Thursday, 21 November 2013

Christmas Gift Ideas for Toddler Girls

Little girls tend to be very girly from before they can even walk. Whether it’s a result of being surrounded by pinks, purples and pastel tones from birth, or just an intrinsic love of all things sparkly, little girls certainly seem to know what they like. This Christmas you can treat the little princess in your life to something a little more lady-like than the many gender-neutral toddler toys that are available, whilst still keeping them age appropriate.

Dolls
Little girls have been playing with dolls for many years. There are dolls for all age groups, from basic fabric rag dolls to fashion dolls with small parts, clothes and accessories for older girls. The infatuation with dolls can start young, and many are made with no loose buttons or parts especially for toddler girls. These are usually washable and soft so they can be cuddled and slept with without any problems. There are also strollers, cots and accessories all designed with younger children in mind, which help with fine and gross motor skill development.

Princesses
Little girls will often discover princesses, and Disney princesses in particular when they are a little older. There is lots of merchandise available for your little princess, both Disney-themed and otherwise. For the smallest princesses you can get some lovely Disney outfits and toys or soft dolls designed for little hands. There is also the Fisher-Price Little People Princess Songs Palace with solid plastic figures and no loose parts for pre-school children, which they can enjoy playing with dressed as their very favourite Disney princess - as well as, of course, the DVDs and Blu-Rays of the movies, ready for the next generation to fall in love with.

Ballet
One of the most iconic images of little girls is of tiny ballerinas in tutus. This is often an interest that is started early, before your little one can even walk, yet alone pirouette. There are many ballet themed toys and accessories for little ones. There are ballerina mice on children’s TV and clothes in all sizes with ballerina appliques. Toddlers will love dancing about in their very own ballet shoes years earlier than they can actually start ballet lessons.


Of course some children do not conform to gender stereotypes, and you should take cues from your child as to what they like and enjoy. If they do show an interest in girly things then you can indulge this at Christmas, with so many great gifts available for your princess in the making.  

This is a guest post.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Raising a confident child, my way

I'm a little outspoken and ever so slightly crazy on the best of days and yes, this seems to have been imparted to my daughter.

Take the other morning, for example.  As she sings me a song using a tumbler as a microphone for better effect, she belted out the nonsensical lyrics of her latest 'hit tune' at the top of her lungs as if performing to a stage of adoring fans.  I am of course her number one fan so when she finished I gave a round of applause.  I told her how talented she is and, expecting her to smile and laugh, she simply looked back at me, smiled, tilted her head to the side and said quite matter of fact, "Yes, I know.  I'm also beautiful."  Fair play.

With that in mind, I don't want to breed some precious and precocious Justin Bieber, crowd spitting, monkey keeping, self-absorbed, ridiculous hair, snotty type kid.  He may have money but if my daughter were to bring something like that home, he wouldn't even make it past the front door mat.

All I can hope is that with gentle guidance she will grow to be a confident, caring and compassionate little girl with all of those traits following through into adulthood.  I never wanted a wall flower as a child yet I also don't want to raise a child that others shy away from because their character is simply too over-powering.

I'm sure my fears are the same as most parents.  We are all trying to do the best with the knowledge we have, instilling what we deem to be good habits and mannerisms that will lead them on to being half decent adults.  There must be a right and wrong way of doing this, of course, but as everyone has their own way, some dictatorial and others more passive, I can accept that as long as the end result is the same.

If I'm blessed with grandchildren one day and my daughter looks back on her childhood and thanks me for bringing her up in a certain way, guiding her as best I can, then I'll rest easy knowing I didn't do too badly in my job as a mum to a child of a very modern generation.

Ally x



Sunday, 10 November 2013

Beanies Christmas Coffees and Fab #Giveaway

A few days ago I introduced you to Beanies, The Flavour Co.  Their coffees are lovingly made in a special process bringing to you top quality premium flavoured coffees.

Limited edition Christmas instant coffees are now available in these three fabulous flavours:
So, what do they taste like?

Christmas Pudding - aroma of Christmas pudding with a hint of brandy cream.  Delicious Christmas pudding after taste too which wasn't over powering, so could be enjoyed as an after dinner treat, or lunch, whatever takes your fancy.  Actually made me feel like having a mince pie to go along with it.

Mulled Spice - first thing that came to mind was, of course, mulled wine.  It's quite spicy as far as a coffee goes, and to be honest, did not agree with my palate.  It does conjure up visions of a white Christmas spent around a roaring log fire.  Once again, I felt like mince pies...

Winter Warmer - this was my favourite.  The smell is blissful and I was catching hints of egg nog.  The taste is comforting and creamy and it lingered for just long enough to be pleasantly memorable.  Delicious!

The limited edition Christmas instant coffees come in 50g jars and retail at £2.50, available for purchase through their online store.  If you buy four for £10, you get free delivery!  Perfect to keep around the home for the Festive Season as well as perfect gifts for coffee lovers, Secret Santa presents and stocking fillers.

For £22.50 you can treat someone special to a luxury festive flavour instant coffee hamper containing the three festive flavour instant coffees, Annas luxury biscuits, chocolates and two mugs.  

Or...

Why not part in the Rafflecopter giveaway below to stand a chance of getting your hands on one of these fabulous hampers, complements of the lovely people over at Beanies?!

Ally x

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Note: I was sent these three Christmas instant coffees to sample in the pleasure of my home.  My views are my own, honest and not bias.

The 're-shaped' Psychologies magazine


I was first introduced to Psychologies roughly six years ago by my cousin.  She has this amazing knack for introducing me to new things that she knows I'll relish.

Psychologies is one of the few monthly mags that I actually read, not page-turn, from cover to cover.  The articles are about real women.  There are no skinny models in ridiculous poses wearing couture that I could only dream of affording.  Stories are not sensationalised; they are true to life.

Topics range from conversations with ordinary people overcoming extra-ordinary life circumstances to getting a deeper insight into the female psyche and how to be a better you.  All this finished off with a  touch of travel, make-up, fashion and recipes.

Unlike most fashion or gossip magazines, I read and learn from the the articles and am left feeling a combination of calm, empowerment, enlightenment and with more cultural awareness.  I'm not preached at or given guidelines about how I should be but how, by making simple changes, this is how my life could be.  Being a rather strong willed character, there are very few people that actually succeed in getting their message across in this type of way that makes me react so positively to it.

In this particular issue (December 2013), I was introduced to a new way of thinking through an article entitled 'Find the joy in anticipation'.  With so many of us leading frenetic lifestyles, day to day goings on can seem a little dull.  Looking forward to your next presentation or business meeting is hardly something to write home about, unless closing a £500,000 deal or something along those lines…I wish...

Research shows that when we are anticipating something like a holiday or big event, this feeling can have a profoundly positive effect and help us to live happier lives.  You remember that feeling, right?  Something akin to the feeling when you are a kid, the night before Christmas.  With that in mind Martha Roberts, the author of the article, sets a mini task of looking forward to one of three things; setting 10 minutes aside each day to read a book, getting excited about your favourite weekly TV show or planning a fabulous meal that you'll enjoy.

It's all in the anticipation and planning of one of these three activities and how you feel in the lead up to completing the task and the lasting memory of it.  Martha says to try this for a month and, to be honest, I think I'd like to keep this going from now until the end of time.  Not wanting to wish my life away until the next exciting event of course, but being excited and relishing in the anticipation of the start of the event really does make you feel happy.  It feels good.  I like that way of thinking.

Psychologies (UK Edition) is available in print (£3.90 per issue) and digital versions (£3.99) although getting a 6 or 12 months subscription does of course save you pennies, allowing you to either put the money away for a rainy dry or treat yourself to something nice.

Ally x

More about Psychologies...

Web: http://www.psychologies.co.uk
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PsychologiesMag
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Psychologiesmagazine

Note: I've been enjoying precious moments on my couch, reading the wonderful articles in the new edition Psychologies.  All views and opinions on this publication are completely my own.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Proud to be a Mommy Blogger...oh, and a feminist...

So, it's Blogfest 2013 and the latest topic of discussion is 'can you be a mummy blogger and a feminist'.   My immediate reaction being...WTF.  In a room full of women, some extremely strong willed and with sharp tongues, why, oh why in the name of all that is sacred, would you even bring this up?!   Following all the Tweets on Twitter made me quite glad that I wasn't actually at the event as I'd either have to sit on my hands or bite my tongue.

Being a mum or even a mummy blogger does not mean that you should be pigeon holed into some sort of 'Mary Poppins' type, happy to make the meals, clean the house, can't change a light bulb being.

I think that being a mummy blogger is actually quite the opposite.  Yes, there are people who blog solely about their families.  They enjoy it, don't slag them off for it.  They like it, it's pleasant and non-offencive.  It's a creative outlet for most and it takes a flipping great deal of commitment and also balls to keep up with it all and get half decent posts up for your readers as well as making sure that if you are reviewing a product, you do it within the required timescales.  All this whilst juggling homelife and in my case, my own business.

Blogging has developed so much over the years that mums can actually make money from doing it.  They are, in fact, their own brand and business.  Now, to be honest, I'd be very apprehensive to kick sand in the face of any women that is staying at home, working on a blog to earn extra money for the household and still doing everything else that makes up part of her day.  Do you honestly know how much time it takes to do all of these tasks?  Do you?

Since I've been blogging I feel more empowered.  I always loved to write and now I have the platform to do it on.  I love to wear make up, heels, prance around in nice dresses and bake.  I always wanted to be a wife and mother and have pets and a white picket fence.  I also like to speak my mind.  I can change a tire, a light bulb, build flat pack furniture on my own and run my own business as well as stand my own against men in a car dealership who try to take the piss.

I want to show my daughter that you can be whoever you want to be, without having to tramp over people to do it and losing yourself along the path.  I am me, pure and simple.  Girly but also completely nuts and outspoken.  Loving but not a pushover.  I'm a mum who prefers to be called 'mom' and I'm damn proud to be a 'mommy blogger'.

Ally x

Review: Time to 'Save the Blow Dry'!


So, you wake up in the morning.  It's 15 minutes later than you actually planned to get out bed.  Your hair, however, is still looking great from the day before.  Now that you've lost that extra 15 minutes you darn well better not get it wet in the shower because there definitely isn't time to deal with it this morning!!

Sound familiar to anyone?  Save the Blow Dry are here to come to the rescue of the late sleepers, lazy blow dryers, constant 'I'm in a rush' folk with their super trendy new Save the Blow Dry shower cap. Clip your hair up lightly if it's long and then then tuck it into the cap along with any stragglers, hop into the shower, and hey presto!  No wet hair.  Your blow dry and style has been saved from the day before!

Interesting fact: on average, ladies spend over two hours each week blow drying and styling their tresses!

With a soft and super-absorbent micro weave towel inner and protective outer (phalate free) you can rest assured that your hair will be left dry and sexy as the towelling fights off humidity and condensation.  Hoorah!

This sexy little number number not only protects your hair from water but can also be flipped inside out with the protective layer on the inside, giving hair treatments the chance to work even more effectively.

My hair is naturally curly and when it comes into contact with water it gets frizzy but in my last few showers I've come out with the same, smooth hair style that I started with.  Bliss!   If my husband had bought me one of these for my birthday or Christmas, I'd actually be pretty darn happy.  It looks great and fits snuggly over my long below the shoulder, thick hair.

For best results:
  • Brush your hair before use.
  • Clip up long hair with a clasp or slide.
  • Push any escaping strands of hair into the hat and make sure your hair line is covered.
  • Dry yourself off BEFORE removing Save the Blow Dry!
  • Shake Save the Blow Dry! to remove excess water and hang up to dry.
You can buy your Save the Blow Dry shower hat from their online store for £14.95.  By doing this you are also donating to a very worth cause.  Save the Blow Dry have partnered with Khandel Light, a charity that is doing fabulous work to greatly improve the lives of communities in and around Khandel, Rajasthan, India.  This is one of the most impoverished regions in the world, where life for the poorest villagers of Khandel is at the margins of existence with families lacking essential things that we take for granted like clean water, basic hygiene and sanitation, decent housing, medical care and access to education (especially for the girls).  

By you buying a Save the Blow Dry through their website, this will directly fund two weeks of safe drinking water for a family in the desert region of Khandel, making a vital difference to people who live an impoverished existence in a region with constant drought and soaring temperatures.

Ally x

Find more on Save the Blow Dry 

Web: http://savetheblowdry.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SaveTheBlowDry
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SaveTheBlowDry

More on Khandel light here

Note: Save the Blow Dry very kindly sent this to me to review and give my opinion on.  Verdict.  Love it!

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Review: Beanies Flavoured Coffees

At less than 2 calories per serving, one of my latest treats is Beanies flavoured coffee.  Using advanced flavouring systems, Beanies mix high quality roast coffee and fabulous, natural flavours.

Beanies have been tantalising taste buds since 2009 and with 36 different flavours to choose from there is sure to be something to suit every palate.  There are currently four beautiful gift sets and hampers available which are perfect presents for colleagues, friends and family who appreciate a good cup of coffee.

A few of the favourite Beanies flavours are:
  • Amaretto Flavour
  • Cinnamon & Hazelnut Flavour
  • French Vanilla Flavour
  • Irish Cream Flavour
  • Rich Hazelnut Flavour
  • Chocolate Flavour
  • Creamy Caramel Flavour
I sampled the Vanilla Nut, Double Chocolate and Cappuccino premium blend flavoured coffees.  Coffees are available in espresso, medium grind and whole bean.  I chose the whole bean as I like to grind my own coffee as a matter of personal preference.

All-in-One Mum taste verdict
  • Vanilla Nut (medium strength) - soft and smooth hints of vanilla on the nose with a sweet, nutty flavour to it.  This was my favourite and is a great mid-morning or after lunch treat.
  • Cappuccino (medium strength) - not surprisingly, it smelt and tasted like the real thing.  I'd quite fancy to have this one in the morning or after dinner.
  • Double chocolate (medium strength) - rich chocolatey smell and taste.  At one point I was tempted into pulling out the vanilla ice cream and making it into an iced coffee.  A delicious treat that had a smooth coffee and chocolate taste and smelled heavenly.
I use a plastic bag clip to seal my coffee bean bags once opened and stored them in the fridge straight away to keep them fresh.

Pick your flavour by using the Flavour Finder and picking up to five your favourite flavours.  Hit enter and you'll be shown a selection of coffees that would be perfect for you to enjoy.

With prices starting from £2.50 for the instant varieties and £4.50 for the premium blends, you can choose and buy your favourite blend either directly from the Beanies website or in-store and on-line at Sainsbury's.  I'm pleased to say that you can even find them in South Africa, which means that my Mother country can also share in the pleasure of Beanies coffee!

Watch this space for the delicious new Christmas range of coffees (Christmas Pudding, Winter warmer and Mulled Spice) as well as a fabulous giveaway in the next week right here on All-inOne Mum where one lucky person can win a marvellous luxury festive flavour instant coffee hamper valued at £22.50, complements of the folk over at Beanies coffee.  

Enjoy finding your favourite blends!

Ally x

There's more information about Beanies coffee at: http://www.beaniesflavourco.co.uk

Note: I was sent products for purpose of this review.  All views and thoughts are completely my own.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Bringing your Medicines2U

Have you ever been in a situation where you can't get to your local Chemist or have simply forgotten to buy something that you really needed to get?  Instead of getting into a panic, you can go to an Online Chemist called Medicines2U.  They stock a wide variety of products to suit Customers needs ranging from Medicines to health & beauty items and even pet medications and treatments.

Medicines2u.com are part of a well established and experienced pharmacy called Yakub Chemist Limited who has been successfully running for over 20 years.

Their team of dedicated staff ensure that customers have an easy and pleasant shopping experience whilst navigating through their user friendly site. They thrive to provide the best customer service and ensure that all products are of high quality and promptly delivered to your doorstep whether it be at home or work.

Also on offer is the Doctor Consultation service, giving you a convenient and confidential service.  Simply submit a form that is provided on the website and an experienced doctor will advise you accordingly.  A team of in-house pharmacists are also at hand to provide any advice needed.
 
Prescriptions can be posted to them for next day delivery with the added bonus that you could save up to 50% on private prescriptions vs. products bought through High Street stores.

Product prices are competitive with some being cheaper than High Street stores.  Delivery to Europe, America and the rest of the world is also available so if you are on holiday or a business trip and are in need of a specific type of medication or product that you can't get at your current location, you should be able to find it on Medicines2U.  Delivery can take up to 6 days in Europe and 10 days elsewhere but at least you will be safe in the knowledge as to what medication you are taking.

There is a £2.99 delivery charge for orders under £40 as standard but free for orders above that.  For next day delivery there is a £5.99 charge (T&C's apply).

Ally x
 
 
Brought to you in partnership with Medicines2U

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Ink cartridges at fabulous discount prices

Buying a printer can be daunting.  I've often looked for something small and snazzy and at a reasonable price, but what I didn't always take into account is the cost of the replacement ink cartidges after the first set has been used.  It's one of those cases where it's occasionally cheaper to buy a brand new printer at a discounted price because it will be cheaper than buying the supplier made ink!

I've thankfully been introduced to a website called Cartridge Discount where you can buy ink and toner cartidges at fabulously discounted prices.  They stock Printer Ink (remanufactured and original) for all the big name brands, including ink for franking machines, photo paper and other accessories that you may need for printing and mailing.

Prices are quoted with and without VAT which is great because when you buy from catalogues for instance, they often give the price without VAT, which I forget about and then get extremely excited at a great price until I realise it still needs that little 20% extra tacked on to it.

Ordering through them means that I save about £1.00 on both cartridges for my HP OfficeJet 4500 compared to my already discounted price from my current supplier.  Delivery is free on all orders but you do have the option of 1st Class Mail or Courier delivery if you needed something in a hurry, but nowadays you get enough warning for when your ink is on it's last legs.

There are a number of way in which to pay through secure options and the re-order service means that you don't have to spend time searching for your favourite items each and every time you log on.

Hopefully some of you find this useful.  The older I get, the more excited I get about getting a good deal on something and saving the pennies for my old age!

Ally x

Brought to you in partnership with Cartridge Discount

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Infographic: Stop being ripped off. Switch your energy supplier!

It's that time of year again when electicity bills start to sneakily climb up and all of a sudden you are lumped with a heafty bill that you may not have expected. 

Like with any of your home bills, it is always an excellent idea to review your suppliers and see if you can get a better deal elsewhere and save those precious pennies!

The infographic below provides very good reasons as to why you should review your suppliers annually and also shows that it is actually easier to do than you think with more people going down this path each year.

Being with one of the 'big' providers doesn't always mean that you are getting a good deal and if you could get a better deal from a smaller supplier, I'm sure you'd take the opportunity and happily pocket the extra money saved. Food for thought, isn't it?

Ally x

 Switch Energy Supplier Infographic
Brought to you by Ovo Energy – the cheaper, greener and simpler energy supplier

Monday, 28 October 2013

The whole world could be my office!

Being a working mum with my own business I sometimes bring work home with me to finish off or catch up on.  Working from home as it's positives as you can do a load of washing in between spreadsheets, emails and phone calls.  It also has its distractions such as getting dinner started early instead of after bedtime madness or trying to be disciplined and avoid not turning on the telly, even if it is just for background noise, and getting caught up in something other than work.

This got me to thinking that wouldn't it just be lovely to sit in a coffee shop or in a park and make that your office for the day?  Maybe even on a beach?  I think I'd be more productive in a busier space and possibly unleash more of my creative side.  One vital piece of equipment needed however, would be a laptop as I use a desktop at home.

In my internet search for a suitable laptop, John Lewis popped up first showing a vast selection of laptops and netbooks.  I actually breathed a sigh of relief when I saw the left hand bar on the web page.  It meant that I could find exactly what I wanted according to my budget, what I would be using the laptop for on a daily basis, screen size and general functionality.  Making my choice would be easy and not as tedious as I thought it would possibly be.

With the ability to compare up to 4 laptops at a time I could see which one was best for me without being bombarded by jargon from a sales person, possibly swaying me away from what I really needed and getting something with extra features that I would simply never use.

All laptops include a 2 year guarantee and have fair returns policy too.  The option to either have the laptop delivered to my door or the choice to pick it up in-store is great because I'm often impatient.   The advice on internet safety for parents was of particular interest to me too.  Not that I want my daughter playing on it but kids these days have a habit of jumping onto these things as quick as a flash and if I can keep the nasties at bay, I'll sure as heck try to do so.

So, all in all, a pretty pleasant experience that left me rather pleased, not flustered and when I do buy a laptop in the future, I know it will suit my pocket too.

Ally x

Note: This is a sponsored post

Friday, 25 October 2013

GBBO: worst failures of the first 3 seasons

It's that time of year again, when the crème-de-la-crème of amateur bakers head into the big white tent and bake for Britain, wowing us with their cakes, tarts, pies and bread creations. The Great British Bake Off has given us some glorious successes and spectacular triumphs, but it has also seen some magnificent disasters. When the heat - and the pressure - are on high, even the best bakers can have meltdowns in the kitchen. This season has already seen custard theft and elbowed egg muffins, but what about the failures that came before? From crumbling cakes to sliced fingers, here's our roundup of the Bake Off's top cooking catastrophes.

Dropped Cakes

It's fairly safe to say that all the bakers are particularly keen to impress in the very first episode of the series, but poor Rob Billington fell prey to the kind of kitchen failure we've all had nightmares about when he dropped his sponge on the floor. Like all great cooks, however, Rob managed to salvage his creation, and it was even named as Mary Berry's favourite.

Burned Fingers

When it wasn't the food that was suffering it was the bakers themselves. Season two saw its share of injuries, with Yasmin managing to burn all eight of her fingers in one show. To add insult to injury, she was sent home at the end of the episode, and we're not sure which hurt more.

Collapsing Cakes

James Morton's infamous gingerbread barn was meant to be an architectural masterpiece, but had to be hastily redesigned as a crumbling ruin, complete with spun cobwebs, when the cake began to collapse in on itself. 

Diced Digits

John Waite certainly had his share of baking disasters on season three. He was lucky to avoid elimination in his salt/sugar mix-up of episode one (it's never a good sign when Paul Hollywood spits out your food) but he suffered a more serious kitchen mishap when he sliced his finger open on an electric mixer during a showstopper challenge. John had to withdraw from the final task of the episode, but didn't let the injury get in the way of winning the whole series. 

To follow in the footsteps of our fearless Bake Off champions, shop cookers and cake-stands for your very own baking extravaganza!


This is a guest post on All-in-One Mum.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Review: How to really love your gums with Oral-B

I’m a working mum and although I like to think I’m organised, most weekday mornings are a mad rush to get myself, hubby and little one out of the house.  We all brush our teeth as part of our morning and evening routine but giving them their full 2 minutes of attention isn’t always the case.

One thing my parents always said to me was “look after your teeth, you only get one set!”. I’ve always kept this in mind, very rarely skipping a morning or evening brushing.  When I was pregnant I was particularly aware of how sensitive my gums were and found that my gums bled, so I needed to be gentle when I brushed.  Using a normal toothbrush made it quite hard as I had to gauge it correctly to make sure I was applying just the right amount of pressure to clean my teeth properly at the same time.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been trying out the Oral-B Triumph 5000 with SmartGuide power brush and new Pro-Expert Premium Gum Protection toothpaste.  Recommended by Dentists, the Triumph 5000 with SmartGuide has the British Dental Health Foundation Platinum endorsement.

The Oral-B Triumph 5000 electric toothbrush comes with a little digital box called a SmartGuide.  It clearly shows you the time you have spent brushing each of the four sections of teeth.  The excuse to brush for any shorter than this is thrown out the window as you now naturally pay extra attention to what you are actually doing when brushing.

All-in-One Mum Product Testing

There are 3 brush heads provided; Oral-B FlossAction, ProBright and Sensitive.  I used the Oral-B FlossAction brush head as I have a thin metal bar behind my six front bottom teeth from when I had braces as a teenager.  The bar is great for keeping my teeth straight and also excellent at attracting food which isn’t so wonderful.  

Using a pea-sized amount of the Pro-Expert Premium Gum Protection toothpaste, I turned on the brush once it was in my mouth, otherwise I’d have toothpaste splatter on my walls and on me!   The SmartGuide sprang into action, starting the count to 30 seconds per each segment.  The toothpaste had a 'just come from the dentist' clean taste to it which I really liked.  I used the Deep Clean mode as I felt like my teeth could do with a good scrub.  The beep of the toothbrush, stopping of the brush head, flashing on SmartGuide meant that I knew when to move to the next area I had to brush.

My gums bled for the first day or two but have since stopped and I’m using the Daily Clean mode.  My teeth, especially in the hard to reach places and behind my lower teeth bracket felt cleaner than they had in weeks and stayed feeling like that for a large part of my day too.  This really made me more confident at work when I meet clients as well and most importantly, in my social groups.

The great thing about having something visual showing your brushing time is that I can use it with my young daughter, too.  We brush our teeth at the same time and it encourages her to spend the right amount of time giving her pearly whites a good once over.  She finds it fun so brushing her teeth has become less of a chore and is now an exciting part of her daily routine.

The brush is great for…
  • Everyday use! – Daily Clean mode
  • Getting a bit of an extra clean – Deep Clean mode
  • Sensitive areas – Sensitive mode
  • Giving your teeth a really good polish – Whitening mode
  • Treating your gums to a gentle massage – Massage mode
With 40,000 pulsations and 8,800 oscillating movements, you can chose any of these modes by pressing the mode button just below the on/off switch on the Oral-B Triumph 5000.  An indicator on the brush head lets you know when it needs replacing so that you can keep optimum performance.  

My (rather poor!) video gives a bit of an idea of what the brush looks like in action.  I would have used it on myself but I'm sure you wouldn't want to see me with a mouth full of toothpaste and talking at the same time.


Is it worth the price?

One of the things that I have learnt in my (just over) three decades is the importance of a good toothbrush…or so I thought until now!  With an RRP of £199.99, the Oral-B Triumph 5000 with SmartGuide is pricey but I feel that it is worth every penny.  The different brush modes mean that you can get the perfect clean according to what you need and more importantly, what your teeth and gums need too.  The plaque removal outstrips a regular manual brush as it removes up to 100% more than regular brushing.  I'm actually looking forward to being pregnant again one day just so that I can try the different settings to see and feel the difference from the first time round when I used a regular brush.

The travel case means that you won’t have your toothbrush coming to life, sometimes causing embarrassing stares and comments, when you are travelling and you can take an extra 2 heads with you.  There are also a number of other brush heads in the Oral-B range that are compatible with it so you have a wide selection to choose from.

The Oral-B Triumph 5000 with SmartGuide and Pro-Expert Premium Gum Protection toothpaste (RRP £3.99 for the toothpaste) are available online and at most major retailers.

Happy brushing!

Ally x

Note: This post is an entry for Mumsnet Blogger Network Challenge sponsored by Oral-B, promoting healthy gums. Get tips and advice on www.oralb-loveyourgums.com.  I was sent the Oral-B Triumph 5000 and SmartGuide as well as the Pro-Expert Premium Gum Protection toothpaste to provide my honest and unbiased views and opinions on.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Baby vs Career Infographic: What would you choose?

I think (and yes it's a large generalisation) that in years and actually generations gone by it was far more simple to have a baby and not have to go back to work.  You had a baby or you had a career.  You didn't always have to make a choice.

The cost of raising a child to the age of 18 rises each year and with that in mind, many women have no choice but to go back to work in order to contribute to the household income, pushing them back out into the working world.  Working mums, but not by choice.

Some women decide not to have offspring.  It doesn't make them bad people.  If anything it's actually quite a smart move.  You get to dote on other people's kids and at the end of the day, you can pass them back over.  You can avoid all the tantrums and just have little smiley faces.  They also have the benefit of going to work in clothes that have not been re-styled by messy hands and snotty noses.  If they have rings under their eyes it's more likely to be from a late night out or a long night at the office.  They are career women who made a personal choice not to have children and get to the highest rung on the career ladder.

Of course, there are mum's out there (like moi) who actually wanted to go back to work.  I wanted a husband, home, pet dog (we have a cat), children (we are at number 1) and career.  Why shouldn't I work?  I want to have it all.  My parents had their own successful business and I want to emulate that.  If they could do it, I damn well can too!

The tantrums are probably nature's way of getting me back for the year's of hell I put my parents through but then there are the smiles, laughs and cuddles that make you forget all of that.  I occasionally go to work looking like I've been pulled through a bush backwards, with rings under my eyes and toothpaste on my sleeves or trouser leg.  I think it adds to my character.  I'm a working mum by choice.  I chose to have a child and a career.

Yes, I do feel that I push myself harder now at work and probably spend more time at the office, especially as I only do 4 days a week.  Do I feel guilty?  No, I actually enjoy it!  I love that (I think) I'm doing well, coping with a family, work and a blog on the side.  It excites me and makes me want to do more.  I do get tired sometimes but then again, so do stay-at-home moms, working moms and career woman.

There are more of us 'baby + career' people out there and boy, do I admire them.  There are moms and dads who get up at 5am for a run, get back at 6am for a shower, get the kids ready at 7am, do the school run at 8.15am (or earlier if kids are at breakfast clubs) then shoot off straight to work, leave the office at 5.30/6 pm and then pick up kids from various clubs, minders, family members etc.  They still need to sort out dinner, housework, homework and be a wife/husband/partner at the same time.  Do I see them complaining?  Well, if they do, it's behind closed doors.  Single moms and dads are even more amazing!

I found the Baby vs. Career infographic on the Gumtree blog and immediately loved it, reading it with many head nods and mental 'yes's'.  Women should never have to choose between baby and/or career as I feel that it is a right that we all have and to be honest, there is never a good time to start a family as that in itself is a bit of a lottery.

Hope you enjoy the read and feel free to share it with other moms out there.

Ally x

Gumtree infographic baby versus careerGumtree infographic baby versus career is an infographic that was produced by Gumtree



Sunday, 13 October 2013

Competition and Review: Zappie - bringing walls and clothes to life!

Zappie is a wonderful new app that brings pictures to life right in front of your eyes.  The first of it's kind, Zappie uses the latest augmented reality technology to bring very cute images and products to life anywhere from walls to t-shirts.

Zappie was designed to support pre-school children as part of their development and play.  Not only do the wall stickers look beautiful but they can transform even the dullest of rooms into a gorgeous fun and educational space.  

We were sent a set of the "I'm a Little Teapot" stickers so that we could see for ourselves just how lovely they really are.  The quality of the stickers is very good and even little hands find it easy to peel them from their sticky backing sheet and apply to the wall.  The images are large, beautifully detailed and typical of traditional English nursery rhymes, which I find very appealing.

To get the images to come to life I download the free "Zappie" Nursery Rhyme app through the iTunes stores to my iPhone but it is also available through Google Play for android phones.  After it downloaded I opened the app (I couldn't do it fast enough for my daughter's liking!) and selected the nursery rhyme which matched my sticker set which was 'I'm a Little Teapot".  Holding my iPhone over the main image I tapped the bee imaged and 'zapped' the teapot image underneath until the animation loaded, which was a matter of seconds.  

My daughter was ridiculously excited when the music started playing; singing and dancing along to the happy tune.  I joined it to because it is so hard not to!  Please don't ask me how many times we had to repeat the animation as I stopped counting after about the fifth time.




The initial range is made up of brightly coloured and adorable nursery rhyme products ranging from wall stickers to heat transfers and fairly priced greeting cards, all of which make fabulous gifts, rewards and special treats!  The folk at Zappie have plans to extend the range even further into learning and interactive pet products.

What  nursery rhymes can I choose from?
  1. Five monkeys jumping on the bed
  2. I’m a little teapot
  3. Five little ducks went swimming one day
  4. Wheels on the bus go round and round
  5. Row, row, row your boat
  6. Old MacDonald had a farm
  7. Once I caught a fish alive
  8. Twinkle twinkle little star

Where can I buy Zappie products

All Zappie products can be purchased on-line at www.zappie.com.  Prices range from £2.99 for greeting cards to £29.99 for large text wall stickers.

How much does the Zappie app cost?
The Zappie Rhymes app is now available for free download onto Android and Apple smartphone/tablet devices through Google Play and iTunes stores.

Fancy winning a pack of Zappie Nursery Rhyme Wall Stickers?
Zappie are giving 1 lucky person the chance to win a pack of Nursery Rhyme Wall Stickers from one of the 8 available nursery rhymes above up to the value of £25.00.  Enter by reading the question on the Rafflecopter below and leaving your answer at the bottom of this post.  Once the first task is complete, you will then have 6 other chances to put your name into the prize draw with the Winner picked at random on 1 November 2013.

The Zappie range of products make wonderful gifts that entertain, educate and stimulate young minds while brightening up bedrooms and playrooms at the same time.

Good luck and have fun!

Ally x

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Note: I was sent a pack of Zappie Nursery Rhyme "I'm a Little Teapot" stickers at no cost.  My thoughts and views on the product are completely my own and not bias.

Peaceful Potty Training with Huggies Pull-Ups

Little Miss and I hopped on to the Huggies Pull-ups potty training bus a few weeks back for a very informative morning about potty training and how to encourage and reward your little one through this next stage in their development.  

Although the bus is no longer on tour, it was an excellent way of educating parents and toddlers about potty training and showing that instead of being daunting, potty training can actually be fun!  Huggies offer free samples to parents to try the Huggies Pull-ups on their child before buying a full pack.  

My daughter loved the designs on the Pull-ups and enjoyed putting them on at night.  The DryNites Pyjama Pants are just as lovely.  She was slightly annoyed that she couldn't wear the boys pants because their absorbent sections are slightly different to those of the girl ones.  I'm pretty sure that she can't be the only girl that likes Disney's Cars movie?!
To make potty training interesting and to keep it exciting, go to the Tools and Games section on the Huggies Pull-Ups website to download hints and tips, reward cards, progress training charts and certificates.
  
Huggies Pull-Ups day and night time pants are available at Ocado, Amazon, Tesco, Boots, Sainsburys, Mothercare both in store and online.

Ally x


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