Thursday, 28 April 2016

When It's Dark Look for Stars

Some of you may have been wondering where I have been lately. I feel like a bit of a stranger on my own blog right now and it has been months since I last wrote anything so please be gentle with me.

We have had months of what can only be described as an emotional roller coaster.

It all started really from the day we decided to go ahead and book our wedding date and venue. Our dream venue had a cancellation so we went for it! This was in late February and the wedding is on 4th was going to take a lot of planning but we could do it right?

Days later while I was trying on what would become my chosen wedding dress, Joe was rushed to hospital with acute gastritis and was in a lot of pain. Luckily his stomach hadn't been too badly damaged so some medicine and a strict diet plan meant he was well enough to go home. We had no idea that was just the start of our worries.

Not long after leaving the hospital Joe found a large tumour in his buttock. It has baffled countless doctors and he has been poked and prodded constantly. MRI'S,  Ultrasounds, CT scans and had 3 Biopsy's. Weeks of not knowing if it was benign or the dreaded C word have resulted in worry, sleepless nights, lots of tears and endless hospital visits. The tumour appeared on imagery to be 'nasty' but the first 2 biopsy results came back clear of cancerous cells so a 3rd open biopsy was been carried out.

This week we sat for 2 hours anxiously waiting before being told that unfortunately the 3rd biopsy showed cancerous cells and Joe has been diagnosed with a low grade fibromyxoid sarcoma. This type of sarcoma (a soft tissue tumour) is extremely rare but fortunately where it is located should be straightforward to remove. It is also encapsulated meaning it won't spread but there is a small chance of recurrence which means Joe will need regular checkups for the next 10 years.

Joe is perfectly well in himself which to him is frustrating. Despite having a bum cheek like Kim K you wouldn't think there was anything wrong with him. He currently has no symptoms and he is at work until his surgery date keeping busy and generally enjoying a bit of normality. I am so proud of how strong he is being and although we have had lots of tears I think this has made us appreciate our beautiful family and want to make the most of every single day together.

The light at the end of the tunnel...

Amongst all this madness we also discovered we are expecting Baby #2! Those of you that read regularly will know we have been trying for a baby for a long time now and after our miscarriage in September we are over the moon to be expecting again. I have been so anxious about the pregnancy especially with all of the stress we have been through with Joe's diagnosis but we have a strong, healthy, happy baby in there and we are so desperate to get back to normality by the time baby is due.

I feel like I have aged 10 years in the last 3 months and boy does something like this make you see the world in a whole new light! We have had to be so brave and poor Ted has had a really tough time of things too but we are trying to keep life as normal as we can for him right now. He knows Daddy has been poorly and kids aren't stupid but he seems much happier at the moment and we all have high hopes that Joe's op will go well and he will kick cancer's butt!

So that is where we are at right now. 12 weeks pregnant, 6 weeks from our wedding day and keeping everything crossed for a bright and happy future.

Life is short. Family is important and Love is everything!

Thursday, 18 February 2016

I See Me Review and Discount Code

Who do you love? 

I love my boys. The biggest one, my fiance Joe and our little boy Ted. Sometimes I think it is lovely to remind Ted how much he is loved and that was where I See Me came in...

I See Me is a brilliant company who create unique personalised childrens books and they have a special edition called Who Loves Me? which I was lucky enough to be sent a copy of.

The book poses the question Who Loves....Ted? This is where the personalisation comes in. You can add your childs name and then a different person who loves them on each page! We were able to include myself and Joe, Grandparents, Auntie's Uncles and his Godparents and Godsister. Squeezing in all of Ted's favourite people and letting him know how much they love him. 

You can even add your childs full name and date of birth which is at the front and back of the book along with a personalised message.

The book arrived complete with beautiful matching stickers and it was everything I hoped it would be. A fab hardback book with glossy cover and colourful artwork. I especially love the little hidden animals on the pages and the abstract style of the landscapes.

When we opened it Ted asked straight away if I could read it to him and as I turned each page I watched his eyes light up. Page and page went past, telling him who loves him and just how much, then the last page came and that was me done...

A blubbering mess of a Mother who just had a reminder of just how special her child is to her and these final words...

"Our love for you runs oceans deep and mountains high, it circles the sun and crosses the sky. It reaches up to the stars and surrounds all the earth and has cradled you gently since the day of your birth"

The only negative I did have was that it mentions 'The Heavens' which for us as a non-religious family was a bit strange to see in a book like this and perhaps could be changed for something more neutral. That is just our opinion but I do like to give honest feedback. This will not stop us from reading the story to Ted and I am sure he hears about Heaven and Earth quite often and will as he grows up. It certainly doesn't detract from what a beautiful story is being told and I still love the book completely! 

The website also sections the stories into For Girls and For Boys which probably isn't going to go down too well with today's parents, gender stereotyping is a bit of a touchy subject at the moment. 

Despite those two points I have made I do love the story and so does Ted, he asks me to read him "the who loves Ted book" and has learnt much of it off by heart. I have seen a few other books on the I See Me website which I like the look of too like Goodnight Little *insert name* and Hello World which would be great for a newborn gift!

They are also offering 20% discount for the next 48 hours with the code Celebrate as it's their 15 year anniversary!

Sunday, 7 February 2016

My 5 Valentines Pampering Essentials

Valentines day is almost here and I want to share with you my top 5 pampering essentials for getting yourself looking hot to trot for date night! 

1. Face the Music...

If you are going to look your best for your special person, regardless of if you are wearing makeup or going au naturale you want to be your most natural beautiful self. Which means buffing away any dead skin, deep cleansing and removing any unwanted facial hair.

The Braun Face is the ultimate in female grooming. The worlds first facial epilator and cleansing brush is sure to make your skin glow!

I have never used an epilator on my face before and I have to admit I probably won't again...I have a low pain threshold and don't even pluck my eyebrows (I am that much of a wuss!). However, the cleansing brush is brilliant! I use it most nights before bed to remove my makeup alongside my favourite facial wash. 

The brush that comes with the tool is quite a nice texture but I also got a pack of extra brushes which included a sensitive skin brush (in pink) which I prefer to use as it is more gentle. There is also an exfoliating brush which is a bit rougher and I use perhaps once a week to just make sure I am getting rid of any nasty dead skin and getting deep into my pores.

The cleanser is supposed to be 6 times more effective than manual cleaning, it has been tested by dermatologists and the epilator claims to leave you hair free for up to 4 weeks!
I love the rose gold lid and storage bag and it even comes with a led mirror so that you can see what you are doing in dimly lit rooms. 

Perfect start for a pampering session and if any men are reading this it would make a great gift too. 

2. De-fuzz

If you girls are anything like me, your legs will be resembling that of a small chimpanzee by now. Winter takes its toll and shaving my legs is always saved for special occasions. Valentines is one of them! So my favourite thing to do before a date night is to run myself a lovely bubble bath, relax watching some YouTube videos and have a good old de-fuzz. 

My favourite razors to use are the Gillette Venus for women. They are kind to my skin, give a close shave and leave my legs silky smooth. So I was very excited when I saw the new Venus Snap compact razor which is ideal for travel. My plan is to pop this in my weekender bag, complete with its little blue case making it easier not to slice my hands off while rummaging around for it! 

Another nifty find which I actually think will come in really handy!

3. Try something new...

This one is for those of you that are a bit stuck in a rut with your makeup and want to try something different but don't have a huge budget to overhaul your collection. I recently came across Freedom makeup while watching GlamBeauty's Liza doing a Drug Store Makeup Get Ready with Me. They are really reasonably priced and by reasonable I mean CHEAP! They are surprisingly really good products though and I decided to pick up two eyeshadow palettes, two lipsticks and an eyebrow palette. All 5 came to just £12 which was a steal! 

Anyway...with my new makeup I decided for Valentines I would try out something similar Liza's look with some of the colours I picked up as the pinks are really romantic! 

So my tip to you is to have a little mooch around online and try something different. Perhaps pick up some colours you don't use very often and have a play around, you might find something you really like as I did!

4. Brush Up!

I was recently sent some brushes from Savisto to try out and I am really impressed! I usually get my makeup brushes from Primark as they are cheap but although they are reasonable for the price they aren't the best brushes. The Savisto 11 brush Kabuki set is only £7.99 but I was pleasantly surprised at the quality. 

The set has a brush for everything and the bristles are super soft. The design is a little like the Ecotools range with the bamboo handles and they look really professional. 

I never appreciated how important good brushes are when applying makeup but my foundation looks immaculate when applied with the large stippling brush and the eyeshadow brushes mean I can create sleek lines or blend colours together perfectly.

I highly recommend picking up some good brushes to create your Valentines look and why not drop some hints for some as a present too ;)

5. Curls, Curls, Curls!

Pampering essential number 5 is great hair products!

The curls are coming out for date night but do I go for loose beachy waves or super glam barrel curls? I actually like both styles equally and have two new products to use to perfect my curls. 

The Vo5 Give Me Texture spray is perfect for that wavy boho look. With sea salt to add lots of texture and definition I can pretend to be a mermaid for the night! 

The second product is the Schwarzkopf Gliss Shine Tonic which I picked up in Wilko for just £1.65 the other day. It makes your hair so shiny and shows off those sleek barrel curls beautifully. 

However you decide to pamper yourself this Valentines, whether you are off out or enjoying a nice night in I hope you enjoy it!

*Some of these products were sent to me for review but all opinions are my own.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Snuggle Monkey from Cuddledry

Those of you that read the blog will know that I have always been a fan of Cuddledry as a brand. I am fortunate enough to be a Superblogger for them and adore their unique designs and ethics. Since we reviewed the Cuddlemoo, Ted has grown considerably so I thought it was only fair that we feature another product that is suitable for 3-6 year olds like our Tedster.

The Snuggle Monkey is part of the Cuddledry Children's range. It is beautifully soft and really quite roomy so you can really wrap your little one up snug as a bug...or perhaps a monkey! 

Ted adores his dress up towel and has taken to wearing it around the house saying it is his superhero cape...perhaps an idea for the next design Cuddledry? I love giving him a big cuddle after bath times in the Snuggle Monkey as it dries really quickly and is so soft I know it will be kind on his sensitive skin. 

The design is really sweet, complete with monkey ears and a little curly tail. The popper sits nice and loosely as I found the CuddleMoo was beginning to get a bit tight on Ted's neck but then he is a big boy now with a rather large head! 

I actually use the towel a bit like a robe and Ted does wear it around the house if he is feeling a bit chilly. It keeps him really warm and is perfect for curling up in and watching a movie...perhaps Curious George?

Often found jumping around the bathroom after a bath shouting "ooh ooh" like a cheeky chimp I think it is safe to say little man is a big fan. 

As well as having lots of lovely products, the Cuddledry website has some great parenting tips and fab competitions. They will also be at The Baby Show in London on 19th February which I am sadly unable to attend but recommend highly!

*I was sent the Snuggle Monkey for this review but as always my opinions are my own.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Rug Doctor Review

Despite being yet to show you some pictures of our new home we have been in for nearly 3 months! I can't believe how quickly it has flown by in a whirlwind of Christmas, Ted's birthday and those dreadful Winter germs. 

When we moved from the old house though there was a hell of a lot of work to do to leave the house in a reasonable condition to hand the keys back. Those of you that follow the blog may know the sort of issues we faced with the old house and the carpets were a big part of the reason we decided to move. This post explains my hatred for the carpets!

Although they were really old and awful I wanted to try and make them look a bit better so that we didn't lose our deposit and was lucky enough to have the chance to review a Rug Doctor for the move. 

I have used Rug Doctor in the past and they can easily be picked up from your local supermarket. Normally they are by the entrance in Tesco or Morrisons stores but there is a list on the website of stores that have them. They are £22.99 for 24 hours and trust me they are a lot cheaper than getting a professional cleaner in and super easy to use. 

First thing I suggest is to make sure you have a kettle or the hot water switched on in the property before you start the cleaning process. We had moved the kettle over to the new house and turned off the hot water so resorted to boiling the water in a saucepan on the hob in order to warm it as instructed before putting in the machine! 

The Rug Doctor itself is really straightforward to use and although you do need to buy the products to use with it they have a huge range so that you can choose the right one for the job at hand. I am not going to go into details of how to use the appliance as the instructions are clear and on the machine itself. Full video on how to use it here.

I found it simple to follow and not as heavy as I thought it would be. The hardest bit was plucking up the courage to turn it on for fear that I had connected the tubes up wrong and would spray the whole room with hot water and cleaning solution but I was brave and it worked!

I am not going to lie, my before and after pictures here are pretty much the same but this is because the carpets in that particular room were in such a dire state that they needed replacing completely. The carpets across the house were however dirt free even if there are stains and we got our deposit back! 
 Overall I would use the rug doctor again and am pleased to say we have gorgeous carpets in the new house that I am very protective over! 

Forest Friends Sleeping Bag with Sleeves from Slumbersac

Ted has always been a reasonably good sleeper but on the odd occasion we have a few weeks of madness where he decides he does not want to go to bed or stay in his bed in the early hours of the morning. These nights prove exhausting for all of us and we try everything we can to get him to sleep well. 

Some nights he refuses to wear any pyjama's to bed and I wondered if that was what was causing him not to settle. So I tried out the Slumbersac sleeping bag with sleeves to see if he was getting cold. I am pleased to say it worked a treat! 

I did make the mistake of telling him it was a sleeping bag though and he thought he had to sleep on the floor like he would in a camping type sleeping bag. I let him do what he wanted and made him a little camp bed on the floor and after weeks of hour long battles at bed time I was shocked to find him fast asleep less than 5 minutes later.

Not just that, after I snuck him back into his bed he slept through until our alarms went at 6.30!

He struggled to walk around in the Slumbersac as it is quite long and despite having a zip opening at the bottom he couldn't quite get his little feet out of the bottom. I think this may be where the Sleeping Bags with Feet may have been a better choice.

The sleeping bag we have is the Forest Friends Winter design. It is a 3.5 tog so lovely and warm and the sleeves mean that Ted doesn't need to wear his PJ's if he doesn't want to and is still perfectly snug. The fabric is so soft and the woodland applique on the front is beautiful. 

We did have a slight fault on our review sample that there were a few loose stitches on the middle zip but I can easily tack these back on. I made the brand aware and they have assured me they will check all future stock in case this is a manufacturing issue but  haven't had this happen before. These things happen though and they would have replaced the item had I not been happy to fix it myself. 

I always had sleeping bag's for Ted when he was small but after he outgrew his last one I didn't think anywhere did bigger sizes so I am really pleased we have found one that fits and I think this will last him a good few years still. That is if he still wants it when he is a big boy!

I really love Slumbersac as a brand and would recommend you check out the sale page on their website for some great bargains. This Sleeping Bag with sleeves is only £23.99 which I actually think is quite reasonable compared to a lot of brands on the market and it is essentially replacing a duvet so worth investing in a well fitted, comfortable design. 

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Closet Geek Necklaces

I recently came across a lovely little Etsy shop owned by a fellow blogger and fell in love with her unique style. The owner of Closet Geek, Bel, hand makes all of her geeky apparel and even takes on custom orders. I think the products are really reasonably priced and decided to purchase some for mine and Joe's Sisters this Christmas.

I loved the necklaces so much that I had to get one myself! Being a big Tangled fan I decided to go for a Baby Rapunzel on mine. She is such a darling and it feels great to have a design that nobody else has.

My Sister is a big Harry Potter fan so the HP wand necklace was an easy choice. The wand itself is really nicely weighted and there are 4 character wands to choose from. My only comment with this one is that the chain could have been a bit longer for the style but that is just personal preference and the chain can easily be replaced.

Harry Potter wand silver necklace- in four styles; Harry Potter, Hermione, Elder Wand (Dumbledore) or Voldemort

Next up were Joe's Sisters. Megan is a huge Beauty and the Beast fan so I got her the pendant with the gorgeous stained glass window from the movie. Ella has always loved Aladdin so I asked Bel to make up a custom pendant with Aladdin and Jasmine looking into each others eyes.

The girls loved the necklaces as much as I love mine and the attention to detail even in the little draw string bag they arrived in was brilliant.

I recommend having a browse at the Closet Geek Etsy shop for more designs and her handmade fancy dress costumes and bows are adorable!

*I was given a discount on my necklaces in exchange for this review but all opinion.