18/03/2016

Household Squeegee | Spring Cleaning Week With OXO

I've never got on onto my counter tops and cleaned my windows before, infact I have never cleaned a window, ever. Our windows downstairs especially were just disgusting.

- Dog nose marks from where Pippin sits to wait for us if we have gone out.
- Penny sits on the window ledge with a snack sometimes while I wash up so there's finger marks.
- Our glass doors from the kitchen to the living room...dog & baby paws and hands, all filthy.

I had given them a wipe over with glass wipes etc but they leave so many smears and marks on them that there's really not much point.

Today I tried out OXO's Household Squeegee, It has an easy grip handle which you need when dealing with wet surfaces, otherwise your hand would be slipping all over the place. The blade is flexible so it doesn't just need to be used on flat surfaced windows you can also use it on rippled surfaces too.
It also comes with a suction holder. There is a small hole within the Squeegee itself which the suction holder slots into and can be secured to the wall when not in use. This is great for me as I can store it in the bathroom on a day to day basis for easy wipe down of the bathroom tiles after showers. Its always going to be accessible there.

You can buy this product for just £9.50 from the OXO website its such a handy tool to have as it does not take up to much space at just 2.5cm x 20.3cm x20cm its so convenient 

I managed to clean almost every window and bit of glass in the house in around an hour.Which I think is great timing. All I took around with me was a washing up bowl of hot fairy liquid water, a cloth to wipe and wet the glass, the squeegee and a tea towel to dry up any spillages. It was so easy! I did it all while entertaining a toddler in between so you guys will manage too. 
     
        
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17/03/2016

Microfiber Duster | Spring Cleaning Week With OXO

As you saw the other day, I am knee deep into my spring clean at the moment, have you started yet too? Here's what I've been up too. I have been trying out some new products along the way. I have four to show you so here is the first of four small reviews.

Meet, OXO UK's Micro-Fiber Delicate Duster it has a very usful handle so you don't end up with dust and nasties all over your hands. It is great for getting into nooks and crannys grabbing as much dirt onto it as possible, its even great to dust those really delicate pieces that you worry will break if you polish them by hand. OXO have managed to upgrade into todays modern world from what would have been a feather duster, into a microfiber duster. If you didn't know already the microfiber material is fabulous for grabbing onto dust and keeping it stuck to the material. You can then just pop the fluffy head off into the washing machine to await its next use? Yes, you can actually remove the head from the handle by just pressing a little button!
The duster itself costs just £7.00. You'd save so much money from not having to buy new polish cloths and cleaning products because you simply don't need them. I think this is great value for money.

You can buy refills also so once you feel your head has lived out its life you can always buy a new one which costs just 4  small pounds. I would have to say though I don't think you would have to keep repurchasing refills too often because of course you can wash the head regularly to keep it clean for use. 
The duster for me has been a life saver not only because its done the job but because it saves me so much more time now just whizzing around instead use using clothes and sprays and other such products. With this duster you don't even need to use cleaning products, the micro-fiber material does all that for you. You don't have to worry about smears at all.

My furniture is mainly all black and shiny, which means dust shows up in just a few hours, but with this duster I can just give it a little dusting and it takes me no time. Its great if you have to dust constantly like I do.
        
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* I was sent this item as part of a review collaboration with OXO, however all opinions are completely my own.

14/03/2016

National Spring Cleaning Week with OXO

Spring Cleaning Week? No, I didn't realise this either until late last week. I find this time of year by instinct we seem to gut those cupboards out, rummage through the draws, and we pull out our dusters to get rid of the cobwebs that have lingered over the year. Making a start on the preparation for the summer upcoming. Getting all the clutter, dirt, stresses and cleaning them all away. To make way for the sunshine, warmth and family fun that summer is set to bring us. I found a really great website all based on Spring Cleaning, its definitely a really great read. Click here to visit.

I found that it isn't just instinct, there is a real dedicated week for Spring Cleaning. Who knew?! So this week to make the most of the 7 days we have, I am going to be gutting out my house! Cleaning what I've been putting off, gutting out those clutter spots I have hidden around the house, and cleansing my mind of all the irrelevant unnecessary things that have no real right of place.

I have been lucky enough to have been sent some lovely items from OXO from their Cleaning range. I realise not everybody likes cleaning some hate it and I can completely understand why some would. We all dislike different things right. Me? I love cleaning, its a type of therapy for me. I have to clean when I get in a mood, or if something bothers me I have to clean to get my frustration out. If I let the house get out of control. I feel a loss of self control and that makes me feel uneasy. I hate to be overwhelmed by house work.


Over the next week I will be posting about the following products from OXO during my Spring Clean so watch out for my thoughts on these products:

Double Sided Flip Mop

Household Squeegee

Extendable Sweep Set

Microfiber Delicate Duster

Are you getting involved this week, what have you been putting off over the last year or few months?



        
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* I was sent these items as part of a review collaboration with OXO, however all opinions are completely my own.


13/03/2016

Summer Get Fit Wishlist

Yes, I was serious. I haven't given up yet. The plan is still very much get fit for summer! You can see why I'm fiercely motivated, Here. But today brings me to my wish list to help me along the way. I have just one old running kit and some cheapo running shoes, that feel like thick paper towel on my feet and are in NO way supportive or easy to work out in. 

My main focus of exercise and fitness will be in cardio, and hopefully yoga once I can get my head around it. For now I am focusing on running. I used to run back in high school, I did cross country didn't you know. 

Here are a few items I am lusting after to get me going this spring:


Brantano have these awesome Sketchers in stock at the moment, they stuck out to me because of the rainbow effect detailing. They are not too in your face bright but just add a little bit of fun to the Sketchers. They have a memory foam inside which sounds like heaven for my feet, and a stretch front to allow for flexibility movement!

H&M have a great pair of 3/4 Running Tights that I would love if it was a really hot day and I didn't want to wear full length running tights. They just look so comfortable to run in.

I saw this Aladdin Water Bottle and thought it looks pretty cute! Only reason really, I'm such a girl! It will be perfect though as my hands are pretty small so a huge thick bottle would be difficult to run with so this is just the right size plus it has a strap on it! Handy.

This is actually a yoga top from H&M, but I prefer to run in loose fitting tops, it comes with a fitted sport bra aswell so this is perfect for me, as I would of worn one underneath it anyway.

I have wanted a Fit Bit for so long, I've heard of them for a while and they seem to give people such a big motivational push and that's what I can do with by the bucket load to keep me going, so would adore one of these. This is the Fit Bit charge, this is the one I was recommend to by a friend. 

Another pair of running tights from H&M but these ones are an amazing design and full length tights. I tend to run in the evenings and it can get chilly so I always wear full length.

Just a simple one now, but these are running socks which are not 100% necessary for many people I'm sure but for me they are as I get blisters so easily so anything to try and prevent them is a must buy.

I hope you liked everything on my wish list today, I really should do more of these as they tend to satisfy my shopping desires. Are you looking into new sports gear to get fit for summer? I'd love to see what your lusting after in the shops?

*This post does featured a sponsored link.

        
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11/03/2016

Fruit Oat Bars | Little Appetites #5 | THROW BACK WEEK

Welcome to Little Appetites week 5! I feel pretty natural writing these posts every week now, but i have to say they really come round quickly. As time goes so quickly I wanted to remember a time back when I baked with Penelope when she was around 7 months old. I didnt want to let this post not be a part of this linky as someone may fancy getting their oat bars on! So here is to throw back week! How much has this little girl changed!

I fancied a spot of baking while waiting for a little lady to finish her nap. I tend to feel so lost without her running me ragged non stop. I often find myself stood in the middle of my living room thinking 'okay, what should I do with myself...bar housework!?'. I got the idea of making oat bars from Pinterest I could spend hours trolling looking for ideas on all things baking and baby using my Pinterest app. You can follow me (here).

I didn't want to follow a recipe as such I wanted to make them my 'own', I wanted quick prep time and fast cooking time. Who knows how long I have till the baby wakes up right?! This is what I came up with...


Blueberry & Banana / Strawberry & Banana Oat Bars:
I used the same ingredients for both mixtures apart from one ingredient, I did one batch with 4 large blueberries and 1/2 small banana and the other with 3 strawberries and 1/2 small banana.

Ingredients:
5 table spoons of rolled Quaker oats
4 large blueberries / 3 strawberries (mushed)
1/2 small banana (mushed)
1-2 table spoon plain flour- to thicken the mixture up into more of a dough for moulding into shape
1 tea spoon brown sugar
1 pinch of cinnamon

Method:
Mix it all up into a bowl and away you go no hard work put into it at all. They only took about 10-15 minutes to cook, on a 180'C in a fan oven. You want to cook them until slight firm and just a hint of golden brown, I like mine quite soft so took mine out a little earlier it's just depends on your preferences. Once Penny woke up from her nap I set her up in her high chair and let her be the first one to sample them, least to say it went straight into the mouth (like everything does) and she munched away. They make great breakfast alternatives, say if your on the go one morning and haven't got time for a messy porridge breakfast grab an oat bar and off you go! Also if you've made a large batch you can pop them in the freezer and have them as you need them.

I decided to make two separate batches just to test out how they came out, so I made a small amount of each. They are really easy to store away in tins or other air tight containers to keep them fresh so you can help yourselves at any time.

Have you tried to make some kind of oat bars before? If so please share your ideas down below I'd love to find out other recipes.

        
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BabyPebbles
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 Now it's your turn! Here are the rules: Please grab the code below and add the badge on your post, this way more people can find us to link up. You can link up blog posts or videos, old or new. Use the hashtag #LittleAppetites on social media, if you mention @RaisingEmilyx and @babyypebbles we will RT You can bake or cook whatever you like with your little chef, it doesn't have to be healthy. Please visit and comment on other people's posts, Linky's are all about sharing the love and they wont work if we dont all participate.

10/03/2016

Resenting Your Body To Reshaping Your Soul

When I first met Reese I was just getting in the habit of going to the gym as it was so accessible to my work at the time. I was doing really well considering I hated exercise. I was pleased that I was committing to a routine at last. It didn't last long though, I fell for Reese and we spent all our time eating Dominoes watching films and partying! There went the fitness, shit.

We've been together over four years now and well the biggest form of exercise thats been in my life has been getting up the stairs, now my knees are struggling at that. I've had no motivation to care for my body because as you may or may not know I have resented my body for a long time, for miscarrying my angels. I blame my body. 


Whether it be true medically or not, that's how I feel. I don't make effort with my looks, my diet, or exercise. There has been absolutely no motivation there to want to care for myself. I've always put my heart and soul into Penelope. She comes before anything else.

I have come to realise since the New Year that what I am doing is selfish to myself. Why am I punishing myself like this? Being out of shape, and looking at a person in the mirror that I am not proud of makes me miserable, brings down my confidence, and elevates my anxiety.

I haven't just been punishing my body, I've been punishing my emotional well being. Surely that's going to have a knock on effect in every other aspect of my life? Thinking about this makes me angry, motivated, and ready to get fit. If I have wanted to give my heart and soul to Penelope why am I not trying to make myself the happiest I can be and let it lavish over the one thing I am proud of, my little rainbow. I should be giving her the happiest mummy in the world. Showing her that mummy is proud of her body, proud to be who she is. Baby loosing body or not. I shouldn't be resenting myself, I should be reshaping myself so I can heal. To come to accept my body for what it is and is not. To realise my body is not as strong in the ways I wish it was. I have been selfish and this spring, I'm not allowing myself to do this anymore. I'm going to get fit for summer!

Expect some fitness posts upcoming, next to arrive is my Get Fit For Summer Wishlist!

        
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09/03/2016

What I'd Love To Do With Our New House

Sorry, to myself. I haven't really written about any house updates since we moved before Christmas, and I feel that's such a shame as its a time I wanted to document and remember. In a way I am bothered I didn't take the time to do it, but also in the back of my mind I am defending myself slightly. Maybe I'm just making up excuses here but oh well these are about my thoughts right?!

I guess I could say I did not blog about anything home related because we hadn't made it our home just yet. In a sense we are still living in the shell left from the old owners. We find ourselves staring at same dated wall paper, walking on the carpets their sweaty feet would walk on, and we even have some garden ornaments which really are not our taste still sitting in the back garden.

Time seems to have just flown by and while we have been busy with our lives and enjoying living in our new home, we haven't taken any time at all to try and make this new house our 'home', adding our own tweeks, and sentiments too. We need to make our mark.


I have a few ideas of what I'd like to change about our house so I thought I'd share them with you, I hope you might perhaps take some of these ideas and perhaps consider what changes you'd like to make about your homes, maybe you don't have any and it will make you feel even more at home than you did already. I'm not saying we could afford to do all of these things, I must just point that out, some things would require saving for and time to plan of course.

1. Loft conversion; We have a really neat loft, it's not huge but it would make a perfect master bedroom, when I was younger my mum and dad were trying to get planning to make me a bedroom in a loft conversion and while I cant remember what ever happend to that plan but since then I've always secretly wanted my room to be in the loft. To have those beautiful roof windows fitted with white blinds such as the lovely ones over at VELUX Blinds, they have such a wide variety of designs and styles, I'd love laying on my bed staring into the sky and not forgetting the amount of natural light you would get.

2. Standard updating: The house still has some really old fashioned aspects to it, like the architecture on the ceilings, the patterned wallpaper and a really bloody gross airing cupboard door. I'd like to just do it over with clean white walls, and update the doors with something a little more modern.

3. Garage conversion: We have a very confusing garage situation in our house. We have what looks like a garage at the front of the house but infact its a dummy garage door followed by a drive way to the actual main garage. I would like to just move the actual garage up and create more space in the garden. Maybe we could put a conservatory there instead, or make a playroom for Penelope, but it just seems like wasted space.

4. Knocking down Penelopes built in wardrobes: Now I will sound like a complete hypocrite for saying this as I loved them at first but I bloody hate them now. They are so ugly and get on my nerves, it really doesn't fit with her bedroom at all. I did love the idea of all the storage space. Wait, first ill explain what they look like. Okay, so imagine a single wardrobe on your left then it carries on having cupboards over your head giving room for your bed and then another single wardrobe on your right. I'm sure these have a official name but I'm none the wiser to it. It would have been great if the gap for the bed was for a large adult bed but instead its a single bed sized gap. Completely useless as a master bedroom. I want to smash them to peices, and just buy Penelope some more furniture.

These are the first 4 big things I would like to change about the house, some are really big jobs which will have to wait for now for financial reasons but who knows maybe we can make a start on them in the future.

*This is a sponsored blog post. 

        
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07/03/2016

Drayton Manor Review


We were delighted to have been invited to Drayton Manor recently, yes that's right my crazy family were invited out! I am entering their blogger ambassador reach out for 2016. This blogging business really has given us some amazing opportunities, I am so very thankful for everything we received on our visit. We felt so lucky to not only of been able to visit the park but we had an hour to explore Thomas Land before it opened to the public at 10.30am. Thomas Land has over 25 rides and attractions available for the family to enjoy. It is set in 6,000 square feet of parkland, which is just stunning. Thanks to Drayton manners multi million expansion...this is now all available for our children to enjoy, and boy will they enjoy it. 

The day started out with my brother almost falling out the car into the motorway at full speed, long story short he thought he was opening his window but instead only opened his bloody door?! This is why I said crazy family, I really was not exaggerating. - No brothers were actually harmed during the car journey.

We did arrive a little late to the park than we wanted too but we were naughty and snuck in a McDonalds breakfast and a Costa coffee on the way. Nevertheless we still received plenty of time to explore Thomas Land before the public arrived. I feel even when they did access the park the waiting times for rides and such were not awful, and that's me saying it with a 19 month old very up and down toddler. We manged just fine.

Penelopes absolute favourite ride was the Jeremy Jets Flying Academy, she adored this ride and we even went on twice. I have never had her on a ride that has any height involved before then and I think she really enjoyed herself. She sat on the curb outside the fencing of the ride and just loved watching it go around and around also.

All of the rides were so different from one another, for a small child attraction it gave the impression of a really exciting and adrenaline junky feel to it. Rides that spun, twirled, and flew high, but most importantly of all was getting to ride on the 'Real' Thomas the tank engine on a real train track? Well. It's just perfect for children.

We were also able to access the VIP rooms above the Sodar Airport which supplied nibbles, and fresh hot and cold drinks for us. I especially loved the jumbo sized bean bags available, I'm not sure if they were for the children or not but I definitely sat on one myself and my daughter tried them out for size too resting her little bottom on the edges as they were so huge. You too could have access to one of these rooms for £25.00 per person but of course that's with unlimited access to the park and to have the room to yourselves.

Thomas Land also has some great gifts shops which we thoroughly explored. I've never seen so much train memorabilia, ever. There were T-shirts, teddies, pens, toys, cups you name it. It was Thomas related. They had such a huge choice no matter the age of the visitor.


I invited a wide range of ages with me to the park, my daughter of course of 19 months, my brother of 21, myself at 24, my mother at 43 and,  my elderly nana at 75, I thought this would be a really good point to make because with children being so young and the elderly both having walking troubles when it comes to distance. I just wanted to point out that neither my daughter, nana or my mother who also has leg trouble ever had a problem with the walking. Everything was really well spaced out so there was never a long distance between the attractions, either that or there was a pit stop to get a hot drink and some food in between. It worked out perfectly for us. My mother was really worried about whether she would manage during the day. 






We also visited all the other gift shops and even the candy store. We left with lets just say 'ALOT' of sweets.


We stopped for lunch at the Lakeside Tea shop. We all had a packed lunch picnic under the huge canopy area. It was really refreshing to sit outside if I' m honest. It sheltered us from any drafts and was just lovely to stay in the fresh air.We sat on picnic benches and had many a laugh and took so many photos. The Teas Shop sold all sorts of refreshments from food, including jacket potatoes, pasties, sandwiches, snacks, too yogurts, coffee, tea, and so much more. Its great if you just want a pit stop or your are looking to sit down and eat some lunch.




We even met up with our great friends Steph and Emily who we adore! It was great to see them even if it was just for a short while!


Did you know Drayton Manor also have their own zoo?! No I didn't either and it was bloody fantastic I tell you because going to the zoo is one of mine and Penelopes favourites places to visit. Penelope adores animals so was completely in her element here. Home to over 100 species of animals from all over the world, even giving homes to poor endangered animals, which is fantastic.

The animals seemed to be really happy in their homes, all were really active and on the go, this was great to see. They had alot of indoor parts too like the reptile house and small mammal house. This would be great if the weather did turn sour, you can still have access to the animals out of the wet. The zoo again was really well spaced out so walking is not an issue.







This story really tugged at my heart strings, I felt so sad for TOTO, but I completely agree with the staffs decision to let him live out his live as comfortably as possible. It would be cruel to introduce him to another mate at this age and to then have another chimp left heart broken and alone. Or to introduce him to a bigger group and then have him be badly injured because of his age. I think they are making the best of a bad situation. I hope he is as comfortable as possible.

Penelope was very up and down during the day, she has always been a very shy and sensitive girl around new places, and sometimes even old places that we've visited since she was tiny. She finds things a little over whelming at times, and all I can do as her mummy is try to comfort her where possible. She still took so much from the day and we made the best of the time we had at Drayton Manor that's for sure.

The only slightly negative side for me was witnessing a small incident on a ride and I felt like the member or staff to hand could have had a better response to the situation. I feel awful putting this in but I have to be completely honest in my review and feel I shouldn't mislead my experience in any way. This did not at all ruin our day, it was just a little disappointing.

What I love about places that offer so much is that they make you want to visit again because you simply just cannot quite squeeze everything into one day, 'time just flys when your having fun' they say. The great thing is you can visit again to do all your favourite rides and attractions, then proceed to do what you missed out on last time.  Its endless. 

Thankyou to everyone at Drayton Manor for looking after us, including the girls in the VIP rooms running around getting fresh drinks and nibbles for us all. You worked so hard because I know we were quite a handful so much was going on. Thankyou for having us! We'd love to visit again. Infact we 100% will do.

        
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04/03/2016

Easter Bark! Little Appetites #4

This week has been crazy busy, I went off to Drayton Manor which was so much fun. I've been to London to go to my first vlogging event, and I can now announce I am part of Channel Mum. Three huge, HUGE things happend this week and I feel delighted and so excited that I got to experience them. I will be writing about each topic separately on my blog over the next few days so keep an eye out for those.

As for what me and Penelope got up to baking wise this week, we made Easter Bark. Sounds interesting huh? Keep reading to find out how you can fill your fridge full of it. Seeing as Easter is fast approaching I wanted to keep this weeks make themed with the Easter Holidays.
You will need:
4 Oreos
1 Packet of white chocolate Jazzs
1/4 Packet White Chocolate Buttons
1 Tea spoon of each of the neon sugars we used
1 Packet of Tiny Mini Eggs

Equipment:
Plastic container
Spatula
Bowl

Method:
-Melt the white chocolate jazzs in the microwave until smooth
-Empty contents into the plastic container and smooth around until evenly spread
-Crush your Oreos
-Add your Oreos scattering them across the entire of the container
-Add your tiny mini eggs in the same way (You can crush these also if you wish)
-Add the neon sugar, we used 4 colours
-Use your spatula to gently push the toppings into the chocolate so that they can set into the chocolate properly.
-Place in the fridge for 30 minutes approx
-Once set, take out the fridge and pull each of the sides until your chocolate pops out of place.
-Smash the bar onto the kitchen side and break up in your desired sizes.
-There you have it, Easter Bark!

You can of course alternate your toppings to make them different each time!

This is great to keep in the fridge for snacks for yourself as a sneaky treat away from children in the evenings, or as treats for your children. It'd be a great party treat for your party table if you were hosting an Easter themed party. 

TO VIEW THE VIDEO CLICK HERE

Little Appetites! Myself and Stephanie at Raising Emily are hosting together as we have always had similar interests in baking/cooking with our young children. We wanted to bring everyone else into our world so thus forth we have decided it was time to create Little Appetites. A place to share our foody loves with other families, spend time with your kids, and create those precious memories that last forever.

Each week on a Friday from 6.30am we will be live. All rules will follow below! So read until the end to find out how to join in with us. 

BabyPebbles
Please copy and paste this code into your html in your blog post to add our badge to your content.

 Now it's your turn! Here are the rules: Please grab the code below and add the badge on your post, this way more people can find us to link up. You can link up blog posts or videos, old or new. Use the hashtag #LittleAppetites on social media, if you mention @RaisingEmilyx and @babyypebbles we will RT You can bake or cook whatever you like with your little chef, it doesn't have to be healthy. Please visit and comment on other people's posts, Linky's are all about sharing the love and they wont work if we dont all participate.