Friday, 30 August 2013

*NEW* Argos ColourMatch Range - Review

I was recently contacted by Argos and asked if I would like to be sent one of their new Colour Match products.

I love Argos. It's my first go-to for presents, home appliances, decorating, jewellery. You name it, I've bought it from Argos.

Most rooms in my house have a colour theme. My living room is Plum, my bedroom is hot pink, Princess's bedroom is pastel purple and my kitchen is teal. I could pretty much decorate and colour co-ordinate my entire house based on the Colour Match range in Argos.

I chose to receive the Pittsburgh 5 Piece Storage Set in Jellybean Blue for my kitchen. This product includes a Sugar, Tea & Coffee tins, a Biscuit tin and a Bread Bin. I was quite excited, I'd never had a bread bin before! Small things..


The tins are all made of metal and come with a handle on the top. The handle is quite useful because most tea, coffee & sugar pots don't have one meaning you have to use both hands to either unscrew or uncap them. I've also had issues with the lids never quite sitting right, whereas with these they fit perfectly and stop the sugar from clumping.

These are an excellent accessory for my kitchen. They match my walls almost perfectly and provide a stylish and efficient way to store our conveniences.

Accompanying the ever popular Apple Green, Funky Fuchsia and Poppy Red, the new Colour Match range includes the colours Jellybean Blue as seen above, Bubblegum Pink and Tutti Fruity Green. They are available in a wide range of products including bedroom, bathroom and kitchen accessories. 

All I need to do now is buy the rest of the set to match! I already have my eye on the cutlery and utensils set..


As you can see, they match my walls perfectly!



The Day After Tomorrow - The Nottingham Edition

I'm not a massive fan of heat. I've always much preferred the cold side of the pillow, and refusing hot water bottles in favour of getting into a cold bed. So when we had the massive heat wave in July, I didn't fare to well. I found myself craving some form of coolness, a chill that not even the strongest of fans or air conditioning could make.

When the forecast finally predicted rain, I was thrilled. For the first time in weeks I could look forward to it being a bit cooler and the air hopefully being a lot less muggy. Perhaps even a decent nights sleep.

What the forecast didn't predict however, was flooding. Well, that's a lie. Flooding was predicted, but only in areas where there were large water expanses near by. It was the last thing we expected to experience in the area where we live, especially with it being one of the highest points in Nottingham. 

But flood it did. 

There was rain gushing down my street, something I never thought we'd see living on a hill. There was water shooting up to 6 foot high out of manholes all the way up the road. Eventually, the rain got so much, the drains filled up and spilled over into the streets. A manhole in the middle of our road actually exploded out of the road nearly toppling a van over. It was like watching something out of 'The Day After Tomorrow'. 


Ross was out in the road helping a man from the council redirect traffic to avoid the crater in the road. Long after the rain had stopped, the water carried on gushing. 

Unfortunately, at the bottom of my road is a high street. A long road full of shops, bars and restaurants was completely submerged in water. Lots of the shops ha flooded too, nobody expecting that it would happen to them. 


Even my work flooded - luckily not too bad. The water only reached a few feet into the shop. The bad news though, was that it stunk. It wasn't just rain water that had flooded the streets, it was dirty sewage water. 

Our shop was closed the next day and a bunch of cleaners were brought in. They sucked up as much of the water as possible, then cleaned it to get rid of the smell. There were dehumidifiers installed to help pull the rest of the moisture out of the carpets and the air. 

Just for the record.. I don't work in ASDA

 A friend of ours also had dehumidifiers installed that pulled out over 5 gallons of water from her shop. If it hadn't been for them, the place would probably still be soaking wet. 

Now, every time there is a threat of rain, you can see sandbags lining the doors of shops and cafes, no one willing to take their chances. 

However, now I find the air once again really muggy and warm, I'm praying for rain.


Disclosure: This is a sponsored post

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Walkers Mighty Lights!

Last week, the lovely folks at Walkers sent me over a nice treat! 

Walkers are launching a new range of crisps - "Mighty Lights". Promising to be 30% less fat than their standard crisps, these are the perfect option for a healthy snack. Also packing a tiny 0.5g of saturated fat, that's definitely something to boast about.


Only 114 calories per packet
 Suitable for vegetarians
Made from real potatoes!
Free from artificial colours and preservatives
MSG FREE!
 

I love Walkers crisps, they are by far my favourites. We were sent 3 packs of 6 in Ready Salted, Roast Chicken and Cheese & Onion. However, I won't lie, I wasn't completely sold on these. I like the idea of a healthy alternative for Walkers crisps, but I don't think they quite match up to the standard of Walker Baked, they just don't pack enough flavour for me. 

When it comes to crisps, I'm much more of a pickled onion, worcester sauce or smoky bacon kind of girl, so I don't particularly think it is due to a lack of flavour, but I'm more a fan of much stronger flavours. 

However, don't let that put you off. Mighty Lights are a great alternative for regular crisps, especially for kids lunchboxes. I'd be much happier sending Princess off to school with a packet of these than some of the other crisps that are on the market. The fact that they are ridged also means that they're much more friendly for tiny mouths!

Also what I did like, was that when you open the packet.. it's full. SO many companies at the moment are falling prey to only half or even quarter filling their packets. It was a nice surprise to actually have a packet of crisps that was satisfying and actually filling!

When I received the crisps, I decided that they would be much more suited to the girls at work rather than at home. I know that these crisps are probably more aimed at children to use as a healthy lunch time snack, but who are the people more likely to buy a low fat crisp option? Us diet-crazy women, that's who! Ross has no interest in eating low-fat crisps and Princess doesn't eat them much anyway, so the girls seemed a better option. So far, they've been a massive hit! Everyone has commented about how nice they are and they can't believe that the taste matches up to Walkers usual crisps even though they're much healthier. What's not to love about that?

Find out more about the Walkers Might Lights range here.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Guppy Love

It's no secret that I love our aquarium. I never thought I would, fish just aren't a pet that I've ever found myself wanting to keep. Over the past year or so however, all of that changed. We purchased our first tropical aquarium, and my love grew from there. We love pimping out the fish tank. Buying new ornaments, backgrounds and plants.

There is no greater joy than buying new fish and seeing them settle in. Every single one brings something different to the tank and it's amazing to watch. That statement coming from me is crazy, I actually like fish.

After the first couple of months, we started to notice that some of the fish were breeding.

I'd never known anything like it. The excitement of finding a new baby and then waiting to see them grow. Sometimes I would make Ross move the ornaments, just to see if he could find any new babies.

Eventually, as the tank grew, we saw less and less babies. At first we were confused. All of the fish were mixed sex and mixed breeds so we thought we would see some more. What we finally realised, is that the more full the tank became, the less likely it was that the fry would survive. Especially now we have angel fish and sharks in the tank too - they tend to eat anything small and fast.

Recently I was contacted by SwellUK and asked to help review a product from their website to help promote their aquarium section. I absolutely jumped at the chance but then struggled to actually come to a decision. The website is full of amazing products, but the main issue I had was picking one that I would be able to review.

Eventually we settled on a new fish tank. Just a small one that we could separate some of the fish in to. This in turn, would give some of the fry a better chance of surviving.

The tank came in super quick time and before I knew it, Ross was already setting it up. He was taking things out of the boxes, obviously quite excited by this new project. The tank is an AqualEl Classic 50, not a brand I've heard of before, but we were both suitably impressed. It is 25litres which is the perfect size for a start up tank.

Firstly, we decided to use some gravel out of the garden to put at the bottom of the tank. A lot of people use sand, but because we were using this tank specifically to save the fry, gravel is the better option. It gives them lots of places to hide! Ross washed it thoroughly and lined the bottom of the tank.

 

Luckily we also had some ornaments spare that could go in too. The large aquarium usually gets 'redesigned' every couple of months and new ornaments and plants are bought so we always have some spare. Ross placed the filter and the heater appropriately and made sure they were working okay.

The technical stuff..

Then it was just a case of filling it with water and deciding which fish would go in. We used Tapsafe in the water to make sure the water was suitable for the fish when we transferred them. Ross also used some of the water from the original aquarium so it would be quicker to settle. We already knew the tank would go on Ross's bedside table, he'd been harassing me to put on there for months.

 

Finally, we decided on putting the guppies in the tank. We have both male and female guppies who are apparently avid breeders, but no babies. A few of the females had been pregnant before too, one or two of them being pregnant again, but we knew if we kept them in the large aquarium, the fry wouldn't survive. Guppies are probably my favourite tropical fish. They're small, with large fan tails with lovely patterns on them. Some are bright, some rainbow coloured. They're just so nice to look at.

 

We transferred the guppies into the new tank and left them to settle in so to speak. Ross has also bought some new lights to put in the tank to create a night time effect when the lights were off.

 

We woke the next morning to the sound of the filter pushing out water... and the sight of baby guppies!

At first there was just one in the top corner. A few hours later there was at least 15.

I haven't managed to get a good picture of the babies as the water originally went very cloudy due to the settling cycle of the tank. They are still in there now, but hiding! Every now and then you can see one swimming very low in the gravel, or hiding in the ornaments whilst the other guppies go about their business.


 


Once they're big enough, they will be transferred back into our larger tank. We don't breed fish to sell, just to continue the life in our aquarium. We're just helping nature run it's course!

We also bought a small plec to help keep the algae in the new tank at bay. He's tiny compared to our other plec's. I look forward to seeing how he grows too.

I can't thank the guys at SwellUK enough. Thanks to them, we saw our first lot of Guppy fry within a matter of 12 hours! Now we can watch them grow and hopefully continue to see them thrive in their new home!


This tank is RRP of £46.99 but sold at £40.99 on the SwellUK website. In my honest opinion it is well worth the money and if I had known how good it was beforehand, would have probably purchased it myself.

I was sent the AquaEl 40 tank  by SwellUK for the purpose of this review. All opinions, comments and pictures are my own.

Silent Sunday


Thursday, 22 August 2013

Room 101

I'm sure you're familiar with the concept. We all have those things that annoy us beyond belief that we just wish we could damn into the fiery pits of hell. Instead, we rant about them and pop them into Room 101.

I was tagged by the lovely Laura over at My Life As A Mummy to take part in this meme by naming 3 things I hate and would rather didn't exist.

Number One
Diets. I mean seriously, when are we not on one? Diets are there to make us feel like fat frauds and massive cheaters. I never feel good when I'm on a diet and more often than not, my main emotion is guilt. Guilt that I ate too much, guilt that I'm not dedicated enough, guilt that I'm such a big fat heffa that just can't PUT DOWN THE CAKE. Diets are evil.

Number Two
Money. I actually hate money with such a passion that sometimes I wish I was just a hobo. I hate how every single thing revolves around money. You either have it or you don't and I quite honestly don't. I hate having to count where every single penny goes, having to prioritise over simple things, missing out on experiences because I don't have enough. I genuinely wish that money didn't exist. I know that's very unrealistic and would probably cause complete anarchy.. but it's a very different feeling when you don't have any. It's not like I don't work hard enough, Christ.. I work damn hard and half of the time it feels like it's for nothing. But hey.. people gotta eat right?

Number Three
Shit is about to get serious. I hate cancer. That stupid disease has probably caused more heartache than anything else in the world. Ever. It kills people and destroys lives. If cancer could be thrown into a dark abyss then my Grandma would still be around. So would a hell of a lot of other people. Seriously cancer, fuck the fuck off!

Obviously these are in no particular order.. can you imagine? At first I was intending to be all light hearted but then I thought, nahhhhh. I need to be more serious more often.. I am nearly mid-twenties after all!

What would you put in Room 101?



Tuesday, 20 August 2013

The Sympathy Vote

I don't think I've ever blogged about TV before, especially a reality TV show, but this week something has really pissed me off.

Big Brother.

That may not come as a surprise to some of you, I'm sure it pisses a lot of people off. I know plenty of people who absolutely despise the show. Except that I love it. I love the cringe moments, the watching every moment of someones life (well.. 24 hours worth of a dozen of peoples lives cramped into 60 minutes) and the intensity of it all.

I've enjoyed this years Big Brother. After the first few abominations such as Sally Axl, Dramatic Jemima and Wolfy the Hobo were evicted, things started to pick up. Characters came out of their shells, relationships started to evolve, cliques formed and we all started to pick our favourites.

My favourite, from day TWO, was Gina. She was hilarious. She spoke her mind, she was opinionated and honest and she was funny. On the flip side she was rude, spoilt and showed far too much teeth for my liking, but that didn't stop me from liking her. Compared to the other arse-sucking housemates - and the vile ones - she was a breath of rich-kid fresh air.

Much to my disappointment, Gina didn't win. *sigh*

Sam did.



Now I may get absolutely shot down in flames for this... but Sam didn't deserve to win.

Don't get me wrong, I liked the kid. He was funny, at times. He was cute. But that's about as far as it went. He didn't do anything. I understand this may just be what Big Brother editors and what not decided to show.. we don't see everything. But from what I saw.. he was boring.

In my opinion, he could quite easily have not even been there. He was a lovely kid.. despite the whole absolutely cringe-worthy, disgusting flirtation between him & Jemima, there is nothing memorable about him.

Which brings me to my conclusion. He won by sympathy vote.

Because if you didn't watch Big Brother, you probably didn't know that Sam is deaf.


He spoke with a slightly slurred Welsh accent from now having properly been able to form his words. In all fairness, he is an inspiration. He is proof that having a disability such as deafness, doesn't stop you from achieving what you want to. It doesn't stop you doing the same as what everyone else does. And it proves that even though you can be hard on yourself, people are still routing for you.

But despite that, he didn't deserve to win. His point was made, well done, I think you're lovely. But that's as far as it goes. Personally, I think Sam won because of his differences. Not because he was entertaining or was a fantastic housemate.

Even if Gina didn't win, I would have preferred Jack & Joe or Dexter to have won over him. Namely because they entertained me. Whether that be with their laugh that reminds me of Mr. Tumble, or their complete dickheadishness.. they entertained me. Those are the people that kept me watching Big Brother.

By all means, congratulations to Sam. You did well, you provided a few laughs. And lets be honest, what 20+ year old doesn't want £100k?

However, fill a Big Brother house up full of Sam's and I can promise you, no one will be watching.

Monday, 19 August 2013

The Bigger Picture

Recently my lovely friend Jess over at Catch A Single Thought has been writing about Love The Blog You Have. It started as a simple post reminding us to remember the reasons why we started blogging in the first place and not to let other things get in the way.

It got me to thinking.. Do I really love my blog? Do I enjoy writing it? 

The answer is I do. 

When I first started this blog, I never imagined I would have a readership. I mean, obviously we want someone out there to read it, or we'd just keep it private. I was so oblivious to the crazy world of blogging, I thought it was tiny. Just a small bunch of people who wrote about their lives, sharing it through the keyboard the same way I do. Letting their personalities shine through and say things they sometimes otherwise might not say.

I was so wrong. The world of blogging is massive. Bigger than I can ever comprehend I think. It's been 18 months now and the whole thing still baffles me. I in no way do I class myself as a a professional blogger and I don't pretend to know what I'm doing.. But I'm not a newbie either. 

It's obvious to everyone that I haven't blogged much recently. 
I've been pretty lucky though. Despite only a handful of posts in the last few weeks, my readership hasn't gone down by much and you lovely, scrumptious people are still commenting when I do decide to inflict my writing upon the world. For that, I am grateful.


One of the problems I find though, like with power, with a readership, comes great responsibility. 
Responsibility to keep writing, to stay interesting and to keep people wanting to come back. 

I don't thrive well under pressure. If I feel pressured to write, I don't want to. It's probably stubbornness. Either that or fear of failure. Nothing interesting comes to my head and I get writers block. Nothing I want to say forms into words or sentences of comprehension... So I just don't write. 

Instead, I sit back and watch others interact. I read their blogs and wish I too had something to say. I'm not a shy commenter, if your post catches my eye, I will comment. 
It seems I keep making promises to blog and then fall short. I think to myself "I really must blog tonight.." And instead, I do something else and then fret about not blogging enough. 

I love my blog. It's introduced me to so many new people and opened up a world of opportunities for me and my family. I don't think I would have it any other way. 

I think you can blog too often. I've had to I unfollow blogs that post 2-3 times a day and sometimes even every day. They post for the sake of posting yet their posts don't hold any real meaning. Just a sentence or two.. Or a picture. To me, that isn't blogging. 

I don't mean to offend anyone, I really don't. Maybe I'm not classed as a real blogger because I don't blog enough? Who am I to say what you should and shouldn't post about? Or how often?

I think in the long run, my blog will stay open. I like having it and I love knowing that its something I can call my own. I love knowing that my family are proud of me for writing it. 

I would miss my blog if it wasn't here. 

I need to learn to Love the Blog I Have! 



Read more on Jess's posts about Loving The Blog You Have here..

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Mummy Free Time

Since I had Princess, it's not very often I've had a day/hour/minute to myself.

In fact, before Monday, the last time I spent time by myself was in May.

I love my daughter. I love her beyond belief. But when is it that you stop remembering when it was the last time you had a minute to collect your thoughts?

I work 4 days a week, so technically part time. But it feels like I'm always there. So when I'm not there, I try and soak up every moment of my family that I can. But then there's no time for me..

In May, I went out with my friend and enjoyed an afternoon of lunch, cocktails and baby-free grown up conversation.

Then on Monday, I went out with my Mum. For the first time in a long, long time, we spent time together as Mother & Daughter rather than Grandmother and Daughter and Granddaughter. At first I felt bad that I enjoyed this time so much without my Princess, but then I realised something.. I needed it.

I needed time on a bus, with my headphones in listening to Bruno Mars and Taylor Swift. I needed to walk alone, without holding someones tiny hand or answering every question they threw at me. I needed to link my arm through someones (the same height as me, I may add) and stroll along without anywhere in particular in sight. And I most definitely needed to sit and eat a meal without having to talk/feed/amuse someone else whilst doing so.

For the first time in a long time, I felt like the person I used to be a few years ago. I remembered what it felt like to have such a thing as 'me' time. Except that a few years ago, it was just 'time'. I took it for granted and never really considered that one day, I wouldn't have any. I never thought that one day, I would struggle to sit down and finish a meal without at least having to get up once to do something for someone else, or share the food on my plate with tiny fingers.

I wouldn't ever change what I have. Ever.

Right now, Princess is out with her Daddy, camping. They are spending the night in a tent, under the stars whilst I am at home alone.

Don't get me wrong, I am by no means annoyed. Camping just is not my forte, I would rather be here than there (It's raining too by the way..) but I miss my girl so badly. I want her in my arms, or at least under my roof.

But whilst she hasn't been here, I have enjoyed myself. I have eaten pizza, drank a glass of wine, watched trashy TV, and will shortly have some ice cream without having to share. Although I am sure I will end up saving her some.

I need to start making more time for myself and stop feeling bad when I do.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels guilty for enjoying some "Mummy Free Time" am I?

Thursday, 8 August 2013

A New Addition..

If you know me, then you know that I'm an absolute sucker for animals.

If I could, I'd have a house and garden full of pets. We have our gorgeous dog Tia Dalma, a jack russell cross shih-tzu.. or as I refer to her, my jack-shit. There is our beautiful girl cat, Lola. She's so funny and playful, she's by far the best cat we've ever had. And then there's our fish tank. Ross's pride and joy that stands tall in our living room. Having an aquarium has never bothered me, but now I love it.


But it's never enough, we always want more.

So I am proud to introduce, Angel.

 

Angel is a jack russell puppy who we bought off a family advertising her on Gumtree.

She is playful, funny, adorable and an absolute pain. But we wouldn't have her any other way.

Surprisingly, Tia has taken to her fantastically. They play together, chase each other round the garden and even sleep cuddled up together.

 

Lola has also become quite keen. Quite often I walk in to find them both wrestling on the floor. At first I panicked and pulled them apart, but now Lola will quite happily pounce on the pup. It's so fun to watch.

Princess absolutely adores her. She was even the one to name her. I'm not all that sure where Angel came from, but I think it's lovely.

 

I think for now, that will be it on our pet front. I have decided that we won't be getting any more until Princess is old enough to ask for one - and even then I think I will be skeptical.

For now, my little zoo is complete.