Boohookids - Our Review

Having recently been asked to work with Boohoo Kids, it's safe to say that Carson is feeling a bit spesh this week and, boy, do I know about it.

This week has been all about 'look at me mum' and 'is this a good pose mum?', not to mention the bazillion photo's and selfies being taken, deleted, re-taken, filtered and edited.

You may detect a hint of annoyance in my tone but, in reality, I love it. I've got such a lovely little man in the house and who cares if he takes himself a little seriously like when he does Carson's Corner? I think that's awesome (albeit in small doses!).

Anyway, first up is outfit number one...

The Smart Look.

We ordered a striped polo (£5) and some skinny jeans (£14). From a mum's point of view, they feel good, look good and wash well. The jeans are very, very long conpared to others I've ever bought in his size but we fashioned that out by adding the turn-ups to his outfit.

On to outfit number 2...

The Casual Look.

Here, being the Halloween week when we ordered, he opted for a skull tee (£4) and space dye joggers (£10). Again, the quality is second to none. Really pleased with the look and feel but the tee did come up quite short for the sizing. So it seems to be a bit of a running theme in that the sizing isn't streamlined. That being said, Carson was able to just about get away it and it didn't interfere with his street cred!

All in all the order amounted to £33 and I'm genuinely chuffed with having two full outfits out of it. Delivery should have been £4.99 however there was an offer on when I ordered which gave me next day delivery free of charge. Bonus! 

Carson's parting view...

"Brilliant. The striped top and jeans were comfy and felt really good. I liked the joggers, they were warm and let me run around easily. The skull top was a bit itchy feeling but I think that's because it was shorter and tighter than normal to be honest. I have been very happy working with BoohooKids thank you to them, and I want some more of their stuff now please Mum, haha! Bye bye" 

Happy mum. Happy Carson! 

boohooKids is all about fun and stylish age appropriate fashion for children from ages 5-6 to 11-12, across both girls and boys clothing.

Have you shopped the range before? What did you think?

#CarsonsCorner: Review of Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing (XBOX 360)

Welcome to Carson's Corner. Before I start my new blog piece I want to thank every one for all their comments and love on my first post. I can't believe I'm like almost famous or something! 

I wanted to tell you about my favourite XBox 360 game so here is my review of Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing.

In this game, you can choose from 12 characters and their vehicle. For example Ulala drives an Astro Glider and Amigo drives a Samba Wagon (kinda like a go kart). 

Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing for Xbox 360

I can play on my own, racing the other characters or I can do multiplayer where I usually beat my mum!

There are 34 tracks to unlock so it never gets boring with the same old map. On each track you can get boosts that look like an hour glass and they offer many different things like super speed or rockets to fire. The best one is the All-star move which rescues you if you're far behind the rest e.g. 8th or 7th so all is not lost even when you are losing, just keep collecting boosts and maybe you'll get lucky.

The music is addictive and I make my own words up to the tune every time haha! I think my mum gets annoyed though as she always tells me to turn it down and shut up. Oops!

I love this game so much!

If I were to rate it out of 10 it would be a 10. No other game can get better than this, well not that I've found yet anyway.

Now that is one "All-Star" review - wink wink!!

Catch ya later, alligators.

Love Carson. xx

You can buy it from Amazon for £16.95 by clicking the picture.

How I'm Helping Make a #brightFuture For My Children

Unilever’s brightFuture initiative focuses on small changes that can make big differences and how we can build a world where everyone lives well and lives sustainably.

Since the launch of the Sustainable Living Plan, Unilever has helped 482 million people to improve their health and hygiene, including through hand washing, improving self-esteem and oral hygiene.

You may have seen the ads on tv recently, documenting the Domestos campaign that has committed to helping 25 million people gain improved access to a toilet by 2020. Access to clean sanitation can protect people from preventable diseases, reduce mortality rates, help reduce school dropout rates and improve quality of life.

That ad gets me every time! We take working, hygienic toilets for granted don't we?

When I was tasked by Unilever to think about the small changes we can make in our lives in order to help provide a #brightFuture, I struggled at first. But when I sat back and swigged my coffee, I have to admit that I waaay over thought it because, actually, I'm already actively making changes.

We try to recycle as much as we can in our home. It's really not difficult to make use of stuff that you originally thought was fit for the bin. Think about it, reusing packaging such as coffee jars for pencils or detergent dosing balls as a button store (in my case, a spare candle store!).

I even purposely purchased a double bin for our kitchen, ensuring Carson knows that 'green is good' and so recyclable items go in here. It's finally beginning to become second nature which is exactly how recycling should be, in my opinion.

I love 'messy baking' with carson, not only does it promote knowing where our foods come from, but also encourages creativity. I actually blogged about just that a couple of years back, which you can take a look at here if you like. The best bit is, it also teaches Carson how to clean up after himself as well (bonus!)... And a tip of the cap to Unilever themselves because even when washing them messy bakers' clothes at a lower temperature, they come out clean and fresh. So that's another fine change for a #brightFuture lesson right there!

Our double bin encourages recycling.

Did you know that six out of ten parents say that they have started to live in a ‘greener’ way at home at the suggestion of their children. Whilst Carson didn't suggest it in our home, he's definitely on board which, in itself, is an achievement. The closest I got to recycling as a kid was keeping the egg box for that week's episode of Art Attack!

It's because of these changes that 83% of children continue to feel optimistic about their own future and 59% feel optimistic about the future of the environment. Most parents (between 70-80%) believe that, compared with themselves, their children will live longer, have a better education and better job prospects, and will enjoy life more, even if they will have to work harder to reap the rewards of the greater benefits ahead.

Messy baking, tidies easily and encourages creativity

Like any parent, all I want is a bright future for my children. I'm trying my best to do my bit and I admire organisations like Unilever for making it more thought of in every day ways.

Tell me, what small changes do you, or could you make?

This post is an entry for BritMums #brightFuture Challenge, sponsored by Unilever

Sunday Funday!

Sunday funday! Today we went for a lovely carvery dinner together as a family. It's not something we often get to do, all together, as the hubby works most weekends, so this was a really nice change for us all and the weather was just stunning which meant we could go for a lovely long walk near the prom too.

We went to a local restaurant in New Brighton, where my sister actually used to be a chef and the hubby used to be a waiter around 6 years ago - some little interesting facts for you there. You know what they say, it's a small world we live in. Aside from slower table service than normal (due to being so busy on such a lovely afternoon!) we had a beautiful roast dinner and the kids had some ice cream too! 

I've blogged before about how lucky we are to live in New Brighton, the views are stunning and the regeneration over the past few years has seen a previously run-down, has-been, seaside town into the place to be come rain or shine.

Carson took his ipod to keep him calm in case there was any music and sat next to me. (You can read here as to why that's important, in case you're unaware of his situation.) Finley was happy to let me sing that he stinks of poo to keep him amused - and onlookers confused, I'm certain of it!

Finley was so well behaved in his booster seat, until he decided that sitting up was too much hard work and so flung himself across to the next seat, into hubby's lap. This child has no sense of danger whatsoever, it's a good job he was on the ball because he could have ended up nutting the floor otherwise! 

All in all, we've had a really wonderful day with no tantrums from the hubby and the kids, some unexpected beautiful weather, decent grub and brisk walking in the fresh air. That's what I call some quality family time. Oh, and I'll SO sleep tonight! 

Winning at life right now.

How was your Sunday?

Lottoland - the way to play for millions!

I can't be the only one who always associate mega-money amounts with Chris Tarrant, thanks to that ITV quiz show back in our school days! So, I find it rather apt that he's the face of Lottoland on the tv adverts at the moment. Great career choice Chris. I wonder if he needed to phone a friend... I'll stop now, honest.

Lottoland is a platform based on lotto betting and at first, I was scratching my head thinking "a lottery ticket is a lottery ticket isn't it?" but it seems that they're a bit different than just a company selling lottery tickets.

Lottoland's model enables you to bet on the outcomes of lotteries all over the world, rather on the lottery draw itself - you can even bet on the world famous American Powerball, which had a mind blowing, staggering, £1billion jackpot earlier this year. If international lotteries aren't your thing, you can stick to those you may be more familiar with such as the Euromillions or the Irish lottery if you prefer. 

 Take me to Lottoland

I was given some free credit to have a dabble for myself, for the purpose of this post, and I found it really straightforward. I chose to bet on a couple of Irish and Euromillions draws, both of which failed to turn me into a millionaire but at least I was in it to win it to begin with!  

If, after all reading all that, lotteries aren't your thing, Lottoland offer a range of scratchcards and slots to entertain you too. Again, I was pretty unlucky in having a go at Raid the Piggy Bank (10 games for £2.25), but it was fun and didn't break the bank either. 

So, if you fancy a change to the normal lotteries available to you, Lottoland is where you need to be heading. Additionally, when I googled them I found that if you sign up now (at the time of publishing), you can get your 1st line for FREE betting on international lotteries like EuroMillions, MegaMillions, PowerBall, Irish Lotto and Oz Lotto so head over and good luck!

Are you tempted to try other, international, draws?

Reigniting 'date nights'

Together for 9 years, the majority of the hubby and I's 'togetherness' has been in the role of a parent or the house cleaning tag team! Aside from our anniversary back in July when we managed to get a night away in The Village Hotel together, I honestly can't remember the last time my hubby and I went on a date together. 

Night out for my best friend's mum's 60th birthday

If my memory serves me right, our dates have also been pretty casual. None of this glamming up in dresses and suits , but more a jeans and tee affair. Cinema going or having a couple of drinks in the local Wetherspoons is pleasant enough but sometimes we deserve a little more.

I'm sure a lot of you guys will know that I do love to enter a good competition or two when I get the chance and I've made it my mission to find the ultimate additions to make us feel great enough, and confident enough, to go somewhere really romantic.

The last time we got proper-glammed up was around 3 years ago!

An uber glam dress, for me - something long, elegant and slightly glitzy will do just fine! A couple of suits for him, preferably a 3 piece, because the hubby does love a good waistcoat or jumper himself. In fact, men's suits are a must for an Autumn wardrobe, I think. Easy to dress both up and down with perfect layering opportunities for the changeable autumn weather. Yes that's right, men do layers too, you know!

A win for a night away somewhere would be lovely too. It saves all the messing around with taxi's getting home and, instead, we can chill out exactly when and however which way we fancy. Not to mention worrying that the postman will knock and wake us up in the morning way too early on the day that we have no kids to wake us up - why does that always happen?! 

The little things are the biggest sometimes.

Whilst winning these things aren't guaranteed and with Christmas creeping into sight there are ways we can ensure that date nights can happen indoors at low cost, for the times we have no one to sit for the kids. I remember once, I came home from work to a home made dinner, surrounded by haribo hearts, with flowers and oil burners lit, and it was just the sweetest thing. The kids were already sorted and in bed so we could eat in peace with a glass of wine then watch a movie together. It's things like this that make someone swoon!

I do still want the opportunity to totally get dressed up and get out. I think everyone would like that once in a while though wouldn't they, not just me being high maintenance for once?!

*This is a collaborative post in partnership with

Why Autumn is my favourite fashion season.

That heatwave ended pretty dramatically didn't it? Some of those storms were absolutely incredible, if a little terrifying I must admit. So summer is drawing to an end and it's nearing my favourite time of year - Autumn.

Breathing in the crisp , fresh morning air whilst crunching the fallen auburn shaded leaves underfoot. Oh, and layers!

This time last year, blouse and jumper time!

Ahh yes, layers, my absolute favourite way to dress. There's no need for the winter coats yet, people. Unless, of course, the flushed and melted make-up face is the look you're aiming for? You see for me, autumn isn't necessarily cold, but definitely changable. More winds, more rain, but definitely still pretty decent mid-teen temparatures.

Layering is the ultimate in practical versality, keeping you warmer when those winds are blowing a gale but giving the freedom to cool down discreetly and stylishly when required.

One of my favourite ways to do this is by investing in one or two staple knits and pairing them with vests or a tee underneath. Opt for a blouse for a more professional outfit at the office. Choosing high quality knitwear will last throughout the season without bubbling or stretching. *Hint* if choose single coloured styles they're super easy to accessorise and for dressing both up and down.

All the layers! Vest, net knit and scarf

Dress scarves are also incredibly handy when it comes to layering. Drape around the neck, un-fastened for a cool accessory-like feel, or loop around for some extra warmth around the neck and chest areas.

Another of my favourites is something I've blogged about before - Wingz. If you can't bear to part with your summer wardrobe just yet, then wingz add sleeves to any top, instantly. There's so many styles to choose from that you will never have a problem matching them to your favourite dress or swing vest.

So many options!! I'm looking forward to the cooler days now, I really am. I can't be the only one either, surely? Tell me how you feel about losing the warm weather.

Do you have any tips of your own to get through Autumn that you'd like to share?

*A collaborative post, in partnership with David Nieper

Never too old for hugging: From a blogger's child.

At the weekend, just gone, Carson asked me to delete a photo I took of him whilst playing with his Spongebob sets in the living room. His words were "Mum, please delete that. I don't want to be on Instagram or blog or whatever. I don't want likes, I want to play." 

I had only taken the photo because I thought it was really cute, watching him playing and pretending to be Patrick Star or Squidward and Gary (meow!), and was going to whatsapp it over to the hubby. 

My initial feeling was wow. I was so sad he thought I'd take a photo 'just for likes' or to parade him online. There's no denying that he's a blogger's child that's for sure. How utterly devastating to hear words like this from an 8 year old's mouth. I suddenly felt incredibly guilty. And sad, did I mention I was sad? Really upsetting to hear.

From Reception to Year 4 - how do we not notice them growing?!

I smiled, said OK, then literally launched my phone to one side and we played Spongebob together whilst Finley was upstairs napping. Doing our best at the character's voices, we laughed so much that he was doubled over, crying, teeth chattering, hardly breathing! It was absolutely brilliant and I cherished every moment of that mad hour we spent together.  

Fast forward to today and I've just come home from work. He's told me all about his first day back at school and is being really clingy, showering me with lots of hugs and kisses. I asked him why he was hugging me so much - it's pretty out of character for him, he's normally glued to his ipod watching crappy YouTube videos about Minecraft or hot sauce or farts or, I dunno, something like that. Typical boy stuff, you get what I mean. 

His response? "I'm making the most of it whilst I'm small" Seriously? *heart melting* Profound much?

He then suggests he could write his own blog piece based around hugs. I asked him if he was sure because I really don't want to pop him on the internet if he doesn't want it but he was more than excited about doing this that he was halfway up the stairs looking for his pad and a pen before I'd finished my sentence! 

So, here it is...

He then typed it up and added his own little extra piece, freehand. His copied and pasted version is as follows:

Never too old for hugging
Hello my name is Carson I'm 8 years old . Normally I just don't have time for hugging until on 6th September I realized I can still hug my mummy and daddy. I have been recently hugging my mum and dad because being young doesn't last forever because when I grow up I wont have time to give hugs so I guess I have to make the most of it. I love my mum and dad so much that I still kiss my mum and dad. I am Carson aged 8, everyone - if you feel sad hug your mum and dad.

I am so emotional over his 'post' - what a lovely, warm piece of writing, from the heart of an 8 year old boy. I've decided to introduce a tab on the blog called "Carson's Corner". If ever he wants to write his own thing, he is more than welcome to contribute to this site. 

He knows now that life isn't about likes or over-sharing. It's about doing what you enjoy, as long as you respect those around you. He is on cloud nine right now at being 'published' and I'm so proud of the little man we've brought in to this world. Go Carson!!


Little Hearts, Big Love

Plus Size Skater Dresses from Simply Be

Sometimes it's all about knowing what clothing makes you comfortable, others it's about what looks great, all too throwing comfort way out the window. For my size, it's not often I get to have both at the same time, I must confess.

JD Williams asked me if I'd like to try a size 18 outfit to feature on the blog and that I could choose what I wanted as long as it included a skater dress. Now I love a skater dress as much as I love a challenge so I wasn't about to turn this down. Off I headed to have a nose...

Photo: Simply Be
The problem with high street shopping in the summer is that the ranges tend to offers items without sleeves and at shorter lengths. Not at Simply Be, part of the JD Williams group.

This particular skater dress just absolutely jumped out at me. Long bubble sleeves to hide my arms, the length is perfect to wear with leggings or, if I'm feeling incredibly brave then also with bare legs. Given that the model is wearing this with tights and boots, I'm figuring this dress to be a versatile and, no doubt, staple piece. It's currently on sale from £45 to £31.50.

To style this dress for the summer months, I opted for a pair of full length, high waisted, leggings and the beautiful flats pictured on my instagram above.  I have fallen in love with these shoes, so very badly, and they really do look lovely with the dress. Perfect for an afternoon drink out and about, or even for the office. They took a few outings to wear in though (thank you Compeed!). These beauties are currently £28.
"Woven material pumps with statement jewelled embellishments on the toe cap. The golden heel and pointed toe offer an edge that simple ballerina pumps can't." 
An alternative styling suggestion would be to team the dress with 3/4 leggings and some spangly sandles. Comfort at it's best, I can do my shopping in style, walk along the prom with the kids without worrying that the breeze coming at me head on is making my muffin top all the more obvious, and I can keep my cool. Hot feet are just the worst aren't they?
Photo: Simply Be

In a stunning rose gold colour, I managed to obtain 4 compliments in my first 2 outings wearing these sandles. The sun catches the curves of the beaded detail and adds an awesome sparkle to your feet. They're currently £20.

Unfortunately for me, the sole of these particular sandles came away completely during the 3rd wear and looking at their reviews on the site, it would appear I'm not the only one to have experienced this. That being said, let's not allow this to take away from such a beautiful piece of clothing in the dress.

I've described two ways to wear it in this post, plus the way it's styled in the catalogue image too. So... I'm off to find some knee highs now!

To check out the full range of plus size skater dresses head on over to Simply Be now.

So, what do you think?

Interview with an 8yr Old!

You may remember our interview with Carson when he was 5 years old, if not you can read it here, which made for a few parenting fod-slaps and giggles! Well, he turned 8 last week so here we go again, let's see if he's changed much...

Q1: What is your favourite food? 
A1: Cheeseburger 'cuz McDonalds tastes quite nice.

Q2: Where do carrots come from?
A2: Plants

Q3: Who is in your family? 
A3: My mum, my dad, my brother, me, my nin, my grandad, my nan, my died grandad, my little nan and little grandad and my cousins and aunties and stuff. You know, the usual. 
Mum Comment: Detail much?!

Q4: What is your favourite colour? 
A4: Purple, because it's reminds me of sugar

Q5: What is your favourite song? 
A5: This is tricky but I'm going to have to say... uh, lemme thnk about this one. Little Mix - Hair. It makes me feel a little cheerful and happy.

Q6: What makes you happy? 
A6: Anything really. But one in particular thing is my birthday. Because I get cards and presents and sometimes money too!

Q7: What makes you sad? 
A7: Nothing. Oh, when I hurt myself.

Q8: What’s your favourite animal? 
A8: Giraffe. Because their long necks makes them quite a jazzy animal.

Q9: What is your favourite toy? 
A9: My Spongebob playsets. The best is squidwards house.

Q10: What is the best thing in the world? 
A10: Gullivers World

Q11: What do you like to do? 
A11: Go on my ipod.

Q12: Who runs the country? 
A12: The Queen. Her jubilee was in 2012 and she was 86.

Q13: What does Mummy do for work? 
A13: Business.

Q14: What does Daddy do?
A14: I honestly don't know.
Mum Comment: Oh dear!

What I've learnt from this is that he still loves cheese and giraffes, whilst his favourite colour is still purple after all these years! 

As I'm sure is typical with many an 8 year old of today, he's very into his tech but still loves to play with his spongebob playsets which tells me he is still, definitely, my little boy! Carrots no longer come from shops but plants, which is good enough for me. The Queen runs the country now, instead of God - close enough if you ask me. Clearly the school has taught them a lot from when the jubilee occurred! 

I really should explain what both hubby and I do for a living because it's looking pretty obvious that he's clueless. This really surprises me because he often asks about our day and listens intently... or so I thought! I can't wait to ask these questions again in another 3 years... if he'll still be talking to his Mum by that age.

My Latest Bargain Buys - Vertbaudet

Finley eats anything. I'm not even joking. 

I'm talking wood, stones, plastic... poo. All part of the sensory processing issue he has that comes hand in hand with the ASD unfortunately. Whilst we await the date of his first Occupational Therapy appointment, there are ways we have to try and prevent him for hurting himself by eating these things. 

Trying to get to grips with a spoon

I can't buy 4 more eyeballs and 2 spare arms, even though it is 2016, but what I can do is find ways to ensure he is unable to get at these inedible goodies, for example by looking at things like playsuits and all-in-ones to stop the poop eating.

That brings me to the reason for this post actually... Yes, I hear your sigh of relief that there's no further poo details to come! 

It's so hard to find these all-in-ones or baby grows in age 2-3, I'm finding that they seem to stop short at 18-24m. My lovely friend at work told me she'd found some online at Verbaudet and that there was a sale on so to be quick. She was so right! T-shirts from £1.80 were tempting but I had to remain focused on Finley's needs, and my poor little bank balance.

I chose 2 collared, short, playsuits and a cotton onesie with feet for bed time. For all 3 items it totalled just £12.60 (though delivery was £3.99 on top of this and it took a whole week to arrive, which is a little disappointing but doesn't take away from the absolute steals to be had). 

Bargain buys!

Total bargain that I just had to share with you, not least because I got a referral link after placing my order. Selfish of me you might think? Nope...

If you place an order using this link to Vertbaudet here you'll receive a £10 off voucher as well as me. You win, I win, the kids win - yay! 

They also do nursery bedroom furniture and accessories, child's bedding, maternity wear etc. It's definitely worth a look, particularly with this sale on right now too. Happy shopping!

Have you shopped at Vertbaudet before?

UPDATE... Since writing this post 3 days ago, someone has signed up using my link and, true to their word, we both got a £10 voucher - with a £10 minimum spend. I managed to bag all of this, this morning, for just 50p!!!

Get signing up for your voucher now!!!

The only "#PrayFor" hashtag I'll use

The 'prayfor hashtags' are becoming all too regular these days. It's almost beginning to lose it's meaning, a little like RIP being used to signify death and heartache. It's just a common turn of phrase don't you think?

Let me give an example, you see a much-loved celeb has died and you use the term RIP. Do you really mean those words; rest in peace? Come on now, no. What you mean is wow, how sad, I can't believe they've gone, tragic news, you'll never be forgotten, what a legend.

Whenever I see the #prayfor<insert cruelly damaged area here> hashtag I think the same kind of thing, but let me make it clear - I'm not heartless. Just as those using RIP most certainly don't mean to be. I sit here now, typing, admitting, that I give up praying for a particular country or covering my facebook profile image with a temporary flag.

I pray for human beings collectively and hope, so much, that my children will not have to experience or witness anything as horrific as in recent times. I guess, when a child myself, I was lucky in that I had no social media to learn of tragedies, just as I would rather be playing outside with my friends than sit and watch the 6 o'clock news with the 'rents on the only tv in the house... Ignorance is bliss hey.

Let's say I am asked to pop on a blindfold on the bus ride home from work, would I know the colour of skin of the person I'm happily chatting away to next to me? It doesn't matter, they're just another person trying to get home.

Listening to music down my ears, keeping myself to myself, I see two postmen sat on a wall chatting away. Would I know that it was actually sweet nothings being uttered between the two? It doesn't matter, they're also keeping themselves to themselves. Imagine if one was to stop and tell me that my music choice was intolerable... I'm sure I'd feel it was none of their business. Swings and Roundabouts springs to mind.

Why does it matter if an individual believes in God, be it a different one to you, or even any at all?

When can we learn to accept each other for who we are, the wonderful spectrum of colours we are, the people we love, or the things we do or do not believe in?

Until we all realise that everyone is different, and that it's perfectly OK, we're all in danger. 

Doesn't it make sense to #PrayForHumanity?

My Top 5 Foodie Instagram Snaps

I recently wrote a post about how I don't use Instagram as much as other bloggers so thought I'd start a series showcasing my favourites. The last in the series were my Top 5 Family Instagram Pictures - be sure to check them out too.

Here are my Top 5 Foodie Instagram Snaps...

Number 1.

Not a lot of you will realise this but back when I was 18, I actually lived with Tracey from One Frazzled Mum for around a year. We worked together at a local off licence and hit it off as mates straight away. Many a late shift together ended by buying Carling & Quavers for our tea back at the flat. It takes me right back to our heyday when I see the two together!

Number 2.

A photo posted by Carsonsmummy (@carsonsmummy) on

I'm never going to be a fancy shmancy baker but this is one project to be proud of as far as I'm concerned! A wonky but perfectly edible jam and cream sponge cake decorated to look like one of the TMNT (Michaelangelo I think?) for Carson's birthday. The first birthday cake I ever tried my hands at and, although far from perfevct, he absolutely loved it. Yesss!!

Number 3.

Cooking that perfect steak really is so hard to do. When we reviewed the Tefal Optigrill, our lives were changed forever. Ok, maybe not our actual lives, but definitely the way we view and cook foods. It's use possibilities are endless, with perfect results every time. A good steak is something to shout about I think.

Number 4.

Having had the opportunity to review SoulmateFood a couple of years back, I still to this day make variants of some of the meals I was sent to try. These avacado chocolate cookies where, and still are, like nothing else I've ever had and that chicken fajita pizza - my God! Check out the meals I had in the review here.

Number 5.

Ok, so not strictly food - but it still passes the lips, no? This, my friends, is a Tom and Cherry cocktail from Revolution. I cannot begin to explain the perfection within that tin can! Described on their site as "Cherry and Cola flavoured vodkas with cherry syrup, lime juice and Coca-Cola, garnished with cherries and a bag of cola bottles. " I have to tell you that it's also frozen, truly the most satisfying slushy of all time!

So there are my Top 5 Foodie Instagram Snaps! I'm not sure what topic to choose for the next installment. Any suggestions?

Summer Holidays and Chores For The Kids

Oh I remember, fondly, the excitement at the prospect of 6 weeks off playing in the park every day, weather permitting. Actually what am I talking about, weather permitting? Us 80's/90's kids were out come rain or shine!

Summer picnics to the park
To earn that privilege though we had to do our chores around the house which is fair enough. Having 2 sisters and a brother it was like serious teamwork to get it done as fast as we could, just to get out quicker. We'd take it in turns and swap the type of chore each day but it went something like this... one to vacuum up and downstairs, one to polish the living room and dry the dishes, one to put the dishes away and take up the clean clothes, popping the relevant piles onto each persons bed ready for them to put it away. Easy peasy when you worked together!

The pleasure of receiving receive a Mother's Pride bread bag full of cucumber butties, a 2l bottle of Kwik Save's NoFrills lemo to share, and a tennis or football, was a good enough reward for us as it was literally all we needed for a 9am - 5pm sesh. You'd make friends with the other familiar faces in the park and before the end of the 6 weeks are up, you've got so many in the gang that the whole middle field will be taken up with our one single rounders game!

Carson and Finley with 2 of his cousins in the summer holidays.
These days there's no way I could let a digitally uncontactable Carson go to the park for the entire day, out of my sight. Woah no. My heart pounds at the sheer thought. Mind you, the children of today couldn't be as content with what we had as children. They're used to so much more in every day life. How times have changed hey.

We'll be spending the summer holidays having picnics at weekends as a family and spending the odd few days out in Gulliver's World, Blackpool, Chester Zoo etc. however these things cost so much money so will not be as regular an occurrence as we'd all like. But... just because there's no daily excursion for him, doesn't mean Carson can't do daily chores and take responsibility for the home he lives in with us all.

We've sat and talked about this together, which means not only do I think they're fair, he also believes they're reasonable and achievable. For every chore he does successfully each day, he earns 50p towards his spending money on our day trips. This can add up to quite a lot (needed!!) but it ensures he understands the value of money on our outings.

We also have weekly chores which allow him to earn something like tv in bed (later than usual) or an ice cream from the annoying old van that has a habit of parking right in front of our living room window, teasing us... and deafening us all. How cruel! Typical weekly chores are:
> Empty my washing basket and take all laundry downstairs
> Clean my shoes
> Empty my bin from my room

Do you set your children chores throughout the summer holidays?  

I wonder if it's similar to our set-up. Do let me know because I'm always looking to give him more work to do to  shake it up for him! 

My Top 5 Family Instagram Pictures

I still feel like a newbie when it comes to Instagram. I don't use it as much as I should so was looking through last night to see what I have actually shared with you guys. I thought I'd give a bit more detail as to why I love some of these pictures...

Number 1...

A photo posted by Carsonsmummy (@carsonsmummy) on

Yup, as the caption says, this was our very first family photo with all 4 of us. Finley was 3 months old and not at all aware with what was going on, as you can tell! 

Number 2...

Fast forward 2 years and we have our second family photo as a foursome. It's a pretty poor show when you only have 2 family pictures in the first 2 years of a babies life isn't it. I have to improve! On the plus side, Finley looks more engaged than the first and Carson is continuing with his normal wacky faces.

Number 3...

Finley rarely offers affection or eye contact so this was absolutely massive for him (and me, as a selfish mum craving some sort of bondy moment!)

Number 4...

A photo posted by Carsonsmummy (@carsonsmummy) on

What a lovely grown up pose from Carson, caught on camera by his Ninny. I absolutely adore this shot.

Number 5...

It's the small things like this, coming home from work to home made brownies , love hearts and sealed envelopes filled with written blessings, that make me realise how lucky I am to have my husband.

What would your top 5 be? Why not blog them and tag me so I check them out, I love being nosey!!, pub-8301510335931825, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0