November

Once again I’ve fallen behind on the blog. Life gets in the way. Also, gearing up for Christmas as well as potty training. Which is currently having it’s ups and downs. More downs than ups to be honest!
I’ve done a few reviews lately, and I’ve got 1 more to do, for Herpatch and then I’m review free until the new year. I need to concentrate on christmas, I need to finish making the last of my gifts, as well as sourcing a couple of others, and then wrapping it all. I have a lot of organising to do to.

I attempted to do NaNoWriMo this year, and well, that didn’t go down so well. Life got in the way, however I managed to get 11,000 words down, which is more than I have ever managed to do. I’ve also managed to produce a solid plot too, plus a few sub-plots. It was nice for my muse to visit me, and I think that having a deadline by the folks over at NaNoWriMo really helped spur me on and motivate me. I need to carry on I think. If I can do 11,000 in a month, then I should be able to hit 60,000 by April; if not sooner. Heres hoping!

Life tends to get in the way of everything however. There isn’t really escaping it, although that would be awesome for a short while. Life comes with responsibility, and I can’t actually escape responsibility.
What I need to do

Ø Crack on with my novel

Ø Organise craft stuff

Ø Finish christmas presents

Ø Wrap everything and sort cards out

Ø Potty train the kiddo (completely)

Ø Finish this years reviews

Ø Maintain sanity
What I really want to do

Ø Lay on the sofa, watching TV

Ø Drink coffee and read

Ø Sip cocktails in a hammock whilst on a tropical island

Ø Not housework
 

Silly Panda

As I’ve gotten older, I seem to have developed new allergies. It’s gotten worse since I’ve become a mother. Most likely down to change of hormones or some other scientific medical explanation.

It is frustrating when I develop a new allergy. Thankfully I haven’t developed anything in the last 18 months. 

My last allergy? Sanitary products. Yep. Unbelievable. Disposable sanitary products bring me out in horrible hives. Ever had a hives on your lady garden? Take it from me, it’s not pleasant. At all. AT ALL.

The idea of spending almost £5 a month, on torture items, is not appealing. Luxuries? Are you freaking kidding me Mr Osbourne? There’s nothing bloody luxurious about sanitary products, but, that’s another matter altogether.

Discovering cloth sanitary products was a life saver, both physically, mentally and in the long run, financially. CSP, are basically reusable sanitary products. Fairy Hammocks, cloth pads, vagina blankets, muff rugs, call them what you want, they’re pretty cool.

Disposable sanitary products are full of chemicals (don’t believe me? Sniff one! An unused one!) Some of them are scented…. Which baffles me. Your lady garden has a delicate Eco system, and destroying that Eco system leads to problems. Why would you want that? There’s lots of information on why disposable sanitary products aren’t good for you or the environment, and it’s well worth a read. 

Anyway, back to the point. CSP.

They’re natural, Eco-friendly, and cost effective. What’s not to like?

At first, I was concerned with the “yuckiness” of them. The idea of holding on to them, then washing them, was a bit repulsive. Also, when out and about, what do you do with them?! So many questions. But, nothing ventured, nothing gained! Besides, it’s only body fluid, yours to be precise, not that big of a deal really. It gets easier once you have a kid. Snot, wee, poo, vomit. What’s a bit of blood in the end? 

It was easy to move to CSP, especially after becoming a mother. Every other day I have to put a wash on, because kids are messy. So chucking any CSP in the wash isn’t a big deal. They’re not sitting around for a week before washing is done. They don’t smell. At all. If your vagina is emitting a bad smell or your discharge/menstrual blood is offensive smelling, then you should probably schedule a visit with your doctor. 

Out and about, you have a little wet bag. Store in the wet bag, till you get home. Before washing you can keep them in a separate bin, with cold water (never use hot water when dealing with blood), then wash, dry, reuse as required. 

I was asked to review some CSP from Silly Panda, a small business that makes and sells eco friendly products. Their main product is CSP. All stock on their website is ready to ship, and what you see is what you get.  

CSP, sit in your underpants and fasten with poppers. They’re fleece backed which stops them from slip sliding about, and causing leaks. They’re comfy, they’re natural, and they’re good for the environment.  They come in lots of different designs, sizes and absorbencies; from a light flow, to post-partum bleeding. 

This particular design is one of my favourites, from the moment I saw the fabric. Look at it. Stormy rainbows. Perfectly sums up a woman’s period!

The website is easy to use and Beckie is friendly and informative. The CSP arrived quickly too!

It is pretty, and comfy, and it washed really well. And at £7, it’s well worth the money in my opinion.

It can cost a small fortune upfront, depending on your needs, but in the long run its very cost effective. It’s also a pretty addictive habit. There’s so many different fabrics to choose from!

For more information, or to start your CSP journey, or to increase your stash, visit Silly Panda!

Thanks Silly Panda! 

*I was provided with the product to do an honest review. All words are my own.

Sure ✔️ Maximum!

After working with Sure on their Motionsense Compact Deodorant campaign, they sent me a new product to try. Sure contacted me about two new deodorants they have introduced to the market, the Maximum Protection Sport Strength and the Maximum Protection Stress Control. 

(Had to wrestle it off of Emma!) 

They sent me the Sport Strength deodorant to try at the end of August, and I’ve been using it since, and only finished it last week. Its a cream deodorant and you turn the bottom to push the cream up, to apply it to your underarms after your bath or shower and boom, up to 48hrs protection. 

I really liked it. It smelt nice, it felt nice, and it does indeed keep you feeling fresh for a long while. Well, with a claim of up to 48 hours protection, I had to try it out. You know, to cover all bases for an accurate review. Don’t judge me, I’m a parent to a demanding kid and I work full time, some days I don’t even get out of my pyjamas. Also gives me peace of mind, that I won’t be so much of a stinking slob when I’m sick and spend a week in bed.

Now, I’m not one for sports. At most, my “sports” consist of walking the mile to the station every morning, and the mile home in the evening (when I’m not being lazy and getting the bus) and running after Emma and shopping and then if I happen to be on my feet at work (which lately hasn’t been much!) 

“The NEW Sure Maximum Protection Sport Strength has a vibrant citrusy fragrance, and is specially formulated as the ultimate preparation tool to protect against sweat and odour during exercise.” So says Sure. They weren’t wrong either. I REALLY liked this deodorant.

The full range includes Stress Control, Sport Strength, Clean Scent, Confidence, Sensitive Dry and Everyday Fresh which Sure claim are:

🔹2x stronger than the leading antiperspirant

🔹Strong enough to protect you but still mild enough to use everyday

🔹Give you confidence to enjoy those moments that matte

Sure also say that their Maximum Protection is formulated with innovative TRIsolid™ technology that boasts:

🔹 Extra Strength dryness protection. Applied at night, it works as you sleep to form a level of protection, giving you unbeatable wetness protection for the day ahead. Equally, you can apply it as part of your morning routine

🔹Patented fragrance technology containing odour-fighting microcapsules. The microcapsules dissolve when you sweat, keeping you fresh throughout the day

🔹Skin moisturising ingredients to help protect the skin from irritation – the whole range has been endorsed by expert dermatologists

Would I buy this product? Yup!

Would I recommend this product? Yup!

There was only 1 thing that I didn’t really like, and that was that some of the product gets stuck in the top once it’s done. I thought I still had some left, but it turns out I didn’t; So I ran out and didn’t have to put on after my shower on Sunday morning! I’d clicked it as far as it could go, but a good 2-3 applications were wasted, as it was stuck; and nothing I could do could get it out. Perhaps a design flaw? Probably just Physics though. That said, that’s to 48hr protection, I was covered until I got to the shops to restock!

This time I purchased the Stress Control one, and I like it as much as the Sport Control. The entire range retails at £4.90 rrp and can be purchased at leading chemists and supermarkets.

(The product was given to me to review by Sure. All words unless otherwise indicated are my own and solely my own opinion)

My pits and I thank you Sure!

Go Down to Kew in Lilac-time

Despite having lived in London for 18 years now (!!!!) there are still a lot of things that I have yet to do.There is SO much to see and do in London. SO. MUCH. A lot of it is free too, or you can find great offers, like the 2for1 if you travel by train.

I’ve done a lot of the major tourist attractions, such as the London Eye, Tower of London, London Zoo, The London Aquarium, London Dungeons, The Natural History Museum, Science Museum, British Museum, and I’ll be here all day if I list them all.

But, despite living in South West London for the last 6 years, I have never ever visited Kew Gardens. It is right on my door step. I’ve been to Kew of course, we went there one year to go ice skating, but it was pitch black and you couldn’t see anything at all, so I don’t count that time. Also, it wasn’t great fun for me, because I’m no good at ice skating. Some days its a challenge to stay upright, much less stay upright on slippery ice wearing boots with blades on the bottom.

After 18 years of living in London, I have finally paid a visit to Kew Gardens. It. Was. MAGNIFICENT. It is one of my new favourite places.

  
My grandmother, Emma and I picked a brilliant sunny day to visit, the weather was glorious. We used a 2for1 travel by rail voucher, so we only paid £16.50 to visit, instead of £33 and children 3 and under go free. (more money for cake and coffee)

Kew Gardens is HUGE. We got there at 10am and left at 4 pm and we hadn’t done everything there was to do. Which of course means that we need to go back.

Seriously contemplating looking at an annual family pass which is £109 (its almost Christmas to be fair, so maybe Santa will leave an annual Kew pass under the tree)

Might have to plan a few autumn days at Kew, for Emma to run through the leaves, and pick conkers and leave with pink flushed cheeks, whilst I drink copious amounts of coffee!

ParentOn

Parenting is hard.

Parenting is complicated.

Parenting is challenging.

Parenting is exhausting.

Parenting is rewarding.

Parenting is fun.

Parenting is exciting.

Parenting is never ending.

There are hundreds and hundreds of different ways to define being a parent. Being a parent is conditional and relative to circumstance**.

 At some point, every parent has a wobble. You consider whether or not you need to start saving up to pay for therapy for your kid when they become an adult. You worry about whether or not you’re doing the right thing. You worry whether or not they eat enough fruit and vegetables, or if they’re eating too much (yeah, some kids eat their fruit and vegetables and ask for more! GASP!)

Parent Guilt is a real thing; mom feels guilty because she didn’t breastfeed for long enough, or she didn’t use cloth diapers, or one day she lost her cool and shouted. Dad feels guilty because he doesn’t spend enough time at home and is always at work, or doesn’t do enough night feeds or bum changes, or one day dad loses his cool and shouts. 

Do I read enough to my kids, do we do enough imaginative play, do I allow too much screen time, and so on. Parenting is hard. There is no right or wrong way (within reason) and at some point every parent thinks they aren’t doing a good job, or needs to improve in some way or another; and then there are days when parents think “YES! I got this. I am a parenting wonder today!” Its all relative.

As a parent, you go through a range of emotions. You’re proud, and you’re happy, and you’re worried. You get angry, and stressed. You give praise but you also feel awful for telling off. You laugh, you cry, you hide in the garden shed for 5 minutes at a time, despite the spiders, simply so you don’t have to share your bar of dairy milk. Going to the bathroom is a grand affair, its like an audience with a miniature royal, who watches you poop and then demands to see your poop and congratulates you on said poop and the fact that you flushed the toilet. God forbid you ever crap in private again. Then there’s sleep, or rather, lack of it.

As a parent you ask a lot of advice from your peers. There are conversations and debates (HA) and everyone has an opinion. You second guess yourself, you trust your gut instinct; and everything in between.

So when I got a surprise package from Tommee Tippee, I didn’t quite know what to expect. A blue box containing the “Complete Parenting Survival Kit”; containing everything I need for bringing up babies. What? What was in this little box? I was completely and utterly perplexed; especially as I wasn’t expecting anything in the mail. 

 

 When I opened it, I was blown away.

It was a mirror.

Tommee Tippee, reminding parents that all you need to survive as a parent, is YOU.

There was also a small USB key, a handheld mirror, a little flag and a leaflet.

There is no instruction manual for raising children. You don’t need to be a genius. Trust yourself; trust yourself that you’re doing a good job. Parents, You GOT THIS.

I was pleased as punch with my surprise, especially as it was PERSONALISED.

 
Tommee Tippee is one of the UKs leading baby brands, and has been going for 50 years now. Loved by babies and recommended by parents, and a household name in the UK; we’ve been a proud user (and blogger) of Tommee Tippee products. My parents used Tommee Tippee products too; and no doubt, when the time comes, generations after us, will continue to use Tommee Tippee as well. 

 So Parents, continue what you’re doing, follow your instincts, trust yourselves. You’ve got this. You know you have. Parent On.

 

** it took me a LONG time to compose this sentence, because my brain went dead (probably on account of lack of sleep) so massive, MASSIVE props to some of the lovely members of the SANP group who helped me out when I thought I was going mad trying to find a word that I have probably made up.

Oilatum® Daily Top Tip Competition

I’ve worked with Oilatum Junior previously and we love their products; so when they got back in touch with me to run a competition, of course I said yes. Do you want to win a £50 voucher for Boots? Come on, you know you do!

Oilatum Daily are dedicated to helping mums and dads manage their little one’s dry skin needs, and with the help of real parents and The British Skin Foundation, they have collated the following Oilatum® Comfort Skin Tips to try and help manage children’s daily skincare routine.

To be in for a chance of winning, all you need to do is comment on this blog post with what your favourite tip is (see below for Oilatums Top Ten Tips). For an extra entry you can submit one of your own tips too! Terms and Conditions apply (see below)

   

Terms and Conditions

· All entrants must comment on the blog post to be eligible to win; Comments made on Facebook/Twitter links will not be eligible.

· If you have commented once the competition has closed, then your comment will not be included.

· The winner will be selected by a random number generator to ensure fairness. In the event of the winner not meeting the full criteria, then the draw will be done again until a fully compliant winner is selected.

· The competition is open UK entrants only (this does include Northern Ireland)

· Competition is open until midnight on Friday August 28th 2015, any comments after this will not be counted.

· You must provide a valid email address in the comment form so that you can be contacted. If we can’t contact you then you can’t get your prize.

· Competition winner will be notified via email within 1 week of the closing date and will need to provide their postal address in order for the voucher to be posted to them.

· Competition is a collaboration between MrsFlams and Oilatum Junior

· Please consider sharing the post and encourage your friends to enter the competition too

 

We Raced For Life

20/06/2015  

Its been a very busy hectic few weeks here, and I am finally able to sit down and concentrate on what’s been happening. I have a few things lined up for you, like my TuTu Tutorial, a give away thanks to the lovely people at Oilatum Junior, plus my usual day to day ramblings.

 

But before I get to any of that, I want to say a special thank you.

 

On the 20th June 2015, Emma and I did the Race for Life at Kempton Park. We walked (Emma rode and walked) the 5K course in just over an hour. It was an amazing experience. We did it in matching tutus. At the end of the race, I took Emma out of her trike so she could cross the finish line, and she got a really big cheer and a mention over the loudspeaker. She was so incredibly chuffed; as was I.

  
Thank you to Cancer Research for paying my entrance fee, and providing a discounted entrance fee for my readers.

Thank you to my lovely husband for his support and driving.

Thank you to my friends and family for their support and donations.

A very special thank you to the anonymous donor who doubled my sponsorship money on the day, with a donation of £250. We raised a total of £525!

   

We did the Race for Life for Sarah Hardie, a good friend and one of Emma’s honorary aunts and my grandfather Michael Pearce.

Hopefully one day we will eradicate this awful disease.

Merry Meet!

When I found out that my favourite author was going to be doing a signing in London, I had to go. Especially as she rarely comes to this part of the world due to her fear of flying.

You see my favourite author writes two of my favourite series of books. Books I have re-read four and five times over (no easy feat considering one series is 24 books and counting). They are my go to books when I need to escape life. 

I’ve been an avid reader for as long as I can remember; devouring books and I hope that Emma will be the same.

Laurell K Hamiltons books have graced not only my bookshelves and my kindle but also the NY Bestseller List; that’s how good she is.

Her books pull you in. The first one I read, happened to be book 12 in the Anita Blake series. Not the greatest book to start a series on, it was quite confusing; but I was hooked. I own every book released now, and continue to collect them.

Today was amazing. I stood on a queue for three hours before finally getting to meet my heroine. The woman who inspired me to write my own stories. 

I don’t think there have been many occasions where I have felt this happy; this ecstatic; this elated than I do right now. The excitement at the start was immense.  

 Then I met Jon, Laurells husband. He was awesome. Told him that I was so excited and star struck to be meeting Laurell; he was great, calmed my nerves and made me laugh. He pointed out my tattoo and gave me a fist bump, we’re both lovers of seratonin! 

And then. Then.

There she was; saying hello, and I told her how much I loved her *cringe* and that she inspired me to write. She was amazing.  

Absolutely an amazing experience. And I got to meet Media Minion Jess too 🙂

Thank you Laurell! Thank you Forbidden Planet for making it happen!

I’m happy, beyond measurement.

Sure!

When Sure contacted me, asking me if I wanted to review their Motionsense™ technology deodorant, of course I said yes. I had a great opportunity to test it out, thanks to moving house.

We moved house and everyone knows that moving house is stressful and mostly involves dirt, dust and heavy lifting.The last two times we’ve moved, we’ve moved to top floor apartments in a 3 storey building, and NO lifts. Thankfully this time it is a ground floor (YAY!) apartment, but heavy lifting was still involved. Thankfully it wasn’t too hot, not that it mattered, as it was still hard work and made everyone very sweaty. By the end of the move, whilst I was sweaty, I still smell fresh. BONUS.

Lets talk about how it works.

 Sure has created the world’s first antiperspirant containing breakthrough Motionsense™ technology that is activated directly by movement. 

Motionsense™ technology means that Sure contains microcapsules that burst with friction so the more you move, the more it protects. Which is pretty cool.

So after you’re all clean and dry from the shower, you spray under your arms. You don’t want to do this too close to your skin as the concentrated application becomes very powdery; similarly you don’t want to spray it from too far away, otherwise you’re just wasting it and effectively using it as an air freshener!

The spray contains tiny microcapsules which sit on your skin (cause that’s where you sprayed it!) and as you move, the friction created (think swinging arms, lifting things etc) causes the tiny microcapsules burst, and once that happens you’re all fresh again (and smelling nice too)

It comes in regular size canisters and compressed compact sized canisters. The compressed packaging now means that Sure is the perfect size to fit in your handbag and due to the compressed nature of the can, it means that you get the same amount of product but less air is released when you spray it.

Sure sent me the compact size, which is indeed handy for my handbag. That said, I can never find anything in my handbag, without first emptying it all out (#firstworldproblems), so I really would benefit from a clever device that could help me find things easier. My suggestion to Sure is to add a florescent strip or similar to the compact canisters, to help women with big handbags find their Sure deodorant quickly. Or, if we’re being technologically savvy, fitting each canister with a small LED light, and transmitter, and having an app so you can activate the LED to flash using a simple button on your smart phone. Or I could just get a smaller handbag and be a little more organised and a little less pack rat. I should probably throw away the months or receipts too.

So Sure sent me a small compressed canister of their deodorant and I used it.  

 
Usually I do a job that can be quite physical, lots of walking, and in the summer it is HOT, especially working on trains that sometimes don’t have air conditioning. 

To be fair, the winter can be just as harsh, as you’re constantly going from the freezing cold, into very warm trains. You have to dress for the cold, and its not practical to take off all your warm clothes each time you board a train, so you get hot and sweaty quite quickly. So far, Sure Motionsense™ deodorant holds up its end of the bargain, it’ll be interesting to see how it works over the winter months.

Sure compressed has been developed to be softer on your skin, whilst will still providing you with the same level of sweat protection no matter what you do.

What I liked

~ its small and easy to carry round

~ it does what it says on the tin!

~ it smells nice


What I didn’t like

~ spraying too close causes my armpit to look like a winter wonderland

~ my handbag is full of crap and it takes ages to find (my own fault!)

~ its quite an intense scent when sprayed in a small area (ventilation is your friend!)

~ it doesn’t taste very nice (keep your mouth closed when using it)
Will I buy this in future?

Probably. In fact, very likely. 

Would I recommend this to others?

Sure! (See what I did there?) 

Massive thanks to Sure for sending me the product to review.  You can purchase Sure Motionsense™ at most chemists and supermarkets.

*the product was provided by Sure. All words and opinions are my own.