Saturday 31 January 2015

Valentine's Day Gift Ideas: Love Pillowcases

Whenever I'm asked what I'd like for a gift, be it my birthday or Christmas, I always reply with either "nothing" or something for the house. Chris gets annoyed and tells me that I need something for me, not for our home.

The next item on my Valentine's gift guide is right up my street. Love Pillowcases stock a range of designer pillowcases perfect to spoil your loved one. I know that pillowcases don't usually scream Valentine's Day but the designs are the cutest! There are ten designs to choose from and by God, it is hard to choose!

We eventually opted for the Love Whispers design and they are absolutely adorable.

As soon as the arrived, I was in love with the box. Seriously, look how cool it is! 

When I got over the excitement and opened the pillowcases out, I couldn't wait to put them on our bed. The pillowcases are white and although our bedding is purple, I think they go well.

The cases are standard size (50cm x 75cm) and fit our pillows perfectly with room to spare. They are made from poly-cotton and are so soft. Our last bedding set, before the purple, felt like burlap sacks so I was pleased at how nice and cosy they are. 

The pillowcases retail at £16.99 per set and you can purchase them at the Love Pillowcases website

(Disclaimer: I received a set of pillowcases in exchange for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)

Me & Mine: January 2015

This is my first time linking up with Me & Mine and I am super excited. We are starting this year as a family of four and I can't wait to share our adventures and experiences alongside photographs of us as we grow.

This month, I feel like we have finally a proper routine with both children and we're finding it a bit easier to get out and about with both of them. We don't drive and public transport is a pain but we are finding our feet. 

It seemed like we were barely inside the house this month at all! We had lots of lovely outdoor activities to do despite the cold weather such as park visits and feeding the ducks. We visited the museum which is one of our favourite things to do. I really hope that the children take an interest in it. It's the simple things that I enjoy. C, at two years old, is so innocent and things that we take for granted or are so used to, he loves and finds exciting. His sister, E, is just content watching him and laughing at him. She is dying to get up and play with him but I'm sure it won't be long until she's up and about, scarily.

Until next month!

dear beautiful
Friday 30 January 2015

Win a 6 Month Subscription to MumsDateDads

As you may have noticed, I'm slap bang in the middle of my Valentine's feature. Most of my gift ideas tend to be for loved up couples (vom!) but what about single mummies and daddies?

I've teamed up with MumsDateDads, the UK's leading dating site for single parents, to offer my readers the chance to win a six month subscription to the site worth £90! I know just how busy it is being a parent, and finding the time to meet new people can be hard. This is where MumsDateDads come in. It is the perfect solution to help you meet and date other single parents in your area.

The website allows you to:

  • Add a profile and photos
  • Search for other singles by interest, age, postcode or whether they smoke
  • See who is online
  • See who has been looking at your profile
  • Instant message other members
  • Get personality tests and star sign compatibility reports to see if your date is your perfect match
To be in with a chance of winning, all you have to do is fill in the Rafflecopter widget below. This competition will end on Feb 13th and it is open to UK residents only. Good luck!

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Valentine's Day Gift Ideas: Yucoco Personalised Chocolate Bar

Everyone loves chocolate on Valentine's Day and there's no better way to say 'I Love You' than with a bar personalised to your loved ones tastes.

Yucoco have over one BILLION chocolate combinations and they are handmade to order then delivered within 3-5 days. You can personalise your gift box with a message and include who the bar is to and from.

The order process is simple. Firstly, decide which type of chocolate bar would be your Valentine's favourite; dark, milk, white or a trio of all three! Milk is Chri's favourite so I chose that.

Next, is trying to decide on the toppings. I'd here all day if I typed them all out but you really should see what they have to offer. You can get almost anything! I picked I love Yu!, mini marshmallows, rose turkish delight, after eight mints and chocolate covered pretzels.

I then edited my bar. I named it The Valentine's Bar and put mine and Chris's name on it. It totalled £7.90 + £2.45. I did think that it was a bit steep for a chocolate bar at first but soon changed my mind when it arrived plus it IS handmade!

It was a lot bigger than I thought it would be and it weighs 140g. Although it was for Chris, he did let me try some (for review purposes, of course!) and it was beautiful. The milk chocolate was soft and almost melted in your mouth. Chris was delighted with my choice of toppings for him and said that he loved it. 

I think Yucoco would make a great gift this Valentine's Day.

You can find out more about Yucoco at the website. You can also keep up to date with them on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

(Disclaimer: I received a chocolate bar free of charge for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)

Thursday 29 January 2015

Lalaloopsy Tinies Giveaway

When I was little I loved collectible toys and I got so excited seeking out toys that I didn't have and begging mum and dad to buy me them to complete my collection. Times haven't changed that much and kids are still very into their collectibles!

Lalaloopsy have recently brought out a Tinies range. These button-sized versions of the original Lalaloopsy characters will let little ones continue their love affair with a brand new range.

The Lalaloopsy Tinies range is available in three packs (£3.49) and ten packs (£9.99) and over 100 characters will be introduced. They are suitable for children aged 4+.

In addition to the dolls, also available are the Lalaloopsy Tinies Houses (£9.99). The house playsets are the perfect size for the Tinies dolls and each one comes with its own carry case. They also come with one character and pet and three playset designs are available to buy.

Finally, is the Lalaloopsy Tinies Castle (£16.99). This set comes with even more accesories and again, it's the perfect size for the Tinies characters.

You can find out more about the entire Lalaloopsy range on their website and you can follow them on Facebook & Twitter.

I've very kindly been offered the chance to host a giveaway of one 10-piece charcter set and one house playset. All you need to do is fill in the Rafflecopter widget below. The competition will end on 11th Feb and it is open to UK residents only. Good luck!
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Valentine's Day Gift Ideas: Bunches

Next up in my Valentine's Day gift series, we're going traditional with flowers and where better to go than Bunches.

Bunches are an online flower delivery service with deliveries available all over the UK, surrounding islands and Northern Ireland.

Their Romantic Pink Roses bouquet is the perfect way to show that a loved one that you care as the pink roses represent grace and adoration. It is an exquisite arrangement of 12 pink roses surrounded by delicate white Gypsophila.

The flowers arrived boxed but are easily removed. As they'll be a bit tired after transit and out of water, you are advised to cut the stems diagonally about 2-3cms up, place them into one inch of boiling water for 30 seconds, then remove and place them into a vase. Your vase should be half full of lukewarm water and the sachet of flower food that is included should be added.

These flowers are still sitting beautifully on my kitchen windowsill and they smell gorgeous too! They are sure to make your loved one happy on Valentine's Day. They retail at £30.99 and they come with a free box of chocolates.

Bunches also sell other Valentine's bouquets that you can browse here. You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter too.

(Disclaimer: I received a bunch of flowers free of charge in exchanged for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)

Wednesday 28 January 2015

Valentine's Day Gift Ideas: Patchwork Pâté Hamper Giveaway

As part of my Valentine's feature I'm so pleased to be able to offer my readers the chance to win a fabulous hamper courtesy of Patchwork Pâté!

Patchwork Pâté stock a range of hampers that contain a selection of scrumptious jarred pates, unbelievable relishes, spelt organic oat fingers; all homemade and they are free from, additives and preservatives. Patchwork use only the highest quality ingredients in all of their products all of which are shelf stable and can be stored in the larder without need for refrigeration. They have hampers for everything in many different price ranges so you're sure to find something to suit your needs!

Patchwork Pâté have very kindly offered one of their Way To The Heart hampers to be won - it a chocoholics dream! The hamper contains:
  • A chocolate dunker
  • A mini pot of yummy fudge
  • Spelt honey fingers 
  • A chocolate flavoured beer
It's all presented in a beautiful heart-shaped crate too!

All you need to do is fill in the Rafflecopter widget below. This giveaway will end on the 10th February and is open to UK residents only. I cannot guarantee that the hamper will arrive by Valentines Day but all efforts will be made. Good luck! 

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Valentine's Day Gift Ideas: Jules Destrooper

Sometimes I feel that boxes of chocolates dominate Valentine's Day. They are probably one of the most expected gifts to receive. Why not treat your loved one to something a little different?

Jules Destrooper are a luxury Belgian biscuit brand and we were given the opportunity to try out two of their biscuit types as part of my Valentine's feature. 

First up, the Almond thins. These biscuits are so light and delicate. They're made with butter, sugar candy and soft almonds. They almost melt in your mouth.

Secondly, we tried the Crocante. These are hazelnut Florentines with crispy rice and are covered in milk, dark and white chocolate. Anything chocolate-covered is a winner in my eyes! I was surprised that they were hard to bite into but they are delicious. The chocolate is scrumptious too! 

Neither of the biscuits are too rich, which I generally find with most brands. I could probably eat a couple of boxes in one sitting!

These biscuits are definitely a sure-fire way to show your loved one that you care. 

The Almond Thins retail at £1.54 and the Crocante retail at £3.29.

You can find out more about Jules Destrooper at their website and follow them on Facebook & Twitter.

Tuesday 27 January 2015

Aldi's Baby & Toddler Event

I love taking advantage of supermarket Baby & Toddler events as they are a great way for expecting or experienced mums (and dads!) to stock up on what they need. Aldi's Baby & Toddler Event begins in stores nationwide on the 29th of January and you can snap up some lovely pieces at amazing prices.

Firstly, you can ensure your baby is as comfortable as can be with Aldi's range of blankets and towels. Their hooded towel is only £3.49! Their blankets are £2.49 for either the cellular or fleece version. We received one of each style and they are so cosy. I love cellular blankets as they are warm yet breathable. The fleece blanket is very snuggly and soft on E's skin.

Aldi's essential range of clothing consists of baby fleece jackets (£4.99), 3 packs of baby bodysuits (£2.99), zip front baby sleepsuits (£3.49) and 3 packs of baby sleepsuits (£3.99). E has tried out the 6-9month size which are a little big for her at 4 months old but they are supersoft and I can't wait til they fit her. You can also pick up baby character t-shirts (£3.99) with Mr Happy, Mr Bump, Superbaby, Hello Kitty and Little Miss Princess designs. Don't forget the necessities - their 5 pack of baby socks are £2.49 and tights are £1.99.

Bigger items include the Mamia baby monitor for an amazing £19.99. It's wireless up to 300m and it features clear sound, noise alert sensor and a soft nightlight so you can keep a close eye on your little one.

Gift-wise, you can pick up a very cute The Very Hungry Caterpillar Gift Set at £14.99 which includes a party plate, photo frame & money box, egg cup & soldier tray, mug & snack plate, bowl & mug or ice cream bowl & plate.

Finally, you can snap up some smaller items and accessories for next to nothing. Story books at 99p, 2 packs of long sleeved bibs at £2.99 and the ultimate essential - a 3 pack of muslin cloths at £3.29. I adore muslins and these are absolutely perfect to drape over myself and E when she is being fed.

The Aldi Baby & Toddler event launches in store on January 29th and items are available while stocks last.

(Disclaimer: I received the items pictured in exchange for this post.)

Monday 26 January 2015

Shifting the Baby Weight with Diet Chef

I was in two minds whether or not to post about this topic but decided to because maybe it would motivate me. I don't want to have to write in my follow up post(s) that I'm a failure!

Just before I fell pregnant with E I weighed 9st exactly which was perfect for my height. At the end of my pregnancy I'd gone up to 11st. I now weigh 10st. 

Realistically, I want to get down to 8st. I was never comfortable with my body between my pregnancies but now I'm determined to be at ease with myself again. For me. No one else. 

I have a sweet tooth and I love chocolate and crisps. Chris and I were partial to a takeaway almost every week so that's got to change. We are buying a lot more fresh fruit and veg than what we were used to. We'd usually have more meat with dinner so we've swapped that around and are piling our plates with veggies. We don't keep chocolate, crisps or any other unhealthy snacks in the house. If we do fancy something sweet, we'll opt for fruit or low-fat yogurts. We have decided that we'll do one takeaway a month which will be on the last Friday of the month. 

Starting today, I'm embarking on Diet Chef for the next 28 days. Diet Chef will be providing me with a breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack for each day. There are a huge amount of options to choose from which I'll go into as the weeks go on. Diet Chef claim that their customers lose 50% more weight that those on their own self-directed diet because they make losing weight simple. 

I'll pop back with an update at the end of every week. 
Wish me luck!