Tuesday, 22 July 2014

De-Cluttering the House - Step 1 The Kitchen

We have recently been trying to get a handle on the clutter in our home. Deciding last week to stay in our current 'home' if that's what it can be called in order to save to find a house we can really call our Home Sweet Home has left me feeling a little deflated.

 It was the right decision for us financially as the rental market has skyrocketed recently but this house is too small for us and full of clutter, not to mention the points I raised in my post about my frustrations as a tennant

So with the clutter getting too much we decided to have a clear out and invest in some smarter storage solutions to get us feeling clutter free. I don't know about you but I feel like my life is permanently a cluttered mess and my house is no exception! I must regain control!

With this in mind I dug out some fab new products I was sent to review and set to work armed with my baskets and storage pots to organise my kitchen. 

I am only part of the way there but this is what I have done. 
  • Pulled everything out of the cupboards and laid it out on the kitchen floor (which had been cleaned).
  • Sorted out any out of date items and things that were missing lids or we didn't use anymore.
  • Sorted the food into piles and neatly put it away in the cupboards keeping baking bits on one shelf, tins on another and so on and so forth until everything had its place. Pasta, we had so much of it took up one shelf in itself and rice and snacks got put to one side...I had a plan for these.
  • I then put Ted's bits and bobs (bottles, bowls, plates etc) in a basket in an empty cupboard.
  • Alongside Ted's basket went the plastic tuppaware in its own box and below that were the gadgets, jugs and large items that couldn't fit into boxes.
  • The plates, bowls, glasses and mugs all are kept in a high up cupboard away from little hands and our cutlery and utensils are also in a drawer out of reach.
  • Finally my pots, pans and baking trays all got neatly stacked in another cupboard with any odds and ends on a separate shelf, these include a selection of 70's glass bowls and serving dishes I picked up from Freecycle thinking one day they may come in handy...when retro becomes a style I could embrace in the kitchen...not going to lie I also own Microwave and Freezer Cookbooks from 1973!

I am getting there, I still have the fridge freezer to replace and the under sink cupboard to sort before I feel anywhere near clutter free but I am a darn site better off than I was a few weeks ago. 

Back to the rice and snacks...almost forgot! We have these gorgeous new tubs from OXO and they are the perfect size to keep our copius amounts of rice and treats in. The OXO POP containers are completely air tight with the press of a button, a great place to store biscuits to stop them going stale. I love the space age style buttons and I got very excited about giving them a go.

Tuppawear Storage, Kitchen, OXO, POP, Containers

They look so cool on the counter top which is where they belong, no hiding these bad boys in the back of a cupboard! Although I put rice in my other container it would be perfect for flour to stop any little bugs getting in (I had a nasty experience with weevils a few years back) and the corners make pouring super easy when decanting. 

I may have to pick up a few more of these, although they are a little more than I would spend on tuppaware they would last such a long time as they are so strong and sturdy. 

Prices range from £6 to £16.50. These two are the 3.8L capacity square containers which are £14.50 each.

Next step is to de-clutter the living room and the rest of the house! Wish me luck!

*I was sent the OXO containers for the purpose of an honest review but all opinions are my own

Home Made Simple by Joanna Gosling - Book Review

I don't read very much.

This comment may be a little bit of an understatement. I rarely read anymore if I am honest. If I get free time it tends to be taken up doing housework or catching up on the latest TV show...*cough* Big Brother *cough*! 

However I do love a good tutorial book. As a kid I would always have those 'How to draw...' books and as I got older I would go to the library and take out baking or decorating books. 

It is no surprise then that I was very excited to be sent a great new DIY book from The Works full to the brim with tutorials, recipe's and how to guides! 

Home Made Simple by Joanna Gosling is a gloriously creative book full or practical makes for the home as well as lots of handmade gifts and recipe's. 

The photography in the book is fantastic too and has a really lovely colour scheme of muted greys and calm neutral shades. I found myself daydreaming of shabby chic interiors for hours after reading this. 

Most of the DIY projects are really simple but very effective, I particularly like this light canvas created by threading fairy lights into holes in a canvas. I have an unused canvas somewhere that may be getting a makeover very soon. 

The book features a few recipe's for festive occasions from different cultures, this lace pattern is a fab idea for a simple elegant cake.

There is also a section of templates at the back of the book which is a great idea and I think I may use the envelope one quite often! 

I love Home Made Simple and there really is nothing better than snuggling up with a cup of tea and a book and being totally inspired! I am now on the hunt for some crates to make myself a shelf unit! 

The Works currently have a 20% off sale on top of their everyday low prices so this book is only £6.99 (RRP £18.99)

Linking up with...

*I was sent this book to read and give my honest review. All opinions are my own

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Products We Love...For Summer!

With the summer now in full swing there are so many amazing products hitting the shelves, from beachwear to BBQ food and a whole host of toys and games to keep the children busy in the holidays! 

I love all the bright colours and patterns on clothes for the summer and everything really gets more cheerful and colourful in general.

We have been reviewing some fab items in the past few weeks and while on holiday in the beautiful Cornwall last week! Here are some of our favourite finds for summer!

1. These clothes were Ted's beach essentials. The shoes are from Brantano for £8, I love the octopus detail and the velcro meant they could be slipped on and off easily. The outfit was a 3 piece from Nutmeg by Morissons. I had my heart set on a George Pig swimsuit for Ted but when I saw this set for just £8 I had to have it...even better that it had 25% off so we got it for £6! Total bargain and with UV protection built in I felt safe knowing he was covered up from those nasty sun rays.

2. This Bubble Blower from Tobar is great for summer parties or just keeping the little ones entertained. I could be made to stand for hours blowing bubbles as Ted chases them like a lunatic. This way I can leave them running and enjoy a nice cuppa! I love that it comes with a little handle for carrying too which is really good for not ending up saturated in bubble mixture! SRP £12.00

3. Crushed fruit pouches are great for throwing into the cool bag and taking to the park or beach this summer. You can serve them chilled on hot days and they have a really long shelf life so can be stored in the larder. These pouches are packed full of 100% crushed fruit providing a super easy snack to help get your little ones their 5 a day! Ted loves them! Although they are aimed at older kids than Ted he got on really well with them and didn't seem phased by the small lumps. He has only recently learned to suck from the pouches so they are really handy for us.

You can buy Crushed pouches in Waitrose at £3.50 for a pack of 4.

4. These QUUT beach toys are so innovative. I really wish I had thought of these designs. We have been testing out the Ballo, Cuppi and Ringo (from top to bottom in the pictures) and they proved a hit on holiday with kids and adults too!
  • The Ballo is a simple design but quite effective, it is essentially a bucket for fetching water from the sea, it has a string handle and is surprisingly good at holding the water in. My only concern would be that it is more for older kids as it gets quite heavy when full.
  •  The Cuppi is a spade, funnel and a ball in a set. You can use it to scoop up sand, pour sand and water through it and use the ball in the sand trenches you have dug out, I love the fact it can also be used to write messages by pouring the sand/water and using it to draw!
  •  The Ringo is essentially a set of hoops and a ball for playing Petanque or Hoopla as we call it. It can be used with the Cuppi too for a different game.
These are all available online and prices start from around £6.99

5. Aldi Specialbuys are a couple of words that are constantly being mentioned in our house. Aldi in general is a huge topic of conversation and I love trying out new products like this Frozen Dessert Maker. This sleek bit of kit is a great addition to any gadget cupboard and I was desperate to give it a go.

You basically freeze your fruit, milk, cream, chocolate etc, push it through the machine, frozen desserts come out of the other end! I found this a little hard to get used to as you really need to give it a good push and I wasn't quite strong enough but the results were some instant fruit ice cream! We did Strawberries and Banana's at first but I think they needed to be riper as it was a tad bitter. I also want to try to make frozen yoghurt with this as I had some on holiday and it was delicious! I will share some recipe's once I have got the hang of it! RRP £29.99

6. This one is a big exciting one! This amazing Indoor/Outdoor Beanbag from Bean Bag Bazaar is epic! It is a giant waterproof beanbag that can be used in the garden. Can't get better than that really! We haven't quite had the weather to try this out in the garden for a long time but we have used it indoors for a couple of weeks now and Ted adores it.

He watches cartoons on it, reads books and 'Bundles!' onto it at full pelt. It has been like our very own soft play and we love it to bits! Although a little on the pricey side it will last for years as it is super durable and has a folded zip so the beans don't escape. I can't wait for a full days sunshine so that we can make full use of it with a nice picnic. These are on special offer at the moment with 50% off making them £64.99 so snap them up quick as RRP is £129.99.

7. This little blue ball is wonderful. The One World Futbol is part of a huge charity project to help promote the healing power of play to children all over the world. This ball is almost indestructible. Even when it has been punctured several times it can last literally for decades. This amazing charity  send out balls to children in poor countries and some may never have to buy another ball again.

Also for every ball you buy One World send a ball to a child in a disadvantaged community. I love this concept and even if you don't need a ball yourself you can send one to one of the many campaigns listed on the website. These balls are £33.00 but think how many balls you may end up getting through in 10,20 or even 30 years! I know I for one will be keeping this one going as long as I can so that Ted can pass it on to my Grandchildren!

8. I have seen these little squeezy things on a few adverts so wanted to give them a go. Vimto Squeezy water enhancers are concentrated fruit squash in little tiny bottles, small enough to pop into your handbag and make water delicious wherever you go! They come in Original, Cherry and Strawberry.

We took these with us on a trip to the zoo and everyone was able to have yummy water on the go. I thought these were expensive at £2.49 a bottle but it does say 25 servings and we have managed to stretch these out to 30+ as we drink it more diluted than I guess the factory predict, so its better value for money than I thought and quite a handy little product. I may try some other brands though as I must admit Vimto isn't one of my favourites.

So there are some of our favourite products at the moment.

What have you discovered this summer?

Are there any must haves out there that I have missed?

Family Fever

Thursday, 3 July 2014

My Super Amazingly Awesome BritMums Live 2014 Post!!!

Britmums Live 2014 was totes emosh...yes I said it! 

It has taken me almost 2 weeks to recover from the sheer exhaustion of being Jade for the weekend. It takes it out of you being a normal woman rather than just Mum doesn't it! An emotional rollercoaster but I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

I partied hard...well ate lots and drank free wine...I know FREE WINE! To me anything that means I can eat in peace is a party! 

I had a weekend long mothers meeting, we gassed about things other than dirty nappies and how to remove chewed up Weetabix off of the *insert any object here*.

I sat up until the early hours of the morning with by new BBF (Best Blogger Friend) Emma from The Mini Mes and Me, giggling like school girls at the semi naked men in the hotel room opposite and eating leftover pizza in bed...IN BED! 

I learnt a lot about blogging, including how to run better giveaway's from the Super Lucky, Super Lovely Di Coke, how to make my blog even more beautiful than it is now (I know, I am pretty perfect!) from the incredibly talented and gorgeous haired goddess that is Lucy Heath from Capture by Lucy and how to make amazing Youtube video's from the very cool Greg Brand from Travizio!

I cried...seems a funny one to say I had an incredible time that involved tears but the Keynotes at the end were just so emotional. Hearing other bloggers open their hearts about some of their deepest thoughts and feelings about some truly heartbreaking experiences in their lives really hit home. They were so brave to stand up there and share their stories and my heart goes out to each and every one of them.

I networked with lots of fantastic brands, tried some great new products and built on relationships for my future as a blogger. 

Most importantly though for me I learnt a hell of a lot about myself. I was shown that it is ok to be a blogger...often I am laughed at for what I do or have a million and one questions thrust at me about my blog but those couple of hundred men and women in The Brewery that weekend showed me I am not alone and it is acceptable to do what I do and to embrace it! 

I also learnt that sometimes it is ok to be just 'Good Enough'. The Good Enough Mum's Club Musical was inspiring and hilarious, teamed with the Mama Me Time from Pippa Best at The Story of Mum these were the perfect end to a perfect weekend! All round good vibes :)

Here are some of my pictures from the most fun weekend I have had in a long time!

Blogger Roll Call...

and of course all of the other ladies and gentlemen I met over the weekend! 

A huge thank you to my sponsor Koo-di for making it all happen! Stacey you were a star! 

Roll on Britmums Live 2015!!!

Relax in Limerick this Summer

I have always wanted to travel to Ireland. My Dad's family are from Ireland and a lot of them still live over there now, we're not particularly close to them mainly due to the distance I guess. I have friends that have visited Ireland on holidays and I now have some wonderful friends in Northern Ireland that I met through blogging so would love to go over for a week in the next year or so! Here are some great places to visit in the lovely city of Limerick, It sounds beautiful!

Relax in Limerick this Summer

As the summer months draw nearer, it’s understandable that your mind will start thinking about a well-deserved holiday, and while many of us won’t be able to fund an all-expenses-spared adventure of a lifetime, a short break is certainly doable for most. Ireland is full of stunning destinations, perfect for a couple of day’s holiday, and by booking yourself into the Travelodge Limerick hotel, you can be in the ideal spot for a relaxing Irish break.

Our Travelodge room in Oxford
While Irish cities such as Dublin and Galway are buzzing with activity, Limerick is perfect if all you wish to do is relax and enjoy your free time. As the City of Culture for 2014, it’s certainly not a boring place to be, but has a much calmer atmosphere that will ensure that your time in the city is most definitely time well spent.

If you’re hoping to plan something during your stay, the events calendar will almost certainly have something to suit you. From live music to sporting events, Limerick certainly hosts its fair share of crowd-pleasers, including the family-friendly Gather by the Feale Festival (16th – 20th July) and The Knights of Westfest Festival (10th – 14th September).

Tiny baby Ted pretending to be a Knight!
However, if all you wish to do is kick back, relax and enjoy your surroundings, you’re certainly in the right place. Whether it’s heading to one of the local restaurants for a bite to eat, grabbing a pew in a traditional pub for a pint, taking a walk along the Garden Trail, or moseying around the bijou shops, museums and galleries, there are plenty of ways in which you can relax and forget about the stress you left behind.

Head a little further from Limerick for the day and explore what else the area has on offer. The Shannon region is one of the prettiest regions of Ireland that you’ll have the fortune of seeing, scattered with beautiful villages for you to fall in love with.

Whether you’re travelling with family, your loved ones or a like-minded friend, Limerick will welcome you with open arms. Give it a chance and you’re almost guaranteed to return in the future, as well.

*This post was written in collaboration with Travelodge

Off the Radar...

I am going to start this post with an apology.
I have been off the radar a little lately as far as blogging goes and I honestly don't know why but a slight sense of writers block has come over me the past 2 weeks. Sadly I think I am just exhausted. Balancing everything has got on top of me and I am very much in need of a holiday...luckily we have one next week!

I just feel like no matter how much sleep I get I am constantly tired and can't seem to gain control of things but after a much needed holiday I really hope to get back into full swing of things and start creating more video's for my Youtube channel and I have lots of great posts lined up!

In the meantime here are some pictures from the past 2 weeks!

Let's have a catch up! What have you all been up to lately?