My Mummy's World

Monday, 21 May 2018

Buying Gifts Doesn't Have To Be A Struggle

We've all been in this position: You're trying to buy a gift for someone and you’re just stumped. You have no idea what to get them. You want to get a great gift, but you’re coming up empty every time. So what do you do? For a lot of people, the next step is simple: panic! They start furiously looking around for anything that would make a remotely acceptable gift. If that sounds familiar to you then don't worry, here are some quick and easy gift ideas that aren’t going to be too expensive and that are guaranteed to be a hit, no matter what.

Something personal

If you want to take a pretty basic and turn it into a gift that someone will treasure forever? Make it personal to them. Even something as simple as a piece of stationary but having it monogrammed with that person's name can make a huge difference to how they feel about it. Or maybe something that connects to something they already have like dolls house accessories for kids, or a cooking utensil for would-be chefs. It shows them that you're willing and interested enough to go that one step further in order to find them a gift that they're going to really enjoy.

Something tasty

One thing that you can guarantee is that just about everyone enjoys a tasty treat. Why not get them a box of high-class chocolates? You could even take them back to their childhood with a jar of vintage sweets, not only is that a great and unique gift idea but it also gives them a part of the gift that they can re-use once they've eaten all of the sweets. If they don't have much of a sweet tooth then why not get them a bottle of something fancy. There are few classier gift ideas than a nice bottle of wine. Of course, it's a good idea to make sure that you’re not going to cause some kind of allergic reaction!

Something useful

If you want to make sure that someone is going to enjoy the gift that you give them for a long time, then give them something that they're going to be able to use. It's great when gifts are something unique or interesting, but a lot of the time people love just getting something that's actually useful to them. Are they the type of person who loves to spend their time out in the garden then give them some gardening tools. Not only is it something that they're going to get a lot of use out of over the years but it also shows that you've made an effort to think about something that they would genuinely enjoy. By paying attention to the little details about someone you'll often find that you have more gift ideas than you initially thought.

The most important thing is that you put time and effort into your gift. Even if it’s not quite perfect, if you’ve really thought about the other person, that’s going to show through and really make a difference to how much they appreciate it.

This is a collaborative post.

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Improving Your Finances For The Family's Future

There are so many things to think about when it comes to bringing up your children and looking after your family. Of course, money is often the major worry for many of us. You need to think not only about covering your costs today but securing your finances for the future. And this isn’t just about you - it’s about the future of your family as a whole. Here are some ways in which you could improve your financial situation so that you and your family have a better tomorrow.

Cut your costs.
The best way to improve your finances is to take a look at your monthly expenses. This is why a budget is so vital to organising your money. You’ll have a better idea of where your money is going. You most likely know how much money you earn on a monthly or annual basis, but do you know how much you spend? It’s time to keep better track of your expenses. That way, you can figure out where you need to start cutting costs. It’s best to start with the non-essential expenses. You can still treat yourself to purchases from time to time, but you should learn to discipline yourself. If you take out a set amount of your disposable income every month for fun purchases then you won’t have to worry about going overboard.

As for necessary expenses, you should seek to cut your costs without compromising. You don’t have to give up on basic necessities just to save money. You simply need to make smarter financial decisions. For example, your kids continuously need new clothes as they grow older. Why waste money on designer brands when they’re going to outgrow those new shoes or jeans in a year anyway? You should shop for clothes at supermarkets; the selections are really high-quality, but the prices are far lower than they would be in retail stores. You could also save money on food by growing vegetables in your own garden. That’s one less thing to buy on the weekly food shop. You’d be surprised by the improvement you could make to your family’s finances by making these cost-cuts every week.

Sell your old things.
Another great way to improve your finances for the family’s future is to hold a yard sale and sell your old things. You should declutter your home regularly anyway for the sake of creating a clean household for everyone to enjoy. But you might as well make some money by selling any old possessions that are valuable. You might even want to look through your personal belongings from your childhood or teenage years. If you have any 90s toys then you might find that they’re worth a lot of money in the present day. You could make a lot of money by going through your belongings on a regular basis to see if there are only hidden gems in amongst the clutter.

Set aside some of your earnings.
You could really improve your finances for the family’s future if you set aside a portion of your earnings every time you get a paycheck. If you automatically transfer some funds to a savings account before you have to chance to burn through your disposable income then you’ll be able to create a steadily growing account for you and your family to use in the future. If you save small amounts of money for enough years then you could have a substantial safety net for the whole family to use.

This is a collaborative post.

Monday, 30 April 2018

Storytelling at Bensons For Beds

Last weekend we were kindly invited to look around the newly refurbished Bensons for Beds store in Wednesbury, not often do you get to visit an event so local so it made a lovely change. Whilst at the event we took part in a storytelling session which was happening, which was open to the public and their children too. For us, bedtime and stories go hand in hand, both Jack and Isla love a good bedtime story on an evening, with Jack generally reading to Isla these days whilst I read to him at his bedtime. 

Whilst at the store, not only did we get to have a nosey around the children's department, which is amazing by the way, we also listened to stories from professional storyteller, Nikky Smedley. Nikky is better known for her role as LaaLaa in Teletubbies, back when I was little, but also a writer, choreographer, director, and producer. It was amazing to see how Nikky brought the stories to life and she really didn't disappoint. 

We were first to arrive at the event, so we had a little look around, and had a little chat with Nikky but when we entered the kid's department I was amazed by the wide range of beds which were available around the store. Normally when you visit a bed store the range of children's are limited, but there was a wide variety available at the Wednesbury Bensons for Beds store. 

As a few more people arrived, Nikky stepped into her magical storytelling skirt which was beautiful and provided a perfect setting for the stories she would tell, she also placed on her storytelling crown. Nikky told a range of stories, however, both Jack and Isla loved the first story of 'The Monster Tree' - which was a funny little tale of a little boy with a vivid imagination where monsters would come from the monster tree. Nikky provided great expressions throughout the story, many which had Jack and Isla laughing along and they were really involved in the story. 

After three lovely stories from Nikky, we decided to have a wonder around the children's department, getting some ideas for Isla's room which is next on the agenda when she will also be needing a new bed. There was plenty around the store in the department to keep the children occupied, from a little wooden railway to a giant ball abacus. 

With all of the beds available at Bensons for Beds, they were all set up in beautiful little life situations to enable to you to see the beds within your own home. It will certainly be somewhere where we return too to get some ideas for Isla, and possibly pick her up a 'big girls bed' of her own. 

Please Note: We were kindly invited along to the event and received a fee in exchange for our time there. This has not influenced the review in any way. 

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Importance of Keeping a Hold of Memories.

Choosing to keep a hold of memories is something I like to do, I don't remember much from my childhood other than what we have few photographs of, or when we talk about something and my mum can remember something. I also feel like I have a massive space in my heart because when my Grandad passed away, it was before the wide use of cameras, and mobile phones and again I don't really remember him other than the few photographs. These really grieve's me as he was one of the most important people in the world to me. 

I don't ever want my children to feel like this, I want them to have memories of their childhood, I want them to have memories of our family members and their friends and something they can always look back on and remember. 

These days we live in a very digital world, most memories are held on social media or other online platforms, or simply in the form of a digital photograph somewhere. But, where do we hold those memories which cannot be in a photograph, those of handprints, those of scents or materials?

That's where scrapbooking and memory boxes come in useful, both Jack and Isla have memory boxes with everything special from their childhood which as they grow older they may not want, but currently, I do. We have special clothing in there, special scents, cards and gifts from special occasions we have chosen to keep as well as certificates. 

A little while ago we were sent a lovely package from Active Minds, who provide enjoyable activities for people living with Dementia. The idea of the Reminiscence box they created was to talk about the importance of holding onto those memories. 

Within our box, we decided we would include some memories of the people of importance to both Jack and Isla, they chose to put pictures and some handwritten memories of adventures with both Ashley and me, as well as those with their grandparents and great-nan. They then set to adding some decorations to the book to make it colourful. 

Keeping and sharing memories is important to keep the mind active when you feel like you are forgetting something, a quick glance at a photograph or even feel of something or particular smell can bring a wide range of memories back. 

Family members have had dementia and I feel by sharing a box similar to the one we made, it would have helped them to remember key points within their life, key memories in which they had and help ease some of the symptoms, keeping them engaged within their lives. 

For us, keeping memories alive has always been of importance, it is partly the reason why I decided to start this blog, however, I also want to keep physical memories, which is why I think the idea of a memory box or scrapbook is great, not only for small children and adults but also for those who may be experiencing dementia. 

Please Note: In exchange for this post I received the memory box and scrapbooking materials. 

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Knoppers Snack Bar | A Review

I love a good snack, just as much as everyone else I'm sure - but some who love snacks more are my kids, especially Isla. Isla is a little grazer constantly munching her way through the day rather than eating a proper meal. However, we do have a little rule, that although they are more than welcome to snack apart from too close to meal times they need to make healthy choices with the occasional sweet treat. So, recently when we were asked to try out the new Knoppers snack bar we were keen to try them. I'd seen the advertisements and thought I'd go purchase some when just a few days later the email came asking if we would like to try them - so of course, I couldn't refuse. 

So Knoppers, what are they? Well, it's a tasty little snack, made up of varying layers of wafer, hazelnut filling of creme and nougat along with a chocolate coated wafer. When you open the packet there is a lovely sweet smell of hazelnut and chocolate which for me is amazing. However, what I find even better than this is each bar is only 137 calories, so perfect for those snacktimes or even with a warm drink, and seen as I'm currently attempted to lose weight, they feel like a lovely treat which is low in calories!. 

When they arrived, it was a swift argument over who would get first try, basically Isla ended up winning this one, closely followed by Jack before either of us adults had a look in. Upon biting them there is a lovely crunch to them with lots of flavours, due to the lovely tasty combination. 

I found the flavour combinations to be just right, sometimes you can get an overwhelming taste of one thing, but the perfectly blended mix here is just right with none of them overpowering the others. 

These Knoppers have gone down really well in our household with more placed on the shopping list for the next shop. Perfect sweet chocolate fix without an overwhelming amount of calories. We will definitely be purchasing more of these and I think they will become a regular purchase. 

Please Note: We received these in exchange for an honest review, all words and opinions are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Children's Party Ideas to Save Money

Gone are the days when kids’ parties involved a game of pass the parcel, a bit of dancing and some cheap buffet food. With Ninja Warrior parties, football pitch hire parties, trampolining parties etc. the different available party ideas are endless. Unfortunately, the same could be said for the costs. If your child’s class have started inviting the full class to parties and you feel obliged to follow suit then it is likely to be a very costly affair unless you are going to be savvy about your party planning. Here are some ideas that could help you to save some money:

1. Free entertainment
Do you know anybody that has a skill or access to a good party venue – DJ, compere, guitar player, rock climbing teacher, someone who has a farm with animals etc. More often than not, there will be somebody within your friend network that can bring something to the table in the entertainment bracket. You can also ring around for function rooms, social clubs etc. that offer good value deals. Hiring a room and then taking care of all of the catering and other bits of the party will work out a lot cheaper than paying a soft play centre or similar to host and cater for the party.

2. Serve your own food
Catering is one of the biggest expenses and if your child is asking to go to Pizza Hut or similar then the cost can quickly escalate. So you are better to bring ‘Pizza Hut’ to your venue with some supermarket pizzas. As long as you have a good selection of sandwiches, crisps and other party buffet foods then there is unlikely to be any complaints.

3. Arrange your own party bags
If you do decide to have your party at a venue that facilitates the party for you, you can still save money by sorting out your own quality party bags rather than using theirs. It also means that you have more control over what goes into the party bags and you can ensure that they are eco-friendly as a lot of party bags are not very green.

4. Throw a sports themed party
If your child likes sports then they might love the idea of a sports themed party. All you need is a big area of grass, perhaps your local park or football fields, some equipment and prizes and you have a low budget day of fun. You will obviously need a bit of structure but think of it a bit like a school sports day but you can incorporate more fun games into the mix. The only problem is if you have bad weather, in which case you will probably need a backup plan of some kind.

5. Buy prizes in the sales
For game prizes and items to go into party bags bulk buy them when the sales are on after Christmas. You can do the same with sweets that will stay in date for ages rather than buying the week before the party at full cost. It might even be worth a trip to a wholesaler to pick up some cost-effective food, as they tend to offer cakes, sandwich trays and big fruit salads at great rates

What are your tips for saving money with a children's party?

This is a collaborative post. 

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Things You Need To See In Phoenix

Arizona is a magical area in the heart of the USA which is known for it’s sunny climate, long roads and stunning sunsets. If you fancy a tri or any area of Arizona this summer, Phoenix should be the first option on your list.

To get to Phoenix you can take a plane from n you the major airports over the country to land at Phoenix airport. Once you are there you can even book a room with the Phoenix Airport Marriott to make things easier when you want to go home. Here are some of the things you simply have to go and see during your trip.

Heard museum

If you love to see art and culture from around the world, the heard museum is a place you will love to visit once, even multiple times during your stay. This museum is the home to over 32000 different pieces of art, and will keep you occupied for hour on end as you study each piece. It is an ever changing landscape which you will be able to visit again and again over the years to experience new exhibits.

Desert Botanical Garden
We know Arizona as one of the desert states in the USA so it is no surprise that this state would be the home of a desert botanical garden. Unlike a regular botanical garden, The Desert Botanical Garden has a huge collection of desert ornate such as succulents, cacti and other exotic breeds. You will be able to see the weird and wonderful shapes of different plants and learn just why they look the way they do for the weather conditions they live in. It’s the perfect place to bring a snack or two and enjoy the peaceful air of nature.

Chase Field

If you are a lover of sport, in particular if you love baseball, a trip to the Chase Field would be a great way to spend a day and see the beauty of baseball in its purest form. Cause Field was the first baseball facility in the world to bring I air conditioning and a retractable roof for their fans. You might even be lucky enough to time your trip and get to see a game played in the stadium.

Hike Up A Mountain
If you see yourself as a bit of an adventurer, Phoenix can give you some amazing locations to hike and climb in order to keep yourself fit during your holiday. Piestewa Peak is an area which covers 2608 feet, and the mountain itself has a summit at a level of 1190 feet. If you fancy a fun day out in the sunshine with your family you can head on up and take the trail through stunning scenery.

Boyce Thompson Arboretum

If you take a visit to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum you will be able to see a total of around 3200 different species of plant and enjoy the wildflowers which bloom during the summer months. You can also spend time teaching your children about the various wildlife and birds which grace the area throughout the year.

This is a collaborative post.