Photobook with Inkifi

Like most bloggers I love Instagram and taking photos in general. I love being able to capture and share moments of our lives and it isn't often if at all that I get prints done like my parents did when I was younger. When Inkifi gave me the opportunity to make one of their photo books I knew I wanted to have a range of images of Blake and family members included in the book. 


I loved how easy it was to use the website and that not only could you add images from your device but link up to Instagram. There are a wide selection of types of photo books to choose from so that you can find one that suits you. When it comes to the photos inside the book you can edit the pages to include how many images you want on each page and also the sizing. The website lets you switch photos around and edit the photos until you were completely happy with it





When you have finished making your book you are given the option to have a free dust cover which you can also personalise with 2 photos of your choice. The photo book is of excellent quality 210mm x 210 mm Hard Cover. Featuring a beautifully textured cover made of Chobi Colorado cloth. 

I was excited when my photo book arrived and was thrilled with how well the images came out. The photos are very clear and I'm so happy that we now have a high quality personalised photo book storing our precious memories of Blake over the last 2 and a half years. 

The interior pages of the book are printed on carbon neutral Mowhawk paper, created using 100% virgin fibre from FSC managed sources. Meaning that the paper is such excellent quality and you can tell the photo book is well made. 

I chose the square hard cover photo book which is £31.99 for 24 pages which is a great price since you can add a fair amount of photos to each page. For additional pages it will cost 50p per page and in my opinion it is totally worth the cost. 




Tactical Tuesdays (10 Ways to save on kids clothing & Toys)

Welcome back to another week of #TacticalTuesdays,  which I am co-hosting with the lovely Vicky from The Tactical Mummy. I'm loving that many of you joined both Vicky and I on our first week with this linky. 

If you haven’t joined in with #TacticalTuesdays  before the idea behind the posts is that you share with us your Tactical Parenting Hacks for the week.It can be anything as simple as that you have cooked fish fingers or a clever idea you have had to entertain your children. 

Every Tuesday we share a post this can be new or from the archives and we invite you do the same as part of this linky. The following week we will share one of our favourite posts and link back to your blog. 

Please don't forget you can use the hashtag #TacticalTuesdays over on Facebook, twitter and Instagram) 

If you would like to link up please grab our badge and share with us one of your hacks of the week. We are looking forward to reading your posts.

Tactical Tuesday at Joanna Victoria
Our featured post of the week is I’ve Got Nothing To Do! with Toy infinity who has shared some great summer activities to get up to and I'll be certainly doing some of her ideas before Blake starts Pre-school. 


This weeks post I'm sharing is what I've dug out from the archives 10 Ways to Save Money On Kids Clothing And Toys.




Vaping - the way to go?


Smoking is a habit that many smokers want to change whether that be cutting down or stopping completely. The reason that this may not happen is due to lack of willpower as it's something that is so addictive. I know this as my father was a heavy smoker and found it extremely hard to quit as it's such an addiction, especially for those that have been smoking for a long time. As a teenager I dabbled in smoking however was lucky not to get addicted and was able to quit easily which isn't the same for many people. 

Smoking for many people is a way to help them to relax or also a habit they do in social situations. We all know by cutting back and eventually quitting is beneficial for our health however many smokers worry about nicotine withdrawal symptoms.

Going cold turkey isn't always the best solution and so with Vaping over time growing in popularity. Electronic cigarettes and their e-liquids are a great alternative to traditional cigarettes as over time electronic cigarettes can help you to cut down on your smoking habit with a practical alternative and hopefully this will lead eventually quitting.

Smoking of course can be an expensive habit with the average cost of a 20 pack being around the £10 mark. I know a few people who smoke and also know a few who now vape which got me interested into looking more into the idea. I'm not a smoker myself however my husband does smoke cigars a few times a week, so feel that this could be something that he would benefit from as an alternative. 

When looking up more info on vaping I came across www.ecigwizard.com who sell a wide range of e-cigarettes and liquids including starter kits for those that are new to vaping. They also sell a wide selection of kits for the more experienced vapers. They also sell a wide range of accessories and different flavoured liquids in funky names such as Mr Macaroon, mad hatter and lazy bear to name a few. They also sell the usual nicotine flavoured liquid for those that still want the taste of nicotine whilst moving from traditional cigarettes to electronic cigarettes. 

I think that vaping is such a good idea for helping smokers to cut down/ stop smoking. E-cigarettes can help to combat the urge to smoke with giving you feeling of holding a cigarette, smoking and stress relief that smoking can bring.

This said in mind vaping also has a fraction of the health risks and cost too which is a win/win. With various flavoured liquids and different nicotine strengths its a great way to encourage traditional smokers to make the swap. 

I hate the smell of traditional cigarettes even though I grew up in a household where my father smoked and as I said I dabbled a bit with it in my teens too. However with vaping there are more fragrances which it means that it's a bit more pleasant. 

I feel that anything that is going to help people save money and help them kick a bad habit is a good idea.

Living Arrows -35/52

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth” by Kahlil Gibran

This weeks photo was taken yesterday we finally seem to have some lovely weather which meant that Blake could wear his shorts again and we got outside and enjoyed the fresh summer air. This photo was taken after dusting off Blake's scuttle bug and deciding to take it out the front for him to have a play on. We also ended up going for a little walk around the block a few times as Blake was eager. He was such a good boy holding my hand all the time and loved looking at the all the pretty flowers, bees, cars, butterfly's etc. 






Living Arrows

My Velcro Toddler


I've been guilty from time to time wishing that Blake wasn't too clingy. I love him he is my world but sometimes it would be nice to be able to sit down without a toddler climbing all over me. Then the guilt sets in as I know that not all parents get the opportunity to spend time with their child for various reasons such as working most days. 

Last week I was up with Blake at 1 am as he woke and all he wanted was me. I ended up climbing into bed with him and dropped off to sleep myself waking up at 4 am and sneaking out whilst he was in a deep slumber. 

Even though there are moments like these when I wish he would just let me sleep. I do realise it wont last forever and that one day he will stop wanting me as much and I'll miss it. 
I remember when Blake was a baby and how he would fall asleep on me and I would just take him all in knowing that it wouldn't last forever and it didn't he now no longer falls asleep on me like he use to and I do miss that. 

Each day he is getting more and more independent and for now he still needs me. So yes Blake is clingy he climbs all over me whenever I sit down, he wants me on the rare occasion in the night and he even during the day just wants to be held and so from now on I'm going to cherish it as I don't know how long that will last. 

So when puts his arms up I'm going to scoop him up let him swing his legs around my waist even though he is getting heavier each day as one day he wont want that anymore and even though he will always be my baby one day he will leave me and have a life of his own. 

Summer Beauty Trends for 2017


Although it is Summer even if some days weather wise you would think otherwise its still a great time to try out different make up looks. Here are some of the 2017 summer make up trends that work for me: 

Smudged eyeliner
When it comes to eyeliner I've never been that good at it so now summer is here and smudged eyeliner seems to be a trend I can relax more about how my eyeliner looks. 

Dewy complexion 
When it comes to my foundation during the summer months I like to use one that has less coverage and one that makes me have a beautiful glow. I also opt for one that has spf 15 or above. 

Sheet Masks
I do love a good face mask and recently I've been loving sheet masks which are ever growing popular. I love them more than traditional clay or gel masks as they much more easier at applying and removing. 


Some other trends are: 

Dry Face Brushing
I've yet to try this however definitely plan on giving this a try anything that makes my skin look much better is worth trying. 

Electrolysis
I've tried waxing, shaving, hair removal creams and even threading however I'm yet to try electrolysis which is becoming a popular hair removal method this summer. 

Gradual in shower tan lotion 
This innovative product allows you to gradually and easily build colour over time. I've never been one for tanning however can see it being a great idea for those that love to self tan. 

Nails
Bright colours are popular in summer months. I've never been one for nail polish however since I was a bridesmaid in May I love the idea of sitting at nail stations and getting my toes painted a lovely bright colour.  

You can read more about summer beauty trends and tips for 2017 in this handy e-book


#Inspiredby


Inspirational women are found in all areas of our lives and for me my Mum is. My Mum has always been there and she has always worked hard whether that be staying at home to be with me and my sister as we grew up to working hard at 3 jobs. 

Over the years my Mum has been there for me when I have needed her. From dealing with the dreaded terrible twos and teenage strops to walking me down the aisle and giving me away on my wedding day. 

Now she is there for me to help me with my own child. To offer advice when needed to, spending time with her grandson whether watching him for a few hours for us or popping over to see us when she is free. 

We learn from the women that inspire us and so it's important that we show gratitude towards them. So how do we say Thank you of course there are many ways to do this one being sending a bouquet of flowers from time to time Flowers Direct is a great place to get some gorgeous bouquets.  

Different flowers have different meanings and the most popular ones for gifting are roses as they mean love whether romantic or family. Freesia is also popular with meaning trust and friendship. 


We can also be inspired by women that we may not know/never met. Here is an e-book mentioning some inspiration women such as J.K. Rowling and how they have used flowers in their appearance/ideas. 





#TacticalTuesdays (Chores for Toddlers)

I'm so excited to be doing my first Tactical Tuesdays post which I am co-hosting with the lovely Vicky from The Tactical Mummy. Please head over to my Tactical Tuesdays page where you can find all the info you need to know to get involved. 

Recently Blake has started to wanting to "help" a lot around the home. This can sometimes be a good thing such as helping us put clothing in washing basket and sometimes not so good such as wanting to help with the dishwasher when sharp objects are around. 

When it comes to Blake "helping" we like to make sure we give him lots of praise and encouragement. As Blake is only just over 2 and half chores don't have to be done perfectly and Blake has a sense of pride and independence from helping us. The one thing I want from Blake doing chores is that we make it fun for him.


So here are a few age appropriate chores that Blake does: 

Putting away his toys
We are trying to get Blake into more of routine of helping us put away his toys and also encouraging him to have not all of toys out at once. We do have some toys that we have out most days and make sure that if they are kept out that they aren't just strewn across the floor. 

Dirty clothes in the wash basket
Such a simple chore to do and Blake is now getting into a routine of putting his clothes in the basket although this does sometimes lead to him putting clean clothing and random objects into the basket he is starting to slowly get better at it. 

Bringing items to us
Such as his shoes and coat when we are going out. We are also trying to get him to bring other things to us such as books and toys he wants to play with. He also sometimes get snacks out when he is hungry and brings them to us. 

Filling and emptying the washing machine
Another thing Blake loves to do is fill the washing machine, shut the door, open the draw for us to put the powder in and of course press the button to turn the machine on. Once the washing is done he also loves to help empty the machine. 

Brushing Teeth, washing hands etc
Blake loves cleaning his teeth we give his teeth a proper clean first and then let him have a go after. He also like's washing his hands although he does tend to get water all over the place. 


What chores does your little one help out with?



Tactical Tuesday at Joanna Victoria

Living Arrows - 34/52

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth” by Kahlil Gibran

This weekend we made a little visit to a local country park called Rushmere. We've never been before as unfortunately its easy to get to if you don't drive. We were lucky that we were able to go with my In laws this weekend and we definitely want to go back again as it's a lovely place to explore and get close to nature. 

It's a great place to visit with children thanks to its sculpture trail where you can find fairy doors and play on wooden sculptures. The giants chair is a must and there was even a queue to be able to get photos of it. Blake was a little unsure of it however I'm sure if we are able to visit more often Blake will get use to the idea. 




Living Arrows

Kick Starting My Weightloss With FatBlaster

My weight has always yo-yo'd and losing weight and keeping it off is something that I have always struggled with. I find that I graze a lot during the day and don't always opt for the healthy option. One of the things I want is to be able to feel fuller for longer. 

FlatBlaster is the number 1 weight loss brand in Australia which has now arrived in the UK. Their aim is to improve people’s confidence about their health and body through weight loss. They've helped thousands of people around the world lose weight through the fundamental learning of safe, healthy and effective weight loss.


I was sent three of their products to trial and see if they help me. The products are FatMagnet, appetite suppressant and meal replacement shake (available in chocolate and strawberry).

For the first week I took two appetite suppressants half an hour before each meal with plenty of water. Along side this I used the meal replacement shakes for breakfast and dinner. 

The high protein meal replacement shakes are specifically designed for healthy and safe weight loss results in a convenient and delicious shake. The unique shake blend contains 19g of protein and is nutritionally complete with 22 vitamins and minerals and only 6.9g of sugar per serving.

The Appetite Suppressant contains the hunger busting fibre Glucomannan which reduces your appetite and helps you to feel fuller for longer, it also maintains normal blood cholesterol levels. 

I found the first week to be a bit tough going.The shake I went for was the strawberry flavour which I had with almond milk and I found it pleasant to drink. I found that the shakes combined with the appetite suppressant worked well for me between breakfast and lunch however really struggled between lunch and dinner and found that on a few occasions I was snacking on unhealthy foods.


Once the week was up I started taking two FatMagnet tablets 15 minutes before each meal. I wasn't sure how well they would work for me as I've never been one for taking tablets to aid weight loss before. I have heard of people finding that most tablets go through them however FatMagnet doesn't work like that. 

FatMagnet is scientifically proven to bind fat from the foods you eat, perfect for anyone looking to reduce fat absorption and lose weight. Containing LipomylTM, a unique weight loss fibre, it binds up to 60x its own weight in fat . Plus it’s gentle on your system, stripping fat and maintaining your normal vitamin levels. FatMagnet is a registered medical device with proven efficacy and weight loss results.

Left:Before Right: After

Left:Before Right: After

Over the course of a month trying out the FatBlaster range I managed to lose 5lb. I do feel that if I hadn't struggled with the first week it would have definitely lost a bit more. I have noticed that my clothing is more baggier and I have even managed to fit into a few items of clothing I had in my wardrobe which were a size smaller. I'm hoping that as I have become a bit more aware of what I have been eating that now I am able to stick at going for healthier options. 

ZOGGS Water Wings Vest Review


Blake has always been a water baby from loving bath time to enjoy being in the pool. 
When Blake was about 9 months old we chose to take him to have swimming lessons. Unfortunately the lesson times didn't work well for us and so we stopped his lessons, however we still make an effort for him to go swimming when we get the chance. 

I think it's important for children to learn to swim. Both my sister and I had swimming lessons when we were younger and I am so glad that we did. I'm still not 100% confident in the water however I'm glad that I do know how to swim just in case. It's definitely an important life skill to have as it can save your life if you end up in an unfortunate situation. 

We were excited to be given the opportunity to try out Zoggs Water Wings Vest. We've never used arm bands in the water with Blake as they are bulky and we tend to hold him ourselves whilst in the pool. The water wings vest is a good option as it's a new innovative design swimming vest to help children gradually progress to swimming unaided.

Aimed at children between the ages of 2-5 years old, the Water Wings Vest provides fixed buoyancy that encourages a natural swimming position. Children can build their confidence in the pool due to comfort as the vest is highly flexible in the shoulders which enables them to develop stroke technique.

The vest features a large zip at the back with a flap of material over it so that children are unable to remove it themselves in the pool. The Zoggs Water Wings Vest is available in sizes 2-3yrs and 4-5yrs and retails at £23.




Our thoughts
The design is bright and colourful making it eye catching for children. We were also sent swim shorts in matching print as well goggles and some seal learn to swim flips. 

Blake seemed very happy whilst in the pool wearing them and looked super cute too. 

Blake took a while to adjust being in the water with the wings on as it's not something he is use to. However I did find it easier to hold him as I was able to grip on to him much better. 

Size wise I would say they are a true fit Blake seemed comfortable and the vest didn't rise up his back or look too tight/loose. 

I am hoping that as time goes on Blake will get use to wearing the water wings whilst in the pool and in return make him a more confident in the water. 


Unfortunately our local swimming pool as a strict policy meaning we are unable to take photos which is a shame as I would have loved to have been able to show you the vest in use.

*Disclosure – we were sent the Zoggs Water Wings Vest free of charge in exchange for our review, however all thoughts and opinions are my own.*

Some Of Our Favourite Toddler Books


I've loved to read for as long as I can remember and so I am glad that Blake loves books as much as I do. I've made sure that we have read to Blake since he was a new born as I feel reading is so important for learning. It's an activity that we both do together, Blake loves looking at the pictures as I read to him and he also loves to sit and look through books at the pictures by himself.  So today I wanted to share with you some of Blake's favourite toddler books. 
You may recognise some of these reads as they include classics such as The very hungry Caterpillar and some Julia Donaldson ones as well. You may also notice an animal theme too however they are books that Blake loves us reading together: 


We own a lot of Julia Donaldson books and so I have only chosen to include a few of our favourites there are many more that he loves too. 

What are your child's favourite book/s?

Living Arrows 33/52

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth” by Kahlil Gibran

The first of this weeks capture's of Blake was when we were over at my in laws. Blake has got a thing at the moment for Lightening McQueen and he was enjoying playing with the cars over at his Granny's along with his cousins Finn and Micah. My brother in law, his wife and my 2 nephews were over for a goodbye BBQ last weekend and this was taken on the Monday the last time we will be seeing them for awhile as they have moved to America. 




My second photo of Blake is from Saturday when Blake and I visited my Mum. Blake loves his Nanny and as you can see from this photo they were having such fun together at the park. It's lovely seeing him having such fun with her as Blake hates change and we struggle with him being in an environment he doesn't visit frequently. 



Living Arrows

Ollie & Leila Snuggle Sac

At the beginning of the year Blake had the bars taken off his cot to give him more freedom. However a few months ago when moving the bed over the wood snapped and so we made the decision to move him into a single bed. Since then we have been trying to get Blake to start sleeping with a pillow and duvet instead of in a sleeping bag however we have yet to be successful. 

 Ollie & Leila  got in touch to see if we would be interested in trying out a Snuggle Sac  I thought it was a great product to try out as it is designed to ease the transition from cot to first bed. The bedding's aim is to make sure that active sleepers like Blake don't wake up cold in the night with covers on the floor. 

The Snuggle Sac is used as an alternative to traditional bedding as it is designed for toddlers. There is space in within the head area for a pillow and zip down the side like a sleeping bag.   Snuggle Sacs help toddlers feel more independent and grown up. As they are developing this sense of being a big boy or girl is very important. 


We really love the grey and white stars design and the material makes it super snug. Blake is such a wiggle bum so at the moment we are still struggling with him to actually sleep in it. However he doesn't mind laying on top of it for awhile, so I think it's a matter of him needing to get use to the idea. We love that it comes in a handy holdall so that it can be taken away on holiday or if staying with grandparents to make toddlers feel secure in a different environment. The snuggle sac is also great for using for snuggling up in on the sofa too. The snuggle sac is machine washable and can be tumble dried which we feel is important. 

I can definitely see the snuggle sac working for us with Blake once he gets use to the idea. It's a handy item to have to ease the transition if your toddler is like Blake and hates change. 

The Snuggle Sac retails at £50 and we feel it's a great investment to have for keeping your toddler cosy, secure and independent. 


Have you used a snuggle sac? Do you have any other tips on getting your child use to a pillow and duvet? As always I'd love to know. 

Living Arrows 32/52

 You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth” by Kahlil Gibran


Blake has always been mischievous and getting caught doing things he really shouldn't be. He has been able to climb for a while now, however this week for some reason he wanted to be constantly climbing, from getting up onto his little Ikea table and sitting there looking all innocent whilst eating his bowl of cheerios, to deciding it was perfectly fine to climb up onto the window ledge in his bedroom. I've lost count this week with the amount of times we have had to get him down and explain that he isn't allowed. 



Living Arrows

Screen Time


Screen time is something that quite a few people debate about many are for it many against it. 

I personally have no problem with it. Schools tend use the internet these days for educational purposes. I feel that at home its a good way to implement it ready for when they start Pre-school/School. Of course its important to teach children internet safety from day one.  

TV
When it comes to TV sometimes you need Cbeebies as a baby sitter. Take yesterday morning Blake decided to wake me up at 5:30 am so that was him up for the day. This meant that as soon as 6 am arrived the TV was on so I could lie on the sofa and have a quick power nap and he was entertained whilst eating a bowl of cheerio's. TV is also handy when you need to get some work done around the home. Lets be honest here its hard to get the tidy or cleaning done when you have a toddler making even more mess. One of things I make sure though is that he isn't watching TV all day as that isn't healthy. He is allowed to watch TV either in the morning or afternoon and allowed to watch the night time hour on Cbeebies in the evening since he loves In the night Garden and means dinner can be cooked in the mean time. 


Tablets/Apps
Blake very rarely uses my tablet and even then its not for the internet and mainly for games. Some which are educational and some such as the In the night garden and Lego Duplo Trains app that aren't but Blake loves. It can be handy to have these apps especially if you know you are going to eat out as they can be a distraction until their meal comes out. We are actually planning to purchase a leap pad for Blake later this year so that he can have his own device for playing educational games although we will be limiting his use of it. 

How do you feel when it comes to screen time? Are you strictly against it?