take lots of little steps that all add up and will make a difference. If I’m honest many of these steps (or changes) are things I have committed to before and then they’ve not happened or I’ve let them slip but I’m not going to let that stop me. I have to believe that mentally I am now in the right place and that since I have been freed from my terrible (and constant) bleeding that things in my life can change for the better.

The fear of failure must no longer stop me. I’ve been reading a book recently (yet another one) called ‘The Year of Saying Yes’ by Helen Doyle and it is just a fiction book. A great story about a woman called Isobel who changes her life by saying yes to a series of monthly dares and it has been so helpful to me. I have come to realise that often I say no or I am passive in my actions because I am scared it won’t all work out. What the book has made me realise is that it is better to try, better to take one step, better to do it imperfectly, than not at all.

It felt like a God-moment when Boots recently got in touch and asked if I’d like to take part in their #BootsLittleBoosts campaign as this is all about how I am boosting my health and wellness routine for this New Year. They want to know how I’m going to shake off the excess of the winter festivities and to embrace the year ahead with new vigour. It fits in perfectly with my new ‘Believe’ philosophy.
So here goes, I know that Little Steps = Big Changes if I’m consistent and I’m going to set my focus in four key areas -

Thursday, 8 February 2018

A year of Believing - January Update #R2BC

At the beginning of the year I decided on the word 'Believe' as my guiding word for the year. The aim is that when I am stuck and not sure what I am doing or where I am going I need to believe that I'm on the right path, that God has got my back and that I can do this (whatever this may be).

January generally has been a really good month, I have been very gentle with myself and my expectations of what I'd achieve have been low, so there has been plenty of downtime to think, pray and read. It's amazing with all that time to ponder I have been thinking about work and what I want from life and I feel like I have some clarity.

Work and Volunteering
I've made the decision to finish another one of my voluntary roles at Easter and this will free up time to either find paid work or do other voluntary work that better meets my needs and skills. I've realised that I don't enjoy directly working with kids and I am much better in a HR, training, coaching or organisational role. I don't want to settle for something that doesn't set my heart on fire any more.

I met with the Volunteer Co-ordinator of the local Children's Centre and I am going along at the end of February for a course and hopefully afterwards there will be some volunteering opportunities that I am really interested in, things like running parenting courses or supporting new parents. I'm also keeping my eyes open for paid jobs but I have quite specific requirements as I can't see the point of working for really low pay in the wrong kind of role when I can earn decent money writing.

My Health
I had the operation I've been waiting for and I believe it has been a success. I felt like I was in limbo before it, just waiting to feel better and to have some energy again. I'm now a couple of weeks after my operation and life feels different. I really do feel invigorated again and I'm looking forward to it being at least a month after so I can see what my future cycles might be like.

My custom-made orthotic insoles arrived and they are fairly comfortable, although I had conflicting advise from the Podiatrist I saw this time as he felt I didn't need them and I just had to work on my stretching to loosen my calf and ankle muscles. He felt if three months of intensive stretching every day doesn't work then I will need an operation to lengthen the muscles. I am however believing that if I am consistent in my stretching that an operation will not be necessary.

I started to read a very good book called Believing God by Beth Moore, I found it hard to get in to at first but then it started to become more practical and spoke to me. So I am wearing a blue ribbon round my wrist for the next six months as a gentle reminder to make choices that are kind to me. I'm also trying to journal daily about where I have seen God working.

Losing Weight
Monday I have started to take Orlistat, which are fat blockers prescribed by the doctor, they are to aid my weight loss but are not for one minute an easy option. I need to be incredibly careful what I am eating whilst taking them or I could have very violent reactions, which would not be fun. I also have an induction at a new gym (right close to my house) on 22nd February and then I'll be exercising there twice a week on a Tuesday and Thursday evening whilst my girls are at clubs.

So for February I am believing -
  1. That my TCRE operation worked and I'll now have normal bleeding for the future
  2. That if I consistently keep stretching my leg issues and foot pains will go away
  3. That the right work for my skills will come along and I have to believe in God's incredible timing and not take things into my own hands (and get it wrong no doubt)
  4. That I will lose weight by eating sensibly and exercising regularly

I'm linking this post up with Becky at Lakes Single Mum for this weeks Reasons to be Cheerful linky.

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