Sunday, 2 April 2017

Sending & Receiving Flowers

How do you show your love, to your loved ones, family & friends? What about the ones that live further afield? 

A lot of my closest friends live far away and I don't get to see them as much as I'd like. It's difficult on special occasions or even when they're going through tough times, to be there for them as I'd like. I like to send little cards to let them know I'm thinking of them. And I've been known to send flowers too.

Do you like receiving flowers? For me, it depends who they're from. 
When I'd receive them from my ex-partner, I always thought it was a cop-out; he'd regularly pick some up from work on special occasions because he couldn't be bothered to make any effort and put any thought into anything else. But when I receive them from a friend or family member that lives far away, I LOVE the fact that they've personally chose and purchased flowers online for me! Such a lovely feeling! 

A recent survey found that Northerners are more likely to buy flowers than Southerners. What do you think of that? Being from the Midlands I'm staying well out of that debate ;)



What is your favourite flower? 
Apparently 83% of people associate the classic red rose with 'love'. I do like to receive red roses as a token of love. However, my favourite flowers are tulips. I love different coloured tulips in the Spring time!

In Columbia, they have a special day to mark 'Love and Friendship'. Groups of friends gather together for dinner or drinks for a 'Amigo Secreto' (Secret Friend) event, similar to Secret Santa. I love that! Sending flowers to loved ones is also a popular way to mark the day.

While in Korea, they celebrate love and friendship every month! The 14th of every month is a celebration of friends and lovers. For example, May 14th is 'Yellow Day' where couples buy each other yellow roses! Cute.

Fancy telling someone you're thinking of them? Why not consider a flower delivery from Flying Flowers?


I think we should have a special friendship day here too, don't you? 
Make mine tulips... just for future reference! ;)


*In collaboration with Flying Flowers.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Toddler Friendly Places to Eat : TGI Fridays

TGI Fridays, Highcross Leicester, family friendly


Eating out with my 2 year old is one of the most stressful situations for me as a parent. He has been known to throw cutlery across a restaurant, shout and scream, not sit still and generally be very hard work. It can be hard to find a place ideal for him when we're out at lunch times;  the thought of him having a tantrum because he's hungry and fed up of waiting for his food makes me shy away from places I would eat at without him. And then there's the battle between good, nutritional food and convenience. I would often find myself heading for certain fast food restaurants simply for the ease and speed of service, but of course I don't want to be feeding my toddler fast food every time we're out...

Which is why I decided to create a series on my blog, visiting different restaurants and reviewing how Toddler Friendly they are. You may have seen my previous post reviewing Bodega Leicester



TGI Fridays, Highcross Leicester, family friendly


We decided to see how family friendly TGI Fridays was.

The lovely people at TGI's HQ sent me this fantastic goody box to take with us, to keep little man amused during our lunch. It included a Team Fridays hat, crayons, puzzle paper, a balloon pump, tons of modelling balloons, and Taylor's favourite part, a Gingerbread man & squeezy icing!


TGI Fridays, Highcross Leicester, family friendly


On Sundays, they're currently offering a FREE ice cream sundae to every child in fancy dress!
So Taylor dressed up in his Bob the Builder costume, hard hat and all, and off we went to our local Fridays.

Our nearest TGI Fridays is set on the corner of Highcross shopping centre's food court, full of amazing eateries. Highcross Leicester is a lovely family friendly shopping centre with great facilities and family parking. It took us a lot longer to arrive at TGI's as Taylor had to stop to play on the interactive play screen and try out all the Strollex trolley cars which are available to hire, to make shopping a little less stressful for parents and more fun for little ones. I think I'm definitely going to have to hire one next time as Taylor is desperate for a ride in the cars! :)

We arrived just in time and were shown to our table by the lovely waiting staff, before Taylor was gifted an amazing modelling balloon, how cool is this?


TGI Fridays, Highcross Leicester, family friendly


Entertainment 

Keeping Taylor amused is very difficult, he's not a child that will sit still for very long. So this is something that is so important to me when eating out; does the restaurant offer anything to keep young children amused while waiting for their food?

As well as the fantastic balloon, they offer a 'kids pack' which includes some puzzle and colouring paper and crayons. Taylor will often get bored of this, he's possibly a little young, so we were lucky to have the goody box for him to attempt to pump his own balloons and decorate his gingerbread man which he really enjoyed. The gingerbread men are available to purchase to decorate, for £2.49.


TGI Fridays, Highcross Leicester, family friendly


Menu

Many kids menus are quite standard. I'm looking for variety and nutritional options...

TGI's have two sections to their Kids Menu; Little League and Major League for older children. The Little League menu offers five options for little ones to choose from, including burgers, fish, chicken & pasta, and all come with a small pot of apple, cucumber and carrot. 

Taylor went for the Tomato Tubes pasta, and out came a huge bowl of yummy pasta, which he really enjoyed.


TGI Fridays, Highcross Leicester, family friendly
TGI Fridays, Highcross Leicester, family friendly


Of course I had to show you my amazing steak, with Jack Daniels sauce and the beautifully creamy mash. Totally worth a mention, it really is lovely!


TGI Fridays, Highcross Leicester, family friendly


We asked for Taylor's ice cream sundae as he started to get a little bored and wouldn't sit still but he managed to demolish it before our sundae's even arrived! They were very yummy! 


TGI Fridays, Highcross Leicester, family friendly
TGI Fridays, Highcross Leicester, family friendly
Overall, we really enjoyed our lunch at TGI Fridays, the food was perfect and the waiting staff were super lovely. It did get a little stressful at times while waiting for food, as little man doesn't like to sit still for very long and spent most of the time trying to climb over seats and run off! But they do offer some great bits for entertainment to keep them amused.
I would recommend TGI Fridays as a Toddler Friendly Place to Eat, but recommend taking something along to entertain them. I will be happy to visit them with my little whirlwind again very soon.

*In collaboration with TGI Fridays and Highcross Leicester
As always, all words, opinions and images are my own



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Friday, 17 March 2017

My new favourite post-workout snack

post-workout snack, healthy, taste inc, chicken fillet


This year I started kickboxing classes, plus working out more at home (although I should do more of that!) but I always struggle with finding the best foods to eat before and after a workout, particularly after. 

By the time I get home from my kickboxing class, it's about 9:30pm and I'm usually pretty hungry at that point and my body ready to re-fuel. But of course it's far too late to cook anything and I usually find a protein shake a bit too much at that time too. 
So when I heard about Taste Inc Chargrilled Chicken Fillets* I was pretty eager to try them out!


post-workout snack, healthy, taste inc, chicken fillet
post-workout snack, healthy, taste inc, chicken fillet


100% chargrilled chicken fillets, high in protein, low in saturated fat, salt and carbs and only 45 calories per portion (52 cals for the spicy version) they make THE perfect post-workout snack!

Ready to eat straight from the fridge, the mini fillets are quick and easy to reach for when I get in from my class and they're super tasty. They're the perfect size too, not too heavy and fill me up just nicely before I settle down for bed.

I've also used the spicy fillets heated up with some steamed veg for dinner before a workout and the kids loved them too. And of course I'm happy knowing they're eating good quality, healthy tender chicken breast! Mummy thumbs up!

In fact, I'm a bit gutted now they've ran out! ;)


post-workout snack, healthy, taste inc, chicken fillet


Taste Inc Chargrilled Chicken Fillets are available from Nisa, Ocado and Morrisons in packs of 5 at £2.70 (and also available individually).



What do you enjoy as a post-workout snack?



*I received these snacks for the purpose of this review.
All words and opinions are, as always, my own.


What Does Mother's Day Mean To You?

Is it an excuse to spend time with your Mum, spoil her and thank her for everything she has done for you? Or will you be spending the day squeezing your little ones tight, feeling grateful for everything you have around you? Or spoiling the mother of your children for doing an amazing job?

I don't have an amazingly close relationship with my Mum, unfortunately. I'm always very jealous of those that do. I will of course still buy her a thoughtful gift and card. But for me, Mother's Day is about me and my babies. After recently separating from my partner, I'm not in high hopes for a day of treats or being spoilt but I will be spending the day holding my babies close and enjoying spending quality time with them, remembering just how very lucky I am to have my boys.

What are you treating your mum's / mothers of your children to this Mother's Day? 

Truprint have put together some great ideas, if you're needing a bit of inspiration!




I like to buy, and receive, personal gifts for Mother's Day; something to commemorate special memories, something special, thoughtful from the children. I've always just received last minute gifts such as flowers and chocolates, but one day I hope to receive something that some real thought has gone in to. That would be so special. 

I love photo books! I used to love looking through photo albums as a child and nowadays, we take so many photos on our phones, they often get lost in the camera roll or uploaded on to social media and forgotten about. Photo books are the modern day photo album, easy to upload on to a website and delivered to your door. They're lovely to look back on and share with family members. 

Memories are priceless. 

You can create a personalised photo book online at https://www.truprint.co.uk/personalised-gifts/photo-book.



However you spend your Mother's Day this Sunday 26th March, 
I hope you have a fantastic one! 



*In collaboration with Truprint
All words and opinions are my own





Monday, 13 March 2017

The Full Monty, UK Tour

theatre, the full monty
Credit: @FullMontyPlay

What do you do when you're having a pretty awful week and you need cheering up? 

You grab a girlfriend and you head off to the theatre for some wine (and cake! Press perks! ;) ), some giggles and some... almost naked men! And that's exactly what I did last week.

The Full Monty by Simon Beaufoy was at the De Montfort Hall all week, and is now moving on to a theatre near you. 

Directed by Jack Ryder, yes THAT Jack Ryder (think Jamie Mitchell in EastEnders) and with a cast headed by Gary Lucy (Hollyoaks, EastEnders, Footballers Wives...) and including well known faces such as Hollyoaks' Kai Owen, Brookside's Louis Emerick, Dinnerladies' Andrew Dunn and Hollyoaks' Chris Fountain, you're set up for a good night.

Based on the 1997 British comedy-drama film, The Full Monty has been adapted for the stage and taken on tour around the UK. And after recently celebrating their 500th show, the cast still seem to be enjoying the run.

Set in Sheffield, the story is based around six unemployed men, four of them laid off steel workers, in the late 80's when Margaret Thatcher's right-ring policies led to once successful steel mills being shut down. The men decide to form a male striptease act, to raise some money.


theatre, the full monty
Credit: @FullMontyPlay

Touching on serious issues such as unemployment, suicide, fathers rights and body confidence, there are some real 'pull on your heart strings' moments, as well as the expected belly-laugh occasions. 

I won't lie, as a big Hollyoaks fan growing up, I was rather excited to see the lovely Chris Fountain, after his recent absence from the world of showbiz and was getting a little impatient throughout the first half, but right before the curtain fell for the half way break, Chris, playing cheeky Guy arrived on stage and made up for the wait by dropping his pants! ;) All was forgiven!

Things got a little confusing at times as the backdrop didn't change too much throughout the whole performance, it was often difficult to work out where they were supposed to be, but otherwise the story was spot on; all the important, memorable bits were in there. (Who could forget THAT moment in the dole queue!!)

The whole performance led up to the well-anticipated moment where things changed from stage play, to show time, where the six men gave us a full on strip tease performance, much to the excitement of the whooping, screaming audience; finishing with them going the FULL MONTY just as the lights went up! 

It was the perfect feel good show! 
Grab your girl friends and head over to a theatre near you before it finishes in April. Read more about the UK Tour and check out the last few venues here.


De Montfort Hall, Leicester has some amazing shows coming up this year, including Flashdance, Blood Brothers, family favourite Gangsta Granny, and my favourite; Dirty Dancing!! 
You can check out what's on here


Have you been to the theatre lately?



*Many thanks to Cool As Leicester for the press tickets for this performance.
All words and opinions are, as always, my own.


Friday, 10 March 2017

Messy? Tidy? Blame Your Horoscope!

Are you a bit messy? Or do you like things perfectly tidy and organised?

Apparently you can blame your star sign for this, as the clever people at Furniture At Work say that your organisation skills are all down to your horoscope... 




I'm an Aquarius and it's definitely true that I think about fun first and mess later. I can be pretty messy but I do like everywhere to be clean. A little clutter never hurt anyone! ;) I'm not so sure my desk is messy on Monday but picks up around Wednesday, I'll be honest it's most likely to still be messy by the end of the week!! haha. But I most definitely belong in the 'Signs of Mayhem' section! 

I work from home and a lot of work is done on my dining table. I'll be honest, my kids often have to eat their dinner next to a pile of laundry, a laptop and half a dozen parcels! And while I do my best to keep my dressing table tidy, it's usually sprawled with makeup, brushes and cotton pads.

Yes, I think they've got it right here! I'm a messy Aquarian. But it's not my fault of course... my horoscope made me do it!


How about you? Is it true for you?


Friday, 3 March 2017

February Beauty Favourites


february, beauty, favourites, skincare, makeup, body care


February flew by! It wasn't a great month for me, in fact it was possibly the worst of my life, which is a shame since it's usually one of my favourites with it being my birthday but hey, we'll talk about that another time.

I have five beauty products to share with you this month. My most used, most favourite products. You know, the ones that never quite leave your dressing table as you're reaching for them pretty much everyday!

I have a gorgeous lippy, the best body butter in the world, two eyeshadows and a must have skincare product.

You're welcome.


february, beauty, favourites, skincare, makeup, body care


Alpha H Liquid Gold with Glycolic Acid (£33.50 full size / BeautyBay)

I'm a bit late to the party with this little beauty I know. But I was very excited when my friend bought me this mini version for Christmas. 

Liquid Gold is a powerful, resurfacing treatment that promises to firm, diminish wrinkles and sun damage. It tightens pores and gives a brighter, clearer complexion.

Wow. Even after the first use I noticed a massive change in my skin. It most definitely clears, brightens and firms. I now see what all this fuss is about, it's amazing stuff and I'm really enjoying using it!
I use it as part of my evening skincare routine, every other day, in place of my toner. It also recommends not to use a cream afterwards for a really powerful, overnight facial treatment, so I do that now and then too. You need this stuff in your life!


february, beauty, favourites, skincare, makeup, body care



Blankety is one of my all time favourite lipsticks, ever. It's been a firm favourite for a fair few years, but I've definitely been using it a lot this month (as you can probably tell!), it's such a good all round colour that suits any makeup look. 

It's a soft pink beige shade from their amplified creme range. MAC lipsticks are most definitely my favourites, they're creamy, vanilla scented, non drying and long lasting. I quite possibly own most of their nude shades! 

I've been wearing this non-stop, every day lately. During the day time and out in the evening too. It's a gorgeous colour, don't you think?


february, beauty, favourites, skincare, makeup, body care



I have two eyeshadows to share with you, as I have been using the both of them, usually together, lots of this month. The first is Amber Lights by MAC, a beautiful copper shade with a frost shimmer.  I've used this shadow in many different ways, for everyday looks and for nights out. Sometimes as a transition / crease colour, sometimes blended all over the lid and sometimes as a little pop of colour in the outer corners.  

It makes a change for me to go back to separates as I usually just reach for a palette, but these MAC shadows are super pigmented and blend nicely so has been a firm favourite this month.


february, beauty, favourites, skincare, makeup, body care


The Body Shop Cocoa Butter Body Butter 

Now I'm going to need a moment here. Whilst trying to find the link for this amazing here product, it has come to my attention that The Body Shop seem to have discontinued their cocoa butter range. I repeat, NO MORE COCOA BUTTER! Are you kidding me?? I've been using this stuff for years and years! My Dad & Step Mum buy me cocoa butter goodies from The Body Shop every Christmas! I can't believe they've taken this away from me. Rude. 

I love the body butters from these guys, they absorb easily, are super moisturising and the fragrance lasts all day long. My skin is pretty dry and I suffer from KP so I need a really good, nourishing moisturiser and The Body Shop body butters are my all time favourites. Cocoa Butter was always my go to and I'm truly gutted they've discontinued it!


february, beauty, favourites, skincare, makeup, body care


MICA Bella Cosmetics Mineral Eyeshadow in Deep Secrets (£13.46)

I understand this brand has been since rebranded Mica Beauty. This is a beautiful, loose shimmer shadow in a golden brown shade. I've often packed this into my outer corner, or even blended all over for an every day look, it's so smooth and easy to use.

Their mineral makeup promises to be crease free, long lasting and gentle, being free of preservatives chemicals, dyes or talcs.  It is the only product I own from Mica Beauty but I'm very impressed, this shadow is a beauty!


february, beauty, favourites, skincare, makeup, body care


So they were my picks for last month. Are any of those your favourites? If you have any recommendations of amazing cocoa butter body butters for me to get my fix, let me know! 


What are your current favourite beauty bits?




Friday, 24 February 2017

Winter Update

Hi guys, 

It seems ages since my Autumn Update, it's been a LOOOOOONG cold Winter! I found it difficult to find good photos for my monthly round ups as I tend not to do too much other than hibernate through the cold months! 

I'm so happy we're now heading into Spring and looking forward to a bit of warmer weather! But here is my Winter Update...


December, Winter update


December

I do love December, it's such a fun month, particularly with little children. Taylor is now at the age where he's a lot more aware of what is going on and the magical of Christmas was rife in our home!

We visited Santa a couple of times, did lots of Christmas crafts and fun and generally had as much Christmas fun as I could squeeze into one month. :) We also had a visitor throughout December. A special little elf came to stay with us, if you follow my Snapchat you will have seen the funny little things he got up to. Taylor loved coming down each morning finding where the Elf, who he named 'Cena', was hiding. 

I had lot's of fun at a bit of a Christmas catch up with my lovely blogger ladies. We ate Christmas lunch and played some fun, retro games. This month also saw James' nephew turn 18 so we enjoyed a lovely meal and night out at the King Power to celebrate. 

I visited the Clothes Show this month, it was the first year I'd been invited as Press and actually had a lovely day out by myself, a bit of shopping, mooching with the stars and watching the shows. Unfortunately it was the last ever show in Birmingham before it moves to Liverpool this year. You can read more about that here


My most popular post this month was Santa's Grotto at Intu Derby



January, Winter update


January

January was pretty much full of toddler classes and soft play fun, and work. Nothing extremely exciting happened this month, January is usually a boring month right?

I started a new series on my blog reviewing Toddler Friendly Places to Eat as I find it so difficult eating out with Taylor, we reviewed our first lunch at Bodega Leicester and look forward to reviewing more places soon.

I also started freestyle kickboxing this month. It's fun, hard work and a good way to exercise, I'm really enjoying it!


My most popular post this month was Blogging in 2017 - Do I Suck at Blogging?




february, winter update


February

February hasn't been an amazing month for me. I try not to open up too much about my life or issues on social media, in fact if you followed me on social media you'd probably think I was pretty happy... :/ It's a shame really as it's my birthday month. But I need to try and take control of my life, my world. I'm the only one in control of it, I'm the only one that can make me happy, so I need to concentrate on that.

I took on a new role at work, I'm now head of department. Working from home, it's been a little difficult trying to make it work, and my little family house is slowly turning into an office which was been frustrating for us all, but I have to make it work so hopefully once I'm in the swing of things, things will start to smooth themselves out. It's exciting and I'm looking forward to taking charge!

I treated myself on my birthday to a bit of a pamper session at the hairdressers and I came back to cake, flowers and lunch from my boys... super cute! We were due to go out for a lovely meal that evening as part of a review but unfortunately that fell through so we settled for a Nando's takeaway instead. :) 

I celebrated my birthday with some of my closest friends, we had a lovely meal and a few of us headed for a special late night showing of Fifty Shades Darker. I also had good fun the following weekend celebrating my friends 30th birthday. I'm pretty disappointed in myself for my lack of photos from these events!! :)

We also headed to TGI Friday's for our second review from the Toddler Friendly Places to Eat series. That post will be up very soon so watch this space.


My most popular post this month was Toddler Friendly Places to Eat - Bodega Leicester



How was your Winter?



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