Friday, 31 July 2015

Glossybox July 2015 - Review

This month's Glossybox has gone all French on us! Vive la France is inspired by all things French (funnily enough) and with my love for all things French I was looking forward to seeing just what items had been chosen for this months box.

Firstly, I love the box, very chic and Parisienne. Lovely, a positive start!




I really did love the box and the packaging this month, on opening the box you can see that all of the items are packaged in a very cute little travel pouch. With exclusive artwork featured on the front by Jamie Lee Reardin it looks great. It's a nice size and will fit a few bits and pieces if you're off on your travels. 



So what did we receive? Well as you can see from the picture below we were sent four items and the fifth was the travel pouch. Initially looks like a good selection.



I spotted the Vichy Aqualia Thermal Light Cream (RRP £31 for full size, sample pot received) straight away, I've had a few Vichy items before and I love them. I have actually just purchased a larger pot of this cream for another review before I was sent this! It's such a light and moisturising cream and a little goes a long way so even the small pot will last for a little while. 



Next item is a Lollipops Lip Balm Delicieuse (full size received RRP £4.15), love a lip balm as you know and this one is nice! I prefer a harder lip balm (think lip smackers, carmex, nivea etc) but the that's just personal choice, however this one smells lovely and is really nice and moisturising.



Next item (and I apologise for the dodgy picture my old phone was really giving up on me!) was from Teoxane Cosmeticeuticals Perfect Skin Refiner (RRP full size £70.......seriously!Sample tube received). Wowzers to the price tag, I have to be honest I would never, ever pay that price for a skin care item but this is a great product. I've been using this for the last 10 days at night and my skin feels great in the morning, really plumped and hydrated. On the card it says you may experience some tingling on first use, but I didn't feel anything like that. 



Lastly, Noxidoxi Enhancing Serum Base (RRP for full size £33.46, sample tube received). Designed to be used under moisturiser it is supposed to hydrate the deep layers of skin and protect the skin. It's quite runny but a really nice base underneath moisturiser. Another nice item to be included. 



So yet again the folk at Glossybox are keeping me subscribed for another month, I think the July box has been great with carefully selected products to match the theme. There has been some high quality items sent which makes a change considering some of the crap we have been sent previously. 

Did you receive the July Glossybox? What are your thoughts?

The Blogger Interview.



This weeks word of the week is blogging.

I've been tagged in the blogger interview by Rebecca over at Futures. As I've said before I do like taking part in these tags as it's a really nice way to get a little motivation to write a post! 
So here we go!

How did you get into blogging?

I started my blog while on my maternity leave with Alfie back in 2013. I wanted something to keep my brain ticking over and I'd taken inspiration from one of the girls that was on my birth group. I loved reading her blog and decided that I'd quite like to have a dabble in it as a way of documenting my life as a new Mum. I've always loved writing, even as a kid I used to write stories and enjoyed it immensely. Little did I realise that over 2 years later I would still be writing it and I'd actually be quite proud of it! I look back at some of my first posts and cringe!! I'd like to think that my blog has evolved somewhat, along with my writing style and content.


What advice would you give to a blogger just starting out?

I'm really no blogging expert to be giving advice but I guess if I was to give some advice it would be to enjoy what you're writing. I know that sounds a bit like common sense but if you don't enjoy what you blog about it then what's the point? I would also say, as Rebecca had, if you're going to start blogging just for freebies, don't bother. Yes it's so lovely to be offered something, but actually to review an item can be very time consuming. You need to test the item, take pictures, edit the pictures, write the post and promote it. It can take me a good few hours to do all of this and I'm a Mum of 2 and was working full time prior to my maternity leave.

I would also say don't get too bogged down in statistics such as page views, followers and comments. It takes a long time to establish a blog, after two years of hard work and I'd say dedication I have a reasonable readership. I'm no way at all on the scale of Zoella or anyone like that but the this isn't my full time job! Just enjoy it and focus on writing good content and participate in linkies and comment swaps to discover new blogs and increase readership.

How has your blog changed since you started writing it?

As I said above I feel that it's evolved some what. When I first started blogging I was writing alot about beauty and skincare and the odd parenting post. Since I've had more time to dedicate to it and now being a Mum of 2 I've become alot more active. It's definitely now more of a parenting and lifestyle blog with a smattering of beauty, travel and food thrown in! I don't like to limit myself as to what I write, I like to think of it as an extension of myself and the things that I enjoy in day to day life.

As my blog has been slowly growing I have been extremely fortunate to work with some great companies and on some great campaigns. I was a Bathtime Fun ambassador for H&A, have worked with Ella's Kitchen, Organix, Tomy, PhotoBox and La Redoute to name but a few.  I have become more savvy with how to promote my blog and SEO and things like that, I try not to bog myself down with stats otherwise it's easy to get demoralised if a post isn't doing as well as I'd like it to. Ultimately I'm still learning myself and I'm wondering where the next year will take me!

What would be your dream campaign?

I've never really thought about it and that's the honest truth. I'm always amazed when I get offered any opportunity! I guess I would love to do something with Disney, Sony or Mac cosmetics! I like to aim high, ha! 

What advice would you give to PR's wanting to approach you for a campaign?

If you ask for my rates and I tell you them, don't go quiet and not reply, email me back and we can negotiate if necessary! Also, if I'm sent an item to review to bear in mind that I do my reviews in strict order of receipt so don't keep messaging me asking when it's going live. 

Do you have a plan for you blog?

I will just go with the flow. I will continue to write when motivated and take a break for a few days if needed. I'd like it to be successful but it really is time dependant on how much I can spend time promoting it. I just really enjoy writing it to document things within my life and plan to continue with it for that reason.

What do you think about rankings?

As I said above I do try and not get too hung up on rankings and stats. Sometimes I do and I get a little disappointed at times when I feel I have worked my socks off one month to go down in certain rankings. Then  I get over it and remind myself that it's not all about where you are on some chart that makes a blog a success, it's the readers that keep coming back and engaging which is the best bit. I think rankings have their place, of course but I just try not to obsess.

This was a really great tag to take part in, I feel like I've really analysed my blogging, ha!

I now tag the following to take part: 

Sarah at Run Jump Scrap


Samantha at Stressed Mum

Jemma at Living Life

Alex at Lamb and Bear

Karisa at The Styling Agency

Ashleigh at Loving my Finley

Alice at Tots Treasury

Gemma at The Mcallens

Chrissie at Raising Nova Burt


I'd love to read once you've done it so do tweet me so I can have a read!


The Reading Residence

Binky Linky

Domestic Momster

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Best and Worst Linky #11

Beautiful Things


Run, Jump, Scrap!

Hello and welcome to the eleventh week of our linky run by my lovely friend Sarah who blogs over at Run Jump Scrap and co-hosted by myself, we're really pleased to welcome you. Sarah and I will be splitting commenting again this week, it worked well last week for us and you should have received a comment from one of us so if you are missing one please do drop us a tweet or email. We've had some great posts over the last few weeks!

This is the linky where you can tell us about the best or worst things that have happened in the last week or even the last year, this could in the form of a blog post, a photo or even a video. It can be an old post or a new post, we don't mind we just want you to share it with us. We want you to share your babies firsts, the crappy day at work you've had or a makeup disaster basically the good, the bad or the downright ugly! We want to share your excitement and tears, highs and lows no matter what it is.

We're delighted to see you here and hope you enjoy taking part and we're really looking forward to reading your posts.

Each week we will both choose our favourite posts from the week before and feature you on the next weeks Best and Worst, we will also feature you on our Twitter feed. 

I really struggled to choose only one favourite link up from last week so chose two! My first was a great post from First Tooth all about taking pictures and what you see vs the reality of the photo, it's sooo, sooo true! My second comes from Little O and Me this is a beautifully written post and I felt it was exactly how I feel at times, well worth a read if you're Mum of a headstrong toddler!

Sarah's favourite link up this week comes from Whine or Wine , such a funny post!! 



Rules
  • The linky will open at 6.30am on a Wednesday and close at 23.55pm on a Friday
  • You can link up one post each week
  • Please comment on the 2 posts before yours and have a nosey at the host's too. We've noticed that some people have just been link dropping and not commenting on the 2 in front, please do return the favour so everyone gets some comments and linky love, thankyou.
  • Please add the badge to the bottom of your page so everyone knows where you have linked up
  • Tweet your hosts @helsy_1983 and @RunJumpScrap once linked up so we can retweet you. When tweeting and commenting use the hashtag #bestandworst so everyone knows where you have come from
Best of Worst







Wicked Wednesday - 29/07/15

When a lovely sibling shot doesn't quite go according to plan...........................




Best of Worst

brummymummyof2


Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Wining not Whining.

If you follow me on Instagram you will quite often see that my picture feed is full of various alcoholic beverage's that are being enjoyed! The last picture that posted I felt that I had to justify that we are not always boozing (honest!), simply that we both enjoy a tipple or two. 

Myself and my husband have always enjoyed chilling out over a glass of wine on an evening, it's one of the BEST things of a day once the little'un's are tucked up in bed. As many of you are well aware having children can be really quite stressful, obviously we have some great days but mixed in between are the hard days, the days where you want to lock yourself into the bathroom and hide! It's days like this that I start watching the clock waiting for bedtime to roll around so that I can crack open the bottle of Shiraz that is there, staring at me, just waiting to be opened and enjoyed. Delicious. As I was saying a good glass of red wine is quite a good treat at the end of “some” days so, even when if I shop online I can check if there is a bottle that would be the right one to have at home, instead other time I like to try something new and so I look for some tips or inspiration so if I want something new I found that the little description that I find on the Tesco wine page can give me some ideas to try something new.


I think it's such a a lovely thing to do on a Saturday night, curling up on the sofa with my husband, chilling out and watching a film, we manage to enjoy a few hours of blissful peace before the carnage all starts again the next day. Obviously I wouldn't change it for the world but evenings in this house are something to be cherished without children and once they're both in bed it is definitely designated adult time!


When I was pregnant I found it really hard to give up my couple of glasses of wine on a Saturday night, the second time round was much harder than the first for as I actually found myself craving wine (how bizarre!). I have to be honest I didn't totally cut it out but did only have the rare odd glass, it is personal choice at the end of the day and I felt I was sensible with my choices. Last year when I was in the early stages of pregnancy we had booked a cheeky little holiday to France and it was devastating to not be able to enjoy the usual glass of vino with dinner, I had to watch my husband drink some lovely wine while I stuck to lemonade (note to self next time don't fall pregnant near a holiday, ha!).

So I find myself thinking that it is much better to spend my evenings 'wining' rather than 'whining' it makes things so much more enjoyable! 

What is your favourite way to unwind? 

ToxicFox Personalised Gifts - Review.

I completely and utterly love personalised items, especially if giving something as a gift. I find nothing nicer than creating a bespoke gift and seeing the recipients face on receiving it, such a nice feeling. I love searching for the suitable gift and then adding personal touches that someone can treasure. I also love to receive personalised gifts, it feels like real thought has been put into searching for it.

Over at ToxicFox they have a fantastic array of gifts to choose from which can then be personalised thus ensuring that there is something for any occasion you may be searching for. 

How about this fabulous ClaireaBella canvas bag for £15.99 (if you haven't heard of ClaireaBella where have you been hiding?!). With various bag options to choose from you can then personalise the design on the front (you choose hair, eyes, dress, style and name) to give the bag the real wow factor.



The bag is also accessorised with added Swarovski crystals for that extra girly, bling factor. Retailing at £15.99 this is an awesome gift for any shopaholic (like me!).  On each ClaireaBella bag there is also an autograph featured from the founder of the brand so everyone can see that you own a genuine ClaireaBella bag. Sold exclusively through ToxicFox you can be reassured that these are the real deal.



If the ClaireaBella bag isn't for you, how about this gorgeous personalised family keyring for £16.99. Oh it's so beautiful, made from zinc alloy it's solid and weighty yet looks delicate, it's also very shiny! 


You can choose from two charms to be included and each charm is beautifully engraved with your chosen text, I chose Mummy, Alfie and Elarna. I don't know whether it was the hormones or what but when I received it I felt a little emotional, I think because it's something that is so personal and can be cherished it really makes this sentimental. 

The keyring is also presented in a luxury gift box so if you do decide to give this to a loved one then you rest assured that it won't be damaged and is a nice touch.



Items arrived quickly and well packaged and the ease of navigation of the website to find what I required was great. Overall a positive experience had with ToxicFox and I wouldn't hesitate to use them again and recommend them to my friends and family. 

Do you like receiving personalised items?

Family Fever
* Please note I was kindly sent the items in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are that of my own and I genuinely love the items, if I didn't like them,  trust me I would say!

My Little Road Trip Box

It's time for another review of My Little Box! This month It's all about going on a road trip. As always the box itself is fun and gorgeous! Typically it arrived just after I returned from my own little road trip/holiday but never mind, perhaps the items can prompt me to book another.


Love these little quotation cards that are included, this one and last months have been my favourite to date.


The theme of travelling is continued throughout the box and the first item to be discovered was nestled on top in this fab box.



Inside the box was this great travel organiser. With plenty of room to store passport, tickets, pen and money this will be super handy to pop everything in. The info card provided was all in French so I can't tell you much more other than it's worth around 15 Euros, but then the pictures speak for themselves and I'm not sure how much I can write about a travel organiser, ha.




The next item had me intrigued. A BIC biro (RRP £1.40), but a very pretty one at that with the added bonus of having a stylus attachment at the end so multi-functional! Also a little notebook (RRP £3.50), but actually it's so much more than that. The idea is that you fill the little book with thoughts, ideas and souvenirs and then it can be folded, stamped and sent as it is to whoever you wish. Adorable idea. 


The products this month came in the usual cotton bag but this month it was pink and decorated in little stars, absolutely gorgeous.


First impressions are great. A fantastic mix of products sent and all full size other than the Garnier. 


I received a full size Essie nail polish (RRP £7.99) in the shade Roarrrange, a bright and zesty orange. I'm yet to try it out but it's a bold and summery and I expect will look great on.



The next item I love! The packaging is beautiful and the product is lovely. Summer Sorbet After Sun Body Gelee by My Little Beauty (RRP £9.00) can be used as it says after sun or as I've been using as a moisturiser. It smells divine and is really light weight and melts into the skin leaving it feeling hydrated and smooth.



Lastly a little selection of tattoo's which if you've read my other reviews I'm not keen on, these seem to be the rage at the moment in beauty boxes but I'd rather not be sent them, I'm 31 not 14! 

The last item is one that I've read alot about lately, people rave about it. Garnier Micellar cleansing water (RRP £1.99 for 125ml) is wonder water apparently! Designed to remove makeup, cleanse and soothe it's a bit of a multi-tasker which is always a winner in my eyes!


So there we have another month of My Little Box and a great month it is. With the exception of the tattoo's it's full of items that I will use and am using, My Little Box continues to be one of my favourite beauty subscription boxes and I always look forward to receiving them.

What do you think of this months box? 

Family Fever

Monday, 27 July 2015

The Mummy Moments.

Today's post is a simple one. It's all about those beautiful Mummy moments. The moments that squeeze your heart, make your ovaries twitch and tears prick your eyes. 

These children of ours are the most precious things. We created them, I'm amazed by this every single day. We love them like we didn't know we could possibly love, these tiny, little extensions of ourselves. Little fingers and little toes, miniature people bursting with massive amounts of personality and creativity. 

We nurture them, we kiss their bumps and scrapes better, we snuggle them when they're poorly, we loose our temper when we get frustrated with them, we laugh at the crazy things they do and we cover our mouths when they say something inappropriate.





Sometimes it is just the little things that make those special 'mummy moments'. The grip of little fingers tightly squeezing mine, the kiss on my head before bed or just saying love you makes my day. 



As I write this I'm watching one baby sleep on the monitor and listening to one play in his room. It's a rare moment, I'm sitting alone, with a cuppa for company in the kitchen listening to the tap dripping and sounds of outside. There is no crying, screaming or wailing (at the moment!) and it kind of feels weird. These moments very rarely happen and I'm savouring it, even though it kind of feels a bit odd! I've become used to noise (alot of it) during the day, I've become used to the shouting, squealing and wailing so to sit downstairs and have a very small amount of peace is odd! It's allowing me a rare moment of reflection, I have alot on my mind at the moment and this time is allowing me to collect my thoughts somewhat. I'm thinking about how my life has changed over the last three years, I'm thinking about just how fortunate I am, I'm thinking about how life is going to change in the next three years.

I hope to give you both the best start in life I really do, I'm just muddling through so who knows if I'm getting it right so please bare with me. I love you with all my heart and even though I've more wrinkles than ever before and I see the odd grey hair appearing (ergh) I wouldn't change it for the world.

Parenting, the most varied and wonderful job in the world and these are my mummy moments, what are yours?

Best of Worst

MaternityMondays


Friday, 24 July 2015

My Happy Place.


We all have that happy place. That place we go to in our mind when unhappy, anxious or stressed. I quite often visit my happy place when I have the dreaded trip to the dentist! As you know I have recently just returned from my holiday and the place we visit is my happy place. I suppose that I have two happy places if I'm honest. Bali  is one, the place we spent our honeymoon, that once in a lifetime trip unlikely to ever be repeated again. Yes it holds many wonderful memories but isn't truly my happy place. 

My true happy place is the South of France. Particularly the Dordogne where we return to year after year. We have truly made so many memories there that whenever I need to put myself in my happy place this is where I go. 




I got the love for this place a fair few years ago when my (now) husband took me there on one of our first holidays together. I fell in love with the scenery, the weather, the atmosphere and the food and of course the wine. I think because of this he knew that this would be the ideal place to propose to me back in 2009!


I remember the day so well. I hadn't been feeling particularly well over a couple of days, can't remember why but just remember that I'd spent a few hours in bed sleeping and Adi kept asking me if I was ok and would we be able to go out for dinner on the evening. 

I had been wanting to get engaged for so, so long. We'd been together for nearly 9 years and I did wonder if we would ever get married and I admit, at times I would get so upset that he hadn't popped the question. I remember worrying that perhaps he just didn't want to fully commit to me!

So I remember getting ready for our evening out together and not getting dressed up a massive amount, I still clearly remember Adi asking me if that was what I was wearing with a look of shock on his face as I was really quite dressed down! I remember getting changed into something a little more dressy and it didn't occur to me once that he was going to propose that evening. 

We had a lovely meal and he knew my wishes that I would have hated to be proposed to in a restaurant so it didn't happen there (thank god). Instead, afterwards we walked along the beautiful cobbled streets and he pulled me to a stop and got down on one knee and produced a ring (nawwww)! I genuinely thought it was a joke and was telling him to get up, until I saw that actually the ring was real and this was happening. *Cue floods of tears and hysterical behaviour*........obviously I said yes!

He had chosen me the perfect ring and proposed in the most perfect way, I spent the rest of our holiday on cloud nine, I was over the moon. 


From that day on the Dordgone, particularly Sarlat hold a special place in my heart and always will. I've also been fortunate enough to share some great holidays with close friends there too which makes the memories even more special, this makes it my happy place. 

I dream that one day we may actually live there. I would love that. I have this dream/wish that we buy a gite and run a small complex of holiday homes and spend the rest of our life there together, enjoying everything that this lovely part of France can offer. We'd sit by the river, we'd take walks in the fields and drink enough wine that we'd probably need to buy our own vineyard. It's very unlikely to happen, we don't speak the language (although we could learn), we don't have the finance's (at the moment) and would it be fair to uproot our children for our own dream? I just wonder whether our quality of life would be so much better, who knows.

Well one can dream, yes??

So tell me, where is your happy place?


The Reading Residence

Binky Linky

Mummaknows

Lou Messugo