Thursday, 30 December 2010

More sales... and what I purchased

Cup cakes made with my sales purchase, the brilliant mini cup cake maker from BHS (see link below)
So far I have bought pretty thermal underwear from M and S (link below), pretty socks from John Lewis (link below), a set of four wood/leather storage chests from TK Maxx, a pretty dress for my daughter at Primark, a pair of trousers from Next and various bits and pieces from Sainsbury's (link below). There are some great sales still about, below are all the links....

Bhs
Boden
Clarks
Debenhams
Dyson Cleaners & Spares
GLTC
John Lewis
Kaleidoscope: great sales..........
Marks and Spencer
Minibarratts
National Magazine Company:
discounts on magazine subscriptions

Next Bathrooms
OXFAM Online Shop
Play.com
Sainsbury's
Zavvi

Thursday, 23 December 2010

December and January sales plus being a less than trendy mummy

Sales are starting in a few days, earlier online
Hello, it's the sales season again! I'm after winter clothing for next year and thermal underwear, hardly glamorous but I have plenty of unused trendy clothes already (bought for special occasions and job interviews). My pretty clothes are not very child-friendly - my little one has permanently sticky paws and loves wiping her button nose on my sleeve or trousers.

If anybody wants to offer me a Yummy Mummy Makeover... After changing clothes size due to having a child, I'm not that trendy, polished young professional anymore. I am a size 10 after having been 12-14 in the first baby years so it's not too bad, but not as toned as I used to be. If you want to know how I slimmed down naturally, read this.

"I suppose working from home doesn't require too many frills," she said while sitting in front of her screen wearing her PJs and a fleecy, shocking pink, huge robe purchased for the hospital bag.

Deals of the day - and up to January!
Sales are about to start, if not starting already online! So on top of the links you can see on the right side of this blog, here are a few great promotions...

Debenhams is offering up to 70% off on thousands of lines, the online sale starts  today and on Boxing day in the store. Sale ends on 5th January 2011.
Up to half price furniture - plus take an extra 10% off

BHS' sale is launching on 24 December, but are offering 20% off all wedding lines when you spend £150 by using the code BHSBRIDE. Offer ends 5 January and is not valid on clearance items.
 
John Lewis's clearance sale starts at 5pm on Christmas Eve. Includes up to 50% for fashion items and is throughout the website first, later in store.


Sainsbury's sale highlights (click Sainsbury's if links below don't work, many products half price on the website!)
Sony Blu Ray

Player
Sony Blu Ray Player, now £99.99


Navman UK SatNav
    Navman UK SatNav, now £69.99

Tresemme Ceramic

Styler
Tresemme Ceramic Styler, now £30


Wednesday, 22 December 2010

On the twelfth day of Christmas...


To win fab prizes every day, visit www.next.co.uk 
and click the banner Daily Xmas Giveaway


On the twelfth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Twelve drummers drumming,
Eleven pipers piping,
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree!

 This is the last day of the Christmas Challenge (sponsored by Next) and it's all about drummers! Click here to kit your young musician. Black Drummer Boy Jacket for girls, from £26 and Black Drummer Boy Jacket for boys, from £19. 

Happy Xmas everybody and thanks for 
following. I don't need to wish you a White Xmas as snow is falling as I type!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Beauty for busy mums

My moisturiser: I was sent this by a PR to review and have been using it ever since. I think it has been discontinued because they decided to change the ingredients so I will have to find another product to replace it.

Earlier this month, I attended another Twitter party organised by British Mummy Bloggers, using the hashtag 5minMax. The previous party was about half-term ideas to entertain children, but this was definitely all about 'me time'. 

There was an expert from Max Factor giving us tips, but what really struck me was that some of the most popular beauty items were unusual to say the least. I must confess that prior to pregnancy, I was much keener on makeup and beauty products. Aside my personal interest in looking good, I freelanced for women's magazines so I used to get lots of tips and freebies (or items for very little money as magazines have regular beauty sales). I still treasure one of my best buys, a Versace pastel eyeshadow duo for just 50p (the packaging was missing, somebody didn't recognise the logo and put it in the cheap area with the shop own brands). I know I should technically throw it away as makeup doesn't last that long and I might potentially get an eye infection, but cannot bring myself to. 

But back to the Twitter party! Unsurprisingly, it emerged that mums don't have time to beautify themselves on a daily basis. Those who worked outside the home still made an effort but mums like me who work from home didn't feel the pressure to 'put their face on'. It's a renowned fact that homeworkers go for the bare minimum, sometimes even working in their PJs. This is especially true on those mornings when your child is winey and you just manage to get them dressed, fed and watered.

At the Max Factor Twitter party I started with these two beauty tips:
  • If you haven't got time for makeup, use tinted moisturiser and a slash of lipstick or lip gloss so you don't look washed out!
  •  Any nipple cream left? Use on lips or under the eyes if you have dry, cracked skin. Honest! 
Both were quite popular and the second one was considered very amusing. I had to tweet a reply to the various comments:
  • I am not weird! Nipple cream soothes chapped lips, noses, nappy rash and itchy stretch marks. 
Twitter imposes limits on characters but here is a site that confirms how versatile nipple cream is. I think there are many other baby products that can be used by mums, watch this space for a blog on this subject!

As the party went on, it emerged that tinted moisturiser is a must-have as mums don't have much time for applying makeup. Besides, applying foundation is such as messy business and it is not that great on mature skin.

More tweets from me were:
  • Anybody tried the ice cube trick to fix makeup? Yes, I admit I was a teenager in the 80s when you heaped makeup with a trowel
  • A tan (natural or artificial) is the best makeup.

So what are the other unexpected items? Vaseline was definitely a hit with most mummy bloggers, no wonder the company extended its product range! If you are a mum you are a captive buyer. Another unexpected item (aside the nipple cream) was Sudocrem, yes, the one you use for nappy rash! Apparently it's very good for chapped lips too. And last, but not least mascara! This was very popular. So if you are targeting mums, the essentials are mascara, tinted moisturiser, Vaseline and lipstick...

Xmas wishes, snow balls, snowmen, snow ice cream and British Mummy Bloggers' blogs

Happy Xmas to everybody!

Snowball fight
This is our winter wonderland - not as much snow as in other localities in the UK but we have the sub zero temperatures, BRRRR! This is the first time my little imp managed to make and throw a snowball, which hit my leg.

Then after the snowball mini fight, we built a family of snowmen: Daddy, Mummy and two little ones. They don't look that impressive but we had to scrape quite a bit of snow to make them as we haven't had a big snowfall yet.


Family of snowmen















How to make snow ice cream
Snow ice cream, looks more like slushy...
I got the recipe off the internet and modified the ingredients to make a small amount, for more recipes and even videos of how to make it, click here.  This recipe will make four generous cups of ice cream. You will need 125ml of milk, 60g of sugar, 1 teaspoon flavouring (the recipe said vanilla but you can add mint or any other essence you have), three cups of snow (better fluffy but you can make it with more compact snow).
 To make the ice cream, mix milk, flavouring and sugar in a bowl or jug, then slowly spoon in the snow, mixing carefully. Enjoy! My photo shows a slushy mixture as my snow was a bit compact but it was tasty. In Italy we have a simpler version of snow ice cream, just get the snow in a cup with a metal spoon, add lemon juice and sprinkle with sugar to your taste. It's just like a fluffy, lovely granita....


On the eleventh day of Christmas...

 
To win fab prizes every day, visit www.next.co.uk 
and click the banner Daily Xmas Giveaway

On the eleventh day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Eleven pipers piping,
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

The Christmas challenge, sponsored by Next, is coming to an end - only one more day to go... It's probably frantic down the high street and the snow looks wonderful but is not that great if you want to use public transport or your own car! I do tend to cycle and the grit is not bike friendly at all. Some of the bike lanes have not been cleared so it's like being on the skating rink. You can't even go on pavements (some are shared by bikes and pedestrians here in Cambridge) as they have an icy coating. I'll have to get out on my bike tomorrow, good luck to me!

Now back to the task, eleven pipers? Not exactly, but Next.co.uk has piped clothing. My pick of the day includes a White Piped Shirt for him, £26... a Grey Piped Military Coat, £65 for her and a quirky but fun GX Skate Quarter Pipe Set, £20 (pictured below) for older kids.

Monday, 20 December 2010

On the tenth day of Christmas...

 
To win fab prizes every day, visit www.next.co.uk 
and click the banner Daily Xmas Giveaway

On the tenth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.


Sunday, 19 December 2010

On the ninth day of Christmas...



To win fab prizes every day, visit www.next.co.uk 
and click the banner Daily Xmas Giveaway


On the ninth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.


Let's get this festive party started with some... dancing! Show off your moves to your family and friends with Wii Dance Party Pop, £25 and fill your father's sock with a Dancing Dad, £6.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

On the eighth day of Christmas...

To win fab prizes every day, visit www.next.co.uk 
and click the banner Daily Xmas Giveaway
On the eighth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.



 

Friday, 17 December 2010

Toys for all ages - and you get to support a parenting charity!

Not sure what to buy for your child or your friend's tot?

Here is an extract from an article I wrote for an NCT newsletter. All toys are available at www.nctshop.co.uk (all profits go to support the work of a national charity). Prices right at the time of posting. There might be sales in January.


From birth
Sneezy (£27.99) has a squeak in his nose and crinkle ears/wings. One hand rattles, the other squeaks, a mirror hides in a pocket, a flower pops out of another, a bell rings in his tail! Whoozit (£7.99) crinkles, rattles, squeaks and has a mirror hidden under its nose.



From three months
Double-sided activity centre (£39.99) One side has six different activities, a mirror that shows the under patterns of the spinner, a squeak, knocker, twirl and happy face that lights and plays music. The other side has buttons to press that cause the flower to spin, the frog to pop up, plus levers make noises and four musical instrument buttons that play Bach. Attach to the cot or play on the floor. Age: 3-24 months. Suitable from birth, the Winkel (£7.99) comes in handy when your baby is teething, which can start at around three months. It’s BPA free, easy to hold and soft to chew. Chilled, it makes a soothing teether.

 Nine-12 months
Wooden baby walker (£34.99). In brightly coloured wood with rubber rimmed wheels, it comes with 24 shaped and coloured blocks. This updated version of the traditional walker is very stable, giving toddlers confidence while they learn to walk. Sidney School Bus (£10.99). Award-winning friction-powered shape sorting toy, complete with six shapes and driver. Age: from 12 months.


Katie's Camper
From 18 months
Katie’s Camper Holiday Friends (£22) Sturdy, friction-powered toy full of features inside. Everything packs away neatly for easy storage. Or Flip ’n’ Tip Fred (£27.99). Sturdy truck that promotes ‘green’ thinking. Friction powered with tipping loader and other features. Stack ’n’ pull Dinosaur (£14.99). Stockable wooden toy.

 From two years
Ark (£24.99). Includes Mr & Mrs Noah with six
pairs of animals and one pair of doves. Animals
and figures can be stored inside the ark. The top
half of ark attaches to the base with magnets. Not
to be used in water. Crocodile name jigsaw (£8.99). Teach your child to spell their name! Letters can only be put together in the correct order.



From three years
Oldfield Farm (£44.99). The wooden play base includes barn with loft and
ladder, animal shed, farmhouse, pig sty and fences. The roof panels attach with magnets. Farm Animals are sold separately and include pairs of cows, pigs, lambs, chickens and ducks. This toy is still popular with kids up to nine years of age. Danny’s diving adventure (£10.99). This bath toy is suitable from 18 months but my three year old (and other toddlers at the preschool) is still enthusiastic about water play! Open the boat to discover the secret cabin inside and use the spring loaded diving board to shoot the figures into the water.


Wooden wonders
If for you plastic is not fantastic, here are a few more wooden toys from the NCT shop.
Rattle
  • Rattle (£5.99). Made up of colourful beads and bell, it will keep your baby amused. Age: 6 months plus.
  • Push-along seal or butterfly (£13.99). Push along the seal and watch the ball spin. Or you can go for a butterfly and flowerpot alternative. Age: 1 year plus
  • Sorting cage (£14.99).Push the shapes through the corresponding holes into the wooden cage. Age: 18 months plus.
  • Rolling slope (£34.99). A retro looking toy for car-mad toddlers. Age: 2 years plus.