Throw Your Little One The Best Birthday Party Ever

It’s that time of the year again; your child is a year older. With all the work commitments you have had, you have forgotten to think about what you will offer your kid as a present this year. You know they liked the gift you got them last time, and you might get them something similar in order for you to see them smile uncontrollably once again. But wait, this year there is something better you could do to show your love for your child.

If you are tired of hitting the shops and getting them something material and would instead prefer to invest effort and money into putting together something more personal, why not throw them the best birthday party they have ever attended?

With the below tips in place, there are no obstacles in the way of you planning your child’s most epic birthday bash!

Secretly invite their best friends

Your children are in the process of growing up and as such, already probably have a large circle of friends with whom they socialise both at school and after. If you would like for them to have a superb time on their special day, you should ensure you invite their friends to the party. Without telling your child, arm yourself with a list of people who you could telephone and call their families with a set date in place. This will not only allow you to talk to the parents of your child’s friends and maintain contact with them, but it will also help you organise the party of your kid’s dreams. Be as secretive as you can about this and on the big day your child will be pleasantly surprised when they see their best mates walk through the door.

Plan a set of activities in which they will be able to compete

If you would like to see your children smile on their birthday party, this won’t take a lot of effort as the mere fact that their friends will be present on their big day will be an incredible surprise for which they will be grateful for the rest of their lives. If on top of this you would like for them to spend the time in style, why not organise a set of activities in which they could compete and earn prizes if they turn up to be the winners? This won’t take a long time to organise, and it will no doubt put an even more significant smile on their faces. For example, if your child is into sports you might want to hold matches in which they will attain a reward for coming first. This is easy to do if you have the right prizes in place. Have a look at trophiesplusmedals.co.uk and choose your pick!

Bake the best cake you have ever made

There is no birthday party without a proper cake in place and your child’s big day needn’t be an exception. If you would like to throw your children the best birthday party they’ve ever had, you will need to also impress them with your baking skills and this is something you will be able to do with the right tools in place. You might want to invest in these baking sets in order to make your kids’ party an unforgettable one.

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Lottie Dolls – A Review

I was recently sent a Lottie Doll to review and I love it and everything it stands for.

As the Mother of two young girls, I often find myself worrying about them being insecure and trying to live up to the – let’s face it, entirely unrealistic and for most, unachievable ‘beauty ideals’ that women aspire to these days – my girls are currently aged two and four – they are funny, smart, strong, caring and beautiful – I want them to grow up knowing this and believing in themselves.

I want them to feel confident enough to reach for the stars and know that they can achieve anything they put their minds to.

They have loads of dolls and play with them often – a lot of them are the same though – completely out of proportion, they were clearly modelled on aliens who are seven feet tall (and five feet of that is all leg), high insteps and tiny waists – loads of make up and boobs.

Do I want my daughter’s at the age they are, to aspire to be like them?

Absolutely not.

The Lottie Dolls are different. They’re designed in part by children and their bodies are based on the proportions of a nine year old child, which I feel is so much more suitable than having them look like a playboy bunny!

These dolls are super cute and dressed appropriately too – compared to other dolls who look like they’re ready for a night out in a club drinking cocktails.

Another thing I love about Lottie Dolls is that the creators understand how precious childhood is, they want to help us to protect their innocence for as long as possible. To help them develope a healthy imagination and a love for exploring and feel empowered to be themselves.

The dolls are dressed in comfortable, bright clothes that our kids would wear and enourage outdoor play like fishing, body boarding and puddle jumping –

We love this Muddy Puddles doll – it’s one of this girls’ favourite things to do.

It’s no wonder they’re award winning dolls!

Which one will you choose?

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Ten Things To Do In Paris

If you’re looking for a short break with friends or a special celebration with your partner, a noteable anniversary perhaps – Paris is an amazing place to visit, filled with fun things to do and fabulous food.

There are so many beautiful places to stay you’ll be spoilt for choice when booking – if you’re looking for somewhere a bit special, check out this site for Paris Luxury Homes.

Once you’ve got your travel and accomodation sorted, you’ll be looking for an itinerary – here’s a few great ideas to fill your time in gay Paris during your luxury break…

The Eiffel Tower

It’s not difficult to see the reason that this is the most popular attraction in Paris – you can choose to climb the seven hundred and four steps to the most breath taking views of the city, or, alternatively, you could take the elevator if you’re either not able, or just can’t be bothered – it’s always nice to have options!

If you do choose to take the stairs, you can visit one of the restaurants (there are five choices for dining on the Eiffel tower ranging from a snack bar to full on French Cuisine), the immersion gallery, gift shop and the see through floor on the first floor – yes – it is possible to walk on it – physically anyway – you might not actually be able to muster up the courage! (the lift doesn’t stop at this floor). Will you become one of the many lucky people to get engaged at the top of Eiffel Tower?

The Louvre

The world’s largest art museum, an historic monument and a beautiful landmark of the city, The Louvre houses hundreds of thousands of objects, some of which pre-date history!

It contains many famous masterpieces that you might possibly recognise, including the Venus di Milo, Mona Lisa, Winged Victory of Samothrace to name just a few – it also hosts the best collection of Greek, Roman, and Egyptian antiquities, and paintings from the middle ages.

Well worth a visit if you’re in the neighbourhood whether you have an eye for art or not.

The Champs Elysees

The Champs Elysees is well known for it’s cafes, theatres and luxury shops, if you’re going to Paris for a spot of retail therapy, this is the place to be.

The Arc De Triomphe

One of the most famous monuments in Paris, The Arc De Triomphe De L’Etoile honours those who fought and died for France during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.

It stands a staggering fifty meters tall and fourty five meters wide, with a depth of twenty meters – it’s a truly impressive sight that literally can’t be missed.

Palais Garnier

Made famous by the absolute classic that is ‘The Phantom of the Opera’, The Palais Garnier is one of the most well known (if not THE most well known) Opera houses in the world.

Speaking of The Phantom of the Opera – it was losely based on real events that actually took place at the Palaise Garnier in the late 19th Century, and a legendary tale about a ballerina’s skeleton being uncovered there. Well worth a watch – if you like musicals, you’ll have heard of it – if you don’t this would be an absolutely fabulous one to start with.

The building itself is an eccentric masterpiece of architecture and the auditorium is an absolute triumph that will completely top any theatre or opera house you’ve ever seen before.

It truly is the epitome of over-the-top luxury, if you’ve never been to the Opera before, this is the place to try it for the first time.

Food/sightseeing Tours

There are too many available to list, but these are easily found online as there is so much to see and eat in Paris – this would be a lovely way to spend an afternoon!

River Seine

Stretching over 777 in in, the River Seine is a slow flowing and easy to follow river with thirty bridges allowing crossing and fabulous views.The ashes of Joan of Arc were scattered in the Seine at Rouen.

Catacombs

The Catacombs are a collection of man-made, sub-terranian passageways that hold the remains of more than six million people – it was created as part of a solution to combat the cities over crowded cemeteries.

Notre Dam

Notre Dam, meaning ‘Lady of Paris’, is a medieval Catholic Cathedral and widely considered to be one of the finest examples of French gothic architecture.

Within it’s treasury, it houses some of the most important relics in Catholicism, including the crown of thorns, a fragment of the true cross and one of the Holy nails.

The Cathedral has 10 bells – The largest, Emmanuel, is in the south tower, weighing in at just over 13 tons and is rang to mark the hours of the day and for various occasions and services.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame was written by Victor Hugo in an effort to get more people to appretiate the Cathedral. Definitely worth a visit.

The Moulin Rouge

This has been firmly on my bucket list for over a decade – The Moulin Rouge is the birth place of the can-can and paved the way for the production of cabarets around the world.

This is a spectacular tourist attraction, offering musical dance entertainment.

The ‘Féerie’ consists of a troupe of 80 artists, including 60 Doriss Girls recruited world-wide, 1000 costumes of feathers, rhinestones and sequins, made in the most famous Parisian workshops, fabulous sets in shimmering colours, uniquely designed by Italian artists.

You can simply go for the show, or make a real thing of it and have dinner too – the menu looks absolutely INCREDIBLE.

Obviously this is only a small selection of what you could do in Paris, the city of Love, great wine, fabulous food and Let’s not forget Disney Land!

How would you spend your ideal weekend in Paris?

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Free Stuff Guide In The UK

If you were wondering about the free stuff that they give away in the United Kingdom, you should know that most of the stuff being given away there are items you’d be pay good money for. We’re talking about bottles of wine, Toblerone chocolates, hair straighteners, a tube of Olay CC cream, among others.

Of course, anything that’s offered for free always has a catch, and if you’re like most people, you’re probably wondering why firms want to give free stuff away. But if you’re like us, however, you’d probably say to yourself, who cares? Everyone loves free stuff from Mega Free Stuff, and businesses realize that giving a flavor of the goods is always good for business.

There are many, many websites out there that give away thing for free. Often, they send free samples of the products of their affiliated companies. If you love free things (everyone does), subscribe to a free stuff newsletter. You will need to enter your details in the subscription box. This is necessary, but don’t worry, your details won’t ever be passed onto the business or any other third party. Below are a few tips for you when trying to get freebies:

  • In order to avoid spam, consider creating a secondary email account for freebies and offers. This can keep your primary inbox clear, and you also will have the ability to immediately see the businesses that are giving away freebies and offers in real time.
  • Keep a watch on each website’s Terms and Conditions and see if you want to check or un-check specific boxes which will lead to more unwanted emails.

How can you locate offers, competitions and free stuff? You should have a team of committed cash-saving enthusiasts who are hell-bent on locating all the most recent free stuff, offers and competitions that can be found on the internet. If you find anything, bookmark it.

The good thing about free stuff that’s being given away for free in the United Kingdom is that they’re not limited to consumer goods. You can actually get more free stuff for travel, accommodations, festivals, and others. We’d like to share some tips on how you can get them.

Gather Avios points in your regular shopping so you can build up enough to buy a vacation that is totally free. There are a variety of methods to gather. When you spend on grocery stores, fuel and bank cards making use of your Shell Devotion or Tesco Clubcard you can earn just as much as 3 points per GBP1. We’ve worked out the typical home could get a complimentary vacation to Egypt after only one year of gathering Avios points.

In case you want to meet new folks and favor a home to a hotel room, sign up CouchSurfing.com or Tripping.com Those websites give you the opportunity to have your accommodation totally for free and to enjoy your destination as a local. Simply enter your details, select your destination, and search the community to find people who will allow you to crash on their couch for free.

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Summer Is On It’s Way – Time To Buy A Bike…

Finally the warmer weather is on it’s way, the wellies and winter coats are in the back of the cupboard and the spring macs and denim jackets are making their first hopeful apprearances!

It’ time to consider making preparations for your long awaited sunny afternoons to come on the not too distant future – here are a few things to consider…

BUY A NEW BIKE

One of the best ways to get out and enjoy the sunshine, take in some fresh air and get some exercise while having great fun, is to get out on a bike – you can take them anywhere and travel as far as you like, go with as many people as you like and catch up with chit-chat along the way. Check out these deals on cheap bikes – great prices on bikes for him, for her and even the kids – you could get kitted out with your cycling helmets and a bike lock while you’re at it – and there’s a sale on right now – check out the bike racks too – this will give you loads more options if there’s a country park, reservoir, nature reserve local to you, you could sling the bikes on the back if the car and take your pic of destination.

INVEST IN A PICNIC KIT

There are a few options here but it’s an essential item for visits to the park with the kids (they always need a snack).

You could go for the super cute, vintage wicker basket, or a more practical backpack style – a better option if the kids are younger and want carried everywhere. These have cups, plates and cutlery all tidied away in their own little compartment – so all you need to do is pop some food and drinks in and you’re ready to go.

TIDY UP THE GARDEN

The weather we’ve had over the last few months has done the grass no favours so pick up some weed and feed, then have a look at treating yourself to some new garden furniture and maybe some garden storage – and brighten the place up with some plants.

IF YOU’RE CONSIDERING DIETING – BE REALISTIC!

The summer is just around the corner and you’re probably planning your summer holiday – if you want to shift a few pounds do it sensibly and be kind to yourself.

TREAT YOURSELF TO NEW SANDALS

Treat your feet! Buy some beautiful, bright sandals, get a few pairs and get a pedicure!

Bike for summer

Away you go and enjoy your summer – Don’t forget your shades and suncream!

*This is a collaborative post*

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My Shake That Weight Experience – Day 2

Today was good – I feel like I coped better than yesterday and am pleased to report that I wasn’t starving when I woke up, so that was a surprise. The only time I felt really hungry during the day was while I was preparing dinner – I.was.starving – but managed not to sneak anything I didn’t need.

Breakfast – I tried the Porridge Paradise, usually I love porridge, but this was far too sweet for me (probably how everyone else likes it – I’m more of a savoury girl in the mornings).

Shake That Weight – porridge for breakfast

I tried two small spoonfuls but couldn’t eat it, so I had a large banana instead and was comfortable until 12:00.

Lunch – Sweet and Sour Chicken – this is probably the first ready meal I’ve ever eaten and while it can’t compete with home cooking, I was once again pleasantly surprised! My only negative comment is that the serving suggestion was to add 150g of bok choy – which I think is just plain cruel when the packaging clearly shows it on a large bed of rice – so I had rice, but half the amount I’d usually have and it was plenty. I really enjoyed it – every last, non bok choy grain of it.

Shake That Weight – sweet and sour chicken for lunch

Afternoon – Milk Choc Joy – I loved both the texture and the taste – Shake That Weight have done well, it really satisfied my sweet tooth but wasn’t massively over powering. Gorgeous.

Shake That Weight – snack – milk choc bar

Dinner – Crunchy Garlic Chicken – this was so good that once again I forgot to take a photo so I’ve popped a screen shot from the site I found the recipe on – was over in calories but not by masses and still left a big deficit from what I’d usually have during the course of a day.

I was peckish at around 8:30pm so snacked on a handful of grapes and a big slice of honeydew melon – beautiful.

I’ve also drank FIVE pints of water today and wee’d appoximately 1,000,000 times – which is really convenient, but I’m feeling good so far.

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My Shake That Weight Experience – Day 3

So I know that absolutely none of you are completely bored to tears with me banging on about my diet – but I’ll track my progress here anyway as I’m expecting big things from this – I need decent results as I have precisely zero will power when left to my own devices – so posting here and sharing with you lovely lot keeps me accountable. Here’s what has passed my lips today…

Breakfast – Chocolate Heaven Shake – I really like these and could have one every day – so tasty and just enough to keep me going for most of the morning.

Shake That weight – Chocolate Heaven Shake

Mid Morning – Salt and Vinegar Crisps. These really hit the spot and kept me on track – great strong flavour and really crunchy.

Shake That Weight – Salt and vinegar crisps

Lunch – Cheeky Chicken Curry Flavoured Noodles – these were OK – Not the nicest thing I’ve tried so far but texture was good and it had plenty of flavour – I found it really filling too which is great.

Shake That Weight– cheeky chicken curry flavoured noodles

Dinner – Home Made Bolognaise – the kids we’e annoyed that I’d ran out of spaghetti #mumfail, but this was lovely – I know I went over on calories with this but it was so good and I will not snack later!

Shake That Weight dinner

I struggled more with drinking water today than yesterday, only managing three pints but still better than usual.

Not bad at all – I’d be lying if I said the beers in the fridge weren’t whispering ‘drink us….drink us…’ – but other than that, I don’t miss anything – although I’ve been cheekily snacking on fruit as I love the stuff- hopefully it won’t do too much damage!

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My Shake That Weight Experience – Day 4

Last night I went to bed hungry, stomach rumbling, slightly uncomfortable hungry – it’s probably not far off how we should feel going to bed – but it’s been a while since I’ve felt like that. This would have been fine if the two year old had decided to sleep, but there were intermittent wake ups all night – which is great – helped loads. This morning I feel like I’m starting to notice a difference – my dream target of a stone is probably not achievable, but I tink I can shake half a stone during the course of this two weeks. Here’s how I got on today…

Breakfast – Porridge – not a Shake That Weight one though, I tried theirs the other day and it was too sweet so I had to chose a supermarket alternative – the one I had was mixed with milk and although that’s not part of the plan I do worry with eating no cheese in the evenings (boo) and not really having milk in my diet (this is normal for me as I drink black coffee), a little calcium top up can’t hurt too much.Shake That weight – breakfast – porridge

Lunch – Creamy Chicken Soup – This was OK – sort of like a cuppa soup – the taste was good but it needed texture, not bad and I’ll have it again.

Shake That Weight- lunch – chicken soup

Afternoon – Maple and Almond Bliss bar – I took the girls to the farm for a bit and this stopped me from being tempted by the cake there – it was lovely.

Shake That Weight – snack

Dinner – Cracked Black Pepper and Beef Sausages, mashed potatoes, vegetables and gravy – yummers.

Shake That Weight– dinner – sausage and mash

Evening Snack – Crudites – I know I shouldn’t be having this, but I have a two year old who doesn’t sleep through the night and could be eating much, much worse right?

Shake That Weight– snack – croudites

I’m so pleasantly surprised at how little the struggle is with this, the only thing I’m finding really challenging is remembering to drink enough water! Onwards to tomorrow!

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My Shake That Weight Experience – Day 5

Yesterday I struggled – it was mental getting the girls ready to drop off in two separate places on opposite ends of town, before settling down to work, doing house work and running errands.

Breakfast – Chocolate Heaven Shake

Shake That weight – Chocolate Heaven Shake

Lovely as ever but I felt I needed more this morning – powered through though.

Lunch – Blazing Chilli Beef

Day 1 – Chilli Beef Noodles

This was so welcome – it was cold again today and this warmed me up as well as being surprisingly filling – I’m finding as the days go on that this good is doing more for me each time.

Dinner – Chicken and Vegetable Curry

Shake That Weight – dinner – curry

Ok, Ok- I know my dinners are over 400 calories – but my portions are way smaller than usual so that has to be making a difference right? I was so ready for this!

Illegal Wine

Shake That Weight– fail – illegal wine

Massive confession – I really, really enjoyed every- single – last – teeny- tiny – swig of this – totally illegal but I’d usually have a bottle on a Friday night – this wasn’t planned but I am weak – don’t look at me – DON’T LOOK AT ME!

Evening Snack – Dreamy Dark Chocolate Bar

Shake That Weight– snack – dreamy dark chocolate

These are so good! I actually enjoy the texture more than chocolate and they don’t make me feel queesie after eating them!

I wanted to weigh in this morning as we’re booked in at Zizzi’s for lunch – naughty I know, but I’m hoping I’ve been good enough this week to have at least a couple of pounds off – turns out I can’t weigh in today as we’ve been using the WII (remember them?) and Bobbi has been feeding it pennies – I’ll weigh in tomorrow.

Any kind of diet is always going to be harder over the weekend- I’m allowing myself a couple of little treats, but am sticking to this as much as I can without affecting my family – when the four year old asks to go for pizza at a restaurant- you go for pizza at a restaurant – I am Mother to two young girls and I don’t want them having the same body image issues as me.

Everything in moderation folks x

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My Shake That Weight Experience – Day 6

I’m not going to lie – today was a bit of a failure – we took the girls to Zizzi’s for lunch- as I mentioned yesterday, this was a planned betrayal I’m afraid.

I knew it was bad, so I resolved to behave myself for the rest of the day.

Breakfast – Supermark branded porridge – this just about did the job until we went put for lunch – because I was really, really looking forward to going out for lunch!

Shake That weight – breakfast – porridge

Lunch – Zizzi’s Pinoli – this.was.amazing – Goat’s cheese, mozzarella, caramalised balsamic onions, sunblush tomatoes, pine nuts, riserva cheese & basil. I’m frigging amazed that it’s only 783 calories! – I’m meant to be sticking to 800 (which I haven’t been – or I’m sure I’d be dead by now – so I’ve been trying to keep below 1200) – obviously I haven’t today, bit I chose this as it was reasonable and looked so good! I didn’t eat all of it – so that’s something.

Shake That Weight – lunch – Zizzi’s pinoli

Dessert – Yep – I went there – An Americano with florentines. We don’t eat out often so I decided to enjoy myself – I could have had a slab of cake #restrainedmyself.

Shake That Weight– lunch – dessert – Americano- florentines

Dinner – I had a small plate of left over curry from yesterday, but didn’t take a picture – If I hadn’t had it I’d’ve gone into full on Hoover mode later, so technically it was damage limitation.

Gin – this was not part of my plan – there are no pictures – and I had about five – I think. I’ve probably absolutely ruined my chances of getting a decent result as I’m weighing in tomorrow but I enjoyed them all. If I’d had wine it would have been much, much worse.

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