Spring Cleaning Week – April Challenge

Good morning, happy new week and happy new month! Today sees the start of my Spring Cleaning week – I will be posting blogs here and videos over on my YouTube channel all week about cleaning! Today I am starting with the return to my monthly challenge posts. Last month I didn’t do one as I spent a lot of it in hospital, so there isn’t one to review and I will plunge straight in to what I plan on doing this month.

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Blog Tour Book Review – From Mum With Love

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When I got the chance to join the tour for this one, it couldn’t have been more perfect – a book about a new mummy blogger. Yes please!

From Mum With Love by Louise Emma Clarke

The Blurb

Full-time mum Jess has had enough, and her husband, Chris, has just the solution to vent her frustrations – a blog.

Jess loves her daughter more than anything, but sometimes she just wants a little bit of freedom – some time for herself. Queue a laptop, a glass of wine and the beginning of a life-changing journey.

Overnight Jess’s inbox is full of notifications and before long she is officially a ‘mummy blogger’ but this new life comes with its own set of rules and regulations. With Queen of the Bloggers, Tiggy, blanking her in public, people recognizing her on the street and her life decisions suddenly judged by strangers Jess’s idea of ‘me time’ is slowly becoming a full-time job.

Will Jess be able to find the right life/work balance? Or will she wish she’d never turned to a world online?

What I Thought

Well this book didn’t let me down, I really enjoyed the read. The author herself writes her own blog and has three young children, which inspired the story. I am now following her on Instagram and look forward to reading her blog posts.

I really loved the honest way she wrote about the first year of motherhood and the troubles Mums so often face. I felt like I could identify with so much of what she wrote – the nerves of attending the mummy and baby groups for the first few times, the loneliness, the feelings towards your partner after they have gone back to work and you get that dreaded text – I am going to be late home!She balances this nicely with the pure elation that being a Mum brings, which I really loved. I felt a part of her and her group of mummy friends – some lovely people who I couldn’t help feeling that I would be friends with as well.

I did feel the blogging part was a little bit rushed. I suppose to be able to fit in with the timeline of the book, it had to work out pretty quickly. I am sure there are some bloggers that experience this immediate and amazing success as soon as they begin blogging. However, in my experience, it starts slowly and takes a lot of work and patience to build a successful blog. I enjoyed reading about the experiences she had with the blogging community though, and feel this could be a definite reflection of the way thugs can be. I am lucky enough to have met some amazing people through my blogging work, but have heard of some people experiencing issues.

I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to book two. Definitely worth a read!

Where To Buy

Amazon

Google Play

Kobo

iBooks

The Author – Louise Emma Clarke

Louise’s blog, Mum of Boys and Mabel has over 100k followers. Having moved to Dubai with her family she’s now back in the UK and is enjoying writing. From Mum with Love is her debut novel.

Follow Louise

Facebook: @mumboysandmabel

Twitter: @mumofboysmabel

Follow Aria

Website

Twitter: @aria_fiction

Facebook: @ariafiction

Instagram: @ariafiction

Thankyou to Aria for including me on this blog tour. I was gifted the book in return for my honest review. Check out other reviews oat the blogs below

Back To School for £50 Or Less?

Good morning and happy Monday!  We have had a fun filled weekend and are ready for another busy week!  Hope you all had a good one?

I received an email from Pep & Co/Poundland last week and was delighted – anyone who follows me on Instagram will see me posting my #whatostomateswear post most days and know I wear a lot of their clothes.  I swear by their high-waisted jeans – definitely the comfiest I have found!  We also get quite a lot of the kids bits in there.

The Mission…Should You Choose To Accept It

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The email was telling me all about the new school uniform and items they have in their stores currently and set me a challenge – to kit out a child for school for £50 or less!  Any one with children will know how expensive a new term can be and I regularly fork out well over £100 per child so this intrigued me… could it really be done?

Challenge Accepted!

Of course I had to give it a go, so on Saturday we headed to the local store we tend to use at the entrance to the Intu Derby centre.  The store was well stocked with a good range of sizes.  There were lots of different options including shirts and polo shirts, pinafore dresses and tights.

Uniform

The items are of lovely quality and do not feel cheap at all.  I find that the boys either grow out of their uniform or get it ditched (irreparably) after a few months, so spending less on items like polo shirts suits me better as I know these will need replacing at some point throughout the school year.  The polo shirts are available in white and light blue and are £1 each!  They can be bought separately or in two packs..

I personally did not pick up any sweatshirts as the boys school asks that they wear the ones with their logo on.  However, they are available in blue, red and black for just £2 each.  A great alternative to the more expensive school branded ones or good to have as a back up just in case.

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Trousers can be the bane of my life.  Both my boys have gone through phases of having tiny waists but long legs!  Leo is more in proportion now but Riley struggles to get a size that is long enough to suit his leg length which aren’t then too big for his waist.  I was really pleased to see that the Pep & Co trousers have adjustable waists in them.  The smaller sizes were just £3 and the bigger ones were £3.50 and were available in grey and black.  Skirts and pinafore dresses were also on sale.

The shoe range wasn’t huge but I loved these ones I picked up for Riley – super smart and he said they were very comfy and made him run really fast!  The girls shoes were cute too.  At  only £8 these are perfect for quick growing feet (and football players) who will need new ones at a rapid rate.

Socks (5 pack) and tights (2 pack) were also available in grey and black.  There were girls socks with a slight frill to the top as well.

The boys PE kits are bought from school too but they are encouraged to take in tracksuit tops and joggers for the Winter and for outside PE sessions.  Pep & Co had these lovely, soft tracksuits in grey, black, navy and blue.  The tops were £5 and the bottoms £4.  They also had PE pumps in a range of sizes for just £3.50.

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Trying It On

As you can see, Riley got right into the modelling game for you all!  He loved taking these pictures, even if he was a little wary at first!  He is wearing size 7-8 shirt, polo shirt and trousers and size 13 shoes.

Stationery

Leo picked up some stationery items too.  There was a range of sets with different characters on containing all the basic items for just £1 which is great value.  Leo wanted to get the separate bits so he chose the ones he wanted, but you could have definitely saved more here by buying a set.

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The Bill

I was dubious heading into this challenge as, like I said previously, I generally spend over £100 on each of boys easily when it comes to school shopping.  However, the quality of the Pep & Co uniform pieces are still great and they were such amazing prices!  I do find sizing up in there is generally better  and you will want your little ones with your to try shoes and things on.

So how did I get on?  Could you get everything you need for £50 or less?

pep &co

I did it!!!  With enough to spare for a lunchbox or a little rucksack.  I wanted to also mention the coats they had in there – these were available in khaki and navy and I thought they were lovely and only £12 – definitely something I will be picking up when the weather starts to get cooler!

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I was so pleased with my little haul and really happy to be able to share this with you and hopefully help you save some money too!  Let me know if you try out your local Pep&Co and Poundland and what you are loving in there at the moment in the comments below,

nat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Spoonie Mummy Reviews – The Mummy Club

Happy Monday!  I hope everyone’s weeks have started well after a lovely weekend.  I have been a bit up and down the past few weeks since getting out of hospital, so I am trying to get back on an even keel this week.  I may not be posting as regularly for a little while but am aiming for two posts a week, and am starting to post videos on my YouTube channel again but please bear with me.

I have been mentioning The Mummy Club subscription boxes for a while now (check out my January Favourites and Mother’s Day Gift Guide posts).  I first came across The Mummy Club on Instagram and thought the idea was a brilliant one.  There are many subscription boxes out there, mainly containing make up and skincare products but I feel like they can be very hit and miss with introducing you to products you may or may not like.  I loved this idea as the items contained are pretty dislike-proof and can be used by everyone.  I have been writing a lot recently about taking time for yourself as I feel this is important for everyone to do, and I feel like a lot of women and mums, don’t give themselves this time as they can be so busy.  This box gives you everything you need to take that time out for a bit each month, whether it be a little every day or some time once a week.

I received my first box in January as a gift and couldn’t wait to get into it.  I was delighted at the contents.  The box included

  • A spacemask
  • ‘Sketchy Mama’ by Anna Lewis
  • A pack of four Optiat coffee face exfoliating scrubs
  • Albus & Flora lip balm
  • Notecard
  • Postcard

I have been enjoying testing the items out and have found them all useful so far.  The spacemask was a huge hit.  I had a relaxing bath then got into bed and popped the mask on.  It was made of soft cloth and looked really pretty, I almost didn’t want to put it in the bin when I finished with it.  The mask heated up on my eyes and the smell was subtle but nice.  I enjoyed twenty minutes of relaxing and really zenned out, even with Ste getting out of the shower and starting harassing me. I took my bedtime meds, picked up my book but within ten minutes I was asleep! Ste had to put my book away and turn off my lamp. I’m not sure if it is supposed to help you sleep but it was certainly a welcome side effect for me, as I often struggle to drop off.

I’ve only had a quick flick tbrouth the book but have had a giggle so far at some of the pictures. I’ve also used two of the face scrubs, they are really lovely. The exfoliating beads are small but do the job and as long as you don’t mind quite a strong scent of coffee you will love them!

The lip balm has also had plenty of use as I’ve been really struggling with dry lips and this was just what I needed.  I love the packaging of it too, looks great int he handbag.

I was so impressed I just had to sign up. Each box is £18 and p&p is £2.75. you get an email at the end of the month reminding you that your payment will be taken and the date it will go out in case you want to unsubscribe – there is no contract so you can miss a month or unsubscribe at any time. There is also an option to get a mini box which I believe is £11. You can also purchase boxes to send as gifts which I think would be a lovely idea for a mum to be or new mummy, as well as a mum friend in need of a pick me up.

My second box in February was equally as fab and contained

  • A spacemask
  • Bath Tea
  • Bath Salt Soak
  • Salted Caramel Marshmallows
  • ‘Five Go Parenting’ book

I have also just received my March box but won’t go into what is in that one as I don’t want to spoil the contents for anyone who hasn’t had theirs yet!

Overall, I couldn’t be happier with the contents and the absolutely lovely customer service you receive from them.  These products have definitely given me that nudge to make a little more time for myself which I probably wouldn’t normally get if I was expected to go to the shops and actually buy products for this purpose.

If you are interested in signing up, head over to their website and take a look, it is really simple to join and I am sure you will be impressed.  Hope you enjoy your boxes as much as I do!

NatalieThe Spoonie Mummy

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to all you wonderful Mummies out there!

My celebrations started Friday as the boys are at their Dad’s this weekend and won’t be back till this evening. They made me some beautiful cards in school and the three of us went for a lovely meal at Ask Italian in Derby. Was lovely to spend some time just the three of us, chatting and playing lots of Hangman while enjoying some very tasty food! We then went to pick up Ste and he had helped the boys and so I got home to a card, flowers and a pressie too!

This morning I have been to Frankie and Benny’s and had a yummy breakfast with my mum, dad, my middle brother and his family and my youngest brother. My steroid appetite finally appears to be subsiding a little as I couldn’t finish it all but it was delicious! We had a really lovely morning, the people serving us were fab and all the Mummies were given a free bottle of wine which was a nice surprise!

I really hope you are all enjoying your Sundays, spoiling your mum’s and being spoiled by your kids.

I couldn’t ask for a better Mum, she has supported me through everything, always knows when I need a cuddle and also knows when I need a good kick up the bum! She has taught me so much about being a Mum myself and I couldn’t have a better ‘job’. My boys mean the absolute world to me and I don’t need a day of them thanking me for doing it, it is my total pleasure and favourite thing to be. Today I feel very lucky and grateful, being able to spend time with my amazing Mummy and looking forward to the huge cuddles when my two favorite little men get back home later!

💜