Sunday 30 April 2017

Sports Tours with Absolute Sports Travel!

Sports tours with the what a cool thought. Alfie is a few years off a residential trip only being in EYFS but there was a letter posted out the other day that the year 4/5 are off on their residential away soon and it got me thinking about how Alfie would enjoy it and why they are such a good idea. It truly is such a fantastic opportunity for them, to develop their independence and start to stand on their own 2 feet. It also opens them up to a huge range of experiences and life lessons. 


The folk over at Absolute Sports Travel are a specialist company that organise and arrange a variety of these kind of tours for schools, both in the UK and abroad. What an amazing opportunity to be able to offer your children the chance of going on a truly memorable trip away or to take part in something like these organised football tours.  

It got me thinking about a few points to remember when you send your child away on our on for more. 

  • The memories. I can honestly say I have some of my best memories from my school trip away to France and the Isle of Wight, it truly was such a good experience. Have a read of this article to see just how memories are made. It is so important that children are able to make these lasting memories to store up for later life. 

  • It goes quickly, naturally as a parent you worry but it's such a good thing to encourage your child to be independent and look after them self. 

  • Embrace the freedom for a week. From both and child!!

  • It's a rite of passage to go on school trips and be away from parents, scary times but exciting at the same time. 

  • Something to talk about. As said it's all about creating memories and talking about new experiences with family once returned. 
So, do you remember going away on trips with school? Good memories?

* Collaborative Post. 

Wednesday 26 April 2017

Best and Worst Linky #91

Beautiful Things

Run, Jump, Scrap!

Hello and a big welcome to this weeks best and worst linky.  We are backkkkkk!!! After a lovely few weeks off from the linky Sarah and I are back with the 91st best and worst. We hope you all had a fab Easter and look forward to reading lots of new posts. This week is going quickly and here we are again, Wednesday and linky day.

Sarah and I hope that the linky continues to go from strength to strength and perhaps 0ver the next few months we might implement some small changes but these are still being discussed. In the meantime let me welcome you, as always to the best and worst linky run by my lovely friend Sarah who blogs over at Run Jump Scrap and co-hosted by myself. If you're new to the linky we're delighted for you to join in, please do have a read of the rules. If you're a regular then thanks as always for the support. Sarah and I split the commenting now, it is working well doing it like that. 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 months and we're looking forward to reading some more fabulous posts!

So what is best and worst all about? 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.

Remember to tag us over on Insta and Twitter with the #bestandworst hashtag. We would love to see more of you over on Instagram and Twitter sharing your pictures and posts with myself @helsy_1983 and Sarah @runjumpscrap this can be throughout the whole week not just when our linky runs and we will then aim to feature some depending on who uses the hashtag. As this is still a fairly new thing for us it might take a few weeks before people start using the hashtag more.

So as always, on with the linky........please have a little read of the rules and we look forward to reading this weeks posts.

We are going to be keeping a close eye on the commenting in the coming weeks, it's not fair to link and run so please take some time to visit some other blogs and comment, linkys  only work if people spend time to read other blogs and comment on them.


  • The linky will open at 5.30am on a Wednesday and close at 23.55pm on a Friday
  • You can link up one or two posts 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 and remember to hashtag us over on Instagram too

Best of Worst


Sunday 23 April 2017

Laundry Label Confusion!

Ever had a disaster when washing clothes? I have. It wasn't one of my most epic moments. I've no idea what happened and I probably should have been more aware and maybe rechecked the washing instructions......... but I managed to shrink one of my daughters lovely woollen dungarees, she'd worn then only once and they were filthy so I bunged them in the wash and I'm sure you can guess what happened next.....they looked small enough to fit a Barbie doll. 

Did you know that alot of people find laundry labels confusing or misunderstand the instructions. According to this recent survey from Laundry & Cleaning News over half of people find these labels confusing. The survey reports that over 56% of people don't always understand the washing instructions in clothes thus leading to damaged clothes which are then not wearable. Data Label who carried out the research have now designed a really handy guide to the most common care symbols. 

With that being said here are some tips to help when doing the laundry!

  • Well I guess it goes without saying, check the laundry labels and check them again before putting the washing on!

  • Separate your colours, seems obvious but it's definitely worth going through and making some nice colour coordinated piles ready to clean.

  • If you have children that attend school or nursery then label your clothes!! We use some pretty cool adhesive name labels that can be washed but there are other varieties around so see which ones you prefer. 

  • When it's sunny hang them out to dry, not only does this save on a dryer but there is nothing nicer than getting the fresh air into washed clothes. Also the sun is great for bleaching your whites!

These are just a few tips but I'm sure that there are many more. What tips have you got when doing the washing?

* Information from a press release by Data Label. 

Wednesday 19 April 2017

Where for Art Thou Motivation??

I have a confession to make. I haven't published a blog post in well over a week, in fact the only post I have recently blogged is about Elarna turning 2 and it was fairly quickly written. Do you know what? It felt pretty good. Liberating almost. Blogging is consuming, not just time but life aswell and I needed a break. I have been seriously lacking in the motivation recently, it happens when you write, it becomes an effort, ideas and words don't flow and for me that is when I know I need to step back. Of course, I have had a few things occupying my mind recently, this plays a part in the 'can't be bothered' mind set but I have to admit I have felt refreshed to not write. I have not checked my stats......what's the point, they will be abysmal, I have done no social media promotion other than using Instagram and sharing it to my Facebook page, I have participated in no linkys and generally just put my blog to the back of my mind. 

Usually, most of my evenings are spent replying to emails, writing blog posts, social media promotion, Instagram pods, linky commenting and drafting ideas for posts. I also spend my days off taking photos for posts, reviewing items and generally preparing posts.......I also have my daytime job 3 days a week, looking after the kids and keeping the house clean!! Blogging is not simply a case of just writing and getting 'free things', for some it is their career and it comes at a price, it really is alot of work and effort. It really can become very stressful trying to keep on top of everything. I've had to have a long, hard think about my blog, to the point where I have thought about giving it up but this is something I don't want to do. What I have done is to remind myself why I started to blog in the first's a means of having an outlet for my feelings and write about anything and everything. Of course, the perks that come with blogging are nice but they are no means the reason why I started to blog in the first instance. 

After I went back to work from having Elarna I found that I had to reduce the amount I posted things as I just didn't have the time and it did take alot of pressure off me, it made me feel better about not posting consistently and worrying about a regimented schedule, now I generally only post 2-3 times a week and this is dependant on how I'm feeling. I've learnt to put much less stress on myself and to enjoy my blogging and for it not to be a chore, of course I want my blog to be read but it's not my job and nor will it ever be. 

Anways, after a week and a bit off I have felt my motivation slowly coming back. I put a lack of motivation plea out to some other bloggers and asked them how do they deal with losing the writing mojo? I also asked them to remind me why blogging it so ace and why they love it. Below are some of the answers from the fab blogging community. 

Jemma who blogs over at Mayflower Blogs says she blogs because she loves it and she's good at it and enjoys it. She also told me I should continue to do the same.....thanks Jemma, loves ya girl! 

Jemma from Then there were three blogs because she enjoys but also likes to read people's feedback especially if she has written a particularly emotive post.

Several bloggers told me I'm not alone having the wobbles when it comes to writing, Emma from Emma Reed feels the blogging community is fabulous when it comes to supporting you through a lack of motivation period, I tend to agree with her as blogging buds are brilliant and have helped me out lots over the last couple of years. 

Taking a break from blogging can do the world of good says Beth from Twinderlmo , like myself Beth blogs as a hobby and feels she can dip and out of blogging as and when and tends to feel more motivated by doing this. Likewise, Kristine from Max and Kai also very much feels like this and taking a step back every now and again helps. 

Jon from The Money Shed says blog for money, that always keeps the motivation going! 

A common thought between bloggers is to just take a few days off for the motivation to come flooding back, Lynette from New Mummy Blog finds this works for her, she also enjoys being able to write what she wants and vent if needed. 

Laura from Five Little Doves set up her blog to raise awareness of subjects close to her heart and to reach out to people who are going through a similar experience and this is what motivates her. Similarly, Emma from Island Living knows how quickly life can change and finds blogging makes her appreciate this, plus she always wanted to be a writer and with blogging she can do this. 

Sarah who writes over at Run Jump Scrap says she would miss the lovely blogging community but also enjoys the perks that blogging brings. Like myself, Sarah has found blogging to be a way of life and it's definitely addictive!

Finally, Becci from The Unnatural Mother says blogging makes her feel alive and finds it's therapeutic which I have to agree with. She also says that she has a much better work/life balance with blogging.  

I was so pleased to read that I am not on my own when it comes to lack of motivation. I think it's so important to just chill and not worry. I've reminded myself why I started blogging in the first place and why I love it and I'm fairly sure that I will be continuing for some time yet!

Monday 17 April 2017

Tips for Choosing the Right Blind.

We've been trying to choose some blinds for our house, who knew it would take so long and be such a difficult choice. The possibilities are endless. Particularly, we've been after some decent blackout blinds for the kids rooms as not the evenings are lighter convincing them that actually it is evening can be a bit tricky. As we've been scouring shops and the internet for the perfect blinds I thought I would share some tips with you to keep in mind when looking for blinds. 

  • Decide what type of blind you would like. Are you after blackout, venetian, roman, roller or something else? Familiarise yourself with what's available and what look you are hoping to achieve. Are you wanting to make the room darker, warmer or brighter? Make a list of what you'd like the blind to bring to the room and refer to it when blind shopping.

  • Choose a reputable supplier, a company like VELUX would be a good start. Reliable and professional with plenty of choice and advice to ensure you are getting the best for your money. They are also very helpful and able to answer any queries you many have.
  • Measure up correctly, this is so important.....after all it would be a disaster if you order the wrong size!

  • Get the professionals in. If you're really not sure it would be a good idea to get the company in to measure up and fit the blinds, that way you can be certain of the correct sizing and fitting of the items. 
VELUX Window Blinds

  • Think about your budget and have a clear idea of how much you want to spend this way you know the products that are available to you. It is always tempting if you find something you like to go over budget but if possible try and stick within your costings.
Blinds can make such a difference to your home. They can really bring a room to life while maintaining your privacy. Have fun searching for your favourite blinds.

* Collaborative Post.

Saturday 15 April 2017

Elarna Turns 2!

Well I did it. I have officially managed to keep my 2nd child alive for almost 2 years. Yes.....go me, wahoo, small triumphs and all that! Well not just me obviously, my husband plays a fairly large part in this too! In all seriousness, how on earth is my daughter 2. It's that crappy cliche of time flying, it really has. I feel like I only just wrote her birth story and also her turning 1, but here we are 2 years down the line and the fun is about to begin! 

As Elarna is having her little operation on her actual birthday (the 15th, which by the time this goes live will be the day) we brought everything forward by a week. I hope to write a bit more about what's been happening with the operation in another post but I have been lacking in motivation somewhat for my blog that I haven't gotten around to writing it as yet. I digress, so we decided to bring her celebrations forward and ultimately she wouldn't know any different at this age. I got all her pressies wrapped ready for Saturday morning and a big balloon which seems to be a bit of a tradition in our house now for the kids! 

I struggled with what to get her, they both have so many flipping toys that I find it difficult to know what will be a hit but thankfully everything that she opened......well I say she, Alfie helped with the majority of opening the presents, he was so excited too. Everything that was opened was met with a 'wow' or an excited noise, it was incredibly sweet to watch. I always go overboard with presents, and every year I try to not spend too much but can't seem to help myself. 

So what I choose for her? Well she loves scooting around and is pretty active like her brother so I chose a scuttlebug for her (huge hit), several books, some arty bits and pieces, a couple of outside play toys, some Shimmer and Shine toys and other little bits and pieces. She seemed thrilled with everything. Alfie had chosen her a 'little sister' bowl that matched his 'big brother' bowl and that also seemed to be a hit. 

We had debated leaving pressies until the weekend of her birthday but to be honest we're not sure how she will be feeling so I'd rather that she enjoyed opening them before. We had a really nice, chilled all be it excited morning of drinking coffee, opening presents and both kids enjoying playing with the gifts. I was really pleased to see them both enjoying themselves. 

As Elarna's birthday is fairly close to Alfie's (end of May) it does seem to be a bit of an awkward one with arranging parties. Alfie is having a bigger party with one of his friends from school so we decided to keep Elarna's fairly small with family and close friends. I've been feeling a little stressed about her op so didn't want to have to arrange a huge gathering and we invited just a handful of people and it was a really lovely afternoon. Pretty laid back, with simple food, some booze and gorgeous weather so the kids could head outside and burn off some energy. 

Naturally, I had her party outfit organised ages ago!! Why I chose white I do not know. It didn't stay white for long and she had a 2nd outfit change later in the day......most divas have more than 1 outfit on a birthday of course! I fell in love with this floral dress from Mothercare a few weeks ago, it wasn't cheap but I knew as soon as I saw it I had to have it for her. I added this cute lemon headband (it didn't stay on long), some frilly socks and these utterly gorgeous butterfly backed shoes from Next. Elarna randomly found a pearl bobble which is one of mine and decided to wear it as a bracelet......who am I to stop her! I think it looks adorable. Like I said though, didn't stay white for long!

I've added several photos of her below having lots of fun before everyone arrived. She was going absolutely nuts with the balloons and bubbles that I'd left around the house. It made for some cute pictures, I think I need to work on my action shots though! She's so speedy it's hard to get her to pose. 

I had this amazing cake made for her by one of my lovely Mum friends, Hannah who runs For Goodness Cake has recently taken the plunge and gone into full time cake maker extraordinaire and I think you'll agree the cake looks amazing, it also tasted yummy to. Go check out her page, especially if you're local to the Peterborough area. 

We had a lovely afternoon, as I said the weather was amazing and it was so nice to see everyone, there were a couple of our friends that couldn't make it and of course they were missed. I think it's safe to say Elarna very much enjoyed her birthday party and was completely oblivious that it was her pretend birthday. 

So Happy Birthday my sweet little Princess! Here's to the  next year. Oh and the terrible two' you detect a tone of sarcasm there?!

Thursday 6 April 2017

Be a Quitter!

With the end of lent nigh approaching have you thought about continuing to be a quitter? Now would be a great time to keep on going with the things that you've given up on, after if it's going well may as well keep going with it. 

Some people give up chocolate, some people give up on booze and some people quit the fags. It's not often I encourage to be a quitter but when it comes to things like ciggies I am a huge advocate. Being a non smoker for around 8 years now I have to say it's one of my biggest achievements to date. Not only is it good for your health but it can have a huge impact on your bank balance, believe me. 

Of course, I am well aware that quitting is no easy feat. It take alot of courage and determination to cease smoking, you really have to be in the right head space. There are things you can do to help though so I'm here to give you a few tips. 

  • Be mentally ready. There is absolutely no point in considering stopping smoking if you don't feel ready to. It's a tough thing to do and you really have to be ready to do it. 
  • Use aids to help. If you don't think you can do it cold turkey, don't!! When I quit I used a combination of patches and inhalators before finally going 'cold turkey'. If I was quitting now I would without a doubt use an electronic cigarette to help. Vaping, as it's more commonly become known can really aid in packing up the cigs, by using a high quality electronic cigarette such as these it can really make stopping smoking alot more bearable. 
  • Use a money pot that you can put the money that you are saving from stopping smoking. You'd be surprised how quickly it fills up and just think of the treat you can get at the end of it. 
  • Little steps. If you don't succeed the first time don't beat yourself up. Try again when you feel ready to do it. 
  • Take each day at a time. Every day you don't smoke you are step closer to your goal of a non smoker. 
  • Remember you can do it!!! Once you are a non smoker you will feel so much better in yourself and look back and think why didn't I stop before. 
So if you're considering smoking I wish you lots of luck in stopping and I know you can do it!

* Collaborative Post. 

Monday 3 April 2017

Switch Up with Nintendo Switch!

Family gaming - it's one of the things I'm really looking forward to when the kids are a bit older. Over the years we've had tons of fun and giggles with friends and family with games consoles like the Nintendo Wii. I think Alfie is at the age where he would be able to participate and play, but Elarna's just that little bit too young. That been said I'm fairly sure Elarna would totally try and get involved, it would certainly be interesting to see what they both made of it!

In our household we are quite encouraging with technology (with certain restrictions of course), it is after all the modern world that we live in. At school, Alfie has access to all manner of technology which I think is great and we often use educational apps at home to do his homework and keep him interested in his learning. I'm all for encouraging it if it means Alfie will complete his homework and learn at the same time. I am curious to know if the Switch offers an educational aspect similar to that of the Nintendo DS which I enjoyed using to train my brain.....if you had a DS you will totally know what I'm going on about. 

When I heard about the new Nintendo Switch I couldn't wait to see what the fuss is all about. It truly sounds awesome. This recent article by Voucherbox sheds some light on the pricing of the Switch and I'm tempted to wait for the price to drop slightly before committing to buy. In the meantime have a read below for a bit more about the console.

So what is the new console all about?

  • The switch is a hybrid home and handheld console, the first of its kind. 
  • Has 3 play modes, TV mode, tablet mode and handheld mode offering a versatile playing platform. 
  • Connect up to 8 consoles for local wireless play, how cool is that!
  • Switch and play, anytime, anywhere with anyone.
  • A wide range of fully interactive games from old classics such as Mario to newer and more sophisticated games such as Fire Emblem Warriors. There is something for everyone. 

Nintendo Switch Promo Image

Designed with kids in mind this ultra cool console could continue to lead the way in gaming to involve the whole family. I have always imagined when the kids are a bit older having Saturday night games fun, either board games or multiplayer games using technology and I have a feeling the Switch would offer exactly those requirements. Not only does the Switch look pretty cool and slick but it provides the player with a unique experience, allowing the user to 'switch' it up and being able to play pretty much anywhere. I love the idea that you can take this away with you or play it on the go, a must in this modern world and also very handy I think you'll agree! 

Image result for nintendo switch

So if you fancy finding out a bit more about the Nintendo Switch, head on over to Voucherbox for more information.