Wednesday, 25 April 2018

How Not To Over Spend

Oops. Well I had planned to blog a few posts in April and I had so many posts lined up in my head, however it has seemingly fallen a bit flat on its face! My last post about April Fools was on the 1st of the month and today is the 25th. How rubbish am I? Finally I have had the chance to write some stuff down and grab a photo from my collection and here we are. Roll on to the post.

Now if you'd spoke to me 10 years ago about money I would of confessed I was pretty crap with it. Cash burned a hole in my pocket, credit cards were my major downfall and savings - well I didn't even know what that word meant. Roll on a few years, I'm so much better than I ever used to be. Yes I have my moments of spending on various bits of tat, but as I've got older and wiser (LOL!) I'm far better. There are quite a few ways to stop over spending, firstly I'm going to start with the obvious one...

Cash Not Cards - With the invention of contactless cards, it so easy just to tap tap tap. You basically forget what you have in your account and just tap away your cash until it is too late. By popping to an ATM/cash machine and actually withdrawing physical cash to pop in your purse, you can see what you have. It's a safer way to spend money, because it is actually your money you are spending!

Credit Cards  - Now credit cards are OK for some purchases, perhaps a holiday so you are protected by your credit card provider. However other than that I seriously do not recommend them. Why? Because they are not real money. It's an easy option to get carried away and spend money which you do not have. You're just leading the money from the provider, like a loan. When you first get a credit card you are likely to get a 0% card, but as soon as that runs out ... you'll be paying interest on your balance. Ouch.

Weekly Allowance - If money is tight, I suggest an allowance which I have done myself before. After you have paid your bills, popped money into a savings account etc - work out what you have left for the rest of the month. Split this money equally between the weeks of the month - an allowance as such. Any money you have left which you didn't spend in the week - save this. Pop it towards a credit card payment for example or put it in savings. Once you become savvy with your spending allowance, you'll see your left over money creep up. Yay!

Vouchers And Points Cards - These are a god send. Some points cards give you perks, where when you spend in store and use that stores points card you collect points. For example Boots have their advantage points scheme which for every £1 you spend you receive 4 points. You can then spend these points on future purchases, plus they'll also send you vouchers. So yes you're technically spending money, but you will be saving money in the long run.

Make A List - I am a avid list maker, even with house chores or a shopping list for food. It really helps to write a list as it really helps in not going off plan. Just stick to the list and you should be fine. However there is one thing if you are doing the food shop, don't do it when you're hungry. It might sound stupid, but it is totally true that you always overspend when doing the weekly shop if you do it on an empty hungry stomach. Trust someone who knows, because will power is a little stretched when faced with tempting foods.

Shop Around  - It is so easy to just buy something then and there, but I will always advise you to shop around and compare your purchases - especially big purchases like washing machines. When we were looking for a jumperoo for Grace I was tempted by one on Very and it was £129.99! The hubby looked on Amazon and found the same one (just a different colour) for a cheaper price of £79.99. Think of the money we have saved just because we looked around and opted for a different colour. Nuts I tell you.

Do I Need It? - This relates to back when I read Marie Kondo's book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying. That book has really helped me when it comes to buying things and it always makes me ask myself 'do I need it/do I need this?'. Sometimes I'll end up walking around the shops with an item in my hands, then I get to the time where I have to go to the till to buy the item - I'll have a good look and ask myself 'do I still want it?'. It works really well and I've mostly put things back on the shelf.

Stop Treating Yourself - Now get you your calculator out and add this up. If you are the kind of person who likes to buy yourself a Costa coffee in the morning and lunch out everyday, it will soon add up to quite a bit of cash. Making lunch and bring it in to work will save you money ultimately. You just need to start planning food prep in advance.

Barter - The hubby and I recently purchased a new mattress for a eye watering price. When we were signing on the doted line, my hubby asked the shop assistance if there was 'anything they can do?'. Sometimes you might not get money off, but you might get something for free. Or if you're buying two items they might be able to offer you a deal. What is the saying... If you don't ask, you don't try.

Right folks that is all I can think of for now and I hope some of these tips help you out if you are trying not to over spend. I promise to not leave it too long in the future. Have a good day people.

Angela x


Sunday, 1 April 2018

Happy Easter - April Fools Thoughts...

Happy Easter everyone I hope you've all had a good day chowing down on a few chocolate eggs. Sick much? I have stuffed my face with a nice roast lunch and spent a nice time with family. To me that's what the day should be about - chocolate is overrated. Today is also April Fools day. Personally I'm not the biggest April Fools fan, I might sound a tad boring or old, but I cannot see the point.

You get people playing their jokes ...having a laugh. Pranking on one another can be fun, however sometimes people do take it a step too far and it will be distasteful and hurtful.

Imagine this scenario...
Person one... I have some news.
Person two... Ooh go on - spill the beans. 
Person one... We're pregnant!!!!
Person two... Are you really...OH MY GAWD!!! I'm so happy for you!!! Ahhhhh.
Person one... Nahhh not really. HAHA fooled you - Happy April fools!!!

Is that funny? Not really.

Getting pregnant is not plain sailing. Fertility problems are not something really spoken about. It's like a taboo, an elephant in the room. A no go area taped off. What if person two had their own secret heartbreaking issues about getting pregnant? If you're lucky and the stars are aligned for you it can take you one time or only a few months then well done. You're lucky. For others it can be a painful process of peeing on ovulation sticks and constantly shoving a thermometer in your mouth every morning to check your basal temperature. It’s a hard job making a human.

When we became pregnant we were merely days from going into our third year of trying for a baby. There were months of tears and upset. The struggle was real and to be honest if you've not been through the struggle yourself... you really DON'T get it. I had friends and family making comments when they just weren't needed ... the comment of just have sex more is really just a bit of a slap in your face when you feel quite down about the situation.

There was also social media to get a grip of. A place where everybody and anybody can share their joys of impending parenthood on the world wide web. Another platform to rub salt in the already painful wounds. To see other people, proud of their grainy pictures of their unborn child - it breaks your heart every time. Obviously you are beyond happy for the owner of said grainy picture of unborn child, but deep down inside you're crying like a crazy lady inside. I have been that crazy lady. Oh yes.

The problem of making pregnancy part of a joke is it is disrespectful to everyone who has ever had the struggle to get those two blue lines. We ourselves had problems, but close family members were going through countless rounds of IVF. Telling them we were having a baby was so hard and scary, but luckily they have now been blessed by IVF twins in recent weeks.

I have previously written about how, out of respect we chose to not announce our pregnancy on Facebook. I'm proud we took this approach and avoided social media.

Now if you're planning to pull a prank, spare a thought for a couple who could be suffering in silence that they cannot conceive, going through IVF or cannot hold onto a little one long enough that they suffer from miscarriages

Thank you and goodnight all.

Angela x

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Quick Easy Biscotti Recipe

I have the sweetest mother-in-law. Since I can remember she's always baked biscotti. She loves to feed them to me and to be honest I could quite frankly eat them all day long. Imagine Homer Simpson and his drooling face - that's me. She always sends me away with a goodie bag of them! Bless her.

If you don't know what biscotti are, they are a kind of 'biscuit' which can also be known as cantuccini, that originate from Italy. Biscotti are usually twice baked making them quite a hard biscuit. I personally don't always bake them twice usually, because I'm too impatient and want them NOW! You can make biscotti how ever you like, just keep the main ingredients the same - I'll highlight the main ones with a *.

I like to double up my recipe to make a shed load of biscuits and if you make too many you can actually freeze them. Winner. Right, let's crack on. Before you get started turn on your oven to gas mark 3 or 180℃ fan.

First, all you need to throw into a large bowl are the dry ingredients which are;
225g/8 oz - Plain flour*
150g/5 oz - Caster sugar*
1/2 teaspoon - Baking powder*
Pinch of Salt*

Once these are combined and mixed together, pop in...
75g/3 oz - Nuts of your choice (pecans, pistachio and almonds work well)
50g/2 oz - Candied peel (I do a mixture of candied peel and glacé cherries)

Now you need to add the wet ingredients. Just make a well in the middle of the mixture.
3 medium eggs* (2 whole eggs and one yolk)
1 teaspoon - Vanilla extract

Mix everything together with a wooden spoon. When you're happy pop the dough on to a oven tray covered in grease proof paper - shape it like a log. Make sure they are reasonably big trays, as the mixture will spread once it heats up.

Set your timer for 45 minutes and go and make yourself busy until the buzzer goes off. When the buzzer on the oven does ring, bring out the tray and check the biscotti are a golden brown. Leaving it on the tray, take a big sharp knife and cut them into slices. Lay them out on the tray and you can then if you wish after cutting them up - put them back in to the oven for 5 to 10 minutes to twice bake them. This will harden the inside of biscuit. You can leave them to cool on the oven tray or pop them on a wire cooling rack.

Like I said above, you can switch up ingredients in the recipe. You can add extras like fennel seeds, orange or lemon zest/juice, you can dribble dark chocolate on them or half dip them in it too. If you don't want to use caster sugar, coconut is a excellent substitute.

I will say at the time I was baking these I did plan to pop pecans in the mixture however, but it turns out they were mouldy. Rather than poison myself I decided to go without and add extra candied peel instead. Problem solved. Et voilĂ .

Now, if biscotti doesn't sound like something you'd be into, (cannot see why) then why not try these short bread biscuits or banana oat cookies which I have made previously.


Angela x

Monday, 19 March 2018

'The Sticker Site' Stickers

I know this is rather late considering Christmas has long gone or we could technically say I'm getting in there early *wink wink*, but I thought I'd give a shout out to a company I came across and you might just love all year round.  

The Sticker Site appeared on my personal Facebook one day as something I might like and Facebook was spot on. They are a site where you can get personalised stickers created. It doesn't have to just be Christmas, they have different themes like birthday, baby shower and reward stickers for example. You can chose from a different array of pictures and colours and also personalise with any text you wish - space dependant obviously.

I purchased Christmas stickers for Grace - I didn't go mad sticking them to all her gifts as she was so young, but I thought they were a nice touch for her first ever Christmas. I was sent an A4 sheet of paper with 24 individual stickers in a mat finish. They cost just under £3 and arrived in only a few days after I bought them and that was during the festive time. The sender sends them in a hard back envelope so there are no worries of them being wreaked in transit.

Obviously, I know this is a random post for March, but if you're in the market for stickers then The Sticker Site might be just up your street. Enjoy!

Angela x


Friday, 16 March 2018

My Recent Poundland Haul

Poundland is a really great place to pop into for a bargain. I'm in there most weeks as my local store is close by to where Grace and I attend some baby classes. Last night I popped in there to grab a few bits and I thought I'd share. I said to myself a £10 budget which I kept to - I just didn't include the two packs of mini eggs I bought in the picture hehe.

If you have a little one I certainly recommend popping in and picking up some books. For the price you might think the would be cheap looking but there are some really good quality ones in there. Graces loves Peppa Pig, so obviously we had to get two of those story books. I also noticed Rory's Story which talks about Rory the Tiger getting a sister. I thought this was a good story to read to Grace if we're blessed with baby number two. 

We're currently in the baby weaning stage and even though we're making most meals from scratch I still like to have a jar or pouch in the house as a back up. My Poundland do not have a huge range of foods for babies, but they have a few jars and opted to get Heinz Creamy Oat Porridge.

If you're into crafts and especially crafts for the kids and don't want to spend lots, then Poundland is the place for you. I got a pack of 16 jumbo wax crayons so we could start colouring - I'm not expecting much colouring but its something to do. I also bought some plastic Easter egg containers. I was thinking of using them for a Easter DIY project - watch this space!!

Now it would not be right if I popped into Poundland and didn't pick up two bits for myself or the house should I say. Firstly the anti-bacterial wipes for the floor - a life saver to keep my living room floor looking clean and polished. I cover up the floor whilst Grace is eating - not like she's eating that much however we still manage to get something on the floor. Doh. Also she is now on the move, so it's great that these wipes are anti-bacterial and kills germs on the floor that might get walked in on shoes.

Lastly the one thing for me (apart from the mini eggs) ... this cute mason jar cup/mug. I picked this up as I was inspired by Emily Norris' use of her one from her recent Poundland haul video. She uses hers for pens and makeup brushes. I'm going to pop some flowers in to mine as I think it will look rather sweet on my mantel place in the living room.

I can always buy more in Poundland and I had to hold myself back or I would of gone a little cray cray! Do you have any favourites bits and bobs you like to get from your local store? Inspire me for my next trip :-)

Angela x


Monday, 5 March 2018

Gifts Ideas For A Newborn Baby

Last week my brother-in-law and his wife gave birth to long awaited IVF twins, a boy and a girl. This weekend we popped to shops to get them a few presents as a welcome to the world. As we'd recently had a little bundle of joy ourselves, we are a little clued up in what to buy a newborn. These are a few things I recommend to buy new parents for their little ones.

Outfits | Clothes are the easiest things to buy and to be honest sometimes it is quite overwhelming having a new baby and everyone is giving you new clothes to tackle and wash. It makes me sound ungrateful, but honestly it can be a bit much for a new parent. If you are planning to buy clothes, don't always buy newborn clothes - vest and baby grows are always useful. Lots of people will purchase new baby sizes, so keeping this in mind I would opt for an slightly older age of clothes for example 0-3 and 3-6 months. Just keep an eye on the times of years you are buying for.

Something Personalised | There are lots of websites that create personalised gifts, my favourites are My First Years, UnCommongoods and Not On The High Street. The list of things you can personalise is endless such as a keep sake box with the little ones birth details on. A hooded towel or dressing gown with the bubbas name on. I'd definitely check out the above links if you wish to go down the personalised route.

Toys | Grace has a small selection of toys that she really loves and I took this as a pointer to what to buy the babies. Amongst her favourites are her O'ball, a lion teether and her linkie rings. I'd try to steer clear of cuddle toys unless its something perhaps personalised, however Grace does have a soft spot for a small JellyCat rabbit which she's had since she was a newborn. Other popular gifts you could buy are Sophie the Giraffe teether, Ewan The Dream Sheep white noise maker and That's Not My... books.

A Keepsake | We were bought a lovely soft satin edged cellular blanket from the White Company. I love it so much I think I will end up using it with baby number two. We used it when we brought Grace home from hospital and it's something I would never part with. A newborn photoshoot is something else we were gifted. These can be very expensive and it is a very generous gift. Those little humans are only so little for a short space of time and I love the fact we have so beautiful shots of our little lady when she was so young. Other things you could get are a nice photo frame which is a nice touch - we have some pretty ones from Vera Wang. You could also buy something like a customised family portraita cast of baby's hand or foot gift or a do-it-yourself clay impression kit.

Something Different | Muslin's are always handy for moping up spills, but I really love large muslin's as you can also use them for breastfeeding cover, blankets and to swaddle your little one. I have some from MuslinZ that are made from a mix of bamboo and cotton making them nice and soft, but I have also heard all good things about the Aden and Anais ones too. You could put together a baby toiletries basket with shampoo, bubble bath, moisturiser, sudocream, wet wipes or cotton balls even - the new parents are always going to need those... trust me.

Gift Vouchers/Cards | Vouchers or gift cards might seem boring, but they are useful as you can buy what you want and when you want. You can get gift cards where you can it across a few different stores which is really handy.

I hope this post gives you some ideas of what you could gift to new parents and their little ones.

Angela x

Friday, 2 March 2018

What's Inside My Birchbox

Happy March everyone. I do hope we're enjoying the snow and the freezing cold winds that have come with it!

The other week my first Birchbox arrived. For a while I'd been thinking about signing up - a little treat to land on my door mat every month ... something to look forward to. I'd been a member of Glossybox and Birchbox years ago when beauty boxes first became a thing. I then stopped them, as I'd felt like I'd accumulated a few too many products and was literally drowning in them. This time I signed myself up for a six month subscription which cost nearly £75 including postage. I can cancel the subscription at anytime if I'm not happy with the services.

Well enough of that... fast forward to now and Februarys box. Every month there is a theme with each box and this months theme was beauty through the decades. You could select a 70s, 80s or 90s box. Being a cool 80s baby, I opted for the 80s box. I think they got the design spot on! Thumbs up Birchbox. Anyhow let's crack on with what is inside this month.

Cowshed - Cow Pat Moisturising Hand Cream | I'm not the biggest fan of hand creams and kind of feel like I was the only Birchbox subscriber to receive this. However with all this cold weather my hands have become a little rough. I do love the grapefruit and bitter orange scent, as they are quite strong and they linger on your hands afterwards.

Lord and Berry - Concealer Stick | I do like to try brands I would never pickup myself and I've heard so much about Lord and Berry's makeup. I'm not a fan of the pencil as you obviously have to sharpen it when it gets low. I'd much rather it be a twist up pencil applicator. I was sent the colour beige which happens to be a little dark for my current skin tone, however in summer it might be perfect!

The Beauty Crop - Eyeshadow Trio | These are totally my colours and it was nice to get a full size eyeshadow palette in my box. However if I want to go for a bronzed goodness look, I'm more likely to dig out my original Naked palette by Urban Decay. This is the perfect travel size palette if you just literally want one eye look. Sadly when I gave these a swatch I found the shadows to be dusty and not very pigmented which is a shame.

Luseta - Coconut Milk Hair Mask | This smells divine - I do love a good old coconut product. The sample size I was given was 30ml and I used it tonight on my hair. I have quite thick hair so I ended up using the whole tube. It would of been nice to get a little more than one use out of it. When I sniff my hair I do get a slight hint of coconut and it is quite soft. I especially enjoy the fact this is a cruelty free item. I wish Birchbox would do a whole month of cruelty free options... hint hint wink wink.

Percy and Reed - Quite Frankly Flawless Finishing Polish | What a mouthful of a name! Forget the name length though, this is a finishing product which captures any fly aways hairs with a gentle hold. I've tried this once so far after I had styled my unruly hair with my straighteners. It's a thick cream and you don't need much and you're not left with a crispy hair look you can get with some products.

That's it for the box. I think my only disappointment with my first box is the fact received two hair products. It would of been nice to have something else like a body product or skincare item perhaps. Birchbox usually have offers on when you first sign up for a box, so keep an eye out for coupons and offers. I received a free full sized sample of Smith and Cult lipgloss as part of my offer which I love and wouldn't of ever picked out and bought myself. #Winning!

Have you ever been interested in signing up for a subscription box service?

Angela x


Friday, 23 February 2018

Second Hand EBay Finds

There's that saying "one mans junk is another mans treasure". I think in this day and age we have become very much a throw away society. I can hold my hands up myself and say I pretty much donate to charity shops on regular basis. However I think I should perhaps try to sell my no longer loved items instead of popping them to the charity shop. Donating to charity; yes it is a GOOD thing, but some times it would be nice to get a little cash in MY pocket instead. No offence.

Lately I'm being quite careful where I spend my money, as I'm living off maternity pay and that pays peanuts. I cannot complain really, as at least we get paid money in the first place to stay home and look after our babies'. Since I had Grace I feel a little meh about my clothes. I'm living in-between sizes as I still have the mum-tum. I'm not bothered that I have a mum-tum, but it's annoying as I cannot find anything that works for me right now. I do aim to lose weight, but I'm in no big rush to get my Victoria Secrets model like body back. Not like I had this in the first place I might add.

Instead of nipping in to my trusty Primark or to charity shops I thought I would log in to EBay and look for some items that were no longer being loved and needed a new home. Here is what I got...

GAP Cream Mohair Jumper 
I really liked this jumper as soon as I saw it and it was for sale for a mere £3.97 plus postage of £3.50 - a bargain total of £7.47. I like the look of the vertical ribbing and the collar. We're still having some chilly days and I thought this looked nice and snug. When it arrived, unfortunately it was marked which I told the seller about and she was more than happy to refund me if the stains didn't come out once washed. What looks like happened was the bag she posted the jumper in had a blue lining that rubbed off. Luckily it came off no problem.

I've had two issues with the jumper... firstly it can be a little see through meaning no white or black bras underneath unless you have a vest on first, which is fair enough. The second issue is the jumper can shed a little. I try not to wear it around Grace as I know she'll get the jumper fibres stuck in-between her fingers. I don't want her eating fluff just yet.

The burning question you have is, would I buy this again?? The answer is ... probably. Like I said the shedding is annoying, especially since I have a baby where everything gets stuck in her hands and spaces between her fingers. Apart from that it is a nice buy, even if I get a year or 18 months of wear it is still worth it I think.

Peacocks Alexa Skinny Jeans 
I've bought the Alexa jeans from Peacocks before in store, but they never seem to have them in size 12 and this is why I took to EBay. The seller had these marketed as a buy now offer for £9.99 including postage. I made her an offer of £8.00 which she came back with a counter offer of £8.99. I though this seemed fair deal considering it included postage. I know what it's like to sell items and how much postage can sting you.

Once I got the jeans, they looked fine apart from that I'VE BEEN SAT AROUND FOR A BIT smell, however a good wash sorted that. I like the detail on the back pocket... I've not got this on my other Alexa jeans. What I like about this range of jeans is the stretch and give they have. I found 14s a little too stretchy and this is why I was looking for 12s. I popped these on and these just kept wanting to wriggle down but not because I think they are too big. I think they are on the small size which is a shame. I can wear them but I have to pull them up now and again. I might have to dig belt out!

Now would I buy them again? Yes certainly. I've got a pair of jeans for half price as Peacocks sell these for between £16 and £18 and there is nothing wrong with them. After I lose a couple of pounds I think they will be more of a better fit. Whoop whoop.

That's it for now for my EBay purchases. I'm also going to do a post soon on some charity shop finds. I will get to share with you all a coat that I found and I'm seriously proud of this beauty and how much I paid for it!!

Do you shop on EBay for second hand clothes?

Angela x


Sunday, 18 February 2018

Tips For A Cleaner House

Ha. Who would of thought I'd be writing tips on this subject. The older I've gotten I have kind of morphed into my Mum and become a bit of a clean freak. I'm a firm believer in the saying 'messy house, messy mind' and since I've been promoted into a stay at home mummy, I really feel the affects of clutter and mess in my house. It makes me go a bit nuts. I thought I'd share a few of my favourite tips that I like use daily in my home to try to keep on top of things.

One Touch Method
I've been nagging my hubby about this for years and it is slowly getting through LOL. One touch is exactly what it means - one touch and deal with it straight away. If you've finished drinking that coffee -instead of leaving the cup by the sink or dish washer, wash it up or pop it straight into the dish washer straight away. You've come in the door after work, put your jacket away on its coat hook. Don't throw it on the sofa first only to pick it up later on. You're helping yourself in the long run by tidying mess up before it's even there.

High Traffic Areas
These are areas of your home which are walked on frequently throughout the day. Vacuum these daily, ours are the hall way by the front door and the kitchen. They are magnets for bits of dirt - I don't know where it comes from! Just a quick blitz with my trusty Dyson and order is restored. Our stairs are high traffic too, but I leave these to the weekend as they are a bit more time consuming and who wants to vac their stairs everyday? No one!

Clean Up The Kitchen Before Bed
This might be a big task, but if you're keeping on top of things throughout the day then this should not be too hard. The last two things I like to do before I go upstairs to bed is to switch on the dishwasher and wash the kitchen floor. Your dishes will be ready and clean in the morning and the floor will be all clean and not walked on all night. No body wants to come down to a bomb site of a kitchen first thing in the morning. If you load the dish washer during the day, wipe your counters down, rinse out the sink then when the morning arrives all you will need to do is put the dishes away.

Wipe Down The Bathroom When You're On The Loo
Two birds one stone hey. When it's my time to go - I will spray the bath and tiles... I'll then do my business for a few minutes. Afterwards whilst washing my hands I'll wipe out the sink and then I rinse the bath and tiles with the shower. You don't have to do this every time you pee, but once a day really helps. A deep down clean will be done once a week, but keeping it clean during the week helps a lot. Another tip; I love is to put bleach down the toilet just before I got to bed every other night. I also wipe down the seat so that it is fresh for the morning #Winning!

Make Your Bed
This is such an obvious one. Your bed makes up for most of what you can see in your bedroom, if it is a mess and not made you sure are going to notice it. It takes seconds to make it and it will really make a big difference. Trust me.

I hope these tips inspire you. Even if you don't do all these tips I have given and just pick one then that is a good start. It is all about being kind and helping your future self.

Do you have any tips for a cleaner home?

Angela x


Monday, 12 February 2018

A Few 2018 Goals

Ooh, so yes January has already flown by and in theory I should of probably had this post done and dusted, but hey I'm going to use the excuse of 'I have a BABY, they don't look after themselves you know!' So here we are February, nice to see you. I have penned down a few goals I'm going to attempt to achieve this year. I could probably write a million things down but it's already a long one.... soooo grab a brew or a wine - which ever takes your fancy. First Up.

The House
I have itchy fingers when it comes to doing things around the house. I want to decorate parts of it, but money doesn't grow on trees. We've lived in our house for nine years this November and we still have the hand-me-down carpet from the previous owner. It's tired just like me and needs a refresh. I'm slowing doing a decluttering sweep again as I feel like we've accumulated quite a few bits and bobs. I'm not sure I'll ever be happy with everything but I'm trying my hardest. Since having a small human I feel like I've been working overtime attempting to get sh*t done. It's driven me to tears on occasion which sounds really stupid, but I just want it to be perfect. You know what I mean?

In 2017 I didn't do much in the garden due to my pregnancy. I want to make it a little more child friendly for when the little lady starts to move about. I also want some space for a little Graces Garden Area. That little girl is going to love the outdoors and plants and animals whether she likes it or not. I want her to know how to care for things, no matter how small.

My Body Image and Confidence
Well this subject I could write an entire post. I'm not really happy with myself right now body wise. When I was with child I felt wonderful and showed my bump off in tight clothes. I loved it. I did say to myself and my hubby that once baby arrived, I weren't going to become obsessed with my weight and how I looked especially in the first few weeks. There enough pressures for new mums let alone 'can I fit in to my skinny 12s again?' Let's be realistic people I'm no superstar with a private chef and a built-in gym at home. Well roll on nearly five months later and I'm feeling a bit meh about me. I've had a baby and I feel frumpy. I have about one stone to lose (and the rest...) and no clothes seem to bring me joy. Muffin tops and back fat can seriously do one please I beg you. The only problem is I'm a stay at home mum who has a serious issue with comfort eating. I used to be so strong when it came to what I ate. I was the person people spoke to when they needed help with weight lose and now I'm that person who needs help and no one is about. Ahhh help me. I need to really sort my life out especially if I want bubba number two at some stage. I refuse to be fat for that! Angela get off your arse! Nope still sitting down watching Homes Under The Hammer.... argh!

Better Online Life
I sometimes wonder if blogging is for me anymore, however as soon I as I think those thoughts I think KEEP GOING ANGELA! I've been blogging for years - since 2010 believe it or not, but I feel like I have never really gotten anywhere far with it. There are so many worthy people out there I just think I'm not meant to be one of those. Yes I've worked with some great brands and products, but I think where I'm not consistent with my approach due to time and my job etc, things usually fall flat. This year I have a few thoughts on my mind. Do I start to make YouTube videos again? Do I get my own domain? I currently don't have a income as I'm on maternity leave plus I don't have a job to return to. With this in mind I don't want to be dish my money out here there and everywhere if I won't get much in return. Does that make ANY sense? I've started to get into Instagram more (chattingwithangela is my name - check it out). I had to google how to make an Insta story - lame or what? Not really down with the kids am I? I really want to get my blogging head on and perhaps try to get an income from there. There is still time very to make a change!

To Be More Hands On
I want to get crafty and hands on this year, especially when it comes to Grace. I want to hand make sensory toys for her - I have some projects in mind and I will share them here for other mums and carers to see. I am in the middle of making my little love her own patch work play mat. I've not had much time on my hands in the evenings, because I'm normally knackered once she goes to bed. However when she's been napping I'm busy prepping scrap fabric squares. I might share the process on the blog so watch this space.

My Family and Marriage
When you have a baby your relationship takes a ride on the back burner for a while. Sleepless nights and a sea of nappies become your life. On occasions I basically have felt like I've not even seen my hubby. He goes to work, I look after the baby then he comes in the door and I pass out due to exhaustion. Welcome to parenthood. I'd like to have a date night now and again with him to remind us of the times before we became a threesome - child free time. This is good for family looking after the baby as they get time to bound and we have break and us time. Yes I totally love us being a family...the three of us but it never hurts to have wifey and hubby time - to reconnect.

When the UK decides to warm up in spring summer, I also want us to go and explore. Grace is developing constantly and is like a sponge and taking in everything. She's such nosey inquisitive little girl and I think a trip to the zoo or the seaside will do her wanders. Sand castles anyone?

and finally...

Have More ME Time.
My name used to be Angela, but now I'm Mummy. I don't really have time to myself anymore and I love alone time to reflect on life. Sometimes I have a moment or two, but usually it is swiftly followed by someone needing a bum change or the washing machine needs unloading. Since I've become a Mum I haven't even had a Lush bath. I have a big stash of bombs and not had a chance to use them. On occasion I even have to try and remember when I last had a shower. That is how bad it gets sometimes. You kind of stop looking after yourself, because you're no longer number one. It's been over six months since I even had a hair cut. I think the me time goes hand in hand to my image and how I feel about myself. I've kind of got lost somewhere in the back ground. Angela needs to step forward, back into the light. When she is ready obviously.

I think when we get to December I might review these points to see if I actually ticked off any off these. How well will I do I wonder?

Ciao for now!


Friday, 9 February 2018

Primark Private Collection

Ladies and gents! If you love Jo Malone, well then keep reading. Behold Primark, yes Primark have got some rather nice home and beauty items which have hit the shelves. If you like Jo Malone and just don't have the funds to splash out on some bits and bobs from there, then these offerings from Primark might tick all the boxes for you and your purse strings.

Primark have launched a whole range of goodies from hand lotions and creams, hand washes, reed diffusers, eau de perfume mini sets and individual larger bottles of perfume and room sprays. They haven't held back when it comes to scents too. Six fragrances are up for grabs, so there should be at least one that will take your fancy.

The scents are Rose Oud, Mandarin and Basil, Amber Nior, Vanilla Absolute, Jasmine and Honey and Pomegranate and Black Tea.

I purchased two reed diffusers at £6 each and miniature set of six eau de perfumes for £8. What I like about the miniatures is the scent really lingers on your skin. It doesn't just disappear as fast as you apply to the skin. You can smell it for a good while afterwards. My favourite is the Rose Oud and the Pomegranate and Black Tea. All the scents are strong and do not smell cheap. If you could do a blind sniff test between these and Jo Malone, I think you'd find it difficult to tell the difference. I do like the roller ball applicator as opposed to sprays as you can pin point exactly where you'd like the scent to go! No wastage.

Most items start from £3. Nothing in the collection is over £10. I bet you'll be popping multiple items into your basket like I did. You can also buy the fragrances individually in larger 100 ml bottles for only £8 in case you do not fancy the miniature set like I got above.

Nip down to your local Primark quick sharp, as I can see these being really popular. Is there anything you fancy from the collection??

Angela x

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

2018 Here We Are! A 2017 Round Up

I know this post is exceptionally late, but I'm like a bus -  they never run on time and usually two come at once! The year of 2017 is over and dusted. A year of joy and sadness. End of eras and a start of new chapters. I was kind of sad to say good bye to it, as it was a big year.  Lets round up 2017 with a few points.

If you didn't know, 2017 was the year I lost my job. February 9th - d-day! 11 years of hard work, tears, laughed and friendships... it all came to an end due to the fact my colleagues and I were too expensive. They wanted cheaper labour abroad. I could of kept my job if I was willing to relocate (to Spain) but due to the next reason and many of reasons I decided to shove their offer where the sun certainly did not shine. If you have ever been through redundancy, you will know it's not very nice and our redundancy process went on for nine months. Nine months of shit, nine months of training our replacements, nine months of fighting for what we were entitled to. Nine months of hell and stress to be honest which we could of done without!

July 28th 2017 I officially hung up my work hat and put my feet up for a month. August was blissful - I bonded with my Mum so much as we basically became joined at the hip. It was so nice to have real nice mother daughter time. We had little day trips, we were ladies who lunched, we went conker collecting and dog walking. I will cherish those memories and times with my Mum. She's one in a million.

Then on September 17th, I got a new job. I became a Mummy. After a some what speedy labour... which I'm yet to write about I gave birth to a daughter. My little precious. When earlier in the year I found out I was losing my job, I was a mere 10 weeks pregnant. I was an emotionally wreck and due to that I ended up telling a close colleague about my pregnancy before any of our families. We hadn't even had a scan to find out if our little was was doing OK. By the end of February we had it confirmed everything was fine.

Telling my family lifted a major weight off my shoulders. I was so drained physically and emotionally and to finally say "we're having a baby" let go of some pressure. The look on my Mum's face will forever be etched in my memory. Shock and surprise. She was surprised we'd managed to keep such a big secret for 13 whole weeks. One time when I was driving her to afternoon tea with friends I got completely lost (totally unlike me as I know my way around anywhere...) she jokingly said you're acting like you're pregnant. Lol! If only you'd know the truth... I was! It felt horrible to tell a white lie and say "nah it's STILL NOT HAPPENED" while in fact I was growing a little peanut in my belly.

Roll on September and out popped Grace. Ha popped! After then the rest of the year pretty much became a blur. The newborn phase takes it out of you. You're recovering mentally and physically from your body taking a battering, but I would never change it for the world and I'd do it over and over again and again if I could. There is nothing quite like watching your baby grow and develop. I'm so grateful to have a healthy baby girl to call my own. Every time I see that beautiful little bundle, I thanks the gods that I was finally blessed with a child I could call my own.

I'm currently just penning together a post for my goals for 2018 and any plans I have for the next 11 months. I say 11, as January is now a memory.

What was the best and worst things to happen to you in 2017? Also I forgot to say HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Angela x

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Spritzing Your Bits

Ahhh after birth.

Everyone likes to remind you how awful both pregnancy and birth can sometimes be. I'd like to firmly say both of mine were pretty darn good... a dream in fact. I got my healthy little girl - finally. My pregnancy seemed to be blissful apart from a few little niggles here and there which is expected. As for the birth, well that wasn't hell like everyone seems to refer to. I'll no doubt write a post about it all in the near future if the little human allows.

Anyway, what most people don't talk about is after birth and how you can feel...  down there. I knew you could feel pretty tender down there after child birth, but I didn't quite realise just how sore. John Wayne walking at about 2 miles per hours comes to mind with the added sounds affects of oooh ahhh ooohhh. With my little love I had to have an mediolateral episiotomy cut to get a bit of access due to my bubba needing a vacuum to get her out. The healing process was a painful as you can imagine, I mean in a small paper cut hurts like hell let alone a cut down there.

Fast forward to being kicked out of hospital and feeling like my lady garden has had a run in with Edward Scissor hands and the recovery process. If I could of spent the entire time flat on my back with my legs apart in the air then I would of, but when a small human relies on you every waking moment of the day well you can't. I admit I did have it slightly easy as I had help from Mum (....god bless her - an angel without wings).

What I absolutely loved doing and I mean ABSOLUTELY in capitals bold underlined is spraying My Expert Midwife's Spritz For Bits on my bits directly. The only way to describe its affect is like aloe vera on a sun burn. A beautiful soothing effect which was very much needed indeed. Doing this whilst also spraying my maternity pads every time I changed them was just the best. Made from all natural products like lavender oil, witch hazel and tea tree oil I found it helped with the general soreness of my lady garden.

This isn't the first time I have used My Expert Midwife, I already wrote a post HERE talking about the Peri Prep . I loved that too but as the bigger you get the harder it is to reach down there to massage yourself if you catch my drift.

Caring for your bits is essential after birth and I will say now if we are blessed with baby number two then this beauty will certainly be on my shopping list!

What helped you recover from child birth? Any recommendations?

Angela x

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