Eleanor Oliphant, George Ezra and Easter Crafts

I really don't where this week has gone it definitely has gone super fast.  Even better is that it is bank holiday and also the first day of half term for us. Blake doesn't go back until the 17th so it means we can make the most of the next few weeks or so meeting up with friends etc.

I've found it really hard to write this week's post as I feel I just haven't really done much. Even so here are some of the things I've been loving this week.


I've found this week I've mainly been focused on enjoying reading in the evening's when Blake is in bed. I'm glad that persevered with Matt Haig's how to stop time as I got more into it and enjoyed it in the end. If you have read it do you feel it was a slow start?

I've also have jumped on the bandwagon to read Eleanor Oliphant by Gail Honeyman. It seems to be mentioned everywhere at the moment I've seen in mentioned not only on others #LittleLoves posts but also on Instagram and a few Facebook pages/groups I follow. I'm actually really enjoying it as its definitely my type of read.I definitely think I'm going to have finished reading it by the end of the weekend. 

I also grabbed a copy of In the moment magazine after seeing it mentioned by Emma at A Cornish Geek  the magazine is similar to Breathe magazine which I also love. The next copy of In the moment is out on the 3rd of April and now I know where I can get a copy locally I'll definitely be picking one up!

I've really struggled with getting into anything to watch this week as I've just not been feeling it. I really want to get into a good Netflix series but nothing seems to be gripping me. I'm wondering if its because I'm just overwhelmed with so much choice. I've even found I'm not that bothered in watching Hollyoaks either at the moment like I normally do weekdays. 


I'm still getting through listen to the Happy Mum, Happy Baby pod cast atm and I've also come across a few others I want to listen to once I've finished.

I'm also getting into George Ezra's new album Staying at Tamara's. I especially love the song paradise.


I made a start on putting together Blake's Easter basket I've included 2 books which I pop in each year along with a cuddly rabbit in a carrot which also comes out each year! I've also added a game called animal sounds which was reccomend by preschool as a way to help his development. Then we have the Hey Dugge Stick badge DVD and playmobil egg. All I neec to do now is add chocolate.

I also managed to do a craft activity I saw on pinterest I think it turned out well. Blake only put the stickers on and taking them off again but I enjoyed dong this even though I'm definitely not a crafty person.


Not the best of photos however Blake's been wearing new Bing bunny pjs. He has also been moving into some of his 4-5 years clothing as they fit him a lot better. 

 And lastly...

All being well weather wise we are planning to head to a national trust place tomorrow to do an Easter egg hunt. I'm hoping it doesn't rain as the last thing I want to do is be hunting for eggs when its chucking it down. 

Creating a sign with Signomatic

I've always had a love for home decor bits and adding extra little touches to a room.  when Signomatic asked if I’d like to try out their custom sign design service, I had an idea of a sign for our bedroom door to put up when I'm having a bit of me time.

Signomatic are an online design service, which is very simple to use. Their signs are available in a range of materials from wood and aluminium to acrylic and even vinyl. Making it really simple to make a  sign that’s perfect for what you need.

It won't come as a surprise that I chose a sign related to books! My main hobby is reading and when I get free time I am often found with my nose in a book. 

The Signomatic design service couldn’t be easier to use. You simply choose the type of product you want to create, and set the size and colour of the sign.
I chose to go for a pink plastic sign with white font. 
Then all you have to do is add any text you may want, which you can alter the size, colour and font style of your choice. The design system allows you to easily move the text around.  You can add images from the Signomatic library, or upload your own images. I chose to go with an image of an open book which they had in the library as I thought it was perfect for what I wanted.
Once you have finished your design you are then given the option of fixing method if you want to hang your sign up. This can be by screws, standoff or hanging. For me I went for the hanging as it will go on our bedroom door perfectly!

I was sent a sign for free however it would have cost £37.09. The price updates automatically as you make alterations to your design so you know the price at all times! 

All I had to do was wait for my sign to be made and arrive. It took approx a week to arrive and was packaged well to make sure that it didn't break.

The sign is of great quality and I'm very happy with how my sign has turned out. As you can see the quality of both the font and image are clear and st and out.

I definitely reccomend Signomatic and will definitely consider using them again in the future.

Hooked on books with Mrs Hible

Hi Everyone welcome to another instalment of Hooked on books. You may not know but I run a book group on Facebook called Hooked on books with Joanna Victoria which you are welcome to join to talk all things books. 

Every Wednesday I will be bringing you a brand new guest series. I’ll be featuring  some lovely bloggers  who will be sharing their answers to reading/book related questions. I hope you manage to find some more wonderful blogs to read.  If you’re a blogger and want to take part then get in touch!

This  weeks instalment features Jess from Mrs Hible 

Hi everyone I’m Jess a busy mum of three my children are 11 years old, 9 years old and 1 year old. So our house is pretty hectic. I started my blog and YouTube channel last summer when I was on my maternity leave and I really love the creative side to it all. In my spare time I really enjoy reading and I aim for at least one book a month. If I manage more then I do a serious happy dance as most evenings it’s a struggle to keep my eyes open. We also love going outdoors and visiting national Trust property’s.

What book(s) are you currently reading?
 I am currently reading Wonder By RJ Palacio

What book is next on your “to be read” list?
 Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine By Gail Honeyman

What is your favourite genre to read?
 My favourite genre to read has got to be thriller books. I love a good mystery with lots of twists and turns.

Who are some your favourite authors? 
I really enjoy books by Sophie Kinsella, Shari Lapena, JK Rowling has to be up here as Im completely obsessed with Harry Potter,Jojo Moyes and lots more.

What are your top 5 favourite books? 
The Couple Next Door- Shari Lapena, Orbiting Jupiter- Gary D Schmidt, Harry Potter and The Philosphers Stone- JK Rowling, Twilight- Stephanie Meyer and Me Before You- Jojo Moyes.

Paperback vs digital books - which do you prefer and why? 
Ive tried both but I have to settle on paperback. There is nothing better than holding a proper book. Feeling every page turn along with the smell of fresh crisp pages.

What was your favourite book or series of books as a child? 
I used to love The Worst Witch Series By Jill Murphy I remember devouring in The Worst Witch All At Sea all in one afternoon. As I loved it so much. Along with The Princess Diaries, The Babysitters club and Sweet Valley High. Jacquline Wilson was one of my favourite authors. Double Act and The Bed and Breakfast Star were my favourites.

Do you ever cheat and skip to the end of a book? Why do you do it? 
I always will look how many pages im up against when I start to read a new book. I have only ever skipped to the end once and that was the first in the Fifty Shades Of Grey series as I hated it so much I wanted to read the last page to see if it was awful all the way through.

Do you hang on to your books once you've read them? Or do you prefer to pass them on to a charity shop / a friend? 
I do a mixture of passing on to friends and family, Charity shops and I sometimes list them up on ebay. I only really keep my Harry Potter Collection and Beatrix Potter collection from childhood. Along with a few others that I have really enjoyed. The majority I get rid off otherwise our house would be overrun with books.

Do you read one book at a time or do you have multiples on the go?
 I can only read one story at a time, completley immurse myself into that story and set of characters. Ive tries reading muliple stories in the past and found it hard to keep up with each story.

Describe your ideal reading nook!
 My Ideal Reading Nook is snuggled up in my bed, wrapped in my cover keeping all cosy and warm. Hot chocolate to drink and nibbles to keep me full. 

You can find Jess over on:

A Wicked Uncle Review #TacticalTuesdays

Hi everyone it's time for #TacticalTuesdays. You may have noticed recently that Vicky hasn't been joining in. At the moment she is taking a break from blogging  due to expecting her second child in May. However the lovely Jenny from Rabbit ideas will be helping me out.

If you have not joined in with this linky or need a reminder the idea behind the linky is that you share with us your Tactical Parenting posts/hacks for the week. This can be crafts, recipes, meal plans, reviews, Days out, parenting posts etc. Both old and new posts are welcome in the link up all you have to do is grab the badge at the end of the post and the rules are also stated below too.

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

This week's featured post is by The Elephant Mum and her review of the Mehujehua which is a rigid plastic container which holds the juicebox and prevents involuntary (?) squeezing. This is such a great idea!

This week I'm linking up my Wicked Uncle review they offer a wide range of toys and we love our choices .

Tactical Tuesday at Joanna Victoria

Review: Wicked Uncle

When it comes to buying new toys for Blake I tend to enjoy buying them online. It can be tough going into a shop with Blake as he hates shopping and the tantrums start. 

Wicked Uncle are definitely one of my favourite online shops due to their easy to navigate site.  With products being arranged by both age and gender being able to find a gift is simple task.

If you have read my blog regularly you may remember that I chose some great toys with them before and were very impressed with what they had to offer. I've now been given more credit to spend with them on some new toys now that Blake is a bit older.

Like last time I was very impressed with the selection of products with many of our favourite brands such as Melissa and Doug, Hape, learning resources and more.

The first item I chose was the Fire engine convertible book and play mat. 
I knew when I first saw it that it would be something Blake would love. It's such a fun 3 in 1 book where you can read a story, use as a fold out play mat and last of all made into a sit in fire engine. Blake has adored popping on his fireman jacket and pretending to drive his own engine rushing to save the day! 

Next up was the Stanley the seahorse interactive book. By downloading the free app you can bring this sweet story to life. All you have to do is Simply point your device at any of the magical pages and the entire scene transforms into a 3D animation with sound effects, you can even tap the characters and explore the underwater scene. 

Sticking with the water theme is the build a boat bath time fun set. Blake loves bath time, and we like to make sure he has some fun bath time toys to keep him entertained,  hopefully without splashing so much. Hence why I chose this fun and colourful bath puzzle. With 6 slot in pieces to make up the boat and 3 colourful sea creatures: fish, star fish and whale. The pieces all float and can be stuck to the side of the bath or tiles when wet.

Last of all is the Garage convertible playbook. An ideal hardback book that converts into a playmat and pop-up building. This is perfect for travel or on the go! All you have to do is fold out the playmat and stand up the pop-up garage, measuring 30 cm tall and wide. There are 20 press-out characters to play with too. 

How to stop time, odd socks and a pod cast #LittleLoves

What a week we've had! Blake has got conjunctivitis and has been feeling rather sorry for himself. Its been heart breaking having to get the drops in his eyes. I'm not expecting next week to be any good either as we have a busy one ahead with many appointments for him.

Enough of that lets get on with some of the lovely things from this week.


I've finally started reading How to stop time by Matt Haig. I've heard about it so much and am only just starting to get into it. I'm not sure if  because the hype I'm feeling a bit disappointed, we shall  see.


I've been catching you with my favourite YouTubers recently. I've really enjoyed watching Mrs Meldrums haul videos and even though the video is a week old her 15 ways to spend me time. I've also been enjoying Emily Norris's videos especially on her 10 laundry hacks.

I've also found myself watching a few episodes of waybaloo with Blake this week. It's the only thing he's really wanted to watch strangely enough.


I've got into the world of pod casts by listening to Giovanna Fletchers Happy Mum, Happy Baby the pod cast. I loved her book Happy Mum, Happy Baby where she shared her parenting highs and lows. The pod cast features some great other famous mums such as Izzy Judd, Emma Willis, Frankie Bridge and more. They each chat with Gi sharing their personal thoughts along with highs and lows of parenting. 


On one of the days Blake did go into preschool this week he came out with a broad bean that he had fun planting. I love it when he comes out with things he has been making at preschool.


This week Blake has been loving his jumpers that my mum knits for him. He's been especially loving his new one that my mum had recently made him. With blue being his favourite colour and how snug it looks I can definitely see why.

This week also has seen me wearing odd socks in aid of down syndrom awareness day.

 And lastly...

I'm looking forward to being able to see my bestie this weekend. Even though she is my sister in law too, we don't get to see each other as often as we would like as she lives in Bristol.

Changing your spending patterns to prepare for the future

We naturally want to spend the money we earn — and we often don’t think ahead about expenses that could be forthcoming! We’ve all made New Year’s resolutions, and they can often be disastrous, with 80% of people failing by February and regretting it instantly — have you managed to keep yours up? One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to cut down on spending, and although this sounds achievable, if you don’t have a fully-pledged strategy in place, the likeliness of failure spirals out of control.

With unexpected expenses having the capability of arising at any time, it’s important to make savings ahead of time. It all adds up. For that reason, we’ve teamed up with Stagecoach, which offers cheap bus prices, to make some assessments on how those extra savings can come in handy if something like that was to occur.

Travelling by public transport rather than your own vehicle

If you change the way you commute to work, you could potentially see huge savings. Using a megarider ticket, you will be able to travel as much as you want and can tailor your own needs to the ticket type. Whether you’re in need of a weekly bus pass for your travels, or a monthly one — you will find yourself making a huge saving in comparison to paying for single bus fares every day.

Calculations that detect how much the average person will spend on their own vehicle in their lifetime comes to £168,880. With efficiency growing in public transport, there is no reason for you not to consider making the bold move that could help you fulfil your resolution this year and save you a fortune.

The main contributor to this price was petrol, which totals £1,052.04 annually. Servicing a vehicle costs can add up to £441 over a twelve-month period — which can change depending on the individual’s situation. MOTs can cost up to £168.46 annually. Cost of parking is on the rise, and with more vehicles on the roads, there seems to be a higher demand. Over the year, a motorist can find themselves paying £145.80 on parking. When it comes to insurance, this can sway dramatically as younger drivers will find themselves paying a higher cost to be on the road — on average, insurance costs an experienced driver £436 every year. Tax can equate to £116.35 on a yearly basis. Car supplies can cost a driver £29.61 and if you were to go abroad and wished to drive, holiday rental cars can leave you £180 out of pocket. Speeding tickets equal £25.12 for the average driver here in the UK. This would cost a driver £2,594.38 in total where commuters find themselves paying considerably less for a significant service — imagine the saving you would make with a megarider ticket!

The cost of lifestyle choices

The real cost of coffee
With over 21,000 coffee outlets here in the UK — the average person visits these establishments three times per week. This means that Brits visit coffee shops around 156 times a year with an average spend of £8.52 — with travel expenses, this could go up to £13.85. This creates an annual average spending of £2,600, a majority of which could be saved if you were to opt for taking your own coffee to work.

Making your own coffee can save you a fortune, with a 250g pack of Douwe Egberts making 30 cups. When looking to see how much a 1kg pack would cost, Amazon has priced the coffee at around £15, meaning that each cup of coffee would cost close to 13p. Try taking a flask to work and even purchasing an on-the-go coffee cup that will see you through your day.

The price of smoking
Apart from adding major health benefits to your life, if you quit smoking 20 cigarettes per day on average you could save £3,796. MoneySupermarket.com has stated that non-smokers pay around £6,309 less for life insurance, which could be something worth investing in for the new year.

More smokers are taking the route of vaping. 10ml bottles of liquid cost around £5 on average — saving those who turn to vaping around £1,900.

The price of buying lunch at work
As more food trucks appear on business parks, it has become an easier option to buy lunch during work hours rather than preparing it at home. But what if we told you that, on average, forking out for lunch every day could cost you £1,288 according to research carried out by VoucherCloud. Evidently, you could make a huge saving by preparing your lunch at home — whether this is making a quick sandwich or taking in a tin of microwavable soup to heat up. When we looked at the total working days in 2017, there was 252 — if we went by Poundland’s price of tomato soup, which is 50p, you would find yourself paying £126! A massive saving for anyone looking to cut down on costs.

Expenses that are likely to occur

Household expenses are awfully common, with 54% of people they have experienced one, but were financially unprepared to deal with it. On average, these costs totalled £248.70 — showing that any saving is beneficial for occurrences like these. 47% of these issues happened in the kitchen, a room which is essential to the day-to-day running of any home, and if you don’t have the money to pull out instantly, it could cause an everyday stress. Using the savings you would have made by taking your own lunch and coffee to work, quitting smoking, and travelling smarter — you will be able to make life easier. It was also found that 35% of people had to use a credit card to cover the costs of unexpected expenses. With 18% of them not being able to pay more than £100 on their own, 17% had to borrow from friends and family!

What changes will you be making to prepare for unexpected expenses?

Emergency Fund: Why you need one & How to Create one

Having an Emergency Fund is so important! You never know what life will throw at you, lets face it anything can happen. Accidents happen, your car, boiler etc breaks down, you lose your job, the list goes on. 

It wasn't until the last few years or so that I really started saving for emergencies and I'm so glad that I did as I've had to dip into it a good few times and then start building it up again. 

Having money available means that you will reduce the need to get into credit card debt or take out a loanMillions of people apply for a loan which you can see in this handy consumer index .  Having an emergency fund helps with protecting you from these financial implications so that you aren't getting into debt.

How much us enough? The recommended amount you should have squiralled away for emergencies should be enough to cover you for 6 months of bills. I can honestly say my emergency fund is nowhere near that amount. I'm sure many of you are the same or don't even have an emergency fund at all.

First of all don't be put off by the idea of having to save a huge amount. The fact you are wanting to start a emergency fund is good enough and its something you can grow over time. Let's be honest here, 6 months of bills is unfortunately unattainable for a lot of us.

Here are my tips on how you can start creating an emergency fund:

- Lower your bills

One of the things that makes sense is to start cutting down your bills.
Compare providers such as energy, internet, mobiles, insurance etc and make sure that you shop around for the best deals before you're due to renew. There are many places where you can find the right tools and calculators to slash your bills.

- Identify waste 

Cutting down costs also means looking at any subscriptions you have and deciding what you can get rid of. For example can you honestly say you use your gym membership? Do you have the time to be reading the magazine/s you get? All the little things add up and you might be amazed with how much you can save. Imagine how much you could be contributing to your emergency fund by directing those payments into your savings. Also consider cutting down on how often you eat out/have a takeaway, how often you go out, any food wastage by meal planning. 

- Be strict 

Make sure you have a budget and once you do than you can set up a standing order so that X amount goes out automatically each month to your account. By treating it like a bill, you will get into a mindset and be able to save successfully. 

Last of all make sure that you define what an emergency is! For example a pizza on Friday evening doesn't count!  Dipping into your emergency fund when you are short before payday is a habit you don't want to get into. 

Hooked On Books with Life as Mrs D

Hi Everyone welcome to another instalment of Hooked on books. You may not know but I run a book group on Facebook called Hooked on books with Joanna Victoria which you are welcome to join to talk all things books. 

Every Wednesday I will be bringing you a brand new guest series. I’ll be featuring  some lovely bloggers  who will be sharing their answers to reading/book related questions. I hope you manage to find some more wonderful blogs to read.  If you’re a blogger and want to take part then get in touch!

This  weeks instalment features Sophie from Life as Mrs D

Sophie blogs over at Life As Mrs D - life as a wife, and Mum to Isla Jean. Sophie enjoys watching films, reading, and spending time down on her allotment, when she has the time.

What book(s) are you currently reading?
I have just started reading Johnny Wilkinson's biography. I love him, and it's a present my brother and his girlfriend got me for Christmas. I'm also reading a couple of Stephen Fry's books, as well as some random chic lit book that was free in the Kindle Store!

What book is next on your “to be read” list?
I have a whole bookshelf of books on my to be read list! I'm aiming to read a few more books from the BBC's top 100 list though, so I think Pride and Prejudice is next on my list. Yes, I'm one of those people that have never read any Jane Austin books!

What is your favourite genre to read?
I love reading crime fiction books, however they do sometimes require a bit of thought, so sometimes I can't resist a good old chic lit book!

Who are some your favourite authors?
I love Martina Cole when it comes to crime fiction. I really like Torey Hayden as well, she writes a lot about elective mutism in young children, which really fascinates me.

What are your top 5 favourite books?
Goodnight Mister Tom - Michelle Magorian
Noughts and Crosses - Malorie Blackman
The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
Dibs in Search of Self - Virginia Axline
Anne Frank's Diary

Paperback vs digital books - which do you prefer and why? 
I can never quite decide. I love the ease of a digital book, that you can take thousands of books with you anywhere, and you can get them with a few taps of your fingers. But I don't think I could ever live in a house without lots of books on the bookshelf. There's something so wonderful about reading a paperback book, and having all the books written by a certain author up on your shelves. 

What was your favourite book or series of books as a child?
I mentioned it above actually. My favourite childhood book is Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle McGorian. It's about a evacuee who softens the heart of the old man he is placed with.

Do you ever cheat and skip to the end of a book? Why do you do it?
No! Why do people do this!? I don't understand! It makes no sense when you read it, and then when you know what's going on in it, you've ruined it for yourself. I don't think you'd ever watch the end of a film before you watched the rest of it, would you?

 Do you hang on to your books once you've read them? Or do you prefer to pass them on to a charity shop / a friend?
I think it depends on the book. If it's one I've really enjoyed, or part of a collection I have or want, then I will keep it. But if it's just any old random book I will send it to the charity shop

Do you read one book at a time or do you have multiples on the go?
I tend to have several books on the go at once. What I read depends on what mood I'm in, how much time I have, and how tired Iam

Describe your ideal reading nook
I'd love a window seat, no drafts though! With lots of cushions, a blanket, somewhere to rest my drink and chocolate (!), and plenty of people to watch while they're walking by as I break from reading. It's got some have some soft lighting as well, to make it cosy when it gets dark

You can find Sophie over on:

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