Saturday, 31 October 2015

Me and Mine - October

I can't believe that its November tomorrow!! I am so excited for November. It means we are a month closer to Christmas and it is also  out wedding anniversary.

This months pictures were taken very last minute, this afternoon to be exact. I really need to get better about taking out pictures. I long for a picture that we can frame, instead of a rushed picture on my phone. But for now it will have to do!



 
I'm really hoping that November is a good, easy month for us. We seen to be having a rough time this year.
 
 
Nicola Xx

dear beautiful

Friday, 30 October 2015

Best family holidays for young kids

Family holidays don't have to be stressful just because you have kids in tow. And the great thing about living in the UK is, you have a huge range of European destinations on your doorstep, meaning you don't have to endure a long-haul fight with a tearful toddler or baby. To help you plan ahead for next year, here are some of the best destinations for young families. 


Basilica di Santa Maria Fiore 2 by Pank Seelen, on FlickrCreative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License   by  Pank Seelen 

Florence, Italy

With an abundance of gorgeous architecture, good wine and bustling piazzas, Florence is high on the list of getaways that suit parents. But did you know that there's also plenty to do for the kids too? For a start, this is the birthplace of gelato, Italy's delicious ice cream. There are dozens of great gelatarias dotted around the city, including the Gelateria la Carraia, a favourite of locals crossing the Ponte alla Carraia, a bridge spanning the River Arno.

Once you've got the gelato out of the way, head to the Gucci Museo. Budding fashionistas aged 5 and upwards can take special kid's workshops there to learn all about the evolution of fashion through the ages. There's also the Children’s Museum in Palazzo Vecchio which has a variety of costumes and exciting stories to tell about the history of Florence.

If museums and ice cream still don't have the little ones exhausted, Florence offers some gorgeous squares and gardens for outdoor fun. Pitti Palace and the Giardino di Boboli offer lovely lush lawns, water features and grottos to play hide and seek.

If, after all that, you're looking for something exciting, why not take the family to an Italian football match at the Stadio Artemio Franchi, which first opened in 1931. The grownups can partake in some Serie A betting to make things exciting whilst the kids cheer on their favourite players from the stands. Fiorentina, Florence’s major team, are at the time of writing around 9/1 in the odds to win the Serie A title, if you needed a pointer! The likes of Roma, meanwhile, are around 15/8.


Private beach (2) - The perks of travell by polybazze, on FlickrCreative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   by  polybazze 

Crete, Greek Islands  

Crete is the largest of the Greek islands and has plenty to do for families, from great todler-friendly beaches to activities and historic sites. Head there from June all the way through to October for warm days and balmy nights.

Besides historical gems to keep the adults entertained, there's plenty for children too. AquaWorld Aquarium in Hersonnisos is a small aquarium in the east of the island. It makes the perfect family day out for kids of all ages with snakes, eels, turtles, alligators, fish and lizards to keep the little ones enthralled.

Hersonnisos also offers two water parks which kids are guaranteed to love. Acqua Plus has slides, a lazy river, a massage pool and a huge main pool amongst other attractions. Star Beach Water Park is free entry and offers more daring activities like water sports and bungee jumping. Elsewhere on Crete you'll find Limnoupolis Water Park in Chania, and the largest of the water parks on the island, WaterCity in Anopolis.

As for beaches, Crete offers calm waters that are perfect for toddlers and young kids to paddle in. Elafonisi beach in southwestern Crete makes for a great day trip and has a small island you can wade out to. Marathi Beach on the Akrotiri peninsula has perfectly calm, shallow water as well as some cosy cafes and restaurants in the town.


Arc de Triomf by ::RodrixParedes::, on FlickrCreative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   by  ::RodrixParedes:: 

Barcelona, Catalonia

Barcelona may not be the first family destination you'd consider, but a closer look reveals a location that's teeming with kid-friendly activities and stuff to please the adults too. Spanish culture is wonderfully family-oriented. Pubs and restaurants are open long into the night and Spanish children are generally allowed to stay out later than their UK counterparts.

In the city you'll find lots of activities that will keep kids happy, including a cable car ride out over the harbour and up to Montjuic mountain. Montjuic is home to a large castle and is also the site of the Olympic park, with some spectacular views of the city. Once you've descended the mountain you can go to see the "magic fountain" at night time, a huge water feature with music and a light show at Plaça Espanya. It has a magical atmosphere which kids will love.

Also in the city centre is the Cuitadella Park which is perfect for hiring bikes, playing ping pong, or even just an ice cream and a wander. There is a zoo inside the park gates too, with all the usual safari animals. Not far from the park is L’Aquarium Barcelona which has
Europe's largest sea tunnel, a glass-covered walkway that takes you through the shark and ray-filled waters.

Outside the city, you can take a train up Tibidabo mountain, where some fabulous views will greet you. The summit has its own little amusement park and the rides are made even more thrilling by the great height they are enjoyed from.  Also a little bit outside of the city centre is Park Güell, a colourful fairytale park designed and created by the famous artist Gaudi. With free entrance, it's a great family-friendly option.

Bio: Chloe Ashman is a freelance writer and mum of two from Yorkshire. When she's not following her passion for all things travel, she enjoys the odd game of bingo (when the kids let her!)

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Debenhams Flowers Review

It isn't often that I get bought flowers. In fact I cant remember the last time but they are such a lovely gift to give. Debenhams have a great service that allows you to buy flowers from your sofa and get them delivered on a chosen day to a specific address. The perfect flower delivery service to send flowers to someone, especially if they live far away.

 
When Debenhams flowers got in touch asking if I wanted to review their service I thought why not. I deserve some autumn flowers to brighten up the kitchen. I picked the gorgeous Autumn Sun bouquet The flowers arrived on the chosen day. There wasn't a specific time slot, which may be trouble if you are getting them delivered a present and the person isn't able to wait in all day.

They arrived in a gorgeous box which kept them very well protected.


Arrival - The flowers were in good condition. They didn't seem effected by the delivery at al which is great. The roses didn't look as good as the rest. The ends of the petals seemed to be dying a little and were browning. I tried to remove the outer petals but it didn't help. It wasn't ever rose but a few.
Day 2 - Everything still looked perfect. Again the roses didn't look as fresh.
Day 4 - Same as day 2.
Day 6 - Around day 5 the sunflowers started to die. I had to throw them away early on day 6 and they looked a bit worse for wear by then.

 

The sunflowers were by far by favourite out of the flowers and they looked amazing. I am a little disappointed with the roses not being as fresh and if I had bought the flowers as a gift I would be a little upset but overall the service was wonderful and the flowers lasted well. Debenhams did offer to replace my flowers and the service was amazing.
 
 
 
Debenhams have very kindly offered my readers a discount code for 25% off. Use code DFBLOG25
 
This code will give you 25% off any bouquet apart from ones in the 'Flowers By Post' range.
 
There is also a lovely range of Christmas flowers and Christmas hampers available so check those out too.

Have you tried Debenhams flowers before?

Thanks for reading,

Nicola Xx

*Disclaimer - I as sent these flowers for the purpose of this review but all views are my own*

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Mummy and Me - October

This month I wanted to get a really nice picture of me, Paige and Parker. They seem to be very few and fair between at the moment. I think it's their ages to be honest. Paige insists on pulling the funniest faces and Parker just doesn't want to sit still.

This month has flown by. I can't believe that it's almost November. Paige is almost 3 and a half and Parker has just gone 16 months. Christmas is just around the corner and then the new year.

Paige has settled in so well at nursery and we are so proud of her. Parker enjoys his time with just me but still misses her so much. He's cutting two teeth so we've had a lot of grumpy moments from him which hasn't been fun.

We are all enjoying the little break from nursery and spending time together as a three, just like we used to do. S far we've coloured, played with play doh, built 500 towers and done a lot of chasing each other around the room. We are all starting to get ill (thanks nursery germs) but we can always snuggle on the sofa with a blanket :)

 

There's always one.... HAHA! We asked her to smile! Lol.


Nicola Xx

Nicola... Life Through My Eyes

Monday, 26 October 2015

Pink Lining Penguin Love Yummy Mummy Review


 
As a Pink Lining ambassador I get to review their gorgeous bag. For my first I picked the super cute Yummy Mummy Penguin Love bag. I picked this on because I've never tried as yummy mummy bag before. It is their signature bag so I had to try it! I decided to pick the penguin love theme as it is super cute. Its also one of the newest designs so I had to give it a try.
 
 
This bag is beyond gorgeous. It is so cute. People always comment on it and I love it. The penguin love design is just lovely. The penguins are nice and because one of the main colours is grey the bag doesn't overwhelm you. I also love the yummy mummy design. The exterior pockets are lovely. There is the cupcake pocket and then two side pockets with have elastic near the top, perfect for bottles. I usually have the kids water bottles in there. Really easy access and super convenient. The same goes for the cupcake pocket. I tend to keep my phone in there, It has a magnetic closing so it a little more secure than the other pockets but still really easy to access.
 
 
The inside is their signature bright pink which is gorgeous. I love the little pop of colour it gives. There are so many pockets inside. There's plenty of space for everything. I use this bag for me, Paige and Parker. I can carry nappies, wipes, two changes of clothes (one of each child), my purse and my planner plus little extras (snacks, lip balm, crayons, small colouring book).

 
The inside has two insulated bottle pockets. I don't use these for milk anymore but they just double up as a normal pocket. On the other side there are two elasticated pockets, perfect for nappies or anything really. There is also the small zip pocket which is great for mummy things. Theres also a pen loop, key fob and a mirror.
 
 
 
The bag comes with the hanging mat and zip lock bag. These are really lovely quality and great additions. The material is also really tough and easy to clean. I just wipe mine with a damp cloth and it comes up like new.
 
The straps are great. There are two small handles which can be carried in your arm, on your shoulder or in your hand. The longer strap is great for using over the pushchair (I tend to do this most of the time). You can also remove the longer strap if you don't want it on. 
 
 

Overall I really love the bag. The design is perfect for winter and the yummy mummy style is spot on. The bag is really well made and lovely to carry.

Have you tried a pink lining bag before?

Don't forget to check out Pink Lining on Facebook and Twitter.

Nicola Xx

*Disclaimer - I was sent this bag as part of the ambassador programme but all views and opinions are my own*





Friday, 23 October 2015

16 Months Old

 
Its kinda crazy to think that Parker is now at the age that Paige was when I conceived him. He seems so little still whereas Paige seemed so big at 16 months.

He is coming on so much though. His speech is getting really good. This month he has learnt how to say doughnut, ok, touch, more and go. These all happened within a week or each other.

 
He still loves row your boat and now screams at the end, in a cute way. He will also randomally hold up both his arms and say 'yayyyy' so cute. He also roars when playing with his dinosaur. He loves playing with everything he shouldn't and is so very cheeky. He also loves kicking a ball and tries so hard to jump. Sometimes he clears the floor!

He hasn't had any new teeth this month but one has to be on the way. He always gets a horrible nappy rash when new teeth are about to cut. His eyes still look really brown sometimes and sometimes really green, they are defiantly darker than Paige's.

 Nicola Xx

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Easy Pizza Dough

 
As a family we love pizza. Its super yummy and super easy to make. You can load it up with vegetables and the kids never know. I've made a homemade pizza dough for quite a while now and it always turns out really yummy so I thought I'd share my recipe.

300g Strong Flour
200ml Warm Water
1TP Instant Yeast
1TBP Oil
1TP Salt

 
That's it. Just five ingredients. I said it was super easy. You simply mix the flour, salt and yeast. Make a well and add the oil and most of the water. Mix together and add a little more water if you need. Some days I use 200ml some days I only use 150ml, it all depends so just watch it. You need all the flour to stick together but you don't want it too sticky that it sticks to your hands while kneading. Once you have it roughly together pour it out onto a floured surface. I find that its easy to work with your hands. Gently knead for 5 minutes. It should come together in a smooth ball. Next leave it to rise for an hour or so. You don't have to do this but I think it helps. After the hour gently roll out into a pizza dough shape, you can use a rolling pin but I find it easier to use my hands to push the dough into shape. You don't want to overwork it.

 
 
 
 Next up is to add your sauce (we use tomato puree) and add your toppings. We like ham, sweetcorn, spinach and cheese but you can have anything you like really. Cook on 200c for 10-14 minutes or until the dough goes slightly brown at the edges and serve.

 
 
I normally let Paige help and add the toppings as she is more likely to eat something if she helps makes it but to be honest this pizza is always a big hit. There's never any left, even with the spinach on top.

Nicola Xx
 

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Brewers Fayre Review

At the weekend we were very kindly invited to a Brewers Fayre about an hour away. We went to try out their new Autumn menu and to have a play in their beano play area.

On arrival we were greated by the most lovely staff. It was very quiet but soon got busier. We were shown to the play area which was all the way through the restaurant. It had lovely big doors at the entrance. Inside there was a little counter and some tables and a little party area. Paige was given a wristband and off she went.
 

The play area itself was good. It was clean and tidy. There were a lot of slides and things to climb. We were a little disappointed that there wasn't a ball pit and I think this would be a lovely addition. There was a separate toddler area with some baby walkers, a couple of cosy coupe's, some foam shapes, a puzzle and a slide. The slide was good but was a little high up to get on, even Paige needed our help.

We ordered a couple of drinks while we were in the play area and they were lovely. For our food we decided to go into the main restaurant, you can eat in the play area though. We just thought it would be a little more relaxed and wouldn't distract the children as much. Ordering was nice and easy, there were plenty to choose from. You have to go up to the bar to order which isn't a problem. Our food took half an hour to come. We asked for the childrens starters to come with their mains. While we waited there were little activity books and colouring pencils available which is nice. I don't think half an hour is long to ask an adult to wait but for a hungry child they could get grumpy, Parker did. I did hear others saying their wait was 45 minutes.

 
 
When the food arrived it was nice and hot and looked lovely. We were asked if we needed extra sauce and they checked on us once to ask if everything was ok which was nice. The food was really nice. The portion sizes were good. The kids meals were great. The portions sizes were good. Paige needed a little bit more and Parker needed a little bit less so we just gave Paige some of Parkers and it worked perfectly. They also got little pots of ketchup which Paige loved.

 
 
There were quite a few new dishes on the menu. Mark had the chicken biryani from the new menu and said it was really nice. He said the sauces were nice too. I got the lasagne which isn't a new dish but is super yummy.
 
 
 
Desert was probably my favourite. We ordered the Sharing Fondue which is also from the new menu. It was so good. It took 20 minutes to arrive which I thought was a little long as nothing was cooked, it just had to be assembled but it was worth the wait. You got a pot of caramel and chocolate sauce.
 
 
All the staff were super lovely. They made Paige and us feel so at ease. There was always someone around in case you had a question or needed something. The restaurant and the play area was really well looked after. Everywhere was clean and tidy. There was also an outside area for the kids to play and areas to sit outside for if it was a nice day.

Overall we had such a lovely afternoon. The food was yummy and the kids had fun. The value of the meals was really good. We loved the new additions that we tried from the new menu and would defiantly go back.


Nicola Xx

*Disclaimer - We were given a voucher that covered our food and drink but all views are our own*

Monday, 19 October 2015

Spoiled little rich girl? Not Paris!

Whenever you read about Paris Hilton, she’s doing something glamorous that’s related to the world of fashion or retailing, or her latest love, being a DJ. Or she’s out on the town, partying with other celebrities. She’s someone we see living the life that most other women can only dream of. And there’s a tendency for people to think that because she’s Paris Hilton, descendant of the Hilton Hotels family empire, that she’s got it made, a life that’s a whirl of social occasions, and that none of her success is through her own hard work.

But there’s a different side to Paris. It’s true she could have chosen the lazy path, leaning back on the cushion of family money and spending her life going to charity lunches, but that’s not what she’s chosen to do. Ever since she first signed up with Donald Trump’s agency as a model at the age of 15, she’s worked for a living, even though there’s not been a real financial need.

And even now that she’s got a successful global brand around her name – with 45 Paris Hilton shops selling handbags, perfumes, shoes and watches in 40 different countries - she’s not resting on her laurels. Recently she became a new brand ambassador for bgo, the online gaming and gambling site. Through this role, it’s clear that Paris doesn’t take herself too seriously – in the TV ad she’s trying to get a position working for The Boss, bgo’s other celebrity ambassador, actor Troy Verner. But she might soon be taking over from him. Check out this bgo blogpost on which of the two is the bigger Boss, in terms of their working style, the people they know and the way they spend their free time.

Of course, Paris is only playing a caricature of herself in the bgo ads, but it’s clear she takes her own business very seriously. Not only has she built up her retail experiment into a multi-million dollar business, but she makes time for other work too. This summer, she’s been a resident DJ at Amnesia, one of Ibiza’s biggest clubs, and it’s rumoured she gets paid enormous amounts for every session.


Paris Hilton by Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer, on FlickrCreative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License   by  Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer 


We only see one side of Paris in the press

In a Forbes interview last year, Paris made it clear that her business is not all about her, stating that part of her motivation for getting on with the job every day is the fact that she has created employment for other people and has teams of people working for her brand all over the world, who are now reliant on the brand’s success for their livelihoods.

Paris clearly has no plans to slow things down, even though she could legitimately do so on the back of her own success, and not because of family wealth. She’s talked about how she’ll develop what she does in the future when she settles down and has children, perhaps bringing out a children’s clothing range and books.

When you glimpse Paris in the fashion pages or on Instagram, you might assume she’s living the high life on the back of her family name, but the reality is quite different. She’s definitely the boss of her world.

Bio: Chloe Ashman is a freelance writer and mum of two from Yorkshire. When she's not following her passion for all things travel, she enjoys the odd game of bingo (when the kids let her!)

Friday, 16 October 2015

Octonauts Gup-I Tranforming Polar Vehicle Review

Paige was sent the Octonauts Gup-I Playset to review. She loves watching Octonauts on tv so I knew she would love it.


The set up was really easy, all we had to do was clip the front on and we were good to go. The Gup-I transforms into three different modes for even more playing fun. There is water bear mode, scout mode and command center. The really great thing is that the toy knows water bear and scout mode and once you transform it into these different modes it will say the mode its in along with some sound effect which are pretty cool. It also comes with a snowball launcher, a snowprowler, Kwazii, a satellite and a weddell seal. These are great little extras to bring the toy to life.

 

To change from the different modes it is really easy. In Water Bear Mode, the Gup-I is in a horizontal position allowing its long legs to extend into “snow stilts”. In Scout Mode, the Gup-I sits upright, giving the team the perfect view to scan and spot creatures from afar. In Command Center Mode, the Gup-I opens to reveal everything the Octonauts need for their rescues. The Gup-I also makes lots of different sounds by pulling the antennae down. The legs lock into position to help the Gup-I stand up. It also has wheels on the bottom of the legs so your child can push it around, Parker loves this!

 
Paige loves playing with this toy and also enjoys picking it up and taking it places. Its lovely to get them to use their imagination and rescue the seal and other toys they have. We've had as lot of teddies in danger!

 
There are a whole range of Octonauts Toys, I'm sure your child will find something they love. The Gup-I was a huge hit here.

Nicola Xx

*Disclaimer - We were sent this item for the purpose of this review but all views and opinions are my own*





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